Design Critique: Playing Hunters well is far more about defense than offense


#1

I had this thought thinking about typical domes and the power of defensive supports such as Hank and Sunny vs supports without a way to directly save enemies.

If you disagree I’d welcome other insight into the design of the game, but this is not balance thread.

It is simply my thoughts on Evolve’s design and the norms it is currently balanced around.


Monsters take the lion’s share of their damage when they choose to engage, and can often avoid most if not all health damage in Domes when they are purely focusing on evasion.

Furthermore, Monster mobility often allows them to avoid many Domes before they decide to engage at their full Stage 3 power or try an opportunistic Stage 2 attack.

Because of this, Evolve balance is largely focused on the “final confrontation” where the Monster decides to engage on the Hunters, and any damage or strikes previous to this moment is largely just a prelude to it that tilts the scales on way or another.

Thus, Hunters that are good at prolonging this final confrontation are often dominant, because a competent Monster will quickly kill a Hunter without protection.

In simpler terms, the Hunter’s greatest strength, and what mostly decides games, is their ability to hold out and stay alive rather than their proficiency in hunting.


Admittedly the latest telemetry data on Supports confuses me and could be seen as being in conflict with this theory.

Sunny appears stronger, which fits given her strong defensive tools, but Hank does not appear to be stronger than Bucket or Cabot in it.

The win rates are also strangely well below 50% for the most part, but that is less relevant to this pose.


Monster data shows that, like new Hunters, new Monster players struggle: but they net impressively high win rates with experience.

Some of this could be explained by a need for coordination rather than only individual skill among Hunters, and how it can be lacking in Pubs.

This seems consistent with my theory, since Hunters rarely need to coordinate more than when they are trying to keep a focused teammate alive.

Early offense from Hunters requires little in the way of coordination in comparison.

But beyond the coordination problem, I think that Monster win rates spike because knowing when and how to commit to that final battle is crucial.

The most common mistake among unsuccessful Monsters is choosing the wrong time to commit to a fight and not retreating when they should.

Knowing how to combo and how to counteract specific hunters is also important, but I think they are less fundamental than engaging well.


In conclusion, if this theory is correct, I think the game somewhat fails to live up to its theme of hunting with the roles of hunter and hunted reversing.

Finding the Monster early and doming them has far less impact on the game than the Hunter’s ability to defend themselves well and fight in safe areas.

The pace of the game is largely decided by the Monster, with skilled Monsters taking little to no losses until they choose to risk committing to a fight.

Because of this, defensive utility and defensible locations are extremely important for the Hunters, and so defensive Hunters will tend to be dominant.

Also because of this, the Hunt is mostly dull and tedious if the Monster does not decide to ambush or otherwise engage early for strikes or a rushed wipe.

In my opinion, this is less interesting for both the Monster and the Hunters than more value being placed in early engagements would be.


#2

Only if you land a dome with a giant loop. Otherwise, Hunters will definitely get some health damage. Besides, Hunters choose when they want to fight and where. Goliath want to fight in a cave? Send assault to poke him with bullets. Behemoth caught you off guard in a cave? Hold the dome and lure him out. Then dome with low armor.

#ಠ_ಠ

Sure, maybe in the Beta or pubs.

Not sure why you think the balance is mainly focused on the relay fight. Even though we know it always ends there. Sunny was nerfed because she was good on the chase, so idk what you mean. I agree though that strikes and health damage can tilt the scale, as it should.

If you mean roacking, support cloaking and running, or shooting the Monster from a long distance in a Hunter favored relay that allows that like Aviary or Wraith Trap, then yes. However, a competent Monster will try to kill a Hunter, with or without protection. Besides, what about a damage comp? Shields aren’t necessary, unless you can’t dodge or are in pubs.

#ಠ_ಠ

This sounds like it encourages camping the relay at teh start of the match. The goal of hunters is to kill the Monster before it gets stronger and can kill them or destroy the relay if support runs off. Camping the relay is a horrible strategy. I can just smell the cheese.

Telemetry includes pubs, where the Monster win rates are high, and proffesional players, where Hunters have better win rates. Not sure why you think that Sunny and Hank are “stronger” than Cabbage and Bucket. Do you mean in win rates and telemetry? Because people pick shields over extra damage. They pick safety every time and never leave their comfort time.

cough pubs suck for hunters and Monsters are better there cough

Well, not every offense. Earlier offense, which I assume you mean S1, doesn’t really require teamwork or coordination. Its pretty much just aim and shoot since most Monsters mitigate.

Monster win rate can also depend on how many strikes they get earlier on to make the relay fight easier, unless he got wiped, or they did.

True on the most common mistake. Although other common mistakes is what they do at the beginning if the match.

To engage them well, you have to counter them. You should probably focus Hank if he’s shielding everyone perfectly, or Laz after getting a down. Your fighting style or should I say, how you engage them depends on who they are.

If you camp relay, sure.

Doming them early should let you be able to get some health damage, especially if you dome in a good spot. The same way a Hunter fights in a safe area, the Monster wants to do the same, but of course send Crow or assault to go “poke” the Monster.

Unless ou dome him early, get some health damage if you chase him, cut him off, and done him in a good spot for Hunters instead of relay camping, then no, the Monster doesn’t decide.

Nah, most people prefer the safety comp instead of a damage comp. Why get extra damage when the Monster can’t kil you. >:]

This might be because some people-[quote=“Galgus, post:1, topic:82125”]
In conclusion, if this theory is correct, I think the game somewhat fails to live up to its theme of hunting with the roles of hunter and hunted reversing.
[/quote]

-camp relay.

A long drawn out match boring? Yep.

As the wise cupcake @10shredder00 once said, this game is and always will be Hunter favored.


#3

^

Contrary to what you may think you’ve read, Evolve is first and foremost balanced by telemetry. As such, a team of mediocre, uncoordinated hunters are given a handicap (in the form of hunter favored meta) to compensate for the superior skill of the monster player. Doing so infuriates 1 player at the benefit of satisfying 4. It’s plain to see when you think about it and also has been demonstrated by telemetry when you limit it to high level play.


#4

Only if you land a dome with a giant loop. Otherwise, Hunters will definitely get some health damage. Besides, Hunters choose when they want to fight and where. Goliath want to fight in a cave? Send assault to poke him with bullets. Behemoth caught you off guard in a cave? Hold the dome and lure him out. Then dome with low armor.

Areas without some form of elevation or cover to hide behind are rare in Evolve maps, and the best Monsters will avoid them.

Getting some health damage in is not uncommon, and I did not say it was, but it is typically very minor relative to what is lost in the final fight.

Again, this is if the Monster is actively engaging, not attacking and failing.

ಠ_ಠ
Sure, maybe in the Beta or pubs.

Not if the Monster is at all competent,

Sniffing Hunters to see ambushes and not moving into a predictable corner allows them to avoid most Domes.

Not sure why you think the balance is mainly focused on the relay fight. Even though we know it always ends there. Sunny was nerfed because she was good on the chase, so idk what you mean. I agree though that strikes and health damage can tilt the scale, as it should.

It is focused on the final fight because the Monster loses the vast majority of their health there.

Bleeding the Monster to death where they are just trying to evade does not happen unless they are terrible.

Sunny may be good at chasing, but she is great at defending and saving teammates.

If you mean roacking, support cloaking and running, or shooting the Monster from a long distance in a Hunter favored relay that allows that like Aviary or Wraith Trap, then yes. However, a competent Monster will try to kill a Hunter, with or without protection. Besides, what about a damage comp? Shields aren’t necessary, unless you can’t dodge or are in pubs.

Relay prolonging is part of it, but I mainly meant staying alive as long as possible when in a fight with the Monster.

A good Monster will kill a Hunter not protected by a shield extremely quickly.

Dodges run out faster and come back slower than Monster abilities: anyone who has played even a bit of Hunter knows that.

ಠ_ಠ
This sounds like it encourages camping the relay at teh start of the match. The goal of hunters is to kill the Monster before it gets stronger and can kill them or destroy the relay if support runs off. Camping the relay is a horrible strategy. I can just smell the cheese.

I did not say that relay camping from the start was a viable tactic: it is better to at least try to get some health damage in.

Though admittedly back in the old Wraith days I saw some success with Hunters camping relay, it was mostly because most Wraiths did not have a clue how to fight with her.

Telemetry includes pubs, where the Monster win rates are high, and proffesional players, where Hunters have better win rates. Not sure why you think that Sunny and Hank are “stronger” than Cabbage and Bucket. Do you mean in win rates and telemetry? Because people pick shields over extra damage. They pick safety every time and never leave their comfort time.

Those pubs include higher rankings to, but I’d be happy to look at other data if you have it.

As stated, a competent Monster will drop a Hunter without extra protection very quickly.

cough pubs suck for hunters and Monsters are better there cough

That would only apply to the teamwork element…which I covered in depth.

You seem rather hostile for some reason.

Well, not every offense. Earlier offense, which I assume you mean S1, doesn’t really require teamwork or coordination. Its pretty much just aim and shoot since most Monsters mitigate.

Indeed, and that mitigation is extremely effective.

Monster win rate can also depend on how many strikes they get earlier on to make the relay fight easier, unless he got wiped, or they did.

True on the most common mistake. Although other common mistakes is what they do at the beginning if the match.

To engage them well, you have to counter them. You should probably focus Hank if he’s shielding everyone perfectly, or Laz after getting a down. Your fighting style or should I say, how you engage them depends on who they are.

Strikes help certainly, though having high health and Stage 3 is generally more helpful.

I agree completely that how to fight Hunters depends on their composition.

The most common case of Monsters losing because they did not counterplay correctly is probably Lazarus.

If you camp relay, sure.

Camping relay isn’t a good idea, and it wasn’t my point.

How well Hunters catch the Monster early and hit them when they don’t want to fight matters far less than their performance when the Monster does - that is the point.

Doming them early should let you be able to get some health damage, especially if you dome in a good spot. The same way a Hunter fights in a safe area, the Monster wants to do the same, but of course send Crow or assault to go “poke” the Monster.

Some health damage, typically not much more than one or two bars if its a great spot and/or the Monster is going for Strikes.

Given the fact that Monsters can be half way across the map in several seconds, Trappers can’t usually be very picky about Dome spots beyond where they try to cut them off.

Unless you dome him early, get some health damage if you chase him, cut him off, and done him in a good spot for Hunters instead of relay camping, then no, the Monster doesn’t decide.

If you have a videos of top level Monsters taking large amounts of damage when they were trying to evade, I’d be interested.

Nah, most people prefer the safety comp instead of a damage comp. Why get extra damage when the Monster can’t kil you. >:]

I have a personal fondness for Bucket, but that can go south quickly if the Monster combos well.

Against Kraken for instance, it is all over if the Medic messes his dodges up just once, or the Kraken keeps up the pressure when his jetpack wears off.

Still fun though, and Bucket is kind of unique in being both damaging and defensive with turrets.

This might be because some people- -camp relay.

I haven’t camped relay since aforementioned old Wraith days, and I wouldn’t recommend it as a tactic.

A long drawn out match boring? Yep.

As the wise cupcake @10shredder00 once said, this game is and always will be Hunter favored.

Not sure if you are being sarcastic, but I do find a long match of more running than fighting on both sides to boring.

It is purely personal preference, but I’d like to see Monsters absolutely crush the Hunters if they can get to Stage 3 well.

Making forcing early fights and damage far more important and essential to Hunters, so they absolutely could not count on outplaying in the final fight.

Basically I’d like a game much more about hunting and role reversal and much less about fighting.

Really don’t know how that would be done, and to reiterate it is a personal preference.



@toolbear

That doesn’t really make sense with Monsters having extremely high win rates at higher skill levels.

But regardless of that this thread is about design, not balance.


#5

actually, if you look at a lot of the teases/info we know about 9.0 from the devs (and im not just talking about the 9.0 spec thread), it looks like the removal of Ft3 will be a core thing. however, they also mentioned that stage 3 monsters will be more powerful than they might have been previously.

now, what they did to balance the two concepts, i’m curious about. but they seem extremely confident in what they did.


#6

Interesting, I look forward to what they are cooking up.


#7

Even if the “best” Monsters avoid them, it’s the trapper who decides where to fight. There’s diffrent types of elevation everywhere in Evolve, slopes everywhere, but not cover.

I know getting health damage is common, also, where did I write that I said that you said that getting health damage is uncommon? A first engagement can make or break a Monster, but what if the Hunters are the best like the Monster? He’s losing some health damage whether or not he actively engages or “attacking and failing.”

No matter how competent the Monster is, he will almost always get domed, especially early if we’re talking about the “best” players. Trapper and Support walking together to get a sneak dome.

Ever heard of getting cut off? No matter where you’ll be, they will cut you off and dome in a favorable location. There’s no avoiding domes unless pubs, trigger happy trapper, or a cocky one. Amd lag, of course.

A Monster that loses the majority of his health in the final fight has had no previous engagements. One or two S2 fights and they have been crippled to a point where they have to relay camp. The Monster would’ve lost some health if he had those previous fights.

To your second statement, so?

Yeah Sunny is good for chasing, but not defensive. Her drone will shield you after getting hit, so just Rt trapper, shield from drone comes on, Fb drone and finish off trapper. Hank is a better defensive support being able to block before any damage and can move. Saving teammates? You mean cloak and revive? Cause every support does that. And you definitely can’t be talking about the shield drone. If it’s the Jpb, then no, because that’s been nerfed and is easy to take care of.

Well the Monster is also trying to stay alive.

Dodge, just dodge. That’s all I can say.

Well I’ve played a bit of Hunter, and I’m fine dodging, not having any issues.

Then you should’ve reworded this-[quote=“Galgus, post:1, topic:82125”]
In simpler terms, the Hunter’s greatest strength, and what mostly decides games, is their ability to hold out and stay alive rather than their proficiency in hunting.
[/quote]
-right here. Also, I said it wasn’t a good tactic, but nowhere did I write that you said that it is, or is not, a good tactic.

Nah, back when Wraith was a squishy glass cannon, any relay fight would rek him.

#ಠ_ಠ
That sounds like a bad dome spot. Either that or the Hunters are just bad. Even if the Monster was hiding or fighting them would he have lost more health.

Monster across the map in a few secs? The Hunters can do the same by splitting up and cornering the Monster. The last part made my day. Trappers, or should I say “good” ones can be picky, the better ones will be. They have all the time in Shear, they’re not being hunted.

You can find those videos or streams yourself.

That can be the same if you were Hank or someone else.

If any Monster catches a mistake, he will take advantage.

Yeah, Bucket is good. Maybe a small damage increase. That’s what I love above his turrets, being able to defend an incapped person or just have them everywhere.[quote=“Galgus, post:4, topic:82125”]
I haven’t camped relay since aforementioned old Wraith days, and I wouldn’t recommend it as a tactic.
[/quote]

The part of the op post that I requoted makes you sound like you do.

If I was sarcastic, I’d put Kappa at the end of my post. I find a long drawn out match very boring. Also, the part where I said this game is and always will be Hunter favored is definitely not sarcastic or a joke.

Who doesn’t? Besides, they’re all getting buffed.

Earlier engagements are already important for Hunters, do you want to fight a S3 Monster with no health loss?

The game already is about hunting, and fighting will always be here.


#8

High level meta is:

stage 1: avoid
stage 2: avoid, get a strike or two/end if team is bad
stage 3: fight


#9

Even if the “best” Monsters avoid them, it’s the trapper who decides where to fight. There’s diffrent types of elevation everywhere in Evolve, slopes everywhere, but not cover.

I know getting health damage is common, also, where did I write that I said that you said that getting health damage is uncommon? A first engagement can make or break a Monster, but what if the Hunters are the best like the Monster? He’s losing some health damage whether or not he actively engages or “attacking and failing.”

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that the Trapper can’t dome the Monster anywhere the Monster isn’t.

Areas without somewhere to hide, run around to a different spot, and go hide again are very rare.

You implied that I was saying health damage is uncommon in the “hunters will definitely get some health damage” comment as if I was trying to argue against it.

The first engagement only makes or breaks a game for the Monster if they are either engaging when they shouldn’t or staying in a fight when they should be shifting to evasion.

Both of these scenarios require the Monster to choose to fight.

Even if the Hunters are great, the health damage on an evading Monster is usually minor, in the 1-2 bars range.

No matter how competent the Monster is, he will almost always get domed, especially early if we’re talking about the “best” players. Trapper and Support walking together to get a sneak dome.

Ever heard of getting cut off? No matter where you’ll be, they will cut you off and dome in a favorable location. There’s no avoiding domes unless pubs, trigger happy trapper, or a cocky one. Amd lag, of course.

Doming the Monster is one thing, doming in a rare perfect spot is another: especially if the Monster knows the map well.

Hunters are largely limited to doming the Monster wherever they can cut it off.

You also seem to think that Monsters won’t simply avoid the few locations without somewhere to hide.

A Monster that loses the majority of his health in the final fight has had no previous engagements. One or two S2 fights and they have been crippled to a point where they have to relay camp. The Monster would’ve lost some health if he had those previous fights.

To your second statement, so?

Yeah Sunny is good for chasing, but not defensive. Her drone will shield you after getting hit, so just Rt trapper, shield from drone comes on, Fb drone and finish off trapper. Hank is a better defensive support being able to block before any damage and can move. Saving teammates? You mean cloak and revive? Cause every support does that. And you definitely can’t be talking about the shield drone. If it’s the Jpb, then no, because that’s been nerfed and is easy to take care of.

Only if the Monster committed to those earlier fights, in which case it may be more accurate to say that they failed a “final fight” and went in for another.

The typical engagement tactic is to either just evade, try to ambush for a quick strike or two before disengaging, or going all in for the kill.

When I refer to a final fight, I refer to that last, committed tactic.

I don’t know what game you have been playing, but Sunny is great for defense.

The Shield Drone makes focusing and comboing a Hunter much harder, and her Jetpack Beam can and does let Hunters jump out of bad situations.

Well the Monster is also trying to stay alive.

Dodge, just dodge. That’s all I can say.

Well I’ve played a bit of Hunter, and I’m fine dodging, not having any issues.

The hard bit isn’t dodging some abilities, its when the Monster is good and keeps hitting you when your dodge depletes.

To reiterate Monster abilities and mobility come back far faster than Hunter dodges: thus the need for some form of protection against a good Monster.

(Or some cheesy defensive spot, perhaps.)

Then you should’ve reworded this–right here. Also, I said it wasn’t a good tactic, but nowhere did I write that you said that it is, or is not, a good tactic.

Nah, back when Wraith was a squishy glass cannon, any relay fight would rek him.

That did not imply that Relay camping is a good tactic.

You said “This sounds like it encourages camping the relay at the start of the match.”, which was you implying that I was endorsing it.

I’m more more of a Hunter player personally, but I never found winning with Wraith to be difficult aside Defense mode.

Most Wraiths were just terrible and relied on Decoy far too often - Warp Blast and Abduction to focus someone down is better.

ಠ_ಠ
That sounds like a bad dome spot. Either that or the Hunters are just bad. Even if the Monster was hiding or fighting them would he have lost more health.

Monster across the map in a few secs? The Hunters can do the same by splitting up and cornering the Monster. The last part made my day. Trappers, or should I say “good” ones can be picky, the better ones will be. They have all the time in Shear, they’re not being hunted.

Though you don’t seem to believe it, most Dome spots have places Monsters can run around and hide if they want to.

You also seem to keep ignoring that good Monsters can avoid bad spots.

I admittedly did not have the the largest maps across their longest sections in min with that, but three quick Traversals can get most Monsters well ahead of the Hunters.

(It is more gradual with Behemoth though, of course.)

You can find those videos or streams yourself.

I’ve watched some pro play, I was simply wondering if you had evidence.

That can be the same if you were Hank or someone else.

If any Monster catches a mistake, he will take advantage.

Yeah, Bucket is good. Maybe a small damage increase. That’s what I love above his turrets, being able to defend an incapped person or just have them everywhere.

Hank and Bucket are rather different in tactics, and Hank is far better at stopping a Monster combo.

Bucket only has the Cloak, Hank can negate a chunk of damage with the Shield and maybe peel with the Orbital.

Bucket pubstomps Monsters who don’t focus well and flail around, but he stuggles against Monsters that know how to combo and focus properly.

The part of the op post that I requoted makes you sound like you do.

No, it doesn’t.

I simply said that Monsters lose most of their health when they are going all-in, and thus defensive play is more important than offense.

Obviously in those scenarios the Monster is on the offense and the Hunters are on defense.

If I was sarcastic, I’d put Kappa at the end of my post. I find a long drawn out match very boring. Also, the part where I said this game is and always will be Hunter favored is definitely not sarcastic or a joke.

Who doesn’t? Besides, they’re all getting buffed.

Earlier engagements are already important for Hunters, do you want to fight a S3 Monster with no health loss?

The game already is about hunting, and fighting will always be here.

Early engagements make little to no difference for the Hunters unless the Monster engages and fights poorly and/or gets outplayed.

You don’t see major swings in games when the Monster is just trying to evade - where they just get hunted to death.

In pro games I’ve watched, most of the time the Monster did not even take health damage until Stage 2: but I’d welcome a link that shows otherwise.

My ideal of Monsters crushing at Stage 3 would come with games being over and decided at Stage 1 on equal occasion, with superior Hunting never giving the Monster a shot at a fair fight.

But again, that is personal preference: for the game to be about Hunting first and fighting as a distant second.

The game is chiefly about fighting well in a defensive stance against the Monsters: hunting is sadly a side note.


@WraithKing

That more or less sums up what I’ve seen in pubs and pro games.


#10

The way I see it, Hank and Sunny are better on pubs because of fatal mistakes and no/little coordination/cooperation. Cabot and Bucket are better on coop teams.

The offensive supports without shields need to use their cloak to get medics out of the monsters focus. Pubs just don’t do that.

I also feel like Hank and Sunny (and Kala) all have better back-stories than Bucket and Cabot.


#11

The way is see it- the Monster is bound to win. A full health Stage 3 Monster should have little problem beating a full health Hunter team. In fact, a Stage 2 Monster can do it. So, one might say that Hunters have to aggressively hunt the monster and kill it fast (or at least hurt it a lot) right?
However, the Monster has Control. Most of the time, it gets to decide when to fight and where. If it’s domed it often has a variety of ways to minimize the damage it recieves. An aggressive Hunter team can be punished by a strategic Monster. But can a defensive team win a Stage 3 fight?
I would argue that Evolve (like all games) is about Control, and for the Hunters to win they have take Control from the Monster. Maybe it’s not so much as playing defensive as it it playing in a manner that makes it difficult for the Monster to win. I toyed with this idea when I suggested a Hunter team that wouldn’t dome the Monster- Kala, Crow, Caira, and Parnell.
I don’t think that Evolve’s design is off, I think that we have to consider how matches are won and that it is all about Control.


#12

I respectfuly disagree, in my experience “hunting” is a skill and a mindset that only very good hunter players have. More often then not “fighting” is what most mediocre hunters teams do, and from that is where I feel your opinion comes from. I always see casual players dome wherever, and my biggest advice as a trapper is that ITS ABOUT WHERE not WHEN. If a monster can avoid “almost all damage” then it’s on the assault and the trapper to ensure better domes and also more pressure. As a skilled monster, I can say for sure that there are domes on every map where you CANNOT mitigate against a good team. It’s the teams job to push the monster into those dome locations where the trapper should be waiting and then force a hunter-favored engagement. If the monster doesn’t go to those areas, they are effectively making the map smaller and risk getting chipped until they have no armor, sooner or later the monster WILL have to go to that area. And again, it’s about WHERE not WHEN.


#13

The difference between pub teams, and GOOD teams, truely good teams-

Is 110% how much damage they do.

Offensive comps work in this game, amazingly well. The problem is most players suck at kiting/dodging/evading, while also doing enough damage to deter the monster from continuing pressure on the hunters. At the high end- Cabot comps are amazing for all but 1 monster (and even then if the monsters not played at the highest of highest levels, it works).

I think too many players simply need defensive comps as a “crutch”.


#14

A damage comp with Laz, Kala/Bucket, WMaggie, Any Assault works pretty well if the team knows how to dodge.

Kala got my preference for now, she is really powerfull but next patch will bring a new bucket, guess “he” will be viable then.

Hope Lazarus revive won’t be nerfed that much. Sad that they remove the ability to revive a dead hunter without strike… Every Lazarus team was working around this.


#15

It’s not a nerf but a rework of his device


#16

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