Non-Client Non-Balance Stuff

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Sokolov, Aug 16, 2017.

  1. Sokolov

    Sokolov The One True Cactuar Octopi

    I am thinking there'd be 2 categories:
    1. Stuff like Charged Heal which is just an AP substitute, allowing for abilities that can be used without AP but still subject to balancing via CDs
    2. Stuff like Escalating Rage which would be what you are talking about
    I think the nature of the 2 types are different enough to warrant both.
  2. potatonuts

    potatonuts I need me some PIE!

    Well I was thinking more about Vampyres when i said that, Spirits have a lot more going for them in general but Arroyo lost a big chunk of their synergy with the Surge changes. Arroyo already have an inbuilt DMZ component so that's why i suggested some stuff like Dark Awakening earlier. I think Vampyres would benefit a great deal from some more basic upgrade reworks at least as a start. I'd be happy to elaborate on this when I've had some more time to think about it.
  3. davre

    davre The Benevolent Technofascist

    What do you consider to be the biggest problems with charges as currently implemented?
  4. Etherielin

    Etherielin The Floof Cultist

    Things you can abuse with sea song.
  5. kalasle

    kalasle Forum Royalty

    This sounds like a frustratingly narrow formulation of charge abilities.
  6. Sokolov

    Sokolov The One True Cactuar Octopi

    1. Bulky/Clunky - You need to have multiple abilities to make them work
    2. Inconsistency - Both in terms of implementation, as well as what a Charge means
    By making charges something that is solely internal to the champion (not interactive with any other ability/effect), we can use Charges as a more generic idea that is keeping track of counters for an ability.

    The only issue with this idea remains the issue of where a champion with a Charged ability gains another Charged ability somehow. In this implementation, the rate of gain is approximately "doubled" which would allow you to use the generation of one ability for the effect of another.
  7. Sokolov

    Sokolov The One True Cactuar Octopi

    Ah, the context of the DMZ comment made the second state seem like it was about Spirits. My apologies.

    And yes, that'd be helpful if you have specific concerns about certain Vampyres. I do think they could use some "cool stuff" racially beyond making everything Bloodied.
  8. potatonuts

    potatonuts I need me some PIE!

    Maybe Arroyo could get Rift Nova on another champ or two? It's a really cool ability that is stuck on one fairly niche champ and would give them another damage source and some AOE which the theme is really lacking.
  9. themacca

    themacca Master of Challenges

    Aren't they already removed?
  10. Sokolov

    Sokolov The One True Cactuar Octopi

    Not entirely, and some non-Champ runes like Seasong still do that stuff.
  11. NevrGonaGivUup

    NevrGonaGivUup I need me some PIE!

    I'd love to see Sea Song get reworked. Maybe into a racial spell for mirefolk/tortalleons/water beasts.
  12. kalasle

    kalasle Forum Royalty

    Not directly relevant to some of the current designs discussions, but I would really hope that no new races are introduced. If there's going to be a new theme, make it a branch of a current one, or an alternate variation on something out there right now. It really bothers me (especially as a story person) that the assumption of race-equals-theme has lead to the proliferation of a ton of races, sometimes with little time for narrative involvement.
  13. themacca

    themacca Master of Challenges

    Cough ferren cough
  14. super71

    super71 I need me some PIE!

    Certain maps create things like turrets or defensive upgrades

    Example- a turret on a hill- this turret has cannon shot when a champion is within the zone and it's not contested, range4-6 10 damage ignores defense

    Example- old city ruins- champions in this area take 2 less damage from ranged attacks

    Things other than just fonts on maps would be nice and more terrain abilities

    The rune checklist alphabetized

    Different avatars with the option to pick their ability sets

    All fonts can grant domain:water or whatever the factions terrain is, could be a turn thing or a 3 spaces or closer thing.
  15. yobanchi

    yobanchi I need me some PIE!

    Vampirism spell - All champions gain life siphon for 5 turns. If they are vampyres they also gain blood rage and rotting blows for 5 turns.

    Blood Fiend:
    Upgrade 2: Replace bleed with Demons Thirst from Griefbearer's fountain.

    Sacrificial Dagger:
    Champion gains souldrinker. If a vampyre it also gains leach vitality.

    Wraith's Tear- Equipped champion gains Resistance Magic: 3. If it is occupying DMZ it gains soul channeling.

    Bridal/Ravenwraith -
    Upgrade 1: Vengeful (spirits), Surge: Cursed (witches), Hunter: Soultapped (spirits)
    Upgrade 2: Soul Channeling, Souldrinker, Bullwark: Spirit
    Base- Resistance Magical 3

    Aspect of Death-
    Upgrade 1: Soul Channeling, Desecrated zone 3, Dread
    Upgrade 2: Comraddery (loses undead race and is just spirit), Bullwark Spirit, Domain DMZ
    Base: Doom replaces death knell

    Dark Messanger-
    Upgrade 1: Essence capture, Soulsift 1, Soultap
    Upgrade 2: Hunter: Soultap, Vulnerability electric, Ethereal
    Base: Detection 3 instead of essence capture

    Disturbed Spirit/Haunting Spirit-
    Upgrade 1: possess 3, Depression, Vulnerability Magical
    Upgrade 2: Desecrated Zone 3, Sonic aura 2, Soul channeling
    Base: Ghost, Latch on, (taunt: Doooom for haunting spirit LE)

    Replace soultap with soulchanneling in Upgrade 2 slot.

    Black Ops renamed Spirit Ops: Spirits gain soulsift 1 for 2 turns. This is hidden until triggered.

    Delay to Soultrap: Target champion becomes soultapped. If you control a spirit it is also defiled.
  16. super71

    super71 I need me some PIE!

    Stop with that hog wash nonsense, the last god damn thing I wanna see is 100 zombie summons contesting people's Bane Shift all game. Fw would be a no brainer with all the summon nonsense, the last thing people need to worry about is another annoying game mechanic. Pox has enough Bane Shift people have to worry about without wondering when they will drop that corpse a pult and fire.

    With a working combat log and a more effective way to combat summons maybe it would be okay, but this would just force people to run summon counters again.

    No no no, your bias is maddening.

    Sorry for all the swearing but I hope you were kidding
  17. super71

    super71 I need me some PIE!

    Splits with no bonuses sounds great

    The barb facials now are fine, add more champs with them, and make a couple new barbarian abilities. Cap the number of racial abilities a single barb can get.

    Vampyres should focus more on stealth and charming their enemies, not all vamps are known for being blood hungry and crazy strong. When I think vampire I think silent, quick, smart and charm.

    Full faction bonuses are fine as is
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2017
  18. kalasle

    kalasle Forum Royalty

    I understand your concern about seeing a bunch of summoned champions jam up fonts forever, and that's exactly why I have said that, in the event that the "Summoned" tag gets removed, it would be important to change sources of summoned champions with their new capabilities in mind. I am not saying -- and I have never proposed even as a joke -- that the summoned tag should be removed without any other modifications to the game. See, for explicit examples, my earlier posts in this thread:

    So, yeah, I completely agree that 1) the summoned tag should not be simply removed, as well as the implicit premise of that argument, that 2) the summoned tag performs a clear and important design role within the current Poxnora environment.
  19. davre

    davre The Benevolent Technofascist

    My intent is to maintain design space for things like sea song or add/remove charge because I like the idea behind those kinds of niche combos/abilities.

    I already mentioned my biggest problem with the currently-implemented charge abilities - the value of the charge being off by orders of magnitude depending on the context. I believe that this is due to the game's ad hoc implementation of the mechanism.
    A symptom of this implementation (and the current strategy of dealing with charge abilities on a case-by-case basis) is that some champs pay for others' spenders and are compensated with more efficient gainers. This results in the clunkiness that we currently see and pigeonholes champs like librarian/cultist into "charge bank" roles.

    The just-released midterms are an interesting mechanic that proves to me that the "design space " of the active/passive dichotomy can often be illusory. The charged heal ability is a good example: on the face of it, it creates design space as an AP substitute. But 3 of the 7 champs that have it are passive and spend most of their time sitting around with full AP banks that they aren't using (and I would argue that both mutant doctor and stitched seamstress also spend >3/4 of their lifespan the same way). The remaining cases are darkmarsh witch (who technically has this ability but is designed for decks where she would rarely want to use it) and vengeant templar. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that vengeant templar is the champ for whom this ability was designed. But if that ability combination was changed to healing mind, would anybody care?

    Champions have 3 resources (ignoring the charge mechanic): Health, AP, and agency (I am using this as a catch-all for the value of an action, whether that is an attack, a heal, a polymorph, or some other method, but the attack chain is the purest version of this resource). The rule for these abilities is that they are all bounded: A unit starts with a maximum hp and tends to die with the same maximum hp (interest comes from how this rule is modulated), the ratio between damage and hp is a design decision that creates a rhythm that sets pox apart from magic, hearthstone, etc. A unit has a maximum amount of AP, this resource is distinct from hp in that it automatically regenerates (at a very generous rate relative to the cap) as a rule (I don't think I need to describe how AP creates rhythm). The most common form of agency, the attack, is bounded by the rules of the attack chain which give a typical rhythm of 0-2 attacks each turn while other abilities are bounded by the rhythm of the cooldown.

    These three resources work because they are constrained. The values of these constraints are essentially arbitrary, but they were developed immediately and are resistant to change in spite of their arbitrariness. I have never seen a thread arguing that all champions should have +20hp. Nor have I seen a thread arguing that champs can save too much AP and the cap should be reduced to speed+2, or that it should be increased to speed+5. Pox would still be pox if all champions had the tortun attack chain. It doesn't matter what the values these resources have, but it does matter that they are fairly consistent. Although these resources are constrained by a rigid set of rules, abilities modulate those rules to provide interest and to allow us to convert one resource to another. I hate bloodfiends but they are among the most elegantly designed champs in pox: Life resource converts to speed resource which converts to agency which converts back to life resource in a bounded way that gives them the capacity to be extremely aggressive but also provides an innate method of counterplay and forces the user to contemplate the relative value of these three resources every turn.

    I am going to take this opportunity to define my terms:
    Bounded - constrained by that resource's standard rules (eg. your Augur of the deep does not gain hp, your skeezick vanguard can hold 10 ap each turn)
    Modulated - plays by a slightly modified version of the rules that is bounded by external factors + rhythms (eg. your deep leviathan has 3x the hp of a typical champ but dies automatically after 8 turns, your aspect of violence increases its AP cap every time it attacks but that effect has a duration so it must keep attacking to maintain the bonus)
    Unconstrained - plays by its own rules/has a set of bounds that can be bypassed (eg. your jellyfish gains hp at an exponential rate, your kanen whirlwinds attack a tough champion equipped with mark of kiergana and each unit in your army spends 18ap this turn)

    Unconstrained resources aren't always the most problematic issues in the game, but they tend to be disproportionately problematic. When these three resources are bounded or modulated they form a well-oiled system. Your opponent interacts with the system through the hp resource, you make short-term decisions through the AP resource, and those short-term decisions translate into 2-5-turn opportunity costs through the attack chain/cooldown resource. This system of three bounded resources is so robust that we went ~15 expansions before another resource was added, and 15 expansions later the overwhelming majority of our champions do just fine with three resources. Now, I am sure a lot of you might not be convinced about that third resource, it could seem kind of tacked on. That third resource creates a kind of psychological guessing game (should I go ahead and use that champ-based cleanse right now for a light heal and to get rid of that DoT? Or should I save it in case he hammer strikes) that keeps us playing after 1000s of games.

    Even though I believe that those three resources are very tight, I love the charged system. The reason for this is because I appreciate unfair decks. This one is going to need another definition, because I know that a lot of people are going to look at the word unfair and think that I'm an ******* (that's beside the point). When I say unfair, I don't mean a deck that beats you even though you are obviously the better player and should have won. Rather, I mean a deck that changes the rules of the game such that you will probably need an uncomfortable playstyle to deal with it. The charged system has always had the capacity to do this simply because it creates a fourth resource that many decks are not equipped to interact with. It achieves something that I like, but I don't agree with that last part at all - I would prefer a fourth resource that a deck may or may not be able to interact with directly via specialized spells, but which they absolutely can interact with by changing up their playstyle.

    Before I go back to my proposed charged system, I would like to talk a bit about the mechanisms that it abandons. These versions of the charge ability increase the game's complexity by:
    1. Stuff like Charged Heal which is just an AP substitute, allowing for abilities that can be used without AP but still subject to balancing via CDs
    My critique of this is that we already have AP, and it works quite well thank you. My second critique of this is that we already have CDs. They work quite well thank you. In order for this fourth resource to create meaningful, interesting complexity I think that it needs to operate in a fundamentally different way from the other three resources. I will use damage types as an example of complexity that is neither meaningful nor interesting. With three damage types we have the capacity for the simple rock-paper-scissors meta decision that makes games more or less difficult depending on your matchup. If Sokolov wanted, he could decide that the next expansion would be Corgis in space. He could give them all plasma rifles and make a new attack:plasma ability. He could probably throw together 5 expansions' worth of new champs with plasma acolyte and plasma aura and plasma resistance, and it would make the game more complex. At some point, this type of complexity for complexity's sake becomes noise.

    The current charged system is held together by one premise: charges are an alternative resource. Aside from that they form a ******* family of functionally dissimilar parts bound together by the pricing system of disparate abilities that gain this resource in some way. It is a family without unity or harmony. Facing a sheoul magus does not give you any insight into how to deal with an aspect of chaos. As mentioned earlier, the disunity of scale means that even dedicated counters are only viable against a handful of charged champs (you can nuke an aspect for 40n but metamagic backlash isn't much more effective vs an owl raider than it is against any non-charged champ, and it starts to occupy the same "x-hate" space as holy mace). Because this resource is not bounded, there is no reason to establish an approximate value for an individual charge, and all the things that are supposed to unite the family (specifically the charge-gaining abilities and spells/relics/equipment that interact with charges) just become a gross entangled knot that makes these abilities difficult to balance. To be clear, the approximate value is just that. HP is sometimes referred to in terms of eHP, which reflects how that resource is modulated but the difference in scale between a high eHP and low eHP tends to be 3-5x at most, while the current charged system creates ridiculous value swings (20 charges on an AoC probably has ~50x the value of 20 charges on a ritual cultist).

    So just before I go back to my original proposal, I want to reiterate my criteria for a well-designed fourth resource:
    It should provide something different from the three existing resources.
    It should be bounded. This constraint has an additional benefit of creating design space for modulation.
    The opposing player should be able to interact with it through their playstyle, rather than needing hard counters.

    Back to that original proposal. I suggested a basic integrated ability with three parts:

    1 - charge gainer, increments of 1 charge per (whatever)
    2 - optional passive charge bonus, gain X for each charge this unit has
    3 - mandatory discharging threshold, automatically do X and remove all charges when this unit reaches (I have given 8 as my arbitrary bound) charges

    As I mentioned earlier, one of the beautiful things about the 3 existing resources is the way that they can be modulated. The above template does not have to be the extent of the system, just the basis.
    Cool new passive aura: all champions within 5 spaces have their charge threshold increased by 1.
    Cool new passive aura: all champions within 5 spaces have their charge threshold decreased by 1.
    Cool new passive aura: enemy champions within 5 spaces have their defense reduced by 1 for each charge they have.
    Adapted version of the simple charge gainer: when X happens, this champion gains a charge. If this champion does not already have a charge spender, its charge threshold is set to 8.
    Cool new passive ability: gain 2 defense per charge.
    Cool old active ability: remove charge.
    Cool old active ability: add charge.

    Additionally, some existing passive abilities fit perfectly into the charged paradigm:
    warcharge (which becomes more versatile if you include some charge removers in your deck)
    ancient corruption (it's already janky but I think it works in a sympathetic way by creating an external rhythm for the cyclops)
    how about wisp whisperer? 3 attacks = 3 charges = 1 wisp and the opportunity for a rhythmic bonus in there.
    quest: x - the threshold activation could grant the automatic bonus like the heal + a buff that lasts 3 turns.
    battlefiend/warmonger: I've already mentioned my concern about solution #5 or whatever it is called because it shits on all the context that balanced battlefiend in the first place. I think that this consolidation would clarify and check the power of this ability.

    Now let's see if we can adapt some old abilities. I will start with that vengeant knight, who might as well have healing mind right now.
    New charged heal: Each time this champion attacks, gain one charge. Threshold 4: friendly champions within 3 spaces are cleansed and heal 8 hp.
    Just like healing mind, this ability passively heals while the champion attacks. Unlike healing mind, the charge mechanism creates a dilemma for its owner that can be manipulated by their opponent: the charge user wants to bunch as many hurt champs as they can fit into that AoE when it procs, but if he ends his turn with all his champs bunched up he opens himself up to AoEs. A clever opponent has the option of interacting with the charges to proc the heal on their turn to minimize its value as an alternative to killing this champ outright.

    How about the old AoV: violence charged and the capacity to make an insane amount of attacks in one turn. Unchecked, this champion routinely destroyed more champions in a single turn than its owner was able to in the previous 10.
    What about a new furious blows ability: Each time a champion dies, this champion gains a charge. For each charge, this champion's attacks cost 1AP less (to a minimum of one). Threshold 8: This champion's attack chain is reset and it gains 4ap.
    This version takes the old aurispicy ability, but charges allow it to proc at a much more reasonable rate (even Zeven rarely killed 8 champs in a single turn). At 1-3 charges, we're basically looking at a MA:3 champ. 4-6 charges make it capable of 4, maybe 5 attacks in a single turn. That's scary but not game-breaking. When it gets to 6-7 attacks it is really dangerous but the AoV player can misplay a powerful turn by killing a champ early and resetting AoV's kill-timer. Once again, the opposing player can intervene with the charged mechanism with a well-timed powerturn of their own that kills 3 champions and resets AoV from 5 charges down to zero.

    This post is already too big so I will stop the examples here. If anybody wants to test this with another current charged champion I will see if I can come up with something. Although this system is constrained, those constraints open up new avenues of exploration rather than reduce them.

    In summary, this proposal retains the idea of charges as a fourth resource.
    This resource distinguishes itself from the original three resources through its capacity to reflect the global game state in local champs (eg. spell charged).
    This resource distinguishes itself from the current charged system by switching activated abilities to a passive bounding mechanism.
    This bounding/release/reactivation mechanism maintains an appropriate scale that makes it easier to determine and compare the value of a charge.
    This bounding/release/reactivation system allows the opposing player to indirectly interact with the resource by changing the gamestate and altering its activation rhythm.
    Setting a consistent value for the resource allows individual abilities to be balanced and also creates a foundation for assessing new abilities that play with this resource (we have 50 different ways to transfer AP from one champ to another but we need to delete sea song because it breaks the game).
    Balancing this resource allows charged abilities to proliferate and also turns charge modulators/counters (ranging from add/remove charge to metamagic backlash) to proliferate as the same kind of "soft counter/utility" deckbuilding consideration that we see in antiequip/cleanse/dispel/detection rather than as hard counters/hate runes.

    Sorry about the wall, but this has been well-considered.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2017
  20. super71

    super71 I need me some PIE!

    Don't vamps already have something like bloodied scent with blood seeker, teleport blood ball also, why are we making another blood teleport when the theme already has 2 options for it ? Just give some more vamps teleport blood ball or blood seeker.

    Vamps are bad because they are spread across 2 themes and 3 factions, blood and vamps and ud and fw and kthir for some dumb reason. Vamps don't have decent enough spells, equips, from either faction individually so your forced to make a split. Vamps also have no buffing options other than commander in a meta game that requires buffs to be competitive.

    Gives vamps access to things involving stealth for buffs

    Domain shadows, Elsari dusk, hidden dmz, shadow spawn, shadowstrike, assassinate, shadow shift, escape, murk, dream eater.

    That list is already huge, and their aren't any themes really built around stealth. Pox doesn't need new abilities when you can do just fine with the abilities we have, you will see that with the player made expansion.

    Designing themes for splits is a bad way to go, it limits creativity for risk of breaking things, and it forces themes to play poorly in full faction.

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