Implementing a hoser for percentage damage

Some people may not agree with me, but I personally think it is against the spirit of the game for % damage to be the only viable way to play at a higher level, especially with ideas like daily duels being implemented. Zack as stated before he wants all creatures to be viable - this is unfortunately not the case. Alternatively, you could consider them viable, and percentage builds abusive due to reaching an essentially infinite ability to ignore enemy level. For one thing, this almost completely invalidates the point of nether creatures (and with certain enemy abilities, they’re arguably worse). It also makes the feeling of advancement pointless - you know you’re set for anything barring bad RNG, so your own level has no meaning and neither does the level of your creatures.

I think there should be some kind of hoser that makes it if your creatures are vastly outleveled, something goes in that weakens % abilities; like a troll arsonist doing 35% damage to a random enemy (up to 250% of own maximum health (as a random number, not balanced). Essentially, still forcing you to change/upgrade/level your team rather than a setup raising your maximum realm level feasible from 30 to 2.1 billion. I think the stat-ignoring setups are against the spirit of the game, honestly, and restrict build variety and leaves dozens (and probably well over a hundred) of creatures useless.

I know this may be a controversial idea, but it just doesn’t seem balanced or feel good progression-wise. If your party can beat 99% (barring awful RNG teams) of level 200 teams and 99% of level 2 billon teams, why continue to play? You’ve essentially reached infinite power.

I agree, at least to some extent. I’m curious as to how far, exactly, we should take these restrictions though. Is % damage the only issue? How about healing? How about stat reduction? How are debuffs like poison and burn supposed to work?

At any rate, I am completely willing to sweep through all the abilities again after the Steam launch to add caps to certain abilities. I’d like to involve a lot of input from people in these forums before making any drastic changes like that, of course, so if anyone has some thoughts on this, feel free to chime in!

Edit: After thinking about what I said in the first paragraph a bit more, I’m inclined to say that only % damage needs to be adjusted. The rest aren’t a problem at all and the simpler we keep things, the better. As for spells, there should only be a few remaining that deal % damage now so that won’t be too difficult to fix. I’m still not sure about debuffs like poison, burn, and suffocation though. Thoughts?

[quote=“Zack, post:2, topic:592”]I agree, at least to some extent. I’m curious as to how far, exactly, we should take these restrictions though. Is % damage the only issue? How about healing? How about stat reduction? How are debuffs like poison and burn supposed to work?

At any rate, I am completely willing to sweep through all the abilities again after the Steam launch to add caps to certain abilities. I’d like to involve a lot of input from people in these forums before making any drastic changes like that, of course, so if anyone has some thoughts on this, feel free to chime in![/quote]

I don’t want to screw the abilities over, either - if they’re about the same as using just stats, then people would instead never use those abilities as it’s more complex for the same reward. I’m just not sure what’s a good way to even the playing field again and restore a better sense of progression rather than teams as they are now reaching a point where they can do literally anything, barring extremely specific enemy setups.

A few people have said that the stat-based creatures do have a purpose as being for the early game, but I don’t think you ever intended any creature to simply be a “starter” that you drop, and that any creature with proper synergy should be able to go the distance.

As for poison and burn and other % based ailments, possibly capping it based on the attack power of the inflicter or maknig the damage a static numbe related to the applier’s attack (for example, x monster with 200 attack may do 30 per turn per stack of poison), which could also make room for tweaks current abilities or new abilities, like “this creature has an effective 400% Attack when applying Disease”.

The main reason I’ve been upset with this balance and wanted to change it was just that even if you are okay with some creatures only being viable in lower realm levels, it still makes a lot of mechanics less useful. Most spells, pills, nethers and orbs lose meaning when having 1000 or 15,000 in a stat doesn’t matter, rather just having an ability that does 30% of all enemies’s maximum HP upon enemy death, or whatever.

How do you feel about debuffs like Bleed? It deals damage equal to a % of the afflicted creature’s speed, so you could argue that it’s very similar to % damage.

Hmm, that’s true. It’s possible it could instead use the attacker’s speed (though I feel changing the “damage stat” of an ailment is better left to abilities - for example, the Necropolis’s poison damage would be based on its average defense), or based on the absolute number of creatures on the opposite side it out-speeds, giving a bonus on a base damage (though this may be too complex). Another idea I had that is more of a thematic rather than mechanical similarity would for it to do damage based on the action you do - attacking aggravates the bleeding and significantly increases the damage taken, while defending lowers it or even prevents it for that turn. It could work on a turn-to-turn basis, or a stack basis (attacking causes stacks to increase, casting/misc actions leave it the same, while defending causes it to decrease or cure).

After going through all the abilities, it looks like only 17 are truly detrimental to the game’s balance (aka they deal damage equal to a percent of the target’s maximum health). I won’t have time to fix them for the next patch (which is coming out tomorrow), but they’ll be a priority for the one after that, along with rebalanced spells/debuffs.

The goal is to not change how the abilities work mechanically, but just make their numbers a little different by making this damage based off of the creature’s stats rather than the enemy’s maximum health.

Does that include the Raven Acolyte? :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m not sure if he considers that, though this example seems to count less since it’s not something that can -kill- the enemy.

As for Zack, is a list of these abilities secret, or would sharing those be alright? I admit I haven’t played far enough to even see most of the abilities, but hearing about the balance issues was somewhat demotivating - it’s good this is getting looked into, though!

@crumplecup: No, the Raven Acolyte is fine I think. I am only focusing on abilities that deal damage equal to Maximum Health repeatedly, so even the Unguided Amaranth’s ability (always deals damage equal to 40% of target’s Current Health) is completely fine since you can’t really exploit it.

@jamosup: I’ll post the list of abilities and debuffs (just went through those too) along with the list of my proposed changes in a new topic soon. That way everyone can give their feedback on the changes and we’ll hopefully end up with a set of very balanced changes that everyone is happy with.

Interestingly, these changes open up the opportunity to make other stats like Luck and Defense much more useful. For example, Jinx could do something like this: After a creature with Jinx attacks, it incurs damage equal to 100% of its target’s Luck.

Poison, burn, and bleed are balanced. I would suggest a new debuff, Crushed, that deals damage equal to 50-75% of the difference between the user’s attack and the target’s defense. It should only last one turn, but would serve tremendously well to get around most damage mitigation effects. Likewise, a debuff that deals damage equal to (Maximum Health - sum of all Defenses) might help address the lack of balance between HP and Defense.

The problem with Luck, though, is the spell Warp Reality, which is incredibly common and reduces it by not 50% or some other number that might be played around, but to one. You cannot buff back up from that by percentages, or rely on an artifact; that spell cripples Luck strategies instantly, and since it isn’t affected by Spell Damage Resistance or Calmness, it becomes a giant problem with the stat itself. Jinx as a luck-based status, like the Spider Cultist, is not going to be reliable because of this.

It only really needs tying abilities to stats to make abilities work, for example
Witch Doctor Sacrificer reduces damage taken by 100% of its maximum life (minimum 1)
Omnipotent deity deals damage to all enemies equal to 15% of its maximulm life.
Troll Arsonist deals damage equal to 35% of its attack.

In my opinion damage debuffs are much harder to balance. Ideally you would track their sources and base them of the attacking creature’s attack but this would be very hard to implement when considering stacking, extending and different sources.

[edit]After thinking about debuffs some more I realized that you already have a similar mechanic in the form of barrier and it might not be that hard to implement after all. You could get rid of the stacks for poison and add 3% of a creatures attack (or defense for Necro as suggested) to a barrier like poison effect. Its total strength could be limitex to 30% of a creatures health or 60% with Bile Slime. [/edit]

I’m not sure the stance to take with all of this, but I’m sure that there will be much tweaking of numbers when it’s all sorted. I will say that bleed, which people have said is balanced, is not. Mainly because it can’t be removed at all by any means except waiting it out. Which in the case of my very fast nethers, doesn’t exist. (They’ll die within a few turns and there’s nothing I can do to stop that.) Is also echo the opinion that the two spells which instantly drop luck to 1 are in need of not existing, since it makes all and any luck strategy void in one turn for almost nothing.

I wouldn’t tie debuffs to the infliction stats though, as you’d end up with poison from three creatures all doing different things as the same debuff. That’d get rather over complex and just muddle them. They’re fine the way they are, batting the incurability of bleed (even it one hit killing my creatures is balanced because I choose to make them so fast, that’s a weak point they deserve. But it should be countable.)
Changing the damage percent based abilities to be based on creature stats sounds like a great idea, but I’m thinking that it would mean the percents being a little higher as your stats would be lower, bringing damage dealt down significantly. Boating the percentages a little wouldn’t break the balance and would keep them viable in later realms.
I will say that these changes will bring down the depth at which players will be able to go significantly, so I’m hoping I won’t have to grind-train my teams to level 300+ just to get the cool items.

You can use the debuff stack number as severity. 0%-3% of target health is 1 stack, 3 to 6% is two and so on. Better yet, normalize that over all debuffs and buffs. For example for every 5% increase the stack, e.g. Barrier20 means you have a barrier equal to your health or Burn7 means you take about 35% health damage each turn.

In my opinion bleed not being dispellable is a bug.
I think bleed should scale of two statistics, damage done by the attack inflicting bleed (severity of the wound) and target’s speed (moving around makes you bleed out faster)

I disagree with leaving poison, bleed and burn as they are. Even if they aren’t used much for it now, they can still create an “instant win to infinity” effect.
I have no problem with any of these effects on the player, either, only the way they dissassociate you from your level and stats. So if your creatures are being one-shotted by bleed, I don’t have an issue with that - that’s a completely different balance point.

I know I may sound obsessed with this, and even hypocritical as I have not actually played enough to reach the point where these balance issues become apparent, but it just makes me not want to play. Why use a setup I like personally when I can use a boring setup that gets me to indefinite realm levels?

I agree however that debuffs could get very messy and unclear this way, but you could still apply max stacks of poison rapidly and then just defend until the enemies die with the correct setup at any enemy level, which takes us back to step one.

I hope I don’t come off as the “fun police” or anything, and I definitely don’t want to make these builds unplayable. I also don’t want to force players to just grind to go deeper, either, I just don’t like how you can hit setups that instantly allow you to go as far as you want.

I disagree. There are two monsters called Mercurial Slime and Volcanic Efreet, and they cause their entire team to heal from poison and burn. I guarantee you if you make a poison/burn team, and you run into your respective hoser at anything lower than 30 levels, you’re probably about manhandled. Even if there are no defensive creatures on the enemy’s side, your build will be designed to inflict massive amounts of poison, and the hoser will quickly build up a full stack and start regenerating anywhere from 60-75% max health every turn, depending on your status choice, much less the rest of their team. At lower realm levels, you may actually have a shot at taking out the hoser with brute stats, but past that point anything except a dedicated Brim Smith / Colossal Giant is not going to have the power to kill an opponent based on stats.

Bleed doesn’t have a dedicated hoser, but there’s also nothing that inflicts it instantly on a whole team a la Necropolis or Scourge Mummy, so I’m satisfied with that situation as well.

That’s true, though most of these setups have a few setups that screw them over, and I feel like if poison and burn were the last remaining stat/level independent damage sources, they would still become dominant even if one or two creatures could force a flee or cause a wipe - if you have a way to prevent death like the Life mage passive and a way to apply poison stacks fast, any other encounter at any level, even 2.1 billion, is done for, even though there are a couple monsters (out of hundreds) that’ll ruin it.

I would note this is more due to the fact that Holy Defiance is, by far, the most brutally effective class perk in the game. Time is a valuable resource, and it buys at least three turns for each of your creatures.

Holy defiance is hands down obscene. But I stick to death mage cause role play is more entertaining for me.

Status effects really are fine the way they are. I’ve thought about it a lot in the past and really, the amount of effort you need to put into a Status debuff team isn’t half-assed. They really can’t reliably kill all the enemies in a realm when you get high up there; there are simply too many counters. They are very balanced and take a good deal of attention and battle management to use well; which is exactly what you want from a team.

I feel like removing the potential for abuse against extremely-high level monsters would allow one to buff it quite a bit, actually - making the damage easily surpass a stat-only build against the same realm level once you beef your stats up, without any possibility of you using it to cheese a level 2 billion realm. I also like it more thematically in general - I was always fan of damage over time styled like an MMORPG rather than just being a percentage. :stuck_out_tongue: I’m not calling in any way to give anything an effective nerf except when going to excessive realm levels. I never want there to be a reason to feel like I’m always going to be outdone by a build that does damage regardless of an enemy’s level. I also think it could bring up some interesting modifications to existing abilities, like a monster who does reduced damage with normal attacks but has quadruple the attack stat when applying ailments.

Holy Defiance is extremely strong, and possibly broken, though “percentage defense” is somewhat less abusive than percentage damage as it doesn’t allow you to kill the enemy, at least barring combining it with percentage damage. If it was removed or reworked, that would probably be the only way I would consider poison and burn being % based non-abusive, as you would have no way to avoid being one-shotted instantly waiting for it to take effect.

The main reason I still take issue with them is that even if the status-based builds have efficiency issues, they still operate mostly independent of the enemy’s strength - once you reach the point where all enemies go first and kill you in one hit, it doesn’t matter what level the enemy is, and I always considered that boring and strange.

I hope nobody thinks I just want the game to be a boring grindfest, though. :stuck_out_tongue: I simply find the design of abilities independent of enemy stats very boring.

Edit: Extra note - Warp Reality would likely work best being changed to another effect, as there’s already a “debuff all luck” spell, that this is just a better version of. One spellcast shouldn’t ruin your entire strategy and essentially be a guaranteed game over if cast. :stuck_out_tongue:

I am going to add in a seperate post so my previous isn’t so cluttered: I feel like I have a passionate design interest that may clash with the ideas of other people here. I hope anyone doesn’t think I’m trying to attack their style of play or ruin the game and make it only about grinding and min-maxing your stats; but I always felt that that was one of the most clear feelings of progression. I don’t think it makes a good ability synergy pointless by any means, either, since a good setup should vastly amplify what you get out of your stats and level, just without taking you to infinity instantly.

I do get that I haven’t actually played very far in the game myself; procrastination and distraction have led me to only reaching realm level nine or so. Most of my thoughts on balance come from reading other posts here - knowing that if I wanted to build a team around a Lich Priest’s ability, for example, would mean my ability to progress is vastly inferior to a set-and-forget kill all monsters in 3-4 turns regardless of enemy level setup, makes one less motivated to innovate, as often you’ll come up with something cool, but useless due to balance issues.