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Community Spotlight: Reticule vs. Tab Targeting

Posted by MikeB Sunday June 2 2013 at 11:32PM
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In this week's Community Spotlight, we focus on the thread, "Reticule VS Tab target - your thoughts?" by Mkilbride.

I see alot of threads about how reticule is the future of MMORPGs, that action combat requires more skill and somehow has more depth. That all MMORPG's should adopt such a system.

I personally don't believe this. I thought it was so, years ago when Vindictus game out, I was super amazed, and Reticule can be very fun. However MMORPG's really are meant for the long-haul and I find it can become tiring after awhile, being constantly vigilant. You got a scratch? You can't or you die. You wanna eat a snack while grouping? Can't. Wanna mindlessly grind some task? Can't.

Then there is also the debate about how it's more "skill based." one could make this argument, but I disagree again. I am a lover of games like Jedi Academy, Devil May Cry, Chivalry, Mount & Blade. But really it becomes almost the same after awhile. Press keys 1-4 for your attacks, or RMB / LMB top perform a combo. It ends up just being as monotone as Tab target can be - except you've got to put alot energy into it.

Tab target on the other hand, allows for better animations, more interesting skills, and depth that you can't have with action based combat. They both have their ups and downs, but after years of believing how action combat such as Vindictus was going to revolutionize the MMORPG, and how it must be more skill based, I've played alot of new MMOs since then and changed my opinion on the matter.

Both require skill. That's why I dislike fans of reticule who say they won't play a MMO without "action combat", because it's not skill based. I also dislike fans of tab target who won't do action combat because they say they don't want twitch based skill in a game. One requires dexterity, the other theoretical thinking. Both require their own type of skill, neither is more skill based in the end, I find.

What are your thoughts?


What's the community think? Read on for a couple of highlights from the thread!

pauly6478 can see the benefits of both:

I like both but I do like the mechanics of aiming my skills because it does take more skill. Having to aim a skill is and will always be much harder then auto lock. Its like playing a shooter with autotarget and manual target. One is just easier. 

But I do agree it does tend to get tedious after awhile aiming all the time.

I like both but I think most players now are just tired of the same ol garbage so they like having to aim now.

AlBQuirky is a fan of tab-targeting:

For me, tab targeting hands down. Like others, I get overly tired in action combat games. I do like the dodge mechanic, though. Tab Targeting handles this as a dice roll (Random Number Generator) if there is a dodge skill, which is fine for me.

Neither Tab Targeting nor Reticule handle misses, though. How far does that arrow or bullet go after missing the target to the left? Does it hit another monster in another close area? No. It misses and disappears, falling harmlessly to the ground "somewhere." Would reticule targeting be as fun then? Having mobs adding onto a fight when a player misses would cause all kinds of grief.

The biggest reason I prefer tab targeting is that my character, not me, is doing the combat. My mouse control is not good. Hopefully, my character is much better at aiming than I am :)

reeereee seems to lean towards reticule aiming:

What are you people even talking about with typing?  If you're typing while fighting in a tab target game you're either doing well under optimal dps/tps or the global cooldown is ridiculously long.

I find action combat game changing for PvP.  In games like WoW or Aion winning and losing revolves around the proper use of cooldowns, because among other things there is no dodging in non-action land and defensive cooldowns are used to simulate that.  I find it incredibly freeing to have character positioning rather than who pressed a cooldown button when determine the outcome of PvP.  I really can't imagine ever going back to a tab target game unless the content was mindblowing, and even then maybe not.

I'm going to be lame and say I don't really have a preference. I took great pride in my ability to excel in Age of Conan PvP due to the difference in raw player skill provided by the free targeting of that game's combat system, but at the same time, I don't really mind tab-targeting as I play SWTOR on a regular basis. I feel there is room for both, and as another user mentioned, it's really just about flavors. The trend right now is leaning towards a more reticule based "action" combat, but I think things will come around and find a nice balance with options available for all crowds.


What's your take? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

GermaximusS writes:

Well, it's the future for players who have been playing tab target for five or more years. It simply gets boring, that's all it is. But all games do at some point.

I've quit WoW after playing for six years, I've returned a few times since I quit but I've never stayed past my initial 30 day return and it's mostly because of the combat system, I'm just tired of it. Heck I have a hard time entering Dragon Age trying to clear my backlog because of it. It's definitely not because it's a bad game. WoW is still incredible, I never started to dislike the game, I just grew tired of it.

The whole "more skill" argument works, it will never be a end all argument tho. Every game requires some manner of skill. I prefer faster paced games right now. But when I was younger I used to love strategy games, I used to love to take my time. Not anymore. I still enjoy strategy games from time to time but mostly I just want to jump into the action!

Neverwinter made me laugh because even tho the game offers up the target reticule it's still basically a tab target game. It's definitely not the same as Tera or Vindicuts or others like those. I'm not putting Neverwinter down, I think it's a really cool game, but it's definitely closer to the tab target system than it is to the hack and slash action system.

I like having to be more active in a game. I don't think its fair or a good argument to point out that games with tab target allow you to be more lazy or not having to be "constantly vigilant." =p I understand the point tho, I just thought it was a bad argument. haha

There's different style games, they each require "skill" in different manners. Twitch based is definitely something you have to react faster to which is why it's usually referred to as "takes more skill."  It is indeed "more skill based" but only on the faster reflex system which does matter when you're comparing the two types. It doesn't mean you can't be good at both games, it's really just a general comparison.

There is a problem with players that actually believe they are better than other gamers simply because they prefer a different combat system. I love all combat systems, I'm really tired of tab targeting but it's not a bad system. Gaming is gaming and they all require paying attention and playing good if you want to win.

Mon Jun 03 2013 2:55AM Report
Bigbadwlf writes:

The #1 thing that you hear from modern developers that also happen to be proponents of action combat is that they want to keep the action on the screen.

For years players had to watch their action bars, dps meters, and healers had to watch health bars and pretty much ignored what was going on in the screen because there was no feedback in the combat itself. In an action combat game you could instantly tell if your character landed an attack when their weapon hit box overlapped the enemy's hurt box.  In tab based MMOs, that action would need to be diced rolled on the server side to calculate if the attack that look liked it hit, actually was a miss (low hit rating), a dodge, or even a block.

Same thing with dodging mechanics.  In tab based combat like GW2, characters  could dodge right in front of an enemy's attack and look like they got hit but took no damage due to invincibility frames.  In action based combat like Tera, a dodge would only be successful if they physically avoided the hit box of the attack entirely.  This is much better visual feedback.

That said, I don't think the future of MMOs is necessarily going to be tab based combat or action combat.  It's going to be Intuitive combat.  I have seen action games where the mobs would not react at all to player attacks, and I have seen tab based games where monsters and players reacted more realistically to combat hits.  If you have to explain hit rating and invincibility frames in next gen MMO combat mechanics then that game has already failed in my opinion.

Mon Jun 03 2013 3:58AM Report
Wicoa writes: The future is all modes. It just depends on how fun the game is. I don't like the idea that people feel they can slack off and eat etc with tab target, I detest it in dungeons or raids when people use this time as eat time when other people are doing all the "work". Mon Jun 03 2013 4:04AM Report
Wololo writes: @Bigbadwulf, just so you know, TERA dodges DO have invulnerability frames. I played the game for only 3 or so months but I can tell you with absolute certainty that if my slayer dodged at the correct moment, whether or not the incoming attack looked like it hit, he did not take damage due to invul frame. just my 2 cents! Mon Jun 03 2013 5:50AM Report
Roxtarr writes: Full Control vs Aim Control is the way I see it. With full control, the player is 100% in control of the camera at all times, regardless of the player's action. In aim control the player's camera is restricted in a way that forces them to look dead on to what they are fighting. It's a step backwards imho. People want to say Aim Control targeting is more 'twitchy' when this just isn't the case anymore. Free-form targeting, twitch dodging, etc is perfectly viable in Full Control games as well.  Mon Jun 03 2013 6:01AM Report
Battlerock writes: I warmly welcome both. I have seen games that do them both very well now. I was a bit skeptical about reticle at first but Neverwinter changed my mind thier combat is great. And as far as tab targetting no one does it better than World of Warcraft. WOW is the most fluid ( aka least herky jerky) game there is and tab targetting is a big part of that. So I gladly take both types. On the flip side Tera and Rift both do ok but both of those games fall short of what Neverwinter and Wow have as far as fluidity. Mon Jun 03 2013 8:21AM Report
discord235 writes: Personally I think GW2 has the best targeting/combat system out now. I have gone back to tab targeting games like Rift since playing GW2, and these other games just seem "behind the times" to me now. My main problem with tab targeting is not the amount-of-skill-required argument, but just the fact that with tab targeting I have to constantly stare at the bottom of my screen waiting for cooldowns and I miss watching the action. It doesn't matter how cool the animations look, because I rarely see them. Although I think Neverwinter sucks overall due to their business model, I really like how their combat is set up. Mouse buttons and Q, E, and R for attacks. Keep it simple. You don't need 15 different attacks (like in Tera) that basically do the same thing, albeit with different animations. And I remember the days of playing my Warlock in WoW - I had every single hotbar slot taken up and STILL didn't have room for everything. Overkill is what that was. There were many abilities I never even used. And maybe it did require more "thinking" back then, but I am playing a game and want to be entertained, I don't want it to seem like work. And also, think if you were really in a fight - there aren't 40 different things you can choose to do - only a few. Mon Jun 03 2013 9:09PM Report
Thupli writes:

To the OP:


Currently I love the hybrid GW2 style.  Here are a couple thoughts on the X or Y questions that you posed.


1.  Too much mouse pointer action gets boring, IMO.  I dont want my visual focus to always be on my mouse pointer, I want to be able to look at other things in the periphery.

2.  I like having arrows/projectiles hit pillars instead of "you have no line of sight".  It's cool in a refreshing way.

3.  My biggest dig vs tab playing is not so much the tabbing itself.  But standing behind a tank and simply spamming "best sequence" spells is just so thoughtless.  This is more of an issue of trinity play than tab targetting.  I am interested to see how Wild* works out in this respect as it should have more action combat like GW2, but a trinity more like WoW. 



Mon Jun 03 2013 10:56PM Report writes:
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