#88 Balancing: Hard locations do not provide for exprience reward

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opened 1 week ago by eugeneloza · 2 comments

Related to #82 but a bit different in nature.

There are locations that create difficulty by enemies numbers rather than their level. And while the enemies levels are low, player gets no XP for killing them, while those may be much harder than high-level enemies that give a lot of XP.

Ignoring the starting-location overcrowdedness, let's (not very strict) try to assess the current locations difficulty:

Overworld. With almost no enemies it's too easy. And orcs huts create almost no problem even on lvl.1 as they can be cornored and killed subsequently without being able to surround the player. One more problem is that it provides a "cheaty" way to build up player to lvl.3. I think it'd be good to make it a bit harder.

Dungeon (Roguelike). Extremely difficult after introduction of kobolds, as they are many, reinforced by shooting shamans. This means, that the player can hardly get to the bottom level until he is lvl.9-10. At this level all Dungeon enemies are far too below player's level to provide any XP and the only XP reward is obtained by crushing cages and killing vase monsters. I think it should be made a bit easier, with lower kobolds spawn (e.g. let them be boss-like guardians of the stairs down, not around every corner in numbers more than regular monsters). Moreover, I believe there might be some better reward than "blue crystal" in the bottom level (which is actually useless now).

Cave. A nice source of rock, ore and gems. Because there is no way to beat Grotto on lower levels, it's underrated. I mean, there is no need to go there unless the player is prepared for the Grotto. And it's level 10-15, when all enemies here are far below player's level to provide XP. I'm not sure about this location. It just doesn't feel right to go there underleveled, but once level is high it's too easy and unrewarding.

Grotto (Roguelike). This location is cool in all ways except overcrowded entry location. However, ther is a problem, that as soon as the player is capable of surviving entering the Grotto, he has level 10+ which is far above any Grotto's creatures. Solution might be clearing up the entry area of enemies, however, the problem feels deeper than just the entry location. Overwhelming amount of enemies with purple nagas placing hex on the player and red naga - poisoning this location may be too dangerous on lower levels and unrewarding on higher levels even if it's safe to enter.

Desert. Feels like everything is well balanced here. The location is dangerous in many ways (not only enemies, including snakes, but also need to manage the thirst and food). Becomes a bit annoying after lvl.14+ with enemies just slowing down the movement.

Tomb (Roguelike). Very cool dungeon, extremely hard and interesting. However, most of this difficulty is created by demonic chests (and a bit by fire bats that can cause cofusion). In other words, as soon as the player can beat a few demonic chests in a row (lvl.15+) and finally reach the fifth level, no enemies, except the demonic chests and cages can provide any XP. I think, that reducing the spawn of demonic chests to one per level (maybe even ignoring the first level), maybe, guarding some treasure or stairs down (not sure about the last). Also increase level of other enemies (mummies, scarabs and fire bats) to provide player with XP.

With #67 the demonic chest can be killed at lvl.14+ (very dangerous). Still poses a significant threat at lvl.17. Especially due to #84 and #51.

Desert cave. Very hard at lvl.17, especially deeper levels. Overwhelming number of enemies, including shooting ones, confusion-inflicting ghouls that practically stop any progress for a long time, other nuisances like requirement to keep an eye on food and thirst meter. Not sure whether it's correct, as I've been unable to beat it :). And the first thing that comes to mind, is that while extremely hard, there is absolutely no XP reward. No idea how to fix it. Maybe, #84 will soften this problem. Maybe reducing the enemies numbers a bit in favour of higer level.

Orcish mines (Roguelike). I couldn't enter it at lvl.16 due to entrance area being extremely overcrowded and waiting till all the applied hexes wear off quickly drains food resources. No idea how to improve it, as I'm unable to see the location "in action".

Related to https://notabug.org/themightyglider/RogueBoxAdventures/issues/82 but a bit different in nature. There are locations that create difficulty by enemies numbers rather than their level. And while the enemies levels are low, player gets no XP for killing them, while those may be much harder than high-level enemies that give a lot of XP. Ignoring the starting-location overcrowdedness, let's (not very strict) try to assess the current locations difficulty: **Overworld**. With almost no enemies it's too easy. And orcs huts create almost no problem even on lvl.1 as they can be cornored and killed subsequently without being able to surround the player. One more problem is that it provides a "cheaty" way to build up player to lvl.3. _I think it'd be good to make it a bit harder_. **Dungeon** (Roguelike). Extremely difficult after introduction of kobolds, as they are many, reinforced by shooting shamans. This means, that the player can hardly get to the bottom level until he is lvl.9-10. At this level all Dungeon enemies are far too below player's level to provide any XP and the only XP reward is obtained by crushing cages and killing vase monsters. _I think it should be made a bit easier, with lower kobolds spawn (e.g. let them be boss-like guardians of the stairs down, not around every corner in numbers more than regular monsters). Moreover, I believe there might be some better reward than "blue crystal" in the bottom level (which is actually useless now)_. **Cave**. A nice source of rock, ore and gems. Because there is no way to beat Grotto on lower levels, it's underrated. I mean, there is no need to go there unless the player is prepared for the Grotto. And it's level 10-15, when all enemies here are far below player's level to provide XP. _I'm not sure about this location. It just doesn't feel right to go there underleveled, but once level is high it's too easy and unrewarding_. **Grotto** (Roguelike). This location is cool in all ways except overcrowded entry location. However, ther is a problem, that as soon as the player is capable of surviving entering the Grotto, he has level 10+ which is far above any Grotto's creatures. _Solution might be clearing up the entry area of enemies, however, the problem feels deeper than just the entry location. Overwhelming amount of enemies with purple nagas placing hex on the player and red naga - poisoning this location may be too dangerous on lower levels and unrewarding on higher levels even if it's safe to enter_. **Desert**. Feels like everything is well balanced here. The location is dangerous in many ways (not only enemies, including snakes, but also need to manage the thirst and food). Becomes a bit annoying after lvl.14+ with enemies just slowing down the movement. **Tomb** (Roguelike). Very cool dungeon, extremely hard and interesting. However, most of this difficulty is created by demonic chests (and a bit by fire bats that can cause cofusion). In other words, as soon as the player can beat a few demonic chests in a row (lvl.15+) and finally reach the fifth level, no enemies, except the demonic chests and cages can provide any XP. _I think, that reducing the spawn of demonic chests to one per level (maybe even ignoring the first level), maybe, guarding some treasure or stairs down (not sure about the last). Also increase level of other enemies (mummies, scarabs and fire bats) to provide player with XP_. With https://notabug.org/themightyglider/RogueBoxAdventures/issues/67 the demonic chest can be killed at lvl.14+ (very dangerous). Still poses a significant threat at lvl.17. Especially due to https://notabug.org/themightyglider/RogueBoxAdventures/issues/84 and https://notabug.org/themightyglider/RogueBoxAdventures/issues/51. **Desert cave**. Very hard at lvl.17, especially deeper levels. Overwhelming number of enemies, including shooting ones, confusion-inflicting ghouls that practically stop any progress for a long time, other nuisances like requirement to keep an eye on food and thirst meter. Not sure whether it's correct, as I've been unable to beat it :). And the first thing that comes to mind, is that while extremely hard, there is absolutely no XP reward. _No idea how to fix it. Maybe, https://notabug.org/themightyglider/RogueBoxAdventures/issues/84 will soften this problem. Maybe reducing the enemies numbers a bit in favour of higer level_. **Orcish mines** (Roguelike). I couldn't enter it at lvl.16 due to entrance area being extremely overcrowded and waiting till all the applied hexes wear off quickly drains food resources. _No idea how to improve it, as I'm unable to see the location "in action"_.
themightyglider commented 1 week ago
Owner

Maybe a good first step would be to change the way how exp work. Monsters could always provide as much exp as they have levels (lvl 1 = 1 exp, lvl 2 = 2 exp,...,lvl 10 = 10 exp). On the other side the total exp player needs to level up could increas with every level.

I think the main point that makes grotto and orcish mines so hard is that they are wide open plaibs were monsters can suround you with mo problem. Adding something like walls, ruins or pilars would give this locations a more interesting look and would make them much easier to survive.

The grassland overworld will be changed a bit more soon. I plan a little quest line here. This quests will work as a tutorial for new players but only take a few minutes for a veteran player. After this few quests the game will be open world again like it always was.

Maybe a good first step would be to change the way how exp work. Monsters could always provide as much exp as they have levels (lvl 1 = 1 exp, lvl 2 = 2 exp,...,lvl 10 = 10 exp). On the other side the total exp player needs to level up could increas with every level. I think the main point that makes grotto and orcish mines so hard is that they are wide open plaibs were monsters can suround you with mo problem. Adding something like walls, ruins or pilars would give this locations a more interesting look and would make them much easier to survive. The grassland overworld will be changed a bit more soon. I plan a little quest line here. This quests will work as a tutorial for new players but only take a few minutes for a veteran player. After this few quests the game will be open world again like it always was.
eugeneloza commented 1 week ago
Poster

Monsters could always provide as much exp as they have levels

It can be done, thou it's not the best idea. At this moment the XP saturation really forces the player to move on instead of grdinding XP on chickens for hours and subsequently find other locations "too easy". I like the way XP works now, it just needs a bit rebalancing in enemy quantity and quality.

The balancing problem won't go away just by providing endless boring grind. I'd rather just remove the enemies if they're too weak to be of any threat to the player.

I think the main point that makes grotto and orcish mines so hard is that they are wide open plaibs

That's what makes them special. The only "problem" is actually the starting location, when there are too many monsters simultaneously without being able to maneuver or retreat except to flee the stairs. So, they may be rebalanced after they show their true difficulty not "impossible to enter, but easy to go on, as soon as the entry point is secured". So that the player could look around, and start exploring in some direction having control of the situation, not just stand over the stairs in hope of survival, ready to jump back in case health gets too low.

> Monsters could always provide as much exp as they have levels It can be done, thou it's not the best idea. At this moment the XP saturation really forces the player to move on instead of grdinding XP on chickens for hours and subsequently find other locations "too easy". I like the way XP works now, it just needs a bit rebalancing in enemy quantity and quality. The balancing problem won't go away just by providing endless boring grind. I'd rather just remove the enemies if they're too weak to be of any threat to the player. > I think the main point that makes grotto and orcish mines so hard is that they are wide open plaibs That's what makes them special. The only "problem" is actually the starting location, when there are too many monsters simultaneously without being able to maneuver or retreat except to flee the stairs. So, they may be rebalanced after they show their true difficulty not "impossible to enter, but easy to go on, as soon as the entry point is secured". So that the player could look around, and start exploring in some direction having control of the situation, not just stand over the stairs in hope of survival, ready to jump back in case health gets too low.
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