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Crafted item quality/affixes

Discussion in 'Project Gorgon: Ask the Devs' started by Finkum, Jun 3, 2013.

  1. Finkum

    Finkum Visitor

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    Bit puzzled by the variations you get between leather-working items ostensibly of the same quality when crafting. I routinely get blue-quality items that have just 1 bonus affix, and yet other times I've had blue-quality items with 3 (or possibly more) affixes. Generally you get the latter kind when you use a gem not directly related to a specific combat skill, as this allows for multiple random skills to be boosted, although you often still get 2+ affixes related to a specific skill.

    Is this a bug or an "incentive" to gamble on creating awesome items at random?
     
  2. Citan

    Citan Project: Gorgon Developer
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    The only time you should get blue-tier or higher items with only a single power are when you're doing very low-level crafting (the first two tiers); in those cases there may not be any more powers available for it to "buy" because low-level items have very few "treasure points", if you will. If you're seeing higher-tier rares with only one power, that sounds like a bug, yeah.

    I just looked for a bug there and don't see one -- it should fall back to randomly picking some other skill if it doesn't have any more powers of the chosen skill type. But that probably just means it'll be a hard bug to find! If you have specific armor type/slot/gem combos, that'd be helpful in reproducing it.
     
  3. Finkum

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    Two instances where I am certain, as I'm wearing the gear still, are Decent Leather (tier 4) shoes and hat. In both cases they are blue-quality with a single affix (+dmg to all sword attacks and +dmg to Sword Slash IIRC). They were both the results of "random" crafts i.e. gems that boost teleportation/alchemy/other non-combat skills (side whinge: carnelians are so hard to find! Too many possible gem types that the orange gems can resolve into!)

    The hat in particular puzzled me as I have a random drop blue-quality hat in my bank with lower armor - and thus, I assume, a lower item-level and lower overall item budget, if it works comparably to WoW - but two (stronger) sword affixes and a werewolf affix (I don't wear the hat as I haven't elected to become a werewolf).

    While those are the only definite examples that spring to mind they are by no means the only ones: I've vendored 3 - 5 other crafted blue-quality items with a single affix. However pretty sure I've never observed the problem with purple-quality gear, or the one time a yellow-quality item procced: they all had 3+ affixes.
     
  4. Luka Melehan

    Luka Melehan Certifiable
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    Has anyone started any guidelines for pursuing leatherworking yet?
     
  5. Finkum

    Finkum Visitor

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    Quick guide to low-level leather-working:

    1) Kill and skin eleventy-million pigs. Alternately, be a werewolf and kill/skin/devour the rats in the inn ceiling space, as they respawn more or less instantly if you do so. You will need insane amounts of shoddy leather (it's used all the way up through Decent recipes (tier 4) and possibly higher).
    2) Collect a bunch of crystals from the forest outside Serbule. Typically there are 2 - 3 up at any one point in time. As a bonus there are pigs (more shoddy leather) and deer (rough leather, which you will also need heaps of in a few steps time). If you use a specific set of combat skills that are boosted by a particular crystal, I'd recommend saving the relevant crystals until you get to high level crafting.
    3) Go the leather-working vendor and buy the practice recipes book. You can optionally also buy the two books that teach you regular/enchanted shoddy gear recipes; if you can afford it it's worth buying and crafting each recipe exactly once as you get bonus XP the first time you craft a new recipe.
    4) Perform the shoddy practice recipe until you hit level 10.
    5) You can now buy the rough gear books, and again I'd recommend doing so if you can afford it for the free XP. You can also progress to the rough practice recipe, which gives double the XP of the rough one. Whether or not this is a worthwhile trade-off obviously depends on how efficiently you can farm rough leather vs shoddy leather.
    6) Perform the practice recipe of your choice until you hit level 20.

    TBC
     
  6. Luka Melehan

    Luka Melehan Certifiable
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    I noticed last night that the dinosaurs in the new area of the crypt also give shoddy leather
     
  7. Hugo_Rune

    Hugo_Rune Visitor

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    I crafted a single affix blue item today, some nice leather gloves with mentalism gem gave the 20% aoe buff only - identical to the green version of the same gloves.
     
  8. Finkum

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    More leather-working bugs: I crafted a pair of epic Nice leather boots using a sword crystal that had one sword affix and one staff affix, despite the fact that there are at least three possible sword affixes for boots.
     
  9. Citan

    Citan Project: Gorgon Developer
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    Finkum - that one's not a bug, at least not necessarily. After each power is chosen, there's a 25% chance it will switch to a different skill for the next power.
     
  10. Finkum

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    Hmm personally I'm not a fan of that mechanic - it just increases the chance that your craft is basically junk, on top of the random quality and random affix selection. I've already noticed that as combat skills get patched into the game, the percentage of loot drops that are useful to me becomes increasingly small (and due to limited inventory space it's not realistic to build a gear-set for every possible combat skill, even if you wanted to).

    While it's completely understandable that you may not agree, I'm much more in favour of reduced or ameliorated crafting randomness e.g.
    • There are different recipes for a given item for each quality (green/blue/etc) with commensurately more expensive material costs for higher quality levels.
    • You can reclaim part or all of the materials from a craft that resulted in an unwanted item - new "Salvaging" skill! :)
    • You can obtain/craft "upgrade items" that allow you to turn green items into blues, blues into purples etc.
    • You can combine two items into one, with some clear method for how competing affixes will be selected.
    • The quality of the item is determined by the outcome of an (optional?) mini-game.
    To return to the original issue, would it be possible to ensure that when this affix switching occurs, you at least get viable skill combinations as e.g. it's impossible to use Staff and Sword skills simultaneously.
     
  11. Citan

    Citan Project: Gorgon Developer
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    Well keep in mind I'm describing the loot-drop system there, because they use the same system. I think it works pretty well in keeping loot from being too homogenous ... and too powerful in general. I'm not sure if it's sufficient on crafted items... I mean, you do cut down a ton of the noise when crafting with gems, so it's still a big benefit. I don't know if it needs to be even more focused on that specific skill... hard to tell right now. I don't want level-grinding crafters to make items that are uniformly better than stuff they could get by farming monsters for similar amounts of time. A system where there are explicit blue-quality recipes with very rare items is probably something that will happen though. And in that case it might make sense to turn off the chance-to-switch-away.

    There'll be an upgrade system for crafters eventually, where they can break down items somehow... but not sure how that'll work yet! I've coded the very basic item-leveling-up system, so that it'll be future-proof to some extent, but haven't worked out much of the curves on crafting yet.

    When the system switches away from a skill, it doesn't always switch to another skill; more often, it switches to non-skilled bonuses, like +health or resistances etc. And it should always be a reasonable combination, since it's using the loot tables, though there are still lots of data errors in there to be addressed, as you know :)
     
    #11 Citan, Jun 17, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2013
  12. Finkum

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    Hmm well I'd say there's a number of problems with loot that has affixes for multiple skills that all contribute to my seeing such items as inferior/undesirable:

    1) A lot of combat skills are mutually exclusive because of weapon types/animal-form requirements. I know a lot of potential combinations have been blacklisted but there are still a lot of "bad" ones available. There are relatively few desirable combinations: animal skill + [Mentalism|Psych|subset of Unarmed|subset of Battle Chem] or weapon skill + [Mentalism|Psych|Archery|subset of Unarmed|subset of Battle Chem] or Fire Magic + Staff or Battle Chem + Staff are the only ones I can think of off the top of my head.
    2) If you are using Mentalism or Battle Chem in a support role, most of the current affixes are not very useful - they affect the nukes/bombs only rather than the buffs/golem (I realise this is because you are worried the buffs are too powerful currently, but nonetheless).
    3) There isn't any explicit synergy between most skills, either natively or via an affix. While e.g. the Mentalism ranged attack is implicitly synergistic with Sword whenever you need to do a ranged pull, the only explicit synergy I've seen between skills is the affix that grants an X% chance to proc vulnerability Y when using skill Z (and in general these affixes proc vulnerabilities to skills from your 'Special' bar, which is sensible but not synergy-promoting). However if say there was an item that has both Mentalism and Sword affixes, if it had a synergy affix like 'After using Mindreave your next Sword attack ignores armor' or what have you then that would help make such items both desirable and introduce variations in your ability rotation.
    4) Given the range of damage types in the game, any individual +resistance affix is fairly situational. Flat +health and +armor affixes, while more useful, are not very exciting. Maybe co-opt some of the cool skill-specific affixes like the absorption shield unarmed affix and change them to a % chance on any skill use?
     
  13. Finkum

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    Looks like the blue-quality-item-with-one-affix-only issue can also occur for dropped items. I had a blue plate helm drop with a single additional-rage-removed-on-parry affix. Not sure of the "item level" of the plate gear as it's high armour score is offset by the increased electrical damage taken, but I'm fairly certain it's comparable to Decent or Nice-quality crafted gear (and thus should have enough of a budget for multiple affixes).
     
  14. Citan

    Citan Project: Gorgon Developer
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    Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it! I think my brief reply is: understood, thanks, and I'll keep that in mind. But here's some longer, more rambly response before I crash for the evening: 1) I don't think it's time to blacklist combinations that aren't fun at the moment. Not sure if that'll ever be the case ... I don't see it as a huge problem if some items have very few potential users. Items that literally can never be used are a different category from items with relatively unhelpful combinations. However, the animal-curse items are trickier because I'm sure there'll be lots of those (and similar things, like "been turned into a ghost" or whatever) and I don't want those specialized items to drown out more general-purpose stuff. Will have to think about that some more. Might "cheat" and have the system occasionally roll items that exactly match the skills you're using. Or something.

    2) You spurred me to finally get around to adding some mentalism buffs, and I'll add some for battle chemistry too, after I rewrite the Mutation powers (so you can't buff-and-bail on chemistry). You're definitely right that their treasure is kind of useless for players right now. But the flip side of the coin is we have almost nobody grouping in the pre-alpha right now, so I have to remember to be conscious of that. Eventually I hope there's a place for combinations like dickweed/alchemist where you use alchemy's combat abilities in tandem with someone else's mentalism (and someone else's fire buffs, maybe!). But there's no way to experiment with those sorts of things until the population is at least in double digits every night, so I haven't tried to push grouping too much. And I've decided I'd better make the crypt dungeon more soloable since otherwise I won't be able to find enough people to test it out! There's lots of other basic stuff that needs to get added first anyway, such as maybe a grouping GUI.

    3) A lot of synergistic powers will get added eventually. They're pretty easy to add, and mostly I've been focusing on tricky-to-code powers, plus powers that help me get a handle on the overall power level of a skill. But I'll end up filling in each skill with dozens of additional powers, and a lot of those will be of the "X buffs Y" variety. I actually started adding some of these to Mentalism, the other day, though, and I'm not entirely happy with the ones I added. They feel too specialized, like it's compounding the issue mentioned in #1 above too much. So I'll be experimenting with broader combinations, such as "your mentalism attack causes your next slashing attack to do extra damage" ... but that example is kinda TOO versatile, since so many things do slashing damage... might need to find other ways to categorize abilities.

    4) Been working on telegraphing damage types better, but I agree they're kind of boring. Things with particle effects are just more fun than numeric bonuses, even if they don't proc all the time. I'll probably do some reflects next (such as "monsters that melee you take X shock damage Y% of the time") and see how those feel. But anyway it's something that'll happen.

    And yep, blue-tier treasure items can also end up with only one power. I finally tracked that down to where the system rolls a die between 1 and 3 for its max number of powers. Totally forgot I'd done that. (It made sense in an earlier version of the system.) Changing it to 2-3 in the next update!
     
  15. Finkum

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    1a) Well I guess it all depends where you draw the line. For example, technically sword affixes that boost Fire Magic attacks or induce a Fire vulnerability aren't completely useless because of that one fireball that goes on your Special Abilities bar. Nonetheless, when I see those affixes on a sword item I go "%!&#!$" and consider the item to be junk. This may be less of an issue later on when items can be reliably sold for full vendor value, or salvaged for valuable components or what have you, but right now it just fills me with Internet Rage.
    1b) Given that animal curses are (I think) supposed to be long-duration non-swappable effects, would it be too generous to condense all animal form gear affixes into a single set that then changes depending on what form you are in e.g. the Cowl of Animalistic Awesomeness drops, it has 2 animal form affixes. To a non-animal player it will say something like "Your basic animal attack does extra damage" and "One of your animal special attacks has a chance to peform an additional effect". If I'm a spider, it will say "Your Spider Bite attack does +X damage" and "Your Inject Venom attack has a Y% chance to be an AoE". If I'm a cow it will say, "Your [whatever the name of the cow basic attack is] does +X damage" and "Your [some special cow attack] has a Y% chance to do double damage." Werewolf affixes might have to remain their own group because they "stack" with regular animal forms.
    1c) Skill proliferation will increasingly make getting a set of gear that boosts particular skill X difficult. This could promote a nice player economy, however, if there will be some sort of auction house or player vendor system. It's interesting how the NPC vendors partially fulfil this role currently (although sad how the items are wiped each patch).

    2a) Right now, I prefer not to group as there is no formal grouping system (can't see party members, chat to them in party chat, see where they are etc etc), and a party member dying can mean a lot of reclearing as there's no way to revive them. So bit of a catch-22 there. Also rage-attacks are increasingly hard to mitigate with multiple people attacking a mob; a nice change might be an emote/animation/screen flash when the mob is about to unleash it's rage attack, followed by a short delay, in which you can use a rage reducer if you're quick enough, and if you fail to do so the rage attack goes off. Finally, I do think the loot situation needs tweaking - it should be an incentive to group (beyond the fact that you might kill something you can't kill on your own). If all party members could skin and autopsy the same mob, for example, that would incentivise grouping a bit.
    2b) I actually think Mentalism is in greater need of buff-wiping - as the Golem already despawns when Battle Chemistry isn't one of your active skills, you lose a huge chunk of Battle Chem's power if you just buff-and-swap.

    3a) Synergy buffs of the form you suggest there don't sound too strong to me - attacks of Skill X increase damage of school Y sounds like a good sweet point, especially as it can promote ability priority changes. There's 10+ damage schools already (and maybe more to come?) so it's still fairly narrow.
    3b) I've seen some of the new Mentalism affixes - the main thing that struck me was how some of them were a tiny chance for a ridiculously strong effect - I think it was a 2% chance to restore 250 armour (which is pretty much your entire armour pool, unless you're decked out in top-level gear). Personally I prefer a bigger chance for a more moderate effect, but that's just me.

    4) I'm hoping that if an item gets budgeted 2 powers rather than 3, then those 2 powers are "stronger" than if there were 3 of them on the item e.g. (+3 to attack X, 50% chance for Y to AoE) vs (+2 to attack X, 33% chance for Y to AoE, attack Z returns 5 power on use) ? Cos otherwise we're back to crappy blues vs stronger blues, which was my original concern. Also, you may wish to similarly increment the code for purple items, as it's currently possible to make epics with just 2 affixes.