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Enemy Combat Tells

So, I really do like this game. It does a lot of things very well. The art style is great, and the terrain and environment design are frankly awesome. I love the core open world gameplay loop of pursuing map completion while doing various story things.

But.

I have one really substantial issue with the combat, which is that enemy animations/combat tells are often far, far too subtle for how much damage the attacks do if they hit you. I am especially thinking of the attacks that put only a faint red circle on the ground, which can easily be covered by layered ground AoE particle effects, and of the translucent "mist" effect that surrounds an enemy who is charging an attack, which is incredibly easy to miss in the midst of a hectic/particle-filled combat.

As much as I enjoy the game, nothing brings that enjoyment to a screeching halt like suddenly exploding from an attack I literally couldn't see coming. Maybe I'm alone in having this difficulty, and others can easily what is going on, but it is definitely a big issue for me.

I would really love for this game to implement (as an interface option if nothing else) something similar to how Champions Online does it; in that game, every enemy using a charged attack has an icon that appears both above their model and on their target frame. There is a different icon for each general type of attack (Cylinder AoE, Sphere AoE, Single Target, Etc), and the icon grows larger as the attack charges, allowing you to easily tell when it is about to launch. Something like this would make a huge difference, especially in big fights. (It would also help if there was a target-of-target frame, but that's another issue.)

I fully admit I am not a huge fan of the whole "dodge roll to not die" style of gameplay, but I can handle it when I can see what is going on. Now, I don't expect anything will really be done about it at this point; this is an old game and these systems have remained unchanged from the Beta (I remember giving critical feedback about this waaay back then, even). But honestly, after my latest death to a forged officer with the Invisible Spinning Axes of Instant Death, I really just needed to get this off my chest.

Comments

  • You're not alone in this. There are a ton of attacks that are insufferably powerful, and barely noticable or telegraphed. I think the new icebrood saga mobs are a big tell of this. I barely ever notice what is hitting me, or if an attack is coming from these mobs, so I'm practically not dodging anymore and just going hard on the dps rotations, which ofc ends up in me going down a couple of fights ;(

    I think the BEST example of enemy combat tells done well are the Heart of Thorn mordrem, they either have a really obvious ground indicator of what's coming, or very expressive animations combined with dialogue and sound effects. even the ones that don't have indicators can be predicted and played around once you recognize what their attacks sound like (the mordrem assassin is a great example of this, they teleport near you, then start jumping around throwing daggers while dodging, the sound they make gives them away, giving you a brief moment to dodge). Love these mobs, you actually learn their patterns and move your character accordingly.
    The icebrood saga moves on the other had... I have no freaking clue what is happening, I see a ton of projectiles, and a ton of animations that I'm not sure if theyre strong or weak. Sad that they decided to recycle enemies, they couldve at least given them interesting attacks.

  • Blocki.4931Blocki.4931 Member ✭✭✭✭

    @BlackBullWings.2734 said:
    You're not alone in this. There are a ton of attacks that are insufferably powerful, and barely noticable or telegraphed. I think the new icebrood saga mobs are a big tell of this. I barely ever notice what is hitting me, or if an attack is coming from these mobs, so I'm practically not dodging anymore and just going hard on the dps rotations, which ofc ends up in me going down a couple of fights ;(

    I think the BEST example of enemy combat tells done well are the Heart of Thorn mordrem, they either have a really obvious ground indicator of what's coming, or very expressive animations combined with dialogue and sound effects. even the ones that don't have indicators can be predicted and played around once you recognize what their attacks sound like (the mordrem assassin is a great example of this, they teleport near you, then start jumping around throwing daggers while dodging, the sound they make gives them away, giving you a brief moment to dodge). Love these mobs, you actually learn their patterns and move your character accordingly.
    The icebrood saga moves on the other had... I have no freaking clue what is happening, I see a ton of projectiles, and a ton of animations that I'm not sure if theyre strong or weak. Sad that they decided to recycle enemies, they couldve at least given them interesting attacks.

    The new mobs deal damage? I haven't noticed anything dealing much damage at all lately, besides the obvious. I've struggled here and there in the latest release, during some events where multiple mobs spawn. Honestly this is how it should be. Tough, but not too hard to make it frustrating. In large meta events where the mobs are scaled up a champion tends to one shot a player here and there though.

    Core is just simply showing its age in this. There were hardly any telegraphs and mobs that deal a lot of damage tend to do so not on specific attacks but their auto attacks. Best way to deal with them is generally CC and burst them down. Health is really low.

    I rather choose death.

  • Cyninja.2954Cyninja.2954 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 31, 2020

    @BlackBullWings.2734 said:
    You're not alone in this. There are a ton of attacks that are insufferably powerful, and barely noticable or telegraphed. I think the new icebrood saga mobs are a big tell of this. I barely ever notice what is hitting me, or if an attack is coming from these mobs, so I'm practically not dodging anymore and just going hard on the dps rotations, which ofc ends up in me going down a couple of fights ;(

    So you stopped dodging, wonder that you are taking more damage, yet it's the games fault?

    What most players with this mindset seem to misunderstand, you are not supposed to see and dodge every single attack. Your brain would literally explode. You are meant to learn which attacks are dangerous and dodge those.

    Or, and this works in 95% of the game as well, start using a dance like rotation. The moment you start taking damage, you start dodging and weaving in blocks, reflects, aegis, etc, immunities and movement skills to reposition. Once your health drops low you use your heal skill. Regular repositioning, like moving through an enemy or simple side strafing, already takes care of a vast majority of attacks. Standing in one spot and just taking a beating hoping you can dodge everything will get you killed.

    The only place where dodging actually matters is against usually telegraphed attacks which specifically require a dodge. Most small stuff can be avoided without getting close to the dodge button and failing here is a lack of movement and game understanding.

  • Vinceman.4572Vinceman.4572 Member ✭✭✭✭

    In addition to Cyninja, you are wrong that Icebrood Saga mobs are new or have special attacks. Most of them exist for years and can be forseen easily if you have played the game for a longer period than just some months.
    One extra hint: If other players already started the fight use them as meat shield and position yourself behind the mob or sidewards. This way you'll most certainly avoid any damage at all.

    R.I.P. Build Templates, 15.10.2019

  • I have a similar problem but it's due to lag spikes creating teleporting svanir.

    ...

  • ProtoGunner.4953ProtoGunner.4953 Member ✭✭✭✭

    @Cyninja.2954 said:

    @BlackBullWings.2734 said:
    You're not alone in this. There are a ton of attacks that are insufferably powerful, and barely noticable or telegraphed. I think the new icebrood saga mobs are a big tell of this. I barely ever notice what is hitting me, or if an attack is coming from these mobs, so I'm practically not dodging anymore and just going hard on the dps rotations, which ofc ends up in me going down a couple of fights ;(

    So you stopped dodging, wonder that you are taking more damage, yet it's the games fault?

    What most players with this mindset seem to misunderstand, you are not supposed to see and dodge every single attack. Your brain would literally explode. You are meant to learn which attacks are dangerous and dodge those.

    Or, and this works in 95% of the game as well, start using a dance like rotation. The moment you start taking damage, you start dodging and weaving in blocks, reflects, aegis, etc, immunities and movement skills to reposition. Once your health drops low you use your heal skill. Regular repositioning, like moving through an enemy or simple side strafing, already takes care of a vast majority of attacks. Standing in one spot and just taking a beating hoping you can dodge everything will get you killed.

    The only place where dodging actually matters is against usually telegraphed attacks which specifically require a dodge. Most small stuff can be avoided without getting close to the dodge button and failing here is a lack of movement and game understanding.

    BS. There are a lot of attacks from open world bosses where you can't see the tell cuz of cluttering visuals. Ofc you learn eventually some stuff, but it's a kitten experience. Coming from someone who plays a lot hard single player games like Souls series, Ninja Gaiden etc. I know how boss tells should word. It maybe works in instances with max 5 players, but a lot in open world is kitten.

  • Cyninja.2954Cyninja.2954 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 31, 2020

    @ProtoGunner.4953 said:

    @Cyninja.2954 said:

    @BlackBullWings.2734 said:
    You're not alone in this. There are a ton of attacks that are insufferably powerful, and barely noticable or telegraphed. I think the new icebrood saga mobs are a big tell of this. I barely ever notice what is hitting me, or if an attack is coming from these mobs, so I'm practically not dodging anymore and just going hard on the dps rotations, which ofc ends up in me going down a couple of fights ;(

    So you stopped dodging, wonder that you are taking more damage, yet it's the games fault?

    What most players with this mindset seem to misunderstand, you are not supposed to see and dodge every single attack. Your brain would literally explode. You are meant to learn which attacks are dangerous and dodge those.

    Or, and this works in 95% of the game as well, start using a dance like rotation. The moment you start taking damage, you start dodging and weaving in blocks, reflects, aegis, etc, immunities and movement skills to reposition. Once your health drops low you use your heal skill. Regular repositioning, like moving through an enemy or simple side strafing, already takes care of a vast majority of attacks. Standing in one spot and just taking a beating hoping you can dodge everything will get you killed.

    The only place where dodging actually matters is against usually telegraphed attacks which specifically require a dodge. Most small stuff can be avoided without getting close to the dodge button and failing here is a lack of movement and game understanding.

    BS. There are a lot of attacks from open world bosses where you can't see the tell cuz of cluttering visuals. Ofc you learn eventually some stuff, but it's a kitten experience. Coming from someone who plays a lot hard single player games like Souls series, Ninja Gaiden etc. I know how boss tells should word. It maybe works in instances with max 5 players, but a lot in open world is kitten.

    Coming from someone who also plays and has finished all of those games you mentioned, GW2 is not in any where near those games and should be played way differently. Which I clearly explained. If you decide to approach GW2 with a Souls mentality, you are already failing at the most basic of this games design. Hint: your dodge does not see the same use as in Souls games and should also not be used in the same way.

    As far as open world bosses, most of their deadly attacks are visible but often don't even need evading since they get zerged down. The really deadly attacks are telegraphed and do not instant hit.

  • Vinceman.4572Vinceman.4572 Member ✭✭✭✭

    @ProtoGunner.4953 said:

    @Cyninja.2954 said:

    @BlackBullWings.2734 said:
    You're not alone in this. There are a ton of attacks that are insufferably powerful, and barely noticable or telegraphed. I think the new icebrood saga mobs are a big tell of this. I barely ever notice what is hitting me, or if an attack is coming from these mobs, so I'm practically not dodging anymore and just going hard on the dps rotations, which ofc ends up in me going down a couple of fights ;(

    So you stopped dodging, wonder that you are taking more damage, yet it's the games fault?

    What most players with this mindset seem to misunderstand, you are not supposed to see and dodge every single attack. Your brain would literally explode. You are meant to learn which attacks are dangerous and dodge those.

    Or, and this works in 95% of the game as well, start using a dance like rotation. The moment you start taking damage, you start dodging and weaving in blocks, reflects, aegis, etc, immunities and movement skills to reposition. Once your health drops low you use your heal skill. Regular repositioning, like moving through an enemy or simple side strafing, already takes care of a vast majority of attacks. Standing in one spot and just taking a beating hoping you can dodge everything will get you killed.

    The only place where dodging actually matters is against usually telegraphed attacks which specifically require a dodge. Most small stuff can be avoided without getting close to the dodge button and failing here is a lack of movement and game understanding.

    BS. There are a lot of attacks from open world bosses where you can't see the tell cuz of cluttering visuals. Ofc you learn eventually some stuff, but it's a kitten experience. Coming from someone who plays a lot hard single player games like Souls series, Ninja Gaiden etc. I know how boss tells should word. It maybe works in instances with max 5 players, but a lot in open world is kitten.

    But enemies - even world bosses - in open world hit like a wet noodle even though you have a full glass cannon build. Of course there are some attacks that are able to down you very fast or immediately but that's a l2p issue and I've yet to see a fight outside of instances where a glass cannon build cannot sustain in fights easily.

    R.I.P. Build Templates, 15.10.2019

  • ProtoGunner.4953ProtoGunner.4953 Member ✭✭✭✭

    @Cyninja.2954 said:

    @ProtoGunner.4953 said:

    @Cyninja.2954 said:

    @BlackBullWings.2734 said:
    You're not alone in this. There are a ton of attacks that are insufferably powerful, and barely noticable or telegraphed. I think the new icebrood saga mobs are a big tell of this. I barely ever notice what is hitting me, or if an attack is coming from these mobs, so I'm practically not dodging anymore and just going hard on the dps rotations, which ofc ends up in me going down a couple of fights ;(

    So you stopped dodging, wonder that you are taking more damage, yet it's the games fault?

    What most players with this mindset seem to misunderstand, you are not supposed to see and dodge every single attack. Your brain would literally explode. You are meant to learn which attacks are dangerous and dodge those.

    Or, and this works in 95% of the game as well, start using a dance like rotation. The moment you start taking damage, you start dodging and weaving in blocks, reflects, aegis, etc, immunities and movement skills to reposition. Once your health drops low you use your heal skill. Regular repositioning, like moving through an enemy or simple side strafing, already takes care of a vast majority of attacks. Standing in one spot and just taking a beating hoping you can dodge everything will get you killed.

    The only place where dodging actually matters is against usually telegraphed attacks which specifically require a dodge. Most small stuff can be avoided without getting close to the dodge button and failing here is a lack of movement and game understanding.

    BS. There are a lot of attacks from open world bosses where you can't see the tell cuz of cluttering visuals. Ofc you learn eventually some stuff, but it's a kitten experience. Coming from someone who plays a lot hard single player games like Souls series, Ninja Gaiden etc. I know how boss tells should word. It maybe works in instances with max 5 players, but a lot in open world is kitten.

    Coming from someone who also plays and has finished all of those games you mentioned, GW2 is not in any where near those games and should be played way differently. Which I clearly explained. If you decide to approach GW2 with a Souls mentality, you are already failing at the most basic of this games design. Hint: your dodge does not see the same use as in Souls games and should also not be used in the same way.

    As far as open world bosses, most of their deadly attacks are visible but often don't even need evading since they get zerged down. The really deadly attacks are telegraphed and do not instant hit.

    Well, then I played the game for 5k wrong... Still, you have to dodge strong attacks, since there are - even in vanilla areas - attacks from world bosses that insta down you. And if you can't see them be cause of visual clutter and bad tells, it is just bad game design. And souls has good game design be cause it is never unfair. Hard but never unfair.

  • @Cyninja.2954 said:

    So you stopped dodging, wonder that you are taking more damage, yet it's the games fault?

    where have i blamed the game for this? please actually read, I even said " which **ofc **ends up in me going down a couple of fights "
    not a single moment have I blamed the game for it.

  • ProtoGunner.4953ProtoGunner.4953 Member ✭✭✭✭

    @Vinceman.4572 said:

    @ProtoGunner.4953 said:

    @Cyninja.2954 said:

    @BlackBullWings.2734 said:
    You're not alone in this. There are a ton of attacks that are insufferably powerful, and barely noticable or telegraphed. I think the new icebrood saga mobs are a big tell of this. I barely ever notice what is hitting me, or if an attack is coming from these mobs, so I'm practically not dodging anymore and just going hard on the dps rotations, which ofc ends up in me going down a couple of fights ;(

    So you stopped dodging, wonder that you are taking more damage, yet it's the games fault?

    What most players with this mindset seem to misunderstand, you are not supposed to see and dodge every single attack. Your brain would literally explode. You are meant to learn which attacks are dangerous and dodge those.

    Or, and this works in 95% of the game as well, start using a dance like rotation. The moment you start taking damage, you start dodging and weaving in blocks, reflects, aegis, etc, immunities and movement skills to reposition. Once your health drops low you use your heal skill. Regular repositioning, like moving through an enemy or simple side strafing, already takes care of a vast majority of attacks. Standing in one spot and just taking a beating hoping you can dodge everything will get you killed.

    The only place where dodging actually matters is against usually telegraphed attacks which specifically require a dodge. Most small stuff can be avoided without getting close to the dodge button and failing here is a lack of movement and game understanding.

    BS. There are a lot of attacks from open world bosses where you can't see the tell cuz of cluttering visuals. Ofc you learn eventually some stuff, but it's a kitten experience. Coming from someone who plays a lot hard single player games like Souls series, Ninja Gaiden etc. I know how boss tells should word. It maybe works in instances with max 5 players, but a lot in open world is kitten.

    But enemies - even world bosses - in open world hit like a wet noodle even though you have a full glass cannon build. Of course there are some attacks that are able to down you very fast or immediately but that's a l2p issue and I've yet to see a fight outside of instances where a glass cannon build cannot sustain in fights easily.

    There are a ton of enemies that insta down you with 15k til a ridiculous 35k hits in HoT. But I admit it's easy to dodge if you know them. There are however world bosses and events which you usually play in a large group and they hit you with tens of thousands which simply makes no sense. It's stupid and bad game design, makes no sense at all. Why do that? It seems off. I am usually a strong defender of hard difficulty and do fight casualisation of games in general. But bad design is bad design. I am not talking about fractals and raids, they are quite well designed and the tells are clear and it also got better since PoF.

  • @Cyninja.2954 said:
    The only place where dodging actually matters is against usually telegraphed attacks which specifically require a dodge. Most small stuff can be avoided without getting close to the dodge button and failing here is a lack of movement and game understanding.

    also, this is not true for a lot of mobs, when you are surrounded by a ton of minions, whose majority of attacks are homing projectiles (in icebrood saga's case, it would be the svanir bowmen's basic attacks for example) you can't just avoid them. now if you are surrounded by a ton of them, this isn't lack of movement or game understanding, this is simply a ton of mobs attacking you at once with dashes, projectiles, AoE's and so on. there's no way you won't get hit, especially when a lot of these attacks proc movement slowing effects. It's outdated combst design, they're vanilla enemies afterall.

  • Hashberry.4510Hashberry.4510 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 31, 2020

    The graphic clutter interferes too much with reading the enemy animations. Lots of frustration here. A channel bar ala WoW, with and indicator showing who the mob is currently targeting would help out a lot.

  • Cyninja.2954Cyninja.2954 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 31, 2020

    @BlackBullWings.2734 said:

    @Cyninja.2954 said:
    The only place where dodging actually matters is against usually telegraphed attacks which specifically require a dodge. Most small stuff can be avoided without getting close to the dodge button and failing here is a lack of movement and game understanding.

    also, this is not true for a lot of mobs, when you are surrounded by a ton of minions, whose majority of attacks are homing projectiles (in icebrood saga's case, it would be the svanir bowmen's basic attacks for example) you can't just avoid them. now if you are surrounded by a ton of them, this isn't lack of movement or game understanding, this is simply a ton of mobs attacking you at once with dashes, projectiles, AoE's and so on. there's no way you won't get hit, especially when a lot of these attacks proc movement slowing effects. It's outdated combst design, they're vanilla enemies afterall.

    Perfect case of lack of game understanding or making use of game mechanics. Those minions have a maximum range, they will leash once you are out of that range. You kite in one direction, get those minions staked up (probably using 1 or even 2 dodges if you were unprepared), return and 1 shot them since they have literally no health. Or if you are on a class with projectile destruction of any kind, you drop that. Or you use blocks, pulls, interrupts, knock-backs, etc to prevent enemy attacks, then kill them 1 by 1.

    This comes down to focusing on the most immediate threat, which most inexperienced players see in melee enemies (even though those are most often the least dangerous). When you are surrounded by more than 10 minions without being prepared, well at some point you have to do some basic planning ahead or be forced to disengage, which leads me back to what I recommended: start a defensive rotation to disengage and reduce damage, then either reengage or leave.

    Yes, visual clutter WILL make combat more difficult. I am not disputing that. What I noticed over the years of playing this game though is: most players have a very wrong fundamental understanding of how this combat is supposed to work (mostly assuming the dodge is their first defense, when in fact the dodge skill is literally the last defensive skill which should see use).

  • Cyninja.2954Cyninja.2954 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 31, 2020

    @ProtoGunner.4953 said:

    @Cyninja.2954 said:

    @ProtoGunner.4953 said:

    @Cyninja.2954 said:

    @BlackBullWings.2734 said:
    You're not alone in this. There are a ton of attacks that are insufferably powerful, and barely noticable or telegraphed. I think the new icebrood saga mobs are a big tell of this. I barely ever notice what is hitting me, or if an attack is coming from these mobs, so I'm practically not dodging anymore and just going hard on the dps rotations, which ofc ends up in me going down a couple of fights ;(

    So you stopped dodging, wonder that you are taking more damage, yet it's the games fault?

    What most players with this mindset seem to misunderstand, you are not supposed to see and dodge every single attack. Your brain would literally explode. You are meant to learn which attacks are dangerous and dodge those.

    Or, and this works in 95% of the game as well, start using a dance like rotation. The moment you start taking damage, you start dodging and weaving in blocks, reflects, aegis, etc, immunities and movement skills to reposition. Once your health drops low you use your heal skill. Regular repositioning, like moving through an enemy or simple side strafing, already takes care of a vast majority of attacks. Standing in one spot and just taking a beating hoping you can dodge everything will get you killed.

    The only place where dodging actually matters is against usually telegraphed attacks which specifically require a dodge. Most small stuff can be avoided without getting close to the dodge button and failing here is a lack of movement and game understanding.

    BS. There are a lot of attacks from open world bosses where you can't see the tell cuz of cluttering visuals. Ofc you learn eventually some stuff, but it's a kitten experience. Coming from someone who plays a lot hard single player games like Souls series, Ninja Gaiden etc. I know how boss tells should word. It maybe works in instances with max 5 players, but a lot in open world is kitten.

    Coming from someone who also plays and has finished all of those games you mentioned, GW2 is not in any where near those games and should be played way differently. Which I clearly explained. If you decide to approach GW2 with a Souls mentality, you are already failing at the most basic of this games design. Hint: your dodge does not see the same use as in Souls games and should also not be used in the same way.

    As far as open world bosses, most of their deadly attacks are visible but often don't even need evading since they get zerged down. The really deadly attacks are telegraphed and do not instant hit.

    Well, then I played the game for 5k wrong... Still, you have to dodge strong attacks, since there are - even in vanilla areas - attacks from world bosses that insta down you. And if you can't see them be cause of visual clutter and bad tells, it is just bad game design. And souls has good game design be cause it is never unfair. Hard but never unfair.

    Souls games are designed around 1v1 boss fights mostly. Yes, 90% of their design is fair, but there are those occasional areas which are not that fair, especially when clumped with more than 3 enemies, where the design really shows that the games are made for 1v1 combat. Souls games also require dodges on telegraphed attack (or ideally parries, or worse blocks) where GW2s main defensive mechanics is literally to walk out of danger first and foremost (which makes movement skills paramount as well as movement speed upgrades), then use dodges, reflects, blocks, interrupts, etc. to prevent damage.