The high end potions and the difficulty curve

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Re: The high end potions and the difficulty curve

Postby The Avatar on Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:54 pm

Here's two ideas: Change it to +3, but every potion type only counts once or make it a flat cap of +12 (three fine swords).
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Re: The high end potions and the difficulty curve

Postby Darvin on Sun Feb 03, 2013 7:12 pm

The Avatar wrote:Here's two ideas: Change it to +3, but every potion type only counts once or make it a flat cap of +12 (three fine swords).

The problem with making each potion type only count once is that then necessitates the full-potion load-out to fully-utilize the item. I'd much rather just cap the thing. I'm interested that the devs haven't yet touched it, though. Perhaps they have something on their mind?
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Re: The high end potions and the difficulty curve

Postby FDru on Sun Feb 03, 2013 7:55 pm

I'd like to see it made into a static item again, but don't have any good suggestions about how to do that. I think, thematically, that it should be a high damage item with some kind of penalty (since it's "difficult to hold") something like +30% damage, 15% chance for enemy to dodge... that is probably a terrible idea, lol. But I don't want to see yet another Slowing item.
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Re: The high end potions and the difficulty curve

Postby Sidestepper on Sun Feb 03, 2013 8:38 pm

paplaukes wrote:It's probably been suggested already too, but might make trisword work on health/mana pots only. Honestly, I'd just take a fine sword over much more expensive tri + pots and all that hassle and cheese.


Doesn't work. My smash-gnome had +42 damage at 1st level. Take away the off-flavor potions and that goes down to +36, which is still way too much. Really, the sword is a problem all by itself. My own preferred solution is to just place a cap on its power based on your level.
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Re: The high end potions and the difficulty curve

Postby Bloggorus on Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:29 pm

paplaukes wrote:What's the double edge you're talking about? Cost? Limited slots?

I get triple potion hit is more powerful than separate potions, it also costs more. I wouldn't spend 50g extra on them "just in case", like I don't spend 50g on amulet of yendor/translocation scroll. It's also a one-shot thing instead of a permanent strength bump. It can be used on a hard boss or perhaps a few bonus xp but I honestly don't think that's worth the price in hard dungeons.

As for multiplication with other preps, trisword being uncapped might be the bigger problem.
At the very least I'd like to see better examples of said multiplicative combinations.


The 'double edge' relates to the fact that preps get out of control when they have no downside, only upside to their user. And kingdom gold cost, even though It might sound like a large amount, is NOT a huge detriment for most players.

Read this thread for the theory behind all this, it might explain a few things: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2083

If tl;dr, many of the balance problems come from trying to create items that work both as before-game preps and also as shop items you can buy in game. The infinite kingdom economy 'leaks' into the static in-game economy and messes shit up.

As sidestepper said, further nerfing the trisword will make it a prep-only item, which you would never buy in-game. A number of items have done this see-saw before landing in one camp or the other.

The problem is that the opportunity cost of taking in extra preps is only kingdom gold, which in the grand scheme of things is zero. It injects resources into a static dungeon with it's own carefully balanced economy, leading to super-powerful characters.

Hence, nerf the amount of resources being taken into the game, not the items that are effected by them.
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Re: The high end potions and the difficulty curve

Postby paplaukes on Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:26 pm

Bloggorus wrote:The 'double edge' relates to the fact that preps get out of control when they have no downside, only upside to their user.

So the majority of them. Only downside-preps are church ones which probably explains why I used an altar prep (and didn't like it anyway) ONCE in my runs.

Bloggorus wrote:For a large number of preps, the only cost of use is meta-game gold and inventory space. For this negligible opportunity cost players gain a massive starting game advantage and radically more resources through efficiency and conversion points.

So the majority of them. And that post is half a year old and nothing much changed. Infinite gold is still there (a few gold sinks now). Major preps are still there. Why rally for changes? If they didn't happen so far they won't.

I don't think perfect balance is possible to achieve.
I think what is right now is good enough.
Yes preps only cost gold that's infinite. But... so what? Those who want to win, go for the win, those who want a challenge, go purists or prep minimal or grab a vicious token. What's the point of trying to control that?

It's been said it's a puzzle game. Well let's say its normal mode is purist. Easy mode is full preps (earned, not free!). Hardmode is the vicious token. To each their own. I like my games in easy to normal mode, depending on mood. If everything was double-edged the game would just have much less appeal to me.

I don't care much about locker vs ingame balance. I just care about fun. Say, BLUDTOPOWA just stopped being fun. I'd have to play it much closer to the 'cynical abuse' mode for it to work. Church preps aren't fun - spent gold unlocking them and get duds in return. Etc.

Bloggorus wrote:It teaches new players to grind for gold for preps, rather than learning to play. Once they learn that elite items exist, for instance, with only a gold cost attached, why would they ever go back to properly balanced preps?

By choice! Their own, not yours :)
And again, the items are earned, not found. If somebody managed to grab the dragon shield you can't really argue they didn't learn to play.
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Re: The high end potions and the difficulty curve

Postby Bloggorus on Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:47 pm

Yeah, that thread is a year and a half old, but the fact that the same problems are being discussed by players indicated to me that this is a systemic problem that goes beyond a few imbalanced items. Direct quote:

Even worse, it allows exploits. For gold only, it is possible to take in three potions for immediate consumption in synergy with the trisword and the scroll. I don't see this as a problem of the balancing of those items, but the implementation of preps in general.


From back then, and nothing has changed. We have been through multiple iterations of these items, with few results.

The topic of this thread is 'high end potions and the difficulty curve'.

Despite the fact that crazy spikes and player choice are fun for some players, I am interested in the effect on the ramp-up of difficulty from the perspective of an average player.

The introduction of multiple high end potion slots injects huge amounts of resources into the game in a very short space of time, and remains an influential and unbalancing feature thereafter.
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Re: The high end potions and the difficulty curve

Postby paplaukes on Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:23 am

Short version: I don't think average players kill bosses at lvl1.

Long version: Unsure of what an average player is. I don't consider myself a pro at least. My impression on difficulty curve - it's there alright. The dungeon difficulty levels are accurate. Every better item has a quest or a challenge attached, a skillcheck in place. Even with all the combined preps, and I really don't count cheesy, non-average player ways of using them, you can only drop the dungeon difficulty down one notch. Every new unlocked place is scary, no matter the preparations. I never once felt like - "ok I unlocked this new place, let's faceroll it with everything I got". It's still difficult at first, there's learning to do. I think the "average player" difficulty curve peaks at hard purist gan-teleet - which is what devs designed as a win - and silver challenges. Gold are bit beyond that. Vicious dungeons, Vicious tokens - definitely not average player stuff, preps or not.
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Re: The high end potions and the difficulty curve

Postby Bloggorus on Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:54 am

paplaukes wrote:Short version: I don't think average players kill bosses at lvl1.

Long version: Unsure of what an average player is. I don't consider myself a pro at least. My impression on difficulty curve - it's there alright. The dungeon difficulty levels are accurate. Every better item has a quest or a challenge attached, a skillcheck in place. Even with all the combined preps, and I really don't count cheesy, non-average player ways of using them, you can only drop the dungeon difficulty down one notch. Every new unlocked place is scary, no matter the preparations. I never once felt like - "ok I unlocked this new place, let's faceroll it with everything I got". It's still difficult at first, there's learning to do. I think the "average player" difficulty curve peaks at hard purist gan-teleet - which is what devs designed as a win - and silver challenges. Gold are bit beyond that. Vicious dungeons, Vicious tokens - definitely not average player stuff, preps or not.


I agree progression is great in the game; all the dungeons are well balanced. I also enjoy a regular game, and don't attempt the theorycrafting of the vets because i don't have the patience or the time.

There is a lot of discussion about crazy strats floating around, but I think this is a simpler issue and not at all related to what is possible, only to what a new player might be doing and thinking when they first try the game.

At a certain point in the game, early if the player decides it's worth it, you can unlock these amazing potions that suddenly make the game MUCH MUCH easier in every single dungeon.

What happens to this finely tuned experience when the player is handed a reflex, whupaz, quicksilver, strength and shaudenfruede potion all in one hit? These potions are worth more gold in-game than you are likely to find, not to mention fact that you can buy MORE from the apothecary.

They suddenly find that their level of play has been raised, and all the content they haven't yet explored is not interesting any more. These extra resources magnify the effects of everything else you bring or find in the game.

Players start to expect to catapult off a level three or four, not a level two. They start ignore class combinations because they don't synergies with a full loadout of potions. They get resentful because if ever they have to go without potions, perhaps because they have run out of gold, and suddenly find themselves playing at a level they left behind a long time ago.

Game design, or any design for that matter, is about managing user expectations. Imposed limitations can be interesting and fun (think HL2), but having your toys taken from you due to your own lack of forethought is annoying and turns you off a game, even if it's not the game's fault.
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Re: The high end potions and the difficulty curve

Postby q 3 on Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:03 am

What if the potion preps were changed from 5 slots that you can fill with anything, to a purchase system where you can spend up to X kingdom gold at the Witch's hut and buy whatever potions you want. The hax potions would cost a lot more, and you would be allowed to buy duplicates - so a 40 gold cap would let you take, say, two health potions and two mana potions, but if you took a Quicksilver and Reflex potion then you couldn't afford anything else.

I mean, I personally view preparations as being the equivalent of a trainer, i.e., cheat codes, there to put the game on easy mode if you're having trouble or you just want to mess around. But I'm not altogether sure what the devs actually think about them, since the church preps are completely counter to that idea. It is kind of bizarre that you're free to bring in all the top-tier potions and wreak havoc, but you're not allowed to simply prep GG or JJ or Dracul (for the sole purpose of not having to scum for them) without suffering crippling penalties.
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