Introduction to Combat in The Matrix Online
Even with the Truce in place, the Matrix is by no means a safe environment. Once
you jack in, you'll run into dangerous Exile gangs, redpills working for other
Organizations, and various enemies whose goals oppose your own. While
negotiation is sometimes an option, more often than not you'll have to defeat
them in combat.
A hallmark of the Matrix movies is the intense combat styles used while jacked
in. The Matrix Online reproduces these battles with a technology unique to the
MMO world called "the Interlock Combat System". There's nothing quite like going
hand-to-hand (or gun-to-gun) versus an opponent in the wire-fu style of the
Along with melee combat, there are Disciplines dedicated to the art of ranged
combat. This includes both characters that learn to use high-power ranged
weapons and those who learn to launch programs while in the Matrix in order to
help or harm others.
What is "Interlock"?
The Interlock Combat System gets its name from the idea that you've "locked" an
opponent into a battle with you, and is only used when characters are in Close
Combat. While the system is engaged, you and your opponent choose different
Tactics and Special Moves to use. When a Close Combat exchange happens, those
choices get a number assigned to them based on a random "roll" plus any loaded
Abilities and buffs that increase your combat strength.
When the numbers for you and your opponent are compared, the highest number wins.
After the comparison is done, the fun really begins.
The game takes into account the winner and loser of each exchange, what Tactic
or Special Move was used, adds any combat abilities wielded by the opponents,
and then generates animations based on those factors. Unlike other games,
animations for both opponents are synchronized to create realistic combat. For
example, when your punch connects with your opponent's head, his head snaps with
the hit. Sometimes you'll even throw feints that your opponent will duck away
from before you hit him with the real thing.
While lower-level combat looks cool, as you gain experience you can load
higher-level combat abilities and new Special Moves. With multiple combat styles
loaded, you can choose your preferred style before or even during combat. (After
all, Kung Fu isn't all that Neo knew.)
The game takes your chosen style into account and generates combat animations
based on it. For example, countering an attack using Aikido may result in
grabing and throwing your opponent to the ground, while countering using Karate
may result in striking your opponent's arms away forcefully.
Guns. Lots of Guns.
Just like in the Matrix movies, guns aren't only for shooting from a distance.
You can also choose to use one of the many types of firearms in The Matrix
Online while engaged in Close Combat.
Not only does this result in a whole different set of animations (for gun
against gun or gun against bare-handed), but there is also a set of Special
Moves available for armed combat. For example, the Pistol Slide move makes your
character dive backwards away from your opponent, firing back at them the entire
What would fighting in the Matrix be without bullet-time action? The Interlock
system in The Matrix Online allows for special bullet-time animations; where
time seems to slow down as your character executes a particularly devastating
move on an opponent.
Bullet-time isn't something you can control directly. There's no Special Move or
Ability that enables it; it just happens. You'll be in the middle of an exchange
when everything suddenly goes into slow motion. The first time a player goes
into bullet-time is always a memorable occasion. Of course, so is the first time
someone bashes you in bullet-time.
A question that always comes up regarding bullet-time in The Matrix Online is
what other players see when watching someone else go into bullet-time. Other
players don't see anything unusual about the combat. Bullet-time is something
that represents your own mind moving preternaturally fast, so that the battle
seems to go into slow motion as you analyze your opponent's moves and react to
them with exactly the right counter.
Not all fighting in The Matrix Online happens in Close Combat. Combat that
doesn't use the Interlock system is called "free ranged" and covers both weapons
and viral attacks.
Free-ranged combat is most often used by characters supporting the front-line
fighters involved in Close Combat with enemies. Ability loadouts for support
characters include ranged combat specialists, patchers (healers), or viral
An entire section of the Discipline Tree focuses on using firearms effectively.
Some of these disciplines concentrate on Close Combat with firearms, while
others make characters adept at firing from a distance.
These ranged-combat specialists learn to use weapons with ever-increasing range
and damage. Some disciplines, like the Sniper, can even hide within the Matrix
code itself and inflict immense damage with specialized weapons. Whether using
stealth or brute force, these fighters can turn the tide of combat for a group.
Hackers: Patchers and Viral Attackers
There are also discipline branches which include abilities that allow characters
to launch programs that affect other characters. The Hacker path contains
disciplines that specialize in program launching to both help and harm others.
Patchers learn ways to heal other characters' Residual Self Images (RSIs) by "fixing"
their code. When not using their abilities to help their allies, they often use
firearms to inflict some damage from a distance. High-level Patchers can even
fix entire groups of allies with a single program.
Virologists, on the other hand, learn to launch programs that attack enemies. At
the most basic level, they harm enemies by directly damaging their code. They
can also "lock" enemies in place or even disrupt their connection to the Matrix.
In the same way Patchers can heal, the higher-level viral abilities can be used
to attack large groups of enemies with a single program.
It's All About Choice
Although combat isn't everything in The Matrix Online, your character exists in
a dangerous world while jacked in — you'll be forced to constantly defend
yourself and your ideals. Luckily, how you choose to defend yourself is still up
to you, as your character will not be forced to stay on a single path of
Whether you feel like being a toe-to-toe brawler, a stealthy attacker, or a
tactical hacker, you'll get a chance to do it all inside the Matrix.