By admin @ April 1, 2010 at 7:04pm
Powers designer Matt “Akinos” Danuser checks in with a dev diary about the upcoming changes to the Melee power set.
Hello, Everyone. Akinos here, your friendly neighborhood combat designer. I have had the great power (and great responsibility) of handling the melee power review. My goals starting out were pretty simple: Make it fun, make it competitive, and make it fun.
The “power review process” is largely the same as what Ame went into with his Supernatural Dev Diary, so I won’t go much into that. What I will be discussing are the issues we sought to address, how we tried to address them, and some of the new things and bigger changes that are coming.
Change You Can Go Reave With
There are many, many changes coming. Lots of minor tweaks (9 nine pages of patch notes worth, currently) but I will start with some of the more broad sweeping changes.
Melee energy builders will now build energy and threat (but not deal damage) from up to 50 feet away. Why did we do this? A few reasons:
- Simplify energy generation for all players. All players will generate energy within 50 feet of each other. This helps establish a more solid base to work with for overall game balance.
- The Alpha Strike. Being unable to build energy until you are already engaged in combat was an additional layer of “disadvantage” for melee characters. We wanted to mitigate that.
- The struggle to gain energy in our highly mobile game environment was just not fun.
The energy gain will be about as far below Ranged EPS (energy per second) as Ranged EPS is below Melee EPS, but all melee characters will have access to constant energy from within 50 feet of any enemy.
The STR needed to reach the maximum “Melee Damage Bonus from STR” has been reduced from ~100 to ~70. We didn’t want to make this bonus trivial, but at the same time we wanted allow players more flexibility in achieving maximum melee damage.
Finally, melee range was increased to 10 feet (up from 7 feet) across the board. This allows a little more wiggle room when trying to land melee attacks. This will also make it safer to go for those full charge attacks!
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!
Chargin’ Mah Fists
One of the issues that came up time and time again in playtests was the frustration with charge powers. We took several steps to alleviate these frustrations:
- Any melee charge power that locked your character down no longer does so. Freedom!
- Shortened some of the longer max charge times.
- The melee range increase, as mentioned before, will help you connect your charge attacks.
And last but not least, deserving of its own set up of bullet points:
- A “missed” charge attack will no longer cost you energy or trigger cooldowns.
While I love being the bearer of good news, I have to give credit to the amazing programming team here for making this possible. Thanks, guys!
Hopefully all of these changes combined will make charging melee attacks more fun.
Know Your Role
While experimenting with ways to improve the melee experience, the idea of a “Melee Role” was thrown around. We decided to introduce the Brawler role as the Melee DPS role, and adjust Avenger into a more dedicated Ranged DPS role.
Here’s the description for the new Brawler role:
While in the Brawler role your melee attacks do more damage and your ranged attacks do less damage. Your single target melee attacks snare your opponents. Your energy decays to equilibrium faster and you gain no energy from blocking, but your powers cost slightly less and you gain a slight buff to energy generation.
It is an Offensive role, but you do not lose any HP as in the Avenger role. The Avenger role now only buffs ranged damage, and the HP reduction is no longer as severe.
Lunges, Use Them!
Are you ready to get pumped? I’ll tell you right now, I want you melee players lunging all over the place, flipping out and killing defeating everyone. To that end, we streamlined lunges!
- Charge removed.
- Cooldown reduced to 3 seconds.
- Stuns target if activated more than 10 feet from target.
- Added “Nailed to the Ground” travel power removal advantage.
- Cost increased from ~10 to ~16.
- Laughing Zephyr (backflip/reverse lunge) component removed.
- Knock back on crit component removed.
- Added root component. Cooldown reduced to 3 seconds.
- Power incorrectly had a “50 feet range” that would allow you to activate the power from 100 feet away; this has been removed.
- Removed line in the description that stated the base power removed travel powers.
- Added “Nailed to the Ground” travel removal power.
Thunderbolt Lunge: Essence Assault:
- This advantage now causes Thunderbolt Lunge to disable your target for a few seconds if you lunge more than 10 feet.
The new Supernatural lunge will have similar functionality (3 second cooldown, control component if you travel more than 10 feet [knock down in this case]).
Up next, the new Offensive Passive for Martial Arts!
We heard many concerns about the existing MA passives. People wanted a simpler passive with a straightforward boost to melee damage. No arguments here. Your wish is our command!
Way of the Enlightened Warrior:
- Can be slotted in an Offensive or Balanced passive power slot.
- Increases all of your physical melee damage (slashing, piercing, crushing). This increase scales with your Strength and Dexterity.
- Increases your dodge and avoidance ratings. This effect scales with your Dexterity.
- Generates a small amount of energy when your opponent dodges your attacks.
Amazing, right? But what about the old MA passives? They’re around, perhaps in a form that can be toggled. What? I’ve got to save some details for the patch notes!
Press Shift to Not Die
By popular demand, you can now access an enhanced block power without leaving the Martial Arts power trees. Presenting …
- Enhanced Block for Martial Arts.
- For the first 2 seconds of blocking, you will reflect one attack back at the attacker (not literally, but the damage dealt back will scale with the damage input, up to a cap).
- You can block indefinitely as usual, but the “Parry” buff can only be applied once every 6 seconds.
So, with some carefully timed blocking mojo, you can use their own weight against them.
Fair and Balanced
Not everything can be wonderful and happy in the new age of The Melee Kingdom. Some sacrifices (aside from my sleep schedule) had to be made.
As stated in Ame’s Supernatural Dev Diary, our framework reviews often begin with an accuracy check. Sometimes this can lead to uncovering errors in spreadsheets or in powers that are quite simply leading to powers functioning far better than intended.
This is the story of our friend Bountiful Chi Resurgence … .
All of our powers use variables from spreadsheets. It’s all very automathamagical and wonderful. The spreadsheets told me BCR should cost around 20 energy. Unfortunately, looking at the power in the editor, it wasn’t referencing the variable. It simply said “5.” Great. Cost going way up.
It gets worse. The power was also referencing the wrong healing tables and I had to fix that as well. So the heal amount was also going down.
Understand that at this point my patch notes for BCR read, “Cost increased, healing reduced.” Now, that doesn’t make me any happier than it does any player. It’s honestly infuriating. Cursed spreadsheets! Bend to my will! This was an unavoidable nerf, but there are some things we did to try and mitigate the damage to BCR.
A heal-over-time with 100 percent uptime in a completely open-ended system is incredibly tricky to balance. The only real balancing factor was the choice of “be healing or do more damage,” and that was nullified by the advantage, which quickly became non-optional. We reinstated the choice (by changing the advantage, but I think you’ll like the new one), and to lessen the blow of losing the advantage (and the shenanigans in the previous paragraph) cut the base damage reduction in half.
Bountiful Chi Resurgence:
- Cost increased.
- Healing reduced.
- Base damage reduction reduced to 10%.
Bountiful Chi Resurgence: Resurgent Reiki:
- Old version removed. Advantage now provides additional ticks of healing whenever you dodge.
Is the new BCR perfect and beyond further tweaking? No, I highly doubt that. But at least we have a “fair and balanced” base to build from.
In fact, I’m looking forward to working with everyone on PTS to make sure we get everything as “right” and fun as possible!