Thursday, August 12, 2010

To collide, or not to collide

As you probably know, the big WAR topic this week is whether or not friendly collision should be removed in the 1.3.6 patch.  Enemy collision detection would remain even if its counterpart is disabled.  There is a rather long thread about it on the official forums.  What do I think?

UPDATE: Looks like friendly collision will remain for 1.3.6!

To be blunt, I want friendly collision to remain in the game.  However, I can appreciate why Mythic would go down this path.

Performance.  I have no doubts that disabling friendly collision will have a noticeable effect on performance.  These two videos show that pretty clearly.  It is true that PTS always has better performance than live due to less people being logged in.  I have been to every PTS event and performance was much better than any before it. 

Improved performance may bring players back to the game, then again it may not.  Does performance matter if what you are doing is not fun?

Targeting. In a PvP focused game, players will take every advantage that they can.  Being able to stack (or blob) will certainly make players harder to target.  Tab-cycling in the middle of the fight is not really something I want to do.  Trouble with targeting players will just lead to more use of AoE, which is what I thought we were trying to get away from.

Speaking of AoE, just how effective will it be against a stack of players?  There is a cap of 9 targets per AoE, so the more players in the stack, the less chance they have of being hit.  PBAoE will of course benefit, I imagine BW's and Sorc's will love to hide in the stack spamming Surging Pain/Scorched Earth.

Parity.  Presently, if you run in a large group you have the advantage of more players.  The drawback is that you may have maneuvering problems due to friendly collision.  If you are in a smaller group, you can move around easier.  The drawback is you don't have as many players.  Removing friendly collision will take away the only drawback to running in a huge group.

Tactics.  Friendly collision is important if a smaller force wants to have a chance against a larger enemy.  Chokepoints (terrain, buildings, keep doorways etc) allow the smaller group to face only a portion of the enemy instead of all of them.  Without friendly collision, the defenders will have little chance of holding them off.

One of my biggest fears with this change is that Mythic, in the pursuit of increasing population, will alienate players who have been with this game for the last 2 years.  Combat is what WAR is all about, so a change like this is a big deal. 

I'm not going to rage quit or throw a tantrum if this change goes through.  I'll adjust and WAR will go on.  In the scheme of things it really isn't that important to me.  My stake in WAR is very small, since it is a hobby/game.  The developers have a much bigger stake since this is their livelihood.  It is their decision to make, and I hope it turns out to be the right one.