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Sram Balancing

By Frunupulax June 01, 2012, 12:23:07
Why? Because I'm not a brutish Iop or Pandawa. I've more style: I make myself invisible and set numerous traps to kill Kanigers. Sometimes I make a few well-placed dagger blows, but never anything too violent. No, uncompromising violence is for brainless meatheads. Axes, swords, they're for brutes. Have you ever tried to use a hammer gracefully? No? Why's that, do you think? Because it's a meathead's weapon. Daggers, on the other hands, marry surgical precision with a ballet dancer's grace. - Sim the Soft

From a roleplay perspective, the Srams' niche is clear: They are the assassins, the tricksters sneaking up behind you and stabbing you in the back. As such, their arsenal includes traps, poisons and invisibility. Their gameplay is supposed to be tactical damage more than raw strength. Naturally, daggers are their weapon of choice for swift stabbing.

Since the removal of Rocks Den and Wiping Word years ago, Srams have been the only class with the unique ability to turn themselves or others invisible.
Once a blatantly overpowered complete invisibility which did not even break when attacking with daggers, the mechanics of this ability have seen a lot of modifications. Today, a Sram can hide from view for 3 turns a cast, but will become visible as soon as he attacks and will briefly reveal himself whenever casting a spell. Yet, Invisibility is still considered strong or even overpowered by some.

A few of the Sram's other assets have also been changed over time.
Deceitful Attack, once the class's only fire attack, was replaced by an air poison, thus making Sram almost the only class with only two elemental builds available to them[size=9], closely followed by the Osamodas with "two and a half" elemental builds[/size].
The underused Unsummoning Trap, which was specifically designed to deal damage to summons, was replaced by the more frequently used Repelling Trap. Together with Fear and the less popular Tricky Blow, it gives Srams versatile options to manipulate the placement of opponents and allies alike.
Other skills they can contribute to a battle are area damage, AP and MP removal in the form of traps, distraction and locking with their double, as well as the rather new ability to increase Erosion with Mistake.

Yet Srams are not usually in demand for PvM content. Some players miss powerful team buffs, others complain traps are incompatible with teamplay and useless against monster AI. Whatever the reasons, the class is often not among the top suggestions for PvM characters and only aficionados take a Sram to their monster battles.
On the other hand, they remain what's considered a good PvP class and will often be found fighting other players.

I would like to hear your thoughts on the Sram class and how it can be balanced. Here are a few questions you may consider:
  • How does the class's background translate into gameplay? Do you think they fill their role well enough?
  • What do you think about Srams in PvM? How could they be distinguished and balanced against monsters (both solo and in teams)?
  • Which of the older, unchanged spells did not age well and should be revised? How could they be modified?
  • Does the class have "spam tactics" which overshadow any other attack or playstyle? How could these attacks be balanced out?
  • How do you evaluate the power of Invisibility? Should it be changed again, and if so, how?
  • How do you rate the current Sram builds? Should they gain another elemental option? *

[size=11]
* This was also mentioned at the Ankama Fan Fest. You can read about it here.[/size]
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Score : 178

To be honest I think the class is just perfect the way it is, there are a few of the traps I don't use very often, mainly the ap and mp removal and the repelling one but I can see why they'd be useful and I have used them occasionally just not much. I think the problem with nerfing the class which a lot of people seem to be calling for is going to make them almost useless in PVM and as a big part of this game is fighting monsters for drops and such then it would be a very bad idea in this aspect to change any part of them really. I honestly don't think they really need a third element as this is one of the things that keeps them from being too overpowered in player vs player.

What makes them powerful but not to the point of being overpowered is the fact that they cannot heal, they cannot buff and the traps can affect both allies and enemies so they are not always useful to spam so placement does need to be carefully considered. I know there are a lot of people who think the invisibility is over powered due to the cool down but to be honest we cannot really use any of our really powerful attacks while we are invisible without the risk of becoming seen unless we try to fear into a lethal trap but even then we need to be close to fear you so its not that hard for someone with an AOE spell to have a guess at where we are.

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  • How does the class's background translate into gameplay? Do you think they fill their role well enough?

I think they're clear assassins. Using poison, stealing kamas and being invisible to kill their opponent. They fill this role perfectly

  • What do you think about Srams in PvM? How could they be distinguished and balanced against monsters (both solo and in teams)?

I can't say much about solo, however in groups they deal high damage with good survivability. Traps and lethal attack serve well. And the agi double is really helpful for tanking.

  • Which of the older, unchanged spells did not age well and should be revised? How could they be modified?

Tricky blow I think is more or less useless. It has been replaced by fear. It is nice at low levels until you get fear, but after that it just gets phased out completely. I suggest changing this spell for one of a different element, to allow more than the agi/earth combo you see every single Sram go.

  • Does the class have "spam tactics" which overshadow any other attack or playstyle? How could these attacks be balanced out?

Yes. The class can merely spam traps and run when against a short range class, they can spam deviousness for about 400 damage per turn (at level 100) when they're unable to reach you or they can just stack 6mp, use invisibility for 8mp then spam lethal attack when against someone with weak escape abilities (eg Osa) However the only way the actually manage to sustain these tactics is by using invisibility to escape when they get caught. Because of this I think that instead of nerfing these abilities, invisibility needs to be nerfed or reworked.

  • How do you evaluate the power of Invisibility? Should it be changed again, and if so, how?

In my opinion this ability is way too powerful in PvP and in PvM it's (along with traps) moderately weak. Mobs seem to know exactly where traps are placed and avoid them. And they usually guess where the Sram is correctly.

In PvP it's essentially 3 turns of invincibility (I made a 4 page thread on the Sram forums with all the reasons it's too powerful, there are too many reasons to write them all here). It's almost impossible for players to predict where a Sram will be, there's simply too many possible places for them to be in. It isn't enough to only have 1 class other than Sram itself to be able to counter the Sram. I think that two changes need to be made, the first is that invisibility cooldown or duration needs to be nerfed. There needs to be AT LEAST a 4 turn gap before they can next go invisible, having only 3 turns to catch the Sram and deal damage is plain and simply not enough. Next they need to lose the 2mp when they become visible. It's simply too powerful considering the close range damage they deal.

  • How do you rate the current Sram builds? Should they gain another elemental option? *

I think there isn't much room for variety in Sram builds. Almost all builds revolve around agility + strength hybrid at higher levels. I would like to see them with a third element (Tricky blow could be replaced in my opinion). Even if it's only a single spell, it would still be good to give them some variation.
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Regarding invisibility: I think there should yet be another way to visibly see where the sram is. Since the game shows you where the sram is when they cast a spell i think that a sort of glyph should appear in the range of movement the sram is able to move after he uses his last spell for the turn. For example:
If the sram uses a spell with 2mp left and then uses those 2mp to be hidden again then a glyph (size 2) would appear underneath the location of their last used spell. I know you can count mp used after a srams spell to locate where they are but this would allow faster gameplay and a better way to visibly see all the posibilities of where the sram could have moved. This would work well with AoE spells. It would allow the person fighting the sram to visibly see where the sram could be instead of guessing or just using up their turn because they don't have the time in their turn to count mp and figure out where it could be. Sorry if this is a little unclear

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Ewww, man crap you could take the spell invisibillity right away cauz it wil be usless.

Im a 12/6 end game sram. And i have already problems fiting other classes while being inv cauz the show where iam when i use a spell, there to many AoE spells that fucks up my plans or find me cauz of that.
Inv is fine as it is now if your to lazy to read our mp or to count how many spots i walked or where i would go stop doing pvp stop doing challs and go be a pvm bot.

All you have to do is use leek or a AoE spell like wild grass, playful, burning glype, explosive arrow those find srams very easy when you see i only got 2mp left.

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And what about classes that don't have AoE? or the sram uses their turn so fast that they are not able to check the mp used

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trowm|2012-06-02 14:21:06
Ewww, man crap you could take the spell invisibillity right away cauz it wil be usless.

Im a 12/6 end game sram. And i have already problems fiting other classes while being inv cauz the show where iam when i use a spell, there to many AoE spells that fucks up my plans or find me cauz of that.
Inv is fine as it is now if your to lazy to read our mp or to count how many spots i walked or where i would go stop doing pvp stop doing challs and go be a pvm bot.

All you have to do is use leek or a AoE spell like wild grass, playful, burning glype, explosive arrow those find srams very easy when you see i only got 2mp left.
Have you ever considered using abilities BEFORE you move? Or moving to a spot where the enemy wouldn't expect you to move? Or even using repelling trap to push you back instead of forward to throw off the enemy's counting?

Sorry but you need to stop using that argument. Sram don't need to use all their MP before they use an ability.. and it's not compulsory to use an ability every turn... Which most decent Sram I see take advantage off. Just because you don't doesn't mean that no one does.
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basically all my idea does is allow better visualization of where the sram could be. It is already possible to figure out by counting mp and such but this would allow faster gameplay instead of spending precious time counting squares. It would also allow people to see where the sram could be if the sram uses their turn too fast and the other player does not have time to correctly figure it out. This would not be a nerf it would only be a better visualization of what is already possible.

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  • How does the class's background translate into gameplay? Do you think they fill their role well enough?
They are small map manipulators, Invisible killers, High hitters, Poiseners Buffers/debuffers Lockers.

  • What do you think about Srams in PvM? How could they be distinguished and balanced against monsters (both solo and in teams)?
I think they are pretty great in PvM too, with fear Paralysing trap/Repelling trap Double, And ofcourse they do high damage wich always comes in handy in PvM

  • Which of the older, unchanged spells did not age well and should be revised? How could they be modified?
First of all i want to see the crit of lethal attack removed, since its a matter of luck that srams can win any fight, when getting crit with LA. Second of all the cooldown for double is way too less since its such a powerfull spell for ultimate locking, with your hp. Invisibility was and is still Overpowered due the cooldown and +2mp buff. I say remove the mp buff or make the cooldown 1-2 turns longer.

  • Does the class have "spam tactics" which overshadow any other attack or playstyle? How could these attacks be balanced out?
YES, Give traps for christsake a limit, i see this Srams using traps and traps while going invisible and run away till you walked in enough traps to get killed, while sram goes invis and hides, Its not only OP but its annoying and takes no skill.

  • How do you evaluate the power of Invisibility? Should it be changed again, and if so, how?
Like i said, remove the mp buff or make the cooldown longer.

  • How do you rate the current Sram builds? Should they gain another elemental option?
Well only if some str/air spells Or trap spells get changed into the *new*element spells, then its fine, yea bring it on.

*
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Many thanks to the Zenith team members and especially to Deimos for giving us a chance to comment on this smile

I believe that the Sram does need a little bit of balancing. However, most of the core issues appear to be related to pvp. If we balance Srams based purely on pvp issues, we risk damaging the character's ability in pvm.

Class's background and how it translates into gameplay

Srams are all about grace, style, "surgical precision" and trickery. Although they have the ability to turn invisible and place traps, I do not believe that they fulfil their role very effectively.

By definition, the Sram should have access to a broad arsenal of agility spells. Con is a brilliant spell and its kama-stealing ability ties in beautifully with what the Sram represents. It is not over-powered either because it is only a linear spell, it turns the Sram visible when used and on top of that it requires a line of sight.

Poison is another great Sram spell that does what it says on the tin. However, for a character who looks down on canines like Iops and other "brutes", their arsenal of "str" spells feel a little out of place.

Srams have a very impressive range of "str" traps. In addition, they have some "str" attacks that feel a little out of date; a good example of this is Tricky Blow, which pushes back targets. Srams can use Fear to push back opponents, therefore Tricky Blow seems to be partially redundant in my opinion.

I believe that Srams need a little strength Vs. agility balancing. There are only 2 agility-based spells and 6 strength-based spells (excluding Mistake, which expresses both elemental attributes). This is inconsistent with what the sram is about - an agile, graceful killer who looks down on brutes and doesn't need force to deal a swift kill. I am not saying that str should be nerfed; I am saying that an agile killer like the Sram needs at least one agility trap to better fulfil its purpose.

My suggestions would be to remove Tricky Blow and replace it with an agility-based trap; or to merge Paralysing Trap with Trap of Silence and introduce a new agility spell (though the risk here is that the Sram would be over-powered); or to introduce some agility damage on the Paralysing Trap and Trap of Silence spells (I am not sure how over-powering this would be, since agility srams are not very effective in pvp compared to strength srams).

I believe that introducing Paralysing Trap and Trap of Silence with agility damage would substantially increase pvm value and bring the Srams closer in line with what they are supposed to represent.

Srams in PVM

Contrary to how most people play, I always have a Sram in my pvm teams. Invisibility is a core pvm spell in my opinion; it allows me to step away from anything that would lock even the best agility-based characters, and I can trap up to 3 dangerous monsters with one double. My Feca can shield the double and with a little bit of healing, the sram-double can serve as a very sturdy lock for several turns.

Aside from that, I feel that a lot can be made to improve srams in pvm. For starters, as I mentioned above, Srams by definition should possess an impressive arsenal of agility spells. The MP and AP traps give value to PVM, but they are rarely used because mobs appear to manoeuvre around them and, as others mentioned, allies are affected by traps too.

To increase the value of the class and the build, there needs to be at least one agility-based trap. This could be an all-new agility trap that would see the elimination of an old spell like Tricky Blow, or introduction of agility damage into the AP and MP traps. I do not feel that this change would affect pvp severely because agility Srams are not traditionally used in pvp anyway. Moreover, a change that allows agility dmg with some AP/MP effect would tie in nicely with what the Sram stands for.

Other Comments

I do not have a great deal to add to the other points that were raised, except that a third elemental build for Srams doesn't feel necessary.

Once again, thank you Zeniths for reading our comments. smile

Best wishes

WinterHeart

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  • How does the class's background translate into gameplay? Do you think they fill their role well enough?
Generaly they fit the role of a theif/assassin. They are among the most tactical classes and if not played properly they are quite weak spell-wise as they have a very low amount of direct attacks.
  • What do you think about Srams in PvM? How could they be distinguished and balanced against monsters (both solo and in teams)?
In PvM srams do well. No doubt. Solo invis is a great advantage! In teams traps are often a nuissance and is rarely usefull (not counting MP/AP steal traps).
I really miss more direct attack spells as it would make Srams a lot more usefull in group PvP.
  • Which of the older, unchanged spells did not age well and should be revised? How could they be modified?
Tricky Blow is probably the most unused spell among all srams. It has become totally useless. If it had to be changed completly I'd like to see some sort of new direct attack spell (be it agi/str or a new element), otherwise it would be nice if it could add some sort of 'trap-weakness'-%, as it would make it a more tactical spell, but also make traps more usefull in PvM.
  • Does the class have "spam tactics" which overshadow any other attack or playstyle? How could these attacks be balanced out?

There are definetly people out there with a ton of AP spamming traps all over the map. However, these kind of people are only a little minority, as it takes skills and tactics to use the Sram best possible.
But if people do find it a growing problem that some Srams spams the map the maximum amount of traps cast per lvl could be decreased.
  • How do you evaluate the power of Invisibility? Should it be changed again, and if so, how?
In my honest opinion invis is fine as it is. Yes - it is a pain fighting a sram 1v1 if you can't locate him.
However, those of us who primarily focus on PvM shouldn't be bothered by nerfs because of pointless 1v1.
A few of the posts I've seen around a generaly complaints about 1v1 fighting srams. Nerfing invis - just a tiny bit, would weaken the entire class, no matter the build, in PvM.
  • How do you rate the current Sram builds? Should they gain another elemental option?
Well, Srams are not different from each other. Most end game Srams wears Fuji with a hybrid agi/str build. Adding a new element would definetly give more variaty to srams. It would however require one or two direct attack spells of a new element, and possibly a poison/trap spell.
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-What do you think about Srams in PvM? How could they be distinguished and balanced against monsters (both solo and in teams)?
I feel srams are pretty good in PvM. Para trap is a great help, but they lack spells that are meant for it. Most of their spells are single target, high damage spells, or damage traps have have very little use outside of PvP. They also have very little support capability.

-Which of the older, unchanged spells did not age well and should be revised? How could they be modified?
Tricky Blow for starters. It is a good spell up until Fear, then it is completely forgotten about. A few ideas could be buffing the level 6 version of it, a lot, or adding some other effect to it (maybe + trap damage). I would like to see it removed completely. Trap of silence is generally unused too. I have a agi/wis sram with it maxed, but the long cooldown makes it pretty weak. Even at 6, I almost never use it.

-Does the class have "spam tactics" which overshadow any other attack or playstyle? How could these attacks be balanced out?
Srams do have a certain amount of spam tactics, but there are plenty of counters for it. Filling a map with tricky traps isn't too hard, and a 3-4 trap per turn limit wouldn't hurt in my opinion.

-How do you evaluate the power of Invisibility? Should it be changed again, and if so, how?
Invisibility is a tough spell. There isn't a numerical stat you can look at to see how much damage it does/reduces. Its power is completely determined by who is using it and who is against it. In the right hands against the wrong enemy, it can mean invulnerability. In the average sram's hands, against a competent opponent, the sram will be found every turn. If someone is having a hard time fighting a sram, I feel they need to try playing one, or get some practice fighting a sram friend. On the sram thread there has been a lot of talk about nerfing invisibility by extending the cooldown by 2-3 turns. This would destroy its use in PvM, way more than in PvP. I would much rather have one less turn of the actual invisibility. In this thread, someone said there should be an indication of the possible cells the sram can be in but I don't agree with this either. All this would do is remove the need to count mp, when you can do that already. If magically this made everything better for the people against invisibility then I would love it, but it won't. It would also leave the PvM side unchanged, so maybe it would be okay. In short I don't think it needs changing. It has been changed enough and 1v1 seems to be going away.

-How do you rate the current Sram builds? Should they gain another elemental option?
I've played a str sram and an agi sram together from 1 to 199. I love both builds, but they are now in the same gear aside from belt, amulet, and weapon. I feel full str, full agi, and str/agi hybrid are great builds, but I'm dying for a new element.
 
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I personally think that Srams are awesome class and agree that they seem used for pvp and little else. You will always see people recruiting for an Iop, Sac or Eni but you never see anyone request a Sram. However in PVP they are probably one of the hardest classes to battle against because of invisibility and the advantages it gives.

The invisibilty is so hard to counter if you have no spell to reveal. Apart from just spamming a spell at a few random square you are basically left open for 3 turns against whatever the sram wants to do. The problem comes from the Sram being able to basically deal a crap load of dmg without being revealed, the masstrap,lethal trap + fear combo that takes out 400hp. Then to add insult to injury they give you poison so whilst you chase them, you still lose health and a massive range for deviousness

Now yes granted Sram cannot heal, but jesus the last few srams I have been up against have 2500hp and can deal 1k dmg easily in two lethal attacks. Factor in that they now have something like 7-8mp and I'm trying to spam with a 4square attack twice.... I really have little to no chance in finding them. I know srams will argue that it is part of their class characteristics, but I just think it gives them far too much time to run away from you.

I would agree the only useful thing about using the invisible spell on someone else in pvm is that it means they are not locked which is great, but other than that an invisible sram in pvm really makes little to no difference on winning or losing a battle. So I think yes they need to be either buffed and nerfed to ensure srams can participate in pvm and also not be so hard for other classes to deal with in pvp. But taking away invisibilty would really leave them buggered... it is a tough call!

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What would everyone think about reducing the time while invisible and the cooldown by one turn? It would make you invisible for 2 turns, then 3 turns visible before you can recast it. This would hurt srams in PvP while (somewhat) not hurting PvM as bad. There are a lot of people who don't think invisibility has much of a use in PvM, but it does. I use it whenever it is available, the extra mp is great, along with being unlockable. I never stay invisible for the full 3 turns as I can't attack at full potential, and in a group fight it is a very poor choice.

I still do not think it needs changing, but I'm looking for opinions. There is still the idea of showing the possible squares the sram could have gone in his turn while invisible.

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Srams fit their role almost perfectly. The reason  say almost is because most of the srams rely on lethal attack to kill because of it's insane damage on a critical hit, even with a crit it will still manage to do 800+ damage a turn ( x2 lethal for 800 dmg* ). Maybe if the spell's damage would be a bit lower then the srams would focus to use traps more often.

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2bytwo|2012-06-06 20:41:02
Srams fit their role almost perfectly. The reason say almost is because most of the srams rely on lethal attack to kill because of it's insane damage on a critical hit, even with a crit it will still manage to do 800+ damage a turn ( x2 lethal for 800 dmg* ). Maybe if the spell's damage would be a bit lower then the srams would focus to use traps more often.
I've sometimes wondered if the crit damage should be lowered or the chance of a crit lowered. I have a sram in the low 100's that I mess with sometimes and when crit happens, it is an instant kill unless against a boss or something with high earth resist.

I'm not sure any spells have a smaller crit chance than lethal, but maybe it would be fair to raise it to 1/100 or even like the cheeken axe to 1/120. Or maybe the crit damage could be lowered, since it is about 250% of the regular damage.

I'm not sure that a focus on traps is that great. In group pvm, you mostly have to assure that your traps go off very soon after they are set. If you don't, then they are in the way of other players, or they end up being the death of friendly summons. Basically, you then are forcing people to spend ap on fear or a double to set off the traps before they become a hindrance to your allies.

On second thought, an ability like rogues have to detonate their bombs might be useful. You could clear unwanted traps from the map that way also. I'm just not sure it would be useful enough to justify removing another ability to get it.
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I think that in PvM, enemies have to be dumber about locating traps. They can always see where your trap is set and always move to avoid it, unless you completely surround them

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The enemy AI just tries to avoid the most likely place you would set a trap. I did some experimenting and found that if you place a trap to the side of an enemy that is furthest from the center of the map, then they will almost always step on it. However, the more traps you set, the harder it is to read the AI.

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I have a sram in the low 100's that I mess with sometimes and when crit happens, it is an instant kill unless against a boss or something with high earth resist.

The high level frig monsters will have 4000-5000+ hp, and a sram lethal attack, even at level 6 on srams that have high strength is nowhere near an instant kill for them.
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Mishna|2012-06-07 06:28:45
I have a sram in the low 100's that I mess with sometimes and when crit happens, it is an instant kill unless against a boss or something with high earth resist.

The high level frig monsters will have 4000-5000+ hp, and a sram lethal attack, even at level 6 on srams that have high strength is nowhere near an instant kill for them.
True, but I know some multi-account players partly build their team around having lethal at 1/2 crits. I'm sure there is a reason some feel it is worth the bother. lol
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