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EE12 AI

Mistwalker
I am not sure if the AI is working as intended.

During the weekend, while fighting with 3 others, we were taking on various groups, where we would all take an opponent - at the start of the fight, everyone is attacking and being attacked by their opponent, when suddenly all of the opponents would turn on one PC - which is often fatal, especially against T3 monsters.

As well, when there was bounce, they always went after the same PC, rather than spreading out.

I may be mistaken, but I was under the impression that the AI "hate list" would only kick in when they couldn't hurt their opponent, or weren't taking damage. And that on bounce, that they would spread out an attack all PCs in the area.

Have I misunderstood what was supposed to be happening.
Edam
My impression from what was announced and discussed beforehand is that the aggro switching is working as expected. Proximity now effects aggro though so it is relatively manageable.

You are correct, the "spreading out" occurs on the initial pull but much less so on bounce which does make the bounces a bit too exploitable. Hopefully that will change at some point as you are right, working the bounce is relatively easy when they all chase one target.
Huran
It seems to be working with small groups.

Nadya and I were working on dark elves while at PaizoCon demoing certain things. What we seen as far as AI behavior looked like it was working as intended. We had to let the mobs leash a couple of times and they spread between the two of us each time. The mobs also switched targets quite often between the two of us depending on who was running back, evading, or doing more damage.

Were the bounces going after an individual who was out damaging the rest of the party by chance? Also were the mobs switching to someone doing area spells or was it just random?

Something I did notice is while Nadya was kiting melee mobs, it was much easier to get them to switch to me (most likely they were switching to an easier non running target).
"Circles of power, gathered by EARTH, welcomed by GOLD, in strife and in mirth. Focused by CRYSTAL, guided by LIGHT, showing the way, by day and by night. wrought in IRON, strengthened by STEEL, together we stand, in wrack and in weal. Hidden in SHADOW, explored by WOOD, we circle together, for the greater good." –Maxikyd– http://www.kotcguild.com/
Decius
One of the features of the AI is that if someone does a lot of damage to the enemies or takes a lot of damage they get more hate from all of the enemies. That often looks like they notice someone at low health and dogpile them, because someone who just took a lot of damage hassle health and a lot of hate.

It's not impossible to manipulate, but it's a challenge to.
Bob
Mistwalker
I may be mistaken, but I was under the impression that the AI "hate list" would only kick in when they couldn't hurt their opponent, or weren't taking damage.

There are a few different points where a mob might decide to switch targets mid-combat even though the current target is still around. If a different character starts doing a lot of damage to that mob, then that character could rise to the top of that mob's personal hate list (particularly if that mob isn't doing a lot of damage to its current target), and the mob would switch targets. That part has always worked that way, but would probably only really kick in when the current target was running away and staying just out of the mob's range, while someone else was doing quite a bit of damage to that mob.

Something new is that mobs also have a shared team hate list, which is added to whenever anyone on the team does damage or takes damage. A certain percentage of that hate is shared back out to each team member's personal hate list. This generally keeps each mob's personal hate list a bit more full and evened out, though they'll still usually focus on whoever they're personally damaging or being damaged by. However, it does mean that if one character does a lot of damage to one of the mobs on a team, or a reasonable amount of damage to a lot of the mobs, while all the other nearby characters are dealing/taking minimal damage, then that character could rise to the top of many of those personal hate lists, resulting in many of the mobs switching to target that character. This can also happen if one or more of the mobs do a lot of damage to a single character while all the other characters are minimally engaged. To keep the mobs spread out on their initial targets, those targets need to engage in the combat so that they're taking and receiving damage. If they're busy trying to pull their attackers out to leashing range, those mobs will likely switch to a more viable/threatening target pretty quickly.

Also, we always had a system in where a mob would check every few seconds to see if there's a different character on their hate list in range while their current target is out of range. If so, they're supposed to go ahead and fire off a single attack on that in-range character. If that attack does a lot of damage, that could move the new target to the top of that mob's personal hate list, resulting in that mob permanently switching targets. If only a little damage is done, then depending on the exact timing of those checks, the mob might return to chasing after its original target. There was a bug in that code that made it only work for certain attacks by certain mobs, but that's now been fixed and works for all attacks by all mobs. The end result of that is that if one character rushes into an encounter while everyone else hangs back to take on the mobs as they spread out, there's a good chance that any of the mobs who find that brave soul in range will go ahead and attack that character at least once before spreading out. Combine that with the team hate list and it's quite possible that the character who rushed into battle could quickly be at the top of all the personal hate lists. Avoiding this again requires that everyone engage quickly.

Mistwalker
And that on bounce, that they would spread out an attack all PCs in the area.

We're not technically spreading the targeting out when mobs bounce, we're just avoiding the previous code that practically guaranteed the mobs would all bounce onto the same target. What actually happens is that each mob copies the team hate list, picks a random character from that list, and then elevates that character to the top of its personal hate list. Because it's random, the leashed mobs could randomly just happen to all target the same character. Also, if many of the characters have managed to fall off the team hate list (particularly likely if they were running outside leash range), then there are less characters hated by the team to choose from. A character who just caused a mob to leash needs to quickly re-engage, taking or receiving damage, to get back on the team hate list.
You are a Troll
Thanks for that very thorough explanation Bob - interesting and helpful!
Stilachio Thrax
As one of the people Mistwalker was grouped with, this wasn't an issue of Mist nuking multiple enemies while the remaining people were low T2 plinking away. This was a geared out T3 group that knows what it is doing, mainly single target damage with only a smattering of AOE.
Virtus et Honor

Steward of Ozem's Vigil, Lord Commander of the Argyraspides Iomedais
Mistwalker
Thanks Bob, that clears up a lot for me
Bob
Stilachio Thrax
As one of the people Mistwalker was grouped with, this wasn't an issue of Mist nuking multiple enemies while the remaining people were low T2 plinking away. This was a geared out T3 group that knows what it is doing, mainly single target damage with only a smattering of AOE.

Another thing that can throw things off is that we're currently only taking into account straight damage, not buffs or debuffs, so a character doing straight-up damage might pull away more mobs. But generally speaking the team hate list is only partially shared, so a mob that's smacking away at one character and doing some damage to that character should stick to targeting that character as long as the character is in range and no other character comes along and does a huge amount of damage to it. One non-obvious exception to that would be if the only reason that mob is attacking the current character in the first place is that the character was in-range while its actual intended target is out-of-range. In those cases, the mob might switch targets either just to see if it can manage to get closer to its intended target or if the intended target comes within range.

There are a lot of subtleties to the system, and we'll keep fiddling with it as reports come in.
Decius
And as an example of emergent behavior, if the 'attack someone in range right now' behavior triggers before any other sources of hate, the mob will get hate towards that target, putting it on the top of their personal hate list and possibly moving it to the top of other mob's personal hate list. Or if some members of the party get a few ranged attacks off before melee range engages, they could get enough team hate to override the starting split.
 
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