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Howling Banshee 2: The Solution

Discussion in 'Eldar' started by Rheeva, Jan 29, 2018.

  1. Lady Rheeva Steam Early Access

    Unlike the first thread here we shall attempt to find a streamlined way to buff the Howling Banshee. This thread operates on the premise that the class is not unplayable, but slightly under powered and next to impossible to play competitively.
    If you want to debate this premise, please turn your attention to the first thread.

    Now, I would actually love to see some results here. And by that I mean an actual, final concept we can present to the devs, not just my ideas nor anyone else's. For this to be realistic, there ought to be some rules:
    -Stay concise and to the point. You don't need a Wall of text. If your idea is great, it should speak for itself without much explanation
    -Try to describe concrete implementation. Don't just say 'we should get a speed-boost', make a tangible proposal for how high this speed-boost should be.
    -Make compromises. If everyone just sits on their idea and tries to push it through, we won't be getting anywhere. Find a middle-ground.
    -Avoid mechanics and coding. What the devs can do or want to do is limited. Stats are the easiest.

    Now, as far as I am concerned, there are several, distinct paths that could be explored, which are not mutually exclusive:

    -Defensive Stats. The easiest way would be to buff armor, health, whatever to just keep the class alive longer. It won't be fixing any real issues, but it just may hide them.

    -The Wail.
    The Banshee's scream is her core-mechanic and, currently, does very little compared to a jetpack. It could be given additional or different functions, depending on the balance-goal, but it should not make her a one-trick-pony.

    -Offensive stats. Primarely: speed. Damage could also be worth a look but is fairly high already. The danger here is turning the class into a suicide-runner, rather than a glass-cannon. Impact/Force is also a stat to play around with here, to make fights shorter. And penetration for the Banshees traditional anti-armor role.

    -Evades. I'd rather not add more I-frames anywhere in the game. But they are a central mechanic to the class-identity and also the primary form of in-combat movement. What could be done is play around with additional effects.

    -LP-costs. Current build-options are very restrictive and quickly lead to impossible compromises. decreasing the LP on some items, in particular baseline choices liek the Power Sword could help.

    -Animations. We can't make new animations, but the devs have shown that they can make minor adjustments to the existing ones rather easily.

    Goal: Now, this is just my personal opinion, but my, perfect version would include a bit of all the above:
    Slight, across-the-board increase of baseline stats, primarily speed, armor and impact, whereas the actual distribution would be subject to discussion.
    Accompanying this a mechanical addition to the scream that helps survivability in major battles. The thicker the fight, the more urgently we need protection. I don't think it would be a bad idea to base the effect directly on the number of targets affected.
    Also, I feel like gameplay would have to be a lot more fluid and fast-paced. I have a few ideas, how to accomplish that.

    I will go into detail on my own proposal in its own, followup post. The above is just a vague concept of a possible end-goal.
  2. Lady Rheeva Steam Early Access

    1. Animations.
    This is honestly what I would expect to make the biggest impact in terms of playstyle, not neccessarely for combat-effectiveness.
    We know the team can not create animations. But we do also know, that they can adjust the duration.
    What will be instrumental here is to understand that a melee-attack consists of three frames:
    Now, there has been, to my knowledge, no official explanation of how these frames work, exactly, but here is my theory:
    -The charge-frame is the time where the execution of your attack has not yet started and the game is still sensitive to your input, meaning you can turn a quick-attack into a heavy attack or cancel your debash.
    -The link frame is the actual execution of the attack itself
    -The damage-frame lies somewhere within the link-frame and is the time where your attack will deal damage or clang on contact.
    Regardless, the frames for a Banshee Power-Sword are the following (Charge/Attack/Link)
    Fast: 0.27/0.2/0.4
    Strong: 0.44/0.58/0.85
    Sprint: 0/0.4/0.71
    Evade: 0/0.4/0.71
    DeBash: 0.67/0.53/0.87
    The goal here should be to minimize the duration of the link-frame, the minimum, if my theory is correct, being dictated by the charge-frame. What this would do, hopefully, is speed up attack animations and shave off aftercast.
    It would allow you to move more freely and move faster in melee, also to increase DPS and chain attacks faster, but without taking away the basic wind-up that gives your enemy time to react to your doing.
    For starters, I would cut the Link-frames to:
    Fast: 0.4->0.3
    Strong: 0.85->0.6
    Sprint: 0.71->0.5
    Evade: 0.71->0.5
    DeBash: 0.87->0.6

    Furthermore, the Defensive-bash charge-duration from 0.67->0.5
    Ideally, we would make the Quick-attacks just slightly more streamlined, the Defensive Bash less of a suicide-move, the sprint-and evade attacks more powerful and harder to counter (they'd be executed at the same speed as the current Powerfist) and the strong-attack a quicker attack-leap.

    Granted, the last time they changed these animations has been a while so its not guaranteed they still have the resources or know-how to do so.
    However, if this is a possibility, it is a very promising start.
    Vaanes and Arafael like this.
  3. Lady Rheeva Steam Early Access

    2. Baseline-stats
    I would increase the base-running-speed of the class to 1.33 (from 1.15)
    This is by far not enough to replace the jetpack or effortlessly close a gap, but it would go a long way helping with flanking and re-positioning. It would primarely be an out-of combat tool. It could also make 'fleeing' a more viable option, which should be more efficient for Eldar than 'die and respawn'.

    As far as defensive stats, go, we could just add some extra armor or health or both. Actually we could add a lot.
    But I have a different approach. Right now, there is a constellation of 6 items, the 2 Banshee-specific Stones, the 3 Emblems and the Aspect Armor that are highly incompatible with one another due to the LP-cost.
    All I would do is decrease the LP-cost of the Power-Sword Variants by 200.
    This would yield approximately 30 EHP extra on a good build, or simply more utility and agility for those, who prefer it, directly buffing the class but leaving it to players, how to buff it.
    Vaanes and Arafael like this.
  4. Lady Rheeva Steam Early Access

    3. The wail
    Our glorified damage-boost. There have been countless proposals on how to fix it and some of them pretty good, too. I think what would already go a long way is periodically re-applying the suppression, as long as the effect is active, as it decays all too fast and makes next to no impact on players who know, how to handle it.
    Suppression is really only viable if applied continuously, like by a heavy weapons steady fire.

    The wail works by shooting an invisible, hitscan projectile and applying the 3 effects to all enemies in a certain radius around the trajectory.
    There are two, somewhat easy improvements:
    -Repeatedly fire the projectile as long as the Wail is active, only applying suppression for subsequent casts (This would allow the Banshee to dynamically keep targets suppressed for a short time, as long as she can see them)
    -Rather than directly applying suppression, apply a status-effect that periodically applies suppression.
    (This would mean a target hit once will remain debilitated for the duration of the Howl)
    Vaanes and Arafael like this.
  5. Lady Rheeva Steam Early Access

    There is something I was wondering:
    Eldar were introduced in the time before I returned to the game and actually started playing it.
    A friend of mine suggested that the first iterations of the Banshee were extremely powerful, that they basically had a function not unlike a shield of deflecting bullets.

    So, going out to those of you, who remember:
    -Was the Banshee actually that OP?
    -What made it so?
    -Could, what didn't work back then, be balanced now, with the state of the game changed?
  6. no one cares about elder buffs, stop shacking air, uninstall the game finally and let this faction die

    elder don't suit Seize ground at all and last direct nerfes to tempest and upcoming to dragons ability GG is a final blow for any capability to stay against zerg rush and cut supplies effectively

  7. Right now it's like, why play banshee when you can role striking scorpion and get the job done ya know? Mostly I think because it is so easy to close the melee gap with the scorpion, just stealth up behind the other player and one shot kill or play acrobatic whack-a-mole for a bit. I think you are spot on about finding a way for banshee's to get into melee faster. I would think that it would be enough to increase the banshee's run speed and make them the fastest of the eldar classes, I think this one change would fundamentally change things for the better. This would give banshees a specialty in line with how the other classes work. Then you could shoot to get players in cover, and then run at them super quick. Or quickly flank a position while dire avengers suppress etc... There would be quite a few options.
  8. Belphegor LordSloth Preacher

    @Rheeva Those are all good ideas but in my opinion they are missing a major flaw of the banshee. The banshee is the red haired stepchild of the unitrooster in this game. It has no special niche it fills and it has a direct competitor for it's role. A GA or TA or JPA are just the only viable pick in their faction which makes any "either or" call pointless. If you want melee you pick that class. Now if we look at eldar we will see that our melee classes suffer from various external factors all pileing up on the banshee.
    We have weaponlimitations due to lore and limited animations (we will not see 2 handers or glaives or spears) which gives them by default lesser variety and caps them in their damage potential. Banshees also pay "smaller hitbox" tax while once you engage in melee combat this is actually a drawback since melee works mostly with autoaiming and wide swings so you are paying for a perk which has no positive effect, neither does your increased movementspeed in this situation since EC knows no agility or dodge.
    Ontop of that we have a general designgrid which over all factions (with the exception of chestarmors) prices things equally. So any "give it 30 more HP" is just a band aid fix and messes up the whole classbalance again since it artifically inflates the banshee lp pool. The issue with the banshee is that you can't build her in a meaninfull way with the points available and that the special scream perk is clunky and terrible. The debuff often bugs out, the debuff alerts everyone in the room to your presence and often enough even the target you sneak up on, combine that with the need to trigger it with the taunt key you have a whole new level of clunky.
    If those problems weren't big enough you also have a fine and strong competitior in the scorpion right next door who can be build either "more sneaky" or even "more tanky" and has a more immersive or cool playstyle. The problem of the banshee is that it basically gets the worst of all worlds which leads to a terrible enddesign.

    My suggestion would be to consider going a completely different route. How about giving the banshee scream not a supression effect but instead an invulnerability effect lasting a few seconds (this would need serious finetuning to the second to make it worthwhile and not OP) while increasing the cooldown drastically. You would add a "breacher" class to the warhost, with it's unique ability to soak up fire and to disrupt fortified positions while the "less durable" classes can push in behind it. Most enemy teams will not manage to switch targets coordinated and even if they do the banshees have pushed in deep enough into the room to enter close combat. So in the ideal scenario they would force the enemy to fall back through their sheer presence and enable a bridgehead for the warhost on a balcony etc. Or in another scenario it would allow you a single use with cooldown Jailfree card if you get into a troublesome situation you pop your scream and GTFO. This would be working like a JPA disengaging and give you a niche over the scorpion who can pick it's fights wisely but once engaged has to stick to it. While the Banshee offers the ability to play regularly and disengage at will.
  9. Lady Rheeva Steam Early Access

    Bad Eldar. No be dramatic and melancholic about our dying race. Go have some Ynnead!

    I beg to differ that speed alone is the solution. Closing a gap can be tough, yes, its a great advantage the jetpack has over us. But if you know your battlefield, position yourself well and engage carefully and using Iframes, you will probably get close to the enemy without them really scratching your health.
    Not saying speed is not important, but its not enough to solve the problem on its own. I actually believe in-combat mobility is more important to us than out-of-combat mobility. What kills me is being forced to stay in one place during melee-trades, allowing other enemies to shoot me.
    If we could get the same mobility options the JPA has, 'jumping' for the lack of a better word, that would be more vauluable than just speed because it can also be used to reposition mid-combat or disengage.

    The 'design-grid' you mention is the core of the problem. Individually:
    -Melee weapons are overpriced. Both in their base-costs compared to Boltguns and also in how much advanaced variants like Power-swords or Axes pay extra. This is a point Njord has been making for a long time and rightfully so.
    -The jetpack is underpriced, for what it does. Its worth around 300LP and it is perhaps the most powerful tool in the game
    -The scream is overpriced. Also 300 LP, makes me oneshot people who don't pay attention to me. Yay!
    -Eldar speed is overpriced. Also 300 LP. Ranged classes additionally benefit from better strafing but for melee, its really just getting into combat 15% quicker (which obviously is in no shape or form as useful as just closing the gap flying)
    -Other tools like shields are underpriced that help other factions. To some degree also Chaos-marks, but there is also a reason the Khorne TA is probably the second-weakest melee class: Not Jetpack, no shield.
    Let me just stop you there. Whatever we discuss, Invulnerability has no place in a good balance-system.
    Its unrealistic, overpowered, frustrating, gamebreaking. In an MMORPG its borderline, should be used carefully and never without some kind of counter or drawback. In a Tactical shooter it is not acceptable.
    Its beyond ridiculous we even have Iframes on our dodges.

    You do bring up a point tho regarding defensive mechanics. That is why I was asking in my previous post: "Was there really ever a function for Banshees to 'parry' attacks, like a Shield would do?"
    Because if we could just recycle and re-implement that function, it would solve all our problems in a very streamlined way.
    I was playing some Ground-Assault in the map-tests earlier and the tactical options you gain by using a shield are amazing. It may not be a Bolter, but it is really fun to play.
    Only downside is its also very cheap and easy to play, which I don't envision for the Banshee, but its better than having the class be unplayable.
    Vaanes likes this.
  10. Giving sprint attacks a bit more range and/or adding 1 default stamina would go a long way in improving banshees imo.
    Vaanes likes this.

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