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MMOWTF: To Twitch or not to Twitch

Posted Jul 27, 2007 by Jon Wood

MMOWTF: To Twitch or not to Twitch

Weekly columnist Dan Fortier takes a look at the idea of using twitch-based combat in an MMORPG.

Of all of the features requested by gamers on a virtually non-stop, a twitch combat system stands out as one that is constantly ignored for all the wrong reasons. The industry standard MMO combat system of click-and-wait has proven that it is easier to balance and cheaper to implement, so it's no surprise that many developers have shied away from a more active combat system. This week, I want to expose a few myths about twitch combat systems and see what trends might play out in the future for the genre. Take off your rose-colored glasses and read on.

When I say 'Twitch' combat, I'm referring to a system that gives players with faster reaction time, better aim or quicker wits a decided edge in combat. You could make a case that even auto-attack systems can achieve this to various degrees and you would be right, but for the purpose of this article, I'm specifically referring to systems that have a real-time element to them rather than a 'stack' or queue for your actions. There are many different ways of integrating this real time element into combat and there are even various hybrid type systems that have been used to create a more exciting combat experience. Games like Fallen Earth and Age of Conan are already promising these types of systems, but only time will tell how successful they will be, since most games have enough issues without trying to raise the bar.

Read the whole column here.


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