Monster melee attack range

General Discussion
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I have a feeling this might blow up after release. Someone is going to come into the forums and start flipping out that his HC character died because an attack hit him from across the screen and he's going to assume it was a bug.

And we'll all say "LOL! That's what you get for trying to run away from mobs, n00b! Next time stand your ground and fight!"

I think once people realize that you can't avoid damage by simply running away then they'll look for other means of keeping their characters alive, such as, I don't know, using character skills? Hey, now there's a thought.
Well, first, let me just say how glad I am to finaly get a Blue response on this. I have posted about it many times - so its nice to know it's not a bug.

Second, its amazing how much less I find it annoying, now that I know its intended. Bash's concept makes perfect sense, and I don't want a game where I should watch the attack animations of each monster and dodge them.

That said, the part I do find odd.. and (how best to describe it?) not verry intuitive, is that some monsters seem to act "as you would expect". In otherwords, if you "dodge" their attacks, they dont hit you. The big fat guys that explode are one example. You can easily dodge their attacks, but skelletons and zombies, you can't.

So, my problem is that the player doesn't really "know" which attacks to bother trying to dodge and which ones to just stay in for. This results in thinking "oh well, the animation started so I may as well eat it" when in fact you may be able to, or even be MEANT to get away from it (like the big guys exploding or the special monster effects like exploding ice orbs).

TL/DR: Some of this stuff is meant to be dodged, and others arent. Its not made clear which is which.
I don't think you can stress enough that these are the tutorial monsters in the game with exaggeratedly slowed down animations. We'll get the game and be past the skeleton king after the first hour of playing it and never see this slow animation disconnect again. The next time you'll see a zombie will be in nightmare mode and you'll step out into the wilds expecting to encounter mindless Romero zombies when instead a pack of ravenous infected come sprinting at you howling for your flesh.
This is not an issue at all. This is how most RPGs work. Once you're in range for a melee attack animation to start, it HAS to finish. Server latency alone would make any other functionality a nightmare, and it would be incredibly easy to exploit.

I've played 15 hours of the beta and never even noticed this. It's seriously a non-issue.
I don't think the issue is the game mechanic itself, but rather, how it is made transparent by flawed implementation.

In terms of the system on paper and in gameplay, a lot of games use similar mechanics and they've worked fairly well.

These are different genres and the actual mechanics are different, but the overall feel are the same, so I think it's safe to use them as examples.

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In D&D games, specifically Neverwinter Nights, there's this thing called attacks of opportunity. Basically this means that when you're running past enemies in melee range, they get a free potshot at you as you aren't focused on them, and likely that you've turned your back away from them.

How's the visual feedback?
The characters with attack of opportunity would quickly do an attack animation right when it triggers, then go back to their initial behavior. So even without looking at the game log, you know that they did it.

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In shooters (like TF2), Ballistic and AoE attacks would normally use a simplified hitbox to check whether you're hit or not. They also use the same hitbox for melee attacks. Only for more precise weapons that they'd use a more detailed hitbox to determine damage.

How's the visual feedback?
For explosive weapons, the AoE is given an explosion animation, and normally it's large enough that you know you're hit even if the hit box is very rough. For melee range though the simplified hitbox has a similar issue with D3's 'lag'. Depending on your orientation, you can still get hit even if you're visually out of range, or miss even when he's right in front of you. Experienced players just know these mechanics in the back of their mind so they see it as an advantage over those who don't know it.

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In action-adventure games (Devil May Cry, God of War), melee attacks are often given a certain reach, that as long as an enemy is within that range, they'll be hit even if the weapon geometry isn't visibly hitting their body.

How's the visual feedback?
Normally they'd just use an afterimage of the weapon swing, or visual slash marks, or shockwaves, or particle effects and whatnot to correlate with the hitbox. This makes the game feel responsive even though it's not as accurate as you'd expect. (D3's mechanics would be the closest to this one, and for game calculations and feel this should be the best choice.)

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But then, what's the real issue with D3's system?
The visual discrepancy between the monster's actual melee range, its attack animation, and the time when the damage is visually seen.

If you're within melee range, you are expected to get hit even if you try to kite. It's a given. But problem is how do you trust the system when you see that you're getting hit when you're already past melee range? Why is this more apparent with certain enemy types than others? It makes it feel broken. And unfortunately, that's what breaks the suspension of disbelief, that makes it feel that you can't rely on skill.

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There are solutions to this, though this is where you get conflicts between the game designers and the artists, and I don't think there would be enough time to implement these before release.

Change animation timing of monsters. The faster they attack, the more likely that their animation ends while you're within range. This already works for normal and fast enemies, but for monsters like zombies and slow constructs, I'm sure the art department would RAGE just thinking of speeding those up.

Have visual cues to visually extend melee attacks. For golems, this could be in the form of traveling spikes on the ground, or visible shockwaves. At least this way you know you'll be hit even if you've moved away from them. With zombies, this could be in the form of a slash with a lot of residual gas, or bits of flesh flying towards the player. Or even giving them whip-like appendages. They'll only execute the attack in their melee range, but they can still catch fleeing players.

For melee attacks that are avoidable, you could telegraph it via more prominent charging animations. Unfortunately I haven't had the chance to play the beta, but looking though videos I think these were implemented for a number of monsters already.

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Again, it's the perception of the game mechanic that turned what's meant to be a non-issue into an actual issue.
Again, it's the perception of the game mechanic that turned what's meant to be a non-issue into an actual issue.


I love you for writing that out so well. I'm sort of afraid the people arguing about it won't take the time to read it, because it's a very thorough reiteration of what's been said a large number of times so far in this thread.

It's refreshing to see someone well-spoken and patient still plugging away at these threads.
04/12/2012 02:27 PMPosted by Sterfry
Rofl! This is really funny.... I feel like the real answer is more like "We don't have the time to change it and frankly we are done with this game."


No, it actually HAS to be this way, and works this way in most RPGs. Once your in range for the attack animation to begin, it has to finish and land.

I don't know why people think this is a new thing, it isn't, this is how it's worked in most RPG type games forever.
Have visual cues to visually extend melee attacks. For golems, this could be in the form of traveling spikes on the ground, or visible shockwaves. At least this way you know you'll be hit even if you've moved away from them. With zombies, this could be in the form of a slash with a lot of residual gas, or bits of flesh flying towards the player. Or even giving them whip-like appendages. They'll only execute the attack in their melee range, but they can still catch fleeing players.


Also, this is sort of the best answer I've seen to the problem. It'd take a lot of work, and I'm sure it'd be a post-release implementation, but it both keeps the clearly intended mechanic AND removes the problem with suspension of disbelief when a zombie damages you after you've run half a screen away.
I think a part of the answer has to do with how this is an "online-only" game, and I bet this is at least partly an artifact of mechanism meant to combat latency and keep server-side and client-side synchronized...
04/12/2012 12:54 PMPosted by D3BETA
I find it laughable that all of a sudden people came up to defend this ridiculous gimmick. I guess Blizzards must have called upon their friends and family to take the role of damage control to not face the humiliation as to how such a gimmick every passed through the internal alpha and into the beta and now is heading towards release.


Easy on the drama...Gimmick? This is a game, games have rules. The rules are you can't manually dodge most monster "auto-attacks". The only true problem here is the Zombie's attacks are so slow it doesn't look good. We can all agree on that. If the Zombie's attack animation was twice as fast this thread would have never started.

But claiming this slightly off visual representation is proof of some faulty game design is laughable. The design intent for this in the overall game is sound and makes a lot of sense. In this ONE specific instance it just doesn't look right. Don't know how this is being blown out of proportion.
Melee monsters do not attack you outside melee range, assuming of course you did not just run up to him to say hi while he takes a swing,and you try to avoid it
.. Notice this mechanic works only on melee monsters.
It's not a very acceptable compromise in my eyes to have attacks causing damage to characters BEFORE the attack has been completed. It just flies in the face of common sense too much. Eggs do not go from broken to whole, objects do not fall from down to up, a claw to the face doesn't injure you before the claw reaches your face. Many defenders of this mechanic are constantly stating that the detrcators don't understand the issue, and that's not the case at all. I can't speak for all, but I know exactly what you and Bashiok are getting at, but I still find it an unacceptable solution. It just looks too... Ugly and silly. It would be preferable in my opinion to see zombies throwing punches at Bruce Lee like speeds than to see characters taking damage from melee hits from across the screen.

For those mentioning the 'punishment' aspect, that if you get close enough to a melee monster to be struck then you deserve to have your character damaged, this is also problematic because the only visual indicator we have of knowing when our character is in melee range (the character model) is also misleading. A characters hit box expands beyond the radius of the character model. All we have then, is an assumption of what melee range is. And does a skeleton have the same melee range as a zombie? Does Leoric have the same melee range as Diablo? I seriously doubt it, so it's not like you can learn a universal comfort zone in the game either that will serve as a minimum distance from all melee monsters.
04/12/2012 03:29 PMPosted by ADest
I can't speak for all, but I know exactly what you and Bashiok are getting at, but I still find it an unacceptable solution. It just looks too... Ugly and silly.


And that's all it is. The current mechanic (which makes perfect sense for the reasons Bash explained) just looks bad in this specific instance...and that's it. This thread shouldn't be about "Why can't I dodge everything!?" it should be, "Animations for Zombies are way too sluggish."

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