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Combat Overhaul - Planned Feature & What I Hope to See


Davis
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Hello Everyone, 

 

Been playing since March 2021 (so not too long) and I love this game. This game is the embodiment of what I love survival games to be like, and the volvox based block genre is widely overlooked. This games planned features on the roadmap are all I can really ask for, and I think this team is going to knock it out of the park. 

That being said, my only "concern" is that I would love to see combat changed for the better. Currently this game has minecraft style combat, and I am not a fan. There is no strategy or skill, it's button mashing with the best gear on. 

My hope, and I guess suggestion, would be that the VS Team scraps the button mashing ideology and implements a basic directional combat and block system. This would allow for fun PVP events and an actually engaging PVP experience. Something along the lines of Hytale and I know one of the developers is familiar with that project since he worked on it before starting his game. 

With that being said, I am not a programmer. I have no idea how hard this is to implement.

This to me, above all other features, would make this game a classic for the next 30 years in the survival genre and volvox genre. 

PS: It would be great if one of the developers comment to share what they envision for this overhaul! 

Edited by Davis
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I think its one of the more important things that needs to be addressed. then again the dev team consists of two people so they probably want to focus on the other aspects of the game first. It makes me sad though that we won't see a fully fleshed out combat system in a sandbox game for some time to come. 

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PVP has never been a main aspect of VS. "button mashing" doesn't really work in neither Minecraft nor VS either.

Combat is, as i mentioned more than once, something not fit for a survival game (especially not when lovecraftian horror inspired), as any combat is a situation one should avoid in survival situations.

Yes, the combat system is a bit simplistic, even more than Minecraft without a block/parry mechanic. Instead of scrapping the active part of combat, actually implementing the passive parts: injuries, hit locations, bleeding, infections; that's way more fitting for a survival game, and than even without sophisticated active combat mechanics it's suddenly about skill and strategy, not necessarily combat strategy but survival strategy, building traps to injure/kill your prey try not to get involved in actual combat as long as you aren't.able to win without getting injured yourself, instead of from where should i hit them.

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On 12/4/2021 at 1:30 AM, Hal13 said:

Combat is, as i mentioned more than once, something not fit for a survival game (especially not when lovecraftian horror inspired), as any combat is a situation one should avoid in survival situations.

I strongly disagree. In a game where every single animal except chickens will try to kill you if you even dare as come to close, where the main threat of the night isn't the cold but drifters attacking you, there is a strong argument that combat is already a huge part of the game. If the intent was to create a realistic survival game, most animals would flee from the player, a simple fire could scare of wolves and drifters wouldn't be a thing you can actively attack yourself. And there wouldn't really be things like plate armor and most importantly swords if the games focus was purely survival. Even from a pure survival perspective, where fleeing wolves should be your only option, the current combat is broken. Hit detection is very unpredictable, the range and timing of attacks totally disconnected from the animations:

Those problems need to be fixed or combat needs to be completely removed from the game. Then you at least have something that isn't broken.

But combat still wouldn't be fun. The "strategy" players currently utilize is building three block high towers directly under your feet to get out of the range of the enemy and then stabbing till it parishes. This isn't clever or fun, this is just exploiting weak AI. In 1.16, drifters will at least be able to throw rocks at you which should mitigate the issue a bit, but wolves will still remain powerless to the might of three soil blocks. The AI is currently also a huge fan of walking into two block deep holes or trenches they can't get out of, which is an easy way to eliminate the need for walls. I don't think such AI issues can be entirely eliminated, but I think the need to use such exploits can be reduced. Having a more responsive and fun combat system would directly benefit hunting, defending against wolves and drifters, exploring caves, etc. Activities that players currently either don't engage with (caves) or exploit (hunting).

Or to keep it short: There currently is a lot of combat in VS and it is not fun. Instead of relying on players using cheap exploits to get around combat the combat should be improved.

How to improve the combat to be fun is still very much in the air, but I think adding more depth, providing defensive and better evasive options would definitely help.

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But the problems you describe (and i am with you with that) are due to poor AI and the AI not following the same combat rules as the player (aoe damage intead of having to actually hit the player, while the player needs to hit).

Btw. even chickens, at least the roosters, might try to kill you, only rabbits always flee (though one could argue they try to starve you, laying siege on your base)...

Using a high point for the hunt is actually accurate though, yes it's less thrilling than fighting a boar on the ground (for which there are special spears), even today high seats are used to hunt, as on ground living animals (including the human btw.) are only thinking in slightly more than 2D, hence pillaring up would be a method humans would use for hunting if our world would be voxelbased and such a quickly built tower stable enough...
Maybe aggroed mobs that can't find a way to the player should go away, maybe circling around the pillar but outside of any melee range, if the player is prey or else just flee as endangering themself to get back at the player isn't in their interest.

Same as with high seats is true for pits, they are used to hunt, and work reliably for animals that can't burrow their way out.
Maybe mobs could be enabled to destabilize single blocks of dirt, sand and gravel a block higher than them (the code for that is already there, see gravity options)? That way a pit might trap them for a short while but an earthen pit wouldn't hold them... That too would mean you'd have to use more stable blocks to pillar up.

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On 12/3/2021 at 7:30 PM, Hal13 said:

PVP has never been a main aspect of VS. "button mashing" doesn't really work in neither Minecraft nor VS either.

Combat is, as i mentioned more than once, something not fit for a survival game (especially not when lovecraftian horror inspired), as any combat is a situation one should avoid in survival situations.

Yes, the combat system is a bit simplistic, even more than Minecraft without a block/parry mechanic. Instead of scrapping the active part of combat, actually implementing the passive parts: injuries, hit locations, bleeding, infections; that's way more fitting for a survival game, and than even without sophisticated active combat mechanics it's suddenly about skill and strategy, not necessarily combat strategy but survival strategy, building traps to injure/kill your prey try not to get involved in actual combat as long as you aren't.able to win without getting injured yourself, instead of from where should i hit them.

I appreciate the comment on the thread and you offering your view. I just humbly disagree completely with this statement. This is a survival game, where dangers and fighting are the norm in your travels around the map. Without a proper combat system they can never hope to fully realize the potential of the game. Not to mention this game is set up perfectly for massive multiplayer role-playing communities to dive in and when that happens combat will be one of the things most players are looking for. If combat is done right, it adds an experience that is different every time you play. Games like Mount & Blade and Chivalry are examples of this. I am not saying we need something complex or hardcore, but something with directional combat that actually allows player skill to shin would shoot this game to the top of the list. 

And for someone who is PVP focused like myself, and I feel many others in the survival genre are, adding more passive ailments to combat will make it boring, annoying and lacking even more then it is now. Sure, adding a more advanced healing and damage system could be cool, but if you over-do it then the dangers of combat far out weigh the benefits and nobody will want to do it. 

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13 hours ago, Davis said:

I appreciate the comment on the thread and you offering your view. I just humbly disagree completely with this statement. This is a survival game, where dangers and fighting are the norm in your travels around the map. Without a proper combat system they can never hope to fully realize the potential of the game.

Personally for me, the main draw of a survival game is the survival aspect; that is, the stat management (hunger, thirst, temperature, etc.) and resource management. Combat is an optional extra; it's a barrier to exploration and resource-gathering, so it acts as an additional challenge to overcome, but it's not a necessary feature, and it's one I personally don't particularly enjoy. Personally I prefer combat to be as straightforward as possible; dodging and blocking, etc, are not things I want to have to devote brain-space to when dealing with drifters or wolves or what-have-you, I just want to get the fight over with as efficiently as possible so I can get back to exploration and resource-gathering. So I would not be particularly interested in a more complex combat system. I'm not sure how hard it would be from a programming perspective, but I'd be OK if it were possible to make any extra frills an optional toggleable setting, or perhaps a system such that the added mechanisms would be dispensable for mob enemies, and only relevant to PvP combat.

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17 hours ago, Davis said:

the dangers of combat far out weigh the benefits and nobody will want to do it. 

THAT is survival and anyone doing survival be it hobbyist or professional will tell you that.

Of course people who think Mount & Blades combat system (or the complete game as there isn't much else than combat in it) is enjoyable, a game where 1 player can easily and literally fight armies of npcs on themself, getting seriously wounded, speak nearly killed, and being okay after a few days of rest, won't get that actual combat is hell. At least M&Bs AI is, argueably, better (but it has not to account for changes in environment, the maps are always the same and get repetitive REAL fast).

17 hours ago, Davis said:

combat will be one of the things most players are looking for.

I wouldn't be too sure about that... I mean look at actual MMORPGs (WoW, Ragnarök online, ...) the rp servers are full of people not doing much fighting and the other servers are toxic environments af (at least that's the impression i got from them). Same with Minecraft servers, the servers where PVP without consent is even only allowed become cesspools of toxic behavior fast (which is why the server i play on made PVP without consent a bannable offense) and where it is only allowed if everyone involved in the fight consents pvp is nearly not happening at all.

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I would rather the Devs add a task or challenge that pressures players to use steel and the other technologies. Similar to how winter drives the player to make a lot of storage pots and fill them with preserved food, or how nutrition pressures the player to vary their diet.

Nobody can really agree on what combat improvements they want and the Devs would have to take time away from crafting updates to upgrade the combat system any meaningful degree. Combat is okay where its at; the game really needs new challenges to overcome.

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Combat is not really okay where it's at. I prefer the term "functional". It technically works. Drifter attack ranges and hitboxes are already bizarre enough to make combat unwieldy, combine that with the fact that 'combat' is just 'Alternate between W & S and press LMB' and you have a system that leads a lot to be desired. I'm not asking for i-frames and attack cancelling, but SOMETHING more would be nice, preferably something that can be informed by the resources you've acquired from survival/exploration.

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1 hour ago, l33tmaan said:

Combat is not really okay where it's at. I prefer the term "functional". It technically works. Drifter attack ranges and hitboxes are already bizarre enough to make combat unwieldy, combine that with the fact that 'combat' is just 'Alternate between W & S and press LMB' and you have a system that leads a lot to be desired. I'm not asking for i-frames and attack cancelling, but SOMETHING more would be nice, preferably something that can be informed by the resources you've acquired from survival/exploration.

Combat does what it needs to do in this game, which is making the more resource rich areas in the game more dangerous to be in. Yeah it won't win any awards, but it does fine as a minor part of the game. What would you recommend adding that is simple yet meaningful? I can only think of grenades (collect that sulfur) and maybe guns as quickish additions. 

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Adding the ability to guard against an attack to prevent damage in exchange for weapon durability loss and slight knockback might be cool. It would also give another use to the offhand slot for holding a shield. If you have a shield equipped there, blocking uses the shield durability instead and the knockback is practically eliminated. In exchange you suffer a slight damage and speed penalty to your melee attacks (since now you can only wield them one-handed and put less force into each strike). Swords could block without a shield using right click, but spears have their ranged attack instead. When using a shield, the one-handed penalty is either lowered or eliminated with a sword, whereas with a spear your ranged attack gets replaced with the ability to block instead.

Drifters could also have rare variants that spawn with shields equipped and the ability to block. To balance it out though, their shields should be corroded to hell and shatter after soaking a few of your attacks, allowing you to defeat them as normal. The presence of a shield would also help to deal with the incoming stone throwing ability they'll be getting in future updates, since I can already see getting showered with stones for 1 damage each every time you walk into their line of sight getting real annoying after the initial novelty wears off.

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