Theorycrafting : Enemy Resistances, Immunities, and Weaknesses

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Theorycrafting : Enemy Resistances, Immunities, and Weaknesses

Post by manafire on Wed Feb 26, 2014 3:27 am

First topic! I hope it's somewhat relevant and not in poor taste (that is, starting a thread for it instead of finding more appropriate discussion elsewhere). So, hopefully this is cool. Now then:

Punishment vs. Reward

ONLY referring to enemy resistances and immunities (that is, e.g., Zombie having Lightning Immunity), which is more fun; which encourages strategic thought and entertaining gameplay?

(when I use the word "spell" below, this could also be taken to mean any source of that element's damage).

A:
Finding that a Zombie is Immune to Lightning (no other modifiers), and it meaning nothing because you have an effective Fire spell :: or it proving frustrating, because you don't skill-switch effectively and it takes you a second to realize that you're spamming a Lightning Spell at it :: or it proving 'impossible' because you only deal Lightning damage (not likely, but say you only use 2 elements with your regular set-up, and a monster is immune to both), so you need an alternative (gear swap, like quickly grabbing a Hailstorm oskill amulet, or relying on a merc, etc...)

OR

B:
Finding that a Zombie is Weak to Fire (no other modifiers), and it meaning nothing because you have an effective ANY element spell :: or it being an easier encounter because you have a Fire spell.

It seems that the second option (enemy weakness) would only serve to make the game far too easy (read: not fun) in its current state, but it seems that with completely different paradigms, it could end up not changing the overall difficulty very much at all.

C:
There also seems to be a third option, wherein both Immunity and Weakness modifiers exist in the game, perhaps even on one monster. There could even be a Resistant modifier (i.e., takes half damage from Fire).

Completely ignoring (for right now, anyway) aesthetics or presumed logic (e.g., ice monsters taking extra damage from fire, being immune to cold), would changing from paradigm A to paradigm B or C have any perceived impact on fun, on itemization or skills, or even on the entirety of the game? Would these impacts be positive, negative, or double-edged?

Even beyond what's possible within the engine, the modders' working time/interest, and the playerbase's interest, what would happen if we to find a monster like this? :
Cenobite - Resistant to Fire - Weak to Cold - Immune to Magic

Are there too many modifiers for the player to read/care about? Does every monster deserve multiple (or even any) modifiers? Is the monster dead before it matters anyway?

Well, thought this might provoke an interesting discussing. Thx Very Happy

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Re: Theorycrafting : Enemy Resistances, Immunities, and Weaknesses

Post by arcology on Wed Feb 26, 2014 4:00 am

This already exists in the game, some enemies have partial resistances, though not that common. Unless you have -199% enemy resists, it will sometimes be relevant. If -enemy resists was removed from characters it would be more relevant. (Already the case for physical and magic damage).
I don't like immunities, it makes this game very biased towards rainbow damage chars. Same with purify bosses, I would prefer to use my weapon.

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Re: Theorycrafting : Enemy Resistances, Immunities, and Weaknesses

Post by manafire on Wed Feb 26, 2014 4:17 am

I'm not exactly talking about build bias (though I am a little tempted to agree with what you say), but more the quantifiable "fun" a player has, when being rewarded exploiting an enemy's weakness (attack a fire-weak mob w/ fire for double damage!), as opposed to being punished for attacking their strength (attack a fire-immune mob /w fire for zero damage Sad)

And as for partial resistances already existing, well if anything it should be made more relevant by being made more transparent (i.e. having a visible modifier with monster name). This is still in the 'punishment' category, but I feel even that is better than nothing. I guess you could say there's an option

D:
Monsters having no immunities, resistances, or weaknesses whatsoever; every element is essentially the same. This is, I think, arguably the LEAST fun idea. So even the current Immunities (and partial resistances, as you say) system is more fun than that.

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Re: Theorycrafting : Enemy Resistances, Immunities, and Weaknesses

Post by arcology on Wed Feb 26, 2014 4:45 am

Resistances and immunities are both restrictive in nature, that is, they restrict what build can kill them. If there was a hard boss that was weak only to fire, it would likely be impossible without using fire, and would be equivalent to a boss that was immune to all non-fire. If you don't deal lots of fire damage you can't complete it.
I really do think option D is the best, because it's more fun to have a theme to your character without constantly have to respec to change elements. Note how popular hammerdins were in D2 because they could ignore resistances, or conviction aura, etc.
What to differentiate elements, then? Different effects, such as fire dealing burn damage over time or lightning stunning (something like what was originally planned for D3)
Pretty sure this is beyond the engine, and also engine HP caps necessitate immunities like heroic shield.

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Re: Theorycrafting : Enemy Resistances, Immunities, and Weaknesses

Post by manafire on Wed Feb 26, 2014 5:05 am

While I like the concept of elements differentiated only by effect, that seems beyond our reach here. Nonetheless, we should keep that in the discussion, as it serves to remove both punishment and reward.

I guess I'm arguing that option B would be the most fun (because reward is fun!), and elements of C could be incorporated for special monsters. Honestly, the system that comes to mind for me the most is the element system in Final Fantasy X.

I know that game is otherwise completely irrelevant for talking about MXLU/Sigma, but it was a largely reward-based system with occasional/endgame monsters leaning towards punishment (more resistances and immunities, fewer weaknesses). Granted, that used a four element (two opposing pairs) system, and ours uses six (right?).

I'm trying to think what, psychologically, would be the most fun. The freedom of option D is appealing, if impossible within the engine. option B rewards you for skill-switching, where option A (our current system) punishes you for NOT skill-switching. There's a subtle yet distinct difference there, I believe. And then of course there's option C which combines A and B as per the modders' intent.

And things like HP caps and workarounds might be irrelevant with paradigm overhauls. If, in the future, 10k damage becomes an unobtainable ideal, wouldn't heroic shields be obsolete outside of providing a unique encounter mechanic?

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Re: Theorycrafting : Enemy Resistances, Immunities, and Weaknesses

Post by arcology on Wed Feb 26, 2014 6:01 am

Yeah, I think the element system can certainly be fun like in FFX. It relies on having different elements being easily accessible, though. Having a group of characters with different skills helps, and being able to switch elements just by equipping a different weapon. In an ARPG like this it's generally a lot harder to completely switch elements.
As far as lowering damage.. idk how much it can be lowered, maybe to 1/2 or even 1/4.. but a ton of work.. theoretically somewhat possible..

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Re: Theorycrafting : Enemy Resistances, Immunities, and Weaknesses

Post by The Big Ouchy on Wed Feb 26, 2014 6:45 am

A combination of resistances, immunities, and weaknesses sounds like it would be the most interesting on paper but I don't know if the steamrolling mentality of MXL would really be affected by such a change.

The problem with "option D" is that it promotes mindlessness and generic spammy gameplay. Immunities exist almost entirely to force you to skill switch, forcing you into making mindful decisions when building your character (instead of max passives and single spell) and actually doing something besides holding down right click and alt to watch the slot machine poop out items. It may not necesarily be the best system but laz really worked towards skill switching and increasing active use of multiple skills as the mod progressed. You see that with the implementation of skills like mythal, colosseum, and idol of scosglen as they are powerful yet situational timered skills that you have to put some though into when to use, and not using them makes your character noticeably weaker. You see it even further with the implementation of the new holy caster skill tree and the holy paladin in general allowing for more hybrids. Even further further, it shows in mechanics like the spear amazons fury, which modulates skills based on the triggering of short duration buffs in special circumstances. Imo the best builds to play are the ones with unique dynamics like these because it feels a lot more like playing a game rather than playing the RNG for items. Nagisins, melee sorcs, and the like may be great farmers, but holding down right click gets old after a while.

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Re: Theorycrafting : Enemy Resistances, Immunities, and Weaknesses

Post by zaphodbrx on Wed Feb 26, 2014 7:20 am

@The Big Ouchy wrote:A combination of resistances, immunities, and weaknesses sounds like it would be the most interesting on paper but I don't know if the steamrolling mentality of MXL would really be affected by such a change.

The problem with "option D" is that it promotes mindlessness and generic spammy gameplay. Immunities exist almost entirely to force you to skill switch, forcing you into making mindful decisions when building your character (instead of max passives and single spell) and actually doing something besides holding down right click and alt to watch the slot machine poop out items. It may not necesarily be the best system but laz really worked towards skill switching and increasing active use of multiple skills as the mod progressed. You see that with the implementation of skills like mythal, colosseum, and idol of scosglen as they are powerful yet situational timered skills that you have to put some though into when to use, and not using them makes your character noticeably weaker. You see it even further with the implementation of the new holy caster skill tree and the holy paladin in general allowing for more hybrids. Even further further, it shows in mechanics like the spear amazons fury, which modulates skills based on the triggering of short duration buffs in special circumstances. Imo the best builds to play are the ones with unique dynamics like these because it feels a lot more like playing a game rather than playing the RNG for items. Nagisins, melee sorcs, and the like may be great farmers, but holding down right click gets old after a while.

Yep. Agreed with that.
Removing immunities is not the way to go because it makes all skills same. Just spam -> monsters will die.
Imo no immunities is one of the main weaknesses of Diablo 3 and Torchlight 2.

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Re: Theorycrafting : Enemy Resistances, Immunities, and Weaknesses

Post by MarcoNecroX on Wed Feb 26, 2014 8:17 am

hi

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Re: Theorycrafting : Enemy Resistances, Immunities, and Weaknesses

Post by archon256 on Wed Feb 26, 2014 8:36 am

@zaphodbrx wrote:
Removing immunities is not the way to go because it makes all skills same. Just spam -> monsters will die.
Imo no immunities is one of the main weaknesses of Diablo 3 and Torchlight 2.
You realize that this is exactly what weapon builds do against 99% of the monsters in the game, right? And with magic damage conversion skills, 100%.

What I could see happening (but not in MXL) is the majority of monsters having 90% res to all elements except one which is at 0%, and no build having rainbow damage (even the weapon damage builds) or -enemy res. Then you could just use your single element ability and be inefficient except against monsters much lower than you, or switch to the right element and be rewarded with a faster kill speed.

This won't work in MXL because of said rainbow damage, and because there are several sources of -enemy res.

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