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Stun Reconstruction

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6/26/2020 17:13:41   

I've discussed this briefly in another thread, but I think it warrants a full discussion here. Under the current meta, stuns are extremely powerful and frankly borderline game-breaking. I'd like to break down why this is the case and make some suggestions on how this mechanic could be reworked to make it operate more fairly.

As ED stands right now, most builds focus more on damage output than defensive play, most notably str/supp BM, which is still overpowered with the Celtic promo. Even more defensive builds like Focus 5 BH rely on nukes such as Chomp and Improbability Gate. Offensive strategies in and of themselves aren't necessarily a problem, but at this point there's very little build variety left, owing mainly to the fact that certain builds have few to no counters when used correctly.

So how do stuns play into all this? When the meta is almost entirely offensive builds, battles tend to be shorter, with more damage being dealt per turn. Therefore, being unable to act for even one turn has greater repercussions, since that missed turn takes up a larger percentage of the battle and a greater amount of damage is being dealt to you.

The other major factor is which skills are actually stun skills. Until recently, stun skills (with the exception of Maul) generally only had the effect of stunning, with some improving with a stat to make them potential nukes as well. However, the introduction of Brutal Strike changed this dynamic: It was a skill that essentially acted like Bludgeon, dealing a significant amount of extra damage, but also having the ability to stun. Everyone agreed that it was overpowered, and the stun effect was eventually removed and placed on Intimidate, which then became Terrify. Now, Terrify is considered an overpowered skill, since it lowers strength and has the stun chance. I could recount a similar history with Barbed Grenade and Frenzy, and all the nerfs the latter received as a result.

All that to say: The fact that certain stun skills have additional effects is a mistake. It's worth noting that all of the stun skills with this quality are melee skills, and this in a meta where strength is very important due to the power of the promo items. I think it's clear that either the skills that stun need a significant, across-the-board nerf, or the very mechanics of stuns need to be changed fundamentally.

Before I go into potential solutions, I'd like to point out that the power of stuns is not limited to 1v1. 2v2 experiences it too, but what many people may not realize is how much juggernaut and boss battles are affected by it as well. The NPCs in juggernaut may not have the ability to do huge damage with their stuns, but I can testify personally that getting stunned even a single time can be disastrous, and many of these NPCs have multiple stunning skills. If stuns are so effective even when they do minimal damage, I think it's obvious something needs to change. At the very least, I think NPCs should not have more than one stun skill.

Now I want to propose a couple of general solutions; I'll elaborate specifically on that changes I'd like to see for each, but those details might need tweaking.

1: Nerf the skills that stun significantly. I'm mainly referring to the melee stun skills, but the others may need less significant nerfs as well to compensate. Here's what I would propose for each stun skill:

-Stun Grenade: Increase scaling, maybe to 0.45.
-Maul: Remove defense ignore. Mercenary has plenty of other melee skills that do big damage, and the stun skill doesn't need to as well.
-Overload: Increase scaling, maybe to 0.4 or 0.45.
-Terrify: Revert back to Intimidate. This doesn't need a stun effect. Best bet for BM stun skill in my opinion is Fireball: Remove the debuff effect and increase the scaling somewhat.
-Plasma Grenade: Energy scaling +20 per level, but decrease base cost, so that the mid-levels are about the same cost. Increase scaling, maybe to 0.4 or 0.45.
-Frenzy: Remove stun effect and energy cost. Give Barbed Grenade its stun effect make and change scaling back to dexterity.

Before you start saying this will make some skills useless, keep this in mind: The whole point of this is to reduce stuns' effectiveness drastically. If you'd like a different solution, I've provided an alternative below.

2: Change how stuns work entirely. This is a more ambitious but in my opinion a better solution. I've discussed changing stuns' effects before, but I'll elaborate in more detail here. Beyond the issues mentioned in the main body of this post, the RNG effect is a significant factor, and is probably the single biggest reason people get salty when they get stunned. What I would propose (which probably wouldn't synergize well with some stun skills, but we can discuss reworking those) is this:

Make stuns a 100% chance, but do greatly reduced damage and/or have detrimental effects on the user. In this way, you remove the RNG factor entirely, thereby making stuns a tactical move instead of a luck-based one. Examples of detrimental effects could include one or more of the following to varying degrees:

-User's next attack does greatly reduced damage.
-User is unable to use moves that deal damage (i.e. only defensive skills/heals/energy drain/energy gain).
-Lower the user's stats/defense/resistance.
-User gains less or no Rage from stun skills.

There might be other effects possible as well. Overall, I believe that eliminating RNG from stuns could be a net positive if the stun skills are altered appropriately. I haven't figured out exactly what form that alterations would take (beyond increasing warmups and cooldowns), since this would be a paradigm shift in how ED battle mechanics operate, but if you have suggestions I'd love to hear them.

< Message edited by CactusChan -- 6/26/2020 17:15:43 >
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