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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Pirate101: Hidden Players and Traps?


Pirate101 Developer "Ratbeard" recently shared some insights on the "Hidden" powers (meaning Walk in Shadows, Walk in Darkness, and Black Fog), which recently got an update in the Test Realm which allows it to remain in place even when damaged. But that's only the tip of the iceberg.

What You Might Have Missed

Ratbeard posts a lengthy reply to the commotion over on the main boards HERE, but I'll give you the highlights. He says first that some new changes to Hidden will be implemented for testing - these are not set in stone, only the next stage of balancing for these powers.

I'm going to change the "tick type" on Hide from Upkeep (beginning of turn) to Resolution (end of turn). This changes the moment at which each round of duration ticks down. In a nutshell, what this means is that Swashbucklers will not be able to continuously "chain" Hide for multiple rounds.

All Hide powers will expire at the end of your turn and thus the opponent will have an opportunity to respond before you can cast Hide again.

This change will keep Swashbucklers on the move with Hidden, but also allow some reaction from enemies. But that's not the most interesting part:

Last but not least, I've been huddling with the Tech Lead, and it is definitely still on our PvP Balance To Do List to make Hide actually hidden-- and traps as well. We both agree that before we can implement ranked PvP, we need to have this functionality sorted out. It will likely mean one last significant change to Hide, which is to allow you to Hide and move on the same turn: You'll hide first, and after you are invisible to your opponent, we'll allow you to move as part of the same action.

This means, quite simply, that not only will Swashbucklers be able to hide and move in the same round (making them particularly potent if they're in your general area), but they (and potentially their team with Black Fog) along with all traps, will be hidden from your view.


Walking on Thin Ice

These recent updates to hidden allow some powerful moves. The example I used was a Privateer. They're buffing their team, and a Swashbuckler is doing the same. He or she decides to take out the Privateer. They go hidden with Walk in Darkness (up to nine copies available to them, I believe), and move right in the "front door." Privateers have about 500 total damage worth of AoE powers which can be used on this 2750+ health unit, then that's all they can do.

The Swashbuckler moves in and does one of two trained 5x damage poison spells, not consuming hidden, then follows next round with a 6x damage Assassin's Strike, for a total base damage of about 3300. If your units stuck together, they all got poisoned and must now avoid AoEs. If they moves apart, then they're not in the vicinity to attack the Swashbuckler, who has a number of options for a quick escape with the Privateer dead.

But that's when you can see them.

Now imagine for a moment that when a Swashbuckler goes hidden, their unit becomes invisible to you entirely. Their position is unknown until they attack or take damage. Traps won't be particularly helpful, as only one class possesses them, and Swashbucklers already take reduced damage (50%). Suddenly, they have free reign of the field. 

Cause For Concern?

At first, I was a little worried with some of the recent changes to Hidden, but they seems all balanced out by an even more recent update (currently upcoming but named by Ratbeard in that post). I am very curious, however, to see how the Hidden without being able to see the units works out.

Bound to Explode

The other class that'll be shaking things up when this update does come into play are Musketeers. With the Moo Manchu Tower update, Musketeers can have up to ten bomb powers, a majority of them being the 1.5x damage ones. That means that they'll (and I'll) be able to essentially blanket the field. You'll see the animation, but then you'll have to keep track. It'll get even messier as you start walking through them.


Hidden might be an issue, but bombs are one, too. Most people have been thinking that I'm grinning ear-to-ear upon hearing the news that all of my bomb powers will soon be invisible, but this isn't so. Bombs have two uses - a physical and mental one. They do physical damage to the enemy when they walk on them, but also act as a sort of barricade for enemies with a more sensible path around them to avoid the damage. That's part of what I like.

Sometimes I want enemies to take extra damage, and sometimes I just want to change where they're going or slow them down. When the enemy loses the ability to see my traps, I lose half the power of bombs and traps. Suddenly, I might do 1000 extra damage with a well-placed Bear Trap, or a couple hundred with a few bombs, but then they might not be serving my purpose. If I want to simply change the direction or slow down my opponent, I no longer have that option. I lose that dynamic of combat, which destroys part of my strategy. Besides, no one likes to try to navigate traps they can't see.

Hiding from Hidden Updates

I can't say for sure how the new updates now and in the future will affect Swashbucklers and other classes, but Pirate101 Central Tournament Master Alex Deathflame had some opinions on how rule changes will be affecting them and the Hidden powers after some of these upcoming updates. You can read those HERE.

I'll be keeping an eye out and doing some testing to see the new changes in action! What do you think? What are you opinions on current and future Hidden changes?

Thanks for reading and see you in the Spiral! Credits: Big thanks to Duncan Stormthief for assisting with Hidden screenshots!

2 comments:

  1. Interesting thoughts. Perhaps we could get a buff called Intuition that would let us know that danger is in a 4x4 area but not exactly where. And perhaps we could choose to cast it on an enemy to scare them a bit and let them know danger is near, but not exactly where and stress and tippy toeing around will be their only options. :D

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    Replies
    1. We do have Intuition already, as it's the first strike epic for Witch. You would've noticed if you fought Bishop on a Witchdoctor, and I'm not talking about Witch Hunter.

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