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View Poll Results: Healing Pets... Awesome or Horrible?
This is the worst idea I've ever heard 3 4.62%
I think the coolness outweighs the potential concern 50 76.92%
Meh... 12 18.46%
Voters: 65. You may not vote on this poll

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  Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #11  
Old 07-11-2011, 09:50 PM
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With regard to the stances, the issue is that AI just sometimes does wonky stuff despite the best efforts of developers and gamers. That may sound like sort of a lame cop-out but the reality is, teams with far more time and resources than us have consistently made games with AI that is not 100% reliable. I think we would be fooling ourselves not to expect that we will succeed beyond all those that have come before us. When AI meets in-game situations, there are just so many variables that there is always some potential for something weird to happen at some point. In this case, the more reliable the AI is, in some ways the more it sets players up to be surprised in that instance where it fails. Additionally, even if the AI is attempting to do what it is supposed to, it might end up out of range as a result of a pathing problem or some other non-AI related issue. Even more problematic, there are totally legimitate reason it might fail to heal the player, perhaps because the pet was stunned or died, that the player might not see at the time and therefore might assume the AI just let them down.

In game design you always have to consider that what players think is happening is more important than what actually is happening.

The other danger of this is that even when you, as a player, acknowledge that pet-healing is more of a bonus and shouldn't be relied upon, you get used to it happening and without even realizing you're doing it, you start to rely on it.

On the flip side, this dynamic definitely doesn't make the game too easy the way I have it set up atm. The occultist is fairly fragile and you really have to watch your health and occasionally disengage from enemies so the raven has a chance to heal you. It also feels very rewarding when you think you're screwed and then suddenly your pet rescues you.

With regards to a more passive healing, such as a regen aura, that would be more reliable - I think this would defeat some of the intention behind the pet healing dynamic, which is to make you feel more connected to a pet that is actively helping you. If the effect was passive, the pet wouldn't be actively doing anything to you and I think players would tend to just sort of forget it was there.

Pet healing goes against my personal design rule of avoiding mechanics where the game can cause players to fail or where it may not be clear that failure was the fault of the player. This can lead to players feeling cheated and becoming angry with the game. I've actually considered this very mechanic in the past and ruled it out for that reason. However, in my old age, I guess things don't seem quite as black and white. I remember a lot of games from my childhood that caused me to rage out for similar reasons but which I kept playing, loved, and remember fondly. That isn't to say that my rule isn't valid but I think perhaps special exceptions may be allowable if the potential gain offsets the potential cost. Just having a tough time deciding whether this is one of those cases or an instance where I'm going against my better judgement in order to preserve a "pet idea" that I like. (see what I did thar?! ooohh... puns FTL)
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Old 07-11-2011, 10:14 PM
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I voted for it, but be it healing or some other buff, it really needs to be balanced to where it is VERY difficult to get it to the point where you can rely on it. As in, its always gonna help to some extent, but if this is a skill you're investing heavily in, everything else is gonna have to suffer to make the buff great.

The way I see it, is if it it's good enough to be something you're relying on, its because you seriously focused on it as a build, and when you're watching that health bubble fill back up you can smile to yourself and be like, "yeah, this is a great idea, I did that."

Last edited by Heffalumps; 07-11-2011 at 10:16 PM.
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Old 07-11-2011, 10:36 PM
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(see what I did thar?! ooohh... puns FTW)
I Fixed4U.
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Old 07-11-2011, 10:48 PM
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I think what I may do is leave it in for the alpha, see how people react, and then I can always turn it into player skill and make the raven responsible for one of the curses or buffs that is currently under player control.

I really wouldn't worry about it being overpowered, it is more like a constant stream of mini-heals that can occasionally be the difference between an enemy attack being fatal or not but it isn't going to keep you alive indefinitely while you camp out in the middle of an angry mob. I'd think of it more like a less reliable version of the massive amount of extra hit-points and armor a soldier has built into their class.

If you combined a soldier and occultist, you'd have some good tanking but the healing wouldn't seem as significant since each heal would only fill a much smaller portion of a soldier's much larger health bar. For a pure occultist it is often the difference between life or death because you don't have much health to begin with and a few too many enemy hits as you run through a crowd can take you down.
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Old 07-11-2011, 10:57 PM
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Did this interim poll result change your mind?
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Old 07-11-2011, 11:06 PM
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Yeah, the poll is so overwhelmingly in favor of keeping it so far that I think it justifies my belief that this may be a case where the coolness factor outweighs the potential negative.
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Old 07-11-2011, 11:11 PM
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Yeah, I agree, leave it for alpha and see what people think.

My personal opinion though is this – if a player is investing heavily in any skill it should be reliable.

I can understand if for example a skill becomes more reliable as you increase the skill points into it. However, if it stays at the same level of reliability with 1 skill point versus 20 skill points, then the skill’s effect is diminished unless you can increase its power to compensate for the lack of reliability in which case that could cause imbalances.

I think the skill idea is cool; I’d have to test it out myself or see a video of it in action to suggest anything about it though...
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Old 07-11-2011, 11:18 PM
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Originally Posted by eisprinzessin View Post
Forget the previous sentence. Thought healing is triggered once you lost 75% health ... being below 75% is certainly not in the nick of time. </edit>[/COLOR]
I have it set so high because it can take time for the AI to receive a status update indicating that one of its allies health is below healing level and then a little more time to cast the spell. At the longer end of the response-time spectrum, it may only be a second or two but for a class that doesn't have a lot of health to begin with, that can be life or death.

If the raven were previously healing the hellhound pet or another player ally in multiplayer, it could take a few seconds for it to finish the first heal and then turn and heal its master.

This early healing also helps in situations where the player is losing health faster than the raven can replenish it. In that case, starting early may allow the player to survive an extra couple seconds.

I've played healers in 3 MMOs, I figured I'd try to impart some good habits on the raven.
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Old 07-11-2011, 11:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Renevent View Post
I like the idea. I don't consider a healing pet something that is really supposed to keep you alive or depend on in an emergency anyways. Rather, I would say it's purpose would to keep the player healed enough to keep normal combat moving forward and not having to stop much to heal up. If you had other pets it would help keep those pets alive as well taking away some of that micromanagement from the player.
This is why I voted for it, essentially. It may save your life from time to time but you shouldn't neglect drinking a potion in a dire situation because your raven is surely going to heal you. I think it'll be great fun
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Old 07-11-2011, 11:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Scryer View Post
My personal opinion though is this – if a player is investing heavily in any skill it should be reliable.
You don't really have to invest much in this skill. It is currently an innate ability for the raven that levels up as the pet does, so it is sort of a freebie. The raven does more than healing, so it isn't the sole purpose of the pet either.

The power of it is offset by the overall gameplay dynamic and balance of the class.

I think people will ultimately have to experience it to judge it.
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artificial intelligence, health, masteries, pets

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