My Experience With Demon

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My Experience With Demon

Postby Scytale » Sun Nov 14, 2021 1:08 am

Hello there everyone! Longtime player, first time poster :)

I’ve been playing Demon on and off for a long time, and after the final update to the game’s contents, and several playthroughs to complete it successfully, I thought I’d give feedback about my experience... Mostly about things that, in my opinion, were unbalanced or otherwise detrimental to the overall enjoyment of the game.

I’ll try to be as objective as possible. Of course, I’m no stranger to salt and raging, and Demon made me go: “Oh, that’s bu***hit!” more than once, but the following will hopefully be input of some value, and not just the ruminations of a malcontent. I hope that this will be of use to Herbie, though the big man is obviously free to manage his game however he wants!

And with that out of the way, let’s dive straight into it. The following points are in no particular order, though I’ve at least endeavored to go topic by topic, for the sake of a modicum of organization.

Titan’s Fist/Aux Upgrades Are Overpowered

The reason I’m starting with this is because I believe it’s the game’s most glaring imbalance.

Until recently, with Demon, I’d always gone with a Magic-oriented backliner build, making attempts with a variety of Relics—mostly the Eye and the Mask, to get the most out of every floor. Every time, I found it difficult to progress, as it was hard to keep a good frontline of Demons while making sure that I was not obliterated myself.

The idea of trying the Titan’s Fist came to me when I encountered a Titan Wraith by the name of Chills, which came close to decimating my entire party. The fight was an absolute slog, because every time I managed to chip at Chills’ health, it just recovered with Lucky Aid. It went on for a while, until Chills was… not so lucky with Lucky Aid, finally allowing me to make a dent in it, and that was how the Chilly cookie crumbled.

Anyway, I died on Floor 20-something to an unfortunate encounter with Corpse-summoned Demons, and I looked at Titan's Fist and thought: “Why the heck not?” At this point, I had been through multiple failed runs with my go-to build, and I thought a change of pace could be fun, if nothing else.

I got to the end of the Tower on my very first attempt.

The Aux Upgrades turn you and your Demons into such war machines that you’re half-indestructible. For most of the encounters, I didn’t even need to try, and when I found myself in a pinch, I just had to leisurely back away, letting an Aux’d Demon do the tanking while I got a comfortable distance away. Then I Dismissed, healed and went back to mete out punishment.

See, the thing is, in a “normal” playthrough, you have to manage a menagerie of half a dozen demons, if not more, which is expensive. And you have to manage them carefully in battle, Summoning and Dismissing them to avoid them dying and your party getting overwhelmed, which takes time (particularly with the Fast Summon/Dismiss Upgrades being so flippin’ expensive). This means that it’s hard to get a good rhythm, particularly against tough encounters, and especially against Heroes, who can easily tear through the HP of even a sturdy Demon.

With Titan’s Fist, you have no such issue, because any one of your party members (starting with you) is a powerhouse, and you can easily afford to make them even more powerful with Copy Abilities, Refined Brands, Fused Demons, and such, since you have less Demons to spend Credits on. I was running a Physical-heavy build that relied on Bloodthirst and Crusader for healing, Bloodlust to keep my SP up, and dual-type attacks (Storm Needle, Magma Force, Glacier Fall, etc.) to get around Resistances and Immunities. And all of my Demons were similarly outfitted, except usually one Magic user that I honestly didn’t get much use out of. Pretty much all of the encounters were a bloodbath, and even the final floors were a breeze. I was stunned. The only opponents I couldn’t crush were Perseus (but he’s purposefully busted anyway; more on that later) and Jeanne d’Arc (more on that later too).

So in my opinion, either Titan’s Fist needs a debuff, or the other Relics need a way to deal with hardships more smoothly. I would recommend making Summoning and Dismissing cost only half an action, and making Fast Summon/Dismiss less expensive to get, because they’re so vital, particularly when you’re in a bind. Even with my Titan’s Fist, I got the first Summon and Dismiss Upgrades, because spending an entire turn Summoning or Dismissing a Demon is really rough.

Speed Upgrades Are So Good

Being able to act faster is vital in a game like Demon, where staying in control of the battle is paramount, things can go downhill fast, and a single turn can make a big difference, particularly when your opponent has a very dangerous Ability with a cooldown. Therefore, being able to increase your Speed is highly valuable, and conversely, Demons with low Speed are easily dead weight.

I got Soul Armor just in time for Turdak, and managed to scrounge up just enough Credits to get its sweet sweet 120% Speed (not to mention the Body and Dark immunities, which are scrumptious). Turdak was later replaced with Anansi, since it had better Immunities/Resistances/Weaknesses, but here too, the delicious 120% Speed was the deciding factor. And to this 120% Speed, I also added a Brand that gave me more HP Regen and more Speed.

Meanwhile, for my Demons, I was lucky enough to stumble upon a Brand for Unmodified Demons that gave a Speed bonus. Toward the end of the game, the Speed bonus amounted to something like +33%, which was oh so good.

I honestly saw little reason to increase anything other than Speed. Sure, reduced SP Costs are cool, but they were already plenty reduced with Aux Power, and Bloodlust did the rest of the job. And Stat increases may be nice, but not as nice as multiple actions, particularly considering…

Running Away Is One Of The Best Strategies

As I alluded to, being able to run away from battles is a huge asset in Demon, since it can spare you and your Demons a grim fate. And you don’t want to leave your Demons behind to die. Sure, your Relic will save them, but they’ll be out of commission for a looong time, and you don’t want that. And sure, Items can get you out of a bind, but it’s easy to eat through those, and in the first place, Items like the Heal Gem that can really turn the tide of a battle are exceedingly rare.

So to be able to efficiently run away, you want Speed, of course, and you absolutely want the Mobility Ability, since it will give you a major edge toward such a purpose (and it will make you faster-moving to get from one enemy to another, too, which is a nice bonus). As soon as possible, in Demon, I try to get the lesser version of Mobility (whose name eludes me, I’m sorry to say), and of course Mobility, usually via the Stymphalides. And it honestly feels like kind of a shame that Mobility is such an obligatory Ability to have.

Some Abilities Seem To Exist Only To Make The Player Miserable

I’m thinking in particular about Abilities that drain Max HP, or those with a Miracle or Soul cooldown.

The common point of those Abilities is that they’re far less valuable for the player, and that enemies can give players a lot of trouble with them. When you’re attacked by a pack of enemies with Vigor Drain, it can be easy to lose half your Max HP, which is then a huge pain to recover. Meanwhile, sure, it’s nice to have temporary HP, but Vigor Drain (and similar Abilities) are super expensive, which make them not very viable to have, and thus not worth the previous Ability spot.

Similarly, enemies don’t care much about using a Miracle or Soul Ability, since they’re just a passing encounter here to hinder you anyway, whereas you’ll need a lot of time to recover them, making them next to useless.

I know that when I reached Floors 25-something, I hated encounters with enemies that had Miracle Abilities, particularly the one I forgot the name of that buffs all stats for everyone in a large radius. It made encounters so stupidly hard that my go-to strategy was to let the enemy use that Ability, run away, wait for it to end, and come back. And if there was another Demon with that Ability in the same group, well, rinse and repeat. It was just tedious and unfun.

I know that the icing on the cake was when I encountered Jeanne d’Arc. Oh my god, Jeanne d’Arc. She was one of the only enemies that even my mighty Titan’s Fist couldn’t defeat. Not because she was too tough, but because her Saint’s Slash (I believe that was the name?) enabled her to keep spamming Vitae, making her basically invulnerable. Even once I had dealt with all her Specters, I was unable to deal with her. I guess that she could conceivably be handled by permaStunning her (but good luck with that) or Silencing her, but I had no such recourse and was thus forced to throw the towel.

So ultimately, I would really recommend making such Abilities less penalizing for the player, because as it is, encountering enemies with them is so punishing.

“Protect For X Turns” Recruitment Conditions Can Be Unmanageable

Demon is a game where it’s next to impossible to protect an ally. There is no Ability or anything that can make you take hits for someone else, and it’s very hard to deny a line of fire to your enemies. So the best way to preserve a Demon’s life is to heal it or cast defensive buffs on it… And even then, if they’re getting focused or are Weak to enemy attacks, they’ll go down fast.

But at least, with your Demons, which you can order around to a degree and Dismiss, it's manageable. When you’re dealing with a Demon you can’t control, you’re up a creek. Sure, for Demons like Acteon or Pele, you can manage fine enough, since you’re attacked by wimpy Minions, for in the case of Medusa and Sati, the poor girls got absolutely obliterated. They barely lasted a few turns, and there was nothing I could do.

Of course, this may be due to me running fairly selfish builds, and therefore not being able to heal or support them, but even then, I don’t think there’s much I could have done. It would help if you could take the aggro better, or give instructions to the Demon you have to protect. Otherwise, the idiot will get themselves killed easily.

A Lot Of Items Are… Not Really Worth It?

Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve found that I’ve very rarely used Items, only doing it when it was my only recourse, when I was out of SP and couldn’t find anything better to do, or when I couldn’t be arsed to retreat and come back later to finish a battle.

Most Items (like Heal Stones, or Guardian Gems), I find, are not that valuable, since you have to dedicate an entire turn to using them, which is kind of a big ask. And Pure Stones are, in my experience, mostly good for curing Max HP loss (they can cure status ailments too, naturally, but more often than not, enemies will just reapply them immediately…), and even then, they give back so little Max HP that it’s miserable. Of course, Chakra Stones are great, but they’re very rare. And similarly, Peace Tokens (probably not the right name) and Offerings are great, but very rare… which makes sense. Same for Cards, which are good, but so uncommon that I was very hesitant about using them.

So yeah, aside from exceptional Items like Infusions (er, I think that was the name? The one that gives you +5 in a stat and 50% healing), I rarely found myself valuing Items, which I thought was kind of a shame. Maybe it would help if using them only cost half an action? And maybe there could be a Relic Upgrade to be able to do it for free once per turn?

Guilty Is Too Good

Initially, I thought that Guilty healed HP in proportion to the damage you deal to the target, but then, I found out that it heals 10% of your HP, which is... honestly busted. And what makes it even more cracked is that if you're using dual-type attacks (like Magma Force or Storm Needle), you get the healing twice. I don't know if it's a bug or a feature, but that sounds like something that needs to be fixed.

I really felt the effect of Guilty when I was dealing with... a Hero I forget the name of. The Knightess who can Parry up the wazoo and heals by making you Guilty. I've always found her an absolute ordeal to deal with, and even with my Titan's Fist, the best way I found to handle her was letting Python tank (since it's Resistant to Slashing) while I was taking potshots with Storm Needle.

The problem with Guilty is that you can easily find yourself in a situation where the weakest links among your enemies will be easily usable as HP sources. And when you're dealing with packs of enemies, if you can Guilt several at the same time (for example with Crusader, which is so good), you're pretty much invulnerable. It means that solo enemies like Heroes, which are a huge pain to fight in the first place, will be all the harder to deal with, particularly if they can Guilt you themselves.

By contrast, I found pretty much all the other Heroes easy to deal with. Even among all the Heroes at the top of the Tower, none except Jeanne d'Arc gave me any trouble.


Aaaand I’d say that’s pretty much it. It’s already long enough, after all ^^’

I’ve tried to focus on the more salient points I’ve noticed, but if further input is required, I’ll do my best to provide useful feedback.

I don’t know if balance and gameplay updates of such a caliber are in the stars. I believe they would help make the game feel more varied, fun, and balanced, but if they’re not to be, well, that’d be understandable! Herbie has already put an enormous amount of pro bono work in Demon, and I’d definitely understand wanting to lay this big project to rest.

Many thanks to Herbie for making such a neat game that I’ve sunk so many days of my life into, and best of luck to him in his future endeavors.

And of course, to all fellow Summoners, good luck in the Tower!
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Scytale
 
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Re: My Experience With Demon

Postby Ferret » Sun Nov 14, 2021 11:48 pm

Hey Scytale, and welcome to the forum :D

This is a lot of feedback. :D But, here goes. :)

Titan's Fist / Aux Upgrades

Yeah, Titan's Fist remains probably the biggest design error in Demon's development. It wasn't something I originally wanted, and when it (it being a way to play Demon without a party, more like other roguelikes) was suggested I was pretty resistant. But, I allowed myself to be swayed by the quantity of requests and went ahead with it, which was a mistake: the original version actually worked best with 0 Demons, on top of being easy mode. This was kind of the worst of both worlds: folks using it weren't really playing "Demon" at that point, and it made the game so easy that most of the folks who clamored for it were done with it (and in most cases, with Demon) inside of a day or two of release.

To be clear, I'm absolutely NOT blaming the folks who wanted this. The mistake was mine: I knew it wasn't really a good idea, but did it anyway. After seeing the result of not listening to my own thoughts about a major design choice, I learned to be more careful about what feedback to act on, no matter how often it comes up. :P

The current version, which now works best with 1 Demon rather than 0, was my attempt to correct at least the most damning flaw of the original form, which was that it wasn't even playing Demon anymore. It is still overpowered, but the concept of a party of two has a number of inherit advantages (less Credit usage, less to track and manage, easier to not have vulnerabilities that are bad for a given fight, etc.) that make me uncertain I can really fix that, so at this point I am content to allow it to remain the Minotaur Warrior of Demon, to use a DCSS reference. (If you haven't played DCSS, Minotaur Warrior is, or at least was back in my era, widely regarded as one of the easiest race/class combos to win with.)

It may still need a nerf even in that context, and I might make one more try at it here as I wind things down. I probably won't be trying to raise the other Relics up to this level though. :P The other Relics are much more in line with the difficulty curve I'm aiming for.

Speed Upgrades

Speed is pretty powerful in any roguelike, no question. But it sounds like you were combining it with Titan's Fist... which is like multiplying a medium-sized number with a very large number, balance wise. :D Speed is powerful even on its own, to be sure, but Titan's Fist can make even an innocent lamb balance-wise look broken.

Speed is strong, but I'm not unhappy with where it lives. I do agree low Speed demons are not often useful though, even with the HP boost they get. I might consider bumping that up a bit to see if that helps, but not sure what else I could do other than not have any, and I like the flavor of them enough to not want to just bump them to 100% Speed.

Running Away

Running away is definitely a strong defense. It is also one I expect any player to have available if they come across a case of the RNG using modifiers to make a bad enemy group, a corpse encounter that looks very ugly, a nasty Relic Wraith, or any of the other situations where even a well prepared player might run into real trouble.

All of that is to say: Yes, running away is powerful, and it kind of needs to be. If it was unreliable, most of those situations would result in unavoidable player kills. Granted, if you don't invest ability slots/upgrades in getting better at it, you will have to be able to recognize that you need to run *very* early, which can be tricky. The main thing you get out of spending abilities on things like Swiftness and Mobility is that you don't have to catch on quite as quickly that you're in real trouble to still have time to bail out safely.

I'm not sure I'd agree they're mandatory though: they certainly help, but many winning games don't use it, or ditch it before the end.

Anti-Player Abilities

I'm not sure I can agree MaxHP / XP-based CD abilities are significantly less valuable for players. MaxHP drains can reverse losses due to enemy MaxHP draining or Relic Preservation, and also can help make you incredibly tanky. Their SP costs are indeed high, but there are ways to reduce that considerably if you wish to become a dedicated drainer. I agree it is a bit heavy to use outside of the box, but I'm okay with that given the power involved.

As for XP-based CD abilities: these universally have amazingly powerful, battle-turning effects and the XP required to recharge them (even without any supporting passives) is only a few battles each. Carrying Vitae around is in one sense basically like a free Heal Gem every 3-4 fights. Gaudium? Might Gem + Guardian Gem. Then there's Eternal Glory... THAT one has a nasty high recharge, but on the other hand, not only did you not die, you got all the MaxHP you lost on the way to almost dying put back.

I'm happy with where these are on players, in any event. :P

As for enemies, particularly the part about "baiting" enemies into using Soul cooldowns... yeah. That part I don't like. It has also been an issue with using MaxHP drains on enemies to wear them down a bit, fall back to recover, go back and repeat until they're dead. I admit this is a problem I want to solve, but I haven't managed to figure a good way... maybe enemies who have significant MaxHP damage or have burned Soul cooldowns try to leave the level if they're no longer in combat? I think that's what I want to try at any rate.

Jeanne d'Arc, incidentally, is a good example of one of those encounters you need to be able to run away from. :D She is killable even with Vitae spam, but some parties may not have the means.

Protect Recruitment

Protect Recruitment was designed to be a recruitment type that somewhat favors more support-oriented builds. If you were running mostly offense / self-support, they're going to be a bit difficult for you as your only real option will be to kill the attackers before they kill the target.

There is actually one thing you can do that helps in some situations: you can swap positions with the target you're defending by "walking" into them, just like your own demons. It's a small thing, but a little repositioning can go a long way, especially since it only takes half a turn like any other movement.

Where you start the encounter can also be important. Luring a Protect-type demon into a hallway or corner can be quite useful for many of the encounters.

I'm generally happy with these, but I agree they will go hard on builds that aren't support-oriented. (Much like "Kill in X turns" type encounters sometimes go hard for those that aren't attack-oriented.)

Giving them orders isn't a bad idea, but I admit I'm reluctant to head down that road. I've tried pretty hard to make Demon not about micromanaging allies, not sure I want to open that door any further at this point.

Items

Items are largely not meant to be a major feature of Demon, and their intended use overall isn't much different than you describe: emergencies or times when you desperately need an effect of a kind you haven't built your party to provide, such as an offense-oriented group using Heal Stones to protect a Protect recruitment target, or a defensive party using the attack items to try and get through an important time-limited kill.

That said, it may be worth considering a Relic Upgrade to make using them a bit more useful. I don't mind giving the option for that.

Guilty

Guilty is powerful, but I'm not unhappy with it relative to the impacts most other status conditions can have. The bit about it triggering multiple times off of hybrid attack types is a bug-that-became-a-feature. Most of the other things you describe here are more what I'd call "making good use of Guilt" and less what I'd call problems. :D

It is powerful on enemies, but that's where I go back to being okay with where it sits compared to the other status conditions.

Closing Comments

Thank you again for all the feedback presented here. :) I did add a few more items to my list as a result of what was discussed, so I will get to them as time permits, but that will be at a slower pace than during active development. Thank you also for the closing kind remarks,. :D

Feel free to post any other feedback you have, and good luck in the Tower to you too!
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Re: My Experience With Demon

Postby Scytale » Mon Nov 15, 2021 12:08 pm

Thank you for your exhaustive answer! I hope that my post wasn't too much of a slog to go through, and I'm happy that the feedback was of some value. Your responses have given me some much-needed perspective, too, which I'll go over as succinctly as possible.

Titan's Fist / Aux Upgrades

Ah, yeah, I definitely hear you. I mean, being able to be a powerhouse is fun, but I obviously understand you ultimately not being happy with such a feature, and feeling that it detracts from what Demon is meant to be about. No argument there.

Ferret wrote:It may still need a nerf even in that context, and I might make one more try at it here as I wind things down. I probably won't be trying to raise the other Relics up to this level though. :P The other Relics are much more in line with the difficulty curve I'm aiming for.

I definitely didn't mean to imply that all Relics should be tweaked to get to the level of Titan's Fist. That would be a big chore to take care of, and especially unnecessary if you feel that they are in a good place as it is!

My main suggestion, however, remains: making Summon and Dismiss cost a half-action from the get-go, since it would remediate one of the main disadvantages that non-Titan Fists suffer from, which is the time it takes to swap Demons in and out. And I also feel that, overall, not being paralyzed in the middle of combat by the necessity of dedicating turns to swapping Demons would help. At least, that's my perspective!

Running Away

Ferret wrote:I'm not sure I'd agree they're mandatory though: they certainly help, but many winning games don't use it, or ditch it before the end.

That's fair. I kept a death grip on Mobility, because not being able to run away from an encounter is a nightmare scenario for me, but maybe it's because I didn't think about different options. I should definitely look into the playthroughs of other players for inspiration!

Anti-Player Abilities

Ferret wrote:I'm not sure I can agree MaxHP / XP-based CD abilities are significantly less valuable for players. MaxHP drains can reverse losses due to enemy MaxHP draining or Relic Preservation, and also can help make you incredibly tanky.

I'll be honest, I didn't even think about such a possible use, so that's entirely on me! Being able to recover Max HP so much quicker is indeed a boon!

Ferret wrote:As for XP-based CD abilities: these universally have amazingly powerful, battle-turning effects and the XP required to recharge them (even without any supporting passives) is only a few battles each. Carrying Vitae around is in one sense basically like a free Heal Gem every 3-4 fights. Gaudium? Might Gem + Guardian Gem. Then there's Eternal Glory... THAT one has a nasty high recharge, but on the other hand, not only did you not die, you got all the MaxHP you lost on the way to almost dying put back.

They are very good indeed, but I'm not sure if having a dead Ability slot is really worth it. I thought I'd bring it up, considering how disappointing these Abilities feel to me, but if you and the playerbase as a whole feel like they are in a good place, far be it from me to lord it over! ^^

Ferret wrote:maybe enemies who have significant MaxHP damage or have burned Soul cooldowns try to leave the level if they're no longer in combat? I think that's what I want to try at any rate.

Huh, that's an interesting idea. I'd never considered it. It could be frustrating, but fair. Not sure how actually meaningful it would be, though, considering that enemies in such a disadvantageous situation could easily be dealt with before they have the time to get away =/

Ferret wrote:Jeanne d'Arc, incidentally, is a good example of one of those encounters you need to be able to run away from. :D She is killable even with Vitae spam, but some parties may not have the means.

Ha ha, fair! If it's a feature and not a bug, then that works for me ^^

Protect Recruitment

You raise very food points. It's true that my hyper-aggressive selfish builds weren't very suited to protection. I did try to swap positions, but Perseus had Medusa stunned, and it only took a few hits for her to go down, so I didn't have time to... well, do anything.

Now, to be fair, I completely forgot that Heal Stones were an option to support friendly Demons, so that's on me! :oops:

Ferret wrote:Giving them orders isn't a bad idea, but I admit I'm reluctant to head down that road. I've tried pretty hard to make Demon not about micromanaging allies, not sure I want to open that door any further at this point.

Personally, I would very much welcome it. Being able to use c to give orders to Demons or "," to tell them to mimic you adds a much welcome degree of control over your troops, and I'd be glad to have ways to get my Demons to act more predictably. Whether or not that should be an option is up to you, though ^^

Guilty

Thinking about it, maybe I got hung up on Guilt because its effects are so visible, and I've been neglecting more subtle effects like Offense Down, Evasion Up, etc., which might be equally useful, but have less tangible results. That sounds like something I should look more into! :?

Closing Comments

I left a lot of your answers unanswered because I didn't find myself having much of value to add besides "Ah, yeah, I understand." or "Indeed, I agree!", so I thought it would be best to give an implicit thumbs up rather than clutter this message ^^

As said, your points have given me much welcome food for thought, and they will most likely influence how I tackle my next Demon run. I'll keep you abreast of any new thoughts or considerations I might have to share!

Thank you again for your response, and for all the work you've put into this lovely project of yours.
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Re: My Experience With Demon

Postby Ferret » Tue Nov 16, 2021 12:48 pm

No worries, it wasn't a slog. :D There are few things I enjoy more than reading constructive feedback about Demon and talking about game design in general. :)

Making Summon and Dismiss half-actions by default could be done, but I'd have to do a fair bit of balance testing. One of the main advantages the player has over the encounters in the game is that while the encounter is usually limited to what I internally call 400 Strength (1 character at the player's level = 100; higher/lower level characters are more/less than 100), the player party, while only capable of having roughly 400 Strength out at once, can swap out damaged guys for fresh ones, in effect having a total possible strength of roughly 100 + stable size * 100 .

If this advantage was able to be fully realized, the player would of course stomp all over everything. One of the main factors that prevents that is the turn delay on summoning and dismissing. There's a good reason the upgrades for 0 turn time for summon and dismiss cost a metric ton of Upgrade Points: once you can do them for free, you basically *are* able to fully realize that 100 + stable size * 100 Strength in every way other than literally having them all out together.

Half-turn is not quite as powerful.. but it is still pretty strong. I'll think about it some more, but it would definitely be a major buff to the player to start with this by default, so I admit I'm reluctant given I'm happy with where all the non-Fist Relics are challenge level wise.

Re: Miracles, yeah, I can understand why you may still not like them for the fact that they do mean you head into some battles with a dead ability slot. This may be one of the cases where I fall back on Demon's general design principle of only requiring abilities to be useful to someone, somewhere, not everyone, everywhere. :D Miracles as written definitely have some fans who swear by them; that doesn't make you wrong or them right, more, I think it is just a difference of opinion. There are lots of these running around Demon's ability list. :D For example, some of the winningest players swear by Lucky Aid; so much so that I begin to think I had been underestimating it so I tried using it more heavily myself for awhile to see and... nope... I still think it's fairly iffy, but they still swear by it.

The monster fleeing bit I mentioned would mostly be to stop the behavior of engaging enemies to drain their MaxHP / goad them into wasting Miracles, running away to rest up, and then coming back to finish them off. If I implemented this change, the enemies would run away after you disenaged, so to get the XP you'd have to fight them "fairly" rather than doing this tedious hit and run behavior that is currently rewarded (and which I'm discovering has been being leaned on even more than I suspected, perhaps, in conversations with other players.)

You can hold Ctrl when executing movement to force summoned demons (but not Protect demons) to move with you, if that's what you meant by "mimic you". Ctrl + "wait turn" will also force them to move towards you while you stand still, kind of an "on me" option. Note that in both cases, this movement is their ONLY priority and applies to ALL summoned allies: I wouldn't recommend doing it if you need any of them to heal. :D

If you want to start using the Offense/Defense/Accuracy/Evasion stuff a bit more, I'd recommend remembering they become even better when paired with their opposing type, since they are all multiplicative effects i.e.: Offense Down on your enemies + Defense up on your allies can greatly reduce the damage you take.

Thanks again for your feedback. :D
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Re: My Experience With Demon

Postby Scytale » Tue Nov 16, 2021 1:34 pm

Dismiss and Summon

I get your point about the "full-strength" party, though I'd temper that argument by saying that one advantage that your enemies have over you is that they don't care about dying, since they're just one encounter among many. Meanwhile, having one of your Demons reduced to 0 HP and taken out of commission can set you back severely, requiring time, effort, and/or resources to bring them back on top of their game, and making battles that much harder. If you start losing one Demon, things can snowball fast.

My main issue with half-action Summon/Dismiss requiring Upgrades is that it's so desirable that I really can't imagine why you wouldn't want those Upgrades over other ones. As said, even with my Titan's Fist run, I found myself ultimately getting them, because they make battles that much smoother. Fast Summon/Dismiss, meanwhile, is so staggeringly expensive (15 Upgrade points is close to half your levels through the entirety of a Demon run) that I'd never see myself getting it, and would rather get less expensive Upgrades like Refine Brand, which is less impressive, but will still give you some bang for your buck.

I remember that in previous versions, Fast Summon/Dismiss was limited to once per turn, so why not bring it back, and make such an Upgrade cost only 5? That would seem balanced to me.

As always, just my two cents!

Miracles and Lucky Aid

If other players are not as icked by Miracles as I am, then that's fair enough! After all, the game is certainly not limited to my perception of it alone! :)

As for Lucky Aid, it's personally not an Ability I like, due to its randomness. As much as possible, I try to avoid chance factoring into my capabilities. Not to mention that you typically use Lucky Aid when you're in a bind, and if you don't get the effect you might have wanted, well, that's a turn wasted and you're in even more of a bind!

Fleeing Monsters

Yeah, hit-and-run tactics in Demon are very convenient, and even one of the legs upon which a successful run rests, I'd say. Sure, it's cheesing, but sometimes, it's either that or getting pummeled!

As for Demons running away, I wonder what metrics you'd use to decide when they'd run away (as opposed to chasing you). Or would any group leave after losing sight of you, regardless of its strength?

Ctrl

Yup, that's what I meant. I didn't use it a lot, mind you, but it was a welcome option! ^^

Buffs

Duly noted! :D


Once more, thank you for your time and attention!
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Re: My Experience With Demon

Postby RedPine » Fri Nov 19, 2021 1:48 pm

I only have limited experience, and haven't played much in the latest build, but I noticed a few indicators as to why your non-titan fist playthrough struggled so much.

> Titan's Fist has a small roster, which is cheaper to maintain and upgrade

The mistake is thinking that you need to minmax ALL of your demons - especially in the early game. It's usually better to only have 3-4 good demons, and use the remaining slots solely as a place to store abilities, potential fusion modifiers, and as a source of cannon fodder whenever you need to flee the battle.

When crafting a support demon, you don't need to invest a lot of abilities. Lucky aid, and a few cooldown reducers (such as Presence or the one that resets luck), and you'll have a support that will - eventually - fix all of your problems, completely irrespective of what it's other stats or abilities are. In fact, in many situations, all three outcomes of Lucky Aid are equally good, so you aren't even rolling the dice that much.

With experience, you can make a good demon for a very, very cheap cost. Zaltys snakes and East fish, for example, are both cheap to recruit, and provide immense synergy if you share one or two abilities between them. Generally, you want to spend as LITTLE on demons as possible. 2-3 abilities with good synergy is better than a full 8 abilities that usually won't even be used.

A minimal roster of 2 good demons and 1 cheap support is extremely affordable.

> Roster (cont)

Fusions are very expensive. Don't bother unless you want the stat changes on a minion you plan to keep. It's better to keep an eye out for modified demons in the wild, and only recruit them if there's an ability you want to steal.

Don't bother overinvesting in a demon when you will be recruiting a better one within a few levels anyway.

Wealth management is a HUGE part of the game, and one of the major bottlenecks in the learning curve.

> Protect for X turns

Provided you position well before starting the link, have at least one form of healing (draw wound is great because it's a free action, and allied healers will prioritize compensating you for any damage you take), and know what kind of enemy the link will summon, those Protect X are some of the best possible links. For example, the first early game Biriburi I meet is a chance to get my first Ogre. I just have to make sure at least one Ogre is still alive when the link ends.

Not sure if it would work, but if an ogre with a good modifier comes up, you could even fail the link intentionally just to get the demon you REALLY wanted!

Additionally, if you have the meta knowledge, you will also know which links are NOT worth attempting. It may be worthwhile to keep a Notepad or Spreadsheet that you keep notes on.

> Running Away

Not always possible or desireable. If you warp into a level, then immediately encounter a bad fight, then flee into another fight, you will quickly die or be crippled. It takes a bit of knowledge and preparation to ensure that running away is even an option in the first place.

Once I realized that most fights are do-or-die, and that fleeing is often worse than committing more resources to winning or at least making a dent in enemy numbers, I started doing better. I still keep all the movement abilities, I just don't trust them if I can't help it.

With more experience, it becomes possible to know you need to flee multiple turns before things get bad.

In the late game, you (and your enemies) become dangerous enough that fleeing is no longer desireable or possible, and movement abilities usually get cut. It's worthwhile to keep a copy of movement abilities on a benched demon just in case you need to relearn it in an emergency, though.
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Re: My Experience With Demon

Postby Ferret » Fri Nov 19, 2021 2:06 pm

Yeah, being worried about demon deaths is another of the restrictions on the player's power. :) I neglected to mention it, but it's definitely true.

Just to make sure we're talking about the right upgrades:

Fast Summon/Dismiss: 5 points each, reduce turn cost to 1/2 a turn.
Quick Summon/Dismiss: *15* points each, on top of requiring the Fast version. Reduces turn cost to 0 for the first summon/dismiss each turn, if you summon/dismiss twice, the second takes 1/2 turn.

I don't think Fast ever had a cooldown, but I could be misremembering, so I'm not sure if you meant Quick (and didn't realize it still has a cooldown)

I will say that in the past, when it was cheaper to get Quick Summon/Dismiss, they were INSANELY popular, which means I have to be careful here. Even if I made Fast Summon/Dismiss built in behavior, I'd probably have to strongly consider bumping those upgrades to 20. Yeah, they're expensive, but the ability to handle stable swapping without needing a turn (or, in a desperate situation, doing 3 stable actions in 1/2 of a turn) turns out to be one of the strongest effects possible in Demon. At their cost, it is obviously difficult to do this, but I'd recommend playing a run with Quick Dismiss in particular if you can get it. :D It's pretty incredible.

(Funny quirk: Why Quick Dismiss specifically? Because that lets you remove and replace in a single turn. If you get Quick Summon instead, there will be a one turn delay between the normal Dismiss and you being able to Summon, though you will be able to do something else the turn you summon.)

You feel the same way I do about Lucky Aid, and every time I've tried to use it I've had that feeling confirmed. :P Maybe the players who love it are just luckier than we are. :D

If I did the run away bit, it would only happen under the following conditions:
1) They have taken significant MaxHP damage AND/OR used XP-based cooldown abilities.
2) Your party has been completely out of LoS long enough for them to give up chasing you.
3) If you ever come back into LoS during fleeing, they resume fighting.

Frankly, it is almost never fun chasing fleeing enemies in combat, so I would be avoiding that here. They would only start fleeing if they can't see you (and haven't been able to for a bit) and it would stop if you happened to catch back up. And, due to Rule 1, this frankly isn't something I expect most players would run into anyway.
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Re: My Experience With Demon

Postby Scytale » Fri Nov 19, 2021 2:09 pm

Thanks for your feedback, RedPine! Your input is definitely valuable. However, I find myself disagreeing with several of your points... Which doesn't mean that you're not right. Just that our experience of Demon seems to be different, no doubt owing to our respective playstyles.

I'll get back to you point by point:

Roster size and disposable Demons

The thing is, if I'm only going to invest in 3-4 Demons, then what's the point of having a full menagerie of 6-7 of them? I'd much rather go Titan's Fist from the get-go, and thus only have 3 Demons to manage, than have the option of housing up to 6-7 Demons, only to actually use half of those.

You make a point about making cheap support demons, but even then, if I have a cheap, weak Demon among my troops (like say a poorly optimized Level 15 one in a world of Level 25 Demons), it's very likely that it's going to get targeted by enemy Demons and promptly shredded.

As for Fusion, I found myself almost never actually using it, particularly in my Titan's Fist playthrough where I found an excellent "Is an unmodified Demon" Brand. As for investing in a Demon, I basically only do that for Uniques, and even then, only the real good ones like Ogun, Pele, or Python.

In fact, more often than not, I have too much money in Demon. I find myself walking around with 30K+ Credits, and nothing I could imagine spending it on.

Protect for X turns

Yup, I'm aware of the Buruburu-Ogre trick, and I use it consistently. In fact, I always make sure to get an Electricity Ability beforehand, in order to be able to deal with the Ofre swiftly! :D

Running Away

Honestly, I instead found that the further I ventured, the more viable running away became, since my party comp was more and more optimized, and I unlocked access to Mobility, Fast Dismiss, and other convenient tricks, making it all the more convenient for me to skedaddle while my Demons are taking a pounding. Then I can Dismiss them when I'm far enough.

And of course, I always make sure to be careful of where I go, so that I don't find myself dealing with two groups at the same time. I've experienced one or two close shaves like this, but even then, I was able to give the two groups the slip.


Again, thank you for sharing your perspective! And I hope mine will be of some value as well!
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Re: My Experience With Demon

Postby Scytale » Fri Nov 19, 2021 2:20 pm

Ferret wrote:I don't think Fast ever had a cooldown, but I could be misremembering, so I'm not sure if you meant Quick (and didn't realize it still has a cooldown)

Dagnabbit, yeah, that's what it was! I mixed up Fast/Quick and didn't realize that Quick still had a cooldown. My bad! :oops:

I will say that in the past, when it was cheaper to get Quick Summon/Dismiss, they were INSANELY popular, which means I have to be careful here. Even if I made Fast Summon/Dismiss built in behavior, I'd probably have to strongly consider bumping those upgrades to 20. Yeah, they're expensive, but the ability to handle stable swapping without needing a turn (or, in a desperate situation, doing 3 stable actions in 1/2 of a turn) turns out to be one of the strongest effects possible in Demon. At their cost, it is obviously difficult to do this, but I'd recommend playing a run with Quick Dismiss in particular if you can get it. :D It's pretty incredible.

Well, in my opinion, Fast Summon/Dismiss are still desirable, particularly for how cheap they are. And meanwhile, as said, Quick Summon/Dismiss is too expensive for me to consider. I only ever got 5-point Upgrades, with the exception of Soul Armor (because getting to absorb Demons like Turdak or Anansi is just insanely good) and Enemy Lure (and that one was mostly because I didn't know what to spend my points on and I thought it would be fun).

I don't feel that making Fast/Quick Summon/Dismiss more expensive is the solution. Instead of bringing proper balance, I feel that it instead punishes Summoners who have big rosters, which, again, makes Aux Abilities all the more desirable.

You feel the same way I do about Lucky Aid, and every time I've tried to use it I've had that feeling confirmed. :P Maybe the players who love it are just luckier than we are. :D

RedPine does make a good point about Lucky Aid's effects being useful practically all the time! Though I'd never find myself trusting chance anyway.

If I did the run away bit, it would only happen under the following conditions:
1) They have taken significant MaxHP damage AND/OR used XP-based cooldown abilities.
2) Your party has been completely out of LoS long enough for them to give up chasing you.
3) If you ever come back into LoS during fleeing, they resume fighting.

Doesn't that go back to the objection I raised about it meaning that you'd never run away in those circumstances? Like, if enemy Demons are so weak that they'd consider running away, odds are that you're this close to dealing them the finishing blow anyway, and they won't make it far before being squished.
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Re: My Experience With Demon

Postby Ferret » Fri Nov 19, 2021 9:10 pm

The running away is supposed to be rare though, so I think we might be just agreeing with each other. I'm only really thinking it would solve the specific cases of:

a) Baiting an enemy group into using a Miracle, then running away to recover / wait for the Miracle effects to fade, then coming back to fight them again (only now they can't use the Miracle.)

b) Attacking an enemy group with MaxHP drains and fleeing, healing up, and going back, and repeating this as many times as necessary to slowly whittle them down with damage they can't heal while you're running off to heal. (Against enemy Heroes, this is sometimes repeated several times, so there'd be plenty of time for them to flee.)

Those are really the only times I want it to come into play.
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