If you haven't already, check out Part 1 of our Elder Scrolls Online vs World of Warcraft Blog series here - Part 1 is all about the differences between the user interface and the overall graphics used between the 2 games.
Welcome to Part 2 of our Elder Scrolls Online vs World of Warcraft Blog series! In this episode it's all about Combat within the virtual world as well as the combat system itself. We explore the way you control your characters actions and the multitude of spells and abilities available for you and your character. With WoW being in it's ninth year, it already has an epic inventory of Spells, Skills, Talents, Weapons, Armor, Potions and other items available throughout the world for you and your character to find or make and use as you wish. But in which game will we feel gives a better user experience when it comes to the combat system and PvE/PvP combat?
Combat is obviously going to be the most used system within the game, in nearly every every of the map and in every other quest you will have to kill a certain amount of creatures or bosses in order to achieve a goal. As well as entering into epic PvP battles between opposing factions, with some war's in ESO being able to last weeks rather than short 20 minutes instanced battlegrounds as we see in WoW.
In World of Warcraft, the combat system is a pretty simple method. You press the icon button for a specific spell or attack and your character completes an animation of doing that spell/attack. With some effects taking up to 60 seconds to complete, leaving your character standing there helplessly for this duration unless you decide to move out of the stance and cancel the action.
It can sometimes turn into a battle of who can press certain buttons in a specific order in the fastest way in order for your character to whip out a range of attacks on the opposing enemy before they do the same to you. And with the addition of downloadable addons or macros, these can certainly put you at an advantage over a player without them as they help you target and attack a creature or player much easier and with less button clicking than before.
Melee combat inst really up to the player to control, you can't physically block with your shield or swipe your sword when you desire, it's all up to the specific action button that you press which sets off a spell or ability to perform an attack in that field. However, WoW does have a ton of spells and abilities to offer every player, with high levels having over 50+ of them on your action bar and ready to use as long as you have enough mana or energy and that that certain ability isn't already on a cool down.
WoW's combat is good in respect to the amount of options you have available. The effects, especially on spells look absolutely amazing at times, especially those area of effect damage or healing spells. But 1 on 1 combat leaves you wanting a closer feeling of involvement rather than clicking buttons in a certain order in an attempt to bypass cool downs to maximize your damage per second.
The Combat System in ESO is looking to be a more involving process for the player. We can narrow to being described as the Triple F Combat System - Fluid, Free and Fast. Fluid as in the actions and animations of your character are smooth and lag free. Free in respect to there are no cool downs (that we know off so far) and there are no time delays with starting an ability up to that ability being performed by your character, where as in WoW some spells take 30-60 seconds to charge before being ready to use. And then Fast - this is also merged between Fluid and Free where there's no waiting around for your character to do something before you can attack and no cool down, which let's you attack, attack and attack some more!
Imagine facing a mighty enemy in front of you, you take a breath...then race towards it, sword raised in the air and have a mighty battle slashing weapon deep into the enemies body, sword swipe after sword swipe after sword swipe, with a special ability in between, blocking enemy attacks with your shield, then back to swiping your sword at the enemy again in a matter of seconds. No 5 second wait to charge an ability while you stand around helplessly, instantly attack your foes with the real time attack system.
Ok, so I think I got a little carried away there, but you get the picture...right? Now imagine this method with a dagger or two, with a staff or even with a Bow, where you actually get to aim your Bow at the enemy, then when your ready, fire that arrow in between your enemies eyes! It brings combat to life in a way that MMORPG's have never done before, it kind of brings that 3rd person shooter style game perspective into the mix to liven up the whole RPG experience.
Melee Combat will play a big role in Elder Scrolls Online, it won't just be all about spells and abilities. Since you are limited to having 5 Normal Abilities and 1 Ultimate Ability active on your character at any one time. There will still be a massive amount of spells and abilities available throughout the world, but it'll make it even more important to decide on which 6 you think you will need the most, prefer to use or think go together better in order to maximise your DPS.
Will you save a slot for a Healing Spell or just go for all damage spells? This puts a whole new meaning to picking the spells you wish to use with your character and will make those abilities you use more often all the more important to skill up.
So, are you a button pressing in the right order kind of player, or an active attacking no waiting around kind of player? If you can get the right method for spells and attacks sorted and in the right order and time frame then WoW's combat system is better for you. But if you prefer an active approach that will certainly let you change your attack rotation more easily depending on the situation you are faced with then ESO is for you; but with only 6 abilities at your disposal you better make them good ones!