PDA

View Full Version : The shifting metagame



HoopleDoople
6th Feb 2015, 19:37
EDIT: following the February 19th patch the Prophet conclusions may no longer be accurate. After the Vanguard is released this can be considered as historical information. I may make a new thread some time after the Vanguard release.

Whenever a new class is added the metagame changes in response. Specific classes, abilities, and tactics gain in effectiveness while others see a decrease. The Summoner hasn't been out for very long and balance tweaks are already planned, but we can still draw some conclusions about the game's evolving balance.

General Human Observations
-Hell Strike has dramatically increased the importance of movement as humans. The forthcoming improvements to this skill's "tell" may lesson this somewhat, but I suspect movement will still be key when Summoners are on the field.

-Using health stations is much riskier due to the threat of Hell Strike. Keeping better track of the battle is necessary to find gaps where you can heal.

-Summons have made AoE damage significantly more useful and CC abilities slightly less useful.

-Weapons and abilities that can hit known targets that are out of sight on rooftops are more important now. Weapons that are good for "poke" damage are slightly more useful as Summoners move in and out of sight.

Hunter - trending: flat
-Grenade and Sticky Grenade have gained ground against Explosive Arrow, though Explosive Arrow is probably still the most reliable option

-Multibow is much more viable now that the damage has been increased and its "poke" capabilities are useful for Summoners.

Alchemist - trending: up
-The master of AoE damage is naturally a great choice against Summoners

-Light Bomb's dominance over Sunlight Vial has increased

-The alternatives to Firewall are much more balanced options now. Flamethrower in particular has made up a lot of ground. The timing on Healing Mist, however, is essential - don't bait your entire team into getting nuked by Hell Strike.

-Fullbore is less useful than before. The limited ammo and slow reload are bigger liabilities with summons in play. And, if I remember the stats correctly, the Fullbore comes just short of killing the stalkers in one shot (thus the default kills faster and consumes a lower portion of its loaded ammunition). Fullbore is still a perfectly fine weapon though - just be prepared to utilize your abilities on summons to save Fullbore ammo for Vampires.

Scout - trending: down
-The Scout suffers the most from the emphasis on mobility. If he stays still too long drawing his bow he becomes an easy target for Hell Strike.

-The Scout has a relatively hard time fending off Summons, due to slow attacks and slow to activate AoE.

-With the best "poke" damage and Volley, the Scout can be good for killing/clearing out roof camping Summoners, provided his team supports him.

-The Stormbow (AoE) and Swiftbow (less time to draw allows for better mobility) have gained in effectiveness while the Warbow (slow draw, knockdown unimportant against summons) has lost in effectiveness

Prophet - trending: up
-The Prophet was arguably the best Human class pre-Summoner. She is now decisively at the top because she has no bad matchups, is effective at all ranges, and has healing abilities that are more useful and more necessary than ever.

-Draining Curse matches up to Hex Shot much better than before. It converts the Prophets slight weakness to summons into a slight strength as she can heal off of them.

-Healing via abilities is a greater asset than ever as standing immobile at a health station risks death to Hell Strike. Don't forget that Sacrifice can provide ability healing to your team.

-Heavy Pistols aren't quite as obvious of a choice, though they are still incredibly good. They are inefficient against Summons and now have to compete against the buffed Piercing Pistols.

General Vampire Observations
-The Vampires have had their balance shift less as they do not have to face the Summoner. Changes are in response to having a Summoner ally or the new Human tactics and class composition.

-The Summoner is good for creating a short burst of chaos, so a coordinated assault is more important than ever to take advantage of this window of opportunity.

-The Summoner is a second rate melee fighter and thus doesn't provide the same threat and distraction as other vampires from simply being in combat. Thus being able to safely/quickly exit combat if the initial assault fails is important for her allies.

Reaver - trending: flat
-The Reaver remains the most versatile and reliable vampire.

-More mobile enemies are less susceptible to Choking Haze and Shadow Bomb

-Evasion is less useful now that Humans place a greater emphasis on AoE damage.

-Pouncing requires greater care than before to avoid focused fire or AoE nukes from Humans

Tyrant - trending: flat
-There is a greater need for the Tyrant's initiation capabilities, but the Tyrant will pay more heavily for doing so.

-Less common/effective Scouts and Warbows makes Jump more viable

-Marathon compares more favorably with Charge - Tyrants may wish to immediately leave combat following their initiation and return once the Summoner(s) have unleashed their minions and entered the fray.

-Ignore Pain has gained at the expense of Enrage. With the Tyrant under ever more fire survival is a struggle.

Sentinel - trending: up
-The increased use of Alchemists (who the Sentinel counters) and decreased use of Scouts (who counter the Sentinel) is a large boon for the Sentinel.

-Timing is more important for Kidnap/Abduct. Increasingly mobile enemies are harder to snag, but summons create a nice distraction and draw eyes back to the ground.

-Kidnap has caught up with Abduct. It is easier to carry your target for the full duration with summons to distract and the separation Kidnap creates is more valuable.

Deceiver - trending: down
-More Alchemists (a poor matchup for Deceivers) and less Scouts (a good matchup for Deceivers) is not what the Deceiver wants to see.

-More AoE makes it more likely the Deceiver gets hit despite his stealth and decreases the effectiveness of Illusions.

-The Summoner creates a good distraction though only for a short time period. This can make it hard for the Deceiver to escape combat if needed.

-More enemy movement decreases the effectiveness of Backstab but increases the chance of Infect spreading.

Other notes
-In terms of class balance I would say the Prophet is in need of a nerf, the Tyrant in need of a buff, and the Deceiver to be placed under observation. When the Shield Bearer is released we'll have a better idea of where the Deceiver stands. Determining the Summoner's balance won't be particularly feasible until the upcoming ability tweaks are implemented and players gain familiarity with using/facing her.

-Each additional class increases the complexity of the game, widening the gulf between veteran and beginner players as well as the gap between pre-mades and randoms. Continual fine-tuning of the MMR system should hopefully alleviate this problem.

-Summons are likely to further enhance the Vampires' dominance at low skill levels. Great care must be taken to ensure that new players are presented with a game they see as fun and fair without disrupting balance at higher skill levels. I highly recommend making Light Bomb the default for Alchemists to give them an easy answer to summons.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thank you to anyone who actually read that entire wall of text. If you have your own conclusions or would like to explain to me why any or all of mine are wrong, please do not hesitate to do so.

Khalith
6th Feb 2015, 19:53
Sounds about right but I don't necessarily agree on Sentinel trending up per se. It's still a hard class to pick up and master and you'll get torn apart by humans paying attention still, better off to stay with Reaver which is consistent across the board. Agree on nerfing prophet as well, the Tyrant definitely needs some love, mostly new abilities and for Ignore Pain to break ALL the cc including prophet curse.

The biggest issue with Tyrant in my opinion is just how predictable they are in their attacks and abilities, their moves (to me) lack a lot of the versatility/utility/variety of the other classes but a well played Tyrant can definitely turn the tide with their ability to stun and disrupt disorganized human teams. As we get new classes and the meta is shaken up I still feel the Tyrant has been stagnating for a while even though it's combos it does possess are pretty potent when it's able to get in there and do what it needs to do. It's so frustrating when you drop in and hit your ground slam and despite the sound effect and graphic going off, you do no damage as you're CC'd and forced to run and your ability is still off cd even when you clearly activated it successfully in a group of humans.

Agree with you on Scout trending down as well, Scout needed a better counter class of some kind and Summoner fits that role nicely as well. But I have a feeling Summoner will trend down because most people are crying nerf rather than say switching to alchemist, one shot won't kill her pets, but two shots will and she can aoe right through the summoner shield and 1v1 her pretty easily with her higher damage + burst.

HoopleDoople
6th Feb 2015, 20:04
Sounds about right but I don't necessarily agree on Sentinel trending up per se. It's still a hard class to pick up and master and you'll get torn apart by humans paying attention still, better off to stay with Reaver which is consistent across the board.

That is absolutely true about the Sentinel, but simply facing a more favorable enemy team composition has made the Sentinel relatively more effective than he was pre-Summoner. The Reaver is without a doubt the best Vampire, but I view him as the only Vampire performing at a proper level rather than overpowered. That said, I would like to see a human class that acts as something approaching a counter to him. Hopefully the Shield Bearer will fit that role, but then I was expecting the Summoner to be somewhat anti-Prophet and that has not been the case.

_Kine_
6th Feb 2015, 20:21
Thanks for this

Ygdrasel
6th Feb 2015, 20:39
Sounds about right. I'm still curious to see how a good Deceiver/Summoner team could work. Both are on the more chaotic end of the spectrum with the Illusions and Ghouls.

HoopleDoople
6th Feb 2015, 21:04
Sounds about right. I'm still curious to see how a good Deceiver/Summoner team could work. Both are on the more chaotic end of the spectrum with the Illusions and Ghouls.

This would be incredibly amusing but undoubtedly get wrecked by Alchemists. A single Poison Cloud could potentially wipe every last summon and illusion while Healing Mist timed appropriately could heal up from Infect/Hell Strike damage. Even your standard Light Bomb/Fire Wall combo should more than suffice.

Wolf_the_Legend
6th Feb 2015, 23:45
where is the :thumb: button in this forum?!

--Ram--
7th Feb 2015, 05:53
Really like the summary, quite a fair assessment in my eyes. I do feel the prophet is the strongest and certainly safest class at the moment. If in doubt you can always go prophet and do well.

I feel that the biggest strength of the prophet aside from hex being a great cc (when it works) is the massive damage that can be dealt without the need to reload. Using a heavy pistol with +1 to clip size gives 1500 damage, with a short reload that is not hard to sneak in when given a spare second. Given the accuracy of this weapon it is possible to land a very high proportion of shots.

I find that when playing hunter a major difference is that I feel hampered by reloads. Sometimes I take bolt thrower to try to avoid mid combat reloads, but in extended fights that can be a problem, especially when playing wtih a weaker team that doesn't carry their weight. When using the repeater/seige/multi reloading in combat is common and really does make a big difference. To me I just rarely feel like I need to reload on prophet, the bullets are always there when I need them.

absinthesize
7th Feb 2015, 07:00
liked the summary as well.

and Ram i agree i feel hampered by reloads more then anything, its why im considering picking up prophet again, tho conversely hes not a one man army as he has no explosives to deal with ghouls.

this is why i feel like a decent team of 2 prophets and 1-2 alchemists would be very effective.

and on a sidenote i want to smack myself, finally understand why people use tinkerer, as it can push you to killing a vampire in one clip instead of reloading.

HexMee
7th Feb 2015, 13:58
-The Summoner is a second rate melee fighter

Am I seriously the only player putting summoner at firstplace when it comes to melee combat? I mean come on, she's as fast of an attacker as the reaver, she does 190(!!!) damage per swing, her charged attacks reach like the long arm of the law and she's skinny and nimble to the point that hitting a single shot on her out of your 45 ammo bolt-thrower becomes a challenge! (obviously not literally, but you get my point)

Not to mention her gameplay when clawing away with melee swings feels smooth as milk, from the first 2 minutes of player her I felt like I had the same prowess as with any other class that I've invested 50+ hours of pure gameplay into.

HoopleDoople
7th Feb 2015, 16:32
Am I seriously the only player putting summoner at firstplace when it comes to melee combat? I mean come on, she's as fast of an attacker as the reaver, she does 190(!!!) damage per swing, her charged attacks reach like the long arm of the law and she's skinny and nimble to the point that hitting a single shot on her out of your 45 ammo bolt-thrower becomes a challenge! (obviously not literally, but you get my point)

Not to mention her gameplay when clawing away with melee swings feels smooth as milk, from the first 2 minutes of player her I felt like I had the same prowess as with any other class that I've invested 50+ hours of pure gameplay into.

Let me clarify this point.

The Summoner's melee attack itself isn't bad, though it's far from my favorite. The short distance she travels with standard melee attacks makes it hard to catch enemies and easier for them to dodge your attacks. This can be overcome with skilled use of charged attacks and rolls, but at least in my experience I haven't been able to land hits reliably enough to match the damage output of the easier to use Reaver and Deceiver.

The real reason the Summoner is a second rate melee fighter is that her abilities do little to help her enter combat, deal damage while in combat, or escape combat. The other Vampires have a signifcantly easier time safely entering melee combat and most can deal damage while doing so. Abilities like ground slams, backstab, infect, puncture, etc. are significant assets in melee combat that generate a large amount of "threat" and keep enemies distracted. The Summoner is relying solely on summons (and of course her own attacks) to add damage and distraction, and they can die in an instant to AoE like light bomb. The Summoner has perhaps the hardest time exiting a fight gone sour, though the Sentinel certainly struggles as well without takeoff. Her shield is only really good for an escape if you're at the very edge of the battle, otherwise it works as more of a stalling tactic.

Thus the Summoner's success in melee is extremely dependent on good judgement and allied support. Ideally allies initiate as the Summoner uses her abilities to support from range, then drops into melee to help clean up.

Namlen
7th Feb 2015, 16:51
wonderful thread, very spot-on observations. i hope you update it as things change.

Razaiim
8th Feb 2015, 06:58
I like the observations in terms of the first picks of the match, but things can change, and you kind of have a dance happening, you say that Sentinels are trending up due to the increase of alchemists, and the decrease in scouts (which is caused by the lack of sentinels), so as sentinels increase scouts increase and alchemist decreases while this gives deceivers a solid window.

I honestly believe (and have experienced) that with the ability to switch classes on the fly, and the specific ways each class interacts with others (notably the extremes: alchemist, sentinel, scout, deceiver) leads to alot of switching to counter a composition so I feel a true metagame is hard if not impossible to pin down in this case.

GenFeelGood
8th Feb 2015, 07:27
I disagree about the Scout losing appeal with the Summoner release, he is the best at picking off Summoners that never come down from the rooftops.

I think the hunter has actually lost some appeal, because he lacks effective abilities for dealing with the ghoul spam and Summoners hiding away on rooftops.

MickeyHokkaido
8th Feb 2015, 19:00
I disagree about the Scout losing appeal with the Summoner release, he is the best at picking off Summoners that never come down from the rooftops.

I think the hunter has actually lost some appeal, because he lacks effective abilities for dealing with the ghoul spam and Summoners hiding away on rooftops.

Hunter is a solid choice against the summoner, but you probably want the bolt thrower and whip to deal with ghoul spam and grenade to hit them on roof-tops. Grenade is actually one of the most viable counters.

cmstache
8th Feb 2015, 20:24
Grenade has always been viable if you're good with it, it's had to be nerfed with a bat a few times.

J4ckTh3Feed3r
19th Feb 2015, 10:12
Awesome summary! I'm just not sure Summoner is a good pick right now. She is really annoying with her spells being casted from fairly far away but that's about it. She usually doesn't deal enough damage and when she enters fight she usually dies really quickly. Granted, it really depends on the team but still... Reaver is pretty much must-have in every teamcomp, Tyrant as well, and Sentinel (depending on a map) or even Deciever feels like much better picks right now.

On a Prophet note, I agree she's really powerful but also kind of hard to master. She's really squishy and if you don't respect her strengths or play her right you're gonna have a bad time. With Scout it's really hard to tell for me. It feels like he's too dependent on the rest of the team. I experienced Scouts who did not do anything the entire match as well as Scouts who was able to single-handedly turn the tide.

mf1234
24th Feb 2015, 03:20
Really like the summary, quite a fair assessment in my eyes. I do feel the prophet is the strongest and certainly safest class at the moment. If in doubt you can always go prophet and do well.


I average out 20-25k with prophet using Heavy Pistols. I've switched over to using the Hunter 3-shot crossbow and having exactly same results. With the added benefit of clearing deciver illusions / summons extremely quickly with explosive arrow.

Hunter 3-shot multibow == Prophet with heavy pistols

This is ofcourse assuming you have the aim required! I do notice the reloading though.

Regarding Tyrant..

Frustrating class to play. Sometimes charge lands everything, othertimes you pass through them like a ghost. If you can't connect with charge, your just a big bulky slow vamp that gets kited with mouse 1 + extremely delayed stun.

However, it's still a critical component of a team winning I feel.

--Ram--
24th Feb 2015, 03:43
I average out 20-25k with prophet using Heavy Pistols. I've switched over to using the Hunter 3-shot crossbow and having exactly same results. With the added benefit of clearing deciver illusions / summons extremely quickly with explosive arrow.

Hunter 3-shot multibow == Prophet with heavy pistols

This is ofcourse assuming you have the aim required! I do notice the reloading though.

Regarding Tyrant..

Frustrating class to play. Sometimes charge lands everything, othertimes you pass through them like a ghost. If you can't connect with charge, your just a big bulky slow vamp that gets kited with mouse 1 + extremely delayed stun.

However, it's still a critical component of a team winning I feel.

I think I actually posted this before I realized how powerful the multibow has become. I find myself playing mainly hunter lately due to how good that weapon is. 400 dps is disgusting and it isn't really hard to use at all in its current state.

Agreed on tyrant feeling very hit or miss and being a painful to play.