Thoughts on the Age of War 2.0 Hyper Armor Changes

TL;DR: The Hyper Armor changes hurt the state of PvP and PvE experience by limiting the options of players.

The Change:

At present, most vanilla weapons have lost most of their Hyper Armor frames. Per the Developer Letter, the purpose of the Hyper Armor changes was to “increase the consistency of play further”. In order to achieve this, a rule was set that “Hyper Armor is reserved for moments during an attack where extreme momentum is present”.

The General Issue

Hyper Armor is a valuable tool for trading games that creates a back-and-forth in a given encounter by providing immunity to stunning at specific points in a moveset (aka a combo set). Through timing, aim, and mechanical understanding a player can use these frames to their advantage in any in-game encounter.

That said, the current amount of Hyper Armor isn’t sufficient to take advantage of each weapon’s strengths and weaknesses.

PvP

With the current state of Hyper Armor, any moveset can be interrupted in the majority of cases. This cedes enormous advantage to reach weapons like the spear and renders previously Hyper-dependent weapons like the sword or the axe essentially pointless. In a group fight, the axe was great for crowd control but now a single tap interrupts the spinning combo. Likewise, the sword’s maneuverability is mitigated heavily when both the heavy thrust and first light tap lack the hyper armor to punish a spear-user.

Weapons like the great sword also suffer significantly. The first light attack was a great post-roll attack for catching a spamming opponent, but it can no longer stand against a spear-heavy (and it will never outspeed a poke).

The meta ends up boiling down to what weapon can attack the fastest to win the trade, and combination moves are practically pointless against multiple enemies. So naturally, with this and the stamina changes, the best possible strategy in every single encounter is to roll and poke with the spear. In melee, there’s no meaningful counter to it and that’s a big problem for build diversity and player experience.

PvE

With PvE, the lack of stun protection becomes a compounding issue. Enemies that can be stunned or knocked over essentially have no chance against players with an axe, mace, sword, or any other weapon capable of knock downs. Previously, bosses/minibosses like the Arena Champion could punish moveset spam by leaning on their own weapon’s Hyper Armor and forcing the player to change their attack pattern. Now these kinds of bosses are largely helpless.

For bosses that cannot be stunned or knocked down, the problem is inverted. Now enemies like the Kinscourge can stun lock an attacking player with ease and turn a back-and-forth into rolling and r1 spam. There’s no incentive to lock yourself into a combo attack when it can be interrupted instantly.

The Final Verdict

I would recommend increasing the frames of Hyper Armor for most weapons, namely trade weapons like the 1h sword, 1h axe, mace, katana, and greatsword. The general rule should be that a set has more hyper armor as it begins and less as it ends. This prevents spam-locking and opens windows for interruption without rendering the use of combos impotent.

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