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Combat Paths - Adding Clarity to the Discussion

Discussion in 'Design Discussions' started by MWTaylor, Apr 27, 2018.

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  1. MWTaylor

    MWTaylor Community Manager
    Staff Member BPG Representative Game Designer

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    Earlier this week we released a design discussion to present an overview of what we call Combat Paths (previously known as the Character Perk System). This is an upcoming expansion on the specialization system of Rise of Agon.

    “Stage 1” laid out initial changes to combat, such as spell school balancing and staff formula changes, which aim to create a solid baseline for this update. You can read Stage 1 below:

    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” was meant to give a glimpse of what we call “Combat Paths”, but after reading through initial responses we realized that Stage 2 was creating a lot of confusion. In order to add clarity to what it entails we are presenting this follow-up discussion we hope provides a better understanding.

    Adding Diversity

    Combat Paths is an expansion on Rise of Agon’s combat system. It is not an implementation of a new class system or a limitation to a handful number of skills, but increases and diversifies the amount and type of passives/choices/specializations available to players. To give you a visual, think of Combat Paths as a Skill Tree. You have many different options to choose from, and how you build your character is entirely up to you.

    To see some of what we aim to accomplish you can look at the current specialization system in-game - this includes in-game specializations like “Destroyer” or “Indestructible”. We plan to add many more of these kind of specializations and balance/redistribute the specializations currently in-game. These will provide small to moderate passive bonuses, some with drawbacks (similar to Destroyer) and even others that may unlock a single spell/ability.

    The goal is to provide a diverse set of paths that cater to many playstyles, from those who enjoy firing off arrows with a bow to others who love the utility magic provides. The choices you make will be set up and shown in an intuitive and easy-to-use system. These combat paths, however, will be balanced so that player skill remains the driving factor in engagements.

    Point Allocation and “Combat Paths”

    We feel a lot of confusion in our prior post came from the discussion itself of “Combat Paths”. The primary paths we referenced were Melee, Archery and Magic, and when we talked about “Hybrid Paths” we listed common playstyle names such as “Paladin”, “Battle Mage”, etc.

    Players will not be picking the “Paladin” or “Battle Mage” specialization, but rather a selection of choices/nodes that cater to a playstyle they like. The choice of what specializations you activate, or if you activate any at all, is up to the character itself.

    Players will have a limited amount of points that they can allocate between the primary paths, and as you go further down one (or more) paths more powerful combinations unlock. The point allocation a character makes can be changed after a certain amount of time out of combat, by interacting with an NPC, or by other means up for discussion. It is not something we wish to put a grind behind or a cost that hurts new or casual players.

    This point allocation is there to provide balance. If someone wanted to replicate what “Destroyer” provides currently in-game they would allocate their points primarily, if not fully, into the Melee path. This would unlock configurations that increase melee damage but, if you go too far down that path, may restrict Elemental magic.

    The exact passives/specializations/new abilities that are being added have not been finalized, and when we do have a final draft it will most certainly be presented for everyone to see. In the meantime we will continue to answer questions you may have and look forward to the discussion.
     
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  2. Sero

    Sero Gnoll Vilegaunt
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    Hint: New Dawn did this, didn't work out too good.

    As for stage 2, I'll reserve further judgement till numbers and more details are brought to the table.
     
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  3. Scrubby Bear

    Scrubby Bear Eodrin
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    I still don't like some of this. You guys don't get it. Destroyer ISN"T JUST MELEE. Destroyer is also mage killer (usually, sometimes mage hunter).
    In order to properly replicate a destroyer you would need more ranged damage as well.

    This isn't a game that will do well with only ranged or only melee. It needs to be both. It really does.

    You cannot control the terrain that fights take place on. Because of this by making melee and ranged only you will end up with people being super gimped or super OP just because they are playing X spec on X terrain. That isn't good game play. It wasn't good in UW and it won't be good here.
     
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  4. Kilset

    Kilset Black Knight
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    Damn so if you put all your points to get the 40% dmg increase in melee (Destroyer) you're completely gimped range?
    No more points for the 20% dmg increase to ranged? (Mage Killer)
    Does this even make sense?
     
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  5. MADtheMADDEST

    MADtheMADDEST Competition Winner
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    You can go down the archery path with 1 point and melee path with 2 points.......duh
     
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  6. The Red King

    The Red King Black Knight
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    Hated this so much - only part of stage 1 I dislike
     
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  7. Scrubby Bear

    Scrubby Bear Eodrin
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    He said you would need to put all if not most of your points into melee just to get a destroyer like bonus.
     
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  8. smoody

    smoody Dire Zombie

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    Don't remove destro
     
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  9. Zeb

    Zeb Infernal
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    are you guys going to take currently freely available spells/abilities and hide them in specializations?
    A worry, that you will take utility, defensive spells such as Confusion or stormblast and hide them in a mage specific specilization..
    Or even spells like Wall of force, I fear you would put that in a almost Pure Mage spec only available if you dedicate your playstyle to being a mage..


    I understand adding playstyles, but if locking spells to only certain specializations.. What you are creating is a divide in capabilities of groups of players.. Certain group makeups will win vs other group makeups.. Rock paper scissors style.
     
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  10. Sero

    Sero Gnoll Vilegaunt
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    If they don't know this by now, we might as well pack it up.
     
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  11. kilrain

    kilrain Shadow Knight
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    Not necessarily, no. These are just examples to get an idea from the current specs. Something akin to a mage killer / destroyer combo would be a "hybrid" path that Andrew wrote out in the previous post where you take a combination of ranged and melee. If you went 100% full into melee there would likely be something completely new.
     
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  12. Scrubby Bear

    Scrubby Bear Eodrin
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    Please make ranged and melee separate branches that have mandatory spending requirements. Do not let people stack all points into one. This will help avoid a lot of paper rock scissors balance and game play issues.
     
  13. Isaac Clarke

    Isaac Clarke Chosen of Khamset
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    Can't wait to run into rock when I'm specced scissors
     
  14. Umberto

    Umberto Spellgazer
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    We're flexible. If a change doesn't work out on the PTS, we can always revert.

    For the most part, no. Spells like Confusion and Stormblast would still be available for everyone.

    What is a possibility is adding spell enhancements to the Skill Trees/Combat Paths. For example, everyone could have access to the Explosion spell, but a player may decide to allocate points to acquire additional effects for that spell. Perhaps Explosion no longer damages that player, and does 15% more damage. This is just an example, but hopefully it gives you an idea of what we're going for.
     
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  15. Sero

    Sero Gnoll Vilegaunt
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    Yea it's guna be lots of fun losing 100k bags to this shit.
     
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  16. The Red King

    The Red King Black Knight
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    The hybrid should be exactly as it is now. This way us who love to play hybrid can still have our combat. Balance all new "specs" to what we currently have minus the overall 5% damage to help TTK.
     
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  17. Umberto

    Umberto Spellgazer
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    We certainly intend for hybrid to be viable. It'll be a balancing act, but our goal is to reward many different playstyles. Not only those who invest heavily into one path.
     
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  18. Grimtide

    Grimtide Evil Eye
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    Thanks for the clarification. I look forward to further details (actual numbers) and testing this out on pts. I think secondary effects tied to staff magnitude will be broken, dont like it. I also am not sure on global cool down change.
     
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  19. ijharb

    ijharb Celestial
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    The second I read that i knew its a shit idea. that needs to be rethought.
     
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  20. Andrew

    Andrew Obsidian Golem
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    This is one piece of stage one that is a question mark we agree but is something we want to playtest as we feel it will add to a slower more powerful casting style. If added this wouldn't be a huge difference, moreso a 5-10% kind of minor difference between .01 and 1.0 staves. This would likely be a bonus for high damage staves not a negative to fast staves so fast staves would retain current effects. Like anything on our combat roadmap if it doesn't pan out as intended or feel good/balanced we'll tweak it to get it right or simply remove it if needed.
    --- Post updated ---
    We completely understand this, please don't take our attempts at clarifying the deeper specs that we don't. The greatness of the game's combat comes from the flow of combat and transitions between ranged forms and melee as well as magical utility for skillful movement in combat. None of the true core combat fundamentals should change really with this new system. We enjoy the combat fundamentals and want to add diversity/options to it.
    --- Post updated ---
    The idea is you still get rock(melee), paper(magic) and scissors(archery) and your effectiveness with each you choose with specs. Everyone will start with most things and there will likely be drawbacks or potentially lockouts of some abilities only if you spec really heavily similar to destroyer giving you great melee effectiveness but removing high end magic. The focus will primarily be a bonus to one style with negatives to another but only the more powerful deep specs will likely contain any potential lockouts.
     
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