Jump to content

Welcome to Obsidian Forum Community
Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more. If you already have an account, login here - otherwise create an account for free today!
Photo

Raz's Perspective: A Dissertation on Engagement mechanics


  • Please log in to reply
52 replies to this topic

Poll: Engagement Mechanics (57 member(s) have cast votes)

Do you believe this engagement system should be implemented into Pillars of Eternity?

  1. Yes (26 votes [45.61%])

    Percentage of vote: 45.61%

  2. No (31 votes [54.39%])

    Percentage of vote: 54.39%

Vote Guests cannot vote

#1
Razsius

Razsius

    (3) Conjurer

  • Members
  • 164 posts
  • Pillars of Eternity Silver Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer

As a foreword this post is going to be lengthy. It has been edited time and again to be as concise as possible but I have had no help in compiling it. I have been known to type lengthy posts but I can assure you this will be worth your time to read. Please read it's entirety before offering your vote and voicing any concerns you may have.

 

Without further ado...

 

The Premise

 

As most of you know the engagement system in the Pillars of Eternity Backer Beta is a love it or hate it affair. The reasons are simple. For one, it is simply a new system that the old Infinity Engine games did not have. Like it or not “being new” is another phrase for “completely changes the feel of.” Now, in practice, this is inherently not a bad thing. Games do have to evolve over time but as much of us here can attest and see with our own eyes game evolution is not always a good thing which leads me to the second reason.

 

The engagement system limits player movement and thus the ability to be active and make tactical real time decisions including the dreaded kiting. This can be a real problem. One of the stated goals of the system was to limit kiting and to pay a cost for disengaging out of melee range.  There's a number of abilities very important to their respective classes that give “outs” of the engagement system but in all honesty there is no actual choice in whether you should disengage or not. The answer is always “no.” A fighter engaged to 4 reasonably hard hitting enemies (which is about everything right now) is as good as dropped if he attempts to disengage which leads me to reason #3.

 

Disengagement attacks are “completely free”; they are completely off the recovery time system. For a game that balances around every single action you take having an associated time “cost” it stands to reason that this makes little sense and can be quite abusable. If I had to guess this is probably Sensuki's biggest gripe with the system in general. No cost attacks of opportunity are indeed quite bad for the balance of this game. So what then do we do? We fix the system.

 

The premise of this post is simple. How do we make a system that rewards player input, can be simply understood at a glance from the player and is not abusable? Read on to find out!

 

The Visuals

 

1) The Zone of Control

 

The first problem associated with the engagement system is the lack of visuals showing the zones of control that both enemy and player characters exhibit in the backer beta. While it is true that most of the players of Pillars will be able to easily figure out and visualize themselves where this zone of control is, it is inefficient game design to have to rely on that. Tack on the fact that there is at least one ability and weapon that will increase said zone of control and it looks somewhat shoddy to not have these zones shown on day 1. My gut non-ui programmer instinct tells me something along the lines of the rebel takeover shading in FTL upon character/enemy selection would probably be at least a passable workaround for showing these zones while someone a lot smarter than me comes up with an actual solution to the problem.

 

2) Engagement “Arrows”

 

The good news is that these are already in the Pillars of Eternity Backer Beta. The bad news is that they aren't visually distinctive and that they instead perhaps add to the “clutter” of some of the choices regarding the Pillars art design. Regardless, it is in the Pillar's art team's best interest to make these as simple and player friendly as possible. Personally, i'd prefer something a little more icon based but it has a number of problems attached to it. It's difficult to show a two way street with an icon. For example, it might show that my fighter is engaged to a nearby spider but does it also show that the spider is currently engaging my fighter? Probably not.. or at least it would be difficult to do so. Some thought, however, does need to be put into this as it will play into the next section of my mini thesis.

 

3) Disengagement Animation

 

The last thing that needs visual work is the cue of actually eating a disengagement attack. Currently, disengagement attacks are an invisible damage phenomenon that happen whenever you character so much as shivers. Regarding the zones of control above, it should be readily apparent to the player that you will eat a disengagement attack if you stray outside of an enemy's zone of control. The animations for them should look “BIG” a halberd wielding enemy will go into a full swing animation, a lion or bear will reel back, etc. A mechanic you want to work simply should not be completely invisible to the player.

 

The Mechanics

 

1) The Zone of Control

 

Currently in the Pillars beta there are no what I call “zones of control.” After engagement, which happens instantly with no visual or audio feedback to the player I might add, if you take even a millimeter sized step in any direction you will eat one or more disengagement attacks. This makes little if any real sense, not only does it completely limit your movement but it simple is not an actual disengagement (meaning the player is attempting to break off, regroup, whatever). I'm more of a turn based player and even I realize this is unnecessarily limiting in just about every regard. What should be happening is something much like what Infinitron was attempting to convey here:

 

http://forums.obsidi...isual-feedback/

 

Visual and mechanical feedback to the player that they actually are engaging in melee and to which enemy/enemies they will be engaged to. I think the best solution would be something involving a really minor movement impairment (something in the 5-15% range) when you start entering a zone of control of an opposing enemy. Once you are engaged, you should be able to freely move within the zone of control without triggering a Disengagement Attack (so basically free movement around an enemy). Zones of control should also be extended a bit outside of weapon range in order to allow more freedom of movement. Pikes and other reach weapons should have a much larger zone of control. Lastly, zones of control should only start taking effect after movement has stopped as this is quite important to a later point I will make.

 

2) Engagement Limit

 

The above is a term most beta players should be familiar with as it is simply the number of enemies any particular unit can be engaged to. The mechanic itself is certainly completely functional but I find it somewhat odd that there is almost no player agency involved in it. If an enemy engages you or you engage an enemy those small lines indicating engagement for the most part completely stay that way. But the question is... should they? As of right now engagement is simply another form of crowd control (and a particularly nasty one at that). It's similar in a sense to a knock down or a petrification effect in that you sit there and endure. Actually, there is perhaps a little more player agency involved in the crowd controls as a player can cast Suppression Affliction or use some of the other suppression effects to weaken or remove the crowd control.

 

The only current way to break off engagement is one of the “hard” crowd control effects and only really for a short time. If this is the case then something much worse than a taunt like ability is already in Pillars of Eternity. This can be changed and the engagement limit is the answer. Engagement can and should be a two way street. What I mean by the this is it should be a dynamic experience that resembles reality. Assume that an enemy boss with a 2 engagement limit is currently engaged to 2 of your melee. You send a 3rd party member into the brawl and he also starts attacking the boss and becomes “engaged” into the melee. Your fighter is taking one hell of a beating so he attempts to disengage why then should he eat a disengagement attack? This makes little rational sense. Although it would be true that an enemy that turns his/her back to you becomes rather exposed to some brutal retribution this doesn't necessary apply to a melee fight with multiple opponents. Extending your attack(s) to include the fleeing enemy allows for a very real possibility to get flanked by the remaining two. An experienced fighter that can masterfully keep track of only 2 targets would not want to leave an exposed back to attack an enemy that will be leaving the engagement anyway. This should be reflected in game. As long as an enemy can engage up to it's limit of engagement (meaning there are enough targets within the zone of control) then it should not apply a disengagement attack to any fleeing parties.

 

Further expansion of the concept would involve engagement limits nullifying each other in a plus minus system. In this case, a fighter with an engagement limit of 2 and a boss with the same engagement limit would tie each other up. Party members that aren't the fighter would be able to engage in and leave engagement freely similar to how it is presently. If the fighter wished to disengage, then 2 party members with an engagement limit of 1 would have to engage in melee in order to occupy the boss enough for your fighter to retreat (thought he still might die to things that aren't disengagement attacks). So what about multiple enemies? Well there's always...

 

3) Null-Engage

 

I always found it slightly strange that there were abilities that could allow you to disengage and ignore engagement but not ones that could temporarily nullify an enemy's engagement outside of hard cc. The truth of the matter is that it should simply be a lot easier for the player to manipulate the engagement mechanics to his/her benefit as it promotes player agency and generally should contribute to actual fun. The reason is simple, players simply do not like being unable to do anything to address issues that effect them. If this was not true, then players would enjoy things like being in perpetual stun lock, watching their character get petrified and then instantly get smashed into rocky chunks, observing their characters completely ignoring their orders and beating on their own party members, etc. For engagement to be meaningful it has to continue to be something players can affect.

 

With that in mind, the addition of null-engage abilities would have to be implemented. Null-engage abilities would simply be abilities that subtract a single engagement limit from an enemy for a short period of time. This would allow a short reprieve for a character that may need to “abandon ship.” There are even abilities already in Pillars of Eternity that putting a null-engage debuff on would make sense. Wounding Shot and Crippling Strike are 2 such abilities. Take that boss example above, if he had 2 minions each with an engagement limit of 1 but you only had 3 melee and needed to get one of your “off tanks” out of engagement with a minion then firing a Wounding Shot at the one who is engaging the character that needs to pull back would be a temporary solution to the problem which would also allow the hobble on the Wounding Shot to actually influence the battle. While I realize currently it can be very hard to do well timed abilities that is a problem with the recovery time system and does not have anything to do with engagement. Lastly, there are a couple final glaring holes I need to address.

 

4) The Disengagement Attack

 

The disengagement attack system as of v364 is currently very broken. For one, i'm not even sure there is an actual disengagement attack system in place. The reason I state this is simply because it triggers rather randomly. This might be due to bugs or it might be due to an overarching system not actually being in place. In my playthoughs i've seen a great many disengagement attack procs that simply would not be called a disengagement. Anything from watching an enemy spider get hit with a disengagement attack for engaging my Fighter with my Paladin standing nearby to eating procs when my Fighter switches enemy targets (no actual movement involved). The second problem is disengagement attacks are “free.” Disengagement attacks do not have a cooldown. This goes against the entire Recovery Time system where every action has an associated opportunity cost. Prebuffing was handily removed because of this aforementioned system so why then would you add a (broken) form of attack that is easily abused and doesn't abide by one of the overarching balancing systems? Problem #3 is that there is no cooldown on an act of reengagement. Reengagement is basically immediate which means another disengagement attack is also almost immediate. The good news is these problems can be fixed.

 

The first problem is solved with the zone of control mechanic I outlined above. This would definitely require a bit more programming time but I believe it would be a more than worthwhile investment. A well intentioned form of movement system should be a big priority if engagement is to stay as currently players know little if really anything about the interaction between movement and disengagement. Gone are the bygone days of 20 something years ago where game systems were as archaic as they were opaque. It needs to be known to the player what does and does not trigger disengagement.

 

The second problem can be resolved with two easy fixes. First, disengagement attacks should have an internal cooldown which would only really be put into play to avoid abuse. It is an exception but self buffs are also one such exception (they needed to be useful and thus are now instant cast and don't trigger the recovery timer). Second, disengagement attacks should lengthen your recovery time as if you had attacked (which you did). This is already in the current Pillars of Eternity in the form of weapon swapping.

 

The last problem can be addressed as stated above. Only stationary characters/monsters should be able to trigger engagement and engagement should not be immediate. Thus, there should be a short engagement cooldown that works interactively with the player showing that they are in the process of engaging much as Infinitron stated in the linked post.

 

5) Targeting clauses

 

One of the lesser known things about the engagement system is that it comes with a set of targeting clauses. What this means in practice is that both enemies and player characters have to abide by a form of taunt mechanic. It might not be called a “taunt” but it functions like one all the same. This is essentially what some players do not want to give up but at the same time is one of the systems if not the system that can be the most irritating for a player. The reason is simple, remember that one time you issued a knockdown command to your BB Fighter only he didn't actually do it? That was due to what I just stated. The recently added auto attack clauses function the exact same way. They both overwrite any action you might have input to your character. I do not believe it to be a stretch for me to state that this should not be the case for a player. For one thing, I do not believe engagement was ever stated to be a hard cc. Second, I do not believe that the general consensus was that there should be a taunt mechanic but rather simply one that made it non-trivial for an enemy to run past your melee to engage your backline. Engagement targeting clauses need to not effect the player. With the zone of control mechanic outlined above and better visuals for the player to see what is engaged to whom the visual feedback it provides would be unnecessary. There is no sound reason for these clauses to override player action.

 

The Conclusion

 

If you've made it this far then I offer my thanks for reading this post in it's entirety. It took me a great deal of time to actually get this thing typed out. More than once I realized in retrospect that i'd forgotten a section or two or three or five and would have to then go back and edit it into the appropriate place. This post was an attempt to come up with sound logical ideas to fix engagement that would abide by the already established balancing systems, be easy for the developers to implement, use existing systems to create greater cohesion, enhance player input and fun and solidify the game as a whole. At the end of the day however, I am simply one man. My (as well as others) ideas are simply the ideas of a single fallible individual but it was a labor of love to come up with, as well as present, them so I would be remiss to admit that it would be nice if engagement would get a reevaluation. As of v364 a few of these ideas are being looked at by the developers themselves and I hope more will be done to fix what could be a functional system. However, as of now I cannot say that it adds anything to the current game.

 

I don't state it enough but thank you Obsidian Entertainment for attempting to bring back a game series that seriously that changed my life forever. Keep moving forward... and please... continue to take such “risks.”


  • GreyFox, IndiraLightfoot, redneckdevil and 11 others like this

#2
crackwise

crackwise

    (1) Prestidigitator

  • Members
  • 41 posts

Thanks for the explanotary post! It was very useful for a non-backer person like me to grasp the current situation with the engagement mechanic. 

 

I had made very simple recommendations, way back in 2013 when it was not very clear how the engagement mechanics would be implemented. Here is the link for that thread: http://forums.obsidi...s-backpedaling/

I will briefly summarize my ideas below:

 

Engagement:

We probably don't need an unnecessarily complicated engagement mechanic, which is the case now (as far as I can understand). Make a system where a player getting attacked by multiple enemies receives defense penalties. Let's say, If he has the necessary skills, he will be able to fight against 3 enemies without penalties, but any additional enemy will lower his defense rating. The more numerous the enemies, the higher the defense penalty. This means, where your figher can easily dispatch small number of goblins, he will get overwhelmed when surrounded by 10 goblins. (Which was not the case in IE games, which I find unrealistic.)

 

Retreating, repositioning: 

The characters who want to reposition during an engagement will have two choices:  

 

1) Backpedalling:  This should be the default movement when an engaged character is ordered to move back. He just falls back slowly as he is still engaged. No penalties involved. Slow tactical repositioning.

 

2) Turn around and run:  When things get tough and you need to disengage and fall back, you order your character to run away. This triggers an Attack of Opportunity, however enemies have to roll dice to be able to hit you.  Rogue and ranger type of characters can have this as a per encounter type of skill, so that when it is used enemies don't gain AoO.


Edited by crackwise, 01 December 2014 - 12:08 PM.

  • Matt516 and Astraeus like this

#3
forgottenlor

forgottenlor

    (4) Theurgist

  • Members
  • 292 posts
  • Location:Vienna, Austria
  • Pillars of Eternity Backer
  • Deadfire Backer
  • Fig Backer

I've been watching the backer beta forums for a long time, and as you have, I couldn't help but notice the very diverse opinions on the engagement system. I think these are partially determined by how one played the infinity engine games. I for one did not play on extremely high difficulty, and only kited in the most difficult battles. I have nothing against the engagement system in theory, but I think its more than a theoretical issue. I think without playing the beta, I really can't reliably vote in your poll, since I haven't played out the engagement theory in practice. I suspect like many things in games this is much more a matter of feeling than it is of understanding. For example I read a lot of negative reviews of Dragon Age 2, Might and Magic 9, and Risen 2. I accept all the faults that the reviewers brought up with these games, and completely can understand every negative review, but I enjoyed those games nevertheless (and I suspect I'm in the minority). So while I find it commendable that you try to explain in depth how engagement works, I'm not sure that you can really convey the feeling of the system to everyone. I think its fine to poll those people who've actually played the beta. For now I'll reserve my judgement.


Edited by forgottenlor, 01 December 2014 - 12:39 PM.


#4
Cubiq

Cubiq

    (4) Theurgist

  • Members
  • 395 posts
  • Deadfire Backer
  • Fig Backer

I don't actually understand the poll

"Do you believe this engagement system should be implemented into Pillars of Eternity?"

When you said "this" do you mean the one currently in the game or the fixes you proposed?



#5
Shevek

Shevek

    (8) Warlock

  • Members
  • 1164 posts
  • Pillars of Eternity Backer

I think he means his fixes. If so, it should read, "do you believe these fixes should be applied to the current implementation?"

 

Edit: A better poll would have been a set of checkboxes where people could vote on specific fixes he proposed (and be able to pick more than one) so we could see which ones draw the most support.


Edited by Shevek, 01 December 2014 - 01:02 PM.

  • Nakia likes this

#6
Void3dge

Void3dge

    (1) Prestidigitator

  • Members
  • 10 posts
  • Pillars of Eternity Silver Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer

I voted yes - I'm completely favorable to an engagement mechanism and it would work as I'd expect with the fixes you proposed :D

 

Nice post, thx !



#7
constantine

constantine

    (5) Thaumaturgist

  • Members
  • 514 posts
  • Location:Athens, Greece
  • Pillars of Eternity Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
  • Deadfire Backer
  • Fig Backer
My dear @Razsious...

Engagement behaves very harshly from day 1 and no change is implimented yet, *as if it is intended to completely hamper movement in melee rather than discourage doing so*

Maybe that was the original intention but for some reason it wasn't stated? A motionless melee, which sure has benefits for combat designers- better control over encounter difficulty.

However, no system is without flaw and engagement can be exploited for our benefit, as shown by @Sensuki.

*I think* it was said that devs are working on making engagement better, as surprising as this sounds.

Most likely they ve discovered it can be exploited (probably before @Sensuki) and are working on making it nonexploitable.

Hey, they may even throw in the disengagement atk animation (same as creatures auto atk) for us lucky fellas ! :p
  • Nakia likes this

#8
Nakia

Nakia

    Rogue of the Obsidian Order

  • Members
  • 1153 posts
  • Location:New Jersey, USA
  • Steam:nakiarogue
  • Pillars of Eternity Silver Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer

I don't actually understand the poll

"Do you believe this engagement system should be implemented into Pillars of Eternity?"

When you said "this" do you mean the one currently in the game or the fixes you proposed?

Yes, I found this a bit confusing.  The post itself is great but the poll confuses me and is simplistic in my opinion.  First of all some of the  "fixes" suggested may be easy to implement and others hard to implement.  Programming is not a simple thing and errors and conflicts can easily enter in.  Second it is impossible to please everyone which is one reason I love user made mods for games.  Third there is the time and financial aspect to consider.  Fourth If third party software is needed that in itself can create conflicts.

 

This game is slated to be released in a few months so I wonder just how much the developers are able and willing to change the game.  They might do a DLC or patch to change things .  As a backer I do not want them rushing out a buggy game but I would like to play this game while I am still able to and I am not being funny or sarcastic when I say that.

 

If some of the fixes can be made easily without a great deal of time and cost fine.  If not then I vote for no fixes.  Let a User Modder make a mod to fix what he or she does not like.



#9
Razsius

Razsius

    (3) Conjurer

  • Members
  • 164 posts
  • Pillars of Eternity Silver Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer

Well crap.. this is what I get for having to deal with a certain annoyance for most of my day.  Yes, regarding the poll it "should" read.  "Do you believe these fixes to the engagement system should be implemented into Pillars of Eternity?"  I probably forgot to ask a "why?" as well.  The devil is always in the details isn't it?  As for what I proposed... well I tried to keep it mainly to fixes and some of the more obvious "corrections." As a sort of side effect it became a cohesive system that I could imagine in game.  Right now, however, mechanically engagement is almost invisible and I don't state that as being a particularly good thing.  Your particular playstyle might preclude you even noticing it's there but I all but guarantee "the masses" will notice.  If not the gamers that buy the game then the general press reviews it will likely receive and let's be honest here you don't get a free pass unless you're a triple A game company which Obsidian Entertainment simply is not.

 

I'm open to ideas though as biased as I may be.  Thoughts?  Concerns?  Phobic fears?  ;)

 

It should be noted that Obsidian has acknowledged that 2 of my 3 in The Visuals section need to be addressed.  Namely the engagement arrows and the disengagement attack mechanic both need to be better expressed.  Hopefully they'll acknowledge a few more of the sections.



#10
Nakia

Nakia

    Rogue of the Obsidian Order

  • Members
  • 1153 posts
  • Location:New Jersey, USA
  • Steam:nakiarogue
  • Pillars of Eternity Silver Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer

 Razsius, can you as Shevek suggested?  My first choice of things to be fixed would be visuals simply because as I am playing the lack of visuals would be the first I would notice.  Mechanics might be harder for the casual player to figure out.  But I think the casual player would notice the lack of visuals even if only because they can't figure out what is going on and get confused.  Mechanics are important but are behind the scene.  

 

Could we step away from beta players for a moment and think about what a casual player might want to do.  My fighter is being demolished by a bunch of beetles wouldn't I want to retreat, get him away from the fight in other words disengage?.

 

I think this is an example of what I mean.  In Skyrim  In Skyrim there are two ways to fight the dragons; lure them to where there are town guards or soldiers.  The other is solo or with one companion.  I did this by having my character fight until health ran low then ran behind a rock, tree or into a cave or building if there was one.   Once I got health back up he went back to fight.  For some fights this might be the strategy for a while.



#11
Osvir

Osvir

    Arch-Mage

  • Members
  • 3700 posts
  • Location:Stockholm, SE
  • Pillars of Eternity Silver Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
  • Lords of the Eastern Reach Backer
  • Deadfire Silver Backer
  • Fig Backer
  • Black Isle Bastard!

The Mechanics

 

4) The Disengagement Attack

This is a great OP, and I'm probably going to come back to it time and time again. I read about half of it, skimmed some parts, and it is a very interesting take.

Some of things you wrote in this section I've encountered as well. My character dies/knocked out even though he is very far away from the enemy, and scrolling through the combat log I see that he was defeated by disengagement attacks. This also happened to a Druid against Medreth's group, who was in range to melee attack a target, but instead of attacking the target, she was beaten to death by two adjacent targets by Disengagement Attacks.

It was as if the Druid's target was a wee bit too far away, and the 2 other targets targeting her kept Disengage Attacking her whenever she tried to attack.



#12
Bester

Bester

    (7) Enchanter

  • Members
  • 800 posts
  • Pillars of Eternity Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer

Engagement must be considered for its goals and then evaluated on how good it accomplishes them.

 

Goal: allow you penalize enemy NPCs trying to reach for your casters at the back, as well as penalize you for doing the same to the enemy group.

 

I'd like to question this goal:

- Why would I even want to reach the casters at the back? They're not as powerful as they were in the IE games, where you HAD to deal with the casters first.

- Enemy priests don't even hang at the back, they get into melee.

- And enemies don't even try to target and get close to my casters.

 

Anyway, how well Engagement accomplishes its purpose:

- Enemy casters can easily be nuked by ranged attacks and spells, I don't even have to go in there with my melee characters, so it doesn't accomplish anything.

- I can still go around enemies (avoiding engagement) and reach the enemy casters with my melee characters if that's what I want.

 

Conclusion: engagement is a third wheel.

 

What could be improved: You could change the whole game to accommodate engagement and give it reasonable goals, which is a bit ridiculous, because it should be the other way around, but ok. You could give mages protection from ranged nuking, give AI smarter targeting and make priests hang at the back, and make casters much more powerful so that we'd need to target them first. We all know that's not gonna happen, considering that Josh Sawyer doesn't want mages to be like in BG2. The other option would be to remove engagement.

 

So I'd like it removed. I realize admitting that the system you invented has no purpose is difficult, so I don't think that's gonna happen. I think whatever we do or say, we'll get the game with this useless and annoying mechanic anyway.


Edited by Bester, 01 December 2014 - 10:12 PM.

  • Hiro Protagonist, GreyFox, Luckmann and 7 others like this

#13
IndiraLightfoot

IndiraLightfoot

    Apex of the Obsidian Order

  • Members
  • 4087 posts
  • Location:Over the Hills and Far Away
  • Pillars of Eternity Silver Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
  • Deadfire Silver Backer
  • Fig Backer
  • Black Isle Bastard!

 

 

5) Targeting clauses

 

One of the lesser known things about the engagement system is that it comes with a set of targeting clauses. What this means in practice is that both enemies and player characters have to abide by a form of taunt mechanic. It might not be called a “taunt” but it functions like one all the same. This is essentially what some players do not want to give up but at the same time is one of the systems if not the system that can be the most irritating for a player. The reason is simple, remember that one time you issued a knockdown command to your BB Fighter only he didn't actually do it? That was due to what I just stated. The recently added auto attack clauses function the exact same way. They both overwrite any action you might have input to your character. I do not believe it to be a stretch for me to state that this should not be the case for a player. For one thing, I do not believe engagement was ever stated to be a hard cc. Second, I do not believe that the general consensus was that there should be a taunt mechanic but rather simply one that made it non-trivial for an enemy to run past your melee to engage your backline. Engagement targeting clauses need to not effect the player. With the zone of control mechanic outlined above and better visuals for the player to see what is engaged to whom the visual feedback it provides would be unnecessary. There is no sound reason for these clauses to override player action.

 

 

 

A great write-up, Raz! :)

I agree 100% on everything, but especially with #5 you manage to very clearly show that engagement targeting clauses never should affect the player. It's bizarre and confusing for the player during combat - it's one of them hidden culprits that makes you feel helpless during combat in PoE. A ZoC, where you get slowed (very reasonable in a RTwP-game), and improved visual feedback on this engagement attacks (which Josh has hinted at is in the works), I really think Disengagement would work. 


Edited by IndiraLightfoot, 01 December 2014 - 11:18 PM.


#14
Sensuki

Sensuki

    Subway Apathist of the Obsidian Order

  • Members
  • 9965 posts
  • Location:Australia
  • Steam:STEAM_0:1:1229809
  • Pillars of Eternity Silver Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer

Zone of Control as a concept is very anti-Infinity Engine and very anti-RTS, and that is not something I am willing to support.

As a concept on it's own it's fine and it works in quite a few games - such as the Total War series. 

 

Raszius made a good post, and he has been talking to me about Engagement for weeks, but even after reading this I still do not think this will fix the issues with Engagement, there are ways of fixing some things, but they will open up other exploits. It would also be expensive to attempt to implement.

 

I see that Adam Brennecke is reading this thread right now, so I will say this

 

The concept of Melee Engagement as described in the KS Update #44 is conceptually flawed because it tries to bring elements of turn-based games into real-time (which has worked poorly in the past as displayed by both Neverwinter games). Disengagement attacks are currently abusable by the player (I will have a thread soon highlighting all of the problems, with video evidence) and there is no reason for the AI to disengage from player controlled units, and thus the player will not benefit from the disengagement attack part of the Engagement system unless they abuse the system. AI changing targets and having to move in melee, and thus suffering potentially multiple disengagement attacks from player units is absolutely nonsensical (and occured in NWN2).

The key component that players are enjoying is the AI targeting clause, that allows them to easily manipulate who the enemy melee AI attacks through use of positioning and formation of their party members at the start of combat. This can be completely separated from the concept of Melee Engagement because that's all it is - a targeting clause.

The system is so broken and devoting heaps of Programming, Animation/FX, Design and 2D Art time to *attempt* to fix it is a severe waste of development time that could be better spent on other things. I will soon make a thread that proves that the best bits of the Engagement system can be kept (the AI targeting), to solve the problem of AI running past player melee units (which was never a problem for me in the IE games, as I knew how to prevent it, but others did not) and it will only take a few tweaks to get the game to work functionally without it - mostly related to AI targeting and some animation blending fixes.


Edited by Sensuki, 02 December 2014 - 12:23 AM.


#15
Doppelschwert

Doppelschwert

    Sword Enthusiast of the Obsidian Order

  • Members
  • 951 posts
  • Location:Germany
  • Pillars of Eternity Silver Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
  • Deadfire Silver Backer
  • Fig Backer
  • Black Isle Bastard!

If you call this a dissertation you're probably not a real doctor. :shifty:

Now that I made the bad joke I came here for, I guess I have to answer to the topic in order not to get off topic. I'll probably come off as harsh, but I appreciate the effort you put into it.

 

- I agree on the visual stuff for the most part.

 

- What you describe in 2) with your disengagement limit is basically a form of aggro mechanic and for the most part completely nullifies the whole mechanic, making it rather pointless to begin with.

 

- What you describe in 3) seems rather pointless as well. Why is there a distinction between an ability that disengages and one that nullifies engagement at all? The only reason you want to nullify engagement is in order to disengage, so the ability may make you disengage as well. If it allows you to nullify engagement, its just a break free of jail card you can occasionally play in specific situations. The abilities that allow you to disengage at the moment have way more uses and it's not trivial to decide what to use them for as they can also be used for different tactics.

 

In conclusion, I think the changes you propose make the disengagement system not trigger for the most part while being heavily penalized even if it ocassionally does. If you want to go with this kind of setup, you're probably better off removing it alltogether.


Edited by Doppelschwert, 02 December 2014 - 12:24 AM.


#16
IndiraLightfoot

IndiraLightfoot

    Apex of the Obsidian Order

  • Members
  • 4087 posts
  • Location:Over the Hills and Far Away
  • Pillars of Eternity Silver Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
  • Deadfire Silver Backer
  • Fig Backer
  • Black Isle Bastard!

If you call this a dissertation you're probably not a real doctor. :shifty:

Now that I made the bad joke I came here for, I guess I have to answer to the topic in order not to get off topic. I'll probably come off as harsh, but I appreciate the effort you put into it.

 

- I agree on the visual stuff for the most part.

 

- What you describe in 2) with your disengagement limit is basically a form of aggro mechanic and for the most part completely nullifies the whole mechanic, making it rather pointless to begin with.

 

- What you describe in 3) seems rather pointless as well. Why is there a distinction between an ability that disengages and one that nullifies engagement at all? The only reason you want to nullify engagement is in order to disengage, so the ability may make you disengage as well. If it allows you to nullify engagement, its just a break free of jail card you can occasionally play in specific situations. The abilities that allow you to disengage at the moment have way more uses and it's not trivial to decide what to use them for as they can also be used for different tactics.

 

In conclusion, I think the changes you propose make the disengagement system not trigger for the most part while being heavily penalized even if it ocassionally does. If you want to go with this kind of setup, you're probably better off removing it alltogether.

I agree with your criticism of #3, Doppelschwert. However, I reckon, Raz is right in his ambition of including some player agency into it all.

On #2, I disagree. Raz's solution there wouldn't make Disengagement pointless in any manner or form. In fact, it would work beautifully and would vary baddies in interesting ways, including "bosses" and strategic ambushes etc.


Edited by IndiraLightfoot, 02 December 2014 - 04:41 AM.


#17
Shevek

Shevek

    (8) Warlock

  • Members
  • 1164 posts
  • Pillars of Eternity Backer
The visuals stuff I am all for.

Mechanically, I like the Zone of Control idea. I have been advocating a minor snare for a while and I like the idea of not penalizing the player for "five foot steps" as it were. I also like the idea of giving engagement attacks an internal cooldown.

I am not sure about the other mechanical changes though. I really think visual feedback and the above two mechanical changes is more than enough. The other changes are extraneus and can introduce a host of issues.

#18
archangel979

archangel979

    (11) Wizard

  • Members
  • 1617 posts
  • Pillars of Eternity Backer
This topic is very nice but I voted NO. I would vote YES if OE did implement most of your suggestions as I agree with those but I don't believe they will so I would rather have no engagement system than this broken one.

#19
Kjaamor

Kjaamor

    (6) Magician

  • Members
  • 682 posts
  • Pillars of Eternity Backer

One line from the OP I'd like to add some clarity on:

 

 

As most of you know the engagement system in the Pillars of Eternity Backer Beta is a love it or hate it affair.

 

I don't think that this is true. For all the sides have become so polarised, engagement is more of a "hate it or want to see it improved" affair. For myself, I certainly don't love engagement, although I think the goals of the system are noble enough. If a different system can be created within the available time frame that better accomplishes those goals, I would happily take that.

 

Frankly, engagement itself has got a lot of undue attention from the wider issues of the UI being a complete cluster****, and a tanking Fighter being absolutely mandatory at this point.

 

Engagement:

We probably don't need an unnecessarily complicated engagement mechanic, which is the case now (as far as I can understand). Make a system where a player getting attacked by multiple enemies receives defense penalties. Let's say, If he has the necessary skills, he will be able to fight against 3 enemies without penalties, but any additional enemy will lower his defense rating. The more numerous the enemies, the higher the defense penalty. This means, where your figher can easily dispatch small number of goblins, he will get overwhelmed when surrounded by 10 goblins.

 

For what it's worth, I like this as an idea. I don't think that it's enough on its own, but I think that this is a good starting base.

 

Positives:

 

- It is simple. The current problem with engagement (and hell, with PoE more generally) is that it is obtuse, unintuitive, and creates even more dread UI clutter.

- It encourages movement and reactionary tactics, by not making tank disengagement so punishing.

- It creates tanking classes and non-tanking classes in a manner that to me fits in with the general design brief of the walls of melee.

- It encourages one build of "tank" (the multi-mob dealer) without necessitating it.

 

Negatives:

 

- Alone, it does nothing to prevent kiting, which like it or not was one of the key design goals behind having an engagement mechanic.

 

- It may not currently fit into the AI build of PoE. That is to say, if the group of ten goblins decide to storm past your fighter and towards your wizard, there is nothing in the mechanic that gives the fighter any power to do anything about it. That said, giving front line classes (NOT just the fighter) a few modal sticky abilities could easily offset this.



#20
Sensuki

Sensuki

    Subway Apathist of the Obsidian Order

  • Members
  • 9965 posts
  • Location:Australia
  • Steam:STEAM_0:1:1229809
  • Pillars of Eternity Silver Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer

Why would 10 goblins storm past your Fighter to your Wizard? AI targeting never did that in the Infinity Engine games and it does not do it in Pillars of Eternity either.

 

Here's how BG1 and BG2 Targeting clauses worked for Melee Enemies. It was very simple. 

 



Will record an IWD video tomorrow or something, IWD:HoW has much more robust targeting and target re-acquisition and if anything, should be the model for PE's system.






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users