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Bluddy
03-02-2011, 08:00 AM
Easy access links: PLEASE NOTE: this mod requires patch 1.025! It is not compatible with any other version.

Here is a Google drive link to the mod (https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B4-P7nVlQiDzVHpEdGZrcmFRdmc?usp=sharing). You want the file assetsbal.zip. Just drop it into your Din's Curse/Assets directory.

The 2nd file is needed only if you have the expansion. It's assetsbalexp.zip in the same link. Drop it in your Din's Curse/Expansions/Demon War/Assets directory.

----------------------------

Please take everything said here to be my personal opinion.

Din's Curse is an awesome game -- I wouldn't spend so much of my time modding it if I didn't think so. If you just found out about DC, I recommend that you play it as it is and enjoy it. After a while, you may find yourself wishing for specific balance changes to suit the long term progress of the game. If so, you may find what you desire in this mod.

The way I see it, a game like DC requires a huge amount of time to balance. The game goes on for 100 levels and has numerous aspects, including the questing system (which is the real star). Look how long Blizzard takes to develop Diablo sequels -- I'm pretty sure a big chunk of that time is spent balancing the game. A small one-man developer like Soldak can only afford to do that for a certain period of time before they have to work on the next game. I'm very grateful that Soldak made DC as moddable as it is, allowing me to go and change things at will. Shadow has even added modding commands that weren't necessary for the vanilla game just to allow us modders to be happy.

While this mod started out by making just a few small changes to the skills, it has now evolved to touching almost every part of the game. The main guideline I go by is that the mod must remain compatible with the vanilla game. If you uninstall the mod, your character should work fine with the vanilla game. An optimal vanilla character may not be an optimal mod character, but a character can always switch. However, I highly recommend that you back up your characters before applying the mod. I don't have much time to put into the mod or to test it, and it's possible that I could mess up in one of the versions and cause something that destroys your character. I take NO RESPONSIBILITY for messed up characters.

Every version of the mod contains a changes.txt file inside which lists almost every change I made. There's also a readme.txt file that explains the changes more comprehensively, but I haven't updated that in a while... it takes too long and slows me down.

Among the changes I've already made:
- NEW: If you have the expansion (and why wouldn't you?), NPCs will have status effects showing what they've been up to. I can't do this for everything they do, but I can for quite a few things.
- All spells can be powerful throughout the game without requiring a Mastery.
- A big change from the vanilla game is the way mages work: in the mod, magic power flows into you so long as you can handle it. What this means is that your mastery will go up so long as you have resistance against that element. So a fire mage will become extra strong if he can increase his fire resistance ie. fire mastery is not a skill you invest in, but a result of your fire resistance. The same applies to the Ice Mage and to the Sorcerer.
- The first few levels of the game have been made more difficult and therefore more interesting.
- The speed of mobs and the player is slower to allow ranged characters more time to shoot.
- Difficulty levels (champion, elite, legendary) have been adjusted to be more reasonable in terms of mob HP and mob speed.
- Weapons have different characteristics, producing different amounts of special hits and have different durabilities.
- Crushing blows, critical hits and deep wounds are more rare, making them more special and something you need to work hard at to earn.
- Stat bonuses have been reduced to prevent them from overpowering the late game.
- General inflation of percentages and stat points has been reduced to make 100 levels scale more reasonably.
- Annoying enemies have been made more fair. For example, when the amorph dies, his mini-amorphs are frozen in place for a couple of seconds to let you get away.
- Potions and enchantments last past death and their effects stack more, so they're a really good investment.
- Modified almost all skills for better balance (IMO). Almost every skill should be useful, though different combinations will work well to different degrees.
- Pets scale to your level. This makes all pet spells much much more useful.
- Passive mana regen is a bigger part of the game.
- Mana is fairly balanced throughout the 100 levels of the game and is a bigger part of the game.
- Stamina is more important to conserve for some characters. It's a real strategic resource now.
- Durability is an important factor in the game, with obsidian and crystal weapons getting much bigger boosts as a result.
- Certain skills were swapped between trees to make them more useful. For example, the assassin now has a skill to distract people with.
- Totem effects stack so that several totems in an area can make it very dangerous. This makes them more important to take out.
- Mail and plate armor were made more powerful (especially plate) so they have really good absorption.
- Cooldowns were added to every attack skill in the game, so that only classes with multiple attacks can sustain continuous skill usage. This also prevents the strategy of investing in just one attack skill for the whole game.
- Certain skills are considered 'super-skills' and have longer cooldowns. Examples are whirlwind and ice storm.
- Loot and money have been reduced quite a bit from the vanilla game. This makes weaponsmiths, armorsmiths and vendors a bigger part of the game.
- Missing animations were added to doors closing. This makes them feel polished and makes closing doors feel like a tactical option (use alt + click).
- Monsters mages are far more powerful, and possess many more spells.
- Faction relations are more interesting than in the base game.
- Monster animations now adjust based on their attack times, which are different for each monster. This means when you slow monster attacks down, they really will be slower (unlike vanilla).
- It's now really hard to obtain all elemental resistances at once. Fire vs Cold, Poison vs Lightning -- gaining one reduces the other with a few minor exceptions. This means that it's also harder to be an effective fire + ice mage.
- To make repair a bigger part of the game, many of the smiths in town will not know how to repair your items. If you don't have anyone who can repair your stuff, get another smith (via quest) or make good use of wandering vendors.
- You're given less light intensity to begin with. In a dark town, you'll really want some +light intensity to see. On the plus side, lamps now have a stronger effect.
- Several lighting tweaks, such as fireballs lighting up their surroundings better.
- Many small bug fixes.

In general, I tried not to modify the cost of skills, because that's one thing that really hurts compatibility with the vanilla game. There's one exception though: passive skills go up in cost twice as fast as regular skills. I felt this was necessary for balance in the late game. This means that a character that played the entire game with the mod will be more true to the balance I envisioned, but you can still play with a vanilla character as well.

Another incompatibility with the vanilla game involves items. Durability in this mod increases a lot less than it does in the vanilla game. Items from vanilla will have much higher durability for the most part. Also, mail and plate armor in the mod will spawn with higher values than they do in the vanilla game, but this shouldn't be a big issue. You can always store them away in the stash if you don't want them for your vanilla games.

This mod is a WORK IN PROGRESS. It's incomplete, and there will be portions that aren't done, though it's getting closer and closer to completion. The weakest parts right now are the mages: they're balanced for the old monster HP, so they do way too much damage with their spells. But feel free to comment with any suggestions or complaints. Also, if you have characters above level 10, I'd love for you to PM them to me. Every character I get allows me to test the mod better.

PLEASE NOTE: this mod requires patch 1.025! It is not compatible with any other version.

My LibreOffice workbook, which grows all the time, is 'dins curse armor absorption.ods', found in the same link above. I used to use excel, but now I have a Mac and don't want to pay for Office, and LibreOffice is free for all. Also, google docs can't handle spreadsheets big enough for what I need.

I recommend my UI Mod (http://www.soldak.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4652) for a visual layout that makes it easier to monitor those things that are more essential in this mod: HP, mana and stamina.

Bluddy
03-02-2011, 08:20 AM
This is a list of skills that either need non-linear balancing aka they don't scale, or they have some other issues that I was able to pick up on:

Pure offensive skills
-------------------
Charged Strike
Holy Bolt
Holy Strike
Holy Symbol
Life Burn
Holy Fire
Fiery Blast
Fireball
Sweeping Flames
Immolation
Volcano
Maelstrom
Arctic Shard
Frost Nova
Ice Storm
Shatter - needs nerfing. At least until people get used to using other skills :)
Arcane Blast
Arcane Swarm
Immolation Trap
Freezing Trap
Net Trap
Earthquake
Shadow Bolt
Dark Sacrifice
Bolt of Gloom
Bone Shatter - the status effect is linear
Lightning
Chain Lightning
Ball Lightning
Thunderbolt
LightningSwarm
ShockWave
Tornado
Viper Venom
Death Blow
Exploding Arrow

Shield Skills - Most of the shields have a linearly growing amount of HP which doesn't keep up at all with the monster damage
(EDIT: actually I checked again and that's not quite true. Only 1 or 2 have HP. Some others are still not good choices though.)
-----------
Holy Shield
Shield of fire - reflects back percent damage and raises resistance. Probably needs to go higher to be worthwhile.
Ice Armor - adds to armor linearly
Magic Shield
Energy Shield - reflects back percent damage and raises defense. Looks pretty good actually.

Miscellaneous Skills
------------------
Disarm Trap - I've seen it reported (in the DoP thread) that this doesn't scale well.
Regeneration
Armor Melt
Rupture Armor
Poison Arrow - the Poison Arrow status is linear
Combustion
Bark Skin - armor boost is linear and insignificant in later levels
Nature's Revenge
Blight - already non-linear. Just need to check that it's enough.
Breech - has an armor component that's linear.
Wampir Blood
Inferno - already non-linear. Just need to check that it's enough.
Blood Sacrifice - may need to reduce self damage non-linearly because HP IS linear.
Gut - already non-linear. Just check it's enough.
Marked For Death - armor component is linear.
Curse of Pain
Block - I've seen it said that this needs a cooldown time of 5-10.

Summons - these will take me a while to calculate, because while they get a much lower level than you over time, they also get buffs.
-----------------
Lure
Chaos Lord
Scree
Fury
Skeleton
Skeleton Archer
Raise Dead - The only truly powerful pet spell. Pick a pet of any level.
Ice Ward
LightningWard - are the wards useful at all? The stats seem very disappointing, but I've never tried them.
FireWard
PoisonWard
Circle of Protection - are these useful?
Circle of Power

Masteries
---------
Fire,
Earth - not much use. Earthquake is the only affected offense spell. Crisses suggested that it should enhance poison as well.
Demon? - I can only tell after I do the math for summons.

Did I miss anything?

alstein
03-02-2011, 03:18 PM
The charges to the circles for demonologists do make them very useful.
I don't think they need help- though they may tail off at very high level.


Can you throw stat variables, or level variables into skills via modding, could that be added in a patch?

Like make a spell do .5-1*INT damage? Or make a damage .5-1*LVL damage?

Bluddy
03-02-2011, 03:46 PM
The charges to the circles for demonologists do make them very useful.
I don't think they need help- though they may tail off at very high level.

OK. I'll have to check those out.

Can you throw stat variables, or level variables into skills via modding, could that be added in a patch?

Like make a spell do .5-1*INT damage? Or make a damage .5-1*LVL damage?

No it's not possible with the current commands. Shadow would need to provide the means to do it. Aside from the fact that it would be a radical departure from the current skill formula though, I also wouldn't want to do the crazy balancing such a change would entail.

Maledictus
03-02-2011, 05:49 PM
I'm confused, yet again. What is the aim of all this? (1) To make a balance change mod or (2) to get suggested changes into the game (after testing/verifying) ?
The point is, as I've said earlier, that it's absolutely necessary for the design goals for the original game to be clear before option 2 is even considered. For the record, I'm against option 2.

Bluddy
03-03-2011, 03:29 AM
Let me explain (again) just so it's in this thread.

The monsters in the game get dramatically stronger (HP); are more dangerous (damage); hit better (attack); defend better (defense) and move faster as the game progresses. Every class needs to get more powerful with time just to keep up. It's not even enough to stay as powerful relative to the monsters -- you need to get more powerful relative to them or you won't make it.

Most classes can do this because of their items, their stats, and their skills, which scale relative to their abilities ie. they're non-linear. Some skills don't scale relative to the abilities, and those skills are currently broken at the higher levels. The rule of thumb is, every skill must be a viable choice on its own. There's a very good thread in DoP about this. http://www.soldak.com/forums/showthread.php?t=761

Consider the following scenarios:

a) A warrior mage, who wants to use 1 spell from the mage skills (not Shatter). He'll have to sink a whole bunch of points into the skill just to keep it up, but he simply won't be able to keep it useful as he gets into the upper levels of the game. It'll be much more worth his while to just invest in his scaling warrior skills -- the mage skill will gobble up his skill points and give him almost no return towards the late game. And that's just 1 skill!
b) A thief who wants to use one of the skills I mentioned above, say, viper venom. The skill will get useless over time. It's just not worth its points.
c) A full mage can barely function in the high levels because of these problems. There are a few partial solutions for a mage (as Manumitted found), but they're all very partial and shouldn't be necessary:
- A mage can have at most 3 skills because of all the skill points that are needed to keep those skills up. And they STILL won't keep up with the bad guys (Assuming he doesn't turn to Shatter which is the only good spell).
- The mage can use mastery to make his skills more viable. But he'll have to take mastery all the way up for it to be worth anything, and then he'll have only 2 viable skills. And even then, he won't be powerful enough for the endgame -- just barely powerful enough. His other option is to take mastery + 1 other skill, which will be powerful enough.
- The mage can take advantage of a high percentage criticals from high intelligence. But he has to get items to boost his intelligence and crits. And even this won't help him much in the later game. And this is not a solution for area spells, which are the mage's specialty.
- The mage can use cast time items to speed up his spells. But this will only work on spammable spells, not on any spell with a cooldown timer. And these are very rare. It's also not clear his mana will be able to keep up with the pace.
- A combination of high mastery, cast time items, high intelligence from items, and choosing only spammable spells will probably make the mage sufficiently powerful by the end game. Only 2 spammable spells will be possible though. And I'm not sure he'll have enough mana to be effective.
d) A mage who wants to use any of the shield spells is screwed. None of the above solutions will help boost shield spells.
e) Any dual class or full class that wants to use summoning spells at a high level will have to pour mountains of points into that spell just to keep the monsters barely able to function at their level. On the other hand, they can just choose the necromancer's raise dead spell, which will give them a monster at their level instantly and even boost its powers.
f) A druid who wants to use barkskin will find it increasingly ineffective since armor is nonlinear while barkskin's armor boost is linear.

The same applies to all the other spells I mentioned.

As to whether these fixes will eventually be incorporated into the game -- I hope so. We'll do our best not to veer too far from the original game's design. If not, this will remain a balance mod -- one that I hope everyone will want to use.

alstein
03-03-2011, 06:46 AM
Magitek's mod has some good ideas for new skills/revamps.

I do think one change that would help is making the stat bonuses with classes just pick the highest one, not add up, but unsure if that's doable. Would be a huge nerf to warriors, and nerfing isn't something I want to do.

Honestly, it sounds like many of these changes would be as simple as increasing the boost per level of the skills.

Like barkskin could be +25, +55, +90, +130 improve by more per level not less. Without some sort of stat based system, I think that's all you'd be able to do through a mod.

Could be wrong though.

Maledictus
03-03-2011, 06:51 AM
Sorry to make you type all that again, bluddy, but you missed the point. I know what you think the -problem- is, I wanted to know in what the shape the -fix- is going to be cast. Hence the question: will the result be a mod or will the result be put in the game. But now I know what direction you want to go for.

Crisses
03-03-2011, 07:47 AM
Like barkskin could be +25, +55, +90, +130 improve by more per level not less. Without some sort of stat based system, I think that's all you'd be able to do through a mod.


It's possible to improve more by level, but not as straightforwardly as +25, +55 etc. There's a "factor" per level which looks more like 1.1

I believe that means for example:
BaseDamage + (((per-level-damage + (levelFactor * charLevel)) * (skillLevel - 1)) )
(is that right, Bluddy?)

Such that a 50 level mage with a level 5 skill gets:

15 + ((15 + (1.1 * 50)) * (5-1)) = 295 damage.
Without the damage having a per-level multiplier, whether the character is level 10, 50, or 100, the base damage at Level 5 for this skill would be

15 + (15 * (5 - 1)) = 75. Useless. This example brought to you by the maximum damage for FireyBlast.

I am NOT saying the per-level factor should be 1.1 for this skill, I'm just giving an example of how I THINK the per-level factor works. At level 50, monsters are approximately 280 HP (oops, multiplied by their Champion or Elite difficulty level bonus!!) not counting champions, elites, and the fact that when you're in a level 50 dungeon, the monster difficulties go up per depth. And that's the max damage per fireyblast which is of course random damage. FireyBlast is a 1-target no-splash spell, and basically spammable, which I think it should be.

Bluddy
03-03-2011, 08:10 AM
Yes exactly Crisses. The problem with just increasing the bonuses per level to make everything work in the endgame, is that you'd be making the mages superheroes for most of the game. If you look in my charts, it's like drawing a straight line from the bottom left of the monster HP line to the top right -- this would be your skill line. But such a line would be way too high for the entire mid-section of the game, where monster HP is much lower.

The issue is that monster HP is a nonlinear function built out of 4 line segments of different slopes, and it approximates a quadratic function. We need quadratic functions to keep up in a way that doesn't ruin the mid-game. It's pretty much what you wrote, Crisses ie. we add a certain amount each level and multiply by a factor. We can do this using the same commands Shadow uses for the masteries. We'll also probably need to decrease the mastery buff because adding too much to the factor makes the functions grow insanely fast.

Balance is really important here. I don't want anything to become too overpowered or too weak, and it'll be easy to cause both, especially with quadratic functions. Of course, given the fact that DPS is still running rampant among warriors and others, maybe we shouldn't worry too much about overpower. Still, I'd like to maintain a balance, at least with the mage classes.

I started work on a dynamic chart on the last page of my excel book that can show up to 5 old spell graphs vs 5 new (ie adjusted) spell graphs. That should really help with balancing power. Once that's done I'll start playing with the values. There's also a 'quad' page that lets you play with the factors of 2 quadratic functions and see how they react, to get a feel for it.

alstein
03-03-2011, 02:57 PM
It's a lot easier to increase difficulty then decrease it. Overpowering is not a concern really. People like to be overpowered anyways.

Bluddy
03-03-2011, 03:10 PM
It's a lot easier to increase difficulty then decrease it. Overpowering is not a concern really. People like to be overpowered anyways.

I also thought so initially, but think about the first town and how easy it is... it's fun for the first couple of minutes, but the monsters are so weak, any character can kill them with one hit and monsters can't put a dent in the player's HP. It's boring until you get close to the 10th level.

I agree that people prefer to be overpowered rather than underpowered in general, but DC is designed to overwhelm you, and I'd expect it to mostly attract people who like challenges.

Manumitted
03-03-2011, 04:21 PM
Let me explain (again) just so it's in this thread.

c) A full mage can barely function in the high levels because of these problems. There are a few partial solutions for a mage (as Manumitted found), but they're all very partial and shouldn't be necessary:

- The mage can take advantage of a high percentage criticals from high intelligence. ... And this is not a solution for area spells, which are the mage's specialty.

I don't understand this part. Are you saying that Crits aren't evaluated on every hit of an AOE spell? I seem to get multiple Crits just fine at my Fire Mage's near-100% chance with either Fireball or Fire Maelstrom,* and the same goes for my Ice Mage's Shatter or my Sorcerer's Tornado. The same definitely goes for being on the receiving end of an Ice Storm, which I rarely escape before 3-5 Crits whack me.

*I can show you a screenshot of a Fire Maelstrom producing around a dozen Critical Hit damage results at once.

Crisses
03-03-2011, 11:12 PM
I also thought so initially, but think about the first town and how easy it is... it's fun for the first couple of minutes, but the monsters are so weak, any character can kill them with one hit and monsters can't put a dent in the player's HP. It's boring until you get close to the 10th level.

I agree that people prefer to be overpowered rather than underpowered in general, but DC is designed to overwhelm you, and I'd expect it to mostly attract people who like challenges.

Yes, you want to be CHALLENGED, but not to be FRUSTRATED. Everyone has different playing styles, and different thresholds for challenge vs. frustration. [and lots of challenge and occasional frustration is fine. It's constant frustration that's the problem.]

Me, I love the challenge of coming up with working character concepts but I'll get frustrated if I have to die 10 times on the same level. I want a character I can play -- with style. I prefer to play smart rather than play hard, and I don't like shortcuts (stat potions for one) because I consider them cheating (they aren't, they're there in the game, but I personally consider them cheating like someone I played with recently who refused to use food and potions....besides I don't want to waste my space with them, and they sell for good cash). I'm not the person who teleports all over the dungeon looking for the gate. Not my style. If that means I can't succeed, then I'd like to tweak the game to make the average character more "viable".

Crisses
03-03-2011, 11:19 PM
I don't understand this part. Are you saying that Crits aren't evaluated on every hit of an AOE spell? I seem to get multiple Crits just fine at my Fire Mage's near-100% chance with either Fireball or Fire Maelstrom,* and the same goes for my Ice Mage's Shatter or my Sorcerer's Tornado. The same definitely goes for being on the receiving end of an Ice Storm, which I rarely escape before 3-5 Crits whack me.

*I can show you a screenshot of a Fire Maelstrom producing around a dozen Critical Hit damage results at once.

When people mentioned crits, I asked whether they worked on AOE spells, and I got crickets.... If they do -- good. That doubles the damage when the crit is "rolled", right? So then we're still around 1/2 the power we'd expect the best mage spells to be at by endgame. You know, the ones with the highest cost and longest cool-down times.

I want to know what factors we're missing, but haven't gotten an answer on that. So we have -casttime items. Doesn't help on the spells with cooldown so actually I'm not terribly impressed. It just makes spammable spells more spammable. OK. So you can cast more of them.

I'm looking for Saruman, or at least Gandalf the Grey at about level 75 and Gandalf the White around level 100. Show me da money! How can I say "I'm a great and powerful wizard!" as a level 30 wizard and not able to light a cigar with a level 1 FireyBlast? :)

Bluddy
03-05-2011, 05:38 PM
I've been working on and off on the balancing, and I'd just like to rant for a little:

- Mana costs seem to be way off. Mages get more mana and put most of their points into intelligence, but their spells' mana costs don't scale with their increasing mana pools. Veritas' character has around 1000 mana. That's unusually high for level 33, but he can fire 30 level 8 maelstroms without batting an eyelid. He can even fire 12 level 30 maelstroms! And that's one of the strongest spells in the game!
- Shatter seems not to cost any more mana from level to level -- not that it matters that much currently anyway :(
- Capping the stats at 250 is a problem for the mage. The mage has little to invest in -- STR and DEX don't apply to him. INT is his thing, and SPR is just a decoration. But what happens when he runs out of INT to invest in halfway through the game? It means that a character who wants to be purely offensive (and weak), which a mage generally is, can no longer grow his mana pool. It means that when planning spell mana costs, you somehow have to stop around the maximum, which can already be obtained around level 50 (or earlier with items). I can only invest 50% of my attribute points in INT. But why? The cap of 250 is artificial.
- I'd love to swap critical hits and deep wounds, perhaps only for the mage. The warrior has reasons to get all the stats to different degrees. The mage just goes for intelligence, and along the way he picks up critical hits, which also apply to him. If he needed another stat (e.g. DEX) for the critical hits it'd give him a reason to invest in DEX.
- The items in the game seem to completely dominate after level 30 or so. This is a real problem, because it makes balance very very difficult. There are several issues. One is that there are tons of magic items. Another is that each magic item, instead of influencing just 1 or 2 stats, influences all of them. By the mid game, even if all stats are increased by just a little (10-20 points) you're wearing so many items and they're all magical, so it all adds up . Your stats end up having little resemblance to what you actually chose to invest in. Of course, it's all luck and perseverance, but once you get the stronger items, your choices matter very little. It seems to me that even the item sets, which you're supposed to be working to complete, don't give that many boosts to all the different stats and therefore aren't worth completing.
- As a way to battle this, I'd like to see magic items affect only specific stats (2 or 3 at most). Alternatively, it would be even cooler if each magic item also had a negative aspect to it. 1 or 2 stats would be hurt, making the choice much more strategic. It would also make regular items a viable choice.
- Another issue is with items that give you over 100% bonuses to either critical hits, crushing blows, or deep wounds. I get the general concept -- even if you get your INT stat to 250, you'll only have 25%, so you need something else to take you further, 'amplifying' your points, so to speak. However, it doesn't make sense that several items' percentages apply on top of each other. Only 1 item (say, helmet) should have this boost, or only the highest percentage should apply or something.

DeathKnight1728
03-05-2011, 07:00 PM
This is probably a stupid idea but here goes-

I find that the mages should get an extra perk to investing in intelligence. The wizard class change should be as follows:

Firemage-Instead of getting .1 to critical chance per point in intelligence, firemages will get a bonus of .025

Icemage-.025.

Magician-.050

Wizard as a class will then get .2 per critical chance per point in intelligence.

This will work the same for the conjuror class, in a different order of course.

If that works, wizards and conjurers will be much more deadly in game. I find that although rogues get the most criticals, this might help mages become stronger with their spells.

Crisses
03-05-2011, 07:20 PM
Sorry I'm not following the math....

0.025 + 0.025 + 0.05 = 0.1

You said 0.2.

Would you like to revise the numbers on either side of the equation so I can follow what you're looking to do? :)

Bluddy
03-06-2011, 03:16 AM
OK I think I've figured out the critical hit issue. This is essential to work out before adjusting spell values, because we need to calibrate maximum spell strengths based on the amount of critical hits people get. If it's reasonable to get 75% critical hits around the end game, then damage can be expected to be 2 * 0.75 on average. If 100% is expected, then we need to double all damage. The problem with critical hits right now is that one can easily get to 100% very early on. Not only does this ruin the gameplay mechanic (why would I want to ever boost my crits again?) but it also means that a serious imbalance CAN be created, IF I find the right items -- which are not that rare.

To understand this, let's look at the items. It turns out that the higher the level of an item, the more modifiers it has (I was not aware of this previously). Elite items can have 4 modifiers, and unique items have even more (I think 5 is max but I could be wrong). As I mentioned in my rant above, I don't like this. I think it masks the choices the user has made. Regardless, that's the way it is.

What this means is that instead of looking at items as completely random, we can look at them as a limited resource. We have 16 slots, not all of which can be used by all classes. 16 slots * 5 modifiers each = 80 modifiers total. Some classes, such as warriors, need to make sure the primary value of an item e.g. DPS or armor is strong enough, so they may have to forgo using all their modifiers. For a mage, however, virtually all slots can be used to maximize stats, as armor and DPS is irrelevant unless the particular mage wants to be able to fight a little (which is a choice).

So items are really a 'modifier' resource you build up, except this goes up very haphazardly (by luck). I personally think this resource goes up too quickly in the game (ie. there are too many good items) but that's not something I'm willing to change in this mod. Maybe if I fork and create an extra mod that I don't want to integrate back into the game, I'd do that.

The problem with criticals and such is that while the maximum stats will only get you to around 25% crits, you have items that increase your crits by +200% of your current value. If you have even 20%, a +200% increase will put you at 60%. Another 200% item, and you've reached 100%. All you needed were a bunch of items. But what did you pay for that boost?

For balance to be maintained, it's very important to look at what you lost when you got something -- your opportunity cost. In the case of +200% items, you 'lost' only 2 modifiers. 2 modifiers that could have been something else, were used for crits. But that boost was very significant. Had you tried to modify intelligence to get the equivalent +200% crit, you would have needed +400 intelligence. The only way to get that much intelligence is if you put heavy intelligence modifiers on all your slots. Even then you wouldn't get to that level of intelligence boost. So 1 modifier is the equivalent of all 16 modifiers combined! It's true that you also get mana with intelligence, but still, the exchange is very disproportionate.

Instead of having +200% crit etc. items, I think items should max out much earlier -- maybe at +80% or +90%. Then, if you really want to bring your crits up to 100, you have to work for it -- give up several precious modifiers for items that have high crits. You then also pay in lost modifiers. That modifier that boosted crit by an extra 20% means that you gave up on a modifier to boost your strength, mana etc. It's no longer a matter of just waiting for 1-2 high boosting items and equipping them to get to 100% crit right away. It's about tough decisions and deciding what you want most.

The same analysis applies to casting time, crushing blows, and deep wounds.

EDIT: Updated the mod file with some more sane values for items for these percentages, though perhaps they're not as low as I'd like them to be. I may tweak these a little more. I think perhaps Shadow didn't expect people to stack items that give these bonuses, since other item modifiers have much more realistic amounts. I imagine people then got used to getting their easy 100% crits relatively early in the game, and Shadow didn't want to ruin it for them. Well, in my opinion this is one of the serious imbalances (or at least broken mechanics) in the game. Among other things, this change makes skills that boost crits and stuff useful again. If you still want high percentages, you can get them, but you're going to have to work hard for them, just as you would if you wanted very high HP/mana/etc.

Crisses
03-06-2011, 11:41 AM
Bluddy,

I think the chance of crits is also creature-dependent. You may have a 75% chance of crit, but isn't that creature level = your level? i.e. you have a lower chance to hit AND to crit on a critter that's a higher level than your own? If creatures go over Level 100 in the game, by endgame you need to take into account that Level 100 chars are fighting over-level-100 creatures. If this is true, you kinda need to be over-torqued, depending on how drastic a change the levels make in the crit chances.

I'm pretty certain my level 50 Hunter/Trickster has items AND skills stacked such that the crit chance ON PAPER is over 100%. Do I crit frequently? yes. But not ALL crits, even when de-cloaking from stealth and using barbed arrow, etc. Even on critters lower level than mine, I don't think every shot is a crit. Example: Is it possible to crit AND deep wounds, or is it mutually exclusive?

It might be desirable -- or even present already in the software(!) -- to cap the ACTUAL chance of crit. The on-paper could be say 110%, but if you're going up against a critter +10 levels to yours it might drop to say 90% (-2% actual crit chance per level difference), but the die-roll max might be 75% across the board i.e. you'll never have an actual better chance of rolling a crit than 75% and the rest of your bonus is to compensate for level differences or critter protections vs. being critically hit. Personally I want to know how you can deep wounds an amorph. :)

I'd like to keep in mind that we're not only talking about spell imbalance -- we're talking skill imbalance almost across the board. Without developer input, we still are kinda flailing in the dark on what factors affect the results. There's a LOT going on behind the scenes. I also want the people whining about mages being just fine to realize that we're really not just talking about mages. We're addressing pets, we're addressing poison, we're addressing all the skills people eventually drop because they're worthless past mid-game.

Bluddy
03-06-2011, 02:19 PM
AFAIK if you have 100% crit, you get 100% crit. It has nothing to do with the enemy creature level. The same applies to all the other percentages. It's possible you haven't kept track of your crit level. Even at 250 INT, your crit is only 25%. The only thing that allows you to pass 25% is either items or skills. Because items adding 200% are not that rare, 1 of these plus 1 other boosting item allows you to hit 100% easily. My change makes it more difficult to get to 100% -- you need 3 top items to get there ie. you really need to want it. Maybe it's not even enough of a reduction.

Manumitted
03-06-2011, 03:27 PM
Crits can stack with other special hit types, and only one of them is listed if multiple types occur on the same hit. This is more obvious with Warriors who Crush most targets for the same damage and sometimes get a Crit, too.

Base Crit chance is 5.00% (other three special hits are base 2.00%). Thus, 250 INT is 30% base Crit, not 25%.

Bluddy
03-06-2011, 04:12 PM
Crits can stack with other special hit types, and only one of them is listed if multiple types occur on the same hit. This is more obvious with Warriors who Crush most targets for the same damage and sometimes get a Crit, too.

Base Crit chance is 5.00% (other three special hits are base 2.00%). Thus, 250 INT is 30% base Crit, not 25%.

Oh right. I keep forgetting about that pesky base value.

DeathKnight1728
03-06-2011, 05:22 PM
Sorry I'm not following the math....

0.025 + 0.025 + 0.05 = 0.1

You said 0.2.

Would you like to revise the numbers on either side of the equation so I can follow what you're looking to do? :)

.025+.025+.05=.01 Extra critical chance which would then be .2. Since every classes regular critical chance is .1, adding .1 to the wizard class and conjurer class would be really balanced. Think about it, rogues, warriors, demon hunters, and rangers get more ways to increase their damage through skills and in general.

Wizards and conjurers dont get that and instead have to invest in intelligence in order to increase their critical chances. Critical chances are the only way to increase the damage of spells other than the spell and mastery. That is another line that is flawed. Magicians dont have magic mastery, they are left out.

Bluddy
03-07-2011, 11:29 AM
OK guys. I spent a lot of time thinking about how to balance out these spells given what we have to work with.

What I would like to do is to:
1. Make most spells attractive without needing mastery or criticals to be useful. Criticals/cast time items would be an extra boost, as they should be.
2. Prevent the phenomenon where mages must choose only 1/2 skills and boost just them.
3. Push mages to try several different spells of different levels.

I went through several ideas. One was to have every spell count as a mastery skill ie. buying a spell boosts all spells a little bit, and especially spells of the same family. This was an interesting idea that's not easy/possible to implement right now, and the damage curves from buying different spells would be very hard to balance.

Another idea was to give a discount. Say I buy a skill that costs 10 points. A certain percentage of what I spent would go towards making other skills cheaper. Once a lower level skill gets enough 'saving' points to go up a level, it gets potentially upgraded. If I buy that cheaper skill now, I'll automatically buy it at a higher level. This is really just giving me an extra percentage of points, but doing it in a way that makes me realize how far I can take those other skills with my bonus points. This idea is worth investigating, but it can't be done with the current mechanics.

The idea I finally settled on draws on experience from other RPGs: weak skills can be upgraded quite often; powerful skills only get upgraded a couple of times throughout the game, and their cost in mana is heavy.

I realized that making the heavy skills upgrade slowly ie. only 10-15 times throughout the game is very important. Currently all chosen spells need to be upgraded around 30 times throughout the game to be effective. The implication of this is that every 3 levels, the spells 'adjust' to the monster's power, and you spend your hard-earned points making sure you keep up with the monsters. But what if you only needed to upgrade a strong spell 10 times? It means that there are roughly 10 character levels during which the spell would stagnate -- it would get weaker and weaker relative to the monsters. This would force you to find other solutions, because you can't yet afford the next level of your strong spell. You'd be tempted to try a couple of other spells to boost your power until you could finally afford the next level of the strong spell. You also need to consider the extra mana that the next level of the spell will cost. Maybe it's not worth it yet. Maybe it's better to keep the strong spell at its level, and instead increase your criticals and mana. At least that's what I'm hoping will happen.

I'm currently working on enhancing my excel sheet to graph mana as well.

Despair
03-08-2011, 02:43 AM
let me add my pinch of salt too :]



I went through several ideas. One was to have every spell count as a mastery skill ie. buying a spell boosts all spells a little bit, and especially spells of the same family. This was an interesting idea that's not easy/possible to implement right now, and the damage curves from buying different spells would be very hard to balance.




did someone played diablo 2 here ? (probably but we never know) do you guys remember that this game had the exact same problem of "in order to be efficient i must put all my point in two skills" then they solved it by creating the synergy system. Your idead really remembered this to me, it could be a good idea but as you said its not easy/possible right now.

DeathKnight1728
03-08-2011, 11:41 AM
One thing i never could understand was why the demon hunter is a big tough twohanded weapon user that is like the warrior and yet he gets almost no bonus to strength-.8% bonus. The warrior gets 1.2%. The rogue even gets more at .9% I think that either the warden gets a .1% added to him or the reaver gets his .2% changed to .3%. I think the latter would be better as the reaver should have the most gained from strength as he is a twohanded weapon master-it only would make sense that he can pack some punch to his hits. The warden could get .1% as well as he is a fighter class.

If they did that to the demon hunter classes, then the demon hunter would be at 1.0% strength bonus, a good and fair bonus considering he still isnt as powerful as the warrior tankwise.

Does anyone else find that the demon hunter should get this change?

Bluddy
03-08-2011, 12:55 PM
I'll make a note of that, DeathKnight. I think it's a valid point.

To update with my progress: I've adjusted the mana and mana regen to values which I think will work better. Regen wasn't nearly effective enough, and mana was hard to balance because priests and mages get it differently. I reduced for example mages' mana per INT from 5 to 4. This should reduce the effectiveness of investing purely in INT for mages. I also boosted mana/SPR to 2, and lowered warrior mana/INT to 2.5. The idea is that regular characters get their mana boosts about equally from both.

Priests were able to get insane mana from SPR, to make up for the fact that regular mana/INT was 3. To persuade each priest sub-class to focus on SPR rather than INT, they got huge boosts to mana/SPR, which makes their total possible mana very unbalanced. Now that INT only gives 2.5 vs. SPR's 2, they don't need as much of a boost.

The really big change had to do with trying to figure out how mages and priests can increase their mana regen -- it's obviously important to them. Making mana regen go up more with INT just makes the mage even more of a 1-stat character. I thought perhaps mages should get more mana regen from SPR, and priests more mana regen from INT, just to make things more interesting. The problem was that this resulted in builds that were more effective with mages focusing on SPR and priests on INT, which is not what we want.

Eventually I settled on DEX giving the mage & priest extra mana regen. Without DEX, mages' mana reserve will grow, but their regen won't get faster relative to their bigger mana reserve. With investment in DEX, regen becomes faster, making the mages more effective.

The upshot of this is that now, even mages who want to focus purely on mana and spells will want to pick up some DEX. It makes more stats useful to them.

Now that I have everything in place, I'm finally getting some real spell modifications done. Not in the mod files yet, but you can see it in the excel file. With all the parameters, it's proving to be hard work. The main problem is that there are a few very different characters using the spells: full mages, half-mages, priests, half-priests. Really, it's the half-characters that give me the most trouble. If everyone had similar mana levels, it'd be easy, but because half-mages have only half the mana (smaller bonuses & fewer points in INT) it gets really tricky. Hopefully the mana regen bonus from DEX will make a difference.

alstein
03-08-2011, 11:30 PM
Are you considering any changes to undervalued skills that need buffs like how Magitek's mod does?

Would your general changes be mergeable with Magitek's mod, I think some sort of combined mod might be really good.

Bluddy
03-09-2011, 03:19 AM
Are you considering any changes to undervalued skills that need buffs like how Magitek's mod does?

Would your general changes be mergeable with Magitek's mod, I think some sort of combined mod might be really good.

I am considering changes to undervalued skills. At this point I'm not considering changing skills completely, as Magitek did. My emphasis is on something that can be patched into the full game should Shadow accept it. Feel free to point out skills that you feel need a boost.

Another update: I've made the required changes to the skill files to make it so mana regen can be boosted with a little DEX for mages. I really like this system -- it makes DEX worthwhile for mages, and makes half-mages able to compete by putting points into DEX, which they'll probably do anyway. The problem is that the little box that opens while you hover over DEX doesn't show DEX's effect on mana regen. I should have known - that part is purely in the code. In other words, for now, you'll have to check your mana regen rate directly, or just know that putting points into DEX will give you a mana regen boost.

So one option is to keep the mod as is, with this DEX change. The other is to change it back so that mana regen is only reliant on INT and SPR. What do you guys think? Shadow, would you consider putting this mana regen/DEX change into the code (it should only show mana regen improvement per DEX if there's a skill that supports it)?

I think for now I'll post the mod with regen/DEX so you guys can see what it's like. Feel free to try the mod now. No spell changes yet.

alstein
03-09-2011, 08:09 AM
Right now: by class. Mostly listing skills I never use, and not listing stuff I think is effected by your other changes

This is just off the top of my head.

Weaponmaster: just Adrenaline. Recharge time is too long, maybe increase duration by level, or make it a flat weapon speed increase (that's small)

I think all the shield bashes are underpowered (defender/paladin/warden)

Thief: Dagger mastery should get the combat speed boost from Magitek's mod

Trickster: Increased Stealth should increase Escape notice.

Paladin: I think Zeal should do something different.

Shaman:
Champion has too long a recharge time, should reduce by level
Divine Intervention seems terrible, should be a percentage heal I believe
Suggestion: give the Shaman a Staff mastery skill.

Magician:
Blinding Flash needs to be stronger
Arcane Swarm needs to be stronger
Suggestion: Arcane Blast can lower an enemy's magic resistance
Suggestion #2: Arcane Drain can restore your life when it's used, duration should increase to 10 seconds.

Archer
Fast Draw should be a weapon speed increase

Druid
Mana Regen should last for the full 5 mins like Magitek's Mod

Conjurer
Warlock
Shadow Claw should restore life like in Magitek's Mod
Curses should gain range with level

Sorcerer:
Ball Lightning/Lightning Swarm seem too weak.
Chain Lightning might also use a boost

Reaver:
Charge seems very weak
Rampage needs a little more time boost per level
Wampir Blood should be a toggle (have it reduce mana or even hp regen when active)

warden:
Shield skills are weak
Wards might need a boost also.
Banish is likely overpriced

Demonologist:
Inferno needs a boost
Blood Rage seems overpriced
Demonic Control I never use- seems way too situational.

Bluddy
03-09-2011, 10:07 AM
Great. I noted those down -- I'll check them out when I'm through with the mage skills. The main ones on there that I'm already changing are the lightnings. Anything you think is too strong/dominant?

alstein
03-09-2011, 11:56 PM
I honestly don't worry about things that are too strong, I'd rather buff things up to that level. I really don't have any complaints on things being too strong.

Bluddy
03-10-2011, 03:34 AM
I was just looking through some files in the expansion, when I suddenly noticed that the expansion makes legendary difficulty harder! That means I have to adjust my spells to suit the new difficulty. People without the expansion will just have a somewhat easier time in the endgame.

Bluddy
03-10-2011, 11:46 AM
Shadow, would it be possible to add more commands like DynamicStatMultPowerNeeded and DynamicStatMultSkillDamage, except that it would show the calculated damage numbers (min and max) and mana instead of percentage increase? I'm adding damage and power non-linearly (to keep up with the levels), but it all appears as % increase, making it hard to understand the real impact.

A nonlinear way to add to AbsorbDamage would also help with making Holy Shield able to keep up with the game.

Bluddy
03-10-2011, 02:38 PM
OK -- I've finished re-balancing the fire mage (and only the fire mage so far). I'm not sure if my mana values are exactly right, but you should now make sure to watch your mana -- upgrading spells may sometimes make them LESS effective since you can use them less.

If you're using a high level mage, you may want to subtract skill points and place them differently. In general, more powerful spells will need less upgrading than less powerful spells. Also, you should be able to build up several skills (4-6) without too much of a problem.

Now that each skill is viable, I had a tough time deciding what to do with fire mastery. I can't have it boost damage by percentage -- that'll throw off all the damage curves. What it does instead is reduce mana costs. It also affects the fire elemental and flame blade.

Please note that I changed the name of the mod from assets004.zip to assetsbal.zip (as in balance). You can delete the old assets004.zip.

Crisses
03-11-2011, 12:17 AM
OK -- I've finished re-balancing the fire mage (and only the fire mage so far). I'm not sure if my mana values are exactly right, but you should now make sure to watch your mana -- upgrading spells may sometimes make them LESS effective since you can use them less.

Ok, one thing I notice is a strange low-level jump in the mana costs i.e. I'm 4th level and:

Fire Sheild 1 = 12 mana.
Fire Sheild 2 will cost 22 mana! (10 point jump, almost double?)
Fireball 1 = 10 mana.
Fireball 2 = 16 -- that seems OK, perhaps...
Firey blast 1 = 8
Fiery blast 2 = 12 --25% increase -- a little steep for 4th level...

These SAY there's a 3% raise in mana cost in the description, but that's by far not the truth :) False advertising! :)

Now, I didn't run out of mana too frequently, but I also avoid being headstrong and avoid some battles or put them off. I have 118 mana at 4th level -- those fees seem to get steep pretty fast, so of course I shied away from raising the spells to level 2 (so I don't know what Level 3 would cost mana-wise....). I didn't die, not unusal in such a low level...

One thing I noticed is that I can't really tell whether Fire Mastery works when every spell/skill is at 1. Since it doesn't modify the mana cost in the description, I wasn't sure really how to test what the mana cost really is...Also if Fire Mastery is only for resistance AND reducing spell costs, perhaps Fire Sheild and other non-damage fire spells would be affected?

I got up to 7th level before I stopped for the day. I was able to diversify nicely and picked Teleport (which is one of the more balanced spells available). But one can do that in the original game at 7th level. So I'll try again soon... just have a busy week and need to do lots of work (and right now, I need to sleep).

Crisses
03-11-2011, 12:25 AM
Having not played the endgame, another factor to account for, at least for non-area-effect spells is: Are there simply more creatures, more dungeon mods, or more champions/elites/uniques at the higher level end of the game -- or is it just the same numbers and same chance of buffs, just different difficulty levels per-monster?

If at level 1 I walk into a room and there's maybe 5 critters...
at level 25 I walk in and there's 10
at level 55 I walk in and there's 25
at level 100 I walk in and there's 75
...then the overpower both in DPS and spells (perhaps even area of effect) NEEDS to escalate. It's not just a factor of each monster's HPs but the cumulative HPs of the monsters one should kill before one will be killed.

I'm tired, I may not be making any sense :)

Bluddy
03-11-2011, 03:42 AM
Thanks for testing Crisses!

Ok, one thing I notice is a strange low-level jump in the mana costs i.e. I'm 4th level and:

Fire Sheild 1 = 12 mana.
Fire Sheild 2 will cost 22 mana! (10 point jump, almost double?)
Fireball 1 = 10 mana.
Fireball 2 = 16 -- that seems OK, perhaps...
Firey blast 1 = 8
Fiery blast 2 = 12 --25% increase -- a little steep for 4th level...

Right. I don't know if I got the mana right yet, as I said, but basically more powerful spells will go up in mana usage faster. This should hopefully encourage more diversification.

These SAY there's a 3% raise in mana cost in the description, but that's by far not the truth :) False advertising! :)

Yeah this is a problem in using the boosts as I am. To make both damage and mana non-linear, I'm using the same commands that the masteries use to modify percentages, but I'm also adding linear amounts. Unfortunately this makes damage and mana display in a way that's not clear. So the extra 3% is added to the regular mana cost, which is also going up.

Making the mana non-linear lets me target spells for a specific number of levels (e.g. 20). Usually, lighter spells are targeted at 20 levels, and the heaviest spells are targeted at 12. Go past those levels, and the spell uses considerably more mana (in return for considerably more damage). Making the damage non-linear allows to keep up with the monsters, while also preventing the mage from overwhelming monsters in the early to mid-game.

What I'd really like Shadow to do, is modify the Skill class in the code somewhat, so that there's an inflation factor for skill damage before it's displayed as numbers, as well as after. I'd also like the same for power usage. This would make non-linear skills still display their damage & power normally, while only boosting skills would have a percentage display.

Now, I didn't run out of mana too frequently, but I also avoid being headstrong and avoid some battles or put them off. I have 118 mana at 4th level -- those fees seem to get steep pretty fast, so of course I shied away from raising the spells to level 2 (so I don't know what Level 3 would cost mana-wise....). I didn't die, not unusal in such a low level...

I need to get a sense of how many spam fire spells people need to fire off at a time to survive. That would really help with mana balancing. The big spells like maelstrom are going to be very expensive mana wise -- you only need a couple more small spells to kill off a whole bunch of monsters. Plus it makes the usage of the big spells tactical. You have to think when to fire it -- fire at the wrong time, and you wasted a big chunk of your mana. Of course you can always use mana potions, from which you get a huge bonus as a mage.

One thing I noticed is that I can't really tell whether Fire Mastery works when every spell/skill is at 1. Since it doesn't modify the mana cost in the description, I wasn't sure really how to test what the mana cost really is...Also if Fire Mastery is only for resistance AND reducing spell costs, perhaps Fire Sheild and other non-damage fire spells would be affected?

I hope it works -- it should work. If your mana costs go down, then it's working. And BTW mastery does apply to every fire spell now, including fire shield and fire elemental.

Also BTW, the fire elemental is now more of a serious beast. You only get him for short periods of time, so he needs to be buff even if you get his level 1 when you're level 50.

I got up to 7th level before I stopped for the day. I was able to diversify nicely and picked Teleport (which is one of the more balanced spells available). But one can do that in the original game at 7th level. So I'll try again soon... just have a busy week and need to do lots of work (and right now, I need to sleep).

OK great. At least I didn't break the early game :) You may want to make zipped backup copies of your character at different levels (say 7, 10, 15...) so you can test my later changes just by overwriting your old character. Make sure to note the level in the zip file name.

Bluddy
03-11-2011, 03:53 AM
Having not played the endgame, another factor to account for, at least for non-area-effect spells is: Are there simply more creatures, more dungeon mods, or more champions/elites/uniques at the higher level end of the game -- or is it just the same numbers and same chance of buffs, just different difficulty levels per-monster?

From what I've seen, the only thing that increases with difficulty level is monster armor, resistance, damage, HP, defense, attack, and movement speed. Of course, the combined effect makes monsters MUCH more dangerous with each difficulty level -- you don't need to have more monsters for them to be dangerous. All these things (except for movement speed I think) increase slowly with monster level as well. Champions/elites get a couple extra boosts and uniques get massive boosts to certain stats.

Bluddy
03-11-2011, 09:58 AM
I tweaked some values for the fire mage. I also decided to just use linear mana functions as they were good enough. That means it should be a lot clearer how much mana each spell uses. The only thing I could really use from Shadow now is an Inflation command to use for base skill damage.

Ice mage is next!

Bluddy
03-13-2011, 09:05 AM
OK now that I'm thinking about the ice mage, I'd like to find ways to differentiate the different mage classes.

From looking at the available skills, it's clear fire mage is all about offense. Even his shield is purely offensive. Fire mage spells should be extremely strong, but not that expensive mana-wise -- the fire mage doesn't have additional access to mana, unlike the other mages. I'm also going to tweak spell times a little -- it's strange that the times don't increase and are actually faster for casting volcano and maelstrom than they are for the light spells. Was the fire mage supposed to be really fast?

The ice mage is clearly oriented more towards defense (Shatter not included). This mage should be more strategic. He's all about slowing down your opponents rather than blasting them. I'd say he should probably be pretty slow himself -- ice slows everything down.

Where it gets harder is differentiating the fire mage from the sorcerer. The sorcerer has extremely powerful spells, but should they be stronger than the fire mage's? The sorcerer already has more variety, as well as very good defense and a way to store mana -- which implies that his mana costs should also be higher.

I'm thinking of another way of differentiating fire mages from sorcerers. Does it not make sense that a high level fire mage should automatically have fire resistance? I think every spell should give you a point or 2 of fire resistance, and maybe even a point of cold vulnerability. Lightning spells would just give you lightning resistance.

Anyway, those are my thoughts. I'm currently updating my excel book with all the skills so I don't have to keep updating it every time I handle another class.

Crisses
03-13-2011, 01:03 PM
From looking at the available skills, it's clear fire mage is all about offense. Even his shield is purely offensive. Fire mage spells should be extremely strong, but not that expensive mana-wise -- the fire mage doesn't have additional access to mana, unlike the other mages. I'm also going to tweak spell times a little -- it's strange that the times don't increase and are actually faster for casting volcano and maelstrom than they are for the light spells. Was the fire mage supposed to be really fast?

I would think so.

While on-paper Volcano does "the most damage" it seems to have a tiny radius of effect, the total damage is OVER TIME, and unlike Maelstrom, it doesn't immobilize opponents. So it works on chests, totems, etc. -- things that don't move. Perhaps Plague Bearers and their lot. However, against anything reasonably mobile -- it stinks. Big-time. Just put the points in Maelstrom, it has a huge area of effect and freezes opponents so you can snipe them with other spells. Much more deadly. Most effects that immobilize opponents break when they're attacked/damaged. So if you're slowing or pinning down opponents, volcano might be good (Maelstrom + Volcano perhaps?) If anyone has a good strategy for volcano let me know (perhaps as a "trap" placed in-front of an oncoming horde? But it also doesn't last long....)

This is an issue WITH your mod installed.

The ice mage is clearly oriented more towards defense (Shatter not included). This mage should be more strategic. He's all about slowing down your opponents rather than blasting them. I'd say he should probably be pretty slow himself -- ice slows everything down.

Slowing down Shatter sure would level the playing field a lot.... but make sure you boost up other skills accordingly if you do that, otherwise it makes an Ice Mage near-useless.

Where it gets harder is differentiating the fire mage from the sorcerer. The sorcerer has extremely powerful spells, but should they be stronger than the fire mage's? The sorcerer already has more variety, as well as very good defense and a way to store mana -- which implies that his mana costs should also be higher.

And I keep looking at that tree and saying "Nope, not worth it..." -- although I am running a VERY fire-heavy character right now and that might hurt lots when critters start having good resistances.

I'm thinking of another way of differentiating fire mages from sorcerers. Does it not make sense that a high level fire mage should automatically have fire resistance? I think every spell should give you a point or 2 of fire resistance, and maybe even a point of cold vulnerability. Lightning spells would just give you lightning resistance.

It's only fair if you do similar for Ice Mages. i.e. + cold resist, - fire resist. One could get it to where it neutralizes in the middle and really means absolutely nothing, if you spread your skills out. Perhaps this would be fair on the elemental-defense skills but perhaps overkill if you added it to all the elemental offense skills. i.e. while you're using ice armor, you're more vulnerable to fire and less vulnerable to cold attacks. Makes sense, right?

Something about fire shield annoyed me and I dropped the points for it. For one, I think the cost went up pretty steeply for the return on the investment. But that's not it. The fire mage is ALL ABOUT kill before they get there. The points were much better spent either in Fire Mastery (thus lowering my mana costs to more reasonable levels so I can pour out more pain with less potions) OR in fireball so I could keep up with critter hit points and mash them from afar so that cave-ins don't kill me. Putting points in fire shield is like saying "Come and get me!" It's like the medical insurance plan that you pay for out-of-pocket then you want to get sick so you justify the enormous expense. :) Sorry, my USA-think is showing. :)

A big caution here: Due to fire mage's non-existent defense, single-target spells really need to be slung pretty quickly so they can be applied readily to onrushing hordes. The monsters in this game aren't always slow. So I haven't tried immolation yet -- I do have Fiery Blast. The thing is "How quickly can I kill this one guy?" if Immolation isn't going to take them down as quickly as Fiery Blast, then why bother? It better work -- I could see if it goes off fast immolating 3 opponents because they'd keep burning while I go on to the next one -- similar to what volcano is SUPPOSED to do to a group if creatures didn't move so darned fast. But what I'm doing instead is picking the center one and fireballing it a couple times (Fireball is pretty spammable, which maybe it shouldn't be, but if not it needs more "firepower" forgive the pun), and picking off stragglers with Fiery Blast.

Personally, I'd apply a fear factor with immolation:

Dude, you're spontaneously combusting -- and you're still rushing me? Shouldn't you run screaming for your quickly-diminishing-life? Heck, I just set your guts on fire, and you want to run up to me and ask for more pain? :)

Bluddy
03-13-2011, 05:06 PM
Thanks for the excellent feedback -- it's exactly what I wanted!

I would think so.

While on-paper Volcano does "the most damage" it seems to have a tiny radius of effect, the total damage is OVER TIME, and unlike Maelstrom, it doesn't immobilize opponents. So it works on chests, totems, etc. -- things that don't move. Perhaps Plague Bearers and their lot. However, against anything reasonably mobile -- it stinks. Big-time. Just put the points in Maelstrom, it has a huge area of effect and freezes opponents so you can snipe them with other spells. Much more deadly. Most effects that immobilize opponents break when they're attacked/damaged. So if you're slowing or pinning down opponents, volcano might be good (Maelstrom + Volcano perhaps?) If anyone has a good strategy for volcano let me know (perhaps as a "trap" placed in-front of an oncoming horde? But it also doesn't last long....)

I didn't realize this was an issue with volcano. I made maelstrom more expensive, thinking that volcano being cheaper would make it more attractive, but if it has real problems, maybe I need to make it the most powerful spell instead. The alternative is to slow down all the critters in range.

Slowing down Shatter sure would level the playing field a lot.... but make sure you boost up other skills accordingly if you do that, otherwise it makes an Ice Mage near-useless.

Yeah -- It'll be tricky to get it right. The ice mage is slowdown oriented though, what with permafrost and ice prison. He should have time to destroy his enemies. I think I also want most ice spells to drop ice and water pools, so that ice mage would be a great combo with lightning spells.

And I keep looking at that tree and saying "Nope, not worth it..." -- although I am running a VERY fire-heavy character right now and that might hurt lots when critters start having good resistances.

Resistance doesn't really play much of a part in the game. It climbs up steadily, but it's uniform ie. all creatures have similar resistances. Unless you're facing fire elementals, it shouldn't be a problem. I'd love to mix it up some more. Skeleton warriors should have low lightning resistance because of their metal armor. The undead should resist magic because of their twisted, dark magic. Demons should have natural fire resistance (actually they may already have some. Haven't checked).

By the same token, I'd love for monster mages to be more of a threat in the game. Shadow has already said he's against that though, so that change wouldn't be in this specific mod.

It's only fair if you do similar for Ice Mages, i.e. + cold resist, - fire resist. One could get it to where it neutralizes in the middle and really means absolutely nothing, if you spread your skills out. Perhaps this would be fair on the elemental-defense skills but perhaps overkill if you added it to all the elemental offense skills. i.e. while you're using ice armor, you're more vulnerable to fire and less vulnerable to cold attacks. Makes sense, right?

I was thinking that you'd get 1 point of positive resistance and -1/2 of the opposite element's resistance, so that you'd still end up with a positive balance if you get both.

The armor idea is great! I love it! The problem is that the defensive spells are kind of cruddy as it is... How'd we make them worthwhile at all?

Something about fire shield annoyed me and I dropped the points for it. For one, I think the cost went up pretty steeply for the return on the investment. But that's not it. The fire mage is ALL ABOUT kill before they get there. The points were much better spent either in Fire Mastery (thus lowering my mana costs to more reasonable levels so I can pour out more pain with less potions) OR in fireball so I could keep up with critter hit points and mash them from afar so that cave-ins don't kill me. Putting points in fire shield is like saying "Come and get me!" It's like the medical insurance plan that you pay for out-of-pocket then you want to get sick so you justify the enormous expense. :) Sorry, my USA-think is showing. :)

Fire shield is tough. It's pretty useless for handling most creatures, but it looks like it would be amazing for handling bosses, which is why I still priced it fairly high. Maybe I should lower the price. I'm not crazy about the spell in general. You can already dish out damage, so why do you need a spell that lets you get hurt in exchange for dealing out more damage?

A big caution here: Due to fire mage's non-existent defense, single-target spells really need to be slung pretty quickly so they can be applied readily to onrushing hordes. The monsters in this game aren't always slow. So I haven't tried immolation yet -- I do have Fiery Blast. The thing is "How quickly can I kill this one guy?" if Immolation isn't going to take them down as quickly as Fiery Blast, then why bother? It better work -- I could see if it goes off fast immolating 3 opponents because they'd keep burning while I go on to the next one -- similar to what volcano is SUPPOSED to do to a group if creatures didn't move so darned fast. But what I'm doing instead is picking the center one and fireballing it a couple times (Fireball is pretty spammable, which maybe it shouldn't be, but if not it needs more "firepower" forgive the pun), and picking off stragglers with Fiery Blast.

The fire mage has 3 spammable spells which are very similar: fiery blast, fireball, and sweeping flames. They attack progressively more foes and cost a little more to use respectively, but I'm not sure how to differentiate between them. Maybe fireball should be a lot more expensive.

Personally, I'd apply a fear factor with immolation:

Dude, you're spontaneously combusting -- and you're still rushing me? Shouldn't you run screaming for your quickly-diminishing-life? Heck, I just set your guts on fire, and you want to run up to me and ask for more pain? :)

Great idea. I'll look into it. Immolation was clearly designed to be very powerful and expensive, but since it only attacks 1 target it's not very useful. Making it apply fear is a really good idea.

Manumitted
03-13-2011, 06:27 PM
Thanks for the excellent feedback -- it's exactly what I wanted!

Fire shield is tough. It's pretty useless for handling most creatures, but it looks like it would be amazing for handling bosses, which is why I still priced it fairly high. Maybe I should lower the price. I'm not crazy about the spell in general. You can already dish out damage, so why do you need a spell that lets you get hurt in exchange for dealing out more damage?

The (limited) value of Fire Shield to me depends on a semi-exploit: It works on ranged attacks. This makes it great for taking out wisps and enemy casters, assuming a sufficiently powerful melee attack--always a caster strength, right?--and sufficient FS level.

Unless I find an FS obelisk or the Enchanter has nothing better, I don't bother with FS. It works better on melee types.

Great idea. I'll look into it. Immolation was clearly designed to be very powerful and expensive, but since it only attacks 1 target it's not very useful. Making it apply fear is a really good idea.

What about Immolation is any more frightening than being set on fire by the other fire spells? If I Fireball-spam something for 75% of its full lifebar and it's smoldering away another 4% per second of that last 25%, why does it keep charging me? CRPG monsters have a bad death wish like the cannon fodder that they all are.

Crisses
03-13-2011, 08:51 PM
What about Immolation is any more frightening than being set on fire by the other fire spells? If I Fireball-spam something for 75% of its full lifebar and it's smoldering away another 4% per second of that last 25%, why does it keep charging me? CRPG monsters have a bad death wish like the cannon fodder that they all are.

Well, I'm thinking that you can CLEARLY see the cause of your pain when the caster fireballs you -- you have a streak on your retina showing you a clear path to the problem.

However, with immolation -- either you have a really REALLY bad case of indigestion, or your guts are turning to mush suddenly. I think that's a big dis-incentive to running after the human standing over by that treasure chest. I haven't tried the spell so I'm not sure if there's a visual effect like a fireball or fiery blast which clearly says "Here he is!"

And yes, if the monsters had fear effects the way pets do now, then it would make life more amusing. Find them cowering in a closet somewhere...

Manumitted
03-13-2011, 11:46 PM
And yes, if the monsters had fear effects the way pets do now, then it would make life more amusing. Find them cowering in a closet somewhere...

Mobs do suffer fear effects. I see them running from Chaos Lords all the time. It's hilarious when a "feared" unique mob runs from me for the few seconds he's still alive after I spot him. I Deep Wounded one of those "bad boys" and just laughed as he took off like a bug-sprayed cockroach, helplessly bleeding out his last moments.

Bluddy
03-14-2011, 02:44 AM
Yeah currently fire shield works on ranged attacks, which is really weird. I really want to change that spell into something more worthwhile. Maybe if it absorbed some damage and dealt out some as well. Something like a mini-inferno would make a lot more sense.

I think fear might be a good way to enhance immolation. It's not necessarily that much more realistic, but it makes it a more worthwhile investment, since immolation only works on one target at a time. It causes a lot of damage, but slowly.

BTW I just realized that the skill points for some of the skills weren't bumping up properly. Fireball for example has been cheaper than I wanted it to be because skills don't go up by 1.5 points per level (I was hoping it would do 3 points over 2 levels which is how some other things work). I'll have to fix that. I think I also want to make fireball a little slower to cast, and maybe use more mana. Basically, your options for spammable fire spells would be getting a mix of low level and high level spam spells to handle the mana costs, or getting fire mastery and focusing on 1 or 2 high level spam spells.

Bluddy
03-14-2011, 11:45 AM
OK updated fire mage to try address the issues above. I also have my excel book updated with all the skills now, so moving on should be faster.

I haven't implemented the fear based immolation yet. I just tried to make it more appealing as it is.

Sorting the spammable spells, fiery blast is fast and cheap, fireball is slow, strong and expensive, and sweeping flames are moderate speed, moderate strength, and attack everything in their path.

I tried to make volcano more effective by reducing the cooldown and making it last longer. Maelstrom also gets really expensive.

Also, for now, I implemented the resistance bonuses and penalties on all fire spells. I think it's a cool idea because it makes the elements more interesting.

I need to get a feel for the mana costs. Are they too much? Fire mastery is supposed to be more for the half-mage, who gets only around 1/2 the mana a full mage does, making balancing difficult.

Bluddy
03-14-2011, 03:52 PM
Did some testing on my mod and here are the results I found:

- Maelstrom is too strong, or alternatively it still costs too little mana.
- Volcano has something wrong with it in general. That's the problem you're experiencing, Crisses -- you have to hit the exact right target to do real damage, otherwise the damage is minor. I'll have to play with it to get it right. EDIT: just noticed that you already hit on the problem -- the radius is just way too small. Also damage is too slow.
- OK a little more testing, and I think I figured out the problem with both of them. It's about the way they apply damage. I'll try to fix that in the next version.
- I like the mana costs even without mastery. They seem pretty good.
- I really like + fire resistance and - cold resistance. My fire mage has high fire resistance and -1 cold resistance. How cool is that? It makes things so much more interesting.

Bluddy
03-15-2011, 07:25 AM
My new idea for enhancing immolation is to make the fire damage nearby monsters, causing them to aggro against the burning monster. That would make it a very powerful spell indeed, similar to sleight of hand. It would also justify its high cost. What do you think of this idea? Does it make sense?

DeathKnight1728
03-15-2011, 09:41 AM
That would actually be pretty cool. I always like buffing the little skills that most people dont use. It would be like arcane drain for the magician, which ill eventually try out. The next skill that needs a LARGE improvement is arcane swarm, also for the magicina. That skill has a good premise but its damage is worthless. How damaging magic traps are, I would have figured magic damage school would be awesome. Guess not.

Bluddy
03-15-2011, 09:57 AM
That would actually be pretty cool. I always like buffing the little skills that most people dont use. It would be like arcane drain for the magician, which ill eventually try out. The next skill that needs a LARGE improvement is arcane swarm, also for the magicina. That skill has a good premise but its damage is worthless. How damaging magic traps are, I would have figured magic damage school would be awesome. Guess not.

The reason magical attacks are useless is that there's no magic mastery to keep them at a normal level. That's the main thing that I'm fixing here -- fire and cold are currently only reasonable because of the mastery skills which boost them. All other non-scaling magic skills are currently useless. I should get to the magician and his skills soon enough.

P.S. The latest version of the mod also fixes the requirements for bows, daggers and maces so they're more reasonable.

Bluddy
03-15-2011, 01:03 PM
I've done some work on ice mage now. You can test it out.

I'm really trying to come up with something useful for shield of flame: I wanted to have some damage absorb and some reflect, but the game just didn't let me do that. What I did instead is, the shield is supposed to hit for a small amount of fire damage (which is what it LOOKS like -- it looks like a flame thing that should cause damage) and at the same time reflects some incoming damage as fire.

I also made volcano a lot better -- it damages faster so that even running monsters get caught for more damage. Not sure if it's powerful enough yet.

Manumitted
03-16-2011, 01:40 AM
How are you accounting for the smolder damage of fire spells? It seems to amount to 5-7% of the initial hit damage for 10 seconds, which is like getting 25-37% of a Deep Wound on every hit. It's pretty sweet to get effectively 25-37% DW chance on a spell attack just for using fire. If I meet a dangerous boss near a gate/stairs, I've been known to lob fireballs until he's close, then bug out if he's still alive and let him char in absentia.

Bluddy
03-16-2011, 04:12 AM
Good question. It appears that fire damage hits for 75% of the full damage, and then another 50% of the damage over the next 10 seconds. This means you get a total of 125% damage. Poison is even more extreme, with 50% of the poison damage hitting initially, and 100% of the damage over the next 10 seconds, making it a full 150% damage.

I suspect these figures were chosen to make up for the fact that the damage takes effect over time. In general, I want my damage to hit now rather than over 10 seconds.

What this boils down to is that over time, fire and poison are more powerful than other elements, but for initial damage, the other elements will be stronger. It's not very easy to account for this kind of thing. Also, it appears that not all fire damage gets this treatment.

For now, I'm balancing the spells as if this effect doesn't exist. If I see from testing that it creates an imbalance, I may reduce the effect. For example, I think 10% extra fire damage is enough to make up for the fact that the damage is slower. 20% should be enough for poison.

Bluddy
03-16-2011, 04:47 AM
Another thread raised the issue of passive mana regen abilities for different classes. This is an interesting topic. It leads to what I think is DC's misfortune, in that it inherited its systems from DoP, which was both a first effort and an unbalanced game. DoP didn't have to worry about lack of balance too much: you always had another character to help you out, and if your skills sucked, you could always get a stronger other character to tag along.

If DoP hadn't had the follower tagging along with you, it could never have gotten away with making non-scaling skills. Another thing I wondered about, though, was why so many skills don't have their mana costs go up with level. Investigating the question from the other thread allowed me to realize the answer: the skills were simply borrowed from DoP. In DoP, warriors were always stuck pretty much with the same amount of max mana (rage) and rogues with the same amount of max momentum. Raising the mana costs with skill level would have made the classes unplayable. In DC, this isn't the case at all. All characters can increase their mana, and hybrid characters can increase it by a lot. For this reason I'll probably go over all the skills and make their mana costs go up a little with each level -- otherwise the huge mana pool even a warrior has by level 70-100 will remain unused.

Another interesting mechanic from DoP was the way of regenerating mana. Warriors had to hit to get mana, while rogues had to kill to get it. This was somewhat annoying because mana would constantly decrease and there were skills to stop that, but fortunately that part isn't carried over from DoP. What IS carried over is the ability to regenerate mana in different ways: gladiators by hitting, assassins from crits etc. But these abilities give only paltry amounts of mana, that may be enough at the start of the game, but don't scale at all as the reservoir of mana increases. To carry over this very interesting game mechanic from DoP in a proper way, each of these skills needs to give a percentage of total mana. Unfortunately, there's currently no way to do that unless Shadow makes this change.

In the meantime, I'll try playing with values to get something that may resurrect these vestigial skills.

EDIT: the situation (once again) is more complicated than I realized. During combat, you only get 1/4 the mana regen you usually do. This means that even my fixed mana regen values won't help during combat. It seems that the idea is that the warrior's extra mana regen skills should become useful during combat. However, since these mana bonuses don't scale, they don't really contribute. I think I'll have to sift through them carefully. For example, the assassin gains mana on crits. This is pretty good, because you can expect him to have more crits in higher levels because of his skills. However, the gladiator gains mana when hit, which may happen LESS as the game goes on, meaning that he'll gain less mana as he progresses despite having a bigger mana pool to fill.

The reason players haven't noticed the regen problem (though some have) is that you have so much mana by the later levels, and skills consume so little mana, that regen isn't an issue.

What's needed from Shadow to fix these issues is PercentPowerGainOnHit, PercentPowerGainOnCrit, PercentPowerGainWhenHit etc. They would restore a certain percentage of the total amount of mana.

Crisses
03-16-2011, 08:38 AM
And what about dropping the fact that mana doesn't regen as well during combat. How much of our time do we spend out of combat? Do you think that's balanced?

Bluddy
03-16-2011, 09:03 AM
And what about dropping the fact that mana doesn't regen as well during combat. How much of our time do we spend out of combat? Do you think that's balanced?

Well...

On the one hand, you can say that every class should have their own regen rate and fix it so that it fits both combat and non-combat times. That would be the standard solution, and that's doable at any point -- it's just a matter of tweaking the regen values after I balance the skills.

However, I can see what Shadow's intention was. He wanted to carry over the system from DoP, which is a unique system. Health regen and mana regen slowing down around combat time does make some sense. I don't want to wait too much between battles, so my regens go up. Also, because I'm resting, it makes sense that my mana and health regen faster. But during a battle, I shouldn't just be able to regen my way through it -- if I'm out of health when I'm in trouble, I should use a health potion, and if I'm out of mana, I should use a mana potion or use the unique abilities of the classes like getting crits/hits to restore my mana.

At the same time, if my mana regen rate is well adjusted, you're right that this slowdown shouldn't really be necessary, or at least should be minimal.

In any case, with the game as it is right now, few people feel this issue because they have so much mana available relative to skill cost. Also, mages don't encounter this issue much because they aren't in battle for too long -- if they are, they usually end up dead :). It'll become more of an issue once I adjust the mana costs for non-mage classes.

Bluddy
03-17-2011, 04:42 AM
I'd like to talk a little about overpowered skills. As can be seen in another thread about the demon hunter, some skills are vastly OP to the point that they can render the whole game too easy.

One aspect of this is the attack/defense formula, which I haven't touched on until now. I just made a suggestion of capping the minimum chance of an attack hitting. Since it can't reach 100%, it shouldn't be able to reach 0% either. 1 out of a certain number of attacks should always hit. This is currently one of the most exploitable things in the game.

Additionally, some skills are real game changers. Getting some extra armor or resistance (even a lot) is not a huge deal because of the formulas for those. Getting tons of max health, lots of mana regen, or gobs of attack/defense can easily make the rest of the game trivial.

I plan on finding not just the weak skills, but also the OP skills, and limiting them by increasing their mana costs/reuse times and maybe also skill point costs.

Passive skills are even more dangerous in this regard, since they can't be controlled by mana costs or reuse times, and since they can make the game incredibly boring, both by reducing the need for skills and by making monsters unable to keep up. I plan on really raising skill costs on the OP passive skills, and sometimes even capping them with a MaxLevel setting.

Anyway, please remember while testing to also mention what you feel is OP in the game. OP skills ruin the game just as much as weak skills do.

OP skills are marked OP in the first column in my excel book in the FixSpVal page. Those are skills I'll be watching very closely for signs of overpower.

Bluddy
03-17-2011, 08:36 AM
The magician has some really good skills. I know you don't believe me, but he really does. The problem is, with the current game as it is, you don't get to see his power.

Everybody knows teleport is great. But arcane focus -- 0.3 magic crit and crushing per level? Amazing. Unfortunately the ease of getting crits up to 100% using items makes this skill all but useless. Well I nerfed those items in my balance mod, and I'll probably nerf them some more <nefarious laughter>.

Deep thought? 40 mana x 20 levels gives you 800 extra mana. It's crazy. But spells don't really use mana now, so it's worthless. You bet they're gonna be using up mana with my mod though, so it becomes super powerful. Actually I've marked it off as OP, because with proper mana balancing, it is.

I think I'm going to make arcane drain give you the health that you damage for as DeathKnight suggested, so that's going to be a pretty cool spell too.

Armor melt is good, but not so much for the magician him/herself. It's more of a hybrid power. Maybe I'll add a fear component there. I really think a magician should play with your mind, make you fearful.

The magician's magic in general should be a way to play with the variables. It's so open to different crazy possibilities. How about arcane blast could have a certain (small) chance of shrinking your enemy? Or arcane drain might just turn him into a harmless (but non-damageable) little creature of some sort? I feel there's missed potential here that could make the magician more attractive as a hybrid choice, and make his offensive skills more fun.

Bluddy
03-17-2011, 12:43 PM
OK the previous post focused mostly on the magician's non-offensive powers. The main problem is, his offense sucks. He's got these great support powers, but what are they supporting? There are only 2 magic missile type spells, and one drain. No real AOE spell at all.

At the same time, there are some spells that you can tell were just stuck in here. Armor melt? What's he going to do with that? Evasion? You expect the magician to fight?

Also, why would anyone ever want arcane drain? I can't even make it heal the player like I wanted to.

Making this class useful is a real challenge. I may try to turn arcane swarm into a super spell, with something like 8-9 projectiles. Arcane drain will have to do extra things, like make the target really weak and be semi-spammable.

alstein
03-17-2011, 01:24 PM
Bluddy, on arcane drain, I'd suggest upping the duration to 10 seconds from 8, maybe increase duration and recharge time per level as well. Another possibility is magic vulnerability/reducing magic resist if under the effect.

Maybe Arcane Drain could add a regeneration effect as well instead of just the health, regen is in the game.

Maybe the magician could get a skill that reduces casting time, or as part of another skill?

Bluddy
03-18-2011, 04:16 AM
Really excited to have the latest patch from Shadow. It's a good step in the right direction, but I think more is needed and that's why there's still room for this mod.

The most important thing from my perspective is that now there are easy non-linear damage commands available. This means damage will be a lot clearer once I switch to these new commands.

Now let's examine some of the other changes in the patch.

a) Resistance
As I've mentioned before, the resistance formula didn't match the resistance values people were getting. My solution was to change the resistance formula so that it matched the values in the game. The new resistance boosts in the game are higher. For example, if an item previously gave me 20 poison resistance, it'll now give me 40. This means that instead of getting a max of around 200 resistance in the game, characters should get about double that amount (400) as max.

The problem with this is that because of the strong level-based component of the resistance formula as it is, even 400 points (which would be quite difficult for characters to get) would only give you around 40% resistance around level 70. Getting full fire mastery should make you near impervious to fire (I'd expect 50-70% resistance) -- but it only nets you 100 points, worth only about 8% at higher levels. The problem is with the resistance formula. Even with the increased resistance bonuses, resistance remains a fairly static thing -- your resistance doesn't increase non-linearly throughout the game, unlike armor. A good resistance formula to match the new values is something like a 1.1 level factor and a base of 80. Fire mastery should probably net you more like 200 points total now to be worthwhile.

b) Critical hits/crushing blows from items were reduced somewhat. I can understand the reluctance to change these values by a lot, but I still think they're too high. An item can now increase crits by 150% (ie. multiply by 2.5) rather than 200% (ie. multiply by 3). Assuming a mage with a crit level of 20% (which happens rather early on because mages focus almost entirely on intelligence), one such item would bring me to 50% crits. Another such item would bring me to 80%. At 25% base crits (the maximum I can get from INT -- also not hard to obtain) one item will bring me to 63%, while another will bring me to 125% (ie 100%). Let's remember that even 50% crits is not to be scoffed at -- that's a crit every second spell/hit. Crushing blows received a lesser treatment -- instead of 250% max, we have 200% max.

In my opinion the maximum value for the items should be 100% crit/crush bonus (ie. multiply by 2). That would leave room for the skills that boost crits, crushes and such to be worthwhile in the long run.

c) Weapon requirements. Maces were made more powerful, which should take care of the mace requirement issue. But bows still have very high DEX requirements, which I suspect might keep the complaints coming.

d) Spell damage. It's non-linear, which is great. And it's definitely a step in the right direction. But the boosts are still very small per level, making spells non-viable in the long run unless you buy masteries, and those spells/skills that don't have masteries still have a problem. Let me illustrate with a graph. The first graph (fieryblast.jpg) shows spell power vs monster hit points. Monster hit points are the light red line. To be effective, spells must increase in proportion to this line.

The new values for fiery blast (as an example) can be seen in the dark green-brownish line. Notice how, as you get to higher levels of the spell, even at level 30 the spell barely begins to attack the monster HP, while the monsters are much more fierce at this level. The purple line is more or less what you can expect with high investment in fire mastery. This is really the line you want. It means that you still don't really have a choice about getting mastery. The problem is that the majority of the percentage growth comes from mastery, while the minority comes from the spell itself. It should be the other way around: the skill should have around 8-10% growth, and mastery should enhance it with a boost of around 2% or so.

The second image (arcaneblast.jpg) shows how arcane blast is faring. Even though it was given 5% growth to make up for the fact that it doesn't have a mastery, it's still hugely disadvantaged relative to fiery blast (which has a mastery), and it doesn't seem effective enough at the high levels. The purple line is more or less where it should be, with 1% growth (though it also might not be enough for the high levels -- haven't tried it there myself).

Now what do these changes mean for this mod?

a) I realize I've taken the mod in some directions I shouldn't have. I love getting (and losing) resistance per level of spells, but there's no way it's going to be put in the game. That change belongs in a different type of mod. Also, I realize I probably shouldn't have changed fire mastery etc to just reduce mana. I prefer this change because it's more controllable, but I could have left it as a damage boost -- it just needs to be reduced to 1-3% per level rather than 10%. I'll make these changes soon.

b) Mana costs are still really unbalanced. This can be seen in the third graph (mana.jpg). The highest line (blue) is the amount of mana you have relative to spell level for a full mage/conjurer. It's actually a little more than this -- the graph uses my mana values which have been balanced a little so that INT doesn't give as much mana. The second line (purple) is the amount of mana a typical half-mage has. As you can see, it's considerably less. The third line at the bottom (green) is the mana consumed by maelstrom. As you can see, it barely increases per level and it doesn't at all keep up with mana levels -- it's barely on the graph.

Not having mana be an element in the game has several effects. Mana is used to balance buying the next spell level. Without mana, you have no reason not to progress as high as possible in a spell. This leads again to overspecializing in 2-3 spells. Mana costs mean that you have to think twice before advancing to the next skill level.

Mana can also differentiate between different spells. There's no reason to ever buy fiery blast if fireball has just as insignificant a mana cost. The same applies to maelstrom and volcano.

Mana can also be used to limit spells to a certain reasonable number of levels.

Finally, without mana being needed, skills that give extra mana become unnecessary.

c) Skill points usage can be used better than it currently is. Skill points can limit the number of spell levels. For strong spells, they can be used to make them expensive to upgrade constantly. The game currently uses 1-10 as starting skill costs (with a few minor exceptions), and skill costs always go up by 1 per level. For a strong spell like maelstrom, though, it's much more useful to go up by 2 or even 3 points per level. This makes it such that it gets very expensive to go up to a ridiculously high level in maelstrom. It also means that maelstrom upgrades slowly -- you have to wait for skill points to build up. If strong spells upgrade slowly, the player is forced to make up for it with weaker spells (ie. diversify) until he has enough points to upgrade to the next level of the strong spell. I think this is a good think.

Another example of skill point usage is the teleport spell. It's capped at 6 levels, but only costs 4 points initially. This means one can easily get to the full 6 levels of teleport using only 39 points, which is 3.3% of the total skill points. If instead, the cost is increased to 10 points with a level skip of 4 points, getting to 6th level of teleport would happen only if you're really interested in it, costing 10% of your points.

d) Mana regen: I'd love to have the different class regen abilities matter. Right now they don't. I almost certainly need a percentPowerPerHit etc. to do it though.

e) Overpowered and underpowered skills: many of those exist. Some of them only become revealed once the mana levels are fixed and crits from items are further reduced (e.g. the magician's arcane focus is very poweful).

Some skills just need serious boosts to be worthwhile choices. Immolation is one example -- given all of the choices available to the fire mage, an expensive spell that slowly damages one target just doesn't make sense. In the case of the magician, arcane focus is a great magic crit/crushing blow booster, but he only has 2 spells that can produce magic crits or crushes, and both are relatively weak.

I'll be adjusting my earlier work (fire mage, ice mage) to the new patch values, and then hopefully get on with improving the magician.

Shadow
03-18-2011, 11:56 AM
BTW I don't intend for this to be the last balance changes. In general I try not to make too many big changes at once. It's easier to see what caused issues that way.

Evander
03-19-2011, 10:31 AM
Hey Bluddy!

I have been reading your thread about game balancing issues, and there are some things I would like to share with you here.

I admire your enthusiasm and the work you do here, btw.


Balancing the game, that has so many layers and dependencies is not something that may be achieved by fine-tuning skills back and forth.

It is a problem with a game development today, even the major companies selling AAA titles do have problems with that. Using a pen and paper to write down your otherwise arbitrary ideas will not help solve issues with Din's Curse, which in its vanilla version (even patched) is unbalanced to the point of being unplayable.

More consistent approach must be decided upon, before any serious rebalancing takes place.

So first, let me suggest the following:
- ask Shadow to only implement code solutions in patches, like add necessary formulas to be used
- have balance ideas be put in Assets04.zip file in the sticky topic, so they would be patch-friendly.

I just lost all my modifications to DemonsWar expansion skills and stuff, because I was careless and did not back them up.

Second, let's now tackle with the real reason of this situation.

let me use the latest example here:
1023 patch states:
- decreased armor calc parms from 25/50 to 24/48 (will make armor absorb more damage)

well isn't there a skill for a warrior "plate armor" which is passive and does exactly that - an increase in the skill level allows you to absorb more damage?

The problem with this skill, and armour ineffectiveness in the game is the skill cost. It's a tons of points for a very small bonus really, as you may find an armour that has double your current armor stat before you will get a next level and extra skill points to invest in this skill.

Therefore, spending points on this skill after lvl1 is pretty pointless.

The reason for this situation is an actual design flaw, and it does applies to almost all skills/classes.

Skills cost too much for giving too little in return, and they also cost you money, which makes you pay in hard gold for your character development.

Also, some classes are ruined by their subclasses.
Ranger has a druid subclass, which should in reality be a class on its own, where a necromancer is a subclass, while this should be a class on it's own again.

And whatever you do to balance pure classes, there are also hybrids and a multiplayer options - where the purerly support hybrid build, while not playable alone, should be a key member of the party and leveling up nicely.

Third, to really solve the problem one has to have a certain "reference characters". I haven't seen you mention it here, but I think that to balance something, you must know against what you are balancing it!

Therefore I would like to suggest making some classes a reference classes, that will be an anchor point for any future balance.

My ideas here:
- a pure warrior & wizard, both using only non magical items (remember that items have quality) should not be able to reach level 25 without using healing/mana potions or food, and with these it should be difficult.
- a pure priest/conjurer should not be able to reach level 25 without using potions on "Dangerous Monsters" modifier enabled. Both classes are overpowered, and they should be re-designed completely.


Forth, certain formulas seem to be missing from the game.
Lets take an Earth Link skill for example.
20th level of this skill gives you 200 hp and 100 poison resist.

While this is awesome, this skill needs revamping. My idea was to make this skill give 100hp, 100pres, and 5hp regen per second. It seems obvious to me, that a druid may not be a tank class, but should regen hp faster than it is doing now.

But I can't find a formula to put in this skill to make this happen.
Tried to use StatChangeHealthRegen, but it is not working - it shows in description, but does nothing.
Perhaps using formulas from PowerRegen passive skill would work, but that would mean that every time a player increases that stat, a regen would also go up.
Considering 0.01 hp regen per point of spirit per skill level, that would make a 0.2 hp regen on level 20 of the skill, but for a player with 20 spirit stat it would be 4. This sounds good, but with items adding 20 to spirits total, it would make this regen 8, way to high for this skill level.

In short, StatChangeHealthRegen must be corrected so it could be used in balancing these skills.

And keep in mind, that there are different types of regen:
- percentage, that restores a certain % of maxHP per second
- static, which restores a certain amount of hp per second

Fifth, how many skills are useless, and why there is no skill dependency?
Does anyone even bother with using Defender riposte skills? Or do you prefer to put all points in offensive skills and hit monster first, rather than retaliate later?

Skills are so messed up in different classes, that it would be good to actually to remove them, and put some more useful in their place
Why does the necromancer lack hp drains nukes?

And there is no real skill tree in this game. Skills are not dependent on each other. For example, A necro raising skellies and skelly archers are not related. Should be that you must learn to rise skellys first, at least at level one, in order to raise skelly archers.

Sixth, the items balance is totally broken. There is a number of issues, let me name just a few:

* Items have a quality. Which means, that you can have a dull axe, and an excellent axe, and while this does not seem a problem with regular items, it is a huge problem with SETS and EPICS. You can have a set made of crappiest items, and a set made of excellent ones. Difference between them is close to 50% armour difference.

There should be flags put in the game exe
ForceQuality, ForceQualityMin, ForceQualityMax
which would allow us to define the quality of an item.
It would allow us to make all set items be of Excellent quality, and for epics, we would be able to define min/max quality which the item can have.

* SETS are totally underpowered. For example, combined set effects are lacking, at least.
No combined set effect gives you health/mana regen, I had to mod it to make sets useful.
Many sets seem to give you FindMoney/FindItems which are simply useless (who cares about heavy armour with find more money ability?), and the stat bonues on them are somewhat random (+7 dex, +11 light, +23 cold res), rather than being round and nice-looking.

This problem is a result of a MagicModifiers in general. Bonus to skill, say dex, is 1.0 static and 0.3 PER LEVEL. There appear to be no way to define a nice, round bonus, say +10 dex, for an item and use it for different items, other than actually making a NEW MagicModifiers, and define everything there.

In other words, we are missing StaticStatBonus flag, where you would be able to put any modifier (like 5, 20, 78) and just define it in an unique item properties and keep it that way.

* There is no unfocused attack with melee/ranged weapons
If you played Diablo one, than you must remember how cool it was to just hold position with your bow and launch arrows into the room full of monsters, or to block the doors and cut everything that tried to pass through into pieces.

Bows, are messed up for precisely that reason. Not only arrows fly too slow (should fly slightly faster), but also since all the monsters are moving and you are moving as well, than unless you hit the "Hold Position" key, clicking on the monster to attack it with your bow will often cause you running towards it due to the missclick. You just can't fire an arrow, knowing that a monster will come from behind the corner and be hit with it, you have to have a clear line of sight to the monster first.


* No indestructible flag for items.
Unless you don't mind breaking your Legendary Lich Lamer while killing imps, that should not bother you.


Seventh, there seem to be no pure buffer/healer class in this game. Also, buff icons don't warn you, if the buff is about to fade. I would like to point you in the direction of Lineage 2, where the buff icons actually flickered, if there was like 20 seconds left before buff went out.
Also buffs seem to last for a short period of time, which makes them useless.

I prefer to mod certain buff skills, for example resistances, so that:
- their effectiveness is lowered
- duration is increased by 30 second per level and starting level gives you 4,5 min
- mana cost is up
- reuse is low/reduced

And are there party buffs in this game? Wouldn't it be nice to have a Din's Curse version of Warcryer chants from Lineage 2, that would give the party extra boost when needed?

Eight, Sets and Epic drop is completely random. While there is a quest to kill a Super boss, there is no quest to "find a Legendary weapon" or a set item. This is a design flaw, that nobody thought about placing a named artifact guardians in the game.

================

As you can see, things became more and more complicated, as you dive deeper in balance problems. Drawing nice charts is not enough, a complete redesign of Classes and Skills is required.

And this may be somewhat difficult to do for modders on forum.

Bluddy
03-19-2011, 05:15 PM
BTW I don't intend for this to be the last balance changes. In general I try not to make too many big changes at once. It's easier to see what caused issues that way.

Glad to hear it. I hope my comments don't seem too harsh -- I can get carried away sometimes. You're doing a great job and we all appreciate it.

Maledictus
03-19-2011, 09:15 PM
I have been reading your thread about game balancing issues, and there are some things I would like to share with you here.
While perhaps not my place to speak, I would like to say I disagree with most you say, but some things are noteworthy.

- arrow speed could be up for discussion.
- underpowered sets has been mentioned before, might be something to look at. Can be fixed by a mod though, if one feels up to it.
- no skill trees is a design decision.
- the 'buff about to end' notification is a very good idea.
- adding quest types like 'kill boss x to get special weapon y' is a nice idea.
- I'm not a fan of the 'add formula changes requested by players to patches' idea, as I've explained elsewhere. Still, that's a personal preference I suppose.

Bluddy
03-20-2011, 04:33 AM
I have been reading your thread about game balancing issues, and there are some things I would like to share with you here.

I admire your enthusiasm and the work you do here, btw.

Thanks! Since I really like DC, I try to do what I can to help it along. I appreciate your feedback.

Balancing the game, that has so many layers and dependencies is not something that may be achieved by fine-tuning skills back and forth.

It is a problem with a game development today, even the major companies selling AAA titles do have problems with that. Using a pen and paper to write down your otherwise arbitrary ideas will not help solve issues with Din's Curse, which in its vanilla version (even patched) is unbalanced to the point of being unplayable.

I don't think unbalanced means unplayable. DC is a really great game. Most characters play quite well, and even mage characters can now be played in a more flexible way (with the latest patch) with a mastery and probably 3-4 high level spells.

More consistent approach must be decided upon, before any serious rebalancing takes place.

So first, let me suggest the following:
- ask Shadow to only implement code solutions in patches, like add necessary formulas to be used

If you mean he should add commands at user request, the latest patch is an example of him doing just that.


- have balance ideas be put in Assets04.zip file in the sticky topic, so they would be patch-friendly.

The first post has my assetsbal.zip file, which works exactly like an assets04.zip file. It just doesn't support the 1.023 patch stuff yet.

1023 patch states:
- decreased armor calc parms from 25/50 to 24/48 (will make armor absorb more damage)

well isn't there a skill for a warrior "plate armor" which is passive and does exactly that - an increase in the skill level allows you to absorb more damage?

The problem with this skill, and armour ineffectiveness in the game is the skill cost. It's a tons of points for a very small bonus really, as you may find an armour that has double your current armor stat before you will get a next level and extra skill points to invest in this skill.

Plate armor gives you 5% per skill level which is added to any armor you have, so if you upgrade your armor, you get an extra 5% (or however much you have in this skill) on top. You don't even need plate armor. At a cost of 15, it seems built for around 11 levels. 11 x 5 = 55%, so you get up to 55% bonus to armor if you take the skill all the way to the (reasonable) top. I'd say that's pretty good, especially since plate mail already has the highest armor values.

Shadow's change to the armor formula is a small tweak to the calculation of how much damage you can absorb. It really makes a very small difference. I think I prefer to be a little more generous, with a formula of 15/40, but the current formula is ok too. It might be useful to boost the formula more to help players and monsters in the mid-game though.


Skills cost too much for giving too little in return, and they also cost you money, which makes you pay in hard gold for your character development.

There's a lot of money in the game, and the money cost is there to make sure there's a cost to changing between skills.

It's true that some skills are overpowered while others are underpowered. I'm trying to locate and fix those skills in this mod.

Also, some classes are ruined by their subclasses.
Ranger has a druid subclass, which should in reality be a class on its own, where a necromancer is a subclass, while this should be a class on it's own again.

I think it's important to look at the subclasses more as skill sets than what their name says. A ranger is generally associated with both protecting the environment and shooting arrows, so a druid and archer do make some sense as subclasses. Anyway this is a design choice. For me, the paladin in the priest class is the most problematic, as it turns a regular priest into a fighter rather than a healing/spell character.

And whatever you do to balance pure classes, there are also hybrids and a multiplayer options - where the purerly support hybrid build, while not playable alone, should be a key member of the party and leveling up nicely.

I don't really account for multiplayer. I think every sub-class should be viable on its own. You can't really count on multiplayer to survive.

- a pure priest/conjurer should not be able to reach level 25 without using potions on "Dangerous Monsters" modifier enabled. Both classes are overpowered, and they should be re-designed completely.

I think the problems of balancing usually don't come up before level 25. Around level 20-22 is where I find the classes really work well, and balancing issues come up after that.

I understand what you say about reference characters. I do try to think about the classes and how they'll survive, but I think if you find the OP skills and limit them and the UP skills and boost them, you'll solve almost all of the problems. The priest has the hardiness skill which seems exploitable, plus he's able to hold his own with fighting (unfortunately). The conjurer isn't that powerful AFAIK.

Forth, certain formulas seem to be missing from the game.
Lets take an Earth Link skill for example.
20th level of this skill gives you 200 hp and 100 poison resist.

While this is awesome, this skill needs revamping. My idea was to make this skill give 100hp, 100pres, and 5hp regen per second. It seems obvious to me, that a druid may not be a tank class, but should regen hp faster than it is doing now.

Passive skills are especially prone to unbalancing the game because you don't have to do anything to get their effect, which lasts forever. That's why most passive skills are relatively weak. Earth Link's starting cost is 1, which means you can easily get to around 22 levels or more. The problem here is with granting an absolute number of HP. At the beginning of the game, 220 HP is a lot, but you'll probably only reach level 20 around the mid-game, at which time 220HP won't be worth investing points in this skill. Giving a percentage of HP will probably make a lot more sense.

HP regen is probably also very dangerous to mess with. HP regen should be quite slow, as it can make the whole game a piece of cake. I couldn't find a health regen command either -- you might need to make it a temporary gain from a status effect if you want to mod it in.

Fifth, how many skills are useless, and why there is no skill dependency?
Does anyone even bother with using Defender riposte skills? Or do you prefer to put all points in offensive skills and hit monster first, rather than retaliate later?

I haven't analyzed the defender yet, but I'd say from a quick look, there's a good chance he needs to be buffed to make defense more worthwhile. Also, he really suffers from the imbalance that exists between monster damage and player HP/armor. Currently, player HP and armor isn't able to keep up with monster attacks, possibly making him a bad sub-class choice. Just as an example though, if he blocked 1 monster and was then able to attack 4-5 monsters as a result of that, it would be much more worthwhile to use him. Also, he could really benefit from an attack that powered up the more you were hit -- more like rage in DoP. It would use up all your mana but hit for a LOT.

Why does the necromancer lack hp drains nukes?

Agreed. Though I'd rather have seen the necromancer as part of the priest class anyway instead of the paladin. He'd be the path of evil priesthood.

And there is no real skill tree in this game. Skills are not dependent on each other. For example, A necro raising skellies and skelly archers are not related. Should be that you must learn to rise skellys first, at least at level one, in order to raise skelly archers.

As Maledictus already said, this is a design decision. Looking at it now, I'm not sure it was a very good design decision. It makes it such that all skills have to constantly compete for your skill points -- balancing is much harder. Also, it takes away the surprise and joy of discovering new things as the game advances. It'd be really cool if skills got completely new properties at certain levels. An 'AtLevel' command, would allow, for example, the Kodiak to get super-duper size at level 10 or skeletons could have life-leech at level 15 or something like that. Of course it'd make balancing even harder.

Sixth, the items balance is totally broken. There is a number of issues, let me name just a few:

* Items have a quality. Which means, that you can have a dull axe, and an excellent axe, and while this does not seem a problem with regular items, it is a huge problem with SETS and EPICS. You can have a set made of crappiest items, and a set made of excellent ones. Difference between them is close to 50% armour difference.

I see this as the randomness of the game. You could wait to find better quality items and replace the crappy ones. It also means you can get crappy set items at lower levels, and then complete them with good items later. I don't think of this as the problem.

* SETS are totally underpowered. For example, combined set effects are lacking, at least.
No combined set effect gives you health/mana regen, I had to mod it to make sets useful.
Many sets seem to give you FindMoney/FindItems which are simply useless (who cares about heavy armour with find more money ability?), and the stat bonues on them are somewhat random (+7 dex, +11 light, +23 cold res), rather than being round and nice-looking.

This is where I agree the problem is. Sets are completely underpowered given the way effects are distributed on items. Artifacts and uniques have up to 6 effects that get very large by the mid-game. Sets just can't compete, which is not the way it should be -- sets should be awesome as a reward for collecting them.

I agree that find money/item boosts are mostly useless, but it's ok to have some useless effects. Just throw away those items. I also like the randomness of the effects. DC is a random game, after all.


This problem is a result of a MagicModifiers in general. Bonus to skill, say dex, is 1.0 static and 0.3 PER LEVEL. There appear to be no way to define a nice, round bonus, say +10 dex, for an item and use it for different items, other than actually making a NEW MagicModifiers, and define everything there.

You can see this as a problem or as a good thing. It's an easy way to make things scale. At 0.3 per level of the item, for example, when you choose a modifier, you choose it from the scale that exists. If Shadow later changes the scale to 0.2 per level, it'll automatically adjust your item's modifier to be reasonable based on what other items will be like. I think it's quite smart. I don't see the need for round numbers.

What I would like, is a way to make all items of a certain kind have something. For example, I think all plate and chain armor should have a negative lightning resistance adjustment to them.

You just can't fire an arrow, knowing that a monster will come from behind the corner and be hit with it, you have to have a clear line of sight to the monster first.

Oh I see. You're saying bows shouldn't home in on an enemy, or should at least allow for a non-homing mode. I'm open to that idea. I don't like the way bows/spells don't miss, though it does make things easier.

Seventh, there seem to be no pure buffer/healer class in this game.

This has to do with the fact that the priest also has the paladin tree.

Also, buff icons don't warn you, if the buff is about to fade. I would like to point you in the direction of Lineage 2, where the buff icons actually flickered, if there was like 20 seconds left before buff went out.

As maledictus said, this is an excellent idea.

Also buffs seem to last for a short period of time, which makes them useless.

Some do, while some last 5 minutes. It's all a question of OP/UP, and needs to be examined on a case by case basis.

And are there party buffs in this game? Wouldn't it be nice to have a Din's Curse version of Warcryer chants from Lineage 2, that would give the party extra boost when needed?

That would be nice. That's up to Shadow to decide if he wants though. Some buff skills could be made party-wide pretty easily.

Eight, Sets and Epic drop is completely random. While there is a quest to kill a Super boss, there is no quest to "find a Legendary weapon" or a set item. This is a design flaw, that nobody thought about placing a named artifact guardians in the game.

There's a quest to help armor/weaponsmiths make a super-item by collecting ingredients, but you're right, having a guardian would be a good idea. I wouldn't call it a design flaw -- more like a thing that would be nice to have.

As you can see, things became more and more complicated, as you dive deeper in balance problems. Drawing nice charts is not enough, a complete redesign of Classes and Skills is required.

There are balance issues, but I don't see a need for a complete redesign. My goal in this mod is to take what's there and find ways to make it more effective and worthwhile. While there are things I'd like to see, like more creative skills for some classes and such, I'd rather leave that up to Shadow to change if he'd like to, or make another mod where I allow myself more creative freedom.

The main current problems as far as I can tell are the skill related ones which I listed in the previous post about skills. There's also another issue which is what to do about monster and player DPS, which goes up faster than either side's HP/armor can deal with. This makes warriors (and especially defenders) very hard to carry through the mid-game. I need to check this out though -- I've only heard it from reports.

Evander
03-20-2011, 06:59 AM
While perhaps not my place to speak, I would like to say I disagree with most you say, but some things are noteworthy.
You can always elaborate that.. :)


- I'm not a fan of the 'add formula changes requested by players to patches' idea, as I've explained elsewhere. Still, that's a personal preference I suppose.
I have read that.
And I agree with you, but it is still better to put logic required into exe, so that it may support rebalance mods, rather than patch both exe and a dozen of other files.
This simply creates a conflicts with people numerous small changes, and I'm sure many people does mod the game to some extend. Could be avoided easily.

Evander
03-20-2011, 08:50 AM
I don't think unbalanced means unplayable. (...) Most characters play quite well, and even mage characters can now be played in a more flexible way (with the latest patch) with a mastery and probably 3-4 high level spells.
For some reason, I always was able to solo a wizzy without problems.
Maybe thats due to the fact that I collect and keep for later a lot of items with mana/hp regen.

But game is nearly unplayable in terms of "fun factor", especially in the multiplayer. Let's hope we will be able to help change that =)


If you mean he should add commands at user request, the latest patch is an example of him doing just that.
The first post has my assetsbal.zip file, which works exactly like an assets04.zip file. It just doesn't support the 1.023 patch stuff yet.

Sorry, I meant that he could add logic and commands required only, so that it would not invalidate people mods. Balanced assets would then be able to invoke those commands when needed.
It's just a personal opinion, I don't think that 1023 patch added so many important things, so that I should port all my personal modifications to this new version.



Plate armor gives you 5% per skill level which is added to any armor you have, so if you upgrade your armor, you get an extra 5% (or however much you have in this skill) on top.
You don't even need plate armor.
And this, this is a bug.

At a cost of 15, it seems built for around 11 levels. 11 x 5 = 55%, so you get up to 55% bonus to armor if you take the skill all the way to the (reasonable) top. I'd say that's pretty good, especially since plate mail already has the highest armor values.

Shadow's change to the armor formula (...) It really makes a very small difference. I think I prefer to be a little more generous, with a formula of 15/40, but the current formula is ok too. It might be useful to boost the formula more to help players and monsters in the mid-game though.
I might be missing the point, but why bother changing the formula, instead of simply lowering skill points required to increase a level of that skill.
The result would be similar?



There's a lot of money in the game, and the money cost is there to make sure there's a cost to changing between skills.
Unless you play Unlucky & Poverty character ;-]

Generally the amount of items dropping is something that also should be balanced at the very end of the process. with U P character I still drop legends from bosses, from time to time.


I think it's important to look at the subclasses more as skill sets than what their name says. A ranger is generally associated with both protecting the environment and shooting arrows, so a druid and archer do make some sense as subclasses. Anyway this is a design choice. For me, the paladin in the priest class is the most problematic
I think it could be modded. I think it SHOULD be modded.
Like I said earlier, just tuning the formulas won't really solve the problem of useless skills.
As for the design choice, I prefer to believe that it was more of an accident ;)
A "Hunter" class, instead of a Druid, with passive skills increasing damage to certain "beast like" monsters would be more in place here.


I don't really account for multiplayer. I think every sub-class should be viable on its own. You can't really count on multiplayer to survive.

Well, wasn't that supposed to be a major step forward from DoP? I think I saw that in an advertising... :D

Anyway, the question here for "I think every sub-class should be viable on its own" is why?

No subclass plays alone. And an attempt to make every subclass able to solo up to the lvl 100 is in my opinion a good way to break the game even further.
You must be very very careful here.

Take a look at the warrior example again and it's subclasses.

Weaponsmaster is a damage dealer. Now it's combination of different skills and passive increase in damage.

Gladiator should be all about skills. Either AoE, stuns, defensive stances etc. but otherwise capable of delivering decent damage and avoiding taking so much damage. Right now it's about stances and some passive increase in crushing damage.

Defender is about, well, defence. Focusing on shield and heavy armour, that subclass could be a tank in DC. Say you have an area aggro skill, some shield stun/bash.

So you have a 3 possible ways to develop your warrior. Either go for an awesome offence and damage, but you will have to carry ton's of chickens with you.
Or go for a flashy skills, while still carrying half ton of chickens with you.
Eventually decide on strong defence and let chickens live, but then killing monster will take longer.


Now, the point is, you can have all of it in one character (well, almost).
So you focus on, say one weapon type, invest in a single AoE skill, and boost defence for an extra protection.

Or forget about defence and focus on both damage and offensive skills.
Or maybe focus on warrior/glad only, don't bother with plate armour and defence (you can run).

You see the problem here? How are you gonna balance that, if you can play even pure classes differently?


As a side note, I believe that a warrior class itself should be redesigned. Weaponmaster should focus on damage/attack increase, rather than on so many activated skills. Gladiator should have them instead. While Defender should be focused on upping up Shield, Plate, Chain stats and have skills related to that (Shield bash, stun resistance etc).
Once I finish with UI mod, I will try to see if I can come up with some decent skills for every subclass so it would have more unique feeling ;-]


I understand what you say about reference characters.

There simply must be a reference class. Sort of bottom/upper line for balancing everything else. As shown in an above example with a warrior.
It must be decided that for example "a warrior lvl 25 with no magical items and those skills selected must play that way", and everything else should be modified accordingly.
Otherwise it's just guessing/personal preference. Which is hardly a "balancing" =)


Passive skills are especially prone to unbalancing the game because you don't have to do anything to get their effect, which lasts forever. That's why most passive skills are relatively weak.

Well, yes. But using passive skills is a good way to make every class more unique.


Earth Link's starting cost is 1, which means you can easily get to around 22 levels or more. The problem here is with granting an absolute number of HP. Giving a percentage of HP will probably make a lot more sense.
And what if you make a hybrid with a Defender. A lot of HP, a lot of DEF, polymorph into kodiak and be an unstoppable monster? Seems like possible OP ;-]


HP regen is probably also very dangerous to mess with.

Perhaps. But we can afford having one class whose regen is better than others, if only to make it stand out. Of course it must be balanced in other areas.



Agreed. Though I'd rather have seen the necromancer as part of the priest class anyway instead of the paladin. He'd be the path of evil priesthood.

Nah ;-]
On a side note, I play a palladin/necro hybrid :]


As Maledictus already said, this is a design decision. Looking at it now, I'm not sure it was a very good design decision. It makes it such that all skills have to constantly compete for your skill points -- balancing is much harder.

The idea behind that was, afair, that when there is no dependency, you can respec at any moment, and completely alter the way your character is played.

Idea seemed good, but considering how few skills are there for a hybrid class for example, I doubt that people are constantly changing points allocation.

Having a good skill tree could make things better. And I think it does not really prevents from reallocating skill points, it just would be slightly more complex.


I see this as the randomness of the game. You could wait to find better quality items and replace the crappy ones. I don't think of this as the problem.

Like I said. Not a problem for a regular items. For a SET ITEMS we may want them to have more consistent stats, just to make sure they will be awesome.


This is where I agree the problem is. Sets are completely underpowered given the way effects are distributed on items. Artifacts and uniques have up to 6 effects that get very large by the mid-game. Sets just can't compete, which is not the way it should be -- sets should be awesome as a reward for collecting them.
I guess we know now why the original owners are missing =D

I will try to look into it at some point in the future and see if the sets can be improved in a reasonable way.
I believe sets should be sitting along the artifacts. Right now they fall behind even the "rare" items of their level.



I agree that find money/item boosts are mostly useless, but it's ok to have some useless effects. Just throw away those items. I also like the randomness of the effects. DC is a random game, after all.

Sure, some vendor fodder is always nice. I remember that game, Borderlands. 1,5 bazillion guns, only very few of them were really useful. Others were too inaccurate, had damage/ammo too low or too big recoil.
Not really the big fan of digging through tons of crap to find a decent handgun since then.

But, back on the topic. I think useless effects should be removed from Sets as a part of rebalancing.


You can see this as a problem or as a good thing.

That is a good thing. Problem is, there seems to be no easy alternative ;-]


What I would like, is a way to make all items of a certain kind have something. For example, I think all plate and chain armor should have a negative lightning resistance adjustment to them.
Not good. Turtle/Dragon scales for example. They are not metallic.
Better to leave it for now.


Oh I see. You're saying bows shouldn't home in on an enemy, or should at least allow for a non-homing mode. I'm open to that idea. I don't like the way bows/spells don't miss, though it does make things easier.

Actually, in my games a lot of arrows/spells do miss. Thats the way I kill delven priests - by dodging their bolts as I run towards them :]

But again, I really believe that player should be able to launch a barrage of missiles over certain area, rather than having to target every imp separately.



This has to do with the fact that the priest also has the paladin tree.

Perhaps. But pally would be good with auras as a toggle skills.
I don't know, maybe it should be a stand-alone class.



As maledictus said, this is an excellent idea.


Some do, while some last 5 minutes. It's all a question of OP/UP, and needs to be examined on a case by case basis.

In both cases, I would like to point to Lineage 2. While the game is not really playable now, the way the UI and buffs are handled in this mmo is a very good example to follow. Possibly the best of all mmos.
Perhaps you should take a look, as a part of research :-]


That would be nice. That's up to Shadow to decide if he wants though.

Maybe thats an idea for a next expansion (where hopefully our vertical experience will be limited and we will get surface world back).
Skills present right now can be changed to "self or friend" and it will suffice.

It's just a good thing to remember for future.


There's a quest to help armor/weaponsmiths make a super-item by collecting ingredients, but you're right, having a guardian would be a good idea.

...which is simply getting a random item for free.
A quest to get a certain set or an epic would be better, as you would know what you are working for.


I wouldn't call it a design flaw -- more like a thing that would be nice to have.

Knowing how the development process looks like, I will blindly believe that they simply haven't thought about that.
It's easy to be lost in all that stuff for a small indie dev. :)

But they have us to remind them, right? :D


There are balance issues, but I don't see a need for a complete redesign. My goal in this mod is to take what's there and find ways to make it more effective and worthwhile.

I know.
Still as a modder you are only limited by your creativity and what is legal.
I pretty sure that if a new, very good design of classes/skills was made, Shadow would at least took a look. :-]


The main current problems as far as I can tell are the skill related ones which I listed in the previous post about skills. There's also another issue which is what to do about monster and player DPS, which goes up faster than either side's HP/armor can deal with. This makes warriors (and especially defenders) very hard to carry through the mid-game. I need to check this out though -- I've only heard it from reports.
Not if you make a hybrid with something with more punch ;-]

Aanyway, about that evasion on the wizard? Think of it as a ninja-wizard style.
Helps you to get in between monsters to launch AoE nukes, and helps you to successfully accomplish tactical retreat if your mana is out =D


Ps.
Why is there a limit to 4 smilies per message? x_X thats the first time ever I see something like this.

Bluddy
03-20-2011, 10:03 AM
Crits, deep wounds and crushing blows are the game's main (non-skill) balance problem. This is the conclusion I've come to.

Monsters slowly get a higher and higher percentage of these. But they also get more damage. And they get stronger. And faster. By level 55, it's impossible to be a defensive character -- you have to kill them before they kill you.

Level 54 with a warrior I borrowed from the forum should not be as hard as it is. Monsters hit you for about 1/10 of your HP normally, but with crits etc. , with so many monsters hitting you at once, they finish you off in no time. You need to chug potions to survive when fighting 3 or more critters.

I tried turning off the monsters' crits and deep wounds by reducing their stats. Suddenly the game was tough, but manageable (for a warrior with heavy defense) -- exactly as it should be.

I'm thinking of trying to set crits at a certain set percentage for monsters -- about the level they have around level 20, when the game is at its best (in my opinion). The extra damage, speed, and armor they get over time should be enough.

EDIT: trying it again, I'm not sure this is the case. Please disregard this post for now :)

timeh
03-20-2011, 12:58 PM
around level 20, when the game is at its best (in my opinion).

you're going to a hell of a lot of effort to tell us you think the game is too hard

Bluddy
03-20-2011, 03:02 PM
you're going to a hell of a lot of effort to tell us you think the game is too hard

Difficulty is often caused by imbalance. There's no doubt the difficulty increases with level, but at level 20 the balance of the game seems best to me. It's fine for the difficulty to go up, but there should be different strategies to handle that difficulty. If only one overpowered approach allows you to handle the extra difficulty (e.g. killing the monsters as fast as possible), then it's not really difficulty but imbalance. Also, if once you find the 'right' ie. overpowered approach the game becomes easy (which is often the case), then it's not difficulty at all.

Finally, it's not entirely clear how to even define difficulty in DC. Even a really bad strategy will eventually allow a hero to reach level 100 -- it might just take many many deaths to get there. Difficulty then is just the frustration threshold of the player. A certain balance of dying and saving towns will allow most people to feel satisfied. Certainly there should be parts of the game where the player dies more often. Dying more times should be a signal to the players that they should try to improve their strategy somewhat; not to completely redesign their strategy because the game wasn't balanced enough to sustain said strategy in the long run; and not to find an OP way to make the rest of the game trivial.

Evander
03-20-2011, 03:54 PM
Speaking of dying, it just occurred to me how long reuse time for healing potions/food is.
Whenever I look back into the history of crpg, one could always spam potions, thus allowing him to survive, or at least to die a little later.

and why they have lvl requirements in the first place?

bushwhacker2k
03-20-2011, 06:03 PM
Speaking of dying, it just occurred to me how long reuse time for healing potions/food is.
Whenever I look back into the history of crpg, one could always spam potions, thus allowing him to survive, or at least to die a little later.

and why they have lvl requirements in the first place?

I've noticed that too, but I regard it as a good thing here. I dislike games in which your ability to win is measured by your reaction speed at chugging the innumerable amount of potions you have. I have labeled said games as "Potion-Chuggers".

Actually if done correctly, I would much prefer not really using one-time items like that at all in games, I would rather be able to survive on my environment and skills. This is easier said than done though : /

Sure, it doesn't make sense for them to have level requirements over all, unless it's some ridiculous divine restriction imposed by Din stating "You cannot consume that turkey dinner until you have completed this many tasks and slain this many zombies!" But it is kind of obvious why as a design choice.

Bluddy
03-21-2011, 05:37 AM
Though I didn't realize it as first, it makes sense to limit the level for potions and foods.

Imagine a scenario where characters at higher levels send foods and potions via the stash to lower level characters, who can then a) fill up all their health easily with potions b) get regen from foods that fills their health completely every second.

The stash is a potential balance killer, and level/skill requirements are the only way of preventing abuse. The stash is really meant be used to transfer items between characters of similar levels, from a lucky character to an unlucky one.

Bluddy
03-21-2011, 08:38 AM
Updated the mod file with the latest patch stuff. Mana costs might be a tad high now that I have masteries working like they do in the main game (but weaker so they're not the most important factor).

Maledictus
03-21-2011, 10:34 AM
Bluddy, I've been playing around with this:

ModFixedSkillPoints overrides GameSystem

{
BaseSkillPointsPerLevel 2
LevelsBetweenSkillPointRaises 4
SkillPointRaise 1
StartingSkillPoints 2
}

As you can see I changed the second parm, to make a steeper curve in the skill points dispensing. I haven't played to higher levels yet, but it seems to affect the difficulty curve in a nice way while not unbalancing the lower level easier game. I'd like to hear your thoughts on this.
Might be that stuff like this is in Din's Additionals but I'm reluctant to try that, I don't want to turn the game upside down at this point in time; I'm only just getting to know the ins and outs of the original game.

Also, you mentioned playing a warrior borrowed from the repository. I'd like to know which one and how you tested; town-level etc, the game starting details.

Bluddy
03-21-2011, 10:58 AM
Bluddy, I've been playing around with this:

ModFixedSkillPoints overrides GameSystem

{
BaseSkillPointsPerLevel 2
LevelsBetweenSkillPointRaises 4
SkillPointRaise 1
StartingSkillPoints 2
}

As you can see I changed the second parm, to make a steeper curve in the skill points dispensing. I haven't played to higher levels yet, but it seems to affect the difficulty curve in a nice way while not unbalancing the lower level easier game. I'd like to hear your thoughts on this.
Might be that stuff like this is in Din's Additionals but I'm reluctant to try that, I don't want to turn the game upside down at this point in time; I'm only just getting to know the ins and outs of the original game.

Honestly, I'm a little wary of changing these params since they affect all the classes with regard to the amount of skill points dispensed. I've already calculated the number of skill points given out normally -- 1151. If I don't relate to this as a basic constant, it puts all my other calculations in flux.

As a solution to difficulty at higher levels, giving out more skill points is also a little dangerous as it's a little unsupervised. It could lead to heavy exploitation of some skills that grow in power very fast. Better to balance the skills in such a way that the current amount of skill points is enough to survive (IMO).

Also, you mentioned playing a warrior borrowed from the repository. I'd like to know which one and how you tested; town-level etc, the game starting details.

It may not have been from the repository but from a bug report :) Not many people posted in the repository unfortunately. It's a 54 level warrior with tons of money, which made switching skills around very easy. I don't remember his name (I don't pay attention to that when testing).

The town level was also 54. Even entering the first level of the dungeon was a challenge. However, there are some factors that make this kind of testing problematic. The first is, it takes a while to get into the habit of how to play a character. Though it was initially overwhelming, after half an hour I was able to do better with that character. The second problem is confirmation bias: I heard about this problem that is supposed to exist around level 50 and I subconsciously wanted to confirm that it exists. But maybe it only exists for specific builds? Or perhaps only with poor items? I think the key test is to make a pure defender and see how he fares. If he can't take hits, then no-one can.

In retrospect, I'm not sure yet whether it's a systemic problem that exists or not. Even if it exists, it should be correctable by playing with the armor formula or with monsters' crit percentages, so it's not a massive issue. It's also possible once I balance skills this problem will go away (again, assuming it exists).

Maledictus
03-21-2011, 12:27 PM
Valid points, thanks.

All this makes me wish we had an easier way to test these things. Say, a way to start a character at level X with all potential skill and stat points (up to level X) unallocated, and some cash for items. I suppose tinkering with XP formulas can allow a fast growing character, I'll look into that. A console approach for this would involve the dev and would allow exploits, which is the reason (I assume) it's not in there now.

Bluddy
03-21-2011, 12:53 PM
Valid points, thanks.

All this makes me wish we had an easier way to test these things. Say, a way to start a character at level X with all potential skill and stat points (up to level X) unallocated, and some cash for items. I suppose tinkering with XP formulas can allow a fast growing character, I'll look into that. A console approach for this would involve the dev and would allow exploits, which is the reason (I assume) it's not in there now.

Yeah Crisses changed the XP required to level in order to make a level 22 mage. I use him all the time for testing. Wish I had higher level mages as well, like a level 50, a level 75 and a level 100.

The nice thing about these high level characters is that they have so much gold that switching skills around is a piece of cake.

Evander
03-21-2011, 02:17 PM
you can always overcheat experience and gold for testing purpose.

Bluddy
03-22-2011, 02:13 AM
For some reason, I always was able to solo a wizzy without problems.
Maybe thats due to the fact that I collect and keep for later a lot of items with mana/hp regen.

It was always possible, but you could only play a very certain way: Shatter was the most powerful spell, and a mastery always had to be brought to a high level.

But game is nearly unplayable in terms of "fun factor", especially in the multiplayer. Let's hope we will be able to help change that =)

I hope so, but it's not my first priority. Maybe multiplayer should have some handicap to make characters need each other. For example, mana regen could be made very low for everyone. In other words, once characters are sufficiently strong on their own, we can think of ways to make them work together for the sake of multiplayer.

Sorry, I meant that he could add logic and commands required only, so that it would not invalidate people mods. Balanced assets would then be able to invoke those commands when needed.

Ah ok. It'll be very hard to not invalidate mods though, what with all the possible changes.

It's just a personal opinion, I don't think that 1023 patch added so many important things, so that I should port all my personal modifications to this new version.

It did add several really important things as far as mage balance is concerned. If you use a comparison program like WinMerge, it's really not too hard to port your mod changes.

And this, this is a bug.

Actually I think it's a way to make the plate armor skill worthwhile. Not only do you get to have plate armor, you also get a boost to your armor. You have to remember that even characters with plate armor won't have all plate, but pieces of different kinds. The boost needs to apply to your total armor score.

I might be missing the point, but why bother changing the formula, instead of simply lowering skill points required to increase a level of that skill.
The result would be similar?

The formula is non-linear. Changing it a little makes a pretty big difference. You can find it being discussed in the Demon War beta forum, or see its effects in my excel book in the page 'DefOld'.

Unless you play Unlucky & Poverty character ;-]

Generally the amount of items dropping is something that also should be balanced at the very end of the process. with U P character I still drop legends from bosses, from time to time.

Yeah I played Poverty characters and didn't notice a huge difference. In my opinion we get way too many items in the game, but I've voiced this before and if Shadow agreed, he could have changed it by now, so I guess he disagrees. I really don't like how many items bosses, champions and elites MUST drop according to the game's rules. Once I create my own personal mod (ie. not a balance mod) I'll modify it to my heart's content.

As for the design choice, I prefer to believe that it was more of an accident ;)
A "Hunter" class, instead of a Druid, with passive skills increasing damage to certain "beast like" monsters would be more in place here.

Perhaps. Regardless, that part of the game's not going to change. You can make a mod that'll replace that subclass if you want -- it's not hard to do.

Well, wasn't that supposed to be a major step forward from DoP? I think I saw that in an advertising... :D

Anyway, the question here for "I think every sub-class should be viable on its own" is why?

No subclass plays alone. And an attempt to make every subclass able to solo up to the lvl 100 is in my opinion a good way to break the game even further.
You must be very very careful here.

Right. I didn't mean that every subclass should be viable on its own (though I said it :) ) What I meant is that every subclass should be a viable choice -- none of them should look like they're useless. Currently, the magician is a very weak choice (just as an example).


Take a look at the warrior example again and it's subclasses.

Weaponsmaster is a damage dealer. Now it's combination of different skills and passive increase in damage.

Gladiator should be all about skills. Either AoE, stuns, defensive stances etc. but otherwise capable of delivering decent damage and avoiding taking so much damage. Right now it's about stances and some passive increase in crushing damage.

Defender is about, well, defence. Focusing on shield and heavy armour, that subclass could be a tank in DC. Say you have an area aggro skill, some shield stun/bash.

So you have a 3 possible ways to develop your warrior. Either go for an awesome offence and damage, but you will have to carry ton's of chickens with you.
...
Now, the point is, you can have all of it in one character (well, almost).
So you focus on, say one weapon type, invest in a single AoE skill, and boost defence for an extra protection.
...
You see the problem here? How are you gonna balance that, if you can play even pure classes differently?

I think the key is to make every skill about as useful as another skill. If a skill is more powerful, it should have a higher mana and skill point cost. Sure you could find some combinations that are more powerful, and that's fine. But there shouldn't be OP skills that dominate. And you need to make sure that a character that really wants to focus on a particular aspect (e.g. defense) will find enough skills to make that work.

As a side note, I believe that a warrior class itself should be redesigned. Weaponmaster should focus on damage/attack increase, rather than on so many activated skills. Gladiator should have them instead. While Defender should be focused on upping up Shield, Plate, Chain stats and have skills related to that (Shield bash, stun resistance etc).
Once I finish with UI mod, I will try to see if I can come up with some decent skills for every subclass so it would have more unique feeling ;-]

Go for it! I do agree that the fighters' skills feel samey to me. So many of them just play with the basic CRIT, CRUSH, Physical damage etc.

There simply must be a reference class. Sort of bottom/upper line for balancing everything else. As shown in an above example with a warrior.
It must be decided that for example "a warrior lvl 25 with no magical items and those skills selected must play that way", and everything else should be modified accordingly.
Otherwise it's just guessing/personal preference. Which is hardly a "balancing" =)

I think if we tried to create such reference characters we'd soon go crazy from the possibilities. Ultimately feedback for this stuff must come from testing that players do. Also, there's really no such thing as no magical items in this game -- there are so many magical items that it's impossible not to have them, and you have to count their effects. They have REALLY BIG effects. I did reduce the maximum effect on CRITs and CRUSHes though. That was out of control.

Well, yes. But using passive skills is a good way to make every class more unique.

Certainly, but so are active skills. And active skills don't disturb the balance of the game as much.

And what if you make a hybrid with a Defender. A lot of HP, a lot of DEF, polymorph into kodiak and be an unstoppable monster? Seems like possible OP ;-]

You're right. The skill and mana costs should be arranged in such a way that that would be a completely legitimate combo -- but it should cost you a lot. If that's where you choose to put all your points, you'll end up with an unstoppable monster for 1/4 of the time, and a fairly weak character the rest of the time. Again, this is why passives are so dangerous. The kodiak can be controlled using mana consumption and cooldown timers, making it effective only some of the time; but if you give yourself passive boosts, they're effective forever.

[QUOTE]Perhaps. But we can afford having one class whose regen is better than others, if only to make it stand out. Of course it must be balanced in other areas.

It seems Shadow's intent was to minimize the use of health regen, and I don't see a need (at this point) to go against his choices.

Like I said. Not a problem for a regular items. For a SET ITEMS we may want them to have more consistent stats, just to make sure they will be awesome.

Oh actually I just checked and set items do have consistent stat changes inside statusEffectSets.gdb. So looks like Shadow thought the same way as you. I just think these effects need to be boosted. If you look in that file, some of those effects are excellent -- relative to the beginning of the game. But by the time you get the full set it'll probably be at least the mid-game. The combined effects are then very unimpressive.

Maybe Shadow was afraid you'd give the set to a character early in the game, messing up balance. If so, then sets should have minimum levels. You could say that you can't combine 2 pieces of a set before level 30, and that you can't combine 3 pieces before level 50 etc. Then, make the bonuses truly AWESOME.

But, back on the topic. I think useless effects should be removed from Sets as a part of rebalancing.

Yeah money finding should not be in there. Money is pretty much an unbounded resource in the game, and I see no way to change that. You can farm for so long in lower levels, or once the town is saved...

That COULD change if vendors had limited money though. That would completely change the economy of the game, making money much more scarce, and treasure rooms would actually mean something.

Not good. Turtle/Dragon scales for example. They are not metallic.
Better to leave it for now.

Good point! Then maybe just plate? Have a penalty for wearing the strongest armor?

Actually, in my games a lot of arrows/spells do miss. Thats the way I kill delven priests - by dodging their bolts as I run towards them :]

Yes they can miss if they're dodged -- but monsters don't dodge. What I mean is that the spell auto-aims for you -- it doesn't just go where you clicked.

But again, I really believe that player should be able to launch a barrage of missiles over certain area, rather than having to target every imp separately.

Right that would mean the missile going where you click without regard to where the enemy is. I think that's a pretty good idea.

In both cases, I would like to point to Lineage 2. While the game is not really playable now, the way the UI and buffs are handled in this mmo is a very good example to follow. Possibly the best of all mmos.
Perhaps you should take a look, as a part of research :-]

When I get a chance. I already got much deeper into this balancing thing than I originally meant to :)

I know.
Still as a modder you are only limited by your creativity and what is legal.
I pretty sure that if a new, very good design of classes/skills was made, Shadow would at least took a look. :-]

I think from the perspective of a game designer, there are only so many changes Shadow would make to the core game. I've located imbalances that need correcting, and I'm trying to correct them. I might boost certain skills to make them more worthwhile. But I recognize that if I make changes that aren't strictly necessary to restore balance, from Shadow's perspective it would be more like a mod that people can download if they wish rather than changes that would make it in some form to the core game.


Aanyway, about that evasion on the wizard? Think of it as a ninja-wizard style.
Helps you to get in between monsters to launch AoE nukes, and helps you to successfully accomplish tactical retreat if your mana is out =D

I think it belongs more in a hybrid class. A magician should have some cool way to get that effect. Plus, he already has teleport.

Bluddy
03-22-2011, 03:16 AM
Just thinking 'aloud' about mana regen:

I'm wondering if I can find some value to make mana gain from passive abilities useful now. Looking at the different current abilities:

- The weaponmaster gains 1.5 mana from hitting.
- The gladiator gains 1.5 mana when getting hit.
- The defender gains 2 mana when blocking and 2 when parrying
- The assassin gains 3 mana from a crit and 6 from a kill
- The trickster just suffers less penalty from slowdown during combat. He gains an extra 50% during combat. So does the thief.
- The paladin has the same bonus as the defender.
- The archer gains 3 mana on a crit.
- The necromancer gains 6 mana on a kill.
- All casting classes get extra mana regen. Mages also get extra mileage out of mana potions.
- The healer is supposed to generate his mana via prayer.

All of these abilities make up for the fact that during combat, mana regen slows to 1/4 of its normal value. Notice that some classes, such as the hunter or the shaman, end up with no extra mana ability. I don't know why that is -- might be an oversight.

It's not hard to see that these values don't hold up throughout the game. A non-mage class can fairly easily reach 500 mana by level 100. At that level, they're likely to have a mana regen item, but remember that whatever bonus is given must be divided by 4 during combat. A gain of 1.5 mana from being hit, when 6 hits are enough to kill you, means that you're likely to get 9 mana from being hit (before you die), out of 500.

So as mentioned earlier, one solution is to get rid of this combat slowdown. Mana should refill at whatever regen rate you have. At the same time, these passive abilities are cool. For example, as a gladiator, it means that I have to fight some with my regular fighting skills before I can use my mana. As an assassin, I need to find ways to kill as soon as I can to get more mana with which to work.

Can we think of better values to use for the passive abilities? Well, the first thing to remember is that the first 10 levels of the game are extremely easy. There's no need for balance there. Around level 11, a non-mage will have around 80 mana. Critical hits and kill rates should increase over time, so saying that an assassin should get, say, 40 mana from a kill and maybe 20 mana from a crit seems like it could work. These are just rough numbers -- they need to be tested. It's harder to come up with absolute numbers for the warrior. As the levels go up, you need to hit LESS because your DPS quickly rises. You also can afford to get hit less. This means you'll be getting less and less mana with each passing level. Blocking and parrying will increase just as crits do though, so that one's ok.

There's a problem here -- the warrior benefits from all 3 passive abilities, even though he has just as much mana as a gladiator or a defender will. This means he'll gain mana much faster, which really isn't fair.

Now that I think about it, I think I'm pretty close to just ditching (ie. ignoring) these passive skills and simply making combat regen slowdown much less of a factor (say 50% or 75% of regular regen). I like the fact that between combat, mana regens faster so you don't have to wait around too much. But do we really need these passive abilities?

Take the warrior's rage gain on being hit. It's supposed to make sure that he doesn't just use his skills -- he has to fight some to get mana. But the same thing can be done (to an extent) by giving him a certain mana regen rate. The only difference is that a regen rate means he can use his skills, then wait for a while, then use his skills again -- there's no need to actually fight with his regular fighting ability. But then he'd be wasting time, which is probably the most important resource in the game. From a narrative perspective, we could say a warrior constantly builds up rage (the name of his mana type from DoP -- just like the Hulk). He lets it out when he fights.

What about the assassin's crit/kill bonuses? These don't really make sense in the first place. While they make sense thematically -- the assassin wants to kill and get crits, or he builds up 'momentum' (from DoP again), this doesn't really contribute in a gameplay sense. The assassin has to kill to get mana ie. to use his skills. But his skills are used... to kill and get crits. In DoP, I often found myself unable to kill enemies and stuck with almost no mana as a thief because I couldn't kill my enemies, so then I couldn't use my skills, which meant I couldn't kill my enemies, and so on. To make matters worse, mana constantly decreased in DoP.

Of course, you may be thinking 'what is he talking about here? I don't feel a need for these mana regen things in DC'. That's true, but it's true because the mana costs are so low. Once I adjust them, all these issues will crop up. And the mana costs need to be adjusted, because otherwise mana is just another useless resource we have tons of, and INT and SPR are unnecessary, and skills have much less to distinguish them from each other. Also, there's way too much spamming of skills going on, especially in the warrior classes, and not enough mixing of regular combat and skills. This again is because the cost of skills is too low -- it wasn't possible to spam as much in DoP.

OK so my conclusion after all that is that these abilities are probably not worth it. I'll adjust mana regen rates without considering these abilities (which are currently too minor to have any impact anyway) and I'll reduce slowdown during combat, which as of right now kills regen rates. I'd like to tune it so that mana potions are very helpful to mages during combat, but not so necessary for the other classes.

Bluddy
03-22-2011, 05:36 AM
I've now added magician balancing. I'd really appreciate some testing feedback. Not sure if arcane drain is working properly -- I have to test it. It's supposed to make a weakness aura that only affects monsters.

Evander
03-22-2011, 06:26 PM
It was always possible, but you could only play a very certain way: Shatter was the most powerful spell, and a mastery always had to be brought to a high level.
Actually, I played some mmos in the past. There I learned that a combination of skills/spells works best.

Say, stun + power strike for a warrior, or a debuff+nuke for a wizard.


I hope so, but it's not my first priority. Maybe multiplayer should have some handicap to make characters need each other. For example, mana regen could be made very low for everyone. In other words, once characters are sufficiently strong on their own, we can think of ways to make them work together for the sake of multiplayer.
Let me put this in different words then.

There is a company, called Blizzard. Even after they released their Warcraft 1, people didn't cared that much about them.
Then there were Diablo 1 and Starcraft. Both games having awesome graphics, interesting story, artistic music. But what really made them word-renowned titles, was their multi-player capability.
Starcraft 1 is still played, 13 years after release it has thousands of fans worldwide, there are even public matches. So is Diablo, even tho Diablo 2 is now more popular.

Not to mention, that Blizzards biggest, most profitable game - World of Warcraft is multiplayer only :-]

Here is how it works:
A guy named, say George, finds a cool looking dungeon crawler. It has well-balanced skills, nice GUI, and good gameplay. It talks about that game with his friends and he manages to convince 3 of them to buy the game so they could slay hordes of monsters together.

In terms of game developer, this increased popularity equals increased profit, which they can use to develop more and better games :-]

You get my point? :-]


It did add several really important things as far as mage balance is concerned. If you use a comparison program like WinMerge, it's really not too hard to port your mod changes.
One day I'm going to merge my mods into next version, it's just not that day yet.


Actually I think it's a way to make the plate armor skill worthwhile. Not only do you get to have plate armor, you also get a boost to your armor. You have to remember that even characters with plate armor won't have all plate, but pieces of different kinds. The boost needs to apply to your total armor score.

But if there were skills that apply only to certain types of armours that would cause players to invest time and effort in obtaining them, rather than going with different pieces of equipment. Plus, skills related to them could be implemented, like increased movement speed and evasion for chain armours, resistances to crits/stuns for plates etc.



Yeah I played Poverty characters and didn't notice a huge difference. In my opinion we get way too many items in the game, but I've voiced this before and if Shadow agreed, he could have changed it by now, so I guess he disagrees. I really don't like how many items bosses, champions and elites MUST drop according to the game's rules. Once I create my own personal mod (ie. not a balance mod) I'll modify it to my heart's content.

To be honest, I think that U+P is how it should be in regular game. Given the quests to obtain sets and epics, players would be more inclined to actually go after these quests, if they wanted to have a set or an awesome weapon.


Perhaps. Regardless, that part of the game's not going to change. You can make a mod that'll replace that subclass if you want -- it's not hard to do.

I plan to try it in a future.


Right. I didn't mean that every subclass should be viable on its own (though I said it :) ) What I meant is that every subclass should be a viable choice -- none of them should look like they're useless. Currently, the magician is a very weak choice (just as an example).
Maybe. If the evasion was a buff, and armour melt was an AoE, and Teleport would be a DC version of Blink, then this class would be very good to support a necromancer. Have your minions enjoy Lich bonus as well as extra evasion and unleash their fury on a weakened enemies (despair and armour melt), with a necro safely nuking from behind and capable of quick retreat via teleport when in danger, that would make quite interesting hybrid.



I think the key is to make every skill about as useful as another skill. If a skill is more powerful, it should have a higher mana and skill point cost. Sure you could find some combinations that are more powerful, and that's fine. But there shouldn't be OP skills that dominate. And you need to make sure that a character that really wants to focus on a particular aspect (e.g. defense) will find enough skills to make that work.
Have you played Baldur's Gate, or any good MMO?
In BG2 especially, I enjoyed my wizzy casting web to incapacitate enemies and then set them on fire with fireballs - a moment before I unleashed a poison cloud on them.

Some skills could be meant to be used before others. In Lineage 2 necromancer class had a Gloom skill - one that decreased magic resistance of target by some incredible amounts - therefore, a necro was always a welcome addition to a party of nukers, as it helped them to kill mobs faster.

Or in a more recent example - Dragon Age 1 had it, so that you could cast Grease, covering area with oil and then set it ablaze with fire spells.

Perhaps this is something to keep in mind? :)



I think if we tried to create such reference characters we'd soon go crazy from the possibilities. Ultimately feedback for this stuff must come from testing that players do. Also, there's really no such thing as no magical items in this game -- there are so many magical items that it's impossible not to have them, and you have to count their effects. They have REALLY BIG effects. I did reduce the maximum effect on CRITs and CRUSHes though. That was out of control.

Not at all. Said warrior with nonmagical items bought from shops or picked up as a bottom line. A warrior with sets/artifacts as an upper line.
Same for wizzy/priest/thief.
8 cases, and all quite manageable :-]



Certainly, but so are active skills. And active skills don't disturb the balance of the game as much.

Well, that depends on how you will balance them, eh? :-]


Oh actually I just checked and set items do have consistent stat changes inside statusEffectSets.gdb. So looks like Shadow thought the same way as you. I just think these effects need to be boosted. If you look in that file, some of those effects are excellent -- relative to the beginning of the game. But by the time you get the full set it'll probably be at least the mid-game. The combined effects are then very unimpressive.

While their magical stats are always the same, the actual quality of an item varies. I happened to have a 2 pieces of a set chainmail, where difference in armor was more than 20.


Maybe Shadow was afraid you'd give the set to a character early in the game, messing up balance. If so, then sets should have minimum levels. You could say that you can't combine 2 pieces of a set before level 30, and that you can't combine 3 pieces before level 50 etc. Then, make the bonuses truly AWESOME.

Sets do have minimum levels, as well as other stats requirements. They do also have many useless effects, like find more money. And very few give you regen bonuses. I always skip set items over items with mana/hp regen. In fact, my shared stash is full of all types of armours, all of them have regen effect on them.

Also, different sets drop on different levels. On low levels you drop Ciglio's set (not bad for a low lvl wizzy), on higher an Aversion leather.
And because there are multiple sets on close levels, then you keep dropping different pieces from different sets. And of course they have different quality of an item, so you may end up with same pieces of the same set, which are becoming useless on your level.



Yeah money finding should not be in there. Money is pretty much an unbounded resource in the game, and I see no way to change that. You can farm for so long in lower levels, or once the town is saved...

That COULD change if vendors had limited money though. That would completely change the economy of the game, making money much more scarce, and treasure rooms would actually mean something.

Since the money get spent on skills and potions, there are ways to get rid of them, if you feel you are too rich for your own good.
The problem is, with so many items dropping everywhere, you don't actually get poorer. So the problem with money is the result of a problem with item drops. Solve the later and the former will solve itself.



Good point! Then maybe just plate? Have a penalty for wearing the strongest armor?

I would say that limiting evasion/attack speed/movement speed.
One might say, that wearing a cloth armour does not impede your movement, attack and doge ability; same as leather if you are trained.
But a chain armour may be heavy enough to slow you down a bit, and limit you ability to avoid attacks. And plate armour would do this even more.

So you can be a walking wall of steel, but not a jogging one; or you could decide to move fast as a wind, but would be cut to ribbons should the escape would not be possible :)


Yes they can miss if they're dodged -- but monsters don't dodge. What I mean is that the spell auto-aims for you -- it doesn't just go where you clicked.

Some do, as this demon fire spell, which is a bug imo. Other spells, like those from delven priests just go in straight line and you can avoid them.


Right that would mean the missile going where you click without regard to where the enemy is. I think that's a pretty good idea.

It would work well with the above example. An archer could run around, avoiding spells and launch arrows in the general direction of his enemies.


I think from the perspective of a game designer, there are only so many changes Shadow would make to the core game. I've located imbalances that need correcting, and I'm trying to correct them. I might boost certain skills to make them more worthwhile. But I recognize that if I make changes that aren't strictly necessary to restore balance, from Shadow's perspective it would be more like a mod that people can download if they wish rather than changes that would make it in some form to the core game.

You are somewhat right here.
But let me tell you this - in a large company, developing a game is a process involving sometimes a hundred of people. A project manager in such company has many minions under his command, and many of these are often players. Should he decide that opinions are needed on a certain game element, he would receive many, often contrary, but made from different points of view.

And there are usually testers, both within a company and working for a publisher, sometimes even from external testing labs. All of them report possible improvements, bugs, ideas.

For a small indie dev, a number of people working on a title is limited to something like dozen. Often having a similar view on things, giving their games to friends and families for testing, the feedback they receive may be somewhat limited.
Also, with only a handful of programmers indie must code in only what is possible for them, and not always what they would like to have in the end.

And there is problem with routine. For a devs, who know everything about their game, it is easy to miss the obvious because they simply won't pay attention. An example in DC is gui, which is something many people try to mod as it is simply impractical in vanilla.

Really, there is no better thing for an indie dev than a group of dedicated fans - like you - who do a lot of work that would not be done otherwise and who help improve the game further - as well as point out problems and good ideas.

I'm pretty sure that If someone came up with ideas/mods that would greatly improve game and gameplay experience, devs would took a look at them - because, hey, why not? :)


I think it belongs more in a hybrid class. A magician should have some cool way to get that effect. Plus, he already has teleport.
..which has a long reuse :-]
So you port out of group of monsters into the waiting claws of another one - the one which you may hope to evade.

Bluddy
03-23-2011, 06:23 PM
Just updated with a new version of my mod. I finished the sorcerer.
I also increased regen during combat to 50% of regular regen. Let's check this out -- I may have to increase it more.

Next is necromancer, I think. Time to make those skeletons more worthwhile. I'll also have to nerf raise dead a little since it's too good as is.

alstein
03-23-2011, 06:27 PM
Idea for raise dead, give it a timer? Timer would decrease with level.

Also limit it to 1, but have lich increase the limit for every 2 levels.

Might be too powerful of a nerf though.

Bluddy
03-24-2011, 03:55 AM
The timer idea is interesting, but I like my dead to stay around, and I think that's what most people expect. Actually, what would ideally be there, is a constant drain on your mana the more creatures you have. Once you can't sustain the creatures, they disappear (or you just have no mana). This would balance out the problem with increasing numbers of summoned creatures: the creatures get more buff with levels, but there's also more of them, so they become very strong in terms of power. The problem then becomes that there's no way in the game to get rid of a pet who's draining your mana, so right now this is not practical.

As a simpler idea, raise dead should just raise really weakened creatures. Makes sense. It takes mastery of the spell to get undead who are really powerful.

Also, maybe there should be more or less separate controls of undead power and number of pets. Maybe only liche should increase their power, whereas buying points in the skill will make more of those undead but not any stronger (or just a tad stronger). This would balance out the effect. Also, if I make skill costs more expensive, you won't need to buy 4 levels of raise dead to get one more pet.

EDIT: alstein, I now see that you said "also limit it to 1..." which may be this idea except reversed. Sorry if I didn't get it right away.

I also need to think of a way to make demons better than the undead, because they can't co-exist with each other.

Now onto the subject of mana regen again. I thought about it some more, and it DOES make sense that a warrior will get regen from all the different abilities. A warrior/mage will have extra regen and mana from the mage part, so it makes sense to give something extra to a full warrior. So we're back onto the passive mana ability track.

Even cooler is that I tried out the idea of strengthening the passive mana abilities with each skill level in their particular tree, and it seems to work! This is truly awesome. I can now make those passive abilities matter! It's really exciting.

Another thing I realized from another thread, is that it's going to be very hard to make mage spells (ie non-scaling skills) worthwhile to invest in when you could invest your points in scaling skills instead. Non-mage characters can get high DPS without even using any skills -- just based on weapons. Their strength amplifies the damage, and their DEX makes them hard to hit and gives them crits. I think I'll have to nerf almost all non-mage skills somewhat to make the mage skills equivalent by comparison. Skills that give 0.4 crit per level are just way too powerful for example.

Evander
03-24-2011, 05:02 PM
T
Another thing I realized from another thread, is that it's going to be very hard to make mage spells (ie non-scaling skills) worthwhile to invest in when you could invest your points in scaling skills instead. Non-mage characters can get high DPS without even using any skills -- just based on weapons. Their strength amplifies the damage, and their DEX makes them hard to hit and gives them crits. I think I'll have to nerf almost all non-mage skills somewhat to make the mage skills equivalent by comparison. Skills that give 0.4 crit per level are just way too powerful for example.

Maybe they just could cost less to buy and to cast? If they were cheaper, then people could choose two non-scaling skills for a combined effect over costly one.

Bluddy
03-24-2011, 05:25 PM
Maybe they just could cost less to buy and to cast? If they were cheaper, then people could choose two non-scaling skills for a combined effect over costly one.

Well, I'm going to raise the mana costs of all skills since they're too low. I can't make the skill point cost of non-scaling skill any lower than they are -- they already only go up by 1 point each skill level for the most part. But I think I will make the scaling attack skills more expensive skill-point-wise. Maybe they'll go up by 2 each level.

Bluddy
03-25-2011, 10:33 AM
OK I got through the necromancer.

I had the idea of starting out all raise dead monsters with a penalty and then working up from there. After testing it a little, I quickly saw that it was a mistake. The necromancer is a weak character: he needs dead bodies to make his creatures, which means he needs to kill enemies first. Bodies also fade away very fast. Then he has to deal with pets, who don't necessarily do what he wants. And if they die, he's back to square 1, and he has to find a way to kill more creatures.

I realized no pet skills needed nerfing -- instead I boosted the skeletons. Skeletons are always 2 levels below the player, and skeleton archers 1 level below the player. This means you no longer have to play catchup with the skeleton skill just to get a skeleton close to your level. Also, skeletons get much better boosts than raised creatures do.

Another thing I feel I fixed is having to wait 4 levels to get another pet. 4 levels is too long. Instead, all pet skills get another pet every 2 levels. I adjusted the skill costs accordingly.

Next is the warlock. I used to think the warlock was at a disadvantage because his demons couldn't co-exist. I was wrong -- he doesn't need to come up with dead bodies, which is a huge advantage!

After the warlock I'll take a break to play some characters with my adjustments and see if they work. I'm worried about mana costs being too high. If you guys can give me feedback... I'd really appreciate it.

Oh, the other thing I implemented for the necro is that his passive mana ability grows the more skills you buy for him -- yay! I'm not sure it has an impact yet though -- I calculated the values based on the initial mana bonus, which is 6 per kill. That's 10% of your mana at low level. I try to keep it around 10%, but I'm not sure that's enough to matter for the necro, who has a tough time killing creatures in general.

Evander
03-25-2011, 10:47 AM
but necro has a lich and dark ritual, both make his pets stronger.

forevernomad
03-25-2011, 10:48 AM
Is the most recent version always the link on the first post?

Bluddy
03-25-2011, 11:27 AM
Yes -- that link always has the latest version. You can also look inside the zip file for readme.txt. It should say the latest version number, which is currently 15.

The warlock has demon mastery, which is similar to the liche skill. I'm not saying I'm happy with the demons not being able to coexist. I'm just saying the power has an automatic advantage over the necro, who has to find bodies for his pets.

Not having the demons coexist is a big problem. It means you have to choose one demon type to invest in. I'm thinking the only way to make this work is if the skills are linked in their skill point usage. You can then choose how you want this 'super skill' to be expressed: as many screes, a few furies, or one chaos lord. That makes more sense to me.

derf
03-26-2011, 05:57 PM
The necromancer is a weak character: he needs dead bodies to make his creatures, which means he needs to kill enemies first. Bodies also fade away very fast. Then he has to deal with pets, who don't necessarily do what he wants. And if they die, he's back to square 1, and he has to find a way to kill more creatures.Can it just be changed to not require a dead body, at least for skeletons? Maybe link raise dead to beastiary somehow, select type you want in beastiary, and it will summon one at current player level.

Bluddy
03-27-2011, 04:47 AM
Can it just be changed to not require a dead body, at least for skeletons? Maybe link raise dead to beastiary somehow, select type you want in beastiary, and it will summon one at current player level.

I think it's ok that the necromancer uses a dead body -- that is what the player expects. Even though the necromancer isn't particularly powerful, he does grow in power as he gets more and more creatures. More importantly, it's cool to play a necromancer. I may balance him some more later on, but for now I think the solution I've found is good. The main issue was that you had to constantly invest in skeletons just to keep them at a decent level relative to your own level, and that's not required anymore. This is important because skeletons that are 20 levels lower than you are completely useless, even if they have strength boosts: they'll just get wiped out by the creatures on your current level. So this issue has been resolved, and now I'm trying to figure out how to do the warlock.

As I said previously, the warlock's summoned creatures' inability to coexist is a big problem. I almost want to take that limitation away. If I invest my points in furies, I have no reason to ever invest in screes or chaos lords. Nowhere else do you have conflicting skills. Actually, there are other conflicting skills: the concentrations for example can only be active one at a time. And because nobody would want to invest in conflicting skills that don't work with each other, those were linked together. So I'm pretty sure I'll have to do that here as well.

Bluddy
03-27-2011, 08:08 AM
I'm trying a new tactic for coming up with good mana values. It's a little difficult what's proper mana graphically, as I have been doing so far. Instead, I added 4 rows in the SpellValues and FixSpVal pages that allow me to see how many spells I can fire off with full mana at the start of the game, and how many at the end. Just as an example, a half-mage can fire off 7 fiery blasts at the start of the game (not accounting for regen) and 29 by the end, assuming a fully developed fiery blast at level 22. A full mage starts with 9 fiery blasts and ends with 51. These amounts are definitely high, and they show how difficult it can be to balance things properly. You probably don't need to fire 51 fireballs in a row, even with cast time gloves.

Looking at the heavy duty spells makes you realize how problematic these values are. A half mage can fire 4 maelstroms initially, and eventually 19 maelstroms. A full mage can fire 6 maelstroms when he starts out, and he ends with around 37 maelstroms. But maelstroms are super powerful, and they have a 10 second cooldown period! Within those 10 seconds, you'll recharge enough to fire another 3 maelstroms or more. So really, you'll never need to use your mana for maelstroms.

What these values make me realize is that I should allow mana costs to rise slowly enough that I can fire more in the later game, even with a half-mage, rather than less. This ratio of how many times one can fire a spell is hard to see in the graphs. For example, my mana values start similarly to Shadow's: I allow the half-mage 7 fiery blasts initially. But right now, upgrading all the way will allow the half-mage only 6 fiery blasts, which is probably not right. The full mage will go from 9 to 11, which is ok but not amazing.

Anyway, now I have the proper perspective to make these things work well, so I'm hoping to fix up the old mana values as I balance the warlock.

BTW mana costs should work very differently for the warriors and thieves. This is a way to make scaling skills equivalent to non-scaling skills. A warrior doesn't need many levels of his scaling skill to be powerful. Often, 1-5 levels are enough per skill. In contrast, a mage must take his spells all the way up for them to be effective. To even this out, the mana cost for warriors needs to increase faster than their mana producing ability. The more you enhance your scaling skill, the more mana it takes, and the less you can use it -- but it will become significantly more powerful. Therefore, while non-scaling skills should increase in mana costs a little slower than the amount of mana their owner has, scaling skills should increase in cost a little faster.

Bluddy
03-27-2011, 04:06 PM
Does anyone ever use the warlock's curse of stammer? It seems like a wasted spell. The reason is that enemy mages are generally weak, so why do I need to slow down their spellcasting?

I also started thinking about the druid class, even though it'll be a while before I get to it. I think that of all the subclasses, the druid is the one that fails to live up to its potential the most (I've said this before elsewhere). The reason is that the main attraction is the shape-shifting skills, but those skills are simply not worth investing in. Why? Because you get stuck too long without the ability to use your other skills. The way this skill should work is, that you should have the ability to turn the change shape back and forth. If you try to be a kodiak for more than the maximum amount of time, you change back automatically. For this to work though, I need the ability to disable all skills except for a certain skill. Right now I believe the shape-changers disable all skills. I also need the ability to cancel an OnlyOne skill (only one shapeshifting status effect can be active at a time). Unfortunately, both of these are not currently possible.

Bluddy
03-28-2011, 01:25 AM
Updated to version 16.

The demons are now linked together as I discussed. They also don't need constant investment to stay around your level, just like the skeletons.

I also re-balanced all the mana costs as discussed. I'm really much happier with them now.

EDIT: I need to balance the different demons so that they are equally powerful at different skill levels. Right now, the chaos lord is MUCH more powerful than the screes for example. This will take some trial and error.

EDIT2: I'm not sure how much I like the fact that the demons are linked, but I just can't think of another solution given the restraint that they can't co-exist with each other. If we consider a situation where I have many points invested in Scree, for example, every point in Fury is essentially a waste. You could say that maybe Chaos Lord shouldn't be linked, since it's a different type of approach -- one super tough monster instead of many small monsters. But still, investing a lot in Chaos Lord just means you can't invest as much as you should in Scree and vice versa. This is unlike the necromancer, who is easy to balance since the player can just build up his/her army of pets in the most cost-effective way possible.

Speaking of which, I'm debating how to look at the mana costs for pets. Are they like scalable skills, which you can leave at only a few skill levels and therefore mana costs should rise quickly? Or are they more like non-scalable spells, which must be taken to as high a level as possible? I can't really decide. I've left the costs low for now, mostly because the necromancer seems to need the costs to be low so that he can raise dead monsters before they fade away. However, I'm thinking that the necromancer's passive mana skill (getting money upon killing a monster) could supply the mana needed to raise the dead, so maybe I should have the mana costs rise more with level.

Bluddy
03-28-2011, 04:12 AM
I just found this (http://www.soldak.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2043) thread, where Shadow talks about dealing with the same issues I'm dealing with in regard to pets. The question is, why make pets on the same level as the player, when a (non-scaling) spell needs constant investment? A level 80 character could put 1 point in skeleton and have a skeleton that works as well as it did for a level 1 character.

I think the answers are these (I've mentioned them before in this thread):
1. The player expects not to have to constantly invest in pets to keep up their level. This is because several parameters are changed with each skill point: the pets' level, their damage, and the number of pets. Because all of these parameters change (especially the number of pets) the impression in the player's mind is that if he leaves the skill alone, the pet will stay roughly at the same effectiveness relative to him. If he invests in the skill, he'll get stronger, more plentiful pets.
2. Lower level pets are far more useless than lower level spells. Because spells combine with your other attacks, even a weak spell costing only a little mana can be useful if you bombard the enemy with it. A low level pet, however, is useless. He'll get destroyed in seconds (even with the life boost the skill gives him) and won't cause ANY damage before he dies.
3. There are a huge number of scalable skills (as we all know), so it's not a big deal if pets will be scalable too. Again, it's what the player expects.
4. Pets are the main stars of their classes. If a player chose the necromancer class, he doesn't have that many other offensive choices. Therefore, if he puts only 2 points in skeleton (for example), he can CHOOSE to do that, but it means he's given up on the main reason for having a necromancer. So he's really lost a lot by making this choice.
5. If you make the skeleton not on the same level as the user but 2-4 levels below, then 1-2 points in skeleton won't give you much of a skeleton at the higher levels. This is a good solution: skeletons start out weak and get stronger just as they do in the current mechanism. Which brings me to the next point:
6. The higher levels of the game are so tough, one measly skeleton just won't cut it. In that sense, even if you leave the levels as a constant, the spell is still a 'non-scaling' spell since you really need a greater number of skeletons and stronger skeletons to survive.
7. Essentially, the first part of the game already plays as if the pets are 1-4 levels beneath you due to the way the formula is. Once you get to the higher levels, you get the big gaps between you and the pets, and the pets become annoying and 'useless'. Therefore, it makes sense to just keep the pets 1-4 levels below you for the entire game. No need to raise their level at all -- the increase in number and strength is all that is needed.
8. The very existence of the Raise Dead spell makes all other non-scaling pet spells pointless, since Raise Dead can raise a monster of any level. A discerning gamer will always choose Raise Dead over any other pet spell.

I hope it's obvious why I think the changes I made to the pet spells are a balance fix. I also hope it's clear why I'm having a hard time deciding which mana rule to apply to pets: that of scaling skills or that of non-scaling spells.

Bluddy
03-28-2011, 06:01 AM
I'm rummaging through some of these old DC and DoP threads. It's really fun, partially because Shadow was a little more talkative back then. I don't blame him, writing a long answer to each question must get old, plus you have to deal with each new person who comes along and thinks he discovered this basic idea that's been suggested 100 times before.

I learned some things I never knew about DoP (you mean thieves use the number of the skill to exit stealth mode?) but I also learned stuff about basic ARPG mechanics. I wasn't much of an ARPG player before DoP and DC. Specifically, I learned about the power of DoT (damage over time) effects, which I've not gotten until now. Apparently they're used for example by mage-warriors to deal double damage to a strong target (such as a boss).

So these powers are useful, but how do they stand out from the crowd? Specifically, why should I choose a DoT over a regular AoE spell? I think the answer has to be cost and power. An AoE spell won't damage for as many points, will cost more mana to cast, may have a cooldown timer preventing its immediate casting, and may be a waste if there aren't many enemies around. I'll try to make the DoT spells be more attractive by focusing on these things.

Bluddy
03-28-2011, 11:49 AM
Aargh! Just tested my latest changes and they suck. While in theory it would be nice to let mana costs go up slowly for non-scalable spells, the result is extreme OP as there's nothing preventing a character from leveling up even a simple skill as far as it can go. Once you add some mana regen items to the mix, you have an unstoppable half-mage which is not what I was aiming for...

I'll have to go back to the drawing board for a little here.

EDIT: OK I think I figured out the problem. I haven't tested after too many changes. Problem 1 is that I lowered mana costs way too much. They have to be aggressive, or you can just keep upgrading ad nauseum, which throws all balance off. Problem 2 is that I forgot how much items influence things in this game. I didn't account for the extra mana from items, and making the combat regen rate 0.5x instead of 0.25x gives too much power to mana regen items. I'll have to adjust mana regen items if I make this change permanent. For now I'll revert it.

BTW I've figured out how to nerf Raise Dead: a raised creature will start with a bonus that'll DECREASE as you get more creatures. That'll control the fast growing damage curve resulting from more monsters in addition to stronger monsters.

Evander
03-28-2011, 01:31 PM
DoTs are extremely important for some characters.
I have a thief/shaman (something like that) and I regularly use slice or poison on anything that has thorns (reflects damage) as thorns do not reflect damage from DoTs. It is also sometimes better to do hit-and-run against some more hard-hitting targets.

Bluddy
03-28-2011, 03:07 PM
DoTs are extremely important for some characters.
I have a thief/shaman (something like that) and I regularly use slice or poison on anything that has thorns (reflects damage) as thorns do not reflect damage from DoTs. It is also sometimes better to do hit-and-run against some more hard-hitting targets.

Yeah I realize that now. I didn't need to add things to (for example) immolation -- I just needed to make it stronger and cheaper.

Evander
03-28-2011, 04:33 PM
BTW I've figured out how to nerf Raise Dead: a raised creature will start with a bonus that'll DECREASE as you get more creatures. That'll control the fast growing damage curve resulting from more monsters in addition to stronger monsters.

But whats the point in that anyway? Rather than add another performance killing formula, why not limit a number of monsters that can be raised?

Besides, have you considered raised elite/champion monsters?
Just played my necro/pally for a while. Unless they were champions, raised monsters did not stood a chance against all these spells, flames, poisons.

I basically used revenants as a moving target for hostile monsters so that I could kill mobs one by one.

Edit:
also, on sets - on screenshot, different versions of aversion harness.
These are modded and have regen ability added to them, but apart from set effect, items should be close to vanilla.

http://img25.imageshack.us/img25/9748/aversion.gif (http://img25.imageshack.us/i/aversion.gif/)

Bluddy
03-29-2011, 07:54 AM
But whats the point in that anyway? Rather than add another performance killing formula, why not limit a number of monsters that can be raised?

They basically are already (more or less) limited by skill point expense. The problem is that there's a huge jump going from one raised creature to 2 or more. Each creature presents a huge jump in power.

Besides, have you considered raised elite/champion monsters?
Just played my necro/pally for a while. Unless they were champions, raised monsters did not stood a chance against all these spells, flames, poisons.

I kind of assume that people will pick the best monsters ie. the champions/elites. Other monsters won't last that long, as you say. But once you have several, you pack quite a punch. If you want, you can send me your character and I'll see what the impact is at your level.

I basically used revenants as a moving target for hostile monsters so that I could kill mobs one by one.

As a necro/paladin, you probably don't have as many pets as you could have. What level are you? I need to test higher level necros to figure out the proper way to balance this.


Edit:
also, on sets - on screenshot, different versions of aversion harness.
These are modded and have regen ability added to them, but apart from set effect, items should be close to vanilla.

http://img25.imageshack.us/img25/9748/aversion.gif (http://img25.imageshack.us/i/aversion.gif/)

Nice! I'm iffy about giving regen bonuses right now. I'd like to reduce combat regen penalty to 50% instead of 25%, but as I said above, the mana regen items throw everything off once you remove the artificial reduction to 25%. Mana regen items are way too powerful. Really, it's too bad mana regen is measured per second -- it means that the proper values are very low. Even 3 mana per second is a big boost. Mana regen should be measured per 10 seconds.

Anyway, I'm glad to see the set effects boosted. At the same time, I'm wary of whole sets being passed to lower classes via that darn stash. I'd like to see Shadow limit set combining per level (say 0-10: 1 item. 10-25: 2 items. 25-40: 3 items. 40-55: 4 items. 55-70: 5 items. 70-100: 6 items.)

forevernomad
03-29-2011, 10:15 AM
At the same time, I'm wary of whole sets being passed to lower classes via that darn stash. I'd like to see Shadow limit set combining per level (say 0-10: 1 item. 10-25: 2 items. 25-40: 3 items. 40-55: 4 items. 55-70: 5 items. 70-100: 6 items.)

Limiting the number of set items worn would only work if they had additional bonuses for each piece worn, using Evander's item and your example above, you would have to wait until level 25 before you could get the first bonus and then have to wait 45 levels before you got the full item bonuses and that's if you found them all by then.

Not sure about this, but would a high level 'ego' item re-adjust its level if used by a low level char, if so then just make all set items 'ego' and low level, then it wouldn't matter if you passed them on because to get the best out of them, they would need to be used often.

I've not used one often enough to see the benefits of having them, in fact I might have a look at modding the starting items to be 'ego', so if you stick with them they would become the items of legend that they are supposed to be.

Bluddy
03-29-2011, 10:22 AM
Limiting the number of set items worn would only work if they had additional bonuses for each piece worn, using Evander's item and your example above, you would have to wait until level 25 before you could get the first bonus and then have to wait 45 levels before you got the full item bonuses and that's if you found them all by then.

Oh right. Sorry you'd have to split it differently according to where the bonuses are. 3 items would only be combineable around level 30 (where it starts to be needed) and 6 items would only be available at level 50-60.

Not sure about this, but would a high level 'ego' item re-adjust its level if used by a low level char, if so then just make all set items 'ego' and low level, then it wouldn't matter if you passed them on because to get the best out of them, they would need to be used often.

I've not used one often enough to see the benefits of having them, in fact I might have a look at modding the starting items to be 'ego', so if you stick with them they would become the items of legend that they are supposed to be.

I think an ego item has a minimum level. Basically it's just an item that can increase its level (which is the item's minimum level).

Bluddy
03-29-2011, 10:26 AM
OK I've fixed the problem I had. In the current version (18) I've rebalanced the damage, and mana costs are pretty high again, which is as it needs to be. Otherwise you can just cruise along, upgrading spells as much as you like.

I'd rather start out with costs being a little too high and slowly lower them as needed, rather than have a situation where there's no control at all. That situation is much harder to recover from.

So now there's a whole bunch of stuff to test. The healer is done, and I nerfed mana regen items so it should be possible to raise combat regen again without mana going crazy. That's the next step. Then it's time to deal with scaling skills.

Evander
03-29-2011, 03:25 PM
They basically are already (more or less) limited by skill point expense. The problem is that there's a huge jump going from one raised creature to 2 or more. Each creature presents a huge jump in power.

Wasn't that, as it should be? :) If you would limit that to +1 creature per 5 lvl of skill, that would still slow down that power increase.


As a necro/paladin, you probably don't have as many pets as you could have. What level are you? I need to test higher level necros to figure out the proper way to balance this.

It's low level, around 20. And Like I said, I have problems with revenants usefulness already.


Nice! I'm iffy about giving regen bonuses right now. I'd like to reduce combat regen penalty to 50% instead of 25%, but as I said above, the mana regen items throw everything off once you remove the artificial reduction to 25%. Mana regen items are way too powerful. Really, it's too bad mana regen is measured per second -- it means that the proper values are very low. Even 3 mana per second is a big boost. Mana regen should be measured per 10 seconds.
My point here was to show you the difference in armor, actually :)
It's around 22% difference, which for vanilla is quite considerable (41 armor difference is huge).


Anyway, I'm glad to see the set effects boosted. At the same time, I'm wary of whole sets being passed to lower classes via that darn stash. I'd like to see Shadow limit set combining per level (say 0-10: 1 item. 10-25: 2 items. 25-40: 3 items. 40-55: 4 items. 55-70: 5 items. 70-100: 6 items.)

Actually, shared stash allow you to collect full sets. Without that, you would never be able to do this, there are simply too many set pieces around.

BTW, this limit would not be good especially for low lvl sets. After all, this is a set, and a reward for collecting an entire set is that you get the set bonuses :)

Oh, and I don't have an entire Aversion set yet to test the effects - if they are balanced and working properly. Maybe in the future :)

Bluddy
03-29-2011, 04:08 PM
Wasn't that, as it should be? :) If you would limit that to +1 creature per 5 lvl of skill, that would still slow down that power increase.

Well, I think people want to feel like they can easily get more pets. I don't like having to go through 4 levels to get another pet, so I adjusted it so that you get a pet every 2 levels like the skeletons. I just arranged the skill points so it's the same investment as before.

In any case, once you get another raised monster, their power essentially multiplies. It makes sense to balance that a little with reducing their power a bit. But I'll only do it if I see it's really required for balance. You've convinced me it's not a good idea until I really see that it's worth it.

It's low level, around 20. And Like I said, I have problems with revenants usefulness already.

If you buff them up, they get pretty good, but with a necro/paladin you can't expect to depend on them. A better choice in this case would probably be to get more of the cheaper skeletons. Of course, the skeletons in the vanilla game aren't that great. You probably need to do something like what I did with the skeletons for them to even be a choice.

My point here was to show you the difference in armor, actually :)
It's around 22% difference, which for vanilla is quite considerable (41 armor difference is huge).

Oh sorry. I focused on regen because that's what I'm dealing with right now. OK that's good. We definitely want to strengthen the sets.

Actually, shared stash allow you to collect full sets. Without that, you would never be able to do this, there are simply too many set pieces around.

BTW, this limit would not be good. After all, this is a set, and a reward for collecting an entire set is that you get the set bonuses :)

:) Yeah I like the stash. It just causes some balance issues. If you're able to collect a low level set over time, you can then give it to your lower level character and get awesome bonuses that don't belong at such a low level. That's what I'm saying. It'll just make the lower level game too easy, which isn't such a big deal anyway since the mid to end game is where the challenge is.

Evander
03-29-2011, 06:35 PM
Well, I think people want to feel like they can easily get more pets. I don't like having to go through 4 levels to get another pet, so I adjusted it so that you get a pet every 2 levels like the skeletons. I just arranged the skill points so it's the same investment as before.

In any case, once you get another raised monster, their power essentially multiplies. It makes sense to balance that a little with reducing their power a bit. But I'll only do it if I see it's really required for balance. You've convinced me it's not a good idea until I really see that it's worth it.

If you buff them up, they get pretty good, but with a necro/paladin you can't expect to depend on them. A better choice in this case would probably be to get more of the cheaper skeletons. Of course, the skeletons in the vanilla game aren't that great. You probably need to do something like what I did with the skeletons for them to even be a choice.

Oh, but you are trying to make every skill useful regardless of character level, afair?

Perhaps for a necromancer a different approach would be more appropriate?

Consider.
An adept necromancer on the beginning of his journey would decide to invest his skill points in skeletons in order to raise an army quickly and cheaply.
These would be good for a low to mid level section of game, where he would be able to rush the enemy with his undead horde.

Later however, they would became insufficient, and it may be seen as natural evolution for a necromancer to respec and put skill points into raise dead skill. In order to raise elite death knights if you like, rather than to play with rattling bones.
These would retain their monster abilities but would also get sort of Greater Undead bonuses.

If Raise Dead skill would add some more bonuses, like static -10% attack speed, +def +health and some hp regen, hi lvl necromancer would choose carefully as to which monster he should raise. Sure, a cost in money for this skill should be increased.

Perhaps a class evolution from one skill to another is better in this case :)


Oh sorry. I focused on regen because that's what I'm dealing with right now. OK that's good. We definitely want to strengthen the sets.

I think that ForceQuality would do it. One would expect set items to always be the same, rather than to see 6 different version of some set gloves.


:) Yeah I like the stash. It just causes some balance issues. If you're able to collect a low level set over time, you can then give it to your lower level character and get awesome bonuses that don't belong at such a low level. That's what I'm saying. It'll just make the lower level game too easy, which isn't such a big deal anyway since the mid to end game is where the challenge is.
Well, no point in making low lvl game too hard, anyway.
Consider this as a contribution to DC replayability ;)

Bluddy
03-30-2011, 04:10 AM
Oh, but you are trying to make every skill useful regardless of character level, afair?

Basically, yes. But I can't make every skill equally useful to every class combo. It's all about how many points a character is willing to invest.

A weaponmaster/necro hybrid may want to put a ton of points in weaponmaster because that'll make him very strong. But then he can't expect the remaining points he puts into necro to give him strong pets. They'll just be distractions while he cuts down the enemies with his sword.

If he decides to go the other way, he can sink most of his points into necro and only a few into weaponmaster. Then his pets should kick butt so long as he invests in INT, and his weaponmaster skills will remain weaker.

At least, that should be the way it is. And just saying that makes me realize that I have to make sure the necro gets strong enough as a class choice.

Bluddy
03-30-2011, 06:49 AM
Now that mana costs are somewhat high, I want to start reducing them gradually. First, this is a great opportunity to get rid of the combat regen reduction. As Crisses said, it doesn't really make much sense. For example, suppose you're a mage being chased by a monster, waiting for your mana to fill up enough to fire a spell. With the current reduction during combat, you'll wait forever. You have to use a potion. If you manage to get far enough away from the monster that you're no longer considered 'in combat', then suddenly your mana will fill up. It's too arbitrary.

Another thing I started thinking about before I adjust mana costs down is the damage spread of spells. I work with averages in my excel book -- it's much easier to consider. But it turns out that my spells damage values were a ratio of 5 between max and min damage, which is ridiculous. That means a spell could do either 100 damage or 500 damage. So looking at the averages, everything seemed fine, but in reality the spell could turn out to be too weak or too strong depending on the luck of the mage. There was actually a weird bug that caused me to focus on this.

Finally, I'm thinking of doubling all mana costs and bonuses. The reason is that I hate the huge difference between the amount of mana a full mage has, and the amount of mana a half-mage has. Even if you buy only mage skills, a half-mage will have around half as much mana. It's unfair, and it makes balancing very very hard. For example, suppose a mage should be able to fire off 9 fiery blasts before running out of mana. A half-mage will only be able to shoot 4 of them, forcing him to use a much lower power fiery blast to compensate. He's tremendously disadvantaged just because he's a half-mage. So I'm going to change the mana figures per INT and SPR to make the advantage to full mages smaller. In order to be able to have mana regen bonuses work too, I'll need to roughly double all mana values.

EDIT: I redid the math. The problem is not the mage's mana bonus, but the half-mage's reluctance to spend too much on mana, whereas the full mage has little else to spend on except for vitality. That's what causes the disparity. So mana costs stay as they are, and I'll have to figure out the balancing.[/EDIT]

This is BTW similar to the problem with warriors. Warriors get boosts to their damage from STR. Each tree contributes a little to the bonus, and the full bonus is very large. What this means is that full warriors can have ridiculous DPS if they invest in STR. It gives them an advantage that the half-warriors (or the monsters) can't ever catch up with. I've lowered this bonus a little, and when I get to it again, I may lower it some more.

alstein
03-30-2011, 09:04 AM
I'd say all you need to do is lower all the .2 bonuses to .1, except for the Reaver.

BTW Reaver you may want to check Wampir Blood, it scales horribly (and is undervalued as is, even after the buff)

Bluddy
03-30-2011, 09:42 AM
I'd say all you need to do is lower all the .2 bonuses to .1, except for the Reaver.

I've lowered it to 0.15 for the warriors, but I think you're right -- I'll probably set it to 0.1 when I get to it again.

BTW Reaver you may want to check Wampir Blood, it scales horribly (and is undervalued as is, even after the buff)

Yep it's on my list of non-scaling skills. The only reason I haven't touched it yet is because it requires another mod file to go in the expansion directory, so I left it for now.

Bluddy
03-30-2011, 11:24 AM
I think I've figured out the solution to a certain problem. The problem was, how do I prevent the mage who just stocks up on INT from becoming extremely OP. He doesn't need DEX or STR since he doesn't plan on hitting monsters. But then his game will become boring since he'll have so much mana, he'll be able to upgrade a few spells to the point that they'll kill anything that moves.

Solution: item requirements. This mage doesn't want items for their armor value -- he only wants them for their bonuses. But the biggest bonuses will be on higher level items. If he wants to get those bonuses, he'll have to invest a little bit in STR and DEX. The narrative reason for this is that heavy, protective cloth armor requires STR and DEX in order to be able to use it and still be able to cast spells.

Now the super mage can choose: do I only buy INT and some VIT, or do I invest a little (and I'll make sure it's just a little) in DEX and STR to be able to afford the bonuses from items?

Evander
03-30-2011, 01:32 PM
Level requirements for Cloth/Leather items were weird already.
Adding stat requirement may complicate things some more, but maybe thats the right way?

Perhaps a lvl requirement should be then lowered a bit?

Bluddy
03-30-2011, 04:59 PM
Level requirements for Cloth/Leather items were weird already.
Adding stat requirement may complicate things some more, but maybe thats the right way?

Perhaps a lvl requirement should be then lowered a bit?

Wow your comment made me start thinking about items' level requirements.

I think I understand why so many people complain about plate armor not being powerful enough relative to mail. The issue is that there is no level requirement, so you don't get to see how plate is stronger relative to mail. Since mail's requirement is 2 STR per level, and plate's is 3 STR per level, and there's no level requirement activated, people compare mail of much higher level with plate of a lower level and see little difference. This is a real issue. I think level requirements have to be activated there.

Basically, attribute requirements are only good as replacement for level requirement if the attributes are very very high. Even then, they're often not real limits since you can get so many extra bonuses from items. This means that, for example, cloth armor need both the DEX/STR requirements (which are low) and the level requirements. Otherwise a low level warrior with high STR and moderate DEX can easily put on a super cloth armor with massive bonuses.

Basically, this whole requirements business is a minefield. Because some characters can get very high stats, and because items give so many high stat bonuses, relying on any STR/DEX/INT requirements per level is a problem. This is another symptom of having so many stat bonuses on items. Level requirements, on the other hand, are absolute -- they can't be cheated in any way.

Have you seen people on the forum say that DC has very random items? Have you seen the guy (sorry, don't remember who) saying the strongest weapons are staves? The reason is that the stat requirements for those items aren't enough to keep them from the hands of different classes -- even ones at levels that shouldn't be able to handle such items. Staves for example have a DEX requirement of 1.5 per level. That's pretty low. It means that just about any non-mage class can easily obtain staves that are much higher level than what mages can handle. They'll get stronger bonuses from these staves, and sometimes even more damage then they can get from their own weapons.

Of course, this isn't all a bad thing. It's nice to suddenly get that super weapon that helps you do better. The reason that happens is that the weapon is of a higher level, but its stat requirements aren't high enough to prevent you from using it.

I'll have to think about this topic some more, but it's pretty clear to me that things with low stat requirements need to keep their level requirements as well. That includes mail armor, and it also includes my proposed added requirements for cloth and leather armor.

Evander
03-30-2011, 05:26 PM
I think I understand why so many people complain about plate armor not being powerful enough relative to mail. The issue is that there is no level requirement, so you don't get to see how plate is stronger relative to mail. Since mail's requirement is 2 STR per level, and plate's is 3 STR per level, and there's no level requirement activated, people compare mail of much higher level with plate of a lower level and see little difference. This is a real issue. I think level requirements have to be activated there.

heh, that's a very interesting observation.
From what I can tell, high level plate armours are basically superior to anything else.
I have one character wearing Plate that has around 500 armor rating, and it's just an elite item.

Basically this just shows that plate/chain mastery should be armour type specific and that plate mastery skill should have greater bonus.


Basically, attribute requirements are only good as replacement for level requirement if the attributes are very very high. Even then, they're often not real limits since you can get so many extra bonuses from items. This means that, for example, cloth armor need both the DEX/STR requirements (which are low) and the level requirements. Otherwise a low level warrior with high STR and moderate DEX can easily put on a super cloth armor with massive bonuses.

And thats why armor mastery skill should be type-specific.
You can put all the cloths you want on your warrior, but you should not get anything close to the bonus from plate.


Basically, this whole requirements business is a minefield. Because some characters can get very high stats, and because items give so many high stat bonuses, relying on any STR/DEX/INT requirements per level is a problem. This is another symptom of having so many stat bonuses on items. Level requirements, on the other hand, are absolute -- they can't be cheated in any way.

Considering the amount of +all stats items dropping from anything that can drop them, you can put 3 cloth items with +7 stat increase and then add a plate/mail that would otherwise be few levels away from you.
I think it's serious problem here. Magical bonuses are just too big, but in the end they help to survive in high level games, which in turn are imbalanced as you pointed that out.
Above level 75 every regular monster is more like glass cannon and so is a player character.


Have you seen people on the forum say that DC has very random items? Have you seen the guy (sorry, don't remember who) saying the strongest weapons are staves? The reason is that the stat requirements for those items aren't enough to keep them from the hands of different classes -- even ones at levels that shouldn't be able to handle such items. Staves for example have a DEX requirement of 1.5 per level. That's pretty low. It means that just about any non-mage class can easily obtain staves that are much higher level than what mages can handle. They'll get stronger bonuses from these staves, and sometimes even more damage then they can get from their own weapons.

I dont really think that any class with passive skill for any given weapon type would bother with staffs, especially when they can use shields as well.

Btw, I dont know if you know how many epic axes are there. I store epic weapons on mule characters, and 1h axes and 2h axes are amongs most numerous. It seems like most of the ego (monster type specific) weapons are actually axes!


Of course, this isn't all a bad thing. It's nice to suddenly get that super weapon that helps you do better. The reason that happens is that the weapon is of a higher level, but its stat requirements aren't high enough to prevent you from using it.

Thats again the problem with how often magical items are dropping.
If you are playing Thief with Treasure Hunter skill maxed out and you end up in Warehouse dungeon drinking treasure finding elixirs, yellow stuff is dropping from crates and barrels.


I'll have to think about this topic some more, but it's pretty clear to me that things with low stat requirements need to keep their level requirements as well. That includes mail armor, and it also includes my proposed added requirements for cloth and leather armor.
I wouldn't bother with increasing lvl requirement for mails. Rather, plate stuff should have it's armor rating increased a bit.

The problem is as I said, that item requirements are already weird enough. Mess with that and it will blow in your face, have no doubt about that.

It would be way better to look at MagicModifiers and probably decrease +stat bonuses. An item with +20 strength is in fact upping your character 4 levels forward, and that seem to be an issue here.

Bluddy
03-30-2011, 06:19 PM
heh, that's a very interesting observation.
From what I can tell, high level plate armours are basically superior to anything else.
I have one character wearing Plate that has around 500 armor rating, and it's just an elite item.

It is superior. It's just that because of the strength requirements, characters who are non-warriors will have a hard time using those super plate items and will compare them to mail of very high level, like I said.

Basically this just shows that plate/chain mastery should be armour type specific and that plate mastery skill should have greater bonus.

And thats why armor mastery skill should be type-specific.
You can put all the cloths you want on your warrior, but you should not get anything close to the bonus from plate.

I'm not sure and I'll tell you why -- ultimately the bonus you get from mastery skill isn't that huge even though it seems that way, because it gets translated through the resistance formula.

Cloth armor will never give you anything close to the other armors armor rating wise. But you'll be able to substitute very high level cloth for a lower level armor and get the super stat bonuses because you happen to have high stats (partially from other items).

EDIT: BTW the thing that annoys me about the plate armor or mail armor skill isn't that they affect all armors. It's that having plate armor is not even a choice. It costs a measly 15 points to get plate armor. 15 points out of 1151! You'd have to want to lose to NOT buy it. It might as well just be a starting skill given how cheap it is. IF you needed to buy 10 skill levels to get plate armor, THAT would be an investment and a choice. But unfortunately there's no way to implement that in the game.

Considering the amount of +all stats items dropping from anything that can drop them, you can put 3 cloth items with +7 stat increase and then add a plate/mail that would otherwise be few levels away from you.
I think it's serious problem here. Magical bonuses are just too big, but in the end they help to survive in high level games, which in turn are imbalanced as you pointed that out.
Above level 75 every regular monster is more like glass cannon and so is a player character.

Yep. Well, the first way to fix that is to reduce the crazy amount of DPS some characters are getting. People shouldn't be able to kick butt 20 or 30 or 50 levels above them. It just shouldn't be possible. It's a sign of imbalance. Part of that will be accomplished through balancing the scaling skills. The other part will be balancing items.

I dont really think that any class with passive skill for any given weapon type would bother with staffs, especially when they can use shields as well.

Btw, I dont know if you know how many epic axes are there. I store epic weapons on mule characters, and 1h axes and 2h axes are amongs most numerous. It seems like most of the ego (monster type specific) weapons are actually axes!

Interesting. It does seem like there are more axe artifacts than any other weapon type.

Staffs are useful because their requirements are so low. You can get a super staff with tons of bonus enhancements and start using it at a low level, if you have a non-mage character.


Thats again the problem with how often magical items are dropping.
If you are playing Thief with Treasure Hunter skill maxed out and you end up in Warehouse dungeon drinking treasure finding elixirs, yellow stuff is dropping from crates and barrels.

Treasure hunting skill is indeed ridiculous. When I get to it, I'm going to nerf the heck out of that thing :) It probably shouldn't even be a skill given the amount of treasure in the game. If good loot was rare however, then it'd be worth something.

I wouldn't bother with increasing lvl requirement for mails. Rather, plate stuff should have it's armor rating increased a bit.

Right. I'm not thinking about increasing lvl requirement -- just making it visible. It's there, it's just calculated as a STR requirement of 2 per level. But most classes who have mail easily have 2 STR per level, so effectively there is no level requirement.

It would be way better to look at MagicModifiers and probably decrease +stat bonuses. An item with +20 strength is in fact upping your character 4 levels forward, and that seem to be an issue here.

I agree the bonuses are too high. It's to the point that your original stat choices almost don't matter sometimes. But even almost as importantly, the bonuses are a problem because each item can give you up to 6 bonuses. This way, with 19 slots, even a small bonus from each item adds up to something big. If the max number of bonuses per item was 3, then even if they went pretty high towards the end game, they'd be much more directed, and they wouldn't stack all over each other.

In any case I don't want to mess with this stuff before I'm done balancing the spells. If I change too many variables at once, I'll make things impossible to balance. The only thing I want to change right now is making the cloth and leather items have DEX and STR requirements, and this only to foil the mage who thinks he can get away with buying nothing but INT and VIT and ruining the game for himself.

Bluddy
03-30-2011, 06:56 PM
So here's what I think the general problem with item requirements is: they're trying to do too many things at once:

a) Level requirements are absolute, but cannot be thwarted. They also seem arbitrary. It makes more sense to a player if a character can't use a dagger because they don't have the DEX for it than just being told they're not at the right level. However, they're the best way of preventing high level items from being (ab)used by characters for whom those items will cause serious OP.

b) Stat requirements can also be used to limit the usage of high powered items by low level characters. However, this usage of stat requirements is pretty weak, especially given the parameters of this game. Because there are so many class combinations, and because items give such huge stat bonuses, many characters can 'cheat the system' by attaining the stat way before the planned level. A great example is the staves, which have an STR limit of 1.5 per level. Any warrior will easily have that limit, so they'll be able to wield extremely powerful staves early on. Another example is mail armor, which only has a requirement of 2 per level. Most warriors can easily handle that as well. They'll use much higher level armor and think it's more powerful than it is.

c) Stat requirements have another side to them, which is the flipside of the previous point. If you can work to attain the stat requirements needed for an item, you feel rewarded by being finally able to wield that item/weapon. That's the good side of 'cheating the system'. In general, you want the character to be able to get items that are several levels above what it's supposed to have, if the character works for it ie. invests in the right stats or uses items to get bonuses (though that's a little too easy nowadays).

d) Stat requirements can also be used to assure a certain investment pattern by the character. This is what I want to do with cloth and leather. By setting their requirements to 1 DEX and 1 STR per level, I don't make it hard for any character to get those items, but I want to make sure that a mage can't invest all his points just in INT or VIT if he wants to have those items. Of course they can still use jewelry to get those stats. I'll leave that out for now.

In general, no weapons actively use level requirements. They all translate them into stat requirements. Because of how easy it is for some classes to get stat bonuses, and because of bonuses from items, many characters wield weapons that are far more powerful than what they should have, which is part of the reason for insane DPS.

Consider bows as an example. Bows are interesting, since only the ranger class can use them. They therefore can't be abused by other classes so much. Bows have a DEX per level requirement of 3, which is pretty high. But that means that if you happen to cross an archer with a thief subclass, you'll probably have much more DEX, and you'll be able to get much better bows and therefore better DPS than any other ranger. That doesn't really make sense.

Actually, it makes some sense, but only to a degree. My conclusion is that stat limits are fun when used for (c), and useful when used for (d), but they don't serve the purpose of limiting usage (b). It's nice to have some wiggle room; it's nice to be able to afford that more powerful weapon because you have a high stat. But that wiggle room needs to be limited by a real level requirement in all cases, to prevent abuse and OP. And the level requirement should be a little lower than what the real level of the item is, to give you the wiggle room. It's actually doable with the current system, but I don't think I'll mess with it until I'm done with the skills. For now I'll just change the cloth armor requirements.

And now back to skill balancing...

Bluddy
03-31-2011, 04:10 AM
As usual, when I follow up my theoretical observations with real testing I get a lot of useful info.

It turns out that the game really doesn't drop items that are much higher than your level. So it's not much of an issue. It IS an issue for the stash, which allows you to give low level characters higher level items. Without a level requirement, this can be abused. Even worse, it can be abused unfairly. For example, mail and plate armor can be abused (though it's unlikely for plate armor since the requirement is high) but leather and cloth have level requirements, making it impossible to wear higher level cloth or leather armor.

I still think all items should have level requirements slightly lower than their level, and stat requirements at their level, so that there's a range of character levels that can use those items.

Bluddy
03-31-2011, 12:52 PM
I updated the mod to have stat requirements for cloth and leather, adjusted spell damage values a little to reduce their spread, and readjusted resistances: it turns out my formula was off after Shadow's changes. I changed the formula and the monsters' resistances to match the changes.

The latest version is 19.

Evander
03-31-2011, 02:13 PM
Bluddy, have you noticed, that spells damage is not dependant on INT?

It seems that we are missing sort of Magic Attack modifier that could make all this balancing sort of easier.

Bluddy
03-31-2011, 02:31 PM
Bluddy, have you noticed, that spells damage is not dependant on INT?

It seems that we are missing sort of Magic Attack modifier that could make all this balancing sort of easier.

Perhaps it would, but then INT would affect magic twice: once in damage output and once in the number of spells you can cast (mana). +Once in crits. I guess you could say crits affect spell damage. Plus, given cast time gloves, mana really becomes a factor in how much damage you can dish out.

Another solution that's been raised is that mage damage should depend on staff damage. I think that's not a bad solution, but it does make a mage just like a warrior (or actually, a ranger).

So the balance issue has more to do with balancing between half-mage and full mage mana quantities. But I figured out what needs to be done.

The mana quantities need to be adjusted to a reasonable full mage's level. I already made it near impossible to invest only in INT and VIT with the item requirements. I'm pretty happy with that. Now I need to adjust it so that a full mage can depend fully on spells without going OP.

A half-mage will have to choose. If he wants to depend only on spells, he'll have to invest a lot in INT. If he prefers to be a middle-of the road mage, he can't depend just on the spells. He needs the other class to carry half the load.

Bluddy
04-01-2011, 02:24 AM
I keep on going back and forth about this point. Should I go back to the way Shadow does things in terms of skill points, or should I stick with what I did?

Essentially, my changes have been to make all powerful spells scale up with their costs. Let's take maelstrom for example. It costs 8 skill points. This means that to get it up to full level (20) would cost around 1/3 or your skill points. To use just 1/5 of your skill points, which is what I like to use as my guide, would take around 15 levels. My approach would be to make it such that by level 15, maelstrom is close to the maximum power needed.

Actually I take it one step further. Since maelstrom is basically the strongest spell in the game, I make its cost much higher. It costs 10 points, with points going up 2 between skill levels. That means the first level will cost 10, the next 12, and then 14 etc. With this cost system, 1/5 of your skill points will be spent by level 12. If you try to overpower the spell to level 16, you'd have spent 1/3 of your skill points. I scale the spell power appropriately, so that by level 12 maelstrom is already about powerful enough for the endgame (but not too powerful).

I like my system, because it means that since maelstrom is so expensive, you don't get to (or need to) upgrade it that often in the game. Instead you focus on the cheaper spells most of the time. The problem is that Shadow is very unlikely to implement these changes, so maybe it's better to go back to his method.

The issue I haven't touched is fire mastery. It's still way too overpowered in the main game. In my mod, I allow it to add a maximum of 30% power if you take it all the way up, and even that's a lot. In the main game, it adds 200% of power at full level. This means that it's still the dominant skill. Playing a mage without mastery is still impractical.

Bluddy
04-01-2011, 09:43 AM
BTW just to correct what I said before, the reason weapons seem random is NOT that you suddenly get a weapon that's many levels higher than what you expected, though that can happen using the stash or trading, as discussed, and I think I'll eventually fix that loophole.

The reason it happens is because you can sometimes get more than one modifier for damage, like one for max damage and one for damage generally. This can make even a low level weapon extremely strong.

Also, I realized that there are 2 non-scaling skills/spells that cause physical damage: gut and bone shatter. The thing is, the monsters can take much more physical damage than elemental damage. This is a good thing, because it's an equalizer for mages: because of the monsters' low resistances, they're much easier for mages to kill than for warriors. It also means that elemental damage from magic weapons is very valuable.

However, what it also means is that any spell/skill that deals out physical damage needs to cause much more damage. I have to graph the monsters' effective HP as a result of their armor to see how much damage these 2 skills should do.

Bluddy
04-05-2011, 04:51 AM
I have lots of updates, but all of them are to the excel file - I haven't added them to the mod yet.

I've decided to redo the non-scalable skills the way Shadow does them. It's interesting that you can really do these things (at least) 2 ways. You can either have the cost determine the reasonable number of levels, and scale to that, or you can set a predetermined reasonable number of levels and then the cost determines whether the player can reach that level or pass it. A cheap skill can be taken further than the 'reasonable level', while an expensive skill can only be taken close to the 'reasonable level' before getting too expensive. It turns out that a 'reasonable level' is around 18 ie non-scaling skills should max out around level 18. This works really well with the costs.

The advantage of the first method is that the user waits longer between each level of an expensive skill. The disadvantage is that all skills eventually cost the same since they scale to their costs. That means I can buy 5 skills of any cost and take them to the max level.

The advantage of the 2nd (Shadow's) method is that different skills really cost different amounts: if a player only buys expensive spells, he won't be able to afford too many of them. But if he buys a mix of expensive and cheap spells, he'll afford more. This is good.

The other huge advantage to the 2nd approach is that it's much easier to calculate good values for, since instead of making each spell scale to a different amount (e.g. fireball should get to maximum in 20 levels, maelstrom in 12 levels) all spells scale in damage around the same rate. This is much easier for me. The excel sheet currently makes it such that I can change one or two base values, and all spells derive from those values and change appropriately. What this means is that when you buy an expensive spell, that spell will be more powerful than a cheap spell, but it'll cost more points to get it to the max level, and it'll get insanely expensive to try and go past the max level.

Also, this means that the spells costs are back to being very close to what Shadow has in the game, which means the changes I make are more practical for the main game.

I've also started looking at the different classes and their scaling skills. To do this properly, I looked at how the skills were adapted from DoP, and I also scoured the board for comments about skills. Players can often pick up on imbalances that would be hard for me to find. DeathKnight in particular had some very insightful comments about the different skills.

So here are some of my comments about the scaling skills, in no particular order:

- I'm going to be adding rising mana costs to all skills. This will really change how skills are used, so I'm not going to change too many other things initially, except for skills that are clearly OP or UP.

- The archer is clearly OP. He has these elemental skills (flaming arrow, shock bolt) that give elemental damage as a percentage of regular damage. This is really unfair. Elemental damage is much more powerful than regular damage because monsters have lower resistance than they do armor. I think that since mages have non-scalable elemental skills, it should be a theme of the game the elemental skills should be non-scaling (especially for ranged attacks). Also, these 2 skills make the other elemental archer skills (poison arrow, exploding arrow) not worth investing in at all. I'm going to turn all of these elemental skills into non-scaling skills.

- Shuriken is too good. There's barely a reason not to use it. It also doesn't make sense that it uses the dagger's DPS. How does that work exactly? I'm pretty sure I'm going to turn it into a non-scaling skill. Shadow seems to have had it like that originally, but without the recently added commands to make non-linear damage per level, there was no way to make this skill go up in damage properly. I think players complained and he had to change it to be a percentage of regular DPS. Well now we have the means to do it properly.

- In porting the skills from DoP, many skills were completely nerfed. Some skills, such as slice, had specific uses: slice generated mana (momentum) which was essential since momentum constantly decreased and could otherwise only come from crits and kills for the thief. I think that was a bad design decision in DoP. I'm referring not only to constantly decreasing mana which was annoying (and went against the nature of the rogue, who needs to be able to waylay and then strike) but also to the decision to have a specific attack generate mana. This decision meant that the regular attack was rarely used -- it was only worthwhile to either generate mana with slice or to spend it using other skills. Regular attacks should have generated some mana instead.

In any case, back to DC. Some skills were nerfed once they lost their essential purpose (smite is another example) and are now just duplicates of other skills. Other skills were split among the classes arbitrarily. The assassin for example has both critical strike and precise strike, which are nearly identical. Both require different distractions or other enemy states. But the distraction-creating skills are all in the trickster class, who now lacks skills with a real punch! This means a rogue will have the proper mix of skills, but a hybrid probably won't. For this reason I might have to shuffle some skills around.

- Another issue with porting skills from DoP is that mana costs were kept exactly the same, even though mana easily grows for every class in DC. Obviously this is one of the basic changes I'm making.

- An issue I found when examining some skills (especially in the same class) is that now that there are a bunch of very similar skills bunched together (in DC), they don't seem to be equivalent in a fair way, making some of them an obvious better choice. What I really mean is this: all boosts are not created equal. If I had to rate skill boosts from best to worst, I'd rate them as:
1. Multiple attacks
2. damage
3. defense
4. attack
5. crush
6. crit
7. deep wounds.
8. others

The most powerful skills hit multiple critters. You can also see that people constantly choose those skills (whirlwind, cleave). Hitting multiple mobs is like a damage boost, but it also eliminates your threats faster so it's really a double boost. Damage is the next most powerful boost. Defense is next because you have little HP relative to the monsters, and getting extra defense really helps you survive longer. Attack is next because it is essentially a damage multiplier, except that it's not as good as a real damage multiplier since its effect is reduced non-linearly via the defense formula. Crush is next because the range between the weakest damage you can do and the max damage is usually more than 2x, which is what critical hit (which is next) gives you. Finally there's deep wounds, which gives a certain amount of damage (I don't know how much) over time, which isn't that useful.

There needs to be recognition of this hierarchy while balancing skills. If one skill gives me 25% extra damage and 20% crit, and the next skill gives me 20% extra damage and 40% crit, I should always go with the first spell (assuming the same cost). I'm not sure how much awareness of this there currently is in the skills.

- I tried to see how much of a multiplier is needed by the endgame. Monster effective HP is around 2500 by the endgame, while weapon DPS is around 250-300 for all weapons but bows, which are somewhat lower. That means a multiplier of around 5-6 is a must around the endgame. This will give around 1500 damage, which with crits, crushes, deep wounds (remember they won't be 100% since I nerfed those items) and weapon speed modifiers should be more than enough to kill most creatures.

So that's the multiplier that's needed. But warriors already get a 4x multiplier from STR alone! That means warriors need only the smallest multipier from skills or a passive skill to make it to the endgame. And yet their skills give insane damage multipliers. This is why some characters can easily take on towns 20 or 30 levels higher than their own. I'll need to do some rebalancing here, but first I want to see the effect mana costs will have. Spamming of skills will become very hard unless you use low level skills, which is exactly as it should be (in my opinion).

Castruccio
04-08-2011, 09:22 AM
Thanks for doing this work. This is a really great post.

Castruccio
04-09-2011, 03:33 PM
When you create a Hybrid character, do the +x% per attribute point skills stack? If I have an archer/trickster hybrid (both classes of which receive attack bonuses per point of dex) how do the dex bonuses calculate given the fact that both character classes receive attack bonuses for dexterity?

Bluddy
04-09-2011, 04:40 PM
When you create a Hybrid character, do the +x% per attribute point skills stack? If I have an archer/trickster hybrid (both classes of which receive attack bonuses per point of dex) how do the dex bonuses calculate given the fact that both character classes receive attack bonuses for dexterity?

Everything stacks together when you mix classes. You'll get the DEX bonuses for both classes combined.

alstein
04-10-2011, 03:54 AM
To me, this is part of the problem. It's why the warrior gets so much power- they get 3 STR stacks. I think it should be highest bonus.

Bluddy
04-10-2011, 04:01 AM
To me, this is part of the problem. It's why the warrior gets so much power- they get 3 STR stacks. I think it should be highest bonus.

Yes this is an issue -- base classes have a huge advantage because they combine the bonuses. However, I think I'm able to overcome this problem through

1. Reducing each bonus. Right now, a STR bonus is 0.1% only, so a regular character gets 0.6/0.7% per STR and a warrior gets 0.9%, which isn't as huge a difference as 0.6 vs 1.2 for the warrior.
2. Mana costs now rise, making spamming of skills much harder unless you spam lower level skills.

It's possible I'll also have to reduce the power of warrior skills. They get very high multipliers at the same time as having their passive STR level multiply their damage. They also get crushing blows from STR, which are the strongest bonus (compared to bleeds and crits). I won't touch the strength of the skills though until I see the effect of increased mana costs on their performance.

Wish I already had a version with my latest changes out. It turns out the slowest part is actually making the changes in the data files.

Bluddy
04-11-2011, 11:23 AM
OK I finally finished updating the files for version 0.21 (I've changed the versioning scheme too).

I've now gone over every single skill and made modifications. I've reverted many of my bigger changes such as playing with extreme skill costs. My new philosophy is to make as few changes as possible.

In order to make my changes more understandable, they're (mostly) documented clearly in a readme.txt file inside the zip file. Please test this version and let me know what you think.

There could still be many issues I haven't thought of. For one thing, I'm waiting for patch 1.024 to try increasing passive mana abilities so that they're a big part of the game (unlike the way they are now).

BTW I gave up on making the archer skills or the shuriken non-scaling. It's much harder to balance non-scaling skills, so I just reduced their power to compensate for the fact that they're ranged (in the case of shuriken) or elemental (for the archer arrow skills).

singerb
04-11-2011, 03:18 PM
I'm new to modding, so perhaps I'm missing something (or I'm not high enough level yet), but I liked your ideas for summons, so I tried a mod I did myself that made the same changes, as well as your mod, but my Conjurer saw no difference in the summoning skills descriptions (monster level etc - for example, the Chaos Lord was still listed as a level 3 summon). Am I missing something? Doing something wrong? For my own mod, just dropping a skills.gdb with the summoning skills changed like in yours in my Assets directory should do the trick, right?

Bluddy
04-11-2011, 04:35 PM
I'm new to modding, so perhaps I'm missing something (or I'm not high enough level yet), but I liked your ideas for summons, so I tried a mod I did myself that made the same changes, as well as your mod, but my Conjurer saw no difference in the summoning skills descriptions (monster level etc - for example, the Chaos Lord was still listed as a level 3 summon). Am I missing something? Doing something wrong? For my own mod, just dropping a skills.gdb with the summoning skills changed like in yours in my Assets directory should do the trick, right?

You need to recreate the proper directory structure, just like it is in my zip file. So skills.gdb would be in Assets\Database.

singerb
04-11-2011, 05:39 PM
You need to recreate the proper directory structure, just like it is in my zip file. So skills.gdb would be in Assets\Database.

Got it, thanks. Time to see how the new summons do!

Bluddy
04-12-2011, 04:30 AM
I tried to play some of my test characters with version 0.21. I really like how mana costs scale up now. It's a lot more interesting and strategic than just being able to spam non-stop.

It's amazing how with even around 22% of crits, deep and crushes, which my warrior character has at level 54, he still gets so many of them. At least they're not combined and ridiculously OP as they used to be.

However, even with the reduced bonus from STR, warriors are OP. Warrior skills are almost certainly too strong given that they have so much strength to rely on.

I also realized that I forgot to update the readme.txt about changes I made to the shield spells, so I just did that.

EDIT: I've already started thinking about the next iteration of improvements. One of the things I've noticed from people's comments is that people don't like skills that have long cooldowns, even if they're very powerful. I think I understand why: when you have a skill with a very long cooldown, you hold off using it until you really need it for a special fight -- but there aren't big climaxes in DC other than boss fights -- it's constant fighting. Also, skills that have long cooldowns get forgotten on your toolbar and just take up space. Better to have short acting skills with short cooldowns that you use a lot than long skills you forget about.

Bluddy
04-13-2011, 04:58 PM
Version 0.22 of the mod now supports game patch version 1.024. It doesn't change anything from mod version 0.21, however.

Now that the awesome patch 1.024 is out, I have some cool plans:
- Readjust non-scaling skills now that mages can get magic crushing blows from DEX. Now that both crushing blows and crits are available, spells don't need to be as naturally powerful in the higher levels. However, non-scaling non-spells DO need to keep up their power.
- Use the MinCharLevel command to prevent overshopping of powerful but cheap skills. This means I can relax the mana requirements a little. This command is a real helper, because it means I don't have to balance spell strength and mana costs perfectly. Getting them in the ballpark should be good enough.
- Build up ManaGain abilities per level. This'll be quite tough to adjust properly. Mana regen is one of the game's most sensitive issues.
- Fix up scaling buffs so they're shorter with shorter cooldown times and therefore feel more useful.

I'll probably do all these changes over several mod versions.

Bluddy
04-15-2011, 09:58 AM
Version 0.23 of my mod uses the latest features in game patch 1.024: minimum level requirements and increasing passive mana abilities. I still need to work some more on mana regen balance, but I'm really happy with the progress so far.

Minimum level requirements for skills is INCREDIBLY useful for balancing. A skill like Bark Skin can now be really powerful without being abused in the early stages of the game. Fiery blast can become powerful over time without getting too powerful. Basically, any skill that uses absolute values rather than percentages benefits tremendously from having minimum level requirements.

Roswitha
04-15-2011, 10:51 AM
I'm not sure what happened to the character repository, but you might find this lady useful.

Bluddy
04-15-2011, 12:07 PM
I'm not sure what happened to the character repository, but you might find this lady useful.

Awesome Roswitha! Thanks so much -- this is the highest level test character I now have. It's really really useful.

The character repository was left in the old Demon War Beta forum. I should probably resurrect it.

Bluddy
04-16-2011, 04:56 PM
Patch 1.024, among all its other goodies, had what is probably one of the most important changes in the game, even though it may not seem as such. It prevented monsters from getting a higher crit percentage per level. I suspected (earlier in the thread) that monster crits were the cause of monsters getting overly powerful around level 50, and I still think this is the case. The crits created a situation where both players and monsters could cause too much damage to each other, but couldn't take each others' damage. I believe this change will have done much to solve the issue, though it may have 'over-solved' it: perhaps monsters should increase their crits, but just at a much slower rate. This needs careful testing to figure out.

In any case, this got me to start thinking about the rates of crits and the other bonuses (crushes, bleeds) for the player character as well. When I started reducing crit increases from items, what stood in my mind was people boasting how they managed to get crits up to 100%. It seemed too high to me, so I lowered the item boosts, but I didn't consider what a proper percentage for these bonuses should be in the first place.

Thinking about it again, it seems that one of DC's problems is that it completely OD's on crits. I kept noticing with high level characters (and Roswitha's character helped the most with this) that every hit gives me one of the bonuses. That just doesn't seem right, but it's what happens. Since every point of STR/DEX/INT gives 0.1% of its corresponding bonus, it means that if I get to level 250 of any stat I automatically have 25% of that bonus. Now it may seem unlikely for a character to get such high stats, but the reality of DC is that item bonuses are so high and so plenty, that in effect you have 2x or more the number of stat points to distribute (1000 instead of 500 with 5 stat points per level). I don't like this situation, but this particular aspect is off-limits for my mod. Once you change item bonuses, everything else changes and needs to be rebalanced. Besides, I don't think Shadow would change these things anyway.

Getting back to the main point, 25% of any of the bonuses means 1 out of 4 hits will have that bonus. Using passive skills, at least one of the bonuses can be brought up to around 35%, so now you really are getting every hit with a bonus without using any active skill! This is just not right, and it's one of the reasons player damage output gets so high. The bonuses should have very low percentages in general, and should be very hard to get to higher percentages. They start out with 5% for crits and 2% for the others, and I wish I could change those base values -- they're already too high. It means that 1 out of every 20 hits gets a critical hit to start with, but that's the percentage you normally should have for the whole game!

Why should the bonuses have such low percentages? The first reason is that it looks ridiculous that every hit gets a bonus. The second is that it completely changes your damage output, making it unfairly high. Crushing blows in particular reduce your DPS range to a single number -- the highest you have. The monsters just can't keep up. The third reason is that if just about every hit gets a bonus, they lose their meaning. Too much of a good thing is not good. The last reason I can think of is that if I invested in a passive skill that boosts my crits, I want to feel the impact of that choice. In order to feel the impact, I need the bonuses to be rare enough that I'll really notice that crits are coming up more than the other bonuses. But if my crits are at 35% and my crushes are at 23%, I really won't feel much of a difference -- I'll just get a lot of bonuses all the time.

In other words, there's a certain range where bonuses obtained generically ie. via stats should stay. Around 1 in 8 blows (12.5%) is a good maximum for that. The rest should only be obtained by customization for my specific character -- using a passive skill for example. Then I'll really feel the impact of my choice. Once a bonus gets to 30%, it's all over -- I've reached a saturation point. From that point on, I'll be seeing that bonus so many times that I'll be numb to it (though it will of course have an impact on my damage output).

The bottom line is that in the latest mod version (0.24) I reduced bonuses per stats from 0.1% to 0.04%. I may even reduce it further. I wish I could reduce the base amounts of 5% and 2%, but they don't seem moddable unfortunately.

DeathKnight1728
04-19-2011, 10:48 PM
I agree on this. I know im bringing up dop again but one of the reasons that dop was so awesome was because criticals were not as common. DOP crit base was 1%. I feel that dins should be no higher than 3%. That is just my view.

What i disagree with is the idea that fighting classes have to get the shaft completely. In this new patch the skills that used to be fixed mana costs now go up by 1 mana per level. So lets say you have lethal blow at 20 mana and you raise to lvl 20. Your going to be spending 40 mana each time you cast it! Thats a lot of mana for a fighting class to have spend constantly. What is the logic in this? I agree on a large majority of things, but this is not one of them. There is absolutely no way everything will be balance if we have to fix everything.

Bluddy
04-19-2011, 11:19 PM
I agree on this. I know im bringing up dop again but one of the reasons that dop was so awesome was because criticals were not as common. DOP crit base was 1%. I feel that dins should be no higher than 3%. That is just my view.

Oh I assumed the levels were similar. I totally agree. I'm currently nerfing almost all crit bonuses, but I agree with you that they'll still be too high. If Shadow allows modding the base values, I'll change them all to 0 (except stun which is barely modified). Values from stats are more than enough to boost these bonuses. I actually have no idea why Shadow made base crits as high as 5% for DC.


What i disagree with is the idea that fighting classes have to get the shaft completely. In this new patch the skills that used to be fixed mana costs now go up by 1 mana per level. So lets say you have lethal blow at 20 mana and you raise to lvl 20. Your going to be spending 40 mana each time you cast it! Thats a lot of mana for a fighting class to have spend constantly. What is the logic in this? I agree on a large majority of things, but this is not one of them. There is absolutely no way everything will be balance if we have to fix everything.

The reason for this is that even fighting characters get more mana as they progress in DC, unlike DoP where maximum rage/momentum stayed fixed. From my sampling of characters, a warrior could easily have 500 mana by the time he's level 80. This happens even without investing much in INT, ie. from items, and it means that the mana costs of the warrior's skills are almost nothing compared to how much mana he has: he can just spam as many skills as he wants, unlike the fine balance that you have in DoP where you have to use a mix of regular attacks and skills. Also, things like focus:rage become useless if mana is useless.

The way I compensate for the increasing costs is that the more you invest in your non-passive skills, the more powerful your passive mana abilities become, so that you shouldn't need to down a mana potion as a fighter -- your passive mana abilities will give you the mana you need over time.

I think ideally perhaps, DC could have kept a separate bar for rage/momentum that behaved like it does in DoP, and all skills that aren't spells could have used that. Given the system we have though, mana costs have to go up for skills, or mana becomes completely irrelevant for non-caster types. This also has the added advantage over DoP that you have a choice: you can either upgrade your skill and use it less, or keep it low level and spam it. This is cool and wasn't possible in DoP.

Shadow
04-20-2011, 09:55 AM
The base value for critical hit in DoP was also 5%. I had to look it up because I had forgotten. :) I think the big difference is that there are more ways to increase these numbers in DC than in DoP.

Bluddy
04-24-2011, 04:10 AM
I'm done with version 0.25, which can now be downloaded. I changed many of the scaling skills in this version. Just as an example, blood sacrifice is now a toggle skill. This solves the issue with people being afraid to kill themselves with it. Another big change is divine intervention, which now restores full health and gives a chance of getting a holy shield. In general, buffs act for a shorter time but have much shorter cooldowns. Crit, crush and bleed-giving skills have also been weakened somewhat. I also corrected for a mistake I had in understanding how negative multipliers work in the game.

I also changed the warlock summons, though I'm not fully happy with these particular changes yet. I never liked the fact that you could only have one type of demon at a time. This was supposed to make up for the fact that the warlock can summon whenever he wishes, as opposed to the necromancer, who needs to kill a monster first. However, it makes a lot more sense to just limit the demons time-wise, which is what I've done. I'm pretty happy with the way the chaos lord is now, but not so much with the furies and screes yet.

My plans for the next version are to get these summons balanced better and then to work on really making the passive mana gains work the way I'd like them to be -- each one should be effective.

Bluddy
04-26-2011, 02:41 AM
Found another great skill balance thread here (http://www.soldak.com/forums/showthread.php?p=11130&highlight=wander+into#post11130). I'll be using the insights from this thread for the next version.

venomoverlord
04-26-2011, 03:08 PM
Your mod looks pretty solid on paper, good work. The only thing I don't agree with so far is making it so mages need str to wear cloth. I feel like your reasoning for this is weak because mages have never had to have str to wear cloth in any game, ever. (The only thing notable is diablo 2, however, you weren't stuck wearing just cloth and the sorceress could use shields.) They SHOULD be fully investing into vitality and intelligence as that is their stats. Level requirements are enough.

Though I suppose it's moot as Steven agreed with you and patched it into the game (although it's beta and can change I guess).

Other than that, again, good work, I like what you did with the scaling on skills, though I was a bit thrown off on having to be a certain level to invest more sp in a skill, the damage increase I saw made it make sense and worthwhile.

* At the same time, increasing mana costs make it so you need more intelligence to use these skills, further invalidating the mages should need STR to wear gear argument. I suppose I will have to see how it works out in practice :P

Edit: Why the hell does blight costs 8 skill points for level 1 now? :O

Bluddy
04-26-2011, 05:43 PM
Your mod looks pretty solid on paper, good work. The only thing I don't agree with so far is making it so mages need str to wear cloth. I feel like your reasoning for this is weak because mages have never had to have str to wear cloth in any game, ever. (The only thing notable is diablo 2, however, you weren't stuck wearing just cloth and the sorceress could use shields.) They SHOULD be fully investing into vitality and intelligence as that is their stats. Level requirements are enough.

Though I suppose it's moot as Steven agreed with you and patched it into the game (although it's beta and can change I guess).

The problem that occurred was that mages would get to the maximum mana right away and make their game boring by maxing out their damage. Now there's a level cap for skill levels (not in the main game -- just for mods like mine) so it's not absolutely necessary. Still, you can get almost all the strength requirement from items so it's not a huge deal, and it does make some game sense that heavy cloth armor should take some strength. The other thing Steven added was DEX making critical hits, so now mages have use for all 4 stats -- INT for mana, SPR for resistance, DEX for crushing blows and STR to be able to afford good armor with good boosts.

Other than that, again, good work, I like what you did with the scaling on skills, though I was a bit thrown off on having to be a certain level to invest more sp in a skill, the damage increase I saw made it make sense and worthwhile.

Yeah without these limits you'd be able to get fiery blast up to end game level right away. I've still got to go back and tweak these levels somewhat so any feedback about them is welcome.

* At the same time, increasing mana costs make it so you need more intelligence to use these skills, further invalidating the mages should need STR to wear gear argument. I suppose I will have to see how it works out in practice :P

Yes I'd love that. I could really use feedback. I only have a few testing characters, and I really don't have much time to play -- this modding stuff takes up what little free time I have. In particular, if you find that something doesn't work I'd appreciate it if you could both tell me about it and post your character files so I could test it out and try fix the issue.

One thing that's not fully in place yet is the increasing passive mana abilities for the fighting classes. It's in, but I have to do some serious tweaking to make it effective. For example, the weaponmaster gets 1.5 mana per hit he makes, and this scales up with skill levels. The gladiator, however, gets only 1 mana every time he *gets* hit, and even though I scale it up, it simply isn't enough given the fact that you can only get hit a few times in the later game before you're dead.


Edit: Why the hell does blight costs 8 skill points for level 1 now? :O

Good catch. If you see earlier in the thread, initially I made each spell scale differently. I changed skill point costs for that. When I switched back to the way Shadow did things, I tried to correct all the skill costs. Blight, however, has no skill cost in the data files. It therefore defaults to a cost of 1, but I guessed that it really should have cost more (since it's an AOE damage spell) and may have been an omission. It probably shouldn't cost 8 though. Maybe 4 is a more reasonable amount?

venomoverlord
04-26-2011, 06:31 PM
So far the STR requirement has been a non-issue, but I can't say how it will affect the future. I suppose as long as it doesn't prevent you from capping out intel and having other stats at a reasonable level it won't really matter. Add the fact that you can change your stats as needed for gear anytime you want and perhaps I was a little hasty about the sky falling.

As far as Blight is concerned I guess it really depends on how it scales per skill level. Seeing that it starts at 1.5 dmg per 1 second, 8 points is incredibly punishing. I think 4 points max intially, again, it's depending on how the skill scales per level. I understand you are trying to balance it a certain way because it's aoe, but there's a certain point where if it isn't scaling properly it won't be worth investing the ever increasing skill points and I know that's something else you are trying to avoid.

I suppose it all also depends on how many skills you were intended to be able to have and/or max and still be an effective character as well. If I am intended to be able to utilize all the skills in the Necromancer tree at effective levels then 4 points is probably fine. If I'm not going to be effective by having it all, then 4 points+ would require good damage scaling within the skill, especially since summons are kind of wonky and can be unpredictable/unreliable.

*BTW - I really don't like being logged out while posting a message lol.

venomoverlord
04-26-2011, 08:38 PM
Spirit Strike tool tip in the Reaver Tree needs to be update to include your new -attack/defense values. Right now it only shows the %damage increase.

venomoverlord
04-26-2011, 11:19 PM
The mana scaling on skills seems to be punishing for non-mage classes... builds that I was using previously don't work well now because the high costs associated with simply keeping my attack abilities competitive.

I would have to spend a lot on Intelligence when I normally would not. For example on my rogue, already hits like a wet noodle in standard melee due to using a dagger, trying to bump up active skills means I'm always out of mana, this would be ok if there weren't constant hordes of mobs to burn through as I attempt to kill machines, crucial uniques, cure curses, fend off town attacks and keep the town from starving all at once.

Now I can pretty much assassinate 1 or 2 mobs and have to run away from the rest to regen mana. The in combat/kill mana bonuses aren't enough to keep mana topped off and having to constantly go back to town to refill on drink means I fail a lot of quests and I am now losing towns.

Forget about my sword and board defender/warden... It seems this is pretty much forcing you to spend points on more passives than actives or forces you to have a tree that has reactive mana gains such as mana returns from the weaponmaster on hit.

The way this is definitely brings a new level of strategy to the game as now you can't simply run around and spam your abilities to your hearts content. Unfortunately, when the weight of the world is on your shoulders like this game provides, not being OP at least a little means a lot of failures.

Perhaps this changes mid-late game, but definitely early on it makes a normal game hard. Seems just fine for mages though, I was burning along just fine with the new wizard I started for testing, of course Intelligence is his main stat and gets bonuses from 3 trees.

Bluddy
04-27-2011, 12:18 AM
The mana scaling on skills seems to be punishing for non-mage classes... builds that I was using previously don't work well now because the high costs associated with simply keeping my attack abilities competitive.

I would have to spend a lot on Intelligence when I normally would not. For example on my rogue, already hits like a wet noodle in standard melee due to using a dagger, trying to bump up active skills means I'm always out of mana, this would be ok if there weren't constant hordes of mobs to burn through as I attempt to kill machines, crucial uniques, cure curses, fend off town attacks and keep the town from starving all at once.

Now I can pretty much assassinate 1 or 2 mobs and have to run away from the rest to regen mana. The in combat/kill mana bonuses aren't enough to keep mana topped off and having to constantly go back to town to refill on drink means I fail a lot of quests and I am now losing towns.

Forget about my sword and board defender/warden... It seems this is pretty much forcing you to spend points on more passives than actives or forces you to have a tree that has reactive mana gains such as mana returns from the weaponmaster on hit.

The way this is definitely brings a new level of strategy to the game as now you can't simply run around and spam your abilities to your hearts content. Unfortunately, when the weight of the world is on your shoulders like this game provides, not being OP at least a little means a lot of failures.

Perhaps this changes mid-late game, but definitely early on it makes a normal game hard. Seems just fine for mages though, I was burning along just fine with the new wizard I started for testing, of course Intelligence is his main stat and gets bonuses from 3 trees.

OK I was afraid of that. My next aim is improving the passive mana skills. After that it'll be easier to judge if mana costs are too high (which they may very well be).

I may add a certain mana on hit to every class. Alternatively classes such as the assassin will just get a HEAP of mana when they kill, which is probably the way it should be since killing is hard. Right now I've based all the passive mana stuff on Shadow's initial values, just scaling it up with skill levels.

And for some reason the demon hunter got no passive mana ability. I think it's because Shadow saw when the expansion came out that passive mana abilities weren't relevant. I'll have to give him one or two abilities now that they are.

As you mention, my goal is that character skills be used more judiciously, just like in DoP, rather than spamming them. Plus, a valid strategy is to spam lower level skills.

And thanks for the feedback!

Bluddy
04-27-2011, 08:08 AM
BTW later on in the game mana becomes less of an issue. Many bonuses from items give you mana directly, and mana regen items make passive mana abilities less important.

I think the reason you may be having issues with the thief is because of the limited passive mana ability the thief has. With the thief you don't get extra passive mana per skill that you buy, unlike the other fighting classes. I'm going to change that.

venomoverlord
04-27-2011, 11:45 AM
BTW later on in the game mana becomes less of an issue. Many bonuses from items give you mana directly, and mana regen items make passive mana abilities less important.

I think the reason you may be having issues with the thief is because of the limited passive mana ability the thief has. With the thief you don't get extra passive mana per skill that you buy, unlike the other fighting classes. I'm going to change that.

Yea, that is basically the reason, but I didn't have an issue before applying the mod. So I'm blaming you! =P

Demon Hunter hasn't been too bad, Reaver gets on kill bonuses and I've been raising spirit a little bit due to the resistance bonuses they get from 2 trees which also increases mana 1 mana more than intel does.

Rogue is a bit tougher to justify spending on intel due to the fact that you don't get very much critical hit returns, even less due to the mod, also because their skills have higher crit rates so I spend more on dex, str and a little vit.

The other thing is that, it's hard to not want to spam abilities on at least elites and higher, simply because you have to burn them down before they burn you... and some of these guys get ridiculous mods. I'll keep playing though and see how it balances out a bit later.

Bluddy
04-28-2011, 09:32 AM
OK so I'm going to try to think 'out loud' about the passive mana gain abilities. Keep in mind that every character has a base mana regen rate working in the background, so that they're not ever completely helpless.

I'll be looking at the base rates at the beginning of the game. I scale the values up so that they should be similar throughout the game.

- Mana on hit: this is really the ideal mana ability in my mind. The vanilla game gives 1.5 mana per hit, which means that after around 6 regular hits you can use a skill. If you add the base mana regen rate, it takes even less than that.

- Mana when hit ie. when getting hit: this is the ability the gladiator has, and it nets only 1 mana. This means you have to get hit 10 times to use an ability. I think this is way too low. 10 hits can kill you by the mid-game. A value of 5 seems more reasonable. Get hit twice and you can retaliate. In any case, it seems like this ability belongs more to the defender who has all those retaliation skills.

- Mana when blocking/parrying: the Defender and Paladin both have this, though it doesn't seem right: the Defender has many abilities allowing him to increase his block/parry success. The mana given is 2, meaning that every 5 blocks, an ability can be used. This is probably too low, although for the defender the number of blocks and parries will increase greatly as the game goes on.

- Mana on kill: the assassin, reaver and necromancer have this. This ability is problematic, as it was in DoP. You have to work hard to kill a critter. Often, or perhaps usually, you have to use your skills in order to kill it. But you don't get the mana with which to kill it until you've killed something! And what do you do with a boss whom you can't kill right away? You have no way to generate mana! Now that I think about it, it actually makes more sense for a warrior to have this ability. A warrior can rely on his strength to kill, whereas a rogue's base abilities aren't good enough to kill without using his skills.

This is also why in DoP, the thief absolutely had to have a mana generating skill (Slice). The passive mana abilities weren't good enough.

I think this ability should supplement a more basic one, such as one of those listed above. It simply can't stand on its own. The alternative is to make some of the skills generate mana. Actually this would be good for the assassin, since it's so hard to differentiate between his many attack skills.

6 mana means you can use a skill every 2 kills. This also doesn't make sense. 1 kill should really be enough to use a skill.

- Mana on critical hit: the assassin and archer get 3 mana from critical hits. This was actually pretty good in the vanilla game since critical hits became so common. With my reduction of crits, let's say these characters get to 10% crits on average. That means 1 out of 10 hits will generate mana. But then we have to generate a LOT of mana.

Also, while the assassin has many skills to boost crits, the archer has very few, and that's his only passive ability. Again, it's not very fair.

So my thinking right now is that almost all classes should really have one of the first 3 abilities listed above as their main ability. The others (crits or kills) could be extra.

Bluddy
04-29-2011, 04:01 AM
OK so what I decided is that every fighting class will get mana on hit to a certain degree. What they have right now will serve as a bonus. This, for example, will solve the problem of the assassin, and could have solved it also in DoP.

Additionally, I tried testing with a couple of my test characters, and it appears that certain characters were really hurt by reduction of crits, crushes and bleeds. Some characters relied on these for their damage output at higher levels. I'll have to see what I can do about that.

Bluddy
04-29-2011, 11:15 AM
I'm done with version 0.26. This is purely a version that boosts mana regen abilities and balances them as I've described. Every class now gets an onHit mana bonus, as well as another bonus or 2.

The next version will deal with further modifications to scaling skills.

alstein
04-30-2011, 02:27 AM
Crashes on Launch now with error message about Warden's Spirit Cold bonus

Bluddy
04-30-2011, 02:27 PM
Crashes on Launch now with error message about Warden's Spirit Cold bonus

Oops! That's what I get for rushing through it and not doing a final test. Should be fixed now.

Bluddy
05-02-2011, 04:17 AM
Cooldowns are funny things. They're a must for buffs that act for a long period of time, since mana costs become irrelevant when you have 30 seconds to a minute to recover your mana. But as players, we really dislike cooldowns. We want to be able to use our hard earned skills whenever we want to. Cooldowns make good skills look bad.

One of the principles I already followed in version 0.24 was to make cooldowns shorter. This also means making the skill act for a shorter period of time. Now I paid attention to another aspect of cooldowns: they should get LONGER as the level goes up for *some* skills. It's a little unintuitive, since we kind of expect to be able to use our skills more as time goes on. But really, what I want to take care of is this: suppose you have a buff that gives you an extra 10% damage per level. At full power, it'll give you around 200% extra damage. But if I only bought 1 level, it's a measly extra 10%. I shouldn't have to endure a lengthy cooldown for such a small boost! Lower levels of skills that scale should have shorter cooldown. This is one of the things I'm implementing in 0.27.

The other thing I'm doing is messing with the skill trees. This is the biggest change I've ever made in this mod. Every time I come across the assassin/trickster trees I cringe. In my opinion, they just weren't split properly from DoP's trees. Assassin has too many attacks, as well as 2 almost identical attacks that are supposed to work with distractions/stealth which the assassin simply doesn't have. So I decided I'll swap the trickster's feint with the assassin's precise strike. This way, the Trickster gets a strong attack that relies on a distraction, which makes sense. The assassin loses an attack and gains a buff which also gives him the distraction he needed. I'm not sure if the thief should inherit something. I'm thinking of removing the restriction of one Concentration at a time, which will make those skills much more viable.

The other realization I've had is about poison. Poison damage lasts only 20 seconds in the game. Playing another game (specifically the excellent Dungeon Raid for the iphone) made me realize that, for things like Cure Poison to be worthwhile, and for poison to be a unique threat, it needs to linger for a LONG time. You need to have time to see it slowly whittling down your health. 20 seconds is not necessarily enough for that. I'm thinking of increasing it, perhaps even to 40 seconds.
EDIT: Actually, I probably won't make the poison change in this mod as that's outside the scope of balancing. That'll go into my next mod, which will go further than just making balance changes.

Bluddy
05-05-2011, 08:15 PM
Still working on the next version.

I realize that the mana gain abilities are currently way too strong. After I'm done with the scaling skills - I think this is more or less the final pass on those - I'll calibrate the passive mana gain abilities. At least right now there isn't a lack of firepower in the higher levels :)

Bluddy
05-08-2011, 04:47 PM
OK version 0.27 is ready for download. I tweaked the mana regen passive abilities too. Check it out.

Orrus
05-08-2011, 09:18 PM
Is it easy ( and bug-free ) to switch back and forth between this and the unmodded version of the game?

Bluddy
05-09-2011, 01:26 AM
Is it easy ( and bug-free ) to switch back and forth between this and the unmodded version of the game?

Super easy. To install this mod, you take the 2 files in the first post and put one (assetsbal.zip) in the "Dins Curse\Assets" directory, while the other (assetsbalexp.zip) goes in "Dins Curse\Expansions\DemonWar\Assets".

To remove the mod, you just delete these 2 files.

Bluddy
05-09-2011, 06:14 AM
Hot on the heels of version 0.27 comes version 0.28! This is what's changed:

I've been wanting to give stealth a mana cost for a while now. It's really powerful, and lasts forever. I was just too afraid to make such a big change. After seeing it at work in Kivi's Underworld, I decided it's worth doing. So that's in this version.

The other thing I didn't like was how some skills are perfectly adequate at 1 skill level. For example, marked for death weakens the target considerably even at skill level 1 or 2. The problem is that it consumes very little mana at that skill level. The trick I thought of was to make initial mana costs high for those skills that are good at any level. After the initial cost, the mana cost goes up slowly.

Finally, I did more tweaking of buff times and cooldown times. It's so hard to do these things. You want the skill to be useful, but you also want to give an incentive to upgrade. Sometimes a skill is so good, the player will want to upgrade automatically. In this case you can make the cooldown go up a little. Sometimes even though the skill gets awesome, most players don't need more than a couple of levels. An example is sprint. In this case, you want to make the buff time go up with level as an incentive. But you can't make it go up too much with Sprint -- you don't want them to be sprinting the whole time. So you have to either keep cooldown times constant and have the skill time 'catch up' with the cooldown, or even have the cooldown go down. So many possibilities, and it's all a judgement call -- it's really really tough.

From the testing I've done, I'm really happy with how this mod is turning out. It's really important to think about what you get now, and to make use of several different skills in the class's tree.

Next, I'm going to do some mage testing followed by tweaking of non-scaling skills. I suspect they may currently be too powerful. At that point, other than small tweaks here and there, this mod should be pretty much done. Wish more people would test it (and continue testing it) though :)

Bluddy
05-09-2011, 05:25 PM
And now version 0.29 is out. That's what happens when I've got a few days off :)

I did a little testing with my mage and it seems like spells still get a little weak once you've passed critters of your level. I'll have to do more testing to make sure.

One thing I noticed, and the reason for this new version, is how bad Ice Prison and Blinding Flash are at high levels. The thing is, they really shouldn't be. The culprit is a command called StrengthTime, which essentially means you have to keep sinking points into a stun skill to make it worthwhile against high level enemies. So if Ice Prison froze a level 5 enemy for 8 seconds, against level 27 enemies it'll give 0.3 seconds of freeze time! I realized this is unacceptable. It's completely against the expectations of the player: it's one thing to have to sink more points into a skill to increase its damage and make it able to kill high level critters. It's a different matter with stun skills, which you expect to do what they're supposed to do. This is also similar to the problem I corrected with summon skills, which are even worse when they don't keep up.

Orrus
05-10-2011, 11:46 AM
Hi, I like the mod and the changes you've made. But I don't like spending most of my gold on respecs when I install or uninstall the mod ( otherwise skill points get messed up ).

Is there anyway around that, or is the mod meant for new characters only?

Thank you

Bluddy
05-10-2011, 01:05 PM
Hi, I like the mod and the changes you've made. But I don't like spending most of my gold on respecs when I install or uninstall the mod ( otherwise skill points get messed up ).

Is there anyway around that, or is the mod meant for new characters only?

Thank you

I actually had that issue with older versions of my mod, but now I try to keep the skill point costs almost the same as the main game to prevent this problem from happening. The only place where you should still have this issue is with the skills that I swapped in the Defender & Gladiator trees, where all skill points are shifted a little between skills. I also swapped between Assassin's Precise Strike and Trickster's Feint, but those are exact swaps so they shouldn't affect anything (other than points in those 2 skills). If there are differences though, there's not much I can do about it.

Where in particular are you seeing skill point mess-ups??

Bluddy
05-11-2011, 04:16 AM
And now ver 0.30 is out. Now that I'm fine-tuning the non-scaling skills, versions of the mod will come out in small iterations. Fine tuning consists mostly of testing, changing, testing, changing... Unlike scaling skills, where I could do most of the work from the excel file, here I need to see everything as it is in the game.

BTW if anyone has a high level mage or conjurer, PLEASE post him or her here. By high level I mean greater than 30. Preferably one with a little bit of cast time gear -- but any high level mage will do.

So what does this version have? I noticed that the single target spells were under-powered and used too much mana. I've now got the mana down, but may have to boost power a little more.

Another interesting thing was, when I tested the Teleport spell I found that it was... lacking. The main problem is that you can only teleport on-screen, and even at the minimal zoom level, that only buys you a couple of seconds before the monsters catch up to you. So really, you have to buy all 6 levels of teleport for it to be useful, because you need to be able to teleport several times for it to be of any value.

So I made some changes to Teleport and I think it's pretty awesome now. Gone is the cooldown time. You'll still want to upgrade because the more you upgrade, the faster you can cast the spell. And after you teleport, you get boosts to crits and damage AND an escape notice boost. So you can choose to teleport into a crowd of monsters to start your surprise attack, or to teleport into a different location to get 'surprise' bonuses to your fireballs, or to just teleport away and know that local monsters won't notice you right away.

I also added an Escape Notice command to fog, so now walking into fog is a worthwhile strategy to sneak up on enemies or to try to avoid them. Of course, if you get caught in the fog, you'll be a less efficient fighter. Since Shadow liked this suggestion, this will hopefully be in the next patch, at which point I'll remove it from my mod.

Bluddy
05-12-2011, 05:12 AM
Version 0.31 is a minor version. I realized that I missed a strengthtime removal in 0.29.

The cool addition is that I finally figured out what to do with Scree and Fury summons. I couldn't find a solution to this problem I was happy with. The warlock had the annoying restriction of only 1 demon type since, as opposed to the necromancer, he can summon without need for a dead body. In reality this made him very UP, since each point invested in Scree, for example, made Fury and Chaos Lord unworthy of investment.

My new solution to the problem is to give the Scree and Fury spells long cooldowns. This means that you CAN'T constantly summon these guys. You need to take care of them and heal them, or you won't have 'em. You want them to grow stronger or they simply won't survive. I'm not sure what the appropriate cooldowns are yet. Right now I set it at 1 minute for the Scree and 2 for the Fury. I'll have to test it at some point to see what makes sense.

Now regarding the non-scaling spells... There are some serious issues there. In all my rush to boost the non-scaling spell damage, I never got to testing each spell and how it works. It turns out that Frost Nova is insanely powerful. It has an infinite range, you don't need to aim it, it's fast AND it causes frost. No wonder this has been a popular choice -- it puts most other spells to shame.

On the other hand, most of the powerful sorcerer spells have serious issues. First of all, thunderbolt is virtually the same as lightning, except it's faster, a tad weaker, and causes stun. Why do we need both spells? I'm thinking of getting rid of lightning because it really is just a duplicate. Ball lightning is ridiculously slow at dealing out damage, and since it doesn't slow down the targets, it's virtually useless. The worst offender though is lightning swarm, which is both really slow and doesn't aim properly. I tried to just hit some mobs with this spell and it's virtually impossible! It's like the lightning balls dodge the monsters! The reality is that any slow-acting spell is useless in the game. Mobs move far too fast even at low levels for a slow spell to matter. In fact, I need to consider slowing down the monsters. Since casters have to stop to cast offensive spells, they basically get 1 chance at hitting a mob from afar before the mob closes in on them.

Bluddy
05-13-2011, 08:47 AM
Version 0.32 is ready.

I made changes to all the spells I thought were weak by design. Lightning Swarm and Ball Lightning are faster, and should now be pretty good choices. Volcano and Ice Storm have shorter cooldowns. I got rid of Thunderbolt. I really think less is more in this case. Lightning now does Thunderbolt's job instead. I wasn't sure what to put in Thunderbolt's place -- right now, I put a defense passive similar to the conjurer's Evasion.

I also reduced some monster enhancements that have been bothering me. For example, Elf casters can eliminate your whole mana supply with a couple of hits, especially since they tend to hang together.

Orrus
05-15-2011, 05:35 AM
I removed the mod and I'm getting an error now when I open a character "Bad item, erroring out now to prevent character corruption later!" Any ideas? Should I reinstall the mod, and sell all my extraneous items and try it again?

Edit: That didn't work. Can't load any characters now.

Bluddy
05-15-2011, 05:39 AM
I removed the mod and I'm getting an error now when I open a character "Bad item, erroring out now to prevent character corruption later!" Any ideas? Should I reinstall the mod, and sell all my extraneous items and try it again?

Hmm... strange. I don't directly change any items in the mod AFAIK. I've had this happen to me once though, and it wasn't mod related. I just opened a character and one of the items was blacked out and then I got that message. It's possible that it's just a small, random bug. Open the character again (without the mod) and see if the error repeats itself.

Can't load any characters? That's really weird. Is it possible you accidentally deleted one file too many? Do you still have assets001.zip, assets002.zip and assets003.zip in both your Assets directory and your expansion directory?

Bluddy
05-15-2011, 05:45 AM
You also need to make sure you still have the empty expansionPresent.txt file in your expansion directory. That might be the most likely culprit.

Orrus
05-15-2011, 07:09 AM
That worked! I'm back in business

Bluddy
05-16-2011, 11:00 AM
I did a little bit of testing... I think in general the mod is shaping up quite nicely. Mages in particular are a very good choice now.

There's one thing I'm still a little unhappy about though: now that spells are all pretty good choices, I want mages to be able to try out many of their possible spells. The result of spells having to be bought all the way up to level 18 is that you can only have 5 spells in your repertoire. This is too little in my opinion. Let's say I get fiery blast as my staple, arcane swarm as my fast area effect, and volcano as my super area effect (volcano is pretty awesome now that it hits fast and can overlap a little.) I only have 2 slots left for spells (which, again, need to be taken all the way). I'd really rather have 6 spells as the total.

In order to do this, though, I would have to adjust damage slightly, and also reduce the skill costs of all non-scaling skills. I actually think this is fair -- if a skill needs to be bought all the way, it should be cheaper. But it means that any player with a mage who installs the mod will 'lose' skill points in case he tries to re-spec. On the flip side, he'll also have an easier time upgrading his skills. Essentially what this means is breaking a certain level of compatibility with the vanilla game. I'm reluctant to do it, but I think the change is worth it.

On a completely different topic: someone posted a question on the forum asking why smokescreen doesn't affect monsters who walk into it, as it seems like it should. Can anyone find this question on the forum? Do you think it's a good idea to make that change?

Bluddy
05-16-2011, 04:17 PM
After the conversation with Maledictus in the other thread, I went ahead and tried changing the damage multipliers for higher difficulties. The difference is night and day. I realize now that these multipliers are completely excessive and unnecessary, making life impossible for high level characters. Check it out -- version 0.33.

Bluddy
05-18-2011, 05:22 AM
Version 0.34 makes no new in-game changes. The main change is the way the mod is written. I switched most of the files to use the modding SDK, which means that for the most part, the mod doesn't need to be changed for each patch. Once I'm done with it (which appears to be soon), the mod should be installable on almost any future version.

The only files I didn't change are the skills and status effect files, where there are SO many changes that it wasn't worth the work.

Bluddy
05-19-2011, 05:19 AM
I started up a game of DoP as a priest to check out some of the complaints Deathknight voiced here (http://www.soldak.com/forums/showthread.php?p=25480#post25480). I then fired up a new game in DC for comparison.

What's interesting is how different these 2 games are, especially in the beginning. DoP reels you in from the start. The enemies are a challenge in the first area -- but not too tough of a challenge. As you expand to other areas, you really feel like you need to pick skills to help you out. Getting the skill points you need to get the next strong skill is exciting. Even though I've seen people on the DoP forum complain that good loot was too easy to find, it's not so easy to find good loot. You do get some common and perhaps even a rare item or two, but money is scarce and you feel the struggle, and all of this forms engaging gameplay.

DC does the exact opposite. Monsters in the first town have minimal HP and hurt you for 1 damage out of 60+ HP that you have. Loot seems endless -- you easily gather common, uncommon, rare and possible even an artifact. There's no challenge at all, and the choice of skills to buy is mostly just for fun -- you don't feel the need to think strategically about it. Money is plentiful. You then hit the second town and probably get your butt handed to you. I'm quite certain this has cost DC quite a few sales -- I almost quit on DC myself because of this uneven difficulty curve, and I've seen negative reviewers who only got to that 2nd town before quitting in rage. It's too bad, because the first impression DC makes doesn't reflect the brilliance of the game.

The amazing thing here though is that other than a few small changes, the variables behind the scenes in the 2 games are extremely similar. So where is this difference stemming from?

One difference between the 2 games in terms of variables is that monsters in DC were deliberately given very low starting vitality. I'm guessing this was to correct some balance issue early on in development, or perhaps to have the first town serve as tutorial. The result is that monsters are extremely easy to kill in the first town, to the point that it's just an annoying exercise all players dread. DC loses its charm when it can't present a viable threat, and until you reach level 7 or so, the monsters won't be a threat.

But I think the real difference between the 2 games stems from their core designs, which look similar but are really very different. DoP presents you with areas of rapidly increasing difficulty (ie. higher level mobs). It gives you a few quests in each area and then abandons it, moving on the next, higher level area. This kind of gameplay is very challenging, since you're always playing catch-up with the monsters. You do have the choice of grinding in a low level area, but it's not interesting -- it feels like the first town in DC. The result of this approach is that money remains scarce and enemies are constantly challenging. In fact, I suspect that perhaps the wall Deathknight talks about around level 20 may be partially because of this approach, which constantly urges you to move to a higher difficulty level. Since bosses are generated in the newest areas, they are of a very high level compared to your PC. And since each game in DoP is long, changing difficulty levels isn't really an option. The only way you'll start a new town is if the other covenants destroy your covenant. If the bosses kills you, the resurrection mechanic means that you just get stuck in an endless loop of trying to kill said bosses, or accomplishing some other quest, and dying over and over.

DC takes a very different approach. Because each town in DC lasts for a short (or long) time, the difficulty constantly readjusts to your level. In fact, this mechanic is quite brilliant, because the degree of compatibility between your level and the town's level will determine how long it will be before the game readjusts to your level. If the town is a piece of cake, you'll finish it quickly and be ready for a new town that's more suited for your level. If the town is too hard, it'll finish you off with the same result. And if the town is just right, it'll become a protracted battle, just the way it should be.

The other difference is that within each town, dungeon levels have a small difficulty difference between them, unlike the large gaps between DoP's areas. What this means is that you'll start out ideally at the level of the first dungeon level, then grow with that dungeon until you can beat one of the deeper levels of the dungeon, and at that point you've essentially mastered the dungeon and are ready for another one. Also, unlike DoP, DC won't stop generating quests in a lower difficulty level, which is crucial in order to avoid hitting a wall. In fact, if there's one thing in DoP that should be fixed, I think it's this.

The implication of these differences is that the loot dropping variables that worked in DoP are not suitable for DC. In DoP, you're constantly facing an uphill battle. When I see an elite mob in DoP, I try to avoid it unless it's part of a quest, because I'm already struggling. That elite mob will have magical loot, but it's not necessarily worth it. It doesn't help that I'm in open country and any mob in the vicinity can join the fray (unlike DC's closed corridors). In DC, you may struggle a little as you descend, but in general, you eventually reach a level where you've outgrown the particular dungeon. Elite creatures then aren't particularly formidable -- they're just a loot box waiting to be opened! The result is obtaining a ton of loot and money even though the game uses almost the same background variables as DoP does. Of course, this effect is much more pronounced in the first town -- you get amazing loot and you feel like there was no struggle whatsoever -- so what are you being rewarded for?

So I'm going to make some changes to loot, as well as to monster HP in the first town. However, these changes will NOT be in the balance mod. I try to make the changes in the balance mod as minimal as possible. I know the changes have built up over time, but the sole goal here is balance. The changes I'm talking about here will be in another mod that'll be a companion to the balance mod, and will change the game in ways that I personally think are positive, such as making the first town a little bit more challenging.

Bluddy
05-20-2011, 06:29 AM
Version 0.35 is now out. I tried making the first town just a tad harder, and the results are so positive, I had to include it in the Balance Mod. It's just too good not to consider a balance change. Now the first town is just fun. You're not in so much danger because you have a lot of HP relative to the damage the monsters do, but the mobs also have some more HP so you don't feel like you're swinging your axe through butter.

I also had to make some adjustments in the non-scaling skills to match the increased monster HP. Also, I reduced the difficulty multipliers for movement speed just as I did for damage earlier. High movement speed makes the game impossible for ranged characters. Most of the monsters move at speed 100, while you move at 200 but only while you have stamina, which isn't very long. At the highest difficulty, monsters move at speed 160, and any boost to their speed makes them move either at your speed or faster. Oh, I also decreased the drain rate of stamina to make kiting more of a possibility.

At the same time, I'm working on my other mod. I'll call it the Extra Balance Mod for lack of a better name. I'll post in another thread when the first version is ready.

Naed
05-21-2011, 04:52 PM
Thank you Bluddy for making the balance mod and for documenting your "ravings & ramblings" :)

Its a true pleasure to get insight like this :)

Bluddy
05-22-2011, 09:36 AM
Thank you Bluddy for making the balance mod and for documenting your "ravings & ramblings" :)

Its a true pleasure to get insight like this :)

Thanks for your support! It's good to know someone is reading my notes here :)

The way I look at it, a game like Diablo has years of testing, whereas an Indie dev like Soldak has to eventually move on to the next game to put food on the table. Though the focus of DC isn't balance but rather the quest system and dungeon interactivity, if I can do my part to make it more balanced as well, I can make it a more enjoyable game for myself and for others.

I wish more people would see it that way though... from the fact that I don't get any reactions saying "WTF -- you nerfed whirlwind down to -70%?!" I can deduce that not many people are playing with my mod :) And if there aren't people playing with the mod, then my ability to balance stuff, or to give Shadow feedback on what works, is limited.

Bluddy
05-22-2011, 09:41 AM
Version 0.36 is a minor update.

The main thing in this version was me trying to find ways to fix Multishot -- it's very weak as is. My idea was really borrowed from others' suggestions: make a narrow cone of damage, like the crossbow from Jedi Knight.

It turns out though that the game is only built for very specific angles of those 2 extra projectiles: it can only go in 45 degree increments. I then tried to make those 2 extra projectiles lock onto random targets and failed miserably, once again due to limitations of the game. I finally settled on a compromise that actually makes Multishot a pretty good skill: you now have 4 extra arrows -- 2 fire at 45 degree angles and remain fairly useless, while 2 more fire perpendicularly to you (remember I'm limited to 45 degree angles) and are actually extremely useful albeit entirely unrealistic. Oh well -- at least it's worth investing in.

EDIT: My ancient laptop's fan died, so until I get the new replacement fan, you can expect either few updates to the mods or very minor updates. Sorry.

BTW I posted the first version of the companion mod in the Extra Balance Mod thread. Check it out if you want changes that are a little more experimental and somewhat more game-changing (possibly. No promises :) ).

Bluddy
05-23-2011, 02:07 PM
So I started another character and took it through a few levels. Turns out my attempts to make the first town more interesting aren't fully successful. It's great that the critters can take a few more hits, but they just can't hit you to save their lives (literally). The problem is especially bad because you level up quite rapidly in the early game, while the monsters don't go up in level so fast.

It's possible that this situation was exacerbated by the fact that the expansion added many sources of experience that are very easy to attain. For example, after receiving several starvation quests, I ran around town feeding everybody and promptly went up a level. Maybe the experience per level needs to be adjusted somewhat because of the new source of experience.

I'm not looking for near death experiences in the first town, but at the very least my health bar should go down to 65% or so... no?

Caal
05-23-2011, 07:52 PM
I believe you get reputation and not experience from the starvation quests, and yes, with the additional sources of rep gain, I've modded the rep thresholds so that they are much higher (aiming for a level to reputation level ratio of about 3.5 to 4).

With new characters you can always start them at dungeon level 2 or higher instead of zero for more of a challenge.

BTW, thanks for the balance mod(s). It's been interesting looking at what you've done. I hope you keep the ideas coming.

Bluddy
05-24-2011, 03:52 AM
I believe you get reputation and not experience from the starvation quests, and yes, with the additional sources of rep gain, I've modded the rep thresholds so that they are much higher (aiming for a level to reputation level ratio of about 3.5 to 4).

Good catch. I wasn't sure if it also gave experience or not. There are XpMin/MaxRewardPerMonster commands in that quest even though it doesn't have any monsters, so I thought maybe it gave experience directly. You're absolutely right though that the reputation levels also need to be raised, especially because you get a super item with that 1st reputation level. It seems like there's nowhere to change that, so I'll just have to raise reputation level requirements.

The problem remains that the XP level requirements were lifted directly from DoP, and that the reputation level requirements were just copied over from XP requirements. In DoP, you get a few quests for each area, and each area goes up in level sharply. In DC however, each dungeon level is only slightly harder than the previous one, and you're stuck with that dungeon for a long time. For this reason, any time you're able to easily go up several levels in one town, the dungeon becomes too easy unless it's a huge dungeon. This is why the first town is so very easy. Once your level increase slows down, the dungeons become more challenging. So basically, the parameters from DoP are just not right for DC. I'll make these changes in the Extra Balance mod first, because they might have some extra side effects I'm not thinking of.

With new characters you can always start them at dungeon level 2 or higher instead of zero for more of a challenge.

That's true. If you pick the default level for the first town, you get a ridiculously easy game. Raise the level to 2 and you get a fairly easy game, and raise it to 4 and you get a moderately challenging game. But is this a good design?

The game is supposed to pull you in from the start. Had I not played DoP first (which has much better starting difficulty levels) I would have given up on DC thinking it was a crappy game. But I stuck with it, and when I started my 2nd character, I did raise the difficulty level. For my 2nd town, I boosted the difficulty level again, and the town obliterated me. Think about people trying the demo. I'm certain this extremely uneven starting difficulty curve has put off many people. I've seen their comments on different sites, and their experience reflects mine, except I know that DC is an excellent game while they came to the conclusion that it sucks.

Another point is that the default difficulty curve doesn't give you the experience of building up your character to survive better. Normally you should feel the challenge of the monsters and want to gain some skills to balance out their increasing difficulty. Again, this is done very well in DoP. But in the default starting difficulty, there is no challenge whatsoever. You can choose whatever skills you want because you don't need them. If you boost the starting difficulty then you may get that challenge, but it's 'fake' because you had to choose it. It's not the game challenging you, it's you challenging yourself, and that makes a huge psychological difference. The game should challenge you to pick good skills, but let you take an easier (or harder) approach by selecting an easier (or harder) town level. If you have to challenge yourself by boosting the level (and I'm just talking about basic challenges here -- nothing too difficult) then it feels hollow. Of course, I'm only talking about the start of the game here. We all know the game gets very challenging once you've put many hours into it.

BTW, thanks for the balance mod(s). It's been interesting looking at what you've done. I hope you keep the ideas coming.

My pleasure.

Bluddy
05-24-2011, 03:32 PM
Version 0.37 is another minor update. I put in some fixes to the faction files that should turn up in the next patch. Also, I took a good look at the totems. I wanted to put a description on each one saying what it does because it really isn't clear. Turns out you can't do that, but if you pause the game and look at the monsters around the totem, you can see the exact effect.

It also turns out that the dark elves totem gives them elemental resistance, which is very wimpy. The orc totem gives orcs and their allies attack speed; the undead totem gives the undead & friends strength; and the dark elf totem gives dark elves... elemental resistance? That only helps them against casters. So I had to choose something to give them instead that was somewhat different. I settled on a boost to critical hits. That's a good incentive to take out those totems.

Now that I think about it, perhaps the effect of the totems should build up with several of them (of the same kind) in the same area? That would make an area full of totems quite deadly... I'll need to think about it some more.

Bluddy
05-25-2011, 01:00 AM
After thinking about it some more, that last question I asked was a no-brainer. Of course effects from totems should stack! If you have different totems, the effects stack, so why shouldn't two totems of the same kind stack? This means that you can disregard 1 totem, but 2 or more are a real danger. It also brings an extra level of strategy to the game.

I think these layers of strategy are really important to keep things interesting. One of the cool things about Torva Shamans is that they enhance their followers with fire attacks. This ability will also stack now, meaning that if you see a group of Torva allies surrounded by shamans, you probably want to take out the shamans first. More examples of this can be found in the wisps strengthening each other (though I have to check if that effect lasts long enough) and morale boosts by different critters etc. These things make the game far more interesting.

Bluddy
05-25-2011, 05:01 AM
Version 0.38 allows totem auras to stack and also uses Caal's suggestion regarding translation files, allowing the mod to be more patch friendly.

Bluddy
05-26-2011, 07:42 AM
OK so right now I'm taking a break from loot to look at the monsters.

As you may be able to tell from my other posts, I want to fix the leprechaun. I think he's got great potential, but because he gives you back interest on the money he stole, he's really just an investment opportunity. Poor guy -- nobody takes him seriously. So I'm hoping I can make it such that at most, you can get your money back from him plus a teeny tiny bit more. Actually I'd prefer to make him waste some of your money on suits and booze, so that by the time you get your money back, you lost a whole bunch of it. That would make him much more of a threat.

I'm also concerned that ranged fighters don't have enough time to use their ranged advantage. I kept on feeling this was the case but wasn't sure why, until I noticed a little thing called sprint. At least 1/3 of the time, monsters are sprinting, which makes them move at your speed or even faster. Not all monsters do this, and some do it more than 1/3 of the time. I think this is a real problem because ranged fighters are supposed to be weaker since they can hit from a range, but right now the mobs can close that gap really quickly. Also, debuffs that work for 30 seconds aren't very useful if you have to kill the mob ASAP because he'll catch up to you any second. I'm a little bit afraid that after I change this, I'll have to shuffle around a whole bunch of other changes I already made, but I think it may be worth it.

I know that archers/hunters can shoot while walking, but to be honest I really don't like it. The animation gets all messed up as you slide about the dungeon. The thing is, it shouldn't be necessary -- monsters are slower than you for a reason.

I'm also looking at undead monsters. Right now, monsters/NPCs that become undead get only debuffs -- they're slower moving and slower to attack. Shouldn't being undead give you some benefits too? Like being more resistant to damage? Or being stronger? Even with the lich's undead-boosting skill, undead mobs still have a small debuff to them rather than a real boost.

I haven't decided yet which of these changes will go in the regular balance mod and which in the extra balance mod.

Bluddy
05-26-2011, 09:09 AM
I'm experimenting with slowing down all of the monsters, including their sprint mode. So far the results are really positive.

Movement speed is one of those really tricky things. It's hard to know what good movement speed is. To do some 'research', I looked at some footage of Diablo I on youtube. That game was MUCH faster in terms of attack speed. This allowed archers to shoot 4-5 arrows into monsters before the monsters caught up with them. There's no such thing in DC. DC made attacks really slow, and yet monsters move very fast. I already reduced the movement bonus from difficulty levels, and they still move fast. This makes the range advantage near-worthless unless you use it with something like stealth, which allows you to get some arrows into a monster before it gets to you.

The trouble here once again is values that were copied from DoP. In DoP, the only ranged attacks were spells -- there are no archers. Spells were very weak in DoP anyway, with the only decent choices being AoE spells. With an AoE spell, speed is not much of an issue since you wipe out several mobs at once. So the same speeds were moved over to DC, except DC has one major difference: stamina. Stamina means that you spend much of the time running at a slower speed, whereas in DoP you could move constantly at high speed.

Elements in the vanilla game cover up this issue. The only way to reach a high level as an archer is to get your DPS high enough that you can kill with 1-2 shots. Very high critical hit and crushing blow levels boost effective DPS. Also, mana costs are low enough that you can spam skills like fire arrow. Finally, the ability to shoot while moving is very helpful, though I would like to take it away as I mentioned above -- it's not very 'realistic', and it also doesn't look good. It looks like cheesing.

Bluddy
05-27-2011, 07:54 AM
OK so I was going to focus on improving the archer experience, and I had a new version ready to modify movement speeds. Then I tested the version and found that there's no way to make the archer's basic shooting skill cause you to stop moving. This pretty much prevents me from making any of the changes I wanted to make. I started focusing on the ability to move while attacking/using skills. First of all, AFAIK DoP didn't have this 'feature', and it feels more solid and polished for it.

The ability to move while shooting/casting has several problems:

1. It looks bad. You PC slides on the floor while doing things. It makes the game look sloppy and unprofessional.

2. It makes a huge gap between different methods of playing the game. Suppose you're an archer and you play the game only by clicking on monsters to attack, whether by left clicking or right clicking, you'll find the game completely overwhelming. Monsters will catch up to you in no time. However, if you play such that you constantly move with the mouse and attack with the keyboard only, you'll find that you can trounce the monsters. That's because you no longer have the delay time of the shots/skills affecting you. You keep moving around the monsters as you shoot them, allowing you to dispatch them easily. It also means that the right click skill slots are much worse than the numbered skill slots. This is all very unbalanced: the experience should be uniform no matter which interface you choose to play with.

3. It makes the archer's fire arrow, poison arrow etc skills very unattractive. Since those skills force you to stand still, it's much better to keep using your regular attack skill which doesn't force you not to move, and to just try to speed it up or strengthen it.

4. It makes the cast time of spells much less important, since you can keep running from mobs as you cast.

5. It's a very easy way of cheesing, particularly with the archer who can fairly easily stay out of range of monsters while shooting them endlessly, but only using his basic attack ability.

In my opinion, all skills should force you to stand still while casting. I hope that Shadow patches in the ability to make the archer's default attack skill require standing still. Until then, I'm not going to modify any monster speeds.

In the meantime, version 0.39 is out. It tries to fix leprechauns and undead monsters, and also makes monsters fade out more slowly, which should really aid the necromancer.

Bluddy
05-30-2011, 04:37 AM
Version 0.40 is out with quite a few changes.

Wisps now boost themselves significantly, so if you find them in a pack, they're dangerous. Also, I went over many item modifiers and adjusted them. Necromancers now get a cooldown similar to (but less than) the warlock's, so they have to help their pets. Repeatedly raising skeletons to get elite ones is also less feasible.

One of the issues I've been dealing with is how to make the later game more enjoyable. In the vanilla late game, almost every class is a glass cannon, but so are the monsters. You have to attack them before they attack you or die. I want the late game to involve more strategy, such as using a variety of skills, rather than just boosting one main attack skill to attack as hard as possible. The key to this may be defense, which seems to be a little bugged in the current version. Monsters aren't getting the proper boost to their defense, which makes attacking them too easy, and which makes the PC's defense too high. There's no reason to invest in skills that increase your attack percentage or that increase your defense, and the only way to make the mobs a credible threat is by making their damage output really high, leading once again to glass cannon syndrome. Hopefully the bug will be patched and I'll be able to make some progress on this front.

EDIT: According to Shadow, the problem may only be in the visible defense and attack calculations. This means the problem is a psychological one -- players don't want to invest in defense/attack because they think they have a 93% chance to hit when in fact they only have less.

Bluddy
06-03-2011, 10:58 AM
The next version could be a while away, given that I have less time to work on the mod than ever, and that I'm now focusing on something that will take a long time to do.

I found that modifiers on unique items have several issues. There are too many of them and they aren't strong enough. The result is that unique items make PCs bland -- they have many modifiers that are weak, causing characters to build up every stat without needing to think about which stat they really want. The many stats of unique items also make sets look weak even though they aren't.

The other major imbalance that's left is the archer class. I'm hoping a patch will allow me to correct that sometime soonish.

Bluddy
06-06-2011, 11:28 AM
OK so version 0.41 turned out to be just around the corner after all... The main changes in this version are that I moved the XP requirement changes from the Extra mod to this mod -- they make the early game that much better -- also, I decided to change the monster sprint speeds after all.

The result is that ranged characters get some breathing room between themselves and the mobs. Mob sprint was cool in DoP, where you constantly run at speed 200, and the mobs needed to catch up to you sometimes, or just surprise you with a burst of speed. It's a cute concept, but the monsters sprint at a speed that's too fast for DC. In DC, it makes more sense that while you have stamina, you can outrun the mobs (at speed 200), but if you run out of stamina you're slower than their sprint speeds. I also adjusted it so that each monster sprints at a speed that's relative to its regular speed, and I reduced the speed of the fastest monsters. One example is the scavenger (though I made this particular change in earlier versions). Since he runs at 200 by default, his 'sprint' is liable to actually make him *slower* than his regular movement speed, and bosses such as Feast (a rabid scavenger) cannot be escaped from under any circumstances, making them near impossible to deal with.

The one catch is, as I mentioned before, the cheesing you can do with archers since they can shoot while moving. To get the proper experience, I recommend making sure to stop moving before shooting. Alternatively you can make sure to use only the mouse for shooting regular (non-skill) arrows. Sorry, that's all that can be done at this point.

Finally, I realized that the archer's elemental skills and in particular multishot (which is now super awesome) are too strong, and I adjusted them somewhat.

Bluddy
06-09-2011, 07:11 PM
After completely taking apart my old laptop and installing a new fan, I finally have my halfway decent computer back and hopefully I also have a little more time for playtesting.

I'm working on fine-tuning the values in the mod. Version 0.42 reduces the passive mana regen values a little. I may keep playing around with these values. Also, I made the archer's elemental arrow skills faster. I think that's the only way they can be a viable alternative to the regular attack skill (aside from multishot and explosive arrow, which attack multiple targets at once).

Regarding the items, after playing a game of DoP, I think I've locked onto the problem. There's nothing wrong with common, rare items etc. The problem is with the unique items that are hand crafted. You see, the random items are great, and you keep on searching for the best ones. Eventually you find really powerful items. But the unique items are very few. When playing DoP, I was informed that a rival covenant found a certain unique item. I went to the trade screen to view this item, and I saw that it was really quite ordinary compared to my random item. Sure, it had an extra modifier, but that didn't make it good enough to compete with what I had chosen as my weapon. I'm pretty sure I want to make unique items have awesome modifiers, rather than more of them.

The problem is more severe with set items. Set items have set bonus modifiers that are quite high for their level. The key words are "their level". The problem is that the psychology of sets is such that you tend to keep set items for a long time. Say you find a set item of level 5. You'll keep it way past level 5 or even 10. Maybe you'll think of keeping it up to level 35 in the hopes that you'll find the set's partner, in which case you hope to get the bonuses. But if you do happen to find the other members of the set, chances are that by then even the set bonus won't be worth much, and if it is a strong bonus, its relative strength probably won't last. That's why I *think* that the set bonus should slowly build up to the point that with the full set, you have 1 modifier that is super awesome for the whole game -- even if the item is a low level item. Then, it's your choice whether you want to keep this set and have that one awesome stat, or to let go of it and move on to more decent gear for your level.

Anyway, modding items is a lot of work so I'm not sure if and when I'll get to it.

Bluddy
06-12-2011, 05:05 PM
I just finished version 0.43.

The big change here was slowing everyone down -- PC, NPCs, and mobs. I realized it wasn't enough to just reduce the mobs' sprinting. Ranged characters need time to shoot a couple of arrows/spells into mobs, but mobs move so fast that they cover the ground between themselves and the PC too fast. Now there should be time to fire off some shots as well as to use debuffs and such, so I'm hoping that'll make debuffs more worthwhile as well.

DoP is once again at fault here. Somehow, I always felt the movement in DC to be too fast, while the same movement values were just right in DoP. Part of it has to do with the fact that in DoP you could zoom out very very far, so your attack range was actually pretty long. DC is much more limited in the zoom department.

Interestingly, Kivi's Underworld also has slower movement speeds, and also takes place in an underground environment. I think the fast movement speeds were right for DoP's huge open world areas, but not so much for the relatively smaller caverns in DC.

I started out making this change as an experiment, but as often has happened throughout the life of this mod, the change was so beneficial, I had to put it in.

Bluddy
06-15-2011, 04:21 PM
I'm working on fixing up the endgame and mid-game. Thanks to Roswitha's character, I have a character in the endgame, and I have a few more in the midgame. I'm trying hard to avoid glass cannon syndrome -- at least for warriors.

Bluddy
06-21-2011, 07:23 PM
Version 0.44 is now ready for download.

This (http://www.soldak.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3974) thread by Sarkazein made me go back and check if the archer class has issues, and let me tell you -- it really really does.

The main problem with the archer class is that most of the arrow abilities (flaming, shock bolt, multishot) convert regular weapon damage to elemental damage. This sounds ok but it turns out it doesn't really work. I noticed at around level 50 that putting only 1 point in flaming arrow annihilates mobs. This makes sense because mobs have less elemental resistance than armor percentage absorption, and as the game goes on, the difference between the 2 gets bigger and bigger. So in previous versions I reduced the archer skills' strength by a lot to make it so 1 skill point investment in them won't make them OP. Had I thought about it some more, I would have realized that this couldn't possibly have solved the problem. I just moved the problem elsewhere. Now when you get flaming arrow as your first skill, it's useless because I nerfed it too much! And since I've made the early game more challenging than the walk in the park it used to be, you now really need that first skill to be useful! Aargh! Obviously the problem is that you can't really convert physical damage to elemental damage -- it creates issues.

So I redesigned the archer class. The problem is that all 100% of the damage got converted from physical to elemental right away. If I could convert only 10% of the damage to elemental and leave the rest as physical -- that should be fine for 1 skill level. Unfortunately there's no command to do that. There is, however, an ability to make buffs that do that (like Concentration Poison). So that's what I did. I changed both poison arrow and flaming arrow to a short buff that cools down quickly. It's similar to the way they were before, except now they just add some flaming/poison damage to regular arrows. The other cool side effect of this is that you can now combine them with Fast Draw for some awesome power. You can also combine them with multi-shot and shock bolt.

Speaking of which, multi-shot and shock bolt both shoot regular arrows. Again, this is to bypass the conversion of regular damage to elemental damage. There was no need for multi-shot to hit for magical damage. Sure, it's a magic trick/spell, but magic spells can shoot regular arrows too. Shock bolt is now a little disappointing since it shoots a regular arrow with a little extra damage and stun chance. I hope to add some non-scaling electrical damage soon.

So this was a big change, but I'm also working heavily on balancing the mid and end-game, as I mentioned before. I've changed some difficulty parameters, and I've also reduced all scaling skill mana costs. After testing with some characters I found that they were quite a bit too high (as others have pointed out in this thread).

Next I hope to do another round of tuning of the non-scaling skills and to keep balancing the mid- and end-game. Unfortunately I'm still missing high level casters. Since items are less influential on casters, I may use the XP cheat to get myself a nice high level caster in a couple of hours.

Sarkazein
06-23-2011, 04:09 PM
Heya, thanks again for taking a look at Archers. I've been poking around with the class and it's quite a bit better. I'm still running into a few problems, but that's probably related to my lack of a good bow. I'm level 17 and I'm still rocking the same 10 DPS orange bow I got forever ago. I just don't find ranged weapons as loot. I've also never had a ranged weapon merchant in my towns (I'm assuming there is one?).

I'm assuming the dearth of bows I'm running into is related to the way loot tables are constructed (I've looked around the modding forums and learned a bit about how this works). I'm guessing the problem is that there are a lot of "non-bow" type weapons that can be randomly picked for loot, so the chance of getting a bow is statistically lower, or does the system actually pick from weapon classes, instead of just "weapon"? Also, does the system take the player's class into account at all?

Bluddy
06-23-2011, 05:02 PM
Heya, thanks again for taking a look at Archers. I've been poking around with the class and it's quite a bit better. I'm still running into a few problems, but that's probably related to my lack of a good bow. I'm level 17 and I'm still rocking the same 10 DPS orange bow I got forever ago. I just don't find ranged weapons as loot. I've also never had a ranged weapon merchant in my towns (I'm assuming there is one?).

I'm assuming the dearth of bows I'm running into is related to the way loot tables are constructed (I've looked around the modding forums and learned a bit about how this works). I'm guessing the problem is that there are a lot of "non-bow" type weapons that can be randomly picked for loot, so the chance of getting a bow is statistically lower, or does the system actually pick from weapon classes, instead of just "weapon"? Also, does the system take the player's class into account at all?

I've also noticed that there are very few bows and I really don't know why. Each weapon is given a SpawnChance number that determines how often it turns up, and though Shadow raised the chance of getting bows, they still don't show up much. Staves have a lower percent chance and the impression I get is that they show up more often. Actually, I seem to get good bows with my non-ranged classes, but that may just be coincidence.

If you're using the Extra Balance mod, you may want to uninstall it for a while since it reduces the number of items dropped. The more items dropped, the better the chance you'll get a bow. I want to move the non-loot stuff (stronger mages) from the extra balance mod into the main mod anyway -- I'll probably make a quick next version to do that in.

There is a command that 'skews' items for what the player class is (ClassSkewChance), but it's not commonly used in the game. It's used by the regular weapon vendor, so he should turn up some bows now and then. I also don't know how well it works, or if it does well with a hybrid class.

Unfortunately AFAIK there's no specialized bow vendor like the edged weapon vendors. The only exclusive bow vendors are wandering vendors.

I'd love to take a look at the character if you're willing to post a zip of the save files. You don't have to do it if you don't want to, but it could help me check if there are any skill that need boosting.

Sarkazein
06-23-2011, 07:44 PM
Glad to know it's not just me. I ran around for a bit this afternoon and managed to get tons of loot, but still not many (if any) bows. Also, I'm not using the extra balance mod for precisely the reason you mention. Half the reason I play this type of game is the crazy lootfest :rolleyes:

I'd be happy to send my save. I'm not sure precisely which files you need so I zipped up my "chars" folder. Dunno if it matters, but I'm running this on a Mac. Anyway, "Sark" is my Archer character.

I'll have to apologize for the sad state of my current town. My inability to kill monsters at a reasonable rate has allowed the local bosses to grow in power. I've also had some bad luck with my town getting cursed, someone worshiping a dark god, multiple machines constructed, and many minion raids. And I started this one as a level, hmm, 13 town I think!

Good to know that I'm not specifically missing out on a bow vendor. I'll have to keep an eye out for one in the dungeon.

I'm sure my stat and/or skill builds could use work so let me know if I've done something crazy :D

Bluddy
06-24-2011, 09:28 AM
Version 0.45 is ready for download.

One exciting change in this version is that mana regen items now modify your mana regen by percentage. This is a really big deal, because it removed the imbalance that was caused by mana regen items. Even small numbers of mana regen (2/3) make a huge difference. Non-mage classes get regen items and make the regen too fast for their meager mana reserves, while mage classes don't get enough regen from items for it to count. It makes much more sense to use a percentage of the existing mana regen. Before, I thought making the regen items like this was bugged, but it turns out that's not the case.

I also improved multishot somewhat in this version, and I moved the monster mage boosts from the Extra mod to this mod. I think they're good enough to consider proper balance improvement.

Bluddy
06-24-2011, 09:49 AM
I'd be happy to send my save. I'm not sure precisely which files you need so I zipped up my "chars" folder. Dunno if it matters, but I'm running this on a Mac. Anyway, "Sark" is my Archer character.

I'll have to apologize for the sad state of my current town. My inability to kill monsters at a reasonable rate has allowed the local bosses to grow in power. I've also had some bad luck with my town getting cursed, someone worshiping a dark god, multiple machines constructed, and many minion raids. And I started this one as a level, hmm, 13 town I think!

Hehe. No need to apologize. This game can be harsh. I think the main problem is indeed the low level of the bow. You're level 17 but your elite bow is level 1! I'm not sure how to make more bows show up. I wonder if the class skew of the weapon vendor is messed up since he has tons of staffs but no bows!

I'm sure my stat and/or skill builds could use work so let me know if I've done something crazy :D

I did strengthen multishot in the latest version, and it's a really powerful skill in general. You might also want to combine flaming arrow with fast draw.

Eagle eye currently isn't a good investment in the early game. Attack isn't so necessary yet, and critical hit multiplies by the amount you have from your intelligence, which is quite low in the early game. Better to invest some more in bow mastery or just strength. Other than that, your skill choices seem pretty good.

Roswitha
06-24-2011, 11:54 AM
Bluddy, I don't know if you can get at it, but there's a bow in my character's shared stash. STR 16 and DEX 48. Let me know if I need to send another file.

Bluddy
06-25-2011, 05:13 PM
Thanks Roswitha, but I can't get into your shared stash without messing up my game AFAIK. I did check out your personal stash and all I can say is wow! You could retire on that stash alone! In any case, I'd like to solve the rare bow problem rather than 'patching' it with an extra bow or two. I did eventually get a weaponsmith who had bows with Sarkazein's character after creating 3 new towns and I did find something decent.

Here are my thoughts for the next version:
- The archer needs to be helped. I'm going to strengthen fire and poison arrows by a little. Another thing that I found was that aside from having lower damage output, bow levels are lower in general than all other weapons. I'll change this. Additionally, I think I'll add bows to the edged weapon vendor. Arrows are edged weapons of sorts, and it's not fair that every single weapon is found on either an edged/blunt weapons vendor, except for bows. Another thing I'll do is make stamina bounce back quickly instead of needing a 2 second wait. Stamina is the lifeblood of ranged characters, and especially in my mod it is one of the most strategic resources for a kiting character.

These changes will hopefully do the trick. If I could also add some class skew to chests, that would be nice too.

- Another idea I've had for a while is to make passive skills that affect crits, crushes and bleeds, affect them directly. Currently all skills modify the current level of these skills by percentage. What this means is that in the early to mid game, it makes very little sense to invest in e.g. crushing blow since you don't have enough crushing blow from STR for it to mean anything. I want at least the passive bonuses to be independent of stats. This also means that if you plan on increasing e.g. crits via a passive skill but don't want to invest in INT, that's fine.

- Yet another idea is how to make potions more worthwhile. Currently you can only imbibe one attribute potion and one resistance potion. I don't see a reason for this limitation. At the very least I should be able to drink one attribute potion for each attribute if that's what I want. Additionally though, I think it makes sense to make potion effects last after death. If Din can resurrect you, he should be able to keep the potion going too, right? The most important use case for potions is when fighting a big bad guy. It's quite likely that said bad guy has killed you once or twice and you want to finally defeat him. If I drink an STR potion and get killed right away, I've lost the investment in that potion and it makes potions not worthwhile. It doesn't matter that the effect lasts for 15 minutes if one death makes the effect go away, especially when death is most common during those times that I need potions the most.

- Finally, there's one topic I'm really undecided about. Around the midgame, damage and armor percent modifiers on weapons become really high. This means that weapons can have damage modifiers of up to 135% (which is really 235% since it's added to the regular weapon damage). Combine this with extra damage for being magical weapons and any other damage modifiers, and you get ridiculously high damage output. What this means is that as you get past the mid-game, you'll find that you have 1 or 2 awesome weapons, and few other weapons even compete because they simply don't have those super modifiers. If before you had 50% junk and 50% good weapons, now you'll have 95% junk and 5% good weapons in terms of damage, which is what matters for weapons. For armor this problem still exists but it's not as bad since you have so many armor items and it balances out.

What this means also is that you do less and less 'loot thinking' as you go. You have your super strong weapons and those are rare, and you really don't need to compare them to other weapons.

I'd like to cap the damage boost at some more reasonable level -- perhaps 50 or 75% (meaning the damage will be 150% or 175% respectively). Of course I'd have to adjust the monster HP accordingly. What do you guys think of that idea?

Sarkazein
06-25-2011, 10:27 PM
Haha, yeah I finally found a "better" bow. It's a gray 15 DPS bow. I'll have to try generating a bunch of towns to see if I can get a decent bow.

Speaking of stat potions: the same issue applies to the Enchanter Vendor. Enchanter buffs don't last through death, and the vendor doesn't restock the buffs. The one I ran into also only sold two buffs, but that was also the first one I'd seen so I don't know if that's normal or not.

Bluddy
06-26-2011, 03:00 AM
Haha, yeah I finally found a "better" bow. It's a gray 15 DPS bow. I'll have to try generating a bunch of towns to see if I can get a decent bow.

OK we'll see if it'll be better once I allow the edged weapon vendor to stock them and I think especially raising the different bow levels should help.

Speaking of stat potions: the same issue applies to the Enchanter Vendor. Enchanter buffs don't last through death, and the vendor doesn't restock the buffs. The one I ran into also only sold two buffs, but that was also the first one I'd seen so I don't know if that's normal or not.

That's a great point! I remember encountering the Enchanter and wondering why I'd want to buy enchantments if they barely last. It appears that the Enchanter only stocks between 2 and 4 enchantments, which is far too little IMHO.

As an aside, having looked some more at potions, I have to say that I really don't like the way they work in the later game. Why should every potion in the later game give you 150 of a stat? That's a ridiculously large number, and it requires limiting potion imbibing to 1 per type. I think it makes much more sense to limit stat change to around 20-30, and allowing several potions to be imbibed if you want the increased effect. I don't really know what to do with the fact that there are 15 different kinds of each potion though. I want to throw out more than half of them but I'm afraid that'll mess up people's games.

The same thing actually applies to food types, of which there are SO many. Instead, you can have 3 food types, with one giving you 30% of HP, another giving 60%, and the last one giving 100%.

Bluddy
06-27-2011, 08:37 AM
Version 0.46 is ready.

I've packed quite a few changes into this version.

Potions are now really powerful. They last past PC death, they stack (up to 4 of each kind right now), and the boosts don't get insanely high.

Enchanter enchantments also last past PC death, stack as much as you want, and the enchanter should now have far more of them available. It may seem extreme to have the enchantments stack freely, but I feel the Enchanter is rare enough that it doesn't matter that for that rare instant you can upset the balance of the game. Maybe I'll place some limitation on this later.

I boosted the archer class, but I also noticed that there's a slump around level 13-17 for some other classes. I lowered monster HP to help with that, and it does seem better now.

EDIT: I'm aware that non-scaling skills (spells etc) don't fit the monster HP so much anymore. Until I'm done adjusting monster HP, I'm not going to modify these skills since it's a lot of work. You should still be able to use them, they might just get a little too powerful, especially in the higher levels.

If anyone has a save right next to a bag vendor who has no bags in stock, please post the save. Also, the more high level characters are posted, the better I can do balancing.

Sarkazein
06-27-2011, 11:56 AM
Awesome! Did you add bows to weapon vendors and edged vendors in this version? I just finished my town and got transferred to a new town with both a weapon and edged vendor.

Also, another balance issue I've noticed: There seem to be many situations where I'm tasked with finding some NPC in the dungeon (for a delivery, rescue, info retrieval, etc.) but as soon as I get to the NPC, they're surrounded by a horde of monsters and die almost instantly. Especially if Arcane Rylors are around. Their firebombs are ridiculously powerful. I know that town NPCs are not equipped with useful gear by default, but could dungeon NPCs be changed to have at least some decent gear so they can defend themselves a bit?

Alternatively, on the off chance that I can get to the NPC, is there a way to heal/cure NPCs without being a healing class?

Side note: the dungeon vendors seem to be able to handle themselves a bit better. Perhaps they are higher level than their quest NPC counterparts? I know they still come equipped with statless clothing, so it has to be something else... Come to think of it, I believe the vendors have actual weapons, whilst NPCs tend to only have fists.

Roswitha
06-27-2011, 01:22 PM
Also, another balance issue I've noticed: There seem to be many situations where I'm tasked with finding some NPC in the dungeon (for a delivery, rescue, info retrieval, etc.) but as soon as I get to the NPC, they're surrounded by a horde of monsters and die almost instantly. Especially if Arcane Rylors are around. Their firebombs are ridiculously powerful. I know that town NPCs are not equipped with useful gear by default, but could dungeon NPCs be changed to have at least some decent gear so they can defend themselves a bit?

I _think_ the monsters can't attack the NPC until the player reaches a certain distance, like right at the edge of the screen. Can we shorten the distance a bit, so the player has half a chance of getting to the NPC?

Alternatively, on the off chance that I can get to the NPC, is there a way to heal/cure NPCs without being a healing class?

You can drop food or a health potion on the NPC from a distance.

Bluddy
06-27-2011, 02:35 PM
Awesome! Did you add bows to weapon vendors and edged vendors in this version? I just finished my town and got transferred to a new town with both a weapon and edged vendor.

Not in this version, no. I want to first see if the other changes I made to bows will make them come up more.

How was finishing the town (with the previous version)? Was it hard? Easy? Let me know if you feel a difference with this version.


Side note: the dungeon vendors seem to be able to handle themselves a bit better. Perhaps they are higher level than their quest NPC counterparts? I know they still come equipped with statless clothing, so it has to be something else... Come to think of it, I believe the vendors have actual weapons, whilst NPCs tend to only have fists.

Looking through the files... I'm not sure why the vendors are doing better as of right now.

Bluddy
06-27-2011, 02:38 PM
I _think_ the monsters can't attack the NPC until the player reaches a certain distance, like right at the edge of the screen. Can we shorten the distance a bit, so the player has half a chance of getting to the NPC?

That's a possibility but I would prefer to make the NPC stronger so it's more 'realistic'. Not sure how to do that yet. I know Shadow said he repeatedly made the escort NPCs stronger, but right now I can't find where that is. EDIT: ok just found it. It'll see if I can boost it more. The problem is testing it.

BTW thanks for pointing that out. Looking through the files, I just realized I forgot to adjust NPC speeds together with everyone else.

Sarkazein
06-27-2011, 05:33 PM
How was finishing the town (with the previous version)? Was it hard? Easy? Let me know if you feel a difference with this version.


Heh, it was a huge pain. Much easier than before, definitely, but still extremely hard. Mostly that was due to my lack of living vendors. No food/potions meant either suicide runs or being super careful, hugging health crystals, and fleeing back to town to Din's altar. That, coupled with my (still) extremely low DPS made progress slow, which led to respawns and a large number of mobs. Sometimes I would find the entrance to the next floor, go down, and be immediately swarmed by 20+ mobs. As you might imagine, I had a LOT of XP Debt :rolleyes: Still, it felt good to stick it out to the end.

Even with the boost to the Archer skills, my DPS was still so low that it would often take 5+ hits to kill some mobs, and even more for rares/elites/bosses. I had a lot of bad luck getting mobs with modifiers like gargoyle/stone/huge/etc. ... All stuff that gives them higher armor or regen. I also had a lot of bad luck running into rooms with 3-5 green/yellow mobs.

And the Arcane Rylors... eeesh. Their fire-timebomb spell is so powerful.

Anyway, I ended powering through, and was about level 21 when I saved the town. I believe I found a few more bows with the new version. I think one of them was actually good for me, and several were at least green-quality. However, most of them were still very low level, with DPS around 10 or lower. My current bow is about 15-16 DPS I think.

Anyway, I set my new town to level 18 so I had a little leeway to find a decent weapon. I'll play through it to get a more accurate view of the changes in difficulty in this version.


@Roswitha: Thanks for the tip about dropping food on the NPCs. That'll help a lot!



UPDATE:

Been playing and I've been a bit luckier finding bows in loot and on the Weapon Vender. Actually found a 20-ish DPS bow on the vendor! WHEE!!! Now that I have a semi-decent weapon, things are a bit easier. In practice, killing mobs is still a bit random. Sometimes, I get a few lucky hits and kill a lvl 19 mob in 3 hits. Other times I'm rather unlucky and it takes up to 7-8. Still, Flaming Arrow + Fast Draw is AWESOME now. Drains my mana pool, though, so I'm starting to put more points in INT/Spirit.

Bluddy
06-28-2011, 08:21 AM
In addition to dropping food on the NPCs, I think you can also drop resistance potions on them. So if you see arcane rylors on that level, you can get ready to drop magic resistance potions on the NPC right away. I think that would work (and it's pretty cool game mechanism if it does).

Regarding the mana cost, I know it's a little high. By level 50 you get so much INT and mana bonuses from armor though that the mana cost is relatively tiny, which is why I have to have the starting mana cost go up quickly. I've tried to find a middle ground with the mana costs but it's not easy. Also, I think it makes sense that to use skills a lot you need to invest some in INT. The vanilla game doesn't really require it, which makes it a challenge for me to test out characters that were made for vanilla. Let me know if you find that mana costs are really out of control. You can always post your character again at a problematic point and I'll check it out.

Glad to see you're getting some more bows now. I think there's something about the level structure of bows that makes them not turn up enough. Their drop levels are divided unlike any other weapon, probably because they weren't imported from DoP like the other weapons were. I've fixed up the lower bow levels, but I might try making all the bow levels just like the other items too.

Bluddy
06-28-2011, 05:32 PM
Version 0.47 isn't a huge update, but it includes the idea I had before about crits. Basically, if a passive skill affects crits/crushes/bleeds/stuns now, it does so directly. This should make a lot of passive skills more worthwhile now. It makes them useful from the very beginning of the game, and allows a character that doesn't plan on investing in a certain stat (say, DEX) to still have high bleeds if it so desires. Not entirely sure about the numbers yet -- I might increase them a little.

The other change is minor -- it's the NPC speed change.

Bluddy
07-01-2011, 12:09 PM
In version 0.48 I changed all the non-scaling skills to match the new mob HP levels. I know I said I wouldn't do it until later, but I don't think I'll be changing mob HP too much from now on unless I'm completely off somewhere.

Also, I made masteries stronger than I had them before, and I made DoTs more worthwhile by making them very quick. This means you could throw a fiery bolt or a fireball at a mob, or you could very quickly set them on fire with immolation and turn around the corner.

I also highly recommend the Extra Balance mod for loot adjustments. I'm playing with it installed, and vendors have become a very important part of gameplay, which I'm happy about. You really care which vendor type you get, because you want loot -- you can't just depend on the dungeon to provide you with all the loot you need.

Bluddy
07-03-2011, 11:21 AM
Minor update with version 0.49.

I reduced single target spell damage a little (fiery blast etc). I also reduced the effect of mana regen item boosts -- since you can combine several of them, the effect was too strong.

I still think spell damage is a little too strong on average, but it's very close to where I want it to be.

2 failed experiments:
a. Making totems in town display their names when you click on them. Apparently this can't be done because they're not usable.
b. I really think the obelisks you build in town should have 3 or more charges rather than one. It would make them much more worthwhile. I tried to make it work by replacing the obelisks with other obelisks every time you clicked, but it just didn't work.

Bluddy
07-04-2011, 03:17 PM
Big 4th of July update!

Version 0.50 is a big update. I realized that armor had the same problem that weapons had: the armor multiplier became too dominant in the late game. I reduced this multiplier, and then that required changing the armor formula slightly. Also, I boosted ego, crystal and obsidian items. Ego items should have high stats since you want to keep them around long enough for them to go up levels. Crystal and obsidian items can't be repaired, so it makes sense that they should be some of the strongest items in the game, though I'm not really sure how the durability stuff works.

One really important change I made in this version (IMHO), is that small quests like finding evidence give you far less experience. I found it silly that after finding some evidence you'd easily go up a level.

I then went over all the buffs and tried to make each one more fun and more powerful. The single target buff/debuffs are now also faster than regular skills. So when you use armor melt, it'll be a really fast spell that you can just slip in before attacking. It should be a lot more worthwhile to get these spells now (I hope).

I think the early game is now finally good and no longer has much of that bump that many classes encounter. I'm not sure about the middle and end game -- I just don't have enough characters there to be able to tell. The non-scaling spells may need re-balancing again, and hopefully I'll be able to do that soon.

Bluddy
07-11-2011, 06:58 PM
Version 0.51 is another huge change.

After balancing the early and mid game to my satisfaction, I thought the late game would be easy to balance as well. Turned out I was very wrong, and this is why: up to level 50, you get around 300 skill points. From level 51 to 100, you get another 800 skill points! That means you could invest in everything you did up to level 50 two and a half times over! This is a real issue in terms of coming up with HP and armor levels for the mobs towards the end of the game. It's also the reason we get such glass cannon syndrome by the endgame: more and more points are available to invest in skills that boost attacks, and very few ways are available to boost defense.

I made some serious changes to try and deal with overpowering through the end game. Passive skills are now twice as expensive as regular skills. If you're upgrading a high level character with many passive skills, you may want to empty your passive skills without the mod, then re-install the mod and buy as many passives as you can with those same points. Active skills are now much weaker than they used to be damage-wise, to make pouring points into them towards the end game less overpowered. Hopefully these 2 changes mean that warriors will still be more powerful, but not powerful enough to easily kill mobs 15 levels above them -- monsters strong enough to kill the warriors themselves with a few hits. Classes without passive skills should now be more able to compete.

Bluddy
07-19-2011, 07:40 PM
Version 0.52 includes a bunch of smaller fixes.

I finally added bows to the edged vendor. It's only fair since every other weapon is either sold by the edged or blunt weapons vendor.

I also tried to deal with a few issues in the expansion. One issue is the radius of the rylor bombs, which is much bigger than what's expected from the animation. The radius needs to be small enough to escape it. A bigger issue is the time tornadoes hang about town. Right now they live for 60 seconds each, which is easily enough time to kill all of your important NPCs and destroy the town. I reduced it to 20 seconds in the hopes that it'll be more tolerable.

Some other small adjustments are also included.

alstein
07-24-2011, 01:40 AM
One thing I'm curious about- is there a version of the mod that has the balance changes, without the class changes? I like your overall balance changes, but I'm not a fan of the class changes (I feel the Din's additional changes make for more fun) I really wish there was a way to merge the two mods.

Also, what happens if you put the Din's additional mod and your mod in the same folder?

Bluddy
07-24-2011, 11:38 AM
Well, a big part of balancing is modifying the skills. That's what takes the most time. To make the balance mod apply to additionals, I'd have to spend even more time balancing the Additionals skills.

If you want to use the skills of additionals and the other changes from the balance mod together, you can probably do it if you take the skills.gdb skilltrees.gdb and statuseffects.gdb out of the balance mod zip file ie delete them, and then install both mods. I'm not sure how good the results would be though.

Bluddy
07-28-2011, 12:42 AM
The next version will be quite light because I'm currently very busy. One thing I'll include is more changes to the rylor bomb, as has been discussed elsewhere. Currently the rylor bomb causes physical damage, for which most players have almost no resistance. I'll change it to fire damage and also lessen damage so that the bomb doesn't one-shot players. Fire resistance is still the most useful resistance in the game, and I'm not sure how happy I am about that. I would have preferred to make rylor bombs cause magic damage (which for some reason I thought they were already causing) because then there would be a good reason to get magic resistance.

In the meantime, I want to discuss what I'm thinking about for the version after this coming one. One big change I want to make is that all crits should add up rather than multiply, so that if a skill gives you 5% of crushing blow, it'll REALLY be 5% rather than 5% of what you currently have. Currently I only do this for passive skills, while active skills work the way they did before. The more I think about it, the more I realize this change needs to be made. You're taking percentages of percentages. It's confusing, and really percentage to crit should be something that adds up slowly rather than multiplying the current percentage. It means, for example, that rather than having 2.2% chance for crushing blow while using Savage Strike in the early game and 90% chance in the late game because you invested so much in the attack that it gave you 200% crushing blow chance; you'd have something like 10% in the early game and 40% in the late game: the increase will be gradual and more substantial in the early game, without overpowering the late game.

The 2nd change I want to make is to give a few seconds' worth of cooldowns to all attacks. This might sound really strange. After all, we already have mana as a mechanism for limiting attack usage -- surely we don't need cooldowns too? Well, it turns out that there is a reason for cooldowns after all. Mana is great for making sure that you don't just attack with your attack skills; that you mix special attacks and regular attacks. However, it does not give you any incentive to mix and match several different attack skills. In fact, the best strategy in the game for a warrior type is to pick one special attack and to keep investing in it. Additionally, some classes have several attack skill options while other classes have only one. This doesn't translate into any advantage for the classes with more options. You pick an attack skill and stick with it. Well, if you have a 5 second cooldown after every attack, the only way you could attack continuously is if you have several attack skills and alternate between them (and have enough mana available). This would give an edge to the real warrior classes who have multiple attacks. It also means that you would want to invest in several attack skills if you can, and that at each level you would have to decide which of the attack skills is worth your skill points. I would have loved to create synergies and combos between the different attacks, but sadly it's not possible.

There are other positive effects from adding cooldowns to all attacks. One effect will hopefully be that people will explore their skill tree more fully. The trickster has some interesting attacks that most people ignore. Another effect is that it'll even out some skills. Stun skills in particular come with cooldown times to prevent repeated stunning of a particular enemy. If all skills have cooldowns, those skills that already have cooldowns will seem much more palatable.

Antigrav
07-28-2011, 02:25 PM
If you're interested in including some combo incentives for mixing up attacks, what about the different levels of distraction? Some non-rogue skills offer a minor distraction effect, which currently only the assassin skill tree can take advantage of. Could that be expanded maybe?

Bluddy
07-31-2011, 09:13 PM
If you're interested in including some combo incentives for mixing up attacks, what about the different levels of distraction? Some non-rogue skills offer a minor distraction effect, which currently only the assassin skill tree can take advantage of. Could that be expanded maybe?

That's an interesting idea. Distractions do seem underused -- I'll look into it.

The problem I have with the whole distraction concept has to do with the way skill points are doled out. You get so many points after the mid-game that it's not worth bothering with distractions and their follow-ups when you can just boost another attack skill.

It's a little bit similar to the situation with weapon masteries vs arms mastery in the weaponmaster tree. It makes sense that specific weapon masteries should give you more of a damage boost than the arms mastery -- you're limiting yourself to a specific weapon after all. Except that you're not really limiting yourself at all. Because you can re-spec, and because by mid-game you have so much money, it's easy to move skill points to support whichever weapon you happen to be using at the moment. One design decision (allowing re-specing) basically cancels out another one. Similarly here, the decision to give so many skill points nullifies the advantage of skills that require extra work such as distractions except in the early game.

Minor version 0.53 is now ready. As I mentioned in the last post, I currently don't have much time to work on the mod so there are only minor changes.

Bluddy
08-23-2011, 09:29 PM
Version 0.54 is ready.

I just switched to a mac, and I'm having some difficulty finding tools to replace the ones I was using on the PC. So even though I finished this version a while ago, it took me some time to post it.

This version changes almost all skills that modify crit/crush/deep wound percentages to have them add up normally (as I mentioned above).

I've got some ideas about how to make the whole crit concept more interesting. Right now, only deep wounds are limited -- you can't deep wound skeletons for example. It would be more interesting to have crits and crushes also be limited. For example, large creatures would be much harder to crush. This makes sense and also makes the three bonus types more even. It should create some more rock-paper-scissors type gameplay, which always makes things more interesting.

losludvig
08-27-2011, 06:42 PM
Thanks a lot for spending so much time on making the game better. Haven't played too much with the mod, but so far it's enjoyable. Keep up the good work

Bluddy
09-08-2011, 07:21 AM
Version 0.55 is now ready.

Let me explain how I eventually came up with the changes for this version.

The weakest point of my mod so far IMO is the way I had mana gain increasing. I wanted mana gain (passive mana skills for fighters) to increase throughout the game so it stays relevant (unlike the vanilla game). The method I chose, of adding extra power gain for each skill level, seemed to serve that purpose. As you advance through the game, you'd pick up more mana gain for each skill that you bought. It seemed great, but I soon began to realize it wasn't:
1. Mana gain didn't depend at all on how much mana one had. So if I didn't increases mana at all as a fighter, I would still get extra mana gain from my skills. This would cause an effect where a fighter would have around 80 mana that would fill up with 3 hits, which just looked weird.
2. It felt inconsistent. There's no way to know how much mana would be gained with each skill level, and different characters had wildly different mana gain levels because of their skill choices.
3. Adding mana gain to every skill 'pollutes' the files. There are so many additions, it's hard to compare my skills file to the vanilla skills file or see what changed between versions.
4. The worst part is that you could easily game the system. Since mana gain depended on the number of levels you had in skills, you could buy low cost skills and in that way increase your mana gain artificially. This becomes especially bad in the mid to late game, where you get a ton of skill points (as discussed earlier in the thread).

I wasn't happy with this solution, so I set out to find something else. Initially my idea was that I'd add mana gain as a mandatory magic modifier to every piece of headgear. That was an easy addition, but I noticed it was screwing up every piece of headgear. Every headgear-type item became a magical item, and artifacts lost a modifier. It seems like some modifier stuff is hard coded -- things with one modifier automatically become 'common' even if I wanted them to be 'normal' but with a modifier. Also headgear items started to spawn a lot with several mana gain modifiers even though I tried to stop that. The system just wasn't built for this kind of manipulation, and it was showing.

So I had to think of something else. One idea was to make mana gain into a regular modifier just like mana regen, but then I'd have to spread it around all the items which was a lot of work. I also didn't want people to be able to stock up on mana gain the way they could with mana regen.

Eventually I decided to try add skills that give extra mana gain to each skill tree. The problem with this idea is that many characters have a full skill tree, since each skill tree can only handle 20 skills. This isn't too big of a problem though. Basic skills are often spread around inefficiently. For example, the weaponmaster has both leather and mail armor skills, and I could make the mail armor skill automatically include cloth. Instead of having mace, sword and axe separately, I could just have an 'all weapons' skill. So there's a lot of room to free up in the skill trees and I could therefore add the mana gain skill to every tree.

But what kind of skill would I add? I wanted a skill that would increase with time (ie. how far in the game you were). Also, it would be good if it would match the amount of mana you have. After playing some Depths of Peril, I realized I could borrow the bonus system from that game that was unused in DC but was still present in the code. The bonus skills are really cool, in that they advance automatically once you meet their requirements, whether they be INT, STR, or level requirements. In fact, if anyone wanted to implement a mod where magic spells increase in strength automatically by character level (as has been discussed on the forums), this would be the way to do it. I made a skill that increased the mana gain automatically every 50 points of mana, and I was pretty happy with it.

But did I really need to place the skill in EVERY skill tree? Around the time I came up with the idea that I needed to change the mana gain system, I also decided that I wanted to try to reduce all the mana in the game. It happens to be that a warrior can start with 50 mana points and end up with 500. This is a 10-fold increase in mana throughout the game, and this for a class that doesn't even care about mana. The implication of this, though, is that using a lower level skill by the end game consumes a negligibly small amount of mana. I much preferred a system that would stay closer to the DoP roots of DC. In DoP, warriors always have 100 mana and so every skill uses up the same proportion of the mana pool throughout the skill's life. If I could make mana progression really slow, it would stay close to the starting mana amount. I adjusted mana costs and mana gained per INT and SPR to be lower. But I also wanted the base mana to be higher: if warriors started with 100 mana and ended the game with around 300 mana, the increase would only be 3x. To do this, however, I needed a way to increase the base mana of all characters. I wanted them all to start around 100 mana. Warriors would only get to around 300, while mages might increase to 700 or more.

Thinking about DoP some more got me interested in the way DoP had more skill trees than DC. What if I added an extra skill tree to all of the characters? Would it show up on-screen? Well, it turns out that it doesn't (except for hybrid characters). The game doesn't display the extra tree, but it *does* count every skill that's there. What we therefore have here is the ability to have hidden trees with extra abilities -- trees that can be shared among all characters. I decided to put the mana gain modification in the hidden tree, together with the base mana modification, and that's what you get in version 0.55. The old system of raising mana gain progressively is gone.

This hidden tree modification is really a very powerful concept. It means, for example, that I can reduce the starting crit and deep wound percentages for any character. I would like to do this for the next version. In the vanilla game, crits, deeps and crushes are almost random bonuses that start at 5%, 2% and 2%, respectively. Really though, I would prefer to have them all start at 0%, and to have them depend on the weapon type you're using (which is what you'd expect). A mace would give you a bonus to crushing and reduce deep wounds to 0, as would a staff. A sword would give you a starting bonus to crits and deep wounds, but you won't start with any bonus for crushing damage. This, together with the previously discussed changes to the way bonuses affect mobs, should make things very interesting.

Thanks to Manumitted, I now have many more test characters, and it seems like mobs are somewhat too difficult after reducing the physical damage output of all attacks. Hopefully I'll get to fixing this soon.

Bluddy
09-08-2011, 09:54 PM
Quick update to version 0.56.

I fixed up the skill trees so there should no longer be a need to update your characters' skills when you switch to using the mod or back to vanilla.

Bluddy
09-12-2011, 12:28 AM
Thanks a lot for spending so much time on making the game better. Haven't played too much with the mod, but so far it's enjoyable. Keep up the good work

Thanks for your support!

guineapirate
09-21-2011, 10:16 PM
i installed the mod today. i didnt experiment a lot with it yet butim not sure if the shaman blessings i done right. I think they were meant to be something you could have on at all time. If you realy wanna keep them that way i think it should be allowed to have both blessings on at the same time. For the vitality blessing, maybe something that increase your vitality by a % would be more balance since you wouldnt be able to skip vitality when allowing stats.

Just my 2 cents after trying the mod a few minutes

Bluddy
09-22-2011, 02:53 PM
i installed the mod today. i didnt experiment a lot with it yet butim not sure if the shaman blessings i done right. I think they were meant to be something you could have on at all time. If you realy wanna keep them that way i think it should be allowed to have both blessings on at the same time. For the vitality blessing, maybe something that increase your vitality by a % would be more balance since you wouldnt be able to skip vitality when allowing stats.

Just my 2 cents after trying the mod a few minutes

Thanks for your comments -- they're very good.

Let me explain why I changed hardiness the way I did. Hardiness is difficult to balance well. It lasts for a very long time, making it seem like it really should be a 'permanent' spell. But it is also far too OP. I think, however, that to a large extent the vanilla parameters are a leftover from DoP that doesn't quite fit into DC. In DoP, a priest with Hardiness could cast it on you, giving you a huge boost that you needed as you went out to fight. And since you didn't want to keep coming back home to have spells cast on you, it made sense that it should last for a whole 5 minutes.

In DC, the hardiness spell easily overshadows other Shaman spells (and most other spells). As part of balancing, I reduced the effect time of all buff skills. If I use a spell once every 5 minutes, I forget about it. Classes that are dominated by these kinds of spells become boring since I'm not managing my skills. So most buffs were reduced to around 30 seconds, which means they're much more actively used. The usage pattern of hardiness, however, doesn't suit 30 seconds. When you buff your VIT, you want it to last long enough for several battles. In general that's what you want with defensive spells. So 90 seconds seemed like it was long enough to get you through tough battles, while at the same time not too long that you'll forget about it.

Since hardiness is not a passive spell, it needs to have a cost. The mana cost is really not nearly enough for most buffs, since 30 seconds is enough time to get back the mana you used on them. So they also need to have cooldown periods. When you use a buff, you know that you're taking away your ability to use it right away afterwards. I tried to make the cooldown minimal, but I do think cooldown belongs on this very OP spell. So you can make your shaman very powerful for a certain period of time, and after that he's weak for a while. That makes things much more strategic than just turning on a spell and bam -- he's super strong for 5 minutes, after which you can just keep re-using hardiness. If anything, I think my cooldown time for hardiness is probably a little too short.

I'm really glad you brought to my attention the fact that hardiness and true aim are linked in that you can only have one at a time. That doesn't really make sense, especially after my changes, and I'll remove it.

As to a way to prevent hardiness from being exploited, there are two methods I can think of. One is what you suggested, which is to give a percentage of VIT. The problem with that is that you'll have to invest many points in it to get any effect in the low levels, and in the high levels you'll get an automatic huge boost. I think what perhaps makes more sense is to level-limit the spell to a certain degree. For example, you can't reach level 4 of the spell before you're level 10 or something like that. I'll have to think about it some more.

Bluddy
09-22-2011, 04:58 PM
Version 0.57 is ready.

There are several small skill changes, but also 2 big changes. One is that I got rid of quality food items which were an annoyance, and spread out the foods more evenly across the levels.

The second big change is that I began implementing the system where weapons are intrinsically different. When you're unarmed, you have no base boost to deep wounds. You can't really cause deep wounds unarmed. With a dagger, you get extra deep wounds but no crushing blow bonus. Each weapon has a different profile.

In the next version I'm planning to add cooldowns to all attacks, as well as weapon restrictions on different attacks, making mixing and matching more strategic. For example, Rupture should only really work with sharp weapons.

Sometime after that I'll add monster sensitivities and immunities to different bonus types. For example, really strong or large mobs will be hard to crush, while small creatures will lend themselves to being crushed. Very intelligent or fast-moving mobs will be hard to land a critical hit on. Deep wounds are already limited only to creatures with flesh, and since it's the weakest boost, I'm thinking it'll have no further monster limitation.

guineapirate
09-29-2011, 02:01 AM
Concerning hardiness again. In the vanilla game, if you are at 100/100 HP and cast hardiness your adjusted HP would be, lets say, 100/175. In the original game it wouldnt be a problem because you have time to eat and get your hp up. With your change it would be nice if your HP stays at the same percentage instead of keeping its absolute value

Bluddy
10-01-2011, 09:47 PM
Concerning hardiness again. In the vanilla game, if you are at 100/100 HP and cast hardiness your adjusted HP would be, lets say, 100/175. In the original game it wouldnt be a problem because you have time to eat and get your hp up. With your change it would be nice if your HP stays at the same percentage instead of keeping its absolute value

Good point. I didn't consider it. I'll take a look and try to fix that.

Bluddy
10-01-2011, 10:06 PM
While thinking about the next versions of the mod, I tried to come up with some way to make mages more interesting. I still have some issues with mages:
1. They're somewhat less fun to play. This is mainly because mages are only marginally connected to the items you equip. This is a problem. As a mage, you don't really care about armor levels or weapon damage. You just look for stat boosts (mainly INT). This keeps you from really being engaged with a really big element of the game.
2. Masteries are not great in the mod. They're ok, but they're not amazing. Since spells scale up non-linearly, masteries aren't really necessary. They become an extra boost that can make mage spells overwhelmingly strong.

I think I've finally found a way to solve these 2 problems. What if fire mastery depended on fire resistance and increased naturally as your fire resistance went up? This would mean that to become a master fire-mage, you'd need to do your best to build up your fire resistance. Not only that, you'd have to minimize your cold resistance, because there would be 2 skills: one would increase your fire mastery if you have fire resistance, and one would decrease your fire mastery if you have cold resistance. This would also prevent SPR from being a good buy for a fire mage.

I think mages would become a lot more interesting this way. You'd have to balance a lot more stats: INT, DEX, VIT, a little STR, as well as the resistances that match whichever spells you want to use.

Opinions?

Bluddy
10-06-2011, 11:20 AM
Version 0.58 is out.

I was going to hold off a little on this version, but after some testing I found that my change to get rid of quality foods and spread out food levels was causing some trouble when switching back to the vanilla game. Since the ability to switch the mod on and off is really important, I decided to release this version right away. So one of the changes in this version is that the foods are back to the way they are in vanilla.

What else do we have in this version?

Cooldowns have been added to all attacks. This turns out to be a really good addition. Among other things, it makes DoTs more attractive, since they don't have cooldowns.

The other thing is more weapon limitations to certain skills, which I think makes mixing and matching classes more interesting -- you have to choose your skills more carefully.

I reduced stat bonuses from items even more. I think the game is much better when you can only attain about 30% of your stats from items. Your upgrade choices become much more important.

I also started re-balancing mob HP and damage to what the player can attain now. It's only a first step right now, but I think it's already pretty decent.

Bluddy
10-09-2011, 07:57 PM
One of the things I'm doing in the next patch is playing around with durability.

Durability is one of those things that exists in the game, but which I felt wasn't really used to full effect. Having found out how it works, I now understand why. Looking at weapons, the percentage chance for your weapon to degrade when hitting a mob is 0.5%. If you miss and the mob blocks, it's 1%. Let's translate these numbers into number of hits. Items start with around 10 durability and increase at 1 per level, reaching 85 durability at the maximum level of 75. Those who've been following this mod know that an inflation of up to 8x usually causes problems. Assuming we have only regular hits, a lowest level item allows us to hit 10 / 0.005 = 2000 hits. Is that a lot? It's hard to say off hand. Let's assume for a moment that a full level of a dungeon contains about 70 mobs, and that each mob can take 2.5 hits on average. That's 175 hits to take out a level of the dungeon, not including bosses. So at 10 durability, a weapon can last for about 10 dungeon levels' worth. That's probably a bit much, but remember that we're just guesstimating here, so we don't know for a fact that it's too much.

Now let's look at the maximum durability level. With 85 durability, we get 85 / 0.005 = 17,000 hits! It's not too hard to see that that's going to almost certainly be longer than we keep most weapons. In essence, durability disappears as a factor in the game. It's not that we hit that much more in the late game -- if anything, we have to hit harder and less to survive, or the mobs will get us. In fact, it's not clear why durability should increase with item level. OK, so it makes the higher level item seem more attractive, but really, there's no reason for durability to increase more than a minimum amount per level. The mobs in higher levels don't cause *more* durability damage, so all it does is take durability out of the game.

Now why is durability important? I think I saw Shadow say somewhere that he didn't want durability to be too much a concern in the game other than when you fight mobs that specifically cause weapon damage, like Nagas. I agree with this to a degree -- too much weapon degradation (think System Shock 2) can become annoying. But at the same time, durability is a great mechanic in a game like DC. First, it gives you an excuse to carry another weapon with you, just in case you need a backup. Having a reason to carry another weapon, rather than just carrying it as loot, makes things more interesting. Second, it gives you more reasons to care about the poor vendors. One of the unique aspects of DC is that vendors can be missing or that they can die. There isn't too much of a reason to care about specific vendors normally (though my Extra mod tries to address that somewhat), but if the only vendor who can fix your weapon just died, you can be sure that you'll want to replace that vendor ASAP. So even though weapon degradation is annoying in general Diablo-likes, in DC it's a pretty cool mechanic. The fourth reason is crystal and obsidian weapons, which cannot be repaired. There's only a reason to give these weapons a damage boost (which I increased) if repair is a real concern throughout the game.

One interesting issue that I encountered while tweaking durability is what to do with weapon speed. The game sees every hit as a roll to see if the weapon got damaged. This means that faster weapons like daggers will degrade much faster than slower weapons like two handed axes. It's not really fair since the dagger needs more hits to kill the same mobs. I debated several ways to fix this, and eventually settled on each weapon having different degrading percentages. So a dagger will degrade slower with each hit than a 2-handed axe, which makes some real-world sense: you swing the axe with full force, breaking it a little more with each hit. The downside of this approach is that skill attack degradations aren't even between weapons, but I think this is ok.

jureidinim
10-11-2011, 12:43 PM
You could tweak the durabilities a bit - but it would have to be careful. I agree with shadow - if this became a "chore" it would make certain towns very frustrating and I wouldn't even try playing a "Hard" setting town :-)

However, you are right - it is not a big issue as it stands now because usually there are so many weapon/armor smiths around that repairs are easy. I have only run into durability issues when i get a random town created with no weapon/armorsmith spawned - thank goodness for the random smith found in a dungeon or regen/repair alters.. lol

The obsidian equipment is a good mechanic as well - good stats but unrepairable equipment.

How would you handle armor?

I guess you could extend this to give different "wear" on armor depending on the types of attacks received. ut that may be too much to try and balance :-)

Bluddy
10-11-2011, 12:57 PM
Well, I'm playing around (when I have time) to make sure that the item durability doesn't decrease too fast. But I'm focusing on a few main things:

1. Durability will balance out between fast weapons and slow weapons, so fast weapons won't degrade too fast.
2. Durability will be a factor throughout the game. Right now, it disappears as a consideration somewhere between level 20 and 75. I haven't bothered to check exactly where, but I know that the items you get at high levels all keep their high durability.
3. I want to make durability go down faster, but allow more points of it. If you have 10 points of durability, and it only goes down once per 200 hits, you don't really notice it ever going down until it's too late and you're at 1 durability. But if you have 40 points and it goes down every 25 hits, you'll notice it go down gradually. When you hit something hard (like a door) you'll get direct feedback that you're damaging your weapon because chances are you'll lose a point of durability.

The random town with no smiths is exactly the random effect I want to preserve in the game. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, you're screwed until you find some way to get a weaponsmith. Also, in any town, you want to protect your smiths -- there's an emotional/strategic reason for keeping them alive. That's good stuff -- exactly the kind of thing that makes DC so good.

Armor is a little harder to balance because the more you have of it, the longer every armor item lasts, since when you lose durability a random piece of armor is chosen to deduct from. For this reason it'll probably have lower durability than weapons (in vanilla they're the same but the percentage of damage is about double, so armor is really half the durability).

The only way to differentiate between the type of attacks on armor is that there's a percentage damage for a normal hit and for a special hit (crits etc.)

I also want to have some durability differences between different armors and weapons. I was thinking the most durable weapons should be maces and staves since they're just wooden blocks. Less durable will be daggers, which need sharp edges. Least durable would be swords and axes. With armors, plate will be most durable and cloth would be least durable. This isn't as interesting as the weapon differentiation since it just matches their strengths, but I couldn't think of an in-game reason to arrange it differently.

jureidinim
10-11-2011, 05:16 PM
Sounds good :-)

For armor though - if you do differentiate as you suggested - Plate being more durable than cloth for example... wouldnt that make an imbalance for certain classes? Plate is mainly for Warriors only so on top of their higher hitpoints and bigger attacks, they now have the most durable armor, whereas other races that cannot wear plate would be scavenging heavily with lesser durable armor.

I know it would add another layer of complexity, but could you integrate (if you go with the changes you are thinking) an associated increase in cost to repair say Plate armor over other types? So even if its more durable, when it comes time to repair, it will cost more.

Bluddy
10-11-2011, 06:47 PM
Yeah that's why I'm wavering about the armor differentiation. On the one hand, 'realism' dictates that if you're fighting in cloth armor (not even sure what that is), it's going to get torn up much faster. On the other hand, it's more important that it be good gameplay-wise, and this could get annoying. Maybe I'll just make plate armor's durability higher, since many people seem to forgo it for mail armor. It's an extra small incentive.

BTW I didn't realize you could go to any vendor to fix whatever stuff you need fixed. That is unfortunate and it makes durability a little less exciting in my opinion. I guess I didn't realize it because I rarely needed to repair my items.

Shadow
10-11-2011, 06:50 PM
BTW I didn't realize you could go to any vendor to fix whatever stuff you need fixed. That is unfortunate and it makes durability a little less exciting in my opinion. I guess I didn't realize it because I rarely needed to repair my items.

You can't repair at any vendor. It has to be an armorsmith or a weaponsmith.

Bluddy
10-11-2011, 07:19 PM
You can't repair at any vendor. It has to be an armorsmith or a weaponsmith.

Oh, sorry -- I misspoke. What I meant to say is that an armorsmith can repair weapons and a weaponsmith can repair armor. But I'm glad that a regular vendor can't do either.

I would have liked to see each smith limited to repairing within his specialty, so for example if you have a town with only a blunt weaponsmith, you'd be forced to limit yourself to whatever blunt weapon you can handle. Makes things more interesting. To make things even more interesting (but very far from the current programming logic), a non-specialist repairing something he isn't skilled at might break that item even more!

But it's good as is -- it just means that durability really has the most impact when you have no smiths at all in town.