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How do you feel about "Limited" Action Sets?

Discussion in 'WildStar General' started by Ingsoc, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. TeoH

    TeoH Well-Known Cupcake

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    All these new guys keep necro'ing threads, front page is full of topics from 4 months ago. I can't remember if i've replied to this already and i'm not about to read 21 pages to find out, so nevermind:

    You design engaging gameplay by having the player make interesting choices, but choices are not measured in terms of how many different keys there are to press, or how many different icons with tooltips you can see on your bar. A single well designed button can provide the player with many more interesting choices than a whole bar full of situational WoW hotkeys.

    Choice only exists when the player has to make a decision, and a decision has to involve some degree of thought. Executing a 'rotation' of abilities in the strictest sense with a fixed optimal order, involves no decisions at all. The player has no choices to make, it's a mechanical action that becomes muscle memory. If executing that mechanical action is difficult and requires practice then it can still be enjoyable for the same reasons that improving at and mastering anything can be enjoyable, but you certainly don't want that to be the extent of your combat system.

    In WoW, most of the decisions made by the player are in the form of "which button do I press on the next GCD?". The game ensures that this is a decision instead of a mechanical action by throwing in variables like procs, stacks and cooldown resets that require the player to respond to what is happening in the game. They have a lot of buttons, and they do their best to make sure that the player has to regularly think about which button they should press next, which keeps the game interesting. However, this is a very simple and fairly one-dimensional way of looking at player choice.

    In WoW the decision is "which button next", but there are so many other variables you can bring into the equation if you design around them. Instead of just the which, how about playing with the when, if, for how long, In which precise direction, while doing X, Y or Z. If you get the player to make choices about all of these other things instead of simply which key, you can make the decision far more interesting, and you don't need nearly as many different buttons, as you are playing with options that extend beyond hotkey bindings. This is the reason why character vs character combat in WoW, with its 40 different hotkeys, is never considered to be even in the same league as character vs character combat in Street Fighter, with 6 buttons and a joystick.

    To use a fairly extreme example from a game much closer to the genre: Vindictus has 2 attack buttons. 2 attack buttons. Then a dodge button, a pickup button, a jump key, and a few seperate hotkeys for things like consumables. With its whopping 2 attack buttons, Vindictus offers solo fights which have far more combat depth and gameplay to them than any individual player challenge that you might find in WoW. It does this by leveraging all of the variables in the last paragraph, it forces the player to make decisions about not only which button to press next, but exactly when, in which direction, for how long, and even if they should press any button at all (where deciding not to attack right now is frequently your best option to maximise your damage output). The game forces you to make a large number of real decisions at a rapid pace, and it does so without even requiring the number of keys available on a gamepad.

    We know Wildstar does not take things that far, however they do introduce more variables to combat than you would typically find in WoW gameplay: By making aiming and positioning relevant on a greater number of skills, by giving you the option to dodge or jump instead of attacking, by supporting different ways of pressing buttons such as their charged abilities, and abilities that tigger different effects with successive presses of the key.

    How well this will all work out comes down to how well they can make use of those extra variables, and how clever they can be in their design of the buttons they do have, by giving them multiple purposes and having them interact with the fight in ways that allow players to get inventive. I can't say it will be great, but I can say there's nothing fundamentally wrong or shallow about making a game with fewer buttons.

    It's the choices that matter, not the amount of keyboard space covered.
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  2. Infamouz

    Infamouz Well-Known Cupcake

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    Good post and I agree with you mostly. We can't really compare WoW gameplay in any way to Wildstar as the context just is completelly different. Movement in WoW is basically bound to X and Y axis and Z axis is used rather rarely. Also there is no double jump in WoW. Also I would never ever want my 45-53 keybinds in to wildstar, ever.

    Problem with some of your examples were that you were comparing completelly different game types to other. You were comparing Street Fighter to WOW, to continue that analogy I could compare Crash Bandicoot to WoW, game that does not require you to save team mate, controll your opponents to reduce damage on your team, avoid CC or to controll healer. Games that do not operate on Trinity base. You are completelly right that game does not particulary need alot of buttons to be engaging and decisions are the things that matter tho.

    Point I was trying to make was that what if you are given way too few options for decisions? I do not want to be in a position where I have counter for anything enemy does. What I am mostly afraid is that you get in to a situation where you feel that you couldn't had affected the outcome of a battle in any way. You got beaten just because other team did more damage. Again this is a fear that comes mostly just because my context last 7 years have been wow. Sure maybe you don't need that intervene, or disarm to save your team mate. Your team mate him self was smart and saved some sprint bar, sprinted for few yards, made a double jump over obstacle and saved him self. This kinda gameplay can be rather cool too.

    I just do not want to get in to situation where lets say; Your team mate is just about to die and there is nothing in the game to help him with. It is completelly fine for me if I was stupid and wasted that ability too early, but it is not fine to feel helpless.

    I have played alot of shooter games, and those games generally have two-three buttons max. I have alot of fun with those games, but those games do not work with Trinity system. What if I was playing my grunt with my mighty assault riffle and I saw enemy healer casting a heal on a target I can not reach, and all I could do is yell "Hulk smash" and fire away?

    Summa summarum: Like I have said before, you really need to get the context before you can really judge the system. And to get that context you have to get to play. Regardless I am afraid of what can go wrong with LAS as this game is pretty much the only MMO game outside WoW in last 7 years that has caught my attention, and I do not wish to see it fail.
  3. Nicodemus

    Nicodemus Well-Known Cupcake

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    I feel like 8 seems to be a good number, no more then 10. I really like the idea of very unique builds with tons of customization with a real choices. like others have said it really all depends on how a game plays.
  4. TeoH

    TeoH Well-Known Cupcake

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    There's nothing wrong with that analogy because i'm talking in the broadest fashion about how to make games enjoyable, not how to make World of Warcraft. MMOs offer many different types of gameplay and span multiple traditional genres, an MMO with combat closer to Street Fighter than WoW is still a valid example of an MMO. The general principles which make combat enjoyable in Street Fighter, or in any other game with 'good PvP' are not restricted to their respective genres.

    I'm talking in a very broad and hypothetical way because we do not know the specifics, we haven't played the game yet, and the most important information for this discussion (full ability and talent lists for classes) is not yet available. We can only talk generally about how things could work, and about wether the design principles are valid.

    However since your concerns seem to be based on something quite specific, I can bring that discussion a little closer to the game for a moment:

    You're clearly worried that not having as many buttons translates into not having utility, you're describing situations where you have nothing other than damage to contribute and have no control over the fight, but nothing about LAS as a design implies that. You have to remember that when designing skills to fit onto a bar of only 8 abilities, you don't want to make World of Warcraft buttons. Stressing that again, you are not, or should not be getting a bar with 8 WoW hotkeys on it.

    The concept should be doing more with less, which is what the previous post is about in a very broad sense. To compare directly to WoW which is what you are doing in your post, you should expect buttons in a LAS to have:

    - Shorter cooldowns. Probably nothing above 30 seconds, mostly much shorter in the 10 second range or below.

    - Multiple functionality. Buttons which can perform multiple functions at once, you should expect abilities that function as damage and healing plus movement and maybe an escape on 1 key. Expect to make the choice of using a short cooldown ability now to deal damage, or later to crowd control.

    - Multiple Input Variables. As well as simply performing 2 tasks at once, the use of some abilities may also depend on other variables such as how long you hold the button for and when you release it, how you position yourself and where you aim it.

    Imagine a skill that fires a slowish moving projectile in the direction you're facing with the first press, and then with a second press of the same button detonates it for a large area explosion. Now imagine that the projectile itself, if it is not detonated, will knock down the first person it collides with. Now also imagine that if the first input is held instead of simply pressed, the projectile will not immediately fire but will instead grow into a large ball that will now do damage and knockdown whoever it runs over without being consumed.

    This gives you multiple ways of controlling one skill from a single button. If you simply want to deal damage in an area then you tap the button while aiming into the middle of a group of targets, and press the button again when the projectile reaches the center. Alternatively you can aim the projectile directly at a player, say a caster targetting your healer, and allow it to knock them over as an interupt. Finally if you have time to charge and position yourself, you can hold the button down and then release to fire a large ball which can knockdown multiple targets, requiring you to position and aim yourself in a way that lines those targets up, and then after the projectile travels through the targets to knock them over, if you can time a second button press correctly, you can detonate and also get the area damage.

    You should also keep in mind that crowd control in general is likely to be different in WS, due to interupt armour and breakout mechanics. It seems as if interupt armour will be widely used in PvP and applied by multiple support skills, as well as possibly being a default feature of some classes in PvP. What interupt armour can do from a design perspective, is allow the devs to roll control effects into lots of common skills that are not purely control abilities, without breaking the game. Consider the possibility of having a short stun built into one of your main low cd damage skills - In most games this would be a rubbish idea, in WS this can be acceptable as interupt armour would prevent the stun in many situations. In order to actually stun a player you may need to use that damage skill followed by another control skill, or co-ordinate with your team to throw a few stuns at once.

    Again we still have no idea if this will all work out because we don't know how well Carbine are using the LAS yet. We can still only speculate that it can work as a design if it's done correctly.
  5. TeoH

    TeoH Well-Known Cupcake

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    Want to hear a nice advantage of LAS as a system? The above ability would probably be deemed too complicated to make it into a normal MMO. But, due to the way WS does its LAS, in WS such an ability could still make it into the game as a high level skill to add to your library. Casual players who find it too fiddly can simply choose to take something else instead and not use it.
  6. Infamouz

    Infamouz Well-Known Cupcake

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    Quite hilarious to quote your own stuff in the post straight after it instead editing the original post :)

    Anyways very good points you made there and I have to agree with you. Your example of that "Fireball" skill was quite usefull and eye opening. I should truly play more games as I have forgotten about that kinda mechanism over the 7 years I have virtually played only WoW. WoW has some abilities that work in conjuction of each other tho (Frost Nova+Frost Bolt+Ice Lance) as example, but in WS that indeed can be taken way further. I did my self tho say that context is Wildstar and I should not judge it before I see it but fear often is a irrational emotion towards unknown.

    Good and eye opening post anyways.
  7. Tom Collins

    Tom Collins New Cupcake

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    I just recently played Wildstar at Rezzed, as someone who is not keen on LAS, I went there expecting to dislike it as with GW2, even though in fairness, the two systems are very different.

    I can tell you that I came away really liking it. I think it had to do with the removal of auto attack. But the abilities themselves feel great and the combat is very fluid. I played the warrior myself, and loved it big time. I can't wait to play more in beta.
  8. Extatica

    Extatica Super Cupcake

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    You do know that once you've pushed on the ''what's new'' button and you see a topic, then there is the profile picture of the one who made the thread. Now if you also see a small other picture, that's YOUR profile picture, then this means that you have posted in this thread atleast 1 time before.

    So there is no need to look into 21 pages to see if you have ever posted/replied in this thread before :D

    Also just this!

    People need to experience it, for now most people in here are just talking about preference and experiences in other games. Which can vary ALOT!

    I think people just have to experience the WS LAS before they can really give their honest opinion and not based on speculation/other game experiences.

    Trust me, the WS LAS is so much different then from some other games :up: And it's a good thing.
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  9. mysticjbyrd

    mysticjbyrd Cupcake-About-Town

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    What does LAS stand for?
  10. Extatica

    Extatica Super Cupcake

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    Limited Action (set) System

    So you can't have 100000 spells on your actions bars like in WoW.
    You can only have a certain number of spells/skills on your action bar at a time, out of combat you can still change it.

    Also keep in mind, some ''abilities'' aren't considered good enough to use up a spot on the LAS.
    Abilities like:
    Mounting
    Ressurection (as of CB3 patch notes)

    Those won't use up a spot on your LAS-bar.
  11. Drasas

    Drasas Well-Known Cupcake

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    I still firmly believe that LAS is basically lazy class design for specializations. Don't want to make a talent tree? Just force people to use 7 spells that they have to pick from. My personal preference for talent trees is the Rift system. Started having a blast with that game recently; I've messing around with unique combinations and different roles. With an LAS system it just seems like the game is going to be overly spammy and that's something I'd like to avoid.
  12. Grim Fandango

    Grim Fandango Well-Known Cupcake

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    It's pretty much the exact opposite of that. It forces the *players* to be creative while the developers give them tons of tools to work with.

    That and there will be a talent-like system in WildStar as well. They're exclusive concepts.
  13. Tom Collins

    Tom Collins New Cupcake

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    Given that you will have perks and even abilities that can be added to armour. I t will be much more diverse than you think.
  14. Drasas

    Drasas Well-Known Cupcake

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    It's still 8 skills to use. It takes adapting on the fly out of the equation. You're stuck with the LAS you selected before the encounter began. I suppose it's more of PVP mindset of knowing when to press X to counter Y, but I prefer that to the push in the genre for simplification. I prefer knowing that my distinction of my spec comes from my own decisions rather than some randomly itemized piece of gear.

    Also, nobody has addressed the spammy aspect of LAS. Again, this is another thing Rift countered very well(forgive me I've been playing a lot of it recently and it's fresh in my head) with their Rogue archetype. I have a whole bunch of builders and finishers over 10 on my Bard not to mention a whole bunch of buffs to maintain. I like that kind of complexity and I'm really regretting not getting into Rift earlier because I thought this type of utility role was dead within the genre. Some of us just like having lots of buttons to press and the idea of being limited to 8 in a standard encounter isn't appealing.
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  15. Neurotic Cucpake

    Neurotic Cucpake Cupcake-About-Town

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    I like that, too. It's the same term they use in The Secret World, and it's very apropos. It'd definitely be cool if Carbine adopted a similar name rather than the less than intuitive "LAS" terminology. Just look at how many times people ask what that means...
  16. Grimnar40k

    Grimnar40k Cupcake-About-Town

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    Ok so first of all I have not read all 22 pages so forgive me if I bring up a point someone else already mentioned. Having said that though I haven't seen anyone make the point that in a game like Wildstar where we have seen some combat footage the case can be made that 1 ability may replace many abilities in a game like WoW for example, which gets brought up a lot here and in comparison to any new MMO.

    For example, look at your typical basic attack telegraph in Wildstar. For Melee this may take the form of a cone, and for a Caster may take the form of a wide straight line capable of hitting multiple targets. Now I'm sure most everyone here is atleast somewhat familiar with Warrior abilities from WoW so let's look at those.

    So let's say in Wildstar our Warrior may have a short CD frontal cone telegraph attack that debuffs targets with a 50% slow. Or maybe similar to GW2 it may place multiple conditions on the target. Maybe it rends the targets legs placing a Bleed, Slow, and Vulnerability on the target. This ability takes 1 single slot in the LAS. Now look at WoW's Warrior and count how many abilities this 1 skill could potentially replace. Listing just based on alphabetical order going through the spellbook.

    Cleave (multi target)
    Colossus Smash (armor debuff)
    Hamstring (slow)
    Heroic Strike (worthless keybind nowadays)
    Mortal Strike (negligible healing debuff and rage builder which W* skills seem to either build or consume)
    Overpower (very situational use during classes defensive CDs that dodge/parry that probably aren't in W*)
    Slam (basic damage ability)
    Sunder Armor (armor debuff)
    Sweeping Strikes (multi target)
    Thunder Clap (AoE and bleed)
    Whirlwind (AoE)

    Now as you can clearly see in a game like W* and as we've already seen in GW2 combat 1 single skill in the LAS can replace a whole <REDACTED> ton of skills from a game like WoW. Also for anyone familiar with WoW's Warrior you will see multiple skills here that are probably never or very very rarely ever used at all if not even just left off of the action bars all together.

    I say all this with the hopes of relieving some of the concerns and fears a lot of players have when they see their precious 40+ skills limited to choosing just 8-10. I myself play with about 50 keybinds in WoW depending on the class but know very well that there are many I could do without or could easily be consolidated into an action style combat game especially in regards to combining single target and cleave/AoE types of attacks.

    I'm someone who had very high hopes for GW2 but like most was very let down after how that game did. Now in W* we have all the features GW2 lacked in PvP, we have elder game probably like never seen before, we have the trinity which will bring us back to having more defined roles and hopefully making for some very team oriented PvP, and we have a LAS that gives us freedom to choose and not pick a weapon which forces us to take 5 skills that we may or may not care for, AND possibly my favorite is that they promised that we will all die over and over repeatedly due to the difficulty of content. THANKYOU CARBINE! I haven't done PvE in WoW since Van/BC so I'm really excited to try it out again and have fun being challenged.
  17. Ellianar

    Ellianar Cupcake-About-Town

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    I think you re wrong, the game of chess is even more maximized because you have to anticipate ALL situations when building your LAS, i think it can lead to a monstruous amount of different strategy.

    One i can see right now, is an esper taking one heal spell in his LAS to fake an healer if possible a builder heal, and then all of a sudden you reveal your true face and try to burst the <REDACTED> out of one of your opponent, kinda one try strategy but it could be fun. :D


    I don't think calling Carbine lazy with all the contents they propose is even far from innacurate and dumb. And as for the spammy part, well which mmo isn't about clicking on abilities to heal or damage an ennemy?

    I think you neglected the unique class ressource for each class, some class use a builder/finisher logic, some other use over time recovery ( like DK runes ) and there is 2 class yet to be revealed. The LAS is definitely not about spamming 8 buttons in a random pattern. It's about synergizing your abilities and building YOUR gameplay.
  18. Tom Collins

    Tom Collins New Cupcake

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    I completely understand why you feel that way, I did too until I played it. I came away absolutely loving it, and I only had 5 skills to choose from.
    The warrior plays quite like a rogue. You have 3 kinetic cells which fill up by using "relentless strikes". which was the basic melee swing. Then you unloaded them with different abilities.
    It didn't feel "spammy" at all, other than arguably having to use relentless stikes to build up cells, but that's no different to using sinister strike etc.
    The fact that most attacks can be avoided also makes moving actually worthwhile. The combat feels much less like a grind, and much more like an action oriented RPG.
    I really do think a lot (not all, but a lot) will change their minds when they play it.
  19. TeoH

    TeoH Well-Known Cupcake

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    You are hurting my brain! Please stop!

    I don't even know where to start here. You prefer knowing that your spec is distinguished by your own decisions, so you..... don't want a system where you're able to choose your entire build and may decide to have a completely different set of abilities to another player playing the exact same role? Wat?

    It takes adapting on the fly out of the equation when you don't have 40 hotkeys because.... in several decades worth of video gaming before and after World of Warcraft where games have been made that do not spread their ultimately very simple gameplay over 40 different buttons, nobody ever adapted on the fly?

    You think there's a genre push for simplification compared to what? Compared to the years you spent clicking Holy Light, Flash of Light and Holy Shock on the tank's unit frame in a 40 man raid and calling it a niche, utility role? Compared to that?

    And not having 40 different hotkeys makes the game 'spammy' why? Do you even have a reason for that statement? Are we saying that all of these other games which use less than 10 or so different buttons (ie. Most of the games produced by the gaming industry since its inception) are 'spammy'? What does that even mean?

    Also: Want to play some SF4?
  20. Drasas

    Drasas Well-Known Cupcake

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    This was in response to the gear having procs to differentiate players and I don't think that's where it should come from. I also do not like how easy it is to change what you're doing in modern games. I think if you build your character that's a decision you've made and that it shouldn't be as simple as talking to the vendor and trading your skills back. I want people to identify with their roles like they did in older games. When I played in Earth and Beyond or EQ I was a healer and people on the server knew me as a healer. Logging in you'd have a ton of whispers(if you were a good player) asking if you'd like to join X farming group.

    In an encounter where you have a small list of set abilities you have less chance for being able to adapt to a new situation you didn't plan for as opposed to one where you have a larger selection of abilities.


    First of all... Clickers are bad, mmmkay. Now, while I'll admit that the Holy Paladin had the smallest toolbox especially during the period you're referring to(Vanilla) it actually got better in Wrath up until they gutted the class distinction with the pre-Cata patch. It became as much about mana management and use of cooldowns as it did actually healing to compensate for the lack of actual healing tools. You had around 12-14 buttons you'd press during your typical progression raid encounter and many more in PVP. Also I prefer to use a Holy Priest as an example of a healer with a proper toolbox I think I had 16 spells bound on my Clique mod alone not to mention hotkey abilities.


    I'm not asking for 40. I'd be content with like 15-20 as it's what I consider a sweet spot of complexity, adaptability, and lack of skill bloat. Everquest and Earth and Beyond were super spammy. We didn't know any better so it wasn't a big deal. When MMO's introduced complex rotations the level skill required increased and the combat felt a lot more varied. Before that we sat meditating waiting on TS to get the next Complete Heal off in our rotation. The most difficult rotation in old EQ from what I can remember was twisting your songs as a bard.

    Fighting games are more about timing than an actual rotation. If you had a set rotation in a fighting game the other player would figure out your pattern and blow you up. Adapting on the fly happens in these games because of how the timing and decision-making works on the individual level for everything. While I've stated I think timing is something I enjoy in PVP I don't think something like SF4 could work in an MMO. It'd be interesting to say the least.

    I'm level 25 on my Bard and I have 12 abilities that I use in every encounter. It's not likely to decrease. I'm not even counting the longer duration buffs.

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