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Are Pets too powerful on offense?
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Ragwortshire
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 1:09 pm    Post subject: Are Pets too powerful on offense? Reply with quote

From my experience recently on both sides of various raids, it seems like Pets, while powerful defensively, are really quite ridiculous when used offensively. I have been on multiple raids where Pets played a decisive role in the outcome of the battle, and also woken up dead several times to almost pure Pet Spam along with a smattering of emotes.

I can see several factors which contribute to this phenomenon:

1) The AP Decay mechanic, while it prevents large pet hordes from existing in the long term, is fairly easy to bypass when preparing for a raid. My (rather conservative, imo) estimate is that a Wyrm Master with 24 hours' preparation time can have 6 Nether Hounds and 12 regular Hellhounds ready for battle, and still have them run out of MP before running out of AP.

With more preparation time, the hordes can become larger. With 36 hours' prep time, I calculate the maximum total to be 12 Nether and 12 regular Hounds. With 60 hours' prep, it should be possible to have fully 20 (!!) Nether Hounds and 12 Regular Hounds by the raid time...

Of course similar options are available to the other Petmasters as well. For a Lich, lack of corpses is a problem and for the Lightspeaker it's lack of MP, but I feel there are probably ways around these obstacles.

2) Affinity potions. Pet Masters can be made virtually immune to attacks for a moderate period of time by drinking a large number of these, the expense of which is very reasonable given the effect created (namely, huge numbers of pets which cannot reasonably be killed). High Dodge armors, invisibility potions and supporting Healers can cause further frustration for the hapless defenders.

3) The general damage output of Pets is just really high when the target is not outright immune or at the very least possessing very heavy soak. Indeed, the binary nature of Pets (with Affinities = Easy; without = Impossible) makes this almost inevitable.

I do think that something ought to be done to address some or all of these issues. I think reducing the general effectiveness of Pets a little, but also nerfing their counters (i.e., Affinity Potions), would go a long way to make raiding more balanced between Pet Masters and, um, everyone else. I think this would allow more options and make combat generally more interesting.
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ChesterKatz
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Conduits are another factor in contributing to the effectiveness of offensive pets. It was much less practical to tow a pet horde into battle in the past, since the pets would use up much of their AP along the way.
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Meric
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ChesterKatz wrote:
Conduits are another factor in contributing to the effectiveness of offensive pets. It was much less practical to tow a pet horde into battle in the past, since the pets would use up much of their AP along the way.


A per pet cost to use a portal would be pretty funny and might tone down mega hordes. Say 0.5mp per pet?

The largest I've seen towed to a raid is about ~26 so the cost of shuffling them through the portal would be an additional 13mp.

Just a thought.

I do agree that a lot of pets brought to a raid can be infuriating but it is also a factor which enables small factions to raid successfully. They often don't have the numbers or class composition for successful raids outside of pets. I know this is true for two level 5s and partially two level 6s of mine.
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Mnky
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 1:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Are Pets too powerful on offense? Reply with quote

Ragwortshire wrote:
From my experience recently on both sides of various raids, it seems like Pets, while powerful defensively, are really quite ridiculous when used offensively.


My impression was that for the lich pets are extremely weak for defence. All it takes is one tank, or one sorcerer with an aura and a couple of potions, and all that ap/mp spent maintaining them was wasted. If they were useless for offence too there wouldn't be much point in playing a lich.
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corky
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 1:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Are Pets too powerful on offense? Reply with quote

Mnky wrote:
Ragwortshire wrote:
From my experience recently on both sides of various raids, it seems like Pets, while powerful defensively, are really quite ridiculous when used offensively.


My impression was that for the lich pets are extremely weak for defence. All it takes is one tank, or one sorcerer with an aura and a couple of potions, and all that ap/mp spent maintaining them was wasted. If they were useless for offence too there wouldn't be much point in playing a lich.


Pets in general can be weak in defence if the raiders are prepared, especially if they have two immuneable damage types which makes them effectively useless.
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Ragwortshire
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yup, that's why this topic is specifically about Pets on offense. It may be that certain petmasters are poor defensively, but that would be a different (though of course related) topic.
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sohdbrimks
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What if there was a limit on number of pets?
Say, 5 of each pet, except zombies and skeletons, which a lich could have 15 of each

To compensate for this, make the pet decay slower, like -1 AP every hour or something. Or remove the decay entirely.

It would make them worse at offense but better at defense
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SkullFace
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pets must have a role. The way I see it if they are both weak defensively (and they are very weak if you are prepared) and decay over time, it is only right that they are powerful on offense.
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oblivious
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
3) The general damage output of Pets is just really high when the target is not outright immune or at the very least possessing very heavy soak. Indeed, the binary nature of Pets (with Affinities = Easy; without = Impossible) makes this almost inevitable.

This is exactly the point I was going to bring up. Pets (and a lot of things in this breath, actually) are pretty binary. If you have them, you're in a different class than if you don't. If you have effective countermeasures, you're in a different class than if you don't. The same applies to glyphs of slowing, enchantment, alchemy, tanks, Conduits, blessings/auras, etc. I think pets stand out because there are relatively few petmasters and no way to fake it. I think this is largely a consequence of the "role" system; if you have [role] occupied, you are in a different class than if you don't. I generally would prefer that the binary nature of the present game be toned down, but I also recognize that this is sort of a fundamental design decision of the breath.

Quote:
My impression was that for the lich pets are extremely weak for defence. All it takes is one tank, or one sorcerer with an aura and a couple of potions, and all that ap/mp spent maintaining them was wasted. If they were useless for offence too there wouldn't be much point in playing a lich.

Pets generally seem pretty useless when the raiders know what they're doing and prepare countermeasures. I was initially concerned with this, but stopped caring when I realized how effective pets were on raids. Sprites may be an exception.

Toning down pets in isolation would just make people switch over to AoE, which are probably already more effective than pets since they can break through fort soak. If we want to reduce the binary nature of the game, pets would be a big part of that, but it would require a commitment to change a large body of major design decisions, else we just create a new set of binary relationships.

edit: skullface said this a little more concisely...
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Ongewitter
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I could post a bunch of calcumalations for the max amount of pets a PM could keep up, but I think I already did so somewhere else.
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DUMBGoose
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My level 20 rev downed a light speaker through 7 judgemasters today.

Sure I had 1 hp left but much of the pets system is the same as it was in nexuswar.

Raids that bet on pets are usually undermanned. Just counter one character and they should fail, seems fair and I have seen it done.
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Teksura
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pets are intended to be an offensive powerhouse. Defensively, not so much.

As mentioned above, there are many ways to bypass the pain of pets. Tanks, Potions, Aura spells, Conduits, the list goes on. Sustaining a petwall is certainly possible, but your pets will decay over time. This means that if you're summoning pets which have 100 AP, after 25 hours you're not going to be getting any more. The old ones will be despawing as fast as you can summon new ones. It's actually mildly better to rejuvenate a pet with 5 AP than to summon a brand new one.


On offense: Yes. Pets are deadly and lethal. But the right (or wrong) active can shut them down entirely. They are excellent on a small faction scale, but when you start getting into the bigger factions,they are harder to make use of. Try using them against Pirates sometime,and see how they react to it. Wink


What hasn't been mentioned is the petmaster's ability to survive. This is a pretty nifty thing. Your typical hunter classes will fall very quickly to a petmaster just sitting out in the open, or in a building. When a petmaster has some of their "don't die horribly" pets and a decent amount of their "kill you in the face" pets, taking them out is hard to do.
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Morthalius
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DUMBGoose wrote:
My level 20 rev downed a light speaker through 7 judgemasters today.

Sure I had 1 hp left but much of the pets system is the same as it was in nexuswar.

Raids that bet on pets are usually undermanned. Just counter one character and they should fail, seems fair and I have seen it done.


Yeah, pets are great vs. non-actives, but typically if you hit a prepared active and you're relying on pets you're going to fail.
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bidigam
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seems the general trend of the thread is "booohoo pets".

Offensively speaking, pets, AoE and Glyphs (which can be used offensively) are offensive, wide effect power multipliers.
What effect these power multipliers cause? They make possible a wider selection of targets, in other words, they encourage raid activity.

So it is a mistake to speak :"pets" as if they were an isolated element.

So lets say a couple of things about wide effect power multipliers (as I defined them above, henceforth called P.M.s for short).
Reducing P.M.s will:
1.) Reduce Factional activity by narrowing the spectrum of possible targets;
2.) Increase the frequency of repeated raiding behaviour;
3.) Increase the amount of factions that will literally be raided out of the game.
4.) The proportion "Successful raids vs. Failed raids" will be significantly shifted towards failure rather than success in the whole segment from middle sized factions to small factions.

1,2 and 3 are pretty evident so I will not comment on them.
Regarding point 4.) lets speak about this ratio.
Lets draw a spectrum:
Low Threshold of Misery |__________________________________________________| High Threshold of Misery.


What are these thresholds? They represent the proportion of failures vs. success that a person perceives, and by which a person will acknowledge whether an experience was positive or negative. In other words, you keep failing you think: this is bad use of my fun time. You keep succeeding and you think: this is good use of my fun time.

The whole human race fits in there, spread all across the line, but most people who play computer games sits towards the Low threshold of misery.

When we weaken too much the P.M.s and the game success ratio shifts requiring people to have high thresholds of misery, we are excluding the many people who would play the game if only it was not so frustrating. What is the error? Answer: To put a requirement on the playerbase. Unless you have high threshold of misery our game is not for you.

Why is it a mistake? Because when the game aims at moderate to low thresholds of misery, just by the way the game is made, those with high thresholds of misery can still play exactly the way they like it. They can join a 8 man faction, and every week try raid the pirates. The game is full of challenges, one only has to *desire* said challenge. Nobody prevents them from doing so. But those people with low misery thresholds, will still have a higher chance of success, if they make good use of P.M.s which will cause: i.) them to be happy; ii.)to perceive the game as being a positive experience; iii.) continue to play the game, engrossing the player base and the community.

One further point. One might argue: for one to win, another must lose, so it is always 50% on both sides. Not so. This is a very important notion to be grasped: One cares more for victory when he is engaged, then he does for defeat when he was not actively engaged.

That is where the magic of NW and NC happens: Raiders are active, target is mostly inactive, a very small ( if any) number of active defenders are present fighting against all odds.

Situation 1, successful raid.
Those who succeed attack while active: "love it, and fuck, there were even actives"
Those who fail while asleep: "whoot lol"
Sole (or not) active defender: "man I was this close of being a hero today, but it was alright, I was fighting against all odds".

Situation 2, Failed raid.
Those who failed attack: "ffffffff...and we prepared this for days dammit"
Those who succeed while inactive: "lol n00bs"
Sole (or not) active defender: "Yay I am an herooooo whooohooooo"

Drawing from that you have that it is important that sometimes a raid fails so that active defender feels like hero, his 15 minutes of fame; and raiding parties recognize that there are challenges and that is why victory is so sweet.

On the other hand it is also important that players don't begin to say: "man...another raid. Why we keep doing it we fail all the time..."


So with those things in mind:

I think it was a good move that NClash reduced some of the strength from NW P.M.s In late NW a 4 man faction could take one 15x their size, which is not good.
Also I think it was a great idea to make pets to become the more generic P.M. because they are much slower than AoE was. (In NW a faction would be down literally in seconds. I still remember over IRC faction mates screaming for my Wizard to stop "and leave something for them")
Pets are also predictable, offering at most 2 damage types, and a defender can put 2 affinity pots down and make days worth of work to go to naught.
Pets require lots of maintenance. Pets can be intercepted with preemptive attacks because they exist outside the summoner's inventory.
I don't know about other pet masters, but I am feeling the weight of summoning hounds and getting them to be dispatched right before my faction raids. I am planning on reducing the summoning as soon as my faction has more firepower. Raising 15 dogs for raid is not comfy. It is a huge investment of ap and also faction mates efforts as they lose their MP too.

I think NClash devs stroke a really good balance this breath in what regards P.M.s
But I think reducing P.M.s further will hurt the game more than help, as the game will shift, requiring higher threshold of misery, and playerbase will reduce because not all possess that high of a threshold of misery.
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oblivious
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm amending my decision on this and saying that maybe petmasters (or at least WMs, not sure about the rest) are too strong. At the least, if some of the interface issues are fixed, then it should probably be paired with a nerf. A number of the interface/AI suggestions I've made would effectively be buffs, for example.
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