Combat Next

QuirhidQuirhid TampereMember UncommonPosts: 6,230

The topic is how collision detection can be used to refresh combat in MMORPGs.

In its basic form, it ensures that two characters cannot overlap or stack upon one another. This is nothing new, many MMORPGs do this atleast when player characters are concerned. This already creates a new aspect to combat which does not exist in games that do not employ collision detection: You can block your opponents. Body blocking creates situations where you can defend your allies from melee attackers merely by smart movement and positioning. No abilities used, or needed. This was very heavily used in Guild Wars 1 for instance.

Another more rare feature is line of sight checks for ranged spells and attacks. What it does is pretty straight-forward: When in place, you cannot shoot through terrain, your allies or enemies other than your target. You have to have a line of sight to your target to be able to hit it. The effect this has is that formations become important, terrain becomes important and ranged attacks become less potent in amassed battles.

Lets take a closer look at large scale battles with this idea in mind: If you don't have terrain or other players to block your shots, you can easily have a situation where the whole offensive power of one team is directed at one player of the other team. Defense-wise, the most important thing for a soft back-line character is to stay beyond the range of hostile attacks, which can easily lead to situations where your melee attackers are beyond healing range -> melee becomes less viable.

 

However, if you cannot shoot past enemies other than your target, taking down a character from the enemy's backline is very difficult. Even if you choose to target a frontline character, your ability to apply your offensive power is hindered.

Needless to say, formation would play a very important role if such as system was put in place, but also tactics. You see, while a front line character is vulnerable to ranged attacks, if you can manage to close the distance, you are relatively safe in melee because only so many characters can fill the spaces around you and there will be no shooting into melee (a feature which should be familiar to tabletop players). Also, by maintaining a close formation, you can limit the number of melee attackers to just a few at a time.

 

As always, a larger group will have the advantage but with good use of terrain and formation, the numbers between sides becomes less important. Situations where the whole team is shooting one target at a time is pretty rare in FPS games, and what usually limits this is the map terrain. And if you still find yourself in a situation where 32 players can shoot you at the same time - you are doing something wrong.

On the other side of the spectrum: Eve Online, you can have hundreds of players on both sides, and it is not uncommon to find yourself in the crosshairs of hundred of your opponents. For a developer, this is an especially challenging balancing problem: How to balance items and abilities so that they have a use but are not overpowered in large scale and/or small scale combat?

The simplest way to demonstrate this problem is healing: How do you keep healing relevant in large scale engagements where one ally can be a target of hundreds of attacks at the same time? Usually they die pretty much instantly, right? And you can't just buff healing, because it can become overpowered in small-scale engagements. Personally I don't think there is a solution to be found simply by adjusting healing; therefore, you have to figure out some other way to keep healing both relevant and not overpowered at the same time.

If we look at FPS games again, even if you have 64 or more players playing at the same time, depending on map design, the situations you find yourself in are more commonly 1v1, 2v2, 3v3 or 1v2, 1v3 or 1v4 etc. Much more smaller. This makes it easier to balance all the items and abilities in the game.

In a game where you have to use tactics and utility abilities to break the enemy formation, it becomes harder to evaluate your power on pure math alone. You also have to figure out  what sort of AOE effects you want to employ, for example do you want to use a lighting bolt that passes through up to three targets in a straight line, fireball which explodes as an expanding sphere upon first impact or a meteor that strikes from the sky as a form of indirect fire. The array of different ranged attacks could be very broad.

Even with no friendly fire or limited friendly fire I can find this making up for a fun way to do combat in MMORPGs.

So... Collision detection. Any thoughts?

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

Comments

  • QuirhidQuirhid TampereMember UncommonPosts: 6,230
    I had pictures too, but for some reason they didn't show... Have to make do without.

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

  • bcbullybcbully Westland, MIMember RarePosts: 9,186
    for sake of discussion I'll remove my post.
  • DeivosDeivos Member EpicPosts: 3,692

    I take it you never played Asheron's Call or Ryzom.

     

    EDIT: In regards to healing, the solution in general has been to shift it to pre-emptive and defensive abilities to prevent taking a degree of damage rather than trying to make a scaling setup to recovering health.

    Barriers and protection powers becomes more important to shirk away the damage while the healing then has time to be effective or players are forced to cycle out of the front line to recover.

    "The knowledge of the theory of logic has no tendency whatever to make men good reasoners." - Thomas B. Macaulay

    "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." - Daniel J. Boorstin

  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAMember RarePosts: 27,659
    Already done in games like Diablo 3 to good effect. In fact, there are spells which modified collision detection (i.e. those let you go through the others for a short time).
  • QuirhidQuirhid TampereMember UncommonPosts: 6,230
    Originally posted by nariusseldon
    Already done in games like Diablo 3 to good effect. In fact, there are spells which modified collision detection (i.e. those let you go through the others for a short time).

    Yeah its been done in Diablo 3, but Diablo 3 isn't an MMORPG, is it? What I am trying to point out here, is a different approach to MMORPG combat which, apart from recent action combat features, has stayed virtually the same for a very long time.

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

  • QuirhidQuirhid TampereMember UncommonPosts: 6,230
    Originally posted by Deivos
    I take it you never played Asheron's Call or Ryzom.

    No I haven't. But those games are not known for their good combat either.

    EDIT: In regards to healing, the solution in general has been to shift it to pre-emptive and defensive abilities to prevent taking a degree of damage rather than trying to make a scaling setup to recovering health.

    Barriers and protection powers becomes more important to shirk away the damage while the healing then has time to be effective or players are forced to cycle out of the front line to recover.

    That is true. The healing example was meant to show how difficult an ability can be to balance with both small-scale and large-scale in mind.

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

  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAMember RarePosts: 27,659
    Originally posted by Quirhid
    Originally posted by nariusseldon
    Already done in games like Diablo 3 to good effect. In fact, there are spells which modified collision detection (i.e. those let you go through the others for a short time).

    Yeah its been done in Diablo 3, but Diablo 3 isn't an MMORPG, is it? What I am trying to point out here, is a different approach to MMORPG combat which, apart from recent action combat features, has stayed virtually the same for a very long time.

    Close enough for me.

    And there is no reason why Diablo combat cannot be used in MMORPGs. In fact, Marvel Heroes, which is a MMORPG, uses exactly that.

    action RPG combat can be easily adapted to MMOs. There are other examples.

  • DeivosDeivos Member EpicPosts: 3,692
    Originally posted by Quirhid
    Originally posted by Deivos
    I take it you never played Asheron's Call or Ryzom.

    No I haven't. But those games are not known for their good combat either.

    The weren't known for having bad combat either. More so the knowledge of them and interest in the titles doesn't extend beyond the people that used to play them.

    Both titles had perfectly good combat and Asheron's Call still has elements that other titles could reference in how to make a more interesting and challenging system on the gameplay end rather than challenge coming more out of numbers scaling. Ryzom similarly has a few mechanics in place that worked to give combat a physical element of presence as well as means to compromise when those aspects were more detrimental than interesting.

    It's facetious to hand-wave for not personally knowing something. Especially if they are directly applicable to the things you claim you'd want to see.

    "The knowledge of the theory of logic has no tendency whatever to make men good reasoners." - Thomas B. Macaulay

    "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." - Daniel J. Boorstin

  • HolophonistHolophonist Pittsburgh, PAMember UncommonPosts: 2,091

    I didn't read the entire post but I assume it was just going more in depth about collision detection and body blocking and the possible strategies involved with it, etc.

     

    Darkfall: Unholy Wars does this very well and is, as far as I can tell, the only true FPS MMORPG. A case could be made for PS2, but I've always had trouble calling that an MMORPG. Very little progression or character permanence.

  • QuirhidQuirhid TampereMember UncommonPosts: 6,230
    Originally posted by Deivos
    Originally posted by Quirhid
     

    The weren't known for having bad combat either. More so the knowledge of them and interest in the titles doesn't extend beyond the people that used to play them.

    Both titles had perfectly good combat and Asheron's Call still has elements that other titles could reference in how to make a more interesting and challenging system on the gameplay end rather than challenge coming more out of numbers scaling. Ryzom similarly has a few mechanics in place that worked to give combat a physical element of presence as well as means to compromise when those aspects were more detrimental than interesting.

    It's facetious to hand-wave for not personally knowing something. Especially if they are directly applicable to the things you claim you'd want to see.

    Believe me if those games had what I wanted, they would be on my radar and likely I would have played at least one of them. I'm not new to the genre.

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

  • QuirhidQuirhid TampereMember UncommonPosts: 6,230
    Originally posted by Holophonist
    I didn't read the entire post but I assume it was just going more in depth about collision detection and body blocking and the possible strategies involved with it, etc.   Darkfall: Unholy Wars does this very well and is, as far as I can tell, the only true FPS MMORPG. A case could be made for PS2, but I've always had trouble calling that an MMORPG. Very little progression or character permanence.

    Darkfall is in the ballpark but the game is otherwise... unappealing.

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

  • DeivosDeivos Member EpicPosts: 3,692
    Originally posted by Quirhid Believe me if those games had what I wanted, they would be on my radar and likely I would have played at least one of them. I'm not new to the genre.

    That's a rather subjective point of view. You might not be new to thew genre, but that doesn't make you any more or less savvy on it as a whole either compared to most others.

     

    Those games have features you describe, whether or not you cared or care enough to look at them is a personal dilemma and not a factor on the game and it's contents.

    "The knowledge of the theory of logic has no tendency whatever to make men good reasoners." - Thomas B. Macaulay

    "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." - Daniel J. Boorstin

  • QuirhidQuirhid TampereMember UncommonPosts: 6,230
    Originally posted by Deivos
    Originally posted by Quirhid Believe me if those games had what I wanted, they would be on my radar and likely I would have played at least one of them. I'm not new to the genre.

    That's a rather subjective point of view. You might not be new to thew genre, but that doesn't make you any more or less savvy on it as a whole either compared to most others.

     

    Those games have features you describe, whether or not you cared or care enough to look at them is a personal dilemma and not a factor on the game and it's contents.

    I'm not filling out a checklist, I'm looking for a game with good combat, preferably something different that is being offered by the majority. Games are more than just a list of features. It matters how they are implemented.

    Not to mention those games are ancient.

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

  • DeivosDeivos Member EpicPosts: 3,692

    This would have been a simpler conversation if you had related you weren't interested in the mechanics of the games. It was rather misleading based on your original post.

     

    EDIT: Also a bit weird you're trying to disregard my comment by saying "games are more than just a list of features" right after saying you want one with a differing set of features from the norm. It's a very contradictory stance in just two sentences.

     

    More so for the fact I was pointing out how those games play differently because of their different mechanics and the value they have in comparing to what you said in your original post as they fulfill much of that concept. Disregarding them because they are "old" is irrational if you actually wanted to live up to the claim of wanting the gameplay more than a list of features, but you're obviously preferential towards popular and more so "modern" titles, which is ultimately why you don't see the variance you say you have interest in. You narrowed your options to the field that has the least variance, and then complained about the lack of variance. 

    "The knowledge of the theory of logic has no tendency whatever to make men good reasoners." - Thomas B. Macaulay

    "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." - Daniel J. Boorstin

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