Buccaneers and PvE

AuthorMessage
Ensign
Aug 17, 2012
29
Boy, has this one been on my mind for a few weeks.

I first played the game in 2012. After enjoying it for a month, I ultimately left after getting fed up with Cool Ranch. This really shouldn't surprise anyone who played the game back then; Cool Ranch was a nightmare (White Buffaloons, anyone?). I started playing again recently and I can honestly say that it's a good and fun game. But playing through it as a Buccaneer has really shown me how imbalanced it is.

The first big issue is essentially in how the Buccaneer works. You become a lumbering behemoth and stand in the spotlight. You dish out moderate damage and take tons. Theoretically, it's a sound plan. But it doesn't work. Loud doesn't work. Because my Musketeers and Swashbucklers always put out more damage, I can't make the enemy focus their attention on me. While I may have the armor to tank the enemy, I can't force them to hit me.

Then there's the second issue; Peter Quint is a better Buccaneer than your pirate is. No, that's not an exaggeration. Blade Storm, Relentless 2, Vengeance Strike. Whale's Might, Brutal Charge, Super Strike. He has everything your pirate does, and can chain attacks better. This shouldn't be the case; companions should be a taste of the class, right? They shouldn't be the leading indicator of what that class is. And it's not as if Peter Quint is strong enough to warrant a nerf. He's not over powered by any stretch of the imagination.

Third, because you don't have a wide variety in companions, losing even one is inexcusable. With every companion that becomes wounded, you lose a larger part of your team than every other class. I can't replace Bonnie Anne with a comparable Musketeer, letting Old Scratch fall means I lose my only reliable source of AoE, El Toro can only dodge so many attacks in a row. But no other class has this same problem to the same degree. Swashbucklers can slow enemies and hide their teammates for a safe retreat. Witchdoctors get a ton of buffs, debuffs, and summons to handle stressful situations. Musketeers can place high-damage traps that often times finish off pursuing enemies and can (in some rare cases) place a barrier down to stop the pursuit altogether. And Privateers have a bunch of heals that scale very well with them.

But Buccaneers don't get that. There is no "get out of jail free" card for the Buccaneer's companions. I can make myself tankier or charge into an enemy and reduce their accuracy (which sounds like a poor design choice considering that you want to get hit as a Buccaneer to use Vengeance Strike). And I can't really rely on heals I get from equipment; I'm not as "Spooky" as Witchdoctors and Privateers, my heals do considerably less work. If anything, it only removes a single attack that the enemy did. Not one enemy's turn, a single attack.

With so few characters left, I'll continue this in a reply.

Ensign
Aug 17, 2012
29
Cont'd

While I've listed most of the major problems in PvE that Buccaneers face, I can't say for certain that I have a definite solution. The update to Blade Storm was definitely helpful, though that really only changed Buccaneers' offensive capabilities (and indirectly lowered the survivability of many of the squishier companions). I can say for certain that forcing the AI to attack the Buccaneer pirate at all times, or ever half of the time, would end horribly. Any area that happens to have a lot of Witchdoctors or Musketeers would be incredibly difficult for Buccaneers to get through (Cooper's Roost would become a problem again).

Balancing a tanky unit in any game, whether it be an RPG, RTS, FPS, or even an MMO, requires a lot of fine-tuning. Often times there is far more reward in quickly eliminating the unit that does the most damage (El Toro, Kobe, etc.) first. There needs to be a reason to actively attack something that's difficult to kill. If anything, attacking the Buccaneer first puts the AI in a worse position simply because they'll receive a bombardment of Vengeance Strikes that would allow Swashbuckler companions to quickly clean up. It makes sense that they're not going after me.

The best idea I have to "encourage" the AI to attack the Buccaneer would be to have an "aura" around Buccaneer that damages adjacent enemy units at the end of the Buccaneer's turn (this would probably require some reduction of weapon damage on the class, however). As for defending your companions, the only thing I've really come up with is replacing Loud with Cheap Shot.

I'm completely aware of the difficulty in balancing tanks in a game. All it takes is a little too much offensive power coupled with their massive defense to create something entirely overpowered. But you can't play this game without companions, and currently Buccaneers are under the threat of losing a companion on the first or second turn.

I know it's a massive wall of text, but thank you.

Gunner's Mate
Jun 22, 2011
208
Ensign
Aug 17, 2012
29
I thought that I might add to this that Ratbeard (the companion, not our friendly, neighborhood dev) represents what a tank really is.

Ratbeard doesn't have perfect, long combos that utterly tear apart enemies, that's something for Swashbucklers. Ratbeard has a healthy amount of armor and health. He can take a hit and keep on moving. But he can also diffuse a stressful situation. He can physically remove the enemy and punish them for attacking his friends. He has the ability to spread out his damage to surrounding enemies when he's about to be overwhelmed as well. He's not going to burst someone down from 100 to 0, but he will definitely make you regret ignoring him in favor of another unit.

Developer
Mr. Swampy (may I call you Seadog?)--

Based on feedback during the Test Realm, we tweaked the AI again with this update.

Let me know if you have better luck grabbing and holding aggro with your Buccaneer.

A very simple test case might look something like this:

If your Buccaneer has dealt some damage to the enemy, then the AI should not be running around your Buccaneer to get to your other companions, even if they are in reach, unless they think they can kill the other target in the next hit.

Ensign
Aug 17, 2012
29
Ratbeard on Sep 8, 2014 wrote:
Mr. Swampy (may I call you Seadog?)--

Based on feedback during the Test Realm, we tweaked the AI again with this update.

Let me know if you have better luck grabbing and holding aggro with your Buccaneer.

A very simple test case might look something like this:

If your Buccaneer has dealt some damage to the enemy, then the AI should not be running around your Buccaneer to get to your other companions, even if they are in reach, unless they think they can kill the other target in the next hit.
You may call me anything as long as I can identify who you're talking to!

It was actually due to me not noticing a difference in AI aggro after the update that I made this post. This has actually led to me believe that the amount of damage dealt (or perhaps the number of hits landed) is causing the enemies to run away from my pirate (because Peter Quint, Kobe Yojimbo, and El Toro are all capable of pulling aggro quite well and coincidentally chain long attacks). My assumption was fortified once I realized that Old Scratch and Bonnie would almost never be targeted less they happened to get lucky and hit the enemy multiple times.

Ultimately the point of this post was to, one, bring attention to the issues I've noticed while running through the game that I don't often see other classes complaining about often and, two, help find solutions to the problem that wouldn't require months and months of constant work. I completely understand that it's no good to lose a lot of development time trying to fix something. Still, I can't help but feel like the issue is just in the AI itself and can only be fixed by interacting with it in a creative way that takes advantage of how it works. This is why one of my solutions was Cheap Shot.

And thank you for taking the time to look at this. I wouldn't be surprised if Loud has been one of the most annoying issues the development team has had to deal with.

Gunner's Mate
Jun 22, 2011
208
First of all, I would just like to say that those posts were the most civilized and most accurate posts I have ever seen. Second of all, I think Cheap Shot is, well... I personally have never had it activate. Mobs never actually run away from me. Third of all, what if, as I stated in my linked post, Buccaneers got Castle?

Ensign
Aug 17, 2012
29
AlphaWolf02 on Sep 8, 2014 wrote:
First of all, I would just like to say that those posts were the most civilized and most accurate posts I have ever seen. Second of all, I think Cheap Shot is, well... I personally have never had it activate. Mobs never actually run away from me. Third of all, what if, as I stated in my linked post, Buccaneers got Castle?
Well, thank you!

The idea behind having Cheap Shot 3 on the Buccaneer is so that when an enemy tries to disengage and run towards a ranged companion, there would be a chance for the Buccaneer to halt them in place. It would essentially be a form of crowd control to stop entire groups from attacking one companion. It probably wouldn't fix the situation altogether, but it would definitely lessen the risk aimed towards their companions. This is just part of the reason why Ratbeard is such a good support to your team; he is a living form of crowd control.

As for giving Castle (or a similar ability) to Buccaneers, it would certainly make the Buccaneer class have more sustainability. I don't know if it would really help with companion situation, though. You would have to hold them right up against your pirate, which mean's they're right in Blade Storm range. It would definitely be a drastic enough change to warrant a Test Realm update first, just to see how well the ability interacts in fights from levels 1 to 65.

Edit: Mistakenly said Live Realm instead of Test Realm

Gunner's Mate
Jun 22, 2011
208
True, true...What does Ratbeard have that we don't? Repel Boarders! Now that would make Buccaneers a bit more powerful, that and actually having the most health...

Ensign
Aug 17, 2012
29
AlphaWolf02 on Sep 10, 2014 wrote:
True, true...What does Ratbeard have that we don't? Repel Boarders! Now that would make Buccaneers a bit more powerful, that and actually having the most health...
I can't help but feel Repel Boarders would give a little too much unneeded offensive capabilities to the Buccaneer.

But seriously, keep going with the suggestions. The more discussion we generate, the more likely we are to stumble upon a solution.

Developer
AlphaWolf02 on Sep 10, 2014 wrote:
True, true...What does Ratbeard have that we don't? Repel Boarders! Now that would make Buccaneers a bit more powerful, that and actually having the most health...
What does Ratbeard have that we don't?

A peg-leg and an absolutely angelic singing voice.

Gunner's Mate
Jun 22, 2011
208
So, so far we have Cheap Shot, Repel Boarders, Castle, a damage aura and an improved Loud in terms of ideas. Buccaneers currently have Turn the Tide, Hold the Line and Vengeance Strike. What else is there in terms of epics? Maybe a Buccaneer version of Elusive where when the Bucc is under 50% health, they get extra accuracy and armor....

Gunner's Mate
Jun 22, 2011
208
Ratbeard on Sep 10, 2014 wrote:
What does Ratbeard have that we don't?

A peg-leg and an absolutely angelic singing voice.
With all the running and fighting our Pirates do I wouldn't be surprised if the difference is soon to be naught but the voice. Even that is...ah...questionable...

Ensign
Aug 17, 2012
29
Ratbeard on Sep 10, 2014 wrote:
What does Ratbeard have that we don't?

A peg-leg and an absolutely angelic singing voice.
I dunno, Ratbeard. If my shower was a recording studio I'd have an album out right now.

Captain
Dec 01, 2012
607
Ratbeard on Sep 10, 2014 wrote:
What does Ratbeard have that we don't?

A peg-leg and an absolutely angelic singing voice.
So far I've only heard Ratbeard sing in the shower.And he showers...well...I've only seen him go in once in the past two years and that required,me,Bonnie,Bones McGee(he's surprisingly strong and muscular,despite not having much strength or muscle) pushing him into a tub.And now we're working on Catbeard...

Dread Pirate
Jun 17, 2013
2699
Ratbeard on Sep 10, 2014 wrote:
What does Ratbeard have that we don't?

A peg-leg and an absolutely angelic singing voice.
Rising up, back on the path,
Did his run at the Towah.
Went the distance, now he's back with a laugh,
Just a Rat and his will to survive.
....................
So many times he's thought in the past,
"I'd trade this hook in for some digits.
It's hard to grip, the hilt of a sword,
When I'm munching on some Cheddar."
.....................
It's the lost eye of Ratty,
It's the peg for a leg.
Rising up in the Towah to his rivals.
And he's more crafty than ol' MacGuyver,
Stalks his cheese in the night,
Like a limping, half-seeing.....one-handed tiger.
......................
(dun, dun, dun, dun....dun, dun, dun)
The voice of an angel
(dun, dun, dun, dun....dun, dun, dun)
The voice of an angel
(dun, dun, dun, dun....dun, dun)
The voice of an angel

Bosun
Feb 25, 2012
324
AlphaWolf02 on Sep 10, 2014 wrote:
True, true...What does Ratbeard have that we don't? Repel Boarders! Now that would make Buccaneers a bit more powerful, that and actually having the most health...
gunpowder. he has lots and lots of gunpowder.

Gunner's Mate
Jun 22, 2011
208
ValkoorTheVictorio... on Sep 12, 2014 wrote:
Rising up, back on the path,
Did his run at the Towah.
Went the distance, now he's back with a laugh,
Just a Rat and his will to survive.
....................
So many times he's thought in the past,
"I'd trade this hook in for some digits.
It's hard to grip, the hilt of a sword,
When I'm munching on some Cheddar."
.....................
It's the lost eye of Ratty,
It's the peg for a leg.
Rising up in the Towah to his rivals.
And he's more crafty than ol' MacGuyver,
Stalks his cheese in the night,
Like a limping, half-seeing.....one-handed tiger.
......................
(dun, dun, dun, dun....dun, dun, dun)
The voice of an angel
(dun, dun, dun, dun....dun, dun, dun)
The voice of an angel
(dun, dun, dun, dun....dun, dun)
The voice of an angel
This is probably some bizarre (yet hilarious) pun off an old TV show or something....

Dread Pirate
Jun 17, 2013
2699
AlphaWolf02 on Sep 13, 2014 wrote:
This is probably some bizarre (yet hilarious) pun off an old TV show or something....
Ancient......very ancient-- older than dirt itself!

But yes, it's actually an iconic American song that has been used in numerous movies and shows.......even newer ones and has given many beasts of the 80's fantastically false hope in thinking they can achieve insurmountable odds!

And in fact a certain not-so ancient singer by the name of Katy Perry has a Roar-ing song that shares some of the very same lyrics as the relic I am referencing Just look up "Eye of the Tiger" and who knows, it just may ring a bell-- "Yo Adrian, I did, I did Adrian, I did" (Yeah that's really old too)

Man I guess I am getting old........nearly down for the count.

Bosun
Feb 25, 2012
324
AlphaWolf02 on Sep 13, 2014 wrote:
This is probably some bizarre (yet hilarious) pun off an old TV show or something....
its a parody of 'eye of the tiger'

Ensign
Mar 15, 2013
7
AlphaWolf02 on Sep 13, 2014 wrote:
This is probably some bizarre (yet hilarious) pun off an old TV show or something....
Its a play on the song "Eye of the Tiger" most famous from one of the Rocky movies.