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Project Eternity needs to be tactical: so umm none of the following?


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Bg2 is very tactical. When you're fighting Ithilids, you know it. You know to open the door, your whole party prepared. You know to expect some chaos thrown at you from those hulks and you know to pull your melee fighters back if they get intelligence drained. Rooms with these foes are often designed so you can close doors and lock Ithilids inside if things get too messy. You also have a lot of room for kiting when you first open the door/enter to a room containing these foes, enough time to react even though these enemies are shrouded behind fog.

 

I've been replaying DA:O and DA2 and I think the reason why THESE rpgs aren't tactical is because most of the fights fall under these conditions:

 

You enter a room. Enemies do not go hostile, you can't do anything to them, until you're smack dab in the middle of them. Foes like bandits or spiders that descend from the ceiling. You basically cannot get your positioning down, you're completely caught with your pants down. This means most strategies involve spamming radial AOE spells and carrying a lot of tanky fighters instead of squishy classes. This also means that classes that focus on debuffs or single target abilities are significantly inferior to classes that have tons of AOE (rogues are pretty darn useless in DA:O for non-boss encounters, you only take them along for treasure chests it feels like).

 

You open a door, monsters come pouring out. It's the same story, there's a barrier. You need to open it before you can fight these monsters. You cannot de-engage these enemies once you open the door. You can't close it in time, even if you could, the enemies still stay hostile and lock you in combat no matter how far away you run. Yesterday, I opened a door in the fade and two mages proceeded to stun lock me death with the combination of freeze-->paralysis-->prison-->freeze. I literally could not do anything because I couldn't even see what was in the next room until I opened the door.

 

You clear a group of enemies, a dozen materialize out of thin air and/or come pouring out from adjacent rooms for another wave. Wave-based encounters are fine, but it's extremely deceptive to at all times not know how many enemies you are fighting. In BG2, this kind of encounter would be terrible, because you wouldn't know when the best time to use a spell or ability would be, due to cooldowns. Should you save it? Should you burn it? Will more enemies come? You really have no idea, and that's okay every once in a while, but this happens way too frequently in the DA series.

 

Every encounter happens in a closed room. You cannot manipulate enemies to fight where you wish them to, easily. This effectively makes making traps utterly worthless.

 

In order to have tactical large-party combat combat work, I think PE designers should endeavor to:

 

Telegraph encounters. Tell me what kinds of enemies I will face. When. Where. How. Why. Give me time to plan a tactical-strategy! If I'm not given the opportunity to, I certainly won't be able to. If you must ambush our party (it's hardly an ambush if it happens 1 out 3 encounters), telegraph it's going to happen so I can plan appropriately. Otherwise, this hurts the game, because I need to tailor my party so that it's adept at dealing with constantly fighting in melee range of foes. This can be as simple as letting us SEE enemies before we can engage them.

 

Let us disengage from most fights. Maybe closing a door seems kind of silly, but I shouldn't have to reload the game from my last save so I can have metaknowledge to deal with encounters. If you're going to hide enemies in rooms or not make them appear until I'm standing in the thick of things, show me this is going to happen and where enemies will appear.

 

Design dungeons to be more than highways. Bridges, pillars, corners, tight corridors - natural cover or areas designed for us to lay traps and lure enemies into them. If the environment consists of square rooms and wide halls, there really isn't much strategic opportunity.

 

Give us choices. Don't make us slog through every room. Lay out dungeons so that we can pick to fight Ithilids or we can pick to fight Beholders. If you make dungeons too linear, then we can't make strategic sacrifices based on our party's aptitude.

 

Give us environmental-context abilities. Doors are one, but traps innate to a dungeon, or drawbridges, or other nick-nacks, give us environmental-specific ways to deal with encounters.

 

Give us ways to boost our party's mobility. Nothing hurts more I notice in DA than being slow. It's very hard to do an about-face, to get people rapidly into positions where they won't die, when everyone moves clunkily and slowly. I don't think kiting will be an issue in this game, but if that is a concern, let speed boosts be expensive or risky to utilize constantly.

 

These suggestions are based more towards the player, but perhaps, monsters should have their own strategic/tactics as well. Do have high enemy variety, but don't let enemy variety sky-rocket right away. Keep enemiy variety low in an area until players are comfortable with how each kind of enemy works, then start expanding.

 

Don't give one enemy too many abilities. How do you know what will be thrown at you? How do you know what to focus on? How will you react to something constantly changing? Give enemies abilities that are diverse, but make them distinct. Ithilids are distinct, hulks are distinct - they have unique abilities, but they have really only two functions (attack/drain intelligence, attack/chaos). Together, they are very lethal, which invites the strategy of peeling them apart. In my earlier example, a single enemy probably shouldn't have freeze, paralysis and a prison spell (unless it's a unique/boss foe), because in large numbers you have very problematic, obnoxious encounters where you cannot do anything.

Edited by anubite
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I agree with all of your post except this part:

 

"If you're going to hide enemies in rooms or not make them appear until I'm standing in the thick of things, show me this is going to happen and where enemies will appear."

 

I'd say just make enemies that are hiding uncommon. Like you stated about ambushes.

If your gonna hide an enemy there's no point in hiding them if you show where they are.

 

Sometimes an ambush will bring out a lot of tension, but like you said not if it's 1 out of 3 battle.

Make it more like 1 out of 50.

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Spawning waves are fine when used sparingly. In Torchlight it gets a bit repetitive. I think it should be limited to a type of enemy in a type of area where it makes sense, so that it's special, rare, and optional. Like areas where you can't rest, but you can leave them and not bother with them.

 

I'd like the option of stopping certain encounters by completing quests or wiping out areas, it could be a different route to the stealthier group, so avoiding enemies and being clinical against leaders is very different from playing a group that puts the hammer down, you may have to go the long way or sacrifice equipment. Not having encounters that don't make sense, so no New Vegas style woefully underpowered thug trying to mug two people in power armour with a tire iron.

 

A compromise with ambushes and hidden enemies would be allowing for hidden enemies to be scouted if your party is set up with the ability to do so.

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I'm not advocating for the removal of ambushes, it's just, in DA, you enter a room that half the time locks on you, and entraps you surrounded by a dozen enemies at once. In this small room, with slowly-moving player characters, you literally have one strategy: sit there and take it. That is probably a larger flaw with DA:O and DA2, rather than it being ambushes (in both games, there are a very limited number of strategies available to the player at all) exclusively, but ambushes themselves do not invite much strategy. It's basically gut reaction, "Oh ****. I'm surrounded without any preparation. What will I do?" This can be exciting especially if tension is built up (you know people are chasing/stalking you and are going to eventually ambush you, you just don't know when/where), but it's very cheap and hurts the game when done too often. You have to make ambush-based encounters less difficult by default, because you have limited available strategy. A tactical game where tactics are often limited is silly. Ambushes are like jump scares in horror games - keep them limited.

Edited by anubite

I made a 2 hour rant video about dragon age 2. It's not the greatest... but if you want to watch it, here ya go:

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While I agree with you I feel your assessment of the DA games is a bit off. Playing on nightmare sitting there and taking it was just not an option and I often found myself pausing almost every second to individually control each character whether it was to CC or set up a combo on a big enemy, hitting a group of smaller enemies with aoe, kiting straglers/pulling ranged enemies around corners with line of sight, getting my rogue to go after the squishy in the back, etc. (often I had to do all of these at once while at the same time trying to dodge the cluster**** of enemy abilities being thrown at me). In fact I actually found myself using tactics a lot more often in DA games than I did in BG where even by the middle of the game I could pretty much just cast haste and send my PC in to instagib **** (even the tougher enemies required pretty basic tactics like open door, cloudkill/horrid wilting, close door and wait). The dragons were pretty much the only enemies that required a brain.

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I don't want to turn this thread into... another dragon age thread and I can certainly agree BG/BG2, after a point do become, brainless slaughter fest, DA:O is just way too clunky for me. From the camera, to character movement speed and turn rate, to the fact most fights are ambushes or near ambushes (enemies go hostile only a few feet from your party)... most of the tactics in DA:O revolves around you kiting enemies, spamming AOEs or disabling them to death with CC, all of the difficulty stemming from the fact harder difficulties just double an entire enemy group's life pool. Certainly, a few fights, namely the Broodmother, can be a little tactical, and it's certainly a huge step up from DA2... and certainly, there aren't too many tactical RPGs with similar enough combat to compare, but both BG2 and DA:O could have done their tactics a lot, lot better. It's just, DA:O's flaws stand out far more due to the level design/camera. BG2's flaws are mostly related to party balance... which is a pretty tricky thing for very late game in an RPG.

I made a 2 hour rant video about dragon age 2. It's not the greatest... but if you want to watch it, here ya go:

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I kind of disagree with the basic premise of this thread, yes certainly we don't want DA2 fights, but equally, part of playing a tactical combat game is having to come up against fights that you aren't prepared for, and you should only ever be prepared for them if you went ahead and checked.

 

If you just run into a room, there should be no way of knowing what is in that room beforehand and you should have to deal with the consequences. If you take the time to scout it with a rogue or scry with a mage, you should generally know, but even then not necessarily to detect invisible foes or hidden ones or ones standing out of view. Certainly this shouldn't be a regular thing, but preparation for a fight should be the only thing that makes you prepared for a fight.

 

On a more specific note, I agree with most of the more specific points you make, but as this is based on the Infinity Engine games rather than DA:O I don't think the same problems of those games are likely to be an issue: perhaps its more the problems of the IE games that should be issues, ie. enemies who are vanquished by the concept of a closed door (and a cloudkill...)

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I think DA:O and DA2 provide some good points for making sure combat tactics remain relevant. Both were pretty bad about the whole one-dimensional aggro thing ("I only saw you for a millisecond, but I know exactly where you are and am COMING FOR YOU FOREVER!". And it wasn't so much the number of enemies or the fact that they came in waves in 2 that hurt it. It was the fact that all the waves were essentially ambushes mid-combat. "Oh, you're strategically keeping your party well-positioned to effectively keep them alive while taking down these enemies? Well NOW there are 12 more rogues and tanks right around your ranged/magic folk!"

 

It's fine to have a reinforcement wave enter combat, or an ambush, but a wave should cause you to say "Oh no, we've got to readjust to those things that just came into the room from that side!", not "Well, they've literally just appeared all around us, so there's absolutely no opportunity to make any meaningful decisions to affect how we engage them."

 

Of course, I don't think anyone here is worried that Obsidian's going to say "Hey, you know whose mechanics we should copy directly because they're amazing and perfect? Dragon Age!" Haha. BUT, it's good to analyze examples of both good and bad gameplay mechanics to figure out what about them, exactly, caused the problems or lack of problems.

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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I kind of disagree with the basic premise of this thread, yes certainly we don't want DA2 fights, but equally, part of playing a tactical combat game is having to come up against fights that you aren't prepared for, and you should only ever be prepared for them if you went ahead and checked.

 

If you just run into a room, there should be no way of knowing what is in that room beforehand and you should have to deal with the consequences. If you take the time to scout it with a rogue or scry with a mage, you should generally know, but even then not necessarily to detect invisible foes or hidden ones or ones standing out of view. Certainly this shouldn't be a regular thing, but preparation for a fight should be the only thing that makes you prepared for a fight.

 

On a more specific note, I agree with most of the more specific points you make, but as this is based on the Infinity Engine games rather than DA:O I don't think the same problems of those games are likely to be an issue: perhaps its more the problems of the IE games that should be issues, ie. enemies who are vanquished by the concept of a closed door (and a cloudkill...)

 

Certainly, but we aren't using the IE engine to make PE. So... they have to program these things in intentionally. They won't just be there for them to utilize. Sight radius, movement speed, level layout all need to be consciously chosen to create the best tactical experience possible.

 

I would argue MOST of DA:O/DA2's tactical issues can be attributed to its camera system - accomodate the console version, BioWare's camera system encourages playing the game in first-person. In DA2, they completely removed the ability to get an isometric view. This grossly hurts accurate positioning.

 

I do agree there is a time and place for ambushes, but, if you are ambushed constantly - you have no tactics. I mean, there are things you can do in the midst of an ambush to save your hide, but I would argue such maneuvers are not tactics. Tactics are about careful though and planning, if you're reacting like you got sucker-punched in the chin, that's all you're doing to save your skin. Perhaps there are mechanics that can be added to make dealing with ambushes more tactical, but tactical games are not known for their speed. Tactical games are about planning, positioning, execution, timing, et cetera - they aren't about thinking on the seat of your pants. That kind of thing should be thrown in every once in a while so that pacing is less "methodical" or "boring". In the real world, I'd say an ambush is the antithesis of tactics - if you get caught in an ambush in real life, you're ****ed. You have no recourse. Bang bang bang you're dead. Most strategists plan around anticipating or avoiding opportunities for ambush. This applies the same to games I think, though I suppose you could make a game about properly dealing with ambushes in a tactical manner... it does seem contradictory to think of them that way.

 

I trust Obsidian to do their best, but the purpose of the threads I make, although some of my points may seem like common sense, we simply cannot take them for granted. Obsidian cannot mess up this game. I'm not doubting Obsidian's understanding of how and why the IE games work(ed), but I don't see the harm in pointing it out here. These are kind of subtle points I'm making, you wouldn't notice these things on your first time playing DA:O I think. Or at least, I didn't until I started analyzing the game more seriously on my second run.

 

One of the most notable things I think, is enemy movement speed. It's way too fast. Monsters close in so quickly you don't have a lot of time to react to the non-ambush encounters, where enemies aggro a short distance away. You have enough time for cone of cold on the group of melee enemies, and that's about it. Cone of cold (and other fast immobilization spells) buy you a lot of time to set up, to the point where such spells are basically "required" to handle most encounters on nightmare (to the point where I no longer play on that difficulty). You'll notice that aside for some, most monsters in BG are pretty darn slow to react and slow to move. Though, they are no less deadly, distances and movement speed are pretty sweet and give you just enough time to land spells that require a small amount of channeling to complete, or they give you just enough time to re-arrange your party's positioning.

 

And yes I agree that the threat/aggro system in DA:O is pretty awful. It's very, very weird. If you have a group of 4 warriors, it seems as though they all pile up on the warrior using berserker rage instead of actually attacking the tanks I build and use all the +threat persistent on-hit abilities. And if you try to run away, they never break aggro. You simply cannot lose them until you exit the instance. I can understand why they chose it - for some degree of "realness" - but it just hurts the game too much.

Edited by anubite
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^ I don't know that we should absolutely avoid any situation in which you don't know how many enemies you might have to deal with before combat is over, but any waves should definitely be implemented and balanced in a reasonable manner.

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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I kind of disagree with the basic premise of this thread, yes certainly we don't want DA2 fights, but equally, part of playing a tactical combat game is having to come up against fights that you aren't prepared for, and you should only ever be prepared for them if you went ahead and checked.

 

If you just run into a room, there should be no way of knowing what is in that room beforehand and you should have to deal with the consequences. If you take the time to scout it with a rogue or scry with a mage, you should generally know, but even then not necessarily to detect invisible foes or hidden ones or ones standing out of view. Certainly this shouldn't be a regular thing, but preparation for a fight should be the only thing that makes you prepared for a fight.

 

On a more specific note, I agree with most of the more specific points you make, but as this is based on the Infinity Engine games rather than DA:O I don't think the same problems of those games are likely to be an issue: perhaps its more the problems of the IE games that should be issues, ie. enemies who are vanquished by the concept of a closed door (and a cloudkill...)

 

Certainly, but we aren't using the IE engine to make PE. So... they have to program these things in intentionally. They won't just be there for them to utilize. Sight radius, movement speed, level layout all need to be consciously chosen to create the best tactical experience possible.

 

I would argue MOST of DA:O/DA2's tactical issues can be attributed to its camera system - accomodate the console version, BioWare's camera system encourages playing the game in first-person. In DA2, they completely removed the ability to get an isometric view. This grossly hurts accurate positioning.

 

I do agree there is a time and place for ambushes, but, if you are ambushed constantly - you have no tactics. I mean, there are things you can do in the midst of an ambush to save your hide, but I would argue such maneuvers are not tactics. Tactics are about careful though and planning, if you're reacting like you got sucker-punched in the chin, that's all you're doing to save your skin. Perhaps there are mechanics that can be added to make dealing with ambushes more tactical, but tactical games are not known for their speed. Tactical games are about planning, positioning, execution, timing, et cetera - they aren't about thinking on the seat of your pants. That kind of thing should be thrown in every once in a while so that pacing is less "methodical" or "boring". In the real world, I'd say an ambush is the antithesis of tactics - if you get caught in an ambush in real life, you're ****ed. You have no recourse. Bang bang bang you're dead. Most strategists plan around anticipating or avoiding opportunities for ambush. This applies the same to games I think, though I suppose you could make a game about properly dealing with ambushes in a tactical manner... it does seem contradictory to think of them that way.

 

I trust Obsidian to do their best, but the purpose of the threads I make, although some of my points may seem like common sense, we simply cannot take them for granted. Obsidian cannot mess up this game. I'm not doubting Obsidian's understanding of how and why the IE games work(ed), but I don't see the harm in pointing it out here. These are kind of subtle points I'm making, you wouldn't notice these things on your first time playing DA:O I think. Or at least, I didn't until I started analyzing the game more seriously on my second run.

 

One of the most notable things I think, is enemy movement speed. It's way too fast. Monsters close in so quickly you don't have a lot of time to react to the non-ambush encounters, where enemies aggro a short distance away. You have enough time for cone of cold on the group of melee enemies, and that's about it. Cone of cold (and other fast immobilization spells) buy you a lot of time to set up, to the point where such spells are basically "required" to handle most encounters on nightmare (to the point where I no longer play on that difficulty). You'll notice that aside for some, most monsters in BG are pretty darn slow to react and slow to move. Though, they are no less deadly, distances and movement speed are pretty sweet and give you just enough time to land spells that require a small amount of channeling to complete, or they give you just enough time to re-arrange your party's positioning.

 

And yes I agree that the threat/aggro system in DA:O is pretty awful. It's very, very weird. If you have a group of 4 warriors, it seems as though they all pile up on the warrior using berserker rage instead of actually attacking the tanks I build and use all the +threat persistent on-hit abilities. And if you try to run away, they never break aggro. You simply cannot lose them until you exit the instance. I can understand why they chose it - for some degree of "realness" - but it just hurts the game too much.

 

I kind of dislike agro mechanics in general principle, it doesn't really reflect anything in the real world as there is no such thing as "tanking", strategically, there isn't usually reason to go for any target other than the weakest or the most dangerous, which realistically means in fantasy squads the mage should always be the primary target for intelligent enemies.

 

But this of course varies with your opponent, and they should behave differently. Lets take a classic D&D squad (lets say.... Fighter, Wizard, Cleric of some Sun God, Rogue and Barbarian) and a selection of different monsters to demonstrate this.

 

If you were fighting a pack of wolves, they shouldn't just agro to the most powerful, they are hunting for food, so the obvious thing isn't going to be to engage your front line fighters, they'll want to separate your wizard or your rogue from the pack because they are seemingly the easiest kill, Incidentally I'd actually like to see wolves treated sensibly in a game for a change, perhaps following you for a while and only attacking once you'd been weakened from another fight, and retreating if they started losing. They aren't stupid animals to always go into all or nothing charges. If you were fighting an evil version of your own party, they should realistically have similar tactics to you, the mage and cleric would be the the primary targets on both sides although the barbarians and the fighters might well end up facing each other down defensively to protect the cleric/mage. The rogues will in turn be trying to take out either the mage or cleric or their opposite rogue, depending on which is a bigger threat. If you are fighting a mind-flayer they might go for the fighter or barbarian to put them under their controll to take out the other 3. A vampire-lord on the other hand might well target the Sun Cleric purely out of hatred but if the sun cleric wasn't there, they'd probably behave far more tactically. Things like that, none of which is based on some magical taunting ability.

 

If you are fighting a stupid enemy, say goblins, then is when agro mechanics might play in as they'd assume the biggest guy on the field was the biggest threat and go for the barbarian either because they think they need to take him out first, or, because they want boasting rights if they kill him. But really, apart from goblinish things and particularly stupid gangs of bandits, this should be the exception rather than the rule.

 

An enemy like an ancient dragon however of course, might be the opposite of either of those, and literally just pick opponents utterly an random because it deems the whole party equally insignificant. Unless of course someone gives it a reason to focus on them, like weilding a dragonbane sword or wearing dragonskin armour etc.

 

I'll also add that I wouldn't mind one or two instances of wave fighting to time limit rather than enemies killed, if you have been tasked with holding a bridge against an army for instance, but it certainly shouldn't be a regular thing.

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What's the point of having an ambush if you know it's going to happen? No, just NO!

 

I understand your line of thinking, and I know that the DA games took this kinda **** way too far, but what you're suggesting isn't any better; always knowing what will happen is extremely boring. Sometimes you see the enemy beforehand, sometimes they get the jump on you; meaning that you won't have the tactical advantage of a planned formation and positioning when the battle begins. The whole friggin point of ambushing is to catch your enemy pants down.

 

Sometimes we need to get into situations where we don't know every variable, or even if we did there would be too many of them to accurately device a guaranteed win strategy; that's just life. Adapting to unpredictable situations is part of the fun, so are surprises during the battle. Some of the sweetest moments in games are of the "WTF?? this guy can do THAT!?" - variety.

 

As for movement speed, it's a factor you'll have to consider when making your party and choosing your equipment. Perhaps dressing everyone in that Full Plate wasn't such a killer idea after all? Perhaps you should keep a scroll of haste handy for tricky encounters? Being slow is a rather huge weakness, maybe you can use that "Slow" - spell to further gain the advantage in terms of mobility.

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I kind of dislike agro mechanics in general principle, it doesn't really reflect anything in the real world as there is no such thing as "tanking", strategically, there isn't usually reason to go for any target other than the weakest or the most dangerous, which realistically means in fantasy squads the mage should always be the primary target for intelligent enemies.

 

But this of course varies with your opponent, and they should behave differently. Lets take a classic D&D squad (lets say.... Fighter, Wizard, Cleric of some Sun God, Rogue and Barbarian) and a selection of different monsters to demonstrate this.

 

If you were fighting a pack of wolves, they shouldn't just agro to the most powerful, they are hunting for food, so the obvious thing isn't going to be to engage your front line fighters, they'll want to separate your wizard or your rogue from the pack because they are seemingly the easiest kill, Incidentally I'd actually like to see wolves treated sensibly in a game for a change, perhaps following you for a while and only attacking once you'd been weakened from another fight, and retreating if they started losing. They aren't stupid animals to always go into all or nothing charges. If you were fighting an evil version of your own party, they should realistically have similar tactics to you, the mage and cleric would be the the primary targets on both sides although the barbarians and the fighters might well end up facing each other down defensively to protect the cleric/mage. The rogues will in turn be trying to take out either the mage or cleric or their opposite rogue, depending on which is a bigger threat. If you are fighting a mind-flayer they might go for the fighter or barbarian to put them under their controll to take out the other 3. A vampire-lord on the other hand might well target the Sun Cleric purely out of hatred but if the sun cleric wasn't there, they'd probably behave far more tactically. Things like that, none of which is based on some magical taunting ability.

 

If you are fighting a stupid enemy, say goblins, then is when agro mechanics might play in as they'd assume the biggest guy on the field was the biggest threat and go for the barbarian either because they think they need to take him out first, or, because they want boasting rights if they kill him. But really, apart from goblinish things and particularly stupid gangs of bandits, this should be the exception rather than the rule.

 

An enemy like an ancient dragon however of course, might be the opposite of either of those, and literally just pick opponents utterly an random because it deems the whole party equally insignificant. Unless of course someone gives it a reason to focus on them, like weilding a dragonbane sword or wearing dragonskin armour etc.

 

I'm with you regarding current games' aggro systems. I realize it was a simplistic mathematical method of keeping track of how much of a threat your party members pose based on position, actions so far, and circumstances, etc. However, games started basing everything off of it, completely disregarding that it's overly simplistic. Just like you said, "Taunt" isn't always going to work. Just because your warrior becomes a better warrior, doesn't mean his effort at drawing the attention of an opponent automatically makes them completely ignore tactics.

 

The other problem you run into for this is when the system tries to make the AI system ALWAYS use the "best" tactics. This causes predictability, which is sort of contrary to the proper use of tactics. For example... if it's OBVIOUS that the warrior should always go knock the mage around to keep him from tossing spells left and right, then it's automatically obvious that a goal should be preventing the warrior from getting to the mage. But, now, the goal back on the other side of the battle is to prevent the party from preventing your warrior from getting to the mage. Etc. etc.

 

It comes down to choices. You have to pick SOMEthing out of many options, then go from there and adapt as you go. There are always multiple options, based on what options you want to eliminate for your opponent.

 

For this reason, I think it wouldn't be horrible for a chance dice roll to choose enemy tactics (out of a pool of reasonable choices, obviously). And, for things like taunt, I think there should be a CHANCE that that bandit just gets overcome with rage at your taunt and charges you without considering the intelligence of such an action, rather than some aggro number that definitely gains a certain amount every time you taunt (that's basically an automatic success every time, even if the number doesn't increase enough for him to change targets.)

 

Much like your ancient dragon example, the options and chances would be different for different enemies. But, I think running into a group of goblins and having them fight COMPLETELY differently than another group of goblins you fought would be amazing. Instead of the "Oh yeah, it's this enemy, so it's definitely going to do this, every single time." It'd be nice to "know" the enemy's warriors are going to come after your mage, only to see them team up on your warrior. And, what's this? Their mage is attacking YOUR mage? But, a mage doesn't have an advantage against a mage! Well, too bad, it's happening, and now you've got to react accordingly.

Edited by Lephys

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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These are all good points. I would unify them all in a simple concept - enemies should exist in the world itself together with everything in it, not in the metagaming pocket dimension of scripts, UI and time barriers. There should not be any "waves" of enemies, because that would mean enemies exist somewhere, so player must have an option to deal with them some other way (exept things like a portal to plane of fire which spawns fire elementals... which even then should be possible to close using Lock Portal spell, ect.).

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in BG2, when you go into Mae'Var's guild house to kill him, if you go around stealthed before attacking you will see the usual 3 guys. if you start fighting though the room will be filled with enemies that seemingly poped out of nowhere. but the whole concept of the game does not let you realise they just spawned, but instead the first thing that comes to mind is that as thieves, they were hidden around the room

so having enemies spawn is not bad, but it must not be in waves and it must be in line with the situation.

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The words freedom and liberty, are diminishing the true meaning of the abstract concept they try to explain. The true nature of freedom is such, that the human mind is unable to comprehend it, so we make a cage and name it freedom in order to give a tangible meaning to what we dont understand, just as our ancestors made gods like Thor or Zeus to explain thunder.

 

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What? You thought it was a quote from some well known wise guy from the past?

 

Stupidity leads to willful ignorance - willful ignorance leads to hope - hope leads to sex - and that is how a new generation of fools is born!


We are hardcore role players... When we go to bed with a girl, we roll a D20 to see if we hit the target and a D6 to see how much penetration damage we did.

 

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That's a good point.

 

I'm not against scripted sequences, or enemies that just appear - but it cannot be a frequent thing. And I do agree that encounters SHOULD offer you opportunities to deal with them in a sensibly strategic manner. This means that for the most part, if you're fighting enemies, those enemies should have existed when the game loaded the area. It can not be the case sometimes, where it makes sense and provides an interesting situation you need to deal with, but enemies that don't exist until you open a closet is bad overall design.

 

I recently finished DA:O. The amount of rooms that have multiple entrances can be counted on one hand. That said, the times the DA designers gave you multiple entry-ways to the same room... it really made the encounter really interesting. I'll have to post some level layouts to show my point, but by giving me multiple access points to the same room, I was able to take apart a difficult encounter on a high difficulty, that I wasn't able to do simply waltzing in through the front door.

I made a 2 hour rant video about dragon age 2. It's not the greatest... but if you want to watch it, here ya go:

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No enemy reinforcements leaping from lethal heights as soon as you think you've won (a la Dragon Age 2,) and I'm good. I know Obsidian isn't that bad at game design anyway.

 

Well, I'm taking the stance that we state everything that's good design, even if we know from Obsidian's past they don't make such mistakes, pointing out such elementary flaws in other games helps to illuminate what is good design and how such design can be made better.

I made a 2 hour rant video about dragon age 2. It's not the greatest... but if you want to watch it, here ya go:

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Foes like bandits or spiders that descend from the ceiling.

 

IMO, a limited exception could be made concerning this particular point.

 

In certain situations, when it makes sense within the gameworld, I think it's ok to use the aforementioned approach. For example, IWD2 had hook horrors which ambushed your party by descending from the cave ceiling which, accidentally, is how these creatures are supposed to act in PnP D&D. Similarly, there could be a justification for rogue opponents dropping from the floor above (via trap doors) to ambush the party inside their guildhall. That said, such situations should be rare and not the norm.

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Sure. I'm not saying ambushes or traps or "materializing enemies" are bad - but it's very lazy when every fight is copypasta of this. Even if it's not lazy but actually intentional design, as I've already mentioned, it serves only to limit the number of viable strategies... and it even limits the number of strategies you can even physically execute. There's no concept of "pulling" monsters in DA2, because every fight you engage is on the enemy's terms, not yours.

I made a 2 hour rant video about dragon age 2. It's not the greatest... but if you want to watch it, here ya go:

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