30 October 2011

Guild Wars 2 (Again): Combat


If you don't want to read the post, that's fine. I'm going to summarize it anyways. The article is discussing combat in an upcoming computer roleplaying game, a sequel to the highly popular Guild Wars, and it aims to take combat in a pretty interesting place.

I'll let you read the article if you want, but what really concerns me is the treatment of weapons and the skills that accompany it. Weapons, in my mind, are a really difficult thing to get right. The choice of a character's weapon should define, in a large part, their fighting style, which determines the way they fight, the places they want to fight, and a lot about their personality. In most games, though, the weapon you're wielding has about as much impact on how you fight as the color of your beard. It applies its damage bonus, and then maybe an accidental benefit or two through critical damage tables or bypassing a gimmicky resistance idea. This is not good.

If you watch any two people fighting in real life, even with just their hands, what they do results directly from minute factors. I'm talking about how their style interacts with their enemy's, their footings, and their ever-changing stances. And, sure, there's a certain element that you can't quite express with a system that revolves mostly around rolling dice. But there should be a little bit more to it.

That's why it was so cool seeing the Guild Wars 2 post about it. Basically, it gives you a handful of abilities you can use. Roughly half of them are due to the weapon you wield, meaning that your choice of weapon is a huge factor in how you fight and how others fight you. If you have a sword, your basic moves are nothing like if you're wielding a greataxe, or a bow. And you can port that over to D&D style, combat, if you want.

Naturally, there's a bit of a slippery slope when rewriting combat rules. You have to decide how much "realism" you want and how much "game," and how much of either you want in creating character builds. I think that if you didn't mind a rather healthy amount of game, you could port this almost directly over. It could be a pain to describe and detail the abilities, but I almost think it would be worth it.

Something to think about, at least.

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