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Try to limit the amount of braindead and anti-fun CC that is stuns. There are better alternatives.

DreohDreoh Member
edited 3:47AM in General Discussion
As the title says, stuns are a net negative in PvP. Whatever enjoyment someone can get from stunning a player is minute compared to the frustration stunned players feel at loss of agency.

Any reason for adding a stun can be countered via an alternate form of CC that doesn't completely remove player agency.

You want to give an ability a stun to stop people from kiting and running around? Use snares/roots/slows instead.
The players movement is impeded but they can still act/react and keep their agency, even if limited.

You want to give an ability a stun to stop interrupt a spell cast or stop a player from casting spells or using abilities? Implement silences/disarms/etc.
The players actions are impeded but they can still act/react by moving.

Not relying on the uninspired all-encompassing "stun" state only adds more depth to combat, meaning you have to use the right CC for the right scenario.

Stuns are just a lazy way to balance combat in my opinion, and completely invalidate the entire concept upon which playing games is built upon, which is playing games. You're not playing the game when you don't have control of your character, you're just watching your character get his shit kicked in for 5 seconds with zero agency.

You might be thinking, "Well what if both scenarios go off at the same time, isn't that effectively a stun?"
Sure, but that would (ideally) require at least two abilities. More if you delegate different effects to multiple abilities. For a full lockdown of a character, make it require a silence spell, a disarm, and a root, and whatever other creative idea you may come up with. Don't fall back on the 1-click-stop-playing effect.

This might be an unpopular opinion, but I fully believe stuns are the easy way out of game balancing. (In PvP. Stunning non-players is fine, because no one loses agency)
Sure some people will probably think I just hate being stunned... and yes, that's exactly my point. Getting stunned isn't fun at all, and I believe games without stuns or at least minimal stuns are all the better for it.
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Comments

  • DygzDygz Member, Braver of Worlds, Alpha One
    LMAO
    I expect Ashes will have stuns.
  • CROW3CROW3 Member
    My favorite stun is the sword-hilt-to-face move. Classic!
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  • AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited July 20
    I'll second this, and I 'speak for 8' in doing so. And by 'second' I mean 'basically echo everything Dreoh said exactly'.

    The first thing many players do, the first thing those many consider 'skilled', is 'figure out how best to prevent the opponent from getting to play'.

    A Sleep can stop an attack or movement but at least it breaks under some circumstance. A Bind/Root can stop an advance, depending on what you allow from 'prone' even a Knockdown can happen without completely removing the opponent's options. Stuns are just an annoyingly stackable 'win button' that operate entirely by removing most interplay between characters.

    Why even worry about that balance nightmare when we could just use the dozen other CC options that require adaptation to use of one of your other options instead of 'welp, guess I'll die'.
  • DreohDreoh Member
    edited July 20
    Dygz wrote: »
    LMAO
    I expect Ashes will have stuns.

    I also do, I'm just putting my probably unpopular and never usually considered opinion out there lol

    I'll play it even if it has stuns, but I think stunless is just better game design as I described
  • NoaaniNoaani Member, Intrepid Pack
    To me, a stun should last fractions of a second, while other forms of CC can last up to two or even three seconds.

    If done this way, stuns can still be super powerful tools, without being too powerful.
  • DreohDreoh Member
    Noaani wrote: »
    To me, a stun should last fractions of a second, while other forms of CC can last up to two or even three seconds.

    If done this way, stuns can still be super powerful tools, without being too powerful.

    I agree, ministuns aren't too bad as they are essentially just interrupts and there is minimal loss of agency
  • BaSkA13BaSkA13 Member
    edited July 20
    I think stuns aren't the problem, however perma-stun is. I wouldn't mind if they implemented a cooldown on stuns, meaning you can only be stunned again after X seconds of the last one in PvP.

    In any case, it's all about balancing, but I quite dislike perma-stun: it's boring for both parties IMO.
  • AerlanaAerlana Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    BaSkA13 wrote: »
    I think stuns aren't the problem, however perma-stun is. I wouldn't mind if they implemented a cooldown on stuns, meaning you can only be stunned again after X seconds of the last one in PvP.

    Yes, the real problem is perma stun. But GW2 for example got only short stun ("mini-stun" like dreoh called them), a class can not spam it. It remains a situationnal skill when your weapons/utility skills offer one.


    A stun immunity of degressiv effectivness could also help (first stun is 1 second, second in the next 30 sec is 0,5 sec, etc etc)
  • AidanKDAidanKD Member
    Just want to chime in to say I agree and like your idea. I am accustomed to playing WoW so it feels normal - but always brings me back to recent times where you are stunned by a stealthed rogue and in some cases they have the means to kill you within this stunlock. Part of that is a balance issue of course and is definitely niche, but I agree that it's not enjoyable and doesn't encourage counterplay.

  • VhaeyneVhaeyne Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    @Dreoh

    You may or may not like what Wildstar did with stuns, but I always liked Wildstar's PvP stun mechanic because of your chief complaint. You can't play the game when you are stunned.

    This short video from the Wildstar devs shows things better than I could describe them.


    What is important is that CC was just temporally changed your gameplay objectives instead of outright removing you from the game. Being able to react well to CC was just another player skill that was rewarded with shorter CC durations.

    What do you think of this?
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  • DreohDreoh Member
    edited July 20
    Vhaeyne wrote: »
    @Dreoh

    You may or may not like what Wildstar did with stuns, but I always liked Wildstar's PvP stun mechanic because of your chief complaint. You can't play the game when you are stunned.

    This short video from the Wildstar devs shows things better than I could describe them.


    What is important is that CC was just temporally changed your gameplay objectives instead of outright removing you from the game. Being able to react well to CC was just another player skill that was rewarded with shorter CC durations.

    What do you think of this?

    Wildstar (RIP) was one of my favourite games, the combat was phenomenal and just outright enjoyable to play. It was in fact my favourite MMO combat to date.

    And yea, I've had some debates with friends and others about what would make stuns acceptable. Mashing out of stuns was one of the things I would bring up as an acceptable level of agency. This has a problem though, people can just create hardware-side macros to insta-break out of them, and the only to fix that problem is to set a minimum stun time, and when you do that you just end up right back where you started, with a no-agency stun duration.

    Wildstar's CC's were perfect, because they were immersive, unique, served a distinct purpose and you never lost your agency.
  • DygzDygz Member, Braver of Worlds, Alpha One
    Dreoh wrote: »
    I'll play it even if it has stuns, but I think stunless is just better game design as I described
    Blind and Fear
    Are they better, worse or the same compared to stuns?
  • AerlanaAerlana Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Dygz wrote: »
    Dreoh wrote: »
    I'll play it even if it has stuns, but I think stunless is just better game design as I described
    Blind and Fear
    Are they better, worse or the same compared to stuns?

    Stuns are "absolute" : your character can't move, and can't act, during the time you are stun you do nothing.

    Blind, effect vary, for the worst : you can't target (sometime game even hide other characters/mobs). on some games it only reduce a lot (or to 0) your chances to touch. But at least in any situation, you can move, you can try to hide behind a tree to break Line of Sight (LOS) and avoid the bowman/mage to attack you. running helps to avoid getting hit from melee also

    Fear : the target runs everywhere randomly, it can make some bodypull on monsters. also most of time, fear can quite easily break with the victim gets hit by any attack/spells



    stun is clearly the stronghest of all CC



    but balancing the CC is also about time... a 20 second blind is far less fun (for the victim) than a 2 sec stun. for example.

    A way to do balance between cc is to gives them a rate depending on how they are dangerous.
    And then you just try to have for all cc the same value of product "rate x duration"
  • If all of the classes are NOT to have a self-heal, it only stands to figure that many of those classes *should* have 1 or even 2 CC moves - one longer stun, and one mezz (short stun). In addition, crowd control and stuns are typically a good "puzzle-fight" mechanic, in longer raids, wherein the fights between bosses are often made to be challenges, in-and-of themselves.

    I know that the game isn't aiming to be a solo-play game, but I'm sure there WILL be the occasional fight that skilled players will WANT to be able to solo - especially in the wilds. Gatherers/Harvesters could greatly benefit from being able to take 1 enemy out of a group, while finishing off the rest.

    /Support CC



  • veyrahveyrah Member
    Stuns are possibly a necessary evil. Depending on the amount of mobility people will have, a stun usually sets up a combo which is necessary in assasination attacks on a healer in pvp for instance.

    I am fine with stuns personally, as long as they don't stack and have a decent cooldown.

    Another option is to make stuns dependent on effects so they are predictable. For instance, maybe a mages spell only stuns the target if the target is already burning/chilled etc.
  • WokalWokal Member
    An option is to makie every type of CC taxing on the user as well. 'This and that type of cc' requires a tremendeous amount of force and focus making the caster/user unable to either use dmg enchancing cd's, or preventing defensive cd's, or reducing their dmg for a time after using CC.

    Instead of the diminishing returns apply a big debuff (even stacking) to caster of CC. Will make the use of cc far more tactical than spammable. Also while in groups it can be used more, but than other team will have players aroudn to saviour the situation.
  • AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    veyrah wrote: »
    Stuns are possibly a necessary evil. Depending on the amount of mobility people will have, a stun usually sets up a combo which is necessary in assasination attacks on a healer in pvp for instance.

    I am fine with stuns personally, as long as they don't stack and have a decent cooldown.

    Another option is to make stuns dependent on effects so they are predictable. For instance, maybe a mages spell only stuns the target if the target is already burning/chilled etc.

    But the argument is that they're an unnecessary evil.

    Arguing 'well other CC are troublesome too and also need to be balanced' isn't a proper argument for stuns. Games don't need stuns for basically any reason. Even if they were 'a reward for good gameplay' and had to be built up (through some means other than stacking other CCs until it was equivalent), there's just... no need for them.

    What combo is there that can't be set up with a different method? Even if you brought stuns down to 'close range only, user takes longer to recover from it than the target so that it is fair in 1v1', the game isn't supposed to be balanced 1v1 anyway.

    The game has already showed us what happens when something even similar to a stun is available in a group vs group combat situation, and though that wasn't balanced, it's still not an argument that 'stuns need to be in'.

    I for one am tired of games making poor design decisions because 'people are used to them' or 'they always have this mechanic', so until someone justifies 'yes we need exactly this ability that fully stops everything', no matter how short you set it to, there will be people who ask 'but why did you need it to be full Stun'?
  • CROW3CROW3 Member
    edited July 20
    Azherae wrote: »
    I for one am tired of games making poor design decisions because 'people are used to them' or 'they always have this mechanic', so until someone justifies 'yes we need exactly this ability that fully stops everything', no matter how short you set it to, there will be people who ask 'but why did you need it to be full Stun'?

    Stuns appears in games because stunning an opponent is an effective martial tactic. Boxing someone's ears, hitting them with the butt of a rifle, or using a taser are all forms of stunning an opponent. So arguing that stuns are some gaming anachronism isn't a winnable position.

    In game, balancing one type of cc versus another is a different story.

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  • DygzDygz Member, Braver of Worlds, Alpha One
    Yeah, I don't understand why we we not include stuns as a staple of combat. It's reflective of real life combat.
  • MaezrielMaezriel Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited July 20
    I advise anyone in favor of abilities that utterly stop you from playing the game to go give Overwatch a whirl. The sheer amount of stuns, knockbacks, etc is insane and absolutely not fun in any way.

    I agree w/ OP there's better ways to handle CC.

    Edit: I do feel I should further clarify, I can understand the use of stuns for someone to disengage from a fight...but being attacked while stunned or being stunned as long as a Rogue's Sap in WoW is just infuriating for the guy who's now just twiddling his thumbs.
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    If I said something that you disagree w/ feel free to say so here.
  • CROW3CROW3 Member
    edited July 20
    The issue I have with @Dreoh's original argument is that it overgeneralizes stuns as if they are all the same as implemented in x game. I don't like See's chocolate, but I still like chocolate. I think the more productive conversation is the direction @Noaani started moving - i.e. what would an appropriate stun mechanic look like in AoC? What attributes would it have? What cool down would it have? How would other cc balance out?

    If you're concerned about being stunned then globaled from 100% to zero, that's not going to happen in AoC. I think it's important to be specific about what implementation of stuns you're referring to, so we can discuss what works about that specific instance of cc instead of painting one tactic with such a broad brush.

    For example, I liked the hilt bash stun (I think from Rift, but it might be GW2) that was a 1.5 sec cc. it had a medium cd, but was incredibly useful without being OP.

    An example of crappy stuns would be WoW windwalker monks. Chaining multiple cc's are also an issue that we can discuss - i.e. stun-locking is silly.
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  • AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    CROW3 wrote: »
    Azherae wrote: »
    I for one am tired of games making poor design decisions because 'people are used to them' or 'they always have this mechanic', so until someone justifies 'yes we need exactly this ability that fully stops everything', no matter how short you set it to, there will be people who ask 'but why did you need it to be full Stun'?

    Stuns appears in games because stunning an opponent is an effective martial tactic. Boxing someone's ears, hitting them with the butt of a rifle, or using a taser are all forms of stunning an opponent. So arguing that stuns are some gaming anachronism isn't a winnable position.

    In game, balancing one type of cc versus another is a different story.

    I said nothing to indicate that stuns are not realistic. The argument is that stuns are not fun. And when game mechanics are not fun, the games are less popular. And when MMOs are less popular, they fail.

    So if one's aim is to 'win' by 'having a successful MMO that more people like without compromising the gameplay requirements, then 'full stun is bad' is a functional argument.

    But by the logic presented, no one who 'doesn't instantly die from a sword swing that potentially hit their head' should be stunnable at all by practically any ability. If you could 'box ears' or 'rifle butt' then you could apply sharp edge to cranium and the fight should be over.
  • CROW3CROW3 Member
    Azherae wrote: »
    I said nothing to indicate that stuns are not realistic.

    Agreed. But that wasn't my point. You said they are 'an unnecessary evil' - I disagree since they can be very necessary and are neither evil nor good.
    Azherae wrote: »
    But by the logic presented, no one who 'doesn't instantly die from a sword swing that potentially hit their head' should be stunnable at all by practically any ability. If you could 'box ears' or 'rifle butt' then you could apply sharp edge to cranium and the fight should be over.

    Maybe you can say more on that first point, I didn't follow your thought?

    To the second point, speaking about RL combat, those tactics are intentionally not lethal since not all fights require an opponent to be killed. Being subdued is a perfectly valid way to end a fight.

    In games, I've used stuns as much to get away from a fight as to lay into the red guy.

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  • AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Which is great, but the entire reason they don't work properly in game situations is because a bunch of other things have been changed away from realism for the purpose of fun or balance. Also, other unrealistic things fully capable of replacing stuns have been added.

    I'm not arguing against CC. As @Dreoh is, I'm arguing against full stun.

    You did not explain why stuns are necessary. You explained that they are an effective martial tactic. This does not make them necessary for a game, it only makes them 'realistic'. If you have any goal with a Stun that is not 'make my opponent entirely unable to play', you can substitute a CC that gives them an option while still achieving your own goal.
  • CROW3CROW3 Member
    edited July 20
    Azherae wrote: »
    You did not explain why stuns are necessary.

    Well, I'm not making an argument to change the status quo, so the onus isn't on me to explain anything. But here are a few scenarios where stuns are extremely useful:

    1) If I'm a tank and a heavy-hitting mob turns on my healer and my taunt is on cd, I can stun a mob and generate threat without it continuing to attack (and possibly kill) my healer.

    2) If I'm a healer and one of my group is feared with AOE ground mechanics that could kill them or the group (e.g. Shade of Aran) I can stun that player to reduce the risk of failure.

    3) I'm a bleed spec solo'ing content and need to keep a mob still while bleeds tick and I can survive the fight.

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  • AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Very well, I don't expect that trying to condense down decades of game design theory into forum posts is going to be any more convincing than it usually is, so I will just join others in hoping that between them, Intrepid's developers have the cumulative equivalent of those decades of experience. If your point is 'design inertia puts the onus on the opponent of this mechanic', then your point stands, by definition.

    Answers to your point though:
    1. This is handled almost perfectly by the spell 'Flash' in FFXI. basically reduce enemy accuracy to nothing, generate high threat.

    2. This can be handled by any knockdown that interrupts a mechanic, or a short term 'prevent special ability'. Enemy can still move. In PvE, still as effective, not as crippling in PvP.

    3. Root/Bind/Sleep, whichever of these doesn't break upon enemy receiving bleed damage. Enemy can't reach you with most attacks, can still use long range ones, healing, defense buffs. This is the particular case I feel is the more suspect one. You said 'so I can survive the fight'. If one can't survive the fight because the opponent can still act at all, then your method of winning is 'prevent my opponent from getting to do things until I have enough advantage that they die'. Common. Sometimes correct. Usually hard to balance, usually not correct either.
  • Perhaps stuns would not be needed if there were a way to take control of the tempo of a fight. Such tempo effects the ability to get your hit in without them getting theirs.

    How that might work, hit chances and dodge or block probabilities increase as you control the tempo and decrease as you lose tempo. Doesn’t have to be huge numbers to change the outcome.

    To gain control of tempo there is a battle within the battle that I refer to as the Contest of Tempo, or Contest of Time. Within this contest is a rock-paper-scissors of player actions based on the choices of Striking First, Countering, and Striking last. Countering beats Striking First; Striking Last beats Countering; Striking First beats Striking Last. The buffs go to the winner, debuffs go to the loser and no bonuses apply for ties.

    The basis of this are descriptions in medieval fighting manuals. Other such contests are the Contest of Space/movement and the Contest of the Bind (when opponents are applying techniques of close quarter combat with windings, grapples, push, pull, etc. Ideally you would want to win the Contest of Space by out maneuvering your opponent. Then win the Contest of Time/Tempo to get your hit in and move away from the responding attack. The basic unit of combat is the exchange, where each combatant acts. These contests would occur during each exchange, with the “winner” of the previous exchange generally having the upper hand on the next exchange. These exchanges occur naturally whether the game intentionally designs them in or not (obvious exception being turn-based combat).

    The above applies to melee combatants. When discussing ranged combatants or ranged vs melee, there would be other factors, obviously.

    First, the contest becomes the distance the ranged character can maintain, the damage they inflict at that range and their stamina to maintain their distance. For the melee combatant it becomes a chase, their ability to withstand the ranged damage (uh, shield freaking work well at this) and their stamina to maintain the chase.

    Ranged attacks should lose their potency based on the greater distance. When it doesn’t the game has a built in advantage to the ranged character. Not enough potency at reasonable distances means advantage to the melee character. This of course excludes things such as cover and terrain.

    Once a ranged character gets within reach of the melee character, the melee character has a much greater advantage. It’s for this reason that archers abandoned their bows once the opponent got past the kill zone, between the effective range of the bow and the point the next shot could be launched before a charging opponent was on top of the archer. Also, as these archers were less armored individuals they were at the mercy of their opponent not to cleave them in half (although not as bad as depicted in movies). By the way, a similar situation occurs among melee opponents with respect to pole arms when entering CQC. I would imagine similar situations for wands and staves, although you could view wands as the equivalent to hand guns, staves as a rifle. These inferior melee or non-CQC weapons would then fall under the fate of Take, Break, or Disarm, or simply be totally ineffective.

    Also in melee to CQC range the melee combatant, if they are not trying to eliminate the ranged attacker’s weapon, would most definitely attempt to restrict the ability of the opponent to move or get away. This then becomes a similar melee contest where the Contest of Space and Contest of Time come into play. So rather than have something like an auto stun or auto slow/maime/etc. you have a method of introducing buffs and debuffs based on the skill of the players. To me this would be a very active contest, which I imagine would be more entertaining than auto stun, auto slow, etc. And perhaps stacked debuffs lead to these more debilitating conditions. In other words, to lose actions you would have to lose more than one contest. And the fight could turn dramatically from an opponent apparently at a disadvantage turning the tables on their opponent.

    The easy way is apply stuns.
  • CROW3CROW3 Member
    edited July 20
    To gain control of tempo there is a battle within the battle that I refer to as the Contest of Tempo, or Contest of Time. Within this contest is a rock-paper-scissors of player actions based on the choices of Striking First, Countering, and Striking last. Countering beats Striking First; Striking Last beats Countering; Striking First beats Striking Last. The buffs go to the winner, debuffs go to the loser and no bonuses apply for ties.

    Interesting idea. Do you see this as a proxy for taking/giving line?

    The difficulty with translating actual melee combat (say swords, since that's what I train with) into the game is that 'melee range' is so broad a brush that you lose the real economies of distance, line, shape, motion, timing, etc. I like the direction your thinking on 'tempo' and 'time' is headed, though I wonder if a R/P/S model may be too RNG (is there a way to mitigate the probability with skills/knowledge/etc?), and the macro level question of over-burdening combat with that calculation v. just having a stun (your last point).

    What manuals are you referencing?

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  • Menda GoodbodyMenda Goodbody Member, Braver of Worlds, Alpha One
    I'm pro stun. I'm pro any combat moves in pvp. Why limit us?
  • MaezrielMaezriel Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    I'm pro stun. I'm pro any combat moves in pvp. Why limit us?

    B/c stuns are very boring for those who are stunned. IMO combat shouldn't encourage someone to just twiddle their thumbs and wait
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    If I said something that you disagree w/ feel free to say so here.
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