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

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