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#1 Jun 10 2009 at 1:28 AM Rating: Excellent
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I can't speak for everyone reading this forum, but my interest in FFXIV's combat system has led to some theorycraft I like to share. This is only a theory based on possible outcomes.

Well one thing that really stood out for me was the way the Devs said they want to throw a lot of mobs at us. So let's think about that statement for a moment. How could you do that without relying on sleepga or other link control measures we use today.

What if the FFXIV battle system is similar to an offensive line in football. The mages could be like a QB. So instead of just magically passing though a body, you would literally block. The closest element of this concept is known as Cover a PLD ability made famous by Cecil in FFIV. WAR and Templar jobs could be adapted to repel waves of mobs too. Depending on your job class, you would be more adept at doing this. Think of the traits we have now. For PLD, we have undead killer. So on undead mobs, PLD's would be extra tough in blocking this threat from their support classes.

I think that parry, guard, and counter abilities will mean a lot more this time around. SE has learned all jobs like to melee in some capacity. It took SE 2 attempts to figure out how a hybrid job works, but BLU was a success and DNC followed that trend. I can easily see more BLU and DNC style jobs at launch. Like the dedicated melee jobs, I believe RDM or other hybrid classes will have unique traits that fill niche roles beyond mere support.

I think the hate system will still exist, albeit a few changes. For starters, more strategy seems to be what SE is hinting at in their interviews.

Quote:

Players looking for action can start sharpening their blades in anticipation for a battle system that takes a marked departure from Final Fantasy XI. In order to make the battles interesting and have lasting appeal, there will be a number of strategical elements added to encounters. They imply there will be a learning curve of sorts - beginners can expect simpler fights as they get the hang of things, while hardcore players looking to test their mettle can find serious battles that require much more cunning. It will not be realtime, action style encounters, but rather a number of more cerebral aspects.


The last sentence leads me to believe the enemy AI will get a huge boost. It's not going to much of a fight if the mob is stupid. You know like in FFXI a mob casts Sleepga followed by Diaga or Poisonga. I also believe the interface will get a huge facelift in order to adapt to these tougher foes.

So what do you guys think?
#2 Jun 10 2009 at 1:55 AM Rating: Excellent
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I think you're on the right track. Now, bend that defensive line into a circle that surrounds the mages, and I think that's what they had in mind. Remember, they also spoke of the importance attacks from behind will play.

If you look at the logo, it clearly shows a defensive circle of warrior types defending the mage types in the center. I believe this "wheel" will be the basic form a party will stand in most situations.

Before, it was the opposite. The warrior types would surround a lone monster and the attacks were generated toward the inside of the circle. The flaw with this is all it took was outside interferance to cause a route in the entire group (another monster decided to join the fun).

The "wheel" causes a stronger foundation, but is not ideal for lone monsters, hence the inclusion of them throwing many monsters at us at one time to swarm and give purpose to the wheel.
#3 Jun 10 2009 at 2:32 AM Rating: Decent
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If this is true, then would pure DD type jobs be required to participate in the circle? Or would they be more or a run around to behind the mobs/flank them for increased damage and attack while the tankier jobs protect? Since enemies will be coming from all angles, it might leave DD jobs to have to sit in the circle and not even wander away else be wiped by swarms.
#4 Jun 10 2009 at 3:14 AM Rating: Good
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If you think of the tanks as the tire, the DD's as the spokes, and the mages as the axel, I think that would explain the roles in this situation.

If any type was to be on the outside it would be the ninja types, to strike the enemy from behind, or perhaps a summoned creature that appears, scores a hit, and then returns.

#5 Jun 10 2009 at 3:36 AM Rating: Excellent
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I think weapons won't hit 'target mob' anymore but instead hit 'target area' (where zero one or more mobs might be hit at same time)
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#6 Jun 10 2009 at 10:43 AM Rating: Good
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I was thinking something similar last week. Based on what little information we have, it seems like the most plausible and interesting idea so far.

It's not much to go on, but a couple things in the trailer -- the shield spell and the jellyfishes' reactions to being hit -- suggest a more visceral interaction with monsters in this game that could support this idea.
#7 Jun 10 2009 at 12:09 PM Rating: Good
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So with all players being much more... I guess you would say "involved" in the fight, as opposed to the casters in the back casting, then resting, casting some more, then resting, and really only one person taking the beating. Do you think that this will meld the currently SOLID line of what defines a tank from a dd, from a caster?

For example, if you have say a white mage, red mage, dragoon, dark knight, ranger, and paladin in your group, could you imagine the paladin attempting to hold as much threat as possible, from the larger mobs, or in some cases, more mobs. Meanwhile, the dragoon, Dark knight, and maybe even the red mage would be still up in the front lines (outer circle) combating off the smaller, or lesser mobs and still taking hits?

I guess I just forsee them doing away with the absolute necessity of having to find a tank class, and having to find a healer class, and then some DD. Instead you could just bring in some melee classes, a class or two that can heal (be it a back line type that you'd protect from the mobs, or more of a melee driven type such as a red mage) and maybe a ranged class or two, and just get to work.

I mean let's face it, one of the biggest issues with FFXI was the sometimes impossible task of finding a tank or a healer. I can't even count the number of times I've searched for people around my level and seen 5-15 melee jobs (dragoon, dark knight, samurai, etc.) and wished I could just snag them and get to exp'ing. I think a more "every man for himself, but keep an eye on the squishies" would be a welcome change of pace. Instead of the ever so tiresome "Tank, Healer, DD/support, DD, DD, DD, ." setup.

Thoughts?
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#8 Jun 10 2009 at 4:44 PM Rating: Good
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I think you're on the money with this one. It makes a lot of sense given the 'circle' theme they hinted at during the Q&A. This would make things like casting out in the open risky, and bring back party positioning tactics. If they do something like this, combined with skill chains, group fights will always be one **** of a show. I like it.
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#9 Jun 10 2009 at 5:53 PM Rating: Good
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I think this may be spot on when it comes to party play. The whole "phalanx" or "wheel" battle idea if implemented like this will indeed make for great party battles. I have a feeling that FFXIV is going to be a great game! Combined with the hopes of "play as you want" and "300" style battles... OH BABY, I CAN'T WAIT!
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#10 Jun 10 2009 at 5:56 PM Rating: Good
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Quote:
I think weapons won't hit 'target mob' anymore but instead hit 'target area' (where zero one or more mobs might be hit at same time)


That would make sense going with the swarm idea. Something like that would allow for a lot more strategy and need for a lot of movement and correct positioning.
#11 Jun 10 2009 at 7:37 PM Rating: Good
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ShadowedgeFFXI wrote:
What if the FFXIV battle system is similar to an offensive line in football. The mages could be like a QB. So instead of just magically passing though a body, you would literally block. The closest element of this concept is known as Cover a PLD ability made famous by Cecil in FFIV. WAR and Templar jobs could be adapted to repel waves of mobs too. Depending on your job class, you would be more adept at doing this. Think of the traits we have now. For PLD, we have undead killer. So on undead mobs, PLD's would be extra tough in blocking this threat from their support classes.

I'd like to see a system like this. I'm a fan of incorporating positional based tactics and strategy in MMORPGs. I liked characters in Warhammer physically blocking enemy characters. I liked forcing people to dancing around as a bard in FFXI so they would receive the proper buffs. I liked cover. I liked SA and TA.
ShadowedgeFFXI wrote:
The last sentence leads me to believe the enemy AI will get a huge boost.

It seems doubtful. Enemy AI has always been a struggle for developers, and MMORPG developers tend to develop some of the weakest outside of elaborate scripted boss fights.

I would interpret the statement to mean there will be more to do on the player side. Possibly more opportunities for coordinated attacks.
#12 Jun 10 2009 at 9:19 PM Rating: Good
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Allegory wrote:

I would interpret the statement to mean there will be more to do on the player side. Possibly more opportunities for coordinated attacks.


Yeah, I think you're right. As much as I would hope for improved AI, that goal isn't very realistic. It sure would be nice though to have more coordination on mobs though.
#13 Jun 10 2009 at 11:12 PM Rating: Good
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the AI could be written by peter molyneux (black and white), that would give rise to some serious battles. I know its not, but it would be interesting if the global AI kept adapting to player tactics.

Also, i'd like to point out that the role of DD could be remolded from its current state. Remember, in classic battles the 'tanks' or phalanx could withstand large assaults but did very little to actually harm the enemy. It was the backline pikeman who's pikes (spears) could reach PAST the defensive line to hurt the enemy. Also, aside from the phalanx there were other basic tactical formations: Hedgehog (mass amounts of pike-men, mostly anti-cavalry), canyon (herding enemies between two phalanx and pelting with arrows), and the hammer and anvil (enemies charge a hedgehog or phalanx formation while a separate group of infantry attack from rear, 'hammering' the enemies into the 'anvil').

We may see a division of DD into unique categories: Those who can attack from inside a protected formation, those who attack as part of a defensive formation, those who break enemy formations (berzerkers, axemen, etc) and those who attack individually (assassins/ninja/thieves).

This then would break the support into more categories: healers, crowd control (directing enemy movement), invisible-ing assassins, and long distance curing the other groups.

If SE really wants to make this more tactical, how long before players decide that to win a certain fight, they need 5x tanks to hold a line and have blms or rngs pelt the enemy. Tight formations of pure DD that distract enemies while the lone ninja kills the support/command.

Possibilities are endless. IF they make it very strategic.
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#14 Jun 10 2009 at 11:26 PM Rating: Good
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Okay, I'm loving every bit of this but I see a problem with our perceptions on two factors.

One: Emphasis on party formation and tactics not only goes against their promice of solo play, but also creates an atmosphere that the casual gamer won't enjoy.

Two: I'm not seeing how we all can play the type of character we want and still be able to form a line strong enough to repel a swarm.

I feel there's something we're missing. Some piece that we're not grasping.
#15 Jun 11 2009 at 12:31 AM Rating: Decent
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One factor I'm almost certain is in regard to balance. For example, a WAR doesn't tank as good as a PLD, but their DD is top notch. That's because so much emphasis was needed to have a sole tank provided with defenses and limitations arose on how much damage a tank could dish out. If PLD could out tank any job plus keep up in damage in ALL situations, that would be broken. If tanking as we know it changes, this means the damage output formula will probably change along with it. So now instead of a solo tank, we have more of a defensive line. I'm sure PLD if in FFXIV will have abilities to get the mob's attention and Cover of course. But I don't think they will be a turtle class doing very minimal damage like during FFXI's launch. Instead I see more of a heavy class DD like DRK, WAR, and jobs of that class all being on the same scale.

Combat jobs to expect are WAR(fighter), MNK(martial arts master), THF(rogue), NIN(Assassin), DRG or Templar(master of polearms), RDM(Hybrid front line mages), RNG(Hunter class), Dancer/Geomancer, SAM, and DRK/PLD judging from the illustration on the FFXIV site. PLD sits at the far right.

Edited, Jun 11th 2009 3:45am by ShadowedgeFFXI
#16 Jun 11 2009 at 4:21 AM Rating: Excellent
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Quote:
Emphasis on party formation and tactics not only goes against their promice of solo play, but also creates an atmosphere that the casual gamer won't enjoy.


I don't think this is true. Emphasis on party formation and tactics would be for the people who want to party. If they provide interesting and fun solo content, casual gamers will still have plenty to do. Everyone will be able to solo, but this isn't a solo game. The vast majority of people are buying this Massively Multiplayer game to... play with other players.

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I'm not seeing how we all can play the type of character we want and still be able to form a line strong enough to repel a swarm.


Being on a front line isn't the only way to repel a swarm. Who's to say mages won't have some push-back effects? Who's to say healers can't lay down temporary force-fields? Who's to say you can't use the elements around you in a battle to your advantage (forcing enemies to take a certain path to you, etc.)? If anything, more class diversity would be better.
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#17 Jun 11 2009 at 5:12 AM Rating: Good
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Allegory wrote:
ShadowedgeFFXI wrote:
The last sentence leads me to believe the enemy AI will get a huge boost.

It seems doubtful. Enemy AI has always been a struggle for developers, and MMORPG developers tend to develop some of the weakest outside of elaborate scripted boss fights.

I would interpret the statement to mean there will be more to do on the player side. Possibly more opportunities for coordinated attacks.

It's not only that AI is a struggle, but that most players don't WANT to fight against a strong AI, not really. Players say they want a strong enemy AI, but in reality, if you make a system where the enemy has a real chance fighting back, because they go straight after the healer, or they start getting low on health and run away to bring back fifty of their friends, or whatever... Players just don't like it.

It's the metaphorical chess game. Nobody likes playing a computer at chess, because they are too **** good at it, unless you program it so it makes dumb mistakes on purpose.

In reality, scripted boss fights in videogames, tend to be the msot enjoyable and memorable, if they are programmed in such a way that makes you feel like you are overcoming something really strong. For an always excellent example, reference the later games in the Castlevania series.
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#18 Jun 11 2009 at 5:24 AM Rating: Good
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My bad if someone already posted this up, I was kinda skimming though, but a "wheel" formation has been mentioned a few times. Unless you are taking on a vast number of mobs, which would require alot of heavily armored jobs standing in the forfront to even withstand this (Squishy Taru NIN doesn't sound so optimal in this kinda thing).

Also, unless you are taking on lots of mobs at once.. What are the people facing the other way supposed to do? I for one am going to get freaking tired of "Unable to see <Insert Target Here>"
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#19 Jun 11 2009 at 5:32 AM Rating: Good
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Zyogi wrote:
My bad if someone already posted this up, I was kinda skimming though, but a "wheel" formation has been mentioned a few times. Unless you are taking on a vast number of mobs, which would require alot of heavily armored jobs standing in the forfront to even withstand this (Squishy Taru NIN doesn't sound so optimal in this kinda thing).

Also, unless you are taking on lots of mobs at once.. What are the people facing the other way supposed to do? I for one am going to get freaking tired of "Unable to see <Insert Target Here>"

I think we can assume that a full wheel is less likely to occur outside of large raiding enviroments.

But that doesn't mean a party couldn't consist of a tank, two melee, two ranged, and a healer.

Then you would still wind up with a defensive formation, akin to a spearhead, with the tank taking most of the attacks, the melee taking a portion of the attacks to protect the ranged and healer who are standing behind the three melee.
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#20 Jun 11 2009 at 5:33 AM Rating: Good
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Quote:
Also, unless you are taking on lots of mobs at once.. What are the people facing the other way supposed to do? I for one am going to get freaking tired of "Unable to see <Insert Target Here>"


...I don't think you're literally stuck in a circle. I think they used the 'wheel' as an example formation, because enemies won't be coming from only one direction any more, when there's a lot of them.
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#21 Jun 11 2009 at 9:19 AM Rating: Good
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It will not be realtime, action style encounters, but rather a number of more cerebral aspects.

This is the line that still bothers me. How can an MMO be non RTB? To me... a non real time battle is turn based. Any clues?
#22 Jun 11 2009 at 10:06 AM Rating: Good
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Regavalt wrote:
It will not be realtime, action style encounters, but rather a number of more cerebral aspects.

This is the line that still bothers me. How can an MMO be non RTB? To me... a non real time battle is turn based. Any clues?

I just assumed that was a language barrier issue, and what they meant was that it will still be slower paced like FFXI is now, instead of a more action based system like WoW or Warhammer.
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#23 Jun 11 2009 at 10:08 AM Rating: Good
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I just assumed that was a language barrier issue, and what they meant was that it will still be slower paced like FFXI is now, instead of a more action based system like WoW or Warhammer.


I think that's a valid assumption. I think the timing will be more akin to FFXI than WoW. I'd just like to point out that WoW isn't real time either. Everything has a delay or cooldown. True real time is found in action games. FFXI just makes it's delay observable (and, admittedly longer), and therein lies the difference.
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#24 Jun 11 2009 at 10:21 AM Rating: Decent
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I don't think it will be turn-based. I'm not sure how they could make that work in an MMO without each individual having their own timer and that would completely mess up organized party play as well as any possibility of chains and bursts in my eyes.

I think they will use one of the other variation styles: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Role-playing_battle_systems

I've never played XII, but a spin off of the Dimensional system sounds feasible to me.




Edited, Jun 11th 2009 11:23am by sixgauge
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#25 Jun 11 2009 at 10:26 AM Rating: Good
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It will not be realtime, action style encounters, but rather a number of more cerebral aspects.


My feeling on this is what the previous poster said that it is probably a language barrier issue; I think they plan on making the skillchain/magic burst system again but perhaps put more weight on actually using it rather than blowing your TP all at once. There has been a lot of feedback from the community saying they loved this system and really miss it. Unfortunately for them to revert the system back to the old way in FFXI would mean nerfing WS attacks, but with this new game they can make the system entirely different but similar, if that makes sense. :)
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#26 Jun 11 2009 at 10:33 AM Rating: Decent
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Imagine all of your warriors having collision on them and the only way to prevent your healer from being ganked was to actually hold a defensive line not allowing mobs to get through.

Formation combat?

That could imply that combat will involve more than one monster similar to how WOW works where a typical pull consists of 3 monsters.

edit: It could also imply that being a melee DPS means you will be running in formations and that tanking archetypes are anyone who can hold a line. Running with 4 tanks a whm and a blm hehe.. Fun to speculate!

Edited, Jun 11th 2009 2:36pm by thorazinekizzez
#27 Jun 11 2009 at 10:39 AM Rating: Good
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sixgauge wrote:
I don't think it will be turn-based. I'm not sure how they could make that work in an MMO without each individual having their own timer and that would completely mess up organized party play as well as any possibility of chains and bursts in my eyes.

Atlantica Online is an MMO that uses turn-based combat.

I still don't see Square using turn-based combat.

The closest I could see them to using a turn based system in an MMO, is if they use the Active Dimension Battle from FFXII.

Which... actually... That sounds very feasible. Especially considering hate was frequently sketchy in that game, which meant you often used two melee characters to defend a healer by physically blocking the enemy.

Edited, Jun 11th 2009 2:43pm by Karelyn
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#28 Jun 11 2009 at 10:41 AM Rating: Decent
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Imagine all of your warriors having collision on them and the only way to prevent your healer from being ganked was to actually hold a defensive line not allowing mobs to get through.


They had something like this in Shadowbane (a purely PvP MMO). Plate wearing classes had an ability that turned collision on for them and could act like a wall. It was actually a very useful tactic. You'd guard the door of your base with a buttload of healers on you, pop that ability, and hold back as many people as you could while they were bombarded from the sides/above by the DD. It was a messy, poorly designed game, but I'm just putting it out there as "it's at least been attempted before".

I think formation tactics are a logical next step in terms of PvE team play. Never, in any MMO (as far as I know), have you actually had to GUARD your squishies by staying between them and the enemy.
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#29 Jun 11 2009 at 10:44 AM Rating: Good
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Kharmageddon wrote:
I think formation tactics are a logical next step in terms of PvE team play. Never, in any MMO (as far as I know), have you actually had to GUARD your squishies by staying between them and the enemy.

Warhammer.

Guild Wars.

To name two.
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#30 Jun 11 2009 at 11:01 AM Rating: Good
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if u guys look at the trailer u can see a mage type class standing at the center of a "protect" type shield spell while the warrior is outside smacking the crap out of jellies. i think the battle system will be just like that. mages in the center protecting themselves with spells and handing out cures, while the DD are out in the front lines fending off all forms of attacks from all directions. when ur weak u run inside the "safe" area, grab a few heals and run back out into the mass of mobs and do more dmg.

this system would make healing and defense type classes a must since a few melee jobs could get in over there heads pretty fast, while a pure mage party would run out of mana way to fast.
#31 Jun 11 2009 at 12:17 PM Rating: Decent
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Leyego wrote:
if u guys look at the trailer u can see a mage type class standing at the center of a "protect" type shield spell while the warrior is outside smacking the crap out of jellies. i think the battle system will be just like that. mages in the center protecting themselves with spells and handing out cures, while the DD are out in the front lines fending off all forms of attacks from all directions. when ur weak u run inside the "safe" area, grab a few heals and run back out into the mass of mobs and do more dmg.

this system would make healing and defense type classes a must since a few melee jobs could get in over there heads pretty fast, while a pure mage party would run out of mana way to fast.


You touched on a good point. When I think of mages, I think of Gandalf. He raises his staff and applies a magic barrier that helps protect himself and others. Instead of a haste cycle or other mind numbing tasks, I think the idea of maintaining the wall or bubble is the key to lessening damage taken. Imagine a super charged version of Phalanx that has a Stoneskin/Protect/Shell. Now the other question is, how does mages regain MP.The resting concept wasn't popular by many people when first introduced. I believe it has hurt mages more than helped us. Jobs like BLM, BLU, and other jobs that 'rest' weren't as popular. I think SE's answer to SMN is a good example of how they will approach this in FFXIV.
#32 Jun 11 2009 at 12:17 PM Rating: Decent
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An amusing side effect of a formation combat system is that the translation from PVE to PVP combat is much more sound.

The decreased need for threat/hate tables on monsters since positional tanking diminishes the value of being first on the hate list.

Monsters would need to pick targets more intelligently if they are to pass as sentient ( Non charm able ) vs non sentient ( Charm able ) archetypes in FFXI. Well that was more of a hierarchy because some abilities in the game did allow charming sentient creatures. I mention charming because that was the main thing that told me WHY goblins are so different from crabs. The difference in this case would be the melee goblin immediately attempts to close ground on the healer and its everyone elses job to stop him.

Non the less formation style combat requires only different types of formations for different types of foes. Either it be other players or monsters. There is no hate table disconnect in this situation and it would easily blur the line between actual PVE and PVP. As far as group combat is concerned at least.

Formation combat and controlling real estate would turn the combat on its ear if they did it correctly.

edit: I hope that if the game does go this rout they are careful to either omit PVP entirely or make crowd control less important than placing physical barriers.. Because being stun locked and rooted and knocked back all day long makes baby Jesus cry...

Edited, Jun 11th 2009 4:30pm by thorazinekizzez
#33 Jun 11 2009 at 12:43 PM Rating: Default
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Komoto/Tanaka: "You can find some concept in the logo that vaguely relates to a design principle we're keeping in mind for this game."

This forum: "OMG EVERYTHING IN DIS GAEM IS GONNA BE A WHEEL SHAPE"

It's vague and metaphorical at best. This is the FFXI dev team we're talking about. People taking things waaay too literally imo. I doubt we'll see wheel-shaped party formations, it's more just the concept of strategically "having each others' backs" I think.

Edited, Jun 11th 2009 3:47pm by Shiinpu
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#34 Jun 12 2009 at 2:21 AM Rating: Good
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I can't immagine that tanks will block enemys from attacking party members by simply standing in front of them.
I think it will still be a hate based system like in FFXI with some special actions or abilities that need proper positioning alá Trick Attack or Cover.

For the fight against more enemys they would just need something like an AOE provoke for example.
Blm would have to think twice before they MB with a -ga spell into a group of mobs which would mean more tactical play is needed to fight effective.

Off topic: are weaponskills, skillchains and magic bursts already confirmed? I hope they are. They were the most unique and best things the FFXI combat system had to offer.
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