I played on testlive for a couple of hours today and here are my observations so far.
As others have noted, there are some pretty ‘glaring’ bug fix reversions in the branch on testlive. They can be ignored if all you want to do is try out the marquee changes, but it does bring into question the value of reporting any “bugs” identified on testlive as there’s no good way to know if what you’re experiencing is a bug or not or will be included in what’s ultimate deployed to production. As usual, I don’t understand why Funcom has such a difficult time managing their code/assets. Oh well.
Stamina & Shield Changes
Honestly, I expected this patch to be as fundamental an update to combat as the 2.1 patch was to building and crafting. Since I started playing again in August 2020 (and for a couple of months before I quit December 2019) I’ve been maining medium agility armor, a shield and an axe. Yes, I know, that makes me a noob and a bad player. Oh well. Given the changes as described both in the patch notes and from the comments in the forums, I expected to feel large differences in combat and I just didn’t.
- @DanQuixote I did not experience the near instantaneous stamina regeneration that others have described. I do not know why. I was playing on the testlive dedicated server (Exiled Lands, PvP, America) and not in single player ‘offline’ so maybe that explains it.
- I have not yet been able to try out how combat feels in heavy armor armor yet as testlive is a harsh mistress and I’m still grinding out the mats to build a set of heavy armor.
- I did experience not being able to roll-dodge while encumbered. Mostly in my base while trying to move mats from one location to another but once while out in the world (I reflexively pick-up gazelle babies at this point). This change is going to annoy the s**t out of some players, but I don’t mind it all that much.
- To be honest, the change that normalizes stamina cost regardless of encumbrance state is great. When I experienced the previously mentioned inability to roll-dodge I just started swinging and had more than enough stamina to defend myself.
- I never encountered anything like the described rebound stun state nor did my shield break during combat, so can’t really comment on that specific change. I’ll try to specifically evoke those states when I next login to testlive.
- Stamina damage while blocking appears to not be affected by damage mitigation from armor. Seems like you take the full amount of stamina damage no matter what. I suppose this makes intuitive sense.
- Blocking attacks from arrows does not consume stamina. Not sure if this is a feature or a bug. Not really sure about other weapons but I wonder if this is affects all ranged weapons.
- I know that the invulnerability granted by roll-dodging has a longer duration but at no point did I find myself thinking “wow, there’s that new doubled duration.” Did this change actually get made?
- I have not checked the impact on climbing and I probably won’t. Personally, I find this change to be completely counter-intuitive but ultimately don’t really care. I’m mildly curious as to whether or not this change makes climbing boots/gloves pointless.
I’m not opposed to the concept of stamina consumption while blocking (it intuitively makes a lot of sense) but additional comment from the game designer(s) on the intent of this change would be very helpful. Did they make this change because of the light attack while blocking ‘exploit’? Did they think that shield usage was not compelling or fun in some sense? Was it too OP?
The end-result of the changes is that blocking to mitigate damage in situations where it’s actually necessary is so risky that you’re better served attempting to roll-dodge or just move and hope not to get hit. This is because the stamina damage from mid to high tier mobs is so high that it only takes 2-3 hits to almost completely deplete your stamina bar. This problem is compounded when you’re, whether you want to or not, dealing with multiple enemies. Basically, you take a couple of hits, realize you’re almost out of stamina, roll-dodge to get away and now you’re well into negative stamina territory.
Something needs to differentiate blocking from roll-dodging. They’re both used to mitigate damage. Right now, roll-dodging costs less stamina, makes you invulnerable to attacks from all directions and allows for faster repositioning. Blocking either needs to cost less than roll-dodging or it needs to provide some other benefit that’s clearly better to justify the increased cost.
I’d suggest considering the following additional changes to blocking:
- Consider either a flat reduction to the amount of stamina damage taken while blocking or rework one of the survival perks so that players can elect to mitigate the amount of stamina damage taken.
- The animations for ‘block up’ and ‘block down’ need to be nearly instantaneous and able to cancel any action except the new healing animations. Given the high cost of blocking, using it should be as responsive as attempting to roll-dodge.
- The rebound stun state needs to hurt (literally or figuratively). Right now, I can’t even tell if it’s happening. I could see this as being the differentiating factor between roll-dodging and blocking. I wouldn’t mind losing most of my stamina bar when I blocked if the result was that my enemy was incapacitated for a second or two.