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MMO Combat - Action vs. Traditional or Hybrid

Discussion in 'Gaming Arena' started by WildFly, Dec 10, 2013.

  1. WildFly

    WildFly Cupcake

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    A lot of people say they don't like Action combat in a MMOs. Some people have stated it is not a natural evolution of the genre (which I totally disagree with).

    Let's look at why MMOs traditionally used tab targeting systems.

    A tab based targeting system initially was due to the high computer cycles it takes to handle all of the information needed for a true action combat system. Computer hardware just was not good enough in Massive Online environment. FPS games may have 5 or 10 or even 20 players per team but that is all. I believe 1 server in Lineage2 could handle 1,500-2,000 connections at a time. With later technology WoW servers, I believe, could handle up to 8 or even 9000 connections. So that is a lot of server side calculations when we toss in the physics needed for collision detection.

    Tab targeting systems?
    They revolve around a user clicking a skill the request being sent to the server and the server crunches some numbers (enemy level, armor, resistances vs. player level, attack power, bonus.. etc..) and the damage result is displayed. I mean you don't miss do you??

    Hybrids Games?
    Games such as WildStar or GW2 or Neverwinter that have tab targeting options. I can hit the tab key and a target is selected I can cast a spell and most likely I'll hit them if I'm facing the right direction. In Neverwinter you don't have to select anyone you can simply aim at them and if they are generally in front of you .. you will hit them. Some dodge mechanics exist in each of these games to quickly move out of harms way. Some calculations are performed to determine if I'm in range and in the case of guild wars 2, if my weapon actually made contact.

    What is a true action combat system?
    To me a true action combat system takes into account not only the collision but where it occurred. Similar to FPS games a head shot does more damage then a shot to the leg. In a MMO a swinging sword would naturally do more damage to the opponents head then his foot. So if you swing at a kobold while you have his back to him... you are going to miss. In world of warcraft we could demonstrate where I'm facing almost complete away from a target out of range with a rogue and yet.. I'm still hitting him. Of course there are other aspects of action combat such as the feeling that you are making contact. Good sound and animations based upon contact with the target really convey this to the user. Screen shakes, visuals, large combat dmg numbers.. etc..

    Collision detection is a very very important aspect of any action based game. To keep it realistic is a give and take proposition. You have to be very careful about how realistic the collision detection is because you want the player to feel like they are hitting someone (see they are hitting them) but sometimes the method you use to ensure this is too great a hit on the GPU so the fps drops to a grinding halt.

    Various Collision detection Techniques
    • Computing AABBs (Axis Aligned Bounding Boxes)
    • Quadrant Approach to bounding boxes (what is the furthest edge of my polygon, then create a 360 bounding box)
    • Dividing polygons into quadrants.. etc...
    Things holding MMO's back from Action Based Systems
    • Latency
    • System Restrictions
    • Player based desires (casual crowd is where the money is.. going for action combat is costly (see cost bullet below).. may turn off the casuals who don't care and are not used to action based combat)
    • Technology
    • Cost - It cost more to put the physics into the system to handle action based combat (Collision detection is a big part of this, testing, models, hitboxes, etc..)
    So while Action MMO's may not be for every one you can see that 3 of the things holding back more Action based MMO's are related to technology. As the technology and speed of user based connections increases those barriers will slowly melt away.

    I feel that eventually even the casual MMO'ers will be faced with more games utilizing an action based system then those that do not.

    Is this the normal evolution of the genre?

    I feel it is because it's mostly technology based. As technology improves games simply take advantage of that.

    This is a quick crude post. I could have gone on in much more detail but this post is only here for people's edification. To educate them a little and to get them talking about what they like or don't like. Not to argue.
    selekta and Kidney like this.
  2. Extatica

    Extatica Super Cupcake

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    Not to argue?......Why post it on a forum then? :confused:
    I really hate it when people say ''it's not to argue/discuss'' :(

    But since we are only allowed to say what we like or do not like i'll say:

    I like action MMO's when done correctly!
  3. WildFly

    WildFly Cupcake

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    Extatica, I said not to argue because some other person here was saying that my posts were not conducive to beneficial conversations. Of course I want you to discuss it and argue if you so desire. I just don't want people to think I posted it to cause problems. It's just to bring awareness to the concepts.
  4. Extatica

    Extatica Super Cupcake

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    Was it Livnthedream? If that's the case....we usually take him with a bag of salt ;)
  5. RavenWind

    RavenWind Well-Known Cupcake

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    Nah, wasn't Livin, this time was me. Was just trying to figure out where Wild was trying to go with another thread.

    Back OT: Wow, what a lot of info. In short, yeah I think you're right. More and more MMOs will be, indeed are, moving towards a more action oriented game. As PCs and Host Servers become faster and more sophisticated so will the game play. That's why most of the MMOs coming out now are crowing their ACTION COMBAT. I have seen other statements that MMOs are NOT Action games. I can't agree with that position. MMO and ACTION COMBAT are not mutually exclusive. An MMO can employee any type of combat system it desires.
  6. filanwizard

    filanwizard Cupcake-About-Town

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    One upside to action systems is you are not bound to absolute math when building skills in relation to PVP balance.

    Spellslinger could have "ice ball of supreme hurt" and rather than nerf its doing 15/16ths of a health bar they can say "get out of the telegraph" In the RNG based MMO you have to either nerf the skill or come up with that ever hated stat... Resilience.
  7. WavE

    WavE Cupcake-About-Town

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    I would argue for a system based on a large demographics preference.

    Though I am personally very excited for Wildstar (one of the main reasons being for it's action combat), I would not want people to think it is the end all answer to good games. For example, I still hold out hope some developer will pick up final fantasy seven someday for the first time, and decide "hey, this large rng based party system could be fun in an mmo" and create a well made version of that, good storyline and all.

    As for what is it's natural evolution, that goes into much smaller details i think when it comes to mmos at the moment, as data on previous attempts of mmos show large sweeping changes are often some of the worst things that happen to them.
  8. WildFly

    WildFly Cupcake

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    yes and I'm a huge fan of allowing a player to avoid damage through movement or .. any reactionary skill. Say that "ice ball of supreme hurt" can be nullified by a flame attack such as my portable flame thrower of doom. Once the ice ball is thrown it has 1.5 seconds before it cannot be interupted by fire. So now i have a way to stop it. To me this promotes much more enjoyable, reactionary, combat.
  9. Cynosure

    Cynosure Cupcake

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    It's more of a new fork in the realm of MMORPG's.. one that is leaning towards the lines of MMOFPS's.

    I've played a few of the action MMO's out there. The idea is a good one, but I have yet to see it executed in a way that will draws me in. Seeing an enemy's flare go up and having to double tab a key isn't that exciting. I'm hoping that Wildstar's more advance telegraphs add some substance to this feature.

    I still prefer the tab-targetting system as we stand now.. but I have hopes that Wildstar can change that.
  10. nomotog

    nomotog Cupcake-About-Town

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    One thought I have is that moving to action combat won't actually fix the problems people find with mmo combat. Like a action raid won't be any more enjoyable then a tab target raid. I think the problems mmos have run deeper then just a control style.

    I question the idea that action combat is what everything is leading to. I don't think it's the goal. A better idea might actually be to move away from action combat into maybe something like turn based combat. Imagine a mmo with combat like Xcom.

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