Of Monsters and Milletians - Early Monsters Specifics and AIs
Apparently, I lied. I do have backup of that one too, so why stop at reuploading one >.<
Mabinogi started as a rather unforgiving tactical game, in which Skills used worked as a Rock Paper Scissor game, and as such, using the right skill at the right time against the right monster was pretty much the only way to go.
The game has become much more lenient in that regard, although it still works to the player's advantage to know in advance which monster tends to do what in a specific situation. There are a Lot of monsters in Mabinogi, but AI Wise, you could class all those monsters into "Families", which tend to share a similar set of skills and predetermined actions.
This guide is more suited to people who enjoy playing "Chess" with their opponent, plan every move and adapt to changing situations accordingly. You will be the Chessmaster, by knowing the movement range of your opponents, you make them act the way You want.
Before we go straight to monster, we need to briefly mention Aggro. Not all monsters share the same aggroing speed or range, nor even the same aggro pattern. The only way to differenciate them is simply to experiment and observe, however here is a short list with examples of what you can expect. You'll have to forgive me if I use my own vocabulary compared maybe to what is most commonly acknowledged as "the right word for it".
This monster will actively ignore the player's presence until harmed. The least common type of monster, and believe it or not, not actually near starting areas.
-Use : Quite practical when you need to use a fighting skill for training that requires long preparation, and are easy to interrupt, as those monsters will not harm you until it is too late.
-Example : Mongooses (located throughout Maiz prairie and around Filia, Connous) Kiwis (located in Rano's ravines, and a special green one in Cor, Courcle) Armadillos and Porcupines (outside Filia, Connous) Gray, Brown, Country, Snowfield Rats (Be careful, as other Rats are part of the Wary or Aggressive category).
Wary : This monster will notice the player, but will not actively aggro until harmed. Mostly found near starting areas. In some cases, these monsters will aggro upon being aimed at with a ranged weapon (bow/crossbow)
-Use : Similar to Passive, these monsters are commonly used as target practice for skills that require to not be interrupted, or prepared. They are however slightly less practical, as they will circle the player constantly after they have noticed him, which can make aiming specific skills more difficult.
-Example : Foxes (Throughout Ulaidh and Iria, most commonly near towns, though the ones in Iria can be tougher and more scattered. Physis have large herds of them for nearly all regions) Raccoons (Around Dugald Aisle and Tailtean for the most part. Be careful, as the Black Racoons of Dunbarton, as a field Boss are Aggressive), Bats (In most dungeons, with the exceptions of Hardmode dungeons, in which they are Aggressive, and Giant Bats), Buffalos (Courcle).
Defensive : This monster will notice the player, but will aggro only when they go into Combat Mode (default key SPACE), ontop of aggroing when harmed, like any other.
-Use : Limited, this type of monster is actually quite rare, but can be used to train defensive skills, such as Defense and Counter whenever you're prepared, by simply loading the skill and Then going into Combat Mode to trigger the monster's attack. Also useful in order to train Mana Shield.
-Example : Gray Wolves (South of Tir Chonail), Succubus (Rabbie Dungeon)
Aggressive : The bulk of Mabinogi's monster database is located here. This monster will first notice, then aggro the player after a set amount of time. It will aggro faster if the player is in Combat Mode. Like all others, it also automatically aggro if harmed.
-Use : FUN ! These are the monster you specifically need to learn about in order to counter properly.
-Example : The earliest would be all wolves beside Gray, Bears in general, Goblins, Kobolds, and essentially everything inside dungeons and Shadow Missions, aside from examples listed in previous sections.
Mimics : Mimics are special in that they dont aggro upon a set amount of time, and ignore the player Completely until they are activated by touch and attacked.
-Use : Training skills that do not draw aggro, such as Stomp for Giants, Shockwave, Smoke screen... They are generally weak, and can also be used to be attacked safely either to increase proficiency on a shield or armor, or train Critical Hit and Defense, as well as Armor and Shield masteries, or even Mana Shield
-Example : Literally all mimics (Inside Dungeons), Strange Books behave similarly (Ghost of Partholon Shadow Mission).
-Number of Aggro
For the most part, early on, you will deal with Monsters that essentially "duel" you, by going 1v1 against you. Depending on the type of aggro above, they may organize in various ways however, specifically the Aggressive type, as the rest will often keep to a 1v1 basis. Aggressive types are tricky by definition.
Some monsters will actually stay in 1v1, like Werewolves in Fiodh, who will only notice and aggro one at a time. There is an exception to that, in that if you attack a second monster while not having killed the first one, the two of them will aggro you.
-Tactic : Be careful to finish your first fight before picking another. Do not panic and anticipate the second fight, by being ready to repeat what you did with the first one. Use a defensive skill like Counter and Defense after the first monster has died, as it will increases your chances of staying unhindered and give you some early advantage.
Some monsters will actually Notice you while another is already aggroed, and that will be your cue to know that Immediately after you've dealt with the first one, you need to be ready to meet the assault of the second. Wolves do this a lot, as well as Gargoyles later on. They are essentially "Queuing", so you know which one will attack next, which makes it easier to ready for in consequence.
-Tactic : Same as above, do not attempt to attack another before the first have died, even if you've been Noticed. Ready a defensive skill as soon as the first one has died, as these monsters attack Much faster.
And finally, some monsters know no courtesy, and will attack you, even while you're already fighting, this is refered to as Multi Aggro by the playerbase, and the reason many players die early on. Several type of Multi Aggro exist. Some monsters will simply team up with another of the same type, like Poison Goblins in Ciar, and Sprites of Coil. Others will actually be organized in their Aggro, specifically Archers and Mages will always be able to multi aggro with any type of monsters, the earliest thing you will encounter is Goblin Archers in Ciar, teaming up with normal goblins. Likewise Kobolds, of the same family will do the same in Math dungeon. Shadow Archers and Shadow Wizards and Alchemists in Shadow Missions will also act similarly. These will be your first tough challenges, especially if you try fighting them alone.
If grouped with other players : distribute the monsters between party members, this will decrease the likelyhood that an individual player will be ganged on, and increase everyone's survival chance. Focus on Mages and Archers, before you're pinned down by melee monsters.
-If alone : DO NOT PANIC. You Will take hits, so panicking and doing random things will actually make you far less efficient. Limit the amount of hits you're going to take by using Counter and Defense as much as possible. If you know in advance you will face this sort of aggro, equip in consequence, with heavy armor and a shield, to mitigate the damage. This will essentially be a battle of attrition, in which you must last longer than the enemies. If you have an opportunity to deal early strikes before you're completely surrounded, focus on Archers and Mages, as they deal most of the damage, and are harder to dispatch otherwise, use Charge to get quickly in range, if you have it.
Finally, some monsters will actively gang on the player with no apparent limit. You may be simultaneously aggroed by as many as 12 monsters, although you wont face this sort of nightmare early on. There is still a limit of monsters that will go after you, so if you're particularly daring, you can essentially aggro as many as possible, before walking unhindered near monsters of the same type and staying unmolested (Do not risk this early on. Matter of fact, do not risk this at all, as it's a very very specific tactic).
-Monster Non Skill Based Behaviour
These encompass actions taken by monsters that are not actual skills, but part of their AIs, and are often family specific. There are more than initially listed, and I will complete the list accordingly.
Circling : The monster will actually circle around the player while walking, usually in Defense. This makes it harder to Smash them, especially if they walk fast. Most commonly used by Wolves of all types, but also adopted by Bears.
-Tactic : You may want to actually avoid Smashing, especially if you have high latency (delays), and instead keep your Defense or Counter up, to wait for the assault.
Feinting : Yes ! Some monsters will Actively try to deceive you by switching skills at the last moment. It may take the form of simply loading smash before cancelling it and striking normally, loading Defense after getting Knocked Back, only to immediately stand up and rush you to attack, or rush you then stop just in front of you and walk away for a time, before resuming the attack. Most common offenders : Bears(Cancels Defense and Smash), Crag Cows Gorgons and Ratmen (all three use all of the above tricks).
-Tactic : The monster does so to get you to Cancel your Defensive skill before attacking them, either normally or with Smash, at which point they will attack in turn, and most assuredly hit you. Therefore keep your Defensive skills up.
Flanking : To a degree, a large amount of monsters will do so, that is instead of coming directly in a straight line to attack (both melee and range attack) the monster will take a curve to strike you on the side. In which case, directional skills such as Lightning Rod, Focused Fist, Barrier spikes or Flameburst may fail to reach. The faster the monster is (read distance covered in average per second) the wider his angle is likely to be, with monsters such as Shadow Fighters and Shadow Lancers occasionally circling all around you to attack from the rear. This put an alchemist who uses Barrier Spikes in jeopardy if you didn't cover your flank efficiently.
-Tactic : Melee have it more easy, as Defense, Counter and Windmill will still trigger. Fighters should take the offensive back, by using Charging Strike (an Targeted skill) to home in on the flanking enemy before they're reached. All ranged attacks, including magic and alchemy may interrupt the flanking manoeuver with a single hit of whatever attack they prefer, prompting the enemy to charge in a straight line, from which point the use of directional skill become more predictable.
Should you be using barrier spikes, arrange their position so that you either have all flanks and rear covered (3 barrier made into a triangle around the user) or use existing barriers (walls, trees, obstacles in general) to cover your flanks. Putting a single barrier at an angle in the corner of a dungeon room is generally sufficient to keep you safe. (I'll provide a video for such positions in a bit)
Staring : The monster will essentially load either Smash or Defense and slowly walk up to the player. If Smash was loaded, expect the monster to use it after a short delay (this delay starts after they have Loaded the skill, not after they've reached the player). Most commonly used by Goblins of all sorts, Bandits and Shadow Fighters/Warriors among others.
-Tactic : This "scare" tactic is supposed to give the player time to try and take the monster down before it has reached them. If you can time it well, you may attack with a Smash (against enemy Defense) or normal attacks (against enemy Smash) with relative safety
Fleeing : Bird-like monsters (such as Kiwis) will indulge in this very often, to your constant frustration, as this makes it very hard for you to continue your assault. The monster will constantly run away from you, without trying to attack you in any way. The most known offenders are Kiwis in Iria.
-Tactic : Force their aggro by using a ranged attack or magic, being hit Once by Anything is a sure way for any monster to attack normally whoever attacked it, which in turns makes it easier for you to Counter them, to deal further damage.
Retreat : Mages and Archers are very fond of this, as they will try to keep their distance away from you, in order to line up more shots, and essentially ruin your day. Compared to the above Fleeing, these monsters will stop to fire at you, which makes them not only frustrating but dangerous.
-Tactic : Abuse Charge against them, to quickly close the distance. Focus on them until dead.
Feigned Attack : Rare, but occurs. The monster will attack you without aggro, generally only once, to make you try to attack them in turn, and doing so aggro them for real. Gargoyles will indulge in this very often. Succubuses are the only Defensive monster to indulge in this.
-Tactic : If already aggroed (Gargoyles), keep your cool and finish the first one first, even if you must take several hits, several gargoyles are hard to deal with. If you're not already aggroed (Succubus) feel free to indulge in your sudden outburst of rage and reciprocate with a hard felt Windmill or normal attack.
-Monsters with Equipment
Maybe you may have noticed some monsters appear to have weapons equipped, weapons that players can use, specifically. That would include Goblins' axes, Skeletons Broad sticks and Longswords and Gargoyle's Machetes and Gargoyle's Swords. That also include monsters with weapons players cannot access, such as Shadow Fighters, Lancers Warriors and Commanders or Ogre Warriors.
This detail is not just graphic actually, and has various effects in Combat, that as a player you need to watch out for.
Increased criticals : Most monsters with a weapon equipped will actually hit in critical hits much more often than a monster who does not, which early on tend to translate as an early death, for whoever doesn't have the required protection defense and health to mitigate the strong increase in damage.
-Tactic : First and foremost, have some good armor and/or a shield, to make sure you can take a few hits just in case. When you're confident you can take that damage without, do as you fancy equipment wise. Secondly, these monsters tend to be very prone to dealing more damage than they can take, namely a well placed Counter (which uses a fraction of their damage) will have a great effect against them. Counter will also ensure you completely cancel out the possibility of taking a crit yourself.
Splash Damage : What is refered to as Splash Damage is the tendency to hit nearby opponents next to the Target when you attack. Players have access to it, with specific weapons, but so do monsters. This may be a problem if two players stand close to each other, and a monster by attacking one also stun and damage the second (who might have been preparing a skill). However, there are ways to turn this to your advantage tactic wise.
-Tactic : If you're the target, Countering or Defending will negate the Splash for yourself and your allies. If however the target is a partymember next to you, Defense will only protect You from the splash (it will however stun the monster, and allow your ally to strike back). If you however decide to Counter instead, you will negate the damage for your ally as well. This is called Counter Stacking, where a player essentially Counter a splashing enemy for his ally. It's quite helpful if your ally either has his Counter in cooldown, or is loading a slow skill (like magic).
Note : Be aware that Counter Stacking can Also be used against you by monsters, if you strike one monster next to another, if your weapon splashes, you may get Countered by a monster next to your original target. Splash is mostly dealt from the side and in front of your original target, and not behind. So you can avoid this by positioning yourself such that the Countering monster is behind your actual target.
Likewise, a monster shown with a shield actually gets bonuses that are shield specific because of it. Enemies with Shields include some Melee Goblins and Kobolds found in Dungeons, Shadow Fighters Warriors and Commanders (in Shadow Missions) and their Bone counterparts. The most noticeable problem this cause is for Archers, specifically when they use Magnum Shot.
Magnum Shot works like a Smash at range, by knocking the enemy away in one shot. It however doesn't work Strictly like Smash, in that Defense with a Shield will actually Block the shot entirely, and cause the monster to rush at you, only having been slightly delayed (not even stunned).
-Tactic : You must carefully time your Magnum Shot to fire when the monster is Not using Defense, or work in Tandem with a friend that will Trigger the monster's Defense on purpose for you to shoot, by attacking it with something else.