What is Savage 2?
Savage 2: A Tortured Soul is the sequel to the often-ignored and rarely-noticed action-strategy game Savage: The Battle for Newerth. It takes the best of the FPS, RTS, and RPG genres and blends them seamlessly into an extremely addictive and complex experience. Anyone who's seen either game in action knows that each match is full of possibilities for epic moments and amazing displays of skill and strategy. Savage 2 improves on the original concept by balancing out key game play elements such as melee and ranged combat, making each character class unique, expanding the quantity and viability of the support roles, and overall creating a more cohesive experience.
S2Games have released Savage 2 version 1.7.0 a few days ago with a multitude of changes. Rather than just stating the changes we felt it might be more interesting if we discuss the major alterations to balance, the general opinions/consensus held by Newerth.com admins, Newerth.com forum members and S2Games forum members, with the aim of allowing us to reflect on the success of S2Games after market continued development of the game.
The first major change we will discuss is the removal of interrupt and the introduction of a block meter. This meter determines the strength and integrity of your block and depletes over time as you keep blocking and whenever you block an attack. We can only assume that the block meter has been implemented to stop people spamming block continuously but feel that currently blocking is ineffective, complicates melee and adds little to the overall melee system due to the changes made to charge and dodge which we will discuss and explain next.
Charge and Dodge both now use the charge meter and do not use stamina. We feel that this increases the gameplay's overall speed and means you spend vastly less time travelling from A to B. These changes also have repercussions on the melee system, where previously the momentum of your attack was affected by dodging and the relatively high recharge rate of charging, often leaving you unable to manoeuvre or tactically retreat from a battle. We hypothesise that this limited the scope of melee battles to head-on charges where the outcome related disproportionately towards how many units your team was fielding at any given time/place and not player skill. This probably left lots of new players feeling rather frustrated or bored, not wanting to continue to play the game and likely is one of the reasons behind the small number of people playing the game. To a certain degree these issues have been resolved with the changes but due to increased mobility of units, moving around a player blocking has become a lot easier and thus we feel limits its use. However, one possibly unforeseen advantage of the limited usefulness of block is that, if you exclude its use all altogether, learning to grasp Savage 2 melee has got a lot easier for beginners and therefore possibly more rewarding.
Another major alteration that has been made to the dynamics of the game, is the removal of the Maliken unit. We feel that the right decision has been made removing it which many people have commented on as being severely overpowered and having detrimental effect on how much new players enjoy the game.
S2Games has removed the Maliken unit from the game.
A few other minor changes worth commenting on that don't seem to be mentioned in the change log are the increased effectiveness of Behemoths akin to those of Savage 1, the increased rate at which gold seems to be earned and possibly a reduction in spawn time.
The latest patch has also seen the introduction of many new features such as: 4 new maps, a community and clan panel, in-game clan management and an IM style messaging system with player status notifications. For a full overview of changes see the Savage 2 change log here.
One major issue we feel is still out standing and affecting the retention of players in Savage 2 is the stability of the game. More people than normal, on the S2 Support forum, seem to be reporting increased occurrences of the game crashing or worse, hanging your PC. We can only hope that the causes of this issue are swiftly dealt with and fixed.
So what is our overall verdict of the changes? Well we feel that it is worth picking up Savage 2 again to see what S2Games have achieved in the past few months, that they seem to be moving in the right direction, albeit slowly and still have far to go in perfecting the game. In general the update sees a reduction in player frustration, an increase in the pace of gameplay and a more entertaining and enjoyable experience.
Patch Change Log:
- Fixed several crashes
- Fixed a couple of memory leaks
- Fixed an issue on the main browser interface that prevented the scroll bars from working
- Fixed incorrect price tag on the rune builder when you mouse over it
- Siege units are no longer slowed when hitting enemy structures
- The attack speed debuff applied when an attacking player hits a block now stacks and lasts for 2.5 seconds.
* This means that the more you attack a blocking player, the slower your attacks will become
* The movement speed part of this debuff was changed to 85% of normal, up from 60%
* This debuff now allows for dodging and charging (previously you could not dodge or charge with its effects on you)
- The attack speed buff applied to the blocking player when successfully blocking an attack now stacks
* This means that if you block multiple attacks in rapid succession, you will attack much faster than if you only blocked one attack
* This buff now increases attack speed by 20% rather than 15%
- Hitting an opponent with quick attack will refund that attacks' stamina cost
- Hitting non-blocking opponents with Quick Attack will restore some of the block meter
- Hitting non-blocking opponents with Jump Attack will restore some of the block meter
- Lowered some terrain so behemoths can fit under the bridges
- Four new maps: Storm, Kunlun pass, Losthills, and Moonlight.
- Community & Clan Panel. This is a feature designed to help players keep track of friends and clan members, as well as offer more robust communication and clan management tools. CTRL + TAB (when logged in) brings it up. Its features include:
1. A clan list to view which clan members are online or offline.
2. A friends list to view which friends are online or offline.
3. A notification system which will alert you when clan members or friends sign on or off. This will also alert you of things like scheduled clan matches.
4. Limited clan management, including the ability to invite new players to the clan.
5. Ability for clan-less players to set their status as looking for a clan or not. This status is viewable by clan leaders and officers and will aid in helping clan-less players to find clans.
6. A messaging system to easily and quickly send messages to your friends, stored in a separate, movable window, similar to many Instant Messaging programs.
- Added a window to main game interface that displays Player damage given, received, blocked, and HP healed.
- Added per-life statistics that show up on the death screen. This tracks all of the statistics mentioned above, as well as kills and assists.
*These per-life statistics only track stats earned during that life time. Once you die, they are reset.
*Your high score (or "match best") for a given statistic during that match is also tracked
- Dodges are now performed by moving in the desired direction then tapping the charge/dodge key (by default, this key is right click).
- Dodge now uses the charge meter instead of stamina
- Charge is now performed by moving forward and holding the charge/dodge key.
- Charge cool down is now based on how long you charged. If you only charge for half of the available charge time, for example, the cool down will be half up when you finish.
- Dodge movement speed is now three times normal movement speed. Dodge duration decreased.
- Sniper bow zoom and siege alternate view mode are now set to use the block button.
- Dodge now takes priority over charge. Holding forward + strafing right while pressing the charge/dodge key will result in a dodge to the right instead of a charge forward.
Interface menu changes:
- Changed "Mouse" menu under controls in the options menu to "Gameplay"
- In the Gameplay menu you may enable or disable the following items:
* Hold down charge key to maintain charge
* Double tap forward key to charge
* Double tap movement keys to dodge
- The server list is now one single list. Official servers are identified with an S2 logo
- The interrupt key is now referred to as the charge/dodge key in the key binds options menu
- Fixed a bug related to one clan not having enough members tournament play. The proper team should now be forced to forfeit.
- Fixed several UI-related crashes.
- Fixed several exploit and stuck-spot areas in Morning, Desolation and Ancient Cities
- Skills and spells will not start their cool down until after their impact time has been reached.
*This means that if you start using a skill and get stunned, your skill won't go into cool down unless it actually had a chance to activate
*Note that the impact time is just a time setting for skills and spells. If you use a skill and miss it will still go into cool down
- Fixed ammo depots breaking some consumable items. This includes the notorious bug where trinket of life would stop working.
- Fixed some issues with the hunter's animations
- Soul of Maliken is no longer available. Note that the heart, brain, and lungs of Maliken are still available. This means players will be able to enjoy the effects of these items, but will not be able to use Maliken himself
- Siege units can no longer be stunned
- Gold mine income rates are now based on the Steam/Grove mine's health. A Steam or Grove mine at 10% health, for example, will extract gold at 10% the normal rate.
- Enemy players, gadgets, and NPCs will no longer show up on the mini-map unless they are either within vision radius of an allied structure or they are revealed by an Electric Eye or Sentry Bat.
- Players can now have a maximum of one Electric Eye or Sentry Bat spawned. Summoning more than 1 will remove your previous eye or bat
- When attacking enemy structures, players will receive a 1.5 second de-buff that slows movement speed by 35%
- Increased passive stamina regen from 12 to 14
- Slightly reduced speed at which building armor degenerates when taking damage. Buildings should take slightly longer to kill from standard melee attacks.
- All items (enduring and consumable) will now remain in inventory on death
- Item based gadgets (health and mana shrines) are now placed in front of the player on use
- Health shrine now heals 15 points per second over 12 seconds. Cost reduced to 175
- Mana shrine now restores 15 mana per second over 10 seconds. Cost increased from 100 to 125
- Major stamina potion cost increased to 80 gold, from 50
- Minor stamina potion cost increased to 40 from 35
- Removed interrupt
- Characters are now exhausted when below 20% stamina (increased from 15%)
- Decreased the duration of many skills and spells. The result is that players will be able to follow up these skills and spells with other actions (such as blocking or attacking) more quickly.
- Dodges, Jump Attacks, and melee-based weapon skills can now be used after the chain time of a quick attack rather than having to wait for the full attack time of the attack. The end result is that you do not have to wait as long to use dodge, jump attack, or melee special abilities after performing a quick attack.
- All units now use a block meter, which is displayed when you block. This meter determines the strength and integrity of your block, and depletes as you take damage. If the block meter is emptied, your block is broken and you are stunned for a short duration
- Block drains the block-meter very slowly
- The block-meter regenerates very quickly when not blocking
- Successfully blocking an opponent no longer stuns them. It will, however, drain your block meter noticably
* Most units must hit the enemy with a full melee flurry plus one hit to fully empty an opponent's block meter. A scout, for example, must hit an opponent 5 times, while a savage only has to hit them 4 times.
- Blocking an opponent will reduce their attack speed to 85% for 1 second, and increase your attack speed by 15% for 1.5 seconds
- Melee based special abilities are now blockable, except those of hellbourne or siege units
*Special abilities that are blockable will deal 45 damage to the block meter. This is such that most units will require a special ability and two melee swings to completely break a full block meter.
*Note that most units do 20 block meter damage with their attacks and non-hellbourne have a block meter count of 75. This means that one quick attack and one special ability will ALMOST break a block meter. If the blocking player times his block well, he can withstand a special and a quick attack. If he times it poorly, his block meter will break, due to the slight drain on holding down block
- Successfully blocking an opponent's quick attack or jump attack will slow their movement speed to 60% of normal for 1 second
*Blocking melee based special abilities will not result in this movement speed debuff
*Hellbourne attacks do not receive the movement speed debuff
- Movement speed when blocking set to 90% of normal (increased from 80%)
- Blocking players will no longer be stunned when the enemy uses an unblockable attack (such as behemoth's tree, if it didn't one-hit-kill you)
- The attacking player will not have an effect played on them when hitting a blocking opponent. An effect will instead be played on the blocker.
- The recover time on block has been significantly lowered, such that block now ends 50 milliseconds after releasing the block key.
- The charge meter now takes 16 seconds to fully regenerate, down from 25 seconds
- Charge now costs 10 stamina to activate, however if you do not have 10 stamina that will not stop you from charging
- The charge meter will continue to display while the charge meter regenerates. It will be semi-transparent, similar to the block meter
- In order to improve unit differentiation, many units had their attack speeds adjusted. Generally speaking, the delay at the end of the third attack was increased.
- Dodge now uses the charge-meter and does not use stamina. Most units use 25% of their charge meter with a dodge. Scouts and shapeshifters use 20%. The charge meter does not have to be full to perform a dodge, but you do have to have the required amount (25%, for most units)
Jump Attack changes:
- Jump attack is now blockable. It will drain a significant portion of an enemy's block meter.
*Currently, jump attacks deal two times as much damage to the block meter as a quick attack.
- You can now only perform one Jump Attack per jump
- Jump Attack immobile times removed
- Jump Attack attack times generally reduced, to allow faster recovery and combat after completing a Jump attack
- Most units had their Jump Attack stamina costs reworked. Generally speaking, faster attacking units that do less damage with their jump attacks have a lower stamina cost than those that do more damage.
- Jump attacks that successfully hit opponents will return 50% of their stamina cost. Note that this stamina refund does not include the stamina cost of the original jump.
Quick Attack changes:
- Removed the immobilize time at the end of all units' Quick Attack melee flurry.
- Quick attack no longer refunds its stamina cost upon successfully hitting a player
- Hellbourne now follow the rules of melee combat, in that all their attacks are now blockable, but their attacks have a much greater effect on the block meter than most units and they have more block meter than most units
*The Revenant gets 100 block meter (all normal units have 75), Devourer gets 120 and Malphas 150
*The Revenant's attack deals 30 block meter damage (can fully drain a non-Hellbourne block meter in three hits)
*The Devourer's attack deals 45 block meter damage (can fully drain a non-Hellbourne block meter in two hits)
*Malphas' attack deals 65 block meter damage (can almost fully drain a non-Hellbourne block meter in one hit)
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