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Galaxy Brain

Lets "Shatter" some melee attacks

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Having run every single melee set available to Scrappers in a standardized environment for a total of 190 timed tests, I think I have a solid data point for a handful of the sets to look into.

 

 

One thing I noticed is that a lot of sets, namely the weapon sets, have a similar blueprint:

3 ST attacks
Confront

Build Up

1 Utility Attack (Parry, Divine Avalanche, a strong knock-up attack, etc)

1 PBAoE
1 "Normal" cone (For Battle Axe and War mace, these cones come later in the set and have a 180* arc + 10 target cap)

1 "Extreme" cone (Shatter, Cleave, Head Splitter, etc)

 

 

War Mace, Katana, Battle Axe and Broadsword all follow this blueprint but one of them was much, much better due to one power: War Mace's Shatter.

 

Comparing Broadsword's Head Splitter to Shatter we are looking at a 19* Cone with a 10 ft reach to a 45* cone with a 7 ft reach. The sword (or Katana, or Axe) reach further sure, but given all 4 attacks have a 5 target cap it makes the much wider area of Shatter win out over and over again in order for that set to stand out.

 

 

Goal: Give the other weapon sets some parity by changing their "Extreme" cones to have the same stats as Shatter for ease of use. 

 

Stretch Goal:

Looking at Ice Melee and Fire Melee, they also have a similar conundrum when it comes to Greater Ice Sword / Greater Fire Sword. Freezing Touch and Incinerate respectively are extreme damage DoTs found in both sets that fill the niche of "very hard hitting ST attack" with each having better total damage (with no /Lethal split!) in less than half the animation time. 

Looking at the animation, these attacks also seem quite similar to Shatter... what if they also became "Shattered" in that they are cone attacks going forward? It would give the "Greater" sword attacks a niche in their respective sets over a clearly better ST option.

 

 

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I would argue the entire reason why War Mace has Shatter is because it doesn't have Parry/Flashing Steel. Those are two of the best powers in the game (on non-Tankers) because they stack. You can soft-cap an Electric Armor to Lethal/Melee.

 

As for Ice and Fire, comparing Incinerate to Freezing Touch is a little silly. Freezing touch has double the DPA and is also a Hold. You're not wrong about the Greater Sword powers under performing, but based on their ST powers, I'd say Greater Ice Sword should be a Headsplitter-like and Greater Fire Sword should be a Shatter-like.

 

Now turning Cleave into Shatter, that's a great idea. Although I don't know if that's enough to make Battle Axe good.

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It would immediately be better imho. Axe and Mace are essentially the same set aside from that big difference, and a couple other number tweaks.

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There's a reason for that. In the distant past of pre-release CoH there was at one point a single medieval weaponry set that drew different weapons for different powers. They decided at some point to split it into the four sets we now have, hence why they share the same animations. Originally Katana also shared animations but it was updated with different ones later.

 

Or so I remember hearing somewhere, anyway.

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I have a WM scrapper and it is awesome. But it still seems to be one of the less used (seen?) sets. Not sure where it ranks in those FoTM lists, but I'd almost put money on BS and Kat being more popular.

BS is usually seen as good..do we really want every set to have such similar mechanics? AT least, all the older sets?

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1 hour ago, Razor Cure said:

BS is usually seen as good..do we really want every set to have such similar mechanics? AT least, all the older sets?

There is a line to be walked between homogenization and unique mechanics.

 

BA is an excellent example (intentional or not, although if I remember right, it was intentional) of something unique that didn't work out. Whirling Axe aside, its damage per power isn't bad. It's average. Nearly all of its attacks are very close in terms of DPA. If you compare that to the highs and lows of other sets, well, there's something to be said for being super normal.

 

Problem is, we don't pick all of the attacks in a set. We pick the best ones and the bad ones go un(der)used. In that instance, having average DPA on all of your powers isn't good. The other sets are going to out perform you by using only their good powers.

Edited by Demon Shell
Clarification
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Correct, and depending on the secondary or IO slotting parry can go from amazing to skippable 😕

 

I just think that at the least making the weapon sets have an easier to use extreme cone would be a good step to making them more popular / fun. Especially Axe if if got some attention! 

 

In the testing thread, my experience with War Mace had the literal only difference being due to shatter more reliably hitting multiple targets and thus clearing minions faster / reducing incoming DPS / getting faster clear times. The increased area is clearly better than the other extreme cones, and sets like ice and fire could use something like that on their greater swords as well. The melee sets are already rather homogeneous, so at least putting them on the same footing for a first pass before ither tweaks I think would be nice.

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I am against major change like those suggested.  You just end up homogenous power sets with different graphics and damage types. 

 

Now I would agree like the crappy broad sword cone mentioned which is insanely narrow, maybe 30 would be better since thats like 15 degrees on both sides; the narrow cone basically a longer range attack with the chane to hit another 1-3 targets.

 

Also, that ugly ass multi hit dark melee punch similar to sands of mu.  To long animation, too narrow, too short distant range and to many ticks while very hard to use with crappy NPC blob AI.  Claws used to have a frisky pissed  off looking cat strike animation which was like the dark melee. 

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16 hours ago, Razor Cure said:

I have a WM scrapper and it is awesome. But it still seems to be one of the less used (seen?) sets. Not sure where it ranks in those FoTM lists, but I'd almost put money on BS and Kat being more popular.

BS is usually seen as good..do we really want every set to have such similar mechanics? AT least, all the older sets?

Shhh... Remember the first rule of Clobber Club

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Shatter has always had the better cone because clobber was a low damage stun, if it did damage at all.  That balanced it against battle axe.  War mace better aoe, battle axe better single target.  

 

Then they made clobber into a beastly attack and made war mace  far outshine battle axe.  It was that change that upset the balance between those 4 weapon sets and left battle axe in squander.  Battle axe needs something to make it more unique and relevant. 


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2 hours ago, Galaxy Brain said:

Correct, and depending on the secondary or IO slotting parry can go from amazing to skippable 😕

 

I just think that at the least making the weapon sets have an easier to use extreme cone would be a good step to making them more popular / fun. Especially Axe if if got some attention! 

 

In the testing thread, my experience with War Mace had the literal only difference being due to shatter more reliably hitting multiple targets and thus clearing minions faster / reducing incoming DPS / getting faster clear times. The increased area is clearly better than the other extreme cones, and sets like ice and fire could use something like that on their greater swords as well. The melee sets are already rather homogeneous, so at least putting them on the same footing for a first pass before ither tweaks I think would be nice.

Due to the risk of Cascading Defense Debuff, unless you're /SR Parry-likes should never be skippable.

 

Your testing with Battle Axe probably showed you what the devs saw when they balanced it that way (again, if I'm remembering right, it's lacking in detail so I'm only assuming it was BA due to the numbers it has, but I distinctly remember reading a devpost on the old forums during a balance pass about balancing an underused melee set based on DPA as a test, but then they never came back to it). At low recharge levels, when you're using all/most of your powers (and no Epic Pools), BA is fine. On the other hand, WM Clobber has a DPA nearly double that of anything BA has. When you're using all of your powers, that's balanced against WM having lower values for its other attacks. But CoH is cooldown reduction, the game. Once you get your cooldowns low enough, you don't need those weaker powers lowering your average.

 


 

And while we're on that subject. I read during your testing (I apologize if this is wrong, I haven't read through the entire topic) that in addition to always using the same enhancement set up (1acc/redux/rech, 3dam), TW was the only set that had any endurance issues, and even that never slowed your attacking. This leaves me immediately wondering, did you replace the Endurance Reduction with a second Recharge Reduction on some of, or all of, the powers in the other sets to boost the recharge on their higher DPA attacks (until it reached similar end consumption levels as TW)? I understand the desire to maintain a control for testing, but it's not realistic. If you don't need that extra end redux (and it's not being given by IOs while chasing a set bonus) there's no reason to slot for it.

 

If you did use alternate slotting on some attacks, I'd be interesting in seeing those, especially the ones on Dark Melee (though obviously not in this topic, and again I apologize if this was already covered).

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In the testing I used the same slotting as much as possible in order to eliminate variables such as some powers getting another recharge or not. The only powers that did not get the same slotting were parry/divine avalanche due to 1 defense SO being very impactful to survival in the test scenario. 

 

If I were to change up the slotting, I would want to do it across all the sets similarly. When it came to the IO tests later in the thread it has a build with ~70% perma rech before hasten as well as ample recharge slotting in the powers thanks to the nature of set values. Ideally those two extremes should highlight data within the sets given that WP should be the least invasive secondary for primary performance. (Quick recovery is also a common thing to see given that WP, Regen, Rad, and Bio all have recovery powers while Elec, Energy, Fire, and Ice also have straight up end drains. It's more common than not to have endurance tools)

 

 

Anywho, as for Battle Axe the issue was not so much the ST damage as it was the ease of AoE. It is the closest in design to war mace aside from Clobber DPA and shatter's coverage. Of the two, I can say from my experience that the ability to swing at more targets more reliably made a bigger difference. 

Edited by Galaxy Brain

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Well there's your problem. There are 13 armors, 4 of them have recovery passives, and the others either have +end clicks, which lower DPS, or nothing, both of which create a greater emphasis on endurance management. And in choosing the armor set with all passives and no click powers, you didn't just pick the least invasive set, you choose the deviant. Every other set has click powers, even SR. It's part of how armors work. It lowers DPS, it messes up Momentum, and it makes sets that have survival tools that also deal damage (or trump, in effectiveness, the support powers in your armor pool) more attractive to use instead.

 

You choose Willpower, but then you didn't leverage it on every set. TW leverages Willpower naturally. It offers increased Recovery (TW is the most expensive set) and does so with no clickables to interrupt Momentum (Electric, Fire, Ice, Energy, and Ninjitsu have end return, but they’re all click powers, if you have to activate those during Momentum (especially Power Sink) your DPS dives). Why then wouldn't you slot the other attack pools to also benefit from Willpower, via the stable, non-DPS interrupting, increase to Recovery? They have the endurance to spare over TW. That's their advantage to leverage in slotting. And this is the key, some sets will leverage it more so than others.

 

And if there are sets that still have a surplus of endurance after that (Claws or Dark maybe?), why wouldn't you throw on Assault to boost it even higher? If you were using a defensive set like /Dark where that end redux is necessary on attacks, wouldn't Dark Melee need less? Wouldn't TW need more? If you were using /Electric, clicking those heal/end powers would reduce DPS on TW more than any other set by interrupting Momentum, but how much per set would depend on how much damage you take/endurance you use. You have to play the attack set to the strengths of the armor pool and I feel you may have focused too much on standardized enhancement slotting instead of getting the fastest clear with just SOs. That's how to determine a set's performance at the SO level versus the performance of a singular style of slotting.

 

Case in point: Dark Melee has no value as an attack set if you aren't running extra toggles to leverage Dark Consumption, which itself has no value in slotting an End Redux over additional recharge (DC has 180 recharge but only costs 0.35 end). Would that have pulled it out of the bottom slot? On Willpower, probably not. But that alone would have increased its performance with 0 downsides.
 

By no means does that invalidate the effort and data you've accumulated, which is vast and eye opening (I thought Kinetic was better than that, but then again my Kinetic was /Fire). Cleave should definitely be a Shatter-like cone. I don't know if that would be enough, but it's certainly a change that should happen.

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What if, instead of extending the cone to match the width of Mace's Shatter, you instead make it so the cone retains it's thin range, but becomes a double cone, with one that extends behind the character? This would accomplish the goal of the thin Cone, make it easier to get 5 targets, but not remove the challenge of positioning yourself to pull it off. Is it possible to include a blindside back cone?

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@Demon Shell, that is great feedback and is something I've wanted to do going forward to retest the primaries with another more offensive secondary.

 

WP is more of an outlier with how passive it is yes, but it was chosen specifically to show how the primaries perform in as close to a vaccuum state as possible. Most armor sets have a recovery tool available which would help all primaries, and the end drain ones over time would probably even out compared to the recovery boosts where they are inevitably slower but not by much if used wisely. The bigger X factor using a different set with a click heal / etc is the timing and how that effects performance. WP was "squishy" enough to where a lot of incoming hits would actually be dangerous enough in the test to matter and actually kill the player on SO's + combat jumping but also healed quickly enough on it's own to be fresh fight to fight. Other sets would be more varied where luck comes into play on top of the cooldowns / amount of self heal and other such factors which would be interesting to see work.

 

Anyways, I think this is best talked over in the testing thread than here. Even with other secondaries though I think that Shatter's design is just a gamechanger compared to the other "pencil cones" and it's just weird how they are set up comparatively. 

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Galaxy brain, thanks for testing.  I do think War Mace is the “best” weapon primary, but there are a lot of “what ifs” and “how about xyz “

 

I’m not sure I see a need to equalize sets.  I have a BS scrapper.  He’s awful compared to my WM scrapper.  But awful means running +3/x5 versus +4/x8.  At what point do we equalize all sets?  My vote would be to nerf WM rather than buff BS.

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A nerf hurts 2x as much as an equal buff heals. I would rather boost up under performing sets and if need be tweak over-performers slightly down and then make more difficulty options than do sweeping nerfs. 

 

My OG thread discussing slightly toning down a certain... advanced weapon set had some fun discussion 😉

Edited by Galaxy Brain
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1 hour ago, Galaxy Brain said:

My OG thread discussing slightly toning down a certain... advanced weapon set had some fun discussion 😉

Can confirm.

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1 hour ago, Galaxy Brain said:

A nerf hurts 2x as much as an equal buff heals. I would rather boost up under performing sets and if need be tweak over-performers slightly down and then make more difficulty options than do sweeping nerfs. 

As an avid energy melee'er from days of yore I can confirm this.

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Anyways, War Mace is in a great spot IMO. It's very very solid on SO and IO levels and boosting other sets to around its performance given the tools / damage types / etc couldn't hurt.

 

Having power variance is fine and encouraged as that opens up more synergies and strategies for fun gameplay. What isnt fun is when a set has a similar theme but is just flat out better or worse or if a set is just lacking power to the point of being a chore to play with 😞

 

 

Edited by Galaxy Brain
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Well, there is the other option.

 

Whirling Axe and Mace both have pretty low DPAs (they're not Stone Melee Tremor bad, but very much on the low end). What if Whirling Axe DPA was brought up to compensate?

 

Let's say Cleave has an arcana-time DPA of 70 per target. It doesn't (I think it's slightly higher), but let's just say it does. You can expect to hit between 1-2 enemies per use. I was a career BS Scrapper so I'm very familiar with the cone as it is currently. You can, with reasonable reliability hit 2 targets with it by a quick quarter-second nudge to the left or right (and from a DPS perspective, that's absolutely worth it), if they're next to each other. And while you may on rare occasion hit 3 (or 4 if you're fighting Rikti Monkeys), there's also the high chance that two enemies just aren't close enough together, or that there is only 1 enemy. Let's average this all and say you hit 1.5 enemies per swing (you don't, it's lower, but lets pretend). With these assumptions in place we can say your average DPS per swing with Cleave is 105.

 

What we're discussing is increasing the cone size, such that instead of hitting between 1-2, you'd be hitting between 1 and (realistically) like 5 or 6 enemies (it has a target cap of 10, you're not hitting 10). Again, BA is weird. Almost all of its attacks have the same DPA and Cleave is no different. Ordinarily Cleave is either not in, or only rarely used, in your ST rotation (which would mean its rarely ever going to only hit 1). But, if there's a specific power you want and you need to trim a move and you have the endurance, you can drop Chop or Gash and replace it with Cleave and have very little difference in ST DPA (alternately if you're hit with -rech, Cleave is your backup). Because of this, if Cleave were a Shatter-like, you're probably looking at an average of either 3 or 4 targets per swing. If 3, that's 70 * 3 for 210 DPA per use. If 4 that's 280. Between HC and this proposal, that's a difference of 105-175.

 

Let's say Whirling Axe has an arcana-time DPA of 20 per target. It doesn't (I think it's slightly higher), but let's say it does. It has a target cap of 10 and you can totally hit that. Usually though, you're looking at a high of only like 8-9. It is absolutely not an ST power and especially for BA, to only hit 3 enemies would technically be a DPA loss. So your average is going to be high; probably like 5 or 6 targets. So that's 20 * 5 for 100-120 DPA per use.

 

Now I played fast and loose with a lot of these numbers, but the point is to cause Whirling Axe (Average DPA 100-120) to near the proposed change to Cleave (Average DPA 210-280) would pretty much require the DPA of Whirling Axe be doubled. This would take it from a low DPA 360 AoE, to something closer (or even slightly higher than) Claw Spin. That would further separate BA from WM with similar results to a Cleave cone increase (although that wouldn't exactly solve the issue of "Cleave has a target cap of 10 and why").

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It does not make sense that Broadsword and Battle Axe would be significantly worse than War Mace, since they are nearly the same sets.

 

Likely a result of WM being buffed because it used to be the one of the 3 that trailed behind.

 

 

 

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On 11/20/2019 at 4:15 AM, Bossk_Hogg said:

Shhh... Remember the first rule of Clobber Club

Last one conscious pays the bar tab?

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2 hours ago, Haijinx said:

It does not make sense that Broadsword and Battle Axe would be significantly worse than War Mace, since they are nearly the same sets.

 

Likely a result of WM being buffed because it used to be the one of the 3 that trailed behind.

Well, yeah. Double the DPA on Disembowel and Swoop and that'd pretty much be the end of this discussion.

 

I think it's better to compare BS to Katana though, since they're the Parry sets. And the main issue there is Lotus/Soaring are both superior to Whirling/Disembowel by a wide margin. The answer may be as simple as buff Disembowel's DPA up to Clobber levels so BS is for ST and Katana for AoE (which is how I feel WM and BA should specialize).

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