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Author Topic: Item Balance  (Read 123 times)

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Dolmir

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Item Balance
« on: February 01, 2019, 01:37:22 pm »
I'm just going to say that there are a bunch of items that are way too good to the point that is is going to become more and more of a problem to make more rare or more well-protected items better by an amount that feels good for the players but does not inflate overall equipment quality too much. Some examples:

Almost every item in the Timmothy/Kosari/Delvea content
Imbued Granite Spaulders
Hero Bracers
Lavastorm Earrings
Shield of the Devout
Idol of the Underking

From casual observation it appears that the current policy for dealing with items that are worse or comparable to "earlier" items is to always buff the item that compares unfavorably to the other when taking rarity or difficulty into account. This is going to eventually lead to character power going beyond healthy limits and we may see some problems arise:

 - Tank classes will be pushed out in favor of Berserker, Shaman, or Cleric tanks
 - New players will take far too long to catch up with the veterans
 - Content will become too easy
 - Low level content will become massively trivialized

Rather than suggesting buffs to problematically good items changes to individual items I think we should develop and adopt "power rating" formulae for different classes of items, with the overall power rating limited by some combination of the rarity of an item and the difficulty to get a shot at obtaining it. I don't have an immediate suggestion for the specifics of these formulae, but I think we should have different ones for tank gear, melee dps gear, caster gear, and spell dps gear. If the developers agree to this idea I'd be happy to help develop the idea. A natural consequence of implementing this idea should be that a bunch of items actually get nerfed, in some cases by a huge amount.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2019, 10:01:03 pm by Dolmir »

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Darksabbath

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Re: Item Balance
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2019, 08:01:09 am »
The items off Timmothy already got one round (of just deserved) nerfs. I am not sure they need more hits. Some of the Delvea stuff is a tad strong/weak, it depends on which class it is for. But, I seem to recall Eld saying it was meant to be an intro to planar raiding set, so it was meant to be the upper echelon of gear before that point.
The other items on your list I haven't looked into what the local upgrades have been, so I won't comment on them.

Dolmir

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Re: Item Balance
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2019, 10:14:41 pm »
The main point of my post was to suggest an idea for approaching the whole problem, not just individual items. You are welcome to disagree with me on whether delvea gear is too powerful but that's besides the point.

Eldarian

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Re: Item Balance
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2019, 03:22:20 pm »
I feel you bring up an interesting thought that has always been on the mind of many. How do we balance this without destroying our very creative process and in retrospect our time and art. The shower answer is you cant. The long and more detailed answer is to understand how each class works. Berserker should be squishy damage dealers, a cleric should be great at healing but not so great at tanking. A tank should be great at tanking, while not so great as damage. So how can we balance this. One thought is a reduction of AC on berserker related items while not impacting the soft cap code and returns. As it stands the code feels good in terms of its returns. However in time I can see berserker being able to tank present day 6 man bosses in the future. Should this be acceptable? There is no easy answer. Concider a comparision. Should a level 30 berserker be able to tank crushbone? The comparison we are facing is new goals vs old goals. I think a reduction in AC is due. And such higher AC values should be reserved for Primary tank classes, War,SHD,Pal. if a Tank item has 50 AC for a slot a comparable item should have 1/3 for another in most items. This is not the rule of law, but the intention of development. Next issue is HP values In the coming weeks ill take Close looks at such things.

Dolmir

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Re: Item Balance
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2019, 04:32:32 pm »
Reducing availability of tank stats to non-tank classes is another aspect of item design that I think is important to address and is pretty closely related to the issue of balancing items relative to one another with factors like class role held constant. Having gear for distinct purposes available to distinct classes naturally requires that more gear overall must be added to the game. I think this makes it even more important to develop tools that help item designers create items within acceptable stat ranges: if more gear is created by feel rather than by formula there are more opportunities to mistakenly create something unacceptably over- or under-powered.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2019, 04:52:26 pm by Dolmir »

Elizuth

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Re: Item Balance
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2019, 05:14:25 pm »
This also leaves more opportunity to scrutinize old-world loot and turn more previously mundane or untouched items into something special :)
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Eldarian

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Re: Item Balance
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2019, 10:53:42 am »
A formula cant be follows for developing new items, there are Several Scenerios that for each would require an impossible motion of possibilities. Let us say we create a weapon intended for players around level 30, this item has a 50 Dd proc and is tradeable For the classes of War Rog Rng, and Shd. if we agree that Rog shouldnt have lots of AC on items then in cross impacts the other classes such as War and SHD on that item. Furthurmore if this item had attack on it, it would be impacted the same way with DPS and tanks on the same item. Then we bring up another motion of issues, its tradable so pets can gain from this. How will these stats balance or unbalance pets. The short answer is you can never know. If you had unlimited time and all the resources of the emu at your disposable you may be able to know then. There will never be perfected balance at every level aspect of the game. All we can do is the best we can with the best possible information available.

Elizuth

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Re: Item Balance
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2019, 09:35:57 pm »
This is why most servers, even Live, eventually move towards systematically created armor. Tier X armor that doesn’t feel unique anymore, just fills in your gear “requirement” for that stage of the game. I like the way old world gear is set up right now- it’s a bit patchy, and some stuff is still untouched unfortunately, but among the things that HAVE seen some love, it’s nice to see variation. For instance, Hero Bracers are way better than FBSS, which makes HB’s something really cool and worth seeking out.

Darksabbath

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Re: Item Balance
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2019, 06:46:25 am »
The main point of my post was to suggest an idea for approaching the whole problem, not just individual items. You are welcome to disagree with me on whether delvea gear is too powerful but that's besides the point.

Don't get me wrong, I understand what you are saying. Some kind of guideline for items should be in place, if it is not already. Otherwise you get items dropping from a level 30 mob, that outshines stuff from lvl 50 dungeons.
My point on the Delvea gear is that some of the stats might feel strong on a zerk, but those same stats feel weak on my sk.. it is all about class roles. The gear in Delvea is not specialized to roles, sadly. A zerk gains more from all the stats, and gets a nice boost in ac/hp over what their gear might normally provide with a Delvea piece. While as a sk, those extra stat points are nice, but just don't mean as much to me as ac/hp/ def boosts that my tank only gear gives. I have kept some of my darkforge gear instead of getting Delvea pieces for just that reason, a few extra points of str/dex etc is nothing compared to +ac/hp/block/dodge etc.

What is needed is more role specific equipment, to minimize that issue. And any items that cross the roles need to have the stats "muddied" a bit to compensate the increased role. By muddied I mean the ac should be an average between the roles, and then the total stat points should average between the roles also. Then give them a usable focus effect to make it special enough to make members of both roles willing to sacrifice their main stats to actually use it. (Otherwise the item would likely just get ignored.)

Dolmir

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Re: Item Balance
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2019, 12:05:12 pm »
Tier X armor that doesn’t feel unique anymore, just fills in your gear “requirement” for that stage of the game.

When item quality is uneven then certain items become the "required" item. Think about how many casters are wearing Aviakian Helmet and Belt, or how many characters use IGS or any other item on my list.

those same stats feel weak on my sk.. it is all about class roles. The gear in Delvea is not specialized to roles, sadly.

Yes this is certainly part of the problem. The delvea gear is mostly all/all and at least somewhat useful on most classes (tank classes seem to be the exception here). This means that many items are the best or close to the best items available for their respective slots for at least one class, which is inappropriate for items so easy to obtain in my opinion. Making better options available in more difficult content is possible but might not be the best approach for reasons I have suggested above.

All we can do is the best we can with the best possible information available.

I agree with this and I think you brought up a good reason why we should not use the same formula for items regardless of class restrictions on the item. I also think that we can improve results by being systematic about how powerful to make items. I that sense I think that developing some quantitative guidelines can be part of a strategy for "doing our best". If you are at all open to the idea I could work on this and show at least an example of what I am talking about. If you don't like the idea whatsoever I'll just drop it and give feedback on items individually. In the absence of rules or guideline for items in general I don't see a way to approach item balance more efficiently than that.

Reaver

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Re: Item Balance
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2019, 02:36:56 pm »
I've brought up the idea of a 'points allocation' type thing for gear in the past.  The hard part is finding the time to place an appropriate value on each stat/click/focus/etc.  If you have some thoughts on how the formulas should look, please feel free to offer them here.  We can all see what the suggestions are, and possibly refine it to something workable -- and at the same time make sure everyone has had a chance to provide their suggestions and ideas.

Peete

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Re: Item Balance
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2019, 03:50:39 pm »
I deal with some of these aspects at work to some extent and not to shoot anybody down or squash any ideas, but to reaver's point the hard part is not using the system, the hard part is creating a usable system. I'm glad its being considered though. Hopefully no one will get upset when it takes time to flesh it out and then test it and then eventually implement it.

JJWF

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Re: Item Balance
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2019, 11:30:12 am »
I really like that there are some amazing items that you keep for a long time out of places you wouldn't necessarily expect them to be. It massively adds to the sense of adventure and discovery for me.

I am biased because I hate homogenised gear, though. Balance is for Counterstrike, not for EverQuest.
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Elizuth

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Re: Item Balance
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2019, 12:20:48 pm »
I just wanted to say that I'm also in JJWF's camp when it comes to itemization. Classic EQ had lots of unbalanced items and that was part of the fun of it.

 

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