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Multiple Power Trays

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RolandGrey
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Multiple Power Trays

You know what I hate about a lot of modern MMOs?

They give you a pile of powers, but you can only use some of them. TSW is the worst offender, allowing each character to get EVERY power, but they only get to use five of them at a time. Wildstar has you limited to eight, DCUO also had you limited to five (but the brawling aspect made up for the limitation somewhat), Champions Online had you restricted to ten...

Oh yeah, and Wildstar has a tendency to give you temporary powers and inventory items that can be used in combat... But nothing to have them ready and available for actual use. Because that makes sense, I guess, having to go into a fight with an inventory screen taking up an eighth of your view...

I really, REALLY dislike the idea. I'm sure it really appeals to the folks who like to tweak their builds on the fly, but I am so sick and tired of the mentality that the game is going to force you into a tight little niche, and gods help you if you didn't build your character for the very specific role the developers expected you to have in that exact moment. City of Heroes toyed with that in the Statesman TF, where people often demanded to have a Stone Armor Tanker, specifically one with Granite Armor, to keep Recluse at bay, and you better have a fully slotted-out Taunt... Because that's what you needed throughout the rest of the game, right?

Anyway, I would really like to be able to use my character to its fullest potential. Either don't give us wasted powers, or give us the ability to utilize everything we're given.

To that end, I'm requesting multiple power trays. I don't understand why so many games are so opposed to this idea. I've been told "it's because they don't want you to be too powerful," but that always strikes me as a poor argument. Games are supposed to be a power fantasy. We're supposed to be powerful. Limiting us to a handful of abilities after giving us a mountain of them is just such a tease.

Cinnder
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I couldn't agree with you

I couldn't agree with you more on everything you said.

I'm pretty sure we can expect multiple trays, but I can't at the moment find where MWM has stated this (if they have).

Spurn all ye kindle.

Redlynne
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There's different ways of

There's different ways of looking at this particular problem. One of them boils down to simple User Interface issues. The more Powers (and Trays to hold them in) you allow Players to have, the more keybind combinations you need to make available in order to uniquely address all of those possibilities. Furthermore, if you've got a HUGE number of possible powers to use, that then makes it harder to address/keybind all of those potentials through anything other than a keyboard. Sure, you can (now) do "rotary wheel" addressing like Star Trek Online did when they ported over from PC to consoles, but that gets ... messy.

Just by way of example, here's the arrangement of my Power Trays that I used while playing Star Trek Online.

Klingon Bird of Prey

Romulan Warbird

Federation Fleet Support Cruiser

The way that Power Trays were arranged in Star Trek Online were just about as User UNfriendly as possible.

On the ground, you could only have one mandatory grouping of up to 3 trays (horizontal only) ... and in space you could have one mandatory grouping of up to 3 trays (horizontal only) with an option for a second grouping of up to 3 trays (vertical only!) ... and each tray was limited to only 10 options, not 12 (so 1 to 0 and F1 to F10 on the keyboard, instead of 1 to = and F1 to F12). It basically took one of the best features of City of Heroes (being able to add more trays) and made it worse by shoehorning it into a straightjacket. As you can see from the images, I TRIED to arrange skills into my power trays in a way that would allow me to develop a "common keybind language" for all three variations of ships, such that particular options tended to get put into the same places on different ships, so I didn't have to "relearn" where everything was any time I changed characters. Unfortunately, there were SO MANY skills available (and Cryptic just kept piling on more and more with every expansion/update) that it was getting hard to "reserve" swaths of tray space for specific things across different ships, even with 60 slots(!) available to put everything into. Needless to say, I would have been a lot happier if they'd made each tray 12 slots long instead of only 10. For reference, World of Warcraft Power Trays are 12 long instead of 10, and you can have up to 5 of these visible (and accessible) at all times, with another "flip to" Tray available for access, as well as yet another up to 3 Trays dependent upon Stances/Forms for classes that either fight differently at different times (Warriors) or which actually shapeshift into different forms (Druids) or which are able to access completely different skills/attacks uniquely while in Stealth (Rogues) ... in which case the "main" (number 1) Tray automatically changes over for you into the alternates.

So with regards to this particular topic of UI for City of Titans, I'm going to lay down a (few) marker(s).

  • I want my Power Trays to be 12 slots long ... not just 10 ... so as to address 1234567890-= and the F1 to F12 keys on a single tray.
  • I want to be able to choose for myself how many Power Trays I'm going to have ... whether that be 1 or as many as 9. In City of Heroes, I was using 6 Trays to hold 60 Slots, and even that was starting to feel cramped once I'd put everything into place on all of my characters so as to maintain a "common language" of muscle memory movements between them all for their Powers. Note that 9x12=108 possible addressable Power Slots.
  • Due to the shaping of people's hands relative to their keyboards, there will ALWAYS be what amounts to "Prime Real Estate" on the keyboard for keybinds that are easily accessible and can be used by muscle memory without needing to look down from the screen, as well as "Secondary" or otherwise "less than prime" regions of the keyboard which are either harder to reach or which necessitate a look down from the screen in order to visually verify that you're reaching for the right keys, and so on. The upshot of this is that not every slot on every Power Tray is going to be "equally desirable" for use as a simple matter of distribution, so just because you can have 60 Slots available in 5 Trays of 12 Slots doesn't mean that you'll be able to easily/conveniently/logically fit some 50+ Powers into those 5 Trays from different characters without having to make some ugly compromises. It will always be best to assume a lower than 100% Slot utilization density within the design of the UI. Indeed, I would argue that assuming a 60-65% Slot utilization density ought to be a design preference, such that with 9 Trays of 12 Slots for 108 total Slots available, an assumption that Players will make use of up to 65 to 70 of those Slots for a 60-65% usage density is almost certainly the way to go. It leaves room for Growth Margin that may wind up being needed in the future, and leaves sufficient room for Players to sort out for themselves which keybinds (and combinations of keybinds when using Shift, Control and Alt in the mix for combos) are most readily accessible and which are less convenient to use.


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OathboundOne
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Good grief, STO has gotten

Good grief, STO has gotten even worse since I last played it.

Honestly, I feel like games that are just lousy with powers NEED to limit you to a certain number, just to maintain basic functionality/user friendliness.

I'm currently playing SWTOR again (ah nostalgia) and some of the classes having basic rotations that take up an entire powerbar (which have 12 slots (1 through = )) on their own. Not even counting defensive cooldowns, long recharge offensive buffs, utility powers, medpacks/stims/xp items/other consumables, etc.

I have 5 powerbars unlocked in SWTOR cause I was a subscriber for a long time/bought extra (free to play players start at two) and I barely have room for all the powers that I have/need.

Having played TSW I'm honestly GLAD they limited your powers (though I feel like it could have been a higher number, say 8 or 10 instead of 5). Trying to do anything with ALL of them would be an unmitigated nightmare.

For a direct response to the OP: I'll vote for not giving us wasted powers any day. I feel like that's the way CoT is going. We know how many powers we'll be getting, so I think it's pretty safe to say that we'll be more on the CoX side (where there were very few, if any, powers that were wasted) and less TSW, where just to get the 1 power that you wanted you had to unlock half a dozen others you'd never use.

I also vote for never giving us a power that directly obsoletes another power we've already got. This is something that SWTOR used to do (still does in a way, but they've changed it to that the new power actually replaces the old one, instead of you just having two powers that do THE SAME THING with one being objectively better in ever way).

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FF14 had a pretty good power

FF14 had a pretty good power tray system if I remember correctly. It's been a while since I played it.

I'm all for having multiple power trays and being able to have them set up as you like, even if I won't end up using such a feature to it's fullest.

I usually have about 5 powers that I use regularly set to keys, and click for everything else. But I do like to arrange my bars so they look nice. At least have a second bar for my toggles.

Oh, I also hope I can set an attack to auto like you could in CoX that cut down on my required key presses... Even if setting a ranged attack to that sometimes caused problems "^^

"Let the past die. Kill it if you have to."

Redlynne
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Tabula Rasa was perhaps the

Tabula Rasa was perhaps the first MMO to jump on the "limited tray" bandwagon, wherein ALL the stuff you could potentially do wasn't ALWAYS at your fingertips available for use every single second you were playing. In the context of that game, which was more of a 3rd person shooter, having a simplified UI like that forcing the Player to make choices MADE SENSE since it forced the Player to prioritize, plan and strategize more in advance of going out "into the field" to get the most out of what they had. It sort of "closed the loop" on build planning, such that you'd have an incentive to only invest into what you NEEDED rather than getting "everything" just because it was there.

That said, such "limited" UI options don't really work all that well in the context of an MMO where you're expecting to have both Clicks and Toggles and (in the case of City of Heroes) in excess of 20 Power Picks by the time you get to Level 50 ... to say nothing of the EXTRA Power Picks you'd have as a Kheldian (which demanded a whole 'nother Power Tray all to themselves if you shapeshifted!) or even worse a Mastermind (who needed to control their Pets in order to "direct traffic" effectively).

So bare minimum, I am absolutely convinced that City of Titans is going to HAVE TO go the multiple Power Trays route ... AND ... that those Trays are going to need to have 12 Slots per Tray instead of merely 10. As for how many Trays we'll have available ... it's always better to have more than you need than it is to need more than you have.


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TitansCity
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all the same than RolandGrey

all the same than RolandGrey ^^

Huckleberry
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I think the posters to this

I think the posters to this thread have so far missed the bigger picture.

There are two phenomenon at work driving the genre to a more limited set of abilities.

First, MMORPG have evolved into a more action-oriented experience. This itself has several facets.
First among them is the human-machine interface. With most MMORPG players using their keyboard keys to move, there is a limit to the digit gymnastics one can force upon one's hand when trying to move and activate powers simultaneously or with any semblance of reaction speed. So the number of powers becomes limited by the reach and extension of the base user's fingers from the location of the movement keys.
Second among them is the control scheme. Several of the games the OP mentioned, and several more like TESO have left click and right click abilities and the mouse is used to target or otherwise direct your character's powers. In such control schema you can not use your mouse to click on action-bars without first disengaging your mouse from controlling your character. So in these games having a limited number of abilities slaved to a limited number of keys is the only viable option.
Third among them is the multi-platform nature of the games cited. In games that also play on consoles, the number of abilities has to be limited to the number of keys in the standard console controller.
Remember, this first phenomenon is the trend towards a more action style experience. Games that don't require reflexes and quick actions are less likely to limit the number of powers available for all the reasons above.

Second, it is far easier for game designers to balance the players when they limit the number of power interactions possible. Rift, Archeage and SWTOR are perfect examples of this. RIFT in particular makes a good case study. In it players are given three classes to level simultaneously. For the first few years, the combination of skill trees proved to be too complex for the developers and they were constantly having to remove overpowered interactions they hadn't intended. SWTOR was just the opposite. It turns out that as that game matured, the playerbase found out certain builds were the 'best' and most of the other options in their skill trees ended up being ignored. So both games redesigned their respective skill trees and powers to limit the number of options available. And by doing so, the players were left with a limited number of actual clickable powers.

Like I said, I don't disagree with the OP's desire for multiple power bars.

Everything the devs have said about this game leads me to believe it will not be action-oriented. And so the primary driver for a reduced slate of powers departs with it. The balancing issue remains, however. But that is a decision the game designers themselves have to make. The more abilities they give us to use, the exponentially more complex it will be to balance the game.

Edit: I almost forgot to add:

Redlynne wrote:
  • I want my Power Trays to be 12 slots long ... not just 10 ... so as to address 1234567890-= and the F1 to F12 keys on a single tray.
  • I want to be able to choose for myself how many Power Trays I'm going to have ... whether that be 1 or as many as 9. In City of Heroes, I was using 6 Trays to hold 60 Slots, and even that was starting to feel cramped once I'd put everything into place on all of my characters so as to maintain a "common language" of muscle memory movements between them all for their Powers. Note that 9x12=108 possible addressable Power Slots.

I agree with 12 slots. That works perfectly with how I have my Razer Nostromo set up.
I also agree with unlimited trays. A simple page-up and page-down keymapped to my mouse's thumb buttons works wonders with the amount of trays I can implement in a jiffy.


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.
jtpaull
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I think this should be

I think this should be something they keep near identical, if not completely so, to how CoH was.

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.

Redlynne
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jtpaull wrote:
jtpaull wrote:

I think this should be something they keep near identical, if not completely so, to how CoH was.

There are few things as "defining" to a gameplay experience as the UI setup a game uses. Even if City of Titans doesn't use EXACTLY the same UI elements as City of Heroes did, the UI scheme of City of Titans should at least be CONGRUENT with the UI elements and gameplay experience those elements made possible and provided in City of Heroes.


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SisterSilicon
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I've always been a big fan of

I've always been a big fan of "Try Playing This!" as a way of making suggestions, so here goes: Try maining a hunter in LOTRO.

They're the designated fast-travel-skill/"wtb port to dalaran" class, so I have an entire 12-slot bar (LOTRO includes "-" and "=") dedicated to "Guide To {Town}" skills. Bree, Rivendell, Michael Delving, and Twenty-Third Hall get the most use when I'm taxi-botting, but I like having Guide To Caras Galadhon around for those times where I just don't want to be around people. ???? And then there's those times you have to help somebody schlep all the way to east-of-nowhere zones like Angmar or Forochel.

And then there's the extra consumables: Traps, bow chants, and arrow oils on top of the usual health and mana pots. And the hunter tracking skills on top of the crafting material tracking skills. And by the time you get to Rohan, you'll have at least three separate mounts: Your regular horse, the goat you have to use in Moria because lore, and your Rohirrim war steed.* Ranged attacks, melee attacks, toggles, stances, class trait tree skills, racial trait skills... hunters are extra, is what I'm saying.

All told, I need five 12-slot bars to manage everything. If I had to keep them all stacked in their default position at the bottom center of the screen, I wouldn't be able to see ground status markers around my character's feet, because at default zoom, I'm in bars up to my waist. Thank heaven for loading and saving layouts, because I've customized the hell out of that hunter UI.

It's hard to rack up that many skills in a superhero game. CoH was pushing it when they added Incarnate powers on top of the Epic/Patron Power Pools, but that was a function of the game's age, too. On the other hand, MWM seems to be somewhat hostile to the idea of vertical progression creep. (On the gripping hand, LOTRO has been around 10 years, but I hit power bar hell three level cap raises before they started curbing player vertical progression by giving weapons vertical progression instead.) Any way you look at it, though, a flexible, customizable UI pays off in the long run of any MMO. I may never need five bars in CoT without loading up on emotes for RP, but it's nice to know they're there.

* I swear, the war steeds are the worst-handling "vehicles" in a video game since Polyphony threw a Chrysler concept limousine into Gran Tursimo 2 for $#!^s and giggles. Tremendous straight-line speed, snap oversteer, and brakes that either don't seem to be working or panic stop. /rant

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I had similar problems with

I had similar problems with my Fire/Dual Blades Tanker in CoH. There weren't any skippable powers since you needed them all to pull off the Combos. However, Fiery Aura also had a number of actively clicked powers, plus some veteran weapons and other bits and I just couldn't pack enough powers into convenient buttons!

More trays is good, more keys in the tray is good, but too many Powers can also make trouble.

Be Well!
Fireheart

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Indeed. Too many powers

Indeed. Too many powers simply makes a game that much harder to play. That's the reason WoW started going through and pruning their spell lists with just about every expansion. Ability bloat rarely adds anything to a game except frustration.

Lin Chiao Feng
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Geez, I remember posting

Geez, I remember posting about this years ago and proposing a bloody typewriter tray system of all things (and writing a JS demo), just to make the mapping of keys to powers more obvious. The general flow on that thread was that CoT trays would be at minimum as good as they were in CoH.

I can't recall ever seeing a proposal that power trays be in any way less flexible than CoH. Wallpaper yourself in with trays for all we care.

Heck, if we can get mods to work, folks might even be able to write their own tray styles.

We don't want to write or play a sucky game.

Has anyone seen my mind? It was right here...

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Dual Blades did have to use

Dual Blades did have to use all attacks to get all combos, only problem was, the combo's weren't that great except for one really :p

Cinnder
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Lin Chiao Feng wrote:
Lin Chiao Feng wrote:

Geez, I remember posting about this years ago and proposing a bloody typewriter tray system of all things (and writing a JS demo), just to make the mapping of keys to powers more obvious. The general flow on that thread was that CoT trays would be at minimum as good as they were in CoH.

I can't recall ever seeing a proposal that power trays be in any way less flexible than CoH. Wallpaper yourself in with trays for all we care.

Heck, if we can get mods to work, folks might even be able to write their own tray styles.

We don't want to write or play a sucky game.

Hear, hear! Give us the option to have multiple, relocatable, sizable trays (as in the old game) and decide for ourselves if we want to fill them with clickable core powers, temp powers, and macros - or decide to keep it down to a minimum with everything mapped to the keyboard. A player may even choose differently for each character. Everyone wins!

Spurn all ye kindle.

Redlynne
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Fireheart wrote:
Fireheart wrote:

I had similar problems with my Fire/Dual Blades Tanker in CoH. There weren't any skippable powers since you needed them all to pull off the Combos. However, Fiery Aura also had a number of actively clicked powers, plus some veteran weapons and other bits and I just couldn't pack enough powers into convenient buttons!

Brand X wrote:

Dual Blades did have to use all attacks to get all combos, only problem was, the combo's weren't that great except for one really :p

Ms Givings ... my Mind/Kinetics Controller ... was one of the few characters I played who spent 18 Power Picks on Primary and Secondary Powers. I just HAD TO HAVE every single Power in Mind Control AND in Kinetics on that character ... and once I got done allocating for that and for the "epic" Pool post-40, there was hardly any room left over for the common Pools (especially after investing 3 Picks in the Leadership Toggles and 1 Pick in Hover so as to be able to hang in the sky the way that bricks don't). Mind you, I didn't regret those choices, but it did feel rather ... compact and cramped ... owing to the fact that the Primary and Secondary Powers were really ALL just that good.


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Cinnder wrote:
Cinnder wrote:

Hear, hear! Give us the option to have multiple, relocatable, sizable trays (as in the old game) and decide for ourselves if we want to fill them with clickable core powers, temp powers, and macros - or decide to keep it down to a minimum with everything mapped to the keyboard. A player may even choose differently for each character. Everyone wins!

Agreed. Don't decide how I should want to play for me. Let each play the way they enjoy. Win for everyone all round.

And please, please, pretty please make mouses (mice?) completely and fully mappable.

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

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Empyrean wrote:
Empyrean wrote:

And please, please, pretty please make mouses (mice?) completely and fully mappable.

Yes! Also please don't take away my Shift and Control keys by making them unmappable.

Spurn all ye kindle.

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Wait, but I need Shift and

Wait, but I need Shift and Control to modify other keys.

Be Well!
Fireheart

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Cinnder wrote:
Cinnder wrote:
Empyrean wrote:

And please, please, pretty please make mouses (mice?) completely and fully mappable.

Yes! Also please don't take away my Shift and Control keys by making them unmappable.

Fireheart wrote:

Wait, but I need Shift and Control to modify other keys.

Be Well!
Fireheart

Perhaps, if they are not mapped, they can be used to modify other keys, but if they are, then they can't?

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They did both in the old game

They did both in the old game. For example, I mapped Right Control to the jump function (as I have for decades) and yet I could still Control-click a power icon to lock it into auto-fire mode.

Spurn all ye kindle.

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All good points here though

All good points here though one thing I think could make it much better.

The option to have it recognize left and right ctrl and left and right shift as separate keys since they do produce different keycodes (a.k.a which physical key was pressed).

Lin Chiao Feng
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Brand X wrote:
Brand X wrote:

Dual Blades did have to use all attacks to get all combos, only problem was, the combo's weren't that great except for one really :p

Dunno about you, but I had a chain set up on that which would keep a target almost constantly knocked down, had close to maximum DPS, and was three combos timed so each combo’s powers would finish cooldown right as the current power was finishing animation. My character almost resembled a blender.

Has anyone seen my mind? It was right here...

Lin Chiao Feng
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blacke4dawn wrote:
blacke4dawn wrote:

All good points here though one thing I think could make it much better.

The option to have it recognize left and right ctrl and left and right shift as separate keys since they do produce different keycodes (a.k.a which physical key was pressed).

I’m pretty sure we can do that. The question would have to be international keyboards and how they’re wired. I remember sometimes seeing an “Alt Gr” key we don’t have...

What I really want is a way to remap, or at least disable, the Windows and Menu keys when the game is in foreground. I think those are owned by the OS, though.

Has anyone seen my mind? It was right here...

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Lin Chiao Feng wrote:
Lin Chiao Feng wrote:
Brand X wrote:

Dual Blades did have to use all attacks to get all combos, only problem was, the combo's weren't that great except for one really :p

Dunno about you, but I had a chain set up on that which would keep a target almost constantly knocked down, had close to maximum DPS, and was three combos timed so each combo’s powers would finish cooldown right as the current power was finishing animation. My character almost resembled a blender.

I soloed AVs (even the ITF) and Pylons with mine, using just the +DMG Combo and repeating it with no breaks in the attacks.

I don't recall the Knockdown Combo being high in the rankings of DPS and the highest ST DPS shown for Dual Blades (I didn't achieve it) was no combos, even higher recharge build.

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Brand X wrote:
Brand X wrote:
Lin Chiao Feng wrote:
Brand X wrote:

Dual Blades did have to use all attacks to get all combos, only problem was, the combo's weren't that great except for one really :p

Dunno about you, but I had a chain set up on that which would keep a target almost constantly knocked down, had close to maximum DPS, and was three combos timed so each combo’s powers would finish cooldown right as the current power was finishing animation. My character almost resembled a blender.

I soloed AVs (even the ITF) and Pylons with mine, using just the +DMG Combo and repeating it with no breaks in the attacks.

I don't recall the Knockdown Combo being high in the rankings of DPS and the highest ST DPS shown for Dual Blades (I didn't achieve it) was no combos, even higher recharge build.

Right, that works for a Scrapper, but a Tanker has broader duties than just DPS. Tankers were melee-range Controllers, with few 'hard controls' except Taunt. Tankers needed those other combos to do their job better.

Be Well!
Fireheart

blacke4dawn
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Lin Chiao Feng wrote:
Lin Chiao Feng wrote:
blacke4dawn wrote:

All good points here though one thing I think could make it much better.

The option to have it recognize left and right ctrl and left and right shift as separate keys since they do produce different keycodes (a.k.a which physical key was pressed).

I’m pretty sure we can do that. The question would have to be international keyboards and how they’re wired. I remember sometimes seeing an “Alt Gr” key we don’t have...

Well, according to Wikipedia the Alt Gr key has more often than not the same scancode as Right Alt so it might be as simple as just equating those two with each other for this purpose.

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What I really want is a way to remap, or at least disable, the Windows and Menu keys when the game is in foreground. I think those are owned by the OS, though.

Ohh, didn't think of those. Might be really tough but if you do find a solution then please include it.

TitansCity
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European AZERTY keybaord have

European AZERTY keybaord have this key :)
ALT GR (on the right of the space bar and on the left of the right CTRL key) + "0" give us the @ (the only way to have it)

This key (ALT GR) allows us tu use the following specials caracters :
~ # { [ | ` \ ^ @ ] }
They are on the same keys as :
& é " ' ( - è _ ç à ) =
Which line allows us to type the following caracters with the Capslock or (right or left, it's equal) Shift key :
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 ° +

Yes, we don't like easy things xD