My gambling problem - the issues with equipment

The tale of the siblings Althea and Shea
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yayswords
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My gambling problem - the issues with equipment

Post by yayswords » Sun Aug 10, 2014 9:08 am

Out of the people posting here, I think we can all agree I'm the one who does the most for pixel power, and the most notorious case is restock roulette, mousewheel lottery, shop casino, whatever you wanna call it. For perspective, I would like to explain that this is not all I could do, and that I also do not do it to its fullest. Let's pretend I was absolutely obsessed with pixel power, and that every random factor had to work in my favor. Enjoy this story of how I would "play" SotW.

I would learn to code. I would program a bot, and instruct it to do the following things:
  • Reroll all encounters for max enemies. I do this already, it doesn't take long.
  • Save before every action, and reload if I didn't get the best possible outcome. A max damage crit or what have you. I rarely do battle reloads and I never do them hoping for blind luck to triumph.
  • Reload if my enemy didn't get the worst possible outcome (chose the worst action or just missed). This would be needed to keep clearing act 1.
  • Reload and redo the whole fight if I didn't get the theoretically best loot.
  • Reload and redo entire act 1 (if that's how far back I'd have to go) if not everything respawns every time I rest.
  • Restock shops until the absolutely perfect items appear: Every stat I want in the right amounts, no stats I don't want, and enough of these perfect items that I can spend the amount of gold I want to spend.
So as you can see, there's a lot I could do for power, a lot of random factors I could force to work in my favor. Don't I look rather humble by mostly rerolling stores until there are 2-3 really good items? Right, but let's look at why I reload stores so much and combat so little. Let's say someone wanted help with an encounter and they sent me their save, and let's say I beat it. I would then proceed to explain the tactic I used, and even if turn by turn and outcome by outcome the battle would not proceed identically to how it did for me, surely by following my guidelines the player could adapt and improvise their way to victory. The battle randomness is not that large.

Now let's say I was writing a guide for how to equip your party. Go to the forge, pick up a big hammer. Oh... there isn't a big hammer for sale. Go to the jewelry section and pick up a heavy +magic ring. Wait, there isn't one. How about tons of speed? Nope. Sure are a lot of resistances available though!

The problem with stores is they sell tons of junk. And they only restock by themselves once in all of act 2. If I don't play roulette, I don't come across enough upgrades. I would finish the act with even more spare gold than I already do. I could easily see myself living without roulette if the default equipment in stores was exciting. What is junk? Resistances are junk. What isn't junk? Bonus defense, attack, magic and speed isn't junk. Also regen isn't but that's a separate topic.

There are fifteen different resistances in this game. All of them can appear on jewelry. That's a 15/19 chance on any non-rare jewelry to be boosting some resistance. Armor can have 10 of them, making it a 10/15=2/3 chance that an armor piece is junk.

But it's not a simple issue. Some might like resistances. Someone might have this epic story of how they couldn't beat a fight but then they visited a shop and it had the right resistance item for sale and they won. If nobody has such a story... I have one myself - did not roulette those items. However, what's the likelihood? It's pretty damn unlikely to find the actual resistance you're looking for when there are so many of them. Furthermore, as far as spells go, increasing your magic is usually a better defense than increasing resistances.

In fairness, I think we (myself especially as it was my suggestion) did resistances a disservice with the change from binary resist to duration reduction, as most debuffs have such short duration that you can get them to the minimum duration without any dramatic resistance. I'm not sure it was a good change given the turn system. It's a different topic though. But they could be a little less annoying to see on gear.

So ideally, I'd like to see the armor and jewelry sections crammed with +attack, +defense, +speed and +magic (and threshold for armor). If they were, I would probably find enough excitement among them that I could live without roulette. The weapons, I'm not a fan of elemental weapons but I'm not gonna argue for their removal in SotW. I would however like a guarantee to see some big normal damage weapons there. +stats on weapons are nice and all, but I find that the raw damage is overwhelmingly important.

The problem is then that if we're gonna spam out the basic stats, making resistance items rarer, while keeping 15 different resistances, it's gonna be pretty much hopeless to find a certain resistance item if you want one. And I'm not sure I have a simple solution here.

The last issue is regen, a pretty amazing stat - mana regen at least is. Very rare though - it can only appear on rare weapons and jewelry, and jewelry can have a ton of stats, so first you'll need to random regen and then you need it to be a significant amount. It's also very expensive (5 SPR jewelry ~ 1,600 gold). Again I'm not sure there's a simple solution, but perhaps someone could work out the probability of finding an SPR item in act 2 without rouletting. Probably <1%. That's a <1% chance of a pretty gamechanging event. This is representative of the equipment problem - there are such heavy extremes. One player randoms some SPR gear and kills everything in act 2 without using taverns or potions. Another player randoms resistance gear and suffers and struggles.

I don't think I want to argue for the removal of SPR from gear, but it can't be down to blind luck. Maybe the stores could sell a few legendaries? Or rares if you don't want to diminish the legendary effect by offering them for sale. The point is these items are set (both stats and stack size), not randomized. You're guaranteed to find a 4 SPR necklace in the Galanna store or whatever. It can be expensive, sure! But everyone can buy one if they want, without needing to spin the slot machine. And then lower the amount of SPR you can find on random rares, or perhaps just let rares be these "default store items" and not something you can random forth.

You don't need to change anything and I'll keep gambling. You can disable gambling and I'll stop playing with no hard feelings. I hope I have explained why I do it now though :) and sparked a discussion about it, or else.

(grammar edit)
Last edited by yayswords on Sun Aug 10, 2014 10:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
If at first try it doesn't explode, it ain't Jack who wrote the code.

renke_
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Re: My gambling problem - the issues with equipment

Post by renke_ » Sun Aug 10, 2014 9:52 am

I mentioned somewhere here (I think...) that I like Morrorwind's approach: Most of the shop items are randomized, but many stores sell also fixed items with static stats that respawn. If Jack comes up with a few cool items per shop that are always selled the mousewheel acrobatics will not go away but is minimized (the magic shop in Act 2 will _always_ sell a magic +10 staff without speed penalties and a ring with +1SPR or whatever).

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Re: My gambling problem - the issues with equipment

Post by renke_ » Sun Aug 10, 2014 10:07 am

...and the resistances...

I would exclude them from the green (="better") calculation (or weight the value of resistances *much* lower) +20 fire resistance is no upgrade over -5 speed :)

what about more generous resistances on the randomized equipment? If your generator rolled +10 paralyze give all the other resistances also a push, maybe 1/3 of the randomized value? So this ring would not only have the normal stats (+10 paralyze, +2 speed, +1 magic or some such) but also +3 for all other resistance categories.

this would remove most of the resistance micromanagement I absolutely loath (and mostly ignore completely, as resistances are not really exciting) :)

edited to add: item resistances could also work similar to the traits, teach the generator to give +N for all body/mind conditions or elemental resistance

second PS: I'm not proposing to dump the resistances (this is something to do for Future RPG(tm)) but only provide a short-cut for players. The current system adds tactical depth (like foes with high resistance to one element but not the others) that should remain until a general rework of the resistance mechanics.

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Re: My gambling problem - the issues with equipment

Post by renke_ » Sun Aug 10, 2014 11:49 am

and another thing ;)

As regen items are so hard to find (I saw one in 4 Act 2 play-throughs) it would be good if they are marked in the shops inventory (blue and yellow are afaik unused) - completely outside the normal wearable/better logic, if an item has regen capabilities it should be highlighted

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fabulaparva
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Re: My gambling problem - the issues with equipment

Post by fabulaparva » Sun Aug 10, 2014 12:28 pm

renke_ wrote: I would exclude them from the green (="better") calculation (or weight the value of resistances *much* lower) +20 fire resistance is no upgrade over -5 speed :)
renke_ wrote: As regen items are so hard to find (I saw one in 4 Act 2 play-throughs) it would be good if they are marked in the shops inventory (blue and yellow are afaik unused) - completely outside the normal wearable/better logic, if an item has regen capabilities it should be highlighted
I'm in favour for above two ideas. Don't get me wrong, I actually do try to amp up some resistances, if I can do it with reasonable effort.... the resistances I look for are mostly poison, paralyze, fire (sometimes), and dark. However, speed is so important that those resistance values should be weighted far less in the "better-equipment formula" indeed.... Imagine this situation: there's an enemy mage with a killer fire spell... I can lower it by 20% with resistance or I can boost my speed up so that the mage will be paralyzed and/or killed before his turn comes... now which shall I use...

Otherwise, I'm okay with the stuff I get from the stores. I do this quite often:
yayswords wrote: Another player randoms resistance gear and suffers and struggles.
:)

I kind of like that AWEsome gear is never guaranteed. I like that I have to adjust my tactics according to the opportunities or setbacks the shops and their lacking gear will throw at me. It's enough for me that Dingirra is a far better place to shop than Ninim on the average. I haven't hit an extreme lucky strike yet (probably because I don't do roulette for shops), so the difficulty level hasn't changed too much for me just due to whatever is up for sale. ...

I did have a particular laughing fit, though, as I found +3SPR hammer in the Kiduu-quest and the next time I went there, the hammer had warped into something without SPR at all. Never trust an item. :lol:


EDIT: PS. I'm all for leaving the roulette option available for those who want to use it for whatever option they want to use it for. For me it'd probably be the number of random enemies in an encounter. :)

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Re: My gambling problem - the issues with equipment

Post by renke_ » Sun Aug 10, 2014 1:21 pm

fabulaparva wrote:I kind of like that AWEsome gear is never guaranteed. I like that I have to adjust my tactics according to the opportunities or setbacks the shops and their lacking gear will throw at me.
let me guess: you like replayable games and often perform multiple play-throughs? I for one rarely replay games after I won them once ;) imho guaranteed equipment awesomeness is not needed (yayswords may disagree ^^) but some fixed more or less 100% upgrades should be available - the idea behind a few static items in every shop.

another way to deal with the regen issue would be to exclude this feature completely for randomized shop items and instead give only (but all) legendary items regen capabilities, maybe Act number = minimal amount of regen points (Xsabor could be +1 HPR, Huntsman Armor +1 SPR, Slith +1 SPR and HPR, ...)

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yayswords
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Re: My gambling problem - the issues with equipment

Post by yayswords » Sun Aug 10, 2014 4:35 pm

but many stores sell also fixed items with static stats that respawn.
Yeah I'm liking this thought more and more - not necessarily that they respawn though. But remove SPR gear as the 777 of the slot machine and just sell a few pieces of it. SPR only on predetermined items. That will make the play experience less varied, and I think it's a more legitimate challenge to build money for those sweet items - I think not everyone is as loaded with gold as I am :P - than it is to casino them forth (even if they are very expensive too).

As for your resistance ideas, it sounds like there's gonna be a lot of +all resistance around but it'd be hard to pump up something specific if you wanted it. Am I reading it right?
if an item has regen capabilities it should be highlighted
Not a huge issue. If an item has significant regen it will be very high up the list (because of the price). If it has like 3-5 it will be first. If it's not it's because something else has even more :) exceptions only at Zazir's.
the resistances I look for are mostly poison, paralyze, fire (sometimes), and dark
Interesting choices. I suppose poison would rate high yes. Paralysis on the other hand, I find that it only sounds like an exciting resistance. Minimum durations make it perhaps the worst resistance to have. Are you walking around virtually immune to paralysis vs. say gargoyles or skeleton packs?
and instead give only (but all) legendary items regen capabilities
Sounds a little scarce - I would want it on more items than those. Also I find HPR isn't nearly as exciting as SPR. If my ranger regens 15 SP he can heal someone for half their health (though granted, it costs him that delay). How much HPR would that correspond to?

One aspect of SPR to consider is that come act 3 we'll have Jariel around to give us all a pretty sizable regen increase if we desire it. It would feel right to go from the no regen of act 1 to some regen in act 2 which then follows with a lot of regen in act 3 (unless VS gets another swing of the nerfbat). It's possible right now if you're very lucky or just a dedicated gambler, but that's not the case for the average player. Of course this makes fighting the downtime system a lot easier though. Still, that can be done with just Riley if you are masochistic enough.
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Re: My gambling problem - the issues with equipment

Post by renke_ » Sun Aug 10, 2014 5:06 pm

yayswords wrote:As for your resistance ideas, it sounds like there's gonna be a lot of +all resistance around but it'd be hard to pump up something specific if you wanted it. Am I reading it right?
not necessarily - the generator can still do its current job and choose one resistance as "master", all other resistances of the item are increased by some fraction of the rolled value (say 0.33 if all resistances are increased and 0.5 when elements and body/mind conditions are separated). If you're looking for one special resistance the chance for finding items is as high (low?) as with the current method, but nearly all items increase the value at least a little bit.
yayswords wrote:Not a huge issue. If an item has significant regen it will be very high up the list (because of the price). If it has like 3-5 it will be first.
as lottery virgin (or how did you call it?) even +1 regen items are extremly rare and can be hidden somewhere in the midlle of the inventory page.
yayswords wrote:Sounds a little scarce - I would want it on more items than those.
we're playing completely different games here. to explain you the situation down here at the bottom of the food chain: regen items are more rare than love between Krimm and Riley. Except the fixed items (Jariel's earrings, Krimm's sword and Riley's necklace, did I miss one?) I had one game with additional regen equpiment: a necklace with 2SPR (found in the family quest) and one 1SPR ring (bought in a shop).

But anyway - my idea does not compute: Armour pieces don't support regen ;)

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Re: My gambling problem - the issues with equipment

Post by jack1974 » Sun Aug 10, 2014 5:09 pm

Just back from a big family meeting, drove 150km, drank a lot = broken :mrgreen:

However I can say that:
1) resistances are already weighted less in the "green item" computations, but I can reduce the importance even further. Currently was dividing the values by 10, but since the resistance values are much higher than damage/defense/etc, now I've changed it to divided by 25, should be better
2) I can remove SPR/HPR items completely from the random ones and just put some predefined items if you like the idea
3) I can also try to find a way to highlight the unique items (since because of 2 only manually created items will have HP/SP regen) in the shops, so you know they're powerful

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Re: My gambling problem - the issues with equipment

Post by fabulaparva » Sun Aug 10, 2014 6:06 pm

yayswords wrote:Paralysis on the other hand, I find that it only sounds like an exciting resistance. Minimum durations make it perhaps the worst resistance to have. Are you walking around virtually immune to paralysis vs. say gargoyles or skeleton packs?
No, I'm not, but the reduction in turns is enough of an incentive to me. I can understand very well that it's not lucrative to many, because no amount seems to rid you off that 2 turns. However, even going down from 3/4 to 2 is good, especially if Vaelis happens to be spared and one can hit rally after the paralysis-attack.


EDIT: Forgot to tell that
renke_ wrote:
fabulaparva wrote:I kind of like that AWEsome gear is never guaranteed. I like that I have to adjust my tactics according to the opportunities or setbacks the shops and their lacking gear will throw at me.
let me guess: you like replayable games and often perform multiple play-throughs? I for one rarely replay games after I won them once ;)
you guessed right. :) Replay-value is a big factor for me when deciding on purchasing games and so far SotW has a LOT of that value, too.

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