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  1. #1
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    Captain Deconstruction and Reconstruction

    Introduction
    For many of the vets of the captain class, there are a lot of things going on with the class, and also a lot of dead weight. Many are also frustrated that a supposed buffing class doesn’t do much in the way of active buffing. More of us are frustrated that we’re jack of all trades, master of none, and passed over by the majority for healer, tanking, and DPS roles.

    To help address that, I believe it’s time for a fresh approach to a potential revamp - instead of trying to adapt our large array of skills, take the good ideas, and completely drop the rest of the stuff, and build around what works.

    That said, what mechanics and stuff in the class should be retained?

    For starters, the out of combat buffs Motivating Speech, Tactics: Relentless Attack and Tactics: On Guard should all remain largely unchanged - while Tactics: Focus gets deleted. While Focus could become a different out of combat buff, one of the goals of this post is to illustrate that there are enough other buffing options that a third out of combat Tactic isn’t needed. The two changes that must happen are the merging of the Motivating Speech’s and the Tactic’s legacies into the skills, and altering how they target. Motivating Speech should be a raid wide buff, while the tactics are single target only if a friendly target is selected, but raid wide otherwise - resulting in a great quality of life improvement for captains because we can now quickly and easily buff large groups of people without needing to play pass the captain (which is a great boon for low captain groups in the ‘Moors).

    Another thing to keep unchanged are the Marks - they work really well, and each has a distinct role. Also, All of our panic buttons remain unchanged. That is, Time of Need, Last Stand, In Harms Way, Escape from Darkness, Cry of Vengeance.

    Ok, so while those are halfway expected answers, the last thing that I would like to salvage from the existing class are the battle states and defeat response related skills, or the entire SL/BS => DB/PA => BoE skill chain. To me, this entire mechanic set is both unique to the captain, and a bit underused - which makes it a prime candidate to refocus the class around for a revamp.

    The other paradigm shift I’d like to make is shifting active buffing away from the XBros, by refocusing active buffing away from needing to be XBro’d to something, but instead, give us stances and redefine what we think of as a Brother Skill, and have that play a larger role in our buffing abilities.

    Before getting into suggested skill/trait changes, I would also like to detail what kind of tanking, healing, and DPSing “personality” the captain should have, and how we’re different from other classes. For starters, I am going to attempt to strike a balance between healing, tanking, DPSing, and buffing so that we can go in either of the four directions, remain balanced, yet become top tier in either DPS, healing, or tanking. I want to completely resolve the “second captain” problem, and to do that, captains must be able to hit those levels. This is also going to make a lone captain in the ‘Moors a bit more than walking infamy (at least, free inf to the smart Creeps).

    With tanking, I want to explore how we can use our heals to help us tank - essentially allowing us to remove the concern of keeping the group up from the main healer so they can help keep us up. I don’t want to hit warden levels of survivability, but I want more tools to produce agro, and do it in a way that’s very much captain.

    The only real shakeup with DPS is the addition of distributed damage to a couple of skill. It’s a mechanic we’ve seen in a few mobs, and it’s something that would be interested for a Freep class to do, and it’s something that would help captains with AE DPS, yet not detract from our single target DPS.

    Likewise, healing is another aspect of the class that I largely want to leave alone. I like that we have a whole mass of AE HoTs to keep everyone else alive, yet have only one single target healing skill. Unlike DPS, our healing ability is just about right, and only needs a little more nudging to be truly on par with minis and RKs.

    However, since the captain is a hybrid class, we have an innate balance problem that must be addressed, especially when we start asking for more of everything. The easiest solution for this problem is stances, and by adding in trait support for the stances, this allows the captains to choose what to focus on, yet still retaining core buffing ability that is desired by many of the groups - provided that most of the support aspects of the class are found when the captain isn’t using a stance. This gives the class four distinct ways to play (Support, Healing, DPS, and Tanking).

    Now that I’ve outlined various influences and directions to take with this, time to start reconstructing the class from the ground up - starting with the way things work without a stance.

    Primary Skill Chain
    One of the most underused parts of the class are the Battle States. Sure, we use them to unlock various skills in our skill chains, but we have a mechanic that’s only used by 2-3 skills, at most. Also, for a class with skills based around defeat responses, I find it odd that the most reliable way to proc them is with a heavy DPS traiting, yet the traitlines that could use more RC’s (HoH and LoM) can’t proc them reliably. Another thing I’d like to see worked into the Primary Skill Chain is distributed damage.

    So what skills remain unchanged? Sure-strike, Battle-shout Devastating Blow, and Blade of Elendil.

    Pressing Attack changes to Distributed Damage for each swing, but Devastating Blow is retained because there are times when you absolutely do not want to AE, and having a skill that cannot AE gives you the control to keep playing your class. Pressing Attack and Devastating Blow need to be tuned where DB does more DPS to a single target than PA does, so there is still a reason to use DB over PA. PA Targets legacy is also retained, because it caps out how many targets PA’s damage is split over - to prevent the swarm situation where PA’s DPS/target drops to useless, even though it’s doing a fairly high amount of total DPS.

    What is lacking, however, are traversals of the skill chain that allow the captain to produce significant threat, or significant healing. Threatening Shout and Words of Courage are two skills that are crucial to tanking and healing respectively, so those are the natural choices for alternative skills that provide a Battle-readied state (which starts the skill chain). Both of these abilities would be unlocked with the appropriate three trait bonus of HoH and LoM traits.

    The next step in the skill chain for tanking isn’t so much a change, as a much needed addition: both Pressing Attack and Devastating Blow will produce some threat when you have 4 LoM traits slotted.

    Following on from incorporating Words of Courage into the skill chain, Valiant Strike is a very good candidate for the battle state promotion. Like Devastating Blow and Pressing Attack, Valiant Strike will proc a Defeat Response when it crits on skill usage (but NOT on its HoT), but when it can consume the Battle-readied buff, it will produce significantly more base healing and also create the Battle-hardened state. Like the LoM addition to this step of the skill chain, this will occur at 4 HoH traits.

    Active Buffing
    One of the subjects that has been brought up numerous times on the forums is the lack of active buffing that a supposed buffing class has. Following from the extensions to the Battle-readied and Battle-hardened states described above, what if they were extended to buffs that would consume the state, and give a buff. Looking around the class, two skills are excellent candidates for this - Defensive Strike and Muster Courage. Another skill, Cutting Attack, can be tied in so that each of the three skills represents one aspect of the trinity. Also, all of the buffs produced by the skills are given to the captain at 100%, and then shared with the active Brother target at 100%, and given to the fellowship per normal Fellowship-brother buff sharing rules.

    To help keep this balanced, the buffs would only work when a captain is not in a stance (so we effectively have a dedicated buffing stance), which allows for us to actually sacrifice buffing potential for better tanking, DPSing, or healing on the fly - should we see that more of one area is needed over buffing. When in a stance, the skills work exactly as we know them now. To help keep this mechanic interesting, there will need to be a class trait in each traitline that does the following with the buffs:
    1) The buffs work in the appropriate stance (ie: Defensive Strike buffs work in the Tank stance, but not the healing stance)
    2) The buffs no longer expire after a short period of time, but instead last until a player is out of combat. However, they cannot be shared with the Brother target (and thus, Fellowship Brother).

    The following table describes what each skill does with the different Battle-readied or Battle-hardened permutations.

    Skill None BR BH Both
    Defensive Strike +Armor +Partial BPE +Tact Miti +Crit D
    Muster Courage +Resistance +OGH +Heal Crit +Heal Crit Magnitude
    Cutting Attack DoT +Damage +Crit +Crit Magnitude

    To not lose existing functionality, Grave Wound will still retain the ability to produce a second DoT if Cutting Attack’s DoT is present on a target.

    Defeat Responses
    Generally speaking, the Defeat Response Skills are largely good as is, but only need minor tweaking.

    Rally Cry gets Now for Wrath rolled into it - since we’ve all got this trait slotted almost permanently, we might as well have it as part of the base skill. Routing Cry goes to distributed damage with a target cap - which will help with our DPS. Shadow’s Lament loses it’s threat - which will help lessen potential agro problems when the DPS stance’s DPS gets boosted.

    The biggest change to the on defeat skills is with War-Cry, which has it’s effect change according to the current active stance:

    Stance Effect
    None -Attack Duration (Strong)
    DPS -Attack Duration (weak), +Damage
    Healing -Attack Duration (weak), +OGH
    Tanking -Attack Duration (weak), +Partial BPE

    Attack duration reduction is the hallmark of the skill, so all of the variants retain this, but give something more appropriate to the stance. For the unstanced version, attack duration reduction is boosted to compensate for a lack of a secondary bonus.

    The Brother Skills
    One of the biggest paradigm shifts that must occur with the captain class to keep us moving forward is the separation of stances from the XBros, and returning them to a smaller part of the class.

    To achieve this end, Inspire, To-Arms, and Strength of Will must change, while all of the XBros are replaced with a single new skill, Brother-at-Arms. Like what was described above Brother-at-Arms will share all of the buffs currently affecting us with one target within our fellowship, while Fellowship-Brother will extend lesser effects of those buffs to the rest of the fellow as long as Brother-at-Arms is attached to a valid target. By always giving the captain the buffs first it eliminates two problems with the current XBros:
    1) We no longer lose buffs should we exceed maximum range between the XBro target and ourselves (extremely common in the ‘Moors)
    2) We aren’t locked out of buffs when solo should using a herald not be either desirable or advisable.

    I also want to have the inclusion of stances in the class, and the stances affect how Inspire, To Arms, and Strength of WIll funciton, so the existing mode functional of those skills is retained. Inspire will change from how it currently functions to a Fellowship HoT/PoT - while Strength of Will converts to a fellowship aura skill (like IDoME), but it has a continual power drain on it. To Arms will buff the captain, then the Brother target, and finally the fellowship via Fellowship-brother - much like the active buffing skills above. The best way to describe the new functionality is with tables, as follows:

    Inspire
    Stance HoT PoT
    None Weak Strong
    DPS Weak Weak
    Healing Strong Strong
    Tanking Strong weak

    To-Arms
    Stance Effect
    None +Damage (Weak)
    DPS +Damage (Strong)
    Healing +OGH
    Tanking Damage Reduction

    Strength of Will
    Stance Effect
    None +Incoming Healing (weak)
    DPS -Attack Duration
    Healing +Healing Critical Magnitude
    Tanking +Incoming Healing (strong)

    To come full circle, the effects that Brother-at-Arms gives its target, based on stance:
    Stance Effect
    None +Crit, +ICPR
    DPS +Crit, +Physical Mastery
    Healing +Crit, +Tactical Mastery
    Tanking +Crit, +Crit Defence

    [size=6]Legendary Traits
    One of the biggest design flaws with our legendary traits is not that we have bad legendaries, it’s that some are really strong compared to others, and the strength of a couple need to be brought up to that level - specifical Shield of the Dunedain and Oathbreaker’s Shame. All Shield of the Dunedain needs to be as strong as Fellowship-brother and IDoME is the ability to target yourself with it - which makes the legendary significantly better for tanking and PvMP. Likewise, Oathbreaker’s Shame should also give the captain a +Damage buff (not sharable) in addition to the +Damage buff on the target, so a DPS captain will always want to slot this trait (rather than picking IDoME and FB over it).

    Stances
    Stances solve one of the biggest dilemmas of a hybrid class (like the captain): How do you maintain the flexibility that the player base loves in the class without grossly OPing it?

    Stances also resolve one of the fundamental gripes captains have with the traiting system - we want to be active battle managers, but to appropriately manage a battle, we need to have the incombat flexibility that we currently lack so we can keep things under control when an encounter starts to go out of control.

    As loosely alluded to above, not having a stance active will function as the “buffing stance” - as well as our traits generally affecting the class globally - while there will still be a few traits that only affect a given stance (like stance/active buffing enabler traits).

    As far as what the stances do, while it is incredibly easy to give penalties to stances (like a DPS stance penalizing your healing potential), I would rather take a different approach, each stance grants you a much needed ability, so there’s incentive to DPS in the DPS stance, over DPSing in the healing stance. Again, another table describing what the stances grant:
    Stance Bonus
    DPS +Damage, +Crit Magnitude
    Healing +OGH, +Heal Crit Magntitude
    Tanking +Perceived Threat

    DPS and Healing stance bonuses are straight forward, it’s the Tanking one that needs a bit of explaining. The Tanking Stance perceived threat is the same perceived threat currently attached to Grave Wound threat buff. By moving the buff off of that skill and into Tanking Stance, it shoots one of the bigger problems with DPS on a captain - we end up in a higher threat mode because we want that second bleed. Moving the buff off of Grave Wound also gives captanksaptain a better tool with their single target forced taunt.

    Following on from the stance based skills and effects from above, Healing and DPS Stance do not need any further skill alterations to work. Tanking Stance, on the other hand, needs a few more tools to better aid with threat production and threat management. The best way for captains to generate threat isn’t for them to generate threat, but leech it. And a way to leech threat that just screams captain is having Valiant Strike, Inspire, and Words of Courage apply a threat leech on the initial skill usage (but not on a HoT pulse). Tanking Stance will return the threat to Shadow’s Lament - which allows for LtC tank builds to be a possiblity.

    The final piece of the Tanking Stance puzzle is Withdrawal - one of the most infamous skills amongst captains. Rather than deleting it (like Tactics: Focus), this skill should remain exactly as it is in all stances except for Tanking Stance, when it becomes a skill that can be used on anyone in the raid to shred threat. By altering Withdrawal to allow us to shred another’s threat, this gives captanks a very unique and valuable tool in their tanking arsenal.

    With the above, it’s also possible for captanks to swap agro, at least, a couple of times. We would lead off by applying Noble Mark to the target to swap (thus debuffing the other tank’s threat), force taunt the target, then use Words of Courage on the other tank to help us gain additional threat from them. If we still have not gained enough threat, there’s always Withdrawal.

    Summary
    For those counting the skill change, we end up with a net change of zero. While we lose Tactics: Focus, Blade Brother, Song Brother, and Shield Brother, we gain DPS Stance(Blade Stance?), Healing Stance (Song Stance?), Tanking Stance (Shield Stance?), and Brother-at-Arms.

    What most of the changes boil down to is a complete and total rethink of our in combat buffing, combined with how we can better generate additional skill choices by using the Battle-readied and Battle-hardened combat states to do different things.

    I hope that this sparks ideas in the readers, and as always...

    Thoughts/comments/flames?
    Maley Oakensage, Captain of Elendilmir

    Alas Elendilmir, may you *jingle jangle* forever in the Forgotten West

  2. #2
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    Grats on post.
    I am not sure i understood a few points:

    -The distributed attack idea for Pressing attack- i don't see how having a distributed attack can help us. Either we will hit too hard against 2 mobs or make puny damage against 7 mobs. And we definitively need to undo the nerf DB got when dev damage went down from 2x to 1.5x. The current situation where our single target strong skills does less damage than our aoe skill is untenable, but i do not see how giving distributed damage to PA would help.

    -Stance/toggles are nice, but with a toggle we lose the ability to mix and match buffs, as in using the SoW effects from one brother skill and the to arms from another brother skill. this becomes especially important in song-brother, where the SoW effect is useless but the To Arms is fine. i am not saying that most captains juggle brother skills like that, just pointing out that toggles/stances are not perfect for buffs, not unless they come coupled with buff revamps.

  3. #3
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    Interesting ideas. Have to say, skill tree changes may be so huge as to make them mostly moot. I'm not totally sure what their goals are, just hope the result isn't class homogenization. I'm pretty happy with my Captain these days, so don't really feel a need for revolutionary changes. That said, I'm agreeable with much of what you suggest, just not sure I see the need (and not sure that stances are so great, but don't hate the idea either).

    Other changes I'd make involve nerfing at least some aspects of Rallying Cry. I'd like the skill itself to be a bit more powerful, but the minimum cooldown achievable to be at least 20 seconds. The current power of RC in spam situations (flight, e.g.), coupled with VS cooldown decrease gives you massive healing and basically forces you into a single build/armor set for those conditions. I resent Perseverence being required in any case, not because of the cost (I run a huge Comm surplus, which I'm using on my alt RK and my unplayed Warg) but because no armor set should be so dominant, and particularly a PvP set shouldn't be needed for PvE. I think our "best" single target heal, WoC, should be better and that should be balanced some, perhaps by longer Rallying Cry cooldown.

    While I'm not totally on board with stances, I do like the results of having a DPS stance. I think some way to get significantly higher DPS while maintaining class balance pretty much has to seriously nerf healing. I don't really care whether that is by the LtC capstone saying "+30% DPS, -50% healing to others", or by stances, or whatever....

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nascephor View Post
    -The distributed attack idea for Pressing attack- i don't see how having a distributed attack can help us. Either we will hit too hard against 2 mobs or make puny damage against 7 mobs. And we definitively need to undo the nerf DB got when dev damage went down from 2x to 1.5x. The current situation where our single target strong skills does less damage than our aoe skill is untenable, but i do not see how giving distributed damage to PA would help.
    The distributed damage is something I was looking at working in, and Pressing Attack seemed like an obvious choice. While this may not have come across clearly enough, both PA and Routing Cry should have damage distributed up to a maximum target cap, so what you're describing doesn't happen.

    With DB, I definitely agree.... maybe it needs something like +massive critical magnitude?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nascephor View Post
    -Stance/toggles are nice, but with a toggle we lose the ability to mix and match buffs, as in using the SoW effects from one brother skill and the to arms from another brother skill. this becomes especially important in song-brother, where the SoW effect is useless but the To Arms is fine. i am not saying that most captains juggle brother skills like that, just pointing out that toggles/stances are not perfect for buffs, not unless they come coupled with buff revamps.
    Eh, I was trying to convey a shift in how we buff, and how it mechanically works. While Strength of Will goes to an aura, To Arms functions like the buffs described in the Active Buffing section (albeit, without caring about battle state).

    That is, To Arms would be applied to you, and it would remain on you for the entire duration, and not be removed unless you die.

    This is where the Brother-at-Arms comes into play, which is a bit different than the current XBros. When you apply Brother-at-Arms, it will apply all of your in combat buffs onto the target for as long as you either have the buff, or until Brother-at-Arms is removed. When Brother-at-Arms is removed, you don't lose the buffs, rather, it pulls them from the target. Fellowship-brother also follows this logic, except it extends the buffs to the fellowship. It is also cleans up buffs you apply (so two captains can apply different buffs, but it would remove mine, and not the other captains).

    So getting back to your point, while you are locked in with Strength of Will, you can stance dance to apply the desireable To-Arms, apply that, and shift back to your original stance, and retain it.

    Quote Originally Posted by DelgonTheWise View Post
    Other changes I'd make involve nerfing at least some aspects of Rallying Cry. I'd like the skill itself to be a bit more powerful, but the minimum cooldown achievable to be at least 20 seconds. The current power of RC in spam situations (flight, e.g.), coupled with VS cooldown decrease gives you massive healing and basically forces you into a single build/armor set for those conditions. I resent Perseverence being required in any case, not because of the cost (I run a huge Comm surplus, which I'm using on my alt RK and my unplayed Warg) but because no armor set should be so dominant, and particularly a PvP set shouldn't be needed for PvE. I think our "best" single target heal, WoC, should be better and that should be balanced some, perhaps by longer Rallying Cry cooldown.
    I have a feeling that if the defeat response cooldown bug were ever fixed, this would (likely) go away. For those wondering, the game isn't doing the math for the reduction correctly, so things have a WAAAAY shorter cooldown than intended.

    As far as WoC goes.... I'd like to see that. It's a strong skill, but it doesn't feel strong enough. I blame Relentless Optimism partially here. The strongest healing improvement trait second only to the HoH capstone, and yet anyone can pick it up. If anything needs gating in our class, Relentless Optimism is it, because it's waaaaay to powerful to pick up without any other investment in HoH.

    Quote Originally Posted by DelgonTheWise View Post
    While I'm not totally on board with stances, I do like the results of having a DPS stance. I think some way to get significantly higher DPS while maintaining class balance pretty much has to seriously nerf healing. I don't really care whether that is by the LtC capstone saying "+30% DPS, -50% healing to others", or by stances, or whatever....
    I've felt this way for a long time - and the legacies are a large part of the problem here.

    I'm also more of a fan of choosing your buff (strong + DPS or strong + healing but not buff) rather than making a direct tradeoff (+healing and - DPS for instance). By making enough choices of +DPS over everything else, while we retain capacity to do the other things, it's so greatly diminished that it works in emergency situations, but it's not all that great. This is why I'm starting to favor stances over other approaches, because the stances give me the flexibility that I see as lacking in the class currently.
    Maley Oakensage, Captain of Elendilmir

    Alas Elendilmir, may you *jingle jangle* forever in the Forgotten West

  5. #5
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    I don't like the addition to stances. I'm not feeling the versatility there...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Graycient View Post
    I don't like the addition to stances. I'm not feeling the versatility there...
    Can you elaborate?

    What do you see as inflexible?
    Maley Oakensage, Captain of Elendilmir

    Alas Elendilmir, may you *jingle jangle* forever in the Forgotten West

  7. #7
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    You know, I've never been a big fan of putting stances on the Captain class. Maybe prior to RoI, that was a good idea, but IMO the idea that Captains use -Brother skills instead of stances is brilliant and suits the class' philosophy. It would be nice to have a little bit of something to use without an active -Brother skill, though, I'll grant that much.

    Also, TBH, I feel like the really radically modal skills you describe here (skill X can have like nine different effects based on your stance and where in the Battle State chain you use it, or whatever) is a bit extreme and a little confusing. I see what you're going for with it, but I think you maybe need to walk it back a little.

    However, the idea of allowing skills other than Battle-Shout to start the Battle State chain is really good, as is allowing other skills to trigger Defeat Events. HoH and LoM definitely need better access to controllable defeat events, and I think your ideas for doing that are probably the best part of this post.
    Cainwen Ciaphas, Captain of Crickhollow, HERO OF MIDDLE EARTH!!!
    I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered! My opinions are my own!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by furtim View Post
    You know, I've never been a big fan of putting stances on the Captain class. Maybe prior to RoI, that was a good idea, but IMO the idea that Captains use -Brother skills instead of stances is brilliant and suits the class' philosophy. It would be nice to have a little bit of something to use without an active -Brother skill, though, I'll grant that much.
    But the problem with the Brother Skills is that we can lose buffs if we lost the brother skill (like the target dies, or goes beyond the maximum distance).

    There's also a problem with not being able to cleanly separate out our healing and DPSing abilities. While few may agree with this, but a LtC build should never be able to produce comparable healing potential to a HoH build - that shows that the class is fundamentally broken when a DPS traiting (albeit, one that's really good at procing defeat responses) can output as much healing as a healing traiting.

    Quote Originally Posted by furtim View Post
    Also, TBH, I feel like the really radically modal skills you describe here (skill X can have like nine different effects based on your stance and where in the Battle State chain you use it, or whatever) is a bit extreme and a little confusing. I see what you're going for with it, but I think you maybe need to walk it back a little.
    Eh.... that's not one skill in that chart, it's three skills, that may not work in the respective stances (no stance is a buffing stance per the design doc in the OP).

    And each skill only has 3 additional benefits beyond what they originally do, much easier to keep track of.
    Maley Oakensage, Captain of Elendilmir

    Alas Elendilmir, may you *jingle jangle* forever in the Forgotten West

  9. #9
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    This is EPIC! Exactly as I see the Class, well done! Let´s hope developers take notice of this.

  10. #10
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    I really like your ideas, congratulations on a well balanced and thought out post. You seem to have considered a range of play styles too which is great.

    Although it is annoying, I do not consider that it is unreasonable to lose brother skills when your chosen brother dies. Going out of range can be annoying especially if your brother is a herald/archer.

    I am not sure that I would like to see the class as able to switch between top tier healing, DPS and tanking. Captains should be top tier buffers and motivators primarily and then able to fulfil secondary off-roles elsewhere in a fellowship. My concern here, as someone else mentioned, is a general amalgamation of all class roles. It is not an easy balancing act, when you take into account the wish to level, which often involves solo play and always involves the need to do decent damage.

    A really thought provoking post, thanks for sharing your ideas.
    Last edited by Ellenara; Jun 04 2013 at 02:06 AM.
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    Crafting beef jerky and elite harvesters since 2008.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ellenara View Post
    Although it is annoying, I do not consider that it is unreasonable to lose brother skills when your chosen brother dies. Going out of range can be annoying especially if your brother is a herald/archer.
    If it was viable to play without a Brother skill active in challenging content (not the landscape content), I'd agree with you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ellenara View Post
    I am not sure that I would like to see the class as able to switch between top tier healing, DPS and tanking. Captains should be top tier buffers and motivators primarily and then able to fulfil secondary off-roles elsewhere in a fellowship. My concern here, as someone else mentioned, is a general amalgamation of all class roles. It is not an easy balancing act, when you take into account the wish to level, which often involves solo play and always involves the need to do decent damage.
    I'm not really that concerned about it because there are multiple layers of stuff going on.

    Starting with the gearing, if a buffing captain in might/crit gear, a healing captain in tactical mastery/crit gear, and a DPS captain in physical mastery/crit gear were compared against each other, while the buffing captain would be a good all around build, the DPS captain would have a damage score, while the healing captain would have a higher outgoing healing score - and the DPS captain should have an abysmal tactical mastery rating and vice versa. Again, all of this depends on itemization, and there being enough reason in the class to actually go for those endpoints (in other words, we need to have the carrot of being able to achieve top tier DPS and top tier healing) - without both of those conditions in place, the differences in gearing start to blur, and one layer doesn't matter as much.

    Then comes traits. If Turbine gets the revamp right, then the capstones should definitely give us a huge boost in one given area.the buffing captain will favor running without a capstone, while the healing and DPSing captains will. Given how much of a buff each capstone with it's required traits should grant, there should be a significant difference in HPS and DPS output between LtC and HoH, so while the buffing captain will be able to take #2 in each (basically, us as we are now), the DPS and healing captain should reflect the RK and mini DPS and healing tradeoffs.

    All of what I've been talking about is stuff that **SHOULD** be functioning in the game as is. The problem we have is that some things that should be gated (like Relentless Optimism) aren't, which allows for a really shallow investment in healing traits to get a fairly large healing boost.

    So this is where stances come into play, like the mini and RK, stances (and attunement) are used to give the class the flexibility it needs to switch between the roles. One of the big reasons why I don't want to use the XBros as stances is that there is no support for a support style gameplay, it's either be one of the pieces of the trinity or be useless - which is not very good design when you have a class that should be able to support four roles.

    Support must be explicitly designed into the class (not the accidental mess we have now), or it's going to go away. Making support go away is going to be easier for the devs to maintain long term, but it's also something that makes LotRO stand out from the usual WoW-clone MMO, so it's something that we need to be actively advocating for its retention. This is one of the big reasons why I want to move away from using the XBros as stances, and just goto stances themselves.

    So, by taking all of these layers into account, you end up with a buffing captain that should retain the feel of the existing class, while the healing and DPSing captains have so traded so much competency other roles that they effectively become one trick ponies with a lot of panic buttons. Yes, a DPS captain can heal, but the healing is going to be so bad compared to the buffing captain's that it's only really good for emergency situations. The same should also hold true for the DPS aspect of the healing and buffing captains.

    But, like you pointed out, there are **A LOT** of balance headaches when dealing with a hybrid class - and this is one of the bigger ones =/

    Edit:
    I need to stop posting late at night >.<
    Last edited by Almagnus1; Jun 04 2013 at 10:13 AM.
    Maley Oakensage, Captain of Elendilmir

    Alas Elendilmir, may you *jingle jangle* forever in the Forgotten West

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Northern California
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    I am not able to thoroughly read this and had to even skip parts, sorry if my questions/comments are covered...

    about Stances and Bro skills... you seem to be talking about getting rid of bro skills in favor of stances, but then continue to talk about the proportional-shared-functionality that comes with the Fellowship Brother Trait. so, we sould still pick one person in our group to be our main focus? seems to go against the freedom that stances would bring... what did i miss here?

    I love the idea of Heal-aggro-Tanking. i think that it would fit perfect with stances (say double or triple threat from healing when in tank/yellow stance, for example.).

    Distro dmg would be a nice "special" mechanic for Capns. i like that! well, in theory, id have to see it in effect! Would you have a max number of targets? or is that the beauty? i like how attractive it can make DB (which i now never use, having a passive PA +Crit on my current wep) and how it give lots of possilbe defeat responses... as it is now, i dont use PA for the dmg! i just want a crit! any crit! i dont care if its a 2 dmg crit! i want that defeat response!

    sorry if you covered any of these questions... ill try to read more (thoroughly) later!

    overall, good stuff!
    "I am always serious; I am never serious." -Me
    "I make the most outrageous and exaggerated statements of any man to ever live, has ever lived, or that will ever live." -Me

  13. #13
    I'd like to see telling, revealing, and noble mark become more robust. Keep their current function but add an ability to use on ally.

    If I put telling mark on a hunter it would give the hunter +10% damage but no one else would benefit.
    If I put revealing mark on a champ that champ would get 15% morale returned for the damage he did but no one else would benefit from the mark.
    If I put noble mark on a tank it'd increase perceived threat by 10%.

    Given the potency some of the numbers may have to be toned down a bit.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Seattle, WA
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    7,600
    Quote Originally Posted by SapienChavez View Post
    about Stances and Bro skills... you seem to be talking about getting rid of bro skills in favor of stances, but then continue to talk about the proportional-shared-functionality that comes with the Fellowship Brother Trait. so, we sould still pick one person in our group to be our main focus? seems to go against the freedom that stances would bring... what did i miss here?
    How we actively buff changes too, so instead of buffing others, we buff ourselves. This is where Brother-at-Arms comes into play, which is the skill that all of the XBros condense down to. We lock that onto someone, and share the appropriate buffs from ourselves with them, this way, we don't lose buffs to range, and we're not completely and totally crippled without the XBro. FB continues to share the Brother-at-Arms buffs with the rest of the fellow, so from a user's perspective, not much changed there.

    Stances not only dictate which buffs can be applied, but also turn on/off the active buffing for several of the skill.

    This allows us to break Inpsire, To Arms, and Strength of Will away from the XBros (so we don't lose skills), while also not gimping us by not having the XBro.

    Quote Originally Posted by SapienChavez View Post
    I love the idea of Heal-aggro-Tanking. i think that it would fit perfect with stances (say double or triple threat from healing when in tank/yellow stance, for example.).
    Given that each of the heals are going to be threat leeches, I'm not sure if that's going to be needed.

    Still a good idea none-the-less.

    Quote Originally Posted by SapienChavez View Post
    Distro dmg would be a nice "special" mechanic for Capns. i like that! well, in theory, id have to see it in effect! Would you have a max number of targets? or is that the beauty? i like how attractive it can make DB (which i now never use, having a passive PA +Crit on my current wep) and how it give lots of possilbe defeat responses... as it is now, i dont use PA for the dmg! i just want a crit! any crit! i dont care if its a 2 dmg crit! i want that defeat response!
    Yep, put in max targets into the OP so we don't do a ton of DPS to a crowd, yet do trivial damage to the individuals. The more I think about it, the less I like the distributed damage mechanic though....

    Perhaps a dev can prove me wrong about it?

    Quote Originally Posted by SapienChavez View Post
    sorry if you covered any of these questions... ill try to read more (thoroughly) later!

    overall, good stuff!
    Always the cone of shame for ye =P
    Last edited by Almagnus1; Jun 07 2013 at 09:49 PM.
    Maley Oakensage, Captain of Elendilmir

    Alas Elendilmir, may you *jingle jangle* forever in the Forgotten West

 

 

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