Monday, March 21, 2011

The Sandbox Challenge: Ryzom III

The combat system in Ryzom definitely won't shock you with its groundbreaking concepts but lets remember it is as old as that quaint little game everyone seems so taken with....what's it called again....oh ya, World Of Warcraft. The combat mechanics are fairly standard, but really, how many ways are there to kill something? Well, I'm glad you asked! By extending my Forest Gump theme from my last post I can tell you that:

You can stab it, bash it, smash it, cut it, flay it, blast it, torch it, mangle it, strangle it, smother it, drown it, electrocute it, gas it, shoot it, stomp it, and finally you can run it off a cliff so that it falls and dies like the stupid bison used to do. Did I miss any?

If all combat is pretty much the same, how should I judge and/or score it? For the purposes of my challenge it is one of the scoring areas but it’s going to be a fairly subjective category. I am looking for the quality of the animations (smoothness and flow), the difficulty, the AI of the mobs, the point of it all, and the general feel of it overall.

Ryzom’s magic-ability combat animations are visually appealing and feel (and look) smooth. There are good character movements and pretty, bright colours to look at. Spells generally take longer than melee abilities which is standard fare for MMO’s so there is always the chance you will be interrupted.

I have to admit the classless system has, at times, led me to forget what ‘my role’ is and it’s been nice. I’ll often be going toe-to-toe with something only to realize that I likely should be at a much greater distance since I am a caster. I have also just realized that my new, heavy helm, affects the cost and length of time it takes to cast magic. I am essentially playing a hybrid at them moment and only just starting to realize the mechanics of armor, spells, and melee ability interaction. 

The funny flicker during any movement in this video is NOT in-game. It is a result of my general noobness with video and the fact I compressed it down to post it.


Melee combat isn’t as visually appealing, and there is just the hint of a delay sometimes in the animations. Its not lag, per se, as the damage gets done, but it just looks a bit off- kind of like a dubbed film that’s slightly out of sync. It doesn’t happen every time, but it is noticeable. I find that the starting melee skills are more powerful than the starting magic spells, but that could be a function of my skill choices and how I’ve put my stanza’s together.


I am now past the 20-hour mark in my play-time and I have, up to this point, been trying a little bit of everything and getting to know the game. Unlike my time in Ultima, or Istaria, the time has really flown by, and I am going to stay a wee bit longer (40-hours is my pre-set max per game). I haven’t really picked a direction for my character or embraced the community. Like any good game there is a lot to absorb, and in the very beginning I seemed to be simply wandering around, shell-shocked, trying to come to grips with it all.

Thus far I have been able to complete all of the starter quests solo but I realize that it would have been a lot easier in a group. My slow casting times would be ideal at range (as they always are), with a tank holding agro, and I would benefit from third-party heals as my own self-healing spell has a two minute cool down. I have yet to see, find, or learn about, any potions or healing items. As far as I know  there is no potion crafting, and nothing at the vendors.

Once I leave Noob Island I am sure a very different game awaits. The starter quests are a good introduction but I am, after all, interested in a Sandbox experience where I get to make my own decisions. I also realize that the player population will be much lower but that, actually, doesn’t deter me as I am quite content to blaze (stumble) forward into the unknown. I am especially interested in finally getting my ranged-melee abilities and the potential to make some guns, because, after all, isn’t the ability to run around screaming ‘Pew-pew’ the goal of any good gamer?

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