The Great Reckoning

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The Great Reckoning

Post by Neus » Sun May 22, 2016 1:52 am

The Great Reckoning
Part 1


A week or so ago in-game, we were all discussing the stat system, and the possibility of a point-distribution system instead of an RNG growth-based one. This idea has been kicked around before but I was always rather unconvinced on the idea since usually these lead to min-maxing and sameish builds, which isn't too interesting. However, after the Spellthief update, I sat down and gave some thought on how I'd do a system like that and managed to come up with something I'm mostly happy with.

Then I did some calcs and tests, and mocked-up some new interfaces. Then I programmed those interfaces ahead of time, so I could show them to you, and so I wouldn't have to later. That said, let's talk about what this even is. If you had no idea we were discussing this, you might be surprised, shocked, offended, or some combination of emotions I haven't mentioned here.

Q. What is the 'Great Reckoning'?
A. The Great Reckoning is more or less what I'm calling this... series(?) of overhauls to SL2. For the time being, at least, it's a change to the way several things in the game work, those being;
  • Progression, using a stat-point allocation system instead of an RNG-based growth system.
  • Balance tuning, by changing the effects stats currently have on some levels.
  • Promoting character diversity, by giving weapons unique statistical scaling.
Q. What's wrong with the growth system?
A. I don't feel the growth system is conceptually a bad idea, and it has plus sides. However, it has several noticeable flaws.

Firstly, it is inherently unbalanced. Depending on your luck, your character may be god, or it may be garbage. In the most extreme example, a character with great luck can get 60 perfect level ups, giving them an immense advantage over anyone else for no real reason. If your level-ups end up being garbage, on the other hand, it may not fit with what your goal for a character is and necessitate a time-consuming Legend Extension reroll to try and get better ones, which can be frustrating.

Secondly, it's not very interactive and doesn't require much thought. You stack classes with the growths you want and grind for a while, and hope for the best. You may even be forced to use class combinations that you don't actually want to roleplay, just to aid you in getting decent stats, which are necessary if you want to stand a chance in PvP, which is a consequence of conflict-oriented RP.

Ultimately the growth system does and doesn't promote stat diversity (as people will reroll until they're happy/OP) and comes with some rather large asterisks.


Q. My attention span is waning, please give me an image to re-focus me to what you are typing.
Image


A. This is the new stat panel interface. You might be noticing the lack of the appearance/examine box; we'll get to that later. For now, take notice how much information is on the screen this time; things like Hit, Evade, and so on are reflected here. When you are increasing points, you can also see the effect the increases will have on the various listed factors in green text. Since I'm increasing my VIT, my maximum HP is in green, showing the amount I'll have if I accept the distribution, etc.

You probably also noticed a bunch of things that aren't in the game currently, so we'll get to discussing that soon.


Q. How does stat point distribution work?
A. This is a rather important question so I decided to address it first. The way it works is, you have a number of stat points that can be allocated in any amount to any stat you choose. You receive 3 stat points (currently) per level, including your first level, for a total of 180 points that can be freely distributed. Which might make you think, 'why don't I just max my damage stat and one shot people? Not very different from now, is it?'. It's true you can freely distribute these points, but there are a few caveats.
  • Diminishing returns. The effect of points in a specific stat decreases in effect after you distribute 40 points into it; every point into, say, VIT beyond your racial base + 40 are only half effective. If VIT gave me 10 HP per point, this would mean once I hit that cap, it starts giving me 5 HP instead.
  • You can only distribute up to 80 points into a single stat, making your base cap 80 + racial base.

So, you could definitely sink 80 points into your main damage stat if you wanted to, if you're willing to sacrifice point efficiency for extra damage. However, by giving you a realistic 'fall off' point, it feels less bad to avoid doing so.


Q. Wouldn't I just get walled by someone with 80 DEF if I had less than 80 STR?
A. No, mainly because all of the stat effects have been adjusted significantly.

Q. Why does the damage of the red sword increase by more than the STR points you're allocating? Why doesn't the blue sword get any damage increase at all?
Another important aspect of this is that weapons will be changed to have unique statistical scaling depending on the weapon; this is another important factor in build diversity as well as equipment diversity. Base Power is king for most weapons, with special mentioning going to those with useful item effects, but almost every other weapon besides those are useless. That's pretty boring and it leaves me in a spot as a developer where adding new weapons and items is difficult because the only direction to go is 'up'.

To counter-act this and promote diversity, the unique scaling system was added. It works in the following manner;


Scaled Weapon ATK = (X% of [scaled stat(s)]*1.5) + (Power + Upgrades).

Example 1; Red Sword, which has 100% STR scaling, at 20 STR. (100% of STR = 20 * 1.5 = 30) + (5 Power + 5 Upgrade Levels) = 40 Scaled Weapon ATK

Example 2; Blue Sword, which has 75% SKI scaling, at 20 SKI. (75% of SKI = 15 * 1.5 = 22.5) + (5 Power + 5 Upgrade Levels) = 27 Scaled Weapon ATK (rounded down after all calculations)

So, as you can see, weapons can have scaling in different stats, or multiple stats, for different amounts. Every 'point' of the stat after percentage scaling is worth 1.5 damage. While decimals are rounded off after all calculations, 2 'scaled' points are worth 3 damage all the same. This can get slightly more complicated when diminished stat points come into play, like in this example.

Example 3; Red Sword, which has 100% STR scaling, at 55 STR; 4 racial base.
55 STR - 44 (soft cap) = 11 * 0.5 (for half effective stat points) = 5.5 = 49.5 'true' STR

100% of STR = 49.5 * 1.5 = 74.24 + 5 Power + 5 Upgrades = 84 Damage (rounded down after all calculations)

So, yes, if you were curious, diminished stat points are literally worth 0.5 points mechanically. Please note that these are merely examples given; I have not decided on average stat scaling for weapons, nor any specific values for any weapon.

Q. What does the sword icon with the elements mean? How will all of this scaling crap affect skill damage?
A. This is your Elemental ATK. Some stats also increase Elemental ATK, which is exactly what it sounds like.

As for how skill damage will be affected, that will be on a skill by skill basis, but my overall thoughts are to make the damage a skill deals based on your Scaled Weapon ATK for weapon skills. As for spells, it seems likely to be Scaled Weapon ATK (if casting tool) + Elemental ATK (if applicable). For spells specifically, the Power + Upgrades portion of the Scaled Weapon ATK formula will be only 50% effective if the casting tool's damage type does not match the Elemental type. So a +5 Ice Tome with 11 Power would give +16 damage to Ice spells, but only +8 to non-Ice spells. (I am also considering having the game automatically pick the best casting tool for the spell from all your equipped weapons, so you don't have to Ambidexterity too much, but since I have not yet dove into programming anything but the interfaces yet, I cannot say for certain.)

Additionally, weapons that deal unresistible elemental damage, for example, will probably get changed to scale off your Elemental ATK instead, and won't be unresistable.


Q. Why won't they be unresistible? They'll just deal no damage past level 5!
Armor, magic resistance, defense and resistance (the stat) don't work the same anymore. Defense and resistance provide a percentage reduction to physical and magical damage respectively. You can see that in the screenshot above that says 'Phys. Def'; this will be the reduction to physical damage taken, for example, after all elemental resistances are applied. So if I take 50 physical damage and have 50 Defense, it's a 50% reduction, meaning I take 25.

Armor defense and magic resistance have been changed too. Before they were just bonuses to your DEF/RES functionally; now they are much more impactful; they provide a flat reduction to physical/magical damage taken. For example, if I take 50 physical damage, and have a 15 Armor heavy suit of armor, that gets reduced to 25 by my Defense. Afterwards, it's reduced by 15, meaning I only take 10 damage. (Note that if the system applied the flat reduction first, it would mean Armor was also reduced by your Defense stat, which seems like a bad thing.)

In this respect, small amounts of damage are less vulnerable to being useless. If my fire sword deals 10 fire magic damage on hit, it'd still do a little damage to my enemy even if they had magic armor. So, unresistible damage may be going away in some instances, but if it still needs to exist, it will instead say it ignores armor, and DEF/RES will reduce it.


Q. What else are you literally planning to ruin?
A. I'm glad you asked.
  • Guns no longer ignore Defense, but they still ignore Armor.
  • Hit against targets beyond a certain Range is decreased by 10 per 1 tile; for non-Bows, non-Guns, and non-Tomes, this is anyone outside of 1 Range. For those three weapon types, it's anyone beyond 3 Range. You can call this the Farshot Penalty, where it's harder to hit enemies further away from you.
  • Flanking an enemy from the sides or behind grants a bonus to Hit equal to your Flanking bonus.
  • Critical damage is now dependent on the weapon and its base value will be greatly decreased (ie, 110% for swords, most likely)
  • Maximum HP and FP is no longer increased by level. However, maximum HP is increased by 1 for every stat point you've spent.
  • All equipment items will get a weight stat that contributes to your battle weight.
Stat Effect Adjustments


ImageStrength
  • Increases FIRE ATK by 1 per 1 point.
  • Increases maximum Battle Weight by 1 per 1 point.
  • Increases maximum Encumbrance by 1 per 1 point.
ImageWill
  • Increases maximum FP by 5 per 1 point.
  • Increases Skill Pool size by 1 per 10 points.
  • Mental Stamina is equal to 1*WIL.
ImageSkill
  • Increases ICE ATK by 1 per 1 point.
  • Increases Hit by 2 per 1 point.
  • Increases Critical by 1 per 1 point.
  • Increases Skill Pool size by 1 per 5 points.
  • Increases Status Infliction by 2% per 1 point.
ImageCelerity
  • Increases WIND ATK by 1 per 1 point.
  • Increases Evade by 2 per 1 point.
  • Determines turn order.
ImageDefense
  • Increases EARTH ATK by 1 per 1 point.
  • Reduces physical damage taken by 1% per 1 point.
ImageResistance
  • Increases DARK ATK by 1 per 1 point.
  • Reduces magical damage taken by 1% per 1 point.
ImageVitality
  • Increases WATER ATK by 1 per 1 point.
  • Increases maximum HP by 10 per 1 point.
  • Increases maximum Encumbrance by 1 per 1 point.
  • Physical Stamina is equal to 1*VIT.
ImageFaith
  • Increases LIGHT ATK by 1 per 1 point.
  • Increases maximum FP by 3 per 1 point.
  • Increases Status Resistance by 1% per 1 point.
  • Increases Critical Evade by 0.5 per 1 point.
  • Reduces amount of Murai and chance to drop items on defeat by 2% per 1 point.
ImageLuck
  • Increases LIGHTNING ATK by 1 per 1 point.
  • Increases Evade by 1 per 1 point.
  • Increases Hit by 1 per 1 point.
  • Increases Critical by 1 per 1 point.
  • Increases Critical Evade by 1 per 1 point.
  • Increases item drop rate by 1% per 1 point.
New Stats


ImageGuile
  • Increases ACID ATK by 1 per 1 point.
  • Increases Flanking bonus by 1 per point.
  • Increases Critical Damage by 1% per 1 point.
  • Increases Skill Pool size by 1 per 5 points.
  • Decreases Farshot Penalty by 1 per 5 points. (IE, at 40 Guile, the penalty is -2 Hit per tile instead of -10).
Guile is similar to intelligence, but it's got a bit more of an 'underhanded' sting to it. All of its power except the SP bonus is situational. While this doesn't seem too useful to mages, it may still be useful to Lightning-based mages for the Critical Damage.

ImageSanctity
  • Increases SOUND ATK by 1 per 1 point.
  • Increases maximum HP and FP by 2 per 1 point.
  • Increases Status Resistance by 2% per 1 point.
  • Increases elemental resistance to Fire, Ice, Wind, Earth, Lightning, Light, and Dark by 1% per 4 points.
For a game that is heavily situated in the realm of gods and those who have some godblood in them, it felt odd to not have a statistic representation of it. That's what Sanctity is; it's the power of your 'divinity', in a sense. Humans, Corrupted, Mechs, etc. can still increase it, so it's not -completely- defined by the power of your godblood/etc, but it will most likely also increase the effects of racial skills where appropriate.

ImageAptitude
  • Increases EXP and Crafting EXP by 1% per 1 point.
  • Every 5 points in Aptitude increases every stat except but Aptitude by 1.
Aptitude is a weird skill. It doesn't give you much on its own, but will increase every other stat you have by 1 per 5 points dumped into it. Ultimately it represents your potential ability; characters with high aptitude can be good at a wide variety of tasks and have balanced stats. If you dump 80 points into Aptitude, you'll get 12 points in every other stat, which is 132 stat points worth. However, since the stats are so spread out, but specialists may find it better to put them into the stats they need instead.

What's Left To Be Done?

  • I need to implement the effects of the stat changes in-game and move over the new interfaces. Moving the interfaces shouldn't be hard, as I designed it specifically to be able to move. As for the stat changes, since many of them only affect calculations, it shouldn't be difficult to program them. I will likely do so with a switch so I can fall-back on the old stat system in a pinch.
  • I need to go through all of the weapons in the game and give them unique stat scaling and perhaps adjust their weapon effects/base stats. The only effects I'm planning to change are those that would benefit from the new system, such as the elemental swords, and so on.
  • I need to change Defense and Magic Defense to Armor and Magic Armor. I need to adjust the defense procedure to the new defensive method.
  • I need to go through all of the existing races and adjust their base stats for the new system, as well as the new stats. I also need to make adjustments to racial skills where appropriate for them to be affected by Sanctity.
  • I need to go through all of the offensive skills and make adjustments to their descriptions, effects, etc. to reflect the new Scaled Weapon ATK and Elemental ATK additions. I expect this will be the most time consuming part, but will probably try and simplify it by adding new flags to the skills instead of hardcode adjustments.
  • I need to implement the new mechanics for Flanking and Farshot Penalty.
  • I need to adjust traits/legend extensions/etc that give bonuses to growths and change them to stat boosts instead.
  • Enemies and youkai currently still use the growth system. This may need to change, or it may not need to change. Only testing will tell.
  • Youkai and enemies need to have their examine stuff adjusted to work with the new examine system interface.
  • I need to add weight to hands, legs, and accessories and make them impact your battle weight. Should be very simple.
I don't know how long it'll take me to go through this list, but I'll cross them off when I have finished an entry. I will be hosting a beta server for these changes so people can help test them and give feedback. In the mean time, you're welcome to discuss in this thread.

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Re: The Great Reckoning

Post by Spoops » Sun May 22, 2016 2:37 am

First off, I just wanna thank you for going so in depth with this revamp, you put a lot of work into this I can tell, and I praise the change and welcome it.

I am quite shocked yes, it is a huge change and I don't know how it will change up the game as we know it now, but to be frank, the stat system we currently have promotes constant grinding in order to make your character achieve ridiculous stats so that you can keep up with the others, but this, this is great, it puts everyone on an even playing field, and lets characters be characters through even more diverse builds, I imagine a few spell-blades of mine are going to be even easier to achieve my goals on now, and the change to the item drop rate on luck, I welcome that because this system would only bring item demand up, honestly, This is fairly thought out and awesome.

I only have one question, are we going to be able to still simulate most of our existing character's builds with this system? For example...A Leporidae I have who's uniqueness comes from being a spell-blade specialized in lightning(equipped with a fitting form rose whip, and abberation spear).

Either way, I am looking forward to seeing the beta server and I will happily test this system out.

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Re: The Great Reckoning

Post by Skimmy2 » Sun May 22, 2016 2:43 am

Damnit Dev, stop giving me reasons to not complain!

It seems much more like a entire game's system overhaul then just stats which, while not bad, very surprising given the years of same old Sigrogana.
Only other comment Ill make is it reminds me a lot about Dark Souls so now im going to go Praise Suncala and wish for my computer back.
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Re: The Great Reckoning

Post by MegaBlues » Sun May 22, 2016 3:05 am

Really, this is great. It handles nearly all of the complaints voiced and a few personal gripes I've had (Percentages and addition mixed, mapwide attacking, etc).

I think this will kindle SL2 again, and bring back those people who left after being disillusioned with what the game had become. There's so much transparency with information as well, and more stats and effects to ensure that there won't be a standard meta, as well as the issue of either defeating people in two rounds, or going two hundred of plinking away. It also looks like there will be a much higher focus on strategy, and much more varied equipment.

The only, singular thing that -might- be a problem is elemental resistance, and resistances in general. I think that to account for how Defense and Resistance will be percentage-based reductions now, Elemental Resistances should be made into flat values, akin to Armor and Magic Armor. However, I'm not sure how to make it so that having some would be both beneficial while not invalidating an element, and this new system seems as though it will favor lower numbers overall, so it might be a non-issue.

But, again, really. This is fantastic, and shows a pretty darn high amount of listening to the playerbase, deep thought, and effort. I'm really excited to see how the game will pan out in both the near and far future. It almost makes me want to gush, and it's rare that I feel so enthusiastic about anything.

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Re: The Great Reckoning

Post by Soapy » Sun May 22, 2016 3:12 am

LITERALLY RUINED FOREVER

Seriously though, god damn. Good work.

My only immediate issues with it are the diminishing returns (I usually handle them by making each point worth slightly less than the last, instead of some arbitrary number harshly cutting down on it), but we'll see. As for the other issue...

I seriously doubt 3 points per level is enough, especially with two new stats added to the fray. Four sounds a lot better to me.

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Re: The Great Reckoning

Post by Neus » Sun May 22, 2016 3:19 am

Thank you for the feedback.
Spoops wrote:I only have one question, are we going to be able to still simulate most of our existing character's builds with this system? For example...A Leporidae I have who's uniqueness comes from being a spell-blade specialized in lightning(equipped with a fitting form rose whip, and abberation spear).

Either way, I am looking forward to seeing the beta server and I will happily test this system out.
Hard to say, but I think your example should be easier to replicate in the new system than in the current one.
Soapy » Sun May 22, 2016 3:12 am wrote:I seriously doubt 3 points per level is enough, especially with two new stats added to the fray. Four sounds a lot better to me.
I had this thought too so when I put the beta server up for testing, we'll likely test both 3 per level and 4 per level and see what the differences are.

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Re: The Great Reckoning

Post by Egil » Sun May 22, 2016 3:22 am

I don't have much to say, since I love pretty much everything you wrote and would rather you just get it all done then throw even more onto your plate.

I appreciate these upcoming changes and the effort put into them.
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Re: The Great Reckoning

Post by Trexmaster » Sun May 22, 2016 3:22 am

I'm honestly impressed by all of this. So much of this rework is a ton of things people have been asking for in the past.

I can't much comment on how this'll effect the game since...well. The changes that'd be required are fairly obvious given the loss of the Growth system entirely, which I cannot be happier about. So we'll just have see how it works with the...beta...server...can I also say how happy I am to see that too? I won't lie. A huge issue I've had is how so many bugs that popped up were things that could've been pruned by attempting to use the skill/whatever in question, like, at all. I can understand it's difficult with a one-man team to prune bugs before releases, so these sorts of issues are understandable, but, at the same time, the solution is simple. Get people to test it first. (I know it's kinda a given a change this huge warrants a test first, but...yeah.)

With the death of the Growth system, it'd make it so people don't have to be stuck grinding for literal years. People might finally stop grinding for levels. Or at least it'd be much less common as characters no longer need to LE after a certain point with this system...I think.

I really think the PvE mobs should use the new stat system too. Could just see how awful/acceptable it is if they just use the old one in the first round of the beta tests.

Now let's just kill the item grind and we're golden. But that's a beast for another day. I'm liking how this looks, and I can't wait to see how it holds up to testing.

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Re: The Great Reckoning

Post by Zakizo » Sun May 22, 2016 3:25 am

Well this certainly has my attention. I never expected a major overhaul to actually happen, but I'm glad I was wrong. I'm willing to try playing again when it hits as I feel obligated to respond to and appreciate this kind of A+ effort, and I'm optimistic about the changes.
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Re: The Great Reckoning

Post by aquadragon97 » Sun May 22, 2016 3:30 am

I rather like this change, it fixes a lot of concerns I've had about SL2 and why I don't play often.

Without seeing t in practicality, the two new stats Sanctity and Aptitude look like they might end up being a bit much, but again, it could be totally different in practicality. We'll see!

This has me genuinely excited to play SL2 more frequently, and I think it will allow people to be able to pull off so much more varied ideas and characters than ever before.

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