Making the phantom discussion broader

B_MontielB_Montiel Posts: 1,084
edited April 4 in General Chat

Here's some thoughts I was initially going to post here
(http://forums.dirtybomb.com/discussion/39554/the-katana-problem-and-phantom-fix-proposals)

But finally, I consider it was worth starting a new thread.

No matter how visible (and all the mechanics associated with it) Phantom has been throughout the last iterations, he remained a sitting duck in any properly set environment. Even at the total invisibility status we had at the hunter release/phantom rebuild, I still don't know what place he could possibly take in any 5vs5 situation.

And here is a massive issue SD has to deal with many mercs in this game : half of them are just useless or a worse pick than something else when merc choice turns important.

Between public and ranked/comp, there are so many balance discrepancies, they'll always end up saying "50% are happy with the merc, 50% not happy with it". And sometimes the voice from comp/experienced players is the literal opposite of public ones. Proxy just to mention a notorious example, which still awfully struggle in competitive setups.

In my view, those are the merc which are highly valuable in serious match setting, and how they seem to fair from a "pub" standpoint :

  • Medic : Everyone but Guardian has its usage, Sparks being a bold choice and has to be played very well (I'll skip on medics, that's probably the most balanced class so far)

  • Engineer : Fletcher still remains the best engineer in my view, with turtle having some place to shine. Proxy and bushwacker are quite behind. Interestingly, in pub, proxy shines while fletcher is meh.

  • Support : Arty, and eventually Stoker, especially combined together or with a nader.
    Skyhammer is half-assed with his cooldown, kira too weak, and javelin a bad remix between support abilities and fragger. We all know how dreadful a javelin stack can be in public.

  • Recon : A nicely used Red Eye will always seize the cup in comp oriented setups.
    Vassili and to a lesser extent Aimee can perform well too. Phantom totally non existent. Which is literally the opposite of public games.

  • Combat : Thunder, Fragger and Nader.
    Fragger is turning quite hard to play in public, catching the strong focus on him with only +10hp compared to supports, but remain very potent in serious games.

So here is the thing : as long as SD is unable to make any merc an interesting choice for both the competitive and public side of the game, there is no way they'll end up to something acceptable. Most of the significant tweaks or new merc release we recently saw came from testing by comp oriented players (PTS to name it), in a competitive setup. But the result is generally quite far from expected in public - Javelin being the biggest example.

In a nutshell, as long as they can't merge situations, for both public and competitive players, the balance will always be a nightmare. And its definitely not a phantom, javelin, or whatever merc problem. Its broader than that, and has to be treated as such.

EDIT : Some additional food for thought which is induced by this wall of text :

  • Make merc choice important, even in public games
  • Balance between Light/Medium/Heavy mercs (Kira, Proxy, Sparks, Aimee and Aura suffers from it)
  • Merc with abilities that generally lead them to death (Phantom, Proxy, Kira,...)
  • Weird orientations (Still dunno why Aimee does not have access to machine pistol or revolvers when Vassili can have both with an additionnal 20hp)
Post edited by B_Montiel on

Comments

  • B_MontielB_Montiel Posts: 1,084
    edited April 5

    Adding new mercs is not an issue as long as each one can serve a role in both context. Which in my view is totally possible if they are realistic enough : in Ranked, there's no way we still can see fragger stacks, with the diversity we have. Players won't behave if they have the easier choice. If you force them to chose something else, they'll start using them AND start complaining on what x or y does not share with their beloved fat explosive man.

    In any way, looking at how much mercs we have at our disposal and how redundant the selection are, not only in ranked/competitive, but also in public. I really start to wonder.

    Balance is not only a matter of how each merc perform in the general opinion and statistics, you can also improve it by changing the rules.

    Otherwise DB will ALWAYS be a phantom, javelin, proxy, skyhammer game in public, and an arty, sawbonez/phoenix, fragger/nader, red eye, fletcher game in ranked, with literally no communication in between.

  • GatoCommodoreGatoCommodore Posts: 4,317

    kira to weak

    now im interested, what part of kira should be buffed so shes not weak?
    id say put her HP to 110 like guardian

    Hope County Choir - Keep Your Rifle By Your Side
                                                                    
  • She need quick slash+chopper katana cards >:)

  • B_MontielB_Montiel Posts: 1,084

    @GatoCommodore said:

    kira to weak

    now im interested, what part of kira should be buffed so shes not weak?
    id say put her HP to 110 like guardian

    I won't enter specifics here : Most notably the current status of dreiss and burst clearly does not help her.

    Moreover, and here it's general to any merc with 80 or 90 hp, their speed does not compensate their lack of health points. Kira is less potent than any other support merc during fights, and any 100+ hp merc wielding smgs will also crush her in most of the gunfights (in a similar skill duel of course). And there are close to no justification for that. Less health should not mean you should die more often and win less duels. The exact situation goes for Proxy, Aura and Sparks (even though the two later have healing at their own disposal).

    During (way) earlier days, the speed difference between light and medium and then heavy merc was more significant. They made it more average with close no counterpart for light ones. With the current TTK status, this directly makes Proxy and Kira not viable choices in a competitive setup if you're realistic enough. Considering they both have similar weapon pools to their medium class friends, speed and abilities should compensate for that. About abilities, theirs are easily countered or forecast by experienced players, so I don't consider they have an edge on that. Thus making proxy quite useless in a 5vs5 or 6vs6 structured games, and Kira an extremely situational pick.

    So my view is, 1) put back the health/speed relationship there used to exist, 2) increase the gap between light/medium/heavy mercs speed.

  • henki000henki000 Posts: 425

    Phantom should be invisible. If it's too OP, then remove EMP. Make cooldown longer and cloaked time shorter. Snipers and especially hunter should counter him. Sneaking behind someone is fun and I personally enjoy getting backstabbed. It should force people to fight in one group but still making recons more practical. Invisible phantom could create good variations for standard/battered tactics.

  • MeerkatsMeerkats Posts: 134
    edited April 9

    @STARRYSOCK said:
    Honestly I just wish SD would stop adding new mercs. I haven't seen a single experienced player ask for a new merc, and yet we're being spammed with the most redundant ones ever. And on top of that, other mercs are suffering from it.

    This is one of the most intelligent things ever said on these forums.

    At this point, I genuinely believe DB has no chance of ever being truly good again under the direction of SD. This is a full no confidence vote. DB either needs a new dev that actually cares about the things DB used to exemplify or to be forked into two versions, one catered toward casual players who just want to run around in a F2P CoD with "cool" abilities, and one catered toward dedicated players interested in actually playing a good game i.e., a legacy version.

    In some games, there are ways to compromise between casuals and dedicated players. At this point in development, with the introduction of stupid @$!# like Phantom, Hunter, etc., it seems to me these two demographics are entirely irreconcilable. So in the meantime, we just get patch after patch that just seem to piss everyone off. I was actually in a match where some ~lvl.30 guy bragged he had "150 - 200 hours playing Phantom" and that I wouldn't know @$!# about Phantom if I didn't have comparable hours as if this was @$!# Overwatch. This brainlet then proceeded to "inform" me about how it took skill to position and flank with Phantom while he went on to stab Proxies and Auras the entire match.

    Exedore has stated DB is not a game about hard counters, yet we have Guardian who is designed to straight counter explosives. You might point out, "well, players can still use their guns," and you'd be right. Sure, Skyshield does invalidate why you'd pick certain mercs in certain situations, but you're absolutely correct. Guns still do damage. But please tell me, what is Hunter supposed to do? Plink away with his variety of pistols? Honestly, not that I really care cause Hunter can @$!# right off into the dumpster where he belongs. Regardless, I take that statement as an open lie.

    I really don't care to make any more examples. All of them have been described over and over again, and people interested in playing F2P CoD with abilities just aren't going to understand regardless.

    Oh wait, I should be constructive.

    Remove Redeye, Aimee, Phantom, Thunder, Turtle and Hunter.

    Removal of Guardian, Proxy, Vassili, Javelin, Sparks and Rhino is debatable. A lot of people complain having so many fire supports makes EV escorts unnecessarily difficult, so removal of Arty or Kira can be considered. If one has to be removed, remove Arty as there are plenty of other medium mercs making the cut.

    If Rhino is removed, Javelin can be and should be removed as well.

    Keep Sawbonez, Phoenix, Aura, Fragger, Nader, Stoker, Skyhammer, Bushwhacker, Fletcher. I'm fine with Guardian ( with Skyshield rework ), Vassili ( with sniper rifle rework ), Kira ( with cooldown extended ) and Proxy ( with mines converted to more easily spotted and destroyed claymores ) being reworked and put in.

    The other day I logged into the forum, and for the first time since I joined... I was the only person on. I've never seen that before. Sometime after that, there were three. Then, there was two. Same with DB streams on twitch. There was a surge of DB streams when twitch loadouts were being distributed again, but after the initial three weeks or so and the end of ranked, well, a few nights ago DB twitch was back to one streamer with single-digit viewership. If this is not a wholesale rejection of SD's plans, please tell me what is.

    '#SaveDB

    Post edited by Meerkats on
  • Money factor

    Removing any merc in this game is absolutlely impossible at this point. Some people surely spent their money on that merc in one way or another. That would put SD into very difficult situation.

    If we speak about Phantom, he exists for around 3 years, right? How much money did people spend on him, his load outs ect? This just means they'll have to either balance Phantom or pretend they dont see him or there is no problem.

    I believe SD will finish their plans on merc and release those remaining 2-3 and hopefully listen to community and stop. As for "removing" mercs they'd likely say "here are rentable servers where it is your choice to restrict this, restrict that..."

    Merc limit

    I played a bunch of tourneys with Rus community on PUG servers. We had one rule there - each team must have different mercs. This way we had to plan a lot of things during pre-match stage and make full use of our merc selection. For example at 2d stage of Chapel defence we had medic and 4 different fire support mercs. We even swaped mercs with each other to avoid CD.

    This was brought to SD attention multiple times. As Exedore answered at some point it makes players have certain amount of mercs to get in such kind of games which is hard to implement. Yet this system could be very interesting. For example they could try to change 3 merc per player into 10 mercs per team. Randomising free rotation would also help

    Phantom

    As i told here http://forums.dirtybomb.com/discussion/comment/258938#Comment_258938

    Phantom sufferes from cloak being his only ability. As it was mentioned even in OP stage he was useless for team play.

    EMP was put into his armor for that specific reason, but SD failed in getting his abilities work well. Skyhammer doesn't have to throw airsrike to drop ammo, so why does Phantom need to enable cloak to get EMP?

    I'm not going to dig into this now. There were a lot of suggestions to improve Phantom's side abilities for something else than cloaked b@stard with katana.

    Kira

    If i'm not mistaken during gen1 Kira and Arty had pretty much similiar load outs where not only weapons were same, but augments too. Not going to mention which 120 hp merc was winning 1v1...

    Right before gen2 was released i suggested to give Kira MP as secondary weapon to make her different from many fire supporters (at that point MPs were stronger). Probably everybody were so buzy to make SD give her Katana that I got unnoticed.

    We have more weapons now and i heared SD wanted to redistribute weapons among mercs to randomise things a little. Not sure on this info, but it would be nice.

    I remember Kira had 450 speed. Not quite sure why she got slower.

    Aimee

    Refering to this:

    @B_Montiel said:

    • Weird orientations (Still dunno why Aimee does not have access to machine pistol or revolvers when Vassili can have both with an additionnal 20hp)

    Currently MPs are not very usefull secondaries. People that can aim with Sniper rifles and especially Grandeur, will find 60 and 68 head shots more usefull.

    Aimee is more tricky merc than Vassili. Her SNITCH debuff allows all of her weapons to reach some specific damage pattern. Secondaries are not different: DE - 32/64; Caulden - 25/50; Selbstadt - 20/40. DE with 32 damage is stronger than S&W because of better ROF, accuracy/recoil and ammo capacity.

  • PtilouiPtiloui Posts: 477
    edited April 9

    @SiwaonaDaphnewen said:
    Money factor

    Removing any merc in this game is absolutlely impossible at this point. Some people surely spent their money on that merc in one way or another. That would put SD into very difficult situation.

    If we speak about Phantom, he exists for around 3 years, right? How much money did people spend on him, his load outs ect? This just means they'll have to either balance Phantom or pretend they dont see him or there is no problem.

    I believe SD will finish their plans on merc and release those remaining 2-3 and hopefully listen to community and stop. As for "removing" mercs they'd likely say "here are rentable servers where it is your choice to restrict this, restrict that..."

    Well, it's not like if people already bought mercs when they cost 50k each and now they decreased the price on almost everymerc without any compensation. Nor people that bought merc packs in the past and now there is a "all actual and future merc" pack that still offers zero compensations for mercs we already own...

    But you're right on one point, they'll surely answer that rentable servers might solve the issue that some mercs are wanted more dead than alive..

    @SiwaonaDaphnewen said:
    Merc limit

    I played a bunch of tourneys with Rus community on PUG servers. We had one rule there - each team must have different mercs. This way we had to plan a lot of things during pre-match stage and make full use of our merc selection. For example at 2d stage of Chapel defence we had medic and 4 different fire support mercs. We even swaped mercs with each other to avoid CD.

    This was brought to SD attention multiple times. As Exedore answered at some point it makes players have certain amount of mercs to get in such kind of games which is hard to implement. Yet this system could be very interesting. For example they could try to change 3 merc per player into 10 mercs per team. Randomising free rotation would also help

    Guess what ? That's how every tournament are played. Even the PTS follow the one merc rule. Yeah, contents are play tested in conditions which are simply non existing in the game. Why is this not in it ? Mysteries... And why they didn't think about it when the game was in his alpha/early beta stage ? Even bigger mysteries...

    This is something SD should absolutely focus if they want their game to be real competitive.

    Oh, and raise the requirement for ranked. Level 7 is just too soon. You maybe unlocked 2-3 mercs depending of often you play, played some maps (and not even the two sides of it, because stopwatch isn't even available in CMM), barely know what a few mercs are doing. How could you pretend to be competitive at this point ??

  • @Ptiloui said:
    Well, it's not like if people already bought mercs when they cost 50k each and now they decreased the price on almost everymerc without any compensation. Nor people that bought merc packs in the past and now there is a "all actual and future merc" pack that still offers zero compensations for mercs we already own...

    Not really. That's simple price redistribution. 99% new players took either Vassili or Proxy for 30k and it was a huge problem. Making Bush cost 30k instead of Proxy is one of best choices possible in such situation. You might have bought a merc that costs 20k less now, but you also might have bought a merc that costs 20k more now. I don't know current numbers but you didn't lose anything to get a compensation.

    Price redistribution is nowhere near with merc removal.

    The merc himself, gen1, gen2 load outs, ranked skins, the new Obsidian operative load outs - there is so much that could have been purchased for real money or take a lot of time that would really be almost impossible to compensate with any in-game content.

    Some may leave the game, some may go to court to get their money back. Removing mercs brings a lot of problems than it may (or may not) solve.

    @Ptiloui said:
    Oh, and raise the requirement for ranked. Level 7 is just too soon. You maybe unlocked 2-3 mercs depending of often you play, played some maps (and not even the two sides of it, because stopwatch isn't even available in CMM), barely know what a few mercs are doing. How could you pretend to be competitive at this point ??

    This has its own downsides. This practicly decreaces potential player base for ranked game mode and that increaces wait time. Never a good thing.

    They could do a lot of things to increace amount of mercs for that system. They will add a starting engineer, so it's 3 starting mercs + 3 rotation mercs + 1 merc b4 level 7. 7 mercs is surely enoguh space for 5 player team to choose from. If that's not enough, SD could unlock merc for completing new tutorial, that they seem to plan. Randomising rotation individaully for every player works too.

    It would be nice if they put mercs in arsenal crates. Those already have 10 crafting kits which are equivalent of 50k credits already.

  • PtilouiPtiloui Posts: 477

    @SiwaonaDaphnewen said:

    @Ptiloui said:
    Well, it's not like if people already bought mercs when they cost 50k each and now they decreased the price on almost everymerc without any compensation. Nor people that bought merc packs in the past and now there is a "all actual and future merc" pack that still offers zero compensations for mercs we already own...

    Not really. That's simple price redistribution. 99% new players took either Vassili or Proxy for 30k and it was a huge problem. Making Bush cost 30k instead of Proxy is one of best choices possible in such situation. You might have bought a merc that costs 20k less now, but you also might have bought a merc that costs 20k more now. I don't know current numbers but you didn't lose anything to get a compensation.

    No, every merc cost 50k in the past. And none cost now more than 50k, so that's pure loss. I did some calculation and buying every merc now cost 895k credits, compared to the 1040k before the prices adjustment. And this, without the free credit boosters we got now from time to time, which are really welcome for new players (that's a good point).

    But I get what you're saying about the pure removal of a merc and the loss of content related to it.

    @SiwaonaDaphnewen said:

    @Ptiloui said:
    Oh, and raise the requirement for ranked. Level 7 is just too soon. You maybe unlocked 2-3 mercs depending of often you play, played some maps (and not even the two sides of it, because stopwatch isn't even available in CMM), barely know what a few mercs are doing. How could you pretend to be competitive at this point ??

    This has its own downsides. This practicly decreaces potential player base for ranked game mode and that increaces wait time. Never a good thing.

    They could do a lot of things to increace amount of mercs for that system. They will add a starting engineer, so it's 3 starting mercs + 3 rotation mercs + 1 merc b4 level 7. 7 mercs is surely enoguh space for 5 player team to choose from. If that's not enough, SD could unlock merc for completing new tutorial, that they seem to plan. Randomising rotation individaully for every player works too.

    It would be nice if they put mercs in arsenal crates. Those already have 10 crafting kits which are equivalent of 50k credits already.

    I would say quality before quantity. I'd rather wait more than 10 mins to play a good and fun game, than wait 1 min to be matched with players that don't have a clue of what they have to do... It's not only a question of number of mercs unlocked, it's about the overall knowledge of the game. By playing exclusively with the CMM (which is supposed to be THE tool to play in the future, rentable servers apart), it's possible to not having be able to play one side of a map (attacker or defender) if not at all by the time you reach lvl7.

  • XenithosXenithos Posts: 1,690Special Editor
    edited April 9

    @STARRYSOCK said:
    Honestly I just wish SD would stop adding new mercs. I haven't seen a single experienced player ask for a new merc, and yet we're being spammed with the most redundant ones ever. And on top of that, other mercs are suffering from it. Just look at aura and how few experienced players even touch her now with all the EMP effects, explosives and katanas. Turtle was already questionable, now his shield can be turned off with one easy shot, etc

    I want moar mercs :confounded:
    In all honestly, I simply echo @B_Montiel -- And personally, if the mercs are ~balanced and bringing new diversity and challenges to the game then I say let them come.
    Also, I would far from say that Turtle and Guardian are redundant spam. Guardian has incredible tactical use in comp and pub games that I've seen her employed well, and Turtle can bring matches to a standstill. Also, Javelin ends up indirectly enforcing teamwork practices. By having to stick THAT close to a Javelin to get ammo players often end up grouping up together more often than previously in pubs that have only one ammo giver (Jav). Not sure if that's a good or bad thing, but it still changes the game sometimes. Also, I don't know why you wouldn't bring Javelin in ranked, on certain maps she just destroys.

    Sure, your waifu has been nerfed both directly and indirectly, but not everyone agrees, and it's not completely like that either. I for one still grab Aura if I know a friend is going turtle, rhino, guardian or Stoker. Which is rather frequent. :/

    I don't care how much you've played or how good your aim is - If you haven't touched the game at least twice in three months then I see your "opinion" as hot moot.

  • STARRYSOCKSTARRYSOCK Posts: 1,603

    @Xenithos said:

    @STARRYSOCK said:
    Honestly I just wish SD would stop adding new mercs. I haven't seen a single experienced player ask for a new merc, and yet we're being spammed with the most redundant ones ever. And on top of that, other mercs are suffering from it. Just look at aura and how few experienced players even touch her now with all the EMP effects, explosives and katanas. Turtle was already questionable, now his shield can be turned off with one easy shot, etc

    I want moar mercs :confounded:
    In all honestly, I simply echo @B_Montiel -- And personally, if the mercs are ~balanced and bringing new diversity and challenges to the game then I say let them come.
    Also, I would far from say that Turtle and Guardian are redundant spam. Guardian has incredible tactical use in comp and pub games that I've seen her employed well, and Turtle can bring matches to a standstill. Also, Javelin ends up indirectly enforcing teamwork practices. By having to stick THAT close to a Javelin to get ammo players often end up grouping up together more often than previously in pubs that have only one ammo giver (Jav). Not sure if that's a good or bad thing, but it still changes the game sometimes. Also, I don't know why you wouldn't bring Javelin in ranked, on certain maps she just destroys.

    Sure, your waifu has been nerfed both directly and indirectly, but not everyone agrees, and it's not completely like that either. I for one still grab Aura if I know a friend is going turtle, rhino, guardian or Stoker. Which is rather frequent. :/

    Guardian and turtle aren't really needed if you remove some of the other redundant mercs they counter though. Stoker, Javelin, Hunter, remove them and you have no need for someone to stop explosive and projectile spam really.
    Of course they add something to the table. They mix up gameplay, and I actually enjoy playing Guardian sometimes. But none of the recent mercs have really been needed to fill any role, unlike a lot of the past mercs. Having a merc with an artillery strike, great. Having a combat merc with a big medpack, also great. But adding in another sniper..? Another long range medic..? It's just unnecessary.

    And yeah, I didn't say it was impossible for someone to want more mercs. But it's a very rare sentiment, one that I've almost never heard in all my hours of playing. One or two sure, but I just don't understand why SD committed to so many new mercs that most of the people here never asked for, when the rest of the game is in such a dire condition. Not to mention every merc is something new to get used to. It's annoying to the existing players who have to sit through a couple weeks of 6 hunters on every team, and it's annoying to the new players who now have to learn another facet of a game that they may already be struggling with.

    TL;DR I don't mind new mercs when they fill a role that's been missing from the game. But I dislike it when mercs are only added for the sake of messing with how people play the game and changing things up. Part of DB's draw is its simplicity, and the fact that it doesn't have a billion characters to learn like OW or Paladins. I'm not saying everyone agrees with me, but that doesn't change the fact that wanting more mercs isn't a popular opinion.

  • Begin2018Begin2018 Posts: 174
    edited April 10

    They release new mercs because that's how they (try to) make money, not to improve the game. And it's easy marketing. But it hurt the gameplay so much, then for long term it's counterproductive.

    They clearly reached the limit with Hunter, the player base continued to drop, without any positive gain.

    Post edited by Begin2018 on
  • B_MontielB_Montiel Posts: 1,084
    edited April 10

    From most of the experienced players views (at least the ones I know or read), the game became such a hell hole of an explosive spam fest. In my opinion, you could potentially increase pretty much all explosive abilities cooldown by 1,5x or even 2x, the game would remain interesting to play.

    SD's answer to this was the addition of Turtle (in the pipes for more than 3 years back then) and Guardian.

    The game is still an explosive spam fest. But now, it justifies the existence of those two mercs, even though both are doing a lower than average job of countering this. In other words, in most situations, you'd better chose something else than their countering capabilities.

    You could still work on the overall explosive abilities aspects to make every grenade thrown important, you would not have to change turtle and guardian, at least for the beginning.

    You can not imagine how joyful I'll be when I'll have the opportunity to read "OMG TURTLE AND GUARDIAN ARE RUINING MY ARTY AND FRAGGER EXPERIENCE"

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