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For Those Who Want Active Blocking...

AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
Are you for, or against, 'blockstun'?

I realized that my opinions about active blocking in an MMO are based around the concept that there would be blockstun on it. But this would mean that a blocking player could either be stunlocked or forced to take damage.

However, active blocking in a PvP situation tends to get very weird when there is no blockstun, and it would probably look both confusing and terrible, because flicker-block is functionally a type of animation cancel even if you can't start blocking while doing something else. If you only need to be blocking on the frames where the game could register a hit, you can flicker it.

If you only need to be blocking on ONE of the frames where the game could register a hit, you could plink-block even if blocking itself has a recovery time.

But we saw the game being quite fast in the basic melee weapon attack thing. I don't know if Intrepid will let you block basic attacks, but that's just a random thing thrown in.

If you are in support of Active Block, do you want 'blockstun', 'long recovery from block animations', or 'flicker-block'? Please add any opinions on whether or not most characters should be able to move while in block stance.
Sorry, my native language is Erlang.

Comments

  • I'm not really sure what you mean by "flicker-block" and "plink-block". I can sort of guess, but it's not too clear.

    Personally, I don't care too much how blocking is done, and I'd be hard pressed to have much of an opinion without spending a good amount of time actually playing the game. Some games have active blocking that's a lot of fun; some have nothing more than passive blocking and are still a lot of fun; it all depends on how blocking meshes with the entirety of the combat system.

    There also seem to be options beyond what you've described for how to do blocking. Maybe this is what you mean when you say "forced to take damage", but in some games, blocking only reduces damage rather than making the blocker completely invulnerable while blocking. There's also a lot to consider with how blocking interacts with resource management. Some games don't have a stun break that you can do against a blocker but do have reduced resource regeneration while blocking so that the blocker can't simply shell up forever.
  • AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Sorry about that, yes.

    Flicker-block refers to manipulating netcode to hide your intentions from your opponent. You press block for a small number of frames (usually 2) and then release and move your character and then start an attack. The opponent sees you start blocking due to ping, and any visual reactions they have are 'tricked'. By the time they realize 'you were attacking, not blocking', the attack is already happening.

    Plink-block refers to 'just tapping block for one frame before you attack'. In some games, this would cause a situation where you were actually blocking on that one frame (and therefore get the bonus for blocking even if your opponent's attack has multiple active frames) but the system never really 'cares' about it and doesn't limit you, making it an 'animation cancel', except that it probably doesn't even start the blocking animation, and therefore never puts you in block recovery.

    You blocked, but never dealt with any of the recovery of blocking. This isn't guaranteed, but designing around it in an MMO tends to lead to some extremely frustrating/spotty situations. Usually a game is either 'very rigid', 'allows flicker-block' or 'allows plink-block'. So I'm asking which one people prefer.

    Hope that clarifies it.
    Sorry, my native language is Erlang.
    
  • I prefer block only need to be active in the frame of the hit, like a parry. With reduced movement speed, significantly reduced (or even canceled) regeneration, and no full mitigation of damage.

    I don’t agree on there being cooldowns to active block. Then it wouldn’t be active block, just an ability on a different keybind. Animation canceling is a skill like any other, I don’t see an issue with letting players fake each other out. It’s not different than a rogue misleading players as to their location using smart positioning and clever movement.
  • LordPaxLordPax Member
    edited September 22
    AoC being a more traditional feeling MMO when it comes to skills,I would say the Tank class should have special "block" skills that are for themselves, their party, or an AoE around them. This allows them to provide tanking capabilities for themselves while still being relevant for the group. One thing active blocking tanks forget about is the scale of this game. Unless that 1 guy can hold aggro on a dragon that 40ppl are fighting(and survive), then there needs to be skills associated with blocking.

    That said, having some level of functionality to shields for "active blocking", like an associated shield skill that they have to hold which blocks X% amount damage in a cone in front of them - that could work. I just don't think active blocking is appropriate for this size game.

    ....plus, from playing tank in NW, amongst others, active blocking means you spend 60%+ of the time as a "raid tank" just holding right click and hoping your stamina doesn't deplete; not very fun gameplay
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  • McShaveMcShave Member
    edited September 22
    how about the term "active-parry" instead of "active-block"? You hit the button at the right time to negate an attack and stun them for a half second or something. Tera had an interesting mechanic for the Warrior class where there was a block that if you activated at the right time, negated most of the damage, otherwise would just block a little bit.

    Ive also seen opinions about a block meter that is short and recharges slowly. This encourages you not to hold the block button when you don't need to.

    "flicker block" or "block stun" depends on how blocking is used in combat, but im leaning more on block stun. slower is better.
  • Considering that sprint is tied to mana right now, I'd probably go with the same tie for blocking too. And would probably add a passive ability to decrease the ratio of "dmg blocked" and "mana used". This ability would be in the weapon skill tree and could maybe even have 3 version for different groups of weapons.

    And in that context I'd like to see a system that tracks which part of the attacker's ability "hit" you in the block.

    For tab target stuff, if you had the block up before the attacker started casting and still you still had it up when the attack landed - you lose 80% of mana relative to the dmg you would've received (if you managed to flick the block on both frames, awesome, but you still lose the 80%). If you only reacted to the cast and blocked during it, you lose 30% mana. Obviously you receive 20 and 70 percent of the damage respectively.

    For action/aoe abilities that hit your block, you lose 50%.

    The passive for blocking could reduce mana usage, increase dmg mitigation per mana unit and, maybe, as the third lvl of the ability have a counter attack if you blocked an action or last part of a tab skill. This passive ability would probably have to be one of the most expensive passives in the skillset, so that people would have to make a conscious choice between being a blocker or being an attacker.

    Imo this kind of system would increase mana play complexity, would make you rely on your partymates (I'm assuming we'll have mana restoration on one of the archetypes), while still allowing for the high skill "animation cancelling" gameplay in the form of plinks that not only predict enemy action (in case of the "full block" of tab attacks) but also perfectly catch the attacker's skill effect right on its frame.

    As for the stun part, I'd personally be against it (considering that we'll have knockback while blocking), but could be persuaded otherwise during testing.
  • edited September 23
    Azherae wrote: »
    Are you for, or against, 'blockstun'?

    It depends a lot on the rest of the mechanics/functionality of active blocking.

    if we use the active block shown in the melee combat video
    (No cooldown, no fixed duration and ~50% dmg reduction)
    I Believe something like blockstun would be required to balance it out.

    But if we take the same active block and add cooldown and duration(like the active dodge) blockstun becomes unecessary.
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  • LordPax wrote: »
    ....plus, from playing tank in NW, amongst others, active blocking means you spend 60%+ of the time as a "raid tank" just holding right click and hoping your stamina doesn't deplete; not very fun gameplay
    We need a toggle for that. :smile:
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  • AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Strevi wrote: »
    LordPax wrote: »
    ....plus, from playing tank in NW, amongst others, active blocking means you spend 60%+ of the time as a "raid tank" just holding right click and hoping your stamina doesn't deplete; not very fun gameplay
    We need a toggle for that. :smile:

    I'm feeling like this is a 'joke' but most of the time that's really what you need, right?

    I think that's part of the reason why so many games just make it a stance. You're just gonna be 'holding block' anyway. I don't think that's how it should work for a PvX game, but I'm good at both 'tapping block on the right frame and then attacking' and 'animation cancels'.

    However they have said that there will not be a reliance on animation cancels, so we'd have to see if Active block has any exceptions to it.
    Sorry, my native language is Erlang.
    
  • Ace1234Ace1234 Member
    edited September 23
    @Azherae
    Are you for, or against, 'blockstun'?

    If you are in support of Active Block, do you want 'blockstun', 'long recovery from block animations', or 'flicker-block'? Please add any opinions on whether or not most characters should be able to move while in block stance.


    Flicker block- yes
    The game should be more than just punish on reaction. If things are too reaction based its going to slow the pacing down and become very passive, waiting for your opponent to act first so you can input your punish. You should have ways of throwing off your opponents reacttion time in order to promote proactive gameplay. It also removes a lot of the depth because you dont really have to manage different potential situations and risk/reward scenarios, because you can just react to what they do and directly counter it, which isn't very fun imo.


    Plink block- no, (except for on parry, that would be fine)- however for regular block, if there are multiple frames of an incoming attack (multi-hit), then it should auto-lock you in block long enough to react and re-activate block to defend against the rest of the multi-hit


    Block stun- depends

    you shouldn't be automatically punished for blocking unless there is simply no direct counter to it- it should be more about managing your block. It seems like there isn't really a direct counter to it because of a lack of grab, unless they choose to have block be more about damage mitigation, or choose to have basic attacks or other moves "break block"
    - I don't think block stun in neccesarily inherently bad, it just can be abused if not tuned right. It should be a tool for balancing different moves to allow for aggression against a blocking opponenet to be safe in certain situations, but it shouldn't be extreme to the point where its constantly unsafe to block because of the stunlock leading to punishment (unless that particular option is meant to counter block)


    Damage on block- depends

    The problem with relying on this as the means for countering block, is that it makes ranged attacks very powerful if its a flat damage bonus, because of the constant chip damage. If should they choose to do this the damage should be curved to account for having to block to get in range to use shorter ranged weapons.

    I think it should be more of a deliberate process that you have to manage in order to counter survivability options such as blocking, rather than just automatically countering them through simply using your attacks to where the opponent down. I think that waters down the defensive/offensive dynamic. I think that in the combat system should encourage aggressive play more organically rsther than directly- by having the block be 100% effective (or at least the potential to be through class choice) and making them manage that block through stamina.


    Basic attack counters block- no

    The problem with this is the same as the damage on block, different basic attacks will have different ranges (assuming different weapons have different basic attacks)- this will make the longer-reaching weapons way more op, by making it way harder to use block as one of your methods for closing distance to get in range to use a shorter-ranged weapon.



    Additional block features:


    Parry window- yes


    This will reward timing, especially when paired with block flickering which is good for the skill gap and promotes faster pacing. It would need to be tuned to prevent spamming block flicker to get a parry against any form of offense, it should require good timing by having a reasonable amount of time between parry attempts.



    Block stamina- yes absolutely

    This would be the best way of forcing proactive aggressive gameplay, but rewarding players who manage their defensive options, rather than directly punishing the use of them. This would also serve as a direct counterplay to blocking by wearing down their stamina- rather than having the counter to block be based on a specific move, which can lead to imbalanced moves and forcing different playstyles around said move to be effective.




    Move while blocking- yes

    Options all have their strengths and weaknesses inherently, that shouldn't affect the player's management and freedom to use said options. If you can have the ability to use movement to manage your spacing while using your different options, then it would be beneficial to the gameplay.


    TLDR

    Ideally I think the best way to handle active block would be to allow for full effectiveness but tie it to a stamina bar. I think this will allow for the fun interplay between managing defense/offense without overly punish the use of blocking- all while still encouraging aggressive pacing because of your limited defensive capability that you have to manage.

    This would be supplemented by allowing for flicker block, parry, and the ability to move while blocking.
    There should only enough block stun if its neccessary to balance offensive and defensive options through lowering the risk of each. This would be based on the specific properties of a given move used on block. Block stun should not allow for specific counters to block because that would be done through stamina management in this context. "Holding block" would be fun because of the management aspects of mixing up your timings for parry chance and flicker blocking, managing your stamina, and adjusting your postitioning during block- while allowing for balance between different attacks and promoting proactive play
  • maouwmaouw Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    I prefer blockstun - it makes attacks that connect feel more like they have weight (on top of hit stop etc.) - though I'd prefer if this only happens under "heavy attacks" and full flicker-block under "light attacks" (I'm not sure if Ashes is gonna differentiate between heavy/light (?)) - is this a bad mix in terms of implementation? I feel like on the net-code side of things - heavy attacks usually have greater wind-up so that gives you room to resolve whether or not a blockstun occurs, right?

    Regarding abusing netcode flicker-strike - I have no personal experience here so a few questions:
    - Is it frustrating when opponents do this, or do players accept it as part of the mechanics of combat?
    - Does it effectively function as a true feint? I feel like half of the game is already about pre-empting your opponent's thinking, so wondering how much of a difference it makes?
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  • Ace1234Ace1234 Member
    edited September 23
    If you want to have blockstun for the added "weightiness"- then any additional blockstun added solely for this reason should be mutual stun betwen the attacker and defender. This could be fine, without throwing off the balance and combat design.
  • AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    maouw wrote: »
    I prefer blockstun - it makes attacks that connect feel more like they have weight (on top of hit stop etc.) - though I'd prefer if this only happens under "heavy attacks" and full flicker-block under "light attacks" (I'm not sure if Ashes is gonna differentiate between heavy/light (?)) - is this a bad mix in terms of implementation? I feel like on the net-code side of things - heavy attacks usually have greater wind-up so that gives you room to resolve whether or not a blockstun occurs, right?

    Regarding abusing netcode flicker-strike - I have no personal experience here so a few questions:
    - Is it frustrating when opponents do this, or do players accept it as part of the mechanics of combat?
    - Does it effectively function as a true feint? I feel like half of the game is already about pre-empting your opponent's thinking, so wondering how much of a difference it makes?

    I personally am not annoyed by it, but you must always remember I'm a fighting game player and this is par for the course there so much that it's almost impossible for me to think of it as a problem.

    Also I'm about as mechanically good as one needs to be to consistently flicker-block in most games that allow it, so I am obviously used to playing with people who also learn to deal with it mostly because they can practice against me.

    The main thing I think is a concern here is that if all classes have active blocking, and all classes therefore can flicker, it's technically an animation cancel, right?

    But because GENERALLY a flicker-block is a feint, not 'something that is used to exploit to get damage', and doesn't work in PvE, I don't think it matters.

    That said, against some ability types, it IS a real feint if blocking has no recovery (blockstun being separate, where you have at least some recovery because you actually blocked something), particularly Ranger ones like 'Rain of Arrows' or abilities that can be charged by holding an attack button. I wouldn't say anything that I've seen so far made me think of it except maybe Cleric's Javelin, but I thought about this partially because of just how much Ranger classes are usually affected by it.
    Sorry, my native language is Erlang.
    
  • mcstackersonmcstackerson Member, Phoenix Initiative, Royalty, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    edited September 23
    I'd have to play around but I think i'd want what you call flicker blocking with block having a small animation and cooldown after it's release so it's animation cancel isn't utilized for doing damage. Maybe an initial resource cost as well so it's there is a cost of spamming.
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  • AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Also for clarity (sorry about it in advance), the term 'flicker-block' is not common, but the 'standard term' in Fighting Games doesn't necessarily make sense (doesn't convey any meaning to most English speakers).

    I also wanted to use a different non-FGC term for plink-blocking but I couldn't think of one that wasn't slightly misleading (if anyone has experience with a term I'd appreciate it).

    I don't expect to 'slip up' in references, but JUST in case I do or one of my group does, the related terms (for the flicker one) are 'Kara Cancel' and 'KC-block' or 'Kara Block'.

    Plink is short for 'Piano-link' and I can't think of an equivalent word, as noted, but it's not the same as what people call 'Piano-ing' because it refers to a specific effect of using the technique, not the technique itself, which is why it's used that way.

    Hope that clarifies anything.
    Sorry, my native language is Erlang.
    
  • I personally want an active block like the Lancer or the Berserker had in Tera + some long cooldown party wide block like Passage of Arms in FFXIV.

    However, I want a percentage of automatic block/parry chance for mobs basic attacks.

    One way to balance this could be that by blocking you send shield skills (a bash, a pushback etc) into a cooldown, forcing you to be sparse with them depending on the encounter.
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  • AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Asgerr wrote: »
    I personally want an active block like the Lancer or the Berserker had in Tera + some long cooldown party wide block like Passage of Arms in FFXIV.

    However, I want a percentage of automatic block/parry chance for mobs basic attacks.

    One way to balance this could be that by blocking you send shield skills (a bash, a pushback etc) into a cooldown, forcing you to be sparse with them depending on the encounter.

    We might be able to Active Block with any weapon, though, and then shield skills would matter less, any opinion there?

    Also, since some may be unfamiliar with exactly how different classes block in Tera, can you clarify? I never played Berserker but afaik their Block is just infinite, or was for a while.

    Lancer, I'm familiar with, but I don't want to make any assumptions since the game changed, and either I (technically my friend) or you, might have played at different times. My familiarity is mostly with Brawler when it comes to blocking.

    Is Berserker block similarly animation-cancelable consistently? I don't know if you can move right after releasing block or not.
    Sorry, my native language is Erlang.
    
  • Azherae wrote: »
    Asgerr wrote: »
    I personally want an active block like the Lancer or the Berserker had in Tera + some long cooldown party wide block like Passage of Arms in FFXIV.

    However, I want a percentage of automatic block/parry chance for mobs basic attacks.

    One way to balance this could be that by blocking you send shield skills (a bash, a pushback etc) into a cooldown, forcing you to be sparse with them depending on the encounter.

    We might be able to Active Block with any weapon, though, and then shield skills would matter less, any opinion there?

    Also, since some may be unfamiliar with exactly how different classes block in Tera, can you clarify? I never played Berserker but afaik their Block is just infinite, or was for a while.

    Lancer, I'm familiar with, but I don't want to make any assumptions since the game changed, and either I (technically my friend) or you, might have played at different times. My familiarity is mostly with Brawler when it comes to blocking.

    Is Berserker block similarly animation-cancelable consistently? I don't know if you can move right after releasing block or not.

    Both Lancers and Berserkers had infinite block. You couldn't move whilst blocking and it was active only as long as you held the right mouse button down. It also of course only blocked attacks from the front, so you'll have videos of people getting hit from behind the shield by larger bosses.

    This created a bit of an issue with certain people as character hitbox mattered a lot, leaving people to being forced to pick certain races if they wanted to minmax being a tank.

    I'm pretty sure Lancer could animation cancel with blocks as did Berserkers.

    Here's a video about block cancelling (in french but should be clear enough):


    In later iterations, blocking would drain your MP with every attack blocked (with stronger attacks draining more of it), potentially leaving you unable to use skills for a time.

    You also make a fair point regarding shield skills when you have active block for all weapon classes. However I would then posit that perhaps that should be changed to a dodge roll like Slayers or Warriors (when they weren't tanks) had in Tera. Basically melee DPS get a roll with short I-Frames and tanks (Lancer and Berserkers) get an active block.

    Sig-ult-2.png
  • AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Asgerr wrote: »
    Azherae wrote: »
    Asgerr wrote: »
    I personally want an active block like the Lancer or the Berserker had in Tera + some long cooldown party wide block like Passage of Arms in FFXIV.

    However, I want a percentage of automatic block/parry chance for mobs basic attacks.

    One way to balance this could be that by blocking you send shield skills (a bash, a pushback etc) into a cooldown, forcing you to be sparse with them depending on the encounter.

    We might be able to Active Block with any weapon, though, and then shield skills would matter less, any opinion there?

    Also, since some may be unfamiliar with exactly how different classes block in Tera, can you clarify? I never played Berserker but afaik their Block is just infinite, or was for a while.

    Lancer, I'm familiar with, but I don't want to make any assumptions since the game changed, and either I (technically my friend) or you, might have played at different times. My familiarity is mostly with Brawler when it comes to blocking.

    Is Berserker block similarly animation-cancelable consistently? I don't know if you can move right after releasing block or not.

    Both Lancers and Berserkers had infinite block. You couldn't move whilst blocking and it was active only as long as you held the right mouse button down. It also of course only blocked attacks from the front, so you'll have videos of people getting hit from behind the shield by larger bosses.

    This created a bit of an issue with certain people as character hitbox mattered a lot, leaving people to being forced to pick certain races if they wanted to minmax being a tank.

    I'm pretty sure Lancer could animation cancel with blocks as did Berserkers.

    Here's a video about block cancelling (in french but should be clear enough):


    In later iterations, blocking would drain your MP with every attack blocked (with stronger attacks draining more of it), potentially leaving you unable to use skills for a time.

    You also make a fair point regarding shield skills when you have active block for all weapon classes. However I would then posit that perhaps that should be changed to a dodge roll like Slayers or Warriors (when they weren't tanks) had in Tera. Basically melee DPS get a roll with short I-Frames and tanks (Lancer and Berserkers) get an active block.

    1. I'm sort of following, but just to make sure, did you mean that this would actually be by weapon instead?

    If not, any other change points?

    2. Tera's various block stuff was very animation-cancel heavy, so there's also that to consider relative to what we've been told so far about Ashes, the video does a good job of explaining that (for various reasons I can at least READ French, and as you said, it's simple, so anyone else who wants a primer should just watch that briefly).

    3. MP Cost on Initiation would balance either flicker-block or plink-block, but obviously lots of people would use (whichever we got) anyway and it would still be a question of 'which one is preferred', if they didn't just use Blockstun.
    Sorry, my native language is Erlang.
    
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