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Design for a Droid Class

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Classes
Design for a Droid Class

Altheran's Avatar

11.25.2012 , 03:30 PM | #11
Quote: Originally Posted by Darth_Dreselus View Post
Idea for resource:

Computation / Upload / Processing (someone come up with a better name)

It would work similarly to Focus/Rage but be limited to 3 stacks.

Base attack, no cd, low dmg, builds 1 stack
Second (filler) attack, low cd, moderate dmg, spends 1 stack
Processing is a name which rings for me. But I'd rather see it as a reverted Focus/Rage, near from the ammo ressource, a number of points but without regeneration which need some specific attacks like the basic one to build it back. The advanced classes could be like Shadows and Sages regarding how they use/build back the ressource (one with bigger pool but lesser ways to build back)
It would be like a computer starts with processors and RAM ready to use, then use it for processes and when the process need to end, it dumps data to leave room for other processes.

Cleet_Xia's Avatar

11.25.2012 , 04:50 PM | #12
@ wargonglok ~ I bet you can help! Try to keep in mind how much work goes into altering planets & creating new animations. The more work is required, the less likely it could ever happen. There are ability animations in the game being used by mobs ~ that player abilities don't appear to use. Many of the player ability animations are already being used by different abilities by different classes & advanced classes. Each tech tree needs at minimum, 2 new ability animations per tech tree for the spec special abilities. Try to keep the number of new animations down & think about things like recoloring of effects ~ and not using the animation from tree specific abilities from other classes. ~ keep your eyes peeled for animations that are not being used by a player class atm.

@ Omnisin ~ BW has become pretty hung up on their "special romance feature" ~ eventhough so many games are now including this. It's pretty silly considering that many folks find the idea of romance arcs in their video games juvenile & kind of sad. The relationships arcs that I've seen thus far in this title are the sort of relationships that would have seriously negative repercussions in RL. I'm with you that it's time to drop the feature if it messes with game play, or doesn't fit the story. If a droid class had a romance option - I feel like it should be there just to poke fun at the joke romance arcs have become.

@ Altheran ~ Yeah - it is a writing hurdle. "How do you make interesting companions that are somehow beholden to a droid?" I feel like BW took the easy out on this one, and made a choice not to find out if it would sink. The flip side is that the companion AI is actually very simple, with most of the companions using an AI and ability set that is nearly identical to many of the others. Doc/ Theran/ Elara/ Guss - are all actually the same companion with the exception of 1 ability & 1 armor proficiency, as far as I can tell (Theran uses holiday for the same effect as the carbonite spray of the others). All that's making them different is, names on the abilities, a few companion conversations, and different audio for unit acknowlegements. There are DPS/ healer/ ranged tank/ melee tank/ melee dps AI's that are being reused over and over. The new HK companion may be using a unique AI ~ but i'm not convinced yet, it may just be a variation of the ranged dps AI. If the companion AI is sophisticated enough- it may all just be one AI. Mobs are using the same AI as the comps. So- there isn't a whole lot of fresh programming necessary for new comps ~ just the story writing. And most companions seem to have less than 10 "conversation" missions, & at most 2 companion missions. I could easily be wrong about that as I havn't played any imp toon through to the end. But it is a task with limits.

@ Petnil ~ that's the only way I can see it working - a droid race that doesn't have any option other than playing the droid class. I'm not sure it's even necessary for a playable droid to have Advanced classes.

@ Kitru ~ I feel like the race/class should have a special armor proficiency to keep it's gear from causing problems with the droid companions. I don't want to see a droid class develop that can take front stage center from any of the other classes. I don't want it to take the best bits and pieces from each of the other classes. I wouldn't want it to become the defacto "BESTEST" solo/ tank/ heal/ dps class. What I'd like to see is another class that can complement the abilities and playstyle of the existing classes. If it tanks - I think it should do it indirectly with a variation of the guard mechanic ~ let a dps face tank, while the droid soaks damage for them & buffs their threat. If it heals - it could do it indirectly by buffing the health regen of a target ~ soaking a smaller amount of damage and heal itself with strong self heals. If it dps's - I think it should do things like have a short range AoE gap closer & a proc based short radius self centered Aoe damage, and buff another dps with another guard mechanic. Mob droids already do some of this in the game. And there are already abilities that apply these sorts of buffs. The downside is that this would completely trivialize tank swaps, & tight dps rotations. The healing..... might become extremely boring.

I also feel that the class could be a way to breathe a lot of life back into crafting. All the various supplies for the class could be crafting recipes, forget modifying every loot table/vender in the game. Maybe give the class a capstone dps ability that uses cybertech grenades for ammunition? Give the class a unique weapon proficiency ~ and give those to armstech. Give the class it's own unique relic recipes to artifice. The repair kits to armormech. Make all the recipes drop from slicing & diplomacy. The core & part recipes would go to someone else. Make the class depend completely on a consummable with a cd for mana regen ~ call it a fuel cell, make it from low level mats, with a version for every craft. Just give the class a hidden debuff to it's regen that makes it depend on the timed buff for regen at all. If it's a legacy class, players have the credits to feed such a beast.

Imagine the ePeen from running NiM Ops with such a droid.....especially if it's abilities are not quite up to par with those of other classes, or if the abilities require a higher level of skill to use effectively.

I vote for a linear resource mechanic with a large pool like sage sage/sorc ~ but as a heat mechanic like the Bounty Hunter class. Just invert the colors on the resource bar - no need for a new mechanic. Not too much of the heat mechanic in the game right now. As for abilities that are interesting to use, I'd suggest that few if any knockbacks/ stuns/ mezzes/ roots be added to the game. And I'd say that the class needs a pretty standard mix of channeled, cast, & instants. Each tree needs a proc or two. An ability unique to the tree at point 15 & 31, with a unique animation.

The story writing challenge of a droid class is coming up with something that fulfills the fantasy of the player, without breaking the game, makes sense, and isn't so cliche that no one is surprised by the way the story ends. The other side is that fiction reuses old stories all the time because the "younguns" have never heard the story before.

The playstyle requirement is tough ~ because you're right ~ it needs to be something different that what the other classes do. There are enough stealth classes imho, and I don't see *clank* *whir* as being too stealthy. I also thing melee is out for a droid class. I don't want long range to take away from the snipers. I don't want fire effects to take away from Pyrotechs. I don't want assault cannons taking away from Commandos. I don't want duo pistols taking away from gunslingers & mercs. Too many electrical effects, messes with the sorcerers. It's almost down to things like, the shields that some mobs put on other mobs (like in LI), radiation effects like a recolor of kolto cloud, or ultrasonic type stuff from Manaan in the first KOTOR. It's certainly a creative challenge. throw on top of that the challenge of making it cheap to develop the artwork.... and it's a pretty rough challenge. But there are few creative people about.

But it wouldn't hurt the game to have another class option to bring in another tanking & healing tree ~ there are just WAY too many dps specs. I can understand why BW is insistent on have advanced classes- becuase it doubled the options for players without doubling the development work. But considering that they are now talking about allowing players to swap their AC in the future ~ I'm not sure AC's are actually a necessity anymore.
~Master Telagtun Telag of Lord Calypho~

Kitru's Avatar

11.25.2012 , 05:41 PM | #13
Quote: Originally Posted by Cleet_Xia View Post
If it tanks - I think it should do it indirectly with a variation of the guard mechanic ~ let a dps face tank, while the droid soaks damage for them & buffs their threat. If it heals - it could do it indirectly by buffing the health regen of a target ~ soaking a smaller amount of damage and heal itself with strong self heals. If it dps's - I think it should do things like have a short range AoE gap closer & a proc based short radius self centered Aoe damage, and buff another dps with another guard mechanic.
The problem with a design like this is that, while it works for things like FPs, it doesn't work for Ops. Imagine all of the problems that would arise from using your tank design with another tank in the group: you'd be improving a tanks already impressive threat and splitting what little damage they already take down even more. With your healing model, there would be balance considerations with overpowering AoE heals (since you're splitting single target DPS amongst 2 targets, functionally doubling the effectiveness of all AoE heals). Furthermore, since your "tank" spec relies upon the tank *not* tanking but instead turning a DPS into a tank, what do you do when there isn't a DPS that actually wants to tank, which includes responsibilities like positioning, pulling, etc, as well as some classes outright not wanting to have aggro whatsoever (DPS Shadows and Scrapper Scoundrels would never want to tank because it would end up tanking their DPS). You'd be creating a class that, rather than fulfilling a role, forces someone else to do it instead.

Any class intrinsically designed to operate as a purely support class (re: not a healer, but a class that makes other classes more effective) is going to have some major balance issues within the confines of a game that, up until that point, has had 3 well defined roles: you're not fulfilling any of the extant roles and are forcing the implementation and rebalancing of everything to account for a new 4th role. Your healer would make other healers more effective, DPS would make DPS more effective, and tank would make other tanks more effective. You would naturally arrive at problems with either being vastly underpowered in solo and FPs or overpowered in Ops purely because you have an arbitrary desire to skirt the perfectly functional roles that already exist.

Rather than trying to create some completely new role, which is what you seem to be trying to do, just use the existing ones. It's not like all of the tanks play identically, nor is there so little variance between them that you really need to invent a new way of using one. Just tweaking the resource mechanism in the ways discussed and messing around with the basic playstyle (meaning the rotation/prioritization of attacks and interaction of abilities with one another, not simple things like which weapon is use and what type of damage is dealt; play style refers to how it plays, not how it looks) would be enough to create an interesting and functional class. Create a different enough resource (such as the ones Alth or I recommended which combine aspects of existing resource mechanisms to create something that would play differently) and good portion of the mechanical design work is done, honestly. Throw in some stances for the various roles, and all you have left to do is play around with CDs, rotations, and buffs/debuffs required for abilities.

If you're really insistent on using the Guard mechanic as a class system, it's not necessary to make it entirely necessary to the fulfillment of the role. Provide it as one of the unique "gimmicks" of one of the ACs (specifically, the one that has a tank tree) insofar as each spec gets some way in which to manipulate or create a new Guard mechanism (the tank spec gets one that causes the droid to gain resources or some other buff whenever the guarded target takes damage (or whenever the target goes a certain amount of time without taking damage, or both, honestly), in addition to the baseline effects; the other specs get talents that allow them to use Guard in stances other than the tank stance but change the effect to something different (removing the 5% DR, 25% lower threat, and 50% damage transfer), such as providing a bonus to the target's crit/surge/power when you get a crit or use a certain ability or causing the two of you to deal 5% more damage when within 4m of each other. It's possible to make it a defining characteristic of the class without making it the mechanic that the entire class is built off of.
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Crimson_Paladin's Avatar

11.25.2012 , 09:36 PM | #14
I'd like to play as a Juggernaut War Droid. They're pretty cool looking, they're armed with a variety of weapons, and they're not just in the lore, but also mentioned in one of the in-game datacrons. They've got an interesting history with the Republic that'd potentially make for a great story, especially if the droid is not newly built, but reactivated after being dormant for hundreds of of years.

Petnil's Avatar

11.25.2012 , 10:03 PM | #15
making regen faster at low resource doesn´t realy matter unless you e.x. make heals bigger at low resource too. Why stay at low resource just to have bigger regen. I guess it would work for dps, but for healers an insentive to stay at low resource would make for more interesting gameplay.

Cleet_Xia's Avatar

11.25.2012 , 10:19 PM | #16
I suggested the resource mechanic of a large linear heat pool because few classes are using either of those mechanics right now.

I was just spit balling the idea of making broader use of the guard mechanic, because it's not something that the other classes are doing. Guard is guard across all 6 of the tanks, but there is some little used flexibility built into that code because of difference between guard in PvE vs. PvP. And there is a "tethered" shield animation in the game, not being used players right now. I just think it's something that could set the class apart, and introduce some interesting mechanics, without really requiring much programming or artwork.

Having a healing spec that can passively heal a single target slowly with a guard, while single target healing another from melee range, but lacks any sort of AoE heal ~ could be something really different. Such a healer would have to keep an eye on the mana or health consumed by their "guard". They might have to carefully manage when they applied it. Playing a short range single target healer could be extremely challenging.

It's definately a different strokes for different folks kind of thing, we see that from all the discussion about the classes we already have. Some DPS's would love to play with a support class that would let them tank effectively in a dps spec, that's exactly how a lot of bad dps players play. I'm not saying that the dps is actually tanking, the mitigation stats on the droid would be used ~ only damage would be deflected to the droid like the way guard works in PvP. The droid tank could then do something weird like use a short range aoe gap closer/ short range aoe to gain threat on the remaining pull. Nerf the droid tank spec by taking away it's AoE taunt. Don't redirect 100% the damage to the droid, just enough to make the load on the healer semi normal, make droids immune to the majority of the heals in the game, and give the tank spec a self heal that spends stacks generated by using a variety of attacks. Rotations would have to be tight to stay ahead of the incoming damge. Maybe.... I don't know....

Big drawback to a guard mechanic is that you can't allow the droid guard effect to be placed on another droid - or you could get this massive overhead in the game engine, as the damage bounced in a circle. So the class may have to have some hidden debuffs that made it immune to some of it's own abilities. It might be impossible to run some content with a pair of droids tanking & healing for a 4 man group.

As far as understanding how the current roster of abilites in the game work at the engine level - the output of the combat logs describes almost everything that the engine is using right now. Abilities remove or add health/ buffs/ debuffs from a target or all tagets within an area. There are debuffs that redirect health recieved by the target to the caster. There are buffs that reflect damage recieved to the source of the damage, a few that absorb damage, and some that make a target vulnerable to specific forms of attack. Buffs/debuffs include a second timer process, on top of the cd timer process. And a flag that sets whether or not they are stackable & how high. There doesn't seem to be any limitation to what effects these buffs and debuffs can apply, beyond what can be defined. Debuffs from cc & stun apply animation sequences(emotes) to other players. Boosting stats ~ relics/stims apply those buffs. Altering movement speed is done by many abilities & speeders. There are buffs & debuffs that effect mana regen or grant mana. Stuns are just debuffs that lock all abilities except the stun breaker. Procs - are just buffs that unlock an ability & the ability consumes the buff if activated. Many of the class passive abilites & spec choices are basically just buffs that never expire, and don't display icons. It's just massive volumes of very simple addition and substraction at high speed. I can't think of any attributes about toons - other than the model options picked at creation, the equipment proficiencies, & the tech tree associated with the toon, that isn't effected by a buff or debuff (with or without an icon displayed by the UI) at some point in the game.

You can break down the ability animations by the toon/ at the weapon/ icon/ AoE/ Projectiles/ and applied at target. You can see that from the way abilities have changed since launch, and how various bits and pieces of animations are recycled throughout the game. The changes to Project did away with the projectile phase of the animation completely. Some of the animations can be applied with a scale attribute that changes how much area the animation covers, or the size of the effect. Bosses use the same animations as players, even though they are generally scaled up from smaller models, so the animation effects have scale attributes. Some of the effects used "at target" can be seen applied on vertical or horizontal surfaces ~ so those effects have position & facing attributes. The runtime of any of the animations can be altered. The animations are stackable & able to be looped. Part of the animation for the trooper knockback is used by the animation for Force in balance & the Knight AoE snare. Several of the "at toon" & "at target" animations are pieces of other emotes sped up or slightly altered, or just emotes themselves.

Just an example:
Interrupt - 20 m range, 40 sec cd, no mana cost, instant cast, instant effect, interrupts current action & prevents it from being used for 8 seconds (it's just an 8 second debuff on the target with no icon ~ every cast or channeled ability in the game has a unique debuff just to make this work)
toon animation - tranquilizer dart (also used by vanguards as a taunt, scoundrels as a cc & a heal, healing comps for carbonizing spray, Pyrotechs for something, maybe HK -51 as an attack, and possibly a dozen other places.)
at the weapon - none (because it's actually an emote, and it fires from the left hand)
icon animation - none
projectile animation - none
at target - sparkle powder animation applied at size X on the center of the target hit box. (not currently used by any ability as far as I know - there may also be a "centered below hit box" location - or the effects could be applied at global coordinates from the center of the target hit box)

~that would interrupt my concentration pretty effectively~

"heat beam" is an ability being used by mobs that I'm not sure any player ability uses the projectile animations for, unless it's acutally just a few frames of "high impact bolt" looping over and over. Depending on the mob there isn't a toon animation, or it's the "hail of bolts" animation. The "at target" animation is used as part of the weld emote & in the Hyrotii scrapper speeder. But the collected animations of "heat beam" is instantly recognizable as something unique. It looks like something different eventhough it's really the same ability as "TK Throw" & "Full Auto" - you could just call it "ranged channeled damage" - but then the combat logger wouldn't make any sense & the game would be boring.
~Master Telagtun Telag of Lord Calypho~

Warlyx's Avatar

11.26.2012 , 01:13 AM | #17
i support it , a full pet class will be amazing , companios feel that void ,but while in groups

Tychus's Avatar

11.26.2012 , 07:59 AM | #18
The only prombelm the OP seemed to have missed was the fact that sentient droids are almost as rare as jedi wookies.

The only way it could work and make any sense is to have maybe whole new planet and then explain how you as a droid became sentient.
It's not Rocket Surgery !!

Crimson_Paladin's Avatar

11.26.2012 , 08:44 AM | #19
Quote: Originally Posted by Tychus View Post
The only prombelm the OP seemed to have missed was the fact that sentient droids are almost as rare as jedi wookies.

The only way it could work and makse any sense is to have maybe whole new planet and then explain how you as a droid became sentient.
What if the droid achieves full sentience over the course of its story, as it gains memories and experiences?

BanetheDarkLord's Avatar

11.26.2012 , 09:59 AM | #20
I have been saying for awhile that a Droid Class makes the most sense in the SW universe for TOR to create next. The races would be the "models" of droids like HK, IG, Protocol, and the many more humanoid droids that are already in TOR. It would be interesting for this class to work between both factions or a storyline for Imperial and Republic. The idea of using more specs based on buff/debuff sounds like a great idea, but the idea of an AC to be able to do tanking or healing doesn't sound like it would work at all. It would be a huge addition to the game and would take a long time, but would be awesome.
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