Jump to content

A proposal for fixing “Engagement”


Recommended Posts

First off, I know this is yet another thread about engagement mechanics… but I haven’t seen what I wish to suggest actually being suggested and explored before.  If it has, I apologize.  I did search, but if this has been suggested before, I did not search well enough.

Anyway, I want this to be a discussion of this suggestion and whether it would address the issues people have with the engagement mechanic, and if it is plausible for the developers or (more likely) modders to implement in PoE, or perhaps for the devs to implement in a future game. 

I will be selfish and share my opinion about the concept of engagement.  I think that it is an excellent idea that has the potential to truly bring something new to the table that I think was sorely lacking in Infinity Engine games (namely controlling enemy movement without exploitation of unbelievable, immersion-breaking AI limitations/quirks), and that simulates some truly important tactical features of melee combat in real life.  It just isn’t quite implemented in the most intuitive, fluid, realistic, and gameplay-enhancing way possible.  The biggest gripe with it that I have is that there is no way to change position without provoking a disengagement attack when there really ought to be.  I have absolutely no problem with disengagement attacks per se.
 

The main thing I suggest is a method to move while in engagement that does not necessarily trigger an attack.  I believe the way I suggest it here will still maintain the merits of the engagement mechanic, since taking action to avoid disengagement attacks will involve penalties to movement, and can still yet expose one to disengagement attacks depending on the situation. 
 

This can be accomplished by implementing a special kind of movement mechanic where the player or the AI can do the following: designate a cardinal direction for an entity to always face while moving (or while staying in their current place), or designate one of the engagement targets or an arbitrary point/entity on the map as a point for an entity to always face while staying put as well as moving around, towards, or away from.  Any lateral or backward movement would of course be much slower than running.  But this kind of movement should not provoke any disengagement attack if movement doesn’t involve exposing the side or back to an engaged enemy.  Also, and this is important, the ONLY time disengagement attacks should be triggered (given the entities in engagement within range) are if the sides or back of the disengaging entity are exposed to its opponent that it is engaged with.
 

Some things to balance this mechanic which would be intuitive and believable could be:

  1. (as mentioned before) any lateral and backward movement being slower than running
  2. and/or making movement while engaged in any direction be slower than running unless explicitly commanded by the AI or player
  3. a penalty to deflection and attack while moving
  4. allowing attacking while moving
  5. a chance of knockdown for any disengagement attack
  6. Some of the concepts proposed by Raz in this thread, particularly the stuff about null-engagement, and increasing player agency in choosing/changing engagement targets.

#1 above here is absolutely necessary.  The others might or might not be.  This would mimic some very important dynamics of real-life melee scenarios, namely the constant re-positioning of opponents, switching people out from the front lines, and moving the front line (or any line for that matter).  And, more importantly, it would open up new tactical opportunities that don’t necessarily involve exploiting limitations of the AI!   

Some possible difficulties I immediately foresee in implementation of this are:

  1. making the AI take this stuff into consideration
  2. making an intuitive UI for commanding entities to do the new kinds of movement
  3. (related to #1) making an intuitive way for players to define AI behaviors of party members when it comes to engagement to accommodate the suggested features
  4. making animations to make the sort of proposed lateral and backward movements look ok

Another suggestion I have, but that is not necessary for perfection in my opinion is a chance of knockdown for any attack on a person’s flank (sides or back) provided it is the first attack upon engagement.  I think this might be cool in any case, but could add some bite to engagement mechanics if the original suggestion takes too much of that away.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

whether you are able to exploit enemy AI is not about the engagement system (ES) but enemy AI. No matter how it's implemented, i was easily clearing the fourth area in this game with my solo lvl2 wizard, taking them out one by one using fleet feet and rod. The enemy didn't recognize that i was just solo. ES is simply for people who need a crowd control system in addition to the already existing cc abilities, because they prefer that playstyle. This kind of games are not won by only explotiting AI, but they are won by partly explotiting AI. You never want enemy AI to play like a human player would, then you'd be toast. You have to be able to partially exploit it. Example:

- easy difficulty: enemy AI doesn't move much and doesn't use much of their ability

- normal diff: enemy AI behaves like BG2 vanilla, they use their abilities at the start of battle but don't play as human player still

- hard: enemy AI plays human, they use counterspells, drink potions, move out of their way if you want to use e.g. confusion on one of them

I think that in addition to this the ES is not easy to balance out in this double crowd control system. What could be done is to have ES only or simply make it turnbased, that doesn't have much to do with IE then though. Why do you guys hate movement so, though?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

whether you are able to exploit enemy AI is not about the engagement system (ES) but enemy AI. No matter how it's implemented, i was easily clearing the fourth area in this game with my solo lvl2 wizard, taking them out one by one using fleet feet and rod. The enemy didn't recognize that i was just solo. ES is simply for people who need a crowd control system in addition to the already existing cc abilities, because they prefer that playstyle. This kind of games are not won by only explotiting AI, but they are won by partly explotiting AI. You never want enemy AI to play like a human player would, then you'd be toast. You have to be able to partially exploit it. Example:

- easy difficulty: enemy AI doesn't move much and doesn't use much of their ability

- normal diff: enemy AI behaves like BG2 vanilla, they use their abilities at the start of battle but don't play as human player still

- hard: enemy AI plays human, they use counterspells, drink potions, move out of their way if you want to use e.g. confusion on one of them

I think that in addition to this the ES is not easy to balance out in this double crowd control system. What could be done is to have ES only or simply make it turnbased, that doesn't have much to do with IE then though. Why do you guys hate movement so, though?

The problem with AI is they really are at the mercy of your party. Usually if you send 1-2 tanks to engage then the opponents blob around them that makes them easy prey for the aoe cc/nuke that will rain down from the rest of the party. Throw in 3 points in stealth for better positioning and a single slicken can win you any encounter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I see what you both mean.  And I agree with both of you!!!

Perhaps I shouldn't have mentioned anything that might imply that this suggestion would solve any sort of problems associated with AI or that the Engagement System (as it is now, at least) does much to make the AI's weaknesses that much less exploitable.  So, I will edit the OP to at least make that clear.

As 4ward said, the Engagement System has nothing to do with the AI being easy.  And, for the record, I believe it does not make the AI all that much less exploitable (though there is a case for helping reduce kiting), and my suggestion wouldn't help in that matter.  I really don't care much to discuss that matter further.  Also, I do NOT hate movement!  I want more of it!  I just want it to be believable movement.  And that is exactly why I am suggesting what I am suggesting!!!

What my suggestion WOULD do (I think) is remove many of the immersion-breaking, frustrating things that happen during melee combat that are associated with the Engagement System.  And this is where I want feedback and discussion if possible.

And I also strongly believe that in a situation where the AI is like in 4ward's suggested "hard" mode, the things that annoy a lot of us about the Engagement System would become all the more obvious since the AI as much as the player will exploit the system (and that is fine!).  BUT what would also become more obvious are the Engagement System's potential merits (such as providing an alternative and somewhat realistic method of crowd control that makes melee combat actually seem somewhat like the real thing)!!!   And my suggestion, I believe, would be a big step towards accomplishing this while eliminating a lot of what is currently annoying about the system!

What do you guys thing about the suggestion itself?  Do you see it as something that would conceivably improve game play and accomplish what I think it would?

I believe my suggestion would allow for the game engine to more effectively simulate (regardless of whether it would be relevant to PoE as it is now), albeit in an abstracted manner, some really cool phenomena that occurs in actual melee combat, such as retreating while still presenting a threat/not exposing weak-spots, and (on the same vein) switching people out from the front lines to be replaced with someone else.  There are other things, too!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think that the engine allows for lateral or rearward movement without turning. You'd need movement via wasd keys instead of mouse click.

 

The problem is not the engagement system, the problem is the enemy AI.

 

In 4wards example of a kiting solo wizard the solution would be better calls for help for intelligent enemies. The bandit should have called his three friends and a few should have flanked you and all should have run you down and beat you to death.

 

Ranged enemies need to consider DR, deflection and maybe threat. For sure they should identify that shooting the guy in plate with a bow is a low reward move while shooting the guy in robes will be a lot better. Give the enemy the ability to recognize that one of your men just cast a spell and that should make him a target for anyone capable of attacking him. Even an animal is going to attack the perceived weakest first.

 

Every fight with kith adventurer parties or bounties my first move is to identify the spellcaster and fill him full of lead and arrows so that he never does a thing besides take the alpha strike.

 

There is plenty of cannon but not much glass in the current system. Casters can wear better armor if they choose to, its time the enemy made that a choice. Currently there is hardly a reason not to wear dresses in the back. Start turning those guys into pin cushions and there be new tactics and equipment choices to make.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree that the enemy AI is the main problem.  And I will not argue that.  But I think that arbitrary limitations to equipment are not a believable and interesting way to balance this stuff.  Regardless, this is not what I would like this discussion to be about.  We are all in agreement here about the AI and that, really, the Engagement System isn't going to make combat more interesting on its own, no matter how good a system it is.  

But what I am suggesting is to make the engagement system actually a good system that will actually do its part to make combat more believable, interesting, and enriching to game play.  And this will be good regardless of whether or not the AI is improved (though improved AI is more important). 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like that idea. To avoid the movement-without-turning problem, it could just be an ability. You activate it and your character starts to do it automatically. He/She fights for a while, does less damage and is slowly moving backwards. Everyone has the ability from the beginning, but it can be improved. There already are a few abilites in the game to break engagement, but there could be a whole lot more. Like:

 

- Switching place with a companion while keeping on fighting

- Moving backwards, than running

- Moving backwards, than casting some type of bomb, blinding the enemy. (Rogues already have such a thing, but without blinding. In my opinion, it takes too long. Everytime I want to use it, I'm already dead, before it works. If it had some impact on the enemy, like blinding, it would be worth it)

---

We're all doomed

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...