COMMUNITY - FORUMS - GENERAL DISCUSSION
Protecting yourself and your valuables - How are nobles going to have enough guards
+12

Greetings! As I failed on generating enough interest (amusingly enough, I guess that's going to change if they find their character spirit walking and all their house inventory gone every so often upon going on-line) in my questions on the last Q&A to get them up-voted and answered, maybe I should try to stir curiosity on the subject on the forum first. Because I love the idea of the features and the stories related to that, but I'd be eager to learn how Soulbound Studios is planing to pull it off.

I keep reading that nobles proclaim the intention to have guards/police/army (which is great!), but nobody has ever mentioned how they want to manage that. Not everybody is going to be online 24/7, people want to go on adventures, you need other vocations as well to keep things running and characters of higher age aren't suited for the task. How are they going to maintain enough guards around the clock to fend of small enemy groups?

Let's say you have roughly a hundred players (and as many NPCs) living in a village, each of with their own house. Now a group of ten bandits comes into the village. If there's nobody to stop the bandits, they could break into every house, kill the owner, steal the mounts, the valuables and burn or destroy the rest. They don't need a Casus Belli for that and it can happen at any given moment. That is why most kingdoms proclaim having guards/police, to provide some form of safety to their inhabitants (just like it used to be IRL). The difference (and problem) between IRL and CoE is that people only had one job (a guard didn't go for adventure) and that the guard would be on alert all day long. They might not patrol, but they could be woken up and called to arms within minutes. You need at least four to eight times as many guards in-game compared to IRL, if you want to keep a minimum amount ready all the time. Which have to be found (not everybody wants to spend a good amount of their spare time patrolling streets), payed for (the rest of the people has to pay higher tax) and selected according to online-time-frames. It's a non trivial task, isn't it?

That is, unless you want to rely on 'offline character scripts' and NPC AI. But try to compare PvP and PvE in any game. The less taxing on hardware an AI, the easier to 'kite'. A group of 10 players in most every MMORPG can basically annihilate a complete area of computer enemies, simply because AI can be 'outplayed' very well. Most games migrate that issue by granting their computer controlled creatures absurd stats (a lot more HP/att/def/unlimited stamina/magic...) and some special skills (teleporting back when you lure them), but that would be somewhat strange for CoE. How many hundred AI controlled WEAK creatures does it take to stop a group of only ten active players who can easily outsmart them? Weak, because it would be strange for a 'realistic' [and I ~love~ that realism!] game like CoE when your character suddenly becomes superhuman while you are offline and gets heck of tricky to revert (if you get quadruple the health, what happens if you log back in and have lost some?). I think all of us MMORPG players have seen creatures lured into fire/hazard/traps to damage themselves, have seen teams of players using an 'aggro switch' (or the lack thereof) to kill creatures from afar without taking damage, have seen players running and shooting creatures around obstacles or from a 'safe spot', have witnessed creatures being lured to single them out, have seen players kiting attacks because they were predictable,... In short, PvP players love the thrill PvE won't give them, because some human players are far, far better (and a higher risk) than any AI they have ever meet in a game. Else they would play PvE?

And since we know nothing about offline character scripting other then that it is planned, we don't know how 'smart' we can program our offline-alter-egos.

But we do know a few things. We've seen that 'parcour' is going to be possible in CoE. Running an A* pathfinding on a navmesh is taxing for the CPU. Trying to do pathfinding on a dynamically player-generated parcour environment in an MMO... Trying to program an unpredictable AI, that isn't taxing on the CPU (because you need to run hundreds of thousands at the same time), that can present a challenge to a small group of experienced PvP players (with voice chat) in a skill based combat system... that is, well, something I'd love to get more details on.

What I know is that Soulbound Studios is debating either JS or C# and to utilize the power of .NET, as stated in a Q&A video. But there's many a point in this that's not been laid out yet. I've compared CoE's offline character scripting with the only example of such an idea on the market that I'm aware of: https://chroniclesofelyria.com/forum/topic/13192/questions-about-offline-character-scripting-details#post138329 And these scripts are trivial compared to what would be required for CoE?

I'd greatly appreciate feedback (by nobles, by people who want to play as guards, by other programmers who are familiar with AI and most of all by Soulbound Studios)!


3/20/2017 3:22:15 PM #31
+0

First I think that your question are good one to ask, but reason why they dont answer is maybe they are not ready yet and best defence for NPC will be you will not know how exactly they will work and defend against players and change that regularly

for sake of discussion I will try answer what I think that they can do to help defend NPC in towns

Posted By Logain at 2:41 PM - Mon Mar 20 2017

You don't need high fantasy or AoE damage for that. 3-4 archers picking on the same target just take them down one after the other (which is going to be fast)

If you use bow from long range they will just close gate and you cant do anything. There will not be walls destructible with sword etc...

With other games, I would agree. SBS however explicitly advertised parkour elements in their latest video and keeps highlighting that every location is accessible (which I love!). Either it's a feature, or it's a bug, but using a feature and declaring that as a bug is kind of prone to get customers puzzled and complaining.

There will be more accessible but not inhuman ability so if you want to get over walls etc you will need equipment.For situation when you get in town and then try to get somewhere inaccessible for NPCs they can just attack you for trying it you dont climb over houses for fun. Remember this game is not normal MMORPG it is survival so you can't just run somewhere if you are not ready and punishment for crime can be sever you lose your play time and possibly your character so trying this stuff and learning how to beat NPC will not be cheap

But still our discussion is kind pointless and Soulbound will get us info when they are ready.


3/20/2017 3:36:50 PM #32
+0

Posted By Adriac1993 at 3:03 PM - Mon Mar 20 2017

Can npcs not also use the parkour feature?

Certainly, but that would be incredibly taxing for the CPU, to a point where it is out of reach (in my humble opinion). There is a reason why NPCs following you through dynamically built parkour environments aren't standard. Now consider that with thousands of NPCs at the same time.

Posted By Adriac1993 at 3:03 PM - Mon Mar 20 2017

if you place and build your town and you put it in a place where you army can be picked apart from a high place ny archers then you made a mistake and are paying the price.

Check one of SBS's 'old' parkour videos. The normal, pre-built village is vulnerable to that. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIu0OD98Yqs Even IRL, nearly every medieval village in existence was.

Posted By Kaynadin at 3:26 PM - Mon Mar 20 2017

Depending on how the spirit walk and KO mechanics work the defenders would have the advantage of fighting close to home where they can recover easier.

We already know that OPC's and NPC's won't spirit walk. Rather a disadvantage than anything there. Actually, once coup de graced, your NPC guard is gone for good and needs to be replaced by another NPC, which needs to find it's way to your village first.

Posted By Kaynadin at 3:26 PM - Mon Mar 20 2017

And there may be parkour, but you can't use that to scale a 20 foot vertical wall

You don't have to scale a wall. Closing off a village completely from the outside, disallowing traders to get inside and villagers to get outside is going to leave your village struggling to survive.

Posted By Adriac1993 at 3:34 PM - Mon Mar 20 2017

If everyone just wants to doom and gloom instead of presenting things the game currently does or suggestions of what the game could do, then that just sounds like a waste of time to me.

Nobody wants to do that, least of all me. If I wouldn't have faith in the game and it's developers I wouldn't have bought an early bird Kickstarter tier. That doesn't mean I wouldn't want to raise attention to a potential problem and ask for a design journal or Q&A on the subject though. Nothing more, nothing less.


3/20/2017 4:15:50 PM #33
+0

The reason I'm saying there is no reason to simply doom and gloom is because some of us are offering valid solutions that are being dismissed and the bottom line is that you are saying "well no that won't work we all gonna die" to everything people are saying, but those solutions have been pretty valid. You're bringing an important issue to light but let's not be discouraged by it.

My point about the vulnerability of villages was more like, if you build at the bottom of a cliff or next to a huge rock feature that is climbable where you should have known people could use it against you, then you planned poorly. And I guarantee you that SBS is not going to give players the ability to parkour and then limit the npc's capability to do it. Especially for OPCs (which I lump in with npcs generally) because if I train in parkour then it is unusable for my offline self then I have wasted my time on a skill. I don't think we can just dismiss this fact with "cpus can't handle it" because I have yet to see a computer crash because an npc tried to climb something lol.

Plus with the village siege thing you're changing the rules of the argument completely and talking about a whole different issue. Your premise is that we cannot defend a village while offline from a raid, but now you're changing it to include that those same people can siege our village longterm even if they can't get in. Well if they siege our village I'm sure people will come online and be able to fight back, and if the sieging force is too large then that's outside the scope of your post as well because you're talking about a small group of bandits or enemy soldiers raiding a village of offline players and winning despite being outnumbered.


3/20/2017 4:56:39 PM #34
+2

I think this question can only be answered with player testing, and likely several reiterations to get the balance of what is reasonable.

Of course, what is a reasonable hostility occurrence to some will be considered griefing by others.

Personally I think the major cities need to be fairly safe. Not unchallenged if much effort is taken by enemies, but ultimately a rare event.


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3/20/2017 5:20:15 PM #35
+0

An interesting question. Best answered by thinking out of the box. As you have compared it to IRL, then you must be open minded to understand that crime rates are higher at night as well. Just as their might be a late night burglar in game, their can also be a late night vigilante. Scripting AI drones to stand in front of the only chest in the house, next to your bed, salivating over you, sounds equally impractical!


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3/20/2017 5:42:48 PM #36
+2

The other thing to remember is that the bandits won't just disappear when their players log off and their players will have to log off at some point, so the bandits will likely need to have a safe location nearby to go back to. Tracking will be possible in this game so when PCs log on and find their town has been attacked they can try to track down the bandits and attack when they are vulnerable.


3/20/2017 5:57:50 PM #37
+2

Posted By CommonlyQuixotic at 12:42 PM - Mon Mar 20 2017

The other thing to remember is that the bandits won't just disappear when their players log off and their players will have to log off at some point, so the bandits will likely need to have a safe location nearby to go back to. Tracking will be possible in this game so when PCs log on and find their town has been attacked they can try to track down the bandits and attack when they are vulnerable.

True. And without a town to log off in so you don't starve the bandits would need to haul a lot of food around with them. If you refuse to sell them food then they either spend a lot of time hunting and foraging, or their raids on your town result in them needing to steal food to survive not gold and weapons. So you know they'll probably be logged off in a town somewhere nearby.


3/20/2017 6:36:43 PM #38
+1

Posted By Adriac1993 at 09:15 AM - Mon Mar 20 2017

The reason I'm saying there is no reason to simply doom and gloom is because some of us are offering valid solutions that are being dismissed and the bottom line is that you are saying "well no that won't work we all gonna die" to everything people are saying, but those solutions have been pretty valid. You're bringing an important issue to light but let's not be discouraged by it.

He's debating the points being made. Debating requires rebuttal until one side has no counter points to be made. I've so far read nothing that completely shuts down any of his concerns.

Posted By Adriac1993 at 09:15 AM - Mon Mar 20 2017

My point about the vulnerability of villages was more like, if you build at the bottom of a cliff or next to a huge rock feature that is climbable where you should have known people could use it against you, then you planned poorly. And I guarantee you that SBS is not going to give players the ability to parkour and then limit the npc's capability to do it. Especially for OPCs (which I lump in with npcs generally) because if I train in parkour then it is unusable for my offline self then I have wasted my time on a skill. I don't think we can just dismiss this fact with "cpus can't handle it" because I have yet to see a computer crash because an npc tried to climb something lol.

Can you cite a game where NPC pets or followers successfully mimic the same dynamic parkour we saw in the PAX east teaser? That looked pretty sophisticated to me, and clearly involved personal player skill, spacing and good spatial sense -- sometimes one of them would miss a jump and die for it.

The amount of logic to set one npc to be able to follow one player through a set, planned environment would be a task in of itself. Now multiply that by all of the different "maps" of parkour environment, their variables and conditions, and then multiply it again by how ever many npcs are in a single grid...

Just the sheer amount of AI logic needed for all of that could be a game project all on its own. You don't need to be a coder or programmer to recognize how gargantuan a task that would be.

There's just no way an AI will be able to handle that like a player will be able to.

To the OP: another thought occurred to me as a possible passive defense harkening back to the days of Darkfall. In darkfall, night time raids on cities were regular, so as an ever-present defense, there were multiple guard towers in any hamlet or city which automatically aimed at and shot unrecognized allies of the city owners.

They could be disabled with siege weaponry and they could also be avoided by LOS'ing them and getting behind houses, but otherwise they would constantly damage you and aid whomever was still online. They weren't a huge help but it was certainly a factor to consider to attack and defense.

I could see a similar "arrow guard tower" defense being put in CoE, providing an ever present form of passive defense. Yes, it would be slightly immersion breaking to just always have towers that are capable of pelting intruders, but its also a practical compromise to the problem.

3/20/2017 7:48:10 PM #39
+0

Many good points here. One I would like to point is the premise is a small raid group of PC's taking out OPC or NPC guards. bear in mind some people have odd hours and you may just run into PC's in your victim village. I have heard comments that the crafters will not really be skilled in combat so they are not a threat but that may not be the case. If say your village has a fletcher in residence then there is a good chance besides making bows he/she is a master archer, a weapon smith can be a master swordsman. If they are on line you are in for a fight, in OPC mode they will still have those skills so a raider can not count on facing a basic entry level NPC guard.


3/20/2017 8:00:10 PM #40
+1

I have confidence guards won't be pushovers, especially if you drill and train them. I hope to have some of the most elite soldiers in the world in my County.


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3/20/2017 8:14:51 PM #41
+2

Posted By Vucar at 2:36 PM - Mon Mar 20 2017

Posted By Adriac1993 at 09:15 AM - Mon Mar 20 2017

The reason I'm saying there is no reason to simply doom and gloom is because some of us are offering valid solutions that are being dismissed and the bottom line is that you are saying "well no that won't work we all gonna die" to everything people are saying, but those solutions have been pretty valid. You're bringing an important issue to light but let's not be discouraged by it.

He's debating the points being made. Debating requires rebuttal until one side has no counter points to be made. I've so far read nothing that completely shuts down any of his concerns.

Posted By Adriac1993 at 09:15 AM - Mon Mar 20 2017

My point about the vulnerability of villages was more like, if you build at the bottom of a cliff or next to a huge rock feature that is climbable where you should have known people could use it against you, then you planned poorly. And I guarantee you that SBS is not going to give players the ability to parkour and then limit the npc's capability to do it. Especially for OPCs (which I lump in with npcs generally) because if I train in parkour then it is unusable for my offline self then I have wasted my time on a skill. I don't think we can just dismiss this fact with "cpus can't handle it" because I have yet to see a computer crash because an npc tried to climb something lol.

Can you cite a game where NPC pets or followers successfully mimic the same dynamic parkour we saw in the PAX east teaser? That looked pretty sophisticated to me, and clearly involved personal player skill, spacing and good spatial sense -- sometimes one of them would miss a jump and die for it.

The amount of logic to set one npc to be able to follow one player through a set, planned environment would be a task in of itself. Now multiply that by all of the different "maps" of parkour environment, their variables and conditions, and then multiply it again by how ever many npcs are in a single grid...

Just the sheer amount of AI logic needed for all of that could be a game project all on its own. You don't need to be a coder or programmer to recognize how gargantuan a task that would be.

There's just no way an AI will be able to handle that like a player will be able to.

To the OP: another thought occurred to me as a possible passive defense harkening back to the days of Darkfall. In darkfall, night time raids on cities were regular, so as an ever-present defense, there were multiple guard towers in any hamlet or city which automatically aimed at and shot unrecognized allies of the city owners.

They could be disabled with siege weaponry and they could also be avoided by LOS'ing them and getting behind houses, but otherwise they would constantly damage you and aid whomever was still online. They weren't a huge help but it was certainly a factor to consider to attack and defense.

I could see a similar "arrow guard tower" defense being put in CoE, providing an ever present form of passive defense. Yes, it would be slightly immersion breaking to just always have towers that are capable of pelting intruders, but its also a practical compromise to the problem.

You guys are using what I call the "nuh uh" argument. Which to explain means that somebody counters your argument and you say nuh uh and think you've settled the matter. We've basically said that programming the AI to be competent and not get tricked into terrain exploits should make it a non-issue. Your argument is no that's impossible. Well everything is impossible until somebody does it.

And as for examples, there are only a few games really with parkour to choose from but one that does come to mind is the obvious. In Assassin's Creed AI enemies will use parkour to chase you on rooftops and across buildings. Are they as good as a PC? No. But could they manage to not get terrain exploited? I'd say they can do well enough yes. I promise you that my cpu will not fry itself because 20 city guards start climbing a rock formation your buddies are shooting arrows from.

But, directed at Vucar's second half of post, that's a good suggestion. And I think it is easily already in the game if you station archers in a tower and tell them not to move, that's a very simple script used in RTS games with a "guard this spot" or "don't move" command.

The OP is mostly operating under the sense that it will be possible to "cheese tactic" a village full of npcs because the ai is destined to suck. Even if I'm wrong and they are incapable of a functional AI that does capably protect a town, then things like you have suggested can offset that.

And I cannot say it enough, it has to be possible for a group of skilled players to take down a village even if we aren't going to like it when it happens to us. If none of our solutions are perfect, that is because they cannot and should not be perfect.


3/20/2017 9:06:35 PM #42
+1

You can always tune combat ability and HP in an NPC to make them strong enough to be a legitimate threat to an attacker even if the AI pathing is not good. Think of how annoying attacking an NPC that always headshots you when you get in range would be. Or one that will parry every attack from the front or side and counter with an attack of their own. You can make an NPC as aim bot like as need be to balance for the lesser mobility.


3/21/2017 12:48:20 AM #43
+0

Posted By Kaynadin at 5:06 PM - Mon Mar 20 2017

You can always tune combat ability and HP in an NPC to make them strong enough to be a legitimate threat to an attacker even if the AI pathing is not good. Think of how annoying attacking an NPC that always headshots you when you get in range would be. Or one that will parry every attack from the front or side and counter with an attack of their own. You can make an NPC as aim bot like as need be to balance for the lesser mobility.

It is usually ignored because most devs choose to go for higher npc stats than a good AI system, but AI-controlled entities really do have some advantages over humans like you're saying. I can forget to parry or miss a shot because I'm not sure how to calculate the distance 100%, but the AI only makes mistakes like that if they are programmed to do so. If we can program AI to drive a car then we can program AI with the information it needs to stand a chance against a player. The player should win if they have the right gear and skill, but the AI shouldn't be such a pushover that 1 player goes in and kills ten AI soldiers without breaking a sweat.

And if superior tactics rule the day, so be it. As long as the AI is not exploitable to where the tactic is cheesy, then good on the attacker for knowing how to win the fight.


3/21/2017 2:33:03 AM #44
+0

Posted By Adriac1993 at 1:14 PM - Mon Mar 20 2017

You guys are using what I call the "nuh uh" argument. Which to explain means that somebody counters your argument and you say nuh uh and think you've settled the matter. We've basically said that programming the AI to be competent and not get tricked into terrain exploits should make it a non-issue. Your argument is no that's impossible. Well everything is impossible until somebody does it.

And as for examples, there are only a few games really with parkour to choose from but one that does come to mind is the obvious. In Assassin's Creed AI enemies will use parkour to chase you on rooftops and across buildings. Are they as good as a PC? No. But could they manage to not get terrain exploited? I'd say they can do well enough yes. I promise you that my cpu will not fry itself because 20 city guards start climbing a rock formation your buddies are shooting arrows from.

But, directed at Vucar's second half of post, that's a good suggestion. And I think it is easily already in the game if you station archers in a tower and tell them not to move, that's a very simple script used in RTS games with a "guard this spot" or "don't move" command.

The OP is mostly operating under the sense that it will be possible to "cheese tactic" a village full of npcs because the ai is destined to suck. Even if I'm wrong and they are incapable of a functional AI that does capably protect a town, then things like you have suggested can offset that.

And I cannot say it enough, it has to be possible for a group of skilled players to take down a village even if we aren't going to like it when it happens to us. If none of our solutions are perfect, that is because they cannot and should not be perfect.

That's fair. Also Assassins Creed is a good example i hadn't thought of. I would question how well that kind of AI would perform under conditions where the players design the "maps" defining the capacity for parkour, though.

Re: the idea of buffing npcs -- that's another potential solution, and definitely (probably) easier on the resources to enhance a towns defense. I suspect they'll still be exploited, but at the very least it would be a time sink / equipment sink to any raider group even if they just serve as arrow pin-cushions.

As long as it didn't apply to OPCs, of course, as then you'd see a lot of people logging off right before anticipated fights...

3/21/2017 2:51:43 AM #45
+0

Posted By Vucar at 10:33 PM - Mon Mar 20 2017

Posted By Adriac1993 at 1:14 PM - Mon Mar 20 2017

You guys are using what I call the "nuh uh" argument. Which to explain means that somebody counters your argument and you say nuh uh and think you've settled the matter. We've basically said that programming the AI to be competent and not get tricked into terrain exploits should make it a non-issue. Your argument is no that's impossible. Well everything is impossible until somebody does it.

And as for examples, there are only a few games really with parkour to choose from but one that does come to mind is the obvious. In Assassin's Creed AI enemies will use parkour to chase you on rooftops and across buildings. Are they as good as a PC? No. But could they manage to not get terrain exploited? I'd say they can do well enough yes. I promise you that my cpu will not fry itself because 20 city guards start climbing a rock formation your buddies are shooting arrows from.

But, directed at Vucar's second half of post, that's a good suggestion. And I think it is easily already in the game if you station archers in a tower and tell them not to move, that's a very simple script used in RTS games with a "guard this spot" or "don't move" command.

The OP is mostly operating under the sense that it will be possible to "cheese tactic" a village full of npcs because the ai is destined to suck. Even if I'm wrong and they are incapable of a functional AI that does capably protect a town, then things like you have suggested can offset that.

And I cannot say it enough, it has to be possible for a group of skilled players to take down a village even if we aren't going to like it when it happens to us. If none of our solutions are perfect, that is because they cannot and should not be perfect.

That's fair. Also Assassins Creed is a good example i hadn't thought of. I would question how well that kind of AI would perform under conditions where the players design the "maps" defining the capacity for parkour, though.

Re: the idea of buffing npcs -- that's another potential solution, and definitely (probably) easier on the resources to enhance a towns defense. I suspect they'll still be exploited, but at the very least it would be a time sink / equipment sink to any raider group even if they just serve as arrow pin-cushions.

As long as it didn't apply to OPCs, of course, as then you'd see a lot of people logging off right before anticipated fights...

There are not a whole lot of games with a real extensive parkour system, but AC does represent a small version of what we are talking about. As long as the AI could be programmed to recognize the Z-axis of things that players built then they should be fine navigating them well enough to get in a line-of-sight to fire some arrows. But honestly, I don't see the player built items being the real concern compared to simple terrain exploits, and I don't mean exploit as necessarily a "cheat".

A terrain exploit could be a perfectly valid tactic, standing on a cliff and shooting enemies as they try to climb up to you. This is where my statement about "if you build your village in a vulnerable place you deserve what is coming to you" comes into play. If you build your village underneath a cliff or alongside one, and you do not defend that clifftop with towers/guards/etc, then you deserve to have that used against you.

The other exploit would be like getting the AI characters stuck against a rock face where it took a complicated jump glitch of some sort to get into. Standing somewhere that is unreachable, not just strategically like with a cliff that is difficult to climb, but actually cannot be reached maybe even by a player. This is the "cheating" kind of exploit where I would put responsibility on SBS to either prevent or to punish.

As for the "stat increases" or such for NPC/OPC, I get what you mean about not making it significant enough to where players are better off logging out. However, if they really go with a "npcs have more hp/attack/defense" fix then they have to let this apply to opcs as well or we are all screwed when we do log out. The point of the opc was for us to exist in the world constantly and be able to defend ourselves since our character will be out and about to some extent. So they would need to be able to survive with the same function as any other npc.

I don't think stat increases are the best answer to mitigate skill, since that's basically just describing what happens in harder pve content in other MMOs (dungeons, raids, etc) and that's exactly the kind of enemy that the OP is talking about being exploited. Rather it would need to be that AI characters mitigate skill with superb reaction times, aim, use of combos, etc to where they are able to stand their own.


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