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Please finish the Merm Guards AI


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Everytime I've tried to use these stupid things to fight Dragonfly it's just an unfun tedious chore to try twisting the game into working properly. This is supposed to be basically the main draw of Wurt, upgrading her base statistics from the King and gaining access to guards; yet their AI is so bad it's basically trial and error to get them to function in a way that results in something other than disaster.

They wander extremely far from their spawnpoint and you can't control them at all, so if you're trying to corral them and they get loose the only way to get them back inside is to feed them, but that also makes it borderline impossible to leave the corral to try to lure something like Dragonfly into it because the guard you befriended will shove into you as you're trying to get back into; and if it gets out and attacks the boss, then it attacks the guard, then all the guards will run out of the corral to fight the boss. If you try blocking them in before they run out, which is barely possible because they react so fast, you then still have to condemn that one guard to die outside which lowers your teams DPS as a whole. Wurt is a merm, yet she can't intelligibly communicate with her own people to perform any kind of competent or remotely strategic maneuvers despite the fact that these are both intelligent creatures with language, and are supposed to be trained warriors, and this is her entire gimmick. These aren't spiders, they're actual humanoid beings with language yet there's zero way to communicate with them at all. And they're guards, these aren't random creatures wandering about their property; these are guards, they're supposed to be guarding not going for a stroll across the countryside while a Dragonfly oblierates a merm child in the distance.

Wurt is a merm yet merms don't care if she's getting attacked. She's also a child, and they still don't care. There's absolutely no justification for this beyond the developers just didn't bother to code that in. And what it means is that if you want merms to fight ANYTHING, you have to recruit all of them. Which again is borderline impossible to do within the confines of a corral because you can't leave it to lure an enemy inside, because they'll all chase after you and leave it. Alternatively you can try screwing with the broken AI targeting, trying to get an enemy to proc off you and instead attack a guard so the rest of the merms will suddenly start caring that their own kind is under assault. Which also is borderline impossible because depending on the enemy their AI will not switch targeting off you even if they're being hit by something else while you actively run away. Running in circles for ten seconds while merm guards hit the boss, and it doesn't bother to attack them at all it just keeps chasing me while the rest of the guards I didn't befriend just watch. But then when I try to get the boss to focus me so I can kite it while the merms attack it too, it suddenly stops paying attention to me each time I kite and hits a merm instead; which they can only survive a few hits of before they die and the team DPS goes down.

Merms don't even react to any enemy creatures, or their comrades being in combat unless they get hurt. Again, more baseless illogical behaviour resulting from incomplete design. They'll walk around spiders, giants, dogs, anything without reacting to it despite the fact that they are supposed to be GUARDS. Even the most basic creatures in this game react to the presence of other monsters yet creatures who are the core of a characters entire gimmick couldn't be bothered to have that basic feature coded in. So if you're trying to fight something that isn't aggressive to them, again you have to screw with recruiting them all or trying to get the creature to attack them just to get them to participate in a fight. Even if their fellow guards are right beside them, in the middle of a fight, bystanding guards STILL won't get involved unless one of the fighting guards takes damage because that's the only proc the developers bothered to put in for their entire combat behaviour.

And, not only does it cost a bunch of resources to spawn these awful things in but you have to constantly babysit the King or else he'll die and they'll lose all their power, along with Wurt.

 

It's honestly bad enough that Wurt's core gimmick is literally something every character in this game can already do, recruiting allies to fight mobs; specifically bosses. She moves fast on swamp, other characters can just build road to move fast too. She can summon the King, but has to babysit him constantly just to keep up a statistic boost other characters either have on spawn or can acquire far easier. Yet the thing that's the most actually applicable and useful, having superior followers to kill bosses with (Which Winona already has so this is once again a redundant gimmick), is potentially inferior to the vanilla because the features on this pay to play characters gimmick are still not even completed to the standards of the vanilla.

Also she should be able to swim, and be immune to wetness insanity. Because her species spends all their time in a moist swamp and her wetness barks actively support her being wet, yet she is driven insane by it like any other character; and she can fall into the water without any negative benefits because she canonically can swim but it's just not in the game as a controllable feature. Doesn't matter if that would make her too "powerful" compared to characters who can generate infinite food or double damage, the canon of the actual game supports these features but they just aren't in the game because meh. Could of given her a perpetual wetness state like the Womp mod that she has to regulate, or anything to give her more downsides.

 

I purposely avoid rants because they usually accomplish nothing since if the developers aren't working to fix this, then this one rant likely won't change anything. But when I straight up have to FIGHT the game to try to make merm guards perform basic combat routines vanilla followers I didn't pay for can already do, I need to point this out somewhere.

 

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Must agree on that one, Guards seem less of a "Guard" and more of a "Bystander" until you pay them, even fish-people are corrupt, and are generally inferior to bunnymen. So why pay for or weave Wurt when you just can have bunnymen fight for you (who are for some reason better fighters than merms warriors, thus nullifying the whole purpose of Wurt as a character since she has really nothing else to offer)?

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At first I thought the same as you, because as everyone else, we're too used to how bunnymen, pigs, abigail, and spiders work.

However after much much testing of the merms I've noticed they are superior as they are. They only care about what you command them to IF you feed them first, and to coordinate them you can use the boomerang and cancel the attack animation, or the ice staff.

This has a lot of advantages: They don't suicide to whatever targets you or their friends, you can take them with you wherever you want, and they will all coordinate and kill one enemy at a time which is much more powerful than if they decide what to kill. They will stop fighting something if you move away from it which is brilliant. And the most important thing they wont engage in combat just for walking next to a tentacle. I don't feel they wander far away, specially if you clump the flortifications together they are always there for me.

I know its gonna be a pain to have to re-learn how a creature behaves from scratch (It was for me) but trust me they are different and if you respect their "new" rules you will notice they are superior. They are not meant to be left alone in an area to protect it like a bunnyman would, nor they can be enclosed and used to passively fight things. For those things, use bunnymen, since Wurt can use them.

For dragonfly just enclose the lava pools and take the merms with you, being befriended with at least 30 hunger value. I took 12 of them and the fight took less than half a day. They also keep being friends with you even after being put to sleep. For bee queen try to target the queen often so they stop fighting grumbles, and kill the grumbles yourself if possible.

The only thing that needs fixing is that when they stop being friends away from their houses for about a day, they should return to their homes teleporting to it. Currently they get stuck on stuff and get lost, and I have to go looking for them. If you notice some are lost and they should be alive, chances are they are stuck somewhere in the world. The workaround this is to never let them unfriend you away from their houses, and lead them to their houses yourself, you can then get into a nearby cave entrance so they finish the contract.

I really hope they don't give them the bunnymen or pig fight behavior, otherwise they will become redundant. They are right now, mercenaries that follow your orders and don't really care much about anything else.

TL;DR: forget that you know how the bunnymen work, pretend its the first time you play the game like I did and learn how they behave by feeding them. Think of them as mercenaries that only follow orders and will only work for a decent amount of veggies hunger. You will find that they are far superior, you just need to use the boomerang cancel animation so they all target one enemy at a time, and pretend its an RTS like warcraft 3, where the army wont do anything unless you tell them to. For every other passive use, or deathtrap, use bunnymen.

 

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3 hours ago, mirrormind said:

Wurt is a merm yet merms don't care if she's getting attacked.

This actually follow with every other similar character, so it does make sense:

-Webber is also child and the spiders don't really care if he gets attacked

-Wilbur is a king yet the monkeys don't care if he get's attacked

-Wormwood is a sentient plant yet all other plants don't go up in arms if he gets hit

So why should it be different? Sure, they are guards but there also Spider Warriors which are made specifically to defend the nest and they still don't fight back if you are attacked. If Klei decides to add the feature that unfriended guards can auto target hounds, that would make them perfect, but the ones we have now are the best combination of the draws of the other mob friendables.

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3 hours ago, mirrormind said:

-snip- 

I think there still working on the A.I too be fair they have to rework and rewire an entire A.I's behavior and mechanics that they probably haven't touched since 2013. Though some things are really dumb, (especially interactions with the merm king) I feel we just need to give more time for the mechanics to be fixed up a bit and maybe tell Klei how things could be fixed, like for example, I think once merms have a king they become less hostile that way, if someone is building a merm village the merms won't just attack everything in sight like spiders (that way players can easily control them and won't have a hard time trying to get their plans destroyed all because the merms are trying to fist fight a random butterfly when your trying to fight a queen bee. Though I'm pretty sure for some reason they attack Gobblers on sight (free drumsticks!) I'm pretty sure as long as there's a king/merm on the tapestry they won't attack players (I havent tested their behavior yet, but I'm still experimenting on them. They seem fine for now. Especially since they can work as well other then fight. Though They probably do need to be a little bit more hostile though just enough to attack other creatures like hounds, merm guards are easily explained as their only supposed to protect the king, not you... 

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41 minutes ago, z3rox12 said:

I still feel bitter at the fact that merms don't agro on the hounds.

It is tricky, I won't lie, but you can make the merms aggro the hounds one by one so they loose aggro on you using the boomerang or ice staff trick. If its 2 or 3 merms with you then it will take a lot of running, if it is a lot of merms (5 or more) with you they will snipe the hounds instantly every time you command them to attack one. You have to help them to fight every time you can as well.

For depth worm waves this still applies, but merms don't understand well the fact that depth worms bury themselves, so they stop fighting them often. The best thing to do is to fight the depth worms as if you were alone, and whatever merms you have allied will add DPS.The best way I've found so far: My flortifications are all clumped together and covered by flingo range, I just hide in a bush hat or snurlte armor near their houses right before hound waves, and they kill all the hounds fast. I can then continue doing whatever I was doing. Same for depth worm waves, except that once you get the depth worms aggroed to the merms, kill them yourself one by one (they would kill all the merms eventually if you don't help)
 

If anyone is wondering how the boomerang cancel animation works, here is an example:

Spoiler

 

Tarunio uses it to command Maxwell's Shadowduelists, but you can use it to command any creature you are friends with to attack at a distance.


 

 

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6 hours ago, mirrormind said:

Merms don't even react to any enemy creatures, or their comrades being in combat unless they get hurt. Again, more baseless illogical behaviour resulting from incomplete design. They'll walk around spiders, giants, dogs, anything without reacting to it despite the fact that they are supposed to be GUARDS.

Intentional, or at the very least, marked closed.

I think Merms did behave like this before Wurt's patch too, but I don't remember. Couldn't tell you anything about Guards though.

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7 hours ago, ShadowDuelist said:

They are not meant to be left alone in an area to protect it 

Yeah. Why would guards, guard. Right? Their AI being incomplete makes them useful for fighting singular targets and basically nothing else.

Alternatively you could use other followers who are decent at doing both and don't require a pay to play character.

Alternatively their AI could be coded better to be capable of doing both competently.

6 hours ago, Frashaw27 said:

This actually follow with every other similar character, so it does make sense:

-Webber is also child and the spiders don't really care if he gets attacked

-Wilbur is a king yet the monkeys don't care if he get's attacked

-Wormwood is a sentient plant yet all other plants don't go up in arms if he gets hit

So why should it be different? Sure, they are guards but there also Spider Warriors which are made specifically to defend the nest and they still don't fight back if you are attacked. If Klei decides to add the feature that unfriended guards can auto target hounds, that would make them perfect, but the ones we have now are the best combination of the draws of the other mob friendables.

-Webber is presented as a spider to other spiders, he looks nothing like a child to actual spiders. He's a human child, not a spider child. All spiders care if a spider nearby is hurt, so based on the games own logic they should care if Webber is hurt; it just wasn't coded in.

-Whether or not other monkeys acknowledge Wilbur as an actual king or just a fellow monkey, is not confirmed. All monkeys care if a monkey nearby is hurt, so based on the games own logic they should care if Wilbur is hurt, it just wasn't coded in.

-Plants are plants, of course they aren't going to sprout limbs and brains to ride into combat are you joking. 

 

 

None of these actually rationalize the irrational behaviour of the player character "not counting" as a member of the species they are a member of thus gaining the benefits of such. Your logic seems to be; if something that doesn't make sense has happened before then suddenly it makes sense? No.

3 hours ago, lakhnish said:

Intentional, or at the very least, marked closed.

I think Merms did behave like this before Wurt's patch too, but I don't remember. Couldn't tell you anything about Guards though.

And that's really dumb then if they meant for guards to not only not guard anything, but also not behave in the way that they factually would just like every other species in this game. Unless the developers can make up a canonical reason why merm guards are just in a perpetual state of apathy even towards things that are blatantly a danger.

And no, no they didn't. Merms will rush out of their houses to attack anything that attacks a merm. It's the only reason why they're capable of killing tentacles by themselves.

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I think the reason merms behave that way is because back when rundown houses were the only way to spawn merms, the ai is still programmed to behave like there are 4 additional merms in the house that are ready to run out when an enemy attacks the first one. I vaguely remember merms not coming to each other's aid in the swamp prior to Wurt if they were from separate houses, mainly because there were more merms inside each rundown house.

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Why Klei doesn't make Wurt and other merms be able to swim?  It's not even that OP if they make her unable to use tools while swimming. It would also give a reason to keep playing as her after building her time wasting merm things. Also ignoring wet items' sanity drain and keeping pet fish alive like bunnies,moleworms etc would be great too.

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