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View Full Version : A SKYE Mains´ analysation of her state of balance + tweaking suggestions



SubjectToChangePLDNS
10-13-2016, 01:12 PM
Hello there, My Name is SubjectToChange and I´m relatively new to the whole forums thing.
However I´m NOT new to gaming and PvP at all and seing as I´m so heavily invested into this beautiful and promising game I thought I´d give it a shot :)

DISCLAIMER As one of Paladins´ premier rage-inducing champions I´m sure any thread about Skye will easily let emotions boil up quickly but let´s PLEASE keep the debate about this as civil and objective as possible, okay? I will gladly answer any objective comments/critisism but please make sure you actually have an educated opinion on the topic before replying to this thread. THANK YOU

First off, a little analysation of the current State Skye´s in:
In casual play she´s always been feared as a Pubstomper and in particular her Ultimate rubbed alot of people the wrong way and I can understand that.
Traditionally, Stealth characters have always been difficult to balance for PvP because it´s all too easy for them to come across as being unfair because the correct way of fighting against them is oftentimes tricky and new players won´t be able to pick it up immediately, resulting in frustrating starting experiences when facing said characters on the enemy team.
Despite this though, Skye´s stealth and overall kit isn´t actually overpowered, in fact she´s undoubtedly one of the weaker champs in the game atm which is proven by her total lack of success in the competitive scene.
Having said that I´d like to mention that I think any nerfs to any part of Skye´s kit that I´m about to suggest or that Hi-Rez are gonna implement in future Patches should always be compensated for by strenghtening other parts of her kit in a way that´s healthy to her gameplay so she won´t fall even FURTHER behind the competition.

Her LMB and RMB have seen quite the number of changes in the past, and in my opinion their current forms are the best they ever were.

Her LMB is a shortranged "bullethose" style weapon with short effective range which fits Skye´s intended playstyle very well. She´s supposed to sneak up CLOSE to her unsuspecting targets to take them out quickly. Having a mid-longranged weapon would add strength to her kit in ways that are not intended.
While being healthy in design, I´d still wish for a little numbers tweaking on it though (see Suggestions further below)

Her RMB shoots 3 fast projectiles which serve to make the target more vulnerable to Skye when she engages on them. requiring Skye to hit these three bolts to reach her maximum damage potential while having other synergies with her kit are in my opinion a great way to add depth to a Champion´s kit while providing several balance levers, but atm I believe it has some unintended uses.
Again, I wish for some minor changes to this ability (See Suggestions further below)

Her Smoke Bomb and Hidden Abilities both make her go invisible, and thus are her main forms of engagement/defense/maneuverability.

SMOKE BOMB produces a sight-blocking cloud on the location where the arching throwing projectile lands, offering great utility when used correctly. Examples would be mainly to deny vision to enemies that are about to deal damage to you or your allies. Great examples would be throwing it at an ulting Viktor or a Kinessa who set up camp. I´ve done this numerous times and it really works wonders.
other than that it´s mainly used to make yourself invisible for 3s. Having two stealthing abilities is surely strong, but one has to keep in mind that they both cover rather short distances when not augmented by loadout cards and Also that the SB is gives a visual queue by which the enemies can anticipate an invisible Skye lurking around when not used behind covers (which then again shortens the amount of distance Skye can effectively traverse in her SB stealth)

HIDDEN is pretty straightforward when compared to Smoke bomb. It simply stealths Skye for 3.5s and nothing else if not augmented by loadout cards.
It´s CD doesn´t begin until after you leave hidden´s stealth which makes the card "Cloak" (+2-8s hidden duration) effectively increase hidden´s effective CD whish is why I don´t understand why so many other Skye players run around with Cloak III/IV". The longer you run around hidden, the more time you spend doing NO work for your team.
Changes I wish for explained further down in the suggestions section)

I like that Skye´s stealth isn´t tied to a single ability in her kit but I´m not really sure how exactly stealth behaves in Paladins and I couldn´t read up any specific details anywhere apart from the obvious. I will have to playtest this with friends in the next couple days since custom games are finally more audjustable.
I´m not entirely sure on how the sight-blocking of her Smoke bomb works, there´s not enough details written up on the internet (as mentioned, I will playtest the hell out of Skye in the next couple days)
At the moment I feel like it oftentimes doesn´t work like it´s intended to, which is blocking sight of anything inside it from the outside and vice versa for enemies only, naturally excepting Skye and her allies doing damage from the "other side" because that would be a load of bullcrap so I refrain from making more specific suggestions about balance changes to either Smoke Bomb or Hidden until I fully comprehend the mechanics behind them.

Leaving her basic abilities aside, her ULTIMATE is probably the primary reason for the general playerbases´ antipathies towards Skye and as someone who mains her I can without hesitation say YES, her ultimate so far has always been in a bad spot, requiring little skill to use while offering little counterplay apart from running behind cover and hoping that hit-registration will be lenient.
Sure, I´ve still used it to it´s full extent but I´ve always felt like using (Toxic) Time Bomb at crucial moments gave you an unfair advantage without deserving so and I wished this unhealthy part of Skye´s kit to get changed in a meaningful way.

CONCLUSION: Skye´s Stealth isn´t the problem. Once you´ve learned to play against her properly she won´t feel as unfair anymore as she did when you first picked up the game. If you have any doubts about that I encourage you to pick her up yourself and play 10-20 games with her to get to know her strengths and weaknesses.

Now for my personal thoughts on how Hi-Rez could make changes to Skye´s kit in order to bring her into a healthier state while enabling her to compete with the rest of the championpool again.
Another DISCLAIMER:
In NO way do I think the Dev Team of Paladins is doing a bad job. I´ve joined in like CB25 I believe and have kept a close eye on it´s development and personally felt like it became a better game with every new patch, and I particularly think that Hi-Rez is absolutely on point with the underlying DESIGN PRINCIPLES they adhere to (One example being the decision to give EVERY champion some form of mobility or selfpeel, which does wonders for both gameplay health and the consumer experience because maneuverability plays a huge part in outplaying opponents, and PLAYS are one of the primary fun factors in PvP games both when playing and spectating them (Think of the hype in soccer when a star striker out-dribbles the enemy defense for a spectacular goal)

SUGGESTIONS

LMB
As stated above I think Skye´s primary weapon fits her intended role and playstyle very well, but some aspects still offer room to improve.
Now, I´ve read quite some angry comments on how her LMB can feel like it has no downtime with maxed out reload speed and I can understand where those comments come from, although I´d like to remind everyone at this point that SPECIALISATION ALWAYS COMES AT A COST. A Skye that spends 1 slot and 4 points on the loadout card "nimble hands" (essentially 10-40% faster reload speed) and/or the offensive ingame item "deft hands" (20-60% faster reload speed) has to make heavy investments to make her weapon feel like the relentless minigun people often accuse it of being.

A weakness her LMB actually has in my opinion though, is it´s effective RANGE. Currently her damage falloff begins at around 7m as far as I can tell, which is LESS RANGE THAN FERNANDOS FLAMETHROWER HAS (~9m. Feel free to correct me if those numbers are wrong)
While I think Skye´s main weapon SHOULD be relatively shortranged due to the nature of her playstyle, I believe the dev team overdid it a bit with how hard they restricted Skye´s effective range with the combination of weapon spread and early starting dmg falloff.
As a side-effect of this Skye becomes nearly incapable of contributing in situations where the rest of her team falls behind. She simply can´t pick anyone off if the enemy team has the means to shift their focus onto her because the rest of her team doesn´t give them a hard time and I feel like this shouldn´t be the case.
It´s my firm belief that a player should NEVER be occluded from making an impact on the outcome of match simply by game design (one of the reasons I left a certain Moba where the item system makes for a very snowbally experience, often resulting in not getting rewarded for correct play after a certain point) On that note I think that Hi-Rez found a healthy approach to the concept of augmenting stats through ingame item progression by making item´s stats scale linearly but their prices exponentially, thus making it increasingly impossible for one enemy team to out-stat the other the further a match progresses instead of the other way around.

MY SUGGESTIONS: Having said all this, I´d wish for the beginning of her LMB´s dmg-falloff range to be pushed back a little. I think 10-12m could be a good spot because one has to keep in mind that weapon spread already represents a form of dynamic range falloff.

RMB

Poison Bolts. Overall great ability design IMO, but currently it feels a bit too versatile.
YES I´m suggesting a nerf to it. Me, a Skye Main ;D
At present, hitting a Poison Bolt will deal 10% of the target´s TOTAL HP over the course of 5s while also applying a healing debuff while having no dmg falloff with range because it´s a projectile. Although it almost doesn´t feel like a projectile because it´s vfx is tiny, it´s travelspeed is huge and all 3 bolts are pinpoint accurate.
Assassin-style game characters should by nature of their design and intent be good against targets with low healthpools and defenses and weaker against those that opt for tanky stats, thus %MAX HP damage contradicts Skye´s design because it scales with the tankiness of her target.
I want to mention the loadout card "Pollute here" because it brings down the CD of Skye´s RMB to 4s from 8 if maxed out. I Really like the feeling of having such a low CD on Poison bolts because it´s one of the few things Skye can contribute with from range (although only if she aims well so there´s balance in that) and would be strongly opposed to having the CD increased, should Hi-Rez deem her current RMB too strong.
mechanically I think it´s an ability that takes skill to use to it optimal effect, but it should not be as strong against tanks.
I´m not against this ability doing damage based on the targets healtpool, but I definitely thing %MAX HP is the wrong choice here. That would leave %MISSING HP or %CURRENT HP. %MISSING HP would mean that it became stronger the lower it´s targets become, making for potentially cheesy snipes on fleeing opponents which a champion like Skye shouldn´t be able to but %CURRENT HP would mean hat Skye couldn´t finish off anyone at all with just her RMB which I also don´t think would be fair. after all it still takes skill to hit those three bolts, even more so at longer ranges so it should feel rewarding.

MY SUGGESTIONS: Change the dmg of Poison bolts to %CURRENT HP + a flat amount per bolt, killing a 2000HP target at 30%HP.
I´ve done the maths and think that around 40%CURRENT HP+500dmg for hitting all 3 bolts would be fair.
At first glance this sure sounds monstrous but one has to keep in mind that due to the way %CURRENT HP dmg works the resulting amount will be much much lower than that.
Let´s make a few examples (a bit of rounding involved to make it look cleaner. Differences miniscule):

Let´s say for arguments sake that the targets have no loadoutcards or items equipped, no other dmg from any source is de all three bolts will evaluate the dmg per tick at the same time (so they will always be the same value) and apply the flat dmg afterwards.
there´s a total of 15 ticks with 3 applied at once and 5 such triple ticks, so we can say one triple tick is 1/5th of the total dmg = 8%CURRENT HP + 60dmg.

at 1000hp the first three ticks would look something like this:
(1000*0.92)-100 = 820 HP
after the 4 remaining ticks:
820 *0.92-100 = 655 * 0.92-100 = 502 *0.92-100 = 362 *0.92-100 = 233HP left
767dmg done compared to 600dmg on live.

Let´s compare the new dmg calculation on a Fernando and a Kinessa at both 30% hp.
Fernando:
5700*0.3=1710hp
HP left after 5 ticks: 701HP.
1009dmg done. Keep in mind this would´ve KILLED a Fernando with the current way Poison Bolts work.
A full HP Fernando would be left with

Kinessa:
2000*0.3=600HP
HP left after 5 ticks: -31HP BAM dead Kinessa just like on live.
Anyone lower than 600 hp would still die.

One thing to keep in mind here is that the overall damage done by the poison bolt ticks will only get LOWER when any outside sources of dmg are involded, because the %CURRENT HP at each point in the calculation would be lower, resulting in a lower nth-tick dmg before the fixed dmg.

Smoke Bomb and Hidden suggestions omitted until I understand the mechanics behind them better

TIME BOMB

Ah yes, the rage button. Truth be told, it was just brokenly strong in previous iterations and even though maybe the latest change would maybe somehow make it more balanced, it still just doesn´t fit Skye´s role as an assassin from the shadows. I´ve thought about it quite alot and came to the conclusion that it may very well remain a bomb with huge AOE, but then there´d have to be something done to reinforce it as a tool for picking off single targets instead of a big middlefinger to everyone around it.

MY SUGGESTION:
Revert the dynamic damage falloff and lower the overall damage to 1000-1500 damage, but make it do amplified damage to targets marked by Skye´s POISON BOLTS (I could see +30-50% per bolt work out depending on how low the base dmg will be). It would still need to retain it´s shieldpenetrating function in order to not get rendered useless by simply shielding the Poison-Bolted target but it wouldn´t hurt most of the enemies all that anyway with so little base dmg, only enough so that some may consider ducking behind cover.
Making it only do dangerous amounts of damage to Poisonbolted targets would make ist less of a teamwipe tool while enabling Skye to be the stalker lurking in the shadow and picking enemies off one by one that she´s intended to be.



...Now that was a lengthy thread I guess! Thank you to everyone who read the whole thing and tried to understand the reasoning behind my suggestions, I hope you liked these suggestions.
I hope that some of these changes will get tested by the devs sometime in the future.
If even one such change makes it to live then it was worth writing this thread :)

ThatOthell159
10-13-2016, 08:36 PM
Skye is, and will always be utter garbage against premade teams, let alone competitive premade teams.

Do not based your analysis on casual, base it on competitive, play 10-20 games and you will understand how free she is.

Just by only playing Skye ( and other broken champions when she's taken in ranked) have greatly inflated my MMR ranking. I am currently at 4997 MMR solely because of Skye.

Risiko94
10-14-2016, 05:09 AM
Thank you for your time and explanation.
This is a placeholder for a future comment when i have time to read all of that ^^