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swordofthesith

SOS Suggestions: Combat Feedback / MOB Aggro & Taunt

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HI Obsidian!

 

Having played the Beta Backer program for several hours I have found at least one confirmed exploit with MOB aggro with Soul ignition. Outside of that I have found it tricky herding MOBS during combat.

 

As far I know there is not TAUNT-like ability in the game. I am forced to send out the fighter ahead of the party and make sure that he draws AGGRO prior to sending in the rest of my party into the fray. Worse yet - if for some reason or another a MOB breaks AGGRO and chases after another a weaker party member the frontline fighters have no ability to re-draw AGGRO. 

 

 

Would it be possible to implement a TAUNT power for some of the tank-like melee classes in the game? This would make them a lot more useful and give players the chance to 'control' the battlefield. 

 

 

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Some additional player commentary regarding current problems with AGGRO and the lack of a TAUNT power:

 

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Edited by swordofthesith

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P:E isn't going to have aggro mechanics. Josh stated that from the outset.

 

(For the record, I think that's a good thing. It would make things very MMO-esque amd not in a good way.)

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I agree with PrimeJunta and Josh here. Aggro mechanics were what made me really not care for DAO. They made almost every encounter the same.

 

When a mob in PoE breaks out after your wizard/cipher/whatever you have to use tactics depending on the situation. If Taunt was in then all you would have to do is have the tank taunt to pull it back. That is boring to me.

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The point is that they're not "mobs."  They're AI-driven simulations of how an actual combatant would react in their situation. 

 

If there's, say, a wizard in the back ranks raining hot death on their friends, it makes perfect sense for an intelligent combatant to try to slip through the front line and stick a knife that guy.  If you want to prevent that, you have to block his advance with abilities, other characters, etc.  Giving front-line characters mind-control abilities to make opponents switch targets is a terrible idea. 

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The enemy AI currently appears to consist of "run at the closest target." That needs a little work too, methinks. Like being more aggressive at targeting squishies.

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P:E isn't going to have aggro mechanics. Josh stated that from the outset.

 

(For the record, I think that's a good thing. It would make things very MMO-esque amd not in a good way.)

 

Hi PrimeJunta! Thank you for setting the record straight! So there is no way to impact enemy AI during a fight? As you pointed out, right now the enemy AI simply swarms the nearest PC. Are there no class powers that can impact enemy AI during a fight? Make them switch targets etcetera? 

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Currently there aren't, and I doubt there will be. There are charm/dominate effects which make enemies switch sides, but that's about it I think.


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The enemy AI currently appears to consist of "run at the closest target." That needs a little work too, methinks. Like being more aggressive at targeting squishies.

 

Either whoever comes into their line of sight first, or whoever hits them first. If you use the Wizard to fireball enemies from out of engagement range, any enemy hit by it will go directly for the Wizard. Same goes for Rogue archer attack, and so on.

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I would like a taunt as well. Short of that perhaps an ability that slows a target who breaks engagement. A front line fighter should have some tools at their disposal to keep enemies on them and away from ranged characters.

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The engagement mechanic is itself pretty damn effective. The AI also doesn't like to disengage ATM. I haven't had any trouble maintaining a defensive line -- certainly less than in the IE games where you had to pretty much go shoulder-to-shoulder at a chokepoint to do it at all.


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Giving front-line characters mind-control abilities to make opponents switch targets is a terrible idea.

Now I'm going to try a gish Cipher to see how that works out.


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I think Taunt is a great idea, maybe make it a per whatever ability just like any other ability, but so far I haven't needed it. Every single fight for me so far has been nothing more than: Use mage to shoot mook with gun / spell, run behind my Pally and BB Fighter, let the dogpile commence. Ive even almost completely stopped using spells and abilities because I don't want to use up my ridiculously expensive Camping Supplies (except Knockdown and its annoying audio loop), I just get everyone into position and auto attack to glory. Hopefully things get more "tactical" than that.


image,Gfted1,black,red.png

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I have not tried it myself but I suppose "Into the Fray" is sort of like a taunt. I do really like the engagement system too.

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@Gfted1 It does get more tactical if you use tactics. Turn up the difficulty and you'll have to. Some ideas --

 

  • Priest buffs/debuffs are really powerful, especially the L3 one that bumps all your defenses by +15.
  • The cipher has various dominate and group debuff effects which are extremely powerful, and per-encounter (plus SI which must be nerfed as you can cheese through the whole thing with it ATM). There's Puppet Master and that one thing that'll freeze a whole group of nearby targets for a very long (too long IMO) duration.
  • Try playing a "muscle wizard" wearing heavy armor, and use the cone- and line-shaped spells directly from the front line. Augment with Arcane Veil as necessary. There's also a boss L4 spell that lets the wizard magically escape if things get too tense.
  • Instead of opening up with your mage, move your fighter forward to pull the enemies. If necessary, accompany with another tanky character. Then use magic to burn down the dogpile.
  • For particularly dangerous/nasty creatures, use Knockdown. It's short-duration but reliable; it'll put the poison beetles out of action for long enough that you can either kill them or disable them with something longer-duration.
  • Use the priest 1 spell Halt to break up the enemy formation, or slow down particularly dangerous critters so you can kill them from range.

That's for starters. There's plenty of tactics there, and a lot of the abilities are fun and can be combined in interesting ways.

 

The only class I've played that's felt seriously underwhelming is the rogue; with that I haven't managed to come up with anything more exciting than hobble+stabstabstab.

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I have a project. It's a tabletop RPG. It's free. It's a work in progress. Find it here: www.brikoleur.com

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I don't think PoE needs or should have actual threat/taunt mechanics for reasons that people have already stated.

 

That said, I do think the AI will need to be much better at switching targets intelligently, making assessments of when and how to break Engagement, etc. This goes without saying since it's an early beta, but currently the AI is terrible at this. From what I've seen it never breaks Engagement and most battles I've "pulled" with an AoE attack and then set up a wall with my fighter and priest that the enemies never go past while ranged attackers pelt them, and my rogue goes in a second later and never "pulls aggro" so to speak even if she's doing the most damage.

 

I think if the AI is better about switching targets things should be better.

 

That said, I wouldn't mind seeing a mechanic like Marks in 4E. For those who don't know, in 4E defender PCs and monsters can "mark" their targets and those targets get a to-hit penalty (-2 I think?) when attacking anyone else. Marks have various limitations that make them fall off, and they require a choice by the monster/PC of whether to ignore the penalty and go for a soft target or heed the mark and attack the defender. This is a much more interesting system than threat since it just creates incentives and a tactical decision for the victim of the mark, it also works on PCs as well. I've DM'd a lot of 4E games and that mechanic always made for interesting decisions for both sides when it came to choosing targets.

 

5E doesn't have a codified "mark" mechanic but the defender-type classes get similar abilities at high levels.

 

I practice I doubt we'll see anything like that though, because showing who is marked by what would be pretty complicated and possibly confusing, but also really important information especially if PCs could be marked. Also the Engagement mechanic in PoE might be enough to make defender types useful without having to mark anything. I do worry that once the AI is better though, my rogue will require a lot of micromanagement to keep alive since smart opponent would focus her down.

Edited by Answermancer
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The enemy AI currently appears to consist of "run at the closest target." That needs a little work too, methinks. Like being more aggressive at targeting squishies.

How about some simulated animalistic AI behavior?

 

Ideas:

- Spiders always moving with body facing player/target, side-scrolling in a half-circle, being fast (like a spider is) and gnaw at the party and then jump out quick and repeat. Slows, Entagle, Hold Beast, Debuffs to be able to defeat.

- Lions stalking the Player if they get wind, and the longer you get stalked, the more lions fall in line in the hunt. Circling towards your rear flank at the edge of your Field of View. It would be cool if there was a sort of "Holographic" Illusion Spell you could leave and then bait Lions into it whilst you thread along the road out of harm~

- Wolf packs in more open wilderness areas, running in circles.

- Beetles "Wild Rushing" in as they innitate.

Edited by Osvir
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P:E isn't going to have aggro mechanics. Josh stated that from the outset.

 

(For the record, I think that's a good thing. It would make things very MMO-esque amd not in a good way.)

 

What do you mean by "aggro mechanics", specifially? The ability to just make enemy combatants attack someone they would not otherwise attack? Because I'd be ok with that not being included in the game... but if there's no "aggro" at all (in the sense of enemy combatants attacking the most threatening PC), and the enemies just attack the nearest enemy... that would also be stupid. But I have a feeling "aggro mechanics" means something very specific that I'm not understanding in this case.

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The point is that they're not "mobs."  They're AI-driven simulations of how an actual combatant would react in their situation. 

 

If there's, say, a wizard in the back ranks raining hot death on their friends, it makes perfect sense for an intelligent combatant to try to slip through the front line and stick a knife that guy.  If you want to prevent that, you have to block his advance with abilities, other characters, etc.  Giving front-line characters mind-control abilities to make opponents switch targets is a terrible idea. 

 

Aggro mechanics would actually make the enemy make a B line for whoever has most threat. The taunt ability would be on a long cool down.

 

<-- Ex WoW tank

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@matt516 By "aggro mechanics" I mean that there is a number directly associated with the likelihood a character is to be picked as a target by the AI, and the player has some ways of manipulating that number. I.e., that there are mechanics in place specifically so that you can get the AI to attack the target you want. Taunt is the most basic example; items that make a character more or less likely to be aggro'ed is another.

 

I think the AI should choose which character to attack based on tactical considerations only. E.g. that the AI categorizes your party as "crushies" and "squishies" based on their class, armor, and how you've positioned them, and prefers to attack squishies, and then perhaps adjusts this list depending on what your characters do. Of course this behavior will also be open to manipulation by the player, but that's part of the fun of the game.

 

What I would not like to see is stuff like you got in DA:O -- where heavy armor made it more likely for a character to be targeted (any reasonable tactician would do the opposite, attack the high-damage squishies first), there were items like boots and whatever that would bump the aggro number up or down, and where fighters had "taunt" abilities allowing them to pull enemies away from your squishies. That made it too easy to pull attackers away from the squishies. There must be more interesting and genuinely more tactical ways to accomplish that.a

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I'm sure AI's going to get a tune-up, the backer beta e-mail said the initial batch of AI instructions was inadequate and they're developing it further.  Tactically, it's probably not worth talking about taunts until we get a wider variety of baddies than just melee critters.

 

Monks are the only reason I would want to see a taunt in the game.  They need someone attacking them to actually use abilities, and it would stink to have to attack them with party members.  There are a probably a few options devs could pursue to get monks their wounds though -- a 'self inflicted wound' ability on a per encounter basis would probably make the most sense without dramatically changing things.

Edited by bob54386

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