Hey! In this thread I’ll be going some popular issues and concerns involving Fade Away, Enemy Targeting and Hidden Machine, as well as noting the best (current) ways to actually get use out of such an important damage boost.
If you want a better understanding of where Hidden Machine fits in the formula and why it can be important, check [Guide] FL4K’s Damage Formula.
Let’s start by addressing the primary concern: Fade Away and Enemy Targeting .
Fade Away and Enemy Targeting
Being tracked during Fade Away has been a recurring issue with multiple complaints and reports, while also being supposedly a non-existent issue by some. In the spirit of clearing this up, here’s some information:
Do these issues actually exist?
Yes. Not only do they exist but they are also present in the hardest content the game has to offer currently (Takedowns), while also showing up in other maps.
Does everyone have them?
Unless there is some fundamental difference in regards to the Enemy Targeting between platforms, everyone should be affected by these issues. From there, it would be a matter of actually noticing them.
Is this actually a bug?
Part of it is arguably very much a bug, while the rest may or may not be intentional from Gearbox’s perspective. This is because there are different behaviors that enemies display whenever FL4K goes into Fade Away, and the ones that actually actively track FL4K during invisibility are the main issue.
When FL4K goes invisible, enemies may display different behaviors in regards to targeting them:
The “natural” behavior is for enemies to shoot the spot FL4K was last at. Then after some time they will stop and either lose or change targets, depending if FL4K’s pet is around. (This may or may not happen quicker with Galactic Shadow, i honestly have no clue if that even works.)
Some enemies actually can and will completely track FL4K during Fade Away. Some examples are Stinger Drones, some of Wotan’s Attacks, Sera lasers, Traunt’s Ice Barrier etc. Some melee enemies are weird and can both track FL4K but then lose target. Anointed Militants can track, Death can track (which is fine in this case), Badass Tink Turrets can track if they already had aggro, and so on…
Some enemies like Evil Eye Zealots have a tracking laser that follows FL4K during Fade Away all the time, but they don’t actually shoot at you, they just reproduce the first behavior.
Traunt displaying behaviors 1 and 2 by using the first ice wall and attacking the spot FL4K was at, and then summoning the second ice wall where FL4K is:
Takedown Stinger Drones (locked on after FL4K was already invis and tracked):
Every FL4K player should be getting enemy behaviors that fit in this, unless there’s some unknown fundamental difference/issue. I suspect there’s also cases of some people experiencing the first behavior with multiple enemies shooting and that causes them think they’re being tracked because they take damage to get out of the way. AoE enemy weapons also cause that feeling and are very dangerous + unpredictable unless you move completely out of the possible line of sights involved with the spot you were at.
The one thing that should be currently done when casting Fade (unless you’re just burning through it) is immediately at least move away a decent amount from the spot you cloaked. On 3-Shot, you have time to completely change position in a way that nothing will indirectly hit you. The enemies that do track while invisible are unavoidable, sadly.
Hidden Machine is a very important damage boost when talking damage formula, not only because of it being up to 30% V2 (FL4K’s usual lowest boost in general situations), but because getting V2 that also boosts non-weapon bonus elements is not too easy for general play. This makes the skill potentially very powerful, but its condition trigger can be a problem when we take into consideration the previous issues.
When does an enemy have “no target”?
When they never aggroed FL4K to begin with, or lose target of FL4K after a while like in the first behavior. If FL4K reaches an area already invisible before the enemy has spawned or noticed them, the damage done during that invisibility will have Hidden Machine’s boost applied on hit, even if the enemy starts to “attack” (entering a combat state). Keep in mind that due to being an on-hit boost, FL4K may lose that damage on the third shot of Fade if the enemy has enough time to switch their actual target to them.
When is an enemy attacking a “different target”?
There are different things that leads an enemy to switch targets from FL4K. The normal behavior i described earlier causes enemies to eventually lose target or switch target to the Pet if FL4K waits long enough. When FL4K was never aggroed to begin with, enemies will usually go after the pet. And then, finally, there is the aggro diversion mechanic: Pet Taunts.
In both of these situations, Hidden Machine will apply.
What about the enemy behaviors described before?
In all of those behaviors, FL4K is considered as targeted until the enemy either loses target or switches to the Pet. This means Hidden Machine will not be on against enemies that are shooting the spot FL4K was last at or that are still tracking them during Fade Away.
How you can make use of Hidden Machine
Going invisible before dropping into the arena/spawning the boss will put you at either the “No Target” or “Different Target” states due to the pet being present. If using a setup to burst the boss on the third shot, you’ll need that damage to reach it quickly enough before it switches aggro, which is not always achievable, but still possible. If using less bursty setups, the Not My Circus taunt will happen a bit after you burn Fade Away, which will cause a “Different Target” situation and thus you will have the Hidden Machine bonus applied. The bursty setups may run into a case of simply not needing the skill for this.
Going invisible before dropping into the arena/spawning the boss will put you at either the “No Target” or “Different Target” states due to the pet being present, and you’ll have Hidden Machine applied to your damage in both cases.
Red Fang is the easiest, ultimate access to this skill due to the taunt. A Three Tree setup at level 60 can get a decently higher average damage multiplier over an usual Gamma Burst Tree, while also having extra Fire Rate boosts. The cost comes as lowered Gamma Burst duration due to no Endurance.
While mobbing, it is important to note for some playstyles (like 3-Shot) that Hidden Machine’s maximum effectiveness and uptime go up with enemy tankiness and quantity, an example being that when Guardian Takedown launched at its harder state, Hidden Machine could be on pretty much the whole time while mobbing due to extremely easy cycling and insane uptime of the Not My Circus augment. This example still holds true right now, just at a slightly reduced scale.
There are situations/locations in which the enemy may be killed so fast that having Hidden Machine proves to be a waste of points. These are mainly the easier maps of the game, though.
Highly fits into an ASE playstyle, not only because you can end it quickly but because it has two augments that are essentially ASEs, all while still being able to utilize Fade itself for damage on some weapons. These augments are Until You Are Dead and Not My Circus, and our focus here is on the second: Not My Circus is an easily cycled Action Skill End augment that can get you great uptime on Hidden Machine while also providing great aggro relief. It is only second to Red Fang.
Mobbing with GITM is already in a weird spot currently, and you can’t really get much use out of Hidden Machine for it in this case. The best bet is to use the “No Target” trick of being invisible before the enemy actually spawned/noticed you, much like when bossing.
Same case as before: Red Fang is the easiest, ultimate access to this skill due to the taunt. A Three Tree setup at level 60 can get a decently higher average damage multiplier over an usual Gamma Burst Tree, while also having extra Fire Rate boosts. The cost comes as lowered Gamma Burst duration due to no Endurance.
When playing co-op, you should pretty much always grab it for any of the setups that already could make decent use out of it, unless you just don’t want the damage over something else. Rakk Attack can maybe get some good out of it too in this scenario, but it might not be worth the tradeoffs involved.
Here’s a great video by @Lazydata that addresses Hidden Machine and a bit more:
This pretty much wraps it up. It’s simple because it actually is simple once you understand the conditionals related to the skill and how you can play around it. Some of the Fade Away stuff is indeed in the buggy side of things and will hopefully be addressed by Gearbox, but right now there are a good amount of ways to make sure you’re not wasting this boost. Thanks for reading and feel free to ask any questions!