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Dynamic encounters: Patrols, Respawns, Spawn points


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Patrols: Sometimes called “pathers” or “pats,” these are lightly scripted enemies in that they walk a set circuit around a particular area. For example, a bandit camp may have two sets of patrols, two guards each, that walk a circle in opposite directions, on the outer edge of the camp; depending on which entry point the player attempts to control and timing (maybe you’re surprised in the middle of combat by a patrol that comes from behind), this would add a tactical layer. The AI may also be altered in that one guard may run away to warn the rest of the camp (perhaps after injury) or automatically call the nearest group of their allies within a certain range.

 

Note that this setup does encourage “pulling,” not “kiting” (a term used incorrectly in the other thread), but I don’t consider pulling a bad thing at all unless the game mechanics are poorly designed to allow pulling individuals on the fog of war edge away from their groups--good pulling mechanics and strategy should involve discrete groups. Other possibilities include heightened senses (to potentially spot stealthy players); multiple, more complex routes that defy easy memorization; different speeds; randomly generated patrols per session or game (e.g. an enemy base has three possible patrol patterns, A-B-C, but in this game you only see B-C).

 

The IE games didn’t make much use of patrols in the classical sense that I remember; enemies may randomly wander around a very small area, but this is not true patrol behavior. The closest analogue I can think of in the IE games would be the guards walking up and down the main “road” of Nashkel, but those are player-side. I wonder if this sort of thing is limited by the engine or something; admittedly I only remember experiencing patrol behaviors in MMOs, but the mechanic’s value is independent of multiplayer and pause ability, so I think this could be reasonably ported. I’d love to see real (enemy) patrols in PE if possible; that would make each combat encounter a bit more unique. This could even be finessed in difficulty settings.

 

Respawns: I have mixed feelings about this kind of mechanic. Simply, a respawn is the same type of enemy/creature (or from a limited pool of cycling creatures) reappearing in the same spot after a certain amount of time. In MMOs, the mechanic is required for so many players, but there are different levels of respawning depending on area (e.g. slower respawns in dungeons, etc.). This doesn’t work so well in a non-persistent SP world like the IE games because it doesn’t work for narrative play--if you clear out a dungeon, it should stay cleared--yet there are a couple places where respawns happened in BG1, and it was poorly implemented: e.g. Cloakwood (the map with the spiders and traps). Spiders would respawn the moment you moved away and covered the spot with the fog of war. Are the randomly generated enemy spawns when you rest in the wilderness or in dungeons “respawns”? I wouldn’t classify them as such, nor the random encounters between map travel in BG. The primary difference between these BG encounters and respawns are that the latter are far less dependent on an RNG check (or not at all).

 

If there were respawns in PE, they would have to be used very sparingly and in situations that make some sense. The Cloakwood spiders made some sense in that the critters could come in from outlying wilderness, but the implementation should have used map-level respawns or even per login session instead of the fog of war (way overkill). Nor should respawns be used for sentient recruit situations (e.g. enemy base) where they’d have a limited number of soldiers. Critters in dungeons (e.g. undead) might make sense, but again, this mechanic would have to be used sparingly if at all.

 

 

Randomized or pool spawn points: These did not exist much at all in the IE games (the Modron Maze in PS:T), but I think would allow some variety (tactical or not) in PE if possible. Example of randomized spawn points--a dungeon boss may be in one of three rooms; this could add a tactical layer depending on the layout of the room, and the spawn location itself may be determined in each new game or per session. Pool spawns can end up being cosmetic only or significantly affect gameplay--basically the RNG will determine the type and sometimes number of enemy that spawns in a set location; I believe this sort of thing is already part of one of the difficulty modes, though, so I won’t go into it. Randomized spawn points are a bit more interesting to me anyway, though this would have to be used sparingly as well, as the IE games had static encounters and thus a certain overall "feel" should be retained.

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PE will not have co-op/multiplayer, console, or tablet support (sources): [0] [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

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I'd like to go through just one dungeon where I struggle to avoid detection entirely, like the fellowship wending its way through Moria, the challenge of patrols and their alerting an almost insurmountable force of enemies lurking in the depths could add a nice element of challenge to such an odyssey. Make the use of stealth, scouting and illusion magics far more useful, you could perhaps even have a chase to get out if caught or a siege develop (I just want a chance to sing "Men of Harlech.")

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Patrols would be nice and I think they should work as intended: if they see an enemy, they alert their base camp. Imagine a cave complex inhabited by goblins. If they are caught unawares they have thier pants down: the gate stands open, only a couple of bored guards are on duty, booby traps are not armed, guard animals or other beasts are still in their pens, doors are unlocked, no organization, etc. However if they are alerted by a patrol, an alarm is sounded, the gate is locked, more guards show up and are more alert, beasts are brought out of their pens and made ready for battle, traps are primed, treasure is hidden, armed squads are gathered for a pre-emptive strike and so on. It shouldnt just be a matter of how many enemies there are, what their location is and whether or not they are aware of the party.

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I too would enjoy patrols. They encounters much more dynamic in it's resolution, increasing replayability and making save-scumming less useful (since the situation might not be exactly the same the next time you try it)

As for Respawns... Very mixed feelings. I'm leaning towards no.

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I think that if you are luring a patrol into battle you either need to either trick him into investigating something slightly suspicious or kill him instantly. If you fail to do this, then he should alert all the other guards that there might be enemies nearby. Most storytelling vastly underestimates an experienced guards ability to do his job properly, IMO.

 

Respawns should originate and monster lairs (monster generators if you will) and spread out to nearby areas that are devoid of monsters. I think it would be cool if that bear cave you fought at level 1 turned into a spider or basilisk cave later on in the game if you go back to it.

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As for Respawns... Very mixed feelings. I'm leaning towards no.

 

Respawns could work just like the example the OP cited - party raids a crypt, when they open a sarcophagus it causes hordes of undead to start spawning and the party has to run for their lives while fighting a running battle without getting mobbed. The respawn should just take place in an optional area the party isnt likely to have to travel across multiple times, and used sparingly and intelligently.

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You approach a bend in the trail. Standing there are three veteran fighters, resting after slaying a group of monsters that lie in bloody piles on the ground. You talk to them and they let you know that they are professional monster hunters who frequent this trail as monsters often pass this way.

 

Some time later you return to the scene, only to find the monster hunters dead and their corpses being torn apart by several beasts. You finish off the monsters, then shortly after you are approached by a group of adventurers. They ask what you are doing there. You tell them that you are professional monster hunters who frequent this trail as monsters often pass this way. They shake their heads and leave.

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I think that if you are luring a patrol into battle you either need to either trick him into investigating something slightly suspicious or kill him instantly. If you fail to do this, then he should alert all the other guards that there might be enemies nearby. Most storytelling vastly underestimates an experienced guards ability to do his job properly, IMO.

 

I agree in general that the patrol -> warning system should be more organic than it is in some other games; but I think there's room for finessing in RP, lore and difficulty settings. Maybe the leaders of an enemy base never experienced a break-in (because no one would be that stupid) and have lighter patrols/guards around; maybe the patrols are new recruits; maybe you can capture one of the and somehow get additional information by either threat or persuasion; maybe the technology/magic and lair setup doesn't support instantaneous base-wide alert, or maybe there's a delay. So on. (I would love patrols that are stealth-sensitive, though, because I felt stealth/invisibility was one of those overpowered things in the IE games.)

 

Respawns should originate and monster lairs (monster generators if you will) and spread out to nearby areas that are devoid of monsters. I think it would be cool if that bear cave you fought at level 1 turned into a spider or basilisk cave later on in the game if you go back to it.

 

That's an interesting idea. The only issue is that Obsidian is on record that major zones are encounter-scaled and locked, but maybe the mini-zones or "instances" within these areas can have their own scaling and respawn algorithms.

The KS Collector's Edition does not include the Collector's Book.

Which game hook brought you to Project Eternity and interests you the most?

PE will not have co-op/multiplayer, console, or tablet support (sources): [0] [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Write your own romance mods because there won't be any in PE.

"But what is an evil? Is it like water or like a hedgehog or night or lumpy?" -(Digger)

"Most o' you wanderers are but a quarter moon away from lunacy at the best o' times." -Alvanhendar (Baldur's Gate 1)

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I love the layer of tactical planning that moving patrols support. And I want them to warn people when they see you, just as long as they're not a friggin' hivemind (unless they're insect people, or some kind of cult magically linked together as a hivemind...). I'm even all for base-wide alarms (if they're actual alarms or horns or something. Individuals saying "INTRUDERS!" shouldn't immediately be heard by everyone else within 1,000 miles.), but that should just put everyone into a state of alert, making them aware that there are intruders somewhere inside the perimeter. They should NOT go into a state of "I automatically am hunting you down exactly where you stand because I heard Steve yell the word 'intruders.'"

 

I think this was touched upon in the Commandos-comparison/Stealth thread. It's good stuff, though. We definitely need to see more natural ranges of reaction and reaction times from people doing the alerting and people being alerted.

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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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+1 for patrols.

 

Respawns... depends on how they're used. I'm bothered by respawns -- or any kind of spawns, for that matter -- that just happen for no reason. There has to be some rationale for them. Respawns in the wilderness are fine; they just represent new critters wandering into the area you cleared. Respawns in dungeons not so much.

 

One way they could be kind of cool is if you'd find someone else moved in if you returned to a dungeon after clearing it. This wouldn't even be very hard to implement, actually -- just have a timeline for slowly repopulating the dungeon with random non-story creatures, such as wildlife, bandits, or other generics. This would represent critters making use of recently-vacated prime real estate. This would also provide a rationale for cleaning up any loot the party may have left behind.

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What if you took some of the typical random encounters and merged them with the repopulation of previously cleared caves and camps and such? You're trekking back along, on the world map or what-have-you, and now you notice the light of a fire and some smoke coming from that bandit fort in the forest. Do you go check it out? Maybe you find some people, and instead of just some flat-out respawned enemies. Maybe there's something going on with them, that you can resolve in various manners (someone's after them, or someone drove them out of their village 10 miles northwest and they can't go back until it's taken care of, etc.).

 

Basically, there'd be more to it than just "more potential XP and loot" like in some respawn systems, so it'd provide a good reason for the location to "repopulate" so to speak, as well as a good way to implement some of the slightly less-random encounters.

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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Active Respawning that happens while the party is present: (could all be tied to monster generators)

 

- monsters are spawned that are neutral to the party as an environmental hazard that can be avoided

- monsters are spawned that the party must fight and continue periodically until the party leaves the area.

- monsters are spawned in a horde that cannot be overcome and continue until the party escapes the area.

 

Passive Respawning that happens while the party is away:

 

- an area gets repopulated with the same monsters, no matter how many you destroy they just keep coming back

- an area gets resettled with different monsters and may eventually become deserted if you keep clearing it out

- an area gets resettled with increasingly difficult monsters that only stops once a condition is met

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Well, one obvious problem with infinitely-respawning combattable creatures is the potential for isolated infinite level progression, like in Final Fantasies of old (and not so old.)

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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NO RESPAWNS, except for the type where a few enemies repopulate an area, but only weeks later.

 

You know, just like in the spiritual predecessors.

Pillars of Eternity Josh Sawyer's Quest: The Quest for Quests - an isometric fantasy stealth RPG with optional combat and no pesky XP rewards for combat, skill usage or exploration.


PoE is supposed to be a spiritual successor to Baldur's GateJosh Sawyer doesn't like the Baldur's Gate series (more) - PoE is supposed to reward us for our achievements


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"Josh Sawyer created an RPG where always avoiding combat and never picking locks makes you a powerful warrior and a master lockpicker." -Helm, very critcal and super awesome RPG fan


"I like XP for things other than just objectives. When there is no rewards for combat or other activities, I think it lessens the reward for being successful at them." -Feargus Urquhart, OE CEO


"Didn’t like the fact that I don’t get XP for combat [...] the lack of rewards for killing creatures [in PoE] makes me want to avoid combat (the core activity of the game)" -George Ziets, Game Dev.

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NO RESPAWNS, except for the type where a few enemies repopulate an area, but only weeks later.

 

So what you're saying is... respawns?

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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NO RESPAWNS, except for the type where a few enemies repopulate an area, but only weeks later.

 

So what you're saying is... respawns?

Yeah. Rare respawns with worthless xp that are only there to improve immersion.

Pillars of Eternity Josh Sawyer's Quest: The Quest for Quests - an isometric fantasy stealth RPG with optional combat and no pesky XP rewards for combat, skill usage or exploration.


PoE is supposed to be a spiritual successor to Baldur's GateJosh Sawyer doesn't like the Baldur's Gate series (more) - PoE is supposed to reward us for our achievements


~~~~~~~~~~~


"Josh Sawyer created an RPG where always avoiding combat and never picking locks makes you a powerful warrior and a master lockpicker." -Helm, very critcal and super awesome RPG fan


"I like XP for things other than just objectives. When there is no rewards for combat or other activities, I think it lessens the reward for being successful at them." -Feargus Urquhart, OE CEO


"Didn’t like the fact that I don’t get XP for combat [...] the lack of rewards for killing creatures [in PoE] makes me want to avoid combat (the core activity of the game)" -George Ziets, Game Dev.

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NO RESPAWNS, except for the type where a few enemies repopulate an area, but only weeks later.

 

So what you're saying is... respawns?

Yeah. Rare respawns with worthless xp that are only there to improve immersion.

So, something to hold up where you were busy with, which is annoying to deal with, doesn't pose much of a challenge, and gives no reward that matters, and can be used for grind.

No, no, no, no no hell no.

I already hate random encounters with a passion for breaking flow. If I'm on the road, chances are I'm headed somewhere. don't interrupt me.

Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
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NO RESPAWNS, except for the type where a few enemies repopulate an area, but only weeks later.

 

So what you're saying is... respawns?

Yeah. Rare respawns with worthless xp that are only there to improve immersion.

 

Okay, thanks for clarifying. I was just confused, because you said "no respawns," followed by "except for sometimes when there should be respawns" (paraphrased). I didn't know if you wanted them to never exist, or if you wanted them to exist more often than never. Also, how many weeks later are we talkin'? How few enemies should repopulate? Should all enemies in all areas do this, or only certain enemies/only certain areas, or some combination of the two?

 

Also, how do rare respawn with worthless XP act to improve immersion? Would it be better to use frequent respawns, or reward useful XP instead of worthless XP? What else should respawns hope to achieve besides improving immersion, and were the rare ones that provided worthless XP failing at this in some existing game/system? How so?

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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A particular realistic "immersion" example for respawns would be critters repopulating a cleared wilderness map from outlying wilderness area, so if you traversed the map again days later, you'd have to battle through more critters to return to a specific spot (e.g. remote quest NPC or quest area). Those pesky static skeletons and gnolls as you kept going back to High Hedge for swanky shopping.

 

Respawns in enclosed maps like caves or dungeons are trickier: For one, the above respawn example in open maps requires "travel" as an excuse, but you generally don't travel through an enclosed cave/dungeon to get somewhere else; rather, in classical enclosed areas, the purpose to enter, clear (complete missions), and leave. You wouldn't return to particularly large enclosed, dangerous structures because quests have never been set up that way for them, at least in any SP game I've played. But I suspect a fair number of people would hate having to traverse through a claustrophobic maze-y enclosure (with respawns to boot) to reach a multi-visit quest hub as well, so that's not necessarily a great sort of implementation.

 

There is one possibility I can think of at the moment pertaining to enclosed map respawns in PE: The mega-dungeon. So, there has been at least one other thread about allowing easier player travel in/out of the mega-dungeon (because 15 levels is ginormous); the discussion included different ideas on realism and difficulty settings and the like. This may have been mentioned in the other thread, but what if respawns would occur at varying frequencies and densities in the mega-dungeon depending on how far you've gotten and whether you finished it? That is, if you choose to leave before completing the 15th level, you'll have to fight through respawns upon return, maybe with fewer in density the more you had cleared prior. Tactically (and strategically), that sort of setup would offer a counterbalance for players to decide whether to take a break or tough it out. This can be appropriate in a difficulty setting, perhaps.

 

That said, I still favor the patrol approach most for more dynamic play. Different types, different reactions, etc.

 

 

There's something else related to patrols for non-encampments, though: migrations.

I'm sure there's a game out there that makes use of the idea, but basically, a migration would be a group or particularly dangerous critter that traverses the world map (across multiple maps in this case), in a preset path and speed (measure of time). Maybe a tarrasque-like critter may be found in one of three wilderness areas slowly plodding a specific loop, and your party may need to avoid crossing its path for a while as you're too inexperienced--perhaps it wouldn't attack immediately until you got too close, or maybe it gets bored of chasing you if you run away and simply returns to its usual routine. Perhaps its cross-map loop takes three in-game days to complete. Hmm.

Edited by Ieo
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The KS Collector's Edition does not include the Collector's Book.

Which game hook brought you to Project Eternity and interests you the most?

PE will not have co-op/multiplayer, console, or tablet support (sources): [0] [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Write your own romance mods because there won't be any in PE.

"But what is an evil? Is it like water or like a hedgehog or night or lumpy?" -(Digger)

"Most o' you wanderers are but a quarter moon away from lunacy at the best o' times." -Alvanhendar (Baldur's Gate 1)

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There's something else related to patrols for non-encampments, though: migrations.

I'm sure there's a game out there that makes use of the idea, but basically, a migration would be a group or particularly dangerous critter that traverses the world map (across multiple maps in this case), in a preset path and speed (measure of time). Maybe a tarrasque-like critter may be found in one of three wilderness areas slowly plodding a specific loop, and your party may need to avoid crossing its path for a while as you're too inexperienced--perhaps it wouldn't attack immediately until you got too close, or maybe it gets bored of chasing you if you run away and simply returns to its usual routine. Perhaps its cross-map loop takes three in-game days to complete. Hmm.

 

Awesome notion, 8D! Maybe, depending on how/to-what-degree the passage of time is evident in the progression of the story, that type of idea could be tied to the changing of seasons? Maybe a cave is full of bears at a later point in the game, because it's now winter, and bears in the area sought a cave to make a snuggly home out of, and found that cave. Bears + winter was just a simple example. Obviously there are much cooler ideas, haha.

 

Also, for what it's worth, the XP-not-necessarily-rewarded-for-every-kill prototype would totally allow for an infinitely-repopulated mega-dungeon (maybe a portal to a dimension filled with an invasive, demon army is the reason behind the respawn implementation, or something along those lines, *shrug*) without creating the problem of infinite XP gain in the absence of any other form of story/game progression.

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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Can't believe I've missed this great thread! Good discussion, peeps! :)

 

I'd also like to underline the importance of better warning/alert systems for baddies and of respawn points/zones used sparingly and wisely - basically, it should really fit-in story-wise.

I'd much rather see a more intelligent spawn system that activate new spawns on old spawn points (like migration, new critters taking up the void after old critters perished) or new spawn points (as an affect of actions taken by the party. If you kill a group of Aumaua raiders, don't be surprised if they popup elsewhere, even in places where you've been before (think: mess with a few bees outside a hive and you get a whole bunch of them after you soon enough)

 

I'll make a bold move and add two of the ideas in this thread to the "Ideas not to be Forgotten"-thread:

-complex patrol routes through world maps based on migration patterns, seasons or hunting/patroling schedules

-enemies taking advantage of a party engaged in battle through sneaking or calls for reinforcements

*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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There's something else related to patrols for non-encampments, though: migrations.

I'm sure there's a game out there that makes use of the idea, but basically, a migration would be a group or particularly dangerous critter that traverses the world map (across multiple maps in this case), in a preset path and speed (measure of time). Maybe a tarrasque-like critter may be found in one of three wilderness areas slowly plodding a specific loop, and your party may need to avoid crossing its path for a while as you're too inexperienced--perhaps it wouldn't attack immediately until you got too close, or maybe it gets bored of chasing you if you run away and simply returns to its usual routine. Perhaps its cross-map loop takes three in-game days to complete. Hmm.

Awesome notion, 8D! Maybe, depending on how/to-what-degree the passage of time is evident in the progression of the story, that type of idea could be tied to the changing of seasons? Maybe a cave is full of bears at a later point in the game, because it's now winter, and bears in the area sought a cave to make a snuggly home out of, and found that cave. Bears + winter was just a simple example. Obviously there are much cooler ideas, haha.

 

Also, for what it's worth, the XP-not-necessarily-rewarded-for-every-kill prototype would totally allow for an infinitely-repopulated mega-dungeon (maybe a portal to a dimension filled with an invasive, demon army is the reason behind the respawn implementation, or something along those lines, *shrug*) without creating the problem of infinite XP gain in the absence of any other form of story/game progression.

 

Love this idea, kinda like the Ultimate Weapons from the FF series, or that dodgy sand snake dude (FF7), i would rather the path wasn't completely random and had some sort of meaning to it, it would be really cool to see towns evacuated cuz "bigbadbugger" was heading over, although this may be asking too much unless it's tied in with the story, only thing i would say though is if they are to have huge enemies make the battles epic as opposed to the hack-hack-slash of Skyrim and its dragons.

 

In regard to patrols that is definitely something i'd like to see, although the base would only be alerted if they made it to the alarm, therefore if you ambushed a patrol of two one might stay and fight but always at least one enemy would run for the alarm requiring you to pick him off with arrows and spells.

 

Respawns would need to be limited for me, certain situations where they make sense is ok but too many will get frustrating.

 

It would be really awesome to have seasons and seasonal monsters, cold blooded creatures moving towards warming climes, some mammals (or mammal like monsters) disappearing entirely over winter, only to be replaced with some hardier bigger buggers, I'm now thinking about Game Of Thrones "winter is coming" lol.

 

Realised i'd gone all ecology there and when referencing migrations wasn't really referring to Ieo's point.

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Yay for patrols ^^

 

Respawns... not so much. Sure, as mentioned some critters can move into the cleared space... but that should take quite some time, I don't want to run into a bear in a cave I cleared of bandits only minutes before. For intelligent enemies, some might get back from patrol if I hang around too long in their evil lair, so a group might spawn at the entrance and check out where all those corpses come from.

But that's pretty much it. Respawning the old monsters while I'm away is usually weird and/or annoying. Remember that elven tower in icewind dale, which you had to climb multiple times? Now imagine repopulating the area between every visit.. just no. And for the love of god, no enemies spawning out of thin air around my party if I trigger an alarm or something. If you want guards appearing have them already be physically present somewhere in the area, so I get the option of eliminating them preemptively.

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