[Suggestion(s)] Passive skills

Discussion in 'Suggestions & Feedback' started by Orion, Nov 10, 2016.

  1. KoBeWi

    KoBeWi Jumpkin

    The topic has passive skills in the title, but it's about support. Confusing XD

    Anyways, how about persistent support skills? Player who turns them on would cast a constant buff in a limiter area around, and other would be buffed as long as in this area. The skill could drain your EP or block it off.

    Or there could even be a new resource: SP (Support Points). They would act like EP, but for support skills. Having support skill active would drain your SP gradually. It would regenerate when no support skill is active, but reaching 0 would prevent regeneration briefly. Another way to regain SP would be killing/damaging enemies or something. When any player inside buffed area kills enemy, buff caster regains a portion of SP. This also makes support skills more useful in multiplayer, because more players = more SP regain. Or to make it equally useful for 1P and 2+P, SP drain could be proportional to number of players inside buff area, so with more players it drains faster, but it's also easier to recover.

    As for skills, you'd be allowed to use only one support skill at once. Casting another support skill would cancel the first one, but the second one would be cast on the same charge level (unless not available, then would downgrade) for free. This way you'd be able to freely swap between buffs, depending on situation.

    This makes you not recast the skill every time, but it would be active as long as you could keep your SP up. So players could be focused on beating enemies, and just get additional benefit from support skill. If that sounds too OP, maybe the skill could have some negative effect on the caster, like lowering attack on defense buff, so you'd have to sacrifice your own offense, so your party survives longer etc.

    But totem idea is good too.
  2. KoBeWi

    KoBeWi Jumpkin

    Surely, implementing some support skills isn't that much hard task. However, balancing and testing them, is what takes the most time. So how about leaving it to players, by making configurable debug skills?

    Ideas like totems, or SP or whatever, they could all be implemented, but without set number. The real numbers would be in a configuration file, so players could change the skills to their liking and see what values makes them happy the most. These skills would only be available with a command (that would make them visible), players would be able to change things like range or strength of the effect, or what stat does it buff. Just make few slots for dummy skills that are loaded on runtime and let the players test the numbers, so you waste less time on the balancing.

    Does that make sense?
  3. The G-Meister

    The G-Meister Giga Slime

    Would use the shit out of this. JS.

    I have a couple issues with this. Sure it'd work, but then, by not having a support spell, you're disadvantaging yourself will all the spare SP you have. Support skills then become obligatory for the strongest builds. And if people do then start using both meters, trying to monitor both and a battlefield at the same time is a bit much for me.

    Support is only uninteresting to watch and play because of the way it's implemented. Sure, there is the point that you can't really get anything interesting out of a buff/debuff to a stat, but look at all the different ways of casting skills I came up with in an earlier post - and that's completely neglecting all the possibilities of spells that affect enemies and any effects cast to a single player. There's massive room for expansion, and we can't just brush it under the rug. After all, pretty much every skill is just some numbers with a fancy animation.

    I agree, they're there to enhance normal fighting skills, but the whole objective of the game is to fight the enemy. If someone specialises in support in SP, they're not just gonna neglect fighting enemies. They'll buff themselves up and use either normal attacks or weak magic/1H/2H skills to allow them to adapt their playstyle. A ground locked AOE for +MATK in conjunction with Earth Spike and Meteor would make a great build, and make for a more tower defence-like experience.

    Grindea's combat system is designed around everyone beating the crap out of the enemies.

    But it's only 2/3 complete.
  4. KoBeWi

    KoBeWi Jumpkin

    There's no need to make a new stat. It would be a support-only thing, absolute value not affected by any equipment or your level and non-existent if you are not support user. There could of course be some talents affecting it, just as there are magical talents even if you are melee.
    That sounds like a problem, but there must be some way to balance it out, so it's an option, not necessity, right? (my idea about debug skills would help there)
    I doubt many people would use support in single player (if it wasn't OP ofc), so putting multiple players at advantage isn't a bad idea too. And if people feel "forced" to use support, it matters less, because with more players, there's still room for diversity in builds.
    Well, maybe the meter wouldn't be a regular bar, but some creative indicator, that makes it easy to monitor it.
  5. The G-Meister

    The G-Meister Giga Slime

    The stat's gotta be there somewhere in the code. If it's not on the screen at it just get's hinted at occasionally that'll bug me because I like being able to see the actual value of things. Also, just because it's hidden doesn't mean it isn't there, and people get angry when they find out the thing that's being hidden from them is actually incredibly useful.

    Basically hidden stats that could give me an advantage don't float my boat :p

    You gotta think of the poor guy that chose to play support when it came to multiplayer. When their friend(s) decide they have other games to play or another meeting time can't be arranged, but they reeeeaaally want to continue playing their character, what are they going to do? If their skills are weak in SP because they're balanced towards multiplayer then they basically have to start over.

    Ideally, you should cater to everyone, not just the majority. From what I discussed in that large post on the previous page, it's possible to balance skills towards both multiplayer and singleplayer, so why not go down that route?

    The thing I don't understand is why the current EP system doesn't do the job. As both magic and close combat already use this, it's seems only fair that support skills use it too, right?
  6. KoBeWi

    KoBeWi Jumpkin

    Uh, after the idea of EP-blocking support skills, I thought that it would be totally unviable to have so many skills blocking EP, so making support use another resource made sense. But when you look at all of it, maybe it doesn't >_>
  7. res7less

    res7less Jumpkin

    That's actually a really good point and one of several issues, which is the reason why I suggested to answer some essential questions first before proceeding towards the skills themselves.

    - Why do players play support? Reasons, motivations et cetera. Do they just want to help? Are they usually playing support because in some games it's easy and they're lazy? Some other motives?

    - What is a support player supposed to be able to achieve? Be only viable in multiplayer? Be able to play through the entire game with support skills only?

    - In what relation will support skills stand to the game's stats? Will support skills belong to ATK or MATK? How can they benefit melees and ranged players?

    - How do support skills stand in relation to mobs vs. bosses? Should every skill be useful in both situations? Is it okay if a super useful mob cc skill is useless in a boss fight? Are the devs willing to alter boss mechanics in order to make support skills more viable?

    I think starting off by answering those might be helpful to have a clear(er) direction for support skills.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2016
  8. The G-Meister

    The G-Meister Giga Slime

    Important stuff is in italics, tl:dr-ers.

    @res7less, I'll at least give my opinion on these. Some are more subjective than others though.

    Why do players play support?
    Probably the most subjective of the four. I was going to attempt to dodge most of the subjectiveness by saying that really, we're building from the ground up here and therefore we should try to look away from what it means to play support in other games and try to redefine the support class. However, many games have already defined and refined what makes support fun to play, so we should at least draw some inspiration - but only when it comes to effects, not mechanics. Simply because we're dealing with what is most likely a completely different game.

    When it comes to answering this question myself... I don't reeeaally play support much. I'm a team player in Rocket League by sitting back, watching how my teammates respond to a given situation and then intervene where I think it is necessary - by going for a block, preparing to score a pass to the centre or simply filling in when someone else drops back to collect boost. Not much that's transferable to Grindea there, simply because the job I'm doing depends not on what skills I've put points into, but rather on the muscle memory I've built up while playing.

    What is a support player supposed to be able to achieve?
    This should be objective with the point I made in the large post, that buffs must provide a reasonable trade-off in terms of the offensive capability a player sacrifices by putting points into the skills.

    Ideally, we want the situation that the whole game can be completed with support skills only, for that poor support guy who desperately wants to continue. Although this might be easy for a support/offence combo, it involves a drastic change in playstyle for someone who specialises in support. If they're used to sitting back and buffing the ATK/MATK of someone else, they suddenly now have to get their hands dirty and actually hit something.

    One thing to go a way away from this it to make no support skill provide a debuff to the caster. Otherwise, you make them more vulnerable and more inclined to cower in a corner.

    Sadly, some sacrifices might have to be made to stop this from happening. Here are a couple options:
    1) Support players could be limited in the number of support skills they can have active at once. Not really a fair solution, and there are better ways around it, as here you are simply forcing players to combo a support/offence hybrid build. People should be encouraged to get their hands dirty, rather than forced.
    2) A larger number of skills focus on enemy debuffs. For all the criteria I came up with in the large post for skills affecting players, skills affecting enemies don't have half of those restrictions. Closer-ranged enemy debuff skills encourage groups to stick together and get the most out of the debuff, and getting the caster to get in the thick of it - possibly accidentally drawing some aggro as well.
    3) In addition, make them get bored when sitting around. Actually, this isn't much of a sacrifice and is nice and general. I'll bring up some solutions later, in something else I want to talk about.

    In what relation will support skills stand to the game's stats?
    Seems pretty simple to me. Currently, the Haste perk boosts both cast speed and attack speed. We can extrapolate this mechanic to avoid any biases and continue the game's ethos of having an unrestricted skill tree - have the stats of both magic users and melee users buffed by equal proportions by the same skills. Seen as you can play melee and magic at both short range and long range, it's only fair.

    How do support skills stand in relation to mobs vs. bosses?
    I don't think the game's skills currently have a stance on this, because it probably wasn't taken into account when making them. This is from the fact that we have skills that are only really good against mobs (Ice Nova, as most bosses can't be chilled, Smash!), skills that can handle mobs when used correctly but come into their own against bosses (mainly Heroic Slam) and skills that are equally good (or bad) against both mobs and bosses (Flamethrower, Shadow Clone... basically everything else).

    Because of that it comes down to us (or the devs) to come up with one. I think the stance that should be taken here is that everything should affect bosses and mobs equally, otherwise you end up in have to specialise in two separate skills and use two different playstyles.

    This question is probably the one that really is gonna define how the skills work though. That player locked AOE with adaptive effect distribution is gonna do a great job of this one, if it's twisted to work with mobs. Let's say we have an enemy locked AOE which increases damage dealt to it:
    1. With only the subject in the AOE, they receive 100% of the effect
    2. Each subsequent enemy in the AOE takes 15% of the effect and the subject's effect is reduced by 10%. This increases the total percentage by 5% per enemy to account for the fact that if you keep the total percentage constant, you then have to hit all of the enemies in the AOE to gain the total effect.
    3. After 5 extra enemies are inside the circle or after the subject's effect drops to 50%, no more enemies inside the circle receive the effect, to prevent weak-feeling effects on large amounts of mobs.
    4. If there are more than 6 mobs in the AOE, when one with an effect dies, it's effect gets instantly but randomly reallocated to another mob within the AOE
    That way a boss still receives the whole effect, but you get the effect distribution when fighting multiple mobs and a small bonus to reward players who take on the challenge. In fact, if the enemy you applied the effect to dies before the skill runs out (if it runs out at all) it could jump to the nearest enemy to make sure it's not a waste of EP.

    As for altering boss mechanics, I wouldn't say that's necessary. If anything it's HP might need to be altered a tad, but that wouldn't be because a support spell isn't viable with it, it'll be because offensive skills (after balancing) are too weak or too strong and the boss fight becomes unreasonably difficult for it's place in the story - not because we want something else we're implanting in the game to work with it. If the game works, build the skills around the game, not the game around the skills :p

    While we're here, let's bring up another thing. We've been talking about the poor guy who has to take a support class through the entire game... but what about the up-front tank who depended on the support class? They put talent points into Insult To Injury to get the maximum effect out of the enemy debuffs, but now he's wasted his talent points because their support friend doesn't want to play again.

    Basically, no support-focused talents that synergise a team to their support class, if we're going all out on the "every man for themself" approach. In fact, Insult to Injury is already guilty of this, and might be more of a problem if people actually used debuffs that often and to their fullest potential.

    And finally, on to this:

    The EP cost of support skills

    The issue that's brought up a lot with the current system is that support spells are a chore to recast, especially in story. We're making (or proposing ideas for) a videogame here - pretty much the entire point of it's existence is to be fun to play. Now, I must admit with some regret that yesterday morning something clicked in me, and I now understand your point @KoBeWi. Here's what I thought.

    First let's take the skills we already have in the game. Most skills opt for an EP use, which instantly takes away your EP and instantly does (or attempts to do) some damage. Blade Flury, Earth Spike, Piercing Dash, Titan's Throw, etc. Plant summon might be pushing that boundary, but if you don't put it down in the right place you just miss your damage, much like missing a Meteor.

    Another type of skill uses an EP block for something that sticks around. Shadow Clone, Frosty Friend and Cloud Strike are the three examples here if I remember correctly. What do these do differently? Well they summon a familiar (or three) that accompanies you and does damage in one way or another, with varying amounts of control.

    The final skill we have to consider is Beserker Style. While I'm not too familiar with this, it uses an EP drain while providing buffs and EP back the more you hit things. As I've said already I'm not a huge fan of the extra stress this puts me under, in the short amount of time I do player 2H.

    Now we get back onto our support skills. How should they fit into this system while also not being boring and encouraging combat?

    I don't think an EP drain would work for a support skill. Despite my biases, it feels more like players would be forced to hit things to regain EP, rather than encouraged, which isn't something we want to do. Beserker Style gets away with it because it's a skill which is catered towards and gives you further buffs for getting your hands dirty. I don't think there would be much of a better way to regain EP in a way that favours being support-y, but do bring it up if you've got anything. This is another reason why a separate meter for support skills wouldn't feel right.

    An EP use would work, but there needs to be some compensation to make it less of a chore like the current system. Ways to do this include having high EP costs, making them more visually appealing (possibly coloured flames for player locked or ground-lying fog for AOE) and even making them interactive for the time that they're around (a "glob" of effect can be thrown around with a melee swing or you leave a coloured fire trail that briefly lags behind your movement). Even then though, you still have to recast fairly often and stat buffs still don't have a particularly appealing effect. You also have the trouble of giving people something to recast when sat in a corner, therefore getting them in on the action may be more difficult depending on the style of skill.

    An EP block would probably be the best option. If a player does not have to recast the skill they have nothing else to do except watch the fight happen, meaning they're encouraged to get in on the action. However, more can still be done to get support players fighting. Interactivity, whether simple or genre-defining, is almost essential for the skills to be interesting when they don't have to be recast. Fancy effects and animations can also help. Also, for player locked AOE with adaptive effect distribution, a similar system like above could be implemented such as to encourage all team members to get some of the effect.


    Phew. I think that was all I wanted to say. I hope someone reads this. Also I hope you didn't all tl;dr because I put those helpful italics in. They were supposed to be a last resort damnit! :mad:

    ~G <3

    [Edit]: Oh a quick note, it took me the course of multiple days to write this post. Yeah :oops:

    [Edit 2]: Good call, the italics were a bit hard to see :p Also does that mean you were reading the italics?! :mad:
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2017
    res7less and MrChocodemon like this.
  9. DeftFunk

    DeftFunk Green Slime

    Greetings! first-time poster here. I found this game a few days ago on my recommended list and fell in love. Though so far, I've actually only played the demo, as I'm unable to drop the money for the full version right now. But I have seen videos of the whole thing and consulted the wiki. I'd really like to add to this discussion by giving my own ideas for support skills. I apologize in advance, this is going to be a long post.

    First, I wanna say, since the topic has come up, that I love playing support roles in multiplayer games. I genuinely find it fun. It's hard to explain why exactly, but the gist of it is that there's great satisfaction to be found in helping others succeed. People also tend to heap much adoration and gratitude on good supports so there's that.

    I've gathered that the whole support skill page itself is a placeholder, but I thought up ideas that fit the format anyway just because. Also, all these ideas hinge on two important factors:

    1.) The same skills from different players do not stack. Only the highest effect applies. I don't know if it's like this already because I have not tried multiplayer. The power of these skills also does not depend on any stats, just the skill level.

    2.) A solution to this problem:
    From my admittedly limited experience with modern MMOs, putting a price on SP refunds is an outdated practice. Most don't do it, and it doesn't break game balance as long as total SP is still limited. If SoG did this, this problem would be solved. It has an added bonus of allowing players to try whatever until they find a build that suits them. Some might say that being able to change your skill build on the fly would be overpowered, but it is really? I find that most don't bother. They just find it comfortable to just stick with one build. All the required menu navigation alone is enough to deter most players from resetting willy nilly. But even if they do constantly switch, so what? It's not much different than switching your equipment to suit the situation, which they'd likely have to do as well. Also, it's obviously unwise to do so mid-battle, at least in multiplayer.

    All that said, I'm fine with SP refunds coming at a cost in SoG, But I do wish it wasn't so costly. I'd say a flat rate like 50 gold per skill point would be ideal. With that out of the way, onto my actual skill suggestions. And just a forewarning: I'm bad at coming up with names.

    Offensive skills

    Amplify damage - Casts like Meteor and Earth Spike. Marks enemies with a debuff that makes them take a per-skill-level percentage of amplified damage.
    Bronze charge increases area of effect. Silver charge gives more area and further amplified damage. Gold charges gives more area and doubles duration.

    I think such a spell would work wonderfully in SoG. G-meister made a similar suggestion earlier, but I don't think it needs to be nearly so complicated. If an enemy takes 10% more damage for example, it doesn't matter if one or eight people are wailing on it, it still takes 10% more damage. Screens are often filled with mobs, as such this spell is limited by it's AoE. As boss battles take a while, it would then be limited by it's duration.

    Dark swamp - Also casts like Meteor and Earth spike. Creates a swamp at target location that lasts for a while. enemies that step into it have their movement and attack speed slowed based on skill level. Only one swamp per player. Casting a new one will delete the old. Also does not affect flying enemies.
    Bronze charge increases area of effect. Silver charge increases swamp duration. Gold charge adds a suction effect that pulls enemies toward the center.

    This skill would be real nifty for a "siege defense" so to speak or when trying to run away. If it can be implemented, the suction effect would be super useful offensively.

    Thorns - Buffs the user. When attacked, the enemy also takes damage based on skill level. Returns damage even if the attack was blocked by a shield.
    Bronze charge buffs nearby allies as well. Silver charge increases area and duration. Gold charge turns the recoil damage into an AoE centered around the attacker, also deals great damage upon the buffed ally's death.

    Actually, perhaps this one skill should be based on ATK or MATK, or both at once.

    Passive skills - These probably should just max at level 5 or something.

    Crowd control - Pulls aggro toward/away from you. Can toggle between attracting or repelling enemies... somehow. Leveling increases the Area of Effect, and at max level it decreases the frequency of enemy attacks.

    Quite useless in single player, but again, if skills weren't so costly to refund, this wouldn't be a problem.

    Pain Split - If a nearby ally takes damage, 30ish percent of that damage is transferred to you. Leveling increases area of effect, and at max level, if you or an ally take fatal damage, the effect is dispelled for a time and they survive with 1HP.

    Again, quite useless in single player.

    Extension - Debuffs on nearby enemies gain increased duration. Buffs on nearby allies gain increased duration. Leveling increases area of effect. At max level, if you cause a debuff on an enemy, it spreads to all enemies in an area around you. Perhaps this effect would have a cooldown.

    Defensive Skills - I think the current ones could use a tiny bit of tweaking. Especially when it comes to duration.

    Protect - Create a barrier around yourself which increases your armor.
    Bronze charge further increases your armor and affects nearby allies as well. Silver charge increases area and duration. Gold charge further increases armor and allows players to take one more hit while charging/using a skill and not get interrupted.

    Haste - Increases attack and cast speed.
    Bronze charge increases speeds and affects nearby allies as well. Silver charge increases area and duration. Gold charge further increases speeds, grants a movement speed buff as well, and allows you to auto-fire normal attacks.

    As far as I can tell, nothing in the game thus far buffs movement speed. Why is this? This should happen here.

    Healing Aura - I've saved the best for last, the hotly debated topic of healing. I actually made an adventure game myself in which this very same problem arose. I just decided to go with a gradual regeneration thing and I think the same thing can work in SoG. This skill would block of a portion of your EP for sustained health regeneration. The key is to make the regen very slow, such that enemies can easily out damage it, but the player can still benefit as long as they don't get hit. In fact, it could be made so that the regen stops for a bit when hit. Also it regenerates at a flat rate, not a percentage so that it would become rather useless if you don't level the skill. This would hopefully keep this skill from feeling essential. If you don't have the SP to go all the way, then it's not worth it. This wouldn't break boss fights as there isn't any places to camp out during them, at least as far as I'm aware. Players could camp out and heal while "dungeoning", sure, but they do that anyway really, just with potions.
    Bronze charge would make it affect nearby allies. I'm thinking in a relatively small AoE. Silver charge increases the area. Gold charge buffs EP regeneration rate as well.

    Alas, I do not know how to balance this for Arcade mode. I would just disable it, personally.
    Optionally, it could be made into a debuff that allows players to leech life when they damage/kill marked enemies. This would mean the more players there are, the more the more the health gain would be divided. This also makes it so you have to engage in combat if you want to heal. Risk and reward. But probably still couldn't work in Arcade mode.

    Of course, if that still doesn't work, there's that idea Teddy mentioned. I would make it work like so:

    Barrier Bubble - Casts like Meteor. Creates a bubble at target location. For all allies inside the bubble, the bubble will take damage for them, until it runs out of HP. Enemies and allies can move freely inside or outside the bubble, and the bubble does not move. Only one bubble can exist at a time. If another player casts one, the old one is destroyed. Perhaps EP is blocked until it's destroyed.
    Charging could add effects like detonation upon depletion, or slightly buffing those who step inside it.

    Many games have a skill like this. But I'm mostly thinking of this one:

    If you read all of this, thanks. I just wanted to get all this out of my system.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2017
  10. The G-Meister

    The G-Meister Giga Slime

    Welcome to the forums! I know the following argument might be a bit of a transition from that, but we all have good intentions here, myself included :p

    The Devs have said that they don't want to take the price off skill refunds because they don't want people switching out one build for another just before a boss fight. With that statement I made earlier about skills being either boss focused, enemy focused or a mix of the two, the easiest way to defeat a boss will become switching out to a different build, then switching back afterwards, especially on Hard when boss can take multiple attempts if you pick the wrong build.

    Is this an issue? Well, kinda sorta. In more of a lore sense, a warrior who has spent years learning to battle hoards upon hoards of enemies and training his skills for that purpose wouldn't simply be able to swap out for a magic staff and a few spells and have the same amount of experience - it's completely foreign to him.

    While I don't really have much of a counter argument beyond that, what I can ask is, is it a good solution? I wouldn't say so, because it forces the support player to change their playstyle - to refund skills, to get immersed in the combat, etc. I think encouraging support players to get into the combat would be better, but then it may just result in people complaining about how bad the support skills are, which is a much bigger issue. I guess you could also argue that if they wanna continue that badly then they'd be willing to take the sacrifice, but in an ideal situation we shouldn't have to sacrifice anything.

    Basically I'm the person that wants to try to run a full support build in singleplayer because I'm a masochist like that. Is there a reason I shouldn't be able to? I have no idea how many players buy the game specifically for co-op rather than just singleplayer, but I have a feeling that this approach won't go unnoticed.

    Encourage, don't force. Passive aggression is the way forward ;)

    [Edit]: Oh, thanks for stating your assumptions before writing the skills, made it much easier to write this post :D I did read the skills as well, but I'm focusing on their modes of casting rather than what their effects are, so I won't comment.
  11. DeftFunk

    DeftFunk Green Slime

    Thanks for the warm welcome. :)
    It only forces the player to change style if they want maximum DPS. I'm the type of guy that would probably play full support in single player too, and I'm sure it will work! Just not as quickly. In the same way, I'm pretty sure you can get through the game without leveling any skills at all. Though if they make good support skills, it won't be as bad as all that. You would just have lower damage with higher survivability. Slow and steady wins the race and all that.
  12. The G-Meister

    The G-Meister Giga Slime

    I think Teddy mentioned somewhere that we should work under the assumption that everyone will use the highest DPS build, because players shouldn't have to impose their own restrictions to make the game more balanced or more difficult. By all means people can do that by not putting points into skills or talents, but if everyone chooses the highest DPS build, we are encouraged to balance all the skills such that they are equally as effective as any other skill (at least in an ideal world).

    A thing I mentioned in another post adds to this, because, if a player specialises in support, they should still provide 1 player's worth of output. That's mainly a matter for the scaling of skills with multiple players though. However, if this is stuck to, then they should still be able to buff themself enough that each skill point of support skill has as much of an effect as each point of melee skill.

    I think that's what I meant to say :oops:
  13. KoBeWi

    KoBeWi Jumpkin

    Maybe it would work only if the room isn't cleared yet. So you'd need to dodge attacking enemies to restore HP, but if you overdo it, you get worse time and less points. The effect would stop if there are no enemies in room. Seems balanced.
  14. DeftFunk

    DeftFunk Green Slime

    Every support skill is different. Skills like Protect and Healing are impossible to compare to any given melee or magic skill simply because they don't add any damage or damage enhancing ability.
    Some support skills, like my suggested Pain Split, are pretty much a waste of SP in the wrong situation (i.e. Single player), but then, I could point to skills like like Smash! or Ice Nova which are pretty much a waste of SP in the wrong situation (i.e. Bosses, among others). But the right situation for these skills comes up often enough to warrant having the option.
    Some skills, like Haste and my suggested Thorns, get have to deal with getting more powerful depending on the number of players it effects. However, stats of enemies also scale up with the number of players. I think these two factors could easily balance each other out.

    This isn't about intentionally self-imposing restrictions, it's more about accidentally self-imposing restrictions, or setting things that aren't restrictions in one situation, but are in another. I'd say it's more accurate to assume everyone will use any build. Many will try to find the highest DPS build, but they won't know what it is. Or, they can be like me and not care what it is, they would just choose skills that look/feel cool, as long as it grants enough damage to not feel like a slog. They will always trail behind the 10% of players who intricately know the game inside and out. Would easier skill resets make things easier for these elite players? Yes, but I'd think not by much, especially with the current domination of Frosty Friend and Flamethrower.

    As you said, in the ideal world, players would have equally great DPS or equivalent value no matter what build they chose. This is not that ideal world, but even if it was, what if a player was unhappy with their build for other reasons? What if they were like, "Man, being a mage was pretty cool, but melee looks so much cooler." Or maybe something like, "I put a point into every skill because I wanted to see them. But now I see that was a bad idea.", Or even "Hey buddy, we're dying a lot. How about I pick up this Protect spell to help us out? It'll probably help more than this Chain Lightning thing."
    That second one in particular I remember doing often when I was new to such games. Refunding in this case is impractical with it's current cost. Completely unlearning even one skill seems to take twice as much money as I have on me. I assume this scales to always be the case. It's quicker to abandon the character, all the cool items I found, and possibly friends I was playing with to level a whole new one. Or continue on struggling because my build sucks. Either route is a major bummer.

    If their big concern is people changing skills right before bosses, then how about this? Have an in-town NPC offer complete skill resets at a much reduced price of say 500 gold. This NPC would also be unavailable in Arcade Mode. The high cost of resetting any time can stay, and thus no one can completely change their build right outside a boss room, unless their using the Collector's Headquarters. If you ask me, experimenting on bosses I've already beaten with different builds sounds like fun. Bringing several characters all through the story just to do that does not sound fun.

    I considered that, and does seem like an appropriate obstacle to those who want a high score, but for those who have the goal of just getting to the top, or a floor necessary for a quest, such a score penalty won't matter, and those goals might seem too easy.
  15. The G-Meister

    The G-Meister Giga Slime

    It's by no means impossible to compare a defensive and offensive skill, the same way as it works with talents or gear. By taking protect over fireball (for arguments sake), instead of increasing your potential damage output, you instead increase the the number of hits you can tank, thereby allowing you to do less damage for a longer time, potentially increasing the total amount of damage you can get off before you die, or the time for which you can fight before a health orb drops. It's certainly much more complicated than it is to compare the raw damage of offensive skills, but it's possible, and it happens. Skills have to be balanced some way after all.

    I wouldn't advise taking inspiration from the balancing of the current skills in the game. Teddy has said he didn't think that Haste or Protect would end up being twice as powerful with four players as with two players, and by that I assume he means he regrets that decision somewhat.

    As for other skills like Smash! and Ice Nova, having skills that are useful in one situation but terrible in another isn't something I'm a fan of. It looks like we're just at opposite poles of the spectrum in that regard. I would prefer every skill to be equally as useful as every other and in every situation, because then I can pick any combination of skills I like the look of and run a build. This means I don't have to bother looking for the best builds because they're all the best. I don't have to look online or experiment by refunding for free and trying to find something better. That way I can focus on having fun and not having to worry about doing enough damage to beat anything. If every build was viable in the game on Hard I'd have 3000 hours in the game rather than 930.

    I don't think free refunds is a bad idea personally, but it would be even better if every skill was equally as powerful in every situation. That way it doesn't matter if someone switches out skills before a boss fight because their build will still be exactly the same strength.
  16. Own

    Own Moderator

    I wouldn't. Some skills are best for crowd control/aoe, some for 1v1, some for playing safe and some for risky plays. Having everything be viable against every situation means you only have to pick one skill and can ignore everything else, because all essentially the same but with different animations.

    Something like Chain Lightning should dominate crowds (which it doesn't in my opinion, not at the moment anyhow) and be poorer against solo-bosses, while something like Heroic Slam should be amazing vs solo-bosses and poor against swarms. You should be expected to at least have two types of skills at all times, so combat doesn't become an exercise in spamming the same thing over and over.
    CatBug likes this.
  17. DeftFunk

    DeftFunk Green Slime

    I agree with Own.
    Regardless, you're right. Perhaps I shouldn't take inspiration from the current balance of the game. But I will still lobby for cheaper taxes skill refunds, and some not-always-useful support skills all day and night.

    Thanks for debating this with me though. :)
  18. The G-Meister

    The G-Meister Giga Slime

    No problem, it's been nice discussing things :p

    Assuming CatBug's like as a sign of agreement, it seems I'm outnumbered 3 to 1 here. Better explain myself :oops:

    Combat does become spamming the same thing over and over even if you have skills that are good against bosses and skills that are good against enemies, because it's a rare situation where you're fighting both mobs and a boss at the same time. The Sentry, Power Flower and Queen Bee are the only ones that come to mind. Other than that you end up spamming Heroic Slam in bosses and Ice Nova outside of bosses. And is that an issue? Not for me. Hard is the ultimate test of spamming skills. I just wish more skills were viable for spamming.

    Basically spamming something is never a bad thing if it's enjoyable.

    I had written another 500 odd words on how to balance everything equally, but it seems it's not completely doable without making all skills the same thing, as you mentioned. However, that doesn't mean it's impossible to take steps towards it. Anyway, whatever I've got down here is long enough to put into subheadings, so here goes.

    The best builds

    Another reason we should do this (or take steps towards it) is because currently, the skills that perform moderately well (or exceptionally well) against both bosses and mobs are the ones that make the best builds.

    Look at Frosty Flamethrower. Frosty Friend draws aggro when fighting mobs, keeping you from taking damage, and also is resistant to all the damaging obstacles like ice winds and spikes. This makes him good against mobs, and good in a few bosses as well. Flamethrower is downright too powerful no matter what it's against, especially with that mob stunlock and the increased movement granted by the silver charge.

    Plant Summon destroys mobs with the lock-on peashooters, but can also be used well with tactical placement of Bossplant/stalks in boss fights. I just managed to beat Winter second try on Hard with my current Plant Summon build which I'll publish once I've beat the game with it.

    The not-so-good builds

    Then we get the skills that are good against one but bad against the other. I remember ditching an Ice Nova/Insult to Injury build once I switched to Hard because the skill wasn't at all good against bosses. I was more melee focused and therefore I didn't have particularly high MATK. However, no matter what your MATK, the skill always chills mobs and always knocks them back. This is why it's great for crowd control and doing damage with Insult to Injury.

    However it does neither of these things on bosses, meaning I had to wail away at them and hope for the best. I think the reasons behind these development decisions is because chilling a boss would slow ot down and potentially disrupt it's attack patterns. As for the knockback, most bosses are large and therefore are resistant to an icy gust moving in their general direction.

    Can this be balanced more? Certainly. Instead of not allowing bosses to be chilled at all, they can simply turn blue but do not slow down. This means that the boss fight it not interrupted, but my main source of dealing damage is still working. A step towards being more viable.

    Why is Chain Lightning bad at mob control? From the half-run I did with it recently I fighured out why.

    When most skills hit a group of enemies, they do equal damage to anything that gets caught in their AOE. I think this is a good thing as it allows you to kill a group of mobs (which is harder to control) more effectively. Chain lightning is one of the few skills without an AOE.

    It's supposed to be good at dealing with multiple mobs who are spread apart at a long range. Is it? Yeah, for the EP cost. However, this often aggros them and pulls them towards you. They're now bunched together. Due to it's lack of AOE, it now gets no extra benefit from this situation. While it might now be a great opportunity to use an Ice Nova/Whirlslash, it seems like a waste of skill points and EP for an aggro-puller, especially when Frosty Friend does the same thing, but with a lot more damage. It also doesn't help that it seems to sell itself as a damage dealing skill. And is it's damage dealing part useful in a boss fight? Well it charges slowly, consumes a lot of EP and it's certainly not worth it for how little damage it does when the lightning jumps back to you.

    Could this be balanced? Heck yeah. Make each lightning strike have a (roughly) Meteor sized AOE around it that does the same damage to each enemy. Then it makes it viable when dealing with crowds, but we still have the issue with the bosses. How could it work with bosses? Bosses often have large hitboxes. Why not just allow lightning to arc between different parts of the boss if there's nothing else to arc to? They feel like they're big enough for that.

    How can we apply this logic to support skills? While a slow/move towards the centre similar to the purple Guardian spell might be really useful, I reckon there are better solutions with similar effects. As we've seen with the chill, this would be completely useless against bosses. What would work? A complete time stop could work. A targeted AOE that completely freezes any enemy in it for x amount of time, increasing with skillpoints, also affecting bosses. GUN-D4M is the only bullet hell boss with a timer, and there all the shots originate from the head. Because you can't target the head while it's dying, it shouldn't break anything.

    As for drawing aggro, that can be done with bosses anyway, at least in some part. Winter tends to target one person with his snow fists, Vilya spins after one person, GUN-D4M's missiles target one person, etc. Just make sure that it doesn't get more overpowered the more mobs there are.

    There's at least some examples. Let me know what you think. Would certainly prefer a game balanced like this.

    Side note - probably worth reading

    Bosses in most games are usually used as a test for the skills or gear you've built up as a player up to that point. FTL: Can you survive all the way to sector eight while simultaneously building up a stockpile of good weapons, systems and upgrades? Binding of Isaac Rebirth: do you know how to dodge an excessive amount of bullets or deal with homing enemies or bombs or train enemies etc. Minecraft: can you use a bow and a sword and know how to build on the fly? All of these are tests of skills (whether for the in-game player or the real life player) or gear you've gathered.

    If bosses in Grindea are different by requiring their own set of skills, are they even bosses anymore? You can't be expected to prepare for something you have no way of preparing for, if skills are separate. If you only use Heroic Slam in bosses, it's bound to take a few tries. And if you use it both against mobs and bosses, why shouldn't it be equally balanced for the two?
  19. Kana

    Kana Rabby

    I have no idea how to quote, or use any of the threads tools, and am not too interested in learning them at the moment (I avoided forums for a while for personal reasons), so please excuse my poor formatting and etiquette.
    I'd like to make some suggestions, and I'm new to the thread and forum, but I don't want to have read through everyone's beautiful brainstorm scrimmage in order to conclude what I should or should not mention, especially since I might want to repeat ideas anyway, but in the light of my own thoughts. (ooh italics!) So, Sorry to butt in so ignorantly, but people here seem very polite and reasonable!

    I read Teddy mention that a major part of why they would want to include support into a game that has so much trouble accommodating it, balance-wise, is to please people who enjoy the support niche (in whatever way) from other games. I have also read something along-the-lines from our frankly intimidatingly sharp and thorough-minded G-Meister that he thinks that support should be be designed around how it balances the game. These are clearly two different values, but, not opposites, so they shouldn't have to be weighed against each other.
    So I would like to start a short brain-ramble of how I think both of those things can be brought to the same side of the scale, so to speak.

    Firstly, I'd like to talk about why I LOVE playing support. To be truthful, I haven't actually played that many games that feature it as an archetype; I haven't played a single MMO. (I'm sure it would ruin my life, I'm not confident in my self-restraint at the moment XP) But I try to find ways to help other players, or even NPCs. Even if I'm not able to help them, I want to at least try. It doesn't actually have much to do with restoring a health bar, or buffing stats. My desire to support can manifest in various ways: [body blocking damage for critically injured teammates, dropping ammunition, calling out dangers, crafting gear for other players, guiding a newbie to the game if they are open to it, and if it comes to it as sole survivor, winning the game as the "Low Health Hero!"]

    Teddy said he thinks people play support because they like to help people, and this is definitely true to me, but I think it's something more, and psychological. I can see why people would think healing someone would be boring, when a game is about slaying, as most are. But supports get to play their own games within the game.
    It's actually about three things:
    -1. Social contact and mutual gratification
    -2. Creativity around under-powered mechanics
    -3. Situational awareness and strategic control
    I believe this also a good order to follow to, of course, approach how to actually implement support in a game.

    1. I might be wrong to say this, but I think most people who enjoy supports are introverts. Introverts, despite the primary implication, can nonetheless get lonely and crave social contact, but our nature limits how much "social energy" we can put out IRL. So video games are a relaxing alternative to life in general for a lot of people, but for some, it's also an alternative to the confusing gestures and facial expressions and pressures of being judged, when the medium of interaction is, instead of being face to face, something MADE to be understood and to be able find a groove in.
    In short we get a lot of our enjoyable social encounters from games.
    When we want to support someone it might be about increasing the team/party's chance of surviving a danger, BUT, it's also about inserting ourselves into someone's life for a short moment, helping them, and to know, even if they don't say it, that they are glad in some way, and then withdraw again. We also get be to quite helpless and dependent (in theory) thus forcing people help us! Its like a simulated, non-committal friendship.

    2. That brings us nicely to the next attraction. While most of a support's options might not be highly damaging, they are alternatively, aside from healing, often highly utilitarian (lower-case u), or downright quirky. They don't have a clear use like "destroy the enemy" since they won't do that directly. You have a wind that can push people. You can conjure a wall. You can "silence" enemies and keep them from using powerful abilities. These are some very generic examples, that I'm sure that most people here are actually very familiar with in some form. I don't think I have to elaborate how these might work out, particularly in PvP. Some must be shuddering right now, reliving past virtual nightmares. These aren't good on their own, but with proper timing and clever application...
    Now the stipulation is, you didn't actually just murder them, you're just a support. But at the end of the day, everyone knows it was li'l' ol' you.
    We enjoy when people underestimate us. It makes sense. We are weak, but that's one of the fun parts. Others have kits that are tried-and-true superior to a support's in combat. There's no pressure to win a fight, or to be a powerful force(we hate feeling pressured), but it is so sweet when someone thinks they have you cornered (and your team dramatically calls out cries of despair), and they get out foxed.
    Now you may go back to your humble duties of support immediately afterward(we don't want to be in the spotlight for more than a moment), but everyone is in awe of the irony. You got some respec' from your group, and struck terror and shame into at least one foolish assassin.
    And then you may commence your silent role-playing as the angel of death, who holds everyone's lives in her hands.

    3. Support brings another genre into the game for the player, and I enjoy this too. I love strategy games. Chess and Advance Wars come to mind. In order to play well, you must utilize all of your unique pieces, one at time, as well as notice potential dangers and foils.
    While other RPG players manage abilities and enemies one at a time, the support must manage other players, as well as how they engage they enemy (do they have buffs, do they get first strike, do they have enough health to survive an exchange, are they outnumbered). On the most basic level, only managing your team's health bars directly(ie. healing), this means prioritizing. Health is effectively only a buffer to prevent death, so if they are hurt, but aren't going to take damage, you can ignore them and prioritize other group members who will. But it may also require the awareness that you don't have enough 'heals' for everyone to survive an encounter, in which case you prioritize the members that can best deal with the danger, and revive them later.
    It can get even more advanced and FUN when you have utilities, that can manipulate the 'rules' of each friend's encounter with each enemy. In effect, while you may be weak in the small scale, you can be strong in the large scale, if you learn how to play this second game. You get to be in your own little world: the appearance of nothing noteworthy, with the thickly-veiled potential of an invisible 'god' (so to speak).
    This is also an appealing aesthetic and 'social' role within the party to someone like me.

    How it all meets together in game effect

    In a game like Grindea, where survivability comes from learning enemy mechanics and algorithms and predicting, where does support have a place?
    The most experienced support lives and dies by prediction. If you have healing as an unlimited resource in a game (like Overwatch, where winning a game has mostly to do with out-healing the enemy) an experienced support knows to heal their patient before they take damage. This is for a lot of reasons: If a player knows they are being supported, they are more willing to stand ground and use their abilities to win a fight, instead of running away. Not only that, but if an enemy notices them being healed, they waste time either trying to get to you, or running away themselves. You also remove lag and your own reaction delay, not wasting a second of a chance to heal your target, might they die otherwise.
    When you can predict how to use an ability that is only active in effect after the enemy makes a move, imagine the possibilities of utility and other non-healing support in Grindea, a game that revolves around enemy prediction!

    But if we have to include discussing direct supporting of player's hp, I have only to say what everyone else says about it(that is ridiculously overpowered), and a little more:
    Support in the deepest center of it's nutshell is keeping your friends from dying. Not healing them. So Grindea doesn't need it, not in the conventional sense. The one problem is, this game screams classic, so I'd imagine that everyone wants to be able to see an ability that makes the red bar fill up. So my very loose suggestion is: it could still exist, even in a balanced fashion, if it requires you or your teammates to use them in conjunction with your own, or the enemies attacks.
    Here are some examples:
    - Life steal for the next 2 seconds.
    - Damage absorption on the next hit taken within 3 seconds
    - Siphoning some of your own health to another dead player to instantly revive them.

    The only thing that I think you should all-out avoid are constant AoE. It's not even actually fun: You don't have to (or get to) prioritize any player or enemy. It's predictable and unstimulating, leaving little room for clever usage. And it's impersonal; healing a group is less likely to feel like a social encounter and more like just normal hum-drum.

    Luckily, everyone thinks it's downright stupid balance-wise too!

    So I'd like to finish and say that I think Teddy is spot on with damage-prevention as a primary support ability, it might be exactly what the Grindea team should be looking for.
    As for how this and all other possible support abilities could be limited as a resource, I think you should consider adding individual cool-down timers for support abilities specifically.

    Waits should be long, effects should be short, and learning how to take advantage of them should be congruent with learning enemies.

    (These are only suggestions, and any further 'grinding' down I'll leave to my experienced new compatriots and the devs)

    That's it, thanks for reading.

    Last edited: Feb 3, 2017
    The G-Meister likes this.
  20. The G-Meister

    The G-Meister Giga Slime

    @Kana Some really, really solid points brought up there. It sounds like you've combined a load of support playing with a fucktonne of general videogame and writing experience. I also don't think I read much which has surfaced before either, so no need to worry. And even if I had, duplicate opinions aren't a worry - it helps establish who wants what out of the game which is useful when responding :D

    Just to reference your first paragraph, your etiquette is far better than some other people I know :p In case you plan on sticking around, there's an article here containing some tips and tricks for how these forums work (including how to quote a post), which might be worth a read.

    Also, that's the first time I've been described as "intimidatingly sharp" and "thorough-minded" before. I guess that's something I can put on my CV :p (although if I come across as intimidating my efforts turn down my debating tone need to be upped a bit :oops:)

    Anyway, onto my responses:
    Oh, most certainly not. The Pixel Ferrets aren't going to neglect the balance of their game to appeal to a larger audience (at least I hope not), and, although I might not sound like it all the time, at heart I do want support skills to satisfy the thirst of support players everywhere. I guess the balancing of a game I have over 800 hours in rubs me away from that sometimes.
    This is probably one of the defining characteristics of a support skill, at least as far as I know, or think it should be. It involves multiple people and it fun. 'Nuff said.
    Thanks for pointing out the exact reason I want support skills to be equally as available/powerful in singleplayer. I love being creative with... like anything. I don't want to have to have friends to be able to move enemies around with vacuums or put them in stasis for a few seconds. I wanna experiment, damnit!
    Spot on. The only things I have significant comments to make on are these:
    I'd never thought of it like that. Support skills can have effect over time (EOT from now on) or instant effect just like normal damage dealing skills. It seems Teddy agrees with you here as well, but the old player targeted AOE with adaptive effect distribution goes against pretty much all of the things you said a normal AOE does. You can select the player it casts to, and you can work as a team to decide the optimal configuration of players inside the AOE to get the most out of it. Potential for a lot of decent plays there.
    Pfff... I could probably write another 2000 word post on this alone seen as it may involve a fundamental rework of the game, but instead I'll summarise my thoughts to this:

    Assuming this only applies to support skills and they don't use EP, we then again hit the issue of the player having a whole EP bar to spare, which is essentially wasted power. While this would be a great way to get people to go hybrid with both support so they don't face much of a change if they drop out of multiplayer, it goes against my "encourage don't force" philosophy to balancing, simply because of that wasted EP.

    Assuming this only applies to support skills and they do use EP... I reckon it could work, but I don't think I can provide much comment unless something like this was implemented to test with.

    Assuming we instead overhaul the whole system to get rid of the EP and instead use only cooldowns... I think that's probably a bit far. Grindea's skill system currently somewhat allows you to specialise in a single skill, but gives you enough spare points to get multiple, and therefore enforces one of the design philosophies of the game - the completely unrestricted skill tree. It basically says "Hey. You've got that skill up to silver charge, but you can't spend any more points on it. Looks like you'll just have to put them into another skill. Oh, what a shame ;) ". Using cooldowns only would push that in a more of an obligatory than an optional direction (especially if you're going ranged magic) because of your lack of time spent casting.

    All in all, maybe a combo of EP use and cooldowns would work, but we already have a working system that fulfills one of the devs' intentions, and an overhaul wouldn't be worth the effort, at least that's what it feels like.
    "Waits should be long"
    Assuming we're keeping with the EP system, I'll take that as a large EP use. There is a lot of doubt with the current system and it's tedious recasting, but with powerful enough effects I guess it would become more interesting. However we still have the issue of it favouring Arcade much more than story due to the use of burst-casting (although I've just had an idea for an Arcade change that might fix that... gonna have a chat with a very certain Own before I put it on the forums).

    Having said that, I can see why an EP block would be very boring to use as a support player. There has to be a good solution to this problem, and maybe the use of cooldowns and EP use might be what we're looking for.

    "Effects should be short"
    Again, with what I said above, we don't want massive burst skills for Arcade reasons. I'm not opposed to short but powerful effects though. The time stop/stasis field idea which makes all hits to an enemy affected by it more powerful for a short duration would make for some great plays, and would work with an EP use.

    "Learning how to take advantage of them should be congruent with learning enemies"
    Certainly. Skills need some form of complexity to make them interesting, or you end up with the chores of Protect and Haste.

    The Rekoning

    I think that's all. I was gonna go on for a bit longer about the general feeling throughout the post of "support player is OP and our fallback when everything goes wrong," but I'll just leave it with the phrase I've said before. A support player should still provide one players worth of damage output. With 3 melee players and a support, the melee players shouldn't be the protector of the support and the support shouldn't provide the crutches for the melee-ers. I've established reasons for that already.

    Thanks for actually making me think long and hard about my opinions :D

    Kana likes this.

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