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Author Topic: Ruminating about MAc balance and Game Balance in general...  (Read 16299 times)

Madtrixr

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[2010-04-10 14:51:29] <Madtrixr> So...
[2010-04-10 14:51:32] * Madtrixr decides to stir up discussion.
[2010-04-10 14:51:36] <Madtrixr> Ammochain: How fix it?
[2010-04-10 14:51:42] <Gargulec> Don't/
[2010-04-10 14:51:48] <Madtrixr> ...
[2010-04-10 14:52:08] <DaveC> More important is Berserker.
[2010-04-10 14:52:10] <Gargulec> Why? Cause any fixing would probably make it totally not worth it.
[2010-04-10 14:52:49] <Gargulec> Only one I can partially agree is Thomas one that guns still need reloading, and ammochain generates ammo only after there is no left in inv
[2010-04-10 14:53:21] * Madtrixr still likes no reloading but takes ammo from backpack
[2010-04-10 14:53:30] <Gargulec> To weak.
[2010-04-10 14:53:35] <Gargulec> Too*
[2010-04-10 14:53:37] <Madtrixr> One whole chain.
[2010-04-10 14:53:44] <Gargulec> I would not take it...
[2010-04-10 14:53:57] <Gargulec> Build would just not be worth it, Cat is better anyday
[2010-04-10 14:54:16] <Madtrixr> But it's borken right now.
[2010-04-10 14:54:22] * DaveC doesn't really use rapid-fire builds
[2010-04-10 14:54:23] <Madtrixr> I can have NO ammo.
[2010-04-10 14:54:28] <Madtrixr> in my gun or pack.
[2010-04-10 14:54:32] <Madtrixr> and still fire.
[2010-04-10 14:54:50] <Madtrixr> *borked. damn it, that typo will work for me.
[2010-04-10 14:55:15] <Gargulec> And with Mad you do not even care whether an enemy is wearing no armor or full body ultra mega duper suit of phlebotium
[2010-04-10 14:55:23] <Gargulec> With shotguns.
[2010-04-10 14:55:31] <Madtrixr> Right,.
[2010-04-10 14:55:32] <Madtrixr> I know.
[2010-04-10 14:55:53] <Madtrixr> Even though I die halfway to MAD...
[2010-04-10 14:55:59] <Madtrixr> Half of the time,.
[2010-04-10 14:56:21] <Gargulec> And 99% of my AoB runs end on dlevel 2
[2010-04-10 14:57:30] <Gargulec> So what? Ammochain is tad broken, but sadly there is no good way to fix it.
[2010-04-10 14:57:54] <Gargulec> Cateye was DISABLED due to being overpowered, and now it is scarcely used.
[2010-04-10 14:58:15] <Gargulec> Should Ammochain lose it's paw, everyone would switch to Cat, and MAc would not be used.
[2010-04-10 14:58:31] * Madtrixr sighs...
[2010-04-10 14:58:37] <Madtrixr> Some people...
[2010-04-10 14:58:47] <Gargulec> ?
[2010-04-10 14:59:07] <Madtrixr> Well, cause you're right.
[2010-04-10 14:59:23] <Madtrixr> A mojority of the people want to win, so they go ammo chain; now.
[2010-04-10 14:59:39] <Madtrixr> if it was nerfed, they would all switch to cateye.
[2010-04-10 14:59:46] <Madtrixr> then something else...
[2010-04-10 15:00:01] * Madtrixr just sticks with Shotguns.
[2010-04-10 15:00:04] <Gargulec> There is one sure way to solve it- buff all other master traits... AND then add some nasty, nasty things that make game harder.
[2010-04-10 15:00:26] <Gargulec> So all master traits are more or less on par with Ammochain, but game itself gets much harder.
[2010-04-10 15:01:06] <Gargulec> This would, sadly, totally remove non master traited runs, but this is an unavoidable, sadly.
[2010-04-10 15:01:37] <Madtrixr> I'm always shooting for master traits, TBH.
[2010-04-10 15:01:46] * Gargulec as well
[2010-04-10 15:01:50] <Gargulec> Apart from AoMr
[2010-04-10 15:01:51] <Madtrixr> The one time I didn't was when I was looking for the DS...
[2010-04-10 15:02:18] <Gargulec> Where I go SoG-SoG-DG-SoG-Fin-Fin-WK-SoB-Sob-SoB
[2010-04-10 15:02:32] <Gargulec> This is just more fun that wa
[2010-04-10 15:02:34] <Gargulec> y
[2010-04-10 15:03:21] <Gargulec> And removing Ammochain would simply annoy people.
[2010-04-10 15:03:26] <Madtrixr> Yeah.
[2010-04-10 15:03:39] <Madtrixr> He would never hear the end of it if Ac was removed...
[2010-04-10 15:03:47] <Gargulec> And, truth be told, IIRC, rapid fire builds were always the strongest ones.
[2010-04-10 15:04:08] <Gargulec> First Intuition being broken, then Cateye, now MAc...
[2010-04-10 15:04:53] <Gargulec> The problem appears to be much deeper than just MAc... It is rapid fire being overpowered.
[2010-04-10 15:05:30] <Madtrixr> hmm
[2010-04-10 15:05:39] <Gargulec> And I am against nerfs per se, I'd rather see game getting harder and other traits getting stronger
[2010-04-10 15:05:57] <Madtrixr> That i could get behind
[2010-04-10 15:06:03] <Gargulec> Nerfs tend to cause rage, while buffs do bring rejoice 
[2010-04-10 15:06:08] <Madtrixr> Yeah.
[2010-04-10 15:06:18] * Madtrixr remembers the famous WoW thing
[2010-04-10 15:06:48] <Gargulec> So, what I'd suggest, as I said, every master trait gets a massive boost, MAc is left as it is and game is made harder
[2010-04-10 15:07:11] <Madtrixr> That would do it, but how to power up the other Master traits...
[2010-04-10 15:07:36] <Gargulec> Okay... Cat- sight radius +2, autohit with missile weapons
[2010-04-10 15:07:51] <Gargulec> For example.
[2010-04-10 15:07:54] <DaveC> Blademaster?
[2010-04-10 15:08:24] <Madtrixr> MAD: Increased Knockback, extra damage to non armor?
[2010-04-10 15:08:32] <Gargulec> You automatically melee everything in range.
[2010-04-10 15:09:12] <Gargulec> Or better yet, automatic free action AFTER any melee hit
[2010-04-10 15:09:33] <Gargulec>  MAD: Vastly decreased shotgun damage dropoff
[2010-04-10 15:09:53] <Madtrixr> Oh, yeah, that would work.
[2010-04-10 15:10:28] <Gargulec> Fireangle- all weapons now deal fire damage
[2010-04-10 15:11:28] <Madtrixr> MGK...
[2010-04-10 15:11:36] <Gargulec> GK- free shot after dodge, apart from that, no idea
[2010-04-10 15:11:49] * DaveC will be back later
[2010-04-10 15:11:50] *** DaveC changed nick to DaveC|away
[2010-04-10 15:11:50] <Gargulec> Truth be told, pistol builds would still be fine with that
[2010-04-10 15:12:16] <Gargulec> Vampyre- no changes. Power of that build is impressive enough
[2010-04-10 15:12:32] <Madtrixr> 2 shots for the Price of 1, but that might be hard to do, and almost too over powered...
[2010-04-10 15:12:47] <Gargulec> And now about making the game harder...
[2010-04-10 15:13:25] * Gargulec hopes that Mad will gather those thoughts and post them. He himself is not feeling like posting today.
[2010-04-10 15:13:54] <Madtrixr> *sigh*...Oh alright...
[2010-04-10 15:13:54] <ParaSaitLaptop> loooooooool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aBWAv8zFLL4
[2010-04-10 15:13:58] <ParaSaitLaptop> Can't stop loling :D
[2010-04-10 15:14:47] <Gargulec> The game, the game...
[2010-04-10 15:14:57] <Gargulec> All that comes into my mind are new monsters
[2010-04-10 15:15:16] * Gargulec thinks that powered up versions of monsters already would do.
[2010-04-10 15:16:02] <Gargulec> Like hellish revenants, firing at 2x the speed of normal ones.
[2010-04-10 15:16:33] <Gargulec> Or arachs that fire burst 1.4x longer
[2010-04-10 15:16:59] <Gargulec> Or old cacos... those with attack better than HK's, better Acc and bigger splash
[2010-04-10 15:21:27] <Gargulec> ??
[2010-04-10 15:22:16] <Madtrixr> Whut? It's good.
[2010-04-10 15:22:18] <Madtrixr> I like.
[2010-04-10 15:22:48] <Gargulec> Then go to posting. I real want to see it said by somebody who operates english with ease
[2010-04-10 15:22:53] <Gargulec> Please.
[2010-04-10 15:23:14] <Madtrixr> Oy...FINE.
[2010-04-10 15:23:23] <Gargulec> Sorry for being rude etc., but I am feeling angry today, sorry
[2010-04-10 15:30:20] <Madtrixr> G: What should I post exactly?
[2010-04-10 15:30:48] <Gargulec> The argument. Mine, your opinion on it and suggested solutions, by both of us, I think
[2010-04-10 15:31:13] * Madtrixr will probably logdump.
[2010-04-10 15:31:20] <Gargulec> Yhm.
[2010-04-10 15:31:28] <Madtrixr> That fine?
[2010-04-10 15:31:33] <Gargulec> Yeah
[2010-04-10 15:31:37] <Madtrixr> K.

This is a conversation Me and Gargulec had on IRC earlier. I put this here to hopefully stimulate some discussion about how to go about balancing the game better, in our (differing) opinions.

I did this cause G's lazy :P.
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ChaoticJosh

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Re: Ruminating about MAc balance and Game Balance in general...
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2010, 17:09 »

I'm gonna have to ask Garg to come here personally and recite what his stance on the issue is again, as I think it'd be rude to just take your word for it.

I'll just quote what I said in a very similar thread which is occurring as of this moment, regarding my stance on the issue:

I think it's a universal agreement that ammochain is overpowered....

It's simple, simply require that automatic weapons require no reloading. What I mean: instead of having to reload, ammochain simply does what it's name implies, that is it "chains" your ammo together. So, put simply, when your gun hits zero ammo, it doesn't need to be reloaded, it'll simply start shooting ammo straight from your inventory. This would help it retain value as a master trait, and would improve the lasting power of the chainfire ability. You wouldn't need to worry about the long reloading times of chainguns or plasma rifles, but you'd have to especially conscious of how much ammo you might be blasting recklessly. Also, it wouldn't negate the ammo collecting or conservation aspects, and you'd still need to reload after the battle's over in order to conserve inventory space. I think that would make it excellently balanced.

Now, I can't take credit for this idea, as I remember hearing about it in a similar discussion. I just can't remember who said it or where. It deserves mentioning though.

So in other words, I'm in agreement with you Trixr. There seems to be some disagreement regarding the actual usefulness of this, that this change would make it not worth it, but I've yet to hear an even semi-plausible reason of why this nerf would be too much. To me, it seems just perfect.
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Gargulec

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Re: Ruminating about MAc balance and Game Balance in general...
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2010, 17:12 »

Because this is weaker than current Cateye. And since the way to Ammochain is paved with not-so-useful-rapid-fire-traits, people would stop using Ammochain in favour of Cateye, which, at one point was taken off the game due to being overpowered, and it has much better requirements than Ammochain.
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ChaoticJosh

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Re: Ruminating about MAc balance and Game Balance in general...
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2010, 17:53 »

So wait, you tolerate the overpowered Mac because then people would just hop over to the overpowered cateye? How is having two overpowered abilities better than having one?

Though, for the sake of accuracy in this discussion, since I've only ever played around with catye like once, can you elaborate on what cateye does that makes it overpowered and would inspire this very meta argument of yours?
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Gargulec

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Re: Ruminating about MAc balance and Game Balance in general...
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2010, 18:03 »

So wait, you tolerate the overpowered Mac because then people would just hop over to the overpowered cateye? How is having two overpowered abilities better than having one?

Though, for the sake of accuracy in this discussion, since I've only ever played around with catye like once, can you elaborate on what cateye does that makes it overpowered and would inspire this very meta argument of yours?

Why two overpowered traits of the same build are better than one overpowered? Since if only one is overpowered, the second becomes unnecessary, since nobody use it. So why it is in game, even? And if two are overpowered, both are equally useful. You also seem to ignore the part of my idea about making every other master trait on par with Ammochain, and then making the late game much more difficult to balance things out.

Cateye usefulness comes from two things: It allows you snipe enemies from outside their LOS, thus killing them without even being attacked. Second is the thing that due to enemies AI, they do not react properly to begin shot from outside LOS, making them easy targets.
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ChaoticJosh

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Re: Ruminating about MAc balance and Game Balance in general...
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2010, 18:32 »

I don't know, this seems to run on flawed assumptions. This is assuming that everyone ranks these traits similiarly, and that everyone has the same playstyle to accommodate this. In my opinion, Cateye doesn't seem useful enough to warrant the level of caution you're treating it with. Yeah, it increases LOS, and allows sniping, but that's it, and it blocks TaN (a very useful trait), and it doesn't seem to be even half as gamebreaking as Mac is. So I'm thinking that saying everyone will jump over to it seems exaggerated.

I didn't mention the 'make everything else more powerful to be on par with Ammochain' idea was because it seems like a bloated and unnecessary suggestion. It'd be much easier to nerf ammochain, see how the community's strategies develop, and then make any changes if further problems develop rather than attempting to preemptively anticipate and fix meta problems.

And even if you're right, and cateye is as powerful as you claim it to be, couldn't you level that out by modifying monster AI to respond better to being shot at?
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BEEF

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Re: Ruminating about MAc balance and Game Balance in general...
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2010, 21:32 »

Cateye usefulness comes from two things: It allows you snipe enemies from outside their LOS, thus killing them without even being attacked. Second is the thing that due to enemies AI, they do not react properly to begin shot from outside LOS, making them easy targets.
For what it's worth, I like to play Cateye a lot and monsters seem to react just fine to being hit from out of LOS, and they even seem to start heading towards you when they enter your LOS without being shot at. So its main advantage is that you get extra shots while they approach you, not that you get unlimited extra shots at them. That's what inuition 2 is for.

Intuition 2 is probably more broken than Cateye. Knowing exactly where every enemy is lets you shoot into the dark until everybody is dead, and if anybody gets upset you can just run away until they get bored. At least with Cateye you generally have to get close enough that there's a danger of them noticing you and getting close enough to shoot at you.

My quick fix for intuition 2: Have it only show the general locations of monsters, sticking their dots randomly in a 3x3 (or 5x5) square centered on the monster. You'll still know what corners have monsters lurking behind them, but you can't reliably snipe them to death without having a really good idea of where they are already. Alternately or additionally, it can fail for weaker monsters; your spidey sense doesn't tingle for imps when it's being throttled by arachnotrons.


As for Ammochain, my big complaint is that it's boring. You're running around with a plasma rifle 95% of the time because there's no reason to use anything else, and that "bloink!" sound gets irritating pretty fast.
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Fanta Hege

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Re: Ruminating about MAc balance and Game Balance in general...
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2010, 02:11 »

To be honest, making everything else as powerful as Ammochain and then buffing up the rest of the game doesn't seem that much of fun. =/

If you ask me, Ammochain should receive nerf of a type that would effect the traits it blocks.
Now tell me, does soag really hurt you that much about beeing blocked? No? Great! lets change it to hellrunner or ironman and bam! You lose even more defense. Now only problem might be finding grammaton cleric beretta and using it with ammochain but still...

Ammochain is somewhat OP right now, but you really don't need that drastic measures for it.

Also even though I've been an ammochain fan in the past, the latest fast monsters buff has made imps sucha a gigantic pain in the ass in N! I nowdays use Fireangel due of the reloader and shotguns going so well hand to hand and soab or fin just doesn't cut the cake in early game anymore to provide enough damage input against them.


Int 2 could use some fixing aswell, but considering if you do not have a rocket launcher and don't know where the wall and items are.. You're just basicly hurting yourself with the paranoia when using it.

Cateye is okay as it is right now due of the regruitments and the trait blockings.

Also about those imps I mentioned earlier and N!? Imps could really do with an accuracy reduction of 1 or 2, seriously, they seem to snipe and hit no matter how much I try dodge and with the fast monster buff, they are basicly now worse then caco's and hellknights IMO with that darn fast rate of fire and the masses they appear in. N! could also look into the resurrection rate a bit more, I swear it has fastened up in this version..
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Melon

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Re: Ruminating about MAc balance and Game Balance in general...
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2010, 03:37 »

Leave the ammochain as it is now. You cannot use Eagle Eye, to before you actually hit a monster, a lot of bullets will just hit the wall. You have to find accuracy mods and use hide and shoot tactics. It block TaN, so this is auto-kill when you meet arachnotrons or former commandos.

Leave it be!
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Game Hunter

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Re: Ruminating about MAc balance and Game Balance in general...
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2010, 03:53 »

Rapid-fire builds, sans Ammochain, are only viable because of one key trait: Son of a Bitch.  Having the extra damage negates problems against armor, kills things in general faster, and conserves your ammo when you can kill in one round instead of two (or two instead of three, more often than not).  Ammochain, technically, does not NEED this trait, for two reasons:

- No worries about ammo
- Plasma cuts through armor like no tomorrow

Perhaps changing the requirements of Ammochain will nerf it enough without doing too much damage.  Specifically, I was thinking something like WK (1), SoaB (1), Rel (2).  This forces a couple of points into something that, in most cases, won't even be considered during a rapid-fire run: however, it STILL has uses for explosive weapons, not to mention it "makes sense" that you'd have to learn how to reload to be able to chain ammo like that (it's not like we're saying the ammo comes from thin air after all).  Naturally there are plenty of different possibilities here, and I'm here we could figure out something good.  Unfortunately, it's hard to argue against the current requirements, especially with the blocked EE trait.

While I do like the idea of MAc turning all your stacks into a single bunch, this would throw away any usefulness in obtaining the Backpack.  This isn't so much bad as it is unprecedented: traits narrow your options and what you want to get but never obsolete equipment entirely.  And when you consider that (again, looking over MAc) rapid-fire builds basically depend on having as much ammo as possible, the Backpack is one of those things you plan on...removing the strategy of preparation for The Wall would diminish some enjoyment.

Alternatively, Ammochain could just instantly reload your rapid-fire gun whenever it runs out of ammo ala Madtrixr.  This really isn't all that bad, either: you still have to carry ammo but you never have to worry if the clip runs out (compounded that you never had to put a point into Reloader!).  However, the problem with THIS change comes from the inherent (albeit weak) balancing that Melon brought up: no EE.  The biggest flaw in a rapid-fire weapon lies in the inability to hit anything past a couple tiles.  Without modding, the only reason Ammochain is even viable is BECAUSE you never run out of ammo...you'll barely hit anything with that infinite chain going.  What tends to break the MAc build, ultimately, is achieving A2 on your weapon of choice, upping the chance to hit to that of a pistol...easily enough to hit most of the time, which begs the question why you need infinite ammo anymore.

Maybe what we should fix, then, is the A2 that is easily attainable with explosives (or careful strategy) in the Chained Court, which is 1) always generated and, 2) rather early in the game.  (The exception, A100, sees so many mods that it doesn't matter all that much anyway.)  Possibilities:

- Randomize the mod type.  Quick fix, probably no changes in balancing other than the aforementioned issue, still worth checking out (what I wouldn't give for some early power mods in a shotty run).
- Only one mod is an agility type.  This still provides the much-desired agility on boots for other games, and A1 isn't QUITE enough to be game-breaking.  You'll have to wait until at least Armory (if it even shows up) to attain that glorious pistol accuracy.  The other mod can be whatever, but I'd suggest tech (if only because it's the only mod not guaranteed in some special level).
- Replace the mods altogether with other equipment.  Maybe put an early plasma rifle in there, or some protective boots, or red armor, or even with the small chance of an exotic piece.  It's less favorable to MAc and more favorable to any build at all, which is certainly part of the purpose of special levels (I'm looking at you, four Berserk Packs and Chainsaw).

Anyway, plenty of options to think about.  I would dispute strongly that rebalancing the entire game for the sake of a single POSSIBLE build is overdoing things, and Kornel (I'm sure) is looking for something a lot easier to implement.

Cateye is a great build, too, although it does tend to pare in comparison to an A2 Ammochain run.  It has the benefit of stacking with Int (2), although a lot would argue that these are redundant and would happily choose the one that doesn't block TaN.  The practicality of MCe lies in long-distance shooting (EE tends to be useless after a single point) which, due to the dimensions of the game, doesn't really come up all that often.  A lot of levels throw you into a herd of nasty monsters, or a cave, or an arena, or a bunch of small rooms, or a maze that lacks big areas.  Cateye just doesn't tend to matter in those situations, ending up rusty by the time it is guaranteed useful (Phobos Arena, MAYBE Mortuary if you're ready).  Ammochain, on the other hand, is useful 100% of the time, and is used 100% of the time (unless, for some reason, you need to pull out an explosive weapon), so there is no rust.

As for the rest...

- MGK really loses its spark on harder difficulties.  More monsters mean more bullets mean less ammo overall.  With SoaB locked out, you WILL run out of bullets unless you start floor diving and, to me, a build that advocates avoiding combat isn't a very persuasive one.  Compare MFa, which still has combat uses (such as fighting up against walls, or Arch-viles, or Revs half of the time) while still being defensive.  Check out the Second Pistol Master Trait topic in Requests for Features on ideas for something more offensive: so long as there is a pistol master that can do something against the ever-increasing hordes, I'm happy.
- I'll be frank: do people really use MBm or MVm outside of AoB?  Is it REALLY necessary to have two master traits for a build that is only used a very small fraction of the time?  Based on the mortems, MVm is much preferred over MBm, so I'd tend to leave that one and just keep Cleaver as the remains of Blademaster.
- MAD is fine.  It MIGHT be overpowered, except Fin and HR are both blocked which tends to prevent freedom of battle options.  You are either going to take advantage of armor-piercing shells and radar-shoot the hell out of everything, or you are going to be in a lot of pain.
- Intuition on the second level is pretty ridiculous, except you are basically paying two points to get it (the first level is marginally useful at best, and only once you have the second level) so I think that one's balanced out.  It also makes you get two EE which is, again, rather overkill on accuracy.

I'll post some ideas for the rest in terms of actual changes later, kinda sleepy right now.
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Gargulec

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Re: Ruminating about MAc balance and Game Balance in general...
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2010, 05:19 »

For what it's worth, I like to play Cateye a lot and monsters seem to react just fine to being hit from out of LOS, and they even seem to start heading towards you when they enter your LOS without being shot at. So its main advantage is that you get extra shots while they approach you, not that you get unlimited extra shots at them. That's what inuition 2 is for.
Hmpf, it may be that KK fixed this LOS issue some time ago. I should have remembered.

As for Ammochain, my big complaint is that it's boring. You're running around with a plasma rifle 95% of the time because there's no reason to use anything else, and that "bloink!" sound gets irritating pretty fast.
Can't agree on that- I have very fond memories of playing with Ammochain, and it did not appear to be boring

To be honest, making everything else as powerful as Ammochain and then buffing up the rest of the game doesn't seem that much of fun. =/
Whyso? Acquiring power beyond measure (hey MAc!) is the very essence of fun in game for me. And then being presented with situation that DO require such power to solve could be even more fun.

If you ask me, Ammochain should receive nerf of a type that would effect the traits it blocks.
Now tell me, does soag really hurt you that much about beeing blocked? No? Great! lets change it to hellrunner or ironman and bam! You lose even more defense. Now only problem might be finding grammaton cleric beretta and using it with ammochain but still...
Now that is more or less reasonable suggestion, though I don't know whether it would be enough.

Ammochain is somewhat OP right now, but you really don't need that drastic measures for it.

Also even though I've been an ammochain fan in the past, the latest fast monsters buff has made imps sucha a gigantic pain in the ass in N! I nowdays use Fireangel due of the reloader and shotguns going so well hand to hand and soab or fin just doesn't cut the cake in early game anymore to provide enough damage input against them.
Of N!, I wont speak, because I do not have any experience with it. And you're probably right on that subject anyway.

Rapid-fire builds, sans Ammochain, are only viable because of one key trait: Son of a Bitch.  Having the extra damage negates problems against armor, kills things in general faster, and conserves your ammo when you can kill in one round instead of two (or two instead of three, more often than not).  Ammochain, technically, does not NEED this trait, for two reasons:

- No worries about ammo
- Plasma cuts through armor like no tomorrow

Perhaps changing the requirements of Ammochain will nerf it enough without doing too much damage.  Specifically, I was thinking something like WK (1), SoaB (1), Rel (2).  This forces a couple of points into something that, in most cases, won't even be considered during a rapid-fire run: however, it STILL has uses for explosive weapons, not to mention it "makes sense" that you'd have to learn how to reload to be able to chain ammo like that (it's not like we're saying the ammo comes from thin air after all).  Naturally there are plenty of different possibilities here, and I'm here we could figure out something good.  Unfortunately, it's hard to argue against the current requirements, especially with the blocked EE trait.
The problem is that SoaB-less MAc run will not only suffer greatly in early game, but also may not have the necessary stopping power in the deeper dungeons.

According to wiki, average damage from chaingun is 14.5 (3.5*4=14) and from plasma (4*6=24). This is, of course, assuming all shots hit, which is unlikely. Now, how SoB and Tri alter this? Chaingun with SoB2 and Tri1 will deal  22.5 damage on average (3.5*5=17.5+5), and plasma with SoB1 would deal 30 damage (4*6=24). But assuming that all shots hit. Now... The chaingun in cateye EE 2, which makes it +6 in acc, thus giving it chance of hitting of about 80-90%, so it does not reduce the damage greatly, while your MAc plasma with acc+2 will hit 50% of times, reducing the damage by HALF. This is, of course, not counting plasma armor reduction quality and chainfire, but those factors cannot change the outcome.
 
While I do like the idea of MAc turning all your stacks into a single bunch, this would throw away any usefulness in obtaining the Backpack.  This isn't so much bad as it is unprecedented: traits narrow your options and what you want to get but never obsolete equipment entirely.  And when you consider that (again, looking over MAc) rapid-fire builds basically depend on having as much ammo as possible, the Backpack is one of those things you plan on...removing the strategy of preparation for The Wall would diminish some enjoyment.
Again, can't agree on that. The Wall is a rather difficult special level, and I do not do it unless I am really armed to the teeth. And backpack is not necessary (useful, yes) in any type of run. So it would not dimnish my enjoyment.

Alternatively, Ammochain could just instantly reload your rapid-fire gun whenever it runs out of ammo ala Madtrixr.  This really isn't all that bad, either: you still have to carry ammo but you never have to worry if the clip runs out (compounded that you never had to put a point into Reloader!).  However, the problem with THIS change comes from the inherent (albeit weak) balancing that Melon brought up: no EE.  The biggest flaw in a rapid-fire weapon lies in the inability to hit anything past a couple tiles.  Without modding, the only reason Ammochain is even viable is BECAUSE you never run out of ammo...you'll barely hit anything with that infinite chain going.  What tends to break the MAc build, ultimately, is achieving A2 on your weapon of choice, upping the chance to hit to that of a pistol...easily enough to hit most of the time, which begs the question why you need infinite ammo anymore.
More or less agree- this variant of MAc would not be powerful enough to be used.

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Re: Ruminating about MAc balance and Game Balance in general...
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2010, 13:26 »

Quote from: Gargulec
The problem is that SoaB-less MAc run will not only suffer greatly in early game, but also may not have the necessary stopping power in the deeper dungeons.
The problem is quickly resolved after a couple more levels, which will almost certainly be directed toward the remaining SoaBs (and quite likely TH for more shots after).  The purpose of this kind of nerf is to dedicate yourself more to the Ammochain, which is done by adding superfluous traits (ie, Reloader) into the core requirements.  Whether or not it's too problematic, I'm not sure...that's the kind of thing testing is for.

Quote from: Gargulec
Quote from: Fanta Hege
    To be honest, making everything else as powerful as Ammochain and then buffing up the rest of the game doesn't seem that much of fun. =/
Whyso? Acquiring power beyond measure (hey MAc!) is the very essence of fun in game for me. And then being presented with situation that DO require such power to solve could be even more fun.
Sure, this could be something to work on right now.  On the other hand, there are a lot of other ways to improve the game that don't involve spiking the difficulty curve: other special levels, a second "dungeon" (I was thinking Deimos: fewer formers, faster scaling of equipment, and with the Spiderdemon at the end instead of ol' Cybie), fixing the projectile pathing, and so on and so forth.

What is different about the power that comes from, say, acquiring Jackhammer or Railgun or double Blasters from the power of MAc is that it is absolutely guaranteed if you can survive the first bit (which, relative to any other build, isn't hard...we're only talking about Clvl 7).   Afterwards, all ammo concerns are thrown out the window and, in a typical run, you'll already have the blessed A2 to make your shots pretty accurate.  So long as you don't run into something that would kill ANYONE, it's a pretty straightforward rest of the game.

Anyway.  Of the options I mentioned I would definitely pick the revision of Chained Court such that A2 is no longer guaranteed.  Without accuracy, Ammochain is limited in its scope such that it would not be OP, and so reaching that status would require some luck.  Just like any other build.  (MAD needs shells later on, MGK superbly benefits from a special pistol, MCe wants open levels, et cetera.)
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Re: Ruminating about MAc balance and Game Balance in general...
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2010, 13:50 »

blademaster should let you dual wield in melee
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Re: Ruminating about MAc balance and Game Balance in general...
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2010, 14:45 »

blademaster should let you dual wield in melee

Totally, completely useless. Damage output is not an issue in melee, so why the hell would one want to dual-wield. Also, dual wield what? Chainsaw and LS?
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Re: Ruminating about MAc balance and Game Balance in general...
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2010, 15:52 »

2 knives. or put in swords or something.

Two knives are still worse than one chainsaw. Or LS. Or BC. Or DS.
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Re: Ruminating about MAc balance and Game Balance in general...
« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2010, 17:12 »

In the other thread somebody suggested that guns consume ammo like normal, but reloading Ammochain guns requires no ammo from your backpack. Suppose on top of that, chainfiring draws ammo out of your backpack when the gun itself runs out. To prevent exploiting it for BFG ammo among other things, trying to unload a rapid-fire weapon yields a message like "You can't unload the gun without destroying it, it's belt-fed! Unload anyway? (y/n)"

You'd still have unlimited ammo, but you'd have a moment of weakness while you stop to reload. If you can't spare that moment, you can start chainfiring and dip into your ammo reserve. Magazine size becomes a consideration again, so bulk mods and miniguns are at a premium. Finally, it keeps Juggler and the chaingun from being completely obsolete, by letting you switch to a new source renewable ammo before reloading.
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Re: Ruminating about MAc balance and Game Balance in general...
« Reply #16 on: April 11, 2010, 20:48 »

Buffing everything (including monsters) to MAc level is silly, if not because of the fact that the game becomes instakill weapon vs instakill monster then because of the fact that balancing several changes at the same time like that would be highly difficult.

With this in mind, a nerf of MAc is required. Currently, as somebody I can't quite remember so correctly said, MAc helps the player in many ways. Removing a couple would result in a much more balanced trait.

1. Helps with time management. No more reloading!
2a. Helps with ammo management...
2b. and hence inventory management.
3. Hey, who needs a chaingun any more?
4. Slightly increases damage output (in that you can now chainfire for longer without stopping)
The downside is currently no TaN. There is no other downside.

The most obvious way of balancing it, and really the only one that's both simple to implement and effective, is either removing the "Guns don't cost ammo" or "Guns don't need reloading" part, making the trait either "Guns can draw ammo from your pack without needing to reload" or "Guns now require no ammo, but still need reloading.". Either of these 2 will reduce the ways the trait helps you down to 3 instead of 5.

Another way would be to reduce the damage of chainguns in general. This makes ammochain suffer immensely, because the whole point of ammochain is to kill things before they get a chance to fire. A way to do this (that would also make SoaB viable for non-chaingun builds) is to make SoaB "All attacks made by you do 10%/20%/30% extra damage, rounded up." Because chainguns do 1d6, half the time 30% is worth +1, half the time 30% is worth +2.

If this turns out to make chainguns too weak, we could slightly increase their base accuracy/damage and HEY PRESTO THEY AREN'T USELESS WITHOUT TRAITS just like Mr. Shotgun

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Re: Ruminating about MAc balance and Game Balance in general...
« Reply #17 on: April 11, 2010, 22:57 »

I agree that buffing all the master traits, then making the monsters powerful, is a terrible idea. You would be pretty much forcing players to get a master trait.

Having ammochain make your rapid-fire guns automatically refill without having to stop and reload seems like a bad idea too. It would, indeed, be underpowered. I seldom find myself in a situation where I can't step away to safety and reload when I'm using a rapidfire weapon. If I do come across a big enough group of powerful enemies that I would need more than 5 bursts of my plasma rifle, I'm going to use my BFG, Ammochain or no Ammochain.

Having them use no ammo, but require reloading... seems counterintuitive to what ammochain is. ANd I don't think it would nerf the trait much, since beaing unable to stop and reload is seldom a problem outside of a few areas with huge monster generation like the Mortuary. Outside of those areas it wouldn't change anything.

The earlier suggestion of forcing players to get the reloader trait seems redundant. I think that the Ammochain build is already weak in the early levels, even with SoB.

This is mostly because you can't get Eagle Eye. That makes a HUGE difference in the beginning--my Cateye runs are a breeze in the early levels. Having both Eagle Eye and SoB makes Hell's Arena pretty easy once you get the chaingun. And that chaingun continues to be useful throughout the game, so the plasma rifle is just a nice little bonus when you get it.

In an ammochain run, I often wind up using mostly shotguns in the early game. The high miss rate lowers the damage and makes it very unreliable. I would say that an unmodded chaingun is worse than the combat shotgun, even with SoB and Triggerhappy. You can use one or two of the agility mods in the Chained Court, but you run the risk of making your plasma rifle unreliable in the late game. And if you do save those agility mods, you will have an awesome weapon once you find the plasma gun... but you don't know when that will be. I remember one Ammochain run where I didn't find a single plasma gun in the first 13 levels! I finally found one on level 14. A former commando killed me with it.

So I think the game is hard enough in the early game. I think this difficulty does a pretty good job of balancing out how much easier it makes the endgame.

If you want to "nerf" the trait a little bit, how about making it so that you consume no ammo only when you're chainfiring? You could further "nerf" it by making it so that Chainfiring reduces your fire rate by half in the first round, instead of by 1/3. This would let you greatly reduce ammo useage with strategic chainfiring, but it wouldn't be viable to use on everything.

Another idea would be to have more former captains in the later levels. That would take some of the pressure off of Cateye users, who could burn through easy enemies with their chaingun and switch to the plasma rifle when they need a little more power.

In the end, though, I think the balance is pretty good overall. Rapidfire weapons are the most straightforward, and the easiest to win with. Shotguns aren't as powerful, but with intelligent usage they can still be damn good weapons. Pistols are challenging and weak to start with, but with the right traits and playstyle they can also be effective. Melee weapons make you extremely vulnerable, but if you can wipe out enemies quickly once you get close enough. There is a progression from easier to harder, but the harder weapon types don't get weaker so much as they require more advanced strategy. Some tweaks here and there might be good, but I think it's more than good enough as is.
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Re: Ruminating about MAc balance and Game Balance in general...
« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2010, 08:17 »

On the note of balancing Intuition and Cateye, I think one way could be to remove Cateye entirely (or make it a 1-level secondary trait) and make Intuition a master trait, combining the two levels into one.
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Re: Ruminating about MAc balance and Game Balance in general...
« Reply #19 on: April 13, 2010, 17:30 »

Quote from: Thomas
With this in mind, a nerf of MAc is required. Currently, as somebody I can't quite remember so correctly said, MAc helps the player in many ways. Removing a couple would result in a much more balanced trait.

1. Helps with time management. No more reloading!
2a. Helps with ammo management...
2b. and hence inventory management.
3. Hey, who needs a chaingun any more?
4. Slightly increases damage output (in that you can now chainfire for longer without stopping)
The downside is currently no TaN. There is no other downside.

We can safely put that another downside is lack of accuracy...but, as I stated before, it's quite easy to remove that problem because of Chained Court.  In fact, the lack of accuracy is a damn good counterbalance if NOT for the quick fix.  Can anyone think of a MAc run where the player didn't have accuracy mods?

Quote from: Thomas
Another way would be to reduce the damage of chainguns in general. This makes ammochain suffer immensely, because the whole point of ammochain is to kill things before they get a chance to fire. A way to do this (that would also make SoaB viable for non-chaingun builds) is to make SoaB "All attacks made by you do 10%/20%/30% extra damage, rounded up." Because chainguns do 1d6, half the time 30% is worth +1, half the time 30% is worth +2.

If this turns out to make chainguns too weak, we could slightly increase their base accuracy/damage and HEY PRESTO THEY AREN'T USELESS WITHOUT TRAITS just like Mr. Shotgun
This appears to be a very reasonable solution...although it certainly improves the damage on weapons like RL and BFG quite significantly.  It also makes AoMC runs that much more damaging (to enemies) in general.  Admittedly, however, SoaB is almost solely engineered for rapid-fire weapons, so I don't mind making it a little more generalized.

I would argue that the point of any offensive build is to kill the enemy before they have the chance to fire (MAD?  Cateye??) and that the specialized purpose of Ammochain is to fire as wildly as possible without concern for how much ammo you have left.  To force reloading would be a small nerf in my opinion, but perhaps it is all that is necessary (other than less available agi mods...) to place it on part with other master traits. 

Besides, it doesn't HAVE to be called Ammochain if that name doesn't make sense with such a nerf.  Call it "Heavy Weapons Guy" or something, I don't care.
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Re: Ruminating about MAc balance and Game Balance in general...
« Reply #20 on: April 16, 2010, 10:10 »

I would argue that the point of any offensive build is to kill the enemy before they have the chance to fire (MAD?  Cateye??)

Not quite. MAD is passive defense, Gun Kata is active defense, Cateye is tactical defense, and Ammochain is pure offense.

Here's a repost from the Beta Testing balance thread that explains the terminology:

Quote
In DoomRL, there are three primary defensive strategies: passive (be resilient enough to absorb all incoming damage), active (dodge enemy fire so that you don't get hit) and tactical (kill the bastards before they get a clear shot at you). A player may choose to combine these strategies, or concentrate upon one.

Passive defense is based on traits like TaN, Ironman and Badass. Its obvious advantage is that it doesn't require any special actions during the actual firefight; apart from an occasional mid-battle medikit use or armor change, all preparation is done beforehand, so you can concentrate on killing your enemies. Furthermore, it has very few "hard counters" that completely nullify it.

Active defense, on other hand, requires you to sidestep incoming projectiles, most likely while running and/or under influence of Hellrunner. When it works, it allows you to avoid 100% of the damage with no permanent expenditure of resources. Alas, it has many disadvantages: you'll still get hit far too often, sergeants, revenants and viles won't be fooled by your dodging skills no matter what, the terrain layout might not allow for enough room to maneuver, and, most importantly, a turn spent moving is a turn not spent shooting.

Tactical defense is basically the art of shooting at enemies that can't fire back. This includes corner tricks, firing into darkness and listening for sounds, trapping your victims behind walls of lava/acid, using your intuition (and possibly Intuition).
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Re: Ruminating about MAc balance and Game Balance in general...
« Reply #21 on: April 16, 2010, 12:51 »

No way MAD is passive defense, I've never used it to absorb all incoming enemy damage.  What's great about MAD is that you can scout enemies AND kill them before they're ever on-screen, making it tactical defense (by the definition being used).  MFa can be split along the lines of a passive/active mix, since you can still take TaN/Bad if you're up to it or solely depend on avoiding projectiles/splash.  I agree with MGK's and Cateye's descriptions; Blademaster would fall under active defense if anything.

If anything, Vampyre probably fits the tune of passive defense better than any master trait build: run up to the enemy whatever the cost, kill him and get your health back.

Although I'm curious, given what actually remains as possibilities, what an offensive build actually entails.  Passive and active defense I can understand, but tactical seems far more offensive than defensive.  Is a damage-pistol build, with its ridiculous firing speed and probable knockback, offense because it seeks to kill within normal range, or tactical defense because it seeks to kill before allowing anything else to attack?  Is Ammochain, with its no reloading times and chain-firing speed, offense because it has no way to easily attack anything outside its range, or tactical defense because it can spew its infinite ammo into the darkness and hope for a shot?

In my opinion, anything that seeks to kill, regardless of the circumstances, is an offensive build.  We can call it passive and active offense (like with defense), where passive offense is equivalent to tactical defense and active offense is just killing everything in range, if you want.  Whether something goes into any category also tends to depend on how the player uses the build: for example, Fireangel has, by itself, active defense properties, but it can also be used to get as close as possible to the enemies and blast 'em with a double shotgun (something pretty impossible without nullified splash damage against things like Revs and Viles), thereby making it quite an active offense in those situations.

Well, this is getting a little off-track.  Though, in the context of these categories, we could argue that Ammochain is overpowered on the grounds that it can simultaneously employ active and passive defense without even sacrificing ammo.  MAD, at least, has to play the ammo game when it goes scouting.
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Re: Ruminating about MAc balance and Game Balance in general...
« Reply #22 on: April 17, 2010, 02:03 »

Perhaps a small clarification is needed. By MAD, Gun Kata, Ammochain et al, I mean the master traits themselves and their corresponding prerequisites. So, when I say "MAD", I mean "MAD+Tan2+Badass+Rel2+Shottyman", not just the basic effects of MAD itself - and certainly not the individual playstyle of every player who uses MAD.

No way MAD is passive defense, I've never used it to absorb all incoming enemy damage.  What's great about MAD is that you can scout enemies AND kill them before they're ever on-screen, making it tactical defense (by the definition being used).

Individual playstyles are a matter of personal choice. If you choose to use MAD to kill off-screen enemies, more power to you, but it doesn't provide you with any extra scouting tools. If anything, it takes them away, by blocking Cateye and Intuition. On other hand, Tan2 and Badass provide solid passive defense, even if you never make use of it.
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Re: Ruminating about MAc balance and Game Balance in general...
« Reply #23 on: April 22, 2010, 18:57 »

How about this for Ammochain:

-Remove infinite Ammo
-Increse amount of ammo per inventory slot for 10mm and plasma to x4, or whatever seems like a good number for balance
-Still no reload required

I think this would be good. Remove the "OMG inf ammo overpowered!", and would add more of a "holy shit I'm guzzling through ammo like crazy" feeling, but let's you hoard the amount of ammo needed for constant chainfire shootings. Having LOTS of ammo instead of INFINITE ammo just means you can't clear all levels just shooting monsters out of your LOS without retaliation.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2010, 19:02 by Jarkko »
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Re: Ruminating about MAc balance and Game Balance in general...
« Reply #24 on: April 25, 2010, 05:28 »

When I read the description at furst time I thought: "Wow, no more reloading! Mohrrr dakka!"
But when I realised that no ammo is used I thought: "Hey! Is it a bug or what?"

Voting for no realods, by description; possibly - increase ammo stacks, but... BFG 9000, you know.
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Re: Ruminating about MAc balance and Game Balance in general...
« Reply #25 on: April 28, 2010, 06:41 »

You know, as much as people talk about Ammochain being overpowered... I've been playing both rapidfire builds lately, and I have to say that the Intuition/Cateye build gives you much better odds of winning than the Ammochain build. With Ammochain, the early game is a real crapshoot--if you don't get the combat shotgun before Hell's Arena, you're going to have a really hard time with it. And you NEED that rocket launcher to get the agility mods in Chained Court. On the other hand, EE + SoB makes the chaingun a killer weapon in the early game. Hell's Arena is a breeze, and even The Wall isn't too tough. Hell, if you manage to get Intuition Level 2, The Wall becomes ridiculously easy.

There's also the risk of not finding a plasma gun. I've gotten all the way to Phobos Hell without seeing a single former commando. Ammochained chainguns are nice, but they don't cut it against Mancubi or Revenants when you lack defensive traits.

Even after you get ammochain, and a plasma rifle, you're still very vulnerable. One run of bad luck can easily kill you. I remember once I turned the corner on a "Khe Khe Khe" level--a Mancubus at the end of a long hallway nailed me with three rockets, knocking me into (and blowing up) a napalm barrel. I had 100% health, and red armor with power and onyx mods--but I died in one hit.

With Cateye and Intuition, enemies will never take you by surprise. You also know where powerups are right away, so you can easily recharge if your health is low, or grab an invincibility pack if you run into an Arch-Vile pack. If ammo turns out to be a problem you can just avoid enemies. So unless you're going for 100% kills, or playing a challenge like AoLT or Ao100 where inventory management is a real problem, Cateye gives you much better chances of surviving the later stages of the game. You have to be more careful with inventory management, and it may not be practical to get 100% kills, but if you really want to win the game I think it's your best bet.

I think people focus on how easy it is to kill enemies after they get the trait, but forget how hard it can be to get the trait in the first place, and how vulnerable they are with it.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2010, 06:42 by action52 »
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Re: Ruminating about MAc balance and Game Balance in general...
« Reply #26 on: April 28, 2010, 14:02 »

I suppose that depends on the difficulty level you're playing on.  In particular, with regards to your commando comment, I'm inclined to think you tend to play on HNTR more often than not.  Commandos are annoyingly common in UV as early as floor nine or ten (with the possibility to show up as early as six), meaning you could even carry the agility mods with you until you get your plasma or do an A1/A1 split between the weapons.  Bullets are common enough that you can waste them all you want early on, and getting the plasma you're usually level five/six at that point.

Playing HNTR, Amochain doesn't live up to its potential there.  Fewer monsters means there's less ammo conservation to worry about in general.  The more monsters there are, however, the more you worry, and that's where Ammochain shines.  I've gotten to a level 8/9 Wall in an MAc build on HMP (for Lightfoot Silver) and reached master trait during the attempt, plasma at the ready.  The attempt was rather trivial at that point, and as long as you practice listening for monster cues and volleying into places beyond your view, there are little worries when it comes to getting surprised.  Don't forget about the usefulness of near-100% kills on your leveling, either; more levels means you can cover the weaknesses with HR/DM and Iro as necessary.  Cateye, having to worry about ammo and run away at times, must rely only on its singular strength.

I'm not saying that Cateye can't be used just as effectively, but, just as Ammochain has a weakness against opponents that nail you while coming into view, Cateye has a weakness for packs that simply must be destroyed going through.  Personally, while Intuition is always useful, there are too many areas where Cateye's usefulness doesn't come into effect (Mazes and small Maze of Rooms come to mind, both quite common in Hell).  There's a bit of a difficulty perspective when it comes to choosing your build (for instance, MFa is now pretty damn good in UV/N! as a shotty build) so I'll just wait until I hear what you tend to play on before continuing.
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Re: Ruminating about MAc balance and Game Balance in general...
« Reply #27 on: May 01, 2010, 22:55 »

I suppose that depends on the difficulty level you're playing on.  In particular, with regards to your commando comment, I'm inclined to think you tend to play on HNTR more often than not.

I usually play on HMP. I haven't reached Phobos Hell on UV yet. And while it's true that I usually see a good number of them, there is the occasional game where they just never appear. The time I got all the way to Phobos Hell without seeing one, I couldn't believe it. I was playing with a power-modded chaingun and two levels of EE, so I was okay, but I was REALLY happy when one turned up on level 16.

Commandos are annoyingly common in UV as early as floor nine or ten (with the possibility to show up as early as six), meaning you could even carry the agility mods with you until you get your plasma or do an A1/A1 split between the weapons.  Bullets are common enough that you can waste them all you want early on, and getting the plasma you're usually level five/six at that point.


If you're doing an Ammochain build, I would say it's silly not to save at least one mod pack, and saving two isn't a bad idea. You really get screwed over if you don't find any agility mods after you get your plasma gun, and it is very possible. And there is no need to stockpile bullets or shells--5 stacks total is definitely enough.

The attempt was rather trivial at that point, and as long as you practice listening for monster cues and volleying into places beyond your view, there are little worries when it comes to getting surprised.  Don't forget about the usefulness of near-100% kills on your leveling, either; more levels means you can cover the weaknesses with HR/DM and Iro as necessary.  Cateye, having to worry about ammo and run away at times, must rely only on its singular strength.

I often have to play without sound, which is maybe part of my problem. However, in a Cateye build you should definitely be getting 100% kills up to level 15. With plentiful ammo, it's easier to kill everything with Intuition/Cateye than with Ammochain, as long as you're patient. I'll often go several levels killing everything without even taking a hit. The Wall is a cakewalk with Intuition. Which means I can usually get Cateye, plus two levels of HR, before reaching Phobos Hell. That makes it fairly easy to avoid enemies. Being able to scout them out with Cateye and pick off the easy monsters is nice, but even without Cateye it's easy enough to just avoid them.

Now given, I'm far from an expert in this game. But I would say that, in my limited experience, I'm having a much easier time winning with Intuition than with Ammochain. Even with Cateye, I lose plenty of games--but it was always due to a glaring error on my own part. Either I was just totally not paying attention to my own health, or I got impatient and stepped out into a spot where I was more vulnerable. But with Ammochain, I seldom can make it far enough to get the trait, and even after I have it, a small mistake or even just a run of bad luck can kill me quickly.
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Re: Ruminating about MAc balance and Game Balance in general...
« Reply #28 on: May 01, 2010, 23:31 »

I usually play on HMP. I haven't reached Phobos Hell on UV yet. And while it's true that I usually see a good number of them, there is the occasional game where they just never appear.

Yeah, sometimes the game just doesn't give you one.  I'll be honest: I haven't played HMP much.  I did it for AoLT and might give it a shot on A100 before reattempting the UV, but I don't care much for the sorta-easy/sorta-hard that is HMP.  (It makes me want to blow through it like HNTR, except it's JUST hard enough to make you waste time on caution, at which point I may as well be doing something harder.)  Given the way badges go, I jumped from HNTR to UV and (after a small hiatus) I could manage that difficulty fairly well.  Since N! has roughly the same scaling, that's all I can base my monster appearances on (for instance, HKs are guaranteed on floor 3, Cacos by floor 4).

I often have to play without sound, which is maybe part of my problem. However, in a Cateye build you should definitely be getting 100% kills up to level 15. With plentiful ammo, it's easier to kill everything with Intuition/Cateye than with Ammochain, as long as you're patient.

And yes, 100% in Phobos Base is good for your experience.  But, much better, is 100% in Phobos Hell where experience goes up much faster.  Even if you were lacking earlier on, it's amazing how quickly the experience flows by, say, floor 12 or 13.  Ammochain is built for the lategame, sure, but earlygame shouldn't be a huge issue by the time you're playing to win. 

Even with Cateye, I lose plenty of games--but it was always due to a glaring error on my own part. Either I was just totally not paying attention to my own health, or I got impatient and stepped out into a spot where I was more vulnerable.

I assume that's where most of the problem lies.  Intuition and Cateye are pretty damn good, don't get me wrong, but they lack in the offensive department.  "Glaring errors" are the things that die off more and more with experience, and you'll find yourself seriously concerned not with where the enemies are, but if you have enough rockets to clean up the three Vile packs on the next floor, or if you're going to find another Arach cave to restock plasma, or if ANY shells are going to show up anymore.  Ammochain gives you free ammo, so that problem's taken care of and you're free to be as absolutely patient as you need to be.  And you really should be: Phobos Hell is freaking hard, man.

EDIT: I do believe we've managed to go off-topic, to some extent.

Maybe Ammochain is fine the way it is, I dunno.  The biggest issue stems from the way to fix its flaw (lack of accuracy) being much easier to correct than in other builds (like MAD lacking any lategame defense, or MFa/MGK lacking any lategame damage).  Maybe MAc could just amplify how many shots you get per unit of ammunition?  Like, each volley, regardless of how many shots, costs one bullet/cell?  That way you still have to worry about ammo (a little), and you still have to worry about reloading (a little), but it's not completely as broken as no ammo troubles, ever.  And I'd still do something about Chained Court, either by randomizing the mod-type or randomizing the prizes altogether.  A2 Ammochain Run is a little too formulaic and, dare I say, boring as a strategy in the beginning, with far too good benefits.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2010, 23:38 by Game Hunter »
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Re: Ruminating about MAc balance and Game Balance in general...
« Reply #29 on: May 17, 2010, 20:10 »

So, I've been thinking about MAc versus other traits as I play.

First of all, I think that the two rapidfire traits (MAc and MCa) SHOULD be more powerful than the other master traits. For starters, they don't include any defensive traits and they block TaN. Also, I think it makes sense that rapidfire weapons should be stronger than shotguns or pistols. They are in real life, aren't they? And I think it works out to a nice balance--rapidfire weapons are straightforward and (relatively) easy to win with. Shotguns are great in the early game, then gradually become less and less powerful versus the enemies you face... but they have a strategic value that can make up for this if you get the right traits and play to the weapons' strengths. Pistols are the hardest ranged weapons, but you can do very cool stuff with them if you pour the right traits into them.

So I don't think you necessarily need to directly compare rapidfire traits with other weapon types. I'm mostly looking at MAc versus MCa.

First of all, I think most people agree that Int is way better than MCa, especially now that enemy AI has improved. They should probably switch the two--making Int a master trait that includes both levels 1 and 2 of Int, and Cateye a 2-level advanced trait that gives you one more square of visibility per level. Most of the time MCa isn't worth the trouble, especially since it blocks off other traits.

Second, I still think that people tend to overpraise MAc and overlook the advantages of Int. MAc is very straightforward--just shoot, shoot, shoot. And it does work quite well.

But I'm finding Int can be great, too, if I adjust my strategy. I make sure to have weapons that can use all three kinds of ammo, allowing me to scavenge whatever I find on the level. Stockpiling ammo is a huge priority. The Wall is a must do (fortunately Int2 makes it a cakewalk). I usually have around 15 of my slots devoted to ammo by the time I reach Hellgate--not a problem, since I almost never have to worry about getting overwhelmed by enemies up to that point, and knowing where all the powerups are makes medkits much less essential. When I get to Phobos Hell, I just gradually use up my ammo, increasing my healing and escape items as I go. I make sure to have weapons allowing me to take advantage of all three ammo types, so I can scavenge stuff as I go.

One great thing about Int/MCa is its versatility. It goes well with any ranged weapon--in fact, if I happen to find a Blaster, Beretta, or Trigun, I can switch to SoG and give myself a powerful, ammo-efficient alternative to rapidfire weapons. And of course, if ammo does run out, Intuition is very good for avoiding enemies as well. I just make sure to pick up a level or two of HR along the way.

Game Hunter, I think you made a very good point, about MCa being better on easier difficulty levels, while MAc is better on hard difficulty levels. On the standard game, I would say that MCa is definitely better on ITYTD. You get less experience and plasma rifles don't appear until very late, meaning you won't be able to take full advantage of MAc until you've almost won. Meanwhile, an Int run will have you seeing enemies' locations from very early on, and you'll probably be able to kill every enemy you meet with ammo to spare. HNTR and HMP favor MCa and MAc, respectively, but only by a small amount and you'll get different mileage based on your playstyle, and the RNG could push things either way.

On UV, the balance takes a huge shift in favor of MAc. You will get your plasma rifle and Ammochain very early, along with 2 agility mods. This means you are guaranteed to be well-equipped to take on anything from early on in the game. Chances are you'll get at least 1 or 2 each of a power and tech mod, as well, putting your damage output higher than MCa. Meanwhile, there are massive hordes of nasty enemies, often backed by Arch-Viles. No matter how much ammo you have, it will go away fast if you try to kill everything. And a lot of them are blocking the exit, making running away difficult. You can still win, but you have to play smart and take advantage of everything the RNG gives you. And it's a LOT harder than MAc, which doesn't get much more difficult no matter how many enemies you run into.

N! shifts the balance back a little bit. You get more ammo, and ammo-producing enemies respawn, which takes a little bit of the pressure off. But the extra damage output you get from Finesse and Whizkid still pushes MAc ahead of MCa.

About challenge modes: In general I think they're pretty balanced--both have challenges they are good and bad for. For example, AoLT and AoP favor ammochain builds, because inventory space is at a premium. AoI, on the other hand, usually gives you an abundance of inventory space, and makes you more dependent on powerups (which increases Int's value). AoH is possibly the most heavily weighted against Ammochain. Half as many levels means it will take you longer to get Ammochain--on HNTR I think you could kill every enemy and still possibly not get it. Plus, you are no longer guaranteed any agility mods. Half as many hell levels also means that it's a lot easier to make it to the end without ammo running out, which works in favor of other builds.

AoMC is an interesting one. At first I thought Ammochain seemed like the best way to go, since EE is useless. But since hitting enemies before they hit you is so critically important, this makes Int a LOT much more useful. Note that you'll also be using less than half as much ammo as a regular game, since you do almost double damage and never miss. Another thing is that AoMC really takes the edge off of Arch-Viles, which usually drain your ammo and are just the bane of any non-ammochain run. On AoMC, though, it becomes much easier to gib corpses so they can't be revived, and their fire attack is no more powerful than the normal game. I've had really good results just ignoring master traits and getting Int, HR, and Fin.

Anyway, like I said, I think it's a good thing that some builds are better in some challenges than others, as long as it balances out. There's only one challenge that needs to be changed IMO and that's Ao100. That challenge is more heavily weighted towards Ammochain than any other build. You don't have a guaranteed chainsaw, which makes melee builds impractical. Shotguns? Forget it. And unless you find a blaster or nuclear plasma rifle fairly early, you're going to have a really hard time with rapidfire weapons or pistols. The fact that you have to go through 100 levels is monotonous enough, but having your options limited on what build to use makes this even worse.

So the question is, what to be done?


OK, here are my suggestions. This is what I think would help balance out MAc:

-Get rid of the double agility mods in chained court, like Game Hunter said. Instead give us random mods, or one mod and something useful but not gamebreaking like plasteel boots.

-Lower the plasma rifle's accuracy to +0, and raise the chaingun to +2. This would make an unmodded chaingun just good enough that if you had SoB/Triggerhappy and no EE, it would at least outclass the combat shotgun as a general purpose weapon. And the plasma rifle would really suffer without double agility mods (you might even want triple). Combined with the lack of guaranteed agility mods, this means you could actually have a tough time later on.

-Give us a little more ammo in the late levels. Maybe make it so that bullet stacks can give random amounts up to 50, and shotgun shell stacks can give up to 20. And make ammo spawn slightly more often on UV. Give us just enough that having to depend on found ammo still adds to the difficulty, but isn't quite so crippling in the late game.

-Ammochain blocks HR. This might be a little excessive, but if occurred to me as one more way to nerf MAc a little. It would force you to deal with one of MAc's big weaknesses: increased vulnerability. No HR and no TaN means killing everything before it gets you is even more important--and no HR makes this harder to do. Fewer agility mods would make this even more of a potential handicap.

-In Ao100 games, how about instead of neverending hell levels, how about if we had 5-level cycles? Every 5 levels it would switch between Phobos Base and Phobos Hell levels. The base levels would still have just as many nasties like Arch-Viles, Revenants, and Mancubi, but they would also generate a lot more former humans/sergeants/captains. You would still need to stockpile ammo during the Phobos base levels, but it would be much more doable.

I think these changes would balance it out pretty well. On easy difficulty levels, Int would be better, but taking advantage of Int would depend on being experienced enough to plan ahead and take advantage of all the different things the game gives you. So I think it would even out pretty well for a beginner. HMP and N! would be about evenly split between the two. MAc would still have a slight advantage in UV, but small enough that either build is quite viable. And Ao100 would be compatible with pretty much any build.

So what do you think? More experienced players, please tell me what you think.
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Re: Ruminating about MAc balance and Game Balance in general...
« Reply #30 on: May 18, 2010, 14:15 »

Quote
N! shifts the balance back a little bit. You get more ammo, and ammo-producing enemies respawn, which takes a little bit of the pressure off. But the extra damage output you get from Finesse and Whizkid still pushes MAc ahead of MCa.

Actually I've noticed this to be otherway around while I've been playing the N! games.
With the latest fast monster buff, MAC is useless for N!. You cannot afford to miss due of the monsters accurate speedy fireing.  I've personaly also noticed that rapidfire doesn't seem to work in N! much at all to be honest. in UV rapid fire is cakewalk, in N! you're better off with hybriding between pistols and shotguns.


Quote
-Get rid of the double agility mods in chained court, like Game Hunter said. Instead give us random mods, or one mod and something useful but not gamebreaking like plasteel boots.

-Lower the plasma rifle's accuracy to +0, and raise the chaingun to +2. This would make an unmodded chaingun just good enough that if you had SoB/Triggerhappy and no EE, it would at least outclass the combat shotgun as a general purpose weapon. And the plasma rifle would really suffer without double agility mods (you might even want triple). Combined with the lack of guaranteed agility mods, this means you could actually have a tough time later on.

Thise are good and reasonable nerfs.


Quote
-Ammochain blocks HR. This might be a little excessive, but if occurred to me as one more way to nerf MAc a little. It would force you to deal with one of MAc's big weaknesses: increased vulnerability. No HR and no TaN means killing everything before it gets you is even more important--and no HR makes this harder to do. Fewer agility mods would make this even more of a potential handicap.

No. Just no. This would make MAC completely useless for N! and even possibly UV. I'd personaly see blocking reloader more efficient as it would limit your other weapon uses even more, see; Rocket Launcher, shotgun and BFG.


Quote
-In Ao100 games, how about instead of neverending hell levels, how about if we had 5-level cycles? Every 5 levels it would switch between Phobos Base and Phobos Hell levels. The base levels would still have just as many nasties like Arch-Viles, Revenants, and Mancubi, but they would also generate a lot more former humans/sergeants/captains. You would still need to stockpile ammo during the Phobos base levels, but it would be much more doable.

There allready are lot of stockpile levels every now and then, I don't see the idea of changing back to base levels though, it would look ugly if you ask me, there were some suggestions to make even "deeper" hell levels. I'd personaly see you could make some sort of an "ancient hell" after level 50, make the tile set seem more ancient and still hellish.



Personaly if you ask me though, Ammochain would be fine even if you'd limit it just to chaingun/minigun but just buffing the whizkid even more. Chaingun and minigun that would be modded to hell and back would still make the ammochain amazingly efficient. The main problem with ammochain seems to be the power of the plasmagun that is given the unlimited ammo afterall..
« Last Edit: May 18, 2010, 16:53 by Fanta Hege »
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