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The Photon Art tuning discussion -UNRELATED TO LEVELING RATES-

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 Hello, Clem is a pretty fantastic server so far.

With everyone in high spirits we can look positively at the future of this and take a closer look at something each of you should know well. I mentioned this to some others and have many times complained   about it on Discord.

I thought it would helpful to collect ideas and discuss the future balance of the PA's we use. This is so the devs can see in one place.

If there is already a thread for this, please disregard and I'll be sure to follow up there instead.

 

Some things to note before posting:

 - Please do not discuss the rate of what PAs level at the time of this post, unless they are important (doubtful) to the balance of the skill/bullet/tech itself. They already know what everyone thinks, believe me.

- It helps to have recent experience with the PA you are talking about, accurate information is important. At the very least, provide examples or be confident it can be proven in some way.  CHECK THE WIKIS! The current PAs mostly match the JP ones

JP Photon Art Wiki Link

- These changes should not just be related to numbers. At the time of this post, it's not wise to exclusively focus on them, unless they are obvious offenders see : Grand Crusher

- Try to be somewhat objective, and reasonable with your ideas. Keep your formats clean. It helps when others read! It won't be as helpful to say 'let's nerf Rising Strike cuz it's not as cool as Gravity Strike'.

- Consider that nothing might not ever come of this. Demanding work from the devs is also unhelpful, this thread exists purely to put out constructive feedback for them to consider. It's out of our hands from here.

 

 

I will update this main post as required. Be civil to one another.

 

 

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Splendor Crush  - Twin Sabers

The 'niche' of this PA as I've understood it is to provide short-range on demand damage ending with a Launch and then Blow-away.

The problem:

It's perhaps too short range for it's own good on the first few hits. It clearly was buffed from it's previous form to be more AoE focused and has trouble reaching targets in front of it. Obviously there are other Twin Saber PAs that do it's job better, but it's so small a reach it defeats itself more often than not.

The proposed change:

-Increase slightly forward range for the first part of the combo to engage targets better.

-Adding Blowdown to the first combo to provide safety to the user and set up for the last part of the combo properly.

Increasing it's forward reaching  range closer matching it's 2nd part of the PA (11+) to help reach it's targets better. Paired with Blowdown, I believe this would help secure it's place on a pallet occasionally. Good, solid control and decent damage gives it a place to use and doesn't step on the toes of higher cost PAs from the same weapon.

 

Grand Crusher - Swords

The long awaited JP PA from the PSP series arrives with little fanfare. It's job was to provide a quick, high damage point blank at the end of a chain.

The problem:

While the exact numbers are best left to the devs to decide themselves, it's pretty clear that this PA is so grossly undertuned that it provides nothing to the current Sword roster. It does less damage, tragically low in fact,  it has no reach, it doesn't have the chain system to help it along and it's PP cost is incredibly high for so little reward. Most of you Fortefighters and Fighmasters are familiar with Anga Jabroga and understand it's use. A high powered, long charge up skill that is meant to hit a lot of targets and do a lot of damage.

Swords generally use Tornado Break to deal with large bosses, hitting 6x1.  Grand Crusher hits 6x4, which on paper, sounds fantastic.

Then comes in the actual numbers. GC's 1 combo 210% x4 (6 targets)

vs TB's 1 270% - 1 250% - 1  390% x1 (6 targets)

The proposed change:

-Greatly increase the forward range of the hitbox, closer matching it's visual.

-Adding Launch to the last hit to help give it a better mobbing niche.

The visual of Grand Crusher suggests that it should be hitting a much larger distance in front of it. With a sort of blade-beam like graphic, it seems like it should be able to reach at least that distance in front of itself. Given that it's quick, decisive animation, it also stands to reason that it could possibly do Launch upon the last hit. Providing crowd control that things like Tornado Break usually does by disrupting mob packs with a Blowaway. Gravity Break already hits hard, as it should. But it's limited on targets for a good reason. Perfect for large stationary targets. Grand Crusher should be the fast, more to the point alternative to what already exists. Actual number tuning left to the devs and testing themselves.

 

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Posted (edited)

I see what you're going for, but PSU has had this problem since the very beginning. The simple fact is that some PAs have better animations than others. More aggressive, longer reaching animations. Majarra was always beloved because it gives you a bit of mobility and draws you to the target, the second part hits a few times with a good radius, and the third part blows away and stuns any threats. Then there's the good damage. Compare that to say, that twin dagger PA that has you twirling in the air. Renga Chujin right? That one tosses you all over the place and is hard to lineup and effectively use. Twin claws also suffer this. Renzan is so good for its auto target zoom in of four hits, then a launch, then a blowaway with multiple target hitting, its hard for the other PAs to compete. Absolute Dance for double sabers will never be good, even if it's buffed to the highest of heavens.

Animations can't be changed and is the core problem. So the only way to close the gap is to just increase the ATP percent bonus of the PA. But then you have a homogenized, everything is effective approach which is...debatable to some I'm sure. Still, that's better than what JP PSU did. Nerfing Fighmasters main PAs (Majarra and Jabroga), then buffing up twin sabers and slicers made Acrofighter the class that demolished everything. The JP/PSP2 PA's are also designed differently than PSUs, in that they move faster overall. This was done because of the chain system which was terribly designed and trivialized most of PSUs original PAs. I personally think we're fine as is right now. The PAs that sucked in PSU will continue to suck unless they get a fat buff, and the good ones will continue to be sought after for their animations, power, and mob effectiveness.

Edited by Nameless

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3 hours ago, Nameless said:

I see what you're going for, but PSU has had this problem since the very beginning. The simple fact is that some PAs have better animations than others. More aggressive, longer reaching animations. Majarra was always beloved because it gives you a bit of mobility and draws you to the target, the second part hits a few times with a good radius, and the third part blows away and stuns any threats. Then there's the good damage. Compare that to say, that twin dagger PA that has you twirling in the air. Renga Chujin right? That one tosses you all over the place and is hard to lineup and effectively use. Twin claws also suffer this. Renzan is so good for its auto target zoom in of four hits, then a launch, then a blowaway with multiple target hitting, its hard for the other PAs to compete. Absolute Dance for double sabers will never be good, even if it's buffed to the highest of heavens.

Animations can't be changed and is the core problem. So the only way to close the gap is to just increase the ATP percent bonus of the PA. But then you have a homogenized, everything is effective approach which is...debatable to some I'm sure. Still, that's better than what JP PSU did. Nerfing Fighmasters main PAs (Majarra and Jabroga), then buffing up twin sabers and slicers made Acrofighter the class that demolished everything. The JP/PSP2 PA's are also designed differently than PSUs, in that they move faster overall. This was done because of the chain system which was terribly designed and trivialized most of PSUs original PAs. I personally think we're fine as is right now. The PAs that sucked in PSU will continue to suck unless they get a fat buff, and the good ones will continue to be sought after for their animations, power, and mob effectiveness.

Animations may not be able to be changed directly, but that's honestly the least concerning thing. I'm pretty sure that speed, strength, properties, and hitboxes can all be adjusted to some degree, and most lacking PAs often just need something to make them a little more usable.

For example, Hikai Shuha-zan on Single Dagger. The second part of the PA moves the player further back during the windup than the forward lunge carries them. This causes the attack to often miss, and require really odd and unintuitive movement to make it work. Making the hitbox on the last part extend further forward could fix this, even if the animation cannot be tweaked to match.

As another example, Absolute Dance could have a few things done to it, possibly multiple. A speed increase could help for the first part, only to cut down the flying portion if it helps. The move could also grant super armor or intangibility if possible during the helicopter bit. The third part could be changed to knockdown instead of blowback, get a speed and/or range increase, and maybe even super armor during part of it. I'm not entirely sure that super armor can be given to moves; I don't remember if any other PAs have it.

 

In general, a lot of PAs could use a change so that their hitboxes are a bit more generous. PSU as a game is not as tight or mobile as many others, and that's not a problem. But this does mean that some leniency is required for attacks, and some PAs feel super clunky to use because they're ridiculously precise for no good reason. Meanwhile, some others have generous hitboxes that make them feel satisfying, powerful, and capable.

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All I've got right now is Spiral dance needing a very small tweak:

Make the kick part of the PA not cause a blowback, but instead another blowdown (for consistency) or a launch (for retaining it's CC capability against larger targets that either only get staggered or knocked down from launches/blowbacks). Having to figure out that landing that kick is a bad thing and having to angle the 2nd part of the PA just right so the slam hits but the kick doesn't is super inconsistent and annoying to deal with in high pressure situations. The blowback just makes the 3rd part of the PA entirely whiff against mobs that can be knocked back.

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Posted (edited)

It was either the damage or number of enemies you could hit at once with the second move of Dus Majarra, I can't recall. Whichever it was, it'd be nice to have that nerf undone. Pretty sure it was from three or four enemies down to two though.

Removing the nerf on Tornado Dance's travel distance would also be great.

Edited by RiggedGaming

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15 hours ago, HereticKitsune said:

The third part could be changed to knockdown instead of blowback, get a speed and/or range increase, and maybe even super armor during part of it.

The first one wouldn't make sense, as the the way the photon art ends mean knockback makes the most sense. Just knocking them down doesn't seem right.

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Posted (edited)
On 4/28/2019 at 12:38 AM, HereticKitsune said:

As another example, Absolute Dance could have a few things done to it, possibly multiple. A speed increase could help for the first part, only to cut down the flying portion if it helps. The move could also grant super armor or intangibility if possible during the helicopter bit. The third part could be changed to knockdown instead of blowback, get a speed and/or range increase, and maybe even super armor during part of it. I'm not entirely sure that super armor can be given to moves; I don't remember if any other PAs have it.

I'm going to second the idea of Absolute Dance getting some changes as it is absolutely in need of changes.

In all seriousness though, the 1st and 3rd parts of Absolute Dance are what currently kill this PA. The windup time on these two parts are among the worst, if not the worst, of any striking PA in the game and it just makes almost no sense. The delay you have on these parts are so bad that I think nothing short of changing the animation speed of these parts could make this PA a viable option when compared to other Double Saber PAs. Even if we could add super armor to these parts, there's a good chance you could still wind up blocking a hit during the time your character is stuck in the long animations and get cancelled out of the PA. This is, of course, a big if and hinges on this sort of change being possible but I seriously hope it can be one day.

The only other thing I'd have done to Absolute Dance is increase its hitbox count on all parts to something like 5 which is what they did in PSP2i. Absolute Dance's current hitbox counts are 3>4>3 and that's just terribly low compared to the rest of the Double Saber PAs. But again, as long as it suffers from the long animation delays then even buffing the hitbox counts wouldn't really be enough to salvage it.

Edited by Kaist

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So with the advent of Marm saying they'd try to fix up some of the JP PAs in the next update, I think it'd be a perfect time to bring this back up- rebalancing on Grand Crusher, not sure if it's already been discussed on the Discord.

Apologies if I mostly reiterate what's been stated by the OP, but these are all my personal experiences thus far.

After having bought and played around with Grand Crusher, even if it might be in a buggy state still, I really don't know where it should be placed in my setup, looking exclusively at Swords, Gravity Break and Tornado Break pretty much cover everything I would need; with Spinning Break covering more annoyingly mobile mobs. I'm not sure how GC was on the JP servers, apparently it had a wider AoE range and that seems to be bugged right now? Either way, like was stated by the OP, I really don't see where its use would fall with how slow it is, how much PP it consumes, and what little damage it seems to output in comparison to well, everything else. And the reality of the situation is that we aren't gonna be limited to just a single weapon of course, so what's to stop me from just whipping out Dus Skadd instead? Or just filling its place with Jabroga?

I believe simply extending the linear AoE range of it might not be enough, unless it's a drastic increase- but I'm a FF/FM, not a Gun-type, so how much could it really be pushed then?

I think a minor increase in damage output, to bring it up to par with other Sword options, along with a slight linear range increase would be ideal, given the slow wind-up and the large PP cost- and this of course assumes that whatever else may be broken with the skill be fixed as well (which could be the whole reason why it has poor range).

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Why not just add all the melee photon arts to the list? All of the range on them is wrong.

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