Penalty for Phantoms Breaking-Cloak

This suggestion was previously posted to the DB reddit, but most redditors did not bother reading the suggestion before posting their responses. I encourage readers to suspend judgment until after they have read the actual suggestion.

I am reposting here in hopes the devs will consider testing it, and also get better responses than reddit, as written in the following.

Some preemptive responses based on experience on the DB reddit:
1. "Sneak-attacks are bullshit, OP, and Phantom should not exist": SD made it inherently clear that Phantom and his cloak will not be removed, grieving about that on this post will not contribute anything to the discussion, please grieve somewhere else.
2. "Decloak-delay was already proposed, SD said it felt janky": I am well-aware of this, but I am not proposing a hard decloak delay; this proposal is something different.
3. "Phantom's cloak does not need any more nerfs": this suggestion gives some room to buff Phantom's cloak; in any case, cloak nerfs are relevant if you only use the katana as Phantom's default weapon instead of his ranged kit since you have to get close up for melee.
4. "Cloaking is OP, it should not exist in a skill based shooter": see item 1.
5. "Phantom's cloak is now useless": see item 3.


The proposed cloak mechanics for Phantom comes in two parts:

  • If Phantom breaks cloak with an attack, it depletes his cloak and requires recharging until next use (like Spark's revive gun if depleted); i.e. there is no attack delay, but there is a cool-down afterwards.
  • If Phantom decloaks with 'Q', it retains his remaining cloak but imposes an animation delay, i.e. Phantom presses the button on his suit, just like when he activates his cloak

Why and how this would work:
1. Disabling Phantom's cloak if broken when Phantom attacks imposes a cool-down period, just like Assault and Fire Support Q-skills. Since Phantom's "first strike" capability is a high-impact skill, e.g. like Fragger's grenades, Stoker's molotovs or Javelin's rockets that have high killing potential, using his cloak to perform sneak-attacks should be spaced out appropriately to reduce it's spammability.
2. This cloak cool-down would reduce Phantom's dependency on cloak-and-melee and "first strikes", this will hopefully encourage Phantom players to engage in fair gun fights once in a while.
3. Decloaking with 'Q' that has an animation delay introduces a different play style where Phantoms are encouraged to use their cloak for repositioning, instead of solely for face-stabbing.

In other words, Phantoms will now have incentive to use their "first strike" intelligently since it costs them a cool down period, like how Assault and Fire Supports do with their Q-skills; however, it still retains the option of using Phantom's cloak as an espionage/repositioning tool. It also encourages Phantoms to coordinate properly with their team.

Moreover, since "first strike" is no longer a spammable aspect of Phantom, it is then reasonable to buff Phantom's cloak invisibility and audibility, so that "flanking the enemy under their noses" is a viable option again for Phantom.

Comments

  • henki000henki000 Posts: 425

    Constructive idea, developable. I just have hard time visualizing how this is engineered. I especially like the part: "this suggestion gives some room to buff Phantom's cloak".

    For now, I dont have any better suggestions. Unless SD is ready to step back some chances.

    1. Buff cloak (completely invisible, but spotted by recons. Sound ok)
    2. Remove EMP
    3. Tune down HP and speed slightly (10 units both)
    4. Then, if needed. Make cloak period shorter and cooldown longer.
  • SorotiaSorotia Posts: 1,494

    Phantom really is in the worst shape I've ever seen him...I was standing still cloaked and a Fletcher ran up to me and shotgun me in the face

    If you can't see a Phantom with how nerfed he has been then frankly you deserve to die to one.

  • BirdofWarBirdofWar Posts: 7

    @Sorotia said:
    Phantom really is in the worst shape I've ever seen him...I was standing still cloaked and a Fletcher ran up to me and shotgun me in the face

    If you can't see a Phantom with how nerfed he has been then frankly you deserve to die to one.

    1. You did not read the suggestion
    2. You added nothing to the discussion
  • -OCB-Wildcard-OCB-Wildcard Posts: 273

    @BirdofWar said:
    This suggestion was previously posted to the DB reddit, but most redditors did not bother reading the suggestion before posting their responses. I encourage readers to suspend judgment until after they have read the actual suggestion.

    I am reposting here in hopes the devs will consider testing it, and also get better responses than reddit, as written in the following.

    Some preemptive responses based on experience on the DB reddit:
    1. "Sneak-attacks are bullshit, OP, and Phantom should not exist": SD made it inherently clear that Phantom and his cloak will not be removed, grieving about that on this post will not contribute anything to the discussion, please grieve somewhere else.
    2. "Decloak-delay was already proposed, SD said it felt janky": I am well-aware of this, but I am not proposing a hard decloak delay; this proposal is something different.
    3. "Phantom's cloak does not need any more nerfs": this suggestion gives some room to buff Phantom's cloak; in any case, cloak nerfs are relevant if you only use the katana as Phantom's default weapon instead of his ranged kit since you have to get close up for melee.
    4. "Cloaking is OP, it should not exist in a skill based shooter": see item 1.
    5. "Phantom's cloak is now useless": see item 3.


    The proposed cloak mechanics for Phantom comes in two parts:

    • If Phantom breaks cloak with an attack, it depletes his cloak and requires recharging until next use (like Spark's revive gun if depleted); i.e. there is no attack delay, but there is a cool-down afterwards.
    • If Phantom decloaks with 'Q', it retains his remaining cloak but imposes an animation delay, i.e. Phantom presses the button on his suit, just like when he activates his cloak

    Why and how this would work:
    1. Disabling Phantom's cloak if broken when Phantom attacks imposes a cool-down period, just like Assault and Fire Support Q-skills. Since Phantom's "first strike" capability is a high-impact skill, e.g. like Fragger's grenades, Stoker's molotovs or Javelin's rockets that have high killing potential, using his cloak to perform sneak-attacks should be spaced out appropriately to reduce it's spammability.
    2. This cloak cool-down would reduce Phantom's dependency on cloak-and-melee and "first strikes", this will hopefully encourage Phantom players to engage in fair gun fights once in a while.
    3. Decloaking with 'Q' that has an animation delay introduces a different play style where Phantoms are encouraged to use their cloak for repositioning, instead of solely for face-stabbing.

    In other words, Phantoms will now have incentive to use their "first strike" intelligently since it costs them a cool down period, like how Assault and Fire Supports do with their Q-skills; however, it still retains the option of using Phantom's cloak as an espionage/repositioning tool. It also encourages Phantoms to coordinate properly with their team.

    Moreover, since "first strike" is no longer a spammable aspect of Phantom, it is then reasonable to buff Phantom's cloak invisibility and audibility, so that "flanking the enemy under their noses" is a viable option again for Phantom.

    Okay, now having read this I have to say I agree with its concept and feel it could work; it's reminiscent of pre-rework Phantom in that using your cloak at the wrong time became punishing by smacking you with a minimum 8 second cooldown, which added an element of skill requirement to its use. That was done as a requisite to balance out his constant EMP field but ultimately hurt him more than it helped; if this was to be implemented it would be a good start at getting him back on track.

    @henki000 said:
    Constructive idea, developable. I just have hard time visualizing how this is engineered. I especially like the part: "this suggestion gives some room to buff Phantom's cloak".

    For now, I dont have any better suggestions. Unless SD is ready to step back some chances.

    1. Buff cloak (completely invisible, but spotted by recons. Sound ok)
    2. Remove EMP
    3. Tune down HP and speed slightly (10 units both)
    4. Then, if needed. Make cloak period shorter and cooldown longer.

    The EMP does have its uses though it should be a passive field that can be used akin to the IR Goggles of Redeye while not requiring his Cloak active; this would allow him to keep the only utility ability that makes him remotely useful to a team outside kills while making it actually worthwhile again. In its current form you have to stack on Phantom EMPs to get any reasonable results; don't start with the argument that it makes Deployables useless, it doesn't it merely punishes players for overusing and poorly positioning them too close together. With it functioning similar to the IR Goggles the only factor to balance the ability becomes its radius and cooldown which are simple value tweaks.

    His HP being dropped back to 110 would be fine but nerfing his speed would be more detrimental than you would think; he already is too slow to catch up to the Mercs whom he targets and being fully invisible would just create the same issues we experience already all over again, so let's not even go there. He needs to be punished for positioning poorly even with the cloak active in order for it to be capable of balancing, as much as improper timing of its use and attacking from cloak needs to be punishing; nerfing his speed would just make this overly punishing as typically the former situation results in everyone ganking him on the spot as is, meaning the likely death of the Phantom.

    People will whine and moan that he makes deployables useless regardless of what you do but the fact of the matter is something needs to exist that serves as a check to overuse of them in the game; and with SD's general negligence at fixing any bug that benefits certain Mercs, such as Proxy and her Mines being impervious to explosives not to mention the amount of spots where shooting them will kill you anyways due to the only line of sight possible requires you to be right next to it. Aura's station still is extremely powerful and has many spots that require you to remove yourself from cover entirely to shoot down or even get a line of sight to use other abilities to destroy it, especially in some of the most played maps.

    With SD not implementing a Merc limit and only being hinted at eventually having one exist in Ranked by @stayfreshshoe someday, or at least is being considered, public matches have become heavily plagued by ability and deployable spam. We claim hard counters shouldn't be a thing but everything needs something checking its viability for use in given situations; balance in regards to Abilities is simply a system of Checks & Balances, where certain Abilities will soft-counter or somewhat hinder the effectiveness of others in order to prevent them from becoming too out of control and thus overused and abused. Phantoms EMP is a soft-counter to deployable spam that allows for team pushes timed to it on more than a few maps, forcing the players to spread the deployables out. I could go on and on about this but it's a seperate discussion technically so I'll end it here.

  • SorotiaSorotia Posts: 1,494
    edited April 14

    @BirdofWar said:

    @Sorotia said:
    Phantom really is in the worst shape I've ever seen him...I was standing still cloaked and a Fletcher ran up to me and shotgun me in the face

    If you can't see a Phantom with how nerfed he has been then frankly you deserve to die to one.

    1. You did not read the suggestion
    2. You added nothing to the discussion

    Actually I did...his cloak sucks...it needs visibility fixed or else these changes you propose would only be nerfing harder a already nerfed merc.

    They need to make his cloak near to completely invisible...give him a decent decloak delay and make his decloak louder again (Not general sneaking around, just decloak).

    This way it will hurt the scrubs who play katana only but still be a decent tool if you know what you're doing and can aim a gun and keep some distance so not to alarm people.

    But no, all your post seems it's wanting to do is beat a dead horse.

  • BirdofWarBirdofWar Posts: 7
    edited April 14

    @Sorotia said:

    Actually I did...his cloak sucks...it needs visibility fixed or else these changes you propose would only be nerfing harder a already nerfed merc.

    They need to make his cloak near to completely invisible...give him a decent decloak delay and make his decloak louder again (Not general sneaking around, just decloak).

    This way it will hurt the scrubs who play katana only but still be a decent tool if you know what you're doing and can aim a gun and keep some distance so not to alarm people.

    But no, all your post seems it's wanting to do is beat a dead horse.

    >

    @BirdofWar said:
    Moreover, since "first strike" is no longer a spammable aspect of Phantom, it is then reasonable to buff Phantom's cloak invisibility and audibility, so that "flanking the enemy under their noses" is a viable option again for Phantom.

    >

    @BirdofWar said:
    1. You did not read the suggestion
    2. You added nothing to the discussion

    Also, SD already made it clear that decloak delay on attacks is not going to happen, so I am not the one beating the dead horse here. If you have no actual constructive criticism to add here, I appreciate it if you would please keep it to yourself.


    @henki000 said:
    Constructive idea, developable. I just have hard time visualizing how this is engineered. I especially like the part: "this suggestion gives some room to buff Phantom's cloak".

    I suppose SD would have to make separate considerations for (1) Decloaking on attack, and (2) Decloaking when 'Q' is pressed.

    I suspect that this is doable, because the current Phantom can decloak either way with an attack or with 'Q', only that they currently do about the same thing.

    So if Phantoms decloak on attack, the system depletes his cloak and starts the cooldown. If he decloaks on 'Q', he retains what is remaining of his cloak for later use.


    @-OCB-Wildcard said:
    Okay, now having read this I have to say I agree with its concept and feel it could work; it's reminiscent of pre-rework Phantom in that using your cloak at the wrong time became punishing by smacking you with a minimum 8 second cooldown, which added an element of skill requirement to its use. That was done as a requisite to balance out his constant EMP field but ultimately hurt him more than it helped; if this was to be implemented it would be a good start at getting him back on track.

    Yes, I felt that the main issue with post-buff Phantom is that players abuse the ability to utilize cloak any time that always leads to the sole usage of the katana, dealing MASSIVE damage in the process -- Analogous to Nader, Fragger, or Javelin with no cool down on their abilities since they can also do away with 2~3 mercs in one go.

    If you can space out the usage of the "first-strike" and the high-damage capability of melee, Phantom will become a reasonable merc since he will have to participate in more fair fights; like Assault and Support Fire mercs during their cool down cycles.

    The problem is emphasized by Phantom players being invisible for most of the duration of the match-- I have even seen Phantoms that cloaked when there is no need for cloaking (e.g. leaving spawn), just because they can; or maybe because it adds a perpetual edge on the off-chance of getting into a gun fight.

    Post edited by BirdofWar on
  • SorotiaSorotia Posts: 1,494
    edited April 14

    If they said they said they are actually refusing to fix him, then yes you're beating the definition of a dead horse.

    He is either going to suck or be overpowered till they actually accept his problems instead of toying with the power/visibility of his cloak and the fact it should take more time before her can attack.

    So dead horse.

  • BirdofWarBirdofWar Posts: 7
    edited April 14

    @Sorotia said:
    If they said they said they are actually refusing to fix him, then yes you're beating the definition of a dead horse.

    He is either going to suck or be overpowered till they actually accept his problems instead of toying with the power/visibility of his cloak and the fact it should take more time before her can attack.

    So dead horse.

    >

    @BirdofWar said:
    Also, SD already made it clear that decloak delay on attacks is not going to happen, so I am not the one beating the dead horse here.

    I merely mentioned that SD is not going to include decloak delay on attacks because they found that particular mechanic inappropriate, not that they have given up on changing Phantom. Moreover, the suggested mechanics isn't even decloak delay on attack, you are the one here that is pushing that dead agenda.

    Please actually read and comprehend posts before jumping to conclusion, do not turn this thread into a flame post.

  • l2cl2c Posts: 103

    @BirdofWar said:
    this will hopefully encourage Phantom players to engage in fair gun fights once in a while.

    It would hardly be a fair fight tho, as while Phantom has burned his ability to travel, most of the mercs he's facing won't have. That's the whole problem with this idea that Phantom should be this flanking god. His only tool is the cloak, if you waste it on traveling, all you're left with when attacking is your SMG. SMG vs ARs/shotguns/heals/grenades etc is a loss. Sure, you might get a kill, but so will they. He needs better/more tools, if you want the cloak to be for travelling only. Heck, if you use cloak for travelling, you won't even have that awesome EMP when you engage :<
    Also.."fair gun fights" in a team-game with healpacks and grenades and rockets and explosives is unrealistic.

  • BirdofWarBirdofWar Posts: 7
    edited April 16

    @l2c said:

    @BirdofWar said:
    this will hopefully encourage Phantom players to engage in fair gun fights once in a while.

    It would hardly be a fair fight tho, as while Phantom has burned his ability to travel, most of the mercs he's facing won't have. That's the whole problem with this idea that Phantom should be this flanking god. His only tool is the cloak, if you waste it on traveling, all you're left with when attacking is your SMG. SMG vs ARs/shotguns/heals/grenades etc is a loss. Sure, you might get a kill, but so will they. He needs better/more tools, if you want the cloak to be for travelling only. Heck, if you use cloak for travelling, you won't even have that awesome EMP when you engage :<
    Also.."fair gun fights" in a team-game with healpacks and grenades and rockets and explosives is unrealistic.

    I would burst your bubble by reminding you that mercenaries such as Sawbones, Bushwhacker, Proxy, Nader, Aura, Fletcher, Phoenix and Turtle on their SMG loadouts have no problems facing off against Combat Rifle and LMG opponents; without necessarily relying on their Q-abilities. Heck, if you actually think about it, most Q-abilities are either passive, or leaves the users vulnerable to gun fire due to delay during deployment.


    Sawbones, for instance, his med packs takes time to deploy, heals over time, and stops healing on hit, what is his "edge"?

    Bushwhacker's turrets are static, has startup time, low damage, and he doesn't always stick around it, what is his edge?

    Hochfir Proxies that deploy their two mines to protect the objective, what is their edge?

    Phoenixes manage just fine with SMGs, but they are easily vulnerable while they attempt to self-heal.

    Bishlock Auras that stray away from their healing stations seem to also manage just fine.

    Turtle's shield leaves him vulnerable during deployment, and you can easily incapacitate him during the shield's startup time; in fact, what do you think turtles do during their shield's cool down? They play ball just like everyone else.


    Dirty Bomb is a team-oriented shooter, and games are won by making favorable exchanges-- players and mercs die all the time. But it seems like you are keen on recasting Phantom as the exception, the untouchable merc that deserves kills without exposing himself. "Sure, you might get a kill, but so will they", I'm quite sure that is the definition of "fair".

    A lot of kills in DB are executed by good gun play, positioning, and especially team work-- mercs rely on complementing each other to perform successful kills. But you are suggesting that Phantom should be allowed to completely circumvent all that in favor of spammable, powerful, free preemptive strikes that promote solo-play? In light of that, it is easy to see why Phantom is (still) unpopular to play against.

    Post edited by BirdofWar on
  • l2cl2c Posts: 103

    Sawbones can pop around a corner to heal, Bushwanker can deploy turret before attacking, Proxy can toss pancakes and shoot them for aoe damage, Phoenix can heal while being shot (or even pop around a corner like Sawbones), Aura I'll grant you is SOL without station, but has shotgun and I've rarely seen an aura flank, Turtle can deploy his shield before attacking, tho same as Aura, I've rarely seen one actually flank.
    Phantom can't pre-deploy anything or pop around corners to heal.

    And no, I'm not recasting Phantom as any exception at all. In fact, spook-stabbing groups tend to end in death. The goal is to kill more than 1 merc, so your death wasn't wasted.

    @BirdofWar said:
    But you are suggesting that Phantom should be allowed to completely circumvent all that in favor of spammable, powerful, free preemptive strikes that promote solo-play?

    Preemptive strikes that promote solo-play? You're describing flanking. Going alone and attacking before they notice you.
    I'm not suggesting Phantom should spam or circumvent anything. I'm saying if you want him to focus on flanking, he needs tools to kill more than one guy before getting wrecked. Flanking for 1:1 KDRs is a terrible waste of time.
    If you're suggesting hit'n'runs he need a way to escape instead. The current cloak is not good enough for that.

  • BirdofWarBirdofWar Posts: 7

    @l2c said:
    Sawbones can pop around a corner to heal, Bushwanker can deploy turret before attacking, Proxy can toss pancakes and shoot them for aoe damage, Phoenix can heal while being shot (or even pop around a corner like Sawbones), Aura I'll grant you is SOL without station, but has shotgun and I've rarely seen an aura flank, Turtle can deploy his shield before attacking, tho same as Aura, I've rarely seen one actually flank.
    Phantom can't pre-deploy anything or pop around corners to heal.

    Sawbone's does not benefit him in a face-off due to how his medpacks heal. Moreover, his medpacks can also go into cool down after deploying all 3.

    Bushwhacker's turrets are stationary, but he fares just fine away from it. Pre-deployment turrets are soft targets, barely a threat.

    Proxy can detonate her mines, but using it to cover the objective and flank the opponent is still no problem. I have not seen good Proxies sitting around on their hands while their mines are on cool down.

    Phoenix is vulnerable when and during the deployment of his heal, a Phoenix that retreats to heal does not necessarily prompt you to chase-- A smarter choice is to retreat if you are not doing so hot yourself.

    Aura with Bishlock is viable, and they do flank. I didn't even imply that she is SOL while away from her healing station-- She is viable as a flanker.

    Turtles can fare pretty well even if their shields are destroyed, which is easily done by concentrated fire.

    It is not even hard nor is it impossible to face off against Support Fire or Assault mercs with SMG loadouts if you have consistent aim.

    My point is? They are all just as viable in 1v1s without their Q-abilities as a crutch, but all sensible players and teams work together as a group anyway. Phantoms? Immediately after the buff, they play as if they are supposed to be invincible lone-wolf mercs that deserves kills even though they play recklessly. I don't know how else to describe running into the enemy team without your team's support fire.

    And no, I'm not recasting Phantom as any exception at all. In fact, spook-stabbing groups tend to end in death. The goal is to kill more than 1 merc, so your death wasn't wasted.

    @BirdofWar said:
    But you are suggesting that Phantom should be allowed to completely circumvent all that in favor of spammable, powerful, free preemptive strikes that promote solo-play?

    Preemptive strikes that promote solo-play? You're describing flanking. Going alone and attacking before they notice you.
    I'm not suggesting Phantom should spam or circumvent anything. I'm saying if you want him to focus on flanking, he needs tools to kill more than one guy before getting wrecked. Flanking for 1:1 KDRs is a terrible waste of time.
    If you're suggesting hit'n'runs he need a way to escape instead. The current cloak is not good enough for that.

    Flaking for 1:1 kills and picking the best targets-- Such as a medic, engineer or assault in exchange for 1 recon is actually a very good exchange.

    Scouting for lone targets is also a good strategy, one which post-buff Phantoms have no regards for, but any other flanking merc would look for firsthand.

    The most important part to a successful flank is to strike while the enemy is distracted by your team mates, one aspect which post-buff Phantoms have also aptly ignored since they could have stabbed through a roomful of mercs.

    The point is, if other mercs have a risk of getting shot down during combat, why should Phantom be the exception? Why should Phantom be guaranteed a 1:N exchange when other mercs with similar stats and loadouts are not?

    If you want to humor me, you can play those mercs for yourself and see that even with their Q-abilities, they aren't so great if you don't have good gun play or team work-- If you run headlong into the enemy team without a plan, you are still going to get butchered, which is all I am asking for with Phantoms.

  • XSheepieXXSheepieX Posts: 82
    edited April 17

    I read the original post but couldn't be bothered to read all the rest. I apologise beforehand I'm not as active In this community as I used to be.

    What you're suggesting would turn Phantom into more of an assassin type character. I never saw Phantom that way. People imposed that onto Phantom because of his invisibility skill and TF2 IMO.

    The first strike is the most valuable asset Phantom has and I feel like it should be exploited as much as possible. I just feel like the katana spam is too strong atm.

    The way Phantom's cloak works at the moment forces players to rush and it rewards that kind of play. That is the root of the issue imo.

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