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Ridiculously overpowered items and how to fix them

 
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5/14/2022 6:45:36   
Wingman
Member

I'm sure everyone here knows of a few items that are ridiculously overpowered and should basically never leave your inventory. Some are even banned from The Void's challenge fights, which is the best indicator that something's terribly wrong.

First off, we have Essence Orb, an item that lets you convert HP to SP as much as you want in a single turn. No other item comes close in allowing conversion b/t the 3 main resources (HP/MP/SP) like this, except for the rare Pixel Ether (another similarly broken item, but one which at least relies on a much more limited resource, SP). Other means of resource regeneration either cost a turn (potions, healing spells, etc.), have a low ceiling (healing pets/guests etc.), or impose some other cost. W/ this item, you can pull off any skill at any time, which is completely broken.

IMO the number of times you can click on the Orb should be limited, e.g. 1 time by default and +1 additional time for every 50 END. It should also prevent you from switching back to a different item after switching to it, to impose a cost on defense for the next turn.

Next up, Shadowfeeder Pendant. This item allows you to spend some SP to try for an extra turn, and lets you try as many time as you want as long as you have SP to spare (see a problem when combined w/ Essence Orb?). Against bosses this is astounding as a free turn gives you the opportunity to switch to some defensively nonviable equipment, pull off a skill and switch back. Or, you can just do a round of damage for free and survive a shorter fight that you otherwise wouldn't.

Fixing this item is pretty simple--make it skip your turn if you fail. That imposes sufficient risk that the player would have to carefully consider whether to use it.

Then we have the Prime Chaos Orb, widely considered the most powerful item in all of AQ. This item scrambles the enemy's resistances (like the old Scrambler Beam) and gives them a stackable lean, which makes them do/take more damage. And of course, you can use it multiple times per turn, w/ the only cost being that it randomly disables one of your menus, until your Items menu is disabled. This item frees players from inventory pressure as they can scramble a monster's defenses away from an element they aren't carrying a weapon for to one that their best equipment targets, and the lean stacking can be used to make the monster take massive damage.

This item should definitely not be able to be used more than once per turn, and should cost a turn to use. Or, if we really want it to be used multiple times a turn, it should disable an equipment menu (i.e. not Attack or Spells so the player can still act) for the rest of the battle, not just a single turn.

Leaving these items as is breaks game design & discourages equipment exploration. Why try other items when you know these are the best? I hope they get properly balanced soon.

< Message edited by Wingman -- 5/14/2022 18:56:22 >
AQ  Post #: 1
5/14/2022 10:38:52   
Korriban Gaming
Member

quote:

First off, we have Essence Orb, an item that lets you convert HP to SP as much as you want in a single turn. No other item comes close in allowing conversion b/t the 3 main resources (HP/MP/SP) like this, except for the rare Pixel Ether (another similarly broken item, but one which at least relies on much limited resource, SP). Other means of resource regeneration either cost a turn (potions, healing spells, etc.), have a low ceiling (healing pets/guests etc.), or impose some other cost. W/ this item, you can pull off any skill at any time, which is completely broken.

IMO the number of times you can click on the Orb should be limited, e.g. 1 time by default and +1 additional time for every 50 END. It should also prevent you from switching back to a different item after switching to it, to impose a cost on defense for the next turn.

I agree with this, Candy Bag got hit with the limit of 2 and I think that was too harsh. I like the idea of 1 additional click every 50 END. However I think the prevention of item switching is too much. Also, remove the ability for higher levelled players to use the lower levelled versions and that should just about do it.

quote:

Next up, Shadowfeeder Pendant. This item allows you to spend some SP to try for an extra turn, and lets you try as many time as you want as long as you have SP to spare (see a problem when combined w/ Essence Orb?). Against bosses this is astounding as a free turn gives you the opportunity to switch to some defensively nonviable equipment, pull off a skill and switch back back. Or, you can just do a round of damage for free and survive a shorter fight that you otherwise wouldn't.

Fixing this item is pretty simple--make it skip your turn if you fail. That imposes sufficient risk that the player would have to carefully consider whether to use it.

SFP is not broken or OP on its own. It's just the combination with EO. Fixing EO solves the problem, SFP can and should remain untouched. Making it skip your turn if you fail is too harsh and renders the item completely useless

quote:

Then we have the Prime Chaos Orb, widely considered the most powerful item in all of AQ. This item scrambles the enemy's resistances (like the old Scrambler Beam) and gives them a stackable lean, which makes them do/take more damage. And of course, you can use it multiple times per turn, w/ the only cost being that it randomly disables one of your menus, until your Items menu is disabled.

Many people will disagree but I don't think the elemental scramble needs a change. The only reason why that is OP is because items like BoB and Kindred exist which allows you to 1 shot anything with the right element. Those are the items that needs nerfing (just put a cap on the charges, easy fix imo) not the elemental scramble ability of PCO.

quote:

This item gives frees players from inventory pressure as they can scramble a monster's defenses away from an element they aren't carrying a weapon for to one that their best equipment targets, and the lean stacking can be used to make the monster take massive damage.

I disagree with the first half of this point. I think just about everyone playing the game who knows what their doing have all 8 basic elements covered in some form and aren't relying on an unreliable elemental scramble every battle. I agree however that lean stacking is the problem.

quote:

This item should definitely not be able to be used more than once per turn, and should cost a turn to use. Or, if we really want it to be used multiple times a turn, it should disable an equipment menu (i.e. not Attack or Spells so the player can still act) for the rest of the battle, not just a single turn.

Making it not be able to be used more than once per turn and/or making it cost a turn to use kinda renders the current cost useless unless they completely rework the cost of using it. I think the best way of balancing this item is capping the number of SUCCESSIVE uses at 2 or 3. Failed uses still retain the original cost of disabling a random menu category.

quote:

Leaving these items as is breaks game design & discourages equipment exploration. Why try other items when you know these are the best? I hope they get properly balanced soon.

While I do agree that these items break game design, they are also a large part of what has made AQ "fun" for most of the playerbase for so many years. Taking them away completely is a surefire way to make many of the more casual players quit the game. The goal should be to make the items strong without making them OP (or worse, useless). Alot of the recent nerfs/changes to items have made them useless or not worth using at all and this is what pisses players off. There are plenty of "best" items for different use cases so players actually do use quite a large variety of items depending on their different playstyles and the reason players enjoy using them is because they are strong. For me personally, AQ's strength lies in its unique combat system that allows you an almost endless combination of different items and effects. Players enjoy seeing big numbers and how much boosting they can do to push a playstyle to its maximum.

I am going to sound harsh here but if the argument is "staff can't make new, fun and strong items without completely ruining all of the old strong items" then that shows their creativity is limited, it's no longer solely a case of old items being too OP. Fun and balance aren't mutually exclusive. Honestly, I don't think I've seen a single complaint about the game not being fun before the balance changes hit, even from the more hardcore players, in fact it was quite the opposite. As someone who is more in-touch with the casual community, the morale has dampened quite a bit with all these nerfs we are getting to items. I will iterate again that I believe it's necessary but the way it's being done is too heavy-handed.

And no, no one is accusing the staff of any integrity issues if they let unbalanced items remain in the game. I have no idea where this even came from.
AQ DF MQ AQW  Post #: 2
5/14/2022 11:07:59   
Cray
Lorekeeper

 

We are aware of a number of severely underpowered and overpowered items, and have discussed solutions for those that can be practically addressed. Some changes require some system work to be plausible to implement, and other items are difficult to change in a surgical way. Notably, PCO's very nature creates a razor-thin line between 'too little' and 'too much', which is why it's currently being excluded from the new challenge area and otherwise allowed to run rampant in normal battles.

Items being rendered useless after being adjusted would be news as well, and worth reporting. If an item genuinely has no use cases rather than simply no longer being overpowered, that's something we need to tackle as well. It's never the intent for a nerf or buff to go too far. We are not out to take items away, and never want to ruin anyone's fun. The goal is still for an item to be good after any necessary balance change, but we cannot set the minimum threshold for 'good' at 'breaks game design' for self explanatory reasons: Something that causes lasting damage in exchange for short term fun is a poor trade indeed.

To clarify once again, this does not mean that we can't come up with new items without ruining strong items. Not only is 'ruining' an item never the goal (An item being underpowered is a major problem as well), but it was never the argument from staff and it hasn't been a point raised by the community either. Given that the highest profile releases of the last few years have been huge buffs to entire classes, the oft alleged focus on nerfs over a few key items is a concerning misconception. I'll run some ideas by the team, this is something that a more thorough clarification would very much benefit.
Post #: 3
5/14/2022 11:10:28   
CH4OT1C!
Member

Before saying anything else, you're absolutely right to state that Essence Orb, Shadowfeeder Pendant and Prime Chaos Orb are considered to be some of the strongest items in game. I also agree with the reasons you've provided. Essence orb allowing unlimited HP -> SP conversion per turn is absurd. Shadowfeeder undermines any failed roll because you can click as many items as you want (the status even stacks!). The implications of PCO's scramble is well known about.

You bring up the Void Challenge Banlist to justify your statement (which is completely fair). However, that banlist also serves a purpose. It enables challenging fights to be created without first having to nerf the equipment it bans. This is important because it means these items have less of a negative impact on game design. This is particularly important for one of these three items.

One could reasonably argue that a banlist is simply a bandaid; it mitigates the impact of these items but fails to tackle the root cause. To do that, one would need to fix the items themselves. However, I must disagree with the fixes you've suggested. This is because items and monsters in AQ follow a set of mathematical standards. It is important to follow these standards in all but extreme cases because:
1). It can curtail development: An overpowered fire weapon makes it difficult for any balanced fire weapon to compete. The only way around it is an even more powerful fire weapon.
2). Player experience: Having such powerful gear may be exciting for a while, but will quickly fail as no monster can sufficiently challenge the player
3). Developer Integrity: It would be much more difficult for the staff to justify stepping in when there's no standard to follow.

I disagree with your solutions because they don't follow the standard.

I've already spoken at length about how Essence Orb is balanced here. The basis is it converts HP -> SP via the old style of HP cost (based on incoming damage), with a *0.9 "always useful" penalty and an arbitrary *0.5 penalty that exists outside of balance (yes, that's correct. Essence Orb was underpowered!). The level 150 version of the item pays 50% melee in HP (based on incoming damage) for:

quote:

196 * 0.9 * 0.5 = ~88.2 SP


(Some rounding is involved). A much easier fix would be to i). move it onto modern standards and then ii). restrict it in the same fashion as Discount Mogloween Candy Bag (2 uses per turn, with each costing around 50% melee in HP to use). With this, the level 150 Essence Orb would spend 174 HP to recover:

quote:

174 * 1.125 * 0.9 = 176 SP


Your second fix, to Shadowfeeder Pendant, cannot work because you already (technically, it isn't balanced) spend SP for the effect. The true issue here is being able to circumvent the failure rate (especially when combined with Essence Orb) A much easier solution is simply to restrict the number of times you can attempt per turn (and pay the correct amount).

Prime Chaos Orb is another matter entirely. It falls within a select few items that frankly should never have been made. Its effects fall completely outside of balance assumptions. Because the player is assumed to carry one item of each standard element, scrambling resistances technically shouldn't cost anything (at a pinch, maybe a single slot worth 5% melee because if you cast it, you're assumed to want to change element). The Lean change is also free - the enemy takes more damage and deals additional damage back. The assumptions upon which the game is based simply don't account for the effects Prime Chaos Orb is capable of, only made worse by the ability to complete circumvent its downsides (Love Potion, for one). Essence Orb and Shadowfeeder Pendant can be fixed, brought into line. Some have already suggested fixes of their own. You can't do that with Prime Chaos Orb; you can't balance an item that was never designed to fit within the game's assumptions to begin with.

This is where the banlist comes into its own. If you wanted to "fix" PCO, the only option would be to completely change its base effect. That wouldn't be a great idea - you'd cause player backlash. A much easier solution is just to prevent it from being used in certain battles. It's the same approach they've taken with Purple Rain - it's still about as powerful as it was before, you can just prevent it from being used.

One last thing: It's worth remembering that making such changes can't be done on short notice. It's not a large staff team and much of their time is spent on weekly releases. Fixing items like Shadowfeeder and Essence Orb may be possible, but it's still a major investment in time and labour. It also has to be done correctly, because many players use these items on a regular basis. Botching them could result in significant backlash. As nice as it would be to simply state the problems and potential solutions, there's far more at play. Those solutions can't be rushed, and need to be fit into a tight schedule.

< Message edited by CH4OT1C! -- 5/14/2022 12:00:39 >
AQ  Post #: 4
5/14/2022 11:39:22   
legendd
Member
 

@CH4OT1C
"2).†Player experience: Having such powerful gear may be exciting for a while, but will quickly fail as no monster can sufficiently challenge the player"

I would like to humbly discuss on this. The end result of any battle one should expect is victory. It is near impossible for developers to impose limitations in AQ and in fact any game to deter players which I believe will result in frustration. From AQ perspective, there is a variety of builds, playstyles and loadouts and it falls on the players' willingness to limit and experiment different options. I can agree with balance but again, players are the one to determine how they want to experience passion towards AQ.

< Message edited by legendd -- 5/14/2022 11:42:02 >
Post #: 5
5/14/2022 12:00:05   
CH4OT1C!
Member

@legendd: Absolutely - there's definitely a level of player responsibility in choosing items that they themselves find fun. I know a number of players that deliberately choose to impose additional restrictions upon themselves to increase the level of challenge. It's also certainly true that there's a level of subjectivity involved. Not all players will get bored by trivialising the opponent.

In response:
1). If you disagree with that point, then fine. These arguments are interwoven. You might disagree that it detracts from player experience but balance is still worth having around for the other reasons I mentioned (you said yourself - you agree with those).
2). There's a level of staff responsibility too - evolving and diversifying the design space is important for the long-term health of the game. Not just for the development and popularity of new niches, but also the financial aspect. You want players to stay interested.
AQ  Post #: 6
5/14/2022 12:05:29   
Korriban Gaming
Member

quote:

One could reasonably argue that a banlist is simply a bandaid; it mitigates the impact of these items but fails to tackle the root cause.

This I can agree with.

quote:

However, I must disagree with the fixes you've suggested. This is because items and monsters in AQ follow a set of mathematical standards. It is important to follow these standards in all but extreme cases because:
1). It can curtail development: An overpowered fire weapon makes it difficult for any balanced fire weapon to compete. The only way around it is an even more powerful fire weapon.
2). Player experience: Having such powerful gear may be exciting for a while, but will quickly fail as no monster can sufficiently challenge the player
3). Developer Integrity: It would be much more difficult for the staff to justify stepping in when there's no standard to follow.

I disagree with your solutions because they don't follow the standard.

Not this though. Once again, being blinded by math on paper curtails creative and frankly, more realistic and straightforward ways of dealing with UP or OP items.
1. Not true. Why isn't the solution of making an equally powerful fire weapon but with a different/unique effect an option?
2. This is true but only for a small portion of the playerbase. I think there are more people who are less excited because strong items are taken away rather than a lack of challenging monsters
3. Again, I have no idea why this issue of integrity keeps being brought up. Haven't seen a single player talk about the staff's integrity issues with regards to the aspect you mentioned. Staff should step in when most of the playerbase agree on something, not because there's some standard set in stone

quote:

2). There's a level of staff responsibility too - evolving and diversifying the design space is important for the long-term health of the game. Not just for the development and popularity of new niches, but also the financial aspect. You want players to stay interested.

Precisely. Players aren't gonna spend money on items that aren't strong

< Message edited by Korriban Gaming -- 5/14/2022 12:08:12 >
AQ DF MQ AQW  Post #: 7
5/14/2022 12:06:18   
Bu Kek Siansu
Member


I totally agree with all what Korriban Gaming mentioned, was trying to explain and find a good solution.

Korriban Gaming is an excellent experienced player and a great supporter of AQ with his Youtube videos.

Thank you very much for his great feedback especially this one.
http://forums2.battleon.com/f/fb.asp?m=22402785
quote:

While I do agree that these items break game design, they are also a large part of what has made AQ "fun" for most of the playerbase for so many years. Taking them away completely is a surefire way to make many of the more casual players quit the game. The goal should be to make the items strong without making them OP (or worse, useless). Alot of the recent nerfs/changes to items have made them useless or not worth using at all and this is what pisses players off. There are plenty of "best" items for different use cases so players actually do use quite a large variety of items depending on their different playstyles and the reason players enjoy using them is because they are strong. For me personally, AQ's strength lies in its unique combat system that allows you an almost endless combination of different items and effects. Players enjoy seeing big numbers and how much boosting they can do to push a playstyle to its maximum.

I am going to sound harsh here but if the argument is "staff can't make new, fun and strong items without completely ruining all of the old strong items" then that shows their creativity is limited, it's no longer solely a case of old items being too OP. Fun and balance aren't mutually exclusive. Honestly, I don't think I've seen a single complaint about the game not being fun before the balance changes hit, even from the more hardcore players, in fact it was quite the opposite. As someone who is more in-touch with the casual community, the morale has dampened quite a bit with all these nerfs we are getting to items. I will iterate again that I believe it's necessary but the way it's being done is too heavy-handed.

And no, no one is accusing the staff of any integrity issues if they let unbalanced items remain in the game. I have no idea where this even came from.



Post #: 8
5/14/2022 12:08:35   
Plushie Nugget
Member

I'll cut to the chase:

-Don't make EO usable only twice per turn, it becomes useless. The point of "nerfing" stuff isnt that according to a reply above right?
-Don't just plainly make it "cost more". One thing that can be done is make it cost more per click the more END you have, so chars with high END dont get more out of it.
-Further modifications would result in a "completely new item".

-SFP isn't broken on its own, I agree 100% with what Korri said there.

-When I came back from my hiatus people were like "Yeah PCO is a must get from GGB" "OP". I used it for some days in the beginning and now its sitting in my non-active inventory collecting dust. Meh. ts not OP at all. The scramble is cute, but you can just make bosses immune to it. Its a very interesting and well-designed item.

-I see a handful of people complaining about CHA, BoB, EO, PCO..but interestingly enough they're not saying anything about Jellys, Mort Plushie, Shieldcakes (..) when are those items gonna be addressed?

Finally I'll quote something I agree with : "(...) if the argument is "staff can't make new, fun and strong items without completely ruining all of the old strong items" then that shows their creativity is limited, it's no longer solely a case of old items being too OP. Fun and balance aren't mutually exclusive."




Post #: 9
5/14/2022 12:44:40   
legendd
Member
 

I would personally wish to see a proposed balance re-adjustment towards jelly, mort and shieldcakes. Although I do not own them, they caught my attention while surfing for AQ videos on social medias.

< Message edited by legendd -- 5/14/2022 12:49:37 >
Post #: 10
5/14/2022 13:40:41   
CH4OT1C!
Member

To clarify my position: I believe that AQ fundamentally requires a set of mathematical assumptions in order to function. However, those assumptions can and should be broken as and where necessary. In other words, sometimes it is necessary to break the model. I really dislike statements of characterisation like:

quote:

Source: http://forums2.battleon.com/f/fb.asp?m=22402802
Not this though. Once again, being blinded by math on paper curtails creative and frankly, more realistic and straightforward ways of dealing with UP or OP items.

This statement, for example, implicitly portrays those that defend AQ's mathematical assumptions as too ignorant to be flexible. To be clear, you could create an item that doesn't adhere to any standards and that process would be much more straightforward (you're not dealing with any extra rules, just implementation and testing). In some rare cases, it may even be "realistic" (I assume this means competitive with other available options). However, getting the balance right would be inherently more difficult. There are no standards to compare to, meaning that item power would be decided via subjective popularity.

Of course, you may argue that subjective popularity is fine:
quote:

Source: http://forums2.battleon.com/f/fb.asp?m=22402802
3. Again, I have no idea why this issue of integrity keeps being brought up. Haven't seen a single player talk about the staff's integrity issues with regards to the aspect you mentioned. Staff should step in when most of the playerbase agree on something, not because there's some standard set in stone

Except the forums and Discord represent but a sample of the wider playerbase and, in many cases, act as an echo chamber. Who should we listen to? The bottom line is popularity isn't a measure of correctness. It's the same reason I dislike statements like:

quote:

Source: http://forums2.battleon.com/f/fb.asp?m=22402802
2. This is true but only for a small portion of the playerbase. I think there are more people who are less excited because strong items are taken away rather than a lack of challenging monsters

You have no way of knowing that's actually the case, and even if they did, that doesn't necessarily make them right. At least with a set of mathematical assumptions you can explicitly quantify whether something is right or wrong. They can also show you what is technically "correct", allowing you to make exceptions where necessary.

So, to answer your question:
quote:

Source: http://forums2.battleon.com/f/fb.asp?m=22402802
1. Not true. Why isn't the solution of making an equally powerful fire weapon but with a different/unique effect an option?

Because then we'd have an additional outlier from the standard, which would be very difficult to balance to be equally powerful without a standard to compare to.

Again, this is not to suggest that we shouldn't break a standard when it's appropriate to do so - we absolutely should. We just shouldn't be fundamentally undermining the system itself just because a few exceptions need to be made. I wouldn't trust balance adjustments simply because the player suggesting them is experienced and says they have "most" of the community behind them.
AQ  Post #: 11
5/14/2022 13:51:52   
Kaizoku
Member

In my opinion it's mainly Essence Orb that needs to be adjusted. Every other SP effect is affected by it. Naturally same goes for Pixel Ether. As for how this adjustment would be made I doubt I'd come up with anything better than the staff can.
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 12
5/14/2022 14:19:35   
Korriban Gaming
Member

quote:

This statement, for example, implicitly portrays those that defend AQ's mathematical assumptions as too ignorant to be flexible.

Yes, that is exactly what I am implying because I have not seen any argument outside of "this doesn't adhere to the mathematical standards on paper and therefore needs changing". Maybe you feel the same way about us being inflexible to nerfing certain items because you feel they are OP on paper.

quote:

However, getting the balance right would be inherently more difficult. There are no standards to compare to, meaning that item power would be decided via subjective popularity.

Correct, doesn't mean it's not possible though. Ultimately the game is dependent on both its devs and its players to survive no? Both sides should have a say in the direction of the game.

quote:

Except the forums and Discord represent but a sample of the wider playerbase and, in many cases, act as an echo chamber.

Fair, maybe I'm unaware of those accusations to the staff's integrity. Please provide me an example of where this has been voiced out before unless it's through DMs. I would love to see/hear their viewpoint on the matter as well and try to understand why they feel that way.

quote:

Who should we listen to? The bottom line is popularity isn't a measure of correctness.

It's not who "we" should listen to but rather who the staff should listen to. I mentioned above that the survivability of the game depends on both staff and players. Of course, I acknowledge that it's impossible to please everyone as with everything else in life so the logical thing to do is to listen to the majority.

quote:

You have no way of knowing that's actually the case, and even if they did, that doesn't necessarily make them right. At least with a set of mathematical assumptions you can explicitly quantify whether something is right or wrong. They can also show you what is technically "correct", allowing you to make exceptions where necessary.

Fair point but as I mentioned in my previous reply, fun and balance aren't mutually exclusive. The game can be unbalanced and fun but also balanced and not fun. This is a game. Players play a game because it's fun, not because it's balanced. As such I would prioritize maximizing fun over maximizing balance. Of course, you can disagree as everyone prioritizes things differently. But keep in mind that a game that is not fun will eventually become a dead game and none of us here want that, we want what's best for the game, I'm sure this is something we can all agree on.

quote:

Because then we'd have an additional outlier from the standard, which would be very difficult to balance to be equally powerful without a standard to compare to.

Let me give a simple example. Bloodblades are widely regarded as the best pure damage weapon in the game. As such, not many other options are being used/are worth using and this is a problem. Instead of nerfing them, the solution can also be releasing a burn weapon that is equally powerful. This presents a different option that players with different playstyles can also use thereby promoting more item diversity. This is a very basic example but I hope it brings my point across. Taking away something always causes unhappiness so why go that route instead of just giving something equally good to the other side?

quote:

Again, this is not to suggest that we shouldn't break a standard when it's appropriate to do so - we absolutely should. We just shouldn't be fundamentally undermining the system itself just because a few exceptions need to be made.

Good to see that you agree on this. I'm not saying we should undermine the system but I see alot of inflexibility when everything has to follow the system especially if following the system can make items useless. So in this case, should we continue to follow the system or can exceptions be made? The recent changes made to items to "follow the system" so far I wouldn't say made them completely useless but it definitely made them not worth using anymore. Unless I see recent examples of items made to "follow the system" aren't rendered completely not worth using, I'm not positive that continuing to follow the standards are a good way to go for the remaining items that needs to be changed.

quote:

I wouldn't trust balance adjustments simply because the player suggesting them is experienced and says they have "most" of the community behind them.

Likewise, I wouldn't trust the fun and longevity of the game to someone who is only concerned about balance. I trust the staff will make the right call in taking the middle ground.



AQ DF MQ AQW  Post #: 13
5/14/2022 14:42:04   
Cray
Lorekeeper

 

This discussion has already strayed from good faith from long enough. Politely insulting your fellow players does not make the insult excusable, nor does misrepresenting their points or making leading statements. This is a very important discussion, and needs to be given a chance. However, because of how consistently this topic devolves into thinly veiled insults and bad faith rewriting of other users' points, this will be the sole warning I'll give to that effect before deferring to the moderation team based on precedent. Please keep all discussions constructive and respectful.

As there is a preexisting common ground on agreeing that balance and fun are not mutually exclusive, I would recommend expanding on this shared space with the following consideration:

These concepts are not mutually exclusive, and they are also not part of a dichotomy between "Unbalanced but fun" and "Balanced but not fun". We are not pursuing perfect mathematical balance, nor are we inflexibly wielding standards as a gavel against fun. Balance is a tool, the standards of which set the framework for the creation of fun content in a way that neither wastes everyone's time with underpowered items nor harms the game and everyone's experiences with overpowered items. Fun is the very point of balance, and there can only be any fun for a short period of time without it.

It's possible to disagree without bad faith arguments and insults. A disagreement is an opportunity to get to know each other and the subject matter better, not a reason to fight. Keep this in mind and follow the rules as of this post, please.
Post #: 14
5/14/2022 15:23:29   
dizzle
Member
 

quote:

I would personally wish to see a proposed balance re-adjustment towards jelly, mort and shieldcakes. Although I do not own them, they caught my attention while surfing for AQ videos on social medias.


I object! Jelly is perfectly fine Staff! Donít worry thereís nothing to see here @legendd is just jelly (haha get it) that he doesnít have them >:(

< Message edited by dizzle -- 5/14/2022 15:36:42 >
AQ  Post #: 15
5/14/2022 20:53:37   
  Ward_Point

Honour, Hope, Love
AdventureQuest


quote:

1. Not true. Why isn't the solution of making an equally powerful fire weapon but with a different/unique effect an option?


Such a statement is illogical. Why should the staff basically invalidate 20 other pieces of gear to deal with the one overpowered weapon? All weapons of the same power level should be viable for use. If there is somehow only ONE option, something is very wrong. The goal of the Devs here is to create gear that has generally similar power levels so that casual players can literally buy almost any combination of gear and still generally play through most quests.

Diablo 3, for example, has had a power creep problem for years. Community hated nerfs, so they buffed everything, and now you have monsters/bosses with literally hundreds of millions of HP. And in recent years? They've taken to nerfing certain items/Sets that are overperforming. Pandering to a community which only wants to see big numbers caused ridiculous damage inflation and caused the literal creation of additional difficulty tiers. It was unsustainable back then and D3 devs realized it after a few years. Furthermore, D3 Players only have options in the builds played. The builds themselves are rigid and there are no options within the build.

As much as the majority of community members posting here define 'Having fun' as going on a power trip and embodying the Avatar of War, balance is important. Multiple items should always be able to compete for the same item slot. If one somehow stands above all others and completely invalidates other gear, it should be brought back into line.

The discussion here is intended for some general ideas for how to deal with overpowered items. It is NOT intended for debating whether Balance Standards are necessary.

This thread already straddles a thin line between GBI and Discussion. Deal with the topic at hand, which is to discuss some general changes to Essence Orb, Shadowfeeder Pendant and Prime Chaos Orb. Major math should go into GBI.
AQ  Post #: 16
5/14/2022 22:05:50   
Korriban Gaming
Member

quote:

All weapons of the same power level should be viable for use.

Don't get me wrong. I would love for nothing more than for this to be the case but this is also NOT realistic/viable due to the sheer number of items in the game and the lack of time/manpower. This is a fact and will not change unless somehow AQ gets a whole bunch of new staff dedicated to fixing every single item. Items aren't created equal and shouldn't be equal. Every single game out there has a set of "best" items that endgame players use, I don't think I've seen a game out there whereby every single item is viable, this is just game design. I don't want to sound like a subject expert because I am not but this is just my observations from playing different games for many years. To derail a little bit, if you know of a game out there that has every single item viable at endgame, do let me know, I would be quite interested to check it out.

The last major stat change was in 2014, I'm not certain of the one prior to that. However, if we were to use this as a benchmark that major stat changes happen every 8 years, is it possible to update all items in the game to match that standard within 8 years and after the 8 years, the cycle repeats with a set of new standards? That doesn't sound very realistic to me.

quote:

The goal of the Devs here is to create gear that has generally similar power levels so that casual players can literally buy almost any combination of gear and still generally play through most quests.

quote:

Multiple items should always be able to compete for the same item slot. If one somehow stands above all others and completely invalidates other gear, it should be brought back into line.

I think the lack of diversity stems mainly from casual players mostly only wanting to go the pure damage route therefore there is usually only a few options for Best-in-Slot (BiS) gear available to them. However, if you were to look at all the different playstyles in the game, each has it's own set of "best" items, so is there really a lack of diversity when it comes to equipment we use? Not necessarily. Someone who is playing a pure damage Warrior would be using Bloodblades, someone who is playing a pure damage Mage would be using Arcane Cutlasses, someone who is playing a Burn Ranger would be using Fireheart Warbow, someone who is playing Backlash would be using the DoomLight items, someone who is playing Dodgelash would be using Big Dictionary. So actually, if one were to explore other playstyles, there are a ton of other gear to use that is viable at endgame. Like I mentioned earlier, I really do think the main problem stems from players only wanting to go for a certain playstyle which makes it seem like they have very limited options on what to use which is not the case.


quote:

Diablo 3, for example, has had a power creep problem for years. Community hated nerfs, so they buffed everything, and now you have monsters/bosses with literally hundreds of millions of HP. And in recent years? They've taken to nerfing certain items/Sets that are overperforming. Pandering to a community which only wants to see big numbers caused ridiculous damage inflation and caused the literal creation of additional difficulty tiers. It was unsustainable back then and D3 devs realized it after a few years. Furthermore, D3 Players only have options in the builds played. The builds themselves are rigid and there are no options within the build.

I don't play D3 so unfortunately I am not familiar with what's going on in that game. I have heard of it however and what I do know is that they are hugely more successful than AQ or any other AE game for that matter. Regardless of the shortcomings you described, they must be doing something right gameplay-wise to make them so successful in the past.

quote:

If one somehow stands above all others and completely invalidates other gear, it should be brought back into line.

Cray stated in an earlier reply that UP items are just as important as OP items. If this is the case then they must be given the same level of priority. So is there a difference between bringing 20 items back into line and bringing 20 items to reach that line? The amount of work is similar. The difference is that one makes people happy and one doesn't. Would it not be better to go for the option that pleases the players? I am not saying bring all items up to the power level of BoB, EO or PCO. These are broken OP items that needs fixing, I'm not debating that. I'm saying bring the alleged lot of non-viable items up to the standards of something like Bloodblades, strong and viable but not OP (probably a poor example as I can't think of a better one right now). Instead we got changes like PR and DL Shields, while I agree that they aren't anywhere near useless, they are no longer worth using.

quote:

The discussion here is intended for some general ideas for how to deal with overpowered items. It is NOT intended for debating whether Balance Standards are necessary.

The 2 are closely linked. OP items like those stated in the original thread (except SFP imo) leads to GBI. It is hard to talk about one without going into the other. Majority of my 1st reply was also targeted at my thoughts on how to balance the aforementioned OP items.

< Message edited by Korriban Gaming -- 5/14/2022 23:01:17 >
AQ DF MQ AQW  Post #: 17
5/14/2022 22:59:00   
Cray
Lorekeeper

 

quote:

To derail a little bit, if you know of a game out there that has every single item viable at endgame, do let me know, I would be quite interested to check it out.


To firmly return to rails, viability and end-game viability are different matters. This isn't an egregious example of it, but adding stipulations that other posters didn't make and answering to the distorted version of their post is not constructive. Ward Point was not conflating 'viable' and 'best in slot'. There can only be one of the latter by definition, but the point being raised was for viability.

Now, as a correction to both the point and the rebuttal: This also means that the existence of an overpowered item doesn't mean that it's the only option, though a long-standing piece of broken gear does make it more difficult to gauge community impressions of anything in its niche that fails to compete with its unfair advantage. However, responding to the issue of an overpowered item by replicating it would still be power creep: While not escalating the problem vertically, it would expand the scope of it and continually kick work down the line. If we were to set aside all basic principles of game design and only bring up the amount of work involved, this would already render the idea moot.

Some measure of power creep is both inevitable and necessary in a game of AQ's nature. This is a result of both the exponential growth of item interactions and the growing complexity of design. However, actively pushing it is unfair to everyone involved, player or developer, by rapidly invalidating existing items and increasing the amount of work it takes to create or update them.

quote:

I have heard of it however and what I do know is that they are hugely more successful than AQ or any other AE game for that matter. Regardless of the shortcomings you described, they must be doing something right gameplay-wise to make them so successful in the past.


We would have a very hard time indeed finding a high-profile title created by a studio on the scale of Blizzard North that doesn't outperform our small game. Especially when the specific example had a budget in the millions, chances to redo the project throughout an 11 year development cycle, and even an in-house physics engine. Having established the null relevance of the comparison, success does not make titles flawless, nor exempt from critique. That a title was more successful than AQ does not mean that we should fall to the extreme fallacy of ignoring and replicating its errors. Indeed, Diablo III did something right. That something is not a factor in this discussion.

quote:

Cray stated in an earlier reply that UP items are just as important as OP items. If this is the case then they must be given the same level of priority.


Overpowered and underpowered items are both a problem. The former, however, can and often do stand in the way of addressing the latter. When underpowered items are buffed to adequate standards, the presence of overpowered gear can make it so that they can still fall flat even if they're good -- Either because the buffed gear doesn't measure up to equipment that's unfairly strong, or because they don't synergize with it. Surgical nerfs can therefore enable sweeping buffs, up to entire class revamps.

Taken in isolation, nerfs will always upset some players, and buffs will generally please many. If we were to only care about immediate reactions, we would only perform the latter. However, we have to concern ourselves with the entire game and all players on a scale well past immediate impressions, and only caring about pleasing as many people as possible with each individual week (With no regard for the next) would be unsustainable. If we shied away from any decision that upset players, we never would have been able to buff classes up to revamped standards.

Lastly, there is no discussion about whether or not balance standards are necessary. No more than there is a discussion about whether or not syntax is necessary for written communication.
Post #: 18
5/14/2022 23:05:47   
Wingman
Member

I see that this thread has swiftly devolved into the classic "Don't touch the item I have, but do balanced the ones I don't own" trope.

quote:

While I do agree that these items break game design, they are also a large part of what has made AQ "fun" for most of the playerbase for so many years. Taking them away completely is a surefire way to make many of the more casual players quit the game.


If that's "fun", why not just give such casual players a "Win!!!" button?

For me, fun comes from understanding the strengths & limitation of each item and exploring the myriad ways they can be combined. "Always use Item X" is not fun, it's boring & predictable.

quote:

if the argument is "staff can't make new, fun and strong items without completely ruining all of the old strong items" then that shows their creativity is limited


So if you make a mistake, don't correct it, keep making more mistakes so the previous one doesn't seem as bad. Sorry, I don't buy that.

An item like Essence Orb fundamentally breaks every other item/skill that cost SP, which is supposed to be a limited, regenerating resource. W/ EO, SP is nothing more than a proxy for HP. Why have a separate resource at all, then?

quote:

It's never the intent for a nerf or buff to go too far. We are not out to take items away, and never want to ruin anyone's fun.


I'm going to go a step further and say that it can be good to nerf something that's been broken for years a little too much. Cut down the old tree and let new shoots grow.

The classic solution to power creep is more power creep, and we know how that eventually kills every game it's applied to. It's time we saw some deflation instead of inflation.
AQ  Post #: 19
5/14/2022 23:28:41   
Korriban Gaming
Member

quote:

I see that this thread has swiftly devolved into the classic "Don't touch the item I have, but do balanced the ones I don't own" trope.

Not entirely true, you gave some examples of broken items that needed fixing in your original post, others merely added on items that also needs fixing. Whether they own or use it isn't a factor.

quote:

If that's "fun", why not just give such casual players a "Win!!!" button?

For me, fun comes from understanding the strengths & limitation of each item and exploring the myriad ways they can be combined. "Always use Item X" is not fun, it's boring & predictable.

Exactly! Players like seeing big numbers and using different combinations of items to reach those big numbers. There are many ways and many items to achieve that. Pure damage, DoT, backlash, dodgelash, elevuln, etc. All of them use different items albeit with the same endgoal, no one is always using Item X. Try switching playstyles and you will find a whole lot of different items you can use. In the past I was only only concerned with pure damage and did see alot of limitations in what I can use. Having changed up my builds every so often, I discovered many viable items in the game for different purposes.

quote:

An item like Essence Orb fundamentally breaks every other item/skill that cost SP, which is supposed to be a limited, regenerating resource. W/ EO, SP is nothing more than a proxy for HP. Why have a separate resource at all, then?

Fully agreed. No where did I say that I didn't support nerfing EO. I'm merely saying be cautious not to overdo it.

quote:

I'm going to go a step further and say that it can be good to nerf something that's been broken for years a little too much. Cut down the old tree and let new shoots grow.

We can agree to disagree here and Cray has also acknowledged that some form of power creep is necessary.


< Message edited by Korriban Gaming -- 5/14/2022 23:31:21 >
AQ DF MQ AQW  Post #: 20
5/15/2022 2:54:20   
Yozai
Member

Why bring this topic up again again again...
AQ  Post #: 21
5/15/2022 3:29:16   
Plushie Nugget
Member

The title is "Ridiculuosly overpowered items (..) and I've proposed some, yet not a single comment about Jellys, Mort or Shieldcakes hmm
Post #: 22
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