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Discussion: Combat balance in 3.10 and future plans
Hello all. We'll be using this unique thread to reply to all other threads and redirect the discussion towards improvements.
After a night and a day of letting the feedback received and our observations mature, here is a starting point for the next step.
As we've said, we're still in a phase where we're studying the weight of each attributes, each time refining our mental charts.

Balancing approach:
We saw a divide between people on this subject but we are strongly convinced that we need to balance 1v1 as a foundation for the open world PvP aspect of the game. No one should be at a disadvantage when meeting someone else based on gear, and we cannot prevent 1v1 from happening in Darkfall.

We should then work on force multipliers as engagement size scales, but that's more about utility skills and chaos management.
For example, mages in higher scale have aoes and are good at healing/team play abilities. Higher protection scales better when more people hit you, and as chaos increases melee becomes more effective.

Titles and armor:
Titles and armors serve two different specialization purposes: Titles are a skill cap where armors are an attribute cap.
Armors are indeed a foundation to build titles on, and they need to be balanced before titles are coming.

Where armor are about power, titles will be more about functionality.
We'll be increasing the impact of magnitude on utilities, so armors will also have some impact on functionality, and titles will provide some boosts of power too but that's secondary to what they will really be doing.

Titles will change the matrix of abilities you have, with the ones you've titled in becoming stronger, and the opposite being weaker.
Titles will also unlock the school flavors we've talked about. This means that a title will change the way you play more than the power of what you are playing with. We can add new spells in titles and more effects.
Another advantage of placing power on armors is that it can be seen from the onset, while titles are "hidden".

This is why it is so important that we have the physical/magical/survival split and that we balance armors separately from titles.
You could use a necromancy title with leather armor to have a longer lasting piercing/slashing debuff. You could use a healer title with metal armor to be a sustainable support. Or you could go first degree and stack synergies.

So to sum it up, titles will be more functional than power, and armors are more power than functional.
Both combined should work out for a better potential variety down the line.

Our assumptions going into development of patch 3.10:
From the feedback we condensed while working on the patch, here was our set of assumptions:
- Robes were best 1v1, melted leather and won against metal. Which is why we removed arrow protection from them.
- Metal was judged underwhelming, with leather being superior to it. Which is why we increased its physical protections.
- Bones did not work out well, and was redundant with leather without offering actual hybrid mage mix and match potential.

At the core, our mistake was to try out to balance full sets against each other, whithout enough mix and matching testing.
We checked how a ranged fight or a melee fight would go leather vs metal, but we didn't look at bones against metal in melee.

The existing difference in damage are due to balancing from the top rather than from the average.
For example, we increased arrow and piercing protections on metal armors and it worked well against an equivalent leather armor, but it leaves in the dust any non pure combinations.
We've also looked mostly at the high end gear, but the intent in the long run is to have the day to day gear be r30-r50, and these would be left in the dust too if anyone came out with a full dragon set as it stands.

Going in after the patch, we expected robes to still be the top end, because magic has a few changes needed still, which is why we believe they are melting leather. We knew that removing their archery protections wasn't sufficient:
- R90s and potentially r50s have not enough drop off on their aoe damage. Which makes them have easy damage that is too high.
- Rays can be spammed mid actions, which makes their DPS way too high for leather where is is bearable for metal.

Potential solutions:
Long story short, here is a bullet point list of what we think we should change to improve the balance:
- Review arrow protections independently from other physical protections.
- Lower physical protections from metal armor to be balanced against a medium/mixed set instead of a top set.
- Review the aoe damage drop off so that mages aren't easy mode against leather.
- Implement the charge up rays which should lower a mage's overall single target DPS, balancing them further.
- Lower metal magical protections accordingly.
- Increase in priority the work on timed blocking, or at least implement the planned nerfs to perma blocking.

This should mean that medium range sets in terms of ranks, but also hybrid sets like bones, will be able to pressure metal users.
Reducing the damage discrepancies reported by the community.

As a general note, the more we progress, the more we realize that protection has too much weight in general.
This confirms our reasoning behind removing back hit reduction. Pure damage mitigation means the armor is working instead of the player. So we will experiment with the lowering protections in general, but keeping the health regen on metal.
The idea is that a metal wearer should still be bursted down promptly, either by a good combination of debuff+hits or by a focus fire. But if the user manages to evade and actively gain time i na context where he can still be pressured, only then will he benefit from his armor. It gives the control in the hand of the player.

On parrying, we know it is an issue now more than ever.
While we do believe a magical disable should exist, that's not the solution to the current problem. We need the mechanic to change so that turtleing is draining. Later, when we add the timed blocking, it will then reward good reaction from a player trying to charge with his shield out.

Current shield protections seem to be making sithras, and perhaps even 1h weapons, work out in melee exchanges, so we want to keep them as is to see if they can create a few playstyles around 1h weapons.

A few questions:
- Mainly, about toxic rain and cooldowns:
Regardless of cooldowns, we believe that toxic rain is contextually over powered. Even with a title, it will still be a better option for its armor penetration aspect. It should follow the same logic as arcane did early in 2009: lower damage, but it goes through armor.

We've setup the current cooldowns to keep the same frequency as Darkfall used to have.
The idea is that we want to keep the game just as dynamic, even if you have only a single school. Increasing field aoe cooldown would mean lowering the frequency to one lower than past Darkfall.
Would this really be acceptable? Wouldn't that be a step down in the fast pace nature of the game compared to 2012?

We're also not very fond of cooldowns as means of balancing, they simply make the problem less frequent per individual rather than remove it in large scale. it doesn't add counter play either, no opponent can impact your cooldowns.

After placing toxic rain at an equal point with other damage oriented field aoes, if field aoes are judged too prevalent, we could increase cast time instead.
This would impact frequency, but more importantly, the opportunity cost of their cast. The opponents will be able to react, perhaps push you and punish you for trying to get easy damage out. At a larger scale, when you see the whole team against you start casting for a long time, it gives an opportunity to spread out, push through or just whatever reaction the better players will find.

The issue we see here is that, if toxic rain is nerfed, would people still use field aoes in small scale?
Isn't the cast time long enough already to serve as an opportunity cost?

- About stamina:
Did the change to sprinting cost impact the tournament or was it the high quality stamina efficiency enchants used that did?
How is "normal gear" day to day combat impacted? Do you feel stamina is more manageable now or still is too much?
The Darkfall: New Dawn Dev Team.

  • mrW
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: Discussion: Combat balance in 3.10 and future plans
Reply #1
I've read it all now and most parts look good. The sooner you can start patching the better.

Otherwise if toxic is nerfed, how would one fight a siegeforce of fucking heavies?
  • Last Edit: March 20, 2017, 10:45:05 pm by mrW

"Our title system is an expansion of the titles in the same spirit than the destroyer title. These will NOT be classes and will be completely optional."

Re: Discussion: Combat balance in 3.10 and future plans
Reply #2
I dueled him once and was in control first half of the fight and then food buff wore out and not noticing lost, so he did win but hes by no means any better a player than I.

Re: Discussion: Combat balance in 3.10 and future plans
Reply #3
who cares, give us darkfall back.

  • LRM
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: Discussion: Combat balance in 3.10 and future plans
Reply #4
How will mages fight in water with the solutions you are offering ? Especially against leather ?
  • Last Edit: March 20, 2017, 10:40:02 pm by LRM
LRM - Epoch

  • nubnax
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: Discussion: Combat balance in 3.10 and future plans
Reply #5
i think it's a step in the right direction to have the health regen and not overly high protections be the thing that increases the effective hp of metal armor.

when you implement charged rays please add the ability to hold autocast spells. i have my ray on my right mousebutton and set to autocast. I would like to still activate it with just one click but be able to hold the button down to and charge it.
Bala Eregi
SG of Bewahrer der Welten
SG of The Tausian Dominion

Re: Discussion: Combat balance in 3.10 and future plans
Reply #6
who cares, give us darkfall back.
To be blunt, this is not going to happen.
If we had a choice in the matter we would not have touched any of the armors, skills or anything combat related.
Unfortunately, we don't have a choice. The old Darkfall meta was fun and solved, but it was neither balanced nor sustainable, and worse of all did, not allow variety by design which was the main cause of the perception of grind.
It had to be changed or once again hold back the game's core mechanics which are the actually amazing part.

We may not yet be at a balanced state, but we have to create a new meta that doesn't force to grind everything.
This overall goal is too crucial for the future of Darkfall to be altered.
How will mages fight in water with the solutions you are offering ? Especially against leather ?
That's a medium term goal, just like we said that there needs a magical disable, we need magical water combat alternatives.
If you remember, early on we talked about spreading utilities across all playstyles, and that is still work in progress.

We initially thought about removing under water archery and replace it by harpoons, but we've moved away from that concept.
It would have relied too much on preparedness, and while it is good to have some aspects requiring forethought, being unable to fight in a certain medium until you have prepared for it is rather limiting.

Instead, we would like to simply have each magic school interact differently with water, but still be usable in their own ways.
And as a short term generic tool, have mana missile work under water just like basic arrows do, for newer players to have at least some tools.
The Darkfall: New Dawn Dev Team.

Re: Discussion: Combat balance in 3.10 and future plans
Reply #7
Stam was fine for me, apparently circle strafing drains a lot of stam if you use auto sprint though as every W tap takes 3 stam.

I can't help but feel mages might need a bit more melee power on top of the metals decreased prots to be able to finish them around terrain. Might be wrong once more people adjust to using slashing debuff and wear average gear etc.
  • Last Edit: March 20, 2017, 11:01:16 pm by Finnad

  • LRM
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: Discussion: Combat balance in 3.10 and future plans
Reply #8
Underwater magic is indeed a solution, but the point I was trying to make is the same : the current meta you are building toward will be way to much reliant on the environment because of my new favorite idiom, over-specialization.

 So if underwater magic fixes water fights, what is a mage supposed to do when a leather user runs into a building ?
LRM - Epoch

Re: Discussion: Combat balance in 3.10 and future plans
Reply #9
If you are 100% against removing traits, lower their overall power drastically and tie them more into encumbrance, forcing people into Rock Paper Scissors means you will never balance 1v1.

People will be more inclined to mix and match if the power difference between traits isn't so big, think of them as tiny perks not as must haves.

As seen yesterday: terrain mixed with Rock Paper Scissors made it impossible for robe wearers to compete solely on underwhelming melee, this is a huge fuck up in balancing.
  • Last Edit: March 20, 2017, 11:04:06 pm by rawrgasm

Re: Discussion: Combat balance in 3.10 and future plans
Reply #10
So if underwater magic fixes water fights, what is a mage supposed to do when a leather user runs into a building ?
Log out and go find a fun game to play
Asgrim Blackforge

Re: Discussion: Combat balance in 3.10 and future plans
Reply #11
I don't think metal resistances need to be lowered.

The encumbrance for a metal user is very high and archery damage is lower. You also cannot get away easily.
High encumbrance limits use of magic and decreases efficiency of archery.

There has to be some benefits to using metal armor, which is also more expensive.

Don't forget you stole destroyer/indestructible away from full metal users...
  • Last Edit: March 20, 2017, 11:21:24 pm by CeliahAiley

Re: Discussion: Combat balance in 3.10 and future plans
Reply #12
Stamina managment is way better now.

I srly think global field aoe cd should be increased by at least 20+ seconds. Its just retarded being able to spam it every 12 seconds. Especially in grp fights its ridiculous strong and you can literally spam it... and since the dmg is high its even good just against a single person. Even if you miss, which is realy damn hard, its not rly punishing for the grp since the cooldown is short enough to reuse it at the next aoe focus anyway.

Even if you increase cooldown and castspeed the dmg should be nerfed as well.

Re: Discussion: Combat balance in 3.10 and future plans
Reply #13
So if underwater magic fixes water fights, what is a mage supposed to do when a leather user runs into a building ?
That's the hope for the deeper melee system we envision, with the first step being timed blocking, and if that plays out well, more open/capitalize mechanics.
Essentially, being better at melee should allow you to reduce the statistical disadvantage.

By design it isn't a counter system, so traits aren't rock paper scissors by definition.
That's the whole point of separating physical and magical attributes both in terms of offensive and defensive powers, as it allows to adjust relationship independently and have all sets balanced against each other.

Right now, the discrepancy in certain fields is mainly due to metal armor being too potent.
It is too potent because it was balanced against the best of the best in terms of quality and specialization.
Balancing against the average will allow the average to be viable, the specialized to be dangerous and the opposite specialized to still hold their own.

If for example, mages could have done 5 more damages in melee to their targets, would it have been viable to go in toe to toe to pressure/finish off?
Or when they get the charged up ray to use as a finisher, wouldn't it be worth continuing to pressure?

Well, that's why we're moving away from protections and towards health regen.
Protection are worth way too much, and regeneration can be a good way of representing survivability that still requires the player to have skill.
Evasion, knowing when to push and when to regain some strength. These were skills that were the most outlined by a destroyer in the past.

Here is the question: Are you thinking about field aoes or toxic rain?
If tomorrow you were to lose toxic rain, would you use lightning storm? or acid rain?
Would you feel the same if it wasn't for toxic rain?
The Darkfall: New Dawn Dev Team.

Re: Discussion: Combat balance in 3.10 and future plans
Reply #14
@mrW post edit
Well, it would imply that of course, metal armor will be nerfed in magical protections too, and that other magic field aoes would start to be its post-nerf equivalent.
The Darkfall: New Dawn Dev Team.