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BadSpock's Logical Conclusions.

My random thoughts about MMORPGs. A bit of critique, suggestion, debate, and insanity. Enjoy.

Author: BadSpock

Do you feel like the Hero you should be?

Posted by BadSpock Wednesday October 31 2007 at 12:04PM
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The one big thing I'd really like to see change in MMOs is pulling strategy.

Be it in the open world or in an instance, it's all about the pull.

We try to clear out a room with as few mobs/NPCs per pull as possible. It's like the other enemies in the room or area simply doesn't realize that we're picking them off one by one.

In the open world, many players will run "out of aggro range" if they pull too many mobs/NPCs.

In level / class based games, it feels to me that the "balance" is made for one on one encounters will enemies. You're a level 50, so you should try and pull a single level 50 mob/NPC to fight.

Even in a group, we rely on mezzes and roots etc. too limit the number of creatures that we are fighting at once. Of course, this all goes back to the Holy Trinity of Tank/Damage/Heal. You incapacitate as many enemies as possible per pull so the Tank has less to manage and the Damage has more focus. The Damage keeps the enemies dead, the Tank keeps the hurt'n on him/herself, and the Healer keeps the Tank alive.

But how Heroic does that feel?

For one, it is totally unrealistic.

Mob A - "Hey look, Bill and Frank are fighting on the other side of the room! Should we help?"

Mob B - "No no no. We'll wait till they get closer and attack us first, or we just so happen to walk close enough to them before we attack."

But what do we see in movies? The Hero charges in and battles against dozens, if not hundreds of foes at once. Only when facing truly dangerous and powerful foes are the fights one on one in some grand, epic battle.

This should be the way MMORPGs are too. Make aggro based off of line of sight and audio detection, not some physical distance or range between the enemies and us.

Balance it so that characters can and should be taking on swarms of enemies at once, being truly heroic as they stand against an onslaught of foes.

And have Boss battles be the epic encounters that are the exception to this rule, where the Hero(s) face off against a powerful foe in Epic combat.

We've all had (I imagine) encounters in our favorite MMO dungeons where we have pulled way, way, way too many enemies towards us and barely come out alive. How exciting was that? To battle against a seemingly impossible number of foes and come out victorious?

Throw in realistic combat systems like terrain modifiers, collision detection, and more advance line of sight and you've got yourself the potential for truly epic combat.

Right now, in level based games, it's pretty much the exact same thing every time, just different levels. You pull and kill a single level 10 mob when you are level 10, and you pull and kill a single level 50 mob when you level 50. Why not make the number of enemies we can handle at once go up with our rising levels, rather then ONLY the level of the enemies we face?

I'd like to see MMORPGs that are built around that principle of design, rather then built around the "slow and safe" / "Holy trinity" approach.

What about you?

Flungmuk writes:


So in a group scenario, would you have X number of mobs based on the group size and avarage level? Each class could handle its collection of mobs in their own way. The warrior with AoE melee attacks while absorbing blows with thick armor, The casters rooting, nuking, doting and charming the mobs to fight each other, the rogue type going from mob to mob back stabbing. and pick pocketing and the healer would either have to have A) group heals, or B) faster heals to allow more micro managment...Almost like an EQ1 bard twisting songs.

Wed Oct 31 2007 12:15PM Report
BadSpock writes:

I just picture a MMO where your group of 4-5 people walks into a room with 200 goblins sitting around... they see you enter, scream something, and all the melee comes charging at you, the casters start casting and the ranged draw back their bows...

what do you do? whatever you can.

As you said Flungmuk, those who wear the big armor charge right into the advancing goblin horde and start killing them by the dozens, two-three at a time with massive AOE attacks while your ranged attackers and magic users pick off individual targets or nuke entire enemy formations. Your healers charge into combat with sword and spell too, much like Warhammer Online healers who have to fight in order to heal.

Then a very large and dangerous looking Troll breaks through a small doorway and your group must band together to take him down. The ranged/magic attackers pick away at the creatures defeses while the armor-clad warriors try to draw the creatures attention. All the while the shadowy rogues strike at opportune moments toward weak points in the Trolls armor and flesh.

Pretty much, just imagine the scene from Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring movie where the fellowship is attacked by goblins and then a troll "boss."

That should be every fight in my ideal MMORPG.

Wed Oct 31 2007 12:38PM Report
badgerbadger writes:


 have you played DDO?

Although its not PERFECT they keep tweaking the AI so that NPC's "call for help"; and detection was always in that game; based on Spot checks and listen rolls - I could debate that many of them seem to be blind; but i have noticed they are more likely to see the big dumb plate-clad fighter than the sneaking rogue fellow in the corner.

  again; it isnt foolproof but in principle that game attempts that.

I HAVE noticed; in practically all games that unlike PnP modules where you very well MAY be fighting legions of weakerc reature; you end up fighting a medium number of oddly tough "level apppropriate" opponents and i strongly suspect this is because of limits to the FEASIBLE number of combatants in the game engines.

Wed Oct 31 2007 12:56PM Report
Lizard_SF writes:

And when computer systems can handle several dozen mobs with animations, particle effects, and so on all happening at once on screen without slowing to a crawl...we might see that. You also greatly overpower nukers/AOE types with this model, and undermine stealth/rogue types.

In classic tabletop D&D, I try to design dungeons so that it's not possible for the monsters to easily 'run for help', so that I don't have to explain why they don't. I think a nice compromise might be to have certain monsters bolt and run when the fight goes badly, even if they, themselves, aren't wounded, so that you need people positioned at the exits to stop them before they can get to the next room and bring friends.


Real collision detection and targeting might be nice. For example, why not have archers behind arrow slits? Even if targeted, 90% of the ranged attacks miss, so you need to sneak up on them to engage them in melee -- and they're behind locked/trapped doors, so you need a rogue to get you in. 

Thu Nov 01 2007 9:14AM Report
BadSpock writes:

Lizard_SF - we are at the technological level to do that already. Xbox 360 is at least. 4 player online co-op Halo 3 with dozens of enemies, marines, vehicles, explosions, etc.

Several dozen mobs, 5-6 players... should be possible with today's tech.

My example were just that, examples. No need to talk about stuff being over powered when it's just wishful thinking and idea.

All I'm saying is, the current "pull group, shackle X, sheep Y, mezz Z, sap V, all dps on W and all heals on Q" is getting real old.


Thu Nov 01 2007 9:28AM Report
Flungmuk writes:

I dont think the nukers would be too overpowered. They have basicly no armor as it is, sure they can kill 30 with 1-2 blasts, but what if there is a resist, or they are soloing and it takes 3 blasts, then they'll get beaten down. If melee types had a group only defensive buff type aura, as long as they live, the party has an AC bonus. Casters would be protected from melee, rogues would get a stealth bonus...Etc. Diferent classes could have group abilitys. And give each class a few diferent types of aura's, this would keep "ideal" groups to a min.

2 warriors, 2 mages, 1 rogure and a healer. 1st warrios has a defensive aura, 2nd warrior has a melee aura, 1 mage has a damage sheild aura, the other a redused mana aura, the rogue has one that increases critical chance and the healer has a regen up or bonus to heals.

For anyone that played EQ, think of it as having more than 1 bard in a group. 1 buffs the group with mana, DS, haste and say AC, the other debuffs and slows the mobs.

And getting wiped out in this kind of game wouldnt be, oops, 4 mobs in the group...It'd be like the final fight in 300.

Thu Nov 01 2007 11:56AM Report
badgerbadger writes:

 Heer i think people got caught up on the specifics and missed your point:

 All I'm saying is, the current "pull group, shackle X, sheep Y, mezz Z, sap V, all dps on W and all heals on Q" is getting real old.

I totally agree and U've read my blogs about that.  I like lIzard's comments; and Liz; there are dungeons in DDo set up like thta - not arrow slits but archers and mages on ledges where Zerg players - with all the tactics of AI bots - will charge into the "cauldron" against enemy tanks - get blasted by archers and mages-and Die their ass off - unless someone uses the cheesy healing to save them (DDO has the D&D-impossible ranged; no touch required extra healing multipliers to keep MMO-ers - who as you see would otherwise die EVEN more than they do - happy)...

Rogues sneaking up to the casters and archers is a solution i've found quite effective :)

 Incidentaly Heer- if i recall right; in the books ; Didnt the squad RUN when the trolls appearred?


Thu Nov 01 2007 7:55PM Report
BadSpock writes:

I can't remember Badger... i'm thinking more along the lines of the movie version where the Troll stabs Frodo and then the rest of the fellowship gangs up on the Troll.


Fri Nov 02 2007 9:09AM Report
BadSpock writes:

"Heer i think people got caught up on the specifics and missed your point:"

 All I'm saying is, the current "pull group, shackle X, sheep Y, mezz Z, sap V, all dps on W and all heals on Q" is getting real old.

True, thanks Badger

Fri Nov 02 2007 9:14AM Report writes:
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