I think this might have been brought up before, but I couldn't find the answer.
I was looking through the various talents and specializations, and I saw that a fair number of them involve performing the activate action to gain a bonus or to enter a particular mode that also grants bonuses. For example, the Single Weapon Style talent says:
"If you take the activate action, you gain a +1 Defense bonus until the end of the encounter while fighting in this style."
The Champion specialization has an ability that says:
"You can lead your allies in an inspired defense. First, you must use the activate action to enter Rally mode."
I'm having a hard time figuring out the purpose behind the activation action for these abilities. I would have thought that it might be to encourage players to commit to a single activation or mode at a time, choosing what they want to focus on in a given encounter. But I have found no such ruling in the book. It seems as though you are able to have multiple modes and activations going at the same time. For example, if I was a Warrior who trained in Single Weapon Style and took the Berserker and Champion specializations, then I could theoretically have the +1 Defense activation, Berserk mode, AND Rally mode active all at once. Granted, it would take me at least two turns to get all of those things going, but there it is.
So is that the sole purpose of the activation action, then? To slow down your character in combat if you want to get access to those bonuses? And if that's the case, then why do some abilities designate a particular "mode" while others just tell you to perform the activate action? It seems like there was supposed to be a rule baked in that made players have to choose between modes. But I haven't found anything like that.
Anyway, any enlightenment on this topic would be appreciated. Let me know if I'm just missing something or give me your own thoughts on the subject.
Thanks in advance!