WildStar Ability Mechanics Feedback

WildStar ability mechanics were shown today in a new DevSpeak video.  At the end of the video the devs solicited feedback, so here are my honest thoughts direct at Carbine.  First, let’s watch the video.

I understand the direction.  You want mobile combat where the user feels like they are ‘actively’ participating in combat rather than ‘passively’ commanding their character to use abilities.

In the video I saw a few things that bother me.  First, the ground targeting indicators.  In every fight I saw the floor lit up with different shapes. Every ability looks like it’s an area of effect attack.  Whether it be a cone, a straight shot, an arc, etc., it all looks spammy to me.  Ever play Hi-Rez Studios’ MOBA called Smite?  The combat looks exactly the same. I’m not saying that’s bad, but something about it gives me a janky vibe… spaztactics, as I call them.

Second, I hate combat devolved into nothing but running around trying to skill-shot.  I can’t remember which MMO it was, but everyone just ran around in circles spamming their instant cast abilities.  The battlefield looked like a game of bumper cars.  Heck, even GW2 was ridiculous with people rolling around dodging attacks (maybe it was GW2 I’m thinking about?). What are you doing to avoid your combat becoming nothing but instant cast circle strafing?

And lastly, I’m worried about it becoming spammy.  You  specifically mention rapid taps, and reacting different to abilities.  Is this a game I need to drink a gallon of Mount Dew before playing, or can I expect some degree of ‘give me a second to think about what abilities I want to use rather than mash them all’?

Those are my concerns. Readers, please feel free to share yours.

  • I love SMITE’s combat…heck I forgot about SMITE. I need to look it up again and see if it’s out of beta.

    I do see your point of view though. Seems to need to be somewhere in the middle.

  • My 1st thought was, qte’s? really?

    mmorpg’s work for me because i can relax and watch tv and chat while grinding/soloing or I can put on the headset, open a red bull and focus on challenging team content.

    With every new vid, ESO and EQN keep moving up while Wildstar, at one point my most anticipated mmorpg, is dropping off my radar almost entirely.

  • Every new thing Carbine reveal sends my interest in Wildstar spiraling downwards. It’s off the “would pay to play” list and getting close to being off the “would try if it was free” list as well.

    As a confirmed hotkey-clicker of extremely longstanding, I’m curious about Graev’s assessment. There was no UI in the shots and while there were a couple of graphics of a keyboard key being held down, what in the video particularly suggests the game couldn’t be played using mouse and hotbars? It looked pretty similar to GW2 combat, which works just fine as a hotkey-clicker.

  • I do not mind evading attacks. But I would much rather have a way to parry or block an attack. Seeing characters rolling all over place is kind of stupid if you ask me. I did not care for it in GW2. It is just as stupid to be jumping, moving and spinning all over the place while attacking. I was looking forward to Wildstar. Not any more.

  • Wow. I guess I’m different. The biggest thing keeping me from other MMOs is the combat is drab.

    A SMITE combat system would make an MMO exciting to me.

  • If they have controller support that system could be a ton of fun. The best action MMO I’ve played to date is DCUO and it would be great to have another system of that caliber in a better MMO shell.

    I’m old and I like to relax and take my time but I also like to be doing something from moment to moment that matters. After playing FF14 I’ve learned that slow paced, generic tab target combat just doesn’t do it for me anymore.

  • Spaztactics is the right word. I won’t go as far as blaming GW2 for starting it (they didnt) but I feel that they certainly made it popular – among game developers, if not players.

    Isn’t it ironic that as the MMO player population ages, MMO combat keeps moving to embrace the ADHD button mash? Neverwinter or whatever it was called is a another example of that.

    Hello MMO developers! If I want a game that I can do with 2 mouse buttons and 3 keyboard keys, I’ll play TF2 or something.. ffs..

  • Well now I’m disappointed.

    I do not like the style of combat they show here, if this is the way the final release will play they should re-market it as a console game and aim for the PVP hardcore.
    Definitely not the kind of game play I would be interested in.

  • it does seem a bit spammy, and i’m worried it will be like GW where you can only have a handful of spells available at any one time. I also don’t like seeing a million targeting indicators, i’d rather the player have to actually watch the enemy animations to figure out what is being cast (TERA does a great job of this). I’d also like a slightly slower overall pace to combat so it gives you more time to think and is less about button mashing.

    That being said, this is still worlds better than most MMO combat systems.

    I think if they customize the targeting reticules for each class (like smite has done recently), and even customize them for enemies, and remove some that don’t really need reticules, it would help a lot.

  • I don’t know about all the AoE stuff but I would prefer having all of your attacks hit an area, large or small, rather than have the locked/tab targeting of almost all MMO’s. I do like that they aren’t forcing the players to stand still to cast and channel. Although it made me think about a possible mechanic that might be interesting. In EQ there was a Channeling skill, which was separate from your individual spell schools skills. Channeling skill allowed you to have a better chance of not fizzling a spell if you happened to move a little bit or take some hits. It never actually got so good, at least while I was playing, that you could reliably move and cast at the same time, but it was noticeably easier to cast spells in combat with a higher skill.

    Anyways so what I was thinking is that spells that have a regular cast time and then an affect could count time differently depending on what you are doing. Say you are standing still, out of the melee, not taking any hits, you would finish the cast in optimal time. Now say you are standing in the thick of it and your character is using passive avoidance skills to try and mitigate damage, you take a bit longer to finish casting. Or perhaps you are running from a monster and casting a spell, it would again take more time to finish the cast. WoW had a rudimentary form of this in that each hit you took set your casting time back a bit, although I think they nerfed the affect at some point.

    You could then implement skills that balance against each other so they are mutually exclusive to some extent. These skills would let your character be better in different situations, so that instead of your character being a ranged mage type they could instead excel at close combat casting, maybe even casting faster when being in the midst of a melee. Or a Skirmishing caster who is better when on the move than when standing still either in or out of the melee.

    You could do this kind of thing for all classes though just by modifying where they start at being best and what you intend for the class as a default role. So tanky warrior types excel when they are in melee being pounded on. Avoidance melee characters excel while being mobile in melee but not being the target of focused damage.

    Channeled abilities could work basically the same way just modify the amount of damage they do, either through direct increase/reduction or slower/faster damage ticks depending on the character behavior and their skill setup.

  • TBH I will still give it a go, based on what ive seen from housing alone.

    But I do agree with what you said. I tend to enjoy a game more along the lines of EQ/WoW/FF14 style tab targeting, with the slower games being my more preferred.

  • I can go both ways on this. I do enjoy the more dynamic combat like in GW2; that was a breath of fresh air to me. But I still like the more deliberate “tab targeting” as well, particularly if I’m trying to multi-task the MMO with something else, like eating a sandwich. I guess it depends on how immersed in the game I am.

  • I’ve stopped trying to predict whether I’ll like combat or not based on videos. I’ve been wrong too many times.

    To me, good combat just has an intuitive feel to it. Tight, fluid movement and controls. It’s kind of intangible, but the “feel” of combat means everything to me.

  • Animations and sound design play a huge role too. Does it really feel like that sword is hitting the monster? Do your sound effects carry enough weight and impact without being incessantly repetitive and annoying? etc

  • I kind of feel wildstar has a made the choice to go with a reactive ADD combat system and they should stick to their guns. Trying to combine the two is basically just trying to please everyone and in the end will fail.

  • The game is different. Everyone has been complaining for years that MMOs are too formulaic and something different finally starts to come along and people still complain. I personally don’t like the look of this game, not into the whole cartoony vibe. The theme just feels completely random, like fantasy/western/scifi/kitchensink. But the one thing that impressed me was the breakout gameplay and movement. I always hated slow movement. I used to keyboard turn, I used to click, I used to do all that crap that makes a player terrible at PvP. I stopped, learned how to bind and mouseturn and I became above average at best, not really much of an improvement. But when I play, the feeling I get from the control I have is much more rewarding now.

    This new direction in MMO gaming has restored my faith in the genre and even if I don’t like this particular game, I like what it represents for the genre as a whole and wish it success based on that alone.

  • The old fashioned tab-target system is just that. I’m very much looking forward to a more FPS kind of combat in an MMO, which is why I’m looking forward to Wildstar and the Elder Scrolls. I’ll take my combat sandwich with a little sprinkle of Call of Duty, thank you. One of the benefits of such a system is that it gets your eyes off of your hotbar and onto the stuff happening in front of you.

    I also seriously doubt it will be any more button-smashy than say, doing Arenas in WoW. I don’t see why people are complaining about it now after the new video. It’s the same gameplay we’ve seen in every other Wildstar Devspeak video. They just explained it in more detail this time.

  • My biggest issues with MMO’s to date is that the act of actually *playing* them is as boring as hell.

    Once you settle into a rotation, you’re going to be using that exact same rotation ad nauseam till the end of days.

    I’ve been wanting an MMO that required more engagement from it’s player base. I want to have to pay attention to the mobs I’m fighting, with more to combat than a “see who can burn the other down quickest” race.

    I’m not sure about some of the aspects of wildstar, but I’m glad to see them at least trying to put a fresh spin on playing the game.

    I want mobs that are immune to certain attacks, mobs that can attack from above, below. Mobs that ambush. Mobs that sneak attack. Mobs that have shields have have to be disabled. Mobs that have a ‘weak spot’ they only reveal after you’ve disabled them.

    Sure, not *every* mob has to be like this, but I believe it’d serve to break up the combat a lot.

  • @Anon: When I read “I want to have to pay attention to the mobs I’m fighting..” I immediately thought of one game: EverQuest. If there was ever a game where every second I was online I had to be alert it was EQ. Every mob required best. DAoC was also this way most of the time.

  • I don’t know why these action games don’t try to draw on things like Vindictus more.

    It DOESN’T have spammy alerts all over the place, but you have to learn to dodge, block, parry, use invulnerability moves, etc by figuring out how to recognize enemy tells for their attacks.

    Then again the game doesn’t really have ground target AE’s so.