Teaser - Creatures

The latest news, updates and information on the ongoing development of Phobos.
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Rob
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November 27, 2012, 08:36:43 PM

Before diving into this teaser, I'd like to start with an apology.

A few months ago, we hinted that we were aiming to get Phobos beta-ready by the end of the year. With regret, it is clear now that that is not going to be possible.

The problems with creature targeting that we have mentioned before turned out to be a symptom of a much larger problem. And as many of you have noticed by lack of updates in the to-do list, working on this has meant that programming progress has been halted. It's going to be another few weeks before this problem is properly cleared up.

Right now, we can only apologise for this. Even if we didn't officially 'promise' a beta server this year, we did say that we were aiming for it. And pretending that that wasn't a promise of sorts would be insulting the incredible support and patience that so many of you have shown us. Again, sorry. As soon as this problem is sorted out, we will let you know.


Image Teaser – Creatures Image

We discussed last month how important it is to have a solid and enjoyable combat system, especially for the purposes of PvP. We’ve not neglected PvE either though. Our resident creature/outfit artist, Alenius, made most of the 65 creatures and several bosses that we have. We will be showing off just a small selection of these in this teaser.

The first part of this thread will discuss the current situation. The rest should describe our vision for PvE combat and creatures in the future.

Current situation

Once the server programming problems are sorted, the basic AI system required for beta should be pretty much working. What that means is that non-hostile creature will try to keep away from players, close-combat creatures will run towards you, and distance/magical creatures will stay at a distance and shoot. This is a simple system for beta, but we'll definitely be looking to expand and improve it in the future.

There will be bosses at release. And they will be strong. So strong in fact that to defeat most of them, you’ll have to fight in a party, and be well organised. Of course, in the beginning, bosses will have basic AI. But again, we will be looking to improve that in the future.

Advanced AI

Apart from just improving the way monsters fight individually, another possible future direction for improving AI in many creatures would be to change the way creatures fight when in groups.

Of course, this should effect different creatures in different ways. Zombies may 'swarm' to attack a single player; with the combined effort of several zombies much increasing the chance of incapacitating a player with a poison debuff ability, before they try to do any real damage. Wargs may keep their distance and surround a player before going in for the kill. Intelligent creatures may have a basic battle strategy, may heal one-another, or may protect the magicians or weaker distance shooters... just like players would.
Image
One possible future AI addition is groups of Wargs encircling a lone target before attacking.
What this will mean is that fighting groups of creatures may suddenly become much more challenging, but also more interesting and immersive.

Bosses

We don't want bosses to be just normal creatures with some extra health and stronger attacks. Boss fights should be dangerous, varied, but also very rewarding.
Image
Most liches were once great shamen who craved power. Whilst pursuit of power is only natural, to pursue it blindly, beyond the boundaries of mortality, is to surrender yourself to the dark arts of necromancy.
Bosses will also play a large part in the dynamic world concept that we’ve explained in a previous teaser, along with being involved in various quests. We are also keen to add some special behaviours for bosses, such as adding several 'phases' in a boss battle, in which the boss will behave differently.

A dynamic world... but with some persistence (!)

Our dynamic world concept means that it is inevitable that some creature spawn locations may change slightly over time. But don't worry, not all areas will be affected by this, and many changes will just be temporary (although that will often depend on the players' response).

Minimise the appeal of cave bots

You’ll all be familiar with the way that experience works in most MMORPGs: kill a small creature, get a little bit of experience. Kill a big nasty creature, get a lot of experience. Well, that’s a good concept, but it neglects to consider the influence of automated levelling tools such as cave bots (or farm bots). Last month we gave you a few of our thoughts on discouraging aimbots. Of course, we have also considered how game design might be used to discourage the use of cave bots.
Image
What makes these bot tools so successful is that most MMORPGs reward players for
completing simple, mindless repetitive tasks, again, and again,
and again, and again, and again,
Whilst killing maggots and rats from level 1 to 50 (max level) would drive a human mad, bots don’t mind so much. We do understand the importance of character development and having to put time and effort into creating a strong character. But we also don't think that it should be possible to do this effectively by hunting creatures far below your level, in a situation where your character is not in any danger of death whatsoever. So, we’re going to try a slightly different experience-gain system.

It will work like this: the amount of experience you gain from killing a creature depends on your level. So, the higher your level, the smaller the amount of experience you may gain from low-level creatures. For example: killing a spiderling (a level 5 creature) would usually provide 35 experience points (you cannot gain more experience than that for killing a spiderling). However once you get above level 11, the experience you may gain from spiderlings quickly drops.

The idea is that this will discourage a large amount of cave botting. Of course, as this doesn’t affect loot dropped, we do expect that there will be players who use bot programs to ‘farm’ gold on secondary accounts. But nonetheless, this should decrease the usefulness of cave bots and will certainly encourage players to hunt in areas suitable and designed for characters of their level. And you can bet that we’ll be keeping a particularly close eye on any players who still regularly hunt creatures well below their level.

Summary

We aim for these features to ensure that PvE combat is diverse and challenging. And that we are able to minimise the negative influences of cheaters where possible, so long as it doesn't damage the experience for fair players. As with many features, the exact details will be experimented with during beta, and we'll be looking to you to help us get it right.


As usual: over to you. What do you think? Do any of these plans worry you? Do you like the sound of bosses who can only be defeated by teams? What are your thoughts on lowered experience for creatures much weaker than your character?

Yours,
Image
wreck713
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November 27, 2012, 08:51:53 PM

Hi Rob,

Updates keep me just as entertained as game release would do! (not really... but I'm being nice!)

No need to apologise this is all under your own free will to develop this game.

Thanks,
Mathijs
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November 27, 2012, 09:00:16 PM

Thanks for this post packed with information. It was really interesting to read through. Monster behavior is something that has always greatly lacked depth in Tibia, I hope you guys can take it to the next level. Scripted boss events are very tricky in non-controlled environments like an open world.

I have one remark about your lightning system: it seems a bit strange to me like the shadow is calculated tile by tile and not smoothly around the environment.

What is your opinion on small color/geometric variations in monsters? Too much work for what it adds to the game?

An apology is not required; the development process is simply as exciting as the final product will turn out to be. :like:
Bacjusz
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November 27, 2012, 09:12:42 PM

I believe that the teaser is interesting to say the least. I am curious to how the AI will work when a wolf pack will encounter the player. Will they attack in the number of 3 or maybe 5. It is worrying me to hear that You have problems with the coding that need fixing. However, I think that the team will handle the problem and show us their progress in the matter. Furthermore, the conclusions about cheating and the solution to it is spot on. Let us hope that the solution won't be necessary. Regards,
Bacjusz
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Hylario
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November 27, 2012, 09:27:16 PM

Good to see that you are still working hard to make a playable game with almost no bugs. And you know that many people are supporting you and will still support you even if the game take more 3 years to come.

Nice work Myth Entertainment.. Keep the good job..
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Ricardo
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November 27, 2012, 09:36:51 PM

Experience could drop to 0 when the player level is far beyond monster level. And loot could also be affected, the problem is people may have legitimate reasons to farm money on low level creatures, as an example to recover themselves after some unfortunate event such as losing everything to hackers or accidental deaths.

Anyway I congratulate Myth for such a serious approach to game's philosophy.
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Rob
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November 27, 2012, 09:48:12 PM

Bacjusz wrote:I believe that the teaser is interesting to say the least. I am curious to how the AI will work when a wolf pack will encounter the player. Will they attack in the number of 3 or maybe 5.
[...]
The whole group-fighting thing is of course only a dream of the future. But most likely it would be partly down to chance; so the more wolves that are surrounding a player, the more likely they are to attack.
Kardaum wrote:Experience could drop to 0 when the player level is far beyond monster level. And loot could also be affected, the problem is people may have legitimate reasons to farm money on low level creatures, as an example to recover themselves after some unfortunate event such as losing everything to hackers or accidental deaths.
[...]
Experience will indeed drop to 0 when you're much higher level than a creature. But for the reasons you mentioned about hackings and accidental deaths, loot won't be affected. Instead, we'll just keep a close eye on players who hunt creatures which don't give them any exp.
virato
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November 27, 2012, 11:37:09 PM

thanks for the teaser
I like defeat bosses in group with friends, its funny
Andre
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November 28, 2012, 04:20:53 AM

What an epic bug-slicing feat animation. Who did that? :gangster: hohoho
Tim
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November 28, 2012, 08:41:49 AM

Andre wrote:What an epic bug-slicing feat animation. Who did that? :gangster: hohoho
Looks like it was made by someone with a few too many chromosomes.
havy
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November 28, 2012, 09:07:13 AM

hahahaha Andre :S
@topic
the looks nice.
the advanced Ai is cool
is hard make it(program).
about the bosses, i love, the heros need save the world :P
about the bots i dont know, must see to talk.
about beta test/open game..
I wait many time, are many years. And do not even know half the world and creatures. Need more teasers to the helping new/old players.
how use the interface?have cap?regeneration hp/mana?where to start?
Last edited by havy on November 28, 2012, 11:47:38 AM, edited 1 time in total.
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Chaosweaver
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November 28, 2012, 11:05:38 AM

Encouraging teamplay is great, but I have a few questions:
1. Will bosses respawn like regular creatures?
2. Will there be any implementation of loot sharing, like everybody that takes part in the kill have a chance to loot something?

Reducing experience will halt some botters progress, but having a max level I don't believe that experience bots will be the biggest problem. Goldfarmers is imo by far the most destructive bots, getting unlimited amounts of gold to their mains. I'm terrified of them.
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Till
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November 28, 2012, 11:28:11 AM

Halgart wrote:Encouraging teamplay is great, but I have a few questions:
1. Will bosses respawn like regular creatures?
Some will respawn regularly, some will respawn a few times only, some will only be there once. It depends on their role in our world and player interaction. For example, bosses whose death is an essential factor in world evolving events (see last teaser) will most likely only be seen once... of course only if you manage to kill them ;)
2. Will there be any implementation of loot sharing, like everybody that takes part in the kill have a chance to loot something?
To be honest, we are still unsure of how we want to go about this. Of course we want to ensure a fun and fair experience for everyone. On the other hand we think that the world you play in is formed by the players. In every aspect you take a risk when joining a party and you should, if you team up with strangers. Can you trust these people? Will loot be the problem or will it be mutual support? What will happen when they don't need you any more? What happens when YOU don't need THEM any more?

We are thinking all of this through and hope to come to a conclusion that doesn't limit "free will" in a certain sense but doesn't neglect simply fun-seeking players. If you want to help in this regard, you are welcome to share your thoughts of course.
Reducing experience will halt some botters progress, but having a max level I don't believe that experience bots will be the biggest problem. Goldfarmers is imo by far the most destructive bots, getting unlimited amounts of gold to their mains. I'm terrified of them.
You're quite right and we are on the lookout for a solution to this, too.
jhonnyot
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November 28, 2012, 04:46:51 PM

Since all but one of my questions have been answered in the teaser, I'll shoot the last one: Will different weapons have different attack speed and animation? That'd be slicing weapons having a faster attack time than blunt or hacking weapons and different animations from the one used on that poor little bug. (Of course, this should be a feature on the release date, not on the beta. That'd be a lot to ask :p)
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knight legend
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November 28, 2012, 07:03:01 PM

nice a teaser, no test server this year tho :(
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