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Few tips for improving combat and level encounter design in next sequel


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Cut the amount of trash fights in each map at least by an half. And replace it with unique puzzles, CYOA text adventures, interesting NPCs with mini quests or mini boss fights. Often the best thing for combat is less combat.

 

Craft combat encounters individually. Add a named/elite enemy to a pack of trash mobs and give it some special abilities or at least few lines of conversation at the start of the combat to put more character into it. It does not even have to be an enemy of the same type as long as it remains somewhat logical (for example those Skaen cultists could have had a trained elder bear or two among them).  

 

More ambush and defend-a-position encounters. Force the player to split up their group and fight at different positions at the same time. Make them to react, to think differently, use rarely used spells, consumables, traps etc.

 

Use the environment. Place ranged enemies on hard to get positions, make the player fight in tiny rooms susceptible to enemy AoE, force him to leave the choke points. Throw in various hazards like traps, fire walls, disease clouds, everything the engine allows.

 

And something not related to encounter design but which I believe will make the game more fun for many of us  – amp up the difficulty, at least on hard and PotD settings.

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Craft combat encounters individually. Add a named/elite enemy to a pack of trash mobs and give it some special abilities or at least few lines of conversation at the start of the combat to put more character into it. It does not even have to be an enemy of the same type as long as it remains somewhat logical (for example those Skaen cultists could have had a trained elder bear or two among them).

More encounters like the Death Godlike in Magran's Fork, please!

 

What are the triggers for that guy, by the way? I feel like I shouldn't have missed him the first time I went there, yet I only saw him reaching Defiance Bay and going back there for a bounty!

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I agree with the OP.

 

I would add that A.I. could be smarter and scale with difficulty. On PotD, A.I. should be making creatures act synergistically to cover for each other's weaknesses, leverage on each other's strengths, and execute combos and strategies that are more advanced than just auto-attacking or spamming their per-encounters. They should drink potions when it makes strategical sense, and try to react to what the player does to the extent to which it is possible (example: Player is trying to funnel enemies through a door? All enemies retreat back into the room and start using ranged weapons and spells against the player, forcing them to enter the room and face them in the open.)

 

From there, it could be scaled down on lower difficulty settings, gradually removing the most advanced features until you get to Easy, where A.I. simply avoids overly stupid behaviors (like getting stuck when walking against an object or becoming inert when the player goes invisible), but otherwise just mindlessly auto-attacks and spams per-encounters.

Edited by AndreaColombo

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Cut the amount of trash fights in each map at least by an half. And replace it with unique puzzles, CYOA text adventures, interesting NPCs with mini quests or mini boss fights. Often the best thing for combat is less combat.

 

Definitely this.

 

I thought the "no combat xp" paradigm meant the devs would cut out meaningless trash fights entirely, not that they would add a ton of them and  have them be fairly unrewarding to boot, dammit!

Edited by aluminiumtrioxid

"Lulz is not the highest aspiration of art and mankind, no matter what the Encyclopedia Dramatica says."

 

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I agree with the OP.

 

I would add that A.I. could be smarter and scale with difficulty. On PotD, A.I. should be making creatures act synergistically to cover for each other's weaknesses, leverage on each other's strengths, and execute combos and strategies that are more advanced than just auto-attacking or spamming their per-encounters. They should drink potions when it makes strategical sense, and try to react to what the player does to the extent to which it is possible (example: Player is trying to funnel enemies through a door? All enemies retreat back into the room and start using ranged weapons and spells against the player, forcing them to enter the room and face them in the open.)

 

From there, it could be scaled down on lower difficulty settings, gradually removing the most advanced features until you get to Easy, where A.I. simply avoids overly stupid behaviors (like getting stuck when walking against an object or becoming inert when the player goes invisible), but otherwise just mindlessly auto-attacks and spams per-encounters.

Write down an exhaustive algorithm that encompasses those behaviours and get back to me.

 

That's maybe a bit snarky, but it's one of those things that are very much not-simple and there are better ways to make fun and engaging encounters than sinking hundreds of man-hours into advanced AI. It's possible to imitate some of what you're asking for with better encounter design for instance.

 

I pretty much agree with the OP though.

A BG encounter worth mentioning with respect to trash mobs is Ursa the cave bear. It wasn't that you hadn't killed xvarts and bears before, but the xvarts having a pet bear to protect their village made it memorable. It really doesn't take much.

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Personally I don't like the idea of puzzles or that sort of thing. I'm the type who would rather just smash through mobs.

 

I do love the idea of defending a position though. The stronghold might offer some very fun fights if random monsters didn't just pop into your keep(which I built huge walls around right....?)

 

I also do like the idea of more scripted or designed fights. More mini-bosses and less trash would add an awful lot to the fairly tedious long dungeon crawls. All in all though I find PoE dungeons, etc to be less tedious than most RPGs.

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The encounters when defending your keep could really be improved. As Mocker22 said, how did the monsters manage to get past the keep's outer defences? Why did I even bother building the walls? Some of the more fun 'keep defence' scenarios I've played included Skyrim where the attackers came in waves and needed to destroy various inanimate objects such as wooden barriers in an attempt to breach the keep's fortifications. Granted, PoE is quite a different game to Skyrim, but the general principle of how the attack is carried out could be considered. I like having hirelings present to help in the defence, it would be nice to see them slowly develop as well.

Edited by Tanis
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I say keep the Trash Encounters and simply start giving me Exp for thrashing mobs :biggrin:

 

Also, give me a specific reputation gained only for trash encounters that, when high enough, qualifies me to enter a gladiator style arena where either my Main char or my entire group can engage in tournament battles. For Sparta!

:fdevil:

Edited by Zenbane
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I would like to add:  Try some unusual parties.  I loved the party fights.  Fighting an all rogue party or all mage party could be pretty interesting.  No all cyphers please.

 

Also, the fight with the Xaurip cultists in front of the altar was memorable as ****.

Edited by anameforobsidian
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Totally disagree, I hadn't same great feeling about combat in any other RPG as I had with PoE. In this game you can always make yourself challenge or level up and steamroll enemies. Thrashmob encounters are just fine, biggest pro is that they don't respawn and I can't ask for anything more. 

 

There are some encounters with elite named figures, like from druid bounties, and having commander thingy in each fight kills variety. No special abilities please, keep it as grouned to our own group as it is.

 

If there would be many ambush-like abilities encounters, classes will suffer and tank role will be diminished, you would basically need to make every combatant extra durable heavy-hitter. That's not gonna work. Agro and tank mechanics works wonderfull as it is, we had some flanky combat in Cragholdt, tbh that drove unique PoE fighting design completely off the rails. It was interesting as experiment but that doesn't work, if every combat would be like this it will lead to broken class system.

 

Considering enviroment, game already covers it in spades, tons of traps, my party can get some heavy AOE damage in choke points and rangers usually hard-to-get targets, I dunno what else you may want?... The only thing I'd change is trap cap, at leat to 3, 1 is almost useless to even consider, too much hassle.

 

All-in-all the only thing I'd like to be reworked is superboss encounters, like Dragon fights, to make it less cheap and less demanding for exploits to more about positioning and tactics, but I honestly don't see how can they keep it hard at the same time...

 

P.S. Also would like to add: no exp for combat is probaly one of the best design choices in this game, it kills SO HARD gameplay in other cRPGs where you actually get that exp, cannot even be described in words. I really hope it will stay the same way in sequel.

Edited by Stoner
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