I would love to see MMO combat reinvented, or at least step back a few years while we wait for something to change. Just as a heads up, I’m a fan of auto-attack, tab targeting, and the traditional MMORPG combat. I’m totally open to new ideas, though, and I think we need something brand new.
However, there are certain aspects of modern MMO combat I absolutely despise.
Too Many Abilities
I’m really tired of having three hotbars and 36+ abilities. Options are nice, but I’d rather they come in the from of strategy — not macroing. There’s something incredibly pure and relaxing about combat in EverQuest as a Rogue. I was talking with my friend just the other day about how nice it is not to have to run around facerolling every battle. Manage your health, use the right abilities when you should use them, and be aware of your surroundings.
Flash Over Substance
One solution to the tab target, auto attack, hotkey until dead approach has been to convert the game into an Action RPG all about spamming attack that may or may not be tied to hotkeys. Simply removing the act of targeting mobs doesn’t fix anything. The result is just a dumbed-down game all about spamming AOE attacks. I’d prefer something like Morrowind/Oblivion/Skyrim, but I haven’t seen it pulled off well in a MMO yet. Maybe that’s the direction to go, and it simply needs to be refined. That said, I don’t know if I want to sacrifice the almost D&D feel of MMO combat.
I don’t like rolling out of red circles. I think rolling around on the floor is a total joke. I would rather take my character and reposition him manually. Don’t stand behind a dragon because its tail will swipe you, and don’t stand in front of it because it will breathe fire or snap at you with its mouth. Those are two of the best mob/boss mechanics out there. They are simple, make sense, and don’t require me to suddenly dodge out of a random red circle on the floor. I actually prefer tank and spank over active dodging.
I’m not usually one to state that something is broken without offering up a solution. In this case, the best solution I have is to simply get rid of the mechanics that are more annoying to me than the dullness of the same old system. I for one would rather be bored with a system I like than be frustrated or annoyed by a a different one. There are only so many different ways to do combat with the available input devices. Perhaps a different direction with the same system?
- Focus on the difficulty
- Require fewer, smarter inputs
- Alter other mechanics such as health bars instead
- Rely more on the RPG side and utilize character development over twitch input
If you have any suggestions, let’s hear them.