Final Fantasy Hacktics

Modding => PSX FFT Hacking => Topic started by: Lionheart537 on July 20, 2017, 04:56:40 AM

Title: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Lionheart537 on July 20, 2017, 04:56:40 AM
First I'd like to earnestly thank everyone for all the time and care they've put into this community. I've only been here a short time but I'm really beginning to appreciate all the talented people here. Now onto the topic at hand.

I have several (and will likely think of more) questions for those more experienced in designing or their own patches on good game design and balance. Of course anyone who takes the time to put in their two cents is encouraged to do so  :)

1. A balanced magic damage formula
   

2. Counter flood flag assigned to monster skills
   

3. MP regeneration
   

4. Text editing-what happens to the space?
   

I have a few more questions and theories, but those are specific to my individual classes and abilities. I'm pretty sure those should go in a seperate thread (maybe in the projects section?) I suppose I could buckle down and dig around or self test, but all my recent free time has been devoted to learning and trying my hand at spriting. Maybe I'll make a thread with my gradual progress after i have more progress.

Anyway sorry if this is too much to read or incorrectly posted or formatted. And thanks for your assistance, time, and advice! Oh and to those whose ASMs i mentioned sorry I was too lazy to mention your names for proper credit!

EDIT: Just to clarify this is merely a personal project for myself and a few friends.
Title: Re: A well balanced spell damage formula and other modding/balance questions
Post by: Nyzer on July 20, 2017, 06:38:42 PM
Some general thoughts.

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In general everything will have higher Hp Multipliers, by 10-15%, and most stats will be slightly altered with stat growths varying between jobs.

Honestly, it's way too easy to get close to 999 damage in FFT as is. Buffing HP wouldn't go as far as nerfing damage output would.

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I am wanting to assign certain, hell maybe most, monster skills to counter flood so that when equiped with cf innate the monster will retaliate with something more interesting than a standard attack.

That's... not how CF works, though. It's set to use one type of attack depending on the terrain you're on, and I'm not sure it can be set to choose from more than one skill per terrain. Even if it could, you'd have goblins casting Flame Attack or something on the correct terrain? Couerls using mindflayer skills? I really don't know what made you think that was a great idea, but it's not. You're way better off setting one or two monster families to have Counter Flood and giving the rest different Reactions such as Bonecrusher, CT Save, etc.

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This one is simple. I just want some experienced opinions on whether MP regen is a good game mechanic in Tactics; whether it be natural and innate 5 or 10% from ASM or through the 'Mist' status provided in other ASM.

I think it is, as long as it's not overdone. Mages really early in the game are nearly useless without a supply of Ethers since they run OOM so quickly. This problem repeats every time they advance to the next spell tier (or they just keep casting the weak version).

Jot5 includes a lot of ways for players to regain MP, and also makes quite a few non-mage abilities cost MP as well. That balances out the MP issue between physical and caster jobs, makes skillsets like Holy Sword less ridiculously OP, and helps keep abilities more useful than simple Attack commands.

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Text editing-what happens to the space?

I believe there's a limit on the overall text space, and a limit on the space for every individual section. Removing the kanji from everything should usually give you enough space to get creative, but I never dove all that deeply into it. I do know Xif had to change some of the load functionality for some text in Jot5, breaking one section up into several smaller ones that all load separately, to fix an issue we came across.
Title: Re: A well balanced spell damage formula and other modding/balance questions
Post by: Lionheart537 on July 20, 2017, 08:04:21 PM
Thanks for the reply Nyzer.

On nerfing damage I didn't realize Tactics was so abusable haha. I'll put some thought and research into whether stats, equipment, or formulas need tweaking the most. Probably a bit of each *sigh*

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It's set to use one type of attack depending on the terrain you're on
Leave it to the damn Geomancer to ruin my plans (my least favorite vanilla job). I absolutely loathe the terrain reference system. Hmm I suppose it would recquire some asm to rework a custom reaction skill then, or just scrap this idea.

On MP I'm still iffy on physical abilities costing mp. It could make them easier to scale and balance with magic. If most abilities end up costing MP then mp regen would be very welcome. I'll think on this during free time at work tonight.

I had heard of the term kanji space before. Is it the mysterious Japanese text left about in game? I'll just try to limit text changes to very similar areas then. Thanks for the info!

I saw Monster Tactics had many creative monster reaction skills, so maybe I'll toss out some vanilla r/s/m I'm not going to use and try those.

Could anyone shed more insight on Blue Mage/Monster ability animations? How to share them without graphical hiccups (if that is even a concern).

EDIT: I found this
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Most of the animations in MT use 01, 2c, 00 on the animations tab.  This is the spell charging animation.
So looks like with just some mild testing the blue mage will look fine! Have to give thanks to Emmy for the shared love of monsters.
Title: Re: A well balanced spell damage formula and other modding/balance questions
Post by: Nyzer on July 20, 2017, 11:17:48 PM
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On MP I'm still iffy on physical abilities costing mp. It could make them easier to scale and balance with magic.

Have you played the release chapter of Jot5? Even just the first battle can give you an idea of how MP-based physical abilities work out in practice. Spend a bit longer in the game, and, as both Ramza and the Knight job have MP restoration skills, you can see how useful those are as well.

You might think that making offensive skills have a cost is a nerf, but it's quite the opposite. Because those skills have a cost, they can be useful skills, right out of the gate. None of that Throw Stone or Tackle garbage. Nor do they work like vanilla's Holy Sword skills, which are ridiculously overpowered and completely remove the point of having the character Attack (until they Dual Wield anyway).

It's kind of like how Metroid Prime 2 made the extra Beams cost ammo, but also made them very powerful. It feels a lot better than the 4-beam set in Prime 1, where you'd pretty much only ever switch out of the top-damage Plasma Beam in order to take advantage of elemental weaknesses. And in order to facilitate that, towards the endgame, Prime would constantly throw enemies at you with immunities to three of the four beams. And I don't just mean bosses. It wasn't any more fun than it sounds.

Without a cost on the abilities, they either have to be weak/rarely situationally useful/flat out useless, like the entire Squire skillset (and most of the Knight skillset, and to some degree the Monk skillset with how restricted its targeting was), or they end up stupidly OP - like Holy Sword.
Title: Re: A well balanced spell damage formula and other modding/balance questions
Post by: Lionheart537 on July 21, 2017, 12:30:19 AM
Hmm great points again Nyzer. I see what you mean how having a cost helps in ways beyond the obvious. It can make basic classes more viable for endgame, and no one likes brainless strategies like Lightning stab, lightning stab, lightning stab. It certainly does seem like a better way to balance than limiting nonmagic abilities to be weak or situational. I was meaning to take some closer looks at successful hacks while I play around with spriting. I hope the creators don't mind anyone leeching off their ideas.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Lionheart537 on July 22, 2017, 02:05:57 AM
UPDATE: I changed the topic name since I decided to go ahead and post my job ideas for critiquing here.

Anyway I also spent a few hours earlier today to get into Jot5 for inspiration. Firstly let me say that it's exceptionally well done! The battles are intense wars of attrition maintaining status buffs, hp, and mp. This seems like a great basis to what balance in tactics should look like so I'm glad i started here. I'm also encouraged to see that several ability ideas I had are implemented here, so they're both doable and function well. Damage almost never seems too much or little. I envision many jobs different, yet quite similar. But mechanics-wise I'll be taking lots of notes from here, great stuff! I'm pretty much sold on using MP for most abilities now haha. Didn't get too far (up to fighting Romar (sp?)) so can't say much more and this topic isn't meant for other hacks, no matter how epic they are.

For now I have another question. I've seen many people claim Blade grasp, sunken state, two swords, hamedo, two hands, and reflexes to be broken or op. I personally think if everything else is balanced these skills are perfectly fine (well two swords does kinda push it). Would you guys recommend keeping, nerfing, or tossing?
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Emmy on July 22, 2017, 02:03:59 PM
If you've ever seen Monster Tactics, you'd know my answer is to keep as much as possible.  Too many people have the mindset of "nerf everything" as opposed to buffing all the other options to be unique and usable.  One of the major reasons stuff like 2 swords seems OP is there's literally nothing else competing for that slot besides stuff that has the same end effect of doing more damage unconditionally (2 hands, attack up, martial arts, etc), or perhaps stuff like Short Charge for caster units (who would probably be using Math Skill or be switched to the physical tree later in the game).  What else are you going to put there? Equip Axe?  So part of balancing these other abilities is writing relevant abilities to the other slots.  You can look to mine, or learn asm and think of something new.

Keep in mind too if you keep a lot of the higher end abilities unnerfed (Blade Grasp, MP Switch, etc) and make more good abilities that the rest of the game needs to be balanced in a way to keep things from being mindless.  Another major reason that Blade Grasp was broken in vanilla is that the vast majority of enemies could do nothing about it.  A typical enemy is a job lv 1 Knight or Archer.  If the most threatening ability known by it is Charge +2 or potion, and they have nothing in terms of spells or status effects, the AI has no choice besides rushing forward and attacking or healing itself when it's almost dead.  However, Blade Grasp won't save you against Petrify or Frog, nor will it do anything against magic.

As for MP, I've balanced it solely on the existence of abilities such as Amplify (+1 aoe on abilities that cost mp/2x MP cost) and Siphon (ability costs no mp for the user, double MP cost's damage done to target), unique formulas such as Ignite (deals damage to both MP and HP equal to MP) and Invert (switches target's current MP and HP, dealing damage/healing accordingly), MP cost trigger reactions, MP Switch, and all the different ways that characters have to heal and damage MP.  Characters at higher levels commonly have hundreds of MP, yet MP management is still relevant. 

Spell CT is an often overlooked balancing factor for abilities.  I've directly correlated Y values with spell ct's (to where more powerful spells have higher CT), with exceptions given based on things like more powerful procs or larger aoe.  There's no reason why you can't make physical abilities that follow the usual rules of spells (MP cost, CT, reflect/silence flags, etc), yet use PA based formulas and the physical flags (takes p-ev, protect, countergrasp, etc). 
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Nyzer on July 22, 2017, 03:08:17 PM
If you can write your own RSM abilities or find really interesting ones that work for your patch that others have already made, then yeah, replacing some of the more over- or underpowered skills would be a good way to go.

As for the nerf everything mindset, I believe that mostly comes around from issues with the 999 damage and HP caps. Which, as far as I've heard, can't be smoothly altered without some sort of issues. Even if there is a fix for that, at that point it just seems to me like it would be way more work than just scaling damage down or doing things like reducing the number of weapons that can be dual wielded - both of which are largely just Patcher changes.

There are many, many issues lending themselves to the "too easy to one-shot, no reason to use status effects or cast time skills" problem in FFT. Trying to buff everything up to the level of "unstoppable god monster dual wielding two Knight Swords with Blade Grasp, Teleport, and innate Reraise, Protect and Regen" (let alone the insanity that is Math Skill) really just seems like it would go way out of control. I can't see how that would ever work well without some nerfs to at least the top tier.

Some things definitely need buffs, don't get me wrong. But the nerfs are needed too. Balance cuts both ways.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Lionheart537 on July 23, 2017, 01:24:54 AM
I agree both nerfs and buffs/complete changes into more useful skills are needed. I definitely want to include those cool vanilla abilities, albeit tweaked. I've noticed most of the hacks to do so have been made, thank you amazing people! I'll try tackling some asm later, but fear the mystifying wizardry that it entails. For now I'm learning spriting, but I'll inevitably try my hand at being Harry Potter at some time.
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Another major reason that Blade Grasp was broken in vanilla is that the vast majority of enemies could do nothing about it.
Drastically lowering jp cost will let ai have more varied and interesting abilities, right? Can ENTD be used to further help this?

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Characters at higher levels commonly have hundreds of MP, yet MP management is still relevant.
Hmm I really must consider high level gameplay, can't just focus on early game. Your method for determining mp cost makes alot of sense to me, I'll keep it in mind, thanks! I was planning on generally lowering ct for spells and making most aoe attacks unable to damage the caster, but still allies. That is partially for a specific job, but also because as funny as it is to make a wizard kill himself it isn't fun on the receiving end.

So yeah I'm definitely for keeping "op" skills. I'll have a more solid solution after i spend more time focusing on modding,  but here's what I'm thinking so far. I think there are asms for most of these already.
Blade grasp
Evasion/Reflexes
Hamedo
Two swords
Two hands
MP Absorb and MP switch
Weapon guard

So besides those rsms I'll go ahead and make this post longer by briefly presenting my job ideas. I'll provide much more indepth info upon request. I seperate jobs into 3 sections or paths: Warrior, Thief, and Mage.

Warroir Path
Thief Path
Mage path
The others

This is a long post but thanks for any feedback!

EDIT: Pride's reaction asm spreadsheet can probably add anything i can't find elsewhere! For reaction skills anyway. The counter tackle custom clone seems especially awesome! A solution to my monster skill counters? Maybe for an individual monster family or two at least. Great stuff!
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Nyzer on July 23, 2017, 03:41:53 AM
Lion, while vanilla FFT generally fails to make enemies learn any worthwhile abilities, you can easily rectify that just by increasing learn percentages for skills and enemy job levels in the ENTD.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Lionheart537 on July 23, 2017, 09:46:11 AM
Good to know. I took a look in the ENTD section but i wasn't too certain on how much individual customization can be done to random units. I will have to take a closer look later.

To add to my already extensive list another thing on my mind is reorganizing the weapons. I was thinking of turning katanas into Fellswords, but leave the ones Elmdor uses and the associated abilities untouched. I never really understood the point of ninjato, they feel redundant with swords and daggers around. Do they have a solid place or would changing them (both stat and graphics) be reasonable? Also the difference of rod and stave is similar to ninjato and dagger, one basic mage weapon should be enough. Lastly there is cloth; since I'm unsure what to do with dancer's their place in-game is uncertain. I do plan to give instruments to Blue Mages though. That leaves 3 (ninjato, rod, and cloth) weapon groups i'm uncertain about. Would adding new weapons be feasible? A whip weapon class would be cool. I haven't looked into editing the item bin yet but i certainly plan to.

EDIT: I've decided to keep ninjato and rods but for all intents and purposes they will act as alternate graphics for daggers and staves. Cloths...still up in the air i guess, maybe change into extra books and link the two? Hell i could say they're scrolls and not even worry about editing their graphic image.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Emmy on July 23, 2017, 01:54:13 PM
I removed permanent br/fa modification, which goes a long way in preventing the 97/3 armies from taking over.  The reason I did this wasn't purely to nerf the player; but because having a majority of enemies being randomized is much more interesting than having them all start off as 97/3, and because I wanted enemies to be able to use skills that do -br/fa without it being an automatic reset.  This takes care of at least one of your gripes about Blade Grasp.

I wrote a simple hack to make Counter into the physical equivalent of Counter Magic.  For example, if you Earth Slash this unit, it'll Earth Slash you back. This type of change goes nicely with making physical skills that behave like spells.  It also means that Hamedo and Counter have completely different functions.  The other thing that helps this along is giving the ai worthwhile skills to use.  This ends up indirectly nerfing Hamedo without doing anything to its code.


2 swords/2 hands multipliers can be toned down.  Remember to do your math in hex if using this hack!


Weapon Guard I just made innate to everyone (by disabling the slot in a way that is always active) and writing something completely unrelated to that slot.  Most weapons have been given lower evade amounts than they had in vanilla to compensate.  MP Absorb was also rewritten to something completely unrelated on that slot, but keeps the MP cost trigger.  Even with more MP costs/MP management in general, that skill is still meh compared to every other option the player gets.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Lionheart537 on July 23, 2017, 08:43:03 PM
Oh thank you Emmy! That's a very flexible hack and the counter change is very cool. On another note i was going to use your movement merge hack to remove silly terrain move skills. But on movement I'm debating whether to have Jump +3 or Ignore Height. Either would go to Dragoon but it's a bit of a debate for me. Thanks again everyonen

EDIT: I'll probably cut ignore height and keep Jump +3 just for consistency with the move + skills.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Lionheart537 on July 27, 2017, 05:27:26 AM
Some balance questions on a few specific abilities.

Break Weapon, Steal Weapon, Crush Weapon. Yea or nea? These are pretty easily abused by the player and make most physical enemies powerless. I feel they are best removed from the player (maybe keep steal weapon for obtaining unique weapons). I'm pretty sure their id slots are coded to those specific skills, so replacing them wouldn't be easy, i think.

All of the stat affecting skills. Yell and accumulate,  Rend/Ruin power, magic, speed and the songs/dances. I thought i saw a hack that made stat changes gradually reset. If I'm not crazy and that's real and works it could balance enough to allow these formulas/abilities; otherwise, I'm for removing them.

On a side note I've spent more time with other hacks to get more ideas. MT is hilarious haha. And if this personal vanilla hack does take off pretty well I have a decent name for it, FFT Lionheart Wars or FFT War of the Lionheart(s). My internet alias fits perfectly lol.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: nitwit on July 28, 2017, 03:10:49 AM
Some balance questions on a few specific abilities.

Break Weapon, Steal Weapon, Crush Weapon. Yea or nea? These are pretty easily abused by the player and make most physical enemies powerless. I feel they are best removed from the player (maybe keep steal weapon for obtaining unique weapons). I'm pretty sure their id slots are coded to those specific skills, so replacing them wouldn't be easy, i think.
Each class should have abilities they can use in lieu of a straight weapon attack.  Knight has breaks, Archer is crippled for the most part, Monk is fine, Thief isn't offensive, Lancer is weakened but still viable if Brave is high, Geomancer/Samurai/Ninja is weaked at melee but can still fight.  Squire is fucked, but it's a Squire - who cares?

All of the stat affecting skills. Yell and accumulate,  Rend/Ruin power, magic, speed and the songs/dances. I thought i saw a hack that made stat changes gradually reset. If I'm not crazy and that's real and works it could balance enough to allow these formulas/abilities; otherwise, I'm for removing them.
Change the upper and lower limits on stats.  SP max of 18, min of 4 is acceptable.  You'd have to rebalance the monster ability x/y values and monster PA/MA, but you can do the same for PA and MA.  Max of 32 (Worker 8, who can also use some rebalancing), min of 2 or 3.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Lionheart537 on July 28, 2017, 06:19:20 AM
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Weapon Guard I just made innate to everyone
At first when playing hacks that do this i didn't like it (because a chemist with a knife shouldn't block 3 attacks continuously dammit!), but after some time I've come to appreciate the subtle layer it adds as an innate status. Opening that slot and allowing more diversity to all weapons without using your reaction ability slot. Plus since i plan to remove shield evasion in favor of damage reduction, this counter balances that some. So i like it, thanks for the suggestion! Did you also raise Monk's and monster's natural evasion since they won't have weapons?

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Each class should have abilities they can use in lieu of a straight weapon attack
Although most of my jobs will be quite different from vanilla, you're right. They all have a variety of offensive and/or support skills even if they lose primary attack. Several of the damage skills won't even be overly bothered by loss of wp dmg. In light of this they seem fairly balanced, so I'll probably keep them, thanks!

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Change the upper and lower limits on stats.
This is exactly why i decided to openly ask for opinions. Such an obvious solution i overlooked. Sound advice nitwit! You're name isn't very becoming of you lol.

Time to spew out more thoughts. Should i remove Fa calculations? How big of an impact does it really make? I think at most it's about a 20% difference, right? That's rather noticeable. I ask because while I'm pretty happy with vanilla Faith mechanics it always irks me that my lower Fa units can't get good healing from most magic or are harder to hit with buffs. The extra damage is perfectly fine but reduced healing is annoying. Maybe just remove target's Fa from calculations? Zodiac compatibility is definitely going though,  forget that noise.

Another inquiry. Golem is mainly a problem because of the way the ai prioritizes it, right? Would making a single target golem ability, perhaps called Martyr, on Knight or Paladin class be doable/ a good idea? Draw the ai's attention to the caster to save an ally? Ai using golem is balanced as is, if having it affect a select area rather than every unit is possible.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Nyzer on July 28, 2017, 04:22:59 PM
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Break Weapon, Steal Weapon, Crush Weapon. Yea or nea? These are pretty easily abused by the player and make most physical enemies powerless. I feel they are best removed from the player (maybe keep steal weapon for obtaining unique weapons). I'm pretty sure their id slots are coded to those specific skills, so replacing them wouldn't be easy, i think.

I can't remember if the AI will ever make use of Equip Change. If they do, then spreading EC around to NPCs would at least make weapon-removal count as a decent way to make an enemy lose a turn.

Otherwise... I don't know about removing them all outright, but certainly taking them away from generic jobs so that you need to field specific units to use it. Maybe make Meliadoul the only weapon breaker, and one of the birds have the steal skill (possibly even only with a Beastmaster's help). The Knight can keep their armor breaking skills.

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Should i remove Fa calculations? How big of an impact does it really make? I think at most it's about a 20% difference, right? That's rather noticeable. I ask because while I'm pretty happy with vanilla Faith mechanics it always irks me that my lower Fa units can't get good healing from most magic or are harder to hit with buffs.

You're thinking in terms of vanilla mechanics where about the only way to get buffs or reliable healing was to use a caster, and so the only benefit of low Fa was to be an anti-magic tank, at a fairly significant cost. There's a lot of room for changing that around when you're modding the jobs.

Here's a few ideas you might want to think about: Turn the Squire into a buff unit that can only apply their buffs to others. Make some of the Chemist's items apply buffs, instead of there being a million different status cures. Give the Knight some tanky self-buffs like Protect or Regen. Give the Archer some weapon-applied debuffs (such as poisons) and maybe a self Haste or something. Add some range to the Monk's support skills, whether horizontal or vertical, so their shit can actually be used.

You start doing stuff like that, and suddenly a lower Faith is more balanced, and generally more useful, instead of being super niche in a way that's not going to see quite as much use in practice.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Emmy on July 28, 2017, 04:32:05 PM
You could take the approach of balancing that MT has, and use entirely custom formulas with a new consistency as to what takes faith and what does not.  The problem with vanilla here is that there's no consistency  - plenty of stuff does "magic-like" effects or takes MA in their formulas with no faith calculation.  Stuff also randomly uses linear or quadratic formulas.  Choose whether you want to use linear or quadratic formulas for everything and stay married to your choice.  This will prevent a lot of balance headaches later.  Also, keep in mind before you remove zodiac compatibility is that having another form of variance in battles is a mostly positive thing - it makes different fights of the same battles different.  You can reduce the amount of difference it makes, and also remove the place where vanilla will calculate compatibility twice in some formulas:


I don't think what you're thinking of can easily be done, however if you want to make Golem not completely horrid to the ai, you can try Dokurider's hack:

Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: RavenOfRazgriz on July 28, 2017, 04:53:35 PM
I can't remember if the AI will ever make use of Equip Change.
They don't.  This is why there are no means of destroying Weapons in Journey of the Five aside from an obscure monster ability with no Vertical Tolerance.  Removing those abilities allows you avoid the need to give Maintenance to your bosses and prevent the player from being able to use any of those skills against bosses because of a single ability.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Lionheart537 on July 29, 2017, 12:39:59 AM
Firstly thanks everyone for all of the responses. This is saving my time from my own trail and error, and more importantly it provides something I'd never get on my own- outside (and more experienced) opinions.

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You're thinking in terms of vanilla mechanics where about the only way to get buffs or reliable healing was to use a caster, and so the only benefit of low Fa was to be an anti-magic tank, at a fairly significant cost.
Great point. I plan to give many classes access to more status effects, so their skills being generally more reliable comes at the cost of smaller aoe or higher MP. I was already implementing this but didn't appeciate the difference.
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use entirely custom formulas with a new consistency as to what takes faith and what does not...Stuff also randomly uses linear or quadratic formulas.  Choose whether you want to use linear or quadratic formulas for everything and stay married to your choice
I really must remember how important formulas are lol. Being more specific with them is a better answer than a full-game change. On formulas i think I'd prefer quadratic for most. Still don't like Zodiac comp though.

I did in fact see Dokurider's hack; it's what got me reconsidering Golem. Although I'm not a fan of map-wide/all-unit targeting abilities, so if golem can't be used on individuals or small areas it isn't a big deal to toss it from player and generic enemy use.

To break or not to break weapons, hmm. Having some special enemies with safeguard isn't too big of an issue for me, but i do like the idea of some equipment only obtainable via stealing. I saw a break/steal hack in one of Emmy's xml is it safe and functional? If i could set weapon break/crush to accessory/shield i'd be happy with removing or limiting steal weapon.

One more question. If Gain jp-up is innate to all, does that give ai more jp for their random skill selection too?
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Nyzer on July 29, 2017, 02:39:48 AM
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They don't.  This is why there are no means of destroying Weapons in Journey of the Five aside from an obscure monster ability with no Vertical Tolerance.

Yeah, I thought that might be the case. I don't think it would be out of place on Meliadoul alone in a vanilla mod, considering she's otherwise overshadowed by Orlandu and arrives near the ass end of the game anyway. But it's way too broken to be a generic skill.

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keep in mind before you remove zodiac compatibility is that having another form of variance in battles is a mostly positive thing - it makes different fights of the same battles different.

I agree with this. Forgot to mention that before. I really wouldn't remove the compatibility setup. In random matches, it benefits the player just as much as it screws them over, and if you want to be really particular at the Soldier Office you can get a team specifically designed to have max compatibility with each other, which is absolutely beneficial to the player.

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To break or not to break weapons, hmm. Having some special enemies with safeguard isn't too big of an issue for me, but i do like the idea of some equipment only obtainable via stealing. I saw a break/steal hack in one of Emmy's xml is it safe and functional? If i could set weapon break/crush to accessory/shield i'd be happy with removing or limiting steal weapon.

You can still get armor & accessories via stealing, keeping the skill relevant. If you want to keep Steal Weapon, the best time to make use of it would probably be in the final chapter, and I'd just recommend slapping it onto a special unit or rare beastmastered bird for that purpose. Keeps it from being generic and too easily available, but doesn't entirely remove it from the player.

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One more question. If Gain jp-up is innate to all, does that give ai more jp for their random skill selection too?

Pretty sure that's not how that works. I wouldn't give that skill as an innate to every single job, though - you'd be better served by nerfing JP costs. If you come across a job you want to give multiple innates to, you'd have one less slot with which to do so.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: nitwit on July 29, 2017, 09:12:16 AM
I do not remember where I saw this, but someone said that you could change the faith formula such that 00 faith would still cause some damage, but 100 faith was still required for max damage.  That was to remove it as a means of weakening mages, who already have many ways to do so (silence, don't act, stop, berserk, frog, even chicken if their brave is low enough).

I think it was 50 + (current faith / 2) instead of the normal faith calculation.  Note that this could also be used with brave to prevent brave reduction from making unarmed, katanas, and knight swords useless.

You could also partially nerf defensive faith reductions by limiting it to caster faith only.  Then faith reduction is only useful offensively, but faith increases are also not damaging to your own party so there's no reason not to max it for your party.  I prefer to keep them both.

The same thread had something to rebalance brave as a trigger for reaction abilities, by making the effective reaction trigger rate as 25 + (current brave / 2).  The minimum is 25%, the maximum is 75%.  A skilled assembly programmer could fudge the math to change the minimum and maximum in tandem with the divisor - 34% to 67%, 67% to 100%, and so on.

There aren't quite enough ways to weaken physical fighters and to a lesser degree debuffers (which aren't often useful).  Blind could be more powerful.  Making weapon guard innate all helps a lot, especially if it and class evasion apply to magic as well as physical attacks.

There are a lot of little things you can do to make more classes competitive.

Equipment breaks and steals should have a very low hit rate to compensate for their usefulness.

I don't remember if the AI uses stat boosting skills like Accumulate, but someone made a topic on it recently that had a hack.  Redoing stats, ability x/y, and equipment so that there's a narrower range of stats makes it much easier to set reasonable upper and lower limits for stats.  I would be very happy with a lower limit of 5 for SP and 4 for PA/MA, and upper limits of 16 for SP and 20 for PA/MA.  With everything else adjusted your characters will never deal 999 damage unless they are berserked Monks.

Speaking of Monks, their innate is extremely overpowered, even if it is limited I think to Attack and the monk skills.

You could remove half of the reaction, support, and movement skills and no one would notice.

You should make a series of threads for rebalancing each thing (reactions, supports, movements, spells, melee classes, ranged classes, weapons, armors, monsters)  and we can hash it all out.  Run it by the mods first, they seem to dislike thread spam.  If you finish a good mod you can get your own forum where we can have these discussions, but that's a pretty hard thing to do.

EDIT

I realized that there are serious issues with our build systems, so please go to this thread and comment on what I posted there.

http://ffhacktics.com/smf/index.php?topic=11773
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Lionheart537 on July 29, 2017, 11:25:24 AM
I do really like crush weapon being limited to Meliadoul (not giving it Orlandu though). If i can turn knight's break weapon into break accessory that'd be swell.

Steal weapon... well i was considering removing monster skill with an asm (by Xifanie i believe) so they can use the 4th ability freely. I was also considering removing monster breeding, but steal weapon could be locked behind an elusive monster only obtainable from breeding. Not really sure which vanilla special character to possibly throw steal weapon on, so I'm liking the monster option right now. Maybe i should list the monsters i plan on changing/using.

Synopsis of Monsters in Lionheart Wars

That's alot but moving on.

@nyzer
Quote
In random matches, it benefits the player just as much as it screws them over...you can get a team specifically designed to have max compatibility with each other
Another variable is always nice, but Zodiac has some hangups. Sure you can invest in a synergy team, or healing can be balanced to not need that. But having to work around enemies because of an unchangable mechanic...especially with bosses dealing too little or much to a unit because of it...ugh. It sounds like a nice and interesting extra modifier, but I can't help but see it as extra work or a nuisance since my first playthrough. Who knows maybe when i get to crunching and testing numbers it will prove beneficial.

@nyzer
Quote
you'd be better served by nerfing JP costs
Haha yup vanilla JP costs are ridiculous. I'm looking at half the cost for the big 1000+ abilities. Just wondered if innate jp up would help ai random units with skill variation, too bad but I'll manage

@nitwit
Quote
Note that this could also be used with brave to prevent brave reduction from making unarmed, katanas, and knight swords useless...making the effective reaction trigger rate as 25 + (current brave / 2).  The minimum is 25%, the maximum is 75%
Oh i like these ideas. I have a lot to digest but I'll keep this in mind, thanks a lot!

@nitwit
Quote
Blind could be more powerful.
You know I strongly agree. I know I saw a hack that adjusted Blind's effectiveness somewhere. On a similar note I was considering stacking a few "Oracle"/Beowulf abilities into pairs. Blind and Berserk (It's even already called Blind Rage), Silence and Sleep, Immobilize and Disable (Pseudo stop).

Quote
You should make a series of threads for rebalancing each thing (reactions, supports, movements, spells, melee classes, ranged classes, weapons, armors, monsters)  and we can hash it all out. Run it by the mods first, they seem to dislike thread spam.
Yes this thread is getting quite expanded (if the size of this post is any indication hehe), which is great! A board to link several, less chaotic threads would be marvelous. Unfortunately I have no noteworthy, tangible progress with my hack so I'm doubtful. Maybe in a month or two I'll have enough personal sprites down and a stronger concept for my hack. Regardless i still value everyone who's taken time to give their two cents!

 Sorry for the mountain of text!
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Nyzer on July 29, 2017, 06:33:31 PM
Quote
Another variable is always nice, but Zodiac has some hangups. Sure you can invest in a synergy team, or healing can be balanced to not need that. But having to work around enemies because of an unchangable mechanic...especially with bosses dealing too little or much to a unit because of it...ugh. It sounds like a nice and interesting extra modifier, but I can't help but see it as extra work or a nuisance since my first playthrough. Who knows maybe when i get to crunching and testing numbers it will prove beneficial.

Honestly, in a game that doesn't have Defense stats, I do think it keeps things interesting in that you don't just innately know how much damage/healing you'll do at all times (Fa formulas aside). 

Quote
Just wondered if innate jp up would help ai random units with skill variation, too bad but I'll manage

Quote
you can easily rectify that just by increasing learn percentages for skills and enemy job levels in the ENTD.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Lionheart537 on July 29, 2017, 10:31:59 PM
After much thought and debate I'm thinking on compromising on Zodiac compatibility. 25-50% is HUGE for a variable left to random chance or meticulous strategizing for a perfect team. I remember seeing hacks that cut Zod Comp multipliers to 12.5 and 25%. This is a good middle ground I feel.

A question on the skill learn percent rate; I get it tells AI which skills to learn first (along with the actual order of the skillset) , but does that value also adjust chance to learn on hit? For Blue Mage skills and a few special abilities. Thanks Nyzer, you've been a lot of help.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Nyzer on July 30, 2017, 02:30:40 AM
Yes, it does.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Lionheart537 on July 30, 2017, 06:43:16 AM
Ok good to know. I think the majority of my questions have been answered; all the broader subjects and some more specific questions at least. If there's an important game mechanic or design question i didn't ask about please bring it up and share some thoughts. Most of it now will be testing and deciding on rsms, formulas, various values, etc. Which I'm not settled to do quite yet (still making slow progress on spriting).

But i will post any other appropriate ideas that do cross my mind. Opinions on those monster jobs (and brief human jobs) i presented would be grand, sorry if they're difficult to read. I do have tenative skillsets for all the human jobs and most special jobs (and which abilities they'll replace) but maybe that's better posted elsewhere. I'll start a different thread (or a few if needed/allowed) for progress on my mod sometime later. Lots learned so far and much more to do!
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Lionheart537 on July 31, 2017, 07:49:27 AM
Well i do have another beginner's question. When it comes to patching is there an optimal/preferred order of operations? I.e. change sprites and images, then assembly changes, next event changes, then fftpatcher refinement, finally text fixes. Or some other order to best prevent any losses or corruption of your changes.

EDIT: Two more quick questions.

Should Move +3 be included? It seems a little overkill, +2 should be good enough. Thoughts?

Are the Sing and Dance ability slots hardcoded or is fftpatcher enough to change them completely? Not the skillsets but the individual abilities modified themselves to be used in other skillsets without repeating every turn and using different formulas.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: nitwit on August 01, 2017, 03:36:13 AM
Well i do have another beginner's question. When it comes to patching is there an optimal/preferred order of operations? I.e. change sprites and images, then assembly changes, next event changes, then fftpatcher refinement, finally text fixes. Or some other order to best prevent any losses or corruption of your changes.
It doesn't matter IIRC, none of them overwrite each other.  Check if ASM hacks conflict first though.

Should Move +3 be included? It seems a little overkill, +2 should be good enough. Thoughts?

Are the Sing and Dance ability slots hardcoded or is fftpatcher enough to change them completely? Not the skillsets but the individual abilities modified themselves to be used in other skillsets without repeating every turn and using different formulas.
Move + 3 obsoletes the other two.

Sing and Dance effects are hardcoded to those slots, not sure what happens if you change the formula used.  There are I think flags in FFTPatcher for repeat ability each turn.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Nyzer on August 01, 2017, 05:35:35 AM
Overly high Move is another factor keeping spells obsolete in favor of mashing X to win everything just using Attack forever. 2 is definitely enough, and if you're replacing some Movement abilities through ASM I'd even knock it down to just the one.

For Performing, IIRC, the hardcoding associated with those slots just tells it which stat to affect, and how, if using the Performing formula. I've changed the formula in a PSP patch and noticed no issues.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Lionheart537 on August 01, 2017, 06:30:09 AM
Thanks you guys! That gives me tons more formulas and ability slots to switch around for other jobs. Yeah I'll stick with +2 Move, seems on par with things like fly and teleport.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Lionheart537 on August 02, 2017, 12:19:43 AM
Said i was done and keeps having questions, smh. Anyway I was wondering peoples' views on stat growths for generic jobs. Should they be the same with only multipliers giving variation, or slight differences for each job/job tree (warrior, thief, and mage paths)? Either letting them change jobs hassle free or allowing optimal stat building for dedicated players. On that note I was going to remove xp draining skills, but if growths vary among jobs should it be kept anyway?

Personally I like the idea of my job paths having three different stat growths and each job having specific multipliers. And I don't really have an opinion on level reduction abilities, i guess they're kinda fun if I have the room for them.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Magic Gladii on August 02, 2017, 01:50:23 PM
I was wondering peoples' views on stat growths for generic jobs. Should they be the same with only multipliers giving variation, or slight differences for each job/job tree (warrior, thief, and mage paths)? Either letting them change jobs hassle free or allowing optimal stat building for dedicated players.

There are many arguments for and against setting equal stat growth. I personally prefer setting them all to be equal between jobs. However, the pros and cons on either side balance out. Ultimately it comes down to personal preference.

Using equal growth values across all jobs promotes using avoided and/or all jobs as you unlock them and creating different teams for different battles rather than leveling each character for a specific build and limiting them to that single build the entire playthrough. Jobs like Bard, Dancer or Oracle (Worst growth in the game) are no longer avoided entirely by players that want to actually increase their stats as they level.

It also makes Degenerators and Level Blast an extremely relevant and permanent debuff since the formula that calculates the Raw Stat value you lose involves Growth (If you dislike this, it can be prevented by an ASM hack that makes the stat decrease at level down equal to the previous stat increase at level up; its one of the default hacks you get with OrgASM). As an added bonus, this prevents Level Down abuse.

However, if you decide to take this approach, make sure that the growth values are not too high or too low. You don't really want every single job to be at 999 HP and be able to one-shot kill everything, all before level 50, do you?

It is highly recommended that you also make changes to balance the multipliers for each class. If you don't, stats between different jobs tend to similar (if not equal) in some cases (not including bonuses from armour). Just so you know...

People probably disagree with the above, but honestly (being the completely OCD "Gotta be maxed w/ every single ability unlocked" player that I am) I think that removing this extra annoying detail from the game can be really great and can add an extra layer of difficulty to many battles by balancing the playing field between the player and the AI (if done correctly... gotta do it right :P ...).
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: nitwit on August 02, 2017, 03:06:40 PM
Big variations in speed growths are a bad idea, multipliers less so.  Doesn't necessarily apply to other stats.

You have 5 stats to work with, each of which has growth and multipliers.

If you have 2 mages and 2 warriors at each tier (other than the oddball classes), then you can have a fast but less powerful mage/warrior and an average speed but more powerful mage/warrior.

If you have a mage, a warrior, and a utility class, you could do a 3 way split with the mage/warrior getting high powered on one stat, weak on the other, and average speed, while the utility class is weaker on both stats but faster.

I would do this because I enjoy having the same builds available as I move through each tier.

As for specific stats at each level, I think it's best to start out about even but only have significant growth for your power stat and maybe speed.  So a warrior would start out with 5 pa, 4 ma, and 6 sp.  At level 99 he'd have 11 pa, 5 ma, and 8 sp.  I like this because it locks you into your stats as you level up, which gives the player the ability to customize his characters.  A warrior who wants to be slightly faster but still primarily strong would do 10 levels as a fast/weak warrior.  Someone that wants to be an even mage/warrior hybrid would do half levels in a mage, half in a warrior.

Issue with this is often characters gain experience and jp too fast.  You could reduce the base xp/jp gain to half their current values with a few asm hacks.

If you have even more classes per tier you could make hp tanks and mp sponges.

7 classes per tier
1 is lowest, 5 is highest (these are relative measurements)
14 total

Growths
Code: [Select]
Tank       - HP:5, MP:1, PA:4, MA:1, SP:3
Warrior    - HP:4, MP:1, PA:5, MA:1, SP:3
Rogue      - HP:3, MP:1, PA:3, MA:1, SP:4

Freelancer - HP:3, MP:3, PA:3, MA:3, SP:2

MP sponge  - HP:1, MP:5, PA:1, MA:4, SP:3
Mage       - HP:1, MP:4, PA:1, MA:5, SP:3
Warlock    - HP:1, MP:3, PA:1, MA:3, SP:4
Obviously this creates serious survivability issues with mages, sp and probably move should be much lower than vanilla to make them competitive.  If death isn't often a serious issue, revives are easy, and there are many ways to reduce damage and debuff then it could work.  It's also kind of pointless because the player could customize by changing classes; the only purpose it serves is to create new archetypes of enemies you'd fight.

There's also the issue of the extremely stupid equipment choices the AI makes, but there are hacks and workarounds for that, like making certain groups of items have certain properties and making them only usable for certain groups of classes.  You could make one group of items equipable only for mages and give them features useful only and especially for mages, and you can limit equipment choices to those only useful for that group of classes.

If too many classes are duplicates or you can't figure out how to differentiate classes, readjust classes per tier.

Make sure that each class has abilities that aren't all always useful.  If every ability a class has is a must-have, that class is overpowered.  If every ability a class has is situational, that class is underpowered.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Emmy on August 02, 2017, 03:15:00 PM
Personally, I removed growth differences across the jobs and all level up/down abilities.  Main reason I did this is because growths in FFT are done in a way that's unintuitive and not explained to the player either.  MT is reasonably difficult, and I didn't want players to think that they bricked their saves because they spent all of ch 2 as a chemist or whatever else, especially if they want to attempt the Deep Dungeon/chapter 5/difficult extra battles.  Abilities that increase/decrease level quite frankly have no place in the game, even when the growth differences are removed.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: nitwit on August 02, 2017, 03:26:55 PM
Understandable, but easy to prevent by ensuring a chemist doesn't have pathetic growths.  Pathetic multipliers, maybe.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Nyzer on August 02, 2017, 04:21:31 PM
Quote
Understandable, but easy to prevent by ensuring a chemist doesn't have pathetic growths.  Pathetic multipliers, maybe.

I agree with this. The stat growths shouldn't cripple a character, but at the same time I don't think it really makes sense for a character that spent 80 levels as a Knight switching to a mage job suddenly and being just as efficient at it as the character that spent 80 levels as that mage job.

If you think base FFT's growths are overdone, tone them down a little, but don't axe them entirely. The argument here is essentially the same as for the Zodiac compatibility. It adds a bit of complexity to the game that it benefits from.

It's not as if FFT doesn't have an issue of jobs with too little Growth compared to others, but you can easily fix that and, for example, still keep Chemist more of an early-game support unit, by using pathetic multipliers.

As for leveling down... I don't think that's an interesting or necessary mechanic. Its only purpose really is just for relentless grinding and making specific units stupidly OP by abusing best growth jobs. Not my cup of tea.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Lionheart537 on August 02, 2017, 08:12:14 PM
Quote
Using equal growth values across all jobs promotes using avoided and/or all jobs as you unlock them and creating different teams for different battles rather than leveling each character for a specific build and limiting them to that single build the entire playthrough
This is the best strength of equal growths imo. It does encourage more diverse builds.

Quote
The stat growths shouldn't cripple a character, but at the same time I don't think it really makes sense for a character that spent 80 levels as a Knight switching to a mage job suddenly and being just as efficient at it as the character that spent 80 levels as thlat mage job...The argument here is essentially the same as for the Zodiac compatibility. It adds a bit of complexity to the game that it benefits from.
And that my good sir is the best of the other side. Zodiac comp is a great comparison. With that in mind I'll treat it the same and keep growth variation but balance it's influence.

Quote
I like this because it locks you into your stats as you level up, which gives the player the ability to customize his characters.  A warrior who wants to be slightly faster but still primarily strong would do 10 levels as a fast/weak warrior.  Someone that wants to be an even mage/warrior hybrid would do half levels in a mage, half in a warrior.
Yes this is similar to my thoughts. I fancy having general stat growths/multipliers  for each job path (i.e. highet hp and pa for knights and kin, sp for thieves path, and mp and ma for mages) but adding a second subcategory  (you're proposed tank, warrior, etc.) would add extra structure. I'll keep it in mind, thanks! Of course I don't want growths to vary too much though. Multipliers being used for subcategories might do the trick.

Quote
As for leveling down... I don't think that's an interesting or necessary mechanic. Its only purpose really is just for relentless grinding and making specific units stupidly OP by abusing best growth jobs. Not my cup of tea.
Quote
It also makes Degenerators and Level Blast an extremely relevant and permanent debuff since the formula that calculates the Raw Stat value you lose involves Growth...As an added bonus, this prevents Level Down abuse.
Both good arguments. But since I'm going for some growth variation I'll cut level down abilities. Hopefully their slots can be used for something entirely different.

Thanks for all the feedback everyone!

EDIT: Bonus question. What are the actual differences between Rafa and Malek's skillsets/abilities? I'm considering editing their sprites to make them more akin to ninja or samurai (or hell one ninja and one sam) since I'm replacing those jobs in my hack. Whether I change their appearance or not I'd still like to know if they can just share abilities to open more slots if I need them. If they aren't all too different to begin with then the loss of seperate ability visuals wouldn't upset me much. Thanks again!
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: nitwit on August 03, 2017, 02:16:20 AM
RE: growths.  It depends on what you want to do.  There are viable reasons for doing any of them, but they all have consequences and will affect other things.

EDIT: Bonus question. What are the actual differences between Rafa and Malek's skillsets/abilities? I'm considering editing their sprites to make them more akin to ninja or samurai (or hell one ninja and one sam) since I'm replacing those jobs in my hack. Whether I change their appearance or not I'd still like to know if they can just share abilities to open more slots if I need them. If they aren't all too different to begin with then the loss of seperate ability visuals wouldn't upset me much. Thanks again!

http://www.m-l.org/~greerga/fftnet/fftmech/fftmech61.txt

Quote
The Heaven Knight's TRUTH spells are dependent on only the MA of the caster. 
All TRUTH spells have a range/effect of {4/2v3} and will fire a random number
of times (between 1 and 6, inclusive) at random squares in the affected region.

...

The Hell Knight's UN-TRUTH attacks show a reverse Faith dependence: they do
more damage when the target and caster have low Faith. We can think of the
formula in terms of a new intermediate stat, the 'faith multiplier' (FM).
Normally, FM = Fa. But for UN-TRUTH, FM = (100 - Fa).
                               
UN-TRUTH is then a MOD 5 magical attack with damage determined by this
formula:

     damage = [(CasterFM * TargetFM * [(MA + Q) / 2] * MA!) / 10000]

where CasterFM is the caster's UN-TRUTH faith multiplier (100 - Fa)
      TargetFM is the target's UN-TRUTH faith multiplier (100 - Fa)
      MA is the caster's MA
      K is a constant multiplier dependent on the spell being cast
         (see the table below for values of Q).
      ! indicates the instance of MA that is modified

The UN-TRUTH formula reveals that the real effect of Faith status is to
set FM = 100, and the real effect of Innocent status is to set FM = 0.
UN-TRUTH will do zero damage if either caster or target has Innocent
status, and any unit with Faith status acts as if they have 0 Faith as
far as UN-TRUTH is concerned (because the true effect of Faith status
is to set FM = 100).

The range and effect of all UN-TRUTH spells is the same as that of
their TRUTH counterparts:  {4/2v3}, hitting a random number of times
on random squares of the affected area.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Lionheart537 on August 03, 2017, 04:29:37 AM
Oh that makes Un-Truth formula actually kinda cool. Hmm yeah I'll keep their abilities then. Sorry I know I could've just searched for that myself. Almost all of their ability names can be shortened and changed to sound better though.

I'm going to rework Mustadio and Beowulf though. Musty's vanilla skills are being moved to generic skillsets, so he's getting a few unique Projectile specific skills inspired by Jot5's Dante. Vanilla Beowulf is a straight up better Oracle...which is kinda dumb. I'm thinking of giving him undead Zalbag/Algus' skin tone and making him a Death Knight with Byblos' and a couple extra abilities. Yeah i was gonna replace Byblos with a personal character too.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: nitwit on August 03, 2017, 04:49:28 AM
Growth and multipliers are more abstract ways of talking about damage.  In any game no one should be able to 1HKO someone.  Figure out what the minimum number of hits it takes to kills someone should be for your patch.  Three hits is a good minimum, because if 3 people team up on someone that person is guaranteed to lose in most situations.

If your minimum hits to KO is too low high you end up with early game FFTA.  I lost battles in FFTA because I could do a decent amount of damage but I couldn't heal; the enemy wore me down over 2 hours until I gracelessly expired.

EDIT

That's a pretty good plan for Beowulf.  Frees up a lot of abilities.  I'd give him the Rune Knight skills too.

The following is an argument against including any level or experience modifying formulas.

Quote
On that note I was going to remove xp draining skills, but if growths vary among jobs should it be kept anyway?
Level gain/drain is probably too much, but exp gain/drain sounds very annoying.

I could only see level drain working if it's a suicide effect that instantly crystalizes the unit that casts it, it drains multiple targets of more than one level, it's enemy-only targetting, and you fix the level down so you don't lose more growth than you gain.  Losing 5 levels at once is annoying and reduces your HP and MP totals (sp, pa, and ma are recalculated after battle), 10 levels is enough to make me auto-reset, and I could lose a battle if I lose that much HP.

An ability that damages experience needs to deal a lot of damage and hit multiple targets to be annoying.  I'd use something that reduces experience to zero, has a very large range, and is enemy-only targeting.  It's possible to cheese it for JP farming, but it's very involved as you must get the enemy to cast it.

Steal Experience is useful for cheesing, but it's very niche and you can't steal what the enemy doesn't have so it has limits.  You can cheese it by reducing enemy PA/MA to zero, but boosting their SP to equal yours.  They get a turn to hit you, you get a turn to steal experience.  As you gain levels they get more experience, and up until they gain a level each term you can get a lot of experience.

Steal Experience can be used to farm JP by having a throwaway theif use it to siphon experience off the rest of your team while you grind.  I don't know if anyone has used it in a hardtype mod but it seems doable.

EDIT

Losing a battle is exhilarating, rage-quitting is not.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Lionheart537 on August 03, 2017, 05:43:20 AM
Quote
Growth and multipliers are more abstract ways of talking about damage.  In any game no one should be able to 1HKO someone.  Figure out what the minimum number of hits it takes to kills someone should be for your patch.  Three hits is a good minimum, because if 3 people team up on someone that person is guaranteed to lose in most situations
Ahh I see what you mean. I'm not close to actually testing for balanced values and stats yet, but I'll be sure to refer to this entire thread when I'm working on them.

On the xp stealing you and Nyzer are right, it's hardly more than an annoying gimmick (although a kinda interesting one). I was going to keep Toad (as an Oracle skill now though) so that can always be used for cheesing training. I don't personally mind having some exploits, they can be fun, and it'd be almost impossible to remove all exploits anyway.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Elric on August 03, 2017, 06:44:56 AM
and it'd be almost impossible to remove all exploits anyway.

Inb4, you summoned Raven, >.<
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Pride on August 03, 2017, 07:03:01 AM
I'll put up the raven signal

(https://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/dbxenoverse/images/a/ac/Shenron.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20150507125859)
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: nitwit on August 03, 2017, 07:32:09 AM
Ahh I see what you mean. I'm not close to actually testing for balanced values and stats yet, but I'll be sure to refer to this entire thread when I'm working on them.

http://ffhacktics.com/smf/index.php?topic=11482.msg217839#msg217839

When you are planning stat values check out this tool I made.  You can use it to print all damage values for all abilities, for all jobs at all levels (or any subset thereof).  File download and instructions are in the last post I made.  If you need help just ask in the thread or pm me.

On the xp stealing you and Nyzer are right, it's hardly more than an annoying gimmick (although a kinda interesting one). I was going to keep Toad (as an Oracle skill now though) so that can always be used for cheesing training. I don't personally mind having some exploits, they can be fun, and it'd be almost impossible to remove all exploits anyway.
It is possible to remove all grinding exploits, but it takes some planning and ASM hacking.

For Frog, you need a hack to give it a CT timer.  Considering how debilitating it is, I'd make it share a CT with Stop.

Self-targeting abilities can be un-cheesed by making a hack where abilities that target only yourself get very little exp and jp.

Stat break exploits are fixed by changing the minimum and maximum stats, and by not having as much stat growth for any class.  Enemies are no longer completely harmless. 

Changing the min-max on stats also reduces the amount of grinding you can do with stat-boosting abilities.  You can still cheese by having one person break a stat and a third person (Ramza, for instance) boost the stat, but preventing stat boosts from targeting enemies means you must use an ally instead, which kind of wastes time as you can't train a full team all at once.

I would make Chakra ally-only to prevent free Monk healing for enemies you grind against, and I'd make sure that it doesn't target the caster (which is closer the ability Sabin has in FF6).  Definitely give it an MP cost too, since it's free MP healing.  The only other forms of healing are potions, monsters, spells, and calculators.  Only monsters and calculators are free healing, but monsters reduce your team and can be made to have MP costs and calculators are so advanced that you don't need to grind anymore.

If everything has an MP cost then anyone who can restore it is much more valuable.  Enemy calculators in particular are extremely potent as the enemy has unlimited items.  MP-free healing becomes a huge boon, Chemists become valuable and worth keeping stocked throughout the entire game.  Move MP UP becomes useful, especially if other movement abilities aren't OP.

Changing the trigger rate for reactions as outlined above means reducing Brave to 00 no longer neuters enemies.  If the reactions are all fairly useful the enemy is still a little dangerous no matter what you do.

EDIT

Consider roles.

The Monk is a weird combination of  glass cannon and tank, plus a support/healer, mid-range attacker, and a mobile up-close fighter.  Clearly that is overpowered.

Apply the hack that makes class evasion apply to magic to ensure the Monk has some survivability.  Reduce the HP multipliers to normal and keep the equipment restrictions.  Slightly reduce the range and power of the longer attacks, and put limits outlined above (no self-targeting) on the healing and any buffs you add.  Make everything cost MP, even just a bit.  Maybe give everything an extremely short charge time.  Remove Martial Arts in favor of a less straight-up powerful innate support.

The Monk is now a glass cannon with some limited support, healing (including rare and valuable MP healing), and mid-range attacks.  If you want it to deal a lot of damage (and it no longer deals quite as much damage), it needs to be up close.  The Monk's role in battle is to support the warriors and tanks as they close with the enemy, then attack the enemy from behind or the side in conjunction with its allies as the battle climaxes and it runs out of MP.

Marching up the enemy and punching them will get you killed very fast.  If move and jump are hard to come by, you won't make it all the way before you are pelted with spells, arrows, and bullets... another reason to reduce move and jump, archers and shoe accessories are useful again.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: RavenOfRazgriz on August 03, 2017, 10:00:34 AM
I'll put up the raven signal

(https://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/dbxenoverse/images/a/ac/Shenron.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20150507125859)
I'm trying to sleep, what do you want, you son of a-
it'd be almost impossible to remove all exploits anyway.
(https://i.ytimg.com/vi/ytgeL-xVqpE/hqdefault.jpg)

There's a number of... suspect things, asserted in this thread, which I've got no intent to reply to at 5 a.m., but I can at least assure you of pic related.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Lionheart537 on August 03, 2017, 11:05:03 AM
Quote
I'll put up the raven signal
This genuinely made me laugh out loud.

Quote
When you are planning stat values check out this tool I made.  You can use it to print all damage values for all abilities, for all jobs at all levels (or any subset thereof).
That will be extremely helpful thanks! I assume it can be edited for custom formulas and values so very helpful indeed!

I was going to wait for a different thread to get too involved in my job ideas but I'll say that Monk is no longer a weird fast, tanky, dps, support. Monk losses all support and healing abilities; in lieu of them he gets a self buff or two and more ki-like attacks. I'm going full DBZ here and will attempt to make a custom energy beam/kamehameha animation to replace earth slash. A Spirit Bomb-like attack will be easy with Ultima already existing. Monk's old support skills will be inherited by the Paladin. I have a line up for them but I'll admit I'm stretching my imagination to keep Pally different enough from Knight and White Mage.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Nyzer on August 03, 2017, 04:33:45 PM
The monk being a sort of jack-of-all-trades is actually kind of their series staple, and I wouldn't personally change their action skills very much. The route I'd go would be to nerf their tankiness to some degree over anything else.

If you opt to use an ASM to make weapon evasion automatic instead of requiring a reaction ability, it reduces their tankiness quite a bit compared to other jobs. You can compound this by reducing the job's own C-Ev. I wouldn't really shave off their HP, as - again - series staple, but with low evasion, they'd be more vulnerable to multiple melee attackers than plate wearers. Some of their learnable RSMs could also be shuffled elsewhere, though I'd keep First Strike - IMO, pre-emptively countering melee attacks seems very appropriate for a monk, and sacrificing the reaction slot to become an Attack tank (unless your Bravery fails you) doesn't strike me as terribly OP.

You can also put in a couple small nerfs on their ranged damage skills. Wave Fist/Aurablast can be set to Stop at Obstacle. Earth Slash/Shockwave can have its range reduced (and maybe vertical range slightly increased to compensate).

I really don't agree with the idea of the monk losing its three supportive abilities. The physical tree in the base game isn't exactly overflowing with supportive stuff, and the monk is the only one that can restore MP and revive. Its offensive skillset is already well-rounded, too - one single-target attack, one ranged attack, one AoE attack, one ranged AoE, and Doom. IMO, you should be looking at the monk's skillset as a general example of a good skillset, one to base other skillsets off of. If you ask me, the monk's skillset is one of the few up the physical tree that isn't stuck in such a situational niche that you barely use it in practice.

... I should also point out that one of the monk's arguably overpowered strengths is that their skills all have no MP or CT cost in the base game. Which kind of leans in the direction of the "OP Holy Sword" problem. Addressing that will also cause them to fall more in line with other jobs.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: nitwit on August 03, 2017, 05:14:38 PM
I agree, it's best to subtly modify than make drastic changes.

Remove innate martial arts.
Change unarmed damage to base PA * current PA.
All abilities get MP costs and charge times.
Wave Fist gets stop at obstacle flag (good idea btw).
Chakra and Stigma Magic can't self-target.
Reduce the range of Earth Slash to at most 6, but increase the vertical tolerance.
Increase the vertical tolerance of all abilities slightly.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Lionheart537 on August 03, 2017, 11:14:45 PM
*prepares to argue* ....actually that's a good point. Reducing Monk's utility to make a custom job more viable isn't all that justifiable. Hmm... even by giving him more attack options it doesn't help Monk's case that much. I could let Monks heal basic/physical ailments and have low healing Chakra. Give Pally more severe status (i.e. petrify, undead, blood suck, etc.) healing and a white wind ability that doesn't self target. Also i'd rather Pally get the revive ability still. With Monk's stats being tweaked I'd like them to be able to wear hats. Definitely give them more Vertical tolerance. A mix of Jojo hamon and Dbz ki Monk... I'm a nerd so that's the way I see it lol.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Pride on August 04, 2017, 12:22:35 AM
High HP Growth/Mult Monks are... amazing users of Equip Armor, so giving them hats and lower HP stats or removing equip armor is probably the best way unless you don't care about them being strong hp sponges.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Lionheart537 on August 04, 2017, 01:27:34 AM
Yeah severely lower their HP multiplier I think. Also maybe just forget about Paladin and share those skills with Monk and Knight. They're kinda a melding pot of those and Holy Knight anyway. As much as i like the idea of them they really don't have a place without undermining other jobs. Yeah I think that might be for the best. Hmm that would make Calc and Dancer/Bard jobs empty.

Also I'm having second thoughts on Blue Mages now. They would kinda fill Samurai's spot with wildly diverse abilities, but overshadow monsters (well besides immense Hp values). I could take an idea I saw and make Sammy into a magicite user with the same mechanics (require big item graphic changes though). Move Dark Knight to calculator spot. Of course that means Idk who'd get Invite. Maybe Bards/Dancers as beast tamers and buffers? Or toss it on Thieves who already get some vanilla Mediator skills. Hmm... a lot to think about.

EDIT: i'm a bit biased against Sammy as I just don't see Samurai in a clearly European-Fantasy setting making a lot of sense. Still a lot less work to leave them be.

EDIT: The magicite could be unique in the way that each adds stat boosts and/or status buffs but are near worthless for standard attacks. On the other hand katanas are pretty cool and again, less work on my part. Or just use Blue Mages and leave calc, bard, and dancer empty or for a brand new job idea. I might be stuck on this awhile...

As an unrelated question are Faith and Innocent status worth using? They aren't useless i know but seem kinda gimmicky with silence, disable, stat buffs/debuffs, and the Curse status i want to asm in (makes unit take extra damage from all sources until removed or unit dies).

As always thanks for your time and advice everyone!
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: nitwit on August 04, 2017, 06:05:57 AM
If everyone has weapon guard then debuffs like blind are more useful, but since Monks can't equip weapons this doesn't benefit them.

If class evasion applies to both physical and magical attacks then it benefits classes that have good evasion and are normally soft targets for wizards and summoners (and calculators are less OP).

If you want to go the HP sponge route then reduce Monk class evasion and limit their equipment even more (no clothes and no hat).  This monk is best served by reactions that assume it will get hit, and do something to negate the damage or give a bonus.  HP Restore, Regenerator, A Save, and Brave Up are good.

Alternately you can let a monk have a hat and clothes, but reduce their HP and give them a self-targeting buff that costs a lot of MP and has a long charge time.

A Monk with high evasion and not a lot of HP is best served by reactions that make it hard to hit or reduce damage - sunken state, abandon, and hamedo are great.  Hamedo is especially good if you are fighting face-to-face a lot.  You're less likely to survive long enough to counter, so you need something that avoids damage altogether or allows you to avoid further damage.

Knight is viable if you give it a short-ranged (2 squares) debuff (berserk is a good one), the ability to equip spears, and a very minor buff to all adjacent allies but not itself (defending).

Faith and innocent are kinda dumb, they make the Mediator less useful.  They make mages either maximally effective or totally useless.  They are one of the few status effects that have CTs, and there are hacks to let you mess around with status effect CTs.  I would use them to give other debuffs a charge time.

Here's a diagram:
Code: [Select]
status effect has ct ct notes/todo

charging n
performing n
defending ? lasts until next turn, or maybe until hit next?
jumping n

float n
reraise n
invisible n TODO give ct
regen y 36
protect y 32
shell y 32 TODO share ct with protect
haste y 32

sleep y 60
poison y 36 TODO share ct with regen
darkness n TODO give ct
oil n TODO remove
petrify n
confuse n TODO give ct
silence n TODO give ct, share with darkness
frog n TODO give ct
slow y 24 TODO share ct with haste
stop y 20
don't move y 24
don't act y 24 TODO share ct with don't move
death sentence y 3 lasts 3 turns exactly
blood suck n
undead n
chicken n
charm y 32
invite n
critical n
dead n technically only lasts 4 turns before eliminated
crystal n TODO probably remove
treasure n TODO probably remove

berserk n TODO give ct, share with berserk
innocent y 32 TODO remove/replace
faith y 32 TODO remove/replace
reflect y 32 TODO no ct

dark sprite n TODO remove
wall n TODO remove

there are limited number of ct slots
make another table with statuses that will share a ct, and list of available cts


A more interesting curse ability is one that negates all healing until it is removed or the unit dies.

Off the top of my head, a good debuff for early game is undead.  It makes killing anyone with auto-potion much easier, it is an effective way to negate most healing, it makes anyone with rereaise unrevivable by any means (counter to chantage).

On the flip side, it is sometimes an effective buff: it heals dark elemental abilities, it reverses absorption when the caster is not undead, it allows you to cancel death sentence, it makes the Death spell (but not add: dead) restore you to full HP, and there''s a chance that character will revive when their time runs out after they are dead.

With this in mind, you can build a class around the undead status.  Either a death knight that is undead and has some melee means to inflict undead; or a dark mage with dark elemental spells, a death spell (the formula for the death spell is what you want), HP absorption, and a spell that inflicts undead and maybe blood suck.  I'm not sure if blood suck'd enemies will attack undead units, as this should lose HP for them.

If you really want to be cheesy, make a death warrior, reduce its faith to zero, increase its brave to 100, and give it the Catch reaction.  It should not be possible to kill this if it's armored, it has good support and movement abilities, and it has other means to reduce damage.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Lionheart537 on August 05, 2017, 06:29:03 AM
Faith and innocent are kinda dumb, they make the Mediator less useful.  They make mages either maximally effective or totally useless.  They are one of the few status effects that have CTs, and there are hacks to let you mess around with status effect CTs.  I would use them to give other debuffs a charge time.
 
A more interesting curse ability is one that negates all healing until it is removed or the unit dies...Off the top of my head, a good debuff for early game is undead...it is an effective way to negate most healing.
I agree with most of your status changes and I'll definitely aim to remove/replace faith and innocent. It should be possible to change that mist and rasp (MP regen and poison) status hack from wall and blank status to overwrite Faith and innocent, right? I'll look into that when I'm messing with it. I'd also prefer 10% over the default 25% each turn. I'll try fiddling with it after i eventually get my feet wet with assembly of course.

On the Curse status I was going to use a hack (by Razele iirc) to make Oil increase damage from all sources; unless Oil makes it wear off after 1 hit, then I'd use evil looking status. Like you said Undead already cancels traditional healing so i don't need Curse for that. I mean it's not a necessary status but why not make oil functional/better? I would opt for a 20-25% increase though not 50 or 100 or whatever oil is meant to add.

Also yes I see Beowulf Death Knight being something like that. I recall a formula hack that double casts raise, then undead and/or charm (or something like that set up) for a necromancy skill. It might conflict or not work but it's an interesting possibility; although I'd probably not use it regardless.

Moar questions because I'm needy.
With haste and slow should I cut Sp affecting moves? I see this a lot and I agree because the two together are abusible and Speed is arguably the most important stat imo.

And on my blue mage/bard/samurai crisis i had the thought: why not just combine them? Just as Summoner is unique with Enemy/Ally only magic damage/heals this BardSammy could be a foil with ally/enemy only buffs and (maybe) debuffs. Make the skills require casting time and Mp. Remove repeat, full-map effect, and item require/break chance. Thief is already getting some old talk skills and has poach and secret shop, so why not give them Invite privileges too?
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: nitwit on August 05, 2017, 07:09:06 AM
I agree with most of your status changes and I'll definitely aim to remove/replace faith and innocent. It should be possible to change that mist and rasp (MP regen and poison) status hack from wall and blank status to overwrite Faith and innocent, right? I'll look into that when I'm messing with it. I'd also prefer 10% over the default 25% each turn. I'll try fiddling with it after i eventually get my feet wet with assembly of course.
Remember that are are only so many CTs available for status effects when you create new ones.  Mist/Rasp could use the same CT slot since I assume they cancel each other.

On the Curse status I was going to use a hack (by Razele iirc) to make Oil increase damage from all sources; unless Oil makes it wear off after 1 hit, then I'd use evil looking status. Like you said Undead already cancels traditional healing so i don't need Curse for that. I mean it's not a necessary status but why not make oil functional/better? I would opt for a 20-25% increase though not 50 or 100 or whatever oil is meant to add.
Can't believe I didn't realize that!

Also yes I see Beowulf Death Knight being something like that. I recall a formula hack that double casts raise, then undead and/or charm (or something like that set up) for a necromancy skill. It might conflict or not work but it's an interesting possibility; although I'd probably not use it regardless.
I'm not sure if charm is one of the effects that is processed entirely with FFTPatcher flags, but if it is you could use another debuff for a never-ending charm solely for this ability.  Have something like Esuna cancel it.

Moar questions because I'm needy.
With haste and slow should I cut Sp affecting moves? I see this a lot and I agree because the two together are abusible and Speed is arguably the most important stat imo.
Reduce the amount of stat broken to 1.  This is especially true if stat breaks are more accurate.  Combined with lower overall stats and higher minimum stats it improves gameplay.  The effect of losing 1 SP is relatively linear from 9 SP to 7 SP.  Above that and it barely matters, below that and it cripples you.

And on my blue mage/bard/samurai crisis i had the thought: why not just combine them? Just as Summoner is unique with Enemy/Ally only magic damage/heals this BardSammy could be a foil with ally/enemy only buffs and (maybe) debuffs. Make the skills require casting time and Mp. Remove repeat, full-map effect, and item require/break chance. Thief is already getting some old talk skills and has poach and secret shop, so why not give them Invite privileges too?
I don't have any criticism of those ideas because I don't care about them either way.

I'm making Summoner into a deluxe jack of all mages, but with the traditional Summoner wide AOEs, long charge times, high MP costs, and targeting.  Eight mid-powered elemental spells, a healing spell, a revive, a buff (random 1 of almost all possible debuffs, minus the powerful ones), a debuff (similar to before), HP absorb, and MP absorb.  The spells will be slightly less powerful/accurate to compensate.

Other than HP/MP absorb, Oracle only has status effect debuffs.  Replacing Pray Faith, No Faith, and Foxbird.  Oracle gets Poison, Frog, Charm, Blood Suck, and maybe Death (the spell).

Time Mage gets some slight improvements to the less useful spells (haste 2 and slow 2), 4 range for all spells, and maybe gets Death Sentence (though maybe Oracle gets that instead).  Retains Meteor, the only non-elemental straight-up damage spells.

Wizard becomes an elementalist, gets 2 spells for every element but holy.  Loses all other spells.

Priest gets 2 holy elemental spells similar to Wizard, loses Cure 4, gets some minor improvements to less useful spells.

Mediator gains ability to cancel charging, performing, and defending (not sure if this cancels the resulting ability, have to check).  Gets some other minor changes to abilities.  Mimic Daravon and Death Sentence become odd abilities that add a debuff each at random from a number of useful and not so useful options.

I think Samurai damaging abilities accept elements.  I'll change the AOEs, ranges, elements, charge times, and mp costs of all abilities to make them all sort of useful.  I'll probably make them target all people in the AOE, but not self; and I'll remove Katana breaking.

Bard and Dancer are only getting stat and equipment changes, no ability changes except reduced AoE and minor MP costs.

I should note that all abilities that can have MP costs and CTs will.

Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Lionheart537 on August 06, 2017, 05:13:17 PM
I briefly presented this before, but would pairing up some status debuffs on the "Oracle" skillset be too strong? Some would be all or nothing but most would be seperate hit chance or random. Here's the tentative skillset. Underlined ailments are what i'd prefer if they remain single status infliction.

I'm trying to keep jobs >10 abilities, but i'm flexible if you guys think a different set up would work better. Other jobs are also debilitory focused, but only "Oracle" has reliable aoe debuffs.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: nitwit on August 06, 2017, 05:54:49 PM
Quote
1. Poison and Rasp
2. Disable and/or Immobilize
3. Silence and/or Sleep
4. Blind and/or Berserk
5. Drain
6. Siphon
7. Dispel
8. Undead
9. Toad
10. Petrify

The theme fits for each ability, but 2 and 3 are inherently unbalanced because they are always useful.  Number 2 will always be effective against warriors because they must close, but partially effective against mages.  Number 3 is always effective against mages, but is partially effective against warriors.

Blind/berserk is a good balance.  It's all or nothing for mages and warriors.  One will incapacitate a mage (berserk) while the other will do nothing (blind).  The inverse is true for warriors if everyone has decent evasion.

I can't remix them because you have two abilities (berserk, silence) that are always useful against mages, two (blind, immobilize) that are always useful against warriors, and two (sleep, disable) that are always useful against anyone.  Whichever "always useful" ability is paired with one of the other two will give you no reason to use any of the others.

Disable would be better if it prevented only the attack command.  Sleep would be better if it could be dispelled by any HP damage and it had some positive effect (minor HP and MP recovery, maybe - it becomes more neutral).

You could do something similar with other debuffs - make them conditionally buffs.  Confuse could remove berserk, charm, invite, and maybe death sentence.  You could make it act like a reset for mental debuffs.

I don't know why you're trying to save on action abilities.  Freeing up Beowulf's spell list give you more than enough slots for almost anything you could do.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Nyzer on August 06, 2017, 06:25:05 PM
You can balance more powerful debuffs by limiting their range, AoE, success chance, cast CT, JP cost, duration - you name it. If Blind hits the most targets, has a very high success rate, casts quickly, and lasts a long time, there's good reason to use it over Sleep, and if Sleep does all of that better than Toad/Petrify there's a reason to use it over those as well.

Quote
I don't know why you're trying to save on action abilities

Too many abilities per job just causes incredible bloat. Unless the Oracle's niche changes in some way for this patch, there's no real benefit to giving it 16 skills. There just aren't enough debuffs. You'd end up
a) taking away skills from other jobs
b) copying skills from other jobs
or c) outclassing/underclassing the skills of other jobs

Like... there's no real point to the Oracle getting Poison if the Black Mage has it. It's less jarring if both the Oracle and the Archer are the standard poisoners, as they'd be doing it differently and from different trees and all - but if you're hitting the point where you have multiple skills that just do the exact same thing within the same tree, you really should stop and consider cutting it back a bit. The idea is for jobs to be different in ways that make them worth playing, not to have players thinking "hmm, which of these three mage jobs that perform the same exact function I want should I level as?" Sure, you can give the Oracle a different kind of poison spell; changed range, added other debuffs to the same spell, yadda yadda, but then it starts getting either too unwieldy (can't get the specific effect you want) or too powerful (constantly getting that effect among others).

The only time this rule doesn't quite apply is in the case of something like the Red Mage, a job specifically designed as the jack of all trades, master of none.

And even jobs that have unique skills that don't take away from other jobs still shouldn't be looking at 16 active skills - either you've made that job too versatile, or you just have a lot of skills that you'll never use or almost never use due to them being extremely situational.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: RavenOfRazgriz on August 06, 2017, 06:48:33 PM
You guys seriously need to learn concepts like design simplicity and designing with an objective in mind for each character to achieve.  All this focus I've seen on narrow design (ie, classes that basically only do one thing) from my skimming of this thread isn't a good thing, unless your goal is for some skillsets to only be used in specific scenarios and others to be stapled to people's hips.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: nitwit on August 06, 2017, 08:07:45 PM
You guys seriously need to learn concepts like design simplicity and designing with an objective in mind for each character to achieve.  All this focus I've seen on narrow design (ie, classes that basically only do one thing) from my skimming of this thread isn't a good thing, unless your goal is for some skillsets to only be used in specific scenarios and others to be stapled to people's hips.
I don't see what's wrong with some skillsets being powerful but lacking flexibility (Wizard w/ nothing but elemental offensive magic) while others that have more flexibility come with additional costs (jack-of-all-mages Summoner with extremely expensive spells).  If every job is a mix of abilities that give them all a large degree of role flexibility then there isn't a pressing reason to ever use another job.

You can balance more powerful debuffs by limiting their range, AoE, success chance, cast CT, JP cost, duration - you name it. If Blind hits the most targets, has a very high success rate, casts quickly, and lasts a long time, there's good reason to use it over Sleep, and if Sleep does all of that better than Toad/Petrify there's a reason to use it over those as well.

Too many abilities per job just causes incredible bloat. Unless the Oracle's niche changes in some way for this patch, there's no real benefit to giving it 16 skills. There just aren't enough debuffs. You'd end up
a) taking away skills from other jobs
b) copying skills from other jobs
or c) outclassing/underclassing the skills of other jobs

Like... there's no real point to the Oracle getting Poison if the Black Mage has it. It's less jarring if both the Oracle and the Archer are the standard poisoners, as they'd be doing it differently and from different trees and all - but if you're hitting the point where you have multiple skills that just do the exact same thing within the same tree, you really should stop and consider cutting it back a bit. The idea is for jobs to be different in ways that make them worth playing, not to have players thinking "hmm, which of these three mage jobs that perform the same exact function I want should I level as?" Sure, you can give the Oracle a different kind of poison spell; changed range, added other debuffs to the same spell, yadda yadda, but then it starts getting either too unwieldy (can't get the specific effect you want) or too powerful (constantly getting that effect among others).

The only time this rule doesn't quite apply is in the case of something like the Red Mage, a job specifically designed as the jack of all trades, master of none.

And even jobs that have unique skills that don't take away from other jobs still shouldn't be looking at 16 active skills - either you've made that job too versatile, or you just have a lot of skills that you'll never use or almost never use due to them being extremely situational.

I've never once used the poison spell as a Wizard because the Wizard always has better offensive options.  That isn't always true for an Oracle.  So why not move the spell from Wizard to Oracle?  And if a class is limited in one way (can't do much damage) then that class needs options for the ways in which it can do other things (debuff).

I'm not actually changing the number of skills any class has except the Knight (gets 2 or 3 minor skills), Squire (gets +MA and Yell), Oracle (gets 2 more debuffs), and Wizard (loses 2 abilities).

The Knight gets a ranged debuff and a minor buff for allies.  The Squire expands its support role.  Oracle gets more and better debuffing options - some that don't exist outside of monsters - and loses the stuff that competes with other classes like Mediator (making Mediator more useful).  Wizard loses two abilities no one ever uses, gains more offensive flexibility, and by losing non-elemental damage spells make the remaining non-elemental damage much more useful.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: RavenOfRazgriz on August 06, 2017, 09:04:10 PM
I don't see what's wrong with some skillsets being powerful but lacking flexibility (Wizard w/ nothing but elemental offensive magic) while others that have more flexibility come with additional costs (jack-of-all-mages Summoner with extremely expensive spells).  If every job is a mix of abilities that give them all a large degree of role flexibility then there isn't a pressing reason to ever use another job.
...And that's exactly the problem.  You didn't actually understand a word I just said.

Do you know where I said "give them all a large degree of role flexibility"?  I'll give you a hint: Nowhere.

There are ways to make skillsets not have narrow functionality without going down your Monk Skillset Checklist of Damage, Healing, Status, Revival, Anti-Status.  The first sentence of my post - designing with a gameplay objective in mind for each unit - is a guideline in how to do that.  That essentially means being able to look at a class, ask "Why does it have this skill?", and being able to answer it based on the other tools available to that class and without a meta-reason such as "The Oracle is the status class so it gets statuses."

Conflating "don't design too narrowly" with "make every class literally have Punch Art-tier or Summon-tier flexibility so the player never uses other classes" is a really foolish misunderstanding that betrays an under-utilization of many aspects of the game.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Lionheart537 on August 07, 2017, 02:33:10 AM
Yes I'll try to keep skillsets from being too linear and dull, and keeping them in specific, unique niches is just as important. Equipment choices and the effectiveness of those items, formulas, innates (which i don't plan on using for generics besides job-specific skills like dual wield) are important to keep in mind too. Of course I'm not looking at the big picture yet, just the pieces one at a time.

You can balance more powerful debuffs by limiting their range, AoE, success chance, cast CT, JP cost, duration - you name it. If Blind hits the most targets, has a very high success rate, casts quickly, and lasts a long time, there's good reason to use it over Sleep, and if Sleep does all of that better than Toad/Petrify there's a reason to use it over those as well.
Ahh! I was doing this to make similar abilities shared by jobs more diverse. I agree it makes perfect sense to make similar abilities in the same skillset more unique as well. Come to think of it that was my plan for the Wizard job. I'll quickly post my ideas on that.

I want to avoid congested skillsets and overlapping abilities but double status are a bit powerful, maybe rebalancing the pairings would help though. Besides Absorb and Dispel skills I'm not certain what else to give Oracles for diversity. I did consider some of the Bio abilities, but that's hardly more interesting. Because status abilities will be opened to most jobs it makes Oracle, Priest, T Mage, etc. a bit weaker. An extra boost to them is AoE but Priest has heals, T Mage damage, Oracle...absorb and dispel. They might be lacking. Maybe give them better combat ability than other mages? They do get poles in vanilla even, after all. I'll think on it some more.
EDIT: Maybe give Oracles Death? It seems appropriate to them.

Regardless I appreciate all the opinions!
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: nitwit on August 07, 2017, 11:00:50 AM
...And that's exactly the problem.  You didn't actually understand a word I just said.

Do you know where I said "give them all a large degree of role flexibility"?  I'll give you a hint: Nowhere.

There are ways to make skillsets not have narrow functionality without going down your Monk Skillset Checklist of Damage, Healing, Status, Revival, Anti-Status.  The first sentence of my post - designing with a gameplay objective in mind for each unit - is a guideline in how to do that.  That essentially means being able to look at a class, ask "Why does it have this skill?", and being able to answer it based on the other tools available to that class and without a meta-reason such as "The Oracle is the status class so it gets statuses."

Conflating "don't design too narrowly" with "make every class literally have Punch Art-tier or Summon-tier flexibility so the player never uses other classes" is a really foolish misunderstanding that betrays an under-utilization of many aspects of the game.
On the same tack, where did I say "The Oracle is the status class so it gets statuses"?

IIRC my argument is that debuffs are mostly useless for damaging classes because they have better options, but a primarily debuffing class is best served by more options for debuffing.  Giving a debuffing class pure, non-situational offensive options means you have fewer reasons to use debuffs.

One sign of maturity is the ability to accept other people's criticisms of your ideas without taking it personally.  Someone who has a lot going on rarely has the time to get offended.

If you need advice, I'm always here.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Elric on August 07, 2017, 12:40:09 PM
Troll fail ^
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: nitwit on August 07, 2017, 05:37:39 PM
How so?

In searching ancient posts I noticed that Raven tends towards highly emotional responses to criticism or even just honest questions.  In my experience people that are extremely aggressive on the internet are usually overcompensating for a lack of something in real life.

I used to be like that when I was a teenager, but now that I have a job, a wife, a kid on the way, and an extended social support network that I must maintain I don't get so worked up about anything.  If he wants advice on how to get these things I'm happy to share it.  We all go through growing pains and phases; being angry on the internet is one of them.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Lionheart537 on August 07, 2017, 05:46:47 PM
Woah... maybe some Jojokes will lighten the mood?

I tend to veiw skillsets as halfs of a whole. Even if one is a bit situational or weak it can compliment a more rounded skillset. While this is true it's still best if each job can stand on their own as more than a secondary. I'm trying to keep roles in mind but i do feel some abilities are tacked on just to have that ability, it's reasoning ends there. I'll think more critically on some skillsets.

As for the double status, I'll forego it and add a few extra abilities. I have the space and if the jp costs stay lower it won't take forever to master Oracle.

One job I'm having some trouble with is my Assassin (replaces Ninja). Thoughts on this and my Wizard above would be appreciated!
The idea is that they're debilitory and utility. Rely on their standard attacks or softening with Mark or Shadow Stitch first. Pack some kill moves and stealth to open offense options.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Elric on August 07, 2017, 10:26:47 PM
How so?

In searching ancient posts I noticed that Raven tends towards highly emotional responses to criticism or even just honest questions.  In my experience people that are extremely aggressive on the internet are usually overcompensating for a lack of something in real life.

I used to be like that when I was a teenager, but now that I have a job, a wife, a kid on the way, and an extended social support network that I must maintain I don't get so worked up about anything.  If he wants advice on how to get these things I'm happy to share it.  We all go through growing pains and phases; being angry on the internet is one of them.

Well, aren't you just a enlightened little snowflake. No, no one wants your 'advice'. Personally, you annoy the hell out of me, if we had another one like you around here, they wouldn't do well either.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: RavenOfRazgriz on August 08, 2017, 03:16:52 AM
Yes I'll try to keep skillsets from being too linear and dull, and keeping them in specific, unique niches is just as important. Equipment choices and the effectiveness of those items, formulas, innates (which i don't plan on using for generics besides job-specific skills like dual wield) are important to keep in mind too. Of course I'm not looking at the big picture yet, just the pieces one at a time.
Designing classes with gameplay objectives in mind helps with doing things piecemeal.  You can outline the core of each class' identity without too much focus on the initial balance, then once you've drafted your classes you can go back to fix math, make adjustments based on what mechanics are under- or over- utilized, etc.  Objective-based design will also yield you small initial skillsets, so if a class is too linear, you can puff it up slightly with leftover mechanics you haven't used much, etc.

An example of designing objective-based:

"I want to make a Knight with Heavy Armor and Shields.  It's a Knight with Heavy Armor and Shields because I want it to trade blows with opposing units and come out victorious over a series of turn due to higher HP, instead of killing enemy units in 1-2 hits.  Since it focuses on a slower-paced battle, skills focus on helping it out-trade units whose DPS overwhelm its HP.  Its core Skill Cycle is to inflict Blind and Don't Move to force high-DPS melee units into its zone, followed by a Power Break--like skill to de-fang the target over a series of turns."

That's a simple and intuitive strategy a player will be able to figure out on their own and provides direction for the class.  The abilities themselves are simple and in turn flexible enough to be applied to other situations so the player isn't forced to use the class this way, and from here, you can further flesh out a skillset.  Maybe this class' direction is to focus on breaking down powerful glass and boss units, and it'll receive Magic Break?  Maybe it'll want to focus on tanking, and will receive Regen and/or Poison to gain an edge in fights that last over a period of time?  Maybe it'll want to focus on baiting enemies in range with bad status and receive Berserk?  Maybe it'll also want it able to break down enemy tanks, so it'll get some Equipment Break-type skills?

Once your class has a basic core, you can diversify out from that core in ways like this that focus on how the abilities interact and what niches that class can fill.  Most likely, you're going to end up with two separate core Skill Cycles that extend from an initial skill, then a small spattering of related skills that let you explore a few variations on those core cycles and have some flexibility in battle.  Some classes will always be more flexible than others but a class without a meaningful toolbox isn't going to be strategically engaging.

I tend to veiw skillsets as halfs of a whole. Even if one is a bit situational or weak it can compliment a more rounded skillset. While this is true it's still best if each job can stand on their own as more than a secondary. I'm trying to keep roles in mind but i do feel some abilities are tacked on just to have that ability, it's reasoning ends there. I'll think more critically on some skillsets.
Well there are two things to remember with situational skillsets:
Both of these promote "scouting" fights and basing your party based on countering the opposition instead of figuring out how to make creative use of skillsets and out-play the opposing party on the board itself.  There are some people who enjoy that sort of thing, but a lot don't.  You're always going to have some skillsets that do better than others in different situations, battles, etc., but ensuring each skillset has a certain amount of flexibility gives the player the ability to work around those situations they're disadvantaged in with the classes they enjoy instead of forcing them to counter-pick on a per-fight basis.

Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: nitwit on August 08, 2017, 12:28:59 PM
Raven, what's your opinion on improving synergy between skillsets and equipment?  My elemental mage could do healing on a limited basis if elemental absorbs are less rare.  I want to make status immunities common on equipment, which wouldn't work so well with tight coupling among skills in a skillset as you describe.

Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: RavenOfRazgriz on August 08, 2017, 01:19:37 PM
I want to make status immunities common on equipment, which wouldn't work so well with tight coupling among skills in a skillset as you describe.

The answer to this is really the answer to the rest of your post: Skewed cycles.  How common or not common different protections are matters less than how many protections can be stacked at once.  Absorb (as well as Half and Null) can interfere with the DPS of a unit focused on elemental attacks, but you mitigate this by skewing how they're distributed so you can't Absorb/Null every element in the skillset at once.  That both stops the unit from being made irrelevant without needing to invest extra skills for non-elemental damage and makes players who want to build teams around Absorb mechanics have to make meaningful decisions on which abilities heal them - assuming those abilities actually have unique properties and aren't merely palette-swaps of each other.

Status works the same way, what I described only really has issues working if you can block the entire skillset at once.  This is why, if we assume an 8-skill skillset, it's best to have two different (but similar) core Skill Cycles that can function independently, alongside one or two supplementary abilities that compliment the core objectives of both.  Even if parts of both core Skill Cycles are blocked, the remaining skills should still be able to be cobbled together in such a way that they result in a cohesive strategy, following such an outline. 

Like everything, there's exceptions - eg, a Priest-type class may only have one core Skill Cycle and a few extra utility skills, a Monk-like class may forego strict Cycles for generalized offense that try to draw the opponent into a specific situation then choose the correct damage method based on the map layout of units around it, etc.  And, while my example focused on utilizing negative statuses for a specific gameplay objective, there's nothing stopping using the other tools available to produce similar results - destruction or boosting of PA / MA / SP / CT / Br / Fa, destruction of gear, applying ally buffs and removing enemy buffs, etc.  The point is to know where your unit is going and focus the core of their skillsets around that objective as the bedrock of their ability list, and let the complimentary widgets fall from that baseline.

Raven, what's your opinion on improving synergy between skillsets and equipment?

And, more specifically about this, there's plenty of simple things you can do with this based on how things are distributed.  Eg, if you have a mod where Ice Element is often paired with a status infliction - ie, Slow - your Ice Absorb also blocking Slow helps build synergy with the player building up Absorb-based teams.  There really isn't a detailed answer to this question without a more specific context, though, as equipment is ultimately beholden to the skills being used by the units that equip them, and how prevalent different aspects of the game are in those skills.  (In this regard, you can count viable mid-late game weapons as also being abilities in terms of Element and Status, as they change the properties of the Attack Command A-Ability.)

The one general advice I can give though is that, aside from finding what trends you've built into the game and trying to complement them via equipment effects in one way or another, don't be afraid to let the items be simple.  How simple they get away with being, again, depends on the specific context, but it's perfectly fine for an item to do exactly what it needs to do and nothing more.  A complex item can be cool sometimes (as a rare item, for example), but how complex items are in their defensive properties in particular should be proportional to how ubiquitous what they're defending is.  If most skillsets can drop liberal negative statuses, then yes, having status protection on gear be common is good to prevent the game devolving into constantly feeling the need to heal bad status off your units.  But if your statuses are distributed stringently, the defenses to them should be equally so, etc.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Lionheart537 on August 08, 2017, 03:00:22 PM
Wow some next level perspectives, good stuff! I have a better grasp of how a job's niche and abilities should interact with with gameplay as a whole. Might be best to rework and organize my jobs for now, and plan out equipment better as well. There's a finite amount of item attribute slots, right? I'm sure several of the vanilla attributes can be mixed and simplified, I'll try to be efficient with space. Same goes with status; I swear I saw a template patch by Celdia iirc that condenses all the vanilla status infliction slots, so that will be a big time saver. How status interact with each other also helps balance their influence. For instance have more serious debuffs cancel lesser problems? Try to limit the amount that can actually affect a unit at anytime. I think looking at Jot5 reworking of status is a good basis.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: nitwit on August 08, 2017, 06:17:31 PM
If you will only ever have 1 elemental absorb on a head or body slot, then best case scenario you can absorb two elements.  This is reasonable, I think.

The palette swaps comment is a valid critique.  I'll draw up 4 or 5 templates for each tier and split them among the spells.  Here are some ideas.

1. Elemental blast - rage extends in 4 cardinal directions, effect hits target and those adjacent to it like a Wizard spell.  If it hits a target before that point it stops and executes there.  Stopped by obstacles, line of sight.

2. Elemental ray - same as above, but AoE is the same as the range and it affects all targets.  Is not stopped by obstacles, but has a limited vertical tolerance.  Varying AoE width.

3. Standard 4 tile Wizard spell.

4. All targets around self, but not self.  AoE equals range, can't select targets, doesn't effect self.

5. Something else.

Something like this (very WIP):
Code: [Select]
Fireball LoS ball of fire
Firestorm Fire erupts all around caster

Call Lightning Standard Wizard Spell
Bolt LoS  bolt

Blizzard
Icicle

Downburst Standard Wizard spell
Whirlwind Wide AoE, 4 cardinal directions

Crush Standard Wizard Spell
Quake

Riptide
Flood

??? Something dark elemental.
??? Something dark elemental.



Autistic Debuff Rambling




While I'm not explicitly trying to make cycles, I am trying to make simple mechanics that produce emergent phenomena.  If you can't get in a good hit, you can force the enemy to waste their resources until they make a mistake.  I don't want any one debuff to be game-ending if you didn't pack a chemist, priest, or calculator, but I do want you to suffer if you aren't prepared.

Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Nyzer on August 08, 2017, 09:57:49 PM
Quote
If you will only ever have 1 elemental absorb on a head or body slot, then best case scenario you can absorb two elements.  This is reasonable, I think.

I'd suggest that if you have an absorb on a non-unique piece of equipment, you should also give it at least one flaw. Such as at least a weakness (preferably, not set up in a way so that you have things like Absorb: Fire/Weak: Ice on a helmet and Absorb: Ice/Weak: Fire on a chestplate), reduced stats (heavy armor with less HP than cloth of the same shop level), an initial/innate negative status, etc.

Of course, there are other ways to handle that balance. But as a quick go-to idea for someone planning to set up common encounters with elemental equipment, that'd be my first suggestion.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: RavenOfRazgriz on August 09, 2017, 09:07:22 AM
The palette swaps comment is a valid critique.  I'll draw up 4 or 5 templates for each tier and split them among the spells.  Here are some ideas.

Remember that non-standard AOEs - Tri-Direction, Linear, Self-AOE, etc. - when combined with CTs behave a bit unintuitively since they set themselves down on the panel you target even if you move away from it, unless you lock down units from being able to use Move after Charging an ability.  (There are some existing ASMs you can probably modify to create this effect, if you want it.)  Focusing on making abilities not be palette-swaps via different AOE shapes can easily lead you into going down an AOE-checklist that ends up making your skillsets being too similar.  Costs / Procs / Size of AOE (in contrast to shape) / constant value / evadability / targeting intelligence are all more than adequate to combine in different ways to keep abilities feeling distinct.  (They can also serve secondary roles, such as giving elements unique properties that bleed between skillsets and provide structural direction for teams that use Absorb to make those elements cornerstones of their party synergy, and to generally give them flavor.)
 
I might be able to double up a few item attributes on items that would never be found together.

There's nothing wrong with having utility effects that you give to multiple items in different slots, especially if they stack without redundancy, such as stat modifiers.  Some people put a weird stigma on the items being "simple", but some people don't enjoy sitting around tinkering with things like absorption setups, optimal anti-status, etc. in the pre-battle.  Those players are served well by having utility effects they can slap on that will generally be "good" even if they're not the "best" choice in any one fight, so they can focus on the parts of the game they actually enjoy and succeed by getting proficient at those to close the gap.

rading it in by adding a lesser debuff that cancels it - sleep for confusion, undead for blood suck, maybe don't move for don't act

The AI views adding debuffs as dealing a certain % HP damage and healing those debuffs as healing a certain % HP damage - with buffs obviously working the same but in reverse - so this method won't work well for the AI and will lead to them making poor decisions that result in them losing more games than they win.  The Poison + Haste Chemist ability from Celdia's' Complete Patch is an example of this - originally intended as an early-game Haste item with a drawback, due to how the AI views status, it will almost exclusively throw these at enemy units unless it can cure Slow by using it on an ally, which leads to hilarity as the player sweeps them.  What you're proposing isn't exactly the same but will ultimately have similar outcomes as they cure statuses by inflicting other statuses that are worse in that specific situation or just choose to never use those abilities despite wasting their JP on them.

While I'm not explicitly trying to make cycles, I am trying to make simple mechanics that produce emergent phenomena.

Building explicit cycles is really just a way to both simplify class design and help ensure the emergent phenomena come out in ways that are intuitive for the player.  Ultimately you don't want the player slapping three abilities in a row like they're managing their cooldowns on League of Legends, but having obvious ability combos (which can be emphasized by putting the skills next to each other in the skillset) gives the initial push that will make them look for more and eventually develop their own.  This is important if the player is someone who's found your mod after playing Vanilla and got through it by going LOLandu, since it ensures you have a built-in learning curve of sort that allows them to form better habits and understand the push-and-pull of a more involved battle without feeling punished or put against a difficulty brick wall.

I'd suggest that if you have an absorb on a non-unique piece of equipment, you should also give it at least one flaw.

I've never understood why people like to build flaws into their gear.  It just makes a player more likely to read it and go "I never want to use that" unless they've scouted the upcoming battle and know the weakness won't be relevant and the strength will be.  Obviously, this inclination can be overcome if the item is obviously very above-average, but a simple absorption item shouldn't be that if you've been following good design rules.  In fact, I'd argue the exact opposite of what you're saying here - built-in, obvious weaknesses should be reserved for rare items with cool, complex, and/or high-power effects where the weakness serves to further emphasize the item's flavor as well ensure it doesn't become completely brainless.  Eg, an item that gives +2 Speed, Always: Poison, Immune: Regen, Critical is easy to define as a high-power item in most mods, and in this way we've given it two drawbacks - Auto-Poison and an immunity to its mirror, Regen.  Not only does this have gameplay value in directly punishing the higher turn volume, but it has flavor value in that it implies the unit becomes reckless and that is the source of the Speed being gained, even without supplying a name or description for that item - and is even further enforced by that immunity to Critical, which otherwise only exists for the AI's sake.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: nitwit on August 09, 2017, 10:50:21 AM
I'd suggest that if you have an absorb on a non-unique piece of equipment, you should also give it at least one flaw. Such as at least a weakness (preferably, not set up in a way so that you have things like Absorb: Fire/Weak: Ice on a helmet and Absorb: Ice/Weak: Fire on a chestplate), reduced stats (heavy armor with less HP than cloth of the same shop level), an initial/innate negative status, etc.

Of course, there are other ways to handle that balance. But as a quick go-to idea for someone planning to set up common encounters with elemental equipment, that'd be my first suggestion.

That's a good idea, especially the bolded portion.

Remember that non-standard AOEs - Tri-Direction, Linear, Self-AOE, etc. - when combined with CTs behave a bit unintuitively since they set themselves down on the panel you target even if you move away from it, unless you lock down units from being able to use Move after Charging an ability.  (There are some existing ASMs you can probably modify to create this effect, if you want it.)

The enemy likes to move and then act.  I've never seen them hit a decent target and run away.  Enforcing this may give the player less of an advantage.


Focusing on making abilities not be palette-swaps via different AOE shapes can easily lead you into going down an AOE-checklist that ends up making your skillsets being too similar.  Costs / Procs / Size of AOE (in contrast to shape) / constant value / evadability / targeting intelligence are all more than adequate to combine in different ways to keep abilities feeling distinct.  (They can also serve secondary roles, such as giving elements unique properties that bleed between skillsets and provide structural direction for teams that use Absorb to make those elements cornerstones of their party synergy, and to generally give them flavor.)
The only real difference between the two spells for the 7 elements a Wizard will get is that one is weak to mid-powered and one is powerful.  I do have a checklist, but the number of items on the checklist doesn't evenly fit with the checklist: there will be some overlap, but they won't all be palette swaps.

This may result in a calculator (who only gets the weaker tier) having just one way to cast a spell of each element, which is reasonable given that it's a calculator.

The elemental theming idea is good, and I can see it being useful for the Wizard, Summoner, swordskills, and monster abilities.  Do you have any advice for themes?

There's nothing wrong with having utility effects that you give to multiple items in different slots, especially if they stack without redundancy, such as stat modifiers.  Some people put a weird stigma on the items being "simple", but some people don't enjoy sitting around tinkering with things like absorption setups, optimal anti-status, etc. in the pre-battle.  Those players are served well by having utility effects they can slap on that will generally be "good" even if they're not the "best" choice in any one fight, so they can focus on the parts of the game they actually enjoy and succeed by getting proficient at those to close the gap.

A team that's prepared for debuffs, healing, and death could use the simple gear that provides better HP and MP but no other effects.  I'm glad you caught that.

AI-proofing the equipment newb-proofs it too.

You could say that my goal is to increase over-all equipment optimality not by adding great new equipment choices but by removing bad equipment choices.  Improvement via negativia is usually the most robust solution.

The AI views adding debuffs as dealing a certain % HP damage and healing those debuffs as healing a certain % HP damage - with buffs obviously working the same but in reverse - so this method won't work well for the AI and will lead to them making poor decisions that result in them losing more games than they win.  The Poison + Haste Chemist ability from Celdia's' Complete Patch is an example of this - originally intended as an early-game Haste item with a drawback, due to how the AI views status, it will almost exclusively throw these at enemy units unless it can cure Slow by using it on an ally, which leads to hilarity as the player sweeps them.  What you're proposing isn't exactly the same but will ultimately have similar outcomes as they cure statuses by inflicting other statuses that are worse in that specific situation or just choose to never use those abilities despite wasting their JP on them.

That's a good point, and unfortunate too.  I wanted to limit some debuffs by forcing them into categories, where each debuff in a given category cancels all others in the same.

It should work if a character doesn't already have a debuff that would be canceled or there are targets within range that lack a debuff, but it can backfire.  If the HP value of each debuff doesn't accurately reflect its utility, then as you say the AI could make things worse.

I think I'll drop that idea, which was itself an evolution of the poison-cancels-regen idea.

Building explicit cycles is really just a way to both simplify class design and help ensure the emergent phenomena come out in ways that are intuitive for the player.  Ultimately you don't want the player slapping three abilities in a row like they're managing their cooldowns on League of Legends, but having obvious ability combos (which can be emphasized by putting the skills next to each other in the skillset) gives the initial push that will make them look for more and eventually develop their own.  This is important if the player is someone who's found your mod after playing Vanilla and got through it by going LOLandu, since it ensures you have a built-in learning curve of sort that allows them to form better habits and understand the push-and-pull of a more involved battle without feeling punished or put against a difficulty brick wall.

I want the overall difficulty to be much higher, but I want a steady progression.  Chapter 1 should be challenging for a newbie, but Chapter 4 sidequests should be impossible if you rely only on sword skills.

Removing things that detract from the difficulty and fun are usually easy and have an immediate effect.


Removing bad things is always good because you'll rarely get side effects if you remove something.  Complications arise from interactions - fewer bad things, fewer interactions.

If a program is malfunctioning, you don't add new things to it until it stops.  You eliminate things until it starts to work, cutting the problem area in half each iteration until you isolate the cause.

I'm more cautious when I modify things, and downright paranoid when I add new mechanics.  I'm not just adding that thing, I'm adding all the interactions that thing will have with everything else.

My list of modifications is much shorter, and many are designs to reduce the scope and size of existing mechanics.  The ones that lean towards additive (Weapon Guard innate, Magic C-Ev) are arguably simplifications, in that they streamline existing mechanics.

I can't think of a single thing that I'm actually adding to the game that doesn't previously exist in some form.

I've never understood why people like to build flaws into their gear.  It just makes a player more likely to read it and go "I never want to use that" unless they've scouted the upcoming battle and know the weakness won't be relevant and the strength will be.  Obviously, this inclination can be overcome if the item is obviously very above-average, but a simple absorption item shouldn't be that if you've been following good design rules.  In fact, I'd argue the exact opposite of what you're saying here - built-in, obvious weaknesses should be reserved for rare items with cool, complex, and/or high-power effects where the weakness serves to further emphasize the item's flavor as well ensure it doesn't become completely brainless.  Eg, an item that gives +2 Speed, Always: Poison, Immune: Regen, Critical is easy to define as a high-power item in most mods, and in this way we've given it two drawbacks - Auto-Poison and an immunity to its mirror, Regen.  Not only does this have gameplay value in directly punishing the higher turn volume, but it has flavor value in that it implies the unit becomes reckless and that is the source of the Speed being gained, even without supplying a name or description for that item - and is even further enforced by that immunity to Critical, which otherwise only exists for the AI's sake.

A nitpick; immunity to Critical nerfs certain very powerful reactions.  With the other drawbacks it's not worth two casts of Yell.

The point of armor having a weakness in this case is to balance the elemental absorbs, to play off the lack of non-elemental magic, and to add a large degree of randomness to the game.  I want two or three elemental weapons for the larger weapon groups, and one or none for the smaller ones.

This is a trick.  I'm giving the player just enough rope to hang himself.  Everyone will eventually get into a fight that they can't win due to poor equipment choices AND not bringing a healer to revive someone with a means to deal damage, and maybe one that they can't lose either.

Yes, it is mean.  But it's less mean than what FFT does, and it only affects one battle.  Compare it to how you can potentially ruin a generic by spending too many levels in the wrong class, or mods where gaining two or three levels too early makes the rest of the game unwinnable.

Granted the same thing can happen to the AI, but it's a long shot because the AI equipment will mostly be random and there aren't any items that protect against all things of any category.  You'll probably get one battle where every enemy has a water elemental weapon, and you just happened to field a water-absorping team (however you'll have significant debuff openings for part of your team if you do this).  It's astronomically unlikely given that some classes won't have access to an elemental weapon and all classes will have a non-Attack means of dealing damage, but it could happen.

Obviously I can't allow Equip Change in this mod.

If I have only two classes of armor - warrior and non-warrior/mage - then I can do more with equipment.  Nine pieces of equipment (one without an item attribute but better protection) per head/body slot and two categories per slot means 32 item attributes.  Reasonable, I think.

The fluff for non-warrior equipment boosting MP so much could be that metal equipment doesn't hold Mana enchantments as effectively as non-metal.  I need to change the multipliers too.

Code: [Select]
hp mp
warrior 20n 10n
mage 12n 18n

n=5
hp mp
warrior 100 50
mage 60 90

Item attributes also have an value of n, but I haven't put any thought into specifics.  This is how I'll calculate the exact stats of equipment.  What's above are the baselines.

Edit

Level 1 to 99 stats are compressed.

level 1 to 99 modded SP, PA, and MA are equivalent to level 8 to level 40 vanilla.  HP is slightly different.

I have to do this due to armor restrictions, but I like it too.  Doesn't make much sense that you would get 3 or 4 times as strong or smart as you progress.

Plus the chapter 2 and 3 fights are some of the best memories I have of FFT.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Nyzer on August 09, 2017, 01:26:09 PM
Mostly, Raven, I wanted a flaw because Absorb can be fairly strong, particularly if it's a mod featuring a lot of elemental weaponry. I don't think having an Absorb tied with a Weakness is too imbalanced to make people think an item is weak and not worth using. A Resist and a Weakness would be.

That's just my own opinion though, and obviously it's contextual depending on the rest of the game. In a mod that doesn't feature a lot of elemental attacks, and the few jobs that have elemental skills can cover multiple elements, then the Absorb is probably going to be a lot less useful.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Emmy on August 09, 2017, 08:26:40 PM
I actually like flaws as a way to encourage out of the box thinking.  It's one way that I allowed for more items that retain use throughout the length of the game instead of being immediately upgraded and thrown away by the next shop upgrade.  Just going by your example of an item with a significant bonus, but with Poison innate and immunity to Regen and Critical, that "significant" bonus would have to be very significant to be worth it to most people with vanilla abilities.  However, with a couple of the abilities that exist in MT, that drawback could be turned into an advantage.  Poison Heal and Marvel Scale can turn a unit into a tank, while Guts would turn it into an offensive beast (these abilities are very similar to what they do in Pokemon). 

Now, how I balance/introduce items like this into the game is by making the earlier items having more obvious utility (say, 25% damage reduction or immune: charm, don't move, don't act) while the later items might have better bonuses but also include drawbacks (say, 35% damage reduction, innate poison; or immune to petrify, frog, slow, haste, stop).  In these cases, while the earlier stuff is still useful, you can make later stuff outclass it with some out of the box thinking with the abilities I have provided the player.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Nyzer on August 09, 2017, 09:57:05 PM
I think stacking Auto-Poison with Poison Heal kind of misses the point of what he was trying to say. Yeah, it probably wouldn't be all that worth it in vanilla, but in a mod where +Speed items are otherwise nonexistent, especially if Speed is kept low....

I know the "reduce Haste/Slow to 25%" mod gets a decent amount of use. An 8 speed unit would get the benefit of Haste from an item like that - and could still have Haste stacked on top of that.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: nitwit on August 09, 2017, 10:47:27 PM
Auto-Poison with Poison Heal is OP unless you're undead and the AI behaves right.

The +Speed item is a bad example for my mod.  A better one would be something that halves all elements or gives you a permanent buff, but makes you "Always: Death Sentence" and "Immune: Undead, Reraise".  You automatically reduce the effectiveness of a large number of attacks (or you act faster if the buff is haste), but you will die once every 3 turns, you can't use one effective buff, and the Undead tactic is closed to you.

All Squires have Yell and SP modification has a strict upper limit.  No dice for +2 SP.

The most "Emmy" of all items would be the Nihopalaoa from FFXII.  Late game accessory that adds an entirely new set of tactics.
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Elric on August 10, 2017, 01:24:13 AM
Liking flaws is not a good thing. Outside the box thinking is only good when it 'works' and works 'well'
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Lionheart537 on August 10, 2017, 04:41:35 AM
The vanilla only plans equipment up to level 50 or so, right? Expanding the cap is a good idea but I don't think it necessary to plan as far as max level 99. Kudos to the dedicated people that grind to that level, God love them. Isn't lv67 more appropriate? If you really want more gear/ have the space just add several equal level options with preferences to specific builds. I like Emmy's point of keeping equipment from being linear upgrades. Not constantly but occasional, staggered bonuses that let "lower" gear compete with higher, at least for another tier or two. As for the specifics of how to go about it that's a personal decision, status immunities, buffs, etc. Having clear flaws to balance an item can work, but i'd say limit the use of that method.

I've been plaing Celdia's patch recently and two changes to weapons have engrossed me: whips and crossbows, specifically crossbow's occasional double attack. I'd love to steal implement these myself. Although i'd prefer the crossbow second attack proc to be Genji Glove's effect and perhaps make it innate on Katanas as a weak 2H weapon with chance of double damage, outclassing other 2H with elemental/status affinity and even moreso with the unique Genji Glove.

EDIT: Read over 1,000 times! I hope other modding hopefuls like me are learning alot here too! Thanks again for the great opinions and discussion everyone!
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: nitwit on August 10, 2017, 02:54:46 PM
I usually end up at level 65 by end-game.  There are some hacks to make the AI use equipment better.  Recommended if you're going the equipment upgrade route.

The crossbow second attack is IIRC setting it to randomly proc Attack.  See the Holy Lance for more details.  Though I think Holy Lance procs Holy 100%?
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Lionheart537 on August 11, 2017, 12:31:12 AM
I took a look earlier and it really is as simple as some fftpatcher changes.

What are some general AI improvements you'd all recommend?
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Elric on August 11, 2017, 05:22:35 AM
I took a look earlier and it really is as simple as some fftpatcher changes.

What are some general AI improvements you'd all recommend?

Care to explain what you mean, cuz I can tell you, no, it's not "as simple as some patcher changes"
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Lionheart537 on August 11, 2017, 06:16:12 AM
I was meaning changing some weapons like setting Katanas formulas as the weapon dmg with 25% proc ability and have that ability be the standard attack (or an ability mimicking it). To effectively let them chain a second attack on occasion.

My mistake I can see the confusion when I mentioned AI behavior. Seeing Dokurider's hacks is what got me thinking about the ai. Sorry about that  :?
Title: Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
Post by: Lionheart537 on September 08, 2017, 05:14:50 PM
Reviving this for another question. I saw a tutorial for changing weapon categories, but does armor have any hardcoding or bugs when it comes to editing? For example if I change mythril armor's type to robes would it have any foreseeable problems? Mostly wondering because I want to give hair adornments new item slots and asm change it to remove gender requirement with job requirements.