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In parallel to the new content added in the 2.17 update, we've had a little bit of time to work on some class balancing. On the menu: spell modification on Ecaflips, Srams, and Foggernauts. And, more globally, a rework of the pushback damage formula!

Modifications linked to pushback damage

Pushback damage has been the source of many an animated debate for the past few months, and notably so after the implementation of trophies with debuffs and some Frigost III items.

There was indeed an issue with this source of damage, notably so when combined with some class abilities. It so happened that some classes that were already gifted with a good survival abilities, movement skills, and map manipulation have also been able to enjoy a very powerful source of damage that goes right through most types of protection. However, we as developers find the pushback damage play-style very interesting for the game as a whole since it's based on placement in combat and therefore on anticipation and thinking ahead. Pushback is also a double-edged sword in the sense that it generally requires one to be in very close range to one’s target and thus to expose oneself to enemy attacks. These reasons have made us want to bring this mechanic to the light and give pushback and the play-styles that depend on it a more decisive role in battle.

We want to make clear in light of the modifications to pushback damage in 2.17 that we are not giving up on this pushback play-style, but, like every play-style, we have given other players ways to effectively counter this style by preparing themselves and their characters in advance.

This starts by increasing the number of equipment pieces that provide a resistance to pushback damage. There have been some in the latest updates, and we will continue to add some in a moderate manner as there aren’t enough of them in all level brackets at this time. The goal is to allow players who want to specifically counter the pushback style to do it so with more choice, as specializing in pushback damage is definitely allowed (and we anticipate that it will become more prominent in the future).

To stay on the topic of items, the trophy bonuses granting pushback damage have been reworked. Thus, the Major Jostler Trophy has been changed to 64 pushback damage, whereas the bonus of the Major Stalwart Trophy has been adjusted to 128 pushback resistance. The debuffs of some of those trophies however, have not been modified. The point of this modification is to allow players a more effective counter to pushback damage, whilst keeping in mind that using this counter can be dangerous or even useless: nothing can guarantee that your opponents (in the event of a PvP battle) will have adopted the pushback play-style. By the same logic, the point of these stat reductions on trophies is to balance the power: a player who equips a pushback damage trophy potentially forces all of his opponents to equip a pushback damage resistance trophy (in lieu of other trophies that could support different styles of gameplay). That’s why it seems only logical that the trophy increasing pushback damage resistance grants more bonuses than the one increasing the pushback damages. The same logic is applied to damage reduction, to AP/MP loss resistance and it is not impossible that other trophy modifications will follow this formula in the future.

In addition to these trophy changes, we have performed a minor bit of balancing on the Iop and Masqueraider classes: the Intimidation spell is restricted to two casts per target and three casts per turn rather than three casts per target and four casts per turn. The pushback damage from Boliche is now 1.

These two modifications aim to reduce the offensive potential of these two spells which were deemed to be too easily abused. Their damage output to AP cost ratio was, until now, far too high, especially when they are spammed.

Lastly, the formula for calculating pushback damage has been entirely reworked. We have kept the overall function of the system, but removed the randomness. Here are the main points to remember: (extracts from the 2.17 update changelog)

  • A character’s level always influences the amount of pushback damage they deal.

  • The impact of pushback damage bonuses and pushback damage resistance bonuses (from spells or equipment) is now dependent upon the number of cells the character is pushed. If the character is pushed one cell, 25% of the pushback damage (and pushback damage resistance) bonus is taken into account. If the character is pushed two cells, 50% of the pushback damage (and pushback damage resistance) bonus is taken into account. If the character is pushed three cell, 75% of the pushback damage (and pushback damage resistance) bonus is taken into account. If the character is pushed four cells, 100% of the pushback damage (and pushback damage resistance) bonus is taken into account. If the character was pushed five cells, 125% of the damage bonus is taken into account and so forth.

  • As a reminder, same as with the old version of pushback, if a spell pushes the target back by several cells but the pushed target is not directly against an obstacle, the number of cells pushed is equal to the number of cells the target would have been pushed if the obstacle was not present.

  • Pushback damage dealt to a target is no longer random.

  • If a target is pushed onto another target, pushback damage dealt to the second target is recalculated, taking into account the second target’s pushback damage resistance and the pushback damage of the original attacker, but retaining the same number of pushed cells as the first target. This result is divided by 2, which is the final amount of damage taken by the second target.

 

The formula detailed:

For the first target:

([Attacker level]/2 + [Attacker's pushback damage - target's pushback damage resistance] + 32) * [Push range left]/4

If the first target is pushed on another target, the formula is the following for the pushback damages dealt to the latter:

([Attacker's level]/2 + [Attacker's pushback damages - new target's pushback damage resistance] + 32) * [Push range left]/8

For any additional targets, the formula stays the same but the pushback damage is divided by two again, and so on for each additional target.

To explain the entire change from a different angle, the impact of pushback damage bonus is greatly reduced on short pushes: in the instance where spells only push for a few cells (e.g., Frightening Word who only pushes back one cell or Backwash who only pushes back two cells) or in the instance where the target is not directly pushed against an obstacle.

Class spell balancing

In addition to this pushback damage balancing, we looked at the Ecaflip class and, in a smaller way, the Sram class. These are two classes that were deeply reworked at the beginning of the year and that were even granted a slight follow-up in the following updates, with some minor modifications. This update gave us a chance to add some interesting addition to the previous modifications because they were simple to apply, in terms of coding. An important modification has also been applied to the Foggernaut class: turrets can now be pushed.

Ecaflip

Since several updates, we have modified the way the Ecaflip spells work, because the chaotic effects of their spells had too much of an impact on the way the battle turned out, putting players at the mercy of the RNG. So, we are adjusting the outlook of the Ecaflip class as a whole. Rather than reinforcing the traditional "wild-card" idea of the Ecaflip with randomness that integrates very badly into the DOFUS battle system, we prefer to move towards a risk-taking gambling perspective. So the Ecaflip has several choices offered to him but each one can flip on him if he's not good enough to anticipate the way the battle can be played over the next few turns. This way, we hope to offer to this class many ways to alter the context of the battle, forcing anyone (or anything) on battlefield to adapt and modify the way they play.

For example, that's what the Roulette spell does now: everybody enjoys the same bonuses but it doesn't mean that everyone will be able to enjoy them the same way. It will also force some people to act differently from what they had planned, without entirely changing the outcome of the battle either.

And this brings us to the Ecaflip's role in battle, or rather the Ecaflip's many different roles in battle. It's a class that has always been very versatile, be it in terms of elemental damage or in terms of roles, and that's what make them a difficult class to balance: we must insure that an Ecaflip can't play all of their roles at the same time while being too good at each and every one of them, but we must also make sure still each of their roles stays interesting individually. During the latest rebalancing of the class, we added restrictions to the Ecaflip’s gameplay, which had been very flexible until then. These constraints were handled, among other ways, by the modification of the Catnip spell, leaving Ecaflips very vulnerable to being locked.

After this earlier modification, it became clear that Ecaflips were becoming an extremely difficult class to equip; it became very detrimental for Ecas to neglect certain characteristics (like dodge) or certain elements, and the results on the battlefield weren't always satisfying.

So we worked on those various points in order to offer Ecaflips more freedom in their gameplay, even if the price of freedom is the necessity to make choices!

It is to that end that several modifications were made to a large number of Ecaflip spells:

Now, Feline Spirit allows an Eca to jump behind a target. Its range has been decreased but it can now be cast in a line as well as diagonally. This gives the spell a range equivalent to that of axes. This will allow an Ecaflip some sort of mobility, even if they are locked. The repercussion to the caster of spell if the spell is not used again by the end of their next turn is reduced.

The power boost offered by Wheel of Fortune is increased but the spell now applies a resistance debuff to the caster for two rounds, in place of the small amount of damage the spell once did to the caster. This reinforces the ability of Ecaflips to play all elements but does so to the detriment of his own survival.

The way Rekop works has been slightly modified: damages suffered are highly increased but the spell is no longer stackable more than once and costs 5PA. So it becomes a very powerful spell which the Ecaflip and his team can rely on to deal heavy damages. We also suppressed Rekop's critical hit: its four types of damages, coupled with certain equipment that gave critical damage bonuses were making it way too random. This randomness would have been incompatible with the new way it works, which only allows one cast at a time. Of course, removing this critical hit is compensated by the considerable increase in the damages dealt by this spell.

As for Ecaflip's Luck, the way it works is divided in two ways. First, on the turn this spell is cast, damage the recipient takes will be changed to healing. But on the next turn, damage dealt to the recipient is doubled. The old, entirely random way it worked could be very frustrating and we logically decided to go for a more deterministic function, which allows for new synergies.

To end the part about the Ecaflip, we have completely modified the way the Clover spell works, which no longer increases chances for critical strikes. Now, it modifies the way some of the Ecaflip's spells work as well as providing a healing bonus and a damage debuff. It can't be used at the same time as Wheel of Fortune: casting either of the two spells sets the cooldown time for the other spell to 3 turns.

Under Clover's effect:

  • All or Nothing no longer deals damage.

  • Heads or Tails no longer damages to allies and no longer heals opponents.

  • Playful Claw deals Water damage and changes to a life stealing spell.

  • Feline Spirit no longer deals any damage (and caster repercussion damage is turned off).

  • Perception heals allies instead of boosting their damage (but still detects invisible entities).

  • Topkaj deals less damage.

 

This opens up new possibilities for Ecaflips, be they Water, Fire, or Earth build. But that is done at the detriment of the power gain from the Wheel of Fortune spell and a debuff to damage.

Other modifications have been made, most notably a decrease to Reflex's damage. You can find the exhaustive list of these modifications in the 2.17 update changelog.

Sram

Modifications regarding the Sram are more minor but no less interesting. We've been wanting to reinforce trap gameplay, which deserves to be developed more. So in this update there are three modifications:

Tricky Trap has been entirely reworked. It is now a Fire element spell and pulls targets triggering it towards its center. We think that, just like the Repelling Trap, this gives Srams new possibilities for micro-placement which increases the tactical potential of the class. We weren't happy with Tricky Trap’s old version: the possibility to cast it frequently and for a low AP cost sometimes forced a Sram to spam the map with this trap, all the while keeping in the back. Increasing Tricky's AP cost or its casting restrictions would have made it too similar to existing traps, namely the Mass Trap and the Lethal Trap. So we decided to offer Srams a new ability and reinforce their Fire build at the same time.

Another noticeable change: the Repelling Trap spell now deals Air damage to opponents only. In addition to giving the Air build a damage-dealing trap, it can also trigger the Chakra Concentration spell, which indirectly reinforces Fire builds.

Lastly, the Trap of Silence: its area of effect is slightly reduced. It becomes a size 2 square rather than a size 2 circle. That means it is now possible to escape this trap if the Sram doesn't decide to trigger it himself. The inconvenience of the circle area is that in some configurations, whatever the way the Sram's opponent moves, they will inevitably trigger the trap (unless they teleport). This is contradictory to the idea we have of a trap. Side note: it is not impossible that a Mass Trap could undergo a similar change in the future for this same reason.

Although this modifications are far from revolutionary, we hope they will make the Sram's Fire build more competitive while offering an interesting new ability.

Foggernaut:

A modification is made regarding the Foggernauts: now their turrets can be pushed. There are a lot of circumstances where Foggernaut turrets entirely block a player, a monster or a whole portion of the field, for several turns. Given that the AP cost is rather low when compared to the results, we have decided to make it so that the turrets could be moved, but solely via a push.

This will then allow players to get help if they are blocked by a Foggernaut without being forced to kill a turret. We are aware that this doesn't prevent a Foggernaut from using their abilities for field control to hinder their opponents in some configurations, but it does ask a little more investment of them.

In the future

To end this Devblog, we cannot finish this class balancing article without a nod to our Xelor and Feca players whose promised rework has been so long in the making: you are used to reading these words but although nothing decisive is currently under way, we are still working on the questions and problems of your classes, and new leads are regularly brought to light.

Both these class restructures are constantly being worked on and we hope to be able to tell you more as soon as possible. However, you have to understand that these kinds of deep class modifications require a lot of time and reflection. That is why - rather than not changing anything - when there are other classes or playing systems whose status is less of a priority but who have changes that are quicker and easier to apply and follow through on, we will make those changes before we modify these two classes with more important problems.