Winds Of Magic Community Blogpost

Even within the one week of beta 2, it became clear people were building to avoid the need to use the stagger - WHC headshot being the most obvious build I saw A LOT.

Whether or not it promotes teamplay… In theory it promotes teamplay, In practice I suspect we might see more of the “Killing” classes being played rather than the “Staggering” classes… because … you know… people play this game to kill things. Giving people the option to avoid the stagger mechanic to some degree will mean players do just that.

Players who have built muscle memory, skill and knowledge are going to find it much easier to stick with what they know and as such the weapons that allow people to bypass the stagger mechanic to some degree are going to be used much more purely because players will find more success using them and they’re used to the style of play.

The community is already hemorrhaging players and the daily players is consistently dropping month to month (according to Steamcharts) so whether or not the theory of the future of the mechanic is sound - and I’m still puzzled as to why a years worth of balance has been discarded - the actual target audience are already disillusioned with VT2 and re-engaging the large swathes of players who have left doesn’t appear to be on the radar.

I really think that many many people will not even put in the time to get used to the new mechanics.

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People were mostly testing everything. I also did see heavily staggering builds. Including shields. So I guess my experience was not the same as yours. Therefore, people will choose their gameplay as they always had.
If people want to stick to what they know, and Fatsharks allows for this (as stated in the quote from my previous post), I certainly don’t want to prevent them.
If people wants to explore new options, I don’t see why we should preventing them either.

Now on the community hemorrhaging (according to steamcharts), it’s actually not. Compared to similar games, it follow the same pattern.
https://steamcharts.com/cmp/552500,548430

So not only I don’t think it’s hemorrhaging. But I also don’t think it’s linked to this mechanic.

Rythm of updates is rather slow though and could use a step up. (which is probably why Seasons could be a good thing in the end, as they’re linked to a release of content, as stated in the first post)

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Average players since march has gone down from roughly 4k to roughly 2.5k average players.

Considering it was something like 73k players at launch I think it a pretty depressing situation to be in after only a year.

Of course VT1 was lost in the wilderness for a while and recovered to some degree. I don’t think the mechanic is going to cause much losses now - although more and more of my friends list keep inviting me back to VT1 - but after release of WoM and IF it tanks into the floor it is my opinion that it’ll be largely as a result of the change to the feel of the gameplay… coupled with lack of content in the form of maps and armours. Whether or not the theory about that Stagger mechanic is true , and I agree that it does hold some value, if people revisit the game for an evening and have the same frustrating experience many people had during the beta then they’ll ignore the game for even longer. Probably until there’s new armour or maps announced.

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This is actually an issue for absolutely all paid games since the beginning of time. It’s of course a matter when it comes to “live games” (games with regular updates for years). But this is not a V2 related issue. People play what’s new and then get to others games. And some comes back regularly when DLC comes.

A few exceptions exists (Payday 2 for example), but as pointed out by the comparison. Deep Rock Galactic does follow the same pace, despite way more regular updates and a randomized map system.
So probably a matter of readvertising the game a bit when releasing the expansion.

I’m pretty confident to say that the mechanic itself will not be a cause of “losing” players. Fixed Weaves can lose some customers (which will not see value in this expansion). But beastmens and cataclysm alone makes this dlc worthy.

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This has been argued to death already, but to refute your points:

  1. No, it doesn’t, the only points at which it is feasible to hit the exact same enemies are when there either aren’t many around or they’re funneled into a choke, the rest of the time you need to fan out to either deal with how many there are without getting surrounded, to avoid having a ton of elites piled up on one spot doing overheads or to avoid all getting nuked by one globadier or blightstormer. Yes, you’re fighting side by side, but you’re mostly not hitting the same guys. Again, great in theory, doesn’t work in practice

  2. I don’t disagree, but as it was last it promoted picking a weapon based on it having it all - at least light CC, access to AP, good cleave. Anything without that was not meta.

  3. Shields could’ve been buffed anyway without needing the mechanic. In fact, even with it, you’re way better off with the executioner’s, glaive and dual hammers than you are with the shield weapon choices on those careers. 2H hammers are also probably still better but I didn’t give them a go so I can’t say from experience.

  4. Yes, that made it easier to them to implement, but that doesn’t necessarily make it good. It also means it’s easier for them to remove.

  5. Agreed here (obviously).

  6. Not really, people are just going to pick weapons that let them do it all and thus avoid reliance on teammates :joy:. Ofc I’m sure people will run off-meta weapons for fun (as they always have), but the majority are going to go for the former approach and that’s that. How often do you see a weapon that isn’t crowbill on QP Siennas on live?

Quoting the OP doesn’t prove that it works like you said it does in practice.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of the mechanic and with balancing it could work, but let’s not pretend how it was is great and solved balance.

I’m still waiting to see what FS does with it to get it into a good place. If they don’t it’s going to be annoying waiting for another BBB to solve that.

Yes, the majority voted that they liked it but it needed tweaking, but the problem with that poll was it didn’t go into more detail about what people wanted from the mechanic. We don’t have breakdown of why they voted that way/in what ratio.

I voted that way too, but (based on the discussions) in that group you had people who: liked it in theory but didn’t like it in practice, people who wanted it on shielded and heavy weapons, people who wanted it only on shielded weapons, people who wanted it on all weapons but with adjusted/balanced modifiers and all manner of other stances on it.

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Nobody really argued against it with examples yet, as far as I know.

Again, this just doesn’t work, because as I stated, high difficulties are played the same way, no matter if the stagger mechanic is in place or not. There is no way you’re playing some Cataclysm Twitch or Deed and you’are standing on top of each other and trying to get the stagger benefit.

If you think that is sure doable and people did use this strategy, they moved like 4 man Roman army phalanx than please, share footage of that run with me, I would love to see it. (So far people only argued how great it is in low difficulties, and those people were newbs, because in low difficulty it doesn’t matter what you take, you can demolish everything without any strategy or synergy)

What happens in reality is that most of the time people are not getting that benefit and especially NOT when it matters the most, they sure are not getting it in those situations. When there is horde of beastmen running with banners and charging goats and chaos spawn is running around, good luck thinking about “how do I position myself to get that juicy amazing stagger bonus”

Not really, lots of them got screwed up, some are pretty op and it basically did not do anything productive.

It doesn’t, it gives buff to EVERYTHING that does stagger well so shield did get benefit ofc, but so did other weapons making shields still kinda crap, because weapon like 2h hammer or exec got buffed as much or even more.

If you want to fix shields, you just fix shields. Shields itself…

I disagree with nearly all of the quotes…

Choices, not really, you just avoid it completely, or use stagger weapon and some weapons are just horrible. So they created new kind of core gameplay, where you either have to avoid this nonsense somehow… or you take some OP stagger weapon.

Balance, this is not the balance, like what they are talking about is trying to fix abomination of mechanic, be adding more avoidance of that mechanic, that is just completely ridiculous, I am stunned how people can’t see this. Also they are throwing the actually balance that took year to get, comepletely out of the window…

Teamplay, I already explained why this is nonsense, especially since the new faction is made to be very disruptive …

Exetension, no just no, it is no extension, current mechanic does not impact weapon dmg output in any way as far as I know, and it’s use is for defensive purpose and opening shields etc. It’s not creating push meta gameplay.

The HP, yea HP was fine in Cata, there wasn’t issue with that if you got one of those OP weapons that could stagger like crazy, or you just went screw it… and got something to avoid it completely, like Shade with dual swords and backstabbing (that was incredibly strong, not to mention that they did something to DS so they were pretty strong by itself in last beta)

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  1. Well if the op post doesn’t make me right. Saying it doesn’t doesn’t makes you right either.

In the past, staggering was used as a defensive mechanic (or to start alt combo). Now it gives the mechanic a new lift by giving it bonus damage in top of it. Players with naturally slower (heaviers) weapons, will get up thanks to this despite the drawback of not having dodge.
Teamplay will be needed to makes it work the optimal way (so people taking advantage of staggered enemies by others).
I really don’t see how you can still tell that there will be no teamplay involved there.

2 and 3.
Doesn’t solve all issues. Does a bit.

Shields are still being tackled on. According to Idon’trememberwhichdevI’msorry, but he was looking into it as a post made during beta days.

“As it was last” is the keyword here. This was a beta. They are still balancing it. Don’t forget that important information as it looks to me that, for some reason, a lot of people took the beta as a “finished expansion”.

Doesn’t necessarily make it bad either.

Unfortunately not my experience, we can already see this with conflagration staff from sienna, which ask a bit of teamplay. Well, guess what ? It is still played.

We did. A lot. You kept ignoring them accordingly.
Still, understanding your points though. But you purposely ignoring or disagreeing with all examples doesn’t mean there’s none.

But… This is. This is only a question of balance here. And you can’t see it.

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Yea, which is why I’m so frustrated when I see how things are being done here.

The poll was poorly worded, it did pretty much say that people hate it. Because it was like 70-80% or whatever it was together, voting “removed or changed” … but … it was already at this last point, it was already 3rd iteration of that mechanic and people were still like “yo Shark, it sucks” so … from that point there are no options to just tweak numbers, it’s either remove or move onto stagger heavy weapons.

And… non of those options happened and nobody came up with better option as far as I know.

I did play it too, but just to test it, because it was beta, not because it was good or balanced.

Well both of those charts are not looking good at all and I don’t think DRG wants to work on that game for 5-10 years. If they do, than they should be building the playerbase over the year not losing it constantly.

It can be, since you can’t avoid it. It’s everywhere and it disrupts everything. While Weaves… those you can decide to ignore completely.

This is better link : https://steamcharts.com/cmp/552500,238960#All actually comparing games with long term vision.

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You comparing a f2p game with a paid game is a mistake. I’m sorry but this means nothing statistically. Same if you compare it to a competitive game.

Rest of answers in the above post.

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I actually played it a looooooot, and I got lots of recorded Cata runs uploaded, it’s very easy to just go and watch it. And nobody was able to post vid where they used that mechanic in some meaningful way in hard Cata runs or Cata+.

What are you talking about, again link me the hard Cataclysm run that utilized this mechanic well, especially when it is needed the most… nobody did that.

People are only talking about how they “think” it’s good idea, but have no direct experience obviously.

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The normal teamplay should look like this:

Front line - Crowd control and/or mass damage
Mid line - Watch for specials / focus elites, control leaks
Back line - AoE or ranged DPS / elite focus, additional lookout for specials also might control leaks.

Mid and backline going melee, is usually because either sh*t hit the fan or the pressure is low enough to abandon those roles and get some different action.

The illusion of the stagger gameplay is that you expect mid and backline go into melee, because stagger damage bonus.

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I don’t see how a video can prove anything, as we didn’t have proper balance, and players didn’t have time to adjust accordingly. If a video is your only “proof”, then yeah, wait for the expansion to be out and you’ll eventually see them.

I’m expecting the two melee working together. Or I’m expecting the lines being destroyed by (insert special/boss/ambush or another event here) as it already is in the normal game and require another “teamplay” when everyone, including “the ranged”, have to go melee, quick swapping to ranged when needed, and going back to melee.
There’s no “illusion” of stagger gameplay. It ALREADY exist. There’s ALREADY staggering involved in normal pre expansion gameplay.

Average player will spend on poe much more $$$ than on VT2, but yea I don’t know the dynamic of f2p vs paid good enough to push on this point, but still, the chart that VT2 got, is just bad, it’s going down and down and down and now they are pushing stuff people don’t want… when they could adjust it based on feedback. And they could do stuff that people actually asked for… the deed crafting and normal crafting rework, trait/attiributes tweaking etc. People would probably be happier if they cut out the Weaves and did the deed & crafting rework. (the other stuff is fine, I am sure everyone is happy about new faction, boss & map) At least I would. And doing poll on that would be great idea, before they decided what they are going to focus on.

I can’t imagine how some previous poll, resulted in “we want weaves as priority”.

Mid and backline doesn’t really have stagger weapons, so they will be trying to bypass it. Once sh*t happens, they will not benefit from stagger damage bonus because they won’t be able to generate it for themselves and / or will be too far from those that can.
This is why it’s shouldn’t be a global mechanic, but something tied to the stagger weapons.
I never said that it should be removed, I only advocated not making it a global mechanic to further upset the very delicate balance that was in Live.

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See:

There’s also the fact that most people in the discussion threads said that it didn’t promote teamplay in their experience either. At the end the discussion was all around the dmg increase and which weapons it helps/doesn’t help.

As heavies get it automatically you do realise that’s a 40% buff to their damage right? People using them literally don’t have to do anything different whereas non-CC weapon users have to in order to get that increase.

That still doesn’t change the fact shields can be buffed with or without the mechanic. There’s still room for eg putting shield bash on alt attack and other neat suggestions I read on the beta forum.

What? Haha, conflagration staff is good with or without friendlies. It has great CC, can then be used to kill aforementioned CCed enemies, and you can also always switch between conflag and crowbill if you need to CC and AP CWs alone.

And there I thought panthers deflecting ISU152 hits in Company of Heroes 2 was impressive :sweat_smile:

The video wouldn’t need to prove that it’s ‘balanced’ as it is right now, as we can agree it is not. It would need to prove that people can actually make good use of the mechanic in general play and that they actually play around it. As it is now people mainly play around their own CC. Again, outside of limited enemy numbers or chokepoints you spend very little time hitting a lot of the same enemies unless your buddy is getting overwhelmed. Weapons have limited cleave and melee range.

That leaves it a weapons-balance mechanic not a teamplay one.

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Video shows everything. It’s super easy to see if this is valid argument or not in the actual gameplay.

What I will see, if they don’t fix this is a lot of p*ssed off ppl. And negative pushback, when people start “adjusting”.

There won’t be any adjusting, I did 190 hours of adjusting in beta and … it changed nothing. But maybe I’m just non-adjustible player and it will be fine for everyone else.

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I actually happen to know the mechanic of f2p vs paid, and VT2 is actually “normal”, neither particularely good or bad. It follow the usual pattern.
As they want the game to live a long time, they’ll have to proceed from “normal” to “payday” (curve). They won’t have access to the same tool or budget.
But if they can provide regular content (which is not happening currently), it should bump players a bit, but still will need some advertising.

But they explicitely stated that they are adjusting the game based on feedback. Not “ALL” feedback, but a good chunk of it. Which is why they’re looking into it.

Well if you’re too far, that’s a mistake (or at least, something you should come back from). If you’re close, you’ll actively get benefits of the staggered enemies by the heavy line even with your light weapon.

I don’t refute them even if I say it’s not “the most” (as flisker x60 doesn’t equal 60 people :p). I say to everyone their playstyle. And as we KNOW fatshark is working on it to allow that, I’ll say that this is not sufficient to remove a mechanic that you’re not forced to use.

Everything can be changed without a specific mechanic. But the fact is that mechanic actually helps shields. It also helps heavy weap, I do agree. But this is a step.

It has great CC. It does promote teamplay as CCing an enemy doesn’t mean you are the only one who can kill him. Which is why it’s played. It works alone. It works as a team. As the stagger mechanic does.

The way I see it, both sides of this latest argument are correct in some aspects of the consequences of the stagger system.

I’m kind of worried about its balance, too. If it’s too strong, it’ll feel like its use is forced on us. If the system is too weak, it’s irrelevant. So good balance will be quite precarious (and will likely need some adjustments to weapons’ staggering capabilities too). We’ll see how well FS can make it, both at initial release and afterwards.

The effect will probably be twofold: For Quickplays (which, I think, FS pushes a bit too hard), as people don’t know their teammates and their builds, it’s likely that people will go mostly for the do-it-all weapons and build, circumventing as much of the stagger system as they can. That’s the price of going in blind; you have to be prepared for anything. In coordinated groups, the system will more likely get on its own. Some people will still take the easy way and pick the circumventing option, but for the rest the system allows for more precise teamwork and more group build coordination than before. In Cata and the high Weaves, it might even lead to occasionally needing group (build) coordination, something that really isn’t needed at the moment.

What @Froh gets absolutely right, though, is that what you last saw wasn’t even near the final iteration. There’s still up to a month till the release, and the tweaking will continue afterwards. What was also pointed out was that some of the changes in the Beta were purposefully extreme, to discourage falling back to old habits with new mechanics and to find limits for things. So please, don’t act as if the Beta gave an honest and complete preview of what is to come. It was a Beta test, meant to find bugs and other problems, and it did that.

I’ll reserve my full judgement of the new stuff until the release and how it’s handled afterwards. I may be suspicious of it beforehand, but I cannot know what kinds of changes are being made.

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I don’t think this is true. I don’t know anyone who is excited to regrind all their classes every few months when they get reset. The #1 issue on both Beta polls was that weaves were “too grindy”. With only around 10% of the community actually liking weaves. In the poll for if people would be buying the expansion, it was around 7% for people getting it solely for the weaves. With a much larger percentage saying they will not buy the expansion because of weaves. Trying to remember everything off the top of head. Have to go find the screen shots I took of the polls later.

Either way, seasons are not the content that the majority want. Polls have been done, Jsat did a huge community survey. It’s pretty well known what the community wants.

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So… the game is dead by next year right ? Because if the graph continues like this, than it will be.

Robin explained that they can’t really push content faster, in terms of maps.

Well, great content and reviews will advertise itself. I’m tellin everyone that PoE is best or one of the best ARPG’s currently.

Yea, then as you said, we will have to wait and see how it turns out, how we will get randomized weaves, removed the useless grind, going away from leaderboard reset seasons, this current stagger mechanic etc.

If they do fix all of that, than wow. I will be first one to create some post extolling their flexibility and listening skills and apologize for my current pessimism