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FFXIV v1.18 Enmity Testing (Part I)

Overview


The v1.18 XIV patch brought about the first sweeping changes that will ultimately decide the game's fate when it is eventually released for the PS3.  Among the many things changed in v1.18, the enmity system was completely overhauled along with the introduction of the enmity display icon.  Since the start of XIV, I had wanted to test the enmity system; however, it became clear very early on that the system would receive an eventual complete overhaul.  I made it a personal challenge to see how fast the new system could be completely modeled.  Before continuing, I encourage those interested in exactly how this was done to not only read this series of posts, but also my FFXI enmity testing, as many of the procedures are variations of tests from there.

In an effort to keep these posts readable and organized, I have decided to split all the testing into smaller sections.  This first section will focus on establishing the basics and strategy behind testing.  The other sections will focus more on the actual numbers, quantification, and formulas.


Special thanks to Cursive Kassad for helping me test most of this.  Also thanks to others in Dancing Mad who joined in on the testing - Kael Morgain, Aizen Hajime, and Katsu Kobashi.

A summary of conclusions reached in the testing in this post is given at the end.


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Summary


This first post only includes the basic tests which will be used in future sections to establish controls, along with some very basic enmity values for certain abilities.  Below is a summary of the findings for this particular post:

  - The enmity generated from actions is not affected by time (no time-decay component)
  - The enmity generated from actions does not decrease with taking damage or evading attacks
  - Enmity cannot be generated from buffs and cures on mobs that are in "yellow" unclaimed status
  - When there are multiple players with the same enmity, hate goes to the player who reached this amount first.
  - There is no additional enmity bonus for pulling (first action)


  - The enmity icon will show as "green" when a player is 0% to ~50% of the current high enmity
  - The enmity icon will show as "yellow" when a player is ~50% to ~80% of the current high enmity
  - The enmity icon will show as "red" when a player is ~80% to ~100% (but losing tie) of the current high enmity


  - The base unit of enmity is assumed to be dealing 1 damage 
  - Cure for 0 HP generates 0 base units of enmity
 
  - A Lv50 ARC curing himself for 1 HP is equivalent to 1 base unit of enmity (1 damage).
 
  - A Lv50 CON using Paralyna, Poisona, or Silena will generate 9 base units of enmity.
 
  - A Lv50 CON using Purge will generate 41 base units of enmity.


Before concluding, I want to stress that these posts are attempting to develop the best model for the current XIV enmity system - the key word being model.  Without actually seeing the code for this game, it is impossible to truly understand what is going on.  The best we can do is to model the system based on what we see.  This particular model being generated hinges on the idea that the base unit of enmity is indeed dealing 1 point of damage - which is a fairly safe assumption based on the patch notes, but an assumption nonetheless. 


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Abusing the "Return" AI

Overview

Before getting into the actual topic of this post, I want to update those who are following XIV but not playing.  Overall, I feel like the game is starting to make tangible progress.  The current team seems very focused on fixing the game from the ground up and adding lower level content first, rather than trying to prioritize appeasing those currently playing (for instance with throw in high level content).  For this reason, you may still hear a lot of complaining about lack of content; however, it's actually starting to increase quite quickly.  For those interested in starting, I would highly recommend watching for the May 1.18 patch when expected battle changes are happening.  Content-wise, I feel the game is ready for low levels and new starters.  Level 50 content is still lacking however.

Moving onto the topic for this post, one of the most immediately obvious new battle mechanics I saw when this game started was this "return to territory" AI.  Basically, every mob has it's own little zone where it likes to stay, and it will return to this area if you move too far.  This applies to every mob in the game, including NMs.  Where this becomes abusable is when players just hang out at the fringe of this zone and take ranged shots at the mob as it runs back and forth trying to hit you and returning to it's "territory".  In this post, I'm going to show case exactly how abusable this mechanic is with a solo of Elder Mosshorn (with video), which is essentially not soloable via normal methods - even with the current overpowered THM job.

This post is going to be a bit shorter than some of the previous ones.  I will not focus too much on the details of the actual Mosshorn solo since it is basically a combination of how the other THM solos are currently done (see my Dodore post) with the addition of those "return to territory" AI abuse.  I feel like this post may be especially "on topic" in terms of the current state of the game as SE recently revealed that they are planning to remove ranged attacks from all mobs.  This just adds to the potential abuse of this tactic as you will see in the post.





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Conclusion

The "return to territory" mechanic is a part of the current mob AI that just asks to be abused in FFXIV.  This will only worsen if default ranged attacks are removed from the game as SE currently plans to do.  In my opinion, the whole idea needs to be scratched and they should implement something more closely resembling XI.  While this will allow for more kinds of kiting abuse (my favorite strategy for anyone that's followed my blog for awhile), it will ultimately save the game from an extremely obvious form of abuse.

On a slightly different topic, with this solo coupled with another recent Great Buffalo solo, Thaumaturge can essentially solo every piece of current content in the game with the sole exception of Uraeus.  This is generally due to the overpowered ability Emulate, but even when this is inevitably fixed, the game still suffers from huge class imbalances.  Fixing Emulate does not change the fact that stats largely do not matter due to the extreme amount of weight dLVL carries in nearly every single formula in the game.  I'm hoping for the best with 1.18, but nearly every aspect of the battle systems in regards to it's formulas is horribly imbalanced from both an implementation perspective as well as a concept perspective.  I'm personally very happy with the new team thus far, but balancing the system they were handed will not be an easy task.

Again, for those waiting on the sidelines for the game to improve, I would recommend watching closely in May for the 1.18 patch.  In an earlier post, my big 3 complaints with the game were EXP gain, battle mechanics / formulas, and content.  The SP/EXP system still has issues, but overall it is very easy to level and this issue is largely fixed.  Content-wise, the game is still lacking at level 50 with no "endgame" instances, but it has plenty of quests and lower level content now - certainly enough to keep a new player busy for months.  Hopefully 1.18 will be the beginning of the battle mechanics fixes.  

Lastly, I started posting short blurbs on the official Lodestone blog site.  You can follow me here if you're interested in some of the less formal posts.  These compete posts take time to write so I like to just post shorter topics or video updates there first then transfer anything interesting here with more detail later.


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Thaumaturge Dodore Solo

Overview

A major theme I have noticed since starting XIV is the idea of preemptive exploit prevention.  Many aspects of the game, whether it be the fact you can only 'claim' one mob at a time (an anti-"astral burn" feature in my opinion) or the fact that all mobs have ranged attacks (anti-"kiting"), I feel were purposely placed specifically to prevent certain tactics or tricks in XI from being reproduced in XIV.  In many ways, the failure of XIV's original combat mechanics is due largely to the fact that SE over-focused on preventing old XI exploits and did not place enough emphasis on any actual improvements. 





With the recent Letter to the Producer, III stating that re-working and re-balancing the combat system and mechanics was a priority, I thought this would be an interesting solo to post.  I mentioned in a previous post where I briefly went over the Buffalo Faction Leve NM solo that Thaumaturge was a broken job due to a number of reasons.  This post is sort of a continuation of this theme of imbalance and exploitation of the current system.  I'll focus both on the solo itself as well as the abstract reasons why this solo was possible and the imbalances currently within XIV's combat system.

Video is included in this post.  Some pics courtesy of Cho Chang who was watching the fight.


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Dodore BasicsCollapse )


Dodore Solo VideoCollapse )


Fight Tips - General ConceptsCollapse )


Fight Tips - Handling AddsCollapse )


Fight Tips - Dodore SoloCollapse )


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Conclusion

It is safe to say that this fight, in the game's present form, can only be completed on Thaumaturge.  In this current version of the game, the job is clearly broken, which is why this solo is even possible.  For one, it has the far superior AoE that allows you to hit all 7 mobs in the solo easily.  It's the strongest damage dealer in the game easily with DoTs, Shadowsear, and just again that superior AoE range.  Finally, it has the healing capacity that none of the DoW jobs have that is required in the solo.  In short, Thaumaturge is "the new Red Mage."  It's currently the best soloer, the best healer, and the best damage dealer. 

Emulate is the key to this Dodore fight in that with it on, most of the attacks you'll face are completely harmless with it on.  But without Emulate, you will pretty much die within seconds while the minions are out.  The difference is pretty staggering.  I suspect that this ability will get another look by the development team at some point and ultimately nerfed similar to how Punishing Barbs and Firm Conviction where in the major November '10 patch.  Even with this probable nerf, Thaumaturge could probably use either a couple of job specific nerfs or some global changes to the combat system that especially lower the effectiveness of DoT spells.

For anyone interested in keeping up with how I rework my stats, you can find my XIV-Pro or Lodestone Profile.  Until the game mechanics are significantly reworked, I'll likely stick to the capped VIT build though.  While these solos are quite interesting to me, I think they do highlight some pretty blatant imbalances within the game's combat system which will hopefully be addressed in the future. 


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The Mechanics of Combat SP (Part II)

Overview

Continuing where we left off in Part I, I want to focus on 3 aspects of combat SP in this post...

      (1) The EXP/SP gain at levels below 24, which is enhanced by an additional "low level" modifier.
      (2) Another look at Base SP, particularly targeting popular SP sites and leveling Leves.
      (3) Another quick look at the Party SP system, especially given the new
1.15b patch update.

I'll again try to summarize the important aspects of the post at the end, leaving the actual data collection process in the body of the post.  A lot of information talked about here will refer back to Part I, so I highly recommend at least reading the results summary if you haven't yet, or some of this may not make sense.

By the end of this post, I hope that a good deal of this information will become useful in actual practice and with game-play decisions.  Regarding Base SP, which is the factor that most affects the overall SP gain in parties and Leve runs, I tried to focus on the most popular targets and offer tables for advice on how to approach the star ratings on the popular leveling Leves.

The Mechanics of Combat SP (Part I)


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Low Level Modifier SP BonusCollapse )

Open World Base SPCollapse )

Leve Mob Base SPCollapse )

Updates to the Party Modifier TableCollapse )



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Results Summary

Briefly summarizing the new information in this post...

(1) There is an additional "Low Level Modifier" for players below rank 24.  The bonuses are summarized below...





(2) Leve Linking grants a 50% EXP/SP bonus per link to the amount normally gained.  There is a cap at 3 links.
 

          [ Final SP ]  =  [ Normal SP Gained ]  x  0.5  x   { [ Number of Leve Links ]  +  2  }



(3) Guardian's Aspect grants a 50% SP bonus on top of all other modifiers.  It does NOT grant bonus EXP, only SP.



(4) The table of party modifiers has been updated (but not verified) for the 1.15b patch update, but the current table shown below makes some assumptions that the patterns found in Part I were not changed in the patch.  Because of this, more data will be need to verify points on the table.  Basically, the overall concept that above 8 party members, you only get "credit" for having 8 in range of -10/+5 holds true (grayed boxes), but the exact values will need work.





(5) The table below summarizes the level of the mobs in the 6 most popular SP Leves and the level of the mobs for each star rating.  This table should be very helpful in determining what star rating is needed to cap everyone in your group.  The rule of thumb is you need to be 10 below the mob level to cap.




At this point, there are still 4 "unknowns" to the combat SP system -

(1) How fighting mobs claimed not at full HP affect the end EXP/SP.
(2) How the color or "con" system works for both individual mobs as well as grouped mobs.
(3) How Base SP works - is there a pattern or will all mobs need to be manually tested?

(4) Completing and verifying the Party Modifier Table.

I think after completing the party modifiers table, my next big focus will be regarding the color/"con" system, as it is probably the easiest thing left that has relevance to game-play and strategy.  I feel that how non-full-HP mobs affect SP is a pretty minor topic.  The Base SP issue will likely require a large data set and take a lot of time to assemble unless a clear pattern shows itself.  At this point, I am taking requests and recommendations as to which open world mobs or Leve mobs players would like for me to test as potential SP targets.  Just please post back here or on BG with any requests.  I would also appreciate any data on party sizes.  I basically need to know (1) what level you are, (2) what you fought, (3) the number in party, (4) the number in party in -10/+5 range, (5) the SP value gained.

Til next time!

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The Mechanics of Combat SP (Part I)

Overview

The recent early February XIV patch drastically changed the SP system to make it easier to level at all ranks.  Since it was implemented, I feel that a number of players have made another attempt at the game, mainly those initially frustrated by the difficult leveling system previously implemented.  As one of the major problems with the game, this change will probably go a long way towards improving the population of the game and regaining community trust in the game.

But how exactly does this system work?  And more importantly, how can the player base maximize their SP gain?

In this post, I'll go over the basic calculations involving in EXP and SP gain as well as how these rough formulas were deduced from basic observation.  I'll include both solo as well as party play.  I'll then make a couple discussion points about how to maximize EXP gain under the new system.  I've provided some clean tables at the end of the post that will be useful in the future for those interested in predicting their own SP gains.  For those not interested in the number crunching and just want the results, I suggest skipping down to the summary section. 

The Mechanics of Combat SP (Part II)

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Initial Data CollectionCollapse )


dLVL Modifier AnalysisCollapse )


Base EXP Data CollectionCollapse )
 
Party EXP MechanicsCollapse )


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Results Summary

To briefly summarize the final results and limitations of this...

(1) The amount of SP gained is simply 40% of the amount of EXP gained.


(2) The amount of EXP gained can be found with the basic formula...


           [ Final EXP ]  =  [ Base EXP ] x [ dLVL Modifier ] x [ Party Modifier ]


(3) The [ dLVL Modifier ] is a function of the rank difference between the player and mob being fought.




The dLVL modifier is arbitrarily chosen to be 1.00 at dLVL=0.  The amount of EXP gained is capped above dLVL=10 (with a modifier of x3.00).  At dLVL<-19, the modifier is 0.00, meaning you will receive no EXP. 



(4) The [ Base EXP ] is defined as the EXP gained killing the mob solo if dLVL were 0. 

Each kind of mob has its own Base EXP.  This Base EXP will vary between mob type and races.  In general, higher level types of mobs seem to have higher bases, but no definitive trends have been found so far.  The lowest Base EXP in my data set is 158/63, while the highest found so far is 500/200.  The Base EXP will have a significant impact on the amount of EXP gained.




(5) The [ Party Modifier ] is a function of the total number in party and the number within -10/+5 of the player.

The table below summarizes the party modifier for all possible situations.  But keep in mind that the grayed areas are untested and unverified at this time.  I am personally not that confident in the grayed values because it implies that for certain situations, having players out of the -10/+5 range will actually increase your EXP gain (don't trust the gray numbers in this table!).  More testing is needed.  An alternative table providing exact party modifiers instead of 2 decimal estimates is given inside the post.


>>>  THIS TABLE IS OUTDATED DUE TO THE 1.15b PATCH  <<<





>>>  THIS TABLE IS OUTDATED DUE TO THE 1.15b PATCH  <<<



(6) Things still unknown and shortcomings

      - Rounding error associated with the formulas will only predict EXP within roughly +/-2 points
      - The party modifier table needs some verification at higher number of total members
      - The base EXPs of various mobs and races need to be found (hopefully a trend is found)
      - The mechanics of Leve linking and Guardian's Favor need to be discussed
      - The mob "con" (color) system is still poorly understood



At this point, there are some limitations to the results.  For instance, much of the party modifier table is extrapolated from a set of maybe 10 data points (there just happened to be a nice pattern).  Also, the calculations in general just have some rounding error associated with it.  Since these formulas are based on observation only and not code, I cannot tell you the precise values; however, I do feel confident in these formulas correctly predicting EXP/SP gain within +/-2

In the future, I hope to first verify or shore up the party modifier table as well as work a bit more on the base EXP values to see if there's any sort of pattern involved.  It would be a huge chore to attempt to find the base EXP values for every single mob in the game individually.  In addition, I hope to get more into how one can use knowledge of the system to maximize SP gain in both Leve groups and even parties.  While there are some shortcomings to these results, I do think that the overall concepts of EXP/SP gain and how to use the system to one's advantage can be discerned from this. 

Til next time!


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