The good people over at Age of Conan have released the first of their gameplay previews. This one takes a look at the plans for reanged combat in the game.
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Today we take the first look at how ranged combat will play out in Age of Conan. Want to discover the archer in you? Then this is the feature for you!
Ranged combat will operate from a number of different 'stances', each different stance will offer the player a chance to use a different style of ranged attack, from a 'snipe' type shot to blanketing an area with as many arrows as they can fire.
Most of the ranged combat stances see the action shift into a kind of first person view. The camera zooms into an over the shoulder or first person view and displays a targeting crosshairs. Here you aim with your weapon, and fire towards advancing opponents much like you might find in a FPS game (but not quite as fast-paced). This serves to try and bring the player "there", into the action, and into the world.
The crosshairs changes colour to indicate whether the target is in range or not to give a clear indication of whether you have a good chance to hit your target. This introduces a great combination between actual player skill (targeting and choosing your targets) and the more traditional RPG skill systems. The different classes will have varied skills with ranged weapons so stats, and how you have chosen to advance your skills, will still bear heavily on your chance to hit, and how much damage you might do (and how quickly you can do it!) whilst still needing the player to have their wits about them and actively have their foes targeted!
So the good old-fashioned 'ToHit' roll is still present and correct, but there isn't any easy 'lock on target' mode here, if your target is moving (and lets face it anything that might be aware you are trying to poke holes in it with a well placed volley of arrows is going to be trying to move!) you'll have to keep your aim straight and true to keep it in your sights.
Therefore ranged users will always have to be paying attention and choosing their targets carefully, picking the right target at the right time, and always having to consider the reaction of their target to being shot at! The best bow skills in the world won't help much if a stray arrow attracts the attention of an entire village of angry Picts you might have been better of avoiding!
The system blends in with the rest of the real combat engine so that it hopefully doesn't become a pure 'twitch fest' that you might find in a FPS, it won't be that hectic, but just like its melee counterpart ranged combat will put some of the finesse and skill back in the hand of the players!
Overall we really feel this brings a degree of realism to using ranged weapons that is very different to anything that you might see in most fantasy MMOs.