Thank you to all who participated in our August 20 play test! If you joined in, please remember to leave your feedback and bug reports on the forums here: https://forums.ashesofcreation.com/categories/apoc-bug-reports
Combat and Mechanics -- Make/Break
First of all, I want to write a disclaimer:
I know little to nothing about this game and just recently bought the Alpha 1 package because I tend to play new games competitively in order to break them down and teach others. This post probably belongs in Alpha 2 or late Alpha 1, but I decided to post my pre-thoughts, then reiterate later with a much more firm grasp on the game and it's direction.
This post is really just to stir-up a conversation on combat mechanics and where we, as players want to see it go.
-Through my experience, I have participated in world tournaments, local tourneys, player driven ladders for prize pots, and server vs. server fights.
-I play MOBAs, FPSs, and MMOs; basically wherever the hype is, I'm there.
-I used to stream all of these fights and teach PvP (shameless pug), but I haven't been active for months due to my job (I currently work as an IT Supervisor).
-My biggest love has always been for teaching the mechanics of a game and writing full class guides, once I've reached the top of the ladder; here are just a few guides I've made:
One thing I teach is fine mechanics and how to use/abuse them to your advantage (things like iframes/Invincibility-Frames that are granted on dodge, animation times, cancels, latency, etc.).
My Views (unbiased, simply my opinion):
I want to first state that I am a complete advocate for these highly-mechanical systems as it makes combat complex and allows for guides like mine to exist. Some of my favorite moments are looking back at an old PvP video and then watching one of my newer videos, clearly seeing the difference in skill and improvement (knowing that I have come a long ways and still have a long way to go).
What keeps us playing an MMO?
Progression. Improvement. Accomplishment. The Feeling of Victory.
Skill should be able to overpower gear, at least until a certain point.
PvE keeps players playing until they have all the items and power attainable for that patch -- providing a solid influx of people with each update (i.e. WoW, PoE, etc.).
PvP keeps players playing until they are the best; which means indefinitely or until their competitive spirit dies out.
So, with all that said, let's actually get into the meat of this post.
First, there are three main combat types (of course there are many others, but for the sake of this post, I want to mention three):
This is where you can auto-attack and then use a skill afterwards. The damage from the auto attack would still register, even though the skill canceled out the animation (for veterans of the art, this is called, "weaving".).
Games like Aion share this mechanic. Something specific that took full advantage of this was the Sorcerer's Tome Weapon. Let's say the Sorcerer was fighting an Assassin that used the Aethertwisting buff (10s duration, that granted the resistance of 2 spells). The Sorcerer could auto-attack, then use an instant-skill (0s cast time, small animation time) like Erosion to effectively "burn" both of those spell-resistances on Aethertwisting in less than a second (the auto-attack from a Tome counted as 1 spell hit, Erosion as the 2nd).
This is best seen in games like Guild Wars 2, where combat did feel very good (at least before HoT, kidding) and had very little animation canceling/the inability to auto-attack cancel. It's combat was primarily based on the different things you could do with skills alone (i.e. as a thief, I could put down a smoke screen, then use my dash to go out, use it again to go back in, and it would give me "X" seconds of Stealth for entering the smoke; I could repeat this process to stack the duration of Stealth.). Blade & Soul is also a great example of this.
The first game that comes to mind, when I think of fluidity and integration by the developers of Ani-Canceling, is Black Desert Online. Almost all the classes in this game had specific skills that could only be activated by canceling out another (look at flow-skill, or if you prefer the more traditional style of animation canceling, simply look up combo guide for Ranger/Sorcerer/Ninja).
There are a myriad of things that I really haven't mentioned. Mechanics like Jumpcasting, Ghostcasting, Jump Canceling, Dodge Canceling, etc. because I'd love to talk about these in the comments. Like I said at the start, this post is all about creating discussion.
As an experienced player, what do you want to see in the combat/mechanic system from Ashes of Creation?