Crossposting from Reddit.


I was thinking lately of what really frustrates me when I play solo, or in general when I even play some 4L.
Furthermore, I was really trying to see how to effectively improve AR to make it more fun.
And then looking at balance changes, I don't think much of it will go away.
I had a long discussion joined by LPFinale and Blatm, and Hevol for a short period at the start, which one can find [here](https://www.twitch.tv/videos/228471015).
We discussed, ranted and just outright just chatted about some things in the game we like or dislike or have to change.

One recurring theme we notice reduces the fun in the game, is the variance in terms of gambling.
I will give the example of CCs, where we said that its pretty much a hit or miss, and if its a hit its too punishing (like a walkies into the enemy team), or its just too frustrating for the guy doing it (target unstops).

In the same spirit, we were discussing how we can improve the game of Firepowers.
I am going to use the conversation as a template, and will be focusing on the health aspect in this post, but branch out on my own thoughts on the mechanic.
So I am going to discuss a very specific way to average out damage without hopefully punishing too much.
What I will suggest (or formulate as its really the outcome of the discussion) is a serious change to the game, which I am sure will most likely never see implemented, but I hope the discussion will give some ideas, that may be of interest to whoever enjoys this game as much as we do.

Originally I ran into suggestions by LPFinale, Tigg, RebelMC, Sakeel, and Blatm.
I tried to synthesize, what was it that people liked disliked and the conflicts in between them. And what I personally liked and enjoyed in the game.
Basically, I was interested in looking at not necessarily why picking double support is a good idea, but what makes the game fun, both in solo and coordinated.
I invited some people to a discussion and we had it. And now here are my thoughts.

I would like to preface this with the fact that balancing such things is really complex, also its impossible to predict how the game evolves, or whether people will disengage/re-engage or make it duller to watch and play. But I hope I can rationalize some aspects, and present why it would be interesting to have such changes.


One common theme we noticed, is that being at low health sucks, I mean it really restricts your positionning and play, you sometimes have to run around for a few turns.
This is why some people wanted to bring in survival regardless of supports to some extent into play.
Positionning in a way to trade really well, is pretty good for double support comps, because that just allows better overall average expected value.
That is, you have safer plays, but the opponents has harder decisions to make.
This is especially the case, since double supports tend to cancel out each other's weaknesses
Even worse, in solo/ranked, this is really fundamental, because limited health pools on FP makes the game really about effectively trading, which your teammates might not aggree with, the supports themselves can simply ignore you. And nobody really enjoys that.

This is based on some of the mechanics other games have implemented well for carries and are interesting.
Firstly there is a mechanic of heal when outside fight, this is something people brought up that recent shooters nowadays employ.
This can either be, you recover flat or % health when outside the fight for X turns, up to a certain cap (say 40% of your total pool).
However, this could very well lead to disengages, and boring gameplay, due to the passive nature of people not doing anything when they drop low.

So here's some of the things I'd like to have and I think the conversation reached quite nicely, a new dimension for balancing which is shredding, and/or an HP reward for proper play on Firepowers.

Shredding

The mechanic is simple: some damage is lost forever, a % of it will be regained over the next two turns.
This is similar to Pheadra's mending swarm.
This % can be fixed per ability, freelancer, or class.
I think this could help balance in terms of avoiding raw increases in damage, I will use low damage numbers to illustrate the point.
To give an example, lets consider the following shreds for classes: 80%, 60%, 40% for Frontline, Firepower, and Support respectively.
  • A rask hits you out of cover for 24, which means you lose 24 health (that turn), 19 is lost forever, and then say you recover 3/3 for the next two turns.
  • A LW hits you for 34, which means you lose 34 health (that turn), 20 is lost forever, and then you recover 7/7 for the next two turns.
  • Orion hits you for 24, which means means you lose 24 health (that turn), 10 is lost forever, and then you recover 7/7 for the next two turns.
  • A LW hits you in cover for 17, you lose 17 that turn, 10 is lost forever, you recover 4/4 for the next two turns.
Now clearly, this could be tuned to be per ability, per lancer, or per class. But this provides a finer grain to balance the game, and adds a layer of depth to it.

* Shields and dashes are worth more if used properly, because they allow you to get more value on the (next) turn.
* People can still be bursted if needs be, which makes lethal a more rewarding experience if done properly (because they will out some portion of it later).
* Positionning badly still gets punished
* Double support can be weakened as it requires momentum of constantly applying damage, from which they shred little.
* This allows balancing abilities that ignore cover, to be more fine tuned, that is it allows burst, but also helps average damage across turns.
* If you are solo, it gives you more abilities to outplay an opponent, and outplays gives more value.
* Kiting has more value, Firepowers can zoom in and out of the fight with little risk to be chipped, becuase they can at least recover some aspects.
* Fine tune risk/reward benefits, for instance Frontliners have to be positionned riskier but deal better long term damage (higher shred). This is in contrast of simply tuning numbers which can make them overhwelming. It also rewards better timed dashes on frontliners.

Now this obviously requires a major rebalancing, which I don't think anyone wants to do, but I found it interesting to discuss, and it was some of the solutions that was partially developped in the conversation, and I am expanding with my own thoughts on it.
Smoothing out the damage curves can still reward disengages, or perhaps lead to deadlocked situations that I am not aware of, so it sure does need some more thought, and hence why this thread is out there. But I personally think its a decent idea to at least explore.



Taking the idea further, one could suggest that cover could reduce the shredding % while also reducing damage taken. But that might make things more complicated. But just an idea.

Survival (HP Reward)

Another cool idea, is to simply reward proper FP play.
MOBAs typically use a lifesteal mechanic to give carries some survival.
I don't want to really use lifesteal in this game personally.
But one thing we also passed through in our long ramble is something like rewarding good FP plays with health.

This could be seen as rewarding FP to play as designed.
These can be implemented as mods, but its best to have them in the core kit of every Firepower, or something that activates after some turn (like turn 7).
I personally think this is a good idea that the devs avoided exploring, since originally it seemed they had intent to do it, for example the 10 damage recovery on PuP dash, the Way of the Monkey on Tol-Ren, Nev's +3 shields on hit with primary etc.
Here are a few examples:
  • LW gains +2 HP per bounce
  • Nix gains +5 HP per every shot beyond 6 tiles
  • Zuki recovers +10 HP per dodge in Big One
  • Celeste gains +2 HP upon grabbing a powerup
  • BB gains +10 HP when grenading over walls (or ignoring cover).
  • Kaigin baseline gets +5 on hit with primary, or +10 per target if stealthed or something of the sort. One can make that the stealth will give him a +5 HP recovery on hit on the turn he emerges from stealth.
  • Tol-Ren gains like +2 when hitting multiple targets with primary, or +4 when hitting a target while avoiding damage on his dash.
  • Nev gains +2 HP on hit with a return disk
  • Grey gains +2 HP when hitting target with a drone (on the turn after its deployed)
  • Elle gains +5 HP when she hits a target after a roll when avoiding all damage.
  • Gremo gains +1 HP per mine detonation
  • Not sure what to do about Oz, but it seems like overlapping lazers is a thing, or perhaps hitting 2 different targets with 2 different lazers.

So I am hoping to have fleshed out a more detailed mechanic that could be interesting, whether its good or bad, and would appreciate if you guys jump in on the discussion.