Zelda Universe RPG

New Relative Balance - Printable Version

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New Relative Balance - WindStrike - 01-16-2016

Good news, ZURPG only needs balance changes!

Bad news... it needs a complete overhaul on balance. So first thing we're gonna start on is relative balance, which is how strong bonuses are in comparison to stats, and how strong they are in comparison with each other. We usually use the Dice Modifier as the basis for comparison, as it is by far the most common. I do believe Nimono remarked that too many things had a Bonus Dice Modifier, which is completely true; not everything needs that.

Okay, so here's my newly revised numbers for relative balance. I'd post up the old ones, but they're kinda broken, so let's use this one as a starting point:
  • Dice Modifier: +6
    • On any given attack, with no effect or other bonuses, it should have no higher than a +6 Dice Modifier.
  • [Attack Dice]: +4
    • On any given item that provides a bonus to [Attack Dice] and nothing else, it should have no higher than +4.
  • [Defense Dice]: +3
    • On any given item that provides a bonus to [Defense Dice] and nothing else, it should have no higher than +3.
  • [Armor]: +3
    • On any given item that provides a bonus to [Armor], and nothing else it should have no higher than +3.

Various rundowns of explanations:
  • Given 60 stat points, your average stat is 12. On an attack that focuses normal damage (+0) and decent accuracy, a nice 50% boost in accuracy will allow anyone that goes average-stat point build a chance to hit things. Keep in mind most enemies have two layers of defense ([Defense Dice] + [Armor]), or stack one or the other.
  • I'm giving an edge to [Attack Dice] bonuses because you can only attack once-per-round, provided no counterattacks, so stacking [Attack Dice] truly isn't nearly as strong as [Defense Dice] or [Armor]. Additionally, should the battle turn to a tankfest, with an edge to [Attack Dice], they have the chance to break the tankfest and potential infinite stalemate. Battles do need to end eventually.
  • Here's how values of [Armor] and [Defense Dice] work. They're equal, but on the actual armor item, there'll be a higher [Armor] value, because you can only equip one armor item. On buffs and stuff like that, they'll stay even.

This is something we wanna get cleaned up and fixed before we actually do a widescale rebalance, or else the widescale rebalance will probably ended up being widescale re-rebalanced. Thoughts?

RE: New Relative Balance - WindStrike - 01-17-2016

Something else that was brought up is currently, with the blessing system, you can invalidate the Affinities. And by that, I mean throw all of your blessings into Wisdom. Affinity gives you +5 dice on attack? Oh yeah, well my two blessings give me +10 dice on attack and defense, cause all spells are Wisdom-based. I mean, I suppose there's reduced Magic costs on the support spells, buuut I'm not sure that really matters that much. Sooo here's some options I got with regards to that:
  • Keep the bonuses the way they are and just tweak the numbers.
    • Currently a bloody pain to deal with while balancing, and given the number of spells, I am personally not up to doing 10 balance patches for all spells to get it right.
  • Switch the bonuses back to "unique bonus for everything".
    • Also a bloody pain to balance everything, and in fact, probably harder than the above option.
  • Switch the bonuses to all reduced Magic Costs, even on the offensive spells.
    • And then all you gotta do is stack all blessings into Magic, boom practically the same thing.
  • Drop the bonuses and switch back to affinity requirements.
    • I am highly aware that some are against this in many ways, but from a practical perspective (waaaaaaaay easier to balance), I quite frankly can't see another option, other than gutting out affinities entirely, which would tick everyone off waaay more than switching back to affinity requirements.
    • And I would love to get back to the development of the actual game and quest development, get the story back on the road, let people actually have fun, stuff like that, but if I'm stuck on balance for forever, I myself will likely quit, because that's not what I want to do, and no one wants to do that.
    • One thing that would happen if affinity requirements are added is I'd redo the spells a little bit to have some degree of overlap, so that multiple affinities can heal, multiple can revive, etc.

Discuss away, but if this breaks into yet another argument over affinity stuff, I'mma be a jerk and end it by just building the game however I want to, so please be civil, folks.

EDIT: On second thought, based on how previous discussions have gone and knowing most players just wanna play the game, sorry for the nitpickers, but I'm not gonna wait on a discussion that unravels into an argument into a ragefest into a- etc. etc. So, following changes are being made, and once they're done, I'm gonna do something fun like build quests, officially start the game back up, get more players in, get more DMs, and more devbase. THEN we can discuss how to break the game again. Until then, I'm picking the practical route.
  • Killing affinity bonuses and going back to affinity requirements.
  • Adding some degree of overlap back to the affinities.
  • Dropping the amounts on the bonuses (see above).
  • Rescaling the relative balance on the bonuses (see above).

I'm not forcing anyone to stay by going full dictator mode on this, but instead of being in an endless loop of developmental bullcrap, I wanna get the game back on the road for real, so for those that want to play, stop nitpicking, go with the flow, and help me out instead of endlessly criticizing, even though there are still problems.

RE: New Relative Balance - Lunaria - 01-17-2016

Okay, first of all, before we can even think about making any changes we have to identify the problems with the current system. And those are, in my opinion:

1. OH-KO Wonder. That is to say, it's too easy to die, both enemies and players.

2. AD (Attack Dice) and DD (Defence Dice) stacking. Really a subproblem of the first one, but it's worth noting.

3. No permanence in character ability.

4. Too much unique effect focus. On spells and gear.

More in-depth/suggestions for solutions:

1. In this game it's kill or be killed really easy to just die in a few hits. You're right, the average is 12 in every stat, but that's not how people spec. It's also forgetting any base stats from passive abilities and racial passives. If you want to be defensive in this game you can do one of these two things: Aim for a high health pool, or, aim for a high DD count by splitting your stat points across courage, power, and wisdom. In the former, you'll get hit a lot and survive more hits, and in the latter you'll probably die in one or two hits.

The problem is that if you get hit a lot you'll start getting stacks of a bunch of negative effects. Specing as a 'traditional' tank that has a lot of life and armour is not going to work very well in this game, because you'll get crippled in a couple of attacks, and that's not mentioning that you'll probably not do very much damage. Players are also very likely to edge spec in certain stats, even if they aren't going glass cannon, since they'll want to actually hit with their attacks/deal damage.

This problem is not solved on its own, but it's worth keeping in mind.

2. AD, or, more importantly, DD stacking through gear and buffs breaks the game. Assuming you use one support spell per turn, you can boost your DD by 3 per round, but there are other means to boost it even more. If players also go for a DD based build then they can be practically impossible to hit in a couple of turns. At least some of the shadow spells in 2.0 can hit through bonus DDes, but that's only really an option if the enemies actually have those spells. The only reason this doesn't seem as obviously broken as it is, is due to things dying so fast. If, for any reason, a long running fight happens, the winner is the team that stacks the most buffs.

It's not as if +3 defence dice is amazingly powerful though, reducing that number with our current amount of dice on everything else would just make the spells useless instead. A reduction of dice amounts across the board might be more useful instead.

3. All characters can do everything. Not eventually, or through much hard work, they can very much do so right off the batch. I'm all for character customization, and I love games that have it. But the system in place here is fundamentally broken. I like the idea that from a clean slate everyone is the same, and then you specialise. Problem is that, if you specialise somewhere, you don't lock yourself out of anything else. So after a quest or two you'll probably be extremely wide, able to have a move for almost every situation. Unless, of course, you overspecialise yourself. I mean, here is a comparison: This is the Etrian Odyssey 4 Skill simulator.

Pick the Fortress class (read: tank), for example. You have six different skills (and one field skill), available from the start of the game. Most of them can also take multiple skill points to improve them. But, here's the catch: You only start with three skill points, and from there you only get one skill point per level. (There are some special cases where you can get even more though, but those are mostly related to the post-game.) Eventually, you'll be able to pick up most abilities in the game, but from the get go you'll have to specialise in how you want the character to play. And while you can get all abilities by the end of the game, you can't fully master them all. (And that's not to mention, given your build, you probably don't even want all anyway.) Of course, that game is a bit more complex than that, as it also has a dual class system that unlock midway through the game, among other things. But I think it displays the type of specialisation that does not exist in this game.

In EO4, every skill point you spec feels important, and can some time take quite a long time to figure out where to put. In this game, your character will probably be so wide (in capabilities) eventually that it gets kind of boring. And what I mean by that is that you'll probably never meet a challenge or enemy in which your character is weak too. (Unless, again, you overspecialise / go glass canon on one stat.) Because if you have enough spells/weapons you can not only target their weakness, you can also choose among effects for which one you desire. And you can also change your armour and such to be optimal for every single encounter. In a single player video game experience, it wouldn't be extremely bad, but it really kills table top games. The whole point is that the group should work together to cover each others weaknesses, and that some characters are better at certain things than others.

So, how do you make things more specialised? Well, there are two methods we could go with that would work with this game currently:

A. Items and junk have more requirements. For example, hammers have a minimum requirement of X power to even be able to use them. And heavier 2h stuff would have an even higher requirement. This would force players to go either tall or wide, rather than allowing them to go both tall and wide. But it's not really an eloquent solution, and getting the specifics right in regards to requirements would take quite some time of number crunching and testing.

B. Players are limited in how much stuff they can carry. One of each for: Armour, Robe, Mask, primary hand item, and off hand item. And then you get extra carrying space of like, four? (Probably not higher at least, but four might be too high.) additional gear based items. (There is no restriction on tools and consumables, for obvious reasons.) You're also restricted to 12, (a lower number might probably be even better, like 8 or so), spells and skills in total, (not counting racials or the new passive skills). Players can own more stuff, but the rest is left behind in a bank or something when the quest start, so they'll have to pick what they want to bring.

This would probably not be a huge restriction for most players, as I think many are quite comfortable carving out their own character's niche. It would, however, make the game a heck of a lot more interesting. If every character don't have the solution for killing every enemy, or solving every situation. And that opens up more room for team play and strategy. (In theory, anyway.)

4. There's too much shit with effects in the common space. It's not really a super large problem with gear, but it should probably have a looking over and see what really is needed. (Remember: Things with really interesting effects could be moved over to artifact level with a tiny buff). The spells, however, really do require it.

A lot of the spells people have been spending time writing into the game are simply not useful, and the wast amount of different effects is simply not needed. Yet on the flop side, we have next to no cookie cutter spells, nor variations of them. Do we have any pure damage spells? Not really, no. Whoever balanced the affinity bonuses for spells seems to have completely missed the point of the system. With the current shape spells, the only advantage of picking an affinity is either a reduction in Magic cost or an increase in bonus dice on the roll. Don't get me wrong, that can be the affinity bonus on many spells, but it certainly should not be for all. Key affinity bonuses that are missing are: A. You only get the effect of the spell if you have the affinity. B. Extra damage/dice vs another affinity.

Like, for example:

All three versions of this spell would be viable (to each other) for players to pick. Each of them would be better for different characters and situations though. For example, if player Y don't have any other means to hit heavy armoured targets, then picking Flare A would probably be very solid, since that gives them a good way to deal neutral damage. Where as Flare C is the more all-around option that works decent in most situations, but is not very specialised. Where as Flare B deals heavy damage against weak targets.

Sure, players can own all three spells on the same time, and then just pick the optimal one for every situation. But even in our current system that costs three times as much rupees. And that's more of a problem with players being able to do everything, (see issue 3 that I talked about earlier up), in this game, rather than a problem with spells.

Now, I'm not saying we should have three versions of PSI Flare, that's a terrible idea. What I'm saying is that this is how you can make interesting 'just damage' spells. Of which, we have next to none, across all affinities. We should probably have at least one 'just damage' spell in each affinity per each cost level, (low, medium, high). Also, in regards to example A and effect based spells; They should come in two kinds, preferably split in an even 50/50 per affinity: Spells in which the affinity grant the effect. And spells in which you get the effect regardless of affinity. Getting the most out of an affinity should be something players want.

I can't stress enough that, currently, picking an affinity is basically pointless. And even if you specialise in one affinity and you're a caster, you'll get practically the same thing out of specing in the 5 AP instead. Which is exactly what we didn't want to happen with the new system.

Anyway, back on point. Here are some thoughts on a few spells in 2.0:

I'll get to fire/water/nature/spirit when I have the time to sit down and go through them all. This took a while.

There are also some skills I wanna look over.

Oh and number crunching the main problem in OP. I'll get back to you guys later on those things, this already took forever to write. UGH. v_v;

RE: New Relative Balance - WindStrike - 01-17-2016

Caaaaan do, Lunaria. Thanks for the input. I'mma nutshell ze responses:
  1. I just dropped all the bonuses and dice modifiers in half, practically. Haven't gotten to the spells, doin' something a little more special for them. I do think there should probably be more protection against glass cannons, but I'm not entirely sure how that should be done, because as much as you can use Passive Skills like Hanging On and Damage Delay to protect against them, glass cannons can use those skills to protect against anything, sooo I suppose maybe stick some Maximum Hearts requirements on stuff? Dunno.
  2. I don't really mind this so much because we don't want battles lasting 10 rounds, that'd take forever, even in a 2v2. Goin' supporty is supposed to win the game in the long-run, so should you live for 3 or 4 rounds, and you've been spamming support for your whole team while the other team has just been straight attacking you, of course you should have an edge at that point. It does need to be moderated a bit though, sooo I might cut a few numbers, but that's it.
  3. I only really have an issue with this right now with regards to spells, but that's because you can get every spell in the game, which is dumb, and that's being fixed. I simplified some of the items down and removed a bunch of situational ones, so even if you acquire every item in the game, since you can only equip 2 handheld items, 1 armor, and 1 robe at a time, and you can only equipment switch on your turn, it's not like having the entire frigin' spell library. You got some answers for things, but not for everything. A lot of this can be solved via better enemy design and enemy composition, which I'mma do some days researching and testing that sucker.
    • We could go requirements, but there's not much point. Based on peoples' stat builds (which is now even more important now that I nerfed all the bonuses down), people aren't gonna get every item. Only the stuff that fits their stat builds and playstyle.
    • The game is manual enough as is. We don't need an inventory limit just to make people keep track of even more stuff manually. I have considered this in the past, but... let's just let players acquire what they want, ditch what they want. Every now and then, we'll come across someone that can keep track of things and have the entire compendium in their profile, but it won't make them invulnerable.
  4. I just went over it with items and skills, agreed for sure. I am currently going through it on spells, and how I'm doing this is creating a list of various effects (including "Sheer Damage" or "Super Accurate", aka pretty meta cookie-cutter stuff), and then cutting out/merging the spells that don't fit or are too similar, or stuff that's horribly repetitive (lookin' at you, Water and Spirit). This'll also include switching to affinity requirements, gutting out bonuses, lowering Magic costs a little bit, adding a little bit of overlap, and like the item/skill nerfs, a cut to all the bonuses, especially the dice modifiers. Support Spells are actually already relatively weak, so... they won't need much nerfing. Maybe dropping Guard down from 3 to 2 Defense Dice, but really not much at all.
    • I shall take a look at your list of spell suggestions when I get to Light and Shadow. Don't worry about the rest of them, I already got a fair idea of what to do with them, since I'm most familiar with them. Thanks for startin' the list!