Seal balance

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Seal balance

Postby Blovski on Tue May 08, 2012 10:02 am

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Well, more a sea lion, but you get the point

I picked up on this in Bloggorus' lovely metagame thread and thought I ought to maybe make an individual topic instead of hijacking it.

Anyway, as it stands, I don't think the various seals are very balanced or really of comparable value:

IN PARTICULAR

----

Transmutation - even (maybe especially) with the gold nerf it seems very hard to justify taking this. I mean, it's a nice small plus for the tinker but really of no value to the other classes as far as I can see. You can either
- get +3 gold (as tinker at least) and break one wall, which might let you hit a subdungeon
OR
- change an item you've bought and got the use out of for another item of similar value (I guess viper ward or alch. scroll or something)... BUT you could do that with the translocation scroll and keep the conversion points from the first one.

----

Conversion - Well, as it stands, if you don't prep the sensation stone/go for Havendale bridge, you get a max of +50cp out of this one. With the sensation stone you can maybe hit +75cp. On the plus side, you can get this extra 50cp as soon as you hit a glyph you don't need.
BUTBUTBUT
Translocation is almost guaranteed to get you an item of equal or greater CP
Two test games on hobblers:
#1, human priest, no shop prep, trans. scroll - found viper ward (65cp), something worth 45cp (forgotten just what) and elven boots which I think are worth about 50cp. OK, I've forgotten the others, but I think viper ward was 65.
#2, human tinker, elite items, trans. scroll - found orb of zot (100cp) plus some other high-conversion things.
So even if you're simply trying to maximise CP, transloc. is a more flexible way of going about it that will often net you a better return.

Also, does translocation block you from achieving miser?

----

Compression

Actually this one is pretty well balanced, it's not overpowering, mitigates taking Taurog or JJ prep, great for big spenders. Not an every-strategy item but clearly useful for some.

---

Translocation

Now this is the problem:

A translocation scroll can be worth 45odd gold and/or 100cp, it synergises very very well with elite and quest item preps, it can give you at a stroke as much gold value in items as the rest of the dungeon. In particular, if you can get an Orb of Zot or Amulet Of Yendar (both of which are very useful items but will prohibit more spending otherwise) by a translocation scroll you will usually straight-out-win a Hard or easier difficulty level.

Even without those two super-elite items, you can grab a load of cp, mitigate the usual spending-power implications of using the double-edged items (i.e. trisword and alch. scroll especially), grab an extra three health or mana potions, etc. etc. etc.

---

Now, the implications of this aren't neccessarily that the Conversion Seal and Transmutation Seal are completely without value (though the Transmutation Seal's applicability is even *more* dependent on the shops than the transloc seal, in that to use it efficiently you need one item that you can afford AND want to use for just a little while THEN a second one of roughly equal value you want to trade it for - especially given it no longer has implications for boss trophies).

Now, this imbalance is noted in the kingdom prep costs (though Transmutation is, I think, clearly the worst seal now) but that's really of little import not only because the kingdom economy stops being a worry after a while but also because when you retreat from the dungeon you take out your items' value with you

Rather, the translocation seal needs to be nerfed into being double-edged:

A couple of suggestions
1 - it cuts two or three (maybe as many as half of the) shops from the dungeon as bazaar gets wise to your thieving ways, meaning your chance of finding great items or quick conversion fodder drops radically if you prep it - with a standard number of shops and elite items prep you can not only almost always guarantee you'll get something worth having but also tend to take the double-edge off only having expensive shops - dropping the shop numbers will make it much more of a risky proposition.

2 - it only pays half the item price (I dunno, call it persuasion scroll or something), which is still pretty solid for getting you Yendar or Keg O Potions or whatever but which doesn't let it straight-outdo the transmutation and conversion seals. Tinker could still grab items outright, I guess, he's pretty fair as is. In particular, this would mean that it's no longer a straight (and fairly reliable) substitute for conversion seals, and that a transmutation scroll is more valuable if you happen to want to trade an item with a limited usefulness for another one, while still being worse for picking up a single big item.

Now, if someone's got a brilliant transmutation seal strategy then I take it all back but I can't see why anyone would prep either conversion seal or transmutation seal given how overpowered the current translocation seal is.
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Re: Seal balance

Postby The Avatar on Tue May 08, 2012 11:21 am

Especially now that naga city bosses drop gold piles. Perhaps Transmutation could change any item into a random item of higher or lower value (within 10 gold higher or lower).
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Re: Seal balance

Postby Bloggorus on Tue May 08, 2012 12:36 pm

These are a good step in the right direction. I use compression more often than translocation, if only because I often value inventory space quite highly.

The removal of shops is a good idea. Two to three sound right.

Transmutation is too specialized I think for a real nerf. I think it actually a nice little fallback for times when you invest heavily in an item and come across something better or that requires a change of item.

Never use conversion because one of the others.

I think it could be worth making the scrolls large items rather than small. This would encourage their more immediate use, rather than just having them in 'reserve' with no drawback.

Similar to what I ranted about in the other thread, players would then have to seriously weigh up whether it's worth taking scrolls unless they actually need them.
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Re: Seal balance

Postby Blovski on Tue May 08, 2012 1:34 pm

Transmutation is too specialized I think for a real nerf. I think it actually a nice little fallback for times when you invest heavily in an item and come across something better or that requires a change of item.


I agree - I think if anything Transmutation is too difficult to use well at the moment (and redundant with Transloc.). If Transloc is nerfed into line I'll probably start using it. I suppose transmutation also has the problem that it offers situational value rather than generic value like conversion and translocation do, or strat-specific value like compression does.

I think it could be worth making the scrolls large items rather than small. This would encourage their more immediate use, rather than just having them in 'reserve' with no drawback.

Similar to what I ranted about in the other thread, players would then have to seriously weigh up whether it's worth taking scrolls unless they actually need them.


Hm - I don't know, I tend to bring a full load of potions and then be phenomenally stingy with them, which means that the extra small slot can make you very pressed for space at the start (just botched a naga city run because of that), so I already get the tension between holding out for another item and jumping for the first decentish thing I see.
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Re: Seal balance

Postby Darvin on Tue May 08, 2012 4:55 pm

Conversion Seal - needs to go in its current state. It's only ever used on glyphs or the conversion stone, and because of its existence the sensation stone has had its value artificially lowered. Replace or rework the conversion seal and buff up the sensation stone. It could probably go back up to its old 300 value now that orcs aren't stacking anymore.

Transmutation Seal - largely useless for items, since the conversion points are usually worth more than the gold. As others have mentioned, if you're just looking for the gold you're almost always better off with the translocation scroll, so this one is just an expensive one-use ENDISWAL. Again, remove or rework.

Compression Seal - fine as is; great item

Translocation Seal - overpowered when used on Amulet of Yendor or Orb of Zot, but fine in any other circumstance. Unless those two items are getting some revision down to a lower cost (which may be merited with the new economy, since they're basically for Tinkers or Tikki Tooki worshippers only right now) something needs to be done regarding their interaction with translocation seal.
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Re: Seal balance

Postby Blovski on Tue May 08, 2012 5:31 pm

Conversion Seal - needs to go in its current state. It's only ever used on glyphs or the conversion stone, and because of its existence the sensation stone has had its value artificially lowered. Replace or rework the conversion seal and buff up the sensation stone. It could probably go back up to its old 300 value now that orcs aren't stacking anymore.

Transmutation Seal - largely useless for items, since the conversion points are usually worth more than the gold. As others have mentioned, if you're just looking for the gold you're almost always better off with the translocation scroll, so this one is just an expensive one-use ENDISWAL. Again, remove or rework.

Compression Seal - fine as is; great item

Translocation Seal - overpowered when used on Amulet of Yendor or Orb of Zot, but fine in any other circumstance. Unless those two items are getting some revision down to a lower cost (which may be merited with the new economy, since they're basically for Tinkers or Tikki Tooki worshippers only right now) something needs to be done regarding their interaction with translocation seal.


I dunno, I think the problem is that the translocation seal is *way* too strong in general - it is invariably better than both the transmutation and conversion seal at doing what they do (even if you drop the Yendor/Zot interaction it can reliably grab +45-65cp and pick up any item you'd use transmutation for).

Thing is +50cp from your first glyph conversion isn't inherently useless (especially for those with +70/80 thresholds), likewise, being able to swap an item for something of similar value once its usefulness has run out isn't inherently useless. The fact that the transloc seal is simply better for *both* of these functions than either dedicated glyph (Zendor and Yot are just exaggerations of the problem really) in my view points more to Transloc being out of sync than the other way round.
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Re: Seal balance

Postby Darvin on Tue May 08, 2012 5:48 pm

Thing is +50cp from your first glyph conversion isn't inherently useless

No, but it also isn't interesting. It may as well just be a flat +50 conversion points. I'd rather have this seal removed so the sensation stone could be buffed back to its former levels.
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Re: Seal balance

Postby The Avatar on Tue May 08, 2012 7:10 pm

Yeah, conversion seal is easily one of the most boring items in the game. I say just make a new one.
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Re: Seal balance

Postby Blovski on Tue May 08, 2012 9:27 pm

Point taken, conversion staggered by level or something like that? (12-15cp per level could be interesting - gets to the pretty substantial maximum value *way* after a conversion heavy build would normally want to use it - other than I guess the halfling priest or gnome warlord or something).
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Re: Seal balance

Postby Darvin on Tue May 08, 2012 9:42 pm

Perhaps a flat +10 on every item converted?
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