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Old September 16, 2018, 14:51   #1
Quirk
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Reworking Archery

I'm currently looking into a reworking of Archery.

The motivation is roughly based on it being weak in the early game and extremely strong late. You begin with a shortbow and a handful of arrows trying to pierce orcish armour, and end up with a bow of slaying firing poison arrows which are also flaming; for the real end-game when you've stockpiled your arrows, you can also dip into Rapid Fire. Concentration and Focused attack provide extra boosts if needed.

(This study was somewhat motivated by bron blowing away Morgoth in 11 turns with a 50K character, but for some time other experienced players have been mentioning the archery endgame as significantly more powerful than melee).

Archery beats melee over time in a number of areas:
1) Archery rolls against half evasion. At 5 skill facing enemies with evasion 3, the difference is small. At 25 skill facing enemies with evasion 20, the difference is basically a free critical.
2) Archery equipment double-dips because you can get bonuses from both bows and arrows. There are no Sil-native artifacts with both a brand and a slay; you'd have to craft one. Slaying bows and poison arrows are quite widely available by late game.
3) Archery skills are not consistently better than melee, but there is one huge stand-out: Flaming Arrows. Where Power in the Melee tree might add 4 damage sides (discounting mattocks for now), Flaming Arrows can add a d10 or more of extra damage in one skill.

The trade-off is that continued archery is dependent on your arrow drops. This is a bit unsatisfying in terms of making things highly variable - if arrows are consistently available, the power level is sky high; if arrows run out, the build is badly adapted to do anything else. Restricting arrow drops further would make archery an even more variable path.

For now, I'm looking largely at the skill tree. I have a little branch I'm playing round in where I've replaced Precision and Rapid Fire (relatively dull skills copied from melee) with a couple of new skills (Dedication, gaining a damage side when you don't have a weapon or shield readied, and Deadly Hail, which gives arrows double damage when you killed an enemy with an arrow last turn - strong but situational). I think Flaming Arrows has to go for balance reasons and increased damage needs to be spread across other skills, but it's the most flavourful skill in the archery tree and I'm torn.

Other solutions exist - I could stop evasion being halved against archery, for instance - but most of these make already difficult early game archery specialisation more difficult.

I'd like to hear any thoughts anyone else has on the topic - particularly from bron, Sil-Q's greatest archery master to date.
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Old September 16, 2018, 20:03   #2
Thraalbee
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I'd think about reducing impact of str. 2 or even 3 str for each +1 would help in many ways.

I never liked the halved evasion thing except for o and f archers (foe). So if that goes for the player it should go for them too which may be detrimental to the game.
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Old September 16, 2018, 21:02   #3
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Originally Posted by Thraalbee View Post
I'd think about reducing impact of str. 2 or even 3 str for each +1 would help in many ways.
This would tone down the late game, for sure. But would it not be unintuitive to have it work differently for archery than melee? (He says, before going on to talk about how evasion differs between melee and archery...)

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I never liked the halved evasion thing except for o and f archers (foe). So if that goes for the player it should go for them too which may be detrimental to the game.
You're absolutely right there, it would have to go for them as well, but I could potentially boost their archery scores to keep them threatening.
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Old September 17, 2018, 07:22   #4
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Maybe just reducing max weight on non artifact bows to 2 and 3 or possibly 3 and 4 lb?
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Old September 17, 2018, 19:23   #5
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Thematically, I feel like for archery, slays/brands should only be on arrows. Your bow might make you more accurate or grant various extra powers, but as far as dealing damage its responsibility is solely to propel the arrow, and it feels a little weird to me to have a bow that propels arrows especially hard but only when the player is pointing the bow at a particular type of enemy.
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Old September 17, 2018, 19:44   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thraalbee
Maybe just reducing max weight on non artifact bows to 2 and 3 or possibly 3 and 4 lb?
This seems a feasible and easy to implement suggestion. Thank you.

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Thematically, I feel like for archery, slays/brands should only be on arrows. Your bow might make you more accurate or grant various extra powers, but as far as dealing damage its responsibility is solely to propel the arrow, and it feels a little weird to me to have a bow that propels arrows especially hard but only when the player is pointing the bow at a particular type of enemy.
I agree, this makes intuitive sense. I have been forced though after removing Rapid Fire to wrestle with what powers actually can go on bows without making them another stat-slot for non-archers - anything that's not solely archery related has knock-on effects on the rest of the game.

I can play with range but it's rare that a longbow's range isn't good enough, and shortening it demands some compensatory bonus; and archery damage boosts lead back into my initial issue of all the archery advantages multiplying into end-game annihilation. Any ideas?

On another front, I'm coming round to the idea that evasion shouldn't be halved. This has much more impact in the end-game than at the start, and could allow for the introduction of more potent early game archery skills that make the limited early game arrows count (as right now, anything that adds to any of the multipliers is problematic in the endgame).
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Old September 17, 2018, 21:37   #7
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Originally Posted by Quirk View Post
I agree, this makes intuitive sense. I have been forced though after removing Rapid Fire to wrestle with what powers actually can go on bows without making them another stat-slot for non-archers - anything that's not solely archery related has knock-on effects on the rest of the game.
You could put target evasion debuffs on the bow, I guess, to reflect its ability to help you aim. Maybe make it a flat subtraction instead of a multiplicative modifier though.
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Old September 18, 2018, 11:35   #8
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Losing halved evasion is going to be tough on partial archers. It's not unusual to rely on a bow for shadows and vampire lords if you can't otherwise hit them. Not sure the change will be bad, just something to keep in mind.
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Old September 21, 2018, 06:51   #9
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I think Flaming Arrows and regular poisoned arrows as drops should be the thing to go. Maybe arrows of piercing can be spawned more frequently instead. The flaming arrows/poison arrows combo is a bit overkill late in the game.

Also, one of the things that's kind of overpowered for archers is being able to wield a weapon and shoot at the same time. Parry is a surprisingly good ability for archers since you can wield weapons that aren't that amazing, but have utility (Defender longsword for [+4] ev, Narsil for resists, Galadriel for [+6] ev, Dagmor) AND use a buckler of reflection [+1 or 2, 1d3]. Maybe you should have to wield a bow in your main hand and it should disallow shields.
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Old September 21, 2018, 11:25   #10
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Agree. But if you reduce e.g. str bonus and/or bow weight you also reduce the problem with extra dice from brands and crits (less xtra dam per die). Not sure which is better, but to do both nerfs seems to much.
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