This post was fairly active on the previous boards, so I'm bringing it back on the other side. Minor adjustments here and there due to the original post existing during beta and the NDA, otherwise it's in its entirety. Be sure to scan the FAQ located in the latter half of the post, it will probably cover most inquiries.
So what exactly is Dual Targeting? You have 2 targets at all times, one offensive and one defensive. That's it, it's that simple. Any offensive ability (CC, Damage) is used on the offensive target. Any defensive ability (Heals, buffs) are used on the defensive target.
You can freely change these targets with any normal targeting method such as clicking, unit frames, macros, or assisting (or "aiding" to assist someone's friendly target). No macros are required, no keybinds, no unnecessary actions.
Here is a link
to a thread I created on the RIFT boards back in January, on the very same topic. That thread received an enormous amount of support, as well as quite a few who didn't understand it. Thus, it's a great read.
Also in that thread I gave a link to a couple of videos showing Dual Targeting in action (footage from Warhammer), here are those links:
Feel free to mute the music, it may not be to everyone's liking
Things to note about the game and my UI, if you aren't familiar with WAR:
At the middle of the screen, you see two hot bars. Below that are the Unitframes.
The central frame is my Player frame, my HP and Energy pool.
The left frame (green rectangle with names/buffs above) is my "Defensive" target. This is where any target I select that is considered Friendly is shown. Friendly players, NPC's, etc.
The right frame (red rectangle with names/buffs above it) is my "Offensive" target. This is where any target I select that is considered hostile is shown. Enemy players, enemy pets, and neutral targets will also be displayed here.
Below all of that are my Raid Frames, for my current raid group. This is where I predominantly acquire my friendly targets.
Selecting a friendly, or enemy target has no bearing on the opposite target, and I do not have to use any macro or 'hotkey' to set either target. It's a click on the player in game, or by using an /assist or /aid macro, tab target, etc. Throughout the encounter I continuously change enemy/friendly targets to Res/Damage/heal as needed. Again, this has no bearing on the opposite target.
You can't accomplish this on the fly with the current targeting system in RIFT, so please let me have my dual targets and you can keep your outdated focus/target of target if you wish. I'll stick to my planning ahead and pro-active targeting.
This is something that's extremely important, and anyone familiar with how combat is going to work in the game (if you've seen the footage released, or have play tested it yourself at a Gaming Convention), should support whole-heartedly.
Remember, the following quotes were mostly in regards to RIFT. I'm not sure if SWTOR has Focus targeting or not, but this is just part of the "FAQ/Misconceptions" that may appear in discussion, thus I'm including it.
Q. Why do I need Dual Targeting when I have mouseover healing? Seems like it's better.
Dual Targeting and Mouse-over casting are not mutually exclusive. Mouse-over casting is a great feature, and I support it 100%. If anything, both of these mechanics compliment each other very well.
Q. Isn't your focus target the same thing as dual targeting? I've been wondering about this for a long time. Maybe I'm understanding it all wrong, but focus targeting seems to be exactly what you all want and its in the game already.
When you set a focus target, what does it personally require you to do? Key bind? Macro? Right click/set focus target? How do you go about setting yours? Once you have it set, how do you cast spells or abilities on that target? Do you have a modifier keybind (shift/alt/control) so that when you use that modifier, any ability key pressed is then used on your focus target?
Dual Targeting allows you to have a "focus target", without ever having to waste an extra keypress or macro/bind to change the said target, or to cast on said target.
It's basically a dynamic focus target that you change when you want. You can freely change your offensive or defensive target without affecting the other. No extra keybinds required, no extra work for selecting or casting.
Q. So with dual targeting, you'd be limited to one friendly and one enemy target, right?
Yes. That's the downside if any, the next point is that: It can exist next to a ToT or focus target if you wanted it to. Although, that could lead to crowding.
Q. PvE wise, I can't think of anything more than a couple gimmicks where a dps would need DT at all. Healing, maybe, but usually only to keep an eye on certain enemy/boss cast bar, and even then focus works just fine. Tanking, maybe if there's a specific party member you want to always be ready to protect (pally bubble?), but even that seems like a focus macro would work just as well.
One thing to keep in mind is that there are a very large variety of defensive abilities, and they may not be on such a cooldown as the pally abilities. So yeah, while focus targeting wouldn't be so bad for the Paladin, another class may make extremely good use of it.
eg: In Warhammer, Guard was a 50% reduction in damage for the targeted friendly player, in PvE it was the same but with an addition of transfering half the threat to the tank as well. It had no CD and could be swapped instantly. This meant a tank in PvP (or PvE even) can actively swap his guard depending on the situation, and use it much more frequently than a Paladin would have used his abilities.
Dual Targeting is only as useful as you allow it to be, just like some people play WoW without even utilizing the focus target system I'm sure. Whether you use it actively to cast on both targets, or if you simply use it to keep the target reticule over a friendly player to know where a specific group member is at any given time.
So, it's tough to say just how useful Dual Targeting truly would be for any specific class or player.
Q. And what about (wow examples) things like Penance or Holy Shock, where the spell does different things depending on if the target is friendly or hostile?
You're correct, those abilities would not work in a Dual Target environment. At the same time, new abilities do open up so it's a bit of give and take. Leeching abilities, such as life drains that channel HP from your enemy target to your friendly, and similar effects become available.
So, perhaps Holy Shock could then be adapted to work in tandem and affect both friendly/enemy at the same time, and speccing into one tree or another determines how potent each half of the ability is.
This is probably the
only direct argument against Dual Targeting, but I feel there's a reasonable way to fix this issue. The pros far, far outweigh the cons.
Q. There's no hybrid abilities that make use of such a mechanic. So why is Dual Targeting needed?
From what I've been able to gather nearly every class will have an abundance of offensive abilities, even if they're primarily specced to do a defensive/support role. I'm going to assume even if you have a majority of offensive abilities, you will also have access to a few defensive ones as well.
What this means is that in-between your normal duties, you may have other things to do. Healers may have CC, tanks may have buffs/defensive abilities for friendlies. If that doesn't scream hybrid, what does?
As mentioned directly above, it's up to you as an individual to utilize it effectively or not.
Q. Dual targeting is complicated, I don't think it will be very newbie friendly.
It's more complicated than focus targeting, target of target, or cast through target mechanics?
Select a friendly target, and any defensive ability is cast on them; select an enemy target and any hostile action is cast on them.
This is more complicated than needing to use a hotkey to 1) set the focus target, 2) cast on the focus target with the new modifier that's required to be used with any future keypress.
What about having to rely on the person you have targeted making the choice for you because you only have access to Cast-forwarding? What if the mob you have targeted is currently targeting someone that isn't in danger of needing a heal... so on and do forth.
I'm not quite sure you understand the concept, please try to browse back over the information provided.
Q. Dual Targeting makes things too easy
Nearly every game today uses Focus Targeting, Target of Target, and Cast through Targeting. Frankly, the latter two make things "too easy". Cast through targeting means you always cast on whatever your target is. You make no choice, you just press the button and hope for the best. At least with focus targeting one has to choose their own targets.
The problem is you're battling the UI for half of the time as you need to setup a focus target and then can only cast your abilities on that target (using another modifier) unless you change it again, with your hotkey or macro.
So tell me, what are you here for? Are we here to play the game, enjoy combat/encounters, or are we here to battle the interface? I know in my head who, or what I want to cast on relatively quickly. The UI hindering this by being bulky and requiring unnecessary actions doesn't make any sense. So please, less fighting the UI and more actual fighting enemy units.
Q. Can you give more examples of how Dual Targeting can be used by anyone, not just a healer?
Of course, here are a couple more examples.
Tanks & Guarding
In PvP for example, as a tank you can play a variety of ways. You can be support/protection for your backfield, or you can play offensively while on the melee train, yet you still have access to guard.
In the first situation, you will pro-actively guard the people that you know will be attacked or are currently under attack. You can swap this guard as needed on the fly and quickly because dual targeting doesn't require macros/keybinds. All the while you're still attacking the enemy targets freely, to CC, damage, and harass as applicable.
In the second situation, the same principle applies but you may not be needing to change your guard target as often. Keeping the person you're guarding targeted though, while on the train, will help you keep track of their movements due to the easily identifiable reticule they have above them.
It's very important for everyone to know where some people are in any given battle. As a DPS, your primary goal is to kill things. That doesn't mean you can't provide help and support for your squishy backfield when the need arises. With Dual Targeting you can easily target someone friendly to get your reticule and a bearing on their location. Keeping tabs on your healer and knowing exactly where they are when they call for help can be invaluable. This can be done while you are doing your normal duties and DPS'ing the enemy.
Not only can you keep track of your squishies or important targets, but you can easily just keep track of your Guard. Knowing where your guard is at all times is very important for a DPS class who has the luxury of someone Guarding them. So you keep on keepin' on, while keeping an eye on your Guard so you're never out of position.
In the end, I hope this feature is already included and this is just a post that's inconsequential. If it isn't yet, let's hope it's something they could seriously consider even though we're already on the cusp of release. Whether that means some time post launch, or surprise us prior to that.
Well, now that it can be discussed a little more freely. I still stand adamantly by this feature, but it'll probably never exist due to the design of two abilities, and probably more.
Trooper: Combat Support Cell, and how it affects Hammer Shot, and the equivalent for Bounty Hunter.
Combat Support Cell, which causes Hammer Shot to charge the player’s blaster, increasing all damage and healing dealt and allowing Hammer Shot to heal friendly targets, has been added.
*How does this work?
If you target a friendly and use Hammer Shot, you heal them.
If you target an enemy and use Hammer Shot, you damage them.
It's basically "Holy Shock" or "Penance" in the FAQ. With that one ability, we really couldn't have true dual targeting because it's a base
class ability. I'm a bit disappointed to say the least, but at least it's not an insurmountable fix. The question is, would the fix ever even be considered?
I'd much rather have two base free ability (like the other 4 healers), than waste the potential of Dual Targeting. What do I mean by that? Here's how the Operative compares:
Free Attack: Rifle Shot
Free Heal: Diagnostic Scan
Yeah, two different abilities, but in both examples they do the same thing: Free "attack" and free "heal".
I'll be responding some time in the near future regarding my experience playing various classes, and why dual targeting would have made them all a more enjoyable experience.
*Note: This is how this ability worked (when named Kolto Cell), I have not seen it actually in action with its rename and slight change.