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Yet Another Riposte Alternative

PostPosted: Friday, 23rd September 2016, 20:44
by tedric
I know that, despite the recent flurry of debate on riposte, the discussion of giving Long Blades a unique attack mechanic goes back years -- in fact, some of the threads themselves span years: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=10195 -- so forgive me if this or something very much like it has been discussed before.

I think riposte should be combined with the kind of "lunge" attack that was proposed in the thread linked above.

Lunge: Any time the player approaches an enemy (moves from a non-adjacent square to an adjacent square) while wielding a Long Blade, she instantly attacks that enemy and activates "Riposte" status for a short duration (I'm thinking 10 aut? Enough time for one round of enemy attacks). Counterattacks should have a chance of triggering on any incoming attack, not just ones that miss (avoiding the supposed EV synergy of the current version). If the player moves adjacent to multiple enemies, autofight code chooses which one the free attack targets. Players can also e(v)oke this ability to pick the enemy who will be targeted.

I think this would encourage a different way of engaging multiple enemies than cleave, and would use terrain differently than reaching. There's some interesting synergy with effects that let you move faster or forcibly reposition enemies, because instead of mostly using those effects to escape or open up distance for ranged attacks, you'd be incentivized to dance through/around a pack grabbing free attacks and making your riposte last as long as possible.

Anticipated Responses:
Spoiler: show
"Evoking is fiddly! Fuck reaching!"
I think the reaching haters overstate the actual annoyance, and like reaching you'd mostly activate this ability with tab or movement keys.

"In a 1-on-1 fight it's basically just a free first attack, which is exactly like reaching!"
I thought you hated reaching...but yeah, it's a fair critique. On the other hand, consider that in 1-on-1 fights, stabbing and reaching are both meaningless after the first attack and cleaving is meaningless the whole time; this wouldn't be much different.

"It incentivizes retreating from enemies until energy randomization or a move speed differential opens up a gap you can lunge into!"
Literally every ranged attack in the game also does this. (#fastmonsters)

"Uskayaw will be even more OP because you can get piety for attacking while also moving!"
I think this will be a minimal effect. I don't expect it will be very common to get more than 2-3 consecutive lunges in a row, and once your string runs out you'll either need to start attacking normally or spend a few turns repositioning (and probably losing piety) so you can start a new string.

"Monsters with this ability would be terrible!"
Maybe! We don't necessarily need to have symmetry between player and monster use of Long Blades, so if it's terrible for them to have it then they probably shouldn't have it. (Pretty sure monster riposte is currently disabled anyway.)

"Getting a free attack on sleeping/disabled monsters steps on stabbing's toes!"
Without the massive damage multipliers of short blades, I'm not too concerned. But it would be something to watch for in playtesting.

"This still makes Long Blades strictly better than Maces & Flails for most characters!"
I doubt that. It removes the constant passive damage boost that is current riposte, and it encourages unusual tactics/positioning that should result in calculated risks that M&F users never need to consider. In a 1-on-1 fight, the brief burst of increased damage at the beginning should be roughly compensated for by differences in base stats. I think there will be plenty of cases where the character build and/or the player's own style preferences make M&F a better choice.

Unanticipated Responses:
Have at it, nerds. What am I missing?

Re: Yet Another Riposte Alternative

PostPosted: Saturday, 24th September 2016, 10:56
by pedritolo
I really like it, and think is a lot better than Riposte since it allows for interesting strategies.
For flavor, I'd only add the following change (this also should apply to Riposte in its current form):
1. Make it work only for 1-handed long blades and only if not wearing a shield. Otherwise it's the old plain mechanic (like maces). Maybe a special case needs to be considered for formicids?
2. Revert the base damage to their original values for all long blades. The extra damage would be offset by lack of extra defense provided by a shield. Tinker with either the riposte % or duration until a good balance is achieved between the two modes.
As a result, long blades would be desirable for both large heavy-hitters and nimble multi-hiters, giving more choice in your character progress.