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Author Topic: You swing your Battleaxe +70 and...miss?  (Read 18759 times)
schild
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on: April 05, 2006, 02:30:48 AM

This is the first in a handful of articles Llava sent in. Link.
Llava
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Reply #1 on: April 05, 2006, 03:28:02 AM

imo, the weakest one I sent.  But your call.  At least I actually talk about something having to do with game design in this one!

That the saints may enjoy their beatitude and the grace of God more abundantly they are permitted to see the punishment of the damned in hell. -Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica
schild
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Reply #2 on: April 05, 2006, 03:35:07 AM

At least I actually talk about something having to do with game design in this one!

Awww. I liked this one.
Llava
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Reply #3 on: April 05, 2006, 03:38:59 AM

Maybe it's better than I think and it's the other two that suck. I'm awful at judging my own work. My favorite stuff is awful, and everyone loves the stuff I hate.  Except when it's the other way around.

It's very hard to keep track.

That the saints may enjoy their beatitude and the grace of God more abundantly they are permitted to see the punishment of the damned in hell. -Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica
Jain Zar
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Reply #4 on: April 05, 2006, 04:02:41 AM

Umm... D&D combat is supposed to be an abstraction.  When you miss, it doesn't always mean you miss.  It means it was deflected against armor, parried, was a grazing hit and so on.
Trippy
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Reply #5 on: April 05, 2006, 04:05:42 AM

I don't mind missing in these sorts of games personally -- all that really matters is how fast you kill something. So for something like:

10 points of damage
10 points of damage
10 points of damage
10 points of damage
10 points of damage
10 points of damage

or

20 points of damage
miss
20 points of damage
miss
20 points of damage

it's all the same to me. In fact I usually turn off the miss displays if the UI allows it.

As for throwing rocks or shooting arrows at targets, it's one thing if they are stationary, quite another if you or the target is moving. The same goes for sword fighting where your opponent has an opportunity to dodge, block or parry your swing -- but if you do connect it's pretty much over. It's sort of like the difference between the D&D and RuneQuest combat systems. D&D with its scalable hit points is more about nicking your opponent to death (assuming a reasonably high level). With RuneQuest which doesn't have levels or scaling hit points you end up missing most of the time against an equally matched opponent (your chance to hit is countered by his equal chance to parry or block) but that one good swing will take out a limb or kill him outright.
Murgos
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Reply #6 on: April 05, 2006, 05:47:11 AM

The worst problem with the combat systems isn't even the built in ineffectiveness (I've commented before that it is some sort of weird geek perception of athleticism) it's that the leveling system works backwards in many situations.

At level 1 you are usually capable of fighting something as EQUALLY skilled as your self and winning most of the time.  By level 50 in most systems you can not dare to fight something as equally skilled as yourself, you will get your ass handed to you.  You might have overall improved, afterall you can kill those level 1 spiderlings 10 at a time now, but your rate of improvement has been outstripped by your opposition.  Yes, that's right, all your hard work has made you a loser, isn't that fun?

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Mr_PeaCH
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Reply #7 on: April 05, 2006, 06:45:29 AM

By level 50 in most systems you can not dare to fight something as equally skilled as yourself, you will get your ass handed to you.  ... Yes, that's right, all your hard work has made you a loser, isn't that fun?


Ha!  So true.

I'm going to champion, of all things, Shadowbane, as having one of the better roll-the-dice-for-combat systems.  First game that I know of which had 'stances' such that you could elect to go on the offensive and risk taking more hits while swinging harder and faster vs. the defensive vs. deciding to be 'precise'.  Intuitive, simple... well, it's SB so I won't go to the 'elegant' card.

But as said above... I never felt like I am generally 'missing' of my own accord but that whatever I'm trying to attack is blocking, dodging or otherwise trying to avoid being hit.  And don't beat yourself up, Llava, you rite gooder then me.

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Soukyan
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Reply #8 on: April 05, 2006, 07:20:16 AM

I have to hand it to you, llava, you hit the nail on the head for my feelings on this topic. I detest that I am playing a hero who is missing. If it is a hero against an arch-villain, then perhaps there will be some misses due to dodging and mad skills on both sides, but otherwise, Captain Kickass should be smacking all of the minions, even, as you suggest, if it doesn't do any notable damage.

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Evangolis
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Reply #9 on: April 05, 2006, 07:25:38 AM

Yeah, even if you hit for nothing, what is the point of missing?  Block, dodge, sure, but just miss when standing 2 feet apart?  Not likely.

Like that early book on RPGs, whose suggested combat system would result in a something like 10-20% of the combatants maiming themselves in battle through critical failures.

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Glazius
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Reply #10 on: April 05, 2006, 07:26:09 AM

As for throwing rocks or shooting arrows at targets, it's one thing if they are stationary, quite another if you or the target is moving. The same goes for sword fighting where your opponent has an opportunity to dodge, block or parry your swing -- but if you do connect it's pretty much over. It's sort of like the difference between the D&D and RuneQuest combat systems. D&D with its scalable hit points is more about nicking your opponent to death (assuming a reasonably high level). With RuneQuest which doesn't have levels or scaling hit points you end up missing most of the time against an equally matched opponent (your chance to hit is countered by his equal chance to parry or block) but that one good swing will take out a limb or kill him outright.
A 25% (or higher!) miss rate seems alright to me (or, uh, _more_ alright) in a combat system where it takes 4 shots to bring down a target, rather than one where it takes 20.

--GF
HaemishM
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Reply #11 on: April 05, 2006, 07:38:45 AM

At least you didn't mention DDO, where if you are a rogue, you only hit 25% of the time.  evil

The biggest problem is that it takes no effort on the part of the defender to cause the player to miss. It really is just abstract dice rolling. The defender most of the time can't elect to block, or do much of anything to make the attacker miss. They are static target dummies. Attack becomes the only real option for most participants, so you have to build in some misses or the combat is over too quickly.

Missing wouldn't be nearly so bad if it actually took effort on the part of the target.

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Reply #12 on: April 05, 2006, 08:08:18 AM

First game that I know of which had 'stances' such that you could elect to go on the offensive and risk taking more hits while swinging harder and faster vs. the defensive vs. deciding to be 'precise'.  Intuitive, simple... well, it's SB so I won't go to the 'elegant' card.

Gemstone III (or IV if you will) has had stances for almost 20 years.

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Sky
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Reply #13 on: April 05, 2006, 08:46:04 AM

Mmo combat sucks. I like BF1942. I aim, I shoot, if I aimed well, I hit. If not, or if I'm some bunnytard, or if I'm spraying bullets, I miss. My bad. Even better, if I go prone, shoot in controlled bursts and aim for the head, I get rewarded with a more effective hit. BF2 kinda lost that, unfortunately...but it's still miles ahead of mmo.

Taking on the topic title...just having a +70 "to hit" on a weapon is a stupid artifact from AD&D. I could maybe see a slightly higher damage output due to construction, say a bronze tulwar vs a damascan steel one.

Even worse are the ridiculous stat bonuses so common to mmo in the post-EQ world. It's not magic, it's ridiculous. Every mmo is now the most egregious case of monty-haulism that could never have been conceived in the worst nightmare of a convention tourney judge's fevered imagination.

Dundee
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Reply #14 on: April 05, 2006, 09:28:26 AM

So, we removed misses in SWG so that we could resolve combat visually client-side (i.e. immediately), then do the to-hit rolls, etc. serverside after the attack had already been displayed. So a "miss" is a hit-for-less-damage and a "hit" is a hit-for-more-damage. Overall, it all balances out the same in terms of the numbers (as Trippy described); but resolving the visuals client-side makes combat look-n-feel faster paced.

The down-side of this approach is that it can be difficult to provide feedback to the players when something is "hard to hit" or not (due to a defensive buff or just because it's much higher level than you, etc.); I think they're tweaking the damage-number flytext size-and-color to address that, but it's definitely not as clear as a *whiff* for no-damage when you miss and a *crack* for some-damage when you hit.

Anyway, that might have been the motive behind not having "misses" in guild wars, too, rather than it strictly being some gaggle of designers thinking, "Yaknowwhat? Missing sucks."

Jeff Freeman
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Reply #15 on: April 05, 2006, 09:38:00 AM

So, we removed misses in SWG so that we could resolve combat visually client-side (i.e. immediately), then do the to-hit rolls, etc. serverside after the attack had already been displayed. So a "miss" is a hit-for-less-damage and a "hit" is a hit-for-more-damage. Overall, it all balances out the same in terms of the numbers (as Trippy described); but resolving the visuals client-side makes combat look-n-feel faster paced.

The down-side of this approach is that it can be difficult to provide feedback to the players when something is "hard to hit" or not (due to a defensive buff or just because it's much higher level than you, etc.); I think they're tweaking the damage-number flytext size-and-color to address that, but it's definitely not as clear as a *whiff* for no-damage when you miss and a *crack* for some-damage when you hit.

Anyway, that might have been the motive behind not having "misses" in guild wars, too, rather than it strictly being some gaggle of designers thinking, "Yaknowwhat? Missing sucks."

Question is, is it really a problem that it's harder for the player to determine if he's winning? It sounds more to me as an improvement.
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Reply #16 on: April 05, 2006, 09:45:06 AM

I don't much pay attention to the animations or the sounds of combat in these games, in fact I play with my speakers off.  All I care about in combat is that the targets bar is going down faster than mine. Until I read this article I never even noticed that you didn't miss in Guild Wars, funny thing I did notice that a miss in DDO, beta anyway, produced the same sound as a hit which seemed confusing, then I remembered to turn off my speakers.  As far as the article's main point I guess it doesn't matter to me if they call it a miss, a dodge or 0 damage it's all the same in the end.  I suppose it's easier for the animation guys  if they don't have to make a miss animation but otherwise what's the difference?
Dundee
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Reply #17 on: April 05, 2006, 09:45:42 AM

Question is, is it really a problem that it's harder for the player to determine if he's winning? It sounds more to me as an improvement.

Oh we definitely saw it as an improvement; but just like anything else, there are trade-offs.

Making saber-block "work" when combat visuals are resolved client-side, for example: had to be an all or nothing thing because we don't want to do any sort of dice-rolling on the client.

I think the trade-offs are worth it with a fast-paced combat system, but it's probably unnecessary for a slower-paced system.

Jeff Freeman
Llava
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Reply #18 on: April 05, 2006, 12:47:44 PM

That sounds like a good system to me, Dundee.

It was really City of Heroes that made mestart to get irritated with missing.

They have a system in place that'll most likely prevent you from  missing 4 times in a row. 3 times in a row, sure,  no problem, but that 4th one will almost  always hit.

At low levels, this system  is so visible it's not even funny.  I plan attack chains around it  ("Oh I missed, okay, use two more wimpy attacks, surprise, miss, miss, and now the big one. BOOM.   Okay, good.") and it really detracts from the fun of the combat.  Let's say I'm playing an archer-type guy.  They have a small inherent bonus to accuracy in their attacks, but you still miss one hell of a lot.  How many times have you seen Green Arrow or Hawkeye miss?  Way to make me feel like a hero.

I know that the "miss" is supposed to be an abstraction- it could be any number of things.  Well, at the very least you could tell me what things we'retalking about here.  Guild Wars will tell me WHY I missed- it was evaded, it was blocked, the arrow strayed, whatever.

And DAoC has less excuse on this- if something evades, blocks, or parries you, that's different than a miss.  So it tells you that.  But you can still just flat out "oops, miss, lol!"

Animate it.  Make a sound effect.  A weapon clanking off armor, instead of feebly striking the air.  MMGs ask a lot from player imaginations already when it comes to immersion- help us out here.

That the saints may enjoy their beatitude and the grace of God more abundantly they are permitted to see the punishment of the damned in hell. -Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica
HaemishM
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Reply #19 on: April 05, 2006, 12:50:13 PM

Animate it.  Make a sound effect.  A weapon clanking off armor, instead of feebly striking the air.  MMGs ask a lot from player imaginations already when it comes to immersion- help us out here.

That's because most of them have not gotten past the point where what happens in the text box (or combat chat channel) is in anyway reflected by what happens on screen. That's getting better, with things like WoW's visual indicators, but it's still an artifact of Diku-suck.

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Reply #20 on: April 05, 2006, 02:32:35 PM

Animate it.  Make a sound effect.  A weapon clanking off armor, instead of feebly striking the air.  MMGs ask a lot from player imaginations already when it comes to immersion- help us out here.

That's because most of them have not gotten past the point where what happens in the text box (or combat chat channel) is in anyway reflected by what happens on screen. That's getting better, with things like WoW's visual indicators, but it's still an artifact of Diku-suck.

Yeah, I'd argue that it works fairly well in a MUD (or in any other abstract format, like tapletop RPGs), but it's one of those things that dioesn't translate well to a very concrete representation like we're allegedly getting in a modern MMO.  I remember going nuts in Morrowind (not an MMO, but still...), seeing my weapons physically PASS THROUGH people and them not really appearing to get hurt.

I do see it as part of a larger problem, though, rather than something we can just band-aid up by replacing the word "miss" with the words "you deal 0 damage".  The problem I'm seeing is that animation in these games is usually very bad across the whole board.  If you want to feel like your character is engaged in epic combat, it needs to LOOK LIKE COMBAT, rather than two guys just facing each other and waving weightless weapons through their opponent's body.  The whole "you miss" thing is a symptom of this.  If I'm sword fighting a wolf or something in real life (as I do on my lunch break occasionally), it's not going to just stand there and square off against me like we're going to be graded on our form afterwards, it's going to bowl me down and try to remove my throat.  Missing an attack makes sense when you're talking about a real fight, where something's running at you or trying to scramble around you or whatever.  It doesn't make sense when you've got two guys standing three feet apart bringing awl pikes down on each others heads repeatedly.
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Reply #21 on: April 05, 2006, 04:06:20 PM

I'm heavy into martial arts and I disagree that you should always hit. Try hitting my sensei with a rock - if you damn good you might hit him once out of 100 attempts.

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schild
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Reply #22 on: April 05, 2006, 06:21:20 PM

I'm heavy into martial arts and I disagree that you should always hit. Try hitting my sensei with a rock - if you damn good you might hit him once out of 100 attempts.

Yea, well, that's a level disparity right there. Hitting one of your fellow students with a rock should be trivial for you.
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Reply #23 on: April 05, 2006, 09:19:01 PM

I do see it as part of a larger problem, though, rather than something we can just band-aid up by replacing the word "miss" with the words "you deal 0 damage".  The problem I'm seeing is that animation in these games is usually very bad across the whole board.  If you want to feel like your character is engaged in epic combat, it needs to LOOK LIKE COMBAT, rather than two guys just facing each other and waving weightless weapons through their opponent's body.
It's a tough problem to try and synchronize all the animation. Even doing just two humanoids is hard enough but then multiply that by the various shaped and sized creatures in your typical fantasy game. Some games do do a better job than others, though. FF XI is one of the better ones as is CoH. Beating on EQ skeletons was great fun because of the distinct sound effect when you hit and the skellies would actually stagger (plus they had that maniacal laughter). One of the best RPGs for synchronized combat animation was actually Darklands. There it was all "auto attack"-style combat of course but it actually looked like your little sprites were sword fighting.
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Reply #24 on: April 05, 2006, 09:33:21 PM

I'm heavy into martial arts and I disagree that you should always hit. Try hitting my sensei with a rock - if you damn good you might hit him once out of 100 attempts.

That's not a miss though. In terms of hit/miss, hitting your sensei would be as easy as hitting a stationary dummy of his proportions. What happens from there is he either evades or dodges depending on the system you have and there you go, the rock didn't connect. For some games hit/miss is pure abstract with all things taken into account and then you either hit or you don't. In other games dodge/parry/block/evade/whatever are all seperate events. Why can you still miss in those games if you are supposed to be some sort of hero? I'd imagine if I was some legendary swordsman I'd be able to swing my sword at a target and not accidently miss... somehow.
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Reply #25 on: April 05, 2006, 10:33:14 PM

I'm heavy into martial arts and I disagree that you should always hit. Try hitting my sensei with a rock - if you damn good you might hit him once out of 100 attempts.

In an RPG system like, say, D&D, that's represented by giving him 100 hit points.  If you throw 100 rocks and each one does 1 point of damage, and each one "hits", the last one will knock him down.  In real-world terms you'd say that he dodged or deflected the first 99, and by the time the 100th one was thrown either he was tired or you were lucky, and you finally conk him in the head.

A "hit" that results in a reduction of hit points is usually conceptualized as corresponding to physical damage, but there's no law that says that a reduction in hit points doesn't correspond to being tired out, forced into a disadvantageous position ("I've got the high ground!" = "you've got only 4 hit points left!"), or any number of other situations that would eventually lead to a defeat in the real world.

Of course, in a video game it's a hell of a lot easier to draw spurting blood than to try to represent that sort of thing.  (One exception: Pirates! represents your "health" during a duel by having your character either press forward or fall back.)
« Last Edit: April 05, 2006, 10:35:13 PM by Samwise »

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Reply #26 on: April 05, 2006, 11:36:06 PM

I think the issue is not misses and hits (though for a lot of games, reducing the # of misses would probably be an improvement) but the issue of feeling like a hero or not.

Which, ironically, I thought was one of CoH's weak points.

I think CoH would be better if they focused around two types of mobs:  Minions and Giant Monsters.  Battles that involve you taking on 20 minions at once, or battles that involve you and 10 friends taking on a monster that's 10 times taller than you are.

The lieutenant/boss/elite boss rubric just seems really unfulfilling to me.
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Reply #27 on: April 06, 2006, 12:05:59 AM

I'm heavy into martial arts and I disagree that you should always hit. Try hitting my sensei with a rock - if you damn good you might hit him once out of 100 attempts.

Exactly as schild said.  Level disparity.  He'd have leet evading skills to activate.  Note that I didn't say there should be no defenses and that everything should hit- but that defenses should be active.  Guild Wars requires you to activate a skill of some sort, usually one that lasts around 5-10 seconds, that gives you a chance to evade.  But if you're just standing still, not doing anything, no one's going to "miss" you.  And the same goes for reality.

Quote
I do see it as part of a larger problem, though, rather than something we can just band-aid up by replacing the word "miss" with the words "you deal 0 damage".

Well obviously doing that won't fix anything.  The only time when someone should literally deal 0 damage is when the target is SO much more powerful that it really makes sense (e.g. a level 1 mage bonking Grr'Zhank, God of Stone, on the shin with an elm wand) or when the target has activated something that specifically reduces damage.  Guild Wars has things like that, WoW has things like that (woo Paladins), even CoH has that (Phase Shift).  Those things, I think, should stay.

The benefit of having everyone hit reliably, even if they do very little damage, is that it can still add up.  So if a crazy uber level 500000 foozle starts wreaking havoc in newbietown, the newbies can actually fight back and do something about it.  It'll take a long time, most of them will probably die (a few times, likely), but it's not pointless.  This goes for PvP, too.

Because hits/misses are, in my experience, always based on level of the attacker and level of the target, this makes progress towards reducing the importance of level VS skill in these kinds of games.  It allows for more strategy in PvE and PvP, because your  tools are not denied to you- you know, no matter what, it's at least worth a shot.

Like I said, it's too late for most games out there.  They'd have to completely rebalance.  And, sorry SWG- it sounds cool on paper, it really does- it's just plain not a good idea to completely change the game that people picked up in the store.  Reminds me of a Mitch Hedberg joke:
"I hate turkeys.  Spend too much time in the lunchmeat section of the grocery store and you'll start to get pissed off at turkey.  You'll see turkey ham, turkey bacon, turkey salami.  Someone needs to tell the turkey- Man, just be yourself."
Not exactly the point I'm making, but it's a funny joke.  For the most part- people who are playing your game are doing so because they like it the way it is.  They might not like EVERYTHING about it, but chances are that they're pretty used to the core system and wouldn't want that to change.

So this isn't my call for CoH and all the other MMGs to rebalance and get rid of missing.  But couldn't future designers please, please think about this a bit and ask the question, "Is missing actually fun?"

That the saints may enjoy their beatitude and the grace of God more abundantly they are permitted to see the punishment of the damned in hell. -Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica
Murgos
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Reply #28 on: April 06, 2006, 06:12:53 AM

If you want to actually go for more realism (which is usually a bad idea) normally what happens is everything is blocked/dodged/mitigated until one of the combatants makes a mistake or an extraordinary effort which creates an opening.  One hit is usually all it takes because if the people fighting are any good the hit will be delivered to a critical area which, if it doesn't incapacitate out right, will severely hamper the opponents ability to defend.

I've fenced, I've trained kung fu, I've boxed, etc.., the above holds true always, if there is one opponent who is much more skilled than another then the opportunity to strike just comes much faster and the strike itself is just that much more guaranteed to be perfect, a knock out blow, a break, stab at the heart, whatever.  Even in shooting, the one who shoots the first accurate shot is the one who wins.

There is no room for error in real fighting and the only way a lesser skilled person wins against a greater is by luck or a critical misjudgement by the person with greater skill.

I'm not sure that system would be a lot of fun in MMOG land.

The counter to this is that when you have two equally skilled opponents at the top of their game facing each other something trancedent happens and you can throw all the rules out the window and people will pay $1000's of dollars to watch it happen and talk about it for years because it is just that good.

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Glazius
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Reply #29 on: April 06, 2006, 08:13:20 AM

They have a system in place that'll most likely prevent you from  missing 4 times in a row. 3 times in a row, sure,  no problem, but that 4th one will almost  always hit.

At low levels, this system  is so visible it's not even funny.  I plan attack chains around it
They did post the numbers on it.

If you use an attack with a really huge chance of missing you screw up the streakbreaker. I think it's something like, if you've got a 90% net chance to hit you can only miss once, at 80% twice, at 70% 3 times... if you have an attack with like a 10% chance to hit you can miss 100 times in a row before it kicks in. The length of the streak is determined by the least accurate attack in it, so you can't deliberately game the streakbreaker by turning on auto-brawl.

--GF

I auto-brawl with my Brute anyway because I HAVE FURY!
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Reply #30 on: April 06, 2006, 08:19:28 AM

They have a system in place that'll most likely prevent you from  missing 4 times in a row. 3 times in a row, sure,  no problem, but that 4th one will almost  always hit.

At low levels, this system  is so visible it's not even funny.  I plan attack chains around it
They did post the numbers on it.

If you use an attack with a really huge chance of missing you screw up the streakbreaker. I think it's something like, if you've got a 90% net chance to hit you can only miss once, at 80% twice, at 70% 3 times... if you have an attack with like a 10% chance to hit you can miss 100 times in a row before it kicks in. The length of the streak is determined by the least accurate attack in it, so you can't deliberately game the streakbreaker by turning on auto-brawl.

--GF

I auto-brawl with my Brute anyway because I HAVE FURY!

No, but you plan attacks around it.

If you just missed 3 times, and you have a BIG damage attack handy, it's stupid to use Brawl right then.  In fact, even if your big damage attack isn't handy, it's probably better just to wait for it to recharge than to brawl.

RE: Realism

Not exactly what I'm talking about here.  I'm talking about the kind of combat we imagine in our heads when we think about fights like these. Of course it's never going to be exactly like in the movies (the hero one shots everything- wouldn't be a lot of fun, really), but there are steps they can take towards getting us closer to that happy funzone median.  Think, I think, is one.

Another thing would be to make healing much, much, much more rare.  Last I can remember reading any fantasy novel, watching any movie, there was never anyone spamming any sort of heal.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2006, 09:03:45 AM by Llava »

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Soln
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Reply #31 on: April 06, 2006, 11:24:13 AM

I love the observation that as I invest more time in a game and advance I actually become "worse" -- clarity FTW.  More please.

Also, missing sux, no arguments there.  Forced hits are as bad as forced misses, but this is all the product of an auto-attack system.  I did like in SWG how the animations notify you of the situation, and that's one of the serious flaws in DDO (the combat spam is poor and there are no animations for all combat events).

 Finally, I haven't played enough console FPS or near real-time combat games to know enough if more combat "realism" is bad in an MMO, is it? 
Telemediocrity
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Reply #32 on: April 06, 2006, 11:33:54 AM

Quote
Finally, I haven't played enough console FPS or near real-time combat games to know enough if more combat "realism" is bad in an MMO, is it?

It's not, if you give players tools at their disposal.  A big one is the ability to switch (for ranged attacks) between predictive targetting (i.e. your shots lead the target according to their speed and direction) and straight shooting (i.e. your shots aim exactly at where the enemy's standing right now) at the press of a button, as well as the attack height (for melees, whether you aim at head, torso, or legs - for mages/archers, whether you shoot projectiles in a high arc, for instance going over hills, or a low arc / almost flat, which will hit the target a lot faster).

For instance, playing an archer in AC1, I'd have one hand on WXSD (X for backward, with Z and C for strafing) and the other hand on the text cursor movement keys (home, insert, end, pgup, pgdwn, etc.) that would alter my targetting style, attack height, and attack power (AC1 used a charge-up bar to determine the tradeoff between speed and power in your attacks - same DoT, but differing situational usefulness).

The actual physical missing made it interesting sometimes - you could shoot/swing over the head of a rat, or under a hovering wasp.
Kail
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Reply #33 on: April 06, 2006, 01:16:14 PM

Quote
Finally, I haven't played enough console FPS or near real-time combat games to know enough if more combat "realism" is bad in an MMO, is it?

It's not, if you give players tools at their disposal.  A big one is the ability to switch (for ranged attacks) between predictive targetting (i.e. your shots lead the target according to their speed and direction) and straight shooting (i.e. your shots aim exactly at where the enemy's standing right now) at the press of a button, as well as the attack height (for melees, whether you aim at head, torso, or legs - for mages/archers, whether you shoot projectiles in a high arc, for instance going over hills, or a low arc / almost flat, which will hit the target a lot faster).

I don't know that being able to switch attack modes is really an important part of realistic combat.  You could theoretically have a realistic auto-attack system, if that's what you were after.  Accurately simulate how someone would fight, how would they react if you cut them here, how would it impair their mobility, et cetera.  Handle it all automatically.  Might not be fun, but it could still be realistic.

As to whether or not realistic combat would be fun, I dunno.  It would be totally different from any MMO on the market, obviously, and I don't know how players would accept it.  I think it could work well as a crafting/social game, or as a MMORTS or something, but I think it wouldn't really mesh well with the "slaughtering armies of monsters" theme that most MMOs use today.

I do think there's a lot to be said for the middle ground, here.  You can have highly unrealistic combat that still looks realistic enough to be exciting.  That, I think, would be an excellent thing for mass market games to aim at.  You can make your game a lot more exciting without having to reinvent the wheel when it comes to gameplay.

If you want to feel like your character is engaged in epic combat, it needs to LOOK LIKE COMBAT, rather than two guys just facing each other and waving weightless weapons through their opponent's body.
It's a tough problem to try and synchronize all the animation. Even doing just two humanoids is hard enough but then multiply that by the various shaped and sized creatures in your typical fantasy game. Some games do do a better job than others, though. FF XI is one of the better ones as is CoH. Beating on EQ skeletons was great fun because of the distinct sound effect when you hit and the skellies would actually stagger (plus they had that maniacal laughter). One of the best RPGs for synchronized combat animation was actually Darklands. There it was all "auto attack"-style combat of course but it actually looked like your little sprites were sword fighting.

I haven't played CoH or FFXI, but most of the games I have played could have withstood some serious improvement.  In theory, synching the animation shouldn't be a problem.  Once my client gets the info that I swing and miss, it should be able to trigger the melee_miss_01 animation in both my character and my local instance of my opponent's character.  And yeah, it would be more work than the WoW method to include all those custom animations, but I don't think it would be unworkable.  Maybe fifty or a hundred more one second animations per skeleton would give you a HUGE amount of versatility.  Your character getting beaned in the side of the head by a iron maul or by the paw of an angry dragon are going to be fairly similar.  Your character getting tackled by a wolf or an angry bandit can look fairly similar.  More work, yes, but I think it would be a good investment.  In a game where my character can wear upwards of a thousand different kinds of armor, it seems really odd that he's only got maybe five minutes of animation total.

edit: middle ground, not missile ground... oops.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2006, 01:29:16 PM by Kail »
Murgos
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Reply #34 on: April 06, 2006, 01:37:50 PM

A practical consideration is that anything with a delay more than 100 ms starts to become noticable (particularly to caffinated preteens).

On a good pipe and ideal conditions its 30ms to and another 30 from the server leaving the server only about 40ms to do everything it's got to do and get back to you.  On a bad day you are going to be well over that 100ms limit no matter how fast your server response is.

Real life demands that you probably can't have animations that respond to particular aspects of an attack without people calling your efforts a 'piece of laggy shit'.  Unless, of course, you work for Red Dragon Software.  Prediction can solve some of this but occaisionally it's going to be wrong and then you are really going to pay a penalty.

Anyway, short of mandating connection speeds and latency for users it's not an easy problem.

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