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Passage to Darkness - Discussion Thread


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Responsible members of the Skylords Reborn team recently met to discuss possible changes to campaign maps. What is outlined here are the proposed changes to the map Passage to Darkness. These changes are not final and are only proposed. As a warning, other map projects such as more RPvE presets and Defensive RPvE have a much higher priority for our team. As such, these, or any campaign map changes, may not happen for a very long time. 

Some changes here are firmer than others, all italicized proposals have accompanying explanations for why we are considering them, but they are the most tentative of all the proposals.

Proposed Changes:

1.      Change Wrath of Akylos to make it always call the wrath of the souls and make it clearer which map is currently being affected.

2.      Add a boss to the top right camp as an achievement boss to give the top right camp purpose.

Passage to Darkness is a popular map that suffers from having sections which are superfluous. The greatest offender is the top right camp which is fully designed but which the player never has to enter. It is usually cleared by bored members of one map who are waiting for the other maps to finish. Like with Crusade, we would like to put in an achievement/one-time reward boss in this camp to give it some purpose. We have also considered making this boss required to finish the map

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To stay in this more organized format, I just copy over what I wrote in the other thread:

Unpopular Opinion: The wrath of the souls should be buffed on Expert. Not to the degree that the map starts to suck, but that it rises to a level that the Wrathstones start to make sense. It wouldnt be too bad that its a burden, and maps switch it around a bit during a run.

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On 8/29/2021 at 9:31 PM, wanky said:

y true, the dmg is like nonscese...until u have a squad Troup or lack of orbs and still t1-2. There u get massiv dmg after a while

 

I think it is flat-damage that increases a bit over time. So if you fall behind, your T1/2 units get crushed, but the increase is not to a point that it matters at all for T3/4 units. The problem with this map is, at its current state there is almost no reason to keep it a 12-player map. Basically the only connection between the maps that matters is "waiting till the others finish" (shrines or harbingers). If this stays as it is, you should convert it to 4-player-map and be done with it.

Besides complete overhauls, all we have is the Wrath of the Souls as a tool to deepen the connection between the maps, which is of no real importance right now, in 99% of the cases its completly ignored - even if one of Map 1 disconnects and it would be useful to take it off them, most of the times still nobody cares.

I would buff the damage to a point where it is a burden, although not one that crushes the map it is on. But especially if Map 1 really falls behind of any other reason, I would like to see a "Can some other map take the Wrath?" in the chat. I'm thinking a good balancing point would be that once it gained strengh, it should hurt T3 units too, so the Map it is on has a harder time advancing from T3 to T4 you can feel. If its easily compensated by nature players (wheels regeneration, fountain etc) or stuff like unity (G) thats totally fine, but right now it is NOTHING.

I would hope that it would make the map not much, but a little more interesting, while still keeping its "newbies can hop aboard with no knowledge"-profile.

 

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On 8/31/2021 at 9:31 PM, Metagross31 said:

I fully agree with you. To be honest, I only learned what the "wrath of the souls" actually does a few weeks ago, eventhough I have played BF since the early EA days.
I even think it could be buffed by a substantial amount, such that the map functions similar to sunbridge; one map has the wrath on it, so they can't really advance that well and should focus on defense and hold their positions while the others make progress.

 

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@Kapo  Is writing „Unpopular Opinion” but I totally agree.
Buffing “the wrath of the souls” on expert is totally legitim. Especial on the Expert Map.

An idea would be, changing the damage from flat to percentage.
So 1. Wave 25%, 2. Wave 50%, 3. Wave 75%, 4. Wave 100%. (On Adv, maybe 15,30,45,60) 
Which the wrath would be dangerous even if you are T4. To survive you have to pass it on. (or play nature and heal)

On 9/13/2021 at 3:54 AM, WindHunter said:

2.      Add a boss to the top right camp as an achievement boss to give the top right camp purpose.

I like the idea, but I think it doesn’t change much. I mean if 4 players with like 20-40 T4 Units go bashing on the last boss, its not really a fight 😉 I think the boss would need some spewing support like Branoc in his battle so he is a bit more frightening

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1 hour ago, T1421 said:

An idea would be, changing the damage from flat to percentage.
So 1. Wave 25%, 2. Wave 50%, 3. Wave 75%, 4. Wave 100%. (On Adv, maybe 15,30,45,60) 
Which the wrath would be dangerous even if you are T4. To survive you have to pass it on. (or play nature and heal)

 

I think that these percentages were an unconsidered example. Just for the reason that the Wrath also affects buildings, these 100% are absolutely not sustainable, because you would lose EVERYTHING (units / buildings) amii structures are fortunately not affected by this. It should be chosen a number where you with normal repair can keep everything alive. am absolutely the same opinion that this flat dmg to percent dmg should be, so that this scenario at all brings something where you have to pay attention. In the current station you can ignore it more or less completely.

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  • Ladadoos featured and pinned this topic

Wrath of the Souls

Percentage damage for units, flat damage for buildings.

If you want to incentivize juggling the wrath, make it gain strength relatively quickly but it resets to its base value every time it gets switched. To avoid abuse adjust a minimum timer until it can get switched again accordingly.

However, right now PtD is one of the maps where everyone feels comfortable to go for pretty much anything as far as decks are concerned. It's basically just a big sandbox to roam in. It would really suck if a more dangerous wrath makes nature the go-to faction because it can heal against the buffed damage.

So I would probably just slightly buff the damage, maybe even not at all, but instead add an additional effect. Like:

  • Stacking damage debuff on player entities. Which could lead to more spells being used.
  • Stacking damage resistance on enemies that gets so high that progress becomes neigh impossible.
  • Stacking HoT on enemies.
  • Enemies have Unity.
  • Global, Aura of Corruption. Damage effect still only within a certain range and only affects player units. Increases in backlash damage.
  • Global Spell Block.
  • Enemies being able to severely debuff player entities on hit or as an aura if the wrath is on one map for too long. Like:
    • Apply Sobered (Spellbreaker debuff). Although that would also nudge people into using nature.
    • Apply Crippled.
    • Apply a ranged block. This would be quite interesting and a game changer as it would incentivize using melee units instead. Something that's commonly not as popular as ranged.
    • Stack up a debuff that freezes after a threshold is reached.
    • Befallen's Curse.

Basically, a mechanic that the player has no easy means to compensate for in order to avoid a scenario where everyone just switches to a counter and we get a stale, boring meta. Of course Incredible Mo would have to be considered. I'd straight up just state that the wrath is too powerful and cannot be prevented through Inc. Mo.

Boss

Make a top right boss spawn on purging all harbingers and make it the final quest. Maybe a Hellhound. Would slow the map down a bit but make the giant T4 army that players built up by that point worth something. Make it a real epic battle where all 4 players commit to an enormous assault on a powerful base.

Edited by Cocofang
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I think there is a decision to be made here: do we want to have a rework or a fix? A fix would be a change to the damage, most likely from flat to percent. A rework would be using one or many effects that Cocofang is writing about. Maybe it would be good if the Devs could give us a hint how much time such a rework would be or if it would be better to go for a quick fix first.

Besides that, giving the northeastern camp a meaning is always welcome. Just put 4 Gold Chests around a "Gold Horder" Boss and people will be motivated to go there.

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As stated, I am very concerned that a simply buffed damage for the wrath immediately creates a very plain and boring green-meta because that orb splash is best equipped to deal with a DoT, up to the point where it becomes too strong and has to be switched. To preserve the diverse playfield that PtD currently offers, looking for other ways to make the wrath more threatening without providing a clear counter that enforces a meta is much more preferable.

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22 hours ago, wanky said:

Just for the reason that the Wrath also affects buildings, these 100% are absolutely not sustainable, because you would lose EVERYTHING (units / buildings) amii structures are fortunately not affected by this

You are right, up to 100% is to much.

I absolutely like the idea to of @Cocofangto change the Wrath of the Souls form an “only damage” thing, to a “damage + buff / debuff” thing.

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1 hour ago, Cocofang said:

As stated, I am very concerned that a simply buffed damage for the wrath immediately creates a very plain and boring green-meta because that orb splash is best equipped to deal with a DoT, up to the point where it becomes too strong and has to be switched. To preserve the diverse playfield that PtD currently offers, looking for other ways to make the wrath more threatening without providing a clear counter that enforces a meta is much more preferable.

Totally true. But if the devs lets us choose between a quick fix or wait one or two years to get something (cool!) like the suggestion done, I'd rather not wait 😃

Thats why it would be cool if a Dev would speak up whats possible in a given timeframe

Edited by Kapo
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1 hour ago, Kapo said:

Totally true. But if the devs lets us choose between a quick fix or wait one or two years to get something (cool!) like the suggestion done, I'd rather not wait 😃

Thats why it would be cool if a Dev would speak up whats possible in a given timeframe

From opening: As a warning, other map projects such as more RPvE presets and Defensive RPvE have a much higher priority for our team. As such, these, or any campaign map changes, may not happen for a very long time. 

Sadly, I cannot give you a more exact timeline. Right now these threads are primarily intended to gather feedback and further ideas for each map. While I wish I could say "it will happen in X time" the fact is that we don't have enough developers, map makers, etc. to finish projects quickly or give concrete estimates right now.

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6 hours ago, WindHunter said:

From opening: As a warning, other map projects such as more RPvE presets and Defensive RPvE have a much higher priority for our team. As such, these, or any campaign map changes, may not happen for a very long time. 

Sadly, I cannot give you a more exact timeline. Right now these threads are primarily intended to gather feedback and further ideas for each map. While I wish I could say "it will happen in X time" the fact is that we don't have enough developers, map makers, etc. to finish projects quickly or give concrete estimates right now.

Maybe my missing english knowledge got the question across in a wrong way.

What I ment wasnt when this stuff gets worked on or done, but more like the difference between a damage-only-fix and the ideas of a more complex rework of the Wrath of the Souls. If we start dreaming up something like Cocofang describes (which would be mighty cool to have!), and you guys say "thats gonna take forver to accomplish, if its possible at all" it might not be worth discussing it in detail.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We recently learned that out of nearly 10,000 games, only 82 Passage to Darkness games have ever been lost after the 4-minute mark, and the overall winrate is 98%. This makes PtD by far the easiest map in the entire game. 

I think a harder scaling Wrath of the Souls will slow players down but I doubt it would cause an actual loss. The reason is that the attack waves are too weak. Even around the 20 minute mark the attack waves are still full of T1 s-units, Bandit Skyrakes, and Bandit Lancers. If we want to make this map an actual challenge we will need to make it so 2 T2 towers cannot defend against all attack waves for the entire game duration. 

Edited by WindHunter
Wrong playrate
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17 hours ago, WindHunter said:

I think a harder scaling Wrath of the Souls will slow players down but I doubt it would cause an actual loss.

Totally agree. The thing is (and as I wrote above) the Wrath is literally the ONLY thing that you can change to make this resemble more like a 12-player-map. In the current state, PTD is no 12-player map - its three 4-player maps waiting for each other to finish. So basically the question is: How far has the reverse engineering progressed that the devs are able to add/remove/change communication between the three connected maps to make them more related?

If the answer is "for now, the Wrath is all we have and we cant add to that" we should change at least what we can, and make the Wrath a real burden. (Another route would be to just make PTD a 4-player-map and throw the Wrath out of the window, but I wouldnt like that very much.)

Making it more worthy of Expert (like, getting a higher loss-rate) is something that should be adressed, too. But not too much, I would find it sad to lose the "everyone, even a total beginner can join" quality.

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6 hours ago, Kapo said:

Making it more worthy of Expert (like, getting a higher loss-rate) is something that should be adressed, too. But not too much, I would find it sad to lose the "everyone, even a total beginner can join" quality.

What I value in PtD is that there is no set meta. People feel comfortable to enter the map with whatever. You see all colors, all sorts of cards. Of course you sometimes have someone Enlightening a Giant Wyrm and going straight for the altars but that's nowhere near meta defining without a feeder, of which I have never encountered one.

I am not necessarily in favor of keeping the Expert version on a "anyone can join"-level. But I'd definitely want to preserve "almost anything can be played"-level. Obviously making it harder will weed out extremely wacky decks (of which I have seen very few, the vast majority was a bit more exotic but still functional) but in turn you would actually have something to fight.

And, yes, like LEBOVIN noted, the altars prevent respawning Aspects on the other maps. It's just something that comes so naturally with progressing through the map that I didn't consider it as a connection that can be used too. In addition to stronger bandits, the Aspects could also be accompanied with progressively stronger and bigger armies until their altars get destroyed.

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15 hours ago, Cocofang said:

I am not necessarily in favor of keeping the Expert version on a "anyone can join"-level. But I'd definitely want to preserve "almost anything can be played"-level. Obviously making it harder will weed out extremely wacky decks (of which I have seen very few, the vast majority was a bit more exotic but still functional) but in turn you would actually have something to fight.

Yeah, i can took like 5 to 20 min till you have 12 players. If we make it to hard, it could take even longer.
But a bis is ok 🙂

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