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[Combat General] AI Tatics, Commanders, Mini Bosses, Battle Flow


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Long time fan and player of Warframe, it's great, and I love it.. Of course, every game can grow tired over enough time. What I propose is not to change WF but to inject some freshness air to the gameplay. Instead of the overwrought RPG mobs of endless scaling everything, in favor of a more measured and intentional flow of battle progression. 

The modifications I'm thinking of could go into an alternative mode, sort of like steel path. Think of it like a alternate difficulty. Or, perhaps it could be applied to the foot battle in Railjack. 

Move from random sporadic rush mobs to more methodical deployments of squads.

More tactical AI

Enemy Moral or Cohesion stat that is influenced by leaders and diminished by overpower moved by players. ie, heavy slams, certain powers, and radiation status.

Increase enemy presence near objectives

Turn certain heavies into mini bosses. Manics, Bursa's etc. 

Make continuous fire of cover increase weapon penetration

 

I think there is much more that could be added, and more elaborating on how this would be implemented differently than the existing systems like, in each game mode, for example.

Edited by (PSN)MoRockaPDX
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I think one underused aspect is enemy 'passive' capabilities - that is to say, enemies being resistant or capable of certain things. So long as these are well-explained it could be very helpful.

So, for example, snipers having the ability to pierce damage resistance - not dissimilar to how Corrosive/Radiation not only deals +75% damage to armoured health, but also bypasses some of its DR. In the same way, Snipers could have the ability to partially fire through damage resistance - for example, 90% damage resistance is treated as 65% damage resistance when they're the one shooting you. A Bombard or a Baliff could have the ability to move through hard CC abilities at a reduced speed - and another, the ability to ignore softer ones.

If certain enemies had a natural resistance to powers, even if it was only partial, then we'd need less hard stopgaps.

 

Having said that, player power being brought down is ultimately a necessity to facilitate stuff like this. After all, strategic squad deployment kind of means nothing when about half the frames in the game have some means to delete, disable or discombobulate them ad infinitum.

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2 hours ago, ShogunGunshow said:

Regular mini bosses would be a nice thing.

Really have to find a way to balance them vs. player damage

The problem with having a mini-boss in every mission is, if it has substantially more eHP then the regular mooks, the player has to take a loadout that can crush the mini-boss in reasonable time... and that means the entire of the rest of the mission is well below the power level the player has had to bring in.

The Acolytes in Steel Path kind of epitomise this for me:

  • I can just let it kill me and go away, but that doesn't really feel good
  • I can fight it with the loadout I chose to be good enough to complete the mission I wanted to do, but it takes annoyingly long to kill the thing
  • or I can bring a loadout which will smush the Acolyte pretty fast, but then I'm even more limited in my choice of weapons than Steel Path already mandates, and more powerful than the mission itself requires

My feeling generally is bosses are for boss Nodes, and regular missions should have regular enemies. It's fine to have things like how Sentients pop up in Lua missions, but if they started dropping into every mission everywhere that'd be a PITA.

Maybe something like... a mini-boss gets deployed if Alarms are active for more than 10 seconds. That makes the encounter kinda optional -- as well as being a hazard for the unwary who might think that just letting the Alarms ring will bring then nothing but more of the same mobs they've already been clapping. Yeah, I could get behind that. 😀

But just automatically mini-bosses in every mission? No thanks.

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6 hours ago, (PSN)MoRockaPDX said:

Move from random sporadic rush mobs to more methodical deployments of squads.

That always sounds fine 'til you remember how darn mobile we are. What's a sensible formation to assume against an enemy who can bullet-jump to the other side of tile in an eyeblink?!

6 hours ago, (PSN)MoRockaPDX said:

perhaps it could be applied to the foot battle in Railjack

Hmmm... actually... what if some Railjack missions included heavy-gravity environments where bullet-jumping was reduced to a little froggy-hop. 🤔

It's not very Warframe-y, I know, but if a few Railjack Nodes had greatly reduced parkour, the reduced player mobility would open the door for better AI tactics to actually mean something.

Or perhaps it could be like the Nightmare mode on the Star Chart, not always there on every Node, but always somewhere.

6 hours ago, Loza03 said:

player power being brought down is ultimately a necessity to facilitate stuff like this. After all, strategic squad deployment kind of means nothing when about half the frames in the game have some means to delete, disable or discombobulate them ad infinitum.

Well there's that too. 😆

Okay, so a Heavy-Gravity mode with a 65% reduction in all ability-related stats. Would that do it, do you think? 🤣

It's sounding a bit like a Warframe-flavoured tactical cover shooter, but I think it could make for an interesting change of pace.

And doing such a thing in Railjack would allow the devs to play around with different enemy tactics and special units without disrupting the core Star Chart. Anything which seems to work well against mobility-challenged players could subsequently be transferred to normal circumstances and see if it works better there too.

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3 hours ago, OmegaVoid said:

Okay, so a Heavy-Gravity mode with a 65% reduction in all ability-related stats. Would that do it, do you think?

🤣

 

Hildryn can also burn an ancient destroyer that has 90% DR against abilities. I don't think that's a good idea. Rather, the problem is in the abilities themselves. 

To be honest, I would start with small nerf players. I would ban aimglide when casting abilities, increase the cast time, and remove invulnerability from control, allowing mobs to interrupt players. This would already be the beginning to improve the AI. Of course, some abilities must use aimglide, fast cast, and immunity, but this is a matter of concepts.

Edited by selig_fay
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2 minutes ago, selig_fay said:

Hildryn can also burn an ancient destroyer that has 90% DR against abilities. I don't think that's a good idea. Rather, the problem is in the abilities themselves. 

It's Blazing Pillage you're alluding to? Eh, that's just what you get with stacking up Heat procs isn't it? Heat DoT is kinda crazy AtM.

So you're saying a 65% reduction probably wouldn't keep Abilities in check? I mean you'd need to Mod for ~285% just to get 100% in the mission.

With 35% of base Strength, Range, Duration and Efficiency I'd've thought it hard to Mod up to the point that anything's frequently castable and still wildly powerful.

But maybe you're right. 🤔

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Personally, I feel that enemy AI is good enough. You can try to make them smarter, but you run the risk of going into one of two extremes. Either the enemy AI starts feeling cheap and cornering the player into tedious mechanics, or we roll over them so fast that no amount of clever AI is going to matter. Personally, I feel a better alternative is adding more complex mechanics to the enemies themselves. Warframe already has examples of this, in fact.

Take the Nox. He's an oppressively tanky enemy with a fairly obvious albeit large weak spot. He also has a plethora of additional mechanics and design cues. The Nox has his own sound package which makes him instantly recognisable. Shooting his glass helmet plays a "cracking glass" sound effect, indicating weakness even if you don't know how he works. Shooting the helmet causes him to leak a Toxin damage aura. He fires slow globs which stick to the player for a relatively long time, but the player can roll to get rid of them early. That right there is probably the game's best-designed enemy by far. We need more like that. Or take Tusk Bombards. Instead of perfectly-homing slow-flying missiles, Tusk Bombards fire a single fast-moving dumb-fire rocket, followed by a long reload. They aim with a Ballista style laser and an audio indicator so the player knows they're being targeted and can respond. Or the Sentient Aerolyst, whose belt of cannisters can be destroyed to stun him temporarily.

If you want players to engage with enemies on a level beyond firing vaguely in their general direction, then enemy design needs to reward more complex gameplay. Right now, a majority of Common enemies are infinitely interchangeable. The Corpus have a wide variety of Crewmen, but it doesn't matter because they all "shoot a gun at the player" and they're all dealt by "shooting them in the head." None of them do anything more complex or have any more complex mechanics. And sure, it's fine for the cannon fodder enemies to be dirt simple, but Warframe doesn't really... Have anything more complex. Elites are just Commons with more EHP and DPS and no more complex gameplay.

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vor 18 Stunden schrieb (PSN)MoRockaPDX:

Long time fan and player of Warframe, it's great, and I love it.. Of course, every game can grow tired over enough time. What I propose is not to change WF but to inject some freshness air to the gameplay. Instead of the overwrought RPG mobs of endless scaling everything, in favor of a more measured and intentional flow of battle progression. 

The modifications I'm thinking of could go into an alternative mode, sort of like steel path. Think of it like a alternate difficulty. Or, perhaps it could be applied to the foot battle in Railjack. 

Move from random sporadic rush mobs to more methodical deployments of squads.

More tactical AI

Enemy Moral or Cohesion stat that is influenced by leaders and diminished by overpower moved by players. ie, heavy slams, certain powers, and radiation status.

Increase enemy presence near objectives

Turn certain heavies into mini bosses. Manics, Bursa's etc. 

Make continuous fire of cover increase weapon penetration

 

I think there is much more that could be added, and more elaborating on how this would be implemented differently than the existing systems like, in each game mode, for example.

Actually, similar AI can be realized as in pvp games:
Hopping, camping, left-right movements and battlearmor that extremely reduces body damage (unless you do headshots).

but I'm not sure whether that will be well received. nice for a new level of difficulty with top rewards. only here are the mostly simple and casual missions with a short duration.

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, OmegaVoid said:

Hmmm... actually... what if some Railjack missions included heavy-gravity environments where bullet-jumping was reduced to a little froggy-hop.

Thank, you. It would have to be an anomaly or technology, as the only objects with greater than 1 earth gravity are gas giants in our solar system. 
Moe, it could be a different game difficulty setting like Steel Path, modifying parkour, and weapon and mod load outs. Giving people a different style of battle flow. 
this could address other issues with smarter AI being irrelevant in the face of so many overwhelming powers and weapons. 
naturally, these would be little adjustments to keep most of the game inline with the feel of Warframe but try to introduce more danger and tension into the game. 

Edited by (PSN)MoRockaPDX
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8 hours ago, Battle.Mage said:

Actually, similar AI can be realized as in pvp games:
Hopping, camping, left-right movements and battlearmor that extremely reduces body damage (unless you do headshots).

but I'm not sure whether that will be well received. nice for a new level of difficulty with top rewards. only here are the mostly simple and casual missions with a short duration.

Agreed why I’m leaning toward a Steel Path alternate game mode. Opens the whole rewards and splitting player base issue, of course. 
I’m contemplating it being a solo mode or partitioned multi-player mode, sort of like Death Stranding and Dark Souls, where players are interacting with each other instance through various mechanics, but aren’t necessarily in the same co-op session. 

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3 minutes ago, (PSN)MoRockaPDX said:

It would have to be an anomaly or technology, as the only objects with greater than 1 earth gravity are gas giants in our solar system. 

Well, yeah. Gravity-tech is clearly a thing in Warframe though, both positive and negative -- the Gas city on Jupiter is reduced to 1g, while on spaceships it's increased to 1g -- so it's not an issue lore-wise.

Enemies identified our mobility as a major tactical problem, and adjusted their grav-tech to counteract it. Then deployed their purpose-designed heavy-gravity units against us. Very sensible of them.

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7 minutes ago, (PSN)MoRockaPDX said:

I’m contemplating it being a solo mode or partitioned multi-player mode

I'm not so keen on that.

I like to solo, I've played a lot more hours of solo than "co-op". But sometimes it feels a bit lonely. Or I just need other players there to motivate me to perform. Or I just want to embrace the randomness that public matchmaking can be. So I wouldn't like to have permanent missions where multiplayer isn't an option.

A partitioned multi-player has never appealed to me at all -- it just means my success is affected by something I can't myself affect. 😟

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1 hour ago, OmegaVoid said:

I'm not so keen on that.

I like to solo, I've played a lot more hours of solo than "co-op". But sometimes it feels a bit lonely. Or I just need other players there to motivate me to perform. Or I just want to embrace the randomness that public matchmaking can be. So I wouldn't like to have permanent missions where multiplayer isn't an option.

A partitioned multi-player has never appealed to me at all -- it just means my success is affected by something I can't myself affect. 😟

Interesting take. Naturally it’s a more subjective thing. Do to the amount of rebalancing and tweaking, I would guess this mode would have fewer missions and perhaps missions that would benefit from co-op could be initiated. Perhaps, with squad-link. 
But, if this was more of a alternative difficulty mode, for say, tailback/empyrion, then it would probably need to remain the current solo/co-op dynamic. 

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55 minutes ago, (PSN)MoRockaPDX said:

if this was more of a alternative difficulty mode, for say, tailback/empyrion, then it would probably need to remain the current solo/co-op dynamic. 

True, RatM the Points of Interest in Railjack missions are mostly small affairs where one player inside is enough.

Depends a bit if the Corpus Proxima (and at some point the Grinner Proxima) will contain more elaborate tiles/tilesets for the Warframe-y bits, which I think the devs have said was intended?

Co-op in Railjack is very different from the rest of the game, due to the different rôles which need filling...

I'd definitely be fine doing the Heavy-Gravity section of an Empyrian mission on my own.

1 hour ago, (PSN)MoRockaPDX said:

squad-link. 

That there is what I don't want, and I could never understand why anyone thinks it's a good idea.

In pubbing regular missions, you come geared up stomp everything, so if you get a squad who are out of their depth you can pick up the slack. Hopefully.

In Empyrean, if you're far afield and you realise things are going badly pear-shped back at the RJ you can beam back there and help get the situation under control again.

But with squad-link, if the other team's contribution is meaningful, then it just makes your mission progress is dependent on the performance of a separate squad you can't affect or assist if they need it 'cos they're in a wholly separate mission.

4 hours ago, (PSN)MoRockaPDX said:

I’m leaning toward a Steel Path alternate game mode.

If "Heavy-Gravity mode" were done as a Nightmare-Mode-style modifier in normal Steel Path missions, I'd certainly want to have the multiplayer option.

And bear in mind we are (I think) hoping the AI tweaks it would allow might benefit the normal game as a whole... making it solo-only could lead to a lot of work being done on the enemy tactics which would make an improvement against solo players, but turn out to be worse than the present AI against even an uncoordinated four-player squad.

 

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