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Hard Lock Specializations and Balance

Discussion in 'Game Design Discussion' started by MWTaylor, Feb 2, 2017.

  1. MWTaylor

    MWTaylor Community Manager
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    Introduction:

    One of the topics that has been heavily discussed internally among the team as well as within our community is the topic of specializations and balance between play styles. This is a very much debated topic and we wanted to create this thread to start an official discussion with you guys.

    The purpose of this particular thread is not to discuss potential specializations down the road, which is something we will be discussing at a later date, but to talk about the hard lock specializations like Destroyer and Mage Killer that are currently in-game. For discussion purposes, a hard lock specialization is something that locks your character out of certain aspects of combat - in the example of the four currently in game (Destroyer, Mage Killer, Mage Hunter and Indestructible) the aspect of combat locked out is Elemental Magic.

    Removing/Altering Hard Lock Specializations:

    Our vision for Darkfall: Rise of Agon is a game without classes, and having hard lock specializations the way they currently are goes against that vision. Every time we have made a change that somehow affects combat in some way the discussion always revolves around whether or not "Destroyer was buffed" or "Destroyer was nerfed". This is due to the fact that currently we have to balance around hard lock specializations like Destroyer and Mage Killer since the players that spec into these do not have the same access to skills that hybrid players do.

    In response to this we have been discussing the possibility of removing/altering how certain specializations work so that there will no longer be hard lock choices that we must balance around. This will provide us with a better foundation to build upon and to balance, especially when we add to and/or alter aspects of combat down the road (new weapons, new armor, new specializations, spell balancing, etc). With specializations like Destroyer currently in game, we have to instead always make sure to balance around the small percentage of players who end up choosing this specialization.

    Addressing Balance:

    The specializations, such as Destroyer, were added to the original Darkfall due to player concerns on a lack of balance for melee and archery player types. If these specializations are to be removed/altered then we will need to address balance for these play styles in other ways.

    There are many ways to accomplish this that we have been discussing, and we wanted to present a few ideas to help start the conversation:

    1) Tweaking Encumbrance - encumbrance can be used as a tool to balance melee and archery play styles
    • having Melee Encumbrance affect damage (currently Archery/Magic Encumbrance does but Melee does not provide a noticeable difference)
    • implementing changes to stat cost on spells and skills
    2) Altering Hard Lock Specializations - the four specializations in question (Destroyer, Mage Killer, Mage Hunter and Indestructible) could be balanced without the need for blocking certain magic types
    • an example could be Destroyer providing a small melee damage boost to staff wielders at the cost of a larger max mana penalty - hard lock on elemental magic would be removed
    Conclusion:

    Our ultimate goal is to get the game to a point where we can start expanding on specializations that are not hard locks, similar to some of the current specializations we have in game. This could provide players the ability to specialize more in their particular play style, without having the negative effects that hard lock specializations create for us.

    We are eager to hear your feedback and thoughts on this subject and look forward to furthering the discussion.

    -----------------------------------------------
    Please refrain from any personal attacks or posts that break our Terms of Service. We will be closely monitoring this thread and people who get out of hand risk losing their posting privileges in this section. We want to hear all of your constructive feedback and opinions on this but we will do what is necessary to keep the clutter out of this thread.
     
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  2. Scrubby Bear

    Scrubby Bear Eodrin
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    I don't see hard locks as being negative. Destroyer would be incredibly OP if they could pungent, eye rot, wof, self buff, ect even with lower mana. The whole point is you give up utility to specialize in melee and archery.

    Really the only changes I would do....

    1. Remove the staff requirement for bonus damage from mage killer and destroyer. Change them to smaller bonuses (start at like 30% of the current bonus) that simply apply all the time.
    2. Add physical protections to mage hunter and indestructible.
    3. Block mana shield from being used with any 'lock out' specialization. (destroyer/mage killer/mage hunter/indestructible).
    4. Make mana shield work at 50-25% strength with a staff out. Make it based on staff speed, faster staffs = less mana shield.

    Changing encumbrance will likely remove current play styles like heavy hybrid and that would be a bad change. Encumbrance is already effective at greatly reducing the effectiveness of magic. Instead of heavy hyrbid everyone would just be a heavyhybriddestroyermagekiller better than the current heavy hybrid which is already balanced.

    Honestly you guys shouldn't even be talking about this. There are tons of things you should be working on besides the combat which is pretty much as balanced as possible after the wof changes.
     
    #2 Scrubby Bear, Feb 2, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2017
  3. Super Star

    Super Star Oak Lord
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    Firstly, at least in my opinion, destroyer is in a position where it is balanced because you are giving up a form of ranged dps that you otherwise would not be using and can convert that loss into a gain through more physical dmg. In my opinion, i wouldnt not at all classify this as your normal every day 'class' or 'lockout' just because of what it does specifically. If you dont want the lock, you play heavy hybrid. Regardless, it looks like a change is coming so here is my input in regards to what direction makes the most sense.

    To keep true to the nature or darkfall, and no hard classes, i can understand the direction that is being leaned towards; however, out of both options listed, i would lean much more towards altering the current specializations in game as in my opinion, it would be the most effective in terms end goal without disturbing other things in darkfall that work properly. I would not at all mess around with new system based around encumbrance.

    Thoughts on changes to specializations:

    Destroyer: Access to all magic schools, melee dmg increase against those with a staff out put to something like 10-15%, mana loss of 15-20% for picking up the specialization, and a spell cost increase on all elemental magics by 5-10%. There has to be come form of larger sacrifice for picking that up, simply getting the gain with no downside is very very strong

    After its all said and done all specializations added to your char going the more melee/archery dmg focus, should put you close to a 50% deficit to your mana pool and an ele spell stat increase of 10-20%.

    It has to be balanced in a way to be able to accommodate access to all magics on top of a physical dmg gain, without being broken. Think heavy hybrid that now does more dmg.
     
  4. Copperfield

    Copperfield Black Knight
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    removing the specialistions as a whole is not a way to go..

    found it actually pretty weird that you guys are moving away from this instead of building more upon it..

    for example

    indestructiable should be buffed even more.. and decrease its dmg output and give it even more protection

    another think i would like to see..

    is to have some sort of supporting specialations which for example allow this spec.. to use AEO banners for buffs/heals or whatever you come up with.

    the system should be build upon not remove it?!
    --- Post updated ---
    if you wanne start about balance..

    i think melee dmg should be lowered.
     
  5. MWTaylor

    MWTaylor Community Manager
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    To clarify in case there was some confusion - many of us would like to expand on the kind of specializations that you can have in-game, but the topic of this thread is on the concept of having a select few specializations that lock you out of a big aspect of combat.

    My personal opinion on the matter is having more specializations is a good thing, but having any specialization that acts like a "class" due to it locking you out of aspects of combat is against the vision we are trying to achieve. I'm all for adding more specializations like Unfazed / Guardsman (as examples) as neither of those lock you out of anything, they instead implement soft trade-offs.
     
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  6. Pimptight

    Pimptight Obsidian Golem
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    combat changes instead of content? why douse every company try and change the combat instead of making shit to do? Do people not realize that the only good thing in the game is the combat? the WOF nerf was good the mana shield shit is stupid revert that and were good.
     
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  7. Scrubby Bear

    Scrubby Bear Eodrin
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    The lock outs are good because they are options that are equal but different. Without them, everyone is basically a mage and the game is 10x more boring. Not to mention CC spam would be even worse than it already is when you have every single destroyer able to spam it as well.

    Not to mention right now an archery melee play style is viable and equal to a mage play style. If you do either or your changes you are removing that. I can't wrap my head around what you guys are doing. You would basically be removing content.
     
    #7 Scrubby Bear, Feb 2, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2017
  8. Lakisuria_Moonglade

    Lakisuria_Moonglade Varangian Warthane
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    I'd actually be interested in seeing more hard-lock specializations as you put it or even the addition of soft-specializations.

    Soft-specializations incur no penalty but grant a bonus set of abilities. *These soft specialties would also be available to those who vouch into hard-lock specialties* And you'd only be able to choose 1 from a particular category or altogether depending on what we see.

    I think right now you could think of the current system as "The Core" then branch out from there. I'd clean up some of the spells mages have though in terms of excess or unneeded spells and maybe how they are leveled.
     
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  9. Kael Trighton

    Kael Trighton Deadeye
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    A recent video has a very relevant clip:
    . If it doesnt link right its from 7min40s until 7m50s. Guy is at ~80% HP 3pc infernal and gets killed by destro in 3 hits and roughly 2 seconds.

    I think the destro spec as-is should be removed. I like option #2 of creating softer 'flavor spececialization' and my suggestion for a melee style flavor spec (would have NO magic lockout) would be to have power attacks do 2x damage in exchange for less max mana. Power attack at least has a ~5 second cooldown so you can get a big hit off but you wont truck some geared kid from full in 2 seconds like current destro. You could get one 90dmg back hit every 5 seconds not every .5 seconds and this form would have full magic anyways.
     
    #9 Kael Trighton, Feb 2, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2017
  10. NonFactor

    NonFactor Forest Golem
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    i think melee damage should be lowered for non-destros.

    also, it will help with ping balance issues.
     
  11. Schnid

    Schnid Akathar
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    This is an insanely drastic nerf to Destro.
     
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  12. BeatIt

    BeatIt Eodrin
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    start by removing racial slayer enchants
     
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  13. Scrubby Bear

    Scrubby Bear Eodrin
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    I wouldn't be against that as long as they remained effective for PvE. I actually want more PvE slayer enchants to be made available.
     
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  14. Lord Zanuul

    Lord Zanuul Spellgazer
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    First I have to state that I love the Destroyer specialization so that's a personal preference for me on the flip side anytime you create a specialization you're going to create a host of balancing issues eventually The Meta gets adjusted to where you figure out what the best possible combination would be given the type of specialization if you do not give enough capability to the specialization it will just be ignored out right this is a very tricky combination to pull off without constantly having to balance we can see this in the history of every game that's ever been created they are constantly balancing and having a flavor of the month for as long as the game exist you have to take this into consideration before you make your decision as to which way you would like to go and why if you do no specializations then what will happen is everyone will pretty much fall under the same category if there are no trade-offs trade off meaning you can take fire but not water so forth and so on
     
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  15. Kael Trighton

    Kael Trighton Deadeye
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    Given the context of the post I figured the change I proposed would be apart of their 'no more hard lock' system. So destro would become just an option that gave you 2x power attack damage in exchange for say 25% less max mana (no school lock). A spiced up power attack would make melee more fun too IMO.
     
  16. DarkGhost25

    DarkGhost25 Black Knight
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    1. No hard lock specializations
    2. 2 major specializations per character
    3. 4 minor specializations per character
    4. Melee specializtions hinder magic, a little for minor, a lot for major
    5. Magic and archery upgrades have no drawbacks

    This way players will focus on archery or magic and then decide if they want to sacrifice some magic potential for melee perks. This way you'd see archer/melee builds, melee/magic builds, and pure magic builds, or possibly archer/magic builds. Everyone has access to all the spells but encumbrance is still a factor. The only issue I have is too many buffs in the game.
     
  17. Lord Zanuul

    Lord Zanuul Spellgazer
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    This would be complete garbage because of the effect of what you're having on total DPS output it would be easier and more effective to have a stone skin giving you protection Plus all the elemental protection and the debuffs don't forget you would have all the rays the blinds that utility ontap is well ... I mean seriously who would choose Power Attack increase in damage over that
     
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  18. Kael Trighton

    Kael Trighton Deadeye
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    I dont even understand what you are saying. I just clarified that what I suggested was apart of the 'no hard lock' system aka you have no magic restrictions.

    EDIT: Np, I edited my first post for more clarity.
     
    #18 Kael Trighton, Feb 2, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2017
  19. Lord Zanuul

    Lord Zanuul Spellgazer
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    I'm sorry I apologize I thought it was in direct contrast to it on the flip side of that who's going to be willing to give up that much Mana for extra damage in a Power Attack that's a lot of Mana to give up what numbers can be played with anyway my misunderstanding
     
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  20. Donaddor Lightbringer

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    Think removing hard locks on destro would be a bad idea even if its damage was reduced. Destro should stay as a non elemental/arcane/necro warrior type that gets more psychical damage bonus to ppl with staff out than any other spec since they lose the most in a sense. (destros couple with mage killer) Not sure if this may be worth mentioning but a few days ago I was looking at damage spells people normally wouldn't buy that destros would get and was thinking maybe if it was more damage with staff out period maybe destro could also hack using these damage spells in lesser greater and witchcraft, maybe even mana blast. Could create a kind of apprentice mage playstyle that destros and other specs that are locked out of elemental/necro/arcane schools could play if viable.

    We shouldn't remove hard locks on basically 3 different variants of specs (destro/m.killer, indestruc/m.hunter, or a mix of both) if anything keep the main one anyone would pick (destro/m.killer) then maybe think of how you would tweak a non-elemental/necro/arcane extra magic protection type. Maybe you'd let that choice have 1 school, or maybe not and make sure the magic protections are good enough to compare to destro/m.kller, and then maybe think of another spec that could have a select amount of schools say certain elementalist, or all elementalist no necro/arcane maybe loses witchcraft/spellchanting but would get new spells that the default mage cannot get. Maybe a earth warrior spec, bit more melee with staff out, only earth elemental spells, no necro/arcane, then maybe a earth mage specl, only earth spells, with necro/arcane, maybe new spells. Maybe a mix elementalist spec or specs. Better thinking along these lines than losing destro as offensive non elemental/necro/arcane warrior spec.

    The entire spec system right now is basically destro or indestructible coupling with mage killer or hunter, or you don't choose any hard lock specs and play a mage that can use any school and choose lesser spec traits. Basically ppl choose to be destros with mage killer so they can be full offensive non-elemental/arcane/necro spec, the other aspect being more passive gains that even if compared well, is a more passive concept that you can't just capitalize on like with doing more damage. Also trying to trade off melee or range damage when staff is out for a bit more magic protection is not really worth it. Either more melee damage with staff out with 3.0 magic protection increase, or more bow damage with staff out with 7.0 magic protection increase, both having plus 10 max hp point.

    Right now I'm a mage with mana shield, unfazed, side step, and master scout. Could have jump shot for when I'm begoning after someone but got jump shot on fireball/lighting strike/eye rot and a few other things so don't wanna lose more mana.

    Spec options that conflict is destro and indestructible (with guardsmen) removes unfazed, side step trades with double jump, mage killer and mage hunter removes master scout or mana shield if you want master scout and mage killer or hunter, and jump shot used to trade off with water shot.

    Think one thing that might be worth mentioning is that warrior classes tend to have a kind of sprint which I know is something that has been discussed before, but think maybe worth mentioning something like that could be missing, and a small sprint would be better then a kind of foe bringer like in UW.
     
    #20 Donaddor Lightbringer, Feb 2, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2017