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AOO's? Cool.

Oh and miniatures are cool too! Nice little dungeon you have there.

 

Grimoire Slam is lame though. Spellbook is wizard's life and treasure, you should't even try to do something with it which can potentially damage it. I'd make it a spell (like jedi Force Push) which you should choose to "memorise" on rest or not.

 

And where is next part of MCA's Arcanum LP? I WANT MY SEASON ONE OF DISCOVERY ABOUT WOLVES

Edited by Shadenuat
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This is an excellent update! I always play melee characters in RPGs, so this particular mechanic I welcome with open arms. Perhaps it will even make sense to make an all melee party now...exciting :] I wonder (as do some other backers) how this will work with long range pole weapons, e.g. a glaive. Any thoughts on that Josh?

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Very nice update and I love the idea!

 

I wonder how reach weapons (pikes, halberds, spears etc.) would fit in with that particular mechanic.

 

Some ideas :

 

1) Engagement attack

 

- whenever an opponent approaches a character armed with a reach weapon, he provokes an automatic Engagement attack;

 

2) Warding off

 

- characters armed with a reach weapon have a chance to avoid becoming engaged with an enemy in a melee combat; the opponent still counts as engaged, however.

 

3) Range disadvantage

 

- whenever a character wielding a reach weapon is engaged by an opponent who uses regular armament, he receives significant combat mali. His opponent, however, is at a significant advantage. Weapon swapping is prevented.

 

 

Solutions 2 and 3 could go hand in hand.

 

P.S.

 

Is that supposed to be a Wild Rush, Josh? ;)

 

 

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And, at the end of the day, this is a game where you can bash someone up with a *book*

I demand that the best one is called Phone Book.

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Naturally, I like this, and I also hope the AI can be fine-tuned to not massacre itself while disengaging continuously.

 

As has been mentioned by Josh, it doesn't address all instances of kiting, it only addresses the situation when a combatant has already been engaged. You can't now use him as a running bait while your ranged characters shoot the enemy to death.

If you decide to not engage and simply kite from start with ranged attacks.. I'm not sure how that will work out. Perhaps including a stamina draining mechanic for kiters would be an acceptable solution?

 

 

Grimoire slam. :no:  I'd be worried not to destroy the precious book in the process of slamming something with it, magically-charged or not.

 

 

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I really like this update!

 

It's systems like this that provides the gameplay with a bit of character. Just be careful not to give big, slow, hard-hitting brutes to many sticky opportunities as it's kinda given you should be able to run close, past them.

 

Also: make your animators work their teeth off to make this look good!

Edited by some guy

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WHERE'S THE SLIDE?

 

Seriously, in tabletop D&D attacks of opportunity don't prevent you from moving away from someone you're engaged with, they just slow you down to 1 step per turn.  Put another way, you have a "really cautious" movement mode which can get you away from dangerous situations when the enemy doesn't want to pursue you.

 

Think about this from an intuitive gameplay perspective.  What if enemy A is attacking character 1, and character 2 comes up to help his friend?

 

Under normal circumstances, nothing.  Character 2 can attack enemy A with impunity and walk off whenever he wants.

 

If the enemy happens to be an "engager", on the other hand, character 2 may now be "engaged".  Since he's not the enemy's primary target, he's still not going to be attacked.  He can still help his buddy safely.  Until the moment he decides to step out of range, in which he takes a nasty hit, perhaps a lethal hit.

 

 

This introduces a whole new thing to worry about in the game - if I tell my character to move (deliberately or just by accidentially selecting him), HE CAN DIE!

 

 

In my experience with IE games, when managing a party it was incredibly easy to issue an undesired move order.  I mean, in Baldurs Gate with six guys on the screen, I'd be dragging to select and it was easy to select someone I didn't want.  This didn't really matter, because moving was rarely dangerous, it just canceled some attacks.  All I would say was "woops, I canceled some attacks, better click click click and re-issue them".

 

I really do not enjoy games where making the wrong kick can be lethal!  That does happen in some games, obviously mistakes sometimes kill you, but even in X-Com which is a turn based game they required a double-click to move because they'd made a wrong move so frequently fatal.

 

 

Under this system not only is an accidental click potentially fatal, you're talking about abnormally high damage for attacks on enemies withdrawing from engagement.

 

And how the heck do I know my characters are engaged, anyway?

 

That's now a VERY important piece of information, something I need to be able to casually see just by skimming over the battlefield in real time.  It's hard to see how a character's facing or animations could reliably indicate that they're engaged, so you're going to need a bright pentagram or something around every engaged character on the battlefield at all times, and a visual indication of exactly who they're engaged by.  This needs to be impossible to miss and easy to figure out without pausing.

 

 

Is there going to be some protection to prevent mis-selected characters from being moved out of engagement?  A warning or a double-click to move when you try to move any engaged characters?

 

How do I know exactly where the engagement radius is, and exactly which enemies CAN engage?  Trial and error?  Am I going to fight a pack of 12 goblins, 2 of which are Goblin Elite engagers who wear a different color of hat?  Do bigger enemies or enemies with reach weapons engage at longer ranges (in D&D the answer to that is "sometimes yes")?

 

 

And back to the slide... will there be some way to move out of engagement, deliberately, without being attacked?  Because it just seems fantastically unintuitive that you could be fighting a guy without being hit, because he's aiming at someone else, and yet unable to back away from him without being hit.  The slide is absolutely critical to the D&D AOO mechanic to make it work - it's not supposed to lock you down, it's supposed to slow you down so much that you can't just run off.

 

If I can get out of engagement, do I need a special "slow move" option to get out of it safely?  Or will engagement act as a sort of sticky "slow field" which forces me to move slowly, then if I double-click I can run out of it fast at the penalty of taking an attack?

 

 

When I think about actually implementing this in a game, it sounds like a UI/UX nightmare.  It sounds like a tabletop mechanic that isn't a natural move to a CRPG where you're controlling a party of characters from a top down perspective.  If this was WOW, maybe it would be doable (although among its zillion mechanics I don't think WOW uses this one), but only because that's a one-character game where you're expected to be looking closely at your primary target.  Even so WOW players would have an add-on saying "YOU ARE ENGAGED" in bright red letters in the middle of their screen.

 

Positional mechanics in general don't sound like a good idea in a game where I'm trying to control an entire party of characters, potentially in the middle of a dozen enemies, in real time, and I don't even control their movements!

 

Yeah, that's another point - how do I keep my guys from getting engaged given that I click to tell them where to go, not how to get there?  How does the movement AI decide whether or not to have them run through a zone where they will get engaged?  What about when the enemy who could do the engaging is moving?  This sounds like it would give a huge incentive to keep pausing and micromanaging movement, when I want characters to slip by an engaging enemy without becoming engaged.  In tabletop this is easy because it's turn based and there is a nice map grid...

 

 

I strongly suggest that the moment you decide to generate extra attacks based on the way characters move, you're creating a giant frustration in a game where the player does not have complete control over character movement and trying to increase control quickly enters micromanagement hell.

 

If you want to control movement (and I'm not sold on the need for that), do it by controlling movement.  Kiting seems easy to stop - force ranged attackers to move more slowly after an attack rather than only having to stop for long enough to run their firing animation.  The key is that while it may take 4 seconds to fire a bow if you're already standing still with your bow out, you shouldn't be able to run, spend four seconds accurately firing a bow, and run again.  You could just require an extra delay to attack if the character has just been running.

 

Anything precisely positional, where I have to worry about moving onto "sticky ground", is just way more than I want to have to deal with.  Even an enemy who simply slows down people passing near them is someone who provides an opportunity to avoid their effect through carefully second guessing the movement pathfinding.

 

 

Over all, I suspect there's a reason why CRPGs avoid positional mechanics, and even the well-travelled "cover mechanic" is only for games whose levels are designed from the ground up to support it.  Compared to other games the player has unusually low awareness of and control of position.

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I'm personally on the fence as to whether or not a defensive 'slide' option is needed. I've played games with AoO that both had and didn't have it (old d&d games like secret of the silver blades did not have it, d&d 4th ed does have it.

 

But one thing I would like to see are feats/class abilities that modify the effects of engagement with that player. I.e., debuffs on the enemy or buffs on the player. Spells too. A spell that makes it so that when the enemy engages with someone, it gets a huge penalty to accuracy or something would be awesome. Or maybe the enemy takes damage everytime it engages or disengages with someone.

 

 

One potential exploit to watch out for (although maybe it's wholesome gameplay). If engagement distance can indeed be extended with things like polearms, I totally forsee sandwich techniques where two players stand on opposite ends of a creature and engage it, and no matter where the creature moves to, it provokes an AoO. And if the two PCs keep at range and keep engaging, you could essentially lock down an enemy and get lots of free (huge) damage. Add on any abilities and things like multi engagement bonuses and the such, and you could in theory have some very sick AI destorying combos (for example, the AI might be coded to not want to break engagement and take huge damage, so it just stands between two people and is effectively mezzed because it doesn't want to break either engagment).

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DePlume's points are valid. Although they are mostly in the realm of UI. If game will just place flying markers over characters who are already engaged it will help. Other problems can be solved by drawing an engagement circle around enemies, which can be lightened up by holding shift-button (actually, neutral/hostile circles can serve just that function when combat is on). That and an option of going into slow-mo which is already in their engine would solve maybe not every, but a lot of problems with AOO clarity.

 

So yeah, I hope you guys solve two problems with AOO's which were present in NWN:

- Lack of any signal system (engagement circles, flying markers, anything)

- Bad pathfinding (so we will be able to order a wizard or rogue run through battle from point A to point B with one click, not with 5 clicks and 5 pauses).

 

And one other question to developers. Will AOO's be a replacement for creating choking points using doors, or will we still be able to just physically block enemy progression through a door or any other choking point using one or two characters?

Edited by Shadenuat

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AOO's? Cool.

Oh and miniatures are cool too! Nice little dungeon you have there.

 

Grimoire Slam is lame though. Spellbook is wizard's life and treasure, you should't even try to do something with it which can potentially damage it. I'd make it a spell (like jedi Force Push) which you should choose to "memorise" on rest or not.

 

And where is next part of MCA's Arcanum LP? I WANT MY SEASON ONE OF DISCOVERY ABOUT WOLVES

Grimoires don't act the same way as D&D spellbooks here.

 

In this, Wizards have all the spells in their brains, and Grimoires are what lets them actually cast their spells (other than 1st level ones which they can cast without requiring anything - see update #36), not the other way around. That's why you can do Grimoire switching (See Update #39), which they are still working on.

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This game is shaping up better and better. Love this addition to melee chars.

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Grimoires don't act the same way as D&D spellbooks here.

Grimoires are what lets them actually cast their spells

you can do Grimoire switching

 

So... they are like spellbooks but are not spellbooks. Right.

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Grimoires don't act the same way as D&D spellbooks here.

>Grimoires are what lets them actually cast their spells

you can do Grimoire switching

 

So... they are like spellbooks but are not spellbooks. Right.

 

No...they're more like cheat-sheets.  full of spell shortcuts and power-boosting enchantments...and gramma's secret recipe for rat-pot-pie.

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I really like how you've described this so far, but one thing to note is that melee enemies WERE a potent threat even without this in, say, Baldur's Gate--one of the reasons why ranged was so useful was that melee enemies like Sarevok would drop you in seconds if you let them close.  So while you're increasing melee effectiveness area, you may want to make sure you don't accidentally make them destroy an entire party with a single sneeze.

 

Actually, pretty much any offensive method in the IE games could be so lethal it was absurd, the real problem lay in getting your DEFENSES up against the bosses with Equally Absurd offenses so that you DIDN'T have to kite them in order to survive.  Those games were never a matter of "what tactics do I use" but rather "what particular bit of cheese do I pull out now to either WIN INSTANTLY or SOMEHOW SURVIVE THIS INSANELY STUPID FIGHT".

 

I'd like to see *a lot more* of these sorts of tactical options, though, like, say, mages throwing down walls that block ranged fire and make fighters go around, ranged banking shots off walls.  But remember that more options in a party based game means you need a REALLY GOOD interface that doesn't make you click through a ton of menus to Make Stuff Happen.

 

That's an excellent point. If melee fighters are overpowered, then playing P:E could be a nightmare.

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It sounds like a nice mechanic; somewhat like the old wargaming "zone of control" mechanism. It will make combat much more tactically interesting. However, a few questions occurred to me:

  • If a defender is engaged, shouldn't they be able to perform a slow fighting withdrawal, at a defensive bonus, simply by gradually pulling back while keeping their weapon and shield at the ready? I think D&D solved this by allowing a single square of movement without incurring an opportunity attack.
  • Suppose an enemy has a reach weapon, such as a swiss pike. Will the radius of engagement be correspondingly enlarged?
  • If the enemy has a reach weapon and more than one engagement slot, will he be able to engage an adjacent opponent and one further away?
  • If you move into the engagement radius of more than one opponent, do they all engage you and thus collectively decrease their available engagement slots? This seems like a way for a party to pin down opponents, allowing others to slip past.

Thank you for the update! :)

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Would the on-screen indicator for the radius of the engagement area be... the Engagement Ring? 8)

 

 

I really hope they won't include any artificial convenience indicators for area effects - neither in this case, nor in the case of AoE spell placement etc.

This is an RPG, not an RTS game or a CAD program.

 

For example, in the IE games I always found it a lot of fun to try to place Fireballs in such a way that they would hit all visible melee enemies at once, but not hit my own front-line melee fighters. It wouldn't always work out, so there was a risk involved - but when it did work as intended, it felt really satisfying. A circle indicating the exact area that would be affected on release of the spell, would have negated much of the risk and fun and immersion (and sense of achievement for becoming better over time at placing the spells).

 

I think the same would be true if a circle would show where exactly your characters can move without being engaged or disengaged.

 

Combat isn't something sterile and precise comparable to placing objects in a CAD program, it is messy and bloody and often unpredictable.

An RPG should reflect that.

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Grimoires don't act the same way as D&D spellbooks here.

G

rimoires are what lets them actually cast their spells

you can do Grimoire switching

 

So... they are like spellbooks but are not spellbooks. Right.

 

Wizards can cast 1st level spells with no additional requirements.

 

If they want to use more powerful spells, they have to set them up in a Grimoire.

 

They can arrange sets of spells in a Grimoire and can have multiple Grimoires on hand.

 

D&D spellbooks, on the other hand, work by requiring the wizard to study them and mentally prepare spells in their head.

 

If you lose a Grimoire, it's not a big deal because you still have all your spells. You can get a replacement Grimoire, set up the same set of spells, and are good to go.

 

If you lose a D&D spellbook, it's a big deal because you lose all the spells in the spellbook that you don't have prepared and don't have in separate spellbooks.

 

If this is still too difficult to understand, I recommend actually doing research and digging through the previous updates instead of making smart-ass comments proving you have no clue what's been communicated in previous updates.

 

Edit: Or at least having the courtesy to ask clarifying questions.

Edited by Somna

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I think it's a really nice idea. It doesn't remove kiting, it only gives it a "time limit". I do have some thoughts about this, though:

 

It should be VERY clear what's happening, with some icons or symbolism to see when a character is engaged. When you say sticky, I think it's actually a good idea for it to be literal - characters stepping in and out of the engagement area, sort of like snapping to the character when it's close enough to be engaged? I guess the character stopping could also be an indicator that it got engaged though.

 

Speaking of which, instead of totally blocking movement, how about making the character move extremely slow instead? Sort of simulating those 5ft steps from d&d. You could then still turn the character (flanking/backstabs/whatnot) by moving slowly around him or lead it to someone better suited for killing him/keeping him in check. Or a fighter "gathering" more opponents, hehe.

 

The disengagement should also be very clear I think, perhaps requiring a press of a button, or if right-clock means movement, then disengage+move could be shift+righ-click or something? Doing it by mistake could be really frustrating. I also have a concern about this - By how it was described, if a melee character catches you and is actively attacking you, short of a special disengagement skill or outside help you have no way to get away from him (because of the hit reaction)?

 

What happens when you have multiple people in a melee fight though, I could see that complicating things a bit animation wise. In NWN the AoO and Cleave attacks could prevent regular attacks from happening on time, could change the attack target etc. NWN2 solved the problem in favor of the mechanics side, but it could still look rather silly (though I preferred it)...

Edited by Sabotin

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The basic idea is good and it sounds like you are adding in some nice details to flesh it out.  I have some minor concerns though and some comments to help flesh it out more.

 

1) It sounds like fighters in defense mode can engage 3 guys.  That sounds like a lot.  I can see this for an experienced warrior but for a base ability it sounds like too much.  If your parrty had 3 ranged specialists than an NPC warrior could tie down all your melee guys.

I don't think "defense mode" is an inherent part of the fighter class, but rather, a feat they have to take.


jcod0.png

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If they want to use more powerful spells, they have to set them up in a Grimoire.

It's a goddamn book which wizard MUST HAVE to create sets of spells, and if it will be damaged, you will need a replacement. It does't matter how it works exactly, because creating a whole class ability out of slamming enemies with it is still stupid. That's why all the smartass comments.

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Wonder if a fighter could have an evolution of this ability as a researched battle tactic, slamming back the opponent trying to slip past them, perhaps more easily with a shield, but if necessary with the haft of his weapon or even a free hand? I'm thinking of the classic anglo saxon shield wall. "Ut, ut, ut." Make for a nice little change of pace for the party to defend a narrow place with spell, sword and subterfuge, while a line of warriors hold a tide of foes at bay perhaps?

 

Edit: I would assume you don't actually slam your grimoire into a target, but merely slam it shut releasing a force of magic to slam into them, perhaps at the cost of some memorised spells.

Edited by Nonek

Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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I'd assume they just create a spell for that purpose. And helping spellcaster or ranged attacker to disengage from the enemy seems like a job for tanking or utility classes.

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