ToME: the Tales of Maj'Eyal

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2016 5:53 pm 
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Thalore

Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 2:24 am
Posts: 132
Razakai wrote:
Odd. Was that from you attacking? Can see it's caused by Sword and Board's shield attack, but can't see what would cause it.

Not entirely sure (I was in the middle of a bunch of enemies in Heart of the Gloom). I did get another error like that when I was fighting a sawbutcher rare (also in Heart of the Gloom).


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2016 2:24 pm 
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Thalore

Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 5:07 am
Posts: 134
Great addon. It is a definite improvement to the Bulwark class and I am enjoying it.

Seems there is a bug though: The description of "Crushing Impact" does not show the correct damage


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2016 2:28 am 
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Thalore

Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 5:07 am
Posts: 134
Another bug. I triggered this when I used Battle Call -> Shield Slam


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2016 11:08 pm 
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Uruivellas

Joined: Tue May 14, 2013 3:45 pm
Posts: 832
http://te4.org/node/6099

v1.5
- Rebalanced a few more abilities.
- Crushing Impact displays the correct damage amount on the effect tooltip.
- Battle Call no longer causes errors when used with Provoke.

e: I'd be very interested to hear people's thoughts on what Bastion does too well. Still needs some more balancing I think.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2016 1:43 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2016 11:48 pm
Posts: 3
i have a bit of a bug to report in the classic UI setting revenge only shows it's turn icon and not the number of stacks screenshot here http://imgur.com/H3XekkL Edit on further looking classic just doesn't show stacks at all that's not so much an addon issue as a UI issue


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2016 3:02 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 2:43 pm
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So I'm not sure if this is technically a bug but it's possible to put points into Steel Fortress, build up the stacks of the buff then remove the talent points leaving you with a permanent (well until death or dispelling) bonus to block amount. So you can float 4 points in it for 50% extra block value then put them somewhere else. And if you ever die or get dispelled you can wind back the last 4 points spent and do it again.

As for what the class does too well I'd say the answer is survive. A lot of mitigation combined with a continuous stream of healing and endless stamina is very strong. Strong enough that the class can actively hunt adventurer parties on insane and win (I even tried entering the Dark Crypt with one and I made it to the final floor before things got too difficult).

Honestly though, I think the main cause of the class being too strong is the changes to the prodigies. Having Eternal Guard and Spectral Shield baked into the game by default makes the class too strong. Indeed, try playing any other shield class with the mod active and you will see the same thing. So far I've tested with a demonologist and a stone warden. Both showed significant boosts to their survivability, especially past level 30 when they weren't locked into taking the shield prodigies.

Maybe it would be interesting to try a version with the prodigy changes removed, but no other changes to the class. It would help a lot to get a feel for how much of a difference they make.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2016 7:53 pm 
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Wyrmic

Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2014 9:06 pm
Posts: 279
tangledfish wrote:
Maybe it would be interesting to try a version with the prodigy changes removed, but no other changes to the class. It would help a lot to get a feel for how much of a difference they make.

How hard would it be to make that a game option?


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 12:06 pm 
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Uruivellas

Joined: Tue May 14, 2013 3:45 pm
Posts: 832
Odd. I thought I removed the Eternal Guard effect in an earlier patch, so the only baseline shield behaviour changes should be Spectral Shield, flat 5 cooldown and Riposte. Will double check.

I'm quite reluctant to remove the baked in Spectral Shield for a few reasons. Without it shields as a defensive mechanic can be a roll of the dice, either it's effective because the rare/boss matches your damage types, or totally useless. Plus it's very confusing and awkward to new players, it took me months to understand that shield resists affected block as there's nothing to indicate it without re-examining the block tooltip each time you equip a new shield.

The next couple of nerfs will hit their survivability again. Going to drop a few of their % reduction effects here and there, Steel Fortress is being reworked so you won't have a crazy +% bonus to block as well. Also reworking Revenge as it's a bit clunky and overly complex. Might remove the life regen on Flow of Battle as well, as it'll still be a perfectly good talent just from stamina regen+free blocks. Also going to change Sword and Board to have Riposte's old +crit on counter effect rather than +dmg, to tone down the huge Assault crits a little. Warcries is getting some changes too, to shift a bit of the power away from Warsong.

I'll re-evaluate after all those go in, I'm hoping at that point the class will merely be on par with something like Sun Paladin rather than approaching Archmage-tier.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 11:50 pm 
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Perspiring Physicist

Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 7:43 am
Posts: 5759
Razakai wrote:
Plus it's very confusing and awkward to new players, it took me months to understand that shield resists affected block as there's nothing to indicate it without re-examining the block tooltip each time you equip a new shield.

Let's give new players some credit. Most would be able to work it out after a few checks.
Though perhaps the Block tooltip could mention that the properties of the shield affect what damage types are blockable? (if it doesn't do so already)

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My feedback meter decays into coding. Give me feedback and I make mods.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2016 12:36 am 
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Sher'Tul

Joined: Sat May 15, 2010 9:17 pm
Posts: 1457
I'unno... re: the block changes, it actually has felt like it's an overall late-ish game (30+, post prodigy) nerf to me, to block specifically. It's definitely better pre-EG, but feels notably less effective than it was post-EG. All the free procs and omni-block in the world just doesn't really make up for eterno-block, from what I've seen. I've also long seen spectral shield as very... optional. You can always tote a few shields around if you really need them (you almost never do), and in practice I've found you only really need a couple resists to mitigate everything that's really dangerous (Blight and fire are probably the bigger ones, with anything else being situational or nice extras). So the universal damage block is just kinda' eh.

Bastions themselves don't feel it as hard, due to all the free procs, but other shield users... it definitely makes block less sexy in the long run, imo. Especially the counterstrike aspect, heh. EG shield users were all counterstrike all the time, forever. These ones are... less than that. Block gets a lot less uptime without EG. Even bastions have that problem, if significantly reduced.

... mind, it's probably a fair argument to make that it was something block could use. Disregarding balance beyond normal difficulty, EG just kinda' breaks the vanilla game over its knee. Bulwark or whatev' hits 30 and nabs a tier 5 shield and then nothing can kill it ever again. Which is fun as hell for me, ha, but it's probably less than optimal balance design.

Incidentally, it'd be really nice, thinking on it, to get a prodigy (or talent, or whatever) that makes block instant. Then it'd be a lot less troublesome to set it to auto-use without eternal guard being available :P


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2016 9:10 am 
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Uruivellas

Joined: Tue May 14, 2013 3:45 pm
Posts: 832
Yeah. While this isn't supposed to be a grand rebalancing across the board, I've long felt EG/SS shields kinda screw up the balance of normal while falling off rapidly on higher difficulties. Hard to balance around someone having 300+ damage reduction up nearly all the time, especially combined with stuff like Blood Shield, Retribution etc.

And while shields are weaker compared to the old EG/SS builds, it does mean you get 2 replacement prodigies so I think overall power is quite similar, even if it's less tied to block. If this was in the main game I'd probably want to give other shield classes something to make block more attractive though.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 9:48 am 
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Higher

Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:37 pm
Posts: 52
It seems that Arcanum breaks your shield block changes. Can only block physical with a normal shield now.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 4:00 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 2:43 pm
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Ok, I've beaten insane with a Ghoul Bastion:

http://te4.org/characters/115448/tome/6 ... 572e028c04

It was only adventure but even so I played very recklessly for insane, Z rushing everywhere, even in High Peak. All but one of the deaths came in the final fight when I had to deal with Elandar casting Entropy and shutting down all my sustains. Once I got all the portals closed and could lock Elandar down with chain Provoke it proved manageable. Obviously this could have been easier to deal with if I'd used a generic point for an inscription slot or to unlock Celestial: Light but I went all in on the Bulwark trees and a lack of magical effect removal was the price I paid. The other death came from attempting a YOLO Melinda rescue. Oh it doesn't show on the vault but the second prodigy I took was the new Spectral Shield to give it a go. Considering the only time I really needed it was when all my sustains were down due to Entropy, it proved rather underwhelming. I should have taken Cauterize or Subcutaneous Metallisation instead. I could see it being very useful on a anti-magic character though, perversely enough. Also, Duel doesn't work on Elandar and Argoniel which is why I don't have any points in it, though I did test it out throughout the run before that.

I said before that I felt the mod would work better if it were redesigned around the existing block mechanic and prodigies and my experience with this run has kind of left me feeling that the changes to block are at the heart of why this class is too strong. More precisely, the need to reduce the cooldown on block to be effective is causing all the on-block abilities the class has to grossly overperform, elevating it to the level where you can bump rush insane with the ghoul speed penalty and only three infusion slots. Anyway, I'll go through a few of the talents that stood out as providing too much benefit, or that worked together to make the character too strong.

Shining Armor - A radius 4 status effect with 100% uptime due to Indomitable, this is insanely strong. If it weren't firing every turn it would still be too strong. I think it could work if a) block didn't passively refresh so fast and b) it were a cone instead of radius attack. If it worked like the unique shield Coral Spray, firing a cone attack on a block, it would be more interesting as that would encourage thinking about positioning whereas right now it simply rewards rushing into the middle of things and bumping like the game's on normal difficulty.

Shield Charge - Yet another cool, class defining talent that is being made overly strong by block firing almost every turn. It feels like the class has a permanent speed buff. Set block to autouse when enemies are visible and you get a free movement infusion that's available the turn you spot an enemy, then every turn you're fighting. I hesitate to say this needs some kind of internal cooldown because then it becomes unreliable and goes against what seems to be the driving theme of the class: on-block effects.

Warsong - Well really the whole Warcries tree. I admit I have a soft spot for trees that build on each other into one super talent, ala Gloom, but this is a bit too much. Every four turns you get a Warshout that provides even more passive healing and stamina regen, does a touch of damage in a large radius and randomly buffs you or debuffs everyone else. I think that before Warsong the shouts are reasonably balanced, even if Second Wind is just adding to the constant healing and stamina oversupply (more on that in a little). Once shouts get automated they just add to the autoblock light show. Personally I think this tree would play a lot better if you had to manually cast the shouts and the fourth talent was redesigned.

Indomitable and Flow of Battle - This appears to be the key to the question of why is the Bastion too strong. With a few points in these talents block is refreshing every turn. Inodmitable appears to be firing based on the raw damage of an attack before it hits, rather than from damage done to health as it will always fire, regardless of any damage actually gets through to health or not. When coupled with Flow of Battle's on-kill block the effect is that in combat I almost always saw block firing every turn, occasionally with one turn in between. The other problem here is Flow of Battle's on-block effect. With blocks firing every turn, I always had three stacks up. Forget the healing, the problem here was that it completely removed stamina management from the game. The amount of stamina per stack could be drastically cut back because as it stands the class has infinite resources from about level 4. Obviously you want to find the sweet spot between resource starved and resource glutted, but right now the class is firmly in the latter.

Iron Guard - Apart from the snowballing effect of on-block effects firing every turn, this generic is grossly overperforming. Specifically, the mace bonus of flat damage reduction is too strong for a character with constant block mitigation, heavy armour and multiple damage mitigation sustains. More worryingly, it's simply better than the sword or axe options. All three should be viable, whereas in reality if you're not using maces you're not making the most of this talent. A flat 35 damage reduction against all elements is simply too strong. Most classes have a period between levels 15 and 30 when the build is coming together but it's not there yet. Iron Guard flattens that difficulty bump and carries the Bastion through the tier 2 gauntlet until the build as a whole starts to really take off.

These talents are the worst offenders but the rest of the passives and sustains are also quite strong. In particular Shield Wall does an awful lot for one talent. Defense, armor, stun and knockback resistance are more than enough but then the clutch damage reduction on top is just pushing things. I'd say the last effect could be removed and it'd still be a very strong talent. I mean people max the vanilla version on a Bulwark, and that has a 20% physical damage penalty thrown in. Likewise Last Stand gives a lot of bonus block value, so much so that you never want to use the activatable ability. In fact I took it off my hotbar as there was absolutely no reason to ever use it and waste the buff stacks. Provoke is a great ability and fun to use, but having a cooldown that's only one turn longer than the full duration makes it a bit too powerful. As it stands you can use it nonstop in combination with Battle Call.

Ultimately, my opinion is that the Bastion right now is a very strong class that's actually not as much fun to play as it could be. In part that's because it's too strong, even for insane (I'll start a madness run next I think, see how that goes) but it's as much because there's a lot of passivity. All the cool, distinctive talents are on-block effects and block is entirely automated thanks to the passive cooldown reduction. Health management is almost entirely passive. Stamina management is completely unnecessary and there's no limit to how many sustains you can run, because you can easily afford the stamina for all of them. Even the warcries are automated (well, they don't have to be but that's a "handicap yourself to make the game more fun" choice). Finally even debuffs can largely be ignored (with the notable exception of sleep and nightmare) as between Indomitable and Unflinching Resolve everything goes away within a turn or two. You really can just throw on a couple of shielding runes, set them and block to autouse and Z-bump-Z to victory. This is a shame because the idea is really cool, it's just not quite coming together as well as it could.

So what could be done? First is obviously tweaking the health and stamina gains as they are way too high. More importantly I think that both the problem of passivity and of the class being too strong can be solved by consolidating and toning down the passives and sustains. For instance if you removed Sword and Board and rolled the shield bash effect into Shield Mastery you could then restore Riposte to the Shield Offense tree (meaning people would have one less reason to disable this addon if they wanted to play any of the other shield classes) and shockwave could be moved to the Retaliation tree, making it a tree of class-exclusive attacks that do something more than just hit a single target in melee range. Shield Wall could stand to lose the adaptive damage reduction. Warsong can just be cut and something else added to either further buff the shouts or change the way they act, without automating them. Flow of Battle can either have the block on kill removed or a cooldown added to it. Likewise Indomitable could do with a rethink. Both the block refresh and the debuff reduction are too passive and too strong. In fact, refreshing block should not be a passive action for a class that revolves around on-block effects so much. Having passives like Shield Charge and Shining Armor is a fun part of the class, but they should be kept in check by block having to be manually refreshed. Between Shield Slam and Steel Fortress the tools are already there to have block firing frequently, just not every single turn the way it is now.

Well this has gotten kind of long so I'll leave things here. All in all I do like the class a lot and I hope this criticism will be useful in making it better.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2016 11:28 am 
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Uruivellas

Joined: Tue May 14, 2013 3:45 pm
Posts: 832
I really like some of those ideas. I'm planning on releasing an update this weekend with some of them - in particular Indomitable. I didn't realise quite how strong it was and that explains bastion over performing. I'll prob shift shield wall's adaption to it and remove the block cd reduction.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2016 11:55 am 
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Uruivellas

Joined: Mon Oct 09, 2006 7:47 pm
Posts: 615
Presently Shield Wall is game breaking in some situations.
I encountered a randboss that has a Sheild Wall that reduced damage by 70% of his missing life. When he was under 0 life at -3k or -4k, the damage reduction was insane (maybe 90% or more). Combined with a flat reduction, my best spells only dealt around 10 damage/turn (instead of 3K). I was a PM and I could entropy him to remove the sustain, but otherwise it was a game over.
I think the talent should :
1/ not take into account negative life
2/ have a hard cap in the damage reduction (maybe 50% or 60%)


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