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  1. #1
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    Default Solo Artificer - Iron Defender Not Functioning Properly

    It seems that one of the main functions for pets and hirelings is to park them next to levers so they can activate them and allow solo playing where coordination is needed. That is one reason that I like playing an artificer with an iron defender (ID). However, my ID is mostly useless. Every time I try to do this, it never activates the lever. The log keeps saying 'AFFIRMATIVE', 'IT WILL BE DONE', 'BARK, BARK' ... ad infinitum. This is really frustrating and means that I can not complete many adventures. Why are the IDs still so buggy? Moreover, why has there been so little to improve both hireling and pet AI? Some of us actually enjoy soloing. These issues were reported back in 2013 and we are still dealing with it. It is one thing if the animation for climbing ladders is screwy, but to be functionally defective is not acceptable programmatically or enjoyable game-wise. The only work around for this is to BUY hirelings... but then why have an ID at all? And why waste money on characters that stand in acid, are incapable of learning or development, and are essentially more trouble to have then not have? Maybe the devs could get this sorted or at least substantially improved in 2020???

  2. #2
    Community Member Phoenicis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IJudar View Post
    It seems that one of the main functions for pets and hirelings is to park them next to levers so they can activate them and allow solo playing where coordination is needed. That is one reason that I like playing an artificer with an iron defender (ID). However, my ID is mostly useless. Every time I try to do this, it never activates the lever. The log keeps saying 'AFFIRMATIVE', 'IT WILL BE DONE', 'BARK, BARK' ... ad infinitum. This is really frustrating and means that I can not complete many adventures. Why are the IDs still so buggy? Moreover, why has there been so little to improve both hireling and pet AI? Some of us actually enjoy soloing. These issues were reported back in 2013 and we are still dealing with it. It is one thing if the animation for climbing ladders is screwy, but to be functionally defective is not acceptable programmatically or enjoyable game-wise. The only work around for this is to BUY hirelings... but then why have an ID at all? And why waste money on characters that stand in acid, are incapable of learning or development, and are essentially more trouble to have then not have? Maybe the devs could get this sorted or at least substantially improved in 2020???
    Watch your pet's idle animations.

    If it moves slightly, swaying back and forth or 'breathing' it's good.

    If, however it's completely stationary (or floating above the ground in a static pose) it's broke and needs to be reset by unsummoning and resummoning. This state is, in my experience, most often caused by either going up or down a ladder or interrupting their combat action by killing their target before they trip/intimidate/whatever. It SEEMS to happen less often with bluff so that's what I give my IDs now.

    For the most part hirelings are useless in combat. The AI is extremely limited and the only way to 'fix' them would be to take up more processor cycles on the client machine with a more robust script and error checking. Because some people still play DDO on potatoes that is unlikely to happen any time soon. Best use for hireling is to park them, summon them to do their function (heals, opening things, other skills/whatever) then parking them again.

    All of this is based on my personal experience, YMMV.

  3. #3
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    Default Roasted Potatoes

    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenicis View Post
    Watch your pet's idle animations.

    If it moves slightly, swaying back and forth or 'breathing' it's good.

    If, however it's completely stationary (or floating above the ground in a static pose) it's broke and needs to be reset by unsummoning and resummoning. This state is, in my experience, most often caused by either going up or down a ladder or interrupting their combat action by killing their target before they trip/intimidate/whatever. It SEEMS to happen less often with bluff so that's what I give my IDs now.

    All of this is based on my personal experience, YMMV.
    Hi and thanks for your reply.

    Interesting.

    I was attempting this: "https://ddowiki.com/page/Tomb_of_the_Shadow_Lord" but it seems that based on your experience, and mine, that the ID will not be workable (you are repeatedly going up and down ladders and ramps). Resetting means your stuck and generally screwed, endlessly recalling.

    So, the solution appears to be BUY hirelings and then use them as you suggest, and I agree that in the current state, that is all they are good for.

    OK, I do not like to step on toes, but one of my jobs is software development. While some folks might play on 'potatoes' -- LOL -- there is no reason that the same code that allows an ID to have 'trap sense' can not be used for ALL hirelings... and that is just a start!

    Also, there are game settings... if people are using 'Flintstones' computers, they can lower the demands that are placed on the system. Just as for graphics, one could have an 'AI' engine setting for hirelings. This way, people who are using post neolithic equipment can tap into those features, and others who do not want or need hirelings can turn off those features.

    Finally, given the current state of hirelings, 'Gold Seal' contracts need to be sold for plat NOT shards, which require real money. Otherwise, a total rip off IMHO.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by IJudar View Post
    I was attempting this: "https://ddowiki.com/page/Tomb_of_the_Shadow_Lord" but it seems that based on your experience, and mine, that the ID will not be workable (you are repeatedly going up and down ladders and ramps). Resetting means your stuck and generally screwed, endlessly recalling.
    'Resetting' in the case of a pet, simply means unsummoning it and resummoning it.
    Nothing so dire as exiting the quest altogether.

    Some non-pet hirelings can get stuck that way too (mostly fighters and barbarians), the reason we see it more often on pets is that once it's stuck, it STAYS stuck - exiting the quest and starting a new one doesn't help - whereas we resummon hirelings every quest, so if they DO get stuck, it only happens for one quest, then it's over.
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  5. #5
    Community Member Phoenicis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IJudar View Post
    Hi and thanks for your reply.

    Interesting.

    I was attempting this: "https://ddowiki.com/page/Tomb_of_the_Shadow_Lord" but it seems that based on your experience, and mine, that the ID will not be workable (you are repeatedly going up and down ladders and ramps). Resetting means your stuck and generally screwed, endlessly recalling.

    So, the solution appears to be BUY hirelings and then use them as you suggest, and I agree that in the current state, that is all they are good for.

    OK, I do not like to step on toes, but one of my jobs is software development. While some folks might play on 'potatoes' -- LOL -- there is no reason that the same code that allows an ID to have 'trap sense' can not be used for ALL hirelings... and that is just a start!

    Also, there are game settings... if people are using 'Flintstones' computers, they can lower the demands that are placed on the system. Just as for graphics, one could have an 'AI' engine setting for hirelings. This way, people who are using post neolithic equipment can tap into those features, and others who do not want or need hirelings can turn off those features.

    Finally, given the current state of hirelings, 'Gold Seal' contracts need to be sold for plat NOT shards, which require real money. Otherwise, a total rip off IMHO.
    Parking a pet before going up or down a ladder, then calling it to you after you are up/down is a workaround, avoids having to unsummon/resummons the pet and losing the buffs on it but, well, I rarely remember to do that. Ramps and stairs should not cause any problems for pets, at least they don't ever seem to have for me.

    Ummmmm, that's the advantage to gold seal hirelings, you pay real money to be able to use more than one at a time, and summon them anywhere in the quest. ALL hirelings available for plat are also available as gold seal. Rogues are not available for plat at all, you have to pay real money to be able to make use of rogue skills. I don't necessarily agree with that, but I understand the reasoning.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenicis View Post
    Ummmmm, that's the advantage to gold seal hirelings, you pay real money to be able to use more than one at a time, and summon them anywhere in the quest. ALL hirelings available for plat are also available as gold seal. Rogues are not available for plat at all, you have to pay real money to be able to make use of rogue skills. I don't necessarily agree with that, but I understand the reasoning.
    I've only recently come back to playing DDO, so could be wrong about this, but I *think* I saw a Rogue-type hireling for sale on the hireling merchants in the Marketplace. I'm not able to log in to confirm that as I'm writing this, but I think it was level 20/1 and cost a whole bunch of platinum. I haven't much explored what's for sale for hirelings because I'm still trying to use up the contracts I had left in inventory before taking my hiatus, so I could be wrong.
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  7. #7
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    I play a lot of Artificers and love my dog, but it can definitely bug out at times. If you ever see it kind of floating on it's tip-toes, it's bugged. It will still draw aggro and the Automated Repairs enhancement will still work, but it won't attack. Sometimes you fix it by cycling through the Passive/Defend/Active buttons and calling it to you, but it's easier to just dismiss and recall it and is guaranteed to work.

    As others have mentioned, in my experience ladders are the biggest cause for it to bug. The box hunter enhancement is another big one.

    The dog is actually a pretty good bluffer so that and trip are the 2 enhancement lines I grab and seem to have the least problems with.
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  8. #8
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    My comments in no particular order:

    Players come to the forums fairly regularly to complain about Iron Defender glitches. If you search the forums you may find a few treads outlining the various bugs and workarounds associated with mecha dogs. If I recall correctly, in addition to the glitches mentioned above, slotting Breaker of Boxes always borks an Iron Defender.

    Players also regularly complain about Hirelings. Over the years, a number of attempts were made to improve them. A large number of players have reported that these updates actually made hirelings worse. Last year, Cordovan reported that a developer had volunteered to take another shot at the problem. I have no idea if that effort ever happened as I was not playing for over a year.

    Not all hirelings use the same algorithm and some perform much better than others. Hirelings never functioned well around traps and players must use them carefully in a trapped area. Careful player management can mitigate many of their other faults.

    Hirelings were designed to help solo players at lower difficulties. Some players feel that hirelings are broken because they perform miserably at higher difficulties. Statements by Cordovan and other developers imply this behavior is working as intended.

    I am extremely dubious of claims that improvements to hireling algorithms would require more powerful computers. That strikes me as a wild claim by someone who knows nothing about programming. In my opinion, the more likely explanation is that hireling algorithms are fairly complex, the people who wrote the algorithms left, and placing a new developer on the task of understanding and improving those algorithms would take so much time and effort than Darth Severlin deems it an unproductive use of limited developer time.

    Heroic Rogue hires are only available for Astral Shards. Epic Rogue hires are available for Platinum and Astral Shards. To my knowledge, it has always worked that way.

    Line of sight issues come up from time to time, making it difficult to pull levels, pick up loot that dropped from a breakable, and so forth. In my experience, when attempting to use a hireling to pull a lever, repositioning the hire always works. Test that the hire can use the lever before running off.

    Hirelings can certainly provide useful help under many situations, not just pulling levers. At very low levels, some melee hires can carry a character until he or she gains a level or two. Healing hires, especially Favored Souls, generally perform quite well at low difficulties. At high difficulties, healing hires work best when parked in a safe place and summoned after a battle to top off hit points. In an emergency, careful use of a hireling can help a character reach a Resurrection Shrine. One hireling offers Dimension Door, making him extremely useful. Rogue hires can disable most traps at low difficulties. Some Hirelings can restore spell points. The level 3 Permanent Gold Seal Cleric Hire, Eleri Thistledown, is the best lever puller in the game and she can restore some spell points, too. Hires can even serve as distractions to assist an assassination, a Soul Stone recovery, or an escape. Please do not report to the Hireling Union that I suggested any of those last three things.

    Never, ever take Wyoh as a combat Cleric. Never. Don't do it. If you need a combat healer, take Albus Gladwin.

    The more powerful a character becomes, the less a player needs hirelings. Some characters perform so well right out the gate that a player can ignore hirelings altogether, accept to pull levers and restore spell points.

    In my opinion, the uselessness of hirelings is vastly overstated by a very small number of players who enjoy engaging in puffery. Ignore that stuff. For all their warts, hirelings can still provide many useful functions for the vast majority of players.

    I guess that about covers it.

    Even though I belong to the club that mostly parks hirelings at the entrance for emergencies, I continue to hope for another pass on hireling algorithms. I am on record many times requesting more and more interesting Permanent Gold Seal Hirelings. I am still waiting for my Medusa sidekick that levels with me. *taps a dagger on the table impatiently*
    Last edited by Annex; 06-24-2020 at 01:02 PM.
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  9. #9
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    Default Truly Perspicacious!

    Quote Originally Posted by Annex View Post
    My comments in no particular order:

    Players come to the forums fairly regularly to complain about Iron Defender glitches. If you search the forums you may find a few treads outlining the various bugs and workarounds associated with mecha dogs. If I recall correctly, in addition to the glitches mentioned above, slotting Breaker of Boxes always borks an Iron Defender.

    Players also regularly complain about Hirelings. Over the years, a number of attempts were made to improve them. A large number of players have reported that these updates actually made hirelings worse. Last year, Cordovan reported that a developer had volunteered to take another shot at the problem. I have no idea if that effort ever happened as I was not playing for over a year.

    Not all hirelings use the same algorithm and some perform much better than others. Hirelings never functioned well around traps and players must use them carefully in a trapped area. Careful player management can mitigate many of their other faults.

    Hirelings were designed to help solo players at lower difficulties. Some players feel that hirelings are broken because they perform miserably at higher difficulties. Statements by Cordovan and other developers imply this behavior is working as intended.

    I am extremely dubious of claims that improvements to hireling algorithms would require more powerful computers. That strikes me as a wild claim by someone who knows nothing about programming. In my opinion, the more likely explanation is that hireling algorithms are fairly complex, the people who wrote the algorithms left, and placing a new developer on the task of understanding and improving those algorithms would take so much time and effort than Darth Severlin deems it an unproductive use of limited developer time.

    Heroic Rogue hires are only available for Astral Shards. Epic Rogue hires are available for Platinum and Astral Shards. To my knowledge, it has always worked that way.

    Line of sight issues come up from time to time, making it difficult to pull levels, pick up loot that dropped from a breakable, and so forth. In my experience, when attempting to use a hireling to pull a lever, repositioning the hire always works. Test that the hire can use the lever before running off.

    Hirelings can certainly provide useful help under many situations, not just pulling levers. At very low levels, some melee hires can carry a character until he or she gains a level or two. Healing hires, especially Favored Souls, generally perform quite well at low difficulties. At high difficulties, healing hires work best when parked in a safe place and summoned after a battle to top off hit points. In an emergency, careful use of a hireling can help a character reach a Resurrection Shrine. One hireling offers Dimension Door, making him extremely useful. Rogue hires can disable most traps at low difficulties. Some Hirelings can restore spell points. The level 3 Permanent Gold Seal Cleric Hire, Eleri Thistledown, is the best lever puller in the game and she can restore some spell points, too. Hires can even serve as distractions to assist an assassination, a Soul Stone recovery, or an escape. Please do not report to the Hireling Union that I suggested any of those last three things.

    Never, ever take Wyoh as a combat Cleric. Never. Don't do it. If you need a combat healer, take Albus Gladwin.

    The more powerful a character becomes, the less a player needs hirelings. Some characters perform so well right out the gate that a player can ignore hirelings altogether, accept to pull levers and restore spell points.

    In my opinion, the uselessness of hirelings is vastly overstated by a very small number of players who enjoy engaging in puffery. Ignore that stuff. For all their warts, hirelings can still provide many useful functions for the vast majority of players.

    I guess that about covers it.

    Even though I belong to the club that mostly parks hirelings at the entrance for emergencies, I continue to hope for another pass on hireling algorithms. I am on record many times requesting more and more interesting Permanent Gold Seal Hirelings. I am still waiting for my Medusa sidekick that levels with me. *taps a dagger on the table impatiently*
    Thank you so much Annex for this great response... I quoted all of it! Here are my thoughts inspired by yours:

    As a solo player, I actually highly value the POTENTIAL of the hirelings.

    As you point out, they have many great uses and can really help characters on the way up.

    So, what would some real improvement of said hirelings look like?

    Well, for one, better trap sense. Easily coded: just make the trap area off limits to the hire (default), unless instructed to enter (over-ride).

    Two, a 'wellness' status... kind of like a 'ping' for ip addresses, but for hireling functionality: If the pings 'time out', then "BROKEN" and need to reset.
    --> This is needed as to check that a hire can REALLY pull a lever results in the lever being pulled... which is sometime not what you want...

    I have the level 3 Permanent Gold Seal Cleric Hire, Eleri Thistledown, and she works pretty well with levers, but tends to stand in acid and lava.

    So, to your point of having hires leveling with you, I totally agree, but only for these permanent type hires.

    Again, easily implemented. Your hire 'grows' with you. She can be 'reset' and can undergo reincarnation when you do.
    --> One would need to be able to purchase 'permanent' type hires that start off BTA.
    --> IF you want the hireling to grow with one of your characters, then it will become BTC.
    --> Resetting the hireling will return it to the original state, including the BTA flag.
    --> When a character reincarnates that has such a permanent hireling, the hireling would either be reset or reincarnate with the character.

    Why this has not been done is truly baffling.

    Finally, while a huge problem in software development involves the turnover of the developers, clearly there is a great group of people behind this game.
    There is a need here (and an opportunity) for that team to come together and make some real progress.

    Philosophically, DDO needs to address two core types of players:
    One is the group player who does raids with other real players around the world.
    The other is the solo player who is either unwilling or unable to get with a group.

    The majority of the improvements have been implemented for the first group, and that is very good.
    Unfortunately, there has not been much improvement for the second group.

    Moreover, there has been some hint that DDO development 'encourages' solo players to change their ways as they level.
    To me, this is not a good strategy.
    A solo player does not want to be pressured to play in groups, just as no one would want to be pressured to change their sexual orientation.

    AI algorithms have come a long way in the past 5 years. Time to get the DDO AI engine upgraded.
    Have a team meeting and look at implementing the ideas discussed here. It would be very appreciated!

    And you have competition: AI Chess and AI Go are now able to consistently beat the grand masters.
    Perhaps the era of hirelings standing in lava needs to end???
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  10. #10
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    I am on my something-teenth life on my Arti - always with a minimum of 6 levels of Arti, sometimes up to all 20.

    The dog is useful for pulling levers, standing on pressure plates, and doing anything that requires more strength than I have (e.g. strength lever/door in Butchers path)... and nothing else. Summon it when you need it, dismiss it straight away afterwards - it bugs out too often to be kept out.

    Most rent-a-heal hirelings are somewhat more resilient to bugging out, but still need regular swaps to active and back to keep them paying attention to your needs. Oh, and they are very, VERY good at finding traps - the hard way. Summon them and park them out of harm's way.

    Some are completely useless - Wyoh, Fergus, Larafay to name a few. OK, so Larafay isn't useless per se, but will have used up all her spell points 2 fights into any quest. She's the best nuker in the business, but awful as a healer. Will happily use cometfall on a single CR1 rat.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynnabel View Post
    We are fixing this bug by deleting this ability from the game

  11. #11
    Community Member Bosko61's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockHeavy View Post
    The dog is useful for pulling levers, standing on pressure plates, and doing anything that requires more strength than I have (e.g. strength lever/door in Butchers path)... and nothing else. Summon it when you need it, dismiss it straight away afterwards - it bugs out too often to be kept out.
    Alas even pulling levers is now too difiicult for arti dogs. They have developed an even more reluctant personality. Right now, if my dog dies, and I try a revive I get: Your pet is not dead and thus cannot be revived.

    I went today into The Snitch and tried to let my living dog pull a lever at the rats below Cratos. I tried stationing him a few meters away from the lever, very close to the lever and then even on top of the lever. In all cases the dog says thing like "IT WILL BE DONE" and (if necessary) starts moving towards the lever. Then it returns to its position.. without pulling the lever. I tried like 100 times. Also verified it was not in the "braindead" state.
    Eventually I just had to pull the lever myself, dash and jump over the rats to the ladder, because I did not want to fight them.

    Then I arrived at the "Do not awaken the sleeping dogs"-optional. My pet was alive and seemed not in the braindead state. Again, it started moving toward the lever.. then returned.. without pulling.. I tried 3 times.
    So, I decided to try to dismiss/build it. Maybe it does not always show the braindead signs, even though it is bugged out, or maybe this would be another bug.
    I dismissed my (living) pet and started to build... Message: "(Standard): Your pet is dead and cannot be resummoned until you rest at a shrine or tavern.".
    So, even a bugged, living pet cannot be dismissed/build again anymore. And on top of that, in other cases, a dead pet (with for example -650 hp) is not dead and thus cannot be revived.

    In "Maze of Madness" in Ruins of Gianthold, I had my pet next to me (not on stand ground). Because I tried to solo it, I had to let it pull levers to advance through the underwater gate (where most people just jump on the walls and go over, but I had not enough jump) I disabled the trap on the first lever on the left of the gate to the water. I walked towards the double gate / double lever side on the right and told my pet to go pull the lever. The lever was only a short distance and in a straigt line from my position. However, how many times I tried to order my pet to go pull this lever, he took a turn left and started running back towards the start of the maze, instead of towards the lever. I made very sure that I had targetted the lever right in front of me and not anything on the other side of a wall.. I tried like 30 times, then I gave up. The dog always made the left turn to go around the wall instead of towards the lever straight in front of me.

    An arti pet has become a useless pieces of metal that follows you, like all the cosmetic pets. But at least those can do some cosmetic tricks like "play dead". An arti pet cannot even do that. Also, cosmetic pets don't make this irritating metal on stone running sound all the time when following you.

  12. #12
    Community Member C-Dog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IJudar View Post
    Every time I try to do this, it never activates the lever. The log keeps saying 'AFFIRMATIVE', 'IT WILL BE DONE', 'BARK, BARK' ... ad infinitum. ...
    I know that will happen when the lever is "blocked" and no direct line. Try shifting the location back and forth and re-trying to activate the lever.
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