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Thread: An imbalance in character creation options, and maybe some possible solutions

  1. #21
    Do not think anyone will read but here are my two days (48h play) worth of conclusions:

    1. Chimerae sacrifice one thing to get another while Espers simply don't:

    1. a. Chimerae skills often (not all) come with an inherit penalty / disadvantage e.g:
    Double hearted lowers quickness, heightened speed lowers toughness.
    Triple Join lowers strength, double muscles lowers speed.
    Horns, can't wear an helmet; ice / fire hands / claws, can't wear gloves.

    1. b. Esper skills afaik, do not come with a disadvantage (not aware of any equipment or attribute that gets a penalty when you gain an Esper mutation).

    2. Chimeraes need to often make a compromise (because of mutual exclusion) between mutations while Espers afaik can pick any two mutations.

    2.a. Chimerae need to decide between Carapace and Quils, Fire hands, Cold hands and Claws; Poison Sting Or Paralysis Sting.

    2.b. Espers can and do have Pyrokenesis with Cryokinesis, force wall and force bouble, Temporal Fugue and Teleport (There is no mutual exclusion).

    3. Chimerae will compromise between few high level mutations or many low level ones.

    3.a. Chimerae cannot supercharge their mutations by supercharging their attribute. They *have* to spend mutation points to upgrade their mutations. This often means they will likely upgrade and specialize instead of expand and get more mutations.

    3.b. As an Esper (high Ego), you never need to upgrade any mutation. All your mutations get maxed out simply because of your Ego. You can spend every mutation point on getting additional mutations. People who say this comes at the price of toughness are wrong, you can have toughness, willpoer and Ego.
    eg: Ego 24, Will 22, Tough 21 (Greybeard) and yeah, you could go with 24 Ego and 21 Will / 18 Tough and still have enough to 18 another attribute (like agility for missile weapons) Greybeard is OP (because of +3) and is mostly useful for Espers.

    4. Espers have access to precognition which pretty much lets you hand pick your mutations and Chimeraes *don't*.

    5. Most of the Chimerae mutations are passives, meaning, you don't need to activate them. I'm pretty sure nearly all the Esper mutation are active (more fun / excitement).

    6. Espers get to spend points on Ego which consequently gets them huge discounts at vendors where Chimerae are likely to pay an absurd price.

    7. Chimerae are much more skill reliant:

    7.a. Chimerae need melee and missile weapons to handle enemies which require skills to properly use.

    7.b. Espers use their mind as a weapon. They don't need INT/skills to maximize that.

    Thanks for reading

    Suggestions for improvements:

    Make physical attributes boost certain mutations:

    For instance Toughness -> Carapace / Regeneration
    Agility -> Multiple Legs / Multiple Arms / Heightened Speed
    Str (replace with Power) -> Double Muscle, claws, fire / ice hands? Stings

    Make Chimerae skills more useful! Like tighten Carapace, make it a timed boost that makes you immobile but still lets you attack for x turns.
    Double hearted -> add an activated skill that heals you.
    Double muscle -> add an activated skill that boosts your str futher for a shirt duration.
    Multiple arms -> add an active skills that increases the chance they actually do something with those.
    Last edited by Zehelvion; 08-07-2015 at 12:40 PM.

  2. #22
    You know I've been giving this a good long think, and you're right--mutants and true men aren't created equal. The mutated denizens of Qud will always have an inherent leg up on baseline humans. I think that's perfectly fine, mankind has been dominating superior organisms since its inception.

    The crux of the problem then, is not how to make them equal from the start, but rather how to include technology in a way that distinguishes them from chimeras and espers. Luckily I think I've got just the thing. Certain technologies, especially the highest tiers--could be gene coded to only function in the hands of a True human, making bleeding edge weapons/armor/tools the sole domain of genetically pure humans. A mutant could *try* to use them (And older, out-dated tech could be less finicky about how many mutations a player can have before it's functionally useless in their hands) but they could be sporadic and unreliable, misfiring and taking penalties, etc.

    At character creation True men could be given a point buy menu for taking gear with them on their journey to Qud, though with the caveat that they should use these modern marvels sparingly--it's likely to be some time before they'll be able to recharge them.

  3. #23
    1. b. Esper skills afaik, do not come with a disadvantage (not aware of any equipment or attribute that gets a penalty when you gain an Esper mutation).
    Mass Mind has an inherent disadvantage. The others don't, though.

    I don't think most of the things you listed should change, not directly. Espers and Chimera ought to be distinct. And as I said, they don't have to be balanced against each other as long as they play very differently and each offer unique stuff.

    To me, the big problem with chimera is that most physical mutations are just bad. The only really, really good physical mutations are the burning / freezing hands ones, and maybe the stings.

    Phasing's coolodown is too long, its duration is too short, and more importantly, these things barely improve at all as you put mutation points into the skill. (Compare to almost any duration-based mental mutation, and phasing's improvements as you put points into it is anemic.)

    In general, physical mutations should gain a bit more as you raise their level than they do now, because they require more serious devotion than mental mutations (on account of not having Ego to boost all of them.)

    I disagree with having physical stats raise physical mutation levels; that would make them too much like Espers. Instead, physical mutations should gain more power for each point you put in them.

  4. #24
    Or, just spit balling here but what if you GREW into your physical mutations? As in for every level you have them, they improve on level up (Even without dumping a mutation point in) adding incentive to get those good one's early instead of gambling on unstable genome.

  5. #25
    Kind of necro maybe, but I think that this is a very important discussion and would like to add my two drams of dessalinated water. As some people said, this is not an MMO, it doesn't need to be balanced and it's good that it isn't. However, it should have some balancing so that there isn't a class or playstyle that outshines the others absurdly.

    As of now, espers have some edge. Not only an edge, but the big problem is that espers build have somewhat less variation. Essentially, any esper will have maximum ego, some thoughness and willpower. Other stats can be meh. IF phisical stats are a bother, just "ego manifest". It may be squishy at start but... in caves of qud, EVERYONE is. In fact, any build WILL die in the first four levels if you get bad luck. Just need to find a chitinous puma in an open field and you're toast. In fact, due to mutations like precognition, the esper have probably the best means for early survival. Also, in level 5 the esper will already have a new mutation, all of wich will be level 3. If he start with 3 mutations and bought a 4th, it will be worth 8 mutation points out of the 4 he spent to get the new one already. And in the long run this gap increases, as a chimera would have less leveled mutations and a true kin would probably be sating the said chitinous puma hunger by now...

    Also, I would like to remember when the skill Shank was altered for balance. It may seems a different question, but shank was altered so that you couldn't make a build with only Agi, totally dumping strength. And I think it was a nice alteration however, as it is now, espers are like that with ego. There's no reason to have any other stat high. Just pump you'r ego and done. Ye'll have a wider equipment array than a true kin due to ridiculous cheap prices (I can't carry so much water, have nearly a thousand drams stocked in a chest in Joppa) and mad skillz. One thing that I think could be nice is if not all mutations depended on the same stat, for the same reason shank got altered (I don't think of it as a NERF, but alteration. It essentially makes you do some change in the playstyle but still it's viable). Maybe some mutations could use ego (beguile, ego manifestation), others could use willpower (sunder mind, light manifestation) and others intelligence (clarivoyance, precognition). This way, I would have to think more about an esper build. In the options I sayd, I kind of though that powers that affect relations could use ego, attacks willpower and utilitys could use inteligence. That would make an esper think a little more about his options.

    As of now, Chimeras have more build options, however, none of them are kind of great. One thing that people mentioned is that some of them look like defects. I mean, I already have to pay a high cost for certain mutations like double hearted and horns... and they come with a setback too? What? Also, It doesn't do any good to begin with several mutations since at a certain level having mutations at level 1 or 2 is useless. So, while I like that Chimeras have more options in that they NEED to especialize... it's kind of unfair when some mutations are simple worthless to have in the long run. Many mutations have downside, and at certain point having them at low levels could actually HURT your build. Having a low level carapace at high level would be worse than just wearing armor, and having a low level photosintec skin simply make it impossible to reach deep levels in the underground... So, or there's is a easier way to make theese things level (maybe simillarly some of them could be linked to some stats. Not necessarly phisical ones, I think that anything linked to thoughness would be too much, since it's already a very important stat, so maybe willpower for photosyntethic skin...). This way they would have a better leveling process.

    One other thing that I would like is to be able to have more freedom on the "classes thing". Maybe an option to select "freely" starter skills, in a way that it would mean less skills than the pré-made classes but allow for more personalization. I think it is kind of boring that some skills/stat options seems to never be in line with what I would like to do sometimes.

    At last, but not least... true kin. I think that a True Kin interesting game would be only implemented when factions are more developed. If a true kin could effectivally make use of the putus order (having access to merchants with good artifacts, maybe a warlord with a random quest giver that could point to locations they know there to be artifacts to be recovered, prety much like the ones we can get randomly from statues/painted/engraved, but by talking with an NPC under some conditions, maybe one quest given every other level, or requiring to bring him a corpse from a faction proeminet being, as saying we deserve compensation for killing a wrechted mutant!) or better tarining in a similar fashion, giving access to unique skills!. The comments on being better at using artifacts is "nice", but meaningless without a decent mean to get them, as true kin actually live on a hard spot, needing high str, though and agi since they need the phisical prowess, but also ego to be able to barter, int to be able to tinker and having lots of skills (since it's they'r only true progression)... a complex situation (they remember me of the paladin and monk in D&D, they need almost every stat so high to be good that it becomes impossible to use they'r abillities to the fullest).

    To finish, I think some though should also be made about the defects. Actually it's not at all hard to live by ravenous and amphibious (never needed to think about them. The worse is to sometimes enter a field, kill something and eat corpses. Even without butchery, normally there are enough corpses to get satiated easilly). And water... well, it's currency. I always have lots of it. On other side, narcolepsy is a delayed death, evil twin is... complex... and they have similar values. As of now, every non-esper mut I make is amphibious.

    Well, talked a lot about it. nonetheless, I still have fun playing different characters. My favorite one was a mutant with both mental and physical mutations, using freezing hands and sunder mind combined with dual pistol barrage and high agi, while using slime spit to make ir hard(ish) for enemies to close in... Sadly, one day he wandered in a cave and a creature stepping in his slime woke a slumberling...

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Some interesting points, I think. I tend to go with espers as well, or mixed mutants with just one or two physical mutations and the rest sunk into mental. Chimeras, for better or worse, should probably spend their Mutation Points on raising already present mutations. Fair enough, but it does mean that espers get ridiculously powerful, and it's a shame that many espers feel a bit samey at high levels. Though some mutations, like Temporal fugue, can really stir things up and synergize in radically different ways. Lifting some of the penalties on physical mutations (or even adding penalties to mental mutations1) could be a way to balance things a bit. In particular, I agree that some mutations are just not worth getting unless you're planning to spend MPs to increase them.

    I think the stat dumping thing was improved greatly with the nerf to Shank. Apart from Willpower, I now feel like most my characters need at least a semi-decent score (>13) in all stats. I kind of like the idea of tying certain mutations to certain stats (or reducing/rethinking how Ego affects mental mutation levels) … But it seems like it would be difficult to make such a radical change at such a late stage?

    True kin: IMHO they are quite nice already. A challenge to play, but also a great way to explore the skill trees. I also think the different castes offer a pretty good variety. I wouldn't mind an option to custom-build a character, but it's not something I'm missing, and it would certainly lend itself to min/maxing.

    And by the way, regarding chitinous pumas (and even slumberlings, if you're keen on gambling for a quick 525 xp ), a force field and a musket can do wonders.

    As always,

    1 Mass mind already has this, and one could imagine other side-effects, like Time dilation causing an effect like ~Evil twin (some of your clones get lost in the time/space-continuum and come back insane), Time dilation causing unnatural aging, various kinds of mind control making the character slightly schizophrenic, or whatever.

  7. #27
    I too play esper only. One reason being that non-espers don't seem very viable in the late game (although I haven't tried to get one to work, so I may be wrong here). There are lots of late-game enemies that it's a really bad idea to stand next to (i.e. ickslugs, magma crabs, rhinoxs, madpoles, saw-handers, a hostile salt kraken, etc), putting melee fighters at a huge disadvantage. That seems to make carapace, double-muscled, electrical generation, horns, multiple arms, quills, and all stinger mutations nearly useless in the very late game. It might help the game balance if more enemies were given ways to counter espers and chimeras were given more counters to unmeleeable creatures. Robots and psychics can counter sunder mind + clairvoyance, and that's pretty much it when it comes to making a high-level esper's life hard.

    Some brainstorming for counters to espers:
    *A creature that dampens the player's ego and/or will stats while in sight, with the effect stacking if many of the creature are in sight.
    *A creature that can 'someone reaches through the aggregate mind and exhausts your power' you even if you don't have mass mind.
    *A very strong enemy that sees using psychic energy instead of light, so that non-psychic characters are invisible to them and they only agro psychic characters. Psychic players could use a mental aggregator to hide from these creatures at the cost of weakened mental powers and not being able to use a better hat.
    Last edited by commentlurker; 03-28-2017 at 11:30 AM.

  8. #28
    After playing a lot more with espers and trying several non-esper builds, I've got some other things to add as unballanced in the case.

    1) There are many itens that boost ego. From artifacts to enemies faces of +3 ego. With that, even a esper without max ego at start can easily have his mind-mutations at 10 in level 20. However, not only there aren't so many stat boosting itens for other stats, as a skill dependent build (tht chimeras and even more true-kin tend to rely at at least some level) have less use of theese itens, since they don't allow for pre-requisites and some skills have real high stat requirements. Maybe it would be nice to have more spread of bonuses from itens, and having them able to fullfill skills prereqs. Maybe if the stat gone lower than the minimun the skill associated could not be used or something. Many table-top RPGs use this rule.

    2) Since an esper with good ego don't need to use MP in his mutations, by a certain level most espers will be mostly equal, since they'll have half the possile skills by a 20tish level. The esper endgame tend to be a little less colourfull since if I play several espers, at some point they all tend to look the same...

    3) There are some mutations that, if it was the only high level mutation, would be just a good thing, and the player would have to work around the weakness generated for having a max-min build. The ego boos allows for a max-max however. So, at lv 20 an esper can beguile almost any creature (I personally love salt krakens and theyr almost instakill attack), sunder mind for ridiculouos damage, chill to a complete stop anything, see the future, teleport frequently, use force wall over and over again, look at the whole map an iddentify any artifact in the game. All at once. No matter what the situation, there's always enough means to solve it. While that, my four armed axe butchering chimera still have to think about how to deal with several enemies that aren't very friendly to close combat.

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