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MMOWTF - Mob Mentality

Posted Nov 30, 2007 by Jon Wood

MMOWTF - Mob Mentality

In this week's MMOWTF, Dan Fortier tackles the issue of monster AI in MMORPGs. Fortier feels that monsters today just don't have the intelligence to pose a real challenge to human players.

This week is not a tribute to those wonderful MMOers that I love so much. Instead, I decided to drop the hammer on a common gripe of mine: Monster AI. In most theme park PvE MMOs the mobs are designed to have simplistic AI to make it easier for solo players with a lobotomy to kill them. It doesn’t do well to frustrate your unskilled customers with lots of free time and extra cash if you want to run a successful game these days. This week I pay lip service to this tired topic and anything else that comes to mind. Keep a bottle of eye-drops close at hand for this week’s Tour De Ordure!

Most gamers don’t expect much realism when they log into an MMO. Fields of meandering monsters who do nothing but spam the same basic attacks with a few special abilities thrown in at predictable intervals are the most common ding crops for players. Raid bosses and the tougher elite creatures have a few more surprises, but are only dangerous by virtue of their obnoxious stats and henchmen instead of their brilliant use of terrain or tactics. Of course, even the most complex routines can be analyzed and dissected by an observant group repeatedly farming the same area, but with enough dynamic content they would still have to be prepared for a wider variety of opponents.

Read the whole thing here.

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