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Make Crowfall Great Again, The Combat Post

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I only skimmed through the post, but this caught my eye:


Reduce the cone size of melee attacks a significant amount. There could also be a lot more variety. Thrusts, or attacks that mostly hit on the left or right side, for example.


This has already happened. Most melee attacks are now rectangles instead of cones, and between lag and latency, are extremely unreliable in their current form.

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Way too long OP! As I often say though, I appreciate the effort.


I am a fan of many mechanics you suggested, especially:

1. Back hit damage... it would really change the way people engage and escape from fights, and it makes the weird dizzy status unnecessary;

2. Dodge roll, if it's not spammable;

3. Stun meter, only if there's a non-stacking mechanism (example: after the char gets stunned a X-seconds invulnerability to stuns kicks in).


I don't like stuns in games with 100s of players, 'cause they end up favoring the "zerg" big time. Blair once said that we would get a small invulnerability to stuns after being stunned, but I don't think this is in the game? I think Retaliate should do the opposite of what does now, meaning that it should start popping out after a double stun and it shouldn't have a CD.


I think your Stun meter could just be the STAMINA. Let's say each time a character finishes his stamina, and only then, he gets stunned.... this way we could make the combat work more like Dark Souls, where particular abilities "drain" the stamina of the enemy (like some of the C abilities).


Just for the sake of discussion, even if I think ACE isn't going to read this thread at all, some of your suggestions might be too far from reach.

The light / medium / hard attacks might require different animations, and we know ACE is trying really hard not to waste money on more animations..




I'd take a step-to-step approach to the remake of combat.

Let's start first by giving split-body animations to all non-channeling abilities, and let's see if the increase in mobility helps.

Edited by Fenris DDevil


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I will read through all of it here in a bit; but my first comment is on the stuns.  I don't think stuns are a bad concept in any game, but maybe in CF we could have more of a silence (do we have silence as a skill already?), that doesn't allow the player to cast anything, but still allows them to move/run away.  I really like your idea about the stagger mechanic and I think it would fit well for a short duration "stun" that has an after effect.


I'm not sure of your history with Shadowbane, but I loved the Assassin ability to pre-stun themselves before a fight.  Basically they could cast their stun on themselves, and the game would then give a timer for like 30 seconds where you couldn't get stunned again in that time frame.  So the assy would pre-stun himself and then periodically during the fight keep casting stun on himself before the original timer was up, thus resetting the timer.  Basically it made it so a good assy never got stunned during a fight.


So I guess I'm talking about your stun meter but in reverse, where after being stunned once the effect of a 2nd stun doesn't work.  The other thing this did in SB was it forced people to use all types of CC to lock down a high HP character; plus some characters like the Mino couldn't be stunned. (stupid meat shields :P )


*Edit* I read through the rest of your post.  This is where I have a difference of opinion based on play styles.  For a twitch type FPS game the dodge rolls etc would be great.  Personally I prefer skill to be in how a character is built and then utilized, not how fast I can react to attacks; this is reference specifically to your sweep attack idea.


I think idea of light, medium & heavy attacks has merit, and I would be interested to see how a system like could be developed for CF.

Edited by Mazon
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maybe in CF we could have more of a silence (do we have silence as a skill already?), that doesn't allow the player to cast anything, but still allows them to move/run away.


Yes it's called Suppression.. Ranger has it on the 3rd ranged power, the big AOE.

Edited by Fenris DDevil


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Stun meter: Seems like a bunch of new tech that doesn't change much.  Only the Knight and Champion actually knock people down.  Only Champions and Rangers can apply a 3 second debuff that makes it so you can only move around.  Only Knights and Confessors can apply a short duration stun.  I don't believe CC has been an issue most of them are well telegraphed and avoidable while I'm able to land them often enough to feel like it makes a difference.


Stagger mechanic: This is already built into the combo system.  Every Tom, hooligan, and Jane has some type of ability that interrupts combos (not sure about longer animations with the latency).

  • Knight - Whirling Leap, Chain Pull
  • Confessor - Fire Tornadoes, Fire Wave
  • Legionnaire - Scatter Horde, Rear Kick
  • Ranger - Explosive Trap

Dodge Roll: Not everyone needs a dodge roll and most of them already have it by another style.  Add to the list that you mentioned in your note: Knight, and Myrmidon.  The Knight doesn't need it because he has block (the most OP power in this game).

  • Champion - 5 ability has iframe, 6 ability reduces damage by 95%, RMB lets you leap away twice.  You pick which one works best for you in each situation, they are all thematic to the champion and all accomplish the intended goal of a dodge roll.
  • Legionnaire - RMB has enough distance to move you out of an attack.  Their charge both knocks people aside interrupting combos and gets them out of range.
  • Confessor - A C ability that completely removes them from physics.  Again a RMB that gives more distance than a dodge roll would
  • Knight - custard block anything from anywhere O and it reflects back some damage
  • Ranger - 3-E if you are engaged in melee.  Hide when its implemented.  The first class to actually get animation canceling

Again I say no to generic dodge roll for every class.  If you goal was depth of game play and strategy around each class then we currently have it.  If you want homogenized dodge roll every x seconds play GW2


Shift Charge: I'm cool with the idea.  Champion does this on RMB.  The knight applied supposedly applied a snare if you hit someone with LMB after sprinting.   The issue isn't ability bloat its animation bloat.  How many skills can you combo with shift and then require some new animation lock and still have time for all the other things they need to get done.  How long do you need to be sprinting before the ability does the new thing?

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A lot of this stuff has been done in other games (dodges, back damage). Some good ideas. I personally like the fact that melees can cleave; cleaving people as a melee is *fun*. It was also one of the few things that made melees viable in gw2 (although everyone in that game did aoe damage, so it only made sense).

Block also was 180 degrees originally, and the general consensus was it kinda sucked (even when they buffed it so you can move). It's VERY easy to get surrounded in this game. I'd keep the 360 degree block, and just reduce the mitigation on the sides and greatly reduce it from the back. This will let the knight run in to the middle and still be able to survive while being surrounded. Will it dumb it down a bit? Sure, but nothing everything has to be mlgnoscope.

I felt dodges worked really well in games like gw2 and ESO, so I wouldn't mind seeing a universal defense like that in this game. I'd even like to see "back steps". Now with that said, I think dodging should be tied in to armor choice. If you're wearing heavy armor, no dodges. If you're wearing scale and leather, you can dodge. They might have to do a pass on all the archetypes tho to take universal dodging in to consideration; which is unlikely.

While I'm a fan of staggers (interrupting someone's action and micro stunning them), I'm not a fan of the stun mechanic, since I honestly don't see them being an issue, long as a reliable CC break is in the game. The stun meter / mechanic sounds too convoluted.

I'd like to see light, medium and heavy attacks with mouse inputs in the game, or maybe just light and heavy (i.e. power attacks) ESO style. I'd also like to see 'thrusting' or lunging attacks that drive you forward. Now these SHOULD have animation lock on them, and should hit really hard if they land.

Unfortunately we won't see any of your suggestions appear in the game. Most of this stuff is radically different from the combat system we have now (in fact it's an entirely different combat system, for an entirely different game). If they were to implement most of it, it would most likely set them back months again.

Personally I don't think the combat system needs a massive redesign like this. Loosen up or get rid of the majority of animation lock, inject more movement in to certain abilities, fix the performance issues, and give us more ability options on the bar at the base level and I honestly think combat will be pretty decent at least.

Edited by helix
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I felt dodges worked really well in games like gw2 and ESO, so I wouldn't mind seeing a universal defense like that in this game. I'd even like to see "back dodges". Now with that said, I think dodging should be tied in to armor choice. If you're wearing heavy armor, no dodges. If you're wearing scale and leather, you can dodge. They might have to do a pass on all the archetypes tho to take universal dodging in to consideration, which is unlikely.


How about slow, faster, fastest for dodging in armor types?

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I don't like stuns in games with 100s of players, 'cause they end up favoring the "zerg" big time. Blair once said that we would get a small invulnerability to stuns after being stunned, but I don't think this is in the game? I think Retaliate should do the opposite of what does now, meaning that it should start popping out after a double stun and it shouldn't have a CD.


That's in and working, it just proc's at weird times. You will notice it when someone turns that sort of aqua color.

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Effeh says:


I'm going to make crowfall great again... WITH THE POWER OF ENGLISH WORDS!

What follows is my proposed additions to the Crowfall combat system to make it more gooderer.
I'm under no illusion that any of my suggestions will ever make it into the game, but I currently find combat to be very dull, aside from performance/tech stuff. Before resigning myself to combat as it is or where I can extrapolate it to eventually be based on where it is, and dedicating myself to a life of crafting, I feel that I should at least make an effort to come up with some ideas for improving the game. Even if I fail spectacularly, at least I gave it a shot.
As of writing this, this post is a lot messier to read than I'd like. Not all of us can compose text art like Courant.

Some principles I tried to keep in mind when writing this post:

1. Is it fun?
2. Cost of implementation. (with no actual experience I have an extremely novice estimation, but I do try.)
3. Is it roughly compatible with the proposed vision for Crowfall combat? (Strategic action combat with some light FPS stuff going on that is not "too twitchy")
3. Accessibility. 
Skill cap should be high, but not prohibitively so. Having 1-3 archetypes be easier for new/bad players will go a long way. (At least an easy tank and an easy DPS, IMO. Intentionally designing an easy support is questionable, there are only 2.)
4. Scalability. 
The game has to be fun in small groups (or even solo play) as well as massive sieges. This is very difficult to do, but I feel quite necessary in a sandbox environment. Even though Crowfall is a "Throne War MMO", I actually think it's VERY slightly more important to nail the small/medium group stuff for a few reasons.
Reason 1: Having siege weaponry, scouts, macro-level strategy calls, focus fire, flanking, giant castles, and large amounts of players smashing into each other is automatically pretty awesome regardless of poor combat mechanics (see current game).
Reason 2: Large scale PVP is exponentially less common than small/medium group stuff because it's exhausting emotionally & resource wise, not to mention there are limited siege windows. Most player's day to day is going to involve a lot more killing of random players, small skirmishes against enemy factions/guilds, gathering & crafting, pursuing their own small personal goals, and grouping up with their guild to go do some quarry/mine stuff which is probs intended to be "medium scale" at best. Even if mines are intended to be a large scale activity almost equivalent to sieges, that's a small portion of your total playtime.
You can have the coolest massive siege combat on the market, but if people are bored on the day to day they'll start to lose interest in between these big events and quit. I think my changes can spice up the small game a lot, the big game a bit less, and all without harming the fundamentals of combat that makes it fun for the people who like it now.
Right now, it mostly feels like you approach your target and simply execute your optimal DPS rotation while mixing in CC. Ranged feels a little more fun than melee because you have to aim. The TTK is currently high, which is great, but it accomplishes it by making everyone hit like a wet noodle and have a huge HP pool, which is bad. My proposal moves some of the TTK over into dodging, and some of it into a few other systems. The end result of the TTK should be about the same, perhaps slightly lower on average, since people can get bursted down easier if they play poorly.
The primary objective of my proposed changes is to add more interactivity between combatants, action it up, and throw some Yomi into the mix for good measure.
Please try to keep in mind that the numbers used are pretty rough and tweakable, and are mostly included to make examples more tangible. It would be a lot more confusing to read "Stack up to X which stuns for Y seconds and does Z more damage..." so I've avoided doing it and tried to ballpark. Anyway, enjoy.

A few quick patch notes

- Reduce the cone size of melee attacks a significant amount. There could also be a lot more variety. Thrusts, or attacks that mostly hit on the left or right side, for example.
- Smooth the transitions between attacks somehow to make combat feel more fluid. If that sounds nebulous as hell, it's because I'm not a game designer.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
NOTE: Blair seems to recognize that this is an issue as of his latest post.
- Go all in on the combo system. This is one of the most commonly criticized systems in game, so it's probably surprising to see a serial malcontent like me backing it, but I've always seen the promise in this system. I think a fair criticism of it is that it doesn't offer a lot of real choice, right now. I want to fix that and make it kick ass.
- Knight block is now a 140 degree frontal cone instead of 360 degrees. Additionally, I'd consider making "non-Prestige block" be broken and put on a short CD when hit by a HEAVY attack, or some other certain attack.
NOTE: Even more additionally, when crafting comes online, having different shield types tweak these variables would be neat. A round shield with a small block cone that drains way less stamina when hit, to a tower shield with a large cone but drains a ton of stamina when hit. With that, you'd probably have to pull out the old telegraph tech to show the Knight (and only him) what he's actually blocking, though. I could write about block all day so I'm going to stop now.
- Back hits do 30% more damage. Taking a back hit also increases stun stack application by 50%. (What's a "stun stack?" Read on!)
NOTE: I don't know if calculating back hits would require an entire additional hitbox. If it does, it's probably too expensive performance wise... But I think I've played several games over the years that at least seem that they can figure out if it was a back hit or not with only one hitbox. I'm probably dead wrong about that. Anyway, I think back hits and penalties associated with them are one of the key tools to making disengagement more punishing without resorting to lazy stuff like Dizzydown. 
The only nasty thing about back hits is that they make it even harder to win outnumbered. To counteract this, perhaps a discipline that partially negates the penalties associated with back hits intended for use by solo/very small group minded players. It could alternatively be an "advantage/disadvantage" thing, it's hard to be specific when I know so little about these systems.
- All direct applications of hard CC are removed. See Stun Meter.
In general, I think "press button, instant hard CC" is quite boring and doesn't belong in a modern MMORPG, let alone an action oriented one. They've implemented lots of interesting "pseudo-CC" effects like blind, dizzy, knockups, and now leeching seed that don't actually take full control away from the character and I'm sure they can come up with many more. These are more fun both to use, and be hit by.
 There's something about being stunned that is just a universally unpleasant experience, yet at the desired TTK hard CC is a tool that's difficult to pass up. Using the "Stun meter" system, players can have some say in whether they fully lose control of their character or not, good players being able to avoid it more readily than bad ones. It's going to feel a lot more rewarding when you actually get that stun on a key target in my system, and when you do get stunned, you will hopefully feel that you've been outplayed and that they earned it. I don't think "Retaliate" would be required anymore, or whatever the E stunbreak is called. Maybe it still would. It's hard to say. Perhaps it comes back in some form as a discipline?

 Stamina, Stun & Sweeps, Light, Medium, and Heavy

This is the meat and potatoes of my combat revamp. Remember that the goal is STRATEGIC ACTION COMBAT as laid out by the developers. The goal is not to make "pure action combat" like TERA or BDO. The goal is not to make "pure strategic combat" like Guild Wars 1. The goal is a combination of these things.
 Stun meter - A stacking debuff which every player has, starting at 0.
When this value reaches 15 stacks, the target is stunned for 3 seconds and is more likely to be critically hit (or some other damage boosting property.)
Stacks fade off the target over time if no new applications happen.
This is the only source of hard CC in my combat update.
When the debuff is nearly full, say 10 stacks, there should be some visual feedback on the screen to warn the player. Maybe it's important enough to justify its own resource meter with the other three?
 NOTE: This could just as easily be a "Knockdown meter" instead, but I think it looks a bit daft to have people going full horizontal all over the place all the time. It does make it visually a lot easier to tell "this guy is super vulnerable!" though, there are advantages.
 Stagger - Basically an extremely short duration stun (like 200ms) that stops your target's current action and plays a "recoiling" animation, incurring the resource cost and cooldown of the ability they were performing if relevant. Stagger can be an inherent property of an attack, or can happen conditionally within the stun stack/attack weight system. Think of it as a traditional interrupt like Kick or Earth Shock, but for everything. To use an ingame example, imagine recognizing a ranger jab, knowing that this means they're about to disengage, and timing your attack with the stagger property to interrupt the disengage. This can sort of already happen with the stun abilities in the game, (the stun at the end of pursuit especially is a stagger in all but name) but with stagger you have the freedom to put the effect on quicker, more common attacks, making great interactions like this more commonplace. A wise Ranger might jab, and pause before the disengage. Smart! There might have to be a hard limit on how many staggers you can receive in a given window of time to prevent killing the fun if they become more frequent.

 Stamina Stuff

 - SPRINT. Same as now.
 - DODGE ROLL. Take away the Ranger's dodge roll, and make it a game wide keybind. Speed it up a bit. Probably lower the cooldown. Give it invincibility frames. Give the ranger a new mobility right click. When movement speed is debuffed, dodge roll should not roll as far. Since it isn't going as far, the invincibility frames shouldn't last as long.
NOTE:  (Special exceptions can be made. Centaur, Champion, Stalker might be too big and weird to roll in a way that looks nice, so could distribute dodge roll OR sidestep to various archetypes that is functionally the same but visually different.) Also, no bloody idea how guineceans are going to work in this game at all, either the existing one or my theoretical revamp.
 - SHIFT CHARGING. When pressing SHIFT(sprint) + certain buttons, it would consume a chunk of stamina in addition to the normal resource cost to produce a modified version of the ability involving extreme movement. All "SHIFT CHARGED" abilities are full animation locked abilities, regardless of the base ability used. These are the kinds of abilities that would produce TERA levels of movement in attacks, all without bloating the ability bar. Tying it into the stamina system makes sense: If you want to move quickly in any direction, whether attacking, dodging, jumping or sprinting, you have to spend some stamina to do it.
 Pursuit would likely become "Shift + Block," and have the Knight hold his shield up and gain block effects while executing the move.
NOTE: This is by far the most expensive of my suggestions, but I think this or something like it is the best way to infuse the Action into the Action Combat part of the game.
 - JUMP. Jumping would take the same amount of stamina as a dodge roll. This is because...


This is a new class of attack that has a short vertical hitbox and travels close to the ground, allowing savvy players to jump over it. 
NOTE: From a technical standpoint, I don't know if this is possible. My reasoning is that since attacks don't reach to the ceiling of the world, I assume they have a height. That means they can be really short and thus jumped over. Sorry guineceans.
 - Sweeps ignore dodge roll invincibility.
 - Sweeps have snares built into them due to the leg targeted nature of the attack.
 - Attacks of this type wouldn't be balanced around avoided every time, like with any other attack, jumping over a sweep would be a sometimes occurence just like dodging.
 - Jumping over a sweep should usually be "Predictive" rather than "Reactive".

 Rather than: 
 Ah, he's started the Leg Sweep animation! 
 *hits jump button at start of leg sweep animation*
 Avoids Leg Sweep
 It should (most of the time) be like:
 Hmm, she always does Leg Sweep(E) after Slash...
 *hits jump button at end of slash animation, anticipating the Leg Sweep*
 Avoids Leg Sweep
 Hmm, she always does Leg Sweep(E) after Slash instead of Fierce Slash(4)...
 *hits jump button at end of slash animation, incorrectly anticipating the Leg Sweep*
 Ranger presses 4 and smacks you around as you jump like an idiot.
 It should be possible to have certain SWEEP attacks be reactively jumped over and I think there could be a few in the game. I don't think it should be too common, as "not too twitchy" is a design goal, and I'd like "Reactive" dodging to be mostly the domain of HEAVY attacks.
For an example of a sweep that could be reactively jumped over, imagine a confessor ability that generates a circle of fire at her feet and spreads out slowly until reaching its terminal circumference. If she pressed the button again, she could quickly draw it in, hitting the targets a second time. The former would be reactive, the latter predictive.
 NOTE: It would be really cool if there was also an "AIRBORNE" state that the game could read, so attacks could have additional effects (like more knockback or damage) if they hit people in midair to punish jumping, or comboing off the knockup effects that are in the game. Regardless, stamina spent on jumping is stamina that can't be used on any other movement abilities.
Remember that these are classes of attack that existing abilities will be modified into, and new abilities developed for. There are not literally three attacks, it's an additional combat layer that is applied in concert with damage, debuffs, soft CCs like blind, and other flavourful archetype stuff.


NOTE: Remember that rules are meant to be broken, and abilities that "break the rules" are often the most fun or a way to further distinguish archetypes. This goes for all other introduced attack types.
 - This attack does the smallest amount of damage, has the shortest animation time, and has no cooldown or a very short one.
 - Only rarely appears deeper into combo chains.
 - It allows full movement. (split body with no movement slow.)
 - It usually has no additional effects like CC or debuffs.
 - When hitting a player performing a MEDIUM attack, Does 25% extra damage and adds 1 stack to the stun meter. Increased audio/visual feedback when these conditions are met.
 NOTE: I think 2 hits could be achieved during my idea of the average MEDIUM attack if timing is perfect. Maybe an assassin attacking very fast with dual daggers could hit 3 or even 4 times? Archetype differentiation!


- In general, this attack type is the middle ground between LIGHT and HEAVY.
- Split body attack, but applies a 40-60% movement speed malus when executing.
- Can usually only be "Predictively" dodged using Dodge Roll. If you see them start the animation, it's probably too late to dodge if you were doing anything yourself.
- When hitting a player performing a HEAVY attack, staggers them (ONLY if they're above 5 stun stacks) and applies 3 stun stacks. Order is Attack - > Check stun stacks, Stagger Y/N, - > Apply stun stacks. Increased audio/visual feedback when these conditions are met.




- Fully animation locked attack that roots you, or has some slight movement built in. (AKA, how the majority of abilities in Crowfall work right now.)
- Applies 5 stun stacks to ANY player hit by this attack.
- Applies an additional 2 stun stacks to a player performing a LIGHT attack and staggers them.
- Hits really, really hard.
- Can usually be reactively dodged with dodge roll. This means if you're doing absolutely nothing yourself, and you're paying attention to your opponent and see them start this move, you can press dodge roll and they won't hit you.
- Hitting a player from behind who is performing a light attack would land you 7 * 1.50 = 10.5, so about 2/3rds of the way to a full stun. Needless to say, ranged heavy attacks would be quite powerful for killing runners. Ranged AOE heavy attacks would be extremely devastating and possibly too powerful.
NOTE: Maybe a player can pivot slightly to the left or right when rooted and performing a heavy attack? Not sure how this would look/work. Just a passing thought.



Ok, I think that's enough for now. There's a lot more I'd like to cover, especially in the domain of ranged combatants, but I'll save it for a future post because this is getting way too long. I'd also like to write out some example combo chains so you can see how this would look in Blair's combo system but I'll wait to see how the reception is to the basic concept is first.
Back at the start, the #1 principle I considered was "Is it fun?" The answer is: I don't know. I haven't played this game. It sounds more fun, but you can never really be sure. No amount of imagination can replace actually playing the game and seeing if it's more fun or not.  All I know for certain is that what we have now is not a good game.
 The best I can do is say that my ideas are based on gaming fundamentals that have been successful across multiple genres.
If you have a tweak, post it, if it's better I will make the change. If you dislike my ideas, post why, so either me or somebody else can learn something from it. If you hate me and everything I stand for, post that too, I love that stuff. Don't get banned though.


Edited by Tinnis
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It might actually be light purple, I honestly can't remember now :wacko:. Only thing I remember is that they light up like a Christmas tree.


It is yellow / gold (yellow orginally but with the new griddy shader more like gold). Even the devs said that :/ you might be color blind


I love you all.



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Awesome list of stuff they already have on the to do list to make combat feel better


- powers animating the second you press the key

- proper mass to mass interactions

- great fps

- no more hitching

- solid server perf when lots of players in area

- hit events in the animations

- sound hit events based on material types

- counter slash hit fx

- region based clients so we can turn the blood fx back on

Edited by Ziz


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It is yellow / gold (yellow orginally but with the new griddy shader more like gold). Even the devs said that :/ you might be color blind


You're right I was getting it confused with one of the other abilities.


took a ss of it today.



Edited by Remlap
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