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Reader Comments (33)

Posted: Aug 8th 2009 8:22AM archipelagos said

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You said it yourself at the end of the question: "...or just another option that has its place but shouldn't take over?"

It is always ideal to have more options, always. For every person that you find who would prefer a more direct form of combat there will be someone who doesn't. I'm happy to see the technology allowing this option - roll on the MMO that finally brings Zelda combat - but there are still people who don't have the rigs to support it. So yes, action is good, but let's keep things varied.

Posted: Aug 8th 2009 8:31AM Kratos said

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It doesn't bother me personally it's all about how well it works in practise.

Posted: Aug 8th 2009 9:03AM HackJack said

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Call me when they'll do a Ninja Gaiden Online game: I'll buy 10 lifetime subscriptions out of happiness.

Posted: Aug 8th 2009 9:04AM Miffy said

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I loved SWG's Pre CU combat cause duels would last like 15 mins and it was just so kool watching a duel to see who would win. It was like watching an EVE Alliance tournament match but with just two people because it took tactics and would keep you on the edge of your seat. Even after the CU I filmed my Jedi friend being attacked by a Bounty Hunter and the fight went on for agessss.

Combat in mmorpgs today like Age of Conan lasts about 30 seconds and it's boring.

Posted: Aug 8th 2009 9:28AM (Unverified) said

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lol Venekor, I was just telling my son about a 20 min duel I'd won in Bestine just outside the cantina back in the pre-cu days.
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Posted: Aug 8th 2009 9:20AM (Unverified) said

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Couple of days ago, I'm refamiliarizing myself with coh in an av mish with the sg, and the kid's watching me play.

I'm playing a fire blaster, so of course the first thing I do is get out there and draw too much aggro. At some point where I'm almost about to go down, I bug out - flying full speed back through tunnels in the mission to escape before I go incap. I fly far far back, because I know the game, and am aware of the fact that one of the mobs may have gotten off an attack before I was able to break line of sight. An attack in this game, which would follow me - and I do mean follow me - around corners, through hallways, and up stairs, etc etc until it finally hit me - even if I outran it such that I saw NOTHING behind me.

I go back far enough I'm thinking, land, and prepare to rest in order to recover my vitals quickly. Before I rest, and as I'm answering the kid's question as to why I flew so far away from the group - "POW!!!" - I get hit and incapped with some energy blast that had just invisibly followed me a few hundred feet to find it's home in my unsuspecting digital arse.

/sigh.

Contrast that with left4dead, where I'm known amongst my fellows for dodging hunters, smokers, and sometimes tanks. I'm always proclaiming myself "unpounceable," thus ensuring that my buds come after me, so my skills remain sharp.

Seeing the words, "see that dodge?" flash up after getting shot in the face immediately following a failed pounce or 3 will do wonders in terms of making you a better pouncer, trust me. =)

For me, it's skill, or the lack thereof in combat that does it, and to have that aspect of combat integrated into an mmo would be awesome.



Posted: Aug 8th 2009 9:24AM Jetflame3 said

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I like action based combat, It creates a feeling that you're actually playing instead of watching your character swing away while you strike hot keys.... It has a new challenging aspect that with some added thrills could be a nice system in the future but will probably not replace the old system.

Posted: Aug 8th 2009 9:57AM Aganazer said

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For me its not about combat being action-based at all. Mostly I am just sick of the auto-attack stand still and mash buttons style of combat that we have seen so much over the last 10 years. I am ready for a change, but I like action and turn based combat.

I loved the turn based combat of Wizard 101 even though its a kids game. I could see myself getting into a more advanced version of that with no problem.

I am also a big fan of the player skill based system of The Chronicles of Spellborn. It was probably my favorite combat system ever in MMOG's which is ironic considering the game's failure to keep subs. In that you combine mobility (dodging) with aiming and oodles of status effects. DDO was another favorite and it was similar. Even Champions with its active blocking is enough of a change for me to enjoy.

Maybe in another 10 years I'll get into a slower paced stand still and mash buttons kind of game, but for now I need a break.

Posted: Aug 8th 2009 10:09AM Dlangar said

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MMO developers are, in general all strugling to find fresh ways to innovate within the genre, and because most of them are centered around combat, that's where they look to first. What I think this means is that you will see a greater variety of combat styles in the next few years than we've ever seen before.

Action, FPS style combat is one of the ways that many developers are going to go, because it is so appealing to so many, and because there's already an established audience for FPS style combat, and so we know it works. Trying new mechanics that we're not quite so familiar with, like AoC's multi-button pressing combo sequence, or MxO's first rock-paper-scissors round based combat are riskier, and so you're going to see less attempts at those types of innovation.

In the end, greater variety of combat can be nothing but good for the industry, as a whole. More games fulfilling more niche needs means more people can find just the thing they're looking for, and doesn't mean we all have to settle for the exact same combat style.

Dlangar
http://ofcourseillplayit.com

Posted: Aug 8th 2009 10:04AM Miffy said

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The blocking in champions is confusing to me cause I press block and it doesn't work half the time. I spent like 30 mins doing what should be an easy quest in the starting area where you have to block the shots. You click the npc to shoot at you and then you press block and it doesn't work. Sometimes it'll work and you dunno what you did right.

The combat is so boring though you stand there and press an attack and it's just like having auto attack specials......... yawn. You press the special and it just does it over and over again until the target is dead and then when you've built up enough energy you hold down a charge attack. My problem is the charge attacks are the kind power I want from specials, I don't want specials to do damage that auto attack in other mmorpgs do. Just makes the combat slow and clunky and boring.

Posted: Aug 8th 2009 10:22AM Aganazer said

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You might want to give them a little slack right now. They just added 10,000 new testers and the servers were a little overwhelmed. Blocking has been very responsive up to this day.
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Posted: Aug 8th 2009 10:09AM JohnD212 said

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Didn't think I'd like the action based MMO's..but after playing Conan...then Aion...I am completely hooked...I love being fully involved in a fight and making split second decisions. Going back to WoW...which I always will....felt slow paced and difficult to fully enjoy.

Posted: Aug 8th 2009 10:23AM (Unverified) said

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How is Aion not based on auto attack?
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Posted: Aug 8th 2009 10:25AM Aganazer said

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You think Aion is action based? You might be the first person I've seen who thinks that.
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Posted: Aug 8th 2009 10:23AM Minofan said

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I'd take depth and/or tactics over other systems any day, but from my general experiences I'd say a weak autoattack combat system makes for at least mediocre gameplay while a weak 'active' combat system makes a game flat-out unplayable.

Personally I abhor 'old school' first-person(ish) systems where melee strafing and bunny hopping are required, so as long as those conventions stay gone I'm fairly open-minded about the traditional control scheme.

Assessing a few recent experiences...

* AoC: The autoattack replacers & shields are more fun for a little while, but played intensively I find it unbearable - I think it's good for some style of games but not a combat-centric MMO. Of course part of that analysis may be that - to give the combat a chance to shine - AoC has some of the longest time/keys-per-foe combat around, and consequently that makes grinding far more of a drag than the combat system alone might.

* Wizardry 101: I like the turn-based system a lot, but it has 2 serious design flaws in my mind i] time-per-turn is far too long, which gives inexperienced / lax / trollish players far too much power to make combat tortuous ii] it's a major missed opportunity to have turn-order randomly assigned - makes the toughest fights unfairly unpredictable and ignores the potential for tactical gameplay (e.g. flanking, rear attacks, a timing-meter mechanic).

* Champions: Sadly can't discuss, but suffice to say over-utilization and missed opportunities apply again.

I certainly cannot think of any recent MMO combat implementations I've actually preferred to autoattack + skillbar.

Posted: Aug 8th 2009 10:29AM Miffy said

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If you've played Dark Messiah of Might and Magic Multiplayer then you'll see how great first person combat works with fantasy. That game just nails it on the head and it's such a shame that the game wasn't more popular because it really does just get it right. I wish that team would design the combat for an MMO.

Posted: Aug 8th 2009 10:30AM (Unverified) said

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I think the MMO is expanding it's scope, that's all. An MMO can now be not just an RPG, as the model based on MUDs has shown us, but can also be FPSs, as we're seeing with future games like Global Agenda and APB. As there are games for people who enjoy FPS and RPG, there will be room for both of these models in MMOs in the future.

Posted: Aug 8th 2009 10:55AM (Unverified) said

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To the person who said Aion is action based, i see where you are coming from. I will play Aion at release because its an awesome game, but i think what gives it that action feel are the animations. The skill animations in Aion are some of, if not the best i have seen. Another thing in Aion is at later levels NO class should be auto-attacking. Every class will get skill chains and other skills to use instead. I have played a few classes and i have started to chain my skills perfectly together without the need to auto attack.

As for the MMO genre as a whole... i think eventually some aspects of MMOs will change. But remember anything "new" or "fun" will only remain that way for a very short time. I can see people one day saying "Remember back in the day when we used to have that auto attack system? Man i miss those MMOs".

Posted: Aug 8th 2009 10:55AM (Unverified) said

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I wonder how long will it take until MMO developers start to introduce fresh ways of player interaction. Overhauling combat again and again is one side of the medal. I still remember my first time in my first MMO, Anarchy Online. It had a crappy combat system. The only reason why I was playing it quite extensively was long-term player interaction. I miss that a bit in modern titles. They are drifting from Massively Multiplayer towards Online Singleplayer with optional Multiplayer. The next step would be computer-controlled Comrades in a persistant world MMO (like Henchmen in Guild Wars).

Posted: Aug 11th 2009 9:43AM spamero said

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The best combat gameplay I've seen so far was in Chronicles of Spellborn - hands down most fun combat mechanics ever.

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