Author Topic: Backstab  (Read 33552 times)

Reiloth

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Backstab
« on: August 21, 2016, 10:17:48 PM »
Let's talk about Backstab.

In a world where it's supposed to give an Assassin the edge over a warrior or ranger in combat (A high-powered opening move from stealth), this skill really and truly falls short, for a few reasons.

Without the strength to backup a backstab, or a good weapon, you are only going to rarely OHK someone with decent health. And when I say rarely, I mean rarely. Now, that being said, your follow up blows (if they connect) will more often than not finish the job, or a second round of combat. However, a few more things.

*Backstab starts incredibly low, and is difficult to train without twinking it or the appearance of twinking it, as you must backstab someone with the intent to kill to gain a 'fail' in order to proceed.
*Backstab, even up into journeyman and advanced, will yield failures that can mean the difference between life and death.
*If you fail a backstab, it has one of the longest 'after' delays in the game. So you cannot flee, or do anything, until the after delay is achieved.

It's a shame that most people don't even entertain using backstab, because it can be such a detriment to the would-be-assassin, that it's much safer to get weapons with poison on them and just 'kill' the target.

In a brainstorming, constructive fashion: How could we improve the backstab skill?

*It should start at Apprentice, or a level reasonable enough to yield success 1/10 times, rather than 1/20 to start.

*The after delay should be decreased, or a softer before and after delay should be introduced.

*More levels of 'success' should be mixed in with the levels of failure. There are currently many 'you fucked up' levels to the skill, but fewer 'you succeed, but not well'. As an opening move, if you are attacking from complete stealth, there should be a bonus that yields moderate success most of the time.

*Allowing for a few different styles of backstab. Backstab disable, backstab bleed, backstab kill. If successful, backstab disable would prevent the person from moving from the room for a period of 1 IG Hour (Ten Minutes). If successful, backstab bleed would do damage over time, but not as much damage at the forefront. Backstab kill would be aiming to do the most damage up front, and have a higher chance of failure.

It isn't all the time you want to murder the fuck out of someone with a sneak attack, which can be misleading with a skill titled 'Backstab'. Considering the skill is now more opened up to different sub guilds, it might be interesting to set apart the 'Assassin Backstab' from others, achieving a higher level of mastery and talents within the skill if you are a true assassin, rather than making it completely equal between a Slipknife and an Assassin.

Assassin is one of my favorite classes in ArmageddonMUD, but one that requires extreme patience and skill to train to their fullest potential, due to the drawbacks of skills like Backstab. What are your thoughts?
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path

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Re: Backstab
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2016, 10:20:14 PM »
This is an insanely cool idea.
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Is Friday

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Re: Backstab
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2016, 10:46:37 PM »
I'd be fine with it if you were only allowed access to these sweet abilities with Assassin as your main guild.
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evilcabbage

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Re: Backstab
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2016, 10:48:04 PM »
i think the drawbacks are why it should be the way it is.

it is not meant to just be your one-hit kill button, i tis meant to be a sequence of attacks (in my opinion) where your first blow is a brutal strike to cripple an opponent, and the followup hopefully ends it. very rarely does one strike kill somebody, and the fact that an assassin gets an attack with the potential to do 70-80 hp worth of damage on the first strike? that's pretty powerful stuff.

a warrior can't do that much damage unless he has insanely high strength, or he's a dwarf. or a half giant. or a mul. and even then, it's not a guarantee.
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Reiloth

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Re: Backstab
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2016, 10:51:37 PM »
i think the drawbacks are why it should be the way it is.

it is not meant to just be your one-hit kill button, i tis meant to be a sequence of attacks (in my opinion) where your first blow is a brutal strike to cripple an opponent, and the followup hopefully ends it. very rarely does one strike kill somebody, and the fact that an assassin gets an attack with the potential to do 70-80 hp worth of damage on the first strike? that's pretty powerful stuff.

a warrior can't do that much damage unless he has insanely high strength, or he's a dwarf. or a half giant. or a mul. and even then, it's not a guarantee.

Yeah, but I mean, we're talking 'master level skill'. Even at 'master', Backstab isn't a foolproof way to kill or even seriously harm someone. A Warrior at master, facing that Assassin, will surely demolish him/her in under 5 seconds of open combat. So you could argue, the Assassin's strength is attacking from Stealth and setting up an attack to their benefit. A Warrior's benefit is in open combat with a visible opponent. A Ranger's benefit is from a distance with a bow, or against animals. And so on.

As it stands, I don't think Assassins are all that scary without a plethora of other items at their disposal, the least of which is often Backstab.
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evilcabbage

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Re: Backstab
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2016, 10:52:52 PM »
the assassin has backstab, the follow-up, poison if he's any good, probably knocked the opponent around with a thrown (poisoned) knife from a distance before he even moved in, so...

what more do you really need to kill someone? a warrior has to actually, you know, walk up to you and go "sir please could you stand still a moment so i can type bash <your name> please? i would please very much please like to please bash you please so you cannot escape.    please."
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TheWanderer

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Re: Backstab
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2016, 10:53:07 PM »
backstab seemed pretty strong the last time I was backstabbed



Due to my eternal level of tilt, I'd pass on improvements. I prefer the insta-kill levels for an ability be difficult to achieve on a 0 karma class, and that such a move maintain its risk.

If it's any consolation, I do sorta like the variants.
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evilcabbage

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Re: Backstab
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2016, 10:56:00 PM »
oh, i didn't even comment.

i like the variations too, especially "backstab disable".

and maybe backstab disable offers a moderate delay (maybe ten seconds) where the other person can't use any special commands (i.e. kick bash disarm), but you sacrifice a huge damage push for that.

so if the guy is way better than you in combat, you're boned, but if he's about your skill level, you may have just earned yourself a victory that you wouldn't have otherwise.
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Is Friday

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Re: Backstab
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2016, 11:10:29 PM »
backstab seemed pretty strong the last time I was backstabbed


:D :D :D :D :D :D :D
And then I sat there going "really? that was it? that's so stupid."

I still think the best closure you get in Armageddon is just moving on to the next character.

Majikal

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Re: Backstab
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2016, 12:00:35 AM »
Backstab has it's niche. As does throw. I've played plenty of murders/hitmen  in my time and I do love the assassin guild. HOWEVER....

The after delay on backstab/throw made these skills I'd regularly avoid using whenever it became time to do the M in the MCB dance. With Archery, you can fling arrows fairly quickly and safely.. with throw, you're very close to your target, stuck with only a weapon in your offhand and standing their like a dumbass for what to me feels like an eternity after  you throw your deadly weapon (also, you can't throw from a climb room! WTF).  With backstab, unless certain parameters are met, there's a good chance you miss outright (even at high levels) and even then you're stuck there for 20 seconds to see if the victim is wise enough to spam flee or draw weapons to beat your ass. I've pretty famously OHK'd some people, once even publically, so backstab has it's moments. However more often than not I'd use the kill command on my assasins rather than backstab/sap because lamely, it's the safer alternative.

Reiloth definitely has some good ideas!
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Armaddict

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Re: Backstab
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2016, 12:08:38 AM »
Backstab is definitely something that has to be used carefully because of its delay, but I think that's fitting with the style of stealth.  Stealth is more than just 'I'm invisible until I attack you'; being an assassin requires that you hunt your prey, more than relying on fighting.  If you ever played the 'Mercenary vs Spy' multiplayer in splinter cell, it's very much like that dynamic.  Assassins manipulate situations to put something that can easily kill them into the circumstances that they win in.  It's not about being on equal footing whenever you want it, it's about having the advantage whenever you work the tools of the trade.

Throw, I find useful enough.  But this:

Quote
(also, you can't throw from a climb room! WTF)

...was one of my major complaints when it was changed.  At the very least, make it a climb check, not impossible.  Because that's just weird.

As with most things, I'm not against modification or fleshing out of the skill, but I don't view this as particularly 'broken' right now, especially when there are still plenty of people out there twinking the hell out of it (easily witnessed in certain clans and locations).  In my eyes, it's supposed to be a skill that is risky to use, and something that only those who have been through some shit master.  As with most classes, I don't think there's any obligation on the game's part for you to actually hit mastery level in it, despite everyone's best attempts to do so (which, ironically, often get them killed).
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RogueGunslinger

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Re: Backstab
« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2016, 01:05:56 AM »
I love the ideas in the OP. Especially back-stab bleed and disable.

Backstab is shit unless mastered, as every slipknife will be able to tell you. I'd rather engage with bash, which is also shit for pretty much the same reasons, and also takes longer to skill-up, but still is way more worth it than a backstab.

Backstab benefits too much from code-knowledge and not enough from being a high level. When you nail your "master" level backstab and only get 40 hp off of whatever you hit... that is lame, that isn't fun. And it'll probably get you killed.

I don't like the answers that go a bit like this: "Backstab is shit, and that's okay because there's a million ways to make it more useful if you know how and go through the motions." Yeah well slipping someone a poisoned mug of ale while they're drinking at a bar has ZERO failure chance and will be the better way to assassinate someone 100% of the time. I'd much rather get in there all nitty-gritty and shank someone to death. That's cool, that's fun.

It's not broken(and nothing is if you consider it all to be simply part of the games "meta"). It just isn't fun, and it's only useful if you want to forgo the 100 other options that are more guaranteed. Like, hiring a warrior to do the job. Or paying a templar to giant-smash that mofo.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2016, 01:09:17 AM by RogueGunslinger »

lostinspace

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Re: Backstab
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2016, 02:29:54 AM »
I never even bother with it, I also rarely PK, but I feel that any time backstab is an option, sap is a better one, and has the easiest setup ever.

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Synthesis

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Re: Backstab
« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2016, 03:54:41 AM »
Backstab's damage is only partially connected to the backstab skill.

I'm almost certain that your piercing weapon skill and your base offense/defense skill factor into it, and those take much, much, much, much, much longer to train.

Training backstab is simple...just go backstab some hapless critters.  There are even a ton of them all over the city now, and you won't get crim-flagged.  It won't matter if your backstab is at (master), though, because your base O and piercing weapons will still be garbage as fuck, and you'll be lucky to do 30hp on a good roll, unless you're getting an incredible strength bonus.

Basically I think backstab works like a damage multiplier (like any other D&D critical strike skill).  If your base damage sucks ass, then it doesn't matter if you land the modifier or not.  I imagine the code rolls a regular attack, then multiplies the damage.  So if you backstab someone, and your combat roll hits to the foot for 5hp, it doesn't matter if you get a 2x critical strike multiplier, because your base damage is trash.  If your combat roll hits to the neck for 35hp, that 2x critical strike is much more significant.

Of course, this means that even as a master assassin, you can sometimes backstab people to the foot for 15 total damage.  It happens.  As your other combat skills increase though, it becomes much more likely that you'll hit to the head, neck, or wrist, and get both the hit-location and critical-strike damage modifiers.

This is just idle speculation based on the fact that I once mastered backstab in 24 hours played, and the damage from successful backstabs varied WILDLY.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2016, 04:27:22 AM by Synthesis »
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Large Hero

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Re: Backstab
« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2016, 04:32:55 AM »
I do like the idea of backstab variants.

How to fix the skill though, codedly:

When you attack someone from stealth, you get a bonus according to your backstab skill. Not even a special command.

If there are balance concerns with this, further nerf the starting defense of Assassins and subguilds that get backstab.

It doesn't really make much sense that backstab should be a special command with a lengthy delay. All you're doing is taking knowledge of anatomy and targeting vital spots when you attack an enemy. If you're good at doing this, it doesn't take more time than a simple attack. It just makes you more accurate.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2016, 04:34:40 AM by Large Hero »
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Synthesis

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Re: Backstab
« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2016, 04:44:18 AM »
The skill isn't broken.

It's specifically designed so that (master) backstab will not give you OHK status, because (master) backstab is incredibly easy to achieve.  (advanced) piercing weapons...not so much.  Even if you get it bumped to (journeyman) out of chargen, you're facing at least a 5-day grind to advanced.  Probably much longer than that (or outright unachievable) if you don't know how to skill up properly.
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Inks

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Re: Backstab
« Reply #16 on: August 22, 2016, 04:51:53 AM »
It isn't hard to train or particularly powerful. Due to the delay you have a window of extreme vunerability unlike archery or throw. But really now, it isn't broken in any sense of the word.

I 100% agree that it should start at apprentice. There is no reason this shouldn't be a thing.

Assassins are a far weaker class in many ways to a Ranger or warrior but they are still my fave (although I play a mix of all non-merchant,) They are definately the fastest to become dangerous to much more experienced pcs, as they should be.

If I could buff assassin I would let them branch archery from throwing up to low advanced for long ranged assassination and to pass as hunters/soldiers superficially, as well as increase their climb to advanced.

Anyone who thinks assassins need a nerf, however, doesn't play assassins.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2016, 05:34:08 AM by Inks »
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Large Hero

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Re: Backstab
« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2016, 06:09:48 AM »
It's pretty silly that plain "kill" is usually preferable to backstab. Why is "I want to critically strike my target from stealth" such a fraught decision? That tells me the implementation could use some work.

Backstab is one of those things that is the way it is because some person, years and years ago, decided to implement it this way.
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Desertman

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Re: Backstab
« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2016, 08:35:41 AM »
45 days on an assassin.

Master Backstab.



Figured out quickly I would be a complete idiot to ever use it to try and actually kill someone.


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Inks

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Re: Backstab
« Reply #19 on: August 22, 2016, 09:37:59 AM »
I wouldn't mind backstab buff but I am against making the use of it more complex.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2016, 09:39:42 AM by Inks »
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Raptor_Dan

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Re: Backstab
« Reply #20 on: August 22, 2016, 10:36:55 AM »
This is just idle speculation based on the fact that I once mastered backstab in 24 hours played, and the damage from successful backstabs varied WILDLY.

I can't help but feel pretty shitty logging in and not running out into the wilderness without a club, spear, knife, and sword to train each of my skills every couple of hours knowing that you're playing this game with me.

That said, I like the idea of backstab options, but I would like to relegate it to only assassin guild, not subguilds.
I'm just looking for a general consensus. Or Moe's opinion. Either one generally can be accepted as canon.

Molten Heart

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Re: Backstab
« Reply #21 on: August 22, 2016, 10:50:28 AM »
War spices will help the effectiveness of a backstab and every master assassin worth their salt would be using them, especially if they're relying on backstab to get the job done.

Reiloth

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Re: Backstab
« Reply #22 on: August 22, 2016, 11:37:20 AM »
War spices will help the effectiveness of a backstab and every master assassin worth their salt would be using them, especially if they're relying on backstab to get the job done.

Metagame, right there.

Can you imagine if a Ranger couldn't use Archery without spice to boost their stats over the top to do effective damage?

Or if a Warrior needed war spice to fight in combat?

Assassins shouldn't need to 'rely on Backstab to get the job done'. It's an integral skill to the guild, just as bash and slashing weapons are to Warrior, archery is to Ranger, and pick is to Burglar. None of those classes need war spices to effectively use their primary abilities to the fullest extent.

Going off Synth's assessment (which I find to be accurate), lower strength PCs will almost never be effective in their use of Backstab, while higher strength PCs (Muls, Dwarves, High strength Humans) will do much more damage overall, based on strength. Is it where you stab someone, or how hard you stab someone? To me it seems like it should be the former, therefore, more reliance on skill/skill modifiers rather than stat/stat modifiers.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2016, 11:38:54 AM by Reiloth »
"You will have useful work: the destruction of evil men. What work could be more useful? This is Beyond; you will find that your work is never done -- So therefore you may never know a life of peace."

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Reiloth

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Re: Backstab
« Reply #23 on: August 22, 2016, 11:42:56 AM »
45 days on an assassin.

Master Backstab.



Figured out quickly I would be a complete idiot to ever use it to try and actually kill someone.




This, right here, is the crux of my argument. Why would a Master Assassin be wary of using their Master Skill? Because the master skill comes with a plethora of issues that make it more of a hinderance than a strength.

I too had a Master Assassin with Master Backstab, who was actually very well trained in combat. She could OHK people who were slightly damage, but not at full health. She had great strength, was a human. Didn't need war spices to use backstab effectively.

However, this plays into Synth's information as well. She had incredibly high off/def and good piercing weapons (Jman, I believe, if not advanced). She had high bonuses against mamallians. This was all because she was in Salarr Expansion Division, training with Vash and Kon almost every RL day, and I had no life and was just playing Arm.

A skill shouldn't require hours of twinking up every detail around it (Offense, Strength Buffs, Piercing Weapons, Piercing vs Mammals, etc.) to be a useful tool to a class that utilizes it as, presumably, its major skill. I can't think of another example of a skill that requires such archaic code knowledge to be effective, perhaps except for Sap, which seems to draw from similar tables.
"You will have useful work: the destruction of evil men. What work could be more useful? This is Beyond; you will find that your work is never done -- So therefore you may never know a life of peace."

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Reiloth

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Re: Backstab
« Reply #24 on: August 22, 2016, 11:51:35 AM »
I wouldn't mind backstab buff but I am against making the use of it more complex.

Can you think of any other game we play that doesn't have an ounce of specialization or nuanced complexity when it comes to skills?

ArmageddonMUD is the only game I can think of that has such binary skills. You have hunt. You hunt. You have slashing weapons, you slash. No fighting styles, no one handed bonuses (only two). The simplicity of ArmageddonMUD's skills can sometimes be a blessing (less to think about), but at the same time, it provides very cookie-cutter PCs when it comes to Days Played. It's an age old argument, but seeing two 50 days+ Warriors of a similar skill set fight each other is about as exciting as watching glaciers shift. You would expect a fight between Master Warriors to be something other than 'kill warrior, kick, bash, disarm, rinse repeat'. But that's what we have at our disposal.

So -- Forgive me for saying that a -little- more complexity when it comes to skills, the ability to choose one path over another for better or for worse, would add immensely to creating differences between long lived PCs, and make these 'Guilds' more akin to advanced subguilds, rather than antiques.
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