Thursday, November 17, 2011

Combat Pacing and Feel

A few semi-related ramblings about combat pacing, which are aimed in the vague general direction of this question: To what extent can/should the mechanics of actually playing the game (pushing buttons etc) influence what roles the player can perform?
  • LOTRO got a bunch of complaints in the early days for "sluggish" feeling combat.  I think this can be chalked up to several different factors; the time to kill a solo mob is much higher than in WoW (which was the only other MMO that focused on solo content at the time LOTRO launched), there were some issues with lengthy animations that would have to complete before characters to execute their next attack, and there may have been some other factors as well.  Regardless, this was a major critique of the game at the time of its launch.

    Speaking of things dying quickly, I've been getting much more interested in healing now that I'm actually grouping in games that aren't WoW, and a big part of that may be that WoW has always had faster paced combat - with less reaction time for the healer. 
  • I blogged about DCUO weapons last week, and I've since earned enough skill points to allow my main to equip any weapon he wants (though he only has special attacks for a handful).  Weapons differ drastically in their combat speed, what types of click combinations are necessary to execute special attacks, etc.  Some, like the slow 2-handed weapon and brawling types, I dislike for slow speed.  Some, such as dual pistols and staves, I'm not so fond of due to the attack sequences.  The assault rifle I dislike because it has a really bad habit of hitting far away mobs that I did not intend to pull, which I suppose is a valuable lesson in firearm safety courtesy of SOE and Superman.

    At the end of the day, I have some options I can live with - Bows and 1-handed weapons are my current favorite.  I think these are passable options for my two roles (DPS, healing), but it's certainly possible that there is a more optimal choice that I'm not using because I don't like it. 
  • When talking about their plans for the new monk class in the Pandaria expansion, Blizzard admitted that the design of not having an auto-attack may be so far out there that they will have to fight to keep it through testing.  DCUO meanwhile has confirmed its new Flash-themed DLC pack, and stated that the new "Lightning" powerset will do some sort of ward-based smart-healing.  Given my namesake, you'd think that I've be playing a Green Lantern, but I'm less interested in their group role (crowd control/regen) than in healing.  I'm reasonably happy with the Sorcery powerset I'm using on my main, but the Flash powerset may or may not make the new DLC more appealing, even if the subject matter is of less interest.
I don't know that I really have a bottom line today, quirky/pensive mood I suppose.  


Yeebo said...

For my money DDO has the best combat of any MMO I've played. Really fast paced and fluid. Especially fun on a character that uses both melee and spells in combat.

Anonymous said...

I can definitely speak to combat speed influencing the roles I want to play in combat. LOTRO's pace meant that for the first time, I *wanted* to prot heal, after attempting to monk in Guild Wars scared the pants off of me.

DDO's mouse-clicky, action-based combat had me give it wide berth (I did try it a couple of times, but disliked it more each time).

Anonymous said...

I don't the speed of killing mobs was the deciding factor, it was really the UI display and responsiveness, and probably that animation thing you mentioned.

At least I remember I didn't really manage to make LotRO react in a predictable way like I use my keys in any shooter or WoW, it always had this split-second-lag feel to me.