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View Full Version : Dear Eladrin & company re: HTK/Haunting



gravestones
06-09-2012, 02:32 PM
Haunting/HTK = chasing ghosts = unnecessary

The proposed changes to insta-kill/necromancy spells are unwarranted and will have an overall net-negative impact on the state of the game and player satisfaction.

This agenda is tying up valuable developer resources and time on the eve of the release of the first DDO expansion, and is causing uncertainty and frustration among the player base.

Why is this proposed change even being considered?

The game has existed with insta-kills in their current state for a number of years, with a relative equilibrium having being achieved, yet resources are being allocated to developing a new mechanic. Someone needs to really consider why an unbroken wheel is being reinvented.


Where are the historic threads asking for insta-kills to be nerfed?



Where are the historic threads complaining that sorcs/wizards/fvs/clerics are ruining the game with their ability to insta-kill?



Where is the hard data indicating that characters utilizing insta-kill spells are breaking the game?



Where is the hard data indicating that a meaningful subset of the player base is being negatively impacted (i.e. having less fun) due to the use of insta-kills in their current form?



Where is the actual proof that large numbers of Pale Masters/AM Necros are sweeping through content with ease, as opposed to the baseless hyperbole that is being thrown around constantly?



Have you considered that the capabilities of a small subset of very elite insta-kill casters (i.e. multi-tr'd, ultimately geared) are being exaggerated on the forums and extrapolated across the rest of the population?


Potential Negative Impacts of Haunting/HTK:


You will punish players for the results they have achieved due to their hard work and determination. The select few arcane/divine insta-kill casters who can dominate content have poured countless hours into their characters to get them to where they are - you risk setting a very bad precedent by removing the incentive to invest as much time into characters in the future.



Consider the player who ground-out all the lives necessary to become a completionist for the meager +1DC to spells. Consider how they will feel when after casting a single Wail, the DC of their insta-kills will be the equivalent of a first life wizard with basic gear, for upwards of a couple of minutes.



You will punish the majority of the player base more than the elite subset: those that currently dominate content will not be playing in the heroic levels or Epic: Normal. Furthermore, the elite players generally have more resources and well-developed characters (provided they don't stop playing), as opposed to the more casual players, who cannot react or adapt as quickly.



You will punish divine spell casters, whose ability to utilize limited insta-kills, increases their utility and player satisfaction.



For example, Implosion already has a lengthy cool-down, and the manner in which it operates (often hits targets at different times as the caster moves) subjects targets to progressively decreasing caster DC's, which will make it much less effective than Wail of the Banshee (which hits all targets at the same time).



Depending upon how the mechanic operates, you could negatively impact all necromancy spells, which have never posed any issues and will become far less useful (i.e. symbols/debuffs).



You are introducing a new mechanic during the release of an already complicated expansion, that will undoubtedly have unforeseen bugs because you do not have the time and resources to thoroughly test it against and within every permutation and situation. As a result bugs will arise, abilities will not function correctly, players will become frustrated, and down-time will ensue.



With respect to bugs resulting from a new mechanic such as Haunting, can you guarantee:



it will not interfere with gear granting a DC boost to the respective school that was decreased - i.e. will players have re-equip gear to reinstate the bonus?



it will not interfere with items granting protection from negative energy or spells (i.e. pale lavender, scarab of protection, silver flame necklace/trinket)?



it will not linger after player death?



it will not kick in during certain circumstances such as a mob saving against a Wail but then being killed by a direct damage spell from the same caster?



for that matter, that it will only kick in when a target dies, as opposed to those that save?



You will dramatically impact the ability of players to solo. Many necro players thoroughly enjoy soloing content, and play just for that reason. Why are they being punished?



Those players who preferred the old mechanic and do not accept the new mechanic will:



reincarnate into something other than a wizard, resulting in fewer available wizards for groups/pugs.



ultimately become frustrated and migrate to alternate MMO's (the Secret World and Guild Wars 2 are both set to release very soon).



The overall viability of the wizard class will be decreased:



Those who do not enjoy being a buff or CC bot will opt not to play wizards.



Barring the use of pots, wizards are not as efficient nor as effective as sorcerors as direct damage casters.



The "flexibility" of wizards will not offset the fact that sorcerors have a deeper sp pool, which will ultimately make them less attractive for groups.



The dynamic of group play will not, in fact, improve:



Those unhappy with the new mechanic will cease to play their arcanes/divines, resulting in fewer available casters for healing/CC/buffing for groups and raids, which will ultimately be detrimental to the players of melee (who are more dependent upon the other two members of the holy trinity, then they are dependent upon melee).


Potential Benefits of HTK/Haunting

What are the potential benefits of this change that will offset the non-exhaustive list of potential negatives identified above?

Suggested Alternatives/Tweaks to HTK/Haunting:

After a lot of consideration, HTK is more palatable than Haunting, with less potential risk in terms of bugs and unforseen complications. Furthermore, it is perceived less as a nerf/damper to the player base, but rather more of an increase in difficulty to the environment they play in.


Leave insta-kills as they are and monitor the situation. Defer any proposed changes until after the issues that will ensue from the expansion have been dealt with.



Utilize HTK on a selective basis:



Do not implement it for Heroic or Epic: Normal.



Make all orange named monsters HTK. This ensures these targets cannot by bypassed easily (i.e. with a single insta-kill) and encourages groups/soloers to develop enhanced tactics, without completely rendering an entire class of spells (and related classes) ineffectual.


For example: where a soloer could just web and wail a group of mobs, they must now CC the orange named, gather and wail the cannon fodder, utilize dps spells to weaken the orange named, and then utilize an insta-kill to finish it off = feasible and fun.




Selectively use HTK on designated monsters to ensure that these encounters are not trivial, thereby further encouraging "group tactics" in a more organic manner.


For example: a party of Drow contains an orange named priestess, a non-orange HTK wizard, several hard to reach HTK archers, and various other warriors and casters who are not HTK. While the cannon fodder can be insta-killed, the group must employ varied tactics to eliminate the priestess, wizard and archers.



The insta-kill casters retain their importance and viability by thinning the herd, and they must develop their dps and/or CC lines to assist the rest of the party in weakening the HTK monsters before they can be insta-killed.



Moreover, while the party would expect the orange named to be HTK, they might not expect the wizard and archers to be, thus adding a very interesting and exciting dynamic to an otherwise standard encounter.




Do not rely on HTK/Haunting, but rather utilize existing mechanics (SR, fortitude, caster abilities, protective gear...) to develop encounters that are resistant to insta-kills and represent genuine challenges.




These mechanics are fully functional, tested and less "forced".




Incorporate dynamics that force casters and other party members to utilize a greater number of their abilities.



Have more encounters with deathward/deathblock casting opponents and/or gear that grants the same protection.



Allow spells like break enchant, dispell, or disjunction to temporarily disable those protections such that an insta-kill could be delivered.



Randomize the number and potency of monsters that have resistance to insta-kills to ensure that encounters are not trivial.


Haunting is inarguably a nerf, which will only be perceived as such and will result in discord amongst many players. Just as important to consider is the fact that it introduces a new mechanic that is likely to spawn bugs, which will result in player frustration, will require the expenditure of development team resources and time, and result in server downtime.

In contrast, judicious use of HTK, or preferably the resources already available to monsters (sr/spells/saves/gear), is not a player base nerf, but an increase in the difficulty of the environment, which is generally preferable.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Grace_ana
06-09-2012, 03:01 PM
I agree with most of what you said, except that instead of instituting selective HtK, why are they not just using the AI? I know there are several quests in which one or some of the mobs cast deathward when they see you coming. So you either need to deal with that or sneak in and take out the deathward casters before they cast. That is a MUCH better mechanic, as it lends itself to varied gameplay and strategy based on the makeup of the party.

gravestones
06-09-2012, 03:32 PM
I agree with most of what you said, except that instead of instituting selective HtK, why are they not just using the AI? I know there are several quests in which one or some of the mobs cast deathward when they see you coming. So you either need to deal with that or sneak in and take out the deathward casters before they cast. That is a MUCH better mechanic, as it lends itself to varied gameplay and strategy based on the makeup of the party.

I couldn't agree more, and you will not above that I cite this as the preferred means of dealing with the apparent issue.

But the reality is that Turbine is gauging the value of allocating resources to address the situation, and from a pure man-hours perspective, a "toggle-switch" solution is more efficient than having content designers revisit virtually every instance and encounter to repopulate and/or reconfigure the mobs.

HTK was a prime example of that: flag everything with HTK, problem solved, quick and easy.

Haunting is less efficient than HTK, but much more efficient than adjusting the already available AI...UNTIL the bugs that would undoubtedly ensue start to rear their ugly heads, due to the potential complexities that were not anticipated.

Then of course, as has been demonstrated by many other companies, vastly greater sums of money will be expended to fix the unforseen problems with the supposed "efficient" solution, than it would have cost to do things right the first time.

DemonMage
06-09-2012, 03:40 PM
I know there are several quests in which one or some of the mobs cast deathward when they see you coming. So you either need to deal with that or sneak in and take out the deathward casters before they cast. That is a MUCH better mechanic,

Except that Death Ward also disables any negative energy damage as well. Such as SLAs, Negative Energy Burst, Necrotic Ray, Harm. Which is really really bad. Seeing a priest and using quickened PWK and watching them get a Mass Death Aura off and having half your damage spells go out the window with your death spells is pretty disheartening.

Grace_ana
06-09-2012, 03:44 PM
Except that Death Ward also disables any negative energy damage as well. Such as SLAs, Negative Energy Burst, Necrotic Ray, Harm. Which is really really bad. Seeing a priest and using quickened PWK and watching them get a Mass Death Aura off and having half your damage spells go out the window with your death spells is pretty disheartening.

Sure it is. But that's where you use your party and your strategy. So you have to make sure you nail the caster first. Or you send in your rogue to assassinate. Or your ranger uses manyshot. Or you're out of luck.

The point is, it's a flexible and optimized game mechanic.

Aurora999
06-09-2012, 04:46 PM
Fully agreed Grave.


Except that Death Ward also disables any negative energy damage as well. Such as SLAs, Negative Energy Burst, Necrotic Ray, Harm. Which is really really bad. Seeing a priest and using quickened PWK and watching them get a Mass Death Aura off and having half your damage spells go out the window with your death spells is pretty disheartening.

I'd rather see smarter AI and Death Ward casting mobs then blanket immunities or mechanics such as Haunting. Its easy to implement, efficient and could even *possibly* avoid bugs being produced.

Khthonic
06-09-2012, 05:26 PM
Some other potential negative impacts for everyone is that if hard/elite epics become melee beatdowns, considering that CC will be harder to land as it is, it will drain divines resources faster. Divines will be less inclined to pug with less than optimal groups.

This will encourage more selective groups and build/class discrimination will get worse for those who are already effected by that.

As I also said in another thread, we already have challenging Epics. Sands Epics, Servants of the Overlord- these are not epics that PM's are blowing through. Make all Epics on hard/elite of that caliber and you have a challenge you need a group and teamwork for. A challenge that lets us use our death spells without penalty but also lets us CC and do DPS when needed to.

WurmBurned
06-09-2012, 06:30 PM
Haunting is less problematic than HtK as a blanket debuff/buff, but I agree that selectively using HtK,Deathward, higher saves, and so on is a better idea.

One of the things that I’m worried about is that they’re focused on creating more mechanics that will decrease the work they have to put into designing new instances and alow them to release more content at a faster pace. It’s likely much easier to apply a scaling debuff than it is to fine tune creature stats on a case by case basis.

Another thing that I’m worried about is that some of these new mechanics are meant to facilitate a move to allow players that are uninterested in learning the basics of the game a better chance to see more content and limit the perceived drain they can have on a party. If you normalize the effectiveness of all builds, having poor or good stats make less of a difference and a fighter that dumped strength or a wizard with especially poor DCs will more easily be able to find a group.

CoasterHops
06-09-2012, 06:35 PM
Well thought out OP. It Highlights the majority of many peoples thoughts.

I will admit that I am heavily invested in these changes doe to having a capped 3rd life PM, but to me it just seems pretty extreme. I really think that improved mob AI and Caster mobs utilising Deathward and Deathward Mass in hard and epic elite content would have made the game far more interesting and tactically focused.
I understand that this would have taken time and resources but implementing this new Haunting effect throughout both heroic and epic levels just seems plain crazy to me. Way to kill off an entire PRE if they go that way.

What I am struggling to understand is how turbine are addressing this method of trash killing, yet leaving the more potent Sorcerors unaffected.
Don't get me wrong, I don't want any classes nerfed, I'm just struggling to understand why the devs aren't looking sideways at the Sorcerors out there.
Take equivalently geared, past lives and played Wizard vs. Sorceror and both will be pretty much on par with removing trash. (In fact I would say once you take Orange named and uninstakillable into account I would say a Sorc is ahead) They will both remove trash pretty much instantaneously. The Sorc can do all of this without ever having to use a single instakill spell.
Then take into account boss DPS and a Sorceror is leaps and bounds ahead of the Wizard in all cases unless the Boss in question is particularly resistant or immune to the Sorcs Savant line. (EDQ Lailat vs. Air Savant for example)

So the question is if comparable Wizards (palemasters) and Sorcerors are both virtually equal on their ability to clear trash, yet the Sorceror is miles ahead in Boss DPS, why is this change be implemented to affect the Wizards primary trash killing ability and leaving Sorcs virtually unaffected?

I am really struggling to fathom this change where at present i feel Wizards and Sorcerors are pretty much on par.

Faent
06-09-2012, 06:43 PM
Haunting is less problematic than HtK as a blanket debuff/buff, but I agree that selectively using HtK,Deathward, higher saves, and so on is a better idea.

Actually no, I don't think it is. Not as Eladrin proposed it. It turns Necro wizards into weak low SP sorcerers and haste/hold bots who have, in addition to that kind of pathetic DPS, about four to six extra single-target insta kills per minute (four at the DC they worked for and two at substandard DC's), on average.

The reduction in the killing power of a Necro arcane that comes with Haunting is astonishing. They effectively lose both Circle and Wail as mass instakills, and their ability to use finger is *also* massively nerfed. Haunting demotes Necro arcanes to the worst kind of wizard and places them well below sorcerers and (well geared) melees in terms of killing power.

For one of my posts on this subject, please see this analysis:

http://forums.ddo.com/showpost.php?p=4511957&postcount=1

WurmBurned
06-09-2012, 07:05 PM
Actually no, I don't think it is. Not as Eladrin proposed it. It turns Necro wizards into weak low SP sorcerers and haste/hold bots who have, in addition to that kind of pathetic DPS, about four to six extra single-target insta kills per minute (four at the DC they worked for and two at substandard DC's), on average.

The reduction in the killing power of a Necro arcane that comes with Haunting is astonishing. They effectively lose both Circle and Wail as mass instakills, and their ability to use finger is *also* massively nerfed. Haunting demotes Necro arcanes to the worst kind of wizard and places them well below sorcerers and (well geared) melees in terms of killing power.

For one of my posts on this subject, please see this analysis:

http://forums.ddo.com/showpost.php?p=4511957&postcount=1

I mostly saw HtK as rendering instakills completely worthless against anything with average health since it would make more sense just to nuke or let someone else finish things off. I don’t like Haunting, but I still see it as a better blanket “solution” provided some tweaks are made.Haunting may butcher Wail and Implosion in its current form, but I see blanket HtK as an even worse alternative.

Faent
06-09-2012, 07:27 PM
I mostly saw HtK as rendering instakills completely worthless against anything with average health since it would make more sense just to nuke or let someone else finish things off. I don’t like Haunting, but I still see it as a better blanket “solution” provided some tweaks are made.Haunting may butcher Wail and Implosion in its current form, but I see blanket HtK as an even worse alternative.

Haunting butchers Wail and Circle, and also constitutes a slight nerf to Finger. (It butchers Implosion less, because Implosion is already on a long cooldown. Still, it hurts Divines a lot. Just not as much.) It's an across the board nerf to Necro arcanes. I'd estimate that Necro-arcanes will pull easily pull down about 200%-400% fewer kills per minute if Haunting goes lives.

Previously, in one minute, you could Wail twice and Circle twice, as well as toss seven Fingers. Assuming your Wails and Circles each pick up a mere four mobs, and your Fingers all land, that's 23 possible Necro kills/minute.

Now, you will toss four Fingers at max DC. And three more Fingers at lower DCs. Assuming they all land (right), that's a possible 7 Necro kills/minute. This represents a 328% reduction in Necro kills/minute.

This nerf cannot come close to being compensated by a wizzie spamming raw DPS spells. And it applies in all content.

Hokiewa
06-09-2012, 07:32 PM
I mostly saw HtK as rendering instakills completely worthless against anything with average health since it would make more sense just to nuke or let someone else finish things off. I don’t like Haunting, but I still see it as a better blanket “solution” provided some tweaks are made.Haunting may butcher Wail and Implosion in its current form, but I see blanket HtK as an even worse alternative.

Except....the blanket HtK was only for epic hard/elite. The proposed change hits everyone. There has to be some balancing in this. The OP is correct that this will drive away the players Turbine sought to attract with scaling, "dumbing down", etc...

It's a kneejerk reaction to the overwhelming hatred of HtK. Poorly thought out thematically (really why is a PM haunted by stealing life? It's comical, you know coming from a toon that transforms into a zombie, vampire, lich). Poorly thought out in terms of the enhancement pass which I predict won't come until 2013, which should include some form of necro damage increase for the pitiful selection of damaging spells PMs and AM necros have.

This expansion is becoming more of an entirely different game then that of, wait, an expansion.

Faent
06-09-2012, 09:51 PM
This expansion is becoming more of an entirely different game then that of, wait, an expansion.

They're expanding into WoW territory?

Brattyone
06-09-2012, 09:59 PM
Extremely well thought out and elequently articulated OP. +1 to you!

tinyelvis
06-09-2012, 10:11 PM
I personally also feel that the AI in its current form has not been exausted as a means to throw a monkey wrench into insta killers.

1. Dont spawn mobs in groups.
2. Allow mobs to carry anti wizard spells like light based spells.
3. Mobs should avoid grouping
4. Use terrain levels

I don't believe mobs should spawn with death ward in general. However, these are just the tip of the iceberg suggestions.

DeafeningWhisper
06-09-2012, 10:20 PM
Dang it, stop posting awesome stuff I can't give you any +1 for a while...

I always wondered why, if Wail is so OP, they didn't just add a certain number of mobs per group that spawn with Deathward on Epic( more per level of difficulty).

jbendoski
06-10-2012, 01:37 PM
Once again Graves very well put and thought out. I really hope they read this and consider what you said.

Just to added what being said I don't think Turbine is really utilizing the full power of spell resistance. Epic drow as they are in Servants of the Overlords are not easily taken down by Pale Masters. My pm has max spell pen (3 wiz past, 3 fvs past, both feats, the full enhancement line, +2 to all arcane caster lvls) and still has a hard time getting through for an instant kill.

Desdemonte
06-10-2012, 01:40 PM
/signed and +1 to you, mate

gravestones
06-10-2012, 02:10 PM
Once again Graves very well put and thought out. I really hope they read this and consider what you said.

Just to added what being said I don't think Turbine is really utilizing the full power of spell resistance. Epic drow as they are in Servants of the Overlords are not easily taken down by Pale Masters. My pm has max spell pen (3 wiz past, 3 fvs past, both feats, the full enhancement line, +2 to all arcane caster lvls) and still has a hard time getting through for an instant kill.

Thanks Flam.

I really think that you should put up a post conveying your experiences and observations because you actually represent the 1% as the penultimate arcane max DC caster. Thus, rather than all of this myth, rumor and hyperbole floating around, you can share factual information...although I would keep the fact that you FoD'd Horoth to yourself XD

Forzah
06-10-2012, 03:07 PM
Where are the historic threads asking for insta-kills to be nerfed?



I started one a year ago; not that well written, but it was there :D
http://forums.ddo.com/showthread.php?t=327276

Zakharov
06-10-2012, 04:30 PM
All of these changes directed at making the game more challenging are simply shortcut attempts to work around the problem that this game has very weak AI that needs an overhaul or at least fine tuning. Challenge should come from intelligent enemies and encounters, not arbitrary buffs/debuffs.

If the problem they see is casters plowing through content too easily, this won't fix anything. Powergamers will always gravitate towards whatever is most efficient/powerful in xp or kills, regardless of class or ability being used. All this will do to them is shift the popular class choices around a bit, it won't slow them down at all.

So what happens in 2 months when most of them have TR'd to sorcs or whatever is the newest 'most efficient killing machine'? When everyone complains how useless they are because class xyz can kill stuff so much easier (without realizing it's the player that is trivializing the content, not the class) will you continue the nerfing? Or will you finally fix the real problem - stupid AI that is easily manipulated.

I'm sure they know that AI is a problem but I'm curious what exactly is the hard part of fixing it.. is it just a question of man hours or is there a technical limitation (like servers can't handle x more processes per instance or something)?

elkorm
06-10-2012, 04:54 PM
Just to added what being said I don't think Turbine is really utilizing the full power of spell resistance. Epic drow as they are in Servants of the Overlords are not easily taken down by Pale Masters. My pm has max spell pen (3 wiz past, 3 fvs past, both feats, the full enhancement line, +2 to all arcane caster lvls) and still has a hard time getting through for an instant kill.

I second that. Also considering I spent the last 4 months doing the lives I thought I'd need to get max spell pen, I feel kinda shafted (and the 6 years of lovingly raising up my Queen) :p
Didn't get to play beta much (only a couple of quick quests, and with my fvs as death aura was bugged then), is it REALLY that easy for a PM to plow through the epics h-e (or, well, was)? Being 45 a good top rating DC for lvl 20, which was the end DC for a PM @ 25?
Game's going head over heels...
cheers
Elk

rtgr10
06-11-2012, 09:24 AM
Grave....

+1 to reputation and +1000 by the text very well written.

/agree

trog_star
06-11-2012, 09:53 AM
hold up a second turbine.

exactly how much did the planning/implimentation of the magistar cost?

and now you want to nurf high DC spells.....
right....
that makes perfect sence.......

Sarzor
06-11-2012, 10:11 AM
Well-said and thought out comment. Said everything I'd like to have said, just clearer.

alexp80
06-11-2012, 10:34 AM
There is no HTK to implement at all. Orange named are already deathwarded in epics; keep that, throw in a few more, and some divine NOW AND THEN, make divine buff dispellable, and that's it, we already have all that we need to balance the game through smart encounter design.

WruntJunior
06-11-2012, 11:35 AM
There is no HTK to implement at all. Orange named are already deathwarded in epics; keep that, throw in a few more, and some divine NOW AND THEN, make divine buff dispellable, and that's it, we already have all that we need to balance the game through smart encounter design.

You forgot one thing: some sort of bonus to saves against death magic, at least on epic elite...not something high enough to keep divines from being able to reach it, but definitely high enough where a freshly-25 PM wouldn't be able to casually stroll through epic elite without getting some good gear.

FrozenNova
06-11-2012, 12:00 PM
I'm sure they know that AI is a problem but I'm curious what exactly is the hard part of fixing it.. is it just a question of man hours or is there a technical limitation (like servers can't handle x more processes per instance or something)?

It's the latter, I'm pretty sure it's been said before - the more complicated an individual enemy becomes, the more of a burden it is on the servers. Complex AI for one enemy, like a raid boss, isn't a huge problem - but the servers keep track of all the entities in the instance, and giving every enemy complex 3d pathfinding to avoid temporary obstacles like spells is a problem.

That said, it's not like they can't change the AI to make it more apparently intelligent without doing anything fancy. Priests that cast deathward on all remaining enemies as soon as someone casts a death spell near it wouldn't be hard.