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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2015 3:06 pm 
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Cornac

Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2015 1:52 pm
Posts: 38
I love the bulwark class, in fact I love sheild based characters in general but . . . I hate the block skill.

First I hate that it is attached to shields. I've tried to make it my default "click on enemy skill" so as to maximize it's current mechanics . . . I'm out of stamina and all of my other skills are on cool down? Time to block automatically and hope for a counterstrike! So I unpin it from the task bar and set the skill to the left mouse click on enemy. That should be it, forget about the block skill forever. Instead I have to reset this every time I get a new shield. It's not even a really great skill so I'm tempted just to endlessly right click it off the task bar and forget about it.

That last line defines the problem . . . blocking with a shield should be a defining feature of the sword and board character. Yet instead it feels like a feature I use only as a last resort and want to forget about. Even worse it is an annoying feature that discourages me from even trying to make it work. Reading some guides and taking a look at winning builds tells me that even the best bulwarks seldom bother with it. That is bad.

My proposed solution is to put the block skill into the combat Training tree with the rest of the core combat skills and allow for it to be leveled up. The first level of block would act the same way things are set up now. Investing levels in the skill would change things as follows:

2 points - the skill gets a 50% chance to block projectiles
3 points - the skill gets a 50% chance to block beam and ranged spell damage but not explosions, 50% chance for blocked projectiles to be deflected at an enemy.
4 points - 50% chance to deflect blocked beam and ranged spell damage back at the caster
5 points - block becomes a sustained skill giving 25% chance to block an incoming attack potentially allowing for a counterstrike, or deflected spell/projectile every turn.

Many shields could still give a +1 to this skill but now it isn't appearing randomly on my task bar every time I put on a new shield, and it's something I can actually specialize my character to use and love, rather than that annoying side effect that I put up with to get some extra armor or so I can use the shield attack and defense trees. I think that is a big difference.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:05 am 
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Sher'Tul Godslayer

Joined: Sat Apr 26, 2003 7:38 pm
Posts: 1970
Location: GMT-8:00
You're wrong about block not being used. Riposte does nothing without block and the top ten bulwark winners from 1.2 on that don't have the skill names in an asian language that I can't read all have 4 or 5 points in riposte. Block does not need buffing.

Making it another generic talent is yet another generic talent tax on melee. The game doesn't need that.

You shouldn't forget block. Every time you attack something you should ask yourself "should I block instead?" If you expect them to attack you physically, don't expect them to die in one attack, have at least one point in riposte, and block is not on cooldown you should block.

Block dramatically increases your damage by doubling the damage of your most powerful cooldown limited attacks.You give up a normal attack that you would have made after your assault to get a double power assault.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:55 am 
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Sher'Tul

Joined: Sat May 15, 2010 9:17 pm
Posts: 1457
A high block value shield and the shield-related prodigies (or just eternal guard and a shield with plenty of resists) also pretty much entirely trivializes normal difficulty. You get to where you can just set block to auto-use always and become completely invincible to more or less everything. It's kinda' hilarious, honestly. The additional damage is just delicious cake.

I will say, I kinda' wish the eternal guard prodigy just made the talent a sustain, though, or at least allowed that as an option. 33% (25%?) global penalty to mimic the effects of turning block back on every time it goes off cooldown and you'd have something that's functionally more or less identical but considerably more streamlined from a usability perspective.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2015 1:46 am 
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Wyrmic

Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2014 9:06 pm
Posts: 279
Making Block a sustain would probably make it stronger, though. I had one character with Eternal Guard and the only time he took damage was when I got stunned or had the block effect stripped by wildfire. If block was a sustain, there are only a lot fewer effects that could knock it out. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it should be considered for balance reasons.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2015 1:59 am 
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Sher'Tul

Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2014 11:50 am
Posts: 1439
solipsist has a sustained block, however, i think there was a chance with it, and it wasn't that strong... not strong at all.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2015 2:21 am 
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Sher'Tul

Joined: Sat May 15, 2010 9:17 pm
Posts: 1457
That's why it'd be a prodigy :P Forge shield is also much easier to get and, obviously enough, doesn't have the equipment condition. Something that's easier to access and more versatile is probably going to be a fair bit weaker, yeah.

But yeah, I'd call block a sustain more a tradeoff than a strict stronger thing, on the balance front -- stun is fairly easy to become almost entirely immune to, and there's quite a few things out there that specifically strip sustains. The higher level stuff I've had that took eternal guard never really had any issues with not getting the block off. Occasionally some right after the talent was obtained, but that became less of an issue as more time passed and kit accumulated. Maybe add a special case that lets you get knocked out of it or somethin' if it were an balance concern. I think the noted global penalty would be enough, though.

Would mostly want to see it so y'no longer have to see that constant +block -block spamming all over the place, heh, or the stutter that comes from using the talent itself. Sustained block when the cooldown is equal to the uptime would just make things a fair bit smoother from the player's perspective.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2015 8:43 am 
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Cornac

Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2015 1:52 pm
Posts: 38
Even simply giving the block skill to characters outside of a talent tree, much the way that alchemists are simply given create alchemist gems would help.

Block starts out fairly weak, it only takes effect if you completely block all damage which basically means the bulwark can expect to use it against low level enemies using only physical damage on their weapons. Assuming you do block all incoming damage you get one turn where you could do 200% damage, at the expense of a turn doing -100% damage. It's not a wash but it comes close.

If you invest a single point into riposte then you get an extra turn where you can counterstrike and an extra counterstrike, basically you get two turns of +200 damage. You also are able to trigger counterstrike on a partial block which means you can suddenly use block against an enemy with non physical damage on their weapon so long as you can block some amount of physical damage. It still won't work against completely elemental weapons, or psi blades, or whatever but . . . its useful.

But . . . the next skill is sheild slam which gives you a damaging attack with a FREE block thrown in so a battle with all sheld offense skills goes something like this:

Shield slam (goes on cool down 15 turns)
Sheild Pummel (at 200%, stuns target, 6 turn cool down)
Assault (at 200%, stuns target, 6 turn cool down)
Block (on left click automatic since everything is on cool down takes a turn)
200% normal attack
200% normal attack
now you are at nine turns on shield slam, and four turns on block, all other skills are at 3-2 turns of cool down
Hopefully you've ended the battle, otherwise you are hitting for three turns with normal attacks, deciding if you want to "waste" a real skill, getting your next auto block, hitting with your remaining skill and returning to shield slam.

Potentially you could gain a few extra attack skills if you go with dirty fighting which could help you utilize block more efficiently but there is no real need to have it on your bar for manual use except for the fact that it's stuck on your shield and it gets annoying having to rebind it to left click every time you upgrade to a better shield.

The real problem with block though comes in if you are a class that lacks shield offense. The shield is giving you a decent benefit with extra armor and defense that many classes would enjoy, but every time you equip the thing you get this added skill on your bar that is basically JUNK. Most enemies aren't going to be using pure physical damage, so you aren't going to be blocking all incoming damage, which means counter strike is seldom going to trigger. Especially on Rogue you aren't going to risk giving up a full turn of damage on the hope that this version of a stock critter doesn't have any nature, mind, elemental, etc . . . damage on it's weapon or attached to it's attack skill.

So in my opinion its a junk skill, that becomes good IF you have one specific tree, but even then that tree almost immediately makes it an afterthought. It's a nice bonus if you are killing too slowly and need to get some extra damage on your default attack, but there are probably better ways to go. For example you might use that "no damage" turn to trigger greater weapon focus from the battle tactics tree and follow up with bleeding edge. Alternately you could use dirty fighting (which is at reduced damage anyway) and go for some really nice critical strikes, especially in combination with a 200% damage shield pummel.

For the bulwark it's a bad skill you can make work, but it's put into place in a really annoying way, and is perhaps better off ignored once you get anything else going. For other shield users it looks like a hoodwink, a skill that you might be tricked into using on enemies which prolongs the fight, causes you to take more damage, and really doesn't do anything beneficial in most fights.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:10 am 
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Perspiring Physicist

Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 7:43 am
Posts: 5940
You do realise it can block non physical damage if the shield has the right resist on it?

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2015 11:38 am 
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Cornac

Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2015 1:52 pm
Posts: 38
I hadn't realized the skill could block non physical damage. My thought had been that the shield resists applied to the character in the same way that the armor and defense bonus' do. The skill description only read physical damage so that was all I counted on getting from the skill when I calculated how to use it. Over estimating a skill in a rogue like game can get you killed. lol

If you can block other damage types I'll have to upgrade my estimate of it a bit. I still might not want to use it much without the bonus' from riposte but the right shield might make it worth pulling out for certain enemies.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:12 pm 
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Sher'Tul

Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2014 11:50 am
Posts: 1439
for sun paladin, shield is incredibly powerful.
not only you can counter attack distant enemies with your wave of power, but also could replace the 2 "auto attack" in there with crusade followed by brandish. nothing short of a unique can survive that.
brandish will also release a rather strong AoE, which does decent damage to everything in sight. retribution shield is no worse on that front.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2015 8:35 pm 
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Sher'Tul Godslayer

Joined: Sat Apr 26, 2003 7:38 pm
Posts: 1970
Location: GMT-8:00
Winddbourne wrote:
Shield slam (goes on cool down 15 turns)
Sheild Pummel (at 200%, stuns target, 6 turn cool down)
Assault (at 200%, stuns target, 6 turn cool down)
Block (on left click automatic since everything is on cool down takes a turn)
200% normal attack
200% normal attack
now you are at nine turns on shield slam, and four turns on block, all other skills are at 3-2 turns of cool down
Hopefully you've ended the battle, otherwise you are hitting for three turns with normal attacks, deciding if you want to "waste" a real skill, getting your next auto block, hitting with your remaining skill and returning to shield slam.


Nope. That's not how you use a shield. You do get riposte to 5 ASAP and do something like

Block
200% Assault
Shield Slam (with the first strike still doubled from the block)
200% Shield Pummel
200% normal attack
The enemy is probably dead, but if not you do normal attacks until block and assault come up again. With a good enough shield they'll have the same cooldown and you can always double your assaults, but if you don't it's worth holding off on assault until you can set it up with block again.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2015 8:56 pm 
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Cornac

Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2015 1:52 pm
Posts: 38
Interesting idea, I'm not sure if it is entirely worthwhile since your first block is a no damage attack while the enemy isn't stunned. The no damage full attack is -100% damage for one turn, which makes the 200% to damage for a counterstrike fairly close to a wash.

I put the block at the end while the enemy is stunned so as to pour out additional damage during what is otherwise a damage lull. Usually it isn't needed as the first three attacks have done tons of damage, but if it is needed the stun limits what the enemy can do to you while you finish them off with a couple of 200% attacks which are functionally equivalent to using a normal attack and an extra talent.

Of course that is assuming it is +200%, this skill description reads " (a normal attack will will deal 200% damage instead)" which could be read as X2.0, or +100% damage mathematically, in which case . . . it is exactly a wash for the first turn, with the defense from blocking being your "reward", and then the full bonus coming in on the second turn. It also could mean +200% INSTEAD of the normal damage which would mean using it with a normal skill would replace the 150% damage rather than adding to it, resulting in a bonus of +50 for your first sheild slam rather than +100.

What I really think we need is a clarification on what "(a normal attack will will deal 200% damage instead) for one turn" means, if it is X2 then you should always use it with a talent for the best effect, your first shield slam doing 300% damage is NOT a wash, but if it is "instead" then you should NEVER couple a block with a talent attack, and if it is +100% then you should do things the way I currently listed.

I see three options for what they mean with very different mathematical implications. If they listed more of the mechanics with the damage listing it would be easy to tell them apart, but as it is you have weapon power level, armor, resists, immunity, and now block all playing a role in the final damage, plus bonus' from different items and passive talents. Its a very effective smoke screen. Perhaps someone could look at the actual code for this skill?


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 12:46 am 
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Sher'Tul Godslayer

Joined: Sat Apr 26, 2003 7:38 pm
Posts: 1970
Location: GMT-8:00
Winddbourne wrote:
Interesting idea, I'm not sure if it is entirely worthwhile since your first block is a no damage attack while the enemy isn't stunned. The no damage full attack is -100% damage for one turn, which makes the 200% to damage for a counterstrike fairly close to a wash.

I put the block at the end while the enemy is stunned so as to pour out additional damage during what is otherwise a damage lull. Usually it isn't needed as the first three attacks have done tons of damage, but if it is needed the stun limits what the enemy can do to you while you finish them off with a couple of 200% attacks which are functionally equivalent to using a normal attack and an extra talent.

Of course that is assuming it is +200%, this skill description reads " (a normal attack will will deal 200% damage instead)" which could be read as X2.0, or +100% damage mathematically, in which case . . . it is exactly a wash for the first turn, with the defense from blocking being your "reward", and then the full bonus coming in on the second turn. It also could mean +200% INSTEAD of the normal damage which would mean using it with a normal skill would replace the 150% damage rather than adding to it, resulting in a bonus of +50 for your first sheild slam rather than +100.

What I really think we need is a clarification on what "(a normal attack will will deal 200% damage instead) for one turn" means, if it is X2 then you should always use it with a talent for the best effect, your first shield slam doing 300% damage is NOT a wash, but if it is "instead" then you should NEVER couple a block with a talent attack, and if it is +100% then you should do things the way I currently listed.

I see three options for what they mean with very different mathematical implications. If they listed more of the mechanics with the damage listing it would be easy to tell them apart, but as it is you have weapon power level, armor, resists, immunity, and now block all playing a role in the final damage, plus bonus' from different items and passive talents. Its a very effective smoke screen. Perhaps someone could look at the actual code for this skill?


It does the thing where it actually doubles the damage of your next 1-3 strikes depending on your riposte skill.

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n. 1. technocracy. 2. government by the numbers. 3. rule by people with the longest fingers.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 12:05 pm 
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Sher'Tul

Joined: Sat Mar 01, 2003 4:01 pm
Posts: 1067
The way I read it, a 'normal attack' is the kind you do by bumping. If you get a % multiplier from a talent, it doesn't count, does it?

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 6:24 pm 
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Cornac

Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2015 1:52 pm
Posts: 38
Thanks for the clarification Atoralost, this will definitely change how I am using the skill since I figured I had 2/3 chance of being correct assuming one of the other two interpretations were correct. :)


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