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Can Lightning Chain ever be balanced in PvP?

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  • Class: {{esusrinfo_class379995}}
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    Can Lightning Chain ever be balanced in PvP?

    In my eyes, Lightning Chain is one of the worst things to ever happen to modern PvP. It all but embodies the concept of skilled gameplay being overruled by things a person owns (a concept which has only been a growing plague lately), covering not only the ability to start combos, but also the ability to do damage.

    As a reminder, Lightning Chain is a force passive that charges every second you aren't attacking or being attacked - this is not a difficult condition to achieve, since you can just run around the arena for a few seconds waiting on this. Once it's fully charged, hitting an enemy with a command or active will launch the Lightning Chain, which is homing, has some initial hitstun, and does damage that isn't to be ignored.

    Lightning Chain having hitstun is a gigantic problem, because it makes the neutral game of anyone who has it that much better compared to their opponent. Lightning Chain's hitstun had to be nerfed, and it's still a game changer. It's a lot more difficult to get a hit on an opponent that will lead to you starting a combo than it is to hit your opponent with anything, but Lightning Chain breaks this barrier down tremendously.

    Did you trade hits with your opponent, who has Lightning Chain? That extra bit of hitstun from the Chain usually means they'll win the trade and combo you. Did your opponent graze you with a swing while you were airborne? Lightning Chain's going to juggle you momentarily, and that's probably enough to provide enough time for your opponent to react to grazing you and start a combo.

    Even if the opponent with Lightning Chain is only getting grazing hits rather than combos, Lightning Chain is STILL doing substantial work due to the damage it deals. Rare-grade Lightning Chain deals 1147.5% hybrid damage if all of it hits - this is on par with or above the damage a lot of Tenacity special actives do. The Elite and Unique versions of Lightning Chain only get more ludicrous, doing % damage to contest many Strength and some Bravery skills (respectively)... for zero MP cost, for simply getting a glancing blow. This is an absurd reward for connecting with something that might not even start a combo. The only balancing point is that the target will get some 30-40 MP from being hit, alongside some awakening... but that's not much compensation when you're getting hit by damage on special active tiers, that might also lead to combos that were otherwise impossible without Lightning Chain involved.

    The way I see it, Lightning Chain's current state in PvP is absolutely horrific. I believe it does far too much in both its aspects. Even if it didn't have hitstun, the damage Chain does (especially at higher rarities) is ridiculous; if it had lower damage but kept its hitstun, it would still be an absolute menace in the neutral game that would force any opponent to have to play twice as cautiously so they don't lose to being grazed by anything.

    Right now, I don't think Lightning Chain can be made both interesting and competitive in PvP without completely revamping it and making it something entirely different from what it is right now (e.g. it could be a single hit proc effect with no hitstun, apply instantly on hit, and do lower damage). If Lightning Chain didn't get significant changes to it to make it more competitive... I find myself disgusted by the fact that I can say this, but I genuinely think deleting Lightning Chain entirely would be a net positive for the health of the game's PvP.

    But, it's possible that there's other alternatives to this I'm not seeing, or adjustments that could tune Chain to be more balanced without completely changing it, so I'd like to hear what everyone else thinks.

    Do you think Lightning Chain is balanced as it stands? If not, what would you change - its hitstun, its damage, both...? If you think modifying both the hitstun and damage still couldn't make Lightning Chain competitive, do you think it would be better to change its mechanics, or delete it outright?
    Lightning Chain is fine as it is.
    It needs less/no hitstun on it.
    It should deal less damage.
    It needs less damage AND less hitstun.
    Lightning Chain needs to be redesigned.
    Lightning Chain should be removed from the game.
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  • Class: {{esusrinfo_class380316}}
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    I think the damage is fine. Its not a major game changer and doesn't decide matches the same way catches do. If Lightning Chain's damage is deciding matches, then you've probably made a few mistakes here and there that adds up. However, the hitstun fundamentally changes a character's ability to play neutral. Lightning Chain enables the neutral game state to be played in a different way that is either unviable or straight up impossible for some characters. At it's most extreme point in the spectrum, you're playing a different character entirely. In teams, its even worse as the ricochet on Lightning Chain is able to catch the other teammate from offscreen because of the hitstun and allow your partner to scoop up the nearly free catch. The hitstun needs to be deleted entirely.
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    • Class: {{esusrinfo_class380731}}
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      The OP is 100% correct when he says that the concept of gear and other exclusive items overruling skilled gameplay has been growing like the plague. KOG definitely seems to be embracing the concept with open arms and lightning chain is one of the worst offenders. However, I do not think it is the single absolute worst offender at the moment.

      Originally posted by Treasure-solace- View Post
      However, the hitstun fundamentally changes a character's ability to play neutral. Lightning Chain enables the neutral game state to be played in a different way that is either unviable or straight up impossible for some characters. At it's most extreme point in the spectrum, you're playing a different character entirely.
      This comment sums up not just lightning chain, but also the most dominant and overbearing issue with PvP at the moment. Right now, arena is actually unplayable due to the prevalence of items that fundamentally change a character's ability to play the game. Lightning chain is probably the second or third biggest offender of this, but the item that takes the cake for first place is the Elrianode Bottom Piece's unnormalized +8-12% party attack speed buff.

      Characters' play styles and viability are largely defined by their frame data, and attack speed is a stat which literally alters your character's frame data. Attack speed is capped out at 30%, but the Elrianode Bottom Piece's buff allows characters to exceed this cap by over +10%. Lightning chain is a problem because it allows characters to play neutral in ways that would otherwise be impossible, to such an extent that you might as well be playing a completely different character. The unnormalized attack speed buff from Elrianode Bottoms takes this to a whole new level. Elrianode attack speed buff alters a character's frame data so drastically that it is equivalent to playing an entirely different character, and this is the case in every instance of its use, without exception. Dangerous and risky options suddenly become safe, characters whose normals do not combo into each other under normal circumstances suddenly start linking together seamlessly, characters who are not normally able to infinite suddenly gain the ability to do so, and, in regards to this thread, characters do not have to pay as much respect to stray hit stun from effects like lightning chain.

      If lightning chain should be removed for the reasons mentioned in this thread, then the unnormalized party attack speed buff from Elrianode Bottom Pieces should also be removed along with it.


      • Class: {{esusrinfo_class380744}}
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        Originally posted by Treasure-solace- View Post
        I think the damage is fine. Its not a major game changer and doesn't decide matches the same way catches do. If Lightning Chain's damage is deciding matches, then you've probably made a few mistakes here and there that adds up.
        I regularly get hit with 8, 9k+ ticks of lightning chain in upper SSS and star and I have 29% red and +8 armors :/ getting 30, 40, 50k taken off by someone grazing you that already has a gear advantage over you is an enormous game changer. It's absolutely not negligible and it's silly to place on blame on the one getting hit as if trading glancing blows is unrealistic. VSing someone with +11 or with +10 armors gives such a huge advantage to the better geared player as the undergeared one is already forced to mana break more and play a lot more defensively while the other can just tank hits and have a huge resource lead. Giving them that large amount of free damage from what is basically a failed catch really skews an already unfair matchup and worsens arena as a whole, exacerbating the differences between cashers and f2p.
        The hitstun is definitely nonsense tho, I agree with everyone on that.
        Last edited by Priore-solace-; 01-03-2019, 10:16 PM.


        • Class: {{esusrinfo_class382292}}
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          Hmm... as an added question; What are the thoughts if Lightning Chain became like Haunting Spirit (A Force Active) instead of a Force Passive -- alongside having the cooldown reworked to replace the charging passive naturally;
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          • Abeyll-solace-
            Abeyll-solace- commented
            Editing a comment
            Aviator, I don't mean to rely "deny" your comment but, Lightning chain has literally no relevance at all in PvE, so it'll not change anything about it.

          • AVIATOR22-solace-
            AVIATOR22-solace- commented
            Editing a comment
            me reading a thread under the "PVP discussion" was a pure accident just because the last comment was made by a GM.
            me deciding to comment ((that was my first input on anything since i started playing the game 2 years ago)) was out of rage
            feeling the waste of time and effort after getting anything make me so reluctant aiming for anything knowing that i will regret it later --- it is more about the concept of instability -- no matter how effective it is in PVE(to me it matters) -- it is what it is and it harms no one in dungeons
            last thought >> in case the agreed upon change will affect the PVE as well >> the topic should be moved to general discussion instead of PVP discussions for further input because not many people care to check the PVP section

          • GM Rush
            GM Rush commented
            Editing a comment
            Hey Aviator o/,

            I first and foremost want to apologize for making you post out of rage (it wasn't the intention) but I wish to clarify that this isn't a suggested change I'm implementing/or pitching to implement but trying to figure out in more detail where the power in Lightning Chain lies (by suggesting slight tweaks and seeing what discussion comes from it).

            As a hardcore PvE player myself, I, of course, am not forgetting about the PvE aspect - but purely looking to create discussion from the standpoint if the fact its "a Passive" has strong value to the strength of Lightning Chain (in terms of PvP) or whether it's the homing hitstun that was led to be the problem. This can lead us to better understand the problem and thus better identify a solution.
        • Class: {{esusrinfo_class383915}}
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          lightning chain need to have it's hitstun removed completely. It's bring nothing competitive into pvp and promoting spam attack just to get it proc and get easy catch, which is not what people came to this game for.


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