The following changes have been made to melee specific skills and abilities.
Another one of the big things we're doing on An Corp is the concept of weapon roles. The idea behind weapon roles is that for each weapon skill type (Archery / Fencing / Macing / Swords) there is at least one weapon available from that group that can be used for a specific type of role in PvM and PvP combat. We've broken these roles down to the following:
- Interrupting - Grinding: Light - Grinding: Medium - Burst
In each of these groups, there will be some variation between weapons belonging to different weapon skill types when it comes to speed and damage (i.e. fencing interrupt weapons are faster but lower DPS than a sword interrupt weapon, and in turn mace interrupt weapons will be slightly slower but more DPS than sword interrupt weapons). However weapons of the same weapon skill type that belong to the weapon role group, such as Katanas and Cutlasses (which are both Interrupt Swords), will be normalized to have the same stats so they can be used interchangeably.
It's also worth noting that we view the range aspect/ability of Archery weapons to be very, very powerful, so while we have made some improvements I believe will make Archery much, much better as a standalone weapon type, Archery weapons (namely the bow and crossbow) will be slower and have lower DPS than other weapons in their particular Weapon Role group due to this powerful advantage.
You'll also likely notice that weapons do much more consistent damage now: while there still is a decent amount of variation and randomization when it comes to how much damage a weapon will inflict, the variation compared to before has been greatly reduced: i.e. you won't see a spear do 5 damage on one hit and then 35 damage on the next hit anymore.
Interrupting weapons are your standard fast weapons that are quick enough in speed to disrupt most damaging spells cast by players, as well as Greater Heal, but also fast enough to inflict lots of bandage slips on dexers to ruin their healing potential. Note: while still fast, the crossbow's attack speed is significantly slower than other weapons in this group, and set to be slightly slower than Greater Heal casting speed, but still quite fast.
- Fencing: Kryss
- Swords: Katana, Cutlass, Scimitar
- Macing: Club, Hammer Pick, War Axe
- Archery: Crossbow
Grinding Weapons (light and medium)
Grinding weapons are weapons that are typically not fast enough to interrupt spells reliably and also don't have high enough maximum damage to be used effectively as a burst hit to pair with a spell combination (i.e. a halberd + precast ebolt or explosion). Therefore, to balance these weaknesses, these weapons have the highest DPS of any weapon, as the goal is to 'grind' down opposing players and simply out-damage their ability to heal off the damage inflicted.
Grinding weapons are technically categorized into two variants, Grinding Light and Grinding Medium, simply due to the wide range of speeds this category has to encompass. Grinding Light weapons are somewhat slower than Interrupt Weapons but have a much better DPS. Grinding Medium weapons are in turn slower than Grinding Light weapons, but even higher DPS to offset this speed decrease.
Grinding Light Weapons:
- Fencing: Warfork
- Swords: Longsword, Broadsword, Viking Sword
- Macing: Mace, Maul, War Mace
- Archery: -none-
Grinding Medium Weapons:
- Fencing: Short Spear, Pitchfork
- Swords: Axe, Battle Axe, Double Axe, Executioner Axe, Large Battle Axe, Two-Handed Axe
- Macing: Quarter Staff, Gnarled Staff, Black Staff
- Archery: Bow
Burst weapons are your standard "big hit" weapons that are almost always used as part of a pre-casting spell combination. Noteably, the spear fits into this category although it is much quicker than the other burst weapons.
- Fencing: Spear (Note: Due to fencing speeds, spear is better DPS than short spear / pitchfork)
- Swords: Halberd, Bardiche
- Macing: Warhammer
- Archery: Heavy Crossbow
Another issue that was extremely important for us to tackle was to tone down some of the areas where certain templates completely dominated others and boost some of the other templates that were very, very easily nullifiable.
One aspect of this was addressing how Magical Weapons affect combat. In a one-on-one fight, a dexer that is geared with magical weaponry will in most cases, completely destroy a mage. The primary reason behind this, somewhat ironically, is actually a mistake OSI made during the building of UO that actually just stayed in place. For Magical Weapons you have the Accuracy bonus and you have the Damage bonus, although strangely despite their names, both are actually just damage bonuses (neither affects your to hit chance).
Accuracy traditionally increased your Tactics +5/10/15/20/25 and Damage increased the base damage of your weapon by +1/3/5/7/9 respectively. And that latter (the Damage bonus) is the issue that causes problems: a Vanq katana or kryss or warfork can potentially increase the base damage of a weapon anywhere from 40-60%, which is an absolutely huge amount. Its not so visible with large weapons like Warhammers and Halberds (40 damage + 9 is only about a 22% damage increase).
So what we did was make the Damage property of magical weapons now be the property to add +5/10/15/20/25 Tactics, which makes much more sense, and scales completely naturally for the weapon (each point of Tactics increases overall weapon DPS by 1%).
For the Accuracy property of the weapon, we made it increase your to-hit chance in PvP by +1/2/3/4/5% and against monsters be +3/6/9/12/15%. We feel this change does two things: it slightly tones down the damage a dexer does in PvP, and conversely it overall makes farming a bit easier for dexers (especially with silver/slayer weapons).
One of the areas dexers notably have been extremely underpowered in, that we did want to boost, was group PvP, and we have added several mechanics in place to not only offset the new loss in Magical Weapon damage, but to make them much, much survivable in stuff like Town Vs. Town Militia and other group fights. As part of this, we've returned Parrying to it's traditional levels which were much better than what was in place previously.
We've made some changes to poisoning that introduce two possible new PvM templates as well as giving a slight bump in utility to poisoners in combat.
The way poisoning on weapons works now is every time you attempt to poison someone with a poisoned weapon, if you fail to inflict poison, you have a Poisoning Skill / 2% chance (50% chance at GM skill) to not lose a charge on the weapon. Additionally, if your target is already poisoned with a poison level that is equal to or greater than the poison currently equipped on your weapon, you'll never spend a poison charge (i.e. you can keep swinging that poisoned weapon at them without fear of losing poison charges). (effective only in PVM)
Likewise, you have a poisoning skill / 4% to inflict the next higher tier from what you have coated the weapon with (a GM poisoner has a 25% chance whenever envenoming a monster using deadly poison that the creature will be afflicted with lethal poison instead.
This allows players to actually get a pretty sizable number of poisoning applications out of their weapons, and an even greater number if they are a poisoner character themselves. Ideally we might see players try to make poisoning dexers for PvM and try to inflict poison on as many creatures as possible (deadly poison does some pretty serious damage).
Weapons Special Attacks
Another system we're introducing is a version of special attacks that only work against monsters.
Each weapon skill type ( Archery / Fencing / Macing / Swords / Wrestling) will have a unique special attack that can randomly occur when a player attacks a monster with a weapon (or in the case of Wrestling: fists) of the corresponding type. Right now the base chance of a special attack firing off is 10%.
Each player may have only one special attack effect (regardless of weapon skill type) active on any monster at any one time, but there is no limit to how many different players may have an effect active on a single monster (stacking effects is encouraged). While we may reduce the impact on these special weapon effects slightly against "boss" level monsters, it's still likely to be very advantageous to have players to try to stack a bunch of different weapon effects against boss and high level monsters as a group.
The special attacks that can occur are as follows:
- Archery: Hindering Shot
- Fencing: Crippling Strike
- Macing: Crushing Blow
- Swords: Bleeding Cut
- Wrestling: Stunning Blow
Nearly all of these weapons have an effect that lasts for a certain duration, however the duration is scaled based on the speed of the weapon used, with slower weapons having longer effect durations, to compensate for the weapon swinging with less frequency and therefore having less chances to get a special attack.
Archery: Hindering Shot
- Lasts 3-6 seconds
- Target is rendered frozen and cannot attack or move for the duration.
Fencing: Crippling Strike
- Lasts 6-12 seconds
- Target's delay between attacks and time needed to cast spells (since monsters now have casting animations and casting times) increased by 33%
- Deals an additional 50% damage to the target
Macing: Crushing Blow
- Additional, immediate damage based on target's current stamina
- At 100% stamina on target, the crushing blow will deal an additional 50% damage
- At 50% stamina remaining on target, the crushing blow will deal an additional 75% damage
- At 0% stamina remaining on target, the crushing blow will deal an additional 100% damage
Swords: Bleeding Cut
- Lasts 8 seconds (regardless of weapon speed): Fires off every 2 seconds
- Inflicts the damage amount of the strike an additional time, however as a 'damage over time' effect spread out over 8 seconds in 2 second intervals
Wrestling: Stunning Blow
- Lasts 12 seconds
- Lowers your targets weapon skill for the duration.
Parrying has returned to its traditional mechanics, having upwards of 50% chance to reduce an attack's damage to 25%. This is true for both PvP and PvM.
Additionally, we're now allowing 2-handed weapon parrying, although this only works against monsters and in PvM (and handles just like normal parrying just 25%-50% damage reduction). So players can elect to play as parrying quarterstaff, warhammer, spear, axe, etc characters for farming, and in some cases, finally use silver/slayer weapons against monsters that historically you would not want to face unless you had at least parrying and a good shield to hide behind.
To further expand the possible dexer templates, we've made Arms Lore a very, very useful skill now. Firstly, anyone using the Arms Lore skill on a weapon or item will see the exact number of durability points remaining on the item, which is pretty useful for armor-using dexers.
More importantly though, Arms Lore does the following, although only against monsters:
- Increases Damage up to +20% (similar to Anatomy skill) - Increases the chance of a special weapon attack on hit by up to +15% (bringing it up to a total of 25% chance on hit) - Increases the chance to parry by up to 16.67% (bringing the total up to 66.67%).
Stealth and Backstabbing
We've made some improvements to stealthing that make it much easier to do and utilize in more diverse templates.
Players can now stealth in any type of armor, however they are by default granted 10 Stealth Steps and lose 1 Step for each piece of armor they have equipped that is normally better than leather (i.e. studded leather results in the loss of stealth steps, but magical leather does not).
When a player hides, if they have sufficient stealth skill to make stealth attempts, they will be automatically given a message notifying the exact moment they are able to enter stealth. Players now can also simply move to activate stealth, rather than hitting the Stealth hotkey. On every stealth step they take, they are also notified how many stealth steps they have remaining (replacing the need to have UO Razor display this).
Note: this system doesn't let players do continuous stealth ala Rel Por. There is still a 10 second cooldown between players being able to receive new stealth steps. Players are just now given notifications the exact moment they are able to move and receive new stealth steps and don't have to press the Stealth hotkey anymore each time.
Additionally, when a player attacks a creature (and not a player) while they were hidden and have used stealth at least once, they receive a massive damage boost (3-6x depending on the weapon's speed) as well as a +25% chance to hit against the creature. Conversely, stealthing assassin NPCs might do the same to players, albeit at only a very modest damage boost.