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Old May 16, 2013, 21:41   #1
seebs
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Elemental rings and brands...

Problem: Damage multipliers are unbalancing, especially on a hypothetical weapon that does 9d6 damage.

Suggested solution: BRAND_WEAK_FIRE/BRAND_WEAK_FROST/etc.

Since we now have two values available for an item, what if a ring of Fire had a random +AC bonus, and then a +1-+3 modifier which was "d6 of extra fire damage"? Or maybe +1-+2. So instead of multiplying the raw damage dice, it's a fixed-size multiplier. +2d6 fire damage on a whip is amazing; +2d6 fire damage on the glaive of pain is sort of mediocre. But it would give the rings some interesting effect, without the huge balancing problem.
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Old May 16, 2013, 21:56   #2
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So basically, additive damage bonuses ( la Ring of Damage) instead of multiplicative? Interesting, could work. Bonus elemental damage is worse than bonus non-elemental damage, but they also give resistance to an element and the activation. They'd probably need to be moved to a shallower depth though.

EDIT: note that "weak brands" already exist though; they give an x2 multiplier instead of the x3 of normal elemental brands. I think they're only found on randarts currently, though.
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Old May 16, 2013, 22:15   #3
Estie
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I liked the branding rings back when they existed because they added a bit of complexity to the itemisation puzzle. Also, I dont see in which way they can be considered "unbalancing" simply because I fail to make out anything that is "in balance" to begin with.

However, I keep wondering why everyone is trying to add more RING properties. Ring slot is the most congested already, why not add some different mods for, say, body armour ?
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Old May 16, 2013, 22:44   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derakon View Post
So basically, additive damage bonuses ( la Ring of Damage) instead of multiplicative? Interesting, could work. Bonus elemental damage is worse than bonus non-elemental damage, but they also give resistance to an element and the activation. They'd probably need to be moved to a shallower depth though.

EDIT: note that "weak brands" already exist though; they give an x2 multiplier instead of the x3 of normal elemental brands. I think they're only found on randarts currently, though.
Ahh, would have to come up with another name for it, then.

And I do see the issue with ring slot already being congested, but at the same time, they really feel like a ring-slot feature -- your hands hold the weapon, so that affects the weapon.

Maybe we should consider adding another slot and moving some items away from rings. Wrist slot, maybe, for bracers?
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Old May 16, 2013, 22:55   #5
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The reason you add onto the ring slot is precisely because it is so congested. Other slots are less valuable, thus adding useful properties to them (especially properties that improve your combat damage) will have a noticeable effect on the player's power, making the game easier. But with rings, there's already lots of great options, so adding more doesn't have as strong of an effect.

I mean, imagine that this theoretical elemental-damage modifier went onto, say, your shield. Suddenly all of the other shield egos have to compete with it. Are you ever going to use a Shield of Resistance if you have one of these elemental-brand shields instead? Not if you have a choice about the matter. Damage is king in this game, so increasing the player's damage has to be done very carefully.

And yes, the game does have balance -- witness all the complaints about 3.1.2 being too easy.
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Old May 17, 2013, 02:06   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seebs View Post
Problem: Damage multipliers are unbalancing, especially on a hypothetical weapon that does 9d6 damage.

Suggested solution: BRAND_WEAK_FIRE/BRAND_WEAK_FROST/etc.

Since we now have two values available for an item, what if a ring of Fire had a random +AC bonus, and then a +1-+3 modifier which was "d6 of extra fire damage"? Or maybe +1-+2. So instead of multiplying the raw damage dice, it's a fixed-size multiplier. +2d6 fire damage on a whip is amazing; +2d6 fire damage on the glaive of pain is sort of mediocre. But it would give the rings some interesting effect, without the huge balancing problem.
I like this idea. It could even just +2 damage dice, e.g. your 1d6 whip becomes 3d6 against not-fire-resistant monsters.
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Old May 17, 2013, 03:40   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derakon View Post
The reason you add onto the ring slot is precisely because it is so congested. Other slots are less valuable, thus adding useful properties to them (especially properties that improve your combat damage) will have a noticeable effect on the player's power, making the game easier. But with rings, there's already lots of great options, so adding more doesn't have as strong of an effect.

I mean, imagine that this theoretical elemental-damage modifier went onto, say, your shield. Suddenly all of the other shield egos have to compete with it. Are you ever going to use a Shield of Resistance if you have one of these elemental-brand shields instead? Not if you have a choice about the matter. Damage is king in this game, so increasing the player's damage has to be done very carefully.

And yes, the game does have balance -- witness all the complaints about 3.1.2 being too easy.
The game has a difficulty level that has been changing (going up) since 2.1.2v2 significantly. Which of the many versions do you call "balanced" ?

I very strongly feel that this whole approach is fundamentally flawed:

Make a change. Check if the game becomes significantly easier. Reject the change if does.
Isnt the point of the chage to make the game more interesting or better in the first place ? And so, shouldnt it FIRST be decided if a considered change would be so or not, and worry about its effect on difficulty later ?

Difficulty can be altered in many ways. Some may be not easy to implement and thus not getting done, however, if I look at the change in difficulty over the last year or so, it feels like a rollercoaster (and not at all "in balance"). Now that isnt a bad thing (I think), but does it make sense to always put the effect on difficulty of a change in first place under these circumstances ? Wouldnt it be better to throw the whole "balance!" thing over board for a time while pondering the game mechanics, and, if a satisfactory constellation has been found, start thinking about how to keep the challenge at a desired level ?

Damage is king:

I have said this elsewhere before, the main reason for this is that other enhancements are capped.

Resists: binary, base also offers immunity, but once you have poison resist somewhere you are at the cap, more doesnt help (temporary buffs not counting since they arent usually item properties).

Stats: strength also gives damage, and in 2 ways - directly and via increased number of blows - but its capped, and the cap gets reached on a regular basis in normal play.

Speed: steep diminishing returns effectively act as a soft cap. Not much gain past +30.

Damage, on the other hand, isnt capped. Every bit, be it plain adder or elemental multiplier, is applied fully.

So yes, small wonder that damage is king under these conditions.


The sad state is that, even with randarts, the optimal gear ends up being always the same. For melee types, a speed ring and a damage ring are the best option since everything else can be covered by other slots. A ring of power instead of a pure damage one indicates inferior equipment with some hole that the power ring has to fill.

Very rarely this pattern gets broken, and if it happens it feels like a relief. And somewhere I envision a game with a much more intricate puzzle of getting a good kit.

Imagine for example stats not hitting a cap, nor blows, then rings with stats become very viable. Do I want +12 damage per blow or another 0.4 blows with +3 damage from a strength modifier ? The possibilities are endless.

However, even considering such things requires a global top down point of view. If you dont adopt it, you get stuck in the logic circle that any change that has a gameplay effect makes the game easier (otherwise why would the player use it ?) and thus cannot be done "for balance reasons". Enter yet another option for the ring slot that gets squelched.
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Old May 17, 2013, 03:54   #8
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I would say that 3.4/3.5 have re-achieved the desired level of challenge, while being a marked improvement in many ways over equivalently-difficult versions from before 3.1.2.

The problem with maintaining balance is that no change can be made in isolation. So either we have to accept that every change we make that adds something useful to the game makes it easier, or we have to counter every useful new item with an increase in difficulty somewhere else. To do otherwise is to just backslide on difficulty back to the 3.1.2 days, when new players would download the game, play it for a week, win, and leave. This is not a "more interesting" game! It's just an easier one. There's no point in having lots of choices if all of them make it trivial to win. The game needs to be difficult so that figuring out what your proper gear selection should be is rewarding.

So in short, I am not in principle opposed to adding new items, but you need to maintain a holistic view and recognize the impact that the new items will have on the game.
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