WildStar DevSpeak Aims For A True Skill Shot Game

WildStar Aiming

WildStar beta testing has helped shape the game into true skill shot combat. The new WildStar DevSpeak video tells all!

Skill shots, telegraphs, and action combat are all very similar in nature. Over the past few years many games have progressed to start including these combat features, and WildStar has no plans to fall behind.

History of WildStar Telegraphs

Most of us have heard of the telegraph system that WildStar uses for their combat. The idea of the telegraphs was implemented about two and a half years ago and over the course of development it has changed forms in various ways. The original system involved a heavy tab target design that we are familiar with in games such as World of Warcraft, but the Carbine Studios team knew that times were changing and began to design the skill shot version of their telegraphs.

The system has evolved to a mixture of skill shots and tab target guaranteed hits, but the testing of the game has brought them to one conclusion: Design the majority of the game as skill shots, even healing.

So the question is what does this mean for all you fellow MMORPG fans? Well the new WildStar DevSpeak video breaks it down for all of us, but I also got to hear a bit from Chris Lynch, lead combat designer and Hugh Shelton, lead class designer, of Carbine Studios as they explained what these changes mean for the game and how they affect you the player.

wildstar mmorpg mmorpg     WildStar DevSpeak Aims For A True Skill Shot Game

Why The Change?

To begin we were informed that in most cases the current crop of beta testers of WildStar have been turning off the auto-face target system as it prevented them from directing their attacks how they wanted. Manual aiming allowed players to line up their skill shots so that it could hit multiple enemies who may not have been directly aligned with the auto-face feature. This is very important fact for all you PvP fans out there as you will want to possible lead your target due to their constant movement, use of abilities of their own, and the dodge mechanic. The auto-face target is currently in the game, but they are not sure if it will stay for launch.

For those of you wanting a smooth transition coming from games like World of Warcraft, RIFT, or Star Wars: The Old Republic it might be best to use this function in the beginning as it will help guarantee a hit in the PvE world. It is however, highly suggested that you eventually learn to play without this function to gain greater control of your character.

What About Healers?

The big question is always in regards to healers and skill shots in an MMORPG. Often time’s people fear that a skill shot game does not work well for healers as it limits how well they can manage in a group. Carbine Studios is aware that this is a fine line to walk and have mentioned they do still have targeted abilities in the game and most of them are on the healing side. However, this varies on a class by class basis. Some of the classes are based on the free form target aspect and will undoubtedly have a higher skill cap.

wildstar mmorpg mmorpg     WildStar DevSpeak Aims For A True Skill Shot Game This does not mean that all healing will stay with targeted abilities, in fact, the transition of these abilities are already occurring as well. Just like you have to free form target your damaging attacks, it appears that you will have to aim your healing abilities at your team. Long is gone the role of having ten or twenty member health bars covering your screen and you simply clicking on them to target your teammates. In WildStar each person will have a visible health bar above their head. Players will be able to customize these options though to only display health bars that are below “X%” of health to prevent clutter. This creates a much more interactive gameplay for healer characters.

Does Tanking Include Protection Abilities That Have To Be Aimed?

Carbine Studios has designed some of their more interesting tank abilities to affect your group. Many of these you are required to stay within a certain range to keep them active. They are currently experimenting more with tanking and free form targeting abilities just like they are doing with healers. Currently, the tanks abilities are more radius buffs and taunts.

Being someone who has never found tanking interesting, I very much enjoy the idea of a tank being able to physically block an attack or having more character control abilities. I imagine a tank as someone who manages to step in front of an ally and block an incoming telegraphed attack or able to pull the creature away for a moment when it started chasing a weakened ally. If tanks can begin to focus less on aggro mechanics and more on in the moment abilities, they might become more appealing.

wildstar mmorpg mmorpg     WildStar DevSpeak Aims For A True Skill Shot Game

Does The Environment Affect Telegraphs?

Yes and no. Chris and Hugh were able to explain to us that varying elements can affect a telegraphed ability. To begin, line of sight will still play an important role in the game. If you find yourself stuck in a telegraph, but can manage to get behind a large rock or a tree, then you can avoid the damage as it will not go through the object. However, elevation differences in the terrain do not necessarily prevent telegraphs from hitting. In regards to elevation it is dependent on the height difference from the two terrains. To sum it up for us, if your telegraph is showing on the ground, below you or above you, then your attack will still hit those areas. So no jumping off small cliffs for a quick escape, just find that tree to hide behind.

What About Pets?

In the current implementation pets are consistent damage. The esper has an ability that when casted will attack the target consistently until the target is dead or the pets are killed. In essence, pets are a dot that can be killed. In the future designs pets will begin to have telegraphs of their own which can be avoided in combat.

What Still Needs Fine Tuning?

One of the beta testers created an auto hot-key script that enables players to play the game as a full mouse look game. Carbine Studios is currently experimenting with the ability to toggle on and off mouse look. This sounds similar to the design of TERA or SMITE where you aim with your mouse. There is no say on if this will make it into launch, but they have noticed you often times are already holding the right mouse button since you do not have to select target enemies as much. They are also considering this function as they move further and further away from targeted abilities.

I do not know about you all, but this entire reiteration of the game’s combat has increased my hype level to max. I was always a big fan of the SMITE combat system due to its true skill shot nature, and I am glad to see WildStar leaning closer to something similar in their telegraph mechanics. So if you are as big a fan as I am of skill shots in a game, then WildStar might just be the next big MMORPG for you.

wildstar mmorpg mmorpg     WildStar DevSpeak Aims For A True Skill Shot Game Public Service Announcement

Rowsdowsers go BOOM!!! That is all!

  • Ravenstorm

    Looks great. Hope the devs will block out the other aim boxes from other ppl when in the same group, as in raiding , or at least make those for your own group less visible so you won’t be blinded fo your own aim boxes.
    Looks great though.

    • http://www.JKKennedyTV.com/ Justin Kennedy

      Wonder if it would help if they had a slider that allowed you to choose the color for enemy telegraphs, ally telegraphs, and personal telegraphs. This would probably solve this issue.

      • Torguish

        That what the addon tools are for ;)

        • http://www.JKKennedyTV.com/ Justin Kennedy

          Ah good point. Hopefully that is part of the API and not a hard coded graphic.

  • Sapien

    Lemmings!!! ..Looks great – Just hoping its just as fun as it looks ..And what about blindening? Black screen? Big smile, BIG smile – I am about 99,9% sure i am goin healing …looks great!

    • http://www.JKKennedyTV.com/ Justin Kennedy

      The blind effect looks amazing and I am interested in how it and things like fear. A new interesting aspect to the scene, instead of it just being stat related. I wonder if confusion will also come into play.

      • Dularr

        It looks great, but a couple of chain blinds and dead characters will drive new players away by the droves.

        A great game design question, when does a game have too much CC.

        • Torguish

          Well, the CC video is coming up so we will have to wait and see. But there’s this ”condition armor” which won’t allow things like Chain blinds/stun/other CC (Think about GW2′s boss CC mechanic where you have stacks and they go down until a CC is applies). They mentioned that in previous interviews and panels.. :) But if that mechanic is still there, is yet to be seen.. :P

      • Michael

        Honestly as neat as the blind mechanic looks I am not a huge fan of it.

        • Torguish

          Why? I mean, let’s put it like this:
          The old way was just a math based condition which made you miss your attacks. There was nothing you could do unless you have skills that literally won’t miss. This put you in a disadvantage in a way where you couldn’t do anything because the game was telling you cannot.

          This way you can cope with the blind, still try to attack or act accordingly. It puts you in a realistic type of disadvantage where you can still act, you can still hit your attacks if you just focus enough. And who knows, maybe you can use sound too to determine where the enemy is! :) This type of disadvantage is a bit more ”fair” since it won’t nullify your character, it nullifies the players ability to see. It makes you connect more with the character. You then determine what you do, you cope with it and you decide how you act upon it. Remembering the surroundings to you can escape by jumping off a cliff or going invisible and hiding behind a rock which you pretty much know where it is. THAT, in my opinion, is just pure awesome.

          The game doesn’t say ”k. you will miss EVERYTHING now. Because blind. Ps. use those few unmissable skills.”

          It’s more like ”Your blind now, now think of something. Quickly.”

          I think it just makes the game more skill based. Putting you in a disadvantage as a player than the game character is just amazing. It really then comes to who is the better fighter, not who has more unmissable skills or higher hit rating.

      • Torguish

        Aye, the skill to cope with conditions in this game will also require skill which im VERY stocked for.. :D Can’t WAAAITT.

        I wonder if there’s any buffs that do a similiar effect in a positive way like x-ray vision to show enemy weak spots or to see them through a wall so in instances you know when you should pull in case there’s a patrol coming around the corner.. :)

  • Carlos Navarretti

    Originally not that interested. It’s getting piqued though. In a big way.

  • Kyle Karson

    Ummm Smite already does this targeting system. And I’m pretty sure they ripped it from older titles. It’s not new.

    • http://www.JKKennedyTV.com/ Justin Kennedy

      Yes, they are aware. They never said they created this awesome new idea. In fact, during the round table they mentioned many of their team plays MOBAs and inspiration comes from multiple places.

      Also if you read the whole article, I mentioned SMITE in there a couple of times, since I love that game.

    • theunwarshed

      GW2 uses something very similar as well.

      • Dularr

        No, GW2 is using a tab target system with AOE and one skill shot. This looks like almost all skill shots, with telegraphs.

        • Joseph Winn

          It looks pretty much like the same combat as GW2 but with telegraph shapes on the ground to guide players. GW2 is skill shot, but they rely on the player visually seeing the projectile/attack to understand where it’s going or coming from.

          • http://www.JKKennedyTV.com/ Justin Kennedy

            Actually a bit wrong. GW2 is not exactly true skill shot. To begin it does have aim assist from the tab target. In addition to this, GW2 system is a tab target system, however it check hits after the ability animation starts not before.

            In essence, it does not prevent you from using the ability, and then it checks it. I believe GW2 is a bit of a mix essentially of the two worlds, and it does it quite well for sure.

            WildStar appears to be more closely aligned to SMITE than GW2 combat.

          • Joseph Winn

            From what I’ve read, Wildstar will have the ability to tab target as well, to assist transition. You can play GW2 without targeting anything and rely on direction and position to determine hits. Also, it checks hit at the point of contact with target, not just after ability animation goes off. A minor but important difference.

            This is why something like the combat mode mod works with gw2.

            I will say that I’m not sure at this moment, without checking that is, how all projectiles and such go without a target. A dagger/dagger Ele can fire off fire 1 or water 1 without a target and just aim towards targets. However, an Engineer with with a rifle firing off attack 1 might need a target. This all depends on which options you have on. (So I should test that.)

            I don’t really see a major difference except that the telegraphs make the skill shots more apparent to the player.

          • http://www.JKKennedyTV.com/ Justin Kennedy

            I want to add that in the Q&A I had with them, they stated they are unsure if the tab target auto face will stay in the game. It might be that tab target is nothing more than a hi-light feature of Wildstar.

            GW2 I believe strongly features both style of skills, but is does not feel as free form as say SMITE or what it seems Wildstar is going for.

          • Joseph Winn

            I sort of hope they go without auto-fae tab targeted enabled by default. I think a lot of people play GW2 and rely on the tab target to a point that they miss much of what can be done with the combat.

            The tab target assist becomes a crutch of sort that never leads to healing. If they’re endgame raids are going to be truly punishing then it’s going to rely on forcing the userbase to learn how to play more free-form earlier on in the game.

          • http://www.JKKennedyTV.com/ Justin Kennedy

            From what has been understood, if most of the testers play with something on or off, they have been making that default. Or if something is super confusing one way, they have been switching it to something else as the default. So here is to hoping.

          • Dularr

            GW2 is a mix of attacks. Tab targeting with auto attacks,
            plus AOE and skill shots.

            From this video, Carbine implies all Wildstar attacks are skill shots with telegraphs.

    • Torguish

      ”Ripped” is a bit harsh in my opinion. I mean, it wouldn’t be ”ripped” if it was tab targeting since that’s been around in mmo’s for generations now. They are just embracing a targeting system that is similar to… well.. Smite. Sure, they probably looked at other games but that’s the designing games about. Using something like this isn’t a bad thing one bit if it’s a system that works.

      Also, it’s bound to change a bit. Altho i can say pretty much for sure, since they did a devspeak video now the tab targeting assist will probably go away since that’s the part they didn’t talk about that much.. :)

  • Dularr

    Looks good, AOE, Cone and skill shots, with telegraphs. Simple enough.

    Wonder if healing will have any turret, totem, healing orb mechanics. Allowing healers to drop healing items for an AOE heal.

    Do have to wonder if the botters will use aim bots to gain a significant advantage.

    • Ravenstorm

      Good point. Aim bots for the crap.

      • http://www.JKKennedyTV.com/ Justin Kennedy

        The issue here is aim botters will never be as good, especially if they decide to remove the auto face target. It is more likely the aim botter will die or something I would assume.

        • Dularr

          Thinking more like the FPS botts, the player will run and jump and double jump. While the aim bot is taking care of targeting the other players.

          • http://www.JKKennedyTV.com/ Justin Kennedy

            Ah, possibly.

  • Depravity

    Loving they’re not giving a rat’s arse about accessibility and aiming for skill-based gameplay instead. They have to know this will repulse some players, but at the same time they’re offering such a variety that this should mainly affect players that actually love the need of skill and are tired of the same old tab-targetting shit most games are offering.

  • Christopher Savino

    Looks like it’s going to be fun. :)

  • Sally Bowls

    The more I find out about Wildstar, the less interested I am.

    • Torguish

      Funny. The more i hear about it, the more exited i get.

  • Michael

    Looks interesting and a lot like GW2 combat — which is a good thing.

    • Ian Smith

      You and I have a very different view of GW2 combat. This looks a lot more fun to me. lol. I avoid combat at all cost in GW2 at this point. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t ever log on again. Not that I’m saying it’s their fault, it’s just that it gets on my nerves. It’s not them, it’s me. ;)

      • Michael

        I just think it looks like it will have the always moving type combat in the sense that the direction you are facing has a huge impact on aiming. If you target someone in gw2 who moves behind or to the side of you and fire off an attack, it will miss just like in this game. The main difference in GW2 is that if you fire an attack it starts heading towards your target if they are in sight. It can still miss if they move. You still have to aim your body towards them in a similar, though slightly more forgiving then Wildstar looks, fashion.

    • Dularr

      I like GW2 combat, but this looks nothing like GW2 combat. GW2 combat consist of auto attack, tab targeting, AOE effects, combo damage and skill shots.

      Seems Wildstar is going for AOE and skill shots.

      • Michael

        This game has tab target as well, not really sure what purpose it serves, but it has it. I personally don’t like having no auto attack based on what I saw in SWTOR though. It sounds great on paper, but if you have a filler attack all you have is an auto attack that you have to spam. I hope they don’t have that.

  • RealRobD

    “full mouse look” Um yes please and thank you very much! Screw holding down the right mouse button. You know how many cases of CTS that has caused over the years? Too many. I welcome having to aim versus lame tab targeting. This is 1013, leave that archaic crap in the past where it belongs.

  • RealRobD

    Derp, 2013 >.< Pretty glad it's NOT 1013 =D