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Hex: Ruin - what it was, what it is, and where do we go from here?
I posted this in another thread, 'What WOULD make you be ok with the ruin rework?' (https://forum.deadbydaylight.com/en/discussion/119335/what-would-make-you-be-ok-with-the-ruin-rework/p1), but wanted to gather more ideas and suggestions on the topic, as well as keep the discussion on Hex: Ruin going (since the other thread died), and here we are at this thread.
"This will come off as long-winded, but rather than make a suggestion with no context, that gets laughed out of the forums for others not understanding the underlying assumptions/context, I'd rather provide a background/basis for any assumptions that I work off of. Here goes:
What would make me okay with the Ruin 'rework' (nerf nuke)?
Getting something comparable in its place. Hex: Ruin, as it was, was a perk to extend early-game.
Why does/did early-game need to be extended?
Because even the most braindead survivors can hold m1 on a generator for 80 seconds, and since the killer can only chase one survivor at a time, the 3 survivors not being chased can all get on separate generators within 20s of match start, having their generators completed within 100s of match start, without fear of being interrupted. Any survivor worth their salt can lead a killer around on a lengthy chase with all the map assets that are intact at the start of the match. It's not about winning the chase or not getting caught - it's about wasting the killer's time.
At this point (100s into a match), there are 3 unharmed survivors with the 4th either being chased or hooked, with 2 gens left. Since the killer can only chase potentially one of those 3 unharmed survivors, the other two can either sacrifice the hooked survivor (or repair more gens without such a dilemma if the first chase is still going, assuming that this takes an additional 110 seconds, 30s to find a gen and another 80 to finish it) to have a free guarantee at repairing both remaining generators, or hook save with one survivor in limbo and the other being guaranteed safety on a generator and repeat the process for the final generator.
This results in the match being over in 210-300 seconds, under 4 or 5 minutes, with 2-3 total chases, and 3-4 escapes. For setup killers such as Hag, Trapper, Demogorgon, Oni, and Myers, this is not enough time to set up their abilities enough to use them for map pressure (and if they did/could take the time to set up, they would surely lose by default). For mid-tier killers such as Freddy, Ghostface, Pig, and Wraith; low-tier killers such as Clown, Leatherface, Doctor, Legion, and Plague, respectively, this spells their doom. This is why the high-rank meta ignores them, generally. It's why Spirit, Nurse, Hillbilly, and Huntress reign at the top - because with a combination of luck and skill, they can win chases quickly, allowing them time with which to exert map pressure in early-game. Keep in mind that I'm talking about default kits with low-grade through decent add-ons, not some of the one-off high-tier add-on combos that make certain killers far more viable than their standard kit normally permits.
So, let's talk about Hex: Ruin itself: what it did, what that spelled out for gameplay, and why it was used to the extent that it was.
Let's dispel the notion that Hex: Ruin was overpowered, while introducing it. It was a Hex perk (which can be removed by holding m1 for 14 seconds on the associated totem) that gave a small, non-threatening punishment to hitting good skill checks (7 seconds of repair progress (3 seconds of making the generator unrepairable, as well as 5% progress which is another 4 seconds)), as well as removing the additional progress from great skill checks.
In regards to gameplay, this means that if a survivor hit great skill checks, or had few to no skill checks appear at all, then Hex: Ruin would have no effect on their repair progress. Only if the survivor both had skill checks appear at all, and hit good skill checks, would it affect their repair progress. If they could not handle hitting great skill checks, they could disable the associated totem or tap the generator to completion.
This perk was incredibly widespread because survivor is braindead easy to the point where most survivors deemed hitting skillchecks as a mechanic that they did not need to improve at (Of course, there were those of us who would use (http://www.mistersyms.com/tools/gitgud/) between matches to actually improve at the game, but we were apparently few and far between. Skill checks used to be much harder, too, as you'll see if you use that git gud skillcheck simulator). As a result, survivors of all ranks had their generator repair progress slowed down by this perk, to the point where more survivors than not decided it was a better idea to gen tap to avoid dealing with Hex: Ruin, rather than learning how to power through it. Since gen tapping is also slower than normal repairing, Hex: Ruin had still accomplished its purpose in the early-game of matches - slowing down generators. Specifically, it kept 3 generators from being completed in the first 100 seconds of the match.
Traditionally, it has been held that Hex: Ruin is a mandatory killer perk. I both agree, and disagree with this. Some killers are powerful enough to not require it, and those are the killers that are commonly seen to be successful against the better survivors. The weaker killers, on the other hand... they need a helping hand, and the one that reached out to them is called 'Hex: Ruin'.
Fast forward a bit of time, and Corrupt Intervention is released with The Plague. It prevents the 3 generators farthest from the killer from being repaired for the first 100 seconds of the match. This doubles as a radar for the areas in which survivors are likely to spawn, for inexperienced killers. This could have replaced or been interchangeable with Hex: Ruin, if not for one simple fact - survivors could work on generators closer to where the killer spawned. All Corrupt Intervention brought to the table was 30 extra seconds to the early-game phase of the match, since the killer can only chase one survivor at a time, and they still face the same scenario, only slightly closer to where the killer spawned. As such, it sank mostly into obscurity. It is occasionally useful on the Pig, however, as it can sometimes buy her enough time to start putting RBT's on survivors. Not that many Pigs run it, when Hex: Ruin is a superior alternative.
Fast forward a bit farther, and Ghostface's release brings Thrilling Tremors into DbD. It's a perk that works as a radar and doubles as generator repair prevention. While it's handicapped by its cooldown and requirement for a survivor to be picked up (requiring the killer to already win a chase, and in the sequence I described earlier, it's almost impossible for some killers to win a chase early enough for this perk to be useful at all), it's also a shame that it is only useful on killers that can end chases quickly and have enough mobility to arrive at non-highlighted generators near-immediately (since survivors can move away from non-highlighted generators). This perk brings the Nightmare onto the high-rank scene, being able to teleport to generators that are currently being worked on. In that sense, it is a semi-potent alternative to Hex: Ruin for the Nightmare, which he requires, since his main mobility is locked behind a cooldown at the start of the match.
Now we have Freddy (partially), Hillbilly, Nurse, Huntress (if they lived the Navy Seal copypasta and are a competent sniper), and Spirit, who do not necessarily require Hex: Ruin to be able to have a chance against survivors in the first 100 seconds of a match.
No, it's not the size of the maps that are the main issue, currently. The only noticeable part of maps that affect the better killers' performance, is whether it is mainly an indoor (close-quarters) or outdoor (long sight lanes) map. To avoid being inconvenienced by large maps, killer players already limit themselves to specific killers, because it's not worth the frustration of moving at the speed of a tortoise (4.6 [or less] metres/second) across a map 150 metres across. But that's a problem with killer diversity, and has nothing to do with performance in general in early-game for the better killer choices (as they already have better mobility), which is where Hex: Ruin came into play. Remember, if the maps are reduced in size, then perks such as BBQ & Chili and Knockout (Knockout has already been made useless by SWF, but whoever is reading this gets the point, I'd wager) become less useful. As such, smaller maps are not necessarily better.
So, it becomes clear that the alternative to reducing map size, is making the worse killers have better mobility, chase presence, and/or map presence. This could be done through improving some killers' kits, and/or through multiple perks that would be as useful as Hex: Ruin, without stacking, so as to be interchangeable and promote build diversity.
Killer power examples:
-the Trapper's traps could spawn armed and in more convenient/camouflaged locations. After all, it's supposed to be the killer's home court.
-when the Wraith rings the Wailing bell, all survivors hear ringing for X seconds, making them unable to hear skillchecks or terror radius.
-in a match against Leatherface, survivors would hear Texas Chainsaw Massacre-related sounds that would throw them off.
-in a match against Leatherface, survivors could come across bodies (perhaps of duplicates of themselves) that have been badly mangled by chainsaws, giving them a 'Fear' status that could affect their ability to do much of anything.
-the Plague could be able to do certain actions to 'corrupt herself' and skip the requirement of having a survivor cleanse themselves to access Corrupt Purge, for more chase presence.
-the Plague could use Vile Purge out of the other end for increased speed around the map by propulsion from behind. Yes, this is more of a meme idea than a serious one.
-the Plague could use an alternate version of the usual spit, where she spits out an explosive ball of Vile/Corrupt mess that detonates and affects all survivors within range.
-the Legion could be able to down injured survivors with [multiple] hits of Frenzied attacks.
-the Legion could have an active ability where they teleport from one side of a survivor to the other, requiring a line of sight break in close proximity to activate. The Legion is 4 individuals, after all, so teamplay on their part should be considered fair.
-the Clown could gain some sort of boost for walking through his own poison clouds, or break out into insane laughter that would 'Unnerve' all survivors for a duration (similar to Unnerving Presence).
-the Clown could have a bottle or two of booze that he could down during the trial to enter an alternate state. The Clown hunted trophies off of his victims and enjoyed that part of it - maybe being reincarnated as a violent drunk could unlock an alternate kit for a short duration, making him more of a horrifying clown than a poison-oriented hunter.
-the Clown's poison could have a lasting effect on survivors' bodies throughout the match, as his concoction would take greater effect when given more time to circulate around someone's system. This would make him a killer that grows more lethal the longer he can stall survivors.
-Myers could have a limited amount of stalk-free tier ups that he would generate over time. His power is Evil Within, after all, so why should the source of his power always be external? Even if it is a shorter/inferior version of tiering up, it would be an improvement over his current status.
-Myers needs to have the 'Exposed' warning removed in tier 3 of Evil Within until he actually downs someone with it, and it should only last for that specific instance of t3. That way, people can't look at the right side of their screen and know when Myers is a threat or not - they will have to pay a single bit of attention for once.
-Myers should not have a map-wide sound when tiering up. The sound should only be heard within a set distance of him when he tiers up, or when a player is downed by him if they were not in the initial radius. Even Wraith does not give away as much about himself as Myers does, and Myers is supposed to be the stalker. How can he stalk when he can't even be stealthy about his [current state]?
-Myers needs to be able to gain evil from stalking multiple survivors at once, like he used to be able to. There is no excuse to keep him nerfed because rank 20s complained about an aspect of him, years ago. He's not Freddy, and shouldn't be treated like Freddy. People know that there is no increased threat from multiple people staying in his sight line, and even go so far as to taunt him in groups.
-Ghostface was a killer who stalked people until he learned every intricacy of their routines, then planned their deaths down to the minute detail. It would be interesting if he could look at a map asset and see which survivors have frequented it, or be able to predict a survivor's current location by knowing their routine. Perhaps something colour-coded, or with symbols (for colour-blind players)?
-The Pig needs a tiny bit more early-game pressure to truly get the ball rolling, since there are Jigsaw boxes all over the map that give people an early warning to look out for the Pig. Perhaps she could have 1-3 special stealth dash attacks with double or even triple range and slightly increased movement speed from the usual, each match. They'd give a relatively fair edge - if used properly, they could give hits; if used improperly, they could be wasted against a pallet.
-I'm not going to spend time making suggestions for the Doctor, so close to a Doctor change. There are plenty of ideas floating around these forums for that, currently.
-a perk that builds up faster, the longer a killer's ability is unused, that gradually increases their movement speed until their next hit. It would greatly affect Myers, Freddy, Legion, Ghostface, Plague, and Leatherface, as their powers are useless for the majority of matches. [The idea is to tune the perk so that it is more effective, the weaker the kit of the killer that uses it.]
Is the better solution to rework the bottom-tier killers so they do not have garbage kits? Yes, of course. But Behaviour does not seem to want to go that route, as evidenced by the fact that we have had Hex: Ruin for a while, but bottom-tier killers for far longer and in greater numbers (I mained OG Wraith, OG/post-OG nerf Hag, post-nerf Freddy, pre-buff Doctor; you name the steaming hot pile of garbage, and I can tell you about the regular experience with it); as well as that we are losing Hex: Ruin, but the bottom-tier killers are apparently here to stay.
But, who knows? Hopefully they address the real issue."
That being said, while I believe that the weaker killer choices need to be improved to compensate for having the crutch kicked out from under them, I'm not 100% sure what the consensus is on the issues with the Hex: Ruin changes. For the most part, there are a few things most people can agree on. From what I've been reading, there have been a few generally accepted issues with the changes:
-the way the changes were phrased (at https://forum.deadbydaylight.com/en/discussion/117488/designer-notes-doctor-gatekeeper-hex-ruin#latest); or rather the way they weren't phrased, in that apart from throwing around a few numbers, there was no acknowledgement of why Hex: Ruin was so widely used and why it was used by killers, as opposed to the 'it's annoying for survivors, so let's nerf it' that it appeared to come across as, to many people.
-the 'reworked' Hex: Ruin is similar to Hex: Devour Hope, in that results are not seen until later in the match, by which point the totem will generally be cleansed, resulting in the perk generally being worthless.
-to make use of the 'reworked' Hex: Ruin effectively, it requires a perk combination; be it other totem perk(s) for camouflage, Surge to aid in a 3gen strategy, Surveillance to monitor regressing generators, etc. Increasing the perk slot cost of Hex: Ruin to at least 2 perk slots, while having it be less effective than it already was with a cost of only 1 perk slot, is not terribly welcome of a change. It brings up the same dilemma as Spirit Fury and Enduring - alone, the perks are mediocre at best, but together they are powerful - however, the question remains if the power of that perk combination warrants two perk slots or not, and every killer player answers that question differently, by either using them or not using them.
-larger maps need to be smaller (likely to make up for the time to go from one generator to another for less maneuverable killer choices?).
Now, back to the question in the title: where do we go from here?