As you would expect in a fantasy environment, combat can be frequent and deadly. You can order your party to attack other players' parties as well as computer-controlled monsters and characters. By the same token though, monsters may well attack your party without provocation or warning.
While combat is dangerous, your characters will generally look out for themselves. This self-preservation prevents your characters from staying till the bitter end when victory is nowhere in sight. Further, your party may even avoid a fight altogether if it offers nothing but death. Often weaker, common monsters venture near settlements such as towns and cities. These can prove an excellent way of learning more about combat not to mention being a lucrative source of gold and treasure. Obviously buying weapons and armour will greatly enhance your characters' survival rate although it is best to avoid heavy, encumbering armour for those that are not in too much danger or those that wish to make the most out of their natural speed.
At the start of the combat, the archers will split away from the party in order to get a clear shot of the enemy. Those casting spells and miracles will start to mix ingredients and chant prayers. Those electing to fight in melee will set off towards the enemy, targeting an individual from amongst the enemy ranks. The fight will quickly become a skirmish as archers sprint to new positions in order to get their shot. Due to the nature of spell casting and the use of miracles, the priest or mage have to remain in the same location and are therefore limited to what they can see or the area effect of the spell or miracle they are attempting to cast. This can mean that some spells and miracles have to be cancelled to avoid blasting friends.As all this is happening, the enemy are bearing down on the party. Some may actually avoid the front characters and reach those towards the back of the party although the odds are that those at the front of the party will try to head them off. Sadly, in the confusion of the fight and due to the terrain as well as other factors, combat is rarely clean.
Terrain effects weapon speeds. For example jungles and swamps and other places where there is dense foliage get in the way of big weapons making them harder to wield effectively. This is accounted for by a decrease in speed. Dungeons tend to be ill-lit, uneven and cramped at the best of times. Short and thrusting weapons such as spears are most effective in these environments while the use of bows should be avoided. Cross-bows are the least hampered missile weapon although due to the lack of space to find a decent vantage point, even these are slower as the character has to wait for an opening