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  1. #1

    Default U38 Balance Changes

    Hey, SteelStar here. I'm here today to talk about a few upcoming changes you'll see in Update 38's first Lamannia, currently targeted for next week.


    We've put quite a bit of time lately into gathering DPS data. This is in part to evaluate where builds are when on an even footing, to find outliers (both high and low), evaluate why they're outliers, and bring those in as necessary. This, in turn allows us to better balance groups - We can better make overall Melee buffs if we don't have 1-2 builds doing triple the damage of the other 98% of Melee builds. We'll talk a little about our tests, then outline the changes coming.


    Testing an extensive number of builds (over 40) in terms of DPS: A pure 20 Monk, using Handwraps, with most of its points in Shintao and the rest in Henshin, did significantly, unquestionably more damage than any other build we tested. It was not close. More than 30% above anyone else. Far below that, the #2 build had most of its levels in Monk, the #3 was another pure Monk, and #4 had a significant number of Monk levels as well. The #7 build in terms of raw DPS was 20 Monk Henshin Mystic using a Quarterstaff. No Monk builds we tried ranked below that.


    In addition, the process of this balance check helped us identify a bug where characters who were Two Weapon Fighting (as well as those using Handwraps) were receiving Doublestrikes, Offhand Attacks, and Offhand Doublestrikes at a far lower rate than intended while moving. We've now fixed that internally. For comparison, most fighting styles deal similar damage numbers while moving vs. standing still; TWF on Live deals about 40% less damage while moving because of this bug. With Update 38, Two Weapon Fighting damage will be roughly the same when standing or moving, as it is for other styles.


    Based on the above, we're confident that an adjustment is needed. We understand that Melees are not in the strongest place in the top-end meta right now; we aren't trying to kick Melee when it's down. Rather, we're trying to bring the Melee outliers in, so we can better balance Melee as a group. Consider this some first steps that will allow us to better make other ones down the road (such as improving Melee Defense).

    Handwraps
    You've likely seen some threads by now about Duality, the Raid Handwraps from Ravenloft. We'd initially given Ravenloft handwraps damage dice akin to two-handed weapons in the pack. We'd had some reasons for it at the time, but we missed the mark on this one (especially with Handwraps benefitting disproportionately well from the increases in internal damage dice) . We're planning on dropping their dice from [1d6+6] to [1d6+3]. (In addition, the Legendary Morninglord and Nightmother handwraps will drop from [1d6+4] to [1d6+2].) Duality will still be the strongest handwraps, and likely stronger than most other weapons out there - But not by as much.


    Henshin Mystic
    Second, Henshin Mystic currently gets 75 Melee Power in its tree. This is a lot more than other trees get, and it's pretty evenly distributed through its cores. We're of the opinion that this makes both Pure Monks and Monk splashes disproportionately strong (especially given the other benefits of being a Monk), and are planning to alter it from (10/10/10/10/10/25) to (3/3/3/3/3/15). The net effect on Henshin Mystic builds is that their DPS falls in line with most other Two Handed Fighting builds. (We're hoping to do a little further analysis of Two Handed Fighting in general after U38.)


    Vistani Weapon Versatility
    During our DPS testing we took a look at how this ability impacts builds. We've come to the conclusion that, ultimately, this ability is detrimental to game balance and our ability to make adjustments differently among Melee and Ranged builds. We're planning to make it apply only to Daggers and Throwing Daggers, as it was in our earliest drafts of that ability.

    Epic Destiny Boosts
    With the above changes, we're planning on making the following changes to Epic Destiny Cores. This is not meant to solve the inherent issues in a lot of these Destinies; only to make them slightly more appealing, and to introduce a minor Melee buff into Epic.



    • Fatesinger :
      • Current: +4 MP per core
      • New: +10 MP per core

    • Grandmaster of Flowers :
      • Current: +4 MP per core
      • New: +10 MP per core

    • Legendary Dreadnought :
      • Current: +3 MP per core
      • New: Unchanged . Another spike in our DPS testing showed that, with few exceptions, most Melee builds are best served by being in Legendary Dreadnought. It does not need the help; it should remain competitive, even with these changes.

    • Shadowdancer :
      • Current: +4 MP per core
      • New: +10 MP per core

    • Fury of the Wild :
      • Current: +3 MP per core
      • New: +6 MP per core

    • Primal Avatar :
      • Current: +4 MP per core
      • New: +10 MP per core . Bear in mind that this is targeted for the same release as the Druid pass, where Tree Form glitching is planned to be fixed.

    • Divine Crusader :
      • Current: +2 MP per core
      • New: +3 MP per core

    • Unyielding Sentinel :
      • Current: +4 MP per core
      • New: +5 MP per core



    ---
    As said above, these changes are a step. They aren't meant to address issues with Melee Defenses, Ranged/Magic DPS (short of the Vistani change), or anything beyond trying to make a more balanced Melee ecosystem. We have the above changes completed internally, and have been running comparison tests. The essential impact so far seems to be:



    • Standing Handwrap Monk DPS falls fairly dramatically, but they're still in the top end of Single-Target Melee DPS. Just not by as much - they're a LOT closer to other builds.
    • Conversely, Moving Handwrap Monk DPS rises somewhat, as the bugfix to TWF outpaces the other DPS-reducing changes.
    • Misc. Monk builds drop somewhat, depending on their level of previous investment into Henshin cores.
    • Most TWF builds now deal about 40% more damage while moving due to the bugfix, but otherwise remain about where they are.
    • Henshin Mystic's DPS falls fairly dramatically, to about where other Two Handed Fighting builds currently are. (Two Handed Fighting builds are, themselves, a little bit below most SWF/TWF builds in terms of Single Target DPS, but Glancing Blow damage should put them right in the mix with other builds in overall damage; as I said above, we're hoping to examine THF a little closer in the future.)
    • Some Destinies are a little more competitive for Melees.
    We don't only build for the builds that exist.
    We don't only build for the builds that are good right now.

    The fact that some changes are necessary is not diminished by the fact that other necessary changes have not happened yet.

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    Can I have your baby?

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    THFing at level 30 needs some love still, is it possible for Aborea to give 40 MP if a THFing weapon is equipped?

    I've found the sneak attack at 30 just goes to plaid and pushes TWFing far ahead but before them I didn't think THFing was that bad, some additional MP would close this gap.

    That and an iconice dwarf for a TYWA maul build!

    Pally and Barb also need a little help compared to fighter. More MP should address this.

    In your testing, what was the order high to low in terms of DPS?
    Last edited by Kaboom2112; 03-06-2018 at 11:08 AM.

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    I love you steel. Stand strong for the good of the game.

  5. #5
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    Good start. Hopefully we can have meaningful progress going forward.
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    Community Member Razor_Wit's Avatar
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    I read this as:

    We are nerfing Monks who use handwraps
    You will see a noticeable reduction in handwrap-using Monk DPS
    We are trying to temper the blow-back from the TWF DPS reduction by suggesting it will be made up with increased damage while moving
    You can use any weapon you want with a VKF as long as it's a dagger effectively emasculating the tree
    No. We will not be offering +20 hearts- so don't ask.
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    Community Member edrein's Avatar
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    Definitely an interesting approach to the situation. Personally I believe the answer should have been to retroactively bump/infuse melee power into other melee trees rather than merely reduce it from Henshin. A reduction was needed, but you'd see a more healthy spread of class levels if other melee's had a proportional amount of melee power. Not to mention neither Shintao nor Ninja Spy themselves got melee power because you stuffed it all in Henshin.

    That being said, I like the destiny changes. I am curious though as to why Fury is only getting +6? Never understood why it was +3 as well, to me it feels like higher MP really reinforces the idea of fury being a big burst deal.

    Edit: Are you going to fix Single Dagger in Vistani? Currently it is 'bugged'/unexplained on it's limitations. If it is supposed to mirror SWF as a combat style bonus, then it needs to be updated to include Orbs in its use. As of right now on live it only applies if you wield nothing in your offhand or a Runearm. I'm hoping this was an oversight, as I'd certainly like to run this on a Vol paladin so I could run Vistani and Vanguard together. It's also attractive for druids, as it's a solid source for melee power when running a shield/and-or an orb.
    Last edited by edrein; 03-06-2018 at 11:16 AM.

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    Community Member edrein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Razor_Wit View Post
    I read this as:

    We are nerfing Monks who use handwraps
    You will see a noticeable reduction in handwrap-using Monk DPS
    We are trying to temper the blow-back from the TWF DPS reduction by suggesting it will be made up with increased damage while moving
    You can use any weapon you want with a VKF as long as it's a dagger effectively emasculating the tree
    No. We will not be offering +20 hearts- so don't ask.
    You can't use any weapon with Vistani. The change is to remove other weapon types splashing so that they can use the higher of MP or RP for their damage calculations.

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    Why not just level the playing field and remove all melee classes except one?

    I mean, all in the name of game balance, right?

    I think it's awesome that these other melees, with all their PRR and heavy armor and tower shields will now have almost as much DPS as a pure monk. Nevermind that my toons with Monk levels and splashes don't have a PRR of over 100 until lvl 29.

    You guys sure do know how to kill a game.

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    Build Constructionist unbongwah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steelstar View Post
    The #7 build in terms of raw DPS was 20 Monk Henshin Mystic using a Quarterstaff. No Monk builds we tried ranked below that.
    The flip side to this is you're saying that pure Henshin monk using staves is the weakest of the monk builds you tested, albeit possibly above other (non-monk) THF builds. Since Henshin is the only tree you're nerfing, it stands to reason that pure staff monks are going to see the biggest DPS drop just from all the Melee Power they're losing (at least excluding Duality-wielding Shintao). That's unfortunate considering all of the other challenges facing staff builds.

    Personally I always thought the MP from Henshin should be - if not exclusively for staves, then at least increased for them. Like maybe they get double MP from Henshin cores while using staves?
    Vistani Weapon Versatility
    During our DPS testing we took a look at how this ability impacts builds. We've come to the conclusion that, ultimately, this ability is detrimental to game balance and our ability to make adjustments differently among Melee and Ranged builds. We're planning to make it apply only to Daggers and Throwing Daggers, as it was in our earliest drafts of that ability.
    I could've (and perhaps did) point that out from the get-go. Since Weapon Versatility was announced on Lama, I'm pretty sure my first thought was, "Well, time for shuriken builds to be even more overpowered than they already are." Lo and behold, I was right.
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    Community Member YUTANG75's Avatar
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    All seems reasonable to me. No complaints
    No major complaints, the 40% TWF drop is interesting. Glad that's fixed, I do like TWF builds.
    Limiting weapon versatility kinda sucks as it removes some cool concepts but I'm still for the change.
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  12. #12
    Community Member HastyPudding's Avatar
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    Yes, monk does tend to do a good bit of damage. You have to factor in that, while monks are very 'dps' oriented, they're not 'damage' oriented, like barbarians: monks aren't dealing significant damage with single hits very frequently like barbarians, but rather their damage per second is very high.

    However, they also take quite a bit of damage, as well. While monks have high dodge and can get some excellent armor class, they tend to lack the PRR of the more sturdier classes, like barbarians, fighters, and paladins (and sometimes even rangers and favored souls). And while they also have evasion for most spells, they can get obliterated by DoTs, no-save damage spells, and a few non-reflex save spells due to their 50 MRR cap.

    I'm not saying handwrap monks don't need a bit of a balancing on their damage output (they do), but don't go giving them a massive amount of nerfs before taking into account that monks are essentially melee glass cannons in a game where higher difficulties (which are the norm) absolutely destroy most melee builds.

    Henshin is another story altogether. Henshin, for the overwhelming majority of the time monk has been in DDO, has been one of the weakest and least played melee builds in the game. Only fairly recently has Henshin seen any sort of viability, and now you intend to cut their power from 75 to only 30? You say they fall in line with other THF builds and yet monks are still glass cannons...only now with 'dramatically' less damage and the same weak defenses. Sorry, that's not a balance, that's a huge nerf; I fear you've just killed Henshin and pushed them back into obscurity, once again.

    As to epic destinies, that seems about right. Shadowdancer and Grandmaster definitely need the melee boost, and, personally, I think Sentinel could use +7 or even +8 melee power per core rather than +6: while you're not in Sentinel for the damage, melee builds that do use it are usually at a significant disadvantage damage-wise compared to others (due to focusing on defense rather than offense).
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    Community Member NXPlasmid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Razor_Wit View Post
    I read this as:

    We are nerfing Monks who use handwraps
    You will see a noticeable reduction in handwrap-using Monk DPS
    We are trying to temper the blow-back from the TWF DPS reduction by suggesting it will be made up with increased damage while moving
    You can use any weapon you want with a VKF as long as it's a dagger effectively emasculating the tree
    No. We will not be offering +20 hearts- so don't ask.
    And while we are going to nerf monks hard, we aren't going to do anything about the disparity between melee and ranged in harder difficulties. We don't know how to fix this problem but it looks bad if the only melees on the servers are monks. Everyone please feel free to return to playing warlock.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steelstar View Post
    The #7 build in terms of raw DPS was 20 Monk Henshin Mystic using a Quarterstaff. No Monk builds we tried ranked below that.
    /snip

    • Henshin Mystic's DPS falls fairly dramatically, to about where other Two Handed Fighting builds currently are. (Two Handed Fighting builds are, themselves, a little bit below most SWF/TWF builds in terms of Single Target DPS, but Glancing Blow damage should put them right in the mix with other builds in overall damage; as I said above, we're hoping to examine THF a little closer in the future.
    The portion regarding handwraps monks seems fairly reasonable and accurate. As someone who has played a variety of high-end DPS builds for a long time though, I pretty strongly disagree with your statements regarding pure Henshin staff builds.

    I suspect you are not aware of what other min/max THF DPS builds are available if you think Henshin Qstaff builds are 30-40% ahead of them. I'd suggest you spend time looking at various Silvanus maul builds for starters before you declare pure monk qstaff builds the highest 2HF DPS. There are several greataxe builds that are solid DPS, too. It almost seems like you neglected to consider the significant disparity in base weapon quality and damage for 2handers.

    Consider the following:
    Legendary Stonework Beam - 5[1d6] - 20 x 2
    Wis dmg 4, Improved Paralyzing, Quality Deception 3, Shield AC 17

    Gulthias Staff- 5[1d6+6] - 20 x 2
    Evil 9d6, Animal Bane 9, Aberration Bane 9, Vampirism 4

    vs

    Epic Riftmaker- 5[1d12] - 20 x 4
    Ousider banishing, Force Burst, Bloodletter VII and Good DR bypass

    Torn, That Which Renders Despair- 5[1d12+6] - 20 x 3
    Fast vulnerable stacking (up to 20% dps increase), 15% insightful fortification bypass, and metalline

    The non-quarterstaves are significantly better in terms of raw DPS, crit profiles and overall usefulness of the effects and procs.



    In your own statement, you ranked a pure Qstaff Henshin monk as the lowest DPS option for monk builds and it was apparently pretty far below the pure handwraps options, yet you're essentially going to neuter them just for the sake of toning down wraps monks? It seems like a more reasonable solution to the problem of the melee power in the Henshin cores making handwraps monks overpowered would be to leave the melee power bonuses as is when using quarterstaves and apply the reduced bonuses to handwraps.

    I can honestly say that even in their current state, pure 20 monk staff builds are more a flavor build than an end-game meta option. Gutting their melee power by that much will essentially move them from "okay" to "pretty bad". There would be pretty much zero reason to play a pure staff monk anymore. The melee power in the Henshin cores is the only thing keeping a pure Henshin build competitive with a Thief Acrobat + Kensai option. The two best parts of the capstone are the 25 melee power and the 15% attack speed bonus. You can get the 15% speed bonus at level 2 on a rogue instead of having to wait until level 20 for a pure monk. Drop the 25 melee power down to 10 and Kensai splash options are a lot better than the capstone, especially if you're lowering the melee power from the preceeding cores, too.

    If you do that, people would be much better off to go with a rogue + fighter build with just a splash of monk for stances at that point. That would essentially undo the majority reasons you guys listed when you reworked Henshin in the last monk update a while back. If memory serves me correctly, you wanted pure Henshin stick builds to be a viable, comparable alternative to Thief Acrobats.
    Last edited by LT218; 03-06-2018 at 11:37 AM.

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    Community Member NXPlasmid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HastyPudding View Post
    Yes, monk does tend to do a good bit of damage. You have to factor in that, while monks are very 'dps' oriented, they're not 'damage' oriented, like barbarians: monks aren't dealing significant damage with single hits very frequently like barbarians, but rather their damage per second is very high.

    However, they also take quite a bit of damage, as well. While monks have high dodge and can get some excellent armor class, they tend to lack the PRR of the more sturdier classes, like barbarians, fighters, and paladins (and sometimes even rangers and favored souls). And while they also have evasion for most spells, they can get obliterated by DoTs, no-save damage spells, and a few non-reflex save spells due to their 50 MRR cap.

    I'm not saying handwrap monks don't need a bit of a balancing on their damage output (they do), but don't go giving them a massive amount of nerfs before taking into account that monks are essentially melee glass cannons in a game where higher difficulties (which are the norm) absolutely destroy most melee builds.

    Henshin is another story altogether. Henshin, for the overwhelming majority of the time monk has been in DDO, has been one of the weakest and least played melee builds in the game. Only fairly recently has Henshin seen any sort of viability, and now you intend to cut their power from 75 to only 30? You say they fall in line with other THF builds and yet monks are still glass cannons...only now with 'dramatically' less damage and the same weak defenses. Sorry, that's not a balance, that's a huge nerf; I fear you've just killed Henshin and pushed them back into obscurity, once again.

    As to epic destinies, that seems about right. Shadowdancer and Grandmaster definitely need the melee boost, and, personally, I think Sentinel could use +7 or even +8 melee power per core rather than +6: while you're not in Sentinel for the damage, melee builds that do use it are usually at a significant disadvantage damage-wise compared to others (due to focusing on defense rather than offense).
    But but but all the monk builds we tested killed the test dummy so much faster than other melee builds. This is pretty clear. We don't see the need to do actual "in game" testing, that kind of thing is laborious and doesn't provide the clear results we need to justify our "balance" modifications.

  16. #16

    Default Ninjas?

    How were your tests on ninjas? I assume that they did ok but mainly due to the melee power from henshin. Perhaps add MP to the cores of ninjas as well as dodge (like in Thief Acrobat--a good tree that makes sense)

    (sigh) my current splash just got a lot less sexy.

    Will you be giving people hearts who have monk splashes? I am happy about the change--nerf is good. MOAH nerf!
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    Community Member NXPlasmid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steelstar View Post
    The #7 build in terms of raw DPS was 20 Monk Henshin Mystic using a Quarterstaff. No Monk builds we tried ranked below that.
    This, more than anything else, highlights the disconnect between your "DPS numbers" and actual in game reality. I play in one of the top guilds on Khyber, I am certainly not one of the top players, but I do get to run in a lot of content with my fellow guildies and other top notch guilds. NO ONE PLAYS A HENSHIN MYSTIC QUARTERSTAFF BUILD. There is no way that a melee build that is substantially better than all other non-monk 2HF builds would have no presence on the server. Especially given the cool animations and flavor of a stick build. Something is wrong with how you do your analysis.
    Also, the only change to monks in the last year has been the new handwraps. Pure monks weren't dominant amongst melees, if they performed "in game" like you suggest by your numbers, they would have already been the main melee class on the servers. They were not.

  18. #18
    Community Member Singular's Avatar
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    So glad you are running dps tests, thank you.

    My twf is super happy.

  19. #19
    Community Member Thar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaboom2112 View Post
    THFing at level 30 needs some love still, is it possible for Aborea to give 40 MP if a THFing weapon is equipped?

    Pally and Barb also need a little help compared to fighter. More MP should address this.

    In your testing, what was the order high to low in terms of DPS?
    2nd this. Pally and Barb are both in a bad place right now.
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    Community Member janave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saekee View Post
    How were your tests on ninjas? I assume that they did ok but mainly due to the melee power from henshin. Perhaps add MP to the cores of ninjas as well as dodge (like in Thief Acrobat--a good tree that makes sense)

    (sigh) my current splash just got a lot less sexy.

    Will you be giving people hearts who have monk splashes? I am happy about the change--nerf is good. MOAH nerf!
    Unfortunately they degraded ninja into "The shuriken tree".
    RIP the good old dark monk.

    I expect some build who will now drop henshin cores, will try to back up on SA dices from ninja, or just straight LR/ER into a Shuriken build.

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