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.
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.
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.
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.
Rowsdowsers go BOOM!!! That is all!