Combat, especially player-vs-player (PvP) combat, is a topic which divides players. It has also divided the staff. It's clearly a topic of interest though, because after “when are you releasing?”, one of the most common questions we get asked is about PvP combat. And since Andre has done an amazing job with drawing our spells and spell buttons, it seems a shame not to share this with you.
Personally, I love PvP. Not for the loot, or for the power, or for the ‘glory’ (if you like); but for the interaction with other players in something challenging and variable. Because the possibilities with PvP gaming are so much more varied and unpredictable and exciting than PvE combat could ever simulate. So really, there was no question about whether we should have it or not.
When designing our combat system, we decided upon a few essential key concepts. Each of these is discussed in detail below.
Player skill vs. character skill
Probably one of the earliest and most important things that we decided upon was the need to find a good balance between ‘player’ and ‘character’. What we mean by this, is that although the character’s skills (i.e. experience level, skills/attributes, spells/feats learnt, etc.) are very important, the skilfulness of the player (the person behind the keyboard) must have an effect on combat too. Even the strongest and best-built character should be nothing without a good, knowledgeable player controlling it.
To achieve this, we plan for combat with all classes to focus very much on spells and feats. Once you’ve learnt a particular spell/feat, you may select it by pressing a hotkey. However many spells will require aiming in order to cast them. Obviously self-acting spells like healing are an exception to this and don’t have to be aimed.
Moderate healing spell
Fury buff spell
The hotkey bar
On PvP worlds, it should be possible to attack and be attacked by other players almost anywhere. The exceptions to this being in the starting area (Timar), inside temples, banks, boats, and a few other special locations.
We have no plans to add any sort of global automated PvP-restriction system, as far too many games have proved that these systems are easily abused and invariably bring with them as many problems as they solve. Importantly though, we do plan to restrict PvP slightly inside cities using NPC city guards.
Long live the King!
Some guards are more helpful than others.
Of course, when there is enough demand for it, we will add a non-PvP server. We will also be considering adding another slightly special PvP game world type.
Minimise the appeal of aimbots
Tackling cheating is all about weighing up the risks and rewards in the minds of players. Because we want a requirement for skill, it is sadly inevitable that some time in the future there will be an aimbot for Phobos. Obviously we will be doing our best to limit third party software in any way we can technically and through in-game rule enforcement with a zero-tolerance approach. But that is a backwards strategy, as we will always have to play catch-up with cheaters.
Zero-tolerance for caught cheaters.
Also, you will find that a large number of spells, including many (but not all) of the stronger spells which will be used in PvP combat are small 'area of effect' spells (e.g. area of effect of 3x3 sqm). This will make aiming at a moving target much easier, but will still require precision and timing from the player.
We’re not naive enough to think that we can deter all aimbot users, but we do hope to minimise it and the advantages they get from it.
The player economy should be tightly linked with combat. This is another longer-term aim which will be properly added later with the introduction of a crafting system. However to reduce any imbalance caused by the ability of a single class in crafting a consumable, the current plan is that crafting skills will not be class-specific.
Various potions and equipment useful in combat.
We’re hoping that a combination of all these things should give us the interesting, skilful, varied and fast-paced combat that we’re looking for.
Fhew, well I know that was a bit of a wall-of-text. So well done if you managed to read it all. But what do you think? Do any of these plans worry you? What problems do you expect us to come across with this system? How would you like to see us deal with these problems?