Abilities (Special Attacks)

This is where we will post our polls and surveys to get your thoughts and feedback on certain features, ideas and concepts that will be done in the game.

What ability system should we use?

All abilities available in combat, GUI shows favorites/hotbar
For each character, choose a limited number of abilities, only chosen abilities can be used while in combat
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Total votes : 2

Abilities (Special Attacks)

PostPosted by AnomalousUnderdog » Tue Dec 15, 2015 9:15 am

DISCLAIMER: The poll results won't be the ultimate deciding factor in our decisions, but we'll definitely consider them in our discussions.

In part of our effort to refine the combat GUI, we were looking at how to display the attacks.

A lot of our Kickstarter backers mentioned Shadowrun: Dragonfall.

I agree with them that it's pretty good, but there was one problem: while Shadowrun: Dragonfall gives you up to 6 attacks per weapon, our game will have a whole lot more than 6 attacks per weapon type. Even bumping it up to 8 buttons or 10, that's still not enough space.

One obvious thing we thought was to add either scrollbars, or up/down buttons to cycle through the other attacks. But I didn't think that was intuitive. Cycling through a long list of attacks just to find the one you want is too distracting from the flow of combat.

So one thing I thought as to have the buttons only be used for your favorite, frequently used attacks, and the complete list of all attacks will be accessible in some other way. You'd be able to assign any attack/skill/action to those buttons, and perhaps be able to switch between different presets that you make.

(This is only a quick mockup)

This is how it's done in Neverwinter Nights, and most MMOs.

Another one we thought, which would impact the game design, is this: each character can only hold, say, 8 combat abilities (8 simply because it's the number of attack buttons in the combat GUI, but we can change that number depending on play tests). Before combat, you assign for each character in your party which 8 abilities they'll have. During combat, it's only those 8 abilities that they can use. After combat, you're free to change the 8 abilities at any time (as long as you're outside combat).

I heard this is how they do it in Diablo 3, but you can also think of it the same way for a tradeable card game, you compose your deck before a game.

While it sounds restricting, this can reduce "information overload" where you have so many attacks that it takes a while to decide. Your enemies are subject to the same rule so it's fair. This could potentially let you focus each character on a specific role in combat. The fun is in choosing the abilities that complement each other well.
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Re: Abilities (Special Attacks)

PostPosted by theMarg0r » Tue Dec 15, 2015 10:10 am

All abilities available. The reason Diablo 3 did the restricted abilities, for example, was that it was a fast-paced hack-and-slash action RPG game and as such, scrolling through a list and picking which abilities you want to use from that at any given point isn't just inconvenient or impractical, but suicidal, as you need quick reflexes and split-second decision making far more than deep tactical thinking.

On the other hand, in a turn-based or pause-and-play game (such as the old-school DnD games like Baldur's Gate), you have all the time in the world to pick exactly what you want to do at any given moment, making picking from a list a much more viable option.

Of course there's going to be people who are going to make use of the hotbar exclusively and not actually use the abilities window, but I'd rather have the hotbar be a sort of "basic mode", with the full window as an optional "advanced mode" for people who want to use it. Not all the time, but for those tough fights when you REALLY need to get tactical and use ALL of your resources.
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