State of Mirage - 2016/03/12


  • Developer

    Was hoping to get to all the feedback earlier in the week but with the announcement and preparing for GDC time was short, we’ll have some combat changes for next week but a lot of us will be at GDC so a bit less then I’d hoped.
    This got pretty long and a bit rambly but wanted to address as much as I could before I fly out and give you guys some insight into decisions made so far.

    Really appreciate all the comments so far and the fact that you are comfortable being critical feedback is great, it’s just what we need and we don’t want you guys to hold back.
    We might take a while to respond every now and then but we’ll always read everything that’s posted!
    Playing against you guys was also really engaging and incredibly helpful for us. Getting more skilled players in to help us test is a must in achieving the skill cap were after and balancing all the classes out.

    General gameplay notes
    We’ve put a lot of focus into streamlining things as well as just experimenting with a bunch of mechanics. It was bound to bring the skillcap down in the process but it was really important for us to take this approach initially to ensure that the final product not only has a high skillcap but is a more intuitive game with less hidden mechanics, we’re getting to the point where increasing the skill ceiling can become a bigger focus again.

    Jumps
    Jumps are have been changed to have much larger role in combat, especially for side and backstepping attacks
    Forward jumps are your typical game jumps while the side jumps are more like dodges, their quicker and cover more distance but give no height
    Alchemancer and Entropist have standard jumps for all directions though I think I they should probably just use a less poweful jump variant described above.

    Sprint button, alt stance/attacks and lunges
    Removing the sprint button frees up shift as button to do more interesting things with and In chiv one of the biggest things players struggle with learning is when to sprint and just how important it is. We had it the chiv way in for a long time and after studying people playing (especially ones that hadn’t played chiv) we decided to remove it in an effort to streamline the mechanics.

    We currently use shift to enter alt attack mode (now the Alt stance), we just got animations in for this in the latest build so it changes your idle pose to indicate which way the swing is gonna come from, alt swings is another mechanic that is very hidden and hasn’t had an intuitive button so we’re really happy with shift as a button for it(Alt stabs incoming too!),
    For the Entropist we’re gonna try ranged attacks instead of melee for the alt attacks to really push his hybrid role and the alchemancer I’m not quite sure about yet but it could open him up to having a few more things to play with to help solve his current issues and I have a lot of ideas I’d love to try here.

    The ability to turn and run in the opposite direction to avoid an attack is a vital element of the combat in my opinion and the main reason it isn’t viable enough right now is due to the lunges on melee attacks, we’ve experimented with a bunch of different versions and the current one is not playing well at all, it covers way too much distance and almost completely negates the importance of footwork while allowing the attacker to always get right up in your face no matter what you do.

    Movement speed
    Second Wind is a mechanic that gives you an additional speed boost after movinig forward for set amount of time. This also doubles up as the chase mechanic where if you chase someone you enter this mode quicker giving you a window of about 2s to catch someone before they get the same bonus(this is not working correctly right now but is on the todo list).
    This is basically the new sprint, allowing this level of speed in combat causes the it to get extremely messy so by having it kick in after some time it never interferes.

    Changing your speed is an incredibly sensitive thing to do, even a slight increase can cause combat to get extremely messy we’re still gonna test higher speeds though.

    Loadout
    The goal is to allow you to select your playstyle and for each option to provide a meaningful change in how you play and we’ll be looking for more feedback on this soon.

    For the vypress Grapplehook would be more focused on flanking and getting around the environment(still needs more work), phase as an in combat tool to avoid hits/repositioning and the third option could be an offensive option with less focus on mobility/survivability.
    This is roughly the amount of variety we want for each slot though there will be some overlap.

    We’re also gonna try adding a new set of ability options that focus on a more melee focused playstyle as well, giving you the option to choose between having ward strike(The shield projectile on the vigilist) available every 20s or a shield bash every 3s for example.

    Cooldowns
    Due to the lethality of the game cooldowns are often negated by just respawning, we’re gonna make cooldowns persistent and pause the regen while dead before we look more at balancing out ability use.

    Parries:
    Parries are definitely not in a great place right now and we’ll start tackling it very soon, if you play perfectly you should not run out of block strength nearly as fast as it does right now.
    We will try without held parries again as well, held parries have plenty of pros and cons but the main reason we went for it was due to the ranged attacks.

    A parry is detected differently from Chivalry, parry happens when you hit the parry box but in chivalry you have to hit the character(when a hit is landed it checks for the parry box). This is why it feels so massive right now.
    This allows you to make the decision of parrying someone who intentionally goes for a miss.

    We’re not gonna do a directional parries, this is a system that I’ve personally never really been a fan of and for the gameplay speed/feel that we’re going for it’s way too much to ask the player to think about this. Putting more weight on looking in the direction that the swing is coming from is something we can play more with though.

    Active parries vs Late parries is something we’ll try soon and it could be the best of both worlds
    An active parry would occur if you parry something right after bringing it up, if you only used active parries it would play out like parrying in Chivalry, any parry after the window would be a late parry
    Active parries would take away less block strength and less damage would bleed through.
    It could also increase the knockback for the guy getting blocked and decrease any knockbacks that you would receive, there’s a huge range of options to reward active parries if it ends up being a system we like.

    Biggest focus for gameplay coming up:

    • Rework Parries
    • Improving 1vsMany combat
    • Initiative work - state/animation timings etc
    • Movement tweaks - travelling/footwork


  • Hey Rasmus,
    Thanks for the State of Mirage post. This kind of information helps me as a tester understand what you guys as designers envision for the game, and how we should be focusing our efforts. I look forward to the upcoming changes that you’ve described here. I’ve prepared a post regarding general game mechanics that I will submit after getting some hands on experience with these upcoming changes.

    Regards



  • “We will try without held parries again as well, held parries have plenty of pros and cons but the main reason we went for it was due to the ranged attacks.”

    I really liked reading this but that aside: could there exist a system such that both held parries and non held parries could coexist?

    The motivation for me thinking of that is in chivalry there is an option in configurations allowing one to choose between toggle run and the regular non toggle run. So similarly could you have held block and the parry we are used to in configurations or something to that extent? Of course it would have to be balanced but since there is already a block strength mechanic it is possible to balance the two option around that.

    In theory this could give more freedom to the player but it may be efficient for testing of both and then doing the analysis on which to stick with.

    Also this state of the mirage post is fantastic, I’m looking forward for more in the coming weeks.



  • Great write-up Rasmus, going to share my initial thoughts on some of the ideas and things mentioned in the current build if you don’t mind–hopefully I’m not overly critical or contrarian, but yeah, it’s not that I hate any ideas or the direction, I just want to challenge it a bit from the perspective of a player rather than a creator.

    Jumps are have been changed to have much larger role in combat, especially for side and backstepping attacks
    Forward jumps are your typical game jumps while the side jumps are more like dodges, their quicker and cover more distance but give no height

    Oh this is cool, didn’t even realise they were different when I first tested the game but going back and trying it, it feels really good to have a side step rather than some slow floaty normal jump going to the side. That said, currently as they are, it does still feel a bit clunky mainly because of the height/feeling of high gravity.
    I think Zelda: Ocarina of Time has a good example of side-stepping that feels good–obviously it’s not an example to copy into Mirage, but the animation, distance covered, and uneven terrain feels natural.
    Another qualm about this in its current state, it feels a bit clunky to use (such as trying concurrent sidestepping) and also possibly a small bug where if you press a direction and space simultaneously you don’t even do a normal jump–would be nice to be able to side step immediately when you want to.
    I feel like jumping could be a really fun mechanic in Mirage and the side-stepping/back-stepping idea is a great one.

    Removing the sprint button frees up shift as button to do more interesting things with and In chiv one of the biggest things players struggle with learning is when to sprint and just how important it is. We had it the chiv way in for a long time and after studying people playing (especially ones that hadn’t played chiv) we decided to remove it in an effort to streamline the mechanics.

    Not sure about this, sprinting in general just feels good for feedback to the player. Part of my own Chivalry play-style includes sprinting at my enemy to make them think I’m going to attack them, which is just one example of uses sprint can have beyond getting somewhere quicker. Hopefully it works out if you don’t add sprint later down the line, but it definitely feels awkward (and incredibly slow right now) without it. I think the difference between sprinting while fighting and walking/jogging/whatever it is in chiv while fighting adds a lot to precision too. I guess we’ll see with the speed changes in the future, but I’m not sure on this.

    The alt stance is interesting, but without directional parrying I’m not sure how much use alternate attacks will be. Especially if “putting more weight on looking in the direction that the swing is coming from is something we can play more with though” isn’t something that makes it to final game or is drastically important like it is in Chiv (to an extent).

    Didn’t even realise Second Wind was a thing too, the decal animations and slight camera zoom(?) to indicate it’s active are a bit too subtle and the speed boost is negligible right now as far as I can tell–but hopefully this will change. The second wind idea is good I think, it reduces the long slogs to the objectives infamous in Chivalry while not necessarily affecting fighting.

    Looking forward to see all the changes in the next build, hoping they prove some of my preconditioned thoughts wrong.


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