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Beta Testing: Combat Challenge and Fun Proposal

Pelirow

Active Member
There's been a lot of ongoing discussion since the start of beta that tends to revolve around the basic issue of: how can combat be made to be consistently both challenging and fun? This is a very difficult tension to harmonize. I've seen the issue mostly revolve around high end combat being hard but mostly grindy, tedious, and fairly safe with a good group, where groups can see 2^ mobs as afterthoughts and 3^ mobs as not hard enough. After my first few forays into fighting Ant Hills and the chaos they created with constantly spawning ants outnumbering the group, I saw that everyone in my group was having fun, and it seems that the chaos itself was fun because the unpredictability created an element that removed any sort of tedium.

So my challenge is: can more combat unpredictability be added within the framework SHS has already created for Embers, on the presumption it will generate more fun and organic variance? With the changes made to the humans to give them the "Charge!" ability and also better aggro radius, I am confident SHS can figure something out.

My proposal: add a random weighted chance for mobs to gain a "modifier."

So what are these "modifiers?" Nothing complicated, just different stat/perk gains that can be added to individual mobs with some sort of weighted randomness so players never know when they might encounter a modified mob. Just for discussion's sake let me make up 5 modifiers: aggressive, careful, coward, defiant, devious. These modifiers are just names from a coding perspective, should not be readily apparent to players but should be tangible enough to be figured out in active combat. You will not see "Aggressive Maruder" as the name. If a maruder has an "aggressive" modifier, it is simply in the code. Players getting bludgeoned to death should be the cue that the maruder they are fighting is likely an aggressively modified maruder.

Aggressive: This mob is 50% more likely to heavily hit.
Careful: This mob has 50% reduced chance to be heavily hit
Coward: this mob will gain a self-inflicted fear debuff with a speed boost when below 25% health
Defiant: this mob is 50% more resistant to CC skills
Devious: this mob is capable of applying the Hamstring effect regardless of positioning

The percentages given are all examples, as are the modifications granted. It'd be pretty easy to make 25-30 modifiers for mobs to gain. To some degree all of the above examples of modifiers exist in the game already with mob stats and gear stats, but modifiers should be stronger. These modifiers act like invisible buffs that get applied randomly as the creatures populate in the world. If a given mob would spawn in and it has default X for Hit stat, just before it populates, if it "won" the dice roll to gain a modifier, and then the random weighted modifier chosen was the "aggressive" modifier, make the Hit stat for said mob 150% stronger than X. The idea is additional unpredictability or chaos. Some groups could handle some modifiers better than others, and no two encounters of the same mobs would be the same outside of sheer randomness.

These modifiers wouldn't be crazy common, just enough to give players some sort of unknown factor and something for them to keep their eyes on in combat. Something like 20% chance for a 2^ to gain a modifier and 40% for a 3^, plus an additional 25% chance for a 3^ to get a second modifier. The idea isn't to bog down players with always having to deal with powerful modifiers, but rather to have the rare but powerful modifier be something players need to keep their eyes out for and keep them on their toes and adjust how they are playing rather than being safe with mindless or easy grind. 1^ mobs would be left alone since soloing is already pretty rough, but making 2^ mobs get modifiers would certainly make things interesting for duos and trios.
 

Kittik

Well-Known Member
Wandering mobs. Or as someone else said, patrols. In any humaniod camp, I like the idea of that. You'd have to stragize your pulls significantly more than you do now and you could avoid the patrols all-together or pull them at the right time.

Incorperating Pelirow's idea is a bit of nuainced icing on the cake.
 

Pelirow

Active Member
Wandering mobs. Or as someone else said, patrols. In any humaniod camp, I like the idea of that. You'd have to stragize your pulls significantly more than you do now and you could avoid the patrols all-together or pull them at the right time.

Incorperating Pelirow's idea is a bit of nuainced icing on the cake.
I'm not sure how easy this would be to do within Unity and within the gameplay style of Embers but the more this gets brought up the more I think it's pretty cool. The big thing is whether these wandering mobs/patrols would be of a static nature both in their group comp and patrol route, or also varied. Patrols in theory have some predictability, but I keep thinking of my P99 experience and how cool Gynock was in Befallen and Singe was in Sol A with how they somewhat randomly roamed their zones and would bring utter terror to at-level folks. Those were within dungeons, but the griffin in EC and hill giants in general also come to mind; mobs you have no interest in fighting at all, even at level, and if you get too close, will wreck you. Embers has this to some degree with the named mobs but those are more hidden and rare finds in Embers than the nasties you found in EQ.

I wonder how the Ashen variants will fit into this whole discussion about trying to have more unpredictability in combat.
 

Kaeolin

Well-Known Member
A little adjustment to social agro will impact all of this already. Right now you can shoot an arrow into a group of mobs and pull 1 mob. Having more of a challenge in pulling would directly impact the fun factor and the "Oh shit what'd we get ourselves into" factor.
 

Pelirow

Active Member
A little adjustment to social agro will impact all of this already. Right now you can shoot an arrow into a group of mobs and pull 1 mob. Having more of a challenge in pulling would directly impact the fun factor and the "Oh shit what'd we get ourselves into" factor.
This was tweaked 2.5 weeks back, is the change to human aggro implemented back then not enough for you? I feel like I saw way more social aggro linking after that tweak.
 

Kaeolin

Well-Known Member
This was tweaked 2.5 weeks back, is the change to human aggro implemented back then not enough for you? I feel like I saw way more social aggro linking after that tweak.
My comment was based on recent(Last weekend) testing. Rarely does more than 1 mob come on pull.
 

Pelirow

Active Member
My comment was based on recent(Last weekend) testing. Rarely does more than 1 mob come on pull.
Interesting, I'll have to give a test ASAP. At least in marauder fort (before April 9th) I recall my usual attempts to pull with kunai being much more delicate due to aggroing additional mobs that were nearby. A massive improvement over the situation in weeks prior where pulling a mob with a kunai would lead to zero social aggro even if the pulled mob ran into another mob.
 

Kaeolin

Well-Known Member
Interesting, I'll have to give a test ASAP. At least in marauder fort (before April 9th) I recall my usual attempts to pull with kunai being much more delicate due to aggroing additional mobs that were nearby. A massive improvement over the situation in weeks prior where pulling a mob with a kunai would lead to zero social aggro even if the pulled mob ran into another mob.
Tanks aren't intended to be pullers. A striker, with a long bow, has zero issue pulling single mobs. The issue is that mobs agro the player, and don't react to another mob gaining agro.
 

Pelirow

Active Member
Tanks aren't intended to be pullers. A striker, with a long bow, has zero issue pulling single mobs. The issue is that mobs agro the player, and don't react to another mob gaining agro.
I should have been clear, I meant it looked like mobs were actually reacting to other mobs gaining aggro. I would pull a solo mob back to camp and they'd pick up others on the way. I'll have to test it more to make sure it wasn't me getting aggro somehow even though I was well clear.