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 Post subject: Fixing the Summoner
PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2018 6:24 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2018 3:37 am
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A few days ago I posted a thread on Reddit basically calling for help for the Summoner class and it got enough response that I feel like it's worth talking about a little more in depth. I think it;s more than fair to say that Summoner is one of the weakest classes in the game which is a problem in and of itself but particularly due to the fact that it is the only class that truly focuses on the minion master play-style. (A personal favorite of mine) Now, these are just my opinions on the subject and I'd love to hear any of yours bellow, but I'd like to get a serious discussion going about what is wrong with the class but also what could be done to fix it.

So without further ado, what are the problems facing the Summoner class? (All of this assumes you are playing on insane difficulty)
  • The summoner has no built in defenses. It can eventually go anti-mage which is better than nothing, but even then it has no access to physical mitigation which means if anything manages to get to you, you will fall over. The main issue here is that the Summoner needs some sort of front loaded defense that can keep them alive while they summon minions to then tank for them. This could in theory be manageable with just the summons themselves if you can somehow never end up face to face with an elite or higher enemy assuming they are durable enough to soak for you but...
  • Summons lack durability. Even the Minotaur and Golem which are intended as the major front-line bruisers fail to live up to the challenge of standing toe to toe with any sort of challenging foe on insane.
  • Summons do not work together very well. The ranged summons are the biggest offender here as they tend to either get completely blocked by their melee counterparts (Ritch Flamespitter) or catch them in the fray. (Hydra/Fire Drake) This creates an anti-synergy where you not only have to worry about getting as many summons between you and the nearest death dealer but also try to have enough room to place your ranged summons so they aren't bumbling over each-other.
  • There are no permanent summons. This contributes significantly to the Summoners lack of durability and strikes me as particularly odd because other classes that don't even focus on minions, like Temporal Warden and even Writhing One, pass this test.
  • Stat scaling is slightly broken. This is a bit of another odd issue that feeds directly into the others. What makes it odd is that once again there are numerous other examples of it being done better in classes that don't emphasize summoning. This problem is perhaps the easiest to solve (just change it to scaling stats based on mindpower or will) but does need to be handled with care so as not to make the class broken in the other direction through overtuning.

So these are identifiable problems, now what do we do about them? Well I have a few solutions of my own which I'll list bellow, but I'd also love to hear ideas from other people as to how the class could be improved. In the meantime, here are some solutions I've come up with in no particular order: (I would not intend for all of these ideas to be implemented but rather to form a think tank of potential solutions)
  • Allow Ritch Flamespitter to shoot over allied summons (possibly the player as well) and AoEs from summoned creatures to not damage friendly targets.
  • Change stat scaling to be more like Herald of Oblivion or Wurms That Walk.
  • Add a defensive sustain to the base kit. (probably something like Bone Shield to buy the summoner time to setup in combat)
  • Increase the overall durability of summons but particularly melee summons.
  • Redesign the class around having powerful, permanent summons with temporary weaker summons to support them. (ambitious solution but I can dream right?)
  • Add a new skill category to fill some of the gaps. (most likely as a generic category since Summoner is lacking in that department)

I also took a bit of time to come up with a generic tree that should at least stoke some ideas about how one new tree could really alter the play-style of the class:

Generic Category-Wild-gift / Summoning (Unison)
-Summoner's Bond
--Equilirium Sustain
--Willpower 12
--Level 0
--Usage Speed: 100%
--When this skill is activated, select a class skill which summons a creature. That skill is disabled and the creature is automatically summoned in an adjacent tile.
--If the summoned creature dies the summoning skill is put on cooldown and it is automatically summoned again once the cooldown ends. This skill cannot summon a creature if you are already at your summon limit.
--If the selected summon is further than X spaces away, it teleports to a space adjacent to the Summoner.
--Activating this sustain takes time but the summoning does not.
--At level 3, increase the base stats and life of the selected summon by X% and increase its all resistance by X%.
--At level 5, the selected creature is summoned as its wild version.
--(Functions similarly to Temporal Hounds but with a selected summon and only one)

-Symbiotic Bond
--Passive
--Willpower 20
--Level 4
--When the bonded summon dies, gain 30/35/40/45/50% of a turn. While Summoner's Bond is active and the bonded summon is alive you gain X% all resistance for each active summon. The bonded summon counts as 2 active summons for this effect.
--At level 3, your bonded creature gains X% movement speed.

-Shared Pain
--Passive
--Willpower 28
--Level 8
--When you are effected by a damage over time effect the damage is reduced by X%. Your bonded creature takes the damage prevented by this skill.
--At level 5, when your bonded summon is damaged you are healed for the same ammount.

-Scapegoat
--Equilibrium Active
--Willpower 36
--Level 12
--Usage Speed: 0%
--Instantly move up to X spaces away. If your bonded summon is alive it is moved to your previous location. If your bonded summon is currently on cooldown, summon it at your previous location bypassing cooldown with X% life.
--Unusable if Summoner's Bond is not currently active.


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