Note: I know a lot of people severely dislike Wraith, but personally I don’t - I just think that she’s nowhere near as interesting to play as Goliath/Kraken, for either the hunter players nor the monster player themselves
As a game designer/developer myself, I think that the main problem with Wraith is that there is a disparity between how TRS envisioned Wraith would be played, and how the vast majority of the playerbase seem to play her
Quoting TRS, this is the description of the Wraith:
“Wraith is the stealthy assassin. She’s a space alien ninja Monster who warps around the battlefield, ripping into her enemies with her blade-claws. She can hit – then run – before you even see her coming.”
Keywords: stealthy, assassin, ninja, hit [and] run
I guess that a lot of people who read this already know how the “standard” Wraith player plays - 3 points into Decoy straight away, spam the teleport dash thing to traverse the map as fast as possible, evolve, at least 1 point into Supernova (usually 3), then continue to teleport around the map until Stage 3. Or, if the hunters manage to catch and dome you before then, then just use a combination of Decoy and Supernova to get the trapper down so you can escape the dome. At Stage 3, you can annihilate the hunters with minimal effort by just spamming abilities (mainly Decoy and Supernova again, with the odd Warp Blast)
I apologise if I’ve missed something, but to the extent of my knowledge, assassins and ninja (see keywords) were not exactly the kind of heavy hitter brawlers that Wraith (very quickly) becomes. Sure, she has low armour/health, but what does that matter when you can incapacitate players in a matter of seconds?
So, here are my thoughts on how to balance the Wraith - she doesn’t need nerfing in my opinion, people just need to be encouraged to play her in the style that she was intended to be played
Leave as is
Leave as is
Teleport (that dash thing)
One of the most raged-against aspects of Wraith is its ability to traverse a large portion of the map almost immediately - so let’s balance it and add some skill requirement
Introduce a 1 second cooldown between each teleport to counter the spamability (and to bring it more in line with Goliath’s/Kraken’s equivalent), with reduced movement speed during the cooldown (say, 20% less)
To balance the above, make the Wraith take reduced damage (say, 50% less) whilst it is mid-teleport
Not sure if this is already in effect or not, but Goliath’s and Kraken’s “leap” ability seem to have their usefulness drastically reduced by the likes of harpoons - Wraith, on the other hand, seems to be able to teleport away without worry. As such, the range of the teleport should be drastically reduced (say, 75% less) whilst under the effect of a harpoon (and should be similarly affected by other gameplay elements that affect leaps)
These changes make it excellent as a getaway tool if used properly (e.g. to teleport around a corner away from the hunters). However, if you just try and spam it in a straight line, as a lot of players do at the moment, then the hunters will have a nice easy target for that 1s that it’s on cooldown, due to the reduced movement speed and inability to teleport immediately
This seems underused in general, and mainly used as an “oh look, both Decoy and Supernova are still on cooldown, so I may as well throw this in” kind of ability
Reduce damage, but add more utility in the form of increased knockback and a slightly larger radius - as a Wraith player, you shouldn’t be going all Rambo and trying to beat the entire team at the same time - in fact, this should be nigh on impossible. By adding increased knockback, you gain the ability to split up members of the team (who may be grouped together for healing, shielding, etc). This helps you to focus on and pick off 1 hunter at a time, instead of teleporting in, popping Supernova, and meleeing all 4 hunters to death at pretty much the same time
Horrendously underused, but I feel that it fits really well with the Wraith’s intended playstyle, and can be synergised with a lot of her other abilities
Basically, leave this ability as it is - personally I think it’s pretty much perfect as they have it now
Probably the greatest source of Wraith-hate - a nice concept, but a pretty awful execution of said concept (sorry TRS, but you kinda screwed up on this on - but here, have a load of praise for Goliath - he’s perfectly balanced in my opinion, and basically fricking awesome :D)
Definition of “decoy”:
“something or someone used to trick or confuse other people or animals into doing something, especially something dangerous”
An example of a decoy would be 1 person going and talking to a guard, whilst another person snuck around said guard, either to bypass the guard without their knowledge or to eliminate them.
Using the same example, the current implementation of decoy would be something akin to the first person walking up to the guard, whipping out a chainsaw, and proceeding to attack them
How I envision Decoy working in-game, is as a tool to set yourself up for an attack - yes, it can also be used as a distraction whilst you make a getaway (kinda like the idea behind how smoke bombs were used by ninja as an escape tool), but its primary use should be as a setup device
As such, I propose drastically reducing the damage of the Decoy (by about 90%) - keeping a little damage is important, as it gives the illusion that the Decoy is actually the real Wraith, but keen-eyed hunters will notice it doing far less damage than they expect.
The Decoy should also only attack hunters if said hunters attack it in close proximity - otherwise, it should head off in vaguely the direction that the Wraith was looking when it spawned it (so use a bit of randomness to keep it fairly similar to the motion that a human player would use). This would allow it to act as, well, a decoy (radical or what?), causing hunters to chase after it, and setting the Wraith up in a nice position to pick off stragglers.
Another interesting idea that I had was regarding the way in which the decoy is spawned. Currently, there’s a pretty obvious animation where the decoy splits from the Wraith. I suggest having 2 different “modes” for spawning the decoy:
- If in combat with the hunters, there is no animation - as far as the hunters can tell, the decoy is actually the Wraith. However, the duration of the decoy is halved. Also, the same attack rules apply as normal, so Wraith players must be tactical as to which direction they send their decoy in - it’ll be pretty obvious if it casually wanders past all of the hunters, without attacking them, and ends up in a corner. Whilst in this mode, the Wraith also gets 1 teleport “allowance” whilst invisible - this is to give the Wraith the “run” part of “hit and run”. Any more than 1 teleport, and the decoy vanishes - this just allows the Wraith to get a bit of a head start, as unlike the other monsters it can’t afford to soak up as much damage whilst escaping combat
- If the Wraith is not in combat, then it does its current splitting animation. However, the effects of dust tagging, tranquiliser darts, tracking pistol hits, sound spikes etc apply to BOTH the Wraith and the decoy in this mode. This reduces how easily the Wraith can evade tracking methods, but still causes the hunters to pause for thought to consider their options - “Is the Wraith still going in the same direction? Has it tried to call our bluff and is now going in the opposite direction? Is it trying to double bluff us? Should we split up into pairs and go after both of them?” etc etc. This decoy will also mash any wildlife that crosses its path (I thought that that was a neat idea that’s in the current implementation), but is given a health value, so can be killed by wildlife, and will otherwise just move forward in a vaguely straight line
My final thought on Decoy is that it should have a health/armour penalty associated with it - say, 1 bar of armour, or half a bar of health. This forces players to make a judgement call - “If I use Decoy, then I’m going to lose some health seeing as I have no armour left after that fight - but would the hunters be able to do more or less damage to me than my decoy does to myself if I just ran away normally?”. Armour should also not regenerate whilst invisible. The combination of these 2 factors should reduce the amount that Decoy gets spammed; as such, I think its cooldown should be reverted to what it was during the open beta. Sure, players can spam it faster, but it’s going to have a detrimental effect on them. To reward people who play stealthily, pounce attacks whilst invisible should do double damage, and not reveal the Wraith (but obviously the hunter will still be visible), and upon a successful invisible pounce attack the Wraith regains any armour/health that it lost as a result of using Decoy (1 time only per decoy, so people can’t regenerate health/armour by continuously pouncing then releasing). To balance this a bit, Wraith could take increased (say, 50% extra) damage whilst stealth pouncing. Abduction also should not break invisibility, but the black and red effect from the ability should still be present - if the hunters are working together then they can quickly identify where the Wraith is and shoot if off their teammate (dealing extra damage remember) - otherwise, it’s an easy kill for the Wraith
The combination of these 2 modes allows Decoy to be used both as a setup tool for sneaky attacks, and also as a last-resort getaway tool, without allowing a Wraith player to basically evade the hunters for the entire duration that a dome is up (because let’s be serious, that’s no fun for either party, and tends to be a massive anticlimax for the hunters)
This is basically like a ninja driving a tank. Kinda goes against the whole theme in my opinion
This is potentially a bigger change than I’ve suggested for Decoy - remove Supernova. Just completely get rid of it. Sure, it lets the monster feel nicely overpowered as it mashes away at everything within a large radius, but other than that, it doesn’t contribute anything to the “fun-ness” of the game
To tell the truth, I have no idea what it would be replaced with - maybe a low/mid damage ranged attack (think shuriken) that, regarding cooldowns, works in a similar way to Kraken’s Banshee Mines? Maybe have a targeted hunter temporarily take increased damage for s short duration? To counter the lack of Supernova though, Wraith’s melee attacks should be buffed slightly
So yeah, those are my thoughts - I appreciate that some of them are pretty complex, but then again, the Wraith is meant to be a complex character to play that highly rewards skill and good synergy of abilities.
Personally I absolutely love the concept of the Wraith, but I feel that it needs a hell of a lot of re-working (not just a nerf here and there) to get it to play the way I think the developers envisioned it being played
Feel free to comment with your opinions - half the stuff I’ve written is potentially awful, so any constructive feedback is welcomed
TL;DR This is not a hate post; I want to sidegrade (as opposed to upgrade/downgrade) Wraith so that she plays like a ninja/assassin; Now read the damn post to find out how I propose doing that xD