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Thread: In answer to some of the feedback to the 14.5 patch

  1. #1

    In answer to some of the feedback to the 14.5 patch

    One of our designers has had a look at some of the feedback to the 14.5 patch, and has been kind enough to share a few thoughts and ideas.

    Read the article and post your comments here.

  2. #2
    Nice to know there are static missions not yet discovered. Hopefully, these will be accessible by the general playerbase and not just those able to kill level 300 boss mobs. This game is in dire need of something for the average player to 'do'. I see it dieing day by day as players find it harder to log in due to boredom and lack of things to 'do'. Tribo and Bobic and Brock are great diversions at the extreme low levels. Living Cyber Armor mission was very well set up for lowbies as well. I just hope some of these static missions that weren't found are applicable to level 140-170 and don't require getting 10 friends together. The Jack Legchopper mission was just kinda stupid. You get 10 people together and kill Jack and don't even get the item you were looking for. Add to that the fact that the items are NoDrop (*sigh*) and you get the equivalent of camping MechDogs only at level 170. The gaming populace is sorely tired of 'FedEx' missions. You got some nice alternatives in-game now. Apply them to static missions for us high level bored players.

    But, all in all, it's good to finally get confirmation that the handful of quests we found as players isn't the sum total of 2 and a half months of patch development time.

    As for the 'warping', I do believe you will fix it. I've got confidence you'll add in a Range limit and a means to Resist being 'summoned' (even if it means 'rooting' yourself. Always remember that one of the keys as a game designer is that every course of action must have a counter measure available to at least a percentage of the player base. The absolute worst thing to put into a game is something that the players have no means of countering. Doing so is inviting liberal usage of the 'F' word. And of course you know I meant 'frustration'.

    Finally, the biggest issue with regard to 'warping' outdoors is NOT the new monters warping you to them, it's ANY monster outdoors warping to you. I emplore, I beg, for one of you designers to play a sniper character and sit at weapon's range at the Eye camp north of 20K and fire off a shot at a single Eye-Q wandering outside the fence. 99% of the time a half dozen Eye's will immediately (I mean 'instantly') be right at your side pounding on you. They warp not over land but often directly through the chain link fence instead of running through the gate and trudging across the ground to attack you. This single bug almost cost you a new subscriber. Hunting outdoors is simply not fun if you shoot something 120 ft away and within the blink of an eye (heh) it's directly next to you.

    The game was so much more fun when you would shoot a Rhinoman and watch him running across the flats to beat on you. Now they just either glide like the Silver Surfer on crack or teleport to you.

    Now, as for the infamous EyeCamp example. If the MOB is too 'dumb' to run to the opening in the fence and run over to kill you, you must NOT continue to let them teleport 80 meters to your side. The only way I will ever accept these teleporting MOB's is if they warp through the fence to the nearest pathing nod and then 'run' to my character. I've had MOB's who get stuck on a pebble in the desert end up at my side in an instant. This is unacceptable. I will allow for him to warp through the pebble and then continue on foot. I won't accept that a pebble on the ground gives the game designers the right to let the monster travel 80 meters instantaneously. That makes the game 'boring'. We need to be able to employ 'tactics' outdoors if we want to see it as an alternative to ACG missions.

    The reason missions are so 'boring' is there is no tactics involved with them. They serve their purpose as providing 'work' for our characters as they 'earn' their levels. Outdoors should be 'fun'. Mobs that can't be run away from or made to run slowly up a hill or around a fence are 'boooooring'.

    I hear you have finally implemented the 'fight or flee' AI at one of the camps. Kudos to you. why should a MOB continue to fight you in a lost cause. Perhaps you can add this to certain hunting spots and ease up on the warping a bit? If I'm at the top of the Rhinoman Valley and shooting at them with my laser beams, I would expect them to scatter if they had no path to reach me. I certainly don't expect them to teleport to me. So consider that rather than teleporting to me, if a MOB can't resolve a path to me and I'm pounding on it with my laser beam, that it instead decides to try to escape with its life.
    Last edited by Bionitrous; Oct 2nd, 2002 at 16:02:50.

  3. #3

    Re: In answer to some of the feedback to the 14.5 patch

    Its very nice we have to find some kind of tactics for fighting hard MOBs but what is excellent tacticsgood for when this MOB warp to me or Iam warped to him....?????
    "Summoning" should be turn off till FC fix it and more importent fix path finding not just for pets but MOBs too.

  4. #4
    About the warping issue. This does also happen in missions, for example one of those rooms with 2 mobs in it. The tank will immediatlely pull one, and as I desperatly attempt to root the other mob, he will just warp through the wall (and my root nano will just blackhole). It's my conclusion that this happens both outside and inside.

    And, I'm pretty sure it wasn't like this always. Using the above eye camp example, I remember hunting there a few weeks after release. With my fixer I used the strategy of the eyes not knowing how to path around the fence to my advantage. Root and run!

    Anyway thanks for the feedback, good to know you are listening!
    Rookie Reno Renegede Raines
    The Madquack
    Enshroud yourself in darkness to escape the fear.
    Various others 176 Enf, 160 Fixer, 150 MP, 140 Agent, 130 Soldier

  5. #5

    Thumbs up

    I am weak, know nothing , I am dying all the time.
    I love it!

  6. #6
    Quote "I personally think nerfs are boring, very boring."
    jonhelgi / designer - AO

    So does that mean that like us all, you find the proposed LLTS nerf boring, very boring?

    In times like this it is very hard to be constructive with our criticism, as im sure you must be able to understand...and you are absolutely right - nerfs ARE boring, very boring, especially when they involve items which YOU as part of the development team promised to leave unchanged. Especially when they involve items which are publicly traded for 200 mill creds at a time...

  7. #7
    Again, I'm happy to read some words from FC !

    Bionitrous, I fully agree, it's very annoying and non realistic. I hate "teleporting mobs" (across lava, water, walls, 50 meters...). If it's a way to avoid exploits, by gathering easy xp without risks, then work on your AI to avoid mobs to be stuck ! (and player pets :-) )

    Circle G Inc. - Your safety is our business.

  8. #8
    Reading these posts made me remember something that might not have anything to do with these things, but jumping is sorta buggy too. When you jump of a high building you drop down really fast for a sec and then drop a little slower ... dun really know how to describe it, but you prolly know what I am talking about
    Jena Loveyou Bunke
    - lvl 200 Doctor - Unit Leader of Storm -
    Spanky Debugged Bunke
    - lvl 171Fixer - Unit Member of Storm -

    Visit Storm at our website

  9. #9
    Great to hear from a developer for a change, not that I don't like Cz or Cosmik Being too 'young' to try out all the new camps and added features in 14.5, I can only look forward to participating in those raids later. Also it's nice to note that the 14.5.1. patch actually adjusted some of the 14.5 content, based on actual player feedback
    Bret 'Bothead' Bannister
    Member of Rising Phoenix

  10. #10
    "Crowd control has been made harder on these NPCs as well, harder but not impossible. Some are resistant to different calms or charms, others have resists against certain movement restricting nanos, but all of them can be controlled in some way. It was never my intention to make Bureaucrats useless, but one of the things I really wanted to accomplish with for example the mercenary camp in Easter Fouls Plains (EFP) was to create the need for large, well disciplined teams that employing the skills of multiple professions."

    gee i guess that means you meant to take the nt out of the game tho?

    dont we crowd controll?

    opr is this just one more example and proof of how little the designers feel about NT's
    "death comes slowly to those who anticipate it and swiftly to the unconcerned" Richard Pyott

    You want a duel?.......Go play chess
    You want honor?......Go serve your country in the military

    First pistol crat to reach Chief.

    Proud follower of the Mexican Hat Band Cult.

  11. #11
    gee i guess that means you meant to take the nt out of the game tho?
    where did he say that? Think he was just using crats as an example

    Making players having to think about tactics is a good thing, making these mobs difficult to kill is a good thing. They (FC) are trying to provide a challenge, I fear what many people wanted was a handout equal to the ease with which they farm exp from team missions.

    Just because the extra content is hard doesn't make it bad. Yes, the exp is out of whack, but its being looked at...

  12. #12
    Good post by FC, and great reply about "warping" by Bionitrous.
    ::. Anarchin, OT Fixer, Legion .::

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynyah
    The difference is that you dont need a brain to camp things

  13. #13
    Very good article.

    It is really nice to know that some 14.5 features have not been discovered yet... at last a bit research in this game, far from the absurd queue in front of Commander Brock for example (where people used to take the quest as if they bought a coke in a shop )

    Way to go FC !

    - Fixer (Doer) -

    Advisor of A.I.R

  14. #14
    Many props to FC for going about the patch reviews this way, and having a developer give his appraisal on the situation...and a very good appraisal it was!

    Keep on tickin', FC!
    --The connections that enable us to learn are infinitely more important than our state of knowing.

  15. #15
    Seriously, picture this. You are on one side of a deep trench of deadly lava. If you try to walk across the lava you take 10K damage per second. (Like you used to before they nerfed lava and radiation pools).

    Now on the other side is a big Tiger cat. It's smart enough to know it will die if it goes in the lava.

    So you start shooting at it with your laser beam.

    If you were a smart Tiger cat, what would you do?


    If I was that Tiger cat, I'd put my tail between my legs and head for the hills. I'd probably holler to my packmates that there was an evil man with a laser beam on the other side of the hot fire river.

    On Rubi'Ka you would simply click your Ruby-slippered heels together three times and you'd end up on the other side of the lava.

    Outdoor hunting as attempted to be improved in 14.5 needs a lot more than various 'encounters' in order to be 'fixed'. The basic mechanics of individual AI, group AI, species specialization AI, MOB pathing, group patrol mechanics, etc. ALL need to be worked on.

    The Rhinomen were about the best we had it until they started teleporting all around the planet to punish those 'exploiting' badpeeple above the valley.

    However, that said, the Rhinomen are still basically a disgrace to game design nonetheless. A mindless collection of random sub-types that wander around the desert mindlessly. Seriously take a step back and look at the situation with the Rhinomen and you will be ashamed if you worked on that portion of the game. And you should be ashamed. If only for not realizing that what you were creating wasn't a social group of Rhinomen who inhabit a notch in a rock formation but rather a bunch of randomly popping x's, y's, z's, q's, and m's that float around mindlessly in the Newland Desert playfield waiting to get killed.

    Now imagine that 3 Bashers, 2 Smashers, 2 Shamans, and a Mystic leave from the camp every hour. They walk past their Rhinoman guards in the valley and enter the desert. They march towards the Oasis in formation and pass Scouts along the way. They get to the Oasis and proceed to kill every Direseed, Parspalum, and other Plant that is present and take one full circle around the watering hole before marching back to their camp.

    They basically left camp for some food (Rhinos are plant eaters) scouted out their secondary water source and brought home a few containers worth to supplement their camp source of water.

    Now, when you attack this group here's the funny part. The Shamans will heal whatever group member is hurt the most (including themselves). The mystics will root you and stun you. The Bashers and Smashers will do what they do best. If the group of Rhinos has a 'runner', he will immediately start making awful sounds and start heading back on a set path to the canyon. Any Rhino in hearing range of the 'runner' will head to the coordinates relayed by the 'runner' and engage any hostiles by inheriting the hatelist of any live Rhinomen they encounter along the way.

    Get it?

    That is NOT that difficult of an AI implementation task. Drop me some code snippets and I'll point to where to start adding flags, fields, and procedure calls. DAoC incorporates a lot of this already (patrol routes, scouts, running for help, ...). AO has the advantage of being able to incorporate a lot of this into a more realistic and believable world. The overhead on your servers should be minimal as 15 Rhinos being told where to march through the desert ought not to compare in any fashion with the resources demanded by 200 ACG missions being run simulataneously.

    The payback in implementing outdoor hunting 'completely' (not only adding 'encounters' but scripting them properly) could very well be another 'Game of the Year' award. As it stands now you just put a bunch of Boss Rooms outside.

    Obviously, you can't have General Vyvyaan or whatever the name is 'run away' when the proud 50 people finally get it to a sliver of it's health. That's bad gameplay. However, I've always been partial to (and pleasantly surprised by) attempts to surrender by opponents in other RPG's. Say you got this guy to 10% of his life. He then starts hollering 'Stop! Stop fighting and we can talk!'. He could offer you lucrative loot to buy his safety and your silence regarding his 'defeat'. In this instance, I could accept if he decides to shout that he's going to make a run for his 'shuttle pod' if you continue to take him below 5%. Then the attackers had best have a gauntlet set up to take out his final 5% of life before he gets in his Gunship and speeds away.

    3 possible outcomes for the group:

    1. Let him 'surrender' and choose some loot he offers.
    2. Kill him off and loot his body. Maybe better loot such as his 'personal' gear.
    3. He gets away. Encounter lost. But, you gave it a shot and will be back next time you hear he's in town.

    So much more than the increasingly played and hated 'kill MobX -> Get item Y'.

    You want a report card on 14.5 regarding outdoor hunting? I give it a straight D-. As far as setting in place venues where the proper enhancements can lead to truly engaging 'hunting', it might even bump up to a B. It's just that these encounters are just more of the same old crap. Monsters wandering around like idiots with no purpose waiting to get killed. Regardless as to whether they are 'powerful' or 'weak', they are still just stupid X's and Y's wandering around with purpose other than to die at our hands.

    I honestly don't think you guys ever played UO. Otherwise I guarantee this game would have been a runaway hit with your creativity and some background in a game that has staying power.

    The reason I bring up UO is because of the Wisps that you would encounter outdoors. These were friendly buggers that would actually help you (I guess like wandering Guards in AO terms). Take my situation above of the Rhinomen and imagine trading some Rough-cut Plant Parts to one of the passing Rhinos. Now imagine he helps you fight things at the Oasis for a while. Or simply imagine roaming Guards that might take a break to help you every so often. Outdoors needs to be something 'different'. Not just more mission mobs without their little cubicles.

    Finally, we need something besides killing more crap. We're all getting sick to death of killing crap in this game. That seems to be all we do is kill crap. I'll take you back to UO once again to one of what everyone can agree was the most fun things to do in that game: treasure hunts. Translate it into AO terms however you like. But deciphering a map capsule and assembling some buddies to go scout out the location of some hidden treasure and defeating whatever traps the former owner put in place to protect it was never, ever, anything other than a great social (or often solo) event.

    14.5 was NOT a patch that fixed outdoor hunting. If anything, it only set the players on the table. The game hasn't begun because the mechanics are broken or the tools haven't even been created yet.

    I seriously hope you developers don't sit on 14.5 and think you came anywhere NEAR finishing the job.

    But, if this is to be considered a start, then you did good.
    Last edited by Bionitrous; Oct 2nd, 2002 at 18:14:48.

  16. #16

    Thumbs up Well said (again) Bionitrous !!!

    I would love to *bump* this post as an example of INTELLIGENT feedback.


    I agree with your assesment of outdoor mobs and their A.I. At the moment, it is a pitiful affair. The lastest changes allowing a mob to 'warp' to one's side is laughable until you're killed by it's army of friends (also equipped with the new and improved 14.5 warp drive).

    I also would like to second the motion for SMART pathing/scripting of mob groups—the Rhinoman foraging example was PERFECT.

    Funcom, if you ever do read this forum again (my hope is that you don't ignore this thread now that you've posted a response) please take Bionitrous' suggestions to heart. His gameplay ideas would DEFINITELY grab more game time from my schedule.
    take from life what is pure and for living what is sufficient

  17. #17
    There are certain problems with this [feature], but we have been working on fixing it and I promise: When we manage to get this to work the way it is intended, you will be the first to know!
    Imagine the feature is a car air bag.

    ReetHead "Karrd"
    First to "hand make" Custom Refs.
    President of the late Fixer Coalition
    Member of Storm
    Impatiently waiting to enter the shadow

  18. #18

    Way ahead of youre self.....

    Ok, yea this is all fine and dandy, but I'm sorry there are so many more issues that need to be addressed before you start thinking about uber-mega-high level camp attack tatics. Now lets look at some basic fixes that need to be added. I would like to first point out one of the most picked on classes in all of AO, the Soldigers, these poor dudes dont have anything but sheilds and some semi useless dammage multiplyers and healh boost, and let me get this streight? You lowered their cuffs to 17%!? So you just gimped the most gimped class in the game even more. And now you want to take away their scopes? Thats just wrong, shame on all of you.

  19. #19
    Originally posted by Bionitrous
    As it stands now you just put a bunch of Boss Rooms outside.

    Originally posted by One of our designers
    Some of these guys are very tricky indeed, and people wanting to kill them will need to gather a lot of equipment and knowledge in order to succeed.

    Another thing I wanted to do was to make things hard enough so that players needed to come up with some group tactics, a battle plan.
    its one of those things that just sounds good on paper but is never accomplished
    ReetHead "Karrd"
    First to "hand make" Custom Refs.
    President of the late Fixer Coalition
    Member of Storm
    Impatiently waiting to enter the shadow

  20. #20

    Good points but some of it it harks back to the way players react to spawns. The reason there isn't set patterns to spawns in the wild is largely because players would camp the exact spawn point. In the example you gave I would put good money on that rhinoman convoy only leaving its camp once or twice out of ten spawns.

    Likewise players would know what spawns when and where, that would be boring, instant camping scenario again.

    In terms of AI, what is most needed is for mobs to run and alert others close by, not just sit there inanely and die. It would add an extra element to outdoor hunting. It's not possible in missions as it make them next to impossible given how close they are, but outside it would be cool if a stragler could run to the next camp and bring it's mate back to help.

    The reaction of the players shapes the way the designers implement things.

    We do not want static spawns in AO, the dyna camps are a fairly decent compromise in that no particular item drops in a particular place, that would be bad, very bad.

    I like the random aspect of outdoor spawns

    That's not to say they can't be improved, they can, the risk vs reward when compared to team missions is out of whack. I know that it shouldn't be better (as then folk would just stop team missioning and we'd be back to square one ) but it needs to be better balanced, perhaps having different loot tables indoor and out so that there was a real incentive to do either.

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