Thoughts on Stat Booster Preps

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Thoughts on Stat Booster Preps

Postby Darvin on Tue May 01, 2012 4:17 pm

The change last Friday reduced the effect of stat boosters, diminishing them to 1 for 1 trade rather than the more significant 2 for 2 swing they had been before. I'm a little disappointed in this, as it has made the stat booster swaps much more passive and mediocre now. However, I can also understand the developer direction here: the only booster swap I used with any frequency was HP->Attack and something needed to change.

One of the biggest problems is that the relative power of each stat booster differs substantially. In most cases, the hierarchy is very decisively: attack > mp > hp. This means for most characters exchanging attack for mana or mana or hp is just a bad trade, but you're getting a good deal in the case of HP->Attack. Knocking down the relative power of the booster swaps hasn't really changed this dynamic, just diluted it.

The issue has also affected racial balance. HP->Attack was a god-send for non-human races, allowing them to be more competitive with damage-oriented classes. With only a single deity boon to boost attack damage (and Taurog's boons come with a hefty opportunity cost that can make them situationally worthless) but several to boost health or defenses, the trade was extremely sensible since you were more likely to be able to deal with a shortcoming in health than in attack damage. With this trade diminished, it's become harder to play melee-oriented elves or non-rogue dwarves, and the nerfed orcs just took a second black eye.

Another aspect with MP is "magic numbers". Because MP doesn't scale like HP you often get rounding issues with potions, and even a single point can make the difference between affording a spell and not. There are two notable dead spots that provide little benefit: improving from 10->11 and from 13->14 does not cause your potions to increase in power or open up any meaningful new spell combos. The problem with the old MP->HP booster swap was that it left you at the 11 MP dead-zone, and the problem with the new attack->MP is that it leaves you at the 14 MP dead zone.

After consideration of the various issues, I'd like to propose a middle-ground between the current diluted booster swaps and the older more potent ones: return HP->Attack to its 2 for 2 trade status, and change both Attack->MP and MP->HP into a 2 for the price of 1 deal. The old HP->Attack swap was well-balanced as it existed; it was a tradeoff that was generally an improvement. The other two had problems of generally being more negative than positive, so a net gain in boosters is not unreasonable. Given that we essentially have the equivalent of a free attack booster as a blacksmith prep and several deity boons to help you in these departments, I don't see any real issues with offering a net gain in HP or MP boosters.
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Re: Thoughts on Stat Booster Preps

Postby The Avatar on Tue May 01, 2012 10:40 pm

Yeah, attack bonus is REALLY hard to come by these days, and I will ALWAYS take a badge of courage over a fine sword. Hopefully they will revert them, because the current ones really don't make a meaningful change to your players stats.
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Re: Thoughts on Stat Booster Preps

Postby Darvin on Tue May 01, 2012 10:45 pm

Fine Sword is awesome if you find it at low-levels, and allows for some nice catapulting. If I located it at level 1 or 2 I wouldn't hold out for better; I'd snap it up right away. Badge of Courage, of course, is the better pick for a higher-level character.

I don't think there's a huge problem with attack bonus working better for high-level characters and base attack working better for low-level. It's only a problem if the numbers are just massively out of whack.
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Re: Thoughts on Stat Booster Preps

Postby The Avatar on Wed May 02, 2012 12:19 am

I know, it's just attack bonus is more helpful for the end game which is usually more important IMO. Also, it's harder to come by in large quantities, apart from being a human, so I prefer it for its rarity.
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Re: Thoughts on Stat Booster Preps

Postby Darvin on Wed May 02, 2012 1:52 am

They're not really that much rarer.

Attack Bonus: Badge of Courage, Dwarven Gauntlets, Perseverence Badge, HP->Attack booster swap
Base Attack: Skullpicker, Trisword, Fine Sword, Sword, Spoon

Given that trisword really only works effectively if you prep it and plan your entire run around it, Taurog is situational, and the sword and spoon are very marginal, that leaves the Fine Sword as our only general-purpose base attack item. On the other hand, all those attack bonus items are easy to use and versatile.

Although I hate to say it, the perseverence badge really needs a nerf. Either that or the other blacksmith items desperately need a buff. Outside of very specific strategies the only blacksmith preps that get used are the badge and the RBS.
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Re: Thoughts on Stat Booster Preps

Postby TigerKnee on Wed May 02, 2012 7:28 am

I agree, I guess. The swaps that wasn't HP -> Attack were already super iffy with the 2 for 2 trade, I don't think anyone would actually use them now.

Then again, I don't know, I guess I don't find these line of preparation very interesting anyway. I rather pick a glyph.
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Re: Thoughts on Stat Booster Preps

Postby gjaustin on Thu May 03, 2012 3:46 am

I don't think the change is so bad, since trading two boosters only ended up useful for Humans, Dwarves, and Gorgons. Only having to trade one provides more cases where you might want a small boost, but not at a large cost to another stat.

The bigger issue is, as you said, that the trades aren't fair. They'd probably be better off if they just gave a buff to your character, instead of affecting the glyphs. It would be a little less flavorful, but it would allow better granularity.

So something like:

-1 HP per level/+10% attack
-15% attack/+2 MP
-1 MP/ +1.5 HP per level
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Re: Thoughts on Stat Booster Preps

Postby Bloggorus on Thu May 03, 2012 4:27 am

gjaustin wrote:I don't think the change is so bad, since trading two boosters only ended up useful for Humans, Dwarves, and Gorgons. Only having to trade one provides more cases where you might want a small boost, but not at a large cost to another stat.

The bigger issue is, as you said, that the trades aren't fair. They'd probably be better off if they just gave a buff to your character, instead of affecting the glyphs. It would be a little less flavorful, but it would allow better granularity.

So something like:

-1 HP per level/+10% attack
-15% attack/+2 MP
-1 MP/ +1.5 HP per level


This seems a better way forward.

Taking out two of four glyphs halves the effectiveness of one stat and doubles another, which in this game is pretty hefty.

Having all three be one-for-one is a nice idea, and it would be great aesthetically if it worked out, but the three resources work in far to different ways for them to be balanced preps.

I would say it's easier to balance small effects rather than big ones.

Also making preps have less of an individual impact means players are much less 'locked in' to a particular strategy; only nudged a little, with room to bail if the RNG turns up something totally contrary to what their preps have made the character.

The way i see it, preps like these should give the player the sense that 'i am going to focus on melee', rather than ' I have to pick up a CYDSTEPP early or it's an instant restart'.
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Re: Thoughts on Stat Booster Preps

Postby Darvin on Thu May 03, 2012 5:18 am

Having all three be one-for-one is a nice idea, and it would be great aesthetically if it worked out, but the three resources work in far to different ways for them to be balanced preps.

A +1 mana prep will virtually never get used, it'll have to be +2. The problem is that 14 mana is a dead zone; you can't do anything with 14 that you couldn't do with 13, and it doesn't give you an improvement to your potion effectiveness either. This means you have to combo it with some other form of MP increase to make it useful, but if you're packing other forms of mana increases, you probably don't want to waste a prep on a paltry +1.

The mana boost prep definitely needs to be +2, otherwise it's useless. I feel the more extreme shifts were more interesting as preps because they allowed you to tailor your character according to your strategy. The problem was that the sacrifice was too high for two of the three tradeoffs.

Overall I feel like these preps have been watered down, and I liked their old more potent swings, even if two of them weren't very useful.


Also making preps have less of an individual impact means players are much less 'locked in' to a particular strategy; only nudged a little, with room to bail if the RNG turns up something totally contrary to what their preps have made the character.

Can't say that any of the old booster swaps were a "lock in" at all. If anything, they gave you more option to play different races. You could play a human with attack->MP to bring yourself up to the nice 15 MP level with no real effort, and non-human races had their versatility greatly increased by HP->Attack which let them be more competitive as high-level characters.


The way i see it, preps like these should give the player the sense that 'i am going to focus on melee', rather than ' I have to pick up a CYDSTEPP early or it's an instant restart'.

I don't think the booster swaps were ever remotely like that. Really non-dwarf Rogue is the only "CYDSTEPP or bust" character, and the current incarnations of Pactmaker, Binlor, Glowing Guardian, Jehora Jeheyu, and even Earthmother (in a pinch; she won't carry you through to the high levels...) all give him some alternate options for survival.
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Re: Thoughts on Stat Booster Preps

Postby Bloggorus on Thu May 03, 2012 6:10 am

Darvin wrote:I feel the more extreme shifts were more interesting as preps because they allowed you to tailor your character according to your strategy. The problem was that the sacrifice was too high for two of the three tradeoffs.


Crossed wires i think.

I agree, the other two need to be changed, but the current system of glyph swaps doesnt have the flexibility to make it possible. Health is scaled by level, attack is percentage based and mana is static- I cant see a way around it. Unless we use gjaustin's systems of more subtle player buffs.

I was trying to say that the swaps in conjunction with a large number of similar things provide a unique potential for game breaking strats, and that for balance the HP to attack glyph should be toned down, rather than have the others come up.

I guess just I enjoy a less min-max style of play, where starting items aren't extreme and provide flavour, rather than advantage.

This also means that players will have to rely on their own flexibility with random monsters, gods and found items. The swap glyphs are a good example of subtlety amongst some very obvious straight buffs to certain characters.

I think more double edged preps would be ideal, something i think is reflected in the positive response to the double edged god perks.
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