Saturday, January 29, 2011

Verbs: Combat

As Eric of Elder Game writes in Picking Fun Game Verbs:
“Verbs” are anything a player can do at a conceptual level. Typical MMO verbs are things like attacking, running away, running around exploring, buffing people, taunting, and so on.
Ok, so we definitely need to consider verbs at some point. Let's see what else he has to say:

New verbs can make anything feel fresh. Want to make yet another fantasy MMO? No problem — just make sure it has lots of fresh new verbs! Of course, there’s a reason we’ve settled into the limited set of “traditional” MMO verbs: they’re easy to code and easy to balance. The more we break the mold, the more work we have to do. But that’s the difference between an amazing new game and another me-too game.

Cool, creative, new, or just plain fun verbs are the key to a fun game; ok then, let's do this.

Edit: Everything beyond this point has been discarded, and likely will no longer be implemented.

The current plan for combat involves melee players running forward, trading blows with their foes while largely stationary, and then disengaging to recover while less injured allies hold the line (if they're in a group effort). As part of the "trading blows" part, a player can use a variety of special or basic attacks with either hand, and can also attempt to parry or block opponents' attacks with either hand. If implemented right, battle should be about balancing when to defend and when to attack, attempting to hit an opponent that is off-balance or simply letting their guard down and finish the fight.

A first draft of the melee UI.

A first draft of the melee UI.

Basic Attack - Throws a basic attack with the equipped weapon. Recoil time: 6

Block - Raise a shield to block a blow. If you succeed, you increase your foe's recoil time by 1. Recoil time: 3

Parry - Attempt to parry a blow. If you succeed, you increase your foe's recoil time by 1. Recoil time: 4

In this case, a player can use either of their hands on either of the 6 zones. If they use a weapon on an empty zone, it launches an attack against the opponent, and the foe sees an incoming attack on their screen. If the zone had an incoming attack on it, then you attempt a parry instead. If you use a shield on a zone, it blocks any attacks in that zone. In this image, you see a player using a weapon and a shield fighting against another player using two weapons.

Ok, so far, so good. Basic attacking, parrying and blocking can be a good deal more interesting than they are in most games. We're not sure if it'll be fun until we implement it of course, and if it's not, this will have to be scrapped. But it's a start. So, next, let's add special combat maneuvers into the mix.

Feint - Throws a fake attack, but it appears to be a real attack. Recoil time: 2.

By feinting, a player can trick a foe into committing to blocking an false attack, potentially causing them to miss blocking a real attack. Of course, if you over-use it, your foe might figure it out and just bash you upside the head while you're busy feinting.

Kick - You throw a savage kick at a foe. If parried, you also take a hit. If blocked or connected, knocks a foe away from you and to the ground. (Falling down interrupts most spell casting, and casting spells from the ground takes longer. Getting up is a non-combat action and leaves you vulnerable while you attempt to do so.) Stops you from using both hands while kicking. Recoil time: 5.

If you find a pattern in a shield-wielding foe's blocking, or your foe is weaponless- such as a spell caster- you can knock them to the ground, granting you a strong advantage. However, if your opponent figures out what you're up to, they can attack your exposed leg. Good if your opponent is over-using block.

Disarm - You attempt to disarm your foe. If blocked or connected, deals minimal damage. If parried, you disarm your foe. If your foe attempts to disarm you after you have launched a disarm attempt, you are disarmed instead. Disarmed weapons fall to the ground, and must be picked up. (Attempting non-combat actions in combat prevents you from using the hand or hands involved, and increases your recoil times with your other hand. Additionally, you cannot dodge.) Recoil time: 4.

Similarly, a foe who parries predictably can be disarmed. Without a weapon, or at least, with one fewer weapon, you should be able to make quick work of a foe. Expect them to attempt a kick, or to disengage so they can find a new weapon. Foes with back-up weapons might draw them.

Disengage - You retreat a few yards from the foes you were battling, carefully covering your exit and breaking active combat. Cannot be used while attempting any attacks, although you can- and probably should- Disengage while defending. Recoil time: N/A.

Allows you to break combat to recover or preform other non-combat actions. Notably, if you try to move past an armed foe without using Disengage, they can make free attacks on you, which is what prevents them from just moving through the gap in your battle line; moving past your still-fighting allies would cause rather a few attacks on them.

Beyond these abilities, there was some notion that we planned to have additional weapon- and material-specific special attacks, however, I think we should leave that for another day, basic combat needs implementing!

1 comment:

  1. Upon rudimentary implementation, I have found that this is a nightmare to balance.