Getting strategy/skill into non-twitch based combat+testing it

Discussion in 'Skills and Combat' started by Carlin the Druid Archer, Apr 2, 2014.

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  1. Carlin the Druid Archer

    Carlin the Druid Archer Avatar

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    One of the things I'm interested in is ways in which the SOTA team can get a level of skill/strategy into combat, that does rely on 'twitch' based systems (e.g. First person shooters).

    The game can't really utilize 'twitch based skill' because of the lag when connected to players all over the world.

    At the moment they are looking to get around this by building in a skills system based on being able to cleverly / strategically use a deck of 'skills' at the right moment, against the right foes and also to strategically 'build up' your deck of skills based on the type of combat you expect to encounter.

    It sounds like a really innovative and interesting system and we'll be able to try it out in the next Alpha - R5, end of April.

    There will be ways to demonstrate that this system uses skill/strategy - for example, a player who is cleverly using his deck of skills will be able to consistently beat a player who is not.

    The proposed dueling system will allows players to practice and test out their combat against others.

    The beauty of this system is that having a good player won't be all about mindlessly 'leveling up' to get better stats but will also include learning to cleverly use your sets of skills and combinations at the right times.

    Other things they should consider is positioning - so for example fighting from high ground should give a small advantage, fighting with your back to the sun should give a small advantage etc etc. This allows for strategic placement of your character during combat.
     
  2. vjek

    vjek Avatar

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    If the hotbar slot/location of skills, during combat, wasn't random, I'd agree.
    As the current plan is that it will be, I think you'll find luck will play a much larger role than skill.
     
  3. Rampage202

    Rampage202 Avatar

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    Regardless of any randomness factor in the combat bar, hand eye co-ordination and timing are obviously crucial elements of mastery in the currently proposed system, so there should be an important skill component to combat.

    From what I remember- the degree of 'randomness' is also heavily influenced by the passive variables of the system that we'll be able to play around with, so there's skill involved in planning those in combination with your skill sets. That type of 'skill' may not appeal to some types of gamers, but at least it sounds like an interesting direction to take combat.
     
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  4. Carlin the Druid Archer

    Carlin the Druid Archer Avatar

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    Isn't having it random that makes it skillful? You need to use your brain to choose the correct skill to play not just pump macro'd hot keys? So, it utilizes hand-eye co-ordination, flexibility & attention, and the ability to think on your feet and react to the specific circumstances of the battle.
     
  5. vjek

    vjek Avatar

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    Deck preparation, focus on the battle (not the UI), focus on the target, reacting to the target, and reacting to the flow of battle, tactical and/or strategic decisions to affect the outcome, in my mind, would require skill. That's my take on it.

    Playing whack-a-mole certainly requires hand eye co-ordination and reflexes, no argument there. :) Personally, I've never seen anyone play whack-a-mole, well, and do anything else at the same time. So, I'm skeptical such an interface design will permit what you describe, Carlin.

    If the overarching design goal is unpredictable or dynamic combat, every aspect of it (except the interface/UI) can be randomized as a means to achieve that goal. Doing so also permits innovative, challenging, fun, and complex combat mechanics while retaining a familiar interface. Rather than, you know, trying to see which random hotkey you need to press to attack, defend, or heal. ;)
     
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  6. Carlin the Druid Archer

    Carlin the Druid Archer Avatar

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    @vjek, I don't think they are designing whack-a-mole - I haven't seen any whack-a-mole mock ups yet ;-)

    I think we will need to wait and see the interface design before we can comment on it, in my mind I can see it working, using quick thinking / fast brain processing to quickly detect and execute the correct skills from the deck... but we will see, the proof is in the implementation.
     
  7. PrimeRib

    PrimeRib Avatar

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    Yeah, I too hate the whack-a-mole aspect. It's doubling down on the worst part of existing systems.

    I'd really like to see it play out like a good macro system, but where you make decisions in real time, rather than hunt for buttons in real time. As has been said before, a decision is attack vs dodge vs block vs finisher vs cc/interrupt or something like this.
     
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  8. Carlin the Druid Archer

    Carlin the Druid Archer Avatar

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    @PrimeRib, the problem is you can't intelligently make 'attack vs dodge' type decisions as a way of implementing skill because of lag. e.g. You see me attack, so you 'dodge' but by that point I'm 'blocking'. it all gets totally out of sync.

    I don't think you will need to hunt for the buttons, the buttons on your keyboard don't move around. You will just have to 'skill up' at being able to establish your current skill deck set order in your mind so you can implement it in battle, with combos.
     
  9. Carlin the Druid Archer

    Carlin the Druid Archer Avatar

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    Also, the thing they have mentioned before is that if it is too difficult for some people to operate, they will be able to revert back to locking the skills in a set order but then they will have to find other ways to prevent people setting up macros on their keyboards/mice.
     
  10. PrimeRib

    PrimeRib Avatar

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    You can in every other game. Why does this game have it's own special lag? This isn't UO on dial up...we should be able to do what gw2, TERA, ESO, etc. do.

    And ofc you need to play button hunt. For two reasons, 1) this skills randomly move around and 2) they're using buttons all over the keyboard to compensate for the duped and dead skills. So instead of just hitting 1-4 I have to stare at flashing lights, stare at keyboard, move hands, hit weird keys, move back, look up.
     
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  11. Carlin the Druid Archer

    Carlin the Druid Archer Avatar

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    @PrimeRib, I share your concern that it might be overwhelming but I really don't think they are going to make it that difficult. I think they will most likely give a 'basic' option for less experienced players to get to grips (ie all the skills are fixed) and then as you get more experienced open up the 'changing' deck which will give you the advantage of combos.

    That way, while you are still a newb you won't have to worry about being able to intuitively hit the right keys for your deck and as you get more skilled you will be able to handle it.

    But, I'm reserving my final judgement for when I actually get to try it :)
     
  12. PrimeRib

    PrimeRib Avatar

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    I would love to see intuition and skill be a part of it. But to do that, that's need to fix it so: 1 is some kind of block, 2 is some kind of cc, etc. They can vary what the actually skills is, but not why. There's simply no reason to have a button be defensive one minute and offensive the next.

    Many of us have used the car driving analogy. Change the situation, not the pedals.
     
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  13. rowan50k

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    I'm not entirely sure I'm understanding the proposed combat system correctly, so correct me if I have the wrong end of the stick, but what keeps coming to mind for me is a magic the gathering analogy.

    The skill comes from building the deck so that even with the randomness of your available abilities, you on average come out on top with whatever combination you may draw at any given time. The greater the variety of skills you have the less often they are available, on the other hand if you only prepare a few core skills you will "draw" them consistently. Another skill area would be to select the most situational ability from your random "hand" for the changing combat scenario.

    I think if done well this deck building idea could be very deep and rewarding, allowing for a huge variety of flexible character builds, that can be changed easily by selecting a different deck. For example your party is short of a healer, you can respect your deck to provide more support skills. You are entering a volcano dungeon, so switch to your ice deck.

    I imagine using each skill will take your character a given amount of time so it will hopefully not be a whack a mole scenario, you will have several seconds to consider which of the available options you want to activate next.

    It will be interesting to see if you will be able to save your different skill decks and also what limits there are on changing deck, i.e. can you do it during combat, or would you need to perhaps sleep or meditate to do it?
     
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  14. docdoom77

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    My only issue with the deck system is that it will take my eyes off of combat.... alot.

    If I'm constantly monitoring my bar for a good skill or combo, how am I supposed to track combat onscreen?
     
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  15. enderandrew

    enderandrew Legend of the Hearth

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    Without a deck, you can macro your rotation of skills and remove player skill completely. Having to think on your feet and respond to what is coming up in the deck adds in the need for player skill.
     
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  16. Acrylic 300

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    I have a lot of experience building decks and trading cards. I can try to explain it...even though I know nothing about the SotA deck system.

    There will probably be a deck size minimum coupled with a same card maximum.

    Hypothetically let's say a 60 card deck minimum and a four same card max.

    My first strategy is to not put 61 or more cards in the deck. My second strategy will be to put the max. 4 card limit of my 15 best cards (4x15=60).

    Last strategy is to decide how those 15 cards define my combat.

    To keep it simple: 3 sets of 4 healing (12 cards), 4 defensive (16 cards), 8 offensive (32 cards) = 60 card deck.

    This is a simplified example of how to strategically build a deck. It is probably a far far reach from what SotA will be like.

    Next the deck would be repeatedly play tested and rebuilt into a wining deck. A deck that draws needed cards and will not leave you holding stuck cards.
     
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