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The Simple BattleFollow

#1 Jan 04 2011 at 12:13 PM Rating: Excellent
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I love the battle system very much. Its so **** deep, especially since you have to take in Meter management, position, rhythm, aggro and et cetera. While the fundamentals and the ideas of the system are there, There are a couple of issues that I know many of us face with it. First off, i would like to hear what are your likes and dislikes of core system, the class balance, and the battle content. I want to get to the meat of what you guys really hate in this system i love. I'll go through the easy stuff first.

Targeting system: I do not know how they're going to deal with this one, but they have to. Back in the day when every fight was designed to be 6 people versus one monster in FFXI, The targeting system worked pretty **** good (fantastically on the controller). They need to find a clever way to deal with this for both PC and gamepad controls. It gets real annoying when you have a cluster of people on the screen and you cant deal with it at all.

Party Vs. Party Battles: These are more headaches than anything. With a targeting and exp system that does not support it, i am saddened that this is not as fleshed out as it could be. There are plenty of great crowd control skills out there and potential to become really good at controlling a crowd but the targeting system holds it back . They need to come up with new monster group exp formulas that don't discourage you to ignore all the other monsters that are claimed and unclaimed that are attacking your mages.

Battle content: I know that you all ***** about Guildleves and you have every right to. I find guildleves to be an excellent mechanic that isn't tapped into its full potential. They can easily become very engaging pieces of content if only the encounter designs within them were thought out better. They should be treating every encounter in a guildleve like a hunt in monster hunter or the best BCNM's; thrilling, difficult, satisfying and rewarding. Hopefully in the future, the team gets these encounter designs right and get more intricate with the system. But the battle content does not end with guildleves, most of the other monsters in the field are balanced so strangely to be either too easy or too hard. That and the appropriate SP rewards and monster group mechanics fall flat.

Now for the real reason why I created this post. I've been thinking about the problems with the system and i find that the root of the problem comes from the game's roots. Originally in Alpha, the battle system WAS VERY DIFFERENT. The devs say they had the current system planned all along, but i do not believe them. The original system was your classic final fantasy ATB system, where you wait for your bar to fill up and then you pick your action. This original system would've allowed you to do a couple of things due to the wait time. There was plenty of time to reposition yourself, talk to party members, move your cursor to the next ability, set up battle regimens and so forth. Another thing that we have from that battle system is the way the animations worked. You picked your action, and the long animations made sense for such a methodical battle system. Not only was it animation length, but the properties of the animations included animation stun, where you could not reposition your character yourself. Sometimes the animations would reposition your characters. Switching to the new system (and ditching that stupid as **** effect gauge) was for the better, but the mechanics around it never caught up with it. It all has to do with animation. They used the same attack animations, which were caught by motion capture and probably hand tweaked by real animators, as they did in the alpha. These animations were not designed with the current system in mind. Many games feature attack animations with movement stun, even street fighter, which has a top notch battle system, The different between those games and FFXIV is that the attack animations were much much shorter. FINAL FANTASY XI did not have movement stun for normal attacks. They had attack animations of your character moving around and attacking at the same time. Even if you were in the middle of the animation, the game still let you reposition yourself and simply (and cheesily) let your character slide across the screen. In FFXIV, the game has moved away from purely ATB into semi-action ATB. It isn't exactly an action game (and i don't want it to be an action game), but its approaching that rhythm (the current battle system was based on user feedback that they wanted the tempo to be like the attack animations in Dirge of Cerberus, which is an action game.). When you have a full stamina bar and are wailing on the monster, you notice that the game often cancels its own animations to start another one. Do you know what we call this in Street Fighter? A combo. There should be combo animations that lead your character from one command into the next. This could also be a opportunity to encourage smart stamina meter play.

Simply: They need to get rid of animation stun on at least normal attacks by either simply letting our characters glitch slide or add in move and attack animations, so we can engage in strategically repositioning and responding easier. And there should be combo animations at least if not a combo mechanic.

I do not know of the possibilities of them going back and creating new art assets, as those are possibly the most costly thing to produce, but hopefully they do not rule these things out in their reboot of the game.


Edited, Jan 4th 2011 3:47pm by zhinse
#2 Jan 04 2011 at 3:10 PM Rating: Default
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Isn't there a stickied thread for posting these kinds of rants? If you couldn't be bothered to post this wall of text there, why should I be bothered to read it?

Edited, Jan 4th 2011 4:11pm by reptiletim
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#3 Jan 04 2011 at 3:19 PM Rating: Decent
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even better, submit this straight to SE, I'll provide you with the form to do so:

https://support.na.square-enix.com/form.php?id=902&la=1&p=0&fo=288



I make proficient use of that feedback form myself. It's much better to get your voice heard in the proper channels than simply hoping SE comes across this thread.
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#4 Jan 04 2011 at 3:42 PM Rating: Excellent
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I do plan to post this into the feedback form. I just posted it here to spark discussion. Its perfectly fine if no one bothers to read it. i see it as being more constructive than a lot of other stuff going about on zam
#5 Jan 04 2011 at 3:47 PM Rating: Decent
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zhinse wrote:
i see it as being more constructive than a lot of other stuff going about on zam

Agreed, and I appreciate that. I'll hopefully chime in on this when I'm not at work :P
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#6 Jan 04 2011 at 3:51 PM Rating: Decent
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zhinse wrote:
Simply: They need to get rid of animation stun on at least normal attacks by either simply letting our characters glitch slide or add in move and attack animations, so we can engage in strategically repositioning and responding easier.


This right here is a stellar idea. In a game where part of the battle dynamic is being able to anticipate an enemies attack and move out of the way nothing is worse than being stuck where you are because of a poorly timed standard attack.
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#7 Jan 04 2011 at 4:24 PM Rating: Good
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Last I checked its still very laggy too, instant actions should come instantaniously, not 5 seconds after pressing it.
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#8 Jan 04 2011 at 4:31 PM Rating: Decent
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yeah, ive heard some people on zam saying they want an action que, but honestly with the lag it almost seems like there is a que.
as a thm, i can spam 1 then hit my tp move but nothing will happen because my character is still using his standard ability, so i have to way for him to finish to use my TP move, massive lag if im not mistaken.

is it still because the UI is not client side?
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#9 Jan 04 2011 at 4:52 PM Rating: Decent
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pixelpop wrote:
yeah, ive heard some people on zam saying they want an action que, but honestly with the lag it almost seems like there is a que.
as a thm, i can spam 1 then hit my tp move but nothing will happen because my character is still using his standard ability, so i have to way for him to finish to use my TP move, massive lag if im not mistaken.

is it still because the UI is not client side?

No it is not all the server side ui you self answered "spamming" #1 with the stamina system in effect pre ques your action.
As a gladiator I personally despise the stamina bar it is so limiting to ability use its almost crazy. any way lol when your weapon skill hits que often you will not have enough stamina on your bar to activate it causing it to be ignored. Hope this helps.
Thanks,
Big Jer
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#10 Jan 04 2011 at 4:58 PM Rating: Good
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Well friends, the battle system is still an ATB system and not exactly an action game. The action feels a lot closer to a Crisis core and a radiata stories than a DMC or bayonetta. I think it is sort of their fault for making it seem so close to an action MMO. Its hard to keep in mind this is still a turn based game.

ditx wrote:
Last I checked its still very laggy too, instant actions should come instantaniously, not 5 seconds after pressing it.


I am studying animation in school and i play a lot of street fighter and the simple answer to this is that the current animations in the game were not designed to be instant. If you read the text heavy part of my op you'll understand why. The animations are very long in general and feature a lot of start up frames and have a lot of recovery frames. It isn't so much that the system is laggy, its that they used animations designed for a purely turned based system and also designed the current battle system to trick people into a different mindset.

pixelpop wrote:
yeah, ive heard some people on zam saying they want an action que, but honestly with the lag it almost seems like there is a que.
as a thm, i can spam 1 then hit my tp move but nothing will happen because my character is still using his standard ability, so i have to way for him to finish to use my TP move, massive lag if im not mistaken.

is it still because the UI is not client side?


Currently, the queing system works in that you can input another action as soon as the stamina bar turns from blue(busy) to yellow and it will launch that action at the soonest possible moment. Part of the reason is that your kind of being mash happy, but other reasons include server lag issues and animation issues. The battle system seen an improvement as soon as they improved the server latency, but it isn't perfect yet. It's going to be a puzzle for SE to figure out how to make the battle system feel responsive because currently we are at the mercy of the servers.
#11 Jan 04 2011 at 5:11 PM Rating: Decent
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Those are all great points by the OP. Additional gripes I have with the battle system are the following:

1) There is almost no downside to AoEing your spells. Your AoE Cure is only going to pick up as much hate as it heals for and even if you heal thousands of HP with one cast, it's probably not going to pull the mob off the tank. Try tossing a big Curaga during battle in FFXI and see what happens. The MP cost also doesn't change, so there is no reason to try to optimize MP use by using single-target cures.

This also limits encounter design significantly as it makes light AoE damage essentially obsolete. Imagine the Great Buffalo Lite whose splash damage only deals 1/2 of the damage directed at the tank. That splash may not even be there because it's going to be automatically covered by the cures being targeted at the tanks. I suspect the only reason we can freely AoE spells is because internal testing found it impossible to cope with the current targeting system in party battles. This brings me to my next point:

2) Targeting is still really bad. It's kind of like in FFXI except some features work less well (F1-4 only work for primary targeting, not the more important secondary targeting, and we're limited to only the top 4 members), other features are completely missing (how can this be!?) and the demands for the targeting system are much greater than before. All of this combined frequently makes for a pretty miserable experience.

3) The range for spells is abysmal and spell casting is further hampered by strict line of sight requirements. I can understand if the conal AoE of a THM needs to be limited in range, but why even targeted spells? You barely feel like a ranged class when mobs detect your sound before you're in range to cast your spell! The need for line of sight is also a completely unnecessary feature in a game with this kind of controls. It's fine in games like WoW where you have FPS-like control over the facing of your character but this is not the case in FFXIV.
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#12 Jan 04 2011 at 5:43 PM Rating: Good
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Omena wrote:
Those are all great points by the OP. Additional gripes I have with the battle system are the following:

1) There is almost no downside to AoEing your spells. Your AoE Cure is only going to pick up as much hate as it heals for and even if you heal thousands of HP with one cast, it's probably not going to pull the mob off the tank. Try tossing a big Curaga during battle in FFXI and see what happens. The MP cost also doesn't change, so there is no reason to try to optimize MP use by using single-target cures.

This also limits encounter design significantly as it makes light AoE damage essentially obsolete. Imagine the Great Buffalo Lite whose splash damage only deals 1/2 of the damage directed at the tank. That splash may not even be there because it's going to be automatically covered by the cures being targeted at the tanks. I suspect the only reason we can freely AoE spells is because internal testing found it impossible to cope with the current targeting system in party battles. This brings me to my next point:

2) Targeting is still really bad. It's kind of like in FFXI except some features work less well (F1-4 only work for primary targeting, not the more important secondary targeting, and we're limited to only the top 4 members), other features are completely missing (how can this be!?) and the demands for the targeting system are much greater than before. All of this combined frequently makes for a pretty miserable experience.

3) The range for spells is abysmal and spell casting is further hampered by strict line of sight requirements. I can understand if the conal AoE of a THM needs to be limited in range, but why even targeted spells? You barely feel like a ranged class when mobs detect your sound before you're in range to cast your spell! The need for line of sight is also a completely unnecessary feature in a game with this kind of controls. It's fine in games like WoW where you have FPS-like control over the facing of your character but this is not the case in FFXIV.


To your first point. I believe this game was built with AOE in mind but never fully thought out its encounters or its systems. In the early stages of the game and in BETA 2(the stage of beta where i was invited) There was not even an option to switch your spells from AOE to single target, and you didn't need a reason to at all. Back in those stages AOE spells ignored enemies that were not engaged. Once they added the choice to switch from single target to AOE, they also added in the mechanic of the attack affecting those all in the area. It was also the time when hate values seem to spike suddenly from casting AOE. I think to remedy this you would have to switch it back to the way it was in beta2 and before, or adjust the claim system and potency of spells.

And your last point, If i remember correctly they intentionally designed Archers to be the class that can get away with the farthest range, especially if you look at those famitsu scans. Judging range and position will be easier once they add in the graphical elements that will demonstrate to us the effective range of actions. And in recent updates, the line of sight problem is all but a thing of a past as your character will now turn around (or consider itself turned around) to cast a spell at your target. What is still an issue is the game being confused when the monster is on a different elevation.


Edited, Jan 4th 2011 6:46pm by zhinse
#13 Jan 04 2011 at 6:24 PM Rating: Decent
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Can't help but think that because of the fact that they changed battle system midway through development, that is why the game is lacking on so many other fronts.
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