Developer update – Alpha combat and server structure

Mortal Online 2 has a very advanced melee system especially for being an mmorpg. It’s unlike any other mmorpg combat system where you control every action in real time combat. This text will try to cover the system and details of the combat, where we stand today and what’s coming next until it’s a fully fledged system.

Alpha combat testing so far

Currently we have all melee weapon groups planned for the game initial start, 1h, 2h swords, 1h, 2h axes, daggers, 1h, 2h hammers, poleaxes, poleswords, spears and shields.

After the first months of testing our combat system we eventually reached a conclusion that it had some weaknesses, and issues that didn’t have enough animation fluidity and most importantly not entirely synchronized with the server. Thanks to a ton of players daily testing and fighting we could measure this data and get a lot of feedback to quickly pinpoint and refine the system.

We have since then upgraded this system that included a part rebuild of the system, how it works animation wise to ensure swings don’t get stuck and hinder the game play experience.

Another part was to have a synchronized system on the server that makes sure all players are better in sync to each other as we are building a one world server with various latencies, this is a key factor. We have also started normalizing the lowest and highest ping to this system so there is no real benefit from having low latency to the server compared to playing with higher ping.

The system follows the traditional MO1 melee system in which you first charge a swing with a force indication of dmg and then you release whenever you want to perform the swing. The damage output depends on force and where in the swing you hit. Practice makes you output more damage. There are subtle systems like momentum and force that slow down or increase your weapon swing speed and blocking speed. For instance if you make a proper hit on a target you stop momentum and can more quickly perform the next swing. You always have to monitor your force dmg indication and not simply spam click to attack as it would result in poor damage.

Every normal strike can be parried as long as it’s done in the correct direction. If someone strikes from left to right, you need to parry to your right and vise versa. If someone performs an overhead strike you need to parry top. If someone thrusts you need to parry down.
If you manage to parry quickly, in a time window, you get a spark and can quickly click attack in any direction to perform a quick counter swing. This swing is always in max force damage and performs quicker than a normal swing.

Every hit box takes damage when hit. If you manage to hit the opponent’s sword, it will be an equipment hit which doesn’t damage the player but could damage the weapon.

Your skill in the specific weapon you are using also increases the lowest possible damage range you can perform.

Every weapon has 3 main base damage types: slashing, piercing and blunt. Every armor part has these 3 types of protection. Every weapon can be crafted in different materials that offer different damage types weight, speed and durability. Same goes for armors, so you may want to choose proper gear for the right situation.
Heavy armor also affects your move speed, stamina, jump ability and swim ability, and mana regen ability. Everyone can carry a specific amount of armor weight before it starts affecting move speed. This can be trained and your character strength is also a factor.

As you can see there are many factors in what determines the damage a player can cause where practice makes perfect.

What’s coming next

We are making MO2 for a large audience, we expect both new and old players to join MO2 and it is therefore important the game is triple a in its combat mechanics as well as with the graphics and other game features.

We want it to be easy to get into the game but takes a lifetime to fully master since it will offer extreme depth, where player skills and knowledge matters. There will be many ways to combat in Mortal Online 2. 

With that in place we just need to finetune the client to server synchronization and make sure the animation updates accordingly so it’s in proper sync to everyone around you when performing a strike.
We need to further balance every weapon group and material to have it in a perfect state.
Polish overall  whenever players find a bug or issue and make sure it’s fully stable.
So far we only have a few non-critical things we need to adjust and then we have a very good base set.

The next to last part we aim to deliver over time is specific weapon group special attacks that offer specific results that could be breaking a block for instance. We are also looking to test a kick (old farmerjoe drop kick) everyone can learn to use that also in the right condition can disrupt a block. This will be tested and evaluated before it goes on the server but being defensive is very easy and too powerful today so we are looking to increase the power in being offensive as well. Our goal is to promote tight and coordinated player skills over a zerg that may lack the skills.That brings our next and last part, quick steps to be able to both avoid but also charge in an effective way. Combined with the different weapon group special attacks there is already an enormous depth that requires high player skills compared to most combat games on the market. We always target that player skills matters the most and gear secondary. 

To further improve movement position accuracy which affects situations when you may aim at a player’s back he sees you on his side or front due to movement being behind on other clients we are looking to implement a slight acceleration on starting a new movement. This allows us to further predict movement positions that results in better sync between all players. This will be tested and evaluated during the alpha to see if it works well.

With that said we are very happy to reach this important milestone and have a very solid melee state for our combat.

World servers and latency in relation to our real time combat system

There’s been a long debate on why we don’t have regional servers to have minimum latency for the real time combat to work the best. Well there is a big important reason why, we designed the whole game and network to work with a huge range of different latencies and it’s meant to be played in one and the same game world server. We do have a plan to possibly add servers in different regions based on each continent. 
The players can then choose to play regional or play overseas in the same game world.

When we are done with our optimization on the new combat system players shouldn’t really notice a main difference that affects them negatively and feel forced to play on their regional server, but it would be a choice for the players. This way we get the best out of two worlds and it’s up to the players to choose if they seem affected by the distance latency.

To make progress in this fine tuning we have a group of players from different locations in the world from 10-350 ping that are helping us with testing this system in a very effective way.
Just like any players who are concerned about latency and disadvantages on the battlefield we take this seriously and have put a huge effort into building this new system that greatly improves this situation and brings even terms on the battlefield. In MO1 this was a huge factor and players simply had to adapt and it came down to abuse the prediction system. In MO2 we are correcting this in a very effective way and will make sure both low and high ping players can enjoy the game equally.

With that said, it’s important to understand we are still building a large scale mmorpg, which can’t be comparable with a multiplayer game that supports a maximum of 100-200 players. Those games are designed and build on completely different ways to handle the network and latency. Therefore someone can’t simply compare latency the same way as there are many more factors involved. It’s irrelevant if someone has 30 or 110 in ping to the server. While the same comparison in a game like counter strike gives the players a huge gaming advantages.

This also means that there will always be a second factor that may affect your combat experience in Mortal Online 2, such as any fluke in your internet connection may give a worse scenario. Or if the routing network that your ISP is connected to has a load issue or interruption. A whole country could be affected when the traffic is supposed to go via a specific network to our server that gets rerouted temporarily. Wireless connections are often a cause of unreliable connection and often result in package loss that could lead to unexpected ingame behavior or a simply disconnect if connection isn’t stable enough.

When understanding this whole picture it’s important to keep that in mind and be adaptable to the nature of this kind of game that relies on somewhat stable internet connection that can’t always be guaranteed.
This is also one of the main reasons we don’t offer perma death. As there are simply too many factors that can interrupt a gaming session for a brief second or over a longer time period. Same goes for most mmorpg on the market. But since MO2 offers full loot and pvp it may be more critical for the players when this is affected.

We have done our absolute best to ensure top tier prioritized high quality traffic to and from our servers on specific tiers world wide. We have optimized server tech to handle server tick rates at a very high rate compared to traditional mmorpgs. These are still being tweaked and tested on during alpha to make sure we are on the best possible situation for our type of game.

The entire game is developed with the above systems in mind. It has taken us over 15 years to reach this point and we are very proud and excited to show the world what we have done. The responses so far during the alpha test have been enormously positive and exciting. It gives us pure joy and energy when hearing the great support of our player base, both old and new players.

This is the magic behind our real time combat system that feels very close to a non-mmorpg combat game.

// Henrik Nyström