As a final birthday present to Anarchy Online, I'd like to cite some previews of Star Wars: The Old Republic, in which the previewers complain about people standing toe to toe and shooting at each other with laser weapons, which doesn't feel all that realistic. Anarchy Online has this problem since a decade, and it's interesting to see how nobody has come up with a better implementation of Sci-Fi combat yet.That's an interesting question, isn't it?
One idea is simply having personal shields! But that'd suit Anarchy Online more than star wars.
So, here's a bit of a radical idea - can we just have dynamic cover - you get into combat, your character goes and jumps behind a crate or tree stump. Was that crate or tree stump there a second ago? No, it sort of fades into existance!
I know star wars: the old replublic has some cover mechanisms, but they seem static and only in set places.
Another idea is to simply have alot of shots 'miss', but these still reduced your 'health'. In other words, health is used more to represent the lowering odds of all those shots missing you, rather than your capacity to take hits. Indeed, this would work very nicely for light sabers as well, since no one would be all dark night 'Tis but a flesh wound!' and fighting on after being hit. Instead they'd be dodging all over the place to avoid the saber until KAZROW, off comes the traditional star wars arm!
Well, LOTRO went and decided their 'health' bar was actually a morale bar. It's not like it's sacred to keep it a 'how much can you be hit by a battle axe and still smile' bar!