Some more thoughts on the rebalancing of Arcanum

Discussion in 'Arcanum Discussion' started by Drog Alt, Oct 10, 2013.

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  1. Drog Alt

    Drog Alt Member

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    Saw the thread about Leonidus's mod on the Codex. You sure had a plenty of stamina to change that many things, but I'd do many things different. Actually, I'd fuck around with far less things, but more on this later.

    I was constantly thinking about making a rebalance patch when I was working on the UAP, but I never went any further with it. Why? Because opinions, duh. Fixing a bug is fixing a bug, but you will alienate somebody when you change their favorite weapon/spell/whatever's numbers to something else. And when you have to change as much stuff as Arcanum has in desperate need of revising, well...

    The smart thing to do is to not overdo it. No 'overhauls', no 'complete rebalancing'. No old fan is going to play your reinvention of Arcanum. I mean, you're just some piece of shit basement dweller from a far corner of the Internet, why the fuck would I want to enjoy your genius? You didn't design this game, you know nothing, so keep your greasy palms away from the meat of the game.

    If you don't, then we will just have another CarArcanum. Actually, as it was duly noted on the Codex, Leonidus's effort is in many ways similar to the aforementioned opus. It's just our Leonidus didn't have the smarts to change any of the maps. Guess, the WorldEd manual was too boring or something.

    Back to the topic. What people want from the modder is to just carefully go around many small things that create balance spikes and push them into a right direction. Basically, fix all the old annoyances without adding any new shit.

    Anyway, first of all, I'd start with changing around some things in the engine (note that I already have all of the following stuff disassembled and ready to be fiddled with).

    Derived Stats:
    Speed: I'd change min cap and max cap to 8 and 25 respectively, this would make the stat still useful, but nowhere as gamebreaking. Actually, I'd go as far as say that this fuckin' stat alone is the main bane of Arcanum's combat. Just capping it would literally transform Arcanum into a much better game.
    Healing Rate: would change max cap from 6 to, say, 12. This would actually make building CON a viable alternative to gulping potions.
    Damage Bonus: STR20 gives you 20 points of extra melee damage. A bit overpowered. Especially when a character's strength goes over 20. Could change this bonus to, let's say, 15.

    Backstab:
    Problem:
    Oh, yes, the Backstab. The formula is very simple. Backstab, like every other skill in the game, actually goes from 0 to 20. When you attack from behind this number is simply added to your every strike. So how is it overpowered? Well, if the target is 'unaware', the backstab damage is multiplied by 5, meaning every hit does 100 (at full skill) points of damage that ignores armor IN ADDITION to your normal damage. This is too crazy with fast weapons like the Dagger of Speed.
    Solution:
    Change the sneak attack multiplier to 2x (max 40 points of damage instead of 100).

    Spells:
    Well, not too much to do here. Nerf Harm slightly, make the four elemental boosts non-stackable, nerf the Ogre summon and that's pretty much it. Since I'm capping the Speed stat, Temporal won't be able to do crazy things anymore (but it will still be useful for low DEX characters, like, you know, your typical mage).

    Weapons:
    Guns, guns, guns. The damage should be increased by a lot, while the speed should go down and stay down. Probably 12 or so for the fastest gun (not counting the +5 Firearms Apprentice speed bonus). This would fix both the peashooter and bullet shortage problems.

    Melee weapons are mostly fine with a few exceptions like Balanced Sword and Pyrotechnic Axe. Should be nerfed, but only slightly. No need to reinvent the wheel and alienate the already small fanbase.

    Followers:
    Dog: it's just a Brute Fang on steroids. They do 30-40 of normal damage IN ADDITION to their STR based Damage Bonus. So Dog's shelling out 50-60 points of evil when he maxes out his STR. I could change his base damage to, let's say, 10-20.
    Others: the others are mostly fine, but I'd like to spice up the things a bit, since like 8 followers are just using the immensely boring Pure Melee-Dodge scheme. But then again, I'm assuming the smart players are already using the Follower Editor.

    Well, this should be all the main stuff. Any other ideas? Actually, I may even go through all of this and release the patch, if enough people care. The Codex thread was pretty inspiring.
     
  2. Jojobobo

    Jojobobo Well-Known Member

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    Reminds me of my young cousin Billy, anyway...

    I care, and I'd wager to say a lot of people would like to see your take on a rebalance patch.

    I know for guns I don't find them an enormous problem like some people (I normally play the majority of the game with 8 Firearms to best use Velorien's Blessing), though true enough they aren't very realistic and carrying around 1000 bullets can be a pain. I'd imagine if you did slow them down but made them more powerful (which would make them much more accurate to what a gun should be) it might be a good idea to increase the +TH values on some of them, as I know currently most of the fights I win are because I'm firing enough bullets to get enough hits and so score a kill. In other words, if they were slower and more damaging the balance would lie in either having very high damage as you're now hitting less frequently - or having moderately higher damage and a bit more of a TH bonus; this would make sense to me as you'd imagine it should be easier for a layman to fire a gun and hit a target than it would be if you were using a bow (even though many of the bows do have dramatically higher TH bonuses than most guns).

    Either that or you could keep speeds the same, up the damage, and add in a tangible reload (represented by a delay according to the capacity of the gun - so for a revolver there would be a pause after every 6th shot) for which you could use the click noise you normally hear when you're firing a weapon without bullets. I'm obviously no programmer, but I'd imagine there could be a way to create a loop where every 7th shot for a revolver you wouldn't do anything (counting as a shot with no bullets) and then that loop would reset. Obviously with guns that only hold one bullet, this would be every other bullet. I guess either method would nicely increase the disparity between using guns and bows, which is currently sorely lacking in any practical sense.

    Speaking of bows, I would probably add in an arrow schematic - without one arrow farming is tedious and it makes no sense to not have one considering the player can make fuel, charges and bullets all of which seem to have a higher complexity than arrows. I guess that might be verging too much into modding (as opposed to rebalancing) territory for you, but it does fit the bill of an old annoyance.

    I like the idea of the speed cap and I think it would work nicely, however in order to not make Hasten a useless spell for some characters I think it would be better if it added a flat bonus (say +5 speed) rather than doubling speed - maybe in excess of the soft cap that would be allowed by maxing DX (taking it up to say 30 with hasten and max DX which provided the original 25). I think the rest of Temporal would be fine, all introducing a speed cap would do is shift the focus of Tempus Fugit into being a more party orientated spell that the player (if they have invested in DX) themselves wouldn't feel a huge (or any, if they hit the cap) benefit from - but that's still a pretty impressive benefit for the right build.

    I guess with healing rate it might be a good idea to just test out what would provide a nice balance (though I'm sure you'd do this anyway). I know with characters I've had that have had a healing rate of 6 this is usually enough to offset the fatigue per second cost of having several spells active at once - ideally the healing rate should just slightly exceed this, allowing for fatigue to recover slowly with active spells so you can cast things that have a one time cost in conjunction without using loads and loads of potions.

    The only other thing I can think of is finding a way to prevent players from swapping between Arcane Staffs so that they have an inexhaustible mana pool, again something that's probably easier said than done unless you only leave one in the game.

    They're all the minor suggestions I can think of, other than that your ideas seem spot on to me.
     
  3. Leonidus

    Leonidus Member

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    Can't wait to post on this when I have time.
     
  4. dukfinx

    dukfinx New Member

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    Somewhat off-topic
    IMHO, the best thing that should happen now is someone spend time improving AI.
    Actually, that's my wish.
     
  5. FilthyJack

    FilthyJack Member

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    My thoughts on this:

    -Speed : Agreed, just change this and the whole game looks different. I'd definitely play the game with this option on.
    -Heal Rate: I'm not quite sure about this, CON based characters already have sweet bonuses(max hp, resistances) and you want them to actually heal faster? I'm ok with that as long as it's just the Player and not every npc in the game. An alternative could be to add heal rate bonuses to high grade equipements, or make stronger potions.
    -Damage Bonus: The idea to tone down str 20+ half-orc characters sounds fine.
    -Backstab: Depends on how the speedcap influences it, I'd say change the modifier to x3 (60dmg)? I mean dropping from x5 to x2 seems a lil hard. I love backstab so...
    -Guns: I'd love to see this implemented, and/or more units from schematics. (I also agree with the arrow schematic).
    -Followers: 10-20 instead of 30-40 for the dog is a real nerf... But it is justified.
    Doesn't hurt to have fine template schemes by default! So that not so smart players like me can still enjoy a diversified experience.

    Not everyone who care will answer your thread, but I can assure you they will definitely want to try a rebalance patch if it fits the mentioned criterias, not messing with everything to suit your personal point of view. And if you feel inspired then please do it, I'm more than open to any attempt at rebalancing, and if you intend to make it clean w/o extra garbage then it may turn into THE rebalance patch.

    I think what Leonidus is doing is cool, I wish I had that motivation, but if you're going for heavy modifications, then just call it a mod and not 'rebalance', I'm fine with mods even if they add crazy things.

    As for a strictly rebalance patch, even two or three of these changes would transform the game and make it more enjoyable, as you said we only need the small changes here and there that will fine-tune this already awesome game.
     
  6. Jojobobo

    Jojobobo Well-Known Member

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    No CON only affects fatigue and not hp, so a player with max CON would only have max fatigue (that is if the player isn't just putting points straight into fatigue, which offers more fatigue than putting points into CON does). Also, in terms of resistances, CON only contributes to poison resistance which becomes an immunity at 20 CON; as not many things poison you in the game and poison is also easy to deal with this benefit is arguably pretty shitty.

    Overall the only real benefit to CON is the heal rate, which caps at 6 at CON 17. Really most magical characters who want a high heal rate will use either the Amulet of N'Tala and/or the Staff of Restoration to boost both CON and healing rate in one, and/or use items that boost CON but not the healing rate directly (Ring of Virility, Amulet of K'an-el, Caladon Crusading Chainmail) - and even then the heal rate isn't that relevant if you have an Arcane Staff and Velorien's Blessing to significantly boost the mana/fatigue available to you in the first place. This means that there is no real incentive to leveling CON for most characters, it's only slightly more useful than BE but at least with BE many items that boost CH also boost BE at the same time so most charismatic builds get it anyway.
     
  7. Drog Alt

    Drog Alt Member

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    I'd like to note that if I do release a rebalance patch, it will be just an optional component of the UAP, like the Extra Content module already is. This way, it will be very easy to install and 100% compatibility with the UAP will be ensured.

    Now, some comments:
    - Arrow schematic. Yes, good idea. But would probably go in the Extra Content module. Any ideas for the components? I'm thinking Steel + Oak Axe Handle. Also, feel free to submit a funny, Victorian-like description for the schematic.
    - Reloading guns. No. We either do it properly (like in Fallout) or don't do it at all. Doing it properly will require too many engine (including UI) changes, which are very difficult to do without the source code.

    Moreover, I've been looking through my old files and here's a few more points on the followers:
    Chukka:
    At level 16 he's way too low-level for the PC. Most people complete the BMC mines at 20+ level. Since the followers don't sync with the PC's level when joining the party, he'll always lag behind the party, except for the most OCD players who rush through the BMC in order to get him at level 16. It would help for you guys to post at what level you usually report back to Bates after the BMC.
    Arronax:
    Way too weak for a 50 level mage, who supposedly single-handedly destroyed Vendigroth. Add to that the fact that he can't wear body armor due to his non-standard sprite, and as the result dies too many fuckin' times (ESPECIALLY in the final battle). Anyway, should be beefed up with a few extra spells, slightly higher stats and better natural armor (to counter his inability to wear body armor).
    Kraka-tur:
    Have you ever wondered why he can't breathe fire despite actually being a dragon and all the lore about him burning stuff? Well, it wouldn't hurt to give him the Fireball spell. (Yes, this is more of a lore nitpick than a balance issue, so will probably go in the Extra Content module.)
     
  8. Jojobobo

    Jojobobo Well-Known Member

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    They're pretty much the components I was thinking of, I'll see about submitting a description at some point later today.

    That's cool, I never realised it would be such a pain.

    I'm just outside the mines now and I'm level 21, if you want the exact level I'll be on exiting I can give it to you but it will probably be 23. Having said that I'm going solo and I've already visited Stillwater and Ashbury for some extra quests so I don't know if I'd make the best comparison - I think a level of 21 might be a good idea for him.

    Other than that, I think you're other points on followers are good too.
     
  9. FilthyJack

    FilthyJack Member

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    Forget what I said about heal rate then, it would definitely be great. But again we're talking in theory, it would require some tests because every npc/enemy would benefit from it as well.

    It may sound stupid but, we can actually make the followers adjust their level to PC level.
    You can use a global_script like : 31500_adjust_level_to_pc.scr
    Then just add a quick "runscript" hook command inside the followers first meeting dialog/script line:

    call script 31500 at line 0 with triggerer Player and attachee Attachee

    31500_adjust_level_to_pc.scr:

    description ""
    MAX_LINES_ALLOCATED 10

    0. stat 18 of Player : store in Local 1

    1. stat 18 of Attachee: store in Local 2

    2. Local 3 = Local 1 - Local 2

    3. IF Local 2 <= Local 1
    THEN stat 18 of Attachee: adjust by Local 3

    4. return and RUN default


    This will adjust the NPC exp points to the PC only if PC's level is superior. It can be used at first meeting or even when you re-invite them in the party, so their level gets updated, I must say this kind of feature would be cool, but maybe a bit controversial?

    -Arrow Schematic: Axe Handle is fine, but we would definitely need more of them in shops. With 1 steel and 1 axe handle would it make 10-20? Sorry I'm not english so I can't help with the victorian description :???:
    Would probably go in the Extra Content module? Dunno, the fact people ever wondered why it wasn't included kinda qualifies it as a rebalancing element imo. And you're not nerfing anything, that's a win-win.

    -Arronax: Totally agrred, I was kinda disappointed by the legendary mage, even though there's a lot of hype behind the myth and he's not reallly the one you'd expect, he still has to be stronger somehow. I agree with stats changes as a balance element, about extra spells, are you thinking about offensive spells or something to make him less squishy?

    -Raven: I remember having some serious issue with Raven using the spell Body of * and then her sprite changes to a male elf when the spell wears off. I don't know if this was fixed by UAP, haven't had this bug in a while.

    On a side note, do you think it would be possible for you to create an interface where we can install/uninstall any part of the extra content or rebalance patch independently or at least create more sub-groups?
     
  10. Drog Alt

    Drog Alt Member

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    Hmm, interesting. Does this really work? Because normally anybody but PC's experience points are irrelevant (and nobody but the PC actually gets any XP during the course of the game), as only the PC can truly level up, the followers leveling up is just a part of the PC's leveling routine.

    If this works, then it's an interesting loophole they left there.

    This is a known problem with pretty much all non-English versions of the game.
     
  11. FilthyJack

    FilthyJack Member

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    I'm going to test the xp script, but we can also directly adjust the npc's level, using stat 17 (level) instead of 18 (xp points)
     
  12. Drog Alt

    Drog Alt Member

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    Oh, so you never actually tested it... How about you don't waste my time like this again?

    And no, adjusting their level through script won't magically give them CPs. And even if you do give them CPs through a script, they still won't distribute them until the PC levels up and the whole leveling up routine is fired.

    The only feasible way of adjusting the followers level that I can think of is to level down the PC (by simply changing his level number) to the NPC's level, then level up them both back (and remove the excess CPs from the PC).
     
  13. FilthyJack

    FilthyJack Member

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    Then why not modify the stat 21 (unspent points) if that's all you need...

    Edit : nvm.
     
  14. Drog Alt

    Drog Alt Member

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    Basically, the auto-leveling schemes are checked and fired only at level up. Checking them at any other time would be a waste of resources from the programming point of view.
     
  15. FilthyJack

    FilthyJack Member

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    Sounds like it's feasible with scripts, am I wrong? If it doesn't remove already spent points from PC.
     
  16. Jojobobo

    Jojobobo Well-Known Member

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    Does something like this suit:
    Speaking of Chateau de Be'ron, might it be a good idea to add that as additional content to the inventory of a general store (or maybe the thief store/fence if you think it's comparable to absinthe)? It never really made sense that it was left out when other follower trinkets can be purchased at any general store.

    I was also thinking that the Extra Animations Pack could just be lumped into the main UAP at your discretion considering it is really just more additional content, especially seeing as the problem with small races using machined platemail was fixed?
     
  17. FilthyJack

    FilthyJack Member

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    Alright, it seems your time is precious so I did all the required tests and I insist that you can seamlessly sync followers level with PC, I have done it, tested it, screenshot it:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Now if you want to check it by yourself here is the script/dialog pair (it still requires some fine-tuning but it works) I'll post a clean and independant script later. So it's just a matter of time.

    http://www.lotusrevenge.fr/PublicProjects/01644Sogg_Mead_Mug.dlg
    http://www.lotusrevenge.fr/PublicProjects/01644Sogg_Mead_Mug.scr

    The script triggers when he joins you, at the end of dialog.
     
  18. Drog Alt

    Drog Alt Member

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    @Jojobobo
    Nice effort, but a bit too long. Most descriptions are about 300-330 characters long, yours is 436.

    @FilthyJack
    Well, thanks for confirming that my idea of leveling down and then back up is working nicely.

    I'm still not sure about including this 'feature' in any of the UAP's modules, as this solution is pretty crude.
     
  19. FilthyJack

    FilthyJack Member

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    Well, thanks for confirming that my idea to auto-sync followers level can be done this way. lol you're actually quite conceited my friend. I like that. Do what you want with it.
     
  20. Drog Alt

    Drog Alt Member

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    So I basically told you what to do, you wrote a script for that, and now I'm 'conceited'? Whatever, frenchie.

    I still don't like the idea, especially when it's implemented like this. What if the PC has an auto-leveling scheme active? The script won't be able to remove the excess character points.
     
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