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Skull132

How would you: balance combat

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So lately the B A L A N C E of combat has been a major talking point among the developers. Probably a natural evolution from the previous discussions of antag-v-sec gameplay balance.

In general, there are quite a few issues with combat balance. We have too many guns that differ only by a slight margin. We have plentiful access to good weapons but combat itself is a very short lived and boolean experience (either you survive or you die, the gray area inbetween is minimal, specially when dealing with ballistics). Armor is absolutely worthless as well.

There are roughly two directions to head in when it comes to balancing combat. Either making earnest engagements more lethal, ala Lifeweb; or by making earnest engagements last longer and have more room for being taken out of the battle but not killed.

Since our attitude towards guns and relatively high powered weapons in general is that they must be plentiful, we cannot really pursue a situation similar to lifeweb. It just doesn't work without massive rejiggering and crying about weapons being removed. So perhaps the latter is better for us, where there's more room to get injured and leave a fight, as opposed to getting nuked. It would also be a natural evolution from the fight against instastun.

To that end, a few changes are relatively easy to do:

  • Nerf shrapnel to not be the killer that it is now. The current idea is to shift it to causing HALLOSS instead of bruteloss and internal bleeding while moving.
  • Rebalance health so that being knocked out doesn't immediately correspond with your character aggressively dying.
  • Remove 80% of the ranged weapons that differ from each other by like 5 damage points and streamline selection and ranged weapon balance from there.
  • Watch the world burn down around me.

But there are a few major issues here. One is melee combat. Disarm spam specially. A potential solution would be to remove the ability to spam it and make it timer based, and also require that you have a weapon grab on someone. That way it'd work on stunned, concussed, or otherwise really fucking dumb opponents. But would be worthless against an armed opponent. (Which it arguably should be! Weapons should always be superior to unarmed combat.)

Another issue is synthetics. Synths currently share the space of two hells. First, they are prone to the magic counter bullshit. For those unaware, the magic counter bullshit zone is a zone where you have a very limited set of tools for dealing with a relatively widespread issue. IPCs less so, since you can reasonably damage them with conventional means (read: they don't tank brute like a motherfucker), but borgs are not the same story. The second, because they reside is the magic counter bullshit zone, the magic counters tend to be horribly powerful against them (EMPs for both and flashes for borgs). Which also isn't too good for gameplay.

All in all. Opinions? 😏

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I would not suggest taking out weapons, no matter how little the differentiate from each other. It's like in real life, a pistol is a pistol, yet there are hundreds, if not thousands of models of it. We pretend to be part of a living universe, it would not make sense to only have three pistol models, that's it. I'd say we need more different weapon models, not less.

Rebalancing shrapnel and health sounds good, though.

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1 hour ago, Skull132 said:

But there are a few major issues here. One is melee combat. Disarm spam specially. A potential solution would be to remove the ability to spam it and make it timer based, and also require that you have a weapon grab on someone. That way it'd work on stunned, concussed, or otherwise really fucking dumb opponents. But would be worthless against an armed opponent. (Which it arguably should be! Weapons should always be superior to unarmed combat.)

Disarm spam is, IMO, the #1 problem. It's a meta solution and ridiculous assumption that anyone could easily disarm a weapon from an opponent. This change alone would make combat leagues better than it is.

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Yeah disarm spam is a serious problem which is abused by so many people, you kinda expect it when you try anything.

Same with flash spam against Borgs. Giving them sunglasses with the malf / illegal upgrade would be neat, but to make it more fair I'd suggest giving flashes a cooldown of a minute or so... That way the rogue Borg won't be able to just ignore five people trying to flash it, while at the sae time still having the option to flee after taking some damage.

The removal of sec Borgs has taken away our only ranged options and the flash is right now way too strong against all the other modules.

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Make more simple items such as crowbars have parry chances, make it so stuff like fists are easier to parry and swords are harder to parry. That way any sort of weapon is better than a angry medical doctor with blue hair who knows several forms of martial arts, and any actual weapon is better than some baldie with a toolbox.

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22 minutes ago, Cnaym said:

Giving them sunglasses with the malf / illegal upgrade would be neat

 

I believe this already happens with a malf borg upgrade.

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Lifeweb does not have skills you can pick. Fates start with skills based on a dice-roll that determines the precise skill-level of individuals. This is a Ranged and a Melee skill number, that is increased based on specialization. You have Melee 5. You have spec 3 with a sword. You effectively have melee 8 when using a sword.

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Posted (edited)

By complimenting existing mechanics and vetting future weapons and mechanics around them. Different styles of combat already have different levels of success depending on your species. Tajara are built kiters and unathi are built for CQC. Emphasize these classes.

A skill system would be really annoying.

Edited by Marlon Phoenix

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20 hours ago, Skull132 said:

Nerf shrapnel to not be the killer that it is now. The current idea is to shift it to causing HALLOSS instead of bruteloss and internal bleeding while moving.

This is probably good. An antag with just a single piece of shrapnel right now is a death sentence. 

20 hours ago, Skull132 said:

Remove 80% of the ranged weapons that differ from each other by like 5 damage points and streamline selection and ranged weapon balance from there.

Probably fine too. Theres too many guns tbh. 

20 hours ago, Skull132 said:

A potential solution would be to remove the ability to spam it and make it timer based, and also require that you have a weapon grab on someone. That way it'd work on stunned, concussed, or otherwise really fucking dumb opponents. But would be worthless against an armed opponent.

An idea i have always loved is cause brute damage to nerds who try to disarm you of your esword/axe/knife. You dont try to throw hands to someone with an edged weapon. 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Hello.

I'm presently working on a project, expect something later this week or next week in the projects subforum. It will address the following issues:

1. The lack of actual variety between firearms. Existing guns will have different performance modifiers such as ammunition capacity, damage and armor penetrative capability, in addition to size, fire delay and control.
2. Damage models will be addressed to be as close to believable as possible.
3. Armor models will be uptuned, but new AP calibers will be added into the game, in addition to hollowpoints/other unique ammunition.
4. Existing unique ammunition will either be buffed or nerfed depending on their current power presently.
5. The hardcrit threshold when you start to die will be pushed to 175 damage from 150. Suffocation from hardcrit will be 1/4th of the current rate.
6. Looking into a possibility that you won't die until certain thresholds are met for organ damage IN ADDITION to overall trauma. Probably won't be feasible and we'll leave it alone at 200.
7. Most likely going to remove *deathgasp from the game. It's silly and immersion-breaking.
8. Disarming will be removed entirely and replaced with shoving people 1 tile away 80% of the time and 20% of the time pushing people over. Aggressive grabs will be required instead to disarm people. Disarming will help you buy time instead of being an instant "I turn the tables of a fight" button.
9. Resist spamming will be majorly nerfed in order to buff grabs, an already risky move as it requires you to stay 1 tile in range to pull off.
10. It will be guaranteed to break out of a passive grab, rewarding players with good resist timing and encouraging people to key it up to a macro. It will not be guaranteed to break out of an aggressive grab and even less so in a neck grab.
11. The time required to wait before upgrading a grab will also be very slightly increased to prevent grabs from being too powerful.
12. Force gloves will be removed from the game.

Edited by Scheveningen

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Also, I think shrapnel is fine as-is. Traitors need auto-surgery kits to address the problem to themselves (but you have to wait 2 minutes for the surgery kit to fix you), mercs, heisters, cultists, revs can all fix their comrades, ninjas should get an auto-surgery kit in their hardsuit that requires them to be stationary for 2 minutes.

Changelings and vampires also aren't affected by this as I think their auto-heal fixes themselves? Not sure about vampires, yes on changelings though.

Wizards are a different story but pretty much everyone goes lich anyway sooo lmao.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Scheveningen said:

Also, I think shrapnel is fine as-is. Traitors need auto-surgery kits to address the problem to themselves (but you have to wait 2 minutes for the surgery kit to fix you), mercs, heisters, cultists, revs can all fix their comrades, ninjas should get an auto-surgery kit in their hardsuit that requires them to be stationary for 2 minutes.

Changelings and vampires also aren't affected by this as I think their auto-heal fixes themselves? Not sure about vampires, yes on changelings though.

Wizards are a different story but pretty much everyone goes lich anyway sooo lmao.

Just make it so if a Wizard uses a healing spell, it automatically gets rid of shrapnel. This might sound OP, but in order to get rid of Shrapnel normally, you need to expose yourself to Medbay and hope Security doesn't come to fucking arrest you right after, which ends your round basically.

 

EDIT: Vampires can actually survive Shrapnel so long as they continuously Blood Heal the damage off. It works, but it doesn't remove it permanently.

 

Changelings....I don't know, maybe just say they shift their skin to eject all content, vomiting out current reagents, shrapnel, and cavities?

Edited by GreenBoi

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3 hours ago, Scheveningen said:

7. Most likely going to remove *deathgasp from the game. It's silly and immersion-breaking.
8. Disarming will be removed entirely and replaced with shoving people 1 tile away 80% of the time and 20% of the time pushing people over. Aggressive grabs will be required instead to disarm people. Disarming will help you buy time instead of being an instant "I turn the tables of a fight" button.

I love you. I assume it won't be as spammable as it is now?

3 hours ago, Scheveningen said:

9. Resist spamming will be majorly nerfed in order to buff grabs, an already risky move as it requires you to stay 1 tile in range to pull off.
10. It will be guaranteed to break out of a passive grab, rewarding players with good resist timing and encouraging people to key it up to a macro. It will not be guaranteed to break out of an aggressive grab and even less so in a neck grab.
11. The time required to wait before upgrading a grab will also be very slightly increased to prevent grabs from being too powerful.

Making resist less spammable is probably a good idea. Though even with the reduced upgrade speed, I worry that a blue grab will basically be a win button. This is obviously speculation since I'm not sure what numbers you're plugging in, but grabs are already extremely strong. Yeah, a neckgrab should be nearly impossible to break, but I only ask that you be careful with the blue grab values. I wonder if there's a way/if it's a good idea to increase your chance of breaking out of a grab while it's being upgraded, to further encourage good timing. 

21 hours ago, JamOfBoy said:

Make more simple items such as crowbars have parry chances, make it so stuff like fists are easier to parry and swords are harder to parry. That way any sort of weapon is better than a angry medical doctor with blue hair who knows several forms of martial arts, and any actual weapon is better than some baldie with a toolbox.

I really like the idea of parry chances for melee weapons. I wish we could do something with intents and that, too; ie: on disarm intent, your parry chance is increased, but your attacks are either slower or do less damage. Something to make it less of a caveman "i bonk you, you bonk me, go until one man horizontal"

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Re: @Scheveningen

Wtf im actually agreeing with Delta. Anyways, to cut to the chase.

Your first point will be heavily dependent on how you rework armour and the health. And even still, I think it's better to start with a scaled back setup. Something along the lines of having a few strong ballistic weapons, and a few light ones. Even though what you propose in the later points does give more room to play around with their balancing, how far it'll extend said turf is questionable.

2 is unclear and can mean anything from brain med to doing nothing at all. "As believable as possible" would put us leaning towards lifeweb, where guns mirk you after a few bullets. Which, as explained in my opening post, is not a good idea. Tho making it have more leeway is a good idea.

4. I heavily encourage you to remove existing ammunition types at will. Make large categories that are easy to distinguish and balance. Instead of a million ones that vary incrementally from one another. Specially when our damage model can't even support these incremental differences.

5. yes i want to see this happen and how it works ingame do it.

7. People will ghost instead. Tho perhaps we should remove this ability. 🤔 eh another crusade for another time.

8. Be careful with this. Or make it dependent on a timer or something. Idek. Also, +1 for the idea to tie disarming to grabbing, I had the same idea.

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2 hours ago, Skull132 said:

2 is unclear and can mean anything from brain med to doing nothing at all. "As believable as possible" would put us leaning towards lifeweb, where guns mirk you after a few bullets. Which, as explained in my opening post, is not a good idea. Tho making it have more leeway is a good idea.

Will try to blend lethality and fairness together, don't worry. I will not allow one-shots to happen.

2 hours ago, Skull132 said:

4. I heavily encourage you to remove existing ammunition types at will. Make large categories that are easy to distinguish and balance. Instead of a million ones that vary incrementally from one another. Specially when our damage model can't even support these incremental differences.

That's likely what is going to happen. Shotgun shell types will most likely stay, but there will at least be two types of rifle calibers (hi-power and low-power, respectively), and two types of pistol calibers (hi-power and low-power, once again) and et cetera. Machine pistols and SMGs will be considered pistols for the most part, but unlike pistols, SMGs won't be small-sized and be able to fit in pockets. Certain hi-power pistols will be too large to fit into a pocket (i.e., a desert eagle), but they will share exact performance similarities with other high-power pistol bullet types. Hi-power ballistics will have great stopping power/armor penetration, but heavy recoil and low rate of fire. Low-power ballistics will have low stopping power/armor penetration, but very dependable recoil, ability to be concealed more easily and also on occasion possessing higher capacity for ammunition.

In terms of unique ammunition, lo-power ammo will generally have hollow-points to bolster their damage, but lose any small quality of armor penetration they would've had with regular jacketed ammo. Hi-power will have AP munitions and not much else.

I was considering medium-power ballistics and how they would fit in, but I decided that wouldn't be worth doing, considering it's hard to balance weapons around the thought of being jack of all trades but master of none, while still making said weapons interesting. Not particularly feasible, unfortunately.

2 hours ago, Skull132 said:

7. People will ghost instead. Tho perhaps we should remove this ability. 🤔 eh another crusade for another time.

Oh, I didn't mean remove succumb, but rather, removing the silly emote that prints out that you "seize up and fall limp, their eyes dead and lifeless..." when you reach the death threshold, such as 60 brain damage or 200 combined trauma.

2 hours ago, Skull132 said:

8. Be careful with this. Or make it dependent on a timer or something. Idek. Also, +1 for the idea to tie disarming to grabbing, I had the same idea.

I thought about tying it to stamina, but timers are easier to fuck with. Anything to switch up this boring meta atm.

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W e i g h t e d  s k i l l  s y s t e m

Ive been burning for this since I first saw it. Maybe not as meme as is where you can deflect bullets with a PDA but something in between. Make your skills matter, not just for combat!

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As long as a skill system isn't tied to role but to character, I'd like that. Having a Head of Security or the like completely forget how to fight because they're off-duty is absolutely fucking retarded and immersion breaking. Simply have skills be something that's 'locked in' to a character, and they get to allocate maybe 1 new point every 3-6 months. Or just not use a skill system entirely because it's a fucking pain and it goes out the window when either a 4'11" 17 y.o. cargo midget assigns max combat skills or the 6'2" HoS forgets how to fight at all because he's a visitor this shift.

For balance itself;

More ion and EMP-based weaponry, or make IPCs no longer immune to halloss; If they can be shocked by doors, they can be shocked by tasers and batons.

Enable crawling to work for downed/injured people and not just people who are resting and crawling to avoid space lube.

Make guns crippling but not lethal, that is to say, if I shoot some John in the leg with a shotgun, keep him from chasing me but don't have him die in 3 minutes even though I've already walked off. Broken bones and shrapnel causing pain, slowdown, etcetera over intense bleedout.

To the same vein, throw the instant stuns of old out the door or give them counters. Vampire's glare is an AoE stun that doesn't follow the rules of flash protection for some reason, despite the wiki stating otherwise. Similar for things like tabling, door-related attacks and the like, less stuns.

To make up for less/weaker stuns, make halloss last longer or have more long-term detrimental effects related to movement. Give more antags the ability to do halloss; such as allowing vampires to chuck people against walls and do halloss (having throws and more unarmed moves doing this would be good), let sword/melee users have the option to 'pull their punches' in a sense of performing attacks that disable rather than cause crippling injury.

Less maxcap bombs from malf, instead give them more disabling options (such as a localized backpressure surge of sleeping gas, or some ridiculous short-circuiting of the machines instead causing electricity to arc out and shock someone for ok burn and strong halloss instead of just the wewlad gibbing).

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I don't want to let this die. Here are some new ideas:

Right now you can pull people out of grabs. As in, if person 1 grabs person 2, person 3 pulls person 2, person 2 will go along with person 3. This is completely backwards logic - someone with an actual GRAB should not be beaten by someone pulling.

Speaking of:
Grabs are in a weird position. Simultaneously a fight-ender, yet easily avoided by not being unconscious. A nerf to the lethality of grabs while buffing how easily you can get one would be interesting. Resisting out of grabs should be changed - right now you can't hit the person who has neck grabbed you. If someone tried to get me in a headlock, I know I'd be trying to hit them. Resisting mechanically should still be an option, but attacking with some severe penalties might be easier. Targetting a limb while you have someone in a neck grab/blue grab should disable attacks regarding those body parts. Pinning the arms prevents them from punching, meaning they could only bite (bite attacks need a nerf - not the special vaurca verb bite, to clarify) or kick. This also affects grabs in another way - which body part do you target? Right now there is essentially no reason not to target the mouth unless you're going for some other manoeuvre. But with a change like this, you must decide between silencing your opponent of preventing them from attacking effectively. As the grabbed, you need to consider - this person DOES have me pinned, and in a position where they can inflict extreme damage. Is resisting via attacking worth the wrath I may incur?

In terms of resisting out of grabs, the halloss damage on the grabbee should be a key factor. Kicking your opponent in the lower body, THEN resisting, should be more effective than spamming resist.

An addendum on melee combat, the RNG of such things needs to be tweaked to be reliant on some kind of other factor - pain is an easy one, but dizziness, etc, could also play a part. I should not get punched once in the head and immediately fall unconscious. Changing disarm intent to be more of an "evade" intent could be useful - you're going to try your best to avoid a knife, and it is similarly not necessarily easy to hit someone with one.

I don't know game design. My ideas might all be trash, completely unfeasible, or something similar. Please continue this discussion, as the results could improve the game. Thank you for coming to my ted talk

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