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 Post subject: T1 Rework
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 2:28 am 
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Thalore

Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2017 9:39 pm
Posts: 129
I'm sure that this has been proposed before, but I couldn't find it on the first three pages of this sub-forum so I figured that I'd push this topic back into the light of day anyways.

The Issue:

The issue here is that there are are too many Tier 1 zones[Henceforth "T1s"]. All of those zones are far easier then the T2 zones[Henceforth "T2s"], especially the notoriously deadly Old Forest. Therefore, it makes sense to do all of the T1's, even the ones that your starting quest says nothing about. This is very tedious and also very important on higher difficulties. Being able to stroll through to the last level seems like it would help mitigate this, but it simply isn't an attractive enough option. If you stroll through all the T1 dungeons besides your racial ones, then you'll be missing out on around a level's worth of experience and potentially a treasure chest with a ridiculous item inside it. This is all pretty bad.

The Solution:

Make it so you can only access the T1 zones that your starting quest tells you to deal with. This is pretty simple and consistent with the rest of the game, since there are many other dungeons that you don't gain access to without having the necessary quest.

The Issues with the Solution:

While this solution seems simple, there are a surprising number of issues that have built up around the T1's, because there are so many inconsistent approaches to how they work.

-What about backup guardians? Humans get two of them, while Thalore get none at all?

Just move the Trollmire guardian over to the Heart of the Gloom. Its even thematic, since he has Cursed talents.

-What about backup guardians for yeeks, celestials or the undead?

That is a trickier issue. You could argue that they could get relocated versions of other backup guardians. The Undead could get Kor's Fury[They would need to be able to go back to their starting dungeon for this, but I'm not sure why they can't do that already...], Celestials could get Aluin the Fallen[Or just have the same one as their race would ordinarily have]. Yeeks I'm not as sure about. Neither the Spellblaze Simulacrum nor the Dwarf backup guardian seem thematic, so suggestions are welcome. They could also get entirely new backup guardians, but that would require more work.

-Why do the undead only get one starting zone?

Ideally, they shouldn't. A simple band-aid would be having them share a zone with either Humans or Shalore. A more complicated solution would be letting them have a unique second dungeon, but that's more work.

-What about Bill the Stone Troll? Humans would have an unfair advantage if only they get access to him.

There are a few ways to fix this, all of which involve making Bill no longer interact with the Trollmire. You could find the final Trollmire note at the end of your second racial dungeon and it would let you go to Bill's zone directly from the worldmap. Alternately, Bill could be the final opponent in the Derth Arena fight, although that would interact weirdly with the whole Derth Storm sidequest.

-What about the starting zones for Archmages or Chronomancers?

Those zones might as well not exist, since they are optional, only doable at level 1 and very dangerous. Maybe if they actually get balanced then they might be worthy of consideration next to the other T1s, but as is they're simply not an issue. Archmages and Chronomancers would just have the same dungeons as any other member of their race would, in addition to their class-specific starting zone.

-You forgot about the Searing Halls!

I really don't care at all about Searing Halls, as I don't have that DLC. Anyone who does have it is free to comment on how it should fit in to the rest of the T1 rework. Same goes for whatever special T1 dungeons the Forbidden Cults DLC introduces.

-These changes really hurt Shalore, since both of their starting areas are quite hard!

That's a valid point. The solution I favour would simply be to make them less hard/annoying. Less magey enemies and maybe a few new elf/crystal type enemies seems like it should do the trick, but that's probably a more involved process then I'm making it seem. There are probably other discrepancies between the racial dungeon sets, like how Yeeks have far less rares to deal with then other races, that I'm not as sure about how to deal with. Suggestions are welcome.

-If you can only access two of the T1s, then where should you end up when you get teleported to Maj'Eyal as a Celestial?

One of the zones that your race would normally have. Whether its the zone with the backup guardian or without the backup guardian depends on whether all Celestials get Aluin or not, obviously.

-With less T1s to build up experience/items in, the transition to T2s will be even harder!

That is definitely an issue. The best option would be to have the T1->T2 transition be less brutal in general, instead of needing the crutch of more T1 zones, but that's a more in-depth rebalance then what this suggestion proposes. A middle ground option would be to have a universal T1.5 dungeon that you do after your racial dungeons, but before Old Forest. I suggest a tuned-down Old Halfling Ruins for this purpose, since its almost in the right level range, but other ideas are welcome.

The Future:

If you have a better idea for reducing T1 clutter, another solution for one of the potential issues I mentioned or a potential issue I didn't mention, then please post your ideas. I also plan to make a proof-of-concept addon that implements this rework, but it could take a while due to a combination of exams and not being familiar with how backup guardians or maps/zones work.


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 Post subject: Re: T1 Rework
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 4:39 am 
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Perspiring Physicist

Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 7:43 am
Posts: 5676
I was slowly working towards addressing this with my More Tales addon.
The general goal was that you would have access to 4 T1 zones, plus 2 T1.5 zones, and get 2 generic talent points before T2 zones started. The general idea was that you would have ~6 zones before you started T2s.

So for Human or Halfling, you start with the Trollmire and Kor'pul as your first T1 zones, with Bill and the Derth Arena being a T1.5 zone and 1 generic talent point. You would then have the option of siding towards magic and exploring the Shaloren Lands, or siding towards nature and exploring the Thaloren Lands.

I made a new zone for Shaloren T1 and one for Thaloren T1.5. Almost finished adding a quest for Dwarf T1.5, but I couldn't get the trigger to work. An extra zone for Yeek is designed, but no work was done on it. Celestials have three zones with my Midnight addon.
For Undead, I would just treat that as an extra start zone like the Archmage/Chronomancer ones.

I'm not sure its worth locking the areas to stop overgrinding them, as they are basically a waste of time after you have done 4 of them already.

As for backup guardians: Remove them. Secret hidden bosses and backtracking is terribad.

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 Post subject: Re: T1 Rework
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 5:06 am 
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Thalore

Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2017 9:39 pm
Posts: 129
Eh, I'd argue that the backup guardians are fine, just that they need to be communicated much better. I actually only learned about most of them because of Odyssey of the Summoner, which has a quest to go deal with all of them. I did notice that some random NPCs in Last Hope sort of talk about them, but that's still really not something that people pay attention do and it took me many many games to realize it. Having an explicit quest that alerts you to where the backup guardians are would solve most of the problems with them.


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 Post subject: Re: T1 Rework
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 10:28 am 
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Perspiring Physicist

Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 7:43 am
Posts: 5676
Having new areas would be so much better though.

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 Post subject: Re: T1 Rework
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 3:48 pm 
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Wyrmic

Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2013 3:20 am
Posts: 287
who cares if yeeks, the undead, archmages, and chronomancers miss out on the backup guardians in trollmire, kor'pul, and scint caves?
they'll still get access to the wyrm bile
in fact, dwarves already get access to an exclusive backup guardian, and who complains about it?

and who cares if not everyone gets access to bill? you can get the transmog chest by just making a human or halfling to kill bill, and then its an account-wide unlock


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 Post subject: Re: T1 Rework
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 4:35 pm 
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Thalore

Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2017 7:12 pm
Posts: 157
Zeyphor wrote:
and who cares if not everyone gets access to bill? you can get the transmog chest by just making a human or halfling to kill bill, and then its an account-wide unlock


Locking the transmog chest behind an optional boss that only two races get easy (or any) access to with no indication to a new player that it exists or how to get it, is a garbage idea. If Trollmire ends up getting restricted, the mog chest should be changed to drop from the first boss you kill like the Rod of Recall. Or hell, even the second boss. Something that isn't Bill.

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 Post subject: Re: T1 Rework
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 5:10 pm 
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Thalore

Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2017 9:39 pm
Posts: 129
Zeyphor wrote:
who cares if yeeks, the undead, archmages, and chronomancers miss out on the backup guardians in trollmire, kor'pul, and scint caves?
they'll still get access to the wyrm bile
in fact, dwarves already get access to an exclusive backup guardian, and who complains about it?

and who cares if not everyone gets access to bill? you can get the transmog chest by just making a human or halfling to kill bill, and then its an account-wide unlock


Saying that the current system doesn't work consistently isn't really a good excuse to have the improvements to that system work just as inconsistently.

As for Bill, I wasn't aware of any association between him and the transmog chest at all? I got the chest from the other Trollmire Troll on my first account and from frigging Urkis on my second one. The reason he's an issue is because he's worth a bunch of experience, his gem hoard can be a pretty big power spike and his tree trunk is a pretty dang good weapon. Restricting all that to humans/halfings is just dumb. The restrictions on Sludgenest/Caldera are similarly dumb, but they're also late enough in the game for the power boost from doing those dungeons to be negligible.


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 Post subject: Re: T1 Rework
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 6:31 pm 
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Sher'Tul

Joined: Wed May 22, 2013 2:39 am
Posts: 1280
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
I can't say I think much of the idea of locking dungeons, but as an alternative idea perhaps we could make it so that when you go into a 5th T1 Dungeon you simply 'stroll' through the entire dungeon - ie, not to the final level, you just stroll through it. You get No Items, No Experience - nothing. There might be some flavor text given but nothing else.

Now, if you come back for a Backup Guardian, you'll have to fight a level to get to it - but honestly there should be more then just the Backup Guardians to fight in beaten levels (outside of perhaps Reknor or Sandworm Tunnels which has some lore indicating why they might be alone). I'd maybe 'warp' the zones with Backup Guardians a bit if you return to them: Have the player fight Pale Drake in a sub-level of Dreadfell, maybe have Daikaira populated by a lot of orcs, have a bunch of Treant type enemies spawn with Snap-root, etc, etc.

This helps to keep the experience mostly the same for everyone; that is sort of important since some Backup Guardians have specific drops to them that players might want or some Backup Guardians might be harder then others.

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 Post subject: Re: T1 Rework
PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 10:40 pm 
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Thalore

Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2017 9:39 pm
Posts: 129
The last thing that ToME needs is more zones, especially after going East.


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 Post subject: Re: T1 Rework
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2018 2:50 am 
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Perspiring Physicist

Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 7:43 am
Posts: 5676
And yet people complain about not being level 50 before reaching the High Peak...?

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 Post subject: Re: T1 Rework
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2018 3:37 am 
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Uruivellas

Joined: Sun May 19, 2013 1:58 am
Posts: 784
To the people saying "who cares if you miss out on Bill / backup guardians / whatever", I could similarly say who cares if there are six T1s when you can just skip them / skip to the last floor if you don't feel like doing them.

I'm fine with T1s as they are. They don't take very long (usually under five minutes a floor) and they let you pick up several early artifacts from bosses. If you don't like them just skip to the last floor or skip them completely after the first few. No one's making you fully clear them.

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 Post subject: Re: T1 Rework
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2018 6:26 am 
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Thalore

Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2017 9:39 pm
Posts: 129
HousePet wrote:
And yet people complain about not being level 50 before reaching the High Peak...?


I'm not really sure why though? I mostly play Cornac/Yeek on Nightmare nowadays, but I never had any trouble reaching level 50 before the final bosses with Thalore or Shalore even on Normal. Level 50 before High Peak is a slightly different matter and a big part of the zone bloat is that High Peak is the longest dungeon in the game, not even counting all the crumbling vault sublevels that are in there now for whatever reason.

bpat wrote:
I'm fine with T1s as they are. They don't take very long (usually under five minutes a floor) and they let you pick up several early artifacts from bosses. If you don't like them just skip to the last floor or skip them completely after the first few. No one's making you fully clear them.


Five minutes per floor for six zones with three floors each is a solid hour. That would be fine if there was actually any added challenge past the half-hour mark. There isn't, barring a Heart of the Gloom with unusually dangerous rares or an unexpected Elven Blood Mage in a Rhaloren vault. And, as you mentioned, not doing all the T1's means you miss out on several early artifacts. I suppose that an even simpler way to make the T1s less tedious would just be to make them two levels instead of three. I'll have to see how easy it would be to amputate the middle level via addon.


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 Post subject: Re: T1 Rework
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2018 8:54 am 
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Perspiring Physicist

Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 7:43 am
Posts: 5676
The biggest issue for me with T1s, is that they just don't scale well. The first 2 are challenging, but the next 2 you are just doing because you aren't ready for the T2s yet, and they aren't actually a challenge.

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 Post subject: Re: T1 Rework
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 3:15 am 
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Uruivellas

Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2014 4:00 pm
Posts: 848
I really don't mind the T1 dungeons. They add some nice variety to the game. The bigger issue in my mind is the Orc prides, which are each quite long and have little variety.


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 Post subject: Re: T1 Rework
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 3:04 pm 
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Thalore

Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2017 7:12 pm
Posts: 157
HousePet wrote:
The biggest issue for me with T1s, is that they just don't scale well. The first 2 are challenging, but the next 2 you are just doing because you aren't ready for the T2s yet, and they aren't actually a challenge.


This is my primary gripe as well. I like that the T1's exist, I don't like that after the first two they are no longer a challenge but remain a necessity. Most of the time you don't even get notable loot out of them, save maybe something lucky from a chest or a boss drop. After I clear Kor'Pul I pretty much give up hope of upgrading any gear outside of a shop until I get to Maze. But they are absolutely necessary for the XP, as they are the difference between rolling into the T2's at level 8 or at level 14, depending on your particular XP malus.

Alt zones were a good step in the right direction, but even so, T1's feel like a chore. I don't want to remove the ability to visit them, because like I was saying, they're borderline necessary for almost everyone if you want to live through the next tier. But I don't like having to visit every one in sequence, doing the same thing over and over and over again on every character and KNOWING when you walk in that there's not likely to be much of interest there. It really is a chore, a set of tasks that we must complete before we start the "real game" in the T2s where things actually start being dangerous and your character has enough talents to deal with them.

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