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11/9/2023 12:10:14   
Dardiel
Member

What's up gamers, it's your boy Me here to charge up your day with a brand new GBI so gather your kindred spirits and buckle up because in this thread we're talking charges. What are charges? Why do we need to talk about them? How do we change them so that we don't need to talk about them? All that and not much else will be covered in the nicely formatted sections to come!

Preface- Charges? Charge items?
Definition time, there will be a quiz. These are my own definitions, if anything they're likely more general than most but it'll be how I use the terms going forward:
Charges are any tracked value that can directly increased by an item, and where the intended play pattern of the item is to accumulate that resource and gain some advantage from accumulating it.
Charge Items are any individual or combined items that increase and/or benefit from charges.
These definitions have some notable exclusions/inclusions:
- These definitions exclude cases where the resource is purely negative - usage limits are not charges, stacking self debuffs/enemy buffs aren't charges (unless you have a way to get an advantage from stacking them), trackers for how an effect degrades over time (such as when a skill costs more each time it's used) aren't charges.
- These definitions include items that use permanent statuses that the player can gain an advantage from, items where accumulating the resource has both upsides and downsides, and items that can use a typically non-charge resource as is if it were a charge resource (such as items that consume a status to gain an effect).

Additional Info
- Charges can be spendable (such as with Book of Burns; you spend charges to gain additional uses of the book within a turn), passive (such as with Devil Geiger; armor attacks deal damage that scales with the number of charges it has), or both (currently non-existent, but not impossible to create; for example a weapon could have a passive bonus that scales with charges and a skill that spends charges for an effect).
- Key examples (and attached concepts):
Kindred / Book of Burns / Essence of Carnage (charges that carry over)
Angel Guard (turn delay bonus)
Devil Geiger (capped charges)

Post-Preface - The Problems with Charges
Unlike every other mechanic in AdventureQuest, charges aren't perfect. In my eyes, there's two problems that hang out on opposite ends of a spectrum:
1: The "Skip Gameplay" Button (that takes two hours to press) - Charges carrying over across battles allows players to trade time for power, in a manner that is not healthy gameplay (it would be hard to argue that charging against an easy enemy is intended, since there's obviously no challenge involved and therefore the item might as well just have infinite charges at all times).
2: "Okay, I'm fully charged! What do you mean the battle ended five turns ago?" - Charge items that don't carry charges over across battles are weak, even for builds that play defensively and presumably have the most time to gain charges over the course of a battle; they pretty inherently work on a delay, and they're prone to caps that can limit their effectiveness once the delay is over.

Solutions - 4 Steps to Make Charges Literally Perfect
1: Please Play the Game - Reset all charges to 0 when the battle ends. This removes the unhealthy and unintended gameplay associated with items that carry charges over.
2: UPDATE: Patience Buffed; Now Worth 2 Virtues - Give non-passive charges a turn delay bonus, and have it apply to the charges every turn. As implemented by the Angel Guard guest, charge accumulation should be compensated for the fact that they come on a delay and the delay bonus should apply for each turn that the delay happens. (passive charges are always doing something so they don't need the bonus).
3: Buffing the... Delay... Bonus - Buff the turn delay bonus from x1.01 to x10/9 per turn delayed; if an effect has a 1 turn delay then using it every turn would only allow it to be used 9 times over an assumed 10 turns and the output would have to be x10/9 as a result.
4: No Hats At The Dinner Table - Allow charge items to be uncapped, as is already the case with permanent+stackable statuses (which are already considered to be charge items due to having identical purpose). Capping charges punishes defensive playstyles more than aggressive playstyles (the opposite of the purpose of charges), and to my knowledge is an arbitrary limit on an already-unpopular playstyle that forces them into being basically SP items that don't let you spend the SP anywhere else - it's hard for me to find justification for a cap if the cost matches the benefit, especially in the context of the mechanic that is inherently the slowest. A soft cap could be implemented as a middle ground, although caps already double-dip with bosses having their own soft caps (eg an effect that uses charges to boost damage would be getting reduced value via the boss damage cap, so putting even a soft cap on the charges would result in putting an extreme cap on charge practicality while most other effects don't suffer that issue).

That's all for this edition of My First GBI, stay frosty 'Questers and keep charging.

< Message edited by Dardiel -- 11/11/2023 17:22:43 >
Post #: 1
11/9/2023 12:58:22   
J9408
Member

Among the options number 4 seems best. My main is a Neko beastmaster, gathering charges for tough battles can be quite tedious.
Post #: 2
11/9/2023 13:09:16   
Aura Knight
Member

I don't think items we charge are problematic as the time it takes to stack them up covers the later power they offer. A cap to the amount with a possible cooldown for when we get them restarted may work for an update if necessary. Maybe charges can only be gained vs a target of similar level only too. I'd be fine with no change too.
AQ DF AQW  Post #: 3
11/9/2023 13:46:38   
Dardiel
Member

@Aura Knight
Points 2 and 3 of my proposed solutions cover that the time typically doesn't cover the power - for example if an item requires 5 turns of charging and you use it on the 6th turn for +500% damage, that's one use in a 10-turn battle; it takes 12 turns to knock out an enemy when a regular weapon could do it in 10, not to mention that needing to charge up for X turns means the item is functionally useless in any battle that has less than X turns left. Things like damage caps also factor in when charge items put a big power boost into a single effect; if Kindred didn't carry charges over, I don't think players would be too excited to Focus for 6 turns just to get x7 damage compressed into 2 hits on turn 7 when they could've just been attacking and split that x7 damage among 14 hits.
Post #: 4
11/9/2023 16:21:19   
Grace Xisthrith
Member
 

This solution works, very nicely written and presented.

What I think is most difficult to get behind (for me because I like my cheese) is the "please play the game" clause, that wipes all charge progress.

Now, it's definitely fair, but I want to be nicer to the player. What do you think of giving charges on items a %melee value (most already have them), and between battles, charges are knocked down to 100% melee worth, or 200% melee worth, or some other arbitrary small but not super small number? So you can't carry in a ton of charges, but you can take a few.
AQ  Post #: 5
11/9/2023 17:33:19   
Dardiel
Member

@Grace Xisthrith
I do think there could be room for non-passive charge items to start battles with charges, though personally I think it should be inherent to the item rather than carrying charges over - my logic being "the player would always set themselves up to have charges at the start of any battle that matters, so why let them waste their own time when you could just give them the charges that they were going to get for free anyway". If it's attached to the item there can be a way for it to frontload charges in a balanced way, although it could take some real effort to make front-loaded charge items not just the best items for short battles.
Post #: 6
11/9/2023 18:28:08   
CH4OT1C!
Member

It's nice to see such a clear and well-written post on a topic that I definitely think deserves more attention.

From my perspective, a large amount of work needs to be done to change how charges function in game. Accompanying this needs to be a change in mindset. I want to draw attention to @Dardiel's definitions on this topic:
quote:

Charges are any tracked value that can directly increased by an item, and where the intended play pattern of the item is to accumulate that resource and gain some advantage from accumulating it.
Charge Items are any individual or combined items that increase and/or benefit from charges.


If the intended gameplay pattern is to first accumulate resources, then receive dividends from the investment, that isn't how it plays out in reality. Instead, the best charge items are ones that allow you to accumulate charges elsewhere, with as few restrictions as possible, to subsequently be spent immediately for massive benefit. These include Kindred and BoB, which act more as powerful nukes than anything else. They're charged against a harmless monster e.g., the CPT to be spent against a strong one. We need to decide whether this is an acceptable strategy. I'd argue that it isn't.

With that in mind:
1). I express full support resetting charges at the end of a battle. This immediately removes the above problematic mechanic. While I appreciate @Grace Xisthrith's attempts to be kinder, I believe that mechanic to be more trouble than it's worth. However, I too wish to provide some level of mitigation, so...
2). I propose that charges work in a similar fashion to Infernal Android in that charges are multiplied by a *sqrt(Monster Power) modifier. This ensures additional charges are stored against bosses. And this makes sense - surviving the turn of a boss holds considerably more value than surviving a regular monster. Providing these two in combination means we don't need an outleveling penalty or an overall cap on charge accumulation either - they're internal to each battle anyway.
3). I also fully support providing charges with a turn delay bonus and increasing current turn delay bonus value. To be honest, this is something I was already considering producing a GBI on, and I probably will do so once things calm down in the new year.
4). We need to standardise and make clear the precedents around how much of a charge can be spent at any one time. General flavour effects top at approx. 20%. Why would I spend time charging if I only receiving 20% in return for going out of my way. There needs to be compensation not just on the accumulation, but on the payoff too.
AQ  Post #: 7
11/9/2023 22:38:33   
Korriban Gaming
Member

I will preface this by saying that alot of these charge items are used quite frequently by casuals who are struggling against difficult story bosses. I hope these issues can be addressed before we change the charge items

1. Lower level scaling
2. Make mechanics of story bosses more obvious, give information in the game on how to counter it rather than have players look at third party resources outside of the game for help

I think all charge items work a bit differently, as such, I'm not a big fan of "blanket" solutions that changes the entire mechanic. A change that can be reasonable for 1 item may be bad for another. It is more work but I'd prefer to look at each problematic item individually.
quote:

Solutions - 4 Steps to Make Charges Literally Perfect
1: Please Play the Game - Reset all charges to 0 when the battle ends. This removes the unhealthy and unintended gameplay associated with items that carry charges over.
2: UPDATE: Patience Buffed; Now Worth 2 Virtues - Give non-passive charges a turn delay bonus, and have it apply to the charges every turn. As implemented by the Angel Guard guest, charge accumulation should be compensated for the fact that they come on a delay and the delay bonus should apply for each turn that the delay happens. (passive charges are always doing something so they don't need the bonus).
3: Buffing the... Delay... Bonus - Buff the turn delay bonus from x1.01 to x10/9 per turn delayed; if an effect has a 1 turn delay then using it every turn would only allow it to be used 9 times over an assumed 10 turns and the output would have to be x10/9 as a result.
4: No Hats At The Dinner Table - Allow charge items to be uncapped, as is already the case with permanent+stackable statuses (which are already considered to be charge items due to having identical purpose). Capping charges punishes defensive playstyles more than aggressive playstyles (the opposite of the purpose of charges), and to my knowledge is an arbitrary limit on an already-unpopular playstyle - it's hard for me to find justification for a cap if the cost matches the benefit, especially in the context of the mechanic that is inherently the slowest. A soft cap could be implemented as a middle ground, although caps already double-dip with bosses having their own soft caps (eg an effect that uses charges to boost damage would be getting reduced value via the boss damage cap, so putting even a soft cap on the charges would result in putting an extreme cap on charge practicality while most other effects don't suffer that issue).

1. Most battles don't last that many turns. How often will it be worth to spend turns in battle charging an item rather than doing something else?
2. This is a good solution to 1, but the question remains, how much is this bonus? Will it be enough to justify the downsides of wasting a turn charging?
3. My idea would be to have it stack via a compound interest format instead of a simple interest one. The more turns in a row you spend charging, the power of the charged item increases exponentially. I think this is enough to overcome the downsides of wasting turns charging
4. A fair point. Uncapped if it means it won't carry over between battles seems alright.

quote:

Maybe charges can only be gained vs a target of similar level only too.

That's already done for most modern charge items, doesn't really change anything apart from making items more annoying to charge.

quote:

I do think there could be room for non-passive charge items to start battles with charges, though personally I think it should be inherent to the item rather than carrying charges over - my logic being "the player would always set themselves up to have charges at the start of any battle that matters, so why let them waste their own time when you could just give them the charges that they were going to get for free anyway". If it's attached to the item there can be a way for it to frontload charges in a balanced way, although it could take some real effort to make front-loaded charge items not just the best items for short battles.

I quite like the idea of a small amount of frontloaded charges.

I'll give some specific suggestions on how I think the most problematic charge items should be changed.

Each suggestion number is separate on its own and does not combine ideas from the other suggestions unless otherwise stated.

Book of Burns

1. Charges no longer carry over between battles. Multicast requires the turn before to be spent on using Stoke the Flames before it can be used on the next turn. So it's essentially spend 1 turn Stoke the Flames, next turn you get 2 actions if you use Multicast. If you choose to Stoke the Flames again instead of using Multicast, you buff the damage of Big Blaze, Potency or Burn power of Scorch and efficiency of Fire Shield slightly when you next use the double turn with Multicast. Using Multicast uses up all charges but you cannot get more than 1 extra action with Multicast. No limit on the stacks so you can buff it as much as you like by Stoking the Flames but you just can't get more than 1 extra action

2. Stoke the Flames skill reworked to give 1 charge per use. Multicast requires 2 charges to use but gives you 2 additional tome actions instead of 1. Yes, this is new and is the first "triple turn" item. You cannot stack Stoke the Flames beyond the 2 charges but you can carry over these charges to the next battle

Kindred
Kindred is strong, I don't deny that. But I also think it's hugely over exaggerated because its skill only has 2 hits. While soft damage caps don't mitigate this completely, it does reduce its effectiveness and of course, hard damage caps stop it entirely. We are seeing alot more cap bosses nowadays regardless if they're soft or hard damage caps so it's not like nothing is done to mitigate or address this problem already.

1. Charges no longer carry over between battles. Kindred Strike requires the turn before to be spent on using Focus before it can be used on the next turn. You cannot Focus again if you already have 1 Focus. Kindred Strike is double damage with a Hypercrit buff

2. Charges no longer carry over between battles. You start off the battle with 1 use of Kindred Strike, it retains the same damage as what it has currently. To use it again, you need to spend 2 turns charging for 1 use

3. Charges carry over between battles but is capped at 4. The first use of Focus unlocks Kindred Strike with the same damage as what it has currently. Second use buffs its accuracy. Third use buffs its damage. Fourth use changes the skill from 2 hits to 4 hits

The goal of these changes is to remove the need for unlimited charging while still ensuring that they remain as powerful tools for players to use in today's meta

EDIT: I just want to clarify that I agree with @Dardiel's suggestion for compound interest bonus on the turn delay

< Message edited by Korriban Gaming -- 11/10/2023 10:32:24 >
AQ DF AQW  Post #: 8
11/10/2023 1:25:35   
legendd
Member
 

Charges is just one of the MANY items and interactions certain playerbase claim as not perfect and/or shouldn't exist so XD

quote:

Unlike every other mechanic in AdventureQuest, charges aren't perfect.
Post #: 9
11/10/2023 6:16:31   
darkdragonvx
Member

i think 1 is the best solution, the game is not balanced across infinitely many turns but based on the 20 turn model. having charges persist after battles would never be balanced. it also doesnt make sense to accrue charges on a weak monster to be used on a strong monster.
AQ DF MQ AQW  Post #: 10
11/10/2023 10:51:27   
ming shuen
Member

Uhm. Y’all want to completely rework Book of Burns to make it balanced – to something like that of a regular item? I thought the very purpose of the item was to not be balanced. Something like a “Get-out-of-Jail” card, to ensure that players don’t get locked out of the game’s content. There’s like no way the Devs did not notice Book of Burn’s power when they were making it.

It is overpowered – yes. But similar to how potions are completely overpowered compared to healing spells. It’s like a crutch for those that are bad at the game, to not die. I am currently exploring various story quests in AQ right now, and it’s really handy in a pinch. Sometimes I go a long way without heals, and I struggle, or when I am fighting a challenging monster to read more story, and I can’t really sustain because of my Bloodmage inclinations, I use the Book to tip the scales lightly in my favour. Just a bit – because I don’t have that much time to charge it.

Dying in a quest and having a long restart to get back to where you once were is a terrible feeling – so much so that I often end up reading the Quest logs instead. Discovering the Book completely changed that. Y’all are probably expert balancers, but please do be gentle with your changes.


< Message edited by ming shuen -- 11/10/2023 12:00:08 >
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 11
11/10/2023 11:33:21   
CH4OT1C!
Member

@ming shuen: uh... not sure where you might have heard that, but as far as I can tell that's never been the case. BoB has long been on the chopping block, so to speak.
AQ  Post #: 12
11/10/2023 11:57:42   
ming shuen
Member

@CH4OT1C! Ah. Read this sentiment somewhere a few times, throughout YouTube videos and Reddit. It echoed my own feelings, so I guess it resonanted. If it's been long on the chopping block, then I will just mourn the loss of my crutch & look forward to how things will look in the future. Seeing forumites working on game balance issues sometimes feel like watching a couple of math geniuses trying to create something new. I am sure y'all would be able to come up with something brilliant.
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 13
11/10/2023 13:40:27   
Dardiel
Member

It's nice to see such positive feedback in spite of my horrible titles, Korriban did bring up things that I had in mind but didn't fully clarify in the initial post so that extra info would be:
quote:

1. Most battles don't last that many turns. How often will it be worth to spend turns in battle charging an item rather than doing something else?

That is an additional justification for having a meaningful turn delay bonus, it's almost always optimal to just attack every turn rather than charge - spreading attacks evenly across multiple turns means you're less likely to hit damage caps, less likely to overkill the enemy, more consistent / less prone to major setbacks from a single unlucky roll, and less constrained to any larger strategy's requirements; charge items typically have most of those problems, with virtually no compensation.

quote:

2. [Adding a Turn Delay Bonus] is a good solution to [Resetting charges between battles], but the question remains, how much is this bonus? Will it be enough to justify the downsides of wasting a turn charging?
3. My idea would be to have it stack via a compound interest format instead of a simple interest one. The more turns in a row you spend charging, the power of the charged item increases exponentially. I think this is enough to overcome the downsides of wasting turns charging

My Angel Guard example wasn't exactly clear plus I split the one big point into two smaller points, but I think we're fully on the same page here - my suggestion is to buff the Turn Delay Bonus from x1.01 to effectively x1.111 (repeating; x10/9 is the fraction), and to have it multiply the pool of charges by that bonus at the start of each player turn in the same way that the Angel Guard will multiply its pool on each of its own turns. It would give non-passive charge items compensation for their downsides, and would be especially appreciated with effects that require a ton of charges like Kindred which at the moment is basically only worth using while pre-charged.
And just to clarify, I keep saying that only non-passive charge items should get the Turn Delay Bonus since passive charge items are getting their effects every turn (such as Devil Geiger, where the charges are always usable for bonus damage and aren't consumed - it would still benefit from being uncapped so that it's not a worse eleEmpower, but there's no real delay involved).

< Message edited by Dardiel -- 11/10/2023 15:59:12 >
Post #: 14
11/10/2023 18:08:15   
Bannished Rogue
Member


If we were to nerf charge based items, it think it would be important to establish the premise that the point of any item is to be useful. Therefore the use of said item should result in a net benefit for the player to use..

With that being said:
quote:

Solutions - 4 Steps to Make Charges Literally Perfect
1: Please Play the Game - Reset all charges to 0 when the battle ends. This removes the unhealthy and unintended gameplay associated with items that carry charges over.
2: UPDATE: Patience Buffed; Now Worth 2 Virtues - Give non-passive charges a turn delay bonus, and have it apply to the charges every turn. As implemented by the Angel Guard guest, charge accumulation should be compensated for the fact that they come on a delay and the delay bonus should apply for each turn that the delay happens. (passive charges are always doing something so they don't need the bonus).
3: Buffing the... Delay... Bonus - Buff the turn delay bonus from x1.01 to x10/9 per turn delayed; if an effect has a 1 turn delay then using it every turn would only allow it to be used 9 times over an assumed 10 turns and the output would have to be x10/9 as a result.
4: No Hats At The Dinner Table - Allow charge items to be uncapped, as is already the case with permanent+stackable statuses (which are already considered to be charge items due to having identical purpose). Capping charges punishes defensive playstyles more than aggressive playstyles (the opposite of the purpose of charges), and to my knowledge is an arbitrary limit on an already-unpopular playstyle - it's hard for me to find justification for a cap if the cost matches the benefit, especially in the context of the mechanic that is inherently the slowest. A soft cap could be implemented as a middle ground, although caps already double-dip with bosses having their own soft caps (eg an effect that uses charges to boost damage would be getting reduced value via the boss damage cap, so putting even a soft cap on the charges would result in putting an extreme cap on charge practicality while most other effects don't suffer that issue).

In an effort to ensure that the items still ends in anet benefit for the player to use, instead of turning into a needless punching bag, my suggestions to go along with the aforementioned proposed solutions would be:
1. Then all charge actions should be quick cast yet can still only charge once per turn

2. Not sure if I'm reading right if you are proposing that all charge based items have a passive charge as well as an active charge that cost a turn but that turn spent charging is given some form of buff? If that's the case, then I could see that as a third option for what I mentioned in 1. (essentially a miniscule passive charge if you hold onto item after turn, a moderate quickcast charge, and a significant turn costing charge.

3. Different items require different various amount of charges required for certain effects. While I'm not sure how many uses per battle based off if the 10 turn model (which Korriban is correct is saying that most battles don't last that many turns anymore). However my simple philosophy to genuine buy-in should result in in genuine results as well as having a net positive would be:
Based on easy to follow numbers
• Most skills- 2 charge points required
• Nuke skills- 3 charge points required
Turn 1:
• Passive charge = 1 charge per turn
• Quick cast charge = 1.55 charge per use
• Turn cost charge- 3.3 charge per use
Synopsis if intent You won't get any real use unless you buy-in, however if you do and the more you do, the more you will get in return.

4.i didn't know charges were capped lol. Unless you're saying this preemptively?

IMO- I dont think charge items need a chage. The benefit of charge items is that you can tailor them to how you want to use them. If they're making the game too easy, don't use them as much or at all. AQ doesn't have a difficulty setting that we can change and not every quest has a story mode selection. Some people like to play casually and nerfing their ability to get through quests that may be extremely difficult and miss out on story will drive players away.

< Message edited by Bannished Rogue -- 11/10/2023 18:12:10 >
AQ DF AQW  Post #: 15
11/10/2023 18:43:26   
  Lorekeeper
And Pun-isher

 

Thank you for the thread and comments! This will be very useful feedback, as we'd of course like any future charge items to be enjoyable rather than the current state of the mechanic's cost to payoff ratio rarely feeling worthwhile. To everyone replying, please be sure to read the OP carefully -- This isn't a suggestion to nerf all charge items -- and keep a few concepts in mind:

  • The turn model doesn't mean that we're pushing for each battle to last 10 turns, nor that items automatically stop making sense when they don't. The turn model is a basic framework, a set of assumptions for how an imaginary battle plays out under minimal conditions, used as a measure to determine game values. It's a necessary foundation of calculations for all balance variables and the formulae in all items, akin to the ceteris paribus principle or preset conditions when calculating a physics formula. So battles not lasting ten turns when doing any basic resource mobilization doesn't invalidate the model, nor any derived balance calculations. Think of it like an initial measure from which everything is derived. If we were to shorten it, enemies would get a lot tougher and resources would be reduced, while extending it would increase resources but reduce output, slowing down battles -- There's a thread about it here, in which I explained that altering the turn model would require such a massive mechanical overhaul of the game that it can't be practically done. So, since changing the turn model isn't feasible and wouldn't result in a straightforward power gain, any improvement has to come on the side of rules for charge mechanics themselves.

  • This thread contains the definitions at play for balance concepts and explanation for their importance in a single player game . This is essential reading to be on the same page about balance discussions, so that posts can be informed about, for instance, what it means when an item is overpowered (As opposed to using it as slang for an item being good).
  • Post #: 16
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