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Lack of diversity in Engineer ability mechanics


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#1 dinwitt

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 12:39 PM

I was catching up on twitch streams recently, was to busy playing during head start to laugh at Tony, when something caught my attention again, the Ability Mechanics Dev Speak.  In that video it derides the old MMO ability mechainc staples, instant, cast time, and channel, implying that its boring to have those as the only option and Wildstar is doing something better.  It occurred to me, however, that Frost was also describing the Engineer class.  Instant, cast time, and channel literally describes over 95% of our abilities, and almost all of the ones that I actually use regularly.  No rapid taps, no press and holds, no charge and releases, one utility skill with ability charges.  And even our ability to move while casting and channeling is reduced.

 

Additionally, we have quite a few skills that aren't often utilized.  Target Acquisition is often seen as poor Volatility gain and damage for its cast time, with the added problem that the cooldown starts when you cast it, so you can get nothing from it if a sudden dodge or sprint is required.  Mortar Strike is a skill that I love dearly, I leveled from 25 to 50 with it in beta, but it currently sits in an awkward, unused niche for our Volatility spenders, as a costly, instant AoE in a class who's meta needs slow Volatility spending to minimize the need for Volatility building.

 

I think, however, that we can kill two birds with one tier 4 Target Acquisition mark.  By giving some underused skills a proper Wildstar treatment and improving their ability mechanics, we can have interesting options to use instead of Energy Auger or Bio Shell and Electrocute or Bolt Caster.

 

Target Acquisition, in my mind, seems the perfect candidate for rapid tap.  Imagine if instead of holding the line on your target for three seconds, you had twelve (or some other arbitrary number) rapid taps with each tap applying a mark.  Then when time expired or all taps were used, the orbital strike would hit.  Right now, getting all of your marks on a target is often based on luck, that your target is in the correct spot at the quarter second marking and that you have no need to sprint, dodge, or interrupt for three seconds.  If you were instead rapid tapping your marks, you'd actually be able to respond to the situation and getting all of your damage from the ability would be another skill the good Engineers would need to master.  It would also make Target Acquisition a much more tempting unlock in our Assault tree.

 

Mortar Strike is an interesting beast, and one that I think can be improved by changing it to a charge and release mechanic.  However, instead of the charge increasing damage like charge and release often does for higher charge levels, I think that it should instead decrease the Volatility cost.  This would give Mortar Strike an interesting mechanic, as well as make it a great tool for managing Volatility and keeping us in the zone.  Right now, Bolt Caster is a better instant spender, Electrocute has always been a better AoE spender, and there is little need for an instant AoE spender that costs so much since the AMP based Volatility regen can't keep up.  By letting us fine tune how much it costs, at the expense of increasing its cast time, you can widen Mortar Strike's applicability considerably.

 

And speaking of Electrocute, with the somewhat recent change to when it starts doing damage, I feel like it and Particle Ejector are a great candidates to become interesting press and hold abilities instead of the boring channeled ones they currently are.  While there isn't an incredibly pressing need for a change here, I do feel like this would be a great way to give us more control over Volatility spending.  Currently the global cooldown incurred by restarting Electrocute can make it difficult to stop it with another ability before leaving the zone, but as a press and hold ability we would gain a measure of precision that could only serve to increase the class's skill cap.

 

These are just the few ideas I had initially.  Feel free to suggest any other mechanic changes that could make the special sauce in the Engineer's combat sandwich more interesting.


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#2 Coldermoss

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 02:06 PM

I agree.  I, too am disappointed at the lack of diversity in our casting mechanics ever since they rehauled Bolt Caster during CBT, although even back then we still didn't have very much variety.  When I think about TA, though, I think it would feel better as a press and hold ability, since it is a targeting laser.  It'd be great if Flak Cannon were turned into a multi-tap ability with a cooldown as well.  It's a rarely-used ability because of its subpar tps and vps as a channeled spell, but letting tanks front-load all of that would make it a lot more enticing, I think.


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#3 Rukgar

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 02:40 PM

I'm not against rapid tap abilities persay, but they would quickly become reliant on macros or gamepads that would tap them faster than a human could ever hope to.  Not that I'm crying because of the competitive aspect of this (I'd be one of the first to incorporate such an advantage to my game), it's just that the fun aspect of it would quickly be stripped in the name of competitiveness.  At least for me, because a large part of my fun is derived from being competitive.  I just have this feeling that the more they try to make mechanics like this, the more it would actually create an arms race amongst the community and then we're in that shitty area where the skill revolves around who has the better macro or gamepad.

 

It all sounds good on paper, but the time and effort they'd put into creating such mechanics would likely be wasted and people would still be complaining about "un-fun" mechanics even though we, the gamers, would have been the ones making it un-fun.



#4 Andvir

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 02:52 PM

rapid tap abilities are typically dictated by a internal cooldown so it wouldn't be much of an "arms race" and something like TA would benefit greatly from it.. though it'd be best if they reduced the counter so something like 4-6 charges. as for press and hold electricute I agree completely I hate it being a channel, even when questing and I'm gonna lose my volitility immediately after the fight I still jump to cancel the end of the channel... but that's just me.

 

and I really like the mortal strike idea, however I'd change it to an expanding area and higher voli. cost the longer you charge it.. possibly increasing the max damage area.



#5 Kaceter

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 03:29 PM

+ so many 1s for "Missile Fist"

 

Really though, I always thought It'd be cool to rework our T3 Target Aquisition AMP into something more missile oriented. Something with the rapid tap functionality would be welcome to spice up a DPS rotation and add diversity to builds. Also, it seems to be an underused ability, so this would be a good opportunity with the "AMP and Ability tier" reworks that are in the works.

 This is a quote from a post about Engineers having missiles. I wholeheartedly agree with the OP on reworking TA  into something with rapid tap functionality. Would definitely add some fun, useability, and versatility into our DPS rotation and specs. And yes, a small GCD for each tap would prevent macros from being as effective. I would love to see this skill able to be woven in between our BC/BS/Whatever. Something like----hard cast (or double dash) BS/VI/TA/BC/TA/BC/dash/BC/BS/TA/BC...you get the idea. Or  keeping with the idea of it being woven in to add variety, give it a certain amount of charges that can be cast at the expense of 1 charge. Imagine it as a side-mounted rocket(something) launcher on our....launcher. It has a certain number of missiles at capacity, but take time to load in new missiles each time it's fired.

 

As for MS, really I haven't given the ability any thought at all since I 1st unlocked it, and that's a big problem. Thematically it's awesome, practically it's terrible. To me, the volatility cost is the biggest issue, and the charge to lower volatility cost is a good idea. Now that I do think on it though, what about giving MS the T4 from thresher? Thresher is another big volatility cost skill, but using it while T4ed gives a buff to reduce its volatility cost by half for 5s( I think it's 5s) which makes it manageable once you get into your rotation. 5s is a good number though I think, because reposition, bad volatility management, and pretty much anything interrupting your rotation would allow the buff to fall off and you would have to start from square one.

 

IDK we're just spitballing ideas here, but I want to see SOMETHING done about the abilities that no one uses (not many anyway) Something to spice up rotations and add variety to builds.

 

To any Devs listening...don't break us though with these reworks you have planned :P



#6 Ignore

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 04:45 PM

Whats up Wraith?

 

No to rapid tap.  No no no no no.


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#7 Foxykeep

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 05:47 PM

Another huge advantage to switching TA to a Rapid Fire style ability would be that it would finally be usable in dungeons/raids.

 

Currently you can't use it as your builder. The reason is that if you have to dodge in the first second of the cast, you get nearly 0 volality and as it has a cooldown, you are screwed for a long time.

If it switched to a Rapid Fire style, you could use it a couple times, dodge roll out of the boss telegraph and continue using it. You'll get less damage/vola than a full cast for sure as you dodge roll part of it but you'll still get a good amount.

 

I could also see it changing from a Orbital Strike to a volley of Missiles. Each mark is a different missile which fires at the target. The animations of all the missiles hitting the same target (or the different targets) would be pretty cool :) (Yet pretty hard to manage for sure ... so not sure the animation team will agree with my idea :P -- In fact I'm sure they hate me right now for suggesting that)

 

And as someone was saying before, TA Rapid Fire would need to have an internal cooldown (0.25s like UV ?) to prevent macroing for sure.


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#8 Monstein

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 10:29 PM

Wasn't bolt caster a hold and charge skill at some point in beta?  I could have sworn a streamer said it was or showed it was.

 

I like the idea of TA being a tap skill and be missiles.  Really help break up the engineer play style.



#9 Wilow

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Posted 04 July 2014 - 04:19 AM

I think the idea of having Mortar Strikes volatility cost greatly reduced (along with it's damage), and having it be a charged ability where charging it increased the damage it does and volatility is costs (maybe even mess with the area is affects...instant being smaller than it is now, max charge being larger than it is now). Have t4 reduce the next cast by x% and t8 have a knockDOWN (not back). That way you can pre cast your charged with an instant low damage followed by a charged ability? Or would the knocked down affect while you are charging your big attack be too powerful?...

 

In that case it could be t8:

charge 1 = snare

charge 2 = knockback

charge 3 = knockdown?



#10 Zubei

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Posted 04 July 2014 - 06:10 AM

I would love to see these changes. I'm one of the weirdos that likes to use mortar strike over all if the other spenders. Its just fun seeing those 3500+ crits. Its such a great burst ability when combined with UA and BS.

I agree with all if these points and change ideas. Making mortar strike a charged ability would be awesome. Electricity a hold to continue casting instead of a channel.. Yes please.

#11 Wraith138

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Posted 04 July 2014 - 03:14 PM

While there are plenty of bugged abilities, the class does feel a bit more diverse than some of the others I have played.  Others have mentioned this, but I feel like the Engineer suffers from too much spender spam.  I think as we see some more balancing patches, we are going to see less buggy skills, and much more diverse options available to us.  

 

 


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#12 tanker4444

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 12:20 AM

Speak for yourself OP.

 

I love the way the engi works, fortunately there's 5 other classes that might better suit your tastes.



#13 Kyuss

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 12:53 AM

I really, really like those ideas OP.  I would love to see more diversity in both viable skills, and rotations.  I think most of us just spam spenders and the rest of the abilties are for utility or enabling spender spam.  I'd love to see some mechanics introduced that spice up the possibilities for engi DPS.



#14 LamentConfiguration

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 08:45 PM

Definitely in favor of both of these changes! Channeled electrocute/PE would be absolutely boss and make managing volatility easier. The changes to Mortar Strike being a charge-release with varying costs/damage/radius would be sweet too, maybe to prevent it being OP it could be c1, low cost, small area, instant, low-ish damage. c2 higher cost, larger area, moderate damage. c3 higher cost, larger area, knockdown, high damage.

 

Target Acquisition as a multi-tap would be so much more fun as well!



#15 dinwitt

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 06:25 AM

Whats up Wraith?

 

No to rapid tap.  No no no no no.

 

Wraith who?  Seriously though, haven't heard much from you Contraband Inc guys since my SWTOR sub expired, so its good to see you're around.

 

As for rapid tap, whats with the hate?  I'll admit that 12 in three seconds is a little extreme, but rdeucing it to six and doubling the effect of each mark, or 4 and tripling, would give you essentially the same ability as now, just more convenient to use and with more control for when the damage happens.  They described Mortar Strike and Target Acquisition as our burst abilities in a class meant for steady damage, so why is it that our burst builder can't fit into most MOOs?

 

Speak for yourself OP.

 

I love the way the engi works, fortunately there's 5 other classes that might better suit your tastes.

 

I believe I was speaking for myself.  I don't know how you took from my post that I didn't like the class, this is my second time taking one to level 50 so I either enjoy the class or hate myself on a deep, fundamental level.  That doesn't mean I don't think it can be improved, especially some of the abilities that are rarely touched at end game.  The proposed Electrocute change is more of a quality of life thing, since I often find myself using it like that anyway (though its a case of constantly hitting the key to cast again and not holding to keep casting).

 

I think the idea of having Mortar Strikes volatility cost greatly reduced (along with it's damage), and having it be a charged ability where charging it increased the damage it does and volatility is costs (maybe even mess with the area is affects...instant being smaller than it is now, max charge being larger than it is now). Have t4 reduce the next cast by x% and t8 have a knockDOWN (not back). That way you can pre cast your charged with an instant low damage followed by a charged ability? Or would the knocked down affect while you are charging your big attack be too powerful?...

 

In that case it could be t8:

charge 1 = snare

charge 2 = knockback

charge 3 = knockdown?

 

I figured that one of the big advantages of the current Mortar Strike over Electrocute was that it is an instant cast.  Both in terms of quickly dumping Volatility, for those times when you're over the limit and Electrocute never seems to bring you back down, and movement speed, since instant attacks don't apply the snare.  However, if we had the choice to take a longer time to cast Mortar Strike I think that would be beneficial also, since that would give our passive Volatility generation a chance to do its work.  As far as a benefit to taking extra time to cast, I didn't think that increasing cost and damage made sense, since our initial goal in adding the cast time option was to help with Volatility management.  Reducing the Volatility cost, however, did feel in line with it, and is probably a fair trade off for a longer cast time.

 

 

While there are plenty of bugged abilities, the class does feel a bit more diverse than some of the others I have played.  Others have mentioned this, but I feel like the Engineer suffers from too much spender spam.  I think as we see some more balancing patches, we are going to see less buggy skills, and much more diverse options available to us.  

 

The spender spam is super annoying to me, and I am glad they did something to tone down the Dasher special.  However it seems to be more of a problem with our AMP based Volatility generation and Volatile Injection than our underused abilities or uniform ability mechanics.


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#16 Ignore

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 06:56 AM

Wraith who?  Seriously though, haven't heard much from you Contraband Inc guys since my SWTOR sub expired, so its good to see you're around.

 

 

You Contraband Inc guys... lol.   Dont even know what they are up to to be honest, stopped SWTOR since a month before release.  Ain't nobody got time for that trash!  Games dead.


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