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seibaby

Some thoughts on Cover

39 posts in this topic

Hello, this is some thoughts I collected from last week's discussion about Cover.

It's possible to detect Covered attacks in Hit Determination and
(probably) Damage Modification. This means we can do things like:
- Silently ignore Row
- Take Defend into account (and then unset it)
- Modify Evade (instead of attacker's hit rate, like we do now)
- Modify Defense
- Modify damage multpliers
- Silently ignore Image

Our previous options were to modify/disable Cover on various conditions, like:
Row (Currently disables Cover)
Defend (Is currently disabled by Cover)
Statuses (Currently disables Cover)

As well as the option of unsetting statuses or Defend before taking them
into account. For example, Cover could just remove Image before it's even
considered, like we currently do with Defend.

I think removing Defend before or Covering is the most intuitive; you leave
your defensive stance to jump in front of a teammate to take a hit. Mishrak
argues that removing it after is equally intuitive, and I can see his point,
too. I'd say it's mostly a matter of whether you want Cover to synergize
with Defend or not.

As for Image, either silently ignoring it, or removing it outright, are both
unexpected compare to the normal way Image behaves. However, it does drive
home the point that Cover does not work with Image, without letting you turn
Cover off at will with a Smoke Bomb.

Removing Image after allowing it to let you dodge a covered hit is an option,
however, even if Covering 100% removes it, it might be too powerful to let
Image synergize with Cover at all. Then again, if you have an Image setter
that's fast enough to keep up, you're basically already physically immune, so
it might not be that big of a deal.

The current approach of disabling Cover while having Image is a little less
intuitive, but it already has precedent with Clear. If you want players to be
able to turn Cover off freely, there's nothing wrong with this option.

Finally, I don't think Covering from the back row makes any kind of sense,
but I can see the merit in not allowing Cover to be so easily turned on and
off at will. The option is there to just always take damage as if in front row.

 

And the (edited) chat log:

	3:25 PM] Mishrak: So will you defend and then lose defense or will you not defend at all with cover ?
[3:41 PM] Satarack: I'd rather it bypass defend than it remove the defend status
[3:56 PM] Mishrak: If it removes defend then you can actually use your turn to defend and then it falls
[3:56 PM] Mishrak: If it bypasses defend then defend is useless with cover
[3:59 PM] seibaby: It breaks you out of Defend, before damage is resolved
[4:00 PM] Mishrak: So you can't use defend with cover at all
[4:00 PM] Mishrak: So why not just make it so cover doesn't activate if you're defending ?
	[4:05 PM] Mishrak: If you defend and it still activates it will give a false impression of synergy. So better to not let it activate at all with defend up
[4:08 PM] Satarack: Part of why I'm saying it's getting bloated is how much you have to remember; but the other part is how most of these conditions are things players won't be able to infer
[4:09 PM] Satarack: they'll have to be taught it
[4:11 PM] Satarack: Things like that the player won't even notice
[4:11 PM] Mishrak: Like what ?
[4:12 PM] Satarack: But like back row disabling cover, defend disabling cover, image and vanish disabling cover, none of these can be inferred.
[4:12 PM] Satarack: The player won't even bat an eye at brushes never triggering cover
[4:14 PM] Satarack: Some of the issues, like back row and defend, I was suggesting that the damage formula should ignore the back row and defend steps; but still allow cover
[4:15 PM] Satarack: so it doesn't matter what row they're in, if they cover someone they still take damage like they're front row and not defending
[4:15 PM] Mishrak: That is probably cleaner actually
[4:16 PM] seibaby: I disagree about defend, Mish. I see activating cover as sort pseudo-taking an action, and actions makes you stop defending
[4:17 PM] Mishrak: I wouldn't see it that way. Cover is passive
[4:17 PM] seibaby: Disabling cover if defending is a valid option, but it IS different than defending and still allowing cover
[4:17 PM] Mishrak: I would expect defend to reduce the damage
[4:17 PM] Satarack: It makes more sense to stay in line with what the game considers actions; that's what the player will be used to.
[4:17 PM] Mishrak: Like if defend was collapsed after the hit. That makes sense
[4:17 PM] Mishrak: But ignored entirely ?
[4:17 PM] Mishrak: That doesn't make sense
[4:19 PM] Mishrak: So if defend isn't gonna synergize with cover - I personally think it should - it should just either do what Sata said or be ignored entirely
[4:17 PM] Satarack: maybe ATB should reset every time you cover :opieop:
[4:20 PM] seibaby: Satarack I actually considered atb getting a slight pushback, in case Cover still turns out overpowered 
[4:21 PM] Mishrak: I like simplifying the row/defend thing: let cover still activate, it just bypasses the damage mitigation from those. The only downside to this is you can't then turn it off if you wanted to
[4:21 PM] Mishrak: Short of removing the relics
[4:22 PM] seibaby: I sort of agree
[4:23 PM] seibaby: Let cover remove defend, but allow it to benefit from it first. I disagree about row.
[4:24 PM] seibaby: Anyway I agree with the point in theory only, I don't think Cover and defend should synergize
[4:26 PM] Mishrak: I can see a case for both sides but I'm sure BTB doesn't want it also so
[4:28 PM] Mishrak: That fact remains that cover is probably one of the more complex abilities in the game and the player won't be able to infer the behavior no matter what we do
[4:28 PM] Mishrak: Short of redesigning the ability entirely
[4:29 PM] seibaby: However, if row silently ignored cover, why wouldn't defend?
[4:29 PM] seibaby: (rather than disallowing it outright)
[4:30 PM] seibaby: Er sorry, other way around. Cover silently ignoring row/defend
[4:30 PM] seibaby: One suggestion was to let cover activate from the back row, but to ignore the row damage reduction
[4:31 PM] seibaby: Rather than disabling cover from back row
[4:31 PM] seibaby: I disagree with it because it's obtuse, it's easier for players to notice cover just not activating from the back row, I think
[4:32 PM] Nowea & Knuckles: I like that way. It makes logical sense, you are breaking your defensive stance and moving forward to eat the hit
[4:32 PM] seibaby: That's my thinking
[4:32 PM] Mishrak: Sure. I don't disagree
[4:33 PM] seibaby: Anyway, this is the fluff we're talking about. The mechanics consideration was to not let cover synergize with defend
[4:33 PM] seibaby: Not that fluff isn't important. Intuitive is good.
[4:34 PM] Mishrak: My thought about defend is that you're activating it similarly to runic and preparing to take a hit. You're sacrificing a turn(s) to have a chance at reducing a physical damage hit
[4:34 PM] Mishrak: Since you can't fully anticipate the cover
[4:34 PM] Mishrak: Or the physical
[4:34 PM] Mishrak: It's balanced similarly to runic
[4:35 PM] Mishrak: Where it differs is that you're mitigating damage the entire defensive stance
[4:35 PM] Mishrak: But you still can't act
[4:36 PM] Mishrak: And if it breaks the defensive stance the player still has to reset it (rather than just Afk defend)
[4:37 PM] Mishrak: And of course unlike runic you won't 100% cover the physical
[4:38 PM] Mishrak: You'll have to build a character around that and it'll be impossible to cover 100%
[4:39 PM] Mishrak: So that's why I think defend should give the damage reduction from the front row with cover
[4:42 PM] seibaby: It would have a nice symmetry with Runic, granted, if cover let you one-time benefit from defend
[4:43 PM] seibaby: And it is more intuitive that way. Otoh, if we don't have cover synergize with defend, it's more intuitive to just disallow it if defending. I guess what we have now is sort of a compromise, you can defend yourself, but still break out of Defend to protect someone else
[4:44 PM] Mishrak: It actually gives defend a purpose
[4:45 PM] seibaby: The current behaviour makes the most sense to me intuitively and mechanically
[4:45 PM] Mishrak: I don't think not getting the defend bonus makes sense
[4:45 PM] Mishrak: Why even bother using it
[4:46 PM] Mishrak: There's even less of a purpose with cover doing its thing
[4:46 PM] Mishrak: Substantially less
[4:46 PM] Mishrak: It's almost never productive to just straight defend
[4:47 PM] seibaby: I have a feeling cover is too strong to let it synergize with defend, that's why I'd prefer to keep defend self-only
[4:47 PM] seibaby: Time will tell, perhaps
[4:47 PM] Mishrak: It could very well be
[4:48 PM] Mishrak: It just means defend is ultimately even more useless than it already is
[4:48 PM] Nowea & Knuckles: I'd prefer for defend to still allow defending (without going directly into if cover should benefit from defend)
[4:48 PM] Nowea & Knuckles: Same for row
[4:51 PM] Mishrak: Hmm
[4:51 PM] Mishrak: Forcing...front row
[4:51 PM] Mishrak: Means you're always gonna see full damage counters
[4:51 PM] Mishrak: For cover counter
[4:51 PM] Nowea & Knuckles: But with full damage taken
[4:51 PM] Mishrak: I guess that's fine
[4:52 PM] Mishrak: Yeah I'm just trying to think of who wants to use cover
[4:52 PM] Mishrak: The people that get the most stamina really don't like being on the front row (relm / strago) except for terra
[4:53 PM] Mishrak: So ultimately you have less stamina to do it properly except for strago and relm
[4:53 PM] Nowea & Knuckles: But yeah. I prefer "When covering, a character has to forgo the benefits of defensive stances and rows, and is more likely to be hit by the attack they're attempting to cover"(edited)
[4:54 PM] Mishrak: It's very difficult to maximize stamina and still cover counter
[4:54 PM] Mishrak: Locke and cyan will never hit crazy stamina levels like Terra and strago
[4:54 PM] Mishrak: But Terra needs some hp EL to survive front row
[4:54 PM] Mishrak: So can't go Pure trit
[4:55 PM] Mishrak: Strago will be soft butter
[4:57 PM] Mishrak: Well strago could safe himself I guess
[4:57 PM] Mishrak: Refract would be detrimental
[4:57 PM] Mishrak: He would be a bad cover unit
[4:58 PM] Nowea & Knuckles: As should be expected from the 'frail' old mage
[4:59 PM] Nowea & Knuckles: My opinion's still "Cover loses benefit of defend/row but still works"
[5:23 PM] seibaby: So should cover leave you in the front row if you try to cover from the back row? It sounds like a coding horror but it makes the most sense
[5:30 PM] dn: That's going to require work in C1, most likely
[6:05 PM] seibaby: Actually I think you can just queue up the row command
[6:05 PM] seibaby: It'll look less smooth than jumping back to the front row though
[6:22 PM] seibaby: You know, re-reading the above discussion about cover, I can't help but think pretty much every point made is sensible
[6:22 PM] seibaby: It all depends on what t he desired mechanics are, and what is most intuitive to a player
[6:24 PM] seibaby: For example, should you really be able to turn cover on and off in battle or should it be a choice made when loading out
[10:13 PM] Artemi ?: My big thought with cover and row is that the player should be able to easily tell when it's turned on or turn it off when they want to. Simply switching Sabin to the back row is a very clear, intuitive way to think, "Oh he's not on the front line anymore, that means he can't stand in front of Relm tanking anymore". That's why I think Cover from the back row is a bad idea, simply because it muddles the learning curve for an already complex ability.
[10:17 PM] Artemi ?: Hmm... a thought for Image and Clear; could you make it so you still CAN cover with those, but when you do, you take the hit as normal and the status dispels (similar to how Clear fades when you're hit with magic)? That would be a very clear message to the player that those statuses don't work with cover(edited)
[10:18 PM] Artemi ?: All the other status effects are intuitive (Oh, I guess I can't cover with Blind since I can't see!), but those two don't make any particular sense and are mostly for balance reasons, so having a clear indicator would probably be a good idea.(edited)
[10:27 PM] seibaby: That's not a bad idea
[10:28 PM] seibaby: Although I think Blind is the least intuitive status to disable Cover, tbh
[10:32 PM] seibaby: It's nice to be able to swap between covering and defensive mode (image) without sacrificing offense though.
[10:35 PM] seibaby: Tbf it's a little unintuitive that Image disables cover, but breaking it outright...I don't know.
[10:39 PM] Artemi ?: The other thought I had, and I have no idea how possible it is, would be to have them still jump up to cover, but then the wiff animation comes up and the defender gets hit anyway. To show them "failing" to cover.
[10:47 PM] seibaby: It's honestly not a bad idea, it's a bit weird but very clearly communicates that Cover doesn't work with Image/Clear
[10:48 PM] Nowea & Knuckles: is it possible for cover to bypass image/clear's evasion?
[10:49 PM] Nowea & Knuckles: similar to our discussion of "just ignore row/defend" earlier
[10:49 PM] seibaby: The only problem is it could interfere with multiple bodyguards, since it picks the one with the highest HP....Although I'm sure that can be solved. I'm not too keen on complicating the cover code much more though, it's already a giant space hog
[10:53 PM] seibaby: There's a temporary variable that gets set as the bodyguard's ID, if it's preserved in hit calc, I could check to see if it matches the target....
[10:54 PM] seibaby: Welp, I don't want to muck around much more with the cover code this close to release,  but I'll make some notes for future revisions
[10:54 PM] Mishrak: I was discussing the merits of a defend synergy with cover
[10:57 PM] BTB: I'd like to see some sort of synergy with Defend and Cover, but right now we're sort of in the process of nerfing Cover so it's running in two opposite directions
[10:57 PM] seibaby: I was mulling this over before and had the idea to have Cover gear replace Row or Defend with Cover
[10:58 PM] seibaby: But creating a new command seems like a bitch
[10:58 PM] BTB: Defend is very niche, but it does have its uses
[10:59 PM] BTB: I think the correct approach is to make defend more functional rather than axing it
[10:59 PM] seibaby: I favor keeping Defend for self-use only because I think synergizing may cause Cover to be too strong
[10:59 PM] Mishrak: Dadaluma and ultros 1
[10:59 PM] Mishrak: That's it
[11:00 PM] Nowea & Knuckles: The issue with defend is that it requires the one defending to be the target, the damage to be predicted, and for the person to not be able to survive it otherwise.
[11:00 PM] Mishrak: Otherwise you wanna heal or buff or attack
[11:00 PM] Mishrak: Nowea is exactly correct
[11:01 PM] BTB: My gut instinct would be to have the defend stance raise the chances for covering a healthy target.
[11:01 PM] seibaby: Have Defend guarantee the next hit is taken by Cover, and break Defend when it does? Like Runic
[11:01 PM] BTB: While still having cover break the defender out of the defense stance.
[11:01 PM] BTB: Not guarantee.
[11:01 PM] BTB: Never guarantee.
[11:01 PM] Mishrak: Increasing chances is bad also
[11:02 PM] BTB: Increasing chances for the first cover only.
[11:02 PM] BTB: Since defense stance is broken afterward
[11:02 PM] seibaby: still, use a turn to increase chances, or use a turn to do something definitely useful like heal?
[11:04 PM] Mishrak: I still dunno how useful that ends up being
[11:04 PM] Mishrak: It's still entirely contingent on a physical attack happening and wastes a turn and what merit do you really gain
[11:04 PM] Mishrak: Over attacking healing or buffing
[11:05 PM] Mishrak: Cover only works because it's passive
[11:05 PM] seibaby: well, it's defend that's crummy, not cover.
maybe using defend to buff cover isn't the only way to make defend better
[11:06 PM] Mishrak: I'm just saying. Controlling cover with defend doesn't really provide much
[11:06 PM] seibaby: Yeah, you can already control cover with row and image
[11:07 PM] seibaby: Although row costs two turns if you only use it to switch off cover temporarily
[11:07 PM] seibaby: (assuming we'd use Defend to disable cover rather than the other way around)
	 
	3:06 AM] seibaby: I think I've found a way to check for cover in hit determination and probably damage mod too :stuck_out_tongue:
[3:07 AM] seibaby: So there's the option of just silently ignoring row, or to have defend be accounted for once, then unset
[3:08 AM] seibaby: and to have image be just ignored and/or unset
[3:08 AM] seibaby: as well as properly halving actual evasion, rather than doubling hit rate
[3:16 AM] seibaby: it should also for example, be possible to add a damage multiplier or modify defense
[3:16 AM] thzfunnymzn: Interesting
[3:16 AM] thzfunnymzn: Whelp, don't forget to ask BTB on all that
	

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You should be able to cover from the back row; taking front row damage makes sense though.

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Posted (edited)

This is sorta a follow-up to some of the discussion in the Stamina thread, but makes more sense to put it here.

When covering, reducing evade seems like it makes sense, both thematically and gameplay-wise  This wouldn't greatly affect the characters with poor evade stats who are likely cover candidates (Cyan, Umaro, Edgar), but it would give some pause to having Shadow be a prime cover choice.  He's already offensively powerful, plus with the ninja mask he can counter without using up a relic slot, so he probably needs to be restrained a bit.  Plus, covering doesn't really fit his aloof personality. 

Oh, and can Interceptor cover Shadow when he's covering someone else?  If so, should probably nix that too, if possible.

Edited by SuperHario
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Posted (edited)

Correct; making Shadow less reliable as a blink tank was the main reasoning behind reducing evade when covering. The cover hack disables Interceptor for the same reason. 

What are your thoughts on the interaction of Cover with Defend or Image?

Currently a character will drop Defend before they take the hit and not gain the defensive benefit (selfless). Other options are to disable Cover entirely while defending (selfish), or to drop Defend after taking the hit instead of before (compromise). A fourth compromising option is to temporarily step out of Defend to take a hit (ie. keep Defend but take Cover damage as if you weren't Defending).

Having Image currently disables Cover (selfish). Another option would be to drop Image when stepping in to take a hit (selfless), or to ignore Image (compromise). 

As for Row, currently bodyguards act selfishly and don't Cover from the back Row. The other options are to either have them act selflessly and automatically step into the front row to Cover (and stay there afterwards, essentially forcing front Row for characters with Cover), or to compromise and have them be able to Cover from the back Row, but take damage as if in the front row. 

Edited by seibaby
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Posted (edited)

(removed)

Edited by seibaby
(sorry for double post, I was trying to edit on mobile and it somehow posted a new post instead)
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Posted (edited)

For Defend: Selfless. For Image: Selfless. For Row: Compromise.

Essentially, the covering character should always be covering. However, with the downside of the issues that brings (such as "I don't want you to cover right now because you're almost dead!").

In addition, covering would also deliberately forsake the benefits of row/image/defend WHILE they are covering. Interceptor being able to help cover is more of the balance choice of if Shadow, without benefit of image, ends up being an OP coverer or not.

Edited by Nowea
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Posted (edited)

I'm inclined to agree with you Nowea, in that I think equipping a character with Cover should be a commitment that could potentially become a liability if not managed well, and it shouldn't be able to be switched off at will.

Edited by seibaby
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Noobie here but just tossing in an opinion...I dislike the "compromise" option for defend/statuses. Having cover remove those abilities just makes cover feel like a liability. Especially if cover will be inherent on certain weapons such as spears, I don't think cover should be a forced liability, but one you can adapt to the situation.

I'd be up for Row disabling Cover, while Defend/statuses act selfishly or selflessly.

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I feel like the less nuanced the better with an ability like this, that has a lot of moving parts and is fairly complicated to begin with. I like Defend, Image, and Row all being selfish, just because it simplifies the whole thing; it's either on or its off. In particular, I think if you're going to be able to block from the back row, then you need to get the back row damage reduction, too. I think the idea of being in the back row, taking reduced damage from normal attacks but full damage from covered one, is particularly a bad idea. That's just going to lead to confusion for no reason. 

If you do still want to have cover always on, though, I think going Defend and Back Row to Compromise could work, but I think it should be the drop Defend/forced move to the front row when you actually cover. Moving the front row clearly signifies that you aren't getting advantage of the back row damage reduction. 

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Defend: selfish, "sorry, I was busy watching my own HP, I didn't see that monster eating your face"

Image: selfless, basically an image creates a fake you; if a monster attacks he just always chooses wrong but if you throw yourself before someone there is no choice for the monster to make

Row: selfless, you can't cover someone from an attack to their face by standing behind their back; on the flipside they have committed themself to cover
alternatively, you can only cover for people in the same row - switching rows cost a turn, yes?

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Posted (edited)

Just now, kjinn22 said:

Noobie here but just tossing in an opinion...I dislike the "compromise" option for defend/statuses. Having cover remove those abilities just makes cover feel like a liability. Especially if cover will be inherent on certain weapons such as spears, I don't think cover should be a forced liability, but one you can adapt to the situation.

I'd be up for Row disabling Cover, while Defend/statuses act selfishly or selflessly.

I like Cover being a liability if mishandled, but fair point about it being more or less forced on you with Spears.

Just a note though; Cover still drops Defend in the selfless option, it just does so before resolving damage. From your response, I get the feeling you were talking about it only temporarily dropping Defend while Covering, sort of like the compromise option for Row. I edited my post to make it more clear what I meant. Keeping Defend after Covering is too strong, in my opinion, but it's an option. I edited that in as well.

Edited by seibaby
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Posted (edited)

I think changing the mechanics for cover should be as minimal as possible.  So for Defend, it should be the compromise option where you get the defensive reduction for the hit taken, but it is dropped afterward.  This means you could try a strategy of always defending with a cover bot, but cover is not 100% (unless allies are critical) so it might not be as successful as desired.  Keeping all allies critical for a 100% defending cover bot is a risky strategy, but one a player should be able to try.

For image, I'd say selfish.  Basically, any status that changes the sprite should not cover.  Sleep, muddle, zombie, berserk all don't allow the character to cover for obvious reasons, might as well extend this to all statuses.  A separate question is Slow, should a slowed character be able to cover?  (Stop should and does not I believe.)

For row, I'm inclined to say the compromise (front row damage, return to back row).  It'd just be a nuisance to have to constantly change row for a Dragoon or magic Edgar in the back row who's using the spear for the HP boost.

Edited by SuperHario
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Ah, alright, that makes sense. It would be a bit strange to defend, to not defending for a covered hit, to defending again.

So my votes would be any statuses are selfish, defending being either compromise (take hit defended, drop afterwards) or selfish, and row being anything (selfish, selfless, or compromise all have merit). Prefer that either defend or row are selfish, though.

And no evade tanking is fair. That sounds oxymoronic and unbalanced.

 

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Row: Front Row only. Cover is about forcing the enemy to pay attention to the tank, not the frail wizard. If the tank is hiding in the back row, they can't force the foe's attention on them.

Image: Tank Covers, but they take the hit, and Image is immediately dropped. Big, obvious sign to any player that Image & Cover doesn't work, whereas simply disabling Cover when under Image isn't as obvious.

Defend: Either selfless or compromise. Actually interested in seeing how compromise turns out.

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Posted (edited)

7 hours ago, praetarius5018 said:

Row: alternatively, you can only cover for people in the same row - switching rows cost a turn, yes?

If we must have some version of back row covering, I like this suggestion. My primary issue with covering from the back is that it makes zero sense for you to be *behind* someone but still be quick enough to jump in *front* of them to cover. That feels a lot like having your cake and eating it too. So perhaps if you're in the back but can only guard people in the back, that's not quite so bad in my head. 

I think it's better to have either front row only cover, or cover forcing you into the front. The point about Spears is noted, but I honestly don't think it's a problem, since those characters (Edgar and Mog) can just equip swords or rods if they don't want to auto cover. The only issue is a back row dragoon Edgar constantly moving to the front, but that doesn't seem like an issue to me; the only reason you'd put him in the back is extra defense, but he's also spending half the battle in the air, so it's not a huge nerf to his defenses. 

Of note, my real concern is Row. It sounds like we've got Image sorted, but I have no real strong opinions on Defend; I think it should drop, but I don't really mind how that goes about happening/ when during the hit it happens. Spending turn after turn to have your tank tank hits better is... really no diffrent then Celes spending turn after turn Runicing. It's a wash. 

Edited by artemi
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It's not just Dragoons, it's magic/support Edgar and dancing Mog.  I feel like the entire reason for putting cover on spears is so they can cover from the back.  If you need an excuse, just say the long spear allows them to reach in front of an ally to deflect the attacker hit towards them.  

Totally separate thought coming from this conversation: is it possible to only cover adjacent allies, i.e, position 1, 2 cannot cover position 4, and you can't cross the screen to cover during, for example, the tentacles fight?  If we're really worried about covering from back row to front row, these should be equivalent concerns.

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Dancing Mog can go in the front row. He's got the bulk & HP. Same with mag Edgar, provided he's even bothering with a spear.

Covering adjacent allies would make sense in something like Final fantasy tactics, but not in FFVI.

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I don't think Covering only adjacent allies has much merit, but it's a fair point about only covering allies on the same side of a side attack. I don't think it's worth the effort though, at least not right now.

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The problem with forcing you to be in the front row to cover, is that just about every Cover-based build in the game benefits from being in the back row. There's no reason to put Cyan in the front row when Dragon/Eclipse are back row abilities. Dragoons want to be in the back row. Shock Celes wants to be in the back row. Chakra Sabin wants to be in the back row. Mantodea/Tumbleweed Gau wants to be in the back row. The only character it really makes sense for is Umaro. Maybe Shadow.

Honestly, I don't see the Cover change to be ground breaking enough to warrant making it less powerful. I obviously haven't played 1.9 to try it out yet, but I just don't see it being that big of a deal in the late-game. Physical attacks are rarely a concern when you have stuff like Fenrir, Golem, and Shield. Even if you implemented a way to cover magic-based attacks, it'd probably still do nothing vs. the real threats which are party-wide attacks like Quasar and S. Cross.

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On 10/8/2017 at 11:24 PM, Reiker said:

The problem with forcing you to be in the front row to cover, is that just about every Cover-based build in the game benefits from being in the back row. There's no reason to put Cyan in the front row when Dragon/Eclipse are back row abilities. Dragoons want to be in the back row. Shock Celes wants to be in the back row. Chakra Sabin wants to be in the back row. Mantodea/Tumbleweed Gau wants to be in the back row. The only character it really makes sense for is Umaro. Maybe Shadow.

Honestly, I don't see the Cover change to be ground breaking enough to warrant making it less powerful. I obviously haven't played 1.9 to try it out yet, but I just don't see it being that big of a deal in the late-game. Physical attacks are rarely a concern when you have stuff like Fenrir, Golem, and Shield. Even if you implemented a way to cover magic-based attacks, it'd probably still do nothing vs. the real threats which are party-wide attacks like Quasar and S. Cross.

Cover Spear isn't made for Dragoon Edgar. It was made for Unicorn Edgar. Likewise, Mogoon shouldn't be Covering. Instead, you'd want to use Maduin Mog for Cover/Counter shenanigans. Rods are far more powerful than spears could ever hope to be for counterattacks, so this works out very well in Mog's favor. Maduin Mog also has Earth Blues & Forest Suite to use for healing/damage.

Phantom Celes does not want to be in the back row. She wants to be in the front row, smacking stuff upside the head with Illumina. Crusader Celes wants to be back row, certainly, but Crusader Celes also doesn't even exist until basically the end of the game. Why concern ourselves with Crusader Celes?

Kirin Cyan can survive the front row. In fact, he probably doesn't even care at all. Dragon & Eclipse may be back-row friendly, but the front row does strengthen his Flurry & counterattacks.

A Unicorn/Carbunkl Terra is another stamina build you didn't mention. Is all of her stuff back row based? Sure. But she's also so bulky that she doesn't mind being in the front row, taking hits for her allies.

Kirin Locke wants to be in the front row, swinging Omega and/or Valiance. He's also plenty tanky to be running Cover.

Gau is a terrible choice to be running Cover. Therefore, stam Gau wanting the back row is a moot point.

The only character I'm going to give you is stam Sabin. My counterpoint, though, is that hyb Sabin exists. Hyb Sabin, while not the best Cover candidate, can do so. He's also got some actual HP, unlike stam Sabin (for most of the game), and he benefits from the front row for his Blitz / claw attacks.

So, no, not every Cover builds wants to be in the back row. Quite a few of them want to be in the front row (Celes, Edgar, Locke); some of them are too bulky to really care one way or the other (Terra, Cyan); and some of those you mentioned shouldn't have even entered into the discussion (Gau).

Also, Covering magic attacks means you can have your 2k HP tank Cover Holy/Flare. That can be a useful means to prevent character death.

I will grant that there are an awful lot of ways to block physical attacks. Image, Golem, Safe/Shield, Guard Rings, etc. Heck, as is, I've long felt that Safe/Shield are overshadowed by Image/Golem and the existence of Guard Rings/Death Ward. Golem is at least being nerfed for 1.9. Though I'm still advocating for Golem to simply become an AoE Safe (Cover is the new Golem anyways), and for Image to be nerfed somehow.

Oh, and don't feel bad about not playing 1.9. 1.9 hasn't come out yet. So few of us have actually played around with Cover.

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I don't see Cover alone being good enough to make Unicorn Edgar a thing. It's basically a nice little bonus that makes Stamina builds more relevant, but it's A) unreliable and B) does nothing against magic attacks which are most of the time the main threat you face in BNW. You are not going to build entirely around something that insignificant, especially with how powerful the alternative is (Dragoon Edgar). I haven't been insane enough to build Unicorn Edgar so maybe it's some secret OP but like, what does he even do... wait around to defibrilate people?

I mentioned the Dragoon builds because spears will have innate Cover. They'll be taking some Cover hits. But not something you build towards. Edgar and Mog are not primary Cover candidates.

I mentioned Shock Celes because that's the ideal build to utilize Cover with. Yeah it comes late-game but... that's where the hard bosses are and it's the only viable time to do a Stamina build. You can build with Phantom and have access to Shock for the entire WoR, and just spam out MP Free mini-Ultimas for half the game, and EL reset to Crusader to get a Speed boost once you can take out White Dragon. Definitely a viable way to utilize Celes, if not the best way. If you wanna whack things with Illumina (which actually comes later than Phantom-Shock and not that earlier than Crusader-Shock) why not just go Ramuh/Siren and forget about Cover completely?

"Kirin Cyan can survive the front row" kinda misses the point I'm making. Cover isn't so OP as to require the guy to take front row damage for no reason.

Unicorn Terra - See Unicorn Edgar. Are you really going to do a tank build on Terra just so she can Cover some occasional physical hits when the alternative is Ultima spam?

Kirin Locke I honestly didn't really think of, I usually just pump his Vigor and trade Omega Weapon for a Mirage Vest. What kind of damage does Valiance do without the Vigor ELs? I might try out this build for 1.9. This is also kinda late-game though and will require an EL-reset.

Dunno how Gau is a terrible choice for Cover. Dude has a legitimate Stray build and can get kinda tanky with the right equipment. I don't know what I'm missing here.

And man, a 2k HP tank? What luxury, I think the highest max HP I've seen in BNW is like 1800, maybe. What level are you finishing the game at normally? This isn't a dig or anything... let me load up my 1.8.6 save at Kefka to see what I'm at... Terra at 1725 and Sabin at 1720. Everyone else is between 1152 (Gogo) and 1680 (Shadow).

Edited by Reiker
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Reiker, might I add that you forget that a Cover tank has a chance to counterattack any attack they Cover. This is a nice boon to Cover tank with strong counterattacks such as Phantom Celes, Kirin Locke, Kirin Cyan, Maduin Rod Mog, and Umaro. This is a big thing you're missing with Celes/Cyan as Cover tanks. (This is a nice boon even if counterattacks had remained as a straight percentage. 1.9 is also having the counterattack rate key off stamina, so this is a further bonus to Cover/Counter tanking).

Also going to mention that 1.9 is giving Celes (& Terra) some much better filler WoR weapons to use while waiting for Illumina. So fighter Celes ain't just "Shock until Illumina comes around." She can actually legit hit things for proper damage now. Leo's Crest gives both Cover & Counter, so Phantom, while sacrificing a little raw damage, also gives her more opportunity to counterfish while Covering her allies. If you complain that that's unreliable, I retort that Ramuh Celes isn't exactly doing huge amounts of extra damage over Phantom. Even endgame, it comes out to, what, 500 damage per Illumina swing? Hardly much. You can argue that that little bit adds up during a boss fight, but extra counterattacks will also swing things in Phantom's favor. Extra Cover/Counter will also swing things in Phantom's favor for randoms. That's alongside the extra status defense & improved Shock. Crusader Celes might be fine with Cover, but her counters are weaker than Phantom Celes. And, again, she's basically an endgame build: I'm argue against balancing Cover because of an endgame only build, especially when Celes has another stamina build that's using both Cover & Counter now.

You also asked about 2k HP tanks. My answer is: Kirin Locke. IIRC, he had 2.3k HP with a Phoenix equip at around lvl. 30. Had some 23 ELs of Kirin, with some Phoenix. No Ramuh or Ifrit, just raw HP. Dual-wielded Omega & Valiance for 4.5 - 5k damage come endgame. Could single wield Valiance too, abusing "more damage with HP loss" on a character with as much / more bulk than stam Cyan. As for Cover Kirin Locke, Kirin Locke has every reason to equip the Hero Ring: HP+ for tanking, MP+ and mag+ for healings, and vig+ for Valiance. By endgame, I think Kirin Locke may be a better party tank than stam Cyan. (If you want other 2k HP tanks, stam Cyan should reach 2k HP by endgame. Sabin's no tank, but I've got Golem Sabin to 2.5k HP with some Terrato ELs, even at normal endgame levels).

Also, you misread my Terra. I mentioned a Unicorn/Carbunkl build. Carbunkl's really the important esper for a "mag" Terra. Maduin is a new player trap. Rather than mag, Terra needs enough MP to use tier 3 elementals & Ultima. Which, thanks to MP+50%, Gem Box, Ragnarok ELs, and Morph + boss weaknesses, really isn't that many ELs. You can easily get away with 2-3 Carbunkl for the WoB, and anywhere from 5-8 for the WoR (with a Ragnarok). All the rest can go to Unicorn. Terra's also got the Phoenix equip for even more HP. Even if you did take Maduin ELs, I can tell you from experience that a Unicorn / Carbunkl / Maduin set-up on Terra is plenty bulky to eat hits for the team. If we're talking "Cover magic attacks," this Terra can easily equip Force/Minerva to tank tier 3 elementals, plus the Phoenix equip to help out with Holy/Flare tanking. (And in all this, there's also Tritoch terra with Omega to consider).

I shot down Gau as a Cover tank b/c he lacks raw HP & defense. Characters Cover with only half their evasion, so blink tanks like Shadow & Gau may not turn out so well. Hurts Sabin & Locke too, but they've got HP (and shields, for Locke).

I will grant that Unicorn Edgar probably won't beat the ole' traditional Golem/Palidor vig Edgar. Then again, vig Edgar is a really, really high standard to live up to, for any character in this mod. IMO, even mag Edgar has a hard time comparing to Golem/Palidor Edgar. Something you did miss, though, is that Unicorn Edgar also increases counterattack rates. So Unicorn Edgar can Cover/Counter while two-handing a spear (like the obscenely powerful HP+50% Gungnir). I haven't played Unicorn Edgar, so iunno for certain, but for a grounded Tools Edgar, the extra counterattacks should help moderate the dps loss from not building vig/spd. Also should mention that this will be Edgar's best build for Golem, a summon that will be severely nerfed come 1.9. (Defense dropped from 192 down to 128).

Edited by thzfunnymzn
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I didn't mention Counter much because I feel like there's some anti-synergy between Cover and Counter, for the same reasons I listed for the back row stuff. High stamina builds usually aren't good physical attackers, with the exception of Kirin Locke w/ Omega Weapon I guess, or possibly Phantom Shadow. The first time I built Shock Celes I gave her the Omega Weapon, but found I'd rarely choose Fight when Shock did nearly the same amount of damage and hit everything. The extra counters are nice, but it's inconsistent and usually kinda irrelevant so in my second playthrough I decided the Omega Weapon was more useful as a Mirage Vest and I just gave her some stat-increasing weapon.

Does an extra 10-20 Vigor really result in just an extra 500 damage at end game? I don't know the formulas so I'm not sure but in my experience I feel like Vigor has a more significant impact than that.

I definitely want to experiment with this stuff though so it looks like I'm going to be doing Kirin Locke and Phantom Celes in my 1.9 playthrough to see how they compare to the builds I normally do.

I don't know what changes were made to swords outside of "Reworked & rebalanced swords to offer more (and better) choices for vigor-built characters" so I can't really comment on that.

Maduin is a newb trap? You need Carbunkl ELs? I don't know man, I've never had to boost Terra's MP. She gets the Gem Box. Ultima's only 50 MP; everything else is significantly less. Terra has like, the least troubles with MP out of anyone.

Cover halves evasion? Is that a Vanilla thing, or a BNW thing? If it's new with this patch, then I definitely don't like it. It limits what you can do with Cover for no real reason, and honestly doesn't make any sense. You're literally blocking an attack on someone else, how would that hurt your chance to block?

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Cover and Counter were both tied to stamina as a way of introducing synergy between Vigor and Stamina, specifically for builds that are high in both (i.e. Phantom Celes).

RE: Swords, it's mostly the store-bought ones that are being changed to offer better early-WoR choices. The Rune Edge is the new Crystal and the Falchion is dual-wieldable.

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thzfunnyman, you make some good points.  Many cover builds couple with counter (Leo's Crest) and/or have non-relic counter capability (Cyan's katanas, Locke/Shadow with Ninja Mask), so you can legitimately argue that they should be in the front.

However, these traits are not the case for spears.  Firstly, Edgar and Mog cannot counter without using up a relic slot.  Second, looking at each of the other cover-likely characters, Celes' blade will often have a proc, Cyan is always 2-handed, and Locke/Shadow are likely dual-wielding, so the counter will be pretty powerful.  Spears are primarily equipped for dragooning (no shield from back row, possibly in the air a fair bit of the time) or the HP boost (with shield), so the counters will be non-existent or not be as strong (while using up a relic slot).  Thus, if spears are given inherent cover, it makes much more sense for them to be able to cover from the back row (only vigor Edgar might equip a spear in the front; dancing Mog should be in the back since all of his dance steps ignore row, the limited utility of cover is hardly a reason to move him up).  

So the compromise seems to be that cover relics are front row only, while spears can cover from the back row (if this can be coded, of course).  That or take away the inherent cover on spears since they already have a 'bonus' trait with the HP boost.

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