Spy Game Design – Combat

The next area to make over in MMOs is combat. I like some elements on combat in MMOs, but overall it’s not very exciting. Mostly it devolves into “OK, I’m gonna hit you now, then you can hit me”.  There’s very little strategy in combat systems. I know things like chains and combos exist, but really – why would my attack be more effective just because someone in my group did a specific attack? It makes very little sense.

Part of the problem with combat in MMOs may be because AI is a little lacking. How many of you ever just ran around a couple of corners in a dungeon because your health was low and the mob lost interest and went back to his “guard post” (which is another point – why is the mob just standing there?!? Doesn’t he have anything better to do?).

How about MMOs where you can zone to escape combat? Nice for the player I guess and I used it a lot during my MMO playing days, but it’s seriously unrealistic. There needs to be some element of danger to combat and that’s lacking in every MMO I ever played, once you get to higher levels. (tangent thought – how many people felt stupid when you got killed by a giant rat or some kind of bug? 🙁 )

Some things I’d like to see in the combat system for this spy game:

  • Realistic fire rates for weapons
  • Range modifiers
  • AOE for grenades and such
  • Specific damage locations and targetted areas
  • Decreased ability due to wounds (that carries over after combat maybe)
  • Effective cover (think Gears of War)
  • Effective stealth attacks
  • Incapacitating civilians for stealth missions
  • Consequences for combat in public (law enforcement, compromised cover, civilian casualties, agency discipline, etc.)

Overall, I’d say combat should be rare and quick. Prolonged firefights only happen in movies, mainly due to running out of ammo.

Would an MMO that didn’t focus on combat be interesting enough to play for the time it would take to get to level 50 in WoW? I think it could be, but it would take a lot of interesting missions in an interesting world.

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