PDA

View Full Version : Elementary combat tactics



stoerm
03-20-2011, 10:52 AM
Here's a piece of advice so elementary it's not even specific to DDO. It applies to every real time strategy and first person shooter. In fact, I recall this from the mid 90s in relation to the original Command and Conquer.

In a nutshell: fight as a group, attack one monster at a time.

Background

DDO has complex combat involving ranged attacks, splash/area of effect damage, healing, a large number of damage types and resistances, monster AI (aggro), sneak attacks, flanking bonuses, terrain effects etc. Nevertheless, certain universal game mechanics apply:

(1) hitpoints and damage
(2) choosing a target
(3) positioning

Take the archetypical Korthos PUG. Everyone just rushes to attack a random monster. The outcome of the battle hinges purely on having more hitpoints and dealing more damage. Often this is good enough, so there's no penalty in using this non-tactic.

http://my.ddo.com/stoerm/wp-content/blogs.dir/104131/files/assorted/tactics_1vs1.png

Here's a simplified round-by-round model of a battle. Take two teams with identical units. Each unit has 2 hitpoints and deals one point of damage per round. There's no initiative involved (attacks happen simultaneously). With no targetting, the first unit from each team attack each other, and likewise unit #2 from each team attack each other. It's obviously going to be a draw. The diagram shows each unit with their hitpoints.



Start: A1[2] A2[2]
B1[2] B2[2]

Round 1: A1[1] A2[1]
B1[1] B2[1]

Round 2: A1[0] A2[0]
B1[0] B2[0]


Tactics part 1: Choosing a target

Main lesson: You should attack one target at a time.

http://my.ddo.com/stoerm/wp-content/blogs.dir/104131/files/assorted/tactics_concentration.png

In case it's necessary, I'm going to demonstrate why. In this scenario team A concentrates attacks on one enemy unit, while team B does not. Team A wins, with one unit surviving.



Start: A1[2] A2[2]
B1[2] B2[2]

Round 1: A1[1] A2[1]
B1[0] B2[1]

Round 2: A1[1] A2[0]
B1[0] B2[0]


When applying this tactic, remember in practice the units are not identical, and you should choose the target that poses the great threat to your group. This invariably means enemy casters. If enemies go down in one or two swings, it's also a waste for all six members to attack one target. However, whether it's one or three enemies, the principle is the same. Work together.

Tactics part 2: Positioning

The next step is avoiding incoming damage from the enemy units you are not currently attacking. By fighting one unit at a time you can prevail against a *more powerful* enemy.

http://my.ddo.com/stoerm/wp-content/blogs.dir/104131/files/assorted/tactics_crossing.png

You can use terrain to achieve this, by exploiting choke points such as doorways and tunnels. In this scenario team B has one unit more, but team A is using a choke point allowing only one team B unit to attack. Depending on B2's choice of targets, the end result is either a draw (B2 attacks A1) or victory for team A (B2 attacks A2).



Start: A1[2] A2[2]
B1[2] B2[2] B3[2]

Round 1: A1[1] A2[2]
B1[0] B2[2] B3[2]

Round 2a: A1[0] A2[2]
B1[0] B2[0] B3[2]

Round 2b: A1[1] A2[1]
B1[0] B2[0] B3[2]


A related tactic specific to DDO is pulling the nearest from a group of enemies, one at a time. This gives you the added benefit of extra time to heal between fighting each enemy. Crowd control effects such as fascinate are similar that they allow you to fight a single enemy at a time, even if the effect is dispelled once the enemy is attacked.

To sum up, DDO has well established tactics for many situations, such as pulling the giants in Tempest Spine and shield blocking the Inevitable in VoN3, but also has some universal gaming elements that boil down to simple math and geometry. I hope I've demonstrated how this simple tactic can be employed by Mr. Newbie Barbarian from the earliest levels to reduce risk and conserve resources.

Related information

"The art of pulling mobs", a segment in DDOCast episode 5 (http://www.cyberears.com/cybrss/2112.mp3) starting at 19:40

stille_nacht
03-20-2011, 11:01 AM
hmm the way i always think of it

3 enemies hit you 3 times, you hit them each once
ROUND 2
3 enemies hit you 3 times, you hit them each once
ROUND 3
3 enemies hit you 3 times, you hit them each once

so basically, all three enemies attack all 3 rounds, meaning they hit 9 times
by contrast if you focus, then they arent always attacking, because they are dead

Round 1
3 enemies hit 3 times, you hit one 3 times, dies
Round 2
2 enemies hit 2 times, you hit one 3 times, dies
Round 3
1 enemy hits 1 time, you hit it 3 times, dies

Same amount of time, 33% less damage, this increases as number of enemies increases, this is also why boss monsters are so difficult, because it forces you to fight the "enemies" with the first method.

so yeah, what he said

also, sometimes in lower level quests, focusing down mobs is actually slower, because moving from mob to mob isnt perfect, and many times, the mobs are weak enough that focusing is unnecessary simply because each character is much stronger than the mobs.

Spoonwelder
03-20-2011, 11:01 AM
Good overview and proofs....hopefully the newer players get here and read this.

Critical stuff for soloing.

+1

Spoonwelder
03-20-2011, 11:06 AM
Same amount of time, 33% less damage, this increases as number of enemies increases, this is also why boss monsters are so difficult, because it forces you to fight the "enemies" with the first method.

Not sure what you are saying here. The boss fights are where this point really hits home. Concentrate your fire on the boss as he's likely the most dangerous - ignoring the minions.....or even better pull the minions first to dispatch them....or Coordinate one guy to handle the mobs with CC or just hammering them while the rest take down the boss. Or if you have a true tank - one guy occupies the boss while the rest clear trash with concentrated fire until you are down to just the boss.....

The lesson still applies.

stille_nacht
03-20-2011, 11:09 AM
Not sure what you are saying here. The boss fights are where this point really hits home. Concentrate your fire on the boss as he's likely the most dangerous - ignoring the minions.....or even better pull the minions first to dispatch them....or Coordinate one guy to handle the mobs with CC or just hammering them while the rest take down the boss. Or if you have a true tank - one guy occupies the boss while the rest clear trash with concentrated fire until you are down to just the boss.....

The lesson still applies.

I was saying that that is why bosses are generally difficult. Because they had, say, 5 times the hp and 5 times the damage, itd be like fighting 5 mobs while equally distributing the damage (most damage heavy to your party)

also, if you are focusing down the boss, ignoring minions, it is usually because its damage/hp ratio is more like 20x damage, 15x hp, meaning it is more "efficient" to kill it.