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Balance issues regarding (2/15) update.

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2/16/2024 12:44:15   

First, I'd like to thank the staff for a very impressive job implementing these changes on top of introducing new items in the same day. The stat changes should open up new avenues of gameplay, especially with regards to Warriors and Mages.
I'd like to state, this thread isn't made with the intent to dogpile or be TOO down on staff after the hard work they just put in. I acknowledge that this thread might have been better off being made later, but there's some balancing hiccups that I feel are severe enough that they need to be put out as issues immediately and discussing ways to iron out these issues.

First: Ranger.
The original proposal for Ranger's Style Bonus was a scaling Log formula that grants increasing damage the higher proc percent you have. This was meant to move Ranger away from Warrior's design space (0 procs), a realm where they are grossly outclassed in due to itemization. And potentially new armors standards could entirely change FO Ranger (such as ways to make 20 procs or 100 procs good for a FOish playstyle, such as a Trickster Elelock that works on 100 procs in an FD armor).

However... the style bonus provides it's full 15% benefit at 0 and 100 proc.
This... seems like a major issue, because that makes up almost all of the relevant weapons in this game. Rangers basically get Warrior's 10% damage boost with an extra 5% damage for free, and their only cost is not using the mostly outclassed 10/20 procs.

Itemization aside, there doesn't appear to be much reason to use FO warrior in an environment like this. FO Rangers are just numerically stronger at BASE not including their dynamic lean shift. I doubt this is the intended effect, but that's kind of the issue that's presented by how the log formula works for 0 procs (tags it as 100 proc for purposes of the formula, as far as I'm aware).

Second: Lovestruck Scope.
This misc is STACKED. A BTH boost, 0.5x Omni Res and 22% damage boost on a bleed trigger, and QC Celerity Effect. Even if you removed every effect aside from the celerity effect, this would still be a meta relevant misc, since it provides a form shift free way to get celerity outside of shieldcake/pet or armors. But with the bleed trigger effects being so powerful, it's hard to see this misc continue to exist in this current enviornment without severely warping the game around it.

If we already don't have one already, we desperately need an established rule regarding how much worth a down trigger can provide. This is competitive for best offensive misc along with being THE best resistance misc in the game as it stands.
The worth of trigger effects should be established and this item reworked around that standard. I encourage figuring out a maximum benefit for a trigger so items like this are less likely to come about.

And with that, I leave this thread to the floor. There might be other potential balance issues that I missed, but consider this the icebreaker.

AQ DF  Post #: 1
2/16/2024 15:07:34   
Grace Xisthrith

I aimed to post a GBI discussion on the Lovestruck scope this afternoon, so I'm happy to see I can save time on making a post / thread. That being said, I think the stat revamp and an item release are two very separate topics to have a GBI thread covering, so I'd recommend each topic being given a separate thread. I'm by no means up to date on specific forum rules, so I'm not sure if that's the correct course of action, but I reason it might be more productive to have them separated. No big deal either way though.

To preface, I think there are two main issues with the misc. The first is it is, from my understanding, improperly balanced. The second is that the misc has a variety of very strong effects that make it practically overpowered. I'll discuss what I believe to be the improper balance issues, in the first section, and then the practically overpowered issues in the second section.

Improper Balance Issues

I'm not quite able to understand the current base SP cost of the misc, 106 at level 150. I'll be using 150 numbers for this discussion, as I'm not familiar with other level's numbers. From my recollection, resistance on a misc is 45 SP. +20% damage is 18 SP. 10 bth is approximately 8 SP? (I may be off slightly on that one, I'm using Wood Dragon Ornament's valuation for bth . That gives an expected SP cost of 45+18+~8=71. As stated in the subs, the misc cost is multiplied by 1.2x for elemental stuff, so 71x1.2=85.2 SP. This is significantly lower than what the misc reportedly pays.
Someone clever pointed out that miscs have their funky cost systems, but they're not usually applied to bth and damage at the same time, much less bth, damage, and resistance. Taking that into account, if the ~20% damage wasn't on misc costs, it would cost .2x392, or 78 SP on its own, which together with resistance, would be way higher than 106, so I'm confident the misc isn't paying full price for damage. Then, could bth be paying without misc costs? 8.5 bth = 10% melee, 10/8.5x10=11.76% melee, or ~46 SP.
If it's 45 SP Res, 18 SP Damage, 46 SP BTH, this gets up to ~109 SP, which seems quite on target (50% res valuation seems to vary between 44 SP and 45 from misc to misc, something to do with guardian bonus idk). However, that's 109 without the 1.2x elemental modifier. Is this the cost, but the elemental penalty hasn't been applied?
So, both of my calculations don't quite work out to get the misc's current cost. If another player sees a mistake I've made (I'm sure I'm 1 or 2 SP off on bth or damage, that's not really relevant to the point but I'd love to have the correct values), or if the staff would be able to provide further context, I'd be very glad. At the moment, to me it would seem like the misc's SP cost should be down by ~20 SP.

Secondly, I've got problems with the celerity cost. Currently (as of earlier today at least) the misc costs 564 SP to trigger player celerity. The subs claim a 1.2x penalty on cost. I've noticed that 392 x 1.2 = 470, which is not the cost, but 392 x 1.2 x 1.2 comes out to exactly 564 SP. Is it possible that the misc has paid the penalty twice?
Either way, that is mostly irrelevant to my main issue. We recently received celerity valuation from Tribal Shaman, putting quickcast pet celerity at "40 x 1.1 x .85." This seems to have quickcast celerity without armor / item locks valued at turn cost (40% melee for pet, 100% for player) with an always useful penalty (x1.1) with a hit accuracy modifier (x .85). Lovestruck misc applies celerity in the same manner, quickcast, guaranteed, with no strings attached (minus cooldown of course), but takes a 1.2x penalty. I'd petition for the celerity standard not to change in items released 2 weeks apart if possible, so the new cost for Lovestruck would be 392 x 1.1 x .85 = ~366 SP.
A clever player pointed out to me while I was discussing that that the hit accuracy standard doesn't really make sense (among other things, like what's the right always useful penalty to apply. That could also be considered, but in my recollection 1.1 is generally standard for somewhat similar items). I think that's a reasonable point, and if so, the celerity cost would instead be 392 x 1.1 = 431 SP.
Overall, I think that two recent celerity items with near 1:1 uses (edit: with regards to giving celerity and not requiring the player to satisfy equipment / other conditions. Obviously the misc slot and armor slot are different) and conditions having wildly different cost standards is a problem, so whichever standard is decided as correct, one I've proposed, the original of either version, or another proposal which makes more sense, I hope both items are adjusted to one standard.

One additional issue with the celerity cost is having a cooldown. I've been proposing this on posts for some time, but cooldown should probably have a valuation. A simple way to do it would be using the once per battle bonus of +50% melee. If a once per battle effect is 50% melee, and battles are 10 turns, then a cooldown of 1 turn should be worth 5% melee. This means you'd take 5% melee off the cost of the misc, since it has a 1 turn cooldown. I really think giving cooldowns' valuations could open idea for interesting design space, and tradeoffs with item cost efficiency versus item uptime, among other things. That may be a topic for its own GBI however, I admit.

Practically overpowered Issues

All that above about potential balance issues, the misc is practically overpowered. On status triggers are generally very easy to trigger for long periods of time (we now have multiple sources of perm poison and burn, for example), and although we don't have perm bleed, we do have a variety of potence items that would make it very easy to have bleed triggered on a foe nearly permanently.
A misc that provides 20% damage and 10 bth is a strong offensive misc, however, it's not much stronger than a +50 Mainstat misc. 50 Mainstat is generally ~1.1x damage and 8 bth. Add a misc effect on top of that, like idk, resistance, a passive status, or something, or say, 200% melee in poison for example, and we have a variety of offensive miscs as potent as +20% damage and +10 bth at the same time. That being said, x.5 all incoming damage is a level of power we've only really seen on Communicant Helm (and mana trap but who looks at damage types these days ). This misc, for players able to inflict bleed, would provide extreme offense and extreme defense at the same time, not even considering a celerity cast. I'd wager there are a few ways to fix this. Some ideas include giving it one or the other of bth and damage, or two of the three of bth, dmg, and res. That would leave it as an omni compression misc. One idea is lowering the defense to .6, or another slightly higher number. This would take it from an optimal compression misc to a suboptimal compression misc. Another idea is doing that and a combination of cyclops eye's mechanic of needing to tank a hit first. Cyclops eye is a very strong misc, but its mechanic means you can't unequip and requip other miscs as often, and that it struggles against multielement foes. This could significantly nerf the power of the misc while keeping its general current uses.
I think one or a combination of these adjustments would bring the misc to a much more reasonable level of power.

Celerity. Autoinflict celerity is a very strong mechanic, and as someone clever I know once said, "Pumpkin spice won't be poop once SFP gets adjusted" (referring to the promised celerity update due last fall to make celerity sources all guaranteed). This misc is somewhat of a updated SFP (although it also costs too much, as outlined above), and is extremely powerful. I think there's a few ways to reign in this misc's power while still leaving it a very attractive option. One could give it a longer cooldown. A three turn cooldown for example, would make it from a spam this misc until you win to a use this misc once, and probably finish the battle before you can use it again. That's a joke, but realistically a three turn cooldown would take this misc well within the power level of stuff like invincible star, pearl of power, Pumpkin Spice, and guaranteed celerity armors (of which we now have 4! Yippee!).
Another possible lane of attack could be linking it more heavily to the bleed. Like Edge of the End can only do void damage if it reaches a burn threshold, the misc could only have its celerity used if Bleed Power >= x. (X could be whatever staff think makes sense).
I think an adjustment similar to either of these proposed ideas would make the misc's celerity not nearly as OP. (If a cooldown is increased, please consider reducing cost by cooldown valuation! I swear I'm cooking fellas!)

I have a few open questions as well.

DOT triggers are generally player controlled triggers, or 1.5x output. Does this currently exist on the misc? Is the 1.5x going from what miscs generally get, 2 effects, and taking it to 3? Big oversimplification, but could that be it? If not, should there be a player controlled trigger valuation somewhere

Could you just transfer this misc's celerity effect to shadowfeeder pendant, and leave the misc as a strong raw offensive misc (remove the res or nerf the res or something)? We don't have any damage + bth miscs (shhhhh Ranger's scope) at the moment, so I think players would love that on its own. This would also solve the problem of having to waste time updating shadowfeeder, and could probably be marketed as a buff (as it really debatably is, depending on the cooldown / how the cost ends up) to dampen player dis-enthusiasm with a change to a loved item.

Thanks for taking the time to read, have a great day :)

< Message edited by Grace Xisthrith -- 2/16/2024 15:13:06 >
AQ  Post #: 2
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