Any changes planned for combat will always be a hotly debated topic. We promised we would be open and transparent when we started working on this area of the game, and in turn we wanted to present this design thread in full in order to start a constructive discussion with all of you. We will be hosting live Q&A’s on our Twitch channel, testing changes with you on our Public Test Server, and using your feedback to help shape this expansion on Rise of Agon’s combat and diversity. In order to foster real discussions on this upcoming expansion, we will be moderating this thread. Please do not troll or engage in toxic behavior as offenders may lose their posting privileges, and we do not wish to have to restrict users from posting, seeing how important of a topic this is. Rise of Agon’s combat system will evolve to a future where there is real diversity and viable options for specialization and it will happen in two basic stages: Stage 1: Balance Changes Leading into Combat Paths We have a series of combat balance changes designed to create a baseline that will lead into the upcoming Combat Paths (formerly referred to as Perks). The focus here is to get magic schools balanced against each other so each one can stand on its own with a standard compliment of spells for each high-end magic school (Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Arcane & Necromancy). Each school will be split between standard mage skills along with unique spell differences between each school. In addition we plan to balance out archery and melee so that they can stand on their own and will be adding in new abilities for these playstyles. Balancing Schools and Protections To prepare for Combat Paths to specialize one’s character we will need to balance out spell schools to be equal. This will be achieved by creating a basic complement of spells for all high-end schools. We will also normalize all Armor magical protections to be the same across the board. Basic spells of the same type in the various schools will be made equal in terms of speed, missile size, AoE, health/HP/mana damage on spells, etc. Each magic school will still maintain a unique flavor but will be balanced so that there is standard damages and stats on basic abilities. In order to balance Magic against Archery and Melee disables we will also introduce a “Disabling Bolt” ability. Basic Spell Complement Each Elemental school of magic along with the schools of Arcane and Necromancy will each contain a basic complement of spells. Each school will contain a bolt, ray, small AoE damage (ex: Fireball), large AoE damage (ex: Exploding Charge), field AoE (ex: Acid Rain) and an artillery (ex: Magma) spell. Each magic school will, in addition to the standard spells, get several unique spells such as Wall of Force, Earthquake, drains etc and some standard spells will have slightly different effects. In doing this we will be changing the global cooldown to be 100% of a spell cooldown instead of the current 50% and adjusting spell cooldowns accordingly to maintain current rate of fire on these spells. This will mean that you will only need 1 ray, 1 R50 nuke, 1 R75 field AoE, etc which will cut down on unnecessary bindings and leveling while providing an easier transition into the game for newer players. Reagent Conformity To make specialized characters more attractive and spells more intuitive we will be normalizing all the reagent costs on spell schools to be thematic: Air: Mandrake Earth: Resin Water: Nacre Fire: Sulfur Witchcraft and Necromancy: Bone Spell Chanting and Arcane: Ashes All spell reagent costs will be normalized on the vendor and all spells from a specific school will have the reagent cost converted to its thematic reagent for the spell school. Take sulfur to cast fire magic, take ash to cast spell chanting/arcane, etc. This will allow for simpler gear bags and varying demand for reagents based on player’s using those specialized schools. As an example if you choose to heavily spec as a fire and water mage, you may only need sulfur and nacre to cast everything you typically use in your arsenal. ***Note - we made all reagents cost the same in a small patch today*** Cannibalization of Greater Magic Due to a few factors including the Reagent Conformity changes above, along with a desire for a reagent-free gameplay option for melee/archery focused players, we will be removing Greater Magic. The spells that currently reside in this school will be split between other magic schools. Staff Damage Formula In order for there to be a real advantage to slow staves we will be modifying the spell formula. The effect of staff magnitude is too minor and why fast staves are currently always king. To address this we will be making it more impactful to use a higher magnitude staff and lowering base damage. This will result in fast staves being a pressure based playstyle and slow casting staves a heavy hitting more strategic playstyle. Combat Pace and Time-To-Kill In order to keep a fast pace of combat but increase time to kill so fights are not over in a few seconds in some cases there are a few changes planned. First is to increase armor protections, which will lower damage received and adds more value to gear, while making naked players weaker. Second will be a general lowering and balancing of damage from all sources to set a baseline which combat paths will add to. Removing Buffs and Buff Others Due to their overuse in the game and the felt requirement to always have them on we are removing all buff other and self buffs from PvP. We plan to have PvE related buffs in some fashion through the Combat Paths as specialty support playstyles. We feel this will refocus the game to combat instead of always worrying to keep buffs on or get them active prior to an engagement. It is also going to increase the value of enchants which will be very beneficial as we are adding in additional enchants as well as balancing the existing ones in the future. Racial Bloodlines We are not happy with the way the current implementation of racial passives has turned out and feel it encourages only specific playstyles. It also is not satisfactory that it creates “crafter races”. To improve this we will be replacing current racial passives with multiple “bloodlines” for each race to choose from. These will be a group of racial abilities and no crafting related bonuses will be included. There will be at least 3 per race you can choose from on character creation and will become a permanent part of your character similar to race/gender selection. Archery and Melee Specs We want to test how adding in new specializations will work and will be adding 2 new ones as a test before the official paths go in: “Powershot” and “Heavy Handed” (names may be changed). These will be separate for archery and melee and will give a straight damage bonus to all archery or melee hits. We may outright remove Mage-Killer and Destroyer’s staff-out only bonus when we go to the path system but their ultimate fates will be finalized as we move closer to implementation. Archery Skills and Ammo To help archery become a more complete playstyle we will be adding in new archery skills and new ammo types. Most of these abilities will focus on single targets along with a small AoE ability. Arrow shots with virtually no arc, poison/bleeds and a blind ability are all on the table as well. We will provide much more details on specific skills that will be available closer to implementation. Tying Staff Magnitude to Secondary Effects In order for a slow casting, heavy hitting playstyle to be viable we feel that they need more than just a little higher damage. To this end we will be linking secondary stats from spells to magnitude. This includes stats such as AoE size, size and pull of Wall of Force, effect of blinds, etc. This is not planned to be a massive effect difference but more of a minor one to bolster the heavy hitting staves without imbalancing the weaker ones. Stage 2: Combat Paths The main system that will drive the large amount of character diversity options we want players to have the freedom to choose will be through Combat Paths. There will be multiple levels of specialization that players can go into, and as you go deeper down one path negatives to others may come as counterbalance. Players will have a limited number of points available for path distribution, and higher levels of specialization may contain negative offsets to balance their benefits. There will also be options for Hybrids having lots of utility and average ability of all forms of combat from melee, archery and spell casting. For a hypothetical example, if you go all the way into the highest tiers of the magic path you may lose melee and archery related abilities such as Whirlwind, Disable Shot or Rage. If you went all the way into the melee or archery paths you may lose out on the ability to use certain magic schools or higher-end magic abilities. Primary Paths We plan to have 3 primary paths that players can choose to sink their points into, each having a wide assortment of specializations. The names of each are working titles and may change: Melee The specializations associated with the path of Melee will focus primarily on physical attributes. Increased melee damage, more defense and higher health, strength and vitality will be the kind of benefits provided by these specializations. Getting in close to an enemy to stick a blade into them or shrugging off damage with superior health and armor are examples of the playstyles this path will support. You may not place a focus on your ranged combat, but when you get up close and personal your skillset shines. Archery This path focuses on dexterity and quickness specializations that support swift movements, precise actions, and more agility focused archery skills. It will include high single target DPS and a few small utility and AoE abilities. The archery path support this very high twitch playstyle that relies on landing hits on your enemy and pressuring them to make mistakes from afar. Magic All magic, spells and arcane based abilities/schools will be the focus of the Magic path. It will provide high utility, high damage, and low physical defense spells but will have a big dependency on a player’s mana pool. These characters focus on controlling both themselves and their enemy, keeping their enemy off balance and assaulting their senses through blinds, movements and other advantages. This will be a complex playstyle with a great deal of skills/spells and strategic choices at your disposal but also the most frail to direct physical damage. They will also be the most adept at damaging multiple players at range. Hybrid Paths There is no set name for these combination paths but they will require points from multiple primary paths. There will be 4 hybrid paths of specializations that will have requirements from 2 or 3 of the main paths. These specializations will come in two different groups. The first group will be specializations that require a certain number of points from multiple paths to unlock. The second group of specializations will require only points from one path or another. For example there will be some perks that either melee or archers can take which will be beneficial to both. Below are some examples of how these hybrids will function: Melee/Archery/Magic Jack of all trades - master of none. This is the ultimate hybrid, able to use every playstyle. This playstyle will sacrifice the raw power of some specialization into any specific path in exchange for maximum adaptability and utility. Your tools may not be as powerful as someone who even moderately specializes but you will have access to the most tools in the game simultaneously. Melee/Magic This path will be a “battle mage" kind of style and will contain the ability to offset metal/leather armor magic encumbrance playing a big part of this playstyle. Sacrificing the high amount of magnitude and utility will allow magic focused players to be a kind of “spell sword" or “armored mage”. They will be a heavy hybrid that will focus on using magic to support them but be moderately melee proficient as well. There are plans for support style specializations as well that will support “paladin” or “monk” styles of play. Melee/Archery This will be a melee/archery hybrid with moderate proficiency in both styles. There will be assassin style specializations down this path as well as several options varying from archery to melee focused. Users will give up some of both the heavy melee/armored benefits and ranged/quickness benefits of the primary paths. In exchange there will be a “heavy archer" style of play where players can do moderate ranged damage but have higher defense allowing them to engage and finish in melee as well. There will also be an assassin style of play with quiet attacks, bonus back/knife damage and a lighter armor. Archery/Magic This will be an almost exclusively ranged based playstyle with magic supporting high archery DPS. This will play out like an “arcane archer" style with the high utility and battle control from magic at a moderate level and a moderate high DPS of archery. This playstyle will have a lot of strategic and complex choices as well as a high number of skills and abilities to choose from. It will have the ability to be more armored than a mage to provide more protection from hits but will struggle in close quarters against heavy melee focused players. Weakening opponents and finishing them will be easy at range with both high single target DPS and the AoE capability of magic at your disposal.