Locked-animations are too clunky; Free-flow-animations are too floaty? Here's an Idea!

It would seem that so far, the general community feedback for the current melee combat animations which lock you into place and move you forward is that they are way too clunky. This is why they're doing the whole return to monke APoC combat. However, back in APoC the feedback was that it's way too floaty.

Many other games, run into the same issues and deal with them in different ways.
Personally, I haven't played BDO, but the response I've seen so far is that the combat there is indeed locked-animation, and yet it is praised as having one of the best combat's in MMO's. And on the other end, in ESO, which I do personally play, the combat is as floaty as it comes and, to me, it feels really awful.

My thought, is that neither one of the extremes is a good solution. Instead of looking at MMO's for a third person combat system, tab-targeting or otherwise, I looked at a well known MOBA - Smite. I would argue that Smite, despite not being the greatest MOBA, has a pretty solid combat system that works for both PvP (It's a moba..) and PvE (jungling).
The implementation of combat animations inspired by Smite would be really quite simple. Take the APoC-style, free-flow animations, and simply apply a slow to the character while the animation is playing.

Such a slow would effectivelly keep the feeling of control you get from a free-flow system, while keeping in all of the positives from a locked-animation system. In addition, it also adds a few variables, that could be played around with via gear (weapon type or quality) or buffs, such as the % your character is slowed by or the time duration your character is slowed after the animation finishes (say it's 0.25 seconds by default and you have a buff that removes it).

Compound systems hurray!


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    KhronusKhronus Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited July 2021
    I played wow for several years and I never felt that the combat was "floaty" as everyone keeps complaining about. The free motion you have while fighting always felt great to me and I felt in complete control during combat. Positioning was always critical. Map awareness, timing, knowledge of visuals and knowing what the enemy was using + what they had available was constantly in my head while still working my rotation to maximize dps or mitigation depending on my role. It kills me to see people calling complete freedom of movement floaty but I understand the perspective.

    Playing Monster Hunter World I grew to love the combat. I prefer the hammer funny enough. It's slow, clunky and perfectly designed around the style of enemies you face. They are huge monsters with slow devastating attacks usually. Your own characters movement and combat has weight to it which feels fine but eventually it gets old having to wait for every single animation of turning, jumping, hearing a monsters scream, tremors, bumped by tails/legs, running out of stamina. I consider it fine tuned like how demon/dark souls games are. It's harder to compare these games to true mmorpgs but it's not impossible.

    Ultimately, I agree that there is a balance to be found but I will always side with providing the freedom of movement for players. Adding a slow to a full freedom of movement system based on what types of attacks you do is something I can stand behind. It has to feel fluid. I suggested in another post that there may be something to adding a slow for the final hit of our combos. This would give players the chance to time dodging and make it useful.

    Another idea that would add to even more customization is to have certain buffs or armor or enchantments (hopefully something that would include the crafting system which EVERYTHING should always circle back to) would be to upgrade our gear or spec talents in to give us more of that freedom. Maybe someone can go a spec that provides more damage at the cost of keeping the default slow mechanic but if I want more movement, I sacrifice a bit of damage to remove that slow? This will result in the possibility to increase damage in pvp because I won't be missing my combos but less damage on a boss. I mean, really it would depend on every scenario and give us many more options to customize.
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    truelytruely Member, Alpha One
    edited August 2021
    I agree around a 0.2s animation slow, or a 0.2s animation lock which is literally one forward or side step I think would work well. Skills have a small animation lock anyway so it's not like we'll be running around in floaty auto-combat the whole time anyway :)
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    I have played many MMOs in my lifetime: foremost is WoW, ESO, and BDO. Black Desert is the sole reason I truly believe in an animation-locked combat system. It CAN be done and it provides a certain feedback during combat that I have never seen in any other MMO (and even most fighting games in general for that matter).

    Unfortunately, the secret is something that the devs seem very much against. During Apoc, I left feedback on the combat system and suggested that they implement animation canceling into the floating attacks. However, they made it clear that they did not want to have such a system. I fear that unless they revisit this, they are doomed to have an uninspiring combat system like literally every other action-combat MMO.

    OP's comparison to something more akin to Smite is an interesting one. While I think Smite is still a bit floaty, it definitely has a satisfying and impactful feel during combat. However, I believe there are certain factors at play which make such a feeling possible for Smite that can't be applied to Ashes. The primary factor is the camera angle. Smite's locked camera angle does a lot to give a more intense fighting feel, and this just isn't possible to replicate in an MMO such as AoC. Secondly (and this one might just be my personal preference), the best feeling characters in Smite tend to be the spellcasters. This is because the inherit "floaty-ness" is more forgivable when you're just chucking spells. Every time I play Ares, Sobek, Ymir, Tyr, etc. I really start to notice how floaty the combat really is. Not so much when I'm zooming around the map as Chronos in Time Warp.
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    VoidwalkersVoidwalkers Member
    edited August 2021
    Would it make more sense to make the melee combat-animation lock / free-movement depend on your actual weapon?

    e.g. Heavy melee weapons like 2H swords would get some kind of animation locks. I looked at the combat animations (a character swinging a 2H sword while moving) in the July dev update, and it just felt weird. When you swing a heavy weapon like that, it's supposed to require the strength of your whole body (most importantly your legs, hip and waist), which should inevitably lock you in place for a short duration. Trying to swing a 2H sword from 2 to 8 (/) while strafing (or even moving backwards) at the same time should be either impossible, or at least result in a very wimpy strike (severely reduced damage).

    Meanwhile much lighter weapons (e.g. dual wield daggers) would probably make sense to have free-movement combat animation.

    Although balancing becomes a problem in this case, since light weapons have a significant advantage (mobility), and to offset it one obvious solution would be to give heavy weapons higher dps. But then that could create a "PvE class" (high dps, lower mobility) & "PvP class" (high mobility, lower dps) for weapons, which I believe it's something Intrepid's trying to avoid? (having separate pvp & pve gears)

    Another idea is to implement both with-lock animation and free-move animation, depending on whether the player is pressing wasd during the attack, and have static/locked attacks do full damage (since the character can stand firmly on ground and swing his weapon with full power), while the moving attacks do reduced damage (since the character's swinging his weapon from a sub-optimal posture).

    But that could over-complicate the combat system, and it's more work for Intrepid ... (shrugs)

    Combat is hard :/
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    DizzDizz Member
    The way I see the problem is not add slow or pause or anything like that into swing animation so the floaty feel will be gone, the problem is our brain keep telling us what we seeing is total not natural to a unacceptable level, especially when you have to press something to make your character to do something.

    The concept of weapon attack we see now is basically a fixed 123or45 combo chain like combo punch we can see in any hand to hand combat, the problem is the idea of feel weighty/impactful is basically against the idea of able to move freely, yes you can fix this easily by referencing BDO's solutions, but I don't know what will it cost if you just steal other game's idea and put in your product without reinvent it with your own personality, especially you are so promising to you vision about your game.

    I think these two conflict ideas can coexist by simply separate attacks into light attacks and heavy attacks and works on both melee and ranged weapon attack, light attacks with more natural animations in order to convince player’s brain to feel it's reasonable to move freely while attacking, heavy attacks have movement limitation or say rooted animations but comes with benefits like higher damage or higher chance to crit or armor penetration depend on weapon type, and both light attacks and heavy attacks works with weapon abilities but proc different effects, last, maybe have more downtime if CCed while performing heavy attacks.
    A casual follower from TW.
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