Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Weapon Tuning: The Nova Knife

If only the Nova Knife looked this epic 'in game'..

In the first of our series looking at weapons, we take a look at a weapon sorely needing tuning: The Nova Knife. First off, we agree with the strategy here. A weapon like the Nova Knife must be carefully tuned. If not, we run into overpowering them like Replication era Swarm Launchers [Oh, the horror..] or reducing the game to Jedi Light Saber 514 like MAG was reduced to. The Nova Knife is an extremely situational weapon and users must understand this. Now if youre the kind of elite level sneaky player that can run around cloaked and unseen should you be rewarded with nova knife kills? We say yes. But not the automatic one hit kill variety we see in games like BF3. Dust is a much deeper game where the math must also add up. For a one hit kill the damage must exceed the targets total health, and the nova knife must adhere to these same rules. The first thing we must accept, is that while user skill will never be equal, the nova knife is not even a close range tool. It is essentially a wetwork style weapon where the user must make physical contact. As such, it will always be at a disadvantage when facing soldiers with guns. Still, it currently has none of the lethality its description suggests.

So its most effective range is the zero meter range around the target. The right player can still use this to his advantage if they are skilled enough. Next we look at the most important thing, the damage. 160,180 and 195 base damage respectively for the Tier 1,2 and 3 nova knives. At first glance it seems a little low for a weapon that has to be charged to use. Weaponry adds modifiers to its damage, slightly buffing it. Its real advantage, however is the HTH Combat skill. This skill has the highest damage modifier in the game [+50% at level five] and the level five skill only costs 310,000 skill points. The nova knife proficiency skill also adds 15% damage at level 5. So a fully fitted nova knife can do 341.25 damage per swipe. We think thats fine for frontal damage, but shouldnt it do more damage when someone is attacked from behind? We think so. If you doubled the damage from behind the 682.5 damage would kill anything but highly armored heavies from behind, and that seems about right. Perhaps we could even see a cool animation when the nova knife performs a one hit kill from behind. We appreciate the importance of not turning Dust 514 into a game where bringing a nova knife to a gunfight is rewarded, but when the weapon is used as intended there should be benefits.

Since the nova knife has to be equipped for use, we think its a travesty that users dont have the option to use it uncharged. R3 should give users the ability for a melee version of the nova knife and have half the damage added to the base melee total of 135. We're talking about +80, +90 and +97.5 damage [232.5 at max] which isnt game breaking at all. Melee hits actually take skill and no one could complain about being killed by a point blank weapon much less effective than the shotgun or SMG.

*Note: At second glance, the logic behind giving all dropsuits the same melee damage seems a little off. A better system might have scouts do 65, assaults and logis 95 and Heavies 135. It just seems a bit more accurate.*

Lastly we would like to see the nova knife lower the scan profile of the user. Its a stealth weapon and it should certainly have the benefits of one. As always, we'll continue to attempt to help promote and publish ideas that help establish, enhance and grow the Dust 514 community as much as we can. Have any ideas that need sharing? Would you like to join our staff as a writer? Be sure to contact us at magww@live.com

27 comments:

  1. nova knifes attack twice if charged. as in: you stab with both knives. so the damage numbers you're working with are actually doubled.

    also, it CAN be used uncharged, but uncharged it will only attack once.

    also, hand to hand skill most likely does not effect the nova knives, as it specifically states "basic" melee damage.


    so yah... have you even equipped one?

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    1. we used it during closed beta, found it to be ineffective [especially because it was easy to pass through targets when behind them] and referred to the damage displayed in the marketplace. if the damage is for one strike CCP would do well to clarify better. people depend on the marketplace displaying 100% accurate information. when it doesnt it only miseducates the fanbase. when we say uncharged we mean a melee [or R3 option] on the nova knife.

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    2. melee option makes sense its already equipped

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    3. yet you're suggesting balance changes based on inaccurate information (pretty dramatically so.)

      sure, bad on CCP for inaccurate info panels, but petitioning for balance tweaks when you don't understand where the balance is actually at now, is a great way to break a game.

      i implore you to try again. i'm not saying nova knives are GOOD, but when you consider their "real" damage is effectively doubled, you may significantly re-evaluate your suggestions.

      que sync with a friend or fellow contributor until you end up on opposite teams if you have to. agree to meet at whatever random point and stab him. you'll notice it's dramatically more damage than your estimates.

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    4. we'll agree that it is probably the best way to track it, but this is Dust where the numbers mean everything. Why? Because we spend ISK and SP based on them. The marketplace should be 100% accurate. We shouldnt have to test the damage for anything. The game is in a pretty sad state when we need to double check marketplace data to make sure its accurate.

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    5. absolutely, NOT saying it's ok for the market info to be wrong.

      just saying that when the market info IS so wrong, you balance around the actual stats if possible, not the wrong info.

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    6. problem is how do u get the right info? retest everything in the game? no one has that much free time. will defend dustmercs here. CCP has no business putting wrong info in mkt.

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  2. had no clue all suits did same melee dmg. they need to change that

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  3. good brkdwn. agree with this.

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  4. Hello, this is Maken Tosch from DUST 514. In regards to your statement of the hand to hand combat skill book giving bonuses to the knife, have you confirmed with CCP that the skill book affects the nova knife in addition to the melee? The big problem I see here with your blog is that you are treating the knife as a melee weapon when the current system treats it as a side arm weapon while the hand to hand combat skill has a description stating that it effects the melee.

    Of course, I would like to see the hand to hand skill book affect the knife as well since technically you are using your hands in a melee fashion to strike down your foes.

    The next big issue I see here is that the standard melee attack (my fists) is more damaging than my plasma charged knife which I do find annoying. My fist should never be able to one hit kill anyone even against a scout.

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    1. thank you for bringing this up. we assumed HTH combat was a bonus to the knife but we know how assumptions can go. obviously we think it should be a modifier and so should attacks from behind. we have asked the devs on twitter about the HTH skill bonus and hopefully they will answer soon. as you can see we support lowering the melee damage for the scouts, logi and assault.

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  5. If my fully skilled Heavy punches a scout in the face, i want to be able to one hit him lol (heavies punch slowed too)

    just make the nova knives ignore shields.

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    1. "just make the nova knives ignore shields"

      Do want!

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    2. no way. nothing should ignore shields.

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    3. I did die once to a punch from heavy. It was actually pretty impressive to see this massive fist come right at my screen (my face) and then just go down.

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  6. "Perhaps we could even see a cool animation when the nova knife performs a one hit kill from behind."

    No no no no no no no no. No!

    Look I don't know enough about the knife to comment about it, but lunging melee animations and almost always super buggy. In BF3, I've had trouble taking people's dogtags because the game didn't feel like doing the animation.

    Look at any CoD (especially the Treyarch ones for some odd reason), the knife somethings outright refuses to work.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTxKhLXVuag

    It should be like when you don't take dogtags in BF3 or MAG. It worked perfectly.

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    1. ....animations is* almost....

      ...the knife sometimes** outright....

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  7. I actually prefer it without an animation. Knives that "Lock on" are kind of meh in shooters that have them. Sure, it's easier to miss both swipes if there's no animation, but in games like BF3 and KZ3 the animation takes up far too much time, only really serving to be a "LOLOLOL I JUST KNIFED YOU" *Immediately gets shot by the dude's buddies*

    The lack of animation makes it easier to chain targets, as a Nova Knifer usually is required to get in fast or not at all.

    Your statement about it being a weapon design around stealth isn't entirely correct either. Misdirection is helpful, but with enough practice you can close the distance even when the person is looking directly at you and trying to shoot you. While the Nova Knife is a weapon that rewards practice and player skill more than any other so far in Dust, I'm reluctant to say it needs any buff at all, aside from the ability to sprint while being charged (Which we're getting soon)

    Actually, that's not true. I'd personally reduce the charge time on the standard version a little bit. 1.5s is a bit long and makes them a bit unwieldly compared to the higher tiers, and makes it much more situational, and highly impractical to attack groups at once. The prototype knives can easily chain kills from a group of people close together.

    In most cases, the N-Knife is an instant kill if you can hit someone with both swipes. Usually only a heavy can survive. Failing that, you can always quickly hit R3 to do more damage than a single swipe would if you trained up hand to hand, but faster than charging in most cases. Charged knives will usually do more than the standard melee unless the person has melee mods equipped (They affect the knives when you use r3 but not the charge apparently... Though testing of this was inconclusive)

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  8. how do you get one i'm new to the game?

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