The Balance Thread
Easy access links: PLEASE NOTE: this mod requires patch 1.025! It is not compatible with any other version.
Here is a Google drive link to the mod. You want the file assetsbal.zip. Just drop it into your Din's Curse/Assets directory.
The 2nd file is needed only if you have the expansion. It's assetsbalexp.zip in the same link. Drop it in your Din's Curse/Expansions/Demon War/Assets directory.
Please take everything said here to be my personal opinion.
Din's Curse is an awesome game -- I wouldn't spend so much of my time modding it if I didn't think so. If you just found out about DC, I recommend that you play it as it is and enjoy it. After a while, you may find yourself wishing for specific balance changes to suit the long term progress of the game. If so, you may find what you desire in this mod.
The way I see it, a game like DC requires a huge amount of time to balance. The game goes on for 100 levels and has numerous aspects, including the questing system (which is the real star). Look how long Blizzard takes to develop Diablo sequels -- I'm pretty sure a big chunk of that time is spent balancing the game. A small one-man developer like Soldak can only afford to do that for a certain period of time before they have to work on the next game. I'm very grateful that Soldak made DC as moddable as it is, allowing me to go and change things at will. Shadow has even added modding commands that weren't necessary for the vanilla game just to allow us modders to be happy.
While this mod started out by making just a few small changes to the skills, it has now evolved to touching almost every part of the game. The main guideline I go by is that the mod must remain compatible with the vanilla game. If you uninstall the mod, your character should work fine with the vanilla game. An optimal vanilla character may not be an optimal mod character, but a character can always switch. However, I highly recommend that you back up your characters before applying the mod. I don't have much time to put into the mod or to test it, and it's possible that I could mess up in one of the versions and cause something that destroys your character. I take NO RESPONSIBILITY for messed up characters.
Every version of the mod contains a changes.txt file inside which lists almost every change I made. There's also a readme.txt file that explains the changes more comprehensively, but I haven't updated that in a while... it takes too long and slows me down.
Among the changes I've already made:
- NEW: If you have the expansion (and why wouldn't you?), NPCs will have status effects showing what they've been up to. I can't do this for everything they do, but I can for quite a few things.
- All spells can be powerful throughout the game without requiring a Mastery.
- A big change from the vanilla game is the way mages work: in the mod, magic power flows into you so long as you can handle it. What this means is that your mastery will go up so long as you have resistance against that element. So a fire mage will become extra strong if he can increase his fire resistance ie. fire mastery is not a skill you invest in, but a result of your fire resistance. The same applies to the Ice Mage and to the Sorcerer.
- The first few levels of the game have been made more difficult and therefore more interesting.
- The speed of mobs and the player is slower to allow ranged characters more time to shoot.
- Difficulty levels (champion, elite, legendary) have been adjusted to be more reasonable in terms of mob HP and mob speed.
- Weapons have different characteristics, producing different amounts of special hits and have different durabilities.
- Crushing blows, critical hits and deep wounds are more rare, making them more special and something you need to work hard at to earn.
- Stat bonuses have been reduced to prevent them from overpowering the late game.
- General inflation of percentages and stat points has been reduced to make 100 levels scale more reasonably.
- Annoying enemies have been made more fair. For example, when the amorph dies, his mini-amorphs are frozen in place for a couple of seconds to let you get away.
- Potions and enchantments last past death and their effects stack more, so they're a really good investment.
- Modified almost all skills for better balance (IMO). Almost every skill should be useful, though different combinations will work well to different degrees.
- Pets scale to your level. This makes all pet spells much much more useful.
- Passive mana regen is a bigger part of the game.
- Mana is fairly balanced throughout the 100 levels of the game and is a bigger part of the game.
- Stamina is more important to conserve for some characters. It's a real strategic resource now.
- Durability is an important factor in the game, with obsidian and crystal weapons getting much bigger boosts as a result.
- Certain skills were swapped between trees to make them more useful. For example, the assassin now has a skill to distract people with.
- Totem effects stack so that several totems in an area can make it very dangerous. This makes them more important to take out.
- Mail and plate armor were made more powerful (especially plate) so they have really good absorption.
- Cooldowns were added to every attack skill in the game, so that only classes with multiple attacks can sustain continuous skill usage. This also prevents the strategy of investing in just one attack skill for the whole game.
- Certain skills are considered 'super-skills' and have longer cooldowns. Examples are whirlwind and ice storm.
- Loot and money have been reduced quite a bit from the vanilla game. This makes weaponsmiths, armorsmiths and vendors a bigger part of the game.
- Missing animations were added to doors closing. This makes them feel polished and makes closing doors feel like a tactical option (use alt + click).
- Monsters mages are far more powerful, and possess many more spells.
- Faction relations are more interesting than in the base game.
- Monster animations now adjust based on their attack times, which are different for each monster. This means when you slow monster attacks down, they really will be slower (unlike vanilla).
- It's now really hard to obtain all elemental resistances at once. Fire vs Cold, Poison vs Lightning -- gaining one reduces the other with a few minor exceptions. This means that it's also harder to be an effective fire + ice mage.
- To make repair a bigger part of the game, many of the smiths in town will not know how to repair your items. If you don't have anyone who can repair your stuff, get another smith (via quest) or make good use of wandering vendors.
- You're given less light intensity to begin with. In a dark town, you'll really want some +light intensity to see. On the plus side, lamps now have a stronger effect.
- Several lighting tweaks, such as fireballs lighting up their surroundings better.
- Many small bug fixes.
In general, I tried not to modify the cost of skills, because that's one thing that really hurts compatibility with the vanilla game. There's one exception though: passive skills go up in cost twice as fast as regular skills. I felt this was necessary for balance in the late game. This means that a character that played the entire game with the mod will be more true to the balance I envisioned, but you can still play with a vanilla character as well.
Another incompatibility with the vanilla game involves items. Durability in this mod increases a lot less than it does in the vanilla game. Items from vanilla will have much higher durability for the most part. Also, mail and plate armor in the mod will spawn with higher values than they do in the vanilla game, but this shouldn't be a big issue. You can always store them away in the stash if you don't want them for your vanilla games.
This mod is a WORK IN PROGRESS. It's incomplete, and there will be portions that aren't done, though it's getting closer and closer to completion. The weakest parts right now are the mages: they're balanced for the old monster HP, so they do way too much damage with their spells. But feel free to comment with any suggestions or complaints. Also, if you have characters above level 10, I'd love for you to PM them to me. Every character I get allows me to test the mod better.
PLEASE NOTE: this mod requires patch 1.025! It is not compatible with any other version.
My LibreOffice workbook, which grows all the time, is 'dins curse armor absorption.ods', found in the same link above. I used to use excel, but now I have a Mac and don't want to pay for Office, and LibreOffice is free for all. Also, google docs can't handle spreadsheets big enough for what I need.
I recommend my UI Mod for a visual layout that makes it easier to monitor those things that are more essential in this mod: HP, mana and stamina.
Last edited by Bluddy : 07-13-2017 at 02:41 PM. Reason: Updated links to google drive
This is a list of skills that either need non-linear balancing aka they don't scale, or they have some other issues that I was able to pick up on:
Pure offensive skills
Shatter - needs nerfing. At least until people get used to using other skills
Bolt of Gloom
Bone Shatter - the status effect is linear
Shield Skills - Most of the shields have a linearly growing amount of HP which doesn't keep up at all with the monster damage
(EDIT: actually I checked again and that's not quite true. Only 1 or 2 have HP. Some others are still not good choices though.)
Shield of fire - reflects back percent damage and raises resistance. Probably needs to go higher to be worthwhile.
Ice Armor - adds to armor linearly
Energy Shield - reflects back percent damage and raises defense. Looks pretty good actually.
Disarm Trap - I've seen it reported (in the DoP thread) that this doesn't scale well.
Poison Arrow - the Poison Arrow status is linear
Bark Skin - armor boost is linear and insignificant in later levels
Blight - already non-linear. Just need to check that it's enough.
Breech - has an armor component that's linear.
Inferno - already non-linear. Just need to check that it's enough.
Blood Sacrifice - may need to reduce self damage non-linearly because HP IS linear.
Gut - already non-linear. Just check it's enough.
Marked For Death - armor component is linear.
Curse of Pain
Block - I've seen it said that this needs a cooldown time of 5-10.
Summons - these will take me a while to calculate, because while they get a much lower level than you over time, they also get buffs.
Raise Dead - The only truly powerful pet spell. Pick a pet of any level.
LightningWard - are the wards useful at all? The stats seem very disappointing, but I've never tried them.
Circle of Protection - are these useful?
Circle of Power
Earth - not much use. Earthquake is the only affected offense spell. Crisses suggested that it should enhance poison as well.
Demon? - I can only tell after I do the math for summons.
Did I miss anything?
Last edited by Bluddy : 03-06-2011 at 07:41 AM.
The charges to the circles for demonologists do make them very useful.
I don't think they need help- though they may tail off at very high level.
Can you throw stat variables, or level variables into skills via modding, could that be added in a patch?
Like make a spell do .5-1*INT damage? Or make a damage .5-1*LVL damage?
I'm confused, yet again. What is the aim of all this? (1) To make a balance change mod or (2) to get suggested changes into the game (after testing/verifying) ?
The point is, as I've said earlier, that it's absolutely necessary for the design goals for the original game to be clear before option 2 is even considered. For the record, I'm against option 2.
Let me explain (again) just so it's in this thread.
The monsters in the game get dramatically stronger (HP); are more dangerous (damage); hit better (attack); defend better (defense) and move faster as the game progresses. Every class needs to get more powerful with time just to keep up. It's not even enough to stay as powerful relative to the monsters -- you need to get more powerful relative to them or you won't make it.
Most classes can do this because of their items, their stats, and their skills, which scale relative to their abilities ie. they're non-linear. Some skills don't scale relative to the abilities, and those skills are currently broken at the higher levels. The rule of thumb is, every skill must be a viable choice on its own. There's a very good thread in DoP about this. http://www.soldak.com/forums/showthread.php?t=761
Consider the following scenarios:
a) A warrior mage, who wants to use 1 spell from the mage skills (not Shatter). He'll have to sink a whole bunch of points into the skill just to keep it up, but he simply won't be able to keep it useful as he gets into the upper levels of the game. It'll be much more worth his while to just invest in his scaling warrior skills -- the mage skill will gobble up his skill points and give him almost no return towards the late game. And that's just 1 skill!
b) A thief who wants to use one of the skills I mentioned above, say, viper venom. The skill will get useless over time. It's just not worth its points.
c) A full mage can barely function in the high levels because of these problems. There are a few partial solutions for a mage (as Manumitted found), but they're all very partial and shouldn't be necessary:
- A mage can have at most 3 skills because of all the skill points that are needed to keep those skills up. And they STILL won't keep up with the bad guys (Assuming he doesn't turn to Shatter which is the only good spell).
- The mage can use mastery to make his skills more viable. But he'll have to take mastery all the way up for it to be worth anything, and then he'll have only 2 viable skills. And even then, he won't be powerful enough for the endgame -- just barely powerful enough. His other option is to take mastery + 1 other skill, which will be powerful enough.
- The mage can take advantage of a high percentage criticals from high intelligence. But he has to get items to boost his intelligence and crits. And even this won't help him much in the later game. And this is not a solution for area spells, which are the mage's specialty.
- The mage can use cast time items to speed up his spells. But this will only work on spammable spells, not on any spell with a cooldown timer. And these are very rare. It's also not clear his mana will be able to keep up with the pace.
- A combination of high mastery, cast time items, high intelligence from items, and choosing only spammable spells will probably make the mage sufficiently powerful by the end game. Only 2 spammable spells will be possible though. And I'm not sure he'll have enough mana to be effective.
d) A mage who wants to use any of the shield spells is screwed. None of the above solutions will help boost shield spells.
e) Any dual class or full class that wants to use summoning spells at a high level will have to pour mountains of points into that spell just to keep the monsters barely able to function at their level. On the other hand, they can just choose the necromancer's raise dead spell, which will give them a monster at their level instantly and even boost its powers.
f) A druid who wants to use barkskin will find it increasingly ineffective since armor is nonlinear while barkskin's armor boost is linear.
The same applies to all the other spells I mentioned.
As to whether these fixes will eventually be incorporated into the game -- I hope so. We'll do our best not to veer too far from the original game's design. If not, this will remain a balance mod -- one that I hope everyone will want to use.
Last edited by Bluddy : 03-03-2011 at 07:12 AM.
Magitek's mod has some good ideas for new skills/revamps.
I do think one change that would help is making the stat bonuses with classes just pick the highest one, not add up, but unsure if that's doable. Would be a huge nerf to warriors, and nerfing isn't something I want to do.
Honestly, it sounds like many of these changes would be as simple as increasing the boost per level of the skills.
Like barkskin could be +25, +55, +90, +130 improve by more per level not less. Without some sort of stat based system, I think that's all you'd be able to do through a mod.
Could be wrong though.
Last edited by alstein : 03-03-2011 at 05:49 AM.
Sorry to make you type all that again, bluddy, but you missed the point. I know what you think the -problem- is, I wanted to know in what the shape the -fix- is going to be cast. Hence the question: will the result be a mod or will the result be put in the game. But now I know what direction you want to go for.
I believe that means for example:
BaseDamage + (((per-level-damage + (levelFactor * charLevel)) * (skillLevel - 1)) )
(is that right, Bluddy?)
Such that a 50 level mage with a level 5 skill gets:
15 + ((15 + (1.1 * 50)) * (5-1)) = 295 damage.
Without the damage having a per-level multiplier, whether the character is level 10, 50, or 100, the base damage at Level 5 for this skill would be
15 + (15 * (5 - 1)) = 75. Useless. This example brought to you by the maximum damage for FireyBlast.
I am NOT saying the per-level factor should be 1.1 for this skill, I'm just giving an example of how I THINK the per-level factor works. At level 50, monsters are approximately 280 HP (oops, multiplied by their Champion or Elite difficulty level bonus!!) not counting champions, elites, and the fact that when you're in a level 50 dungeon, the monster difficulties go up per depth. And that's the max damage per fireyblast which is of course random damage. FireyBlast is a 1-target no-splash spell, and basically spammable, which I think it should be.
Last edited by Crisses : 03-03-2011 at 06:50 AM. Reason: Forgot my chart may not have difficulty level factors. Should use Bluddy's Excel sheet. Too lazy/busy.
Yes exactly Crisses. The problem with just increasing the bonuses per level to make everything work in the endgame, is that you'd be making the mages superheroes for most of the game. If you look in my charts, it's like drawing a straight line from the bottom left of the monster HP line to the top right -- this would be your skill line. But such a line would be way too high for the entire mid-section of the game, where monster HP is much lower.
The issue is that monster HP is a nonlinear function built out of 4 line segments of different slopes, and it approximates a quadratic function. We need quadratic functions to keep up in a way that doesn't ruin the mid-game. It's pretty much what you wrote, Crisses ie. we add a certain amount each level and multiply by a factor. We can do this using the same commands Shadow uses for the masteries. We'll also probably need to decrease the mastery buff because adding too much to the factor makes the functions grow insanely fast.
Balance is really important here. I don't want anything to become too overpowered or too weak, and it'll be easy to cause both, especially with quadratic functions. Of course, given the fact that DPS is still running rampant among warriors and others, maybe we shouldn't worry too much about overpower. Still, I'd like to maintain a balance, at least with the mage classes.
I started work on a dynamic chart on the last page of my excel book that can show up to 5 old spell graphs vs 5 new (ie adjusted) spell graphs. That should really help with balancing power. Once that's done I'll start playing with the values. There's also a 'quad' page that lets you play with the factors of 2 quadratic functions and see how they react, to get a feel for it.
Last edited by Bluddy : 03-03-2011 at 07:14 AM.