Feedback on game balance

I have what could be considered an infinite depth team, and I want to give some feedback about things that I believe shouldn’t work the way they currently do.

First of all, it’s incredibly easy to survive until your turn comes around even if 6 enemies that outlevel you by thousands of levels outspeed you.

How? You just need to have the Stifle trait and have the whole party start the battle with Invisible (artifact enchantment, Pariah or War Forged), Shell (artifact enchanment or War Forged) and optionally Protect (artifact enchantment or War Forged) + Fih Rune. The enemy will usually cast a buff or debuff, maybe an AoE spell if they’re lucky. If you have Protect + Fih Rune (only possible with War Forged), or In Flames + Poison Inoculation you don’t care about Volcano or Poison spells. Then your Stifle trait activates and silences them. The only things than can kill you are Pit Worm Tunnelers (only if the enemy cast a damaging AoE spell or if there is more than one worm) and Delusion Occultists if they get lucky with spell gems.

Second, once you get a turn and no Pit Worm Tunnelers are in the field, you’ve won the battle.

Why? Because of several things. The main offender, I think, is the spell Snowstorm. You can give that to your slowest monster, and get infinite turns that way. It doesn’t help that Chaos Mages can have Nature creatures use the Haste spell as well. The spell Judgment, when multicasted, does the same thing.

But won’t you run out of mana eventually? No. Ever since the patch that made HP cost gems essentially free-to-cast spells, the Mana stat no longer means anything. You can stay all day casting buffs and Hasting your Snowstorm user until your stats are enough to oneshot the enemy party, no matter their level or Gene Strength.

What happens if anything goes wrong? You can always have a creature (normally a Nether) with Secret Ingredient + Chastity. He’ll just buff himself until he wins, because he is virtually unkillable.

There are many other ways to break the game, but these are the ones I’ve found. Another trait that should be looked at is Midnight Feast.

My suggestions:

[ul][li]Make HP-Cost gems either kill the user as they used to (in this case, make it so that enemies can’t have them or won’t use them if it’ll kill them) or rebalance them so that you actually need to have the HP in order to cast them.[/li]
[li]Change the Snowstorm and Judgment spells so that they do something completely different.[/li]
[li]A War Forged nerf would make me cry, and still wouldn’t solve anything, but this trait may be too strong at the moment.[/li]
[li]Do something about Secret Ingredient and/or Chastity. Both traits are way too strong, and when combined make it almost impossible to kill a creature.[/li]
[li]Remove the “Cast on additional target” trait from the Haste and Rabid Dementia spell gems. [/li]
[li]Take a look at some of the other main offenders, like Midnight Feast and Channeling. I know Channeling was already nerfed, but it’s still stupidly powerful. It shouldn’t stack, even if it goes back to 15%. [/li][/ul]

Other people can contribute by sharing other game-breaking combos. I know this isn’t a PVP game, but something that allows you to always win or to have infinite turns shouldn’t be allowed.

Make HP-Cost gems either kill the user as they used to (in this case, make it so that enemies can’t have them or won’t use them if it’ll kill them) or rebalance them so that you actually need to have the HP in order to cast them.
Agree. It’s silly that you pay a price to cast a spell, but if you are low enough life, you don’t pay anything.

Change the Snowstorm and Judgment spells so that they do something completely different.
The spells should have the caster pay another penalty, like “causes stun to the caster” and “sends caster to the bottom of the action queue” (after the cast, ofc) to prevent multiple/repeated casts.

A War Forged nerf would make me cry, and still wouldn’t solve anything, but this trait may be too strong at the moment.
It’s only strong because of the immense artifact properties you can gain.
Potential rework: All your creatures have Ward, Protect, Mend, Splash, Berserk for 3 turns. When these buffs expire, your creatures are afflicted with a random debuff for each buff that expired.
Removes the Shell/Invis - which you can still get via artifacts, but it’s now more expensive to outfit your team (12 artifact slots as opposed to 2). The flavor of the trait is kept, and for longer battles, it may hurt you. It also leads into combos like Lepers enjoy.

Do something about Secret Ingredient and/or Chastity. Both traits are way too strong, and when combined make it almost impossible to kill a creature.
Enemy AI isn’t smart enough to take on Secret Ingredient creatures. It’ll take 5 solid hits to kill one. Without Multistrike/Multicast, that will usually never occur in a single round.

Remove the “Cast on additional target” trait from the Haste and Rabid Dementia spell gems.
Agree.

Take a look at some of the other main offenders, like Midnight Feast.
I think Midnight Feast is fine. I don’t, however, think it’s fine for how early you obtain it. Getting it on a creature directly out of the gate is essentially why people use it. It’s nearly a must-have for early game, but as fights drag on mid/late game, it loses value. If this were on a top-tier Carnage that you had to breed after playing for a long while, nobody would say anything about this talent. Same goes for the starting tier Cerberus talent. The creature is just too early for players NOT to use such a massive trait (even at 5%).

Awesome feedback from both of you - thank you very much! I will do a balance pass on traits and spells in a week or two, so if you or anyone else wants to add more to this topic, feel free!

This post contains feedback about spell gems.

I love the spell gem system, it is a lot of fun both to use magic and to find spell gems! (Indeed, I would love to see a wider variety of properties able to spawn on spell gems, but that is a topic for a future thread in the suggestions forum.)

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Umaro is absolutely correct that “Casts on Additional Target” Haste (or Rapid Dementia) is a serious problem, as are Snowstorm and Judgement.

More generally, no spell should allow the player to spend one creature-turn and reliably generate more than one friendly creature-turn – or reliably eliminate more than one enemy creature-turn. (Note: The key word here is reliably. It is cool/fun to occasionally get a lucky Echo perk to proc on a Haste spell, but double-Haste can’t but when double-Haste becomes something that I can count on it enables broken team combos.)

For this reason, I think that “Casts on Additional Target” Ice Bolt is also a problem. (It is much weaker than Snowstorm, but consider a team where Creature A does something useful, and then the other five creatures have Extra-Target Ice Bolt gems.)

With regards to adjusting Judgement and Snowstorm consider the following directions which seem safer than the current implementations:

[ul][li]Do something to all enemies and send a random enemy to the bottom of the action queue[/li]
[li]Do something to all enemies and shuffle the action queue[/li]
[li]Do something to all enemies and shift all enemies one slot lower in the action queue[/li][/ul]

Additionally, with regards to action queue manipulation, note that putting an enemy in a random position in the action queue is a lot less dangerous than pushing the enemy to the bottom of the action queue.

[hr]

It seems generally too easy to get incredibly powerful spell gems, particularly early in the game. Getting exactly the spell gem you want with the properties you want should be something you have to work towards over time. Getting many small upgrades to your spell gems – instead of finding a near-perfect gem early-game – results in a smoother power progression as one plays the game. (E.g., getting an AOE spell early game with Casts Twice, Extra Damage and Costs Health can be quite disruptive to the early-game experience by trivializing content and allowing new players to progress rapidly without learning key tactical elements of the game.)

It is possible that one issue is that too many of the properties are powerhouse such as Casts Twice and Costs Health (though as per Umaro Costs Health likely needs to be weakened overall). It might be helpful to dilute the pool of possible spell gem properties with a few more situational properties like “Bonus damage to Sorcery” or “Targets an extra Sorcery Creature” (which would be weaker than “Bonus Damage” or “Extra Target” but could have less of a mana cost impact).

Similarly, the range of values on Bonus damage may be too narrow. For example, I believe it is not currently possible to roll +20% Bonus damage. Getting 20% more damage on a spell isn’t dramatic, but it is definitely useful (and noticeable). Additionally, if I have seen a large number of gems with bonuses in the 20%-35% range, that makes finding the gem with +50% bonus damage feel really exciting. Therefore, I think you should consider widening the range of possible bonus damage values (in both directions, make the high end higher as well) with a distribution such that values in the lower part of the range are significantly more likely to be rolled.

Next, it currently seems (my apologies if I am mistaken) that all spell gem properties are equally likely to roll. You should consider making more “vanilla” properties like Bonus Damage, and Reduced mana cost more likely to roll than more “dramatic” properties like “casts twice” and “casts on additional target”. (That is, if you are picking from a random property from a list of possible properties, consider padding the list with extra copies of Bonus damage and Reduced mana cost.)

Finally, it currently seems that gems with three properties appear too often, particularly early-game. Three property gems are much more likely to be powerful than two-property gems. (In part, because they can roll one “junk” property and still have room for whatever incredible two-property combination you are looking for.) Personally, I think that three-property gems are so powerful early-game that you should consider having the third property slot on a gem be something that needs to be explicitly unlocked through play. (For example, early game all gems have Zero to Two properties and then you get an “extra property on all spell gems” unlock at some point that causes gems to have One to Three properties.) Even if you don’t do anything that extreme, I would suggest that you alter the distribution on the number of properties so that getting the maximal number of properties on a spell gem is more rare than it is currently.

Bottom Line: Spell gems are awesome and the game is fun when magic is powerful. However, I am concerned that currently the power of Magic is a bit too front-loaded because of the ease of obtaining incredibly strong gems. Note that the harder one has to work to obtain a near-perfect spell gem, the more powerful that near-perfect spell gem can reasonably be.

I would like to see a scenario where early game I find a lot of spells with either no property or one fairly tame property like “20% Bonus Damage” or “Reduced Mana Cost”. This allows a new player to get to know the spells in the game and find spells that work well for the player’s team. If you find enough fairly basic gems like this, then the moment you get a spell gem with “Casts Twice” + “60% Stat +/-” it feels incredibly strong and immediately gets the player thinking “How can I adjust my strategy to make use of this awesome gem”.

Ultimately, I want spell-casting to be powerful, and the goal is NOT to say “nerf spellcasting”. Instead, I would like to see a smoother progression in the power of spell gems. Indeed, making good gems harder to the find may enable flat buffs to basic spell-casting numbers/mechanics because the system would no longer need to be balanced around players having essentially perfect gems by the time they reach Misery.

It seems generally too easy to get incredibly powerful spell gems, particularly early in the game. Getting exactly the spell gem you want with the properties you want should be something you have to work towards over time. Getting many small upgrades to your spell gems – instead of finding a near-perfect gem early-game – results in a smoother power progression as one plays the game. (E.g., getting an AOE spell early game with Casts Twice, Extra Damage and Costs Health can be quite disruptive to the early-game experience by trivializing content and allowing new players to progress rapidly without learning key tactical elements of the game.)I echo this. Chaos especially gets off to an incredible early start because not only does it have a massive beef of a creature (Berserker Fiend), but also it’s spells are insanely powerful. A fiend equipped with Panic Attack, Aftermath (and this one is guaranteed to be acquired), or the other one that attacks creatures combined with cast-on hit allow that creature to one-shot entire packs due to berserk scaling. It’s also a FAST creature, so it almost always goes first early on.

I think a good solution is to have the extra spell gem traits unlocked via god reputation or even an additional NPC. This would also mean the initial starting complement of 5-6 gems all come traitless. Under this solution, it takes time to acquire the rep, and only then do you start uncovering gems with incredible power like -mana cost%, cast twice, or hp%.

Another solution is to have each mage class perks surrounding the gems. Anything off-class doesn’t get the benefits.

For instance for a Chaos Mage:
Chaos Casting
1/5 - Chaos spell gems will now target as AoE
2/5 - Chaos spell gems can generate with cast-on-hit
3/5 - Chaos spell gems can generate with %hp
etc… etc…

Do the same for each mage class. Suddenly it becomes much more valuable to be a Life Mage casting Life Spells or a Death Mage casting Death Spells. Perhaps for S3…

But I echo the general idea that directly out-of-the-gate power is pretty random. Get something decent? You’ll wreck face for 100 levels. Get something weaksauce? Well, you’ll spend more time grinding.

I agree with some of the changes to spell gems; they do feel more like a random chance to obtain rather than something you work towards. It might be cool to have them behave somewhat similar to artifacts, in that they start off with 0 traits, and then after being equipped and getting X kills (eg: 10,250,1000) they gain a random trait. Or have a power unlocked by the gods that allows you to begin a ritual to upgrade/change a spell gem.

As for the balance changes to spell gems, there definitely needs to be some changes to hard disables. To me hard disables are any disable that is a 100% chance of missing a turn. These are things like Stun (preventing all actions on your turn) or Snowstorm/Judgement, which effectively skip your turn by making every creature go before you. These abilities have no or very little counterplay (I think stun has a rune to lessen the effects), and it shouldn’t be possible to apply these effects to an entire team with a single turn.

It might make sense for Secret Ingredient to be immune to all spells, not just enemies. That way the only buffs they get are from traits/Artifacts, they can’t be buffed to infinity, can’t be healed by allies, but still retain the jist of the trait in that they guarantee at least 5 hits to die.

I think a lot of traits need to be balanced and it will add more variety in the game.

War Forged:
War forged is a good one, I’m not sure how to change it without making it useless but something has to give, as Umaro said it’s basically god mode. I run this and the combo of shell/protect/invis basically makes you guaranteed to have a turn even if enemies are thousands of levels above you as long as you have a way to stop them from casting aoe spells.

Changeling:
This trait needs to not stack. Lots of the builds early on abused this trait/Cerberus running sometimes up to 5 of them just because of how insane the stacking works. It was nerfed from 15% down to 5% which was need but it’s not enough. I think it should be changed to be somewhere around 10% but does not stack, this would make it still a viable trait but not OP. It would be comparable to pharaoh’s boon then but only for one stat and also has the drawback of that creature can’t cast spells in exchange for not being forced to have only one class.

Grimoire traits: (For the record I’ve unlocked all 6 books but haven’t played around with the last two yet, maybe they are good)
These need to be buffed. Most of the books are useless compared to normal spell gems. You can get close to the same thing with certain spell gems but they just take a spell slot and not a trait slot. Each creature can have a max of 2 traits(nethers excluded) and can have up 8 spell gems. (Creature spell gem buff and the artifact 2+ spell gem slot) The flavor on these books is awesome and I really want to use one on my team but I can’t justify using one because it just seems like a waste of space now.

Maybe add a super unique effect for a 4th spell to each, they need something cool about them. I really want these to be good because I just love their flavor and sprites. One thing I think is the creatures’ mana pool should be higher. I say give them 20 more mana, this would be the highest in the game to my knowledge by about 20 mana. That would make the trait better, you get these 3/4 spells and 20 extra mana so they can cast more.

One cool trait I think would be making some disarm spell. You cast it on all 6 enemies and you give them all scorn and you have a 50%-100% chance to take away their artifact. (Lose all stats/traits/anything given by it, make there be no counter to this).

I’m at work now but I’ll make another post later with more ideas and hopefully some solutions. It would be much easier to write when I can see the in-game stuff.

[quote=“darkfangs, post:7, topic:1958”]War Forged:
War forged is a good one, I’m not sure how to change it without making it useless but something has to give, as Umaro said it’s basically god mode. I run this and the combo of shell/protect/invis basically makes you guaranteed to have a turn even if enemies are thousands of levels above you as long as you have a way to stop them from casting aoe spells.[/quote]

I haven’t fully thought this through, but would it perhaps be helpful to limit the number of Blue (2nd Tier) properties on an artifact?

Clearly, stacking lots of Heirloom (start with buffs) is strong and makes it difficult to balance certain traits.

What happens if an artifact is limited to 3 Blue (2nd Tier) properties? (Or even 2???) … and the rest can only be basic stats?

Or alternatively, what if an artifact could only have a single Heirloom effect (start with buff) on the item? (So you could combine Heirloom with +Spell Gems and Poison-on-hit and such … but only start the fight with one buff on the artifact?)

[hr]

… Actually, the more I think about it, the more I think that one Heirloom effect per artifact might be an interesting direction to consider …

[quote=“Noetherian, post:8, topic:1958”]

[quote=“darkfangs, post:7, topic:1958”]War Forged:
War forged is a good one, I’m not sure how to change it without making it useless but something has to give, as Umaro said it’s basically god mode. I run this and the combo of shell/protect/invis basically makes you guaranteed to have a turn even if enemies are thousands of levels above you as long as you have a way to stop them from casting aoe spells.[/quote]

I haven’t fully thought this through, but would it perhaps be helpful to limit the number of Blue (2nd Tier) properties on an artifact?

Clearly, stacking lots of Heirloom (start with buffs) is strong and makes it difficult to balance certain traits.

What happens if an artifact is limited to 3 Blue (2nd Tier) properties? (Or even 2???) … and the rest can only be basic stats?

Or alternatively, what if an artifact could only have a single Heirloom effect (start with buff) on the item? (So you could combine Heirloom with +Spell Gems and Poison-on-hit and such … but only start the fight with one buff on the artifact?)

[hr]

… Actually, the more I think about it, the more I think that one Heirloom effect per artifact might be an interesting direction to consider …[/quote]

But artifacts ARE limited to 1 heirloom already.

[quote=“darkfangs, post:7, topic:1958”]Grimoire traits: (For the record I’ve unlocked all 6 books but haven’t played around with the last two yet, maybe they are good)
These need to be buffed. Most of the books are useless compared to normal spell gems. You can get close to the same thing with certain spell gems but they just take a spell slot and not a trait slot. Each creature can have a max of 2 traits(nethers excluded) and can have up 8 spell gems. (Creature spell gem buff and the artifact 2+ spell gem slot) The flavor on these books is awesome and I really want to use one on my team but I can’t justify using one because it just seems like a waste of space now.[/quote]

Agree. I was highly disappointed with the grimoire traits I’ve uncovered.

It’s already in the game, FYI. You can cast Scorn now, and use the Nuy rune. It doesn’t remove the artifact, but it removes the all-important traits.

They aren’t, you’re thinking of traits. You can have an artifact with 10 heirlooms. It’s not really that you can use more than 1 heirloom in the artifact, it becomes an issue when you can use War Forged to gain 6x that benefit. Having 60-80 more artifact slots free due to a single trait is what is wrong.

That’s a new bug then, Umaro.
You were able to previously apply Starts With… 10x to your artifacts if you so desired.

I haven’t been able to do so since 0.0.1.

Weird. I was heavily using an artifact that had grace and mend in my early game. I tested with all the heirlooms, and you’re right.
If that’s intended, then it greatly diminishes War Forged. The key combo with it then is using both Shell and Invisibility across all creatures simultaneously. Remove that, and War Forge is still powerful, but it isn’t the guarantee like it is now.

The only real problem is spells, which work with action queu, coz today i obtain infinite turns without gems with 0 MP, im just combine Arcane regen + some traits + frozen debuff + haste (MP cost) and snowstorm (MP cost).

There a lot of content in the game and dev have a lot of work with bugs, so the best way is just REMOVE few spells (snowstorm, haste, rabid etc.) from the game until dev find time to solve this problem.

and nerf plz Zealot occultist… 30% INT buff… sometimes after few turns i see 8 000 000 dmg from burn or +2 456 345 INT after casting another “haste”.

p.s. also, im sure, any other changes, other than total ban this spells is useless, coz until we can work with action queu, we can have infinite turns. and any changes is just a waste of dev’s time.

[quote=“Psylisa, post:14, topic:1958”]

Weird. I was heavily using an artifact that had grace and mend in my early game. I tested with all the heirlooms, and you’re right.[/quote]

Personally, I have never tried to put two heirloom properties on the same artifact. However, like Psylisa, I have used an artifact that caused my creature start with two buffs. (No idea where I got that artifact – probably found it at some point, although it might have been the merchant.)

Since I had previously find such an item, I just assumed that I could make one myself at the enchanter. My apologies for drafting us down this tangent.

Maybe include the clause except shell and invisible if you want to limit its power.

my thoughts:

remove extra target from any single target action queue manipulators.

as for aoe manipulators a few options:

  1. make snowstorm identical to judgement and make them single cast only, even if caster has multicast.
  2. keep them but add a significant penalty, like -50% max hp or silence/scorn your party, or remove party traits or artifacts, etc.
  3. junk them both or make them identical to pandemonium, random is far more dangerous and harder to build “infinite” around

artifacts and rare mats: not sure if how it’s currently working is intended given it’s a pretty big difference but i’d limit artifacts to 1 of each rare mat for spell slot, +/- class damage, and start with X. however i’d like to see % on hit or % when hit be able to have multiples, maybe 2-5. there’s a fair number of creatures that do extra damage based on enemy debuffs and dots present and i like the idea of a few fast hitters that can proc multiples.

as for war forged, remove invis from the share and that should be fine. this makes sense as you have the whispering shade who has the party invis trait, that whole family is focused on invis. i think shell should be shareable for now, if players still want to then combine war forged + pariah + stifle that’s 1/4 of a party’s traits which may or may not be enough of a handicap. shell can always be revisited.

cheers all!

Just a few random thoughts about current creature trait balancing:

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Sweeping Smash vs Relentless Hunger
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While looking rather good on paper, limited horizontal AoE was never a best option in Siralim. Not only same mechanic is already available as cheap buff (Splash @ Immolation Aura, anyone?), but it’s rather hard to utilize Sweeping Smash properly. Fullest possible potential is only achievable here by targeting middle enemy in the row, given that both of its neighbors are alive. No directly adjacent (why AoE is not T-shaped here, anyways ?) victim == direct loss of extra damage potential. Sure, if you have excess trait slot…

But wait, there’s more. After some breeding here and there, player eventually discovers Thrasher Fiend. Technically, it does almost same thing as Brownie Mauler – just better. Sure, that random targetting system here is totally out of control (so you can’t use it to reach invisible targets, f.e.), but at least promised 2x65% DMG extra hits is almost guaranteed to land somewhere. Wait a minute, did I said 65% here ? And how, once again, it came that Sweeping Smash offers only 50% damage splashing ? So far it seems to be just universally worse option, especially for common multihit combos (say, Double Take + Fury Swipes) setups.

Interestingly enough, solution is rather obvious: just throw out idea of targeted AoE supremacy and bump Sweeping Smash into, say, 75% DMG splash. Sure, it would still be rather inconvenient, yet worthy at least.

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Double Take vs Flesh Offering
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Well, yes, War Golem is not an early game creature. Yes, all golems except for nightmare one seems to be overupgraded in S2. And yes, devastating effects of AoE multicasting is obvious for sure. With all given, though, Revenant Sealord is still looks like something granted by Altar of Blood. ¼ HP loss for, what, 0 turns multicast ? No changes to spell potency, no manacost reduction, no nothing. Pure self-flagellation.

While, of course, nothing will beat Double Take’ sheer elegancy anyways, there still is a simple solution around. Since revenants was designed to be blood cannons, just remake Flesh Offering into triple casting trait, saving current (somewhat close to Dark Enchantment) health price.

Trait Balancing:

“Fan of Knives” and both grant 20% Speed as bonus damage (they work in slightly different ways, but they are clearly similar traits).

Given this, it isn’t clear to me why “Bombardment” (Crypt Bat Trait) needs to be 10% of Attack added as bonus damage.

The 2-fold difference between Bombardment and Fan of Knives would makes no sense, especially given how generally useful Speed is. (Also, “Fan of Knives” does not appear to be over-powered given that it seems most people on the forums don’t use these kind of On-Hit builds … Though personally, I find these kind of builds fun to play.)

You should consider changing “Bombardment” to 15 or 20%.