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Artificial Difficulty in PVM

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RiDaku
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RiDaku

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So, let's have a quick discussion over what "artificial difficulty" and "real difficulty" is before I get to my main point.

Real difficulty is damage that you know will happen, that you can predict and expect and play against. Real difficulty would be Dark Souls, where you know everything does incredible massive damage, but you're given the tools to both see, learn, react and counter the massive damage. Another example is Kingdom Hearts. When fighting Sephiroth in Kingdom Hearts 2, he has a big buildup to his Heartless Angel attack that reduces your health to 1, and you're given time to either reach him and combo him out of the attack, or to prepare a heal/potion. He also has a brief moment where he readies his iai strike and you're given a prompt to counter it, and if you don't, you take massive damage. In RuneScape, we have the Queen Black Dragon as an example of real difficulty. Her ability to freeze you in time and stack damage is clearly telegraphed and communicated to you, with a way to stop the damage. These things make the fights difficult, but fair.

Artificial difficulty is just the opposite. Cheap hits, invisible attacks, no telegraphed buildups to massive damage, unavoidable damage, no counterplay, etcetera. These things are what make a game difficult, but unfair. You're left feeling like there's nothing you can do to make it better, and often times you're right. The worst kind of artificial difficulty is the kind that's inconsistent, that you can't even predict happening. Sometimes things will work, sometimes things won't work, and there's no way to know when it will or won't work. This can frustrate players in to not doing it again, putting down the game and moving on to something that isn't quite so frustrating and unfair.
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20-Feb-2017 21:33:03

RiDaku
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RiDaku

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As I was training Slayer during DXP weekend, I was assigned an Acheron Mammoth task. I took time to read over their wiki and did a test run before engaging them, and I found the Mammoths to be a rather fun challenge, or at least they would be. However I noticed quite a few things that follow the Artificial Difficulty path, that I'll list here.

Animation Cancelling - The Acheron Mammoths have a unique ability similar to Riven in League of Legends, where they're able to cancel their own animations with another one of their own animations. While basic attacking they can ready a boulder throw, and continue to attack you while they're in that animation. There's nothing actually hitting you, you're just taking ghost damage. The same happens while they prepare a charge, they're able to attack you while channeling and can even basic attack, throw a rock, injure you so you can't use prayers, free themselves from stuns AND prepare a charge at the same time, leading to a lot of damage that you can't see coming or react to.

Lack of Animations - While preparing their charge, the Acheron Mammoth picks where they're going to face and freezes there, channeling up. They don't turn to follow your movements, they don't give any hint at where they're going to rush, they just instantly zoom in whatever direction they feel like. The effect is instant, it's not like you have time to avoid it. If you're unlucky enough to run in to the path they set that you can't see, you're instantly knocked back and damaged for a random amount between 100-8000 damage. Sometimes, they'll actually charge in the other direction from you. It's at complete random if you manage to avoid their charge, you're left running around like a chicken without a head playing Guess Where. For the amount of damage this charge is capable of doing, this is an extreme case of artificial difficulty, you can't consistently avoid the damage. It's a case of "I'm charging, get ready for booboos!".
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20-Feb-2017 21:33:08 - Last edited on 20-Feb-2017 21:40:41 by RiDaku

RiDaku
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RiDaku

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(Cont. from the Charge bugs) Additionally, sometimes the Mammoth will charge clean through you and you won't be hit, but he'll charge the air and you will. It's inconsistent.

Sticky Feet - While fighting creatures, it's common in RS for your character to not just obey your command move. Instead they'll stand still, blissfully unaware of the 4k damage they're about to take (Something I noticed just from basic combat, but definitely felt the burn of while fighting the Mammoths)


What's my solution? I want Jagex to take a look at the monsters they have that have a telegraphed nuke attack, and make sure that they aren't bugged. Make sure that the artificial difficulty becomes real difficulty, and make it so that we can properly counter or anticipate the damage we're about to take without playing a guessing game.

So here's where I ask you to help add to this thread. Are there any monsters you've faced that you take ghost damage from? That have bugged/no animations for their attacks, or that you've walked away from feeling like you were legitimately cheated and that there isn't a way to learn how to counter?

(Note: "I don't know what he's doing so I can't counter it" doesn't count. What you personally don't know doesn't mean artificial difficulty. If you DO know, and it occasionally/frequently doesn't work, that's artificial difficulty.)
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20-Feb-2017 21:33:11 - Last edited on 20-Feb-2017 22:24:06 by RiDaku

RiDaku
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RiDaku

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No easyscape said:
Do you have an example of a boss?


I don't, I haven't gotten to proper bossing yet. I'm still trying to learn their animations and develop strategies for fighting them. If you have an example of a boss that follows artificial difficulty, please post it, so that Jagex can investigate!
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20-Feb-2017 21:45:37

No easyscape

No easyscape

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RiDaku said:
No easyscape said:
Do you have an example of a boss?


I don't, I haven't gotten to proper bossing yet. I'm still trying to learn their animations and develop strategies for fighting them. If you have an example of a boss that follows artificial difficulty, please post it, so that Jagex can investigate!


Well so far all the bosses I've done have predictable mechanics.

The only bosses I don't like are things like Nomad that deal high and typeless damage forcing you to eat alot of food.

20-Feb-2017 21:48:38

RiDaku
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RiDaku

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Boss, regular monster, elite monster, anything that you know of should get mentioned here. Typeless damage is just flat Damage, and that's also artificial difficulty. proud owner of a succbean -
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20-Feb-2017 22:06:18

Sreyas
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Sreyas

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No easyscape said:
Do you have an example of a boss?



I feel Gregorovic in gwd2 matches this criteria very well.

Rapid high damage with melee and ranged even through deflect curses that simply cannot be negated without constant use of debilitate/devotion/reflect, or t90 armour to make him shred you less brutally.
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21-Feb-2017 08:01:33

Sreyas
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Sreyas

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RiDaku said:
Boss, regular monster, elite monster, anything that you know of should get mentioned here. Typeless damage is just flat Damage, and that's also artificial difficulty.



Most typeless damage that I know of is very much avoidable or mitigable. Only Nomad still does typeless damage as his normal attack.
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21-Feb-2017 08:03:35

Oinks

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When I think of artificial difficulty I think of immunities. We have bosses immune to familiar damage purely because Jagex wanted the boss to be that much harder. There is no other reason; the boss is not going to be bugged to hell if hit by a titan and crash the game. The same goes for stat drain immunities, poison, reflect damage, etc. Stuns and binds I can understand.

Typeless attacks that completely ignore armor rating and defence reduction are another example, I agree. I understand they we need to be punished for missing a telegraphed attack, but for achto to block it just as well as our birthday suit at 1 defence? At least have our armor rating increase the odds of partially blocking the damage (think yakamaru range hits, vorago blue bombs, etc), and damage reduction should always be applied without exception. These two issues in particular have made such a mockery of tank armor that t90 had to be given overpowered effects for it (and raids) to be relevant.

In short, any time the player is in some way nerfed in order to make a fight harder is artificial difficulty.

21-Feb-2017 13:16:44

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