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Malcolm Kocinski

The Bullet Sponges are back & worse than ever.

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The Bullet Sponges are back & worse than ever. I thought Ubisoft would keep it promise and get rid of the Bullet Sponges. Since they made changes with these new updates. Now the Bullet Sponges are back & it took me at lease 6 or more clips to take these Elite's down. I don't know if anyone else has been having this trouble or not. But I have!!

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There's a disparity that happens at some points in the game where the player levels up but his gear doesn't match the level he's on really .... no with the actual level of the gear (gear score etc) but with things like damage output, damage mitigation etc.

Instead of making NPC's "less spongy" I think Massive need to look at gear scaling. In particular, currently, gear score items roll at a wide variation of actual performance. Very often you can pick up a GS500 item, and it underperforms compared with a GS450 of the same type for example. 

There are a few factors. 

1) Gear Sets - they offer some significant power boosts but people still don't use them for various reasons, often its a lack of drop rate. 

2) Possible overlap in the RNG power scores. Remember each piece dropped has a good handful of scores and each time it drops in the world the game engine rolls each one of these for type and power level from a table. My guess, at the moment, is that these tables overlap too far. This would allow low GS items to potentially out perform higher ones...compounding this issue is that a lower GS item is more likely to drop (maybe an example is a purple drops twice as often as a legendary)...so the number of times the game rolls is twice as many, so the sheer % chance of getting a better rolled Purple is at least twice as much! 

I'm hoping this is sorted out but I feel patience from the community is needed. Its not an issue of De-buffing NPC's, its a matter of ensuring drops are of a good enough performance for the players to recalibrate or work with so they can keep one step ahead of the NPC's in whatever level they're in. 


In 2010, a crack commando unit still evading prison for a crime they didn't commit promptly escaped from another maximum security stockade near the Manhattan underground to the Washingon D.C. swamp land. Today, still wanted by the government they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them....maybe you can hire The Division 2 Team.

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Just now, quinch1199 said:

There's a disparity that happens at some points in the game where the player levels up but his gear doesn't match the level he's on really .... no with the actual level of the gear (gear score etc) but with things like damage output, damage mitigation etc.

Instead of making NPC's "less spongy" I think Massive need to look at gear scaling. In particular, currently, gear score items roll at a wide variation of actual performance. Very often you can pick up a GS500 item, and it underperforms compared with a GS450 of the same type for example. 

There are a few factors. 

1) Gear Sets - they offer some significant power boosts but people still don't use them for various reasons, often its a lack of drop rate. 

2) Possible overlap in the RNG power scores. Remember each piece dropped has a good handful of scores and each time it drops in the world the game engine rolls each one of these for type and power level from a table. My guess, at the moment, is that these tables overlap too far. This would allow low GS items to potentially out perform higher ones...compounding this issue is that a lower GS item is more likely to drop (maybe an example is a purple drops twice as often as a legendary)...so the number of times the game rolls is twice as many, so the sheer % chance of getting a better rolled Purple is at least twice as much! 

I'm hoping this is sorted out but I feel patience from the community is needed. Its not an issue of De-buffing NPC's, its a matter of ensuring drops are of a good enough performance for the players to recalibrate or work with so they can keep one step ahead of the NPC's in whatever level they're in. 

Last night down in sewers I ran into Black Tusks & an Elite called: Boomerang Jack. With some help We both tried to take him down. After dying dozens of times & revived dozens of times. The other player quit & left the area. But I wouldn't leave and I ducked into cover.He also ducked into cover. I empty almost all clips into him from my submachine gun, sniper rifle,& shotgun. I even used different skills & grenades to take him down. Finally I was left with only my pistol. I finally trick him out out of cover & shot him as fast as I could with my pistol & took him down. It took me at lease 10 to 20 minutes or more to take him out. My gear & weapon score was 479 at the time. If you don't call that a Bullet Sponge I don't know what else to call it.

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22 minutes ago, Malcolm Kocinski said:

Last night down in sewers I ran into Black Tusks & an Elite called: Boomerang Jack. With some help We both tried to take him down. After dying dozens of times & revived dozens of times. The other player quit & left the area. But I wouldn't leave and I ducked into cover.He also ducked into cover. I empty almost all clips into him from my submachine gun, sniper rifle,& shotgun. I even used different skills & grenades to take him down. Finally I was left with only my pistol. I finally trick him out out of cover & shot him as fast as I could with my pistol & took him down. It took me at lease 10 to 20 minutes or more to take him out. My gear & weapon score was 479 at the time. If you don't call that a Bullet Sponge I don't know what else to call it.

Jesus... good work tho taking him down.


ginterkalashnikov2.gif

Please read and follow the community guidelines.

"If this is what he wants and it's what

she wants, then why's there so much pain"

 

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Posted (edited)

To show you I got him. His name is Jake......but I call him Jack. Here's his card in case you meet him:

37606548_4-13-2019_2-21-23_PM-JakeBoomerang.thumb.jpg.dae8e37f2655036c05491a13dd39a4fa.jpg

 

Edited by Malcolm Kocinski
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OK, I agree - the bullet sponges are back.

I am WT5, GS 508, both LMG and Assault are GS500.  I have +32% to elites.  And yes, it takes 2 to 5 clips with the assault and at least 200 rounds with the LMG to take a boss out.  And he just walks around like the bullets are pesky fleas.  Grenades do very little at least visually, even if the MOB steps on it when it goes off.

Unless your standing on top of him, then a clip or just a little more.  But hey, getting that close (unless he's alone) is suicide.

While I am not sure what the answer is, this is not it.

...gene

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The bosses (sub bosses) are tough but I find a flame turret (out the way so they cannot smash them if possible and / or fire grenades usually help with the sub bosses.

For the minigunners I try to break their ammo feed which puts them on their knees and then fire grenade them (as they are not moving).  After that it is throwing a wall of lead and firebombs every now and then.

For the sledge guys it is a case of running and diving whilst the rest of the team lay in to them and setup a path of pain for them so as the chased leads them through the other team members can grenade / fire turret them.  This is difficult to do with randoms though.

The flamer heavy I have seen someone just run tight circles around them and they just spin on the spot.

One of my builds has 90+ damage to elites and they are still spongy.


You want some, come get some.

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5 hours ago, genedjr said:

OK, I agree - the bullet sponges are back.

I am WT5, GS 508, both LMG and Assault are GS500.  I have +32% to elites.  And yes, it takes 2 to 5 clips with the assault and at least 200 rounds with the LMG to take a boss out.  And he just walks around like the bullets are pesky fleas.  Grenades do very little at least visually, even if the MOB steps on it when it goes off.

Unless your standing on top of him, then a clip or just a little more.  But hey, getting that close (unless he's alone) is suicide.

While I am not sure what the answer is, this is not it.

...gene

Jake "Boomerang" Reilley of the Black Tusks was the toughest of them all. He's the Ace of Diamonds I empty almost all my rounds into him before he would fall. If you ever meet this guy you'll know what I mean. He is a Bullet Sponge & hard to kill!!

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Posted (edited)

I found this on Ubisoft Forums:

https://forums.ubi.com/showthread.php/1487523-Enemy-difficulty-and-time-to-kill

Enemy difficulty and time to kill

Dear fellow Agents,
I’d like to open the thread „Enemy difficulty and time to kill“ to discuss the current problems associated with it and of course ideas of possible solutions.

Problems:

 
  1. Currently there is big gap between the difficulties between normal, hard, challenging and heroic (while a player might be able to do hard he could not be able to do challenging)
  2. We know there is sponginess (enemies having lots of life and armor)
  3. There is the situation of enemies being too strong (dmg, accuracy, range, behavior)
  4. Scaling – Currently and in the future enemies somehow need to be more difficult. How to do it and what mechanics could be used?


Let’s go! (I’ll not post my suggestions here to keep it clean and simple)

Cheers
Leroy-Dante
I guest we aren't only ones that have problems with Bullet Sponges.
Edited by Malcolm Kocinski
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Ubisoft kind of admits  they are making Bullet Sponges. I got this off their website:

https://news.ubisoft.com/en-us/article/347598/The-Division-2-Making-Enemies-Tougher-and-Friendlies-Smarter

The DivisionThe Division 2

The Division 2 – Making Enemies Tougher and Friendlies Smarter

by Chris Watters / April 5, 2019 / 10 minute read

When the AI team at Massive Entertainment was getting ready to start in on The Division 2, they first took time to look back at what they'd accomplished in The Division. They wanted to celebrate what they'd done well, identify areas for improvement, and brainstorm new ideas that they could bring to the sequel. From this retrospective came a vision for AI in The Division 2: the enemies would be more diverse, more challenging to take on, and more satisfying to defeat, while the friendlies would be more formidable allies and more involved in the fight for Washington, DC.

We talked to Lead AI Designer Drew Rechner and Lead AI Programmer Philip Dunstan, who shared details on how the AI team brought their vision to fruition. They started by looking at the enemy factions and acknowledging that, in The Division, there were some winning tactics that players developed that would be effective in most situations. To remedy this in The Division 2, they wanted to lean into one of the franchise's core strengths.

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Diversifying Factions

"The beauty of our game is you can build your character through your gear and through your playstyle, through your weapon, all that kind of stuff. We really wanted to support different approaches in a better way than we managed in The Division," says Rechner. "And a big aspect of that is the AI and the way that they behave. So we wanted a lot more diversity in how they push you, and how they retreat, and how they flank, and how they use space, all of those things. We're trying to challenge the player in all these different ways, so they can counter-play against it in different ways."

In order to differentiate the four factions – Hyenas, True Sons, Outcasts, and Black Tusk – the team developed four traits; each faction was rated on their Aggression, Organization, Training, and Tech. In the Aggression trait, for example, a faction can either be aggressive or defensive. Aggressive factions want to close in on you over the course of the fight, so they will reposition and advance more quickly, circle you when they get close, and fire for longer, uninterrupted periods. Defensive factions, on the other hand, prefer to fan out and engage you at a comfortable range; they won't reposition as often, and will shoot in shorter, less-exposed bursts.

These traits come through clearly in-game, as anyone who has gone from fighting the aggressive, rush-happy Hyenas to the defensive, wide-flanking True Sons can attest. And while the Hyenas and Outcasts are both aggressive factions, being pressured by the organized Outcasts is a startling change compared to the disorganized Hyenas. Enemies are further diversified through increased archetype differentiation; which is to say, a sniper for the True Sons (uses a Marksman rifle, can go prone) will threaten the player in a different way than a sniper from the Outcasts (uses a compound bow, fires explosive arrows).

stad_347595.jpg

This variety is especially valuable given The Division 2's emphasis on the depth and longevity of the endgame. Factions in The Division represented tiers of difficulty; this was good for increasing the challenge over the course of the campaign, but not as good when players reached the endgame and the LMB was the only faction complex enough to really challenge them. In The Division 2, "A lot of the changes we made are so people can get enjoyment out of replaying against the AI," notes Dunstan. "Using those traits, and differentiating the enemy factions by their style of combat, really helped us counterbalance the pluses and minuses to keep the factions at kind of the same level," elaborates Rechner. "That means we can put them all at the end of the game, and the players can still have all this variety."

Rewarding Skill and Precision

Tactics, traits, and enemy types can make foes more challenging and diverse, but the team also wanted to refresh the moment-to-moment gameplay to make combat more satisfying for players. To make landing shots feel more impactful, they added more pronounced hit reactions for enemies, including more flinching and staggering, as well as body part-specific death animations. They also made enemies dodge and duck more to challenge the players' aim, and added weak points to more enemies, which reward players who hit them by damaging the enemy and disabling their ability to, say, throw grenades or revive allies. Finally, they implemented a new, destructible armor-plating system to create narrative context for why high-health enemies can take so much damage. Not only is it satisfying to blow off an armor plate, it's also a good tactic that enables skilled players to take down tougher foes more quickly. In fact, Rechner says that the time it takes to kill enemies is faster in The Division 2.

"To me, it really means that the highly skilled players are going to be able to kill NPCs quicker than they could before. So we're really rewarding accuracy, really rewarding tactical awareness, those things. But enemy survivability is about the same as it was in The Division. If you take into account inaccuracy with weapons – because they're ducking and dodging and stuff like that, plus they're a little bit smarter in how they move and how they pressure you – when you actually land a hit, it has meaning, right? It feels really good. And if you worked really hard to hone your skill, or you worked really hard to get that advantageous position, there's a payoff."

Who Are The People in Your Neighborhood?

Enemy factions weren't the only focus of the AI teams' efforts. They also wanted to revamp the friendly NPCs, making them more involved in the world around them and more independent. The isolated encounters with people rummaging in the trash or arguing over a can of food made narrative sense in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic in The Division, but the team knew things would be different seven months later in Washington, DC.

moody_347593.jpg

"In The Division, it was just civilians," recalls Dunstan. "You got the impression that there were a lot of civilians behind the scenes and everyone was scared to come out, and you just got a few desperate people that were on the street. For The Division 2, we really wanted to reinforce this idea of communities banding together and fighting back. It just adds so much more depth to that emotional part of the world."

To give the people a purpose, the team created Living World Activities. On a practical level, these are sequences of objectives for groups of NPCs to perform. A group travels through the open world, approaches a resource site, gathers resources, travels back to safety, and despawns discreetly. Strung together, these objectives form a cohesive Living World Activity called Gather Resources.

These activities govern group behavior, and within the group, each NPC is assigned a duty. These might be activity-specific, like resource-gatherer, or they could be contextual, like taking patrol duty when traveling to the site, then switching to overwatch duty once they arrive. The overwatch duty sends the assigned NPC to an elevated position, and because the level designers know the AI team has created this duty, they can populate the environment with opportunities for this systemic behavior to happen. They know that if they design an area to have, say, a shipping container with some sandbags on top, then a friendly NPC will use it for overwatch. This connection makes the NPCs smarter about their environment, providing stronger context for their actions and strengthening the sense that they live in this world.

Doing It On Their Own

But what happens if a group of Hyenas is patrolling the area during their own Living World Activity (yes, the bad guys live in this world too), and they run across our resource-gatherers? Then everyone's combat behaviors kick in. The sniper on overwatch duty starts shooting, until an enemy gets too close and their sniper behavior tells them to put more distance between them and their foe. The resource-gatherer drops their box of food and starts fighting as well, perhaps assuming a combat-specific duty at the mounted gun. When the dust settles, the victors resume their Living World Activity. The Hyenas go back on patrol; the resource-gatherer picks up the box of food, tops it off, and starts their journey back home with their fellow survivors.

The key here is context and continuity. These people know where they are the world. They have a reason for being there, and they are going to see their mission through whether the player is involved or not. So if you see a group of friendlies out and about, you might just jog on by. You might do the jumping jacks emote to pep them up. Or you might decide to tag along.

park_347594.jpg

"You don't have to get involved as a player," Rechner says, "but the reason why a lot of people do is that it's unpredictable. They don't know where the AI is going, so it's like adventure is in store, right? You don't know what's going to happen, and it's often going to play out differently. And I think it feels really good to help out these civilians who, in turn, actually help you out, too."

Dunstan recalls a moment just before the private beta when a civilian did just that: "I'm doing one of the control points, and we had just cleared it, so enemy reinforcements are coming in. And one of the civilian reinforcements took up the mounted gun and just started mowing down the guys coming in. And it's like, I don't need to be here. This is really cool. I feel like they're capable, and the fact that it was using the system that we put in place to let them have that ability was just really cool."

Sweat the Small Stuff

The improvements and innovations that the AI team developed and implemented for The Division 2 have had wide-ranging impact, and that's due in part to the team's understanding that sometimes the small stuff can have a big effect. When asked if there was any of the team's work that they were particularly happy with, Dunstan was quick to answer.

"As part of updating the AI dialogue system, we moved all of the dialogue decision-making to the server. So now, if you're playing co-op with friends, you will hear the same lines as your friends. This is something that, as a co-op player, you don't really notice. It feels natural to you. But on The Division, we didn't have that. We decided which line to play differently on everyone's machine, so they may have heard slightly different lines. And one of the first videos we saw coming out of the Division 2 closed beta was people commenting on the lines. They all heard the same lines, and they were riffing off the lines that they heard. For us, that was a big win. It was quite a lot of work, but we knew if would be important to create that immersion."

So now, when you and your co-op buddy share a laugh over the enemy who taunted you just before you took him down, you'll know who to thank. The Division 2 is out now on Xbox One, PC, and PS4. For more on the latest updates, check out our previous Division 2 coverage.

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OK, I love this article, so naturally I need to comment 😎

And thanks Mal for posting the article.  This is in NO WAY critical of Mal.

On 4/15/2019 at 12:48 PM, Malcolm Kocinski said:

for AI in The Division 2: the enemies would be more diverse, more challenging to take on, and more satisfying to defeat,

This is just great.  I like have really more than three (four) factions (for me rioters/rikers were about the same in TD1.)  BUT - each faction has basic elements, though as you move around they're executed in different ways.  As example, each faction has a berserker - those nasty guys/gals who just charge in.  They are different, but for me the tactic is still the same - don't let them close.  It's the same for engineer, weapons specialist, grunt, grenade...  You develop a tactic for that specific NPC type and execute.

On 4/15/2019 at 12:48 PM, Malcolm Kocinski said:

"The beauty of our game is you can build your character through your gear and through your playstyle, through your weapon, all that kind of stuff. We really wanted to support different approaches in a better way than we managed in The Division," says Rechner. "And a big aspect of that is the AI and the way that they behave. So we wanted a lot more diversity in how they push you, and how they retreat, and how they flank, and how they use space, all of those things. We're trying to challenge the player in all these different ways, so they can counter-play against it in different ways."

This is way fun.  While my approach to individual types across factions is kinda the same, the actual strategy is not.  As noted farther kills are better kills.  And that goes for all factions.  BUT - I really like the different strategies for the factions.  As example, with a sniper (I will use this alot as my fav is sniper) - A true sniper rifle is used alot for True Sons.  But a Rifle (my fav is M1A1) is great for Outcasts - yeah it take 2-3 hits but it fires pretty fast.

On 4/15/2019 at 12:48 PM, Malcolm Kocinski said:

In order to differentiate the four factions

This quote include the net two para.  Just right on.  Again while my tactic of a sniper is the same, the strategy is way different. I really love this AI approach by UBISoft.  This part of eh article is spot on.

So on this UBISoft is better.  I like the diversity.  I like the need to adapt aggressive combat tactics to align with faction strategy.  If you stick your neck out, it will get chopped off.  And for me retreating is a great tactic, they will following you slowly....

On 4/15/2019 at 12:48 PM, Malcolm Kocinski said:

Tactics, traits, and enemy types can make foes more challenging and diverse, but the team also wanted to refresh the moment-to-moment gameplay to make combat more satisfying for players.

[and the next 2 paragraphs]

I kinda disagree here.  Most veteran and above foes can be defeated with range and movement. It's the same tactic applied real time.  Sit still and you die most of the time.  Move and you will eventually take the NPC out.  So here I think the real satisfaction is the end, when all the bad guys are dead.  But then, there is little fanfare...  This could be better.

On 4/15/2019 at 12:48 PM, Malcolm Kocinski said:

Enemy factions weren't the only focus of the AI teams' efforts. They also wanted to revamp the friendly NPCs

OK, I will admit to cheery picking but this is complete BS.  While friendly NPCs are bullet sponges (stupid, stupid, stupid) they also act stupidly.  Take for instance the hammer guy, he needs to smack a NPC 3 to 4 times before the NPC appears hurt. BS.  I got armor and I get hit once and I am almost dead or I am dead.

Let's not forget rescues, once the fight start suddenly the hostage NPCs have pistols, even though the survey of the bad guys shows no pistols.  BS

And and and...

Even though you are a trained fighter, you were just about to be executed - you would rarely join the fight if an avenue of escape presented itself - you would flee.  For the stupid friendly NPCs to get pistols and start fighting is just stupid.  Now have 5 NPCs and start the fight, 1 would grabs a bad NPCs gun that I just killed, and start in, but in cover, backing off. The execution scenario is flawed badly.

[more to come, I am still reviewing, look for edits here - and I am dead tired 😴]

This is a great game, but all games can be improved.

...gene

...gene

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The NPCs Elite & named bosses are Bullet sponges & we become Bullet Magnets. I never seen so many bullets hit me all at once in this game. I been hit by all angles by all side by bullets flying at me. No matter where I go in D.C. a bullet will come out of no where and hit me.

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Gene wrote:

OK, I will admit to cheery picking but this is complete BS.  While friendly NPCs are bullet sponges (stupid, stupid, stupid) they also act stupidly.  Take for instance the hammer guy, he needs to smack a NPC 3 to 4 times before the NPC appears hurt. BS.  I got armor and I get hit once and I am almost dead or I am dead.

I kind of agree with Gene. When I get hit by the hammer guy once or twice I'm dead already. But the friendly NPCs keep on going even they get hit more than 3 or 4 times. I time find this game is a little unfair to all us players. I even find this game set even in normal play can get a little hard on us all times. At times I felt like giving up & not playing this game ever again. I don't mind a little challenge now & then. But not all the time. I wish Ubisoft was more fair to all of us players and not so unfair to us. Now I can see why some players in The Division 1 were using cheats & cheat codes to get through the game in the last Division. Yes they did get ban for cheating and I don't blame them for cheating. If in the new DLC that's coming out next month doesn't make fair changes in this game and makes it harder to play. I just might quit. That's what happen in The Division 1 from this website: https://www.looper.com/71221/games-lost-almost-entire-playerbase-within-months-launch/

Ubisoft's much anticipated online-only open-world third-person shooter The Division launched to critical acclaim in March 2016. By June—only three months later—the game had lost 93 percent of its player-base.

So this could happen again in The Division 2 if Ubisoft doesn't watch out.

 

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On 4/18/2019 at 12:07 AM, Malcolm Kocinski said:

The NPCs Elite & named bosses are Bullet sponges & we become Bullet Magnets. I never seen so many bullets hit me all at once in this game. I been hit by all angles by all side by bullets flying at me. No matter where I go in D.C. a bullet will come out of no where and hit me.

Yeah I know it's funny isn't it . Well it's true or at lease it feels like it.

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