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Library: Knight-guild review 05/2014

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Author: zerks
Date:May 18 2014

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Why you should pick G-religious knight (Pros)
=============================================

Knight has cool idea behind it and the theme offers much potential. Also
knights give you nice amount of basic skills with 100 ECrits and FW for
example. Brainstorming for books is fun and doing conduct keeps you busy for a
while and idea of taking prisoners fits the theme like a glove. Maybe the very
best side of knights is the possibility to add beastmaster mounts to your
armament and guild offers some decent mount prots and buffs (noble, protmount,
heal mount, summon). 

Nowadays the new divided restrictions are much more player friendly and aren't
all that bad in general. Actually imho restrictions are quite nice idea as a
trade-off or negative side for the guild in the new divided shape. I also like
the idea of trying to motivate to lead with linking mechanics into leader
status, although... 


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The dark side (Cons, divided into 3)
====================================

1) The offskills. 

Knight offskills are laughable weak. Even with decent stats (200ish tankstats,
100ish int give or take some with buffs) and 100skills, masteries and all the
jazz you cant even make a dent to any real monster (100k->) even when hitting
to 0% resist and using the animist boost. If you argue that regular
slash/assault (thanks for the recent stun-update on these btw!) is like
shooting with meteor blast while other party is shooting habos, knight offs
are somewhere in the level of fire arrow. They really are that bad. They are
weird, way too situational and don't have the damage and usability to
compensate the trickery. 

Only brightside in offskills is Skullsplitter and its only useable on psi+barb
offparty and nowhere else. As an example, I'm personally using ghost slash
mostly even on good/neutral mobs even though its less than half of the normal
damage and gives me negatives... just because its still better damage than
knightstuff.
"You don't even break the skin." "There is no reaction at all." "No major
damage". Sound familiar to anyone?

2) The paths of Valor and Skill. 

Especially the valor path is mostly imho a complete waste. I get the idea that
you have to kill valiant enough kills and don't be a wussy, which is fine and
cool. But you can only improve second step pretty much by capturing stuff as a
prisoner and the whole "take prisoner" skill is designed as a burden or errand
you have to do and never return into. Skill is coded to be annoying as f*ck
and even if would have much potential as a theme... it is only there to unlock
valor. 

And the way you complete Valorpath, is to sit without weapons at 20k mobs 10
hours hoping target will go enough low HPs for skill to work but you won't
spank it to death barehanded before skill lands - quite Valiant, eh. This,
because skill checks for monster HPs remaining (very low check) rather than
shape and in addition bigger monsters tend to work much more unreliably
already after 100k.

As for the skill path I don't have as much problem with as do many other I
have talked with. But I don't agree that the "always resets progress at boot"
is a good call. Rather make the gain slower and with more variety and drop
that "no save" nonsense. Skillpath also has no other purpose than being a
nuisance to unlock training when need to and be a silly grind from scrap
everyday want it done, sadly. 

3) The 'overhyped' defskills. 

Ok I admit guild related defskills are funny and nice _on paper_. In practice
situation is totally different. 

Spell parry is very hard to nail to right casts at right time. Its pretty much
unusable in exp-parties and on solo where monsters swap on fly and fast and in
eqparties monsters tend to cast varying spells from varying types and monsters
have much more targets to shoot at. Even when you are prepped exactly right
the block ratio is low even with 100% skill. It might sound something nice on
paper but in the end of the day the efficiency you get from it is negligible
at best even if you really try to make it work... and I have tried believe me.
I even have the Hylian shield at my disposal (that works against all types)
and even with that, the skill is atm more trouble than worth.

I would describe it in current tune "nice to have as an extra flavour but
nothing with real benefit". If you manage to block 1-2 single blasts in whole
party guess its okish but nothing that would have changed anything or
something you couldn't live without. Don't count on this skill to improve your
knight plans if you ask me. Singleblasts are anyway in todays BatMUD in the
lines of "Woop lava blast! Now we know that nothing scary isn't coming and can
stay in"

Lets make some math. In normal 9man party there are 11-14 targets to shoot at
(members, your soul+mount + optionally 1-2 other familiars like entities or
mounts). So spell even landing you is around 7-9%, with elite guard you can
double this to 14-18%. Now perfectly played and tapped out stuff spellparry
seems to have around 30-35% success chance so working against cast is roughly
5-6% in that 9man case. So if monster _only_ casts qualified spells, you have
defined them right all the time and wield the type you will parry on average
only roughly every 17-20th cast with elite guard on (and leading the party)
and even then it wont be a spellcast that mattered at all.

To give you some scale, lets compare spellparry to crimson stance. Crimson
stance blocks spells thrown against all targets and all types, it blocks harms
with very high success ratio, it blocks area spells into level of biggest mage
areas. In addition stance offers other benefits like skillhastes to party and
so... and surprise surprise no one thinks even stance is in any way over
powered. Naturally it is good and that is how it should be, especially if it
is the reason everything else is toned down. 

Sidenote: spellparry should show the monster casting the spell with chant and
then the block working so its more noticeable (like stance shows). This way if
(because of some act of god) it manages to block something, party knows there
isn't some real threat incoming in next rounds.

=====================================
Somewhere in between the good and bad
=====================================

The other defskills drop into same category "funny idea but what is the
purpose". Defiance afaik lets you hit stuff and parry while in unc (haha
taking unc tanking into next level) and Relentless adds a chance to wake you
from unc when leading a party. As for defiance I don't even know what to say,
I personally see no real benefit from it. 

Relentless is like Troll racespecial but weaker... guess its the best of the
knight skills, hard to argue for or against because usually you try not to get
negative hps at first place (especially true as a leader) and in parties there
are people to save you. With above points I just say I haven't noticed it kick
in even once. Elite guard is like PbS but worse and works only when leading.
The brightside in eliteguard is that it stacks with spellparry if manage to
get that to work.

Like mentioned earlier its funky idea to tie stuff into leading to promote it,
but when you add restrictions and limit the usability by making stuff much
less available, it should come in +noticeable efficiency when you fill the
requirements. For example if you limit the usability to only parties you are
leading you seriously cut the amount of times those skills are active. Keep in
mind that only one dude from the nine can be the leader in the best scenario
where every player leads from time to time.

Knight guild offers few unique utilities that no other guild offers: mainly to
mention Noble mount and arms lore casts. While these are bit needed in some
context and cases its sad that one could go as far as stating that 'Noble
mount' spell is the only sole reason whole guild exists... and to be frank I
can't totally disagree with that statement either.

=======================
What knight guild needs
=======================

There are many areas in knights that would need a think through. I will cover
few aspects here. Spellparry, if it truly is the bread-and-butter, seriously
should be recoded. One possibility would be that in addition to memorizing the
vocals, knights could gather wands/flasks (monster dropped not player crafted)
and some new collectible (f.ex. if you cast monster lore at target it drops a
knowledge tome from one of its spells at death what you can then submit to
your "known spells") to their library and once gathered lets say lava blast
knowledge you could spell parry that spell onwards without manual memorizing
(if have the right type wielded). 

Also widen the spellparry blockrange to other kind of debuffs, immolates etc
and at least small areas if have gathered the spell. In any case the block
ratios really need to be looked at and pushed up so that its rarer that you
miss a block... not rare that you make one with tapped out skills. Maybe
blockratio could be tied into education amount (through books, wands and
knowledge) or some progress like where you gain better at blocking all
casttype x spells the more you go against those on your career. Spellparry
already has really limited usability so what is the point in low chance. 

In nutshell: blatant uptune to both usability and power if this is supposed to
be "the thing" and not next to useless.

Knight offs also need a facelift and the new masteries just didn't do it.
There kind of would need to be at least one decent (maybe rep dependant) clear
chainable offskill that really works at some ok level against all monsters and
then heavy boost to trickery side (other than skullsplit) when you succeed in
it (pick right weaponary, use right skill at right time etc). Either power of
precise slash skill-level (or both) should be made overall better and work
much more reliably regardless of target size/level. One funny idea could be to
incorporate take prisoner to offskills so that, when taking prisoners from
races, you improve much in fighting against those (because you learn from your
prisoners). 

This wouldn't fix the whole problem but it would be a start and would give
"take prisoner" some meaning. In above case because there are much weird races
out there your total race count should work as an general boost also against
races you haven't captured so you aren't totally useless at that
chromatic_dragon or fish_with_no_eyes either.

Some small tweaks: 

- Overkilling (OK) path should show in progress. Path could colour the letters
in "Path completed" until done and it would change into "Overkill!". OK
bonuses shouldn't be tied to shield. No one wants to use the crappy
crestshield and this just makes those bonuses quite irrelevant too. One
out-of-the-box idea would be that protecting steed loads your Excelsior shield
to the mount giving it and the riding knight the critprot and the OK bonuses
shield offers from there as long as you are in the saddle of the protected
mount or spirit.

- For the love of god make paths (and OK progress) save at least with
Excelsior-rank. If I next time reinc into knight and notice that other than
education is reset like skill path does now all the time, I will reinc out and
never return. No one likes non-saving progress mechanics that you can't play
around otherwise than not reincing. Again if its too easy or fast, make it
slower, more varying and more interesting and ditch the no-save. Saving crest
records the current situation on your crest but why can't it save your
progress situation also from boot to boot and reinc to reinc.

- The syntaxes to enter training rooms were interesting the first time, but a
mind-numbing burden after that. Just replace that syntax hell with regular
up-exits and so on to towers at least after entering first time. 

- Shield wall-skill could be added to knights to widen bit the possibilities
to use it in parties in general. Not 100% but 70-80% similar to Kharim..

===============
TL;DR / Summary
===============

In knights current state I can only recommend it (for good religs at least) if
you want it in roleplaying perspective, want to test it or want to add
beastmaster mounts for some reason to your liberator-animist. In my humble
opinion powerwise it would be atm a nice secondary support guild with 15
levels (comparable to animist) but is hardly worth the whole 30 with squire,
when you can pick something like full Tarmalen, Druid (solo option) or even
Templar instead. 

At the moment of writing it can be seen as an option for Templar-addon to
liberator base if you are only planning mainly to lead and want something bit
more complex... but personally I would recommend Templar just because there
stuff works generally better. With the notorious Templar recode in "2 weeks" I
believe even this recommendation will turn totally into Templars favour when
their stuff gets fixed. Knight might give you something offwise but I wouldn't
hold my breath on it.

When to pick knight: To get ecrit, fw, stunned manu(80->100), riposte(90->100)
and if want that extra mount stuff. Don't expect anything else to tip the
scales

===============

"So what! We have also guilds like civmage that are useless, why would we care
about knight"

The valid difference here is that opposed to other "dead" guilds like
civmage/fighter Knights have a working theme and good idea in many ways.
Civmage/fighter aren't even tried to keep updated and are totally abandoned.
Knight is kept updated from time to time~; lastly with new offskill masteries
and opening it good religious. The point is that the underlaying bad mechanics
just make stuff either not work (offskills, progress-systems) or irrelevant
(guild related defskills) and as such waste a good baseidea and workhours that
have and are being put in the guild.

-Zerks


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