Crazy Tangent -- Musings on weapons, USD, etc. (in General)

QBsutekh137 March 18 2008 2:53 PM EDT

I have been having thoughts today about weapons, USD, balance, etc...

First off, I want it to be known I do NOT want CB to become Mage Blender. Not in any way. So, it is paramount to me that new ideas do not turn mages into tanks, and vice versa. This is why Jonathan is against things like staffs for mages. Jonathan has a very low threshold for tolerating "sameyness" in tactics, spells, skills, stats, or stances.

That's a roundabout way of saying I think tanks should always get to play with "stuff" -- i.e. weapons.

But when USD is brought in, large weapons can become never-gone aberrations to gameplay. This causes a lot of tough feelings in people. First off, the aberrations can only be used by the tanks. Sure, a huge Corn or pair of NSCs can swing a few battles here and there, but aberrant weapons can shift an entire fightlist (just ask G_Beee about Double Trouble once he strapped on some of the games largest ranged weapons).

One idea on how to control USD is to simply make spending it less advantageous -- make items less dominating. But that's no fun. There has to be some moderation to that throttle, otherwise items just become decoration. I don't want that.

But what if the effect of weapons was a chance thing -- a subset of the overall game?

As a basic example of what I am thinking, I will use the classic gaming attribute of "Critical Hit". CB has no concept of "critical hit". The closest it ever had was the Finger of Death spell on CB1, and that was removed relatively early-on. But what if "critical hit" were brought back in some sense, for weapons only? And what if it were truly "critical"? Killing off the minion hit? Or maybe halving the opposing minions HP?

That power would come capped, though. 10%, 25%...I don't know... Could be as low or as high as Jonathan wanted to throttle USD. If it were only 10%, very few people would invest a lot of real money to make a 4-minion tank team carrying critical daggers, for example. If it were 25%, though, someone might go crazy and spend a lot of money for that 25% chance of killing a minion when hit...

Critical Hit is just an example... Globally, the idea would be one of simply creating a game within the game where the power of items could thrive, yet not be 100% dominant. It would also mean fight outcomes could become less predictable. As it stands, people generally win 90%+ of the time, or lose 90% of the time. Not a lot of mixing up except over long-term strategies and changemonths. We've had long stretches of score ladder stagnation before. Imagine if mix-ups happened all the time due to a subset of items that could be invested in, but that had a capped effect in the game. Oh, I beat that guy all the time, but because he invested a bunch of money into his sword, he beats me 15% of the time...

Now, Jonathan has moved further away from "chance" in the past, not toward. So I doubt this is of even the most remote interest to him. But it would be a way of controlling the USD expenditures at all levels of play. I don't have all the ideas fully thought through, and any move toward this would be a somewhat radical departure for the game, I suppose. I wanted to share the idea anyway...

iBananco [Blue Army] March 18 2008 3:00 PM EDT

I can't say I speak for most people, but personally, I start removing people from my fightlist when I can't beat them near 100% of the time. Having this change would drastically cut down on fightlists, as it would require a much higher MPR/NW differential to guarantee a win. Just one unintended consequence, therefore, would be a widening of the dead zone. I'm not sure just how much of an advantage these "critical hits" would give to someone not using a USD weapon compared to one who is either.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] March 18 2008 3:01 PM EDT

Sute, I've been thinking on changing Physical attacks to CBs 'burst' DPS with magic as the sustained.

On average, both types would do equal damage, but DD would be constant.

Physical would have to be changed to sometimes cause much more, sometimes hardly any at all. The chance element you mention.

But I can't iron it out into a system close to what CB has already that I like. :)

Fancy starting a think tank and brainstorming some ways to get to this?

Wizard'sFirstRule March 18 2008 3:11 PM EDT

he he he... think TANK.

QBsutekh137 March 18 2008 3:13 PM EDT

Well, I agree, GL, and in doing this, the cth portion of weapons would probably be cut way down....making physical damage more like DD. I guess that is sort of boring, though. I still want tanks to be tanks, and able to do decent damage, but the damage and hits would be based ALL on STR and DEX -- no weapon x or +. Instead, weapons would have other "trainable" (read: buyable) attributes. Kind of like buying materia and installing it on the weapon. Anything "materia" based would have a cap on its effectiveness, thereby making aberrant weapons impossible. AND, weapons would still have to hit to use their special powers, so the dexterity game would still be in play, offering up to 2 hits per round.

Defensive items could be made to counterbalance the weapon attributes, like DBs are a direct foil for pth now.

And EVERYTHING could be weapon-attribute based: VA, vorpalness, critical hit... Each with it's own cost, limitations, and effect. VA would cost money instead of being automatic, but would still be something only for a tank. Ranged weapons could have different attributes than ranged. Move the realm of the fun weapon truly to the fore! Customize the heck out of them, but make sure everything that can be customized has a nice cap on it.

So, tanks would still need to be classic tanks: using STR, dexterity, etc... but the weapons would add a small edge and chance to things.

Yes, I understand that would wreak havoc with fightlists -- is that a bad thing? It has come to be accepted here that the path is to grow and grow, moving up the score ladder, beating everyone you can... That doesn't mean that HAS to be the way it is. Score would still tell the overall tale... If someone can only beat me 10% of the time, they aren't going to topple me, nor I someone else...

I guess that does make it hard to predict growth for the NUB and NCB, as now it probably assumes one is going to win most of their own fought battles. So, I am not sure about that...

Sure, GL, that is what this thread is for...let's think-tank! *smile*

Unappreciated Misnomer March 18 2008 3:35 PM EDT

itemization would be interestering seeing as there are only 3 tiers of gear in cb. the cheap stuff and the expensive rare, and the supporter item. make tanks and mages both need more gear to be more of their class where skill is a part of the overall equation.

QBsutekh137 March 18 2008 3:46 PM EDT

One _could_ even make base materia (I am just using that word, it doesn't have to be that) have varying costs -- like to buy base VA, it would be cheap and plentiful, but vorpalness costs a bit to start. Or, "rare" weapons are ones with more materia slots. So, cheaper weapons aren't useless, they just cap out more quickly...

I realized that I have basically made CB into a new game with this idea, and that the chances of it happening are nil, but this is also how items are throttled in other games, ranging from single-user video games to multiplayer games. The key to the idea is still the ability to cap the item enhancements so that their growth isn't open-ended.

QBOddBird March 18 2008 4:26 PM EDT

One part of that idea intrigues me - rather than increasing the power of an item without any end cap, money could be used to purchase the item and enhance it a specific number of times.

For example, adding features to an item - a weapon can receive 3 upgrades. Damage 3 times, extra hits 3 times, vorpalness, vampiricness....a weapon could hit 3 times, do 3x the damage, do 3x vorpal, do 3x vampiric - but not all of them. One would have to choose. Do I want 4 hits? Do I want to double damage, get an extra hit, and get some vampiricism? Etc and so forth....and money allows you to change which attribute you give to an item, something to that effect.

Different weapons would be able to use different attributes. For example, a dagger could only have one increased damage, no way around it. But it could have up to the 3 maximum extra hits, vorpalness, whatever else is come up with.

This would mean that the variety of weapons CB currently has could -ALL- become useful. One would go through the weapons, trying them out, until s/he decided which best suited their particular strategy.

Like you said, the possibility of such an idea happening is almost nil - but it's at least worth coming up with. After all, with such a system in place, there's no more using USD to make a weapon unstoppable - instead, USD could be used for those who want to try every weapon possible, try all the combinations. They'd be able to switch out anytime they needed to with their USD-bought CBD.

So there's my idea of the moment.

QBsutekh137 March 18 2008 4:45 PM EDT

Indeed, that is an interesting control strategy as well, controlling what aspect can be invested by weapon type! Great idea!

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] March 18 2008 6:01 PM EDT

I was thinking more along the lines giving Dexterity an 'effect', that was non linear, but this effect determined how many attackes per round you could make. Evasion would be a subtraction from Dexterity, lowering whatever trained Dex gave, and thereofre potentially lowering the number of attackes per round.

Then each individual atttack per round had a chance to hit, based on Weapon combination used (1H being the Greatest, 2H + Shield the lowest). This could never reach 100% chance.

But then I needed to work in the effects of native Dexterity, and weapon PTH.

The materia idea is solid. ;) I've always wanted item properties to be distinct, and require an upgrade cost. It would be a great way to improvethe BS and Forge.

For exmaple, a BoTH wouldn't have it's innate VA, but you could purchase 'XP' into the VA it would grant through the BS/Forge. Maybe Vampiric isn't limited to the BoTH or Morg, but can be purchased on every weapon.

Just throwing these out to get the ball rolling. I'd like to figure out a slightly dfferent mechanic, without losing the CB we all know and love. ;)

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] March 18 2008 6:03 PM EDT

"a weapon could hit 3 times, do 3x the damage"

You see, to me this is the biggest stumbling block with the current Physical set up.

Hitting twice means you do two times the damage. It's the reason there is no point to having any sort of Dual Wield.

The only thing I can think of currently to make a distinction between doing double damage over hitting twice as much, is the ToE.

The double damage here might be superior, just to try to overload the ToE.

Yukk March 18 2008 7:21 PM EDT

GL, that's opposed to DD which always hits (up to 5x per round with 4 minions + familiar) with damage that basically scales linearly with XP with no practical upper bound.
Also, dexterity should play a more important part in the tank game. Currently, a tank sinks, say, 1/3 XP into DX and 1/3 into ST and the other 1/3 goes to HP/archery/bloodlust etc. You need all 3 or 4 stats to fight. If another team trains the same XP as that DX into evasion then that XP totally nullifies the DX (DX equal to level) plus it nullifies whatever PTH on the tank's weapon that its effect is and at that point it's also nullified their ST and archery/bloodlust too.
A tank sinking XP into DX should see some fighting benefit from that. That's where the multiple hits (theoretically) come in. I don't see this as unfair.
I like the innate ability in a weapon idea. Except I think a base BoTH should be a plain weapon with the potential to have VA imbued into it, but that doesn't solve the basic escalating with USD without limit.

QBsutekh137 March 18 2008 11:55 PM EDT

Yukk, DD spreads when it spreads -- it doesn't hit five people for its maximum blow.

And if you want to talk spread, talk about explosive shot -- multiple hits AND spreadfire.

QBOddBird March 19 2008 12:04 AM EDT

Aye, exp shot doesn't divide the damage amongst 5 people - the more minions it hits, the more damage it does.

As opposed to DD, which in most cases does -less- damage the more minions it hits.

lostling March 19 2008 12:23 AM EDT

i think one point that im interested in has been brought up... that lower tier weapons are TOTALLY USELESS... so yep... i suggested before that each of them get set bonuses... like full leather + whip = gives you 10% chance to deal double damage or something
or give each small weapon... a special effect that no other weapon has... such as vorpal blade = vorpal
*sorry couldnt resist commenting on this*

USD + weapons = big weapons... as it has been said in another thread... perhaps the only way to control this would be weapon caps...

DH March 19 2008 12:56 AM EDT

dang, this is the first suggestion post in years ive read that i actually thought was completely and totally interesting as well as constructive,

Props Sutekh and others for not boring me with the same old drivel. much props.

Thats all i got really, nothing to add or see...move along now.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] March 19 2008 4:16 AM EDT

"GL, that's opposed to DD which always hits (up to 5x per round with 4 minions + familiar) with damage that basically scales linearly with XP with no practical upper bound."

Yes. I'd even plug for the variance of DD dmaage to be reduced. No more 50% to 100% damage.

Physical damage also scales linearly with XP, with no practical upper bound. ;)

"Also, dexterity should play a more important part in the tank game. Currently, a tank sinks, say, 1/3 XP into DX and 1/3 into ST and the other 1/3 goes to HP/archery/bloodlust etc. You need all 3 or 4 stats to fight. If another team trains the same XP as that DX into evasion then that XP totally nullifies the DX (DX equal to level) plus it nullifies whatever PTH on the tank's weapon that its effect is and at that point it's also nullified their ST and archery/bloodlust too.
A tank sinking XP into DX should see some fighting benefit from that. That's where the multiple hits (theoretically) come in. I don't see this as unfair."

Tanks use more stats. The balance is, they make for the extra XP expenditure with Weapons. X replaces XP potentially spent in STR, PTH in Dex.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] March 19 2008 4:54 AM EDT

A quick and dirty change to get a bit more Burst versus Sustained DPS.

Physical only deals one attack per round. This has a base chance to hit depending on Weapon type used (something like 50% for 1H...)

Each percent of weapon + or DEX (over your opponent) instead of granting the chance of an extra attack conveys an extra percent of damage.

So for example a +200 1H weapon might have a 50% chance to hit, but will cause an extra x3 damage to usual.

Something like that. ;)

Yukk March 19 2008 8:47 AM EDT

I don't think I was really very clear in my post. My point was that I think DX should be the main determiner of whether and how many times a tank hits. So far so good, we have that. Also, it can be augmented with "magical" weapons. My point is that there is another skill any team can train that cancels out DX plus other stuff.
If a tank trains a million levels of DX, one would expect that tank to sashimi any mage/enchanter with 20 DX all other things being equal. Now if the target were to train 1 million DX, then the tank has no advantage as expected so he whips out his magic sword to give him the edge. I don't think that's entirely unreasonable. Instead of training DX though, smart money is on evasion where 1 million evasion also cancels out that +100 sword (not exact numbers, your mileage might vary, offer not valid in Quebec)

I think evasion should be linked to DX. 1M EV + (1/3 *)1M DX = current 1M EV. Unfortunately this gives the edge back to SoD users.

I use evasion. I think it's totally cheap and you'd have to be crazy not to use it if it works for your team. I think that's part of the problem. We may have started with a few USD weapons, but EV is so cheap and powerful that it's nearly compulsory to have a USD weapon now for a tank.

Maybe a hard weapon limit along the lines of the max tat limit. Sure, Loy gets a big weapon because he's the biggest tank in the game but if he gives that to someone 1/4 his size, not only does it blow out their PR, it still only functions at their max size, just as a tattoo would.

I doubt anyone wants real money shaved off weapons, but pushing the cap to a controllable level leaves the potential value there and allows work to be done on EV simultaneously.

QBsutekh137 March 19 2008 9:37 AM EDT

Evasion and dexterity ARE currently linked in the equation that ends up generating "chance to hit" (cth). The "to-hit" page of the wiki is a wonderful thing...

I like the idea of having it just go back to dexterity, and have more chances to hit (or evade them) be determined by items instead of the Evasion skill (maybe, haven't totally through this through). But this post was born as an adddendum to another thread where I state that I think the whole cth issues has gotten WAY over-designed. Depth to gameplay doesn't HAVE to be overly complex. In fact, the best depths are the simple ones. Now we have dexterity, Evasion, pth, DBs, ranged multipliers, ToA, one-hand, two-hand, weapon switch, shield penalties...gah, it's mind-numbing! I'm not a real savvy tank user, but if I were, I think it would all just make me want to be a mage.

But if tank mechanics were simpler PLUS allowed more weapon customization than mages can get (and a good cash sink!), I might run one!

DH, thanks for the compliment -- this post is standing on the shoulders of some giants who have already mentioned things like weapon caps -- this idea is a corollary of that, for the most part. My idea would just use some sort of slots or gems or materia to act as the cap, and would make sure USD spending would have a discrete maximum effect on gameplay (like other weapon cap ideas have already covered).

QBOddBird March 19 2008 9:44 AM EDT

sutekh, I think you misunderstood. He meant linking Evasion and DX in such a way as BL and ST or Archery and ST are linked, such that if the skill is trained the attribute must be trained to a certain extent also...

QBsutekh137 March 19 2008 9:49 AM EDT

Ah, I see! Not a bad idea... Would definitely nerf Evasion, in a sense, since it would take more dilution to properly invest in it... Could just change the Evasion investment curve, too...

Edicinnej March 20 2008 7:39 AM EDT

I think when I originally posted my idea of "NUB Dollars" I didn't expand on it enough. So let me go a head and do that.

If NUBs monetary gains were the same as veterans but they had a second pool of money to spend, NUB Dollars, it would greatly decrease the amount of money going into the USD market. The way NUB Dollars would work is that they would be only spendable at the Blacksmith. The NW added to a weapon would be flagged so that it could be removed later. The weapon itself would become bound to the user making it not untradeable, unloanable, etc.

That way NUBs have enough "money" to spend on upgrading items and if they should decide to change strategies the "money" applied can be removed and spent upgrading something else.

Obviously this does nothing for the excess money in the economy already but it's all I have to add to the conversation.

Phrede March 20 2008 8:21 AM EDT

Just a quick question - what would happen to the monies many people (not just me) have invested in the game ? This sounds as though its gonna be another cb1/cb2 situation.

Also I havent read through every post here but what about armour are we gonna cap/change the way that gets upgraded also ?

Phrede March 20 2008 8:23 AM EDT

Just to be more clear (hopefully) . If there is a cap of say +200 and x 10000 on a weapon what happens to the weapons that are already above that limit ?

QBRanger March 20 2008 8:26 AM EDT

It would be just like tattoos. The excess of that weapon would not be used until your MPR allows it.

AdminG Beee March 20 2008 8:36 AM EDT

I'd prefer a hard cap. If you're not strong enough to wear/wield an item(not enough MPR) then you shouldn't be able to equip it.

lostling March 20 2008 9:51 AM EDT

i thought of an interesting solution... which i think will be quite effective...

largest elb in the game = additional 20% to damage and 20% to PTH after the MPR based cap rounded up...
2nd 18%
3rd 16%
4th 14%
5th 12%
6th 10%
7th 8%
8th 6%
9th 4%
10th 2%


a (x5000 +200 effective bow after the MPR based cap) would be x6000 + 240 if it was the largest bow

this would give some power to USD spenders after the "nerf"

QBsutekh137 March 20 2008 10:01 AM EDT

Jennicide, neat idea! But what would stop a new player from having an item transferred to them, they use the NUB money to upgrade it, and then send it back whence it came? They could still be receiving USD on the side for that. :\ That's the tricky part about transfers -- even if you make a certain type of item or cash non-transferrable, there are still ways around it if other items can still be transferred in...

Freed, for stuff beyond the cap, either it would go by what Ranger and GB are saying, or it would be a simple monetary refund. You could then use the cash on whatever new scheme is put in place. If that pile of refunded money ends up having no effective place to go, then we would know the USD control scheme is working as designed. Caps are going to cause issues, no way around that.

The bottom line is that there would be less place to use cash, and it would be less effective, and existing items in the game would get brought down or cashed out. And yes, that cash would be less "powerful" than it was before. That's the whole point of this -- to make the spending of USD have less of an impact on the game. I would imagine you are against ANY scheme that makes USD have less of an impact, both for your current investments as well as future. That's a consistent stance, and I respect it. However, my initial thought on this thread was from a different stance, a stance in response to Jonathan's recent questions regarding our thoughts on USD.

Like I think I said on another thread, if you don't want to get "fooled" again like on CB1, then it is already too late -- you have spent a lot of cash here with absolutely no reason to believe Jonathan would never make changes that could render that cash less effective. In other words, there is no such thing as spending the cash, and THEN saying, "I won't get fooled again". The horse is already out of the barn at that point. If someone does not ever want to get "fooled" by CB2, then one should not have spent a lot of USD here.

As far as what you could do with your cash under my weird musings, you would have a lot of cash after items would be brought into the new scheme, and you would then be able to spend the cash on maxxing out several slots (whatever those would be). Or bringing your weapon up to max cap under some of the other ideas. Your weapons would still be the strongest in the game (or tied for strongest), they would just have less of an impact on overall gameplay.

wotan [Sepapoisid] March 20 2008 12:29 PM EDT

Another idea: what about PR-cap - 4/3 (maybe 7/5 (or even 3/2)) of your MPR?
Add here lower WA and USD will not be so big part of the game.
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