Balancing AoE, is this even possible?

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Post by Char » Mon May 29, 2006 7:04 am

I still dont think that immunities are a bad idea even in singleplayer, you just have to make sure that your characters will be able to deal more than one damage type. There is no point in making physically immune monsters if there are no bows with decent elemental damage and all skills an amazon could have to do decent non-physical damage would require 15+ skill points. This would make all bowazons simply ignore everything that is physically immune (unless they want to wait for their hirelings....).
On the other hand, it can beef up things if you ensure that there are reasonable ways for characters to achieve considerable amounts of damage of their non-normal type.

EDIT: On the initial topic, AoE skills, I got something to say as well. It is definitely possible to balance out the AoE skills with normal attack skills. You have to radically reduce the amount of damage, though, up to a point where someone will actually use the lightning javelin (not lightning fury) or an ice bolt. You should not be able to kill a single end-boss target (i.e. Diablo) in a reasonable amount of time with a skill that is clearly supposed to be used versus multiple targets, like blizzard, poison nova or hurricane. It should be much easier with using (potentially low-level) single target skills like guided arrow or bone spirit, but also ice bolt, hydra, lightning (not chain lightning) or FoH (which is, if not used against undead, a single-target spell).
Last edited by Char on Mon May 29, 2006 7:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Brother Laz » Mon May 29, 2006 10:43 am

Char";p="272644" wrote:I still dont think that immunities are a bad idea even in singleplayer, you just have to make sure that your characters will be able to deal more than one damage type.
That was the idea behind much of the assassin and druid skill trees. The problem is that it doesn't work for many other classes.

- Melee amazons have 2 elements, and their respective builds are almost polar opposites. You just can't make a character that uses both physical and lightning spear skills effectively.

- Barbarians have 1 non-physical skill, which means every barbarian build needs the skill or else. Even if you have a throwing build, or a high-defense build... you need it, period.

- Paladins have 1 non-physical melee skill, which means every paladin build needs the skill or else. Etc. Then once you have it, and have its synergies and the aura, it becomes so universally useful that it trumps all other melee skills.

- Sorceresses can no longer focus in one tree, like in the good old times with fire, cold and lightning sorcs. You need a backup skill. This will probably be frozen orb, the only skill that is still useful without synergies. For cold sorcs, it is most likely going to be firewall. In the end, you have to spend 30 skill points to get a skill you don't want to get, just so you can proceed in the game.
Char";p="272644" wrote:It is definitely possible to balance out the AoE skills with normal attack skills. You have to radically reduce the amount of damage, though, up to a point where someone will actually use the lightning javelin (not lightning fury) or an ice bolt. You should not be able to kill a single end-boss target (i.e. Diablo) in a reasonable amount of time with a skill that is clearly supposed to be used versus multiple targets, like blizzard, poison nova or hurricane.
The problem is that simply dividing area effect damage by number of enemies hit causes the area effect skill to become useless. If you can cast an ice bolt that does 1000 damage, or a frozen orb that does 200 damage to 5 targets at a time, you'll always use the ice bolt even against groups, because it drops the first few monsters faster.

Area effect skills tend to not kill anything until they kill everything, which is actually a pretty major drawback.
Last edited by Brother Laz on Mon May 29, 2006 10:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Balancing AoE, is this even possible?

Post by Char » Mon May 29, 2006 1:39 pm

i never said that it was possible to make immunities on monsters useful without changing either the skills or the weapons available or both (like i did in d2:elements).

for example, if you have weapons that do reasonable amounts of elemental damage, you can always keep them in the second weapon slot. a barb can even keep two different elements in the second weapon slot (dual-wield). furthermore, you can even equip your hireling with elemental-damage weapons if you like, or choose an act3 hireling.
with vanilla skills, sorceresses are pretty much doomed if they dont want to rely on their hireling alone, thats true. especially if they come against a immune physical / fire enemy, their hire is physical-damage oriented and they are fire oriented themselves. without trying to advertise my mod in a foreign thread too much, here is a quick bunch of ideas for the characters:

barb: a few points into berserk (unfortunately more or less a must-have), elemental damage weapons in the second slot (if available) and maybe a non-physical oriented hireling.

pala: some points into an aura that does elemental damage (or into two), elemental oriented weapon in the second weapon slot. if you like, points into FoH. does not work with synergies cause you will not get decent damage from the aura then. works best when its rather cheap to get the aura to a decent damage without taking away too many points from the other skills (i.e. you might need to change the skill system, which i did). another possibility is to go for vengeance, although that doesnt work very well without conviction.

sorc: make a purely lightning-oriented sorc and put some points into both fire bolt and ice bolt. if they are beefed up a little (cause they are single-target skills), you can do decent damage with them. you can kill single enemies quite effectively with that, and especially when using random immunities, you have mostly isolated immunity problematic monsters. also, go for a physical-oriented hireling (barb for example, which is also a nice blocker).

druid: more or less obvious, fire claws and rabies or some elemental tree skills. if you are a wearbear, it might be more difficult though (and you might need an elemental oriented hireling).

necro: skellie mages :P. OK seriously: bone spirit does nice mag damage, poison dagger can do decent poison damage, as well as poison explosion can. you can have a hireling and maybe a golem doing additional physical or fire damage.

assassin: no idea, i dont play assassins. might work somehow, though.

amazon, bow: fire / cold / magic arrow. hireling with elemental damage. elemental bow in the second slot.
amazon, melee: difficult. maybe thats why i added more skills with fire and magic damage to my mod for melee :P.
amazon, javelin: you can more or less easily get physical, lightning and poison damage. the rest is for your hireling (i.e. take a non-physical one. if you need a melee one, equip it with elemental weapons).


i DO know that the above sounds rather stupid with the currently available skills and items in d2 vanilla, especially when looking at the synergies. that is why i encourage everyone to change the skillsystem and remove the synergies, and maybe change the skills as well. also, change weapons :).
if you do not want to do that, adding immunities might not be the best way to go :). maybe i am thinking too much in terms of my own mod already, where aquiring three or four different types of damage is not very difficult (and more or less required).

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