Balance changes are ruining the design for me.
I’ve been playing DD since the early betas, happily unlocking all the classes and discovering new strategies. I’ve loved the seemingly simplistic design and how it opened up to more complex strategies with advanced classes. I happily paid for the Beta based on all the time spent playing earlier versions, and really enjoy the new art. I realize this is a Beta, but right now I’m growing really frustrated with the some of the changes made for balance reasons that completely throw off the best parts of the games design.
-I’m playing a human barbarian, attacking a higher level Wight. My damage score is equal to or slightly higher than its life (due to items and glyph conversions). I would expect that my +30% bonus would negate his 30% physical resist and I could one shot the Wight. However, because of the new complicated method for calculating damage and bonuses this often isn’t correct anymore, and I have to check by hovering over the monsters.
This is the first version I haven’t been able to figure out the combat chances myself, instead I have to rely on hovering over the monster to check the results. Frankly, this reduces the strategy, as I now have such a difficult time calculating the benefit of an item, or glyphs. As a result I’m enjoying it much less than earlier versions.
-Spells are getting way too situational, CYDDSTEP and APHEELSIK being the latest examples, with exhaustion being added to CYDDSTEP and the new changes to poison. Since these spells have been around for numerous versions, the only way they seem broken is because of the new “hard” challenges. It seems like we’re only supposed to be able to beat these with exactly the right preparations and gods. If a certain class has it too easy, you change the foundations of the game, which has the effect of ruining various strategies and classes.
While I happily figured out how to beat the older versions challenges, like how to beat the Factory with the various magic classes, the new version seems way too focused on stupidly specific combinations of items/gods, preparations and strategies for the harder dungeons. The design seems way too focused around the harder challenges, as spells and items keep changing so that they aren’t “too easy”. But, as a result I don’t want to play the “basic” game any more. This is making it much less fun than previous versions, and the design feels much less elegant. The reduced strategic options caused by altering the spells lead to boring, repetitive play; if a spell only has 1 or 2 potential uses on a level, than it feels like an auto-conversion when you find it.
-Even some of the new monsters create questionable interactions with the design. One issue is that when you encounter a new type of monster, it’s often impossible to figure out what their abilities do. You can’t hover over a monster’s abilities, so you’re left guessing, which reduces the strategic feel of the game. Fleeing monsters and the monsters that “re-spawn” are just completely annoying for certain classes to deal with.
Also, more of the new monsters just seem really hard to beat with certain classes; mainly because resistance seems to be way more common now. So if certain monsters occur at level 8 or 9 it can “lock up” that experience. This creates the situation of reloading the dungeon to find a beatable combination which feels more like luck and less like strategy. It’s the same problem as restarting dungeons to find an early pactmaker in earlier versions.
In summary, are minor game balance issues worth sacrificing the elements of design that made the game so unique and fun in the first place?