The game of “try very hard to dodge monsters that you know you can’t beat” is actually pretty fun; there was a while where I was enjoying delving a lot, because I was bad at it. I didn’t have Time Stop and I didn’t have Topaz Attunement and I was constantly looking at my map and trying to judge what I could get to without fighting enemies, using Hound’s Tails to hope that I could flee from enemies, dying a lot, etc.
I think that it’s fine and fun if the player alternates between 2-3 hours on realms they “can handle” and 30 minutes “delving deep”, getting better treasure but using up Power Balance and consumables. The problem is when you can spend the entire game delving. I’ve been bouncing around a bunch of ideas to try discouraging stupid play without affecting “normal” play and without making delving actually impossible.
[ul][li]Decrease drop rate on all three types of tickets.[/li]
[li]Remove Time Stop, or make quills/mirrorballs not work on spells with Power Balance costs.[/li]
[li]Make the teleporter’s “go to a specific realm” option a cost instead of a penalty. Right now, even if you’re at minimum Power Balance because you’ve died so much, you can just keep teleporting to the highest-numbered realm. The player should only be at minimum power balance if they’ve been delving way more than they can handle or if they just got a bad panda token, so I don’t mind making them go to level 1 for a few fights.[/li]
[li]Change Topaz Attunement to something like “The speed of your creatures is tripled for the purpose of turn order.” That way your creatures will always go first in any fight that’s halfway reasonable. Maybe increase the Critical duration a bit to balance, idk.[/li]
[li]Add a power balance cost for tickets (cost, not penalty).[/li]
[li]Maybe increase the power balance cost for going to a specific realm, if it’s one of the highest realms you’ve ever been to? Something like “a linear scale between 10% at Realm 1 and 30% at the highest realm you’ve ever been to.”[/li]
[li]Get rid of portals when the player saves and loads, they’ve got the ability to teleport to a specific realm anyway. It just makes it really cheap to keep trying high-leveled realms via save-quit-load.[/li]
[li]Maybe add a small power balance cost (1%? 5%?) for Farsight and the Alteration spells, just so that you can’t keep casting them if you’re at minimum power balance.[/li][/ul]
Anyway, those are a bunch of random ideas, I’m sure they aren’t all good. And anyway, with the Steam release tomorrow, I imagine you’re probably busy on the early-game experience or last-minute polish or whatever, rather than worrying about game balance for people who are 50-60 hours in. Best of luck with everything this week!