Balance Tweaks Roundup

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Balance Tweaks Roundup

Postby Sidestepper on Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:28 pm

The game has come a long way and I feel that everything more or less works. Good job guys! That being said, there are still some rough edges here and there. Here are some of my pet peeves, and others are invited to join in.

IMAWAL: Still feels underpowered and overloaded. The gold drop mechanic is thematically confusing and hard to use. It requires you to have another glyph, and the whole operation ends up costing an unreal amount of mana for a single gold piece. It's rare that I even have the option to collect the gold, rarer when I can afford 11 mana for something so trivial, and there has never been a time when it actually made a difference.

Binlor's Stoneheart: I think switching Binlor to PISORF and restricting wall destruction to only visible walls reigned Binlor in quite nicely. Stoneheart is nearly unusable as it is. It's just not worth the huge investment of walls unless the resist-down effect is global. I've tried it a few times, and always regretted it because you inevitably run into a high level goo blob right after invoking it. Basically, if you are in a position to afford it, you don't have any targets, and if you have lots of targets, you probably can't afford it.

Subdungeons: We already have a thread about this, but basically I'm fine with them having no exploration or a buy-in cost, but not both. Last minute exploration that is available after the map has been revealed is a really important resource and having it be randomly deactivated adds too much random swing.

If it has no exploration, then it needs to offer something that directly substitutes (like potions or sanguine powers or the like). Sidegrades like "pre-explored but you get a glyph" are usually more aggravating than helpful. Gated upgrades like "no exploration but there's a powerful upgrade behind a powerful monster" rarely work either, because people that can afford to fight the gatekeeper don't need the upgrade, whereas struggling players simply face a flat loss of resources.

Mage Tower Preps: The upgrade boosters just aren't working. The effect is too small, too hard to control, and not worth the long term cost of ignoring upgrades to capitalize on. It's also not worth the opportunity cost of not taking Less/More Glyphs, which offer powerful long term benefits without the fussy micromanagement.

Conversion Costs: Some items could use some retweaking
Crystal Ball: The high activation cost plus the high buying price means that you will rarely want to buy this. It doesn't merit a conversion of 1.

Fireheart: Not as difficult a shop purchase as Crystal Ball but still somewhat specialized and doesn't deserve a conversion of 1.

Balanced Dagger: It has a very narrow window of usefulness. Needs an average to above average conversion ratio.

Dwarven Gauntlets: At the price point, it should probably offer the +2Hp/level retroactively. The guantlets follow a different model from the Troll Heart, having a poor conversion ratio and an active effect that is worth keeping, and they shouldn't try to follow the same rules.

Long Term Gold Sinks: I think some of these scale up too quickly. I understand that they are intended to be unobtainable goals that will always be there to motivate gold hoarding, but this only works if the increments are reasonable. When the goalposts are 10 and even 20k, things feel okay. I still balance dungeon preps against long term costs because those upgrades feel obtainable. Once you start getting into 40k or so, I just don't care anymore. At that point I have dominated most of the map and 40k is so far away that I just give up and stop caring about economics. I don't see anyone getting much beyond the first set of upgrades in each category.

I think a better solution would be softer scaling and more open ended goals. Theoretically unlimited lockers at obtainable prices is one way (yes I know you guys are opposed to this but there is not a single player on these boards that actually likes the mechanic of having to grind when they want to try something new).
Last edited by Sidestepper on Wed Oct 10, 2012 12:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Balance Tweaks Roundup

Postby q 3 on Wed Oct 10, 2012 12:24 am

IMO Curse is both too powerful and too specific. A Rogue gets to basically ignore it (and doesn't get as many stacks since he takes far fewer hits); a Monk is basically crippled (and gets way more stacks since he takes far more hits). I'd suggest some combination of having it build up less (e.g., you only get cursed when killing a cursed monster, not on every single hit), easier to cure (e.g., remove X levels of curse on level up), and/or more painful for more builds (e.g., have it also zero out your bonus damage, increase glyph costs by 1, etc.).

The Mage Plate seems underpowered for its cost, penalty, and conversion value, particularly relative to the Mana Pendant (much cheaper, no penalty, more powerful at levels 1-2 and equally powerful at levels 3-4) and the Elven Boots (no penalty, magic res, more powerful at levels 1-4 and equally powerful at level 5-6). I think I'd nearly always rather prep the Elven Boots over it, and I'd nearly always rather see the Mana Pendant in a shop. Aside from tinkering with cost and conversion values, my suggestion would be to remove its level dependency, just give a flat +5 MP and -25% damage regardless of level.

Taurog could use a buff of some sort, IMO, particularly something to make him more effective in hard/vicious dungeons. Taking up inventory space and deducting MP is a steep price for bonuses that aren't all that great, and he leaves you with few options for phys resist monsters. Here's a (crazy?) idea: have him spawn a BICEPS glyph on worship, and remove the piety penalty for that glyph only. Maybe also remove both the extra bonus damage and max MP reduction from his boons.

EDIT: I neglected to note that I agree with basically all of Sidestepper's suggestions.
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Re: Balance Tweaks Roundup

Postby Darvin on Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:45 am

Pretty much in total agreement on all your points, Sidestepper. Great post and I hope the devs take all of these into consideration.



As for q3, I disagree on curse. Rogues are already ignoring most debuffs, while monks are heavily punished by all debuffs, so I consider curse just the extreme end of the spectrum that's otherwise already part of the class balance. I think curse is working well-enough as is and the biggest discrepency with other debuffs is that there's no potion to purge it (actually, here's a funny idea: put curse purge on the strength potion. That could give it some late-game utility to balance out its current heavy early-game focus). Agree with you on the Mage Plate, though. It's basically been balanced around item conversion antics, which leaves it pretty pathetic in an average-case scenario.

For Taurog, I've long-since given up on convincing the devs to change him. At vicious-level, he exists for resist-stacking and piety farming only, and at sub-vicious he offers the unstoppable fury gambit and a good warmonger approach. I'm not happy with him, but I can live with him.
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Re: Balance Tweaks Roundup

Postby Sidestepper on Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:06 am

I think that the deal with Taurog is that while he is simple and one-dimensional, there is a legitimate need for simple and one-dimensional mechanics. Power-wise he is okay but in most cases I will just try to snipe out one or two of the resist items and then convert to someone else (Tikki and Dracul being my favorite targets). I like the BYCEPS idea. Taurog really needs a way to deal with high resists, and the more pseudo-preps we can get for basic glyphs, the better.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. By far the biggest balance issue facing us right now is the total lack of Packmaster. Right now this is crippling almost every part of the game and needs to be addressed.
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Re: Balance Tweaks Roundup

Postby Lujo on Wed Oct 10, 2012 6:55 am

Agree with Sidestepper, ditto on Packmaster, but about Taurog - in the narrow niche of resist stacking clowns, he works almost too good, and "being there just for the resists" is no small deal - there aren't that many ways to do it, really, and this feature alone is rather powerfull.
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Re: Balance Tweaks Roundup

Postby FDru on Wed Oct 10, 2012 10:13 am

Okay, what is Packmaster?

Also, Crystal Ball and Fire Heart increase in CP value as they gain charges, IIRC.
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Re: Balance Tweaks Roundup

Postby dislekcia on Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:40 pm

Thanks FDru, I'm glad someone pointed out that the charge items increase conversion value as they charge up. It's particularly useful for the Crystal Ball when you can't afford a final use of it but are still going to be casting spells anyway :)

Taurog hates magic. HATES. Basically, he's cool with you taking steroids, because you still have to work out to get buff. Magic hax steroids are no go. Also, you want to give a god that already increases damage output and survivability a ton, a means to pierce resistances, the very thing that's in the the game to stymie high damage output classes. So very, very no on that one... Besides, you can just cast Byceps as needed anyway, provided you can take the piety hit.

Balanced dagger: May be worth looking at. Maybe.

Mage tower preps are being investigated at this very moment, actually. Yay for preparation tracking so that we can see how often they actually get used, compared to other preps.

Subdungeons were changed to all have the first 9 tiles around/on their stairs pre-revealed so that there wouldn't be an incentive to "store" that potential regen for later. It always makes more sense now to zip down into a subdungeon as soon as you find it and then make plans to use it best from there. Sure, vets with more experience will know what to expect from more subdungeons, but they really shouldn't be a thing that runs depend on for functionality - they're more a nice to have than anything else. We've always tried to balance levels with no subdungeon rewards factored in.
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Re: Balance Tweaks Roundup

Postby Darvin on Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:51 pm

I'm glad someone pointed out that the charge items increase conversion value as they charge up. It's particularly useful for the Crystal Ball when you can't afford a final use of it but are still going to be casting spells

Interesting; I'll have to see if there's a way to game that. At any rate, Crystal Ball could probably use a small cost reduction in its activation fee. It's a very difficult in-dungeon purchase without a significant amount of gold investment. If you're only going to use it once or twice, a schadenfreude potion is a better purchase, and activating it three times takes it into the 30 gold cost range which is just unaffordable in most dungeon runs.

Also, you want to give a god that already increases damage output and survivability a ton, a means to pierce resistances, the very thing that's in the the game to stymie high damage output classes.

Yes, because the presence of a high physical resist boss is basically a total disqualifier on taking any of Taurog's boons unless you have a mitigating circumstance (ie, BYSSEPS). Playing as warmonger Taurog berserker and then discovering a Goo boss is a game-ender.

Mage tower preps are being investigated at this very moment, actually. Yay for preparation tracking so that we can see how often they actually get used, compared to other preps.

I'm still interested in seeing some stats on that. Not at all surprised that the mage tower booster preps aren't seeing use.

... Besides, you can just cast Byceps as needed anyway, provided you can take the piety hit.

I've been thinking about this one, and it occurs to me that virtually every glyph has some assured way to get it now. LEMMISI, CYDSTEPP, APHEELSIK, HALPMEH, and BLUDTUPOWA are all attached to specific classes, PISORF, ENDISWAL, IMAWAL, GETINDARE, and WEYTWUT are all attached to specific altars, and BURNDAYRAZ can be prepared. The only outsiders are WONAFYT, which no one really cares about, and BYSSEPS.
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Re: Balance Tweaks Roundup

Postby Lujo on Wed Oct 10, 2012 8:19 pm

Agree with Darvin on Crystal Ball maybe having a too high gold cost on activiation. Props for noticing it's CP rate improves, I never actually bought it since the nerf, this really gave me a clue.

Agree with Dislekcia on Taurog needing a reason not to just prep him every run and walk over stuff (seriously people, he's a powerfull newbie crutch, if that crap worked in the endgame 100% what would be the point?). Guess he has straightforward and brutal benefits, and a straightforward, brutal and niche downside which noone can be bothered to risk running into on an important run.

And, err, the subdungeons have been changed to not give any regen upon descending ages ago, why is anyone still waiting to go in untill the last minute is beyond me. FDru's post actually cleared up quite a bit of confusion on my part concernign following threads, becasue I assumed this was common knowledge :(
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Re: Balance Tweaks Roundup

Postby Sidestepper on Wed Oct 10, 2012 8:37 pm

Lujo wrote:And, err, the subdungeons have been changed to not give any regen upon descending ages ago, why is anyone still waiting to go in untill the last minute is beyond me.


We aren't. The change meant that we could scout subdungeons without burning a potential burst of healing. But there's a big difference between sticking your head in the door to see what's there and actually exploring the thing.

Slightly related, what if Smuggler's Den replaced one of the 1st level monsters with a 2nd level one? I might actually use it the way it was intended if it did that.
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