Knight Writer

The Dusk Knight is the second-to-last hero in Update 1 of my Invade the Ruins map project.  She’s a tough tank character who deals damage through counterattacks but is a little dull to play.   I’m looking to give her a few more attacks to choose from.  Here are her current skills:

  • Stinging Blades: Hits enemies surrounding her and taunts them to hit her.  Her rank 6 attack spell synergizes with her other abilities, which benefit from her taking damage.
  • Astral Jaunt: Blinks a short distance and heals her in the process.  Allows for strategic maneuvering but I need more incentive for players to rank it up.
  • Razormail: Increases her passive armor and reflects a portion of damage dealt to her back at the attacker.  An appealing 6 rank ability but one that isn’t interactive!
  • Raven Reversal: Damages enemy units, heals her, and provides allies with an armor boost.  All effects become stronger when her health is lower.  A good 2 rank ability that could be more.
  • Paralytic Poison: Deals big damage to nearby enemies and slows their attack and movement speed to a crawl.  A good ultimate that is a little simple but also fun and useful.

First, Razormail gets the Words of Reassurance treatment.   I’m moving it to the item ability slot, replacing her Shadowmeld ability, and removing the armor bonus.  I’m also pruning the temporary armor boost from Raven Reversal.  Her base armor goes up by 4 and she gets more agility per level, leaving her in mostly the same place her armor was before.

This makes room for a new attack ability.  I want to stay true to the Warden revenge theme and her cold-hearted fighting style.  Her other niches are close-range area-effect damage and regaining life.  I’m OK with a little redundancy, especially if each ability has different synergies with every other ability.  This new ability is going to deal close range area damage as well as two additional effects.  I’ve wanted to give her a little crowd control to let her help allies, which a warstomp-style stun will accomplish.  I also want to give her more control over her mana, so we’ll return mana when it’s used.  It’ll be on a moderate cooldown so I’m not worried about either of these effects getting out of control.

Even though I have a design I like, there’s a lot of work to fit it in her repertoire.  I don’t think stuns make for good 6 rank abilities, so I’ll need to rework Raven Reversal to be 6 rank.  The essence of Reversal is to deal lots of damage at low health and heal a portion of her missing health.  I’ve simplified the damage scaling and the tooltip is clearer.  Now, it “deals up to triple damage when close to death”, which is a lot clearer than the old “deals 100-600 damage”.

With Raven Reversal converted to 6 rank, I can lock down the mechanics of the new spell:

  • Quelling Rift: Turns her skin into an Astral rift, unleashing a blast of maelstrom and mana.  Stuns nearby enemies for 3 seconds.  Also, channels up to 20% of her health into damage and restores up to 100 mana.

Damage dealt is based on the level of the spell, converting 25% of health lost at rank 1 and 50% of health lost at rank 2.  At 1000 max health, typical starting health, this will deal 50 damage at rank 1 and 100 damage at rank 2.  At 4000 health, typical late-game health, damage increases to 200 and 400.  I think these numbers are reasonable along with stunning and restoring mana.

Behind the scenes, the life drain effect scales down when the player would kill herself or come too close to killing herself.  When she’s below 20% health, it only stuns nearby enemies.  If she’s between 20% and 40%, it will drain her down to 20%.  Over 40 will drain the full 20%.  The mana she gets back is based on whether or not she unleashed a full blast.

I like what emerges with each combination of skills.  Stinging Blades and Quelling Rift combine to form a potent tanking lockdown.  Rift and Astral Jaunt allow her to zip around and save allies.  Rift and Reversal deal a lot of damage and keep health high.  If she invests in both healing spells, she can go all-out absorbing damage and keeping herself up.  Her abilities are interesting and unique among all of the characters.  Stay tuned for the last hero post and for the release of the Update 1 beta!

  • Kevin

    I’ve been playing Explore the Ruins: Complete for a while, and I just found out that you’re still actively updating it about five minutes ago, which pretty much made my day (or evening, as it were). Kudos to you, sir. You’ve made and are continuing to make a very, very entertaining mod.

    On another note, Dusk Knight looks to be more interesting and less of a traditional tank with that new skill. I’ve enjoyed how she uses health; she needs it to tank, but she needs low health to do some serious burst damage… and with this new skill, she’ll have another factor to consider when considering how – or even if – she should go about tanking.

    Keep it up!

  • Tim

    Hey Kevin! Thanks for the post. The new beta will be out soon, so stay tuned!