Handicap Scaling and Difficulty

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Handicap Scaling and Difficulty

Post  Karifean on Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:19 pm

I split this topic from the other thread since it really didn't belong there.

If I remember correctly you can only load a code once per game, and the loading function is disabled 10 minutes into the game altogether. I never really played on Hardcore, but I personally think the fact that chars are transferable from and to Hardcore mode is a good thing.

Btw, on Very Hard, the enemies' Handicap increases at an enormous rate, triple every player's level are added in %. Meaning, if you have say four Level 99 people the enemies' Handicap increases to 100% + 297% + 297% + 297% + 297% = 1288% Handicap!!

On a related note, should the Handicap scaling with player levels be completely removed from the game? I for one think it's pretty stupid, but what do you guys think?


Last edited by Karifean on Fri Jul 20, 2012 11:08 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Handicap Scaling and Difficulty

Post  prime_genx on Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:26 pm

I prefer the way it is as it appears to be... removing the handicap will just make things too easy for some cases... meaning removing much of the fun from it
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Re: Handicap Scaling and Difficulty

Post  chuDr3t4 on Thu Jul 19, 2012 1:08 pm

Karifean wrote:If I remember correctly you can only load a code once per game, and the loading function is disabled 10 minutes into the game altogether. I never really played on Hardcore, but I personally think the fact that chars are transferable from and to Hardcore mode is a good thing.

Btw, on Very Hard, the enemies' Handicap increases at an enormous rate, triple every player's level are added in %. Meaning, if you have say four Level 99 people the enemies' Handicap increases to 100% + 297% + 297% + 297% + 297% = 1288% Handicap!!

On a related note, should the Handicap scaling with player levels be completely removed from the game? I for one think it's pretty stupid, but what do you guys think?
I meant that your character has more than 1 life, but yeah, whatever.

I actually wrote a bunch of stuff about difficulty but my mind is just going all around the place making it hard to write precisely what I feel about it.
Very Easy and Easy are too easy, Very Hard and Hard are too hard. If you're not changing that, don't touch %hp per level. :P
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Re: Handicap Scaling and Difficulty

Post  Karifean on Thu Jul 19, 2012 1:18 pm

Well, Very Easy and Easy are primarily there to ease you into the gameplay and mechanics of FFERPG, Hard and Very Hard are there for the professional players that feel there isn't enough challenge in this game. At least that's how I view it.

Besides, I'm not saying Handicap Scaling HAS to be permanently removed. It's a nice touch and subtle reference to FF8, but I think it's going a bit too far. In my opinion, adding 1.5x player level to Handicap would suffice, for instance. What about you?

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Re: Handicap Scaling and Difficulty

Post  chuDr3t4 on Thu Jul 19, 2012 1:51 pm

Karifean wrote:Well, Very Easy and Easy are primarily there to ease you into the gameplay and mechanics of FFERPG, Hard and Very Hard are there for the professional players that feel there isn't enough challenge in this game. At least that's how I view it.

Besides, I'm not saying Handicap Scaling HAS to be permanently removed. It's a nice touch and subtle reference to FF8, but I think it's going a bit too far. In my opinion, adding 1.5x player level to Handicap would suffice, for instance. What about you?
Ok, chatting with my close friend and "professional player" as you would say :D about that issue, we've come to the conclusion that *2 and *3 are fine.
Since damage of monsters is static regardless of number of players ingame, there is only one problem: enrage timers. I heard Eden and Odin have them, is that right?
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Re: Handicap Scaling and Difficulty

Post  Karifean on Thu Jul 19, 2012 2:16 pm

Eden outright disappears after 5 Minutes while Odin... does something after 3 Minutes. I guess I could make those timers higher on higher difficulty.

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Re: Handicap Scaling and Difficulty

Post  chuDr3t4 on Thu Jul 19, 2012 2:26 pm

Karifean wrote:Eden outright disappears after 5 Minutes while Odin... does something after 3 Minutes. I guess I could make those timers higher on higher difficulty.
Ok so to wrap that up. Right now:
HP = B+M*S
where
B - Base mob HP, which is 50%, 75%, 100%, 150%, 200% per difficulty level(which BTW makes handicap 1388% in 4-player 99lvl game);
M - Multiplier, which is 1, 1, 1, 2, 3;
S - Sum of level of players ingame.
Making M 0.5, 0.75, 1, 1.5, 2 would change the curve to more fair and non-steep IMO.

Also, the fact that Base HP is static from 1 to 8 players rewards coop play and fine as it is.
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Handicap Scaling and Difficulty

Post  Zergling_man on Fri Jul 20, 2012 10:54 am

Karifean wrote:On a related note, should the Handicap scaling with player levels be completely removed from the game? I for one think it's pretty stupid, but what do you guys think?
sdjkrhgqefgvlifhg
Give me a while to write this post. Since I spent like 15 minutes writing already, then something went FUBAR and I lost it all, I really don't feel like doing it again. I was going to mention near the start that maybe we should have a split, but since this happened, maybe I'll start a new thread.

Danke, Karif. Also, post finished:

I don't like the scaling in FFERPG in a lot of respects, but it all tends to boil down to the same thing: Very little probably accounts for the mastery buffs.

Now, there are roughly five stages in this game:

1. First character.
Farming is really hard, unless someone higher level is there to carry you. You have no gear, no money, no upgrades, and can't do most of the quests very easily.

2. Level 30ish, a few characters.
After a while, you're up around the 60% guys, and you've been riding on your hunter's/knight's/wizard's level of ~30 to keep you in decent gear, especially for when you're level 1. Also can buy upgrades and stuff, so you're waltzing around the forest freely, and the mountains aren't too much of a challenge.

3. First master.
Everything changes here. You're somewhere between the central islands and the naga island, and you suddenly get super-buffed. But this is for your current character. The buff it gives to other characters is practically nothing, especially when they're above level 40. But you do have a fair bit of gold, and only the very top tier stuff requires more levels than you have. So you can ride on that to bring the rest of your crew up.

4. First ultimate master.
This is the big game-changer. It's such a massive difference, you've been grinding really hard the last 10-20 levels, and suddenly it's so much easier. But again, only that character. So you do it again, and again. But it doesn't get much easier. The damage is the only thing that really matters, as you try to have enough to keep the mob from building up.

5. 1980 (still stuck in the past? Razz).
Once you finally cap out, then you're actually in the position to start laying smackdown on the 101% bosses. Except, your abilities are all worthless. Even a wizard isn't any use, 'cause it's just not enough damage. Health (on enemies) has gone from 100 to 10mil. Your ability has gone from about 50 damage to about 500-700. Sure you have the mana to cast it a lot more, but the cooldown hasn't changed.


A lot of the game is balanced by scaling off one or two things, to cater for no more than three of these sections. So thinking about the differences between these, and thinking about what should be scaled off those differences, I expect could make a big difference to the overall difficulty curve.
Of course, I'm not a fan of the super-health bosses of Final Fantasy, since I consider it poor design. Which is why I'm not the primary designer for this map. What I've given here, is hopefully an address for some issues that even if I'm wrong about, I'm close to.
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Re: Handicap Scaling and Difficulty

Post  chuDr3t4 on Sat Jul 21, 2012 1:39 pm

Well... I made a spreadsheet for all aspects of current implementation of difficulty levels, which was made by ILYAS himself btw.
docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AoqiIRhdYhr2dEFsRnktTElhTl95UlpjWG9wZWQwX1E
I dunno. Just slicing Level Multiplier feels kinda wrong to me. I have never experienced Full House on Very Hard from scratch. : (
And holy balls Very Hard mobs are doing x4 DPS.
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Re: Handicap Scaling and Difficulty

Post  Zergling_man on Sat Jul 21, 2012 2:02 pm

Interesting stuff. In particular, there are no benefits of easy that v.easy doesn't have.
Also it definitely shows the power of a certain exploit: Cap out every character except one. Have them about level 5. All go take on the boss. Except maybe one player who takes a level 50. He'd have so much less health, but you'd still have huge bonuses. Abilities would actually be useful. Hmm... (Oh, it'd have to be sorc/hk at level 5, but that's fine. Best pick for that anyway.)

So, it definitely demonstrates the point of things being imbalanced. Since no masteres, one ultimate master, you're gonna have a hard time against bosses, whereas 19 ultimate masters, no masters, you'd have it really easy. The difficulty curve isn't a curve, it's more like a sine wave, because of how the different systems combine.
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Re: Handicap Scaling and Difficulty

Post  chuDr3t4 on Sat Jul 21, 2012 2:32 pm

Zergling_man wrote:Interesting stuff. In particular, there are no benefits of easy that v.easy doesn't have.
Also it definitely shows the power of a certain exploit: Cap out every character except one. Have them about level 5. All go take on the boss. Except maybe one player who takes a level 50. He'd have so much less health, but you'd still have huge bonuses. Abilities would actually be useful. Hmm... (Oh, it'd have to be sorc/hk at level 5, but that's fine. Best pick for that anyway.)

So, it definitely demonstrates the point of things being imbalanced. Since no masteres, one ultimate master, you're gonna have a hard time against bosses, whereas 19 ultimate masters, no masters, you'd have it really easy. The difficulty curve isn't a curve, it's more like a sine wave, because of how the different systems combine.
I heard drop rates of some items from bosses are dependant of difficulty, first time it was posted about Ultima Weapon droprate when Titan[advo] was maintaining the map. If I remember correctly, it is(was?) 20%, 40%, 60%, 80% and guaranteed drop on V.Hard.

So the obvious solution is scale mobs' health from number of masters and ultimate masters ingame? : )
And maybe one from two things need to go away: either make HP of mobs same regardless of difficulty and change DPS+armor buffs(currently on H and VH non-Crowd Control spells do abysmal damage, this will make spells effective at same rate on all diffs.), or change HP formula based on diff. and take out buffs. I personally prefer the former solution.
Also I think for x2.5 armor and x4 DPS on VH that Exp. Rate should be skyrocketed. ; )

Add: You can mess around in my spreadsheet if you go File -> Make a copy. It will copy it fully to your own google doc (dunno what happens if you are not logged in). I added space to test out different level scenarios, I hope they are self-descriptive.


Last edited by chuDr3t4 on Sat Jul 21, 2012 3:12 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Handicap Scaling and Difficulty

Post  Karifean on Sat Jul 21, 2012 3:09 pm

Well, Ultimate Master gives +150 to all stats which is incredibly useful and fighting strong bosses without it isn't easy.
Also, drop chance for Ultimate Weapon is 1 / (6 - Difficulty), so it's 1/5 for Very Easy, 1/4 for Normal ... 1/1 for Very Hard.

I'm thinking about giving Very Hard a much higher EXP bonus than it currently has. Easy will also have more EXP bonus than Very Easy. Although really, I'd just recommend everybody to play on Normal.

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Re: Handicap Scaling and Difficulty

Post  Zergling_man on Sat Jul 21, 2012 8:32 pm

Karifean wrote:Well, Ultimate Master gives +150 to all stats which is incredibly useful and fighting strong bosses without it isn't easy.
Karifean wrote:strong bosses
Because you're using an ultimate master. If you're using a level 20 or lower, the boss is a lot weaker. The table shows it quite plainly that it makes a huge difference. If one player is much higher, then they can take on the boss at uber equivalent to two or three level 99s, while they'd have 7 supporting characters. Sure, those guys wouldn't do much damage on auto-attacks, but their damage/aspeed buffs would still be awesome, and abilities are somewhat effective due to the (drastically) lower health of the boss.
It's not a perfect strategy, but with the game in its current state, I'm definitely considering setting this up.
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Re: Handicap Scaling and Difficulty

Post  Karifean on Fri Aug 03, 2012 1:48 pm

Maybe the enemies should scale with max(Hero Level, Masters * 5)?
Meaning if the amount of Masters * 5 is higher than the Hero Level, the enemies would scale with that instead.

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Re: Handicap Scaling and Difficulty

Post  Zergling_man on Fri Aug 03, 2012 3:32 pm

Karifean wrote:Maybe the enemies should scale with max(Hero Level, Masters * 5)?
Meaning if the amount of Masters * 5 is higher than the Hero Level, the enemies would scale with that instead.
Is that for each player, or as a whole?
Without doing a bit of number crunching, which I'll defer to huDr, I'm initially for this; it's a beginning. It does give the mastery bonuses an opposing impact, though I don't know yet which would win out.
Now... I propose a list of power incomes. Items, which we'll only recognise the epic gear, and thus comes from lots of money (shards from money), and power to complete appropriate quests. Upgrades, which come from money. Masters, which come from levelling (other classes), and level which comes from, well, levelling. With this suggestion, or one like it, we're scaling against the two that don't come from money. I don't point this out as a bad thing, merely as something to observe - I don't want everything scaling off everything, else there's little reason to improve. So having money as that way of "cheating the system", is something we should consider keeping. I emphasise that to indicate my neutral stance on this. It's an observation for us to use, with which to aid the development. How it does that remains to be discussed.
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Re: Handicap Scaling and Difficulty

Post  Karifean on Fri Aug 03, 2012 3:40 pm

Thinking about it, it's kind of like in FF VIII, where the enemies scale with your level, but not with your junctions, weapons or stat+ items. Though in FF8 the scaling was a lot weaker. My current concern is that right now, the enemies have way more HP than they're actually supposed to have and the benefit from having multiple people to fight one enemy isn't great. Btw, adding the Master*5 scaling would only prevent cheating the system the way you said one could (by having low level characters with huge Mastery bonuses fight weak superbosses). 20 Masters * 5 = 100, so it is almost the same as just having a Level 99 character on the field.

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Re: Handicap Scaling and Difficulty

Post  Zergling_man on Fri Aug 03, 2012 3:45 pm

Karifean wrote:Thinking about it, it's kind of like in FF VIII, where the enemies scale with your level, but not with your junctions, weapons or stat+ items. Though in FF8 the scaling was a lot weaker. My current concern is that right now, the enemies have way more HP than they're actually supposed to have and the benefit from having multiple people to fight one enemy isn't great. Btw, adding the Master*5 scaling would only prevent cheating the system the way you said one could (by having low level characters with huge Mastery bonuses fight weak superbosses). 20 Masters * 5 = 100, so it is almost the same as just having a Level 99 character on the field.
Yeah. I did notice that. But hey, it's a start. I'm attempting to rekindle some interest among some players who left, and the more the merrier - someone is bound to come up with a winning solution, though it may take us 3-4 really bad solutions to get to it. Iterative process etc.
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Re: Handicap Scaling and Difficulty

Post  Sworddragon on Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:44 pm

If the scaling system is so exploitable and makes so much trouble to you why not thinking about another way to solve this problem? Most Final Fantasy games I know doesn't use any scaling system. What if the enemies wouldn't scale anymore related to the players attributes in this map?

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Re: Handicap Scaling and Difficulty

Post  Zergling_man on Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:45 pm

So that where you're allowed to go is capped by your level. To some degree, at both ends - as soon as you outlevel an area, it stops giving you any good XP.
This would be fine, if you weren't supposed to be going all over the map for quests at any given level range. (Though, admittedly, the level to actually get up to Hash is a master or two, and the level to beat him is a couple more.)

Basically my point is: We can do scaling. And done right, it can make it a much richer experience. We can do it right, we just have to think a little bit more.
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Re: Handicap Scaling and Difficulty

Post  Sworddragon on Thu Aug 16, 2012 7:21 pm

Instead of reducing the EXP if the level difference is too high I would prefer to increase the amount of EXP needed for the next level and the EXP gained from stronger monsters. This would give players the chance to overgrind if they are stuck at a place without shortening the time from level 1 to level 99.

But maybe we could include your idea too - but just for monsters with a too high level. This would prevent rushing from others players but rushing another classes with your master bonuses too (I don't know if the second one would be an advantage or disadvantage).

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Re: Handicap Scaling and Difficulty

Post  Zergling_man on Fri Aug 17, 2012 6:28 am

Sworddragon wrote:Instead of reducing the EXP if the level difference is too high I would prefer to increase the amount of EXP needed for the next level and the EXP gained from stronger monsters. This would give players the chance to overgrind if they are stuck at a place without shortening the time from level 1 to level 99.
Actually, that's precisely the approach I was assuming. 1 XP/monster when you need 100 XP. Same as 1000XP/monster when you need 1mil XP. But at that point, 1XP/monster is just entirely worthless to you...

Sworddragon wrote:But maybe we could include your idea too - but just for monsters with a too high level. This would prevent rushing from others players but rushing another classes with your master bonuses too (I don't know if the second one would be an advantage or disadvantage).
Frankly, I think we should be allowing high-levels to super-farm low levels. As for the thing of mastery bonuses... Well, we're already planning to do something about it. Let's let that play out first.
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Re: Handicap Scaling and Difficulty

Post  psxlover on Wed Aug 22, 2012 1:31 am

I though that enemies' HPs where scaling according to the sum of the lvls of all the player's jobs and not just the one he is currently on.
Perhaps I misunderstood what the help text was saying :/ We could put it this way, so that playing with a lvl 1 character while having 19 ultimate masters, wouln't put you against monsters with lvl1 hp. The only downside would be if you leveled a player at the beggining and changed before getting a master, it would be harder to get the first levels on the new job.
Or it could be like every master/ultimate master gives the mobs some hp like it does on the player.

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Re: Handicap Scaling and Difficulty

Post  Zergling_man on Wed Aug 22, 2012 11:58 am

I'm not sure if you gave me this idea or not, but I just came up with it after reading your post.
I wonder if it's viable to have a thing of, you enter your codes before you start, then immediately after, the game totals up the masters and ultimate masters, and scales from that. That scale might replace difficulty. (But then, it might not too.) Then level scaling is applied in realtime, as opposed to the mastery bonuses being applied once. As such, throughout one game, you get more power, and slowly outlevel stuff. Then you reset the game and have a harder run, which awards more XP.
(Related, in this case, it'd be cool if you wrote a function to reset the game, so we didn't need to leave.)
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