Improving Onslaught

What would you like to see in future updates?

Improving Onslaught

Postby Marney » Sun Aug 05, 2012 4:19 pm

Onslaught mode is a welcome alternative to the standard raid mode; however, it could be improved.

The first is a mere tweak: in the trash mob phases, when time runs out, don't simply end fights in mid-blow; allow the player to complete the current wave, then end the wave. It's frustrating to have that one last wolf escape with a sliver of health 0.05 seconds before the final blow lands.

Second, onslaught mode simply doesn't work, conceptually, for boss fights. Of course, the standard raid mode never worked for boss fights either, for the same reason; it's difficult to keep killing the same boss over and over and take it seriously.

Therefore, instead of giving bosses a regular old health bar and a number of "lives," use the timer mechanic you've added with onslaught mode, and revert to the long yellow super health bar/percentage indicator from the standard mode, but make bosses invincible in a single fight. When the timer runs out, something like this would happen -

"Helion gathers his powers, and an explosion of dark magic hurls you back!"
"The guardian dragon beats its wings furiously, driving you back!"

- and the player would have to pay an energy cost to return to the fight. RPP would be gained based on the damage done: if, under the current model, a boss has 10k health per "life," every 10k of damage would earn 100-150 RPP (depending on the player's bonus), with a fraction of 10k being prorated (thus 5k damage would earn 50-75 RPP).

This would eliminate both the cognitive dissonance involved in repeatedly killing a boss, and also remove the niggling annoyances that onslaught mode has added while solving the old model's problems: in standard mode, past a certain point improving one's character has no effect; in onslaught mode, some debuffs are maintained while others are not, but it's not always clear why (poison from Toxic Strike sometimes vanishes after a "life" is eliminated, but sometimes it doesn't, especially if Toxic Strike is the "final" blow, but this is not guaranteed, while poison from Poison Cloud always continues, as does the Acid Spray debuff).

Players with stronger characters and more skill would keep the higher rewards they gain in onslaught mode, but game mechanics would be more clear. Conceptually, it would be easier to accept. And finally, boss fights would become markedly different from trash mob fights: the objective would be to pour as much damage onto a single target as possible while avoiding damage (or stuns and slows that would decrease the timer to no effect, thus costing more energy per RPP) oneself, but considerations of "overkill" wouldn't be relevant.

Of course, this system could be used in the standard raids as well as in onslaught.
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Re: Improving Onslaught

Postby Little_Mike » Sun Aug 05, 2012 7:23 pm

Thank you for your suggestions. Just going to reply to a few things that you posted.

1) The poison issue is a bug on the client. This will be fixed in the next client update.

2) The yellow bar is not coming back. There's no room for it in any case since the boss cards got larger. One of our goals in this patch was to make it seem more like you are fighting the same boss over the period of time and not killing him over and over. Onslaught is supposed to help reinforce that by maintaining buffs/debuffs between hits. It's not perfect but it's better than before. As for number of lives, try to think of it as a numerical representation of his total health. :)
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Re: Improving Onslaught

Postby Marney » Sun Aug 05, 2012 8:03 pm

Thanks for the response, Mike!

Re: 1, good to hear. But re: 2, the yellow bar wasn't really central to my suggestion - you could just as easily leave it out and simply have the boss's health as a percentage on the side, as now. I (mostly) love the new boss cards; the guardian dragon really jumps out from the screen, and others are also much more impressive, although the Vallus crop could use some re-working.

While I understand and appreciate what you guys were going for with the new approach to boss fights, and I agree that the onslaught alternative is better than the old mode, as you said, it's still not perfect. By eliminating boss "kills" entirely, and having players just pile on the damage until the timer runs out without dividing up boss health into discrete slices, I think my idea would get the game closer. :)
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Re: Improving Onslaught

Postby Little_Mike » Sun Aug 05, 2012 8:22 pm

It's a fine idea, thanks for the suggestion! We are currently working around the raid framework for the bosses, but we are always looking for ways to improve it.
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Re: Improving Onslaught

Postby Lord_Venan » Sun Aug 05, 2012 8:46 pm

Hi Marney,

I think we actually are going for the same thing here.

It was never meant that you "kill" the boss over and over again. That was just a holdover from using the same combat system for both regular mobs and bosses.

Basically because of the way this type of game has to work, there is no way we could make a smooth gameplay experience if every bit of HP done in dmg had to sync w/ the server. So, what we effectively have are "buckets". When you do a "bucket" of damage, then you ACTUALLY damage the boss. Sometime you can do 1 (normal raid mode) and sometimes more than 1 (onslaught). Your language you used (the dark wave of force pushing you back) is remarkably similar to how I described it in-house initially. There are some variations of this we haven't really explored yet, such as making the buckets really small. But due to the side-effects in combat of interrupting the boss's action, as well as your own, those aren't some things we can do yet.

The onslaught version of bosses is actually the one I've always wanted (they were all going to work that way initially), but got axed due to time and engineering issues. It's still not "quite" right, there are some things I'd like to tweak so it feels more contiguous. But I think the perception of "killing" them over and over is a bit of a holdover from playing the game so long that way. It's a confusing concept to represent in the UI, and we do think it's better. I'm curious if new players will have that same perception or not.
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Re: Improving Onslaught

Postby Bj_Knows » Sun Aug 05, 2012 9:39 pm

Lord_Venan wrote:The onslaught version of bosses is actually the one I've always wanted (they were all going to work that way initially), but got axed due to time and engineering issues. It's still not "quite" right, there are some things I'd like to tweak so it feels more contiguous. But I think the perception of "killing" them over and over is a bit of a holdover from playing the game so long that way. It's a confusing concept to represent in the UI, and we do think it's better. I'm curious if new players will have that same perception or not.


With the impending doom timer a blood spatter pattern slowly appears over the player's UI. Perhaps create an alternate art work of a dying/ critically wounded Raid Boss that slowly appears over the Raid Boss Graphic as the Purple Heart gets to zero.

P.S. CJ and I love the Purple Heart Kills Left Counter. People are now fighting over the "killing blow".
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Re: Improving Onslaught

Postby Marney » Sun Aug 05, 2012 10:28 pm

Hi Lord Venan!

Lord_Venan wrote:Basically because of the way this type of game has to work, there is no way we could make a smooth gameplay experience if every bit of HP done in dmg had to sync w/ the server. So, what we effectively have are "buckets". When you do a "bucket" of damage, then you ACTUALLY damage the boss.
I have to admit I'm not technically inclined, so many of my ideas may be unworkable in the real world of programming and servers and networks and stuff. But what if, in my proposed system, the total damage done after the timer runs out were assessed against the boss? Surely that wouldn't be more difficult than counting the number of "buckets" of damage done in onslaught mode? That way every bit of damage done wouldn't have to sync with the server, only the final number after the timer was done, and the player had been "driven back" until the next amount of energy was spent. It seems as if that would require the same amount of "syncing" (is that a word?) between server and client as before.

Lord_Venan wrote:I think the perception of "killing" them over and over is a bit of a holdover from playing the game so long that way. It's a confusing concept to represent in the UI, and we do think it's better. I'm curious if new players will have that same perception or not.
Interesting. I may indeed be carrying over my old perceptions of the standard raid. I'll try to look at it with fresh eyes when my guild takes on the Hunter again. :)
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Re: Improving Onslaught

Postby Pur3Aw3zom3n3zz » Fri Aug 31, 2012 5:50 pm

Marney wrote:
Lord_Venan wrote:Basically because of the way this type of game has to work, there is no way we could make a smooth gameplay experience if every bit of HP done in dmg had to sync w/ the server. So, what we effectively have are "buckets". When you do a "bucket" of damage, then you ACTUALLY damage the boss.
I have to admit I'm not technically inclined, so many of my ideas may be unworkable in the real world of programming and servers and networks and stuff. But what if, in my proposed system, the total damage done after the timer runs out were assessed against the boss? Surely that wouldn't be more difficult than counting the number of "buckets" of damage done in onslaught mode? That way every bit of damage done wouldn't have to sync with the server, only the final number after the timer was done, and the player had been "driven back" until the next amount of energy was spent. It seems as if that would require the same amount of "syncing" (is that a word?) between server and client as before.

That's exactly what I was thinking when I read that syncing every point of damage wouldn't work. So, to any devs out there, would what Marney suggested work?
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Re: Improving Onslaught

Postby DarkLondon » Sun Sep 02, 2012 3:04 am

Rather than showing x life's left on the boss, couldn't you just add 0000 after the life number and hp, then we would see for instance 250000 hp and after a kill it would go to 240000. The zeros wouldn't have to be a game mechanic, it would just give the impression that your affect hp rather than lives. You could also colour code the boss life with a different background colour behind it (like the old side scrolling boss beat em ups) it would just be a visual effect but again give the impression of uber health instead of life's and you rewarded for remove x amount of health. Of course the zeros would be scaled to which ever boss you are fighting
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Wound vs Defeat of Raid Boss

Postby Bj_Knows » Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:23 pm

Lord_Venan wrote:But I think the perception of "killing" them over and over is a bit of a holdover from playing the game so long that way. It's a confusing concept to represent in the UI, and we do think it's better. I'm curious if new players will have that same perception or not.


I think part of the Dungeon/ Raid Boss confusion is the Red Heart:
Empty Red Heart Health Bar= Defeated Dungeon Boss
Empty Red Heart Health Bar= Wounded Raid Boss
Zero Purple Heart Counter= Defeated Raid Boss

The Empty Red Heart Health Bar means two different things depending on the circumstances.

I think it would be less confusing if:
Empty Red Heart Health Bar= Defeated Dungeon Boss
Empty Purple Heart Health Bar= Wounded Raid Boss
Zero Red Heart Counter= Defeated Raid Boss

That way characters would realize "no Red Heart = Defeated Boss". The change to a Purple Heart Health Bar for the Raid Boss would also cue new players that something different is going on in the game.
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