Author Topic: My thoughts on every special ability in Alliance  (Read 1103 times)

Offline Zetnus

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My thoughts on every special ability in Alliance
« on: January 24, 2018, 02:35:16 pm »
Background:
There has recently been talk of buffing some of the special abilities (those that you use with the 5 key) in PvE.  Specifically, people seek to reduce cooldowns and make some of the under-used abilities more useful.


I put together some thoughts on every single ability and how the currently perform, and whether a shorter cooldown is a good idea in my opinion.
Okay, so here is my overall take on the Alliance abilities as the currently stand:
(I apologize in advance for spelling mistakes – this was written in a hurry)


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Engineer abilities:

>Component disruption ability – I think it does work, but people generally don't bring it because it doesn't have a visible effect on your ship.  Could perhaps use a somewhat shorter cooldown – although not too short, since the AI enemies need quite a while to repair their ships anyway.  Maybe the real issue is that it only works in the direction you are looking, and people don't realize this.

>Salvo neutralizer ability – the duration of the shield is fine, but the cooldown could probably be halved.  It's underwhelming because of its short duration versus the long cooldown.  A radius increase may also be in order, so that larger ships are adequately protected.

>Static turret ability- It doesn't kill stuff.  But its role at the moment is rather to distract enemies for 90 sec, and if properly placed, it does the job.  This can help save the base, on defense for example, by distracting the boss long enough for it to be killed.  Given the rather long duration of the turret itself, I would oppose a cooldown reduction.

>Combustion dampener ability – it's underused, because people prefer the mechanized rebuild.  It's more useful to be able to save your ship when everything is broken, than when everything is on fire.  Could consider doubling the duration, so that it matches the buff ability.  Or perhaps reduce the cooldown.  Do note that it reduces damage taken by 15%, which is rather undervalued in my opinion.

>Mechanized rebuild ability – basically a panic button.  And as such it does its job quite well.  Also note that it acts like a "bonus failsafe", effectively countering some damager taken for the next 30 sec.  I think part of the reason this is heavily used is because it unlocks early, but also because it's a very solid ability and is the one most likely to save you in a tight spot.

>Enhanced Dynabuff ability – in my opinion, THE best overall special in the game.  It buffs every components on the ship by more than the standard buff, and the whole thing lasts 6 seconds.  Honestly it's OP as it is.  Having one on board can make the difference between shredding through the boss and not being able to kill it at all.  If we were looking for balance, this would be one to nerf.  On the other hand, hell would be a lot harder without this ability.


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Gunner Abilities:

(in general, the cooldowns are more noticeably long, because the abilities themselves have a shorter duration than engie abilities)

>Concussive blast – next to useless.  Occasionally you might damage ships by pushing them into terrain, or mines, but usually the results are underwhelming.  Also, it doesn't really work on bosses.  This one could use a major cooldown reduction.  If you could use it say every 45-60 sec, it *might* actually be worth bringing as a way of pushing back the dreaded gat-mortar ships when they get too close.

>Proximal detonation – is pretty gimmicky.  The issue being that it causes rounds to detonate *as soon* as an enemy is in the potential AoE radius.  So you can easily end up sacrificing damage that would have otherwise happened if the detonation happened closer to the enemy.  Thus the only use is to help people with horrible aim, who would otherwise miss entirely.  To make it relevant, it needs a shorter cooldown, and perhaps a +X% AoE damage.

>Cataclysm rounds – probably the top-tier gunner ability.  When it is active, you will kill anything you can hit.  I would say in top tier Alliance play (ie. hell mode), this ability competes with the advanced dynabuff ability.  It offers vastly more damage, but only for a shorter time, and doesn't have the benefit of buffing the non-gun components.  The cooldown is long (as it is for all abilities), but if it's reduced, it shouldn't be reduced too much.

>Lighting draw ability – a solid ability that unlocks early.  I often bring it, although it's not truly the best gunner ability.  It's cool in that it can give you a slightly ridiculous number of shots when coupled with extended magazine.  Glorious in the Hwacha for example.  Also can get you a second mine or harpoon (useless, but fun to try in testing).  Overall this ability is alright, because every non-destroyed gun benefits from it – even if no one is currently shooting it.  So the benefit that be reaped and then stored and used when needed.  Also note that with proper timing, it can be used to get a super quick reload – ie. fire the Hwacha, activate the ability, the gun reloads super fast, fire the massive clip, the gun reloads super fast once more.   Despite everything positive I have said, a cooldown reduction could be implemented to allow it to be used more frequently.

>Mine ejection ability – A force to be reckoned with.  Anyone who has run into their own mines can attest to that.  As with all mines, positioning is key, and improper use can be used for trolling.  Since the mines last 2 min, I cannot support any cooldown reduction for this ability.  The reality is that it doesn't need that.  The mines are extremely potent and will kill anything that runs into them.  The boss will lose one stage and probably be disabled for some time.

>Gigaton blaster ability – most often used to destroy the armor on the boss.  As such it does its job, but it could use a major cooldown reduction.  Being able to melt the boss' amour once pales in comparison to doubling gun damage for 18 seconds (because the latter helps you get through all 3 stages of the boss, while the former only helps you get through one stage).


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Pilot abilities:

>Oversurge ram ability – it's good, it works, but it could use a shorter cooldown.  After you ram, you have an awfully long wait time to use it again.

>Engine stabilization ability – I personally think it's not that useful, but I do see a fair number of people bring it along.  It does help in speedruns to burn moonshine for a solid 15 sec without any ill effects.  I suppose it serves as an alright entry-level ability, that any pilot can find a use for with zero risk of killing themselves in the process.  If the cooldown is as long as all the others (I think it is), then it could probably be reduced so that this ability can be used more often.

>Tar bomb ability – the tar is extremely potent (and will wreck your own ship if you go backwards).  It can be used on the boss to good effect, and on groups of enemies.  That being said, normal tar is decent as well, so there isn't really a great niche for this ability.  With a shorter cooldown, people could afford to being it *instead* of tar.

>Air horn ability – you might laugh, but it has legitimate uses – specifically in infiltration (to draw fire away from the VIP).  It can also be used on defense, for the same purpose (draw fire from the base).  In other modes it is mainly a gimmick, although, in a well-coordinated multi-ship lobby, it could be used for higher-level strategies on other modes too (drawing fire to a tanky ship and away from a fragile kill ship).  It's useless in single ship, but that is intrinsic.  Seeing as it lasts for 2 min, it should NOT be given a cooldown reduction.   It's lifetime is rather determined by how long your ship survives after activation.  If the cooldown is short, a VIP escort ship could just constantly use it, die, and use it immediately after respawning.  The way it is currently, you have some benefit from trying to survive after activating the ability (the benefit being that you serve as a longer distraction).

>Enhanced envelope ability – this one has a shorter cooldown than most (all?) other abilities.  As such, it can be used as a hydrogen-replacement.  I think it's in a good place, and serves to show what can be achieved by shorter cooldowns (see my thoughts on the tar bomb).  It can replace a pilot tool with a much better version that you can't use as often.  Like many of the pilot abilities, you can kill yourself by using this improperly (ie. if the balloon is broken, or breaks while the ability is active, you will drop like a stone).

>Rushing Drift ability – this one lasts reasonably long, and is fun (and also dangerous) to use.  It can actually be used quite effectively to traverse large distances in short time.  And overall it's decently long duration and very noticeable effect means that the cooldown is less on an issue here.  Although I suppose it could be reduced without too many concerns being raised.

Summary for the pilot abilities:
So what is the OP pilot ability?  None.  People bring ram ability for rams or quick and controlled speed boosts.  People bring the engine ability if they don't know what to bring.  Let's be honest, air horn and tar aren't used that much but they aren't that bad either (although airhorn did see plenty of use in the 4-ship infiltration lobbies, during the first Hell event).  Enhanced envelope is underrated.  It's the one I use be default, but it's by no means OP.  The drift ability is used pretty frequently, but its game changing speed and map traversal boosts are negated by the serious risk of damaging yourself.  So not really OP either.


Overall summary:
In general I would give those abilities that are least used or are least useful the greatest cooldown reductions, while leaving top-tier abilities, or abilities with very long durations at their current cooldowns.  Buffing the some of the abilities themselves may also be in order, and the weakest ones should be prioritized when it comes to that.


Offline Zetnus

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Re: My thoughts on every special ability in Alliance
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2018, 03:13:49 pm »
Re: the Salvo Neutralizer ability:
After some testing in practice mode, we have determined that the shield is rubbish.  It breaks if it takes too much damage.  And "too much" is not very much at all - a Gatling with normal rounds will still have ~32 shots after breaking the shield.  Not only that, the top and bottom of a Spire are not protected when the shield is positioned in the middle of the Spire.  This ability needs some serious fixes.