Lancer Concept #2 — Holly

Holly the Hologram

Super Short Summary — Holly is a hologram created by Helio to help out with PR, but it turns out kicking ass is an important part of PR at Helio Corps.  Holly is a versatile and teamplay-oriented support.  Her primary is modeled after her BFF at Helio Corps, Zuki, but the explosion heals allies.  She also has an interesting trap, a defensive dash, and her main source of ally healing: an ability that makes the ally heal for a percentage of the damage it deals that turn.  Finally, her ultimate is modeled off the big man himself, Helio’s Echo Hammer, but it jumps to allies and enemies alike to deal damage and heal.  Smart teams will set up a chain of lancers for her to get maximum value.

Below is some commentary on my design process, which I think is interesting and sheds some light on Holly’s design.  CLICK ME TO SKIP THE COMMENTARY.


Hello everyone — this is my second lancer concept, a (much-needed) Support character.  Feedback welcome as always.

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.  I have included a little bit of background and an overall theme tying the kit together, but ultimately it is up to Kaivee 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 be giving a little commentary about my design process and thoughts about the lancer, as well as A Few Suggested Builds at the end.



The idea for Holly started with her “4,” Data Hijacking Module — though it wasn’t called that.  I thought it would be nifty to have a support that heals by giving an ally lifesteal (and the File Sharing mod was a natural extension of that).  There’s a lot of upside if you can land, say, a 2-man ult (100 damage = 50 healing), but a lot of downside, too — the ally might miss entirely, and even a regular shot for, say, 34 would result in only 17 healing — pretty unremarkable compared to practically any other healing ability on a support.  It’s rare that you know an ally is for sure going to land a big ability, so I think it may actually be on the weak side, but I think that’s okay.  I try to err on that side when introduce high-potential new concepts lest I create an overpowered monster.

The next idea I had was Blink.  I though a dash that basically served to avoid dash phase damage and provide a slow and weaken was a cool support tool.  I considered a lot of iterations of this ability — free action, 0-range dash, etc. (ended up putting both of those on the Wink mod, but didn’t necessarily consider them a package deal).  (Note: I think free action dashes should be used sparingly, if at all.  It’s not entirely an accident that the dash is 0-range on Wink; sure, it may be partly for balance reasons, but it’s weird to have a free action dash because…where is your character?  If you use a Blast phase ability, where does it shoot from?  What if your spot is taken?  (Blackburn deals with this a bit, somewhat unsatisfactorily.)  How effective will the user display and interface be for such an ability during decision phase?  Oz has, I believe, the only free action dash in the game right now, and there’s only one spot he can go, which can’t already be occupied, and the result of any other moves he does is the same because he and the Afterimage do the same moves.). Anyway, I decided to have Blink NOT be a free action by default because I wanted the slow and weaken to be baseline – this is, at its core, a kiting and defensive tool.  Towards the end of my design process, I decided to buff the range from 0 to 1.  Dodging dash phase damage is cool and useful, but the overall ability didn’t quite feel right.  I still think I’ve got a great fundamental concept here but there are definitely some levers I could tweak with the implementation.

From there, I added some other abilities that fit with the kit and fit Atlas, but weren’t already in Atlas.  Designing a new and original primary is in my opinion the hardest part of designing a new lancer.  I’m reasonably happy with the one I have, but it admittedly resembles something of a love child between Aurora and Zuki primaries.  Overall, I think she would play something like an Aurora / Su-Ren hybrid and would be quite fun, with good possibilities for advanced teamplay as well (lining up for her ultimate, maximizing Data Hijacking Module value, etc.).

The theme came later but seemed to fit her abilities well, in addition to the overall feel / attitude I was going for.

At the bottom of the page I have listed A Few Suggestions for Builds to give a little flavor and get you excited for how she might play.   But without further ado, here are the abilities and mods:


Holly Graham (“Holly“) the Hologram

Lore:  A hologram created by Helio to handle public relations for Helio Corps.  (I mean, after that nightmare with Isadora, and Helio’s general lack of enthusiasm about the new CelesTus ad campaign, he had to come up with something!)

(Note:  One thought, though not married to it, is that she could be devised as a ball that rolls or skitters around to move, and when it stops it re-projects the hologram above it — could have skins be two parts, the ball and the projection.  One skin could be retro sci-fi — think Judy Jetson)

Affiliation:  Helio Corps
Role:  Support
Hit Points:  140

Primary:  Electroblast (Blast Phase).  Launch a projectile up to 6 range.  The projectile explodes on contact with a wall or enemy, or at the end of its range (similar to Zuki primary).  The explosion deals 20 direct damage to surrounding enemies and heals friendly units (allies and self) for 10.  Gain 6 energy for each enemy hit and 4 energy for each ally hit.

Struck by Lightning (2 points) (default) — a direct hit on an enemy deals an additional 4 damage to that enemy.
Love Zap (2 points) — friendly targets hit by the explosion heal for an additional 2.
Surge (3 points) — allies hit by the explosion gain Haste next turn.
Zing (1 point) — allies hit by the explosion gain 2 energy.

2:  Holographic Cage (Prep Phase).  Creates a 2×2 holographic cage at a target location within 8 range (must have line of sight).  Allies within the cage gain Energized until end of turn.  Enemies traveling through the cage take 25 indirect damage.  The cage lasts until the end of Blast Phase (i.e. dashes and knockbacks will trigger it, but not movement during movement phase).  Gain 4 energy for each ally energized and 8 energy for each enemy passing through the cage.  4 turn cooldown.

Walls Beyond (Fire)walls (2 points) (default) — Can be targeted through walls.
Brownout (3 points) — Enemies initially within the cage are Weakened until end of turn.
Death Trap (3 points) — The cage now lasts through movement phase, but base damage is reduced to 20, and deals only 12 damage during movement phase.
Spectricity (1 point) — Gain an additional 2 energy for each enemy passing through the cage.
Charged Up (1 point) — Gain Energized next turn.

3:  Blink (Dash Phase).  Dash up to 1 square in any direction, and Slow and Weaken adjacent enemies.  You can move after dashing.  Gain 8 energy.  3 turn cooldown.

Rapid Eye Movement (2 points) (default) — Gain Haste until end of turn.
Unstoppablink (2 points) — Gain Unstoppable until end of turn.
Wink (3 points) — Now a free action, but the dash is now 0 squares (i.e. dash in place, dodging dash phase damage and applying the slow and weaken).  Increase the cooldown by 2.
Optical Defense Matrix (1 point) — Gain 10 shields until end of turn.

4:  Data Hijacking Module (“DHM”) (Prep Phase).  Mark a target ally.  The marked ally gains health equal to 50% of the damage it deals this turn.  Gain 5 energy.  4 turn cooldown.

Wireless (2 points) (default) — Can be targeted through walls.
File Sharing (3 points) — The marked ally heals for only 40% of their damage dealt, but you heal for 20% of their damage dealt as well.
Brute Force Cracking (3 points) — The marked ally also gains Might this turn.
Security Breach (1 point) — Enemies damaged by the marked ally are Revealed until the end of the next decision phase.

Ult:  Virtual Pyroelectric Network (“VPN”) (Blast Phase).  Costs 100 energy.  Shoots a bolt of pyroelectric energy at an enemy or ally up to 7 units away, dealing 35 direct damage or restoring 35 health, respectively.  The bolt jumps to other enemies or allies within 4 range (in a similar fashion to Echo Hammer), dealing 35 direct damage or restoring 35 health respectively.  No limit to the number of jumps, but cannot hit the same lancer twice.

Ethernet Connection (2 points) (default) — If only one target is hit, damage or heal the target for an additional 10.
Full Circuit (2 points) — Can jump to self as well.
Range Extender (3 points) — Increase the jump distance by 1.
Decryption (1 point) — Can jump to invisible enemies.


A Few Suggested Builds:

1.  Struck By Lightning (2) — Charged Up (1) — Rapid Eye Movement (2) — Brute Force Cracking (3) — Ethernet Connection (2)

Pretty simply, a solid all-around build with a focus on damage.  Struck By Lightning, Brute Force Cracking and Ethernet Connection all let us do some burst damage to a single target, Charged Up is great value at 1 point, and Rapid Eye Movement (or Unstoppablink vs. CC-heavy teams) is just a solid mod to let you kite and reposition.  Incidentally, gaining Energized next turn for only 1 point is very good, but I thought it was permissible on Holly because it’s not a cooldown you can really use frivolously, and she doesn’t have a reliable way of gaining a large amount of energy in one turn.

2.  Zing (1) — Brownout (3) — Optical Defense Matrix (1) — File Sharing (3) — Full Circuit (2)

Very defensive build.  We have File Sharing so we can get some healing for ourselves, too, and Full Circuit for basically the same reason (plus the ability to do a jump to self could open up additional targets for it).  Brownout gives a guaranteed weaken on the targeted enemy and could potentially even hit multiple enemies in the right scenario.  (Holly actually has a lot of combo potential with her creator, Helio, if he can Black Hole enemies into a small area.)  Optical Defense Matrix is a cheap way to get a little extra shielding, though if you think you’ll be dodging incoming damage with the dash regardless then you could opt for a different combination of mods on this and the primary (we take Zing just to do something interesting with our leftover point).

I leave the rest of the builds to you guys!

Note:  Some folks have suggested I add some more interesting mods on the ultimate.  That’s a possibility, although I actually think the current set of mods all do useful things in the right circumstances / team composition / etc.  Two suggestions were to increase damage or healing if the pattern directly alternates between ally and enemy, or to increase damage to the first enemy hit by the number of previous ally jumps and vice versa.  Those could allow for some very interesting planning but are hard to pull off.  Would you really pick either of those mods before a game and expect to get use out of it?  Hard to say.  That said, they’re neat ideas!  I don’t see why one or both couldn’t be added as mod options.  Depending on the numbers, they could realistically be anywhere between 1 and 3 points.  I won’t create them yet, but would of course love some more feedback.

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