Players as Heroes (Re-balancing)

I’m not sure if this should go here or in the Testlive forum, so feel free to move accordingly. I also haven’t seen any feedback on this topic here yet. I hope this doesn’t come off as scathing.

I absolutely love this game and love how much Funcom cares for what they do, so it is with my passion for this game that I say that for this re-balancing initiative, the proposed fix (at least all we can see short term) seems flat. Reducing thrall HP and damage by a % only lightly changes the PvP experience, and PvE just feels more grind-y atm in testlive. You can (and likely should) still let your thrall do all the work. You’re just spending more time standing still and shooting a healing arrow every once in a while.

Overall change in experience: PvP- mildly positive. PvE- moderately negative.

Instead of a stale hp/dmg/stat reduction, what if thralls buff/heal us in engaging ways? Different thralls giving different flat stat increase buffs to the player would be a simplistic start to the direction implied (but not the full idea). What we’re working with right now is large numbers that don’t budge, and I think people are considering “what if we make the numbers lower but not too low that thralls are useless?”, but what if that’s taken a little further and consider that they could be much lower, just more volatile? They should have much less health, near to our’s, so that there is a real consideration of danger, but health needs to ‘rubber-band’ more than it does currently.

I’m not trying to imply it needs to spike so much it’s like watching a game of ping-pong, but something more than topping off a large cup with a tiny hole in it in a faucet. Maybe like, a flag blowing back and forth calmly in the wind if you get where I’m going. That’s not a thing currently on production, or on testlive, and I think is the biggest reason people are wanting combat tweaks and players don’t feel like the heroes at the moment.

How about a mechanic (abilities?) that allows the health to get back up quickly? Something with short cooldowns so you need to play tactically? Honestly, I think this is a great opportunity to consider some sort of skill system to be implemented, and could make this game really stand out. It doesn’t need to be robust to start. This could even be behind the scenes with thralls at first, and would be an amazing addition to roll out to players if possible. So what about something like this:

Players:

  • HP at lvl 60: 600-1000. To allow us to take on bosses instead of standing back as a second seat to our thralls, we could use a bit more health. Scale some heavy-hitter bosses down a bit, bring some weaker bosses and world/‘trash’ mobs up.

Thralls:

  • HP at lvl 20: 600-1500, assuming damage reduction is scaled the same as players. This always seemed so odd to me as a player starting out. Bring that health way down. This range could vary a bit more, but should be at least close to our’s. Right now, the experience of seeing a thrall with anything more than about 2.5k hp and seeing our health on average around 450-600 is just strange. But you get used to it as you play, I guess.
  • Abilities that Heal, Buff (to player and/or self). Some AI already has attack patterns like slams, could this be implemented similarly?

I feel like this is at least within sight of possible, right? Maybe adding the abilities into the AI rotation is the most difficult speed bump here? I understand this would take more time than a percentage change, but this seems like a unique path for a survival game to take, and so fun to consider what all you could add on to this:

  • Different thralls could specialize differently. Some are Healers (Burst and HoT, or to keep it simple at first, their heal is for more and/or more frequent), Tanks (much lower dmg, higher def- you know), Buff-oriented AKA Supports (could be separate from healers, or same thing. Either way), and some are true Fighters/Archers (higher dmg, lower health). Thinking simplistically, this is like what we already have with certain thralls having a higher likeliness to increase x stat when leveling up, but it would be cool if this wasn’t just a likeliness of random stat increase. *Note: Still, with that said, all thralls would have the basic ability to buff/heal you regardless of ‘specialization’ so they are supporting you and not the other way around.
  • You could eventually introduce these types of skills to players, possibly? I think a way to do this with what’s existing is if there was a second bar (like the creative mod, but for abilities), and abilities can be “items” that you can’t drop or move in to your inventory. They’d only be able to exist on that bar. Create an ability tree panel to gain access to the abilities. With that, you’d have a survival game that brings in tried-and-true rpg-style elements to combat (I feel like Conan aims for that RPG/Survival mix as-is) that you just don’t see in current survival games.
  • To address having overpowered thralls at low levels, could you not have them on a leveling system where their level is always fluid with the player’s level they are currently following? And then to have their own “levels” they could have a second system like rank, where you can increase their rank to progress them and that stays as a multiplier with them, regardless of who they are following currently.

I tried to consider what is currently in-game and if this can be done as realistically as possible. It feels within reach at least for a mid-term vision, and adds so much flavor to the game and so many options.

This just feels right to me. It addresses PvE, it addresses PvP, it adds fun depth to thrall variety, enemy stats don’t need much changing, combat is even more engaging, can cater to both casual and hardcore, and it makes the player the hero. I’m sure there are larger plans, so maybe what I’m saying is thinking way ahead and I need to- slow my roll, bucko- but with just a flat % change announced as an answer to thralls feeling too strong, it feels like this would be communicated as a short-term fix upfront if there’s more plans like this in the works. Is there something I’m totally missing?

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Yes, in PvE and especially solo if you want player to be more involved in combat you will need to rebalance enemy and player health and damage. Right now player health is just too low, so being a tank a lot of times is not an option. Healing items in solo should be rebalnced too, I guess.

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Yeah, players definitely need that increase. And if they try to decrease thrall hp low enough to where there is a threat of danger without adding in some sort of way to heal them other than requiring us to load them with food and spam healing arrows (which is a super passive and specific way of having to play), then they’re just not going to hit the mark. It’s either going to be too low and a problem keeping them alive, or it’s going to be too high and we’ll have the same problem where it’s not engaging, let alone challenging.

For PVE I’d mostly want a rework of many bosses. Bosses like Rockbose King are just plainly unfun to fight melee “as a hero”. They are so big you can’t see what he’s doing so timing iframes is very tricky, his attacks are super fast for such a huge monster, and the range of his attacks is huge so getting out of reach in time is almost impossible.

As long as the bosses are just not fun to fight for the players, players will always try to find a cheap unheroic way to kill them.

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this looks like a perfect time too include sorcery…give us heals! lol
one handed swords and magic in the other.
too skyrim??? lol

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I was worried they wouldn’t want to go that route for lore reasons specific to exiles, so I didn’t want to suggest magic per se. I think they could certainly include heals that don’t highlight that they’re magic or have a source that explicitly doesn’t involve magic, if they were concerned about that. But I’d be all for them leaning in to magic. It is in Conan lore, and would be so fun to expand upon.

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hey guys!

you describe something as in AOC… Thralls give buffs to the player and fight for him. But bosses and mobs target only the player.

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PvE- moderately negative.

What the flips are you all doing? The only thing where you really need a thrall, is either fighting >5 northern fighters or bosses.

Fighting > 5 fighters is often avoidable. Got a little harder with latest patch, as more people will aggro and follow you. So in some areas, its more kitting.

I still can run at the Black Galleon, kite >5people behind me and kill them with my axe without any problem.

I still kill Mounds of the Dead without a thrall.

I did the whole volcano without a thrall…

If you need a thrall for normal PvE Content, you are really not good at it. Work at your playstole, before having trying to balance sth…

Alone having dumb thralls to have the same HP as palyers is just…
They cannot dodge or make a sidestep to avoid an attack. They fall down, run into lava, etc.

The other ideas you have are nice, but as you never get into the gameplay where you really need the thrall…
Even when I have a healing thrall, I dont want to chop >5mins on some bosses… If you like sth like that, try Dark Souls.

Some ideas are nice, but probably for CE2. Or lets see what Funcom brings with the new map expansion… Maybe there will also be new mechanics added and not only a new map.

But I am really curios about how people are playing and how often they hide on rocks and let the thrall do all the work and then complain about OP thralls…

@jot29 I feel like you’re peppering in a bit too much virtual flexing here which is making it tough to read your point through seriously, but after rereading a few times trying to disregard that, the point I’m digging out of this is, “if you want a challenge, don’t bring a thrall”.

This seems to be a common retort from a sect of the community, and it’s overly regurgitated. If this is in response to me suggesting additional player health, it’s a part of the larger picture of the full suggestion. It isn’t posed to exist as the answer by itself. If it’s in response to the suggestion as a whole, my suggestion is an attempt to make combat more engaging. With this proposition, you can still have the more hardcore experience if you want- just don’t bring the thrall. I did mention that some lower bosses can be brought up in damage. The Arena Champion, on the other hand, for example, could use a nerf in damage if we want to fight her without a thrall.

I just don’t understand this point. I even mentioned bringing up the damage of world/‘trash’ mobs.

Why say we should wait to see? Should I have just waited to make my suggestion?

Also, honestly, a game mechanic that is so strong that you need to purposefully disregard it in order to provide a challenge still seems like it needs a fix. I’ve proposed that. You can still choose to have it or not have it, but is there something wrong with wanting to make that element of the game more meaningful? Idk, I’m trying to really evaluate this but I keep coming back to the fact that it feels like I offered up a way to make what exists more meaningful so we don’t have to disregard it and you just came up, puked out an elitist mantra about getting good, flexed in front of the mirror, tried to steer a ship that isn’t yours to steer, and walked out like you brought something meaningful to the table but didn’t really give any substance. And trust me, I’m trying to give full credit and dig for the substance.

What the flips are you all doing? The only thing where you really need a thrall, is either fighting >5 northern fighters or bosses.

Fighting > 5 fighters is often avoidable. Got a little harder with latest patch, as more people will aggro and follow you. So in some areas, its more kitting.

I still can run at the Black Galleon, kite >5people behind me and kill them with my axe without any problem.

I still kill Mounds of the Dead without a thrall.

I did the whole volcano without a thrall…

Ok…? these areas are definitely easy enough without a thrall. These mobs could use even just a flat damage increase. What about my suggestion hints I think I need a thrall for this? For bosses, specifically in dungeons, should I solo up to the boss and run back and grab my thrall? When I fight the boss, should I choose to walk up and engage just for the sake of engaging? Is this what separates the men from boys or something? Or could my suggestion make it more meaningful to engage?

Alone having dumb thralls to have the same HP as palyers is just…
They cannot dodge or make a sidestep to avoid an attack. They fall down, run into lava, etc

They should have a heal mechanic for themselves as well. That would curb at least some instances of the fall/lava damage but ultimately this is something that just needs a fix anyway.

The other ideas you have are nice, but as you never get into the gameplay where you really need the thrall…
Even when I have a healing thrall, I dont want to chop >5mins on some bosses… If you like sth like that, try Dark Souls.

Trying to take this constructively, I said that enemy stats wouldn’t need much changing. Many mobs would need a general rebalance, as most would need a damage increase (but I mean, nothing so significant it requires a major recode). So that does point that out. Noted to consider that a little more time would be needed to take some time to balance them out. Still seems doable within the mid-term range, I think.
I’d agree with the last sentence. Fights could definitely be shorter. But again, I’m suggesting to make fighting more engaging so even if it’s a longer fight, it’s more… idk. Engaging, I guess. Hopefully I’ve used that word enough to nail in my point.

Some ideas are nice, but probably for CE2. Or lets see what Funcom brings with the new map expansion… Maybe there will also be new mechanics added and not only a new map.

O…k. Yeah, uh. Hopefully?

But I am really curios about how people are playing and how often they hide on rocks and let the thrall do all the work and then complain about OP thralls…

As far as I understand, people just want to engage and want the options that are given to them to not have to be ignored in order to do so meaningfully. Is there inherently a problem with that?

That’s awesome. I’ve never played with this mod. As a server owner, I know my community is glad I don’t run with it, so I won’t be introducing it as I understand it brings a lot more changes than just what I mentioned. But that does make me hopeful that some of what I’ve suggested, if able to be done similarly in a mod, is achievable in the base game.

Hey @mvtthue, I really like your suggestion and I appreciate the time you took to present it clearly. I do think this would make combat not engaging for sure, and have previously advocated from more class based thralls (support, tank, soldier, etc.).

I worry, however, that while this change might in principle be simple. In practice, so parts would be a very big change to The current system. So much so I just don’t realistically foresee it being implemented (though I hope I’m wrong). Now the player buff/ thrall nerf that is something I can see funcom doing. And I generally agree with your numbers, though testing would be required to make sure they are properly balanced. Without the other elements you mentioned thralls may indeed need a little more health to be viable (however, I am of the opinion that no thrall should be able to survive a 3 skull boss by themselves).

Anyways just wanted to voice my support. We need to get the player back on the frontlines I feel a the current thrall nerf on testlive is not going to do that.

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Thanks @Zeropoint, I see your perspective of trying to keep lower expectations about the engineering resources available to make changes and updates to the game. It’s definitely noted within the community that there are a good bit of things that we’d like to see added and many things we’d like to see changed, but they just haven’t been able to get to it yet or haven’t figured out how they want to address it (some would say ignore. I’m sure they’re not ignoring it).

I would argue that Followers 1 and 2 gave us a decently more robust system, and so did Mounts. I tried gauging my suggestion based off of what I’ve seen, and it feels like it’s achievable, or nearly on par with the amount of work that would have gone into the Followers updates, or at least with mounts and followers patches combined.

Sadly, it may just not be what they want to spend their time on, or those mechanics could have just been much more simple to implement and me trying to get a pulse for their resources is just way off. I tried suggesting ways to do it that work off of whats already implemented so a fully different system wouldn’t have to be worked on- and it feels pretty good with what’s available. You’d need some new animations and assets (they don’t need to be fancy- they can just be as simple as a toss animation), worked in to the followers attack patterns (this one is the most foreign to me, but given that there are animations like slams, it seems achievable. I feel like conditionals could be worked in ok?), and then it’s rebalancing from there, which maybe I’m still naive to it, but that’s more just tedious work than it is anything, and these things still just feel like they could be achieved if they wanted to take on the opportunity. Maybe they don’t- maybe they fear it’s too drastic and would dissuade a portionable size of their players? Maybe it just doesn’t feel like the right fit for what they envision? I’m not sure. Maybe it really is too much work and though I’m trying to take it into consideration, may just unfortunately be off.

A few other things I mentioned like introducing this mechanic to players, would be nice to have, especially since it could make use of a lot of the resources already made for thralls, but not necessarily my main suggestion.

Thanks for the support :heart:

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