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(Reply to Dev) Why characters can feel really "samey" gameplay-wise
#1
Context:
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I'll split my opinion into segments for reading convenience. Of course, anyone is free to chime in with their own as well, whether they agree or disagree. I put this in General Discussion because it's too spread out to be put into Balance Fu.
 

  
WHAT DOES 'SAMEY' MEAN HERE?
 
It's referring to when things feel very similar/unvaried/repetitive. When there's not a significant difference between one thing or the another. In this context, it's about roleplay characters frequently being nearly identical in the mechanical sense. Not talking about them as a character, but the gameplay part of them. Tangent found below.
  
WHY CHARACTERS TEND TO FEEL VERY SAMEY
 
As we all already know, no game balance is perfect and there's always bound to be things that are slightly or majorly better than other things in spite of pros and cons they may have. Sometimes for example, a sword can have the exact same abilities as another one while having far higher stats in a video game. Occasionally, a normal skill can outshine one that requires far more investment to get to activate.
  
The reason I mention that is because a majority of the items in SL2 are not things that, when you reach the end game (Level 60) can stay relevant. I find that to be more forgiving for items obviously designed for beginner characters, such as the Boxing Gloves or the items you can buy in Pink's Tower, as well as the blacksmith in the Badlands Arena.
 
In addition to that, class balance can render the idea of a character build concept pretty weak in comparison to certain combinations. Weak in the sense that their performance tends to be below-average, and this is not accounting solely for PVP- I'm talking PVE as well.
 
Because most build concepts are not things that can perform as well as a small select amount of combinations, people tend to feel forced with the looming thought that they absolutely must use a specific class/equipment/race for their concept to be able to work decently. Emphasis on decently, we're not talking necessarily 'very good' here. Just enough that the player might consider it acceptable.
 
Because people often feel forced to take those routes, we end up with the same cookie cutter character builds. And it's not necessarily because they're meta - most of the time it's because if they don't do it that particular way, the character won't be able to prove much of a threat in a PVP or PVE setting, with some more emphasis on the PVP side of things.
 
WHAT ARE SOME DIRECT EXAMPLES OF WHAT YOU MEAN?
 
EXAMPLE 1: You want to do the build of your gunner character Keenu. They are a stylish, agile individual that shows off with handguns, but more importantly they're meant to be built for damage at the cost of their durability. Still, they're meant to be fast so they can look pretty cool with their moves, right?
  
So you start looking for handgun options for your build, but then you quickly realize that in practice most handguns don't do noteworthy damage against people with some semblance of damage reduction. Even though they pierce armor, they don't really hurt people all that bad-- even when the target in question doesn't really have all that much reduction, say 15% reduction. You find out that anyone swinging a magic book (occasionally with a custom spell) or a Scaled Weapon Attack gouged, two-handed blade with autohits outraces the damage you've built for with handguns. Even if you're somehow fitting in 50 scaled GUI, 60 scaled SKI, you have to jump a lot of hoops to do as much as they are on average.
  
It turns out, however, that there's a light at the end of the tunnel. You can utilize a pair of Quickdraws and use flat Power bonuses in order to add damage per shot - that would mean you have to use Ring of Thorns Plus and Quickdraw in order to achieve your image of the character. Quickdraw specifically, because otherwise if you do it with other handguns the damage still won't pay off building for a Glass Cannon archetype.
 
You wanted to use a Bell of No Rest or a Toyatori, or perhaps both. You found the idea of Sound Damage or having fancy ice wings on your icon cool. But neither scaling would support your need for SKI/CEL/LUC/GUI/VIT/only some WIL (notice how you're needing six stats to be considered somewhat functional) so you had no choice but to say good bye to them and resort to Quickdraws. You don't really like the idea of Quickdraws for your character, but it's what you have to do in order to make them do meaningful damage.
 
Then you find out nearly every other multi-shot gunner had to resort to the same thing because they also wanted multi-shot guns on their character, but none of them could afford any of the other cool weapon choices because they were not simply possible to afford investment for with the classes they wanted to run.
 
 EXAMPLE 2: You want to give a build for your cool katana nerd Ashu. Their IC is that they're a very talented, agile katana swordsman of fire that's a follower of Amiras, and thus they know many techniques. Or at least, they're supposed to be like that, so you end up making a Destiny Duelist!
  
It however turns out that Kensei is not particularly friendly to using more than one weapon that isn't a Katana, thus making not only most of your base Duelist skill tree irrelevant to you, but rendering Firebird not a good option for your sub-class. You end up considering Ghost, but you're not quite into the idea of your character summoning spooky phantoms or firing blood magic across the place- in fact, they're an Onigan that despises magic. That stuff is a no-go!
  
"Well, maybe I can just use Ghost for the innates" you think to yourself. You build yourself as a Glass Cannon since you also want to do big numbers and be flashy, after all you're an Onigan katana master. You proceed to hit a Wings of Fire for 160 damage on a Critical Hit...!
  
The Wings of Fire presses a button called Immolate a pair of times, proceeding to destroy a good part of your health bar in the process. "Well I signed up for this anyway" you reassuringly mutter to yourself. It's a good price to pay for that sweet 160 damage, isn't it? Let's try the setup out against another player character.
 
You hit Black Knight John McDoe for 47 damage, blast that damned Critical Evade. You finally score a Critical Hit, causing your damage to be like 72 instead. You try to push through, but fail because the Black Knight is doing far more than damage with far less effort than you, through either being:
 
A) A mage
B) A priest
C) A melee autohitter
D) A summoner
 
Their spell or autohit ends up doing triple the damage than you're doing to it. Later on, you attempt to face off against someone that isn't meant to be so bulky, an evasive character instead. They also happen to be one of the above, so their damage is far higher than yours still. This is not quite what you imagined for your katana character, so you start trying to look for potential work arounds.
 
You could finally give in to the choice of main classing Ghost and using Wraithguard, if you use that then maybe you won't die too fast to the point you won't accomplish anything meaningful in a fight. You end up trying it out in spite of your original IC for the character not being to dive into that kind of stuff, and it turns out it makes things somewhat better. You still don't do all that much damage though, and it doesn't seem Rogue's Work Gloves 10% critical damage does the job either. It turns out Bloody Palms can apply LV12 Hunted and LV12 Claret Call at once if you hit someone while wearing a Swordmaster's Ring for that on hit magical damage... or one of the elemental katanas.
 
You were originally a fire katana user, but Cinders don't really do noteworthy damage (usually ranging from 15 to 20 a tick) and you need more attack power, so you end up rejecting your original IC in order to become a lightning katana user. At least it looks flashy. Though you need to remove your Amiras Prayer so that the Bloody Palms Hunted LV goes up with Warpaint Chimeric, because otherwise your damage isn't so good against the average tank either..
 
Your damage has become more noteworthy in the end of things, still not catching up to a bunch of magic spells or some autohitters on average, but being close enough. It turns out a lot of things have physical damage reduction, so you need magic damage-- there's Power Gradation from Duelist but it's 4M and that's very disadvantageous for you. Maybe you should use the Blood Spells after all...
 
 
In the end, this is not really the character you imagined, and you feel unsatisfied - but you have to keep it that way because otherwise you won't accomplish what you wanted. A damage dealing katana user. And then it turns out several other people also ended up in the same hole as you for different reasons, so they're also doing a lightning Kensei with Bloody Palms and some kind of on-hit katana weapon, usually Raijin because it's the most forgiving one when it comes to doing your stats. After all, otherwise you'd need heavy amounts of STR/SKI/CEL/VIT/LUC/GUI all at once.
 
TL;DR OF THE PREVIOUS PART
 
Don't be fooled by the lighthearted phrasing of the examples, because these are actual things that still happen to this day. In way more discouraging ways than described, people often end up forcing themselves to using a particular item/skill/class for their character that frequently doesn't fit their original image of the concept. The summaries of Example 1 and Example 2 could be narrowed down to:
 
-Multi-shot gun builds are almost always railroaded into using Ring of Thorns Plus and other flat Power modifiers so they can do good damage.
 
-Destiny Kensei is not actually friendly to most of its potential kit, because Kensei would rather not use a Spear when it's the promotion of a class that has a skill tree heavy into sword/spear stuff. Not to mention that the only variant of Kensei you (usually) can see nowadays is lightning for the reason that the Glass Cannon drawback doesn't feel worth it at all unless you use a Jupiter Badge for damage.
 
Thing is, it's not just these two things. This sort of thing happens with a lot of combinations and character concepts that tend to not be executed as desired or as imagined because of current balancing preventing it from occurring. Heavily summarized additional examples found below:
 
A) You want to make a traditional Void Assassin, but in order to use things like Detogate and Black Bolt you need a different casting tool because Daggers are not compatible with them. So you either go full physical Void Assassin or "Void Mage" (character that only uses VA for non-dagger stuff, usually built as a mage)
 
B) You want to make a basic attacker (not referring to strictly normal attacking, this include things like Hanging/Checkmate/Cutthroat/etc.) but it turns out that you absolutely need Fleur because otherwise your damage isn't worth the investment at all. Because otherwise, you're far better off building as an autohitter or a magician. People pack enough damage reduction that Critical Hit damage is mostly negligible even when it rarely breaks the threshold of 100 under very specific circumstances, so you absolutely need that bonus momentum and so you force yourself to be Kensei or Ghost. Kensei makes you utilize a Katana at all costs, and it's not what you envision the character as, so you regrettably go Ghost even if you don't want to be making spectres or firing blood magic.
 
C) You want to make a traditional Spellthief, a dagger user that also casts stolen spells. None of your copy spells are compatible with daggers, and if you want to cast them from a dagger you need a Magical Photon which requires WIL/GUI scaling. That's pretty heavy of an investment, needing you to invest WIL/SKI/CEL/LUC/GUI/VIT all at once in order to be considered remotely functional. But if you off-hand a tome, you lose out on Twin Dance which is most of your damage.
 
D) You want to make a character that's meant to be some kind of seductive/sadistic person with a whip, so you want to use the Rose Whip for that sweet charm. It turns out that it's also far too much stat investment, WIL/SKI/LUC/GUI/VIT/the defensive stats you'd want to use. Spine Leash is much easier to stat for being 60% STR/SKI scaling and not requiring 3 stats for SWA at once, so you end up using that instead of your original want for the Charm effect.
 
E) You want to make an Engineer/Spellthief destiny character with daggers, but that's not compatible with half of your kit unless you once again try to force the Magical Photon in, which is far too much investment. So you end up building it as a mage tank stat-wise that launches bombs across the replace for damage that doesn't come from spells, entirely removing the part where you're using daggers for some of your attacks.
 
F) You're trying to build for an Eresh because you're a dark sword wielder or something along the line, and you want to basic attack people with it. It turns out that it requires you to build STR/WIL/SKI/DEF or CEL/RES/VIT/LUC/GUI. That's 8 mandatory stats, though you can make up for not investing WIL by trying to manage your FP costs with things like High Mage's Cape or Warpaint Grimalkin. Personal example of mine, as I have unfortunately chosen to go basic attacker Eresh in spite of fully knowing that it would be much better if I abandoned Hit Rate and SWA-gouged with additional DEF investment. It works well-enough for what I want at least, and I get by with having Critical Evade and Wraithguard. Otherwise I would easily die to far more things. Do note how much I have to cripple my stats in order to achieve the character concept I want; a basic attacker with a dark blade.
 
I could list many more examples but it would take far too much time and I'm certain no one would want to read through every single one of them. If you want the easiest example of "forced into cookie-cutter build" then you can look at basic attackers as a whole. Anyone building basic attacks will crave for something like Fleur to be competent, or Twin Dance in select circumstances such as using two Tessen fan daggers, because otherwise your damage doesn't catch up to a magic book swinger. If I had to choose between Twin Dancing a pair of fan daggers and a couple of Vorpal Fangs, I would choose the former immediately. Because people usually pack enough external damage reduction that even Vorpal Strikes can get turned into negligible damage (I.E Black Knight.) and the on-hit damage from the fans add up.
  
There "is" the option of Shapeshifter for basic attacks as well, however it means having your character use Youkai and not everyone wants to do something like that. Nearly every basic attacker wants Claret Call from Ghost, so they end up using Bloody Palms or using the class in spite of their IC, this also adds to people being "same." The next point is not so related to mechanics, but still relevant to the notion that "characters feel samey."
 
ROLEPLAY DOES NOT ACTUALLY FEEL RELEVANT TO CHARACTER STRENGTH FROM A GAMEPLAY PERSPECTIVE
 
Your character is someone that has been around for an extremely long time. I.E:
 
A) A priest character that has served Mercala and has been fervently devoted to her for OOC years, aiding many people in need and sometimes even getting into dangerous circumstances, but doing your best to help others in need in spite of that. Your character makes it to a higher rank within the Church, but unfortunately in spite of all your efforts, someone building for a meta class combination exceeds your character's priest skills in every single aspect, no matter how long that character has been present for and no matter what they've experienced.
  
B) A character that has experienced training from many professionals throughout OOC years. Their identity is that of a character doing Critical Hits, but because basic attackers are almost always lacking in damage compared to things like magic and even some autohits, it doesn't actually feel like that training ends up reflecting in your gameplay. Because the current balance in that aspect prevents it from happening at all- in spite of your character's best efforts to be stronger over time, they're actually pretty far behind most other people.
  
C) Your character is meant to utilize a variety of martial weapons such as swords and spears and has gone through many near-death experiences through a very long time. So you utilize Duelist's Vent Petale, but dual wielding weapons of any kind tends to make you lose so much damage compared to just two-handing something and slapping on Bloody Palms that you blow up to most fully optimized character builds.
 
If any of the examples above wanted to reflect IC strength into mechanical, they would be forced to run what people commonly call a "cookie cutter build." Using the same thing most people must use in order to make something work.
 
TL;DR OF EVERYTHING
 
-Because only a relatively small pool of select items and class combinations are considered "functional" in PVP, people tend to use the same things over and over.
 
Kensei in general is an easy example of this, with Raijin and Jupiter Badge being the go-to for anyone building a basic attacker Kensei. Lightning criticals are far more helpful than most of the other Elemental Impacts for Kensei simply by providing significant bonus damage. Raijin is stat efficient as it makes you not have to invest too much STR, which is a stat sometimes basic attackers avoid if they can help it. Because investing STR/WIL/SKI/CEL, DEF, or RES/LUC/GUI/VIT at once is terribly painful. And because Kensei isn't particularly friendly to Vent Petale, you almost always see someone two-handing a Raijin or a Tarnada instead.
 
Another example is the traditional Boxer, needing to SWA gouge with a high scaling fist in order to do meaningful damage (I.E, even though Hands of the Giant would seem like a good choice for someone wanting to punch hard, you're actually much better off using the 115% STR scaling from a Brawler's Glove and thus preventing most people from using other fists most of the time.)
 
People being railroaded into needing Fleur is another huge example of all this. They're forced into looking for it not because the damage increase is significant- it normally isn't all that big of a deal. It's because they need the momentum economy to be considered remotely competent. However if you use Duelist, you have to pick between Ghost, Kensei and Firebird. You're not always a character with a katana, and you're not always wielding a Fire or Ice elemental to make use out of Firebird's Ignite Power for whatever IC reason. So you end up going with Ghost, even if you don't particularly envision your character to be doing all of Ghost's stuff- you end up doing it because you have to if you want to be decently strong.
 
 
-A character's roleplay experiences do not reflect in their gameplay unless you intentionally hold back on the mechanical end of things (I.E, make it a self-rule to not use promoted classes until a certain point even if you have them unlocked, not using a certain weapon until X tragic circumstance has happened, not using X ability unless another character teaches yours how to do it.)
 
-Character variety did commonly exist before Grand Reckoning thanks to RNG making stats nearly completely different for every character, but one of the cons of Grand Reckoning is removing that part. I would like to note I vastly prefer GR over pre-GR in spite of that, as the RNG madness from the old days could be pretty cruel, but it's something I wanted to mention anyway.
   
There is much more I want to say on the matter, but I don't want to make this a nightmare to read when it's an already long post. I hope my opinion sheds some light on the matter, and that people can provide input of their own as well.
 
I apologize if it's a bit messy to read, I wanted to quickly get this out since I'll be out of commission for a bit due to my second teeth extraction soon...
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#2
As an addendum to the original post, I would really like to emphasize on basic attackers and Fleur. As a basic attacker, you're usually shoehorned into Fleur due to how good it is for the momentum economy (and the damage per round, too), but that's something I'm not too fond of. One could argue there's options like Twin Dance and Bloody Shift, but that's about it. And even then, one's exclusive to daggers and the other requires Youkai, and Youkai are kind of a big thing when it comes to IC.

In this context, an idea that has already been tossed around and discussed multiple times is Global Fleur. I still believe it's something we could try out, something we could experiment with and see how it goes. It's a promising idea, and I'd love to see it in practice.
There's other ideas like giving each class their own brand of Fleur, kind of like Bloody Shift for Shapeshifters.

As long as something is done about it all, really.
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#3
I would like to reply here, considering the post in a sense feels skewed in the direction of this mainly being a problem for basic attackers, to input that, though they may be stronger, mage builds very much suffer from the same lack of variance. You're either running a basic tome for good scaling, or a custom tome because you really want that sweet, sweet custom spell.

Outside of that, it feels like most other tomes don't really see use, because compared to the literal most basic tomes and custom spells, why choose anything else unless you're trying to be a gimmick. To me, this causes an issue in the sense that, yes, these builds are super strong...

...but they're all the same. Even if you're a different element, it all comes down to casting the same pool of one, maybe two elements of spells. There's very little play-style variation, once you've played one kind you've played them all, and once you've faced one you feel like you've faced them all, too, making combat against them boring. I could scroll through the item list and look at all these options given, and you know what, I'm not going to find myself using Rose Whip, Manic Slasher... come to think of it, why are there even tomes with on-critical effects? Nobody's using them to score crit attacks, that's not what mages do.

I don't want to see this opportunity to discuss and hopefully spark change wasted on just being once again about just basic attackers, much as I know they need some love, because it's everywhere, at least from what it feels like. When it comes down to it, creativity is stifled by the fact I can look at the item list for the game and heavily rule out half, if not most of the weapons and items for any sort of build meant to go up against somebody at some point, except in rather niche situations. It's okay to have niche weapons, it's not okay for most weapons to be niche or nigh unusable.

Item balance as a whole needs very much looking at for there to be more unique builds, there's too much that stands above, and too much that stands below. Far too much of the latter, even. You could go through the list and ask people what they think of each and every item, most will be a resounding "meh" in practice, even if cool in concept.

Going to an evade user, now, it's almost always the same armor, the same boots, similar accessories, similar enchantments. There's always a definitively "best" way to do it. More ways to achieve the same results in unique ways are important, but that's not what we have here.
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#4
Yeah, the problem is just kind of everywhere rather than being restricted to a certain archetype. I mostly just brought up basic attacker examples since they were really easy ones to mention, but I believe that the mage examples you've brought up are important as well and I don't particularly disagree with them, specially with the sentiment of:

"When it comes down to it, creativity is stifled by the fact I can look at the item list for the game and heavily rule out half, if not most of the weapons and items for any sort of build meant to go up against somebody at some point, except in rather niche situations. It's okay to have niche weapons, it's not okay for most weapons to be niche or nigh unusable."

That's one of the bigger problems in the picture I feel.
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#5
As an advocate for new players everywhere I would like to add that nothing demotivates a bubbly-fresh new player being brought into the game with fresh and innocent eyes, seeing all these cool classes and weapons, with a million ideas for nifty roleplaying and having fun...

ONLY TO BE BRUTALLY CRUSHED BY THE CROWD OF 'SAMEY' - THEIR LIFELESS BODY CRUSHED AGAINST A WALL. THE VETERAN WHISPERING THAT THEY LACK HATRED IN THEIR BUILD.

I more or less agree with most of what was said by Fern's original post. It doesn't really help that the main argument for many builds is that people have to weigh the balance of what is 'Original' vs 'OPTIMAL'. 

Of course, this is a roleplaying game and the most common method I see people do to cope with this fact is roleplaying their optimal build by cutting a lot of corners or skirting the edge of freeform roleplay.

AN EXAMPLE WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE BEEN UTILIZED MANY TIMES:

1. Protag-Kun is IN-CHARACTER a noble, honorable warrior is not very book-smart but has a good dumb heart. He uses an ordinary chipped longsword, wearing only a tank-top and some short-shorts.

WHEN IN REALITY ON THE OOC-SPECTRUM HE IS: Equipped with a custom tome, all fitted with fire magic seeds, the weapon is of course cleverly renamed to 'Old Broken Sword' and has a very cool looking regalia sprite by the many talented artists we have in our community. A heavily modded DRAGON KING ARMOR with a gigantic gene and several legendary 10* accessory items. 

*Protag-Kun swings his Old Broken Sword causing flames to spew from his artful melee attack (from 5 tiles away).*

As you can see, using the power of roleplaying Protag-Kun is completely able to still be optimal while being able to be a big dumb warrior hero. And others seeing this, replicate such behavior and the community has begun to accept it as normal.


PERSONALLY. I would prefer if the community didn't mercilessly ground-pound new players with the harsh reality so quickly, but I believe that everyone deserves to have fun their own way, even if that means obliterating the innocent souls of happy new players.

Unless we can somehow convince people roleplaying is more fun than winning (See: Beyond the Impossible) the key to making things less 'samey' would definitely be constant tweaking and balancing which may be an astronomical amount of development work as people are constantly optimizing the best strategies and sharing them en-masse.

tl;dr

pls have mercy on the new players they just want to have fun without witnessing the horrors of stat optimization/optimal gameplay/sacrificing rp you evil veterans
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#6
I really think the problem is deeper than just the skills and items people are forced to use, it goes as deep as the "meta" stat builds, I joked during the GR that it would become dark souls 150 points meta, but it really has become that.


  1. Address Bulk vs glass cannon disparity, something is clearly wrong with scaling and stats where on average a character who cannot afford high vit and defensive stats will on average produce less damage than the character that can afford a minimum of 40 in every defensive stat. 
  2. Look at the items, seriously stop making items meant to be used with basic attacks scale on multiple stats with below average swa.
  3. Look at the Stats required to basic attack and make them less mandatory to each other.'
  4. Partly 1, but seriously make mages have to choose between being bulky and being able to carry icbm nuclear missiles. 
  5. Change the way projectile skills work, no longer being an autohit, instead requiring a hitcheck, if it misses continues on in a line (stuff like shinken, fir, libregande, asura fist, ect)



Personally I would begin by changing stats
  • GUI>Remove Crit damage from guile, it now gives Damage reduction penetration (MDef and Def - 50%scaled guile) base crit damage modifier is returned to pre GR 200% base before weapon and class modifiers.
  • VIT>Changing HP Granted from SP to 3 Per Point and Reducing Vitality's HP Gain to 5 per point (stolen from autumn) Move water attack to skill.
  • STR> Something that makes building high strength feel like building luminary element will power.
  • Wil> If strength isn't changed make luminary element scaled willpower instead of unscaled.
  • Skill> Gets water attack



And changing weapons in the following ways
  • If the weapon has on hit effects no spreading it between 3 stats and have one of those stats have absolutely nothing to do with basic attacking/weapon type.
  • Any defensive stat on a weapon is not allowed to be more than 25% of the weapons total scaling.
  • Mixed stat scaling weapons (weapons where no stat makes up more than 60% of the weapons total scaling) should have add up to between 115% and 130%
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#7
(05-05-2021, 05:30 AM)MakeshiftWalrus Wrote: It's a multi-factor problem. It doesn't have anything to do with transformations, or the lackthereof, it's an issue with the ease of access people have to the same builds, and how easily people can hot-swap around to the best 'Meta-builds'. New item drops? Ten people are rolling it at the arena. New class drops? Double that number. People tend to steer towards what's strong, because after what, four years of the stat system, most veterans are exhausted on options left to explore despite the vast toybox before them.

To give an example: Before the volcanic nerf, the majority of the casual PvP-scene was dominated by anchor edges, because it was grossly good, leading to many matches that were effectively mirrored. Before the Tarnada stopped being the most oppressive weapon in the game, you couldn't go an hour without seeing a tornado somewhere, and the same issue was present in Sogensora when it was released.

From my perspective, it's less that we don't have cool things to do, and more that players tend to conform to what's strong at any given time, because all it takes is 5 bucks, or a day of suffering through the leveling process.

I agree with this.

But I don't see a solution beyond making everything not be viable, because the definition of viable is defined by how much you can trash your opponent's chances of fighting back, or how busted your one or two pieces of equipment are in regards to your stats spread and classes.

Both of these are horrible.

Because let's be real, there are so, so many skills in SL2 nobody considers picking because there's no real reason to use them. How many use Obscure from VA? Oh, an even more recent. How many even used Steal or Pocket Sand before they were pulled up to the 'standard' through the addition of Trickery? (And even then... A RNG chance to make them be more 'up to pace'? Still not the best solution, but it was a fine bandaid.)

That thing done to Rogue was honestly a step to the right direction, but still didn't feel like it earned the class a specific "role" in combat, or got the class up to the spotlight enough to be considered to pull people away from what's the meta nowadays. "Hey cool, I can steal and stab someone.", as the meta dude goes "haha 450 lightning damage on custom tome goes brrhhhl, also btw I have 55% PDR/MDR and 1200 HP!" The next step in my opinion is to do that to everything else nobody uses because it's insignificant in their gameplay. If a list is needed of underperforming things I believe that could get an 'up', I can make a short compilation and discuss with everyone in another thread.

Alas.

It's disheartening not only for newplayers as Kpec said, but even veterans. I miss when SL2's cheese made more sense than what it is now. So, so many things need to be nerfed, and so, so many underperforming things need to be amped. I remember your snarky joke about "Everything is too strong and nothing is viable", but holy shit. That's true, Dev.

If you take a week off with a cup of joe's just to observe people in SL2 or the Arena you'll see what we're talking about. Or hell, observe tournaments! It will give you the most data about what you're after.

(05-05-2021, 07:25 AM)Fern Wrote: "When it comes down to it, creativity is stifled by the fact I can look at the item list for the game and heavily rule out half, if not most of the weapons and items for any sort of build meant to go up against somebody at some point, except in rather niche situations. It's okay to have niche weapons, it's not okay for most weapons to be niche or nigh unusable."

Also. Yes. So much yes. And y'all know the reason for that? Weapons don't have a baseline scaling, like for example. If only all fists religiously scaled to 105%, or all swords, spears, bows to 100%, or all tomes and axes to 120% to compensate for their lack of weapon parts or being solely basic hitting weapons, or all daggers and guns to 90% to compensate their high crit damage or range.

And their base statistics such as Power, Accuracy, Critical and Weight too, instead of putting them into a random number generator they could be more standardized to what an 'axe' should always be, or a 'spear' should always be. Anchor Edge for example, can reach 120% Accuracy while being an Axe. What the hell? Not even precise weapons like Bows or Polearms can scratch that. And guess what? It's 120% Accuracy, and 120% SWA, and also 30% Critical, and also over 30 Power.

??????????????????????

I'd also vouch for quirky scalings to be removed or changed to be minor compared to STR/WIL. CEL, LUC, VIT, DEF and RES shouldn't be increasing people's damage, since those stats in particular are defensive or utility stats, and by god more important than WIL or STR.

I personally take whatever gives me the biggest scaling number, or allows me to be superior to someone else's scalings. Like on Tarnada's previous example. I can just dump strength and invest all my points in celerity, thus making me able to fully use the sword for allowing me to gain damage by investing in dodge. Or a more obvious example of why no other dagger is better than Seiryuu Tessens, where the scaling allows me to build for Hit, Dodge AND Crit while doing nuclear damage on top of it.

The whole deal of "This weapon has an effect, therefore it shouldn't do damage" isn't quite the way to go. Scaling -must- be equal to all weapons, and their effects should have drawbacks to compensate, rather than making them weaker, power wise. If "lol you do no damage" is the drawback, they go to the trash can in a blink since the game's all about power scaling and finishing fights before you die.

And let's be real.

These effects aren't even that significant. Dagger of Bleeding? STR scaling, lower scaling, heehoo 10% of damage is a tiny baby heal. Epic. It doesn't compare to doing up to 1650 damage on a Prinny on a full triple-hit combo with Twin Dance. And please god before you go nerfing that, make sure everything else that is busted also gets nerfed. I don't think people will be happy when only a few problems are fixed then it's called a day.



TL;DR, in this old man's opinion:

Quote:- Equipment needs a massive overhaul and standardization to make everything be worth having eyes on, complete with benefits and drawbacks for using each of them.

- Health and Focus points need to be more tied to your character level and classes than your equipment and stat distribution.

- Damage should only belong to the people who invest in damage, rather than people who invest in hitting, dodging, more damage reduction or more health.

- Unused skills should be addressed to be made more charming so it promotes variety rather than everyone always using the same thing over and over because it's good, or they have no other sensitive choice.

- There should be better methods of counter-playing certain things, like for example, the prime reason everyone is playing Glykin is because Poison is too powerful, if Poison had more passive methods of being countered, through equipment, talents or traits, people wouldn't have that much a reason to streamline to Glykin GS/Priest.
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#8
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#9
The Problem

In my personal experience thus far, I've run into a problem with stats more than anything else, when I am building a pure tank or mage autohitter, I usually have very little issue with stats and can fit in what I want to fit in (such as FAI or LUC or CEL), its these freedom of stats that can create a lot of build diversity in my honest opinion, because I am allowed to use so very little stats, I can invest my 6th or 7th sub-set of stats into what I want to, which feels good, I like to be able to do this.

This however does not apply for basic attackers, basic attackers need in total, 6-7 stats to function, which is on the very upper cusp of what you are allotted for stats, to put it into light, as a basic attacker you will need:

-STR for Weapon Scaling
-SKI for Hit/Crit 
-VIT Because HP is practically mandatory in every build.
-LUC for Hit/Crit 
-GUI for Critical Damage, otherwise you're doing less damage than autohits/mages.

Now, for 3 of those stats, STR/SKI/LUC, you're opting in for very high amounts of these, upwards to 60 in each of them to compete on the level that other builds have mustered up their defenses like Evade or Crit Evade to be.

Now you need to choose some defensive stats, if you opt in for Celerity, you get the cheaper stat investment in place for being absolute glass, with only evasion stopping some of the damage coming your way, and unless you're a Verglas, Spellthief or Aquamancer you can't really improve upon that, the only exception to this is Demon Hunter's Cobra Stance, given that its complete damage immunity so long as you "Dodge" things from the front, it ends up serving as a large aggravating factor when facing dodgy characters.

If you opt in for defenses instead, you're thinning out your stats among DEF and RES for what should be normally medium-high values. Most people will settle on 40/40 for tanks since that appears to be a good stopping point, but in doing so you're sacrificing much of your GUI, to off-set this...many people have opted in to creating these weird as hell, but still functional builds where you invest in no defense at all, and only RES/GUI so you can pump out as much DPS as possible.

And once you're finished with this, you have very little stats to work with, you'll find that almost all basic attackers have the same stats, with of course the exception of Magic Gunners and Void Assassins, which I will get into shortly:





The Exception

Currently, I find that basic attacking builds who are not required to build STR get away with a lot of diversity, this is because they're free to build SKI and GUI as their damage stats, and not have to opt into the STR tax, not that STR is a bad stat either mind you.

Bringing one of my builds into light, a Void Assassin corbie who has been regarded to as probably one of the more meta builds on the server, is a dodgy basic attacker, despite their drawbacks.

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This is because the character in question has the freedom of not being tied to STR, and has the consistent crit rate of Void Assassin, and the incredibly consistent Hit Rate of a corbie, because of all of these he is able to compete on the level of most meta tanks in the game, its wondrous having 100% hit and crit rate I will say.

But notice here that I was able to fit in stat that I wanted to fit in, that one being SAN specifically, because my weapons do not scale STR, I was able to fit in the stats that I wanted to fit his theming, which was originally an aerial assassin-like skirmisher, having experience in doing so from hunting harpies in Alstalsia.

Another one of my more successful builds lately has been this one:

Kon, a build I pursued with the complete intention of just being a gritty, tough ass pirate man. I had ideas in my mind such as "I am required to be using Swordfish Sword and bombs" so I chose Black Knight/Engineer for fulfilling both of these purposes, and even gave him a gun.

I originally thought this build was going to be a B-Tier build at best, due to no action economy from Fleur, however the existence of Grenade Launcher made me realize that he rose up to a vaguely monstrous build very quickly, though his stat spread is still the exact same as any other basic attacker, I think the STR is more fitting for this one than GUI given the nature of Shaitans, and the bulk it gives.

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This would be a good example of the "STR-based basic attacker" archetype.



Failures
Of course, for every 1 of my builds that ends up succeeding, at least 2 or 3 end up failing completely or just falling short of being something I would enjoy. Here is a recent example of that from my repertoire


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Hikage/Tsukikage are legitimately good weapons, however I ended up falling short on stats drastically so, I wanted to test it out, but the stats are too thinned out to work in practicality, though I have a good chunk of damage, I fail to utilize it too well. Even if the Hikage is mutated into a gun.

because of the need to invest so much GUI and STR, and on top of needing WIL for Divine Eyes, I ended up having no stats to throw around elsewhere, and ended up with extremely sub-par defenses.

Another example of a build I tried summing up was a Verglas who would attempt to make use of Spellthief and the new Trickery effects of Quick Tumble, unfortunately it fell drastically short:
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Here, you can see a build that never even made it into the game, because it is impossible to boost up my LUC to a respectable level for Evade, while being left with paper thin defenses and only a 55% chance to activate Trickery, though I realize this is because of my egregious investment into WIL and SKI, but I also wanted to be able to cast magic, not to even basic attack using that SKI/LUC or GUI.

Conclusion
In conclusion, I feel as though character diversity for basic attackers specifically lies on a lot of the problems that basic attackers run into when investing stats, I don't know how to potentially fix this either without some drastic changes, because here is what I forsee the problems in changing:

-Changing certain weapons to be completely rid of STR (Such as Raijin or Sogensara becoming SKI/GUI/LUC scaling weapons) will end up flourishing basic attackers greatly, they will finally be happy with scaling their damage stat from GUI, however this will eventually wind up in an HP disparity, given how much HP you get from STR now.

-Changing HP Values to be more reliant on level (Per stat point) instead of VIT will cause much less of an HP disparity but chop out a tiny bit of character diversity, the healthy 1.2k Health tonk will be closer to ground level than a squishy duelist basic attacker would be.

Though despite that disparity, I believe both of these changes would change the scope for basic attackers by a lot.
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#10
Certain character concepts are hit incredibly hard by certain required abilities to make them perform at least closely with the most viable builds, especially when compared to spellcasters, thanks to how easily they can build almost entirely defensive stats and still out-damage anyone else. A big thing has been made out of how duelist, and typically ghost, is a requirement to play a basic attacker, and I agree. 

But I think it also stands to shine a spotlight on our poor friends: The evasive characters, who suffer a similar fate. I'm fine with the game requiring characters to have a defensive strategy to be effective, be it tanking through attacks or dodging them entirely. But as it stands, tanking is so much better that it's a handicap to play an evasion-based character (Barring one exception, and we'll get to that.) With the best gear you can for this purpose, and running a class with an evasion DR buff like Aquamancer or Verglas, you can get your evasion DR up to around 48%, which is about on par with tanky DR, but unreliably, and requiring regular investment of your momentum economy. Surely the basic narrative concept would be that dodging an attack should be superior to blocking one, but less consistent? As it stands, autohitters do not typically need to build for accuracy at all, because evasion is so weak that it's not worth taking care to prepare for. Basic attackers versus evaders fares a lot better, thanks to it's 'all or nothing' nature, but with basic attacking being in the state it's in, it's not basic attackers you typically need to prepare for when trying to craft a dodgy character.

Of course, there are a few elephants in the room that come from the idea of a global evasion buff. The first being the aforementioned builds that can gain offensive power by building defensive stats. Mages especially can invest everything they have into entirely defensive stats (And willpower) and still have unreal firepower while enjoying the main benefit of DEF/RES damage resistance, and the occasional Evasion! proc for extra DR. I agree with several points made in the thread that weapon scaling and even elemental attack should move away from defensive stats to remedy this problem.

The other elephant has to do with the one way to make an evasive build stand up to it's defensive big brother, Cobra Demon Hunter. Now, despite the meme, I do not hate demon hunter, I do not think it is overpowered, and Cobra has enough blind spots to make playing against it tactically interesting. What it is, is viable and strong. The only way to make evasion without DEF/RES viable and strong in my experience. So if you want to portray a character who survives by dodging attacks over powering through them you're trapped playing demon hunter, in much the same way a basic attacker is trapped playing duelist. Which means that in many ways, a global evasion buff could push it into being overpowered if not handled in a way that considers Cobra.

I don't like complaining about things without offering solutions, so here are some basic concepts I had.

-As mentioned before, we need to stop characters from being able to build every defensive stat in the game. Tank, or Dodge. Pick one. This helps us prepare for...

-Snake Dancer as a trait or talent. Rip it right out of Demon hunter, and give it to everyone, preferably only after they've invested 30-40 cel, given it's sheer power should be defended from gimmicky tank builds that can stack Evasion! class effects and passives. There are some tweaks you can do here. Perhaps the trait/talent snake dancer only has one charge, and the demon hunter skill gives it an additional charge. Or perhaps it has two charges, and demon hunter's snake dancer has an entirely new effect.

-Beefier evasion DR buffs. Ring of Pearls is a good start, but we need more. Rogue, Archer, and Duelist at the very least should have some seriously beefy (and mutually exclusive) evasion DR buffs. Something like 30% on a 3m buff. Rope Snake Dancer into the mutual exclusivity of these evasion buffs, in the same way parry and evasive reaction skills are mutually exclusive with one another. I like this solution less than making Snake Dancer a trait. It's very possible to build evasion so high that a even hit-stacker could never catch up, and would rely on momentum economy investment to give it a weakness. Compared to the more tactically interesting snake dancer.

TL;DR, the broad idea here is that, be it for basic attacking or evasion, if a particular class skill is required to make a playstyle viable, then it should be a skill that any class can access. In this vein I am also a proponent of Fleur becoming a talent/trait. The so called 'global fleur'.
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