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Makeshyft

Let's Talk Crowd-Control

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You heard the title. 

 

First, let's get a full definition of what Crowd-Control (CC for short) is:

 

Crowd-Control can be separated into 3 types:

 

  • Movement/Control Modifiers
  • Action/Ability Rate Modifiers
  • Forced Action Modifiers

​Movement/Control Modifiers do exactly what they say. They restrict the movement or control of an avatar. Movement Crowd-Control is often referred to as "soft CC" as it does not take full control of the avatar away from the player. Conversely, Crowd-Control that takes full control from the player is referred to as "hard CC". This usually takes the form of stuns.

 

Action/Ability rate Modifiers decrease the number of times one can perform an action in a given time (usually by increasing cast time and/or cooldown time) or stop a player from performing actions all together. Effects that fall under this category are usually classified under silences, disarms, or interrupts.

 

Forced Action Modifiers tend to be classified as the most powerful types of Crowd-Control as they allow a third-party to completely take control of an avatar's action for a defined period of time. They generally fall under the hard CC classification. Some examples are fear, charm, or taunt. 

 

Crowd-Control is considered a core part of the balancing of any competitive game. Limiting an avatar's actions can drastically change the course of a battle, especially in battle's where hundreds of avatars are fighting.

 

 

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Second, let's take a moment to recall what information we've been given on how Crowfall's combat will work. The following is taken directly from the Combat FAQ.

 

 
1. Does combat use tab-targeting?

 

No. We’ve tried to make combat in Crowfall a little more action-combat focused, than your traditional MMO.  For instance, we have “dashes” that you use to avoid attacks, as opposed to a passive (randomized) dodge system.  Finding the right balance on this one has been extremely challenging from a design perspective, but we think we’ve found a mid-point. Hopefully you’ll agree.

 

2. How does targeting work?

 

Generally, melee attacks happen in the area in front of the character.  There is no hard “target”.  Attacks use various shapes such as: cones, rectangles, and spheres.

 

 

From this, we can theorize attacks will work a lot more like skill-shots from a MoBA than say WoW/EQ style target combat. Positioning and dodges will be important to creating a successful battle.

 

 

 

 

That said, here's the question(s) I put to you:

 

  • How much CC do you want to see in the game? World of Warcraft:Warlords of Dreanor recently greatly curbed the amount of CC in the game citing it was counter-productive to creating a proactive PVP meta. Do you agree? Disagree?
  • Do you think Voxel Farm will create new forms of destructible CC? (Knockbacks that create craters, using the environment to fight) Sound off with your ideas.
  • Should Ranged feature as much CC as Melee? Should Kiting be a viable strategy?
  • (reserved for additional edits/questions)

 

Sound off Crows!

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  • Do you think Voxel Farm will create new forms of destructible CC? (Knockbacks that create craters, using the environment to fight) Sound off with your ideas.

 

  • An earth spell that pulls an earthen wall up that can be destroyed
  • Root spells that can be destroyed by swinging at your feet

 

I'd also vote for a system where archetypes have access to soft CC but you need to take discipline runes for hard CC or counters to hard CC.

Edited by Khron

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  • An earth spell that pulls an earthen wall up that can be destroyed
  • Root spells that can be destroyed by swinging at your feet

 

 

I rather like the Earth Wall idea. Creating terrain where there was none before would be a very cool and effective indirect form of crowd-control.

 

Imagine splitting your enemies forces in two, then mopping up one side. Or isolating a caster group from their bodyguards. Very cool emergent gameplay.

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One word: BOLAS.

These were so useful in Ultima, they should be as useful in Crowfall. Dismounting people is fun.

 

Kiting is always an option As an example, let mages create muddy areas, where footmen can walk unhindered, but horsemen move at a greatly reduced speed.  As I already said: BOLAS. Bolas can tie two or more characters to each-other, yadda yadda.

 

There should be a lot of CC. Silencing mages, stunning infantry, impairing mobility of a caravan, temporary fortifications (i.e. above-mentioned walls of earth).

There's also an interesting mechanic in Dawn of War 2 - pinning. Pinned troops can shoot with reduced RoF, they are slowed but can "safely" engage in melee actions.

Why not borrow that? Say, archers on a high ground could have a passive pinning ability.

 

Though, there should be options to reduce kitability. The only thing that comes to mind is Wall of Shields, you know. The classics. For example, a group of players under Wall of Shields buff will move at reduced speed, but will be resistant to all pinning effects.

 

About stacking stuns. Dungeons of Dredmor has an interesting buff - whenever you're, eh, unstunned, you gain a stacking 20% resistance on following stuns. That could help a little bit.

But, such thing should not be available for everyone. If you're letting your archers/mages get buttpluged - they have a right to remain silent. Forever, preferably.

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One word: BOLAS.

These were so useful in Ultima, they should be as useful in Crowfall. Dismounting people is fun.

 

Kiting is always an option As an example, let mages create muddy areas, where footmen can walk unhindered, but horsemen move at a greatly reduced speed.  As I already said: BOLAS. Bolas can tie two or more characters to each-other, yadda yadda.

 

There should be a lot of CC. Silencing mages, stunning infantry, impairing mobility of a caravan, temporary fortifications (i.e. above-mentioned walls of earth).

There's also an interesting mechanic in Dawn of War 2 - pinning. Pinned troops can shoot with reduced RoF, they are slowed but can "safely" engage in melee actions.

Why not borrow that? Say, archers on a high ground could have a passive pinning ability.

 

Though, there should be options to reduce kitability. The only thing that comes to mind is Wall of Shields, you know. The classics. For example, a group of players under Wall of Shields buff will move at reduced speed, but will be resistant to all pinning effects.

 

About stacking stuns. Dungeons of Dredmor has an interesting buff - whenever you're, eh, unstunned, you gain a stacking 20% resistance on following stuns. That could help a little bit.

But, such thing should not be available for everyone. If you're letting your archers/mages get buttpluged - they have a right to remain silent. Forever, preferably.

 

I do agree with a variety of options for CC. However, to play the Devil's advocate, let's bring up the discussion that came into the recent World of Warcraft expansion:

 

  • Should stunlocking be a valid tactic?
  • At what point does taking away control of a character stop being fun? Where is the balance between CC being a active and healthy mechanic vs. it creating frustrating mires of non-action?

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Hard CC makes for very boring gameplay.  I don't want to see a lot of hard cc in the game.

 

I don't disagree. But do you think the lack of targetting would mitigate some of the issues that WoW and other targetting MMOs faced?

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I do agree with a variety of options for CC. However, to play the Devil's advocate, let's bring up the discussion that came into the recent World of Warcraft expansion:

 

  • Should stunlocking be a valid tactic?
  • At what point does taking away control of a character stop being fun? Where is the balance between CC being a active and healthy mechanic vs. it creating frustrating mires of non-action?

 

1) It should. Though, some characters should be much more resistant to stunlocking than others. Seasoned Merc in full plate is much more resistant to cranium bashing, because he had lost all of his brain during all the adventures he had - only purpose for having a head for him is to eat. Mage has brains. Brains hurts when you hit dem wiz da stik. Waaagh.

 

You get the point, right? Also, the stacking stun resistance buff I was talking about is kinda nice. 

2a) It stops being fun when you're silently watching your character getting stunned over and over again with nothing you could do. One thing is a burst of damage, which evaporates an unprotected mage in a moment, other is, well, watching helplessly as your char is getting boned with a stick.

Stacking buff works wonders here as well.

 

2b) Variety of CC is important. Stuns are good. Cool.

There should also be blinds, where you can move and use abilities, but you simply can't aim them, there should be silences, that prevent you from casting abilities, but otherwise you're completely able to move and attack, there should be roots, where you can't move, but free to cast and attack, etc, etc, etc.

More measures - more countermeasures. More countermeasures - more ways for you to grab your legs and flee to a safer place.

There are lots of mechanics to borrow.

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I don't disagree. But do you think the lack of targetting would mitigate some of the issues that WoW and other targetting MMOs faced?

Not particularly, as we can see that in mobas even without hard locks the impact of cc is similar.  I should say that I guess hard cc isn't so bad so much as long duration hard cc or hard cc that can be chained to the point where it is like a long duration hard cc.

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1) It should. Though, some characters should be much more resistant to stunlocking than others. Seasoned Merc in full plate is much more resistant to cranium bashing, because he had lost all of his brain during all the adventures he had - only purpose for having a head for him is to eat. Mage has brains. Brains hurts when you hit dem wiz da stik. Waaagh.

 

You get the point, right? Also, the stacking stun resistance buff I was talking about is kinda nice. 

2a) It stops being fun when you're silently watching your character getting stunned over and over again with nothing you could do. One thing is a burst of damage, which evaporates an unprotected mage in a moment, other is, well, watching helplessly as your char is getting boned with a stick.

Stacking buff works wonders here as well.

 

2b) Variety of CC is important. Stuns are good. Cool.

There should also be blinds, where you can move and use abilities, but you simply can't aim them, there should be silences, that prevent you from casting abilities, but otherwise you're completely able to move and attack, there should be roots, where you can't move, but free to cast and attack, etc, etc, etc.

More measures - more countermeasures. More countermeasures - more ways for you to grab your legs and flee to a safer place.

There are lots of mechanics to borrow.

 

I suppose this is mainly a question for the Assassin Archetype. (and any promo classes that share it's emphasis on stealth) Historically, Assassin/Rogue's have relied on burst to create pressure on squishier archetypes. That burst is greatly assisted by being able to immobilize characters, usually with hard CC.

 

This leads to a very front-loaded meta when fighting. Success is defined on if the stealther is caught before pulling off their combo or not.

 

Do you agree with this sort of playstyle?

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Not particularly, as we can see that in mobas even without hard locks the impact of cc is similar.  I should say that I guess hard cc isn't so bad so much as long duration hard cc or hard cc that can be chained to the point where it is like a long duration hard cc.

 

I actually agree with you. The less hard CC the better. 

 

It's a subtractive meta, where action economy is being taken away instead of balanced. It'd be like smacking your opponent during chess and taking an extra turn because they're knocked out for a few seconds.

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I'm speaking from the point of an Assassin Archetype, yes. I've never bothered playing tanks or healers, or ranged characters even. 

 

I agree with that sort of playstyle.

If you don't want your Mages/Archers be buttsecksd - leave a watchman. Or watchmen. You'll be at a disadvantage on the battlefield, but your firepower will be protected.

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I'm speaking from the point of an Assassin Archetype, yes. I've never bothered playing tanks or healers, or ranged characters even. 

 

I agree with that sort of playstyle.

If you don't want your Mages/Archers be buttsecksd - leave a watchman. Or watchmen. You'll be at a disadvantage on the battlefield, but your firepower will be protected.

 

My only concern with perpetuating that standard Assassin meta is the following:

 

  • It subtracts from action economy. 
  • It's play/counterplay is front-loaded to a single binary outcome: Either the stealther is discovered or they activate their combo.
  • To counteract it's bursty nature, Assassin's are often useless after they destroy a single target, meaning beyond player removal they have no role in the larger battle.

Feel free to contest these points as you will.

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I like the discussion brought forward, OP.

 

I've mentioned this in other posts, but just to give you my idea on CC and the implementation on the combat system.

 

- Hard CC is probably a no go. Hard stuns are not fun, stun locks can require coordination from team members but it's utterly frustrating and lowers the skill ceiling.

- Soft CC (movement restriction, knockbacks, disarm effects, daze effects for spell casting and the like) is the way to go, on short CDs and short timers. Have the Cc player on top of his disruption job and reward him for being a proactive player.

- Terrain disruption and manipulation: probably possible with voxels, and should definitely be considered. It'd be a great deterrent for big groups and it would reward area control and group organization. Anything from a wall, stone circles, forcefields, and the like. Spells to control areas would be great in a game like this (minefields, traps, ice fields, something like that).


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  • How much CC do you want to see in the game? 
  • Do you think Voxel Farm will create new forms of destructible CC? 
  • Should Ranged feature as much CC as Melee? Should Kiting be a viable strategy?

 

I want to see plenty of CC, but I want it to play into risk vs reward like hopefully everything else.

 

We don't know anything about HP, Mana, Stamina, and general resource management, but I'd hope that the stronger the CC, the greater the cost. Risk using 50% mana for a short duration stun or use it to do 4 additional attacks that could potentially kill the enemy. Also would need to factor in any sort of cooldowns and what not.

 

I'm a fan of quick knock back-down-up, pulls, and other forms of CC that allow players to set up combos individually or as a team. SMITE has a lot of this. Pull someone in while someone else smacks them with a heavy hit at the same time.

 

While I would like to see the use of Voxels, at the same time I want the game to run smoothly and if it is just to be flashy, rather they keep it to a minimum. Digging holes and setting CC traps would be fun.

 

Although as suggested, things like throwing up walls and other barriers would be great, voxel based or not. Again, SMITE uses these a lot. Pull someone in, throw up a wall/dome/barrier, end someone's fun.

 

Although these elements work on small scale probably a lot better than large scale. Would hope there are some sort of diminishing returns to go along with any of it. Along with FF and collision so 20 players aren't going to pick individuals off 1 by 1 easily.

 

All combat play styles should have access to CC, be it offensive-defensive-support forms. Going back to having CC with a cost and diminishing returns, wouldn't want someone to be permanently locked down by either melee or range. So no kiting unless it is simply smart play and not repetitive use of OP skills.

 

While I only played Wildstar in Beta, I actually liked where they were coming from when it came to CC. Losing control sucks. But it is so fun to do to others. While their system might be a little to silly or gamey for CF, it still was a very interesting system. Allow players a chance to remove the control without loading a skill bar up with a bunch of anti-CC. In some ways it actually adds a bit of fun/entertainment to the process of being controlled.

 

Very good explanation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2G_8c-u2qc

Edited by allein

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My only concern with perpetuating that standard Assassin meta is the following:

 

  • It subtracts from action economy. 
  • It's play/counterplay is front-loaded to a single binary outcome: Either the stealther is discovered or they activate their combo.
  • To counteract it's bursty nature, Assassin's are often useless after they destroy a single target, meaning beyond player removal they have no role in the larger battle.

Feel free to contest these points as you will.

 

Well, I might say two things. Employment of Hit and Run tactics might also mean a lot on the battlefield.

Outside of battlefields, assassins might be employed as spies, which also means a lot. Say, provides information on keep's defendants and whatnot.

 

I think this game will have a lot of tools to our disposal to bend gameplay as we want.

 

 Hard CC is probably a no go. Hard stuns are not fun, stun locks can require coordination from team members but it's utterly frustrating and lowers the skill ceiling.

 

 

On a contrary. As it requires coordination from team members, it actually raises skill ceiling for group players.

Edited by Yattuwort

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Let's talk about the elephant in the room as well. If we're going to talk about the "No hard CC" option, how does this get mitigated for the classes who, traditionally, would have hard CC?

 

The primary options boil down to a choice between improved survival, whether through evasive abilities or higher effective HP, or, as option B, even higher frontloaded damage. The second option essentially creates a similar binary kill/die situation, so if we're assuming that's not a good plan, we go with option A.

The problem, then, with any form of increased survivability, is that it creates a high skill ceiling situation where the class who does insanely high damage, in a game without locking targeting, automatically becomes the best class, if you're good enough to play it. It becomes oppressive, essentially soft-countering everything. 

Now, given that this is talking from a small group mindset, it does ignore the large-scale battlefield, where they might be slightly less useful without the ability to focus a target, which might be fine, but this is a part of the conversation we can't ignore overall.

Are we comfortable with specific burst melee type characters being nigh-unbeatable in small scale fights, and relegated to very specific tactical uses in large scale fights? The advantage to hard CC is that it gives those same types a utility option when the chaos keeps them from going full-burst upside someone.

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Are we comfortable with specific burst melee type characters being nigh-unbeatable in small scale fights, and relegated to very specific tactical uses in large scale fights? The advantage to hard CC is that it gives those same types a utility option when the chaos keeps them from going full-burst upside someone.

 

In my opinion - yes. Because ambushes and full-scale skirmishes are completely different things.

First of all, if there's stealth - there should also be stealth detection. You can zzap a sneaky git with your lighting before he even realizes that shadows no longer hide him from anything.

Two - these types of characters are supposed to be good at killing isolated targets. Don't forget that we have, eh, what are they called? Masteries? That p. much change the way you play a certain class. So we'll have a rich assortment of assassins and spies. Some will have that Hard CC, but little burst, some will have no hard CC and a lot of burst; and a mix of two.

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I don't disagree. But do you think the lack of targetting would mitigate some of the issues that WoW and other targetting MMOs faced?

 

No because TERA has a poorly made socks ton of CC of all kinds. Lack of tab targeting doesn't do anything to mitigate that at all. Now there were various ways to deal with them in TERA, either actively avoiding it or ways to counter it after the fact. It was all focused on being skill based instead of anything being passive, so there were no resistances or DR. That idea I like actually and I liked how they designed them in context of action combat, they just had way too much of it. A game with similar ideas but just less CC in general could be fun, so it's used strategically but doesn't become annoying and unfun. Besides, with no healers there's less need for some CC. It'll still have plenty of good uses, but a game without healers I think can get away with less of it and may actually play better with less of it.

Edited by leiloni

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Another class of extra soft CC, debuffs that the enemy needs to react to. Disease that spreads to break up a group. Chains of fire that link two enemies and burn any allies between them and break when they get too long. That sort of thing. The key benefit is that the counterplay is more engaging than waiting for the timer to run out.


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