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  1. #41
    The Lightbringer Rukh's Avatar
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    Dec 2008
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    Something I've been thinking about. The twitch combat mechanics are strongly resultant of some design choices early in the genre of RPGs. What are some of the biggest traits of twitch combat mechanics? Mainly that they're quick and don't take a lot of time. Compare them to say, the encounter design of early Final Fantasy games with all the menus and turns and things. they're designed to get you in to combat quickly and get it over with. They're also designed to let you react to other mobs that join and burn down a lot of foes at once.

    I think largely, this is a reaction to just having too many uninteresting mobs on the playing field. So to deal with them, you need to have methods that minimize setup, and rely more on quickness than strategy. Instead of tactics, you have combos, etc.

    My hunch is this evolved from games where grind was just so boring because you'd have your encounters entirely too frequently with the same repetitive enemies. This of course was done to draw out game length, and you couldn't make the enemies too hard because it would be grueling. So you slog from place to place through fairly easy enemy encounters.

    On the other hand, people never seemed to try to make encounters much more rare, but make it an actual event when you went in to combat. Each event challenging and fairly rare would be closer to the D&D boardgames that RPGs evolved from.

    The common and easy to defeat enemy works decently with twitch type combat though, so maybe the evolution works.
    Still bitter.

  2. #42
    Well, you run into an issue (at least in MMOs) if you try to make encounters rarer: either there's fewer mobs in the area, meaning more "competition" for mobs (not true in GW2 with mob sharing) and less chance for people who want to farm mobs; or there's the same number of mobs, and they all (or most) con neutral, possibly with a few aggressive mobs rarely thrown in to make the area seem more dangerous without actually being dangerous.

    If you make encounters more rare (especially via the first method of fewer mobs), then the question becomes, in a game where combat is a major factor (i.e., most if not all RPGs), what is there to do? I mean, you could go back to the FFXI model of every mob after the starting zone takes a full group 5 minutes to kill, but if you do that, you have to balance everything (exp, gold, loot) around that system (obviously), and you need to make sure that players remain engaged for that entire 5 minute kill. Which turns basic mobs into boss-like mobs (or trash will be boring), making every encounter "exciting", ultimately making all mobs feel boring again (which, as an aside, is why on paper the "every encounter plays like encounters that went wrong in X <i.e., WoW>" principal for GW2 sounds good but doesn't come off as ideally as the intent).

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryngo Blackratchet View Post
    Yeah, Rhandric is right, as usual.

  3. #43
    Actually, menu/turn driven combat in video games is descendant from procedural combat simulations in other mediums. Where those systems tried to account for the dynamics of the encounter in a way that could be handled practically speaking by a group of players without shouting on-the-fly rules.

    For example; it was much harder to simulate the possibility of a player jumping atop a table, grabbing the chandler and swinging to knock over a group of thugs. While his mate readied a fireball to toast the thugs before the armored wizard crashed through the wall riding his undead dracolich.

    Almost impossible to account for the chandelier breaking, or the player missing the jump altogether. Actions that would dynamically change the nature of the encounter.

    Turn-by-turn, exception driven rules were the only way to handle such combat possibilities.

    Procedural scripting allowed for video games to handle encounters in a form that was manageable to the program(er) and player(s) in the early days.

    Now there are quite a few granular reasons why Tactics Ogre, Xcom or Suikoden are a fair bit more thoughtful than your Guild Wars 2, of course. Though the process of turn based actions isn't inherently more tactical on a high level than real time based actions.

    Half-Life 2 is a great textbook example of this principle if you are an astute player of video games.

  4. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by Rukh View Post
    On the other hand, people never seemed to try to make encounters much more rare, but make it an actual event when you went in to combat. Each event challenging and fairly rare would be closer to the D&D boardgames that RPGs evolved from.
    Shadow of the Colossus?

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