Dev Discussion #20 - NPC Behavior



  • I think that it would be cool for more complex enemies to have a variety of different attacks that are used when certain parameters are met instead of cycling through their attacks/behaviours randomly. For example, an enemy with an AoE attack that will prefer to use that attack when it is available and it is being attacked by multiple players or an enemy with a charge attack that it will use to gap close with ranged players but isn't going to use if it is already in melee range. Some variance in the form of randomized NPC behaviour is probably a good thing but I would like the majority of the PvE combat variance to come from a variety of enemy types with different types of attacks and attack patterns.
  • Dev Discussion #20 - NPC Behavior
    Is randomized behavior in NPCs you are fighting desirable? Where's the line between interesting variance and unpredictable annoyance?

    Unpredictability can make for dynamic encounters, which is always good. Having to react to different things happening in a set order turns a group into drones and creates an unintended meta of understanding a fight itself instead of always understanding the mechanics behind it.

    Good variance is in a cycle that can be a set rotation or randomized. Think D&D Legendary Actions. They likely won't always happen in the same order, and won't be the same ones, but they are all possible within a set amount of time and can happen at some point. Stronger ones requiring more legendary actions per round so as to not have too many repeating strong effects, while weaker ones require less legendary actions per round to add more of them and create a truly dynamic fight that is still fair, but with its risks.

    Bad variance is along the same lines as D&D legendary actions. Let's say:

    Action 1, requires one legendary action: deal 5000 in a cone in front.

    Action 2, requires two legendary actions: debuff party damage mitigation by 50% for a round.

    Action 3, require three legendary actions: deal 70% of current hp as damage in a large point blank area of effect around the enemy, potentially hitting the whole party.

    In a round (set amount of time, say every 10 seconds), the boss can use action 1 three times which a party can react to and account for.
    In another round, it can do action 2 once, and action 1 once, making the damage cone as well as other regular attacks more lethal, which would require the party to act accordingly to differently from the first round.
    In another round, it can do action 3 once, which would require the party to be defensive and focus not just on dealing damage, but also recovering for the next round.
    These are good variances.

    Bad variance is one round you get action 1, action 1, action 1.
    Another round is action 3, action 1, action 2.
    Another round is action 2, action 3, action 3 potentially wiping the party by mechanics that they couldn't realistically account for.

    I think that PvE critical hits are a different matter entirely. Monsters being able to deal critical damage like players create variance and emphasizes tanking gear in the direction of reducing critical damage of enemies like they would in PvP, but if that isn't an option then monster critical hits aren't ever really fun and adds a lot of randomness and potential for unlucky strings of hits.
  • RovinRovin Member, Leader of Men
    In my opinion the more variance the better, unpredictable annoyance to me sounds like unpredictable fun. If i can walk into a fight with a mob and predict or learn its moveset, and then possibly tell you how and when its gonna do something i would get bored pretty fast. Part of why a play mmos is for a sense of adventure when im not adventuring in real like. And the best part of the adventure is the unexpected journey it can take you on. If you know exactly whats gonna happen then its not all that great.

    So to answer the question the more variance the better.
  • WhiskizWhiskiz Member
    edited July 2020
    I believe the line between interesting variance and unpredictable annoyance is in a few things:

    1 - Mobility
    2 - Suitability
    3 - Variety

    1 - An NPC with too much mobility is a perfect example of unpredictable annoyance. Especially for melee players.
    2 - Say a Ranged NPC that tries to get into melee to attack with a knife from time to time, or a melee that tries to say kite/gain distance to throw a throwing knife at you
    3 - While an amount of variety is great, a standard NPC that can do too many things is also more of just an unpredictable annoyance

    These in general are mainly for standard NPCs though, lots of mobility and variety is great for Boss fights etc.

    The very essence of each listed above is unpredictable and annoying - NPCs that move around too much, NPCs that tries to do stuff that doesn't really fit well with who and what they are, and swiss army knife NPCs
  • KnivesKnives Member
    My question is, do you mean the nameless mobs around the world and in dungeons? If so, I don't care if they use their sunder ability or something else, but the line between interesting variance and unpredictable annoyance is, when these NPCs randomly start running around. Even worse when they flee into the next NPC group that leaves me with an undesired fight.

    For the normal open world leveling/questing I prefer dump NPCs which I can pull in the hundreds and burst down to loot the needed 20 Quest items fast.

    For special NPCs like rare mobs or the guards of a city or freehold I very much prefer an "unpredictable" NPC that makes killing him more of a challenge.
  • Knives wrote: »
    My question is, do you mean the nameless mobs around the world and in dungeons? If so, I don't care if they use their sunder ability or something else, but the line between interesting variance and unpredictable annoyance is, when these NPCs randomly start running around. Even worse when they flee into the next NPC group that leaves me with an undesired fight.

    For the normal open world leveling/questing I prefer dump NPCs which I can pull in the hundreds and burst down to loot the needed 20 Quest items fast.

    For special NPCs like rare mobs or the guards of a city or freehold I very much prefer an "unpredictable" NPC that makes killing him more of a challenge.

    I find it interesting that you dislike NPCs fleeing to their allies, pulling in more to the fight. When I think of unpredictability, that's one of the things I like the most. As long as there are specific NPCs that do it (say, humanoid NPCs part of a specific faction) then it's fine, as you can prepare for it. Maybe try and burst them down faster, or keep some CC on deck to account for it.

    What you're saying about dump NPCs vs special NPCs is super on point.
  • CorpierCorpier Member
    edited July 2020
    I don't have much to lend to this topic. Npc behavior isn't usually as big of a concern to me in games as much as solid combat fight mechanics. Its not something I take much notice of unless npcs are running into walls/in circles, stuck in objects, or repeating a few basic actions over and over again.

    What I can say is that a few of the games I've played in which npc behavior and A.I. stood out to me was the Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor and Shadow of War games due to their Nemesis System. I found it refreshing and interesting to see how some fights would play out. In that game an orc captain might start out being very weak and take lots of damage early, but if players crutched on the same few attacks without variation in many encounters enemies would adapt and counter within the fight. If an enemy killed a player or was killed but came back, it would evolve based on the previous encounter so that it not only grew stronger but changed its strengths, weaknesses, and attacks to better react to how the player previously fought them.

    I don't know if a similar A.I. from a single player game could be implemented in the large map with many changing parts and myriad of players/team compositions of an mmo, but it would be interesting to see A.I.'s remember and adapt to previous interactions with players. At least, so long as it stays within reason and enemies don't have the capacity to adapt faster than the players can change their builds and/or tactics. If anything though, those games were proof of concept that npc behavior could be modified on the fly based on player action. Granted it was in a less complex single player game, but it used 6+ year old system designed to run on older tech.

    I'm interested to see what's possible now, even if the interactions with the A.I. don't result as much from personal action as much as cumulative player input, it would be great to see enemies react and shift/adapt to player patterns. Such as if players repeat attempts to push a boss with as much damage per second as possible, it might adapt by swapping from fighting with a spear and lots of big attacks to adopting with a shield at some point and/or start enraging if too much of its health is lost in a certain span of time. If the majority of players come to fight with fire weapons and physical resistance armor, then the boss might trade out ice armor and great hammer for an arcane great sword and water armor. Within a fight enemies could begin to counter crowd and block or dodge specific abilities if players keep using them on cooldown demonstrating an enemy that can learn to anticipate the predictable.
  • WMC51WMC51 Member
    People will go crazy if combat is too random but I hate fights that are only based on learning the pattern of mechanics.

    I think you can look at something like legendary skills in D&D. Example dragon uses his breath weapon and instead od a set cooldown you roll the die each round and he gets it back on a 5 or 6. Makes the fight not random but the skill cooldowns can be shorter or longer.

    With set cool downs you can have a monster with a large damage hit every 50 seconds but warriors have a damage reducing buff with a 2 minute cooldown so you just have 3 or 4 alternate.

    Would love to see smarter creatures that might ignore aggro because they're smart or berserk at random times. A dragon that aims it's breath weapon to hit the most people.

  • MarcetMarcet Member
    I want dumb mobs that just stat-check you but sometimes you have to dodge and use your brain. If not skill will surpass stats. I want hard statchecking by mobs.
  • I think it's a great idea but I worry that this mechanic would end up like Diablo 3 where the strategy becomes resetting the dungeon until you get the combination of random mechanics you want. I think finding a way to ensure that the mechanics are well balanced and cannot be reset is important.
  • DeztoxDeztox Member
    In terms of variation, and most of all replayability, I think especially some kind of mobs needs more variation in their responses and the way they play out in the game, E.g., depending on the performance throughout a dungeon you have stated that the difficulty can vary as you progress through the dungeon. However, you might have run this dungeon at the same pase once before, thus and additional layer, to at least a few mobs/bosses could some randomness in their use of abilities.

    This goes especially for world bosses, as it would be to easy to look at YouTube on another server and see how the boss played out when it spawned on their respective server.
  • ElGordoGuidoElGordoGuido Member
    edited July 2020
    I believe NPC Behaviour in general, should be kept simple for most of the game. With movements that match the personality of that character and also help defining him. So, obviously if it's a mage he can cast fireball, but also if he's a joker mage, maybe couple of illusions would also be interesting and define him as an unique character in the world.

    But then, when it comes to high end-pve content, I believe the NPC Behaviour should be predictable to an extent, to prevent players from getting frustrated. But I also think that incoorporating an small amount of 'controlled' unpredictability is very much apreciated. What I mean with 'controlled' is, at some point, players are gonna be able to find the variables that make the NPC behave in one or another way and know how to react to it, making the content not only possible to complete, but also possible to complete in tryharding scenarios.

    On the other hand, the open world bosses, if they work similarly to some 'chronicles' or editions of Lineage2, they should be more a time consuming and strategy planning factor mechanics, than actually a mechanic that requires the player to be 100% focus on reacting to it, thus neglecting the enemies coming to contest the objective and making it impossible to defeat unless it's not contested at all. So an AoE fear/stun/paralyze could add difficulty to the event, while a 'teleport to another plane/location' could guarantee a win/loose.

    Not every NPC should be difficult or have a huge set of abilities, and maybe if they do, having them shouldn't mean that they are hard when fought against but instead they should be used to add personality and depth to their nature and temperament. Keeping the regular deers and militias simple will make the complex gargantuan bosses shine when the player fight against them.
  • ilisfetilisfet Member, Braver of Worlds
    Randomized is better, so long as its reactable and/or manageable. A random one-shot is clearly a no-go, but a random one-shot with a long wind up so clear it's your own fault for getting hit is OK. The scripted fights MMO raids are known for is frustrating design because it's often a wipe unless all players know the exact script.

    Enemies with a fixed moveset they use like a toolbox (the right tool for the right situation) is more engaging because you're playing around the AI rather than following their tune. An example is a quick lunge attack: opening always with this gets annoying, especially if it CCs in some way, while it happening randomly sometimes occurs at point-blank, which is also annoying for being unpredictable -- but the AI only ever lunging when you're a certain range away from it makes the attack both predictable and manageable. Even if the lunge is so fast you cannot react to it, so long as you can expect it coming, it can be dealt with. In fact, if this lunge leaves the AI open for a time, you may even want to bait out the lunge. Here the player has agency over the fight -- they set the pace instead of the AI. These are the most satisfying, because any failure is due to your own inability to manage the AI's fighting style.

    An example to pull from is Dark Souls, as their boss design is generally seen as good. Ornstein, for example, will lunge at the player if they're far and strike and stab while close, attempting to keep the player within his spear's range. Ornstein, as well, will charge the player if far enough, but differently from Ornstein prefers an optimal distance rather than point blank: he will butt pound the ground if you stick too closely to him. This attack requires immediate distancing to evade, but also leaves Smough open to attack if properly avoided. In the Souls series, failure is due to not fully understanding the boss's moveset rather than not memorizing the script.

    I also strongly believe any game with PvX should have PvE train players for PvP. The AI does not need to mimic a player (though that is one route), but rather get the player to do what they would in PvP. Doom Eternal is something to study in regards to this: there's a "fun zone" to Doom and in Doom (2016) iD overlooked some design choices that created FOO strategies (low skill, high reward that always work). Specifically, you had so much ammo you could just use your favorite gun and nothing else; you could also just super shotgun everything. The "fun zone" was all about constantly switching weapons, considering which gun is best for the current target and range, prioritizing demons and staying mobile. So, in Doom Eternal, iD drastically reduced ammo, increased the threat of demons and added more rock-paper-scissors dynamics between them and your arsenal of guns: the result is the player has to be in the "fun zone" or else they die. Each demon forced a different reaction out of the player, ultimately funneling them into the intended (funnest here) way of play.

    While designing PvE, it will do you well to consider how PvP plays out and how that type of playstyle can be teased out of the player by various mechanics and combinations of enemies in PvE. Not every enemy needs to emulate a full player, but the group of enemies collectively should force the player to take the same steps they would against another player.
  • i can only take an example of wow since this is the only MMO i REALLY put time in, about 13years of active progress.
    It's not fun to exactly know that, for example, a shaman NPC will cast lightning bolt until he's down to a certain % and starts casting healing wave, it's just a monotones routine you follow
    i do understand that there are limitations as to how "random" the fight can get but wouldn't it be nice to have NPCs with somewhat of a personality?
  • edited July 2020
    Is randomized behavior in NPCs you are fighting desirable?
    Yes. :)
    Where's the line between interesting variance and unpredictable annoyance?
    It is a vague line, to be sure. But to answer with some degree of clarity: the line becomes clearer when

    1. Positive effect. The behavior in question removes monotony from repeated fights. The strategy or tactics I use against a mini-boss, might be utterly (or at least obviously) different for a player who comes along behind me. It would thwart the usually cookie-cutter approach to reading a guide, then monotonously pressing the correct sequence of buttons from phase to phase. Perhaps a slight variance of skills is used depending on group make-up or a solo-player's class/sub-class choices. The boss skill availability usage patterns should be dynamic and compliment the collective skills of the player(s).

    2. Negative effect: The behavior in question removes or negates player effort to an excessive degree. Yes, "excessive" is subjective. Example: no matter what I do, because my skill or class choices I don't have a chance. I readily grant that this is a generalization and an "all things being equal scenario." All things are never equal.

    At the risk of being redundant, this is a hard question to which I have to develop a coherent response.

    Case point: a boss has aggro to the tank (and not under the effects of a force taunt). The AI recognizes a player is weak or low on HP, so the Boss focuses on finishing off that player. He does not do this for every player, or when any player reaches a certain low-HP percentage or value. It is not scripted per se. He just - apparently - saw a weakness and attempted to exploit it. But not every single time it happened. This adds a degree of difficulty and unpredictability. After the fight, players might be asking: what happened there? Why did he lose aggro and go for so-and-so? He doesn't even have to actually kill a player! It would leave some doubt or intrigue in our minds. This adds to the flavor; it's boring to know everything. Mechanical fights are boring. NPCs as in this example are not flimsy, predictable, nor one-dimensional.

    Case point: a boss has an in-lore reason to fear a certain skill (that changes with each spawning of him) so that skill causes some added effect in favor of the players in the battle. This fear could be discovered by the completion of an optional side-quest and would only be applicable to the party who did so and would come from the party members' skills at time of completion. The next party might do the quest, but the skill is selected from the choices of that party, and is therefore dynamic and unpredictable.
    "Don't be hasty."
  • i like the idea of randomness as it will keep things from going stale, but i'd like to see any important/hard hitting attack or big cc from npcs to have a clearly visible animation and telegraphed on the floor so we know how/where to go to avoid, with timers that allow most people to react, as getting one shot or perma cc because you were required to react in a ridiculous amount of time is not fun, also not fun if theres no telegraphed important attacks on ground so i have to mentally calculate pixels that could mean im surviving or getting oneshoted
  • A dream of mine is to play an MMO in which all non-player characters have motivation - not just a script of behaviour and action...rather, their own agency and goals, such than an emergent system is created.
  • witness01 wrote: »
    A dream of mine is to play an MMO in which all non-player characters have motivation - not just a script of behaviour and action...rather, their own agency and goals, such than an emergent system is created.

    Sounds like Westworld. 😁

  • H8edHeroH8edHero Member, Braver of Worlds
    This is such a long winded discussion I will try and keep my thoughts as short as possible because without actually sitting down at a design table I would never be able to voice or make these ideas fully understandable.

    I like to fight NPCs that telegraph their plan, subtle to obvious in mixture. Lets start with a staple NPC a Dragon. Say they have a light attack, heavy attack, AoE attack, and a one shot mechanic. Multiple iterations of each. If multiple variants of each skill is to much for trash mobs at least feature it for bosses. Each type of attack would have a varying degree of "tell" or telegraph before the attack with corresponding damage. So the light attack (slash with claws) would be a quick flinch of a foot/leg followed by a not so punishing attack. Where as the heavy attack (whip of the tail, a bite, etc.) would be a step/lean back before a lunge forward with an attack that is much more devastating due to the longer telegraph. Then apply these principles to each of the NPCs abilities.

    That is what I like to fight currently. With this project I would love to see those same mechanics but stepped up a bit to provide variety and discourage "stack and wack" raiding. Not just mechanics where everyone stacks then has to run to a circle (so boring), then rinse repeat. As an example NPC's would react to groups that try to "stack and wack" by using more punishing Ao'Es against them. Forcing them to spread out and watch for those fore mentioned tells. Some attacks showing no regard for any aggro table.

    Im already starting to ramble off ideas. So basically NPC's that are random to a degree, never a static cycle. By static cycle I mean: I encounter a Wolf and I know its attacks will be Light, Light, Heavy, Jump back Heavy. If they could react to our positioning, maybe even our skills of choice it would be bliss. At first fights would be tough but as we fight them the telegraphs for each attack become known and the fight can be won with proper reaction. It would also make killing that same Wolf for the 100th time or more engaging/rewarding.
  • I like set ai for each specific enemy. So even if you have recolors they aren't necessarily the same enemy. Not a huge fan of Randomization on enemy ai.

    U.S. East
  • This is more of a ramble and thought draft but I'd love to engage in discussion about it.

    Just like there are class augments, I think it would be cool to have NPC augments. Fighting Ice Dragon boss? Attacks do 25% more damage in winter. Fighting zombies? Zombies have powerful skill chain unlocked at night. Some smaller stuff like that scales pretty well if you categorize mobs in a certain way. Raid bosses should have certain augments that affect skill chains, buff/debuffs, mob summoning. Whether or not the augment is predictable is difficult to decide. One the one hand, making it predictable what boss will be summoned is low risk and easy to master once a meta evolves. On the other hand, if you make the boss unpredictable, it may become unachievable for some people (think, you must prepare for 6 hours for this raid if xyz boss augment but when abc augment spawns you cannot beat it.)

    I think Another variation can come in stats. Bosses can have a minimum stat value for all stats but also a stat pool that is randomly assigned. For example, say Lich Lord has these minimum stats: HP 1000, Atk 200, def 400, Magic 500 and a randomly assigned stat pool of 1000. That same boss can have 1200 hp (1000base+200random), 400 atk(200Base+200Random), 800 def(400 base+400 Random), 700 Magic(500 Base+200 Random) and on a different day have 1450 HP, 250Atk, 650 def, 750 magic. Obviously there could be an upper bound limit as well so you don't get a boss with an op stat but you get the idea. Also scales very well to all mobs in game.

    As for behavior of npcs, It's good to give them life through a variety of speech options, sound design, animation that make them look alive(maybe kobolds tend to fall asleep in the afternoon), interaction with other NPCs (if a tiger walks into a goblin camp, the goblins should attack it or if trolls bicker with each other it could turn violent and they attack each other). Ultimately, any one of these would take forever to develop to make them feel unique. There is no way you will have over 200 different types of goblins each with their own animations, and then do that with Kobolds, trolls, Wights, raptors, etc. It's just too much. hard to scale.

    NPCs that act like a person in that situation should be developed. For instance, a Goblin village may seem small, tribal and primitive when a village is near by. But as the village grows into a town, there are more people running around and the goblins must protect their lands more fiercely. They set up traps around the village and come to attack you if you are caught in them. They set up guerrilla parties to ambush you when you don't expect it. When developing NPC behaviors, think of the situation that NPC will be in and have them act like they are reacting to external stimuli, not animatronics on a set path. A Tiger may be large and powerful before the node is developed because there is a lot of animal game to eat and the tigers are numerous and healthy. But once a town develops, food is more scarce for the tiger so they are leaner, starving and desperate which makes them agro at a further range - they can smell food. Giving them rare secret behaviors that only trigger under certain conditions is also a good way to keep them fresh, too. Usually, wolves are solitary or in small packs of 4-5. On a full moon, a magapack emerges of 25 wolves and they go on a rampage. Things that make the world unpredictable make the world feel like a danger and keep the players immersed in the world. TLDR: Think like the NPC would and make the NPC act in a way you would act in their situation.

    Engage me in some discussion, I'd love to hear some thoughts.
  • Actually have posted a lot on this topic in other threads plus made own thread for it so insert Bookmark
    Passive abilities and procs for mobs thread here.

    Now as far a special mobs like lava bears they should have special abilities. One of the most emersive things about dungeouns and dragons and other Rpgs is the abilities of the creatures and monsters that you encounter. Undead mobs should not just do physical damage but have undead abilities but undead mobs is an easy example there are alot of other mobs likeforest creatures, dragons frost themed monsters.

    But if you wanted to make it not so annoying then all you have to do is put on a cap on how often you can get hit by special abilities. But let me share a personal expereince.......

    There were some spiders in a cave all over in face had to pull them in groups of 4 to 5 and they had the ability to root you with web pretty standard. First it is thing it is annoying to be rooted multiple times by different spiders. Second spiders rooted you and if you were melee dps spider was out of range but you were ou of range of the spider so really did not make to much of a difference. Same thing with ranged you were rooted but spider was still in range and could not bite you until you were in melee range do whole thing was point less.

    But there is a difference between dangerous mobs with special abilities and regular mobs with abilities that can be annoying. Just to be clear it is not the abilites that can be annoying it is the number of times that can happen. So if you pull five mobs then maybe you could cap it so you can only get hit by 2 cc abilities and one other ability.

    Now if I am out in the open world and meet a magical creature like those runic moose that were featured some time ago it would make sense to give them magical abilities.

    I remember playing Final Fantasy II (two) on Super NES and the mobs had abilities like sleep, charm, spell reflect, stun, poison, plus had normall array of spells like fire spells and frost spells. So when you were fighting mobs that could pooison you, then you were stocked up on antidotes. Plus it changed since different mobs had different abilities then you had to have some strategy to it. So you mght have to plan ahead of time when yo go into a certain zone.

    Wandering Mist posted something about just going around the open world and pushing one button, but really it could be 4 ro 5 buttons (rotation cycle) and because of the repetative nature of it becomes tedious. So if you had to take a cure potion, or press button that breaks cc, or step to the side ounce in while to avoid damage this breaks up the repetive nature in the open world and even in dungeouns

    Would also like to see immunities and weakiness ounce in while not every mob like some games do.

    As far dungeouns are concerned there should be some abilities given to mobs cause dungeouns are suppose to be tougher than the open world.

    But let me talk about WoW for a minute....WoW is one of the most static worlds in the open world and in dugeouns and in raids. But the reason people played that game so much is because the classes were so fun.
    They had a really high fun factor. So you could be farming bears but still have some fun playing your class. As far as dungeouns and raids they could not possible get any more static, but Blizzard are experts at boss fights. So while they were static dungeouns and raids were still fun cause of classes and because of the creativity that they showed in dungeouns.

  • Given the scope of this game.. i rather not add more scope creep to the developer. Just add a simple variance to mob behaviour like, dodging projectile, cast spells at random. something simple to spice up the battle will do.
  • I find randomized behavior to be highly desirable. Some of the best mob farming in my life has been Path of Exile maps. The maps will augment or alter mobs to make it so that every map is not the same. Even when you get your atlas set up just right to farm the same map over and over to get higher drop chances. You will still run into maps that make you pay attention to what you are fighting. Sure the AI in POE is not incredible, but the variation is something that I quite enjoy.

    In a open world MMO I would like to see spawn camps not always be the same mobs in the same location, and any mob having the chance to spawn as a champion or variant version of that mob. Otherwise I am just going to find the most profitable mob and farm that all day.

  • Unpredictability and variety are fun. In older MMOs, it can be quite boring when the exact same monster type acts the exact same way, no matter how many of them you kill. One great example of a system I hold a lot of promise for is Pantheon with their disposition system.

    Giving unique behaviors to different wolves would be fascinating. Maybe the big one can't be taunted, the medium one has a pack mentality and will only attack the same target as the first one, then the small one is so skittish it has an increase aggro radius.

    On the flip side, repetitive variety can be irritating. If you're in an area with a lot of humanoid 'scoundrels,' maybe a sewer or a thieves guild hideout. Having each mob you fight being able to stun you can become incredibly annoying after a time. After a dozen or so, you realize when they're going to stun you, how to work around it, and killing them becomes monotonous. The same could be said for other 'expected' abilities: Heals, aggro resets, etc.

    Unpredictable variety, good.
    Predictable variety, bad.
  • BoomBoom Member
    Not knowing what a mob will do makes it a bit more interesting. Maybe a random chance an NPC will run away from combat as fast as they can, and further, make the health level at which they run is random as well. Knowing a humanoid will run away at 10% health does little towards making the world feel alive, but having a man run from combat after being hit only once because he's a coward or a wolf becoming too scared to fight and fleeing does. Perhaps some classes have so much training and experience, they have nearly no chance of ever fleeing from combat and perform much greater than others. Due to lore, maybe certain races and species have a much higher threat around the ones tied into their background history. Sort of a "favored enemy" type of flavor.

    I think the aggro range and shape/outline could be changed across species and and situations. A humanoid looking North should be able to aggro a lot further onto beings directly North of them, but much less like South-East to South-West of them, as it's behind them.

    Non-circular aggro distancing - Maybe certain spider mobs have a higher aggro distance from the sides than they do from the front?

    Random Modifiers - Maybe a large female bear with cubs randomly gains a massive aggro range to simulate instinct and smells of threats alerting her.
    Where words fail, music speaks.” ― Hans Christian Andersen
  • Was thinking about it some more and think some really simple abilities given to mobs could really add a lot of immersions

    Mobs that are elusive that have abilities that help them escape and run away. This means mob will have to be cced or will run away maybe reset.

    But lets talk about the frequency of which mobs will be given abilities. If all mobs have an ability then it still repetative adn redundant cause well every mob has an ability. So there is nothing wrong with mobs that do not have abilities per say just really wierd when none of the mobs havde abilities or special abilites.

    Really you could just do it by zone. Ounce you put mobs in a zone then you can assigned special abilities and regular abilities to mobs could set a goal like 20 percent of the mobs in a zone have a chance to use an ability. But yes if every mob has an abilty then the result is going to be that they are going to be mostly annoying and not add much immersion to the game.

    Now in a lot of games there are alpha creatures one of them that has more hit points and does more damage and little bit bigger well if that is the only difference so that the alpha mob represents 1.5 bears then in my opinion it is kind of a wast.

    There are those demonice bunnies were there could be bigge tougher versions of those things but it would make sense to give them an ability.

    Anoher thing I wnat to mention is ....It has been stated that somehting like Iron Mode will be put into place.
    I call it APOC mode. So if you put it in Apoc mode then chances of you encountering mobs with abilities increases. Apoc mode represent a difficulty setting fo hard. If there was another difficulty setting (intermediate) that unlocked mobs using raid like abilities or little more powerful abilities then this way players would have a choice. Would be a great way for players to hone in there skills over all.
  • I think as long as there are no outright annoying abilities that can randomly be used several times in succession. For example, if an NPC you fight has a stun then decides to use it 3 times which makes you sit there for around 6 seconds unable to do anything. Those types of things are annoying.

    There's even attacks where the NPC may dodge or jump around too much. It's really a hard question to answer correctly. My opinion just boils down to making sure there's no abilities used in quick succession that would leave you stunned or for some reason unable to attack the NPC for a short time. Those are always the most annoying imo.
  • This whole topic should be considered carefully as the ramifications on how it will impact threat generation.
    Especially when comparing dungeons, raids and open world conflict.
    If you engage in PVP in the open world or in a dungeon the last thing you want is to enrage an entire mob while pvp'ing.....or do you? If the NPC's are balanced (programmed correctly) to attack both parties rather than just focus on the pvper that has generated the most threat. Yet at the same time, NPC behaviour cant venture to far from traditional threat generation mechanics otherwise dedicated tanks become pointless and mobs become too difficult to control.
    The best NPC behaviours ive seen in a MMO is that of the Division 2. Regardless of the difference in it being a looter shooter or how many issues the division 2 has had. All that aside, the behaviour of the NPCS are second to none! If NPC factions meet up with each other during a random patrol they will start battling each other and will change behaviour depending on your approach or engagement. They also have significant flanking abilities when in mobs giving them unpredictability and responsive mechanics based on your approach to the fight.
  • consultantconsultant Member
    edited August 2020
    Another thing I wanted to mention is there is not need to make it too challenging at low levels like level one through ten. At those levels abilities in mobs should be just for variety not happen to often and not very lethal but enough to let player know that they are there. Would be nice to see the ablities progress as mobs get to level 50. Plus tougher zones and content should have more challenging mobs in general not just more hp and more damage. This way the player can progress all the way to levellevel fifty mobs.

    in addition to what I just said want to say that at low levels a toon my not be fully geared or fully min/maxed plus not having a lot of potions in his inventory. Really just going around leveling getting whatever gear the games gives not really farming per say. But when toon gets to max level they usually have better gear that what is required in the open world plus they have all their cc abilities and full set of dps abilities plus by then inventory would be stocked to the max with items they need to explore the world.

    Another thing I would like to mention is that If for example your are level 50and you are doing level 40 content that Mobs could use more powerful abilities and more frequently in order to balance the game out. Just the opposite when a toon is attacking higher level mobs. So if a level 40 and level 50 are playing together out in the open world mobs would be tougher on level 50 toon than level 40 great way to encourage players of different levels playing together out in the open world.

    There has been a lot of questions about game mechanics just as freindly reminder more than anything players want the world to be fun and immersive not annoying. For people that want the challenge it should be there if they want it. I know that fun and immersive is kind of catch all because well that statement could be made about many aspects of the game but lets take that Lava bear for example.....

    If the lava bear had and explosive area of effect ability that did damage and knocked you back and then the bear charged you right after wards stunning you for lets say 1 second that would be pretty cool. Course you would have to control the frequency and lethality to make it non-annoying. Personally rather have quality over quantity. Most likely not able to do that on a large scale just to much coding.

    Plus maybe the best thing to do is to think of were it might be appropriate or make sense to give mobs abilities
    Leveling zones. Challenges zones, Type of Mob (some mobs really do warrant a special ability while other well
    could go either way) have different needs. Plus there is the difficulty of the content. One specific example I would like to mention is creatures that you have to defeat as part of a quest well those mobs should be a little more interesting than normal mobs. But if all the mobs are per say interesting the the ones in the quest lines will not seem special.

    So you can over do it making it repetative and reduntant. Ablities should be kind of have a element of surprise that being the case if they happen to often then they lose that element. Really similar to games were every single mob has a weakeness or strength. After a while it is just meaningless and just annoying.
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