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Study: PvE RP combat systems

2 replies
Hello everyone!

I saw a thread about how people manage Player versus Player RP fights on this forum and, while interesting, I'm more of the DM type, and was wondering about what people have been using as PvE systems.

I have experiences with a lot of different tabletop systems, and while they all have cool ideas, they're all too complicated to be ported directly into an MMO. With that in mind, I'm trying to figure out a very simple system inspired by these different tabletop ones, which would bring cooperation, placement, and actual character fighting abilities into the mix.

But before I go try to reinvent the wheel, I was curious if people were willing to share the systems they might have been using, either on Wildstar or other MMOs. This could come handy for any person new to this sort of things, either to create new systems or simply adopting one of the existing ones.

I'm really eager to hear any idea or comment on the subject!

PS: I hope I'm posting this in the right part of the forums :s
Posted Mar 2, 16 · OP
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There's a few systems, many of them based on /roll 100 or /roll 20

Alako and House V use this system: which seems to work well for them!

Generally it's that difficulty of balancing customizability with simplicity and what types of events you're running. Example:

If you're running an open "Hey guys, come on out!" event - you'll want something very simple - You may have 10-15 players there, many of whom didn't do much preparation. The above system is pretty good for that! More complicated and you have a bit of struggle of trying to explain rules while DMing while keeping your players entertained!

If you're running a guild and doing a guild specific storyline, you have a little bit more freedom there - as people have to join the guild, you can then use character sheets, and point buy systems work for this. You can then aware XP, and tie XP to more points, if you feel like having a leveling system!

Several groups also use assistant DMs in game - Seperate assistant DMs to group sof 4-6 players so they can be a little more specific. Let's say you have a group of 20 people entering a dungeon to explore - Having all 20 involved in a fight can be scrolly and not too rewarding! You can divide them up - 5 went this way and found a weird machine, what is it? 5 are fighting spiders! Another 5 are trying to fix the teleporter to get out - it broke on the way in! This type of division helps allowing each player feel like they really contributed.
Posted Mar 2, 16
I have been to a couple events utilizing Alako's ruleset. It allows for versatility among player skills, it's a great system if you want to have multiple encounters per event (because it moves rather quickly) and it is easy to explain to casual and walk-in RPers.

It's also a good system to use as a basis for your own to expand upon. In one of the RPs I took part in, Ferg used a roll system similar to Alako's which was also placement sensitive. We were fighting a giant robot-crab-thing and the hit DC would be higher or lower depending on whether you were attacking the front or the back of the machine.

One common thread I've noticed in the PvE RPs I have attended in WS is that all of them (okay, both of them) have used static DCs. For instance, an enemy might have a DC of 50. If your attack roll exceeds 50, you hit the enemy. Likewise enemy attack DCs are also fixed. If a 50 DC enemy attacks you, you have to roll a 50 to successfully defend against the attack. I think this is perfectly fine for trash-mob type enemies and it's part of what helps Alako-rule events move so quickly. But when it comes to boss and player peer-level enemies I think it's better if the DC is an opposed roll. The player rolls to attack the enemy, the boss rolls back, and if he crits he will get a counter attack on you. This helps the battle to feel more dynamic and unpredictable.

If you want something more involved, I helped develop a system for another MMO which involves progressive earning of skill points, class-like specializations and perks as well as skills that go beyond basic attack, defense and healing to include taunts, holds, mounted combat and leadership. This type of system, while able to create deep and involving combat situations and RPs, is considerably more complex and is best reserved for situations where attendance will be regular so people have time to learn and get used to the system. It is not appropriate for walk-ins by any stretch of the imagination and may even scare people away.

Regarding fostering player cooperation, the classic DPS-healer-tank paradigm is a tried and tested one that can work quite well in RP, although it can be awkward if half the group decides to play tank and there isn't much you can do about that because you can't encourage people to meta-game and choose a specialty other than what would fit their character.

The best advice I can offer is try some things out, see what works, and don't be afraid to (liberally) borrow other people's ideas.
Posted Mar 2, 16