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Aquatics in JWA: Thinking outside the box

Let me start by saying that I don’t intend for this post to be another “JWA Aquatic Update” thread, with suggestions for builds for certain aquatic creatures and how to implement them. I have nothing against those posts (I’ve even made some myself), but that just isn’t what this thread is about, and I don’t want to get derailed. This thread is more of a reaction to those kinds of posts, discussing one particular strategy for implementing aquatics, thinking “outside the box” (hence the title). I’ll be the first to say that my suggestion is flawed, but that’s why I’m here. I do think it has potential, and we might be able to work it into something usable.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let me start by saying that after a lot of thought, I don’t think most suggestions for implementing aquatics would work, and I’ll explain why so we can identify the specific issues with these strategies. Aquatic update suggestions can be quite diverse, but most of the ones I’ve seen tend to fall into one of two categories. The first category of suggestions treat aquatics entirely separate from the current terrestrial dinos, getting their own battle arena and sometimes their own map to spawn on. The other category of suggestions is to simply combine aquatics with the current dinos, spawning on the same map (preferably everywhere, since only spawning in real world water isn’t really fair) and sharing the same arena (going the pokemon route if levitating creatures or spawning in a puddle on the battlefield). The thing is, both of these approaches have problems.

With the first category of suggestions, you end up bloating the game. An aquatic-only map would be cool, but it would also nearly double the size of the game. Many players’ phones could not handle a file this large. They might as well just create a whole spinoff game. Creating an aquatic-only set of arenas would only fragment the playerbase. Plus, what’s the point of simply cloning the arena? I love my mosasaurus as much as the next guy, but why create an aquatic arena if you’re just getting the same old experience?

With the second category of suggestions, you run into the problem of breaking immersion. Many players would be able to look past this, but others could not. Besides that, having aquatics spawn normally on the map would flood the already crowded spawn pools with dozens of new aquatic spawns. It just doesn’t seem feasible. This solution is a bit less flawed than the first, but it also seems a bit boring, and the immersion-breaking in the area would be a deal breaker for many.

So looking at these two solutions and their problems, we can identify a few features that a “good” aquatic system should have. These would include:

A. Aquatics should spawn on the normal map…
B. …but not in a way that affects the existing spawns
C. Aquatics should be integrated into the current arenas…
D. …but not in a way that breaks immersion…
E. …and they should shake up the meta in a meaningful way.

With these points in mind, I tried brainstorming a solution that met all these criteria. For aquatic spawning, I’ll leave that to you guys. Maybe you can obtain them in a fishing or ROV mini game separate from the normal spawns? As for battles, I found myself inspired by the final battle in Jurassic World where the Mosasaurus shows up at the last second to assist in the fight. This eventually led to the idea of “aquatic assists”.

Aquatic assists would work like this. Each player would gain 2-4 additional team slots specifically for aquatics, of which you draw 1 per battle. However, you can’t field aquatics like normal dinos. You can only summon them on your turn (maybe on a cooldown) to use an ability before and in addition to your normal dino using an ability (essentially, your aquatic assisting your normal dino in the fight). Comparing JWA to some trading card games, Aquatics would function more like spells than creatures. When summoned, your aquatic bursts onto the battlefield in a torrent of water (like the Mosasaur jumping out of the water in Jurassic World), uses it’s ability, and then disappears. This means that aquatics (currently) don’t have any stats like most dinos do, but they do have a certain number of abities depending on their rarity (1 for commons, 2 for rares, 3 for epics, and 4 for legendaries/uniques). When you summon the aquatic, you also choose an ability for your aquatic to use that turn (so it isn’t limited to one ability like swap-in dinos). The cooldowns of each ability (which will be substantial) determine when you can summon the aquatic again. Weaker abilities allow them to be summoned again sooner, while using a stronger ability may put your aquatic out of commission for the rest of the match (this discourages simply using an aquatics best ability every time). Since aquatics have no attack stat, abilities would be almost entirely non-damaging, with the semi-exceptions of rend, Damage Over Time, and % based healing (note that self-targeting abilities affect your main dino, not the aquatic themselves). These abilities would include (but are not limited to):

Cunning:
Reduce opponents damage X% for X turns
Reduce opponents critical hit chance by X% for X turns
Apply X% chance to dodge X% of damage for X turns
Increase speed X% for X turns
Remove opponent’s damage and crit buffs

Fierce:
Destroy opponents shield
Rend X% of opponents health
Inflict X% damage over time for X turns
Increase Damage X% for X turns
Increase critical hit chance by X% for X turns
Prevent the opponent from swapping for X turns

Resilient:
Decrease opponents speed X% for X turns
Apply X% shield for X turns
Inflict X% vulnerability on opponent for X turns
Heal X% of your total hp
Remove opponent’s dodge/cloak

Neutral:
Cleanse all negative effects
Nullify all positive effects
X% chance to stun the opponent

These abilities fall within the class system, but also allow your dinos to break it to some extent. Maybe you can break a resilient’s shield so your cunning’s attack hits directly, give your fierce a speed boost to outspeed it’s resilient opponent, or give your dino’s next attack a 100% crit chance in a pinch. I strongly believe that combining abilities like this can create interesting depth in the game. So an aquatic may look something like this:

Now, I’ve still identified a few key problems with my suggestion, and I hope you’ll help me work through then.

  1. I’m acutely aware of how strong swap-in attacks are right now, and I don’t want to add fuel to that fire. As such, I focused mostly on non-damaging abilities, gave them significant cooldowns and even delays, and greatly limited the few abilities that can inflict damage (rend and dot). But I’m worried that this isn’t enough to balance them. There may have to be something else added to give opponents a way to counter aquatics.

  2. Without attacking moves, is there enough variety in the abilities? I personally think there is, especially when you combine abilities. But there’s always the possibility of them becoming stale when abilities are the same no matter what aquatic uses them.

  3. This is probably the biggest issue, from which several problems stem: aquatics don’t have stats. The reason why is that I couldn’t think of a way to include health or speed with the summoning system, and I purposefully avoided abilities that would rely on an attack stat. Like I said, this creates a few problems. Why would you use a common, when you can use an epic that uses it’s exact ability in the exact same way AND has access to other abilities? This also contributes to abilities feeling stale: if abilities are the exact same no matter what aquatic uses them, what’s the point of different dinos sharing abilities? Plus, what’s the point of collecting more DNA to level up your aquatics if a level 1 functions exactly the same as a level 30? They would have hybrids, but still. I think the clear solution here would be to implement stats for aquatics in some way, but I’m not exactly sure how. Speed could be added to determine when in the turn order an aquatics ability is used. This may mess with some interactions (like a speedy cunning attacking before their fierce aquatic assist has the chance to break the opponents shield), but this could be fixed fairly easily by giving some aquatic abilities priority. Health could also be added, with aquatics taking damage when you summon them to limit their usage - but what determines how much damage they take? Is it the same as the damage dealt by the opponent on that turn? Attack would probably be the easiest stat to add on paper (simply have aquatic assists do direct damage), but that also goes against all my concerns about not wanting to be as OP as swap in attacks can be.

You all are a thoughtful and critical bunch, so I’m sure you can think of more concerns too, and I’m eager to discuss them.

Anyway, that wraps up my suggestion. As much as I believe in the core of it, the main point is not that I think this is the one solution that will also make aquatics work, but that if we DO want to make aquatics work, we’ll have to get creative and come up with ways to add them that go beyond the traditional spawning and battle roles. Thank you for your time reading this post.

Do you think “aquatic assists” would be a good way to implement aquatics?

  • Yes, it’s a great idea
  • Maybe, but it needs some tweaks to work
  • It’s not bad, but I would prefer something else
  • No, it’s fundamentally flawed
  • No, I just don’t want aquatics in the game
  • Other

0 voters

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This aquatic assist thing sounds very interesting to me, would be interesting to see it implemented in game. This kind of reminds me of the mods in JWtG, I think that’s what those are? they give your creatures abilities and you can collect them from the raptor squad? Idk, but I think if done correctly this can be interesting addition to the game.

And I do have an idea on how to possibly collect them, may not be great but just an idea. So as you said, both ideas that are usually listed of having a different map and just having them spawn like normal creatures both have their issues, but maybe you can get aquatics from the map through scents? For example… a scent that can maybe turn your circle into water, like a lake, for limited time and it will spawn aquatics in there. I do think this can have its is issues however involving events, but I’m sure there some possible solutions.

5 Likes

Thank you!

Yeah anything that isn’t tied to the normal spawn pools

Maybe doing an aquatics only arena so there be a reason for them to have stats. Main arena they could be used as assist dinos. They are complicated to integrate, probably the reason why they haven’t been brought in.

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Could these assist Aquatics help in raids or no?

They might have their own arena, but then you run into the problem of splitting the playerbase again. Implementing them in any way will definitely be more complicated than it might first appear.

They could probably work in raids, but I haven’t thought through the specifics yet. If everyone had their own assist to work with, it might work, you just don’t want it to be too strong.

Or the can be integrated to tournament play only as another option.

Yeah maybe, but it would be a shame not to use them in standard play. Maybe they could swap between aquatics and terrestrials on the weekend (where one is the tourney, and the other is the normal arena). That’s if they play like standard dinos though, and I’d still like them to play a bit differently than the normal arena so it’s not just more of the same.

If they were implemented into raids, I think it may be possible for them to work as mods like in JWtG where everyone has the option to have an aquatic assist but it can only be used once. They could have multiple non-damage moves that simply effect the players or opponents in some way like you have described with cunnings distraction and resilients healing and such. And maybe its possible for the effects of a move to increase as you level the aquatic creature. For example, a creature with a distraction move distracts the raid opponent(s) by 25% or something, and as you level it up that distraction % goes up. But if they’re added to regular pvp battles this can be a difficult thing to deal with so idk how well this idea could work out in the end

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My initial idea was for them to be one use only, but then you would only use the best ability. Like on the Mosasaurus example, it would probably only use Finishing Blow - so what’s the point of having the other abilities? Why bother with a 100% crit chance or locking down the opponent when you can just do raw damage with the same consequence? So that’s why I added delays and cooldowns to the abilities, giving them more of a risk/reward to encourage using the other abilities.

Yeah I’ve thought about this too. But it’s exactly like you said. It may be hard to calculate stats (like who knows how to calculate 37% distraction in their head in the middle of a battle AND choose your normal dinos move on top of that). And sometimes buffs may be a bit granular or make some abilities useless at low levels (like what good is deceleration below a certain percent if you don’t outspeed any opponents, and everything above a certain point functions the same once you outspeed your opponent).

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This seems like a viable option to me. Been playing a lot of Disney Sorcerer’s Arena as of late and spells are prevalent there as well. Get the right synergy with a particular character and voila! Tho I won’t hold my breath, I think it would honestly make battling interesting again for the first time in a long time!

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First of all, I appreciate the time spent on this post. Secondly, having the aquatics as sort of assist creatures is something I’ve thought about too, but I could never think of a way to make them work that felt viable. I was probably inspired by that meme of a show Dinosaur King where pterosaurs and aquatic reptiles worked sort of like spells that interact with the main dinosaurs battling. That Mosasaur scene was definitely a factor too lol, funny to see other people look at it that way as well.

I’m definitely interested to see where this discussion goes

2 Likes

I have an idea of how variety in aquatics can make sense. Maybe add efficiency with aquatics? A land creature can be efficient with a specific aquatic creature, a specific rarity of multiple rarities, or maybe with all aquatics as a whole; in the same way, the creatures may be neutral to specific aquatics or rarities or aquatics as a whole, or may also be inefficient with certain aquatics or rarities or aquatics as a whole (kinda like the allies and rivals system I proposed a long while ago).

Speed: Summoning aquatics cal be a priority move, but what if the opponent also summons an aquatic at the same time? Speed of the aquatic can be effective then. Also, summoning aquatics may take a whole turn, and choosing a move can take another turn. Here, the speed of aquatics can be more relevant. Also, the aquatics can stay for one more turn depending on the efficiency (which can have a numerical value) of the creature with the aquatic.

Health: Rending-based attacks of the aquatic creature can initiate counter-attacks from the opposing creature. Plus, staying on the battlefield will initiate something DoT, which will be based on the creature’s efficiency with air - this stat can be called ‘breath’ and acts like ‘Dot X% of creatures HP for as long as it stays on the battlefield’, and the X will be based on ‘breath’(like more breath means lesser DoT per turn, and lower breath means more DoT per turn) (For eg, Metriorynchus, Nothosaurus, etc will have higher breath, while Gillicus or Leedsichthys will have lower breath). If the creature’s hp is 0, it will be knocked out. The land creature can have an option of forceful retreat of the aquatic. Also, the aquatic creature’s hp may also affect its attack (like it can decrease or increase the cooldown, % of the effect applied, etc.). Armor here can also act if the opponent attacks the aquatic (opponents may have moves which ‘Target: Opponent Aquatic’ or ‘Target: Self Aquatic’ or even ‘Target: Team aquatic’)

Crit Chance: May increase the % of effect applied.

My modifications make the use of aquatics in battle more of a mix of 2v2 and spells.
Efficiency might give some creatures an unfair advantage, but this will affect the meta. (Like Mortem rex may not have aquatic efficiency at all, But majungasaurus may have efficiency with a unique rarity aquatic).

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This is by far the best implementation of aquatics I’ve read about so far. As you stated in your post the other two main suggestions just don’t really work well but yours has potential

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shouldn’t the mosa have a non cooldown ability because as far as I could tell there is none

Since aquatics wouldn’t stay in battle the same as most dinos, they wouldn’t have non-cooldown abilities. The delays represent how many turns you need to wait before you can summon your aquatic to use said ability, and after you use an ability it’s cooldown determines how many turns you must wait before you can summon that aquatic again to use any ability. So for mosa you have to wait 2 turns before you can summon it to use Finishing Blow, and if you do you have to wait four turns before you can summon Mosa again to use any of it’s abilities. That way there’s more of a downside to using some of the stronger abilities. Specific cooldowns and delays can be tweaked, of course.

Stuns and damage need to be banned from this system in order for it to work, dracocera is balanced mainly by its poor 1v1 strength which aquatics bypass completely by not costing anything.

Stuns allow dinos to bypass their “weak” turns or get to their rampages and best moves without taking any hits. For animals that already have stuns this allows them to chain them (Sarcorixis i see being particularly OP with this)

Other than that it sounds like a good way to spice up the game, its been getting pretty stale.

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Also there’d need to be a counter or some way to protect yourself as you’d have to effectively play against animals the other player might not even have, something to lessen the unpredictability

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Thats definitely a very creative addition. I think I’d personally rather have aquatics be universally useful, so that you aren’t limiting what combinations players can come up with and use. If a particular combo is too strong, the aquatic ability can always get tuned down a bit or given bigger drawbacks.

Yeah speed would be important there. I think if they have a speed stat though, it would be cool to have it interact with the normal speed stat in some way.

Yeah having a turn delay between when you summon am aquatic and when you use the ability could be interesting, since it gives the chance to counter the aquatic. That may be one way to balance them.

If there is a counter attack initiated, it should happen whenever the aquatic uses any ability.

While I’m not sure aquatics should stay on the battlefield, I do like the idea of some sort of durability system affecting how many times you can use an aquatic. I probably wouldn’t tie it to real-life factors like breathing, but to level/rarity/class. Basically every time you get attacked, your aquatics durability goes down depending on how strong your opponent is. Every time you level up, your durability also increases. It still needs some thinking through though.

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