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Sushiglutton
02-24-2014, 03:41 PM
I think it's fair to say that melee combat has been the most criticized gameplay pillar in AC4:BF. The system was introduced in AC3 and then just tweaked a bit for AC4. I've been thinking about what the core problem with the system is. My conclusion is the following:

A standard guard is killed in just one step within a killstreak.


This basic design error then leads to a number of other problems. Think about how Arkham Asylum is designed. The standard enemy is taken down in two steps. First you knock them to the ground and then you do a ground and pound to take them out permanently (this is actually very similar to how Ubi's own POP:SoT is designed). So many great things follow from this simple design.

First off it means that there's an "economy" to the combat. There's a trade-off between knocking several enemies to the ground, or take one out permanently and the player needs to weigh the value of the two. There's strategy in terms of buying yourself time to perform the ground and pound. Mixing in gadgets with various such properties becomes meaningful.

In AC taking out a single guard is so quick and easy that it kills the need for everything else. Alex Hutchinson himself actually said it perfectly in a panel leading up to the release of AC3: ďA lot of games have been ruined by easy modes. If you have a cover shooter and you switch it to easy and you donít have to use cover, you kind of broke your game. You made a game that is essentially the worst possible version of your game.Ē

The one hit kill is a form of easymode within the Arkham-like system that breaks the game! The simplicty of the standard takedown means that there's no room for prioritizing, no room for strategy, no room for special moves, no room for adding meaningful gadgets to the mix. The moment they decided that standard enemies was a one-hit-kill within a killstreak the combat system was destroyed in a way that couldn't be repaired.

The devs really need to rethink this!

Gibbo2g_83
02-24-2014, 05:59 PM
What you have to consider though is that Batman doesn't kill where Assassins do if you think about it it it's probably harder to knock someone out rather than kill someone so it's hard to really compare the two, batman uses his fists, Assassins use blades, swords and guns which are all about killing as quick as possible. I think what the devs need to do is make guards attack you quicker and more double or even treble attacks and no more guards that just stand there taking forever to attack you.

LoyalACFan
02-24-2014, 06:08 PM
I think Arkham is a bad analogue for AC games to learn from, because as the poster above me mentioned, there's a fundamental difference between Batman's non-lethal moves and an Assassin's deadly ones. Batman can believably punch a guy only to have him fall over and get right back up if you don't finish him, whereas you'd be rolling your eyes if you slashed somebody with a sword and they got back up as if it were nothing. The combat is already roundly criticized for the combo feature where you have to chop at an enemy half a dozen times before the kill animation triggers, but if your combo is interrupted, that enemy won't even be damaged from your half-dozen sword strikes when you return to him. It would look even sillier if you regularly hit people with a sword with enough impact to knock them to the ground, and they just got up and disregarded the gaping bloody wound that should be incapacitating them.

To be honest, I think the real problem with killstreaks is the AI. Once you get a streak rolling, you can pretty much just bounce from one enemy to the next until the area is clear. If enemies were more aggressive and prone to attack more frequently to break up your killstreak (or at least make you work to maintain it) combat would be fine IMO.

Sushiglutton
02-24-2014, 06:17 PM
What you have to consider though is that Batman doesn't kill where Assassins do if you think about it it it's probably harder to knock someone out rather than kill someone so it's hard to really compare the two, batman uses his fists, Assassins use blades, swords and guns which are all about killing as quick as possible. I think what the devs need to do is make guards attack you quicker and more double or even treble attacks and no more guards that just stand there taking forever to attack you.

I have heard this argument before an I don't think buy it for a couple of reasons. First off it's allready the case in AC3-4 that you can't take the tougher archetypes (brutes, captains) out in one go. So the game allready accept these rules. What I'm saying is that you shouldn't be able to kill the standard enemies in one step either.

Secondly if you think in terms of realism most people know to protect their vital areas, like the torso and throat. Therefor it's reasonable that you need to do something before you can go for the kill. I doubt most swordfights back in the day was just one strike and then it was over. In AC some of the kill animations are indeed in several step. Problem is that the player only taps one button and the game does the rest.

I wouldn't mind faster attacks, both dual and tripple. However they need to change the rules for when you are attacked by multiple foes. As it is now it's a clear advantage to get attacked by two at once as you get to kill them both regardless of their archetype. Ofcourse getting attacked by many enemies at once should make it harder for the player.



I think Arkham is a bad analogue for AC games to learn from, because as the poster above me mentioned, there's a fundamental difference between Batman's non-lethal moves and an Assassin's deadly ones. Batman can believably punch a guy only to have him fall over and get right back up if you don't finish him, whereas you'd be rolling your eyes if you slashed somebody with a sword and they got back up as if it were nothing. The combat is already roundly criticized for the combo feature where you have to chop at an enemy half a dozen times before the kill animation triggers, but if your combo is interrupted, that enemy won't even be damaged from your half-dozen sword strikes when you return to him. It would look even sillier if you regularly hit people with a sword with enough impact to knock them to the ground, and they just got up and disregarded the gaping bloody wound that should be incapacitating them.

To be honest, I think the real problem with killstreaks is the AI. Once you get a streak rolling, you can pretty much just bounce from one enemy to the next until the area is clear. If enemies were more aggressive and prone to attack more frequently to break up your killstreak (or at least make you work to maintain it) combat would be fine IMO.

It doesn't have to be that you knock them to the ground. You could for example disarm the enemy which exposes them, but if you don't kill them next they might find a new weapon (or shield, or helmet, depending on what you took from them). You could also have a system where you can hurt one of their limbs. You might be able to stab a guard in the arm and now he won't be able to defend himself against you next attack. You might be able to slice his wrist and now he goes into a kneeling position so you can execute him next unless you are interupted.

Point being there are sveral ways you can design a muliple stage type combat even with sharp weapons. Like I've said this is allready present in AC for tougher archetypes.


Edit: Just increasing the attack frequencies wouldn't solve much imo. It would still be the same flat systrem without any strategic depth or variety.

Dome500
02-24-2014, 06:37 PM
To be honest, I think the real problem with killstreaks is the AI. Once you get a streak rolling, you can pretty much just bounce from one enemy to the next until the area is clear. If enemies were more aggressive and prone to attack more frequently to break up your killstreak (or at least make you work to maintain it) combat would be fine IMO.

Agreed.

My personal problems:

1. Easy kill streaks
2. Protagonist (especially Edward in AC4) slices and dices the enemy about 4 or 5 times although he would be dead the 1st or at least the 2nd time
3. Archetypes should not be tougher, but rather require a bigger variety of different strategies to deal with them. That way combat is not frustratingly hard or long but is rather quite easy but requires thinking before acting. You keep the gameplay flow and smoothness of combat while turning the combat from a monotone slashing and countering into a task that requires you to apply cetrain strategies to a variety of different archetypes. Same counts for escaping a fight or sneaking. Certain archetypes should for example be slower (example: Brutes), others should see you from further away (example: sharpshooters), others should be as fast as you (example: those little ones from AC2 (forgot the name)).

Keyword is variety and strategy.

lothario-da-be
02-24-2014, 06:48 PM
Things that need to change imo.
- More archtypes
- Enemies do more damage
- Make SSI and attack warnings seperate, I want to fight without them, but stealth is more fun with it.
- Give them more attacks/ less predictable patterns.
- Shorter counter windows.

Sushiglutton
02-24-2014, 06:48 PM
Agreed.

My personal problems:

1. Easy kill streaks
2. Protagonist (especially Edward in AC4) slices and dices the enemy about 4 or 5 times although he would be dead the 1st or at least the 2nd time
3. Archetypes should not be tougher, but rather require a bigger variety of different strategies to deal with them. That way combat is not frustratingly hard or long but is rather quite easy but requires thinking before acting. You keep the gameplay flow and smoothness of combat while turning the combat from a monotone slashing and countering into a task that requires you to apply cetrain strategies to a variety of different archetypes. Same counts for escaping a fight or sneaking. Certain archetypes should for example be slower (example: Brutes), others should see you from further away (example: sharpshooters), others should be as fast as you (example: those little ones from AC2 (forgot the name)).

Keyword is variety and strategy.


Easy killstreaks is the general problem. What I'm saying is that the most important thing to change in order to make them harder is to require a two stage kill (at least) of the standard enemies. Other tweaks like tightening counter windows and increase attack frequencies may help, but they wouldn't make the system fundamentally more interesting imo.

Your second point I agree with. That has to do with how you enter a killstreak. It's too cumbersome and it does look unrealistic.

Point 3 I agree with, but I think that having a standard enemy type that is fun to fight is a very important foundation for a good combat system. More exotic archetypes should be added to spice things up. But if the standard enemies are less than cannon fodder under your boots, it's hard to build something engaging on top of that.

Black_Widow9
02-25-2014, 03:14 AM
This basic design error then leads to a number of other problems. Think about how Arkham Asylum is designed. The standard enemy is taken down in two steps. First you knock them to the ground and then you do a ground and pound to take them out permanently (this is actually very similar to how Ubi's own POP:SoT is designed). So many great things follow from this simple design.
I must really suck at Arkham Asylum because I rarely take an enemy down in two steps.....

Dome500
02-25-2014, 03:42 AM
Other tweaks like tightening counter windows and increase attack frequencies may help, but they wouldn't make the system fundamentally more interesting imo.

I think making the "normal enemies" only going down in 2 phases will only drag the whole thing out and make it more boring.
Same problem as in AC2 where you had to mash on those enemies and it was SOOO easy but also SOO boring to mash on them until they dropped dead.

I think the variety of different strategies that do not work or work for certain enemies should be bigger. This would make combat interesting again.
Also, enemies should attack at the same time again.


Point 3 I agree with, but I think that having a standard enemy type that is fun to fight is a very important foundation for a good combat system. More exotic archetypes should be added to spice things up. But if the standard enemies are less than cannon fodder under your boots, it's hard to build something engaging on top of that.

And that is exactly what I think shouldn't be the case.

If you do Stealth, then you can take every enemy down.

But in combat there should actually not exist a "standard" enemy type.

Make every enemy type immune to a special form of strategy and weak against a special strategy.
That way you get variety in the combat. It's not monotone anymore, you don't kill enemies with 2 hits, you have to think while fighting, but it's still "easy" enough so you are not getting frustrated. And if you fail you fail in a way that you do not fault the game but yourself. Those are the best kind of fighting systems. And that's how it should be done IMO.

LoyalACFan
02-25-2014, 03:47 AM
I must really suck at Arkham Asylum because I rarely take an enemy down in two steps.....

Depends on the difficulty setting. On easy mode (the setting for the challenge maps) enemies go down with two power strikes. On higher levels it takes upwards of four.

Black_Widow9
02-25-2014, 04:53 AM
Depends on the difficulty setting. On easy mode (the setting for the challenge maps) enemies go down with two power strikes. On higher levels it takes upwards of four.
I don't usually play games on easy mode so maybe that's why then. lol :D

LoyalACFan
02-25-2014, 05:06 AM
I don't usually play games on easy mode so maybe that's why then. lol :D

Yeah, I just go for easy mode on Arkham since it's the only setting for the challenge maps, so it makes for a more cohesive gameplay experience (and better challenge map scores) when the difficulty is the same between all game modes. I actually got 3rd in the world on Rooftop Rumble once. Not to brag or anything, but I'm kind of a big deal :cool::p

Sushiglutton
02-25-2014, 03:41 PM
I think making the "normal enemies" only going down in 2 phases will only drag the whole thing out and make it more boring.
Same problem as in AC2 where you had to mash on those enemies and it was SOOO easy but also SOO boring to mash on them until they dropped dead.

I think the variety of different strategies that do not work or work for certain enemies should be bigger. This would make combat interesting again.
Also, enemies should attack at the same time again.

Hold your horses! Are you telling me any combat system that requires you to take out enemies in two (2, deux) phases will "drag"? I mean that's every single combat system in the world except AC3-4 pretty much. To me the combat in Arkham and even Sleeping Dogs (not to mention combat focused franchises like Devil May Cry etc) is far, far more enjoyable than what it is in AC3-4. I never feel like the combat drags in those games even if you need to hit enemies several times.

If the "different strategies" you mention are only one tap long, then what you are basically suggesting is a system in which you tap blue to kill a blue enemy and red to kill a red. Such systems lacks flexibility and therefor feel mechanical. You need a couple of phases to make room for some maneuvering and a variety of strategies.

Two phases for a standard enemy is a really modest suggestion in my mind.



And that is exactly what I think shouldn't be the case.

If you do Stealth, then you can take every enemy down.

But in combat there should actually not exist a "standard" enemy type.

Make every enemy type immune to a special form of strategy and weak against a special strategy.
That way you get variety in the combat. It's not monotone anymore, you don't kill enemies with 2 hits, you have to think while fighting, but it's still "easy" enough so you are not getting frustrated. And if you fail you fail in a way that you do not fault the game but yourself. Those are the best kind of fighting systems. And that's how it should be done IMO.

On paper maybe, in practice I think having dozens (or even hundreds) of various enemies will be very hard to communicate to the player. This isn't Dark Souls, everyone you fight is human. I think it's better to give the enemies more types of attacks and then give the player a couple of more defensive moves. And like I said I don't think a system in which you pair one attack with one enemy type is particulary interesting.



I must really suck at Arkham Asylum because I rarely take an enemy down in two steps.....

No that's by design :). After step 1 you will often have to do something to be able to do step 2. What I'm saying is that the core design is a two step takeout (1. knock enemies to the ground, 2. Do a ground and pound). And like I said it's the exact same principle as in Sands Of Time (1. Knock enemies to the ground, 2. Use the dagger to absorb the sand), but in SoT you frequently need more than one strike to knock enemies to the ground.

Dome500
02-25-2014, 09:30 PM
Are you telling me any combat system that requires you to take out enemies in two (2, deux) phases will "drag"?

Nope.

I'm telling you that in the case of sword-fights you should not have to have 2 stages to complete a takedown.
Attacking 2 - 3 times? Sure, no problem. But 2 whole stages to take an enemy down a la Arkham (Combo + final takedown or a similar system) just seems stupid in swordfights IMO and bores me personally.


If the "different strategies" you mention are only one tap long, then what you are basically suggesting is a system in which you tap blue to kill a blue enemy and red to kill a red. Such systems lacks flexibility and therefor feel mechanical.

No.

I was more suggesting something like:

Enemy Type 1: Evade/Dodge attack and strike back to kill
Enemy Type 2: Break Defense to kill
Enemy Type 3: Counter to kill
Enemy Type 4: Counter and then attack again to kill
Enemy Type 5: Dodge then counter to kill
Enemy Type 6: .......

Something like that.
Needing different strategies or even a combination of 2 of your strategies (for the more difficult ones) to get them down.


You need a couple of phases to make room for some maneuvering and a variety of strategies.


Maybe you are right.

Maybe every enemy needs a "not wounded" phase and one "injured" phase. You can use different strategies to get enemies "injured", and if you have injured them then you can finish them by another strategy.

The strategy if the enemy is not wounded is different from enemy type to enemy type. Of course some types can be weak against more than 1 strategy, but the harder types are only weak against 1 form of strategy.

The second phase however, if the enemy is injured, enables you to choose a stragety. Counter, Attack directly multiple times, break defense and attack or dodge and attack, however you want.

What do you think?

It's not as "dragging" as Arkham combat (and yes I think it is dragging since it requires you to use a lot of punches and make combos to get the enemy down. I think that in terms of fist-fighting this is absolutely okay, but it wouldn't fit a sword-fight.

But it also has 2 phases that signalize when the enemy is injured and when he goes down, whole still requiring a variety of different strategies.


On paper maybe, in practice I think having dozens (or even hundreds) of various enemies will be very hard to communicate to the player.

Who said anything about dozens?

I was thinking 6 different enemy types max. (+ the sharpshooters/archers)

Sushiglutton
02-25-2014, 11:05 PM
Some of the things you are suggesting are two stages in my mind. For example 1) break defense then 2) go for the kill. Or 1) counter then 2) attack again in a seperate move. The key thing is that there are two seperate moves that can be interupted (if you have attacked the same enemy a couple of times they should go down in one strike) and this should be the minimum for all guardtypes. What I'm against is tap = kill, tap = kill, counter+uninteruptible kill etc etc. That rythm of one single move kill after another.

I don't want any long and complicated combos, just the good old double-punch for standard guards. I don't think that's unrealistic for swordcombat at all.


I missunderstood what you meant by "no standard guards". I thought you meant that every guard should be different which explains my reply I hope. Sorry about that :).


I like your thoughts on some kind of wounded enemy system. Noone (as I'm aware of) has really done that in a (semi) realistic way and I think it would be a cool feature and a great match for AC. In almost all games enemies recover fully after you have wounded them and until the final kill move. To let them be permanently wounded and to let that affect strategy would be something new-ish (ofc that enemies changes state after a few hits is nothing new, but a realistic approach to it would be).

Dome500
02-25-2014, 11:52 PM
tap = kill, tap = kill, counter+uninteruptible kill etc etc. That rythm of one single move kill after another.


Agreed.


I don't want any long and complicated combos, just the good old double-punch for standard guards.

Sure.
Just to clarify this, every guard that does not get killed in 1- 2 hits is no "standard guard" for me. Maybe that was an misunderstanding between us in terms of the definition of "standard guard/enemy".


I like your thoughts on some kind of wounded enemy system. Noone (as I'm aware of) has really done that in a (semi) realistic way and I think it would be a cool feature and a great match for AC. In almost all games enemies recover fully after you have wounded them and until the final kill move. To let them be permanently wounded and to let that affect strategy would be something new-ish (ofc that enemies changes state after a few hits is nothing new, but a realistic approach to it would be).

Assassins Creed actually started with the "wounded" system in AC2. But it was realized very bad and they just went half the way. With that system you had to mash your way through and land 6 hits sometimes before being able to kill the enemy. Which becomes monotone after a while.

I agree that being permanently wounded (or at least as long as the enemy is within your immediate area) would be cool.
That way one could utilize a lot of new strategies like for example escaping combat when it is too hard or annoying and then coming back and attacking the (still) wounded enemies with a surprise attack.

Would also have other advantages. I agree.

I-Like-Pie45
02-26-2014, 02:57 AM
the eyecue solution

replace combat with QTEs
http://cdn.memegenerator.net/images/300x/4987208.jpg

Iceternal6
02-26-2014, 08:02 AM
The problem with the combat system is that it is SO SLOW !

Guards need to attack twice as often and need to be able to do quick combos. Also animations need to be faster overall.

Dome500
02-26-2014, 02:23 PM
The problem with the combat system is that it is SO SLOW !

Guards need to attack twice as often and need to be able to do quick combos. Also animations need to be faster overall.

Yeah I agree that enemies shouldn'T "politely wait" when attacking until another one attacks. They have to be faster and more fierce, based on enemy type.

RipaKulasai
02-26-2014, 02:26 PM
Stupid *****
I have heard this argument before an I don't think buy it for a couple of reasons. First off it's allready the case in AC3-4 that you can't take the tougher archetypes (brutes, captains) out in one go. So the game allready accept these rules. What I'm saying is that you shouldn't be able to kill the standard enemies in one step either.

Secondly if you think in terms of realism most people know to protect their vital areas, like the torso and throat. Therefor it's reasonable that you need to do something before you can go for the kill. I doubt most swordfights back in the day was just one strike and then it was over. In AC some of the kill animations are indeed in several step. Problem is that the player only taps one button and the game does the rest.

I wouldn't mind faster attacks, both dual and tripple. However they need to change the rules for when you are attacked by multiple foes. As it is now it's a clear advantage to get attacked by two at once as you get to kill them both regardless of their archetype. Ofcourse getting attacked by many enemies at once should make it harder for the player.




It doesn't have to be that you knock them to the ground. You could for example disarm the enemy which exposes them, but if you don't kill them next they might find a new weapon (or shield, or helmet, depending on what you took from them). You could also have a system where you can hurt one of their limbs. You might be able to stab a guard in the arm and now he won't be able to defend himself against you next attack. You might be able to slice his wrist and now he goes into a kneeling position so you can execute him next unless you are interupted.

Point being there are sveral ways you can design a muliple stage type combat even with sharp weapons. Like I've said this is allready present in AC for tougher archetypes.


Edit: Just increasing the attack frequencies wouldn't solve much imo. It would still be the same flat systrem without any strategic depth or variety.

Sushiglutton
02-26-2014, 02:34 PM
Agreed.



Sure.
Just to clarify this, every guard that does not get killed in 1- 2 hits is no "standard guard" for me. Maybe that was an misunderstanding between us in terms of the definition of "standard guard/enemy".



Assassins Creed actually started with the "wounded" system in AC2. But it was realized very bad and they just went half the way. With that system you had to mash your way through and land 6 hits sometimes before being able to kill the enemy. Which becomes monotone after a while.

I agree that being permanently wounded (or at least as long as the enemy is within your immediate area) would be cool.
That way one could utilize a lot of new strategies like for example escaping combat when it is too hard or annoying and then coming back and attacking the (still) wounded enemies with a surprise attack.

Would also have other advantages. I agree.


Yeah the combat in AC2 was really unbalanced in terms of your defensive abilities vs your offensive ones. It enticed you to wait and react rather than to be aggressive, which was a misstake imo.