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March 1st, 2013, 02:36
Taking from the Rich



I'm still working on the new content for next release (v0.1.7.0), but I also took a break from that to address more balance issues.

Now, before I hit you with a big list of changes, let me give you a brief intro about the subject at hand.

Looking at the current release version, the biggest issue with the game currently mechanics-wise is that it gets increasingly easier once the player gets past the early stages. One of the main reasons for that, which I've already addressed in the previous dev logs, is the (over)power of grenades and other AoE attacks. The biggest issue, however, is the game's economy. Namely, that the player quickly gets rich from the insane amount of loot that he can acquire. This dev log focuses primarily on that, as well as on re-balancing some other abilities/items that I've found to be a bit too good.

The biggest change here is that I've reduced the amount of loot that is available through scavenging significantly. The biggest offenders were mid-late game dungeons (I didn't mess with the starting areas, they are fine) and also somewhat corners of urban areas that were way to easy to plunder with impunity. For the most part I haven't removed any stuff from the loot table, but have rather reduced the amount of items you get (ammo, weapons/armor and especially components) and significantly reduced the chance. So basically most places that you've looted before still have some chance of holding loot in future games (very few containers are fixed to be empty), but they won't give you large amounts of loot every time like they do now.

This, coupled with item durability cost penalty should make the game more challenging and force you to manage your resources more carefully as you should no longer have unlimited amounts of grenades, special blots/ammo, psi points, batteries, etc. When it comes the time to release the new version, I'll have to test this new economy carefully with a couple of playthroughs, though, to ensure that I haven't gone too far or not far enough. After that, I'll be very interested to hear from you guys as to what your experience was in this new economy.

Also, I've increased the difficulty of some encounters in the Old Junkyard (Depot A) and also did some bug fixing. In any case, here's the full list:
  • Economy
    • Reduced the amount of loot significantly (mainly from dungeon areas and lightly guarded urban areas)
    • Wheeled bots and turrets leave loot now (ammo, scraps and sometimes more valuable things)
    • Reduce leather drop chances across the board
    • Reduced the value multiplier for certain crafted items (e.g. leather armor) in relation to their components; purchasing components from vendors and crafting them into finished items and reselling them should not be profitable (this would either force me to reduce the amount of components the merchants have or to reduce the restocking frequency and I don't want to do either); finding components and crafting them into items before selling them is profitable
    • Increased the cost of special bolts
    • Item cost penalty based on durability changed from linear function to power function; meaning that lower less and less durability and item has, the faster its value drops
    • Psi boosters now cost 5 mindshrooms to make
    • Increased deterioration rate of melee weapons by 50% to somewhat balance out them not requiring ammo
  • Misc
    • Added more mutated dogs to Old Junkyard because why not
    • Player now leaves a corpse after dying instead of turning into a backpack
  • Balance
    • Reduced the amount of skill points the player gets (-15 at the start, -5 per level)
    • Added activation cost to night vision goggles
    • Increased value of distance factor when calculating weapon to-hit chance
    • Weapon precision penalties (melee, on move) will now correctly be deducted at the end of to-hit chance calculation (it's no longer possible to mitigate these penalties through skill)
    • NPCs now have natural dodge and evasion bonus equal to twice their level (factor subject to change pending testing)
    • Reduced damage of shock, incendiary and acid bolts across the board; they should still be good but won't 2-shot most things in the game anymore
    • Precision bonus with special bolts removed from Marksman feat
    • Increased Pyrokinesis cooldown to 3 turns (up from 2) and reduced damage slightly
    • Premeditation now reduces the cost of your next psi ability by 50% instead of 100%
    • Increased the health of Mutated humans and restored them their normal movement points (was too easy to kite them)
    • Mutated human's AI tweaked to correctly use acid spray even when close to player if something is preventing them from engaging in melee
    • Increased mutant dog health
    • Resist chance calculations for everything (stun, entangle, etc) was previously bugged and couldn't drop below 20% no matter how powerful the attack/ability was and how bad the defense was. Also capped all resist chance at 65% (down from 80%), might change pending testing.
    • Reduced Neural Overload the damage that can be mitigated through resolve. It's also capped at ~40%.
    • Increased base psionic power of psi beetles and their synergy bonus; also their armor and health a bit (hopefully I get to watch them actually kill someone now)
    • Added some acid resistance to wheeled bots and turrets
    • Change trap detection mechanics to favor players investing in Traps skill in addition to having good perception; traps are also not revealed automatically if you beat the skill check but instead have a chance to be revealed every "tick" in real time / end of turn in turn-based mode; this will make traps a bit more dangerous than they are now for all characters
    • Changed stealth detection indicator colors for NPCs again: slowly fading in-and-out silver eye again means true-seeing again, while slowly fading in-and-out red eye means "stealth too low to hide from this NPC"; should be more intutive this way. If you don't know what I'm talking about, check out the stealth changes I made a while back (http://underrail.com/forums/index.php?topic=128.0)
    • You can no longer set traps, disarm traps, lockpick or hack in turn-based mode
  • UI
    • When placing traps with AoE effect, their range will also be displayed; this should make it easier for players to prevent chaining their own traps and blowing themselves up Wile E. Coyote style.
    • Toggling between all feats and only available ones should now correctly update the scroll bar
  • Bug fixes
    • Fixed the bug that caused players to die during transition and return as vengeful undead if they transitioned in turn-based mode with a damage over time effect that is about to kill them
    • Fixed lightning in some areas (GMS, Elwood's house)
    • Killing someone in a single turn will now correctly propagate hostilities to their nearby friends

Alright, this is about all the major balancing, bug fixing, etc, I was planning to do for this update. Unless I come across something major, of course. The economy will probably need more balancing closer to new version release, but until them I'll be focusing on new content.
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