The Daily Grind: Are you a fan of dodge and joust mechanics in MMOs?


Deep in the bowels of a Reddit thread about WildStar vs. WoW Classic a while back, several people mentioned WildStar’s combat as being one of its major problems. One poster even singled out the game’s dodge mechanics specifically, and it caught my attention. I’d say that twitchy, reactive combat has definitely been a thing for the last 10 years of MMOs or so, especially the kind where you spend most of your time leaping and dodging away from various mob and environment effects. WildStar was far from alone, after all; Guild Wars 2 might be one of the more popular embracers of this type of combat.

And you know what? I don’t really love it either. Like the EverQuest fan who was complaining about WildStar, I tend to prefer slower-paced combat that’s more strategic and doesn’t expect me to stop combat and flail around and away constantly. I prefer something more like City of Heroes‘s combat, if I’m honest. And it’s not even necessarily about old vs. new MMOs; I’m thinking here about how Ultima Online’s combat is a fast-paced balancing act of jousting to avoid one-hit death. That’s also not my favorite.

Are you a fan of twitch combat and especially dodge mechanics in MMOs?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

No posts to display

newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:

I’m not that much a fan of dodge buttons, but I do really appreciate when smart positioning, and getting out of the fire, can make or break a run.

I would prefer if devs started adding DPS debuffs to the avoidable stuff you need to step out of, though, to the point where any DPS who doesn’t step out of the fire ends up last in the DPS charts, thus preventing the jerks that just willfully ignore mechanics and overload the healers in order to not interrupt their DPS rotation from benefiting from their annoying habit.


I definitely want to have to move around out of the way of stuff. I like more twitch skill based play. In fact if I don’t see a dodge or block key in a lot of new mobile titles, I won’t even consider playing them because I know they are going to be just skill and pot spammers which aren’t fun for me at all.

Games that you can solo in and don’t have to move out of the way, they normally don’t take much skill other than skill and pot spamming. That isn’t remotely fun for me. Those are the games where your power comes mostly from grinding and time rather than your skill. If the story is good enough I’ll still play those, but not for the gameplay itself.

ESO is a bit too easy in the main world now since One Tamriel, but they created a really nice combat system to begin with (that you no longer have to use in most of the world, but you still do need to in harder stuff or if you are soloing group content). They have dodging out of the way, blocking, interrupting, all three. I really enjoy that system when you need to use it.

Then if you do these harder type dungeons in ESO, you have to do all that *and* group up with healers and tanks as well with everybody doing their part (you can’t just resurrect on the spot in many o them). They’re not required in any way to do and you can do easier versions of the stuff, but it’s nice to take part in that kind of skill-based gaming.

You guys are talking about the original EverQuest which is much different than most games today. That wasn’t made to be a solo game. In fact it was so bad I still hear horror stories about the people who tried to solo when it was released or just how bad deaths were there, losing from hours to days of time per death (though I know a lot of that did get lessened over time).

Most of EverQuest wouldn’t be accepted in a new game unless it was in optional content – and even then the death penalties wouldn’t be widely accepted. EverQuest was a group game where everybody had to do their job well and intelligently. That’s much different than WoW or most games since then that you can solo your way through. It took a different kind of skill, but still a good amount of it.

Most games today don’t require grouping, and so having that twitch skill there that’s needed instead makes it fun for many of us, so that it’s not a walk in the park, while still allowing us to solo.

I don’t want each and every fight to be this long hard difficult fight or anything (like with what did with Skyforge), I like the small breaks of the wimps in between where I don’t have to fight as hard and long, but I do like having to use twitch skills in MMORPGs a lot.

If a game makes it so the combat is interesting and takes thought, I would be good with it even if it wasn’t twitch based. You know, like some of those turn based strategy games. The thing is in MMORPGs most of the time they’re trying to make the combat real time, and soloable. Too many of them make it too easy just spamming what skills and pots you have while grinding up to gain power to do the same thing in the next zone and that is boring to me. It’s like the mobile game that you’re watching it play itself, your power is just based on your gear and level and not your own play skills.

I looked back and noticed my post is getting a bit girthy here, so I’m going to try and stop writing now. I feel I’ve shared enough of what I meant :D


I loved Tabula Rasa combat, where you really had to aim and move and react to the opponents movements. I liked GW2 combat, although they could have added more than just a dodge option.
I am totally in love with Warframe combat. And I personally feel that this action-centric combat can go very well with RPG-esque mechanics and at least for me it keeps the combat fresh and exciting.

And I am 55.

Loyal Patron
Kickstarter Donor
Patreon Donor

Dodge in MMOs is exhausting.


I didn’t particularly enjoy it on GW2, with all the having to dodge and sometimes having a tiny bit of desync/lag and knowing you dodged it on your screen and then seeing your character taking that damage anyway because the game still thought you didn’t dodge. Especially when there was bigger packs of things in the later areas that were poisonous/explosive that even though you dodged, and then had to dodge again and were basically out of dodge and having to just absorb their damage while you waited on the meter, and you ended up dodging into another pack you weren’t ready for…but yeah, being able to just dodge the major kill mechanics on champions was somewhat fun.

Overall, I’d say it’s not a fun mechanic in most ways it’s implemented from what I’ve seen.

I’ve also seen ‘dodge’ be implemented as a move that boosts your chance of dodging attacks with a buff in numerous MMO’s, usually on a stealther character…and the buff is usually only a couple seconds with a really long cooldown…effectively making it something you’re unlikely to actually use, because you wait for that ‘right moment’ and by the time that right moment rolls around, you’ve missed the chance to hit the button. Personally, I prefer stuff like that to ‘auto-trigger’ because I’m not necessarily always ‘quick enough’. Like stuff that removes all the dmging debuffs when you have to jump back into stealth…that otherwise would knock you right back out of stealth…should auto-trigger a couple seconds of it when you go to do the move to jump to stealth. SWTOR actually has a passive trait that you could spend a utility point into on the force stealther to be able to have it auto-trigger 2 seconds of it when you dive back into stealth. The downside to that is that you have to waste a utility point you could’ve used elsewhere on a move that you don’t necessarily use regularly…as it’s basically a ‘break combat and run away’ move.


I don’t have fast reflexes, so having to dodge attacks is just frustrating. I like games where you just strafe, and strafe some more. Or even better, I click and my character goes and kills what I click on.
My main MMO at the moment is ESO, which I play in first person, and use a bow, so it’s kinda like an FPS. I don’t even know if that game has a Dodge button, because if it does, I don’t ever use it. Just strafing.


If I’m playing with other people, then I prefer action combat. If I’m playing something solo, I can do either turn-based or action, depending upon mood.

I really don’t like the old-style wow/CoH combat anymore. It feels clunky, like a poor medium between to the TBS and action.


Hikari Kenzaki

I think there is room for it in my moods.

For the most part, I enjoy reactive, action combat. However, the implementation is not always the same. Compare BDO’s jumps, dashes and leaps to TSW’s spin to win running around in circles for 10 minutes while trying to time your roll dodge. I love TSW/SWL but hated boss fights. Still, I clearly played the game more than a little bit.

I like some looter and even tactical shooters with realistic movement on occasion or some (well designed) puzzles like Tomb Raider games.

I came from City of Heroes as my first MMO and played it for over 7 years and it is insanely fun, but I’m not always in the mood for that kinda combat. I had some fun with the jousting style gameplay in PvP with my Peacebringer, but the combat is slow and generally unengaging. It was the characters and people that made CoH fun.

Another example of my moody gaming needs: I like Neverwinter Online. Been having a lot of fun playing it and generally have never liked DDO. However, playing on the MOP stream two weeks ago gave me that old school healer fix that I haven’t really had in years.

So, yeah… I do like it, when I’m in the mood.


I prefer shooter mechanics to most MMO combat. The ideal for me would be something like Firefall or Global Agenda or Star Citizen. That would be action combat in my book.

Action combat the likes of TERA or Wildstar doesn’t get me any closer to my ideal. It feels contrived and loaded with unnecessary jumping about just for the sake of being challenged by a system.


I’ve yet to try an MMO with action combat that I enjoy. I prefer to think my way through a fight