Author Topic: Rebirth Issue 5 Dev Diary - Force Field Revamp and Force Composition  (Read 421 times)

MuonNeutrino

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Force Field Revamp and Force Composition



Force Field is one of the oldest sets in the game, dating back to the original launch of City of Heroes, but this classic set hasn't quite been able to keep up in today's game. In Rebirth Issue 5 this iconic powerset will be getting a long-deserved set of improvements to let it shine as the support set it deserves to be. As a bonus, Force Field is also being proliferated to Corruptors in Rebirth Issue 5. Elements of this revamp are also part of the new Force Composition set, letting Guardians play around with force fields too!

Force Field Revamp

Unlike many other Issue 0 era powersets, Force Field has remained substantially unchanged since its release. This power set dates to a time when the original Cryptic Studios developers were first getting their feet under themselves, and before the many early revamps that settled the game on a final vision for the types of capabilities different categories of sets 'ought' to provide.

As a result, many of the set's powers have designs and effects that don't really fit in with the 'modern' understanding of how a support set provides benefits to its team. Due to this, even in the cases where these powers are quite effective at what they do - for example, controlling enemy positioning - the things that they do don't really add up to the same level of contribution to the team's effectiveness as other support sets. This has left the set leaning heavily on the few powers that do provide 'standard' support effects - the three main defense-granting bubbles - with the other powers relegated to novelties or niche use cases.

Yet, at the same time these unusual powers are what grant the set its own unique identity. Trying to simply shove Force Field into the same mold as everything else would be a gross disservice to the set and to the players that have enjoyed it over the years. The challenge of revamping Force Field is to make its underused powers more viable and improve the set's support capabilities while still preserving its unique playstyles and legacy.

This revamp rests on several core pillars:
  • Improvements should be directed towards the powers that are currently considered most lackluster and skippable - every power should be able to compete for a spot in your build.
  • These changes should act to improve the support capability of the powers, relative to their current state where many are good at things that just aren't very useful for supporting the team.
  • Whenever possible, these changes should mesh with, augment, or complement those powers' existing playstyles rather than replacing them, particularly in terms of the set's secondary theme of controlling enemy positioning.
  • Whenever possible, these changes should not remove those powers' current capabilities, and existing uses of those powers should remain.



Deflection Shield, Insulation Shield, Dispersion Bubble
  • No changes

These powers are already good! The only problem they have is that they've been unfairly expected to carry the set's entire load by themselves. With the improvements to the rest of the set, they can step back and continue to do their job as well as they have always done.

Personal Force Field
  • No longer has OnlyAffectsSelf, allowing the user to buff and attack normally while active
  • Activation time reduced from 2.03 to 1.03 seconds
  • Now has a maximum uptime of 30 seconds, and cannot be activated more often than once every 90 seconds
  • Recharge increased to 90 seconds (Masterminds: Recharge reduced from 120 to 90 seconds)

Personal Force Field is a strong self-protection power, but fundamentally a selfish one - to take advantage of it the user must withdraw their support from the rest of the team, which is a tradeoff a support set should not have to make. This change reverses that - by allowing the user to 'bubble up' while still affecting enemies, it lets them temporarily gain strong survivability in a dangerous situation so they can focus on helping salvage that situation for their team. The activation time has also been reduced to make it a more responsive panic button.

This does come at the cost of not being able to be maintained indefinitely - obviously near-invincibility in unlimited toggle form without OnlyAffectsSelf would be a bit much! As such, given that this is the only part of the revamp that partially changes a core use of a power, this change is considered experimental - we are seeking feedback on it! Does this feel preferable to the existing version of the power?


Force Bolt
  • Now does splash knockdown on up to 3 secondary targets within 15 feet of the main target
  • Now inflicts a stacking magnitude 1.5 stun (main target only)
  • Damage increased to scale 1.0 (main target only)

Force bolt is an effective power at what it does - single target soft control - so this update rewards and expands on this support capability while also broadening the power's overall usefulness. Since it is often used repeatedly to juggle targets, the stacking stun effect (which disorients minions in one hit, LTs in two, and bosses in three) rewards this while allowing you to perhaps cut back on how many times you have to hit things to keep them under control! Increasing the damage of the power to match a standard tier 1 blast also means that this repeated use doesn't represent as much of an interruption to your attack chain. Finally, the splash knockdown gives the power additional usefulness against groups as well as single hard targets, or you can slot a knockback-to-knockdown enhancement in the power to convert it to a small-area group knockdown attack.



Barrier Field (formerly Detention Field)
  • This power has been renamed from Detention Field to Barrier Field, and may now be used on either enemy or friendly targets
  • When used against a friendly target, it grants that target a large amount of absorb over time for a short time, without hindering their ability to attack
  • When used against an enemy target, it functions as the current Detention Field power
  • Detention effect increased to mag 6, allowing it to affect standard EBs, and it will also more reliably Immobilize the captured target
  • Knockback, Attract, and Repel effects from other Force Field (or Force Composition!) powers can now move the captured target

Detention Field's effects were powerful, but only useful in very niche cases. We don't want to change or remove these effects since they are useful in some situations, so instead we are broadening the usefulness of the power by adding an alternate support function. The original function of the power is also being made more reliable, while also allowing some interaction with the detained target so you can have them right where you want them when it expires.



Repulsion Field
  • This power is no longer purchased independently, but rather is automatically granted by purchasing Force Bubble
  • Ongoing endurance cost removed
  • Activation time reduced from 2.03 to 1.03 seconds
  • When used alone, acts as the current Repulsion Field power
  • When used while Force Bubble is active, has no effects itself but enables Force Bubble's repel effect

Repulsion Field and Force Bubble are too conceptually similar, and Repulsion Field is not a strong enough support power, to take up two independent slots in the power set. This change frees up a slot for us to broaden the set's variety of available support powers, while still preserving the use of Repulsion Field for those who like this power (particularly now that it does not have a cripplingly high ongoing endurance cost when it isn't even doing anything), and also lets us lean into the conceptual similarities between it and Force Bubble with their toggle interaction. Since the user will likely be toggling it on and off more frequently than before, the activation time has been reduced to make this gameplay more fluid.

Containment Shell
  • New power, takes Repulsion Field's old slot in the set - if you previously had Repulsion Field, you will now have Containment Shell
  • Location targeted persistent patch that immobilizes targets and Attracts them inwards
  • Prevents repel and converts KB to KD on affected targets

Containment Shell gives the set a new type of support ability that uses the new Attract mechanic to contribute to Force Field's theme of controlling mob positioning. The repel protection and KB-to-KD conversion also allows it to act as a 'sticky trap', where the player can use the set's other positioning tools to knockback or repel targets into it and it will keep them there.



Repulsion Bomb
  • Chance to stun minions increased to 75%
  • Now has a 50% chance to stun LTs

Repulsion Bomb was already an effective attack, so this is simply a touchup to increase the power's support value by making its stun more reliable.

Force Bubble
  • Now automatically grants Repulsion Field on purchase - if you previously had Force Bubble, you will now have both Force Bubble and Repulsion Field
  • Now inflicts significant -damage debuff and movement slow
  • Repel is no longer permanently active - toggle on Repulsion Field to enable repel, or leave it off to inflict only the debuffs with no repel
  • Endurance cost decreased from 0.69 to 0.52 end/sec (0.86 to 0.65 for Masterminds)

Similar to Detention Field, Force Bubble's effects were strong in specific cases but overall had a relatively niche use. Adding additional debuff effects makes it a more broadly useful general support power, the slow makes the repel more reliable and controllable, and the repel effect being optional allows for the power's original use to still exist without forcing an effect which can be disruptive in other situations.




Force Composition for Guardians



Revamping Force Field also allows for Guardians to join in on the fun! Force Composition melds classic Force Field-throwing shenanigans with Invulnerability's resiliency and the Guardian's self-and-allies-alike take on support powers. Both stalwart bastion and battering ram, Force Composition will allow you to bowl over your enemies in style.

Temp Invulnerability
Toggle: Self +Res(Smash, Lethal)
When you toggle on this power, you imbue yourself with force to become highly resistant to Smashing and Lethal damage.

All Guardian secondaries open with a basic armor toggle, and Force Composition is no different. Temp Invulnerability gives the set a solid base of Smashing and Lethal resistance to build on.

Force Bolt
Ranged, Moderate DMG(Smash), Foe Knockback, Disorient, -Fly
Discharges a bolt of force that deals a decent amount of Smashing Damage and knocks foes back a good distance. If the target is currently Flying they will also be knocked out of the air. The target may also be disoriented by the impact, though stronger targets may require multiple impacts to be affected. The force of this attack is so strong that it can also knock down other nearby enemies, though they will not take any damage or be disoriented.

The second power in a Guardian secondary is always the set's most basic support power, and ideally should be one the player can rely on from level 1 to 50 to give a solid, reliable core of support capability. The newly revamped Force Bolt is perfect for this slot, providing a solid multifunctional version of the set's support capabilities in the areas of enemy positioning, knockdown, and mez effects.

Force Affinity
Auto: Self +Res(All DMG but Psionics), Endurance Discount
Your affinity for manipulating force enables you to redirect and streamline the forces in and around your body, allowing you to weaken the impact of attacks and make your own motions more efficient. This gives you a small amount of Resistance to all damage except Psionics and reduces the endurance cost of your powers.

Force Affinity brings in a portion of Invul's broad-spectrum resistances, borrowing from Unyielding to build on the base provided by Temp Invulnerability. As mez protection is covered by Dispersion Bubble below, those effects are replaced with an endurance discount effect to help keep endurance use under control.

Dispersion Bubble
Toggle: PBAoE, Team +Res(Hold, Immobilize, Disorient)< +DEF(All), Self +Res(Knockback, Sleep)
Creates a large bubble which protects all allies inside. While active, the Dispersion Bubble gives all allies within increased Defense against all attack types. The Dispersion Bubble also protects allies from Immobilization, Disorient, and Hold effects. The user is also granted protection from Knockback and Sleep, but this additional protection does not apply to allies.

Giving a good amount of protection of varied types to both the user and allies, Dispersion Bubble is a classic 'Guardian-style' support power and a natural choice for the set. For teammates, this iconic power gives a portion of the defense and mez protection expected from a Force Field style set. For the user, this power both acts as the set's mez protection and mimics the role of Invul's Invincibility by providing the user with solid layered mitigation of defense on top of resistance.

Force Barrier
PBAOE, Team +Absorb
Projects a strong protective Force Barrier over yourself and nearby allies. This grants you and all nearby allies a significant amount of damage absorption for a short time.

Force Barrier is the conceptual child of Invul's Dull Pain and Force Field's new Barrier Field, with a Guardian-style PBAoE twist. This provides the user with a measure of health sustain, while allowing that mitigation to extend to allies in standard Guardian fashion. It wouldn't be a Force Field set if you couldn't cast some sort of bubble on your allies, after all!



Containment Shell
Ranged (Location AoE), Foe Attract, Immobilize, -Jump, -Repel, Knockback to Knockdown
Projects a Containment Shell to pull in and capture foes in a targeted location. This hollow force field shell immobilizes and exerts a strong attractive force on any foe that attempts to cross its boundary, pulling them into the shell's interior, though more powerful foes may be able to resist. The attractive force also prevents foes from being pushed out of the shell, preventing jumping, making affected foes immune to Repel effects, and causing Knockback effects to be reduced to Knockdown.

Containment Shell is another power from the new version of Force Field that naturally makes the jump to the Guardian version of the set. Controlling enemy positioning is not a strong support theme in any existing guardian set, so this adds to the variety available to the archetype.

Repulsion Bomb
Ranged (Targeted AoE), Moderate DMG(Smash), Foe Knockdown, Disorient
A powerful Repulsion Bomb is hurled at your foes dealing a moderate amount of damage and knocking them off of their feet. Foes struck by Repulsion Bomb have a good chance to become disoriented.

Repulsion Bomb's nature as a combination offense-and-defense power makes it another natural choice for inclusion, as this sort of melding of support and offense is a microcosm of the archetype as a whole.

Force Shielding
Auto: Self +DEF(All but Psionics), +Res (Debuff DEF)
Your abilities allow you to surround your body with a protective layer of force, causing some attacks to deflect away from you. This grants you Defense to all types of attacks except Psionics, as well as resistance to Defense Debuff effects.

Force Shielding is a renamed version of Invul's Tough Hide, and rounds out Force Composition's take on that set's signature layered mitigation, giving the set two resistance powers and two defense powers.

Suppression Field
Ranged (Location AoE), Foe -Speed, -Jump, -Fly, Hold, -DMG(All)
Projects a debilitating Suppression Field at a targeted location. This semi-solid force field greatly hampers the movements of all enemies caught in it. Affected enemies will have their movement greatly Slowed and will not be able to fly or jump, and will sometimes be completely Held for brief periods. Their movements will also be weakened to such a degree that their attacks will deal less damage.

Suppression Field takes the revamped Force Bubble's debuff effects and builds on them in a form more suited to the Guardian's nature as a hybrid melee and ranged archetype. A repel effect would not be appropriate for an archetype intended to frequently engage in melee combat, so instead this power allows you to glue opponents in place while mitigating their damage through debuffs and mez.



Check out the revamped Force Field and Guardian Force Composition, along with many more features in Rebirth Issue 5, this week on our Public Test Server (PTS)!
« Last Edit: January 16, 2023, 06:41:18 pm by MuonNeutrino »
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Cinnder

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Re: Rebirth Issue 5 Dev Diary - Force Field Revamp and Force Composition
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2023, 12:23:50 pm »
Don't mean to sound like a broken record here, but once again I must say I really appreciate your design philosophy.

Redlynne

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Re: Rebirth Issue 5 Dev Diary - Force Field Revamp and Force Composition
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2023, 04:08:53 pm »
Personal Force Field
  • No longer has OnlyAffectsSelf, allowing the user to buff and attack normally while active
  • Activation time reduced from 2.03 to 1.03 seconds
  • Now has a maximum uptime of 30 seconds, and cannot be activated more often than once every 90 seconds
  • Recharge increased to 90 seconds (Masterminds: Recharge reduced from 120 to 90 seconds)

Personal Force Field is a strong self-protection power, but fundamentally a selfish one - to take advantage of it the user must withdraw their support from the rest of the team, which is a tradeoff a support set should not have to make. This change reverses that - by allowing the user to 'bubble up' while still affecting enemies, it lets them temporarily gain strong survivability in a dangerous situation so they can focus on helping salvage that situation for their team. The activation time has also been reduced to make it a more responsive panic button.

This does come at the cost of not being able to be maintained indefinitely - obviously near-invincibility in unlimited toggle form without OnlyAffectsSelf would be a bit much! As such, given that this is the only part of the revamp that partially changes a core use of a power, this change is considered experimental - we are seeking feedback on it! Does this feel preferable to the existing version of the power?

Why not borrow from the coding used for the Incarnate Hybrid slots?
It's a toggle (not a click) with a built in lockout for switching itself off after 30 seconds.
That way, you don't have to worry about perma uptime. Recharge does not begin until the power is toggled off ... so you can allow the recharge to be boosted by recharge buffing and never have to worry about a 100% uptime result. 50% might be possible with sufficient recharge buffing, but 100% would basically be impossible.

The most egregious part of the Only Affects Self property for Masterminds was that it cut Pets off from Supremacy (among other weirdness). Removing THAT side effect will make Force Fields MUCH more attractive to Masterminds!

Force Bolt
  • Now does splash knockdown on up to 3 secondary targets within 15 feet of the main target
  • Now inflicts a stacking magnitude 1.5 stun (main target only)
  • Damage increased to scale 1.0 (main target only)

Force bolt is an effective power at what it does - single target soft control - so this update rewards and expands on this support capability while also broadening the power's overall usefulness. Since it is often used repeatedly to juggle targets, the stacking stun effect (which disorients minions in one hit, LTs in two, and bosses in three) rewards this while allowing you to perhaps cut back on how many times you have to hit things to keep them under control! Increasing the damage of the power to match a standard tier 1 blast also means that this repeated use doesn't represent as much of an interruption to your attack chain. Finally, the splash knockdown gives the power additional usefulness against groups as well as single hard targets, or you can slot a knockback-to-knockdown enhancement in the power to convert it to a small-area group knockdown attack.

Counter-proposal.

Change Force Bolt to be a narrow 5º cone attack so as to port over the useful functionality of Piercing Rounds (Dual Pistols).
This would turn Force Bolt into a "piercing line" style of attack (and with Range enhancement slotted could become something of a "poor man's snipe" for distance).
As a narrow 5º cone, you could even increase the Max Targets to something above 3 ... like maybe 10 (for example) to make Force Bolt especially unique in application and modes of play (I'm looking at you, formation lines of Cimerorans in the last Mission of the ITF!). Since the arrangement of Foes available will rarely be "conveniently plentiful enough" to make use of that high Max Targets limit, actually being able to make use of it most effectively would essentially be "novelty play" rather than some kind of standard operating procedure. However, it would make for a rather unique signature calling card for Force Fields.

Extra Bonus points for adding in a Bowling Pin Strike sound FX that gets louder when more Foes get hit simultaneously (so you only hear it with 3-10 Foes hit by the one attack).

Containment Shell
  • New power, takes Repulsion Field's old slot in the set - if you previously had Repulsion Field, you will now have Containment Shell
  • Location targeted persistent patch that immobilizes targets and Attracts them inwards
  • Prevents repel and converts KB to KD on affected targets

Containment Shell gives the set a new type of support ability that uses the new Attract mechanic to contribute to Force Field's theme of controlling mob positioning. The repel protection and KB-to-KD conversion also allows it to act as a 'sticky trap', where the player can use the set's other positioning tools to knockback or repel targets into it and it will keep them there.

Every Peacebringer in the game now wants to have your babies.
Note that having this power suddenly makes it not only reasonable but also sensible to slot Kinetic Crash and Force Feedback sets (all 6 slots!) into KB powers so as to "throw them into the briar patch" of Containment Shell (where they get ... stuck).

Repulsion Bomb
  • Chance to stun minions increased to 75%
  • Now has a 50% chance to stun LTs

Repulsion Bomb was already an effective attack, so this is simply a touchup to increase the power's support value by making its stun more reliable.

If you wanted to get REALLY cute with this, you would borrow the encoding for Incarnate Interface DoTs as the conceptual model for the way to work the Stun (the whole repeating checks at 75%, cancel on miss routine). Set the base chance at 70% and let 'er rip!
MAG 1 = 0.70 = 70% MAG 1
MAG 1+1 = 0.7*0.7 = 49% MAG 2
MAG 1+1+1 = 0.7*0.7*0.7 = 34.3% MAG 3
MAG 1+1+1+1 = 0.7*0.7*0.7*0.7 = 24.01% MAG 4

Force Bubble
  • Now automatically grants Repulsion Field on purchase - if you previously had Force Bubble, you will now have both Force Bubble and Repulsion Field
  • Now inflicts significant -damage debuff and movement slow
  • Repel is no longer permanently active - toggle on Repulsion Field to enable repel, or leave it off to inflict only the debuffs with no repel
  • Endurance cost decreased from 0.69 to 0.52 end/sec (0.86 to 0.65 for Masterminds)

Similar to Detention Field, Force Bubble's effects were strong in specific cases but overall had a relatively niche use. Adding additional debuff effects makes it a more broadly useful general support power, the slow makes the repel more reliable and controllable, and the repel effect being optional allows for the power's original use to still exist without forcing an effect which can be disruptive in other situations.

The ONE modification you need to change this power from "meh..." to "ZOMGLOLZ!" would be to add a -75% Range debuff (does not stack from same caster) to it that gets applied to affected Foes ('m thinking, 4-8s duration?), similar to what Tankers get on their Taunt powers (to encourage bumrushing towards the Tanker). That Range debuff would mean that the ... shell ... of the bubble is a far more effective "barrier" against ranged attacks from outside (the Force Bubble is, in effect, "repelling attacks" from outside). Would make almost no difference to Melee Monsters working along the "boundary layer" of the Force Bubble, but it could put ranged attacking allies "beyond reach" of Foes due to the Range debuff (if they come into contact with the Force Bubble and get debuffed by it). Now you have a "ranged bastion" type of battlefield support power!


Verbogeny is one of many pleasurettes afforded a creatific thinkerizer.

MuonNeutrino

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Re: Rebirth Issue 5 Dev Diary - Force Field Revamp and Force Composition
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2023, 11:44:56 pm »
Sorry to take so long to get back to you, Redlynne.

For PFF, it's a bit of a moot point now that I've changed it again, but at the time it was indeed using that method; a timed toggle that turns itself off after a set period. The reason it's got a lockout on top of that is basically just so that I can give it a short-ish recharge without worrying about the uptime on the effect getting way too high at extreme levels of global recharge.

For example, at the current 140 second recharge, with maxed recharge in the power and permahasten levels of global recharge (180%, i.e. high but achievable) the power would have just a 37 second recharge time, giving the godmode-style effect a 45% uptime, which is a *much* higher performance ceiling than I want this power to have. If I wanted to fix that via the recharge time, I'd probably have to give it something more like a 240-300s recharge time or so, which I don't want to do because of how it would impact less extreme builds.

So instead I gave it a lockout, which means that recharge slotting and/or global recharge can still increase the uptime, but puts a cap on it so that I can give the power a much more reasonable recharge time without having to worry about it getting out of hand.

For repulsion bomb, it actually also does already work sorta like that, albeit with only two levels. It's got a 75% chance for mag 2 and 66% chance for mag 1, which results in a 8.5% chance for no stun at all, a 16.5% chance for just mag 1 (only stuns underlings unless there's another power to stack on), a 25.5% chance for just mag 2 (stuns minions), and a 49.5% chance for mag 3 (stuns minions and LTs). I just didn't give it more levels because there's not really a functional difference between mag 0 and mag 1 of applied stun and I didn't want it to be able to stun bosses, but it basically uses that method.

Force bolt as a narrow cone pseudo-line attack is interesting, but there's a couple of reasons why I don't want to do it that way instead of the TAoE.

The first is that it doesn't really mesh mechanically with the goals of the revamp and set. As you note, hitting multiple targets with a line-style cone tends to be more of an occasional bonus than an effect you can rely on. This would be fine if force bolt was already a widely useful power that just needed a bit to take it over the top, but the main reason the TAoE effect is being added in the first place is that it's a power that was useful but pretty niche and needs stuff to broaden its general usefulness, so the aoe effect kinda needs to be more on the easy-to-use side. Making use of a line-style cone also requires careful positioning to line stuff up, but force field is already a set that needs you to move around a lot to position yourself to direct knockback and/or repel effects in the directions you want, so you're less likely to find yourself free to maneuver to properly exploit a line-style cone.

The second is more of a technical limitation, the mechanic that's being used to limit the power to only deal its full effects to the main target only works on a TAoE. That effect functions by an override that set a separate radus for different effects in the power - the effects that are intended to apply only to the main target have their radius set to 0, which on a TAoE means that they will only affect the central target. On a *cone*, though, that just means they won't affect anything at all since the only thing at radius zero of a cone attack is the player, and there's no other way to differentiate the 'main' target.

For force bubble, a range debuff actually sounds like a pretty interesting idea. I can't make any promises, but I'm going to play around with the idea at least.
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Redlynne

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Re: Rebirth Issue 5 Dev Diary - Force Field Revamp and Force Composition
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2023, 11:13:35 am »
Sorry to take so long to get back to you, Redlynne.

No worries.
No complaints.

To be honest, the mere fact that an Analysis Of Alternatives approach is taken, in which the pros/cons of other options are weighed and measured (by people IN THE KNOW™) is the greatest confidence builder of your response.
I'm not expecting every notion to be taken on board and implemented (let alone promised) ... but having confirmation that outside notions and inputs are at least Entertained For Analysis is excessively important for transparency, which ultimately yields high confidence that whatever ideas "win out" in the end will be the best possible implementation, rather than simply being the First/ONLY interpretation considered (all others need not apply).

For PFF, it's a bit of a moot point now that I've changed it again, but at the time it was indeed using that method; a timed toggle that turns itself off after a set period. The reason it's got a lockout on top of that is basically just so that I can give it a short-ish recharge without worrying about the uptime on the effect getting way too high at extreme levels of global recharge.

I saw the patch note update for PFF changing to a Self Only effect after 30 seconds ... which is a very reasonable modification.
However, this does concern me on the point of "telegraphing" to the Player that "their time is up" and that the function of the power is going to shift.
Being able to keep track of a 30 second duration while busy fighting in combat is not a Player Skill that most of us will have (a rare few will, but they will tend to be the exception, kind of like how some people can handle Bullet Hell gameplay as if it were nothing).

Ideally speaking, you would want any kind of "Player Facing Telegraph" indicating that "your 30 seconds are almost up!" to be something which is client specific only (so other Players can't see the telegraph).
The simplest option would be something like putting an indicator ring around the power in the power tray (use a different color than other functions) so that a Player who is paying attention can notice.
Even more ideally speaking, you would want to put a countdown NUMBER superimposed over the power's icon in the tray, displaying how much time is left before the power reverts down into a Self Only effect.

An alternative option for this "Player Facing Telegraph" would be to do something with/around the character avatar (such as a transparency fade in/fade out or a particle ingathering effect or whatever).
The problem with doing something to/around the character avatar is that in DENSE combat situations (think iTrials and Mothership Raids) where there are a ton of power FX flooding the screen, it can be extremely EASY to miss visual cues centered on your own character. The sheer quantity of "visual noise" that happens in DENSE combat contexts can easily overwhelm any visual cues oriented around the character avatar (especially if those cues are ... subtle).

Idea being that just like with a traffic light ... you want to have green, yellow and red conditions ... where the yellow is an indicator that a red is Coming Soon™ so that preemptive action can be taken before the hard cutoff condition engages.

For repulsion bomb, it actually also does already work sorta like that, albeit with only two levels. It's got a 75% chance for mag 2 and 66% chance for mag 1, which results in a 8.5% chance for no stun at all, a 16.5% chance for just mag 1 (only stuns underlings unless there's another power to stack on), a 25.5% chance for just mag 2 (stuns minions), and a 49.5% chance for mag 3 (stuns minions and LTs). I just didn't give it more levels because there's not really a functional difference between mag 0 and mag 1 of applied stun and I didn't want it to be able to stun bosses, but it basically uses that method.

MAG 1 is only useful against +0 Level opposition.
As soon as you face a +1 Level opponent, that MAG 1 isn't going to be enough.
This is the reason why a number of mez powers for Controllers do things like MAG 2.1 and the like, so as to be able to overcome the Level Adjustment.

Now think of how this power is going to work (or not) in the context of facing +3/+4 Foes.
It's going to be pretty darn lackluster and lose a significant portion of its "oomph" and usefulness as a Stun mez generator.
I would recommend doing some testing against less advantageous Con Total matchups to verify that the implementation you've designed will "degrade gracefully" in the way that you want at Orange/Red/Purple stages in a way that is acceptable for how you want the power to function game mechanically under the hood.
You've probably already done this, but since it has not been discussed on those terms, I mention this simply for the sake of completeness of perceptions and understanding of what you're doing.

Force bolt as a narrow cone pseudo-line attack is interesting, but there's a couple of reasons why I don't want to do it that way instead of the TAoE.

Which is FINE.

The first is that it doesn't really mesh mechanically with the goals of the revamp and set. As you note, hitting multiple targets with a line-style cone tends to be more of an occasional bonus than an effect you can rely on. This would be fine if force bolt was already a widely useful power that just needed a bit to take it over the top, but the main reason the TAoE effect is being added in the first place is that it's a power that was useful but pretty niche and needs stuff to broaden its general usefulness, so the aoe effect kinda needs to be more on the easy-to-use side. Making use of a line-style cone also requires careful positioning to line stuff up, but force field is already a set that needs you to move around a lot to position yourself to direct knockback and/or repel effects in the directions you want, so you're less likely to find yourself free to maneuver to properly exploit a line-style cone.

The second is more of a technical limitation, the mechanic that's being used to limit the power to only deal its full effects to the main target only works on a TAoE. That effect functions by an override that set a separate radus for different effects in the power - the effects that are intended to apply only to the main target have their radius set to 0, which on a TAoE means that they will only affect the central target. On a *cone*, though, that just means they won't affect anything at all since the only thing at radius zero of a cone attack is the player, and there's no other way to differentiate the 'main' target.

In which case ... COUNTER-PROPOSAL.
  • You want the "main effect" of Force Bolt (that does damage) to hit the selected $Target.
  • You want the "secondary effect" of Force Bolt (that does knockback/knockdown) to hit others nearby to the selected $Target.

The "method" you have selected to achieve this goal is a Target AoE ... which does damage+stun to the selected $Target and a separate "splash" effect to any additional Foes in a 15ft PBAoE radius around the $Target.
In effect, you've got a Single Target Ranged Attack that creates a PBAoE effect around the $Target ... and the combination is a Target AoE.

If you were to switch over to a Cone Attack approach, you could do something broadly similar in implementation as a PAIR of simultaneous Cone effects.

"Main" attack = 5º Cone ... deals damage + stun ... Max Targets: 3 ... requires selected $Target
"Splash" effect surrounding "Main" attack = 15º Cone ... deals knockback ... Max Targets: 10 ... requires selected $Target

The primary advantage of switching to a Cone attack formulation like I'm advocating for here is that it enables all kinds of Clever Gameplay options, starting with being able to (usefully!) enhance the power for RANGE.
Cone attack powers benefit ENORMOUSLY from Range enhancements ... so much so that I'm honestly surprised by how few people recognize this fact.

Being able to "put a cone in a cone" like I'm talking about here would turn Force Bolt into a "piercing linear" attack as far as damage is concerned (hence the 5º cone for the main effect) but also one that has a kind of "bow shock/wave front" of knockback surrounding it that "blows away nearby stuff" as the Force BOLT flies past as a secondary effect.

In terms of implementation, if you have to use a Pseudo-Pet mechanic to make it work, I would honestly give the knockback cone effect to the character and then assign the narrower "main damage" cone effect to the Pseudo-Pet to deliver (which sounds, backwards, I know) ... but the reasoning for this would be the difference in Force Feedback procs versus Positron's Blast procs (or any damage procs, really). Since the character would be casting the knockback, any Force Feedback procs that result would accrue to the character directly (since that's a Buff The Caster proc condition) ... while any Damage procs that result affect the $Target (since those are a Debuff The $Target condition).

The Target AoE solution that you've got makes Range enhancement relatively superfluous.
The selected $Target can be farther away, but the "splash" radius cannot be enhanced/changed.

The "Cone within a Cone" solution makes Range enhancement a much more desirable modifier to build for (and strategize around!).
The selected $Target can be farther away AND the "splash" radius around them INCREASES the more distant the $Target is from the caster (narrow up close, wider out farther away ... because ... CONE).
Such a "configuration change" in how the power works (game mechanically) then makes possible a far wider range of engagement strategies and tactics, rewarding Clever Gameplay by characters.
It also means that the power "behaves differently" at different ranges, such that you get a mix of short/medium/long range strategies and tactics when it comes to combat ... and Range enhancement will seriously modify "what you can do" with the power at long range.

The only thing "missing" from the power in a "Cone within a Cone" formulation would be an Expanding Refraction Distortion Ring FX in the air around the Force Bolt projectile itself that could be used to visually indicate the size of the Knockdown Cone around the "main" Force Bolt as it travels out to maximum range, to give Players a good sense of the volume of space that the Force Bolt is plowing through and affecting along the way. However, since that would be a MASSIVE ASK as a Feature Request, I want to be clear that such a development would definitely fall into the "nice to have" category of blue sky wishful thinking ... rather than being any kind of a realistic (or even remotely reasonable!) development effort that ought to be undertaken with respect to Force Bolt. It would dial the Coolness Factor™ of the power up to 12(!) ... but would be nowhere near as simple to implement as modifying some database entries.

For force bubble, a range debuff actually sounds like a pretty interesting idea. I can't make any promises, but I'm going to play around with the idea at least.

We make every pretense of competency around here ... ^_~


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MuonNeutrino

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Re: Rebirth Issue 5 Dev Diary - Force Field Revamp and Force Composition
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2023, 02:36:41 pm »
For PFF, I actually did put in a float text that pops up over your character's head when you go back into OnlyAffectsSelf so that you can tell it's happened, though I suppose that doesn't give you *advance* warning. I could add a '5 4 3 2 1' countdown in float text I guess, though I wonder how far that sort of thing could go before it feels too over the top.

For the stun in repulsion bomb, that's not how the level modifiers work on this type of effect. Almost all mez effects are typed as 'duration' effects, which means that adjustments from enhancements, buffs, level differences, etc alter the duration of the effect rather than its magnitude. Most other effects like debuffs, damage, etc are typed as 'magnitude' effects, where such adjustments affect the strength of the effect instead. So while level differences can scale down the strength of debuffs or the damage of an attack, they only scale down the duration of a mez. Against uplevel targets repulsion bomb won't stun for as long, but it'll still stun things, and the duration degrading is the expected and intended reduction in strength against such foes in this case.

For force bolt, I will be completely honest and admit I had not considered making it a line attack during my initial planning, and I like the idea you've presented here. That said, unfortunately, one of the *reasons* I never really considered making it a line attack is because I knew (AFAIK, anyway) that the sort of thing I wanted to do wouldn't work on a cone.

It's possible to tag effects with radius overrides, like the ones I'm using on the current version of force bolt to make the damage/stun/KB only affect the main target while leaving the KD to affect the full aoe. But there isn't an option in the current powers system to give things *arc* overrides that would let the main effects only apply in a narrow central cone while the splash KD applies to a full width. And absent that ability I don't see a good way to implement an effect like what you're suggesting.

A pseudopet summon can be used to apply extra effects like this, but there's a good reason that the overwhelming majority of pseudopet effects are simple pbaoe spheres around the pet - they can be implemented by giving the pet a short-lived autopower with a spherical area that just activates automatically. If you give a pet a *cone* power, now it needs to be a regular power with an activation and recharge etc, and more importantly it needs a *target*. And as far as I know there's no straightforward way to tell a pseudopet 'use this cone power on the same target that the person who summoned you just used their power on'.

So I could make force bolt be a cone, and I could have it also summon a pseudopet at self, but I can't make that pseudopet simultaneously use another cone on the same target to give the 'cone within a cone' effect you're talking about, and I can't combine both cones in the original power like I'm doing with the current version because there's no arc equivalent to the radius override for cones. (Ironically I could *also* do the current version via a pseudopet, so there's two ways to implement this sort of thing, both of which work for taoes but neither of which work for cones!)

I do like the idea, and if I could see a way to implement it I'd at least try to investigate it to see how it plays. Honestly I wish the engine had more tools and options for implementing line-style attacks properly - the 'narrow cone' method is kludgey and lacks versatility in a few different ways including the ones noted here. Unfortunately the game doesn't currently support that sort of thing very well.
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Redlynne

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Re: Rebirth Issue 5 Dev Diary - Force Field Revamp and Force Composition
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2023, 09:12:35 am »
For force bolt, I will be completely honest and admit I had not considered making it a line attack during my initial planning, and I like the idea you've presented here.

In that case, is it possible to cause the activation of one power to near simultaneously activate a second power by the same caster at the same $Target?

To sidestep around the Arcanatime problem of needing to animate two attacks in a row ... could the first power activated have what amounts to "no activation time at all" (making it animation invisible) and then letting the second power activated "carry the animation time" for the combination? That way, you would essentially be "automatically chaining" two attacks together, giving you slightly different yields for each of the two components.

Attack 1 = 0s animation
Attack 2 = full animation duration of original

That way, you get what amounts to "simulcasting" of the two attacks at the same $Target from the original caster.

Where stuff will just go completely bonkers doing that though would be in the tooltips and powers performance details reporting, if the tooltips are showing only half the info (because two different powers activated as one click).

I know that City of Heroes was originally designed as a "execute ONE AT A TIME" game engine, so this may not be possible. However, not being familiar with the spaghetti coding underneath the hood, I do have to wonder if there's a way to finesse a solution. If there isn't then "oh well" ... it would simply be "back to the drawing board" of using a 5º Cone attack that then spawns PBAoEs of Knockback splash around $Targets (1 splash radius per $Target!) that get hit by the Force Bolt. Perhaps less "elegant" of a solution than the cone within a cone approach, but ultimately if it's Stupid But Works ... was it really all that stupid?

If you do try a 5º Cone that spawns PBAoE Knockback splashes around $Targets (because the Cone In Cone option is not available as a solution), then I would recommend a Max Targets: 5 on the 5º Cone along with a Max Targets: 5 for each PBAoE Knockback splash radius spawned around $Targets that get hit. Such a combination would yield a theoretical maximum of 5x5=25 KB splash hits, although that cap will almost never be reached in actual gameplay (the positioning of Foes will almost NEVER be that favorable).

Alternatively, if you want to get REALLY creative ... you could do a 5º Cone that spawns CHAINING Knockback splashes (ala some Electric attacks and Ion Judgements) that "jump" a short distance from the $Target(s) hit by the 5º Cone out to hit nearby Foes with the Knockback splash. A narrow line cone for damage that uses short distance chains to do knockback splash could be VERY INTERESTING in actual gameplay, since the chains would not be a predetermined shape (spherical) ... meaning that in Target Rich Environments (such as Team-8 and League play) the Knockback splash wouldn't be entirely pre-determined and predictable. Instead, the Knockback splash would "fork outwards" from the 5º Cone of affected $Target(s) and create a sort of "bowling alley" FEEL to how the power works (sometimes you get a Strike, sometimes you pick up the Spare, and sometimes you wind up with Bedposts). Using short range chaining for the Knockback splash would give Force Bolt an extremely unique "character" to how the power works in combat, sufficiently so that it wouldn't feel like a gimmick but more like a natural consequence of how the power ought to "behave" (visually) when used.

Just some more Ebil Ideas™ for you to have fun with, if you're so inclined. 8)
« Last Edit: January 28, 2023, 09:30:13 am by Redlynne »


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