TSW: On the Believability of Mobs

Draug watching, like Baywatch, only much more gruesome...

One of the things I’ll say for Funcom, they really know how to set up their mobs for immersiveness.

Even in Age of Conan, I was especially taken with the way a pack of wolves would be feeding on a kill (before you ignobly interrupt them by walking by) or how a whole family of lion, lioness and cubs would be patroling around their territory (the same functional threat could be executed with a pack of identically skinned hyenas, or even lionesses, so why bother to model male, female and babies?)

More so than other MMOs, it seems to me, they don’t mind placing these things to make sense, rather than follow an “accessibility” or design rule that says, mobs or clumps of mobs must be spaced out at regular intervals, and all roads must be kept clear, yadda yadda.

While it makes their zones potentially more treacherous, it comes across as very believable.

The Secret World is no exception.

Clumps of zombies feed on corpses. Corpses you think are corpses will get up and vicously raven all over you.

Wendigos lay traps and ambushes for unwary travelers, yes, even along roads or paths.

Everybody knows the Ak’ab shuffle dance (step to the left! turn around! step to the right! turn again!)  and the layout of their burrows by now, no doubt. Broodmarks slow their prey along the outskirts, where hunters will come to check on them. Sentries surround their burrows, while groups of their young scurry about. And right smack in the center, their royal burrow and queen awaits. By showing, and not just outright telling, you easily understand that Ak’ab are bugs, of a very annoying kind.

Recently, I spent a good half an hour watching Draug in Blue Mountain (thanks to a ‘kill lots of them’ quest) and I was amazed at how I failed to take note of what they were up to in Kingsmouth and the Savage Coast (I always gave them a pretty wide berth, especially all the areas with brood pods and tons of incubators.)

Incubators. They’re human-sized, with a brood pod-y growth lanced through their stomachs and out their backs. In other words, they were probably humans once. Hopefully taken from dead ones, but who knows, the horror of it could be that they were still alive when the Draug got hold of them.

If you give them some unmolested time, they reach a stage of their development that makes them do this.

They squat down and… metamorphose into this.

OMG. Through all of Solomon Island, I’ve been shooting dozens and dozens of these brood pods to stop Draug from hatching out of them, but it wasn’t until I watched the entire incubator cycle that it really hit me where the hell these brood pods COME FROM.

Again, if you leave the brood pods unmolested for a time, they will promptly hatch (or is the correct term ‘emerge’ from their pupal stage) into full ‘adult’ Draug, indistinguishable from the maulers and broodwitches and so on that hang around the beach.

And of course, which most people have experience with by now, the brood pods will react to your presence (or attack) by attempting speed hatching. Destroy them fast enough and a dead newlyformed Draug something will fall out of the ‘cocoon.’

If not, then a weaker in hp version, prefixed by the words Newly Formed, Draug will pop right out and start attacking you in self-defense.

Now isn’t that a whole lot more interesting a cycle than a mob with a differently-colored skin just appearing out of nowhere and pacing all of six inches from where they spawned in?

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7 thoughts on “TSW: On the Believability of Mobs

  1. dataferret says:

    “until I watched the entire incubator cycle that it really hit me where the hell these brood pods COME FROM.” …

    …and where do the incubators come from….

  2. Jeromai says:

    People, I’d assume. Plenty of missing citizens on Solomon Island. If I come across a mission or something that actually demonstrates it, I’ll happily screenshot it.

    Don’t get me wrong, a lot of these mobs still respawn and such. If I go hog wild killing normal Draug, they will likely respawn rather than go via this brood pod process. Simulating the system for real is a good way to have it break down in the face of player crowds.

    But I’m commenting on the verisimilitude of the small details they throw in to explain the lore and origins of the mobs.

    • dataferret says:

      I was just alluding to there being more when you go further out in the water. I think I saw broodwitches create the incubators from what you suggest. Or maybe it was my imagination.

  3. Jeromai says:

    Cool, time to go swimming when I find the time to log into TSW again!

    • Chris K. says:

      Dataferret is correct, deeper into the waters the Witches will transform the generic zombies (Drowned mariners etc.) into incubators.

  4. [...] found the Brood-Witches creating Incubators! From zombies, so I guess the Draug life cycle is slightly more complicated. The question now is, what made the zombies? The fog? The [...]

  5. [...] see and adds a special something to the game environment, Jeromai had an earlier article about the believability of mobs detailing how much he adored the lovely life cycle of the Draug, in rift I loved how the different [...]

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