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Basically, subj.

I am running with a crew of stock NPCs on Normal. Party consists of my dps specced Barbarian, Eder, Aloth and Durance. I am currently in the Temple of Eothas, the first dungeon below the Gilded Vale. What I am seeing is that Eder has a lot of trouble keeping aggro.

I put him on the first line in my custom formation, with the barbarian in the middle and the casters at the back. So typically he would run first into a group and engage them, and until the first one dies he still has aggro. But after that everyone is on my barbarian, or one of the casters if he had the audacity to cast a spell.

Then it gets stranger when I try to use a doorway to protect the casters, one that is wide enough for two characters. At the start of the fight I would carefully position Eder and my barbarian at the entrance and they keep their position until the first mob is dead. Then they start changing position to better attack the next one, even though the barbarian's two-hander has enough reach, and inevitably break position and a mob gets through unless I start micro-managing every round of the fight. And thet said fighters don't need micro-management.

I have checked the "Settings > Game > Disable Auto-attack" option to no avail. I have no idea what it's for, but whether it is checked or not, after a kill both melees break position to chase after the next mob. Regardless of the setting, if I tell one to change position (to a flanking one for instance), upon getting there he will not auto-engage but stand still. But after a kill, they will auto-engage the next one even if the setting says otherwise.

Typically in a trinity-based MMO (tank-caster-healer), aggro is based on a hate list. Every mob has a hate list with each player or character, sorted by how much they hate them, and will engage the one at the top. You go up in the list based on how much damage you did, how much healing, buffing/debuffing, or taunting. Tanks typically do little damage, but since their goal is to always be on top of the hate list, they must have powerful taunting abilities, single-target taunts, AOE taunts, etc. I'm not seeing this in PoE.

I went through the list of Fighter abilities and did not find anything that would help him taunt. So it is perfectly normal that when we are fighting a group of say 3 mobs, the fighter engages first and grabs aggro. Then a round later the barbarian is there, focusing on the same mob as the fighter. Now, since the barbarian's default attack is an AoE one, and if the only way to climb in the hare list is to inflict damage, by the time the first mob is killed, the remaining ones are aggroed to the barbarian and will stay on him until the end of the fight. The tank's role is reduced to a poor dpser, racing to kill the remaining mobs before the barbarian is slaughtered.

I am "afraid" to use my casters for anything but a small heal, since the tank can't seem to hold aggro. They are only useful as a last dps burst when the barbarian aggro magnet is about to go down.

So how exactly do you have your tank keep aggro without any taunting abilities?

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Taunt in this game is essentially the engagement mechanic. The AI won't disengage once engaged, so this acts like flypaper for the mobs. That first dungeon is pretty hard largely due to the spirit based minions teleport abilities that jump to your squishes. Eder really starts to shine once he picks up the defender talent +2 enemies engaged, hold the line, +1 enemies engaged and a weapon that also adds +1 enemies engaged, thus he can have at least 5 enemies at once held on him. I usually run two tanks or an off tank at least in the form of kana with hold the line and a relevant weapon so he can hold at least 3 more. Long story short, leave that dungeon for now, level Eder up to level 3 and pick up defender and turn it on (it's modal) and leave it on for the rest of the game. Tank problem solved.

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Set Auto-pause: Target Destroyed. That way, you'll always have a chance to respond and give new orders before your tanks break formation.

yup - sadly there is no HOLD POSITION order to be given ..

 

bump this bug/feature request thread

 

http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/76286-disable-auto-attackengage-option-not-working/?do=findComment&comment=1642927

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Eder is level 3, and the Defender "stance" is on. And he does engage 3 enemies and keeps them on himself until one dies. After this every enemy is on the melee dps. I am not sure, I'd have to replay some fights, but it even seemed that the other mobs, the ones hitting the tank but not directly engaged by him, switch to the dps barbarian even before that targeted mod goes down. So that "once close to the tank, forever stuck to him" mechanic does not seem to work. How is one supposed to aggro mobs on the second line then, when one is killed you just move the tank close to the newly reachable mob and he should aggro? I don't think I am seeing this. Must be the smell on that Barbarian.

 

Auto-attack: I am not dreaming, the "Disable auto-attack" setting does not work, does it?

 

Technically the first dungeon is not very hard, I like that it is somewhat more difficult than the previous encounters. What makes it complicated though is the poor tanking/aggro mechanics.

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Engagement doesn't really force the enemy to fight the engager, so if you move another character close the enemy can just switch to fight that character without moving and suffer no penalty.  Still, it should help you control how many foes your barbarian is fighting.  You might be stuck with one enemy attacking your barbarian, but that's better than three enemies attacking him.

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Tank with defender abililty.  Have a secondary character behind the tank to intercept any enemy that goes for your squishy casters in the back.

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Shadows can teleport and like to go after the easiest targets to kill such as casters or glass cannon barbarians.

 

With normal monsters being engaged by Eder will generally keep them next to him. If they run away after being engaged, Eder gets a free attack on them, disengagement attack with a big accuracy boost. So if a monster is engaged by Eder and then runs off after your mage he will get hit hard for the attempt. Normally an engaged monster will not choose to risk a disengagement attack and will stay put and attack whatever they can reach from where they are.

 

It works with your guys as well, if your mage is engaged and then tries to run with a reddened move cursor he will get smacked hard.

 

Now if your barbarian is close enough to an engaged monster they can choose to hit you instead of Eder. Might be better to give him a pike or quarter staff and have him hide behind Eder.

 

Ranged monsters can shoot whomever they want to. Just like you they like to either "shoot the mouthy one first" or shoot "the one in the dress".

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A good basic trick is to engage an enemy with Eder, then attack him with a weapon which has Reach. A staff would work. Unless the bad guy also has reach, he won't be able to respond.

 

If enemy switches targets, punish him ! Take your guy which is not tied by the red arrow and position him on the opposite side. Flanked enemies get -10 to Deflection.

 

The Eothas temple ruins are just hard like that. Shadows teleport and you can't do much to stop them. Make your squishies wear something tougher, and make sure one of their weapon sets contains a shield. Hatchets are also worth looking for, the weapon gives +5 Deflection bonus.

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So how exactly do you have your tank keep aggro without any taunting abilities?

Right.. Here is how to deal with the situation in Pillars of Eternity:

 

You forget about the concepts of aggro and taunting and realize that this game is built on old-school CRPG principles where those simplified aggro mechanics, that were originally invented for MMOs such that a bunch of players could play together with a specialized role setup without having to worry about anything approaching real life tactics, don't exist and you have to substitute tactical positioning and area denial via battlefield geography and opportunity attacks using the engagement mechanic to control the battlefield.

 

You accept that AI enemies aren't morons that will stick on their target till it dies or till the player tells them to attack somebody else and are free to change their targeting priorities whenever they feel like it, just like you are.

 

You accept that "kill the one in the dress" is just as valid a tactic for your enemy as it is for you.

 

You accept that that means that other people than those, whom you want to tank, will occasionally get attacked when you mess up or you face enemies that teleport in combat or have long range attacks and your squishies are too close. So you plan for this to avoid not having any way to save your squishies when things go haywire.

 

This game's tactical AI routines are much more forgiving than any Dungeon Master would ever be, because the computer controlled enemies won't accept suffering an attack of opportunity (disengagement attack) in order to attack greater threats or more vulnerable targets, so you are able to take ruthless advantage of this to make melee enemies stick to your "tanks" when the enemies don't  have the ability to teleport round in combat. The routines are also pretty dumb when it comes to seeking better positioning in combat, flanking, proper positioning of archers, and spell selection.

 

They just aren't so dumb as to be governed by the aggro-taunt model.  :devil:

Edited by pi2repsion
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When I said death before dishonour, I meant it alphabetically.

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I think the "aggro" system is a lot simpler than people imagine it to be.

 

For the most part the AI will typically just attack the closest target, and if that target gets too far away and there is a new closer target then it will sometimes switch to that new closest target. There seems to be a few exceptions like with the teleporting shadows. They seem to go for weak characters - probably based on their deflection ratings or something similar. Quite annoying considering there is essentialy no way to prevent them from engaging your squishies, so it doesn't exactly open up for much strategy (the best you can do is just to CC or nuke the threats to your squishies after they teleport - leading to having to babysit squishies rather than attempting some sort of battle-formation that makes sense).

 

Aside from the very basic target-choosing of most AI there is the engagement-system of course. A fighter has multiple means of increasing his amount of engagement-slots, and once those enemies get locked in they very strongly tend to not want to move and risk a disengagement-hit. I don't think I've ever seen an enemy disengage to go for another party member even if the disengagement-risk is pretty low, so again I think this is an example of very "dumb" and non-flexible AI. Using this to your advantage certainly helps lock enemies to your fighters location, but I tend to find that it usually isn't really required. If your tank is positioned as "the obvious target" then the AI tends to go for him anyway. Engaging enemies is actually more useful as a mechanic as a means of pulling an enemy away from an ally that already got engaged by the enemy - but you still have to move your squishy away and face that disengagement, so it's not exactly a taunt. Engagement also does very little to help in those harder cases that don't follow the basic target-choosing method - such as with the shadows. When they just teleport around they seem to ignore engagement anyway so...

 

It is useful to know that engagement doesn't actually prevent enemies from attacking someone else - it just prevents them from moving away from the spot they are at, so your fighter coming up to engage an enemy that is beating up your mage doesn't really do anything on it own. You still have to get that mage out of range of the enemy (and probably take a lot of damage disengaging) for him to get away. All the engagement from your fighter does is to prevent the enemy from chasing (and thus the AI will be turning its attention to the fighter as he is the only one that it can attack without moving).

 

The current system strongly favors starting a battle with proper positioning - and letting the pieces fall into eachother. Once they meet in melee there are strong disincentives to move anyone - and nothing really changes in the front-line positioning until targets start dropping. It's not very dynamic and it doesn't allow for much strategy beyond that initial positioning (which is all about getting the AI to target your tanks really)

 

I'm not a big fan of the engagement system. I like the D&D threat system a whole lot more (although that is designed to work more in a turn-based grid-system and turns messy and hard to follow for most people in a real-time, no-grid game like this and previous Obsidian games). I feel that you either have to commit to a design where you use turnbased grid and the detailoriented aproach to combat that this allows - or otherwise go a completely different route that simplifies the system to adapt to real-time combat (like the sort of agro-level and taunts that we see so many MMOs use). The current system in PoE just seems fairly arbitrary and mostly just about exploiting the dumb AI moreso than it is about strategy. The AI is certainly not a strong point of this game, and honestly doesn't feel any different or better than the old Obsidian games (but maybe that was the plan...)

 

Personally I'd love to see games like Baldurs game and PoE as-is, except with D&D rules in a turnbased grid/hex. The only game that actually tried to do that was Temple of elemental evil - but that game had so many other flaws that it didn't really measure up (and I don't think that had anything to do with the actual mechanics of the combat).

 

-Stigma

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Speaking of disengagement attacks, I'm a bit sad AI never seems to disengage. I mean, it makes me sick when people use builds like minmaxed TANK fighter with 2 Might (!!!) and defender mode. Any enemy with a brain would realize that 2 might is not doing much harm, it's pretty much ignorable and suffering disengagement attacks from a 2 Might fighter is the best thing you can do!

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Speaking of disengagement attacks, I'm a bit sad AI never seems to disengage. I mean, it makes me sick when people use builds like minmaxed TANK fighter with 2 Might (!!!) and defender mode. Any enemy with a brain would realize that 2 might is not doing much harm, it's pretty much ignorable and suffering disengagement attacks from a 2 Might fighter is the best thing you can do!

 Imagine the outcry ... Congratulations, you just made all the tank builds/abilities UTERLY  useless ... enemies break engagement all the time and the decorum decoy tanks can only tickle them as punishment ...

 

Only viable talents/builds left  -- DPS  kill them before they kill you .. On top off all that some encounters designed around tank use might become near/trully impossible to win . You broke the game .

Edited by peddroelm

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They just aren't so dumb as to be governed by the aggro-taunt model.  :devil:

 

Oh they are dumb, and on purpose. If they weren't then there is no way a tank would be useful unless there is a door to physically block their path, and how often does the latter happen? If they weren't morons they would never even consider a guy in plate, they would beeline for the healers, then kill the casters, then progress in order of decreasing squishiness or dpsitude once the healers are down. Just like players do.  But if enemies did that there would be no fun in playing and no point in having different specialties, everyone would just go max dps and hope enough survive at the end of the fight.

 

What we have here are not mobs that are smart or doing things that make sense. We have the usual dumbed down AIs who would do stupid things to let people play and have fun (it shouldn't be too hard to make a mob target healers and casters first), but with a non-existing or non-deterministic system of aggro management. Which makes less sense than the usual MMO trinity.

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Speaking of disengagement attacks, I'm a bit sad AI never seems to disengage. I mean, it makes me sick when people use builds like minmaxed TANK fighter with 2 Might (!!!) and defender mode. Any enemy with a brain would realize that 2 might is not doing much harm, it's pretty much ignorable and suffering disengagement attacks from a 2 Might fighter is the best thing you can do!

 Imagine the outcry ... Congratulations, you just made all the tank builds/abilities UTERLY  useless ... enemies break engagement all the time and the decorum decoy tanks can only tickle them as punishment ...

 

Only viable talents/builds left  -- DPS  kill them before they kill you .. On top off all that some encounters designed around tank use might become near/trully impossible to win . You broke the game .

 

 

I hope you are sarcastic, because even Master Below is killable with Eder specialized for DPS. It's harder, but can be done.

 

My Durance cackles like a madman when there are shades around. He wields Whispers of Yenwood.

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...

 

Personally I'd love to see games like Baldurs game and PoE as-is, except with D&D rules in a turnbased grid/hex. The only game that actually tried to do that was Temple of elemental evil - but that game had so many other flaws that it didn't really measure up (and I don't think that had anything to do with the actual mechanics of the combat).

 

 

You might be interested in trying Divinity: Original Sin if you haven't already. It has turn-based combat driven by an action points system, with turn order decided by combatant initiative. It also has a sort of "engagement system" in the form of a talent called Attack of Opportunity, that gives your or enemy party members an out-of-turn melee attack on a character trying to move out of range. Virtually all melee enemies have this talent by default, though the player can get it on his party members as well. However, it does not work for "holding aggro" since enemies often choose to take the disengagement hit if it means they can cleave a squishy character in the same turn.

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They just aren't so dumb as to be governed by the aggro-taunt model.  :devil:

 

Oh they are dumb, and on purpose. If they weren't then there is no way a tank would be useful unless there is a door to physically block their path, and how often does the latter happen? If they weren't morons they would never even consider a guy in plate, they would beeline for the healers, then kill the casters, then progress in order of decreasing squishiness or dpsitude once the healers are down. Just like players do.  But if enemies did that there would be no fun in playing and no point in having different specialties, everyone would just go max dps and hope enough survive at the end of the fight.

 

What we have here are not mobs that are smart or doing things that make sense. We have the usual dumbed down AIs who would do stupid things to let people play and have fun (it shouldn't be too hard to make a mob target healers and casters first), but with a non-existing or non-deterministic system of aggro management. Which makes less sense than the usual MMO trinity.

 

Of course they are dumb. I said as much in the post you quote, repeatedly, so I don't see why are are quoting me as if I claimed they were smart. They just aren't so dumb as to be governed by the aggro-taunt model, which minimizes the need for coherent thought for the human when planning tactics and reacting to evolving situations in combat.

 

And I most assuredly disagree with you that the MMO trinity where the player can always predict what the enemy will do and manipulate it by managing threat levels or ordering it to "attack this target now because I say so" makes more sense for a single-player CRPG than a setup where players cannot fully predict whom the enemy will attack.

When I said death before dishonour, I meant it alphabetically.

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Speaking of disengagement attacks, I'm a bit sad AI never seems to disengage. I mean, it makes me sick when people use builds like minmaxed TANK fighter with 2 Might (!!!) and defender mode. Any enemy with a brain would realize that 2 might is not doing much harm, it's pretty much ignorable and suffering disengagement attacks from a 2 Might fighter is the best thing you can do!

 Imagine the outcry ... Congratulations, you just made all the tank builds/abilities UTERLY  useless ... enemies break engagement all the time and the decorum decoy tanks can only tickle them as punishment ...

 

Only viable talents/builds left  -- DPS  kill them before they kill you .. On top off all that some encounters designed around tank use might become near/trully impossible to win . You broke the game .

 

 

I hope you are sarcastic, because even Master Below is killable with Eder specialized for DPS. It's harder, but can be done.

He is not sarcastic but serious. And you have proven his point: without proper aggro management, forget about roles and all zerg to dps the mobs.

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Of course they are dumb. I said as much in the post you quote, repeatedly, so I don't see why are are quoting me as if I claimed they were smart. They just aren't so dumb as to be governed by the aggro-taunt model, which minimizes the need for coherent thought for the human when planning tactics and reacting to evolving situations in combat.

You repeatedly implied that they were smarter than something. They are not. They are as dumb as the rest, yet players are not given tools to plan their fights. Because when everything is random you don't use coherent thought, you don't plan, you react, you zerg and dps.

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Tank with defender abililty.  Have a secondary character behind the tank to intercept any enemy that goes for your squishy casters in the back.

Shouldn't you be making topics about how there are no big breasted female warriors in this game you can romance?

 

For God's sake man, even on this forum you have a picture of Cassandra.

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He is not sarcastic but serious. And you have proven his point: without proper aggro management, forget about roles and all zerg to dps the mobs.

 

 

Have you read the tutorial pop-ups about engagement mechanic ?

 

The game doesn't have aggro mechanic, because that's ordering enemies what to do. And that would be silly.

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He is not sarcastic but serious. And you have proven his point: without proper aggro management, forget about roles and all zerg to dps the mobs.

 

 

Have you read the tutorial pop-ups about engagement mechanic ?

 

The game doesn't have aggro mechanic, because that's ordering enemies what to do. And that would be silly.

 

 

And the engagement mechanic is not silly? An automatic, poorly implemented taunt equivalent, that gives you only one option is better? A simple example:

 

You are fighting a group of wolves. The tank is engaged with the pack leader and two trash, while everyone is fixated on one of the trash. So far so good, the trash focused on dies. Then the game reshuffles the tank's engagements and suddenly the pack leader switches from the tank to the melee dps. The end. So you gather all your "coherent thought" and throw it at... the only remaining option? Yep, screw tactics, only one thing to do now, throw all dps onto the leader. This doesn't strike as a particularly intellectually challenging kind of combat. Did I do something wrong, like out-dps the hate generated by the tank (another tactical consideration when you have proper aggro management with a taunting mechanism)? Nope, it happened by itself, nothing to do to prevent it, and only one thing to do when it happens.

 

if on the other hand the tank had 1-2 per encounter and per rest aoe and targeted taunts, that would give the player extra options. Do I go all dps on the mob like a 'tard or do I spend one of the taunts?

 

And it's not like mobs are not already "ordered what to do". The game code is already telling them not to go for the squishy healers and casters first. The game has fear and other charm mechanics to influence the mobs (I made him a silly face and he ran away screaming?). Taunting is just another such mechanic, one that gives the tank and thus the player more options during a fight. Not sillier than not having the whole group pummel on the weakest looking ally first.

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