The following is a topic I posted on the Neverwinter Nights 2 forums. What do you think?
Ways to make melee/ranged combat more fun?
I haven't played a pure melee class in ages, and recently just played a Fighter in NWN1. Holy cow is that one boring class to play. As a big fan of games like Return of the King, Genji, Onimusha, God of War, and Forgotten Realms: Demonstone, I find the melee and ranged combat fighting of NWN to be pretty boring. So I almost always play spellcaster in NWN. At least with spells, I'm trying to decide which spells to apply on which target. With fighter types, the combat is just not very stimulating or demanding of the player. I heard that in 3.5, there should be some more feats for fighters to use, but I'm still under the impression that fighters will still be pretty uninvolving to play.
What are some ways to make non-magic combat more entertaining? Please feel free to throw in some of your ideas.
1) This is my dream idea, and I understand that it'll never be in NWN2. But I think it'd be great if Obsidian could team up with Stormfront Studios some day (creators of the very first Neverwinter Nights game, and also creator of the Forgotten Realms: Demonstone action fighting game). Stormfront could bring their fighting mechanics to the melee/ranged combat to the game, and with Obsidian's help, they could create a hybrid of Demonstone and NWN in one game. Casting spells would function the same as it does now, but fighting with bow or sword would involve combo attacks and quick moving like in Demonstone. Of course this would require a lot of balancing to work it in correctly, but I think it'd be possible and pretty darn awesome if it'd worked
And this wouldn't mean that your combat performance would be completely dependent on your personal skill as a player. In Demonstone, players could outfit their characters with different staple D&D items. Rings of Deflection, Natural Armor amulets, +1 swords, etc. Like most action "hack 'em up" games these days, you can decide how to power up your character so that your stats can help determine your fate, not just your button-pushing and reflex skills. Finally, it'd be great if there was a an option to toggle AI control of your player. That way, players who want to let the AI do the bulk of the fighting can do so. This would revert the game to the standard NWN "click and watch" combat style, where the player just targets enemies and clicks feats and potions. The AI would not be as effective as if the player was doing the fighting, but it'd be an option for those who are not into Onimusha-style play.
2) OK, this is my more reasonable idea and I really hope there's a way to implement this into NWN2 somehow. I'm hoping the content creators can design this system. The idea comes from the tank MMORPG called "Blitz 1941". In that game, when you attack a target with a click, a little guage/meter appears. This guage requires you to click a second time, when the needle in the guage is within the "will hit" portions of the guage. So there's a dark section of the guage meter, and a light section. A little needle rapidly goes back and forth in the meter. If you do the second click in the light section, stopping the needle there, your shot will hit. If you do the second click in the dark section, your shot will miss. Also, there's a small dark red section of the meter. If you manage to stop the needle on that red section, you get a critical hit on your target. I found this system to be pretty entertaining. Landing hits on your enemy is far more satisfying this way.
I think it'd be great if we could get a custom system made for NWN2's non-magic combat, something that resembled the above system. Would it be possible to develop such a thing through scripting and then put it in a HAK? Please tell me yes
Here's an example of how it might work: You're a fighter with a greatsword. You click on an Ogre, and your character is now in melee combat with it. A meter appears on the screen, divided into 20 sections. This meter represents the d20 die. A small needle rapidly travels back and forth within the meter. It's up to the player to click the left-mouse button at the right moment, which stops the needle on one of the 20 sections. The goal is always to click when the needle is at the higher sections, and ideally on a critical number. From here, attack bonuses are thrown on top of your d20 result as usual, and the hit is calculated.
I think players should be only asked to perform this action once per round, not once per attack. At level 20, a Fighter has 4 attacks per round. Rounds last 6 seconds, so asking a player to do this little meter process 4 times every 6 seconds would be pretty frustrating! So instead, just once a round, and perhaps this only makes a difference on the very first attack of the round. Subsequent attacks in that round would be handled the standard way. Also, if the player does not click the button at all, the needle will simply land at wherever it stops like in Roulette.
I think it'd be a good idea to give the needle's speed a randomised behavior. Sometimes it will be a bit slower than usual, sometimes a bit faster. Something that keeps the player on his/her toes at all times.
I think such a system could really make non-magical combat much more involving and fun for the player. One problem that you might be thinking of is that some players will be have such good reflexes that they'll be able to get high results on the d20 meter all the time. This is true of Blitz 1941, but I haven't seen it to be a big deal.