Like many of you, I’ve been watching Wildstar for a while with eager anticipation. There’s something about that little title, maybe its sense of quirkiness, that has me intrigued. And action combat. We can’t forget that, especially since it’s my single biggest concern for the game right now.
Not the actual mechanics of combat, mind you. I’m actually enthused at the many-varied telegraphs for movement, even if it will kill communication during fights. But hey, that’s nothing new. What I’m more concerned about is the sense of impact when you actually hit things. It’s important, especially since a lot of people seem keen on comparing the game to TERA. You can say what you want about that game, what with its full fledged boob physics, but it’s become the gold standard for MMO action combat. It’s fun, satisfying, and game-making.
Back to Wildstar, I’ve watched a herd of the available gameplay videos and a disturbing number of combat encounters lack any sense of impact whatsoever. You can do a flippity-floppity sword swoosh all day long, but if the enemy doesn’t react, it’s a failure. I submit the following hypothesis: action combat without a sense of impact lacks satisfaction. It also begs the question of why bother. A sense of impact is important, right up there with maneuvers blending together into a tight orchestra of destruction. That’s why games like God of War succeed. Tight combat with every element working together in unison so you can feel the battle.
This may be totally wrong. Maybe I just haven’t watched the right videos or all of the animations aren’t in yet. That would be reasonable at this phase in development. Still, I hope they don’t go forward with the Warcraft style of hits that feel like misses. Considering how advanced their other systems are it would be a terrible oversight. And Wildstar systems with TERA-level combat? That would make for one heck of a game.