Thomas “Blixtev” Blair here, and today I’m going to chat with y’all about some of the tweaks we are performing on our first archetype: the Knight.
Yes, the Knight!
It has been quite some time since we made any real adjustments to the Knight, devoting our attention to the new archetypes instead. Eventually, we found a gap in the schedule where the Design team was ready to the start on the polish phase of the Templar, but the animations and FX were still being built. The gap wasn’t wide, but it was enough time for us to give the Knight some attention.
In the early days of Crowfall, during my spare time, I prototyped a secret version of the Knight I called the “Stamina Knight.” This was a Knight who didn’t use mana as its main resource but stamina for both blocking and all power activation. The Stamina Knight sort of worked. It broke the UI and various other brick walls with our tech at the time. To fix all the issues would have required extensive engineering work and put other archetypes behind, so the Stamina Knight was shelved. As we built the other archetypes, some of the pieces that made the first Stamina Knight unplayable came online.
Now, the players will be able to test our newest experiment: a single resource pool for an archetype. All the Knight’s powers and skills have been updated to consume and generate stamina. We even added some new skills to reduce the amount of food it needs to consume due to its extreme use of stamina.
*We are still tweaking the amount to make it feel right.
Blocking saw several changes in this update as well, and I bet we will see even more in the future. We have always wanted to add some directional, group mate, and multi-Knight based aspects to Block. We don’t have those parts yet, so we focused on other things we did have, such as:
- Blocking now has a very slow drain on the stamina bar if no one is hitting you. If you take a “big hit”, the stamina bar also takes a bigger reduction. Ideally the block can stop a couple of big hits.
- Blocking now grants an across the board damage bonus based on the amount of damage blocked. Billy also added a UI widget similar to the other classes so you can see how much you have blocked and how big the bonus is. (we are still tweaking the thresholds and will be for the next few weeks as it is put through the paces in Big World)
- Blocking Damage Reflect is limited to elemental (fire, ice, electric) damage. It used to be anything flagged as “magic” could be reflected, which was a legacy of not having dedicated damage groups in the early days.
- Taking a “big hit” triggers the activation of a new power added to the knight: Shield Bash.
Shield Bash is mapped to the number 2 spot, formerly occupied by Shield Slam. (Since we don’t have the tech to allow power swapping yet, Shield Slam has been temporarily moved to the number 7 slot.) Shield Slam has the same functionality it previously had, with the addition of a short pushback to those hit.
Useful for pushing people off walls!
Enough about Shield Slam. Let’s talk Shield Bash! Shield Bash…
- Can be used on the move,
- deals single target damage,
- triggers a Daze effect (short duration movement reduction),
- applies a new debuff type which prevents the target from using its right click Dodges/Blinks,
- lands a guaranteed critical hit if the target has recently been hit with another Shield Bash.
Damage and Left Clicks
The ability to use Shield Bash isn’t only granted by blocking big hits; three consecutive hits with the left click power will also allow it to be used.
Note that we are going to transition most archetypes over time to this consecutive hit system, rather than the current method of adding an effect built into the third attack.
Speaking of left-click powers, we made the animation speeds more appropriate to that of a long sword. Sword swings previously operated at the speed we want daggers to swing at. As a natural side effect of this change, the damage of the Knight's left-click attacks were increased to accommodate the new timing.
In addition, the rebalanced Knight also benefits from the removal of a 10% flat-damage penalty we have been applying to the Tank archetypes. Back in the early days, this knob gave us a simple way to adjust the archetypes, but that was back when we were limited to bare-bones functionality. We really don’t need it anymore; if we find an archetype is out of scale, we can now adjust it on a per-power basis, so we removed it.
Also, starting anyone at a negative value for a stat kinda sucked.
In the current iteration, Pursuit has been changed into a single-press- to-activate power. After much refactoring to our movement system we don’t have the variable input for distance on our charge-to- use powers, and as a result Pursuit was just broken. Changing it to single-press activation is best way to clean it up for now, but let’s put a note on this one that we will likely want to revisit it in the future.
Leap Smash and Soul Power
The C power for the Knight remains the same, except that it now uses a new type of resource to fuel it: Soul Power. Soul Power is generated by hitting enemies and by being hit by enemies. All archetypes now use Soul Power to activate any C power. This makes all C powers much more interactive as the player needs to do something, as opposed to just waiting for cooldown timers.
Shield Slam, as mentioned, has now been temporarily relocated to power slot 7. It has the same functionality it previously had with one notable addition: It now also includes a short pushback to any targets that are hit, which can be useful (and incredibly satisfying!) when used to push enemies off ramparts or into campfires.
Sometimes, we can make a series of positive tweaks to an archetype in a few days! We added some fun new toys to the Knight and changed the way C powers work for everyone. I am sure we will need to tweak some values after you guys play the Knight, but this was a much needed pass over the class’s powers and (hopefully) a big step in the right direction for its playability.
Give him a test run this weekend and let us know what you think! And, as always, don’t hesitate to leave comments on the forums.
Design Lead, ACE