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cheezy fight specials

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Posted by Charity on 07/28

I'd like to clear something up... Beam and Orca, both on this board and the welcome (see post about Nucklavee), have expressed the opinion that the special things mobs do in fights are cheezy and a bad substitute for using skills and having fight tactics.

I hate to break it to you guys, but skill use IS a special attack. There's no difference between setting up an act that gives a specific message then set you to resting for a bash-duration, than if the mob bashed you. I'm not familiar with the other muds mentioned, but I know it is common to hard-code certain things like skill use and hunt tactics. They have to do that, because even the public version of EasyActs isn't as flexible as what Legend has. We have building guidelines to tell us how often skill or customized damage attacks should be used based on the level of the mob, and the damage amounts that the custom attacks should do based on level. It's true that many old areas don't use enough specials on high level mobs, and hometown revisions are a start on the process of revamping old areas. But in any case, I fail to see where the idea comes from that customized fight behaviors are 'cheezier' than plain ordinary skill use.

I also don't understand how the accusation that 'all these specials are cheezy' can sit right next to the accusation that our mobs are either too stupid, or that fights with them are too variable. You can't have it both ways... cookie-cutter mobs will be utterly predictable and safe to kill, mobs with specials and fight strategies may be easier to kill one day than another, depending on whether you get lucky headbutts or the mobs don't use their most devastating attacks.

We are working on a set of standard-customized fight acts that builders can add to mobs wherever appropriate... this will help fix the older areas more quickly, and will be a big help to builders who aren't particularly interested in or good at devising unique fight strategies for each mob. So maybe that's some of what you folks think we should be doing... personally, even though I'd like to have common strategies to choose from I think it might make Legend mobs more predictable and less interesting, if we're all drawing on the same pool of already-made fight acts. Probably we'll end up having builders who copy-paste these things and change the messages to suit their own mobs, so once again we'll have the 'cheezy specials' you disapprove of...

I really don't see why unique messages would ever be a bad thing, so I don't understand how the recent posts are suggesting that builders alter their mobs. (Btw an easy way for mobs to track you if you remain in their line of sight is in the works, so watch out for dun warriors if you flee then stand one room away in the same hall...) Builder's can't control how often you may or may not hit stunning headbutts, or how long your skill delays are. If you have concrete suggestions for behaviors you'd like to see our mobs use, by all means, let us know.


From: Beam Sunday, July 27, 06:58PM

Ok, I thought I made this clear in my post, but let me try again. I, when I talk about poor specials -do not- mean skills, if you group skills with these specials I can see how you could get confused.

Anything a player can do or learn to do isn't cheezy and personally I think having a mob do stuff that isn't infallible, like checking against player dex is ok.

Whats cheezy? Rachael and her specials are cheezy. Shame on you if you think specials like Rachaels are anything like regular skills. Rachael type cheezy specials are mostly limited to HOL but I also consider any mob that gets in an unfallible hit for +30 hp every round or two is cheezy also.

I'm not sure about this easyacts stuff, but I think legend suffers from a lot of willynilly "hey I want this to be a hard mob I will give it a gruesome special"

As for duris, all mob stuff is coded in C as far as I know.

Something to think about, although I don't think you guys have the coding resources. They have a downloadable area editor that formats all the .zone .world files etc, sets all flags for room, mob. And most interesting, they have preset formulas for hp, skills tactics etc for mobs based on race, class, lvl. Best mud I've seen for mob balance and best overall hack and slash type mud. Quests, writing, and people are all better here. So don't think im trying to trash this mud.

So um no specials like we are talking about aren't skills, if every special worked like a skill, had chance to fail, restricted to same lag times as players similiar skills I wouldn't have a problem.

Yep variety is good, special mob acts are cool, as long as they aren't cheap.

From: Charity Sunday, July 27, 10:10PM

Ok, hmmm. I think that what we are using, in general, approximates the damage done by player skill use. That's the goal, at any rate, special areas like the HOL aside. I think it's just the visual effect that we have a problem with here, so that might be something we need to take a look at.

Mob specials are just a % chance of doing each one each round. Players, we assume, use fight skills every round they are able to (so every two or three depending). Every special-message fight act that does damage is supposed to have a wait set on both mob and victim (in other words, it mimics a plain skill use lag). I don't fight HOL stuff so can't explain the circumstances when waits might not be used... according to the docs, we are supposed to always include these waits, for the sake of fair play. Anyhow, this random % chance means that usually three or four rounds could go by before the mob does anything to you. If you imagine the mob as a player, then those opportunities when it could be using a skill or special, but doesn't, ARE the misses or 'skill' failures. You're right, we make a ton of unique damage attacks, and so far as I know, no unique missed damage attacks. That's something we should keep in mind I guess, for the visual impact... but in terms of how much damage is being done to the mob's opponent, those 'misses' when the % chance doesn't fire makes the damage amount even out in the end.

As to damage attacks always doing the same amount, well, that's because we can set cur_hp by a fixed, integer amount. It'd just take a few more lines for, say, a 10 hp attack to instead do 5 hp and then a 50/50 chance of doing another 5 hp.. but again, that's just an approximation of random damage. It'd be nice if we could sepecify damage range 5-15 or somesuch, but we can't currently and I doubt we'll be getting new mob commands until at least after the fight code goes in. Pity the coders, they're maintaining two and three versions right now, and every non-fight change has to be mirrored to each version.

Missed attack messages, and trying to randomize damage somewhat, are things I'll keep in mind when I work on my next area. It sounds like you don't fight the kinds of mobs with specials that I'm familiar with (newbie mobs with a low chance of a 5 hp special, pretty much approximates a newbie kick, bash, or headbutt usage, or Egypt's perfumer Tamakhet who has a 10% chance of casting in combat and a 10% chance of calling for help, etc). I'm not so familiar with mobs that are loaded up with specials, and I hadn't thought much about standards for how they should be done. If builders have, as you say 'stuck lots of tough stuff on a mob to make it tough', then what changes would you suggest to keep them tough and challenging for lvl 50s?

From: Orca Monday, July 28, 01:34AM

Ok, i can live with mobs using a special for affect rather than the standard skills but one that sets the target to sitting is most likely to bypass both a check for tumble and of the targets dex for a chance of it backfiring as bash does for the players. Considering this Nucklavee does so little damage until this special goes off, it's gonna take people by surprise, it's like 30/round 30/round lalala i have 300 hp's left, no risk to meee! WHAM 2 rounds and dead. The Bane's another, one can kill it pretty easy til it decides to use its special and knock off 550 hp's in 1 round not even giving you the chance to flee depending on the timing.

I'd much rather see more mobs that hunt and scan to chase you down, that's where it becomes challenging. Also make them not all see invis and hidden and all these skills and spells won't be restricted for use only in pkill. I can't imagine why something as powerful as invis can't even be used in corpse retrieval from an agg mob.

From: Beam Monday, July 28, 09:32AM

I agree with orca, pretty much any mob that doesnt move around or hunt should be a dead duck to someone with a good healer. A very good way to fix this is give the mobs hunt or a limited hunt of some sort. Maybe in some cases make the mob go agg to all in group chant meue drva ex attacker rather than agg to all, if possible ie dhurtah I should say though that adding hunt and removing really nasty specials, would make a mob harder to solo, and more likely to be killed with a group and would do so in a way that people shouldn't say your forcing us to group, etc. Nice discussion.

From: Ptah Monday, July 28, 05:41PM

OK, so what I've gotten out of this thread thus far (great thread btw):

1) special acts that adjust position, for example, should check for skills such as tumble and juggle that might have effects on the special. A good example: the way in which balance checks are done on slippery rooms. In Beowulf, if you fall of the narrow ledge in the cave, and another person in the same room has rescue, they can catch you. In other words, integrate the special actions better.

2) It'd be really nice to get more standardization and some global routines. One of the strengths of the acts system we use here is that you DON'T need to hardcode everything. On Duris, for example, you need to actually write everything in C. Quests. Responses to socials. Fight strategies. Everything. Which means recompiles to get new features like that in, and makes the code proper dependent on the database (like, it could actually not run period if some areas are missing).

The advantage to the acts system we use is that the scripts are interpreted at boot. You can alter them in the area file itself. A builder can do it. It doesn't require the same level of technical skill to make something cool. The disadvantage is that the current way that reusable code is set up in acts doesn't lend itself to using libraries of behaviors. But this IS a capability we badly want to add. And among said capabilities would be the ability to attach a whole stock set of fight strategies to mobs selectively.

3) Lastly, along the same vein--Duris' (and other muds') ability to define a "class" of mobs in a mud editor is nifty. We've never wanted to use a specific mud editor program because they are never as clexible as editing the text directly... but I DO think that the database files should be flexible enough to assume default values and behaviors for a mob of a specified level, and override if it is expressly specified. And if we did that, then most mobs of a given level would be taken from the same template save for specific differences.

Lastly, we ARE working on adding internal mob levels of 51-150 for group mobs. :)



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