What’s wrong with The Secret World’s combat?

I was going to write up a post trying to dissect the issues of The Secret World’s combat and propose solutions for the relaunch, but I think that this video from GRM said everything that I would very well:


3 thoughts on “What’s wrong with The Secret World’s combat?

  1. Tanek March 13, 2017 / 2:18 pm

    That is a very good list of issues with TSW combat. I hope we soon hear something more about the changes Funcom will be making.

    I don’t want to see the skill wheel or the limited deck mechanics go away, and I doubt we will see anything about engine improvements, but maybe some kind of rework to the builder/consumer mechanics could be on the table.

    (And in the realm of wishful thinking, a rework of the whole AEGIS system.)

  2. Jeromai March 14, 2017 / 1:04 am

    TSW really just needs help with their animations and the “weight” of those animations making contact with enemies. Enemies should preferably react to the hits as they occur too.

    Even the builder/consumer could be left in if spamming the same builder button produced a random loop of 3-4 varied attacks, so that there’s at least some variety of visual interest.

    I gave up in Egypt a long long time ago because the combat just didn’t feel rewarding enough:

    – sidestepping / strafing felt very floaty
    – active dodging was essentially useless with no invicibility frame and being insensitive to latency delays (even Wildstar’s dodge functions better, before we even speak of GW2’s dodge, and I think ESO’s overall action combat is pretty good too)
    – and the overall weirdness of it looking like it was trying to be an action combat game (changing position should let you avoid hits entirely) while mostly functioning like tab target combat (you’re getting hit either way.)

    Should be interesting to see what they’ve got planned for the relaunch. Their setting and atmosphere and quests are still pretty unmatched, but plenty of other MMOs outclass it completely where combat is concerned.

  3. Sylow March 18, 2017 / 9:29 pm

    I very much disagree with both the video and much what was said here.

    I yet have to understand what people want with “more impactful” combat. I look at TSW, i look at GW2, as they are always compared. In either, the character swings the sword, the enemy sometimes plays a small “ouch” animation, the healthbar goes down. It is the -very same- in any MMO. So what is the difference?

    I personally by now conclude this: when TSW launched people tried it, but GW2 launched shortly afterwards. People wanted to go to the other game, but wouldn’t want to appear “disloyal”. (Yes, we gamers have our own set of mental problems… ) So they urgently had to find a number of flaws which “forced” them to quit TSW and try the other game. That’s where “Impactful combat” was born.

    Sorry, but in almost 5 years, nobody was able to explain the difference to me, at least not without several times contradicting himself, making the point not only moot but even ridiculous.

    On the variety of animations: yea, sure. I want a set of random animations, where my character once shoots his rifle from the hip, then stretches out his arm to fire it, then turns around and fire over his shoulder, then spin, bring the rifle down behind his legs and fire through his legs, then followed up by a onehanded handstand, shooting with the other hand… but it should not look goofy!

    Sorry for the sarcasm, but there’s just so many ways you can shoot an assault rifle or a shotgun, and a number of their animations are already stretching the limit. I mean, any weapon has almost 50 active abilities, and most of them do have individual animations. Some are similar or the same, but often they made sure to have them different.

    Even if we now disregard different execution times and thus different animation times, i suggest you go ahead to the TSW forums and suggest to make the games animation more varied by making any abilitiy of one weapon pick a random animation of the same execution time of this weapon type. Bring your big armour, as i can already now tell you how the PvP part of the community will see your suggestion… 😀

    People also always claim that TSWs animations are bad and again point at GW2 for “good”. If you are among those, i have to tell you that you are utterly clueless. Go ahead and try it, disable all the particle effects in GW2. Once your animations are not covered up by all flashes and stuff, you will start to admire how well the animations are made in TSW. (And don’t get me started on animations of SWtoR. Those characters move more like battlemechs than the battlemechs in Mechwarrior Online! )

    On the criticism of builders and consumers: i get it that some people dislike that. But i have seen the simple version of what TSW brings in many MMOs and other games. Examples to be found in Diablo 2 and 3, WoW, Rift (any class i ever looked at there), LotRO, SWtoR… feel free to add more, you can spend days with that. The difference is that usually you just build up one ressource on your character, then consume it. In contrast, i by now am convinced that most people do not even know or understand a lot of what’s going in in TSW here.

    I mean yes, there are the 5/1/1 setups all around. We give them to beginners, as they are easy to use, and even veterans use them for simple content, where convenience beats efficiency. But just a few pointers:
    – melee weapons start the fight with full ressources.
    – ballistice build ressources on the target. So yes, if you use an AoE builder, you can build ressources on several targets at the same time.
    – magic consumers don’t always use all ressources.
    – magic consumers don’t base their damage on the number of ressources.
    – blood can cast consumers when some ressources are missing, by sacrificing health.

    Now add in some passives which trigger additional effects every certain number of attacks. So yes, i have seen setups in use with one builder, five different consumers and one “special use” ability. It was all about juggling ressources switching targets to use the ressources on them, etc. Just because the game doesn’t force you to play on a higher level doesn’t mean there is none.

    Where i have to partially agree is the problem with TSWs dodge mechanic. Mind you, i consider GW2s invulnerability a terrible crutch. Based on how i understood it during the beta, they did not originally plan for it, but they were unable to get synchronisation good enough to have reliable dodge without it. In contrast, TSWs dodge worked perfectly well for me on my machine on release. This is before mentioning that TSWs area effects might not be as colorful and flashy, but they always have a timer animation, which clearly communicates when the effect will hit. I find this way more informative than GW2, where the debuff-bar often is the only place to actually tell you the truth. (And have fun sorting through that in an active fight. )

    That all being said, i also have to say that TSW has issues with the dodge mechanic for me by now. At the end of last year, my old mainboard died. Since i couldn’t replace it any more (not in production any more since a few years) i decided to completely replace mainboard, CPU and memory. Unfortunately while my new system has way more power and anything but TSW runs better on it than ever before, TSW since then suffers. It refuses to even take a look at seven of my new CPUs cores, but insists to run on only one. As soon as a bit more action is going on, the game gets sluggish. When this happens, i can also see what many people describe as “floaty” and “unreliable” dodging.

    So yes, when your hardware is “the wrong kind”, you experience the described effects. If your hardware is “proper”, its dodge mechanic is actually better than what i experienced in other MMOs with similar mechanics. The annoying part is that TSW actually for obscure reasons actually ran better for me on older hardware, while suffering on more modern hardware. I’d very much wish they would change that. Potentially switching to a more up to date compiler could help the game a lot, but there’s a number of criteria to be met for that. I have significant doubts that such a change is within the scope of FunComs capabilities. 😦

    PS: And on the whole AEGIS thing, i also consider that mostly a psychological problem. As i explained several times: yes, when it was introduced it was rough. A number of things went wrong there, and it took FunCom several weeks to sort things out. (Especially since at the start Aegis blocked several mechanics which people used for survivablity and sustainability in the original version. But these blocks by now are gone, so those setups work in Tokyo by now. )

    Once things were sorted out and we players adjusted to it, on the other hand, it got pretty workable. Considering that Aegis allows some very interesting bossfight mechanics in the dungeons there, i find that the small and vocal minority demanding its removal should start pondering if they really aim to improve the game, or if their shouts are rather an attempt to get revenge on the game for the fact that there were problems when Aegis was introduces.

    Sure if you want to go into the nightmare version of the Tokyo dungeons, then Aegis turns into a massive grind. If you play then on “only” elite difficulty, you can get through them even with moderately progressed Aegis, on a level which happens automatically by playing the game.

    I am sorry, but i am still playing the game, i am in an active Cabal and we keep recruiting new players, so i might be speaking of experience here. When new players get to Tokyo for the first time, they usually have the same four or five questions. Then one or two of us go there, run a first round of tower defence with them, to get them a second set of controllers. With a bit of luck, even that one round already also yields one or another capacitor. If not, we supply a few low level ones.

    After that, new players usually get around Tokyo quite well. Reactions of actually new players usually are positive. Sure a few minor improvements could be made. The only actual issue i see is that AEGIS comes with too little information. We have a very similar set of questions whenever somebody enters Tokyo for the first time, so somebody who insists on playing all by himself, not asking anybody, not looking up stuff, etc. of course runs into problems. Providing this information in-game in a clearer way (the info is there, but you have to look and read a bit to understand it all) would really improve the game. Additionally it might be good to supply the player with a full set of controlers and QL0 capacitors when entering Toyko. It would smoothen out the road a bit.

    That al being said, i still have to wonder: we can get a new player set up, informed and ready to go in no time and with limited effort. A second set of controllers can be obtained by doing one mission, which is designed in away that it can actually be done with NO CONTROLLERS AT ALL. Some QL0 capacitors you are by now likely to get in a few missions, but a full set might take a little. On the other hand, QL0 capacitors are in the AH for prices close to what you pay for repars after one death. A full set of QL0 capacitors is available for below 20k pax. Even the first sprint ability which players still buy while playing on Solomon Island costs 100k pax, so capacitors really are available quickly and cheaply.

    So if we can get a new player going in limited time, by just answering a few question and providing dirt cheap gear, can somebody please explain to me what the problem is for the old player? Is there really something wrong which new players don’t see yet and i am just too stupid to comprehend?

    My best theory is that people bear grudges. They experienced all the problems AEGIS had when it was introduced and decided to hate it forever. No matter how much it was changed, nothing below its utter destruction and removal will ever satisfy them.

    If this is not true then please explain to me why it is such an overwhelming problem to you, while all the new players in our Cabal found it to be no issue after getting a little info on how it works and how to handle it.

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