Author Topic: The Perk Overhaul so far  (Read 464 times)

Offline Misery

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The Perk Overhaul so far
« on: October 05, 2016, 01:34:05 AM »
Okay!  So.  I've had some time testing the heck out of this with a somewhat early version of the Perk Overhaul update.

Since there's been a lot of talk about this in general, a lot of ideas being thrown around, I thought I'd give a glimpse into how things are going so far in the current development version, and where this overhaul update is taking the game in general.  And I'm very pleased with how this is going, honestly, and impressed at the changes made here.

Some of the major things about this so far:

1.  Overall, the game is MUCH harder now.  Oh yes.  You just plain cant flatten things in a split second anymore.  It isn't happening.  Truly dangerous things like Rusted Lumiflares (one of the enemies that embodies the "bullet hell" concept) get to stick around for some time... they cant really be annihilated before they get to form their pattern, if I've decided that they are SUPPOSED to be tanky for that specific reason.  Some other enemies though are indeed meant to die fast, that hasn't changed.  But all in all, particularly on later floors, you will have to learn to dodge rather than rampage.   This is much more of a proper "roguelike" sort of game than it was previously.  Of course, a good chunk of the challenge will still depend on the mode selected.  All modes are harder though, by quite a bit.

2.  Damage and Health perks:  Yeah, good luck with that.  There hardly are any, and what's there are much weaker.  However, they retain their importance now WITHOUT being more important than other perks.

3.  Other perks:  Wow, these are a ton more interesting now.  Perk selection is very often a difficult choice, and the perks themselves are just a lot cooler in their concepts. 

4.  Double shield perk:  I never saw this.   That's not a complaint, mind you.

5.  Enemy damage scaling:  Gone!  No longer do enemies on later floors do damage JUST because they're on later floors and the engine thus inflates how much they do.  Now, they'll do heavier damage only if I set that specific enemy to do so.  Most enemies require no changes right now but some certainly will.

6.  Attrition:  Ah, finally, this is a thing.  Finally.  This actually is really difficult to get right in this genre (the ONLY one I can think of that really got this right is actually Gungeon).  Isaac, for example:  Completely gets this wrong (without mods).  Granted, it's balanced as such that this doesn't matter, but still.  If you have LOTS of max health?  Chances are you aren't dying in the game, because Isaac simply doesn't take damage at a high rate even if you're getting hit a lot... yet he has lots of ways to heal.   But in this now?   Hahaha no.  Most things deal 2 base damage.  But healing items now only heal you for ONE point of health.  Just one.  Want them to heal for two?  Gotta grab the perk that does this... but again, the choice isn't that simple.  The other perks that can appear at that point are just as useful in their own ways.   Perks that do things like giving you a 5% chance to avoid damage when hit, or something like the one that refills a point of health for every 10 kills are much more valuable now.  As is that sacrifice room item that gives a 25% chance at damage avoidance.   Enemies can and will slowly wear you down now because you can only heal so much.   Wanna get far?  Better not get hit much.  This is all inflated by the simple fact that enemies tend to stick around longer.

7.  Missiles:  Because of the above, these are more valuable for defense than they were before.  But the special missiles are also more valuable because of the benefits each gets. 

8.  Floors:  Shorter.  The point being to make runs less stupidly long.  Also, it makes them a bit easier to navigate, yet the warp pads remain just as useful. 

9.  Bosses:  Don't expect to tear through these guys super fast anymore.  Make sure you're well prepared for taking on the big guys, particularly Terminus now, the most tanky of all bosses.  Some of these guys are going to get HP changes though (such as the Warden's 5th phase, which is now too high).

10.  Consumables:  These just got even more valuable.  I'm quite pleased with this aspect of the game now.  Things like Healing Putty or Code Annihilate are so much more useful than they were before.  And finding the Humble Shop instead of the normal consumable shop is a really nice thing now.   If you want to do the best you can, learn to properly use these items.   There's only one of these that I don't really like much (the black hole thing) but that can be altered later.

11.  Energy Weapons:  More important now, because the more energy attacks you have per room, the more damage you can deal until the energy runs out.  Consider going after some upgrades to your max amount.

12.  Defensive items:  Less OP than they were.  Just drowning yourself in defensive drones and things isn't going to cut it anymore.  They still help, sure.  But enemies are just able to put out a heck of a lot more stuff since they last longer.  You need to be a lot more choosy about what you buy now.

13.  Sacrifice items:  Your max health is a lot more precious now.  Be very, very careful about spending on these, because it's MUCH harder to raise your max HP.  Damn near all major health boosts now come from just health storage and defensive shops, as perks really just don't do this anymore.  Consider saving some money for defensive shops.

14.  Item/perk stat reductions:   Don't expect to get any big 50% damage/whatever boosts anymore.  It's not happening.  Even items like Divine Purpose wont do that for you now.  These are really so much more balanced.


In addition, there's some new content coming.

XP items:  Remember those little blue spheres that glass blocks can drop?  There are now other versions of these, which give a lot more.

New modules:  Ah, these get fun.  You're not going to JUST want things like the Railgun Module anymore as there's just a lot of good ones to pick from now.  One of my favorites is this one that, when you get hit, causes this huge burst of blue shots just going all over the place; enemies hit by these will be stunned for a short time.  This is a really good item for getting out of overwhelming situations as it gives you a chance to then focus-fire whatever is the most dangerous thing. 

Inferno Cannons:  You'll die to these.  A lot.  You thought Blaze Cannons were bad?  Haha.  They're nothing compared to these nightmares.  Fortunately for you, they only appear on later floors and they're somewhat rare.  Unfortunately for you, it only takes one of these to make a room extremely dangerous in a way that no other enemy can.    Like Blaze Cannons these guys fire sparking missiles that go through walls.  It's what those missiles DO that makes them so very deadly.

Various other new enemies:  These are things that were originally intended to come with the Humble Update, but there wasn't time.  They fit into three new categories that show up in the map editor.  There's Popcorn types, which are extremely weak, die very fast, and only even somewhat dangerous in large groups, Defensive types, which are able to guard certain areas and tend to have the ability to constantly block your shots, but are fairly rare, and Maze types, which are good in areas with a lot of complicated, thin corridors.  The game has had problems with that type of area for awhile now.

New boss:  I rather feel like adding one, just... because.

And of course, lots of completely new perks... this isn't just about revamping already existing ones.  Instead a lot of old ones get replaced with much more awesome new things.

Oh, and various alterations to already-existing enemies and such.  To make them better fit the way things are now.   The really good part?  With player power and other things being MUCH more under control, it's muuuuuuch easier to set HP values for enemies now.  Much, much easier.  Very pleased with this aspect.


So there, that's what's happening with this so far.   It's looking good.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2016, 01:36:02 AM by Misery »

Offline Logorouge

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Re: The Perk Overhaul so far
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2016, 05:50:58 PM »
A few questions arise from reading about this new balance:

-How many sacrifice items is the player expected to grab on a regular run?
In my case I usually grab 2 (rarely 3). With this update, will it naturally drop to 1 or none per run?

-Just in case: Was the larva left behind by the bubbles toned down HP-wise?
Currently, with very high dps you can sit there shooting directly at it for 10 seconds. Under the new balance, will it be similar or even longer than that? I'm hoping they won't be as tanky because of their tiny size and high mobility.

Anyway, this update sounds pretty dang good.

Offline Misery

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Re: The Perk Overhaul so far
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2016, 08:21:27 PM »
The number of sacrifice items you CAN grab hasn't really changed all that much, it's moreso that you might find yourself needing to think about it a bit more instead of just doing it every single time due to assuming that it'll work out.  Now sometimes it might not be such a good move.

Larva, they're kinda meant to be tanky, but perhaps not THAT tanky.  Though some things were a bit inflated more than they otherwise would be simply because the player tended to go on a berserk rampage in the late game.  A lot of enemy HP changes are coming in this update to make them work nicely with the new balance.  Ideally the player wont notice the changes TOO much, aside from the part where enemies that are supposed to last awhile will actually get to, heh. 

Offline Chthon

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Re: The Perk Overhaul so far
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2016, 11:38:28 PM »
The number of sacrifice items you CAN grab hasn't really changed all that much, it's moreso that you might find yourself needing to think about it a bit more instead of just doing it every single time due to assuming that it'll work out.  Now sometimes it might not be such a good move.

Larva, they're kinda meant to be tanky, but perhaps not THAT tanky.  Though some things were a bit inflated more than they otherwise would be simply because the player tended to go on a berserk rampage in the late game.  A lot of enemy HP changes are coming in this update to make them work nicely with the new balance.  Ideally the player wont notice the changes TOO much, aside from the part where enemies that are supposed to last awhile will actually get to, heh.
I was already in that situation. I'm not sure making it worse was much of a help. The likelihood that I find a big health up item soon enough to save me from cripplingly low health is slim to none. More than likely I would die before then. Only by the floor 4-5 do I really have more than 10 HP really. By then I don't want what is in a health shop unless it's really good.

Offline Pepisolo

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Re: The Perk Overhaul so far
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2016, 08:53:45 AM »
Regarding Max HP, it's not that much harder to raise your Max HP in the current build, I think that there are one or two less opportunities to grab a Small Hull Reinforcement by level 10, but that's about it.

Offline Misery

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Re: The Perk Overhaul so far
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2016, 09:11:23 AM »
Hmm, so far, I haven't been able to get it very high at all without buying a pile of it from the defensive shop.

That reminds me:  Jack/master of all trades might be a bit much.

Offline TheVampire100

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Re: The Perk Overhaul so far
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2016, 04:04:20 PM »
I'm not entirely sure what to think about this. I know Misery, that you want to emphasize more ont he bullet hell aspect of the game and that players have to last a very long time in a cramped boss room until the enemy finally goes down. However, you come fromt he bullet hell grenre which plays mostly different. Even if you tied your experiences into this game, I never saw it as "fully fledged" bullet hell and I'm pretty sure people that see this game at first glance will say it's a rogue-like/Isaac-like game. But people except a different concept of this, they don't except long fights where you have to dodge tons of stuff, they except that you can take hits or wear down the enemies fast enough so you can go on.
For me this was always the case, even if I'm nor very good at dodging, going the other way, pure damage or pure health, helped me to overcome my weakness. However, it seems you both (Pepisolo and you) try to negate this more with each patch and make enemies last longer, nerf damage here and there. Pleas ekeep in mind, not everyone that comes to this game sees it as bullet hell. That's why I think the mor ebullet hell like stuff should be on the higher difficulties (including hp/damage scale) while at nomal and lower diffculties you still should have a good casual experience.

I will first test this out and give a final statement if this is true, however I just wanted to warn you guys. The most complain about SR I hear from my friends (especially one who REALLY loved Isaac but hates SR) is that the game feels too much like bullet hell or your damage is too low and bosses take too long. I know that you put much effort in the bosses and want players too see them long enough but the thing is, not only can they take a lot of damage, they DEAl also a lot of damage. If you cut damage on players, do it for bosses as well.

Offline ptarth

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Re: The Perk Overhaul so far
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2016, 04:48:16 PM »
Since I'm the anti-Misery (and occasionally anti-Pepisolo) member of the team, I should chime in. I do try to keep them in check. Most of the comments they make are about the later half of the game where dps stacking was a bit extreme.  So, it shouldn't be too bad. Casual players will be more influenced by the first few floors. Although [redacted], which I'm being a nuisance about, so there is that.
Note: This post contains content that is meant to be whimsical. Any belittlement or trivialization of complex issues is only intended to lighten the mood and does not reflect upon the merit of those positions.

Offline Pepisolo

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Re: The Perk Overhaul so far
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2016, 05:10:24 PM »
From my perspective, I try to push away from the bullet-hell genre as much as possible with my changes and additions, as I know that Misery has the bullet-hell aspect covered, so I'm more interested in working on the more roguelike elements. These changes are really mainly to fix a fairly broken late game balance, as well as adding cool stuff to the perks, of course. We do have to be wary that the game doesn't become too much of a tanky slog, though.

Offline Misery

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Re: The Perk Overhaul so far
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2016, 08:10:01 PM »
I'm not entirely sure what to think about this. I know Misery, that you want to emphasize more ont he bullet hell aspect of the game and that players have to last a very long time in a cramped boss room until the enemy finally goes down. However, you come fromt he bullet hell grenre which plays mostly different. Even if you tied your experiences into this game, I never saw it as "fully fledged" bullet hell and I'm pretty sure people that see this game at first glance will say it's a rogue-like/Isaac-like game. But people except a different concept of this, they don't except long fights where you have to dodge tons of stuff, they except that you can take hits or wear down the enemies fast enough so you can go on.
For me this was always the case, even if I'm nor very good at dodging, going the other way, pure damage or pure health, helped me to overcome my weakness. However, it seems you both (Pepisolo and you) try to negate this more with each patch and make enemies last longer, nerf damage here and there. Pleas ekeep in mind, not everyone that comes to this game sees it as bullet hell. That's why I think the mor ebullet hell like stuff should be on the higher difficulties (including hp/damage scale) while at nomal and lower diffculties you still should have a good casual experience.

I will first test this out and give a final statement if this is true, however I just wanted to warn you guys. The most complain about SR I hear from my friends (especially one who REALLY loved Isaac but hates SR) is that the game feels too much like bullet hell or your damage is too low and bosses take too long. I know that you put much effort in the bosses and want players too see them long enough but the thing is, not only can they take a lot of damage, they DEAl also a lot of damage. If you cut damage on players, do it for bosses as well.

The reason the changes are made is because for quite some time now, the typical run for players is that they hit a certain point in the game... say, right around stage 4 or 5.... and they become so powerful that there may as well not even BE anymore stages.  Terminus, for example, the most freaking tanky thing in the game with a huuuuuuuuge amount of HP (this being BEFORE any changes), could be destroyed so fast that it NEVER FIRED A SHOT.  Considering the nature of it's shields, this should have been impossible, but the player's damage was so astonishingly fast that the shields couldn't even form.

However, on the other end of things, if for some reason you specifically DECIDED to go a very defensive build instead, suddenly the game would take 10000 years to finish because your damage would be so low.

So you had this huuuuuuuuge gap between the two; this is probably why your friend there says the bosses take too long, because he's probably using a defensive build; whereas with an offensive build (which is just as easy, if not easier to accomplish) the fights are over so fast that they aren't even "fights".   That's how huge that gap is, going from "this is taking absolutely forever" to "What?  That was supposed to be a boss?  I thought it was a crash test dummy".   

In a game like Isaac, this actually works, because Isaac is kinda built around those wild changes.  But this game isn't like that.  This is a bit closer to something like Gungeon actually, where the gap needs to very specifically NOT be super huge.   That's not to say that OP builds should never be possible; in a game like this, having the possibility be there is part of the fun.   But it's supposed to be a relatively rare thing outside of Isaac.  Here though, it was happening basically every single time if the player decided to even somewhat focus on damage. 


The game isn't going to be made into something where everything takes forever, I can tell you that much.  It doesn't matter what the damn bosses (or whatever) are like, or wether I personally made them or not.... if they take too long to go down, I start to dislike them.  No patience, remember.  Gungeon does that bit, the bit where the bosses take freaking forever, and it absolutely drives me crazy.  I'm not wanting the bosses to take super long.   The ONE exception might be Terminus.... sort of.   It has 7 freaking forms, it is the one fight that is supposed to be long.  But if every boss in the game was like Gungeon's bosses, taking forever to kill, it'd drive me crazy.


Currently, on my end, much of the changes being made is enemy and boss HP being lowered.  I can tell you it's soooooooooo much easier to get these set now; having tried different types of builds with the White Gloss, there's no giant gap of doom anymore.   I don't have to GUESS as much at these bloody numbers, even despite health scaling.


Also, enemy damage:  It's hard to say what that'll be like.  However, one way or another, nobody really liked the damage scaling for enemies.  That ALL enemies just did more damage in the late-game simply because the engine says so was kinda annoying.  NOW, it can actually be set.  If an enemy is supposed to be a weakling (or maybe it first shots that are weak, but fires a ton of them), it can be set to do only 1 damage without the game going "well, no, see, this is floor 6, so that 1 damage is now 5 damage".   If it's supposed to be this super-dangerous thing yet without firing all that many shots, maybe it's higher than normal.   Late-game enemies will tend to have more damage, but I don't think it's going to end up being as high as it was before, now that attrition is possible.  It's going to be more based on enemy roles now.   Boss/miniboss damage, for the time being, is likely to remain consistent throughout the game (instead of rising).  I don't see all that much reason to change those guys up so much, for now.   Which means that the late-game bosses wont be hitting as hard as they are in the version you have.


One way or another, there is a good chance that the game might get harder here, as I said.   But don't worry about it going too far... keep in mind this topic is moreso just pointing out how the whole thing is RIGHT NOW.  AKA, in it's unfinished state. I posted this topic in case anyone (such as yourself) had any comments about all of this that might lead to further changes or anything.


Also for the record, I don't see this game as "fully fledged" bullet-hell either.  Much as I love that sort of thing, to me this is an Isaac-style game above all else.   If I were really treating this as a pure bullet-hell game, well.... I think most players would find it impossible to beat even on Normal mode. 

Now that being said, if you should find anything in the game, anything at all, that seems to really stand out as being "way too much" in terms of difficulty, then please do let me know, so I can have a look at it.  Sometimes we get things that are giving players ALOT of trouble... but they really aren't supposed to.  I tell ya, it's tough to get that right. 

Of course some things that do that absolutely are meant to, hah...