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Michalson

Turn based combat possible in MMORPG?

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One of the biggest differences between most traditional RPGs, and online multiplayer ones, is the combat system. While many single player RPGs have an in depth turn based (or "real time" turned based seen originally in games like Crono Trigger) that often favor strategy, tactics and a large variety of choices, online, purely real time RPGs have reduced combat to an arcade experience - players are usually limited to 10 or fewer actions (attacks/spells), either by design or because its simply not possible to juggle so many at once, so only the current best are assigned hotkeys. Other qualities, like status effects, are also greatly reduced. What I'm wondering is if it is possible to restore some sort of turn based combat within the multiplayer context - for instance a turn based/stradegy system relies a lot on being able to enter dedicated combat with one group of monsters, but be able to walk around in real time manner when not in combat. With other players roaming around the same area, how do you handle this? Right now the only MMORPG I can think of that has a turn based system is Toon Town, the Disney RPG aimed at younger kids. I haven't played it, so I'm not quite sure how it handles all situations, or how well it would work with a more challenging, "mature" targeted RPG.

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Why not use Final Fantasy's active time battle system? It's turn based and real time at the same time. If you don't know how it works...

Every creature has a speed stat that affects how fast a ATB bar fills up. When it gets full, you take your turn. Everyone else's ATB bar is still filling up at the same time, and when theirs is full, they take their turn. If someone doesn't take their turn, it doesn't stop everyone else from playing. Also, their bar doesn't start filling up again until they took their action, so they can't stack up a few.

It's just like turn based, but you don't have to wait on other people.

Quote:
Original post by Toolmaker
If you write an MMORPG in the style of Neverwinter Nights, I'm giving you my first born.


There are thousands made in NWN. They call them PWs (Persistant World). They vary in quality and style, but most are pretty good.

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I was thinking about having a MMORPG which allowed you to command somewhere between 3 to 5 characters at the same time, pretty much like the FF games do, this way, you don't really have to mingle with other players in order to actually do something fun.

Turn based combat would have to be the way to go in such scenario, but avoiding "screen changes" (the switch to a more detailed screen representing only the battle ground) kind of like in Fallout.

I don't see why it wouldnt be possible, in fact that would make the gendre more fun I think, the key here would be having more than one character in order for strategy to have an important role.

Edit: In fact I think the turn based system of Fallout would be perfect, since its more in line with strategy games such as FF tactics or Front Mission.

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How we were going to do it with our (failed) MMORPG was have the combat show up as a "combat icon" in the screens of other players who wandered by and weren't involved in the fight. This way you could prevent new people/monsters from getting into the fight, if you wanted to. (It'd definitely remove the "random dude wanders up and loots your kill" scenario, since the combat would take place in a classic console RPG "fight scene" type thing and thus the ones actually fighting would get the first crack at the loot.) There's some problems with this model of course, but I don't feel like going into them all at the moment.

Or, you could have combat visible as an icon, but allow others to enter in at any time (which could be a nightmare for calculating xp). Wouldn't it be nifty to be fighting a couple of stupid little slimeballs, and then have an orc wander up and kick your butts? Problem with allowing other players in is that it might just turn into a huge PvP deathmatch.

I suppose xp could be calculated fairly easily, actually, whether you allow people to join the fight after it's started or not. Monsters have xp based on their stats/skills, and whoever's involved in the fight gets a percentage of that xp based on what they contributed to the fight. This would have to be carefully balanced as well, because healing should give xp too but random healers shouldn't be able to wander in and heal fighters who don't need healing and still get xp from someone else's fight.

Ehh, too many possibilities to really think all this out properly.

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The Final Fantasy system is the "real time" turn based system I described. The main difficulty here is not the actual in combat play - it's been done many times in many ways that could easily be applied.

The true problem here is that unlike a single player game, time does not stop when you enter into a battle with a monster. For example lets assume a well developed clean system like Crono Trigger - you walk around areas in which enemies are also roaming in realtime. When an enemy touches you (or under special scripted circumstances) you enter battle mode, in which you and several of the surrounding monsters (the one you touched and usually several others) are now engaged in hybrid turn based/ real time combat system. However the key here is that all other monster activity in the area is ignored, time effectively stops until the battle is done. How do you handle other monsters and players still moving, both from the perspective of the player (in combat and when they exit combat) and from the perspective of other players.

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If it's a scripted battle, you don't put other roaming monsters in the area, or have a 'bug me not' flag. Maybe because the monsters fear intterupting the 'big dog in the yard' in that area. edit: Clarification -- If this creature was a boss, they'd be an 'overbearing asshole' already, and the other creatures know that by jumping into his fight, they'd get into a world of trouble afterwards.

If it's not. It's not really a problem is it? Other game with real time / turn based don't have a problem with this. When I alert 15 orcs in my nwn module and they all come running after me, I just take them out one at a time, and if I have it available I use an attack that targets more than one creature.

Once thing that could be done, is having each new creature that joins the fray have slower response rates. So that the first 2 creatures are attacking at full speed, but after that the response keeps going in half, with some monsters (if it gets excessive) not responding at all, until 1 creature goes down, and everyone else doubles up their current response time.

What we ended up doing in our nwn module to avoid that is have the party size affect the number of monster spawns in an area. We average out party levels, and use the number of players to decide how much to spawn. But we have a random wandering monster feel, so it's kind of transparent to most players. a single player, or party of 2 will never spawn more than they could handle, but after that the spawn sizes get randomly bigger (up to a max of like 2 per player, with an overall cap)

[Edited by - Vampyre_Dark on November 23, 2004 12:59:02 PM]

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I can imagine it being done via some form of 'battleground' system to which the respective players and monsters are transported for the battle. Players would be removed from the realtime map and the area marked as being a 'battleground'. Any other players or monsters can wander into the area and be alerted to the presence of a battle. They could then chose whether they wish to become part of the turn-based battle or leave the area. If they choose to join, a message would pop-up for the players in the battle (after that round of turns) that alerts of a new entrant. If the battle is non joinable (maybe a boss or spell?), the game could provide a mechanism to state that the area is out of bounds. When the battle is over, the area would be unflagged and the players would reappear in the realtime world.

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Just magically instance a battle ground at the point when battle is initiated. This would be like the missions of City of Heroes, except would magically happen in the outdoors.

In fact, CoH teasers for future versions have claimed "now, with instanced missions within the actual city" or something to that effect.

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I think it would work perfectly fine if you have combat locked like EQ 2 does, but continue this locking to block more monsters from showing up during battle. No need to move the characters, yet uninterrupted combat that can take as long as it likes.

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