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Giving Armor Better Purpose

Discussion in 'Project: Gorgon Discussion Hall' started by Sinistralis, Jul 12, 2013.

  1. Sinistralis

    Sinistralis Visitor

    Jul 2, 2013
    Likes Received:
    I touched base on this earlier in a different thread, but I wanted to bring attention to this again in it's own thread.

    Me and Rakua have been doing a lot of critiquing lately now that we have a better idea of the games system. Armor, in it's current form, is a glorified health pool that just to happen to take a little extra damage from a few skills.

    I feel like it needs repurposed a little. Here are some suggestions.

    Add a skill to Armor Patching called Reinforce.

    -0 Energy
    -30 Cooldown
    Nullifies stun and knockback effects if armor is above 50% (Make this eventually be 0 as you gain more ranks) for the next 5 seconds. Consumes 1 Armor Kits when Used.

    This will add a secondary effect to Reinforce, and presents a badly needed mechanic to the game. Stun/Knockback prevention.

    Additionally, we feel like armor should penalize damage slightly. Not damage striking armor specifically, but all incoming damage should be reduced by 25% or so when it hits armor. If a skill overtakes armor, then this penalty will not apply.

    So for example, if a skill does 20 damage and you use it on a target with 30 Armor, it deals 15 damage.

    If the target has 10 Armor, it deals 20 damage. -10 Armor, and -10 Health because the 20 damage overtakes the 10 Armor.

    If the skill deals 10 Damage and 20 Armor Damage, and the mob has 30 Armor, it will be dealt 27.5 damage.

    If the mob has 25 Armor, then it will be dealt 30 damage.

    If the mob has 15 Armor, it will be dealt 25 damage.

    This gives additional strategic value to skills that target armor, gives a purpose to having armor, and just overall increases the gameplay value, I feel.
  2. Rakua

    Rakua Visitor

    Jul 10, 2013
    Likes Received:
    This was actually one of the things that caught my attention almost immediately after I started playing the game.
    You pick up a few pieces of armor once you get a few enemies killed, put it on, and expect to have a bit more survivability. Only to find out... You don't.

    The way armor works right now, it's like having taken the +Health on armor stats from many other games and simply made it more complicated: A third stat (hardly different from Health) was created to calculate it. The only real difference between your Health and Armor stats is... One, you die if it hits 0. The other, you move into your next stat. There's no benefit to keeping armor at max, other than giving you a few more hits that you can take before dying.

    With damage dealt being the same regardless of armor being used or not, adding "armor" is really just adding another health stat. Sure, having this extra stat is pleasant. Almost reassuring, even. But the purpose of armor is to reduce damage done to the wearer. By having the "armor" stat reduced instead of the health stat, it would seem to be performing this function... But all that is actually going on in most cases is your extra health(armor) is being chipped away at. This happens at the same rate at which health takes damage, implying that one could be substituted for the other altogether.

    By giving armor some form of actual damage reduction, armor has more of a purpose than to extend your health pool. It gives you a reason to keep your armor up, which gives meaning to the Mentalism Armor Wave skill. Right now, I'd sooner just use the Health version, since several enemies have attacks that bypass armor to a degree, anyway.

    On to the idea of adding a skill, such as the listed Reinforce skill, would make not only armor itself shine, but also the Armor Patching skill. I personally have never once thought of repairing my armor mid-battle with the Patch Armor skill, and probably never will with armor as it is. It's easier and frequently more cost efficient to use First Aid or, if you have them, one of the heal skills.

    Giving Armor Patching a useful skill to appeal to players is almost a necessity. First Aid has the Treat Disease skill as a counterpart, if you will. This skill is useful to people who need to use it, but not everyone needs it. Reinforce would be useful to people who have major issues with stun/knockback, but not necessary if you don't feel you need it. Still, given that how, if a player is a bit unlucky, you can get stunlocked to death, being able to prevent stuns for even just a short time could make an enormous difference. It would give players a possible reason to level Armor Patching up, as well as a reason to keep a better eye on their armor if you could only use it when you have a certain amount of armor or higher.

    The main issue at hand here though, is how armor is currently just an extension of your health pool. It doesn't hurt to have it, but it really doesn't have enough to it to be separated from health.
  3. Finkum

    Finkum Visitor

    Apr 15, 2013
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    I agree that armour is currently too similar to health (which, on a side note, is one of the reasons I'm not a fan of the HP -> power conversion effect currently being trialled), but I'm not sure that having it just linearly reduce all damage taken is the best way to differentiate it - at least not in isolation.

    I liked the idea that I think Sinistralis floated in a different thread, where armour natively mitigated certain status conditions like stuns, knock-backs, or knock-downs. I also think that different damage schools should interact with armour in different ways, in a rigorous fashion - e.g. poison attacks should have no effect on an armoured target, piercing attacks ignore some percent of armour, and psychic attacks ignore it entirely. This is already true to an extent (e.g. Mentalism's Mindreave attack ignores armour) but if the interactions were codified to be universal and expanded on it would help give armour it's own identity.

    Lastly, it's odd how currently it's easier to heal yourself (via any of First Aid/Mentalism/Psychology/snack food) than it is to fix your armour (just Armour Patching) - intuitively you'd expect it's both easier, cheaper and faster to bang out a dent in some plate, or sew on a patch, or whatever, than it is to heal grievous wounds to your body. If armour repair abilities were spread around a bit more, and all healing effects were changed such that they were either HoTs, expensive, absorbs, had long cool-downs or had some other complexity penalty, then that would further distinguish the two pools: armour is something you can cheaply (maybe even rotationally) regenerate, health is (more) expensive and fiddly.

    So for example:

    Pretend armour ability "Breathing Space": You instantly roll back 5 meters and readjust your armour, increasing your armour score by 50. Costs 15 power. 15 second cool-down vs
    Pretend healing ability "Dull the Pain": You take 33% reduced HP damage from the next 3 attacks that hit you (has no effect on armour damage). Lasts 10 seconds. Costs 40 power. 60 second cool-down.

    (Place-holder numbers, just to give you an idea of the type of disparity I'm thinking of).
    #3 Finkum, Jul 12, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2013
  4. Citan

    Citan Project: Gorgon Developer

    Oct 23, 2012
    Likes Received:
    My first thought is "hmm, monsters need to hit twice as hard"... :) if you don't care for the extra survivability from armor, the game balance is probably way too easy. Which makes it hard to really see how useful or not-useful armor is in general. And I guess my earlier info kind of backs that up: previously, many monsters did significantly less damage against armor -- much like how werewolf claw attacks and deer kick attacks do less -- and nobody really noticed or cared. The monsters weren't doing enough damage that it mattered if you took 50% less damage before your armor wore out. (Or, perhaps, people just didn't have enough armor to notice that it was doing less.) I ended up taking it off of monsters a while back because of the old adage "if players can't notice a game mechanic, you might as well not have a game mechanic." I need to revisit it and try to figure out why it didn't seem to matter.

    But past that, you have a good point, armor doesn't do a lot different for players yet. And it should. But I'd like to approach it from a different angle. I don't really want to tie universal game rules to the Armor pool because that limits what monsters and equipment can do with it. Think of it like playing Magic: The Gathering, but the rule book says that all White cards deal +1 damage, while all Green cards have +1 health. If the game hard-coded those rules, there'd be a lot fewer interesting card possibilities. So instead, all the colors of Magic are "just the same", except of course they're not -- they let you use different abilities.

    The point being that I'd like to tie more effects into armor, but not in a universal way -- for instance, maybe most metal helmets have the buff "50% chance to ignore Stuns if your Armor is above 100" or something like that. Not all helmets would have it, though, and others might have different buffs. This might be a chance to add different armor material types, finally... so even though cloth armor has similar Armor points to metal armor (because magic!), it would have very different benefits to your Armor pool. Cloth might give you a chance to absorb damage into Power, or something like that, and leather might do a third thing.

    I haven't really been worrying about this part too much right now, though, because I felt like the extra "health" from armor should already be pretty useful, albeit not very interesting... and if it isn't useful, I should fix that first, before I spend time gilding a turd. But the other factor is that I have a DIFFERENT problem to fix pertaining to armor: monster armor. Monsters similarly have "just another health pool", and I'd like to add more differentiation in there.

    The problem, though, is conveying how it works. I think it's pretty easy to have special armor rules on equipment, because you'll read the armor as you put it on, and later "oh, hey, that "RESIST" floaty means I resisted a Stun because of my hat. Yay." But if I add a rule for monsters that's similar, it will just be confusing. "Why didn't the goblin get stunned?!" I'd need some way to tell you that goblins have stun resistance until you deplete their armor.

    Much like I want different armor to have different effects, I want different groups of monsters to have different "armor rules". So maybe skeletons are the baseline, and armor doesn't do anything special for them. But goblins get stun resistance, animals get Fear/Mez resistance, dinosaurs get a chance to reduce damage by 50%... etc. The point being that it's not all just random hodge-podge, it's done by "category" of monster. That way players should be able to learn the different rules, and after a lot of playing, they'd instantly recognize what's going on when fighting a particular monster. That's all well and good. The trick is: how do I teach players those special monster-specific rules in the first place? I dunno. I played with icons and it was just a mess. My next thought was I could add a skill called Monster Lore, that lets you analyze a monster and read a little description of what it can do. The problem with that is most players won't bother. So they'll have no idea why their attacks tend to do less damage to dinosaurs (or whatever). So still pondering that.

    Anyway, as I mentioned above, monsters should do more damage (aside from the low-level monsters, which are fine). There's a couple reasons I haven't actually done that yet. One, I'm going to be nerfing some abilities and equipment buffs soon, and I don't want to nerf players' damage output at the same time that I buff monster damage... that'll make it too chaotic. The other reason is that I want to add those armor-rules to monsters, and those will increase the monsters' longevity. Which means they won't need as much damage buffing, at least in theory. So my current order is probably something like this:

    - get skill and treasure stats in the right ballpark
    - get monster armor buffs installed (and somehow teach players what they are)
    - get monster damage in the right ballpark
    - add new armor buffs for players, then repeat, because that will throw everything out of whack again :)
    #4 Citan, Jul 12, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2013
  5. Sinistralis

    Sinistralis Visitor

    Jul 2, 2013
    Likes Received:
    So it's another case of an incomplete mechanic, gotcha.

    I wasn't aware you were willing to have that diverse of an armor system. I'll keep this in mind down the road once skills get figured out, which is a whole other thing.