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Volt_Cruelerz

Balancing Mods

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Well, I've been sitting on this long enough.  The fact of the matter is that Dark Sectors were intended to be endgame but failed wildly in that respect.  Among other reasons, I would contend that any form of endgame is impossible until we balance the game more because raw numeric power overwhelms the value of skill and teamwork.  As such, I'm taking a stab at balancing the mods of the game.  Even if you disagree on imbalance precluding endgame, I hope that you can still recognize that balancing mods is relevant in general.  Most of our power derives from those things, so it is only natural to take a look at them for balance.

 

Summary of Changes

-Physical mods: scale on total base damage and capped at 20%

-Elemental: now convert damage to that element

-Proc Selection: only the first element will ever proc

-Crit Chance: removed and replaced by status amps

-Crit Damage: reworked to be a damage multiplier on weakpoint hits

-Multishot: Split Chamber buffed to 100% for sanity reasons and now results in extra recoil; melee and abilities now have equivalents of multishot

-Damage mods: nerfed/flattened to +50% at max level

 

Right now the difference in damage output between veteran and new players can be 37x based on mods alone.  After my changes, it's more like 3x on rifles (corrupted mods and assorted other things can make it higher, but you get the point).  It's still a notable margin, yet not nearly as wide as before.

 

Notes

-I do not attempt to deal with Channeling because it's a new system and it has kinks of its own.

-I allow physical mods to add while elementals convert because elementals have the potential to radically shift how your weapon interacts with enemy resistances, let alone status procs.  Plus, physical mods are only 20% at max rank.

-Special thanks to notionphil for previewing/sanity checking this document.

-Obviously this would necessitate rebalancing enemy health.

-Warframe abilities are their own thing and so I do not discuss them here.

 

 

Document

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Some really good stuff here. I love the Crit rework a lot. I usually play with precision weapons and even if I don't I still aim for weak points. I agree with most of all of this. It would be a jarring change at first but It could probably work. I don't know how it would change the pace of the game though.

 

I don't like the Unleashed Power though, it's the same as multishot on a gun now. The doubled cast time is negligible considering you will be spending the same energy for twice the power/effect and most cast times are really short (1-3 seconds)

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*Will come back to say more when I'm not procrastinating shamelessly. Probably not for several hours. Still, if I reply now I won't meet my deadlines. :X*

Preview: This is good stuff.

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first off, were dark sectors really supposed to be endgame content? I thought badlands and the focus system were the endgame we were looking for?

 

anyhow, back to relevant stuff: that would certainly be an interesting system, plus then it would give status chance guns consistent occurences, instead of randomly between physical and elemental, then random between slash/puncture/impact and the elements on top of that. I don't think physical damage mods should use total base damage, I think it makes sense to keep the three separate, but physical damage mods definitely need a higher damage cap, in that case, rather than 30%. you shouldn't be able to convert the base damage of something that is primarily slash into impact. or add one of the three onto a weapon that didn't even have any of that in the first place. then again, we're space ninjas, so basically anything can happen and we'll allow it and write it off as magic or advanced scientific technology that we could never possibly comprehend at present

 

converting damage to elements is interesting, as well. would it convert all of the base damage to elemental, or a percent, based on the elemental mod's rank? then maybe you might see builds where elemental mods aren't maxed out on purpose. intriguing

 

and split chamber definitely needs to go to 100%, 90% is just silly

 

I think crits being based on weakpoints is an interesting idea as well. it makes a lot of sense. but random crits are part of a lot of combat/damage systems in video games. I still think crits should be a thing

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I don't like what you've done with elemental mods. As you convert damage the meaning of the original physical damage type wanes and that means lots and lots of weapons start to fall of as being flatly outclassed by other weapons with different base physical damage types.

 

You seem to talk down about crit and I want to argue with you, but in the end I agree with where you ended up. Procs need to take over the role that crit currently plays and have variable damage, and crit damage needs to mean weak point damage. If that's what you mean by 'proc amp' then I agree 100%.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not sure why we're even talking about damage mods and multishot mods. If we're going to redo the whole game and we're willing to rebalance enemy HP, then I say scrap em and add small amounts of damage increase to every other mod. That way the core decisions are about how someone will use the weapon rather than trying to put on more mods that say +damage on them.

 

In the current system and in your proposed system, the player starts with a stack of +damage, be it from conversion, or crit, or amp or whatever but it's damage. So when they empty a mag and the target is not dead, they feel they need 'MORE DAMAGE'.

 

If we take damage out of the equation and instead they're just looking at Reload Speed mod with +15% damage vs Mag Size mod with +10% damage, ...maybe the same thing happens and they pick +15% over +10%, but then when something isn't dead and they're out of bullets they can re-evaluate how the weapon operates without having to just chase 'MORE DAMAGE' like a jackass who can never catch the carrot because there is no 'DAMAGE MOD' to put on or take off. All eight mods are giving them damage to some degree regardless of what they put on there. It's only the weapon's operation that they're altering with +/- small ammounts per choice as they decide if X more bullets without reloading is worth more than Y more damage with more frequent reloads, or maybe they change some other aspect get a little more damage at some other cost.

 

These decisions are intended now -I think- but not happening because the player starts with the idea that they should stack DAMAGE MODS and never gets away from that, making utility seem to not be viable. When their mag is dry and the Bombard is still standing, they think they need different / better DAMAGE MODS. No way they can give up a DAMAGE MOD to get reload speed and dump two mags faster, or get mag size and hit it more before reloading, etc.

 

EDIT--

Sorry for many edits.

I'm done. Type-o's be damned.

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Only 5 pages long?  I'm currently on page 45 of my own work-in-progress document, and I'm only around 20% of the way done (and yes, I do cry myself to sleep at night).  Anyway, we agree on a lot of points (unsurprisingly).  Assume I fully agree with everything that I don't mention below. 

 

Mod Drops

While this is a good attempt, I think we all know in our hearts at this point that DE will never abandon RNG.  If you want to have a better chance of DE listening to you on this, I would recommend compromising a little bit.  Instead of destroying RNG entirely, why not tie mod drops to individual missions instead of enemy types?  It's still RNG, but it is far more directed.  It also encourages players to play missions they normally wouldn't (such as Rescue and Hijack). 

 

Transmutation

While reducing the insane credit costs for transmutation will go a long way towards making it more useful, I would also like to have greater control over the results.  At the very least, putting in four rares should guarantee another rare.  And to be honest, I'd really like for mod polarity to also influence the result (if ability mods can be bought in the store, this would also stop people from cheating the system). 

 

Individual Mods

I'm of the opinion that dual-stat mods (such as Wildfire and Shred) inherently make balancing impossible.  It isn't that the mods themselves are necessarily overpowered, but many of them can be combined with their base mod counterparts for ridiculous effects.  Right now, corrosive is capable of being by far the most powerful element in terms of raw numbers due to having 2 dual-stat mods.  Corrupted mods are bad about this as well, but at least they offer some downside. 

 

If Thunderbolt is allowed to scale with base damage, it will become incredibly overpowered.  I would actually recommend having the mod reduce overall damage by roughly 40%, in order to compensate for the added AoE component.  That would make the mod highly situational, instead of more or less required. 

 

My first instinct is to simply eliminate the basic damage increasing mods (Hornet Strike, etc.) altogether.  Players already have elemental and IPS mods if they want to specialize their weapon damage, and Hornet Strike is simply required for every possible build, reducing diversity.  If you do insist on keeping them in, you might want to consider having the maximum bonus be set to 55% instead of 50%.  I say that purely for mathematical reasons, since splitting 50 by 11 (the number of levels on such mods) ends up with a never-ending decimal. 

 

My thoughts on multi-shot mods are similar to the above paragraph.  Eliminating them also reduces one of the top causes of power differentiation between players.  That alone would bring your 5x original estimate down to 2.5x.  I feel that would be much more fair, especially in PvP (and before anyone says it, I do realize that this is primarily a PvE game).  Otherwise, you'd have to reduce the multi-shot mods to 4 levels with a 25% boost each in order to make it an even 100%. 

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I don't like what you've done with elemental mods. As you convert damage the meaning of the original physical damage type wanes and that means lots and lots of weapons start to fall of as being flatly outclassed by other weapons with different base physical damage types.

 

I would argue that that is a result of balance flaws between Impact, Puncture, and Slash.  Impact is just inherently bad, and Slash is mainly useful against the easiest faction.  I see it as a separate issue.  DE could easily go back and tweak some IPS damage values after reducing the effectiveness of elemental mods (and they should be doing that anyway).  Keeping IPS completely irrelevant is hardly a good long-term solution. 

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A good idea, but for multishot balance, why not just make them actually consume the appropriate amount of ammo? 

I mean, doubling your overall damage at the expense of doubling your ammo usage might be enough (or more than enough, even).

 

Although increasing recoil would be good too.

 

 

Overall, I have to agree. One of the problems in Warframe is that the power ceiling is ridiculously high, and it results in terribly boring gameplay. Yeah, cool, 50 minutes of survival is challenging and fun, but it only starts being fun after about 30 minutes of turning unsuspecting mooks into goo while you're practically immortal

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Only 5 pages long?  I'm currently on page 45 of my own work-in-progress document, and I'm only around 20% of the way done (and yes, I do cry myself to sleep at night).  Anyway, we agree on a lot of points (unsurprisingly).  Assume I fully agree with everything that I don't mention below. 

 

Mod Drops

While this is a good attempt, I think we all know in our hearts at this point that DE will never abandon RNG.  If you want to have a better chance of DE listening to you on this, I would recommend compromising a little bit.  Instead of destroying RNG entirely, why not tie mod drops to individual missions instead of enemy types?  It's still RNG, but it is far more directed.  It also encourages players to play missions they normally wouldn't (such as Rescue and Hijack). 

 

Transmutation

While reducing the insane credit costs for transmutation will go a long way towards making it more useful, I would also like to have greater control over the results.  At the very least, putting in four rares should guarantee another rare.  And to be honest, I'd really like for mod polarity to also influence the result (if ability mods can be bought in the store, this would also stop people from cheating the system). 

 

Individual Mods

I'm of the opinion that dual-stat mods (such as Wildfire and Shred) inherently make balancing impossible.  It isn't that the mods themselves are necessarily overpowered, but many of them can be combined with their base mod counterparts for ridiculous effects.  Right now, corrosive is capable of being by far the most powerful element in terms of raw numbers due to having 2 dual-stat mods.  Corrupted mods are bad about this as well, but at least they offer some downside. 

 

If Thunderbolt is allowed to scale with base damage, it will become incredibly overpowered.  I would actually recommend having the mod reduce overall damage by roughly 40%, in order to compensate for the added AoE component.  That would make the mod highly situational, instead of more or less required. 

 

My first instinct is to simply eliminate the basic damage increasing mods (Hornet Strike, etc.) altogether.  Players already have elemental and IPS mods if they want to specialize their weapon damage, and Hornet Strike is simply required for every possible build, reducing diversity.  If you do insist on keeping them in, you might want to consider having the maximum bonus be set to 55% instead of 50%.  I say that purely for mathematical reasons, since splitting 50 by 11 (the number of levels on such mods) ends up with a never-ending decimal. 

 

My thoughts on multi-shot mods are similar to the above paragraph.  Eliminating them also reduces one of the top causes of power differentiation between players.  That alone would bring your 5x original estimate down to 2.5x.  I feel that would be much more fair, especially in PvP (and before anyone says it, I do realize that this is primarily a PvE game).  Otherwise, you'd have to reduce the multi-shot mods to 4 levels with a 25% boost each in order to make it an even 100%. 

lol I look forward to reading it.

 

Drops: they used to be like that...  Not entirely sure why they moved away from it...

 

Transmutation: I thought about that too, but honestly I'd just rather every mod simply have a guaranteed formula, but I know DE would never do that.

 

Mods: yeah, dual mods do throw a wrench into things...  Thunderbolt needn't scale like it once did, just somewhat so that it's not UP either.  Personally, I like VKaun's point of making all mods give damage.  As far a multishot goes, yeah...  It's problematic.

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I would argue that that is a result of balance flaws between Impact, Puncture, and Slash.  Impact is just inherently bad, and Slash is mainly useful against the easiest faction.  I see it as a separate issue.  DE could easily go back and tweak some IPS damage values after reducing the effectiveness of elemental mods (and they should be doing that anyway).  Keeping IPS completely irrelevant is hardly a good long-term solution. 

 

But if we're converting all/most of our damage to elemental, isn't that the same thing as making it irrelevant?

 

Maybe you don't like the table as it stands, but the table makes for differences and that's good overall. Remember we have an additional faction coming along with neutral mobs. Who knows what else down the line. Impact being 'worse' isn't really set in stone.

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This is basically everything I ever wanted to write about weapon mods but were too lazy/disappointed with DE/lazy to do myself.

Although one thing I'd add is a change to elemental effects.
Current system is based on chance, it should be based on magnitude.

Things like Radiation or Explosive would obviously need to be changed somehow to accomodate, but they are broken as they are already anyway.

The whole double-elements idea was grasping at straws to fix a problem that wouldn't even exist if elemental mods had a dedicated slot in the first place(which would be the best solution for a damage conversion system).
It should probably be eventually phased out in favor of a tighter one, with less elements overall.

 

 

 

Also another thing on the subject of balancing mods, and this applies to all mods, not just weapon damage:

-A raw mod should offer roughly 50% of the power a fully stacked one gives.

 

Instead of, say, Split Chamber giving 10% per level, it should offer 50% from the get go, and then reach 100% by the time it's capped out.

 

It would help with the insane disparity between the cost of installing a mod, and what it actually dose.

 

Endgame wouldn't change much, but early on it would be a tremendous leap in terms of getting new players excited about the mods.

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lol I look forward to reading it.

 

Drops: they used to be like that...  Not entirely sure why they moved away from it...

 

Speaking of that, I should be finished with the first draft of the warframe, melee, and mod sections by sometime next week.  Would you mind proof-reading it and offering advice, by chance?  I'm also going to try to get a couple other forum-goers involved as well. 

 

The official reason for changing the drop system was to reduce grind (Hah!), and unofficially they wanted people to have a very good reason to use the new scanning system. 

 

 

But if we're converting all/most of our damage to elemental, isn't that the same thing as making it irrelevant?

 

Maybe you don't like the table as it stands, but the table makes for differences and that's good overall. Remember we have an additional faction coming along with neutral mobs. Who knows what else down the line. Impact being 'worse' isn't really set in stone.

 

Yes, sadly.  Which is why elemental mods probably shouldn't make up more than 50% or so of overall damage.  After all, the entire point of IPS is to have different weapons be useful against different factions and enemies. 

 

It's not that I dislike differences, but the current table (as well as the underlying philosophies which gave rise to it) has some pretty massive flaws.  Even assuming DE is waiting on the new faction to re-balance the table, there are still underlying factors (such as armor scaling) which are almost guaranteed to be ignored for the foreseeable future. 

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Some good ideas in there.  I personally like the idea of crits being for 'soft spots', this way skill is actually rewarded and of benefit in the equasion from the outset.

 

Personally I'd prefer the blanket damage mods (seration, hornet strike, ect) less of a boost than the individual I/P/S damage mods, simply because it is effectivly increasing all three in one mod.  Potentially making them not even stacking, you just get the largerst boost.

Ideally also making them only 5 ranks.  Its typically the 6-10 ranks that cause the biggest part of the gap in the damage between the new and veteran players, as it can take husge amounts of mods and resources to have them grow.

Overall though the blanket damage mods boost could simply be added to the weapons as they increase in mastery rank, making that aspect accessable to everyone so long as they can level the weapon.

 

Multi-shot mods should likely use up additional ammo (like having faster fire rate, as you cant get much faster than 2 bullets/shells at the same time) and I agree all should rank up to just being only 100%.  The recoil is interesting but given the tech I see tenno having access to, part of the modification itself would be to compensate for the added recoil, thus being somewhat moot (and I'd not like to see another mod just to reduce this recoil).

 

Elemental damage mods is not a bad idea though a better way may be to have them reduce the damage by 40%-50% to the I/P/S types, thus they have some net gain .  Though the Elemental mods in of themselves need to be more interesting.  Like prior to damage 2.0, cold use to actually increase damage somewhat less (about 30% less if I recall corectly) than others but had the slow effect (to balance that lesser damage), this is vastly more interesting than the damages being much the same with the status effect being better or worse pending on the element.

 

The multi-stat event mods the biggest issue with these is that they are cheaper in mod point costs for similar damage plus the status on top.  Overall though mod point costs for effect are a big issue of the balance.  Some mods do very little yet cost just as much or more than a mod that does a lot.

The entire cost for effect on mods needds a serious look at as well.

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Alrighty. First things first: I am in total support of a larger, more consistent effort at balancing Warframe. A few weapon tweaks every few major patches or so just doesn't cut it. DE, I understand that you want to fix everything at once, and that you'd rather clean house, so to speak. That's what gave us the overhaul patches that were Damage and Melee 2.0. And they were pretty damn good. However... you can't fix balance like that. It's a gradual process, with a lot of mistakes along the way. That much is practically unavoidable. That's why you do small tweaks on a fairly frequent basis. I've pointed out the weekly Wednesday patch as the perfect place for those tweaks, with a section dedicated to Balance. (The Tenno love balance, right?) It's akin to doing a little bit of work every day to make the workload seem like less rather than doing it all at once. 

 

That said... Volt_Cruelerz, sir, I salute you. Changing Physical damage to scale off of total damage is an excellent suggestion. It meets that sort of halfway point between the hackneyed scaling we have now and a non-scaling flat bonus. However... I'm not too sure about 20% bonuses, at least when it comes to melee. Rifles are already at that 30% mark, so 20% seems reasonable, but for Melee to drop all the way down to 20% from 90%? Yeowch. It's not like adding in a few more points of damage from the other physical types is going to severely upset melee balance. 90% is disputably useful as it is. So... assuming you want to bring down the scaling a bit more, let's try bringing melee damage boosts no lower than 60% for the time being and see how that goes. People will feel progressive nerfs that might not be severe enough a lot less than initial nerfs that are way over the top. 

 

You may want to rephrase "converting damage into that element" into "the element applies its weakness and resistance multipliers on top of all outgoing physical damage. Otherwise it sounds like a corrosive slash bullet will be practically indistinguishable from a corrosive puncture bullet, when really, the puncture bullet should be more effective against Grineer. Furthermore... what do you intend to do with percent scaling on elementals? Do away with it entirely and change it to a flat modifier? What will ranking the mods do? Increase its effectiveness against weakness but decrease its effectiveness against strengths? (e.g. a lower ranked elemental mod would provide smaller bonuses but also smaller drawbacks?) 

Proc selection is the part of your suggestions that I am most leery of. I can see wanting to reduce the player's ability to proc some of the more major stuff, but I'd like to once again suggest a Dark Souls system of proccing instead. Each elemental proc starts to build up against an enemy's resistance, and when the enemy's resistance pool is depleted they get procced. Perhaps have the second element proc half as often as the first element, and the third (if that's even still possible) proc half as often as the second. That way players can still stack up procs on particularly powerful enemies if they need to (for example, stuff they encounter in 2+ hour survivals...) but anything within the scope of normal gameplay will typically be dead before the second proc can manifest. 

 

Crit damage sounds great, but Infested enemies and bosses will need a bit of a rework when it comes to critical vulnerabilities. Not being able to headshot Ruk, for example, would kinda screw over any crit-based weapons... but having Ruk's weak points be subject to crit multipliers would be, conversely, ridiculous. Having the Codex be capable of highlighting vulnerabilities for reference might be sufficient for the Infested. Not quite sure how to go about fixing boss vulnerabilities, though. 

 

Multishot sounds great, but how are you going to emulate recoil on melee weapons? I don't think Melee weapons need multishot. Just give them better damage scaling and they'll be fine. Maybe have Pressure Point max at +75% rather than 50%. What melee could use instead is... Punch Through. Sick of being unable to slice through Shield Lancers? Slap a mod on your sword and you can! Throw in a properly balanced Reach mod, and you can even slice through walls to get enemies hiding on the other side. 

 

Otherwise, this sounds amazing. Here's hoping it garners a bit more support. 

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I agree that damage should be flattened so that the scaling can be more gradual, so that DE can better modulate the difficulty curve across the star chart to allow us to play at the level we want. However I believe that if we are going to mess with defensive values to have enemies have lower hp then we should do the same when the enemies are attacking us (but not simultaneously because balancing too many things at once muddles the data that you need to fix things).

 

onto the critque

1.1 Agree, Luck should never be the primary means of progression, it should be able to help but it should never prevent player progression.

1.3 Agree, let old events be repayable just for these mods, I think that the player should earn them but otherwise should have the opportunity to get it (also doing the darvo alerts was cool so having those be repayable would also be good).

1.A.1 yes

1.A.2 less doubling of specific enemy types, just more enemies in general will facilitate mod drops while letting players who want to kill a lot of enemies have a place to go.

High Crit chance could cause more areas trigger Crit damage otherwise critical chance weapons will need to be balanced around the average damage the weapon deals so that a critcal will increase TTK without increasing DPS

Critical damage: I agree that a headshots mod needs to exist but I am not sure in needs to exist at the expense of properly balenced criticals but as you are rebalencing for skill just remember that when your critical damage mod is used it will act like the chamber duo on the Vectis always on unless things are going bad.

Multishot is good agree, more difficulty for more power.

3.) I would need to try it so see how it fares but as things are flattened in your system I think it might be better when players of different power levels play in the same mission. I sometimes think that physical damage would be made more important if the resistances to the base damage changed how much damage your gun did to incentivize using the correct kind of weapon for a given faction.

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Summary of Changes

-Physical mods: scale on total base damage and capped at 20%

-Elemental: now convert damage to that element

-Proc Selection: only the first element will ever proc

-Crit Chance: removed and replaced by status amps

-Crit Damage: reworked to be a damage multiplier on weakpoint hits

-Multishot: Split Chamber buffed to 100% for sanity reasons and now results in extra recoil; melee and abilities now have equivalents of multishot

-Damage mods: nerfed/flattened to +50% at max level

Mostly, i agree with this post.  I'd like to see total damage scaling in the 5-10 range.  My core disagreement is with elemental mods.  Converting damage just isn't that useful unless elemental weakness were altered quite a bit (actually, that's a good idea too, they make no sense now).

 

Elementals could be 30% at max, physicals should be left as only altering the physical of that type, but be standardized at 60% at max.  This would allow players to make a reasonable thoughtful choice between elemental and physical modding, which is currently tuned to "always elemental".  Multishot is a nifty idea, but if it's going to be at 100%, there should be additional recoil and bullet expenditure.  Doubling damage with no drawbacks is a dumb design decision.  Alternatively, it could be 10% per level, capping out at 60% max, which wouldn't be too unreasonable.

 

Cutting the damage mods to 5% per level alone would be a tremendous improvement.  Oh, and I love the idea of crit damage only applying to weakpoint hits.

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