Jul 5, 2010

Posted by in Clandestine Maneuvers: The Imperial Agent, Die Hard: The Bounty Hunter, Diplomatically Immune: Jedi Consular, Force Fields: Jedi Knight, Havoc Squad: Life as a Trooper, News, Seek & Destroy: Sith Warrior, Take a Walk on The Dark Side: Sith Inquisitor | 5 Comments

"Not Enough Force" – Resource Pools

With the recent release of the E3 multi-player combat video, we wanted to take a closer look at certain aspects of of what we saw. Even though its a low-level encounter, we feel there’s enough information there to warrant a deeper dive. For this first entry, we thought we’d start with thinking about the class resource pools, and how those might affect combat.

In the video, we finally get to see some Jedi in action – both the Knight and the Consular were in the group. These classes were withheld from the recent E3 hands-on sessions, so this was a special treat.

We viewed  the battle from the point of view of the Jedi Consular, which meant we got to see a lot of things that happen in the UI during combat, including some of the system feedback…  One example, the beloved MMO staple “Out of Range” message when your target is too far away for you to interact with it.

Out-of-Range

At about 2:30 into the video we see a different message pop up – “Not Enough Force.” This message appeared because the Consular did not have enough “Force Points” available to execute the ability that was selected. For those new to the genre, MMORPG player classes typically have resource pools such as this for two reasons: to govern the use of certain abilities (facilitating balance,) but also as a gameplay mechanic itself. Managing this resource pool becomes part of the skill you will need to learn to play your character effectively.

Mechanically, having Force as a class resource makes sense for Force-sensitive characters, but it still makes me cringe just a little bit seeing “The Force” reduced to a mere resource pool. I guess this is one of those things we just have to accept as necessary for game mechanics. But I digress…

At any rate, it got us to thinking about resource pools in general. We now know that the Consular uses “Force” as it’s resource. The Sith Inquisitor apparently does as well. Even though the Sith Warrior is a Force user, his resource pool is “Rage.” The Bounty Hunter uses “Heat” with the requirement to periodically vent your system. Naturally the Trooper uses “Ammo.” And the Smuggler has been observed using “Energy,” (same for the Imperial Agent.) Curiously, no information has yet been learned regarding the resources used by the Jedi Knight.

But what about secondary resources? Are there aspects to managing our characters in combat that go beyond the basics?

Examples from other games include WoW’s Rogue, who uses “Combo Points” to execute “finishing” moves – typically larger special moves of greater power. The Death Knight has the Rune system.  In Warhammer, you had similar secondary resources, but interestingly you also had a tertiary level of abilities called “Morale” abilities. These are abilities that you could use only while in combat, and the longer you were in combat, the more powerful they became. You had 4 slots and each slot was more powreful than the last. If you stayed in combat long enough to activate the ability in the 4th slot, it was a doozy.

Way back, almost a year ago, GameSpot did an interview which exposed abilities what BioWare was calling “spenders.” This seems to add another dimension to resource management, but we’ve heard very little about it since, nor seen anything in action.

The demo video was obviously of low-level combat, but these secondary resources in other games are available right from the beginning. We didn’t see any of that in this combat video… so will we see more depth in this area? Is  this something you’ve been pondering? At what point will we learn more?

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter in the comments below!


  1. Braggolach says:

    I believe that references have already been made to the secondary sith warrior combo mechanic thoguh I may be misquoting previous info

    • Lethality says:

      You are correct, I mention it in the article above. I think they referred to them as “spenders” but we haven’t heard anything since then, nor to my knowledge seen any examples of secondary pools on any other character class.

      Definitely would like to know more!

  2. SpiteNL says:

    With respect to the Jedi Knight and his resource pool.. In the beginning of the video when the classes are being introduced, the Consular targets each class when talking about them. When the Jedi Knight is selected, we can see his health bar, and another empty bar. Later in the video when the Jedi is targeted again (to receive a heal) we can see that the bar is entirely blue, and divided into 12 sections. This could be a rage system similar to the Warrior class in WoW, and most likely the same system as the Sith Warrior. That is, you generate rage as you attack.

    Also worthy of noting are the resource systems for the other classes. The Smuggler appears to have a full yellow bar divided into 5 smaller bars, and the Trooper has 12 smaller pieces in his bar (I’m guessing this means 12 ammo, sort of hard to tell without HD though).

    I also noticed that at one point the Jedi Knight used the Impale skill, which until now seemed to be reserved for the Sith Warrior.

    • Lethality says:

      Great input, thanks. So it does seem to be an additive mechanics like “Rage”. I wonder what they’ll call it (as “Rage” doesn’t seem right for a Jedi ;)

      I did notice that the resource bars are physically delineated in the UI as you say, in some cases divided into sections. It may have to do with how you can regenerate it, or if there are abilities to do so.

  3. cdstephens says:

    I hope that they do something different for the JK. A system where gets stronger the more he attacks doesn’t make to much sense.

    Anyone else catch the reference to lightsaber forms in the article? Or am I just being too optimistic?

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