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Game balance discussion thread

Started by barteke22, Jun 16, 2022, 11:08 PM

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barteke22Topic starter

For discussing things you think are badly balanced.  Feel free to discuss and disagree, but do be constructive in your criticism (and don't expect miracles).

When starting something new please provide a description of how you think it works, and how you feel it should work instead/could be improved - so there's less misunderstandings.

And if you happen to know the actual numbers (if any are involved) and how they should be tweaked to be better - that'd be helpful as well.

barteke22Topic starter

#1
hova00's dicord report:

QuoteLibrary events have high rep hits due to directly involving PC in things.

I think the main issue comes from a mix of involving PC without giving them a chance to react, and too low a bar of average onlooker stats.

The hits come from GenSexHandling - which is balanced fine, but the situation isn't.

Status: Probably dealt with as part of the SetEffectsOnObservers fix - however principal is still directly involved without a choice in the library ones - so some hits might still stand.

This fix also should've dealt with other events, like the park ones.

barteke22Topic starter

Copy of Jartan's report:

QuoteNot a bug, but possible missed default config change that was intended:

See game_path/Schools/NormalSchool/Config/DefaultGameConfig.xml
Line 16, specifying Favorite Subject Chance.

The included comment says at the end "[Change to 5%]" with no sort of reason why. Maybe this was an intended change that was missed?
It's been like this for a long time (1.9.5 or before).  Favourite subject defines how fast a student gains experience in it. For teachers it does some other bonus, but not relevant for generation.

Need to look into whether it's 10% to get one at all, or 10% per subject iteration (likely former). Is 10% of students having a favourite subject bonus too high? Idk.

barteke22Topic starter

#3
Chemistry balance, started by blumph:
0 points even for good result
Quote from: blumph on Jun 01, 2022, 05:53 PMWhen training Chemistry, even getting a "good" result often results in gaining 0 points for the skill; this makes a long grind even worse.

I think the slow chemistry gain is a sort of balance in favour of Mad Science - as that gets harder with higher chemistry. Or rather, when you get less 'reckless' you're more likely to have a regular fail rather than epic fail/success, and success rate goes up by doing it.
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DougTheC:
Can take over 2.5 years
This slow Chemistry skill grind, with increasingly-slower intermediate skill gain kept in variables in event, was created by an unnamed person about two years ago at the request of literally nobody.

It is my belief that Chem progress is now so slow that full progress could easily take beyond the 2.5 years of default game. I doubt the modder made any tests/calculations for progress rate.

Add that to internal variables getting reset if need to reload event... bad stuff.
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My rundown of the basics reply:
QuoteRe: Chemistry, from the gist of things it looks like currently:

  • There's a base Difficulty target that Exp has to reach, starting at 10.
    • It adds 1 Skill Level and does Exp - Difficulty, then adds 1 to Difficulty every time it's reached.
  • Failure adds 4-6 to Exp, moderate success adds 9-11, high success adds 14-16.
    • So to reach 100 chem from 15 purely via research you'd need around 884 failures, or 442 moderate, or 295 high successes (or a mix of them that adds up to 4400ish points).
  • Intelligence goes up in a similar fashion, but fail and high success is reversed (so failure makes you smarter).
  • Chances of fail/moderate/high are based on intelligence and skill.
  • You can get to 20ish chem via book before research, + get like 10ish points from Mad Science (which is easier at lower chem skill).
  • For the record: Reloading the event only loses you progress to next level + resets the difficulty to 10 - so it makes it easier in fact.


So either someone tweak these numbers for me so that my calculator gives me a smiley face, or my best attempt would be:
  • Failure = 50-60% of the way towards next level, moderate = 80-90%, high = 100-110%.
    • Which would be 180ish fails, or 120ish moderate, or 98ish high.  Feels like a massive change, but I've no clue how much time/supplies this consumes.
  • Plus also move progress variables for this and Mad Science to Global, so they're not lost on reload/can be tweaked.


Mad Science
  • Your chances of not having an epic fail when you first unlock it are around 25% - if you do have an epic fail, next time won't be one.
  • Having high chemistry, but low experience with mad science works both ways - it lowers risk of epic fail, but also chance of success.
  • Experience rises with various successful things: Making another batch adds +2.5 (up to +30 max). Not making has some calculation for adding bonus that I can't be arsed to comprehend.
  • The correct delivery route also becomes easier the more you do it.
  • It's all weights so hard to give exact numbers, but at chem 35 (unlock) it's 15 epic fail vs 0 fail vs 5 exp. Best to start early.
  • Reloading will reset progress.

Could maybe tweak so high chem is less bad.
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Albatross
Unecessarily difficult
Yeah honestly I don't really like the high chem barriers since it's obvious a anti cheat barrier for a game that never cared about it before.

Once you beat the game enough times you won't want to grind the stats in every single run, so I consider things being cheatable a good thing.

As it is currently, it seems unecessarily difficult on both cheating and non-cheating runs.
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TBBle:
QuoteIt probably needs _some_ rework because the "adds 0" visible effect is pretty different to in-your-face systems where you can gain fractions of a point (i.e. the town stats). Even if it's simply better-teaching that all skill-raising systems do the same "xp gain that eventually spills into a level-up", if that's actually how they all work underneath. I had thought that the skill level-ups were "chance of level-up on success", but if they're all using the same "xp" system underneath (which seems obvious now I think about it), that could definitely be taught more clearly. Or even just make the XP gains visible as notifications so you know _some_ number went up, even if the XP bar is not visible (or even just not visible in Lore view).

Status: Added some clearer progress indicators + greatly reduced overall grind by increasing difficulty on every 5th level up instead of every level up.

Albatross

To me it's easier to reach the ideal balance by choosing a reasonable timeframe to "master" chemestry and then adjust the internal values with that goal in mind instead of doing it the other way around.

As for what that ideal timeframe would be I know people are gonna have different opnions but I assume most of us would agree 2.5 years is WAY too much. I don't even know if anyone even carried a save that far. Speaking for myself at least I played this game a lot but rarely ever beat the 1 year mark.

Other than that I think removing the "anti-cheat system" of the mad scientist event is probably a good thing. Since other than making life more difficult for people who use debug it doesn't seem to do anything useful for the people who are playing the game properly either(at least as far as I can tell).

TBBle

#5
Quote from: barteke22 on Jun 16, 2022, 11:29 PMblumph:
QuoteIt probably needs _some_ rework...


Minor thing, I believe that was my comment.

----

I haven't gone and checked myself, but if all the skills work that way, then I'd definitely making XP gains visible would help with the feeling of "0 points even for a good result", particularly when it doesn't happen early on (XP cost is low enough that every good result is a level up), and then later good results start to appear that they don't reward you any more.

Even though the text says "You learned something"; when the skill doesn't go up, I had been reading that similarly to when you're finished with a book and can't learn any more from it: It's time to find some other path to progress. I thought that's what the Hypnotism practical test was for (re-unlocking skill gains) until I read the event trying to work out where to trigger the second test and saw it had nothing particularly hinging on it.

Which leads to an even larger thought: Skill progress quests at break-points, to break up the grind, e.g., trying to push through the Fuzushi vs Cosplay chain (ignoring that this event needs rework...), I need to get her corruption up to 60 to unlock the next stage of the event, for which I need either 60 Suggestion, or 60 Chemistry (I think) to make Corruptor II, as until that point I can't raise corruption above 30 (or 35) with either skill.

So I'm grinding away, slowly, on both skills (since one is costly in rep/loyalty when it goes wrong, and one is pretty random in its progress) and it might help if, e.g. at 50, there's an opportunity to gain 10 points directly, whether it's training, a new book, a quest, etc. i.e. what I thought the Hypnosis Practical test was going to be. And then the same thing leading up to the next break point (80, I think), which offers say 5 points at 75.

It might make sense if this was in-place to block grind-based gains, similar to how you can't grind HasQuest NPCs through Hypnotism (I dunno about Chemistry) nor flirting, but once you complete the quest line and the tag's removed, you're most-of-the-way to, if not already at, receiving their PTA support/other benefit/whatever. But some players may prefer to just grind-through, so perhaps that would be a bad thing. Or split the difference, and let the player reject the quest to remove the block, if they prefer to grind out the remaining levels. I recall at least some of the NPC quests let you reject them a few times to remove the HasQuest marker.

I guess the underlying idea here would be to make Hypno and Chemistry play a bit more like the NPC quest systems, which still require some repetition and grinding over a long period (*cough*PerrierChain*cough*) yet have clear points of change and progress other than "numbers get higher". They're more-engaging than "Present x3, Insightful, Personality x3, Body x3", I think, even though the latter delivered Yes-persons on the PTA faster than organising the quests did.

----

So I checked, and Hypnosis gains 1 point every time when your skill is under 40, then has a {skill}% chance of gaining until you max out at 100. Suggestion has a fixed 10-growth-points-per-skill-point but growth gain depends on Suggestion skill and action taken (which explains why I seemed to stop gaining Suggestion, you must be using it for sex to grow after 50. (That definitely could have been clearer in the text, I've been doing it wrong the whole time...)

So maybe it's confusing that we have at least three different skill systems (I didn't check lockpicking or hacking, and being minigames they're perhaps different). Side-thought: A Hypnotism minigame using the Paradroid take-over minigame.

Regardie

I like the defined per character hypno cooldown with the watch icon but 4 days is too long. It makes an already grindy game even more so. The hypno nerf is also a little strong as hypno was my default way of corrupting my students and now I fail far more often but there is no in game clue that maybe I should rest before trying it again on another student, if that is the cause of failure.

Plus the almost guaranteed fail on any HasQuest character is quite annoying. Just because you want to steer a player to the quests doesn't mean you should cripple a working game mechanic with once again no in game message that indicates that the attempt will almost always fail.

Furrin Gok

Quote from: Regardie on Jul 27, 2022, 12:20 AMI like the defined per character hypno cooldown with the watch icon but 4 days is too long. It makes an already grindy game even more so. The hypno nerf is also a little strong as hypno was my default way of corrupting my students and now I fail far more often but there is no in game clue that maybe I should rest before trying it again on another student, if that is the cause of failure.

Plus the almost guaranteed fail on any HasQuest character is quite annoying. Just because you want to steer a player to the quests doesn't mean you should cripple a working game mechanic with once again no in game message that indicates that the attempt will almost always fail.
You can either modify the actual config file and load the changed object into your game, or edit it through debug:
Config
Go into Schools\NormalSchool\StatusEffects\ and open HypnoBehaviorChangeImmunity. The eighth line is how many minutes it lasts.
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Debug
Go into the Game Objects tab, then swap the first dropdown to Status Effects. Change the second dropdown to HypnoBehaviorChangeImmunity. The third chunk is the duration in minutes.
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4 Days: 5760
3 Days: 4320
2 Days: 2880
1 Day:  1440

Thankfully for quest characters, if you fail, you don't enter the cooldown, you can try again immediately. That said, if you do succeed, the changes are minimal. You're supposed to modify their stats through their quest, not through hypnosis and drugs. If you do want to hypnotize them anyways, try breaking into their house and hypnotizing them in their sleep.

blumph

Quote from: barteke22 on Jun 16, 2022, 11:15 PMhova00's dicord report:

QuoteLibrary events have high rep hits due to directly involving PC in things.

I think the main issue comes from a mix of involving PC without giving them a chance to react, and too low a bar of average onlooker stats.

The hits come from GenSexHandling - which is balanced fine, but the situation isn't.
Status: Being considered.

There's an event in the Park, ParkMasturbation, that functions much the same way; no PC interaction, just a rep hit if your School progress has outpaced the town's.

Furrin Gok

Quote from: blumph on Jul 27, 2022, 12:42 PM
Quote from: barteke22 on Jun 16, 2022, 11:15 PMhova00's dicord report:

QuoteLibrary events have high rep hits due to directly involving PC in things.

I think the main issue comes from a mix of involving PC without giving them a chance to react, and too low a bar of average onlooker stats.

The hits come from GenSexHandling - which is balanced fine, but the situation isn't.
Status: Being considered.

There's an event in the Park, ParkMasturbation, that functions much the same way; no PC interaction, just a rep hit if your School progress has outpaced the town's.
I think I got that from just overfocusing on one student, the event only triggered when he was at the locations though.
If it's a group of students it should be forced rep loss still, but if it's only one or two students, you should have the option to scold them, protecting your own reputation at the cost of their loyalty, happiness, and corruption.

Similarly, a single person with high inhibition seeing you dress in relaxed clothing will net you a rep loss while the grand average population will just go "Ah yeah, we can dress lighter too, but just a smidge." Unless it's three or more people with high inhibition seeing you at the same time, it shouldn't be a rep loss. Maybe a personal stat loss instead?

barteke22Topic starter

The library, park, etc rep hits should've already been addressed in the previous patch (maybe partially in the next one). Same for chem rebalance, just forgot to set their statuses here.