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Backstab and Assassinate

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 Post subject: Backstab and Assassinate
PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:46 pm 
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A recent issue has been brought up with regards to backstab/assassinate failing when the target is below 95% hp. The thematic justification is that someone that is hurt is more cautious. In reality, this was done to prevent the old backstab-flee-repeat style of hunting.

This is an issue today due to the PK implications: someone can lower themselves to 95% of their total HP to prevent backstab damage, due to the meta-concept (non-thematic game mechanic). This has become more apparent due to forcewall users, although I'd argue that is just an extreme case and it is poor design anyways.

My current suggested fix:
Backstab would simply become a super-melee hit (similar to circle but with more damage), as opposed to a percentage based attack. Assassinate would no longer be used directly, but would simply add damage to the backstab skill and still allow for the chance to insta-kill (such as an "enhanced backstab" skill). This removes any notion of flat % damage, which doesn't exist anywhere else in the game mechanics (outside of decapitate which is a guaranteed kill when successful).

Since backstabs would simply be high damage melee hits, we do not need to worry about multiple backstabs (just as we don't worry about numerous circles or spells). We used to worry about this when it was %-based damage, since a 33% (vulnerable dagger assassinate) implied that three assassinates would kill the target if it was allowed. This is simply no longer the case.

To match the prior thematic reasoning for not being able to backstab (the target being cautious), a backstab will fail if the target's enemy list includes the backstabber. This would prevent the backstab-flee-repeat hunting style, since any aggressive action (such as a backstab) would add the charcater to the target's enemy list.

The implication of this change would be that numerous backstabs could occur against a target, but a single backstabber could only do this once. This suggests that a group that has multiple thieves/assassins does not limit a single thief/assassin to doing the backstab/assassinate while the others ignore their skills. Thus, multiple thieves/assassins won't lose power by grouping with each other. (Another minor thematic point, an adept blademaster that backstabs a level 50 rabbit will no long deal 25% damage, and instead would kill it instantly - either by a pure assassination or just large damage output - as expected.)

Minor changes to how the enemy list clears may be required, as well as changes general thief/assassin boosts to assist in damage (since this would lower overall damage from the skills in most cases).

Opinions welcome.



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 Post subject: Re: Backstab and Assassinate
PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 12:09 pm 

Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2013 11:39 am
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I do not believe this needs to change at all.

As far as the mechanic goes, it really needs to stay a % of max hp to be effective and balanced for both pk and mob hunting. If it were to be made a "super melee hit" how super are we talking?
Lets just use some arbitrary numbers, if a level 150 mob has 100,000 hp and is being hunted by a level 130 how much damage would a "super melee hit" backstab need to do to be effective? 10,000, 20,000. If you were to then take that same hit and apply it to a player your looking at a 1 hit kill or real close to it, which is just absurd. The problem is that mobs have much more hp than players so in order to be effective for both mob hunting and pk it needs to stay % based.

In regards to pk, I think that the ability to nullify a backstab by reducing hp is just as valid as some other techniques used to gain an advantage. Generally speaking if you attack someone while they are hunting they will have full hp and you wont have a problem sneaking up on them. However, if you as a thief attack someone who is expecting your attack not gonna get the element of surprise.

The way the system currently works also has the effect of helping to nullify those that use triggers and spam attack commands in pk, which is a good thing.

So please, don't change the way backstab works, thieves do not need to be any better than they currently are in pk or in hunting.


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 Post subject: Re: Backstab and Assassinate
PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 2:46 pm 
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After recent talks in-game, here is an addendum to the original post:

* Backstabs with an invalid target will get a lag time of approximately half that of a valid backstab attempt. This is to limit the effectiveness of spamming. Still not a good answer to the trigger concept, but that's an issue for all commands anyways.

* Backstab damage can likely be equivalent to circle damage, since it has only 3 seconds of lag (as opposed to the 8 seconds of circle lag). This make is effectively 267% as efficient as a circle in terms of DPS. Assassinate will likely boost backstab by 1.5x to 2.0x damage (for non-insta-kills). This would put it at 400% - 533% as efficient as a circle in terms of DPS. Further, circles that poison the target already boost poison damage further than a standard melee hit that poisons. Backstab will cause a larger poison boost than circle, and assassinate will enhance that boost as well. The only larger poison boost will be from poisonous strike

I intend to keep backstab as the primary thief method of starting a battle, except in rare situations where other things are deemed more important.



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 Post subject: Re: Backstab and Assassinate
PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 7:23 pm 

Joined: Wed May 19, 2010 5:33 pm
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Copied from note 10780 ingame:


Firstly, I don't really think it needs to change at all, but if the decision IS made to change, this is how I would do it... Merge backstab and assassinate into one skill. Currently, there are virtually no reasons why an assassin would ever backstab after they learn assassinate. The only one I know of, and it is very obscure, is that backstab will do bonus damage to a sleeping target, whereas assassinate will not. (enough that backstab vs sleeping target > assassinate) The other reason I think has been corrected backstab used to be usable at 95% and above, and assassinate at 96% and above, but if not, it should be made consistent. Basically, I'm saying that assassins should simply automatically try to assassinate when using a dagger, just like knights automatically try to shield slam when they bash with a shield, or rangers automatically try to tripleshot when shooting arrows. (if an assassin tries to backstab with a nondagger in my system, it would simply do the backstab damage, as assassinate only works with a dagger, whereas backstab works with a nondagger but does half damage or somewhere in that neighbourhood)

If the high damage output hit were desired, one could simply add some sort of affects flag when it lands that lasts 60 seconds or whatever, and after being hit by this type of backstab/assassinate, you can't be targeted by it until that time wears out. This would make it nonpercentage based, but I don't really like that possibility. Mostly I mention it in case it helps someone else think of a better one.

The other possibility would be to make backstab/assassinate usable no matter what the opponent's hp is at (still only usable if the assassin/thief is outside of combat to start) and keep the same percentage based attack, but give it a permanent affect that prevents a second bs/ass from being used on it. This works for mobs, but would cause problems for players, though setting the time to be nonpermanent, say 1-2 minutes or something, would work I think.

(Suland) Edit: Removed duplicate text blocks that existed in the original note.


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