Balancing damage of weapon categories


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Tomb Titivator

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Post Saturday, 18th August 2018, 16:30

Balancing damage of weapon categories

Suppose you are tasked with the manager of the DCSS development group at your company to balance the weapon groups, but you are only allowed to change the damage, and let other variables and features untouched. The manager's expert advice team decided that maces should be used as the baseline.

Which weapons damage would you change, and which direction? And do you think that damage changes can balance other features?

Short blades? How much damage malus offsets the benefit of the possibility of stabbing?
Long blades? I have no idea how much retaliate worths.
Axes?
Polearms?
And most importantly: ranged weapons? Bows, xbows, slings? Can you decrease their damage so they are not overpowered anymore, but still usable?

Tartarus Sorceror

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Post Saturday, 18th August 2018, 17:12

Re: Balancing damage of weapon categories

Short blades are too weak. They cannot be used to rip through everything in zot like other weapons can. IMO rapiers should get 10 base damage instead of 8, and in exchange 16 skill requirement to mindelay (of, still, 0.5). This would make them slightly worse than demon whips in a straight fight. You will note that other non-mace weapons have advantages too, just like short blades have stabbing, and they only take a penalty of one or two points off their base damage in exchange.

The other weapons are balanced imo. You can win with any of them. The more significant balance consideration is availability of an endgame weapon of the proper type. Maces are nice as a default choice on most characters because there are three endgame weapons that can be used with a shield, and one of them (morningstar) is very common.

Ranged weapons are not too powerful. They are already balanced by the fact that slings are weak, bows/xbows preclude the use of a shield, the skill requirement for bows/xbows is high, ammo is limited and may run out if you start using a ranged weapon too early and too much, and you can't get benefit from might or berserk with a ranged weapon. Most games by top players do not rely on ranged weapons.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Saturday, 18th August 2018, 17:57

Re: Balancing damage of weapon categories

Short blades damage up a lot.
Non-bardiche, non-scythe polearm damage down.
Exec axe/triple sword damage up a little. These ultra high delay weapons are seldom worth it over battleaxe/great sword due to the combination of rarity and how expensive 26/24 skill is.
Scythe damage up so it isn't a pure newbie trap.
Can I still adjust individual maces? Because dire flail and dark maul damage need to go down a bit, and giant club damage needs to go down a lot.
Quarterstaff damage down, since this is my only option for fixing how they're a no-brainer starting weapon when available. Plain staff damage up (the type used for magical staves and the Elemental Staff).
Eudemon blade, sacred scourge, and trishula damage down to match the weapons they're based on. These weapons existing is weird and them being better than their base weapons is extra weird, making them effectively identical to their base weapons will fix the worst of that.
Wyrmbane damage down.
Obsidian axe, Wucad Mu, Morg, Singing Sword, Trident of the Octopus King, Sceptre of Torment, and Majin-Bo damage up. (Changing enchantment on unrands counts as just changing damage, right?)
Does fixing the bug on arc blade count as just changing its damage?

All non-blowgun launcher and throwing weapon damage way, way down, especially bows and hand crossbow. A bunch of monsters are going to get a lot less dangerous but oh well, that's better than having such overpowered player options. Make large rock damage lower than javelin damage so that ogres/trolls aren't obscenely biased towards throwing. Can I reduce stone damage to 0 so it's only useful as sling ammo?

I think damage changes alone can balance weapons. However, balance is only one problem with weapons. Damage changes can't fix riposte being pointless and ridiculously hard to evaluate, damage changes can't fix constantly swapping between Snakebite and a higher damage weapon, and damage changes can't fix reaching and ammunition being tedium incarnate.

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sanka

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Post Saturday, 18th August 2018, 19:13

Re: Balancing damage of weapon categories

duvessa wrote:Quarterstaff damage down, since this is my only option for fixing how they're a no-brainer starting weapon when available.

Isn't the drawback that you can't realistically find an upgrade and end up with a bad weapon, or wasted skill points and having to train a new skill from 0? I think that's fair.

Halls Hopper

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Post Tuesday, 21st August 2018, 16:22

Re: Balancing damage of weapon categories

It is my impression that, at high skill levels, Axes, Long Blades and Unarmed Combat are stronger than Maces and Quarterstaves. Then again, I've only won one game so far. my reason is this:

a GSC, the ultimate mace, deals 22 damage (+ enchantment)
a Lajatang deals 16 damage, and a Great Mace 17
a Executioner's Axe deals 18 damage, and allows you to hit all enemies around you
UC deals 30 damage (at level 27, with no mutations), allows a shield, and is as fast as a weapon of speed
a Tripple Sword deals 17 damage, and allows riposte

In my evaluation, having 4 less base damage is easily worth cleaving, so even as an ogre I will be more tempted by an Executioners Axe than by a GSC :cry: :cry: .

Of course, the weapons are actually balanced by the xp requirements, with the weapons which are worse in the end-game costing less xp & having an easier early-game. personally though, I want to have a really powerful character in the end-game, so I usually pick something which has a high potential, unless I'm playing a caster.
I think that for the purpose of a 3-rune victory, the weapons are probably balanced already.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Tuesday, 21st August 2018, 16:44

Re: Balancing damage of weapon categories

petercordia wrote:a GSC, the ultimate mace, deals 22 damage (+ enchantment)
[...]
UC deals 30 damage (at level 27, with no mutations), allows a shield, and is as fast as a weapon of speed
This is a complete misinterpretation of how UC compares to weapons.
Weapon base damage receives a multiplier from weapon skill. Unarmed combat base damage does not receive a multiplier from unarmed combat skill. At 27 weapon skill, your weapon base damage is multiplied by 1.54 on average. So your effective base damage for that GSC is 33.88 before applying strength etc.
Of course, training weapon skill or unarmed skill to 27 is an awful idea anyway. Realistically you would use a regular giant club instead and stop at 18 skill. This is much better than untransformed unarmed at 18 skill (27.2 base damage at 7 delay vs. 21 base damage at 6.67 delay, and the giant club lets you use enchantment and possibly a brand), although it loses to some transmutations - which is fine because using transmutations is more XP-intensive and has other disadvantages.

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nago

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Post Wednesday, 22nd August 2018, 18:39

Re: Balancing damage of weapon categories

Two handed weapons are mostly not worth it. Better to have a shield. Not only does a shield typically improve your combat effectiveness (measured by damage outgoing / damage incoming), it also slows down combat, giving you more time to escape, cast spells, use god abilities, or evoke items. And a shield often will grant you needed resists, particularly an artifact shield.
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Abyss Ambulator

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Post Thursday, 23rd August 2018, 01:50

Re: Balancing damage of weapon categories

I'd probably just remove distinct weapon skills and have a "Melee" skill, and get rid of Fighting while giving every species a Con stat.

You generally bump into enemies in the same way no matter what weapon you use. Certainly optimal play would dictate that you do this. You already have axes, polearms, and short blades doing their own thing (cleave, reach, stab). I'd probably just give swords a small bonus to evasion (Parrying). Not sure what I'd do with maces, maybe they can just be boring. I don't think deliberation over changing weapon types happens very often, certainly not past the early game. I don't think this is a great justification for having a bunch of different weapon skills. If you start with a weapon, you've probably chosen whatever you have the best aptitude in anyway or you played a class that gets a default short blade (so you can just train Fighting and wait for a class you like better, at least, this is what I do...)

The number of distinct weapon types should probably be decreased, too. You don't need a bunch of "intermediate" weapons to be discarded along the way as you work towards min delay. I don't see why you'd need more than one 1h and 2h weapon in each class. This is one of the reasons I like Sil melee, you can clear most of the game with a (+0,2d6) longsword you can often find on the first few floors, since it's more about HOW you play, not about hoping for a good enchant target or acquirement. Not that finding Anglachel isn't helpful...
You could do something similar with magic, as well. We have way too many spells in DCSS.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Thursday, 23rd August 2018, 07:25

Re: Balancing damage of weapon categories

tabstorm wrote:I'd probably just remove distinct weapon skills and have a "Melee" skill, and get rid of Fighting while giving every species a Con stat.

To me, this would reduce the replay-value of the game and make it more boring. You would always carry one weapon of each category to do what you need (stabbing, reaching, cleaving, evasion).

I think it is a very good thing that you find many excellent weapons in later game that you just don't want to use because you already trained something else.
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Post Thursday, 23rd August 2018, 07:30

Re: Balancing damage of weapon categories

Sprucery wrote:
tabstorm wrote:I'd probably just remove distinct weapon skills and have a "Melee" skill, and get rid of Fighting while giving every species a Con stat.

To me, this would reduce the replay-value of the game and make it more boring. You would always carry one weapon of each category to do what you need (stabbing, reaching, cleaving, evasion).
I assumed tabstorm meant that reach/cleave/riposte would be removed as part of this change, and it's trivial to make all weapons stab like short blades do (there's literally an unrandart that does it).

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Thursday, 23rd August 2018, 08:11

Re: Balancing damage of weapon categories

I could see some value in removing weapon skill only if every weapon was fragile and also was automatically destroyed after killing N monsters.
Otherwise we would get another "ring" slot and would keep 10+ weapons in inventory to choose from for every monster.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Thursday, 23rd August 2018, 08:13

Re: Balancing damage of weapon categories

Regarding OP I don't think weapon categories should be balanced, everything else is UNBALANCED, be it species, gods, backgrounds, spells, potions, scrolls or weapons. Currently weapon categories are not balanced either.
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Abyss Ambulator

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Post Thursday, 23rd August 2018, 21:43

Re: Balancing damage of weapon categories

You know, if you don't have a ton of inventory slots like in DCSS, walking around with 5-6 different weapons isn't such a good idea. Note that people don't really walk around with 5-6 weapon types while playing Gnoll at the moment.
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Post Friday, 24th August 2018, 04:54

Re: Balancing damage of weapon categories

tabstorm wrote:You know, if you don't have a ton of inventory slots like in DCSS, walking around with 5-6 different weapons isn't such a good idea. Note that people don't really walk around with 5-6 weapon types while playing Gnoll at the moment.
It is excellent idea. I remember games where I had 5+ weapons as non-Gnoll: main, holy, antimagic, cleaving and stabbing. I did train 3 weapon categories for that. Without need to train weapon I would have it with every character and would use multiple randarts also.
Dedicating even 10 slots is not a big deal when you have 52 of them.
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