I was looking around for something to write about today and stumbled on this MassivelyOP post about Ashes of Creation combat. I clicked on the video and started watching with no real interest until this one combat mechanic caught my attention.
But first, I don’t know who that Ziz guy is, but if he’s not a paid content creator for Ashes of Creation, I’ll eat my hat. He’s way too excited about this game not to be getting paid. It’s a huge turn-off.
The “combat” shown in the video is only combat by the thinnest of definitions: It’s the blonde woman in red we’ve seen before–apparently the only character model they’ve made to date–blasting a statue. While Ziz raves about how it’s the smoothest combat animations he’s ever seen, I’m thinking, “I guess it’s not bad but it’s hard to tell since there’s only like two animations.” Is it the greatest I’ve ever seen? No. Am I ready to throw my money at this game yet? Hell no. The fact that they got someone like Ziz to rave about completely ordinary features is a huge red flag to stay away, to be honest.
What really drew my attention was the casting bar at the bottom of the screen during combat.
Instead of a standard casting bar that fills in, it was more of an interactive minigame. There’s a section of the bar colored in red, and it was very obvious that the player was trying to hit their ability key when a moving mark got to the red section. (The red section moved with every cast.)
I thought, “Surely that’s just an experiment and they’ll patch that out before anyone actually plays this game.” Just as I completed that thought, Ziz starts raving about this “combo” mechanic as if it’s the greatest combat feature of Ashes of Creation! Apparently they are doing this on purpose. Apparently if you hit your ability with the right timing (inside that red zone), it activates an additional combo or something.
Now obviously I haven’t experienced this feature first-hand, but I just can’t see this as anything but a train wreck for combat and game repellent for casual MMORPG players. Can you imagine if you have to dodge ground AoEs and watch that stupid casting bar at the same time? What happens if you miss the timing? Does the spell fizzle? Or does it simply do less damage? What’s the difference in damage between hitting the combo and missing the combo? How is this going to work for melee classes? Or tanks? Or healers? What about lag? Bots? My brain just explodes with potential problems here. How are they not thinking of these things?
Anyway, I’ll be very surprised if that particular feature survives contact with large numbers of players and makes it through to launch day.