Working on an extensive MM7 mod... here's what I've got.

The role-playing games (I-X) that started it all and the various spin-offs (including Dark Messiah).

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Working on an extensive MM7 mod... here's what I've got.

Postby BTB » Sep 17 2014, 0:42

All right, for those of you just joining me... first of all, hi there. Secondly, I am working on a mod for Might & Magic VII that is very extensive in scope and am continuing to update this initial post as I progress. I am aware that many other folks on this forum are also working on projects of their own, so it is my hope that the explanation of my project below is enough to catch some interest... particularly that of people whose help I will undoubtedly need to help make my vision a reality.

And so, without further ado...

Classes & Skills

http://btb2.free.fr/cupcakes/mm7_classes_skills.txt

One of the core beliefs I've developed over many years as a modder is that the focus of any good game mod should *always* be on the characters under the player's control and not the challenges they face. Too many mods fall into the trap of simply making enemies stronger without aiming to give the players more - and better - choices on how to develop the characters that they spend the entire game controlling. Might & Magic has been an inspiration for me because I like the idea of team-building, particularly when it has long-reaching consequences over the course of an entire game. I've thus set out to not only balance the game's nine classes, but also to further enhance their individuality and set them apart form one another.

I'll go into more detail on each class and the reasoning behind my changes below:

Knight

In addition to making each class more distinct from the others, I'm also interested in making the game's two paths feel different. This is a particular problem for the might-oriented classes since by far the biggest difference between the two paths in the original game was the mirrored schools of Light and Dark magic (the notion that the path of light favors a might party stems mostly from the fact that Dark magic gets all the best offensive spells). My initial aim with Knights was to make them less boring by offering them the ability to Grandmaster all four major weapon types (Sword, Spear, Axe, and Mace) instead of just Swords and Spears. I found that this gave them far too many weapon combinations to appropriately balance, and so I decided to break their choices apart depending on which path you choose: path of light is the "traditional" Knight that can GM in Sword or Spear whereas the Black Knight instead can GM in Axe or Mace.

Before we go any further, I should probably talk about how the weapon types have been balanced:

Sword - decent all-around weapons with no major strengths or deficiencies. Useable by more classes than any other weapon except Bows (and Blasters >.>).

Spear - the most defensive weapon type. Expertise is switched to add to AC instead of damage, whereas GM level doubles the bonus. Spears are quite strong, as well, but they're also the slowest weapon type.

Axe - the strongest weapon type. The broken GM bonus is now set to double the master-level bonus (skill added to weapon damage). Because of the way the game's damage calculation works, axes will perform poorly when paired with an off-hand weapon, and so they are balanced around being used by themselves (or with a shield).

Mace - the status-inflicter. Maces are built around their primary draw of being able to stun - and eventually paralyze - your opponents. They are relatively weak, quite slow, and *especially* inaccurate weapons otherwise. The paralysis feature is of far greater importance to a Path of Dark party, as the effect is no longer available to them otherwise (hence Mace GM being a Path of Dark option for Knights and Paladins, as discussed below, being more strongly encouraged to use swords).

Dagger - the "fast" weapon. Daggers are only slightly more accurate than maces and are by far the weakest weapon types. Only Thieves and Archers will be able to wield them on a level that's competetive with other types.

Staff - the magician's weapon. Staves will be pushed on the caster classes by allowing them to "channel" one of the four elemental magic types. This is manifested in both the "of ___ magic" bonus as well as additional elemental damage dealt by the weapon itself.

Unarmed - the Monk's weapon. I'll talk about this one more below.

Bow - the Archer's weapon (duh). These are rather overpowered and overused weapons in the original game since they're available to every class. I've restricted them a bit more, mostly so that spellcasters will need to utilize thir offensive magic to contribute to ranged offense (particularly in the early game, where such spells don't seem to see much use).

The most important thing to note is that, in order to maintain balance between classes and just in general, it was necessary to globally raise the recovery times of weapons across the board. A large number of factors go into reducing recovery times, and it was incredibly easy for most characters to achieve the minimum recovery time of 30 by the endgame as a result. Haste and the "Swift" enchantment alone would slash 45 off of a recovery time that started at 100 for the slowest weapons types, and that was before factoring in bonuses from a character's speed or Armsmaster skill (and anyone who's ever played a Knight knows how abuseable *that* skill can be).

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I wanted to get all of that above out of the way really quick mostly to show that axes don't suck anymore, but also because this is probably the most appropriate place to talk about weapon choices. For each path, the Knight has at least three valid/viable weapon setups to choose from, which alongside many other changes should help keep them from being too boring.

It's particularly important to note that, regardless of which path you're on, Knights can function very well in their intended role of tanky buzzsaws. The original game barely utilized the "different skill masteries by path" mechanic at all, and the one notable instance in which it did was severely flawed. By limiting Monks to Disarm Trap expertise for the Path of Light, the developers made them unable to fill one of their most important roles unless they took a specific path. While I aim to make each path more distinct, I'm far more interested in making sure that each class can still do their damn job regardless of which one you're on.

Thief

Most of what I've done to the Thief class is indirect in nature. First, they're designed as a utility class, and so a large part of what I did to make/keep them useful is ensure that their utility skills are useful. Those that are purely informational in nature now offer a combat bonus - Perception, for example, now adds to your armor class - so that there is a reason it invest in these skills. Secondly, a total rebalancing of weapons (their recovery times in particular) allow them to be competetive with the other fighting classes by allowing their speed advantage to be significant (in the original game, it is very easy for most classes to reach the minimum weapon recovery time - this is no longer true).

Beyond that, the only change worthy of note is allowing their meager spellcasting abilities to at least see some potential use. The original skill tables did not differentiate at all between the different schools by type (self or elemental), which is another huge missed opportunity in my opinion. Thieves are now able to learn expert Water magic at first promotion and then will later be able to do the same with Air or Fire magic, depending on which path you choose. Again, it's important to note that these choices regard a secondary ability of the Thief class and do not in any way impede its ability to function in its primary role on either path.

Monk

The major point of interest here is that Monks no longer use Staves. This has always been the case for any veteran player of the original game, since the extra damage done by the staff was never able to make up for the much slower weapon speed. So now, Monks just punch stuff and cast healing magic (the latter of which is now available - albeit in a limited capacity - prior to 1st promotion). They also are able to master Disarm Trap on *either* path, because **** you original game.

While their magic abilities are slightly staggered depending on path (Spirit expertise for Light, Mind expertise for Dark, Body expertise for both), the main path difference between the two is which of the two Monk-oriented artifacts you'll recieve for the second promotion. Path of Light Monks obtain the Hands of the Master - which now just boost the Unarmed skill - while the Shadow's Mask obtained at the end of the Ninja quest now instead offers a substantial boost to Dodging. This is kind of important because "of the Fist" and "of Dodging" enchantments, along with many others, were taken out of the game due to balance problems (see the section on it below).

Paladin

Paladins now have the Sword skill forced on them instead of Maces. Both can be grandmastered, and the former is likely the more attractive option for a path of light party (see the weapons discussion above under the Knight section). Paladins are also the new Merchant GMs, because MM9 actually had one or two ideas that didn't suck.

While Monks and Thieves have their self and elemental magic abilities staggered based on path, the same is not true of Paladins (or Archers) because self magic is one of their primary abilities. What is staggered for the Paladin and Archer classes is, instead, the schools of Light and Dark magic. Expert and master levels of these schools were fairly meaningless in the original game since the only classes who could use them were either GM-capable or restricted to basic knowledge. Here, Paladins are able to achieve expertise in Light magic *only*, whereas expertise of Dark magic is now available to Snipers.

To counteract this imbalance, all self-magic specialists (Monks, Paladins, and Clerics) on the Path of Dark will see their Intellect contribute to their SP pool instead of just Personality. The reverse, of course, is also true for elemental casters on the path of Light. In addition to acting as en effective SP boost (and a rather significant one for the magic-heavy classes), this has the added benefit of cutting down on the number of "useless" stats, which is something that bothers me more than it should. >.>

Archer

I just want to point out that a spear in one hand and a dagger in the other is a bloody stupid setup and so Archers can't do that anymore because spears are limited to expertise now. Along with Rangers, Archers make a good "gap-filling" class for melee weapon use since they can use swords, daggers, and spears all at about the same level of effectiveness. Their primary weapon, obviously, is the bow, and the quest reward for their second promotion (the legendary Ulysses or Ania Selving, depending on path) will help see to that. Archers are further buffed by their "useless" miscellaneous skills (Perception and ID Monster) now contributing significantly to their compbat abilities.

Nothing else to say beyond that than what was already discussed in the Paladin section above.

Ranger

In the original game, these guys were pretty much the poster children for suck. I've done a lot to help bring them up to par, most of it being things I've already mentioned like how axes no longer suck and how their ability to percieve things and identify monsters now actually contribute to their combat abilities. They also get another weapon option (GM Spear) to help diversify your party's weapon coverage and much-needed access to Armsmaster mastery.

Their magic abilities, like with Thieves and Monks, are staggered. Notably, expertise in Earth magic (one of the under-appreciated schools, particularly in the early game) is available upon first promotion, which as we all know may as well be the moment you set foot in Harmondale. Not much else to say here, so let's move along.

Cleric

Sort of like the case with Thieves, most of what I've done with this class has been indirect. They lose their ability to repair items and Merchant has been bumped down to mastery, and in return pick up Alchemy mastery, but that's sort of about it. Much more notable changes revolve around the spells they cast, so see the section on spells below about that. Of particular note is that, as I mentioned above in weapons discussion under the Knight section, Clerics can no longer use bows, and so their ranged offense is now limited exclusively to magic.

As with Paladins and Archers, the mirrored schools of Light and Dark magic are staggered between Clerics and Sorcerers. While Clerics are able to reach Grandmastery in Light magic, they're restricted to mastery of Dark magic. Again, in practice, this ends up not being a huge blow to Clerics since they still get the more important offensive spells (Shrapmetal, namely). Besides, it would stand to reason that Souldrinker is a Lich-only spell, wouldn't it? >.>

Druid

The main idea behind the Druid class in the original game seemed to be "like Sorcerers, but less magical and slightly better fighters". Where the series really seemed to get this right was, interestingly enough, in Might & Magic IX where they became healer/Monk hybrids. I mentioned earlier that Monks have no use for Staves since the cons outweigh the pros, but a class that's focused primarily on casting spells has no such problem with them (particularly given their magic-channeling powers, as I mentioned earlier). Druids are now the only class that can grandmaster the Staff skill, with the Unarmed fighting ability offering a little bit of extra "oomph" to their attacks rather than being the primary basis of them.

Like the other classes, Druids have different abilities depending on the path chosen. Followers of the light - i.e. the more "might"-oriented path - are able to achieve mastery of the Unarmed skill. However, their abilities in the schools of Fire and Mind magic are restricted to expertise. Once again, those two specific schools were chosen for a reason: they're the most offensive in nature and, more importantly, both lack that "killer ap" spell that the others all have which allow Druids to function as the party's sole spellcaster if need be. Choosing to take a Druid down the path of light nets you a Druid that, although more combat-focused, has every bit of the utility function of a Warlock.

Sorcerer

Sorcerers are indispensable in the original game and they're pretty much still indispensable here. Lloyd's Beacon alone is a deal-sealer for most, so I'll quit talking about their magic and talk more about their other abilties. First, ther Staff is pushed heavily on them as their weapon of choice due to the magic-channeling ability I mentioned earlier. This is of particular importance due to that their ranged offensive capabilities are entirely magical in nature due to their inability to use bows. Daggers are still an option if you're looking for something faster, but none of that dual-wielding **** - Sorcs only get them at basic level now.

Aside from that, Sorcerers are pretty much the biggest utility class in the game aside from Thieves. Alchemy mastery, ID Item, and now Repair Item grandmastery (Knights and Paladins have been bumped down to master) are all the realm of Sorcerers. In fact, their biggest weakness is only having so many skill points to spend (which may make you grateful that Clerics can at least take over Alchemy duties).

Of course, they *are* restricted to mere mastery of Light magic, but I don't think I could possibly say with a straight face that they're still not always worth bringing along for the ride. Sorcerers rock, and that much has always been and will always be true.

Races & Stats

http://btb2.free.fr/cupcakes/mm7_races_stats.txt

Probably one of the most important changes that this mod will make is redoing the stat breakpoints so that there's an incentive to keep raising your stats throughout the game, whereas in the original there was tremendously little benefit from raising a stat from, say, 50 up to 100. These "soft" ceilings were often hit very early in the game due to the prevalence of in-game permanent stat-boosts, ultimately invalidating any difference between the four character races in short order.

Complementing the stat breakpoint changes are changes to the starting racial stats that make them each viable options for a number of classes (instead of Goblins being the go-to choice for Knights due to their only deficiencies being in unused stats), as well as changes to the permanent in-game stat bonuses that continue to enforce racial diversity throughout the game.

To talk more on the subject is to move on to the next major section of the mod...

Enchantments & Artifacts

Anyone familiar with the game's stat break system (see above) can quickly spot the very serious flaws in many of its magical items. A +25 "of Might" enchantment looks pretty on paper until you realize that you were lucky (in the original game) if that ultimately translated into even one extra damage point in the late-game. Even the mighty Titan's Belt would afford maybe an extra three damage max at the expense of considerably more speed - hardly worthy of being a rare and powerful artifact!

On the flip side of worthless, you had the retardedly overpowered. Wallace, as a primary example, is a sword best known for giving Knights a 20-point recovery bonus to their attacks (all thanks to that lovely Armsmaster GM) in addition to slapping another 20 points of damage onto them. And that's not even the highest armsmaster bonus you could find (bearing in mind that Wallace would *stack* with any other Armsmaster bonus you could rustle up - as if your Knights weren't already swinging at the 30-recovery minimum already).

Perhaps the greatest demonstration of what was wrong with the original system can be made with a simple side-by-side comparison. "Of Health" and "of Endurance" exist as separate enchantments. Both are given the same value and exist on the same scale - you have the same chance of finding one at an equal bonus as the other. The difference is that while one adds to your health directly, the other raises a stat that does so indirectly and is far less efficient at it. A +25 ring of Health will raise a character's hitpoints by just that: 25, whereas the latter would be lucky to do so by a fraction of that amount. This is just one of several examples of this exact same concept at work.

Long story short, stat-boosting enchantments simply can not exist on the same scale as those that boost derived stats (hitpoints, spellpoints, AC) or even worse, miscellaneous skills. The answer was this to completely rebalance every other aspect of the game so that such things as a Ring of Disarming were no longer considered necessary and get back to the basics with enchantments by having them focus largely on boosting stats. My inspiration here was, appropriately enough, Heroes of Might & Magic, where every artifact one of your heroes stumbled across was a welcome boost to his or her stats. With "basic" enchantments confined to just basic stat and resistance boosts, I was free to raise their potency to a level where they actually remain effective in the endgame (especially if stacked).

Does this mean that armsmaster-boosting enchantments no longer exist? Not necessarily. You'll still find them at some points, but they will be set rather than random. The basic idea is that when it comes to something as potentially powerful and game-breaking as these sorts of enchantments, then it's best for the developer to control their distribution rather than leave it up to the random number gods. That statement also applies to how I've handled artifacts and relics, though I'll talk more about that below in the section on Save Scumming.

Spells

The "magic" part of Might & Magic VII was always something that I, for the most part, was very happy with. I think that the magic schools are pretty damn well balanced as is, and there's not a whole lot I felt I needed to do in order to bring things in line.

That said, here are the more significant changes I am looking to make:

Fire Aura

Here's a good example of a spell that's broken enough to destroy a game mechanic. Finding enchanted weapons in the original game was possible, but not desirable as you were able to do a much better job of it yourself, conjuring up "of Flames" and "of Infernos" enchantments long before you'd ever stumble across the pre-made equivalents. Enchantments of other elements were pretty much never used, nor were the white potions that imbued weapons with mid-level enchantments and showed up *far* past their point of usefulness.

Fure Aura now never progresses beyond "of Fire".

Immolation

This... is pretty useless at Master level do to the retardedly short duration. It's been bumped up from 1 minute/skill to 3 minutes.

Invisibility

This one, on the other hand, is quite broken. Most of the Might & Magic VII endgame revolves around avoiding rather than fighting battles thanks entirely to this spell, and so I saw fit to limit its duration to 3 minutes/skill at master level and 5 minutes/skill at GM. It'll help you sneak past a few enemies, sure, but it isn't going to get you clean through a dungeon.

Detect Life & Fate

Dear Celestia, are there any spells more useless than these two? Really, these thigns suck so badly that they drag basic Spirit magic down entirely with them. I intend to rework Detect Life entirely into a spell that will "revive" an unconscious character up to 1 HP, whereas the latter I envision as a permanent AC debuff meant for use on larger/tougher enemies.

Resurrection

Eradication is kind of a crap mechanic, really. Pretty much any kind of outright fatal attack that only one class can defend against or heal is. What I'm trying to say is that eradication will be heavily downplayed in this mod, thus rendering this spell sort of useless. What I'd like to do is turn it into "Life 2", where the target is brought back to life at full HP.

Stun & Telepathy

Ok, to answer my above question: Telepathy is the most useless spell ever. I am axing this piece of **** entirely and moving the Stun spell over to Mind magic, setting it as the new entry-level spell. Due to the whole "spellcasters can't use bows" things, I think it'll be a lot more useful for Clerics than Sorcerers. Replacing Stun in the school of Earth magic will be a "Magic Arrow" spell, which will basically be the cheapest offensive spell (1 SP) available. Remember that spellcasting classes can't use bows anymore.

Mind Blast & Charm

Having Charm and Beserk on the same spell level always struck me as odd, since one is basically a superior version of the other. I intend to set Charm as a basic-level Mind spell while promotiong Mind Blast to expert level, thus allowing me to increase its power and fill the intermediate-level damage gap in the self magic schools.

Harm & Heal

With Mind Blast set as an expert spell, Harm needs to be set as the new low-level self damage spell. It takes Heal's old place at 2 SP, whereas Heal is bumped up to 3 (I'll talk more about Heal when I get to the Alchemy section below). All of the "Resistance" spells are now the 4 SP spells of their respective schools rather than the 3 SP spells, which is particularly interesting for the offensive spells that get made cheaper in this manner (Ice Bolt & Deadly Swarm). This is the part where I remind you again that spellcasters can't use bows.

Regeneration

Yeah, this one is just broken as **** in the original. What the game needs right here is a spell that's more efficient than Heal for fixing your party up in the field, whereas Heal is still cheaper and better for spot healing on a single character. What we got was a spell that was infinitely more useful than the GM-level spell.

To change this spell to suit the role I believe it was meant to fill, the following changes were made:

• Targets entire party

• Duration is 1 minute/skill

• Effectiveness is 2 HP/min (expert), 3 HP/min (master), 4 HP/min (grandmaster)

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I've also done some other minor rebalancing/tweaking to SP costs and recovery times. Perhaps most important of note is that most non-offensive (i.e. buff/utility) spells all now have much lower recovery times as more of a quality of life change than anyhting. There's nothing really game-breaking about being able to pull off a near-immediate Torchlight, for example - it just translates into less prep time before you can head out.

Alchemy

http://btb2.free.fr/cupcakes/mm7_alchemy.txt

While alchemy ingredients are something I'm still in the middle of tweaking, the structure and rebalancing of the potions themselves is complete.

No Alchemy skill (i.e. "Derp")

The main thing here is that blue potions are now "Remove Fear" instead of "Restore SP". Putting potions that restore HP and SP on the same level, particularly this early on in the game, is nastily imbalanced because the SP potions are far more economical thanks to the Heal spell. To wit, one red potion in the original game will cure 11 HP to a similarly-strengthed blue potion's 85 (assuming expert-level Body magic). The only thing that red potions had going for them was that they could be quaffed endlessly in the heat of battle, and that just wasn't enough.

Basic

What you need now to make a potion that restores SP is a blue reagent *and* a yellow one, which is good for yellow reagants because they really sucked in the original game. This gives you a reason to keep all three of them handy, and it also provides an actual benefit to basic-level Alchemy.

Expert

Maybe it's just me, but it seemed *really* weird that layered potions in the original game mostly mimicked the effects of party-wide spells. These were all pretty useless for the most part, except in the case of Haste which was just broken as **** due to the insanely long duration.

Expert alchemy is now the realm of two potion types that I feel should see more use in the mid-game: resistance potions and weapon-enhancing potions (i.e. "Freezing", "Flaming", etc.). Swift does not exist because that entire enchantment has been done away with due to balance issues.

Master

Stone to Flesh is now a white potion because reasons, and Divine Restoration goes away so as not to completely invalidate the other status-curing potions. Not much else to say here.

Grandmaster

Two new potion effects, since black potions were kind of lame/boring before: Pain Reflection and Raise Dead. The former is a very rare case of me allowing the effects of a Light/Dark spell to the oppositing path, as it's something I've mostly done away with in the mod (i.e. wands are only elemental in nature now, scrolls are very rare, etc.)

Random Loot, Save-Scumming, & Artifacts

One of the mod's bigger aims is to reduce the need/incentive to save-scum due to the game's highly random nature. A common offender of this was the various contests spread throughout the land that could all be won for a boatload of skill points, but only if you were lucky (or save-scummed) and got all of them to roll different attributes. What I've done is set all Games, Cotnests, Tests, and Challenges to use the same playerbit for all seven attributes, meaning each character can only win one of each.

As I'm aware that the above does subtract a bit from the available skill points that many players get, I went about adding them back here and there in places that seemed appropriate. For example, the trader network will be reworked to offer a one-time skill point reward to each character, so there's incentive to go out and do that. And the wishing well at Eeofol will be reworked into a late-game money-sink that offers skill points at 10,000 gold (ish) apiece. The one at Bracada will be similarly reworked to do the same with stats. I may put a hard limit on the number of times both can be used if the economy turns out to be very easily abuseable, but it should be enough to drain all of that superfluous cash everyone has in the endgame.

Random loot in general has had some of the more worthless options pruned out - **** spell scrolls show up less frequently and the really **** ones are gone entirely. Certain ones that people will save-scum for hours to get (i.e. Lloyd's Beacon) also no longer show up because I'm trying to move away from the save-scum mentality. Don't worry - I'm adding in a way to go back to Emerald Isle. I'll probably even think of an actual reason for you to want to go there.

Somewhat related to the subject of random loot are the oresmiths in Erathia, who are a particularly noteworthy broken element in the original game as they were often my meal ticket to a whole bunch of free ****. They were typically the source of the vast majority of my party's endgame equipment, most of which I acquired quite early on. These guys represented, in my opinion, they very worst of how save-scumming was present in this game as I can't tell you how many childhood hours I wasted in front that blond *****'s house ever-so-slowly lowering my standards with each reload.

My solution to the oresmith problem? Take another page from the Heroes playbook: one oresmith will pay you for ore, while another one will give you experience. And since there's three oresmiths, the third one will just give you wands from her "collection" (set, not random). Useful if you're about to go fight some ooze (or a dragon). Also useful because wands are required to turn regular staffs into magic-chanelling ones.

But really, the big thing here is artifacts. As I mentioned above, the whole "random" distribution system just really doesn't work for a number of reasons. For starters, there's a good chance that the artifact you get will be one that your party gcan't even use, and an even better one that it'll just be a sucky one that you don't want. Many players will just reload until they get one of the few incredibly useful ones (Wallace, Hands of the Master, and Ethrick's Staff all come to mind). This is not an ideal setup.

Unfortunately, the only real solution to the above problem is a total overhaul. If I'm going to keep artifacts in the game, then I have to individually decide what I'm going to do with each of them. There still will be something of a "random" element to it, though it will be less "random" and more of a deliberate choice once you figure out how it works. For example, I intend to set it up so that a player will get one of either Justice, Gibbet, or Ghoulsbane if playing on the path of light or one of Mekorig's Hammer, Charelle, or amuck if playing ont he path of dark. Failure to find/refusal of any of them results in the player recieving Mash. This helps to ensure that the player A) is guaranteed to actually get an artifact weapon, B) will get one that she can actually use, and C) can't end up with a party completely pimped out in ancient relics.

The above is just one example - other artifacts and relics will be placed/dealt with on an individual basis according to their usefulness and whether or not I feel like keeping them around. Their effects are just one of several things I will need help from the mod community (i.e. Greyface) in doing, as I am currently unable to with my current resources.

NPC Hirelings

http://btb2.free.fr/cupcakes/mm7_hirelings.txt

NPC Hirelings were never really a major presence in the vanilla game. Their only real use were either for the purposes of speedrunning or score-stuffing, and the latter in particular really bothered me. NPCs who served solely to reduce travel time did nothing except help inflate your end-game score, which to me always detracted from a lot of the fun in the game. I'm not against the idea of playing for score, mind, but I'd rather see it be a measure of good routing and playing rather than one's ability to savescum for Lloyd's Beacon scrolls and hire the right NPCs (who, again, have literally *no* other use).

I've taken an axe to all of the **** hireling classes, and dear Celestia was there a lot of them. A grand total of 20 remain, and they are now meant to be a much more important strategic factor than before since the ones that are left are the actually useful ones.

Monsters

Aside from the fact that I'm completely rebalancing stats/HP/spells/etc. from the ground up, the main thing I want to point out is that I intend to utilize more elemental attacks and more attacks that inflict status ailments. This, along, with putting a greater diversity of enemies on maps that need it, are intended to make status recovery and elemental resistances spells and items more useful.

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My apologies for the brevity of this post in the latter sections, but it's late and the mod is still very much a work in progress. I just wanted to post and update and show everything that I had so far and hope that maybe my vision strikes a chord with y'all.

-BTB
Last edited by BTB on Jun 11 2015, 18:07, edited 17 times in total.

Pope_Amole
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Postby Pope_Amole » Sep 17 2014, 13:26

1. GM mace for the knights is a total overkill - that makes paladins incredibly inferior to them and, well, the knight already has the great GM armsmaster and the good GM bodybuilding. Does he really need more?

2. Only the druid and the ranger are worse classes than the thief - why nerf him? The daggers are only strong in the early game. This is not m&M VI, the recovery time bonuses are extremely plentiful so anyone can reach that 30 recovery cap without much problems. So the thief will soon swing at 30 recovery time, just as everyone else. Only his damage bonuses are much crappier.

3. Once again, the recovery time bonuses in this game are plentiful so it's quite possible to make the staff swing as fast as the fist. Because of the really high base recovery time, it's not as easy as for the other weapons, but it's doable. The key here are the Staffs of Darkness which, apart from being swift, also give you the actual reason for going staff on the monk - life draining. Gaining 20% damage from your attack is rather huge, considering monks can easily hit for 200 in the light sided party. That's not an always go for optin, but it's a viable option and you're just cutting down the variety here (without giving anything in return).

4. Paladins don't need a little boost, GM Mace is really strong, especially when massed. They also don't need chain as, once again, even with mastered plate they still swing at 30 recovery time. Especially since the mace itself is very fast - just 80 recovery time.

5. Giving GM spear to rangers is great, but that still leaves the problem with the axes - they're still worthless. And that still doesn't make rangers interesting - the difference between the bad classes (thief, druid, ranged) and the good ones (the rest) is that the good all have their identity. The knight is the ultimate damage dealer, the monk is the ultimate tank, the paladin can paralyze foes easily, the archer is supreme with the bow and, well, clerics & wizards have their magic. And you can actually play around those factors - you can easily make a 3x paladin+1wizard light party, give each paladin 20-30 GM mace skill and run around, insta-paralyzing everything you encounter. You can make a 3xarcher+1 whatever party and play off the archery only, drowning everything that moves in the swarm of 5 recovery time arrows. You can go a full melee knight-knight-monk-wizard party. Or a full caster party. Or a balanced one.

The problem of the thief is that he's just a supbar damage dealer (and his thieving skills essentially do nothing). The problem of the druid is that he's a subpar caster (an GM alchemy doesn't do much). The problem of ranger is that he's nothing. So, while giving some good stuff to these classes is good, it doesn't solve their issues - how are they unique? Why do I take thief or ranger over a monk? Why do I take a druid over a cleric?

6. Druid change is ok, but you can go the full way and give them the master unarmed.

7. You're really underestimating low-level spells. Or, rather, everyone else are overhyping bows. If you build your party right (or, rather, have the right henchmen), there's actually almost zero reasons for any kind of a caster to use bow past the Emerald Isle.

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Postby BTB » Sep 17 2014, 14:34

First, two general responses - the overall strength of the weapons will be balanced, as well. Axes, in particular, need to be made much stronger to remain competetive. Maces and daggers, on the other hand, need to be a bit weaker (especially given that the former gets a damage bonus from expert level). GM Mace on Knights is an excellent choice, and so the goal there is to make all three other options equally attractive.

For the Thief, my reasoning is the inverse of why you say Axes are so poor - their speed bonus combined with the GM damage bonus makes them more damaging overall than any other class except for an unarmed Monk. Likewise, I've sat down and crunched the numbers for a Monk and, even factoring in the Armsmaster nerf and assuming the best possible Staff setup, concluded that Unarmed would still do at least as much and usually more damage overall. What you've stated - the HP drain from a Wizard Staff of darkness - is the only selling point of going down that road. And I personally consider it to be poor game balance when the viability of one option (particularly the one that's encouraged) hinges entirely on one very specific setup - especially in a game known for its randomness.

(Of course, I also intend to get rid of the few enchantments that are rather OP, or at least will be in a re-balanced environment. "Of darkness" may very well fall into that category.)

I think you're a bit off on your recovery estimates for the Paladin - master plate has a halved recovery penalty of 15, not the full 30. The idea is that grandmaster chain will provide nearly as much protection (obviously, I intend to re-balance the AC of the three different types to fine-tune this decision).

I also disagree with the statement that the Knight is the ultimate fighter and the Monk is the ultimate tank - I think it's the other way around, but just barely. Again, this comes from analyzing the final total AC for each as well as the final total damage output under ideal conditions. The Knight will overtake the Monk, I believe, but only with a substantial investment in Armsmastery

Rangers, as I said, are a "gap-filling" class. They're the ultimate hybrids and meant to be that way. You strike me as the sort of person who doesn't much care for Red Mages, either :P

Druids are in sort of the same boat, but they do have more individuality. I see them less as Cleric/Sorcerer hybrids and more as Sorcerers with a bigger MP pool and better fighting skills. Further, I've reworked the stat break tables so that there's more incentive to raise your stats beyond 50, as well as lowered the gains from barrels and shrines. This should make access to Alchemy grandmastery a bit more appealing, I think.

And speaking of overkill, Unarmed mastery on Druids would be *ridiculous*. Find yourself a good "of the fist" enchantment and watch her turn into a meat tenderizer.

For the record, I'm not underestimating low-level spells - I know how amazing they can be in the late game. Early on, however, it's a much better idea to save your limited MP and shoot a bow that will do almost as much damage as a level 4 Fire Bolt. Further, I would counter this statement with the assertion that you seem to undervalue the ability to use magic on hybrid characters; the Paladin is a much beefier character than a Cleric who can cure unconscious characters and revive dead ones, and the Ranger can learn any magic skill to expert level that your other characters can't be assed to bother with. Archers and Paladins can fully replace primary spellcasters in a might-oriented party, and a Druid can function as the sole spellcaster if need be (not recommended, but it's an option).
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Postby Logscale » Sep 17 2014, 15:37

@BTB:
Thanks for your help posted in my "need help with MM7 mod" thread. I've been reading your balance mod description and wanted to give honest feedback.

A general comment about your balance changes: I can't see any significant rationale for removing bows from monks and casters and further diminishing casters' already pitiful melee skills. Low-level clerics need their bows because they should be saving their SP for healing/buffing. Near end-game, bows are almost irrelevant except for Archers - because blasters are just that much better, so all the bow removal does is impair low-level characters while making almost no balancing impact anytime later.

Knight:
"For starters, Knights are now allowed to grandmaster in Axes and Maces, because why the hell not? They're the best fighting class in the game, and so it seems weird to restrict their weapon choices so. Somewhat contrary to this, plate armor is very hardly pushed on them since it's the clearly superior choice in their case. Leather and Chain can still be worn as a stopgap, but Plate is the one that's now offered as a potential starting skill.

(Of course, I'll be lowering the cost of cheap Plate Armor so that people aren't just picking this one for the financial benefit)

Like all other classes, Knights have all of their nonsensical/stupid skill choices - like daggers and staves - removed. This marks them as one of the most specialized classes in the game, only able to access a small number of skills that they can get very, very good at.

So, really, Knights haven't changed much."
-> Knights should never be using daggers or staves, but that isn't really a good reason for removing those skills. In fact, default MM7 latest official patch has a bug where if you are wielding an offhand dagger, you always have a triple damage critical chance - so a Knight with an offhand dagger is actually a valid (although somewhat RNG-dependent) build. Knights have no grandmaster axe/mace skill because those are intended as perks for Rangers and Paladins respectively. Furthermore, a knight's biggest problem isn't weapon skills. A lot of people are going to look at me funny for saying this, but I almost never take a Knight in my party in MM6 and MM7 because master/grandmaster "shotgun spells" (poison spray, sparks, shrapmetal, MM6 fireblast at point-blank range) scale much better with skill level damage-wise than even grandmaster armsmaster. In short: a knight's armsmaster skill is well and good, but in the end, choosing a knight is like taking a sword and spear instead of a shotgun with near-infinite ammo - for close combat.

Thief:

"Double grandmaster daggers are incredibly potent thanks to the combination of a damage bonus and high speed. Thieves are thus on the receiving end of a nerf by means of a small HP reduction and the reduction of Armsmaster mastery to mere expertise.

They get a few things back, however. The main thing is that, if I succeed in my endeavors to overhaul the game's misc skills, fewer skill points will be required to advance in them. This will be a huge boon to the MM7's primary utility character, who will have a lot more skill points to spend on other pursuits (like pumping up that Body Building skill to make up for lost HP).

Also, Thieves now gain access to expert-level elemental spells upon second promotion, since restricting them to only basic spells is pretty much a complete insult."
-> Thieves are actually among the weaker classes in MM7, I would consider them to be a waste of a character slot late-game. With default balancing, thieves' main perks are: Grandmaster dagger + master-level armsmaster (which is nowhere near as good as a knight or monk for nonmagic melee combat), Grandmaster leather (at least they can tank elemental damage if nothing else), and being able to pick open containers and swipe items from NPCs. Picking open trapped containers is a moot point at higher levels because even an SCSC party will have enough health to eat trap damage - if the trap hasn't already been wasted from Telekinesis. Swiping items from NPCs will only make the entire region hate you (severe reputation drop even if you are never caught).
I would actually suggest buffing this class - give them expert elemental skills and master-level bow skill - that way they get elemental area damage, poison spray and sparks at a meaningful level, and can seriously do ranged damage when out of SP. They can be a hybrid of Knight and Archer classes. No skill nerfs needed.

Monk:

"Here's a fun fact about Monks: there is no reason to give them a staff. They will do more damage overall without one thanks to the massive recovery penalty imposed by using a weapon (see my comments on daggers above), not to mention save 54 skill points that can be better spent elsewhere. So, rather than fixing an unfixable problem, I just made Monks no longer able to equip them in the first place so that they're free to focus their energy on hitting things. Like Thieves, Monks also get dropped down to Armsmaster expertise so that their ludicrous recovery time doesn't get too overkilly."
-> I completely agree - staves in MM6-8 are utter trash for actual combat. The only reason to ever use a staff is as a "focus item" (a trinket that you can also hit enemies over the head with) - such as Ethric's Staff in MM7 or Staff of the Elements in MM8. My personal opinion is that staves should have +damage per skillpoint instead of chance to stun at master level, making them a viable choice for monks and wizards. Also, if I remember properly, Armsmaster has no effect on unarmed combat.

"Monks are, essentially, an alternative to the Thief class that offers similar utility (Disarm Trap mastery and self-magic expertise are no longer path-dependent, naturally) and fighting power but with much more bulk. So what, then, does the Thief have over the Monk? Well, the Thief can still actually use a bow.

Yeah, Monks can't use bows - or any other weapon besides their fists, for that matter. The same is now also true of the three casters classes to encourage the use of their low-level attack spells, but for the Monk it's more of a deliberate nerf meant to keep Knights and Thieves competitive choices."
-> Monks: Knights that can heal, and prefer to dodge instead of take half damage. Also see above comment on why bows shouldn't be removed. I would buff rogues instead of nerfing Monks - and also equalize their master/ninja skills - give them expert self abilities and improved rogue skills all-around.

Paladin

"So now we're starting to get into the classes that needed a little boost. For the Paladin, who's basically a Knight who goes to church once in awhile, this comes in the form of Armsmaster mastery. They also get an interesting choice in armor selection with the ability to grandmaster in Chain, which will offer lower overall protection but greater speed than mastered Plate. Weapon choice comes down to whether to use a sword in the off hand or a shield, since all other weapon options on a Paladin made little sense (seriously, who gives a Paladin a staff? I seriously want to know)."
-> Armsmastery (pun intended) is actually a good idea for paladins. In that cause, you shouldn't remove their ability to wield a dagger in the offhand so they can use a mace/dagger
paralyze/critical build. I also like the grandmaster chainmail option so they can decrease damage taken with no recovery penalty while knights keep the exclusive right to grandmaster plate.

"Something about the original game that really bothered me was that Light and Dark magic was available only at basic or grandmaster level, with absolutely no middle ground. This was particularly egregious since it came at a time when you typically had the skill points to buff your C's and your S's up to GM status right away.

Enter Paladins and Archers to fill the void, but here's the catch: Paladins can only become experts in light magic, while Archers only get expert Dark magic. Clerics and Sorcerers complete the spread with the latter being restricted to light magic mastery and the former to dark mastery. The consolation prize for taking a self magic caster down the path of dark or vise-versa is that those classes will get an MP boost due to having both Intellect and Personality raise their MP. This is a nice change mainly because I dislike stats that do absolutely nothing."
-> This would just increase the imbalance between light and dark paths. The light/dark path difference is broken as it is, but I can't see this change making it any better. I would prefer to buff light damage abilities and perhaps raise paladins/archers to expert dark/light at most.

"Oh, yeah, Paladins can also master the Merchant skill now. Because who wouldn't want to be generous to one of these guys?"
-> Someone on the dark path.

Ranger:

"Yeah, this guy is pretty much the poster child for "badly in need of a buff". We'll start with the obvious Armsmaster mastery buff, and the rest comes down to better weapon/armor choices. Bow is now the forced weapon skill at the game's outset, leaving you to choose between Axe and Spear (both at grandmaster level) as a weapon with optional off-handed mastered sword. Two swords is also an option, if you just wanna Drizzt **** up."
-> I'm not certain if Rangers should have master-level armsmaster - instead, the Axe grandmaster perk could be improved. I would fix Rangers by giving them master level elemental/self abilities and grandmaster bow skill - so rangers would be like archers that trade light/dark abilities and grandmaster chain for slightly better melee and self abilities.

"For armor, the choice is between mastered chain (unchanged) or grandmaster leather. The defense gap between the three armor classes will be widened a bit so that leather isn't the obvious choice here, not to mention the fact that grandmaster Leather does involve double the skill point investment that master Chain does. You can also use a shield if the weapon options above just didn't seem interesting enough.

So, yeah, the Ranger's thing is versatility, allowing them to function as a "gap-filling" class that no longer really sucks. They remain able to achieve expertise in all misc skills, and can grandmaster in Perception and Identify Monster
Also, since this mod changes up monster stats and attacks in a big way, having someone along that can identify them is actually pretty helpful."
-> No comment on that because I have no idea what you're planning for them.

Archer:

"The big nerf here is having Chain armor dropped down to mastery, since allowing such a generally weak class (they're the most magic-oriented of the hybrids and I treat them that way) access to damage reduction otherwise available only to Knights and Paladins seemed weird."
-> No offense meant, but I strongly disagree. "Archers" in MM6-8 are more like warrior mages who also have an unparalleled bow silll. If anything, Archers should keep their grandmaster chain skill so they can "tank" physical damage.

"Beyond that, though... very little has changed here. They get bumped up to master Meditation and Alchemy to reinforce their roles as magical hybrids (the latter is a skill now restricted to magical classes). There's also the Dark expertise thing I mentioned while talking about Paladins, plus Disarm Trap expertise no longer requires a promotion because that was stupid."
-> Quality-of-life improvements for Archers. I approve.

"Oh, yeah, I guess I should mention that class requirements for promotion of non-magical skills have been standardized so that mastery requires first promotion and grandmastery requires second."
-> I can't see any real reason for this. Magic skills are the most powerful, so they require more promotion than other skills. This would just encourage further lame SCSC/dark builds.

Cleric:

"I used to consider Clerics to be the best class in the game due to a combination of easy healing and breaking the economy. Nowadays, I just think the economy thing is a bit much and so I bumped them down to merchant mastery. This makes merchant grandmasters completely unattainable, because it is in fact completely broken."
-> Nothing broken about merchant grandmasters IMO. If there's one thing economically broken in MM7, it's grandmaster fire aura on cheap weapons. Go to a low-level smithy, buy out their entire collection, throw permanent "of Infernoes" on it, sell the collection back.

"Actually, pretty much all of the changes to Clerics (aside from the Light/Dark duality mentioned earlier and the inability to use bows also mentioned earlier) are nerfs to their miscellaneous skills. Repair Item is now mainly the work of Knights/Paladins (who can master in it, allowing them to fix any weapon or piece of armor) and Sorcerers (who can fix *anything*, including artifacts and magical accessories), and Alchemy is basic level only since the entire skillset is somewhat redundant on them anyhow."
-> Clerics are already weak enough at range, no need to nerf their dark skill and bows as well. I can only envision your dark/light nerfs making balance-wise sense if you change the game so that you can have both light and dark in the same party like in MM6 and MM8.

"They're still one of the best classes in the game."
-> No offense meant, but IMO the only reasons to take a cleric over a druid are mass healing, light/dark, and grandmaster protection from magic (no more instant death/eradication). From my experience, clerics aren't a character that you bring because they are overpowered, you bring them because they have the only counter against instant death/eradication. If you remove instant death and eradication (my mod removes them), then druids gain a very solid edge over clerics even with no further changes. In fact, my experience in MM6 is that 2 wizards and 2 druids works better than the much-celebrated SCSC build because costs of dark/light abilities in MM6 are ridiculous.

Druid

"So, the Druid is meant to be sort of like a Sorcerer, only a little better at fighting and surviving? And vanilla showed this by giving them daggers? Okay, then... how about this? give them a weapon that you'd typically associate with Druids - a Staff - and then allow them to grandmaster it so that Staff grandmastery actually serves a purpose? Unarmed expertise lets them take advantage of this bonus. It also makes them like the Druids from MM9, which is kinda cool.

For armor, the choice between expert leather and expert dodging really comes down to how lazy you're feeling - or how much you think you'll be able to snag the Hands of the Master. One or the other."

Also, like the other magic classes, Druids can no longer use bows. If they want to contribute to ranged damage, they need to use some of that MP of theirs to toss out Fire Bolts and Mind Blasts.
-> No reason to remove bows (see above comment). The melee change is interesting though. If you look at my rebalance ideas, I would fix druids by giving them access to elemental/self at grandmaster level instead. At first this might make it look like no one will roll a priest or mage after that, but my rebalance would also buff light abilities - so you have a real choice. Also, a default MM7 druid can be reasonably strong in melee wielding a mace with a dagger in the offhand.
Also: a somewhat crazy staff rebalancing idea I just thought of: Change the master-level Staff perk to: "Skill damage + staff damage added to spell damage and healing - this bonus is split across every projectile from one spell." Give druids and clerics the option to master staves. This would mean that a monk wielding a staff could do extra ranged damage adding staff skill to Mind Blast damage. This would give druids and mages to use staves. Level 7 master staff with a wizard staff would add 16-22 damage to every spell. Clerics would use staves for healing. The reason for splitting the bonus across multi-projectile spells is that otherwise, you would have poison/spray doing +16-22 damage per projectile which would be grossly overpowered.

Sorcerer:

"There's really nothing I can do to make this a non must-have class, but dammit I can at least try to make them not as good at physical combat as some other classes are. Daggers are still allowed, but only at a basic level."
-> IMO this is a non-issue, because casters should be using blasters late-game. Nothing wrong with giving them somewhat-near-decent melee damage for starters. If you want to make them a non-"must have", then remove the "no nearby monsters" requirement from Town Portal at master level, move Lloyd's Beacon to master level, etc. Alternately you could give Druids grandmaster elemental and self abilities at 2nd promotion to break archmages/lichs' monopoly on grandmaster elements.

"Pretty much every other change is something I've already mentioned - Light magic is restricted to mastery, Archmages get extra MP to compensate, they can't use bows, and they're the game's new Repair Item GMs. There's also the thing about reducing the skill point investment for misc skills"
-> These light/dark changes are kind of imbalancing except if you intend for access to both light and dark in the same group.

tl;dr; you have some good ideas in there, but most of them make no sense to me - perhaps I'm just ignorant because I have no idea about your item and misc skill rebalancing specifics.

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Postby BTB » Sep 17 2014, 17:26

Logscale wrote:Thanks for your help posted in my "need help with MM7 mod" thread. I've been reading your balance mod description and wanted to give honest feedback.


Awesome, thanks.

I've actually picked up MM8LevelEditor and figured out that I can use it to edit the .evt files in the game, which opens up a lot of possibilities. I'll look a bit more at it and, if there's anything you want to do that's possible with it, let you know.

Logscale wrote:A general comment about your balance changes: I can't see any significant rationale for removing bows from monks and casters and further diminishing casters' already pitiful melee skills. Low-level clerics need their bows because they should be saving their SP for healing/buffing. Near end-game, bows are almost irrelevant except for Archers - because blasters are just that much better, so all the bow removal does is impair low-level characters while making almost no balancing impact anytime later.


You're right about a couple of things, actually. First, this change is largely meant to impact the early game rather than the late-game by giving your offensive spellcasters incentive to use their low-level spells. And yes, Clerics will probably want to hold off in favor of healing (unless you just want to burn through your supply of Phirna Root). My mentality is to push Clerics more as healers that occasionally fight rather than the other way around, D&D-style.

For Monks, I think it's mostly flavor/consistency if you really want to get down to it. Monks don't use weapons; that's just sort of their whole thing.

Logscale wrote:-> Knights should never be using daggers or staves, but that isn't really a good reason for removing those skills. In fact, default MM7 latest official patch has a bug where if you are wielding an offhand dagger, you always have a triple damage critical chance - so a Knight with an offhand dagger is actually a valid (although somewhat RNG-dependent) build.


I would not call taking advantage of a bug "valid" :P

Logscale wrote:Knights have no grandmaster axe/mace skill because those are intended as perks for Rangers and Paladins respectively.


I think the bigger draw to those classes would be that they have most of the power of a Knight (hence me building both of them up as better fighters), but with access to magical/misc abilities. Rangers, Archers, and Paladins still retain things that *only* they can GM (Identify Monster, Bow, and Chain), but these are somewhat niche skills for the most part.

Again, the main thing with the three hybrid classes is versatility; almost as good as the main fighter classes but with the ability to cast spells. I think where the original game dropped the ball more than anything was in making them vastly inferior tanks and fighters to the fighting three.

Logscale wrote:Furthermore, a knight's biggest problem isn't weapon skills. A lot of people are going to look at me funny for saying this, but I almost never take a Knight in my party in MM6 and MM7 because master/grandmaster "shotgun spells" (poison spray, sparks, shrapmetal, MM6 fireblast at point-blank range) scale much better with skill level damage-wise than even grandmaster armsmaster. In short: a knight's armsmaster skill is well and good, but in the end, choosing a knight is like taking a sword and spear instead of a shotgun with near-infinite ammo - for close combat.


There's a trope for this. It's called "linear warriors, quadratic wizards", and it basically states what you just have: fighters are used primarily for dealing damage early on, but become more valuable in taking it later on when spellcasters become much more powerful much more quickly. The key is finding a good equilibrium in those growth rates and making sure either type is not completely outshined by the other.

In your case, there's a reason that C/S/S/D is really popular with veterans of the game - it's because they've learned how to survive with all offense and no defense. It's a lot of fun and perfectly valid, but it doesn't necessarily negate the importance of a good fighter.

Logscale wrote:Thieves are actually among the weaker classes in MM7, I would consider them to be a waste of a character slot late-game. With default balancing, thieves' main perks are: Grandmaster dagger + master-level armsmaster (which is nowhere near as good as a knight or monk for nonmagic melee combat)...


I would invite you to sit down and calculate exactly how much damage a Thief with dual daggers would actually be dealing compared to a Knight or a Monk (especially so as you're interested in making your own mod). I think that you severely underestimate the speed factor, and the results may surprise you.

Logscale wrote:...and being able to pick open containers and swipe items from NPCs. Picking open trapped containers is a moot point at higher levels because even an SCSC party will have enough health to eat trap damage - if the trap hasn't already been wasted from Telekinesis. Swiping items from NPCs will only make the entire region hate you (severe reputation drop even if you are never caught).


Stealing is absolute ****, and Disarm Trap needs a lot of rebalancing that goes far beyond just the character classes. Like you said, it's very easy to just tank the damage from chests and heal up afterward. My goal is to increase the viability of "convenience" skills by finding a way to make them cheaper to invest in (at this point, it's definitely doable - the only question is how convoluted it ends up being).

Logscale wrote:I would actually suggest buffing this class - give them expert elemental skills and master-level bow skill - that way they get elemental area damage, poison spray and sparks at a meaningful level, and can seriously do ranged damage when out of SP. They can be a hybrid of Knight and Archer classes. No skill nerfs needed.


I already gave them expert elemental skills, not sure if you caught that. Bow mastery may be a bit much, but I'll keep it in mind as a potential option if it seems that I've gone too far with them.

Ultimately, my main method of fine-tuning Thieves will be adjusting the damage of daggers. If I'm feeling particularly saucy, I might actually code in some way for Stealing to be a relevant skill (which it is currently not. At all.)

Logscale wrote:The only reason to ever use a staff is as a "focus item" (a trinket that you can also hit enemies over the head with) - such as Ethric's Staff in MM7 or Staff of the Elements in MM8. My personal opinion is that staves should have +damage per skillpoint instead of chance to stun at master level, making them a viable choice for monks and wizards. Also, if I remember properly, Armsmaster has no effect on unarmed combat.


Yeah, Ethric's Staff was pretty much the only legitimate reason to use a Staff in vanilla. I initially thought about that quite a lot before I decided to go a different direction than you seem to have. Rather than trying to make them better weapons, I've made them deliberately weak ones that are attached to classes (Druids and Sorcerers) that I don't think should be doing much physical fighting. Of course, the former can later add some unarmed combat to it so that it actually starts dealing some decent damage, but nothing on par with the likes of a primary fighting class

I believe you're incorrect about Armsmaster affecting Unarmed attacks, as well. I initially nerfed that skill on Monks to lower their overall damage per attack - both unarmed and armed - in an attempt to bring the ratio of the two down to one that favored a staff+unarmed attack when the speed discrepancy was taken into account. I left the skill nerfed because, again, I don't think weapon skill of any sort really fit Monks thematically.

Logscale wrote:I would buff rogues instead of nerfing Monks - and also equalize their master/ninja skills - give them expert self abilities and improved rogue skills all-around.


It's not Thieves that I was initially balancing Monks against - it's Knights that need to be brought up to par. Monks are only compared to Thieves insomuch that they are both utility classes, and the choice between the two will probably come down to whether or not you need another tank.

Logscale wrote:-> Armsmastery (pun intended) is actually a good idea for paladins. In that cause, you shouldn't remove their ability to wield a dagger in the offhand so they can use a mace/dagger paralyze/critical build.


Well, again, this is taking advantage of a bug since Paladins can't (and shouldn't) be able to Master Daggers. It doesn't fit thematically, either - a knife is not the weapon of a noble and honorable warrior.

Rather, the off-hand choice for Paladins is either a sword or shield. Sword and shield works, too, if that sort of thing tickles your fancy.

(Swords will probably get a bit of a damage boost, as well.)

Logscale wrote:I also like the grandmaster chainmail option so they can decrease damage taken with no recovery penalty while knights keep the exclusive right to grandmaster plate.


Yeah, being forced with an armor option that left them saddled with a speed penalty really bugged me.

Of course, it bugs me *now* that the only class that can GM in Chain may not want it. I'm on the fence about extending that ability to Rangers, as well.

Logscale wrote:This would just increase the imbalance between light and dark paths. The light/dark path difference is broken as it is, but I can't see this change making it any better.


You know, you'd really think so. But, honestly, I hardly notice the difference between my expert-Dark Archer and normal-Dark Paladin at all. Pain Reflection is horribly inefficient at expert level to the point of near-uselessness, she doesn't really have the MP to spam Shrapmetal all that much, and Control Undead is... well, Control Undead. It ultimately ends up being more of a flavor thing in their case than a balance one.

Probably the bigger paradigm would be the Cleric/Sorcerer thing, and those two classes are useful enough with out without the Light/Dark grandmastery due to the exclusive grandmastery of self/elemental magic.

Logscale wrote:-> I'm not certain if Rangers should have master-level armsmaster - instead, the Axe grandmaster perk could be improved.


Given that the Axe grandmastery perk is purportedly broken, I'd be inclined to agree. That, however, may ultimately fall into the realm of things that are beyond my power to fix. Thus, plan "B" is just to make axes stronger weapons.

Logscale wrote:I would fix Rangers by giving them master level elemental/self abilities and grandmaster bow skill - so rangers would be like archers that trade light/dark abilities and grandmaster chain for slightly better melee and self abilities.


Magic mastery is a much more significant perk than people seem to want to give it credit for, and it's one of the biggest selling points of Paladins, Archers, and Druids - all of whom rely heavily on that access to be viable classes. Rather, my goal with Rangers is simply to make them better fighters: not as good with the Knight, but with access to assorted magical and miscellaneous skills (and a better Bow attack).

Bow grandmastery would probably be a bit much, though. I think that's best left in the hands of Archers.

Logscale wrote:-> No comment on that because I have no idea what you're planning for them.


Yeah, one problem with me only writing out the class changes is that it paints an incomplete picture of what all I'm ultimately going to change. In the case of monsters, elemental resistances and attacks will be much more varied, so that the various resistance spells will all see more use, as will a variety of elemental attacks rather than mostly relying on a single standby.

On a similar note, I also intend to change (if possible) the bonuses on the potions that add elemental damage to weapons so that they are no longer completely outclasses by Fire Aura. This change goes well with the Archer Alchemy mastery in particular, I think.

Logscale wrote:No offense meant, but I strongly disagree. "Archers" in MM6-8 are more like warrior mages who also have an unparalleled bow silll. If anything, Archers should keep their grandmaster chain skill so they can "tank" physical damage.


It's quite all right - I take zero offense to people disagreeing with me :P

My reasoning is that I do not see Archers as a tank class - they're artillery/rear support and meant not to be as good at taking hits as front-line fighters are.

For the purposes of illustration, my "tiers of tankiness" would look something like this:

OMG: Knight, Monk
High: Paladin
Middle: Ranger, Archer, Thief
Low: Cleric
Wet Paper: Druid, Sorcerer

Logscale wrote:I can't see any real reason for this. Magic skills are the most powerful, so they require more promotion than other skills. This would just encourage further lame SCSC/dark builds.


I think you misunderstood me. I meant that magic skills will retain their current requirements, but all other skills will follow the formula that allows expertise before the first promotion and mastery before the second (if available).

Logscale wrote:-> Nothing broken about merchant grandmasters IMO. If there's one thing economically broken in MM7, it's grandmaster fire aura on cheap weapons. Go to a low-level smithy, buy out their entire collection, throw permanent "of Infernoes" on it, sell the collection back.


Well, yeah, and Merchant grandmastery doesn't help that problem out any. At the very least it helps curb the practice of buying up a merchant's entire inventory, enchanting it, and selling it back to him for massive profit.

Then again, I've mostly conceded that money is a non-issue in the late game anyhow, and so the ultimate goal is just to discourage people from wasting good skill points on a dead-end skill.

Logscale wrote:-> Clerics are already weak enough at range, no need to nerf their dark skill and bows as well. I can only envision your dark/light nerfs making balance-wise sense if you change the game so that you can have both light and dark in the same party like in MM6 and MM8.


Saying that the dark/light shift weakens a dark Cleric actually makes sense, because that means taking away Souldrinker. However, every MM7 veteran knows that the big power dark spell isn't Souldrinker - it's Shrapmetal. And I wouldn't say that the lack of Dark grandmastery too significantly lowers its damage - at most it just forces a greater focus on Power Cure (which I insist is a much better spell than people want to give it credit for).

Logscale wrote:From my experience, clerics aren't a character that you bring because they are overpowered, you bring them because they have the only counter against instant death/eradication.


Yeah, I don't like this. I consider it to be poor balance when one specific class is your only defense against something like that. Instant death is fine, because Druids and Paladins can also cast Raise Dead. Eradication pushes the Cleric on your team in a way I really don't care for, though, so I'll be pushing that off to the side.

Personally, Protection From Magic was never the big draw for me on Clerics - it's Power Cure and Regeneration. Enslave is also rather broken if you know how/where to use it.

Also, given that I mostly want to do away with eradication, I'd like to see if i can find a way to convert Resurrection into a somehow-improved version of Raise Dead.

Logscale wrote:The melee change is interesting though. If you look at my rebalance ideas, I would fix druids by giving them access to elemental/self at grandmaster level instead.


This is just one step above what I was saying about Rangers earlier - grandmaster access to self/elemental magic is by and large the biggest reason that Clerics and Sorcerers are incredibly valuable despite how much they suck in every other area, and giving this ability to Druids pretty much kills them completely.

Light and Dark magic are fun, yes. But they have nowhere near the use of spells in the vein of Lloyd's Beacon.

Logscale wrote:IMO this is a non-issue, because casters should be using blasters late-game. Nothing wrong with giving them somewhat-near-decent melee damage for starters.


You really shouldn't take blasters into consideration when considering game balance. They're an eleventh-hour superpower (it's another trope) that comes very late and makes every class almost the same.

Logscale wrote:If you want to make them a non-"must have", then remove the "no nearby monsters" requirement from Town Portal at master level, move Lloyd's Beacon to master level, etc.


These changes also fall in the "probably not possible with my current skillset" category, and I'm not particularly keen on figuring out how to change them since I actually like how magic is balanced already (outside of a few questionable spells, like Fate and Telepathy).

For the record, I personally run a R/A/P/D team most of the time, so I'm without these "must-have" spells very frequently.

Logscale wrote:tl;dr; you have some good ideas in there, but most of them make no sense to me - perhaps I'm just ignorant because I have no idea about your item and misc skill rebalancing specifics.


Yeah, see my point above about how talking only about classes has painted an incomplete picture. My mod will involve changing lots of things - the stats and values of weapons, armor, and items; the stat break table, effectiveness of barrels and alters, and class starting stats so that your initial stats choices matter more and raising your stats remains worthwhile even later into the game; the overall effectiveness of the "useless" miscellaneous skills by adjusting the settings that affect how they work; and just a whole lot more.

Anyhow, sorry if I come off as argumentative, but this is exactly what I was looking for - someone to challenge any or all of my choices and force me to put thought into defending them.
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Postby Pope_Amole » Sep 18 2014, 11:20

You overestimate the benefits of daggers high speed (and the speed differences between the weapons in total). Maybe i was doing something wrong, but in my close combat parties everyone was having 30 recovery time no matter what they wielded. And in the early game, before you gather all those buffs, stats & abilities, you don't want to go close combat anyway - you use archery. You say that thieves do more damage than anyone - GM armsmaser knght has +20 recovery bonus (minumum - on the average it's more like +50 at least). No way a rogue can outdamage a knight. And, as you've said, a monk. And paladin does less damage, but his schtick is "isnta-killing" enemies so finishing them up is harmless. So out of the game's 5 close combat fighters, rogue is only 4th. Yeah, he needs a nerf.

Staves of darkness are balanced by their rarity - they're rarer than artifacts & relics, pretty much (as well as the "of carnage" and "of power" enchantments). So it's fine, you're not guaranteed to find even one (even if you loot/reload like there's no tomorrow - I once did a LP of M&M 7, tried to loot a carnage bow to showcase how cool it is, spent an hour besides a dragon and found nothing). Another thing here is that you're taking away an option from monk without giving anything in return - sorry, but flexibility is a plus, not a minus, and as a designer you should work to up variability, not to destroy it.

Once again, with master plate my paladin was having a recovery time of 30 so I don't see the difference here. And you're also overvaluing the armor in this game - due to how formulas here work and how late-game monsters designed, past the middle of the game, you can as well fight naked. Doesn't change much. And, unless you change the formula, no minor changes to armor qualities will fix that.

Knight outdamages the monk because he, as well as the monk, gains +2 attack & damage from each point in his primary skill, only he wields 2 weapons with much higher basic damage. And monk is a better tanks because he can dodge (depending on how you build him) from 30% to 55% of all incoming attacks. Sorry, but a tiny bit of AC doesn't compete with that.

This system doesn't really need a gap-filling class. Why add something that doesn't improve your party in any significant way? You can play with just 3 characters, gaining more xp from combat, and it won't make a difference. The thing is, you're taking the wrong approach to the balance here - it's not a mmo game, it's not a pvp game, things shouldn't be balanced against each other. It's not about whether a monk beats a knight. It's about whether a party with monk feels different from the party with knight (and, actually, they're kinda need fixing there - when it comes to actual gameplay, there's not a lot difference between them). And the problem of a ranger is that he doesn't impact a party in any significant way (which is also a problem of a rogue & druid; well, unless you have no other casters, then druid is impactful). You may like the class as it is, but, in my opinion, game design should be somewhat impersonal - after all, you're designing it for the other people to play.

BTW, I think the best way of fixing ranger is to strip him of his elemental magic, strip him of all the useless skills and just make him a paladin/archer hybrid. Master clerical magic + GM bow. Massed archery is very valid in this game, but going as a 3 archers + 1 Wizard/Cleric is somewhat restrictive in terms of variety of party builds.

To make the alchemy grandmastery appealing, you need to remove all black potion drops from the loot tables and the shops. Otherwise, it's just easier to buy them. You need to use each only once, after all. Another option here would be for grand master alchemy to give you a huge bonus to the skill - something like +20, so the druid can brew stuff that everyone else can't. And I'm talking about white potions here - black potions are crap, white potions are where the power is. One more approach is to take the alchemy mastery from everyone else, making the white potion brewing exclusive to the druid (maybe give master alchemy to the ranger also, to buff him).

And unarmed mastery wouldn't be ridiculous - at best conditions (hands of the master), it would add about 35-50 extra attack & damage to your hit. Considering a level 28 (which is easily reachable at the natural skill level of 15) poison spray deals, IIRC, 220 dmg at the close range, there's very little incentive to actually hit instead of casting. Actually, that's the main problem of your druid fix - why would a character with mastered magic hit in melee? Sparks & poison spray are many time more effective there.

Sure, the bows will deal as much damage as a level 4 fire bolt, but the question is, will they do as much damage as a lvl 11 firebolt? If your caster party is not shooting lvl 11 firebolts & poison sprays & sparks from the start, you're doing something wrong. And I don't underestimate anything - if I wanna a backup healer in a mixed party, I'll just use the master healer henchmen. All that talk about how paladins are great stems from the people never bothering to use the healer chain of npcs. Druid is just a bad copy of either cleric or a sorc. Archer should never bother to cast after the mid-game simply because he does much more damage with his bow (I guess you can cast in melee, but it's easier to use a trusty wand of shrapmetal there). And expert magic at ranger is useless - the dmg is too low and the buffs don't last long enough.

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Postby BTB » Sep 18 2014, 17:06

I won't have time to write a more proper response until later, but one thing I keep noticing about your comments that I keep meaning to ask is how you so reliably get the recovery time down to 30 for most of your characters?

A plate-wearing Paladin starts at 95, gets maybe 10 from speed and we'll be generous and assume another 10 for Armsmaster. Admittedly, I don't know the exact formula for how Haste works (and perhaps that's the key point I'm missing), but I find it hard to believe that these factors can all work together to negate most characters' speed penalties completely.

One other thing I should mention is that balancing character classes is not wholly limited to their skill tables and base HP/MP, nor should it be. Given the ability to edit the global events - which I now possess - I am free to bestow other sorts of perks (like, say, additional elemental resistance, a stat boost, or a unique item) to classes upon promotion, sort of like how the Warlock gets a fuggin' dragon. So, there are definitely options there.
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Postby Pope_Amole » Sep 18 2014, 18:04

To get down from the 95 to 30 you need 65 recovery bonus. Haste gives you plain 25 (in the patched version, obviously - IIRC, it didn't worked in the vanilla, but we don't want to keep the bugs, do we?). Armsmaster can easily give you another 25 (because you can find items with up to +16 to armsmaster). Then you just need to squeeze 15 out of your speed - that's just 200 speed needed. Which is rather easy to achieve with the day of the gods or, if you are dark side (and it should be noted that dark siders are not half as good in melee as the light siders are), with the combination of black potion + shrines + item enchantments (hermes' sandals come in handy here or Puck in the left hand) + day of the gods pedestal in erathia. Or even just a white +speed potion (these ones, when buffed with a philosopher's stone, can easily give you +300 speed, boosting you to that sweet +25 or +30 bonus).

Actually, if you have a strong light mage (light magic 20+ with the boosting item), even the monk's 100 recovery staff time is quite manageable so you have no need for the darkness enchantment, just a simple life drain will do.

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Postby BTB » Sep 18 2014, 18:07

So, really, what the more pressing issue is the lack of balance between character speeds due to buffs making it possible to eliminate speed penalties entirely, is what I'm hearing.

Thanks for that info. It lets me know which direction I need to be thinking in.
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Postby Xfing » Sep 21 2014, 16:23

You also need to know that there are some persistent bugs in the game that I've recently made a thread about.

Paladins will not benefit from using a sword in their left hand very much if Mace is invested many points into, due to a bug in the damage calculation formula (the damage from the mace will start catching up to the sword), so as things stand, shield is the better choice. GM shield still doesn't give the Shield spell effect, though. What's more, the GM Axe buff doesn't work at all, making the skill upgrade useless.

Also, the tripled damage from daggers bug will only triple the damage output of the dagger itself, rather than your full damage output, and I think this was removed by Grayface too.

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Postby BTB » Apr 18 2015, 21:07

Went ahead and rewrote the initial post to provide a lot more information with what all I have.
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Postby the beavers1 » Apr 19 2015, 3:38

I noticed that you are trying to figure out what to do with the thief class and I came up with a few ideas, you can start by lowering his hp, but make him exempt from being priority target by monsters ( because of stealth) and the skill stealing can be made more useful by adding either ac to the skill as it is a stealth skill, or by perhaps making it less likely for the thief to be a target for an attack. This would fit into character with him and make a useless skill like stealing more useful, however I do not know if these changes are possible.

Edit: Oh and another idea I had was by adding an option to steal from houses, not sure if this is possible, but being able to steal things with better stuff being available depending on the level of skill the char has with stealing. To make up for reputation, if you are caught you can instead of going to jail fight a battle at the arena (with no reward money, only your freedom) at around the knight level. This would be better than the slap on your wrist 2 years in prison is, plus that only happens if you go to the castle. Whats more is that reputation is to easy to bring out of the red.
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Postby BTB » Apr 19 2015, 4:53

I'm actually not too concerned about thieves at this point since I've really nailed down how I want to balance out - and therefore make useful - the Disarm Trap skill.

That said, I do like the idea about minimizing the number of enemies that target them... not sure how effective it would be in practice, though, since they can still be targeted by race or gender.
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Postby the beavers1 » Apr 19 2015, 6:02

BTB wrote:That said, I do like the idea about minimizing the number of enemies that target them... not sure how effective it would be in practice, though, since they can still be targeted by race or gender.

What I mean is that by making someone a thief, it makes them immune to special and racial targeting. That way he (in theory) should last a lot longer, perhaps even on par to a tank in a battlefield, which would allow him to make full effectiveness of his speed.
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Postby Konfuzius » Apr 19 2015, 17:49

BTB wrote:I'm actually not too concerned about thieves at this point since I've really nailed down how I want to balance out - and therefore make useful - the Disarm Trap skill.

That said, I do like the idea about minimizing the number of enemies that target them... not sure how effective it would be in practice, though, since they can still be targeted by race or gender.


I don't know this disarm traps would really be the best solution. Either the Thief is going to be a must have just because of this sole game mechanic (and not because adds value in general to the party). Or the thief will still be left out because other characters with in master disarm traps and a +x bonus to disarm traps will be able to do the job just as fine.

I'd rather turn him into a dedicated utility character which can not only disarm traps but also can become grandmaster in at least another skill like identify, negotiation or perhaps sixth sense.

In return you'd need to remove these gm skills from clerics or sorcerers, but since they are an auto take anyway, this would be no great loss.


And in the end, a thief isn't a terrible fighter. GM Doge + gm leather isn't that terrible and don't forget that, he can whield two swords after all. Of course, he lacks the AC bonus for whielding swords, but he isn't supposed to be a tank after all.

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Postby the beavers1 » Apr 20 2015, 1:09

another idea I had is that you should make stealing worthwhile. Like the ability to steal cool stuff from enemies with better loot (to a certain degree dependant on enemy type) with higher stealing. Also maybe an option to steal random loot from peoples houses. Just some ideas, I actually like playing with a thief, but I would like the ability to be a stealth char more fun. also changing the loot system for pickpocketing in general would make it more fun. another idea is implementing a way to re-roll shops and chests with perception.
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Postby BTB » May 8 2015, 23:16

Initial post has been updated with a lot more information :)
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Postby Bloax » May 9 2015, 21:50

I'm not sure what the point of making stat increases past 100 so ineffective is, since the increase breakpoint could be 15 past 100 and it would still reach only +43 with a stat of 490.

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Postby BTB » May 9 2015, 22:53

Bloax wrote:I'm not sure what the point of making stat increases past 100 so ineffective is, since the increase breakpoint could be 15 past 100 and it would still reach only +43 with a stat of 490.


It's a tricky game of math, really. Diminishing returns are a concept that the game needs, the original just went overboard with the subject. The design is such that natural stats will never leave the realm of the 5-point stat breaks, and even when equipment is factored in you're unlikely to break 100 until you start stacking end-game enchantments.

So, to answer your question, the point of making the stat increases past 100 so diminished is that the only thing you're going to be dealing with that will realistically take your stats beyond that point in my mod will be temporary stat-boosting potions, at which point you're dealing with much larger numbers (combine Clanker's Amulet with a Philosopher's Stone and you're looking at a meaty +300 to any stat of your choosing) and so the large breakpoints are necessary to keep those potions helpful, but not OMGmassive.

That said, there is still a very hefty bonus for breaking 500 as a remaining incentive to keep cramming everything you can into a stat instead of just giving up once you attain a master's degree in Alchemy.
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Postby Paviel » May 15 2015, 13:53

Since the Archmage promotion quest is to find the last remaining copy of the Book of Divine Intervention, I think it's odd to make Archmages unable to use it.


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