Several sources have confirmed that the latest Elder Scrolls Online beta build includes hostile NPC collision detection. If this is final and implemented well, it’s a big boost to the feel of melee combat in ESO. The general consensus has been that melee combat could feel better. It has somewhat been lacking impact. If these news turn out to be true, and the changes are implemented right, it’s definitely a major feather in Zenimax’ cap.
Whilst NPC collision detection has existed in Elder Scrolls games for ages, it definitely also has its drawbacks. In my experience it’s mostly to do with friendly npcs and companions getting in your way rather than enemies, though. Having hostile npc collision detection is also very important for that Elder Scrolls feel in my eyes.
Another key point here is that the collision detection is only active for NPCs. It’s important because I’m sure there’s many of us who know what happens when player collision detection is combined with jackasses and trolls. Warhammer Online, Age of Conan… Being able to block down entire areas by just parking your character at a specific spot is not the best design in my eyes.
It can certainly add an extra strategic element and a sense of realism into some situations, but it needs to be implemented the right way. So far I’ve not seen a single MMO which has managed to pull it off, so I’m glad that they are not attempting it in ESO either.
If this turns out to be true, it’s another case-in-point of Zenimax listening to the community and the feedback of the players. Many of us demanded Zenimax to include first person view in Elder Scrolls Online, and they did it. Many of us have been complaining about the lack of impact in melee combat, and Zenimax genuinely seems to be on the right track for fixing it.
Good on them, and good on us!