The Daily Grind: Is the tab-target MMO on the way to becoming extinct?

    
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The Daily Grind: Is the tab-target MMO on the way to becoming extinct?

When I was reading MOP’s Tyler’s impressions of the recent New World play test, there was one point when I felt my body droop in a sigh. That was when he was praising the game’s action combat, which may be exciting to him but it’s always a red flag to me. Action combat MMOs can be fun, don’t get me wrong, but they are always exhausting and not the type of combat system that I like the best.

And that combat system is the traditional tab-targetted MMO. It’s your World of Warcrafts, your Lord of the Rings Onlines, your Final Fantasy XIVs. I like these systems because it makes combat more strategic while not being a test of my virtual dancing skills at 11:00 at night.

But it seems like many newer MMOs are electing for action combat over tab-targeting. So my question to you today is whether or not you think that the tab-target MMO is on the way to becoming extinct. What do you think?

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!

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HechiceraReddit

I’m also an older player and find the opposite. Yes, when starting out, or playing very legacy content tab-target is easier on my hands. I had to quit FFXIV due to the “active time events”. The hand swelling was intense! Not only am I older, but I made a living with a lot of typing (programming) and have a genetic condition causing joint instability and a tendency to arthritis. I have the whole package of bad hands for heavy use!

Tab-targeting is not hand-friendly in endgame in most of the MMOs without the use of macros. I think it feels that way at first because you have muscle memory. Give it another decade to get to where I am with the genetic disorder.

With action I am pressing fewer buttons, less often. And, if the game allows robust key mapping, I can easily offload fingers that no longer work (left pinky and cntrl-alt, finger no longer works at all) to fingers that still work.

s-multicellular
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s-multicellular

I think the important thing is having enough complexity of decisions/action to keep it interesting. I’ve seen that in action or tabbed. If ‘action’ is merely aiming or dodging, frankly those can become so automatic, that isn’t going to hold my attention.

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Dean Greenhoe

As one who plays with crippled hands but an intact mind I will go the way of tab targeting. As long it remains, so do I.

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MassivelyMacD

Lots of “players are getting older and cannot cope with speedy decisions any more (hence ‘action’)”.

I am 56. And I play Warframe. It all depends on your level of self-confidence.

Apart from that, both are here to stay, just because it is personal preference and I feel that the player base is split between the two in a way that both camps are large enough to survive. Which is a good thing.

Personally I liked combat like in Tabula Rasa (very much in the action camp) way more than e.g. LOTRO or similar. To me action combat is more immersive, which I find more important than strategy, but that’s just me.

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silverlock

No. On one hand while better internet speeds and faster computers do make action combat more viable it wont change two things.

One: Every year mmo players are getting older and frantic games that require fast hand eye coordination will be less and less popular with them every year.

Two: Some people are always going to have bad ping and they are going to have much less success with action combat games.

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Brazen Bondar

I..dislike..action combat…intensely. That is all.

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Bannex

Delete the “tab-target” part of the title and you’ve got yourself an article.

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Bruno Brito

oof, kick them while they’re down, would you.

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JoeCreoterra

“I like these systems because it makes combat more strategic”

No it doesn’t. I would actually argue that it’s much less strategic as you’re generally not moving and going through a simple rotation on your bar. Your position doesn’t matter that much (other than moving once in a blue moon for aoe) because you can just hit tab and you don’t have to see the mob. Tanks have to position the mob around but that’s a small part of the population. In “action” based games your positioning and point of view is much more important and adds to the level of strategy.

Note that I play both types of games and both will continue to be made. Just like how there are still isometric RPGs, click to move, etc. It’s not like all of a sudden those mechanics won’t exist, but they’ll definitely thin out as new mechanics arise and will likely just be another input system rather than the defacto.

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JoeCreoterra

I do want to note that a tab target system in a game like Asheeon’s Call was much more action than the current “action based” systems in my opinion. Sure it was tab target but you would have to actively dodge arrows, magic bolts, etc and be very aware of your positioning and not getting hit in the back.

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Bruno Brito

No it doesn’t.

It does. Action combat MMOs have small skillbars to accomodate a more active playstyle. Most action combat MMOs and even the hybrids have little in the way of 2/3/5 min CDs for windows of burst. Most tab target MMOs have those, where it’s your decision to use your CDs appropriately.

To accomodate that, action MMOs have bloated passive builds with those CDs shoved into it. GW2, being a hybrid, is a good example where the build for most classes is a trainwreck filled with passive effects that aren’t visually telling.

That’s not a problem with Action itself, it’s a problem with how developers developed action MMOs.

New World has 3 skills for each weapon. Everquest 2 has almost 80 skills for a single class. Your pick.

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JoeCreoterra

and yet with EQ2 you set up a rotation of those skills, stand still, and press keys without even looking. Putting a billion skills to click on your bar has nothing to do with strategy at all… just more to memorize in the rotation that you figure out and use forever while standing still the majority of the game.

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Sorenthaz

Nah but newer MMOs have to find different ways to change things up from the traditional norms so moving to more active combat is one way to do that, especially to appeal to younger audiences who are growing up with stuff like Fortnite.

Right now there’s just not really much room for another big tab-target themepark to squeeze into the scene.

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Bruno Brito

We are living such a nostalgia wave, that there are some room for smaller, niche oldschool MMOs to squeeze into the scene.

I believe for instance that a classic EQ2 launch would get some people aboard.

Strykerx88
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Strykerx88

Didn’t they already do this?

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Bruno Brito

Classic EQ2? No. They have Time-Locked-Servers but it’s not the same thing.

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Rndomuser

Tab targeting will not go away, it will exist in many forms (in traditional “press Tab or click with your mouse to target your enemy” way and in the form “select your target from the list of targets in radar overlay in your spaceship/vehicle”). It makes it easier for people with bad reaction time to still enjoy the game, same goes for people who have certain disabilities, or play games on a laptop using touchpad instead of a mouse (which I have done myself). Excluding all of those options can be a significant loss of income for game developers which is not something many developers are willing to lose.

Not to mention that “action games” (doesn’t matter what genre) which use projectile weapons (guns, bows, cannons, throwable weapons) will ALWAYS have a form of “Tab targeting” even if developers or other players will not want that, using third-party programs which are usually called “aimbots” ;-)