Friday, October 3, 2008

Target calling in WAR

I've read a lot of posts and articles about suggestions to make WAR a better game, but the one suggestion I haven't seen mentioned is target calling. Target calling was an extremely popular function in Guild Wars, which allowed any party member to notify all other party members of the enemy that they are targeting. When a target is called, the mini map is pinged to the location of the target informing all other group members where to look. A line of text is added to the chat window saying: "Player x is targeting player y" and a small target icon appears next to the player that called the target allowing other players who click it and lock on. It was possibly the most used mechanic during combat in Guild Wars.

So whats so important about calling targets and why will WAR benefit from it? Target calling is essential for spiking down individual foes, as well as advertising weak or low health targets to the rest of your group. Good leaders can guide inexperienced players through priority targets, as well as direct group movements around the map. Given that WAR is heavily based on PvP, I'm amazed that Mythic didn't integrate a target calling feature into the game.

To take it one step further, it would be nice to have some smarts behind the target calls as well. Eg:
  • "Player x is targeting Player y, who is holding the flag!"
  • "Player x is targeting player y, who is below half health!"
  • "Player x is targeting player y, who is nearly dead!"
I think target calling would be extremely helpful in scenarios, where groups are often made up of randoms. It would bring some order to the chaos and provide extra depth to the tactics required to play the game.

6 comments:

Scott said...

Playing Babe Ruth and calling your shot works in Guild Wars but for WAR I'd be much happier if their retarded UI would show the Target of my Target like every other MMO in the past 4 years has done. Mythic would have known that if they'd actually checked out the competition.

Openedge1 said...

I think GW is quite unique in having the "Target Call" system.
My wife who is not a super gamer by any stretch of the imagination, uses it handily, and does it quite well.
It is one mechanic that I think works..
Too bad it is not used more.

Crimson Starfire said...

No joke, when Melf I and first started playing WAR, we spent 15 minutes or so trying to work out what the hot key to call targets was. We couldn't believe Mythic would leave out such a simple yet effective game mechanic. Later on I remembered, WoW didn't have target calling either. Mythic never looked 5 feet past WoW when they built WAR. Sad really.

Melf_Himself said...

Please don't get me started on "Target of my Target" scott. That mechanic takes so much of the strategic depth out of games it's not funny. Forcing defensive characters to read the play to predict incoming spikes makes for a much deeper game than to be able to do it with the click of a button.

Like many, many things, just because WoW does it doesn't mean it's the best way it could be done. WoW is a great PvE game, but it's far behind Guild Wars in terms of PvP.

Scott said...

There's no such thing as a "spike" in any game other than GW though. Everything that works so well in GW like those spikes, the particular types of strategies, counter-strikes and counter-abilities, ONLY work in GW.

In WAR, I can't help the tanks who are being beat on because of their PvP taunts if I can't tell which player is doing the beating.

I'd even rather have a normal Target of Target + Skill Forwarding rather than the Defensive Target, though that can also have its benefits.

If nothing else, at least give me Skill Forwarding.

Melf_Himself said...

I appreciate what you say about their being a lack of spikes in other games.

I don't understand why you can't help whoever's getting beat on anyway? Ideally you see a bunch of enemy around your ally, and you cast a bunch of HoTs on him.

Sometimes, granted, the UI makes it hard to click on the right person, sometimes you click the enemy by mistake. It would be nice to be able to say, alt-click and only have allies selectable (a la Guild Wars).

Sometimes if it's an ally in our backline, I just cycle next ally until I see someone with low / decreasing health. The range isn't really very far on the cycling though which makes it harder to help people even a little ways into the enemy backline.

Still, I think that means they should make the UI of target selection better, rather than giving the healer new information that makes it harder for the melee to do their job.