Experimental Build 1: Power Up

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Experimental Build 1: Power Up

Postby Ferret » Fri Apr 28, 2017 11:03 pm

Sorry it took a bit longer than I expected to post this. Just as I came back from break, work decided to get crazy. Anyway..

So, one thing that's bothered me on and off for awhile is that Demon has, balance-wise, been fairly heavily constrained by a certain collection of facts:

1) Wanting the player to have 3 AI controlled allies in addition to their main character
2) Wanting players and enemies to play by the same rules
3) Relatively good AI
4) Permadeath

Because of this group of facts, Demon has always had to tend towards relatively low impact individual abilities. To put it simply, if I allow a character to do more than 25% of your health in damage from a single attack, the combination of those three facts would basically mean a typical encounter group could walk up to you and one shot you.

Add in the existence of one-turn loss effects like Stun and Shock, and now you can't even really pass 12.5% safely. Add in the possibility of being weak to the attack element, and it gets even stickier.

But... I was kind of stuck. I consider all 4 of those to be key components of Demon: I wasn't willing to get rid of any of them. So, for awhile I simply balanced within these constraints. But, pretty much from the beginning, and never entirely dying off since, people who try Demon have sometimes (rightly) complained about how little impact abilities have, but unfortunately, there hasn't been much I could do about that due to those factors. And, due to the permadeath business, I had to balance things so that this pretty much never could happen, even though it's actually an extremely rare case for 4 demons to hit at full power on the same target, 2 turns in a row, with access to a Stun or Shock.

The main problem in all this has been the main character: the player's allies can be unsummoned if they are in danger, and even should they fall, it is possible (if a little expensive) to revive them. But, the main character's non-negotiable: if the main character dies, it's over.

It finally occurred to me to try drawing on an existing mechanic instead: maximum HP damage.

In brief: a Summoner (player or not) reduced to 1 HP will find that their Relic now rapidly drains their MaxHP to let them survive further damage. The draining is fairly severe: 2 MaxHP are drained to prevent 1 HP of damage. However, like all MaxHP loss, it can be recovered by gaining XP, using Pure Stones/Gems, or using MaxHP draining abilities.

That marks the first main change that will be explored in this experimental build.

The other change will of course be the re-balancing of damage/attacks that this new mechanic will allow me to do. The obvious effect will be significant increase in damage (and healing) across the board, but I will also be adjusting status effects to keep up: these will probably have higher success rates and/or more intense effects, but smaller durations. Some other adjustments may be made too if necessary, probably, to account for such things as the increased power a higher damage environment gives ranged attacks.

At any rate, that's the plan. :) I hope to have the first release ready soon. :D Cheers!
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Re: Experimental Build 1: Power Up

Postby Sandman25 » Sat Apr 29, 2017 11:29 am

I haven't played Demon much lately (busy with real life), but I still remember how much I hated being low on max HP.
I am not sure what's the point in having effective HP tripled if you are going to increase damage along with the change too.
Maybe increase damage variability instead? Like in DCSS where you can be killed by 2 attacks of Ancient Lich but it very rarely happens? It can increase number of "oh, sh*t" situations where you still can survive without consumables.
Or have some kind of special cooldown so if you lose more than N% HP to a single attack, you become immune to next attack of the same kind (or maybe element?) (but not to attacks of other kinds or elements!). It will help to avoid those "autoexplore" deaths where you are attacked by 4 identical monsters who use the same "you are weak to" attack.
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Re: Experimental Build 1: Power Up

Postby Ferret » Sat Apr 29, 2017 2:04 pm

The idea is that the circumstances that actually trigger needing the MaxHP buffer are really rare: most encounters don't contain 4 monsters capable of hitting your weakness at 100 Power while Stun/Shocking you... but I've had to balance around making sure that if that did happen, it wasn't instantly fatal.

With this change, there's a bit of a buffer between "alive" and "dead", so it isn't necessary to 100% ensure that doesn't happen anymore. I won't be increasing the damage nearly as much as I could if I were trying to match the buffer (after all, your ally demons don't have the buffer and I don't want you to be chained to constantly unsummoning them); it isn't expected that a careful player will need the buffer all that often.

Damage variability actually makes the problem worse, unfortunately: for balance reasons, I have to assume the worst case, so if I do a variable damage attack, I have to balance it such that you can survive eating a whole group's worth in one turn at max damage. (It happened while you've been busy, but I actually got rid of what little damage variance Demon had recently, as part of an earlier effort to stretch these same boundaries as far as they'd go before.)
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Re: Experimental Build 1: Power Up

Postby Sandman25 » Sat Apr 29, 2017 2:18 pm

I see, thank you.
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Re: Experimental Build 1: Power Up

Postby Bormoth » Sun Apr 30, 2017 1:48 am

Oh my god I thought different ideas even going pokemon style allowing your character become friednly untargetable support, while you have summoned demons.
But this sounds really good, I would never like to abuse this system because taking maxHP damage is still bad especially if there is no cap how much you may loose this way(so untill all maxHP). The numbers might require tweaking though. The only bothers it might hardly save you because it is rare cases I find to dye due to damage. More often I find myself dying to some strange debuff that makes me skip all my turns, sometimes not even telling what happend.
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I would agree even for more MHP damage conversion (both for ghosts and you) should you be invulnurable during deathdoor status. Hek I even would be ok if it was status which can be dispelled and you have x% chance to die(based on MHP) or recieve MHP damage.
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Another solution make game force manually skip turns if you can't act, and make cantrips castable and items usable while you are paralysed, charmed e t.c. So you may save yourself but not too often eventually you run out of solutions. After all items are only thing that gives you edge over ghosts and some demon packs(Ok against demon packs you have you relic abilities, but usually it is strategic edge not tactical. And it would make those pure stones actually more precious. For now I only use them to clean something really scary like slow, paralize(sometimes), confusion(depends on who is near me, don't want to hit my aspis, or goat) and mostly cure maxHP)
Because unless it is something making you watch for quite a while how you chainstunned(not only stun effect) and killed, you can risk an allow yourself to sidestep and allow your healers handle the issue.
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Re: Experimental Build 1: Power Up

Postby LuckyLuckLuc » Fri May 05, 2017 6:40 am

Not sure if I like the Max HP thing, i'd have to try it to see how I feel about but it seems like it might not be too harsh of a penalty for "Dying"

I do agree that because you can't unsummon yourself to save yourself like you can your demons, your character has to play much safer so for that reason playing a safer build like ranged/healer/buffer stuff like that is generally way better in the long term than an in your face class.

An idea that popped in my head is that when you die, instead of ending the game, a demon in your party or stable is killed in your stead. This may be giving your character too many lives though similar to maxHP damage. Or maybe add an item to the item pool that does what I mentioned early, saves your life but kills a demon. Or some sort of 'soul link' relic skill where your death is transferred to a specific demon.

Personally, I don't mind the get insta locked to death mechanic. Sure maybe you couldn't do anything in the moment, but you could have had a demon that removes stuns/shocks out, or that at least can do some heavy healing. Or get enemy sense to engage on your terms. ETC....
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Re: Experimental Build 1: Power Up

Postby Ferret » Sat May 06, 2017 3:00 pm

At that moment, I have it set to a relatively nasty penalty: -2 MaxHP for every 1 HP it has to block to save you. You can be forgiven for a minor slip and will probably get the XP to restore that quickly, but it's not hard at all to end up taking damage that can take longer to recover (and which makes it more likely you'll lose even more MaxHP) if you aren't careful. I can always make it nastier if it doesn't turn out to be serious enough. :D

Letting demons or items sub for lives would probably be a bit more all or nothing than I'm looking for here. One of the things I like about this idea is that the amount of penalty is based on how far out of whack you let things get. Minor slips are barely noticeable, but if you try relying on it, that falls apart almost instantly. :D

Insta-locked-to-death is definitely a thing other roguelikes allow, and there are people who are okay with it, but.. well, I'm not one of them, I guess. :D I know there are ways you might be able to slip out of it like you mention... but those shouldn't be requirements for avoiding what is otherwise a pretty cheap kill on the game's part if they're allowed to happen.
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Re: Experimental Build 1: Power Up

Postby Ferret » Sun May 07, 2017 3:59 pm

Here's a brief summary of the changes to status effects that have been made for EB1:

One note: "+15% success rate" only applies to direct applications of the effect (ex: Infectious Bite, Envenom, Silence, etc.) It does *not* apply to passives or reactives that apply the effect.

Chill: No significant changes, though the slight variance in duration that used to be seen based on the Power of Ice attacks delivering it has been removed.
EVD Up: Reduced duration, reduced cost of abilities that provide it.
ACC Up: Reduced duration, reduced cost of abilities that provide it.
OFF Up: Reduced duration, reduced cost of abilities that provide it.
DEF Up: Reduced duration, reduced cost of abilities that provide it.
SPD Up: No significant changes.
Regen: Reduced duration, recovery rate increased from 3.33% to 10% per turn.
Infection: +15% success rate, reduced duration, now completely blocks non-drain HP/SP recovery, including Regen
Poison: +15% success rate, reduced duration, increased damage from 4% to 6% per stack per turn.
Guilt: +15% success rate, reduced duration, increased heal from 4% to 10%.
Pariah: +15% success rate, reduced duration, increased damage from 2% to 5%.
EVD Down: +15% success rate, reduced duration.
ACC Down: +15% success rate, reduced duration.
OFF Down: +15% success rate, reduced duration.
DEF Down: +15% success rate, reduced duration.
Sleep: +15% success rate, reduced duration, duration no longer randomized.
Panic: +15% success rate, reduced duration, duration no longer randomized.
Mute: +15% success rate, reduced duration, duration no longer randomized.
Paralyze: +15% success rate, reduced duration, duration no longer randomized.
Hex: +15% success rate, reduced duration, duration no longer randomized.
SPD Down: +15% success rate
Stun: No significant changes.
Charm: Reduced duration, duration no longer randomized.
Ignite: Reduced duration, increased damage from 4% to 6% per turn.
Shock: Removed variance in success rate based on the Power of the source, however, "flat chance" Elec attacks now have increased chance to Shock.
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Re: Experimental Build 1: Power Up

Postby wizzzargh » Sun May 07, 2017 9:57 pm

I'm definitely interested to see if this change will make it so pure buffing/debuffing will be something that demons do throughout the fight as their role, rather than as a sort of freebie setup that only really requires a capacity slot rather than an active, dedicated summon throughout the fight.

New Guilt sounds very powerful, but I guess it will depend on just how short the duration really is. I thought Old Guilt was pretty great already but 20% HP regain from double hits(such as what Kasha get with their fiery claws!) could be bonkers

I thought old Regen, poison, ignite, and pariah were all mostly ignorable except for highly specialized builds that let them shine, but this damage is a lot more respectable now. I do like infection completely ruining your day as well

Sounds great on paper, I'm keen to try it out in practice
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Re: Experimental Build 1: Power Up

Postby oneeyedjoe » Mon May 08, 2017 8:15 am

Welp Phoenix now will be impossible to link with legitimately that's for sure.
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