Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Star Wars - The Old Republic (Part Four)


SWTOR - Melee CombatSWTOR - Ranged Combat
Although there is melee and ranged combat in SWTOR, I'm afraid that I didn't find them to be that much different from each other mechanics-wise. In essense, regardless of it being melee or ranged, all combat in SWTOR turned out to be a skill-spamming fest and frankly-speaking, I was a bit disappointed that it was neither a hack-n-slash nor fps (or a mixture of both) type of combat.

But nonetheless, this doesn't mean that fighting in SWTOR is typical and mindless. In my opinion, there is still a bit of difference in terms of the fighting styles of the various different classes and your ability to grasp and adapt to their differences would determine whether you have the upper hand during combat. However, since I'm no guru, I would rather not go into that and only touch on some general aspects of combat that you would need to know.

If you've read my previous article on SWTOR's Character Creation, then no doubt you would have come across this term called "Resource".
SWTOR - Jedi Knight FocusSWTOR - Jedi Consular Force
SWTOR - Smuggler EnergySWTOR - Trooper Ammo
Basically from what I can tell, this resource-thingy is something that is needed when you use your various class abilities during combat. And for each class, the way it is needed and used may be somewhat slightly different.
SWTOR - Zealous StrikeSWTOR - Blade Storm
For example, the Jedi Knight starts with zero "Focus" when he enters a battle. And as he uses his class abilities to deal damage, some of them will generate "Focus" resource while some others (the harder hitting ones) would consume them. Then upon finishing the battle, the Jedi Knight would slowly lose all the "Focus" resource he had gained during the fight.
SWTOR - Explosive Round
The Trooper on the other hand, enters combat with full "Ammo" resource and needs to rely upon the system to "regenerate" his resource over time before he can use more of them. And although there are certain abilities that do not need "Ammo" to cast, most of them do and with the high damage abilities needing more.

In short, the fundamental difference is that the Jedi Knight builds his resources during combat and uses them while the Trooper needs to rely on how fast his "Ammo" resource regens. And from what I've noticed, the Trooper's "Ammo" regen rate is dependent on how much "Ammo" he has left (low "Ammo" level equals low regen rate).

So with this difference in the way resources are generated and consumed, there is a difference in combat style between a Jedi Knight and a Trooper. Theoretically, the Jedi Knight can continue to use skill combos endlessly as long as he is still alive by juggling the resource building and resource consuming abilities and their cooldown times. However, the Trooper's problem would be in "controlling" his rate of consumption of "Ammo" so that he does not empty his "Ammo" resource pool. For once he does empty it, his damage ability will be seriously hampered.
SWTOR - Smuggler Cover SystemSWTOR - Jedi Consular Force Usage
As for the Smuggler, while his "Energy" resource shares a somewhat similar behavior to the Trooper's "Ammo", he alone gets access to a unique "Cover-based System" that provides a strong defensive bonus as long as he is "in cover". However, the way this "cover" bonus works is not absolute and will only apply if the enemy does not get close or flank him. And if my memory serves me right, while being in cover, the smuggler will be able to see a certain icon (a shield if I'm not wrong) on top of the heads of those whom he is "in cover" against.

Finally, the Jedi Consular's "Force" resource behaves most similarly to that of a magician's mana in regular MMOs. As far as I know, its regeneration rate appears to be unchanged whether it is in battle or not. But combat-wise, the Jedi Consular is far from being the "squishy" type mage as its fighting style incorporates a balance of melee and force-based attacks.

Another thing that I reckon you might need to know about would be how to identify the various types of abilities found in SWTOR.
SWTOR - Abilities Window
Generally, abilities can be classified into three types, namely passive, active and toggle abilities. And while you can supposedly identify them easily via their descriptions in the "Abilities Window" (press "P"), I found that amongst these three types, it can be slightly difficult to differentiate between active and toggle as the descriptions do not state so clearly.

However, as I played on and gradually learnt more about the game, I discovered that toggle abilities can be easily recognized by a slightly elongated hexagon at the bottom-center of their icons. For example, if you refer to "Ataru Form" and "Juyo Form" in the picture on top, you will notice that both of these are toggle abilities and if the "hexagon" is lit up, it would mean that that ability is currently "active and in use".

Last but not the least, one final thing that you might be interested in learning would be how to make your Companion AI start using all the skills and abilities that they have in their arsenal.
SWTOR - Companion Power Strikes InactiveSWTOR - Companion Power Strikes Active
To do so, you will first have to press the "tilde key" (~) to bring out your companion's hotkey bar. Once it is out, look for all the abilities with a box at the top right corner that is not lit and right click on the boxes to light them. This is to actually instruct the AI to include the ability into its fights.
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