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  1. 1AD7

    Multiboxing

    Per the official Pantheon FAQ: 10.4 Will multi-boxing be allowed in Pantheon? Our reaction to multi-boxing is to try something first before we even entertain the idea of artificially restricting it. We want to make combat, especially mid and higher level combat, so tactically intense, with so much going on, so much to do, so much to counter, so many companions to keep alive and the timing of many abilities crucial, that multi-boxing is extremely difficult if not impossible and likely far inferior to having an actual real person in your group. While VR's official stance does not prohibit multi-boxing, they have made it clear that their planned flow of combat will make it less than ideal. I like to reflect back on my experience with FFXI and how their combat system was highly successful with deterring multi-boxing. XP Chains and Skill Chains both required an extra layer of teamwork and coordination to pull off. In order to be optimally efficient during the grind, groups would usually spend a bit of time working out a pulling strategy and determining which Skill Chains would be used as a part of their combat rotation. These were essentially limited "windows of opportunity" that players were able to utilize to their advantage. Timing, accuracy and positioning were all important factors that contributed toward the tactically intense style of combat that many players enjoyed. It's unlikely that we will see XP Chains in Pantheon, but skill chains may take shape as a form of "synergy" between various classes. Per the Living Codex: Applying a Signet of Synergy to an ability will unlock different class-specific synergy effects that can be used in combination with synergy effects from other classes, sometimes to awesome effect. However, the Primary Scroll ability must be capable of synergy effects, not all will be. We have yet to see this feature in action but it's one of many ways that the style and pace of combat in Pantheon can reinforce the value of having real players in each group slot. Beyond this synergy potential, we can also expect to deal with various forms of intelligent AI, also known as "NPC Dispositions." These NPC's will have a different set of priorities coded into their behavior; some may decide to focus on targeting your back line, some may attempt to call for reinforcements, while others may take on more of a "disruption" role using various forms of calculated CC when certain abilities (triggers) are used. There are plenty of possibilities with how this will shape out, but one thing is for sure ... this will help alleviate the monotony that has been associated with grinding of the past. It also opens up various forms of emergent gameplay where players may purposely bait out certain reactionary behaviors and use them to their advantage. Personally, I'm not against multi-boxing. One of my goals is to build a PC that will be capable of boxing multiple toons so that I can play the market while my primary adventuring character deals with potential downtime. Pantheon is bringing back the importance of social gameplay and there is no better way to do that than provide in-game challenges that are better handled with strong reaction time and attention to detail. I'm not a fan of single players boxing a full group as it goes against many of the tenets that shape the world of Terminus, but there are exceptions to every rule. When you look at the FAQ response to multi-boxing, I think it's safe to say that boxing full groups will be both challenging and inefficient. I look forward to seeing VR's vision for tactically intense combat in action. There has been an active conversation going on surrounding this topic and one of the ideas being tossed around is to disable auto-follow as it would make multi-boxing much more difficult. While I am a fan of features such as XP Chains and Skill Chains because they reward good behavior, I'm not particularly fond of removing the auto-follow feature. If there are enough features/systems that reward skill, timing, accuracy, and overall good teamwork, I think auto-follow is worthy enough of a feature to keep around. When a character is on auto-follow, they aren't really contributing anything significant to their group other than not holding it hostage to a specific area. It's a tool that makes a really big difference when real life happens. Let's say someone in your group needs to take an inopportune break in the middle of a dungeon crawl ... what is the reaction? "No big deal, we'll make it work with what we have and play cautiously until they get back." or "Ugh, now we're stuck here until they get back." Personally, I would rather have the option to play with temporary decreased efficiency than be forced to stop altogether.
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