We are still working when we have the time, but that has been few and far between lately. Legend’s has been absolutely slammed at work, putting in many long days dealing with some extremely high priority projects. I am still spending a good bit of time getting medical tests, and I have had a few weddings to attend (plus another this month, apparently it’s wedding season) but I am still working on stuff for at least a few hours a week. Hopefully things will calm down this month and we can kick things back into high gear.
In regards to what I have been working on, a lot of my time lately has been spent on reviewing work I’ve already done, mostly comparing items, monster drops, and zone viability. As things change over time it’s important to occasionally go back and make sure everything is still on the same level.
To review items I tend to create a spread sheet of all the items that share a type. This allows me to easily compare their stats and to see how item progression feels. For weapons specifically, I include a few extra columns comparing average damage small/large. For the most part not too many item tweaks were needed in review, but some new items were created. These include a set of element based rings for a new zone, a new magic resistance ring, a Baranka Ring to complement Laia’s, as well as craftable “upgrades” for all of the ancient items so they have a way to exit circulation. A lot of unused or irrelevant items have been purged from the DB.
Reviewing monster drops mostly involves making sure bosses within a given difficulty range are consistent, and that drops added to new zones are consistent with existing areas. It’s a lot of looking at drop lists by monster and by item and making sure percentages reflect monster/area difficulty and scale properly. If X drops zels at .5% then Y needs to be .6% since Y is stronger than X, and Z needs to be .2% etc. It’s tedious, but important.
Related to monster drops somewhat, I’ve also spent some time adjusting the drop rates of items I consider to be “crafting materials”. This is stuff like gems, dragon scales, ores, etc. A lot of this is creating consistency and in many cases adding new sources. Gems are some of the most prevalent drops in the game, but are all over the place in terms of rarity. Some easy monsters will drop an emerald 70% of the time, while a powerful monster or boss only drops it 6%. I am slowly evening all of this out so that all crafting materials have a drop rate consistent with their rarity and in relation to the difficulty of the source. This will be important when we overhaul and consolidate the crafting system in the game.
Zone viability is a somewhat difficult concept to compare, as there are a lot of factors that go into it. In general, how I approach this is I first compare monster HP vs XP for all the spawns in a given zone, and for the average of the zone as a whole. While HP is not a perfect metric for how strong a monster is, there is a strong correlation between the two and it gives me a good baseline to start from. From there I look at spawn density by comparing the spawn count to the map size. Again, this isn’t a perfect metric since map size does not exactly equate to overall spawn locations due to terrain features but it’s still a helpful comparison. Lastly, I consider the loot potential of a zone. I try to think about why someone would hunt an area if XP wasn’t a factor, and use that to determine what adjustments might be needed.
Most monsters in the game hover around a 3xp to 1hp ratio. Some areas were exceptionally bad, like FV (originally a 1.7 to 1 ratio), while others were incredibly good, like FI (originally a 5.5 to 1 ratio). Some of this is related to design decisions made when these areas were implemented and the overall balance of the game at the time. FV was added at a time when players were not very high level, stats were capped at 25, and getting to level 52 was a major accomplishment. Our FV has been buffed to about 2.4 to 1 ratio making it a good leveling zone for sub 50 players.
FI was added as the first “high XP high cost” area in the game. It dropped no adena, monsters were considered to be difficult at the time, and it had a significant time cost due to the boat ride length and infrequent availability. Of the top 25 monsters in the game in terms of XP to HP value, FI Doppel zone had 9. Now FI has adena drops, can be reached instantly via scroll, and the monsters on it are considerably weaker when compared to average player power. As a result, FI was arguably the most efficient hunting zone in the game. I have since nerfed some aspects of it, and buffed others. Spawn rates outside doppel zone have been improved, especially in the Cyclops/Ettin area. The XP values for many of the super low HP monsters have been reduced, while the XP for high HP monsters have been increased. Overall the area sits right around a 4 to 1 ratio with good density, making it still an excellent hunting zone but more in line with other places.
TOI areas were buffed a bit, 71-80 most significantly but almost all of the TOI monsters were tweaked a little bit. The bottom 50 floors should all be decent hunting areas, with pros and cons to the different zones. 81-100 had the biggest overall change to their XP values but that was because they were significantly under valued overall. The main draws to hunt those floors are still drop related, the xp buffs there simply make them not wildly inconsistently bad. Monsters in 81-90 and 91-100 both drop unique items you cannot obtain elsewhere (a new ring on 81-90 and earrings on 91-100).
I removed dancing swords from TOI and replaced them with succubi from the same floor set. As a result 17-20f TOI will be more dangerous than it was previously, but will also be a better hunting zone. I’ll admit this change was not for any balance reasons, I just despise dancing swords and their dumb hit boxes so I decided to abuse my absolute power.
Spirit Grave was tweaked considerably. The hp for the weaker spirits was lowered a lot, while the Abyss spirits had their XP buffed. This area provides a lot of quality loot in terms of ori daggers / crimson spears / element gloves, but will now also be a pretty good hunting zone.
Ivory Tower got yet another xp boost since my original numbers ultimately were still too low when comparing the difficulty of the zone (in general I try to aim for under tuning than over tuning so this is to be expected). Upper IT offers excellent xp and loot, but is an extremely dangerous area. Demon King (previously Demon) has been upgraded to a T2 boss to reflect the increased difficulty of his spawn zone.
That’s about all I have to cover for now, I’ll save the rest for a later post. Feel free to give your thoughts on some of these changes, or to let me know if there is any additional info you are interested in.