Playing SWTOR again I’ve noticed how much falling damage is a thing still in some MMORPGs. Not all games have this – The Secret World doesn’t, and Rift patched it out quite a while ago.
These days when I play SWTOR on my Shadow (and equally on my Imp. Agent) I tend to do a lot of sneaking around or randomly exploring. In this bit of one of the KOTET chapters I happened to spot an objective down below and decided to find a way to jump down. This time around it worked well, another time my character got stuck on a vine on the wall I was jumping diagonally to and in getting out I plunged down two levels and almost died.
Other games that do have falling damage do offer more ways to avoid it; I’ve mentioned the new movement options in the Legion expansion of World of Warcraft but then the game has always had ways of preventing falling damage (levitate, slow fall, Paladin bubbles, crafted items).
Although I can appreciate games not having falling damage, I think on balance I prefer to have it. Exploration as gameplay loses something if there’s no element or risk or danger. I saw this transition in Rift and overall lost some of the joy I used to take in climbing mountains at every opportunity when I could leap of the tallest peak without fear. MMORPGs are far from realistic in many ways but the ability of our characters in TSW to jump from high buildings without any noise or reaction to a fast and hard landing from our characters has always seemed a big immersion killer in that game.
WoW and EQ2 deal with this issue the best in my mind, they have falling damage but give characters the tools to deal with it if it’s a problem. SWTOR has falling damage but doesn’t give you much to mitigate the risk – so exploration can be thrilling (some of those datacrons are placed in very high places!) but equally it’s frustrating for my Bounty Hunter not to be able to break his fall with his jet pack or for my Jedi Master character to be able to reduce his falling speed with the force…
Do you think falling damage is a good or bad thing?