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Sensuki

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... I need somebody with a human touch .. hey you, always on the run gotta slow it down baby, gotta have some fun.

 

As you all know, Melee Engagement has been a hot topic on the forums for the last month or so. I have been meaning to do an official topic on it for some time, and I feel I can delay no longer after seeing some shocking news in the recent Kickstarter Update.

 

  • Melee Engagement needs to be communicated more clearly. The arrows we currently use are really a secondary piece of information, who is Engaging whom. We will be modifying the selection circle itself when someone is Engaged to make the state very obvious at a glance. Additionally, we still need a visual effect to indicate when a Disengagement Attack is occurring.
 

The PE dev team’s conclusion from their internal playthrough is that the Melee Engagement has problems with visual feedback. While this is a problem, there are far worse problems with the concept, design and implementation of the mechanic than there are with it's visual feedback.

 

Obsidian have stated that they are going to devote precious 2D Art time, UI programming time and possibly animation/VFX time to making engagement clearer. This pledge, combined with the serious problems under the hood makes me really concerned about the amount development time and resources that will be spent on *trying* to fix a mechanic isn't a core mechanic of the game and isn't essential to invoking a modern Infinity Engine experience.

 

So I would like to ask Obsidian to stop right now, consider my words, and the evidence that I am about to present before you spend any more development time on this mechanic, because it has serious problems that you may not be aware of and in my opinion the game will be much better off if it is cut, and those resources spent elsewhere.

 

What is Melee Engagement and how does it work?

  • Melee units in Pillars of Eternity have an invisible circle around them that defines Engagement range. This circle is slightly larger than melee range by default and can be increased by abilities and buffs.
  • Melee units can engage one enemy by default, a limit which can be raised by abilities, talents and buffs (a Fighter with Defender mode on and the Hold the Line talent can engage up to 3 enemies in BB v364)
  • When a unit moves into the Engagement range of an enemy, and that enemy has free engagement slots, that unit is engaged and an AI targeting clause stops their movement, cancels their current action and orders them to attack the first enemy they are engaged by.
  • If a unit attempts to move while engaged, they suffer an automatic, invisible disengagement attack, free of recovery time, from the currently equipped primary weapon of the units they are engaged by.
  • Regardless of the outcome of the attack, engagement ends after the attack has been made
  • If the unit is hit by a disengagement attack they play a long interrupt hit reaction that stops their movement.
  • There is no physical limit to the amount of disengagement attacks that a unit can score in a period of time.

Does the Melee Engagement system fail it’s intended purpose?

 

No it doesn't. It makes the first enemy (or enemies) that run by a melee character, stop to attack that melee character. That is the intended behavior and that is what happens. It addresses one specific case of the one specific style of kiting cited in the Kickstarter update – ranged units kiting melee units. When a melee unit engages a ranged unit in combat, the ranged unit cannot retreat without suffering a disengagement attack. This problem is meant to stop the player from kiting the AI melee units with bow wielding characters. Multiple methods were actually implemented to try and prevent this specific scenario – bow damage is pretty low, recovery time was previously paused while moving and now recovery time after making a ranged attack is slowed while moving.

 

Those are it’s two intended goals as listed in the Kickstarter Update. It meets both of them. One other noticeable thing the system achieves is it heavily penalizes and disincentivizes movement in combat after the initial melee has begun. Josh Sawyer is a heavy tabletop player and has a lot of experience with turn-based games, and has often talked about movement coming with an opportunity cost in combat, so one can conclude that this behavior is also intentional.

 

So if the system meets it’s design goals, then what's the problem ?

 

There are many problems with the concept, design and implementation of the Melee Engagement system, but the most glaring issue is that it is completely abusable by the player.

 

Since Melee Engagement range is a circle around a character and is larger than that character, one can theoretically overlap those circles so that when an enemy unit moves into engagement range of one character, it moves into engagement range of other nearby characters. Moving to attack the first enemy it was engaged by provokes a disengagement attack from the rest of the enemies that it is engaged by.

 

Here are some examples of what happens when that occurs:

 

 

In this video I have a party of six Fighters. These Fighters have Defender mode which allows multiple engagements and increases their engagement range (larger circles). This allows me to overlap the engagement range of all of my characters. Since disengagement attacks are free from recovery time and are a standard attack, I equipped them all with Two Handed Weapons to maximize damage output.

 

 

In this video I have a party of three Barbarians equipped with Two Handed Weapons. These Barbarians have normal Engagement range and can only engage one enemy, but they have an ability called Carnage, which makes lower damage AoE cleave attacks on nearby enemies. Carnage is also procced on disengagement attacks.

Edited by Sensuki
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In this video I have a party of three Rogues and a Druid. The Rogues are (naturally) equipped with Two Handed weapons. I use the Druid to cast an AoE spell on Medreth’s group and then abuse how the AI Targeting, pathfinding code and Melee Engagement system interacts to score no less than 7 disengagement attacks. The Rogues can only engage one enemy at a time and have normal engagement range.

 

 

In this video I have (for maximum effect) three Fighters. I use a reach weapon to attack a House Harond Guard so that I do not provoke engagement from him, I then move away and lead him into the Engagement range of two nearby Fighters. When the House Harond Guard is hit with a disengagement attack, engagement ends, and the House Harond Guard is interrupted (which is like a ministun) this gives me the time to move my characters back so I can repeat the process. You will notice none of my characters make a single attempt to target the House Harond Guard.

Obsidian has stated that they think the problem with Melee Engagement is visual feedback, well as these videos demonstrate, there are far more serious problems than that. Here are some of the components of either the Melee Engagement system or the game itself that make these abuses possible.

  • Engagement Range – Engagement range is a circle around a character, even the default engagement circle size can be overlapped so that multiple characters can engage a moving enemy at the same time. This is magnified by things that increase the Engagement range, such as Fighter Defender Mode.
  • Multiple Engagements – Enemies can be lured past units that qualify for multiple engagements (Fighters with Defender mode, and units that take the Hold the Line talent) for multiple disengagement attacks. I would also like to point out that there is a bug with Multiple Engagements at the moment where new Engagements are not added once an engaged target has been killed. To qualify for a new engagement you have to move which provokes disengagement attacks ... yeah.
  • Attack Resolution system – I can ensure that I have very high accuracy for my disengagement attacks by maxing Perception, using items that give bonus accuracy and casting accuracy buffs with a short cast time (such as Dire Blessing) on my party before enemies get in range so that I score many critical hits on disengagement attacks
  • Two Handed Weapons – Two Handed Weapons do the highest damage, and since disengagement attacks are free of recovery time, equipping two handed weapons ensures maximum damage on disengagement attacks
  • Save Scumming – I can save a game and attempt this tactic multiple times until I get lots of critical hits on my disengagement attacks so that I kill the most enemies with them.
  • AI Targeting system – There is no loop that constantly re-evaluates targets for enemies. There are a set of initial targeting clauses (which I explain in a video further down in the thread, in the kiting section) and there is target re-acqusition based on a set of conditions. You can make it so that enemies are ‘blind’ to the trap you have laid for them. The way AI targeting interacts with multiple engagements and engagement circles makes it possible to score multiple disengagement attacks on multiple opponents.
  • Pathfinding – The pathfinding in Pillars of Eternity is not very good, the current code does not handle multiple enemies moving around in the same space very well and there is no loop that constantly checks for first shortest path to my knowledge. Unit pathfinding acts kind of the same as the AI, in that there is only correction made when a certain set of conditions are met. The way the pathfinding system interacts with multiple engagements and engagement circles makes it possible to score multiple disengagement attacks on multiple opponents.
If you've gotten this far, you’re probably trying to think of solutions to this problem that would easily fix or alleviate the situation. The most obvious one is to limit the amount of disengagement attacks units can qualify for in a period of time. Give them a cooldown or something. You’re probably thinking something like one per engaged enemy every four seconds, or something like that.

 

Yes, that would make it less bad, but it would not fix the abuse. I would still be able to get an initial round of disengagement attacks off on groups of enemies and it would still be the absolute best tactic to use at the start of combat. In the video where I have six Fighters with Defender Mode on, if I also had Hold the Line as a talent, that’s still up to three disengagement attacks per Fighter, and perhaps 3-5 Fighters could engage a single enemy running past the clump in Defender mode. With High Accuracy and Two Handed Weapons, the disengagement limit does absolutely nothing to prevent the carnage.

 

Another obvious one is to improve the AI targeting of enemies (which Obsidian really need to do anyway). However to try and avoid the situations that are happening at present, AI would have to run a loop that constantly checks for the closest enemy. A Disengagement attack cannot be scored against a unit that moves straight up to a target and engages them. This is how some of the disengagement attacks are occuring, because enemies are not targeting the closest player controlled unit, but rather, the unit that opened combat. The pathfinding brushes them across the edge of other unit’s engagement circles and thus, disengagement attacks are scored. However while this would also contribute to less disengagement attacks in the three Barbarian or three Rogue scenario, it would still not prevent many of the situations from happening (such as 6 Fighters) and would do nothing to save the poor House Harond Guard from the disengagement attack kiting from multiple player units. There does need to be a loop that checks for new targets (also something that will be demonstrated in the kiting section), but always targeting the closest enemy isn't exactly smart AI , and this is one of the problems with the Melee Engagement system – it promotes simple AI targeting because of the fact that the “first enemy engaged by” targeting clause that is part of the Melee Engagement system would override most ‘smart’ AI targeting clauses for melee units in the first place and melee enemies always re-evaluating for the closest enemy would open up kiting abuse and also disliked by many of the players.

 

Another conclusion you might have come to is that enemies might need to be able to path around Engagement circles or be able to determine when to cross engagement circles of player units. This raises a bunch of concerns such as how that would interact in different environments such as open spaces, and corridors ? How would it interact with dynamic environments (such as the player moving a unit left and right over and over again) ? How would it interact with engagement circle overlapping ? How would it interact with general pathfinding with multiple units ? It seems like a solution that would need very thorough research that is best undertaken during pre-production and with three to four months left on the project, this is not a solution that is even remotely viable to look into.

 

And the last thing that you possibly might have thought of while watching the videos or reading the above solutions is that what if disengagement attacks were scored only when units left Engagement range, rather than it checking for any movement ?

This is actually how the system used to work, back in BB v257 and v278 and it was actually during v278 that I discovered that the Melee Engagement system was abusable. I moved my BB Fighter next to a moving beetle and when he stopped, the beetle clipped the edge of his engagement circle and received a disengagement attack. I believe Obsidian changed how Melee Engagement worked from that system to this system because it was unclear when units would qualify for a disengagement attack and showing the engagement radius around units would add to the already cluttered visuals of the game. Doing it this way might make the system a bit less abusable, but not completely abuse free, and it would require extra UI elements most likely so I don’t think this is a path Obsidian is interested in pursuing.

 

I believe that I have sufficiently proven that on top of the 2D art, programming and VFX/animation time that Obsidian plans to dedicate to making the Engagement UI clearer, it would require some serious brainstorming from design and programming to remove the exploits that I have found with the system. There are no doubt, avenues that Obsidian could take to make the exploiting harder to do or less bad, but I do not think they will be able to completely remove them without changing something about the fundamental design of the system.

 

In my opinion, the easiest and best solution to this problem is simply to remove the Melee Engagement system from the game. I believe that both of the problems that the Melee Engagement system was created to address can be solved independently from the Melee Engagement system with things already present in the game – Melee Stickiness can be achieved through AI Targeting clauses and crowd control abilities, and after doing some research I have found that the specific case that of kiting that the Melee Engagement system prevents is actually not feasible even with Melee Engagement removed. What’s more I think that the Melee Engagement system is detrimental to the gameplay and removes many of the tactical elements from combat after the opening and contributes to making combat less fun than the Infinity Engine games. Some elements of tactical play that the Melee Engagement system heavily penalizes or prevents are re-shuffling formations mid-melee to take advantage of the terrain, tactical retreating and switching aggro. The lack of tactical movement in combat after has begun puts a large emphasis on the strategical aspect - the combat opening, while removing the tactical aspect - reactive play.

 

I have been doing research into the removal of Melee Engagement and it looks like making the combat playable with it removed would only require some changes to things such as AI targeting clauses, various abilities related to engagement, and some animation and programming time to fix bugs related to attack animation interaction moving targets and run animation/combat idle animation blending. It looks like it will require MUCH less effort than trying to fix the system and will also remove clutter from the screen (Engagement arrows, custom selection circles for Engagement).

 

I have not concluded my research yet though, it will still take me a few more days of testing, so expect a thread on that in the near future.

Edited by Sensuki
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Here is one of the videos I recorded on the subject of looking into kiting on Pillars of Eternity, it contains information on how the AI targeting works in Pillars of Eternity and demonstrates the normal way in which kiting occurs in these style of games.

 

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From Update #44, OE seemed clearly quite intent on having Engagement and "sticky" combat as a central feature in PoE:

 

Josh: "gameplay: engagement -- specifically, melee engagement.

Melee engagement is a solution to two common problems in the Infinity Engine games: melee characters' inability to control an area and ranged characters' ability to "kite" melee characters. In the Infinity Engine games, melee characters could be quite powerful in toe-to-toe combat, but many opponents found ways to foil those characters with little difficulty. Fast characters could easily rush around a slower melee character with impunity and ranged characters could backpedal perpetually out of reach.

 

If you're familiar with D&D 3E/3.5/4E/Pathfinder's attack of opportunity mechanics, Project Eternity's melee engagement fills a similar role by making melee combatants "sticky". Coming near a melee combatant means being drawn into Engagement with him or her, a state that can be risky to get out of.

Here's how it works: when two opposed combatants come near each other and one of them a) has a melee weapon equipped b) is not moving and c) is not currently at his or her maximum limit of engagement targets (the standard is 1), the other character will be Engaged.

When an opponent is Engaged by an attacker, moving any significant distance away from the attacker will provoke a Disengagement Attack. A Disengagement Attack has an inherent Accuracy bonus, does significantly more damage than a standard attack, and will call a hit reaction animation while momentarily stopping the character's movement.

When it's initiated, a Disengagement Attack automatically breaks Engagement on the target, but if the target is also the attacker's current melee target, the attacker will typically be able to re-establish Engagement before the target can move farther away. In this manner, melee combatants, especially ones that have high Accuracy and damage per hit, have a solid mechanic for keeping enemies close to them -- or making the cost of escape extremely expensive.

Of course, there are other ways to end Engagement. If the attacker switches to a non-melee weapon or performs a non-melee-based action, Engagement immediately ends. If the attacker moves away from their Engagement targets, is paralyzed, knocked down, or otherwise prevented from maintaining a threat, Engagement will also immediately end. If the attacker has a limited number of Engagement targets (as most do) and switches his or her attack focus to a different character, Engagement immediately ends.

 

We believe that Engagement can give AI a clear "decision point" where they can evaluate the threat of their new status and choose the appropriate course of action. For player-controlled characters, it makes melee enemies more potent threats and presents players with tactical challenges to solve.

We want Engagement to be a mechanic that players and enemies can mess with using a variety of class Abilities and general Talents, so we will be experimenting with a variety of elements to that end:

  • Fighters' Defender mode allows them to engage two additional targets and increases the range at which they engage targets. This gives fighters much greater capability to control the area around them.
  • The limited-use Escape ability lets rogues break Engagement without provoking a Disengagement Attack. It is generally best used when the rogue's enemy is preoccupied with another target.
  • Barbarians can use Wild Rush to temporarily ignore the movement stop and hit reactions from Engagement and Disengagement Attacks, respectively -- though they can still suffer massive damage while powering through.
  • The wizards' Grimoire Slam allows them to attack an enemy in melee with their magically-charged grimoires, unleashing a concussive wave of energy on contact. If it hits, the attack knocks the target back, usually far enough to break Engagement in the process.

Additionally, creatures may have their own special abilities related to Engagement and Disengagement Attacks. We hope that the system itself is easy to understand but allows for increasingly complex tactical considerations over the course of the game."

 

There seem to be quite a lot of stuff built around this combat feature.

 

Sensuki, if you would devote your research to making Engagement as perfect as possible, how would such an Engagement and Disengagement mechanic look like?


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

 

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Sorry Sensuki but all those videos only highlight those things

 

1) disengagement attack need cooldown

2) disengagement attack should occure AFTER npc LEAVE engagement zone

3) disengagement attack need animation

4) disengagement attack should not interupt

5) add minimal amount of time spend in zone to attack occure

6) AI is stupid as hell

 

But I generaly agree with your conclusions. Nice research

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I'm the enemy, 'cause I like to think, I like to read. I'm into freedom of speech, and freedom of choice. I'm the kinda guy that likes to sit in a greasy spoon and wonder, "Gee, should I have the T-bone steak or the jumbo rack of barbecue ribs with the side-order of gravy fries?" I want high cholesterol! I wanna eat bacon, and butter, and buckets of cheese, okay?! I wanna smoke a Cuban cigar the size of Cincinnati in the non-smoking section! I wanna run naked through the street, with green Jell-O all over my body, reading Playboy magazine. Why? Because I suddenly may feel the need to, okay, pal? I've SEEN the future. Do you know what it is? It's a 47-year-old virgin sitting around in his beige pajamas, drinking a banana-broccoli shake, singing "I'm an Oscar Meyer Wiene"

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Well, Sensuki has been good enough to identify abuses in the system. I think the devs can address them and keep the mechanic with little trouble but that may not be the case. I am genuinely curious as to how (hopefully) the devs respond to this.

Edited by Shevek

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I am curios as well as it is quite discussed issue lately on forums and i didn't seen single response from team about that. Ultimately this is single player game and as we know this will probably not be only mechanic which can be abused. If player want to 'exploit' his gameplay its totaly his own doing - but please dont consider this statement that I dont want it solve - I want. I also believe that this mechanic is definetely under rework/tweaking phase, i dont believe they would ship it without animation for example


I'm the enemy, 'cause I like to think, I like to read. I'm into freedom of speech, and freedom of choice. I'm the kinda guy that likes to sit in a greasy spoon and wonder, "Gee, should I have the T-bone steak or the jumbo rack of barbecue ribs with the side-order of gravy fries?" I want high cholesterol! I wanna eat bacon, and butter, and buckets of cheese, okay?! I wanna smoke a Cuban cigar the size of Cincinnati in the non-smoking section! I wanna run naked through the street, with green Jell-O all over my body, reading Playboy magazine. Why? Because I suddenly may feel the need to, okay, pal? I've SEEN the future. Do you know what it is? It's a 47-year-old virgin sitting around in his beige pajamas, drinking a banana-broccoli shake, singing "I'm an Oscar Meyer Wiene"

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There seem to be quite a lot of stuff built around this combat feature.

 

Here's my first video with it removed, I'll be making more of these, but if you play the same way as the game promotes currently in Pillars of Eternity, it doesn't play any differently.

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At least, Engag removed means there's one thing less that'll clutter our combat log.

 

And indeed - the look and feel of it is the same (since, weirdly enough, the whole thing is invisible, literally).

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

 

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The engagement system makes it so you can't retreat your injured character from the front-line. Why would anyone want to defend this ****ty mechanic?

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Having played a sizeable chunk last night, I can confirm that disengagement attacks can be exploited to a degree that encounters become trivial.

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On the topic of Melee units not being able to control an area in the Infinity Engine games, I recorded this video the other day to demonstrate how to switch aggro in Baldur's Gate 2, since the AI is very simple. It's silly, but that's how you do it.

 

 

I will do another one for Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter tomorrow or something. IWD:HoW has much smarter AI targeting.

 

The premise that melee units couldn't be sticky in the Infinity Engine games is not true, it just requires understanding the AI targeting clauses.

Edited by Sensuki
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@seari

 

Some folks like the mechanic. Some don't. There are copious explanations for both sides that I am sure you or anyone else can read at their leisure by using the forum search function. The arguments have been made. Sensuki brings up some valid points. There are significant exploits possible. Why dont we wait to see what devs think about the feasibility of addressing these concerns? Lets keep it classy and not sink the thread. This way, the devs are more likely to approach the thread and respond.

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Obviously Melee engagement in its current form is flawed.

 

Obviously the AI in PoE needs as much work as it can get.

 

My problem is that you advocate the removal of the system in its entirety. I've been playing IWD:HoW today, and I think you view that game with very rose-tinted glasses and also misunderstand people's issues with the system you are advocating. You have done several videos, including the one above, where you state that a lot of people dislike the aggro mechanics because they do not understand how to switch aggro from their characters. There's no reason why that can't be the case, but there are plenty of us who quite easily figured out how not only how to switch aggro, but to maintain it in such a way that enemy mobs can be drawn through ranged traps they would in reality never fall for.

 

Part of the reason for this selective memory is because in the overwhelming majority of cases, the environment reduces the scope for these tactics. Running a snaking fighter is harder in an enclosed space. This shall be true of engagement. I appreciate that the Medreth example is the easiest to repeat because of the immediate access and desirable because it is an enemy party, but it allows for both strategic positioning and tactical maneuvering (its also incredibly easy, which does play a part). The same immediately rings true of the Saverok battle at the end of BG, which could be (and frequently was) won without the big man ever getting a hit on you.

 

 

Edit: To be honest, one of the simple steps to removing kiting is to never, ever, give a player the chance to outrun mobs. No wild sprint, no monk speed, no haste affects movement speed. Let wolves run quicker than players, sure, but never players quicker than Orcs. Of course that would be a lead balloon with many players because of reasons.

 

To be honest, I'm surprised that they got rid of the "can't charge actions whilst moving" feature, which was every bit as important to addressing kiting as engagement. Design by committee, I fear.

Edited by Kjaamor

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Hilarious.

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"Good thing I don't heal my characters or they'd be really hurt." Is not something I should ever be thinking.

 

I use blue text when I'm being sarcastic.

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rose tinted glasses, selective memory

I don't have a selective memory I recorded a full Let's Play of Icewind Dale in October.

 

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLIRfCmyR7ijJU11xQVn2SXIwmeuajTkom

 

 

but there are plenty of us who quite easily figured out how not only how to switch aggro, but to maintain it in such a way that enemy mobs can be drawn through ranged traps they would in reality never fall for.

So? The Melee Engagement system actually gives you the means to do this without an ounce of effort, that's what it's for. The Melee Engagement system only prevents a very specific instance of kiting - when a melee unit actually reaches a ranged unit. All you have to do is avoid that situation and you can still kite the bejeebus out of anything.

 

the environment reduces the scope for these tactics.

Yes, encounter design is a big part of fun combat. I could have done the same thing against any group of melee enemies where I had the chance to metagame the encounter and in PE the designers (unfortunately) have gone out of their way to make sure that the player doesn't get ambushed the moment they enter an area, which often occured in the IE games, so it's very easy to metagame encounters.

Edited by Sensuki
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Sensuki

 

I think the issue is not that stickiness cannot be accomplished in th IE but rather how. It would be interesting to hear the underlying rationale for why they prefer the engagement mechanic but I suspect it is perhaps to allow them to make mobility a part if the character development system and encounter design in general. They may also simply prefer mobility to have an opportunity cost. They may also wish to do more with the AI that these straightforward targeting clauses. I like engagement in part for such reasons but perhaps the devs can speak to their own rationale.

Edited by Shevek
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 The same immediately rings true of the Saverok battle at the end of BG, which could be (and frequently was) won without the big man ever getting a hit on you.

I always kept him swarmed with the wand of monster summoning.

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"Good thing I don't heal my characters or they'd be really hurt." Is not something I should ever be thinking.

 

I use blue text when I'm being sarcastic.

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Sensuki

 

I think the issue is not that stickiness cannot be accomplished in th IE but rather how. It would be interesting to hear the underlying rationale for why they prefer the engagement mechanic but I suspect it is perhaps to allow them to make mobility a part if the character development system and encounter design in general. They may also simply prefer mobility to have an opportunity cost. I like engagement in part for such reasons but perhaps the devs can speak to their own rationale.

The thing they most need to do is assure us that the mechanic will be fixed by launch. Just a simple post like, "Don't worry; we're already working on it. Hopefully the exploit will be fixed by the next update. If not by then, it'll be the update after that."

 

A post of that nature would do much to help quell the anti-engagement crowd. Yet, they haven't said a peep about it. Maybe I'm paranoid, but that seems like a bad sign.

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"Good thing I don't heal my characters or they'd be really hurt." Is not something I should ever be thinking.

 

I use blue text when I'm being sarcastic.

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I think the issue is not that stickiness cannot be accomplished in th IE but rather how. It would be interesting to hear the underlying rationale for why they prefer the engagement mechanic

The rationale has already been explained multiple times, just not officially in an update or whatever.

 

Josh Sawyer worked on Neverwinter Nights 2, and he is a D&D player and plays a lot of tabletop and turn-based games that probably have AoOs and he is used to the concept of movement having an opportunity cost (which is almost never good in real-time games except for siege units like Trebuchets in AoE2 and Mortar Teams in Company of Heroes). It also doesn't even have to be the case in turn-based, people are just used to the cargo cult design of movement and non-movement actions sharing the same action points in turn-based games.

 

also

 

Users on this forum have consistently (though obviously not universally) expressed a general dislike of standard aggro/tanking mechanics. Engagement is not conceptually much different from threatened area/AoOs, which we already had experience with in NWN2. It's also a mechanic that many tabletop D&D players are familiar with if they've played 3E, 3.5, and 4E.

Josh: A bunch of backers requested front-line stickiness. Without adding an aggro mechanic (which again, many backers rejected out of hand) there are only so many ways to accomplish that.

I think they were actually thinking about MMO aggro mechanics first, but since 'the backers' said that we didn't want it, we got the D&D style version instead.

 

But AI Targeting and Crowd Control abilities are the way to do it properly in real-time without overriding player issued commands.

Edited by Sensuki
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@seari

 

Some folks like the mechanic. Some don't. There are copious explanations for both sides that I am sure you or anyone else can read at their leisure by using the forum search function. The arguments have been made. Sensuki brings up some valid points. There are significant exploits possible. Why dont we wait to see what devs think about the feasibility of addressing these concerns? Lets keep it classy and not sink the thread. This way, the devs are more likely to approach the thread and respond.

It was a rhetorical question.

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Let me quote myself from another topic:

 

Considering engagement main purpose is to prevent kiting and moving easily to back lines best way would be to make it so its penalty is not bonus attacks but slowed movement.

Try to run through melee? You move so slow enemy melee kicks your ass with its normal attacks that don't break game rules of attack speed and recovery while you waste time just moving slowly.

Try to kite someone that engaged you? You move slow and they can still attack you easily as their attacks are not slow.

 

Considering in PoE everyone does lots of damage and attacks fast, just slowing movement should be enough as enemies will get enough extra attacks on you while you move away/through but a good defensive character can still move away when badly damaged so to have someone else take his place without suffering mortal blows that make moving away pointless in the first place.

 

I really think OE should experiment with this instead of engagement attacks doing crazy damage. 

Now with this change AI just needs to know to switch to closer target once engaged so you don't abuse its slow speed with normal attacks while he tries to get to that guy behind.

Edited by archangel979

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Baldur’s Gate was the first RPG I played on my PC and I really liked it because I felt at home with the RTS-style controls and mechanics. I’ve never really understood exactly why I enjoyed playing the Infinity Engine games over and over again until the last few years, but I believe it was because the combat plays like an RTS game. Not everyone takes advantage of some of the RTS-isms of the IE games but many players have and do. I believe this is one of the defining things that sets them apart from the rest of the isometric RTwP RPGs and makes their combat the most enjoyable.

The reason I find it enjoyable is because it is extremely tactical, and my gaming history comprises of extremely tactical games – RTS games, DotA and competitive Call of Duty. Tactics essentially boils down to in the moment decision making. The identification that you need to make a choice, how quickly you decide what you’re going to do, and how effectively you carry out that decision. That was one of my key strengths as a Call of Duty player and all of my teammates will attest to that. Strategy on the other hand is more about your planning and decision making before you undertake an activity. Sometimes you need to change tactics in the middle of implementing a certain strategy in reaction to certain events. Despite the claims to the contrary, the Infinity Engine games promoted doing this. Several examples are interrupting spell casting, dispelling effects with abilities, items and spells, counterspelling, reactionary protection spells, changing targets in combat based on certain events, swapping items between characters, tactical blocking, tactical retreating, switching of enemy aggro and repositioning during an encounter to gain an advantage.

 

Many players do these things subconsciously without even realizing and seem to overlook many of these actions when passing off the Infinity Engine game combat as boring, or they pass these actions off as tedious micromanagement. But the fact is that this style of gameplay sets the Infinity Engine games apart from all of the other fantasy RTwP RPGs in existence. Sure, there were exploits – many people found cheese tactics that they could abuse to bypass many of the encounters at the game. Players could combine metagamed web and cloudkill spams with rest-spamming and bypass much of the enjoyment that the encounters in the Infinity Engine games offered. Players could also endlessly kite enemies across the map with archers. Some of these tactics were even required to beat the game on Solo Insane. But the tactical depth was there if you played it fairly.

 

I believe the Melee Engagement system basically removes all forms of the tactical decision making related to movement mentioned in the first paragraph, and many of the others have been removed or made less useful in Pillars of Eternity via other sorts of system design.

 

I probably should have included this passage in the OP, but oh well.

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i support the removal of the engagement mechanic because i’d not be capable of paying attention to eventual cooldowns (in case such a thing would be planned) connected to it as there’s already other indicators in the UI that i have to pay attention to. I’m also not capable to millimeter-control movement of my characters when there's multiple chars involved and the engagement areas are overlapping. An AoO animation showing how my character was hit is also not going to change that he was hit. What i’m capable of doing though is take care of my ranged chars especially if movement is slowed and opponents move at the same speed. The cool abilities that are in the game can still stay in the game with the mechanic removed (albeit somewhat reduced in their effect). The AI would have to be improved with or without the mechanic. Make the chars a threat without the need to abuse a mechanic. Make melee chars a threat with allowing them to move freely. Thank you.

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