Old Republic’s combat system should feel familiar to anyone who’s played an MMO. But there are several features that we absolutely love. In terms of unit animation, attacking and defending characters interact with each other to a greater degree. You’ll see Jedi deflect incoming blaster fire, parry saber swings from enemies, and dodge attacks. It’s not a drastic improvement over what you’re already used to seeing in WoW, but it’s enough to make it feel like the animations of your character and the mob you’re fighting are more closely connected and choreographed.
Aggro radius is a common MMO term that refers to the distance between a player and an enemy unit. In most MMOs, once you enter the aggro radius of an enemy unit, it will begin attacking you. After spending some time exploring the Sith training ground on Korriban, it feels like the aggro radius of enemies in Old Republic is smaller than what you’re used to seeing in WoW. That means that you can move a little closer to enemy units in Old Republic. At least, that’s how it seemed to us. It could’ve just been that we were sampling some lower level quests, or that BioWare is still fine-tuning the combat. But we suspect that the aggro radius will still seem a bit shorter than WoW’s throughout the game so that players will be able to take advantage of Old Republic’s new cover system before engaging enemies.
Above: Taking cover provides a defensive bonus and is important for characters who use ranged weapons
This brings us to another big difference we’ve noticed between the combat system in WoW and Old Republic. Expect to see fewer open fields of play in Old Republic. There’s almost always a crate, a column, or some other object that can provide cover for your character during a firefight. Blasting at enemies from behind cover will provide you with a defensive bonus, and we’re especially looking forward to seeing how the Trooper, Bounty Hunter, Smuggler, and Imperial Agent take advantage of the terrain before and during encounters.
Above: You’ll often find yourself dealing with groups of enemy units
The BioWare team has often emphasized that Old Republic’s combat is meant to make your character feel “heroic.” We got a brief glimpse of this in action, and what we’ve noticed is that even when running rather low level quests, you’ll often fight multiple enemies at the same time. This will be a dramatic change from WoW and most other MMOs, where you almost always want to only pull one enemy at a time. Videos, screenshots, and multiple samples of crowd control and stun skills for just about every class seems to confirm that you’ll often be in battles against multiple enemies.