Open Combat: Harmonics Design

IanirIanir Administrator, Moderator Posts: 535 Creator
Hi everybody,

We are going to be discussing the general design of Harmonics. Harmonics is a primary skillset specialising from Cosmic, available only to the Institute class in Hallifax.


This thread will be focusing on the basic design of the skillset, determining the current problems and finding ways to solve these problems, determining basic mechanical changes, etc.. We will not be going into specific skill changes at this time.


Current Problems (as the administration sees them):

* Harmonics is a skillset which cannot decide whether it is a burst skillset or a buildup skillset, and has managed to land itself amongst the worst of both worlds as a result.

* Harmonics was heavily reliant on the aeon affliction and was weakened heavily by its changes.

* Harmonics is extremely time-reliant for kills, making it often impossible to pull off its primary kill method if you are not sitting in Delaware with the servers.

* Ruby, being the basis for their primary kill, is a run or die mechanic at best, its only real cure being entirely outside of the curing quadrangle and requiring balance, namely in the form of kether/violet (see trope: the only way to fight is to shield forever).

* The skillset is extremely one-dimensional. (Get it? Org built in 3d which worships 3d shapes is one-dimensional... I thought it was funny at least.)
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  • IanirIanir Administrator, Moderator Posts: 535 Creator
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  • IanirIanir Administrator, Moderator Posts: 535 Creator
    edited November 2017
    Just going to start this off by posting a few ideas myself (These are -not- guidelines or anything, just brainstorming):

    The gems are a theme we are keeping with the skillset, but the specifics aren't at all set in stone. One idea I did personally have was to give gems both a defensive and offensive aspect (and remove stacking for offensive) - When spun, they automatically begin to orbit around the individual, giving defensive buffs/passive effects as necessary (examples: passive healing of afflictions/vitals, passive DMP, retaliatory attacks). The researcher can then shift to a target, giving a passive offensive action on a single individual that will fire on a timer. Each gem movement will require one full equilibrium, as will spinning, though this does open a power option to move multiple gems at once.

    The option to shatter a gem exists, dealing %+flat h(/m) damage to the target (and potentially a lower AoE damage to all enemies in the room). Shatterplex could then be changed to multiply this for all gems on the individual, potentially acting as a full kill when all gems are on a target at the cost of, of course, having to respin all their gems around themselves. This effectively gives them single target burst/killing potential as well as passive afflicting.

    Inclusion of a timer or automatic return mechanic of some sort could force a haste upon the caster to pull off their kill (potentially all gems return if none are moved across X seconds), which would potentially negate the need for a kether/violet defense (which is frustrating to both sides, lets be honest).

    We could also potentially have certain curatives having a chance to knock off a gem and return it to its owner instead, though this introduces RNG into the equation.

    EDIT: For an alternative design philosophy - (Envoys): <redacted> says, "If you put together all five gems, you summon Captain Timewarp and he deletes you. The power is yours. Timewarp-e-teers."
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  • OrventaOrventa Member Posts: 584 Mythical
    Solo PvE perspective/random thoughts:

    Features I like and hope we can keep: Passive healing, hp/mana/ego regen, being able to target allies with beneficial effects Amethyst, jade, beryl, turquoise etc.

    Feature I miss, but apparently it was a good thing to nerf(?): Diamond as a shield.  These days, I don't see how it's any different from having access to bubblegum shield/beastmastery bodyguard/ shome shield artie that's out there that I can't remember the name of.

    New idea- Replacement for Diamond: Some type of summonable crystal windboard/breezeskimmer 'mount' like wicca guardian Brooms for flying. I know there's been the argument for cloud construct/winged races. But that's only as long as we can have the construct, not permanently. Wicca can have access to faeling race, but they're still able to have brooms, and we're a city all about flying, so why not one more method? Alternative to board: crystal swan cloak like crowcloak, for flying. 

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  • DeichtineDeichtine Member Posts: 1,584 Transcendent

    Quick idea and long idea.

    Its hard to separate harmonics and aeonics as well you need to use both together for your kill route now so I've just posted thinking mainly about the institute class as a whole instead of just the individual skillsets.


    Short story:

    Quick thing with minor adjustments would be to make them a build to timewarp akin to illumanti are build to insanity. Adjust temptimewarp to have a straight up command denial aspect building like insanity, remove its weakening of quicksilver. Nix Shatter plex/rubbies as a burst to 100% route and buff their active cast ability of timechant timewarp and adjust things like timeechos, aeonfield as needed.

    This change really wouldn't take that much effort to switch them. On the test server if you pop timeechos, aeonfield, quickening and speed cast timewarp you can build timewarp on an target albeit very very slowly. So you could easily nix rubies/shatterplex and buff up the other passive casts and actives a fair bit to give them a solid build to kill route.

    This route sort of makes them a bit like an illumanti clone though so it is maybe not the most interesting of ways.


    Long story:

    Overhaul the hell out of them.

    Ignore everything that exists before hand and wipe it all and build a new class.

    Rebuild. Ideas. The crystal aspects. The crystals elements emerald, ruby, diamond etc. Each represent aspects of the class. Ruby as aggression, emerald as healing and protection and diamond as precision strikes.

    Concept one:Caster like monks, cycle through different gemstone configurations with different spells and abilities locked under different configurations. You can have entire forking trees of abilities that you can flow and spec into in the middle of a fight.

    Go down the ruby red route for bleeding, damage and high pressure aggression with an ultimate damage bomb set up ability. The emerald route for defensive and healing, self dodge, true heal like effects as an ultimate etc. ETC

    Different gems have different harmony so it is easier to switch between Emerald stance and sapphire than it is between the more dissimilar ruby and emerald.

    The mechanics of doing this I've a few rough ideas on. Initially I was thinking you could have them as caster monks simply casting a spell would progress you up through the ranks and create windows of high power and low power.

    Concept two:A second idea after chatting with a few folk was a more predictive style of combat. EG each crystal has 5 tiers. 1-5. You have 100 crystal points. The lower tiers provide the weaker skills/buffs but have the highest regeneration of crystal points. The higher tiers have ultimate level abilities but lower crystalpoint regeneration. EG I was thinking something like Emerald could have some standard heal abilities at base costing 5 crystal points but regenerating 10 crystal points every 10 seconds so you could nearly spam the ability for ages. Ruby would have a similar damage style ability and cost decent but not overwhelming. The higher tier abilities would be exceptionally costly such as a trueheal like ability for 80 crystal points or a dchord level damage hit or other suitability threatening affliction or instant kill styled abiltities but the regeneration period in the higher tiers would be next to none. Moving into a tier would lock you into that tier for a set amount of time. This is just a rough idea but the general concept is you'd set up kills in the early tiers with high regen eg delayed affliction bombs from diamond, shifting into mid tier ruby for moderate damage/bleed/something to shift to high ruby for a huge damage spike.

    Maybe not damage, we could shift it to something else but just as a general concept idea. Its napkin notes essentially.

  • TekoraTekora Member Posts: 337 Gifted
    edited November 2017
    I would personally like to see Harmonics and Aeonics segregated entirely from each other in terms of skillset philosophy and kill methods. As I explained in the Aeonics topic, a weakness of the Institute skillsets is that the redundancy between the two results in a lack of options, aside from which method you want to use to arrive at the same result. As it stands now, the 'Build Rubies, Shatterplex, Timequake' method is the commonly chosen course of action. 

    I find myself liking Ianir's suggestion of utilizing multiple separate gems rather than only rubies to build towards an instakill condition that would be able to be accomplished solely through Harmonics skills, as opposed to continuing to have Harmonics' instakill dependent on an Aeonics finisher. This would allow us to divorce Harmonics and Aeonics from each other and focus on giving both skillsets attractive, yet separate features to give them a 'Wow Factor' that other Guardian specializations possess and they are currently lacking.
  • XenthosXenthos Shadow Lord Member Posts: 5,971 Transcendent
    I have to agree with Falmiis: one of the main reasons to avoid giving Institute more offensive things is because of how defensive / tanky the skillset itself is (and one of the reasons why "keep all the defensive things and add back in the passive shielding" is problematic, Orventa).

    It can be very nice to be super-tanky, especially in PvE, but it means for balance purposes you need to have a very limited offensive capability or you're basically the king of classes.  Some defensive tools are great, but when the skillset is fully kitted out with them you're basically making it a PvE only skillset (in PvP people will opt to ignore you and actually wipe out the threats first while you flail ineffectively).
  • OrventaOrventa Member Posts: 584 Mythical
    I'm just saying: do what you need to do for pvp but don't forget about pve. I want to be able to retain some survivability to take care of myself out in the wild with the guild skills I've invested time/lessons/credits in. I rely heavily on my defensive gems, Healing as my other primary only goes so far until I run low on empathy points and then I have to find random people to heal/buff just to get it back in green (when hunting/questing).

    I mean, 99% of Hallifax is Tessenchi anyway, I'm pretty sure I'm like the only old Institute member left aside from the Conclave :p 

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  • TekoraTekora Member Posts: 337 Gifted
    Orventa said:
    I'm just saying: do what you need to do for pvp but don't forget about pve. I want to be able to retain some survivability to take care of myself out in the wild with the guild skills I've invested time/lessons/credits in. I rely heavily on my defensive gems, Healing as my other primary only goes so far until I run low on empathy points and then I have to find random people to heal/buff just to get it back in green (when hunting/questing).

    I mean, 99% of Hallifax is Tessenchi anyway, I'm pretty sure I'm like the only old Institute member left aside from the Conclave :p 
    Hey, I still use Institute skills once in a while <<
  • FalaeronFalaeron Jolteon Member Posts: 1,663 Transcendent
    If we are to fix Institute with this SR then they will lose at least some of their defensive abilities.

    Healing will still be healing though. 
  • MoiMoi Member Posts: 1,164 Transcendent
    One thing to note is that while you can't have tankiness and great offense at the same time, the answer to that problem is right there in the problem statement: 'at the same time'.

    Suppose Harmonics was changed to work more like Nihilist/Celestialism investments, where you do CRYSTALSPIN <list of at least two gems> and then every N seconds a gem effect happens in the order spun, with passive gems doing nothing on their turn except eating N seconds to keep the passive effect going. Now it's suddenly a lot more strategic, because you don't want to just put up every single gem you have, since that means waiting 12N seconds for each gem effect to recur. For bashing you might do CRYSTALSPIN AMETHYST EMERALD TURQOISE; for influencing you'd like BERYL JADE, while for PVP you'd prefer something like RUBY ONYX or RUBY SAPPHIRE.

    AcceleratorGem, instead of putting up all the gems at once, would become the Scourge/Wrath option that makes two gems proc at once.

  • CyndarinCyndarin used Flamethrower! It was super effective. Member Posts: 4,508 Transcendent
    That's still problematic. Classes become problematic when they become so versatile that they can opt between high end damage or high end survival abilities. One of the previous issues with Researchers many many nerfs ago was they had both. One of the oldest complaints in the game is Celestines could (can?) bring both inquisition/absolve/judge and trueheal to the table. Just not necessarily at the same time due to power costs (delete refresh power). 

    Design wisely trends towards offense focus with some beneficial passives. Survivability is, ultimately, a frustrating and uninterested design concept. Old healing had that problem. 
  • MoiMoi Member Posts: 1,164 Transcendent
    That was more of a Trueheal problem than an abstract Offense vs Defense problem. Trueheal completely undoes the other side's offense for 10p, wasting however many actions the other side spend on killing that person. That very obviously has a much better action economy than spending a balance to abort your offense to get an affliction cured every N seconds and +1/6 mana regen. The prior Institute nerfs come from a paradigm where each researcher gets a dozen different passive effects and to balance that each effect necessarily has to be unimpressive.

    To draw a contrast, see Harmony - widely regarded as the middle of the road Monk Secondary - in which you pick 3 effects out of 15 to have up at once. Nobody complains that having access to 3/8 health and mana and ego regen and mantra wind and mantra prism all at the same time is OP, precisely because you can only have one of those effects up at once. So too can it be with Harmonics.

  • CyndarinCyndarin used Flamethrower! It was super effective. Member Posts: 4,508 Transcendent
    edited November 2017
    No worries, I don't think you necessarily need a toggle for a basic set of defensive skills most classes have active permanently in some form or another (see: Night Drink).

    I said "high end" which 1/6 mana regen wouldn't fall into. I guess I didn't make the connection that your intent was for the "tankiness" side to be made up of such minor buffs. My main point was that it's problematic if you have "great" offensive and defensive flexibility that you can toggle between, even for X balance/eq/power/etc. 
  • UshaaraUshaara Schrödinger's Traitor Member Posts: 1,264 Transcendent
    My own preference for Harmonics would be for a gated burst mechanic, so trying not to have anything too reliant on Aeonics since that's in for its own overhaul, and without going too far from current mechanics...

    I like the idea of a cascading failure (though however feasible it might be in practise, who knows...)

    So rather than having the gems having a timer that counts down, have gems spun around the target have a timer that charges to some limit at which point they can be overcharged. 

    So rough idea would then be...

    1) Spin gems around a target and have the cascade limited to a single researcher's gems by requiring a resonating target.

    2) Once enough time has elapsed such that a gem is charged, can attempt to initiate a cascade failure by spending X power to overcharge Y charged gems, which go into a brief overcharged state, rapidly afflicting/draining vitals/negating curing/whatever...

    3) IF (Condition Z AND remaining charged gems when overcharged state ends) -> the cascade continues to next gem/gems...  (or alternatively, each gem might have its own conditional prerequisite for becoming part of the cascade).

    4) ELSE -> cascade halts, crystalplex shatters, charges reset. Start cycle again.

    If timewarp/quake are staying, this could be where timewarp is rapidly delivered to enable a Timequake. If not, then if the cascade continues through say three stages, detonation/shattering of entire crystalplex kills the resonating target. 

    - Little reliance on Aeonics, though Aeonics may facilitate reaching whatever cascade continuation conditions are decided to be.
    - Rubies run-or-die mechanic replaced with disrupting the continuation of a cascade. 
    - If each gem has its own prerequisite, some flexibility in how to continue a cascade

    - Cascade continuation conditions = ???
    - Not a true insta.

  • EjderhaEjderha Member Posts: 175 Gifted
    At the risk of slight repetition, big fan of opportunity costs as balancing mechanisms. One of my first thoughts was to change the state of spun gems to be less binary. For example, each or most gems might have a CRYSTALSPIN <gem> PROXIMATE and CRYSTALSPIN <gen> DISTAL orbit (though I picture them more like electron valence levels) with different effects. Maybe proximate spins are more defensive effects and distal are more offensive. This introduces more tactical choices and strategies, as different circumstances and tertiary kill methods might desire different effects.

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