I have been reading forums a lot over the past few days to gather information on AoC. I want to share with you guys a conversation that has been going on in this thread on the AoC Vault. The topic is a poll on AoC’s Combat System and basically raises the question of whether or not Funcom succeeded with their revolutionary combat system. In theory the system sounds great and I wrote about that a few weeks ago. But in practice, how does the system play out? Here’s is part of the conversation that sheds some light on the problems that I see with AoC’s combat system. (Note: I am MeanKeenLurikeen and at the time of writing this the poll shows a majority feel the combat system is a lot of button mashing. Also note that much of this is aimed at melee/ranged combat and not spells since spellweaving isn’t testable yet. I’m reserving judgment on casters for now.)
MeanKeenLurikeen: It feels pseudo-twitch to me. I like executing combos and feeling as though I control the actions of my character completely. That said, eventually the constant need to press buttons and react properly will get old. When it gets old the “buttonmashing” mindset WILL set in for me. I’ll macro all the combos and attacks with my g15 and it will feel just as simple and traditional as a regular mmorpg.
Z1_Z1: I hope they change it and make the comboes randomized so that you can’t macro them. As of right now if you have a G15 or anything that can macro the combo’s it makes the entire system borderline pointless and a waste of Funcom’s time to develop.
MeanKeenLurikeen: The day they randomize combos is the day I quit then. There are times when I come home from a long day and all I want to do is grind away on mobs or run a few quests. If I have to focus in on exactly every action I’m taking at all times to be effective then I’m out. I don’t think Funcom would be that silly.
Z1_Z1: What is the point of the combo system if you can just macro them, they should just revert back to 1 click skills than. If everyone macro’s the combos than Funcom wasted resources developing a combo system that everyone will just macro anyways. And on a PvP server where everyone is trying to get the upperhand I can guarantee everyone will be macro’ing the combo’s.
MeanKeenLurikeen: You have basically summed up precisely why some people are stating that the combat system is not truly as twitch or revolutionary as once thought. If combos are simple enough to be macro’d because they are just additional keypresses then all that the game has done is add an additional middle step between input and result. I like the additional step. I think it adds character to the combat and the fatalities are a vivid realization of this. But I digress, it’s still buttonmashing.
Age of Conan’s Combat system is “pseudo-twitch” (you’ll see me saying that a lot) because it requires the player to recognize a weakness in their enemy and then execute combos and attacks to take advantage of that weakness. I think that part of the system is fantastic. The second part of the system is executing combos with precision. Combos are abilities triggered by activating the combo then executing certain directional attacks as instructed by the HUD. The combos are always the same and as a result the new car smell wears off quickly. When that happens the simplicity of the combat system becomes transparent and I feel like macroing each of my combos on a G15.
I don’t like button mashing when it can be avoided (although I am guilty of it in games like SSBB..heh). I never once felt like I was button mashing in DAoC. To be quite honest I never felt like I was button mashing in WoW either. Actually.. I have never once EVER felt like I was button mashing in a mmorpg until AoC. AoC’s combat system, because it is less restrictive, opens itself up to the feeling of buttonmashing real easy. It’s like playing Mortal Kombat or another fighter game on the consoles. Button mashing works really well but those who can execute the attacks with more precision will do better. BUT there is still a chance that button mashers CAN win. It’s really a unique situation for a mmorpg to be in.
Is the system prone to button mashing? Yes, very much so. You’re pressing more buttons in AoC in quicker succession than in any other mmorpg and the more you level the more buttons you press – fact. And for me it WILL get old. Is it revolutionary? Nah. It’s newer and it’s rather unique but after seeing it in action it’s not revolutionary and definitely not a direction that every mmorpg in the future will go. It’s much more involved than other combat system but it falls just short of the goal.
Overall the system gets a solid “good” rating from me because it’s different. I commend Funcom for trying something new and for being pioneers of the “no auto attack” system. Looking at the system as a whole it has a lot of neat mechanics like active blocking/dodging and shields that do make the system fun and will hopefully help to keep that new car smell for a while.
Graev and I will be speaking more on the system in today’s Podcast.