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I've been browsing here for years, this is basically where I get all my mmo news.
Lately I've been following the release of SWTOR, reading the player feedback, to decide if it's a title I'd want to play.
One of the issues that gives me some degree of trepidation about the game is the supposed "ability delay" that many players have reported. For me personally, game controls need to be tight. I've uninstalled more than a couple titles that didn't deliver in that regard.
With this issue being something that could potentially negatively effect my gameplay, I thought I'd do a little research and form my own opinion. I've read many posts from players insisting it's real, and rebuttal posts from others who say they have no such issue with any delay.
There are more than a few people out there who seem to think that the Hero engine is somehow to blame. Other players insist the problem is on the users end, and often advise hardware upgrades to make the game run smoother.
I took it upon myself to read up on the Hero engine, to see if there's any validity to claims that it is the ability delay culprit. I read some articles from people who have worked with the engine before. I also read through the Hero engine wiki that's provided by the company that owns Hero engine.
So, I came across this> http://wiki.heroengine.com/wiki/Combat
I found this to be a rather interesting source of information, as it pertains to ability delay. If you read from the top, the page is basically explaining how there can potentially be issues with character actions delayed in a massive online environment. The page goes on to explain how developers should structure things to avoid the issue.
Obviously this section of the wiki is addressing an inherent hurdle that any mmo engineer would have; trying to make combat look smooth. The author talks about why this can be much harder with a mmo vs. a single player game or even LAN game.
The thing I found odd though is that on the combat page of the Hero engine wiki, ability delay seems to be the only issue talked about. They address it at the top, and then offer a page worth of solutions, and that's it for the entire page that pertains to combat.
The author talks about "common pitfalls" they have seen that can cause ability delay. As to whether this means common pitfalls they have seen that cause delay specifically with Hero engine, or common pitfalls they have seen across the mmo industry, I'm unsure.
In conclusion, if nothing else, the page does provide some insight as to why smooth combat can be difficult to achieve in a mmo.
As for me buying SWTOR, I think I'm going to wait a bit and see how it evolves. Hopefully over time they can get it running smoothly for everyone playing, regardless of the cause.