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A lot of skills vs. a lot of buttons

RattenmannRattenmann ReitmehringPosts: 510Member Uncommon

Hey there.

 

Today i wanted to bring up a point about the controversy concerning "Too many skills".

 

I have seen countless people claiming that everything past a certain number of skills is wasted and not fun because they don't want to play the keyboard. And while i agree on disliking fighting my keyboard, let me try and present this topic in a differend manner. First i want to make a bold statement so you can start hating on me, then i will explain ;-)

 

There can NOT be too many skills!

Now get a breather and let me explain why i think the problem is something else. Too many skills would be a problem only if:

  1. You absolutly need all those skills all the time
  2. They are not diverse enough to be fun in itself
  3. They are all needed for a "rotation"
On the other hand alot of skills can be a lot of fun if:
  1. They all have their place, like fun spells that just put on a shiny Wizard hat on your head for example
  2. Not needed for every dps rotation
  3. Don't mirror each other to the point of simply having slighly different resist checks
A lot of skills are actually more fun if it is done right and the UI is not terrible. But yes: doing the UI and skills right is easier on the developer if they only give us 4-8. Does that bother me? No! Damn, it is their job to make a fun game for us. And i want difersity and not boring gameplay.
 
 
To give two extreme examples to "prove" my point.
Example on 4+ hotbars with 10+ skills each
 
When i was still playing WOW in Cata i played a Warlock. I absolutly loved how skills where handled there.
I had 6-8 Skills in my DPS rotation (keep in mind warlocks had one of the bigger rotations). But you actually had to adjust your rotation based on movement / bossmechanics. Then i had 3-4 Skills for AoE rotation that usually did NOT show up in single dps rotation. Add another dunno... 4? Buffs for once in a while and like 10 skills / spells / items that i had on my bars for fun like illusions and pets and stuff. Add some potions for emergencys and some spells for emergencys.
 
I could react to every situation in the game, yet i could also just relax and usually go with 6 buttons. BUT i had the POSSIBILITY to do way more if shit hit the fan. And those extra buttons where NEVER mandatory, they simply gave extra OPTIONS.
 
Yes, i had 4 Hotbars full of stuff. No it did NOT feel like fighting my keyboard at all.
Fighting looked impressive, since using differend attacks / skills + pet always had some diversity and it was a relaxing experience.
 
Example on a hand full of keys only
 
It is everyones guess which game i am talking about here, since well... you know i am not officially allowed to talk about it ;-)
Should be an easy one tho.
Anyways: FIVE skills plus one "big boom" skill as a max.
 
Fighting is very much no fun. You always do the same 2-3 attacks, since at least 2 hotkeys go "to waste" on buffs / pets / emergency skills. If shit hits the fan you have to pray that you actually have the right skills on your bar. So basically you have to adjust your hotbar whenever you take a step to another area and you are out of luck if you don't already know what awaits you there.
Readjusting midfight because something happened, like a teammates death... unexpected adds,... whatever... is not possible at all. You have to stick to what you have.
 
I remember some funny, yet so fitting, sentence i have read somewhere about this issue: "Hey mage, we got adds... get a fireball casting and blow them away!" - "sorry, i can't... i forgot how to cast a fireball so i could make the air smell funny".
 
Yes, i only had 5 skills. Yet i WAS fighting my Keyboard like mad.
Why you ask? Because the same game tries to adjust the boredome of skills with countless useless keybinds that are mandatory, but boring. You need 2 keys to loot (no joke), another to dodge, every attack needs a new key even tho it is the same fucking attack. I had to scroll down the list of controlls for like 10 seconds to reach the bottom and i STILL only had 5 skills to choose from.
 
So what is more fun?
Having the possibility to adjust if needed but only having to use 4-6 skills for full dps. Or only having 4-6 skills and not being able to adjust if needed?
I guess the answer is easy enough.
 
Too many skills is not a problem in itself. Bad design of said skills is the problem. And i know there are countless games that do have bad design. And i fully understand how a person that only played those comes to the conclusion that more skills = bad.
On the other hand less skills is bad design right there. Even if the skills are great. Current games offer way less possibilitys and options for the player anyways. Reducing this even further is no good design at all. No matter how you put it.
 
So pretty please: Go the extra mile and make skills usefull, fun and diverse. Don't limit us on what we can do. Don't make us tell our raidleader that we "forgot" how to AoE all of a sudden, but don't make all options mandatory either!

MMOs finally replaced social interaction, forced grouping and standing in a line while talking to eachother.

Now we have forced soloing, forced questing and everyone is the hero, without ever having to talk to anyone else. The evolution of multiplayer is here! We won,... right?

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Comments

  • iridescenceiridescence Elliot Lake, ONPosts: 1,486Member

    Good post. It's tactical vs strategic thinking I think. The strategic player wants a lot of skills available so, through knowledge and memorization, they want to win a fight before it even starts by being crazy prepared. The more tactical player wants  fewer skills in play to give them more reactive freedom for things like dodging or using terrain to advantage. Although there definitely still is a strategic element to games which force you to pick your deck of skills from a large selection before combat (so maybe those are the best melding of strategy and tactics).

     

    I suspect there is a similar breakdown about hotbar vs action combat in MMOs (really it's stupid to have a tab target system without a lot of skills - you  really get the worst of all worlds).

     

    One addition is that I think if you are going to have a lot of skills in the game you should outlaw mods and macros. The challenge of these systems is actually knowing which skill to use at which time in which order. When you have a mod or a macro to do that for you it really does just become dumb button mashing.

     

    I prefer having a lot of buttons but as long as the game has a lot of skills to choose from I think both systems can work

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,663Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Zaradoom

     
    So what is more fun?
    Having the possibility to adjust if needed but only having to use 4-6 skills for full dps. Or only having 4-6 skills and not being able to adjust if needed?
    I guess the answer is easy enough.
     

    If combat is nothing more than DPS, then the former, of course.

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • Shoko_LiedShoko_Lied -, WAPosts: 2,080Member Uncommon
    I like buttons more. More traditional and with roots from the old roll dice games.
  • RattenmannRattenmann ReitmehringPosts: 510Member Uncommon

    Is it a good MMO / RPG if DPS is the only way to play it?

    For me the answer is a clear no. I wholehearthly disliked GW2 for this very reason. I dislike dodging attacks for the sole purpose of not getting damage at all. I don't mind doding hard attacks or to help get pressure of a healer... but having to avoid every single attack (or block it), simply annoys me and does not feel like fun to me.

    Let's put it this way: A RPG is all about roleplaying and options. An action game is all about reactions and well, action. How do you think having 20-40 skills would be fun in an action game? It would totally suck for the majority of players (inlcuding me! I like my action games to be action based!). But why in the world do we use action controls in current gen RPGs then? It fits just as bad.

    Why would i "forget" how to cast spell xy in a RPG? In a shooter like action game you could easily argue only having space to carry 3 weapons. And your knife obviously can not launch a rocket. So you "forgot" it.

     

    Blending of genres can be done in many ways and can work well. Blending of controls that just don't fit is a bad move in my book tho.

    MMOs finally replaced social interaction, forced grouping and standing in a line while talking to eachother.

    Now we have forced soloing, forced questing and everyone is the hero, without ever having to talk to anyone else. The evolution of multiplayer is here! We won,... right?

  • evilastroevilastro EdinburghPosts: 4,270Member

    My problem isn't having a lot of fluff skills, my problem is when you have 30 damage / heal / tank skills and they all sit in a priority order, like in pretty much any themepark tab target MMO.  Whats the point, aside from having a few different spell effects thrown in? There really isn't one.  This could easily be handled by skills visually changing as you go through a combo.

     

    Personally I would like to see a more realistic amount of skills that don't need to be put into a supermacro to be efficient.  Skills that change dynamically based on how and when they are used.  They have done this already in single player RPGs, why is this so difficult for MMOs?

     

    Combat should be about thinking 'whats the best approach at this point in time', not 'which skill has the highest damage priority at this point in time'.

     

    Do we really need a 'stab' and a 'backstab'? Surely this should just happen dynamically when you go behind your target.  Or skills changing dynamically while in stealth.  Aim a fire spell at the ground to create a fire wall.  Combine spells / skills with friends to create new ones.  That's the kind of combat I want.  Not spreadsheet damage priorities.

     

    Fluff stuff can easily be handled by out of combat menus, theres no need for 5 hotbars full of fluff crap.

  • RattenmannRattenmann ReitmehringPosts: 510Member Uncommon

    That sounds exactly like you have played a game where it was done wrong.

    Mind telling me where you got that from, so i can check it out? I personally have yet to play a MMO where a priority order had more then 8 skills. And those 8 got reduced one patch later to 5. I have never seen anything above those numbers myself, maybe that is why i don't have issues with many available skills.

    I don't agree on outside menüs for fluff and fun skills. That is not exactly nice. I prefer those on my hotbar. Don't feel like going trough those console radial stuff to buff up my party or to start dancing. I want the option to put those on my hotbars and execute them with a press of a button. How that is handled, i don't care. But i want the option to easily SEE the action if i so choose AND be able to execute it with one button.

    Radial menus are just bad, i hate them, really.

    I do agree on dynamically changing stuff tho. Many games do this, but all should. Backstab and stealth being a great example i agree on. Interaction keys are another that are a big point for myself.

     

    If i need to interact with something, make that button x. If i am already interacting and need to "take all" for looting for example: make that button x as well. Simply as that. Should be in every game, no matter if rpg, action or whatever.

    MMOs finally replaced social interaction, forced grouping and standing in a line while talking to eachother.

    Now we have forced soloing, forced questing and everyone is the hero, without ever having to talk to anyone else. The evolution of multiplayer is here! We won,... right?

  • rounnerrounner CanberraPosts: 603Member Uncommon
    I went back to check out Vanguard the other day but I couldn't play any of my high level chars because I forgot how to play them. It would take me days of situational playing to remember all of the different rotations and reactions for a char. When I remember and am in the zone its great and what I like, but I understand why others would want a simpler system.
  • AlBQuirkyAlBQuirky Sioux City, IAPosts: 3,828Member

    When I first played AD&D (late 70's), I despised playing the Wizard and Cleric "spells for the day" guessing game. I never played either of these two classes. The same goes for 5-10 skill/ability/spell slots. I HATE guessing beforehand what I may need in the future. I prefer having all of my skills, abilities, and spells available when I need them.

    I also dislike the trend to make 1 skill perform many tasks, like a DPS attack that also does Healing and/or Crowd Control. I prefer skills that do one thing and do it well. When I need to CC or Heal, give me a skill/ability/spell that does this, not CC AND Heal.

    More skills mean more variety to me. They also mean I am better equipped to deal with more situational scenarios and survive.

    - Al

    Personally the only modern MMORPG trend that annoys me is the idea that MMOs need to be designed in a way to attract people who don't actually like MMOs. Which to me makes about as much sense as someone trying to figure out a way to get vegetarians to eat at their steakhouse.
    - FARGIN_WAR

  • RattenmannRattenmann ReitmehringPosts: 510Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by AlBQuirky

    When I first played AD&D (late 70's), I despised playing the Wizard and Cleric "spells for the day" guessing game. I never played either of these two classes. The same goes for 5-10 skill/ability/spell slots. I HATE guessing beforehand what I may need in the future. I prefer having all of my skills, abilities, and spells available when I need them.

    I also dislike the trend to make 1 skill perform many tasks, like a DPS attack that also does Healing and/or Crowd Control. I prefer skills that do one thing and do it well. When I need to CC or Heal, give me a skill/ability/spell that does this, not CC AND Heal.

    More skills mean more variety to me. They also mean I am better equipped to deal with more situational scenarios and survive.

    Simply hits the nail on the head for me. Agree 100% there. Even the AD&D casters,... oh how i disliked that. Still played every game due to the superb story and stuff tho :-)

    MMOs finally replaced social interaction, forced grouping and standing in a line while talking to eachother.

    Now we have forced soloing, forced questing and everyone is the hero, without ever having to talk to anyone else. The evolution of multiplayer is here! We won,... right?

  • Kevyne-ShandrisKevyne-Shandris Hephzibah, GAPosts: 1,946Member
    Originally posted by Shoko_Lied
    I like buttons more. More traditional and with roots from the old roll dice games.

    ^^This.^^

     

    51 combat arts and abilities is better than 12 keybind that's even chained macroed (with the kids screaming later that the game isn't hard [or is boring] anymore). -_-

  • HelleriHelleri Felton, CAPosts: 927Member Uncommon
    I just don't like what I considered clutter skills. The many small things I should be able to just do, as apposed to having them tied to a skill. Like fishing, summon mount, fire making etc. Those things that invariably stay at level 1 because they are on the bar as a nominal add. I find that games with too few skills tend to flood the bar with things that don't need to be skills. If I wield a fishing pole (and I have bait); I should be able to just click a body of water I am close enough to and fish. Why does it have to be a skill with the added complexity in being a skill of cast time, duration, and cool down? Where I tend to see "Too Much" with skills, is where a lot of them just feel like filler.

    image

  • Lord.BachusLord.Bachus Den HelderPosts: 9,065Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by iridescence

    Good post. It's tactical vs strategic thinking I think. The strategic player wants a lot of skills available so, through knowledge and memorization, they want to win a fight before it even starts by being crazy prepared. The more tactical player wants  fewer skills in play to give them more reactive freedom for things like dodging or using terrain to advantage. Although there definitely still is a strategic element to games which force you to pick your deck of skills from a large selection before combat (so maybe those are the best melding of strategy and tactics).

     

    I suspect there is a similar breakdown about hotbar vs action combat in MMOs (really it's stupid to have a tab target system without a lot of skills - you  really get the worst of all worlds).

     

    One addition is that I think if you are going to have a lot of skills in the game you should outlaw mods and macros. The challenge of these systems is actually knowing which skill to use at which time in which order. When you have a mod or a macro to do that for you it really does just become dumb button mashing.

     

    I prefer having a lot of buttons but as long as the game has a lot of skills to choose from I think both systems can work

    Strategical is planning ahead of time... placing the right skills on your bar is very strategical

    Tactical comes with real time decisions...  choosing the right skill at the right time...

     

    If you look at this definition, what you just wrote makes not a lot of sense to me..  I personally beleive that every MMO needs to be strong both tactical and strategical...  

     

    A game like GW2 was very strong Strategical... but failed somewhat in the tactical department as the best results could be gotten from clicking the abbiltiies as soon as they where off CD... despite the fact that they tought they where creating a very  tactical game with the dodging and such...

     

     

    If you want to make a game tactical... the more real time choices you give a player, the harder it comes to decide in a fraction of a seccond which to choose..

     

     

    Best MMO experiences : EQ(PvE), DAoC(PvP), WoW(total package) LOTRO (worldfeel) GW2 (Artstyle and animations and worlddesign) SWTOR (Story immersion) TSW (story) ESO (character advancement)

  • Kevyne-ShandrisKevyne-Shandris Hephzibah, GAPosts: 1,946Member

    With fishing there is skill involved just casting a line. Be it reel or fly fishing. No different than in golf with picking what clubs when and how to correctly swing them.

     

    Cast times are also related to the server needing to register the activity (otherwise the database would get overloaded with calls). It's a functional issue.

     

    I like how that MuD did the fishing better, not only using different baits, there's running text of what's happening...like the fish is nibbling on the bait. Takes a larger nibble. Strikes. Runs off for 10ft. You attempt to reel him in. Line snaps. Fish gets away (or the big fish reeling them in is a 10min epic fight to not lose the line -- and no that fish isn't used for cooking, it's for trophies!).

  • CyclopsSlayerCyclopsSlayer Minneapolis, MNPosts: 532Member

    I always preferred the flexabilty offered by more skills and buttons.

    The 5 button systems offer a very limited systems that allows little room for anything conditional. Take Elemental damages, I knew using Fire damage against a Fire based foe was useless so I would switch to Water or something else as the occasion called for. The 5 button systems are more in the ARPG family with Diablo/Path of Exile and such, than they are on the MMORPG.

    The limited, dare I say crippled, skill systems have to compensate by making all things the same, a Fireball now hurts a Fire elemental the same as a Ice Bolt or whatever. They remove all traces of depth and complexity in the favor of 'twitchy' mechanics and gimmicks over strategy.

  • goboygogoboygo Posts: 790Member Uncommon

    Great post but this is the guy your debating:

    Bong......check

    Console Controller.........check

    Keep it simple stupid combat.........check

    Game on man!

    "Fighting Internet stupidity one post at at time"
  • Kevyne-ShandrisKevyne-Shandris Hephzibah, GAPosts: 1,946Member
    Originally posted by Lord.Bachus

    If you want to make a game tactical... the more real time choices you give a player, the harder it comes to decide in a fraction of a seccond which to choose..

     

    That's the rub -- real time game play LoL/eSport style; or a slower pace that requires more careful preplanning of abilities (like in D&D games where you can only pick a couple abilities when you enter town -- can't switch them out in the wild, which gets you to prefer certain skills over others due to how you play and there's "no going back").

     

    Like the D&D model because you can get COMFORTABLE with certain abilities, and in turn by getting COMFORTABLE, you master them. Instead of being a jack of all trades master of none, you specialize within your class and become good in your niche. Like someone who likes heavy single target combat vs someone who prefers AoE. Not the heavy handed approach seen in WoW where Blizzard forces players to accept what the devs want and force you to play it that way to THEIR convenience, not how you prefer to play.

  • syntax42syntax42 Columbus, OHPosts: 1,305Member Uncommon

    First, "a lot" should be spelled as two separate words.  

     

    I disagree with the OP. 

     

    I played Rift recently and I did not enjoy the excessive number of skills.  I simply don't have enough buttons within reach on my keyboard to press everything needed to play the game.  I dislike using my mouse to activate skills because it feels slower to react.  Then, someone introduced me to macros.  Suddenly, every ability I needed could be bound to around 10 buttons on every class.

    What's the difference if you have 10 buttons or 10 skills, then?  For me, not much.  Only the animations and effects change in a game like Rift.  So, why can't games like GW2 do the same?  Wouldn't that be the same thing as having Rift-like macros?  I think so.  You can choose to press 222, or if the situation changes, you have to press a different button to react to the change.  The tactical part is choosing if you want to finish the chain for a certain effect or if you need to react to something.

    Games with fewer skills can work.  They just need to get a little more creative about it than having 1-2 animations and effects per skill.

  • Kevyne-ShandrisKevyne-Shandris Hephzibah, GAPosts: 1,946Member
    Originally posted by syntax42

    I simply don't have enough buttons within reach on my keyboard to press everything needed to play the game.  I dislike using my mouse to activate skills because it feels slower to react.  

    Good.

     

    Why? Being dependent on macros and addons to play cheapens your experience in appreciating different games that can have 51 combat arts/spells/buffs, and not forcing players to get game controllers and fancy 10 button mice to play so folks can have a "challenge" and brag about their eliteness.

  • Lord.BachusLord.Bachus Den HelderPosts: 9,065Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by UNATCOII
    Originally posted by Lord.Bachus

    If you want to make a game tactical... the more real time choices you give a player, the harder it comes to decide in a fraction of a seccond which to choose..

     

    That's the rub -- real time game play LoL/eSport style; or a slower pace that requires more careful preplanning of abilities (like in D&D games where you can only pick a couple abilities when you enter town -- can't switch them out in the wild, which gets you to prefer certain skills over others due to how you play and there's "no going back").

     

    Like the D&D model because you can get COMFORTABLE with certain abilities, and in turn by getting COMFORTABLE, you master them. Instead of being a jack of all trades master of none, you specialize within your class and become good in your niche. Like someone who likes heavy single target combat vs someone who prefers AoE. Not the heavy handed approach seen in WoW where Blizzard forces players to accept what the devs want and force you to play it that way to THEIR convenience, not how you prefer to play.

    in essence its still the same tactical layer... but the more time you give people to choose, the easier it gets to make the right tactical dessigen   

     

    However i agree with you somewhat... because next to tactical and Strategical there is one other important  structure in a games combat system... and that is the execution phase... for example if you want to hit player A with your big gun Blow up abbility in a FPS interface... your tactical decision was good... but your executing ie the aiming fracked big time...

     

    making people think fast as in my example makes the tactical dessigen much harder... and for most people impossible because they lack the cooordination... yet it does not make the tactical dessigen less important, as in this kind of gameplay only te best of the best can make the right dessigens at the right time and execute them flawlessly.... this is what people call skilled gamers and this system allows them to be very much better then the average Joe..

     

    I think there is a lot of room for slower paced games, that allow people to think carefully before they act..   actually i think in the end that the market in MMO gaming land is much bigger for the sl+ower gameplay then for the ultrafast gameplay... because many many more people will feel competitive... and on top of that... people that love the ultrafast gameplay most often turn towards shooters anyway....

     

    So i think there will allways be a huge market for tab targetting games with awesome annimations and a huge tactical choice of skills...   ie.  the WoW clones... because most people feel comfortable at playing them...

    Best MMO experiences : EQ(PvE), DAoC(PvP), WoW(total package) LOTRO (worldfeel) GW2 (Artstyle and animations and worlddesign) SWTOR (Story immersion) TSW (story) ESO (character advancement)

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,779Member Uncommon

    What's more fun is knowing that "a lot" is two words, not one.  "Allot" is one word, but that's not what you mean.

    Anyway, back on topic, I don't like it when games try to get you to have 50 skills available, most of which you'll virtually never use.  I much prefer a Guild Wars-style system of saying, you can have a lot of skills, but only a handful are available to you at a time, so you have to think about which skills you want to have available when.

    I tend to prefer a gamepad for MMORPGs, as I use a keyboard and mouse so much for other things--such as my job.  Aggressive mouse usage after I get home from work, too, would be a repetitive strain injury waiting to happen.  Gamepads have limited numbers of buttons, so I prefer combat that can be handled from relatively few buttons.

  • Lord.BachusLord.Bachus Den HelderPosts: 9,065Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Quizzical

    What's more fun is knowing that "a lot" is two words, not one.  "Allot" is one word, but that's not what you mean.

    Anyway, back on topic, I don't like it when games try to get you to have 50 skills available, most of which you'll virtually never use.  I much prefer a Guild Wars-style system of saying, you can have a lot of skills, but only a handful are available to you at a time, so you have to think about which skills you want to have available when.

    I tend to prefer a gamepad for MMORPGs, as I use a keyboard and mouse so much for other things--such as my job.  Aggressive mouse usage after I get home from work, too, would be a repetitive strain injury waiting to happen.  Gamepads have limited numbers of buttons, so I prefer combat that can be handled from relatively few buttons.

    Thanks for explaining in this educative way. because a lot of players like me are non native English speakers...

     

    But however i disagree with you on the 50 skills... if using them all means the difference between a medicore player and a top player, then it is a great thing... but if all those skills do exactly the same, then its not-..

     

    Buying and getting used to my NAGA mouse that gives me 48 accessible (alt - ctrl - shift )  buttons in combination with my G15 keyboard and its 18 special buttons... it gives me totall controll over all my skills... feels like an art to me.. and no, i never use macros... because it takes away from the feeling of being in controll...

    Best MMO experiences : EQ(PvE), DAoC(PvP), WoW(total package) LOTRO (worldfeel) GW2 (Artstyle and animations and worlddesign) SWTOR (Story immersion) TSW (story) ESO (character advancement)

  • Kevyne-ShandrisKevyne-Shandris Hephzibah, GAPosts: 1,946Member
    Originally posted by Lord.Bachus

    I think there is a lot of room for slower paced games, that allow people to think carefully before they act..   actually i think in the end that the market in MMO gaming land is much bigger for the sl+ower gameplay then for the ultrafast gameplay... because many many more people will feel competitive... and on top of that... people that love the ultrafast gameplay most often turn towards shooters anyway....

     

    Games that require slower reactions make up with consequences. Blew using XYZ ability, they're not going to be using it again unless they die (or exploit the environment). So it's carefully picking when and where to use XYZ ability, not spam that ability as the main "go to" spell.

     

    If games would require slower aims; stalking prey; needing to be careful to not draw aggro (as you need to be within striking distance -- not 60 yards away -- to execute a strike), this speed race would finally come down. As the emphasis will be more on the right ability at the right time, than a race to 1111111111111111111111111 spam.

     

    If DPS would learn from healing, they can learn that it's not spam and 101 macros that can be fun and skillful, it's when having to make tough choices, you have to decided who and when get priority attention (as the limit for a healer is their mana, they can't 1111111111111 spam, and have to carefully pick targets, like those in triage have to decide who lives and dies). Wrong choice it can be a wipe.

  • QuirhidQuirhid TamperePosts: 5,969Member Common
      total number of skills size of your skill bar possible build combinations
    Game A            20 20 1
    Game B 20 15 15 504
    Game C 20 10 184 756
    Game D 20 5 15 504
    Game E 20 1 20
    *(Calculated using the nCr algorithm. More information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combination.)

     

    You will probably notice that game A has effectively just one build. It doesn't put any emphasis on planning or adaptation because you only have one build and that one build is prepared for anything (prepared for anything it is designed to be prepared for anyway).

    You might also notice games B and D have the same number of combinations. This is due to the fact that it doesn't matter whether you choose to pick 5 skills to bring with you or to discard. Instances where you choose 2 out of 20, or 18 out of 20 will both have the same number of different combinations as well - 190.

    The highest possible number of combinations comes when you have to choose 10 out of 20. Half. Its always half. But what you want to take out from this, is that a subset of skills add depth. It puts emphasis on your ability to anticipate and adapt because you can't prepare for everything. To prevail, you must think and try to make do with what you have. And that takes player skill.

    There are also some usability considerations. We don't want to fill the screen with skill bars and we don't want to present the player with choices that are not available at that current time. Less clutter and less buttons to press the more lighter the UI. However this doesn't mean the game is simple.

    For example, generally you use only a portion of those 40 skills you might have on the screen making rest of the skills clutter. Adding modes can reduce clutter. Replacing the effects of you land combat abilities with your underwater combat abilities when fighting underwater saves space on the screen. There wouldn't be any point having the other on the screen anyway, because you can't use them. This is also how you can have an wide set of abilities even on a game that uses a controller: the buttons do different things whether you are running, jumping, standing, swimming etc. This should be very familiar to anyone who has ever played a console game.

    And lastly, one way to also save screen space and simplify the UI is to reduce skill cycles to just one skill. Most recent example of this is probably Guild Wars 2. The rationale behind it is that, usually, there is little point adapting your cycle mid-way and if you interrupt your cycle, you usually have to start over anyway. That is why they are are called cycles after all: One skill follows the other until the combo is done. That is also why people often use macros to apply them. 1-3 skill bars might take just 1-3 macros to apply.

    TL;DR: More is not necessarily better.

    I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky

  • AnirethAnireth Posts: 599Member Uncommon

    I enjoyed the hell ouf of NWN with 36 directly available skills on hotbars. I loved being able to blast a horde of orcs storming in with a fireball after i stopped them with timestop, but also having boost my saves against negative energy against that pesky warlord. And after the fight i would use knock to open the chest, heal myself etc.

    I similar loved having to choose between 8 skills in GW. if you were alone, you needed some single target DPS, some AoE, some heal/buff, maybe you even carried a signet of capture on your elite skill hunt. You had to figure out which skill allowed you to achieve your current goal best, instead of simply blasting through because you always had the right skill.

    Even with groups of 8 or more you had to choose, there was always something that you would love to take, but you simply couldn't, because something else was always needed. That added a lot of tactical value, it allowed different builds to perform better or worse against the same enemy, instead of everyone simply pulling out the same spell every time you encountered that specific enemy.

    I also loved playing Vindictus, where you do not use your hotbar all that much, most skills can be activated via simply attacking and movement etc.

    And i loved playing UO, where i had not a single skill on a hotbar because i wasn't playing a caster. If i wanted to attack something i simply did, if  i had to heal i even had to open my inventory to use the bandages. Yes, that meant i could only attack one enemy at the time, it meant i couldn't stun him or make him sleep. I couldn't buff myself, i had no heal spells, no teleport, i couldn't really tank, etc. If you couldn't hit harder than the enemy, well, maybe you shouldn't be there?

    The amount of skills you have in itself is irrelevant, aswell as whether you can have them all on the hotbar or not. What matters is that you have the skills you need, and that depends on the game.

    Generaliziation like "more then 8 skills are too much" or "if i don't have at least 30 hotbar slots it's a bad game" are simply wrong.

    Just look at non-MMOs. In Dragon Age you got a hotbar, in Skyrim you got skills on kotkeys, in The Witcher you have only 5 actual skills (the signs).. In Deus Ex 3 you have some hotkeys (activate stealth etc.), some situational skills (knockiing out enemies) and some you could always us. Overall rather few.

    In JRPGs you have to select skills from a menu, maybe even while time is running (activate combat system). Yet games like Final Fantasy VII/VIII, Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana etc. are recognized as some of the greatest games ever made.

    So let me say it again: How many skills you have, and how you can activate them doesn't mean anything, they simply have to fit the game. They did in NWN, Dragon Age, UO, GW, Vindictus, Chrono Trigger.

    --

    And arguing that you need a skill for fishing to determine when the action starts and ends..you forgot that there is an animation involved, which has a set duration, including a clearly defined start and end. Thats what skills do anyways, start an animation. When does the skill end? When the animation is finished, maybe a small delay afterwards.

    Guess what, UO did most things without actual skills, like, fishing, riding, lumberjacking, carpenting, smithing, tailoring and so on. If it was possible back then, it's even more so possible now. In fact, nothing that was done earlier is impossible now. it might be impossible to achieve everything at once, especially when visuals come into play, but thats something entirely different, and no excuse for the poor execution in most games

    I'll wait to the day's end when the moon is high
    And then I'll rise with the tide with a lust for life, I'll
    Amass an army, and we'll harness a horde
    And then we'll limp across the land until we stand at the shore

  • RattenmannRattenmann ReitmehringPosts: 510Member Uncommon

    Since i think some people missed one of my points, or i just suck at explaining it:

    I dislike fighting a keyboard, but i love OPTIONs. I am for deleting every useless skill, just like the majority of you is. I also don't want to have to use more then 5 skills in a priority order for anything like tanking or dps. But i still want to have options that are only needed in certain situations. I also understand that most current gen games go the easy route and just reduce your available hotbuttons and call it "convinient".

     

    Leave the tactical desitions in the game, just leave out useless stuff.

     

    Said game needs just as many keybinds / buttons / macros (however you want to call it) then Rift does. Or any other 40+ skill game. But you only get to choose 5 of those buttons. It is like having dozen auto bound useless skills learned from lvl 1.

    So in essence you give up options for nothing and still have to fight your keyboard (which is never good) just as bad.

    Also: thanks for pointing out my "a lot" issue. Will remember in the future.

    MMOs finally replaced social interaction, forced grouping and standing in a line while talking to eachother.

    Now we have forced soloing, forced questing and everyone is the hero, without ever having to talk to anyone else. The evolution of multiplayer is here! We won,... right?

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