The high end potions and the difficulty curve

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Re: The high end potions and the difficulty curve

Postby xspeedballx on Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:28 am

Or you are in midgame and struggling to make money(even opening PQI doesn't immediately resolve that).
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Re: The high end potions and the difficulty curve

Postby Bloggorus on Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:17 am

FDru wrote:There's no reason to not take as many preparations as possible if not going Purist (other than a deliberate handicap for a challenge).


This is what I was driving at. It's all or nothing in the regular player's head; either you're gunning for purist / saving gold or you're playing at max preps. Why max preps? Because it's fun.

So assuming that most players max preps when they can, the potential for abusing the full five slots for potions is there.

Basically, the difference between basic potions and five specialist potions including Whupaz is astronomical.

ie. A hard dungeon with reg potions is hard, but a hard dungeon with reflex, quicksilver, strength, shaudenfreude and whupaz is approximate to normal.

Every dungeon is clearly labeled and balanced for different difficulties. Easy is easy, normal is normal and hard is hard.

Mechanics like extra potion slots completely mess with this. There is far too much leeway and players who don't immediately understand this extra difficulty modifier will only end up frustrated because it can make such a difference to a run.

Also, if you do run out of cash the game feels like a grind; even though you could probably go without it, once you experience awesome toys like extra potions you feel like you *need* them each run.
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Re: The high end potions and the difficulty curve

Postby Lujo on Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:39 am

Yeah - the big thing about these few features we (especially me) can't seem to shut up about is that they create expectations, because of what Bloggorus said.

Once you start prepping these things on every run every boss effectively has less health, or you get used to starting every run with +4-8 damage and practicaly at lvl3 or so. After a very short while HARD dungeons stop feeling HARD - while if you play them purist, outside 4-5 classes, most of them are in fact hard and require a nice ammount of "throw everything at them including the kitchen sink!". How much of this "HARD is just mislabeled NORMAL" and "VICIOUS is actualy MODERATELY CHALLENGING" comes from being pro, and how much just comes from using the potions, trisword, broken-feature-of-the-week, or a few over the top guys is what I'm really wondering about...

I mean, people start feeling like they've learned something, when in fact they just got handed an arsenal of inconspicuous atom bombs. Any fool can use them, and even feel the power, but it takes being pro to actually figure out just how much they stand apart from everything else. And they do, by quite a bit - and also support each other (the Rogue really "breaks out" once you get the Tri-Sword and the potions, stuff that's probably in every locker everywhere and is being prepped on every run, or at least the potions most likely are).

Not to mention that if you use, say, the potions to kill the easier boss, he drops 25 gold and you get levels, which then makes the second boss feel more like jumbo-popcorn than an actual challenge. So if you use STR, Dodge and Reflex, they read: One less boss per dungeon, +X XP at level 5-7, +25 gold (which accounts for the "swimming in gold" stuff that led to merciless CB exploitation on my last playthrough).

And same goes for Rogues, Bloodmages and Warlords (for example) - they create expectations that other classes can't match. You can tell from all the statements like "Rogue has the best hp-to-damage ratio", or "CYDSTEPP isn't so good now that they nerfed it", and so on and so forth. They define "optimal", except it's not optimal so much as "jarringly exceptional". And it's too easy to get used to it.

(The discussion was ment to look at it all from the potions angle - they really do create a big step up in player power once you unlock them - being able to do a tricky PQI run is worth 500 gold, not being handed dodge, reflex and whoopaz for ever after. Maybe.)
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Re: The high end potions and the difficulty curve

Postby paplaukes on Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:36 am

Alright, then I'm just here to remind that not everyone minmaxes and not everyone actively goes for most op stuff. I mean you probably play classes other than trisword Rogues anyway, right? Right? Because if not, that's a problem with the player but not the game :)

Fun is hard to define. It can be pulling a purist or, worse, warmonger run off, it can be a normal run with all preps. Still, maxing preps all the time, always does make the game less fun. Now you're suggesting to change the game while I'm suggesting that you might want to look into your playing habits :)

The game is made so you keep unlocking items, and the items you unlocked help you with the next batch of dungeons. When starting a new one, you bring everything and then some, as a safety net. Once you learn the place and get comfortable, you probably grab less. Even from a minmaxing standpoint, there's no need to always pay for the most expensive preparations - at least not if you care about the gold. It's a long, grindy way to the locker slots.

Classes - only have Vicious wins with Rogue, Paladin, Tinker so far. I also considered sorcerers, wizards and assassins over what you listed. This just to show that "most powerful" doesn't equal "I must choose that for Vicious".
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Re: The high end potions and the difficulty curve

Postby Lujo on Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:44 am

Look, I don't think I have a single rogue win in VICIOUS except in NL - I go out of my way to avoid having to deal with the over the curve guys. It's not my own playing habits I'm worried about.

What I'm saying is - the things you "walk into a dungeon to check it out with" aren't "a little bit on the safe side" they are well on the "cheat code" side. Well, the Rogue is, an so is the Tinker but tinker at least interacts with content. Unlocking the Rogue first, and getting to know him, can result in a "game is too easy" experience, while unlocking any other lvl2 class can result in a "game is too hard" experience. Every time I feel forced to click on the Rogue in the pre-run screen I feel like cringing because it feels wrong, and every time I give up on trying to do something and reach for the rogue feels like complete defeat. The only time I feel like it's me playing the game instead of the Rogue playing the game is when I go kill SMM at lvl1 or go out of my way to purpusefully avoid everything that would break the rogue on any given run, which is too many things.

Yeah, you got your potions as a reward for the quest - but you also got a million other things as quest rewards and none of those things let people turn HARD into NOBRAINER difficulty. And the quest you got them for? It's a tricky PQI run, those are worth 500 gold. Heck, If you just got Whoopaz, thats enough to safely walk in somewhere and walk out of it - why in the world would anyone need the other two? WHY have something that spawns sentences like "Yeah, Whoopaz isn't giving bang for buck these days" around the forums?

In what scenario is Whoopaz supposed to be suboptimal? No, not unnecessary, but suboptimal?

People are ignoring actual newbie crutches (Tinker's one of those), intended and obvious ones, because of a few things that could just use some touching up and still be powerful...
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Re: The high end potions and the difficulty curve

Postby gjaustin on Thu Jan 31, 2013 4:02 pm

Lujo, you'd probably get more agreement if you stopped using loaded terms like "newbie crutch" and "cheat code".

I wouldn't mind seeing Tri-sword changed to only work with Health and Mana Potions. That's pretty much the complaint, right? That you can prep these awesome potions AND supercharge one of the best items in the game?

And there are times when Whupaz is useless, such as when playing as an Orc Berserker. And there's also times when it's just pointless, when fighting against a low-health enemy with Berserk, such as Rex.
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Re: The high end potions and the difficulty curve

Postby Lujo on Thu Jan 31, 2013 4:52 pm

True, true, but how exactly do I put the potions in scope? To someone who's using them to help his way around it looks like I'm trying to take one of the things he's sure that works. I mean Whoopaz and those two things have their function - to make just about every PQI run imaginable doable. Even stuff that wouldn't be. However, if you take them to a regular run they're obvious overkill. Of course it works - it works too damned well...

Maybe they're needed - but in case they are, then what is the game supposed to challenge? It's the old Whoopaz argument - if you really need it, why don't all the bosses everywhere just have lower health? And if you have whoopaz, why do you need 2 more Whoopases? Why can't you buy Whoopaz then, or get it off a god?

Same thing with Absolution - you can, and I kid you not, go purist except prepping GG on a parched warmonger warlord, )which then makes him worse than the guard because the guard can drink potions and use glyphs,) and probably beat a whole bunch of stuff. I know because PQI's setting me up with it. Almost no gameplay involved - spam absolution, then pick humility and enlightment, desecrate or consensus something and spam protection...

Same thing with Rogue - you can mathematicaly prove the auto-first strike on someone with front loaded attack beats the system, and in case it doesn't - very little can compete. Compared to just about anything else there are no words to describe how good it is.

Same thing with trisword - it gives more damage than anything but a very dedicated Orc, togather with synergizing with 2 of the 3 Whoopazes AND the Rogue (and Warlord). Nothing else comes close, so a fair assumption can be made that you don't in fact need it, otherwise the game would be unplayable without it. So why is it the way it is?

And so on and so forth. I can sugarcoat this, or not sugarcoat this, but the ghist of it is - there's a bunch of stuff here that would be strong even if it wasn't where it is now. And where it is now is "make it look like every run is doable teritory" - and I'm fine with having a few of these around, vicious rewards and all that. Not somewhere where I have to avoid them intentionaly...
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Re: The high end potions and the difficulty curve

Postby paplaukes on Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:03 pm

I disagree - the potions don't make hard dungeons into easy. That's what you're complaining about, right? I had my share of deaths with the potions prepped, because I simply made too many mistakes at start. I doubt very much they're newbies crutch because a) you have to unlock them in the first place b) you have to figure their use out. And unless I'm heavily mistaken, all I can think of for the 2strike+quicksilver potions is - 2 extra shots at a mob with no retaliation. And you call THAT a cheat code? Unless somebodys already going way out of the way with a high attack bonus class and a trisword with a gazillion potions, I just don't see how it's all that useful. Even if I'm really missing something here - one could argue it's not a newbie crutch if newbies don't know about it, is it?

Suboptimal whupaz use - any run I'm confident I can win as is. It's suboptimal because I unnecessarily spend extra gold.

In the end, there are a bunch of features that can be munchkiny if you have the know-how and the intention. I doubt very much anybodys expecting to do the same things with other classes/items, that's all. I don't expect all the 18 classes to be balanced, I don't mind if a few can be used for extracurricular stuff. And if a PQI sends me to play on a rogue, I won't beeline for GG, or TT, or Triswords, or... etc. I might even not win the run! How suboptimal, huh?
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Re: The high end potions and the difficulty curve

Postby Lujo on Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:29 pm

Mahhh, it's fine - I use the things on PQI runs a newbie wouldn't even attempt, opting for the flaming dungeon instead. Warmonger parched dvarwen warlords and such - they're extra whoopazes, believe you me.

gjaustin nailed it - the real deal is that all the cheezy crap is too synergistic with each other. I'd say you and me play much alike if you're standard use of the trisword is any indicatior (the sane un-munchkiny one). If anything happened to any of the stuff I'm having a beef with - you wouldn't even feel it.

Biggest problem with all the things is they are all too front loaded - it's easy to reap the benefits way too early, and it mostly encourages people to develop a habit. It can all be easily adjusted - or doesn't all need any fiddling at all. If Rogue didn't get all the goods at lvl1 he'd be fine, if Trisword had a cap/competition/didn't synergize with dodgestep it'd be fine, if GG couldn't be all-in-sure-win right off the bat he'd be fine etc. etc. If these two didn't charge the trisword and/or had epic prep costs they'd be fine... And so on and so forth...
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Re: The high end potions and the difficulty curve

Postby gjaustin on Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:34 pm

Lujo using all those terms is probably my fault. I jumped on him for calling things broken :)

Let me try to translate:
newbie-crutch = Signficantly over the average power level
cheat code = Allows you to ignore a mechanic

Where Lujo and I really disagree is whether or not those are good things. There's arguments for and against both. In the past, I've done official playtesting for CCGs.

We generally worried much more about "cheat codes" than "newbie-crutches", but both were problematic. Once we flagged a card as way too strong and got ignored. The card then completely dominated the first official tournament, resulting in it being changed. And then we flagged a card as breaking fundemental mechanics of the game, and got ignored again. The card got emergency errataed in the middle of the World Championship for the game! That was incredibly satisfying :)


Anyway, my tangent aside, you do need abilities that are a bit strong since that fuels satisfaction in achieving mastery. You also need abilities that bend the rules, because that provides the sense of discovery. I like some flaws* in my games! You just have to make sure the flaws don't make the game break down and become repetitive.


* I look back on Everquest much more affectionately than World of Warcraft, despite the latter being the better game. Because the former felt ALIVE, rather than focus-grouped into uniformity.

I think I lost my train of thought somewhere in there and went on a Lujo worthy min-rant :)
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