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What way should we buff Grineer Ballista?


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Seeing how the sniper (in this case, we're focusing on ballista) has little threat, I've been thinking some ways to make them deadlier. First thing would be making them keeping distance as main priority, then one of these ways I've thought

1. Remove the laser and cue noise, making them harder to detect and find
2. Remove cue noise, laser is kept that way but they have 100% accuracy whenever they shoot at the target (they have those laser sight, what is the reason to miss now?)
3. Keep them as it is, but allow them to bypass shield gating, dealing 25% of excess damage

Which one you prefer, Tenno? Or should we combine them? Or is there any better way to buff the unit?

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Hrmmm 🤔. They’re a threat if I’m too busy dealing with other enemies and aren’t paying attention to them, and that happens every so often. Personally I would lean towards choice number 3; it could turn them into bad news if a player’s running around with low health. That said, a smaller bypass amount might do better; enough to chip off the final bit of health if someone’s a little too risk-averse with jumping into a group or not maintaining enough distance to help keep track of the enemies.

That said, I am not a fan of the instant kills that were happening before Shield Gating 😅. So personally I’d be interested to see it in action, and would prepare to swallow down some expletives

edit: Even if nothing were changed, I like food for thought

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I think they're kind of okay the way they are, if they just improved the accuracy a bit. I think something cool they *could* do is add a heavy ballista unit, which has a similar head weakness and damage reduction to the Nox that uses either a new Grineer sniper rifle or just to original Vulkar, but in close proximity to the player pulls out the new Grineer gunblade, the Vastilok.

This would encourage players to take an aim duel at range and aim for the head to take it out, rather than risk taking a Vastilok shot up close. I dunno, I just like the idea of an enemy type that encourages the player to take an aim duel, maybe there's a better way to do that but that's just what I thought of on the spot.

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30 minutes ago, TheArmchairThinker said:

Remove the laser and cue noise, making them harder to detect and find

I remember when this was how they actually behaved. Wasn't much fun to suddenly lose half your health because one spawned behind you and immediately noscoped you.

Honestly, I think option 2 would be the best fit, provided that we could use movement to throw off the laser's aim. Right now it acts more as a "I'm targeting this player" indicator than a sight showing where the shot will actually go, since it sticks to the player regardless of how they move or where the Ballista is actually aiming.

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49 minutes ago, TheArmchairThinker said:

1. Remove the laser and cue noise, making them harder to detect and find
2. Remove cue noise, laser is kept that way but they have 100% accuracy whenever they shoot at the target (they have those laser sight, what is the reason to miss now?)
3. Keep them as it is, but allow them to bypass shield gating, dealing 25% of excess damage

The laser and the sound were added at some point on purpose, because people hated getting oneshot seemingly out of nowhere, when one of them spawns behind your back. There are better ways of increasing game difficulty than oneshot deaths, especially when countering oneshot snipers back then had nothing to do with actual skill in the game. They're already capable of stripping your entire shield pool, making it easier for other enemies to eat into your health.

Besides, by design Warframe is a game in which we the players are constantly facing several dozens of enemies at once. Having a single light enemy unit being that much more powerful than all the bosses or the eximus units in the entire game would make absolutely no sense.

Allowing anything to bypass shieldgating would just make the entire mechanism obsolete and force players back into the massive HP pool + DR meta. Also, I dont even think that shieldgating is that popular of a mechanic in the game, because otherwise people would have shelved their Inaros long ago.

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36 minutes ago, Corvid said:

I remember when this was how they actually behaved. Wasn't much fun to suddenly lose half your health because one spawned behind you and immediately noscoped you.

I remember this too , was not fun to not know what happened. But now that we have shield gating it may make them threatening but manageable if they were reverted to pre nerf.

 

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1 hour ago, 0_The_F00l said:

I remember this too , was not fun to not know what happened. But now that we have shield gating it may make them threatening but manageable if they were reverted to pre nerf.

 

Perhaps, but I'd rather we go for one of the other options, since they seem more mechanically engaging than just "this enemy does a huge burst of damage every few seconds".

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2 hours ago, TheArmchairThinker said:

Seeing how the sniper (in this case, we're focusing on ballista) has little threat, I've been thinking some ways to make them deadlier. First thing would be making them keeping distance as main priority, then one of these ways I've thought

1. Remove the laser and cue noise, making them harder to detect and find
2. Remove cue noise, laser is kept that way but they have 100% accuracy whenever they shoot at the target (they have those laser sight, what is the reason to miss now?)
3. Keep them as it is, but allow them to bypass shield gating, dealing 25% of excess damage

Which one you prefer, Tenno? Or should we combine them? Or is there any better way to buff the unit?

Removing the laser sight would just make their damage a surprise, which would suck. The laser sight is fun to play around.

Personally, I think a cool idea is to allow them to be unaffected by stealth. Like, their scopes track heat signatures or whatever.

Or maybe, if they miss the target, after one second the bullet lodged in the environment will beep. After another second it will explode. That aspect being based around the fact that players are intended to avoid the shot. But if they do so with cover they will need to start moving.

 

When making changes like this, and indeed one of the core aspects of game design in general, is being able to envision the changes in gameplay a mechanic will cause.

For example, if you take the laser sight away, how is that interacted with? Well, it’s not. Now these units don’t really have a long range presence at all, and even if they do hit you, you’ll likely not even be aware it was a sniper. So, as a mechanic this adds nothing, in fact it only subtracts from how interesting the unit is.

There’s a reason why so many games use laser sights for snipers, even going back to early gaming. Because the second that beam comes at you, the player knows something is about to happen and they have to act. It’s fun. Which is why it’s a staple.

in my two propositions, the first being how the snipers can ignore stealth, we can ask how does this affect player experience? Well, for most people it won’t. Which coincidentally aligns with my belief that the grineer snipers are fine.

However, it finally introduces some mechanics to interact with in stealth, while also still being fair. The snipers don’t shoot Instantly. Thanks to the laser, a stealth frame will have plenty of time to respond, and honestly it might even be more fun to have something to consider and interact with during stealth.

The second idea, of the snipers being able to detonate their shots that miss, while not necessarily making perfect sense in the lore, serves the gameplay purpose of making the sniper units more territorial. Which is exactly the kind of gameplay you’d expect when encountering a sniper.

A sniper unit will generally have something of a vantage, think the watch towers on the plains, which serves their range focussed attacks by giving them a huge field of attack.

Making their missed shots able to detonate allows them more control within that space, it restricts how useful small instances of cover may be, and it encourages the player to keep moving- -on the defensive.

The explosive shots in particular however definitely has a exponential effect.A single sniper with explosive rounds is one thing, but contending with 4-5 or even 10? Suddenly you might need to approach the fight in radically different ways.

 

In summarisation. I don’t think the units need to be changed, as I believe they are one of the few units that’s fun to interact with. However, if they were to be, I would have them changed as outlined.

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No to the suggestions regarding the laser

Games are about what's fun to fight. Difficulty is a means to that end. With that in mind, I feel that it'd be better to change the laser to something like this.

 

Ballista have 100% accuracy, but they'll only shoot what their laser is targeting. You can visibly see the laser, which unlike now, is not simply a line drawn between the gun barrel and the player, but instead actually indicates what the ballista is 'aiming' at. This starts on you, but can lag behind if you move sufficiently fast (faster than default bullet jump/roll speed) or if you change directions. It's also based on your proximity to the Ballista (being closer means they'd need to 'move' their scope more to track you, so they track better at longer ranges). If the laser is on you when the Ballista finishes charging, you get hit. Otherwise, you don't. Simple, binary, clear.

Currently the laser is just an indicator they're aiming at you, not that they'll hit. Which means that the sniper laser, in reality, is a meaningless warning since it's a warning you mightbe hit based on a huge number of other completely invisible factors.

Spoiler

 

 

Relatedly, I agree with @(PSN)GingyGreen that they should actually have semi-competent AI that actually tries to behave like a sniper on occasion. The damage thing would probably be OK with a clarity upgrade.

 

For the record, I think all sniper-wielding enemies in this game should work like this, including Corpus snipers. Hitscan and everything.

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in the old days, they had no laser sight, so you would never see the shot coming. people complained though, so they were given the lasers so players had time to dodge, a mechanic added in many games to sniper enemies (to the point where I think some people expect all snipers in all games to have it). 

but hey, if you want elite sniper opponents, I'll give you Elite Sniper opponents! introducing a new unit: Elite Ballista.

- same size and armor as a heavy gunner, with all the same damage resistances and weaknesses. elites should be bigger, right?

- rather than being on the tileset itself, they take up a custom shooting position just outside of the tileset. you can forget about cheesing them with melee, because you can't reach them: a real sniper would be located far from the battlefield where their range advantage can be used and the enemy is far less likely to spot them.

- they would relocate once you are out of their line of vision, so if you didn't manage to kill them in one room, they'll take up their already-made position in the next and wait for you. they aren't going to stop shooting at you until they are dead. oh, and they'll also be lying Prone of course, to make for a smaller target size for the enemy and to increase their own accuracy. 

- they would be able to cloak between shots, because sci-fi snipers gotta cloak, those are the rules. 

- no laser sights, no warning sounds, either the bullet will hit you or it won't. you won't hear the sound of their rifle until after you've been hit, because a sniper round is going WAAAAY faster than the speed of sound.

- would be able to lead a moving target: your parkour isn't gonna save you from this one either, unless you can turn on a dime.

I don't think people realize how unfair it would be, even for our powerful space ninjas, to go up against a trained sniper unit, without the systems put in games for balance reasons. the fight would go like this : bang, you're dead. you never know where or who the shot came from, and you have no chance to retaliate. this is why Snipers are one of the scariest things you could ever go up against. 

Ballistas are fine.

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21 hours ago, _R_o_g_u_e_ said:

Or maybe, if they miss the target, after one second the bullet lodged in the environment will beep. After another second it will explode. That aspect being based around the fact that players are intended to avoid the shot. But if they do so with cover they will need to start moving.

If it's made for the elite unit, it would be fitting better combined with this

23 hours ago, clxrffdman said:

I think they're kind of okay the way they are, if they just improved the accuracy a bit. I think something cool they *could* do is add a heavy ballista unit, which has a similar head weakness and damage reduction to the Nox that uses either a new Grineer sniper rifle or just to original Vulkar, but in close proximity to the player pulls out the new Grineer gunblade, the Vastilok.

This would encourage players to take an aim duel at range and aim for the head to take it out, rather than risk taking a Vastilok shot up close. I dunno, I just like the idea of an enemy type that encourages the player to take an aim duel, maybe there's a better way to do that but that's just what I thought of on the spot.

The basic one? Maybe add ability to stagger you on clean hit

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18 hours ago, (PSN)robotwars7 said:

in the old days, they had no laser sight, so you would never see the shot coming. people complained though, so they were given the lasers so players had time to dodge, a mechanic added in many games to sniper enemies (to the point where I think some people expect all snipers in all games to have it). 

but hey, if you want elite sniper opponents, I'll give you Elite Sniper opponents! introducing a new unit: Elite Ballista.

- same size and armor as a heavy gunner, with all the same damage resistances and weaknesses. elites should be bigger, right?

- rather than being on the tileset itself, they take up a custom shooting position just outside of the tileset. you can forget about cheesing them with melee, because you can't reach them: a real sniper would be located far from the battlefield where their range advantage can be used and the enemy is far less likely to spot them.

- they would relocate once you are out of their line of vision, so if you didn't manage to kill them in one room, they'll take up their already-made position in the next and wait for you. they aren't going to stop shooting at you until they are dead. oh, and they'll also be lying Prone of course, to make for a smaller target size for the enemy and to increase their own accuracy. 

- they would be able to cloak between shots, because sci-fi snipers gotta cloak, those are the rules. 

- no laser sights, no warning sounds, either the bullet will hit you or it won't. you won't hear the sound of their rifle until after you've been hit, because a sniper round is going WAAAAY faster than the speed of sound.

- would be able to lead a moving target: your parkour isn't gonna save you from this one either, unless you can turn on a dime.

I don't think people realize how unfair it would be, even for our powerful space ninjas, to go up against a trained sniper unit, without the systems put in games for balance reasons. the fight would go like this : bang, you're dead. you never know where or who the shot came from, and you have no chance to retaliate. this is why Snipers are one of the scariest things you could ever go up against. 

Ballistas are fine.

You want popcorn, Tenno? I think the meltdown will be glorious

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On 2021-07-26 at 4:43 AM, Corvid said:

Perhaps, but I'd rather we go for one of the other options, since they seem more mechanically engaging than just "this enemy does a huge burst of damage every few seconds".

If DE wanted to and didn't mind the (last I checked) negatively/annoyingly viewed QTE setup, there could be some form of that when they fired allowing the player to dodge the shot. If going with this hypothetical route. Personally I'm in the vein of having them hang back and even intentionally stick to nearby heavier units as sort of bodyguards/meatshields if choosing a route for them anyway.

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8 minutes ago, CrimsonXX said:

If DE wanted to and didn't mind the (last I checked) negatively/annoyingly viewed QTE setup, there could be some form of that when they fired allowing the player to dodge the shot. If going with this hypothetical route. Personally I'm in the vein of having them hang back and even intentionally stick to nearby heavier units as sort of bodyguards/meatshields if choosing a route for them anyway.

I've thought for a while now that implementing Fatal Bullet's "Prediction Lines" on hitscan attacks would work well in this game. To summarise that system, enemy bullets travel instantly, but a split second before they fire you see a line indicating where the shot is going to go.

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8 minutes ago, Corvid said:

I've thought for a while now that implementing Fatal Bullet's "Prediction Lines" on hitscan attacks would work well in this game. To summarise that system, enemy bullets travel instantly, but a split second before they fire you see a line indicating where the shot is going to go.

I dunno if the QTE is part of that or not, but I think in WF there'd need to be an active prompt cause as it currently is I doubt rolling would be fast enough to dodge outside of QTE prompt styling (also I love the engagement feeling of prompts, which the remastered Jackal fight does). Though I know little on the programming side, so not sure how much work it'd be or even if it'd be workable in the WF engine. May main thing would be avoiding the aforementioned "one shot kill" or even having it put the player in a bad state for other enemies to capitalize on (getting hit by Ballista shot to like 15 hp then player gets rifle-butted to a death or something like that.)

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19 minutes ago, CrimsonXX said:

I dunno if the QTE is part of that or not, but I think in WF there'd need to be an active prompt cause as it currently is I doubt rolling would be fast enough to dodge outside of QTE prompt styling (also I love the engagement feeling of prompts, which the remastered Jackal fight does). Though I know little on the programming side, so not sure how much work it'd be or even if it'd be workable in the WF engine. May main thing would be avoiding the aforementioned "one shot kill" or even having it put the player in a bad state for other enemies to capitalize on (getting hit by Ballista shot to like 15 hp then player gets rifle-butted to a death or something like that.)

Unless they're either open-ended or a core part of the game that it's built upon, QTEs are generally a trope that isn't particularly well liked by gamers. My comment was basically using yours as a springboard to provide a potential way to solve the current "getting hit is a dice roll" issue that hitscan enemies have without just taking the boring route and giving them projectiles.

You'd be surprised how quickly dodging can become a reflex when clear telegraphs are involved. The game I mentioned has a bug where the lines only show up for half as long as they should (in other words, giving only half the intended window of reaction) at higher framerates, but they still provide enough warning to let players dodge successfully if they're paying attention.

1 minute ago, kgabor said:

Just change the AI so that they keep their distance.

Easier said than done with how mobile we are. How exactly do you "keep your distance" from something that can cross hundreds of meters in a few seconds?

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1 minute ago, Corvid said:

Easier said than done with how mobile we are. How exactly do you "keep your distance" from something that can cross hundreds of meters in a few seconds?

They could use something like a Star Wars speeder bike used by scout troopers.

It could be even as slow as our K-drives if it at the very least made players to focus their attention for a few seconds on killing them rather than just nuking the map as usual.

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