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Old 03-02-2011, 07:00 AM
Bluddy Bluddy is offline
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 2,062
Default 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 Just drop it into your Din's Curse/Assets directory.

The 2nd file is needed only if you have the expansion. It's 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
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Old 03-02-2011, 07:20 AM
Bluddy Bluddy is offline
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 2,062

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
Charged Strike
Holy Bolt
Holy Strike
Holy Symbol
Life Burn
Holy Fire
Fiery Blast
Sweeping Flames
Arctic Shard
Frost Nova
Ice Storm
Shatter - needs nerfing. At least until people get used to using other skills
Arcane Blast
Arcane Swarm
Immolation Trap
Freezing Trap
Net Trap
Shadow Bolt
Dark Sacrifice
Bolt of Gloom
Bone Shatter - the status effect is linear
Chain Lightning
Ball Lightning
Viper Venom
Death Blow
Exploding Arrow

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.)
Holy Shield
Shield of fire - reflects back percent damage and raises resistance. Probably needs to go higher to be worthwhile.
Ice Armor - adds to armor linearly
Magic Shield
Energy Shield - reflects back percent damage and raises defense. Looks pretty good actually.

Miscellaneous Skills
Disarm Trap - I've seen it reported (in the DoP thread) that this doesn't scale well.
Armor Melt
Rupture Armor
Poison Arrow - the Poison Arrow status is linear
Bark Skin - armor boost is linear and insignificant in later levels
Nature's Revenge
Blight - already non-linear. Just need to check that it's enough.
Breech - has an armor component that's linear.
Wampir Blood
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.
Chaos Lord
Skeleton Archer
Raise Dead - The only truly powerful pet spell. Pick a pet of any level.
Ice Ward
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.
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Old 03-02-2011, 02:18 PM
alstein alstein is offline
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 118

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?
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Old 03-02-2011, 02:46 PM
Bluddy Bluddy is offline
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 2,062

Originally Posted by alstein View Post
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.
OK. I'll have to check those out.

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?
No it's not possible with the current commands. Shadow would need to provide the means to do it. Aside from the fact that it would be a radical departure from the current skill formula though, I also wouldn't want to do the crazy balancing such a change would entail.
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Old 03-02-2011, 04:49 PM
Maledictus's Avatar
Maledictus Maledictus is offline
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Haarlem, NH, The Netherlands
Posts: 163

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.
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Old 03-03-2011, 02:29 AM
Bluddy Bluddy is offline
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 2,062

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.

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.
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