Point and click combat is so nineties. Action combat is where it’s at and while this is an obvious move for MMORPGs, it surely took its goddamn sweet time to happen. Games like Tera and Dragon Nest showed how it should be done and now we’re waiting for the big hitters to show their strengths and make stuff like tab targeting a thing of the past.
Do note that we decided to leave Bless out of this list for two reasons: first, combat doesn’t seem too action-based judging by one very early video; secondly, it was revealed that the combat we’ve seen won’t reflect the final game, so we’ll wait to see how it turns out.
Here are some of the games that you should keep an eye out for. Let’s begin!
10 – DRAGON SWORD
Can you name a good Chinese MMORPG besides Age of Wushu? It’s not an easy task, right? Well, perhaps Dragon Sword will turn out as another quality MMO for you to remember. Dragon Sword is an open world action combat game powered by the proprietary Next-B Engine. Don’t be surprised to see that the characters and animations look a lot like the ones in Blade & Soul, but this game is far from a simple copy, and it also looks absolutely amazing. As for combat, it looks a lot like a mix between Blade & Soul and Dragon Nest’s – you can move and attack at the same time and there’s an alternate weapon such as a pistol. Seems pretty fast and exciting.
9 – DRAGON NEST 2
So, we’re throwing Dragon Nest 2 here only because we love the first game so much. It’s not like there’s much info on it or even any footage, but here’s what we know so far. The anime style will be replaced by a more realistic look and the game will be set in an open world. Action should be quick and easy to control. Come to think of it, it shouldn’t look too different from an open world Vindictus or even Dragon Sword. We’re still nearly 2 years away from the first public test, so we’ll update this as we have more info.
8 – KRITIKA ONLINE
Kritika Online is already making waves in Korea due to its fast action and convincing anime style. It’s an extremely fun MMO and fans of games such as Vindictus or Dragon Nest should feel at home with the combat style, which uses the left mouse button for normal attacks and the right mouse button for special moves. This game is like Rusty Hearts times ten.
7 – PHANTASY STAR ONLINE 2
Hey Sega, do you remember us? You know, the North American and European players who are still waiting for the game you promised them several months ago, while Japanese players are having all the fun? Anyway, let’s move on. Combat in Phantasy Star Online 2 is extremely fast-paced, responsive and fun, either with a katana or a bow. The different classes and weapons provide enough variation to combat, so this will help a bit with the repetitive maps.
6 – LEGEND OF CONDOR HEROES: ZERO
Perfect World’s first in-house non-target action MMORPG, Legend of the Condor Heroes: Zero looks like it’s all set to give Age of Wushu a massive beating. The open world concept also helps, and while you can opt for some speedy action combat, there’s the option to go for traditional point and click combat if for some reason you wish to. Some dynamic effects should affect combat, such as a sandstorm, so we’re pretty curious to see how the fights will stand against other action combat games.
5 – BLADE & SOUL
While we’re still waiting for NCsoft to spill the beans on the Western version of Blade & Soul, we can always take a look at the Korean version to see what we’re missing. As far as combat goes, the promises of flashy action akin to some martial arts movies aren’t pure marketing talk, Blade & Soul really looks like a crazy, stylish action movie. This is an extremely fun semi-target action MMORPG, meaning that the player will lock on the target that is the closest to him. Moving to the side a bit you’ll either lose that target or change to other one. There’s a very cool combo system, requiring you to time your attacks and skills correctly to make the best out of it. Countering, parrying, jumping, wall running… Blade & Soul is a fun game that should be here already, dammit!
4 – MABINOGI 2: ARENA
Mabinogi 2: Arena is far from being the sequel that many players were expecting. The cartoonish landscapes of the original are a very distant memory in this game, so we’re filing Mabinogi 2: Arena under the spin-off section until we know all the definitive details on it. More an expansion on Vindictus than anything else, this is a game focused on action combat with an additional layer of interactivity in the shape of spectators, hence the Arena part in the name. Anyone will be able to watch a battle and even interact with the players by offering potions and some rewards, as well as to hop straight into the PvP game. It sounds interesting but also extremely chaotic if not handled well, but developer NSquare still has a lot of time ahead to tweak things.
3 – PROJECT BLACK SHEEP
Besides Bless, Neowiz is working on another exciting game, for now known as Project Black Sheep. The focus of this game is combat and destruction and it got us pretty excited. The player is able to move around using the scenery, showing some amazing athletic skills. It’s not just character physics though; the game offers an impressive level of destructibility, crushing everything we’ve seen before in action MMOs. Think Vindictus meets Bayonetta and you should be getting an idea of how awesome this game is looking so far.
2 – MONSTER HUNTER ONLINE
If you’re not a fellow Chinese gamer then you probably cry every time someone mentions Monster Hunter Online. We know that feel, guys. But who knows, perhaps we can still get our hands on this game some time. Anyway, combat and weapons, both ranged and melee seem to honor the series, with the CryEngine 3 offering a sweet feeling to the combat, weighty and flashy. Movement is pretty realistic and you should use rolls a lot to escape the resourceful enemy creatures. This is shaping up to be some truly glorious action combat.
1 – BLACK DESERT
Much has been said about Black Desert, since this is one of the most exciting upcoming games at the moment. One of the merits of the game is the action combat system, which seems to draw inspiration from C9. Players will be able to block and dodge, sometimes with incredible rolls or twirls, as well as using the main attack and a secondary attack – for example, the fighter uses the shield. You can also press keys to activate skills in conjunction with the basic actions, but essentially timing is the most important thing in combat. You can also fight on mounts, a feature that is admittedly inspired by Red Dead Redemption and includes horse drifting.
There you go, some real heavy hitters there. While most of them are or will be free-to-play, there isn’t a single game here that was announced as pay to play, but there’s a chance that it may happen, like Blade & Soul for North America and Europe, so take notice. Anyway, did we leave any important game out of the picture? Let us know in the comments. Until next time and happy MMO battles!