Battle PotentialI say it time and time again - Pirate101 has infinite potential with battles. They can use any number of squares in any way and any place that they want. You might fight on a bridge, where only one melee unit can engage one other melee unit at a time, and you have to beat everything to pass. You might be in one that's a strange path you have to follow to the center. Or maybe one with walls that you must hide behind and an enemy shoots extremely damaging spells or fire blocked only by line of sight. I know, I'll stop before I get too crazy.
What Sets Antinous ApartIt's very common, really, to see battles in which you've only got to defeat the boss. In fact, I'd say it isn't even that uncommon to see bosses that summon minions. I can think of a few just off the top of my head - Antinous, Captain Swing, the Stormzilla, the fight in the Haunted Shrine, Old Scratch, Buster Crab - and I know there are more. So what is it that Antinous does that's a little different? HE goes first.
In Wizard, this happens every few battles. It's random. Either you or the enemy goes first. But you also always get a chance to choose spells first. Pirate, however, does things differently. You always go first and select your powers first. This is essential for Musketeers to make good set-ups in terms of bombs and traps and for any class (particularly Privateers who are otherwise lacking) to power up.
Antinous doesn't follow traditional rules. He's an epic boss battle, but once you choose your companions, you don't see options for movement and powers. Instead, Antinous and his minions are coming straight for you.
New Layers of StrategyThis is a very cool difference. It means that classes have to train and choose companions in such a way that their setup is a little bit more defensive, which is not the case for most battles. Because of the difference in ability, Ratbeard, a Pirate101 developer, has to make the difficulty adequate for all players but reasonable for those who don't make the best companion or epic choices. Consequently, battles start out a little more difficult, but gradually become quite a bit more manageable depending on your skill level. So oftentimes, top-level players are all offense.
Antinous himself might still allow for offense. But I'm sure this won't be the only battle in which the enemy or boss goes first. We all have those battles that we approached the first time with complete confidence and end up almost dying the first round (*shoots glare at Dragoons*). Imagine if they got to go first.
Where Will They Use This?Although we don't see this until level 65, I believe it'll be utilized fairly commonly from this point onward. Wizard101 has shown us that new stats and features released late into the game for added complexity are not an issue. My guess is that they were working on the next segment of the game and developed that feature specifically for it, and that's why they (Pirate101) went back and slipped it into the Antinous fight. No, he didn't always have that cheat.
I would be looking for it either in a major battle or many major battles in the next few chapters of the storyline. The fact that Pirate101 is already introducing new dynamics to combat when they've only scratched the surface of battleboard structure is a very promising sign. That's one thing that's great about Pirate in particular. They're not afraid to change fundamental parts of the game (just look at the companions update) to make it better.
Have you fought Antinous with his new abilities? How will this affect your play style in the future if it continues? Let me know! Thanks for reading and see you in the Spiral!