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Ability Delay -- Character Responsiveness (This will make or break SW:TOR)

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > General Discussion
Ability Delay -- Character Responsiveness (This will make or break SW:TOR)
First BioWare Post First BioWare Post

Xcore's Avatar

12.25.2011 , 08:42 PM | #1

Updated: 12-29-11' (This is Continuing Thread 2)

Original Thread: Thread 1 --


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 - MUST READ!

Video Examples of the Discussed Subject

Thank You - Baznasty (Thread 1, Page 87) -- WoW Example/Contrast MUST SEE!:

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 MUST SEE!:

Thank You - Devolution (Thread 1, Page 210) -- TOR Melee Ability Delay MUST SEE!:

Thank You - Hulduet (Thread 2, Page 89) -- TOR Ability Activation Timer:

Thank You - Badchx (Thread 2, Page 148) -- WoW/TOR Cast-Moving Responsiveness MUST SEE!

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!""

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

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

Qishari's Avatar

12.28.2011 , 09:16 AM | #2
Hello all!

Since the previous version of this thread has hit, and gone passed the 1k mark, we have recreated it here.

When participating in the discussion, please make sure to keep your posts constructive and respectful toward others and their opinions.

Thank you!

Gohlar's Avatar

12.28.2011 , 09:18 AM | #3
No faking responsiveness like WoW please.


Lmaonade's Avatar

12.28.2011 , 09:19 AM | #4
Please fix this..

Gun_Slinger's Avatar

12.28.2011 , 09:20 AM | #5
I agree completely with the OP. I didn't realize that is what it was until now, but this is HUGELY important. It makes the WHOLE experience seem smoother and more solid. For instance I played STO, and I could never peg it before, but now I understand: having to smash the button several times to get an ability to activate was not cool (STO is rather extreme). So even if you can't tell, your brain can sense it, and it gives you a sense of disconnect, there isn't that immediacy. Wow, this is kinda mind blowing.
"It's a trap!" "Your tastebuds can't repel firepower of this magnitude!"

Heppuli's Avatar

12.28.2011 , 09:20 AM | #6
Yeah, it looks more real when the animations go through, when you block blaster attacks with a saber, and at the same time use skills. I like it. Too bad not all can like the same thing.

They wanted to make the fights look more cinematic, so I doubt there's anything to be changed. It is the way it's meant to be with the animations...

Gohlar's Avatar

12.28.2011 , 09:22 AM | #7
In Guild Wars you were expected to interrupt half second cast spells.

So they must have done it right. Does this help? I suppose not...

Quote: Originally Posted by Heppuli View Post
They wanted to make the fights look more cinematic, so I doubt there's anything to be changed. It is the way it's meant to be with the animations...
Good point.

Lethality's Avatar

12.28.2011 , 09:23 AM | #8
Quote: Originally Posted by Gohlar View Post
No faking responsiveness like WoW please.

Yes, proper responsiveness in combat, what players do 95% of the time, is a bad thing.

Ask any professional game designer, they will tell you exactly how Blizzard got combat right with WoW. It set a hallmark for the genre, and along with PvE encounter design, is years ahead of the competition.

This is an important issue and can be the dividing line between longevity for massive amounts of players, or longevity for an average amount of players.

There is nothing fake about what Blizzard does with WoW if it makes gameplay better, and it does. BioWare has said in the past that gameplay trumps all. So, if they can do anything about this, I am sure they will.
Interested in a Mac version of TOR? Show your support here:

Spirodex's Avatar

12.28.2011 , 09:23 AM | #9
Posting in support of OP and to cap this thread out as well.

Make sure to rate it 5.

myrmexaw's Avatar

12.28.2011 , 09:24 AM | #10
Quote: Originally Posted by Heppuli View Post
They wanted to make the fights look more cinematic, so I doubt there's anything to be changed. It is the way it's meant to be with the animations...
It's still possible to make animation move a bit faster to clear them off of the GCd faster ... or even chopping the start of the animation to keep the fluidity.