Class Balance and Abilities

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Gormal
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Class Balance and Abilities

Postby Gormal » Tue Nov 30, 2010 9:20 pm

Disclaimer: This is a gameplay discussion geared towards class balance, not a dartboard for random cool ideas or thematic nitpicks.

With this new powers framework coming in, it seems to me like the perfect time to try and improve some of the many class issues that have been bogging the game down for years. I thought I'd put up a thread to discuss things people dislike or find lacking with certain classes. Lets try to keep this discussion centered around gameplay and not random things you think might be cool or random thematic concerns.

I'm going to primarily look from a zoning standpoint because I think its easier to balance from the top down. The biggest problem I see with many classes is that you have very little actual interaction with the game. This is really just a problem with melee classes that aren't rogues. Warriors have rescue triggers and spam bash. Pal/AP/Rang/Dire all lose tanking/damage when they cast their offensive/defensive spells in combat (excluding holy word). Bard and ranger zoning basically consists of assisting the tank over and over while refreshing a buff every 10 minutes. A lot of blame for the huge number of rogues has been laid at khanjari's doorstep, but I'd say its far more the problem that rogues have a huge arsenal of things to actually do.

Casters are so specialized that they generally have plenty to do though shamans are really only brought anywhere for one spell. Elementalists are somewhat marginalized and necromancers don't really have a niche outside of soul walk for Tiamat. Spells like Rainbow pattern, glitterdust, etc are all so ineffectual that they aren't worth casting. Spells that aren't worth casting should either be removed or repaired. All in all, if the powers thing ever goes in this could all be done very easily and could help a lot.

Just a few class-specific solutions to start:

Rangers & Dire Raiders- Assist and afk is pretty much your life. Rangers are supposed to be opposite to rogues for melee damage and while they can avoid shield damage with archery and put out better damage with weaker gear, they are still barren. Rangers are supposed to be a warrior/druid hybrid that deals damage but your spells actually reduce your damage output. I posted specifics for the abilities/shots elsewhere and can clarify again if needed.
    Reduce cast times to 1 star and remove the pray penalties.
    Add in 1-3 new offensive combat ablities that are actually usable.
    Springleap or something has been asked for a million times, and kick is still terrible.
    Archery needs special shots since you actually lose abilities with using a bow.
    Raise all weapon skill caps to 99.
    Remove slashing requirement to outflank.

Warriors - You spend the bulk of your time watching rescue triggers fire and occasionally bashing but that's about it.
    Add an intervene ability that rescues based on the mob rather than the player.
    Add an offensive ability that has no lag but has a few round cooldown (similar to bash) so you can do things between chunks of rescue lag.
    Add a defensive cooldown ability that either increases hp/ac/avoidance or perhaps heals and increases regen.
    Shieldpunch could use some real love too either with the lag, stun frequency, or delay in enemy action because its rarely worth using now.

Paladins & Antipaladins - They have the same spell problems as rangers and are basically just like warriors that can't tank as well. Guard and apply poison are decent skills but antis are often tanking so they can only apply at the start of combat, and guard is a fairly boring passive ability.
    Instant cast offensive spells and reduce pray times.
    Give antis the ability to apply poisons in combat.
    Add a vigorize component to heal mount, and allow some portion of gheal/bardsong to affect ungrouped pets of party members.
    Increase charge damage a little.

Shaman - If it wasn't for gheal you'd never see shamans in groups.
    Jack the stun on spirit wrack back up to spook levels.
    Turn up the damage on fury or add a debuff component.
    Increase blindness duration or success rate.
    Ashield is okay but could stand a duration increase and little boost in amount of damage it absorbs. It not affecting dragon breath really limits its scope too but I think thats an acceptable downside.

Illusionist - Pretty solid all around with only maybe a couple spell boosts:
    Increase chance for rainbow pattern to land dramatically.
    Increase Phantasmal Blades damage.

Elementalist - Great solo, decent in zone groups but has no real niche other than gimmick fights with tank deathprocs.
    Restore either the original duration or success rate of glitterdust to its original state.
    Earth elementals need a size boost again.

Invoker - Just fine as far as balance goes though there are obviously improvements that could be made to force more choices in spells cast. They really could use some defensive abilities for soloing.
    Add a self-only damage absorption shield that doesn't stack with displace.
    Increase the chance of blindness from blazing beam to 80%.

Enchanter - Just fine though a couple quality of life spells would be nice.
    Add group stoneskin
    Add group haste

Druid - Pretty solid with lots of utility.
    Treants could use a size boost back to giant.
    Maybe a boost to entangle's effectiveness outside of nature areas.

Rogue - Obviously fine.

Bards - I don't even know where to start because I really don't like the song mechanic but bards suck to play. You don't even need to assist as a bard or use triggers. You just follow the leader and swap songs every 10 minutes. The limited spell list is boring and generally pointless other than displace. Unreliable skills are a terrible thing and make them more of a bunch of hail marys than useful tools.
    Raise rogue skill caps to 99. Maybe leave sneak or hide lower to leave true stealth to rogues.
    Increase damage on all bard spells significantly.
    Figure out some way to make pushing buttons matter.

Cleric - Healing aura put clerics in a pretty good place so its really just the new cooldowns that are hampered by a lack of double attack and blindness.
    Grant double attack.
    Increase duration or success rate of blindness.
    Reduce the cooldown of DP/RM to 9m/5m.
    Reduce the cast time of offensive spells while righteous might is active.
    Reduce the cast time of 5th circle heal and vitality to instant cast while divine power is active.

Lich - Pretty good.

Necromancer - Really has no niche in a group other than soul walk for Tiamat that can't be done better by other classes so I suggest tuning them even more for single target magical damage and debuffs.
    Increase damage on BBB and boneshatter.
    Increase success rate on all debuffs.

PSI - I don't know enough to really comment with confidence.
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Re: Class Balance and Abilities

Postby Botef » Wed Dec 01, 2010 12:37 am

Illusionist - Rainbow pattern could probably use a land rate improvement, but it still won't get much use primarily because tendrils does the same job for you with the added bonus of damage and slow (albeit untargeted) but also because crit avoidance is not too significant in zoning situations, certainly not from a targeted high circle spell. Maybe if it was in 5th circle instead 8th circle which already has a lot of spells like mislead/fold/mirrors that fight for slots. Pblade damage is fine as is. All in all I think this class is well balanced and fun both in and out of zones.

Necros - Increase land rate of vamp curse or make it an area spell. The purpose of the spell is to keep melee alive, but the land rate is so low by the time you get it up on a mob its already near death. Its also in a circle that is already pretty heavy and not worth using up multiple slots (globes, ghosts, soulwalks). Reductions to res fx time gimped usefulness of soul walk in most situations. Soul walk is reliant on the necro being alive, which usually means sitting out and being bored. Blackmantle needs a land rate improvement. Necro Mob AI should use blackmantle :P
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Re: Class Balance and Abilities

Postby torkur » Wed Dec 01, 2010 1:31 am

Bard: Make circle useable while singing as a big one. Possibly make all rogue skills besides sneak/hide useable while singing so there is a point to engage/swap to hit/dam gear on some fights instead of all hp/saves.


If Pally/Anti suck compared to gref elf Max Agility that much, increase the effectiveness of mounted combat to balance or increase avenger/deathknell....or increase the value of prot from evil/good innates on them since they can only be human.

Invoker: Make Fire/Coldshield increase duration and "slightly" increase damage absorption with specialize invocation. Perhaps up to 3 min duration (like mobs) and 15-30% physical absorption with max specialize.

edit: Misread Invoker damage shield as a stone skin type full absorb. I disagree with a full absorb like stone skin, just a % reduction would be better so they still take tons of damage on zone mobs without other spells.
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Re: Class Balance and Abilities

Postby Gormal » Wed Dec 01, 2010 2:33 am

I don't think you understand displacement or stoneskin.
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Re: Class Balance and Abilities

Postby torkur » Wed Dec 01, 2010 3:23 am

Displace - attacks missing with % likelyhood of hit not missing increased over # of attacks to threshold and spell ends

stoneskin - amount of damage absorbed, with chance to crit through, until threshold and spell ends

Not factoring in skills/ac modifiers....

Unless these have somehow changed, that was the last I saw of them explained?


I'm talking a % absorbed: I.E. if it's gonna hit you, it's gonna hit you, but does 800 damage instead of 1000 damage without.
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Re: Class Balance and Abilities

Postby Dugmaren » Wed Dec 01, 2010 4:08 am

Fun thread - general ideas I like following for said class balance...

1. Lots of damage (targeted) and not much defense - because it matters what you attack, when you attack it, high chance of death, quick fun combat.

2. Choice in skills - I always loved having to disarm / switch / shieldpunch in between rescues as a warrior because it separated people who were exceptional their class from those who weren't sure what to do or how to do it effectively. For that to work everyone would have to have useful skills.

3. I think at low levels everyone should be able to solo, it's just more fun that way.. the "invokers are all offense no defense" stuff could come later. On that note I think everyone should be able to do damage.
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Re: Class Balance and Abilities

Postby Gormal » Wed Dec 01, 2010 12:05 pm

I misread what Torkur wrote somewhat and what I put wasn't really clear, my bad. How it prevents damage and which buffs it would stack with would definitely need to be discussed more. I think that as long as it doesn't stack with buffs it works well letting invokers level up/solo but won't imbalance their zone survivability.

Shieldpunch is actually less useful than headbutt now and sadly, with so many tanks using valhalla they have no reason to ever swap targets and they can't change weapons at will since it kills blur. Like it or not, with a game that doesn't wipe gear proliferation affects game balance drastically.
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Re: Class Balance and Abilities

Postby grundar » Fri Dec 03, 2010 9:32 am

Illusionists
+1 on the rainbow pattern land rate
tranquility needs to work. at the very least change it from an area to single target and make it do exactly what synaptic state does: erase a mob's memory. that way, when the kingslayer circles ekahk again it will not necessarily mean a fail! :P
feign death: make it take you out of combat and be !hit if the mobs fail an int check for 1-5 rounds, or however long it takes to put mirrors back up on a failed qc as a maximum amount of rounds.

Warriors
rescuing from a specific mob kills zone balance, but if it can be done with a slim chance of success it might work.
add cleave, cooldown skill which hits the mob you chose for 2x your usual hit damage, and the mob 1up from him and 1down from him for 1.5
shieldpunch: it needs to be able to land, even under 70 skill level it's the stun that should need 90+ i cant remember the last time i landed an actual shieldpunch, switch this to a cooldown instead of pure lag as well and it's actually useable.
headbutt is fine as is

Psionicists
They need more utility and situational skills, spamming ultrablasts is not that fun. some suggestions from homeland's skill list:
Sever the tie - psi damage that only works on undead and has a very slim chance to instantly kill the undead
pyrokinesis - psi fire based damage
crisis of breath - if mob breathes, this spell has a chance to stop it from casting.
mana drain - steals psp from the mob and feeds it back to you, not much but it helps
inertial barrier - it's like blur, except self only and lower miss rate
lend health - psionicist gives some of it's hps to a specified target.
ethereal walking - leaving it's body behind the psionicist creates a 50hp shade to be used for scouting which when killed deals back that damage (or twice that) to the psionicist
now as for their actual skills:
globe of darkness should cost psp to maintain up indefinitely, low cost but cost.
stasis, should cost psp to maintain up indefinitely and can be maintained while using other skills.
overall damage skills: psi is different than mages, abilities you gain at lvl 1 with one should increase their damage output with you as you level up. there needs to be a reason to use detonate on a golem rather than tkthrust, same goes for mindblast. project force is a whole other issue. but know that currently only 1 psi skill of lower level tends to be better than another at higher level, and that is death field. it's low cost and more stable damage ratio makes it more useful than ultrablast on fights where there are more than 10 mobs. this needs some fixing. there should be a reason why psis work hard on capping all their skills.

Paladins/Rangers/AP/Dires
their code needs to be reworked, they are melee classes who can cast spells, thus they should not get the same penalties that mages/priests get when casting. They should still be able to use their reflexive combat skills (with some sort of penalty) while casting spells the only case where this shouldn't happen is when using archery.
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Re: Class Balance and Abilities

Postby Gormal » Fri Dec 03, 2010 2:40 pm

grundar wrote:Warriors rescuing from a specific mob kills zone balance, but if it can be done with a slim chance of success it might work.



Can you provide a few examples of where you think this would be overpowered and kill the balance of a zone?
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Re: Class Balance and Abilities

Postby grundar » Sun Dec 05, 2010 1:19 am

Gormal wrote:
grundar wrote:Warriors rescuing from a specific mob kills zone balance, but if it can be done with a slim chance of success it might work.



Can you provide a few examples of where you think this would be overpowered and kill the balance of a zone?


Any fight where you have low level followers and a hard hitting main mob. the low level fodder is there to switch and make rescuing casters from the main mob harder, thus killing them. if you could do a target rescue you completely negate this and then you'd have to rebalance the fight by making those fodder mobs higher level. I can't think of any specific fights like that but they are out there.
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Re: Class Balance and Abilities

Postby Kindi » Sun Dec 05, 2010 1:25 am

SM-inv has several fights like that
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Re: Class Balance and Abilities

Postby Gormal » Sun Dec 05, 2010 1:37 am

There's maybe only 4-5 fights in the game where it would really make the fight "too easy" and even then I think that it would make things so much better for the other 98% of the game that its more than worth it. Since no one's named a specific fight yet, that (somewhat) goes to show that its not really an issue (bashable hard hitting mobs mean they don't switch in the first place).
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Re: Class Balance and Abilities

Postby Kindi » Sun Dec 05, 2010 2:40 am

i said SM-inv. threefist, snarrl, king obould. i didn't think i needed to give actual names of the mobs for it to count...... tho honestly i have no opinion on the whole 'rescue person mob' thing so whatever
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Re: Class Balance and Abilities

Postby Botef » Sun Dec 05, 2010 9:07 pm

If the ability to rescue off a specific mob was also extended to mob AI as a power it could actually be pretty useful, there are a number of situations where mobs should be rescuing the main boss but just stand around until its too late. Scorx fight is a good example of where that could be utilized to improve fight mechanics.
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Re: Class Balance and Abilities

Postby Kindi » Sun Dec 05, 2010 9:49 pm

some zones already do that. like in SM-inv.....
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Re: Class Balance and Abilities

Postby rorg » Mon Dec 06, 2010 7:05 pm

Rangers & Dire Raiders- Assist and afk is pretty much your life. Rangers are supposed to be opposite to rogues for melee damage and while they can avoid shield damage with archery and put out better damage with weaker gear, they are still barren. Rangers are supposed to be a warrior/druid hybrid that deals damage but your spells actually reduce your damage output. I posted specifics for the abilities/shots elsewhere and can clarify again if needed.

Reduce cast times to 1 star and remove the pray penalties.
Add in 1-3 new offensive combat ablities that are actually usable.
Springleap or something has been asked for a million times, and kick is still terrible.
Archery needs special shots since you actually lose abilities with using a bow.
Raise all weapon skill caps to 99.
Remove slashing requirement to outflank.

I really dont see why rangers dont get outdoor hide or disguise (camaflouge?)
Also in forgotten realms shadow archers can quest/create a special arrow that is insta kill, would be cool to give rangers an assass like arch skill.
Love the springleap.


Paladins & Antipaladins - They have the same spell problems as rangers and are basically just like warriors that can't tank as well. Guard and apply poison are decent skills but antis are often tanking so they can only apply at the start of combat, and guard is a fairly boring passive ability.

Instant cast offensive spells and reduce pray times.
Give antis the ability to apply poisons in combat.
Add a vigorize component to heal mount, and allow some portion of gheal/bardsong to affect ungrouped pets of party members.
Increase charge damage a little.

I will only speak on pallys, antis might need work but are still much ahead of pallies....
I would like to see heal moved down a circle so that you got 4
I would really like to see a quest to convert conquest armor or a similar quest to make a pally set that would blur you instead of haste, or similar non stone/displace buff
would cool if pallys had divine aura
really agree with the heal mount thing, mount moves are weak at best. my winged griffon cant make the treck from sm to wd, really?


Invoker - Just fine as far as balance goes though there are obviously improvements that could be made to force more choices in spells cast. They really could use some defensive abilities for soloing.

Add a self-only damage absorption shield that doesn't stack with displace.
Increase the chance of blindness from blazing beam to 80%.

I would love to see some sort of defensive skill for vokers that didnt stack with stone, so that maybe with a stone wand and your spell you could kill something. another option would be an offensive spell that healed you a bit, but shrug a LITTLE more utility would be nice. As far as the class the way it is now, I really would like to see cool down on sandstorm less, thats about all outside of a freezing rain type spell to go in incendiary cloud circle, but thats minor and not really NEEDED


Enchanter - Just fine though a couple quality of life spells would be nice.

Add group stoneskin
Add group haste
You could consider giving shamans group stone or haste instead.

Bards - I don't even know where to start because I really don't like the song mechanic but bards suck to play. You don't even need to assist as a bard or use triggers. You just follow the leader and swap songs every 10 minutes. The limited spell list is boring and generally pointless other than displace. Unreliable skills are a terrible thing and make them more of a bunch of hail marys than useful tools.

Raise rogue skill caps to 99. Maybe leave sneak or hide lower to leave true stealth to rogues.
Increase damage on all bard spells significantly.
Figure out some way to make pushing buttons matter.

First off several several songs need to be looked at. You get what 12? songs and use heal/res/slow/renew/regen maybe maybe harming if your really industrious.
giving them a mem based system again, or more slots might help, but bards are about songs and the songs need work
accompany bonus is really weak.
trip, even at a lower cap level than rogues, would greatly improve the class and make afk barding be obsolete (espec if you added the circle while singing)
singing non offensive songs while hidden like on duris would be nice, though this wouldnt be such a big deal if they had disguise
the biggest would be ability to circle while singing




I think the main point of all of this is simply that it has been needed/wanted/talked about for the better part of a decade, if not more. Whatever you decide I think I speak for the whole mud when I say please do something. Reworking the classes a little bit would go much further than any other code mods Imo. New challenges, new tweaks, new intrest. I would really like to see someone take on this task, and not just so my level 50 Rangvokechanter can solo tia, just to change things up a bit. The main focus of gormals updates for the most part was to make zoning more "active" thus adding more "skill" I dont think thats a bad thing.

Thanks,
Robby.
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Re: Class Balance and Abilities

Postby Thilindel » Tue Dec 07, 2010 9:38 am

Just a quick thought paladins: Remove tog vic already. Now that wouldn't be very nice, would it? RP should -NOT- be forced. Just as a redundant notion, I had my paladin walk through WD and kill several children. Funny, my pompous, self-righteous, narcissistic paladin didn't seem to bat an eye...but oh, heaven forbid I finish off a damned L55 troll before he regens and possibly kills a mage or some wimpy group member before I can type to kill his ass again (which in itself is another reason to take a warrior instead) - let alone another mob that walks in meanwhile with same keyword

If RP is going to be forced for paladins, then it should be across the board. But no, I doubt anyone would care to have imposed RP. It's been ignored for years of various posters asking for its removal.
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Re: Class Balance and Abilities

Postby grundar » Tue Dec 07, 2010 10:15 pm

reducing cast times on ranger/paladin types to 1* is not a viable solution. Think of the low level game, and how having 1* offensive spells will kill off lowbies faster than you can say ouch, hell it might even hurt the high level game with instant tazriks and call lightnings. the only real solution to bring in their spells to a viable use is to rework the code to allow them to still dodge/parry/hit while casting.
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Re: Class Balance and Abilities

Postby Gormal » Tue Dec 07, 2010 10:54 pm

Someone's never been holy worded.
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Re: Class Balance and Abilities

Postby grundar » Wed Dec 08, 2010 3:14 am

holy word is not a low level spell tho, by the time mobs can holy word you you already have enough hps to withstand it.
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Re: Class Balance and Abilities

Postby Gormal » Wed Dec 08, 2010 6:52 am

Mobs naturally use bash/kick/etc already so they don't spam spells. Are you really concerned about a low level ranger mob getting a 1-3 snake StS off on you? Dust devil is the most painful at low levels and its easily survivable without tons of endgame gear.

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