ToME: the Tales of Maj'Eyal

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2018 12:35 pm 
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Archmage

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:42 pm
Posts: 355
I love Oozemancer and appreciate anything that opens up new gameplay options for them, but Drem’s Frenzy is bonkers good in conjunction with Slime Roots.

The simple form of the combo essentially replicates the old “Nature’s Balance / Slime Roots can reset each other” model. Frenzy can be reset by Slime Roots. Slime Roots won’t go on cooldown while you’re in Frenzy. This allows Frenzy -> Slime Roots, which lets you be where you want with nothing on cooldown and 2 more turns of Frenzy. Permanent Frenzy from level 12 on is pretty strong, particularly once your Slime Roots starts resetting multiple things at once (so, for example, permanent Heroism as well).

Once Slime Roots cools down 3 things (from mastery item, of which there are many, or a cat point), you have +100% of a turn via Ancestral Life, and the Fungal Blood Prodigy you can do an infinite number of: Frenzy -> (instant speed infusion - Fungal Blood - cancel regen) -> (Nature’s Equilbrium - regen cancel) -> Slime Roots loops without time ever resuming. Alternatively, you can double up on the infusion cancels to start accumulating multiple turns at the cost of accumulating EQ. Used together (and willing to summon your own Bloated Oozes in order to hit or Silence them to manage EQ) you are theoretically able to win the game on the turn you achieve this combo. (Fun fact I learned investigating this: accumulated time follows you across zone/level changes.)

Maybe Frenzy could have a 1 turn or 2 shaved off its cooldown at max investment (so that most of the combos currently available through Windtouched Speed would still be available, although this may not be necessary) but it would be a fixed cooldown ability? I don’t know what other classes besides TW this would harm offhand, but generally TW aren’t in need of too much help.

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My class guides: Possessor, Oozemancer


Last edited by Snarvid on Mon Jun 18, 2018 2:56 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2018 1:35 pm 
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Wyrmic

Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 2:27 pm
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I agree 100%. It feels like something that should be treated like Timeless.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2018 6:02 pm 
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Thalore

Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2017 9:39 pm
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Any talent that modifies cooldowns should probably be on a fixed cooldown, for consistency.

Slime Roots should definitely be on a fixed cooldown. It can take any type of talent off cooldown and has a lowish cooldown itself[20 turns].

Mindslayer's three Transcendent talents and Dream Hammer also take things off cooldown, but I'm not sure if there's any real way to abuse that. Still probably worth fixing them.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2018 6:12 pm 
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Archmage

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:42 pm
Posts: 355
If you put Slime Roots on a fixed cooldown you kill the Fungal Blood concentrated time gain archetype which, if it can’t go infinite, is strong but not overwhelmingly so and some of us enjoy.

The ability to take a limited set of abilities off cooldown is much easier to balance than being able to do so with any ability e.g. Dream Hammer taking a Dream Hammer talent off cooldown can have relatively predictable outcomes, while Slime Roots taking anything at all off cooldown is as strong as whatever your best option is. I feel like Oozemancer doesnt have anything super-abusive inherently to take off cooldown, so it’s just racial stuff that it can combo super-strongly with (well, and Adventurer stuff, but they are specifically not meant to be balanced).

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My class guides: Possessor, Oozemancer


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2018 6:15 pm 
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Uruivellas

Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2015 8:45 pm
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Don't get me wrong, Frenzy is really good and seems like it could open up broken combos... but to me it actually seems like the culprit is Slime Roots and not Frenzy. Slime Roots should be limited to wild-gifts, or reduce rather than reset cooldowns, or make wild gifts cool down faster, or just not affect cooldown at all, cause Wilders already have a generic talent to reset cooldowns. I'm not going to debate the merits of any of these ideas, just tossing out several alternatives, because 'Slime Roots is broken so we should nerf Frenzy' just don't make sense to me.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2018 6:32 pm 
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Archmage

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:42 pm
Posts: 355
nsrr wrote:
Don't get me wrong, Frenzy is really good and seems like it could open up broken combos... but to me it actually seems like the culprit is Slime Roots and not Frenzy. Slime Roots should be limited to wild-gifts, or reduce rather than reset cooldowns, or make wild gifts cool down faster, or just not affect cooldown at all, cause Wilders already have a generic talent to reset cooldowns. I'm not going to debate the merits of any of these ideas, just tossing out several alternatives, because 'Slime Roots is broken so we should nerf Frenzy' just don't make sense to me.


I disagree with the premise that either Slime Roots or Frenzy are broken in isolation from one another.

Does the proposed Frenzy nerf really affect anyone besides Oozemancers due to Slime Roots and TW due to Invigorate? Yes, people using Windtouched Speed, but that was accounted for in lowering the cooldown of Frenzy overall and it’s a modest difference. Whereas Slime Roots being weakened would significantly effect Oozemancer gameplay - you really have to work to give them good damage on Insane, and they simply can’t output enough to kill the Prides on Madness. Resetting Slime Roots with Nature’s Balance is an important part of Oozemancer’s (rather slow) version of burst damage.

I think you have to look at impact on final gamestate when considering a fix. If Oozemancers with Frenzy are the current problem, you can change Frenzy or change Oozemancers existing toolbox. Given that their existing toolbox was fine pre-Frenzy, I wouldn’t change it.

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My class guides: Possessor, Oozemancer


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2018 9:45 pm 
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Uruivellas

Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2015 8:45 pm
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Tier 1 racials for other non-undead races follow a set pattern. You gain X benefit, usually scaling with a stat, for 5 turns, and investment only reduces the cooldown. Frenzy already deviates somewhat in that the buff only lasts 3 turns and does not scale at all (afaik). Which is fine, because Frenzy is really strong, but further nerfing it in comparison to other t1 racial talents just because of one specific interaction with one specific talent of one specific class seems like it's going about things backwards. The specific case should be addressed, not the general one.

I said I wasn't going to debate the merits of any of the changes I proposed, but for the sake of argument, would not changing Slime Roots to only affect wild-gifts(or even gifts and mind powers) prevent this specific case without altering the functionality in any significant way for the class it is native to, while leaving the totally unrelated racial talent alone?

Aside from that, there is the general rule that talents which reduce/reset cooldowns have a fixed cooldown themselves, so it's somewhat unusual that Slime Roots can be used in this way at all.

I would argue that if they can't put out enough damage without pulling a bunch of unintuitive talent manipulation nonsense then the solution should be to adjust damage or the cooldown of damaging talents. However, you've only said this is an issue on Insane and Madness, the hardest practical difficulty and the difficulty that is meant to be extremely unfair and unwinabble, so there is simply no argument to be had.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2018 11:11 pm 
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Archmage

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:42 pm
Posts: 355
I did see your disclaimer re: discussing the merits of your proposals, I guess I didn’t and don’t understand your desired response to “I’m claiming X is preferable to Y but won’t discuss the merits of X.”

I hear you making an abstract case for “fix specific case not general” (although I don’t get why changing all Oozemancers, regardless of race, is either more or less specific than changing all Drem, regardless of class, but I acknowledge that it does seem that way to you). I hope you hear me making an abstract case for “fix the new thing that hadn’t been tested in the wild and whose introduction added infinite damage loops instead of the pre-existing balance which was hashed out over many iterations and adjustments.” But I don’t want to focus on varying claims about the appropriate motivation for corrections in the abstract, because that seems like disputing definitions (or, at least, it’s moving towards that and away from a testable proposition) and that rarely goes well. I’ve pointed to the real-world case of why I think my fix is significantly better, and I don’t see you pointing to a real-world case where it would be equivalently worse. If the net negative impact of the specific change > than the sum of all negative impacts of the general change, change the general.

Frenzy is crazy strong. I’m glad of it, since the only racial I think is comparable in strength and effect (Timeless) takes so long to come online and it’s really cool to have such a tool available from start of game. I don’t think there’s any reasonable claim that its 3 turn duration being shorter than many other T1s qualifies as a nerf and that therefore it should be immune from any further constraints. More broadly speaking, I don’t believe that general patterns we see in talents should be taken to mean that there can’t be exceptions to those rules, and I value that TOME, like the Dominions strategy series, places unique play experiences ahead of strict balance. (Else Frenzy wouldn’t exist at all, and Drem would have a bland “+X% to Y for five turns” for their T1 instead of “you get to do your three favorite things twice at the beginning of any significant combat.”)

Slime Root’s ability to reset infusions is a powerful and relatively rare tool. I’m glad it’s in the Oozemancer kit, where it also serves to make Fungal Blood a useful Prodigy. Most of your proposed fixes would remove this.

I don’t understand the thrust of your last paragraph. Unintuitive nonsense belongs on Insanity? No one should ever balance anything for modes that do exist in game? Something else?

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My class guides: Possessor, Oozemancer


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 1:35 am 
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Uruivellas

Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2015 8:45 pm
Posts: 634
Location: Middle of Nowhere
I meant I was not going to hash out the pros and cons of each suggestion in that post, but since I felt one of them would address the Frenzy issue without affecting the functionality of Slime Roots that you were concerned with, I would argue a case for it. I did make a mistake, though. When I said wild gift, I meant to say nature gift, which includes infusions. I can see why you thought this was an invalid solution as stated because if it were in fact 'wild gifts' only, it would not work with infusions. The intention was that it would still allow you to reset anything in the Oozemancer toolkit, including infusions. I apologize for the confusion.

I wasn't trying to say Slime Roots should be nerfed, which is why I made the argument for a fix that would not nerf either talent. You detailed a very complex series of very specific talent usage in the Oozemancer kit that can be exploited to gain infinite time if combined with Frenzy. I think we both agree that a solution which fixes this specific case would be the ideal one. The intended solution would not change Oozemancer in any practical way, which is why I felt it was better than changing Drem across the board. Again, I understand there was confusion there due to my mix up. The best solution would probably just be to prevent Slime Roots from affecting Frenzy specifically, but I felt the nature gift only change was practically the same while also fitting to the talent.


Discussing balance is fine, but when arguing against a nerf making the case that it would make the game harder isn't compelling , because you could make the same argument when literally any nerf is being discussed.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:19 am 
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Archmage

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:42 pm
Posts: 355
I'm much more comfortable with "nature gift" than "wild gift" and can understand how it might qualify as a smaller net change than going fixed with Frenzy, although I'm not 100% sold on it yet (and, obviously, I'm not the person who will implement whatever fix is eventually adopted). I'd have to think a little more about what tools that I would miss there - Track, but that's not a big loss and might actually be an upgrade to not have it hit track instead of a combat ability. Steamtech talents, talents granted by items, and maybe PES resets (if it can hit PES, I don't know offhand) are the non-racial things it might weaken that I can think of right now, I'd be okay with them. I suppose the remaining question is "how big a change would losing the Oozemancer's ability to reset non-Frenzy racials be?"

I think I'd still prefer Oozemancers to be able to double up on high-level racial abilities (Warborn, Nature's Pride, Wayist, From Below) and just lock out Frenzy with fixed, but it's certainly much closer than it was before. Is it a bigger change than changing Frenzy's CD for TW and Atrophy Cultists? A head-scratcher.

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My class guides: Possessor, Oozemancer


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:06 pm 
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Uruivellas

Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2015 8:45 pm
Posts: 634
Location: Middle of Nowhere
I hadn't considered tinkers or items from talents, and racials would be a concern too. I guess what it comes down to is that if there is a solution which can fix this particular problem without putting a fixed cooldown on Frenzy, I think that would be preferable. Slime Roots is already filtering out talents (including passives and prodigies, to answer the PES question) and adding Frenzy specifically to this check would prevent the exploit without changing pre-Cults Oozemancer or Frenzy's interaction with anything else. After looking at the different angles of this we've covered, I think that would be the fix with the least impact overall. The only issue is that it would be awkward to explain in either talent. Then again, Slime Roots is already vague in which talents it will actually affect; there's nothing in the description about passives and prodigies. It would probably be fine and mostly no one would notice.

Another option could be to put a limit on the amount of turn energy you can store up. I know this could affect other situations too, but it doesn't appear to have been an issue before now and it seems like a reasonable limitation. There are already other restrictions on most things that affect game time passage (minimum 10% on move speed, limits to the number of times you can proc temporal energize on-hit, etc). I don't where the limit should be in that case, and obviously everything is up to the devs anyway, but I personally don't think it should be more than two or three turns at the most. How many turns would it take before the infinite loop starts in this situation? Or... it can be done in just one turn eventually? I'm not that familiar with the talents involved and it's a bit hard for me to follow exactly what the steps are. In that case, I suppose this wouldn't fix the situation, but it still seems like for sanity reasons alone there should be some limit to how many turns you can store up, even if this particular situation is addressed in another way.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:34 pm 
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Archmage

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:42 pm
Posts: 355
I do think if you just add Frenzy to the things Slime Roots won’t reset that’s certainly the least impactful solution to the problem. The information transparency issue is there, though, and just because there are undocumented interactions in the game already doesn’t necessarily mean there should be more. (I would prefer none, but am not a skilled enough code diver to make it so). There was a bit of a confusion that grew out of my Oozemancer guide around the Fungal Blood combo because, as listed nowhere in the game documentation, Healing Infusions don’t trigger Ancestral Life (e: had listed Fungal Blood before, it’s hard to remember the undocumented stuff!).

The max turn limitation thing wouldn’t solve the issue unless you basically removed bonus turns from the game (and thus killed TW’s/PM’s Time Stop) - the basic infinite damage loop accumulates and spends as it goes, using your infusion’s Fungal Blood to add +1*(Ancestral Life) turn, Nature’s Equilbrium costing 1 turn and adding +1*(Ancestral Life) turn, and Slime Roots costing a turn, so it ends at roughly 0 gained turns (besides the fraction of accumulated Ancestral Life once you gain more than 100% of a turn, but that’s not needed). It also seems like a prime candidate for an issue whose documentation would not belong anywhere in particular but would be really useful to know when designing a character.

If you can accumulate at least 3 turns of bonus time (again, Time Stop’s max), you could arrange your rotation to both manage your EQ and never have time start again.

Finally, the non-infinite Oozemancer Fungal Blood combo revolves around accumulating ~6 turns of bonus time. I’d rather not nerf that.

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My class guides: Possessor, Oozemancer


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2018 4:21 am 
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Halfling

Joined: Thu Jul 16, 2015 4:46 am
Posts: 81
I'd say leaving some OP combos, it doesn't really hurt the game.

Nerfing everthing is eventually making the game boring, cuz all the creative builds get nerfed, then you just play as we(developers) intend you to play.

Yes you can be pretty powerful with the combo, but does it give you joy or dread? Will you stop playing the game because of it? Or like me, just can't wait to try out Oozemancer, which I haven't touch for a billion years :D


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:24 pm 
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Archmage

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:42 pm
Posts: 355
Pretty powerful is fine. Permanent Frenzy is much stronger than anything comparable a level 12 character of any other race gets. Infinite turns to do damage, heal, and regenerate the resource that you use to keep the combo going is several tiers above that.

On the one hand, I’m happy to have found a way for one of my favorite classes to win Madness - I tried to win Madness with a Tinker Oozemancer and found my opponents were simply outhealing my damage when I went East, never giving them a chance to do anything is certainly a hard counter to that. On the other hand, I think winning Madness should feel like an accomplishment, and there is no challenge at all in using these combos as long as you remember which sequence you’re in (and when in doubt you can always pick the “get more time” combo).

I agree with an implicit premise of your argument - it is a single-player game and you won’t ruin anyone else’s good time if you use this. I personally think that even Fixed Cooldown Frenzy is pretty cool on Oozemancer, you get an entire additional Slime Roots rotation in your Fungal Blood/Ancestral Life combo (so something like 9 turns of additional time gained instead of the usual ~6.5) and come into those turns with Frenzy active and at full duration, meaning you can activate ~13 class skills once each without any of them going on cooldown. Given that the two most consistently powerful pre-cults races, Shalore and Ogre, don’t work well with Oozemancer, I’m really happy to have these tools. I don’t *need* them to be game-obliterating, though.

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My class guides: Possessor, Oozemancer


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