How Important is Tab Target, Anyway?

Cross-posting from here.

I understand that some of you supported this game, looking for your ideal mix of a traditional MMO experience. One of the things suggested to you was that the game will involve a combination of "action combat" and "tab targeting."

What we've seen of the "tab targeting" gameplay, however, feels neither compelling, unique, or looks particularly good. If anything, it looks similar to 2004 era World of Warcraft, but on a lower budget, albeit with the high graphical fidelity of UE4:

This might seem crazy to some of you that are entirely invested in tab target, and absolutely reject the idea of needing to aim or use "twitch skills" like in competitive FPS genre. But, it's possible to make an "action combat" system that appeals to you, too. Overwatch is a great example of a game that has a variety of options, some of which cater on both extremes to the most twitch based players (Soldier 76, Widowmaker), and some characters that use little or no aiming (Mercy, Winston) or fall anywhere on that spectrum.

But why sacrifice tab target? It's not going to be easy to balance, nor will it be necessarily fun, to have a hybrid system. "Action Combat" involves movement away from enemies into positions where they can't hit you, and varying levels of manual aiming that mean a characters effective DPS is always significantly lower than its optimal DPS. "Tab Target" generally implies that, except when subject to CC, LOS, and a combination of debuffs or other effects, a characters effective DPS is usually going to be significantly closer to its optimal DPS. In simple terms, in tab target, unless impeded by something, your ranger is always going to strike the target with your bows "attacks." Whereas, even professional players often have closer to 50% hit rate ( or less) in "action combat" against players of like skill.

But why "Action Combat" over Tab Target? Because Tab Target was largely a result of a lack of technological sophistication that, when scaling for large amounts of users in MMO Scale Fights in an RPG Setting, was a necessary simplification or abstraction of combat. AoC already needs to do all of the netcode and other backend work to maintain high fidelity action combat, therefore there's no technical limitation. Action combat can simply be more fun, enjoyable, immersive, and if enough resources are poured into it that might otherwise need to be spent on a hybrid system, could be even better for players that want to avoid twitch style gameplay.

"Action Combat" and Tab Targeting are like an ice cream sundae and beef stew. Both are good in their own right, but they shouldn't be mixed together. Instead of spending an extraordinary amount of resources trying to integrate and balance these two conflicting styles of combat, the dev team could instead find incredible ways to make players that don't want to aim and dash around through the air viable and effective too: They could put a lot of work into creating unique and powerful summoner abilities for the summoner class, where the AI does the fighting for you, give the Bard plenty of non-target large AOE abilities, make the tank viable with big cone attacks, and let the cleric channel leash abilities that don't require manual aim.
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Comments

  • CaerylCaeryl Member
    I agree. A tab target systems being forcibly integrated into a fundamentally action oriented game isn't going to work very well. There absolutely are ways to develop classes that don't depend at all on aiming, as you mentioned. Tab target which forces players to lock onto targets, doesn't allow for quick shifts in attention, nor does it feel intuitive when your reticle is on your intended target, but the tab system deem the trash mob beside it to be your actual target instead.

    It makes combat feel very clunky especially when it's (so far) going to be forcibly taking up at least 25% of a player's ability bar.
  • noaaninoaani Member

    But why "Action Combat" over Tab Target? Because Tab Target was largely a result of a lack of technological sophistication that, when scaling for large amounts of users in MMO Scale Fights in an RPG Setting, was a necessary simplification or abstraction of combat.
    While you are right that the tab targeting system was largely developed as a result of technological constraints, they are not the ones you think. Older MMO's (EQ era at least) ran in to limits of server performance due to number of players far before they would have run in to targeting issues had they attempted to design a more action combat based system. The reason they didn't develop an action combat style system is because of how laughable that would have been to run over a dial-up internet connection (which, although below suggested minimum, was adequate to run games back then).

    I'm not sure at all where you got the idea that tab targeting was developed to allow for large scale fights.

    You then compared MMO's in general to Overwatch.

    These two things are not worth comparing at all, on any level.

    A game like Overwatch is all about short sharp matches. It is designed to be consumed in short bursts (even if players often string those bursts together).

    This type of game play attracts a specific type of player.

    MMO's are not designed to be consumed in short bursts. Most things worth achieving in most good MMO's take time measured in days, rather than the minutes it takes to achieve something of value in a game like Overwatch.

    This type of game play also attracts a specific type of player.

    Further to that, action combat is totally unavailable to player that fit any one of the follow - not in possession of 100% articulation of their hands, not able to focus 100% of their attention on the game, not living in a part of the world where they have a reasonably low ping to the server that is set to the best time to suit their schedule.

    As a final point (yet connected to two above points) the simple fact is that no one has yet managed to develop an action combat system where a player with twice the ping of their opponent isn't at a massive disadvantage.

    With all the money that BR developers and publishers have made over the last few years, none of them have yet been able to take latency out of the equation of any of their games. If their billions (literally) can't figure this one out, I doubt Intrepid can either.

    This last fact tells me that the technological constraints that lead to tab targeting system haven't quite been overcome just yet.

    Rather than throwing out a perfectly good system - one that we all know works with current internet standards around the world - and replacing it with a system that quite honestly doesn't always work for everyone, the better idea right now does actually seem to be to do what Intrepid are doing - make a solid attempt to merge the twp systems in to one, allowing players to prioritize one over the other based on their own personal situation.
  • edited October 1
    You mention ping and scale here as something that nobody has managed to vanquish in a large scale "action combat setting."

    I counter you with Planetside 2. Good interpolation, client side hit detection, and advanced netcode allow Planetside 2 to work extremely well even with high ping, in a precise shooter with TTK less than 2 seconds. And as I remind you, there are many Daybreak veterans on this team.

    You're wrong about other things, but they are less important. I'll just briefly mention that old netcode for WoW and Pre-Wow games used a large amount of extrapolation, or "movement prediction," that was necessary to reduce server loads and accommodate limitations in bandwidth. This rendered other players movements to have low fidelity in large scale games and therefore was not particularly well suited to precision combat - It wasn't until later on that adequate interpolation and lag compensation netcodes were implemented in MMOs to fix things as simple as spamming the opposing strafe keys to make yourself warp slightly.

    This joy of tab targeting is a combination of nostalgia and desire not to be put at a competitive disadvantage because of lack of twitch skills. There is some merit to both of those things from an advertising and gameplay perspective, but the cost of implementation in this game is probably too high, and there are better options available. How combat feels is extremely important to a combat oriented MMO, and they need to get this right, not try to please everyone and put out some hot garbage.
  • AoC is not well designed for action combat. When I just checked the vids with tab targeting it might looks "boring" because it's nothing new and simply generic but it seems to work so much better than action combat. What do i mean by that? Simple... AoCA.

    Nobody can say without lying to himself that AoCA has fun action combat. Just play bow/crossbow vs mana potion launcher and tell me again how fun it was. The action combat design would also not even reach one single point of 10 if you compare it to games with well designed action combat like BDO.
    Caeryl wrote: »
    I agree. A tab target systems being forcibly integrated into a fundamentally action oriented game isn't going to work very well.
    What makes you think AoC is a fundamentally action oriented game? Did you play AoCA? It was everything else than designed for actual action combat.

    I counter you with Planetside 2. Good interpolation, client side hit detection, and advanced netcode allow Planetside 2 to work extremely well even with high ping, in a precise shooter with TTK less than 2 seconds.
    This great 1,5k people 24h peak game?
  • AzathothAzathoth Member, Braver of Worlds
    The OP sounds like a "my fun is more important, and what you want isn't fun, please add views to these videos" type of thing, Am I missing something? New member this morning also...
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    +1 Skull & Crown metal coin
  • WololoWololo Member, Leader of Men
    edited October 1
    This is a nice post, you explained well why action combat could be more modern and competative in terms of aiming and stuff BUT I think tab should always be the base combat for a MMO with action as cherry on top. If you look at gw2 they done it well; where action skills are mostly ground templates with much variation in directions they move and LoS.
    The reason being that when playing a FPS game you can do a match any moment, always keep hands on keyboard and mouse, just have a direct voicechat with your team, and all the information you need is right there on your screen.
    When playing a MMO hardcore ppl often use a second screen with forum, market prices, your personal notes written down on paper (yes for sure most ppl do that ! :D ). Alot of pm's going on with friends. Covering multiple voice channels when in PvP. Often need to play MMO's for longer periods of time so ppl play it while they work or eat. Overall, its just more laydback at times you want it to be.
    About skillcap neither is higher... I just hope they combine them well because it seems a big task to not make action combat OP.
    Maybe it can be done by limiting action skills to just a few. Like 2 or 3. These would be your strong 'high value' skills. Everybody would pick them; but the action players pick those that are even more risk/reward like with a small crosshair u got to aim. And the tab player picks easy to hit, more strategy-based ground placed action skills or wide cone shaped moving aoe's. This way there is still this 'layd back' gameplay but when needed; One can express his skill by picking the high value aiming action skill. This seems like a more healthy approach then literally 50/50 them with picking no more then 75% of skills focused on either tab or action.
    Wololo.png
  • cyanideinsanitycyanideinsanity Member, Settler
    What tab they've shown off is early, without properly iterating on feedback, and without being tested in a hybrid system in the first place. I could make the argument that action should be dropped as its first iteration in apoc was pretty poorly received.
  • JahlonJahlon Member
    So here is why they cannot and will not drop traditional tab: Refunds

    It has been a long stated deliverable that should the hybrid action combat not work out they will revert to traditional tab targeting.

    If Intrepid were to suddenly decide that they wanted to drop the tab targetting, they would have to offer a refund to any backer who says "I'd like a refund because you are no longer doing tab combat" Even if that's not why the player wants their money back, they'd still get it via chargeback due to "product not as advertised"

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  • Tab target can be important for healers tbh.
    What healer wants to physically look around to heal his teamates?
    Action targeting is really stressfull for all kinds of healers, that dont have multiple low cost aoe spells.
    uQHKizC.gif
  • NagashNagash Member, Leader of Men
    Damokles wrote: »
    Tab target can be important for healers tbh.
    What healer wants to physically look around to heal his teamates?
    Action targeting is really stressfull for all kinds of healers, that dont have multiple low cost aoe spells.

    same for a summoner really, you already have to micro your minions plus yourself so tab is better in that regard
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    The dead do not squabble as this land’s rulers do. The dead have no desires, petty jealousies or ambitions. A world of the dead is a world at peace
  • Nagash wrote: »
    Damokles wrote: »
    Tab target can be important for healers tbh.
    What healer wants to physically look around to heal his teamates?
    Action targeting is really stressfull for all kinds of healers, that dont have multiple low cost aoe spells.

    same for a summoner really, you already have to micro your minions plus yourself so tab is better in that regard

    I think that only damage dealers will really like a more action based gamestile. Supporters (Bard/Summoner), healers(cleric etc) and tanks will rely on tab targeting more because it gives you a better overview of the situation, which dds dont rely on to fulfill their role. (Yes i know that dds need to know about mecha ics and have to react to situations, but you all know what i mean)
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  • xlangatangxxlangatangx Member, Braver of Worlds
    Jahlon wrote: »
    Even if that's not why the player wants their money back, they'd still get it via chargeback due to "product not as advertised"

    Correct me if I am wrong here, but Kickstarter does not do refunds. If Steven wants to drop the project now then anyone who backed on KS would be SOL. I have backed a couple projects that turned out to be scams. Kickstarter won't even acknowledge any emails sent to them.

    As for the cosmetic store - I'm not sure what the rules are governing that. Services like Paypal offer money back, but only within a certain timeframe. So you would probably be SOL here as well.
  • AtamaAtama Member, Braver of Worlds
    noaani wrote: »

    But why "Action Combat" over Tab Target? Because Tab Target was largely a result of a lack of technological sophistication that, when scaling for large amounts of users in MMO Scale Fights in an RPG Setting, was a necessary simplification or abstraction of combat.
    While you are right that the tab targeting system was largely developed as a result of technological constraints, they are not the ones you think. Older MMO's (EQ era at least) ran in to limits of server performance due to number of players far before they would have run in to targeting issues had they attempted to design a more action combat based system. The reason they didn't develop an action combat style system is because of how laughable that would have been to run over a dial-up internet connection (which, although below suggested minimum, was adequate to run games back then).
    Either you weren’t around back then or your memory is deeply flawed. Dial-up wasn’t “below suggested minimum” when EQ was released, it was all that was available. Broadband internet wasn’t common until years after the launch of EQ. If you tried to make a game back then that wouldn’t work over dial-up speeds you’d have nobody to play it.

    Just setting things straight for those who are too young to remember the early days of MMORPGs.
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  • AtamaAtama Member, Braver of Worlds
    Oh and I can imagine a healer in a pure FPS style game...

    “Stop moving so I can heal you!”

    “If I stop moving then the enemies will hit me!”
    U752vHP.png
  • Jahlon wrote: »
    Even if that's not why the player wants their money back, they'd still get it via chargeback due to "product not as advertised"

    Correct me if I am wrong here, but Kickstarter does not do refunds. If Steven wants to drop the project now then anyone who backed on KS would be SOL. I have backed a couple projects that turned out to be scams. Kickstarter won't even acknowledge any emails sent to them.

    As for the cosmetic store - I'm not sure what the rules are governing that. Services like Paypal offer money back, but only within a certain timeframe. So you would probably be SOL here as well.

    Have you not heard of the class action lawsuit against shenmue3? They also were on kickstarter, and said that they would release on steam, people got their refunds at the end when they went with epic.
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  • TsukasaTsukasa Member
    edited October 1
    I would like full action combat, with allies-only tab targeting and few AoE templates with long CD if large-scale.

    Knowing Steven, he would rather choose full tab-targeting over action. I have very low expectations for the action combat of this game, I mean I'm concerned it won't get enough care and love.
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    Hiding until I find my true self that I can be proud of
  • TsukasaTsukasa Member
    edited October 1
    Atama wrote: »
    Oh and I can imagine a healer in a pure FPS style game...

    “Stop moving so I can heal you!”

    “If I stop moving then the enemies will hit me!”

    This is why I don't like this community.

    Healing is doable in full action combat.
    Look up Dragon Nest; healing classes are Saint(close range tanky healer), Physician(chemistry healer), and Light Fury(ninja healer, with supportive pets and many creative ideas).
    Dragon Nest combat has so much AoE, which is bad for group PvP and against what Steven wants to achieve. But has so many creative ideas that I've never seen in other MMOs! See Windwalker class, for example.
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    Hiding until I find my true self that I can be proud of
  • NagashNagash Member, Leader of Men
    Tsukasa wrote: »
    Atama wrote: »
    Oh and I can imagine a healer in a pure FPS style game...

    “Stop moving so I can heal you!”

    “If I stop moving then the enemies will hit me!”

    This is why I don't like this community.

    Healing is doable in full action combat.
    Look up Dragon Nest; healing classes are Saint, Physician, and Light Fury(ninja healer btw, with supportive pets and many creative ideas).

    you do know he was joking?
    nJ0vUSm.gif

    The dead do not squabble as this land’s rulers do. The dead have no desires, petty jealousies or ambitions. A world of the dead is a world at peace
  • MarzzoMarzzo Member, Braver of Worlds
    You totally changed my mind on tab Target and action combat. Ty
  • edited October 1
    Atama wrote: »
    Oh and I can imagine a healer in a pure FPS style game...

    “Stop moving so I can heal you!”

    “If I stop moving then the enemies will hit me!”


    Marzzo wrote: »
    You totally changed my mind on tab Target and action combat. Ty

    No problem.
  • TsukasaTsukasa Member
    edited October 1
    Nagash wrote: »
    Tsukasa wrote: »
    Atama wrote: »
    Oh and I can imagine a healer in a pure FPS style game...

    “Stop moving so I can heal you!”

    “If I stop moving then the enemies will hit me!”

    This is why I don't like this community.

    Healing is doable in full action combat.
    Look up Dragon Nest; healing classes are Saint, Physician, and Light Fury(ninja healer btw, with supportive pets and many creative ideas).

    you do know he was joking?

    I didn't know and I don't care. This is a serious topic. Why being so foolish, doing pointless acts? Need attention?

    Be productive please.
    Not my real account. I'm a coward who doesn't have neither personality nor a name
    Hiding until I find my true self that I can be proud of
  • TsukasaTsukasa Member
    edited October 1
    Action combat is the future. It has so much potential beyond your imagination.

    In a high-fantasy world, being able to unleash an attack that tracks the enemy is supposed to be a thing, and is a terrifying thing that's difficult to counter; limited for only ~3 skills in the whole game.

    Tab targeting doesn't make sense for a modern 2020-2021 MMORPG.
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    Hiding until I find my true self that I can be proud of
  • Damokles wrote: »
    Tab target can be important for healers tbh.
    What healer wants to physically look around to heal his teamates?
    Action targeting is really stressfull for all kinds of healers, that dont have multiple low cost aoe spells.

    Well in TERA I actually liked that action combat healing where you have a basic ranged attack, which needed to really target your allies to heal them. Some healing spells also hitted automatically like AoE, and some was some kind of healing orbs, which you just dropped around battleground and your allies needed to collect those. It was fun, even I do not normally like play as a healer. So I guess it depends how the whole healing system will be implemented.

    I also think that tab-targeting is a lil bit old and boring system and I usually prefer more action oriented style with skillshots. However, I am personally okay with tab-, action- or hybrid- targeting if it is just done right, feels responsive and is fun to play with.
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  • NagashNagash Member, Leader of Men
    Tsukasa wrote: »
    Nagash wrote: »
    Tsukasa wrote: »
    Atama wrote: »
    Oh and I can imagine a healer in a pure FPS style game...

    “Stop moving so I can heal you!”

    “If I stop moving then the enemies will hit me!”

    This is why I don't like this community.

    Healing is doable in full action combat.
    Look up Dragon Nest; healing classes are Saint, Physician, and Light Fury(ninja healer btw, with supportive pets and many creative ideas).

    you do know he was joking?

    I didn't know and I don't care. This is a serious topic. Why being so foolish, doing pointless acts? Need attention?

    Be productive please.

    hahaha you think the devs CARE about what you want? no, the game is going to be a hybrid combat system and if that fails its back to tab targeting as said by the devs themselves and if you don't like that tough luck
    nJ0vUSm.gif

    The dead do not squabble as this land’s rulers do. The dead have no desires, petty jealousies or ambitions. A world of the dead is a world at peace
  • TsukasaTsukasa Member
    edited October 1
    Nagash wrote: »
    Tsukasa wrote: »
    Nagash wrote: »
    Tsukasa wrote: »
    Atama wrote: »
    Oh and I can imagine a healer in a pure FPS style game...

    “Stop moving so I can heal you!”

    “If I stop moving then the enemies will hit me!”

    This is why I don't like this community.

    Healing is doable in full action combat.
    Look up Dragon Nest; healing classes are Saint, Physician, and Light Fury(ninja healer btw, with supportive pets and many creative ideas).

    you do know he was joking?

    I didn't know and I don't care. This is a serious topic. Why being so foolish, doing pointless acts? Need attention?

    Be productive please.

    hahaha you think the devs CARE about what you want? no, the game is going to be a hybrid combat system and if that fails its back to tab targeting as said by the devs themselves and if you don't like that tough luck

    I know and I don't mind, so what?
    They are neither Impeccable nor omniscient. Everything is subject to change. Better try than do nothing, before it's too late for another "scrap and start over".
    Not my real account. I'm a coward who doesn't have neither personality nor a name
    Hiding until I find my true self that I can be proud of
  • edited October 1
    Nagash wrote: »
    hahaha you think the devs CARE about what you want? no, the game is going to be a hybrid combat system and if that fails its back to tab targeting as said by the devs themselves and if you don't like that tough luck

    I think the devs are interested in community feedback, and player interaction in the development process - Something that Steven stated repeatedly as justification for crowdfunding the game.

    I also think they have proven that they can be agile in adjusting the game and their development plans to try to reach a good, fun, end product.

    I also take exception to some of the previous remarks regarding AoC:Apoc's success from an "action combat" perspective. The game has good combat, and it's been given the thumbs up by Battle Royale veteran streamers. The negative feedback has largely come from the MMO purists who are review bombing because they disapprove of intrepid releasing a BR, and issues that rightfully relate to server/netcode problems, and architecture issues like user authentication.
  • Tsukasa wrote: »
    Nagash wrote: »
    Tsukasa wrote: »
    Atama wrote: »
    Oh and I can imagine a healer in a pure FPS style game...

    “Stop moving so I can heal you!”

    “If I stop moving then the enemies will hit me!”

    This is why I don't like this community.

    Healing is doable in full action combat.
    Look up Dragon Nest; healing classes are Saint, Physician, and Light Fury(ninja healer btw, with supportive pets and many creative ideas).

    you do know he was joking?

    I didn't know and I don't care. This is a serious topic. Why being so foolish, doing pointless acts? Need attention?

    Be productive please.

    When people think that everyone should ignore or ridicule other for their funny commentary, which breaks up our dreary life... You talk like a teenager that wants to be taken seriously...

    Another thing:
    PRODUCTIVITY?!? IN THESE FORUMS? THAT WOULD IGNITE A MASSIVE REVOLT OF UNIMAGINABLE PROPORTIONS YOU MAD MAN!
    (Did i just call you a mad man? Yes, yes i did. Am i proud to eventually ignite your baby rage? Yes, yes i am.)
    uQHKizC.gif
  • edited October 1
    Damokles wrote: »
    Another thing:
    PRODUCTIVITY?!? IN THESE FORUMS? THAT WOULD IGNITE A MASSIVE REVOLT OF UNIMAGINABLE PROPORTIONS YOU MAD MAN!
    (Did i just call you a mad man? Yes, yes i did. Am i proud to eventually ignite your baby rage? Yes, yes i am.)

    I'm glad you're having fun! Some of us are invested in the game development, and are hoping to provide our perspectives in the hope that the game enjoys significant success on release!

    Alternative views are absolutely welcome! Lay out what you believe, the justifications, and rationale. Memes are also fun, even if they just help lighten the mood instead of give valuable feedback.
  • DamoklesDamokles Member
    edited October 1
    Damokles wrote: »
    Another thing:
    PRODUCTIVITY?!? IN THESE FORUMS? THAT WOULD IGNITE A MASSIVE REVOLT OF UNIMAGINABLE PROPORTIONS YOU MAD MAN!
    (Did i just call you a mad man? Yes, yes i did. Am i proud to eventually ignite your baby rage? Yes, yes i am.)

    I'm glad you're having fun! Some of us are invested in the game development, and are hoping to provide our perspectives in the hope that the game enjoys significant success on release!

    Alternative views are absolutely welcome! Lay out what you believe, the justifications, and rationale. Memes are also fun, even if they just help lighten the mood instead of give valuable feedback.

    Well, i did have my fun and was quite "productive" on the forum , at least until someone said that funny commentary and eventual satire should not be in threads such as this one. The word itself: productivity, should not be spoken in the context of forums. We are not working on the forums, we are not getting payed. No one, and i mean NO ONE, has the right to tell others to be productive on a hobby.
    uQHKizC.gif
  • edited October 1
    Well, I think he has the right to suggest you be productive and you have the right to ignore him and continue memeing :smile: - I guess that's up to the community intrepid 'gal, though~!
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