Author Topic: Mob aggression and targeting  (Read 4896 times)

Silas Rotleaf

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Re: Mob aggression and targeting
« Reply #25 on: January 26, 2019, 05:46:06 PM »
Hey I’m all for taking a crack at learning the nwn toolset and scripting to eventually be able to directly assist the devs but it’s gonna take some time and I don’t have a whole lot for leisure stuff these days...

As for the mob targeting behavior... yeah hardcoded bits you can’t really change but there is some stuff you as the player can. I’m talking tactics. As in glaring holes in a shield wall of meat tanks in your front row is a very real thing that happens and expecting your dedicated ranged support to be able to up close defend itself in melee as well while you just sort of sit there blinking wondering why the monsters bypass you to go after the lower AC casters and archers... is not very productive. Guys gotta work on your coordination and cooperation (I know, crazy right? A team/party actually helping each other out instead of it being mostly every man for himself).

Maybe have a fighter or barb or paladin in that back row next to your ranged guy to defend him or her? Just a tactical thought and temporary fix for until people work out some way to tweak the mob aggro.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2019, 05:49:00 PM by Silas Rotleaf »

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Re: Mob aggression and targeting
« Reply #26 on: January 26, 2019, 06:19:26 PM »
Having a guy by the backrow isn't a bad idea-  :|   but otherwise some MOBS are way too fast for the front line to even be able to respond to. But nice idea (which for some reason I've never seen utilized... ((OR THOUGHT OF MYSELF)))

LivingWasteland

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Re: Mob aggression and targeting
« Reply #27 on: January 26, 2019, 06:22:01 PM »
MAB says it's unmodified, hard-coded, and can't be changed.

Arawn says every single AI script has indeed been rewritten by Soren.



I see a large discrepancy in what two members of what the team is telling us.

Arawn

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Re: Mob aggression and targeting
« Reply #28 on: January 26, 2019, 06:33:46 PM »
Iím not sure what you meant to imply there, Wasteland, but fortunately itís quite easy to discover for yourself exactly how this works. While a Google search will indeed give you all you require to understand the limitations of the NWN AI, here is a brief explanation.

The AI in NWN is a series of scripts which execute on certain events and at certain intervals, including during and after the combat round, which is itself hardcoded. I have rewritten some of these scripts myself in previous projects and on other PWs. Anyone who wants to see what they look like can just open a new module in the toolset and look at both the defaults and the core AI script. Bear in mind that AI scripts are responsible for a massive portion of server overhead, so they have to be as lean and mean as possible. Itís not as simple as merely adding complexity.

As an aside, the teleportation is not a function of the AI script but rather of the way that the engine handles movement.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2019, 06:38:02 PM by Arawn »
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Re: Mob aggression and targeting
« Reply #29 on: January 26, 2019, 07:21:12 PM »
The Thing is an incredible comic book character

As to AI behavior, we still can't change what is hard coded.


Every AI script on the server, including the core includes of the AI system itself, have been rewritten entirely by Soren.

I'm not implying anything. Perhaps I'm alone in this, but these two statements do not seem to share the same message.

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Re: Mob aggression and targeting
« Reply #30 on: January 26, 2019, 07:32:04 PM »
I think it's worth noting that a Dev's input was asked for:

I'd be nice if a Dev could comment on the thing. I'm not letting this thread just die.

And so MAB took a stab at it. He may have been mistaken in what he said, or it may be that both statements you find contradictory are in fact true, LW:

Quote
The AI in NWN is a series of scripts which execute on certain events and at certain intervals, including during and after the combat round, which is itself hardcoded.

MAB said only that which is hardcoded can't be changed. So the events, intervals, and the combat round might all be hardcoded and not able to be modified. But the scripts (as Arawn said) are not.

I don't know. But I took it as MAB was trying to respond to a request for Dev input and not that his answer was meant to mislead.

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Hatsune

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Re: Mob aggression and targeting
« Reply #31 on: January 27, 2019, 12:21:55 PM »
I don't know why people have such a hard time with this. I play an archer/support, and have so very little issue. You just have to have an understanding of what to target and when. I only see most mobs breaking off tanks when they de-aggro for some reason, and then are shot (I.E. they get knocked down, and an archer shoots them, so the archer because the target when he gets back up, because the mob de-aggros and then selects from its attackers.

The other common occurrence is if multiple mobs are on one tank target, and the archer targets a mob that isn't actively being attacked by a line member, this will often draw aggro.

I typically run a 13 or 15ac, so not like I a high AC to not pull as people are suggesting.
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Little Lotte

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Re: Mob aggression and targeting
« Reply #32 on: January 27, 2019, 12:40:16 PM »
I don't know why people have such a hard time with this. I play an archer/support, and have so very little issue. You just have to have an understanding of what to target and when. I only see most mobs breaking off tanks when they de-aggro for some reason, and then are shot (I.E. they get knocked down, and an archer shoots them, so the archer because the target when he gets back up, because the mob de-aggros and then selects from its attackers.

The other common occurrence is if multiple mobs are on one tank target, and the archer targets a mob that isn't actively being attacked by a line member, this will often draw aggro.

I typically run a 13 or 15ac, so not like I a high AC to not pull as people are suggesting.

In the same boat, sometimes I even run 11 AC and so long as there are combatants in front of me, I do not draw aggro.

immasturgeon

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Re: Mob aggression and targeting
« Reply #33 on: January 27, 2019, 02:00:01 PM »

In the same boat, sometimes I even run 11 AC and so long as there are combatants in front of me, I do not draw aggro.

Double ditto. I have adventure to very dangerous (relative to level) areas with people who have outstripped me in every way. I had abysmal AC and did nothing but shoot arrows at things. And I died only rarely, despite being 6-8 levels below the group. I avoided shooting any enemy that wasn't already attacking a tank. I also frequently cancelled combat when an enemy was killed so that I could specifically target an emeny one of the melee characters was attacking.

It kept me alive in places I had no business being. So it can be done. Except when 4 vamp rogues drop around you...well then it's dead time.

WingsOfStardust

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Re: Mob aggression and targeting
« Reply #34 on: January 28, 2019, 01:57:38 AM »

In the same boat, sometimes I even run 11 AC and so long as there are combatants in front of me, I do not draw aggro.

Double ditto. I have adventure to very dangerous (relative to level) areas with people who have outstripped me in every way. I had abysmal AC and did nothing but shoot arrows at things. And I died only rarely, despite being 6-8 levels below the group. I avoided shooting any enemy that wasn't already attacking a tank. I also frequently cancelled combat when an enemy was killed so that I could specifically target an emeny one of the melee characters was attacking.

It kept me alive in places I had no business being. So it can be done. Except when 4 vamp rogues drop around you...well then it's dead time.

It may work on lower levels, but I was making the reference to high end dungeons where the values are quite different. For instance, at higher levels archers AB will be much higher and thus generates a lot more aggro from what you're shooting at. Also the discrepancies in AC are on a whole other level. Archery is viable up to around level 10 if you play it careful, sure. But once you reach those much tougher dungeons the formula changes considerably.
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Hatsune

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Re: Mob aggression and targeting
« Reply #35 on: January 28, 2019, 10:45:29 AM »

In the same boat, sometimes I even run 11 AC and so long as there are combatants in front of me, I do not draw aggro.

Double ditto. I have adventure to very dangerous (relative to level) areas with people who have outstripped me in every way. I had abysmal AC and did nothing but shoot arrows at things. And I died only rarely, despite being 6-8 levels below the group. I avoided shooting any enemy that wasn't already attacking a tank. I also frequently cancelled combat when an enemy was killed so that I could specifically target an emeny one of the melee characters was attacking.

It kept me alive in places I had no business being. So it can be done. Except when 4 vamp rogues drop around you...well then it's dead time.

It may work on lower levels, but I was making the reference to high end dungeons where the values are quite different. For instance, at higher levels archers AB will be much higher and thus generates a lot more aggro from what you're shooting at. Also the discrepancies in AC are on a whole other level. Archery is viable up to around level 10 if you play it careful, sure. But once you reach those much tougher dungeons the formula changes considerably.

Are you refering to Sithicus? If so, I'd wager its more likely an issue of the archers targeting poorly (not hitting the right ones cause they stack on each other).

I do agree if/once you pull aggro it can be hard to fix, since a melee combatant won't be in full attack when moving to chase the mob (and thus not showing as an active attacker at the end of the last flurry of the round), so that can be an issue.

I've done high level content, and have seen little to no variation in AI. They all follow the same scripts.
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lucid

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Re: Mob aggression and targeting
« Reply #36 on: January 28, 2019, 11:27:42 AM »
I watch this behavior from the Tank side all the time. I even get yelled at like there was something I could have done to stop it. Particularly annoying is when the ranged char manages to pull the exact one I'm currently fighting, and I run after them when they go, breaking the defensive line and drawing a half dozen attacks of opportunity in the first step.

Taunt should probably draw aggro but it does not. Knockdown can work, but often they'll get up and keep chasing their squirrel. About 10%-20% of the time, getting in their way and forcing them to reconsider their walk path will cause them to focus on you, but otherwise they just go around.

I've made an art form of snagging aggro off squishy people by provoking attacks of opportunity from the monsters as they run by. They stay on you once you get their attention. Note again, this is not you doing AoO on them...it's giving them a free swing at you. Harder than it looks when you're trying, it's so very easy when you're not. Alas that Spring Attack has removed my ability to do this. I haven't tried provocatively drinking potions in their face yet, but I'm sure it'll come up again soon enough.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2019, 11:29:27 AM by lucid »
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Re: Mob aggression and targeting
« Reply #37 on: January 31, 2019, 12:25:16 PM »
I for the most part in these past few years have been playing non tanks. (Have a char that was able to act as a semitank but not anymore, still thinking how to make that available to him:)  :shock:.)
My ranger uses mainly the bow.
He has not yet been to Sithicus, and have only some exp with him regarding Harakir, Ghastria, Vestibule and Mists.
What I have noticed that he gets aggor usually if he is the first to shoot his target. Second if for some reason the enemy gets flat-footed or deaggrod it is very easy for him to get aggro. (rapid shot)
Thirdly natural 20 will get you an aggro if it is a successfull crit. Because of the x3 multiplier.
The way to counter or mitigate this is usually to restrict the opponent in some way, or be able to hold your own until rescue can come.
Called shot because of the movement restriction is quite useful in this regard.

This aggroing does not just apply for ranged chars though.
My cleric is a healbot, if he uses DPS/Buff spells or special feat/talent that the opponent can see and the tank has not yet engaged blows with him, he will get targetted.
Turn undead, warding gesture, flamestrike, hammer of the gods, BUT EVEN BATTLETIDE works this way. Anything that targets the opponent also, i am not yet 100% sure if mass party enhancing or healing is in the same regard, as sometimes using those also trigger an aggro shift to my char.
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mappinger

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Re: Mob aggression and targeting
« Reply #38 on: September 11, 2020, 09:57:57 AM »
This is a bit of an old thread but the topic pertains exactly to what I witnessed last night in fighting wererat lords and blasphemes below the Village of Barovia.

Up until this point (level 11) I've never encountered such a tendency for enemies to immediately rush my archer when hit with a ranged attack. It didn't matter if I waited for the front-liner to establish multiple hits on a mob, or if the damage from my given shot was devastating or just mediocre, wererat lords and blasphemes would consistently stop fighting the tank and go for my archer (and, yes, lowish AC because a dual-wield/leather build).

On past occasions the party I'm with often has two front-liners blocking doorways and choke points, which has no doubt restricted mobs from getting a chance to rush the back line. However, there have been many *many fights up to this point in dungeons and in open world where mobs have had an unrestricted path to aggro on my archer but didn't, so long as I waited for another character to establish a hit or two first.

I'm not certain if in the past year since this thread began if there were changes made to improve AI in some areas, or if it's a case of wererat lords and blasphemes acting in a very different way than many other mob types, if lower level areas are coded more gently to avoid archer-killing behavior, or what. But range attacking the enemies in this dungeon was nearly without fail that a ranged hit of even modest damage would pull aggro.

Given the stark difference in this experience with just about every other experience so far, I'm not sure what to make of it...and hope this isn't a more standard norm going forward.

« Last Edit: September 11, 2020, 02:31:45 PM by mappinger »
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SardineTheAncestor

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Re: Mob aggression and targeting
« Reply #39 on: September 11, 2020, 06:53:31 PM »
We've had no announced changes to AI since this discussion happened last. The enemies that don't chase archers remain the exception.

I had another post in a similar, more recent topic, covering archer play, but I'll repeat the useful information here briefly.

The sparknotes: There is no threat/aggro system in NWN. Enemies choose targets based on a priority list and archers are very high on that list. It may not always happen, even on enemies that normally do it, but it will happen eventually.

You can wait as long as you like, even until an enemy is Near Death, to shoot at it. It will still come after you unless it's running away already.

Archers and casters won't move to retaliate against you unless they can't shoot or cast spells at you. This way you can stop them from hitting your party (casters are more unpredictable with their targets).

Therefore, the archer is especially good at two things: outshooting enemy archers and disrupting casters' spells, and killing runners.

I'm surprised you didn't run into this by level 11. Werewolves do it, even dire wolves and worgs do it. I've seen level 2s in the crypts cause a skeletal knight to run past the rest of the party and start chasing an archer in circles just by shooting one arrow when it was being attacked by 4 other people.

There aren't many tactics that one can use as the game is very locked down about what it allows, so to be effective, you just have to play to the strengths your archer does have.

1) Focus on counter-archery and killing casters.
2) Make your party aware that they must completely block off enemies' path of approach to you.
3) Only shoot things you know you can take 1 on 1, so they don't kill you.
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mappinger

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Re: Mob aggression and targeting
« Reply #40 on: September 11, 2020, 08:46:32 PM »
I'm surprised you didn't run into this by level 11. Werewolves do it, even dire wolves and worgs do it. I've seen level 2s in the crypts cause a skeletal knight to run past the rest of the party and start chasing an archer in circles just by shooting one arrow when it was being attacked by 4 other people.


Hm, I guess I've seen those things do it but perhaps it wasn't so often that it resonated as a distinct pattern; or seeing this in very small groups and chalking it up to a bit of dispersed randomness; or that when, say, a werewolf attacked due to pulled aggro, it was nearly dead so it wasn't as noticeable.

However, with only one blocker - which isn't enough to control a choke point - this became abundantly clear what was happening last night. It was like clockwork, hit an enemy, enemy b-lined for me. It was pretty obnoxious.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2020, 08:49:26 PM by mappinger »
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SardineTheAncestor

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Re: Mob aggression and targeting
« Reply #41 on: September 11, 2020, 11:08:50 PM »
With only one melee party member, things are dicey, especially if they have to run back to save the archer. Archers can be a key element in a party's success, but they can also make things complicated if they aren't careful and thoughtful.
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tylernwn

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Re: Mob aggression and targeting
« Reply #42 on: September 14, 2020, 12:02:32 PM »
The running around in circles being chased, while your party kills all the other enemies, is a fact of life for some characters.

While it would be awesome to see enemies prioritize different kinds of targets naturally (if they can see and reach them), I really have no idea what a good ai would look like.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2020, 12:05:46 PM by tylernwn »

Rifkin

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Re: Mob aggression and targeting
« Reply #43 on: September 14, 2020, 12:40:50 PM »
I would think Taunt/Antagonize should have effect on Threat... Allowing 'tanks' to be a viable part of a party composition.

mappinger

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Re: Mob aggression and targeting
« Reply #44 on: September 14, 2020, 03:03:26 PM »
I would think Taunt/Antagonize should have effect on Threat... Allowing 'tanks' to be a viable part of a party composition.

Good question. Thematically I would think that Taunt/Antagonize would be very high on the list of things that draw enemies' aggression (on par with priority of low AC targets).

As for how highly the actual coding prioritizes characters using Antagonize (which also is likely to draw an AoO on the taunter, if I remember correctly), I'd be curious to hear some anecdotal evidence from seasoned players who regularly get under the skin of enemy mobs!

EDIT: Right, it causes Flat Footed, not an AoO
« Last Edit: September 14, 2020, 04:40:43 PM by mappinger »
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Rifkin

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Re: Mob aggression and targeting
« Reply #45 on: September 14, 2020, 03:31:00 PM »
I would think Taunt/Antagonize should have effect on Threat... Allowing 'tanks' to be a viable part of a party composition.

Good question. Thematically I would think that Taunt/Antagonize would be very high on the list of things that draw enemies' aggression (on par with priority of low AC targets).

As for how highly the actual coding prioritizes characters using Antagonize (which also is likely to draw an AoO on the taunter, if I remember correctly), I'd be curious to hear some anecdotal evidence from seasoned players who regularly get under the skin of enemy mobs!

I use Antagonize all the time on enemies, it never draws AOO (just gives you flatfoot) and it does not change their target.

Possibly something for the developers to take a look at though.

zDark Shadowz

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Re: Mob aggression and targeting
« Reply #46 on: September 14, 2020, 03:32:31 PM »
I would think Taunt/Antagonize should have effect on Threat... Allowing 'tanks' to be a viable part of a party composition.

Good question. Thematically I would think that Taunt/Antagonize would be very high on the list of things that draw enemies' aggression (on par with priority of low AC targets).

As for how highly the actual coding prioritizes characters using Antagonize (which also is likely to draw an AoO on the taunter, if I remember correctly), I'd be curious to hear some anecdotal evidence from seasoned players who regularly get under the skin of enemy mobs!

It doesn't. Take sneak attack to punish creatures that ignore the tank, or have your tank use combat feats such as called shot - leg or improved knockdown.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2020, 03:34:32 PM by zDark Shadowz »
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SardineTheAncestor

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Re: Mob aggression and targeting
« Reply #47 on: September 14, 2020, 04:58:34 PM »
The running around in circles being chased, while your party kills all the other enemies, is a fact of life for some characters.

While it would be awesome to see enemies prioritize different kinds of targets naturally (if they can see and reach them), I really have no idea what a good ai would look like.

The AI might be very basic, but it's noticeably frustrating for some people because the server was designed with Parry AC and Expertise in mind. If you aren't using these things, you'll really struggle to hit target AC, thus eating crits fairly often sometimes.

Shadowz is right - there is no threat system or aggro system in this game. The tank will need something to punish enemies that turn away from him to target his allies, and he'll need it even more on this server since if they don't have their AC jacked up, they're on a shorter timer for survival.

A good AI might do something like knock down enemies that are difficult to hit and disable their collision hull so they can maneuver past them. This wouldn't work here though.
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