Zerus/Baqqfisch's Alpha Feedback [WIP]

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Zerus/Baqqfisch's Alpha Feedback [WIP]

Postby zerus » 17 May 2016, 20:08

Hey guys,

so Baqqfisch and me have started to play a bit more together. So far we have a lot of fun with the game. We've also noticed some issues though that we'd love to talk about.
It should be clear, but I just want emphasize that this is merely our opinion! We can be and certainly are wrong about some things, this is just our current view on the game! :)

Having said that, whenever we find something new or something has changed, we will add to the thread!

So here it goes.

UI / Quality Of Life
- The map is clustered with text (http://i.imgur.com/LNABNN5.png); it would be better to use tooltips on the worldmap. Legend could be used to explain icons, with hover-text going into detail (owner, attack times etc)
- Whenever someone drains/gains mana through a skill, it should be indicated by a blue number. I.e. Energy Drain; it’s really hard to see if you’ve hit or not.
- See this post for condition UI

General Gameplay
- The skill indicator for ranged attacks is not accurate. It shows skills from bottom of the player, but skills are cast from the torso, causing issues with hitting objects properly. For example when you stand right next to an object and cast just below it. You will still hit that object despite the indicator saying you’ll miss the object. Demonstration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2b-42EDl-k
- You can use the Blink ability to teleport through thin walls; demonstration https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MBXUAhOlzs
- Ability patterns should really be craftable or droprate be more equalized. For the past 3 evenings I've been trying to get Toxic Spray for my other character. I think I've gotten every other skill twice now but not Toxic Spray. Maybe if I combine X patterns of the same class, I can get 1 pattern of my choosing?
- See this post for an early feedback on sieges/group fights

Skills & Combat
- Instant casts should be castable during other animations. We’ve noticed this with Healing Aura: To use healing aura, you have to effectively stop attacking (even basic attacks), because otherwise the game won’t recognize the skill. This makes the skill essentially not really an instant cast.
- Mark target: Enemy’s armor is applied twice. Not sure if intentional or not. Says 20% increase of dmg, real dmg increase is lower (14%~). So either skill description is inaccurate, or the skill is not working as intended. We’ve done testing ingame: Snipe on maximum range without Mark Target: 57 dmg. Mark Target (Level 0) from same position: Snipe +8 damage for a total of 65. Thats an increase of 14%, so it looks like armor is applied to snipe and extra damage of Mark Target separately.
- See this post for condition skills

About build variety

This is an early impression and mainly about solo/small fights.
Due to the lack of skill variety and the fact that you have 10 skill slots available, you have little actual choice for your builds. It is very clear that in a small group fight, you don’t take skills that are intended for larger fights. These skills are downright useless in smaller fights, so the choice here is obvious.

Take a look at this combo that seems to be crushing it all in small fights:
Totem / Leather
1. Muck
2. Poison
3. Toxic Spray
4. Sprint
5. Drian Life
6. Revitalise (optional)
7. Tumble
8. Burst Shot
9. Freedom
10. Lonely Prowl (optional)

On your gear, stack cooldown reduction and resistances

You can see this combo in action for example in this video:
It’s what I (Sarinyre in the video) uses; LRM uses it as well and I think SoStoner runs it as well sometimes. Khans started to do it as well - it’s just that strong.

This build has it all:
- Self-heal and sustain(see Determination Stacking)
- Damage
- Escape opportunity
- CC
- Support ability(Revitalise for example and a free skill slot for healing totem)

The 10th skill is even open and could be left out, the combination is already really good with just 9 skills.

It feels the same with other combos( there’s a leather/scythe build based around shatter that reaches almost 400 DPS on practice dummies, it’s essentially using just 5 skills as well. Shatter -> Sac Sweep -> any practical scythe skill with DPS + a few escape skills from leather).

So we feel like the builds need to be definitely limited in some way to make the choice in builds more meaningful. We saw that earlier builds of the game had 8 skill slots only and were wondering why that was changed?

About determination stacking

One of the reasons the build mentioned above is so strong is the fact that it can just stack determination.
Determination, as we understand it, reduces the duration of any CC on you proportionally. I.e. 1000 Determination = practical CC immunity; 500 Determination = 50% lower duration.

By attacking yourself with Muck which gives you speed-debuffs and then using Freedom to cleanse them, you can effectively give yourself CC immunity after 2-3 casts of Freedom. You can sustain that since you have to use Freedom anyway to heal yourself up.
We noticed that in fights this means two things

- Trying to CC this build is pointless. The only skill that is effective is Toxic Spray since it re-casts the CC instantly.
- If for whatever reason this build gets overwhelmed, it can just leave the fight if there is no one to cast Toxic Spray.

Self-Heal / Sustain vs Support Abilities

This opinion is based on solo/small scaler fights. We have not yet tested out bigger fights, but are planning to. So this opinion might change as soon as we experience bigger fights.

We noticed that a lot of players use self-heal and self-sustain, especially Freedom, Drain Life, Healing Aura etc.
That results in players being able to completely sustain themselves in a solo fight, which also means that they’re able to do that in a group fight. So naturally they will keep the same skills in group and reduce the amount of healers/supporters needed.

A good example of how fun dedicated support skills are is Revitalise. The skill is a risk to cast in a fight, since you can hit your opponent, but clever play is rewarded. Repositioning to let yourself be healed, or even use teleport/tumble whatever just to position yourself better.
So we’d love to see these complete self-sustain combos such as Muck/Freedom be broken up, and instead more external support skills like Revitalise introduced: Determination buff, anti-DMG buffs of all kinds.

EDIT: We've just rechecked the ability draft document. The skills hinted at for the cloth armor sound great (if they mean what we think they mean)!

Streamlining combat: Conditions etc

There are two skills that do the same thing: Shatter and Mark Target. Theoretically, they should have the same effects, but the skills indicate otherwise. It’d be easier to plan and play if such effects could be summarized into conditions.

Guild Wars 1 has done this really well. Instead of having unique effects very each and every skill, there were multiple conditions that skills could cause. This made it very easy and clear what was happening on the battlefield.

So for example, Mark Target and Shatter could cause “Broken Armor” that’d be indicated on an enemy through an icon so that both allies and enemies know whats going on.

Performance / Bugs

Most bugs and issues we've noticed were reported through the F3 feature or on forums, but just in case here's a small list of the most prominent issues:

- If a totem skill such as muck hits, FPS drops quite a bit.
- There are rubberbanding issues viewtopic.php?f=28&t=1585 This is especially noticable with Toxic Spray. The biggest CC from Toxic Spray is the desync it causes :D
- Login screen issue viewtopic.php?f=28&t=1581
- Sometimes allies are not declared properly on the map. "Barbie Q" is named "Howler" on here http://i.imgur.com/LNABNN5.png (Below eastern donation drop-off)
- Sometimes animations are not shown properly on other clients. I.e. bow swing. It's not always the case and we don't know how to properly reproduce this bug, though. Demonstration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvJosFS9Wl0
Last edited by zerus on 10 Sep 2016, 16:29, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: DressLessToImpress's Alpha Feedback [WIP]

Postby dbltnk » 18 May 2016, 10:26

Hey zerus & Baqqfisch.

First off: Thanks a lot for compiling all that feedback for us, must have taken you a while. It's super helpful and I've gone over all of it.

I don't have the time to respond to every single point (many things to do, game to make *g*) but I'll give some quick notes on what's already in development:

  • map improvements: text / icons / hovers
  • skill indicator: the problem here is not the origin of the arrow (that is consistent with gameplay code) but that right the indicator ignores some collisions while projectiles don't
  • teleporting over rocks is not a bug, that's intended - we differentiate between low and high colliders
  • ability patterns and the whole training process will be re-designed and streamlined soon (tm). definitely needed
  • insta-cast abilities need to go out while keeping another key pressed: very much agreed
  • balancing changes: wait for Friday's patch. it comes with 29 new abilities and many other tweaks =D
  • 8 vs 10 abilities: my feeling was that 8 abilities did not allow you to bring enough utility skills to combat.
  • determination self-stacking sucks and will be fixed in the next weeks. the whole system is being redesigned
  • self-heal is only a problem when it's too cheap & easy. healing abilities in the game are balanced to be efficient when used on other players. freedom is a problem and will be dealt with.

Again: Thanks for the feedback and keep it coming!


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Re: DressLessToImpress's Alpha Feedback [WIP]

Postby zerus » 18 May 2016, 10:51

Sup Alex,

Thanks for responding so quickly and clearing some things up!

About self-heal/support abilities: If the support abilities from Cloth will work like we think they are (i.e. ability that reduces incoming damage to like 15%/5% but can be interrupted/only a short duration) a lot of that feedback is becoming nullified. Since thats exactly what we wanted :). And if freedom/determination stacking gets changed that should be a lot better, too.

About teleport: Didn't know that it was intended! Definitely interesting, though.

I think 8 vs 10 skills isn't really judgeable though. Our first reaction was "make it 8! More decisions!" but if there are going to be more and more skills for us to choose from, maybe 10 will be a-okay.

We'll definitely keep the feedback coming. Can't wait for Friday's patch.

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Re: DressLessToImpress's Alpha Feedback [WIP]

Postby dbltnk » 18 May 2016, 12:52

So do I! Got a couple new builds I wanna try. Scythe/Splint can be very tanky now. Maybe not great in roaming PvP but definitely massive disruption in GvG,

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Re: DressLessToImpress's Alpha Feedback [WIP]

Postby LRM » 18 May 2016, 15:34

balancing changes: wait for Friday's patch. it comes with 29 new abilities and many other tweaks =D


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Re: DressLessToImpress's Alpha Feedback [WIP]

Postby zerus » 18 May 2016, 16:09

LRM wrote:
balancing changes: wait for Friday's patch. it comes with 29 new abilities and many other tweaks =D


I just started to watch season 9 yesterday. Perfect gif. :D

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Re: DressLessToImpress's Alpha Feedback [WIP]

Postby dbltnk » 18 May 2016, 16:23

And here is the list of skills in the patch notes: viewtopic.php?f=19&t=1595

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Re: DressLessToImpress's Alpha Feedback [WIP]

Postby zerus » 19 May 2016, 13:56

Before we move on to try out the new abilities tomorrow, I want to go into further detail about conditions. Note that I use the term condition, but the term doesn't really matter. Buff/Debuff/Condition, all the same essentially. So I'll use each term freely :lol:

Also, I wrote this during lunch break. Might be traces of breadcrumbs in here.

Clarity in a fight
Currently it is both very hard to see what types of conditions are active on a player and how severe they are for you.

As an example, this is what it looks like when you cast Muck a bunch on yourself:
Shown are 5 times slow debuffs, 5 times damage debuffs as well as an effect beneath the player that indicates a slow debuff.

The valuable information I see here is that both debuffs will run out in 2 seconds. The other icons with lower duration aren't telling me anything I need to know and are just confusing. (Since, afaik, the same debuffs don't stack in power, only in duration)
The valuable information my opponent sees: I'm slowed down.

My opponent is missing the information of my damage debuff as well as when it will run out;
We both don't know how severe the debuffs are. Could be 0.2, could be 0.4.

There's obviously a few design questions here that I can only assume. That is: How much information should be displayed to the affected player / causing player?
My assumption:
While the player causing the debuffs should know their own build/team build and thus own debuff severity and duration, it should always be clear what types of debuffs/buffs the affected player has active. Or at least what category (Movement debuff, health debuff, damage debuff etc); so severity can be obscured, debuffs/buffs active should be displayed.

The player affected by the debuffs/buffs should always be able to see severity, duration and type of debuffs/buffs active. Simply because the player can't know how many points an enemy put into a skill and the difference between a +20 and a +0 debuff can be really big.

So what am I suggesting?
Display debuffs/buffs for other players:

Since there can be many debuffs/buffs active, VFX can't be the only solution.
There will be a point where a player has so much stuff going on, you won't be able to tell by the VFX. So there needs to be something else.
Just a few ideas on top of my head:

- Determination bar turns purple/red/whatever if player has a movement impairment
- MP bar turns violet if skills/mana is effected in anyway (cooldown increase debuff for example)
- HP bar turns violet if healing is impaired
- Icons like (de-)regenration, but different ones for damage debuff etc.

Proper display on affected players:
Again, just a few ideas on top of my head:
- Give each buff/debuff a clear, non-transparent background and icon.
- Remove the number above for duration; put two numbers into the icon. Bottom left: duration in seconds, bottom right: severity indicator in 0.x
- Don't display multiple icons (see gameplay suggestions for further explanation), but only one.

Gameplay / Ability suggestions

I love conditions. I'm a sucker for builds that rely on them. Essentially I'm that guy that played Hex Overload in GW1 PvP. And I loved it! So naturally, I'd love to have fun dynamics with them in Das Tal as well!

So here are a few gameplay suggestions regarding them:

1) Give conditions(or debuffs/hexes/whatever, really I am using the term condition too much) distinct, strong names and icons that make it clear what they do and how they do it.
Going back to Mark Target / Shatter. Condition caused: Broken Armor. Icon displays a broken armor(...); very clear for all.

2) Instead of having multiple icons/effects whenever a condition stacks, put diminishing returns on them. If I cast a 0.4 slow on a player that lasts for 4 seconds, and someone else puts a 0.3 slow on him that lasts for 6, ignore the weaker slow and just count the stronger slow until it runs out. Only if a stronger slow is casted on the target will the other one be overwritten in both severity and duration. (I know that diminishing returns is the wrong term for this, but I don't know a better word for this. Should get the point across, though).

3) Give players skills to interact with conditions. If it's clear what type of buffs/debuffs a player has active, you can build skills that play with that. Just think about buff removes that cause damage, or diseases that spread around to nearby players (including friendly ones! Oh I see very fun scenarios :D Splint-Bombers anyone!?)

4) What about making conditions not increase in power, but duration? This would eliminate the problem of 2) and simplify the whole process. You see the icon, you know whats going on. It would also make balancing/introducing skills easier since you have fixed values to play around with.

Thats basically it for my lunch break... I mean this post!
As always, this is merely my opinion and I'm not unhappy if you completely disagree with me and hate the idea. Just putting it out there for you to read!

Now, why can't it be Friday already...

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Re: DressLessToImpress's Alpha Feedback [WIP]

Postby dbltnk » 19 May 2016, 15:06

Thanks for the feedback. Here's what's already planned:

- Effects that are the same need to visually "stack" and only show the one that is currently active (the strongest in effect).
- Clear distinction between buffs and debuffs.
- Some status effects (root, snare, stun) should also be shown via animation (think of GW1).

- HP bar coloring is possible but we should not overdo it. Currently using this as a friend/foe indicator which we might change.
- Showing effect strength in the icon might be possible and useful.

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Re: DressLessToImpress's Alpha Feedback [WIP]

Postby zerus » 24 May 2016, 15:02

Wanted to hold off feedback for a bit, but before I forget the reaction to yesterday's fight I'm gonna dump some points that seem important to me.
So I'm gonna leave out the actual combat/skill feedback until I get more experience, but quickly go over things I think are already really apparent.

- What I liked very much was our team composition. A tanky support from Jarmo and 2 heavy squishy damage dealers were crazy fun for me. When we were together, both Khans and Rainbow had a very hard time killing us. If they came close, they got 2 Ensnaring and 2 Crescendo shots in their face. Team synergies already showing is a greaaaat plus and I hope we'll find more things like that.

- While it was somewhat even considering gear/level advantage from us, it felt pretty much impossible to win this fight even though we landed more kills. Specifically it felt impossible to gank people and get them out of the fight for more than 20 seconds. And when they got back to the fight, they've got determination up and everything. Compared to when one of us died, we had to run a lot and by that the buff didn't really do anything.

If you watch VVIsh's video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyN1_5VtPYc) you'll see that they even killed/revived each other to regen more quickly. Dying has no real consequence, only ganking has.
Of course we have an extreme example with like 3 v 10, but I can see this being as bad with fights 10 vs 15 and the likes. The team with more players has more possibility to ninja-gank/revive and stop the other team from reviving their players.

Defender's advantage and number's advantage seem too high. You have multiple disadvantages for being outnumbered.

- The mode is something I've wanted to talk about for a while now. As the past camp fights and this siege has shown, what really only matters is the last 4-5 minutes in the fight. Whoever wins and caps the flag then wins. It doesn't matter if you've been dominating for 30 minutes, it doesn't matter if you have a way better kill/death ratio. It feels like you cannot really translate an efficient team into a win. The only way is to completely overwhelm your opponent and killing almost all of them at once.

While you're busy fighting, the enemy team can just take 1 guy and cap the spots.
This really only works if you always have even numbers because then the splitting team also loses firepower. Otherwise, the team with more players has yet another advantage.

- Ranged skills are somewhat frustrating to play with because of two things
1) They're not always hitting at max range. If the mouse is a bit closer to your character, you reduce the hitting range. Which means you always have to sit at the screen's border with your mouse to fight efficiently. Makes hitting targets reliably even harder.

2) If you're aiming at an enemy, range is automatically reduced to behind that enemy. Meaning if she just moves even a little bit, you'll not hit. You pretty much have to aim ahead of an opponent and hope she doesn't stop running, otherwise you'll never hit.

Thats it! Lots more feedback in my docs, but as I said they're mostly directly combat focused and I'll hold of those until I get more action.

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