Author Topic: Spell balance!  (Read 6851 times)

Offline Misery

  • Global Moderator
  • Core Member Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,099
Spell balance!
« on: February 10, 2013, 02:03:12 AM »
Surprised there wasnt one of these here already, so I thought I'd just make one.

Similar to the monster thread, just give some thoughts on spell balance as it is currently!  Either for individual spells, entire spell types, or specific classes.   There's definitely some screwy balance issues with some of these, so I figured this would be a good idea.


So let's see here....


Rocket spells:  The only ones I currently consider entirely useless right now.  These are, at least in my view, really terrible.  The only thing they help me do is blow myself up.  As far as I'm concerned, a class with a rocket spell is a class that actually only has 3 spells instead of 4. 

Touch spells:  These are good for the Shallows areas.... but that's about it.  I know they're also meant to stop enemy shots, but I've honestly always found them useless for this.   The hitbox and the timing and all that is just too screwy, most of the time it just leads to me taking a hit, so I ignore this aspect of these entirely.   Only use them in the shallows.

Whips:  Sorta the same as the touch spells.... good only for the shallows.   There's the armor-breaking, but.... never really found much use for that.  Particularly since the damage of these just seems very weak.  At least the touch spells can be fired more rapidly.

Seekers:   I forget what these are actually called, but they're the homing shots.   They're very, very situational, and they actually seem to glitch out alot;  sometimes they'll fire BACKWARDS, and completely ignore an enemy that might be right in front of me at varying possible distances.  Their cooldown is really nasty.... gotta have a very specific sort of situation indeed for these.  Dont use them all that much, but they're decent at least.

Sliders: These are pretty useful.  Great against crawlers of any sort.   I seem to remember some versions of these where the caliber was a bit too high though.... a spell with as much utility as this already has should probably always have a very low caliber.

Sines:  Another good utility style spell.  Super useful in towers, often not easy to hit with though.   These seem well-balanced to me.

Bombs: I use these whenever I can.  I suspect alot of players wont use these much, because they're rather strange compared to other spells, but I use them for basically everything.  LOTS of possible uses balanced out by being difficult to learn to use.

Campfire:  Why arent there more defensive spells in the game?  That sort of spell is pretty neat.  Campfire is useful without ever being overpowered.  Same with that water ring ammo spell, which has alot of the same uses.

Fullisades:  Honestly, these may as well be straight shot spells.  There's not THAT much difference in possible angles with these, and I've never found all that much of a practical use for them.   Not sure what could be done to make these more useful....

Those are some that I can think of right now.


As for actual spell classes, any class that has two straight-shot spells should probably be changed.  There's a particularly awful one in the tier 1 set, it's an entropy sort of thing, has two straight-shot spells and a touch spell.... very bad class, definitely the most useless one I can think of.   Shouldnt be two straight-shot spells in any single class though, as there's not all that much difference between that sort, so you end up with a class that just has less possible uses.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2013, 02:05:15 AM by Misery »

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Administrator
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,225
Re: Spell balance!
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2013, 07:01:33 AM »
Thanks for starting this thread!

Just a note, but wholesale new spells are off the table for the time being; we don't have time to balance those, do the particles for them, and get new icon art for them. We're looking at tuning what is there only.

Interestingly, I find myself using the rockets a lot and loving them. I'm curious what others think of those.
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline tigersfan

  • Arcen Games Contractor
  • Administrator
  • Master Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,599
Re: Spell balance!
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2013, 07:24:52 AM »
Personally, I like them too. I use them a lot, but, they can be tough to use in tight spaces.

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Administrator
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,225
Re: Spell balance!
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2013, 07:36:08 AM »
One potential solution, if there is a wide dislike for them, would be to make them all special attacks (third slot) and have them cost small bits of ammo with each shot.  Then they could be nice and powerful but also with a secondary cost (ammo), but on a different scale from most ammo spells.  And that would introduce the concept of "sometimes the third slot has ammo costs too."
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline madcow

  • Hero Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,151
Re: Spell balance!
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2013, 07:54:56 AM »
I love the rocket spells, in early alpha/beta they were super overpowered, but they're at a good place now, and I grab them when I can.

One thing I've noticed is that the damage of the straight shot spells in a single tier is not consistent. I'm not sure if it's by design or not, but almost all of them have straight shots with different damages.

One thing I've mentioned on mantis a few times is blast spells. Those are the rapid fire tri-shot spells. Especially once you build up concentration these are really powerful. The good caliber/damage of high concentration mixed with the rapid fire and impossible to miss spell makes it overpowered. I would love if the cooldown was raised, and then with a bit of a damage buff it could be used as a shotgun type attack.

Offline Pepisolo

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,502
Re: Spell balance!
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2013, 08:19:14 AM »
Not much time to post, but might as well big up my Spell Class reports on Mantis, here then.

Tier 1 part 1 http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/view.php?id=10445

Tier 1 part 2 http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/view.php?id=10465

Tier 2 Part 1 http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/view.php?id=10551

Tier 3 Part 1 http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/view.php?id=10626

Tier 4 Part 1 http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/view.php?id=10649

The earlier reports might be a little outdated in places due to the changes since (melee monsters etc).

Quote
Rocket spells:  The only ones I currently consider entirely useless right now.  These are, at least in my view, really terrible.  The only thing they help me do is blow myself up.  As far as I'm concerned, a class with a rocket spell is a class that actually only has 3 spells instead of 4.

Really disagree here. Some of the higher Tier ones are even OP, doing as much damage as a primary but with the AOE effect.

Quote
Touch spells:  These are good for the Shallows areas.... but that's about it.  I know they're also meant to stop enemy shots, but I've honestly always found them useless for this.   The hitbox and the timing and all that is just too screwy, most of the time it just leads to me taking a hit, so I ignore this aspect of these entirely.   Only use them in the shallows.

Yeah, they are pretty tricky to use. The one that was recently changed from a rear attack to a front attack actually has autofire and is a lot more usable. Maybe all should autofire, or is that too much.

Quote
Seekers...

The good thing about these is that they seek out enemy weakspots. Pretty handy.

Quote
Sliders...

Always useful.

Sines/bombs/campfire are pretty cool.

Quote
Fusillades...
I agree. I pretty much only use these for the novelty factor. The primary is usually better in every way.


 





Offline Misery

  • Global Moderator
  • Core Member Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,099
Re: Spell balance!
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2013, 08:21:02 AM »
I love the rocket spells, in early alpha/beta they were super overpowered, but they're at a good place now, and I grab them when I can.

One thing I've noticed is that the damage of the straight shot spells in a single tier is not consistent. I'm not sure if it's by design or not, but almost all of them have straight shots with different damages.

One thing I've mentioned on mantis a few times is blast spells. Those are the rapid fire tri-shot spells. Especially once you build up concentration these are really powerful. The good caliber/damage of high concentration mixed with the rapid fire and impossible to miss spell makes it overpowered. I would love if the cooldown was raised, and then with a bit of a damage buff it could be used as a shotgun type attack.


The bit with the inconsistent damage makes sense, actually.   You might have one class that has a straight-shot spell that does decent damage, right, and another class that has a very similar spell, but one that does less damage.  This second class though, might be balanced out in the sense of it's other spells.... it might be a class that also contains a useful snake spell, for instance, among other things.  The classes need to be considered as a whole, from that point of view.  The weaker shot is (theoretically) balanced out by the other spells in the class being stronger.


To clarify on the rockets, alot of the reason I dont use them is that they're just pointless in more enclosed spaces..... the type of area which makes up quite a huge part of the game, and the type of area which is typically the most dangerous as-is.  Way, way too much chance of being caught in the blast myself, particularly with my typically aggressive playstyle.   For the same reason, I cant use them on the sorts of enemies that chase, because as they get closer, risk of extra damage increases.

For all I know these might be a little easier to use on lower difficulties, but I just find them not worth it.  Using those basically means never having the concentration level being high at all.


I also agree on the blast spells.  I havent seen them that much WITH the concentration bit or equipment, but honestly, even without either, they seem too strong.    I like the "shotgun" idea better.  To add to that concept, you could perhaps make it so that they fire, say, 7 shots, in the same type of arc, but have a heavy cooldown, and quite low-ish damage per shot.   They could be useful as a point-blank  smash, or good at a distance to increase the chances of doing at least a bit of damage to enemies like the eyeballs or whatever that are harder to hit.   Keep the caliber very low on these, I dont think these should be breaking anything at all.


Offline madcow

  • Hero Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,151
Re: Spell balance!
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2013, 08:22:20 AM »
Yeah, I had hoped that the removal of the old combo system would make fusillade spells more useful, isn't really what happened.

Offline Pepisolo

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,502
Re: Spell balance!
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2013, 08:27:14 AM »
Quote
To clarify on the rockets, alot of the reason I dont use them is that they're just pointless in more enclosed spaces..... the type of area which makes up quite a huge part of the game, and the type of area which is typically the most dangerous as-is.  Way, way too much chance of being caught in the blast myself, particularly with my typically aggressive playstyle.   For the same reason, I cant use them on the sorts of enemies that chase, because as they get closer, risk of extra damage increases.

For all I know these might be a little easier to use on lower difficulties, but I just find them not worth it.  Using those basically means never having the concentration level being high at all.

I do actually play at the standard difficulty and I use them all the time. Maybe it's different on the higher difficulties for some reason.

Quote
I also agree on the blast spells.  I havent seen them that much WITH the concentration bit or equipment, but honestly, even without either, they seem too strong.    I like the "shotgun" idea better.  To add to that concept, you could perhaps make it so that they fire, say, 7 shots, in the same type of arc, but have a heavy cooldown, and quite low-ish damage per shot.   They could be useful as a point-blank  smash, or good at a distance to increase the chances of doing at least a bit of damage to enemies like the eyeballs or whatever that are harder to hit.   Keep the caliber very low on these, I dont think these should be breaking anything at all.

I wouldn't mind turning these into a more shotgun style blast, if only to differentiate the spells a little more.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2013, 08:29:42 AM by Pepisolo »

Offline madcow

  • Hero Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,151
Re: Spell balance!
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2013, 08:31:58 AM »
Not all of the straight shot damages are balanced by the rest of the class, or I would agree.

One of the spells that jumped out as being widely different is bone shot, which is an incredibly low damage, on a nothing special class.

And the forigician's straight shot is still more damage than all the others, with probably some of the best other tier 1 spells as well. Crescent attacks are really good, completely agree with Misery on campfire being awesome and wishing there were more defensive spells, and the ammo attack is pretty good.


On another note, what do people think of drone spells? I've not really cared much for them, and find them annoying. I guess I can see how it could be useful if you got to be good with them, but eh.

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Administrator
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,225
Re: Spell balance!
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2013, 08:34:09 AM »
* The fusillade spells now have twice as many shots that come out of them, and a cone of firing that is twice as wide.  This may make them OP for the moment, we'll see, as no other values have been changed.

Personally I use the drone spells a lot to hit monsters over hills from cover.
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline madcow

  • Hero Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,151
Re: Spell balance!
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2013, 08:54:02 AM »
Yeah I can see the potential on them but they just don't work for me and actively mess me up as I have a playstyle with lots of jumping.  If they were based on the movement key input rather than actual character movement I might get more use of them, but then again maybe not. Heh.

Edit. I can actually see how that would mess them up. So I'll just content myself with it as a not for me spell.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2013, 08:56:08 AM by madcow »

Offline tigersfan

  • Arcen Games Contractor
  • Administrator
  • Master Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,599
Re: Spell balance!
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2013, 09:52:32 AM »
@ Pepisolo, Just so you know, I have seen your balance reports. I've not done much with them yet, as I've been working on other things, but they are high on my list of stuff to go through this week.

Offline Pepisolo

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,502
Re: Spell balance!
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2013, 09:59:09 AM »
@ Pepisolo, Just so you know, I have seen your balance reports. I've not done much with them yet, as I've been working on other things, but they are high on my list of stuff to go through this week.

Cool. No worries, I know you guys are busy. Just thought I'd big them up seeing as its relevant to the thread. Thanks!

Offline Misery

  • Global Moderator
  • Core Member Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,099
Re: Spell balance!
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2013, 10:13:44 AM »
Not all of the straight shot damages are balanced by the rest of the class, or I would agree.

One of the spells that jumped out as being widely different is bone shot, which is an incredibly low damage, on a nothing special class.

And the forigician's straight shot is still more damage than all the others, with probably some of the best other tier 1 spells as well. Crescent attacks are really good, completely agree with Misery on campfire being awesome and wishing there were more defensive spells, and the ammo attack is pretty good.

Oh, I agree that they're not all balanced out by the rest of their respective class.   I just meant that it was the basic theory around them varying so much.  Working within that concept, and actually getting the balance perfectly right..... two very different things :P   It seems a difficult thing to balance all this out, but it keeps getting better.

It doesnt help that some of this is.... very subjective.

The set with bone shot, for example.  That set also contains a charge attack, a trident spell, and a "burst" type ammo spell.    I actually find this set to be pretty good (now that the charge spells stopped sucking).   The bone shot isnt very strong, but it's a good simple attack, the charge bolt is really good as a heavy first strike, or a "poke" against the sort of enemies that are difficult to focus a constant barrage on, and the Trident spells in general are pretty good;  they're excellent anti-air spells, and anti-horrible-leaping-spider-things spells.



That actually brings up a couple of balance points to make:

The trident spells, increase the speed at which the three "whips" actually strike, just because the timing on these is currently rather funky.   Increase the cooldown perhaps to compensate a little.  Maybe up the damage just a bit.   These are good spells though, however they might be in a similar category with the bombs as being hard to learn.

Also, Insect Explosion:   a very low-damaging spell, this one actually seems like it's made to be used for defense, as in the popping of nearby enemy bullets.  As such.... reduce it's cost by alot.  It's a very expensive ammo spell right now, and while it's useful, the cost doesnt match the strength and unbalances it.   It's pretty good otherwise.