This game needs to be totally rebalanced

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Lich King
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This game needs to be totally rebalanced

Post by Lich King »

This will be a harsh critique, but please don't take it as a hostile one, I have played the game a lot and like it very much. Take it as possible ways to improve becouse that's what it's meant to be.

The most noticable flaw of this game to me is that very often in dungeons if the common monsters are any challenge to you, then the boss will be nearly impossible. The bosses are so much stronger than the common monsters that you are only a match to them if the common monsters become like flies that you just swat. This wouldn't be a problem if you had ways to increas your strength temporarily so that you could take on a boss slightly stronger than you. Just like it is in most RPGs. And that's where potions would come in handy, but - as someone else mentioned before - here most potions are useless and all potions are overpriced.
Health potions: why even have them, when they are so cost prohibitive?
Same with food items: there is such a great variety of food in the game and yet all of them cost way too much for their effect. My character lives on bread and raw meat with an ocasional bonemeal potion, and I'm pretty sure almost every player does the same. In fact this must be the expected mode of play, that's why we have the antidote for food poisoning. At least if we had an option to have our meat cooked for a (reasonable) price. I have seen such requests back from 2011, and it wouldn't be too hard to implement becouse potion makers can can also make you stuff from ingredients and payment. This option should be given to every cook.
And then comes the lack of "special potions". Potions that raise your AC, BC, Dmg, Dmg res., Action points, etc. In short, potions that make you stronger. Now of course there are a few "special potions" in the game, such as those of the Stoutford potionmaker or Lowyna's brews, but they are 1) cost prohibitively expensive just like the health potions; 2) all of them comes with a nasty side effect that negates any postive effect they had. (Also you can't get them early in the game.) The closest you get to a "strength potion" is Gison's mashroom soup, and even with that you get a nasty side effect for 3 turns that could get you killed.
Why can't we have potions that are just good, without also being bad? And for a reasonable price?

And then another issue is the gear: in most RPGs you can keep upgrading your equipment as the game progresses. Here the opportunities are much slimmer, especially with weapons. Armore and jewels are so-so, but some 95-98% of the weapons in this game are garbage. For me the weapon selection with my character build was like this: get the Reinforced Iron Longsword by the Crossglen smith as soon as I can afford it (around lvl 4) and then be stuck with it until I can get either the Sharp Steel Rapier in Stoutford or the Protector's Blade in the Crossroads Guardhouse (around lvl 16). And later replace it with either the Yatagan or the Flagstone's Pride, depending on my armor. (If it has AP penality than FP, otherwise Y.) And while I'm only around halfway in the game, I've seen here in the forum that very high level players still use these and for armor the Serpant's Hauberk wich one can also get realtivly early by getting just halfway in the Green Maze.
Why are the wast majority of weapons garbage? Mostly becouse of their AP cost. Anything that has higher than 5 AP cost is garbage, becouse you can only use them once per turn. And one hit per turn is just not enough. It rarely has as much damage as 2 hits from a faster weapon and also you only have one try to hit the enemy - and in most cases even that with a lower AC.
And most weapons that have decent damage potential and damage multiplier have high AP cost. Ok, I know that when you get 12 AP then 6 AP weapons become viable, and when you get the Marrowtaint then even 7 AP weapons become viable. (8 and above are still garbage.) But you can't get that before lvl 30, so why is the begining area full of low tier high AP cost weapons then? And also what about the low tier 4 AP weapons? All of them have very low damage and very low damage multiplier, for wich the 3 or 4 hits per turn should make up for - when you get 12 AP, not before lvl 30! With less then that their lower AP cost has no benefit, but their low damage is a real drawback. In my first run I sold the Flagstone's Pride immediately after getting it becouse with my then current settings it had a worse damage output than the Reinforced Iron Longsword.
(Oh and don't come at me with the Jewel of Fallheaven! If you use it then you can't use some much better necklaces, such as the Protector's Excellent Necklace or the Undead's Necklace. Totally not worth sacrificing those!)
And then there are the two handed weapons: ALL of them are garbage! Why? Well, of course becouse you have to lose your shield to use them. There is this meme that "shields are for pussies" - well, NO! Shields are good, they can give good BC and some Dmg resistance. So if I have to lose my shield the weapon better make up for that loss in some way! But do they? No, they don't! They hardly provide better damage output than their one-handed counterparts and even if they have some BC, that's very low. Some of them even has BC penality. Most of them also have high AP cost.
It seems to be a general rule in this game that if a weapon (or any item for that matter) is "too good", then it gets some devastating penality that makes it become undesirable.

And what about shields and armore? Actually there are very few good ones among those too. First thing first, those few that have Dmg resistance make all the rest undesirable. Why? Becouse Dmg res is better than higher BC. Becouse even when you have around 120 BC the enemies still manage to land a hit ocasionly, and chip away your health. Maybe with 200+ BC you become virtually unhittable, but that's hard to achive. So it's better to lower the damage when they hit you than trying futily to avoid getting hit.
And there are very few armores and shields that provide Dmg res, so there you have it. In fact I kept the Kid's Shield until I could buy the Excellent Iron Shield, wich is probably the best shield in the whole game. Also there are way too many shields and armores that have way too big AC penality and even AP penality to be useful.

There are too many Abilities, most of wich are garbage. They can be a beginner's trap.
Becouse you get an Ability point only at every 4 level, they are really a scarcity, and if you spend even just one badly, that can ruin your character building. Useless Abilities (such as Trader, Fast learner, More/Better critical, Escape, Master of defeat, and the combat effect ones) should be removed, or made better so you get something for your precious Ability point. It would also be nice if rearrangement of your Abilities would be possible at least once or twice in the game - and for a reasonable price, not for your arm and leg!
Or give Ability points at every level so they are not that scarce and you can afford spending a few on less useful Abilities.

And one more thing: loot. Loot is very important part of every RPGs, and this game barely has any. There are no treasure chests and other lootable boxes in dungeons, only the enemies drop things, usually low value things - if at all. And bosses may drop something actually valuable, more often than not even the boss's loot is garbage. Like that Venom Dagger from the Snake Cave (at least you can sell it for 700 GP), that horrible animal hide armore from the Wolf Cave, the Stone Cuirass from the Gargoyle Cave, etc.
In most RPGs I got my best gear from loot, but here I bought them after selling that few and miserable loot I found.

So, to sum it up:
- potions are needed that make you stronger (without nasty side-effects!)
- potion and food prices need to be lowered (a lot!)
- an option to get raw meat cooked
- the complete rethinking of equipment stats so that the game has more non-garbage equipment
- the rethinking of the Abilites
- more and better loot
Lich King
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Re: This game needs to be totally rebalanced

Post by Lich King »

And finally I'd like to add a minor complaint: some quest-gained items are severly undervalued in the game. A few examples:
- Irotogu's necklace: 26 GP (Real value should be around 1500-2000 GP, judging by the price of less powerful necklaces.)
- Undead's necklace: 9 GP (Real value at least 5000 GP, as a much less powerful life-steal amulet is sold at close to 2000 GP)
- Gison's mushroom soup: 1 GP (Real value: no idea but betwean 100 and 500 probably. It should at least worth 60 becouse you pay 50 for it.)
- Guynmart shield: can't even sell. Why? (Real value: around 2000 probably.)
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Re: This game needs to be totally rebalanced

Post by rijackson741 »

That's such a long post I'm not going to reply to everything. I will start by saying please don't take my critique of your critique as a hostile one ;)

I disagree with almost everything you have said. The game is very well balanced. The dev team has spent 10 years getting it that way.

Specifically.

Not every weapon can be good. There are just not enough possibilities. Out of 100 (say) weapons it's guaranteed that 90 of them will not be in the top 10. Some of the weapons that are really good you have not mentioned (maybe you have not played far enough to get them?). What about the DoSP, or the GCoR?

A high number of hits per round is not always best. Higher attack cost weapons always have a higher damage modifier (by design; it's what balances them). Imagine two weapons, one with one hit at 100 damage, and one with 4 hits at 25 damage each. Total possible damage per round is the same, but that's not how it will work in practice. Scenario 1. You are being mobbed by 4 monsters with 25HP each. With the low attack cost weapon it's possible you could kill all four in one round. With the high attack cost weapon you can never kill all four in less than 4 rounds. Scenario 2. You are being attacked by one monster with 100HP, and your chance to hit is 50% (not AC, but your actual chance to hit). With the high attack cost weapon you have a 50% chance of killing it in the first round. With the low attack cost weapon you have a 6.25% chance of killing it in the first round. If the monster has 20DR, then the low attack cost weapon is nearly useless, because you can never do more than 5 damage per hit.

You can convert meat to cooked meat (or some other food). Just sell it to some NPC that has the food you want, and use the profits to buy the food.

Why ditch a shield? Because then you can use two weapons at once. Or a two handed weapon, which, as explained above, can be devastating against certain enemies. My main build is dual wield, and fast. Killing dung flies is a piece of cake. Killing trolls, not so much. But two weapons gives a lot of possibilities, which is fun, and what is the point if the game is not fun?

Some items have low prices (or even 0) to discourage (or stop) players from selling them. It's a hint.

Some of the skills are more useful than others, but some I think you do not realize how useful they can be if you use them right. By "Escape", I assume you mean "Evasion". My main build has three levels of it. That means I can stand next to a monster forever, and unless it tries to move onto my tile, it will never attack. It also means that if I choose to flee, I have only a 5% chance of failure (with 4 levels, it would be 0%). Hit and flee can be a very effective tactic, especially against the big bosses. Just grind them down.

DR is very useful early in the game (hence Wolfpack's animal hide), but much less so later on, when monsters do a lot more damage. Then high BC is a much better option. We will never allow players to get too much DR, because then you are invincible. You can play this way in the early game, but not later on.

Health potions will never be too cheap. IMO Bonemeal is too cheap right now, although since it comes with penalties perhaps the price is OK. Cheap health, either potions of food, is OP. Get one level of the Regeneration skill. Then you can stand in a corner and heal for free.

Finally, all the options have to be looked at in combination, and then there are a lot of combined options! Players have constructed some very clever builds with what is available. Others have deliberately constructed very challenging builds (try "Way of the Monk", with Permadeath; the game has been beaten that way, although only once that I know of). We have put a lot of work into balancing the game and making it replayable. If you only see one path to success, then you need to look harder at your options.

One thing we strive to do with AT is give options. Some are better than others. Some are only good in combination (the player can either figure that out for themselves, or find tips on the forums or Discord). But there are a lot of options for success, and they are not all equally obvious.
Level:71, XP:6493739, PV:608, FQ:84
HP:210, AC:212, AD:58-77, AP:4, ECC:16%, CM:1.5, BC:188, DR:3
Gold: 237559 | RoLS:1, RoL:1, GoW:1, VSH:1, RoFLS:1, WoB:1
HH:1, WA:1, CS:2, Cl:1, IF:4, Ev:3, Re:2, WP:DA:1, WP:1S:1, WP:B:1, AP:L:1, FS:DW:2, S:DW:1
Lich King
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Re: This game needs to be totally rebalanced

Post by Lich King »

Thank you for the detalied answer even if you totally disagree. I hope to see others' opinions in these matters too.

Not every weapon can be good and out of 100 90 won't be in the top ten - sure! But there is a difference betwean 1) having a few very good ones, many good ones, lots of average ones and still a few joke tier bad ones; and 2) having a very few usable ones and a lots and lots of useless garbage.

As for hits per turn I was mainly talking about one hit per turn vs two hits per turn. More than that only comes late in the game. I have seen a general agreement in this forum on that one h/t won't get you far. I could argue further but becouse others have written about this in detail eariler I don't think it worths starting over. Also I have said that bfore you can have 12 AP, 4 AP weapons won't do much good and their low damage and damage multipier is a huge drawback.

Yes, I can "convert" meat by selling it and buying something else, but you know I didn't mean that. I was talking about getting cooked meat cheaper than that 89 Gp price. When judging the price of health items I always count the GP/HP ratio. It's 6/10 with bread, 25/24 with meat (here I used the sell price becouse nobody buys meat) and 51/40 with bonemeal. So anything above that is expensive. 2 or more GP/HP is cost prohibitive. Even if you just find it, you are better of selling it and buying cheaper stuff.

Why ditch a shield? Well, dual wield can be nice - in fact it is the only fighting style that worths the skill points spent on it. But it only comes after lvl 30. Possibly much later if you had other priorities. It only becomes feasable after 2 points spent on it. As for two handed weapons I just wrote it that here they totally can't compensate the loss of your shield.

"Some items have low prices (or even 0) to discourage (or stop) players from selling them. It's a hint."
But then it is absolutly not consistent. Flagstone's Pride costs some 3K and it's useless at the time you get it. Lord Erwyn's ring also worths 3K and the priest wants to destroy it, and warns about dire consequences if you keep it. (And what if I sell it? Do I still face those consequences? Video related: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTpTcIYs0mg )
On the other hand Irotogu's necklace is a great help early in the game but later you can buy the Protector's Excellent Necklace, wich is better in every stat, so you don't need Irotogu's anymore. It's price would come in handy. Unsellable Guynmart shield also makes no sense, it's actually less good than the Excellent Iron Shield, and you can also choose money as reward, why couldn't you convert the shield into money?

Please note that I'm using a (partially) localised version of the game and so I have to translate back some names when talking about them. And it might not become the same word that was used originally.
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Re: This game needs to be totally rebalanced

Post by rijackson741 »

Hits per turn: The forums go back a long way, and things have changed, so much of what is said about equipment is obsolete. Especially this. In almost all situations low attack cost weapons were better. The only real exception was monsters with very high DR. That's why we introduced the damage modifier. The numbers for this are not arbitrary, they are based on a very large number of builds from different players. High attack cost weapons will always have a higher modifier, to make up for the lower number of hits. On average, players will get the same amount of damage regardless of the weapon attack cost, but as already explained, that's just on average. In practice it depends on your build characteristics and the combat situation.

You can't calculate the value of food just based on gold vs HP. Well, of course you can, if that's all you care about, but it's not all that everyone cares about. Cooked meat heals you 3x faster than bread, and IMO that is worth a lot.

I used Flagstone's pride as soon as I got it. Each to their own, I guess.

The Guynmart shield vs the Superior iron shield. With the Guynmart shield every time you get hit there's a 20% chance you get barkskin x 2, which is worth 2DR. The AC penalty is also less. You do lose on the BC, but that's all. So I do not see that is is worse. Different, but not worse.

Irotogu's necklace was set at a low price as a hint, to discourage players from selling it. Yes, it's not so useful later in the game, but the price can't change.
Level:71, XP:6493739, PV:608, FQ:84
HP:210, AC:212, AD:58-77, AP:4, ECC:16%, CM:1.5, BC:188, DR:3
Gold: 237559 | RoLS:1, RoL:1, GoW:1, VSH:1, RoFLS:1, WoB:1
HH:1, WA:1, CS:2, Cl:1, IF:4, Ev:3, Re:2, WP:DA:1, WP:1S:1, WP:B:1, AP:L:1, FS:DW:2, S:DW:1
Lich King
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Re: This game needs to be totally rebalanced

Post by Lich King »

One hit per turn is always worse than more h/t. I even tested it when I got the Stone curiass, I was like "let's try how far I can get with a slow, high dmg weapon". First of all, only those with the highest dmg multiplier gave a similar dmg/turn output as a good 5 AP weapon. And they came with low AC too. So you not only had just one try per turn at hitting the enemy, you also had less chance with that one try.
But let's get back to your theoretical example, with two weapons, one with one hit at 100 damage, and one with 2 hits at 50 damage each, both with 50% chance to hit against a 100 HP foe. (Ofc it's never like that, they never have the same chance to hit and the damage output is in a range, not an exact number.) The first has 50% chance to instakill, the second only 25%. But the first also has 50% chance to do no damage at all, while the second has 75% chance to do at least some damage! If we also factor in criticals, wich the slow weapons almost never have and if they do, it's a puny 1,5x with around 5 points, it's definetly the faster weapon that is better.
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Re: This game needs to be totally rebalanced

Post by rijackson741 »

50% is a convenient number, but you must also consider that if the chance is less that that or more than that the relative benefits of high vs low attack cost weapons shifts. It also shifts if you have high base damage, because then the damage modifier really pays. You also ignore the effect of monster DR. It is not so simple to say that low attack cost weapons are always better. They are probably better more than 50% of the time, but not always.

Whether or not there should be more two-handed weapons with higher crits should be a separate discussion. You also ignore the fact that many of the good two handed weapons inflict actor conditions that are worth having, although that should really be a separate discussion as well.

We may be discussing this in somewhat different contexts though. How far through the game are you?
Level:71, XP:6493739, PV:608, FQ:84
HP:210, AC:212, AD:58-77, AP:4, ECC:16%, CM:1.5, BC:188, DR:3
Gold: 237559 | RoLS:1, RoL:1, GoW:1, VSH:1, RoFLS:1, WoB:1
HH:1, WA:1, CS:2, Cl:1, IF:4, Ev:3, Re:2, WP:DA:1, WP:1S:1, WP:B:1, AP:L:1, FS:DW:2, S:DW:1
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zizkin
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Re: This game needs to be totally rebalanced

Post by zizkin »

In my opinion this game is very well balanced and I like the fact that it "forces" you to change your tactics (and equipment - Arulir, basilisk etc.) in some areas and stages of the game. My character evolves trough the game and the game "forces" me to evolve the fighting style. On the other hand it gets more and more complex - take into account Dam Mod, DR, AC, BC, hits per round, criticals, effects - but maybe that is exactly what I like the most.

Sometimes I am thiking of two possible enhancements to game ballance:
1. Weapons have Dam mod, maybe Armors could get Block mod - it would be similar: block mod of armor would increase/decrease your character block chance. It would need to be though in more detail but I thing this could increase the number of tactics. I can compare it only from my point of view and experience playing the game: I use more often light armor, mostly because of the AP penalties - but with block mod the heavy armor could get more attractive to use. There are also points against the block mod: If the game has block mod, then maybe and accuracy mod would knock on the door that it also wants to be included :-)

2. Modify the speed of leveling after certain level (i.e. after 80):
My preferred solution to this would be to add more game content which is continuously happening. This makes me optimistic and I want to thank the devs for this. On the other hand side after reaching some level to gain a new one is more and more time consuming (the number increases in square of hero level), so sometimes I wish that after some level the required exp does not rise in ^2, but in somewhere between ^2 and ^1 (linear). However I do not a have a preferred solution, I have just ideas like: give the player a difficulty option at start of new game, something like: easier - decrease leveling speed after level 40, easy - after 70, normal - after 100, hard - never.

But these 2 are just thoughts which are not really looked in in more detail.
Lich King
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Re: This game needs to be totally rebalanced

Post by Lich King »

I see we can't agree in the question of weapons. Well, it wasn't even my main concern, altrough I still hold that the wast majority of them are garbage, including all two handed and high AP cost ones, while sadly those with decent damage output are usuall high AP cost.

But what about potions and health items in general?
As for health items, both food and potions, Rijackson, even you recommended me to just get the Regeneration skill instead of using them. (Wich I did before you told me to, becouse I'm kind of forced to.) I still can't understand how you can justify the high prices, when even you agree that they are not affordable: if a player should rely on them then he would spend all his gold on them and it wouldn't even be enough, and nothing remained for equipment.
If the expected strategy is that you live on bread and raw meat and Regeneration and the illegal bonemeal, then what's the point of having all the other stuff? What's the point of having 50 kind of food items when knowing that the player won't buy any of them? What's the point of even having health potions when they are unaffordable, having a cost of some 8 GP/HP?

And what do you have against buff potions?
It would be nice to have stuff like Haste potion (gives +6 AP for 10 turns), Attacker's potion (raises AC for some turns), Defender's potion (raises BC for some turns), Strength potion (raises damage for some turns), Warior's potion (raises both AC and BC for some turns), and stuff like that. And maybe stuff that raises critical, adds poison damage, etc. Also potions that remove harmful effects.
Right now what do we have instead? A very few potions that have a slight resemblace to those above, but all of them also have so nasty side effects that they do more harm than good, and they have such a high cost that one would think twice before using them even in a hard boss battle. Might as well not even have them, becouse no player in their right mind would buy them.
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Re: This game needs to be totally rebalanced

Post by Antison »

Lich King,

AT is a game of pros and cons. It's a game of consequences for your actions. Just like IRL, you must weigh your options before making a decision. Nothing is free. There's always a cost. Maybe not right away or even visible, but there is a cost.

There are a few really good two-handed weapons. Gleaming Claymore of Ruin, Xul'viir come to mind. But I do agree the more are needed. Especially in early game.

Flagstone's pride is actually a great early game weapon. As is the venomous dagger.
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