Lancer Concept #1 — Petrus

Petrus, the Stoneshaper

Super Short Summary — Petrus is a stone-themed lancer from the Wastes.  He is a firepower that relies on consistent but relatively indirect / passive sources of damage, somewhat like Grey or Gremolitions.  His kit revolves around his primary, Raise Monolith, which creates a 1-tile wall at the target location and deals damage during Blast Phase.  In future turns, Monoliths deal damage around themselves passively.  Petrus can also connect them with a chain of energy to damage all enemies in between two Monoliths.  Monoliths also serve as permissible locations for his dash, similar to Grey’s Slip Away to Rio.  You can only have 3 Monoliths active at once, so good Petrus play will revolve around placing them in key spots to deal damage.

More commentary on my design process can be found below, which I think is interesting and provides insight into the lancer.  CLICK ME TO SKIP THE COMMENTARY.


Hello!  This is my first Lancer concept posted to my site.  I have 4 total in the works (and another 2 starting to take shape), and I’ll be posting them over the coming weeks, every single Tuesday from October 31 to the end of November!

A little background on my design theory and terminology:
1.  Typically, fans designing content are instructed not to include numbers, as that will invite balance criticism and detract from the concept.  However, as a game designer, I believe that numbers are helpful for grasping the feel of a concept and should be included if the concept designer has a good sense of balance.   I think I do, and am happy to discuss the balance as well.
2.  Lore and theming are most definitely not set in stone (no pun intended).  I have included a little bit of background and an overall theme tying the kit together, but ultimately it is up to Kaivee (et al.) how this fits into the world of Atlas.
3.  Terminology:  “Ally” refers to a teammate that is not self.  “Friendly target / unit” means self or an ally.  (I believe Atlas tooltips are not currently consistent about their use of “ally” — for example, Su-Ren’s Spirit Bend targets an “ally” but cannot target self, whereas Dr. Finn’s Bubble targets an “ally” but can target self.)
4.  Commentary:  I’ll include some commentary about my specific design process on each lancer, things I considered, things I like about the lancer’s design, etc.



In designing heroes in any game, something I like to keep in mind is the concept of heavy synergy, and specifically forced synergy — that is, having aspects of a kit that rely on other aspects of that same kit to function or even make sense.  A couple examples in Atlas Reactor would be Nev (embiggify), Quark (radiate), Oz (made you look) and Grey (slip away).  That is, if you stuck Slip Away, for example, on a lancer that wasn’t Grey and didn’t have Rio, you’d say…okay, I dash to a location around my…my what?  You get the point.  I don’t think forced synergy is inherently a good thing or a bad thing necessarily — for example, to look at two of the recent lancers, Nev has quite a bit whereas Meridian has very little — his abilities all can and do function fairly independently of each other.

In my own design, I try not to have too much forced synergy.  I prefer a more organic kit that hangs together simply by virtue of being a good combination of abilities (Lockwood, say) or having abilities / a theme that relate to each other nicely without anything being strictly necessary (I consider Gremo + mines to be a good example).  (That is, the abilities have synergy because the lancer is well-designed and not because they literally require a specific combo.)  Of course, here I’ve gone and created a concept with about as much forced synergy as you could have.  Why?

Well, it’s neat.  It’s different.  I was intrigued by the concept of creating a wall out of thin air (but different from how Rampart does it) and took that a bit farther to create a sort of chip-style firepower that doesn’t have a lot of big damage bursts but can control the map safely sort of like a Gremo or Grey.  When I mentioned the concept to Blatm, he thought the best aspect of the kit was creating the terrain to block attacks, etc. and I started to wonder if maybe it was just too overpowered.  Hence my hesitation about just how much of an impasse the terrain should be.  (I threw in some notes in my initial write-up below about my making sure it wasn’t permanent so you didn’t get situations where a player got trapped in / griefed.)  I also nerfed his dash recently from 5 turn cooldown to 6, to better match that of Grey and Gremo.  It’s a strong ability.  It also makes the ultimate mod that refreshes it more impactful.

Anyway, the concept sort of speaks for itself beyond what I’ve said, but I’ll add A Few Suggestions for Builds below to give some flavor and let you feel a bit more what it would be like to play this guy.  And to answer the obvious question (why was this the first concept you posted?), it was simply the one I had fleshed out in my mind first.  I don’t think it’s necessarily my best concept (I have some more exciting ones coming up over the next few weeks — stay tuned as I will be posting one EVERY Tuesday starting with Halloween and going through November!) but it’s perhaps the most out-there, so I think it’s a good one to get the brain juice flowing.  Not that you’d take brain juice on this guy.  Er, well, you might.  No, might, not Might.  Argh…I’ll just skip to the abilities and mods.


Petrus, the Stoneshaper

Lore:  Lives in the wastes.  Some sort of stone guardian / has a connection to these mysterious monoliths.  Zuki would probably call him “Pete.”

Affiliation:  Wild Card (None)
Role:  Firepower
Hit Points:  120

Primary:  Raise Monolith (Prep Phase).  Creates a monolith at the target unoccupied square.  The monolith blocks projectiles, abilities, vision and movement the turn it is placed, as if it were a wall tile.*  During Blast Phase, the monolith deals 20 direct damage to adjacent enemies.  The monolith remains in place indefinitely, but no longer has a physical presence after the end of the turn it is placed (i.e. becomes like Rio, no longer blocking any pathing).**  You may have up to 3 monoliths placed at any time; placing a 4th monolith will immediately overwrite the oldest monolith.  Monoliths are labeled with 1, 2 or 3 dots, 1 being the oldest, so players can tell which will be overwritten.  (The player placing it will also see, when hovering over the move and debating placement of a new monolith, graphics suggesting that the oldest monolith will disappear upon such placement.)  Each pre-existing monolith deals 10 indirect damage (“passive monolith damage”) to adjacent enemies during Blast Phase (includes an enemy directly under the monolith).  (Enemies cannot take damage from more than 1 monolith per turn.)

Gain 4 energy on use, 6 energy per enemy hit, and 4 energy per enemy hit by passive monolith damage.

*Note:  This aspect could end up being massively overpowered.  I am unsure.  If so, it could just create low cover, or have no physical presence.

**Note:  There is good reason for this — I do not want players blocking off choke points and potentially trapping enemies forever.  Visually, the monolith could lift up into the air, or could become mostly transparent.

Crush (2 points) (default) — initial monolith placements deal 2 additional damage to adjacent enemies.
Radiation (3 points) — passive monolith damage increased by 2.
Tetra (3 points) — increase the maximum number of monoliths by 1.  Passive Monolith damage reduced by 4 and energy gain from passive damage reduced by 2.
Porous (1 point) — monoliths do not have a physical presence even on the turn they are placed.

2:  Empower Monolith (Blast Phase, Free Action).  Target an existing monolith to empower it, causing it to deal 10 increased (passive) indirect damage this turn.  Gain 3 energy.  3 turn cooldown.

Light Rock (2 points) (default) — Gain 3 additional energy on use and an additional 1 per enemy hit by the monolith’s passive damage.
Massive (3 points) — Increase the radius of the monolith’s damage by 1 this turn.
Grind to a Halt (2 points) — Enemies damaged by the monolith are slowed this turn.
Stone Skin (1 point) — Friendly targets adjacent to the monolith gain 10 shields next turn.

3:  Crystal Chain (Blast Phase).  Creates a chain of energy between two target monoliths (max 12 distance apart and max 12 distance from [Name]).  The chain lasts 2 turns.  (Chain is electric blue for allied Petrus chain, orange-red for enemy Petrus chain.)  Any enemy hit by the chain initially takes 25 direct damage; any enemy passing through the chain takes 25 indirect damage.  (Max 1 hit on each lancer per turn.)  Gain 8 energy per enemy hit by a chain.  4 turn cooldown.

Weak Force (2 points) (default).  Enemies hit by a chain are weakened next turn.
Long Chain (2 points).  No range limits on the ability.
Diamonds Are Forever (3 points).  The chain lasts an additional turn.
Unearthed (1 point).  Enemies hit by a chain are revealed until the end of the next decision phase.

4:  Rock Climb (Dash Phase).  Vertically dash to any location adjacent to (or underneath) a monolith (up to 10 distance).  Gain 10 energy.  6 turn cooldown.

Cave (2 points) (default).  Gain 15 shields until end of next turn.
Extensive Tunnels (2 points).  Increase the possible range for a location (to dash to) around the monolith by 1.
Power It Up! (3 points).  Also Empower the monolith this turn.
Parkour (1 point).  Gain haste next turn.

Ultimate:  Overload (Prep Phase).  Costs 100 energy.  Place a monolith as you would with your Raise Monolith ability (primary), but the oldest monolith does not disappear until the end of the turn.  Any pre-existing Crystal Chains are removed.  During Blast Phase, Empower all monoliths (including the one placed) (benefits from whatever mod you are using on Empower) and create Crystal Chains between all monoliths.  Crystal Chains created by Overload last only until end of the current turn, but benefit from both Weak Force and Unearthed regardless of what mods you are using.  (These Overload chains will have slight graphical differences from the normal ones.)  You gain energy as normal from the passive monolith damage and the Crystal Chains.

Over-overload* (2 points) (default).  Empowered monoliths and Crystal Chains each deal an additional 3 damage this turn.
Mountain Goat (2 points).  Reset the cooldown on Rock Climb.
Lightning Rod (3 points).  Gain Energized until end of next turn.  (This also increases energy gained during Blast Phase this turn.)
Unstoppable Force (1 point).  Gain Unstoppable this turn.

*Note:  I came up with this name before I saw Isadora’s mod called “over-overcharge.”  Sorry for the inadvertent similarity.

A Few Suggestions for Builds:

  1.  Radiation (3) — Massive (3) — Nothing (0) — Extensive Tunnels (2) — Over-overload (2).  This build is designed to deal high amounts of passive damage with Radiation and Massive.  The focus is on placing monoliths where they are likely to be disruptive.  Extensive Tunnels lets you have more flexibility with your dash, given that you are placing the monoliths aggressively for damage, and Over-overload adds some extra damage as well.
  2.  Nothing (0) — Light Rock (2) — Diamonds Are Forever (3) — Cave / Extensive Tunnels (2) — Lightning Rod (3).  This is an energy build with Light Rock and Lightning Rod.  We take Diamonds Are Forever to try to get as much value from our chains as possible, and Cave, Extensive Tunnels, or even Crush on primary with the remaining two points.  The goal, of course, is to get multiple ultimates.
  3.  Tetra (3) — Light Rock (2) — Long Chain (2) — Nothing (0) — Lightning Rod (3).  Slightly different take on an energy build.  Tetra lets us have more explosive ultimates, so we run Light Rock and Lightning Rod for more ultimates and to help offset the energy loss from Tetra.  Long Chain gives us more flexibility in connecting our spread-out monoliths (since there’s another one around) with a Crystal Chain.

I think there are some other good mods that didn’t make it into the above builds, for example Grind to a Halt (CC is good!), Parkour (Haste for 1 point!) and Mountain Goat (more dashes!).  Maybe you could make a fun kiting build with those mods, too.


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