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Thread: I have discovered why I hate Frontliners

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb I have discovered why I hate Frontliners

    WARNING: INCREDIBLY LONG RANT THREAD. CONTINUE AT YOUR OWN RISK.

    This train of thought started with a simple premise of a salty pub player: “I don’t like playing Frontliners.” I play Fill like a good person, and since everyone loves playing Firepower I usually find myself with the expected two (sometimes three ) Firepowers on my team. This usually forces me to either play Support (which I’m honestly okay with, as I play Support in a lot of other multiplayer games {because no one else will pick them}) or Frontline, which bores me to death. I was okay with it for awhile but over 300+ hours I’ve grown to hate playing Frontline…
    Except for two particular Frontliners: Garrison, and Phaedra. I jokingly refer to Phaedra as my “waifu”, but there is some genuine love for the character in my soul. Her entire ability set just… clicks with me. She has a very oppressing default attack and dash that can hit through walls, a huge AoE slow that buffs up her damage for the proceeding turn if she can keep chase, probably one of the best self-sustain abilities for a Frontliner, which actively promotes good prediction on both ends and playing on the frontlines as a Frontliner, and an AoE ultimate that forces the enemy to endure the wrath of the abomination.
    Garrison, on the other hand, feels like a very underwhelming “meh” character to me, but at least he isn’t boring. The fantasy of being a rampaging “one man army” cyborg does roll into Garrison’s play style of having a good array of close and long-range damage, a powerful “Let me play coach!” dash that puts you right into the thick of the fray, and the chip missiles. Good god the chip missiles. Probably the most useless ability that I have the most fun using, in all honesty. (Literally cheered when I got the “Enough for Everybody” taunt. :3) The one thing I don’t like about Garrison is his ultimate, which I kinda just go ”Okay” when I get and then proceed to either use to Kill Secure or deal decent damage to a few people in an AoE.

    But thinking about those two connections got me thinking… Why don’t I like Gara’s ult?
    Because it doesn’t fit the rest of his loadout. All of Garrison’s abilities are designed to have him dealing decent damage to everyone in a general area, focusing the key target as he needs to but also being able to shift on a whim to deal with others nearby. His ultimate… is a long-ranged AoE nuke that heals?
    I thought about this some more and came up on a huge realization: “I don’t hate Frontliners. They’re just all broken! (Except for Phaedra)” This may be a big claim to make, but let me expand it a little more.

    Every Frontliner has at least one ability that makes no sense with the rest of their loadout. (Except Phaedra) Yes. every, single, one. (Except Phaedra) Don't believe me? Let's take them in alphabetical order.

    Asana
    Asana seems to be designed as a "middle of the fight damage reflector" Frontliner. What do I mean? Well...
    Whirling Blade deals damage to everyone in a close-range AoE of Asana.
    Rebounding Charge allows Asana to quickly reposition herself into the middle of the fight by strategically moving around the environment. This is reflected in the fact that the dash auto-follows the target hit.
    Retribution reflects damage dealt to Asana while giving her a shield.
    Guardian Angel allows Asana to quickly move to an ally who's being focused and deal damage to all the enemies around them.
    Now you may have probably noticed that I omitted one ability. That's because this ability is the outlier. The black sheep in Asana's kit. That ability is...
    Stand and Fight! Which allows Asana to... single out an enemy and stop them from moving?
    This doesn't fit her kit in the slightest! The rest of her kit is designed around being in the middle of the fight, and this ability is specifically designed to move her away from the fight? What?
    But it doesn't end there. Let's move to the next Frontliner...

    Brynn
    Brynn seems to be designed to deal damage in a straight line while also taking less damage from that straight line. For example...
    Impale... deals damage in a straight line.
    Aegis negates damage from a given direction.
    Flight of the Valkyrie quickly allows Brynn to move herself into a position to block damage from a given direction.
    Spear of Hyperion causes all enemies in a straight line to stay where they are, allowing Brynn (and her team) to hit them on the proceeding turn.
    But much like Asana there's one ability that doesn't fit this play-style in the slightest.
    Soaring Shield allows Brynn to... damage people from behind corners and walls while also stopping them from moving?
    Wait... wouldn't you want them to move towards you? (Preferably in front of your shield?) Why would you stop the enemy from moving where your area of influence is? Again: another ability that makes no sense for the character's kit.

    Moving on: I've already touched on this character, but...
    Garrison
    A "rampaging cyborg" who deals damage to his prime target and also deals consistent damage to everyone. He has...
    Piston Punch, an ability which deals high damage to the closest target and less damage to nearby targets.
    Hand Cannon - Basically Piston Punch but ranged with a slow. (Deals max damage and slows closest target, chips enemies behind them)
    Missile Barrage, a huge AoE chip to up to 3 enemies. (You should really be able to hit all 4 enemies with Gara's missiles, but I digress.)
    Heavy Metal, a repositioning ability that deals damage and CCs enemies near the landing zone.
    And then there's his ultimate
    Shockpod, which like I said...
    is a long-ranged AoE nuke that heals?
    Again: Completely divided from the rest of his loadout.

    Phaedra... is perfect. I'll discuss why later.

    Rampart
    Ye ol "moving cover", though and through. His abilities include:
    Radamantium Fury (who wrote this?) which allows Rampart to deal damage to nearby enemies, dealing more damage to enemies who can be caught by both hits from the attack.
    Bullwark, his bread and butter, allows him to block all damage from a given direction, in a much wider AoE than Brynn.
    Unstoppable Force allows him to move into position to shield and not get knocked away from his shielded allies.
    Aegis Protocol is an "in case of emergency" button that allows Rampart to quickly defend an ally he's out of position to save.
    And then for some reason he has
    Fusion Lance, an ability that pulls the enemy... towards you (and your allies)?
    Uhhh... if your entire objective is to keep your allies safe, wouldn't it being completely counter-productive to bring the enemy towards you? Don't tell me that "you can pull them away from your allies", because the rest of Rampart's loadout is designed around being with his allies.

    Rask... is a very big issue which we save for last.

    Titus
    A "nomadic warrior" who seems entirely based around rushing down an enemy with his huge health pool and damage capabilities.
    Overhead Slam deals damage in a decently long line in front of Titus while doing considerably less on the sides.
    Berserker's Charge allows Titus to dash a ludicrously long distance, slows on hit, and has its cool-down lowered when you hit an enemy. (Implying that it's supposed to be used to quickly reposition yourself by an enemy.)
    Dirty Fighting reveals the target so Titus can chase them better, and also has mods to either Haste Titus or Slow the enemy.
    Deathblow CCs everyone in a huge AoE, allowing Titus to pick and chose who he wants to chase.
    And then for some reason he has
    Thundering Roar which... weakens in an AoE?

    So that's everyone but Rask and Phaedra. As you can see everyone of these characters has an ability which I feel doesn't fit the rest of their kit. Now, I mentioned that Phaedra is perfect while Rask is probably the worst offender of this problem. Seeing as most people like good news last, I'll start with why Rask is the worst offender of this problem. Simply put: he has two abilities that make no sense with the rest of his kit.
    Rask
    Rask seems to be designed to be a huge AoE chip damage Freelancer who can do more to those who are closer.
    Maul deals damage in a huge cone in front of Rask, dealing more damage (and slowing, if you have the mod which 90% of Rask players use) those who are closer.
    Pain Train allows Rask to quickly reposition himself into melee range, either for his... well melee, or for his ult...
    Uncontrollable Fury a free action "bonus damage" AoE that lingers, dealing damage to anyone in the area on proceeding turns.
    Now like I said above Rask has two abilities which make no sense for the rest of his kit. Through logical deduction you have probably figured what these two abilities are:
    Upheaval makes no sense for Rask. Rask wants enemies to be close to him: why would he have a long-ranged throw?
    Augmented Regeneration is easily one of the worst abilities in the game, and it also makes no sense on Rask. All it does is heal, and it heals very little at that! Why would a character who wants to be in the middle of the fight have such a weaksauce heal?!
    These issues put Rask's kit in a very weird position, and makes Rask very difficult to play without external help from the players on your team who are playing support. This is why Rask + Helio is such an infamous combo. Rask's loadout complements Helio's Black Hole and Ult nicely, and his shield allows Rask to negate his damage intake and still receive maximum energy from taking damage. This is also why Rask is easily one of my least favorite Frontliners to play, and dare I say one of my least favorite Freelancers to play in general.

    Now on to Phaedra. As I said before I believe Phaedra is designed perfectly, and this isn't because I: love her design and personality, have 26/50 unlocks for her, am level 10 as her (to put this into perspective my highest level is 13 on PuP), and have a shrine to Phaedra in my basement.
    Phaedra
    is designed to be a constant menace to the enemy, and everything about her design reflects this, right down to her title as "the Abomination". All of her abilities tie in perfectly to dealing constant damage to the enemy and keeping them close to do so.
    Seismic Slam deals damage through cover.
    Putrid Spray slows the enemy, and allows Phaedra to deal more damage on the next turn, regardless of cover, if she keeps pressure on the enemy.
    Mending Swarm allows Phaedra to tank the enemy's fire and keep pressure on them without the need to retreat and heal. (Even down to the fact that it's a free action, therefor meaning that she can either attack or chase at full speed after using it.)
    Juggernaut allows Phaedra to dash through walls and slow all enemies that she hits, which can lead to more pressure being applied in the following turn(s).
    Lair, which forces all enemies to stay within a specific range of Phaedra, allowing her to deal damage to them on more agreeable terms.
    All these abilities complement each-other and allow Phaedra to do her job. None of these abilities are out of place. None of them make me wonder "how am I supposed to use this to do my main job?"


    So that's my rant about the Frontliners, but of course a bunch of complaints with no solution doesn't do anyone any help. Do I think all these characters need a rework? Of course not! But I do believe the abilities I pointed out need changes. I don't have an idea for all of them, but I can give still propose a few ideas.
    Asana should have something that forces the enemy to keep close to her. Considering that PuP is the only character with a "force follow" ability (Walkies), reworking this ability into a short-range, no damage AoE disable for Asana (IE a taunt) could work really well and allow Asana to do her job better. Alternatively she could get another ability to keep her alive in the middle of a fight (Titus' shout?), but between her shield and another survivability ability Asana might become too strong.
    Brynn needs a way to move enemies into her area of effectiveness. Her ultimate keeps them in that area, but I think an ability that could potentially force an enemy to follow another enemy (a fear mechanic maybe? Or perhaps a bolas that tethers two enemies together and makes one chase the other? ) to make them move into Brynn's effective area would work really well for her kit.
    Garrison's kit already feels fine but his ult feels... off. Therefor I propose something simple that could also make the "one man army" "super powered war suit" fantasy more upfront. Make Garrison's ultimate upgrade his other abilities! In a similar fashion to Heimerdinger from League of Legends, Garrison's ultimate could make the next ability he uses super-charged, giving it bonus effects! I don't know what this super-charged effect should be (I don't want it to just be a raw damage boost :/ I do honestly think that some of Gara's 3-point mods could make good "supercharged" effects, such as the rooting dash or the double charged missiles) but I do think this general idea does make a lot of sense for Garrison's character and game-play. (I do also see a lot of potential mods for this ability, such as "-1 to all ability cool-downs", "Might/Haste/Energized(?) until [next attack/end-of-{X}-turn]")
    Rampart... Just give him Rask's throw instead of a pull. It makes much more sense for Rampart to go "STAY OVER THERE" and toss enemies away as opposed to going "GET OVER HERE" and pulling the enemy towards him (and his team).
    Rask... needs a rework, which I will discuss in the next paragraph.
    Titus could work fine with Rampart's (or PuP's?) hook, but does need an ability to give himself some self-sustain. An idea that would allow "Thundering Roar" to still be a Thundering Roar would be if the ability became a single-target ability that caused the target to deal zero damage to Titus specifically. Along with keeping to the fantasy of the character it would also allow Titus to keep to his game-play style of chasing down a specific enemy without being blasted down by that enemy's high damage. (Since you'll probably be chasing a Firepower, and they'll probably deal more damage than you. :V)

    Now I mention that Rask needs a rework in my eyes, and this is because a lot of his kit conflicts with its self. There are two ways to go about reworking Rask: either as the “consistent damage and disable” that I say he’s currently designed as, or as the “rage beast” “I must be harmed to do harm” character he’s designed as lore-wise.
    If we’re going for Constant Damage Rask I’d like to see the following changes:
    Energy Gain on taking damage removed. All ability energy gains increased. – Honestly no character other than Orion, Rampart (when he shields), and Phaedra (when she Mending Swarms) should gain energy from being damaged. Being damaged shouldn’t be rewarded unless your character is based entirely on taking damage (like Orion) or has an ability that is specifically designed to make you get hit. (like Rampart or Phaedra) Rask’s character design if we go for this proposed “constant damage” design does not promote taking damage. Therefore, I think this tacked-on gimmick of a mechanic should be removed from Rask as a whole, with his regular energy gains increased to compensate for the potentially slower ult time.
    Replace Augmented Regeneration with Titus’ current “Thundering Roar”. (Call it something like “Crippling Fear” or “Unchained Terror” to keep with Rask’s theme) – No literally. Just give him Titus’ current shout. Give it all the same mechanics, all the same mods, and possibly (to fit his theme and playstyle) give him the following 3 point mod: Complete Terror – Slows all enemies hit. Perhaps a little overpowered, but if it was changed to instead be something like “slows all nearby enemies hit” (“nearby” being around Orion Quantum Core range) it could work very well for this proposed game-play style.
    Upheaval now causes a slow instead of a knock-back. (Can use similar names to the ones I proposed for new “Rask Roar”) – Keep all the same mods (Affects all enemies, deals additional damage, more energy gainz) but change Fling into a raw +range. (possibly make it +2 range to compensate for the lost NB distance increase) Rask could also gain a 3 point mod that turns the slow into a Root or a Pull (similar to Rampart’s pull), or he could even get a mod that allows him to slow through Unstoppable, making him a good counter to characters with built-in unstoppable like Rampart and Orion.

    Alternatively, if we’re going for a Damage Reflector Rask I’d like to see the following changes:
    Augmented Regeneration replaced with Tol-Ren’s Shield. (Lol I don’t know what the ability is called.) – For those of you who don’t know the new character “Tol-Ren” is going to be receiving an ability that allows him to shield himself and then deal more damage with his next attack. If Rask had a similar ability (perhaps with more shielding and less damage) it would make a lot of sense for his character.
    Make Upheaval a force-follow. – Before anything: can you imagine how awesome it would be if Rask could physically grab an opponent and carry them off somewhere to punch them in the face?! That would be insane! But on topic: this makes a lot more sense if Rask was designed to force the enemy to follow him with this "damage reflector" mechanic in mind. They would have to either fight him or run.
    Alternative ability idea, focused more on tanking: Replace an ability with a "damage black hole" ability. – What I mean is this: Give Rask an ability which shields himself, but also causes all shots that are fired within a radius of Rask to be redirected to him. This would synergize directly with his energy gain upon taking damage mechanic, and would also allow Rask to play the "Frontliner" role (of protecting his allies) a lot better than he currently does. Mods could include more shielding, more energy gain, healing for a percentage of damage taken (similar to Orion's "Rebuild" mod for Fate Transfer) and perhaps some abilities similar to my proposed Titus shout for Rask, like a Might for allies or a Weaken/Slow for enemies?

    So that was my rant on Frontliners and the changes I want to see done. If you want a tl;dr of this:
    >Every Frontliner has an ability that doesn't make sense with the rest of their kit.
    >These abilities need to be reworked.
    >Rask as a whole is the most problematic, and needs to be reworked to give him a proper game-play style.
    >Phaedra is completely fine. :3

    Do I think my proposed changes will solve all the problems with Frontliners? No. Do I think my ideas are perfect? Certainly not. They definitely need proper balancing to see if they're overpowered or underpowered. I do however think that all these changes would make the Frontliner roster much more impactful and fun to play without sacrificing their strength or making them too powerful.
    Of course, these are all just ideas. I simply want to bring them up to encourage discussion in the community, and possibly some thoughts from Trion and the Atlas Reactor team.

    Thank you for reading my stupidly long post. Love you all. <3

  2. #2
    Pretty much disagree with everything here.

    Also, the one FL that you think is fine is the one considered too good by most of the community.

    Also, at the end of the day... gameplay > lore every single time.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vostok View Post
    Also, at the end of the day... gameplay > lore every single time.
    It's not lore over game-play. It's a loadout that actually synergizes with its self as opposed to having a randomly tacked-on ability that conflicts with the rest of the character's abilities.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by TigerKirby215 View Post
    unless your character is based entirely on taking damage
    he is

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenguywa View Post
    he is
    No he isn't. Nothing in his loadout synergizes with taking damage. The on-damage energy gain was just a tacked on "Hey you know what would be cool?" effect to the character.
    His melee attack has one of the longer ranges in the game, allowing him to not take damage.
    His dash is decently long ranged and allows him to evade damage.
    He has a throw to stop people from damaging him.
    Only his heal (which is bad in general and has the needlessly tacked on "when low heal two times more" effect just for the sake of it) and his ult('s energy gain) fall in line with the idea that he should be taking damage. And don't tell me "He's a Frontliner so of course he should take damage", because that isn't a justifiable reason. He should be tanking, yes, but also should be avoiding damage when possible like all other Freelancers in the game.

    I know the reason why Rask has energy gain upon taking damage: It's because its a relic of the era of Asana and Rampart and to a certain degree Titus being the only other Frontliners to balance off of. All of these characters have energy gain associated with their survival abilities because they inherently "hit" people with their survivability abilities. Rask's energy gain upon taking damage is there because "the other Frontliners have ways to gain energy by being in the thick of things so Rask should too!" But in reality these abilities reward strategic gameplay while Rask's energy gain rewards running in suicidially and hoping for the best, which Rask's HP pool and self-sustain doesn't support.
    Either make him entirely based around taking damage through the ideas I suggested or make him more of a mid-range damage dealer through the other ideas I suggested.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by TigerKirby215 View Post
    Stand and Fight! Which allows Asana to... single out an enemy and stop them from moving?
    This doesn't fit her kit in the slightest! The rest of her kit is designed around being in the middle of the fight, and this ability is specifically designed to move her away from the fight? What?
    Or, when she's out of the fight, it lets her root someone so that she can get back into the middle of the fight? Disagree.

    Soaring Shield allows Brynn to... damage people from behind corners and walls while also stopping them from moving?
    Wait... wouldn't you want them to move towards you? (Preferably in front of your shield?) Why would you stop the enemy from moving where your area of influence is? Again: another ability that makes no sense for the character's kit.
    Why would Brynn want people directly in front of her? She's got pretty good range. Soaring shield lets her very precisely knock people out of cover and stay relevant when she can't directly hit anyone.

    Shockpod, which like I said...Again: Completely divided from the rest of his loadout.
    Except in your own words: "All of Garrison’s abilities are designed to have him dealing decent damage to everyone in a general area" and the ult does exactly that. It also shores up his sustain weakness.

    Fusion Lance, an ability that pulls the enemy... towards you (and your allies)?
    Uhhh... if your entire objective is to keep your allies safe, wouldn't it being completely counter-productive to bring the enemy towards you? Don't tell me that "you can pull them away from your allies", because the rest of Rampart's loadout is designed around being with his allies.
    Totally agree here, a knockback would be more thematic. You can use fusion lance to set up positioning for next turn, but it is awkward.

    Thundering Roar which... weakens in an AoE?
    If you recall, this ability was originally just Might in an AoE (with a mod to weaken enemies). Which is way more thematic, but worked significantly worse with his kit because A) he's often not with his team, and B) he was a frontliner with zero damage mitigation or sustain.
    Titus is a chasedown specialist, but thundering roar lets him spend a turn or two in the thick of things to eliminate a target without biting it, so I feel like it's fine.

    Upheaval makes no sense for Rask. Rask wants enemies to be close to him: why would he have a long-ranged throw?
    Agreed, a pull would be more thematic, but the whole point of this ability is to allow him to still be able to hit from range. Maybe have him dig his claws into the ground and just straight up pull an area towards him? Maybe keep it as a throw but add bonus damage if they hit a wall or something? idk.

    Augmented Regeneration is easily one of the worst abilities in the game, and it also makes no sense on Rask. All it does is heal, and it heals very little at that! Why would a character who wants to be in the middle of the fight have such a weaksauce heal?!
    Honestly, this is a numbers issue. Rask used to be oppressively strong, and really all that changed is his healing got tuned down a bit and his energy from damage got reduced (or the mod got removed? or both? I don't remember)




    In general, you seem to have an issue with frontliners having ranged attacks, which is just... I mean, what do you expect them to do at range?

  7. #7
    Asana should have something that forces the enemy to keep close to her. Considering that PuP is the only character with a "force follow" ability (Walkies), reworking this ability into a short-range, no damage AoE disable for Asana (IE a taunt) could work really well and allow Asana to do her job better. Alternatively she could get another ability to keep her alive in the middle of a fight (Titus' shout?), but between her shield and another survivability ability Asana might become too strong.
    Hold up this is supposed to be a buff? "allow Asana to do her job better." do we really need to buff one of the best 2 frontliners in the game. Asana already does her job very well. Stand and Fight can be a pretty diverse ability, you can lock people down so your team can kill them, or you can keep certain people out of the fight if you root them and the fight moves away from them. Stand and Fight isn't just some random ability it is a 6 range ability, so if she hits someone with it, she can (assuming normal movement) in almost all if not all circumstances get into range to use her 1 on that target. Also at this point in the game it's certainly hard to tell, but Asana might have been made as a single target assassin, however who knows.

    Brynn needs a way to move enemies into her area of effectiveness. Her ultimate keeps them in that area, but I think an ability that could potentially force an enemy to follow another enemy (a fear mechanic maybe? Or perhaps a bolas that tethers two enemies together and makes one chase the other? ) to make them move into Brynn's effective area would work really well for her kit.
    Soaring shield is a 7 range move (bouncing it off a wall can extend it up to 9) that can displace enemies 2 tiles (default) mods can make it displace further, So by default at max range without bouncing Brynn moves an enemy 9 tiles away from her current location and if she moves directly towards them, she can still user her 1 on them. Seems fair. Now lets look at some of the other aspects this ability has to offer. Soaring shield is a the 2nd most diverse frontliner cc, only behind rampart wall. She can knock enemies back (rask), she can keep them in place (asana), she can pull them in (rampart). Soaring shield can go around cover/walls, it can bounce off walls to extend it's range. You want an ability that can bring enemies in, well soaring shield can. Also bolas? that doesn't even fit her thematically. Bolas are like a hunting tool, and Brynn is a "Valkyrie" a warrior. She has a spear and a shield where do the bolas even fit in?

    Rampart... Just give him Rask's throw instead of a pull. It makes much more sense for Rampart to go "STAY OVER THERE" and toss enemies away as opposed to going "GET OVER HERE" and pulling the enemy towards him (and his team).
    The closer someone is to Rampart the more angles he can block with his wall, not only will the wall block the attack if they try to fight back, but it will also deal damage (if you go for a pull > wall set up). Even if they try to sprint away from that situation they just get slowed and move 4 tiles and are still most likely in a bad situation. Pulling also lets your allies back off, while still being able to be in a range to focus whoever got pulled. Pull probably fits his kit better, but idk.

    The Titus change just removes his utility towards his team. Having team utility is good, he can protect his allies without having to body block for them which is good.

    Basically what I got from this whole post is "I don't like frontliners make them the way I want so I like them". It's okay to not like frontliners. It's okay that the only frontliner you like is Phaedra, who should probably be nerfed at some point. We definitely don't need wholesale frontliner change. For a Long time (until Su-Ren) I didn't like any of the supports, but other people do.

  8. #8
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    Short answer: It's called rounding out a kit. If a character can ONLY play to their strengths and can do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in situations which do not play to those strengths, that's usually not good design. Most of the skills you've called out are alternative options meant to be used when you can't play to your primary game plan that turn. It prevents your character from being one-dimensional and being too easily counterplayed.

  9. #9
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    I agree about Phaedra. She's accidentally adorable for some reason.

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