A more dynamic threat system: A proposal to enhance the difficulty and experience of Mobs/Dungeons

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    • A more dynamic threat system: A proposal to enhance the difficulty and experience of Mobs/Dungeons

      Hello everyone, this is my 1st in a series of 5 "Fundamental Game Suggestions From a Newb Perspective".
      Read my second on Making Gathering a Teamwork activity - Here
      my third on adding in story - Here
      my fourth on Achievements - Here
      and my final one on earlier PvP - Here



      The Problem
      Currently, the PvE dungeon experience is pretty bland (as far as I can tell) and offers a non-unique experience on subsequent playthroughs (bad for a game which requires farming). Hopefully the changes shown in the Jan. 23rd dev recap will be enough to revitalize the PvE experience. However I wanted to focus on a particular role that is currently on it's most basic level: the Tank. The current meta seems to be for a single play style of tanks, with little room for any deviation in the role. A well coordinated group in PvE can most likely make use of the kiting technique with a high DPS character to remove any need for a tank on their team at all.

      The Status Quo
      Currently the threat system involves the following, as far as I'm able to understand it (let me know if I'm missing something):

      1. Players entering the aggro range of the hostile mobs
      2. HPS (heals per second) - Although this is in the game, it almost never draws the attention of mobs over the following 3 components
      3. Players dealing the first attack
      4. Players dealing the most DPS
      5. Further "Threat" supplements from tank abilities (Taunt, Shield, etc.)


      Under this system the goal of the Tank is to deal enough damage such that their DPS x their Threat supplements is higher than the DPS of their party's highest DPS character. In order to achieve this a tank gathers a mob (pulls them) and then deals an AoE attack to the mob to draw as much threat as possible before allowing the DPS toons to start wailing on the gathered mob. About only half of tank all tank weapons have an AoE attack, and fewer also have additional survivability, or an appropriate CC action, which is why the Flail has gained such a dominance.

      An Interesting Personal Experience
      There is also, of course, the option of using a party without a tank altogether. Which just so happens to be something I did with @Frostorm and a few other in Sleet just yesterday, to a pretty comedic effect. Falling short on tanks we decided to simply enlist another DPS. Frostorm then proceeded to draw aggro by using AoE DPS spells, and then running around the rest of the party while the unruly PvE mob followed him. Given he had the high initial damage burst, the mobs ignored the rest of the party and continued to chase the kiting Frostorm. Ranged mobs were less likely to fall into the kite trap, but were still easily disposed of by the full ranged party.

      Proposed Modifications to the Threat System
      In order to fix this problem, changing the threat system (rather than weapons) is the best way to do this without upsetting any sort of balance.

      The new threat system should work from a wider number of variables, including the following:

      1. Everything from the above list
      2. Proximity
      3. CC
      4. SPS (spells per second - A good variable to control difficulty of interrupt mobs)
      5. Average power level
      6. Speed
      7. Total Health (both low and high)
      Each mob should be given a tolerance level for each of the variables (e.g. some mobs are more likely to attack those who deal the most DPS while others are more likely to attack the healers and some will attack whoever is closest). Each of the monsters within the mob should be assigned a random value within that tolerance level so that they each respond differently depending on the composition and actions of the exploring party.

      What This Will Accomplish
      PvE will become much more difficult as the mobs will become harder to predict, and this difficulty can be controlled by strategy as opposed to number inflation and heavy AoE bosses. PvE can gain a sense of progression as the mobs begin to act more intelligently at higher tier dungeons (targeting HPS first, a common tactic in PvP, so as to destabilize a party dependent on it's healers). Tanking will become more of an art rather than a science, as tanks will now need to judge the best way to draw aggro and how to pull mobs on the fly and opens a wider range of PvE tank builds. Combat, even in the same dungeon with the same party, will be different with every encounter due to the addition of random values which will make farming dungeons more interesting. A quality tank will be more essential in high tier dungeons.

      Further Additions
      A "willingness to chase" variable should be added to mobs. Currently they will chase an aggroed player until they reach their maximum leash distance at which point they run back to their spawn point with reset health. Obviously this system is to prevent abuse of people dragging mobs to locations where they'd rather fight them.

      With the willingness to chase variable mobs can choose to follow a player for longer or shorter, based on a number of factors including remaining of the target, the health of the mob, and the availability of other nearby stationary targets. The current maximum leash system can stay in place, but ought to be expanded to allow for a more dynamic push and pull of the mobs.

      Games That use This System
      A similar combat style is employed in Guild Wars 1 PvE in the Hard Mode missions. Normal mode missions resembled a threat system that is what is currently in place on AO. With the addition of HM to the game, it quickly became the favored way for people to play the game, and offered a refreshing take on a lot of older content in the game.

      Thank You for Reading!
      If you have any suggestions, counter-arguments, or feel that omitted any important information, please feel free to let me know!

      Dieser Beitrag wurde bereits 3 mal editiert, zuletzt von Endymion () aus folgendem Grund: Was corrected by Substanz_D on the number of available AoE tank weapons.

    • Some missunderstandings:

      Heals per second does draw aggro, albeit the aggro generation seems to be lower then dps generation. One could test this by getting vision aggro and let the healer heal. Monsters will immideatly turn on them.


      Generally every tank weaponline has a aoe ability. Tank weapons do have a taunt on the w-spell slot, atleast in my definition. Thus quarterstaff, mace, swords and hammers are what I consider "tank" weapons.
      Almost all hammer types have a aoe, the onehanded artifact sword/dual swords/ aswell as the hellgate sword have an aoe available too them, every quarterstaff has aoe on the e-slot. So availability of aoe is plenty, wich shouldn't be the deciding factor why the mace(flail) is so popular.

      Flail has one thing that no other tank weapons is able to offer. Longest lockdown of mobs disregarding resistance (cc) combined with a high threat generation (per root tick) and a pull. Combine this with the fact that raid bosses are a fame per hour loss, aswell as general loot issues, we have come to realize that fame farming is a chore and is best done with huge aoe pulls of trash instead.

      Needlessly to say flail excels at those scenarios, a pull, a root that creates aggro, a q-slot that enhances defenses. It has everything people will need. Other tank weapons cant deliver anything remotly close too the current meta in fame farming.

      If lets say the meta will change so that boss killing (open world/raid) will generate the biggest fame per hour, you could see sword and shield tanks become meta, or any other 1h weapon+shield.

      What I am trying to get at is that the way of generating easy solid fame, even the best fame per hour is by pulling masses of monsters and aoe them down. This won't change after buffs too other tank weapons. The only way of making them more attractive is by giving them options like flail. Something that would overall kill diversity and I would disagree with such an aproach.

      My intention is not to argue against the fact that alot of tank weapons are weaker in a general state then others, I am just trying to get too the core of the problem first =)

      Too ur proposed changes of threat generation. Yes please. Simple as that. Adding more complexity in the dull pve experience is something that benefits everyone in the long run. I have played GW1 and the hc mode used too be a breath of fresh air.

      Good post keep em coming
    • Substanz_D schrieb:

      Some missunderstandings:

      Heals per second does draw aggro, albeit the aggro generation seems to be lower then dps generation. One could test this by getting vision aggro and let the healer heal. Monsters will immideatly turn on them.
      Sounds like it would be even easier than I thought for the devs to make the changes so that higher tier mobs value it more.
      Generally every tank weaponline has a aoe ability. Tank weapons do have a taunt on the w-spell slot, atleast in my definition. Thus quarterstaff, mace, swords and hammers are what I consider "tank" weapons.
      Almost all hammer types have a aoe, the onehanded artifact sword/dual swords/ aswell as the hellgate sword have an aoe available too them, every quarterstaff has aoe on the e-slot. So availability of aoe is plenty, wich shouldn't be the deciding factor why the mace(flail) is so popular.

      Flail has one thing that no other tank weapons is able to offer. Longest lockdown of mobs disregarding resistance (cc) combined with a high threat generation (per root tick) and a pull. Combine this with the fact that raid bosses are a fame per hour loss, aswell as general loot issues, we have come to realize that fame farming is a chore and is best done with huge aoe pulls of trash instead.

      Needlessly to say flail excels at those scenarios, a pull, a root that creates aggro, a q-slot that enhances defenses. It has everything people will need. Other tank weapons cant deliver anything remotly close too the current meta in fame farming.

      If lets say the meta will change so that boss killing (open world/raid) will generate the biggest fame per hour, you could see sword and shield tanks become meta, or any other 1h weapon+shield.

      What I am trying to get at is that the way of generating easy solid fame, even the best fame per hour is by pulling masses of monsters and aoe them down. This won't change after buffs too other tank weapons. The only way of making them more attractive is by giving them options like flail. Something that would overall kill diversity and I would disagree with such an aproach.
      You're absolutely right. I was trying to look at some old wikis on my phone to research some builds, failed to notice that some of the weapons only have one aoe subtype, which is fine. I'll update my first post to-morrow. Thanks for helping me stay factual :)
    • Endymion schrieb:

      Each mob should be given a tolerance level for each of the variables (e.g. some mobs are more likely to attack those who deal the most DPS while others are more likely to attack the healers and some will attack whoever is closest). Each of the monsters within the mob should be assigned a random value within that tolerance level so that they each respond differently depending on the composition and actions of the exploring party.
      ..This ain't actually bad at all. +1

    • Targun schrieb:

      SPS (spells per second - A good variable to control difficulty of interrupt mobs)

      this is wrong - sps doesnt directly translate on how much the player affects the battle.
      No point in penalizyng hi sps players just because of how their spells are designed.
      I wasn't suggesting that the threat system be designed to target players who are "most influential in battle" but rather to make PvE more difficult for the party as a whole.

      The point of SPS (as noted) is to control the difficulty of mobs that cast interrupt spells, the logic being that the more spells someone casts the easier they should be to interrupt, and thus destabilize the party as a whole.

      There are two ways the AI might work on these mobs (and we'd need @Korn to verify which one it is)

      The first is that the mobs will cast interrupt spells at random, even if the player is not casting. In this case the SPS should actually be a modified value of time spent casting rather than actual number of spells. In this scenario it makes the mob interrupt much more likely to land, and increases its overall difficulty.

      In the second case a mob will cast an interrupt when the player it is targeting casts a spell. In this case the mob will always land their interrupt when they cast it. By targeting highest SPS it means the mob is more likely to cast its interrupt and will interrupt more spells overall, thereby increasing its difficulty.

      For mobs that do not have interrupt spells, you are right that SPS should not have influence in the threat system.
    • So. Lets say i am using full plate armor, but i have on a non warrior weapon. staff, bow, ect.
      and also not wearing a shield.

      Lets say i ignore the 'taunt' ability in plate chest.
      I am unfamiliar with warrior abilities from warrior type weapons. Lets say i want to draw some aggro at different points during a dungeon raid.
      If healers or dps start taking on too much dmg.

      What is the best way to go about this? Get near a monster? Start hitting the monster with as much DPS as i can?
      What can i do to draw the attention of the mob best? What is it based on, what can i do if i have little to no 'warrior tank' abilities from my gear?
      using AoE abilities, high damage abilities? Do those draw the attention most, how effective can you be to draw aggro without those 'tank abilities' from gear?
      what gets a mobs attention most if i do not have 'taunt' or other tank specific skills slotted?
    • I played games with these "advanced" threat mechanics that you describe. And I hated it.

      I would argue that such a system forces the devs to make all encounters very bland. If a cloth user will get aggro from a mob, that mob will have to deal kind of low damage. This forces the devs to make encounters that can't oneshot the DPS/healer. Which in turn will make fights VERY trivial if the tank actually manages to keep aggro, since he won't take any damage.

      A big no. Try to actually play the games that have your aggro mechanics. They are horrible, and people hate the PvE in those games.

      **EDIT**
      Also you completely misunderstood how aggro currently works. I have a hard time taking a suggestion serious when your description of the current mechanics is wrong.
      https://forum.albiononline.com/index.php/Thread/82954-Guide-What-order-to-level-items-in-to-get-the-most-specialization-for-your-time/
    • Stravanov schrieb:

      I played games with these "advanced" threat mechanics that you describe. And I hated it.

      I would argue that such a system forces the devs to make all encounters very bland. If a cloth user will get aggro from a mob, that mob will have to deal kind of low damage. This forces the devs to make encounters that can't oneshot the DPS/healer. Which in turn will make fights VERY trivial if the tank actually manages to keep aggro, since he won't take any damage.

      A big no. Try to actually play the games that have your aggro mechanics. They are horrible, and people hate the PvE in those games.

      **EDIT**
      Also you completely misunderstood how aggro currently works. I have a hard time taking a suggestion serious when your description of the current mechanics is wrong.
      The threat mechanics have been changed 3-4 times since I originally posted this thread ;)

      IMHO threat mechanics have been going to a far more boring and bland system over the last year.

      Nowadays: You have plate? Great, you have aggro. Healer heals the plate guy, and the dps waits for the plate guy to hit them before doing whatever the hell they want.

      The fun in the PvE then comes from adapting to different mobs, discovering the best ways to pull/mitigate aggro with your specific team comp and pulling the situation out from the gutter when it goes to fuck all.

      I can tell you as a healer PvE is so boring with the current threat mechanics I can pretty much fall asleep and still keep the party alive. Standing in Caerleon and dropping time corridors on the ground is actually more challenging gameplay.
    • Endymion schrieb:

      Stravanov schrieb:

      I played games with these "advanced" threat mechanics that you describe. And I hated it.

      I would argue that such a system forces the devs to make all encounters very bland. If a cloth user will get aggro from a mob, that mob will have to deal kind of low damage. This forces the devs to make encounters that can't oneshot the DPS/healer. Which in turn will make fights VERY trivial if the tank actually manages to keep aggro, since he won't take any damage.

      A big no. Try to actually play the games that have your aggro mechanics. They are horrible, and people hate the PvE in those games.

      **EDIT**
      Also you completely misunderstood how aggro currently works. I have a hard time taking a suggestion serious when your description of the current mechanics is wrong.
      The threat mechanics have been changed 3-4 times since I originally posted this thread ;)
      No they didn't. The fact that you claim that implies that one of two things is the case:
      1) You dont know what you're talking about
      2) Youre too bad at basic conversation to accurately understand and communitate

      Which ever is the case, its very hard to take you or your suggestions serious.
      https://forum.albiononline.com/index.php/Thread/82954-Guide-What-order-to-level-items-in-to-get-the-most-specialization-for-your-time/
    • @Stravanov

      *sigh* , making me dig through old patch notes.

      Talion schrieb:

      Hammers:

      • Removed the Threat Generation Passive

      Maces:
      • Removed the Threat Generation Passive

      Quarter Staffs:
      • Removed the Threat Generation Passive

      Swords:
      • Removed the Threat Generation Passive
      Armors:
      • Plate Armors Now have an additional 200% Health Regen Bonus out of combat
      • Threat Bonus Factors:
        • Soldier Armor: 1.4 -> 4
        • Knight Armor: 1.45 -> 4.25
        • Guardian Armor: 1.5 -> 4.5
        • Removed the Threat Bonus from all Cloth- & Leather Armor

      PrintsKaspian schrieb:



        • Arcane Protection:
          If the target wears any plate armor, the target's threat generation is doubled. If the target wears any other armor, the target's threat generation is halved.

      • Quarterstaffs:
        • Hurricane
          Now also makes you the top threat target for every mob hit.

      Axolotl schrieb:


      • Fixed an issue where shielding abilities were generating more mob aggro than intended

      Talion schrieb:

      Armors:

      • Taunt:
        • Additional aggro creation around the caster: 100 -> 200

      Additionally during the last year they added that shielding will draw aggro equal to healing done and they changed aggro mechanics on chests/mobcamps, on mobs that are resetting and for players that log in, are downed or go Invis but I haven't been able to find the patchnotes where these are mentioned.

      If I were to describe the threat mechanics as they are now it would be as such:

      Threat is generated by:
      1. Entering the mobs aggro radius
      2. Damaging mobs
      3. Healing or shielding a player that is a target of a mob
      4. Using taunt

      The threat from damaging mobs can be boosted by using some abilities or wearing plate armor.

      Pray tell what is wrong with that assessment of current theat mechanics?

      There have been a few boss mobs that have been added into the game in the last year as well that have some certain spells which are the exception to the basic threat mechanics, and in every instance these bosses are considered to be the hardest in Albion, each of them drawing from some of the suggestions which I originally proposed.

      You say that mobs would have to have their damage lowered if the threat system is changed, but I don't see that as being the case.

      If say you have a slow mob, it becomes the most challenging to deal with it generally targets the closest person. The way to counter this mob is then via kiting, and one's armor class shouldn't be important. If a mob has long range, it's generally most difficult when it targets people further away. A mob that disrupts movement via pulls or such would be most challenging if it generally targeted a healer or support class. Melee mobs are most challenging if they target spellcasters. ETC.

      These are the types of threat mechanics present in the original Guild Wars, which is generally lauded for it's PvE content. I'm curious as to which other games you've played "with these threat mechanics".
    • Endymion schrieb:

      @Stravanov

      *sigh* , making me dig through old patch notes.
      Pray tell what is wrong with that assessment of current theat mechanics?

      There have been a few boss mobs that have been added into the game in the last year as well that have some certain spells which are the exception to the basic threat mechanics, and in every instance these bosses are considered to be the hardest in Albion, each of them drawing from some of the suggestions which I originally proposed.

      You say that mobs would have to have their damage lowered if the threat system is changed, but I don't see that as being the case.

      If say you have a slow mob, it becomes the most challenging to deal with it generally targets the closest person. The way to counter this mob is then via kiting, and one's armor class shouldn't be important. If a mob has long range, it's generally most difficult when it targets people further away. A mob that disrupts movement via pulls or such would be most challenging if it generally targeted a healer or support class. Melee mobs are most challenging if they target spellcasters. ETC.

      These are the types of threat mechanics present in the original Guild Wars, which is generally lauded for it's PvE content. I'm curious as to which other games you've played "with these threat mechanics".
      They changed some skills and modifiers. But they didn't change threat mechanics.

      In your original post, you list a range of things that have absolutely nothing to do with how the threat mechanics work. Let me repeat what you wrote:

      1. Players entering the aggro range of the hostile mobs
      2. HPS (heals per second)
      3. Players dealing the first attack
      4. Players dealing the most DPS
      5. Further "Threat" supple.ments from tank abilities (Taunt, Shield, etc.)


      All of these are wrong, except number 5. So your basic understanding of how threat works, is simply so wrong that you are in no position to even suggest any changes.

      Try to read up on how threat work in these kind of games. And you might be better suited to accurately critique the system and suggest changes.


      As to your suggested changes, I feel like they will make PvE even more horrible than it currently is. This is my main concern. I mean obviously the system should take proximity into account like all other mmorpgs (I thought this was already the case for Albion Online). But adding unpredictability to a game where the tank does 90% of the work of the group is bad. A system with your proposed changes, the tank would have to do even more work.

      I could see the aggro mechanics change up a bit in some elite PvE raid setting or something. This is probably not the right game for that, though. For standard PvE, be it open world, expeditions or HCE, that we need to grind endlessly because the game has a pretty retarded grind requirement, we need a fairly simple system, such as the one thats currently in place.


      Also, please remove the word "supple.ment" from the censored words list. Its pretty annoying that we can't even use a pretty normal word like that. I understand that it was added because of a bot that spammed. But the word also has other meanings and uses.
      https://forum.albiononline.com/index.php/Thread/82954-Guide-What-order-to-level-items-in-to-get-the-most-specialization-for-your-time/
    • Threat suppl. were based on the other points listed:
      Threat is initially generated by dealing damage/ pulling mobs/ healing mobs's targets. Tank weapons and armor just make this treat generation more efficient or bypass it by putting the tank in the top of the aggro list.

      PvE was a thing in this game in betas and having more complex aggro mechanics depending on the situation may bring that back so +1.