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Hydroid 2.0 - Plundering Heart of the Depths


Synpai

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 THE CRITIQUE

 

As it stands Hydroid is kind of a victim of time, oversaturated charging mechanics and negative feedback loops. While contemplating the avenues of design I found myself constantly walking into other frames --which I guess can be expected after 8 years of Warframes; however, I felt Hydroid didn’t really flourish in any of his themes compared to the other frames he came into conflict with.

 

Passive:

  • 200 true damage is nothing in the grand scheme of things
  • the AI isn’t satisfying as a player to rely on
  • basically nothing else in Hydroid’s kit enhances this slam-tentacle style of play outside of Pilfering Swarm

 

Tempest Barrage

  • As it is now, this ability is frustratingly chaotic with the way it affects enemies with no consistency
  • Corrosive status is no longer able to fully strip armor, so augmenting the ability starts to feel lackluster, but without the augment...the ability has no practical use outside of sporadically knocking down enemies.
  • In a minimal sense, if the ability just reduced enemy armor and hit more consistently it’d be miles better.

 

Tidal Surge

  • Shown its age in it’s clunky controls
  • Ragdolling enemies is disruptive as a player.
  • While gaining CC immunity from the augment and being able to apply it to enemies is nice, Oberon can do that (and more) with less effort.
  • In a minimal sense, this ability just needs to have better control and not rely on its augment to have some sort of benefit outside of movement and CC -- albeit one of the most frustrating forms of CC.

 

Undertow

  • While Hydroid can utilize other abilities in this form, it completely takes him out of the game play loop for insufficient trade off, in my opinion.
  • You basically have to rely on your teammates (or patience) to kill enemies in your puddle.
  • There's a bit of a negative feedback loop, as Hydroid gains increased drain per enemy in the pool punishing Hydroid for functionality better done by Khora and Zephyr.
  • Because you can barely move in this state you either pull SINGULAR enemies into the pool or use Tidal Surge to get more enemies-- in other words, spending energy so that you can...spend more energy so you can capture more enemies. Meanwhile Khora and Zephyr get to vibe effortlessly with their pulls and damage links while also offering more things to the table.

 

Tentacle Swarm

  • Deals mediocre damage
  • Makes it frustrating for players to do more than try to AoE enemies out of existence.
  • Fails to provide much purpose outside of it’s pilfering augment... that’s again, better done by other frames.

 

 

There’s all that and Hydroid’s abilities scale on EVERYTHING. Honestly just about every reason you could find to play Hydroid leads you do a different frame. 

 

With all that in mind we set sails to my redesign and the thought process behind it. Do remember this is just what I felt happy with, it doesn’t mean it’s perfect nor does it mean that it’s the only route to take. I essentially got the design to a point where it flowed well mentally, but without testing there’s no telling how strong some of the choices are/what would be a decent value or point of balance, so keep that in mind.

 

 

THE RE[DE]SIGN

PASSIVES

Spoiler

 New Passive 1, Commanding Tides - Hydroid enhances the effect of auras (per coaction drift) and gains an extra aura slot.

  • May be a bit overkill to include a boost AND another slot as either/or would be powerful in their own right, but...hey I'm willing to push my luck

New Passive 2,  Mark of the Deep: Hydroid’s abilities apply a Mark of the Deep, each Mark of the Deep permanently reduces enemies armor by 25%.

  • While you can utilize one ability to remove an enemy's armor, it should be noted that each ability mark will be overwritten by the next; this will make more sense later.
  • Hydroid's slam attack has a 50% chance to grasp marked enemies souls with tentacles stunning them for a duration. 
  • Hydroid’s Slam attack will cause all tentacles in range to slam, dealing true damage based on a percentage of the captured spirit’s effective HP.

 

Here's an Example:

  1. Hydroid hits a Nox with an ability to apply a mark, permanently reducing the Nox's armor by 25%.
  2. Hydroid slam attacks the Nox
  3. A tentacle emerges holding the spirit of the Nox
  4. Hydroid slam attacks in the Tentacle's radius
  5. The tentacle will slam dealing true damage to the Nox regardless of range, but also to enemies inside its slam radius based on the Nox’s Health
  6. When the Nox dies or the duration is exceeded, the tentacle and spirit are removed

 

Design Thoughts

Spoiler
  • Commanding tides plays into his theme of being a “Captain” and this bare minimum gives Hydroid a purpose no other frame has.

 

  • Mark of The Deep first, emphasizes the erosive nature of water, allowing Hydroid to consistently armor strip. It's also to avoid putting all the weight and theme on a single ability and nest play options into the kit as a whole. With these design choices it gives Hydroid a build path for slam attacks while also solidifying the usefulness and role of the tentacles. Not to mention with the tentacles grabbing the “spirit” of the enemy no one has to endure the chaotic flailing and rag-dolling. I’m still iffy on the 50% chance but since it’s hitting marked enemies and not per slam I feel like it wouldn't be too painful especially with the other options available later.

    Imagine the tentacles have a range indication like wisp's reservoirs


 

 

 

ABILITY 1

Spoiler

 New Tempest Barrage - Empowers Hydroid with a buff that causes the next weapon strike to have increased damage based, velocity and splash radius where applicable.

  • The Splash AOE will only occur if an enemy is hit, similar to the Chakkurr
  • Enemies hit by this ability are knocked down.
  • While the buff persists, Hydroid refreshes this empowered charge after reloading.
  • When Hydroid’s 4th ability is active, all Empowered strikes are followed by a "Kraken Barrage" which rains down on all enemies in range. This barrage stuns and marks enemies.

 

Augment, Eroding Barrage - Hydroid’s buff now causes all empowered shots to be followed by a Kraken Barrage. A Kraken Barrage will now remove armor based on the total armor removed by the triggering Tempest Barrage.

 

Design Thoughts

Spoiler

So basically I wanted to give Hydroid splash damage...literally..without all the clunky AoE and poor scaling. I wanted to play on the idea of Swashbucklers a little by using reloads in between each Empowered Strike. There’s room to make it weapon swaps or make it so players can’t just use primaries or just use secondaries or melees nonstop, but I felt like reloading was the better middle ground.

Having the Kraken follow up gives the feel of cannon fire; Visually I see the Kraken Barrage as an automated water version of Ember’s Inferno. It somewhat let’s me salvage the current form of Tempest Barrage, minus the randomness.

There’s room to make its armor strip based on Hydroid’s armor and other abilities could be tweaked to back it up, but I had other plans to make Hydroid feel durable and having the Kraken barrage reward Hydroid for hitting big groups would ensure almost instantaneous armor strip which was my intent.

Originally I also wanted the reloads to have purpose as well, so there was a play on Harpoons -- a functionality I wish weapons like the Harpak would receive -- where marked enemies would get Pulled to Hydroid during the reload, but ultimately I thought it’d be too unreliable.

I'm also thinking the splash radius is a flat value, so players aren't trying to maximize nonsense and so that it does something decent for weapons without AOE, but less than Firestorm for weapons that already have AOE, it's a tough buff to balance around, but I think it'd be interesting to try.

 

 

ABILITY 2

Spoiler

 New Tidal Surge: Really just needs the control that Wukong or Revenant got, after the dash it will provide Hydroid a “Water Skin” buff which will cause Hydroid to move faster and be immune to statuses.

  • While Undertow is active, enemies Hydroid passes through will be trapped in Undertow. 
  • Hydroid copies status effects applied to enemies he passes through and adds those statuses to abilities cast in a short window afterwards.

Augment, Tidal Impunity - While Hydroid’s Water Skin buff is active, Hydroid takes damage overtime instead of immediately.

 

Design Thoughts

Spoiler

First off I wanted to remove the dependency of being a puddle to drag enemies into Undertow, but I could see coding that change being problematic. Status immunity is a nice highlight on the themes of pirates and creatures of the deep adapting to harsh conditions coupled with the memory/adaptability of water with the status effect absorbing. The new augment would probably be a monster of survivability in the right hands.

 

 

ABILITY 3

Spoiler

 Undertow - Hydroid’s third ability I didn’t bother renaming - Hydroid places a water trap in an area to capture enemies. 3 max

  • Players can hold this to sink into a puddle.
  • If they’re not standing on a puddle it will create one at their location, allowing transportation to or resurfacing at other placed puddles. (Yes you can sink and resurface at the same puddle)
  • While untargetable Hydroid will drain increasing energy over time. 
  • Resurfacing will temporarily increase the range of the targeted undertow area, staggering enemies on the outside of this increased radius
  • Resurfacing also grants Hydroid a buff to instantly reload for a few seconds. 
  • While Undertow is active, Spawned Tentacles in range of Undertow areas also create Undertow areas; this doesn't impede Hydroid's maximum puddles.

Augment, Curative Undertow can stay the same.

 

Design Thoughts
 

Spoiler

My intent again was to find a way to maintain the original functionality of Undertow while hopefully melding it more with player control and synergy. I believe this design does that while also providing an opportunity for mechanical prowess and role flexibility.

 

 

ABILITY 4

Spoiler

 Tentacle Swarm - Hydroid summons a creature from the deep that haunts a large area, spawning Tentacles to grasp all marked enemy’s spirits before marking those in the cast range. The range of its territory will creep out as the ability persists. Although enemies in the Haunted Territory are slowed, the creature bestows blessings to allies in it’s Haunted Territory when spirits are destroyed. These blessings depend on which ability marks the target prior to the tentacle spawning.
 

  • New enemies marked in range will have their spirits grasped if Hydroid has less than 20 captured already (since it can't be recast)
  • Hydroid plunders more loot from enemies that are killed in this area, as per the current Pilfering Swarm.
  • In terms of blessings it’s two parts: 
    • The first part is loot: Destroyed spirits will drop loot as if opening a random cache appropriate to the planet; imagine if it had a chance to be rare. To be clear, you pilfer loot from the enemy you kill, and get cache loot from the spirit.
    • The second is a multiplier buff: Damage, Credit, Affinity, and Resource. In other words, If your first ability marks an enemy, you spawn a tentacle, and kill the enemy before it vanishes your team gets a damage buff while inside the "Kraken's territory" while the ability lasts.
  • This ability causes all tentacles in range to deal double damage
  • All tentacles slam regardless of range if Hydroid slams in the "Kraken's" area
  • When cast on Undertow, the area floods
  • All marks are removed when this ability ends

 

Augment, Crushing Wave - Grants Hydroid and allies Starting Combo and Slam Radius to their empowered slam attacks based on half the number of tentacles before cast for the duration of the ability. In other words, if you spawn 20 tentacles before you press 4, you get a 10x combo and range bonus on your empowered slams while the ability lasts.
 

Design Thoughts:

Spoiler

I originally wanted the blessings to be Hydroids buffs gained from him using abilities, like the Empowered shot or Water Skin, which is why you notice me emphasizing buffs gained after abilities but that seemed rather problematic balance wise, and would end up with Hydroid getting a statistical buff anyway or it'd feel lackluster solo.

There’s room for the Kraken to get AI to roam around and pull targets, but I felt the Barrage added a bit of personality. I did have plans for Hydroid to interact with the Kraken to gain control of it, then the Kraken just copies Hydroid’s abilities or gets new ones, but it felt clunky in my mind due to how one dimensional the Kraken’s movements would have to be. I gave consideration about it becoming a controllable or stationary monster thing too, but again, Sevagoth shadow nonsense and low ceiling tileset issues.

I also thought interacting with the Kraken could spawn unique archguns to better emulate the zones being ships but it felt better for another frame *cough* Hildryn 👀 *cough* as slam attacks felt like a good interaction for Hydroid’s tentacles.

I'm not thrilled with the convolution of keeping track of marks for the damage, credit, affinity and resource boost blessings, but I wanted to give player choice and variety in the buffs; however, the alternative method could be to make a cycle for the "booster" that will apply while the field is active, or more preferred applying all the buffs and just having them grow at a constant rate over time or when enemies are killed in the field.

 

 

Conclusion:

I feel like I hit some flavorful and effective notes. I’ve at least hit a point where I feel good about the foundation of the kit and from there it’s testing and balancing, which I...can't do, but for example the definition of a mark could change to just being damage vulnerability instead of armor reduction.

I had thoughts about the bonus loot Hydroid plunders spawning as a chest after the ability, but as neat as that’d be I thought it’d cause too many problems. I thought about making the tentacles be pseudo exalted and deal damage based on your melee, but I refuse to be apart of the perpetuation of Exalted 1.0 dependancy problems.

I also considered the dreaded...exalted trident, but nothing felt...satisfying or really fitting for the theme and role I was trying to emphasize. I wanted to be careful of not leaning too far into Nyx, Nekros, Revenant, & Inaros territory and avoided making the spirits become allies.

In any case I tried something for the fun of it although I'm well aware it's leaning in the realm of being too busted, but the flow is decent in my head.

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Some criticism's on this rework

On 2021-06-19 at 2:42 AM, Synpai said:

 New Tempest Barrage - Empowers Hydroid with a buff that causes the next weapon strike to have increased damage based, velocity and splash radius where applicable.

  • The Splash AOE will only occur if an enemy is hit, similar to the Chakkurr
  • Enemies hit by this ability are knocked down.
  • While the buff persists, Hydroid refreshes this empowered charge after reloading.
  • When Hydroid’s 4th ability is active, all Empowered strikes are followed by a "Kraken Barrage" which rains down on all enemies in range. This barrage stuns and marks enemies.

 

Augment, Eroding Barrage - Hydroid’s buff now causes all empowered shots to be followed by a Kraken Barrage. A Kraken Barrage will now remove armor based on the total armor removed by the triggering Tempest Barrage.


This 1 doesn't really feel like hydroid, and doesn't really fit his theme. Although a good ability, this isn't hydroid. 

 

On 2021-06-19 at 2:42 AM, Synpai said:

 New Tidal Surge: Really just needs the control that Wukong or Revenant got, after the dash it will provide Hydroid a “Water Skin” buff which will cause Hydroid to move faster and be immune to statuses.

  • While Undertow is active, enemies Hydroid passes through will be trapped in Undertow. 
  • Hydroid copies status effects applied to enemies he passes through and adds those statuses to abilities cast in a short window afterwards.

Augment, Tidal Impunity - While Hydroid’s Water Skin buff is active, Hydroid takes damage overtime instead of immediately.

This is actually really cool but and i love the fact that it can spread statuses. However; it doesn't feel modernized enough and I feel like you could do more with this.

I do like the Undertow change. Sounds like a fantastic edition to hydroid especially with the added benefit of spawning enemies and pools under those tentacles. 

Then tentacle swarm, although honestly not that practical. Is still an overall substantial improvement to his ult and in line with his theme. 

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12 hours ago, weeaboopotato said:

This 1 doesn't really feel like hydroid, and doesn't really fit his theme. Although a good ability, this isn't hydroid. 

It felt nice for the Swashbuckler/Pirate theme I was also trying to emphasize with Hydroid, personally.

I did think of essentially making it "rain" for a duration around Hydroid or literally emulating Ember's inferno as rain (Pressing 1 nonstop is a little overkill), but with 3 and 4 being on the "passive" duration side (3 got a little better with the puddle-portaling), I wanted something "active" it's still duration based but it melds well with the base warframe gunplay IMO. Perhaps the description doesn't do it justice, as it's not just "bullet aoe" which I agree wouldn't be Hydorid. it's more like "water infusion" meant to play on the soaktron to an extent to emulate firing a "Hydro-gun/cannon." It's still very much a water based ability and not in the bubble territory of Yareli.
 

 

13 hours ago, weeaboopotato said:

This is actually really cool but and i love the fact that it can spread statuses. However; it doesn't feel modernized enough and I feel like you could do more with this.

I'd like to hear more thoughts about the modernizing. I thought people would've felt between the status immunity, iframe (pretty sure the ability has that now) and status mimic it'd be overkill even before the augment.

 

13 hours ago, weeaboopotato said:

Then tentacle swarm, although honestly not that practical. Is still an overall substantial improvement to his ult and in line with his theme. 

Yeah in the Dev notes I mentioned that there is a way to simplify it. It could very well just apply all of the buffs spawn max tentacles (the EZ button) have the buffs increase overtime. Trust me I can tell when things drift int he pseudocooperative territory xD

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Nice ideas overall... some things feel a little too extra like the marking and reload stuff.

The idea of setting down undertows and 'teleporting' between them is really cool. It would be nice for interceptions. DE said they were against 'passive/idle' gameplay so being able to set them down instead of sit in them all day is a must-have. Khora's CC would be closer matched by this too instead of hers being just plain 1400% better in all ways. It'd actually be even better if standing in them shrouded you in water and/or partially sunk you in to gave some damage reduction, to further avoid idle gameplay, and you'd only fully submerge to exit from the other portal. And tidal could still move the pools.

Tidal Surge is one of the easiest skills to fix because they already fixed it with Revenant, Lavos and Wukong. Then they can slap on whatever bonus effect they want.

The Augment dependancy is really frustrating and needs to be delt with so the new status effect passive is a good idea for armor reduction. I'm not sure about all the marking mechanic stuff but if they can make a synergy that's actually fun then sure I guess. Just seems a bit overthinking for now.

The Aura Passive would probably be what gets people wanting him in teams. A full team of Hydroids would have quite a lot of Auras though (and potential mutiny) so not sure if DE would find an issue with that? I mean not too many of them are really powerful so eh. They can monetize it though with Aura forma so that should get them interested.

RNG needs to be ditched so I'd prefer to scrap the slam procs (which would also skip gameplay that may look silly) and I've been generally fine with Barrage's concept, it just shouldn't be random either. If it was to look like a ship cannon it could just let us mark spots to be blasted with a single water cannon-ball at a time at each that explodes the whole radius instead of random spots within it. It'll still be useless/boring without some form of scaling though, even with armor strip passive. Hell, make it a real (unseen) cannon and let it adopt weapon or riven mods even. 

Tentacles could use the Zyphr treatment and transfer damage to what they're holding and to... also not be so random and unreliable. Hydroid is a Pirate soooo.. why doesn't he just Pilfer by default like Ivara's thieving hands do and Nekro's grave robbing? That is a must-have change, really. He should also steal movies we can watch inside the Orbiter. Augments should change abilities in unique ways, not just slap on a bonus or to complete the skill's full mechanics. :/

Hold to charge needs deleted and never used again for anything.

I really hope they do something though. Every week for the past 5+ years that goes by with no Hydroid buffs has been making me sad. 

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On 2021-07-03 at 7:55 AM, Wolfdoggie said:

Nice ideas overall... some things feel a little too extra like the marking and reload stuff.

The idea of setting down undertows and 'teleporting' between them is really cool. It would be nice for interceptions. DE said they were against 'passive/idle' gameplay so being able to set them down instead of sit in them all day is a must-have. Khora's CC would be closer matched by this too instead of hers being just plain 1400% better in all ways. It'd actually be even better if standing in them shrouded you in water and/or partially sunk you in to gave some damage reduction, to further avoid idle gameplay, and you'd only fully submerge to exit from the other portal. And tidal could still move the pools.

Tidal Surge is one of the easiest skills to fix because they already fixed it with Revenant, Lavos and Wukong. Then they can slap on whatever bonus effect they want.

The Augment dependancy is really frustrating and needs to be delt with so the new status effect passive is a good idea for armor reduction. I'm not sure about all the marking mechanic stuff but if they can make a synergy that's actually fun then sure I guess. Just seems a bit overthinking for now.

The Aura Passive would probably be what gets people wanting him in teams. A full team of Hydroids would have quite a lot of Auras though (and potential mutiny) so not sure if DE would find an issue with that? I mean not too many of them are really powerful so eh. They can monetize it though with Aura forma so that should get them interested.

RNG needs to be ditched so I'd prefer to scrap the slam procs (which would also skip gameplay that may look silly) and I've been generally fine with Barrage's concept, it just shouldn't be random either. If it was to look like a ship cannon it could just let us mark spots to be blasted with a single water cannon-ball at a time at each that explodes the whole radius instead of random spots within it. It'll still be useless/boring without some form of scaling though, even with armor strip passive. Hell, make it a real (unseen) cannon and let it adopt weapon or riven mods even. 

Tentacles could use the Zyphr treatment and transfer damage to what they're holding and to... also not be so random and unreliable. Hydroid is a Pirate soooo.. why doesn't he just Pilfer by default like Ivara's thieving hands do and Nekro's grave robbing? That is a must-have change, really. He should also steal movies we can watch inside the Orbiter. Augments should change abilities in unique ways, not just slap on a bonus or to complete the skill's full mechanics. :/

Hold to charge needs deleted and never used again for anything.

I really hope they do something though. Every week for the past 5+ years that goes by with no Hydroid buffs has been making me sad. 

Marking is probably a bit overkill, but I feel like immediate information is something that can be lacking in Warframe: You can tell when any enemy has armor or no armor but if any enemy loses say 50% of their armor there's not much indication, but depending on the implementation it is very well unneeded. 

I wasn't too concerned with tidal surge moving puddles as in my mind Hydroid could collect the enemies into the nearest Undertow with Tidal Surge, but between the player controlled placements and the tentacles the enemies should have an awful time avoiding water, but I'm not against other alternatives either.

Augment dependency is the worst and is something I really wanted to alleviate here, but I wanted to make all the augments pretty good, so it'd be an actual tough choice.

 

Aura passive would for sure need a balance check, but worst case it could just double an equipped passive.

I think I should amend that passive to just spawning a tentacle on empowered slam...it's a tough balancing act with all the newfound power they'd have, but maybe making duration/damage scale with consumed combo counter would make it maintain a bit of tactical or meaningful play. I used Ember's inferno as a reference merely for visuals, the barrage wouldn't be random, it would just hit all enemies in the 4th radius (with the augment, it would be centered around Hydroid and can show a visible AOE so players know what'll be hit). So water would just rain down on the enemies, no RNG involved, but I'm very much against pseudo exalted design in pretty much any form. If it allows for a Riven, it brings back Exalted 1.0 nonsense where people are going to like...the Jaw sword. Hence why the ability is a direct enhancement to gunplay.

 

I pretty much solved both of those. The Tentacles would grab the enemy's "spirit" so they don't flail, always deal damage to that enemy as well as those within its AOE. His "automatic Pilfer" is just pressing 4. which I would imagine to have a large radius that also expands overtime. I also added more loot tot he pilfer as well (sure just random cache loot, but if it had a chance to be rare it'd be a good source of ammo, energy, resources, health, and credits).

 

Not a fan of the charging mechanics either, which is why I removed the need for them.

One day....we can dream...

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