Competitive TO Maps fit for 5v5
A demo system
Stat collection tools
Make halberd best weapon in game
Alchemancer, as far as I’m aware, is going to be getting a rework. For what it’s worth I never see them top the scoreboards in my games, but that might be because I play Vigilist which just counters the fuck out of alchemancer. Or it might be that your team doesn’t have good Vigilists…
Hey! Great feedback. I was wondering if the reason why Ark objectives feel more balanced might be explained by the following:
There is definitely a learning curve to the different gamemodes. Mirage is a game where a numbers imbalance of just one person in an engagement can be nigh insurmountable unless you have a God on your team. This puts a heavier focus on team play and grouping up. Ark pushing objectives work great because the center of the fray is always singular, and who has spawn advantage changes to prevent steam rolls.
For example, if attacking team 1 is having difficulty pushing the ark at the start, their spawn proximity will eventually give them numbers advantage so long as they are able to take out one or two people on the enemy team in an engagement. Then when spawns come in, you’ll have 6 vs the 5 or 4 left and be able to get momentum that way. If the defending team trickles in against spawns, they’ll just be fighting a disadvantageous fight. In Ark modes, though, the Ark will eventually reach a middle point and then a point closer to the defending team’s spawn, so you’ll get the exact opposite spawn cycle (assuming your team stops trickling in one at a time into a mob of the other team and getting demolished so you never build a proper spawn wave to kill one or two of the enemy team).
In other game modes, while the glyphs or such still serve to localize combat, the locations of these objectives makes grouping up for spawn waves less intuitive. You can often find people wandering by themselves on the other team and initiate duels, 2v1’s, or other examples of low player number engagements. And if the other team is doing this too, then this works perfectly fine. However, approaching every objective as a team of 6 (this doesn’t mean you can’t use flanks, just use them in ways that add to the battle for the objective rather than try to create an engagement that gives you 0 advantage and hurts your team when you die) would still be the best option unless you feel the other team is stronger as 6 and would start to mirror your grouping (which they will if they are remotely trying… it doesn’t take long for a player rushing headlong into 1v6’s to understand the power of numbers).
Players that have been organically grouping up in Chiv will feel this much more intuitively in Mirage. They’ll know when to group up and when they can push advantage to catch someone on the other team out. So if a team has even an imbalance of a couple people that know how to group, then right now it will appear pretty stompy. Add to that that some of the pre-alpha players have much more than 10 hours in the game so they will swing things as well while the majority of the players are just getting used to things…
Increase communication to the player as to the importance of grouping.
1a) Loading screens with tool tips to this effect.
1b) Introduce a magical aura mechanic that buffs something if you are close to your teammates (this solution may interfere with other systems.
1c) Put queues in the map design or player UI to indicate the importance of proximity to teammates better at a behavioral level. A glow of the tattoo, a spawn indicator with gems that light up more depending upon the percentage of your team in your spawn area.
Alter spawn wave mechanics for non Ark Non LTS objectives to promote more grouping (would require fleshing out if this option is possible/viable without affecting other systems).
Matchmaking to provide organic transference between skillbased metagames (the new player meta will differ widely from the dedicated player meta for example) so that the amount of grouping up each team does per gametype will match the player’s skill level more appropriately.
I should note that the individual solutions are not exclusive, and that the entire list is far from exhaustive. Just some thoughts.
Okay. Back from work.
TO_Bazaar Test Focus:
Only thing I’d add from what I’ve seen in other feedback is that it feels poor having that bar fill up so slowly. It feels like “So what if I took this point,?I have to hold it for frickin’ ever to make it feel like I’ve made progress”.
My Suggestion: Change First Objective Progress Bar Speed: I think it is a bit defender stacked anyways. I’m always a fan of First Objectives that are Attacker-stacked slightly, so perhaps speeding up cap time slightly and increasing the rate at which the bar fills up would make the Attackers FEEL a bit more like they are doing more and increases likelihood of reaching the second part of the TO map.
I’d also echo what I’m sure you’ve heard a thousand times, which is fix the potential spawn camp! If there are a couple good Bashrani, you can just cheesed to death with abilities. Not sure if it’d come up at PAX, but better to be safe than sorry if you have the resources. Potential ways to do this:
Our dedicated server app has had several memory leak issues fixed; how do servers feel to play on?
SO. MUCH. BETTER. Thank you so much. I no longer have to preparry things 24/7. I can finally feel like I’m actually playing a game with consistent melee. It made me realize that a lot of what I thought was things going through my parry was actually just my inability to track desync’d animations with the more narrow parrybox. Now that I can actually trust that my opponent’s weapon is somewhere by where it looks on the screen, it makes me like the narrow parrybox SO MUCH (though obviously the parrybox not reflecting torso-bending has problems Xylvion has mentioned that I’d like to echo). I actually feel like parrying takes a lot more skill, which favorably impacts the skill ceiling for the game. The people who come from Chiv to this might be thinking, “This feels weird. This would’ve blocked if it were Chiv.” But I think the VAST majority of people who haven’t played Chiv in the last year or two would be, "Wow, this feels more dynamic. I really have to look at where the weapon is going to connect with me. That’s makes defending more active/fun, and also makes attacking more fun because you get parried less and get to hit your enemy more.
What’s your favourite character class? Vigilist. I like to play utility/healers/tanks/long-range melee in the games I play if those options are available. She is all of those rolled into one.
What’s your least favourite character class? Alchemancer. I love the idea of a ranged specialist class, but I will go on below about why I think this current iteration is a bit less than ideal.
What’s your favourite ability? So many good ones! I’m surprisingly loving the Vigilist Shield Strike and Taurant Shove. They are abilities that feel so right for the characters, but would feel out of place on others.
What’s your least favourite ability? Any of the Flying Fackoon Mobility abilities, but I’ll elaborate on that in a bit :P
What’s fun and what’s not?
FUN: A LOT!!! The combat. Wall jumping (last build tho, not this one, though I know you’re workin on movement stuff right now). The narrow parrybox making me actually have to pay attention to my opponent’s weapon. The game looks beautiful. I can read feints (kinda. 100 ping sadlife :( ) easier. Like seriously, this was just an awesome patch.
NOT FUN: Rat class. Playing as him, it feels like all of his abilities are about damage and just different ways to deliver it. If you’re just gonna have one ranged dominant class, why not take advantage of the versatility that “magic” allows to have him do some really unique things. Ideas:
Magic that supports Teammates. It hits them, it buffs or heals them. It feels like that is something that the alchemancer could be suited to doing very well. It feels good to help your teammates, and as a teammate it feels good to get buffed. Make his phoenix passing through a teammate increases their speed slightly. Stuff along these lines roughly.
Magic that applies crowd control. How about if you get caught in the explosion on Chaos Orb, your base footspeed gets lowered by some small flat penalty? What about stuns? What about vision distortions on the player’s screen? What about smoke screens (that can’t be removed by a remove particles command) that are more opaque to the other team.
Currently he plays like a mix between a Chiv Archer (primarily proj damage and annoyingness) and a Chiv MAA (ratness). I would mention here that combining the two most annoying playstyles in Chiv for the vast majority of players doesn’t have the same effect as a double negative where one annoyingness cancels out the other…it’s more of an exponential relationship (at least for me :P. I feel it’d be so much less anti-fun if his autos weren’t flinching so often (could have it not flinch but do slightly more damage, or you can charge it up and it’ll flinch if it hits but does less DPS [Adds depth and player decision-making])
ALSO NOT FUN: Using all your abilities in a fight to the death, dying, and then coming back with 2/3 of my abilities on CD for like 25 seconds. I feel like I can’t go into the fight. It is a delicate balance to strike between the horrible feeling of not having your abilties up and not just resetting CD’s on death since then you could use all your abilities in a fight to kill your opponent, only to basically reset all his CD’s. Possible solutions: Increase CD Charge Rate while dead (a multiplier dependent on average death timer which isn’t something I can test right now). You could also take seconds off CD’s upon spawn.
Thoughts on the game balance?
The weapons are currently a bit imbalanced (no reason to use anything other than the Heavy Tabar as Taurant. Other than that, to be honest, the five classes in this build are awesome and have a decent balance for picking up and playing.
If you could change only one thing in Mirage, what that would be?
It would be change the Alchemancer as I mentioned above, but I honestly would want that change to be a fleshed out mobility system that includes multiple wall jumps, possibly a wall-run ability for Tinker (which I think would be a real cool F ability, a speedy wall run).
The game feels SO MUCH better in Melee now. Now that there is significantly less lag for me, I can feel like I’m actually playing the melee game instead of preparrying everything.
I have to echo the sentiments of everybody who has said that the wall jumps feel worse with the horiztonal distance nerf. To be honest, I really want an EXPANSION of the wall jump mechanic to jump off of multiple walls (which would synergize PERFECTLY with the great verticality on these maps so long as we could test it sufficiently long to get a lot of the possibly abusable areas edited). The effect it had on the freedom of mobility just cannot be stated enough.
I’m loving the build though. Will write up more feedback when i get back from work.
I got to thinking about a few things concerning map balance that might be obvious but I thought they should be articulated just in case.
So one of the detriments of Hillside (from a competitive perspective) from Chiv is that it had a defender stacked, non-progressible (all or nothing) first objective. Before teams got good enough to attack that map well, the beginning days of Chiv saw a lot of 1st objective DNF’s with attackers just running through the choke and getting hammered. It took players a while to get good enough to even get to see the other objectives against an equally matched opponent. There was another problem with that first objective requiring manual tracking of any possible metric of progress. The only way a team could claim to have made more progress than another team if both were DNF’d on the first objective would be to say that they got closer to burning the pyre, but the game never kept track of the closest to burning that the pyre got. And even then, it would feel bad for a team to get it almost burnt 4 times but the other team gets it almost burnt one time but that one time is closer to a full burn so they win, but tracking cumulative burn progress made throughout all attempts would be even messier and go against the win condition philosophy we had for team objective (see bottom of post for unrelated aside for those interested).
Thankfully it seems like having all progressible objectives is going to take care of that second problem, but the thing I’m worried about is setting up spawns so that more of the map gets played, but stomps are still relatively short. I personally feel the optimal way to plan out the balance for a 3 stage Team Objective would be something similar to:
1st Objective- Only attacking teams that get stomped don’t complete this objective.
2nd Objective- Most attacking teams can complete this objective vs. a similarly skilled opposition.
3rd Objective- About 50% of attacking teams complete all the objectives vs. a similarly skilled opposition.
This works really well because stomps (which aren’t fun) would be shorter so people can get on to better games, most even games get to play the whole map (which promotes more diverse experiences since the same objectives aren’t just being played over and over), but the map is still ultimately as close to 50% Attack and 50% defender stacked so there is significance in both the competitive narrative (My team accomplished more on our attacking run than yours) and the map’s self-contained narrative (My team won! or My team held! Huzzah! [If the map isn’t balanced this way then it promotes more complaints of unfairness]). This is easily accomplishable via spawn placements and progress completion rate manipulation (which, btw, I feel like the progress in Bazaar should be supercharged more if you hold two points… if an attacking team is making progress, it is nice for them to feel like they are making a chunk of progress. Adds more to suspense for the defense as well. Currently holding two points just doesn’t feel worth it, and even just holing one point feels like the progress is really slow which feels a bit unsatisfying).
This was way longer than I expected it to be, but just thought I’d give my two cents.
ASIDE: Our competitive match win conditions were designed to take into consideration the unique spirit of Team Objective. Darkforest Stage 4 is a perfect example of this. The Mason’s objective here is to kill the royal family, so that is obviously their first priority. But should C be worth more points because it is much more difficult than A or B? If you get one door down but my team got all three doors to within an inch of their life, who should win? What if I got all the doors down but killed only nine royalty but you managed to slaughter all the 10 royalty you had access to but you left C untouched? This is one of the beautiful things about Team Objective: it isn’t limited just to payload-like objectives. With this awesome variety comes questions like those above though.
So basically what we did was prioritize things this way:
Giving MAA’s a shieldless option and giving players the ability to vote for different duel maps (even if they aren’t in the rotation) should be easy enough. Reliable stat tracking would be great but I understand if that isn’t gotten around to, but the previous two are such easy fixes that I can’t see why they couldn’t be done.
Hello. We’ve gone through a bunch of builds since the Balance Council first started meeting and we’ve gotten things to a point where we are starting to like them. Now we’re making a concentrated effort on getting YOUR feedback. There’s already a reddit thread but we’d like to reach out to the official forums as well and see what your opinons are on the matter.
Remember: As much as we’d like to do more, so far what we are doing is trying to balance primarily by number changing. This means things like javelin bug, shield bugs, etc. aren’t any different from live for the most part and won’t be fixed for a while if ever (unless YOU are a super awesome programmer who wants to help out that is :P).
So yeah, lets keep it civil and try to get some productive opinions. Lets try to keep this from devolving into insults and accusations of idiocy as well.