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Dev Discussion #40 - Enemy Indicators

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  • GrilledCheeseMojitoGrilledCheeseMojito Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Azherae wrote: »
    Mobs show their level relative to you, to some extent, by the color of their name, and then their 'expected party size' somewhat by the SIZE of their name (this seemed to be happening in Alpha-1 but also turned out to perhaps be a bug? Bring it back! lol) or some symbol.

    It's definitely more interesting to not know the exact level, but the 'slight pink, red, deep red' seen in Alpha-1 was working really well for me personally. Obviously being an FFXI player I'll also take some nice detailed stat-check messages. If unfamiliar, an example.

    "The Goblin Enchanter seems Incredibly Tough, it seems to have High Defense."

    For me, I find that these were the most effective parts of the indicator shown in Alpha-1. Displaying the actual enemy level, whether on the name or on the life bar, breaks immersion and does not actually provide more information than the name color system. Ultimately what you care about as a player is "is this a threat?", and for intended boss monsters especially the number can often be misleading. Seeing a sea of deep red names when you enter an area is a quick and visceral way of knowing you're going to have a hard time there!

    I'm "hardcore" enough to want there to be no indicator whatsoever of what a boss/raid/etc. monster is beyond their name or appearance being unique amongst mobs; heck, it's pretty fun when an enemy that appears to be a normal mob turns out to be a terrifying boss to me. But I understand that for the general audience, that sort of approach can be somewhat cruel. My suggestion would be to have no indicator for whatever you consider to be a regular mob, and have a unique icon show up either on the enemy itself or on the nameplate when you click to target them, maybe a skull or similar, which would denote that this is an especially strong enemy and you should be careful. My preference here would be to have it only show up when targeting the opponent outright in the nameplate at the top, and that you would only have one icon to indicate "danger", but I would be willing to accept further categories for raid/unique enemy/etc. if those appear, so long as regular mobs don't get an icon of their own. The color system should also not apply to these monsters (or always show up as a particular color) in order to further differentiate them from regular mobs. It helps to add to the feeling of finding something unique and interesting when you do face something like that.

    I would also like some general "check" function on the enemy that would tell you if it's particularly defensive or evasive. I think any additional information beyond that is best left for players to find out and document on their own, but it's fairly realistic as a quick status check that if you see something like the bears in Alpha-1 that hm, maybe they have fairly high defense due to how big they are.

    I think it's very easy for an MMO to slip into UI hell with lots of elements that detract from immersion, and Ashes thus far has done a fairly good job at keeping that contained. I would like enemy indicators to convey only information that would make sense to your character in this world, and therefore the UI should both minimize its footprint and focus on properties that would be reasonable to grasp for that world's inhabitants.
    Grilled cheese always tastes better when you eat it together!
  • AralonAralon Member
    My vote is for indicated. I love knowing there is an a rare in the distance that I can hunt down. I like seeing an area filled with elites, so I know to use caution.

    If I didn’t have this info, it would be just frustrating to find out by death. As someone with barely enough time to properly game, a corpse run is huge inconvenience.
  • LashingLashing Member
    edited April 6
    In reference to the distance you can see mob information.
    When I was playing Classic wow I found myself actually looking at what mobs looked like instead of scanning for a red nameplate healthbar. I found this to be a way better experience overall because I was spending more time paying attention to the environment around me. It was much less of a turn off your brain and click red bars experience.

    I would greatly prefer if mob names did not appear until you are in range unless you were using a scouting skill. It keeps the environment clean and improves the role of a scout archetype of player.

    On another note I would like it if monsters just simply looked like they are more powerful if they are higher level. For example a level 5 bear is smaller than a bear that is level 45. Knowing what you are getting into simply by looking at the mob is ideal but I understand that is a lot of work.
  • SolvrynSolvryn Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
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  • EriyEriy Member
    A really unique idea in my opinion would be to have the eyes glowing red, yellow or purple to show the power of a monster. In a way this will make the first encounter feel more intimidating, and after you kill the monster enough time the glow to fade off.
  • Aralon wrote: »
    My vote is for indicated. I love knowing there is an a rare in the distance that I can hunt down. I like seeing an area filled with elites, so I know to use caution.

    If I didn’t have this info, it would be just frustrating to find out by death. As someone with barely enough time to properly game, a corpse run is huge inconvenience.

    What if elites/rare visually looked different from afar, i.e. were noticeably larger than the standard? Because I do agree it is nice to be able to tell the difference between a rare spawn and standard spawns, seeing indicators, especially from afar is not necessarily my preference.
  • AeriusAerius Member
    Adding another word into the fray.

    I would prefer there not to be indicators to show if a mob is meant for solo, party of raid. This I would like to determine through trial and error / experimentation. Nameplate indicators for rare or elite/boss mobs is useful and not excessive. I would like to see the enemy's level, and with this I have no need to see relative difficulty colours/shapes since I can typically determine that based on level and normal/rare/elite indicator.

    Marking rares is useful so that you know you've encountered something worth killing or something challenging. The extend of that challenge I will ascertain in combat. I just don't want to pass something good by without there being some way to tell. If it's clear by monster design, the indicator is no longer needed.

    I certainly like the uncertainty with facing enemy players. No issue there.
  • I would like it to be more on the hardcore side. Experience from playing the game and learning the mobs for threat assessment. Maybe have some classes be able to tell depending on the type of enemy it is... Ranger can tell the threat of beasts. Rogue can tell of humanoids if close enough. Mage can tell of magical beings. Something along those lines would be really cool to see!
  • CrowolfCrowolf Member
    Hard Core No Indicators (TTRPG) Style
  • Hard Core No Indicators (TTRPG) Style: You do not know the power of the enemy, nor it's intended audience until you encounter and learn about it through your combat experience.

    If this encourages you to discover more about the world then this would be ideal.


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  • I feel like gathering info on enemies using a skill or item would fit well in Ashes. Similar to the "Scan" or "Identify Monster" ability from many older rpgs.
  • GoalidGoalid Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Make Ashes less game-y, but also don't make your average player frustrated and quit with a TTRPG system.

    Don't give out the level of mobs, but instead have a "fear" indicator on screen when you lock onto a mob. If something is much higher leveled than you, or you're supposed to be in a party to fight them, they have a dark aura around them that gets more drastic the more threat they pose to your party / you solo.

    As you kill more of that mob, you get added information to a bestiary like in BDO, which adds information to your map and the local node library about a mobs level. That way, you're looking at a library and your map in game, to see where the best mob grinding xp is since each server's mobs will differ with the node system.
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  • KamikKamik Member
    Having a hardcore and old school style of knowing the enemy would be the best way to go about it. Starting off with a brand new world full of monsters that you have no prior knowledge unless you experience it through battle should be the starting point of getting to know an enemy better. After a few advances of a few nodes, the players will have basic knowledge about the monsters in the surrounding areas and can exchange information about it with each other up to the point where it becomes common knowledge inscribed into books. Of course, the monsters could mutate or deviate from their normal behaviors, thus players could have a notebook on themselves to take notes of new discoveries they may find about different enemies. There could also be an in-game log that keeps track of various encounters and variants of enemies that the player encountered. For bounty hunting, depending on the info broker that the player meets with the information given could vary from last location known to a whole list of weapons, equipment, and/or archetype & lvl.
  • CraxxCraxx Member, Braver of Worlds, Alpha One
    I personally prefer the old school style since it's familiar to me but I believe for the broader audience i think it's best to choose the intended audience style.

    Hard core no indicators sounds really cool as well, however am afraid you might scare off players that are not experienced with MMO's as well as players that are new to the game in general, which is not good for the game, I am not advocating dumbing it down, but I am sure there is a way that works for both sides.
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  • SzaasSzaas Member
    Nerror wrote: »
    I would like a dynamic system.

    Start off with your character not knowing anything. Hard Core No Indicators style. The more you kill of that species of monster (I assume we are talking PvE only with the way the questions are worded), the more granular and detailed the shown information gets, including even specific strengths and weaknesses on mouse-over at the highest levels of knowledge.

    I am hoping we'll get a sort of bestiary in the game, where people can fill it out by interacting with all the creatures in Verra in some form. It doesn't always have to be from killing them.

    I know you write "enemy", which could include players, but I would prefer you differentiate the systems between enemy players and enemy NPCs.

    That or Intended Audience Style.
    First one takes more time to develop though :/
  • dagiremdagirem Member
    Nerror wrote: »
    I would like a dynamic system.

    Start off with your character not knowing anything. Hard Core No Indicators style. The more you kill of that species of monster (I assume we are talking PvE only with the way the questions are worded), the more granular and detailed the shown information gets, including even specific strengths and weaknesses on mouse-over at the highest levels of knowledge.

    I am hoping we'll get a sort of bestiary in the game, where people can fill it out by interacting with all the creatures in Verra in some form. It doesn't always have to be from killing them.

    I know you write "enemy", which could include players, but I would prefer you differentiate the systems between enemy players and enemy NPCs.

    This!! Something like in BDO, where u need to kill monsters, to get information about them.
    Elite mobs, could have some aura or smth like that, so u would know what u are dealing with.
  • mrBokmrBok Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Old School is fine, minimalistic style just basic indicator. Maybe just a little warning that this mob can 1 shoot you
  • NoaaniNoaani Member, Intrepid Pack
    I prefer the hardcore, no indicators. I like the mystery and i feel like it makes it more immersive.
    @mcstackerson

    Honest question for you.

    In a game like Ashes, where content shifts and changes all the time, if there are no indicators at all on mobs, how are players supposed to know where level appropriate content is?

    And don't say trial and error - we both know that won't fly.
  • HaileeHailee Member
    Old school indicators please.
  • I hope we land somewhere in between Intended Audience and Old School. Let the Hardcore folks just toggle indicators off if they want full immersion for themselves. I’d like to know which mobs to avoid or grab guildmates for versus just getting randomly rocked by both mobs and players.
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  • IffithyIffithy Member
    Hardcore or old school

    Or alternatively make more info available to specific class (bard and ranger) or professions (scribe and/or tamer) so that is player choice
  • ApokApok Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    Music change is enough for me, if you do have a system where if a mob is 5 levels or higher it gives nerfed xp so players can't cheese grinding higher level mobs. Then a skull next to whatever is more than 5 levels above us, to know we aren't wasting our time.

    as far as solo play goes I don't think it should exist, or exist as little as possible. you turn an RPG into an MMORPG and people want to play by themselves. It makes no sense to me where a good MMO should bring people together, not separate them.

    FFXI has a system I always liked, you have an option to "check" an enemy, it would then give you a clue ranging from "too weak to be worthwhile" to "Incredibly Tough" and named mobs were always "Impossible to Gauge" no matter how weak or strong they are.

    In a full experience grinding party you would look for mobs who gave the "Incredibly Tough" /check while experimenting not to get you ass kicked, you also loose xp on death in that game, down-leveling if you die without a buffer.. I always hated it, but wouldn't change it either.
  • Old school sounds like it would be the best for AoC. Hardcore sounds good, but if the game is trying to make death punishing, then it would discourage exploration to some extent because if you get killed by walking in on a big bad without realizing it, you would be reluctant to stray from the path outlined by your quests or engaging a strong looking mob. If the game plans to have rare monsters, random events etc, it should encourage players to engage random strange looking monsters not a hefty death penalty that scars them from doing so again in the future.
  • DygzDygz Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    Admittedly, I am a hardcore time/casual challenge player.

    I think I prefer Intended Audience Style.
    I typically Stealth explore as far as possible until I reach mobs that con as skulls.

    That being said, I also prefer a minimal UI. I don't know that I need to see a floating skull indicator hovering by default. I would be happy to have my character use some form of threat assessment tool or ability (possibly based on a Perception/Wisdom check) to reveal threat level.
  • NeurathNeurath Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Noaani wrote: »
    And don't say trial and error - we both know that won't fly.

    Hit and hope?
  • ShoelidShoelid Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Noaani wrote: »
    I prefer the hardcore, no indicators. I like the mystery and i feel like it makes it more immersive.
    @mcstackerson

    Honest question for you.

    In a game like Ashes, where content shifts and changes all the time, if there are no indicators at all on mobs, how are players supposed to know where level appropriate content is?

    And don't say trial and error - we both know that won't fly.

    yep, trial and error won't work when the error results in XP loss and significant time wasted.
  • Happymeal2415Happymeal2415 Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Trial and error. Works for evolution in the universe but unacceptable for noaani
  • SongRuneSongRune Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    I don't want an absurd amount of information packed into enemy nameplates. Too much noise or 'dazzle' there will only detract from my experience and lower immersion, and having exact levels or stats spelled out is the worst possible way, as it can trigger 'min-maxy' mental processes that actively detract from my experience and reduce my enjoyment in ways that can be hard to ignore.

    I don't want to know an enemy's exact level. I want fuzzy, relative level indicators: the sort of thing that we saw in Alpha 1, where the color of the enemy's name changes by their strength, from pink, to red, to dark red. Marking "elite" enemies with a (single) special color, or maybe a small star is helpful too. I don't need more than that. I already know the enemy is an elite, and I'm in for a tough battle. The only thing that I'd add to this is some indicator of intended party size: "Solo, Small, Med, Full". You may not even need this if I can solo an enemy (that I'm not personally weak to) a few levels later than I could fight it in a party, but with special "elite" enemies and open world bosses, it's important to set expectations correctly. I don't mind if this is the size of the name, or a colored icon that appears when I've selected or am pointing at that enemy. At the end of the day, if I find something unusual, I'm going to pay specific attention to it. I don't need my UI cluttered the rest of the time.

    I have one request though: Don't make this relative to my class. I need to be able to talk to my friends about an area or enemy type, and all of us have a clear, consistent understanding. We know what enemy types we're personally strong or weak to, but if I'm thinking of bringing my group somewhere, I need to be able to tell them what to expect, and have an idea of how we will fare as a whole.

    Along those lines, I also really appreciate FFXI's "check" command for more detailed information relative to my build. Builds are going to vary a lot in Ashes, and having a way to know how you will fare against an enemy will be important. Azherae's already explained this so I'll just quote her here.
    Azherae wrote: »
    It's definitely more interesting to not know the exact level, but the 'slight pink, red, deep red' seen in Alpha-1 was working really well for me personally. Obviously being an FFXI player I'll also take some nice detailed stat-check messages. If unfamiliar, an example.

    "The Goblin Enchanter seems Incredibly Tough, it seems to have High Defense."

    That 'high Defense' was a quick-check of the mob's defense stat vs your attack stat. You could buff your attack, and then check again, to see if it was now 'no message' (indicating even) and therefore you might be able to take it, or still 'High Defense' which was usually an indicator of enemy type, OR that they were really high above you. It would also report their evasion rating, and usually, this was sufficient, though I'd love something like 'it seems especially resilient' or something to indicate an Elite with high HP, in case you missed the name or saw a name and weren't sure and wanted to check that it wasn't an Elite.

    Don't lock this behind a skill or class. Give them a stronger version. I need a way to get an idea of what I'm up against when I'm alone. I can't bring a Ranger everywhere. Giving Ranger or some other class the ability to learn more about an enemy's specialties (damage types, weaknesses, group behavior (aggressive? links?)), is a strong, helpful ability that's particularly valuable for facing new bosses or high-level play, but everyone needs to know, on the most basic level "do I stand a chance?". Anything less will just force people to the wiki, in time.
    Azherae wrote: »
    I don't care for BDO's knowledge system (particularly the part where just gaining 'knowledge' makes the mob easier to fight somehow), it's just a gate that doesn't seem to add much and stacks RNG on top of that.

    This simply bears repeating.

    At the end of the day: Don't break my immersion. Don't fill my eyes or mind with noise. Give me an idea of what I'm getting myself into. Make it easy to discuss with my guild.
  • NoaaniNoaani Member, Intrepid Pack
    Trial and error. Works for evolution in the universe but unacceptable for noaani

    Depends how you look at it.

    If you want to go large scale, we tried not giving players information. It didn't work, we realized the error and fixed it.

    I'm quite curious as to people opting for "old school". Exactly which game is it you think has the kind of thing described?
  • mcstackersonmcstackerson Member, Phoenix Initiative, Royalty, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    edited March 30
    Noaani wrote: »
    I prefer the hardcore, no indicators. I like the mystery and i feel like it makes it more immersive.

    Honest question for you.

    In a game like Ashes, where content shifts and changes all the time, if there are no indicators at all on mobs, how are players supposed to know where level appropriate content is?

    And don't say trial and error - we both know that won't fly.

    Honest question for you. Have you tried to solve this for yourself or have you considered some of your assumptions may not be correct?

    They asked what i preferred and i told them. I am not here to fit my preference into it. I assume if they are asking this question, they have ideas.
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