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Combat Module B: Paladin and dark-knight changes.

 
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Burzuk
Implementor


Joined: 20 Jan 2004
Posts: 530

PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2005 10:17 am    Post subject: Combat Module B: Paladin and dark-knight changes.

Paladins and dark-knights had remained almost completely untouched by Combat Module B, and as hybrid fighting classes one would have surmised that changes for them were due sooner or later. So without farther ado:

DODGE

The loss of dodge was easily the largest change for the two hybrid fighters. In looking at paladins and dark-knights, one thing was abundantly clear: they had been easily dominating other fighting classes in straight-up fights (both pure fighters and rogues) due to their extremely potent spellcasting capabilities, and it's clear that the hybrids should not continue to stand toe-to-toe with pure fighters and rogues when it comes to straight blow-for-blow exchanges. Rather than taking away, say, third attack or dual wield, dodge was the more logical option to remove so that hybrids fighters could keep their offensive melee advantage over spellcasters (where they definitely need it). Mind you that dodge was added for them way back during the original AR beta testing period (and was NOT a part of their original design template) so removing dodge from them was long, long overdue. Without dodge, it is now impossible for the two hybrids to stack 3 separate defenses like the other fighters and rogues were capable of doing (i.e. parry/dodge/shield, parry/dodge/dual parry, or parry/dodge/counterbalance), so it ensures that paladins and dark-knights will actually have to rely upon their spellcasting to make up the difference.

SET PARRY

In many ways, set parry is the complement of counterbalance: after we had introduced counterbalance, I kept waiting for someone on the forum to say "hey we have an enhanced dodge skill for rogues, how come we don't have an enhanced parry skill for another class?" since dodge and parry are the yin and yang of defenses. (Another example is how the pairing of combat styles and weapon types also reflect this.) Of course, we had been planning just this skill all along, and thus I said nothing during the "paladins need changing" threads. Although pure fighters (warriors, berserkers, rangers) have no need of an "enhanced parry", set parry fits into our scheme for dodge-less hybrid fighters perfectly -- or as Sethronu said in another thread, "intuitively". We've made set parry to be exactly halfway between the effectiveness of counterbalance and shield block (i.e. it's stronger than counterbalance), so parry + set parry is very close to parry + shield block in effectiveness. Just like most warriors and rangers will "downgrade" defensively from shield to dual parry for the very worthwhile extra offhand damage, so will most hybrid fighters "downgrade" from shield to set parry for the very worthwhile extra 2h damage. A shield is still better for purely defensive situations, but in most cases, a 2h weapon will provide hybrids with the best combination of offense and defense. The disarm protection is very nice as well, especially since it also protects hybrid fighters from the many disarming effects of rogue weapon type skills.

STRIKE OF FAITH, STRIKE OF PAIN

Without dodge, the dual wield combat style becomes the ugly red-headed stepchild for hybrid fighters. Just when would a hybrid fighter dual wield and leave himself with only parry, anyway? The answer is, of course, against spellcasters, and that's where strike of faith and strike of pain come in. You'll notice that we've purposely granted the hybrid fighters neither combat style skills nor weapon type skills, as though we were going to leave spellcasters off the hook with not needing to worry about weapon ward against hybrid fighters. Not so. The two strike skills punish spellcasters rather brutally for any lapses in weapon ward, especially the 3rd tier and 4th tier strikes. If you're playing a spellcaster and you get hit by one or two of the strikes, you will NEED to keep a VERY close eye on your weapon ward duration until those strikes wear off, since getting struck by third and fourth strikes on top of those will very likely kill you one way or another. Also, the strike skills are invaluable for leveling, especially once you get to the 45+ range where mob fights start taking a long time, long enough for hybrid fighters to start pulling off their 4th tier strikes (i.e. strike of reckoning and iron maiden strike) multiple times. My advice: dual wield, leave the tanking and dirt kicking to your other party members, and focus on striking like mad. Drow dark-knights with their Silver Spider legacy can build up to their 4th tier strike very quickly, which makes them huge damage dealing assets for any evil leveling group.

Again: if you're going to use the strike of faith and strike of pain skills for leveling, you'll want to dual wield as much as possible, especially once you start hitting 4th tier damage (where the offhand strike gets a huge damage boost). If you just want the strike effects against spellcasters in a PK situation though, then the dual wielding doesn't matter as much since that only affects damage output, which you may want to exchange for defense (or not).

By the way, the two strike skills are structured similarly but actually have a LOT of subtle differences, the most obvious ones coming at the 3rd tier. Overall, strike of pain is the stronger of the two skills (and this despite having IMO a weaker 3rd tier), but they're both extremely useful when used correctly.

HOLY ARMOR, UNHOLY ARMOR

It's easy to discount these two AC-enhancing skills, but wear some heavy armor and you can easily boost the AC bonus to well over -100AC, topping out at about twice as high as an equivalent-level ranger's barkskin. Remember that you'll want to raise your proficiency in this skill as well, since it replaces dodge's use for helping make lag skills miss you more often. If you have either the Greginsham Plate or Auspice of Ilythir legacies, you'll definitely want to boost your armor bonus to at least -100AC (and preferably much higher) to really get some mileage out of those legacies.

DIVINE MIGHT, UNHOLY STRENGTH

Unholy strength was a skill I added years ago that was harder to use than the bonus it afforded, and divine might was a rather gratuitous skill added by a certain paladin-loving Imm while I was away. So this time around, I've aimed for a sort of parity between the two. Divine might remains a zero-maintenance, always-on passive skill, but on the flip side, it only applies its bonus damage against targets that are protected against the paladin. Its damage bonus was lowered to exactly match the magnitude of the reduction from the protection spell, so the net effect is to make enemy protection worthless against a paladin's melee attacks. (Note that protection will still reduce wrath and other spellcasting damage.) Unholy strength, in contrast, grants the same damage boost as divine might but against all targets. In addition, it grants double this damage boost against paladins and healers, making it extremely potent against good-align clerical types (hint: you have nice healing spells for a reason). On top of all this, dark-knights can also use unholy strength to frenzy themselves for an even more extreme damage boost (though at the cost of their parrying ability). All this power all comes at a price though: I've mellowed out quite a bit since writing unholy strength years ago, and the difference shows in that spell's arduous upkeep process, which I've chosen to preserve for historical appreciation. Good luck.

TRANCE, COUNTER, BLIND, CLEAVE

For paladins, trance was long overdue for removal. Counter's demise may seem unexpected, but because paladins already have healing, being protected from initiating attacks gives tham an inordinate advantage over other fighter classes, especially rogues. On the dark-knight side, blind is another surprising candidate perhaps, especially with how useful it is to keep charmed pets in line -- but that was one of our purposes, to make charm that much harder to use effectively. Another is that dark-knights already have dirt kicking, which gives people a better reason to choose high-dex dark-knights for the improved dirt kicking now that dodge is no longer a reason to go high-dex. The removal of blind is also the continuation of a trend that explains the loss of sleep for dark-knights over purge years ago: to make dark-knights less maledictive-based, and instead making them more afflictive- and melee-based. Lastly, cleave has always been a cheese-kill, poor man's assassinate skill. Long-time DK fans will miss cleave's removal, but it, like trance, was clearly ready to go.

SHAMAN's ENHANCED DAMAGE

One last major skill shake-up here, and it's yet another rather inevitable one. Shamans were still the only spellcaster with enhanced damage, a relic of the very early splitting of the cleric class into healers and shamans years and years ago. With paladins losing trance and shamans losing enhanced damage now, the line between fighters and spellcasters is now more firmly drawn than ever, and this cementing of boundaries is a good way to finish off these systemic changes to AR's combat model from Combat Module B.
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LABruinCub



Joined: 30 Jan 2004
Posts: 124

PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2005 1:51 pm    Post subject:

Woah, lots of changes... I don't know how to play this game anymore. =)
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Hilemal



Joined: 22 Nov 2004
Posts: 72

PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 1:32 am    Post subject:

Umm... wow... I really need to log in again soon and figure out what all these legacies you are talking about do.

Hahaha and BruinCub nailed it, I have even less of an idea of how to play now!
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Remmenon



Joined: 10 Oct 2005
Posts: 110
Location: Edmonton AB Canada

PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 2:54 am    Post subject: Here's one for you

Okay Burzuk, Here's a good question for you. WHY THE HELL WOULD A DK USE STRIKE AGAINST A SPELLCASTER, ESPECIALLY AN INVOKER OR WHATNOT!

I mean it's either use a skill that has a two round lag, plus it might not work, vs. a spell that's gonna cause more damage. So your little think-tank strategy plan has gone out the shitter smart guy.
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Slade
Emissary


Joined: 17 Mar 2004
Posts: 675

PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 3:02 am    Post subject:

Because not only is the damage good but it causes additional effects like curse and other goodies. And in the case of paladin, mana is oh so precious now.

-Slade, Thinktank Extraordinaire
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Hilemal



Joined: 22 Nov 2004
Posts: 72

PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 6:36 am    Post subject:

Remmenon, you idiot. Curse on a spellcaster is a beautiful thing, especially if in doing so you hit him even harder.
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Burzuk
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Joined: 20 Jan 2004
Posts: 530

PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 8:56 pm    Post subject:

Since apparently you worship at the altar of damage, Remmenon, I presume you're currently using kick and not bash, since for most non-giant/minotaur characters kick inflicts more damage and misses less often. Or do you submit that there's more to the game than simple raw damage?

If you don't like a skill, don't use it. But on the very first night the strike skills went in, I watched a paladin make a kill against a shaman using a simple first-tier strike of faith that he wouldn't have gotten by using wrath (which obviously does more damage), to speak nothing of what additional tiers of the strikes on the same target would have done. As the saying goes, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and how people are using the skills in-game is a lot more relevant to me than disgruntled cawing on the forum.

By the way, in another thread you had said:

Remmenon wrote:
strike of pain is cooler, almost... too powerful.


The contradiction between that and what you're saying here suggests to me either a) a mental impairment that predisposes you against logic and consistency, or b) you're suffering from such a lack of attention and purpose in your day-to-day life that you'd stoop to saying anything you can to lap up whatever antagonism you can derive from trolling. If you have a plausible explanation c), I'd like to hear it.
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Remmenon



Joined: 10 Oct 2005
Posts: 110
Location: Edmonton AB Canada

PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 10:48 pm    Post subject: Strike

Yah, I posted that, after I toyed around with it on a few creatures... then I later I got pissed off because it takes two rounds to do that shit, and spells only take one round to kick off. Plus, What's the point of curse then if the strike casts that shit? just from toying with it, the strike get it off quicker, with damage then just the spell curse so you might as well take curse away from the spells that dks can cast since your on a roll of taking shit away.
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"You wanna know who I am! I'm Remmenon-man!"
"My spider sense is tingling! Oh shite, it looks like everyone's out to get me."
Note from Stan: Spidey..err..Remmy's been under a lot of stress lately, dear readers!
- Dav
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Quiet Wanderer



Joined: 16 Feb 2004
Posts: 551
Location: Western Michigan

PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 11:35 pm    Post subject:

Actually, if you double check dipshit, you incoherent, pathetic attempts for attention because you mommy never loved you (and how could you blame her, I want to kill myself after minutes of your drivel. Imagine years of this folks.) are false. They've actually ADDED more than they've taken AWAY. Learn to fucking count bub. C'mon, try it with me... 1...2...3.. See, easy. Use your toes if you have to. You do know what toes are, right? Basically, They've added in, over the past few months and odd twenty or so skills, and taken away 9 that have dramatically changed the game. These figures DO have a slight human error in them. I didn't take time to check, but the basic ratio and point it puts across is valid. Try a dictionary for the big words Rem. You'll have to read too. Make letters form words, go from left to right, all that fun stuff. Tylenol for headaches, Mydol for cramps.
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Amdorin



Joined: 16 Jan 2004
Posts: 833
Location: No matter how much a failure, no life is worthless. You can always serve as a bad example.

PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 8:26 pm    Post subject:

Alright, I assumed before but I'm going to ask anyway. Does weapon advantage affect set parry as well? Or combat advantage? Either way I'm rather disturbed at how the hybrids have been tankin me in complete disadvantage and still fight on rather easily.
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