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 Post subject: What is the direction Geneshift should be going towards?
PostPosted: Sat 05 Jan 2019, 05:20 
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I think it is high time we talked about this very uncomfortable but vitally important topic that has been easily overlooked and dismissed for a very long time.

What kind of game is Geneshift supposed to be?

Let's recap the game's history to get some perspective.

wall of text, skip below if you want me to get to the point wrote:
Geneshift started off life as Subvein. It was envisioned to be a GTA2 clone - in an open world, where players could earn the respect of one of two factions - Scientists and Rebels. As one stayed loyal and rose the ranks within each faction, they would unlock more perks like getting your own bodyguards or unlocking better vehicles. It is only natural that such a game would become an MMORPG, and what RPG didn't have a leveling system and a vast array of spells to cast? This was the foundation of Geneshift, and this ultimate endgoal is known as the "War" gamemode.

Of course, War mode is a very grand ambition and would be a long way to go. Vehicles didn't even exist! So for now, Subvein was a topdown arena shooter, with clear elements of Counter Strike in it and a touch of Soldat. Players spawned on opposite sides of a map, wearing opposing coloured shirts, buying guns from their home turf before setting off to face off their opponents in combat. Bullets were slow, characters were tiny, spells were dramatic. With every kill, players earned cash to buy stronger guns, but more importantly gained levels to further upgrade their powerful spells. Thus, players who could aim and evade bullets well would easily earn levels, growing ever more powerful and dominate the game. It was crazy!

A huge update came - a proper account system tied to a database, the addition of vehicles, and many new abilities. With it, the first step towards a true open world RPG began to show. To further differentiate the 3 different classes/skill trees and to spice up an ability often taken for granted, Barrier was added. Crouching now also doubled as a mana shield to absorb incoming damage, and each of the classes emphasized towards one of the 3 stats - Health, Stamina and Mana respectively. However, player retention was poor. Newbies were overwhelmed by the many things they needed to learn, for which they had no tutorials and were massacred 10:50 by the older players who knew better and were more skillful, not helped by how permanent mutants rather than quickmatches(where everyone started from level 1) became the norm.

The solution was to give mutant abilities a drawback. At first it was done by reducing the stats opposing the skilltree players were investing in, which had little impact and was messy. Then it was the poorly received disintegration, which directly reduced weapon damage based on the number of skillpoints spent, which only caused players to refuse spending their skillpoints. Finally, the penalty system was added - using the spells themselves would directly force players to suffer a drawback. While the strength and type of penalty imposed and whether every skill truly needed a penalty would be debated often, the general concept was accepted.

The penalty system worked, but it wasn't enough. The game was still complex and difficult to learn. It is at this time that the name was changed to Mutant Factions because of the perception that it would explain the game by name alone, though the name change always met huge resistance because it sounded very generic and a hassle to say out. From this point on, there was a gradual shift in the way the game was balanced.

Stamina was removed in favour of infinite sprinting, eventually settling on a sprintDelay where players would slow down to walking speed when shooting. Bullet speed became significantly faster while character sizes increased further at a steady rate. Spells became much less powerful and along with them, subtler penalties. Leveling a skill changed the way they were used as opposed to simply being more power and more drawback. In addition, level caps were dropped from 100 to 50 along with a max spell level reduction from 10+5 to 3+2. Getting shot at would slow your sprint speed down, especially when using a knife. Furthermore, the first set of chemicals were added for the first time as a way to create a base-building mechanic. In hindsight it became clear at this point that the genre was transitioning from RPG Arena to Tactical shooter - where tanky builds used to shine, glass cannons or even having minimal skills became the norm. Perhaps the influence of Dota/LoL, Running With Rifles and Hotline Miami were beginning to show. Eventually shifting was added alongside the change in name to Geneshift while Barrier was reworked and then removed, being replaced by Self Repair. Even the camera was made to be zoomed out to see everything at once by default.

Player retention was still a huge issue, a proper tutorial and new content were needed, so single-player became the next main focus. Zombies seemed like the obvious choice, and the Outbreak gamemode was born. It didn't work; it was stale and very forced, and speedrun leaderboards were hardly an incentive. So another new gamemode using the features established in Outbreak called Stealth was created; a very puzzle-based and scripted single-player mode, which would ultimately become the new and more action-focused Campaign mode. The need for smarter AI guards in campaign also foreshadowed the successful creation of actual player-like bots for PvP gamemodes.

With all that established, putting the game on sale on Steam and marketing it on Reddit to get yet another wave of new players. New 3D graphics were added to make it more appealing. Through Reddit giveaways, new ideas sprung up, and a joke about having a fast paced Battle Royale mode became reality. Partly to make the singleplayer worth the buy and partly to make learning the elements of the game less overwhelming, the user interface was reworked and many multiplayer elements had to be gradually unlocked through playing a lot of rounds. Synergy point leveling was even removed.

In short, the game's type of genre has changed in an attempt to simplify the game to reach a wider audience. It no longer emphasizes run & gun ability or leveling up your character like in an RPG. Nowadays, its all about being in the right place at the right time, and there is a huge luck factor. Frankly that is pretty alienating to old players and it doesn't encourage players to invest time to get better. The biggest strong point it has now is that it finally has bots you can play against and they are pretty convincing(even if they have their bullshit moments). The biggest weak point is teaching players and getting them to stay; having so many things to learn and controls to press and a lack of tutorial doesn't help matters.

As it stands, it feels like the game is still trying to be both an MMORPG Arena Shooter and a Tactical Shooter. It is in this weird zone where anything can change and thus any guides/tutorials made at this point would quickly become obsolete and have to be majorly reworked. The preferred gamemode has changed from deathmatch to conquest to battle royale. The user interface is also extremely difficult to navigate and in all the wrong places. Given the track record of having major changes to the game's mechanics, this is a very valid cause of concern. How would you teach newbies to play the game and streamline the interface, if the game isn't even sure of what its main focus ought to be? We as players also can't advise on the best course of action if we don't know what the endgame is.

So I'd like to ask again, what is the direction Geneshift is heading for?

What kind of behavior or skills do you want to emphasize in combat?
Should the emphasis be on an individual's abilities or a team's cooperation?
What kind of gamemode should be the focus of the game?
Is there a place for RPG-style levelups in this game now that there's random loot(or even fixed item spawn points)?
Why is there a need for singleplayer style unlocks for a multiplayer focused game?
Do all skills necessarily need a penalty if permanent rounds are no longer a thing and "no penalties" is a server option and even used in Campaign?
How strong should skills be relative to guns?
How do you ensure diversity in builds across the playerbase?
What features can be dropped without affecting the depth of the game?
Are we still going to have War mode?

Those are some of the questions I can think of off the top of my head.

You don't have to make all the changes in one go; in fact it'd be ridiculous to do so. But you do need a clear direction to work towards, and this is a direction I simply cannot see based on the game's current track record.

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 Post subject: Re: What is the direction Geneshift should be going towards?
PostPosted: Sat 26 Jan 2019, 17:46 
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After some discussion on Discord, these are some of the main talking points that have reached a decent conclusion:
1) QM is the focus, always start at level 5, and no penalties is the default server option(consistent with Campaign).
2) PM matches will usually or always have penalties enabled. Various skills will need to be unlocked as a consequence of a new f2p model.
3) When skills are leveled up, they must appear intuitively stronger. Variation between level 1 to 5 is fine as long as it makes sense along the lines of "the more levels I spend in this, the more powerful this skill and the more I'd want to use this skill".

(Update: Added some colour to help with reading, also Bence recently also suggested lowering max skill levels from 5 to 3, along with max player levels from 50 to 30 and a removal of synergies. I also just realized that your MP regeneration will suddenly stop if you took damage - this is a leftover change from Barrier and should be removed EXCEPT in the case of being hurt by a Battle Royale ring or Restricted Mode AOE.)

The main focus on this post would be brainstorming for point #3, and it would also aim to address the fear that having "no penalties" would be too broken, which would also mean revisiting past superbuilds. I'll go down skill by skill:

Without penalties, they'll become the undisputed champions in combat. Notably a full-fledged Frenzy build is actually available right from the beginning.

More levels = stronger healing, but also weaker gun damage.
Fundamentally, it is very straight forward and doesn't seem to have any glaring issues.
Easily considered the best healing skills in the game if not for its penalty.
However, it does have some hidden hardcoded things that deserve a 2nd look.
Vampirism does NOT work with Knife - an ancient change meant to combat knifing gangsters or BASTARD build, which is basically irrelevant nowadays with the removal of gangsters and due to sprintStun and shifting.
At some point Vampirism reduced the damage of Blade Fury, again due to BASTARD build. I do not know if this change has since been reversed.
Vampirism was also made to be able to heal off Force Fields, which would otherwise have been a hard-counter.
Vampirism also has reduced healing from damage dealt to vehicles occupied by enemies, but the damage penalty against cars specifically does not apply, which I believe was at least partly because of the Bazooka.
It should also be noted that the healing rate of Vampirism is reduced by its own penalty; so 50% heal with 80% gun damage means in reality you only gain 40% heal from guns - whether this needs to be factored in for balance reasons in no-penalty mode ought to be decided.

Bloody Gains
More levels = more max HP, but also slows max sprint speed.
Very straight-forward, but also has an inherent penalty: higher max HP also makes you bigger.
Also comes with bonus melee knifing range mainly so that it matches up to the increased size.
A raw HP increase without some kind of drawback is hard to justify, though the size increase by itself might still be acceptable in no-penalty.
In short, it seems fine.
The main thing to note is that Bloody Gains can no longer save you from being knifed, and I think even with overheal you'd still be capped at 200 right?
Also it has the same "BG" abbreviation as Bionic Gas.

Currently more levels = less MP drain but also less initial ROF.
Penalty is a constant; being revealed globally as long as the skill is toggled on.
Hardcodes include: counts shots and not shotgun pellets, reduced ROF gain vs cars, being able to gain ROF from hitting Force Fields.
There is so much I want to say about this skill. It is such an obvious ability on paper in every sense of the word, but it is so powerful that it has to clamped down with a tonne of awful penalties, and frankly the worst of it is the reveal penalty, not because of the fact it exists, but because of a stubborn insistence that it should be a GLOBAL reveal at ALL times in the name of making things "cleaner and less arbitrary". But I'm getting ahead of myself...
Anyway, Lvl 1 and Lvl 5 should be swapped. It is pretty strange to expect a DPS skill to appear weaker as you put more points into it. While it is true that Lvl 5 is "more potent" in the long term, I find that the upfront benefit of a higher initial ROF to be much more valuable in today's environment and is also much more intuitive/"obvious" to the layman.
Needless to say this is exceptionally powerful in no-penalty mode, but so would its hard counters in Shockwave, Bullet Time and Bouncing Bullets. Mentals don't really have an answer to this though.

Clip Magnet
More levels = more ammo regained on hit, but suffer a longer reload time while Frenzy is active.
It is hardcoded to be able to drain ammo even when shooting into enemy Force Fields.
Very straight forward, any changes needed ought to be directed at Frenzy itself.
No idea if the ammo gained can be added to reserve ammo; in the past that never happens.

Final Focus
More levels = less HP needs to be lost before gaining the benefit, but reduces bullet speed further and the recoil benefit is less.
This exists because Frenzy exists, and because it used to be the overpowered Weapon Handling to make MGs function well with Physicals.
The biggest issue with Final Focus is that it is in the wrong genre. The gimmick of losing HP to gain a benefit doesn't work very well in a fast-paced shooting game where the TTK is very low and players could die in an instant, and now medkits are everywhere that can overheal you far beyond the trigger point. Even when Geneshift was still in its "supertank" phase, Final Focus is generally considered to be very finicky and unreliable. This is especially so since Final Focus has exactly one trigger point, rather than having incremental benefits.
No particular issues with no-penalty and Lvl 1 vs 5, but its gimmick is just not suitable for this game and should be replaced or reworked in some way like Aster is suggesting below. For now, you can leave it as is until a better time.
Also, I said this many times before, it has the same "FF" abbreviation as Force Fields.

Mana Leech
More levels = reduce mana burn and increase mana gain.
Fixed penalty of losing 20hp on cast.
This skill exists because there was a desire to replace Parasite Swarm/Rupture, and a general feeling that Physicals should get a ranged skill of some sort, along with the idea that perhaps there could be a skill that directly affects mana, around the same time when Static Charges is beginning to be de-emphasized. However, Mana Leech just doesn't FEEL like a very good skill to use(even though it is actually pretty effective, and if the penalty its removed it is sure to be pretty devastating) nor does it really fit in.
Lvl 1 vs Lvl 5 was decided the way it currently is because mana gain is considered a bit more usable for Physicals or combos and the fear that you could just put 1 point and magically get the ability to regain 50mp. However, I find that Lvl 1 and 5 are so completely different in purpose that putting them on a tier via a level system just doesn't make sense. Some may argue lvl 1 is better because it can completely shut down certain players, especially those who have Regeneration in their build.
I think this is another skill that ought to be replaced, but until a viable idea or a good time comes up, it can stay as it is, or take Aster's suggestion below.

Force Fields
More levels = bigger shields, but decrease explosion damage.
Fixed penalty of getting momentarily stunned at the end of the duration.
Force Fields has a lot of hidden hardcoding: it slowed down Blade Fury spin speed(doesn't seem to affect bursting though) due to the old FF+BF close range combo, it allows Vampirism/Frenzy to gain buffs from it(to make it less of a hard-counter, but in turn made them effective vs FF), it is affected by sprintStun(to prevent it from nullifying knife's biggest disadvantage), and it has a minimum duration upon uncloaking from Invisibility or from exiting a car(which happens to pause the FF timer). It also doesn't work with objectives.
Lvl 1 vs 5 is makes sense in general, but it doesn't change the way you play with the skill much at all, besides affecting confidence in the decision to continue chasing for a kill or to find cover before the duration ends. I think the biggest reason a player may opt for a higher level is due to netcode.
The main difference in no-penalty mode is that players will be more likely to continue chasing when FF duration runs out since they don't get stunned momentarily, though the delay between players reacting to the explosion and turning their aim around will remain a point of consideration.
Balance-wise I feel like the explosion has been over-buffed these days, especially now that shifting exists which makes the explosion much harder to avoid. At the same time I feel like level 3 is an ideal level, and M3 Super has always been particularly devastating with this. I also noticed that it is possible to shift during the stun penalty, but it only moves you by one step; for this reason I think it might be reasonable to disable shifting when the stun penalty is in effect.

Bouncing Bullets
More levels = stronger reflected bullet damage, but take more damage from bullets that hit FF.
Hardcode: the incoming damage ignores Assault Armor damage reduction; it is a universal damage.
No issues for Lvl 1 vs 5. Definitely HUGELY buffed in no-penalty mode since you no longer need to have a HP buffer to ensure you don't die if you cast it while on low HP,.

Reverse Fire
More levels = stronger backward-facing bullets but weaker forward-facing bullets.
No issues with Lvl 1 vs 5 nor with No Penalty.
However, this is ultimately not a very functional skill. It should be replaced in the future despite it being a Reddit request.

Assault Armor
More levels = stronger damage resistance vs guns, but less non-sprint speed.
Penalty is that enemies regain 100% of any damage dealt to the player as HP, which can overheal.
Skill does not reduce damage taken if the enemy attacks with a knife(it used to do so, ironic), cars or skill damage. Doesn't work with objectives.
Definitely no problem when deciding between Lvl 1 vs 5.
However in no-penalty mode, its basically an "I win" button, the only downside being it has a very long cooldown. Thus, it should retain its penalty in "no penalty" mode if it doesn't already do so.

More levels = bigger AOE but shorter duration and longer cooldown.
Constant penalty of having reduced weapon damage taken.
No problem between Lvl 1 vs 5.
Needless to say this skill is effectively a direct damage increase in no-penalty mode, very powerful. There is no counter to this except staying far away.

More levels = stronger slow but increases penalty.
Penalty is making the enemy shoot faster.
No problem between Lvl 1 vs 5.
Slows are coded to use whichever is the stronger slow, not stack on top of each other.
In no-penalty, this will inevitably be very broken in a close range fight. Also, the penalty, depending on the situation, can be turned into an advantage by making the enemy waste his ammo from a sudden change in fire rate or using it with Bouncing Bullets, though this combo is very MP costly.

The main power-up would be DD+Teleport(an otherwise unlikely combo) to more or less guarantee your enemy can't fight back, as long as you got the high ground and are ambushing someone on low ground. Invisibility would've dominated(lol invis+knife/spas) if not for forced penalty. Regeneration gets a buff as well but nowhere as significant as Vampirism. Overall Mentals don't get powered up all that much outside of one very specific and otherwise unlikely combo.

More levels = faster healing, but less max MP.
Very straight forward, no problems for Lvl 1 vs 5.
It gets a big buff in no-penalty mode; extremely useful for healing outside of combat(definitely beats Self Repair here), but it would pale in comparison to Vampirism in direct combat.

Disabling Drop
More levels = bigger AOE, but stronger penalty.
Penalty is that enemies who get their ROF reduced will also get a proportional increase in HP regeneration.
It is hardcoded to have a minimum fall distance and I think it doesn't reveal invisibility anymore.
Lvl 1 vs 5 is perfectly sensible.
This is a very situational ability in the first place, so not much would change in no-penalty mode besides the fact that weapons outside of shotguns would be viable for a DD ambush. Of course, I haven't mentioned teleport though...

More levels = less MP drain but penalty lasts longer.
Penalty is that players deal reduced weapon damage upon uncloaking for a period of time.
No problems in the logic here.
Has the ability to temporarily "deactivate" Force Fields, Blade Fury, Black Hole and Bullet Time. Can be cast AFTER Self Repair to heal while being invisible.
If the penalty were completely removed, you'd see what would effectively be instant kills from invisibility + knife or Spas-12 rush. That's why it still has its penalty, though it no longer scales. It has a minimum duration hardcode for Force Fields, and bursting Blade Fury counts as uncloaking + triggers the damage reduction even though its a skill rather than a weapon. It is also coded to NOT allow the use of Barrier because of Qwertybeef, though that is no longer relevant since Barrier is removed. It has also recently been coded to be usable while holding chemicals, but it doesn't work if you're inside a Battle Royale bomb. Also doesn't work when carrying an objective.
Btw, ever since the base fadetime was doubled to 1s, the Campaign stealth puzzle section in Turbine where you first get Invisibility appears to have become impossible to do flawlessly without a flashbang.

More levels = faster movement speed while cloaked, but increases the penalty.
Penalty is a longer cloaking time. This also affects the re-cloaking speed from if you got hit while invisible because of Qwertybeef.
No problems with Lvl 1 vs 5.
A buff in no-penalty for sure, but shouldn't be truly gamebreaking on its own.

Mirror Image
More levels = the clone lasts longer, but increases the penalty.
Penalty is take damage when the clone gets hit.
Lvl 1 vs 5 logic is sound.
Not much difference in no-penalty mode, but this is a skill that does feel quite weird for some reason. Should look into ideas for this in the future.

More levels = longer teleport range + lower MP cost + shorter cooldown, but also increases channeling time.
Constant penalty of taking increased weapon damage upon teleporting.
Can apply Disabling Drop. Doesn't work when carrying an objective and still doesn't work when carrying a non-QP chemical. There's a trick where you time your chemical placement and teleport casting to almost match. When you reach your destination, your chemical becomes near instantly placed - this trick also applies when using Warp Fields. Which reminds me... you can place chemicals while high up in midair... Also, you can't shoot while channeling teleport and there's some special hardcode that pertains to your cursor location.
Lvl 1 vs 5 logic is sound.
Seems fine on in no-penalty on its own, I think the biggest change is that you'd potentially see a lot more use of DD+Teleport, which is actually very devastating.

Blade Fury
More levels = higher blade burst damage, but reduces blade speed.
Constant penalty of increased weapon recoil.
Hardcoded to have its spin speed reduced to nothing when Force Fields or Bullet Time is active, though this apparently doesn't affect the bursting at all; its a leftover feature from the time of CQC builds. It was at least for a time treated as weapon damage, thus its damage is reduced when a bunch of skills are involved, including Vampirism, Invisibility, Radiate, Shockwave, but I'm not sure how much of it is true anymore(I know BF+Invis definitely still reduced the damage and also made bursting uncloak invisibility).
Lvl 1 vs 5 is sensible if you think in terms of the burst damage, but graphically Lvl 1 actually looks more threatening/impressive.
Ironically BF is almost never considered a close range slashing skill in PvP these days, most of the focus is on the burst. It only really shows up as a CQC ability if you specifically go for the old Invis+BF+BH combo or if you're hunting zombies in campaign, and even then this behavior is now strongly discouraged due to the existence of sprintStun and shifting.

Spike Trap
More levels = bigger AOE from having more spikes, but increases penalty.
Penalty is being unable to shoot after casting Blade Fury(to throw spikes) for a longer period of time.
Hardcoded to create a nice ring rather than a circular line if you aim the cursor at yourself. Also hardcoded to not deal damage until they land.
No problem with Lvl 1 vs 5.
In no-penalty it probably isn't too big a deal, though it should be noted that spike trap fishing has always been a thing(as in, you aim the spikes to hit players just as they land).

Black Hole
More levels = bigger AOE, though the slow is slightly weaker.
Constant penalty of making bullets that enter the Black Hole gain seeking.
Has a slight pulling effect on top of the slow. Slows are coded to use whichever is the stronger slow, not stack on top of each other.
Lvl 1 vs 5 is alright, helps that it is clear bigger = higher level.
In no-penalty not much would change to be honest.
Black Hole is not really given much thought to in the meta for a long time since players die so quickly now + sprintStun exists, even when considering the value of keeping an enemy from running away(still relevant when Shift is involved since it is based on base move speed). I suppose its more of a thing when Force Fields is enough.

Smoke Bomb
More levels = bigger AOE but reduces duration.
Constant penalty of blinding yourself.
Lvl 1 vs 5 is alright.
In no penalty, it is definitely an advantage in an ambush, but I do note that the enemy who is blinded can actually still track your location because he can see the white swirls of your Black Hole...
I never really see this skill and again, status effects skills generally don't really have much application when players die so quickly. Also, Aster pointed out to me that shifting makes the smoke bomb's radius pretty trivial unless you also keep the enemy inside a BH, but still...
In short its kinda eh.

Venom Shot
More levels = higher DPS and shorter cooldown but lower duration.
Constant penalty of poisoned enemies shooting homing bullets.
It has a hardcoded reveal ability, which used to really mess with Invisibility(Dash movement speed specifically) but I'm not sure if this is still the case now. I think Regeneration specifically no longer protects against Venom too. It should also be noted that multiple venoms can be stacked, and it is based on total remaining damage divided by the new duration.
This one... is a little strange when talking about both Lvl 1 vs 5 and No-Penalty.
L1 = 5hp/s x 6s = 30dmg. 4s cooldown.
L2 = 7hp/s x 5s = 35dmg. 3.5s cooldown.
L3 = 9hp/s x 4s = 36dmg. 3s cooldown.
L4 = 11hp/s x 3s = 33dmg. 2.5s cooldown.
L5 = 13hp/s x 2s = 26dmg. 2s cooldown.
I understand it used to be the other way around for a variety of reasons(the reveal being useful for harassment/scouting a single person vs the DPS when paired with Flare Gun), but you can't deny this is a very strange relationship in order to try and make Lvl 1 vs Lvl 5 have a significant difference.
I don't know what to suggest, but it is something to look at.

More levels = longer-lasting venom trail, but stronger penalty.
Penalty is simply making the Venom Shot's seek increasingly weaker.
Has been hardcoded such that a player may not get infected by the same trail more than once, and the effects of the Venom it would inflict would degrade as the trail fades away.
Nothing to say about this one.

The main thing would be a willingness to spam Plasma Ball and Bullet Time having more defensive power, but otherwise not much else would change. Self Repair is a huge liability.

Self Repair
More levels = increased total heal and AOE, but penalty lasts longer and the heal rate is slowed down.
Penalty is reduced movement speed while the skill is in effect.
This penalty however, is currently NOT covered by No Penalty mode!
No known hardcoded features.
The L1 vs L5 makes sense in terms of higher level = more healing, though the balance of it is god-awful because of one simple fact.
L0 = 30hp over 1.5s (20hp/s)
L1 = 40hp over 2.5s (16hp/s)
L2 = 50hp over 3.5s (14.3hp/s)
L3 = 60hp over 4.5s (13.3hp/s)
L4 = 70hp over 5.5s (12.7hp/s)
L5 = 80hp over 6.5s (12.3hp/s)
The reason why Self Repair was made into a toggle for such a long time is precisely because of this same issue we have with the skill right now. Higher levels are simply not worth it even if it is more efficient, because you are forced to go through the entire thing, even if you only want to heal a small amount of HP, and the amount of time it takes exponentially increases the problems of getting caught in a bad spot.
I want to re-iterate that the reason why Self Repair is now the way it is is because Barrier was removed and replaced with Self Repair, and you were worried about newbies forgetting to turn it off or leaving it on when it was an MP-drain based toggle.
You can get the best of both worlds if you simply allowed players to turn off Self Repair after healing a minimum of 30hp. So L0 can still spam it for fast healing as usual, L5 can press it once and have the ease of mind that they can it turn off when full but must still remain committed for a bit longer than an L0. Seeing as skills no longer require a formula and have their own individual stats at each level, you can play around and make this work more smoothly in gameplay too.

Light Shifting
More levels = start with more shifts, but the penalty for shifting gets stronger and also lasts longer.
Penalty is increased weapon damage taken, both in intensity and in duration, after shifting.
The penalty currently still applies even when No Penalty is enabled.
I'm not a fan of this skill to be honest, but something has to replace Static Charges, and it does have an important synergy with Bullet Time as a way to release bullets(without using Invisibility or directly turning the skill off) and to deal with the no-sprint penalty.

More levels = longer range, but narrower AOE and longer cooldown.
Constant penalty of enemy taking reduced weapon damage.
Shockwave has a LOT of utility, possibly too much - it can momentarily reveal hidden enemies and freeze any projectiles. It also used to remove barrier, but with that gone, it now regains its ability to slow enemies down. Slows are coded to use whichever is the stronger slow, not stack on top of each other.
In terms of L1 vs L5, its quite alright to a layman. No penalty doesn't seem like a particular issue.
In practice however, I find that L1 Shockwave to be an overly powerful skill. It can completely shut down the first +1-1.5s wave of bullets that are coming for you while your own bullets can continue to fly unfazed, with its short range it is unlikely to cause your enemy to take the reduced damage penalty(and you don't have to worry about that if its no penalty!) and a shorter cooldown means you can cast it more often when needed. In a game where the TTK is low, shutting down the first wave of bullets means you've completely turned the tide, even if you were at a loss in terms of HP, and the fact that it freezes bullets rather than somehow nullifying them or reducing the damage means netcode becomes noticeably more spikey(and it makes Plasma Ball magically become 1-shot kills once the freeze wears off, WTF).
In short - nerf the bullet freeze into a reduce incoming damage.
(also I miss the old Shockwave graphic)

More levels = more sparks, but stronger penalty.
Penalty is enemies who get hit by Shockwave become smaller.
If I remember correctly, multiple Shockwave will reset the duration but stick with the smallest size or highest microvolt charges rather than use whatever the most recent value was. Also, sparks will fly towards the victim himself if there are no other nearby enemies. The spark damage is notably further reduced by Shockwave's gun damage penalty.
No comment here.

Bullet Time
More levels = weaker seek but less MP cost.
Constant penalty of not being able to sprint while BT is active.
Cannot be used with objectives, slows down Blade Fury spin speed. Energized bullets will also gain seek proportionately faster. Has a targeting system because I abused its previous ability to automatically seek after the nearest target to snipe people from way off-screen in corridor or common fight areas like an artillery cannon, even without using a sniper rifle. It also has greatly reduced seek when grenades or bazookas are involved because of Rex Nex. Can be temporarily "turned off" by using Invisibility.
Regretfully, I requested that bullets fired during BT do not have the initial seek but must instead earn it after 1s. I would very much want that change undone after seeing how badly BT has been nerfed now.
You can sprint while BT is active in no-penalty mode, which means it is better at backpedaling, but honestly you can already do it now by shifting. The main thing stopping people from using BT is the fact that it slows your own bullets down and thus makes it much harder to hit people. That reminds me... what if Light Shifting is a BT upgrade rather than a standalone skill? Hmm...
L1 vs L5 is... I don't know.
BT is a very special and iconic ability, but one that is actually very easily countered in so many ways. Having a very high bullet speed can pierce through it or you can outright ignore it by using skills. Shockwave will outright freeze any attempts at BT cooking. BT cooked bullets can simply be side-stepped, and now you can even just shift away. The new Vapor Slide also means that you can get trapped and unable to shift to fire off bullets unless you specifically use Invisibility for the bullet release. There is very little you can do if you get into CQC(even if you consider the odd case of using Reverse Fire) because your bullets will never hit then while your enemy can surround you with a wall of bullets. Despite all this I still feel BT cooking is something that should be accessed at higher levels precisely it is something so unique to BT.
I get the logic for putting the BT cooking version in Lvl 1 though; in all honesty, its primary value is ultimately going to be defensive, and if that's the case, having it be less of a strain on mana is nice. Nevertheless, I find BT to be a pretty dull or ineffective choice nowadays. Perhaps its worth considering how it should be made more interesting in the future.

Stolen Seekers
More levels = stolen bullets are more powerful, but penalty is stronger.
Penalty is increased enemy bullet speed inside the BT field.
Hardcoded to slowly turn around and slowly regain speed when BT is turned off, because making the bullets instantly turn and instantly fire off is apparently too overpowered.
No comment on this.

Phasic Bullets
More levels = higher chance of firing a phasic bullet, but penalty is stronger.
Penalty is increased reload time.
No comment on this.

More levels = higher bullet speed, but stronger penalty.
Penalty is increased ammo consumption.
Hardcoded to make dropped weapons last x2.5 or 3 longer and also marks it orange to the owner.
I find Energize has become largely irrelevant these days, whereas back then everyone always had at least 1 Energize. I wonder if it should simply be a passive that applied to all guns, and have a nifty little feature where the game calculated and displayed the amount of ammo for you automatically.

Lasing Orb
More levels = increases damage boost, but penalty gets stronger.
Penalty is both a strong movement slow to the owner and a boost to enemies gaining HP/MP when standing inside it.
Notably it does boost Plasma Ball and Microvolt and Blade Fury burst. Not sure about anything else.
L1 vs L5 makes sense.
In no penalty mode it seems pretty nice to use. Should be good for snipers.
The penalties don't make sense and are generally weird. I mean, it is a weird skill in the first place and its more or less frankensteined out of the old version where it followed you around whenever you barrier'd.

Plasma Ball
More levels = slower plasma speed, which in turn also makes it deal more damage.
Constant penalty where you take increased weapon damage after casting.
It had a minimum damage value of 10, don't know if its still there outside of the purpose of killing zombies. It also has a very small explosive boost that can apply to yourself, I suppose mostly because of Vapor Slide, otherwise it'd be irrelevant and should be taken out.
In no-penalty mode it should really encourage players to use it liberally, though they'd still want to use it as far away as possible to maximimize the damage efficiency.
L1 vs L5 wise, it is weird. Yes, the damage is higher, but the projectile is also way slower which is counter-intuitive to what a layman would expect from putting more points into the skill. I don't really have a better way to resolve this though, this is the most optimal way skillpoint-wise.
Overall I would say it is fine.

Fire Storm
More levels = bigger AOE vertically, but smaller horizontal AOE.
Hardcoded to never deal damage more than once, good riddance with the old chance-based damage system.
No harm in no-penalty mode and no problems with L1 vs L5, should be great fun.

Vapor Slide
More levels = AOE lasts longer, but reduces Plasma Ball damage.
The most notable thing is that the Vapor Slide also affects the player casting, so that is more of the drawback than the reduced damage itself, even in No Penalty mode, especially considering that Fire Storm does multiply the minimum range so that you wouldn't ice yourself.
This would certainly be a very interesting thing and fun in no-penalty mode.

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Last edited by STM1993 on Sun 27 Jan 2019, 08:16, edited 8 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: What is the direction Geneshift should be going towards?
PostPosted: Sat 26 Jan 2019, 19:19 
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Tah-da! Here is my prediction of how things should go in no penalties. Color Coded in Purple > Blue > Green > Yellow/Orange

### Purple Tier ###
These skills should have their base penalty. Maybe not scaling or exact same numbers, but without it these are extremely easy to use with high rewards.

Bouncing Bullets
Provided Force Fields blocks 100% of damage and has no stun, I'm concerned this will be the ultimate invalidation of any gun that isn't Photon. It's already meant to be, but you can still over power it due to the trade off of damage for protection, and exploit the stun. Without either it's just ignore damage. Which is the same issue I have with Stolen Seekers.

Assault Armor
It's basically a "guarantee someone is getting knifed" ability. And with how latency acts, I'm inclined to believe it'd be the Assaulter getting away with it. Or a escape nearly any situation. I'm probably over estimating the value of it's penalty in this case, but damn it's a good ability.

You know why.

I'm not sure about the damage increase. But Teleport just seems wrong if you're not channeling it.

Stolen Seekers
Same reason as Bouncing Bullets, and likewise, compounded by it's requirement skill also not having penalties.

Lasing Orb
Should be able to ditch the "Can't move inside my own lasing" aspect, but the reward of enemies getting inside one should remain.

### Blue Tier ###
These abilities without any penalty are just really good level dumps. I don't think they should have penalties as bad as Purple tier, but something to make it a consideration over others.

Bloody Gains
The Hitbox increase is just part of the skill's identity. I just really wanted to express this.

Force Fields
I think it's damage / Vehicle multiplier should be reduced. After you lowered the health of Vehicles, I don't recall Force Fields' damage against them being lowered to compensate. Otherwise without the stun, this just invalidates vehicle purchases.

I'm probably giving it too much credit, but I like the bit of lowered mana. Really feels like a must-have for if you don't want any actives.

Bullet Time
Unmodified movement speed is silly. Easily counter able with Energize or any way to slow them down. But a bit more concerned about how it affects Stolen Seekers.

Might as well be a passive, except for the sake of Alchemic Acid. Perhaps increase the mana cost to 10, since you're currently expected to toggle manage it to avoid wasting ammo. Removing that, might as well increase it's cost.

Light Shifting
I'm assuming you just forgot to include a No Penalty version of it. I believe it should have a 0.3-0.5 second penalty, just so you don't benefit the damage resist of Shifting itself.

Stagnation, Clip Magnet, Microvolt, Vapor
I think these should add a 5-10 Mana cost to activation instead of their existing penalties. Higher octane, but fewer times you can use it. Might also consider Stolen Seekers and Bouncing Bullets, but maybe not Vapor considering Plasma Ball itself is meh to start.

### Green Tier ###
Not much for me to say. With the exception of a close eye on Vampirism, I think these will all work as intended in no penalties. I look forward to all of these.

### Yellow/Orange ###

Plasma Ball
In comparison to the other damage skills, it's a huge level investment(+ Firestorm) to do anything with it. This may be intentional and if so, then this is rightly an underrated skill.

Final Focus
Hilariously awesome when it works, and with Bloody Gains now running around, is probably viable. But it does require taking damage, which sometimes just never happens or you take damage too quickly. For what it gains in BG improving, it also loses in Vampirism improving.

Mana Leech
To be fair, with no penalties, stealing mana is going to be a huge deal. However, this doesn't even feel like a Physical skill without the self damage, and the self damage is what's holding it back.
I propose making it an add-on to Final Focus, where upon stealing mana you will get Xs of Focus triggering. In this case, might have to tone down the mana stealing.

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