Sunday, March 13, 2011

Passive Healing And Rift Scaling

Rift's dynamic content attempts to scale mob difficulty to the number of players present.  However, even beyond the relatively simple events of the game's earliest zones, I'm finding that things are simply easier with more people. 

I'm wondering if part of the problem is passive DPS healing.  Mobs can and do get dramatically more health if they spawn in a crowded area, to account for the larger crowds beating on them.  Though they do also get a damage bonus, there's an upper limit on this effect, because the health of any individual player in the group does NOT scale with the numbers present - if the mob does 20 times more damage when too many players show up, they'll start killing people in a single hit. 

Meanwhile, Rift has several types of theoretically DPS characters who also generate passive healing as they attack.  As more and more players show up, it seems like the raid gets more and more healing just because people have built this capability into their solo builds.  As I've leveled through the zone events in Gloamwood and Scarlet Gorge, I'm noticing that even big AOE attacks don't do much to the raid's health meters because they're immediately topped off by a flurry of small green numbers. 

In principle, it is good that zone bosses can take a while to kill - players who were on the other end of the zone to complete invasion objectives when the boss spawned should have time to reach the final showdown before the boss dies.  I'm just saying that spending 10-15 minutes DPS'ing a boss who doesn't appear to be able to actually threaten any players can get old. 


Espoire said...

This is a problem that I've seen before in other games. I think the least developer time-intensive solution would be to attach a "prevents the next X healing the target would receive" effect to all of the mob's damaging effects, where X is proportional to the damage of the attack, once the mob scales beyond a certain point (presumably wherever they capped the damage right now).

Of course, perhaps "easier with more people" is a willful design choice; it's a good sight better than "easier without other people", and you could make arguments for or against "easiest with a group of some fixed size".

Syl said...

I have to agree; I've spent almost 30 minutes attacking a raid boss in Rift the other night without any actual threat to the group present. I can see whar trion is attempting though and in essence I salute the concept which works fine in classic games; it requires some adjusting for online mode though.

the nature of dynamic, 'free-for-all' encounters is that they cannot exactly scale so well and usually don't require the same tactic approach like a fixed encounter that can work with a known number of players. I still think one way to oppose boredom here would be to work with AoE damage more, rather than increasing damage on one subject. a boss with average health dealing high damage on a few, becomes a boss with high health dealing high damage on everoyne. just to think aloud for a second.

In general Rift shows lots of promise in several areas which hopefully they will be able to look into further and tweak as the game progresses. getting enough people interested to give it a try and pay subs is ultimately key here.

Sheldreyn said...

As pointed above, an easy solution would be to attach some kind of "mortal strike" debuff that scales as needed to make then encounter matter.

Obviously you can't remove healing altogether though, as it would leave healers with nothing to do.

Sharon said...

I think that part of the issue lies with the way contribution is calculated. I simply get more contribution credit for group healing than I do for single target melee DPS. At 46, my rogue has four roles, and I'm usually running around as a nightblade primary. For major rifts and zone events, I switch to bard, because Motif of Grandeur (+5% raid healing), Motif of Regen (HoT), cadence heals and the resto finisher consistantly zip me right to gold level contribution and keep me there. I notice lots of other rogues do the same, which is loads of raid healing. Add in the mages who switch to chloro for the dps+heals gold, group healing clerics, and all the passive healing abilities that you mentioned, and there's little danger of dying in a large raid group.

I'm not sure how to change it, but I'd really like to see contribution tweaked a bit.

Roq said...

In those big boss fights, I do occasionally get killed. Usually, it's a one shot and there's not much one could do about it other than stand at maximum range and spam laser beams. But, in any case even if deaths were more frequent it wouldn't have a major effect on the gameplay - a trip or two to the cemetery is a mild inconvenience that has no real effect on the outcome, since the down time is so short.

So I find it hard it hard to see how encounters in the open world could be made more challenging.