How to fix Wraith, from the mind of a game designer


#1

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

Health
Leave as is

Armour
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

Warp Blast
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

Abduction
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

Decoy
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)

Supernova
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 :slight_smile:

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


#2

i did not read everything. to be honest… i came to the part where you put 3 points in decoy at the start, then scittered over to “warpblast is underused”. thats where you lost me…

okay. now i read the part about decoy using up health. mate… you are not a good game designer when you want to implement that.


#3

in my opinion: decrease traversal range slightly, decrease smell range slightly, and increase armor slightly.

this gives the hunters a better chance to dome. but also gives wraith a better chance to survive to compensate.


#4

Decoy reduce damage so that when 3 points in it does same as wraith maybe make cloak last a bit longer at one point in (seems too short to set up a decent pounce or distraction).

Warpblast’s aoe seems still too little so I say more range less damage should be there to split them up.

Supernova should be replaced with a buff that for next strike does increased damage maybe have a time limit on it so not to be like put on and wait for hunter. This change to wraith’s supernova would promote a more hit and run play style and should (at 3 points in) do massive damage negative is if you miss your swing you have reactivate (after cooldown). This could add some nice synergy with abduction (use this buff abduct and smack or vice versa).

Sorry but your use hp/armor to decoy is too counter productive with such little hp/armor and would promote more running than fighting.


#5

Lots good here. Decoy doesn’t need to cause Wraith damage but other that pretty good options.


#6

It’s of no offense to you @Ezard, but anyone can say that they’re a game designer without some form of proof. In addition to this, just because you are a game designer that doesn’t mean you’re experienced in the field of FPS’. Unfortunately though, declaring that your a game designer doesn’t really help build your argument. If anything, it makes anyone who reads those words quite skeptical of what you’re proposing for Wraith. But either way, lets go on with what you’ve proposed.

So lets talk about Warp Blast first. Reducing its damage and adding in increased knockback + radius isn’t too hot of an idea. Warp Blast is Wraith’s HIGHEST damaging ability and is needed to hit as hard as it can when you’ve isolated one member of the hunters with your abduct. The ability in itself is a high risk/reward where if you pull it off correctly, you’ll punish everyone who decided to give you a hug.

In addition, adding an increased knockback can actually favor the hunters in giving them an easier time to escape the Wraith. She is, after all, a pure melee monster. On paper it sounds good, but in practice it can go very wrong and you can very well soon end up with a Wraith player regretting putting points into Warp Blast because it just aids a hunters escape. As it stands right now, I feel as though Warp Blast is in a good spot. If any tweaking were to be done, it’d have to be maybe its range.

When it comes to traversal, Wraith needs it as it currently is to live when domed. A Wraith should be fast, chaotic, and have the ability to dodge as she’s fighting. In accordance to this, adding in reduced damage during her teleport opens up a world of abuse. She’s already nimble and tough to land hits on, this would just make mashing her traversal all the more effective while fighting. Oh, and the cool down for the traversal would be pointless because I could just put in all three points for my warp blast to avoid domes. Seriously, that sucker has a LOOOOOOONG RAAAANGE. Not as far as Abduct, but still quite far for what it does.

On the subject of reducing decoy’s damage, that’s not a great idea. A lot of experienced players know how to identify a decoy easily and avoiding it is just as trivial. If you reduce its damage to such horrific levels, you’d be gimping half of the Wraith’s decoy potential and would require other abilities/base stats to be beefed up to compensate. I do agree that I wish we had a bit more control over our Decoy, but then again I use my Rank 1 Decoy behind the wall when in combat with the hunters. Due to my aggressive play as Wraith, its silly “go straight at the hunters and swipe” AI is good enough to distract the hunters. Monster players just need to be more critical as for how they use their decoy and hunter teams simply need to learn how to avoid taking damage from it.

Changing up the animations/use of the decoy in itself opens up another can of worms. If you were in the Beta, the Wraith could warp while using decoy. This gave the Wraith waaaayyy too much room for error 'cause she could just drop her Super Nova + Decoy on top of the hunters without any thought and warp away. What you have proposed with the instant decoy and adding in one traversal can easily bring us back to our previous experience during the beta. It may not seem much with only allowing one traversal while invis, but this would only serve to infuriate players even more after they worked to dome a Wraith in the first place.

Also: allowing dust + tag to reveal the real wraith while invis makes her a very useless monster. Imagine having this happen while domed or in combat. She needs her breathing room when up against a challenging group of hunters. Also, we’re already filled to the brim with Abe + Cabot combos; I wouldn’t want it to be cemented in anymore than it is. And using health/armor for decoy? All my NOPE! Think about what that does when a Wraith goes up experienced players who know how to fight Wraith. She’d basically be begging for death and players wouldn’t take decoy at all. It’d become too much of a risk to invest points into.

Removing Supernova isn’t an option. I agree that it’s a meh ability and it really doesn’t exactly fit the theme of the Wraith, but it’d take a hell of a long time to design a new ability and playtest the hell out of it to make sure it isn’t broken. As it stands right now, TRS is waaay too deep in fixing bugs and working on the first set of DLC. By the time they have the resources and time to change up Supernova, it’d be far too late. Everyone would be accustomed to the mechanics of Supernova and completely removing it can create a great uproar for both hunter and monster players.