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View Full Version : A different approach to balance THF and TWF: new item category



Angelus_dead
05-29-2010, 06:56 PM
Right now it's difficult for the developers to balance (http://forums.ddo.com/showthread.php?t=251248) between the THF and TWF fighting styles, because both sides have a legitimate complaint. THF characters aren't happy if their potential DPS is significantly lower, while TWF characters won't like it if their doubled effort spent obtaining weapons goes unrewarded. But that's hard to resolve so long as THF characters inherently use one fewer body slot for items. So here's an interesting way to shift that.

1. Adjust the combat mechanics so that TWF characters are substantially ahead when attacking a single low-AC opponent when all weapons have identical magical properties. (I am assuming here that TWF requires only the same three feats it does now, and not a new STWF)

2. Create a new kind of item called a "Supplement Focus". Physically it's a small decorated orb of crystal or metal, similar to a docent. It cannot be equipped or used by a player character in any way, but it is treated in the loot table as a weapon. (If the name "Supplement Focus" seems too unwieldy, it can be called something more fanciful like a "potentia")

3. Randomly generated Supplement Foci from chests and quest rewards will carry any properties you might find on a weapon, such as +5 Holy Greater Ooze Bane. A new recipe for Altar of Fecundity (using both a Large and Medium Splintered Horn) creates a Greensteel Supplment Focus.

4. NPC weapon vendors or brokers can link a Supplement Focus to a weapon. Each weapon or Supplement Focus can only be linked to one Supplement Focus or weapon at a time; attempting a new link overrides the old one. The link operation has a nominal fee based on the level of the Supplement Focus. A link can't be performed if your character doesn't match things such as minimum level or alignment/race requirements for the focus or weapon. (The limitations on how and where a link can be changed could be adjusted)

5. When a character attacks with a weapon that is linked to a Supplement Focus in her inventory, there is a chance that the special properties of the Supplement Focus will also apply to the attack. The chance is 50%, rolled separately for each property. The enhancement plus of the Supplement Focus may be added to damage, but not attack roll. This ability does not function if the character has equipped more than one weapon.

6. That 50% number is just the obvious starting point, and it can be tweaked as needed for the desired power level. The number can also be different for glancing blows.

7. Some special rare weapons could have limitations preventing some Supplement Foci from being linked, or conversely get a bigger bonus from a specific matching focus.

So the result of this change is that a THF character who wants the best possible damage would have to obtain and carry the same number of items a TWF character does. That equalization of item demands reduces one of the justifications for TWF to give superior damage output, enabling more balance in overall results. (TWF characters still have the dexterity requirement and attack bonus, so they will continue to deserve an edge). Notice that as written, this new magic item benefits THF, S&B, and ranged combat, but not TWF.

krud
05-29-2010, 07:06 PM
Uhhhhh... I can't focus anymore


...or is it foci?

donfilibuster
05-29-2010, 07:53 PM
Leave the game mechanics alone and let the devs think of a purely technical way to fix the dps lag!
(ideas on this sold separately)

Progen
05-29-2010, 07:58 PM
Like the thought, but for newer players without the shroud it won't work, Just make it upgradable at an alter available to everyone and make the cost dragonshards or something.

Lithic
05-29-2010, 08:02 PM
Unless I am misreading, you are proposing leaving 2WF as is, but giving 2HFs a 50% chance to add "shocking burst of greater evil outsider bane" proc to thier "+5 metalline of pure good" greatsword?

Or worse, give half your eSOS swings the "Holy metalline" property?

I can see how that would increase 2HF dps so they would easily surpass even the best equipped 2WF, I just don't see how it would make anything more balanced.

Progen
05-29-2010, 08:04 PM
Well, although he didn't actually have any ideas on how to do it, he did mention substantially increasing twf's dps or decreasing standard thf first.

Borror0
05-29-2010, 08:07 PM
Notice that as written, this new magic item benefits THF, S&B, and ranged combat, but not TWF.
That would mean S&B characters would have to grind more things than THF, TWF, ranged and unarmed characters.

Angelus_dead
05-29-2010, 08:14 PM
That would mean S&B characters would have to grind more things than THF, TWF and ranged characters.
Well that depends on if there's a desirable shield out that which takes grinding to get. Currently there really isn't. There's hound and Mindsunderer shields, but they don't take long to get, as evidenced by the large amount of THF/TWF guys carrying one just in case.

There's no shield equivalent to greensteel or dragontouched or whatever.

But yes, depending on how S&B is balanced in the future it could be desirable for the Supplement Focus to not work if you're holding a shield, especially if a new ranged of valuable shields is added.

Xeraphim
05-29-2010, 08:17 PM
4 things this idea would cause:

1) More DPS lag

2) More complaints

3) More grind and therefore more player angst

4) Happier powergamers

Borror0
05-29-2010, 08:17 PM
But yes, depending on how S&B is balanced in the future it could be desirable for the Supplement Focus to not work if you're holding a shield, especially if a new ranged of valuable shields is added.
Would it be simpler for the Supplement Focus to go in the off-hand slot? You could make it a glove or something.

Lithic
05-29-2010, 08:23 PM
Well, although he didn't actually have any ideas on how to do it, he did mention substantially increasing twf's dps or decreasing standard thf first.

Ah yes I see, though of course finding 2 uber weapons will still be MUCH harder than finding one uber weapon and a potentia that compliments it (especially if the activated swings count all effects as belonging to the weapon at the time, such as the eSOS + metalline/PG in my example).

An easier system would be to give the 2weaponers the option of cloning thier weapons. When someoen sticks a 1 handed weapon in their off hand, and has nothing in their main hand, they are treated as weilding two of that weapon (including attack animations, character appearance, and all other effects of weilding two weapons). This behavior would mimic how monk handwraps currently perform.

If the same player drops 2 different weapons in their hand (or quickweapon slot), then they perform as they do today. Alternatively, you could have some sort of "lock" system where instead of locking a weapon into your inventory, it flags the weapon for "dual use" when it is the only thing in your hand.

There you go, no more cries about how much harder the grind is on 2weaponers, and no new complicated system requireing new items and going over all named 2 handers in the game.

Angelus_dead
05-29-2010, 10:43 PM
Or worse, give half your eSOS swings the "Holy metalline" property?
That's why the suggestion includes entry #7, where "special rare weapons" have limitations on their linking.


I just don't see how it would make anything more balanced.
Yes, because that's not what the suggestion is for. It doesn't tell how to balance those things; it describes a new tool that can be used for balancing them. That is, instead of trying to solve the entire TWF vs THF balance problem, it just provides a method to even out the difference in the number of weapon items a character needs.

By reducing the difference in the number of items needed, the target numbers for potential DPS can be brought closer together, as there's less need for TWF to have a premium because of the bigger loot demand.


Would it be simpler for the Supplement Focus to go in the off-hand slot? You could make it a glove or something.
That's a fine approach, but it has the downside of doing nothing to improve S&B damage, which is in great need of it. Of course that gets into the divergent topic of how to buff S&B, but a new item like this could be one portion of that buff.

The general concept is indeed: "Hey, let's make THF use an additional item"

Lithic
05-29-2010, 11:44 PM
The general concept is indeed: "Hey, let's make THF use an additional item"

The opposite: "Hey lets make 2WF use half as many items" would seem to be a much simpler route, especially considering the mechanic is already in place for wraps.

Borror0
05-29-2010, 11:56 PM
That's a fine approach, but it has the downside of doing nothing to improve S&B damage, which is in great need of it. Of course that gets into the divergent topic of how to buff S&B, but a new item like this could be one portion of that buff.
Special Focus is most likely to provide DPS-related bonuses while S&B would most likely be irrelevant to S&B characters, except to help gain aggro. (I use most likely because, while not certain, it's very likely that the designers would make S&B characters tanks like in most other MMOs.) It's likely best to keep Special Focus focused rather than scattered, trying to accomplish too many things at once. Makes balancing and QA easier when less variables are to be considered.

The general concept is indeed: "Hey, let's make THF use an additional item"
By the way, it's worthwhile to bring up that unarmed characters also have one less item grind for. Depending on how you see it, that can also be the case of ranged characters although that can be solve through powerful named returning arrows or quivers.

esoitl
05-30-2010, 12:09 AM
Leave the game mechanics alone and let the devs think of a purely technical way to fix the dps lag!
(ideas on this sold separately)

Second.

No need to go through and add an entirely new system just because a TWF needs extra items. It's still extremely popular so it's not like that extra grind has turned people away from using it.

Alternately, THF is still fairly popular, even with less DPS so it's not like that has turned people away from using it either.



Just let things be, I'm sure the devs will implement a change if/when they see fit.

Borror0
05-30-2010, 12:23 AM
The opposite: "Hey lets make 2WF use half as many items" would seem to be a much simpler route

It's less elegant and intuitive to have a system where, if you loot a weapon, you magically have a second but only if you want to dual wield. Want to sell that second weapon? No, that's out of question. It feels like a cheaper fix to the players.

[...] especially considering the mechanic is already in place for wraps.
Wraps behave very differently from other weapons, as they enhance the player rather than the weapon. I don't think it's sound logic to think "It works for wraps so the code exist" based on that alone. They even had to adapt several weapon enchantments to work on handwraps (ghost touch, vicious, etc.) and might have to adapt several more for your proposed change to work. It's mostly speculation, IMO.

Angelus_dead
05-30-2010, 12:58 AM
It's less elegant and intuitive to have a system where, if you loot a weapon, you magically have a second but only if you want to dual wield. Want to sell that second weapon? No, that's out of question. It feels like a cheaper fix to the players.
If the game had been built that way from the beginning then it could be ok, and some existing games do this. Characters have a single body slot for both hands, and TWF is only used by matched pairs that are found together and can't be separated. But to retrofit that onto an existing game really hurts verisimilitude, even if it does have mechanical benefits.

WeaselKing
05-30-2010, 12:59 AM
Right now it's difficult for the developers to balance (http://forums.ddo.com/showthread.php?t=251248) between the THF and TWF fighting styles, because both sides have a legitimate complaint. THF characters aren't happy if their potential DPS is significantly lower, while TWF characters won't like it if their doubled effort spent obtaining weapons goes unrewarded. But that's hard to resolve so long as THF characters inherently use one fewer body slot for items. So here's an interesting way to shift that.

1. Adjust the combat mechanics so that TWF characters are substantially ahead when attacking a single low-AC opponent when all weapons have identical magical properties. (I am assuming here that TWF requires only the same three feats it does now, and not a new STWF)

2. Create a new kind of item called a "Supplement Focus". Physically it's a small decorated orb of crystal or metal, similar to a docent. It cannot be equipped or used by a player character in any way, but it is treated in the loot table as a weapon. (If the name "Supplement Focus" seems too unwieldy, it can be called something more fanciful like a "potentia")

3. Randomly generated Supplement Foci from chests and quest rewards will carry any properties you might find on a weapon, such as +5 Holy Greater Ooze Bane. A new recipe for Altar of Fecundity (using both a Large and Medium Splintered Horn) creates a Greensteel Supplment Focus.

4. NPC weapon vendors or brokers can link a Supplement Focus to a weapon. Each weapon or Supplement Focus can only be linked to one Supplement Focus or weapon at a time; attempting a new link overrides the old one. The link operation has a nominal fee based on the level of the Supplement Focus. A link can't be performed if your character doesn't match things such as minimum level or alignment/race requirements for the focus or weapon. (The limitations on how and where a link can be changed could be adjusted)

5. When a character attacks with a weapon that is linked to a Supplement Focus in her inventory, there is a chance that the special properties of the Supplement Focus will also apply to the attack. The chance is 50%, rolled separately for each property. The enhancement plus of the Supplement Focus may be added to damage, but not attack roll. This ability does not function if the character has equipped more than one weapon.

6. That 50% number is just the obvious starting point, and it can be tweaked as needed for the desired power level. The number can also be different for glancing blows.

7. Some special rare weapons could have limitations preventing some Supplement Foci from being linked, or conversely get a bigger bonus from a specific matching focus.

So the result of this change is that a THF character who wants the best possible damage would have to obtain and carry the same number of items a TWF character does. That equalization of item demands reduces one of the justifications for TWF to give superior damage output, enabling more balance in overall results. (TWF characters still have the dexterity requirement and attack bonus, so they will continue to deserve an edge). Notice that as written, this new magic item benefits THF, S&B, and ranged combat, but not TWF.

I see what you are saying here but would it not be easier just to allow thf weapons to have three or perhaps four effects randomly generated rather than the two that all weapons normally get. The thf fighter would still be a somewhat equivalent grind to the twf'ers because getting three or four effects to all be randomly generated in the most auspicious manner would be longer odds than the two on a one handed weapon.

Kromize
05-30-2010, 01:06 AM
Interesting idea. What if, you could equip it to the 2nd weapon slot, instead of linking? Then it would have the effect of working for THF, not snb, but also monks using handwraps. Or perhaps, make a new slot entirely for it, and have it work for all weapons you are currently using, with extra power if its a THF, 1/3 power for TWF, and 1/2 power for SnB?

Angelus_dead
05-30-2010, 01:27 AM
I see what you are saying here but would it not be easier just to allow thf weapons to have three or perhaps four effects randomly generated rather than the two that all weapons normally get.
For one thing, it's too late to do that to all the millions of two-handed weapons players have already looted over the years.

Kace
05-30-2010, 01:54 AM
Opening up the off-hand slot for THF, I think is a wonderful idea. It removes item grind as a consideration in balance, and makes the whole system much easier to manipulate.

The B of S&B should be made to have equivalent demand to other items in any solution, for obvious reasons. Having a unique item in the off-hand slot for each style allows the devs to focus the benefits to the role. To be honest, I think defining that role for S&B, (which is currently 'laughing stock'), will be the hardest bit about balancing.