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How Scytherus works

ShecksShecks Member Posts: 1,138 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
edited September 27 in The Matsuhama Arena

So, here's how it works. I'm explaining this because (said with love), this needs to die. This is awful :). I'd keep this close to the vest but it's literally useless so may as well throw it out there. At the end I'm going to suggest an improvement to this, as this is way too much info for a classlead.

A table exists for each player, which is effectively a list of boolean flags representing venoms that you are due for a relapse of. If you're hit with a venom (*with some exceptions) while you have scytherus, this is set to true. This table looks, exactly / almost exactly, like this (specifically in this order):

shecks.relapse_flags ={
   oleander = false,
   digitalis = false,
   curare = false,
   vernalius = false,
   voyria = false,
   kalmia = false,
   colocasia = false,
   eurypteria = false,
   delphinium= false,
   larkspur= false,
   oculus= false,
   aconite = false,
   gecko = false,
   xentio = false,
   euphorbia = false,
   vardrax = false,
   darkshade = false,
   epseth = false,
   epteth = false,
   monkshood = false,
   prefarar = false,
   notechis = false,

When you're hit with a venom, a timer is created on your player (or in the case of doublestab/DSL etc, two timers are created), with integer value 1-10 seconds (specifically integers, not that it matters).

Once each timer elapses, provided you still have scytherus, a function is executed which loops through the above table and relapses the first venom in the above list that is set to true that it encounters, while setting it to false. If no venom is set to true at the end of the list, then it relapses you with nechamandra instead.

(ex: if you hit someone with aconite, vardrax, notechis, then curare, they will relapse curare, aconite, vardrax, notechis, at times that have essentially nothing to do with the timing of the original affliction landing. If you kept afflicting with venoms high in the list, you might never see vardrax and notechis relapse at all)

As everyone likely already knows, players also have a flag to indicate if scytherus has been "triggered" by camus, after which set to true, all relapses will relapse as Camus (except that those that don't, of course - see below). This flag gets set back to false whenever scytherus gets healed.

This logic is extremely wonky for so many reasons. First of all, there's no rhyme or reason to it at all, it's completely arbitary. Even the order of the venoms is completely arbitrary.

Secondly, there are tons of weird things that come out of this, like the fact that you can permanently keep things low in the list from ever relapsing by constantly re-afflicting with things high on the list. There is no reason to ever do this, it's just a thing that exists.

Additionally, the timing of the relapses themselves makes the Scytherus venom basically useless as relapses don't give a 3rd person line (with exception of paralysis which has its own 3p line from paralysis itself).

To make matters worse, there are a lot of bugs with this system:

  • Prefarar doesn't relapse if it strips deafness (but does if it gives sensitivity)
  • Sumac ignores the the camus trigger flag (relapses as sumac no matter what)
  • Selarnia doesn't relapse at all (including as camus)
  • Scytherus itself doesn't relapse at all
  • On several rare occassions, a venom relapsed twice - like this: https://ada-young.com/pastebin/GhmY22JE
  • Loki can fail to relapse if it lands on a venom that's listed as broken above.


Due to the RNG timing of the relapses combined with what is effectively a completely unpredictable relapse system (described above), not only do you not know when they're relapsing, but you also don't know what they're relapsing. To an experienced fighter, this is worse than doing nothing because your opponent may be (or may not be) curing afflictions you don't even know they have, making it impossible for you to keep track of what they're curing, what affs have relapsed, what affs haven't, etc. They might only have scytherus but be due for a darkshade relapse, and if they eat ginseng, you don't know if they cured scytherus or darkshade, in which case, you don't even know if a darkshade relapse is going to happen at all. (there is a special irony here because serpent pets were changed from giving Loki because it made it too hard to track opponents curing, and now that they give scytherus instead, they still do).

essentially, I always thought that nobody used scytherus because they don't know how it works. Now, we know how it works, and nobody will use it because of how it works. Beyond that, we had our serpent pets that used to be useful recoded to give Prone and Scytherus which are both effectively useless (if not harmful in the case of scytherus) prior to a full lock. We also had Scytherus itself reworked to give Nechamdra, which is also effectively useless prior to a full lock.

The serpent loyal change, the scytherus change, and the addition of nechamandra have all effectively made the class worse. The change to disrupt (making it temporary) made the class worse, which artificially created a need for Nechamandra (canceling out the change to disrupt since you just made it permanent via shivering anyways).

I've had people tank upwards of 15 consecutive camus relapses (with silver fangs) without dying, without sipping health/moss while locked, and yet @Makarios has stated that he thinks camus/relapse kills shouldn't really be a thing that exists. This is strange to me as it's literally the only legitimate use case for Scytherus at all, and also it's the only reason silver fang artefacts exist (to make your relapses do 15% more damage to help counter both Antidoes and Venom damage reduction).

Scytherus could be a really unique, useful part of the kit. In fact it's really the only venom in the entire Venom skillset that's unique to serpent, so it stands to reason that it kinda should be actually useful. If Scytherus was changed to be useful, it would also solve the issue of the serpent loyal being virtually useless. Also worth noting that damage kills with scytherus/camus are basically the only way to kill Psions who know how to cure.

What I would suggest, at a bare minimum, would not be a buff, but a "fix" to scytherus to basically work the way that everyone more or less expects it to work. Have it relapse venoms that you give a few seconds after you give them. Simple. None of that above nonsense. Critically, also add a 3rd person line to relapse so it is not a net negative to the serpent by adding massive amounts of confusion/uncertainty to the fight. I'm like 70% sure this used to exist anyways - and if so, please bring it back.

on next classleads, I'll suggest some more specific alternatives to how both scytherus or pet could work, with this post as a reference.

(disclaimer, all jabs are purely for fun, nothing meant here but positive criticism noting we all know scytherus code is olllllld stuff that probably hasn't been touched at the lowest levels since the release of Serpent)

Post edited by Shecks on


  • ShecksShecks Member Posts: 1,138 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    edited September 26

    Also, you can tumble out of noose, and your own allies walking into the room cancels it. Icewalls can be cast over lightwalls but lightwalls can't be cased over icewalls (or other walls) despite being a requirement for our kit to work (or something like this, it's totally random). Aiming is a meme. Sleeplock is dead thanks to new Endurance interaction and prevalence of dragons and WP arties, and we can't punish or counter perma metawake in any way. Star sigil and Battering Ram both neuter Evade heavily, and several new incurable afflictions prevent it completely (e.g. hamstring). Illusions are basically dead now thanks to SS and GMCP, except to screw over people who automate sloppily. Serpent's primary form of defence, dodging, boosted by Weaving and legendary mounts as well as its primary stat, Dex - does absolutely nothing in modern combat except versus Tekura and Knights. Expert Diagnose got straight bulldozed, and Nimble now gives is an extra damage taken penalty. There are absolutely no use cases for Whips - why do they exist? Execute is arguably worse than behead aside from being cooler (as it gives damage and wakes people up).

    Serpent could be a lot more than just Snipe and a quick and easy anorexia/slickness dstab in 2v2s. Some of the above changes were understandable, but I think one chip at a time has left us with very little remaining, and what was given back to keep it balanced (Execute, Nechamandra???) basically turned out to be a dud.

    We are also the only class that has to stand still and do nothing for 10-20 seconds before we are allowed to fight (Hypnosis), and can be all but fully reset with a couple of shields/reflections or a single lucky tree touch.

    Darkshade / lightwall is basically the only reason the class works at all. I've heard people are coming after this, but please think carefully a iut that because without darkshade fork, the class is basically just DWC that doesn't do any damage.

    Post edited by Shecks on
  • AnielAniel Member Posts: 6

    "with integer value 1-10 seconds (specifically integers, not that it matters)."

    Everything in Rapture is integers. Literally everything. The engine outright can't handle decimals, so having something with a variable time is likely easier to handle with flat numbers.

  • ShecksShecks Member Posts: 1,138 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    edited September 26

    Miliseconds (and game ticks) are integers. Eat an herb, and tell me if it takes either 1 or 2 seconds of herb balance :p.

  • AccipiterAccipiter Member Posts: 829 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent

    That makes venom useless then. Good to know you can do pretty much everything with just trans sub and nothing else.

  • ArgwinArgwin Member Posts: 178 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished

    @Aniel Is this why the cowculator can't handle decimals? What the poop?

  • ShecksShecks Member Posts: 1,138 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent

    @Accipiter not sure if in-line doubslestab works with vials or only transcrete, so you'd be vulnerable to missing venoms on dstabs with stupidity. Also couldn't MC if it tritrans, and wouldn't have access to loki/haemo bites but Loki is 100% useless and haemo uses are extremely obscure. In principal though you're right.

  • ShecksShecks Member Posts: 1,138 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    edited September 27

    So here's an idea for Scytherus. It is not perfect but it's a concept that I think is better all around by enriching the class with alternative kill routes that critically don't overlap much with existing paths . Scrap what exists, replace with:

    While afflicted with Scytherus, it will relapse with the last venom you were afflicted with every 5 seconds. However, if certain combinations of venoms have been delivered (since Scytherus added), it will instead relapse with alternative affliction:

    anorexia, slickness, asthma, and weariness: impatience

    Asthma, weariness, clumsiness: lethargy

    Addiction, nausea, and haemophilia: confusion and drains 1,000 endurance

    any three mental afflictions (focusables): paralysis and drains 1,000 willpower

    Any two body afflictions AND player has hypersomnia: Distracted (new non-focusable goldenseal aff that disables/prevents Metawake and makes Focus take double the balance time. A player cannot have impatience and Distracted at the same time. Impatience "cures" distracted when delivered.).

    Any four mental afflictions: smart aff from mental venom list e.g. anorexia > stupidity > dizziness > shyness (shyness would hit first).

    Camus: relapses with 1, 2, 3, 4, 5x etc damage every 5s tick until cured. (Making it effectively an instakill at 25s).

    All normal relapses have a generic 3p line. The unique combinations should have their own unique 3p line. Obviously, only one of these should be in effect at a time, probably going with whatever combination struck last.

    In exchange for this, reduce Darkshade tick rate to 2s instead of 1.6 (makes it a 20s threat instead of 16s). Scytherus also afflicts with far fewer sffs overall.

  • GallidaGallida Member Posts: 270 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished

    If you buff scytherus, you're indirectly buffing Pariah.

    Until next time!

  • ShecksShecks Member Posts: 1,138 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    edited September 27

    not technically asking for a buff, asking for it to work the way basically everyone though it worked / should have worked all along. If I may be so bold, I don't think a single (non-admin) person in the game knew it worked as described above until now. Making it just relapse things in a sensible way would not be a buff from a player perspective, it would make it work how we thought it already did.

    Also, you only relapse venoms, and pariah (in 1v1) doesn't give more than one venom at a time (voyria) so this would never take effect for Pariah. Relapsing works more or less exactly how you'd expect it to, with aff. It's not until you give 2+ affs that it starts acting uncontrollably.

  • MizikMizik Member Posts: 2,272 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited September 27

    This is a cool data set. Thanks, Shecks.

    Darkshade being stackable is a non-competitive rng fork that punishes by killing outright, unlike forks with proper endgame pushers in other classes. It is inherently broken by virtue of just giving a free kill. A proper darkshade fork would push other avenues of killing, by pushing for example paralysis -> scytherus -> camus, or similar. Anything that accidentally ends a fight does not qualify as balanced.

  • FarrahFarrah Member, Secret Squirrel Posts: 2,703 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited September 28

    I got stuck on the part of the OP that seems to imply serpent is a weak class. Serpent's only weaknesses are immunity, lyre, and expunge. It is otherwise almost absurdly strong.

    Edit: aerial too, I suppose.

  • SaonjiSaonji Member Posts: 1,014 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent

    Yeah but Shecks is better and more knowledgeable than you Farrah.

  • TihTih Member Posts: 6

    I dislike that there is a non-indexed table being used to demonstrate ordering.

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