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Vanilla defensive techniques are… well… not perfect 🙂 So in the latest (2.6) Ghost Mode mod version I’ve changed a lot how they work. Important note: latest mod version (4.0) uses different dodge mechanic!
First of all, I’ve changed the very short in-game description of the skill to show more information:
Wolf School defensive techniques: parry, counter, dodge. Successful countering grants additional 25% chance to critical hit. Parry and counter success depends on attack and enemy type: partial parry reduces damage taken by 50% and prevents bleeding, partial counter additionally prevents all negative effects and allows to deal damage in return. Successful parry/counter reduces damage taken to zero. Rolling allows to dodge arrows and to avoid knockdown and stagger effects. Dodge success depends on attack type, attacker distance and dodge direction (angle distance). Partially successful dodge reduces damage taken just partially.
You can already see the main difference: countering is now actually worth the trouble.
The related dodge improvement skill—Fleet Footed—was also changed:
Each skill point increases the safe angle distance while dodging by 10 degrees.
Now let’s take a deeper look into how this new-old dodge works.
Red “A” is the attacker. Green “P” is the player. Green “D” is dodge direction. Symbol “α” denotes the angle distance between attack direction and dodge (or roll) direction. Gray lines mark the safe angle distance: if an actual angle distance is less than the safe angle distance, dodging is considered successful.
So, the bigger safe angle distance is—the easier it is to dodge an attack.
Default safe angle distance for regular attacks and attackers equals to ± 120 °. If an attacker is huge (like giant or cyclop), safe distance is lowered to ±90°. And for superheavy/area of effect attacks the distance equals to ±30°.
There also is a difference between how dodge and roll work: those superheavy/area of effect attacks not only have the smallest safe angle distance, but also require you to roll them—dodging will not help. Furthermore, rolling grants the immunity to all stagger and knockdown effect the attack might have, so it’s important to learn to recognize different attack types and roll away from the most dangerous ones.
If dodging/rolling is successful, all the damage is reduced to zero and no debuffs an attack might have are applied. But if you’re out of “the safe zone”, i.e. an actual angle distance is bigger than the safe angle distance, debuffs will still be there and the damage will be reduced based on how deep you’re inside “the danger zone”—the closer you are to the safe angle distance, the bigger damage reduction you’ll get.
As for superheavy/area of effect attacks , if you’re not rolling or out of “the safe zone”, you’ll get the full damage. And if you’re rolling inside “the safe zone”, damage reduction depends on how big the attack radius is and how far you are from the attacker—if you’re out of the attack radius, you will get zero damage, and if you’re inside it, the further you are from the attacker, the bigger damage reduction you’ll get.
Fleet Footed increase to safe angle distance means that your “safe zone” will get bigger. Also, newly introduced light armor set bonus—plus 10 degrees to safe angle distance, means the same. With 5 levels in Fleet Footed and in full set of light armor you’ll get ± 180 ° safe distance for regular attacks and attackers, meaning that you can dodge in any direction and you won’t get hit as long as you time your dodges right.
Dodging success is calculated at the moment when an attack connects with the player. If the player is in dodge/roll animation at this exact moment—it will trigger dodge test. But there are certain types of heavy attack—collision attacks—that can’t be dodged, because they have no radius at all. Giant weapon collision, griffin wing hit, cyclop charge—are all the examples of such attacks. And if those attacks connect with the target—they hit, no dodging is possible.
This brings us to the second big change in how defense techniques work with the mod—parrying and countering is now available for all attack types (except knockdown attacks, like griffin landing).
Parrying and countering of light attacks are no different than in vanilla, except that both now have stamina cost associated with them: 10 for parry, 15 for counter. This type of parry/counter is considered a successful parry/counter.
All the other attacks (heavy and superheavy) can also be parried and countered. Parrying/countering such an attack will still get you damaged, so it is considered a partial parry/counter. Also, heavy and super heavy attacks have 2x and 3x stamina cost multiplier respectively.
Both partial parry and counter reduce the damage taken by 50%. This number can be increased by the new Bear Set minor bonus, which grants 5% of additional damage reduction to partial parries and counters per piece, resulting in 80% of damage reduction with the full set equipped.
Partial parries get the player staggered (say hello to that “not so useful” Czart mutagen) and deny bleeding effect from an attack. All the other effects are applied normally.
Partial counter denies all the effects from an attack and allows to deal damage in return with +25% bonus to critical hit chance. Investing in Counterattack skill will grant you 100% critical chance and +100% attack power (at the max level).
Countering works different for humans and monsters: with monsters you attack immediately with what is called a “sidestep slash” short range attack, and with humans you either bash or kick, staggering them and leaving them vulnerable for a follow-up attack. With the mod you now perform “sidestep slash” counterattack for two-handed humans also: there’s a strange bug with them, leading to bash/kick rarely connecting with the target and thus wasting the counter.
Note that knockdown bonus from Counterattack skill only applies to humans (same as vanilla, enabling it for monsters actually makes countering less effective).
Major Grandmaster Bear set bonus adds stagger effect to parrying, meaning that an attacking enemy will be staggered if you parry the attack.
The change to Adrenaline Burst perk, introduced in the new mod version, is also related to defense techniques changes and it now allows to pay melee action stamina cost with adrenaline, meaning that you can still counter and parry with zero stamina if you have enough adrenaline points left.
So, as you can see, the system is still based on vanilla principles, but there are a lot of tweaks and new synergies that make it different enough.
PS Here’s a video of me testing the new parry/counter system with a bunch of low-level drowners. Have fun!