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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcigy2eD9Jw&feature=youtu.be&t=36m49s

 

If you haven't seen it, this is one of the last day Kickstarter interviews. 36m49s is specifically about limited abilities.

 

They mention abilities having multiple uses and branching combos. They never say point blank, "You will only have 6 skills on the bar" but they do hint they want to limit the total number of skills.

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alright... so I did "the math"... you can comfortably reach the following keys:   - WASD + space + shift for movement - Q E R T F X C V CAPSLOCK TAB ~ 1 2 3 4 - Mousekeys: 1 to 5 and the mousewhee

I can't agree more and I will add that it bores the player much faster. I like the ability to choose the abilities I use but I want a decent amount which is at least 25 in order to have 12+ active abi

I feel as though if I want every single one of my skills, potions, etc on my action bars there should be support for that... I like to have my options all right there. Although most games, if you can

Actually, every game these days allow your character to grow over time including RPGs so you are starting off with a fallacious argument. Yes and they always say "With RPG elements!" when games that aren't RPGs include this.  What makes it an RPG is that your character not only evolves but you have options for interacting. Options for playing a role, yes, I said that. That comes with a hotbar and a wide variety of choices. No, no it doesn't come with a hotbar. D&D doesn't have a hotbar. I have never told my DM, "I hit button 2". I tell him I try to use cleave and roll the dice. Choices, yes. Hotbar no. FPS games eliminate choice and give you point and shoot which is exactly what he is asking for when he says he wants to eliminate the interface to enhance immersion. You have very much misread him. He is saying he wants action combat. Which is, incidentally, what ACE wants. RPGs have always been about choice and FPSs have always been about limited choice to enhance combat immersion. While this is true, it has no bearing on the conversation. It really has become that simple. Nothing is that simple, let's be honest. FPSs now have systems in place for prestige and weapons upgrades that are the equivalent of character growth in RPGs. Yes, and as I said above they bill them as "RPG" elements. The interface is all that is left to differentiate the two. No, as you've said, choice is what differentiates the two. The 'quests' in an FPS are simplistic and more direct but the process is the same. I think you are referring to mission goals. Those aren't quests. You do this and your receive that.  Seeing something we haven't seen means you no longer have what you had when you started. I don't even know what this last sentence means. In this case you start with an RPG and change it into something we have never seen and now we don't have an RPG. Or we end up with the best RPG we've ever played. That is your logic. No, that's some strange thing you've come up with. Not specious, fallacious or otherwise dependent on premises that are non-sensible. Fun with words! But meaningless. Flexibility and choice are the hallmark of RPGs and when you strip that away you are left with something that is not an RPG

And we're back to the core of the conversation. Hotbars do not equal flexibility and choice. Hotbars equal one way to play. An old way that we've all seen and done. Yes, it works, but it isn't the only thing that works.

 

To be clear, again, Myself and Whyman are asking for is something new. Something we've never seen before. He posits one concept. I didn't bother to because I, by definition, want something I can't conceive of myself.

 

Neither of us has asked for a restriction in choice or flexibility. You have read a whole lot into what was never said. It might say something about you, I don't know, I'm not a shrink. All we're looking for is something new. That's all. That simple.

I'm in this for the Experience, not the XP.

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The hotbars are a handy visual indicator of what your keybinds are set to, I suspect any move away from them will also require a change in how skills and spells are created and used.  The biggest 'change' for a UI that I can think of was probably Black and White, which even tried to reduce the number of icons on the screen to the bare minimum.  Those gestures were annoying for me, but it was pretty neat to do something a bit different and it worked for the game.

 

I run a fairly large number of buttons - 16 programmable keys on the keyboard itself, an Orbweaver controller, and a ten button mouse.  I tend to run keyboad and mouse outside of combat, then switch to the Orbweaver for combat.  With all those buttons available, I generally want as many abilities out where I can use them as possible.

 

Random thought - instead of set spells/abilities, you have a series of attack modifying layers.  It's going to put the button press count through the roof, but a macro system, or one disguised as a spell creation system, would help.  Going to give one hell of an advantage to someone who puts the effort in though...

 

Concept:  Multiple layers of five modifiers each, since five is a good fingertip range on a keyboard.

 

Layer one is the type of spell/ability - magic, physical, buff, debuff, heal

Layer two is a set of modifiers, based on the type.  So magic might have rangelong, rangeshort, aoetarget, aoeself, touch.

Layer three is a further set of modifiers!  Moar button presses!.  Magic->touch might have fire, cold, shock, something, something.  (Brain died...)  :P

 

Yes it's cumbersome as hell, but if you give the player the ability to map a set of layer selections to a key for instant cast, you've got a range of spells without having to come up with names for all of them.  Certain archetypes have access to certain modifiers, while some are common to all.

Press to test...

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It's rare that I actually participate in the forums for games because I enjoy the playing, and forums are often trolled and non-sense.  I've read this entire thread and thought I'd give me 2 cents, for whatever it's worth.

 

I've played a number of games and the best one's I ever played had constant motion, dodging/blocking systems, but also extensive hotbar models.  Everyone hates the UI clutter, but screen sizes have helped with that immensely.

 

I generally play mage classes and I love that fact that being good at my craft involved a deep knowledge of my spells, a large complex chain of those spells, and the need to stop sequencing through those combinations mid-stream to change tactic, because one wrong button, one extra second on the clock, and I'm dead.  I may be laying down the law with some fire magic, but I have to recognize when to change focus to my resources and my groups health, or we're all dead. (AC)

 

But here's where I have issues...  The games that have hundreds of spells, and limitless hotbars, tend to have only a small fraction of skills worth utilizing, resulting in 4 or 5 repetitive button mashes (LoTRO).  And those which have limited numbers, like 4 or 5, have a huge array of powerful and meaningful spells that you rarely get to use, with the exception of well crafted groups (ESO).

 

I'm not 100% sure on what the answer is, because ultimately you will get the mage haters complaining that spells are too powerful, or their hack and slash characters have too many spell-like buttons to push.  I will say that I totally agree with the unlimited choice.  Let the players choose what to use in the UI/keyboard, and what not to.  It's all a matter of skill and ability, and should never be a 100% balanced, or a dumbed down experience, just because Johnny 5 and Granny paid to play for 3 hours a week.  Create benefits and penalties for choosing the sequences of skills (LoTRO Warden/Runekeeper) rather than saying just pick 5 skills.

 

Having said all that, and surely to get flammed, I finish with saying that freeze most closely represents my opinions on game controls.  And no, Asheron's Call (AC, my favorite game still to this day [c'mon Sev, we want our private servers!!!]), Lord of The Rings Online (LoTRO) and Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) are not my only 3 MMO experiences.

"Where there is unity there is always victory." -- Publilius Syrus

"If there weren't luck involved, I would win every time." -- Phil Hellmuth
"A good soldier does not fight because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him." -- G. K. Chesterton
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And we're back to the core of the conversation. Hotbars do not equal flexibility and choice. Hotbars equal one way to play. An old way that we've all seen and done. Yes, it works, but it isn't the only thing that works.

 

To be clear, again, Myself and Whyman are asking for is something new. Something we've never seen before. He posits one concept. I didn't bother to because I, by definition, want something I can't conceive of myself.

 

Neither of us has asked for a restriction in choice or flexibility. You have read a whole lot into what was never said. It might say something about you, I don't know, I'm not a shrink. All we're looking for is something new. That's all. That simple.

There really isn't anything new to do though. There is only so many ways you can make an interface. Regardless of what type of combat system the game has you need some form of mechanism to hold and activate skills. Whether its a bar of some sort, a radial menu type thing it has to be there.

 

Also the system the other poster talked about that I responded to but no reply isn't new either. That's pretty much how action combat systems are. You don't really have set rotations, but you do have keybinds. You aim, you use left/right mouse clicks to attack/dodge etc. I think what you really want is something minimal and clean and that's fine but again its not really new or unique.

Edited by pang
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There really isn't anything new to do though. There is only so many ways you can make an interface. Regardless of what type of combat system the game has you need some form of mechanism to hold and activate skills. Whether its a bar of some sort, a radial menu type thing it has to be there.

 

Also the system the other poster talked about that I responded to but no reply isn't new either. That's pretty much how action combat systems are. You don't really have set rotations, but you do have keybinds. You aim, you use left/right mouse clicks to attack/dodge etc. I think what you really want is something minimal and clean and that's fine but again its not really new or unique.

 

I'm 100% with your second paragraph. The first... I don't want to believe. I want to believe someone will come up with something novel. Just because I can't doesn't mean someone else can't.

I'm in this for the Experience, not the XP.

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Yeah I mean for me at least in the few action based games I have played with a limited amount of ability's and an action bar after you play a while you can pretty much ignore it anyways because you will have memorized your keybinds. In a game like ESO its also customizable so you can re-size and hide certain UI elements. So while I stand by that there's nothing really new that can be done, I think the UI being customizable is a happy medium.  

Edited by pang
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Regardless of what type of combat system the game has you need some form of mechanism to hold and activate skills. Whether its a bar of some sort, a radial menu type thing it has to be there.

 

That's not really true though. Just take a look at Vindictus. That game has a ton of skills to choose from, with the ability to decide which ones you want to skill up and use and which you don't. They don't have any action bars at all. The annoying part (and how they deal with it) is every skill is preset to a certain key combo, such as Right click + D, Shift+A, etc. I think BDO does something similar.

 

I do prefer standard action bars, though because even though I memorize all my keybinds, I'm a very visual person so I find it useful to still see the bars on screen. I also like being able to personalize my keybinds. But the limited action set I'm not crazy about. Games like GW2 or Wildstar are too limited or just don't have enough good choices, making combat feel very boring and repetitive. But even ESO, which arguably has 17 active skills (12 slottable, plus dodge, block, heavy attack, light attack, and interrupt) is just not enough given how many good choices they give you. I always feel like my Templar Healer has do without some necessary skills in every situation, and that's not fun. And the fact that a number of ESO's skills (pets, toggleable abilities) only work when the bar they're slotted on is the active bar, means you have to slot the same skill on both bars if you want that pet/toggle/whatever to actually be active all the time.

 

Basically every game that has limited action sets has had a number of issues associated with them, but having no action bars at all (despite having a ton of abilities) is also equally annoying. Sometimes you need to follow the rule of if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Give me a bunch of standard bars that I can customize however I want with and let's call it a day.

Edited by Leiloni.
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I agree with you, Leiloni.

 

But some limitations are tasteful and necessary.  DDO did that by using the DDO ruleset, spells have to be prepared to use them, thus limiting and also allowing expansion with mastery (or leveling). This was also a great mix because the fact that spells were prepared was a separate factor from what was on your bars, allowing to action bar ui to function as freely as expected.  But that preparation system also suffered some of my previous points, because as you got to use more spells per level, you tended to use the higher level spells and filled the obsolete level preparations with niche spells you rarely used or just flailed around for fun.

 

The problem with game input variation is the keyboard and mouse.  Although still the fastest input methods of computing to date, there's only so many things you can do with a keyboard and mouse, which I believe is pang's (and frozen's) point.  No matter what combo or visual que you give, the input is the same.  I never have done any real macro'ing, I treat my keyboard like a piano.  Dumbing it down, over complicating it, or neglecting the fact that a large sequence of memorized keys can accomplish a vast amount of devastation and variety to the skilled keyboard practitioner, is just being naive.  Certainly, there's room for complicating the input in an interesting way, as in the game Magicka, but that maybe out of the scope of what we're debating.

 

Sorry for all the editing...  I keep getting interrupted as I try to write this post and am trying to clear up my thoughts.

Edited by toteofmagik

"Where there is unity there is always victory." -- Publilius Syrus

"If there weren't luck involved, I would win every time." -- Phil Hellmuth
"A good soldier does not fight because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him." -- G. K. Chesterton
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