Monday, October 13, 2008

Rex Does Kongai: Third Take on the Rock Stars

Well, yesterday's opus wasn't quite the mammoth length of Sunday's entry. But the difference between 7k and that nearly 10k didn't do me much good. Still taking way too long to do this. But, fortunately – for you, dear reader, and for me and my poor fingers – I'll have to be quick today. I have to be out the door soon so no time to dither around, we're going to have to get right into it and get moving away.

That's doubly fortunate because I'm feeling pretty good about the Rock Star characters today. I still have problems with the weaker ones remaining from yesterday. But no great inspiration has struck about what to do with #2 The Glammer and #4 the Grunger. It'll come, I just need to let them stew a little more. And, if not, then we'll have to get extreme and think about maybe blending the bad into one good. Everyone else, though, I think is looking fine.

So, today, we're just going to quickly run through and firm up their bars. Get to some concrete, specific values that I can use for further crunching. We'll build up a spreadsheet, start plugging those value in, start figuring out who's hitting who for what and all the other simple little mathematical games that can help point me towards any problems. That's probably going to take place off-stage as it were, since I don't know how to display such a big page and I'm too much of a Luddite to figure out something like GoogleDocs. I'm sure you're heartbroken.

Also, I'm going to go ahead and start adding in health and resistance right now. I've had it in the back of my head for a while but just haven't bothered yet. They're largely just guesses at this point – most of these characters are feeling like they're going to be somewhere around the average. And where, exactly, depends a lot on how their bars wind up.

You'll note that I've switched up the format for skills a bit below. They're now in what I like to think of as my condensed notation, devoid of any flavor text or extraneous bits of information. Just straight data that can pump directly into the eye-vein and head straight to the brain. I've used these for so long now that I can read over them in an instant. Others might have a bit of difficulty, although I think they're fairly self-explanatory, if you look at my expanded skill notation and compare. But if you're confused by anything, just let me know.

Name: Alvis Priestly, the Sultan of the Sock Hop
Innate: Heals for 15 on critical hit.
HP: 80
RES: 6/1/0
Bar (v3.1)

  1. Sock Hop. 30En, 3spd, 26(P). 95h, 100p. High crit (25crit). Close.
  2. Bop Around the Clock. 70En, 4spd, 22(P). 90h, 100p. Hits all. Close.
  3. Flashback. 40En, 7spd, 25(L). 95h, 100p. Heals for 15 after next turn. Far.
  4. Do-Wop Ditty. 50En, 5spd, L. 100h, 100p. +25crit for all for next 4. Both.

#3 really needs a better name. Still, the Bopper continues to lead the way with a strong showing. He might not be the best card but he's a solid one that does some interesting stuff. He continues to be a keeper.

Name: Neil Thurston, the Celestial Showman
Innate: Gains 10 maximum energy for each buff in play.
HP: 70
RES: 0/8/2
Bar (v2.1)
  1. Lunar Strike. 35En, 4spd, 24(D). 95h, 100p. Steals 30en if target is stunned. Close.
  2. Starduster. 65En, 6spd, 52(L). 100h, 50p. Chance to proc Stardust Memories for the next 6 turns. (Stardust Memories: For 6 turns, the next time you would be debuffed you are instead healed for 10.). Close.
  3. Haunting Melody. 35En, 3spd, 12(D). 100h, 100p. Stuns at end of next turn. If already stunned, hits for 12(L). Far.
  4. Power Ballad. 50En, 5spd, L. 100h, 100p. +5en regen for all for next 6. Both.

And the Glammer is quite the contrast. Still not liking this guy. Still not quite sure what the problem is. I suspect it's #2. Starduster just doesn't feel right. Somehow. We'll think about it. Even making his innate as powerful as I could think of and extending it to pump up his energy pool from any and all buffs that are in play – and not just on him – hasn't helped. Changed his name – again – and I think we're getting closer. I'm going for a kind of foppish, upper-classy British feel there, by the way.

Name: Wotan One-Eye, the Swedish Murder Machine / The Dark Knight of Rock
Innate: +30crit when foe is Bleeding.
HP: 70
RES: 3/0/5
Bar (v3.1)
  1. Wicked Axe. 30En, 4spd, 25(D). 95h, 75p. Bleeds 6for3 (18 DOT). Close.
  2. Spiked Armor. 20En, 3spd, P. 100h, 100p. For the next 3 turns, you have +2 resistance. The next time you are hit by a physical attack your opponent Bleeds 2for5 (10 DOT) and Spiked Armor ends. Both.
  3. Guillotine Guitar Strings. 35En, 6spd, 15(D). 100h, 100p. Bleeds 3for3 (9 DOT) at end of next 3 turns (27 DOT total). Far.
  4. Heavy Metal. 40En, 5spd, D. 100h, 100p. +15crit for all for next 3. Bleed 6for3 (18DOT) on crit. Both.

Again, a solid card that's finding its level. Maybe not quite there but close. Real close. This guy would be a lot of fun to play, I think, and that counts for a lot. Anyhow, switched his name back to Wotan from Votan. Still having trouble finding a good title for him. All I know is that he wants something really over the top.

Name: Curtis Edwards, the Voice of A Generation
Innate: When hit by an attack, that attack's speed is lowered by 1 and all of Grunger's speeds are raised by 1 for the next 5 turns.
HP: 70
RES: 1/3/3
Bar (v2.1): Changed #1 to Close. Changed #3 to Far.
  1. Downbeat. 40En, 6spd, 24(D). 95h, 60p. Drains 15en. Close.
  2. Depressing Lyrics. 50En, 2spd, 40(P). 95h, 90p. Chance for Ruptured Eardrums for next 3. (Ruptured Eardrums: -10energy at end of turn.). Far.
  3. Angst. 30En, 3spd, P. 100h, 100p. -15hit for next 4 turns. If Ruptured Eardrums, 1dmg per 1en lost. 25Dmg if reach 0en and Ruptured Eardrums ends. Far.
  4. Team Spirit. 50En, 5spd, D. 100h, 100p. +3 resist and +25Dodge for all for next 4 turns.

Nope. Still not good. We added in a new innate, dropping the dodging idea entirely. Now, the Grunger steals speed from his opponents, making it a nice compliment to Rocker #5's new innate that causes her to gain speed over time. But I'm just not getting a good feeling from this card. Might be time to cut the chord.

Name: Izzy Knowles, the Headbanger's Doll
Innate: Gains 1 speed each consecutive turn on field.
HP: 70
RES: 2/0/4
Bar (v2.1)
  1. Headbang. 25En, 2spd, 24(P). 90h, 100p. Target hits on fleeing for next turn. Close.
  2. Power Chord. 60En, 7spd, 45(L). 95h, 95p. Close.
  3. Reverb. 35En, 8spd, 18(P). 100h, 100p. Target takes 150% damage next turn. Far.
  4. Speed Metal. 40En, 5spd, P. 100h, 100p. +2spd all for next 4 turns. Both.

Still liking Izzy. Still not sure what to do with her innate. She's got a solid bar and – in my head – very solid flavor, but she's just missing that last little bit.

Name: Tommy Fender, the Juke Box Hero
Innate: Gains +1 resistance and +10 bonus HP for each buff he has.
HP: 60
RES: 0/4/0
Bar (v2.1)
  1. Strum. 25En, 6spd, 15(L). 95h, 100p. +1 turn to buff duration, +1 additional turn to Ballads. Close.
  2. High Note. 55En, 2spd, 36(P). 95h, 100p. Gains 10 resistance in target's highest resistance (+10/0/0, +5/+5/0, +4/+3/+3). Close.
  3. Hot Lick. 20En, 3spd, L. 100h, 100p. Burns 3for3 and Burns again at end of next 2 turns. Far.
  4. Rock Anthem. 40En, 5spd, P. 100h, 100p. +1dmg and +5HP per buff for all for next 3 turns. Both.

Juke Box is so potentially strong that I'm giving him softie health and low resistance. He'll make that up easily, though, thanks to his innate and High Note. I'm still worried that I've cranked him up too far right now.

Okay, I've still got a few minutes so lets get to the review.

  • I think the bars are, by and large, shaping up. Aside from #2 and #4 who continue to be difficult, we've got some interesting stuff that's playing well. As a group, the Rock Stars are a little copy and paste, but they've definitely got a distinct character. I'm still concerned that Ballads are slightly underpowered, overall, for what they're costing to get out there. But I'm letting it go for now since those are some really strong buffs and some of the items I'm planning might make them even worse.
  • Bopper, solid. Maybe a little too strong at the moment, though.
  • Glammer, a mess, to be honest. Still convinced it's a solid framework that I'm not filling out well. Stardust Memories doesn't feel worthwhile and that's dragging Starduster down. Lunar Strike is intensely strong but doesn't feel like it. And the less said about the innate, the better. I'm not even sure Power Ballad is all that strong now.
  • Schlocker, solid. Nice and vicious. Not quite sold on Spiked Armor. Makes for a Scrapper with only two attacks. Nice attacks that are hitting for over 30 damage each before his innate even kicks in but, still, that's not a lot of flexibility.
  • Grunger, if I had to pick a card to drop right now, today, this would be the one. I played around with his skills a bit, dropping the idea that he'd be the line's far-range specialist and adding in a innate where he steals speed from his opponents. Still not feeling it. Suffers from the same problem as Glammer – I like the idea but I don't like what I've done with it. He needs to find a groove and fast.
  • Grrl, rocksolid at the moment. I think the innate needs work she gets scary fast, scary soon now but that's the general idea – I want her to be a character that's pushing past the 10 speed limit regularly. But I might I need to readjust her speed balance downwards a bit. Ballad is dangerous but feels a bit on the weak side. That might only be because of some of the other monsters I've created, though.
  • Juke Box, looking much improved. At the moment, he doesn't deal a lot of damage but gets a ton of health and resistance in a hurry, meaning he might play more like a tank than I want but the whole Strum mechanic makes him a really good compliment to any other Rocker and I'm really liking that.

At the moment, again, I think I've got four cards rounding into shape and two cards that need serious work. That's not a bad ratio, really. The template format really helps since this is going faster than it normally does. Although maybe having to post up the results is helping that, too.

Anyhow, I think it's time to let these bars lay fallow for a while and let the balance ferment itself a little bit. Let it sit at the back of my mind and work itself out.

We'll concentrate tomorrow on their other features, like backstories and what the cards should look like. And, after that, we'll likely be moving on to the next group.


x1372 said...

Hey, nice to see you back online. I kinda stopped checking this site a while ago when you disappeared off the face of the internet, but nice to see you and your kongai ideas are back.

Really like some of the rocker ideas. Also, in case you'd lost it, thought I'd toss out these threads on sirlin's forums for ideas for innates/effects/characters.

Additional notes based on your groupings:

Flashback seems relatively worthless - it costs as much as juju's healing touch but it's delayed and heals less. Does his innate trigger on his own crits or his opponents'?

Seems way too strong at far. The ability to 100% stun into stardust is just too much (especially since "end of turn" as I read it, happens after a switch, and even if not it means that if you get them down to 1 character its over.) Stun to range change to energy drain might be too much against other range focused characters too.

Rocker3) seems odd with a few factors, such as causing bleed on a crit for a move that does no damage and an armor move that looks even worse than onimaru's self buff. Innate is interesting though.

Rocker4) be very careful with energy drain, that can be an absurdly powerful tool. have a hard time seeing how his moves mesh.

Rocker5) I like this one but the buff seems too short, especially on a character who has reasons not to switch to a teammate.

Rocker6) interesting but again, hard to picture how that would fit well with the rest of the cast.

Anyway I'll add some more comments later, keep up the good work.

Sausaletus Rex said...

I kinda stopped checking this site a while ago when you disappeared off the face of the internet

Yeah, I'll do that every so often.

I've been around. Just busy. Always busy.


Glad you like it so far, though, and thanks for the feedback.

The scary thing about the ideas in those threads is how many of them I've already had.

To respond to your points, though...

Rocker #1:
Flashback seems relatively worthless - it costs as much as juju's healing touch but it's delayed and heals less. Does his innate trigger on his own crits or his opponents'?
Skill #3 Flashback is pretty useless but it's not meant to be all that good - healing is inherently dangerous and shouldn't be scaled up to far. However, Flashback hits for 25dmg and then heals for 15HP which I think is pretty good even with the delay - it's a 40HP swing over the course of two turns. Its cost should probably go down, maybe into the 30 range (Although that's getting close to Skill #1's range and it does objectively more. Bopper's dangerous enough that I'm alright with making him less efficient than strict mathematical purity would entail, though.) but since we're talking about a character that's heals for 15 on a crit (And, yes, it's his own crits. As for healing on other people's crits, well, just wait...) and can boost easily into high crit range that's potentially 25dmg and 30 healing which is huge.

Rocker #2:
Stun to range change to energy drain might be too much against other range focused characters too.
I'm definitely thinking of putting in a proc rate on #3 Haunting Melody. It does have the potential to be really strong, especially given his ability to gain energy. I'm torn between nerfing #2 down and letting him step into it and keeping it a really solid nuke and making it ill-suited to play with everything else on his bar. His innate and energy gain are just making him a nightmare to balance since I don't know how much energy he'll have on a given turn. He's probably going in for a revamp when I get the time to sit down and think about it so I'm not too worried about it at the moment.

Rocker #3
seems odd with a few factors, such as causing bleed on a crit for a move that does no damage and an armor move that looks even worse than onimaru's self buff. Innate is interesting though.
#2 Spiked Armor is pretty lousy at the moment, true. But dude hits for 30~40 damage from either range. And both his hits are both massive and efficient so he doesn't really need a cheaper, weaker option. So, he doesn't need all that good of a third skill, so I'm into compensating for weaknesses with this slot.

As for causing Bleed on crit, I'm probably not getting the wording right but the idea is that #4 Heavy Metal buffs crits. But not as much as Rocker #1's team buff. To compensate, while it's up, any crit also causes a Bleed, increasing its damage. And further amplifying the effects of Votan's innate.

Rocker #4
have a hard time seeing how his moves mesh.
Me too, but that's his problem in a nutshell.

Rocker #5
the buff seems too short, especially on a character who has reasons not to switch to a teammate.
#4 is really her weakest skill at the moment. I've kept the duration short both out of variety - I wanted to see how different durations looked and felt - and also because extra speed is really, really dangerous. It's not something that you want any card to be playing around with and, if it lasts long enough, any one can. But with her "next hit is better" mechanics, Izzy really isn't a card you want to be making a lot of switches with anyways (And I'm alright with this. I already lost this battle when I started putting in effects that ended on the next turn - and those effects are ones I wouldn't want to linger more than that, so I'm pretty stuck. The Rock Stars being the ultimate team players was the concept but that doesn't mean it's the final product. It's also useful to have at least one or two cards who'll play against type - not everyone likes to be a switch monkey, after all and they need cards, too. ). The problem with her skill #4, then, is that she doesn't really need it - she's already fast enough and her innate might be driving her faster. It's just that a speed boosting buff is such a natural, it's got to be in the game somewhere.

Rocker #6
hard to picture how that would fit well with the rest of the cast.
I'll have to disagree, I think Juke Box has problems with a horrendous innate and a mishmash of a Ballad but, to me, he seems like a natural companion in any deck that's going to feature another Rocker or anyone else with good buffs.

This might partially be because, in my head, I know about the other 55 characters that no one else has ever seen but that are already in the game in my head. They'd be arond to play off of and build around and there'll be more wide-effect buffers around than just Ubuntu and the five on display here that would be around to play off of. I know the rest of the cast, in other words, even better than I'm letting on.

So I like how he looks and I think I'd like how he plays even better.

The concept is there, I just have to get the final details hammered out.

Good feedback, though. Just keep in mind that we're not at finished products yet, we're in the process of getting there. And we haven't even gotten to my first patch notes yet.