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EE 16.1 Preliminary Release Notes

Bob
These are the Preliminary Release Notes for Early Enrollment v16.1. We deployed a Final Candidate for EE 16.1 to the Test Server on Tuesday, December 18, and plan to deploy that build to Live during Daily Maintenance on Wednesday, December 19, assuming that it performs well during final testing.

What Is In This Release

This release adds the ability to run escalation sequences in the monster hexes, with each completed escalation followed by the next one in the sequence ten minutes later. There's also a new secret escalation, tougher and more rewarding than all the previous escalations, which for now will only be available at the end of a complete sequence that includes all the escalations. Significant changes were also made to the AI for target acquisition and leash ranges. As always, multiple other improvements were also made to various systems in order to keep steadily improving the overall player experience.

Full Release Notes

Escalations:
  • Monster hexes can now run sequences of escalations, with each completed escalation replaced by the next escalation in the sequence after a ten minute delay. For now, these sequences are reserved for special events.
  • Our holiday event, The Nhur Athemon Sequence, will end with a new secret escalation, tougher and more rewarding than all the previous escalations.

AI/Creatures/Combat:
  • Creatures have individualized leash ranges, largely based on their range. They also partially reduce their leash ranges as they take damage.
  • Creatures take Line of Sight into account when considering whether to switch targets.
  • All creatures now use initial attacks with a range at least as high as their other attacks.
  • Nhur Athemon and the Atrophied Lich no longer stand still.
  • Some ninjas are now ranged.
  • Regeneration buffs, such as Righteousness, once again provide their full regeneration bonus.

UI:
  • Output quantity is once again displayed properly on the Crafting Window.
  • Random Shojinawa Masters display the correct unit name above their heads.
Edam
So … no more getting all the ranged on you and hiding behind a tree while your party mates take them out smile Probably a good change.

One comment: The high end part of the game already favors rogues and similar characters that can put down large stacks. High alpha damage dealers like longbow archers and greatsword users tend to be suboptimal in the endgame. This "leashing and going invulnerable once they take a bit of damage" thing is going to tip things even more in favor of characters that can build up a heap of stacks. It would be different if you could chase your target down as it ran away but in the current mechanic once they leash only stacks can damage them.
Bob
Edam
One comment: The high end part of the game already favors rogues and similar characters that can put down large stacks. High alpha damage dealers like longbow archers and greatsword users tend to be suboptimal in the endgame. This "leashing and going invulnerable once they take a bit of damage" thing is going to tip things even more in favor of characters that can build up a heap of stacks. It would be different if you could chase your target down as it ran away but in the current mechanic once they leash only stacks can damage them.

Valid point. I'd already been thinking we might want to reduce or remove the invulnerability just because it can be annoying to get a mob down really low and then have it suddenly leash back, so that might be a good thing to look at somewhere in here.

Fortunately, most mobs won't drop their leash ranges down too far no matter how damaged they are, so as long as you fight them relatively close to the encounter site, you usually won't have much problem. There are a few exceptions with pretty tight leashes regardless of whether or not they're damaged, so you may need to fight very close-in to keep them engaged, which of course was a large part of the goal in making this change.
Stilachio Thrax
Bob
  • Some ninjas are now ranged.

  • Shuriken and Blowguns confirmed! smile
    Virtus et Honor

    Steward of Ozem's Vigil, Lord Commander of the Argyraspides Iomedais
    Kenton Stone
    Bob
    Fortunately, most mobs won't drop their leash ranges down too far no matter how damaged they are, so as long as you fight them relatively close to the encounter site, you usually won't have much problem. There are a few exceptions with pretty tight leashes regardless of whether or not they're damaged, so you may need to fight very close-in to keep them engaged, which of course was a large part of the goal in making this change.
    Wow, this makes ranged combat very frustrating, time and time again I began firing at max range by the time the target got close and had taken considerable damage they turned and ran back to the start becoming invulnerable forcing me to constantly switch targets or move into full melee combat which is dangerous as at any point the closer melee opponents could and do turn on me and attacked while I am focused on a target at range unable to get Los because of the Melee opponents getting in the way.
    I can see this being a big issue with the Ninja/Samurai etc.

    I can see this being murder on gear.

    Kenton Stone.
    BlackMoria
    Not scientific but I recruited several ogres to participate in some experiments and did a bunch of damaging them and evading and looking at AI behavior. Not conclusive in any way but the melee mobs seem to have their standard leash range and the ranged mobs seem to be about 3/4 or 2/3 of standard leash. And the leash range contracts as the mob takes damage, so damage the range mob and when it resets on the leash point, it doesn't come out as far as it did the first time until it heals up. The melee mobs do the same thing - once damaged and reset, they don't come out as far until they heal up. That makes finishing off damaged mobs more difficult as they stay closer to their spawn point. I concur with Kenton. This is going to be a brutal learning curve for players with the Nhur sequence starting tomorrow.

    It may mean it may be nearly impossible for the new escalation (I heard a rumor it is very ranged combat heavy) to be completed by a mid size party (average 4 players), and may require a brute force approach of multiple parties cooperating. Unfortunately, I can't knit myself up another group of 6 players for our settlement to have multiple parties to do this if that is the intent.

    In short,expect a lot of bitching for players once they feel the 'full impact' of the AI changes.
    You are a Troll
    So doesn't sound at all like the usual fun holiday event that rewards the long suffering stalwarts of the game with a fun challenge to focus on but more like putting sand in the Vaseline and asking us all to bend over.

    Thanks but no thanks.
    Bob
    The overall intent of the leashing changes was to make it harder to avoid engaging with the bulk of the mobs at any given encounter. Most of the time, as long as you keep the combat relatively close to the encounter site, the mobs shouldn't really leash much more often than before. Their new leash ranges, even after they're damaged, should usually keep them from leashing back even if they have to come all the way out to get within melee range of you if you originally triggered them by firing on them from your max range. On the other hand, if you keep backing up and drawing them further out, they'll probably leash back eventually.

    There are also some interesting issues if you're fighting alone and try to tackle a particularly large encounter. That's because mobs on the opposite side of the encounter have to move a long distance from their spawn point just to cross the encounter, so those specific mobs may not be able to move very far from the encounter before leashing back. If you're on your own, then as soon as those mobs leash back, they tell all the other mobs on their team to forget about you, so all those mobs leash back too. If you're in a group, then those mobs are likely to have at least some hate for other members of your group, and will likely just switch to them instead of leashing back. If you're by yourself, you'll probably have to fight such encounters closer in, or focus on smaller encounters without so much distance between mobs.

    This change will undoubtedly require some new tactics, and will also require some reevaluation of which encounters each group (particularly individuals and small groups) can and can't handle. And, as always, we'll make adjustments as we see how things play out.
    BlackMoria
    Further experiments with my Ogre volunteers. Volunteers were three melee and a ranged. One Lout and three Ogres.

    No damage test - basically I ran at them and pulled them to establish the leash point. Didn't fire at them. I positioned myself to have the leash point the far edge of road. Did this experiment 5 times.
    Observations - on two pulls, the melee crossed the road and attacked me, the ranged came out about 2/3 from spawn point. On three pulls, the melee came up almost to the road and reset. I have no explanation to the different behavior as I didn't fire at any of them.

    Damage test - damaged one Ogre to 1/2 of health and then I withdrew to my established leash point. What is interesting here is the Ogres only came out half of the distance to the road and leashed. What is strange is ALL of them did this - not just the damaged Ogre. It was almost like they had a 'pack' AI. What I expected was the damaged Ogre to leash early, and the others to come to me at the leash point. They kept together for some reason. Again, I am not sure why this behavior. I repeated this experiment several times to confirm the behavior and consistently, the mob didn't come out as far from the spawn point despite only having one damaged member. I repeated the experient with a similar mob with a purple and the reds 'packed' together but the purple followed me out to the leash point but the reds withdrew after almost coming up to the road.

    This is just some early observations so far. Perhaps Bob can confirm if this is what the behavior should be.
    Bob
    BlackMoria
    Damage test - damaged one Ogre to 1/2 of health and then I withdrew to my established leash point. What is interesting here is the Ogres only came out half of the distance to the road and leashed. What is strange is ALL of them did this - not just the damaged Ogre. It was almost like they had a 'pack' AI. What I expected was the damaged Ogre to leash early, and the others to come to me at the leash point. They kept together for some reason. Again, I am not sure why this behavior. I repeated this experiment with a similar mob with a purple and the reds 'packed' together but the purple followed me out to the leash point.

    This is just some early observations so far. Perhaps Bob can confirm if this is what the behavior should be.

    Yup, that's actually always been the case. As soon as one team member leashes back, it tells all the other team members "Hey, my target is trying to draw us out too far, stop chasing them." It's just that before they all had the same leash range, so they tended to all be lumped pretty close together when that decision got made. However, you'd notice in situations where a ranged unit managed to keep firing on you while melee units got close, then you started backing away. The ranged unit would be quite a bit further back in that case when the melee units hit the leash range, but they'd all turn around and run back at the same time.

    However, the team only forgets that one target, so the effect is different when there's a group of players. Then the team just switches to a different target, assuming multiple players are on the team hate list, so only the leashed mob heads back to its spawnpoint.
     
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