Can we talk about Instance difficulty & AI

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TheAmazingFezz
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Can we talk about Instance difficulty & AI

Postby TheAmazingFezz » Mon Mar 26, 2018 11:14 pm

One of this things that I found to be underwhelming with COH, especially at launch, was the ease of instanced missions due to NPC AI. Over time, some of this ease was removed with the introduction of new enemies and the ability to ramp up the difficulty of missions. But COH has always stood out in my mind as a game in which npc villains were not on the bright side or simply lacked the abilities to challenge a player.

I would love to see more enemies with abilities that directly challenge or counter players. I was greatly encouraged when I heard Casey speaking of the "attack the healer" strategy that some SOH NPCs would be employing and I LOVE that some baddies call in reinforcements. Does anyone have any more information on this subject? Or even more ideas that the development team could use to make missions/combat more interesting.

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Eulb
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Re: Can we talk about Instance difficulty & AI

Postby Eulb » Wed Mar 28, 2018 12:39 am

AmazingFezz ty for you post...
One of this things that I found to be underwhelming with COH, especially at launch, was the ease of instanced missions due to NPC AI. Over time, some of this ease was removed with the introduction of new enemies and the ability to ramp up the difficulty of missions. But COH has always stood out in my mind as a game in which npc villains were not on the bright side or simply lacked the abilities to challenge a player.

I would love to see more enemies with abilities that directly challenge or counter players. I was greatly encouraged when I heard Casey speaking of the "attack the healer" strategy that some SOH NPCs would be employing and I LOVE that some baddies call in reinforcements. Does anyone have any more information on this subject? Or even more ideas that the development team could use to make missions/combat more interesting.
I know what your saying that we need the Bad-guy AI to be smarter ... and i believe that you'll get your wish ... the one that Mr. McGeever was mentioning ... and most likely more than that ... I think He is not telling us just so we will have to figger it out when we encounter those mobs...
that is part of what we are wanting to get back to ( when MMO's started ) Teams working together and not just KILL - KILL - KILL and rush through the mission's to get the reward ... that is what the present modern MMORPG has evolved into ... the " Ship " is not being made with the end-game philosophy ... it's being made with the philosophy of a "Journey of Community " ...
Let the bright stars ahead guide your journey

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Red5
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Re: Can we talk about Instance difficulty & AI

Postby Red5 » Wed Mar 28, 2018 2:21 am

One of this things that I found to be underwhelming with COH, especially at launch, was the ease of instanced missions due to NPC AI. Over time, some of this ease was removed with the introduction of new enemies and the ability to ramp up the difficulty of missions. But COH has always stood out in my mind as a game in which npc villains were not on the bright side or simply lacked the abilities to challenge a player.

I would love to see more enemies with abilities that directly challenge or counter players. I was greatly encouraged when I heard Casey speaking of the "attack the healer" strategy that some SOH NPCs would be employing and I LOVE that some baddies call in reinforcements. Does anyone have any more information on this subject? Or even more ideas that the development team could use to make missions/combat more interesting.
I certainly agree.

I think Eulb is correct in, " I think He is not telling us just so we will have to figger it out when we encounter those mobs...".

I don't want so much a rock, paper, scissor systems as most AT will be locked into one mode. But more things like Malta sappers from CoH would be interesting/challenging. And before someone gets their nickers in a bunge.... I am saying like what Malta Sappers represented in a challenge and not saying make everything malta sappers.
...reporting in.

Dying Breath
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Re: Can we talk about Instance difficulty & AI

Postby Dying Breath » Wed Mar 28, 2018 7:59 pm

I would love to see each different enemy faction provide a different sort of challenge. I actually found the high level factions in CoH did a reasonably good job of this - at least for the 45-50 game. Malta of course had sappers, and Tech-Ops stuns that lasted forever; Carnies had their death scream end drain, as well as a whole host of powerfully annoying debuffs, and Master Illusionists that could break through Scrapper level mez protection if you weren't careful; level 35-45, but Devouring Earth emanators - one quartz and two cairns were a bad day; Rularuu eyeballs of doom: I can't be the only one who fought Rularuu for fun, right?

Long story short: each enemy faction should bring something different to the fight, so that tactics that are effective for one group may not work against another.

AxerJ
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Re: Can we talk about Instance difficulty & AI

Postby AxerJ » Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:00 am

Long story short: each enemy faction should bring something different to the fight, so that tactics that are effective for one group may not work against another.
Hear, hear!

Could be interesting if, for example, targeting a Yekus or whatever else lieutenant first (as we would encountering Nagdelians) could have some harsh consequences. Quick example of changing tactics across enemy groups.

Of course, all this would have to be thoroughly inspected to verify enough pureraw fun is present - that's the most important principle.

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Coyote
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Re: Can we talk about Instance difficulty & AI

Postby Coyote » Fri Mar 30, 2018 10:49 pm

I would love to see each different enemy faction provide a different sort of challenge. I actually found the high level factions in CoH did a reasonably good job of this - at least for the 45-50 game. Malta of course had sappers, and Tech-Ops stuns that lasted forever; Carnies had their death scream end drain, as well as a whole host of powerfully annoying debuffs, and Master Illusionists that could break through Scrapper level mez protection if you weren't careful; level 35-45, but Devouring Earth emanators - one quartz and two cairns were a bad day; Rularuu eyeballs of doom: I can't be the only one who fought Rularuu for fun, right?
What I did NOT like about some of these examples is that they were in general more a case of extra-strong abilities, rather than of some unique style. What I found interesting were the Tsoo Sorcerors, because their gameplay was so different than that of other NPCs. Self-rezzing Freakshow. Malta Gunslingers teleporting in and out. Stuff like that, that is more of a difference in how they fight, rather than in how strong their buffs, debuffs, and controls, are. I want to see more NPCs that move, some that may buff a single ally with a channeled ability to make him very hard to beat so that you have to kill the low-damage buffer first before you can kill the buffed enemy, etc.

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Red5
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Re: Can we talk about Instance difficulty & AI

Postby Red5 » Fri Mar 30, 2018 11:34 pm

...What I did NOT like about some of these examples...
Welp your not wrong. Unfortunately imho, just about anything done (be it ai, strategy techniques, unique powers, etc.) is going to challenging all of about once maybe twice and in some cases not even once (wiki, guides, youtube, etc.).

Now enjoyable...that is doable me thinks.
...reporting in.

Consultant
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Re: Can we talk about Instance difficulty & AI

Postby Consultant » Sat Mar 31, 2018 6:47 am

I have to say -- I love this thread. :)

We have some principles about enemies:

1. Each enemy group should be different in tactics and if you don't pay attention, your character will be in trouble.
2. Running through to kill, kill, kill should not be the main combat gameplay. It's boring.
3. Some ATs, some powersets, some playstyles will be disadvantaged by each enemy group. There should be some tactics needed. Also temp owers should be able to mitigate some of this for the planners among us.
4.Since we want to enable a player to set the difficulty level, these other factors should allow you to set missions up to very, very hard or down to kind of easy, according to your preference. Sometimes we do want to just run along, playing while distracted. That has to be OK too. But it cannot be the only thing.

Basically, the game should be fun, and it should be adjustable. Sometimes you feel like having a really tough mission. Sometimes you don't.

The ideas in the posts above this one are all great.

Blue Yankee
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Re: Can we talk about Instance difficulty & AI

Postby Blue Yankee » Sat Mar 31, 2018 1:47 pm

4.Since we want to enable a player to set the difficulty level, these other factors should allow you to set missions up to very, very hard or down to kind of easy, according to your preference. Sometimes we do want to just run along, playing while distracted.
Will multiple aspects a difficulty be adjustable? Here are some aspects of difficulty control that I would like to tinker with:
-- enemy level
-- enemy damage
-- enemy damage resistance
-- resistance to debuffs
-- health
-- perception
-- aggression
-- use of heavy hitting attacks
-- use of special abilities, call for reinforcements, heals, debuffs, etc.
-- persistence (when will they run away, how long they will follow a fleeing player)

These options would be really useful in a mission architect system.

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TheAmazingFezz
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Re: Can we talk about Instance difficulty & AI

Postby TheAmazingFezz » Sat Mar 31, 2018 2:12 pm

It is always a fine line between difficult and annoying. As a player, you need to be challenged but do not want to feel as though you'd be happier just skipping certain content/enemies all together.

Part of walking this fine line is a matter of proper player power progression and the other part is enemy design. If you gain powers, or have access to powers that can be used to counteract specific annoying enemy groups or abilities, then you don't have the feeling of powerlessness that can come when facing powerful foes. OR, if an enemy group has a nasty ability, it is usually wise game design to have the enemy broadcast the use of that ability, giving the player time to behavior/respond properly.

Nothing is worse, as a player, than feeling powerless.

DomiDayglow
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Re: Can we talk about Instance difficulty & AI

Postby DomiDayglow » Sat Mar 31, 2018 10:18 pm

One thing about CoH mobs was that there was kind of a formula to the spawns. Like on a team of eight, a group might have to face a mob of Rikti with a communications officer (who would summon reinforcements) and a mentalists (A LT who could mez poor squishes) and either a mezzing or melee orientated boss or two. But, the formula was pretty much the same for most mobs encountered. People sort of knew what to expect.

Might be neat to enter a mission and face say, two mobs in the first room. Let's say that each has an NPC that works like a Sapper, another that works like a Communication Officer, and a third that has a -Resistance Aura.

Then you round a corner into another room. Let's say it's a lab! At the entrance are four boss level characters. Inside the lab? Only 'Scientist' NPCs. Not the traditional soldiers you found at the entrance. Some scientists are 'Chemists' that have a lot of Debuffs, but unlike the other soldier debuffers, their debuffs are target area like how tar pit or ice slick used to be. They are still debuffers, but they debuff in a different way. The solder debuffer (with the debuff aura) was only dangerous in melee. These are ranged. Others are 'Surgeons' that can heal the chemists, but their heals are practically melee ranged.

Then there is a Mad Scientist boss. He is big and mean. When reaching a certain health threshold (or when x number of the scientists in a mob are defeated) he runs off to an interactable object and 'awakens' a Frankenstien Monster NPC boss. in this way he's kind of like a communication officer, but the fact that he has to reach an interacable object means the team can employ different ways of stopping him. Controller type powers (like immoblize) can help prevent the additional adds by stopping the mad scientist. And, after the scientists are defeated, the team can still interact with the object and summon the Frankensteins if they wanted.

You could apply the interactable object for reinforcements in other ways. Like having a button on a wall that's an alarm and, if a certain NPC reaches it, it summons X number of mob waves to the scene. You could then expand on that by making a Destructable Object (Like a door control) than when destroyed, shuts the door to the room. The door itself would be another Destructable Object that the mobs outside have to break down.


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