So I was watching Fractured for a good while, 198 level foundation and all that, and finally there is a PvP focused test that I can enjoy, and I can finally whine about PvP balance in a prealpha like I threatened to do months ago.
I'll try to not to be biased, but I'll probably fail, so what I write is written from a perspective of a assassin-wannabe character with 16/20/1610/7/13 stats Abilities are: Shadow Step, Shadow Walk, Shadow Dance, Crippling Strike, Death Mark, Strike Wounds, Blinding Strike. Talent wise - stealth and dodge is maxed, rest is dumped into the perception tree, with an "inevitable" perk.
The most annoying problem to date
So the first thing that I'd like to notice right away is that it's way too easy to esacape a fight. You can simply walk away from almost any build. Instant bandages paired with huge passive HP regeneration ensure that even if you'll manage to get some hits on a fleeing target, it the long run, it'd just regenerate all the health back.
The most annoying glitch to date
Next, a weird glitch prevents proper testing, as sometimes attacks just stop connecting for no reason. No blocks, no dodges, no ability procs, just poking the air. It often happens in PvP, less often in PvE if PvP flag is on. In the latter case, turning the PvP flag off helps, in PvP - nothing helps. Apparently this glitch only takes place with daggers and fists, can't even imagine how's it possible. But it's annoying as hell and makes me shriek at the screen like a little angry schoolgirl. Please fix this shit.
Popular archetypes and lack of flexibility
Overall character roles seem to have split into three categories for now - archers, warriors and mages. They're all played more or less the same, but differences are noticable. I haven't met many people who play assassin-like archetype, probably because of the glitch, and little to no people creating anything outside of the standart roles.
I personally think that the reason for this is abilities being too restricted. For example, all the invocation abilities are bound to int and can't be used by any character that isn't int-heavy, while they could have some secondary effects which would scale with other stats as well. Touches are restricted to unarmed only, but they could be made to be used with any weapon, giving unarmed builds an advantage in attack speed.
Most assassination abilities are not that strong that they should be bound to light armor only, besides, some of them are outright bad at the moment, like Assassination, that eats up a whooping 6 memory points and deals a flat damage multiplied by target's missing health percentage.
There are some rather unrestricted abilities, sure, but for the most part, many, many abilities are very restricted, especially to int-heavy characters.
General PvP flow
What feels good is relative freedom of building, even if quite restricted. What feels not that good from a perspective of a melee character, is that pretty much all the fights are either three button presses + hold click and waiting for who dies first, or one of the participants running away with no chance to catch him. It gets more fun when you play against ranged characters, but it's very frustrating to try to catch them, as melee weapons' reach seems to be so little that even if you reach a running target and perform a hit - it runs away before the hit is landed. Not that it makes ranged characters impossible to kill, no but the whole fight is centered around trying to get a hit in, I mean, not fighting the enemy, but fighting weak weapon reach + ping.
This is a matter of preference mostly, but I feel that TTK is way too big. People are simply not dying. Especially if you're fighting a tanky build - it takes literally forever, very often this fight just never ends. Quick fights may take place, but they usually involve a newbie mage with bad awareness.
TTK and CC duration
Mycharacter has very low charisma, not much constitution, so it should suffer from CC quite alot, however it doesn't happen. With TTK we currently have, CC doesn't do much. Say, bash only lets you get one more hit in, when you often need well above 20 hits to hope to finish the fight. IMO either TTK should be reduced or CC duration - increased.
Purely assassin things
Just some feedback on my own character.
I tried to make something resembling a usual assassin. It should be a burst heavy character that's bad at sustaining prolonged fights.
First disappointment was the huge TTK that doesn't quite allow creating a burst-focused character for quick fights.
Second one - lack of a proper opener. That doesn't allow to create a burst focused character at all.
Third one is stealth. It's bugged and for some reason people can just see me from time to time, from any distance. To be really invisible you must use Shadow Walk when you're already rendered on an enemy screen it seems, as rendering a character (like if someone logs in onto your head) shows it without stealth.
Shadow dance is bugged as well, and it's animation can be seen even if you're invisible. Which is ironic, since it's expected to make you more invisible, if anything.
Forth one is Assassinate. The icon looks cool, the name suggests that it hits hard but really that's not the case. It consumes insane amounts of mana for a str/dex build, requires huge amount of memory points, and results in 12*missinghp% damage if you have maxed perception. So if an enemy is at 30% hp that's about 800 damage, which seems good on paper, but in practice this ability requires so much mana and memory points that you're handicapping yourself a ton. With constant bandage use, single shadow dance will give tons more damage overall, strike wounds + any wound of choice will give tons more damage as well, with much less requirements. I'd suggest to make this ability a very strong opener instead of a finisher. And in it's current state it looks especially bad if compared to WOP:Kill, which is simply better in everything.
Also, primitive dagger description says that it ignores 40% of enemy's armor, but it doesn't seem to work.
Overall gameplay is to just click someone and press wounds abilities from time to time, not very dynamic if you ask me.
From my personal perspective, the strongest builds are con-based fighters, followed by archers and mages. Can't place thief-like characters anywhere because of bias.
Fighters are clear winners because of second wind, plate armor and frenzy. Second wind replenishes full HP to anyone, be it 1.5k hp squishy character, or 3k+ hp armored one. Con based fighters have lots of HP, armor and resistances, so they can use second wind more than once during the fight, and frenzy basically gives lots of DPS and movement speed. In both cases, those abilities require no mana, so int can be dropped, and as evasion mechanics are really weird (0 accuracy character hits a 700 evasion character with about 50% chance), perception can be dropped as well. Some people said that full plate will probably be expensive if it would be crafted and not given away for free, if that's the case - fighters will have it much worse, as they wouldn't be that strong without plate.
Archers have good burst damage and kiting capabilities.
And mages, well, since the crit chance fix I didn't see many of them.
Overall, second wind/frenzy seem overpowered, word skills probably need to be looked at, and there are some trash abilities like assassinate or bleeding strike, well, apart from that game feels relatively balanced and very playable.
Lots of love for friendly fire. It helped me to 3v1 once, and will, in the future, help to fight zerging.
I agree with pretty much a lot of this.
Melee is in a weird place vs mages/archer.
Melee players have a hard time catching mages/archers - but I don't think that's much of an issue, it will likely change in group pvp, what is the main focus.
I do agree assassins' builds seem to be kind of lacking in damage - but I also blame a few skills not doing what they should. Shadow step should apply any preloaded strike skill or skills like bash. this would help deal archers more and assassins' would be able to catch them to apply cripple.
I do have a problem with warriors that can tank forever and dish out more damage then most DPS. I think warrior skills need to have more mana cost. so they have to choose with either being a DPS with mana regen or a Tank with health regen and cheaper less damaging skills.
I would love to see team fights, and have the meta evolve quicker as people try different builds to negate different things. but in order to do that we'd need a area that we could que for, 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, 5v5, 10v10, 25v25. and leaderboards with account board things to make people want to join into the fighting. I see a lot of the pvpers keeping their builds hidden because there no average to showing their builds currently with it having the possibly of getting nerfed.
And here comes my feedback! I've playing quite a lot in this alpha and I got to duel many many builds with my INT archer.
First of all, I would like to remind the other people in this thread that right now warriors are running around in full plate armor and are using metal 2handers. That's 80 iron ore and who knows how many coal. Not to mention the smelting time. At the same time the archers/assassins are wearing an unfortunate wolf that happened to spawn in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The over the top performance of warriors right now is due to the gear disparity in this test, don't confuse it with the warrior class actually being that strong. I'm actually worried about them being too weak.
Now on to my actual feedback:
I've been playing an INT based archer on a really balanced and versatile build. My stats are 15 15 15 15 10 10. I know, the 15 STR would have been better as 15 CON, but I like to have some carrying capacity.
This build so far has been hugely fun to play. You don't have extremely high damage, you can't dodge all attacks coming at you, you are not ultra mobile or ultra durable... but you have a lot of options. I'd been worried that in the end this build would fall back in terms of PvP and PvE efficiency, but multiple tests have shown me that I was wrong and it can go toe to toe with more focused builds. You just have to be creative during the fight
I will probably use this build also outside this test, because the stats are so good, and allow me to switch from Archer to Assassin to Mage where needed. Within the archer build you can switch between light armor and medium armor builds and within the mage build you can go for classic or punchy versions. As a general purpose (but still good) build, I think that I've really hit the jackpot here.
Now, let's start listing my current balance worries.
Currently the "Inevitable" talent is disabled. AND THAT IS A GOOD THING! The first day of the test it was working, and I could oneshot players. The effects of this talent on an high crit build are simply OP, especially when applied to the double shot! Something here has to change. (by the way, it can be blocked with shields right now, so it is not really "inevitable" :P). The problem probably lies in the critical system itself. High crit multipliers bring these kind of quirky effects and can insert a huge RNG factor in fights, especially in a game where the crit chances cannot be made high enough to become something you can account for. You can get impossibly high bursts coming out of nowhere during a fight. I would suggest to smooth it down. Critical multiplier should be capped to 50%, and all the extra damage over that should become a bleeding dot over 12 seconds (which stacks in case of additional crits, similar to the concussive strike effect).
Healing is overtuned. I've had fights going on for an eternity simply because when you stack together multiple healing skills, you start regenerating way too fast. Heals should interfere with each other in some way, with diminishing returns.
Acid arrows as a skill is too strong. It is a nice idea, and I would love to see more skills like that which tie together different archetypes, but the effects are such that even pure DEX/PER builds will always use it. I suggest to increase the memory cost to 6, to make it more of a choice OR apply a mana cost to every arrow fired.
Longbows don't have a place. They cannot benefit from the light weapon damage bonus and prevent you from using a lot of skills. We need more generic ranged skills, so that the longbow becomes the standard weapon for pure archers, while the shortbow becomes the choice if you want to mix in some assassin/mage skills. Right now there are not enough skills avaiable to a longbow to create a3 build. Some of the Warfare skills that currently apply only to melee weapons could maybe be allowed also on heavy ranged weapons.
TTK is currently not a design issue, since it is due to the excessive healing and overabundance of high end armors. Currently, if 2 dps builds without plate armor face each other going all out on the offensive, the fight closes in a matter of seconds. The fights last long because once it is clear who would win in a direct confrontation, one of the contenders switches to a dodgy style of figthing, poking and baiting the opponent trying to create an opportunity. That is a good interaction. Fights between 2 pure warriors are kind of boring, but there isn't much you can do there.
A couple of ideas introduced in this test that I liked particularly:
As I said, acid arrows. These kind of skills that tie together the attributes of different builds are extremely efficient in creating more builds. I would like to see more of those. Things like a flaming sword skill or spells whose effects depends on strenght. Stuff like that.
For the same reason, adding critical hits to spells was a nice move. Now perception based mages are a thing.
The second wind skill now depletes your rest bar. This is a good concept, skills that are powerful but tiring. I would like to see it applied to a few more skills, or have skills that tire the opponent (blight?). Having your opponent out of stamina would be a nice alternative win condition.
I think I'll post here again so I won't clutter the forum with useless threads about purely dex-assassination melee problems.
So here is an chance to avoid an attack/evasion graph, where z is accuracy.
We can see that even if character has zero accuracy, he'll still hit targets with 500 evasion with 60% chance.
A character with a decent accuracy of 400 will hit a target with 400 evasion about 78% of the time.
That means that evasion and accuracy are not balanced with one another.
This makes sense since otherwise characters with low perception/accuracy wouldn't be viable unless they're casters. The problem arises from the fact that evasion is the only protection of a dexterity melee character.
Ranged characters have range as their main source of defence, str/con based melee characters have high mitigation from armor and big HP pool, however for a dex-based character his only protection is evasion, and it can't compete with range or heavy armor.
So in order to be semi-viable one should either be either a ranged charater, or go deep into con/str, which places evasion in a position of a complimentary bonus.
From what I see in the game currently, balance wise, it should be outweighted by abilities that benefit from dex/per and can't be used with heavy and/or medium armor, however at their current state those abilities fail to do so, infact, they're not strong enough to be limited to be used with light armor only.
Those abilities are expected to either provide a huge DPS boost to compensate for lack of survivability, or some ways to increase character's longevity in the fight, current dex abilities fail to do so. They're pretty much centered around attack speed, applying pure damage, applying debuffs and crit (talking mainly about assassination abilities here).
Attack speed only increases with pure dex, unlike strength where weapon damage increased both by the stat itself and relative talents, for example. my character with maxed dex has 10% attack speed (and 700 evasion) with several enchants, so attack speed scailing is limited. Strike wounds and assasinate provide relatively weak (in practice) damage, as they deal flat damage that has almost no scailing. Shadow dance only scales with stealth, and in return, stealth doesn't do anything combat-wise apart from scailing SD. Abilities which are guaranteed crits are simply not strong enough to mitigate said problems, investing in crit in general seems a waste of resources at this point.
To put it simple, assassination abilities don't outweight warfare abilities, but they're locked for light armor and light weapons only. And if warfare skills are not much worse dps-wise than assassination ones, why lock yourself into light armor?
For a decent caster build you need int and con, for decent melee build you need str and con, for a decent dex build, however, you need str (to actually deal damage), con (to live for a while), int (because shadow dance, mark of death, assassinate require tons of mana), and dex itself, which is a bare minimum. There are not enough points for all of this, unless you go unarmed with touches which allows you to dump str and kill two birds with one stone (int).
If light weapons would scale their damage with dex instead of str it would help a ton, but as it is now, there is simply not enough stats for this kind of build.
Mark of death and strike wounds break stealth when used. I don't know if it's intended to be this way or not, but it makes stealth even less useful.
Strike wounds and shadow dance have animation time that eats up precious combat time and doesn't allow to turn them on and off on demand to, say, fight mana problems and only use them when needed, without rooting yourself for a second while turning them on, and it actually matters alot as well.
Primitive dagger recipe says that this dagger ignores 40% of enemies' armor, but it doesn't work for primitive dagger, or the basic dagger you can get from the bank currently.
Assassination ability branch is almost the least bursty branch of all at the moment, it has no good openers, no good CC, barely any survivability and it works best to make a bag of trash lurking in the shadows kind of character, that or a PvE DPS. The only ability from this branch that actually sees any use is shadow walk.