Friday, November 29, 2013

Wildstar's Interrupt Armor

Yesterday, Syl tweeted about a video demonstrating some of Wildstar's combat mechanics:

The second mechanic discussed is intriguing. Some bosses have "Interrupt Armor". Essentially, if you want to stun the boss, you have to first reduce the interrupt armor. Each stun you apply reduces the interrupt armor by one, and the armor regenerates after several seconds. So if the boss has interrupt armor of 2, you need to use 3 stuns to get through the armor and actually stun her.

This is the inverse of most systems used to keep Crowd Control in check. TOR has resolve. WoW and FFXIV use diminishing returns. In these systems, the first CC used has full effect. Subsequent CCs have shorter and shorter durations, until they cease to work at all.

In the interrupt armor system, the first CC has no effect. In the diminishing return system, the first CC has full effect.  The defender has more of an advantage in interrupt armor, while the attackers need to coordinate their attacks. The defender can take action to escape the battle and hide, allowing her time for her interrupt armor to regenerate.

I think that interrupt armor might be a better system for handling CC than diminishing returns. It makes CC rarer and require more work. But it still allows CC to be used.

As well, it offers more "knobs" to make abilities more unique. For example, you could imagine a long-cooldown stun being able to remove 2 stacks of interrupt armor instead of just one.

Interrupt armor is a very interesting solution to the problem of chaining crowd control on a target.


  1. Diminishing returns is in place for PvP in WildStar...interrupt armor only applies to bosses in PvE so far.

  2. That sucks. I think Carbine should run with interrupt armor.

    You could even make a whole subsystem out of it. Let's say everyone has 100 interrupt armor. Then you have an ability that says: "If the target has 10 or less interrupt armor, stun them for 6s. Remove 40 interrupt armor."

    Then you could also have damage spells that removed some interrupt armor as a side-effect, or heals which restore a bit of it.

  3. I agree, though I think the way WildStar is going, the difficulties of targetting (using skill shots) and breakout gameplay (, in case you haven't seen it) are going to make chaining stuns hard enough. Maybe.

  4. It IS a very interesting concept, as you said opening up many more avenues of strategy.

    what strikes me too - with DMs you weren't necessarily forced to ever experience the bosses' special attacks, especially when/once DPS was high enough to end the encounter / farm it. in Wildstar PVE at least, the group will always have to deal with as many special attacks as boss design wills it, before they get to interrupt them. that could even create a completely different 'difficulty curve' for certain encounters, forcing players to use some abilities much sooner than they're usually used to. there could be a reversal of skill/ability/consumables-management to some extent.

  5. Ok, it may be me, but what exactly is new in this kind of boss fight?
    Red patches on the ground? Neverwinter has those, and more and more WoW bosses are using the same approach. This actually started at the end of WotLK, with the release of addons like AVREncounters and HudMap which did exactly what you see in this fights: clear display of safe/unsafe areas.
    I also don't understand what's new about Interrupt Armor. The mechanic of "boss puts shield up, you need to DPS the shield and then interrupt it" is also nothing new. Change "neet do DPS" to "need to interrupt" and it's the same, only less gear-dependent.

    BTW the kind of fast-paced "don't stay in the red zones" of boss fights, and I'm thinking Neverwinter in particular, turns into a nightmarish wipe-fest as soon as one player lags, as it requires lightning-fast reaction time *and* connection latency. WoW has been going in this direction as well, with some mechanics being impossible to handle above 400-500ms of latency, but in Neverwinter it's way worse...

    I admit I was looking at Wildstar as "something different", but now it really looks "more of the same". Which is not necessarily bad, after all I sill play WoW, but it seems it won't contribute one iota at evolving the genre.

  6. Interrupt armor looks very, very similar to "Unshakeable" and "Defiant" from Guild Wars 2.

    The net effect of this is to make PvE builds remove CC entirely in favor of raw damage. You don't really have to sweat non-boss fights, so your build doesn't matter that much, and having most of your CC effects "miss" makes them too marginal to bother with -- needing to land 5 CC effects to get 1 to land, and never being able to reliably predict which effect actually manages to "get through" means that it's far better to ignore them and just go for damage and survival.

    It's an idea that looks good on paper, but the net may well be that CC becomes a PvP only thing.