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[Column] Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn: Cerebral vs Visceral Combat, Part 1

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Comments

  • milwalmilwal LondonPosts: 62Member Uncommon
    Arrr refreshing about time we had some turn based combat...awesome well done!!
  • AlberelAlberel LondonPosts: 1,121Member
    Originally posted by Soulrift

    I don't think the problem in FFXIV is tabbed combat so much as what happens after you tab onto the target. I suppose there's two lines of thought: nothing interesting could possibly happen after you tab onto a target (I suppose this is the line that supports action combat) or the thought that something interesting could happen, if the designers designed the combat system well (the line of thought to which I ascribe).

    At the same time, I don't think it's a easy problem to solve. Making "real time cereberal" combat interesting is a massive challenge. I don't see many ways to make it work. WoW and Rift were fun, in their own ways, but I don't think those ways fit the theme of FFXIV (or, would rather see something new with FFXIV).

    The solution is the skillchain system that FFXI used, and is being reintroduced to XIV with ARR.

    I don't know if you played XI but essentially every skill is assigned a couple of unique attributes such as an element or damage type, and using different elements/damage types in sequence created special skillchain effects. Specific mobs were weak to specifc combinations and very few jobs (classes) were capable of comboing on their own. The result was a massive interdependency between party members that encouraged pre-planning and strategy, to the point that the slower combat system was seen as a boon to allow them time to perform the combos.

    Every battle was different as the skills you were going to be using depended entirely on the mob you were fighting and what jobs were in your party.

    The key to cerebral combat in real time is simply slowing the system down and having individual abilities be weak on their own but much much more potent when used strategically in conjunction with other abilities of other players. This does actually mean that cerebral combat does not go well with solo combat... it works much better when there are other players to co-ordinate with.

  • Po_ggPo_gg Twigwarren, WestfarthingPosts: 2,712Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Quizzical

    While I agree that not every game needs to have action combat, if you're going to make combat a big part of a game, then you have to do something to make it interesting.

    Great point on both part. And if we push the second part forward, why it became the norm to put combat in the top place? Not only in mmo's, in single rpg's as well (and in adventure games, etc. etc). It seems nowadays in rpg's your main interaction with the world is to kill something :) That culminated in such things like Tera, or the Dota clones...

    Back in the pen&paper days we sometimes haven't touched dices for weeks. In AD&D I mean, not because of we played Amber :) (which we also played a lot btw). We just had a great GM, and a group of rp'ers who loved roleplay and stories more than lame dice throwing. Combat had it place of course, when it fitted into the story. Don't know where I heard, but so true: "if you use RE or combat to fill the story, you can be sure you're a crappy GM".

    I sure can understand the direction, it's easier from developer's side to fill the world with mobs, and make quests like "kill 10 rats". Also get it from player's side, action everywhere can be fun and gives fast success. I just don't understand how it became the norm, why such games like TSW are the minority and not the trend...

    (I personally blame Diablo :) the abomination of the genre, which introduced the "rpg = kill, loot, level up, kill more" definition)

  • scrittyscritty WorcesterPosts: 89Member

    For the over 40's (which is a considerable and ever growing percentage of the gaming population) action combat is likely to never really take on. It's a fact of life that in the vast majority of cases we don't have the reflexes we had 20 years earlier. Also -in my teens and twenties (80's and 90's) i DID enjoy action games of all types - as I've grown older I've enjoyed them less and less. Strangely single player action games are "stupid easy" these days and I have no difficulty playing them...I also have very little interest in playing them either.

    I also agree with the comments above that tab based MMO's are also not the answer. Again that just comes down to spamming your standard rotation over and over again and is (as the authors of those comments rightly said) if anything LESS cerebral and certainly less interactive than action MMO's

    I play and love EvE and there are some other games I enjoy, primarily NOT for the combat. Dwarf Fortress as an MMO RTS? That would take some doing - but I'd play it.

    I'm 46 this year - earning far more than I ever earned in the past  and having a disposable income that would basically allow me to play whatever games I want under whatever financial model they had. But even here - someone willing to pay $50 a month for game - there really is nothing on the market that appeals to the MMO strategist/builder/creator in me at all.

    Nearly all MMO's = fightly fighty bang bang and not much else. And that's pretty sad

  • skydiver12skydiver12 burgundPosts: 432Member

    It's not about the ability spam they introduced and not try to "perfect" said combat system. It's because they "don't get" the feedback of players and the current times.

     

    Just look at a simple thing as restricting items and APPEARANCES on player characters. Every new mmo is build in with some way to change item appearance and stats, or slap any look over your character, or like TSW divide them alltogether. And yet FFXIV (with no level enforcements and no class enforcements) had it about right.

    Now FFXIV ARR has strict level enforcements (need to be lvl4), Class Enforcements for gear and NO WAY to exchange appearance or divide looks from stats.

     

    Funy thing is, they tried so hard to copy from "WoW" they completly ignored that even WoW now has that ability to share certain gear on an account basis, not "soulbound to character". And slap different looks on an armor.

     

    This all goes for the combat system. I'm just not sure that this will end well. I personally don't dislike TAb-Target "combat", but i'm not sure a blant copy of an already dieing system is going to work out.

     

     

     
     
  • IllyssiaIllyssia LondonPosts: 1,524Member
    Should be a treat for anyone who is looking for a PS3 mmo or a PvE heavy FF mmo. The original FF XIV had some issues and it was a bit of a brutal PvE grind to play with a story plot arc, but beyond that it was a bit too sand box a PvE experience to get the WoW crowd interested.
  • SephastusSephastus New Brunswick, NJPosts: 448Member Uncommon

    Maybe I have been spoiled with how Monster Hunter has done things, but more and more I am shying away from the combat methods in today's MMOs.

    Some might concider MH "Action" combat, but it still has tons of strategy to add. As long as the amount of players in the encounter is limited... and there is where I see the true limitation of the MMO.

    Being "massive", means that for a normal human, planning out unique activities for the entire group/raid, becomes virtually impossible. Instead, they only work with very limited factors: How will damage be treated (Tank & heals, avoiding, mitigating, or spreading), how will damage be dealt, and what hoops will be jumped (Crowd Control, awareness checks, minimum dps ect.)

    What I would see as revolutionary, is to stray away from the current formulas, and redesign each encounter as if it were a 1 vs 1 encounter, and incorporate the enviroment into the equation to re-add strategy to the combat. Multiplayer world should be seperate from the single player world, and should be completely multiplayer based. IOW, it should require group strategy to beat, and should be impossible for a single player to complete. FFXI did this correct in the sense that a same level mob was not meant to be tackled by a solo player.

    The drawback, is that while this type of playstyle would be enjoyable, it would not be mainstream. Since companies want money, and not just to give out mental games, I just don't see this happening.

  • fdisk81fdisk81 Miami, FLPosts: 7Member

    Excellent article! I'd like to add my 2-cents if you'll oblige.

     

    Back when WoW was the undisputed MMO Champion I wished for the combat to be more fast paced.  I mean, you'd just walk up to a mob and use the exact same rotation as you did for the one before for the most part.

     

    Once the new batch of "Action MMOs" started coming out, I loved it at first, but then I quickly grew tired of them.  Action combat is OK for a single player game, but in an MMO it becomes a mess of people just running around and spamming the same abilities.  I find that in all action MMOs I have played, I get pretty tired of the combat after playing for an hour or so.  Every time I logged into GW2 or TERA I loved the shit out of the combat for the first 10-15 minutes and then I would quickly grow tired/exhausted of it.  I can play a turn-based, tactical combat game for hours upon end on the other hand.

     

    After much thinking and playing XCOM Enemy Unknown I think I have it narrowed down.  I didn't start disliking WoW's combat because it was turn based, on the contrary, that's the part I enjoyed.  I grew tired of it because it was slow paced and repetitive.

     

    My absolute favorite combat moments in WoW and any other MMO were always when a mob would use an action that I could either counter, interrupt, or prevent by another action of my own.  As a Warrior, my favorite thing has always been to interrupt a caster with a well timed shield slam, or use Revenge when a mob happens to miss me, or engage an active block for a particular powerful attack, etc.

     

    The problem with WoW mobs is that with the exception of bosses, they all tend to have just one or two at the most special abilities you can interact with; the rest is just combat monotony.  I think what is really needed in the MMO world is simply better AI for mobs that adapts and fights depending on what it's being presented with.

     

    If a mob is encountering a caster it should try to bridge the gap, if it gets rooted it should try to attack at range.  There should be ways for the player to counter a mob's actions, or to active block, etc.  Not just once per fight as it's usual the case in WoW, but rather the cooldowns shouldn't be as long and punishing, it should allow for this interaction to happen several times per fight. 

     

    Furthermore, each mob should have a better arsenal of skills, otherwise we land into the routine of things again.  A caster mob should sometimes use a fireball, but sometimes it should use an ice spell, or an AoE, etc.  Each of those should then be allowed to be countered or prevented by the player if they time it right; this would make each fight with the same type of mob a more varied experience.

     

    I'm not saying this is a magic bullet solution, everything eventually becomes monotonous and repetitive, but at least this would alleviate the problem.  After giving Action MMOs a try I have to admit I was wrong and I really look forward to games in the future hopefully being a next step of turn-base tactical combat.

  • jskeets916jskeets916 Folsom, CAPosts: 154Member
    Originally posted by neobahamut20

    Turn based is insignificant. Even with action based, it was only a matter of calculating your DPS and select which skills were better vs 1 mob or vs many mobs which is quite easy. Combat has to revolve around logic... ie: if that big ass turtle bites you, your character is insta dead and cannot be rezzed, so the player has to avoid the mouth eating them for example.

    Give me a turn based or action based game, ill set my skills on 1 2 3 q e and hit them in the right order with an aoe action bar and a single target action bar. This is what MMOs are... and Final Fantasy combat has always been a sidething to their games, its always sucked and always been too easy. Final Fantasy is supposed to be about the story.

    Ignore this post person has obviously never played (and by played i mean truely explored end game) FFXI.  While you can argue the combat was not as active as certain mmo's it was incredibly challenging in the higher areas of the game (Sky, Sea, bcnm runs, primal fights, HUGE nm hunting) however most players never withstood the incredibly large grind to attain access to these areas when the game was in its prime.  The combat was in fact so challenging that many times i would be playing with japanese players because their parties operated so much more fluidly and in return you had less death penalties and higher xp/hour.

    Yoshi P is the savior of 14 and has stated time and time again it is returning to the party-based incentive approach in which those who can establish the most cohesive groups will be rewarded the greatest.  However thats not typically the taste of western players, which is why games like call of duty are best sellers here and paper weights in japan.

  • jskeets916jskeets916 Folsom, CAPosts: 154Member
    Originally posted by Sephastus

    Maybe I have been spoiled with how Monster Hunter has done things, but more and more I am shying away from the combat methods in today's MMOs.

    Some might concider MH "Action" combat, but it still has tons of strategy to add. As long as the amount of players in the encounter is limited... and there is where I see the true limitation of the MMO.

    Being "massive", means that for a normal human, planning out unique activities for the entire group/raid, becomes virtually impossible. Instead, they only work with very limited factors: How will damage be treated (Tank & heals, avoiding, mitigating, or spreading), how will damage be dealt, and what hoops will be jumped (Crowd Control, awareness checks, minimum dps ect.)

    What I would see as revolutionary, is to stray away from the current formulas, and redesign each encounter as if it were a 1 vs 1 encounter, and incorporate the enviroment into the equation to re-add strategy to the combat. Multiplayer world should be seperate from the single player world, and should be completely multiplayer based. IOW, it should require group strategy to beat, and should be impossible for a single player to complete. FFXI did this correct in the sense that a same level mob was not meant to be tackled by a solo player.

    The drawback, is that while this type of playstyle would be enjoyable, it would not be mainstream. Since companies want money, and not just to give out mental games, I just don't see this happening.

     

    This is exactly what FFXI and is exactly what the new dev team of FFXIV ARR is trying to do.  Yes i understand your point and im sure there will be some more solo-friendly routes than were available in FFXI (except BST), but i think you forget Yoshi-P doesn't answer to investors like many of todays modern mmo's and this is the second time an experienced company is launching this game after pulling it back into development.  To assume they are trying to save their brand name i doubt they would completely stay away from the elements of success that still has them receiving subs on a dated game from 2001...

  • RyahlRyahl Houston Metro, TXPosts: 47Member

    Thank you again for all of the comments.  There is a lot of interesting discussion happening here and I have found myself having to consider and reconsider a few points.

     

    A number of you will see your comments reflected in the second half of this article which will address the "what might be coming" aspect of FFXIV.  It's been very interesting to see that a number of you have very similar thoughts to what I had penned in that part of this article.

     

    But a lot of you have added in ideas that weren't in the piece too.  We have seen a lot of recurring discussion about how GCD combat is just boring, repetitive actions are repetitive and we'd really like combat choices to matter.

     

    @FDisk81The problem with WoW mobs is that with the exception of bosses, they all tend to have just one or two at the most special abilities you can interact with; the rest is just combat monotony.  I think what is really needed in the MMO world is simply better AI for mobs that adapts and fights depending on what it's being presented with.

     

    I think there's something important to think about here.  The funny thing is, I remember that MMO combat used to involve some of the very choices you reference.  Back when the processing power and bandwidth were lower, we actually might have had more interesting trash fights!

     

    I put together a new companion piece titled "what have we lost to the GCD" over at EorzeaReborn.  For instance, things we used to have need/abilities to counter in mundane fights included:

     

    1. Runners
    2. Calls for Help
    3. Hastes and Slows
    4. Ability Recycle Times
    5. Banes and Boons
    6. Auto-attack cessation
    7. Accuracy
    8. "Mind the gap"
     
    These days, normal AI for mobs is usually hit and hit-harder.

    Ryahl - writer of eye-bleeders
    FFXIV Fansite | TSWGuides
    Follow me on Twitter

  • edgehighwindedgehighwind lake eslinore, CAPosts: 1Member
    Originally posted by scritty

    For the over 40's (which is a considerable and ever growing percentage of the gaming population) action combat is likely to never really take on. It's a fact of life that in the vast majority of cases we don't have the reflexes we had 20 years earlier. Also -in my teens and twenties (80's and 90's) i DID enjoy action games of all types - as I've grown older I've enjoyed them less and less. Strangely single player action games are "stupid easy" these days and I have no difficulty playing them...I also have very little interest in playing them either.

    I also agree with the comments above that tab based MMO's are also not the answer. Again that just comes down to spamming your standard rotation over and over again and is (as the authors of those comments rightly said) if anything LESS cerebral and certainly less interactive than action MMO's

    Nearly all MMO's = fightly fighty bang bang and not much else. And that's pretty sad

    Just what you said here I agree with you on. I Have played few games to max level. WoW 2 times once in VIN/BC days then again in CATA. FFXI played that for 5 years.  TERA, Rift,GW,GW2, DCUO. 

    The one thing that made FFXI stand out was the milestone quests in that game. Did not feel like a rush to max level was more of an adventure. A world I could dive into to be RP. what a RPG mmo should be. FFXI has many many flaws like all games do.  

    What People are trying to do is fit ALL mmo's into the same genre.  today's mmo is race to max level get best stuff just bunch of flury skills mahsed over and over again. Battle is battle. same stuff over and over and over again. Think about how many times you hit just regual attack in any solo rpg console game. 

    Thing is in games now there is just a quest hub kill this feel to game with very very little storyline in. the story is about as deep as a puddle in the street with fancy moves and omg i can dodge now battle system.

    the main issuse is the mundane combat to level up is brainless. go here kill this go back do that till max level. why play an mmo if you want to solo level to max. go play a solo game. 

    I would like to se milestone quests back. party leveling with a bouns to party up. that is me though that is why I loved FFXI. 

  • PaladrinkPaladrink SantiagoPosts: 47Member

    Some of my concerns with this game have not been addressed:

    - Leavequest: Its fine as a quest hub, but does not feel right that the same guy gives you "crafting" "battle" and "Harvesting" quest... i would have got ridden of the whole stupid leavequest system.

    - It's nice they have added BAMs to this game, its a great addition, but the combat system its not TERA, feels ackward when tanking a monster whose ass is so big that you cannot see anything else (same as happened to TERA), otherwise looks cool.

    - Crafting: Some people may think the old system was good, but seriously? personally i do not want an asian grinding material system, They failed heavily on that previously and i have not heard this is gonna change, they said it would, but i have heard nothing so far (someone tell me if they did)

    - No Milestone - party encouragement: Most of the modern mmos fail to encourage to group, partially because some player base whine about never finding a tank or a healer, which is true. But that does not mean you cannot encourage the playerbase to keep party, like the old milestone system. Mentoring systems, hire systems (my favorite), cross-server/cross-plataform group base, etc.

    Those are among many thing. But overall, i hope this game is a success, i want to spend my bucks on something that does not feel short lived, something that encourage me to take vacations just to play lol :P

    What we do in life, echoes in eternity.

  • BeansnBreadBeansnBread PshPosts: 5,496Member Uncommon

    Cerebral and Visceral are not mutually exclusive.

     

    The issue for me when I see combat in FFXIV, at least up until this point, is that it looks like it has both a lack of visceral feel and takes almost no thought to do well.

     

    Also, this has been a little confusing to me. People keep referring to the combat as being turn-based. This game is NOT using turn based combat at all, correct? There is not going to be any skill chain system that you need to time with other people at all, right? From what I've seen there is a 2 second (maybe more) cooldown between skills and that is all at this point. I read that later on they are adding a gauge that fills up and then specials can be used when it fills up or something, but that doesn't sound like it has anything to do with being turn based at all either.

  • drivendawndrivendawn montgomery, ALPosts: 1,238Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by colddog04

    Cerebral and Visceral are not mutually exclusive.

     

    The issue for me when I see combat in FFXIV, at least up until this point, is that it looks like it has both a lack of visceral feel and takes almost no thought to do well.

     

    Also, this has been a little confusing to me. People keep referring to the combat as being turn-based. This game is NOT using turn based combat at all, correct? There is not going to be any skill chain system that you need to time with other people at all, right? From what I've seen there is a 2 second (maybe more) cooldown between skills and that is all at this point. I read that later on they are adding a gauge that fills up and then specials can be used when it fills up or something, but that doesn't sound like it has anything to do with being turn based at all either.

    Yes it is called the limit break system and yes its like skill chains from XI but alot cooler looking. The GCD is 3 seconds which could be a little shorter but that coupled with TP for weapon skills makes you think before you spam otherwise your stuck with auto attack for a while. Also there are positional based combos so there's more to it than what you think. : )

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