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Doctor Tyche
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MMO Combat

Something that has been a touchy subject for some has revolved around the type of combat which City of Titans will be going with. While some may try and claim that there are two main forms of MMO combat, I hold that there are, in fact, three.

The three as I see it are:

Tab Targeting - you classic MMO model, seen in City of Heroes, World of Warcraft, Everquest, all the way down to modern games like Star Wars The Old Republic. You click on, or use a keystroke, to designate your target.

Reticle Targeting - With Rectile targeting, sometimes called Action Combat, your targeting is based on a reticle in the middle of your screen, and is found in games like Tera, and the Elder Scrolls Online.

Telegraph Targeting - With Telegraph targeting, the aim is now based on patterns, typically placed on the ground, and is found in one game I am aware of - Wildstar.

There are, of course, hybrids. Games like DC Universe Online, and Guild Wars 2 we see a hybrid between Tab and Reticle targeting while in Final Fantasy XIV we find a hybrid between Tab and Telegraph Targeting.

Dug out a handy video discussing the three types, and the issues of each:

What are your thoughts on the various forms of combat? What works, what doesn't work?

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Cobalt Azurean
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I did enjoy the change of

I did enjoy the change of pace that The Secret World offered from CoH/CoV, and to some degree Marvel Heroes 2016 with their (sometimes infuriatingly small) hit-boxes, but I am most comfortable with Tab Targeting. It works for me because it is simple and effective. I play video games for enjoyment, and while I also enjoy being challenged from time to time, I don't personally care for the challenge to come in the form of the combat system.

Looking back on playing Tera I didn't find it particularly memorable, despite leveling to max at the time, and that if it wasn't mentioned above that it was Reticle Targeting, I wouldn't have remembered that either. Funcom did add a Reticle Target-like system to TSW later on, but I didn't switch from the original combat system that was more Telegraph than anything else. I would describe it as more realistic, if that can be used to describe combat in any video game, in that if you weren't facing the Bad Guy, your attacks weren't going to do diddly other than fanciful attack GFX on the ground. It did take more active involvement and focus with players paying actual attention, which many players who were now out of their early twenties and couldn't afford the time to spend hours in a dungeon, and their patience grew thin and tolerance for new/casual players evaporated equally. As the combat system was less forgiving, and as were the enrage timers on (too) many dungeon bosses, it encouraged players to maximize their efficiency in other ways and diluted the creativity of the skill wheel with canned or FotM builds. If you were DPS going into a dungeon with something higher than 1410 HP (i.e. only DPS gear slotted), you were probably going to get kicked.

In the end, my suggestion is to consider the combat system carefully, which I'm not implying that it isn't, as it may have unintended consequences by the playerbase.

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I'm much more used to the tab

I'm much more used to the tab-targeting style. I've played several FPS games, but am not really good at the fast twitch and jumping, spinning strangeness that seem to be necessary to be good at that. I am older than a lot of gamers, so such things put me at a disadvantage, not just because I don't really care for it, but also because I don't want to always be worse just because my reactions aer not what they once were.

With tabbing, I at least know I have a foe targeted, but I also like it when a game takes into account proximity, so that it doesn't shift target to someone far away in the direction you're looking, just because you're looking that way, but will target the next nearest or some such thing. This avoids the inevitable aggro of other groups that I remember happening in CoH a fair bit.

His last idea about the combination of tab targeting and the use of AoE markers for cone or radius attacks sounds like a good one. A player would be much more sure of what they will hit, and not be wondering if their fire breath attack will reach a target it not (as per CoH).

(insert pithy comment here)

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I mean, I got plenty of

I mean, I got plenty of action fix from playing CoH, but that came from the combat mobility and great animations and physics, as well as the fact that CoH tab targeting was just very well done.

Didn't like TSW as much, H A T E D DCUO, and thought Champions combat was ok--but, just like the forced running around didn't really enhance the fun of combat in TSW, the active defense in Champions didn't make combat more fun, just more fiddly.

And DCUO was just annoying.

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Dark Ether wrote:
Dark Ether wrote:

His last idea about the combination of tab targeting and the use of AoE markers for cone or radius attacks sounds like a good one. A player would be much more sure of what they will hit, and not be wondering if their fire breath attack will reach a target it not (as per CoH).

Yeah, I like that idea too. I usually don't care much about the type of combat in the games, but I know most games I play are tab target. Tab target is alright but I've had moments where I can get frustrated with it, especially when I'm close to a lot of enemies. With range I have no quarrel with tab targeting. (In conversations like these I wish I was techno-savy)

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Dark Ether wrote:
Dark Ether wrote:

His last idea about the combination of tab targeting and the use of AoE markers for cone or radius attacks sounds like a good one. A player would be much more sure of what they will hit, and not be wondering if their fire breath attack will reach a target it not (as per CoH).

I agree with this. I prefer a slower-paced, more "tactical" type of combat - at least in a game with strong buffers/debuffers/controls. Tab targeting combined with clear/controllable AoE markers (as found in SMITE) seems like the best combo. Although - unless I'm misremembering (it HAS been a few years) but I think CoH had this - at least with some Location AoE powers like Ice Storm and Blizzard?

I'm also not opposed to occasional big "Telegraphed" attacks coming from enemies as found in games like Neverwinter. Gives us something to keep an eye out for in combat.

Reticle targeting I like with my FPS games, generally not a huge fan of it in MMOs, personally.

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I'm most accustomed to tab

I'm most accustomed to tab targeting, given the games I've played. With everything CoH did and CoT is aiming* to do, I believe it's the best approach. Especially with the pet classes and controls I see the reticle targeting as being too restrictive. For these purposes, would powers like Freezing Rain fall into the category of telegraph targeting?



* Oh yes I did.

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I'm actually somewhat

I'm actually somewhat surprised this topic is being brought up; I thought it would be a done deal at this point.

For me personally, the choice of targeting system is perhaps the most fundamental to a game, to the point that I would have a hard time thinking of City of Titans as a spiritual successor to City of Heroes unless it primarily used tab-targeting. Nor do I have much interest in playing a game that isn't primarily tab-targeted. So, please don't move away from that model.

Occasional use of other systems would be perfectly fine as appropriate. CoH did have location-based powers--primarily for persistent controls such as Ice Slick and Bonfire--as well as telegraph indicators for some Incarnate Raid encounters as I recall.

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I'd be down with with the tab

I'd be down with with the tab + AOE marker thing that a few have brought up, as long as the markers aren't too invasive looking. Like the enemy AOE markers they used in TSW to try to get you to run and dive around--those just looked awful and cluttered up the whole screen.

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GW2 uses all three styles,

GW2 uses all three styles, actually. My elementalist has attacks that go straight to the (tabbed) target, and he also has some attacks that require me to place a damage AoE effect (for the fire one, the ground goes all lava-like, for the ice one, a large ice shard forms over the area then drops, doing damage, etc). There is also some sparing use of reticle in GW2 as well, in some of the Adventures (which are actually separate, self-contained, fun little games you can play like arcade-style boothes at an amusement park, not really adventures in the RPG sense). I know of at least one of those that uses reticle, and the reticle is literally like ONE pixel in the dead center of your screen. I couldn't even see it the first time and I Was like "why are my shots going there?"

So all three can be used in various amounts in the same game, as far as I can tell, but I like tab targetting for everyday MMO use, like CoX had with some telegraphed AoE powers mixed in, with little to no reticle, except for things that are the exception to the rule here and there. Like CoX and like GW2. Both of those games are/were mostly tab with some amount of telegraph for the AoE effects that were not required to target a mob (like the teleport power, you had to pick a patch of ground or air or whatever for that). Then if you're going to use reticle at all it should be reserved for one-off stuff, like maybe the one TF requires one person to man a sniper turret with a special gun, so they have to click on the sniper rifle on it;'s tripod to enter reticle mode, which suppresses their other powers while they're manning the sniper gun, etc.

I also think that cone attacks in CoX specifically would have been improved by having a telegraph area projected onto the ground or something. In GW2 that cone is aimed by literally turning your toon to face in a different direction though. I can take or leave that. Fine if it has to be that way, fine if it doesn't. In CoX I believe you could tab to target a mob, then fire a targeted cone centered on that mob, right? There's room for that in CoT, and also for the "no target required" telegraph AoE type of cone too.

GW2 also has "wall" effects that use "telegraphy". You click to activate a power, if its one that makes wall, the wall AoE will show up as a telegraphed area on the ground, and the wall will always be centered on the point you choose and articulated such that it is perpendicular to radial line between you and the target point.

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Radiac wrote:
Radiac wrote:

I also think that cone attacks in CoX specifically would have been improved by having a telegraph area projected onto the ground or something.

Telegraphed area. Yeah. That's exactly what I don't like. Clutters up the screen and I never had a hard time judging areas for AOE's in combat in CoH. So I'd vote for the "or something" option.

But, to each their own and I'll still play if there are telegraphed areas. It's just that it's cluttery and immersion breaking to me.

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Allowing players to choose

Allowing players to choose between AoE's that centre on the tab-targeted enemy or that use an area marker presumably with a two-step activation seems like a good compromise to me.

It occurred also that one reason reticle targeting may be so uncomfortable in a game like CoH is the number of enemies that were typically on screen. I know that if I was trying to aim a control power at a sapper and it was impossible because there were fifteen other Malta in the vicinity, it would have been extremely annoying.

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Quote:
Quote:

Tab Targeting - you classic MMO model, seen in City of Heroes, World of Warcraft, Everquest, all the way down to modern games like Star Wars The Old Republic. You click on, or use a keystroke, to designate your target.

Reticle Targeting - With Rectile targeting, sometimes called Action Combat, your targeting is based on a reticle in the middle of your screen, and is found in games like Tera, and the Elder Scrolls Online.

Telegraph Targeting - With Telegraph targeting, the aim is now based on patterns, typically placed on the ground, and is found in one game I am aware of - Wildstar.

Still an overwhelming preference on my part for the hybridized Reticle+Tab targeting system that Tabula Rasa used, which can be seen MUCH more clearly in this video I just found and hadn't seen before. Note that the opening minute features a character using a Melee Weapon in a ranged combat game with plenty of guns and rockets (the Spy class, specifically).

The way the system worked was that you had a Reticle dead center in the screen ... and when that Reticle was "hovered" over something, the Reticle would change to indicate that you were "on target" to shoot it or attack it or interact with it (if close enough). But what the system ALSO let you do was Tab Lock To Target Using Reticle. Instead of putting a Mouse Cursor on the Target and then clicking on a mouse button to Lock On Target, or using Tab to "cycle through" Targets, all you had to do was "point" your camera so as to move the center of screen Reticle onto the Target and hit Tab. This would then "lock" your attack(s) onto the designated Target even if your camera movements did not keep the Target centered on the screen. Even better yet, you didn't HAVE to use the Tab Lock To Target system at all! If you wanted to play the game as a "pure" first/third person shooter, you could. All you had to do was not use the Tab key at all.

You can see this VERY obviously in action in the first minute of the above video, but you can also see the system in use during the entire video. It was an incredibly intuitive and engaging user interface experience because it was MUCH more immersive than the "pure" Tab Targeting system(s) that preceded it. I have to agree with CuppaJo, former City of Heroes Community Manager, when she said that after playing Tabula Rasa going back to City of Heroes made her want to throw her mouse across the room just because of how much LESS engaging and immersive the pure Tab Targeting gameplay system was to play.

The beauty of this hybrid system is that it isn't inherently incompatible with a "pure" Tab Target system ... or the availability of such in the UI Options Menus. Just like having a choice between 1st and 3rd person perspective is often an option, having an option between Tab Target (City of Heroes style) with Mouse Hover+Click To Target functionality and a Tabula Rasa styled Tab Lock To Target Using Reticle system could be supported by an extended UI code. The differences between the two systems basically come down to Designation Methods.

Tab Target
Click Tab to "cycle" through available Targets within camera's field of view for Target Selection.
Use Target_Enemy_Near command to select closest Target within camera's field of view for Target Selection.
Hover Mouse Cursor on Target and then click to select Target under Mouse Cursor within the camera's field of view for Target Selection.

Reticle+Tab Target
Hover Reticle on Target and then click Tab to select Target under Reticle for Target Selection.
Hover Reticle on Target to designate vector of attack/interact, regardless of whether or not a Target lies in that direction.

The difference between these two systems basically comes down to a question of using a Mouse Cursor in a substantially "static" field of view, or using Camera Look with a substantially "static" Mouse Cursor location in what amounts to the center of the screen. The "pure" Tab Target method promotes a more fixed field of view, creating a more ... detached ... playing experience, while the Reticle+Tab system generates a much more dynamic field of view yielding a much more immersive gameplay. The beauty of the Reticle+Tab hybrid is that it makes possible the sort of "relaxed" gameplay where you don't have to maintain your camera view locked onto your Target Selection and which lets you "look around" and maintain Situational Awareness even while engaging Targets off-boresight of the camera view.

The best part of the Reticle+Tab system used by Tabula Rasa was that it was incredibly intuitive to use, once you "learned" it, and had the right touch of "auto assist" from the Tab Lock functionality to make it easily accessible even to beginners. It was also FAST in terms of its ability to switch targets and make quick decisions. It was also a system that rewarded Player Attention since the more awareness you invested into what you were doing, the more you got out of it, meaning that Player Skill at "operating" the man-machine User Interface had very real and direct consequences, both in terms of "rewards" but also in terms of efficiency. HOW you played the game became a part OF the game itself, since Players who didn't keep their heads/cameras on a swivel to (constantly) observe their surroundings were often more easily surprised and slower to react to challenges. It meant that you didn't just WATCH the game play out in front of you ... instead your computer screen became the window INTO the game world.


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To my mind, those three way

To my mind, those three way of targeting fits for their own type of MMO.

I remember trying to play Nerverwinter with it "reticulous" way of aiming a target. I really dislike it... Being obliged to press "tab" to open a menu was really annoying... I'm really not fond of that kind of targeting. To my opinion, Reticule targeting is a FPS way of aiming. Not for RPG. I don't know how to tell you, but it's my felling that this kind of stuff is not for a RPG game but more for a FPS or Hack'n Slash or Action game. Even if what Redlynne said seems to be pleasant (i'm not sure this word exists ^^), i still say this system is good for FPS or Action or Hack'n Slash games.

I'm used with tab targetting/mouse targetting, that's probably why i prefere this kind of system. As a computer player, clicking (or pressing the bounded key) on all my powers in several action bar leads naturally to aiming foes with my mouse or tab key. Moreover, tab targetting allows me to keep on targeting my allies to heal (for example) when i'm also looking at the door to see if minions are coming. Reticulous systeme (ahah i like this word play) will made me stop healing my allies while i'm turning my screen to look around. (i don't talk here of whar redlynn said).

But, since a few days, i play Paragon. A moba with the 'telegraph targetting" system. Skills are in that style and i must say that it's pretty nice. it claims more concentration to use it but i fill more absorb in what i'm doing. Nevertheless, autoattacks are in reticule mode and the mix of this 2 systems is nore a good one for me. In a moba, it's ok, since you have only 4 skills to catch. But for a MMO, mixing this 2 types will be really annoying.

As a conclusion, i'm sure that tab targetting (for usual powers) mixed with some telegraph targeting (for all the shaped powers) could be a really good idea. That's my word and i hope it will helps :)

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In GW2 (golly, I sound just

In GW2 (golly, I sound just like Radiac!) I've set all of my controls to use Tab-targeting, even my AoEs. That doesn't always produce optimal targeting... actually, often sub-optimal, but it's fast and easy and I can use my keys to quickly step through targets and find 'good enough'. However, one can also control targeting with the mouse, allowing (slower, but more effective) more precise target placement. I'm finding that I like having the option to switch modes, simply by shifting my 'control hand' to the mouse.

One thing that I strongly Dislike is the tendency of GW2 to pick 'nearest' and 'next' almost at random, including (invisible) targets behind the character and 'innocent bystanders' with equal facility. I purely HATE trying to fight the crowd in front of me, who are Attacking me, and having my 'nearest' or 'next' target be the 'neutral' Sheep standing behind me!! Perhaps if there were some sort of filter that prioritized by Aggro? Also, if I want to pull adds into my personal field of destruction, I clearly want the ones I'm Looking Towards, and not some random squirrel hiding in a tree behind me, right??

Be Well!
Fireheart

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I would assume that CoT would

I would assume that CoT would be a Tab Target style game.

I have a couple questions:
How would Reticle or Telegraph targeting work if someone is not on the ground (flying, jumping, combat teleporting or wall crawling)? Activating the powers could be linked to when the game engine is sure that it would make contact, but how twitchy do you want to make CoT?
How much do you want your player base to get pissed off about attacks not hitting anything when people are combat teleporting, flying in circles behind you, super speeding/jumping?
Do you think Reticle or Telegraph in conjunction with varying levels of latency would be able to hit anything moving at speed given that not all powers instantaneously resolve? Throwing a fireball isn't the same as firing a bullet.
How would pets / minions handle targeting?

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I like the theory of Reticle

I like the theory of Reticle & Telegraph targeting given that a super powered game can have lots of variations in attack types. And nimbus modifications can potentially mutate any attack into another variant.

I would like to be able to see a Telegraph-like template for powers so I can guesstimate what targets will get hit.

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I'm not a Dev, but I can

I'm not a Dev, but I can surmise the answers to these questions.

Planet10 wrote:

How would Reticle or Telegraph targeting work if someone is not on the ground (flying, jumping, combat teleporting or wall crawling)? Activating the powers could be linked to when the game engine is sure that it would make contact, but how twitchy do you want to make CoT?

Depends on options chosen in the UI Menu(s). Two states are likely, while a third is possible.

1. A high transparency (so you can see through it) color tint "zone" (color chosen in Avatar Builder under Powers customization) appears to define the volume of space to be affected by the Power when hovering the mouse cursor over the Power in the Tray. This would be a subtle Lighting FX within a defined region so as to be able to see a color shift on Target(s) within the Volume of Effect (VoE). World geometry (i.e. terrain) would "intercept" this Lighting FX and show up as being illuminated in the usual "shapes on the ground" fashion you're expecting to see while ground bound, but which would also visually define the "boundaries" of the VoE in the absence of intercepting terrain features, much like the "bubble" of Force Field Defenders in City of Heroes. This option would be a "show VoE on demand" functionality, since the mouse cursor has to be hovered over the Tray Icon in order to see this information. This is how Star Trek Online "explains" the Firing Arcs for weapons while in Space (although in that game, all Space Weapons have the same range of 10 km).

2. A high transparency (so you can see through it) color tint "zone" (color chosen in Avatar Builder under Powers customization) appears to define the volume of space to be affected by the Power when the Power begins animating. This would be a subtle Lighting FX within a defined region so as to be able to see a color shift on Target(s) within the Volume of Effect (VoE). World geometry (i.e. terrain) would "intercept" this Lighting FX and show up as being illuminated in the usual "shapes on the ground" fashion you're expecting to see while ground bound, but which would also visually define the "boundaries" of the VoE in the absence of intercepting terrain features, much like the "bubble" of Force Field Defenders in City of Heroes. This option would be a "show VoE when used" functionality that persists only for the duration of the animation of the Power, which presumably will be over 1-1.5 seconds long at minimum.

3. No Lighting FX added to denote VoE either when hovering mouse cursor over Power in Tray, or when animating the Power on use.

Planet10 wrote:

How much do you want your player base to get pissed off about attacks not hitting anything when people are combat teleporting, flying in circles behind you, super speeding/jumping?

Really?
/em sigh

Are we really going to have following conversation again?

I am Scissors.
Paper is fine.
NERF ROCK !!!

Look, EVASION via movement to break Target Lock is a legitimate ACTIVE RESPONSE to being Targeted. The key thing here is that such evasive maneuvers aren't foolproof ... merely fool resistant. If Players are going to be pissed off about their lack of situational awareness AND their (in)ability to adapt to opposing strategies of gameplay, all they're doing is projecting their own failures onto anyone other than themselves. Your question presupposes that such evasive maneuvers will amount to a functional "I WIN!" strategy with no counters, yielding an asymmetrical "jousting" style of combat, made most famous by the Bunny Hopper PvP strategem of avoiding Target Locks. Presumably the desire on the part of Missing Worlds Media would be to allow "jousting" gameplay to be possible, because some people will enjoy that and find it challenging and fun to play, without it becoming an asymmetrical advantage by default (meaning there will be counters to the strategy).

Planet10 wrote:

Do you think Reticle or Telegraph in conjunction with varying levels of latency would be able to hit anything moving at speed given that not all powers instantaneously resolve? Throwing a fireball isn't the same as firing a bullet.

Depends on the ... scheme ... used under the hood of the game engine. There are two possible schemes that I'm aware of.

1. Roll dice and "resolve" the game mechanics FIRST, then animate the results AFTER. This was the system that City of Heroes (and a great many other games of that era) employed. It was why "thrown" grenades were "homing" and could chase you around corners and other oddities. This scheme is less susceptible to latency/lag issues but cannot eliminate them completely when latency/lag gets very high.

2. Animate FIRST and then use "intercept" computations to determine IF dice should be rolled. This is the system used by many FPS games and relies on the notion that it is possible to "evade" an attack after it has started/finished animation. This scheme is often referred to as "twitch" gaming since it rewards quick reflexes and low latency/lag by allowing the Player to respond (in real-ish time) to what is happening so as to modify the outcome of events as/while they are happening and being animated on screen. It has already been stated that City of Titans is not in favor of using this scheme, even though the Unreal Engine 4 is perfectly capable of natively supporting it.

The key point is that with "fast enough" projectile speeds (i.e. nigh instantaneous), the latter can simulate the former, owing to the fact that there is insufficient reaction time to avoid "intercept" from animated attacks. Usually understood as being the point of the age old phrase "think you can outrun a bullet?" which makes perfect sense for NORMAL human performance levels, but loses salience in a game with superpowers in which people theoretically ought to be able to outrun a speeding bullet.

Planet10 wrote:

How would pets / minions handle targeting?

Presumably by using a dependency on whatever the Player has chosen for themselves. For added UI Menu complexity, Pets/Minions could have their own independent settings of options 1/2/3 outlined above in answer to your first question.


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One thing I don't see anyone

One thing I don't see anyone mentioning about the differences between control methods is the effect it has on the number of powers available and what you can and can not do with your mouse cursor.

In tab-targeting mode, your mouse can be used to interact with the elements of the UI. You can have 99 different powers emotes and other clickables set up in thirty different action bars, icons on or near your map, & etc. that you can interact with them 100% the time. The only exception is when you've cast an AoE ability that requires you to place it with your mouse.
With tab-targeting you can also use your mouse to click on a specific target if you don't want to cycle through all the targets.
Tab targeting does require you to use your left and right mousebuttons to control your facing and your camera, however.

In reticle mode, your mouse controls your aiming point only. (Typically this also comandeers your left and right mouse buttons as a primary and seconday attack, respectively.) As a result, you have to press the [ALT] key to be able to use your mouse to interact with the UI, thereby removing you from being able to control your character until you press [ALT] again.
Therefore, games that use reticle targeting typically only have less than 10 action bar buttons. This way you can keybind each action bar button, and maybe keybind an action bar swap so you can swap to another 10 buttons and so on, but you only have access to up to ten at a time.

I've seen two different schools of reticle-mode. The first is purely action combat without the ability to lock on to a target. The second is a compromise between tab targeting and action mode that merely uses your aiming point to select targets rather than the tab key. Enough people have discussed these here. But both require you to stop controlling your character to access the game's UI.

In another thread I asked the developers specifically if there is going to be a limited action bar or if there is going to be unlimited action bars. The response was that we will have oodles of clickable abilities and powers. Thus, the tab-targeting control scheme would be most approrpiate, letting us use our mouse to interact with the UI elements without losing control of our character and without having to swap back and forth constantly in order to activate actions that are not keybound. So it makes sense that MWM has said they will be using the tab-targeting control scheme.

The other advantage that tab targeting provides that has been alluded to in this thread is that it does more to level the playing field when it comes to players' own physical abilities.

By the way, if we ever want to go cross-platform into game consoles, then we would need to reconsider this and include a reticle control scheme option.

Revelation online actually allows the player to choose which control scheme they want to use. Go to about 3:42 in this video to see how they do it.


I like to take your ideas and supersize them. This isn't criticism, it is flattery. I come with nothing but good will and a spirit of team-building. If you take what I write any other way, that is probably just because I wasn't very clear.
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TitansCity wrote:
TitansCity wrote:

I remember trying to play Nerverwinter with it "reticulous" way of aiming a target. I really dislike it... Being obliged to press "tab" to open a menu was really annoying... I'm really not fond of that kind of targeting.

It really comes down to:

Fixed camera view + moving mouse cursor on screen
Continuous mouse look controlling camera view + fixed location of mouse/reticle "aimpoint" on screen

You then make it possible to keybind a toggle between the two and ... now you can support both. It really is a question of what are your mouse movements "doing" for you? Are they moving your view of the game world, or are they moving a cursor around on your screen?

Both systems have their advantages and disadvantages. You want a fixed view and a moving mouse cursor for anything having to do with menus, for example (such as buying and selling with vendors or just simply checking inventory). You'll often want to have a mouse controlled camera look view while moving so as to "steer" where you're going more finely using the mouse rather than by using the keyboard. Using the keyboard to "aim" your camera view can be an extremely frustrating experience (I've long since given up on even trying since using the mouse for controlling camera view is so superior in my experience).

The thing is that both schemes use different methods to achieve the same (or at least similar) outcomes ... which is "telling" the computer game what YOU are trying to "pay attention to" right now. Both schemes are what amounts to a "point and click" interface ... whether it is pointing the mouse cursor and left clicking on something to target it somewhere in the field of view ... or moving the field of view to "center" that something in order to tab click to "lock on" to it and designate that it is now your target. Both systems result in the selection of a target, it's just that HOW they go about doing so is different, but the underlying functional end result is the same either way.

TitansCity wrote:

To my opinion, Reticule targeting is a FPS way of aiming. Not for RPG.

Except it was used in Tabula Rasa, TERA and now Elder Scrolls Online ... all of which are MMORPGs. Star Trek Online offers BOTH a Tab Target "RPG mode" of gameplay as well as a Reticule Target "FPS mode" of gameplay within the same game, and you can switch between the two systems on the fly while playing. This lets you play Star Trek Online in whichever way works best for you.

To my knowledge, all four of the games I've just referenced are/were RPGs. Your mileage may vary, of course.

The interesting thing in the case of Star Trek Online is that the Tab Target "RPG mode" pretty much mandates that you have to have a valid target selected in order to use any of your attacks, while the Reticule Target "FPS mode" does not. This means that with FPS mode you can do things like throw grenades over obstacles or bounce them off walls in bank shots around corners and other bits of clever trickery on the Player's part which are completely not available to be done while in RPG mode due to a lack of a defined target. The difference is that in RPG mode you're pretty much almost always going to hit your selected target, while in FPS mode hitting anything (useful) is by no means guaranteed and it's perfectly possible to "waste" ammo and shots in FPS mode because you aren't using the "training wheels" of RPG mode.

Personally, I find that RPG mode is better for attacking a small group of targets (2-4) while FPS mode is better for attacking a large group of targets (5+) in Star Trek Online. Unfortunately, the implementation of the switch between modes in Star Trek Online is ... less than satisfactory ... for some other reasons that I won't get into.

TitansCity wrote:

I don't know how to tell you, but it's my felling that this kind of stuff is not for a RPG game but more for a FPS or Hack'n Slash or Action game. Even if what Redlynne said seems to be pleasant (i'm not sure this word exists ^^), i still say this system is good for FPS or Action or Hack'n Slash games.

I think you are proceeding from a false assumption. As far as I'm concerned, there is nothing mutually exclusive about having both a Tab Target AND a Reticule+Lock On "style" of UI for gameplay. You just set things up such that the game can toggle between the two methods (on demand using a keybind) and just simply support both.

And to be fair, City of Heroes pretty much fell into the "hack 'n' slash" genre of gameplay with its Team 8 experience of fighting entire rooms of mobs all at once. The whole "target rich environment" that City of Heroes offered was one much more suitable to a hack 'n' slash gameplay than the kinds of games where you can only engage 1-3 mobs at a time lest you risk faceplanting. In City of Heroes, it was often the assumption that you needed to be able to take on 10+ mobs at once with a routine expectation of survival. That then generates a perpetual feeling that the PCs are the "underdogs" in each match up (even if they really aren't) simply because in EVERY encounter your character(s) is/are going to be outnumbered by hostile foes. That whole "one against an army" mentality is pretty much the core of what being a superhero (or supervillain) is all about.

You know ... like this ...

TitansCity wrote:

I'm used with tab targetting/mouse targetting, that's probably why i prefere this kind of system.

A lot of people are. It's "traditional" (among other things). There's also an aspect of "old dog versus new tricks" that comes into play as well. The thing is, what we're talking about isn't a One Size Fits All kind of deal anymore. The whole Tab Targeting system was an answer to TECHNICAL limitation, rather than a Player centered one. As the video that Doctor Tyche linked to explained, computers have gotten better in the past 20 years, such that the technical limitation that gave rise to Tab Targeting being "required" is no longer operative. You CAN do other methods, and they have been successful when tried.

Whether Players will be inclined/interested/able to adapt to playing in any other way is something for individual Players to decide for themselves.

I've played both Tab Target as well as Reticule+Lock and have found the latter superior to the former in all sorts of ways that are difficult to quantify and explain in a forum post, simply because the latter rather fundamentally alters how you as a Player think about and interact with the game that you're playing. In my experience, Tab Targeting feels ... detatched ... in which you're just "watching" the game, rather than "controlling" it. In contrast, Reticule+Lock On yields a far more immersive and interesting gameplay experience that is vastly superior because it puts ME IN the Game and requires me to be Actively Playing and Controlling my character in order to produce results. Reticule+Lock On therefore is a far more engaging and interesting way to play for me, simply because it offers a much greater wealth of IMMEDIATE feedback to the actions that I'm taking using the game's controls, yielding a heightened sense of focus and awareness while playing ... which for me is both exciting and FUN!


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Tabula Rasa's UI offered 5

Tabula Rasa's UI offered 5 weapons to choose from and 5 "powers" to choose from for a total of 10 total options. Part of this has to do with 1 hand for keyboard, 1 hand for mouse, which Huckleberry alluded to earlier. It was felt that by limiting the options available to the Players it would force additional decision making onto the Players (i.e. what to put in their limited options) and streamline actual gameplay since you wouldn't be bogged down with 60+ choices of things you could do. Because of this, you could keep the left hand on the keyboard in a relatively continuous position, having access to everything from movement to actions and would then allow Players to keep their focus on the screen and immersive gameplay being offered. With such a limited range of options (1-5 and F1-F5 was plenty of Tray keybinds) it was possible to rely on muscle memory for use of keybinds and to remain intensely glued/focused on the action happening on screen.

There's nothing which says that City of Titans would have to resort to a similarly limited Power Trays scheme for a Reticule+Lock On UI system. It would be perfectly possible to make use of the full "1 through =" and "F1 through F12" range of keys for binding to Trays, along with the Shift, Control and Alt keys as modifiers and using something like the "." key (either by the spacebar or on the Numpad) or whatever else you'd prefer to bind to (Z key?) to toggle in and out of mouse move to control camera versus mouse move to control cursor on screen. It just means that if you want to use anything beyond the 5/6 and F5/F6 keys on the keyboard, you're just going to be looking away from the screen to visually verify your fingers are hitting the right keys on the keyboard to do what you're wanting to do.

24 keys on the number and function rows plus an additional 3 alternative combos for those same keys yields 96 possible key combinations ... even before you start thinking about binding stuff to the Numpad (Pet/Minion Command controls) or other letters on the keyboard (Kheldian Shapeshifting).

Even if you limit the Tray Size to 10 slots instead of 12, you still wind up with 1-0 and F1-F10 combining with Shift, Control and Alt for a total of 80 possible key combinations before adding in the rest of the keyboard letters and the Numpad.


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Ok, I've posted frequently

Ok, I've posted frequently here and I'm FAR from the most knowledgeable about game mechanics, but I want to post again because the videos and discussion on this thread have really expanded my perspective and thinking.

1) Unless I'm missing something, CoT HAS to be at least at it's core tab targeting, due to it's stated purposes and design. That ship has sailed.

2) As many have said, probably what would be best would be a single target tab system but with AOE powers using high-transparency lines (IMHO these need to APPEAR UPON HOVERING the cursor over the power icon if possible--upon animation would be too late to help judge). With as many AOE powers as CoH used, this would be a significant part of gameplay and add variety to combat.

I think this could be very fun and slightly actiony without pushing twitch or latency further than MWM wants to. This would also take a bit of the steam out of all the "same old dated tab mechanics, what? Is this the 90's?" criticism that you can already tell some people are just chomping at the bit to let fly.

3) Something that MWM probably CANNOT use as a primary system, but that I think could work very well would be an ESO-style reticle that doesn't let a power fire unless it's on target (ideally using a generously large hit-box) and the power and animation "chases" if the power goes off, even if the target moves afterward, PLUS the hover-over high-transparency line system used for AOE.

I think this would be fun and actiony without overly stressing twitch or latency. This could be a second optional system like the reticle in TSW--though I imagine the amount of work using two separate combat system styles would spin off is probably prohibitive.

One possible problem with a dual system would be dealing with the fact that AFTER you go to all the trouble to reticle or telegraph target, then any dodge/evasion mechanic would still apply--giving reticle/telegraph a disadvantage as compared to tab/telegraph.

In conclusion:

1) The tab single target + telegraph AOE that many are suggesting does seem to be the way to go for CoT to bring in a hint of action without exacerbating twitch/latency issues too much, and I would further suggest that

a) the telegraphing use high-transparency lines to avoid confusing clutter AND that

b) the lines appear upon hover-over if possible so that the player can better judge the power area--making it a little less vulnerable to twitch and latency (maybe "hide hover-over lines" could be an option in case some players don't like the lines appearing as they hover their trays?)

2) That, as an alternate option if possible (doubtful), or, if not, for another future game, the combination of an ESO style VERY forgiving single-target reticle system with an also very forgiving hover-over telegraph-based AOE system COULD possibly be a great way to give an actiony feel without too much twitch or latency trouble.

Ok, I'll leave it to the experts now, but I am enjoying the discussion and it's really opened my eyes. Thanks all!

PS- Speaking of keybinding as the previous post above, I DESPERATELY hope the mouse will be totally and freely bindable, because my preferred playstyle is all movement keyed to mouse and all power activation keyed to left hand keyboard.

If DCUO and TSW would have let me do that, it might have tipped me over the edge into being able to continue playing their annoying combat systems.

FIGHT EVIL! (or go cause trouble so the Heroes have something to do.)

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To be fair, you didn't have

To be fair, you didn't have gaming mice like this "back in the day" to be able to control tons of stuff from the mouse instead of the keyboard ...

... but now you do, so it's important to be able to Support use of such mice, even if not everyone is going to be using one.

I, for example, am still wedded to using a Logitech M100 for everything, including gaming, even though it's as bare bones and dirt cheap a mouse as you can get ...


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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

To be fair, you didn't have gaming mice like this "back in the day" to be able to control tons of stuff from the mouse instead of the keyboard ...

... but now you do, so it's important to be able to Support use of such mice, even if not everyone is going to be using one.
I, for example, am still wedded to using a Logitech M100 for everything, including gaming, even though it's as bare bones and dirt cheap a mouse as you can get ...

You are technically correct. The best KIND of correct! (reference: https://youtu.be/hou0lU8WMgo)

But, believe it or not, I use the exact mouse that you use.

I (when allowed) bind the left click to left movement, the right click to right movement, PRESSING the center wheel for forward, scrolling back the center wheel for backing up (if possible, not often allowed--I'm looking at you, MWM), and pressing the left-and-center to strafe left and pressing the right-and-center to strafe right.

Then all powers are keyed to the typical typing positions on the left hand--usually using different rows to organize different effects (ie., base asdf for single targets, upper qwrt for AOE, lower zxcv for meta/other powers.

If ever allowed, try it for a while. You'll be surprised.

I can move and fight SO much better this way (oh, so much better), but it is tremendously unconventional.

I would argue that a game that gives people the freedom (Freedom!) to play in an unconventional way is precisely in the spirit of CoH.

Most especially in the case of people who have limitations.

FIGHT EVIL! (or go cause trouble so the Heroes have something to do.)

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I don't even use the keyboard

I don't even use the keyboard when I play.

I put my left hand on this:

and my right hand on this:

I move with my left thumb on the thumb joystick of the nostromo, and I jump using the thumb spacebar on the Madkatz MMO7 mouse. Because of this I no longer have to perform finger gymnastics on the keyboard when trying to move and fire off an ability at the same time.

I typically use the page up and page down buttons of the MMO7 mouse to scroll through my action bars, so even in tab-targeting games, I still only have about 14 buttons on my action bars to play with at a time. All the other buttons on my mouse are reserved for movement related actions, like mount/unmount, crouch, swap weapons, run/walk and autorun.


I like to take your ideas and supersize them. This isn't criticism, it is flattery. I come with nothing but good will and a spirit of team-building. If you take what I write any other way, that is probably just because I wasn't very clear.
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Admittedly I've skimmed a bit

Admittedly I've skimmed a bit of the thread. In my mind tab targeting is part of the spirit of COH. Reticle targeting may be a possibility but it may not work well with the number of powers available to players. In COH I easily filled 3 bars (30 powers) with frequently used powers. With so many options I wonder how you realistically trigger those via a reticle based UI? ctrl+alt+9 while aiming with the mouse? I've got big hands but I'd struggle with that one. I'm not much a fan of games that make you press alt to free your mouse from camera center either. It's an annoying step between me and what I want to do. It could possibly work for some AT but there are just too many that would find it to be cumbersome.

Tab-telegraph is the optimum solution. Tab targeting allows for quick and effective target selection. Telegraph allows for AOEs, specifically cones, to be targeted with greater precision. One of my pet peeves with COX was that cones had a tendency to stop exactly at the target. So, I would frequently retarget to a foe at the back of the pack to ensure I got maximum effect out of the cone. With telegraph that wouldn't be a problem. Telegraph could also allow for some unique powers and usage. AOEs could have unique shapes beyond just cones and circles. Black Star could actually be ... "star" shaped. (that power was a major let down when I finally got it.) Telegraph does have a weakness in that it does require a floor in order to properly use. Which negates or at least strongly limits the encounters to 2 dimensions. Once you lift a character away from the floor telegraph (in every example I've seen) gets really abysmally clunky.

One of the benefits of tab targeting is to give the user a bit of that feel of actually having heightened senses, like their hero. Being able to target a charging foe and hit them continuously as they pass by faster than if you could accurately pan the camera for reticle based targeting.

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Empyrean wrote:
Empyrean wrote:

2) As many have said, probably what would be best would be a single target tab system but with AOE powers using high-transparency lines (IMHO these need to APPEAR UPON HOVERING the cursor over the power icon if possible--upon animation would be too late to help judge). With as many AOE powers as CoH used, this would be a significant part of gameplay and add variety to combat.

I like the idea that hovering over the skill icon gives you a preview of the effect area. Wildstar does this and I find it very helpful.


I like to take your ideas and supersize them. This isn't criticism, it is flattery. I come with nothing but good will and a spirit of team-building. If you take what I write any other way, that is probably just because I wasn't very clear.
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Huckleberry wrote:
Huckleberry wrote:

Empyrean wrote:
2) As many have said, probably what would be best would be a single target tab system but with AOE powers using high-transparency lines (IMHO these need to APPEAR UPON HOVERING the cursor over the power icon if possible--upon animation would be too late to help judge). With as many AOE powers as CoH used, this would be a significant part of gameplay and add variety to combat.

I like the idea that hovering over the skill icon gives you a preview of the effect area. Wildstar does this and I find it very helpful.

Also, this single-target-tab + telegraphed-AOE would allow MWM to keep their promise of tab-targeting while adding validity to the "next gen" status of CoT.

And probably make it age better.

FIGHT EVIL! (or go cause trouble so the Heroes have something to do.)

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@redlynne (i don't know why

@redlynne (i don't know why but your name reminds me something... like you managed a website on city of heroes or something like that ^^)
All your arguments are fine. To have a fair opinion, i should try the system you talked about... Probably reticule locking could be nice if it's an "aiming helper" and, as i select a mob wxith my mouse or by pressing tab, this last one becomes my main target. Sure, it will give more dynamism.
Nevertheless, it's not ok if i cast my spell on a reticule targeted mob instead of targetting the one i wanted especially if my power is a one with a big cooldown.

Moreover, the hight transparency lines are also a good way to target ennemies with an AOE power. (it seems we all agree with that).

redlynne, you make me doubt :/ I can't forget the tab targetting, but the reticule locking could be another good way to target foes...

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One of the compromises I

One of the compromises I could see working well would be to use a reticle aiming system to highlight targets, but use tab targeting to decide what target you are locked onto. Without a locked-on target, an aiming system would naturally highlight the target closest to the reticle.

Then if you want lock onto it, you just press [TAB] to lock on to whichever target is currently highlighted. If no target is highlighted, [TAB] would select the nearest target in your current field of vision. In other words, if you never use the reticle, it would still play the same as any other tab-targeting system.

Once locked-on a target, the aiming reticle disappears and the only way to switch targets would be either to cycle through tabbed targets traditionally, or to unlock, thus releasing the reticle for aiming again.

I believe there is at least one game with such a system, and I think I've even played one, but I can't recall which one(s) just now. I will probably come back and edit this once I've found an example.

The functions most necessary for this would be:
Target Lock
Target Unlock
Next Target
Previous Target
(there should be different buttons used for Next Target, allowing us to Cycle through targets differently with subcategories like enemies, friendlies, all targets, NPCs only, PCs only, select nearest to farthest, and select farthest to nearest. I would like CoT to also add the option cycle targets from most injured to least injured which is something I wish other games would adopt and could be especially useful for DPS and healers)


I like to take your ideas and supersize them. This isn't criticism, it is flattery. I come with nothing but good will and a spirit of team-building. If you take what I write any other way, that is probably just because I wasn't very clear.
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I don't control my powers

I don't control my powers with the mouse. To me, that would require that I Target with something other than the mouse and Move with something other than the mouse, and control my camera with something other than the mouse.

Which is fine, because I use the keyboard for movement, targeting, and power activation and leave the camera on third-person auto-follow, unless I want to mouse-look. When I click a Ranged AoE attack button (in GW2) I get a telegraph graphic, showing where it will land, and I can move it with my mouse, or tab-target to a more optimal location, then click the AoE attack button a second time to fire it off. When using the Mouse to target, then a mouse-click activates the attack. This doesn't apply to PBAoE, since there's no moving those, except by moving the character - although, a telegraph graphic and 2-click activation might be useful for such, as well.

I certainly wouldn't support a control scheme that required a multi-button mouse to operate efficiently. I doubt _I_ could operate a dozen tiny buttons like that, at all.

I do, however, like Redlynne's idea of a VoE targeting graphic. A ghostly 3D object indicating the real area/volume to be affected by an attack would be effective, even above ground, in an aerial encounter.

I'm not in favor of Recticle targeting. That means I'm controlling the attacks with my Camera and not my Character. Tab-targeting means the character can act from their point of view, while I maintain a 'god's-eye' overview of the conflict with the camera. That lets me more easily plan for what I'm going to do, or deal with Next. I can anticipate trouble. I find that especially important when I'm on a team, since I can over-watch them, too, and not just fixate on their stat-bars in the UI.

For myself, I enjoy operating my character, I don't want to Be them.

Be Well!
Fireheart

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I'm with the majority of

I'm with the majority of folks here who prefer tab-targeting for almost all powers in an MMO, with powers using a different method--such as AoEs--being the exception rather than the rule. I think Pyromantic said it best when suggesting that this is so fundamental as to be an essential requirement of claiming to be a spiritual successor to the old game.

Also, I couldn't agree more with Fireheart when he argued against reticule targeting by saying, "For myself, I enjoy operating my character, I don't want to Be them." I'm fine with reticule aiming in single-player games like FPSes, but I look for something else from an MMO, and that sentiment has been expressed by many people on this forum over the years.

I hope this is just a general philosophic discussion and not an indication that MWM is seriously considering diverging from the majority's expectation on this particular feature of the game.

Spurn all ye kindle.

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Pyromantic wrote:
Pyromantic wrote:

I'm actually somewhat surprised this topic is being brought up; I thought it would be a done deal at this point.

A last minute check before we cross the point of no return, which is rapidly approaching.

Technical Director

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Huckleberry wrote:
Huckleberry wrote:

I don't even use the keyboard when I play.
I put my left hand on this:
and my right hand on this:
I move with my left thumb on the thumb joystick of the nostromo, and I jump using the thumb spacebar on the Madkatz MMO7 mouse. Because of this I no longer have to perform finger gymnastics on the keyboard when trying to move and fire off an ability at the same time.
I typically use the page up and page down buttons of the MMO7 mouse to scroll through my action bars, so even in tab-targeting games, I still only have about 14 buttons on my action bars to play with at a time. All the other buttons on my mouse are reserved for movement related actions, like mount/unmount, crouch, swap weapons, run/walk and autorun.

Holy smokes, I also use a Nostromo, or whatever Razer has re-branded it as and increased the price tag on. But my mouse is a wireless Logitech trackball and I love it.

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Doctor Tyche wrote:
Doctor Tyche wrote:

Pyromantic wrote:
I'm actually somewhat surprised this topic is being brought up; I thought it would be a done deal at this point.
A last minute check before we cross the point of no return, which is rapidly approaching.

Then I will just say I sincerely hope the intention has been to go with tab targeting as the primary method, and that this thread confirms that decision.

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Pyromantic wrote:
Pyromantic wrote:

Doctor Tyche wrote:
Pyromantic wrote:
I'm actually somewhat surprised this topic is being brought up; I thought it would be a done deal at this point.
A last minute check before we cross the point of no return, which is rapidly approaching.
Then I will just say I sincerely hope the intention has been to go with tab targeting as the primary method, and that this thread confirms that decision.

From everything they've said and released, I think that is a safe hope.

FIGHT EVIL! (or go cause trouble so the Heroes have something to do.)

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Pyromantic wrote:
Pyromantic wrote:

Then I will just say I sincerely hope the intention has been to go with tab targeting as the primary method, and that this thread confirms that decision.

From everything they've said and released, I think that is a safe hope.

FIGHT EVIL! (or go cause trouble so the Heroes have something to do.)

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Empyrean wrote:
Empyrean wrote:

Pyromantic wrote:
Doctor Tyche wrote:
Pyromantic wrote:
I'm actually somewhat surprised this topic is being brought up; I thought it would be a done deal at this point.
A last minute check before we cross the point of no return, which is rapidly approaching.
Then I will just say I sincerely hope the intention has been to go with tab targeting as the primary method, and that this thread confirms that decision.
From everything they've said and released, I think that is a safe hope.

Yes it is.

My quite regular suggestion to look at Final Fantasy XIV's targeting system is not an accident.

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To activate powers, I use the

To activate powers, I use the tilde, 1, 2, and 3 for the first few attacks and the mouse cursor to click on the icon for like everything else that I can't usually reach with my left hand without leaving the safety and security of the WASD area, even in GW2 (well, I would use the tilde in GW2 I ever figure out how to keybind it for that). I think any game played in 1st person POV will tend to feel more immersive than the same game played in 3rd person. Any convenient GUI feature removed from the GUI in 1st person POV mode will add to the immersiveness too. That said, I don't want that. I play in 3rd person and would prefer to keep the compass, mouse cursor, char window, etc etc in my GUI. The reticle in the middle of the screen is, to me, as obtrusive and immersion-breaking as the mouse cursor, the trays, the chat window, etc for my non-gun-weilding hero who doesn't actually have any physical object that he's shooting at anyone. I don't like the idea of losing most of the GUI to make the game feel more immersive, and I don't like the idea of losing the ability to mouse click on powers when I have like 30 of them up in trays. So adding a reticle and taking away the 30 powers I have in trays doesn't make it better, to me. You can add a reticle, that doesn't bother me, but I gotta have my powers in trays to click on.

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Doctor Tyche wrote:
Doctor Tyche wrote:

Yes it is.
My quite regular suggestion to look at Final Fantasy XIV's targeting system is not an accident.

Lol, right after reading your response, Dr. T, I went and looked up Final Fantasy combat and all I could find was stuff about how FF 7 is going to be action combat.

Go figure...

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Empyrean wrote:
Empyrean wrote:

You are technically correct. The best KIND of correct!

I know, I know ... it's a bad habit of mine. I'll stop doing it eventually ...

Empyrean wrote:

I would argue that a game that gives people the freedom (Freedom!) to play in an unconventional way is precisely in the spirit of CoH.

It is indeed. But it also requires recognition that One Size Does Not (Best) Fit All in terms of man-machine interface and the control schemes therein. Just as we'd like to have OPTIONS when it comes to what our Powers look like when they animate, it would also be a good idea to have OPTIONS concerning which Control Scheme gets used to interface with and control gameplay. The RESULTS of those different options will need to be the same (select $Target to attack $Target) ... but the means and methods to achieve that select $Target requirement aren't limited to just using Tab Targeting anymore. The state of the art has advanced since 2004, and Unreal Engine 4 is built on a FPS core natively, so it can "do" all the things you'd need a Reticle+Lock system to do for you while ALSO "emulating" the functionality of a pure Tab Targeting method as well.

YOU CAN SUPPORT BOTH ... and the game experience will be richer for it.


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Just so others are clear -

Just so others are clear - what Redlynne is suggesting isn't pure actuon combat, but an optional target selection system which doesn't eliminate the other option of a tab-targeting system.

The question then becomes why have both if it is all the same under the hood? Options for players to decide how they like to engage in the action without taking too much away from either extreme (tab vs action).

The next question is, does this sound appealing with the understanding that there are some caveats to this. Since it isn't pure action, it doesn't have the full experience of player reaction (which some enjoy)!beingnthe rule of combat. While it being in part action, means there would have to be quite a few options settings in order to get things working 'just right'. Of course the default should be good enough cor general llay, but even CoH had options with key-binds adding more depth to targeting.


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Red, other than making a good

Red, other than making a good point, your post gave me an idea. Good or bad I don't know, but an idea.

I was arguing earlier for the use of "hover-over telegraphing" for AOE, but then, I use keys for power activation. So what about people like me?

Now, I had no problems with no telegraphing lines in CoH, so I'd personally be willing to just lump it, but...

I know this could seem like edging up on twitch mechanics, but I don't think it really is--what if for those using keys for AOE powers, it was press and hold for telegraphing lines, and then release to activate powers. Though I know the thought of press and hold smacks of twitch, if you think about it, it isn't any more twitch then hover and click. Two actions to set up and release a power.

Just a thought to throw out there.

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Doctor Tyche wrote:
Doctor Tyche wrote:

My quite regular suggestion to look at Final Fantasy XIV's targeting system is not an accident.

Standard Tab Targeting, right.

Now imagine if, when you have your left or right mouse-button pressed to pan your camera, a set of crosshairs appears in the middle of your screen.
And now imagine that while you are panning your camera you highlight the target nearest the crosshairs, kind of like this example from Skyforge (combat starts at 3:45):

Ok, while I admit skyforge may be an action-style game that comandeers your mouse cursor, it is the way it highlights the targets nearest the crosshairs that I want to bring to your attention. By the way, in skyforge, if you lock onto a target, the highlight also changes so you know it is locked on.

In my suggestion for CoT above, if you already have a target locked, no targets would get highlighted as you pan the camera because you can only highlight one target at a time. Some people might want that if your locked-on target leaves your field of vision, the lock should go away, but I'm not sure I like that idea yet.

Also worth noting in my suggestion is that the only time you lose your mouse cursor is when you are already using your mouse to pan the camera; so you actually get double duty out of it: panning the camera and finding your next potential target.

One benefit is that if you are panning the camera and see a more desirable target, all you have to do is press [TAB] and the currently highlighted target gets the new lock-on. Gone would be the days of having to stop the pan and then try to click on it after you find out where on the screen you had left your mouse cursor.

The other benefit is that you know which one will be highlighted before you click on it. Gone would be the days of thinking I clicked on the right monster in the pack, but because of hit-box size, I ended up clicking on the wrong one... again and again.


I like to take your ideas and supersize them. This isn't criticism, it is flattery. I come with nothing but good will and a spirit of team-building. If you take what I write any other way, that is probably just because I wasn't very clear.
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We can't to press-and-hold

We can't to press-and-hold mechanics due to our animation system. Once the icon is clicked, the combat cycle (including animation) begins.


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Tannim222 wrote:
Tannim222 wrote:

We can't to press-and-hold mechanics due to our animation system. Once the icon is clicked, the combat cycle (including animation) begins.

Only way to make the animation and costume system as flexible as it is.

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Tannim222 wrote:
Tannim222 wrote:

The next question is, does this sound appealing with the understanding that there are some caveats to this. Since it isn't pure action, it doesn't have the full experience of player reaction (which some enjoy)!beingnthe rule of combat. While it being in part action, means there would have to be quite a few options settings in order to get things working 'just right'. Of course the default should be good enough cor general llay, but even CoH had options with key-binds adding more depth to targeting.

Did you see the link I posted in #19 with how Revelation Online is handling this? It gives the players an option as to which control scheme to use. Go to about 3:42 in this video to see how they do it.

Might be worth considering if our population is split between crosshairs and tab-targeting.

By the way, we've been discussing Tab vs. Aiming, and we haven't much touched on the telegraph style of Wildstar and Crowfall. I really really don't like the Wildstar telegraph method. I've played hundreds of hours of Wildstar and I can't even tell you what some of the monsters look like in that game. Nobody who plays that game looks at anything but the colored shapes on the ground. So rather than being an immersive MMORPG it becomes a dodge-the-red-stuff game. And dodging the red stuff can only be so much fun for so long before it gets monotonous. Such a waste for what otherwise would be one of the best games out there.


I like to take your ideas and supersize them. This isn't criticism, it is flattery. I come with nothing but good will and a spirit of team-building. If you take what I write any other way, that is probably just because I wasn't very clear.
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Tannim222 wrote:
Tannim222 wrote:

We can't to press-and-hold mechanics due to our animation system. Once the icon is clicked, the combat cycle (including animation) begins.

Doctor Tyche wrote:

Only way to make the animation and costume system as flexible as it is.

Ah. Well, a flexible animation and combat system trumps a press/hold mechanic that you wouldn't generally use anyway.

Again, there were no telegraph lines in CoH but I just knew my geometry from experience, so no worries.

Thanks for the answer!

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Huckleberry wrote:
Huckleberry wrote:

I've played hundreds of hours of Wildstar and I can't even tell you what some of the monsters look like in that game. Nobody who plays that game looks at anything but the colored shapes on the ground. So rather than being an immersive MMORPG it becomes a dodge-the-red-stuff game. And dodging the red stuff can only be so much fun for so long before it gets monotonous. Such a waste for what otherwise would be one of the best games out there.

This is what I was saying about ENEMY telegraphing like TSW. It clutters up the visuals and breaks immersion. I don't think I'd feel as strongly about the telegraph lines linked to my own powers, though.

Again, CoH had various AOE geometries and no telegraphing and, as much as people generally like to complain about everything, I don't remember any complaining...

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Doctor Tyche wrote:
Doctor Tyche wrote:

Pyromantic wrote:
I'm actually somewhat surprised this topic is being brought up; I thought it would be a done deal at this point.
A last minute check before we cross the point of no return, which is rapidly approaching.

Whew. *wipes sweat from brow*

Though I suppose I should hang onto that handkerchief till after we're safely past that point of no return.

Spurn all ye kindle.

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Empyrean wrote:
Empyrean wrote:
Huckleberry wrote:

I've played hundreds of hours of Wildstar and I can't even tell you what some of the monsters look like in that game. Nobody who plays that game looks at anything but the colored shapes on the ground. So rather than being an immersive MMORPG it becomes a dodge-the-red-stuff game. And dodging the red stuff can only be so much fun for so long before it gets monotonous. Such a waste for what otherwise would be one of the best games out there.

This is what I was saying about ENEMY telegraphing like TSW. It clutters up the visuals and breaks immersion. I don't think I'd feel as strongly about the telegraph lines linked to my own powers, though.
Again, CoH had various AOE geometries and no telegraphing and, as much as people generally like to complain about everything, I don't remember any complaining...

I haven't played that one in a while, but I seem to recall the telegraphs were only for big AoE attacks so you would know whether you were inside it or not. Even FFXIV, WOW, SWTOR and GW2 do that, and I would recommend it for all games. But when every attack in your repertoire is a targetless AoE like Wildstar and Crowfall then it gets to be too much.

One thing I hated about FFXIV combat is the time delay between when an attack went off and when it was animated. I can't count the number of times I was way outside the AoE when it was animated, but was hit anyway because of when the system recorded the activation time. PLEASE take animation timing into account when to consider effects of attacks. Or please take the timing of attack effects into account when considering animation. GW2 did this also. How many times have I thought I dodged a thrown dagger perfectly only to be hit anyway because the game didn't care how long it took for the daggers to fly to me. That got so frustrating, I stopped playing PvP until I realized I had to dodge when the action was initiated, not when the animation showed them flying to me.


I like to take your ideas and supersize them. This isn't criticism, it is flattery. I come with nothing but good will and a spirit of team-building. If you take what I write any other way, that is probably just because I wasn't very clear.
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I prefered the TAB TARGETING

I prefered the TAB TARGETING of CoH/CoV, in an action MMO. It worked well for me, because I don't have the fine twitch skills I did years ago.

Capt Odee, saving the city one click at a time.

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Grimfox wrote:
Grimfox wrote:

In my mind tab targeting is part of the spirit of COH. Reticle targeting may be a possibility but it may not work well with the number of powers available to players. In COH I easily filled 3 bars (30 powers) with frequently used powers.

Piker. When I "standardized" my keybinds across all of my City of Heroes characters, I wound up with a full 6 Trays of 10 Powers each with only a few gaps here and there on the Kheldians (who were positively straining at the seams). Fortunately, I was able to put the 4 Nova Powers and the 6 Dwarf Powers onto a single Tray which basically got dedicated to my Peacebringer and Warshade Tri-formers.

The key to using a Reticle+Lock scheme with so many Powers in lots of Trays is ... creative keybinding schemes. So long as you can come up with an arrangement of keybinds that "fits your hand(s)" for ease of use, there really isn't a problem with having some 30+ Powers to use in lots of Trays. With pure Tab Targeting you can use the mouse cursor to Click on Power Icons, because the mouse is free to move the cursor rather than the camera view, and some people prefer to use a mouse driven "clicky" style of Powers activation. With Reticle+Lock you need to use keybindings rather than Clicking on Power Icons to activate Powers, because the mouse is slaved to controlling the camera view rather than giving you a mouse cursor. Both systems "work" perfectly fine once you've trained your muscle memory to handle all of the controls at your disposal in the configuration that you've chosen. The thing is that different people will have different comfort levels with the two schemes. Fortunately it is perfectly possible to "Do Both" and then just let Players pick (or toggle) which scheme they want to use.

It's kind of like how some people prefer to use an Inverted Y Axis on the mouse for control. That way when you push the mouse "up/away" from you, the camera movement is Down, and when you pull the mouse "down/closer" to you, the camera movement is Up, so that the way the camera movement works is more like a yoke control or a "stick" in an aircraft (push forward to dive, pull back to climb). But that control method doesn't work or isn't the most intuitive/natural for everyone ... so it's an option in the UI Menus for nearly all games now. It's a very simple thing that can have a very big impact on how it FEELS to play the game, even though the functional end result of the inverted vs non-inverted Y Axis control on the mouse has no impact on the game mechanical "rules" of the game at all. It's an example of One Size Does Not Fit All for how best to handle the man-machine interface of controlling your character and the camera view in game.

Grimfox wrote:

With so many options I wonder how you realistically trigger those via a reticle based UI? ctrl+alt+9 while aiming with the mouse?

Tray 1 = 1 through 0
Tray 2 = F1 through F10
Tray 3 = Shift + 1 through 0
Tray 4 = Shift + F1 through F10
Tray 5 = Control + 1 through 0
Tray 6 = Control + F1 through F10
Tray 7 = Alt + 1 through 0
Tray 8 = Alt + F1 through F10

That's 80 keybind combinations even before resorting to use of the Numpad for Pet/Minion Controls. I used a slightly modified variant of this for Star Trek Online because of its incredibly stupid UI design of only giving you 3 horizontal Trays and a completely separate 3 vertical Trays (the Dev responsible for that needs to be removed from office) that worked like so:

Tray 1 = 1 through 0
Tray 2 = Shift + 1 through 0
Tray 3 = Control + 1 through 0
Tray 4 = Control + F1 through F10
Tray 5 = Shift + F1 through F10
Tray 6 = F1 through F10

This put the 1-0 keys on the horizontal Trays in the bottom center of my screen and the F1-F10 keys on the vertical Trays in the bottom right hand corner of my screen so as to segregate the number versus function keys by tray orientation. After that it was just a matter of putting the most commonly used Skills into the Trays that needed no modifier keys (Shift, Control) with the least commonly used Skills winding up in the Control+ Trays. That way I could SEE everything (and know when cooldowns were finished) even if some of the Skills were a pain to get at. After some practice and muscle memory training, the whole thing turned into a useful "common language" for how to arrange Skills across different Captains so that I didn't have to relearn where everything was every time I switched to an alt.

It is perfectly possible to do something similar in combination with a Reticle+Lock targeting scheme. It just depends on how ... creative ... you get with your keybinds and the arrangement of your Powers within their Trays.

Grimfox wrote:

I'm not much a fan of games that make you press alt to free your mouse from camera center either. It's an annoying step between me and what I want to do. It could possibly work for some AT but there are just too many that would find it to be cumbersome.

If it's something you have to do FREQUENTLY then yes, it definitely becomes a problem. Tabula Rasa handled it very simply by offering a keybind toggle (so you could pick which key flipped the toggle between modes), which then lets you adapt to however you prefer to arrange your controls.

Grimfox wrote:

Tab-telegraph is the optimum solution.

Be careful what you wish for ... since too much Telegraph winds up being something that just yields "Red Zones" that cover everything. Think about what a Rikti Mothership Raid or even an Incarnate Trial would look like with ALL of those Telegraphs going off nigh constantly everywhere, when your screen is getting buried in visual FX already. Even if you can pick the colors to use for the Telegraph FX, that's still going to yield a crazy mish-mash of rainbow colored YUCK strobing like crazy nigh constantly all over the place, resulting in some pretty incredible visual clutter. As Huckleberry pointed out further downthread ...

Huckleberry wrote:

I really really don't like the Wildstar telegraph method. I've played hundreds of hours of Wildstar and I can't even tell you what some of the monsters look like in that game. Nobody who plays that game looks at anything but the colored shapes on the ground. So rather than being an immersive MMORPG it becomes a dodge-the-red-stuff game.

Given all the work being put into making the Avatar Builder into a sort of "City of Heroes Invades the 5th Dimension!" level of customization, creating a game where "nobody who plays that game looks at anything but the colored shapes on the ground" would be a terrible tragedy. This is why my personal preference in this matter would be for a cleaner/minimalist approach to the UI presentation, rather than loading (larding?) it up with all kinds of visual FX that just bury you in visual noise that you HAVE TO PAY ATTENTION TO or else you're not playing the game (mechanics) right. That impulse then yields a desire for Volume of Effect "showing" to be something that happens On Demand (via hovering the mouse cursor over the Power Icon) rather than something that happens On Use (via activating the Power). The former has a very low impact on gameplay and is informative rather than confusing, while the latter amounts to what I would consider "overkill" that breeds contempt due to overfamiliarization that produces a sense of "we know already!" every time a Power gets used due to bombardment of repeated information.

Huckleberry wrote:

I like the idea that hovering over the skill icon gives you a preview of the effect area. Wildstar does this and I find it very helpful.

I can't take credit for that idea, since Star Trek Online does it (kinda sorta) for ships in space.

TitansCity wrote:

@Redlynne (i don't know why but your name reminds me something... like you managed a website on city of heroes or something like that ^^)

Nothing so ... grandiose ... although that one thread alone received over 11k views and the only other thread in that forum with more views was the Soldiers of Arachnos Guides & FAQs thread that was stickied, so I can only assume it was useful to a couple of people (maybe). ^_~

TitansCity wrote:

All your arguments are fine. To have a fair opinion, i should try the system you talked about... Probably reticule locking could be nice if it's an "aiming helper" and, as i select a mob with my mouse or by pressing tab, this last one becomes my main target. Sure, it will give more dynamism.

It really is something you have to experience for yourself. Simply watching a youtube video of it doesn't capture the perceptual feedback you get from playing in a Reticle+Lock system like Tabula Rasa used. Everything that happens becomes very ... immediate ... because it's all happening due to YOUR control in a very obvious and explicit way. It's kind of like the difference of standing in line and watching a roller coaster run around the track versus actually riding the roller coaster and feeling the shifting accelerations in the seat of your pants. Simply watching the ride isn't all that interesting, but experiencing it for yourself first hand is VERY different and exciting in a way that you can't feel by simply watching at a distance.

This is why the best way to explain the differences I *feel* when playing Tab Targeting versus Reticle+Lock On is that the former feels "detatched" while the latter feels "immersive" to me, in the same way that simply watching a roller coaster from the ground isn't all that fun, but actually RIDING the roller coaster can be very fun indeed. That difference in perspective makes all the difference in the world when it comes to perceptual feedback, even though what is "happening" at the (game) mechanical level is functionally the same either way (select Target, do "stuff" to selected Target). All that's changing is how you go about doing the actual Selection of your Target.

TitansCity wrote:

Nevertheless, it's not ok if i cast my spell on a reticule targeted mob instead of targetting the one i wanted especially if my power is a one with a big cooldown.

With Reticle+Lock, that isn't a problem. Once you set the Lock On, that's what you'll be attacking/affecting regardless of where it is on screen (so long as it's in your front arc, typically), even if where that target is on screen is way off boresight. Watch the video I posted from 3:30 to 3:40(ish) to see an example of this in action on Youtube in Full Screen Mode. You'll see the rifle projectiles flying off boresight to hit the target on the left side of the camera view. And if you keep watching until about 4:00 in to the video, you'll see an example of how to handle having a Target Lock on something which is Off Screen, and be able to see just how intuitively easy/obvious the iconography used is for expanding situational awareness beyond just what you can see in the camera view at any given time.

If you didn't Lock On (and verify that you Locked onto the "correct" Target) ... whose fault is that?
/em knowing look

My belief is that in that case it's the Player's fault for doing that, not the game's, because the Player chose that course of action (usually in haste). I understand where you're coming from with that objection, but the logical conclusion of that kind of belief is essentially, well ... this ...

TitansCity wrote:

redlynne, you make me doubt :/ I can't forget the tab targetting, but the reticule locking could be another good way to target foes...

Fortunately, I'm not asking MWM for forsake/forget Tab Targeting. All I'm saying is that City of Titans can be more than JUST Tab Targeting.

It is perfectly possible to program City of Titans to use BOTH Tab Targeting AND Reticle+Lock control schemes and profit by the option for either being put into the hands of the Players. At the programming level, the two schemes are not mutually exclusive, since they rely on the same fundamental game mechanical outcomes (click to pick versus point to pick). Likewise, I think that banishing Telegraph from the game entirely would be a mistake, since there were plenty of --> CLICK <-- Powers like Teleport and Oil Slick and Rain of Arrows and others that relied on a Click to activate a Telegraph for the caster before Clicking again to actually activate the Power (the "Rings of Placement" effect for Powers that would Target Location rather than Target Foe).

Empyrean wrote:

Red, other than making a good point, your post gave me an idea. Good or bad I don't know, but an idea.

Uh oh ...

Empyrean wrote:

I was arguing earlier for the use of "hover-over telegraphing" for AOE, but then, I use keys for power activation. So what about people like me?

What about you indeed? Simplest solution I can think of for that is having a UI Menu slider/counter that lets you pick how long (in seconds) you have to mouse hover over a Power Icon before its associated Telegraph Overlay appears. Give the delay a range of 0-5 seconds and a checkbox for making the Telegraph Overlay appear at all and you're all set. After that it's just all up to the Players to decide where their comfort level is.

Empyrean wrote:

I know this could seem like edging up on twitch mechanics

A LOT of people make the mistake of thinking that Active Combat schemes are inherently devoted to "twitchy" gameplay. They're not. They can (and have!) been USED that way, but that's not ALL that Active Combat control schemes are capable of being used for.

To my mind, "twitchy" gameplay requires not only fast Player reaction speeds but also very fast animation speeds and "countermoves" which can be executed within those animation times which can override offensive actions (such as actively on demand blocking or dodging incoming attacks/damage). To me, "twitchy" gameplay also skews towards the capturing and exploiting what ought to be the most transient of opportunities, such as the proverbial "boom! headshot!" made at speed without stopping to aim or otherwise "take your time" to attack carefully and deliberately. This definition of what constitutes "twitchy" gameplay therefore very obviously embraces the need for the minimization, if not complete elimination, of latency/lag as a factor or hazard in the quick responses needed to adapt to rapidly evolving situations.

By contrast, I consider anything which takes 1 second or longer to animate (or even 1.5 seconds or longer to reach its target) to fall outside the realm of "twitchy" gameplay, simply because the combat is "slow enough" to no longer give the fastest reaction speeds an overwhelming advantage ... particularly if using a Powers Queuing system like City of Heroes used which allowed you to "declare" in advance the next Power to activate after the current Power animation completed, thereby allowing you to play the game One Step Ahead of what was actually happening. When most Powers in a game start getting into the 1.5 to 8+ second animation time range, a lot of things stop being "twitchy" at the gameplay level, since Players need to "think ahead" to how the battle is going to evolve while their Powers are animating.

So for me, the biggest determinant of whether a game is "twitchy" or not is how "fast" you have to be in order to play it (competently) followed by how "fine" your control has to be in order to achieve things like actually hitting your target. Both Tab Targeting and Reticle+Lock function in a way that's akin to using an Aimbot, or if you prefer a notion slightly less provocative, as a Target Designator, which then ensures that any attacks made will be directed at the designated Target regardless of character orientation or camera view orientation. The only meaningful difference between them (which makes all the difference in gameplay FEEL) is HOW that designation of Target gets achieved ... whether it's by moving a cursor on screen and clicking on a Target, by pressing Tab to cycle through a "list" of available Targets, or by "aiming" the camera view onto a Target to designate it as being your Target. After that, everything else works just the same (you attack the Locked On Target).


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Since I've been referencing

Since I've been referencing the Tabula Rasa UI a lot, but figure there are plenty of people here who never played the game, here's a page from the TaRapedia that explains the arrangement of the User Interface so that when you watch the video I linked to you can start to understand the various elements you see on screen in videos featuring Tabula Rasa gameplay such as the one I posted previously (and am again for ease of reference).

Mind you, the quality of this video is definitely above average, since you can see all kinds of details when watching on Full Screen mode (which I recommend for anyone researching this past precedent on Staff who hasn't actually played the game).


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Doctor Tyche wrote:
Doctor Tyche wrote:

My quite regular suggestion to look at Final Fantasy XIV's targeting system is not an accident.

Good reference :) I'm relieved ^^

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Tannim222 wrote:
Tannim222 wrote:

Just so others are clear - what Redlynne is suggesting isn't pure actuon combat, but an optional target selection system which doesn't eliminate the other option of a tab-targeting system.
The question then becomes why have both if it is all the same under the hood? Options for players to decide how they like to engage in the action without taking too much away from either extreme (tab vs action).
The next question is, does this sound appealing with the understanding that there are some caveats to this. Since it isn't pure action, it doesn't have the full experience of player reaction (which some enjoy)!beingnthe rule of combat. While it being in part action, means there would have to be quite a few options settings in order to get things working 'just right'. Of course the default should be good enough cor general llay, but even CoH had options with key-binds adding more depth to targeting.

And... maybe it could fit with CoT on console with this system included ^^

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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

Planet10 wrote:
How much do you want your player base to get pissed off about attacks not hitting anything when people are combat teleporting, flying in circles behind you, super speeding/jumping?
Really?
/em sigh
Are we really going to have following conversation again?
I am Scissors.
Paper is fine.NERF ROCK !!!
Look, EVASION via movement to break Target Lock is a legitimate ACTIVE RESPONSE to being Targeted. The key thing here is that such evasive maneuvers aren't foolproof ... merely fool resistant. If Players are going to be pissed off about their lack of situational awareness AND their (in)ability to adapt to opposing strategies of gameplay, all they're doing is projecting their own failures onto anyone other than themselves. Your question presupposes that such evasive maneuvers will amount to a functional "I WIN!" strategy with no counters, yielding an asymmetrical "jousting" style of combat, made most famous by the Bunny Hopper PvP strategem of avoiding Target Locks. Presumably the desire on the part of Missing Worlds Media would be to allow "jousting" gameplay to be possible, because some people will enjoy that and find it challenging and fun to play, without it becoming an asymmetrical advantage by default (meaning there will be counters to the strategy).

Sometimes the asking of a question is done to see how one reacts to the stimulus and not to necessarily gain new information.

We can do this again if you'd like Redlynne. As stated prior, I do not care for your attitude. You have noted that you don't care how you are perceived because you somehow see yourself as doing god's work here on the boards. Don't think I didn't see that post of yours that was deleted in the other thread.

Now let's talk about evasion. Some players are not going to be physically or mentally capable of devising a functional counter to being targeted. They could have a physical handicap that could prevent them from actively responding within the window of opportunity. They could be young enough that they have not dealt with a system this complex before and cannot deal with it (either on a conceptual level or as a matter of maturity). If there are multiple targeting schemes, it is MWM's responsibility to communicate the variations to the user base to set expectations and to give proper education and training in the techniques so the users can learn and grow within the system.

Situational awareness is important, but there are varying degrees required based on your mobility vs the mobility of your opponent. If you can restrict your opponent or use their movement restrictions to your advantage you can commit more of your resources to applying pressure to them. Travel powers will impact combat no matter what targeting scheme(s) is employed. Those with mobility will always have an advantage over those with limited mobility. Ground locked characters have to process more information in combat. Things like am I standing in Fire™ & if I move, will I fall off of something? Then add in trying to find where your adversary is located and target them using whatever technique (Tab/Reticle/Telegraph). If the users have the option to chose how to target it will make things easier. If the user if forced to use a more complex mechanism, the differences in mobility will compound the difficulty. The point is that more complex targeting mechanisms will stratify the user base because CoT operates in a 3D environment moving at full speed.

No matter what targeting scheme(s) is used, there will always be a few optimal powersets that will make jousting a viable approach to combat. I remember CoH pvp being giant jousting matches accented by moments of CC lockdowns.

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You never forget your first

You never forget your first MMORPG. For me it was Dofus, and it will forever be a measuring stick upon which I compare every other.

This resurrection movement for City of Heroes is a testament to the fact that so many people were introduced to MMO through it. In these forums alone, there are tales of people playing with their children who are now looking forward to playing with their children's children. There are only a few MMOs out there in the history of MMOs who can claim this honor, with WoW being another.

This is primarily due to the low barrier for entry. I recommend that if we want to produce the next generation of fanboys and girls, then we need to preserve the low barrier for entry. Make the game easy to play, but give the player enough variables that it keeps the interest of the most jaded MMO veteran. A good story is key, but this thread is not about story, it is about combat interface.

There is a danger we will run into the Star Wars phenomenon. To wit, Star Wars came out in the 70's and generation X grew up with it. By the time the prequels came out over 20 years later, those fans were adults with families of their own. George Lucas produced the next three movies with the same age-group in mind, but they were panned by the aged population for not appealing to their now more mature sensibilities. Granted, there were other problems with the movies, but the fact remains that, to paraphrase Thomas Wolfe, You can never go back to the original experience again.


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I should preface this by

I should preface this by saying I never played Tabula Rasa. The reticle-to-lock system sounds somewhat interesting. If it was in the game as an alternative to tab targeting then I would probably at least try it, though I suspect I would not use it primarily. If the development team judges that providing it as an option would add something significant to the player-base and is worth whatever resources would be required, then I'm all for its inclusion.

While tab targeting may have developed due to technical limitations, I would however argue against it somehow distancing the player from the experience. When I have tried pure reticle-targeting games I have not found the experience more immersive--just different, and for me less enjoyable. I should explain something about how I used the targeting system in City of Heroes. I switched targets a lot, perhaps because of how often I played controllers, or how much I gravitated towards control-heavy sets such as Stone Melee, Dark Miasma or Ice Blast on other archetypes. So I switched targets to cycle ST controls, but also to take advantage of AoEs such as by moving on from a near-defeated enemy to use a ST blast when I'm about to kill that target with an AoE anyway, or to select a central target to maximize effectiveness. Target selection was also important due to the capabilities of enemy groups; fighting Banished Pantheon, those shaman lieutenants needed to go down quickly, but if fighting Nemesis the lts should go down last to minimize the effect of their vengeance.

As I got more experience with the game I started using binds like this one:

/bind shift+g "beginchat /bind g targetcustomnext "

This meant that when I hit shift+g, I could type in the name of an enemy, and g would then be bound to target that enemy. So if I was fighting Banished Pantheon for example I could quickly create a key bind to target shaman. I also used several binds (and bind files) to target different enemies or allies, a system for binds and commands for henchmen when playing masterminds, and so on.

This is the kind of functionality I really want out of the targeting system in City of Titans: the means to quickly make choices about which enemy or friend to target without worrying about getting a clear line of sight, finding it amongst the horde, or occupying my viewpoint too much. That functionality provided a different kind of immersion that I really enjoyed. Because the opportunity was there to accurately switch targets with a keystroke, it created a playstyle where taking advantage of those means rewarded skill. A different kind of skill than many "action"-oriented systems, but a skill nonetheless.

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Planet10 wrote:
Planet10 wrote:

Now let's talk about evasion. Some players are not going to be physically or mentally capable of devising a functional counter to being targeted. They could have a physical handicap that could prevent them from actively responding within the window of opportunity. They could be young enough that they have not dealt with a system this complex before and cannot deal with it (either on a conceptual level or as a matter of maturity). If there are multiple targeting schemes, it is MWM's responsibility to communicate the variations to the user base to set expectations and to give proper education and training in the techniques so the users can learn and grow within the system.

I get where you're coming from. Not All Players Are Created Equal.
As you state, different Players will have different "handicaps" ... which can be everything from simple lag/latency issues to color blindness to being hard of hearing (so stereo audio cues are not well received) to reduced fine motor control to having only one hand or differences in computer hardware (gaming mouse versus bare bones mouse) and on and on and on.

The only way to completely, totally, absolutely and forever "level the playing field" to prevent such differences in Player abilities from being a factor is to create a turn based game like Chess ... or Master of Orion. That's an extreme end of designing a game in a way that minimizes differences in Player capacities/capabilities, because it relies on literally letting the Players "take turns" doing things in a logical order.

In "pure" PvP games that take the form of FPS, one of the few ways to "level the playing field" between Players is to have "stock" characters to play which all have exactly the same capabilities, so as to prevent variances outside of what the Player brings to the game. That's another extreme end of designing a game in a way so as to maximize the differences in Player capacities/capabilities, because the only "variable" in how the game gets played is the Player themselves since the character avatars are all just exact duplicates of each other so that no one has a game mechanical advantage over anyone else.

My perspective is that attempts to have a game (for lack of a better term) proactively "compensate" for these variances in Player abilities so as to bring everything to a singularity of a Balance Point (not region, point) is a Fool's Errand ... because it can't be done. There's too much of a variance in Player abilities in the first place. I mean, we're all familiar this notion ...

There's a reason why "I don't heal stupid" is its own meme, and we all know where it comes from.

So if it's not possible to have a game design proactively compensate for Player ability/capacity in a way that gets embedded into the very game mechanics (and UI, since that's the topic of this thread) themselves from the outset, what CAN be done? My perspective is that what you want to create is a game system that is (and yes, I know this is a quote) ... Easy to Learn but Hard to Master. THAT is the objective of the game's Developers. The objective isn't some sort of mythical "balanced" state but rather one in which you can have "100 schools contending" for primacy (for those who know their Warring States period of real world history). You want, as a game Developer, to create an environment in which there is a sort of Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock relationship going on in which no ONE path is optimally successful at all times against any opponent. That means that you want to create a dynamic in which advantages are possible but are not so overwhelming as to equate to being The Ultimate Solution™ to everything.

An example of this sort of dynamic can rather easily be seen in the relationships between the Five Elements seen in Chinese Philosophy.

It has already been stated, by actual Missing Worlds Media Developers, that due to technical limitations brought on by the Avatar Builder and Aesthetic Decoupling that the game engine under the hood is going to be obliged to run on a Resolve First/Animate After schema. This means that the only way for a high mobility "evasion" strategy to be absolutely successful is for the "mover" to NEVER appear in the Field Of View of the "shooter" because if the "mover" does appear in the Field of View of the "shooter" then they can be attacked regardless of their position when the attack animation completes.

This means that even IF we are given Reticle+Lock On functionality for selecting a Target, the game will not be operating under the hood on a basis of computing "intercepts" of animations due to the Resolve First/Animate After bias in the programming. This means that, game mechanically speaking, there is no way to "outrun a thrown rock" (so to speak), even if you've got Superspeed. Because of this, the advantages of an Evasive Movement/Positioning strategy are dramatically curtailed, because even if the UI appearance of the game looks like a Third Person Shooter it isn't ACTUALLY a Third Person Shooter at the programming level.

Note that the Resolve First/Animate After schema was the one used in City of Heroes, so the way actions and events "happen" in the game will feel really nostalgic (including having thrown grenades "homing" in on you while in flight and chasing you around corners to blow up at your feet). This sort of behavior will be most noticeable with "slow" moving projectiles, such as thrown objects (rocks, grenades, flowers, etc.) that are used against a mobile Target rather than against a static Location.

Planet10 wrote:

Situational awareness is important, but there are varying degrees required based on your mobility vs the mobility of your opponent. If you can restrict your opponent or use their movement restrictions to your advantage you can commit more of your resources to applying pressure to them. Travel powers will impact combat no matter what targeting scheme(s) is employed. Those with mobility will always have an advantage over those with limited mobility. Ground locked characters have to process more information in combat. Things like am I standing in Fire™ & if I move, will I fall off of something? Then add in trying to find where your adversary is located and target them using whatever technique (Tab/Reticle/Telegraph).

I personally put all of this under the Easy to Learn but Hard to Master rubric. Some movement modes are easier to deal with than others simply because they're less interactive. Superspeed ground running movement has plenty of "obstacle course" terrain to avoid and requires frequent course corrections and jumping to not get hung up on stuff that gets in the way. Flight movement usually dispenses with the "obstacle course" part of things given sufficient visibility (offer not valid in perpetually foggy Dark Astoria) and is more of a "pick a star and sail till morning" kind of more relaxed transit. In that respect, Superspeed is "harder" to Master since you are obliged to "learn all the routes" to various points on the map in different places, while Flight doesn't have a similarly onerous obligation to learn the map to get wherever you want to go. Each has their advantages and disadvantages, and it's up to the Players to decide which they prefer and which is "best" for them.

City of Titans is going to have more modes of movement Powers available than City of Heroes did. Those Powers will all have advantages and disadvantages to them that are situational, and it's up to the Players to both Learn and Master them. The "trick" on the Developer side of things is to make sure that no one movement system has an overwhelming advantage such that it becomes "best" in Too Many™ circumstances and situations, which is a sort of "fluid" goal rather than being a "solid" one, simply because Players are inventive and creative little bahstids who will mine for and squeeze every single last drop of advantage that they can get out of anything they can get their hands on. So the objective is to create a system of dynamic equilibrium across a wide RANGE of possibilities and combinations, with each having their own strengths and weaknesses, while preventing a combination of factors that is all strengths and no weaknesses (the proverbial Tank Mage) or so few weaknesses that the situations in which those weaknesses become relevant are easily avoidable (thus negating their relevance). That there will be Players who fail to Master those systems, either due to lack of ability or lack of interest, is not the "fault" of the game's design if those systems are Easy to Learn in the first place.

To take an example from City of Heroes, Teleportation, when Enhanced, was the fastest way to get around ... but few people enjoyed using Teleportation as a Travel Power because it was tedious and labor intensive to use for Travel. It was Easy to Learn but Hard to Master. Many Players preferred Superspeed, Super Jump and Flight over Teleportation, even though Teleportation in many cases was a faster way to get around, because the controls required to use those other Travel Powers "effectively" were less onerous and more relaxed.

So I guess my answer to your point is ... To Each Their Own As Best Fits Their Abilities ... is essentially the best that a game can do, rather than trying to assume (or make) All Be Equal, because not all Players are equal in ability.

Planet10 wrote:

If the users have the option to chose how to target it will make things easier.

Which is why I have been at pains to repeatedly point out that Tab Targeting and Reticle+Lock are not mutually exclusive at the programming level. You can have both and have your game profit by having both. After that, it's up to the Players to decide which scheme serves them best, and that's a decision that the Players need to make for themselves, rather than having the game design pre-choose it for them by going with exclusively one or the other.

Planet10 wrote:

If the user if forced to use a more complex mechanism, the differences in mobility will compound the difficulty. The point is that more complex targeting mechanisms will stratify the user base because CoT operates in a 3D environment moving at full speed.

Good thing that's not the recommendation here then, eh?

Planet10 wrote:

No matter what targeting scheme(s) is used, there will always be a few optimal powersets that will make jousting a viable approach to combat. I remember CoH pvp being giant jousting matches accented by moments of CC lockdowns.

Yep. The challenge is to prevent any ONE approach from gaining too much of an upper hand over ALL the others, such that all other strategies become "non-viable" in comparison. So advantages can be had, but they can't be TOO good, and they'll need to have counters. That way, you wind up with a more "fluid" and dynamic equilibrium over a broader range of possibilities, rather than having a One True Way™ to win at everything (including simply being able to land the first hit).

Does that help any?


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Empyrean wrote:
Empyrean wrote:

I mean, I got plenty of action fix from playing CoH, but that came from the combat mobility and great animations and physics, as well as the fact that CoH tab targeting was just very well done.

Same here. I feel that anyone that complained about the action in CoH did not give it long enough to have a character beyond level 30 AND play in a team. I can understand the early levels feeling slow until your attack chain filled out but yes, without a doubt the sounds, animations and particle effects were thoroughly entertaining nearly all the time for me. I even miss 'slower' attacks like Energy Transfer. That build-up animation and sound then the HUGE hit(damage and special fx) afterwards were always a nice payoff. Really miss Supression on my crab spider too. :(

Reward tactics as well as damage dealing.

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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

Does that help any?

We are both advocating for the same thing (variation in targeting approach). You have provided a lot of detailed information, but I was hoping to elicit a response from the other side of the wall as well. Making the game more engaging is a good thing, but there is more to consider when we do not know all of the details on the other side of the wall. The targeting approaches may not be mutually exclusive at a programming level, but we do not know the details about the resources on their end. The engine might support targeting variants, but can the coders provide the results in the timeframe allotted? There are also maintenance issues to consider. Will the complexity of multiple approaches be sustainable? Dev & QA will have to test classes of powers via all targeting approaches. What happens if one of the targeting approaches breaks (not all powersets and archetypes will be available at game launch)?

Was this thread started to confirm a choice or poll the constituency to make a decision? Are they considering using one targeting approach or multiple? Only the people on the other side of the wall know for sure.

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Planet10 wrote:
Planet10 wrote:

You have provided a lot of detailed information

I'm a big believer in Show Your Work/Thinking so that other people can review the thought process that undergirds any of the assertions and suppositions that I make.

Planet10 wrote:

but I was hoping to elicit a response from the other side of the wall as well.

Was this thread started to confirm a choice or poll the constituency to make a decision? Are they considering using one targeting approach or multiple? Only the people on the other side of the wall know for sure.

Yeah ... sorry, can't help you there. I'm not a Dev. I'm just an overly opinionated forum regular.


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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

Tray 1 = 1 through 0
Tray 2 = F1 through F10
Tray 3 = Shift + 1 through 0
Tray 4 = Shift + F1 through F10
Tray 5 = Control + 1 through 0
Tray 6 = Control + F1 through F10
Tray 7 = Alt + 1 through 0
Tray 8 = Alt + F1 through F10

This is exactly what I'm talking about. Perhaps I'm a "f*cking casual" and apparently a "piker" but this is ridiculous to me. How do you teach that to a new player that? How do you tell an 8 year old, "to use that power you need to press ctrl+F5 and keep the cursor on your target. No you can't take your hand off the mouse or you'll lose the target"

Redlynne wrote:

...since too much Telegraph winds up being something that just yields "Red Zones" that cover everything

I think we are a bit off target (no pun) on what telegraph needs to be to be a benefit and not a hindrance in COT. From my perspective telegraph allows the user to see where his power is going to be. It doesn't mean that it shows all players that field. It's an aid to the local user. Not something that needs to be highlighted for everyone as a "dodge this field" really it's only a slight expansion on what COH had in it's system which is that it allows the user to also see cones before pulling the trigger.

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I've seen a few comments

I've seen a few comments referencing consoles. One of the more irritating thing about some recent games is that they are obviously written with a console in mind first, and then modified somewhat to suit a PC, instead of the other way around. If I have a nice PC, I don't want to be hampered by considerations being primarily given to the button limit of a console controller. I don't want my games "dumbed down", artificially limited by a console mindset.

(insert pithy comment here)

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We are definitely designing

We are definitely designing for pc. But a good user interface and prioper settings can also make use of a controller. And just because a pc game can use a controller doesn't automatically equate to it being ready for a console. A lot goes into making a port from one platform to another (especially if you want a good port).

As to the concern of keeping your hand on the mouse in order to not lose your target, the a target-lock hybrid of tab target acts just like a tanbed target, once the target is selected you maintain a lock on that target unless it is defeated or another target is selected.

Of course the default settings for the game should be set to keep the barrier of entry suitably low for the target audience. I didn't see Redlynne suggesting a complex keybinding be the one, true way to play, only that it was how he set up his keyboard usage. This, in part may fall under the category of easy to learn, hard to master (or that there is depth).

CoH had a highky customizable keybind and macro systems, which inckuded pop-menues, macros for auto-combining inspirations and more. At default, the ui was easy to grasp, but there was depth to the possible ways to conform key-actions to a player's liking.

I have a gaming g15 gaming meyboard with an entire series of macro-able keys on the side. I had a bunch of personalized macros for my Mastermind's pets and could switch up twhat thise keys did on the fly with different settings via a switch. Meaning I had a section of keys dedicated to each pet rank and with a switch, could use those same keys to control all the pets at once.

It wasn't required to do so in order to play the MM AT, but the depth of possible customized settings allowed a greater range of play which suited how I played the character.

Looming at the video Huckleberry posted above of Revelation Online's customizable targeting system is similar in this vein (though if we were to do something like that, it would be more 'limited') due to our conat system.


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Pyromantic wrote:
Pyromantic wrote:

I should preface this by saying I never played Tabula Rasa.

Don't feel bad, I presume that most of the people posting here didn't. I know that Lin Chiao Feng and Gangrel did (as did I, of course), but I'm not aware of any other forum regulars around here being Tabula Rasa veterans. That's why I try to find the highest quality videos of gameplay to share, KNOWING that watching those videos without being able to recognize the various elements at play in what you're seeing is like losing a dimension off a 3D object. It gives you an idea of what playing was like, but it only barely scratches the surface of what is was like to PLAY it.

Pyromantic wrote:

The reticle-to-lock system sounds somewhat interesting.

It doesn't just sound interesting, but it really is something you have to personally experience in order to fully "get" the difference it makes. There's also a little bit of Yoda involved in adapting to use it most effectively ("you must unlearn what you have learned") because it engages your brain and senses in a very different way, but once you DO adapt it becomes very easy to use and quite intuitive.

Pyromantic wrote:

If it was in the game as an alternative to tab targeting then I would probably at least try it, though I suspect I would not use it primarily.

Since it really is something that requires first hand experience to really "get" the differences, the only way you'd even be able to try it out would be for it to be an alternative offered.

Pyromantic wrote:

If the development team judges that providing it as an option would add something significant to the player-base and is worth whatever resources would be required, then I'm all for its inclusion.

Me too ... ^_^

Redlynne wrote:

Tray 1 = 1 through 0
Tray 2 = F1 through F10
Tray 3 = Shift + 1 through 0
Tray 4 = Shift + F1 through F10
Tray 5 = Control + 1 through 0
Tray 6 = Control + F1 through F10
Tray 7 = Alt + 1 through 0
Tray 8 = Alt + F1 through F10

Grimfox wrote:

This is exactly what I'm talking about. {...} this is ridiculous to me. How do you teach that to a new player that? How do you tell an 8 year old, "to use that power you need to press ctrl+F5 and keep the cursor on your target. No you can't take your hand off the mouse or you'll lose the target"

How do you teach a new player to do that? Simple. You design the Keybind system to handle it and then make editing of those keybinds accessible to the Player. It's then up to the Player to decide what they need and how they want to arrange things for themselves. This is very much NOT a One Size Fits All kind of thing.

Anyway, I was just illustrating how it would be perfectly possible to implement a keybinding arrangement to handle 80 (with 10 Power Trays) or even 96 (with 12 Power Trays) keybinds in a straightforward/logical fashion to disprove the notion that if you're going with a Reticle+Lock system you're somehow limited to a single Powers Tray simply because other games did that.

Grimfox wrote:

I think we are a bit off target (no pun) on what telegraph needs to be to be a benefit and not a hindrance in COT. From my perspective telegraph allows the user to see where his power is going to be. It doesn't mean that it shows all players that field. It's an aid to the local user. Not something that needs to be highlighted for everyone as a "dodge this field" really it's only a slight expansion on what COH had in it's system which is that it allows the user to also see cones before pulling the trigger.

That's a point that really comes down to design aesthetics as well as Player "demands" for visual assistance with the deployment of their Powers. Whether the Telegraphing visual FX are public or private, or even mix 'n' match as chosen in the Aesthetic Decoupling for Powers in the Avatar Builder, is yet another wrinkle to be considered. Again, this starts getting towards a One Size Does Not Fit All kind of thing, to the point where having a Global? (Y/N) override of whether Telegraphing visual FX for the PC's Powers would be quite useful (even if just to use as a de facto "reset" option) but I can easily see the need/desire to also make exceptions to that global setting on a case by case basis in a sort of "whatever was done last takes precedence" kind of way.


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God I miss reticle targeting.

God I miss reticle targeting. It wasn't FPS targeting because your reticle would "stick" to whatever you pointed at until you or it moved off-axis enough to snap the reticle back to boresight. So you could throw an attack on five separate targets in a group (recharge was *fast* on attacks) in a couple seconds, in the order you choose and not the order the tab key chooses.

If you wanted to lock the target, you hit tab. Unlock? Tab again. Simplicity.

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I was unaware that this

I was unaware that this reticle was supposed to be sticky, but I don't see how it would allow you to shoot things in the order You chose. Unless there's a way to designate target order? It also seems geared for First Person operation.

I admit, tab-targeting can be deeply annoying, but I don't see how this works better. It would seem like you'd have to use your camera controls to pick the target.

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Point at first thing, hit

Point at first thing, hit attack button (say, a debuff).
Yank reticle off that thing (point away from the first target about an inch on a 24" screen) and point at second thing, hit attack button.
Repeat until all debuffed.
Duck return fire.

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Being a keyboardist, and

Being a keyboardist, and often on a laptop that I don't get to spec, I definitely prefer Tab Targeting. The only thing that would actually turn me off the game would be compulsory first-person perspective. I like to zoom out, even to the side, and have my battles be cinematic. There could be times where my camera is locked inside my head for a horror movie aesthetic, but hopefully not all the time.

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Tab TargetingTarget(s) appear

Tab Targeting

  • Target(s) appear in camera field of view
  • Use TAB to repeatedly select new/next Target until desired Target is selected
  • Attack selected Target, regardless of Target's position within field of view

Mouse Cursor Targeting

  • Target(s) appear in camera field of view
  • Move mouse cursor onto desired Target
  • Select Target under mouse cursor using a keybind (typically a mouse click)
  • Attack selected Target, regardless of Target's position within field of view

Reticle+Lock Targeting

  • Target(s) appear in camera field of view
  • "Aim" camera field of view so that desired target is moved to center of field of view
  • Use a keybind (typically TAB) to "Lock On" to Target located at center of field of view as the selected Target
  • Attack selected Target, regardless of Target's position within field of view

The only thing that changes between these options is the METHOD of Target selection. Each method relies on a decision cycle of See Target/Mark Target/Attack Marked Target, with the only meaningful difference between them being HOW the Player "cues" the computer to select the Target (the Mark Target step) to do things to ... whether that be buff, debuff or interact. Everything before and after that middle step of Mark Target works pretty much exactly the same regardless of whichever method of User Interface is used.

But that difference in HOW to "cue" the computer to Mark Target makes all the difference in the world in terms of how the game FEELS to play.

And yes, Lin reminded me of the "relaxed sticky" nature of Targeting using the Reticle in Tabula Rasa. The way it worked was that if an area of the center of screen (not a point, an area) intercepted the hitbox of a foe/ally/interact then the game would produce a "temporary" Select Target that would persist until the center of screen Reticle area (plus a little bit of margin) was pointed away from the hitbox of that foe/ally/interact. In essence, something akin to this ...

Basic idea was that you had to put the "yellow area" (representing the Reticle) onto the hitbox of something for the UI to presumptively select it WITHOUT a Lock On, and then had to drag beyond the "blue area" (representing the "little bit of margin") away from that something to presumptively de-select it WITHOUT a Lock On. This made the Reticle have a "relaxed sticky" behavior on things at the center of your field of view such that you didn't have to be a "perfect" FPS Player in order to play the game. Use of the TAB keybind to Lock On to the already presumptively selected Target simply expanded the "blue area" to encompass the entirety of the field of view so that Target selection wouldn't drop no matter which way the field of view was directed ... up to and including retaining Target selection even if the selected Target was no longer in the field of view (because you'd turned around, or whatever) ... so as to prevent loss of Target selection as a "true" Lock On To Target selection.

If memory serves, in Tabula Rasa the scaling of the "yellow area" and "blue area" were fixed as I recall ... but there's no reason why they couldn't be controlled by variables set in the UI Menu so as to allow Players to adjust not only the size of the Reticle Target selection area on their screen, but also the degree of "stickiness" it would have to hitboxes brought within it. Similarly, the appearance of any sort of Reticle iconography on screen could be controlled by variables set in the UI Menu as well, so that Players could adjust the visible size of the Reticle iconography to suit personal preferences, simply because some people will be playing on low resolution screens while others will be playing on high resolution screens, and sizing for one doesn't necessarily suit or fit the other. In other words, a measure of Aesthetic Decoupling ought to be possible for the iconography used for the appearance of the Reticle too. Even if only a single set of Reticle iconography is available to start with, by setting up the Reticle iconography to be something that can be added to LATER (post Launch) you wouldn't be painting yourself into a corner on what the iconography "ought to" look like (now and forever) since you could always add to it later. Basically the difference between Easy To Modify and the dreaded Hard To Modify perks.


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Lin Chiao Feng wrote:

Did Tabual Rasa's targeting necessitate first person perspective as Airhead posited? It sounds fun, but I do like to see my hero in action the way you do in Tab targeting.

While I'd prefer NON first-person perspective, either way it'd be great if possible to have this type of targeting as an alternate mode, like TSW does.

FIGHT EVIL! (or go cause trouble so the Heroes have something to do.)

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What you are discussing is

What you are discussing is the same reticle targeting I discussed in post #44 with the video from Skyforge, which uses the same control scheme in 3rd person view. Again, go to about 3:45 to see the example in action.

Note that in order to make it work in 3rd person, you need to have the target reticle actually off-center so that whatever you are aiming at is not occluded by your own avatar at all zoom levels. (except when you zoom all the way into 1st Person view, at which point it does become center screen.)


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Huckleberry wrote:
Huckleberry wrote:

Note that in order to make it work in 3rd person, you need to have the target reticle actually off-center so that whatever you are aiming at is not occluded by your own avatar at all zoom levels. (except when you zoom all the way into 1st Person view, at which point it does become center screen.)

Yep, that's exactly what TSW does.

Man, Final Fantasy style targeting as default with Tabula Rasa style targeting as an alternate mode could really knock combat out of the park for CoT--IF feasible (which is, of course, the rub).

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Empyrean wrote:
Empyrean wrote:

Did Tabual Rasa's targeting necessitate first person perspective as Airhead posited?

No. I never used first-person view (not sure there was one), only third-person.

Empyrean wrote:

It sounds fun, but I do like to see my hero in action the way you do in Tab targeting.

It's mandatory for situational awareness. the "red arc" indicator that FPS games use to tell you you're getting shot from some direction or another isn't really practical in an MMO. It just doesn't tell you enough.

Empyrean wrote:

While I'd prefer NON first-person perspective, either way it'd be great if possible to have this type of targeting as an alternate mode, like TSW does.

STO has a "shooter" mode, too. It's ... okay. No sticky targeting, so you miss a lot more.

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Huckleberry wrote:
Huckleberry wrote:

Note that in order to make it work in 3rd person, you need to have the target reticle actually off-center so that whatever you are aiming at is not occluded by your own avatar at all zoom levels. (except when you zoom all the way into 1st Person view, at which point it does become center screen.)

The way it worked in TR was that your avatar was centered by default, and would only off-center gradually as you zoomed in close enough for the avatar to obstruct the view. It just gradually shifted to the right so when fully zoomed in you were literally looking over your avatar's shoulder, almost down the gun's boresight.

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This thread has been exciting

This thread has been exciting, informative, and eye-opening for me with my limited experience with games (CoH, Champions, DCUO, and TSW).

At this point my little .02 Inf vote is for Final Fantasy style tab as the primary default mode with Tabua Rasa style reticle as an alternate mode--Devs, make it so :P

Seriously though, IF feasible, this would satisfy the hard-core tab people and go a long way towards squelching the inevitable "dated combat" complaints that always accompany tab targeting these days.

One serious consideration here is that, while CoH refugees are our core, it's a small core and the target audience isn't just us, or even just Superhero or Superhero game enthusiasts--it's everyone out there who likes to play MMORPG's.

So, in the end, City of Titas has to be a fun, engaging MMORPG for a decent spectrum of players whether they've ever heard of CoH or care about Superheroes or not--if it is to survive and truly thrive.

FIGHT EVIL! (or go cause trouble so the Heroes have something to do.)

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Empyrean wrote:
Empyrean wrote:

Did Tabual Rasa's targeting necessitate first person perspective as Airhead posited? It sounds fun, but I do like to see my hero in action the way you do in Tab targeting.

While I'd prefer NON first-person perspective, either way it'd be great if possible to have this type of targeting as an alternate mode, like TSW does.

Tabula Rasa handled it pretty much the same way that all camera zoom games do these days. You're in Third Person Shooter view until you zoom in the camera position so close as to be inside your avatar's head, at which point it become a First Person Shooter. Star Trek Online does this too, where if you zoom in "too close" it switches over into a First Person rather than Third Person mode. As Lin explains, Tabula Rasa really did have some above and beyond details built into their UI presentation, such as the "close" Third Person zoom angles doing an "over the shoulder" look rather than a "through the head" look by offsetting the avatar laterally at some zoom distances so as to maintain a Third Person View while not obscuring what you're trying to see with the opaque avatar.

My personal inclination would be to allow a grouping of "offset sliders" in the UI Menu, so as to be able to move the Reticle location on screen not only up/down but also left/right within a +/- 10 boundary to permit offsets for comfort and preferences. Likewise, I'd also appreciate another "offset slider" in the UI Menu that will move my avatar +/- 10 to the left/right in my field of view so as to make it possible to have that sort of "over the shoulder" look rather than a pure centerline of the spine of my avatar being required to stay dead center in the screen. That way, I pretend that my Shoulder Kitty is actually my character, and the humanoid they're riding on is my "Pet" ...


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Empyrean wrote:
Empyrean wrote:

At this point my little .02 Inf vote is for Final Fantasy style tab as the primary default mode with Tabua Rasa style reticle as an alternate mode--Devs, make it so :P
Seriously though, IF feasible, this would satisfy the hard-core tab people and go a long way towards squelching the inevitable "dated combat" complaints that always accompany tab targeting these days.

I certainly have no problem with the idea of CoT having alternate targeting mechanisms, as long as the core remains the tab targeting we're used to from the old game, for the reasons so many have given on this thread. And as long as there is never a need to use the alternate system for those who prefer the classic style, nor a slow slide towards non-tab-targeting.

Spurn all ye kindle.

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Wow, I have been wanting to

Wow, I have been wanting to comment for 2 days, but keep running out of time before I can finish reading the thread.

I agree with the general direction this topic has gone. My thoughts may vary slightly so I'll summarize them as follows.

1) I'm a little surprised to see this topic now. OK, it's a sanity check before the point of no return.

2) The decision should be driven by what the customers want with the caveat that MWM decides which customer to target.

3) It would be nice if some sort of "functional decoupling" or maybe "targeting decoupling" allowed the targeting method to be optional perhaps with both global and power specific configuration options.

4) I would think that the CoH approach of tab targeting with exceptions would be the default.

5) Is it feasible to have tab options like "cycle by strength of opponent", "cycle by aggro", "cycle by distance", "target ally with lowest percent health", "cycle ally by lowest percent health", etc.?

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Hero_Zero wrote:
Hero_Zero wrote:

5) Is it feasible to have tab options like "cycle by strength of opponent", "cycle by aggro", "cycle by distance", "target ally with lowest percent health", "cycle ally by lowest percent health", etc.?

All of those are some pretty major Feature Requests.


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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:
Hero_Zero wrote:

5) Is it feasible to have tab options like "cycle by strength of opponent", "cycle by aggro", "cycle by distance", "target ally with lowest percent health", "cycle ally by lowest percent health", etc.?

All of those are some pretty major Feature Requests.

Not really.
FFXIV already has the following targeting options:

  • Target enemy attacking me
  • Target nearest enemy
  • Target nearest PC
  • Target nearest NPC or object
  • Target current focus target
  • Cycle through enmity list greatest to least
  • Cycle through enmity list least to greatest (note: enmity is a measure of how much an enemy hates you. This is different than the threat list for any particular enemy, which is a list of the PCs who have the most aggro with that enemy)
  • Cycle through allies (in group 1, 2 or 3) nearest to farthest
  • Cycle through allies (in group 1, 2 or 3) farthest to nearest
That covers some of the requests.

We also know that in DCUO and in ESO some heals automatically target the most injured players first, so being able to set that up as a target option should be a no-brainer.(personally, now that I've throught about this one, I wouldn't want it in the game because that takes some of the skill away from being a good healer. DCUO and ESO need it because they are action-targeting control mode games where it is just too inconvenient to be able to pick your healing target. If we go the tab-targeting route, then we should be able to use our mouse to select healing targets deliberately)

Targeting by challenge rating should also be a piece of cake, easier than most of the others on this list, since it is a static attribute and not one that fluctuates during battle like proximity, enmity or health.

So I would say those are actually pretty reasonable requests.

The question becomes whether the devs will find them useful enough to put them into the game.


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One thing I really disliked

One thing I really disliked in other MMOs was a Target Nearest function that ignored the enemy who was currently stabbing me repeatedly in the back. I hope CoT doesn't do that.

Spurn all ye kindle.

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I don't mind a 'Target

I don't mind a 'Target Nearest' that catches enemies that are attacking me. That sounds like a fine idea. What I hate is a 'Target Nearest' that includes non-enemies, Especially the ones behind me!

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Cinnder wrote:
Cinnder wrote:

One thing I really disliked in other MMOs was a Target Nearest function that ignored the enemy who was currently stabbing me repeatedly in the back. I hope CoT doesn't do that.

In City of Heroes, Redlynne was a Scrapper, so I have personal experience with this phenomenon. The limitation of the /targetenemynear function was that it would only target hitboxes that appeared on your screen ... meaning that if you had your camera zoomed in "too close" (and the default camera position definitely qualified as being "too close" for this!) then the /targetenemynear would only target enemies in front of you and not behind you. The (easy) solution that I found was to zoom out the camera position so that I could see everyone around my avatar (a camera distance of 30 feet accomplished this just fine). This let me not only see my own avatar from head to toe (and the ground she was standing on) but also the enemies behind me and the ground that they were standing on too.

Fireheart wrote:

I don't mind a 'Target Nearest' that catches enemies that are attacking me. That sounds like a fine idea. What I hate is a 'Target Nearest' that includes non-enemies, Especially the ones behind me!

In City of Heroes, the /targetenemynear did not select neutrals (if I'm remembering right). I would expect City of Titans to function similarly, even if it's only so as to make the "Jackie Chan Keybind" a reality again for Scrappers Enforcers.


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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

In City of Heroes, the /targetenemynear did not select neutrals (if I'm remembering right). I would expect City of Titans to function similarly, even if it's only so as to make the "Jackie Chan Keybind" a reality again for Scrappers/Enforcers.

Quite right, in CoH the only things you could target or even harm with attacks were enemy. I have, since then, played games that were less precise about damaging things. Worse, one can get 'enemies' who become invulnerable and run away, once their 'event' is over.

This is not fun. If it attacks me, it should be fair game for me to hunt it down and kill it.

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Cinnder wrote:
Cinnder wrote:

One thing I really disliked in other MMOs was a Target Nearest function that ignored the enemy who was currently stabbing me repeatedly in the back. I hope CoT doesn't do that.

Or that ignores those guys attacking you from a short distance, in favor of targeting the ones behind them who aren't even aware of you yet...

My personal favorite priority ranking: Those who are attacking me get priority over those that aren't, then those who are near get priority over those who are far, and those who are in front of me get priority over those who are off screen. Add in the ability to target my allies quickly, and the ability to either assist (attack their target) or defend (attack one of the ones attacking them), and I'm happy. ^_^

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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

Hero_Zero wrote:
5) Is it feasible to have tab options like "cycle by strength of opponent", "cycle by aggro", "cycle by distance", "target ally with lowest percent health", "cycle ally by lowest percent health", etc.?
All of those are some pretty major Feature Requests.

As compared to coding multiple targeting mechanisms? It isn't that big of an ask by comparison.

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What if MWM gave us a drag-n

What if MWM gave us a drag-n-drop list of target types that we could arrange in a prioritised order for the Target Next command? Something similar to the way you can prioritise powers for your party members in the first two Dragon Age games.

Seems this would be useful to have on a per-character basis, since even for the same player I could see the priorities for a Stalwart being different for those of a Ranger, for example.

Spurn all ye kindle.

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Cinnder wrote:
Cinnder wrote:

What if MWM gave us a drag-n-drop list of target types that we could arrange in a prioritised order for the Target Next command? Something similar to the way you can prioritise powers for your party members in the first two Dragon Age games.
Seems this would be useful to have on a per-character basis, since even for the same player I could see the priorities for a Stalwart being different for those of a Ranger, for example.

This sounds interesting.

So, let me see how I would do it if I were a Ranger Hunter (Blaster in CoX parlance)
Listed by priority for playing in a party:

  1. Target of Focus (also know as assist, this would target whomever my tank was targeting)
  2. Target with least health (to burn down the enemy numbers fastest)
  3. Cycle Target nearest to farthest

I would not put Target enemy attacking me into that general targeting logic tree, because as a Hunter, that would be a special case of self defense I would bind to its own key. In fact, I would probably make a macro that targeted nearest attacking me and fired off my Point Blank self-defense ability I have one.

If I were playing solo, I would have a different set of targeting logic priorities:

  1. Cycle target enemy attacking me nearest to farthest
  2. Target enemy with least health
  3. cycle target nearest to farthest

In the above two examples, I used the word "Cycle" deliberately. When I didn't use the word "Cycle" it could potentially keep targeting the same unit every time I pressed tab. When I did use the word "Cycle" it would change targets with every tab, so long as there were more targets available. So if there were three targets meeting the criteria, it would continue to cycle through those three until no more targets fit the criteria and then the logic would jump down to the next priority.

I could see this being a very good tool, but I could also see it getting in people's way if they didn't get their logic the way they really wanted it. But giving the freedom to players to succeed or fail by their own devices appeals to me.


I like to take your ideas and supersize them. This isn't criticism, it is flattery. I come with nothing but good will and a spirit of team-building. If you take what I write any other way, that is probably just because I wasn't very clear.

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