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Mob AI / Behavior

ai mob behavior aggro

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#1 AsgarZigel


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Posted 07 March 2013 - 11:04 PM

I accidentally started a bit of a discussion on the AI / mob behavior in GW2 in a Question Thread, so I'll relocate the discussion here for anyone is interested.

So, the question is:
What do you think about the AI / aggro mechanics in GW2?
And if you don't like them, how would you change them?

They usually work (for melee mobs at least), by prioritizing proximity and defense, meaning a tanky melee character usually has the attention of the mobs.

It's goes on from this post

Thanks for the rundown on GW1 mechanics, as said I didn't play it very much and even then just with henchmen/heroes.

On your proposal:

What's the role of the tanky character in that scenario?
Ok It's too late for me now to write an in-depth post, but that should be enough to start up the discussion here.
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#2 matsif


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Posted 07 March 2013 - 11:32 PM

in general I have no problem with it at all. The only trouble I have with it is when a boss decides to just lock on to one player and never break aggro off of that player, as that player always ends up being a squishy in my experience.
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#3 Jump_N_Move


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Posted 08 March 2013 - 02:30 AM

Its fair. I don't have any problems with it currently.

Its kinda random though at times which I suspect is due to different boss/foe mechanics and skills. But I've definitely seem bosses stop in the middle of wailing on an ally, look directly at me and try to smack me. HIt or miss they then return to wailing on the usually still stunned ally.
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#4 raspberry jam

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 09:49 AM

On your proposal:

What's the role of the tanky character in that scenario?

IMO the warrior-archetype characters should fulfill the role of an actual battle tank, which is to be one of the most lethal things on the field.
GW1's PvP did this well: warriors had extremely high single-target damage potential, as well as being very flexible since many of their skills incorporated good bar compression. On top of that, stances enabled warriors to switch between high-damage and high-defense modes (and when they were high-damage, they actually had less survivability than a cloth-armor character: Frenzy was one of the most well balanced skills in GW1); this, together with the brilliant adrenaline mechanic, meant that unpredictability was the trait most associated with them.
Anyway, the GW1 PvP warrior's role was to go in and apply damage through autoattack, provide a source of unpredictable interrupts, push the enemy backwards by forcing them to kite, and provide high burst damage during spikes.

I would like to see something similar. "Tanky" characters should be high-damage, perhaps the highest damage on the field: the balance should be that they have to engage in melee to do any damage.
Naturally, that means that positioning should actually mean something in PvE.
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#5 Coren


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Posted 08 March 2013 - 10:48 AM

Overall I'm fine with the current setup, but I miss the GW hardmode agro AI. The mobs used to... Mob the weakest of a party when ever they got the chance.

As it is now, at least noone is safe, but as was already stated, I just hate it when some champions just go for one and only one.
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#6 Swoopeh


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Posted 08 March 2013 - 11:11 AM

I'm not sure, sometimes it seems predictable (warrior/guardian always getting aggro), other times it seems completely random. Generally speaking I think it's sort of okay as the net result generally seems that threat is spread around the party and it doesn't seem to happen often that 1 single character gets the entire pack of mobs on them. But that's from a mesmer point of view, I see people who play thieves and elementalists pretty much dead on every pull as they seem to get aggro much more often, especially without a guardian in the group.

It's an interesting discussion though, on the one hand you don't want to make it too predictable so you end up with requiring a tank (which is sort of happening now with guardians), but you also want to be able to play the rules a bit to deal with threat. I'm not sure that making weaker characters top on the aggro table would be fun with GW2's 1 shot mechanics though, that forces everyone to go full toughness in the end which doesn't make a huge difference anyway. And if everyone's equal then you're back to square 1.

An option might be to give every class have some way of dealing with threat, to momentarily get aggro or shake it, but have the AI be more random than it is now to emphasize team play. There should still be logic in the AI of course, but maybe high DPS should be prioritized over having toughness (how does the mob know how much toughness you have?). Proximity has merit as the AI needs to decide if theres a benefit to walking over to someone else. They should maybe think along the lines of "hey this enemy can take my hits and keeps blocking me, lets go pound that ranged character instead". Could be that currently they just think that if they keep hitting one player they're bound to run out of cooldowns eventually :P

But more options for threat management and kiting would open up more possibilities for dungeon tactics. But thats hard to realise without falling into a sub-trinity of tank - dps - support.
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#7 Trei


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Posted 08 March 2013 - 12:24 PM

There are already many ways for a group to deal with mob aggro.

We can root them, slow them, reduce their accuracy, push them away, pull them away, blind them...
We can also shield or heal our group mate.

The question is do all of us know how and when to?
Do we just find our knockback ability on cooldown at a crucial moment because we had been just spamming it (while complaining that GW2-is-so-spammy!)?

Do we plan beforehand on who will be responsible for defiance clearing to make sure the right CC would hit the boss at the right time when needed?

If a boss consistently go for a particular group mate, why not find a way to counter the situation and turn it into an advantage?

Edited by Trei, 08 March 2013 - 12:24 PM.

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#8 Uhhsam


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Posted 08 March 2013 - 06:08 PM

One of my most memorable fights in recent memory is when I was participating in the Champion Risen Abomination event on the Cursed Shores and the only person the big guy seemed able to see was my poor little ranger. I spent nearly all of the 10 or so minutes of the event running away only to look over my shoulder to find he was standing there about to bash my head in. In my opinion, the way aggro can behave unexpectedly makes this game much more fun than games where you can click a skill to pull aggro.

The way I see it, if your build can tank and the monster is attacking you, then you can tank it. If your build can't tank and the monster is attacking you, then start kiting until your friends kill it or it moves to someone else.

I think it would be interesting, however, if certain enemies focused on different classes/races/genders/etc of players based on lore or logic, such as skritt enemies being more likely to attack someone in heavy armor because it's shiny, or charr enemies being more likely to attack human players, bandits chasing women and harpies chasing men, etc.

I think it's much more fun as it is, though, than to have more reliable ways of manipulating aggro to the party's advantage. With that, every encounter would play out the same.
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#9 Feathermoore



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Posted 08 March 2013 - 07:52 PM

I have had some of the strangest AI experiences. I have had mobs completely stop attacking and run back and forth inbetween two party members, getting almost all the way to one then changing course back the other way without attacking until it dies. I have seen mobs that constantly swap targets and ones that train a single target all day.

For example. On my ele a few days ago, I was running around and ended up drawing the agro of the champion mob. It trained me the entire fight even though it rarely got close enough to swing at me let alone hit me. It didn't matter what we did. I completely stopped using damage skills, threw up my blocking skills, used mist form, crippled, chilled, stunned, rooted, blinded, used a speed boost on myself, knocked it back and it never switched off of me. A thief even AoE stealthed me. The instant my stealth dropped the champ turned and charged strait at me even before I had started doing damage again.
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