Kongai: v1.4 Patch (4/4/08)
Cross-posted from the Sirlin boards. Where I'm apparently carrying on a two-person conversation with that site's owner. Feel free to jump in any time, people.
Note: The patch I'm talking about here has already changed - in part to respond to some of the criticisms I go into below. So the actual changes no longer quite match what I'm talking about. I'll post my thoughts on the latest version once I actually get around to writing them. And a day or two after I put them up on the public boards.
It's not live yet but there's a new patch waiting in the wings. Which, as usual, you can check out here.
"Marquis, Vampiric Touch energy cost reduced 70->60
Marquis, Life Drain energy cost reduced 50->45
Marquis, Life Drain speed reduced 6->3 (note: this is a buff)
Marquis, Teleport damage increased 0->10
Voss, Double Slash damage reduced from 18x2 to 16x2
Ambrosia, Vamp Kiss speed reduced 5->3 (note: this is a buff)
Ashi, hit points reduced from 85->75
Helene, Frenzied Strikes changed from physical-type to dark magic-type.
Zina, Tiger Frenzy energy cost decreased 35->30
Yoshiro, innate ability's 10% dodge now applies to all incoming attacks, not just physical-type attacks.
Yoshiro, Open Palm damage increased 10->18
Yoshiro, Open palm energy increased 10>20
Yoshiro, Chi Blast energy cost reduced 70->65"
So, to sum up, Le Morte and Yoshi got some much needed love, Thorn and Zina got slight boosts, Voss and Ashi took minor hits, and Helene got mauled in a dark alley by a strange looking gentleman who had promised her candy.
The nearly across the board change to life draining skills (Although Voss's seems to have been overlooked. I'm guessing that was intentional but it really could use a slight boost to make it a viable option over D.Slash.) to be slower is, as the patch notes state, actually a buff. [b]If[/b] you use them for healing.
If, on the other hand, you're tryign to kill someone with them it makes them even worse than they already were. Now, you'll swing after your opponent which means they'll do their damage and you'll suck off their life bar to replace it. And you won't be blowing your energy on a heal that's not going to matter because you haven't taken any lumps yet. There is, however, a fatal flaw in that plan and it's that you have to take that hit first.
And most characters are going to be slamming you for more damage than you'll recover even with their staple attacks while the life draining skills don't deal nearly enough damage to keep them from standing there to bash you. And, with the energy they cost, they're not sustainable. You may buy yourself another round of combat but you won't be able to do anything with it since a) your opponent won't be dead. And b) you'll have run out of energy to do anything else. The life draining skills are, in general, overpriced and underpowered. But they can be tricky to balance since they can both heal and deal damage.
The changes to the Marquis are interesting although I don't think they solve his fundamental problem: Namely, that he doesn't pose a threat when he's out on the field. His skills still cost too much while don't too little and although it's a little better you still can't step/port and attack for long. Le Morte needs to be a character that deals a lot of damage and then has to be withdrawn from the field (Which plays into his natural ability). Otherwise he's going to be nice for stalling with but little more. A glass canon, in other words, instead of a pest.
The changes to Yoshiro strike me as more useful. Although he still doesn't deal much damage up close he's got an interesting choice between a near-average attack with a chance to stun (It's just that he has nothing really strong to follow up the stun with.) and a skill that can't fail to hit even if the opponent withdraws. He's not going to blow anyone up but he can whittle them away (And not every character has to win in a few swings, either.).
Which is why the change to his innate is nice to see since it'll let him stick around longer and get his hits in although I still don't think it's doing enough for him. 10% chance to dodge any attack means once in ten rounds. Under most circumstances, he should be well and dead before then. It'll be nice when it procs and saves you but it's much more likely not to matter at all. I think the rate needs to be crept up a little bit higher, 15% maybe. Unlike Popo, he's not a character who's an all or nothing gamble, one who works wonderfully or fails miserably. Instead, he's one who's in a fight for the long haul and his innate should be what gives players the assurance he's going to stick around long enough to matter.
I'm a bit concerned about Chi Blast coming down, too, because, at 65, you run into double shot problems with the Scroll but I'll live with it since anyone stupid to get caught by the maser twice deserves to die. And it doesn't really do him much good since he can't step and shoot or shoot and step into a finishing Open Palm - unlike Higashi, he still has no follow-up.
As for the rest, Voss's tweak. Fine. D.Slash was insane, anyway, especially with her +dmg innate.
I'm going to say Zina's Tiger Frenzy getting slashed is a bad move. About the only thing she has going for her, at the moment, is standing off and getting your opponent's hand all sticky with poison and bleeding. That's now gotten easier. At 30 energy, she only burns 10 a round and can do it for roughly forever until she's stopped. You can't even keep her from getting off a DOT bomb by making her burn energy to maintain her range anymore (Full energy Zina steps back, rests. Next turn she has 80 energy. That's now enough to stay at far range and still get off a Frenzy whereas, before, it wasn't.). I'd much rather see a discount on Pounce. And especially Command which just eats up too much energy on an already hungry bar - yeah, it's nuts but I think buffs have to be aggressively priced at the game's start in order to get players to use them, paving the way for the second or third patch which will become known as the Great Buff Nerfening.
I don't think Ashi's high health was the real problem with her. It's all about Bleeding which is still due for a straight jacket fitting. But it doesn't hurt and it does provides more contrast between her and Helene.
Speaking of which, the patch says Frenzied Strikes goes from being physical to dark which I believe is a typo since it's already dark. It should be changing TO physical FROM dark, not the other way around. But that's a big nerf and probably enough to knock Helene off her top-tier perch. She can no longer switch around any damage resist - makes her more like Anex which I don't think is a good thing. And her big attack no longer avoids things like the Feather. Since I actually liked that Helene could work her way around obstacles given enough time I'm not liking the change. Strips away some tactical mindgames instead of adding them. I'll need to see how she plays now but I still say her problem is just that she deals too much raw damage.