1. #1

    Discussion: My MMO Combat and Gear Design (Very Long Read)

    ** First off, this will be quite a long read, but I think I've put enough thought into it to entice some of you. Read as much as you like and in any order you would like, I tried to section it off so that'd be easier to do. Please leave comments, good, bad or neutral. It helps me in trying to pump my brain for revolutionary ideas, and provides a better discussion for anyone else to takes a look. I'm looking for the good and the bad so don't hold any thoughts back! Would you play or do you think you'd enjoy a system like this? For combat? for gearing? Let me hear you. I'll likely add more later, specifically more definition to the Weapon and Sub-combat roles.**

    Character Dynamics:
    One of the biggest things to this game design is the flexibility of character creation. Now, with that said, this game comes with quite a large learning curve. Several aspects of successful games have been relatively merged, with some added spice to create a vast (nearly infinitely large) option pool of self-chosen character design with guide rails to helping you create the perfect character to your liking.
    Abilities will be set up

    The combat system will take a familiar appearance (similar) of the Guild Wars 2 ability selection, however, with a much larger capability capacity. Your action bars will have 11 slots, and will be divided into 4 sections:

    The first two slots would be auto attack toggles. When choosing a weapon and various sub-combat roles to fill, you will unlock several auto-functioning attacks that correspond to chosen Weapon and specialized Sub-Combat specialties. Two of them can be selected (outside of combat only) to fill these spots. Various auto attacks function differently based on the weapon, sub combat role, or conjunction that it responds to. By design, upon entering combat, and begin to attack, your furthest ranged auto attack will be toggled-on. When in range for multiple auto-functions, the game will have one of the two “highlighted” (or a graphic surrounding it on your hotbar” showing that it is your Primary auto-attack. Your primary auto-attack is the last auto function you physically pressed to perform. Thus, your primary auto-attack will always be going when in range of an enemy while in an attack state, however if you stray out of range, while still in combat and targeting an enemy, and you have a further ranged auto attack, that ability will continue to execute, but your previous Primary Auto attack will continue to stay primary.

    Your auto attack abilities consume no resource when using them. The next set of 8 abilities requires the usage of your Stamina bar in order to be able to cast them. No ability will have a “cooldown”. With that said, control abilities are not as potent, nor do they last as long. There will be fewer “full control” spells. Control abilities also cost more resources than pure damage, healing or defensive spells. In case of mass-zerg, there would also be a resolve mechanic in place, allowing players to only be “fully controlled” to a maximum amount, before being granted a Grace Period, where you’re unaffected by control abilities. (Light movement impairing is not prevented by Grace. Some abilities such as a light ability called Guided by the Light (a passive ability) could lower the amount of control required to trigger the Grace Period, or increase the length of the Grace.) All of that said, this allows for a more decision-based combat system, and less time having to watch your bar for cooldowns, and more time watching and interacting with the battle field.

    So, after you’ve chosen your 2 auto attacks, your 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th (next 4 moves) will be weapon related abilities. Some weapon related abilities are pure weapon skills, others may come from using a specific weapon that combines with sub-combat roles (Such as using a sword while having points into fire combat may unlock a fire-slash). You will have several abilities in this section, you can assign 4 of your available skills to these slots.
    The 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th slots are much like the weapon abilities. These will be Sub-combat specific skills acquired by having a certain amount of Specialty Points put into sub-combat roles. Like weapon skills, some abilities are unlocked by having numerous sub-combat roles filled with a certain amount of specialty points.

    Finally, you will have a “Chosen Power”. Chosen powers are highly potent abilities and are acquired much like sub-combat abilities. However, there are fewer, and have stricter specialization requirements. Chosen powers are the only abilities that you cannot freely use continuously. When in combat you will have a slowly declining “Power bar”. Successfully performing stunts in combat (IE not missing, being blocked/dodged, or otherwise) will allow you to fill this Power bar. Once a power bar is maximized it will no longer decrease unless combat is dropped. This allows for use of the Chosen Power. Chosen Power “power bar” fluctuates depending on the ability. Some abilities are more potent than other chosen powers, but take more consistent combat and a longer time to fill the power bar.
    Behind the scenes there are 3 “Passive ability” slots configured via a menu. These are equally defining as they also come from your sub-combat rolls and weapon choice
    Frigged Grasp, a frost AND shadow required passive that slows all enemies within a certain distance by 4% every 2 seconds, stacking up to 20%, lasting up to 8 seconds, refreshing in duration upon application. (control utility)
    Leeching, a Shadow mastery passive that causes x% of all damage dealt to heal the user.(personal utility)
    Honorable Presence, a physical mastery passive that increases all nearby allies stamina regeneration by x%. (group utility)

    Leveling in this design is slightly different than most games. In fact, two things come to mind very specifically. You gain experience through fighting enemies, as normal, however! There are no gear level requirements (as there is no necessary scaling required) and your basic stats do not depend on your level. The goal of leveling allows for several benefits, however, though it may not directly increase your power.

    Level Benefits:
    1. Sub-combat Specialization and Weapon Level. While these two categories level faster than the basic level of a character, a weapon’s level cannot exceed the player’s level (which is used to unlock more weapon skills), and you will not be able to specialize into sub-combat roles without the points gained through leveling. (1 per level, starting at level 1.)
    2. Some masterful armor and weapon smiths will only accept your request to create “Legendary” and “Godly” armor if they see that you have proven yourself on the battle field! So while you may be a champion who slayed the dragon with your allies, if you have not fulfilled your role in the eyes of the greats, you will be denied the right to wear the mightiest of armor.
    3. Some content will be gated, similarly to specialized gear crafting, by guardians and gate keepers of specific areas. (They don’t want our new recruits to go in unprepared!)

    Ability Overview:
    Abilities will be plentiful! As you level, as mentioned, you will gain Specialization points to distribute through a specialization grid. The further you specialize into a sub-combat roll via point allocation, you will unlock abilities, passive abilities, and passive stats (stats that do not require putting into a slot. Generally, these are less potent and character defining, such as speed boots, power, or gain special benefits from various weapon/armor types. For example, a 45 point passive addition to Physical Mastery could be that Heavy armor no longer hinders stamina regen.)
    As you put points into these roles you may choose to deeply specialize in one sub-combat role, or you may decide to create hybrid builds, which will all be entirely viable. (with their own pros and cons). Allocating points into various roles will allow you to learn “Complex” abilities. Complex abilities draw for more than one source to allow new specialized abilities. (Example: Having 30 points into Air mastery, and 30 into lightning mastery would unlock a Storm ability, that creates a large storm cloud that causes fog for enemies (adds a grey fog to the screen) causing them to passively have a lower accuracy, and deals lightning damage periodically when standing in the storm.)

    Specialty Gating (Weapon/Specialization Level):
    While there is leveling of the character, your weapon usage and specialization will have to be trained properly in order to learn the various skills from specializing in the combat techniques. Firstly, weapon level. Weapon level is a quick (largely faster than character leveling) process of learning to handle the weapon, which gates the usage of higher leveled weapon abilities, as well as weapon abilities with sub-combat attributes (such as a flame strike for a sword wielding fire master, that requires 30 points into fire mastery, ad at least a level 40 sword wielding skill. If you’re a 30 point fire master, but your sword is only level 39, you will not have access to that ability for usage).

    The more defining character advancement comes through Sub-Combat mastery leveling. Again, this will be a relatively quick process, especially in regards to character leveling (though in order to max out every one you may be working past max character level). In order to level a sub-combat mastery you must actively use abilities from the chosen specialization to progress. Sub-combat auto attacks slowly increase your level with the role, while sub-combat stamina using abilities level them much quicker. Whenever you have any points into a sub-combat role you will slowly gain some experience in that role even if you do not use its abilities whenever you kill and enemy as well as a bonus amount if you have a sub-combat passive ability set to usage. In the end, as long as you have points into it you will slowly level in that sub-role, but with more interaction with it, you will achieve a higher level faster. NOTE: Sub-combat levels do not directly affect your character though. They simply ungate the ability to put specialization points into that specialization up to the level of that role.
    *Note: By a certain level, it’s entirely possible to put 1 point into all specializations and level them all at once, but you’d be seriously gimping yourself in the long haul.

    Weapon Combat:

    One Handed Mastery
    Two Handed Mastery
    Dagger Mastery
    Bow Mastery
    Pole Mastery
    Gun Mastery
    Shield Mastery

    Sub Combat:

    Summon Mastery
    Engineering Mastery
    Alchemy Mastery
    Physical Mastery
    Dexterity Mastery
    Shadow Mastery
    Plague Mastery
    Fire Mastery
    Water Mastery
    Cold Mastery
    Air Mastery
    Lightning Mastery
    Light Mastery
    Nature Mastery
    Shape-shift Mastery


    • Power – A weapon’s Ability to cause physical harm. (Shown as a Percent. Increases all physical aspects (Damage) by said percent.)
    • Energy – A weapon’s support of magic spells. (Shown as a Percent. Increases all magical aspects (Damage, healing) by said percent.)
    • Weight – A weapon’s weight. Heavier weapons cost more stamina to use abilities. Some abilities are modified by weight in other ways, such as knock down duration being benefited by a heavier weapon. (Shown as Unstoppable, Heavy, Medium, Light, Weightless.)
    • Attunement – A weapon’s attunement to non-physical forces. Less attuned weapons cost more stamina to cast spells. (Shown as Runic, Glowing, Shimmering, Faded, Dull.)
    • Swiftness – A weapon’s physical speed. Increases the cast (swing) time of auto-swings and physical abilities. (Blazing, Quick, Swift, Slow, Sluggish)
    • Synergy – A weapon’s ability to synergize with the wielder, increasing spell casting speed for spell-based abilities. (Masterful, Fluid, Synced, Untamed, Unstable.)

    Master-weaver’s Spell Blade
    Type: Dagger
    Power: +23% Energy: +46%
    Weight: Light Attunement: Glowing
    Swiftness: Blazing Synergy: Masterful

    Heaven’s Comet (Two-Handed)
    Type: Two-handed (Mace)
    Power: +96% Energy: +55%
    Weight: Unstoppable Attunement: Shimmering
    Swiftness: Swift Synergy: Untamed

    Gear (Armor):
    -Stats: (Stats are all % based.
    • Protection – A piece of gear’s ability to protect from physical harm.
    • Magic Ward – A piece of gear’s ability to protect from magical harm. (Generally highly varied between armor types.)
    • Flexibility – A piece of gear’s ability to allow movement. (Increases movement speed, and dodge roll distance. Scales similarly to stamina recovery rate.) *(Generally highly varied between armor types.)
    • Stamina Recovery Rate – A piece of gear’s relation to being able to recover stamina. (Stamina recovers at a base rate, assume 100%. Heavier armor would generally have a negative SRR, while lighter; especially mystical gear may increase your recovery rate or break even.) (Sometimes, but less frequently varied between armor types.

    Armor types: (Armor types are only in place to give users a general idea of what to expect from armor, and for traits that reflect specific armor types, and to suggest heavier armor will likely have higher protection, but lower sub-stats.)
    Heavy – Heavy armor generally has the highest Protection, but lower SRR and Flexibilities.
    Medium – Medium armor generally has moderate protection and other moderate stats.
    Light – Light armor generally has the lowest protection, but provides the best sub-stats, such as flexibility and SRR.

    Saint’s Blessed Robe
    Type: Light
    Protection: 20%
    Magic Ward: 54%
    Flexibility: +6% (Movement speed/Dodge Roll distance)
    Stamina Recovery Rate: +5%

    Guardian’s Caress
    Type: Heavy
    Protection: 55%
    Magic Ward: 35%
    Flexibility: -3% (Movement speed/Dodge Roll distance)
    Stamina Recovery Rate: -6%
    Last edited by HardlyWaken; 2013-02-09 at 03:46 AM.

  2. #2
    This probably needs to be moved to say the video game section.

  3. #3
    Possibly, though, it's not a real game or based off of anything in particular, I wasn't sure. Hell it's also a little bit "for fun". :P

  4. #4
    Ehm... You should probably start out with an actual system. I'd love to have a look-see, but your combat system mentions only vaguely the shape in which you want to put the UI and limit the amount of skills readily at hand. The combat system itself isn't present, so I honestly cannot comment on anything here.

    Things you'll need:
    • (possibly percentile) hit system with baseline success chance
    • Defense system with baseline success/failure rate
    • Attack/defense incremental step size
    • Baseline standard action timer
    • Baseline hit boxes
    • Baseline ranges for ranged attacks/utility
    • Baseline speed/sec
    • Incremental action timer step size
    • Damage/hit points system
    • Increase of damage/hit points by baseline progression/step
    When you've figured out the base dynamics, you can have a look at stats/skills. Do you want either of them? If so, what effect do they have on the above? Which stats/skills affect which increment steps?
    Then you're going into resources. Do you want a baseline attack ability with several strong attacks/utilities that require resources to be used, or would you rather have resources implemented in the form of (shared) cooldowns? Maybe you would like several kinds of resources (one for attacks, one for utility)? Or would you rather have everything at the ready at all times?

    When that is set, you want to look at abilities. How do you gain new abilities? By skills, talents, or anything the like? What kind of abilities do you want? (You've stated something vague; I get the point, but it's not complete)

    After that, it is Progression's turn. How do you progress? Ability/skill tree-wise, or linearly, or maybe an open sandbox system? Maybe you'd like a compromise of on or more ways in order to progress? (You posts suggests a compromise, but it lacks a closer examination)

    Then you'll have to figure out if you want a progression cap (or not) in raw stats.

    For example:
    In WoW, the base attack/defense system works in percentages. The base success rate is 95% (hit chance against an equal level creature).
    In quote from WoWwiki (old content, but still relevant):
    If the difference between the mob's level and your level is less than or equal to 2, then the formula for calculating your base miss rate against that mob is:
    with single-wielding: 5% + (Mob Level - Your Level) * 0.5%
    with dual-wielding: 24% + (Mob Level - Your Level) * 0.5%
    If the difference between the mob's level and your level is greater than 2, then the formula for calculating your base miss rate against that mob is:
    with single-wielding: 2% + (Mob Level - Your Level) * 2%
    with dual-wielding: 21% + (Mob Level - Your Level) * 2%
    Applying these formulas gives the following base miss rate for a Level 85 character:
    v. Level 85 mob: 5.0% / dual-wield: 24%
    v. Level 86 mob: 5.5% / dual-wield: 24.5%
    v. Level 87 mob: 6.0% / dual-wield: 25% (level of most heroic bosses)
    v. Level 88 mob: 8.0% / dual-wield: 27% (level of raid bosses)
    (This was much easier than doing the math in my head)
    Then you've got to consider alternative defenses, just like the dodge/parry system (pretty much the same systems, really) and damage soaking systems (static, such as armour or baseline reduction ability) or RNG (block mechanic). Now; for evasion systems (dodge/parry), you'll need to figure out what incremental RNG-steps of evasion are warranted within your system, whereas damage soaking abilities should be valued by... Well; value, really. And while both serve to mitigate damage, an evasion system mitigates it through applying to the attack/defense mechanics, whereas a soaking system works through your damage/hit point values.


    Anyway, I think you're getting my point.
    Try working in solid chapters; it allows you to go much more in-depth, and you can also closely analyze your decisions. An important thing is to not pull example numbers into it just yet (as you did with your ability levels), because that's just plain confusing. You could instead opt for a separate example 'chapter' in which you show us the math, using the math you showed us earlier in the appropriate explanation.
    Last edited by Stir; 2013-02-09 at 04:44 AM.

  5. #5
    Regarding combat:

    I don't think auto-attack is good combat design, it's just lazy and number fluff with a simulated portion of your attacks on cruise-control.

    Think about someone fighting in real life, let's say a boxer: The entire time they are throwing alternating jabs at each other in perfect intervals (as long as they're within range), and occasionally they'll throw major swings in between. It would look dumb, wouldn't it? There's no tension build up, it's just a monotonous floor with small spikes of damage if you were to graph it. Now take away the auto-attack - you suddenly have tense moments and distinct blows and counter attacks that aren't distorted by the fluff, characterized by huge spikes on a graph.

    Same thing can be said about that in an MMO combat system. Auto-attacks normalize tempo variation in a fight and distorts meaningful strikes into one huge mish-mash of monotonous numbers. This I believe is partly why you're starting to see the trend of MMOs adopting action-combat rather than continue with the auto-attack/tab targeting style that originated from EQ, and it's really about time.

  6. #6
    So; this got abandoned pretty quickly...
    HardlyWaken: Don't be discouraged too early.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts