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Michalson

Turn based combat possible in MMORPG?

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Michalson    1657
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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Daaark    3553

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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Kwizatz    1392
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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onyxflame    203
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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Michalson    1657
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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Daaark    3553
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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evolutional    1393
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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hplus0603    11356
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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digitec devil    206
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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Kwizatz    1392
Well, I dont see it as much of a problem, once a battle starts, you mark the area as battleground, using some sort of radius, and all monsters inside the area are in battle, paserbyes can't just walk into the battleground, unless they're invited into the fight, they get to watch the fight if they want, or surround the area and leave to find other monsters, monsters not in the fight are also blocked from going into the fight, so no problem, there should be an "escape" option as well.

once the fight is over a loot window pops up and allows you to take what you want and leave what you dont, after that, the battle area is released.

The problem I see with instantiating fights is that it removes the multiplayer part.

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Daaark    3553
Quote:
Original post by CyberSlag5k
I'd love to see a TB combat system in an MMORPG. The thing is, what do you do if the person who is up is afk...


That's why an ATB system works best. You take your turn when it's time, but the battle is going on regardless.

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Kwizatz    1392
Quote:
Original post by CyberSlag5k
I'd love to see a TB combat system in an MMORPG. The thing is, what do you do if the person who is up is afk...


You set a timer for them to take action and if it times out, it is considered to be a "no action" action and then its the monster's/other player's turn.

just an idea.

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Extrarius    1412
One possibility not mentioned (that I saw anyways) would be to avoid 'battle grounds'/'arenas' entirely and just have the combatants stand in the area they met and using a turn based combat system to fight. If more people approach, you allow them the option of entering combat. If they so choose, they can now fight whichever of the opponents they want (or even take turns hitting everybody). Instead of the typical 'run' option, you'd probably have something like 'break combat' which would allow you back into real-time mode until you have another encounter (which could be immediately if you're surrounded).

It would be complex to implement, but it could be fun to see (standing around and watching people fight, only to enter it yourself when your champion isn't winning) and the seamlessness with the real time world would make the game more immersive.

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intrest86    742
As already mentioned, this is very Similar to ToonTown from Disney. Battles happen right in the real world, and both monsters and other players can join the battle. Experience is gained based on the damage done by each layer (I think, its been a while). If it gets too tough you can run, but you get no experience from it.

ToonTown still has a 3 day trial period, and it is quite a bit of fun. If you are interested in how it implements battle, give it a try.

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hplus0603    11356
Quote:
The problem I see with instantiating fights is that it removes the multiplayer part.


I'd assume that the party or parties that were within the radius of the battle got involved, just like with monsters -- that's more than a single player.

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Kwizatz    1392
Quote:
Original post by hplus0603
Quote:
The problem I see with instantiating fights is that it removes the multiplayer part.


I'd assume that the party or parties that were within the radius of the battle got involved, just like with monsters -- that's more than a single player.


of course, but once they are removed from the world and inside the instantiated room, there is no audience or passers by that may watch or join the battle, which limits the multi player interactivity IMO.

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Michalson    1657
Quote:
Original post by Kwizatz
Quote:
Original post by hplus0603
Quote:
The problem I see with instantiating fights is that it removes the multiplayer part.


I'd assume that the party or parties that were within the radius of the battle got involved, just like with monsters -- that's more than a single player.


of course, but once they are removed from the world and inside the instantiated room, there is no audience or passers by that may watch or join the battle, which limits the multi player interactivity IMO.


That's exactly what the issue is - you don't want to remove the players from the larger game, the "pausing" of the outside world while the battle is carried out. However if you have the battle play out in game you start having issues with how players in the battle can see and possibly interact with players/monsters outside that battle, and vise versa. For example a simple graphical issue arises - you don't want battles to be played out inside some cramped little space, yet expanding them to encompress the entire area where all participants are would certainly lead to problems (specifically the threat of overlapping battles, or maps just being covered in battle areas)

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OmniBrain    148
didn't ToonTown (or that disney-mmorpg) did combat with pie-tossing in turns? Just have a flash about it somewhere in my neurons, had to google for it, but way to busy to do now.
just an idea to check how they did it. (I remember reading a larger atricle about it, probably on gamasutra as post mortem).

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Inmate2993    222
I used to play freeciv (Civilization) and in there they had a half real-time half turn-based system. If you just played the computer, they always went first, but against other players what would happen is that everyone would go at the same time, using up their ability to move and act for each unit, etc., and then the game was effectively locked until every player had clicked their End Turn button, which started the next turn.

I'm not if it's applicable, but I thought it was interesting. The choice to go first or last in a round was up to how fast I reacted, however everyone got a equal amount of turns. In an MMORPG, figuring out who's part of a battle would be the main issue. From there its just timing how long from the top of the round anyone has to wait before their allowed to act (like, imagine a theif having a 0 wait time, while a Knight has to wait 4 seconds before he can act). Then, hold off the next turn until everyone has chosen the End Turn option.

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Puppet    181
Yes, I figure the key thing with having real-time battle in MMORPGs is just that time can't be stopped. That alone can be worked around as people have posted. What I figure the main problem to be, is that each battle will take very different amounts of time to complete, depending on how quickly the players chose to execute their turns. If you're into gathering experience points by fighting other players, an opponent being very slow at hitting their "end turn button" can lead to frustration. Of course one would have to put time limits in, but it can make for a slow game overall. But I guess if the majority or all fighting in the game is against NPCs, then I guess it doesn't matter if the player is a slow player. He'll just be gathering experience points slower at no one else's expense.

That's the dead end I always reach in thinking up a turn based multiplayer game. If the game is to be truly turnbased, each player should have a good amount of time to execute their moves and strategies. That's why I feel that a truly multiplayer game in an ongoing world doesn't seem like a good idea. That's why games like Lasersquad are played via email. But even there they have rankings, which in the end is based on how many battles you can play at once and how quickly. There's just not much fun to be had sitting around waiting for the other players to finish their turn.

Going for something hybrid can work as suggested here. Personally though, I prefer either having true turned based battles, or fully real-time ones.

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solinear    145
Well, the big reasons for avoiding turn-based combat is that when it comes time to balance weapons, it's almost impossible to do it realistically. Everyone will be choosing either the best 1h weapon so they can use a shield or (more likely) a big 2-handed weapon. Daggers, rapiers and other 'fast' 1 handed weapons would fall to the wayside.

Weapon balance needs to be taken into account. Allowing someone with a big 2-handed axe the same number of attacks as someone with a rapier, which can usually attack several times before the 2-handed axe wielder can make a single attack and recover (that's a lot of mass to swing and get back to where you can start your attack again) is nothing if not unfair and unrealistic.

While you could just allow faster weapons more attacks per round, it's easier to just put the weapons on timers, where they get to attack every x number of pulses (usually tenths of a second or something similar).

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TechnoGoth    2937
I personally hate realtime combat in RPGs, I find it reduces the the game to nothing more then how fast can you press the hit with stick button. I'd much rather play a turn based game that includes a time element into its structure. Such as each action takes X time units to peform so if I want to cast super fireball of death which takes 15 time units then I have deal with the fact that it only takes 2 time units for my opponent to stab with dagger and I'll be hit 7 times before I can cast my spell.

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Toadhead    244
anyone played Lufia 2: Raise of the sinitrals?
That was the first turn based RPG that Ive ever played, and I was sooo addicted to that game :P

I realy liked it's combat, just say if you want to do a normal atk, use a spell, an item, defend or run away etc. Just select it for all you're party members. Than your party members attack 1 by 1, the person/monsters with the highest speed first..

I always loved to see that in a rpg but never saw it :(
Ofcourse you can't make it 100% the same becuase otherwise you're gonna have ppl that are just not selecting a move and the other will need to wait.. but for this you should add a timer: nothing selected? Than you'll defend automaticly (you get less damage from his atk).

When fighting with someone you're just standing still, and other ppl will see you two stand next to eachother with a fighting icon on it, tand they should be able to join the fight, they can choose wich side.

If I'm ever able to create 2d mmorpgs I'm gonna make one with what I described above. Don't care if others like it, only make it to play it myself :P

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