Movement does not normally seem like a complicated topic in MMOs. You press forward; your character goes forward. Backward? Same deal. You can turn, and you can strafe, and you can turn and strafe and run forward if you’re some kind of rebel or you want to give yourself motion sickness. But WildStar makes movement a bigger deal than normal because with a greater emphasis on action comes a greater emphasis on moving out of the path of danger.
The latest official video covers all the basics of movement, from dashing to sprinting to pining for the presumably nonexistent quadruple jump. But we had a chance to sit down with lead combat systems designer Chris Lynch and lead class designer Hugh Shelton to talk about more of the specifics, starting with the obvious question: What beast must we slay to unlock the all-powerful quadruple jump?
Wait, that wasn’t it. It was about chaining movement tricks together in an endless cycle of airborne dashes.
Linking movement abilities together is a time-honored trick in several games; veterans of 2-D fighting games will happily discuss at length how much the lack of an air-dash changes things between otherwise identical games. WildStar does not allow you to air-dash, nor does it allow you to jump immediately out of a dash. The original build did allow you to dash in a direction and then jump before the dash had ended, but players were using it to cover far more distance than had been intended, so you have to let the dash finish before jumping.
Movement abilities lack this prohibition, however, so you can feel free to dash backwards and then charge your opponent, although you might have a cooldown on that charge ability to consider. Every class will have access to some movement abilities, but the details will vary based on class: Melee classes have a greater need for abilities to close distance quickly, for example. Some classes will also be able to improve their dashing or sprinting ability if players want to make more use of those tricks.
Jumping is a bit more complex and momentum-based. Players will be able to make a second jump at any point during the first jump, but momentum plays a role. Jumping off a cliff and trying to reset your momentum by jumping again just before you hit the ground will result in your slightly slowing your fall before you smack into the ground. Jumping straight forward and then making your second jump to the right will result in your arcing at a diagonal path rather than changing your direction completely. Some movement abilities can be used in the air to reduce or eliminate your existing momentum, however.
Dashing has fewer momentum-based details, but it does bring its own baggage. Your basic dash will not render you immune to damage, but certain classes will gain the ability to reduce damage or avoid more during a dash. At least initially, you’ll need to get out of range of any telegraphs to avoid getting demolished.
But how much can you actually dash away from? That’s still being finalized. You can dash away from anything that drops a telegraph, but how many attacks are telegraphed is still a topic of debate. Give players too many telegraphed attacks and some players will essentially never take damage; give too few telegraphed attacks and dashing becomes functionally useless. So there’s a fine line.
Regardless of the final mix, there’s going to be a need for players to keep alert and keep mobile throughout the game. You’d best be ready to put on your dancing shoes; no one gets to stay put.