What is the rationale for giving NPCs the ability to summon?

Discussion in 'Time Locked Progression Servers' started by Brontus, Jan 18, 2022.

  1. Brontus EQ Player Activist

    Mischief and Thornblade TLP servers are now in the Planes of Power expansion and I've noticed that in many zones NPCs have the ability to summon players. Many of the same mobs are also immune to root and snare. These are not named or raid mobs, these are garden variety mobs.

    As a result of this, many of the zones remain unused by soloers, small groups and even full groups. Instead players gravitate to the zones and locations where mobs do not summon.

    It seems like such a waste when players just avoid these summoning mobs altogether and instead congregate in the same experience spots. Was this the intention of the developers?

    I've never understood the rationale behind this overpowered NPC ability. I noticed it first in in TLP servers in Old Sebilis (Ruins of Kunark) where named mobs had the ability to summon. Fair enough. Also, if deities and dragons can summon, I can understand that. But trash mobs? I don't get it.

    I can understand that boss mobs are going to have special abilities that are overpowered compared to trash mobs. With so many trash mobs that summon, the risk vs. reward equation for is all risk and little reward.

    Every mob ability is a puzzle/problem that a player can solve using a class ability. Some player classes can interrupt NPC spells, some can drain mana. Warriors can mitigate damage by increasing their armor class and so on. Some classes can reduce the NPCs stats so spells will land. But there is no player class that has the ability to prevent an NPC from summoning. Why is this?

    Here are some more issues with NPCs that can summon:

    --Summoning can't be silenced by player spells
    --Summoning can't be interrupted player physical abilities
    --Summoning has no warning message (i.e. there is no "Sebilite Guardian is about to summon you...)
    --Summoning incurs no endurance or mana cost to the NPC
    --Summoning is instant and does not interrupt the NPC's melee or casting using this ability (there is no penalty for summoning as there is for melee classes who can cast spells i.e. they lose melee DPS while casting)
    --Summoning doesn't make sense from a role-playing and lore perspective (i.e. why does a rat or snake have the ability to summon?)
    --Players have no way to easily identify mobs that can summon: some do and some don't
    --No player class (at least to my knowledge on starter TLP servers) has the ability to summon NPCs
    --Summoning trash mobs are more difficult and do not have a great chance of dropping rare loot nor do they offer better experience (Risk vs. reward equation is not balanced here)

    The only way to overcome the problem of summoning mobs is to avoid them completely and that is exactly what happens in EQ.

    I'm trying to understand the game design objectives of trash mobs that summon and trash mobs that have absolute immunities to movement and root abilities. When you give NPCs these OP abilities/characteristics you make classes that can root and snare situationally useless and discourage soloing and small non-conventional groups. Emergent gameplay and thinking outside the box used to be rewarded in EQ but now it seems to be discouraged.

    When EverQuest was first released, you often had to Tash or Malo NPCs to be able to get certain spells to land on them. That system worked very well, because it rewarded intelligent gameplay and players who took the time to learn their class. This system also encouraged class interdependency. But even this became abused by the devs who maxed out the magic resistance of guards to make them all but impossible to snare without using Tash or Malo. To this day, it is absurd that my 65 druid cannot land snare on Dragon Zytl a 28-30 NPC in the Commonlands.

    Game designers should always give players a way to solve obstacles and problems that are placed in front of the player. This is not the case with summoning NPCs and those that have absolute immunities. I wish the EQ devs would re-evalute the need for NPC summoning and NPC immunities and use them exclusively and far more sparingly on named mobs and boss mobs. Thanks for listening.
  2. brickz Augur

    The original devs never foresaw kiting or pulling to camps and expected people to form up groups and then crawl through the dungeons. Making mobs summon was a quick and dirty way of forcing people to group up and have a proper tank and healer
    Ulrin, Fenthen and Bailen like this.
  3. Xhartor Augur

    What zones in PoP do people avoid because of summoning mobs?

    People hit Plane of Fire because it's of it's ZEM and low risk, Water for TS mats, BoT for tradable loot, Tactic for spells, PoEarth to sell loot rights, and CoD for ZEM and ease like fire.
  4. Triconix Augur

    Many zones are underused because of the demographics of TLPs. Most players are more of the raiding types so they will be max level and want to be in the higher level zones. Originally on live you have a wide array of players - casual, newcomers, raiders, etc. so many zones were filled up from POJ to POF.

    I distinctly remember walking into the lower planes on my alts and there always being groups there that I could hop into. POJ was one of my favorite zones for that. However, by the time POP arrived on TLP, almost everyone I saw was already level 60 and waiting to juts burn through 60-65, raid, and get into the ideal hotspots for AA grinding.
    TheBudkai likes this.
  5. sieger Augur

    Mobs have been summoning for 20 years, this isn't something new. The intention is quite obvious--they don't want you able to kill those mobs in a way that lets you kill the mob at no risk of dying. Very often mobs that can be snared or rooted can also be killed at almost no risk to the person doing the snaring / rooting, which frankly was never really intended even from day one. As a sop to soloers they continue to put mobs that don't summon into the game basically forever, in limited amounts, but kiting and root rotting are generally seen as low effort or non-engaging gameplay options because they allow players to kill things with almost no risk to themselves, thus undermining the core gameplay loop of an MMO.
    TheBudkai and Coffee like this.
  6. oldkracow 9999 Is the Krono Account Limit

    If that statement was to be true they would have fixed 1001 items and EQ would have been the worst bland game that none of us played.

    So many of the not intend ways to play is what made this game interesting.
  7. Thash Zoner

    It's their way of saying Bring a Tank.

    I think the summon mechanic is unique and cool. It is a meme, it makes druids group for dungeons, and adds a level of gameplay strategy. Watch your aggro!

    We've all wiped to out of control summon ping pong, and to be fair, it was hilarious.
    HoodenShuklak and Corydon like this.
  8. Trebla7th Augur

    While I am not disputing your larger complaint about summoning being an awkward ability, off the top of my head, there are at least 3 ways to prevent mobs from summoning:
    * Mez
    * Charm
    * Fear
    Brontus likes this.
  9. Skuz I am become Wrath, the Destroyer of Worlds.

    Summoning = 100% an anti-kite mechanic, and it got WAY over-used.

    Also grey mobs still being able to summon you long after you out-level them is quite a pet peeve.
    Pretty massively annoying are the mobs who will summon the tank even when the tank is still within melee range

    However I think the worst offenders are the mobs that summon you behind them & then backstab you! - those are just bastards!
  10. Gnothappening Augur

    Better question is why don't the mobs in Grieg's summon? We have level 57 and 58 mobs not summoning there and very abuseable pathing.
  11. Biltene Kingslayer

    I always love how players complain about game mechanics that they don't like as "poor game design". EQ has many many areas to xp and camp mobs for loot, it makes sense that some areas would be considered a place where the devs envisioned that a group makes more sense to fight in, whereas a different spot is more appropriate for kiters or soloers.

    A soloer shouldn't be able to solo every thing and every situation, or there would be less incentive to group up. It seems like the intent of this mechanic in particular is to foster grouping, and seeing as how a big draw to TLPs for a fair number of people is the ability to group up with people in the early game, it seems strange that someone would complain about a pro-grouping mechanic.

    What mobs summon may seem somewhat arbitrary, but that may be the point, that you never know what you're getting into when you're going to a new situation. I dunno, as someone who has kited a lot in my playtime, although I've been temporarily frustrated by a summon here or there, I just Exodus and find a different spot if I'm relegated to soloing.
    Corydon likes this.
  12. GamerGramps Journeyman

  13. GamerGramps Journeyman

    I don't know...
    The ones that Gate to their spawn spot and then Summon are a tad bit worse.
  14. Skuz I am become Wrath, the Destroyer of Worlds.

    Never been too much of a problem for me since I tend to fight things I know gate at their spawn to negate that annoyance, think the last time I even camped an area was before Omens of War, after that it was almost always better to plough mobs than camp & use a puller, even boxing rarely used split pulling but if I did I pulled out the melee mobs 1st.
  15. Brontus EQ Player Activist

    I didn't say it was poor game design, I'm just questioning the rationale and the objective behind this ability. The problem is that the devs have made given the ability to summon to NPCs in an arbitrary fashion. There seems to be no rhyme or reason for it. I suspect that it is poor design (for the reasons I gave in my original post) and that's a legitimate argument. TBH, I don't think the devs envisioned all of the unintended consequences of it.

    Every NPC has strengths and weaknesses that vary by class. This convention been true since Dungeons & Dragons started the RPG genre. For example: casters have incredibly fast and high burst damage. To balance this, they have low AC, low heath points. The summoning ability has no equivalent counterbalance.

    I agree with you to a point. A level 65 druid should probably not be able to solo a Planes of Power raid boss or mini-boss. Many times players have no choice but to solo because groups aren't available. Soloing also is inefficient and a player is better off in a group where they can get far more experience per hour than soloers due to group synergy.

    It would be helpful if the devs released a policy statement on soloing to give players an idea of what they can expect to solo and what they can not expect to solo. Adding visual cues via the user interface or the name of the mob would also be helpful.

    Before I solo on my druid, I go to a third party website and do my research. It would take far too long to attempt to solo every mob to find out if they summon. It would be far too risky as mobs that can summon are extremely overpowered and the chance of dying is pretty high especially in Planes of Power where mobs hit for 600 or more.

    I feel that giving NPCs the ability to summon doesn't really add anything to the game.

    Paradoxically summoning NPCs actually helps raiding because before summoning existed if you over-agroed a NPC, he would move toward you and chase you down as you are now on the top of his hate list. This would force all of the raid to have to follow him and reposition which would be a significant loss of DPS. Now the NPC summons the person that over-agroes and all the melee classes just stand there and continue to beat on the raid mob at the expense of a presumably dead player. Was this the intention of the devs? I doubt it.

    The ability to summon is not tied to a NPC class archetype which breaks immersion and erodes the suspension of disbelief. I know for a fact that EQ assigns all NPCs a basic hidden class. Hint: most NPCs are monks for obvious reasons.

    All I'm asking for is that the devs pause, reflect, and evaluate all of the unintended consequences of giving NPCs this OP ability and give mobs that have this ability some kind of counterbalance/weakness or create a spell line that silences their ability to summon or interrupts it. There are many ways this ability could be balanced to make it fair.
  16. Gnothappening Augur

    The issue is with the core of the spell system. We have things that make us run faster and things that slow the mobs down. These aren't 15 second snares either, they are several minutes. If all we got was tangling weeds and didn't get movement increasing effects, Summoning wouldn't be needed.
    Wulfhere likes this.
  17. Kiaro Augur

    Because kiting is a real thing.
  18. Triconix Augur

    There's be real: The devs when EQ first came out used no foresight for class abilities, spells, etc. To be more blunt, they quite frankly weren't good at class design and balance. It's glaringly obvious now in hindsight. That doesn't mean they weren't good at other things - world building, lore, environments all top notch. Classes and their intricacies? Awful. That's why people should stick around for AAs/discs to fill out classes and balance everything out better.
  19. HekkHekkHekk Augur

    WRONG. I've never and would never wipe to summoning.
  20. Freechicken New Member

    100% to eliminate kiting. Anybody who played back in the day knows how big a problem AoE kiting was. Giants used to be perma-camped by plat farmers. If not for summoning, the zones would be populated by kiters, and there would be no mobs for groups. You would also have serious balance issues, with kite classes being massively over represented. They also nerfed much of the AoE element. As for why some mobs and not others; you don't need it on 100% of mobs to thwart the behavior.