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Kest

Terrible enemies

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Kest    547
What do you dislike most about combat enemies in general shooter/slasher gaming? After playing Fallout 3, I came up with a few annoying things to avoid in my own game: 1. Most enemies are like mechanical snipers. You can sprint across the street, and still have every third shot from a 10mm machine gun nail you from two blocks away. They need more human-like flaws in their aiming abilities. 2. Enemies are too tough. Not too challenging, just too difficult to hurt. I often find myself spraying 20 bullets into someone's face before they finally kill over. There's nothing fun about that for me. I've personally never had a problem with a game because of enemies dying too quickly when I shot them in the face. Has anyone else? 3. Dumping realism for gameplay balance. This kind of ties into 2, but this is big for me. There's something very annoying to me about pointing a mini-gun and spraying 100 bullets into a dude wearing leather armor just to have him keep coming at me, undramatized by the barrage of bullets streaming into his organs. In the real world, an armored crab would drop instantly with one shot from a 10mm pistol to the face. In the game, it can take up to 20 or 30 shots. Does it really improve gameplay to do this sort of thing? For me, it just makes the game world confusing and difficult to understand. You never feel like you know what's going to happen until you actually try it (and see it fail miserably). I could go on, but I'll wait to see if anyone else can add something. Is there anything about combat enemies that you would like to see avoided in future games? If possible, mention an improvement to the problem. Anything goes, from RTS enemies to shooters to RPG battles.

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Neptune    128
I agree. But I do wonder about one thing. How about the amount of damage your own player can sustain? It's crazy in most games, the amount of hits you can take before going down. I think they just decided to balance out the enemies ability to take damage to the players. If you could only take a couple hits before biting the dust, the game would get boring pretty quick.

I'm not sure what the solution is. It seems they just decided that more shots flying around equals more action.

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sunandshadow    7426
Enemies that stop dropping loot before or as soon as you become able to kill them. Enemies that are impossible to kill solo, or have loot that cannot be dropped solo. Enemies that are the wrong difficulty for their physical location in the game.

Enemies that swarm or call for help are probably one of the main causes of unexpected death in MMOs. This does not mean that swarming enemies are bad, they add nice variety, but the player's fighting abilities or the way the combat stats and equations work need to be balanced with extra care so that a swarm of smaller enemies and one larger enemy take equal amounts of time and mana/stamina to kill, do equal amounts of damage, and drop equal amounts of loot (per their level). Enemies that are more aggressive toward lower level players and less aggressive to higher level ones are irritating all around, but it works pretty nicely to have the opposite dynamic.

If an enemy has the ability to paralyze the player, they should not be able to use it frequently or have it be too long-lasting, and the player should be able to do _something_, just not all of their usual action choices.

One thing that is generally underused is enemies that run away, and must be outwitted or outmaneuvered and killed for some valuable drop.

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BlackSeeds    156
I agree with your statements and I too felt the same way about fallout3, i think the best way they should have gone is more enemies which die quicker,

you have more to enemies deal with = player being able to take more hits

there are more enemies to kill = more action

the enemies die easier - so the games more satisfying and feels more responsive.

One thing that annoyed the hell out of me, you use the mini gun and have to wait a few seconds for the thing to start spinning and shooting, if you get hit the mini gun stops and you have to "charge" it again, however the person your shooting at doesn't seem stunned by any hits at all and hence can keep shooting you causing this whole horrible cycle over and over.

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Kest    547
Quote:
Original post by BlackSeeds
I agree with your statements and I too felt the same way about fallout3, i think the best way they should have gone is more enemies which die quicker,

I agree 100%. If Fallout 3 was balanced slightly different here and there, this would have been the perfect solution. It would definitely make the VATS system more engaging.

Quote:
you have more to enemies deal with = player being able to take more hits

If the enemies behaved and aimed more realistically, and reacted to powerful impacts more realistically, the player wouldn't need to be as unrealistically tough to match up. I mostly played the game in real time, so maybe it wasn't as bad with the VATS system.

Cover works pretty well in the game, but if you just pop your head out for 1.2 seconds, someone who isn't even turned your way will snap around and blast you before you can even see what's going on. It's these little things that really screw you over. The enemy behaving more like a programmed machine than a person.

Quote:
there are more enemies to kill = more action

Since the alternative is pointing at a single target and pounding the trigger until their weight doubles with bullets, I would have to agree.

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dashurc    236
I also am not too keen on the enemies that can take a million bullets before keeling over. I do, however, realize that balancing a game with encounters involving a larger number of enemies that there are so many variables to consider and there's no way Fallout 3 would have been released on time.

Same goes for players who die really quick. How do you balance that over 30+ hours worth of game without making any section too difficult or easy? In a standard FPS it's much easier to balance than in a game like Fallout.

The part about Fallout that I really didn't like was that you needed to stock a billion stimpaks ("health potions") that you could use willy nilly, instead of having regenerating health and using stimpaks for emergency healing in battle. There was no real point to fighting as stimpaks were so numerous and cheap to buy that a single enemy encounter had no importance.

Back on topic of bullet sponge enemies... I don't mind so much if it's a huge super powerful enemy, but then again I prefer if there's a strategy beyond "pump it full of bullets" required to kill it.

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Treb    172
I was a fan of Far Cry because all of the mercenaries would die by one head shot. Later in the game they threw a wrench in it with the mutants, but I really liked the start. I also liked painkiller, even if it was a little mindless. If there was more intelligent AI that game could really be golden.

I would like to know why so many games opt for the bullet sponge enemies. It seems like a really bad idea to me, but I figure that they aren't stupid so they must be doing it for a reason.

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Codeka    1239
Another problem, somewhat related to the "100 shots to the head before they die" problem, is that you can pump the enemy full of 99 bullets with no discernable difference in their behaviour. Then one more bullet and they're dead.

(I haven't played Fallout 3, so I don't know if that happens there, but it's pretty common).

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Kest    547
Quote:
Original post by dashurc
I also am not too keen on the enemies that can take a million bullets before keeling over. I do, however, realize that balancing a game with encounters involving a larger number of enemies that there are so many variables to consider and there's no way Fallout 3 would have been released on time.

I love the enemy taunts, how they run away when you really mess them up, and how they scavenge downed NPCs' weapons, but otherwise, they don't really do anything that looks very smart during battle. I can't think of much that would need to change to add one or two extra enemies at a time while making them all a little weaker.

Quote:
Same goes for players who die really quick. How do you balance that over 30+ hours worth of game without making any section too difficult or easy? In a standard FPS it's much easier to balance than in a game like Fallout.

Like I said, taking away some of the AI's unfair behavior would tip the weight into the player's favor. Less bullets making direct impact means less toughness needed to survive the fight.

In the real world, it wouldn't be unheard of for a gang member to aim an automatic weapon to fire 33 bullets and only hit the target once or twice, if at all. Especially if the target is moving quickly. There are a lot of negative factors that go into it. Stress, adrenaline, drugs, the fear of death, taking a life, weapon recoil, etc. Fallout 3 characters don't seem to be bothered by anything. They just aim and kill like neat little mechanical soldiers.

Wouldn't it be neat if characters actually had to shoot up something to behave the way they do now in the game?
"Oh hell, he just hit some jet, take cover!"

And finally, it could be as simple as giving the player some extra armor. If the player walks onto the battlefield prepared to fight 50 enemies, he's probably going to come dressed heavier than any one of them.

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BLiTZWiNG    361
I haven't played F3, but I agree, a lot more work needs to be done on the AI, even if its longer case statements and some edge cases aren't caught, as long as the majority of situations react appropriately has to be better than none at all.

I forget what games they were but I did play a few FPSs a long time ago where you slowed down when you took damage... and so did the AI. It was much more like it.

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metalmidget    205
Enemies (bosses, mostly) that can take HEAPS of damage before dying and don't have any sort of indication as to how dead they are, or any indication as to whether or not you're doing any damage at all.
This IMHO, was one of the best differences between Diablo I and II. Health meters in D2 = awesome! There are some other examples but none spring to mind.

The system in Neverwinter Nights worked well- Uninjured, Barely Injured, Injured, Badly Injured, Near Dead, Dead.

cheers,
metal

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DantarionX    166
One thing that I also don't like is how sometimes extremely stupid enemies are sometimes hard if you fight them the way the the game intended.

In Scarface, enemies either:
1) Stand still and shoot
2) Rush you with guns blazing.

In a hallway situation, they fail because they get into each others line of sight and fire. However, they don't fail because the game lets them shoot through each other, meaning some hallways in the game = instant death.

So, the strategy I have used for the second half of the game is...Wait around the corner and shoot them each in the head once as soon as they come around.

They won't come around the corner while shooting, so you never get shot. They come one at a time because they don't walk through each other. No matter how many enemies are in the next room, you can just let 1 see you, walk back to the doorway, and execute them one on one.

If I saw 10 of my buddies die after going around the corner, I wouldn't walk around the same corner.

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Kest    547
Quote:
Original post by DantarionX
One thing that I also don't like is how sometimes extremely stupid enemies are sometimes hard if you fight them the way the the game intended.

This caught my attention. I'm not sure if this is what you meant, but I've noticed that enemies are almost always more difficult when you approach them the way the game intended. For example, it's always a breeze to slaughter everyone in a stealth mission. And it's usually a breeze to sneak by everyone in an assault mission, if it's possible.

I personally dislike it when games try to push specific strategies on me like that. It just makes me want to go against my good judgment and approach it some other way, so I don't feel like I'm being play-tested in a superhero production factory.

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TechnoGoth    2937
There enemies in fallout 3 weren't all that bad you could see them get progressively more injured as their health dropped, they would run away some times when heavily injured, pickup better weapons when available, and didn’t have unlimited ammo.

The problems were more fundamental flaws in the game design. The fact that damage and crippled limbs had no real affect on game play was a major one. Cripple an enemy’s head and they will grab it stunned for a couple of seconds, cripple and arm and they drop their weapon. But beyond that there was no impact they would be the exact same a few seconds later which meant there was little point in shooting the enemies anywhere other then in the head. If crippling an enemies arm or having your own arm crippled meant you couldn’t use two handed weapons anymore it would have meant something.

There was also no scaling or progression of enemies in terms of the game world because of the free form design, which meant you constantly got better but there were no more challenging areas to progress into. You suffered early on but by the time you got a decent weapon the game became a cake walk. One of plasma rifles in the game that you can get fairly early on basically allows you to kill almost any enemy in the game in 1 or 2 hits, and since ammo and repair parts were plentiful enough later on the challenge dropped to nil.


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gxaxhx    128
Enemies that scale in power with the player. I’m not trying to turn this thread into a discussion on the topic of dynamic difficulty but if I see a goblin early on, and kill it, it should not be harder for me to kill after I’ve gained a bunch of power. I remember at the end of oblivion, I could go into portals and kill daedra all day but if I saw a goblin, I would just turn the other way because it would take 15-20 minutes to kill it.

Enemies that spawn or resurrect other enemies at a fast rate. I remember this from playing Diablo 2. It was fine in moderation, but when you had rooms full of guys who could respawn other guys who could respawn other guys and there were so many monsters in your way you couldn’t just target the enemies you needed to, it became a point of annoyance.

Stupid enemies. You know the kind I’m talking about. The ones that just stand there and shoot at you while you take cover, pop out, shoot them etc.

And on the flip side, omniscient enemies. I hate it when a twig breaks under my player’s feet and everything in the immediate area knows exactly where I am and can track me to hell and back.

Enemies who just won’t shut up. I’ll also include player characters in this. Hearing the random enemy taunt or player “let’s get them!” is just fine, but when it’s every time, hearing the same small set of dialog over and over breaks the immersion and just simply gets on my nerves.

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Ezbez    1164
I haven't played Fallout 3, but Oblivion had problem 2, also. The fights were easy but they lasted for minutes. Around levels 10-20, everything would take dozens of arrows or dozens of spells while I backpedal safely from their reach or their spells. That got boring after the, oh, millionth time.

Same problem in Space Rangers 2. The fights weren't hard, but to win a solar system with dozens of Dominators guarding it, you'd have to run away carrying the weakest and fastest dominators with you. Then you'd blast them, slow down slightly. Then blast the next fastest, then slow down and repeat until you circled around the last, large dominators that could barely move and all you'd have to do was avoid its missiles.

I'd end up itching for, say, Counter Strike, where it takes only a couple of bullets to drop someone (including yourself).

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Sandman    2210
Quote:
Original post by Kest
2. Enemies are too tough. Not too challenging, just too difficult to hurt. I often find myself spraying 20 bullets into someone's face before they finally kill over. There's nothing fun about that for me. I've personally never had a problem with a game because of enemies dying too quickly when I shot them in the face. Has anyone else?


While I agree with the basic point, I haven't particularly found that to be the case with FO3 - I suspect it may be highly build/strategy dependent. I've built my character as a sniper, and under the majority of circumstances, a head shot with the sniper rifle or hunting rifle (with or without VATS) from hiding will one-shot pretty much everything up to a supermutant. And on the occasions where that fails, a combat shotgun to the face usually finishes them off in short order.

VATS also makes an enormous difference; whether for better or for worse depends on the circumstances, and your own skill at twitch games. I've found Big Guns have too high an action point cost for firing and reloading to be much use in VATS. The scope on the sniper rifle is sufficiently good that you can easily get head shots shooting manually that would have been less than 10% in VATS. For most other cases, at medium to short range and especially against moving targets, it's much easier to hit targets - let alone target specific body parts - with VATS than without.

Quote:

Original post by Technogoth
The problems were more fundamental flaws in the game design. The fact that damage and crippled limbs had no real affect on game play was a major one. Cripple an enemy’s head and they will grab it stunned for a couple of seconds, cripple and arm and they drop their weapon. But beyond that there was no impact they would be the exact same a few seconds later which meant there was little point in shooting the enemies anywhere other then in the head. If crippling an enemies arm or having your own arm crippled meant you couldn’t use two handed weapons anymore it would have meant something.


This is true. I was a little disappointed when I tried blowing a molerat's leg off that it carried on coming almost as fast as before. The effects of crippling should really be a lot stronger.


One thing that bothers me in games is careless use of immunities in enemies. While it's perfectly reasonable for some enemies to be resistant or even immune to certain types of attack, it can make some encounters completely impossible, and some character builds completely unviable. These creatures need to be either avoidable, introduced in such as way as to warn the character that he may need to have other weapons at his disposal, or otherwise need to have alternative ways to kill them made available.

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Kest    547
Quote:
Original post by TechnoGoth
The problems were more fundamental flaws in the game design. The fact that damage and crippled limbs had no real affect on game play was a major one. Cripple an enemy’s head and they will grab it stunned for a couple of seconds, cripple and arm and they drop their weapon. But beyond that there was no impact they would be the exact same a few seconds later which meant there was little point in shooting the enemies anywhere other then in the head. If crippling an enemies arm or having your own arm crippled meant you couldn’t use two handed weapons anymore it would have meant something.

I just assumed crippled parts modified the character's abilities - a crippled head lowered perception, a crippled arm lowered strength and weapon skills - that sort of thing. Crippled legs definitely slow them down. And crippled head/arms on the player definitely screw up your aiming.

I thought it was a pretty dumb decision to make sleeping in a bad repair all crippled parts, though. That seems like one of those last minute tweaks that some wannabe marketing guy threw in to better sell the game, pretty much destroying the dramatic effect of being crippled. I used to limp around for weeks at a time in Fallout 1 and 2, until I could find a doctor. This might just be one of those features that's destroyed by quicksave, but I won't get into that.

Quote:
Original post by Sandman
For most other cases, at medium to short range and especially against moving targets, it's much easier to hit targets - let alone target specific body parts - with VATS than without.

That reminds me of another problem. Erratic and jerky enemy movement in the real time game. They move a little too fast for a shooter. Fast enough that switching to VATS in close/medium range is almost always a good idea. Again, this is where realism would have helped. Real humans have to shift weight and turn to change directions. These guys move like rail cars with jet engines.

I found super mutants to be the easiest and most fun enemies in the game to kill because of this. They don't pop around like freaks, breaking my wrists to aim at them. Those Talon merc guys are the exact opposite. Those guys give me a hard time at close range, so I usually just frag them, blowing myself half-up in the process.

I've also occasionally caught some enemies teleporting, but that may have just been a case of the game lagging and catching up with itself.

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shurcool    439
I've had these similar thoughts for 5+ years now.

I'm a pretty big fan of realism, but I can still enjoy unrealistic games if they are fun. But I despise how many bullet hits it usually takes to kill (usually unarmoured) humanoid enemies in most FPS. It really takes away from strategy and immersion for me. I much rather prefer to take good aim and take them out with a few well placed shots, rather than end up having to spray for 10-20 seconds before they finally fall down.

One of the reasons it feels so bad to me is especially because of how the enemies transition from alive to dead. There is very little decline in visible health between the two extreme states.

In fact, after playing an FPS for some time, I can usually feel the pattern. Let's say it takes 6-8 shots before the enemy dies. I put 4-5 shots in his chest, knowing perfectly well this will have no effect on him and he'll still be shooting at me as if no bullets ever hit him. Then comes that magical 6th or 7th bullet and suddenly he 'transforms' into a dead enemy (by turning into a rag-doll in newer games; it used to play a random death animation in older games).

That's probably why Counter-Strike 1.6 (and older) was one of my fav online FPS games. But even there I felt 100 hp was too much sometimes.

In any case, I still tend to enjoy most single-player FPS (Half-Life 2, Prey, etc.), although rarely for the shooting part, and most often for their story. It's the desire to see what happens next (or maybe even a nice cut-scene, I love those more than gameplay haha) that drives me forward through the repetitive onslaught of health-overinflated enemies.

I've always figured my thoughts on this subject are pretty radical, and most people seem to enjoy the current trend much more than myself. But oh well.

P.S. Some of the games off the top of my head I never played past demo/1st level were COD4 Demo and Gears of War. I especially recall COD4 Demo feeling so much like a stupid shooting gallery, like the ones they use for pistol training where wooden targets popup from random windows, except here each 'target' took 10+ bullets to take down. I might be exaggerating a little.

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