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  1. #1
    Associate Producer Cocomajobo's Avatar
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    Default U45 Preview 1: Balance: Ranged Combat Changes

    Disclaimer
    Everything seen on the preview server, Lamannia, is not final and is subject to change or removal before live release.

    For some context about these changes:

    As we approach each Hardcore season, one of our goals is to make changes that change how you build and play characters - We want to shake up builds and strategies, and it makes sense to align these game-wide changes with the release of new seasons of the Hardcore League. Season 2 is coming very soon, so U45 contains a lot of the balance changes for the season. Some of this process involves identifying underperforming builds and making changes to boost them - KOTC and Two Handed Fighting changes are a big part of this in this Season. However, this process also involves identifying overperforming builds and archetypes and making adjustments as well.

    In approaching these Ranged changes, especially with regards to Inquisitive, we looked at it from a number of progressively larger questions:
    • Is Inquisitive balanced where it needs to be overall?
      • No, in evaluating play data it's become clear that it's too strong. We iterated on a number of different potential changes over the last few months, and ended up making changes that reduce its power from a number of angles; some of those changes address some of the below questions as well. Inquisitive will still be very viable, but it very likely won't be the top weapon DPS in the game anymore.

    • Are the Crossbow styles (Great, Repeater, Dual) balanced where they need to be relative to other Crossbow styles?
      • No. Inquisitive is much stronger than the others (especially when you factor in cross-class builds) and Great Crossbow is a little higher than it needs to be (especially when given access to Fusilade/NHB).

    • Are Crossbows (as a combat style) balanced where they need to be relative to other Ranged combat styles?
      • Looking in the context of Crossbows vs. Bows*, it became clear that Repeaters are close to where they need to be (though slightly high when cheesing to skip the Fusilade animation), but Great and Dual are significantly too high. (And bows are too low. See below.)

    • Is Ranged Weapon Combat (as an archetype) balanced where it needs to be relative to other combat styles?
      • ?Looking in the context of ranged combat vs. melee combat, there are significant issues with Ranged's easy access to AOE on hit (something we believe should be more highly incentivized in the THF Melee style) and current lack of incentive to focus on single targets. This last one led to the changes to Archer's Focus (boosting single-target damage) and Improved Precise Shot (allowing you to continue to AOE as you did before, but at a cost), as well as the presence of a few Melee-centric changes (such as KOTC's new Lead the Charge enhancement and the updated Spring Attack) that let Melees get into attacking range faster.


    We're going to evaluate these changes on Lamannia and make tweaks if needed. We'll keep an eye on things once U45 goes live as well, and keep making tweaks if needed. Our goal isn't to invalidate builds, it's to make an ecosystem where melee and ranged are more balanced. Our initial approach with Inquisitive was to pair it to Great Crossbow in terms of DPS; our mistakes were not realizing sooner that Great Crossbows were stronger (on a broad level) than they should be, and underestimating certain multiclass options that really minmax Inquisitive.


    • *What about bows???

      • We recognize that some of the overall-ranged changes in this update reduce the amount of AOE damage that Bows can produce. However, between Archer's Focus (being a boon to Bow builds' single-target damage) and updated Deepwood Stalker, there are some boosts in this update as well. We recognize this is not an overall solution to Bows, as a combat style, having few options to help them become competitive DPS builds. We've got plans coming soon for that.


    -SteelStar


    Individual Changes
    • General
      • Improved Precise Shot now reduces Ranged Damage by 20% while active.
      • Archer's Focus has been redesigned: Offensive Ranged Stance: This stance grants power to those who focus their attacks on a single target. Once per second, attacking a foe with a Ranged weapon will grant you a stack of Archer's Focus: +3 Competence Bonus to Ranged Power that lasts for 6 seconds. This effect can stack up to 15 times by attacking the same target. Attacking a different target with a Ranged Weapon will reset your stacks of this effect.
      • Rapid Reload now increases the reload speed of Great Crossbows, Dual Light Crossbows, and Dual Light Crossbows by less than before.
      • Endless Fusillade and No Holds Barred now require a Crossbow to be equipped in order to activate.
      • Endless Fusillade and No Holds Barred now play a Reload animation on activation before the effect starts. (This is shorter than the previous activation animation this skill had, though it now plays consistently).
    • New Feats
      • Simple Thrown Weapon Expertise: Requires 13 Dexterity: You are skilled with the use of Simple Thrown Weapons (Throwing Daggers and Darts) and while using one, you gain Doubleshot equal to your Dexterity.
      • Multitude of Missiles: Requires Point Blank Shot and +6 Base Attack Bonus: For the next 20 seconds, while wielding a Simple Thrown Weapon add 120 to your Doubleshot and 4x your Base Attack Bonus to Ranged Power. Shares a cooldown with Manyshot.
    • Ranger
      • Ranger: Deepwood Stalker's Heavy Draw no longer reduces Attack by 5 when toggled on, and now also grants a +1 Competence Bonus to Critical Multiplier to Longbows and Shortbows while toggled on.
      • Ranger: Deepwood Stalker's Strikes Like Lightning now also adds 10% Ranged Alacrity with Longbows and Shortbows when you do not have Improved Precise Shot enabled.
    • Inquisitive
      • Dual Crossbow combat style now only uses 66% of your Doubleshot.
      • Inquisitive Law Dice now scale with 150% Ranged Power (was 200%)
      • "Improved Law" and "Greater Law" in Inquisitive now grant +1 Law Die (previously +2).


    Known Issues
    • N/A
    Tell me about any and all bugs you encounter by clicking here!


    NOTE: Submitting a bug in this manner is not a quick fix for past occurrences; it is instead a means of bringing issues to our attention to prevent future occurrences for both you and others. Providing detailed information, especially specifics about your account and character as well as what steps you took leading up to the issue, are critical to us being able to pinpoint the cause of any problems you have encountered.

  2. #2
    Community Member barecm's Avatar
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    One question before I comment further. Is the proposed Archer’s Focus still limited to standing still and not using Manyshot?

    Also, does the alacrity bonus from Strikes like Lightning stack with other bonuses or is it the bs non stacking garbage version?
    Last edited by barecm; 01-14-2020 at 01:54 PM.
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  3. #3
    Associate Producer Cocomajobo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by barecm View Post
    One question before I comment further. Is the proposed Archer’s Focus still limited to standing still and not using Manyshot?
    No.
    Tell me about any and all bugs you encounter by clicking here!


    NOTE: Submitting a bug in this manner is not a quick fix for past occurrences; it is instead a means of bringing issues to our attention to prevent future occurrences for both you and others. Providing detailed information, especially specifics about your account and character as well as what steps you took leading up to the issue, are critical to us being able to pinpoint the cause of any problems you have encountered.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by barecm View Post
    One question before I comment further. Is the proposed Archer’s Focus still limited to standing still and not using Manyshot?
    No! We intentionally took out the standing still restriction in this redesign. We've taken out the Manyshot restriction for this preview as well, and will be keeping an eye on whether or not that needs to be put back before Live.
    We don't only build for the builds that exist.
    We don't only build for the builds that are good right now.

    The fact that some changes are necessary is not diminished by the fact that other necessary changes have not happened yet.


    Quote Originally Posted by Steelstar View Post
    To be very clear, the change to IPS does not specifically have to do with Inquisitive overperforming. It is the result of evaluating the way that Ranged Weapon Users interact with the overall build meta and (especially) melees.

  5. #5
    Community Member barecm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steelstar View Post
    No! We intentionally took out the standing still restriction in this redesign. We've taken out the Manyshot restriction for this preview as well, and will be keeping an eye on whether or not that needs to be put back before Live.
    You guys are quick. How about the alacrity from Strikes like Lightning?
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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by barecm View Post
    You guys are quick. How about the alacrity from Strikes like Lightning?
    If I recall correctly, that does not have any Manyshot restrictions either.
    We don't only build for the builds that exist.
    We don't only build for the builds that are good right now.

    The fact that some changes are necessary is not diminished by the fact that other necessary changes have not happened yet.


    Quote Originally Posted by Steelstar View Post
    To be very clear, the change to IPS does not specifically have to do with Inquisitive overperforming. It is the result of evaluating the way that Ranged Weapon Users interact with the overall build meta and (especially) melees.

  7. #7
    Community Member Garix's Avatar
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    "We've got plans coming soon for that."

    Soon as in this update (just not ready yet) or soon as in Soon(TM)?
    Leader of Shrodingers Cat Support Group a Husband and Wife guild on Orien.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cocomajobo View Post
    [B]Once per second, attacking a foe with a Ranged weapon will grant you a stack of Archer's Focus: +3 Competence Bonus to Ranged Power that lasts for 6 seconds. This effect can stack up to 15 times by attacking the same target. Attacking a different target with a Ranged Weapon will reset your stacks of this effect.
    To make this useful in practice I think you'd need to make the re-targeting just peel off like 1, 2, 3 stacks instead of resetting all the way to zero. In a group you're going to get what, on average 2 or 3 hits on a mob before you and/or someone else kills the mob anyway. Or even solo... I can't see this generating more than a few stacks at any given time unless your lone target is a single boss with no adds.

    If it's a reset to zero the net effect of this doesn't look like a compelling boost for encouraging single target damage. Your stick is -20% dps on IPS; your carrot is pretty weak by contrast.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garix View Post
    "We've got plans coming soon for that."

    Soon as in this update (just not ready yet) or soon as in Soon(TM)?
    Not for U45, but likely later this year.
    We don't only build for the builds that exist.
    We don't only build for the builds that are good right now.

    The fact that some changes are necessary is not diminished by the fact that other necessary changes have not happened yet.


    Quote Originally Posted by Steelstar View Post
    To be very clear, the change to IPS does not specifically have to do with Inquisitive overperforming. It is the result of evaluating the way that Ranged Weapon Users interact with the overall build meta and (especially) melees.

  10. #10
    Community Member barecm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steelstar View Post
    If I recall correctly, that does not have any Manyshot restrictions either.
    Will it stack? Like if I am using the Chaosbow and Sapphire Sting? If not, I am not sure it is really viable or useful as you get a higher bonus from items.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garix View Post
    "We've got plans coming soon for that."

    Soon as in this update (just not ready yet) or soon as in Soon(TM)?
    SoonTM
    100% radical, enthusiasm enthusiast.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by hit_fido View Post
    To make this useful in practice I think you'd need to make the re-targeting just peel off like 3 stacks instead of resetting all the way to zero. In a group you're going to get what, at best 2 or 3 hits on a mob before you and/or someone else kills the mob anyway. Or even solo... I can't see this generating more than a few stacks at any given time unless your lone target is a single boss with no adds.

    If it's a reset to zero the net effect of this doesn't look like a compelling boost for encouraging single target damage. Your stick is -20% dps on IPS; your carrot is pretty weak by contrast.
    That's accurate, but part of the rebalancing we're doing here, especially in regards to the question of:

    Quote Originally Posted by Cocomajobo View Post
    • Is Ranged Weapon Combat (as an archetype) balanced where it needs to be relative to other combat styles?
    We don't only build for the builds that exist.
    We don't only build for the builds that are good right now.

    The fact that some changes are necessary is not diminished by the fact that other necessary changes have not happened yet.


    Quote Originally Posted by Steelstar View Post
    To be very clear, the change to IPS does not specifically have to do with Inquisitive overperforming. It is the result of evaluating the way that Ranged Weapon Users interact with the overall build meta and (especially) melees.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by barecm View Post
    Will it stack? Like if I am using the Chaosbow and Sapphire Sting? If not, I am not sure it is really viable or useful as you get a higher bonus from items.
    Yes, it should stack.
    We don't only build for the builds that exist.
    We don't only build for the builds that are good right now.

    The fact that some changes are necessary is not diminished by the fact that other necessary changes have not happened yet.


    Quote Originally Posted by Steelstar View Post
    To be very clear, the change to IPS does not specifically have to do with Inquisitive overperforming. It is the result of evaluating the way that Ranged Weapon Users interact with the overall build meta and (especially) melees.

  14. #14
    Community Member Garix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steelstar View Post
    Not for U45, but likely later this year.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynnabel View Post
    SoonTM
    Expected as much.

    Thank you for the confirmation
    Leader of Shrodingers Cat Support Group a Husband and Wife guild on Orien.
    Tolkiens Law: Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.
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  15. #15
    FreeDeeOh PsychoBlonde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cocomajobo View Post
    Attacking a different target with a Ranged Weapon will reset your stacks of this effect.

    Okay, this here is not an improvement to Archer's Focus, this is a HUGE, HUGE nerf and means that Archer's Focus is basically ONLY useful for killing boss mobs that you fight EXCLUSIVELY by themselves. Currently, MOVING is what resets your stacks, so as long as you hold still you can DPS an entire room of mobs at full stacks to really get the damage in. When dealing with trash you should be switching targets frequently, which means you'll never get more than a stack or two before it goes away. And what if you have to switch targets to heal someone or cast a spell or something?!

    This is dumb and I can TELL it's dumb without even TESTING it. If you want to improve Archer's Focus just REMOVE the "goes away when you move" limitation. Remove ALL "goes away" except from stacks EXPIRING. That would make it actually competitive with IPS, particularly in situations where it's quite hard to line mobs up.
    Last edited by PsychoBlonde; 01-14-2020 at 02:08 PM.

  16. #16
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    So.... why would anyone take IPS now? 20% of my damage is gone all because of some AoE damage? Not my damage, I'm not playing an inquis on my main (but on my alt), but that hurts Bow rangers too, moreso than inquisitives or repeaters.

    I dunno, as for the other debuffs specifically to inquisitives I understand the changing of law on my side and greater law. But not the doubleshot only uses 66% and the ranged power decrease in addition to it. I wonder how much internal tests happened to cause those numbers to be so low in comparison.

    Not that I agree with nerfs ever, but if it had to happen, it feels like you guys wanted the tree to be dead because it's not going to be good anymore I think, maybe I'm wrong though.


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    Quote Originally Posted by PsychoBlonde View Post
    And what if you have to switch targets to heal someone or cast a spell or something?!
    Casting a spell doesn't interrupt the stacks, don't worry.

    Testing stuff out on Lamannia is very important to us, we appreciate firsthand feedback quite a bit :)
    100% radical, enthusiasm enthusiast.

  18. #18
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    Seems reasonable overall. Making doubleshot for dual crossbows have the same relative penalty as a repeater seems sensible. If the endless fusillade "charge up" time is shorter, that's a good change. -20% on IPS seems like a lot, but as long as you maneuver for at least two mobs it's still a win versus single target. Guess will have to see how it feels in practice.

    I was promised the lamentations of the ranged, but this doesn't feel bad, man.

  19. #19
    Community Member Sythe777's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PsychoBlonde View Post
    Okay, this here is not an improvement to Archer's Focus, this is a HUGE, HUGE nerf and means that Archer's Focus is basically ONLY useful for killing boss mobs that you fight EXCLUSIVELY by themselves. Currently, MOVING is what resets your stacks, so as long as you hold still you can DPS an entire room of mobs at full stacks to really get the damage in. When dealing with trash you should be switching targets frequently, which means you'll never get more than a stack or two before it goes away. And what if you have to switch targets to heal someone or cast a spell or something?!

    This is dumb and I can TELL it's dumb without even TESTING it. If you want to improve Archer's Focus just REMOVE the "goes away when you move" limitation. Remove ALL "goes away" except from stacks EXPIRING. That would make it actually competitive with IPS, particularly in situations where it's quite hard to line mobs up.
    On moving:

    Quote Originally Posted by Steelstar View Post
    No! We intentionally took out the standing still restriction in this redesign. We've taken out the Manyshot restriction for this preview as well, and will be keeping an eye on whether or not that needs to be put back before Live.
    On mob targeting swap:

    I don't think you can use both archer's focus and IPS at the same time. If you want to kill a pack of mobs, IPS is still better as long as you make up the potential RP benefit of AF and the 20% damage loss nerf with hitting multiple mobs.

    On spell casting:

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynnabel View Post
    Casting a spell doesn't interrupt the stacks, don't worry.

    Testing stuff out on Lamannia is very important to us, we appreciate firsthand feedback quite a bit
    Argonesson: Taliimara

  20. #20
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    IPS is still OP and hasn't enough drawbacks.

    Based on the 20% nerf to IPS I see nothing changing. It's still a hobson's choice.

    100% damage to 1 mob or 80% damage to all mobs. No brainer there. Nothing will change and we'll be back here in 6 months with another IPS nerf.
    Toon on cannith

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