Possibly underused balancing approach

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Possibly underused balancing approach

Postby Lujo on Sat Aug 18, 2012 8:23 am

Playing around the new Gaan'Telet made me think. This is usualy bad (and corrosive) news, but I actually had a worthwhile thought this time around.

The new Gaan'Telet floors actually do a good job of making just about any run challenging (yes even rogues, wouldn't you know it), because they spawn a small variety of very different monsters - Meat Men everywhere in particular is pretty nasty, and you have goblins and gorgons for first strike, and wratihs and snakes for debuffs, and all in all - the over the curve guys can all meet their doom with an unlucky combo of "evil floor" + "evil monster composition".

Which makes the "fix broken abilities with very ugly specific matchups" philosophy of yore actually work.

Now:

The "Naga challenge" subdungeon uses a spawn mechanic which doesn't seem to be utilized anywhere else - the race of the enslaved guys reflects the player's race. I can't think of any other place where this happens, which is a bit odd.

EDIT: Ok so Darvin thought up a bunch, but very little obvious "challenges" based on it. Do read on :)

If higher end dungeons could have a "flexible spawn slot" or two (much like the obligatory undead slot), which would reflect the players choice of class, you could balance the dungeons to be difficult for the supermen (Monk, Rogue, Warlord, Assasin - the guys who are both "obviously above the curve" and "working as intended"). Then you could use those slots to moderately challenge other guys or make it hell for anyone with specific spawns.

Just stick a message with "We herd you was coming." Upon entering the dungeon, or have a "flexible slot monster" monster shout it out at the unfortunate cheezer. Players can prep for specific dungeons (with preps, dooh), why not the monsters? It's not like they don't have a reason to fear monks and rogues, they're bound to have herd of them by now.

If you can do this, you can take it a step further - you could make the VICIOUS dungeons silly difficult in this respect, but make the condition "fixable" by doing sidequests before you enter a VICIOUS dungeon. Doing sidequests could affect other things like getting a free prep, lowering a bosses hitpoints (or number of DP's or whatever), and make you feel as if you're really campaigning against say Namtar or Avatar.

Examples: Completing all the "run up" dungeons leading to Namtar's Lair with the priest could guarantee no Priest penalizing spawns in Namtar's Lair. Doing specific sidequests during the campaign for Naga City could unlock topside altars. Completing objectives on the run up to Dragon Isles could lower the Firstborn's hitpoints, and completing tougher ones could reduce the number of Dragonguards. And with 5 mini bosses in the Demonic Library you can go nuts.

It would make the game and kingdom progression really click. I don't know about the work involved (not sure if it'd be huge or not), but my game developer sense is telling me I'm sharing something that is worth money for free right now. Really interested what you guys think.
Last edited by Lujo on Sat Aug 18, 2012 8:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Possibly underused balancing approach

Postby TigerKnee on Sat Aug 18, 2012 8:58 am

Psst: The Changelings in... uh, I think it was Shifting Sands change properties according to player class.
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Re: Possibly underused balancing approach

Postby Lujo on Sat Aug 18, 2012 9:03 am

TigerKnee wrote:Psst: The Changelings in... uh, I think it was Shifting Sands change properties according to player class.


Psst: I couldn't tell!

Also: I think the dev's know about this, I'm really curious why it wasn't all over the place.

EDIT: I also seem to remeber Avatar (or even someone else) talking about something like a long time ago. New Gaan'Telet just made some ideas click for me.
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Re: Possibly underused balancing approach

Postby The Avatar on Sat Aug 18, 2012 1:23 pm

Hmm... There's already a random monster slot in most dungeons, so I could see that working, but I don't know about detrimental effects on the Vicious monsters/bosses. Perhaps winning the gold with that class could make them stop spawning.
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Re: Possibly underused balancing approach

Postby Fran on Sat Aug 18, 2012 2:05 pm

So you introduce a "counter-class monster-slot" in every dungeon to counterbalance classes like the rogue and then, after you complete some goal with the class, you remove them again?

Whats the point, then? It's only a temporary ramp up in difficulty then, and I'm not sure if there is a need for making the game harder at all. Either way, removing it after certain goals are reached totally misses the point of why it is introduced in the first place.

That's not to say it's a bad idea itself, I really like the concept of a campaign where you can lower the difficulty by doing preperation runs. It's just that the slot isn't really balancing the classes if its removed at the end anyway.
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Re: Possibly underused balancing approach

Postby Lujo on Sat Aug 18, 2012 2:35 pm

Separate my suggestions/questions into 2 parts then:

1) For classes which need balancing (one way or another) because they are simply more powerfull by design or quirks in the system - one or two flexible spawn slots pre dungeon in directional dungeons or HARD and above should do the trick. This includes the regular clowns - Monk, Rogue, whathave you, while classes like priest could have beneficial monsters spawn in flexible slots, like undead.

2) For the sake of progression enable the "what you do in one dungeon influences later stage dungeons" mechanism to gradually lower the difficulty of VICIOUS content, making them truly post-endgame stuff, on the grounds that you can't reliably do them before you do a bit of sidequesting.

Not saying make them harder than they are, especially Demonic Library.

3) There's probably a million things you could do with this.
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Re: Possibly underused balancing approach

Postby Darvin on Sat Aug 18, 2012 5:39 pm

the race of the enslaved guys reflects the player's race. I can't think of any other place where this happens, which is a bit odd.

It's all over the place.

The Tinker you meet to unlock the class is always your own race
Good Glenrick has a Crusader sprite of your own race
The Sorcerer who trades two health for one mana potion is your own race
The Monk in the "watch upon the waters" subdungeon is your own race
Dracul's subdungeon and Evolvia are both based on your class/race

Probably more I can't think of off the top of my head


The idea of tailoring the exact challenge to the player's class is an interesting approach, but I'm not sure if it's the right one.
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Re: Possibly underused balancing approach

Postby Lujo on Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:25 pm

Well that's all true - but it's only for the race and mostly cosmetic - having challenges based around it and, well all I described (in some measure) might be interesting.

And I don't know if it'd be the right thing to do, or rather what would be the right way to go about it.
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Re: Possibly underused balancing approach

Postby The Avatar on Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:32 pm

My bad on the CC comment. How about the other way around? You can choose to turn on "difficult monsters" for that class. The game is already balanced enough, but lots of us (or maybe just me) want extra difficulty monsters.
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Re: Possibly underused balancing approach

Postby Lujo on Sat Aug 18, 2012 8:43 pm

The Avatar wrote:My bad on the CC comment. How about the other way around? You can choose to turn on "difficult monsters" for that class. The game is already balanced enough, but lots of us (or maybe just me) want extra difficulty monsters.


Go do new VICIOUS Gaan'Telet w everything :P No, seriously, I'm stumped. Beat it once for imba crashing with a lucky Dragonshield Orc Rogue w early Enlightment (post massive bunches of +hp) and CYDSTEP.

No clue at all wether anything else is doable (monster classes no included).


On topic - no clue, but there would be select few people questing to make the VICIOUS stuff harder. Just... think about it :D
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