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Subject: So what do you guys think about Guard? rss

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Brad Rosenquist
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For those who don't know, LVL99 has been trying to create a suitable replacement for Dash. Dash, they feel, is just too...strong, is that the word? Basically, it's too easy to make a null beat with it. Sort of like MMA maybe, where if they stay on the ground too long with no real action the ref makes them stand up. They used to do that in Pride, anyhow. I haven't watched enough UFC recently to know if that's a thing there, but I digress.

Anyhow, they feel like if you want to be able to prevent getting nailed with a predicted huge attack, you should be able to, but not get away with it for free, which Dash does a lot of the time. So in BattleCON online, they're working on a new Base called Guard. Brad said in one of the videos that it's a WIP, so this may not be its final form. But right now, here's what Guard looks like (in Turbo mode at least):

Range: N/A
Power: N/A
Priority: 3
Stun Immunity
You can't take more than 2 damage.
Start of Beat: Retreat 2 spaces
End of Beat: Advance 2 spaces

The movement effects are simplified in Turbo Mode of BCO so it could be that a standard Guard (the one we would have in a physical game) would let you Move 2 spaces rather than specifically Advance or Retreat. But I'm not certain if that's the case or not.

So what do I think? Well, just as I was scared of the Force Gauge when 1st announced, I was scared of the Dash replacement when first announced. And no Thiago, I'm not just generally "scared of change." LOL! But I am generally scared of changes like this in BattleCON, just because of the fact that characters were originally designed when Dash [and the SA] were standard. But honestly guys, I think I'm coming around. Dash is a very strong dodge mechanic that does tend to get used frequently in a lot of matches. And unlike Pulse or Cancel, it does advance the Beat timer, and make for some "no action" Beats in many cases. Guard is looking to be a good alternative that still gives you movement, still lets you not get demolished by an expected huge attack if you anticipate correctly, but that doesn't let you get away scot-free. You get punished a little, by taking 2 damage and not doing anything back, and honestly, to me that seems fair.

And here's another thought: Remember, LVL99 made BattleCON in the 1st place. Brad & co created a game we all love and feel is great. So if they make changes, it stands to reason that they'll do a good job at bettering the game. Besides, if it fails, and people hate it, it isn't like it's impossible to reverse things. Or if you're someone who prefers one over the other, you can always play with the older cards.

P.S. I still like the SA, and I even like Dash. I just plain LOVE BattleCON in any form!
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Alison Mandible
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I'm curious about the movement there. Is it so that you can use it as a full-blown dodge at range 1 (i.e. advance 2, suddenly you aren't at range 1 anymore, opponent attack whiffs) or as a built in "corner cross" escape, or...? I wonder.
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Marco Santos
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It will definitely change the way many characters play. Ultimately, it still functions kinda like Dash, but it reads "you can take up to 2 damage" on it.

The fact that it's 3 Priority is another thing. Another scary thing. It means that Strike is less safe now, since it'll get clashed more often! Scary.

Regardless, I think one thing to realize here is that although Guard functions like a Dash, it is a severely weaker dash. You barely have the ability to reposition with it (because the effects should just snap you back to where you originally were). This makes it less of a good play for characters who need to create/close gaps. Also, because of the part where you can't dodge, it's barely a good idea to play this because you basically concede that beat. Your best case is that you take 0 damage and do nothing to the opponent. The worst case is that you take 2 damage and do nothing to the opponent.

In essence, those 2 together make Guard a really bad play, IMO. Why would you purposely choose to play something that results in a Null beat in its best case and a 2 life lost difference in the worst case?

The only time I see guard happening is when the opponent has a nigh-unstoppable attack that you can't really contest. Clockwork Shots, for example. In all other cases, you're better off just. . .playing an actual attack.

So, if Level99 wanted to relegate Dash to nothing but a "OMG I'M ABOUT TO GET WRECKED, BETTER DO SOMETHING" move, then they've done a good job.

Sadly, a lot of the tactical depth of Dash is lost in the process.
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Brad Rosenquist
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mnmkami wrote:
It will definitely change the way many characters play. Ultimately, it still functions kinda like Dash, but it reads "you can take up to 2 damage" on it.

The fact that it's 3 Priority is another thing. Another scary thing. It means that Strike is less safe now, since it'll get clashed more often! Scary.

Regardless, I think one thing to realize here is that although Guard functions like a Dash, it is a severely weaker dash. You barely have the ability to reposition with it (because the effects should just snap you back to where you originally were). This makes it less of a good play for characters who need to create/close gaps. Also, because of the part where you can't dodge, it's barely a good idea to play this because you basically concede that beat. Your best case is that you take 0 damage and do nothing to the opponent. The worst case is that you take 2 damage and do nothing to the opponent.

In essence, those 2 together make Guard a really bad play, IMO. Why would you purposely choose to play something that results in a Null beat in its best case and a 2 life lost difference in the worst case?

The only time I see guard happening is when the opponent has a nigh-unstoppable attack that you can't really contest. Clockwork Shots, for example. In all other cases, you're better off just. . .playing an actual attack.

So, if Level99 wanted to relegate Dash to nothing but a "OMG I'M ABOUT T GET WRECKED, BETTER DO SOMETHING" move, then they've done a good job.

Sadly, a lot of the tactical depth of Dash is lost in the process.


Very good points. You've pointed out things I didn't think about. The good news is that I really don't think that Guard will stay in the form it's currently in. Brad did say they are testing it and working out the kinks. I'm sure it will go to playtesting on the forums as well, so more data in actual gameplay can be acquired and examined. Also, regarding movement, Turbo Mode takes away optional movement in the middle of Beats. So it could very well be that their intention right now in Standard play is to allow for up players to advance "up to" 2 spaces SOB and then retreat "up to" 2 spaces EOB.
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Marco Santos
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If they become up-to, then that's perfectly fine with me.

That'd make the "can't reposition" parts invalid. ^_^
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Alison Mandible
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mnmkami wrote:
You barely have the ability to reposition with it (because the effects should just snap you back to where you originally were).


Only if you're at range 3 or higher, or your opponent has their back to the wall. If you're at range 1 or 2, the advance makes you switch sides, and then the retreat will take you in the same direction as the advance. (If your opponent doesn't move.)
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Daniel DeMars
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I may be wrong, but I think the SOB and EOB movements will only be advance and retreat in Turbo mode (for BCO). I think in strategic (standard) and physical modes it will be SOB: Move up to one space, EOB: Move up to two spaces. This will give the same movement range as Dash, but somewhat better, since it gives you slow EOB movement.

Overall, I actually really like what I've heard of Guard. However, the one thing I'm a bit bummed about is that Dash counters won't be nearly as punishing against Guard - and there are few things more satisfying in BattleCON than pulling off a nice Dash counter.

EDIT: Incidentally, let me go on record as liking a proposed change, lest anyone characterize me as "being afraid of change".
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I'd have to see a non-turbo mode version and hear about the balancing issues that are involved (Joal Dual Wield, Marmalee) before I have an opinion.
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Daniel Honig
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I'm mostly concerned about the implications for balance - especially for characters that care a lot about null beats or priorities. Lymn and Eustace are not happy...

Extra clashing probably helps Cherri in terms of the tight spread more than the loss of auto-clash Dash hurts her? Not sure.
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Thiago Colas
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I'm on my cellphone, so I'll keep the long answer for tomorrow and just point out that Guard had a lot in common with the Block base from Armory, for those that would like to check a non Turbo card.
 
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Aaron White
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LeinadColtrane wrote:
I may be wrong, but I think the SOB and EOB movements will only be advance and retreat in Turbo mode (for BCO). I think in strategic (standard) and physical modes it will be SOB: Move up to one space, EOB: Move up to two spaces. This will give the same movement range as Dash, but somewhat better, since it gives you slow EOB movement.

Overall, I actually really like what I've heard of Guard. However, the one thing I'm a bit bummed about is that Dash counters won't be nearly as punishing against Guard - and there are few things more satisfying in BattleCON than pulling off a nice Dash counter.

EDIT: Incidentally, let me go on record as liking a proposed change, lest anyone characterize me as "being afraid of change".

I hope there is some flexibility in the movement. I am also for a change to Dash, as it often results in 2 out of 3 beats being each character running past the other. Plus being able to block something feels more fighting game-ish.
I think of poor Hikaru with this kind of change though. He is famous for his issues at range. Imagine if he gets caught at one end of the arena and cannot use Dash to close the distance? That is my main concern with replacing Dash, it still has to have some movement built in or it is not worth it.
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Ed Hughes
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for those that think dash is too good and needs a nerf, I think Block already fills that niche quite nicely.

Personally, I rather like dash, and don't really think it needs to go anywhere.
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Marco Santos
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That is true.

I guess that inability to create a gap bigger than 2 and close a gap bigger than 2 is the problem, here.

Quote:
I may be wrong, but I think the SOB and EOB movements will only be advance and retreat in Turbo mode (for BCO). I think in strategic (standard) and physical modes it will be SOB: Move up to one space, EOB: Move up to two spaces. This will give the same movement range as Dash, but somewhat better, since it gives you slow EOB movement.


If this is the thing, then guard will be interesting. Though, it does mean that very melee oriented characters will have a hard time closing gaps now.
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Vladislav Goldakovsky
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Here is my take on what Guard should be in Strategic Mode:

Range: N/A
Power: N/A
Priority: 1

Stun Immunity
This attack does not hit opponents.
You can't take more than X damage this beat. X is your range to an opponent.

Start of Beat: Move up to 1 space.
End of Beat: Move up to 2 spaces.



It's shame we have to call it just a boring "Guard" though. Even straightforward "Defense" or "Resist" will sound cooler in attack pairs.
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Don Brookins
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I think you have the advance and retreat mixed up. The version of Guard shown in BattleCON Online says you retreat 2 at start of beat and advance 2 at end of beat.
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Brad Rosenquist
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CurlyJefferson wrote:
I think you have the advance and retreat mixed up. The version of Guard shown in BattleCON Online says you retreat 2 at start of beat and advance 2 at end of beat.


Oops! You're right. I've edited the first post.
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Matthew Vines
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Wild idea, what if we replace dash with a more conventional base. And move dash to the force gauge, say 5 force points.

Spend 5 force points to replace your base with the dash base. That keeps dash, which I honestly think is very well designed for it's purpose, functionally the same. But by tying it to force it also makes it a finite resource in the game. Which is I think what they are hoping to with this redesign.

It creates a couple interesting choices for the player. First, do I need to save enough force to have a dash available? And second, what base do I want to burn to dash this beat? The more I think about it, the more I like it.

It also opens up the possibility of back to back dashes if a player has enough force saved up, but that can be mitigated somewhat by tweaking the cost.

But what should the replacement base be if it doesn't have to be a like for like?
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I'd like to see Dash taken out of BC completely and replaced with a character-specific equivalent akin to a second unique base. Yep, that would take a lot of work for L99, so I doubt we will see it, but Dash is too safe now and not very thematic for some characters either.
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Daniel DeMars
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dorktron2000 wrote:
I'd like to see Dash taken out of BC completely and replaced with a character-specific equivalent akin to a second unique base. Yep, that would take a lot of work for L99, so I doubt we will see it, but Dash is too safe now and not very thematic for some characters either.


Personally, I would like every character given a character-specific Dash-counter. A fair number of characters have them, and it makes playing as and against them quite enjoyable. But that would be a pretty enormous undertaking, so I'm fine with Guard.
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Corporal Joe Bauers
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Guard would certainly not fit in the pentagram as well!
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Marco Santos
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Hey, everyone! The specific text for the Strategic Mode Guard is:

Quote:
Guard
Range NA
Power NA
Priority 3

Stun Immunity
You can't take more than 2 damage this beat.

Start of Beat: Move up to 1 space.
End of Beat: Move up to 2 spaces.


With this in mind, guard retains almost all the things that made Dash good. There are 4 key differences, though:

1)Priority 3
This means that a Strike can clash you out of your Guard. So now, everyone technically has a "Dash counter" by simple merit of being able to clash Guard quite easily.

2)Lack of "Can't be hit"
This makes the average case for Guard worse than dash. When Guarding, expect to pay the price for the benefits it gives.

3)The movement is partitioned
This means that the old average case of moving 3 spaces before the opponent's activation is no longer true. Instead, you move 1 before their activation. This means that even MORE attacks can hit you because you might not get into their blind spots fast enough.

4)Movement Triggers
The movements happen SoB and EoB. This means that almost nothing can stop you from doing them (sans a Baenir and Arec).

One thing to realize here is that "Dash Counters" are still useful for mitigating the positioning advantage that Guard provides. If anything, Dash Counters are "nerfed" simply because the thing they wanna counter won't pop up as often anymore. However, "Dash Counters" might find a new use in heavily controlling positioning.
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Aaron White
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mnmkami wrote:
Hey, everyone! The specific text for the Strategic Mode Guard is:

Quote:
Guard
Range NA
Power NA
Priority 3

Stun Immunity
You can't take more than 2 damage this beat.

Start of Beat: Move up to 1 space.
End of Beat: Move up to 2 spaces.


With this in mind, guard retains almost all the things that made Dash good. There are 4 key differences, though:

1)Priority 3
This means that a Strike can clash you out of your Guard. So now, everyone technically has a "Dash counter" by simple merit of being able to clash Guard quite easily.

2)Lack of "Can't be hit"
This makes the average case for Guard worse than dash. When Guarding, expect to pay the price for the benefits it gives.

3)The movement is partitioned
This means that the old average case of moving 3 spaces before the opponent's activation is no longer true. Instead, you move 1 before their activation. This means that even MORE attacks can hit you because you might not get into their blind spots fast enough.

4)Movement Triggers
The movements happen SoB and EoB. This means that almost nothing can stop you from doing them (sans a Baenir and Arec).

One thing to realize here is that "Dash Counters" are still useful for mitigating the positioning advantage that Guard provides. If anything, Dash Counters are "nerfed" simply because the thing they wanna counter won't pop up as often anymore. However, "Dash Counters" might find a new use in heavily controlling positioning.

I have clearly not played a single game with this, but at a glance I approve. Might make my Marmelee matchups tricky though, maybe some stun guard or stat boosts please?
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Brad Rosenquist
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I definitely like the Standard Mode version more than Turbo Mode's. I do question the 3 Priority, though. I don't like that it's so easy to Clash. But then again, that makes it even less desirable, and encourages an attack, and therefore more action. But what about the Marmelees of BattleCON?
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Thiago Colas
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kurisenshi wrote:
I definitely like the Standard Mode version more than Turbo Mode's. I do question the 3 Priority, though. I don't like that it's so easy to Clash. But then again, that makes it even less desirable, and encourages an attack, and therefore more action. But what about the Marmelees of BattleCON?


I believe they all will be reworked. Marmelee is one of the chars in serious need of a rebalance in Devastation.
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Daniel DeMars
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Something else to note - since it caps damage but doesn't prevent on hit effects, on hit life loss effects will become the biggest Guard counters.

EDIT: Also, I think this is going to hurt Byron far more than it will hurt Marmalee (since it gives her Stun Immunity, so she still gets to keep her counters - it just makes clocking tougher).
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