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Reader Comments (18)

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 4:02PM Wisdomandlore said

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One of the biggest "innovations" if you will is that in SWTOR attacks actually CONNECT. Instead of seeing a "Block" text pop up above your head, your character actually blocks the attack in real time. It almost seems sad to think that this is a ground breaking thing for a MMO, but it is, and it should make a big difference in how combat feels.

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 4:37PM Distaste said

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@Wisdomandlore

It's not an innovation and it doesn't always work like that. Take a look at the multiplayer video and you will see what I mean. There is a part where I believe either the jedi is chasing a boss or the boss is chasing him. The swings from the chaser are miles off from connecting but they do and the runner is also still reacting to a hit that is no where near them. Ever wonder why the majority of melee videos take place with both parties standing still? It is so the combat animations synch up.

Also SWG had lightsabers connect and make sparks as well as having them deflect blaster bolts. A lot of MMO's have reaction animations that occur on specific events, SWTOR just added a lot more. It certainly isn't ground breaking, but assuming you only stand still while in melee it might make a difference in feel.
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Posted: Jan 25th 2011 4:55PM Larry Everett said

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@Distaste

It does work like that, actually. That is one of the projects BioWare has been working on. Here's a video where the team talks about it:
http://www.swtor.com/media/trailers/video-documentary-4
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Posted: Jan 26th 2011 4:27AM BigAndShiny said

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@Larry Everett

I am playing the beta for Gods And Heroes. It was meant to come out in 2007 and is being developed by an indie team of about 10 people.
It has the feature that attacks physically hit targets.
Not so new.
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Posted: Jan 26th 2011 8:45AM Larry Everett said

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@BigAndShiny

I'm in the G&H beta, too, and I hadn't noticed -- not saying you're wrong, but I'm not saying that it's new either. In fact, I said the exact opposite: "...nothing I mention here is completely new to the gaming industry, nor is it new to the MMO genre." Also, *I* didn't mention that aspect of the combat system at all in the article, just to be clear.
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Posted: Jan 25th 2011 4:18PM Valdamar said

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I really hope the combat is more innovative than it sounds - I'm getting so bored of the same old hotbar combat - it's been ten years already - it's time to change things up a bit - I want to watch the action, not the UI.

Posted: Jan 26th 2011 12:41AM DancingCow said

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@Valdamar

It is.

Watch enough combat videos and you'll see that there's a full hotbar of abilities but only 1 or 2 per class have any kind of cooldown apart from a brief (1-2 seconds) global cooldown. Even the abilities that do have cooldowns only have moderate ones - about 10 seconds.

This means that you never have to look at your hotbar! Rather than gazing at the hotbar and playing cooldown-whack-a-mole you watch combat and execute whichever of your abilities you think is the best to use at that time.

It's the single most exciting thing about this game for me.
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Posted: Jan 30th 2011 3:09PM Valdamar said

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@DancingCow
Cool. As long as I don't need more than about a dozen in combat. Otherwise my fingers can't comfortably stretch from WASD to reach all the combat hotkeys at a moment's notice - I tend to use the 1-6 number keys and also ALT 1-6 for the hotbar immediately above for my most used combat abilities.

I'd like for each skill/spell in an MMO to have more than just one use, based on reactive/situational elements (i.e. what the target is doing at the time or who the target is - e.g. such as a holy blast of light that would heal your allies, damage undead, weaken demons, or allow you to sanctify items in the environment as part of quests) - where terrain and positioning could completely change how you use a certain spell/skill - because that adds a lot of tactics to gameplay, rewards players for experience/knowledge of the game and also for how imaginative they are at using the skill, and it is also a clear indicator of player skill/improvement (being able to praise a player for a clever use of a skill) - as opposed to a player just needing to remember which one of their 30 hotkeys the ability/spell they want is bound to.

Devs, don't give us 3 similar attacks except one has a slight snare, one has a slight stat debuff and the other has a higher chance to crit or ignore armour - Rift: Planes of Telara can be pretty bad for this with all 3 souls starting with pretty similar attacks with minor differences - why not give us one attack which can be upgraded with all 3 effects eventually as we level.

Speaking of Rift, in beta on my L30 Mage (Warlock/Necromancer/Dominator) - and recall that the level cap will be L50 so this was mid-level - I had about 20 combat abilities and half a dozen combat consumables I wanted easy access to - I would say that Rift's hotbars are going to be way busier than any MMO previously. It would be good if at least one major MMO could reverse the trend soon without overly simplifying combat like DCUOs button-mashing.

Though I must admit I have watched SWTOR gameplay videos and also GW2 ones, and GW2 is still my main hope for a revolution in MMO gameplay because it has conditional and terrain-based uses for spells/skills - e.g. in one of the combat vids you can see the elementalist sticks down a fire-wall to block off mobs from melee-ing the party, then the ranger fires his arrows through it and the arrows catch fire so that they can now inflict burning damage - but I could foresee that spell also being used to herd mobs into a ranger trap, or to cut off their only escape route in a corridor or narrow canyon. That's at least 4 uses for one spell and there would likely be a heck of a lot more, limited only by the players' creativity and tactical skills.

I want character abilities that encourage emergent gameplay, not the hotbar rotations we see in modern MMOs where you just knock out the same attack chain on the same keys most of the time.
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Posted: Jan 25th 2011 4:27PM Minofan said

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Please correct me if I'm wrong here, but isn't cover 90% defense buff to 10% strategic element?
I've watched the videos, and characters in cover appear to be continually hit - even when they are fully behind terrain & not poking their heads out.

Consequently my comprehension was that it's just a matheatical buff, with the slight strategic element that foes flanking/behind you bypass it.
I'm happy to be corrected, but it looks nothing like the 'obstructive' cover mechanics of FPS from what I've seen.

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 5:12PM goatfoam said

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@Minofan Yeah, basically cover is a damage mitigator - it won't stop you being hit but any damage you do take will be lessened. The main reason for getting into cover so far is that it switches your hotbar to your "cover bar" (much like a rogue's stealth bar in WoW), opening up powerful abilities such as snipe that unavailable while out of cover.

So not only does being in cover increase your defense, it also increases your damage output. Obviously the trade-off here is mobility.
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Posted: Jan 25th 2011 4:29PM Distaste said

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While yes some of the systems are slightly unique they provide any uniqueness to the gameplay.

Take the smugglers cover, casters/RANGED in other games already picked the spots where they fought for line of sight. Seriously think about how many raid strategies and arena stategies are based upon LOS because in BWL and MC alone there are a bunch. Also cover seems to be a negative, at least to me, because it will become tedious and annoying to have to do it for every single battle as well as limiting mobility, which is generally a big part of decent boss fights.

Crafting is the same as well. It might be unique in who exactly is doing it but it functions exactly the same as the parallels you draw. You only need 1 companion with you and most likely it will be the same companion since there will be one that either best suits your taste or playstyle. The rest might as well not exist. The ONLY strategy that will be used is: Use all companions but the one you use craft/harvest/etc then go do stuff, when they finish repeat. Then once you finally go to log off you'll send them out plus the one you use but depending on your schedule a long or short mission.

If anything the crafting is a negative simply because you won't spend a lot of time doing it. Spending time doing stuff in a MMO is important since that is kind of what they are about. The factory system works in sandbox MMO's because there are systems that allow for player generated content, but in a themepark content is limited and you'll eventually run out and be twiddling your thumbs. So taking that extra crafting time away is going to impact the amount of gameplay people have.

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 5:59PM (Unverified) said

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@Distaste


So far it sounds like this isn’t the MMO for you…which is good and all ‘cause we all have different likes and dislikes and that is what makes life interesting. Your observations are certainly valid, but they boil down to opinion. What you site as “a negative” I happen to think is interesting and makes me want to try this MMO out when it is finally released.

Just sayin’


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Posted: Jan 25th 2011 7:57PM bestshot9 said

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I really think the most unique thing about the game will probably be the full voice acting/player decision things like in ME. Again, its not unique to video games in general, but for an MMO this is potentially a new trend setter, if it works out good.

As for suggestions for your column, I'm sure you've already done this in the past and I just didn't catch it, but could you do a post comparing all the different classes? Like play styles and such, maybe throw in some lore, etc. Or, if that's too much for a single post maybe do a series on them?

I just think that would be a fun read.

Posted: Jan 26th 2011 4:24AM BigAndShiny said

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The single thing that makes me most angry in SWTOR so far is the preachers on websites such as darthhater. It's not that great. I don't need another article about how special it is. Wouldn't it be great if there was a column that discussed say, how succesful swtor will be
discussed.
As in, pros and cons. I look forward to the game, but it's not gonna be the be all end all.

Posted: Jan 26th 2011 4:17PM freebase said

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@BigAndShiny

WoW is by far the most successful MMO but would you consider that the "be all end all." All of your comments are unreasonably negative.
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Posted: Jan 26th 2011 7:31AM Cavadus said

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TOR's combat is a regurgitation of any typical MMO game released since WoW. Let's face it, BioWare is weak when it comes to gameplay. They're always behind the curve. The Mass Effects are both perfect examples of just how bad BioWare is at gameplay (ME1 was particularly atrocious).

You can't just change a few ancillary nuances and call it a fresh system. TOR is any generic fantasy MMO ever made with a lot of typical BioWare single player story content and a shiny Star Wars facade draped over the top.

Posted: Jan 26th 2011 10:27AM WriterGuy said

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The info drought continues. In the meantime here are some questions they should be able to talk about. Beats twiddling our thumbs. Might spark some articles.

Early Days of Development
Which person came up with the idea to do a KOTOR MMO? Who worked on the concept before going to LucasArts and for how long? Was just the general idea taken to LucasArts, a story outline, or promised rewards from Twi'lek dancers? Who made the presentation? Who was the first new BioWare employee hired specifically for TOR? When was the decision made to open a new studio to make the game? Did BioWare go to EA to be bought, or EA approach BioWare? When?For the developers from the early days to now, what has been the biggest surprise in designing this game? What has been the best surprise? From what they have learned making TOR, would they change the design steps/process for any future MMO? If any developers had a favorite class in the early days, has that changed now? Why? How far ahead will they be working on expansions? What game areas have the most progress over the last several months?

Posted: Jan 26th 2011 11:08AM Logun24x7 said

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“I credit Gamebreaker with saying this, but it may have been another one of the podcasts I listen to -- I'm sure someone will correct me: It is as if BioWare has a whiteboard in its office with "STORY" written in big letters at the top. Whenever a developer comes up with a new idea or mechanic, the leads check it against this whiteboard, and if there is no story element, even in the smallest mechanic, they send it back to be reworked. "Sorry, John, your user interface doesn't have enough story in it. You're going to have to rework it until it relates back to more lore."

This statement is almost correct, IMHO what they actual check there game systems against is “Entertainment Value” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NC-4powTV0U

Why just have an auto attack when you can build combat around an entertaining power management system.
Why have players mindlessly clicking buttons to craft for hours on end when that’s taking them away from the entertaining adventuring bits – Lets get the companions to do it!
Why just have buffs and debuffs in the game when you can have a cover mechanic that gets players to think about their soundings and use that to their advantage.
Why just have a countdown clock in PvP when you can represent success by which sides capital ship blows up above the planet like the Deathstar.
Why just have a classic MMO quest system when you can give player a contextual interactive story

Because Entertainment value is what Bioware’s biggest innovation will be for the MMO space.

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