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Thread: Group PF Design and Loot Changes

  1. #1

    Group PF Design and Loot Changes

    Note: This is a long one. The headings alone should give you a good idea of the main concepts, the text after each heading just explains them more fully.

    As they are PFs tend to be very predictable as you know what will show up where and when, the layout and what all the mobs are like. This allows for detailed guides and makes doing them multiple times more dull.

    The way things in general are with loot for a well equipped char or group of chars is that getting to and killing the mob/mobs in question isn't too hard. The only "hard" part is being lucky enough to get the item you wanted to drop and being the one allowed to loot it. Then the only way to increase your odds of getting the items you want is to limit the number of people you're teamed with. This is why people focus on those tiny ideal teams and people have a harder time getting pick-up teams if their not one of those few wanted profs.

    The task should be the hard part, because of how things are getting things is more a matter of how much luck, time and credits you have. It's more rewarding to complete a difficult task than to get lucky on a drop after doing the zone/kill some 10-30+ times knowing you may need to do the same with other chars later. Also it's discouraging when others get lucky and got the item within the first few times through or skipped doing the PF by buying loot rights.

    This thread is about addressing those problems and related issues.


    Random Mob Attributes:
    Not knowing what to expect from a mob makes for a more interesting fight, RK dyna mobs are like that to an extent. Mobs rather than being walking health bars could be given various random attributes per spawn group.
    • Various shields which could be refreshed during the fight (including AMS).
    • Offensive and defensive auras.
    • Can use weapon specials.
    • Various attack nanos.
    • Boosted health or use of health buffs.
    • Can self heal and/or heal other mobs.
    • High AAO or AAD.
    • High NR and/or high resistance to immunity to certain offensive nano lines.
    • High conceal, starts in sneak mode and may go back in sneak mode if not attacked.
    • Various types of procs.
    • etc...

    No mob would have all of these of course but certain combos would be nastier than others.

    Random Mob Spawns:
    What would happen is there would be numerous potential spawn locations. Although each time only a portion of them would be used. Then at those locations there could be one or more mob group types spawned. In some cases rather than just being at a location a spawn could be triggered. Such as once you get a group of mobs down to half their numbers reinforcements could rush in or appear somehow. Or when you walk to a certain point one group pops up or out of sneak from behind you and another in front. Then at times there could be roaming groups of mobs which may roam in sneak mode. This way you can never be sure when and where you'll be attacked so you always need to be on alert.

    Mobs need not always be the traditional type.
    • Stationary weapons
      • Typical mission/SL statics turrets.
      • LE player turrets.
      • Missile launchers where the missiles can aside from damage do things such as knock back, AoE damage, stun, root, snare, etc..
    • Heal towers.
    • Similar to NW towers with various AoE debuffs to players and buffs to mobs.
    • Root/snare towers.
    • Mines that do damage or AoE damage and/or have debuffs.
    • etc...

    Some of these could also pop up at some point either once you get close enough or due to some other trigger. Then some such as mines could be hidden.

    Mobs Scale According to Group Size:
    How many mobs in a group, how many random attributes they have and how many multiple collected group spawns would be decided by the group size. Then the PFs could have both a min and max number of players allowed in the group. This way it can both be done and remain roughly as challenging with a small group as with a large one. Organization of the group would be important though, especial with a large group. This adds another element of variation to the PF as well.

    The Zones:

    Just the Original Group Gets in and Stays In:
    Rather than just being in the group and going in one extra step could be added. One person would talk to a NPC or terminal of some kind and be given a mission that is given to those in your team or raid group. Everyone then gets a temporary nodrop mission key (so once you leave, you can't get back in) and only those original members will get it.

    The reasons for this is to enforce the content be done to get the rewards, prevents abuse of the scaling aspect and could ensure you would need to do it more than once to get all the possible rewards. It also provides a way to gain a straight completion reward like XP, SK, AXP, tokens, reward items and other things rather than all gains being strictly loot related. Rather than a door the exit could be something you use followed by a verification pop-up to make sure people don't leave by mistake.

    Different Difficulty Options:
    This is something that would be harder to apply to older PFs than to newer ones. For newer ones you could be told something like...
    There is a division of Dustbrigade/aliens/etc... that is of interest to us/causing trouble. This division is split into three groups under three different commands each of different strengths. We don't care which you go after but the ones under higher ranking commands would be both more difficult and more rewarding.
    Selecting higher difficulties would give mobs things like better versions of their attributes, higher AR, higher DEF and additional numbers. In return the boss or bosses would drop more of their loot, there would be more general mobs for more general loot and mission rewards would be higher. This means they don't need to make one size fits all PFs so better equipped chars can take on a harder version for greater rewards.

    Semi-Randomized Layout:
    Rather than being exactly the same each time the layout of the PF could offer some degree of variation. This could be through multiple set layouts or a sort of building block design like how mission areas are generated from a set of defined parts.

    Player Respawning Inside the PF:
    Should they die players would pop back up near the start of the PF in a safe location like a small room. To get out they'd need to use an exit button then to be nice about it perhaps they could add something that can be used to help regenerate their health and nano. Then another button to leave the PF if they want to give up could be added.


    Collect Parts, Not the Complete Item:
    Rather than just hoping the item you want drops it would be better if you instead needed to collect a number of parts to build an end item, traded them in for one and/or traded parts in for other parts to make one. Some parts could be components in multiple items while others could be deciding items that determine what you get (sort of like AI armour). Some items could be traded around between players, others nodrop, some unique and a few nodrop unique. So you can't just collect them all in one go nodrop unique items combined with items you need to get outside the PF (the access pass is temporary so if you left you couldn't get back in) could be required.

    As loot items would not need to be rare with this system while you would need to do it multiple times it wouldn't be the hope and pray method we have now where you generally get little if anything out of the PF. Instead each time you do it you know you're getting closer to your goal and said goal is not some far off in the distance goal which makes things less frustrating. This along with other things means you don't need to fight over drops nearly as much if at all so severely limiting participant numbers to improve your odds would not be nearly as important to people.

    Raid Points for Other Parts/Rewards:
    With the completion of the PF mission/s you could be awarded raid points (listed on your char info window with your other points) for each PF or PF group or some sort of stackable nodrop raid award tokens. If you did higher difficulties you'd also get more of these raid points/tokens. These then could be traded in to a NPC for items, parts to make items, special buffs, sided tokens or other such things. This means you'd need to do the PF multiple times to get certain items then still have a reason to do them when you have all your desired items.

    Parts Spread Over Multiple PFs:
    Rather than just doing one PF over and over some items could have its component parts spread over multiple PFs. Then rather than only adding items with new PFs they could add items at random this way to PFs providing another reason to do old content.

  2. #2

  3. #3
    I made some similar notes about a week ago in the thread about testing the Dark Ruins instance for playability.

    Since playfields like that are instanced on demand, and exist only when an instance is set up for a specific character or group of characters, they don't have to be a "one size fits all" kind of thing, especially when that approach doesn't work to begin with (like with Dark Ruins, which, at least in part, is too easy for some professions and impossible to complete for others).

    While I wouldn't pretend as if I knew anything about how playfields, instancing and mob spawning works, I'd guess that a dynamic spawn system (alternative/additional spawn locations, different number and type of mobs per spawn, mob types and level adjusted depending on player profession and level) based on the character(s) entering the playfield should be far from impossible to implement in a reasonable amount of time.

    Dynamic set up of the map/layout of the playfield itself would probably be more problematic as it would require creating several different versions of the whole playfield map (which would also considerably inflate the client resource file size), or reworking them into a "modular" design to allow interconnection of randomly selected pieces into the actual map for the given personal instance.

    I think even just the dynamic spawning would make a huge difference and add a noticeable replay value to the currently static instanced encounters.

    "All things point to that they didn't play to win, but for the game itself and to play well. ... Later in their evolution, they forgot all about playing and having fun. When their corrupted minds only cared for what new ways they could gain power, there was no room for the simple things in life."
    - One Who Will Always Listen
    "Hope is the first step on the road to disappointment."
    - Librarian Isador Aikos, W40k: Dawn of War
    "If you want to make enemies... try to change something."
    - Adam Jensen, Deus Ex: Human Revolution

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Honorbound View Post
    I made some similar notes about a week ago in the thread about testing the Dark Ruins instance for playability.
    I mentioned various aspects of this in two threads over a month ago, a FWoM thread and one on removing loot right sales. I then took little pokes at working on this now and then after that. Mostly it's just a combination of PFs and missions with adjustments to loot gains.

    Quote Originally Posted by Honorbound View Post
    While I wouldn't pretend as if I knew anything about how playfields, instancing and mob spawning works, I'd guess that a dynamic spawn system
    They'd decide on how many spawns a player count and difficulty selection results in. Then can let a random number generator pick locations and such with some restrictions. Mission areas seem to use a similar function when you think about it but deal with individual spawns rather than groups.

    Quote Originally Posted by Honorbound View Post
    Dynamic set up of the map/layout of the playfield itself would probably be more problematic
    Not really. When you look at most PFs they tend to be valleys, tunnels or big areas that balloon out here and there. Those are more straight forward than generated mission areas as they combine a number of different types of rooms which can have multiple doors and interconnecting hallways. The scale is what differs more than anything. It's various dungeons that tend to be quite involved.

  5. #5
    some good ideas. may be too randomish (death comboz inc !).
    Bitnykk/Bittorrent - young RL of AP & old emissary of CODE

  6. #6
    Most of these ideas are already in the original vanilla AO to some extent. I liked the developments that where proposed by the OP. And liked especially that if some of these ideas where implemented it would revive the game and put old and new playing the game again.

    Gustatus similis pullus.

  7. #7
    why isn't this bumped more? Wtb more specials/ conceal / random action from the mobs as suggested here, very good ideas
    Nijushio - 220/30 - semi-retired MA
    Nijutech - 220/29 - funny Engi
    Sabrezor - 170/24 - bored Advy
    Sabrezap - 150/20 - confused fixi

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