Rebalanced XP values

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radiant
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Rebalanced XP values

Post by radiant » 26 Nov 2008, 19:48

After a look at the mob stats, and some experience with fighting different kinds of swarms, some glaring inconsistencies come to mind, and everyone I've talked too agrees that they could use fixing. I'm not going to commit anything yet (I couldn't do so even if I wanted to), but I'm offering up this topic as a way to discuss and eventually agree on any potential changes.

Fire Goblin (was 40, propose 50): Compare to Scorpion, doubling health and adding a modest amount of damage. The Maggot->Scorpion step-up could make a case for this being 62, but I don't think a straight two-axis linear scale would make a universal fit.

Bat (was 55, propose 30): Less HP than a fire goblin. Weaker attack (in fact it's only as strong as the maggot with triple HP). Why is it valued so high? This is probably a big reason why caves with bats are such a popular target for autoattacking.

Rudolph Slime (was 120, propose 90): This is just a marginal step up from the green slime at 80 (and even has lower agility for what that's worth). Getting a 50% XP boost over that is just too much.

Log Head (was 75, propose 125): This thing seems like it was valued for 500 HP, without taking into account that it essentially has 1000. Twenty maggots in a row might earn a 37% batch discount (particularly when you take into account that they basically take double damage from criticals), but 63% is giving it far too little credit. As it stands now, the only reason anyone fights these is for the single item it drops.

Cave Snake (was 120, propose 150): It stands to reason that this needs to go above the log head. It's still a low-level monster, but it's also still 1000 damage, and that takes a while which should be valued accordingly.

Sea Slime (was 90, propose 160): This was the blatant offender that led me to make this list. By virtually all accounts, it's stronger than yellow slime, but it's valued far less? Sure, it has a minimum hit that's 5 lower. It also has frequent criticals, unlike the yellow which can't critical at all. It really belongs up with the giant maggot, which hits a bit harder but also takes one or two fewer swings to drop.

Giant Maggot (was 180, propose 160): Speaking of that, this one seems a bit overvalued to me.

Red Scorpion (was 200, propose 180): So does this one.

Evil Mushroom (was 350, propose 300): The unique gang-up behavior of this enemy puts it a nominal step up from some theoretical enemy that's halfway between a black scorpion, and a third of a mouboo (which I see as fairly valued for its effective HP of 2000). It's the scorpion when you want to fight it, but without the risk of merely walking by when you don't. In any case, 30 might be a reasonable one-step increment for the scorpion; 80 definitely isn't.

Flower (was 375, propose 300): This one's quite an oddball and difficult to appraise in comparison to anything else. Between its fastest-in-the-game attack speed, frequent criticals...but also lack of pursuit of a player that wants to get away, the near-impossibility of mob bonus ever being a factor with these, and the fact that it's a complete sitting duck to anyone who can simply attack it from 3 squares away...that last point really gets me convinced that 375 is overvalued.

Santa Slime (was 325, propose 375): At first glance, this appears to compare unfavorably to the evil mushroom. You have one guy that's a bit stronger, while everyone else in the mob is a lot weaker, and you don't have to worry about picking them off one-by-one afterwards. However, it's that frequent critical factor once again, that brings a lot more 81s and 36s than you'd see 87s from a mushroom mob. Also, something to consider: You can often find an isolated evil mushroom and take that out 1-on-1. Santa slimes will almost never be without a mob, as they make sure to keep stocked up on reindeer whenever one of them falls, so it's a lot harder to get the 1-on-1. Even when you do, remember that's where Santa has the flat-out advantage.

Grass Snake (was 700, propose 750): The evade upping from 151 (mountain snake) to 190 is huge, and it's that high critical rate that can make even a single grass snake significantly harder to take down than a medium-sized swarm of snakes or mountain snakes, not even withstanding the ground speed differential. It's like the perfect storm: high evade stops most non-criticals from going through, and high luck stops most criticals from going through! Just as the JackO mkII and beyond seemed to emphasize the importance of vitality, this monster emphasizes the importance of luck--a first in this game--and 700 undervalues it at least by a bit.

Fire Skull/Poison Skull (was 1000, propose 5000): I would imagine that repurposing these enemies is a work in progress and could continue. But as is, once you get the one dark crystal you need, these are a complete waste of time. A hundred maggots will get you the same amount of XP in a lot less time, probably with a lot less effort, and certainly with a lot fewer misses. The new skulls are certainly at least as hard to take down as JackO was at mkIII and before, and ought to be valued at least as high. Maybe higher (most would attest that it takes longer to beat a skull than it does ten mountain snakes), but I could call it even at 5000.

Jack O (was 5000, propose 15000): So it has twice as much health as the repurposed skulls, still does a small bit more damage...and ramps up the Evade% all the way to 330, making it nearly impossible to get in with a non-critical hit no matter what you put into stats. I note that when Jack O was introduced, it was level 50, 6000 HP, and 40-100 hit (critical 124), and still gave 5000 XP. Since then, it's had three upgrades:
mkII: damage now 100-200 (critical 239)
mkIII: minimum damage upped to 150, HP upped to 10000, and luck upped to add more criticals (which now do 244)
mkIV: level increased sixfold, which is what's responsible for that huge evasion it has now
And through all those increases, its XP reward has never changed! 5000 may have been a bit high for the original form (in its first year as a holiday reward, and for the first day of its second year), but it was certainly at least fair for mkII--the current revision is significantly harder to face down than mkII, and takes more than three times as long to drop now, so tripling the XP would be merited.

Any suggestions to further tweak these proposed values, or other monsters you believe should get a treatment one way or the other?
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Re: Rebalanced XP values

Post by yasha » 27 Nov 2008, 09:22

MouBoo (was 600 propose 500) This one has a lot of health (1200), true, but with not-so-big damage (55-75), and small agility , this one is much weaker than mountain snake which gives 500 XP.

Mountain Snake (was 500 propose 600) Mountain snakes are usually in bigger numbers and are aggressive. They have bigger damage (80-95) and are very hard to hit.
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Re: Rebalanced XP values

Post by radiant » 27 Nov 2008, 09:33

I pointed out that Mouboo should be treated as having 2000 health (because of the 40% defense), and that it's fairly valued for that. Ever since the beginning, the comparison I used was that a Mouboo is like fighting three black scorpions in a row, minus the aggression, and (somewhat less of a factor) plus the inability to get any kind of effective kite going with a sword. If red scorpion goes down to 180, then a step up from it would probably indicate the mythical nonaggressive black would fetch 200, right in line with the 600 for "three of 'em".
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Re: Rebalanced XP values

Post by yasha » 27 Nov 2008, 10:54

radiant wrote:I pointed out that Mouboo should be treated as having 2000 health (because of the 40% defense), and that it's fairly valued for that. Ever since the beginning, the comparison I used was that a Mouboo is like fighting three black scorpions in a row, minus the aggression, and (somewhat less of a factor) plus the inability to get any kind of effective kite going with a sword. If red scorpion goes down to 180, then a step up from it would probably indicate the mythical nonaggressive black would fetch 200, right in line with the 600 for "three of 'em".
Hmmm i'm not sure that one mouboo is like three black scorpions. Maybe two, but surely not three. When i fight mouboo, i just start fighting and wait to kill it. Something like log heads, he has lots of HP and def, but little attack and agility. And he rarely does critical hit...
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Re: Rebalanced XP values

Post by Automatic James » 30 Nov 2008, 03:42

Fire Goblin: Agreed.

Bat: Balancing things this way is a slippery slope I would rather not head towards... would look at raising values on other mobs first.

Rudolph Slime - Hmm, I'm in the air on this one.

Log Head, Cave Snake, Sea Slime: These monsters give less experience because they drop desirable items. If they gave good xp and dropped these items, things would be out of balance and the markets for these items may become flooded.

Giant Maggot, Red Scorpion: These drop crap. See above.

Evil Mushroom: What is it with you (radiant) and making leveling harder on people? These take as many hits to kill as snakes for most folks and give less xp.

Flower: Ummm these are fine as is. They have rather high evasion, hit very fast, and crit a ton. Don't hate on archers they don't get enough love as it is.

Santa Slime: Drops green present, see above.

Grass Snake: Agreed.

Skulls: I think these need to have their level/evasion lowered so they can be killed more easily. Their presence effectively ruins several otherwise viable xp areas in the new mines.

Jacko: Fine as is.

Mountain Snake: Fine as is.

Mouboo: Fine, if anything it should give more they take forever to kill.
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Re: Rebalanced XP values

Post by fate » 30 Nov 2008, 05:53

Radiant,

thank you for raising the issue, and thanks to everyone else who contributed!

Let's assume that Maggots and regular Scorpions remain as they are. Then let's try to follow up on that:
  • Fire Goblin: An increase to 50 sounds reasonable, but I'm against going further-- it has a very desirable drop. I am tempted to also increase its HP by 20 or 30 points to make it less likely that people can kill it with a single strike.
  • Bat: Again I agree with your assessment, but bats are harder to find for beginners and have less desirable drops. Since they are one-shot kills for medium to high-level players, I'd still only go for 35, though.
  • Green Slime: The green slime looks fine in comparison to the above, perhaps a little under-valued. I propose lowering agility to 20 but otherwise leaving it as-is.
  • Rudolph Slime: You have a point there, but I'd rather move it to 100 and increase its defence and agility a bit.
  • Log Head: this is primarily a `resource monster', so we shouldn't make it desirable as a kill for the experience points. Still, 125 XP sound reasonable.
  • Cave Snake: as with the Log Head, this is a resource monster; again, giving 150 XP for it sounds still reasonable.
  • Sea Slime: Resource monster again. Compared to the Cave Snake, it is easier to kill but more dangerous; also, it has a certain vulnerability (that cannot be exploited yet). I'd go a bit lower, at 150 XP-- Pearls are desirable and may remain so.
  • Giant Maggot: As a non-resource monster, it should be rated by difficulty, so 160 sounds reasonable.
  • Red Scorpion: A relatively marginal improvement over the Giant Maggot. Your 180 again sound reasonable.
  • Evil Mushroom: 300 seems almost a bit much, compared to what came above.
  • Black Scorpions: Those are over-valued if Evil Mushrooms are at 300, so I'd suggest increasing their agility somewhat to compensate.
  • Santa Slime: I had completely missed the critical hit rate on first assessment, but 375 still seems high, if you factor in that you can protect from its critical hits somewhat by increasing your luck (still cheap at that point). I'd go for 360.
  • Snakes: Snakes really aren't more dangerous than Santa Slimes, so I would put them at 350.
And now we have a problem, because players who join the game after this proposed change will be at a disadvantage when they get to snakes. So this particular scale doesn't work (and I thereby give up on rebalancing for now)-- I propose picking maggots and snakes as the fixed points and shifting monsters around them. Here are some general ideas:
  • Spiders are about as tough as snakes-- they deal a little less damage and can take a little less, but are also harder to hit. I'd suggest either leaving them or increasing their critical hit rate a little and valuing them at 400.
  • Mouboos are relatively harmless. Besides, who would really want to kill one? Let's value them at 500 or leave them where they are.
  • Grass Snakes are hard to hit and have a good critical hit rate (and protection against the same), so going to 750 (as you suggested) is fine with me.
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Re: Rebalanced XP values

Post by Spit23 » 30 Nov 2008, 21:01

fate wrote:And now we have a problem, because players who join the game after this proposed change will be at a disadvantage when they get to snakes.
But remember this game is still in a pre-alpha version and I think the community (including me as a player) should have to accept changes which makes the game more balanced or better.
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Re: Rebalanced XP values

Post by Rotonen » 01 Dec 2008, 07:04

And even so, if a change makes the game better, no one really loses.

Commercial games are probably the most ruthless and efficient about making changes. The developers there are abstracted from the community quite well.
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Re: Rebalanced XP values

Post by radiant » 18 Dec 2008, 09:18

Let's see what the postmortem analysis holds:

-I think one thing that's made itself very clear now is that nothing should have unmodified XP less than 20% of its HP. To say otherwise is to deem the monster less valuable than a maggot; that is "I can go track down maggots, which are no trouble at all to find, until I've slaughtered some number with as much total HP as you have, and you still give less overall XP than they do!"
Current offenders in this regard:
Bat (25->30)
Fire Goblin (35->44; it would be ->40 except for the 20HP boost this got for whatever reason)
Spiky Mushroom (50->60)
Fluffy (60->100)
Easter Fluffy (45->100; why this gives less XP than a Fluffy is anyone's guess)
Pinkie (60->100)
Sea Slime (100->120)
Cave Snake (125->200)
There's also the case to be made that Mouboo has 2000 effective HP, notwithstanding criticals, and should be worth 400 by that measure, without even taking into account that it's hitting a lot harder than the chain of maggots would. Remember also that as a range-2 attacker, it can't be "kited" with a sword to any effect by low-level players as snakes and the like can.

It seems as though the attempted refocusing of values to lie closer in line was actually done without a second focal point from that line. Rather than rebalancing to lie between maggot and snake, or maggot and whatever, it's as though it was a blind guess at reducing the slope through maggot by some amount, with no known second point to fix to. As the JackO is the one monster that seems to be getting a warm reception as far as acceptable XP, I would suggest trying to fit things between maggot and JackO except it's not really possible to make meaningful comparisons at that point.
-The one meaningful comparison to make to the JackO is the skulls, which give 75% less XP based on half the HP, evade 210 (rather than 290), and two-thirds the critical rate/dodge ability. When you're that high up in the evasion category, that difference matters very little, as criticals account for a majority of the hits those things take. With the most relevant stats being 1/2 and 2/3 those of its superior, it seems like their product should give a rather accurate indicator of what fraction of JackO's power the skulls have, and points to an increase from 2500 to 3300. At least 3000 would have those other stats accounting for some tiny bit of further disadvantage while not overplaying their role at such high levels.
-And now we have a scale starting to form. At the low end we have maggots (XP = 20% HP), disregarding silkworms and herbs that have 100% simply because it's not possible to award less than 1 and they didn't want the monsters having more than a single HP. In the middle we have skulls (XP = 60% HP if they get revalued to 3000), and at the high end we have JackO (XP = HP). If you consider the maggot negligible, the idea of a linear scale (nothing to skull represents about as much a leap as skull to JackO, just as 20 to 60 is the same leap as 60 to 100) seems about right in this regard. So any other extant monsters ought to have XP for at least 20% but not more than 60% of HP, with the stronger ones getting higher percentages.
-To get an idea of how to fill the lower half in, let's go one step down from skull, to grass snake. As mentioned here before, the perfect storm of evade (180) and luck (50) can make this even harder to take down than skulls just because they can hardly be hit with anything and hit lots of 144s unless you're prepared with significant luck of your own. It certainly deserves to be up close to the 60% mark, perhaps settling in at 55%--550, up from the 450 it has now.
-As I said above, Mouboo's rise to 400 would put it at flat 20% based on its "effective HP", but with the discussion past that idea, it's 33% in light of actual HP, and 400 just doesn't seem so wrong for it anyway. This means that 33% makes a nice cap for the high end of non-aggressives (disregarding santa slime, which has its own intricacies and belongs up near spider wherever that may be). The next steps down would thus be something like flower 210-220, red scorpion 165-170, and below that it's just a slight bump from the current values in most cases.
-Other than that, the biggest things that need placing are snake and mountain snake, and then pretty much everything else should fall into line quite apparently. The mountain-to-grass snake gap is huge, much larger than grass-to-skull, and both my initial evaluation in this topic and the current values reflect a belief that a grass snake is worth 1.5 mountain snakes. If this holds true with grass at 550, then mountain ends up being worth somewhere around 360, putting it solidly at 40%. Regular snakes would be a step down from that, maybe 330 (38.8%), improving on the currently lousy payout they give while still consistent with the observation from before that it wasn't sustainable to base high-level XP values on the set-in-stone value of snake as 400 without leading to overinflation all over the place. At the low end of the aggressive scale, red slimes at 120 seems about right for now, maybe 125, but around 27% nonetheless.
-Now there's hopefully some meaningful data to work with. Hopefully as we get more monsters in the game, we could be conscious in fitting them in some of the gaps on this scale, and see how well the model holds up with a new data point to test.
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