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EpicDuel PVP Game Design Notes

Behind the scenes information about EpicDuel's development and releases, a real-time PVP MMO that you can play online in your web browser.

November 14, 2013

Big Balance Bonanza

Big Balance

Prepare for one of the most comprehensive balance updates EpicDuel has ever seen! Every class will be affected as we focus on making battle more interesting, strategic, and fair. We understand that these changes can be rough, especially as everyone struggles to find new builds and strategies, but know that we're trying our best to keep all the classes fun, interesting, and competative.

Balance is not my specialty, so I'll defer to our resident Numeromancer Rabblefroth. If you wish to comment about the changes or following the specific nuances of the changes, you can follow this thread in the AE forums! The following is a quote from Rabblefroth in the thread's first post.

Hey everyone! 

We have quite a lot of balance changes on their way this week, so I wanted to highlight some of the major ones and discuss why we're making them so it doesn't come as a big, overwhelming shock. 

Most of the changes fall under three major areas that we want to address. They are: 
  1. Battle duration 
  2. Energy flow 
  3. Followup balance for the new skills 

In general we feel that battles are ending a little too quickly, especially in 1v1. With so few turns available in the average fight, strategic options become limited, and certain events in battle such as critical strikes and blocks have a bit too much impact. 

In order to help extend the duration of battle, we're making a couple of key changes: 
  • Increase the amount of health players have. 
  • Decrease base damage in a couple of key areas, especially on weapons. 
  • Reduce the effect of critical strikes 

The goal here is to both increase Health pools and lower some of the free damage everyone does to slow the pace of battle down, putting less emphasis on each individual turn. Every turn you take should carry weight, but currently we feel it's a bit too much. 

Each individual change is relatively small, but we hope that the cumulative effect will be a noticeable improvement. 

With recent updates adding energy costs to cores, and reworking passive skills into useable skills, energy management has become much more important. We feel that this is an important aspect to managing the pace of a fight, but certain things are a little out of line, so we want to review the system in general to make it fit better with the updated skills. 

The major changes here include: 
  • Increasing the amount of Energy players have. 
  • In general, lowering the impact of energy draining effects. These have become much stronger now that Energy is a more important resource, so they just need a little nudge to bring them in line. 
  • Adjusting energy gain on each class. Examples include giving Bounty Hunters a reliable way to generate energy, reducing Tech Mage energy generation, and adjusting Static Smash to be more useful. 

Nearly every energy-affecting class skill has been adjusted in some way. We hope that this will improve the strategies around Energy management and help push the pacing of battle into a more interesting direction. 

One other change I'd like to cover is the removal of the Energy gain effect from Reflex Boost. We want to change skills that have odd sets of effects that don't really make sense together. Reflex Boost currently gives you a stat that makes you take less damage, then gives you energy based on damage taken. The two effects are counter-productive and make the reason to cast the skill unclear. "Do I want this for extra Dexterity, or for extra Energy?" We want each skill to have one clear primary goal, and to accomplish that goal well. Now that the classes that use Reflex Boost have more reliable ways to generate Energy, we feel that this effect can be comfortably removed. 

There has been a lot of great feedback regarding the new skills, and you have highlighted a couple of clear areas where we can improve them. 

Some of the planned changes here include: 
  • Increasing the amount of defenses given by the Armor skills. They will also no longer be affected by buffs or debuffs. The intention here was to create some gameplay around buffing yourself, further improving your defense, but the real result was that in too many cases a debuff would make the skills not worth casting. Finally, a bug was causing the duration of these skills to be 3 turns instead of 4. In short, these skills should be much stronger than before. 
  • Lowering the Energy cost of Mark of Blood. This should make the skill feel worth casting in more situations and lessen the drain on the relevant classes' energy pools. 
  • As partially covered in the previous section, we're also lowering the Energy gain from Battery Backup. 
  • Not directly affecting any one skill, but relevant to the removal of passives, NPCs got a bit harder in the last update. Part of this was due to a bug in the Bloodlust values on them that was giving them twice the intended amount of lifesteal (Oops!). But they also needed to deal a bit less damage, so we're lowering their base weapon damages across the board. 

There are a few other balance changes coming this week that weren't covered here, but since there are so many I wanted to cover some of the major ideas and explain our reasoning behind them. 

I'll be happy to answer questions or concerns you have, but I might not be able to delve too deep into specifics since things are liable to change before the update. I also might not be able to respond tonight, but I'll be around tomorrow so I'll make sure to address what I can then!



Black Friday Preview

A dark force is awakening in Delta V. Elon Musk may have stopped the Chairman's Ebilcorp factory from destroying the planet, but he couldn't stop the evil Chairman from disturbing something that was better left forgotten.

Buggy Battlegear

Black Bug

Something is returning. Something that has slept for thousands of years. Something that is very hungry. Stay tuned for more updates on this new threat!

Tags: balance preview Thanksgiving Skills Weapons Black Friday Nightwraith


November 07, 2013

Shameless Self Indulgence

Happy Birthday!

Prepare to party! This week, celebrate the birthday of EpicDuel's resident artist/assassin: Nightwraith. New missions, new weapons, and revamped skills await for your celebratory needs! As if that weren't enough reason to celebrate: the winners of the Creative Carving Contest will be announced in-game at Elon Musk!


Back to Party Business

Visit me at my usual haunt in the Wasteland to investigate my stash of weapons and armors! Do you have your OneX6 Keys? No? We've got you covered -- you can either buy one directly or win one by completing a new mission. Be warned: I've been buffed to level 36 so I'm not the pushover I used to be!

New Zookas!

My Gear

My Duds!

The classic birthday missions are also returning, with a few new additions in case you've already completed the old ones. Complete them all for huge rewards!


Suggestion Shop

In addition to hunting bounties and weaving baskets, I (Nightwraith) am EpicDuel's lead artist, but I don't mind sharing the spotlight with aspiring artists. That's why we're combining my birthday celebration with the introduction of a new round of suggestion shop weapons, created from ideas submitted from our creative EpicDuel community!

Suggestion Shop

It's been way too long since we've done a shop like this so we're really going all out. We hope to have over 12 new weapons culled from the best of the best suggestions. Charfade and I are working as hard as possible to deliver more, but this is a thoroughly packed release. The weapons are still in progress so check back for a full list of items and their associated artist after we go live. If your suggestion was not selected, that does not mean it was terrible or we hate you -- it just means it may have to wait for the next suggestion shop. Hopefully it won't take a full year to do another one! I wouldn't be surprised if more items enter the game next week!



It wouldn't be a proper birthday without a new Arcade Game! 

A Nightmarish Visage

Horrifying! Give it a spin and be the first to claim the grand prize! As with other games, Nightwraith's Nightmare will introduce it's own new evolving achievment and leaderboard!


Cheevo Counter

Speaking of achievements -- we now have tracking for many of the daily achievements like the 1v1 and 2v2 automatch daily winners. Players who win the daily achievements multiple times will increment their number on the appropriate achievement.  


Active Update

To address balance this update, we will be tweaking a few energy numbers from last week's update, but we also have a far grander change in store: Converting all passive skills into active ones.

Skill Revamp

That means Blood Lust, Reroute, Deadly Aim, Shadow Arts, Adrenaline, and all the Armor skills will be converted into active skills. Blood Lust and Reroute will become Mark of Blood and Battery Backup respectively. The purpose of this change is to add strategy to battle. Currently, passives grant HUGE benefits with little sacrifice, especially for level cap players. Active skills require more sacrifice in terms of energy cost and turn cost. To compensate for these sacrifices, the effects of the skills will be modified. This change will affect all classes so we're really interested to see what new strategies emerge from this change. 




  • Adrenaline

    • Replaced with Adrenaline Rush. Adrenaline Rush instantly grants the target a percentage of their maximum Rage.


Hybrid Armor, Mineral Armor, and Plasma Armor


  • Hybrid Armor

    • Hybrid Armor now increases the target’s Defense and Resistance by a percentage of their base Defense and Resistance (the portion from your Dexterity and Technology) for 4 turns.

  • Mineral Armor

    • Mineral Armor now increases the target’s Defense by a percentage of their base Defense for 4 turns.

  • Plasma Armor

    • Plasma Armor now increases the target’s Resistance by a percentage of their base Resistance for 4 turns.



Battery Backup

  • Reroute

    • Replaced with Battery Backup. Battery Backup grants the target an immediate boost to Energy, and doesn’t cost the user anything to cast.


Deadly Aim

Fire Scythe

Energy Parasite

  • Deadly Aim

    • Deadly Aim was replaced by two new skills: Fire Scythe for Tech Mages, and Energy Parasite for Blood Mages
    • Fire Scythe deals physical damage to the target, ignoring a percentage of their Defense.

    • Energy Parasite applies a debuff that steals a percentage of the target’s current Energy for 3 turns, granting 1.5x the amount stolen back to the caster.


Blood Lust

Mark of Blood

  • Bloodlust

    • Replaced with Mark of Blood. Mark of Blood leaves a mark on the target for 3 turns, granting lifesteal to anyone that attacks the marked target.


Shadow Arts

Shadow Arts

  • Shadow Arts

    • Shadow Arts now casts the target in shadow and reduces all damage they take by a percentage for 3 turns.


Contest Announcement

Big Money, Big Prizes, I Love It!

When this update goes live, be sure to visit Elon Musk for a list of the winning entries! The effort so far has been stellar with such short notice. We are currently in the process of judging entries and narrowing down the list of finalists!

Tags: Titan Nightwraith Suggestion Shop Elon Musk contest Arcade Missions balance Skills Weapons Birthday


December 18, 2012

Omega Mission

Omega is almost here! Can you feeeeeel it? We've been working tirelessly to bring you the highly anticipated Omega update and everything is really coming together. As I type this, Titan and Rabblefroth are working furiously along with our equally hard-working testers to troubleshoot the newly reconstructed battle engine. The statting system is looking really promising, and allows for extraordinary flexibility with your gear loadout.


Be sure to view our development on The Official EpicDuel Youtube Channel:

Titan Fuel


Pricing Reshuffle

One new feature you may notice in Omega is that many items have credit OR Varium options, both to purchase and to upgrade. In order to emphasize credits as an effort currency and Varium as a convenience currency, some credit prices will be increasing. However, this is balanced by the fact that you can still upgrade your existing weapons for a credit fee that would be less than purchasing and unlocking a new set of level-cap gear. Also, with unlimited NPC battles, farming for credits will be a much less painful endeavor.


Mission Guide

Hi there, EpicDuelists - there's a ton of new missions for your playing pleasure. Alydriah has returned to Frysteland and her capture of the Krampus Shaman Aldhagrimm has forced the Krampus and sympathetic Legion forces in Frysteland to join together to drive her out. The main story quest starts with Commander Edgar Boothe (Legion)

Edgar Boothe

and King Alaric (Exile).


Players should report to them to complete the mission “A Frosty Reception” for a Legion Token or Exile Token. This token is your ticket into a class-specific chain. Exiles will turn the Exile Token in to Raymus if they're Bounty Hunters or Cyber Hunters, the Krampus Technician if they're Tech Mages or Blood Mages, and Hank if they're Mercenaries or Tactical Mercenaries. Legion Bounty Hunters and Cyber Hunters should visit Valestra, Tech Mages and Blood Mages should visit Talia, and Mercenaries and Tactical Mercenaries should visit Negawraith to turn in their tokens. For those who want the well-rounded story experience by changing class, Alaric and Boothe have two additional missions that award this token! These all culminate in a single turn-in mission on Rabblefroth, with the same reward for both Legion and Exiles that will conclude part one of this Frysteland saga.


This means that, should you complete this chain 3 times, you'll have extra Misc. items, but fortunately they don't take up space in your inventory.

In addition, there are missions that allow you to train up your Baby Yetis and/or Dark Yetis by giving them a Yeti Growth Serum.

Yeti Trainers

Hulnas the Beast Tamer can train your Baby Yetis into Warrior Yetis, and Ylwa the Beast Rider can train your Warrior Yetis into Omega Yetis. Would you rather have a Dark Baby Yeti? The Arctic Trainer can train your Dark Yetis into Dark Warrior Yetis, and the hard-as-ice Captain Murdoc can train your Dark Warrior Yetis into Dark Omega Yetis. Both can be “convinced” to give you some Omega Yeti Serum as well, if you don't want to go through all the trouble of training them.

I'm very excited about the Omega update! For the first time, there are missions requiring you to turn in multiple disparate objects; that is, turning in different kinds of objects. So, if Hank had a mission asking you to help him out with a mirepoix, you would be required to turn in 2 onions, 1 carrot, and 1 celery in the same mission!

Plus, there's a secret mission. What is it? If I told you that, it wouldn't be a secret! /mysterious

Tags: Omega Cinderella Update NPCs Skills Stats Testing Credits Varium


December 06, 2012

Omega Marathon

Now it can be told: the official release date for Omega is December 14th early February! Of course, we can't confirm what time exactly, but we will do our absolute best to get this epic release to you in a stable, tested condition! To satisfy your curiousity on some of Omega's amazing features, enjoy this new Design Notes as we continue the Omega marathon!

Changes to NPCs

Today we wanted to go over some changes to how NPC fights will work in Omega. We want NPCs to fill the purposes of:

                1) training or testing builds

                2) gaining credits

                3) furthering missions and the storyline

They currently fill some other purposes that we want to move away from, including padding battle records, faction farming, and leveling.

Some of the changes are as follows:

  • NPC fights no longer count towards your battle record. We want the Leaderboards and your battle record to clearly reflect your PvP accomplishments instead of forcing players to farm NPCs to pad their win rates.
  • You can now fight NPCs an unlimited number of times.
  • NPCs will not give experience after level 5. This will allow new players to be eased into the battle system, but afterwards we want the focus to be on PvP. This also allows leveling players to get credits without continuing to level if they feel like they are falling behind.
  • NPCs will no longer give Battle Tokens or Influence. Since you can fight them without limit, we don’t want factions or players to farm them for Tokens or Influence. Again, we want the focus here to be on PvP.
  • NPCs will not give rewards if you lose. We don’t want people to purposely lose to NPCs over and over, so you will need to win to get Credits or other rewards.
  • Brainwashing is removed since it is no longer necessary.



We know there are still many questions about what we’re doing with Enhancements, but we’re not quite ready to talk about this in-depth yet. We will say now that the new system will allow for much greater customization than before, and will involve equipping passive effects and active abilities to your weapons.

 Skill Cores

Additionally, we will be providing compensation for those that have enhanced weapons in the current system. We’ll provide more specifics soon.


Omega Obliteration! 

We would like to kick off our new development phase with not one, but TWO promotional packages. These designs were inspired by devoted EpicDuel player and aspiring artist TrizzzCentrino! You can choose from the Omega Obliteror set, which features an energy sword plus a mutating weapon! 

Omega Obliterator

OR if physical damage is more your thing, you may select the Omega Onslaughter!

Omega Onslaughter

All of these weapons will offer 2 new weapon skills (one active, one passive) to give you an edge in Omega. We will explain what these skills are and what they do as soon as we finalize the details!

Speaking of promotions: Check out Heromart's Coming Soon page for details on the upcoming "Are You Yeti" shirt! This epic garment will come with not one, but TWO yetis for you to play with for the upcoming release!

Well? Are you?!


The Frozen North

Alydriah has been up to no good in her captured territory. However, there is one bastion of hope in this shattered land:

Titan's Magical Lair

Titan stands watch from his mountain lair in Frysteland. Many displaced Krampus have taken shelter at the foot of this mountain fortress, seeking some respite from constant harassment from Legion troops. Alydriah is smart enough to steer clear of this mysterious refuge, but not so fearful that she wouldn't taunt the gods of Delta V through more indirect means. What new cybernetic terrors has Alydriah created in during the Legion's occupation of this region? Would Alydriah burn Frysteland to the ground just to annoy Titan? How many cheeseburgers do you think Titan has hidden up there?

Elite Yeti

I guess you'll have to login to find out!


Easy on the Eyes

As we mentioned earlier, the early game experience is getting a drastic overhaul, starting with the login and class selection screens. We will also be refreshing the look of the base armors and styles to reflect this graphical overhaul. This might not be tremendously exciting to our veteran players, but it will make EpicDuel 1000% more appealing to new players, expanding the total number of active players, which means more opponents for you!  

Choose your destiny!



With all the changes to the database structure and game code, we literally cannot release before it's ready.  Also, preparing a weekly release would divert time away from development on Omega, and we cannot spare a second at this point!

On that note -- Code Sorcerer, away!

Tags: Titan promotions Omega Frysteland Winter Obliterator Onslaughter Yeti HeroMart Shirt Enhancements Stats code TRizZzCENTRINO Update Holiday Seasons Epic Skills Weapons alydriah


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