thoughts on ecology

Watched a YouTube video recently from an early game developer talking about ecology in his game and how when the game went live players swarmed over the landscape and killed every living creature even competing to kill a new creature as soon as it spawned.  That was kind of funny.  I do not expect that to happen in Ashes.

In EQ2 the open world mobs are insanely abundant and really stupid.  Even top predators like grizzly bears and African lions roam the landscape in densities similar to house flies.  I know the game is fantasy but grizzly bears as thick as thieves would never occur in real life... ...except possibly for a very brief time during spawning season on the most productive salmon rivers.

I watched a group combat video in AoC in late spring or early summer.  Steven and his small group I think were running toward a dungeon.  On their way in the open world they were killing some mobs and these mobs were just as thick as anything I saw in EQ2.  I guess I am trying to say if it were up to me I might prefer that open world mobs be a little bit scarcer... least for the top predators.  Some others might disagree because dense mobs make for lots of action and combat, which is thrilling.

The developers of EQ Next were talking about mobs being intelligent or maybe even learning.  I think I may have heard similar phrases from the people at AoC.  Mobs in EQ2 pop up in extraordinarily high densities, then act, fight and die in an easily predictable manner that never changes.  I wonder whether a given type of open world mob in AoC will have any ability to adapt.  I know that would not be easy to implement and it may be asking for too much.  But it would be neat.  Maybe they might learn over time to run away sometimes or hide instead of always choosing to attack and fight to the death no matter the odds against them?


  • Please realize all the A0 footage seen in those videos including mob spawns was placeholder and won't look anything like that come live launch. They have commented on the UO virtual ecology issue also and said they are not going to emulate that. We know that bosses will not have scripted actions like other mmos like at 60% it always does its aoe roar so make sure to block stuff. The bosses will be dynamic and have multiple patterns and behaviors to deal with. Spawn tables are dynamic in the open world and are not locked to low level zone low level mobs only, high level zone high level mobs only.
  • I'd love to see mobs form little communities and do things in less predictable ways.

    Oh, that mob can see you killing its friend.  Its going to walk up and help and bring like 9 friends. 

  • This is the video he was referring to its a rather entertaining watch. Humans will be humans haha
  • The game is in Alpha 0 so don't expect to see that sort of thing in any of the footage just yet...
  • The mob AI system that was being DISCUSSED for EQN was very intriguing.  I don't know how realistic it would be to code in intelligent, realistic behavior for all mobs and mob groups / communities but it sure sounded neat.  I seem to recall that they used Orc hunters as their example?

    Before and leading up to launch, GW2 was going to have zones that responded to what the player base did.  They always used Centaurs as the example.  The Centaurs, if left unchecked, will attack villages, build fortified encampments and take over the zone.  In reality it really didn't work that way.  There were simple multi phase events that cycled through and reset - quickly.

    It really sounded great in theory but it sure didn't get executed the way they were describing it.

    Hopefully AoC gets over the mob AI hump and we really will get to quest / play in 'living, breathing world'

    We shall see.
  • I know Steven said that Star Wars Galaxies is a big influence.  In SWG there was a robust ecology with predator animals eating prey, babies with parents, and rival gangs of thugs shooting each other.  I’m hoping that comes over to AoC.
  • Realism vs good gaming experience (hopefully both)

    I am not interested in detailed interaction between mobs as long as the theme is there.

    What I would like to see is very populated areas around hunting zones and inside said zones (mountain, tower, battlefield, ruins, enchanted forest).
    Id like to be able to spend time in a location fighting my way through, observing the environment, get immersed in it.

    In most mmorpgs at the moment mobs chase the players only for 15s and then turn away, or they are too spread out. This makes players speed past the environment and get to the POI in no time, without taking in the scenery. 

    It would be nice if people had a reason to stay in a general area for some time before ridding off to a different scenery too soon.
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