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 Post subject: Skill Tree Redesign
PostPosted: Wed 21 Mar 2012, 04:31 
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Yo yoooooo, where da skills at?? Well currently they're chilling out in 3 skill trees, as they shall continue to do so. HOWEVER which skill trees and their positions within the skill trees is a question that I believe needs looking at. I'm not talking about changing the actual skills but simply their positioning. Don't get me wrong, if you have an idea of how to tweak a skill for the better let me know, and also some skills are too strong and too weak right now and that needs to be fixed. But for the most part I'm talking about skill TREES rather than the skills themselves.

So what are the skill trees? We have Physicals, Mentals, Cybers. Why even bother have skill trees? What purpose do they serve?

1) It adds to the feel of the game. Skill trees encourage players to choose a skill tree and focus on it. This gives the player the feeling of focus in their build and lets other players sum up the sort of player that they're up against and act accordingly.
2) It allows us to group the skills in a more structured way rather than just having all 33 bunched together which would look silly. This also helps newbies get a general feeling of what sorta playstyle different skills will give.

Ok, and how do we actually enforce/encourage skill trees?

1) Synergy points reward you with super customisation if you choose to focus on just 1 skill tree. This is fun and gives your build an extra unique personalised feeling.
2) Higher level skills can only be unlocked by getting the required points within that tree. This both forces you to stick to 1 tree if you want access to the more extreme skills, and also lets us limit the availability of these extreme skills which is good for the overall feeling of the game.


So what do I wish to talk about in this thread?

1) What skills belong in what tree? We need to come up with skill trees that are evenly balanced (healing, attack and defense in each) and yet contribute towards an overall playstyle which is achieved through good skill combinations. For the most part this is already done and I can't think off the top of my head any skills that would suit better in a different tree. Here are what I think the 3 basic skill trees should look like:

Physical (tank): Strong defense, medium close range damage, weak long range damage. Skills focus on non-stop damage and charging. Weapons specialise in machine guns.
Mentals (ninja): Weak defense, strong close range damage, medium long range damage. Skills focus on speed, information and evasion. Weapons specialise in shotguns.
Cybers (wizard): Medium defence, weak close range damage, strong long range damage. Skills focus on dealing big splash damage. Weapons specialise in snipers.

While we need to have skills evenly balanced across skill trees, we can choose ones which best suit the playstyles mentioned above. So if we take healing skills we give 1 to each that best matches their playstyle. We can also tweak our existing skills to better match the playstyle if we need to. For example we recently changed Regen to be close ranged but to also give a graphical indication when an enemy is nearby. Perfect for Mentals. Vampirism allows for constant non-stop healing, and Self Repair is a fast powerful healer that works best with the safety of range.


2) What should be the required level for each skill? This is the big one that I want to look at. Right now not too much thought has been put into this. We just have a whole bunch of actives at level 1 and then their addons at level 10 and 20. This is hardly making best use of the skill tree system. The main thing I want to do is rearrange the order that skills unlocked based on the impact they have on the gameplay. This means taking extreme skills like Bullet Time and putting them at level 15, and taking subtle skills like Disabling Drop and putting them at level 1.

Reordering the skills by extremeness is very important and helps us control the gameplay a lot. Skills like Bullet Time are fun and exciting when only a few people are using them. They're extremely different and have a huge impact on gameplay, creating whole new playstyles. They're fun to play with and due to penalties they're fun to play against. However they very quickly become annoying and game breaking if EVERYONE is using them. All of a sudden they go from a rare variation in combat to dominating the entire game and breaking down the game. If you use Frenzy for example then it's OK if 1 or 2 dudes on the enemy team have Bullet Time. They counter you and that's fine, you can simply avoid them and focus on someone else. But if EVERYONE has Bullet Time then all of a sudden your Frenzy build is completely useless. You can't build your rof and the gameplay is too broken for you to play properly.

By taking skills like Bullet Time and putting them at higher levels we drastically reduce the number of people who use it. When I play a Mental build for example I always put 1 point into BT simply because I can and it's quick and easy defence. But there's no way I'd do that if I had to invest 15 points though, especially in a quickmatch (which the game is designed for).

I've got a few ideas for this but I need to go now so I'll get back to this later.. but if anyone wants to make suggestions feel free. I'm curious if anyone thinks that some skills would actually be better placed in a different tree, and also what skills are the most extreme/subtle and should be rearranged. Basically, if you could take the 33 skills in Subvein and rearrange them however you wanted what would you do?

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 Post subject: Re: Skill Tree Redesign
PostPosted: Wed 21 Mar 2012, 08:22 
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A few more musings:

1) I want the healing skills to be up the top left of each tree. The current healing skills are already in the right places imho.

2) We no longer need to make the levels at level 1, 10 and 20. It's fine to use levels 5 and 15 too as this will greatly help us position more extreme skills and their addons further down the tree (for example BT at 15 and Stolen Seekers at 20). EDIT: I tried this and it just looks weird. Skill trees should look sexy :p

3) As said above extreme skills should be further down the tree. Subtle skills should be at earlier levels. This keeps the general gameplay feeling more balanced and prevents everyone from abusing extreme skills.

4) We need to balance the skill types (healing, defensive, offensive) amongst the skill trees but we can assign them to the skill trees based on how well they combo and suit the playstyles above. If you take the magical damage skills for example: Plasma is best at range so goes to Cybers, Radiate is best at close group damage so goes to Phyiscals, Venom is stealthy and best for gaining vision so goes to Mentals.

5) The trees should have access to their defining skills at level 1. Physicals defining skills are more defensive so something like Force Fields must be unlockable at level 1. Mentals defining skills are more evasive so something like Invis must be at level 1. Cybers defining skills are more offensive, so something like Plasma must be at level 1. This ensures that in quickmatch games you can jump straight into an appropriate playstyle.

6) On the flip side, a trees non-defining skills should be unlocked at later levels. Phyiscals don't care so much about dealing damage so Radiate/Stagnation can be unlocked at level 10/20. Mentals don't care so much about range damage so Venom/Infection can be unlocked at level 10/20. Cybers don't care so much about defence so BT can be unlocked at level 10/20. This achieves 2 things. Firstly it removes the need to "waste" points in obscure skills like Venom purely to unlock the higher level skills, as it'll be switched with a more synergistic skill instead (crit?). Secondly it prevents players from going across skill trees to create game breaking combos. A phyiscal shouldn't have easy access to Silver Shield + Bullet Time for example as it's just too damn strong.

7) I like the idea of having 2 passive skills at level 1. This allows you to easily build up to higher levels without having to waste points in an annoying active skill that you'll never use. It also helps define the role of you skill tree a bit more as passive skills are always on you 100% of the time and the benefits/penalties can't be avoided.

Ok so here's a few ideas off the top of my head of what to change:

PHYSICALS:
Vamp is fine.

Frenzy is fine. A defining skill of constant non stop damage. Weapon Handling can go to level 5 and Clip Magnet can be brought down to level 10. These skills aren't extreme at all and the earlier you can start customising your Frenzy the better.

Force Fields is fine. It's a key defensive skill that Physicals should have early access to. Open to suggestions to change the penalty however, thinking maybe a movement speed slow could be quite defining to the skill tree. But the current penalty fine too. Bouncing Bullets are fine at level 10.

Corpse Construction moves to level 1. This skill is subtle and doesn't really change much about how others fight you, thus I don't mind if other skills have access to this one. It also defines the phyiscal essence quite nicely and is a passive making it a good skill to invest points into if you're trying to build up to a higher level.

Nanosuit stays at level 20. I like the idea of having a defining passive skill at level 20. Deep into the tree so only that tree has access to it. Invulnerability with reduced damage defines Phyiscals perfectly.

Radiate moves to level 10. It's a fun skill and a necessary counter to BT but it doesn't combo as well with the rest of the Physical tree. Moving it to level 10 gets it out of the way and reduces the need to 'waste' points in it. Furthermore it works a little too well when combined with Black Hole and Invis so it should be moved extra far out of reach of Mentals.

Stagnation moves to level 20 simply because Radiate is at level 10. It's also a rather powerful slow which can have a large impact on the gameplay.

Explosive Rage (once tweaked) will be a huge splash damage skill that has a large impact on gameplay so should remain at level 20.


MENTALS:
Regen is fine.

Invis is fine. A key evasive skill that defines the class and must be kept at level 1. Dash is fine at 5.

Disabling Drop moves to level 1. A subtle passive skill that's good for investing points into to gain access to higher levels.

Blade Fury is fine. A defining damage skill that focuses on close range combat. Should work better with shotguns.

Silver Shield needs to go to level 20. It drastically alters the behaviour of Blade Fury and is very defensive. It's good for Mentals to have access to a defensive skill but they've gotta earn it. Also this should be as far out of reach from Physicals as possible.

Venom Shot moves to level 10. It doesn't fit with the rest of the mental skills as much but has its uses and is fun in its own right. Best to keep it out of the way so players don't have to waste points in it and Cybers can't easily stack it with their sniping abilities.

Infection stays at level 20. It can have a huge impact on gameplay when the entire team is spreading disease everywhere.

Critical Shot moves down to level 10 mostly because all the level 20 slots are taken. This skill doesn't really impact gameplay too much though so level 10 is fine. Crit is a nice passive that defines the glass cannon aspect of the mental tree. Perhaps the penalty of this skill should define the playstyle better by going back to max hitpoint reduction.

Black Hole stays to level 10. Slows are always extreme skills and should be rare.

Darkness stays at level 20 simply because Black Hole is at 10 and also being fully blinded has a huge impact on gameplay.


CYBERS:
Self Repair is fine.

Energize and phasic are fine. A nice subtle passive to chuck points into to further define your build. Not of much use to other trees.

Plasma Ball is fine. A defining long range damage skill that must be at level 1. Firestorm is fine.

Vapor at level 1. For the most part this is a subtle skill that is just nice to invest points into.

Shockwave is fine to start at level 10 and Microvolt deals massive splash damage so it must remain at level 20.

Bullet Time at level 10. This skill has a huge impact on gameplay and must be made more rare. It's also defensive so like Silver Shield should be kept far away from the physical skill tree. Stolen Seekers remains at level 20.

Static Charges moves down to level 20. The counterpart to Critical Shot and Nanosuit, this skill defines the cyber tree. Lots of mana usage here. Also this skill also has a rather extreme impact on gameplay as it can cause players to become almost invulnerable with their barrier. Best to keep it rare. Currently at level 10 it's getting a lot of usage from the other skill trees and really complicating the battlefield.

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 Post subject: Re: Skill Tree Redesign
PostPosted: Wed 21 Mar 2012, 08:36 
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Quote:
Mentals don't care so much about range damage
I do ._.

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 Post subject: Re: Skill Tree Redesign
PostPosted: Wed 21 Mar 2012, 09:03 
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You can still unlock Venom, it's just at level 10 and not level 1 :p You'll need to unlock some Mental passives first to further define your build.

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 Post subject: Re: Skill Tree Redesign
PostPosted: Wed 21 Mar 2012, 14:00 
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This is just a mere moving of skills up and down the same tree, there is no actual change in the skills and the classes are still using the same old definitions instead of the definitions being updated to suit how players are playing.

Cyber's weapon is not the sniper rifle - it doesn't tie well with Phasic Bullets(you won't be using a sniper rifle if you can't go for direct hits in the first place), Bullet Time(too fast, but if you made it slower within BT you'd get a ridiculously OP combo), Static Charges(yes, it actually doesn't, because anyone who is barriering will suddenly take 3 shots to kill instead of 1 or 2, thereby defeating the purpose of a sniper rifle) and Shockwave(damage reduction, slow unnecessary as sniper bullets are fast enough). I've also said before that the current design of Mentals has numerous flaws including how its close-range glass cannon style is inferior to the charger style that people go around with.

Is this just a quick temporary thing for next version, or is this what you propose as the "redesign"?

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 Post subject: Re: Skill Tree Redesign
PostPosted: Wed 21 Mar 2012, 14:23 
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Yup this is the redesign. I don't share your view that the game is completely broken in fact I think it's pretty darn good. There are a few improvements that can be made in the skill tree arrangements however and that's what I'm playing with at the moment. All suggestions are welcome. Suggestions for changing the individual skills are definitely welcome too if they're constructive and will make the game more fun.

I'm not going to change the definitions of the skill trees to match the way you think people are playing. There's no reason Mentals can't be a close range glass cannon style. Glass cannon is a valid and fun playstyle. If charging happens to be a better option than sneaking and killing then we can tweak a few things to make them balanced again.

Btw good points on snipers. Cybers ARE still good snipers due to energize, Self Repair, Plasma and a general long range theme, but perhaps we should stick with the idea of rifles instead. Not that it really matters, players will choose whatever gun they want and shouldn't be limited to just 1 type because of their class.

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 Post subject: Re: Skill Tree Redesign
PostPosted: Wed 21 Mar 2012, 14:33 
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Also, I edited my post showing the arrangements of skills.

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 Post subject: Re: Skill Tree Redesign
PostPosted: Wed 21 Mar 2012, 17:06 
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Then I can do nothing. I've already done my best to convey what the community feels now about the game's design(they have also posted individually, or got sick of it and didn't bother anymore) and gave you the relevant criticisms. If you insist there's nothing wrong with the fundamentals and therefore won't change anything, then I see no reason why I should continue trying to persuade you to do so.

I have no reason to stay here other than to keep in touch with a few friends. Yes, I'm a very balance-minded person even before joining and always will be because I find a game boring if everyone just kept using the same shit to win, and I might well have sparked all these balancing crap. That, I will not apologize for. However, what I will apologize for is that I also agreed to everything you wanted under the impression that you would quickly change it back if it didn't work and knew what you were doing. I stupidly put in a lot of effort to see them through, and look where it got. The community has a negative impression on the game as it is no longer fun, I am no longer listened to when I try to push for an actual change that the community wants and I am forever hated by a number of the players in this community. Every time I look back, I just regret not having been smarter. I can't see myself benefiting from staying as an active player here.

Just finish up Outbreak and release. People are weary of endless balance with no real change to the game.

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 Post subject: Re: Skill Tree Redesign
PostPosted: Wed 21 Mar 2012, 17:29 
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STM1993 wrote:
Then I can do nothing. I've already done my best to convey what the community feels now about the game's design(they have also posted individually, or got sick of it and didn't bother anymore) and gave you the relevant criticisms. If you insist there's nothing wrong with the fundamentals and therefore won't change anything, then I see no reason why I should continue trying to persuade you to do so.

I have no reason to stay here other than to keep in touch with a few friends. Yes, I'm a very balance-minded person even before joining and always will be because I find a game boring if everyone just kept using the same shit to win, and I might well have sparked all these balancing crap. That, I will not apologize for. However, what I will apologize for is that I also agreed to everything you wanted under the impression that you would quickly change it back if it didn't work and knew what you were doing. I stupidly put in a lot of effort to see them through, and look where it got. The community has a negative impression on the game as it is no longer fun, I am no longer listened to when I try to push for an actual change that the community wants and I am forever hated by a number of the players in this community. Every time I look back, I just regret not having been smarter. I can't see myself benefiting from staying as an active player here.

Just finish up Outbreak and release. People are weary of endless balance with no real change to the game.

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Actually reminded me this song.

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 Post subject: Re: Skill Tree Redesign
PostPosted: Wed 21 Mar 2012, 23:14 
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Ragnaros wrote:
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I'M IN TEARS!

STM, DUDE! I'm flying to Singapore Right! Now! Must shake your hand, u're the man.

Actually reminded me this song.



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 Post subject: Re: Skill Tree Redesign
PostPosted: Thu 22 Mar 2012, 01:43 
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Sorry to hear you feel that way dude. I've always held your feedback and analysis in high regard and it's a shame you'll stop playing because we disagree on how the skill trees should look. You know that I listen to feedback and if you make suggestions they'll always get considered. But we're simply not going to agree on everything. You think the game has gotten worse (and speak for the entire community as well it seems) but I think it's never been better. You said you prefer the old versions, all I can suggest is that you go back and read the feedback that encouraged the changes in the first place.

I believe you'll find that the game IS getting better and better, and that'd it's simply the lack of players and new content which makes things seem dull. This won't be an issue after v0.7 and I start advertising again. We'll start getting more players than ever before. Then I guess we'll see if you decide to start playing again and if the game really is fun after all. If you do start playing again though all I ask is that you don't bring everyone down with negativity. I always welcome criticism but please address it to me, please don't tell all the newbies how shit and broken you think everything is. It's doesn't achieve anything and simply hurts the community.

Also don't apologize for providing feedback or 'agreeing' with my changes. It doesn't matter if you agree with my changes or not. It's my game. I'm the one who's spent thousands of hours working without pay, and I get to decide what direction the game goes in. Apparently some people think that you're the new game designer and that it's your fault that I've been doing all these changes. It's not at all. I decided a long time ago that I was going to continually restructure the game until I was happy with it. The lack of content is by choice because I think it's more important to polish what we have before proceeding. You simply provided valuable and well thought out feedback and this has helped me refine the game into what I want it to be. That's something to be proud of as it's been extremely valuable and it's a real shame that there are players who dislike you because of it.

To all those players who dislike STM because of the constant rebalancing, direct your anger towards me instead. The game was going to stay in this state of polishing until I was happy with it anyway, and if anything STM's feedback has helped me reach this point sooner. If not for him and all the other players who chose to provide feedback it might've taken another year until I got the game to where I wanted it to be. But thanks to them we're now finally ready to proceed. Don't get me wrong, the game is far from perfect but it's a lot better than before and up to a level of quality where I'm ready to start adding new content again.

Anyway, in summary:
1) Cheer up. Skill trees are nothing to get worked up about.
2) The game is far from finished and I'm still listening to feedback and suggestions, just don't expect me to agree with you 100% of the time.
3) The constant balancing is my own decision, not yours. It's what a game does when it's in beta. Neither you or the community should blame yourself for the current state of the game. You and others have provided feedback, but I ultimately made all the decisions that got us here.
4) I think the game has continually improved and instead of blaming the game design you should blame the lack of players.
5) Fortunately I'm almost finished with Outbreak and we're very close to v0.7. Then good times shall be had by all and hopefully you'll realise how much more fun the game actually is :D

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 Post subject: Re: Skill Tree Redesign
PostPosted: Thu 22 Mar 2012, 05:31 
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not sure what to say, if I form an opinion about this I will post something but for now finish outbreak :)

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 Post subject: Re: Skill Tree Redesign
PostPosted: Thu 22 Mar 2012, 06:34 
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Adding multiple zombie types as we speak ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Skill Tree Redesign
PostPosted: Thu 22 Mar 2012, 23:15 
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bencelot wrote:
Adding multiple zombie types as we speak ;)

Awesome, what type of zombies will we have

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 Post subject: Re: Skill Tree Redesign
PostPosted: Fri 23 Mar 2012, 00:10 
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I'll post about it in the outbreak thread soon. Still need some ideas, but here's the general plan so far:

1) Zergling type. Fast but weak. Common.
2) Normal zombie. Slow but strong. Common.
3) Spitter. Ranged. Rare.
4) Stomper. Has the ability to stun you and toss you up in the air. Rare.
5) Exploder. Explodes upon death dealing splash damage to all round. Rare.
6) Boss. 1 is releaed just prior to the bomb exploding and is really hard to kill. Super Rare.

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 Post subject: Re: Skill Tree Redesign
PostPosted: Fri 23 Mar 2012, 00:29 
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bencelot wrote:
1) Zergling type. Fast but weak. Common.

...
FUUUUUUUUUUUUU-

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 Post subject: Re: Skill Tree Redesign
PostPosted: Fri 23 Mar 2012, 00:39 
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The zergling types are pretty much the equivalent of the fast moving zombies in Left 4 Dead.

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 Post subject: Re: Skill Tree Redesign
PostPosted: Sat 24 Mar 2012, 15:13 
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bencelot wrote:
Still need some ideas

-Invisible zombie. Turns visible while attacking.
-Radioactive zombie. Has a radioactive aura which gives all nearby zombies 2hp/sec regen AND damages nearby players at the same rate (or 2x).
-Berserker. When he's at 40% hp, he becomes enraged and gains 1.5x movement speed and 2x damage.
-Cyber-zombie. Immune to any skill-based damage.
-Don Zombie. Slow, fat zombie. Gets stronger everytime a zombie nearby dies.
-Genestealer. Looks like a player. If you hover your mouse over him - you see a nickname of one of your teammates over his head. As soon as he gets closer to you, he pulls out a knife (or his claws, teeth, whatever) aaand... >:)
-Zombie-trickster. Spawns with 5 copies of himself, some sort of "illusions". Illusions have 30hp, move and look like zombie-trickster. If trickster is dead - all illusions disappear in a cloud of radioactive smoke, dealing damage to nearby players. >:)
-Zomcelot. Invincible zombie. Always triumphs.
-Smoker. [...]
-Boomer. [...]
-Hunter. [...]
-Jockey. [...]
-Charger. [...]
-Zombiefied Cars. Torpedo, buggy, hornet or maybe zombie-flatbed? =D

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 Post subject: Re: Skill Tree Redesign
PostPosted: Sat 24 Mar 2012, 17:24 
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Ragnaros wrote:
bencelot wrote:
Still need some ideas

-Invisible zombie. Turns visible while attacking.<---SPY 'ROUND HERE
-Radioactive zombie. Has a radioactive aura which gives all nearby zombies 2hp/sec regen AND damages nearby players at the same rate (or 2x).<---Oh god
-Berserker. When he's at 40% hp, he becomes enraged and gains 1.5x movement speed and 2x damage.<---RA!G MOAR
-Cyber-zombie. Immune to any skill-based damage.<---FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU-
-Don Zombie. Slow, fat zombie. Gets stronger everytime a zombie nearby dies.<---What is that, I don't even
-Genestealer. Looks like a player. If you hover your mouse over him - you see a nickname of one of your teammates over his head. As soon as he gets closer to you, he pulls out a knife (or his claws, teeth, whatever) aaand... >:)<---SPY 'ROUND HERE
-Zombie-trickster. Spawns with 5 copies of himself, some sort of "illusions". Illusions have 30hp, move and look like zombie-trickster. If trickster is dead - all illusions disappear in a cloud of radioactive smoke, dealing damage to nearby players. >:)<--I picked a bad day to stop sniffing glue
-Zomcelot. Invincible zombie. Always triumphs.<---Nao
-Smoker. [...]<---No
-Boomer. [...]<---No
-Hunter. [...]<---No
-Jockey. [...]<---No
-Charger. [...]<---HELL NO
-Zombiefied Cars. Torpedo, buggy, hornet or maybe zombie-flatbed? =D<--Say wut

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 Post subject: Re: Skill Tree Redesign
PostPosted: Sat 24 Mar 2012, 17:46 
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TryGarde wrote:
Mac. Outbreak. <---FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU-

fix'd

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