Hello! Back again for another post – this one took a bit longer because I didn't know how I wanted to approach this, but at the end of the day I realized that I am not developing the game and don't need to flesh every single detail out, just a basis with an example to back it up. So my apologies for the delay!
At this point I do want to mention that I am at 400+hours! Still loving this game to death <3 Thanks again for all of the hard work and bug fixing! The latest patch really did a good number on my experience! It's starting to feel like a game now 😉
2) Thralls and Combat
"Combat? I thought you said you were doing thralls!" I hear you crying in the comments! WELL: in order to even have a thrall, that involves fighting!
Let's start off with the combat as that seems to be a hot-topic of late. As many have pointed out, combat is straight-froward, perhaps even too simple, as it involves spamming the left click. Firstly, to just add a bit to the fire, I like how 'brutal' this combat is. It's not balanced yet, but I feel like my life is threatened every time I go into a fight! Anything can kill me, even a Hyena or a Shellback when I'm high level (taking into consideration there are lots nearby and I just got done fighting other things). Other survival games suffer from the same problem though: spam left click and either shoot guns or swing weapons.
Does this give CE an excuse to do what they have? No. BUT, we are very early on in the game, and I expect it to evolve into something better. My anticipation is when Sorcery is coming out we'll have a huge combat overhaul (since that will change combat on it's own, I don't see why combat needs to be changed multiple times and re-balanced to include sorcery when it could all be done at once.)
So what are things I personally want to happen with combat? Variety, which Funcom officially announced:
- Axes will do wonders against Light Armored Foes
- Clubs/Maces will crush Heavy Armored Foes
- 2 Handed Blunt will continue to have the Niche of knocking people around
While these are indeed fine and dandy, I see this and other design decisions falling into a 'rock-paper-scissors' mentality due to the 'rule of three' theme they have going for 3 tiers of everything. I'll get more into this in Part 3, but I wanted to just make a mention of it here: It will work, but it will get stale eventually. When is that eventually? No idea!
Each weapon does specific things/purpose – I really like this a lot as a concept. As it is now, how often will my axe be used to fight light armored foes? Everyone loves Heavy Armor (since it's the best), which means Clubs/Maces will soon overtake the meta as best weapons. Honestly, the left-click spam and delayed Power Attacks (which honestly need to do more damage and not equal damage) is fine – what isn't fine is the ways to defend!
My proposed suggestions to all of combat -note, these are just random numbers and no balancing was done:
Light Armor: It's meant to be the first thing you make to get you by at the moment. Hardly anyone keeps using it the moment they get Medium or Heavy. What it should be doing is offering some defense and some poise but allow full mobility. The armor should be light to wear (which is represented by it's weight) but also allow you to use your agility stat effectively since you are hardly affected in anyway. 2 ways to approach this: x1.5 for Agility concerning Armor bonus OR x1 Agility for armor bonus. Light armor should be worn for mobility – I totally picture this being the hit-and-run raiding armor as soon as a gate or door is broken down in a settlement.
Medium Armor: The most common armor (IMO) from how cheap it is to make and so you don't drop your Heavy armor for others to have, this is fairly balanced across the playing field. It's heavier, more poise, more Armor, but still relatively light. What it's lacking though is an actual TRUE movement penalty to make you move slower – the encumbrance system does take into account its weight, and it should continue to do so, but a second mechanic needs to be thrown in for each piece worn that does a flat movement reduction (Ex. total outfit would be x.85 speed). Agility would either be x1 effective OR x0.75 effective. Another thing Agility can do is increase your speed while wearing this armor, which means that heavily dumping into Agility not only make you a bit more defensive, but can allow you to move in Medium Armor as if you were wearing Light (a HUGE bonus!). This is the typical armor to be used when you know you're going to have a fight throw down but don't want to me a tank.
Heavy Armor: The best armor obviously, it's long lasting and makes all of the animals feel like they're poking you – weapons take a longer, noticeable amount of time to kill someone, and that's exactly what this armor should be doing. While wearing it though, it really doesn't weight that much (It needs to weight more for the encumbrance system) as well as make you move FAR slower than you do by default (say x0.7). Up it's poise to compensate for this, but you should be a chore to kill – these are the full-plate, company funded, knights of kick-butt who when you see enter the battlefield you want to avoid. They are slower, but you had better put the time in to kill otherwise they'll be knocking down your doors by just walking through them (Not literally!). Agility can increase your speed in this, but unless you put points only in it and nothing else there is no way you could move 100% effective. Agility bonus armor would be x0.5 for either of the options I presented above, as you can't move around as effectively as you want in the other armors. This is the armor you want to have for raiding and dungeons (and that god-forsaken bone dragon).
Without clear distinctions as to what makes the armors different, then there isn't a point in having anything that isn't 'Tier 3', and that will inherently make the combat flawed in someway.
Power Attacks need to do more than Block Break. You want to set apart each weapons? Have each Power Attack do something unique. I'll list some examples below. Note – I will not be doing right-click special attacks for things like 2-handed.
Daggers… these are used in the offhand. I'd like the idea of using them in the main hand as well, but I don't know the constraints of the coding/programming to allow this. Regardless, I LOVE how fast they swing, though with the recent update that shows armor penetration they are rather garbage. They are a piercing weapons, so while they don't do much damage due to their small blades they should have crazy armor penetration. The power Attack could be an 'ignore armor' move, but if it's blocked you get staggered. An Alternate could be to make it a Parrying, timed thing where you ready it, and if you time it just as an enemy swings, you stagger them as if you blocked (damaging the dagger in the process).
Fist… I heard you guys officially announced fist weapons, and these are the things I'll be personally using. I'm so ready for my Spiked Cestus! These should be for light armored foes since they attack quick quickly and are really just fists (punching iron isn't that effective I hear), but they also do stamina damage! Power Attacks of this would stagger the user if blocked, but do a large amount of stamina damage.
(1 & 2 handed) Club/Mauls/Maces… I think you guys got this one. High armor penetration, and power attack should do extra damage to shields but still stagger the user, and if a direct hit staggers/knocks down opponents who lack the poise.
(1 & 2 handed) Axes… Again, you guys got this one. Low Armor penetration, High raw damage, and power attack should do even more raw damage; when hitting a shield staggers user but still does a partial increase to the damage done to the shield.
(1 & 2 handed) Swords… I feel they should stay as the 'average' weapon. Some Armor penetration, some damage, no true specialization. It's a good go-to weapon for most situations. Power Attacks are guard breaks (as they are now) and if a direct hit happens then it does increased damage.
Pole-arms/Spears… Again with the thrusting, these actually seem to have good armor penetration as-is. Range is their unique strength, so to counter it when hitting a shield extra staggers the user, but if you get a direct hit with a power attack, then can ignore armor AND/OR stagger.
Bows… I like the rapid firing you can do with them, but currently there's no point of 'zooming in' since you shoot slower (even though it's far more satisfying to do so!). Perhaps give more damage/penetration for those zoom-in attacks? I feel bows are in a good place combat wise apart from projectile speed (I hit allies so often since the arrow is in mid-flight and the enemy dies.) I don't have much to add here – bows should be quick.
Crossbows… Moar Armor Penetration! They are SUPPOSE to shoot slow, but each shot should hurt like hell! Projectile speed should be faster than bow as well.
I love me some slaves- I mean, thralls, but currently EVERYONE has 0 reason to get T1 and T2 thralls. Everyone homes in on T3 because T3 is best in life. What I'm about to propose will hopefully offer some incentive to get T1 and T2 thralls as well – each tier should do something specific for everyone can know what tier they want and of what race.
Thralls are what honestly made me want to try this game out, and I love it so much! So this is a really meaningful topic to me – this here is the core of CE for myself, and I eagerly look forward to the settlement update!
So, the problems are not the thralls themselves, but the tiers of them. I'm going to pose 2 suggestions, both varying in complexity and rage in the coming reply posts below. These are SUGGESTIONS to give additional ideas, not something that will happen, so please take them with a grain of sand 😉
A) Make each Race and Tier unique
As it stands, only some T3 thralls grant some recipes, and most of them are…. meh. 0 reason to capture anything else apart from a few select ones. Make T1 and T2 have recipes also! They will more than likely be recipes that the player can learn if they put the points in. Why though? Because a good portion of players won't put points into that if they can have a thrall do it! If I'm an archer and really want a sword but don't want to waste the points, I can just get a thrall who knows one! There are several ways to go about this. The below is the least code intensive of the two, even through some parts are more than others! Note – no balancing was done. Suggestions are just suggestions, and since none of the recipes have yet to be updated, they are more than likely to be during the content patches so what I say below would be null regardless!
Each Race has their own recipes. Ex. Stygian Blacksmiths know Stygian Khopesh (T1) or Stygian Bronze Spear (T2) vs Cimmerian Blacksmiths know Iron Warhammer (T1) or Cimmerian Battle-Axe (T2). This makes each race unique, and I know that if I want a Battle-Axe, I need a T2 Cimmerian Blacksmith to get one. Now I'm actively seeking one out! 'Free Points' are a good incentive though it does nothing to what you know and can unlock! This goes well with the 'specializing' I mention in Part 1, so people can specialize in the things they want to learn but still have access to other recipes (especially for Solo players!)
Each Race has their own recipes randomly given to them. Ex. Stygian Carpenter (T1) can know Stygian Flag OR Small Stygian Banner, randomly determined when captured. This adds RNG, which can be frustrating for some people, but would make you have to capture a lot of thralls (possibly trade duplicates you get to others during the trading system). This gives the player something to actively seek out and do as a side-effect though, and when you get what you want you do get a sense of joy knowing you 'beat the RNG'. 😛
Each Tier does something specific. Ex. Dancer (T1) ONLY gives HP buff where Dancer (T2) ONLY removes corruption. This throws the 'Tier' system on it's head in the sense of higher tier doesn't mean it's better, but a variation of that type. This could work for some or all of the thralls.
B) Make Thralls Level
So, this idea is super out there, but bear with me as I try to explain:
Currently, there are 3 tiers of thralls, and a '4th' tier of named ones. What I propose in this suggestion is that MOST THRALLS (say, 90%) are T1 in the world.
You will RARELY find a T2 or T3 just lying around.
You take the T1 back (of the race that you want to do things for you, Ex. Stygian) and put them to work after breaking them.
After they complete X amount of work (Ex. Stygian Blacksmith forges 100 stuffs ), they become Tier 2 and have access to their T1 Recipes and T2 Recipes.
They can level up to a Max of T3, and end up knowing 3 Recipes for that specific race (random or predetermined as suggestion A put it), or simply know a different one every Tier. This makes Higher Tier thralls a commodity, and finding one in the real world a real bonus so you don't have to level them up.
You already go resource gathering a lot, and making the thralls craft that much stuff wouldn't be exceptionally too hard, but it allows people to customize and shoot for the higher tier thralls of things they want instead of hoping to Crom that the RNG at the Pirate Ship spawns that T3 Shemite carpenter this time around. With this, you could capture a T1 Shemite Carpenter somewhere and train them up to T3. Then you feel more invested and care more about your thralls!
As for Fighter/Archer Thralls, put the Archery Targets and make Sparring dummies! You can set them up in front of those and they begin training that way! So it'll be a second 'timer' thing, but you can stop them at anytime and put them on the defense as whatever tier you need at the moment and resume them once again. Then you can have a literal Training yard! I'd hope that if they were training and enemies were nearby they would disengage themselves, but we'll see if this is even considered 😉
That's all I have for now! Next part will be in a week or so. Thanks again for reading Funcom, it really means a lot to me <3