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lecongvu

Is there any merit to having ballistician being a playable class again?

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Having recently replayed Shadow Dragon, I found myself using Jake and Beck a bit more than I used to. I appreciate the choice to have a playable ballistician. It is still a hassle though, and I suppose that in some cases I could had done better had I chose another unit.

What is your opinion? Would you like to have playable ballisticians in future titles? If yes, do you have any idea how to design the game to make using them more viable? Personally I am thinking about ballisticians could be deployed  on certain points on the map, different from where the rest your army start at the beginning of a chapter. Having the choice for the character to sacrifice the ballista in his inventory to run away could also help, maybe?

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I don't think viability is an issue. Ballistas are really powerful in the player's hands in FE11 with Jake and Beck typically being high on tier lists.

Seeing ballasticians return would be really cool, but it could be difficult to balance them. Make them too strong and you can easily cheese maps, make them too weak and there won't be any reason to field them. You'd want to try to find that sweet spot where they are useful but not game breaking.

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Ballisticians are super-strong. Having a 3-10 range attack is just really good, even with their limited movement. 

If I were bringing them back, I would actually make them immobile - they can be moved through repositional arts or spells like Warp and Rescue, but can't move themselves. They would wield bows, but with a "Ballista" combat art (i.e. 2-range bows become 3-10, Longbows become 3-11), costing 3 durability. Killer bows keep their high crit, Brave Bows strike twice, etc.

I see them as potentially useful on smaller or defense-oriented maps, but not a unit type you'd like to bring to higher-move maps.

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If we're on the subject of balancing Ballisticians, I had another idea for balancing them.

Ballisticians (or rather, Shooters) are among SRPG Studio's default classes, but custom "dismounted" assets exist for them without their ballistae.  The idea is to force them to dismount indoors like you would mounted units.  Normally, they'd have 3-10-Range with Bows, but when dismounted, it would go down to the normal 2 or 2-3-Range.  After all, these indoor areas presumably have roofs that are hard to shoot through.

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With the new archer design in SoV and 3H actually giving them a purpose as a long range siege units (actually, they need to be somewhat nerfed on their enemy phase performance to compensate), I'm inclined to say that no, Ballisticians no longer serve a purpose. Hell, the 3H magic system even makes rare siege spells like Bolting more available to the player.

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I like ballistas. I'm not big on the idea of "dismounting" and I'd rather ballistas just be ballistas, instead of being ballistas only some of the time. I'd be alright with a mobility nerf to balance them, but I'm honestly not too concerned about balance. If the unit is fun to use, that's what really matters. Besides, it's not like they can counter on enemy phase anyway.

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To be honest, I love the concept of units that use only siege weapons. I like having siege weapons as an option since I find them fascinating. I love ballisticians so much that all the hacks I've made so far include playable ballisticians.

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On 6/26/2020 at 9:52 AM, lecongvu said:

Would you like to have playable ballisticians in future titles? If yes, do you have any idea how to design the game to make using them more viable?

the only way to rebalance them that i can think of would be to set them as archers with 2 tiles range as usual, while giving them the benefit of long-range nukes(5 or more tiles) that mages usually have, such as Bolting, Meteor, Blizzard, etc.

meanwhile, they could lower magic nukes range, but turn them into AoE attacks.

 

basicly, an archer with additional limited long-range nukes, like 4~5 uses max per weapon(ballistae in this case). class-locked weapon, of course, and single-target with physical damage dealt.

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16 hours ago, Fenreir said:

the only way to rebalance them that i can think of would be to set them as archers with 2 tiles range as usual, while giving them the benefit of long-range nukes(5 or more tiles) that mages usually have, such as Bolting, Meteor, Blizzard, etc.

meanwhile, they could lower magic nukes range, but turn them into AoE attacks.

 

basicly, an archer with additional limited long-range nukes, like 4~5 uses max per weapon(ballistae in this case). class-locked weapon, of course, and single-target with physical damage dealt.

Hm... would the ballistician be limited in movement, or some other stat? Because this proposal just sounds like "Archer, but better". Which isn't necessarily bad, but it would overshadow an already-long-suffering class.

Siege tomes (and magic in general) with an AoE effect is an intriguing proposal, though. Could create a disincentive to leaving units adjacent. 

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9 hours ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

Hm... would the ballistician be limited in movement, or some other stat? Because this proposal just sounds like "Archer, but better". Which isn't necessarily bad, but it would overshadow an already-long-suffering class.

Siege tomes (and magic in general) with an AoE effect is an intriguing proposal, though. Could create a disincentive to leaving units adjacent. 

it depends on how the actual archers would play. there's always the need to keep a certain balance between movement range and attack range.

in case of a ballistician, it could either have a lower movement range compared to a normal archer along with different stats growths, or archers could eventually use bows with 2-to-3 tiles range, or both.

terrain bonuses is another factor to think about. for example, it wouldn't make much sense to be able to traverse a whole desert with a ballista, so there should be some limitations as well.

then there's also units type, such as armored, flying, beast, etc. ballistas could have different type bonuses compared to bows. for example, they could shoot explosive arrows dealing fire damage, eventually leading to magical damage dealt rather than physical like normal bows would do.

the options available are many, actually. they just need to be implemented properly, with a good logic behind that can support ballisticians while keeping every other class unique and viable.

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I wouldn't mind if they returned, but the game would have to be designed with them in mind. Shadow Dragons maps are large enough that the 3-10 range is helpful without being overpowered, the hit rates and strength vary between ballista weapons without ever quite reaching 100% chance to hit, and the limited ammunition means you have to decide whether or not an enemy is worth using a certain weapon on. They're helpful, but they have limits and won't win the game for you.

That said, they aren't something you can just plop into any game and call it a day. In a game like Awakening, they would likely be yet another overpowered class, thanks to high hit rates not being difficult to achieve and how even the worst characters are at the very least competent. It's pretty telling that their immobile variant has appeared far more often in the series, and even then those ranged in how annoying they were to fight and how useful they were when the player got their hands on them. As a playable class, ballistas have proven to work, but the fact their mobile form hasn't become a series staple shows they likely aren't the easiest things to plan around. It would be awesome to see them return, but I would also rather not see a haphazard implementation.

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I think it would be nice to have more class variety in addition to the current variations on mounted and unmounted units, and having more siege weapons to counter powerful siege weapons is also a bonus. But I do agree that something like that would have to be balanced as well as possible or it would become fairly OP, gven how easy it is to grind stats in more recent FE titles.

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On 6/26/2020 at 7:31 AM, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

Ballisticians are super-strong. Having a 3-10 range attack is just really good, even with their limited movement. 

If I were bringing them back, I would actually make them immobile - they can be moved through repositional arts or spells like Warp and Rescue, but can't move themselves. They would wield bows, but with a "Ballista" combat art (i.e. 2-range bows become 3-10, Longbows become 3-11), costing 3 durability. Killer bows keep their high crit, Brave Bows strike twice, etc.

I see them as potentially useful on smaller or defense-oriented maps, but not a unit type you'd like to bring to higher-move maps.

I have a similar idea to keep them in line while keeping them more unique: they still use special ballista weapons, but their default range is cut in half (so 3-5). However, they have a skill which doubles their maximum range provided they haven't moved. Going full Advance Wars is too restrictive but mobile 3-10 range is totally busted; this is a fair compromise.

Another idea for their weapons is to have them halve the target's Defense during damage calculation and possibly work off a less stat-based Hit/Avoid formula. That way they can keep up if they have Goomba stats like in the SNES games. Still, my first idea is the main takeaway here.

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Personally I'm against a ballistician class. It's a single class that every map needs to be designed especially for, I just don't think it's a good idea.

That said, we do need more ballistas. Having a limited part of your team being able to use them makes for some great strategic gameplay in my opinion. And it still means you don't have to keep them in mind for every single map from the moment they're introduced.

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I think ballisticians are great in Shadow Dragon and would love to see them return in that incarnation. Though I don't think they need that significant a rebalancing since Shadow Dragon hitb pretty nice sweet spot for them between useful and useless, if we are talking about rebalancing then one obvious way for me would be to make ballistas a much more expensive weapon type to buy or obtain. They can be super powerful to use but if you're eradicating your armies funds by using them you'll probably think twice about abusing them.

On 7/2/2020 at 8:45 PM, X-Naut said:

I have a similar idea to keep them in line while keeping them more unique: they still use special ballista weapons, but their default range is cut in half (so 3-5). However, they have a skill which doubles their maximum range provided they haven't moved. Going full Advance Wars is too restrictive but mobile 3-10 range is totally busted; this is a fair compromise.

Another idea for their weapons is to have them halve the target's Defense during damage calculation and possibly work off a less stat-based Hit/Avoid formula. That way they can keep up if they have Goomba stats like in the SNES games. Still, my first idea is the main takeaway here.

SNES games? There were no (playable) ballisticians in the SNES games.

Edited by Jotari

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1 hour ago, Jotari said:

SNES games? There were no (playable) ballisticians in the SNES games.

Did the SNES ballisticians have decent stats, playable or not?

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1 hour ago, X-Naut said:

Did the SNES ballisticians have decent stats, playable or not?

I don't recall them being any weaker than other generic enemies. Especially in Mystery and Thracia where enemy quality is generally pretty low.

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On 7/6/2020 at 2:48 AM, X-Naut said:

Did the SNES ballisticians have decent stats, playable or not?

it depends on the game.

Mystery and Genealogy have ballisticians that are somehow quite balanced in terms of range/damage, meaning that usually even characters with low/medium DEF parameters(let's say around 10~15, since the stats cap is 20 for Mystery and 30 for Genealogy) can at least take one hit and still survive. then the HP pool plays its own part as well.

Thracia 776 has different sets of ballistas, some with more range than others, and i guarantee you they are not forgiving at all. if you end up getting damage on a low DEF unit, that's likely going to die with just one shot.

from mid to late game in Thracia, ballistas have also the bad habit of coming together in groups of 4, with hit rates that usually vary from 25 to 75% depending on character stats and terrain, so if you send in a unit with less than 10 DEF, it's likely going to be obliterated.

 

on a side note: Thracia 776 has lower stats caps compared to Genealogy(20 against 30), but it also has separate promotion levels unlike Genealogy(from lv 1 to 20 pre-promoted, then again from lv1 to 20 after promotion).

in Genealogy you have a different linear level progression, meaning that once you promote your units at lv20, you don't start all over again from lv1 but you still have your previous level instead, with the difference that the maximum lv in Genealogy is 30, as are the stats caps.

Edited by Fenreir

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I mean, I'd say there's "merit" to it in as much as Ballistician is a cool class conceptually and I'd love to see more done with it, especially since it was pretty much abandoned as a playable class basically immediately following Shadow Dragon (though its functionality did survive in the form of Ballistae as tools you can find have your Archers and use on maps), and only made a brief reappearance in Fates as a DLC class (as well as, of course, returning in Shadow Dragon since it was in the game SD's a remake of).

Balance is definitely a concern, but I'm sure it can be done! Ballisticians already have poor mobility, shaky accuracy, and an inability to make follow-up attacks as counterweights to their tremendous range, so I wouldn't go so far as to say they're broken as they are in FE11, either; just very useful.

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46 minutes ago, Topaz Light said:

I mean, I'd say there's "merit" to it in as much as Ballistician is a cool class conceptually and I'd love to see more done with it, especially since it was pretty much abandoned as a playable class basically immediately following Shadow Dragon (though its functionality did survive in the form of Ballistae as tools you can find have your Archers and use on maps), and only made a brief reappearance in Fates as a DLC class (as well as, of course, returning in Shadow Dragon since it was in the game SD's a remake of).

Balance is definitely a concern, but I'm sure it can be done! Ballisticians already have poor mobility, shaky accuracy, and an inability to make follow-up attacks as counterweights to their tremendous range, so I wouldn't go so far as to say they're broken as they are in FE11, either; just very useful.

Shadow Dragon is actually pretty much their first appearance. In the original game they were basically armered archers. Really low movement, high defense and a staggering...2 range of attack. They really were quite useless. Mystery of the Emblem ignored them entirely so it wasn't until Shadow Dragon nowhere the playable dedicated long range pot shot class actually came into existence.

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Ahhh right, yeah! I suppose I was thinking of their appearance in Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light as their introduction because it's pretty clearly the same or a similar concept for a class in-universe (projectile-based siege weaponry manned by a single person), though you're correct in that Shadow Dragon is the first time the class as it's now known became playable. The modern, "long-range potshot" version of the Ballistician class actually debuted in Mystery of the Emblem, though!

I have to say, though, I do really like how Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light has totally different animations for each of the five Ballistician weapons in the game. That's a neat touch, and kinda makes me wanna use one in my core team just for how cool it is

Edited by Topaz Light

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3 hours ago, Topaz Light said:

Ahhh right, yeah! I suppose I was thinking of their appearance in Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light as their introduction because it's pretty clearly the same or a similar concept for a class in-universe (projectile-based siege weaponry manned by a single person), though you're correct in that Shadow Dragon is the first time the class as it's now known became playable. The modern, "long-range potshot" version of the Ballistician class actually debuted in Mystery of the Emblem, though!

I have to say, though, I do really like how Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light has totally different animations for each of the five Ballistician weapons in the game. That's a neat touch, and kinda makes me wanna use one in my core team just for how cool it is

Ah, I did say that Shadow Dragon is where the playable version debuted...no actually I said "it wasn't until Shadow Dragon nowhere the playable dedicated long range pot shot class actually came into existence." I have no idea how my where became a nowhere.

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