Author Topic: Dev Log #54: Specialization and Veteran Level Changes  (Read 31251 times)

Styg

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Re: Dev Log #54: Specialization and Veteran Level Changes
« Reply #15 on: August 11, 2017, 07:32:00 am »
Alright, let me try to address this as three seperate (altough possibly mutually-exacerbated) problems. These are not just things you mentioned in your post, but also what other people reported in the past regarding difficulty.

1. Characters hit level cap too soon.

This will in part be addressed by veteran levels. Once you hit level 25, the progress slows significantly and you are still able to increase the power, keeping the leveling process meaningful.

2. Game is generally not that challenging past the mid-point.

I understand this is often the case and we are considering how we can adjust certain encounters and areas to provide more challenging experience for players.
One of the main issue here, we think is the absence of high end non-human enemies. Most of these types of enemies appear in the late-early game and mid-game and are carried over to near-endgame where they are simply not that challenging anymore.
In addition to this there is a rollercoaster difficulty ride with the late-midgame to endgame encounters where some are too hard even on the easiest difficulty, while a lot of them are too easy even on the hardest difficulty. In the future, we will be looking at those encounters separately and work on tweaking them for various difficulties.
Which leads me to the next point.

3. The game needs another difficulty setting.

Some of you RPG veterans just need a space of your own when it comes to difficulty.

4. Energy shields.

I don't want to get into this right now, but personally I am not content with how the shields work at the moment, both in the terms of crafting (where there's effectively one way to go about things) and with the amount of defense they provide with practically no active tactical or strategic engagement from the player and virtually no downsides.

Expect this to change at some point (prior to the end of the world).

5. Expedition DLC will increase your power before a portion of original campaign and thus make you out-scale the content.

The content of the DLC occupies the are from the mid-game to late-game which means that the leveling advantage it provides need only be accounted for in the late-late-game and the endgame itself and this it will be doing.

There is no point attempting to adjust the mid-game content towards it as we do not do this for other horizontal mid-game stuff - Foundry, Rail Crossing, Core City, Drones/Protectorate, etc.

6. The problem of classic XP.

While it will take a lot of experience to gain veteran levels in classic XP mode, I don't really have a good way to control the levelling curve here due to the non-linear nature of the large portion of the game.
Actually, I did think of a good way of controlling it and I implemented it in the form of oddities. If it was up to me, I would just do away with the classic experience, but I am obliged to keep it due to the late date in which the oddity addition was made.

I have no good solution to this right now, I'll have to think about it.

hilf

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Re: Dev Log #54: Specialization and Veteran Level Changes
« Reply #16 on: August 11, 2017, 09:09:51 am »
Will info about all Specializations be optionally available at char creation just like it is for feats?

Styg

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Re: Dev Log #54: Specialization and Veteran Level Changes
« Reply #17 on: August 11, 2017, 09:41:54 am »
Will info about all Specializations be optionally available at char creation just like it is for feats?

Of course not, that would ruin the surprise of finding out that the feats you picked have useless specializations.

Tygrende

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Re: Dev Log #54: Specialization and Veteran Level Changes
« Reply #18 on: August 11, 2017, 09:50:02 am »
4. Energy shields.

I don't want to get into this right now, but personally I am not content with how the shields work at the moment, both in the terms of crafting (where there's effectively one way to go about things) and with the amount of defense they provide with practically no active tactical or strategic engagement from the player and virtually no downsides.

Expect this to change at some point (prior to the end of the world).
I think the main issue with shields (other than High Efficiency Energy Converters being hands down the best mod to use) is that enemies using EMP grenades are too few and almost (if not all of them) are optional. The only enemies that use them that I remember right now are warehouse mercs, Protectorate Shock Troopers, Oculite Runners and Faceless Commander. Depending on your choices, you may not fight a single one of those.

EMP grenades/mines are a very hard counter to shields- not only do they render shields completly useless, they actually punish you for using them by dealing damage equal to half the capacity drained. So it's not like the counter doesn't exist, it's just that it's heavily underused. I think the best solution would be to let more common enemies throw EMP grenades and maybe add more EMP mines in the world (like the one in front of a door in Lunatics hideout in Upper Underrail, that got me good). It can't be overdone though- if every enemy suddenly started throwing EMPs then shields would become useless instead.

hilf

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Re: Dev Log #54: Specialization and Veteran Level Changes
« Reply #19 on: August 11, 2017, 10:30:31 am »

EMP grenades/mines are a very hard counter to shields- not only do they render shields completly useless, they actually punish you for using them by dealing damage equal to half the capacity drained. So it's not like the counter doesn't exist, it's just that it's heavily underused. I think the best solution would be to let more common enemies throw EMP grenades and maybe add more EMP mines in the world
Poor energy pistols, electroshock weapons and Power Management :(
PM at least can be reverted to its former glory and avoid collateral damage but i don't see how weapons can be protected.
Still, it would be cool to see EMP nades on enemies that player can fight regardless of his choices.

Maybe we need something new like Pulse Gun/Pulse Ammo/Pulse Bolts that only work vs shields. Perhaps only vs activated shields.

The problem with both approaches is that they may simply not fit certain enemy types. But i'm sure Styg will find a proper solution!

Styg

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Re: Dev Log #54: Specialization and Veteran Level Changes
« Reply #20 on: August 11, 2017, 10:39:45 am »
I'm not primarily bothered by the lack of counters to energy shields, but by their simplistic non-engaging one-size-fits-all mechanics. Giving enemies more EMPs might make the combat more difficult, but not necessarily all that more interesting.

Tygrende

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Re: Dev Log #54: Specialization and Veteran Level Changes
« Reply #21 on: August 11, 2017, 11:24:13 am »
Poor energy pistols, electroshock weapons and Power Management :(
I'm perfectly aware enemies using EMP grenades would also hurt energy weapon users. It would hurt all builds that rely on electronic gear.

As a matter of fact I think it wouldn't be that bad for energy pistols compared to other electronic gadgets. If your pistol gets drained you just need to spend 10 AP to start shooting again, not a big deal. If your shield is drained, you are left defenseless for the entire fight. If your night vision goggles are drained, you are effectively suffering a huge precision penalty for the entire fight. If your taser gets drained, you lose a reliable way to stun for the entire fight. So on and so on.

As for Power Managment, you could still get use out of it. You can use lower quality cores for gadgets that don't necessarily need to have high capacity, that way your shield/energy pistol can have more capacity while total stays the same, it's a cool concept. I'm usually aiming to have around 200 total capacity on my ranged builds- 60 for goggles, 20 for taser and around 120 for energy shield. It's pretty hard to reach 120 capacity until DC without Power Mangement.

I'm not primarily bothered by the lack of counters to energy shields, but by their simplistic non-engaging one-size-fits-all mechanics. Giving enemies more EMPs might make the combat more difficult, but not necessarily all that more interesting.
Energy converter is definitely the biggest issue, I think the conversion rate bonus should be lower. The conversion rate penalty on amplifiers is what makes them unusable, I would get rid of it completly. Perhaps the base dissipation rate should be a bit higher to make capacitors a better option.


MirddinEmris

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Re: Dev Log #54: Specialization and Veteran Level Changes
« Reply #22 on: August 11, 2017, 11:47:33 am »
Quote
Some of you RPG veterans just need a space of your own when it comes to difficulty.

Can you really blame us? :)

Styg

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Re: Dev Log #54: Specialization and Veteran Level Changes
« Reply #23 on: August 11, 2017, 01:05:19 pm »
3. The game needs another difficulty setting.

Some of you RPG veterans just need a space of your own when it comes to difficulty.

Why not throw the ball to the players? Custom difficulty. Let us tweak all the factors tied to difficulty and various extra settings like weight and merchant limits (I haven't forgotten Elhazzared! ;))
I did consider something similar in the past - allowing the player to enable certain pre-programmed "mods" for his playthrough, such as: enemies always/never crit, humans come back to life as mutants, no healing, and other various reasonable and insane options. I'll probably never implement this, though it would be funny...

Quote
Some of you RPG veterans just need a space of your own when it comes to difficulty.

Can you really blame us? :)
No, you are my favorites, but you kill my precious NPCs in a way that makes me want to nerf things.

TheAverageGortsby

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Re: Dev Log #54: Specialization and Veteran Level Changes
« Reply #24 on: August 11, 2017, 02:38:48 pm »
no healing, and other various reasonable and insane options
If healing was buffered up on item use and couldn't exceed some trickle rate that was too slow to really help much in combat, that would be a pretty nice additional difficulty, but no healing at all would be just spiteful*.  A less-trivial version of Pillars of Eternity's injury system might be nice too and presumably wouldn't be *that* hard to introduce since it would just require timerless debuffs.  Plus then poor lonely Pasquale might actually get visitors from time to time, and we could have a medbay to sink charons and fill that weird dead space in the house basement.

Well, just chiming in to say you made a really great game with UnderRail and I'm looking forward to spending some time and money on the expansion.

*by which I do not mean unfair or unwanted  :P

Altos

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Re: Dev Log #54: Specialization and Veteran Level Changes
« Reply #25 on: August 11, 2017, 02:53:16 pm »
Will info about all Specializations be optionally available at char creation just like it is for feats?

Of course not, that would ruin the surprise of finding out that the feats you picked have useless specializations.
:P

I did consider something similar in the past - allowing the player to enable certain pre-programmed "mods" for his playthrough, such as: enemies always/never crit, humans come back to life as mutants, no healing, and other various reasonable and insane options. I'll probably never implement this, though it would be funny...
I love this idea. The X-COM reboots have their own version of this system, and that's basically the only reason why I keep replaying them. Another way you could get around the difficulty issue would be to make Underrail more accessible to modders... somehow. (Don't ask me; I'm a biologist not a programmer. :P) Naturally, this would be something to implement well after the expansion is released (if you were to do it at all).

No, you are my favorites, but you kill my precious NPCs in a way that makes me want to nerf things.
Hey, Rude Rob had it coming! He made fun of my mother! ;)
« Last Edit: August 11, 2017, 02:55:48 pm by Altos »

Fenix

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Re: Dev Log #54: Specialization and Veteran Level Changes
« Reply #26 on: August 11, 2017, 10:59:55 pm »
Alright, let me try to address this as three seperate (altough possibly mutually-exacerbated) problems.

Great post. Lot of info for those who fall in love with game, so to say. Thanks, I'l copypaste it all around.

Will info about all Specializations be optionally available at char creation just like it is for feats?

Of course not, that would ruin the surprise of finding out that the feats you picked have useless specializations.
:P

Yep, that's the Styg we love.  :D
« Last Edit: August 11, 2017, 11:01:37 pm by Fenix »

destroyor

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Re: Dev Log #54: Specialization and Veteran Level Changes
« Reply #27 on: August 11, 2017, 11:38:57 pm »
Poor energy pistols, electroshock weapons and Power Management :(
I'm perfectly aware enemies using EMP grenades would also hurt energy weapon users. It would hurt all builds that rely on electronic gear.

As a matter of fact I think it wouldn't be that bad for energy pistols compared to other electronic gadgets. If your pistol gets drained you just need to spend 10 AP to start shooting again, not a big deal. If your shield is drained, you are left defenseless for the entire fight. If your night vision goggles are drained, you are effectively suffering a huge precision penalty for the entire fight. If your taser gets drained, you lose a reliable way to stun for the entire fight. So on and so on.

As for Power Managment, you could still get use out of it. You can use lower quality cores for gadgets that don't necessarily need to have high capacity, that way your shield/energy pistol can have more capacity while total stays the same, it's a cool concept. I'm usually aiming to have around 200 total capacity on my ranged builds- 60 for goggles, 20 for taser and around 120 for energy shield. It's pretty hard to reach 120 capacity until DC without Power Mangement.

*snip


Problem is energy users usually have a CON of 3, one EMP vs PM(shield + dual energy weapons + goggles + Regen vest + taser) = a world of hurt. Perhaps we can get an anti-EMP utility with a super high electronic requirement?
« Last Edit: August 11, 2017, 11:40:50 pm by destroyor »

Tygrende

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Re: Dev Log #54: Specialization and Veteran Level Changes
« Reply #28 on: August 12, 2017, 12:30:41 am »
Problem is energy users usually have a CON of 3, one EMP vs PM(shield + dual energy weapons + goggles + Regen vest + taser) = a world of hurt. Perhaps we can get an anti-EMP utility with a super high electronic requirement?
You don't necesarily need to have 3 CON, that's a choice and like any other choice, it has its downsides. As a matter of fact plasma pistols can benefit quite a bit from 9 CON to pick Survival Instincts.

In your example you are using as much electronic gear as possible, so naturally EMP-throwing enemies will be your worst enemy and should be prioritized. Again, choosing to use all that gear and letting your total capacity reach crazy high numbers has obvious benefits, but there should be downsides as well.

I don't think a hard counter to a hard counter is a good idea, it would trivialize the entire mechanic.

As I said, I don't think every enemy should start throwing EMPs, but I think they should be more common than they are now.


MirddinEmris

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Re: Dev Log #54: Specialization and Veteran Level Changes
« Reply #29 on: August 12, 2017, 04:28:13 am »
Not necessarily a hard counter, but perhaps some sort of crafting component that you can use in place of components like amplifier or converter. And it will make energy shield loose less power from being exposed to emp burst depending on the quality. It will not completely negate the usefulness of EMP grenades and mines, but also it would have cost of not using different component. With increasing the use of emp stuff, component like this would have it's use, but wouldn't be overpowered

Quote
No, you are my favorites, but you kill my precious NPCs in a way that makes me want to nerf things.

Awww, you say such sweet things, Styg  :)