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Question Slow fight vs. fast fight : What's better ?

December 1st, 2006, 23:05
Hello, everyone.

I was just reading through this area, and the POR2 thread specifically.

I noted that several people "got bored by the slow pace of the fights" and the turn-based combat, which is in principle one and the same.

Now, we all know that fast combat RPGs are out there, too.

So, I ask the community : What do you think is better ? Fast combat or slow (read : turn-based) combat ?

Me, I personally love turn-based combat above all. It's like Chess to me. And I could never play fast chess, I think.

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December 1st, 2006, 23:34
My Grudge with POR 2 is not, that the Combat is turnbased… the Combat is just horrible slow… i.e. you have to fight 12 Zombies, and while they take their turns to walk to you in slowmotion, you might want to read a book or two… oh and around the corner are 20 Zombies more…

It doesn't matter to me, if the combat is turnbased or realtime… it has to be good. There are good turnbased Combat-Engines (Temple of Elemental Evil) and good Realtime-Combat (i.e. Baldur's Gate - at least in some battles - or World of Warcraft). While it is nice for me to develop tactics in my own time, Realtime-Combat can create a feeling of urgency and danger, while there are still enough possiblities to use tactics.

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December 2nd, 2006, 00:19
Interesting question. I haven't given much thought about real time vs turn based, but lately I have been thinking how in late titles such as Gothic 3, Oblivion and NWN2, I would like to see the real time combat itself slowed down in pace. I've been finding the movement speed, attack speed and the animation of the enemies simply too fast, as if they're in fast motion, to where you can't "study" your opponents fight and reply in the best manner. Gothic 3 has a big problem with this and it results in the player just engaging in a click fest to beat them. Oblivion the same thing. Slow down the pace, let me plan my blocks and unleash my attacks with the right timing. At the same time, make the AI good enough to do the same and give me a challenge.

I would say that the best real time combat I have experienced is Mount & Blade. You really need skill to beat opponents and blocking is a nessesity and totally satisfying. The best turn based combat (and best overall) was Fallout. God, I loved ripping mutants to shreds with a spurt from my machine gun… best damned death animations in any game!

Oh, and for God's sake, lets get rid of the damned "stun lock" it sucks!
Last edited by CarcusRex; December 2nd, 2006 at 00:21. Reason: add a thought
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December 2nd, 2006, 00:55
Interesting, I currently have what I hope will be a controversial Side Quest article in preparation on this very topic. Fenris, I agree with you totally about the problem with PoR2. TB does not have to be slow. BaK and Gods: LoI are 2 examples of this!! (Fallout is still the best though!!)

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December 2nd, 2006, 04:04
I'm playing Final Fantasy III on the DS right now - it is a truly excellent game, with fun turn-based battles. But every battle has loads of 'overhead' going in, then in the results section, that gets tedious pretty quickly. That is one example I think of where too slow gets tedious even when the battles are good.

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December 2nd, 2006, 12:43
I prefer fast combat. I absolutely despise turnbased, it is so dull and boring. Mind you, I hate playing chess as well
For me, an RPG is about the story, my character, exploration, interaction, and loot/inventory management. I never got further then 2 hours into Fallout, and the FF games leave me bored. If they would cut out the combat completely and release them as movies, I might like them, but the games them selves absolutely do not appeal to me.

Now, having said that, the reason why I like my combat fast, is because to me, combat is not the most important part to an RPG. I want that over with rather quickly, so I can go on to the important things.
The best games (as far as I'm concerned) offer a good storyline and dialog to break up combat (like KoToR or and NWN2) or other activities, like crafting, fishing, cooking, and so. Morrowind did this nicely for me, with the large amount of readable books, the option to repair my own armor, alchemy, and so on. I also love to just walk in the cities, talk to people and window shop in that game.
WOW also seems to get the balance right for me, I love the ingame crafting, and the fact that I can walk from point A to point B without constantly getting into a fight.
Games like that allow me the choice if I want to go questing and fight, or if I feel like crafting and exploring instead.

So i am oddly in the middle here, I like my combat fast in and Real Time, but I don't like contineous hack'n'slash either…
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December 2nd, 2006, 13:11
I never had a problem with Turnbased, except when the game force you to fight ALL THE TIME and you fight the same things over and over again. If you spend more time watching zombies run around on their own than experiencing the story, then it's too much. I spent a long time in PoR2 until I got frustrated enough to see 15+ zombies walk around that I dropped the game. Random Encounter games tend to tick me off the same way.
Fallout, Temple of Elemental Evil and Wizardry 8 are example of very good turnbased games. You always fight for a reason and each battle is like a new challenge with something new.

I can deal with realtime Hack & Slash (diablo style) as long as the story is good. Again, if all I do is fight, things get boring.
The only one I know that holds up though is Dungeon Siege 2, because they had worked so much with the Companions, subquests and background story that you had alot to take in between fights.
Last edited by JemyM; December 2nd, 2006 at 13:34.
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December 2nd, 2006, 14:14
For me it depends on how well it is done. There are good implementations of both. I can't come up with many well designed RT combat systems in RPGs though…what do we have? I'm playing NWN2 right now and goddamn, combat is boring as fuck. Sure, there are some interesting and challenging fights. But mostly it's unchallenging and repetetive, without any need for strategie or tactic. NWN and 2 surely aren't good examples of outstanding RT combat. BG is decent, BG2 better because of actual challenge. What are we left with?

It's different with TB combat. ToEE, Realms of Arkanias, Jagged Alliance 2, Prelude to Darkness - just to name a few.

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December 2nd, 2006, 15:46
Originally Posted by Sorcha Ravenlock View Post
Now, having said that, the reason why I like my combat fast, is because to me, combat is not the most important part to an RPG. I want that over with rather quickly, so I can go on to the important things.
Interesting point of view. I've never ever seen it this way - although now I must say it sounds purely logical to me.

Me, I'm an "Explorer" - style kind of player. *Most* fun I have with an RPG is simply exploring ! Only after that everything else comes (And dialogues have a great part in that, because they make a game immersive, imho).

Originally Posted by JemyM View Post
Random Encounter games tend to tick me off the same way.
That is what made me stop Wizardry 8 in the end. It became just too much of it.
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December 2nd, 2006, 16:39
Originally Posted by Sorcha Ravenlock Now, having said that, the reason why I like my combat fast, is because to me, combat is not the most important part to an RPG. I want that over with rather quickly, so I can go on to the important things.

Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
Interesting point of view. I've never ever seen it this way - although now I must say it sounds purely logical to me.

Me, I'm an "Explorer" - style kind of player. *Most* fun I have with an RPG is simply exploring ! Only after that everything else comes (And dialogues have a great part in that, because they make a game immersive, imho).
I think you two are on the same line and I believe you are old adventuregamers like me who play RPG's for the adventure, the story, the dialogue, the experience… not the combat. Kinda like an interactive book, where you are thrilled like a child to see what's around the next corner.

Then there's the Gamer style of CRPG gamer who play the game for the challenge, seeing cutscenes/dialogue/events etc as "what happens between fights".
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December 2nd, 2006, 16:40
Turn-based and real-time are two different beasts.

Real-time games are too fast, especially when you have a large number of powers or abilities available, which means a lot of quick keys to manage, or several mouse clicks to use them. If I have to take my hand off WASD to reach a key, I have to look at the keyboard, otherwise I'm going to hit the wrong key a fair portion of the time. Or with mouse control, I have to stop clicking the monsters to death to switch out powers. All the while, the combat rages on. I have to effectively stop engaging in combat for a second or more to do anything, and the pacing of most games means you're dead by the time you're back to being focused on the combat.

Plus the rate of health loss in such games tends to mean I end up with my eyes glued to the health meter (almost always in the far corner of the screen). That way I can hit the chug-a-health-potion button every 2-3 seconds to stay alive. Are there fancy spell animations? Elaborate melee combo animations? I wouldn't know, I'm virtually never watching my character.

Combat in real-time games is too fast for strategy if there is no working pause option.

Turn-based can be too slow, and it's always because of UI and animation issues. To issue a command, you may need to click through several sub-menus — or worse, have context menus that require hovering the mouse for a couple seconds for the menu to pop-up. Spell/combat animations almost always have to play out in full before the next character's move. "Slow" monsters may shuffle along to prove to you they're slow. Games often suffer by forcing you into long battles with suicidal low-level opponents, where you have to wait for all of them to charge up, then you kill them all off in one area-effect spell. Or they panic and flee, and you have to wait multiple turns for them to flee off the edge of the map (or worse, they flee to some out-of-sight location, never leave the map, and combat never ends until you tediously hunt them down and kill them).

Turn-based games need to be faster. Allow combat/spell animations to overlap with other moves. Provide lots of hot keys on screen, preferably with meaningful icons. Allow multiple characters/monsters to move at the same time. Provide an auto-action option — repeat the last action, or default to whacking the nearest opponent with a melee weapon, so the player only needs to click the OK button to perform the action. Wiz8 had fully automatic combat mode, which was useful for dealing with packs of low-level opponents, or finishing off the stragglers at the end of a long fight.

I far prefer turn-based, since I'm able to think, make choices, and pay attention to what's going on. But I hardly ever see a game provide more than one or two helpful options with combat, then they always add on a pack of annoyances to drag the pacing back down.

I rather liked the melee pacing in Arx, since it was slower than I've seen in any other FPS-style game, with lots of slow back-n-forthing. But it stopped making a difference once you picked up magic skill. For pretty much any other game, furiously clicking monsters to death is the only option if I'm not allowed to pause the game and switch powers/tactics/equipment.
Last edited by Stanza; December 2nd, 2006 at 16:46.
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December 2nd, 2006, 17:11
My opinion:

Partybased: Turnbased or at least with an option to pause(NWN2, BG etc). Makes it more tactical and easier to control the various members.
Single character: Real time, fast combat where you need to do more than just hack'n slash.
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December 2nd, 2006, 18:35
I just found an older article on combat-systems : http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=605


I also remember an interview with one of the devs of the C-RPG "Drakensang". The snippet I have in mind for this thread here is this one : http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=531

There is one question :

You've also mentioned that you feel that a "purely turn-based system only addresses a minority of today's RPG audience". Even though I agree with you 100%, unfortunately, here is a simple question: why
So, a developer and an editor of RPG Codex agree on the same thing.

Is this the death of turn—based combat ?
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December 3rd, 2006, 01:30
Perhaps the death of life as we know it!!

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December 3rd, 2006, 11:10
I personally prefer turn based combats over real time combats. When there is a possibility to pause the real time combats and give orders, it can be good.
Even real time combat systems may be decent when used in appropriate game.
What I usually really hate are real time combats when you are leading party (not a single characters). If at all possible, I usually choose to play single character only in such cases.
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December 3rd, 2006, 12:20
I Much prefer TB combat, for the following reasons:

*) It emphasises character skill over player skill which is how rpg combat should be.
*) It's more tactical
*) It's more immersive. I know lots of people think that immersive means motion captured animations but for me it's having control and having the time to contemplate my next move.

If having TB combat means having tedious sections waiting for enemies to take their turn then so be it. If TB rpg's were in abundance then i might start caring about the waiting.
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December 3rd, 2006, 13:42
Partybased: Turnbased or at least with an option to pause(NWN2, BG etc). Makes it more tactical and easier to control the various members.
Single character: Real time, fast combat where you need to do more than just hack'n slash.
I agree with this, single character and turn-based combat…. it appears kind of pointless!. One of my favourite games Ogre Tactics has amazing TB combat… I can replay the same battle over and over and over again!

However ToE and ToP proves that it is possible to have great action based combat with a party too. Fallout works rather well with single player TB combat… hmmm. The conclusion would be TB is great when done right, and action based battle can be great when done right too! in DS I think the party based combat in real-time works rather well.
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December 3rd, 2006, 14:30
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
in DS I think the party based combat in real-time works rather well.
One might argue that perhaps it works TOO well since you don't really have to do anything other than feed them potions once in a while.

Overall I agree with Maylander. The more people/creatures you have to manage at once the more time consuming it becomes, so you either need pauses/turns to give out orders or you have to rely on the AI making the right decisions for you. Considering my own experiences with spell casters firing off an huge AOE spell when only one opponent with very low health remains or the nicknaming of the NWN2 Qara to "Qara Bin Laden" due to her tendency to throw a fireball at her own feet thus wiping out everyone, be it friend or foe, indiscriminately (when playing on hardcore), I would say that the AI still leaves something to be desired.

I like both types, RT and TB, but they both have their place and neither can take over for the other without changing the gameplay on a fundamental level (e.g. turning chess into soccer).

"Chess in particular had always annoyed him. It was the dumb way the pawns went off and slaughtered their fellow pawns while the kings lounged about doing nothing that always got to him; if only the pawns united, maybe talked the rooks around, the whole board could've been a republic in a dozen moves." - Commander Vimes in Thud! by Terry Pratchett
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December 3rd, 2006, 17:16
One might argue that perhaps it works TOO well since you don't really have to do anything other than feed them potions once in a while.
Having played through the game on hard, I'll disagree I died countless times in many battles for making the wrong decisions.
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December 4th, 2006, 11:16
Turnbased or realtime is irrelevant, the important thing is that fighting is fluid and doesnt disrupt the flow of the game. Most RPGs from Goldbox to Gothic succeed at this, but there are some where I am unhappy with the combat.

One that springs to mind is Realms of Arkania 1: Blade of destiny. Combat is identical to RoA2 and 3, except for one tiny detail that makes it a lot worse. in RoA 1 you can only use ranged weapons and spells along rows and columns on the grid on which you are fighting, making it very easy to block your party members from using these ranged goodies. Extremely frustrating as enemies will close in on you quickly if you've equipped a bow, and you tend to fight large groups of enemies. Luckily the game isnt THAT combat heavy and dungeons dont respawn their enemies…

Good point about Realtime for party-based games. My experiences in the area (NWN 1 and Arcanum in real-time mode) is that AI design has to be taken to new levels for this to work. I think pausable realtime where you can set pause-triggers (the infinity engines do this very well, as do the Paradox line of strategy games) is preferrable here. Allowing the player to assign scripts to other party members could also be a solution.
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