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Threat Mechanics Are a Realistic Game Design

 

The Holy Trinity of mmorpg's (tank, dps, heal) seems to have come under a ton of fire in recent years and every day these forums are filled with arguments for or against, which is great. I personally think that coming up with a workable and strategic mechanic to rival (not replace) the trinity would be great for gaming. I haven't played a lot of games without the trinity, but I definitely prefer those that I've played with it because it provides a strategic framework and it gives players a larger sense of importance to their team than they would experience in a game which had no defined roles. But that is not the point of my post.

Specifically, I want to address an argument that I have seen presented many times and it never seems to be questioned. This is the notion that the trinity is based on “fake” threat mechanics and would never actually work in a real situation. Having pondered the issue and looked at it from a story-telling standpoint (if not a real-world standpoint) the trinity is a completely plausible, “real” combat strategy.

Take a look at how threat powers actually work in game. You have your basic threat power: Taunt. I remember in CoH seeing a tank who had a ton of random insults macroed for every time he used Taunt. This was unbelievably entertaining and also made the Taunt power make a lot of sense. Why is it that so many gamers will say that Taunt is silly or dumb when most of us have seen it work on playgrounds while growing up. Hopefully not many of us have been in a lot of brawls to know if it still works, but it sure works in the movies. A simple, “Hey, [Name]! Pick on someone your own size!” works every single time on film. We don't question this in our movies but give mmorpgers a taunt power and it's suddenly “fake.” Other threat generating powers might include giant aoe swings of the sword or stomping of the ground to make everyone fall (which I would think would make the average Joe take notice and feel threatened – call me crazy.) Or there might be a power that forces a target or targets to to attack the caster. In a fantasy setting looking at this logically, one would have to assume this is a form of magic. So let me get this straight: we believe that a warrior could stomp the ground and shock everyone with electricity, but we say that a warrior shouting and causing everyone to attack him is way too outrageous for us to accept? On the flip-side of these are powers or abilities that allow casters to lose threat. Again, this is a form of magic and I don't find it unreasonable that someone that has the power of the sun shooting from their fingertips couldn't possibly have the power to make themselves less noticeable. If this is still difficult to swallow, just think of your healer or mage as being Obi Wan Kenobi. That should clear it up for you.

It's also way too easy for the stone-throwers to say, “This mechanic doesn't work when you are playing real people so it shouldn't work against bosses.” My response is: of course it doesn't work against people. We've seen it 10 million times. But it's unfair for us to say the bosses we fight should have an intimate understanding of the tactics we've done 10 million times. In the story arch, the boss has never been killed before. Your go at him this time is the first time he's ever been defeated. So to complain that he should know better would be as if to say that Frodo should know by now that Gollem would take him to Shelob because I've read the book 3 times.

The reality is, most bad guys will go after Batman even if Robin is carrying the bigger gun because Batman is the bigger prize. Most bad guys will also look for the guy who seems to be the leader of the group because most of the time if you kill the leader, you kill the group. And, usually in the trinity, you kill the tank and you do, in fact, kill the group. Finally, if I'm fighting a group in an mmorpg and I see a guy who has “Priest” next to his name I go after him. It should not be assumed that an npc boss can see what class anyone is by looking at their name-tag. A smart boss would also not look at armor type (as I've seen stated - “take out the guy in cloth”) because in most mmorpg's not all healers wear cloth and due to player quality not all cloth wearers are actually a threat. Therefore, a boss would actually look for the guy who is most threatening. Most of the time it will be the guy in the front who is ballsy enough to attack first, is wearing the shiny armor, carries a big stick, has a horribly fearsome shout, and can stomp the ground and cause lightning to shoot out of it. The nice thing about threat mechanics is that they allow for the boss to at times realize that this person is not as threatening as the one doing all the healing or maybe the one who has flames shooting from his elbows. If the guy with the big stick is not particularly daunting but the guy with the flaming elbows is causing a lot of pain, the boss will change targets. How is this not realistic?

As for tanking not working in pvp, I've always thought this was a weakness in pvp game design, not pve design. If a caster can confuse a player and make him attack his own team while his screen shows him attacking an enemy target, why can't the game force him to attack a tank if threat is high enough. Granted, the amount of threat needed by the tank and the amount mitigated off of a caster in order to accomplish this without it becoming a frustrating mess would need to be adjusted greatly from where it is in pve but I've always thought threat should be a factor in pvp fights – as it would be if we entered into a real combat without knowledge of our enemies' tactics beforehand and without those enemies wearing name-tags that basically screamed, “Kill me first!”

I was pleasantly surprised when I went from Apprentice to full 5 star Elite in under 2 months. I was pleasantly surprised again when I went from Elite to just barely Hardcore in 2 weeks. Apprentice, here I come!

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Comments

  • MMOExposedMMOExposed Member RarePosts: 6,977

    OP just earned a Internet point

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  • kaiser3282kaiser3282 Member UncommonPosts: 2,759

    I think you may be misunderstanding some of the debate. IMO you are correct as far as "threat" goes, of course it makes sense that the enemy will gof ro the person who is the biggest threat / causing the most damage/CC, and things like that. The problem is the idea of "taunting" mid battle forcing all enemies to suddenly turn and attack that 1 tank and ignore everyone else temporarily, when that tank poses the LEAST threat of the entire group since typically tanks can take lots of punishment but cant deal out much in return.

    If I were going into a real battle, i certainly wouldnt ignore the guys throwing fireballs, arrows, and massive 2 handed sword swings at my head simply because some guy wearing a full suit of heavy armor and a shield says "Hey, attack me!". It's one of the reasons i get annoyed with people in PvP who will sit there hitting a tank over and over for 2 minutes, and the tank is still at 100% health due to their healers... yet they keep hitting the tank anyway and dont get the hint that "Hey, this guy is going to do the elast damage to me, and im doing nothing to him, maybe i should take out the people who can kill me quickly, or the ehaler keeping this guy alive".

    I just find it ridiculous that any enemy would just for example, stop hitting the deadly mage who is 1 hit away from death and suddenly turn and focus only on some dude yelling a taunt. Now if they gave "tanks" something more along the lines of like massively increasing damage (thereby increasing their actual "threat" greatly) as they continue to hit and enemy and not receive damage (sort of a build up that grows as long as youre not taking hits, but resets once you start getting hit), i would find that more understandable because if you dont focus on that tank at some point he will be the one that kills you rather than the DPS class. I think that this is in a way where they are going with Guild Wars 2 and removing the taunt mechanics and replacing them with CC focus. Now rather than an enemy wanting to take you out because you yell "Hit me!", they want to take you out because if they dont they will be stun locked, slowed, crippled, etc repeatedly and will be innefective until they get rid of the person causing those effects. Would you, in a real fight, focus on a guy telling you to hit him (because he knows he can take the hits), or would you focus on the guy charging at you with a baseball bat swinging for your kneecaps?

  • DisdenaDisdena Member UncommonPosts: 1,093

    I don't think you made a very good case, to be honest. Your entire argument rests on the assumption that every non-player character is both ignorant and stupid. Ignorant of the world around in them, in which there are trainers training countless thousands of Paladins how to mock their opponent in order to draw their attention. And stupid enough to not immediately catch onto the true threat in a combat situation.

    "A smart boss would also not look at armor type (as I've seen stated - “take out the guy in cloth”) because in most mmorpg's not all healers wear cloth and due to player quality not all cloth wearers are actually a threat. Therefore, a boss would actually look for the guy who is most threatening."

    I am not familiar with this definition of the word "smart".

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  • PalebanePalebane Member RarePosts: 3,707

    What about actual combat? Who were the tanks in the medieval days when everyone had a sword and a shield? Even in fantasy (books and movies), combat has a much more dynamic and unpredictable nature. I understand why popular RPG games use them, but that doesn't mean they are required for challenging or interesting game play where everyone has a role. Comparing it to tabletop RPG games is silly. In the tabletop games, your enemies were always a real person. Anything can happen.

    Vault-Tec analysts have concluded that the odds of worldwide nuclear armaggeddon this decade are 17,143,762... to 1.

  • JoarnajJoarnaj Member Posts: 258

    Originally posted by Disdena

    I don't think you made a very good case, to be honest. Your entire argument rests on the assumption that every non-player character is both ignorant and stupid. Ignorant of the world around in them, in which there are trainers training countless thousands of Paladins how to mock their opponent in order to draw their attention. And stupid enough to not immediately catch onto the true threat in a combat situation.

    "A smart boss would also not look at armor type (as I've seen stated - “take out the guy in cloth”) because in most mmorpg's not all healers wear cloth and due to player quality not all cloth wearers are actually a threat. Therefore, a boss would actually look for the guy who is most threatening."

    I am not familiar with this definition of the word "smart".

    I think it's fair to say that a boss like the Lich King would be well aware of common tactics in the world but many, if not most, bosses are mythical creatures that have been tucked away in a dungeon for hundreds or sometimes thousands of years and may not even know what a paladin can do so ignorance can be assumed. As for stupid - that does happen. A post previous to yours pointed out how players in pvp will spend all their time stupidly beating on the tank (not sure how that didn't help prove my point) so stupid is. At the same time, if a boss is in his lair having a nice dinner like he's done every evening for the last 100 years and suddenly 25 people roll up and start attacking him, I would think the chaos of the situation would cause plenty of mis-steps on his part. Maybe he's distracted by the guy in the shiny armor. Maybe (probably) he's extraordinarily arrogant and wants to go straight for the toughest opponent - this certainly is not uncommon in story archs. Maybe he doesn't have time to scope out all 25 guys to figure out which is the most dangerous. Perhaps he can't see the green auras shooting from the healer to the tank so he hasn't even realized that the little guy in the corner is doing anything. And with 20 or so of those guys hitting him with various different attacks he may not even know what's causing the most pain. Or maybe he's stupid. No matter the case, I would not assume that the boss should realize right away - or maybe even at all - what was the cause of his demise.

    I was pleasantly surprised when I went from Apprentice to full 5 star Elite in under 2 months. I was pleasantly surprised again when I went from Elite to just barely Hardcore in 2 weeks. Apprentice, here I come!

  • JoarnajJoarnaj Member Posts: 258

    Originally posted by Palebane

    What about actual combat? Who were the tanks in the medieval days when everyone had a sword and a shield? Even in fantasy (books and movies), combat has a much more dynamic and unpredictable nature. I understand why popular RPG games use them, but that doesn't mean they are required for challenging or interesting game play where everyone has a role. Comparing it to tabletop RPG games is silly. In the tabletop games, your enemies were always a real person. Anything can happen.

     

    Agreed. I think the trinity works well and should not be dismissed as fake or lazy game design, but I would love to see other viable options out there - I just haven't another system in mmorpg's that I've enjoyed as much as the trinity. Like Kaiser3282, I am really looking forward to seeing how Guild Wars 2 reinvents combat. I hope it's awesome.


    I was pleasantly surprised when I went from Apprentice to full 5 star Elite in under 2 months. I was pleasantly surprised again when I went from Elite to just barely Hardcore in 2 weeks. Apprentice, here I come!

  • DisdenaDisdena Member UncommonPosts: 1,093

    See, that's just more excuses though. "The enemy doesn't know what tanks are." "The enemy was in the middle of eating dinner." "The enemy's glasses got fogged up so he can't see healing sparkles." The concept of realism requires an enemy that is shockingly incompetant, unprepared, or just plain bad at life. And unless the taunt abilities have a caveat that states that they don't work against enemies with unfogged glasses, you need every enemy in the game to be inept in order to justify the fact that they work.

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  • KorhindiKorhindi Member CommonPosts: 395

    I know when I play an RPG, be it computer or tabletop I always try to avoid the tank and nail the mages or the healers first depending on which is causing me the most grief.

     

    The fact is, you take out the biggest threat first if you can.  This makes the concept of "Threat" in most MMO's oxymoronic where the person who can generate the most threat (aka aggro) is actually the least dangerous, or threatening, player on the field. 

     

    A tank without a healer is soon dead, so why would anyone with a modicum of tactical sense just pound on the tank and ignore the healer?  Add in mages and archers raining down death and the idea of clustering around the meat shield becomes becomes suicidal and just plain stupid.

     

    In real life combat, the whole idea is to avoid the tanks, or smash through them to get to the more vulnerable forces behind.  The term, "Breaking through the lines" reflects this.  The only way tanks can hold aggro in real life combat is by positioning (formations, ranks, terrain, etc) and often only with support from covering fire from other units... otherwise, the enemy will flank you and make your tanks (lines) useless.  In short, if the enemy can go around the tanks, he will.

     

    For me, the holy trinity is problematic not for only realism issues, but for the simple fact it is boring.  It makes play too regimented and, well, like a job. It is too predictable.  It creates the mindset that only 3 ways of play are possible and all else is not to be used. 

     

    In a genre that is supposed to be about imagination and fantasy, I find the archaic (in MMO terms) notion of the holy trinity extremely limiting especially when compared against the myriad of tactical options that open up with more creative combat design.

  • madeuxmadeux Member Posts: 1,786

    In theory, you are kinda right... but only slightly.

    If we are talking realism here, then as someone mentioned already, the tank would be ignored and you'd kill the clothies capable of doing the real damage.

    But you'd also take out the healer before that. 

  • MMOman101MMOman101 Member UncommonPosts: 1,699

    Originally posted by madeux

    In theory, you are kinda right... but only slightly.

    If we are talking realism here, then as someone mentioned already, the tank would be ignored and you'd kill the clothies capable of doing the real damage.

    But you'd also take out the healer before that. 


    That is only because you know how the trinity works.


     


    If we assume the NPC has no knowledge of healing and tanking than we can assume that the NPC will attack the one that appears to be the biggest threat. 


     


    The one who appears to be the biggest threat might very well be the guy/gal in plate armor standing right in front of the NPC.  Additionally, if an NPC only has melee skills it would make the most sense to attack the closest combatant till death.  Running from person to person trying to guess who is easiest to kill would actually put a person at greater risk.


     


    NPCs may not be able to identify a mage from a priest from a tank. 


     


    In reality this argument is played out and a waste of time.  It presumes that games should be a certain way because someone likes that style. 


     


    At some point it would be great if people would just let games be games.  Let people play what makes them happy and not care about what they play.

    “It's unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money - that's all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot - it can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.”

    --John Ruskin







  • madeuxmadeux Member Posts: 1,786

    Originally posted by MMOman101

    Originally posted by madeux

    In theory, you are kinda right... but only slightly.

    If we are talking realism here, then as someone mentioned already, the tank would be ignored and you'd kill the clothies capable of doing the real damage.

    But you'd also take out the healer before that. 


    That is only because you know how the trinity works.


     


    If we assume the NPC has no knowledge of healing and tanking than we can assume that the NPC will attack the one that appears to be the biggest threat. 


     


    The one who appears to be the biggest threat might very well be the guy/gal in plate armor standing right in front of the NPC.  Additionally, if an NPC only has melee skills it would make the most sense to attack the closest combatant till death.  Running from person to person trying to guess who is easiest to kill would actually put a person at greater risk.


     


    NPCs may not be able to identify a mage from a priest from a tank. 


     


    In reality this argument is played out and a waste of time.  It presumes that games should be a certain way because someone likes that style. 


     


    At some point it would be great if people would just let games be games.  Let people play what makes them happy and not care about what they play.

    So this works as long as the NPC's are all retarded and have no knowledge of the world of which they are a part.  Yah, makes total sense.

  • djazzydjazzy Member Posts: 3,578

    Originally posted by madeux

    Originally posted by MMOman101




    That is only because you know how the trinity works.


     


    If we assume the NPC has no knowledge of healing and tanking than we can assume that the NPC will attack the one that appears to be the biggest threat. 


     


    The one who appears to be the biggest threat might very well be the guy/gal in plate armor standing right in front of the NPC.  Additionally, if an NPC only has melee skills it would make the most sense to attack the closest combatant till death.  Running from person to person trying to guess who is easiest to kill would actually put a person at greater risk.


     


    NPCs may not be able to identify a mage from a priest from a tank. 


     


    In reality this argument is played out and a waste of time.  It presumes that games should be a certain way because someone likes that style. 


     


    At some point it would be great if people would just let games be games.  Let people play what makes them happy and not care about what they play.

    So this works as long as the NPC's are all retarded and have no knowledge of the world of which they are a part.  Yah, makes total sense.

     Aye. NPC AI is dumber than my cat. That big bad boss over there? A typical house cat is smarter than he is.

  • QuirhidQuirhid Member UncommonPosts: 6,230

    I don't even know why this is an argument. It is proven that threat mechanics don't work in real scenarios. PvP is that proof.

    Something derived from an age old thing where monster had one variable for target and that target was determined solely by whoever entered its aggro-bubble of 10 spaces first. That monster then attacked that player untill it was dead. Ofcourse people picked up on this and put the strongest guy first and kept healing that player. To me, threat tables aren't much advancement from this ancient mechanic.

    Trinity is something you're used to, and cling to and you try to find it everywhere you look even if it isn't there. It is just a perverted way of combat and skips the need to design a proper AI.

    In practice, your suggestion to PvP would work like a Pacifism-type effect where a target is invulnerable for a certain time. No one in their right mind would leave the side of that weak mage to attack a tank. At most they would gather up adrenaline off of other targets or gather chain skills only to release their most powerful attacks on the mage once the invulnerability is removed.

    You can derive a number of usable tactics only by looking your opponent's team composition but you suggestion alone gives me the impression that you haven't done much PvP or know much about tactics.

    I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky

  • Torment1982Torment1982 Member Posts: 156

    The problem with the trinty and threat mechanics lies not in the fact that theoretically it isn't explainable, which it is to some extent, the OP did a viable job.  The problem is that every monster and boss behaves almost identically regardless of being completely mindless, instinct driven like an animal, or as intelligent or more intelligent than any of the hominid player characters.  It makes more sense to me for example for a dragon of bestial intelligence to attack the shouting sword waving warrior because he's loud and "threatening."  It makes much less sense to me that a lich who should be relatively resilient to physical weapons would ignore the much more serious priest or mage trying to unravel his enchanted existence.  Using a typical fantasy setting that is. 

    The other major problem with the trinty is that its done in such a completely and jarringly unrealistic way.  The tank is being smashed over and over and over and over, and the healer is simply spamming constant heal spells, how does one translate hitpoints into something that makes sense "realistically?"  Is the warrior regenerating obscenely quickly ala wolverine with the aid of a healers spell?  Is he not taking any damage at all but his strength is failing such that he *could* take a mortal blow, and the healer is simply rejuvenating him?  These kind of questions aren't really answered in most games they simply expect players to handle the suspension of disbelief on their own.  The more often or jarring the suspension required the more likely you are to get arguments against the trinity. 

    Frankly I think MMORPG's that deal with bosses and monsters need to take a dose from monster hunter.  That game requires precision, tactics, planning, etc, and it handles it realistically enough that the suspension isn't so huge.  It at least attempts to address some of the questions of realism like if you hit a monster on his armor plated head you're doing little more than pissing it off.  Its not a perfect solution, but I think its farther in the direction I would like to see for games to get my attention again.  At least get rid of tank and spanking that WoW now seems to have no desire to change at all.

    As an aside I'd love to see the tanking and healing roles be absorbed, and reassigned to primarily to attention and recovery.  Tanks aren't tanks because they can be hit non stop, they're tanks because they can grab attention and have the means to avoid being hit better than other characters.  Healers then don't need to heal, but lets say a character does get stuck, I'd rather see a healer run over and rejuvenate a charcter in a single burst to get them back in the fight while acting otherwise as a buffer, damage dealer, or crowd controller.  The constant spam healing every 2 seconds by multiple healers on one tank just got stupidly old in WoW, I want someone to say y'know lets think about this for a sec and not just accept that a game doesn't have to be "real."

  • Rockgod99Rockgod99 Member Posts: 4,640

    I like threat mechanics in mmorpgs.

    My issue is when the mechanic is dumbed down.

    Not only do you need threat as a tank character but you need healz, de-buffs, Crowd control (Off tank, stuns, mez).

    If im playing a game that has a threat mechanic and it turns out to be some boring zerg tank and spank BS im gone.

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  • UsualSuspectUsualSuspect Member UncommonPosts: 1,243

    Originally posted by kaiser3282

    I just find it ridiculous that any enemy would just for example, stop hitting the deadly mage who is 1 hit away from death and suddenly turn and focus only on some dude yelling a taunt.

    RPG's are just that, roleplay games, you need a certain amount of imagination as well as the graphical abilities of the game. Looking back at PnP games like AD&D where all you had were static miniatures on a table, you had pure imagination to work out what the characters were doing and how they looked when they were attacking. In MMO's you have a certain amount of graphics but I never let it cover all options.

    For example, that taunt might be the tank bullrushing the boss, smacking him to the floor with a shield then standing angrily over him as he gets back to his feet. Now the boss is pissed as he was just about to finish off the mage and this massive guy with a shield made him look bad. Boss attacks tank. Taunt successful.

    I mean, if all you're doing is pressing 'Taunt' and watching the result then of course it's not going to be quite so interesting. Until games and their graphics can get to the point where they can simulate combat realistically, instead of a character standing there executing the same attack over and over, then you're always going to have to use imagination in RPG's.

  • JoarnajJoarnaj Member Posts: 258

    Originally posted by Torment1982

    The problem with the trinty and threat mechanics lies not in the fact that theoretically it isn't explainable, which it is to some extent, the OP did a viable job.  The problem is that every monster and boss behaves almost identically regardless of being completely mindless, instinct driven like an animal, or as intelligent or more intelligent than any of the hominid player characters.  It makes more sense to me for example for a dragon of bestial intelligence to attack the shouting sword waving warrior because he's loud and "threatening."  It makes much less sense to me that a lich who should be relatively resilient to physical weapons would ignore the much more serious priest or mage trying to unravel his enchanted existence.  Using a typical fantasy setting that is. 

    The other major problem with the trinty is that its done in such a completely and jarringly unrealistic way.  The tank is being smashed over and over and over and over, and the healer is simply spamming constant heal spells, how does one translate hitpoints into something that makes sense "realistically?"  Is the warrior regenerating obscenely quickly ala wolverine with the aid of a healers spell?  Is he not taking any damage at all but his strength is failing such that he *could* take a mortal blow, and the healer is simply rejuvenating him?  These kind of questions aren't really answered in most games they simply expect players to handle the suspension of disbelief on their own.  The more often or jarring the suspension required the more likely you are to get arguments against the trinity. 

    Frankly I think MMORPG's that deal with bosses and monsters need to take a dose from monster hunter.  That game requires precision, tactics, planning, etc, and it handles it realistically enough that the suspension isn't so huge.  It at least attempts to address some of the questions of realism like if you hit a monster on his armor plated head you're doing little more than pissing it off.  Its not a perfect solution, but I think its farther in the direction I would like to see for games to get my attention again.  At least get rid of tank and spanking that WoW now seems to have no desire to change at all.

    As an aside I'd love to see the tanking and healing roles be absorbed, and reassigned to primarily to attention and recovery.  Tanks aren't tanks because they can be hit non stop, they're tanks because they can grab attention and have the means to avoid being hit better than other characters.  Healers then don't need to heal, but lets say a character does get stuck, I'd rather see a healer run over and rejuvenate a charcter in a single burst to get them back in the fight while acting otherwise as a buffer, damage dealer, or crowd controller.  The constant spam healing every 2 seconds by multiple healers on one tank just got stupidly old in WoW, I want someone to say y'know lets think about this for a sec and not just accept that a game doesn't have to be "real."

    This is an awesome response! Thanks for thinking. And, btw, I'd play that game with you.

    Fantasy, in general, requires suspension of disbelief. My point is not that trinity tactics would totally work in real life, but rather that there are real world and literary examples that make an allowance for the trinity as a plausible, "realistic" mechanic. I'm not sure why we can suspend our disbelief for swords that randomly cause 350 nature damage, but the threat mechanic is something we see as completely stupid.

    I was pleasantly surprised when I went from Apprentice to full 5 star Elite in under 2 months. I was pleasantly surprised again when I went from Elite to just barely Hardcore in 2 weeks. Apprentice, here I come!

  • Jimmy_ScytheJimmy_Scythe Member CommonPosts: 3,586

    TL;DR

    I did make it past the first couple of paragraphs though.

    If your goal is to simulate that most insip and asinine action movie, then yeah the taunt thing works. If you're trying to make anything even remotely believable to anyone over the age of 12, then no this doesn't work at all.

    Having, unfortunately, been in the middle of actual firefights, I can tell you that taunting isn't what goes on. You shoot towards where you think the bullets are coming from. Once you have your oppenent pinned down and focused on one target, you send a couple of guys out to flank. Yeah, that's an over simplification, but it's the basic rundown of all military tactics. And the formula hasn't really changed much since the time of Alexander The Great.

    Puting this in a medieval perspective: infantry move forward and eventually hold ground, archers fire ahead of the infantry's initial advance, and cavalry flanks infantry. THAT is the original holy trinity, and it still survives on the modern battlefield. In real life, people can take weeks, months and even years to heal up to a battle ready state. That is if they aren't injured beyond all repair and maimed for life. Up until about a century ago, battlefield medicine was a crap shoot. In the various middle ages, anything more than a flesh wound was either an amputation or a death sentence.

    It gets a little harder to sort out when you start talking about medieval skirmishes involving less than fifty people. Although I think it's safe to say that such actions were more like a mosh pit and probably lacked anything remotely resembling team organization. I highly doubt that all the people on each side ganged up on one guy while archers took, laserbeam accurate, pot shots at the thronging mob. More than likely, everyone chose one opponent and went at it. The only realistic thing that you see reflected in MMOs is the fact that the side with more people would usually win.

  • Silas26Silas26 Member Posts: 51

    Wall of text crit me for over nine-thousand.

    The problem with aggro is it's a number on a meter. It's calculated. As a mechanic of the trinity, it has to be mathematically established.

    I wanna play a game, not do maths and watch numbers.

  • JoarnajJoarnaj Member Posts: 258

    Originally posted by Jimmy_Scythe

    TL;DR

    I did make it past the first couple of paragraphs though.

    If your goal is to simulate that most insip and asinine action movie, then yeah the taunt thing works. If you're trying to make anything even remotely believable to anyone over the age of 12, then no this doesn't work at all.

    Having, unfortunately, been in the middle of actual firefights, I can tell you that taunting isn't what goes on. You shoot towards where you think the bullets are coming from. Once you have your oppenent pinned down and focused on one target, you send a couple of guys out to flank. Yeah, that's an over simplification, but it's the basic rundown of all military tactics. And the formula hasn't really changed much since the time of Alexander The Great.

    Puting this in a medieval perspective: infantry move forward and eventually hold ground, archers fire ahead of the infantry's initial advance, and cavalry flanks infantry. THAT is the original holy trinity, and it still survives on the modern battlefield. In real life, people can take weeks, months and even years to heal up to a battle ready state. That is if they aren't injured beyond all repair and maimed for life. Up until about a century ago, battlefield medicine was a crap shoot. In the various middle ages, anything more than a flesh wound was either an amputation or a death sentence.

    It gets a little harder to sort out when you start talking about medieval skirmishes involving less than fifty people. Although I think it's safe to say that such actions were more like a mosh pit and probably lacked anything remotely resembling team organization. I highly doubt that all the people on each side ganged up on one guy while archers took, laserbeam accurate, pot shots at the thronging mob. More than likely, everyone chose one opponent and went at it. The only realistic thing that you see reflected in MMOs is the fact that the side with more people would usually win.

    All this is true, but what you're describing is played out daily in multiple fps games. I'm not sure that it can be applied to a fantasy environment where you have classes who do a lot of aoe attacks and giant war stomps while yelling constantly like a berserk fool along with other classes who do virtually nothing but stand back and magically heal their teammates. If your point was that the whole fantasy mmorpg genre with its 5 to 40 man raids is an unrealistic concept then you made your point well. I don't know that your point is well applied specifically to the threat mechanic within this game style, however.

    I was pleasantly surprised when I went from Apprentice to full 5 star Elite in under 2 months. I was pleasantly surprised again when I went from Elite to just barely Hardcore in 2 weeks. Apprentice, here I come!

  • risenbonesrisenbones Member Posts: 194

    What it all boils down to is for the most part you can't fully simulate reality in a computer.  Threat, hitpoints, resists they are all there as simplified numbers (that are easy to code or create rulesets around) meant to represent an average of all the millions of tiny variations and effects you get in the real world.  Not to mention what do you replace them all with?

     

    Lets take HP as the example.  HP is meant to represent all kinds of things from balance, muscle fatigue, mental fatigue and all the little cuts and bruises that are suffured in couse of a drawn out fight.  Failure to maintain one of those and your open to instant "death".  Thats still pretty simplified but you've replaced one bar with 4 bars to represent pretty much the same thing.  Thats 3 extra bars taking up room in the UI.  Thats extra calculations and complexities in coding for every kind of attack as to what bars it affects and how much.  It's much much easier to lump them together in one group.

     

    Threat is basicly the same kind of thing.  It's one number used to represent a whole bunch of little things that would make something concentrate on one thing out of a choice of targets.  As such it makes a certain amount of sence in a limited way.  What happens is because all these things are boiled down to simple numbers it means the basic understanding on how an MMO world functions by a player is almost equivelent to Stephen Hawkins understanding on how our real universe functions.  Thats why in PvP you know to ignore the tank and go for the squishy priest and the NPC doesn't and if the MMO world was real most of us would do pretty much what the NPC's do because no matter how smart you think you are your not Stephen Hawkins.

    The lesser of two evils is still evil.

    There is nothing more dangerous than a true believer.

  • FreddyNoNoseFreddyNoNose Member Posts: 1,558

    OP, make your own mmorpg and show everyone how it should be done.

  • JoarnajJoarnaj Member Posts: 258

    Originally posted by FreddyNoNose

    OP, make your own mmorpg and show everyone how it should be done.

    Perhaps I would if a) I knew how to program, and b) I was complaining about how it is currently done.

    I was pleasantly surprised when I went from Apprentice to full 5 star Elite in under 2 months. I was pleasantly surprised again when I went from Elite to just barely Hardcore in 2 weeks. Apprentice, here I come!

  • In a "realistic" situation one would often have no idea who is the most threatening.

     

    In PvP we often know exactly what a person is capable of becuase the game tells us.  It tells us their class and forces them to look a certain way to it is visible.

     

    This is not true in all games.  But it is the common trend currently.

     

    However if your argument is that NPC should always be more stupid than humans then that is simply invalid.  Batman and Robin is an example of cartoonish writing for story purposes.  In fact in Batman comics the smrater villains like Riddler or Joker often attempt to out maneuver Batman by attacking or capturing weaker people so the premise is wrong to begin with.

     

    Look it is very simple.  Simplistic threat mechanics take out the ability for something to out maneuver you by forcing them to act stupid.  Maneuver to counter maneuver is the heart of strategy and tactics.  Threat mechanics degrade and destroy the idea of a tactical fight.

     

    However they do this for a reason.  Generally because games in the EQ model have very little in the way of move/counter-move to begin and generally because many things in real life that make such stuff possible is not implemented or does not fit well into an RPG environment.

     

    If you know that I am skilled with a weapon and well armored.  I should be difficult to kill and dangerous to fight.  However I will be slow.   Maybe you could just run around me if you wore normal clothes or leather.

    But there is a VERY LARGE caveat here.   If I have engaged you in sword range and you try that I WILL KILL you.  You will epose a flank or your back which is one of the biggest and most deadly no-no's of any form of fighting.  No matter how heavily armored I am I will be able to perform a deadly lunge if you try to simply run past me.  However I could not possible keep ten things glued to me simply by shouting Your Momma jokes or anything else.

     

    The mechanics of instant mortal wounds due to un-wise positioning moves is largely absent from MMOs.  Partially due to engine mechanics of having no mechanical ability to do so.  And partially because instant mortal wounds in RPGs are not well recieved.

     

    In the end the discussion of "Threat" in the context of reality is pointless for MMOs.  Part of the reason it exists is because MMO like EQ and WoW are no where close to real.  But Threat in the context of strategy and tactics is relevant and often it is a 2nd rate mechanic in my opinion because there is no real maneuvering or out maneuvering going on.  Just gen it up back off DPS, gen it up back off DPS. 

     

    The entire idea of threat is that you proactively force the NPC to act stupidly.  It is at its very heart, non-tactical.  You are not out smarting the opponent by being smart (either by excuting something well or by tricking them into doing something dumb).  You are outsmarting them by pressing a button to make them stupid.

    It is a simple plug in the numbers formula that always works.  It has no tactical value or dimension at all.  None.  Generate X amount of threat from tank, be sure Y amount of threat from DPS/Healing is lower.  Badda Bing profit.  The NPC's do not even enter into the equation.

    Granted there has been scripting in encounter and aggro wipes etc.  But the basic premise remains the same.

     

    Threat may be a useful mechanic because it is simple and in a social environment it is very valuable to have everyone on the same page.  But it is not realistic.  It is not tactical.  It is a 2nd rate mechanic used for the sake of simplicity.


  • Originally posted by risenbones

    What it all boils down to is for the most part you can't fully simulate reality in a computer.  Threat, hitpoints, resists they are all there as simplified numbers (that are easy to code or create rulesets around) meant to represent an average of all the millions of tiny variations and effects you get in the real world.  Not to mention what do you replace them all with?

     

    Lets take HP as the example.  HP is meant to represent all kinds of things from balance, muscle fatigue, mental fatigue and all the little cuts and bruises that are suffured in couse of a drawn out fight.  Failure to maintain one of those and your open to instant "death".  Thats still pretty simplified but you've replaced one bar with 4 bars to represent pretty much the same thing.  Thats 3 extra bars taking up room in the UI.  Thats extra calculations and complexities in coding for every kind of attack as to what bars it affects and how much.  It's much much easier to lump them together in one group.

     

    Threat is basicly the same kind of thing.  It's one number used to represent a whole bunch of little things that would make something concentrate on one thing out of a choice of targets.  As such it makes a certain amount of sence in a limited way.  What happens is because all these things are boiled down to simple numbers it means the basic understanding on how an MMO world functions by a player is almost equivelent to Stephen Hawkins understanding on how our real universe functions.  Thats why in PvP you know to ignore the tank and go for the squishy priest and the NPC doesn't and if the MMO world was real most of us would do pretty much what the NPC's do because no matter how smart you think you are your not Stephen Hawkins.

    Actually what "HP" no longer has any real meaning.  What you describe was true of D&D; HP was an abstraction of many things.

    But you ask many game deves who never did much in D&D Hp is simply health.  Even if that makes no sense.  You need to be made of iron to have 4000 hp when a sword swing does 10 hp or even 100hp.

    A decent sword hit even if you have full plate armor can kill you.  In D&D this was justified by basically have a critical hit be able to kill a 3rd level fight but a 9th level fighter was skilled enough (represented by higher HP) to mitigate even an excellent hit that slipped througha crack in the armor via reaction time and parries etc,

    In fact this is why things like parrying a blow and riposting a blow were never represented in 1st ed D&D and heavily resisted for addition into 2nd ed.  They were assumed to happen and abstracted into HP for the sake of time.

    But D&D still had instant mortal wounds.  Vorpal sword could decapitate.  Death spells could auto kill. 

     

    HP is clearly something that came from D&D but its original meaning is no longer really relevant or held to or even understood by many game developers.  To be sure there are a bunber of RPG devs that do know the history of HP and its origianl meaning as explained in the DM guide.  But its not really even relevant anymore.

    It has no meaning at all other than a way for devs to judge your "Time to Live".  And in the context of things like Auto attack and dynamic real time movement the original abstraction is not really valid anymore anyway.  Yet they continued to inflate health to keep things on an even keel for group content.

     

    HP has become a simple euphemism for "Your character can take X amount of hits from an equal level mob on average".  No one cares what it represents or what its original abstraction was.

     

    Edit:

    You might say "Dug of course it means that".  But if you do not know what you are abstracting then you add in a parry mechanics or some other avoidance the whole thing becomes problmatic.  You are essentially giving chracter double parry.  If parry is a mechanci then HP must go down.

    In WoW armor is % mitgation.  You can also dodge attacks.  So why the heck do you have 10K HP?  Because HP has no meaning beyond "health" anymore. 

     

    But in the end threat does not serve this abstraction purpose.  At least not in many games.  The only reason 10 guys will stick to one person is to kill them instantly.  As soon as they fails they will divide up into smaller teams.

    Threat rarely abstracts this.  Even with the idea of tanks and offtanks.  An opponent will try something else when what it is doing is not working.  The distribution of your opponentes will have tactical reasons. 

    This is not abstracted out into a representation in threat.  It is completely ignored.

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