Fran wrote:I think we have the same goal in mind, only that you want to achieve it by nerfing broken stuff while I'd powerup the rest so that it's on a similiar level of usefulness.
TLDR: Resists were stronger than the old Transmuter, who in effect had infinite mana.
I feel like this merits a little more explaining, I'll be a long read, but an educational one, and I'll be as polite as possible (slow day at work). It's also the explanation for the question "what's balance in a very non-multiplayer game?".
So, the thing is the following: If you have a "degenerate" or "superwpower" strategy at the power level of the old monk, you can't really buff everything else to be on a simmilar level of usefullness. You can't as in - it's not possible, because damage resistance is the most powerfull "stat" ot "variable" in the entire game, in theory or in paractice.
I'll give 2 examples, one for monsters, one for players.
Have you ever tried killing the Goo Boss with a physical character? You've probably seen it's HP bar with all the little yellow lines telling you you have to hit him a bajilion times to kill him? He has only 444 Health. If it wasn't for resist thats 4 hits from a rogue, and around the same for any Triling or Orc. Its only about 111 more HP than the bandit boss, and the bandit boss was considered "popcorn". With his 75% physical resist, the Goo Boss, only slightly tougher in HP than the popcorn bosses, was the prime target for Woopaz. If a popcorn boss was to be buffed to be on the same threat level as the Goo boss (at least towards phys damage), his HP would be well over a thousand.
Now for players it gets way more absurd. The old Gaan'Telet dungeon had 9-10 floors with incresingly more tough enemies, and was long thought to be impossible by anything except the Transmuter, a class everyone started avoiding on account of it being more of an exploit than a proper class. (Incitentaly, "thats not a class, it's a cheatcode" concept was coined by someone else, and it started with the old Transmuter). The Tower was MENT to be impossible, and was only there to keep us busy while devs took a vacation or something (it seems). The dev's even said "noone was ment to get anywhere in that tower" when someone beat it with a Transmuter - they were genuinely shocked.
However, Subanark went in there with a Monk, and beat it. Floor, after floor, after floor of superthough lvl 10 enemies (and small floors mind you, and 160 dmg warlocks on one floor), with a 5000 HP boss at the end. Monk did it. Then Paladin did it just barely, and then we did it with every class, including The Fighter. We're hardcore? Well, a little, but we've concluded during this long time that it wasn't challenging at all - you used the gods and preps to hit the resist cap with any character, and as soon as you did, the 10 story tower of lvl 10 enemies became a cakewalk. It sort of proved that a Fighter, a class with no relevant damage dealing abilities, if given access to enough ways to boost his resists, can beat anything.
Hell, the Monk could do it easier than the Transmuter - a class that took 4 reworks and originated the phrase "It's not a class, it's and exploit". And the fighter could do it by "dressing up" as a monk, and it took him less time (which means less effort) than using Transmuter. It was doable with a "Guard" from the tutorials, as long as you could stack resists.
Nothing else was needed, and noting else was in any way relevant. You barely needed OTHER cheezy stuff, by the end, I was doing it on only one bloodswell, and subanark had destroyed his economy by flooding the market with the boss trophy. You did need to scum for Soul Orb and Halpmeh, and that thought us how badly everything in the game compared with resists, soul orb and HALPMEH. Pretty soon there was no impossible challenge, as every run of everything was doable with anythin as long as you had resists and HALPMEH, and a soul orb to counter mana burn (which was the dev's cructh to "deal" with cydstep and HALPMEH in the first place).
Now, HALPMEH and Soul Orb took scumming. If you took the paladin, you only needed to scum for the Soul Orb, so paladin became a go-to class, just because he reduced scumming. The Monk started with 50% resist all, so he didn't need Dragon Shield or Halpmeh, so he was the go to class, period. If you wanted to unlock the Half-Dragon, or especially the Gorgon monster classes, you HAD to do this, there was no other way (or rather, the other way was cydstep scumming, and that only really worked for rogues and warlords, and was even more tedious). I literally blew more than 10000 gold on trying to complete Dragon Isles, Naga City and Gaan'Telet in any other way than resistances, and JJ gnomes, and I ran out of money.
And with the resist strat it was really, really easy. Only the "strat" was not a strategy at all, the mechanic was visibly a lot more powerfull than anything else in the game, and required no thought except "how to hit my cap", and with Monk, no thought at all. It took all the other classes 3-4 gods, and preps and items, and juggling and skill to hit the cap, and the monk took one prep and practicaly any god and he was over a 10% HIGHER cap. Hitting over 50% or 65% turns your character into something that can beat 10 or so HARD dungeons in a row without stopping. Hitting 75% made beating 10 or so HARD dungeons in a row look like a warmup for serious play.
And the biggest thing here was the damn Soul Orb. If HALPMEH and CYDSTEP weren't so degenerate, bosses wouldn't need to have Mana Burn all the time. If bosses didn't need to have Mana Burn all the time, every run wouldn't need scumming, and plenty other strats besides HALPMEH and CYDSTEP would have a chance. And if the end game content didn't sort of assume you hit the resist cap, then Dragonshield woudln't take up your prep slot all the time, so you could maybe prep the Soul Orb for the bosses that DID have Mana Burn. This is the "balance" I'm tallking about. Allowing the Monk, Paladin and cydsteppers to run wild, and trying to contain them with monster abilities made playing everything else impossible.
The current Gaan'Telet has 0 chance of you getting Mana Burned except by the boss (or your own patches, but hey). But that boss is unbeatable if you DO get Mana Burned, so you need the Soul orb. But you also need to hit your resist cap, and for anyone but the Monk, that means Dragonshield. And that means you have to scum for Soul Orb. If I want to beat it (and I can do it easily if it wasn't for the crashes), I can either scum for Soul Orb on a regular profile (brutaly time and money consuming) or have a profile that will always give me the Soul Orb and thus a chance to beat the damn dungeon.
Hell, the 3rd best class for completing Gaan'Telet after Monk (50% resists), Paladin (HALPMEH), was the Crusader, simply because he could get himself imune to mana burn so he was the only guy who didn't need to scum for Soul Orb, and after that it was done with a Tinker who had 2 more shops to ease the scumming.
For a while, we "discovered" that the "Quest Items" bazar prep was necessary at all times to increse the chances of Getting Soul orb and Agnostics Collar. So it was costing us gold to do what I've done for free by simply not unlocking anything else. I wasn't USING anything else anyway, not because I'm "hardcore" but because a series of bad design decisions and a toxic "game philosohy" caused me to need to have gamebreakers or GTFO in every run.
So I didn't "optimize" my next profile so much as only unlock things I spent 10 000 gold looking for in all the failed scumming runs, as the vicious content was UNPLAYABLE any other way. (Or, rather, the 1-2 other ways required MORE scumming and were less powerfull, while still being braindead). Getting Soul Orb every time only ment ment I had a chance. I didn't make the strat more powerfull, I just made what the game required for unlocking content - less time consuming.
So when asked wether everything else should be buffed to Monk levels, or the Monk be brought down, and then the damn game be made to allow for diverse strats, I have to say - please, for the love of god, remove being superman as the only option, and while you're at it make the vicious content playable without Soul Orb. If you have to give every tough boss mana burn to stop something, change THAT SOMETHING, because you're hosing everything else into the ground.
And If you don't believe me, I've been doing a lot of Gaan'Telet runs lately, even if it crashes every time. you wouldn't believe how frustrating is to have to throw away every run where I don't find a soul orb. Even more frustrating is when I finally DO get a soul orb - that's a run I have to do regardless of what my other items/glyphs are. And 3 out of 4 times everything else is useless and worse than useless for the challenges I know I'm supposed to face, often almost every item and glyph is either conversion fodder or worse than conversion fodder - but I can still only play those runs because Dragonshield > Soul Orb > all glyhps and 5 shops and floor placements combined. In a dungeon where only the boss has manaburn -.-