Problems With High Level Class Balance

For to fix what's broke, and improve what ain't. Or something thereabouts.

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neocamp22
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Problems With High Level Class Balance

Postby neocamp22 » Sat Mar 08, 2008 1:29 pm

It has become apparent with recent content that at higher levels that certain classes begin to shine while other appear to lag behind. This thread is for all discussion of these problems and possible solutions.

Please don't post complicated game mechanics and such, save those for the creative ideas thread.
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Postby Ryme » Sat Mar 08, 2008 1:37 pm

As I asked for the thread, I'll go ahead and start. Here's a few things I know:

1) Gadgeteers and Naturalists are missing a guaranteed to hit skill. Naturalists get a boost from their attacks, but it's not really enough, and it's very expensive in terms of PP to keep trying.

2) Naturalists can't heal, which gets tough at this high level, or expensive.

3) There's one foe that's nearly completely resistant to psychic damage, and psions are basically stuck without a workaround when they hit that foe. Can combat items cut it in those cases? I had hoped so, but if that's not the case we may need a workaround.

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Postby Olaf » Sat Mar 08, 2008 2:02 pm

Ryme wrote:1) Gadgeteers and Naturalists are missing a guaranteed to hit skill. Naturalists get a boost from their attacks, but it's not really enough, and it's very expensive in terms of PP to keep trying.
Well, Gadgeteers do have electric net and shock grenade, which I assume are guaranteed hits. They should almost be discounted for this discussion, though, because of the very low damage they do.
All I can think of to suggest for Gadgeteer skills is to have deleveling effects scale if they don't already.
I didn't have much trouble wth Naturalist when I was one, but I also didn't go very high in levels.
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Postby neocamp22 » Sat Mar 08, 2008 2:26 pm

Gonna chip in...

Just some random points, in no order

I agree that naturalists are probably the weakest class. Maybe naturalists could have some sort of passive skill (animal affinity?) that increases the power of their buffs.

Also, I support the scaling idea for naturalist buffs.

Maybe add a skill for naturalists that ups their hit chance.

And a passive skill for gadgeteers that ups their hit chance.

Psions are the most powerful class. They have +xp, extra time, +defense, and they do more damage consistently then any other class. Satan is hitting for 250 at level 53. When I was at level 50, I was hitting for 170ish, and now at 64 I'm hitting for 190ish. The only thing they don't have is a healing skill.

I'm sure I'll think of more things.
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Postby Cristiona » Sat Mar 08, 2008 7:43 pm

Ryme wrote:3) There's one foe that's nearly completely resistant to psychic damage, and psions are basically stuck without a workaround when they hit that foe.
The Lobster Bot is fire resistant, which neuters the Elemental's most powerful attack. And, really, not much sympathy on my end, probably because Gadgeteers are totally screwed there.

Really, the problem isn't just that Psions are the most powerful combat class, it's that between Meditation and Keen Observation, they will eventually fill every slot on every leaderboard except ASX and SUIT. Just look at the XP board. I think 6 or 7 of the players there are Psions. Even with my twinked stats and massive head start, I'll eventually be bumped off completely.


Elementals would be the most powerful (Firestorm + Lifeblood), but they don't have Keen/Meditation, so they'll slip behind Psions. I'd actually say they're reasonably balanced on their own.


Naturalists need some help, yeah. Their Animal Affinity skill is currently useless: less XP, no drops, no chips. I would actually support jacking up the XP for befriending animals. Perhaps 1.5x the normal XP. That way the player could chose between drops or more XP. Some form of healing is probably needed. Or, a weapon that gives, say 4% HP and 4% PP regen. At high enough levels, Trample of the Rhino might eventually pay for itself, especially when you add a Scottish Necklace or Waxing Nostalgic.


Gadgeteers. Poor, poor Gadgeteers. We need serious help at the upper end. Frankly, I don't think the two martial arts skills help much, our improved computer skills just add a step to everyone else, first aid is weak, and our delevels don't work well enough. Martial arts strike me as more to help lower level characters, and they're fine for that. Frankly, Stun Gas makes early levels cake. But, late levels...

First Aid needs to scale. I have over 900 HP. If I'm amazingly lucky and get 20HP each cast, I'm still looking at spending 270PP just to heal. After a certain point, it should scale to level. Perhaps, at level 30, it simply heals 1HP/level. Or 2/level. Or something like that. At 2/level, it would still take me between 8 and 9 castings to fully heal, at 6PP/heal.

Our delevels work for what they are, but once you get to serious monsters, they aren't enough. I'll frequently use 4 shock grenades for greater pit monsters. And since it's not a "combat spell", my Eye doesn't increase damage, and nothing will decrease costs. So, that's 53PP? And, sadly, about that much damage, too.

As you know, Ryme, I've been playing for quite some time and it wasn't until the space station that I ever found a use for electric net. And the only reason I used it is because there's a sonic-resist monster up there. Otherwise? Useless. The net should be replaced with something else, perhaps a passive that increases computer triggering. Or something that will give us a unique edge.

Shock Grenade should scale its damage. At level 68, anything I need to delevel isn't going to be rattled by 13 damage. Hell, double its delevel and remove the damage; that would work too. Or, even better, make it stun for a few rounds.

Finally, a scaling attack is really needed. Personally, I think it would be perfectly fitting for Gadgeteers to have access (at high levels, of course) to an orbiting military satellite. I mean, how awesome would calling down an orbital strike be?
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Postby MagiNinjA » Sat Mar 08, 2008 8:36 pm

neocamp22 wrote:Psions are the most powerful class. They have +xp, extra time, +defense, and they do more damage consistently then any other class. Satan is hitting for 250 at level 53. When I was at level 50, I was hitting for 170ish, and now at 64 I'm hitting for 190ish. The only thing they don't have is a healing skill.


They do have Knit Bone, which is less efficient than First Aid...

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Postby MagiNinjA » Sat Mar 08, 2008 9:19 pm

Sorry to double. Bad mod. Go back to hole!

Anyways...I was just thinking about the Gadgeteer...

Perhaps you could remove certain skills and effectively lower the level on some of the higher end stuff? Like Improved Tinkering and possibly Battle Armor, but eh. I think you could replace Basic Martial Arts with Advanced, assuming that the character knows basic martial arts beforehand.

>.>

<.<

And perhaps Supercomputer could become a sidequest skill for Gadgeteers?

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Postby TheK3vin » Sun Mar 09, 2008 9:50 am

I think naturalists just need a lunging thrust-smack-esque move that's guaranteed to hit or at least gives a boost to to-hit. I know you don't want TH to be a KoL clone, but there's a reason that skill exists. Because it's necessary for balance. Now I'm sure there are other solutions, but if you can't come up with one, that seems like the best route.

Now, for gadgeteers, why not give them a skill that lowers the enemies dodge chance (if they don't already have one, I've never played a gadgeteer to be honest)?

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Postby MagiNinjA » Sun Mar 09, 2008 11:38 am

And what Hamish just said is the fundamental problem. Gadgeteers are plinkers.

I still point back to my battle item idea...the one about Jeff from Earthbound.

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Postby Cristiona » Mon Mar 10, 2008 10:18 pm

MagiNinjA wrote:Gadgeteers are plinkers.
Idea:

A new buff, or even self-buff, that gives a +% to dodging ability (like the smarty pants). Make it scale (slightly) with level. Or, even better, blend that in with Battle Armor.

I could manage robots if their chance of hitting was roughly my own. The problem is when they dish out damage every single round while I hit every 10 or 15 rounds.

In fact, if this dodging ability was made powerful enough, it could potentially make up for not having a scaling attack. Call it wired reflexes, make it level 15, and make it a % per level of dodging an attack (crits would still hit, of course). Hell, make it stupidly expensive even, but it would be worth it.
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Postby Ryme » Tue Mar 11, 2008 8:09 am

I think finding a way for the gadgeteer to better delevel would make sense for their class, but I've got to be careful that it doesn't turn into the early shock grenade (I think that was the skill?) where you could just spam the delevel button until it's a piece of cake.

What about a PP-intensive, use-once-per-combat skill that made it tremendously more likely you would hit? (You've trapped the opponent in a snare, or something, so they can't dodge.) With maybe at least a little damage reduction for them, too. It encourages plinking, which I realize frustrates some people, but I think it fits the class.

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Postby Cristiona » Tue Mar 11, 2008 8:32 pm

Ryme wrote:I think finding a way for the gadgeteer to better delevel would make sense for their class, but I've got to be careful that it doesn't turn into the early shock grenade (I think that was the skill?) where you could just spam the delevel button until it's a piece of cake.
Stun Gas used to work like that. Of course, you still couldn't hit...

What about a PP-intensive, use-once-per-combat skill that made it tremendously more likely you would hit? (You've trapped the opponent in a snare, or something, so they can't dodge.) With maybe at least a little damage reduction for them, too. It encourages plinking, which I realize frustrates some people, but I think it fits the class.
Something like could work. 86 electric net, shove shock grenade into that slot, and give shock grenade's slot to the new skill.

Basically, I don't mind plinking. What I mind is that 90% of the damage I deal comes from Aegis + Fire Shield + Spines + Water Buffalo. When I can go through five straight combats (with a BLT) without hitting once, it's a little frustration.

I picture my poor hero standing there, looking bored, shooting wildly all over the place while a Rho Master bashes into her shields and body spines. "Um... do I even need to be here?"
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Postby Ryme » Tue Mar 11, 2008 9:43 pm

Cristiona wrote: When I can go through five straight combats (with a BLT) without hitting once, it's a little frustration.


This also confuses/concerns me, because I thought I had the foes dialed in so that they'd both hit and dodge roughly 50% of the time. Depends on which zone you're talking about, though.

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Postby Cristiona » Tue Mar 11, 2008 9:54 pm

Quadrant Delta Delta Delta Force.

I know I'm highly atypical in that zone, though. Still, the only time I hit is on a critical, and the only time they miss is on a fumble. Luckily, I've twinked out my damage reduction...
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Postby Ryme » Tue Mar 18, 2008 8:19 am

Feef Lovecraft wrote:Having only one way to level from 25+ and not being able to heal is really hugely sucky.


I'm not sure I understand either half of this comment. How many ways to level would one want? Can you provide an example of another way to level? And what's preventing you from healing?

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Postby Cristiona » Tue Mar 18, 2008 8:56 am

I think he means that there's only one place worth fighting to level. Of course, that's not really true any more. Sky, Delta, Gamma, Pit...
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Postby Ryme » Tue Mar 18, 2008 12:26 pm

Cristiona wrote:I think he means that there's only one place worth fighting to level. Of course, that's not really true any more. Sky, Delta, Gamma, Pit...


If "way to level" means "place to adventure" I guess that would have been true, a while back. But the sky's been around for at least a month, maybe more, and with the space station additions, the options just doubled, so it seems like a strange time to lodge a complaint about an issue that I feel like I just addressed. Which is why I'm a bit confused.

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Postby MagiNinjA » Tue Mar 18, 2008 3:47 pm

Just to let everyone know, the sky is being saved for future content. It's most CERTAINLY not complete.

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Postby Ryme » Tue Mar 18, 2008 3:54 pm

Feef Lovecraft wrote:A mid-way place where things level but aren't overwhemlingly hurty would be nifty.


Thanks for the clarification, that makes a lot more sense to me than the original comment. I do understand this desire. A couple of the locations in question are actually a bit, shall we say, "adjustable"? I'm going to leave it to the reader to figure out how, but it's possible to affect how tough the foes are.

When you're high level, the line between "completely inconsequential" and "downright painful" is very, very thin, and wildly different depending on your class, your stats, the items in your possession, etc., so it's VERY difficult to design the mid-way zone that's good for anyone, let alone lots of people. But I'll keep working on it.

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Postby neocamp22 » Tue Mar 18, 2008 6:14 pm

Just wanna repost this from PFE forums, if this is useful to anyone. :


Pit
XP: Based on level
Toughness: Based on level

Delta
XP: Based on Buffed stats
Toughness: Based on Buffed stats?

Sector 7
XP: Based on number of encounters, increases by 3-6 XP/encounter
Toughness: Based on number of encounters and level?

Row v. Wade
XP: ?
Toughness: ?

Sky
XP: Base Stats
Toughness: Base Stats
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Postby Ryme » Wed Mar 19, 2008 10:36 am

Socket wrote:Example 2: Posit a new piece of equipment, the Dimensional Frequency Resonance Tuner(accessory). If you wear this accessory while adventuring Through the Dimensional Gate, the enemies scale, but the level they scale to is rounded to the nearest 10. (i.e., adventure there at L25 and the enemies are L20; adventure there at L26 and they're L30)

Or possibly even have the dimensional tuner be adjustable, and allow the player to choose the level of their enemies (something like the KoL mind-control device)


This right here is, to a certain extent, possible with some of the current scaling zones and available equipment/skills. Not quite as described, but things are more adjustable than I think most people realize.

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Postby Corrupt Shadow » Wed Mar 19, 2008 11:25 am

Seems like a good idea to me, Ryme.

I think it sounds like it'll be fun (if not challenging).
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Re: Problems With High Level Class Balance

Postby Kurg » Thu Feb 11, 2010 6:06 am

For Naturalists:
Could fix their lack of healing by making Starfish Regeneration scale, so at higher levels it's more significant than +2 HP/level.
For something more special...maybe a 'Hunting' skill(needs a better name) that gives them a +item boost, but ONLY for animal-type foes. Basically, when faced with animal foes, Naturalists could tame them for extra exp and no items, or kill them for standard exp and a somewhat increased chance of items.
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Re: Problems With High Level Class Balance

Postby Corrupt Shadow » Thu Feb 11, 2010 7:17 am

Whoa--that's a thread from the past.

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Re: Problems With High Level Class Balance

Postby Kurg » Thu Feb 11, 2010 7:25 am

Oops :oops: I hadn't really noticed how old this thread was, sorry. Will try and be more careful in the future.
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Re: Problems With High Level Class Balance

Postby Corrupt Shadow » Thu Feb 11, 2010 9:23 am

I'm just kidding with you, man.
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Re: Problems With High Level Class Balance

Postby Ryme » Thu Feb 11, 2010 6:47 pm

It's perfectly appropriate to pick up a topical thread if you have insight.

I'd argue it's far less appropriate to flip out and make fun of it with massive image spam.

Of the two, there's only one I really want a lot of on this forum.... (hint?)

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Re: Problems With High Level Class Balance

Postby Corrupt Shadow » Thu Feb 11, 2010 8:31 pm

Yes, sir.

T'was just a joke.
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