Forums » Suggestions

Direction and Vision of PvP Combat

May 23, 2006 netherby link
We were talking yesterday on 100 about PvP combat and how it was pretty flat, lacking much depth.. People suggested a few ideas, but I thought we could make a forum thread on the topic and hopefully get some input from the Devs about their vision of where PvP combat will go.

The current PvP revolves heavily around fast ships and dodging (back rolling). Basically if you want to PvP that's what you will do, sure there is some variation in ships and weapons, but basically it's fast ship, fast energy weapon and back rolling.. Agree?

I personally would like to see far more variation in combat styles and tactics, but for that to happen other styles would need to actually be effective..

Faster projectile speeds have been suggested, but basically ruled out due to latency issues..

Anyway, what do you think?
May 24, 2006 Lord Q link
i finde that a veriety of styals can be effective. i've seen agressive charge-in firing styals, hang back and use a couple killing shots (rails) styals, the energy blast and finish with close range swarms styal, etc.

in my experience flairs are prety popular as a PVP weapon (i never liked 'em much myself, but that's just me). the gaus cannon can be prety deadly as well.

admitedly i've been online infrequently recently, but i always found that if a player backroles excessivly it's just because he doesn't know any better and generaly once he gets some more practice he'll giove it up, since it's basicly not effective except as a defencive manuver.
May 24, 2006 jexkerome link
I think you must be smoking something that isn't at all good for your health. Backrolling (moving backwards while doing a barrel roll) and backpedaling (moving backwards and strafing, like the AI is doing these days) are newb tactics that most experienced pilots learn to defeat and eventually move out of. They still have a place, of course, specially when a large objective is at stake (i.e. getting that PK is not the most important thing) or when you want to really really annoy someone.

Ship speeds are being discussed seriously, and lowering them a bit is being contemplated; that will have essentially the same effect as increasing weapon speed without the problems the latter might give us.

PvP has evolved in this game since it was created (about 5 years ago) and the way I feel it and heard it, it's pretty much where the Devs want it. Variaton and tactics abound, if you just pay attention; some people fight without Flight Assist, others never leave it (though most of us turn it off and on during a fight, as we judge necessary); some prefer all-energy ships, others all-ammo ships, and most prefer a mixture of both, the infamous Gatling Turret and Flares combo being the most popular choice for medium ships. Some people fight up-close, in your face, trusting their skills and ship to keep them out of your sights, others fight at a distance, using high-speed guns and rapid-fire rockets, a few others go for a mix of weapons that allows them to attack from whatever distance. I have yet to find two (experienced) fighters that fight exactly alike or use exactly the same type of ship, every time.

In other words, The State of the Union is good, and you will notice once you actually face off against people who will kill you 100 out of a 100 times when you "backroll" against them.
May 24, 2006 Snax_28 link
Netherby, I've noticed since I've come back that a lot of newer players fight purely with FA off. This does indeed lead to the tedious style of PvP you are referring to. I'm not saying this is an illegitimate tactic, but it is not as exhilarating as some other tactics.

You should try fighting with FA on. Set it up so that you can easily turn it on and off. My basic rule of thumb for FA is as follows:

FA on: Attack mode (easier to land shots)
FA off: Defense mode (easier to dodge)

During a fight I turn FA on and off 50 times or more.

Before you give up on the current state of Pvp, I would say go try this out in some friendly duels with someone who you enjoy training with.
May 24, 2006 bojansplash link
Dear Netherby, you obviously have never been in a real dogfight.
Its the best adrenaline rush in VO pvp you can get.
Ask on 100 to find if some fighters are willing to put up a show for you. Sit, observe and enjoy.
Variations in combat tactics are numerous and usually depend on your ship, loadout and your piloting skills. Imho pvp is the best thing in VO atm.
Backrolling is also a legitimate tactics but expirienced pilots rarely use it. Its boring and leads to boring long fights.....or quick deaths, depends on who are you fighting with.
May 24, 2006 netherby link
I never suggested that VO dogfighting isn't good, I pointed out that PvP is currently limited completely to dogfighting, where slower ships and weapons are generally not used, almost everyone preferring a fast ship with a mix between nuets/gauss and secondary flares/rockets..

How many times have you actually been killed by someone in a Rag when you're coming at them in your valk?

It's great that you all think VO has the most in depth player combat ever to grace the face of a MMO, I'm sure the devs will all want your babies.. Regardless of how perfect you think it currently is, if you can't see any aspects at all that could be improved you're simply not looking..
May 24, 2006 bojansplash link
You would be suprised but good pilots in rags can kill light ships very quickly.
Heck, i killed shape in his nasty rev c with my wraith numerous times.
I like to use different ships a lot, wraiths, mauds, atlases, centaurs, all of them have their good and bad sides in pvp but they have one thing in common...if you know how to use them you can fight and win against light ships most of the time.

I agree, there is always room for improvement but i dont think you fully explored your possibilities to pvp with existing ships and layouts.
May 24, 2006 Snax_28 link
This also touches upon the arguments surrounding whether a game should be "balanced" to the point where any ship with any layout has the ability to kill any ship with any layout.

Instead, what I believe the devs are trying to steer towards is specific niches for specific ships. Why would a bomber be able to compete with a dogfighter in a one on one fight? Save a lucky shot, which is basically what we have now.

But the main problem I think you are referring to, is that all there really is to do is PvP, B8 style. While you may be correct, I don't think that gearing the game towards only this, instead of keeping course with what is in the works, is a good solution. It would be a bandaid at best, a complete waste of resources at worst.
May 24, 2006 netherby link
Clearly having every ship stack up evenly with every other ship is not the way to go, then you might as well just have 1 ship..

I was hoping people would consider where they want PvP to go in the long term, not just what small things could be done in the short term.. Hearing what the devs have in mind would be interesting too..
May 24, 2006 LeberMac link
I think the PvP in VO is pretty darned good. Better than any FPS, and certainly better than any MMORPG I've seen. It takes a good deal of skill to be "good" at PvP in this game.

Eventually I think the devs are going to implement a CnC (Command and Control) "Bridge" for use in the larger ships (Tridents and up) that gives you a stragetic/tactical overview kind of like Homeworld2. So in your trident, you'd perhaps rarely use the "front-view" aspect, just the overview/area mode. I'm assuming that since dodging in those ships is kind of moot, that THAT won't be a big deal.

netherby - you can have special "dodge binds" that accumulate a series of keystrokes and/or maneuvers that will give you special moves, but technically I think those are for lazy folk, or maybe those without a joystick or gamepad.

I'd like to see destructible environments that we could fight in and around. Like burned-out hulks of old gigantic cargo ships. (Suggested before.) As in, if you're on the other side of the wall, I can shoot through it to get to you.

I'd like to see a large planetisemal/asteroid that we could fly over the surface of, with caves and tunnels and cracks and craters and holes and stuff. (Suggested before.)

I'd like to see a better-organized and "smarter" (human-controlled NPC bots?) Hive presence that takes some risks, does some unexpected things, travels toother systems, tries to take over good asteroid mining regions, etc. Not really PvP but would be better game-wise.

A combat arena would be nice, especially in Serco space since, according to the backstory, they're into that kind of thing. (Suggested before.)

Missions that require you to kill other PLAYERS would be cool. A mission in Deneb that says "The Serco guise bots have proven to be ineffectual, trained Serco pilots are now coming through the Geira wormhole and need to be eliminated." Proceed to Deneb B-12 and eliminate 5 Serco players. With a BIG reward.

Real radar occlusion. As in, hiding behind asteroids hides your radar signature from those NOT in line-of-sight. Or, as an alternative, hiding close to a large gravitational object (asteroid, capship) hides your radar signature.
May 24, 2006 Ghost link
All good ideas leber.

netherby: There's a lot of fighting styles out there, maybe you're fighting the wrong people atm. Personally, when in an energy dogfight, I love turning FA on and having a real up close and personal fight. It's easier to land energy hits with FA on anyways.

Unfortunately, I agree with snax that most new players I've seen fight with FA off. This is fine, but eventually people will realize that in order to be effective with energy you need to be inside 150m. The only excuse to that rule being if you're fighting a very heavy ship. But yeah, if your opponent doesn't have rockets, turn FA on and go have fun.

And ships like rags are all about different flying styles. I know Cunjo's rag has eaten many a valk.

I think you might just need to develop a pvp style. The trick to pvp is to ALWAYS know what you're doing. Don't ever just charge in and try to shoot the enemy before he shoots you. Find out what your enemy is doing, what weapons he has, is he manuvering in a pattern, etc. Then respond accordingly:

My enemy is backrolling so I'll turn autoaim off and have some target practice.

My enemy is attacking aggresively in an energy vult, so I'm going to try to get him to overcompensate on his turns and take advantage of his broad side.

My enemy is using agt and flares so I'm going to try and run him out of ammo before I become locked in an engagement.


Find the styles to use, they're out there. Don't give up on pvp!
May 24, 2006 moldyman link
There are many different combat styles I've faced, and used. As mentioned above, I'm exclusively all ammo. Rockets! Rockets rockets rockets... I love em! I've flown Rags, Hornets (my favorite ship for a good long time) and Valks laden with rockets into battle. And they've always been different every time I've fought.
May 24, 2006 KixKizzle link
Backroll all you want.
It's not gonna make you any harder to hit.
May 24, 2006 Ghost link
Hehe, I love when people backroll against rockets. It's amusing to watch them roll into one volley after another and not adjust their tactic.
May 24, 2006 yllamana link
So this brings up an obvious problem with the game's PvP. Generally, the vision of a great game is, "easy to learn, hard to master."

So, taking your word that VO is hard to master - since I'm not a master of it by any means - where is the easy to learn part? I don't think that a lot of people are going to be satisfied with sitting around being clay pigeons for the more experienced players, yet they're who new players have to fight in PvP.

After you've started rolling, PvP just gets flat out boring for a new player. Suddenly nobody is hitting you and you aren't hitting anyone. You can say what you want about "rofl n00bz sux lol" but this is the impression that new players are getting of the game.

If you don't think that there's a problem with the game mechanics then the alternative is that there's a problem of perception and education. How do you, if you think the PvP is fine, propose to fix that?
May 24, 2006 Bryce Coulson link
Given the size of the community, it's not difficult to figure out who is considered adept at their chosen style of PvP. Simply asking these folks for advice rarely fails to achieve a new tip or two.

But it would be neat if someone who had mucho surplus time went and collected said tips, and organized them into a cohesive manual of sorts.

But for starters, the forum is chok full of advice; this thread alone covers the basics of succesfull light vs light fighting techniques.
May 24, 2006 yllamana link
Bear in mind that Joe Noob is unlikely to go around harassing specific people about how to PvP, and is unlikely to troll through dozens of forum threads trying to figure out something so basic. He will just go and play WoW.

The game has to sell itself. Most people aren't going to put tons of effort into figuring out the raw fundamentals if they don't know that they'll get anything out of doing so.
May 24, 2006 Ghost link
I think one of the issues is that a lot of the players here have been playing for years. That's obviously going to create a gap. Once they start advertising the game, hopefully we will see a large increase in players. This should help out the "clay pidgeon" aspect.

My reccomendation to new players is to try everything. Try heavy and light ships, energy and rockets. Once you've learned the basics of each, which doesn't take too long, you can decide what you want to get good with. Choose one style of combat and perfect it, but have other styles in your arsenal as well. Also, by taking the time to learn each ship and weapon, you will also learn their weaknesses. Make sure to take these into account when fighting. You always want to try to force the enemy to play into your strengths.

The easy to learn part is the same with any FPS. (I know, we need content). Point and shoot. The hard to master part comes with pointing and shooting while not getting shot yourself. PvP is something you need to stick with for a while. No two players fight exactly the same, so there's no one tactic that you can use against everyone. That's what makes it so difficult and so fun at the same time.

I agree with you about rolling, that's a hard curve to get over as a new player. It's tempting because lesser experienced players have difficulty hitting rollers. There's really no easy way to get around it, you just have to change your tactics until you find something that works. Turning auto-aim off works great for energy weapons. Or just pack some flares and you'll see how effective they are against rollers.

All in all, i'd say stick with it and never be afraid to ask for help. If you get schooled by someone, ask for some tips. The community is generally pretty friendly in this way. And most importantly, fly to have fun =)
May 24, 2006 moldyman link
I was a clay pidgeon. Then I earned my Dodge badge and became a Crow. One day I hope to be a Hawk.

Seriously, what you're saying is that new players have to learn without trying. PvP is all about trial and error, learning from your mistakes and improving upon them. I chose one of the hardest loadouts in the game to master. I got shot down manyy many times. I continues on and learned, adapting. If a person cannot continue playing because PvP is too hard, it's not like we can nerf Shape (though it has been suggested many times).Shape is one of the best, if not the best, PvPer playing at this time.

One cannot reproduce the PvP aspect in any other way but fighting players. If one would rather go off and play WoW than keep trying to become better, I don't want to imagine what type of person they are in real life.
May 24, 2006 Shapenaji link
I agree that PvP is a bit of a challenge for newbies right now.

The strategies that most people jump to after fighting against bots
just don't lend themselves to any kind of decent PvP gameplay.

And while its not too hard for a more experienced pilot to combat these tactics, the group of intermediate players that a new player will often fight against, as they improve, does have a lot more trouble with them. As a result, epithets are thrown back and forth,
and we end up with a cadre of people with boring tactics.

Its not that rolling isn't a valid tactic, it is, its just that the gameplay that it promotes at that intermediate level often gives a very poor showing of the intensity of combat.

(Who starts playing a videogame that can be beat by holding down three keys and spamming fire until you hit, honestly?)

So perhaps something needs to be done to make combat more intense at an earlier level. I can imagine a few ideas:

A) Bot AI is improved to mimic experienced players targetting rolling players.

The algorithm shouldn't be too hard, the bot AI simply takes into account the derivative of the velocity, and then, if it meets a condition for rolling, switches to "roll-aim"
as soon as the velocity ceases to adhere to this standard, the bots go back to normal aim.

B) Ability to backpedal is reduced.

This will be unpopular, but possibly necessary. As much as distance control is a vital tactic, the ability to prolong engagements by staying well out of range of weapons fire indefinitely (not necessarily by rolling, but simply by countering your opponent's strafes) does not contribute to active gameplay.

The only thing that gets you killed in PvP in this game is the desire to kill the other person, or attempting to escape a situation too abruptly. That needs to be changed I think.

3)Autoaim is removed, entirely

This would be a tough sell for many players, but hear me out. The
wealth of "boring" tactics that emerge are the result of people's reliance on autoaim, if they didn't have to start out with this handicap, perhaps the tactics would change.