Active combat fatigue

In Syp’s latest Wildstar post on his Bio Break blog he mentions action combat fatigue as an issue with his gaming sessions in that MMO. He’s limiting his playtime to 60-90 minutes because combat is requires such concentration:

Really, my combat attitude is, “I want to point at something and make it die with minimum fuss.”  WildStar, however, is all about the fuss.  Every fight is some sort of small epic war played out on a tiny battlefield.

This was very much the same problem I had with Tera. I liked the game but found the combat too intense for evenings where I wanted to relax while gaming not get more wound-up.

In the comments of Syp’s articles there’s some discussion of this issue. It’s mentioned that Guild Wars 2 “got it right” with regards to the level of intensity of the combat. I’m inclined to disagree with that assertion given the frenetic pace of combat in any living story content I experienced, most of which involved crazy zergs of characters. It may well be that more recent content discourages such tactics and hence combat is slightly less full-on but in any case the combat was always tuned to reward “dodge as much as possible” as a tactic.

Why just have red circles when you can overlapping red circles of doomsharks?

Why just have red circles when you can overlapping red circles?

In the same comments one commenter commends Neverwinter’s action combat as less stressful and I would agree. Dodging is important but it’s not a must or a constant activity either. The difficulty level of combat in Neverwinter, outside of heroic dungeons, might well be ‘easier’ than that in Guild Wars 2 but then I’m talking about public content here. In both games the difficulty of such content scales based on participation levels, but personally I find Neverwinter’s difficulty scaling is better or at least set at a more enjoyable/less demanding level than GW 2’s was when I last played it. That observation is due to the tendency of any large-scale fight to always be desperate fights for survival in the later game, whereas in Neverwinter they was a lot more scope for tactical thinking beyond simple survival.

NW: dragon fights can be pretty chaotic but dodging is manageable

NW: dragon fights can be pretty chaotic but dodging is manageable

I may well be well out of date with such observations on GW 2’s combat, but somehow I doubt that the changes I read about in other blogger’s coverage of the game have fundamentally changed the core design decisions about the game that, for me personally, lead to the ‘action combat fatigue’ problem.

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4 Responses to Active combat fatigue

  1. pkudude99 says:

    Ya know, I think that was why I didn’t particularly care for the aegis system in TSW at first — when you start out you get a 5% damage application vs a mob’s aegis shield, so that 275 point aegis translated to an additional 5500 HP to burn through on a mob. And the dual-shielded mobs… hoo boy…..

    On the bright side, I “pushed through” and now even with “just” a QL2 aegis module and associated enhancers and capacitors aegis has become a complete non-issue — on the non-dual-shielded mobs anyway. But yeah, opening shot completely removes the aegis shield on any standard mob and it’s then a simple matter of not standing in stupid while you fight since Tokyo mobs hit rather hard. I haven’t done this much circle-strafing since the ak’abs in Blue Mountain.

    Plus since Transylvania gives so very much more xp than Tokyo does it was an absolute joy to go back there to farm the high xp missions for SP to apply toward the aegis skill lines and watch the mobs all fall down when I glanced in their general direction…… Okay, not quite like that, but it sure felt like it in comparison to the Tokyo fights.

    OTOH, Elder Scrolls Online has dropped their latest patch and it sounds like a winner for sucking me back in to that game too, and it’s “action combat.” Of course, typical time to kill most mobs in ESO is about 4-5 seconds, so since they fall down so easily, it makes that game relaxing in spite of the action combat style…. for me, anyway. I dunno… guess it’s how the game is tuned, not necessarily the combat style.

    • Telwyn says:

      Indeed, action combat per se isn’t to blame, but if fighting is always frantic, always 100% full on then it can be an issue. That’s maybe more a content-design issue than a combat one in some games.

  2. bhagpuss says:

    There’s a particular reason why dodging in GW2 seems very comfortable to me where it doesn’t in other MMOs : you can dodge by clicking your hotbar with the mouse pointer. That’s what I do. I disabled my dodge keys on day one and have clicked the two orange quarter-circles ever since.

    NWN dodging (like TSW dodging) feels incredibly clunky and awkward by comparison. In TSW I just run out of the telegraphs and in NWN I tend to just let them hit me. In GW2, if you don’t like dodging, there’s a very simple solution, one that has been taken up by what seems like hundreds of thousands of players – roll a Ranger and use a Bear as your pet. Bear holds agro like the tarbaby while you provide DPS from a safe distance. Gets you thrown out of dungeons and killed in instances but for leveling up it works flawlessly!

    • Telwyn says:

      Interesting, I’d thought ranger pets were squishy, did that change or have they always been decent? I do have a low level ranger but no time to play. As for clicking to dodge I always found the keys good enough response-wise but just the tempo or necessity of dodging a problem. As you say in Neverwinter bar dungeon boss fights you can easily miss a couple of dodges now and then.

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