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Dev Discussion #28 - Hybrid Combat

edited March 2021 in General Discussion

Glorious Ashes community - it's time for another Dev Discussion! Dev Discussion topics are kind of like a "reverse Q&A" - rather than you asking us questions about Ashes of Creation, we want to ask YOU what your thoughts are.

Our design team has compiled a list of burning questions we'd love to get your feedback on regarding gameplay, your past MMO experiences, and more. Join in on the Dev Discussion and share what makes gaming special to you!

Dev Discussion #28 - Hybrid Combat
In terms of Ashes’ hybrid combat system - where do you think you’ll be speccing your character? Majority action based skills? Majority tab-based skills? An even mix of both? Why?

Keep an eye out for our next Dev Discussion topic regarding mentoring!

UPDATE: Hallo again friends - thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on our latest Dev Discussion! After gathering up your responses for our team, here was some of your top feedback:
  • Those who planned to focus more on action-based skills shared that their choice was at least partially due to hard CC and higher damage abilities being available (risk vs. reward).
  • Others who preferred action-style combat highlighted that it felt more engaging and skillful to them overall.
  • Those who planned to focus more on tab-targeted skills shared their preference for more accessible and less reactive gameplay, especially when it comes to healing.
  • Some shared that they had no real preference either way, and would simply select skills based on their current build and play style.
  • A desire for more mobility skills and more responsive/fluid movement overall was expressed by those on all ends of the action/tab combat spectrum.

While many of you made strong cases for why action combat was your favorite, our team appreciated this appeal for tab targeting ;)
OdiMal wrote: »
Tab, so you can't release Ashes on mobile. o:)


  • RyanTheSirenRyanTheSiren Member
    edited March 2021
    A strong preference for fun Action, but both if it's good :) As long as there are lots of mobility skills either way I should be happy haha

    Would also love a few punchy magic skillshots :)

    Elyon's Action combat looks punchy and fun and I know GW2 is a favorite for hybrid combat if you guys need any inspiration :)

    Also this:
    Vhaeyne wrote: »
    That said. AC skills should always do more damage than TT skills as a reward for good aim. Aimed shots are always harder to pull off than TT skills and thus the only way to justify a reason to use them would be to make them more damaging.

    I don't know if every skill will have a AC or TT version, or if they are different skills altogether. If there is a circumstance where a TT skill does more damage than a AC skill than that AC skill will just never be used. The other way around this is not true. There will always be people who prefer TT and they should be mature enough to understand that a damage loss for a low skill playstyle is fair. If a AC skill does less than a TT skill it is far less likely that a player who prefers AC will use the AC skill because they are not getting rewarded for taking the risks involved in using that AC move.

  • TockzTockz Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Action for sure. Feel way better than Tab targeting.

  • LinikerLiniker Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited March 2021
    Since Hard CCs will be tied to Action skills, I believe my focus will be on action, I will probably mainly play with the action camera, I hope Intrepid can manage to implement the hybrid combat correctly, It's not something easy to achieve.

    I hope Intrepid can find a good solution for hitboxes as well, I would like to see lots of AoEs, counters and CC breaks, a complex combat system that gives you a good skill gap and most importantly a Long TTK

    I really hope intrepid follows the design of 1 minute to 30 seconds for TTK (taking glass cannons into consideration) this makes combat so much better than just being killed by a mage in 3 seconds without a chance of fighting back.

    Gear having a low impact on a character's power is also very important, like legendary items having only a little difference in stats than BiS - Gear having 30 to 40% influence in power would also be amazing - not having such a hard counter "rock-paper-scissors" system with plate/leather/cloth, giving plate users a chance to fight back against mages, and cloth users a chance against plate.

    Oh and I'd rather have small stats/damage numbers, the old-school style. (1k crit is so much better than a 40k crit)

    If intrepid does a good job with the combat design; even if hybrid combat isn't Amazing, players will be ok with that.
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  • DaddytacoDaddytaco Member
    edited March 2021
    I have a strong preference for action combat. However, the most important thing is ensuring combat is responsive and fluid. The Guild Wars 2 combat system is a great example of what I hope Ashes of Creation can achieve or even improve upon.

    Edit: It would be great to add a poll option to this post so we can see how the community feels as a whole. :smiley:
  • DemoyanDemoyan Member
    edited March 2021
    Tab targeting for sure. If I wanted to die while missing skillshots I'd play a MOBA or FPS game. I do prefer my AoE skills to be action oriented, though.
  • CM KalezCM Kalez Member, Intrepid Pack
    if you are still planning on hard cc being linked to action we wont have a choice but to play action.
  • StretchStretch Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Can't say for sure without playing the game but I love making AoE builds so whatever that falls under! :D
  • FlokiiFlokii Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Will each primary class have the same amount of skills which are action/tab targeted? Or will the Tab-targeting only be for ranged classes?
  • I really like the hybrid style of GW2, but as a veteran of Wow and now currently maining BDO... I like whats working in. GW2's hybrid style is probably the best option imo. It does it really well and does a good job balancing the ease of use tab targeting with engaging action combat.
  • ChickenEaterDanChickenEaterDan Member, Intrepid Pack
    for sure action just because i play a lot of fps games so i feel confident in my skills to land hits or shots
  • JusticiarJusticiar Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited March 2021
    With the hit boxes being used for action combat, how are you going to tackle the character size problem. The hit boxes being a generic size or a scaleable hit box dependant on your characters height?
  • SzebbSzebb Member
    When I saw the latest video with Steven dueling in a 2v2. It felt like the mage action spells where sloppy and I got worried how the ranged spells in action targeting will work out in pvp mainly. Aiming spells that also have casting time and so on creates a high risk of it being sloppy and unpleasant.

    Tab targeting can often be boring. The classes need to be interesting and well kitted for tab targeting to be appreciated. I do believe tab targeting is important though so making their kits interesting and NOT 1 ability spamming is important.
  • Action! I've love the concept of always being able to miss. It allows the meta to be just a tiny bit more flexible, because even if you have the best abilities and gear it won't help if you can't aim.
  • BeOwningUBeOwningU Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Im very interested in the Predator rogue class being able to use 50/50 action/tab combat. I would love to see ambush type abilities such as being able to perch in trees undetected while doing a skill shot that unperches me to iniate combat.

    I view the Predator class as a prep and ambush class with fearsome melee abilities to supplement thier carefully planned initiation.
  • Action combat. With a small amount of tab possible
  • NuubNuub Member
    I plan to play an Assassin, and I expect to have a mixture of both. I imagine debuff abilities would be tab targeted, while High damage attacks will be action based.

    For example, maybe I "mark" a target and do extra damage to that target, that's a tab-based, select the target, and cast. When i sneak up behind them for the "backstab" I imagine a very short range and facing at them.
  • I would prefer to go action combat purely because it's different and more fun to me these days. I like both since tab target has been a thing forever to me when it comes to MMOs but the new action style in other games has given me a new perspective and enjoyment from the game.

    I previously didn't like GW2 because I just couldn't really get into their version of combat coming from WoW, Rift & other similar games. Whenever they added the action cam though I gave it another shot and it clicked and I was having fun with that game even though their implementation definitely had some issues (charging wanting to go towards targets instead of camera direction) and funny enough even made me not mind the game without the action cam mode after that. BDO is another game that has awesome action combat. Going back to WoW though their demon hunter is my current main and that's primarily because it has a heavy sense action combat since your movement (fel rush / vengeful retreat) and eye beam abilities are tied to camera direction instead of a target requirement - it creates a very enjoyable experience to me. Wildstar's action combat mode with the stalker class was also insanely fun to play - heck thinking about it this may be why I ended up switching to demon hunter on WoW..... ( I miss that game =/ )

    I hope the game has an action combat mode and there being movement abilities that don't require targeting to use - I'm talking separate abilities here as I think if you added a modifier to 'remove' the targeting requirement it would just make for a weaker ability in the eyes of people who put in effort and would be detrimental to the goal of action combat.

    I would be more than happy playing a 'hybrid' take like what WoW's demon hunter achieves but as a fan I want more games that has combat inspired by BDO etc.
  • Action type combat is definitely my preference. A big reason I've had trouble getting into most MMOs, is the large focus on tab target combat as I don't feel nearly engaged. However, I really like the approach to hybrid the two systems in order to achieve somewhat of a best of both worlds. A lot of variation can be achieved with this as certain abilities just won't be able to exist in a game that only has one of these systems.

    Even as someone who doesn't particularly like the tab targeting system, I feel I'll be able to appreciate it's strengths while also being engaged with the action system.

    My only real concern is the balance issues that could arise from attempting this. The scales could be easily tipped to favor one system over the other, and this would discourage a lot of people from playing how they want to. I know balance is probably a nightmare when attempting to have such a large variety of abilities across multiple classes, but I hope it's a big focus in order to allow players to fully enjoy playing the way they want.
  • RintaRinta Member
    If both tab targeting and action are implemented well, and one doesn't feel especially clunky compared to the other -- then I will most likely base my skill build on what the skills do, rather than on how they are cast.
  • Both.
    Depending of the situation I must to ellect the option I want or I need. ;)
  • LeiloniLeiloni Member
    edited March 2021
    It entirely depends on how the skills are designed to me. If they're all designed well I'll go with whatever works best for my build. But that's entirely dependent on what the action combat skills look like because I do enjoy action combat but it's not often done well. Some games have done it well and some not so much. I like how TERA did them, and Crowfall has actually done a decent job as well. GW2 and Wildstar I didn't really like how they did skills, nor really ESO. At the end of the day if I have to go mostly tab I will just because it's reliable and easier to design it well enough.

    Action Combat Thoughts:
    Specifically I'd say healers and ranged dps (mages and archers) need their action combat skills to be done a certain way to be fun. That's the hardest part in my opinion about designing action combat abilities that I will actually want to slot on my bars, so I'll give specific feedback on what I think works and doesn't work there.

    Games that didn't do it well:
    ESO had a lot of very bland soft target projectiles and while I think soft targeting can be useful, the skill design was just boring and repetitive (visually and mechanically). Healers also had a few smart heals that were non targeting and just auto targeted the lowest, or 2-3 lowest HP targets (this is a healer game design mortal sin lol - might as well just let a bot heal - if you go this route, just give me a bar full of tab target instead). That's not fun because a big part of what makes healing fun is choosing who to heal, with what heal, when, learning priorities, etc. They also had to design a few "single-target" shield/heal skills to heal "lowest HP target or the caster" or "closest target in front of you or caster", etc. so the person could actually heal themselves - dumb!

    There's nothing hard or remotely fun about spamming no CD smart heals followed by tons of huge, no CD GTAoEs. That's another big no no - too many easy, big AoEs is also not fun. Selectively they are good. If that's the majority of my toolkit, I'm bored. GW2 has similar issues and their abilities feel less impactful than ESO even. GW2's ability design is also weird.

    Games that did it well:

    TERA - non-AoEs and "single" target
    For "targeted" action combat ranged abilities - i.e. something for 1-3 targets, TERA and Crowfall have done a decent job. TERA has always been the pinnacle for me - specifically the 2012-2014 era (no clue what it plays like now). Healers could aim a lock on ability that they'd click once to "paint" over their target to heal 1-3 selected targets, with a second click to let the heal go. That was easy to aim but fun to use. They had another that would lock on to one target and heal everyone within a 5m circle of the target.

    Both of these skills allow fun, targeted skills that feel "traditional" in design but allow for the immersion and smoothness of action combat, but they also address the issue of how to heal your tank or melee dps when they're grouped up without forcing lots of boring GtAoEs on the healer (remember - we like "targeting" even when we're playing action combat). So the first skill is your spammable "single target" skill, allowing you to, if need be - target up to 3 people if they are grouped too closely to your main target. The second had a longer CD, healed for more, and could heal up to 5 if they were close (likely not that many since 5m circle is tiny).

    Then of course there was the famous Mystic class orbs, where they dropped little balls on the ground (lasting maybe 5 min each) that would give healing or mana over time if the player interacted with it. That's a nice supplemental single target skill that let's players use it when they need it, provided the healer puts them in a useful spot and is a great downtime spammable ability for the healer as well. Crowfall's Druid has healing orbs as well that last for only a minute but can be used merely upon walking through them (group only). TERA's worked better, but these are also good.

    Crowfall - non-AoEs and "single" target
    Crowfall doesn't have lock-ons but has aimed targeted heals that also work well. I don't quite understand how they work in terms of mechanics, so instead I'll link a few tooltip examples of ones I like. Ignore the numbers, they don't update with gear/stats, but hopefully you get the idea of the mechanics at least. One thing I'd say is a pleasant surprise here is while you are aiming with no obvious lock-on effects or soft targeting, there is something making targeting easier and requiring less precision, similar to a soft targeted effect. I do prefer these types of things if I'm aiming - fun, but not fps.

    This one is a 35m range direct heal you loosely aim at the target and I believe will also heal any within 8m. Then there's skills like this that are a direct reticule target - no obvious soft lock effects but is as-easy to aim as those would be.

    I have no clue what "ray" here refers to but again, I easily reticule aim and hit a target and it will chain to a few others at 100% of the heal with a passive I have. This is another way to solve the "all your melee are crowded together" problem. Also, all of these heals also solve the problem of aiming at one or several individual moving targets when many action combat games give healers GtAoEs that are useless when mobile because people just run out of them, or PbAoEs that either force the healer to get close, or just heal everyone nearby with no skill (and again, we're pretending the auto target, smart single/dual/cleave heals of ESO don't exist as an option in this example).

    This also has a rather large range, likely 35m, but seems to have a wider arc in game play, allowing me to heal players loosely running near each other and because it's channeled, I can move and keep aiming at them as they move (or if other people are low HP I can just swing around and heal other people). If it's a rectangle, it certainly feels like a horizontal one at the point of aim, not one that starts at my feet.

    Other action combat thoughts:
    I will say TERA's aimed skills had more obvious visual tells to let you know who you were targeting and I do prefer that. But between the two games, they both have a good variety of ranged, non-AoE, single, dual, cleave target abilities that work well for action combat. I do strongly believe the action combat abilities here need to have enough non-AoE skills for it to be fun. If someone wants to go 75% action, 25% tab, they should not be forced to have nothing but AoEs on their bar. Moreso than that, healers and ranged magic and physical dps need to have some of these types of abilities if they choose more action vs tab.

    For the skills that will be group/AoE , I'm fine with GtAoE, cone, some PbAoE, TAoE, lines, etc. Although I'd say GtAoE, TAoE, PbAoE don't always have to be huge circles. One or two skills maybe could be huge for when they're needed but smaller ones (5-10m) can feel very rewarding, skillful, and fun to use without being difficult to aim.
  • I think that targeted combat is something that has worked for a very long time, but action combat is a more engaging and interesting combat system. I think it is important to understand that creating an action combat system is extremely difficult when deciding what direction you want to take your game into. Things like projectiles vs hit scan, the classic hitbox debacle, it's all very difficult to balance and implement into not just a game, but into an MMORPG. Assuming Action Combat is more challenging, I imagine it will also be more rewarding, so I will stick to around 50/50 Action-based and Tab-based. Hopefully, Intrepid Studios will spend a lot of time honing the combat system and solving an extremely difficult problem that has not been solved before.
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  • xDracxDrac Member
    I personally prefer tab tagetting, I always thought ArcheAge did a good job of creating a tab target combat system that feels more fluent and action-y.
  • digitalwinddigitalwind Member, Intrepid Pack
    edited March 2021
    Think about it.

    Quality raiding and PvP is balanced and finely tuned with math and science. Lets take a hard boss kill as an example.
    Things are balanced with high precision to using a combination of gear, rotation outputs, player movement, and health. Ideally, the players can just barely defeat the boss if everyone plays a perfect game. assuming skill shots have higher returns than a tab target ability, min/max says go full action-combat and "get good"
    How many guilds can field a 40m raid that already executes their dance to perfection? This means a variance of indviduals making 1-3 mistakes of any nature. How many mistakes will be made in a 5 minute fight if all the skills are action based? Dozens.

    The healers alone will not be able to heal their raid when it comes time for people to run around like headless chickens.

    So what's the obvious answer? Make the raids easier and allow for more player mistakes. Yikes.

    Now I can see the other side of the coin. Rangers will have fun and shine more brilliantly if given manual fire. Other classes won't.

    The hybrid can be done....but if only you as the devs decide before hand which roles benefit more and less from it, and min/max that accordingly.

    tl;dr. Don't punish healers with an inferior heal just because they have to deal with the headless chickens running around while screaming for heals. Action/Tab should definetly be favored in specific classes. Don't default to the action be the superior skill.
  • AzryilAzryil Member, Leader of Men, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    I prefer tab target abilities as the core of my toolkit but I don't have an issue with throwing in some skill-shot abilities as well.
  • mcstackersonmcstackerson Member, Phoenix Initiative, Royalty, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    edited March 2021
    Majority action/free aim.

    I like the feeling of control you get from action skills.
  • As an archer i would prefer an action combat as it’s more mobile, but then again it will depend on the skills, i still have TERA action combat as one of my favourites but lately i’ve found the BDO one of the best, but the way you’re guys are heading i would prefer a TERA system where there is a few powerful skills that are static and aoe like a rain of arrows style, a very powerful piercing shot also static with a charge (not a slow charge) but all the others quite mobile skills seems a good balance!
  • Definitely action combat, since I really enjoyed APOC.
  • VmanGmanVmanGman Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    I never really understood this question... I will not spec towards either action or tab specifically. I will look at which abilities fit my playstyle and build best and choose those regardless of action or tab.
  • SomeRandomNameSomeRandomName Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    Tab, so you can't release Ashes on mobile. o:)
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