Targeting Upgrades in Ship of Heroes

Nov 8, 2023

Targeting enemies in any game always draws a lot of opinions, and there's a lot of subtlety to it. Tab targeting in particular is complex. You don't need to worry about it when you're playing because it’s intuitive to use. But behind this perceived simplicity is a bit of subtlety.

Now that the Steam Fest Beta event has ended, we’re carefully evaluating everyone’s comments in our contact forms, in-game conversations, /bug reports, Steam, YouTube, and the SoH forums. People have had a lot to say, and we’re pleased to report that vast majority of it is positive!   One of the top subjects was targeting. So, we made some improvements in response to these comments.

Enemies get red targeting brackets

For one thing, the old targeting bracket, which was an easy-to-miss circle around your target’s feet has now been replaced with a much more visible vertical bracket. It’s also color-coded: red for enemies, yellow for vendors, and green for your own character and your team, so it’s easy to tell if you’re buffing yourself or not.

Green circles are for targeting yourself and your team

Vendors are highlighted in yellow

The bracket moves to the next target when you press tab, defeat an enemy, or click on a new target. Each move of the bracket activates checks to ensure that the target is in line of sight (LoS) and is not deceased.  And abilities that are aimed at a location or fixed area instead of centering on an enemy will still show up on the ground.  Another new feature is that if you are not in combat and an enemy runs up and attacks you, that enemy will automatically be targeted for your counterattack.

Location/ground attacks still show up on the ground

The new targeting bracket also has a couple of variations as shown in the graphic below.  We may expand the options over time, but the main goal at the moment is to provide some slight variations so that anyone with a form of color-blindness can more easily identify the nature of the target from the shape of the targeting bracket.

Brackets are slightly different shapes, especially for allies

The next set of improvements has been incorporated into what happens when you press tab.

If you haven’t pressed tab in the past two seconds, SoH tab targeting builds a list of targets:

  1. SoH grabs all targets in LoS, within 65 feet, that are still alive and capable of harming you.
  2. It will take into account how close they are to the direction you’re looking, and how far they are from you, to create a list of targets with weighted priorities. You’ll end up targeting the highest-priority enemy.  But as in most games, only enemies that are on your screen are targeted, so your camera position matters.
  3. SoH tab targeting also prioritizes foes that are currently attacking you over ones that are just standing nearby. This is a new feature, added based on your suggestions.

“Aim at that guy! No, the other one!”

But if you have just recently pressed tab, SoH tab targeting uses the current list of targets:

If you’ve pressed tab within the last two seconds and you click tab again, it will use the same list as last time and pick the next-highest enemy on the list. This way you can press tab several times and not get stuck on the same 1-2 enemies if you want to target one that’s far away, like a sniper.

For example, suppose that if in the first check above, SoH calculates that the NPC two feet away and directly in front of you is the highest priority target, another one two feet away but far to your right is second, and a third NPC five feet away and off to the side is third. Suppose you press tab and don’t like the first NPC, maybe because he’s already being tanked, and you want to target the third NPC. When you hit tab again, it will select the second NPC on the list, assuming he’s still in line of sight, and when you hit tab the third time, SoH will grab the third NPC.

The tab targeting cycle will reset if you cycle through the entire list, or you just wait two seconds. So, if a new enemy runs around the corner while you’re trying to select another one, it won’t change the targeting order. However, you may need to wait two seconds and press tab again to get the new enemy on the target list… or tab through everyone else… just click the new foe manually.

“This is all because of my stunning good looks. Get it? Guys?” – lonely hero

Once there are no combat enemies that can attack you in detection range, SoH tab targeting will check for destructibles like weapons caches and enemy computers. This is done so that targets that can wait will never distract you while you are in combat, which could potentially get your character killed.

Any obstructions to line of sight (LoS) can affect targeting, because it’d be weird to target foes you can’t see. Unfortunately, LoS issues impacted a couple of the missions in our last event, but it looks like we’ve identified the source of the LoS issue and we expect to have that solved soon. 

We’re going to be doing some special testing to see what players think of these upgrades. If you would like to participate in the testing and refresh your experience with tab targeting inside Ship of Heroes, please click the arrow below to sign up.

Join our Testing Team

​Overall, we are very pleased with the results of the Steam Beta.  There’s no substitute for chaotic, unscripted events to polish an MMO.  We are still working on improvements in response to the comments we received, and you’ll see a few more newsletters with focused on new upgrades in the future.  So, stay tuned, there is a lot more coming!

And as always, please wishlist and follow us on Steam. That helps us prepare for the launch of a great new MMORPG!

Technical Notes

 

1. Some games don’t enable self-targeting but we think this is helpful to ensure that self-buffs are actually being applied to you. However, if you target an enemy and apply a self-buff the targeting bracket stays on the enemy you selected while the buff is applied to you.

2. The exact shape and colors of the targeting bracket is subject to change. If the player community offers up better ideas, we will implement them.

3. When you are not in combat and enemies run up and attack you, the highest priority enemy will be targeted. This makes combat smoother and faster.

4. When fighting indoors, we have left a feature in place that did confuse a few people – you can see the nameplates for enemies that are within the range, but are not targetable because of LoS from intervening walls. This makes combat flow better by giving players a sense of how close they are to enemies on the other side of a doorway or wall. If the community wants this feature turned off, we can always make a change.

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