View Full Version : Levels

06-19-2012, 10:41 AM
One thing I've noticed is that the old system for monster levels isn't so effective here.

In DC and DoP, each world area is given a level. This level determines what monsters will be there and what level they'll be at.

In DC, you plow through the dungeon, and once you encounter difficulty with killing monsters, you know that you need more strength/attack/defense/extra skills or what not. The levels above where you are at will be easier, and the levels below will be harder, and you push through the difficulty as much as you can.

In DoP, every area is a higher level, and the quest system pushes you to keep moving out to new areas. This can sometimes become problematic when you can't keep up with the difficulty of wherever the quest system is at, but in general it works.

In Drox, level difficulty is a problem. Each system is still assigned a monster level. First of all, it seems that the lowest level isn't necessarily the one where you start up, which means that when you finally get to a boss who is many areas away, you might be many levels higher than that boss.

There are other issues though. Because you move a lot between systems and there are quests produced in every system, you constantly encounter monsters of different levels. It's hard to tell how you're faring against monsters ie what needs upgrade. In other words, there's no feel for how the combat is going, and that's a big issue.

Another issue which I'm not sure about is how different races deal with monsters of different levels. It's not entirely fair that one race gets to fight a race of level 1 and another gets to fight a race of level 5 simply because of where they're spawned. This could really bias the strategy game. It's possible that the race gets a level boost to deal with this as well, but that isn't fair either.

My suggestion is to move to a different, dynamic level system: all monster levels in the sector should be the same by default with a minor variation (+-2). A system that is dominated by monsters (ie not civilized) will have a higher monster level than systems that are civilized ie have a strong race presence. What this means is that in the early game, it's safest to stay around the races. But the quests will send you out to the wilderness areas where monsters dominate. The races are afraid to go there as well because until they settle and colonize a few planets, the monsters there will be stronger.

Just as the different races can gain levels, the monsters would also gain levels, with the lowest levels being in well-colonized areas, and the highest levels in uncolonized areas.

Once a boss is spawned, it would raise the level of the monsters. Let the boss grow in power, and he'll gradually raise the level of the monsters around him.

06-19-2012, 10:57 AM
A great help would be some way of knowing what actual level the systems are. This would also overtime show the spread and make it easier to spot the dangerous and therefore more lucrative systems.

06-19-2012, 12:02 PM
How it works right now is the systems on the outer edge of the sector are the lowest level and those in the middle are the highest. In general, races start on the outer edge.

06-19-2012, 12:08 PM
How it works right now is the systems on the outer edge of the sector are the lowest level and those in the middle are the highest. In general, races start on the outer edge.

I see. While this makes some sense for races' expansion -- they encounter tougher challenges as they expand, it doesn't really work well for the player. It explains why, after travelling across the sector and leveling up to level 7, I found that the bosses everyone was complaining about were level 1 and 2. There was no challenge in cleaning up an entire system that was overwhelmed by monsters other than locating the bosses in the first place -- even a huge crowd of monsters couldn't scratch my ship.

I think there needs to be something more dynamic here, similar to what I outlined above. A system overwhelmed by monsters and bosses should really have high level monsters that can challenge you.

06-19-2012, 03:46 PM
How it works right now is the systems on the outer edge of the sector are the lowest level and those in the middle are the highest. In general, races start on the outer edge.

This explains the impression we had. Here some thoughts to this:

We had some systems in which many races started in one sector while one or two races could expand in their own starting areas. Perhaps limiting the number of races starting in a sector to say two and then having at least 2 systems before other races appear might be good. That way it would be more even.

Perhaps even a setting: Starting places clustered/normal/widely spread could be interesting.

The other thing we found a bit limiting was the way starting places worked. If going for relatively tough games you are basically stuck with whatever race you start with.
It can be very hard that way crossing the whole galaxy without safezones, outposts etc. and finally finding someone else. This often takes (if you are not very powerful) quite some time or can be even not possible.

If you take long with finding another race the game can have moved forward quite a bit limiting again valid choices (some races often got wiped by then eg.).

Much depends on how strong your pilot is in comparison to the universe. Perhaps some means like "secret wormholes" only Drox know how to detect or something could help there. Just to give the early game more options. I don't want to suggest throwing exploring overboard. But the "being alone in one arm of the universe with one race starting" could be definitely one of the things that limits a part of the game needlessly (=no interaction with the other races for a big part of the game).

The game feels very hard when you are in sectors close to your level when using setups with lasers, kinetic weapons and fighters (they are WAY cool :) ).
After mixing mines and rockets (like most) it got much easier but is still tough. It could be that we both balance too much on speed (just one speed: max speed) but I'm not sure with the items I found (and kept in storage) I can equip my ship to be really stronger.

Of course it might be bad playing at our part, but like Din at the start (Darkelves in beta anyone?) it feels still quite tough to play the suggested difficulty.

06-19-2012, 10:21 PM
It definitely feels differently balanced than the dungeon crawlers, because you can end up jumping more between systems. I was nearly done with game where there was a massive uprising of enemies down in one system, and forgot about it for a while to finish another system.

When I returned, only a level higher and with a better laser, I faced hundreds of enemies of two warring factions. It was a slugfest, but I was never in danger because of constant refills of shields and energy, with the occasional repair thingamy. Next system I got to I was murdered by a single named enemy. Now I'm a rocket man and fear nothing. Still only have one weapon attached, though, and never seem to be in enough danger to use the rest of the toolbar.