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View Full Version : Continuous Dynamic Flow: The new approach to combat



dustinash
04-24-2008, 03:24 PM
I don't know how many times i have been in a party and had some self-appointed leader barking orders about forming a shield wall so that the mage can fire wall it and hide way back while the monsters attack the shield wall. This approach, while it has its place, is also boring, overused and overtly depended upon. It takes a fluid combat system and renders it down to a simple glitch: If the monsters cannot reach their agro, they will not attack.

I don't know whats worse, the fact that people depend upon this impoverished and lack luster approach as the height of group behavior, or the sound of the mage constantly repeating the same refrain: Get Back In the Firewall. don't you guys know how to make a shield wall?

Yes we do. You can shut up now. The reason we don't is because we want a little more from our characters then some sort of mobile pegs to prop up a single dimensional caster strategy. Just shut up, spam your firewalls if you must, forget every other spell in your repitore and leave me out of your gross and indecent approach to gaming. I will run your stone to shrine after we win the fight.

And I don't blame you. You are just pulling the old human min-max approach, which has been enabled by the programming of the AI. What bugs me is your constant berating rhetoric of trying to get me to play your game.

I am here to propose a new approach. It is an approach that on the surface actually appears much like zerging, with one key difference. It has an organizational philosophy.

I call this approach "Dynamic Flow" and it has grown out of playing my character the way I want, irregardless of that yapping firewall spamming litany that is often buoyed up by a few sycophants. But first a little history on why.

My character is a dual-kopesh wielding twf, strength and dex focused, preferring a leet AC over massive hitpoints. Ranger 11, fighter 4, mage 1. He has a tumble skill high enough to enable all the proper rolls and utilizes every feat and enhancement out there to maximize his AC, ESPECIALLY WHILE MOVING. While the rest of the party is organizing under the oppressive edicts of the firespammer, he leaps out past the line, draws agro and typically using some sort of crowd control (sirroco/paralyzers/etc), navigates the field of battle leaping from spot to spot sowing confusion and keeping the monsters from charging the shield wall.

This of course drives the spammer crazy. His one and only strategy has failed. He cannot operate or adapt to this new approach, one reminiscent of actual combat not reliant on a AI glitch. He shouts out "noob" and "Get in Line" He will insult your intelligence, suggesting that you are too dumb to simply stand in a line.

What he doesn't realize is that the game has a much higher potential then this. His approach is exhausted. Not only does it reek of mono-dimensional mindset, it frequently ends up with the following scenario:

firewallspamming whine bot(FWB): GUYS! I need a shrine! NOOOOOwwww!!

Rest of party(ROP): Uh... Ok.. well lets get you to one. Can we have buffs?

FWB: No. I spent all my mana on firewalls.

The party then has to try to adapt to the new game of find the mage the shrine, without one key resource. The mage. There is another game very similar to this also called "find the mage the shrine" because the shield wall often doesn't work perfectly: Casters in the background target FWB and kill him while the rest of the party sits in their feebleminded wall. Since FWB dropped all the walls he draws a bunch of agro gets wiped by range capable ones, then the monsters peicemail the rest of the party. Ergo, partywipe. FWB then complains about how someone failed the wall.

Enter the new approach: Continuous Dynamic Flow.

Let me introduce it by saying what it is not. It is not a single strategy approach to a complex situation. Battle is chaotic, it changes, every instance of it is the juxtaposition of the party make up with the encounter type. Sometimes your cleric heavy, sometimes cleric light. Sometimes you dont even have a mage. Single strategy does not cover this in entirety, yet people adapt by instinct.

Let me placate FWB. Continuous Dynamic Flow accepts the fire wall strategy as being valid and very useful in particular circumstances. However it balks at accepting it as the main strategy. It depends instead on the innate behavioral tendencies of each and every class. That is Fighters fight, clerics heal, hybrids hybrid, mages cast, rangers range, thieves assassinate. Incidentally FWB is the same person who calls all multiclasses "abominations" why?

They don't fit into his narrow notion of function. They have purpose and potential outside of his spam approach. Note that anytime he encounters one and it is not compliant with his mandate he accuses said player of soloing and asks him why he even bothers to group. Note the irony of the fact that he is essentially seeking to play a solo game.

Continuous Dynamic Flow is laissez fair, it does not require barking out orders continuously and insulting people because they do not conform to this one narrow strategy. Instead it allows for the function of characters builds to dominate in a free flowing, natural and effective manner.

This is how it works:

The only general rule is that the fighters are first to engage. This means engaging the foes and drawing agro. Here is the first difficulty FWB faces. He has a grandiose view of himself. He thinks that he can just drop massive damage wherever he pleases and not suffer consequences. This is what leads to his to rapidly depleted mana pool and his frequent insta-deaths. He lacks restraint. But if he could just hold back his spunk for a second the other classes will naturally flow. After the fighters engage agro, this allows the first stage of order to occur. BUFFERING.

Buffering is the actual natural result of free-flowing combat. Since the fighters are built with big HP pools and often decent AC, they can withstand the hits without losing 3/4 or all their life in the first hit. This allows the cleric to naturally pace the battle and get a semblance of control in it. So now we have two classes doing their jobs naturally and without barking. The cleric is at ease. The mage is agro free. The dps can move into position for precision strikes on key targets or start to get involved with the fight while shedding their anger to fighters (via intimidate/cleave/subtle backstab/etc), and play one of two crucial roles... Second line fighters or behind the line fighters. Second line fighters stand between the fighters and mage/cleric. Second line fighters are usually archers. They crowd control with paralyzer bows, or do high DPS with improved precise shot. They also assist the behind the line fighters by targeting enemy casters that are hanging back (the prime target and reason that the rogue types/agile approach combatants should be going behind the line). The second line fighter also serves as a secondary plug. Should some agro break away from the fighters and charge the mage, the second line fighter is there to engage and stop it before the damage is too grievous. for the cleric to heal.

And what about FWB? Well he learns about pacing. He uses more spell points to keep his party buffed and he selectively targets enemies to make the onslaught more manageable. He ensures warforges are kept up and he drops firewalls to help the fighters AFTER the agro has settled in well on them...

Freeflowing yet functionally organized based upon the capabilities of each class. Adaptive to any multicalss.

MrCow
04-24-2008, 03:36 PM
It takes a fluid combat system and renders it down to a simple glitch: If the monsters cannot reach their agro, they will not attack.

Zombies, Flesh Golems, Clay Golems, Devils, Wraiths, Specters, and several other monsters will disagree with this due to their sporadically changing aggro or ability to penetrate the shield wall.


Enter the new approach: Continuous Dynamic Flow.

This is new? :p



Also, I'm noticing you are trying to cover generally accepted battle practices, but there are plenty of times where it is good to break the rules above. A rogue or ranger might be ideal to have as the starting aggro point on a fire elemental due to evasion. A cleric can do just fine with death magic and crowd control, along with being capable of being up on the front line. There are cases where that arcane might be the most capable of surviving of the bunch (Warforged Arcane tend to excel here) or just do to their spell lineup it is worthwhile to let the control the flow of battle and where things run to. Someone with intimidation might grab aggro so that someone else can open a door (Offering of Blood run-through, hint hint ;)).

A truly dynamic approach to battle allows for the realization of all of the talents the group brings, not just the typical roles that get assigned based on class.

Oreg
04-24-2008, 03:37 PM
So because you don't like being forced to play his way, you are going to force him to play your way.

I would think that discussing strategy prior to starting the quest rather than multiple people adopting their own (and sometimes conflicting) strategies during it would be a way for everyone to enjoy the experience. I think you do want your fellow players to enjoy their experience, although I am not completely sure if I have inferred that correctly.

However, if the point was that you think the monster AI needs to be looked at because in situations like firewall "blockings" it reacts absurdly and makes the game too mind numbingly easy - why then there are several dozen threads addressing this very same (and imo very valid) point.

*edit* it just occurred to me that maybe this was meant to be a humorous thread. If that is the case, I apologize for intruding.

Zenako
04-24-2008, 03:48 PM
Sounds like someone had a bad night on the town with some arcanes to me.....

Given the nature of the game, certain spells deliver optimal effects for the sp cost and thusly are the ones cast most often.

Played to the extreme, it can be and often is boring to execute. THE reason FWB has success is the gimped AI as it stands today, not the spell or the method.

As for the rest of the post, just sounds like a normal run to me with the players I generally run with. Making use of everyones abilities to enhance party performance.

MrCow
04-24-2008, 03:52 PM
THE reason FWB has success is the gimped AI as it stands today, not the spell or the method.

Actually, Wall of Fire (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/wallOfFire.htm) is supposed to only deal massive damage if something walks through the fire (like blade barrier). This would largely reduce the effectiveness of using a shield wall coupled with Wall of Fire to deal the large amounts of damage that it does.

Oreg
04-24-2008, 03:55 PM
Actually, Wall of Fire (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/wallOfFire.htm) is supposed to only deal massive damage if something walks through the fire (like blade barrier). This would largely reduce the effectiveness of using a shield wall coupled with Wall of Fire to deal the large amounts of damage that it does.

Realistically that sounds goofy though. Pass through a circle of blades and stay still in the middle - get hit once. Stand in fire and only get hit once? Not likely.

Zenako
04-24-2008, 04:03 PM
Actually, Wall of Fire (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/wallOfFire.htm) is supposed to only deal massive damage if something walks through the fire (like blade barrier). This would largely reduce the effectiveness of using a shield wall coupled with Wall of Fire to deal the large amounts of damage that it does.

Well the way it has usually been played in PnP is you suffer the maximum damage range you are exposed to that round, so if you are in the outer hot zone, it is a d4 (IIRC), the close zone 2d4 and if you are in the hex/squares with the wall or pass thru those locations you suffer the full fury of the wall (such as it is in PnP). If you stayed in that same row of hexes/squares on the following round, you would then suffer the full damage again. Now in PnP you made sure to end up the round NOT in that row if at all possible.

What we could be seeing is minor osciallations of the mobs attempting to reach their target, getting blocked, moving back slighty and attempting again and again. However since DDO is not turn based but more Real Time something has to worked into the spell to make it worthwhile and effective. Changing the spell to make it only damage on pass thru, much like BB might be a feasible option (although the screaming and gnashing of teeth will be heard from every spell tower in the realm...!!!)

Angelus_dead
04-24-2008, 04:07 PM
Realistically that sounds goofy though. Pass through a circle of blades and stay still in the middle - get hit once. Stand in fire and only get hit once? Not likely.
Conceptually, the monster is not standing in the fire. He has moved to one side, just the graphics aren't accurate enough to reflect this.

That's the same as conceptually, a naked halfling cannot survive a direct hit from a greataxe. He has dodged somehow, just the graphics aren't accurate enough to show that.

GeneralDiomedes
04-24-2008, 04:08 PM
Yeah I thought it was more like you cannot pass through without taking damage, not that you can only take damage by passing through.

Impaqt
04-24-2008, 04:21 PM
Realistically that sounds goofy though. Pass through a circle of blades and stay still in the middle - get hit once. Stand in fire and only get hit once? Not likely.

Um.. a Mob can walk into my Blade Barrier and Stand there if he so chooses.. Not inthe Middle.. But Directly in the path of the blades, and get hit only once.... He can then walk the Cirle of the Blades... and not get hit again.. Do a Little Dance, and not get hit again..... Until he Completes his pass through the blades and continues through the other side or back out the side he came in at.....

THis "Technically" doesnt make sense either.. But if Blade barrier damage was coded like Firewall there isnt a mob inthe game that woudl survive more than a few rounds.....

Many thing are resistant to FIre though.. Especially inthis last mod and I assume inthe next since its a continuation..... so the Supremacy of Firewall is certainly in question. Once Turbine figures out how to code "ZOMG, This Burns!!! Run AWay Run Away!" Rather than "It sure is warm here, but I almost got him" we'll be on the right track.

dustinash
04-24-2008, 04:31 PM
Zombies, Flesh Golems, Clay Golems, Devils, Wraiths, Specters, and several other monsters will disagree with this due to their sporadically changing aggro or ability to penetrate the shield wall.



This is new? :p



Also, I'm noticing you are trying to cover generally accepted battle practices, but there are plenty of times where it is good to break the rules above. A rogue or ranger might be ideal to have as the starting aggro point on a fire elemental due to evasion. A cleric can do just fine with death magic and crowd control, along with being capable of being up on the front line. There are cases where that arcane might be the most capable of surviving of the bunch (Warforged Arcane tend to excel here) or just do to their spell lineup it is worthwhile to let the control the flow of battle and where things run to. Someone with intimidation might grab aggro so that someone else can open a door (Offering of Blood run-through, hint hint ;)).

A truly dynamic approach to battle allows for the realization of all of the talents the group brings, not just the typical roles that get assigned based on class.


I agree with all this. I thought I was insinuating this but the post was already getting long.

Everyone here so far has brought up good points. And yes, was having a bad night with spell casters. Thanks for not letting my frustration embitter your own posts.

The fact that people use this approach successfully is exactly why I am highlighting. It is not that it is new, I was more trying to suggest there is a very natural and healthy approach available just by playing characters in a logical manner, and that this allows for a organized and effective group approach without being forced to huddle in a little wall so the mage can spunk firewalls.

The reason I made a case for it is because I have had numerous mages chastise me for actually playing my character as he was designed to be played. Calling me a soloist, etc... essentially trying to bully me into this one tired little approach. Iwas getting really tired of trying to explain that the game they want me to play is not really a game at all but a singular boring gambit which isn't even as ubiquitously effective as they market it to be. I hope to god they fix the AI on this. What would be cool is if AI was based on mob INT.

Anyways thanks for the thoughts. The post was meant to be ironic, a little facetious, but is also for the most part sincere.

Oreg
04-24-2008, 05:56 PM
Um.. a Mob can walk into my Blade Barrier and Stand there if he so chooses.. Not inthe Middle.. But Directly in the path of the blades, and get hit only once.... He can then walk the Cirle of the Blades... and not get hit again.. Do a Little Dance, and not get hit again..... Until he Completes his pass through the blades and continues through the other side or back out the side he came in at.....

THis "Technically" doesnt make sense either.. But if Blade barrier damage was coded like Firewall there isnt a mob inthe game that woudl survive more than a few rounds.....

Many thing are resistant to FIre though.. Especially inthis last mod and I assume inthe next since its a continuation..... so the Supremacy of Firewall is certainly in question. Once Turbine figures out how to code "ZOMG, This Burns!!! Run AWay Run Away!" Rather than "It sure is warm here, but I almost got him" we'll be on the right track.

I couldn't agree more on the FW issue and good point on the BB. It should continue to hit if the mob is standing in the path of the blades.

Tribe33
04-26-2008, 08:21 AM
no one has really answered his points, other then pointing out he had a bad night, nor does anyone truly put the nail on the head of the firewall issue, only that if blade barrier performed the same way, as it should logically, the cleric would own any monster in the game.


-------------------------------
So the wall of fire spell should be nerfed ? (hence the nashin and screaming from spell towers everywhere?)
-------------------------------


So to address the post, this is basically a recommendation not to play the game how someone else wants you to play the game, but rather to play the game as you see fit to play your own character within the game.

not to bash your technique, but you should call it DDO psychology 101: Character Roles and Self Esteem
then the next post could be DDO psychology 102: Group dynamics and strategy

both of which are probably so far beyond what anyone would want to do, and probably shouldnt be a GAME guide at all :)
-------------

anyhow it was interesting reading, as a well phrased reproach for the 1D casters out there, however I doubt that they would "GET IT" since most of them have an inability to spell the word "owned" correctly anyway, along with all the other "textual" flaws that have become the norm, from some charismatic yet gramatically challenged youth(s). I digress ... i was bored :)

Tribe

HorridForm
04-26-2008, 03:10 PM
I had this problem in NWN for maybe 3 months. I then coded the enemy ai to detect AoE spells every 3 seconds and onperception use a dispel magic/arcane disjunction spell to clear the AoE.

The monsters in Mod 3 used Dispel Spam and it was quite franky the only mod that any of my casters had a significant problem with soloing.

I cannot answer for the Turbine Dev team, but I'm glad that they are working on new content over bugs/poor AI. I can choose not to party with players that dont agree with how I run a quest.

As for the OP. I agree with you 100% about firewall/shields up. The fire wall method is very slow and usually a resource game that I dont like to play.

In a scenario where firewall is faster then instant kill and or hold spells I normally see casters drop a single wall followed by a fireball. The massive damage of both the spells combined with melee DPS has always been enough.

The easierst way to avoid the firewall/shields up groups is to find gamers that enjoy your style of play, join thier guild, and then make friends with other games of the same style.

Avoid all others unless you're in the mood to deal with it.

bobbysmooth
04-27-2008, 10:06 PM
I found your post to be somewhat accurate in regards to arcanes who dont know how to play their role in the party. When you join a group you find out very soon who knows the correct role they will be playing in the group. Sometimes when I play my caster I may have to be very offensive minded and try to kill as many mobs as fast as I can. Sometimes I will conserve my mana for keeping my party hasted as often as needed. When i am in a group of superior melee types I will hardly cast offensive spells at all, but my group will be hasted and displaced a high % of the time. I think a better description of Contiuous Dynamic Flow would be when you join a group pug or guild and you dont have to direct anyone to their roles. Yea maybe this doesn't happen as often as you like, but it does happen. I belong to a very large guild on Khyber(TFC) but spend most of my time running with pugs, sometimes I am in a good group sometimes a bad one. I would suggest that the most common mistake I see casters doing, is casting a insta kill spell (finger, pk,banishment, and also destruction from clerics) when a target is surrounded by 3 melee's pounding the living snot out of him, and the monster is about to die. This drives me crazy, target something with full health then cast. Let your melee's do the finish the job they started