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Author Topic: Balance issues for 997 -> 998  (Read 7174 times)

Sereg

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Balance issues for 997 -> 998
« on: June 26, 2013, 21:24 »

So, we all know there are some issues with 997, especially dual angels, and Overconfidence in particular.

As one of the more prominent exploiters of these balance issues, I'm quite familiar with them, and, much as I enjoy the nice boost to my profile from these exploits, I recognize the need for change here.

I have a few suggestions for how to re-balance these for the next release, and while I don't know if that's already being worked on, or perhaps even completed, the developer posts on the issue that I've read don't seem to imply an extant fix in development, so it might be worth getting some community input on this.

The biggest thing by far, for me at least, is AoOC, and to a lesser extent, AoCn. Both of these provide significant advantages to a player trying to complete a challenge, for several reasons. First, they start with weapons and items that give a significant tactical advantage right off the bat. Second, they save a lot of time on a full run, allowing players to spam restarts without losing much progress, and exploit luck more easily for damage avoidance purposes. On a related note, they provide quick access to challenge required special levels, notably UC, and to a lesser extent, Vaults and Mortuary. Third, they skip the challenging guaranteed levels between themes: Anomaly and Babel.

There are lots of changes that can be made to help with these concerns, and I'll start with the more minor ones and work up.

First thing that comes to mind with this is the Untouchable series. While these medals aren't actually awarded for abbreviated runs, meeting the criteria for the medals also meets the criteria for challenges requiring those medals - the Destroyer series comes to mind. The obvious fix is to simply require the actual medal, not just the criteria for it, while a more complicated solution might be to adjust the medal criteria based on the levels completed - for example, changing the damage numbers from 500/200/50 for the full game to 200/50/20 for AoCn and 50/20/damageless for AoOC. This would allow the badges to still be earned on those challenges, rather then blocked, but it would scale the difficulty for each accordingly.

Next up, starting items. Currently, AoCn and especially AoOC get ridiculous item advantages that go a very long way toward compensating for being CLvl 1 at the start of the game, without even considering the other advantages of the challenges. Making the Daredevil Angels start with the standard items would go a long way toward balancing that overpowered opening. Maybe allowing one extra modkit for AoCn, and two for AoOC, would be fair, but the current three exotics is a bit much.

Finally, my favorite solution - bring back Angel of Haste. Instead of skipping the earlier phases of the game, simply shorten them and scale the difficulty accordingly. Three Phobos floors, then Anomaly, then three Deimos floors/Babel, and finally three Hell floors and Dis. Now we're back to default starting items, so no unfair advantages there. While we do still save some time for a complete game, we're no longer skipping guaranteed levels or granting quick access to deep special levels. We're also still fulfilling the point of the Daredevil challenges - throwing the player into high Dlvl floors with a low Clvl.

Fixing AoCn and AoOC will automatically correct a lot of the current issues with Dual Angels, but there are still other issues. Basically, Dual Angels right now have the potential to aid one of the challenges with compensation factors from the other. To prevent this, all we really have to do is adjust the possible pairings.

AoMC seems to be the biggest culprit here - the way that challenge works is a huge buff to any careful player on any challenge. I would recommend removing AoMC from Dual Angels entirely.

Another one that can be a problem is AoLT. Generally, the speed boost on this one is offset by the inventory constraints on any ammunition based build, but if we pair it with something like AoB or AoPc, suddenly that tradeoff is far more beneficial. We could also look at a pairing like AoMs and AoI/AoP(I don't know if these are actually currently possible, but the point is to look at how pairings work together) - the AoP and AoI restrictions are a lot less meaningful to an AoMs, while careful use of the AoMs levelup boost could significantly aid an AoI/AoP run.

If AoHaste does come back, that might also have some pairing issues - Ao100 comes to mind. While it's true that the difficulty would scale dangerously, Ao100 may provide enough experience to overcome the worst of that scaling, and halving the Ao100 floor count might make that challenge a lot less daunting.

One last thing - I just recently picked up my first, and probably only, Angelic badge. This is something a player of my skill level(or rather, utter lack thereof) should never be able to accomplish, but it was basically handed to me by the way that challenge is set up. AoOC was addressed above. AoSh guarantees a shotgun, which is one of the safest ways to damage dangerous enemies and can also help dispose of corpses via knockback into fluids. And N! solves the killrate problem(50% for the challenge) and the ammunition problem of the shotgun method by guaranteeing infinite respawns when properly played(On a distantly related note, we might consider some balance changes to N!, like preventing corpses from respawning with ammo/weapons, or tracking damage on a corpse and gibbing it when it reaches a point where resurrection should be impossible - the poor former sergeant I farmed on my Angelic run took so many shotgun blasts, from his own infinite supply of shells, that he should have been nothing but a smear on the wall).

To truly make this a challenge worthy of the Angelic difficulty level, why not go with trait restriction? You know what would be a bitch on an AoSh+AoOC run? Killing the mastermind without knowing where it is. Blocking Int would make that final fight a lot longer(and might even drain the massive stacks of ammo a N! doomguy restricted to only one weapon type will have by then), not to mention increasing the difficulty of the regular floors, and making the Scout class a less viable option.
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Klear

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Re: Balance issues for 997 -> 998
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2013, 02:07 »

Personally, I'd just deny any badge gains in dual angels. If you can do it on a a dual challenge, either it will be a child's play with just one challenge, or the combination is helping you out, while dual angels should be more challenging. Of course, the angelic badges requiring dual challenge would be excepted from this.
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Hamster

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Re: Balance issues for 997 -> 998
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2013, 02:52 »

Personally, I'd just deny any badge gains in dual angels. If you can do it on a a dual challenge, either it will be a child's play with just one challenge, or the combination is helping you out, while dual angels should be more challenging. Of course, the angelic badges requiring dual challenge would be excepted from this.
Thus, all badges should not be gained in dual angels, except for those explicitly mentioning dual angels.
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Evilpotatoe

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Re: Balance issues for 997 -> 998
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2013, 12:57 »

Allowing any combination (dual, triple...) of angels and removing any medal gain seems like the easiest (and maybe most fun) way of handling it to me.
Only a few restrictions would be needed, like AoOc and AoC, which would be mutually exclusive.
It would keep the fun and remove all possible abuses...

Another Idea I had was to remove the benefits from the angels added after the first selected (starting gear, speed bonus, maxed out damages, shorter game, according badges, of course, and any other bonus, like AoMs' health at lvlup) while keeping the drawbacks.
As long as NO benefits would be exploitable from the second angel, I don't think there would be any issue anymore.
The real question, in that case, would be... would people play dual angels, only for challenge ? Well, if they don't, it just means people don't care about challenge, and just want to farm badges, which seems, alas, quite close to the current usual gamer's behaviour we encounter everywhere.

Personally, I'd also remove (or rather, tweak) AoMc, which is more challenging for the monsters than the player. AAo666 bugs mee too... Ao100 is already a quite long grind, but 666 is really ridiculous. I finished the one I started when 0.9.9.7 came out only a few weeks ago, since it was waaaaaaaaaaay too boring. (and I didn't even found a BA, only 3 DS, before figuring out how to pick it up...)
I know popular demand would take it's defense, but I'd really love this one to diseappear, just because it's a meaningless deviation of the game (from my humble point of view).


Nerfing N! could be good too, of course, but it will nearly prevent the possibility to play N! YAAM games. Also, removing farming ammo exploit will make N mods even more valuables... maybe N mod should be (only available as) a reward for some great achievement, but I have no idea of any relevant one, really.
I strongly believe the gameplay needs some big changes, and removing the possibility to play damageless, or the possibility to (quite easily) complete N! as YAAM would, in my opinion, be great improvements making gameplay more dynamic, but... that's not for the next version, really.
As thelaptop told me in some other thread, reaching version 1.0 needs to avoid big changes... and while I hate keeping known big issues, I must admit that continuously reshuffling the game's basis is not a solution either.
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skarczew

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Re: Balance issues for 997 -> 998
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2013, 16:48 »

Quote
Currently, AoCn and especially AoOC get ridiculous item advantages that go a very long way toward compensating for being CLvl 1 at the start of the game, without even considering the other advantages of the challenges. Making the Daredevil Angels start with the standard items would go a long way toward balancing that overpowered opening. Maybe allowing one extra modkit for AoCn, and two for AoOC, would be fair, but the current three exotics is a bit much.
AoOC may be easy, but AoCn is hard. You do not seem to have played the latter much, so I will fix it for you: you do not get exotics on AoCn, and you are pretty screwed with the configuration you get there (pistol, shotgun, chaingun, and laughable amounts of ammo).

Also:
Quote
Allowing any combination (dual, triple...) of angels and removing any medal gain seems like the easiest (and maybe most fun) way of handling it to me.
Sounds like a good idea.
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Sereg

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Re: Balance issues for 997 -> 998
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2013, 18:32 »

AoOC may be easy, but AoCn is hard. You do not seem to have played the latter much, so I will fix it for you: you do not get exotics on AoCn, and you are pretty screwed with the configuration you get there (pistol, shotgun, chaingun, and laughable amounts of ammo).

Heh. There's a reason I haven't played the latter much - because it's harder, and it doesn't really help with anything except very specific badges(Daredevil Platinum, Reaper Diamond). For anything involving completing a game, AoOC is by far the better option. Perhaps AoCn in its current form isn't too terribly unbalanced, as you say. It does still skip Anomaly, but that's probably only really useful on N!, and there you're going to be in a rough spot with the AoCn starting set, anyway.

This is exactly the kind of feedback I'm looking for. I still like the idea of bringing AoHaste back, but if the worst of the current balance issues can be addressed by making changes to AoOC while leaving AoCn relatively untouched, that's certainly a viable solution to that particular problem.
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skarczew

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Re: Balance issues for 997 -> 998
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2013, 05:27 »

I still like the idea of bringing AoHaste back, but if the worst of the current balance issues can be addressed by making changes to AoOC while leaving AoCn relatively untouched, that's certainly a viable solution to that particular problem.
My thesis:
1. AoHaste would be nice.
2. AoCn is ok in a current form and should not be changed.
3. AoOC needs some changes. Being the (very) easy brother of AoCn, it is also very fun and quick - an essence of what should coffee-break roguelike look like. Mentioned by Evilpotatoe way of handling its issues is certainly a good approach.
Moreover, I would "fix" its difficulty rating, because the current one is simply wrong :) .

And I would leave it in its current form (exotics and tons of ammo), simply because I have fun playing it (You too, I bet :P ).
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2birds1stone

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Re: Balance issues for 997 -> 998
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2013, 22:41 »

Personally, I'd just deny any badge gains in dual angels. If you can do it on a a dual challenge, either it will be a child's play with just one challenge, or the combination is helping you out, while dual angels should be more challenging. Of course, the angelic badges requiring dual challenge would be excepted from this.
This.

The simplest solution is generally the best solution.

3. AoOC needs some changes. Being the (very) easy brother of AoCn, it is also very fun and quick - an essence of what should coffee-break roguelike look like. Mentioned by Evilpotatoe way of handling its issues is certainly a good approach.
Moreover, I would "fix" its difficulty rating, because the current one is simply wrong :) .
I'd personally remove difficulty ratings all together. The challenge description should speak for itself.
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thelaptop

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Re: Balance issues for 997 -> 998
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2013, 22:48 »

There's an easy nerf for AoOC.

Take away the gift of the exotic weapons.
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skarczew

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Re: Balance issues for 997 -> 998
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2013, 01:52 »

There's an easy nerf for AoOC.

Take away the gift of the exotic weapons.
Haven't you heard? Some people like it that way. Just to have quick, enjoyable run.
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Evilpotatoe

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Re: Balance issues for 997 -> 998
« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2013, 02:07 »

Anyway, I doubt we're the only ones who got this idea. The problem is :even without gear, it will still remain a highly scumable challenge.

Getting Mortuary's nuke and reaching MM isn't that hard when you just need to find some globes on your earlier levels.
Especially with a scout, which knows stairs, and can map-hack powerups at his first level :)
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thelaptop

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Re: Balance issues for 997 -> 998
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2013, 02:50 »

Nerf all rewards?

I dunno... I'm wielding the nerf-hammer a little too crudely here...
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skarczew

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Re: Balance issues for 997 -> 998
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2013, 06:56 »

Nerf all rewards?
Play the game first. Decide what can be done to make it better. Not always harder = better.
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Sereg

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Re: Balance issues for 997 -> 998
« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2013, 10:15 »

Perhaps the current AoOC could be recreated as a mod, while the actual challenge could be re-balanced to an appropriate difficulty level? What about a standard pistol, a standard chaingun, a combat shotgun(not an assault, but not a basic one either), two stacks of ammo(instead of the single stack for AoCn or the ammo boxes for current AoOC - this would nerf the reload time advantage, but sustain the player's ammunition longer to allow for more careful play), and a single random basic mod? It might be fair to give a single exotic to a weapon restricted dual angel - but that's assuming dual angels aren't dealt with in some other way. I say this because I've tried AoMr with AoOC, and even with the combat pistol, I can't really kill anything, so a basic pistol just isn't going to work for that particular challenge. Then again, maybe that's how dual angels are actually supposed to be - harder then the individual challenges =P
« Last Edit: July 01, 2013, 10:17 by Sereg »
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Re: Balance issues for 997 -> 998
« Reply #14 on: July 03, 2013, 02:21 »

Nerf badges, but don't nerf fun.
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