August Q&A: Mostly Combat

by Iskvarren on September 1, 2013

in Q&A

Q&A this month was not very focused.  We mused a bit about combat and its direction. Read on for the overview and specific questions.

In very general terms, a few of our goals with combat follow.

We want to balance the inequity between mages and melee classes.  Mages in general take much longer to reach the same level of survivability compared to melee classes.  One of the examples of disparity is that a mage character needs considerable knowledge on how to play the class to beat a melee character with 1/2 their hours using one skill over and over in a straight fight.  Another factor is that melee characters do most of their damage automatically via 1st-4th attack, while mages do most of it out of combat rounds with spells.  This means that mages suffer more from stunning than melee characters.

We want to introduce melee skills that require you to type a command to use.  These skills will probably be focus-based and consume mana; a melee class concentrates on fighting a certain way to manipulate combat stats temporarily.  At a basic level, a character could attempt to defend all blows for a round or charge in attacking.  At the same time, we want to limit the number of stunning skills and debuffing skills.  As stated before, stun affects mages more than it affects melee since mages make better use of non-combat attacks for damage.  As for melee using skills that penalize stats, if a melee character could debuff like a mage, it would have to lose other bonuses such as stronger weapons and better armor.

We balance classes with the assumption that the character is played by an expert and is properly equipped.  Even if a class is better against some enemies than others, we do not want to relegate any class to an accessory class.  It’s very common for people who play predominantly mages to say that melee is stronger and for people who play predominantly melee to say that mages are stronger.  My view is that the number of characters deemed strong is countable on the fingers of one hand.  A melee character with no saves and no resistances is not being played to its full potential just like a mage with most of its skills at just slightly higher than level 50 requirements is not being played to its full potential.  To assess class ability, you should try to play both types of classes fully.

——

Questions (mostly rewritten to be clearer):

When are we getting shield attack back?
The snide answer is “Whenever Iskvarren feels like it.”  The reason it is disabled now is because it can keep a target stunned indefinitely and this is an abusable advantage against other players and NPCs.

Who decided that the rewardpool items deserved stats?
Hoods, helms, and sheaths had stats ages ago.  Masks acquired them when we put in OLC and standardized them.

Related to the shield attack question.  What news on tumbling?
The plan is to change tumbling into a skill you use during combat to avoid damage for a round or two.  It will cease to be an automatic dodge.

What do taurlok steaks taste like, beef or venison?
Beef.

When did haste become so weak [on items]?
The reasoning behind that change is this:  First, item-base haste was valued more than the spell.  If you cast the spell on someone, they’d yell at you for screwing up their regeneration.  It was not an asset to the classes that had it.  Secondly, the regeneration penalty did not add anything to the game, except people complained about the spell and everyone took their pants off to sleep.  Our change, which removed the regeneration penalty and made haste’s effectiveness depend on the level of the effect, made it so that the classes that have haste gain more advantage from it, while classes that do not have the skill find it harder to gain the same advantage with a simple level 1 newbie item.  Haste has many more effects than just extra attack.  For example, being hasted can give you 90% lower chance of being bashed, so there is that to account for as well.

Do Clerics and/or Knights get special consideration in balancing?
No, all classes get the same amount of pointage in base stats, although the relative importance of the combat stats are not fully tested yet.  We do not consider the need to RP religion as a reason to make those classes stronger; after all, a warrior with stellar RP would not have any advantage.

Since mages do have the fun and useful factor, are there any plans to add to the general utility things melee classes can do?
It’s not like you can give melee classes flight skills and make-them-vuln-fire skills.  We do want to add to things that melee can do so it’s not just kill a, triptriptrip, but it’s difficult to find things to give them.  We don’t want melee to have better armor, better weapons, and similar debuffs when compared to mages.  Mana will likely become a limiting factor for many of the newer melee skills.  Kick was changed so it would be a basic go-to skill if you didn’t have mana.  The thought is that combat skills that have unique effects would require focus and use mana.

Are plans still moving forward with Southwest Seria?
We’re hoping to have something out soon for it, even if it’s not the fully finished area.

Why is upperstrike not hitting as much as it used to?
Skills like upperstrike, circlestab, and cleave are controlled by the same combat stats as in-round damage.  That means if your INT or base attack is low, your accuracy on those skills went down.

What about [skill effects such as] “bleeding out” like a poison effect?
We’ve thought about things like that but one thing that limits its use is mobs. We can’t have skills that let you beat the mob without fighting it, and it could be bad if stacked with slow/poison/plague if you can bleed a mob to death while you’re not there.

Will equipment be revamped sometime for combat stuff?
Eventually, yes.

Is it normal that I have really, quite low critical hit chance?
Yes.  Skilled classes get 0 initial critical, while unskilled classes like barbarian and shaman and luck-based classes like thief and vagabond have very high base critical chance.  One component of criticals is luck value, so even if it looks low in score, you can still critical hit quite a bit if your luck is higher than your target’s luck.

How accurate is compare on weapons?
It’s exactly accurate when comparing base damage and weight only.  It doesn’t compare anything else.

Do groths have any racial skills?
They have “bodyslam” but it doesn’t work.  They haven’t been revamped yet because we’re taking the races in order of more played to less played.

Banded armor?  I can barely find enough to do anything and I have it as a skill.
We’re making that go away sometime.

Is there a real difference between backpacks?
Some hold more and some have better weight reduction.

How does the new attack/damage effect spells?
They don’t for the most part, except damage modifies STR-based spells such as searing blade and poison bite.

Is there any way inebriation can be made to improve easier?
I was going to remove it.  Drunk penalizes all your skills by 10%.  Your damage is reduced by 10%.  Your accuracy falls by 10%.  Inebriation in no way makes up for being drunk, only reduces the penalty a tiny bit.  It’s better to not be drunk at all.

Barbarians have been deprived of a lot, such as their ability to take damage to mana via second wind.  What direction are they going since they take more damage?
Barbarians are supposed to deal lots of damage and take lots of damage.  I can give you second wind back if you want to give up mighty grip and cleave.  The reason they lost second wind is because their damage was going so high that weapons disappeared in one hit.  They did not “lose” by any means.  You will become weaker with second wind, no mighty grip, and the old cleave.  Combat revamp will add more stance-like abilities in combat for all melee.  Barbarian might have skills where they attempt to increase offensive damage for a round or two.

What about with pets?  Plans towards anything along those lines?  Always wanted a pet small dragon, myself.
If you want anything, you should write one here.

I was considering reworking Ki’Baltan’s mapping a bit.  I was wondering, if I attempted to do such, would you like it to rebuild the area?
I can look at it but I won’t use it anytime in the next year.  Someone’s going to have to rewrite 150+ rooms.  We generally don’t take requests like this because we have enough on our plates without taking on more work.  You could sign up as a builder if you want to do that sort of work, but we’d likely put you on more important projects first.

With all this new combat stuff, has there been in thought about making these stats raisable through experience?
I’d like to make combat stats raisable through use since experience is often through idling.  For example, if you fight bees that are super hard to dodge, you may have a tiny chance of improving attack at a base level.  Or you fight ogres that hit really hard and learn to improve your own damage ability at a base level.  It would be very uncommon and the more bonuses you have, the less likely you gain another.  This would further distinguish characters that fight from those that don’t.

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