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12.25.2011 , 08:42 PM | #1

Updated: 01-21-12' (This is Continuing Thread 6)

Ability Delay -- Character Responsiveness (The Video)

- Preview: <-- Cinematic and Fun
- Video: <-- 50min full length... I hope you enjoy it and it gives definition to this issue

Original Thread: Thread 1 --
Thread 2 --
Thread 3 --
Thread 4 --
Thread 5 --


Before you label me a Troll please read my Early Review here:

My Reflection of the entire Thread: 3000+ Replies (Read every single one), 120,000+ Views...

Other forums discussing this issue:

Incredible Post on Rift Forums:

ArenaNet's (Guild Wars 2) Combat Timing and Fine Tuning:

Video Examples of the Discussed Subject

Thank You - Baznasty (Thread 1, Page 87) -- WoW Example/Contrast:
Thank You - Sanchpanza (Thread 1, Page 123) -- TOR Example
Thank You - Samdbtto (Thread 1, Page 124) -- TOR Target Switch Responsiveness
Thank You - Badchx (Thread 1, Page 181) -- TOR Healing Issue:
Thank You - Devolution (Thread 1, Page 210) -- TOR Melee Ability Delay:
Thank You - Hulduet (Thread 2, Page 89) -- TOR Ability Activation Timer:
Thank You - Badchx (Thread 2, Page 148) -- WoW/TOR Cast-Moving Responsiveness:
Thank You - jtype_sw (Thread 3, Page 24) -- Kolto Injection Healing:
Thank You - Owarida (Thread 3, Page 27) -- Imperial Agent, Delay + Snipe Cancel etc.:
Thank You - jtype_sw (Thread 3, Page 83) -- Ability Trigger Fail:
Thank You - Nikita_Kilemal (Thread 4, Page 79) -- Bounty Hunter Delay:
Thank You - Mdrunx (Thread 5, Page 80) -- Sith Warrior Ability Fail:

Thank You - Allocator (Thread 4, Page 36) Diagram of Ability Delay Problem:

Note: Please, if you agree with these points and this subject, rate the thread. Perhaps this will raise Bioware's awareness. Anything we can do to make SW:TOR the best it can be because the truth is you and I are here because we want it to succeed and we see it's potential.

The game has been out long enough for the masses to finally realize the negatives. As people are getting out of the starting planets and the "new and shiny" feeling starts to subside, the cracks in this new wonderous world are becoming apparent.

Ability Delay and Character Responsiveness: -- It is not Latency or FPS Lag

I will attempt to discuss this issue and I will do so in a manner that I hope will make everyone understand it better. The "Character Responsiveness" for lack of a better term, is how "smooth" the game plays from your avatars perspective. I have played SWG and EQ to a lesser degree as well as Warhammer Online and several other MMOs and I must honestly say that Bioware has gotten this all too important aspect much better than any previous MMO that I have experienced (with the obvious exception, to which we will get soon).

You see, I really want you (The Reader) to understand the importance of this topic. To drive home "how" important this is. In fact I will say this: I am in no way shy to say that, the reason Warhammer Online, EQs, Rift, SWG etc. etc. could never "ever" get to anything near WoW subscriptions is the Character Responsiveness. All these games failed for many reasons, and a game "can" fail for many reasons and on many fronts but this single-one-category... is by "far" the #1 Reason why World of Warcraft is World of Warcraft.

Again, I must drive home the fact that no matter if you understand this issue or are new to the subject (and perhaps MMOs) or if you believe the game is fun and enjoyable and think that this is just a vocal minority piping up on something nonsensical. This is the undeniable truth and any game developer or serious gamer worth their salt will agree.

What is Character Responsiveness and Ability Delay? -- It is not Latency or FPS lag

It is the feeling of connection between the person behind the keyboard and the Avatar that is being controlled. Basically, the better the Character Responsiveness is, the smoother the Game Plays! You may HATE World of Warcraft and believe it is the worst abomination on the planet... that is fine. HOWEVER, you "must" objectively admit that it is the absolute, smoothest Character Responsiveness in a Western Available MMO ever.

If you are a WoW player, and have played WoW with any amount of skill, competitiveness, you cannot help but cringe when in a Warzone in SW:TOR. It feels unresponsive, frustrating... as if something is wrong with you! but there is nothing you can do about it!

If you have never played WoW, perhaps you come from SWG or EQ2 or Rift etc. that is fine! You are WELCOME in this thread, it is not WoW Players against the Rest! I just "need" you to understand that SW:TOR is "noticeably" and "objectively" bad in this crucial department. I am not writing this because I am trolling or because I love WoW, on the contrary. I am doing this because I want SW:TOR to be amazing, I love so many aspects of this great game... but if this is not addressed it "will" die like every other one.

Why is this "so" important?! -- It is not Latency or FPS lag

From here on I will say 0.5 for emphasis but reality is 0.2, 0.3 (ANY) Ability Delay is unacceptable.

And here is the real problem. It is so important because MMO gaming has become so "tight", so competitive and so smooth (through WoW), that it is completely and absolutely unacceptable for an ability or animation to be delayed by 0.5 seconds.

0.5 seconds is a lot of time, to our visual cortex. 0.5 seconds is the difference between interrupting a CC of the enemy player or not (and thus being disadvantaged/dying). 0.5 seconds is the difference between landing a Taunt on the "add" that just came into the room and thus having it come to you or it one-shotting your healer and thus wiping on the Boss you've just spent 3 Days wiping to.

Zero Point Five Seconds is a ******* Long Time

Bioware, I plead that you dedicate as many resources as required (all if needed) to address this. You cannot cram story/companions/new flashpoints - operations... Class Balance into patches and hope that is good enough.

I hate to be a crazed doomsayer but I must state: Mark my words, if SW:TOR's Character Responsiveness and Ability Delay is not on par with WoW's by March-June it will be just another Rift.

Bioware, please see the importance of Character Responsiveness and Visual Stimulation of Ability Animation Correctness. It should be impossible for me to have an ability's cooldown activated without seeing it animate.... this is unacceptable. I just truly hope that this isn't a core coding issue or engine issue, because then we're f'd.

Notable Mention:

Thread 1 -- Page 133 -- Poster: ajjw

"In a game like WoW, if your previous spell's animation is still playing when you use your next spell, the old animation immediately ends and that of the new spell beings. However in TOR, if an animation is still playing, the game will not let you cast another spell, even if the cast time and GCD have already finished.

In other words, if a spell has a 2s cast time but a 2.5s animation, you'll be sat there looking stupid for 0.5s unable to cast anything after the first spell, whereas in WoW the last 0.5s of the old animation will be "clipped" (ie cut off) and you'll be able to cast a new spell immediately, the animation of which will also begin to play immediately."

Thread 2 -- Page 109 -- Poster: Reedful (Professional Gaming Experience)

His Proven Credentials:

WC3 Tournament Player
WoW Tournament Player
CS:S Tournament Player

Attended regionals and most MLG events from 2008-2010

Xcore: On a personal note, I value input like this a lot as this is someone with a very high understand of the intricacies of "Competitive Combat Design". I realize that the view may be a little "Hardcore" but nonetheless it is invaluable and coming from an individual that is perceiving the "Gameworld" at a higher level.

"Speaking from a professional gamer's standpoint, the game is simply unplayable. It is barely possible to outplay your opponents with a 2 second median reaction time. Olympic is .4, I'd settle for .8. It is hilarious how they were bragging about taking subscriptions away from World of Warcraft when anything in this game after the single player parts might as well have been made in 2003... by Blizzard, and then discarded so their game would actually be successful.

I can interrupt my own instant casts. There's at least a 1 second delay on every single one of my abilities(even instants not on the global) with a professional gaming computer and 3 MS. I live right down the road. You should hire me, throw away the Hero Engine and maybe we can fix your issues.


Say I'm CC'd by the door in Voidstar and I want to trinket to interrupt the cap - here we have a perfect example of how you've ripped off World of Warcraft almost to the letter with everything from the battleground style in this, "Warzone," to "Tenacity" AND it's cooldown, et al, holy moly.

So anyway, here I am playing a WoW clone, stunned by the door. I trinket(I am not going to call it Tenacity because it is a blatant rip off of World of Warcraft and it hasn't established a real name for itself.) Nothing happens. Nothing happens for almost an entire global. I am spamming Concussion Charge. At this point I have only casted Tenacity, which does not use my global and I have waited for 1.5 seconds. Finally, the game registers that I have casted my PvP trinket, takes the cooldown 2 seconds late, frees me from my CC and allows my Concussion Charge spam to activate the ability except I get knocked back, the UI tells me my instant cast ability was interrupted and my Resolve bar has already decayed to 75%.

There is no saying, "hehehe don't spam your abilities." There is no saying, "well I still like the game anyway!" There is no saying, "well if everyone has the same lag, it's balanced!""

Thread 3 -- Page 13 -- Poster: Asabalana (Casual Gamer)

"I am an average player who will never be on the list of greats and I see the issue very clearly. Yesterday I ran Esseles on a Trooper alt. It was painful. Spells misfired, spells cast after the gcd was over and ability bar was lit had delays before they activated. At points trying to cast while straffing was an adventure. As bad as the problem is in solo play, you can work around it, but in group play it is really bad. You feel that you are letting the group down because you can't function and play your part.

Yes I have played WOW and the only thing that I liked about the game was the combat system. But I am a noob at heart. This is an issue that affects everyone. The only difference between the top tier well experienced players and noobs newbies and newcomers is that the top guys/gals can understand and verbalize why game play does not feel good. The rest just know that it does not feel good although they can't put their finger on why.

I can't speak to whether this will make or break swtor, but believe that it will cost the game a great many subs and result in a great deal of lost revenue for EA/BW. It will cost the loss of most of the top tier players who although small in number contribute a lot to the game and community.

The game still has a lot of bugs. LOL, yesterday a level 17 player asked for help with a boss in general. I responded with my 26 JC Shadow. We fought the boss and he was killed quickly but I got the boss to 0 health and the thing still kept fighting. That went on for ten minutes and the boss just kept on with 0 health and would not drop. I told the person that I was trying to help that the instance was bugged and that he should just move on. No big deal (one bugged quest out of thousands that will be fixed eventually). But the combat system problems are a prime big deal. They need to be given top priority with communication to the community and be fixed post haste. Otherwise people will start leaving the game. It will be a real shame because most of the people who end up leaving really like the game and want to play, but find it not playable because of the combat issue.

To the OP, I think that BW owes you big time. You have identified and described a problem and forced their attention to it. BW is much better off facing this right now than rather seeing subs drop and somewhere down the line when it is way to late identifying why."

Bioware Responses

Thread 2 -- Page 123 -- Georg Zoeller

"This issue is under active investigation.

The complication is that there are actually a number of different issues with very different causes and potential resolutions lumped together in this thread.

All we can say for now is 'we are actively working on the topic of character responsiveness'."

Georg "Observer" Zoeller
Principal Lead Combat Designer

Sticky Post -- Emmanuel Lusinchi

During the development of Star Wars: The Old Republic, weve been paying a lot of attention to the games responsiveness. As pointed out by some people on the Forum, a very responsive experience is one of the factors that separate the best MMOs from the others. This is something we are fully aware of and take extremely seriously.

Several of the issues brought forth by the community have already been dealt with and you should see the fixes integrated in coming patches, including those coming this month. Every lead mentioned on the forum is being investigated and I cannot stress enough how useful your feedback is especially when coupled with the level of details found in some of the posts.

So Id really like to thank the community for this very constructive feedback.

Thanks again and best regards,

Emmanuel Lusinchi
Technical Design Director
Star Wars: The Old Republic

Blog Post -- Georg Zoeller

Hi everyone; I wanted to give you all an update on the ability delay situation.

Thanks to constructive feedback from the community, including some great videos, we were able to identify an issue that could cause abilities on global cooldown to appear available to the player, resulting in unresponsive/ignored player input. A fix for the issue is currently scheduled to go to the public test server with our next update.

Additionally, we have located an issue that would cause player input for certain instant abilities to fail in frantic combat situations, resulting in unpredictable and frustrating gameplay issues for the affected player. A fix for the issue is currently scheduled to go to the public test server with our next update.

Finally, our engineers have identified an issue introducing a significant delay between player input and ability execution in certain game situations, most notably (but not limited to) fast paced PvP. The magnitude of the delay varies with a number of factors, including processor hardware, but can, especially on dual core CPUs, result in a very perceivable reduction in game responsiveness. We are in the later stages of testing a fix for the problem and hope to be able to roll it out to the servers very soon.

We're still investigating a number of additional issues, along with some usability and quality of life improvements for responsiveness regarding player input, but the above mentioned developments should provide a very measurable improvement in combat responsiveness.

Thanks again for your patience and support and we hope to see you on the public test server to help us validate these improvements before pushing them to the live servers.

Georg Zoeller
Principal Lead Combat Designer

P.S.: It is not Latency or FPS Lag... also very important to understand.