4 months ago - Nimble Neuron - Direct link
Hello Lumia Island survivors!
Today’s Dev Journal will focus on changes to a few different characters.

Over the years, we’ve received a ton of feedback on the structure of character skills. That feedback can be roughly broken down into the following points:

  1. Kits that are not interactive from the enemy's perspective
  2. Excessive utility
  3. Skills that are too simple or underutilized
  4. Low accessibility due to high difficulty
  5. The desire for the addition of more exciting gimmicks

Solving all of these problems at the same time is extremely difficult. When it comes to characters, we believe the best course of action is to make them fun with as little changes as possible. If we make huge character changes, even if it is considered a “good direction”, it could feel like a brand new character and cause players to lose affection or attachment to the existing characters they already grew to love. Therefore, character improvements need to start from behind rather than from zero to make them as good as possible.

However, if we don’t change existing play elements, making improvements will be too difficult. A recent example is the changes we made to Silvia’s Fuel System, which we reworked under the guise of Point 4 - "Low accessibility due to high difficulty." Silvia’s play has changed considerably, and while we empathize with players who were already used to her skills, she still shares the same feel as previous iterations. Now we’re seeing a greater increase in play rate for her, even outside of high-ranked games.

Our improvement philosophy was not only to make improvements to issues or changes to be more fun, but also to keep the character’s existing identity alive. However, when necessary, we will be making bigger changes to some characters for the sake of game improvement. Improvements to one character at a time may not seem like a lot, but these little changes add up! With over 50 characters, this leads to a large change for the game. For this reason, we’ll be splitting the Character-related Dev Journals into 4 separate updates.

Let’s start with Aya. Depending on the weapon she uses, Aya’s skill utility often suffers greatly. She’s even seen as the epitome of being an uninteractive right-clicker.

Now her Steady Shot (W) will be faster based on her Attack Speed, and a Basic Attack build will be able to utilize Steady Shot as well. This new utilization should give her more power while using her skills well.

The Attack Speed of Double Shot (Q) will also be faster, based on casting time and projectile bullet speed. After using the skill, she'll temporarily gain an increase in Attack Speed as well.

On the other hand, Aya had too much control over the detonation of her Ultimate. Blank Cartridge (R) is being changed to automatically trigger after a certain period of time. Instead of rooting the enemy for a long time, enemies will now be Feared for a short time. This means Aya can now make more space with her Ultimate, but enemies get to strike back faster.

Magnus’s Tough Body will now increase his defense whenever he hits an enemy with a skill. At max Stacks, Magnus will recover HP. The current Passive trigger conditions have changed, but this will make a big difference in connecting to Magnus’s other skills. (Stacks also slightly increase when using Basic Attacks.)

If Magnus hits with Broken Bullet (Q), he gains a Stack. Every time he damages an enemy with 17 vs 1 (W), his Stacks build up, so this brings good synergy to Tough Body.

However, Magnus will no longer be Unstoppable when he uses 17 vs 1. While 17 vs 1 cannot be stopped by Crowd Control, enemies can stop his movement or knock him back during the animation, allowing for more counterplay.

Additionally, Magnus will no longer be a coward biking away from enemies. The speed of Bike From Hell (R) will now accelerate over time, meaning that running away from a close battle will become more difficult. Now, the new, cool Magnus will strike fear in his enemies as he bikes toward them! Starting the battle by using his bike will also increase the utilization of his new Passive.

Rio uses two types of bow: Daikyu and Hankyu. We’ll be changing Hankyu to be a little more dynamic. When she hits with Hanare (W) while using Hankyu, cooldown for all of her skills will decrease slightly.

However, now the cooldown for Soar (E) will not be reduced even if she hits an enemy. It’ll be a big help to you to hit well with Hanare using Hankyu, but in general, you need to pay more attention to your positioning.

Watch out for your knees—Hankyu’s Ultimate Spirit Arrow (R) will now fly to the end of the map and won’t collide with Wild Animals. Do you think she’ll be able to shoot at an enemy from one side of the Island, then teleport to her hit target?

On the flip side, there are some test subjects in which we’ll be taking away strong utility in the name of improvement.

Adriana is a versatile character, able to used ranged bombs and control areas with her abilities. Her kit also includes Crowd Control and mobility. We had to make a tough choice in regards to her. Either way, her exisiting play style was bound to change no matter what we took out.

After a lot of discussion, we ultimately decided to get rid of her Crowd Control ability. Now, Oil Slick (W) will no longer Ground, and c*cktail Party (R) will no longer knock back enemies.

Additionally, we are getting rid of the mechanic that strengthened damage upon consecutive hits when using Pyromaniac (P), which wasn't intuitive. Enemies will now be Burned and continue to take damage over time instead.

While Adriana is losing some of her utility in Crowd Control, she can now use her skills over a wider range and set the Island on fire! Her new Passive helps highlight the pyromaniac gameplay trait that players love.

Hyejin is also getting changes to her Crowd Control abilities.

Charm of Despair (Q) will no longer Slow enemies.

Charm of the Prophecy (W) will longer have a second cast and will automatically explode after a certain period of time. Instead of being able to use it twice in a row to immediately root enemies, it will now pull enemies into the center of the talisman.

Additionally, we're also taking out arrival damage when you recast Charm of the Nomad (E), and it will only deal damage while traveling.

Both of these changes mean that managing Stacks of Three Calamities (P) will become more difficult than before. For example, Hyejin's signature ERE combo will no longer be enough to immediately trigger Three Calamities.

All of these combined mean that Hyejin’s Crowd Control has been significantly diminished. Her Crowd Control was difficult for other players to respond to and it was ironically what stopped her from getting stronger. Due to these points, Hyejin has been historically hard to balance in modes. By lowering the Crowd Control ability of Charm of Despair (Q), we’ve reduced the cooldown and added cooldown reduction upon a hit. This way, as Hyejin's main offensive tool, the skill can be used more and its power will increase. We will finally be able to increase her DPS (Damage per Second) with the discussed changes.

We will also be simplifying a few of Sissela’s gimmicks. First, Go Get 'Em Wilson! (Q) will no longer deal damage as Wilson flies forward and will only deal damage one time when he arrives.

Girl in a Bubble (W) is keeping immunity to damage, but is getting rid of Untargetable, which means an enemy’s Crowd Control effect will now work on Sissela.

Additionally, Play With Us! (E) can no longer be used on allies. Now you won’t have to worry about team member location in a majority of team play and it will be much easier to use.

Moving forward, we will be changing our approach with the “invincibility period” in character kits so that Damage Immunity and Untargetable cannot be used at the same time. Adela’s Checkmate (R) will also keep immunity to damage, but she can now be targetted. Accordingly, enemies can knock Adela back or stun her to keep her in check, even when she uses her Ultimate.

For Sissela and Adela, we’re weakening their skill gimmicks and not adding anything new. However, “weakening gimmicks” and “weakening skills” are not the same. These two test subjects are taking back individual skill power that had been suppressed for balance reasons due to strong skill structure that was difficult to respond to.

Another character that will become more simplified is Adina. Adina is famous for having complicated Celestial gimmicks and difficult Tooltips. Overall, we wanted to keep her unique play style that utilizes Conjunct, as well as her strong long-distance suppression abilities, while also making the skills more intuitive and reducing excessive utility for other players.

The Sun, Moon, and Star will now have the same basic hitbox, and instead of dealing continuous damage, the Sun will now deal increased damage. Stargazing (P)'s triggered slowdown effect has been deleted, and Luminary (Q)'s Moon knock back has been removed. Astral Trine (W)'s Star Unstoppable state has been changed to a shield. Thanks to these changes, if enemies are able to avoid Adina’s main skills, they will be able to target her more easily.

We'll be making some of her skill projectiles to be faster and/or have longer range. To compensate for her Crowd Control removals, skill combos will be revamped to keep some of their current strengths while becoming smoother. We're also lowering the amount of text in her tooltips to no longer rival that of a college textbook in hopes of making her more approachable.

Reactivity to Isol’s MOK Operational Mine (R) will also be adjusted. We will slightly reduce the range of enemy recognition and increase the explosion range slightly. So, instead of the current system in which enemies can easily become powerless after stepping on the bomb and jumping back, they will be able to avoid it by reacting as soon as they step on it or using a movement skill.

The number of available Stacks for MOK Operational Mine will now be 2, which should make it easier to be utilized in a variety of ways.

We will also reduce the area range of the Root when Semtex Bomb (Q) explodes so that it no longer affects a wide area.

We are also adjusting Rebel Assault (W) to allow this skill to be used more rapidly.

While we are making large changes to Isol’s skills, his biggest change comes in the form of Mastery. Among various existing Masteries, Trap Mastery will be removed, and MOK Operational Mine will now deal skill damage instead of trap damage.

However, the removal of Trap Mastery is not meant to reduce the unique gimmicks of traps. We wanted to move away from the idea of “traps only being strong when mass crafted.” We want to make sure that qualitative use of well-placed traps matters more than quantitatively and rapidly putting down summons. Changes to traps will be explained further in the future update “Cameras and Traps”.

Changes to character skill kits will be explored even further in “Characters - 2nd Update”. Additionally, even if some character skills are not changing, we are currently working on visual improvements as well.

As such, let’s switch over to discussing Effect Transparency.

One of the biggest pieces of feedback we’ve received about character fights in Eternal Return is the visibility of skills. A lot of the feedback focused on the inability to clearly see skills due to wide range skills covering a large portion of the view. In response, we’re working to improve skill effects and make them more clear across the board, so that when skills are overlapping, players can distinguish the different effects.

Here are a few examples:

Priya’s Echoes of the Earth (R)

Alex’s EMP Barrage (R)

Jan's The Tetragon (R)

Jenny’s Acceptance Speech (R)

Celine’s Magnetic Compulsion (R)

Tia's Full Rainbow (R)

William’s Signature Fireball (R)

Today, we looked at the changes that some characters will undergo for Official Launch.

Making changes to characters is one of the hardest and most sensitive areas when it comes to the development process. Even amongst the Dev Team, it’s common to have endless discussions about characters and what improvements should be made without reaching a solid conclusion—and these discussions often include members who have played endless hours of a character. Whenever there’s a new proposal among the Dev Team, we call it “Initiating”. More than half of these new proposals do not come to fruition after internal discussions and series of subsequent testing.

That’s why the changes introduced to you today might also be subject to change during the development process and may be improved during future updates after Official Launch.

The next Dev Journal will focus again on more changes to Lumia Island. This will be our second update to changes to the map. Hope to see you then!

Thanks for reading!

You can get WP from the Dev Journals on our web event page.[event.playeternalreturn.com] Web Points(WP) are event points that can be obtained and used throughout the Season 9 web events
4 months ago - /u/ - Direct link
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