Combat: action-tab hybrid idea

I was thinking about how this may be implemented and that is skillful in PvP but allows for deep and thoughtful PvE with all that good decision making stuff. My idea is building on the "multi-hit box" component of the game where a headshot does more damage if you have no helmet on etc. Here, I also refer to augments: skills in AoC can be augmented to operate differently than their base version. Augments can be available based on secondary class, race etc.

I think a combat system that is action by default with some "tagging" component would be a good hybrid. In principle, you can "tag" a part of a player or monster's body (like head) and future attacks would operate as if a skillshot was fired at or directed at that location (pretend your cursor was pointing to that location). This would of course need to be within some cone in front of you so that you can't shoot behind you. Tagging will be a part of a skill with a cooldown so that its use would be tactical and its success impactful. Tags will be temporary with various ways of removing/applying it based on character class.

How it may work:
  • Some skill or augment of a skill can "tag" a part of an NPC monster or player that it hits. Different classes may do this differently e.g. a mage fires a tracking dot that the next 3 spells (or spells for the next 5 seconds) can hit while a ranger shoots an "x marks the spot" arrow that does damage and allows the next 3 arrows (or arrows for the next 5 seconds) to hit that spot. Such a skill would of course have a cooldown and could MISS or hit an undesired hit box.
  • Tags last longer on NPCs than PvP targets (# of hits/spells/skills or time tag exists)
  • Depending on skills available to a player (based on level, class etc) they may be able to maintain multiple "tags" on different targets (or the same target) which can be literally tabbed between. Some augments of skills could allow this, or refresh tag duration on target etc.
  • You CHOOSE to aim attacks at your selected tag or not (by holding ctrl or something)
  • **It operates as if the cursor was where the "tag" is, meaning that if you tag a head and your target is moving sideways, unless your attack animation/projectile speed is fast enough, it will MISS the head (therefore tags on torso/trunk may be more effective) just like if you had clicked that exact spot for your attack. So a fast arrow skill (like "power shot" or something) may be able to hit a tagged head but your auto-attack arrow may be too slow on a sideways moving target.
  • Different skills, especially ones with stealth/camouflage, can remove tags placed on your character (would also be on a cooldown of course). 
  • Different augments will have different levels of tab/action. For example a heavy "tab-oriented" augment might be: whenever you hit a target with this skill, you tag the center of that player/NPC. While a heavy "action-oriented" augment might be: if you tag the same hit-box on a player/NPC as your party's/your own tag already in place, you do X% more damage. Generally, more tags = more tab-oriented while more bonus for a well placed tag = more action-oriented.
How it would impact PvP?
You are still effectively playing skill-based action combat with an added tactical tool
  • You will still need to face (some cone radius) your tag to be able to fire a "tag-directed" spell/skill. This means a player can blink past you to avoid a skill aimed at a tag on them.
  • Enemy players will have skills to remove a tag which will lead to tactical decision making: do you try to stun the target before tagging? What if you get headshot and you think it was a tagged hit? You might decide to burn your invisibility spell to remove that tag when you were hoping to save it for another occasion. 
  • Some stat available on gear may passively reduce tag durations on you (as its sole or additional effect)
  • Allies may be tagged for the use of support skills such that a healer may be able to tag an ally. Healers/support characters may have augments that make tags last ~as long as the tag spell cooldown (or for many more support spells if # based) if placed on allies. 
  • Shields and partial cover/obstructions would be skillfully used to protect certain hit boxes, like ones that may have been tagged.
  • Tags could also be placed on geographic locations (via augments possibly) allowing for tactical world PvP, ambush strategies, funneling tactics etc to control the geography of the battlefield
How it would impact PvE?
You could essentially play "tab-based" where you have to manually set tabs and cycle between them but your action-combat style aims and skills can still distinguish you among peers.
  • Multiple tags can be employed on different targets which can be switched between allowing for rapid, "tab-switching" between targets.
  • Allies can be tagged just as described in PvP section. This makes for more interesting/skill based support/healer gameplay as you need to identify your target and not just click a box on screen with your tank's name on it. Personally I think doing damage as a healer is a cool idea to make healing more engaging (referring to devs saying they are doing this) but making positioning and party awareness important with healing skills that are aimed/require facing towards target would be more to my personal liking for making healing/support a bit more involved, just my opinion.
  • Could have some way to make tags last super long on NPCs/bosses, maybe a tank skill augment?
  • Ranged players will not have easy access to the same areas of big NPCs/bosses as melee players will have (which may be more susceptible to damage and offset the dps time difference between a ranged and melee character in a highly mobile boss fight) which could lead to interesting fight mechanics (also could be used to force party diversity).
  • Tags could also be placed on geographic locations (via augments possibly) allowing for more involved tank play where party tanks' ability to control the battlefield and monster positioning could be key to a pre-planned strategy.
Problems:
  • AoE will not really be effected by tags which may make cc decisions a bit less meaningful in both PvE and PvP if targets are clustered. Devs have mentioned they don't want cc to last very long but it was unclear to me if that included on NPCs. I kind of like long cc chains in PvE as it requires coordination and timing and is an optional way to approach a fight that may be otherwise too difficult for a particular group.

Any thoughts? Would you be interested in a combat system that works like this? What advantages/disadvantages do you see to this?


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Edit: changed a few things inspired after reading a post by "Whocando"
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