Understanding Movement and the Fundamentals of Dodging

In almost every major sport, “footwork” is one of the first things a newbie must master. Whether it’s soccer, tennis, basketball, or even boxing, footwork is king — proper movement technique is essential for executing deeper strategies and advanced maneuvers.

And yes, this is true for Battlerite as well.

Movement is paramount. Taking one step to the right instead of going to the left can sometimes be the difference between winning or losing a round. A small mistake can end up with you taking a huge burst of damage, and that can then snowball out of control, eventually leading to your demise.

So what does good movement look like? Well, in this post we’re going to cover the basics and introduce some intermediate-level stuff toward the end. Strap in and get ready to work your feet.

The Mechanics of Movement

Movement itself is very simple: using the WASD keys (or whatever other setup you prefer) you can move in all eight cardinal directions (N, E, S, W, and the in-betweens). Champions do have different walk speeds, but they’re all relatively similar so I wouldn’t worry about that level of nuance until much, much later.

Beneath the surface of this simple system, there are a few major quirks that you’ll need to know in-and-out in order to exploit the system to your advantage.

Forward and backward is the same speed.

In Battlerite, your champion’s torso and legs are disjointed. The torso faces your mouse cursor (also true for your allies and enemies) but your legs face and move in the direction of your movement. These two aspects are separate.

Some champions have deceptive walking animations, making it look like they move faster going forward and slower going backward, but they don’t. You can go into Training Mode and try it for yourself if you don’t believe me.

No matter which direction you face, no matter which champion you play, it takes the same amount of time to walk from A to B.

No momentum or acceleration when changing directions.

This means that if you’re walking to the right at, say, 100 units per second, you can instantly switch and start walking to the left at 100 units per second — there’s no deceleration going from right to left. Bloodline Champions actually had this at some point but it wasn’t great for dodging, so thankfully we don’t have to deal with it in Battlerite.

Movement slows down when you’re attacking.

One common complaint, especially among newer players, is that Battlerite’s overall movement feels slow. I can see where this is coming from, but I think a lot of it comes from the fact that attacking with your M1 (“auto-attack”) ability temporarily reduces your move speed:

Some M1 attacks can even stop you completely, such as Lucie’s Toxic Dart:

You have to understand these basic mechanics in order to move and dodge properly in Battlerite. If you’re always the first to die, or if you have trouble initiating on a target without losing half your health in the approach, then the root of the issue may be in your basic movement and dodging.

The 3 Fundamentals of Dodging

My first ten hours as a newbie were so frustrating (actually this was back in Bloodline Champions, but pretty much the same experience) that I nearly gave up on the game a dozen times. If it weren’t for the excellent gameplay and the fact that I had nothing else to do all summer long, I never would’ve made it this far.

It took many, many, many more hours before the concept of “good dodging” made sense to me. Coming from a background in RTS and MMORPG games, it just wasn’t easy to grasp. Well, it turns out that dodging is more than just movement — there’s a rhythm and dance to it.

The good news? If you can wrap your head around the following three concepts, you’ll be 90% of the way there.

1. Distance

When an enemy throws a projectile at you, the further away you are, the easier it is to dodge. You already knew that, but what you probably didn’t know is that this difficulty isn’t linear! Check this out.

Imagine standing right in front of the enemy, so close that your bodies are almost touching. (This is represented by the top line in the diagram below.) As long as the enemy throws the projectile within the shown angle, that projectile is going to hit you. Clearly, the enemy doesn’t need to be accurate at all to hit you, and you have no time to react once the projectile is thrown.

battlerite-dodging-distance

When you move to mid range, suddenly the angle-to-hit becomes much sharper. The enemy needs to be a lot more accurate to connect at this distance, and you actually have a chance to react to the projectile’s trajectory before it hits you.

But here’s the interesting thing: even though the change in angle from close to mid was drastic, the change in angle from mid to far is almost insignificant. It’s obviously harder to aim… but it’s not that much harder. Weird, isn’t it?

This tells me two things: first, it validates the idea of influence and critical ranges, and second, it means that you can get pretty close and still dodge relatively well — it just gets exponentially riskier the closer you get.

2. Direction

The next thing to consider is the direction of your movement, and there are two main types: parallel and perpendicular. The latter is way more important.

Imagine a line going from you to the enemy. A parallel movement is one that runs along that line, while a perpendicular movement is one that creates a 90-degree angle with that line:

battlerite-dodging-direction-1

Perpendicular movements are best when the projectile is already in the air and you need to get out of its path. Again, I’ll repeat because this is crucial: if a projectile is flying at you, you need to move perpendicular to the projectile’s trajectory.

The less perpendicular your movement is, the more likely it will be for the projectile to hit you: battlerite-dodging-direction-2

The red circle is the enemy, the black circle is you, the orange is a projectile, and the white arrow represents how much you can move in the time it takes the projectile to reach you. The arrow length is the same in both scenarios, so you’ve moved the same distance, but in one case the projectile misses while in the other case it hits.

It’s like when Indiana Jones tries to run away from the massive boulder that’s chasing him, or how cartoon characters run straight when trying to escape a train — all you have to do is step to the side and it’ll pass right by you.

But there’s another way to use this to your advantage.

Instead of using perpendicular movement to dodge an already-thrown projectile, you can use perpendicular movement to make an enemy miss his shots — and you do this by constantly staying perpendicular to your target, which is basically circle strafing:

battlerite-dodging-strafing

Check out the image above. The enemy is the red circle and you’re the black circle. (The size difference is simply so the diagram could be smaller! They should be the same size, but the concept still holds.) The black line and the two black arcs are the exact same length.

If you’re up close and you run straight up, the angle between where you start and where you end is about 60 degrees. Even without perfect aim, there’s a pretty good chance that he’ll fire at an angle that ends up hitting you.

But if you circle strafe around him, as in the middle illustration, the angle difference is about 120 degrees even though you walked the same distance. Bigger angles = more adjustments to aim needed = more likely to make an error = you’re less likely to get hit.

Note that circle strafing gets less effective the further away you are. Compare the middle and right illustrations: whereas a close strafe covers 120 degrees, a far strafe only covers about 80 degrees. It’s still better than walking straight, just not as much.

battlerite-dodging-straight-away

One more direction-related tip: when you’re at the edge of an enemy’s range and you want to get away, run straight away from them. Most likely you’ll end up outside of the projectile’s range before it hits you, and even if you don’t, you minimize the angle that he needs to hit you.

This is also true for dodging AOE abilities. As soon as you see something like Flamestrike or Lunar Strike appear under you, walk directly away from the center of the AOE. This is the fastest path out.

3. Rhythm

The last fundamental of dodging is rhythm (or timing). Knowing the benefits of perpendicular or parallel movement is one thing — putting it into action in a game is what really matters. That’s what rhythm is all about.

First of all, never stop moving. You’re always either advancing, retreating, dodging, or if not any of those things, then repositioning yourself. Even moving in random directions is better than standing still. A moving target is always harder to hit than a stationary dummy.

Alternate zigs with zags. Moving in a straight line from A to B makes it very easy for the enemy to predict and land their projectiles and AOEs (unless they’re like me and miss even the easiest of shots). Move around the map in arcs instead of lines, take weird paths, but most importantly, change directions a lot!

This is especially important when M1-dueling with another ranged champion. Remember perpendicular movement? Do that, but instead of going right-left-right-and-repeat, maybe go right-right-left-right-left-left. It’s like you’re dancing.

Approach during cast, sidestep, then approach again. This is a tough skill to master, and even some top pros can have trouble with it. Basically, when someone is attacking you with M1s, realize that there is a rhythm to their attacks and exploit that rhythm.

For example, Pearl’s M1 has a 0.4s cast time and a 0.4s cooldown. This means that after she launches her first attack at you, you have 0.8s before her next attack comes your way. You should walk towards her for about 0.6s, then move perpendicular during the last 0.2s to dodge, then repeat. Dodge, advance, dodge, advance.

Get in position, then attack. Remember that attacking with M1 slows down your movement, or in some cases stops you completely while you cast. This makes you easier to hit when you’re trading ranged M1s, but it also makes chasing-while-spamming-M1 almost impossible after the first couple of shots.

Repositioning is a form of dodging. If you find yourself in a bad or vulnerable position, move and get yourself back into good position. I like to think of it as “dodging abilities that haven’t been cast yet”. Give yourself some room to breathe! Here’s an example of when I realized I was in peril and needed to reset my positioning:

Don’t attack when trying to dodge. When someone is chasing you down and spamming M1, you may want to stop throwing M1s back at them while you run.

If you’re close to them and have no hope of outrunning them, don’t even bother running. Stay and fight until your defensive cooldowns are ready. But if you’re at the edge of their range, run and you’ll outpace them.

I don’t know why these guides always end up being so long. When I first started, I was only expecting it to be about half the length that it is. So, I’ll end it here. Hopefully you found something useful in this post, especially with the tips toward the end. Thanks for reading!

Have any questions? Are there any points about basic movement that I overlooked? What kind of techniques do you use when you need to dodge something?

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Zanetski

He is the lead writer at Battlecrank. You can find him on the Battlecrank Discord.

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