The Meaning of Life, the Universe, and Everything.
Well, this is a post I've posted on Reddit, in /r/minecraftsuggestions. I've brought here to share my idea with you, and, with a bit of luck, get the interest of some developer(s).
[header=3]Mob AI Overhaul[/header]
Many people has complained about mobs. They're not scary once you're in full iron armor. They're something predictable, and, if you know the basics about lights and materials, you can be sure you won't be attacked and your base will be eternally safe. Mobs wander without a purpose, they don't work together even their objective is the same: to kill you.
One of the best AI updates was when pathfinding evolved. It made mobs less dumb and made them a bit more challenging. Now, in the context of
the combat update, I'd suggest that the mob AI needs to go farther: teamwork. Mobs need to help each other when fighting you, and plan their
moves, not just move randomly. How is it achieved? Making them think as a team. This can achieved in three ways:
The mobs "see" if they have another allies nearby. They can then think together to act, or each mob acts by itself based in the actions of the other mobs and the current situation.
The game issues orders to the mobs present in the loaded chunks around the player, acting as a centralized command
Same as above, but making a mob a leader (witches or evil villagers, maybe?)
As time passes, the tactics of the mobs become more sophisticated. The game could recognize how many times do you tend to die by certain
level of mob AI and balance it in order that the difficulty doesn't increase in excess respect of your skill. Mobs have their roles more or less well defined: zombies are like infantry, skeletons are the archers,spiders are the cavalry, creepers the specialists, witches the magic ones and endermen the builders and specialized infantry (they can teleport). When you start playing, it could be like it is now, that is, random and individual behavior. But, slowly, as time passes, they'll start working together: a skeleton will walk behind a zombie protecting each other, zombies could group before attacking the player and even try different paths to close all possible escape routes. When they're not busy attacking you, they can multiply, making "houses", campaments (to protect them of the sun) or even have fortresses with loot inside, but heavily guarded (this will be specially important in SMP environments).
They can plan sieges on entire bases or villages, try to pass your base walls (using dirt blocks and the help of endermen) and even steal some
precious stuff from your chests! (like weapons, potions and/or armor, not items that are useless to them).
But that would make villages vulnerable. Let's recognize it: villagers are not so that intelligent. They need a better AI too. Their iron guards are a bit slow if a complete horde invades the village. What will happen when creepers start to destroy doors and walls of their houses? They need another form of defense. That form is the guard. The guard is a villager that uses a weapon, it can be a sword, a bow, or, in priest's case, potions. Regular villagers can defend themselves throwing rocks (made from cobblestone) which do little damage. The player can hire the guards for a daily amount of emeralds to become an army under this command, and it could issue them orders like patrol, defend a point, attack, etc. The player commanding a group of guards will be responsible of replacing their equipment and healing them. Villagers can have a building similar to a hospital where the priest can heal the player and wounded villagers, and a bell which serves in case of alarm. And they could have a stonemason villager who helps them expanding and protecting the village: give them stone and wood and he could build (or repair) houses and even fences or walls.
Last, but not least: make the Nether even harder. That place is supposed to be a hell, full of chaos. How can we achieve that? Putting its mobs in constant war. All the mobs in the Nether can belong to a faction. You can ally a faction if you give them some item (like gold), or help them fighting their enemies or healing them. You can only belong to one faction, if you change of faction, your old faction will consider you an enemy. Mobs of your faction will fight mobs from another factions, will be peaceful to you (just make sure of not hurt them!) but will not recognize you as a leader until you've conquered a Nether fortress for you and the faction. Until then, you cannot issue orders for them. If your faction keeps winning their battles, they'll be become stronger, but that also will mean that the counterattacks will become more intense. The mobs of a faction spawn in packs. The Nether
fortresses will be very attractive structures for the factions, it can have some tactical advantages that makes them want to be there. If you
don't belong to any faction, they'll ignore you until a battle between factions starts: in that moment, both factions will become hostile to you (but won't target you exclusively), if you defeat some mob of a faction, the opposite faction will consider your ally. Now try to imagine mobs battling each other: you better watch your step!
That's all guys, hope you like my idea. I know this is not the only idea that needs to be implemented, but I think this could be a excellent idea for making the Minecraft nights scary and challenging again.
Mobs need AI overhaul to work as a team as time passes, even planning sieges to bases and villages
Villages need guard villagers to help in the village defense, they can be hired by the player, and stonemason villagers to help build and repair
Nether mobs need to fight each other for Nether fortresses in opposing factions, that will make the Nether more chaotic
Me too, unfortunately I have limited time and haven't learned how to make Forge mods. So I leave the idea open to more experienced developers, it is a ton of work, I think. But if it is done, I'll be the first person supporting.