Thoughts on Vypress and Alchemancer



  • I figured I’d start a ‘thoughts about’ thread to discuss the current state of two characters who are, in my opinion, the two weakest classes of the game. So you might be thinking how are these two the weakest, when I can get kills with them? It’s not their lack of ability to kill others, but rather they lack the ability to defend themselves in most situations and become insanely dependent on teammates to help them survive.
    During our playtest some testers noticed I had 40+ kills on defense during TO-Gov, and I attribute that to class picks. I was playing Vigilist, who is easily the strongest class at this point in time due to her high survivability, versatile abilities, block mechanic, and strong stabbing melee attacks. The enemy team had three Vypress players, one alchemancer, and one Taurant. How I managed to kill so much was honestly like shooting fish in a barrel, I’d encounter one of the Vypress or Alchemancer players, and simply spam melee at them until they ran out of phases, dodges, flights, etc. These classes had no way to stop me from killing them, and that does not read like a competitive, skill based game when there exists such strong asymmetry in class balance. Deep into the match, the enemy team suddenly swapped to three Taurants instead of three Vypresses. This stunted the rate of killing, as this class has the ability to defend themselves, and with the current block volume, there is almost no way to direct attacks around their sides as one would do in Chivalry, leading into long slog festing melees that ended with players draining their “parry juice”.

    Vypress: I have the most fun using Vypress’s abilities, they chain well together and allow for unique combat engagements. At the moment with Vypress having only a dodge ability to avoid damage, phase seems like a no-brainer pick over pounce. However in practice pounce allows you more distance after a short delay, enabling safer escapes than just dodge and phase. In my experience if you’re close enough to an enemy to use phase offensively, you’ve just blown your only escape for when your opponent inevitably parries your attack and ripostes into you for free damage.

    • Shuriken and Extended melee: I feel these two abilities are much too similar and extended melee is just the smarter pick of the two. Extended melee allows you much more control over the projectile, which (I think) hits harder, and is a more controlled, non-arcing, long range projectile than shuriken. The only notable difference is the windup time, in which the shuriken fires quicker than extended melee.

    Alchemancer: Has two defensive abilities at any one time: one can act as a mini-dodge / projectile blow back, and flight / teleport. Flight and teleport are in my opinion, too similar to be sharing the same slot for this class. Teleport doesn’t provide the range or safety of flight, while having a similar cooldown period. Teleport is redundant at best, and would make more sense if it shared a class slot with another ability, enabling alchemancer to choose to be more offense oriented (two attack abilities and one defense), or more defense / harassment oriented (two defense abilities, and one offense). Considering that you can only cast one ability at a time, and Alchemancers abilities largely don’t synchronize well together, I’m sure most players would opt to have more defense abilities than offensive.

    • Draggable projectile: This ability, while a great idea, suffers the same issue as Entropists currently unnamed projectile that is functionally the same. The projectile launches, and is then directed to a spot by the users mouse. Currently, if your mouse is anywhere close to the ground, both draggable projectile and Entropists variant will fire the projectile straight into the ground, no where close to the users mouse. To replicate this, fire draggable projectile, aim your mouse towards the map horizon slightly above the ground, and press shift. The projectile won’t fire off into the distance as you’d think, but rather straight into the ground in front of you. Unless you are guiding the projectile into a wall, the ability will most times fire somewhere you didn’t intend for it to. This is not good for the user, as their expectation of what should happen is completely different than what actually happens with the projectile.

    Finally I would like to end my post with some thoughts on these classes engaging in melee. I am of the opinion that both Alchemancer and Vypress should have access to block. It would enable Vypress to engage in melee fights and not just hiding behind their teammates and praying one of the enemies doesn’t pick them out of the fight, and for Alchemancer to survive when one opponent decides he’s had enough with this floating mans crap. Alchemancer’s block would be some form of arcane shield he produces, and Vypresses crossing her dual weapons together. You could even share the animation between these two classes, as the Alchemancer would cross his wrists to generate an arcane shield.

    In regards to Alchemancer, I think all classes should have some melee ability. Currently Alchemancer has no attacks bound to middle mouse button. I could see him having two melee attacks, a palm strike forward mouse wheel “stab” attack that is quick and used for flinching, and a scroll wheel down karate chop for more damage. This would allow Alchemancer to be a hybrid melee / ranged class, that while weaker in melee than he is at ranged, isn’t completely useless when singled out. Edit: Giving Alchemancer melee ability would also synergize with Alchemancers LMB projectile fire attack, which appears to have random deviation after a certain travel distance. Enabling Alchemancer to be closer to the fight will allow him to make these accurate shots instead of sitting far back and hoping random projectile deviation doesn’t just send his attack into the wall/ground. Balancing classes around the idea of forcing a player to position themselves in the back just doesn’t work in a skill based melee game, where all players need to be involved in close ranged combat, and it also severely limits the effectiveness of some classes when a map is designed to be close quarters (Second objective TO-Gov_p). This is especially true when considering the mobility of some of these classes, enabling the enemy to simply bypass the melee classes who are supposed to protect their back lines. Similarly I’d like to see someone stop me from taking a Tinker and hook shotting their ranged players out of position and into the melee.


  • Developer

    First of all thanks for the excellent write up, really appreciate it.
    Some stuff is covered here: http://forums.tornbanner.com/topic/23280/state-of-mirage-2016-03-12

    We’re determined to make them play very differently and giving them a standard block would be a last resort, if we figure this out without adding a standard block we’ll have very different playstyles available. I was struggling initially with idea of them not following the standard formula as well but after playing it more and getting used to it I think we can nail it and the potential is worth it.

    Currently they do not stand up to the other classes in too many situations, we also knew we needed to test in a higher skill setting before we could figure out how to solve it so we’ll look into identifying what situations they should be able to handle better soon and how to solve it. We may also put a bigger focus on providing them with ability options that help with the specific situations that they currently fail in.
    We also have a general problem with the amount of distance you can cover while attacking and these 2 classes suffer the most from it and getting around blocks is definitely too hard right now.

    Alchemancer

    • The main attack fires a single projectile if not charged that is only supposed to be useful up to a certain range, once it starts going in random directions it’s damage has been decreased (Wanted a more interesting looking way of limiting the range of the projectile then just making it explode), the charged version fires multiple projectiles that are very accurate at long range
    • Implemented an experimental feature to set the draggables initial rotation towards whatever your aiming at but there are bugs with it that cause unintended ground hits (Entropists Q is a very early/quick prototype and I’m not even sure what I’ll take it next).
    • Force push may get the ability to cause a parry on activation along with it’s current functionality
    • Having melee on the scroll wheel and a projectile attack on M1 has been a bit too awkward but with stances being a more substantial thing we may look into extending his basic attack set

    Vypress

    • When blocked you’re pretty screwed, a lot of other changes to movement will improve this a lot. Right now you can’t go into either parry or the dodge quickly enough in the blocked state, - - - once we solve this bug she’ll be much better off.
    • Extended melee vs Shurikens - this is mostly a flavor difference which is alright as long as the rest of the options provide enough variety

    Few options for dodge:

    • allow it to be activated instantly in windup (like parries) and/or other states
    • increase the range
    • rework it into an evasive parry, basically keep the same dodge movement while also allowing a parry though it’d be easier to get around then normal parries. getting a parry off during this dodge would act as a fail safe and always be a bad thing but atleast you’d avoid some of the damage.

    Other
    movement allowing you to bypass the frontline is a general thing we’ll look to improve on, I’d like more options to prevent them from bypassing it


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