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Combat Paths - A New Era of Combat

Discussion in 'Design Discussions' started by MWTaylor, Apr 24, 2018.

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  1. MWTaylor

    MWTaylor Community Manager
    Staff Member BPG Representative Game Designer

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    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.
     
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    #1 MWTaylor, Apr 24, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2018
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  2. NonFactor

    NonFactor Forest Golem
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    add everything said above and balance shit is a tough task. really curious to see that rolling..
     
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  3. negocromn

    negocromn Black Knight
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    I like it. Hope you don't increase TTK too much tho.

    Oh, and remove all the current specs before building the new system.
     
    #3 negocromn, Apr 24, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2018
  4. The Red King

    The Red King Black Knight
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    First is I am afraid the 100% cool down - New Dawn did this and it was lame - made combat stale that you only used 5 spells. Bad decision.

    Love the staff changes

    Dont go too far lower on the TTK 3% - 10% MAX lower than what we have now would be perfect - and its mainly just melee.

    Removing buff others - blah - I would just make them last forever - more shit to grind for for more enchants is blah.....

    Love the racial changes - you can leave them how they are now just let everyone pick what they want regardless of the race = win!

    Love the new archery shots - dont make the AOE huge like salvo

    Secondary effects with staff - fuck this - get that New Dawn shit out of here please - hated it

    Once again with the combat paths you are following New Dawn - that game died in 3 weeks - keep the game fun - which is multiple things and fast action. Watch a good Df video - keep combat amazing like that - you are going down New Dawn road - DONT - Dead End - Keep Away

    Once again the combat paths = New Dawn - STay Away!

    The hybrid should be exactly what we have now - make dedicated casters stronger than what we have now - minus the overall TTK that you will do

    After reading your styles - I want UW back - it was better than how this reads on paper.
     
    #4 The Red King, Apr 25, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2018
  5. Sero

    Sero Gnoll Vilegaunt
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    No. This is too much. You are already altering magnitude to damage, that should be enough to distinguish playstyles. This kills staff choice and immediately makes high magnitude staves the only options, as well as destroying noobs ability to be relevant in any fight.

    For reference, take a look at new dawn. People cast WoFs the size of (I shit you fucking not) rats.



    Why? What are we talking about here? Did we not learn from unholy wars and how terrible of an idea this was? STAT POOLS SHOULD BE NORMALIZED ACROSS THE BOARD.

    The rest of stage 2 actually hurts me. Stage 1 is literally almost enough to fix the issue. First off, there will be no Archer/Magic specialization lmfao. It will be only melee/archer or melee/magic. There will be no single school specialization either. The meta will always be melee with a range ability.

    The idea with combat changes should be specializations of magic schools with slight damage bonuses, specialization of melee/archery with slight damage bonus. Anything else is too convoluted and thinking too far ahead to not turn into the biggest heap of combat shitfest we've ever seen.

    Stage 1 is mostly ok.
    Stage 2 is a "HOLD THE FUCKING PHONE" from me.
     
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    #5 Sero, Apr 25, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2018
  6. kinglear

    kinglear Black Knight

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    I'm going to dissect this post and give my personal first reactions on everything, will update this post as changes are made and more information is given out by BPG

    I'd like to first focus on this piece right here. I understand that you want all elemental schools to be viable, but I also wish that you guys would look into balancing different schools to have different jobs. For example, a school which did slightly more damage but was more costly stat-wise to pursue would give a different playstyle, a DPS cannon that will eventually run out of fuel against opponents that play smarter, not harder. On the opposite hand, a school that gave more long-term benefits at the cost of raw DPS would be a cool change. An example being water, if instead of knock ups (which are currently mostly related to fire) would instead cost less and give a slight movement speed slow on enemies, giving variation but still viability if balanced.

    I do like the idea of adding things that are already in other schools to the schools that need them, but I still hold the position of adding variation to keep the decisions fresh.

    If you guys are able to pull this off then I think it would be an interesting change, but I think that this could make the patch actual aids if done incorrectly. To be completely honest, I think it'll likely come down to either fast staves or slow staves, with anything inbetween and the other being hot garbage and considered terrible and unusable. As well, I would like a way to limit the amount of staves a player can use to prevent a player from constantly switching between the two in order to blend your vision into what just becomes a highly abused system.

    I think this is universally accepted as a good idea, I am very happy that TTK is getting raised. I also hope that this creates more playstyles that are viable.

    I like this, it will add variety and potentially spice up combat, although I feel like there will end up being one bloodline per race that each player is going to pick or be unviable.

    I would really suggest that you NOT add more ammo types as that's actually going to give every archer aids, and I really don't know how I feel about you adding a bunch of bow abilities, I honestly don't think you guys will pull this off the way you need to in order for this to not be either aids or underpowered, but I stand to be corrected.

    I really hope that you guys take a look at not implementing this, or making this extremely minor to a point its not worth implementing. This will either lead to nerfing mages to a point where everybody picks up a bow or buffing mages to a point where everybody puts down a bow, there's really no inbetween, you either nerf things unless you have top gear which kills the mage, or you buff things which kills the game as mages fucking nail your coffin shut.

    litterally delete this half of the post and you have a good update! if you put this into the game then I'll see you all in the next life because this game is going the route of new dawn!

    All in all, I think that a lot of your changes don't need to be implemented, and are being implemented just for the sake of changing things up, not for balancing the game, which will actually lead to a worse combat experience and hurt the part of the game we all love. The parts that I did enjoy mostly rely on you guys listening to player feedback and successfully sorting out what is OP and preventing it from running the game.

    Overall, these are all great changes if you hate all of us and want absolution and the horde to come back from new dawn
     
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    #6 kinglear, Apr 25, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2018
  7. Rhulvir

    Rhulvir Goblin Shaman

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    Haven't read yet but love it already.

    edit: Read it, now I love it even more. <3
     
    #7 Rhulvir, Apr 25, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2018
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  8. Oresmacker

    Oresmacker Obsidian Golem
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    @TyteDaddyTite hurry up and ask for a broom specialization before it’s to late!
     
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  9. Kilset

    Kilset Black Knight
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    was nice knowing you df
     
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  10. Bartlebe

    Bartlebe Chosen of Khamset
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    Huge, game changing ideas here. Reserving judgement because it wont be easy to do right. I like the intention though. Cautiously excited. Always liked the idea of specialization.
     
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  11. onslaught

    onslaught Black Knight
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    holy shit


    I like the ideas but like has been said before it will be tough to balance everything (not impossible). I think it is a necessary change though for the game to attract more people.
     
  12. Sintan

    Sintan Black Knight
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    There are six elemental schools? Earth, Air, Fire, Water, ? , ? ?
     
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    #12 Sintan, Apr 25, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2018
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  13. Inositol

    Inositol Obsidian Golem
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    Yikes
     
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  14. ijharb

    ijharb Celestial
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    this is going to be a nightmare to balance. gg
     
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  15. Korag

    Korag Evil Eye
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    Positives and negatives here, I like most of it though. Being able to pure archer excites me if you can make it work.
     
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  16. Nat

    Nat Shadow Knight
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    ehhhhhh
     
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  17. Bartlebe

    Bartlebe Chosen of Khamset
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    That's what i'm afraid of. These kinds of systems are never, ever well balanced. Too many factors to juggle.
     
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  18. Kilset

    Kilset Black Knight
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    btw if you guys wanna know what were in for go ahead and take a peak at DF: ND vids ;)
     
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  19. Atticus Killbane

    Atticus Killbane Goblin Shaman
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    I like the changed to magic, especially the slow/high damage and fast/high pressure play styles. Can see people carrying/binding 2 sets of staves to compensate for both.

    Kind of getting a slight UW vibe from the rest of the changes while still being sandboxy.

    As long as it's balanced more than it is now I think people will be happy.

    Thanks for the transparency
     
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  20. splatterman

    splatterman Goblin Warlord
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    i love the pvp combat already exist im afraid about this change
     
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