Collision Detection, a key to smart PvP?

Ha, and just as I hit the ‘post’ button, something that I have been meaning to talk about pops into my head. Funny how that works…

A long time ago, Mythic announced that Warhammer Online will feature collision detection. Now at the time I glanced over that and really did not give it much thought. I mean how much of an impact can going around someone rather than through them have on a game, right? If anything I pictured getting trapped by a few NPCs in a town and getting annoyed at the whole thing, wishing I could just run through everything like you can in most MMOs.

Currently playing The Witcher, a game with collision detection sparked a few ideas, and seeing a gameplay video of WAR hit the point home. Collision detection in PvP is ‘serious business’. All of a sudden forming an attack line or creating a wall becomes viable strategy. Formations, positioning, not running around like a loon; all important with the addition of a rather simple sounding feature.

What this also means is that now the PUG vs Pre-made distinction becomes even greater. A PUG will have great troubles holding formations and watching over each other, while a premade will execute tried and tested formations and battle plans. Tanks will position themselves correctly, ranged DPS will know where their LoS lies, healer will stick to safe spots away from the enemy. The possible amount of changes something like this brings could be immense. This means that a premade should be able to out-perform even a heavily over geared PUG, which serves only to reduce the importance of items and place more emphasis on smart thinking and organization.

As with all things WAR however, it all depends on exactly how everything is implemented. The size of a character has to be great enough to enable blocking, LoS has to be defined enough to actually matter, and pathing difficulties have to be great enough to actually allow a healer to hide behind his friends. Hopefully collision detection delivers on all its possible potential, as it alone could bring a very distinct feel to PvP combat in Warhammer Online.

Just one more reason why that WAR beta invite can’t come soon enough…

12 Responses to Collision Detection, a key to smart PvP?

  1. tipa says:

    EQ1, by the way, had collision detection with player avatars. Ogres blocking the entrance to the Bazaar proved its griefing possibilities…

  2. syncaine says:

    Really, EQ1 had collision? I find that very odd for some reason…

    I remember UO had collision, but you could pass through someone at full ‘rest’ (forget the name of the stat now), at the cost of 50% of it. Still lent itself to some strategy, as tricking someone into passing through you then blocking them meant an easy kill.

    As long as you remove all bottlenecks from non-PvP area’s, your concern should be alleviated though Tipa. In terms of PvP, collision detection could still work great.

  3. [...] intending to take a break from mmorpg blogging for awhile but Syncaine brought up a good topic on Collision Detection in mmorpgs that I would like to add to my ‘archive’ here for future reference on this [...]

  4. Spinewire says:

    Darkfall if it comes out will have Collision detection

  5. mbp says:

    How come you never got into Guild Wars Syncaine? I would have thought it suited your pvp instincts. Of course it also has collision detection – and the combat is all the better for it in my opinion.

  6. syncaine says:

    The art style bothers me with GW for some reason. I tried the original game, and just never got into it. I think the fact that it is so heavily instances also does not work for me, like it did not in DDO.

    GW is one of those games I SHOULD like, but just don’t. Granted I never got very far in it (played maybe 10 hours max?), but during that time it did little for me. If they came out with a Gold edition with all the different boxes included, I would be willing to give it another go however.

  7. Snafzg says:

    As explained in a recent developer interview, collision detection in WAR will only last a few moments, then you’ll be able to push your way through. I’m not sure on the exact mechanics but my understanding is that you will not be able to line up an impenetrable wall of black orcs.

  8. Snafzg says:

    Oh, and I also believe they stated:

    1) PvP collision only works between opposing factions. CD is not activated on your members of your own realm because it could severely mess up ally travel.

    2) PvP collision detection will have no affect on LoS, however, in game objects will (a wall, tree, etc.).

  9. syncaine says:

    Yea I saw the part about it being used only in PvP, which makes perfect sense. No point in having collision detection in friendly cities or even when questing together.

    Not sure how I feel about the LoS part, guess we will have to wait and see how that works out. If healers and other cloth classes can be picked off behind the tanks, it will diminish their value, but again we will have to see how it all works out.

    As for forming a wall, as I understood it, there is a penalty when you try to push through a enemy, so even if you can’t make a solid wall, forming a wall and forcing your enemy to either stop or push through will be beneficial. I’m all in favor of anything that stops the ‘swing and run through’ tactic that is WoW pvp. Not only does it imbalance pvp towards slow 2h weapons, it also reduces the effect terrain has on combat.

  10. Snafzg says:

    Hmmm, I don’t recall reading anything about a penalty when pushing through CD…

    http://www.warcry.com/articles/view/devchat/2886-Warhammer-Online-Dev-Chat-Log.2

    SD|Skwisgaar: About collision detection, how potent will it be? I’ve noticed in some videos that people were almost not hindered at all. Ex: Will we be able to maintain a tightly knit formation, say, a shieldwall, which would be effectively the blocking enemy players at strategic chokepoints like hallways and gates?

    Players will be able to Push through Collision but only after a period of time (A few seconds) this is to prevent AFK greifing etc

    however collision will work very well for stopping or slowing an assault esspecially if your blocking a doorway

    that is why we added knockback to the game =)

  11. [...] collision detection (it must be in the whole game, right? can’t only be in PvP, can it?), but Hardcore Casual did, and just like him, I’m very interested in the [...]

  12. [...] WAR was released, I posted how crucial collision detection can be for a PvP game. (Bonus points to Spinewire for mentioning DF back then!) The ideas behind that post still stand, [...]

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