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All posts created by Bob

Bob
Duffy Swiftshadow
Are you assuming people will run out of ammo and therefore lose their inherent ranged advantage in a particular encounter or fight? If you aren't, then how is having ranged damage and melee damage be similar ever balanced against the inherent advantage of range? Especially with most cases of rooting going away. If you are assuming they will regularly run out of ammo, then are you assuming that all ranged characters will also have to be proficient in a melee weapon but not necessarily melee characters (in reality many melee usually have a bow or focus secondary right now anyways)?

When using ammunition as a balancing factor, you have to consider both its effects on individual battles (the ability to use expensive ammo to gain an advantage, the need to reload occasionally, the possibility of running out of ammunition) and its effects on an ammunition-using character (and her company/settlement/alliance) over time (the need to acquire ammunition, the decreased probability of adventuring, the effort spent on acquiring ammunition that could have been spent elsewhere). It's quite possible that a company will sometimes have to choose between better ammunition and better support, which could in turn affect future battles.

In terms of individual battles, no, I don't expect players to regularly run out of ammunition if they really don't want to. Stock a bunch of ammo at a smallholding and refill regularly so that you can constantly use the best stuff if that's the way you like to play. However, I ultimately expect that players will be more effective in the long term if they use their ammo judiciously, and if they have non-ammo-using attacks to fall back on when high-powered ranged attacks are both expensive and basically overkill. Ideally, there will be times when the best ammunition will be worth any price (like for fending off a critical attack on your territory) and times when it's not worth wasting (like when you just need to clear out some goblins. An ammunition user who properly balances all that earns the right to bring some of her economic power to bear on the battlefield.

And, of course, others can always invest in consumables to get some of the same advantages, just not as consistently.
Bob
Edam
Bob
Cantrips do get split in half at T3, and I believe your suspicion that not matching the T3 keyword would leave your attack as T2 is correct. However, there are a lot of cantrips available for both wand and staff, and wizards should have a fair number of options available for either weapon when compared to the choices for other weapons.

That is not right. The T3 advanced keyword at level 6 of an attack on staffs and wands is intelligent which you get on every T3 staff/wand regardless of staff/wand type.

A feat trained to level 6 will always be a T3 attack on a T3 staff/wand regardless of staff/wand type or level.

That said, their are serious issues with the choices available to wizards. The quickening staff for example only has 4 cantrips available, 3 secondary and just one primary.

Charged and Somatic Staves/Wands add Extraplanar instead of Intelligent for T3, and roughly half of the cantrips add Extraplanar at rank 6 to match.

And yes, there probably do need to be some more cantrips added, or some other changes made to the system, to flesh out certain staves or wands. You do at least get the option of using some not-quite-matching cantrips, though admittedly at the cost of missing out on 1-2 minor keywords. Still, you can match the major keywords and get the most important bonuses, and you may want to learn some extra attacks anyway so that you can select a different staff/wand depending on the main things you're going up against during any particular session.
Bob
Bringslite-Dominion Soldier
What can you tell us about Player Housing? Do you have ideas nailed down as to what features will make it attractive for us to buy into it?

We're planning to meet about this today or tomorrow, hopefully I'll have something to pass along soon.
Bob
There have been a couple mentions of the possibility of "makeshift" ammunition, and we've been tossing around possible implementation of that. Basically, any time you finish off the currently loaded ammunition, you'd run through the reload delay, regardless of whether or not you have any additional ammunition stored in your ammo container. If you have more ammo, that represents the time spent transferring it from stored to loaded. If you don't have more ammo, then it represents the time finding/creating 1 piece of makeshift ammo. Makeshift ammo wouldn't be significantly worse than regular low-end ammo when used (it would have no bonuses for use, where T1 +0 ammo would have at least a small bonus, just enough to bring rank 1 attacks into a reasonable range), except that you'd effectively have to reload after each use. This way we don't really have to keep track of not-really-existant ammo (we just pretend "no ammo" is the same as "one piece of makeshift ammo" and force reload anytime an attack leaves you with "no ammo," which you already had), but there's still a small penalty for having let yourself run out completely.

If we went this route, it would be on top of mobs dropping small amounts of T1 +0 ammo, so you'd still be picking up some loadable ammo along the way. If used sparingly, you could avoid using makeshift ammo except for emergencies.

Thoughts?

Bob
HowardWdW
Bob, I'm not a programmer, but perhaps a better/easier way would be to have the trainer recognize when the PC already has the requested feat trained? I assume the game already has some method of doing that or how would it know at any point that you have a feat trained.

That is one of the things we've always wanted to do. There just needs to be some code work done to hook that into the quest system, then the tutorial quests all need to be rewritten to flow properly, but still give the explanation for the feats and their importance whether or not they were previously trained. It's all very doable, we just have to find the time to fit it in.
Bob
Some items were put in the game in anticipation of other features getting in relatively soon (e.g. ammunition). One of the major goals during the final polish phase of the roadmap is to track things like this down and make the items meaningful in some way. I'll file a bug report to keep this particular set of weapons in mind for that.
Bob
We'll keep polishing up the tutorials, but some changes are easier than others and have to wait longer to get done. Some will also require code changes. This particular pass was primarily about adding a new tutorial quest (using existing tools) to provide more explanation all the way up to T2, and also to provide a more structured introduction to the Echo Woods and its backstory. I made some minor changes to the existing tutorials as part of integrating those into the new quest, but nothing major yet.
Bob
Paddy Fitzpatrick
So for T3 specifically, I noticed that the first keyword is not a general one like the first T2 keyword. It is specific to the wand and attack type. So it's good to force wizards to vary it up but doesn't that make using necro wants pretty much pointless? You can't use other wizard combos because at T3 it is going to be a significantly less powerful attack (would it even be a T3 attack?).

Cantrips do get split in half at T3, and I believe your suspicion that not matching the T3 keyword would leave your attack as T2 is correct. However, there are a lot of cantrips available for both wand and staff, and wizards should have a fair number of options available for either weapon when compared to the choices for other weapons.

Paddy Fitzpatrick
So again, before taking the nerf bat, think about buffing other things as well. Perhaps Nerf the other armors a bit and buff heavy armor. Find other ways to make wizards more squishy, like getting rid of their energy resistance and put it on the heavy armor. Just tossing out ideas here but this is the core issue. It's not just that one particular class or combo is op, it's that many other things just aren't worth taking. Nerfing just the one thing without buffing other things to make more playstyles viable won't make anything better. You just make everyone suck.

There are certainly other feats that need some more rebalancing, including many that need to be powered up a bit. For example, as I was rebalancing, I looked at some feats that had previously been pointed out as having somewhat redundant effects and found that they needed some boosting to take that redundancy into account. I fixed several similar feats when I noticed them, but I'm sure there are other similar issues that will get steadily fixed as they get noticed. This particular combo was so obviously problematic, and has a pretty short list of appropriate solutions, so it's easy for me to tackle during this rebalancing pass. For some of the other issues you've mentioned, I suspect their solutions are going to be more complicated, so I'm going to need to find a good chunk of time before being able to tackle them properly.
Bob
Bringslite-Dominion Soldier
Fair enough for me, Bob. I suppose that I should have known you had looked into it or you wouldn't be sharing your immediate solutions with us. That is my bad.

The catch-22 of trying to be responsive is that from the outside it looks pretty much the same as being purely reactive (or even overreactive). I do take feedback very seriously, digging through the various different points of view raised in forum posts, customer support emails, support tickets, and of course Lisa's "you're probably going to nerf me but I should really tell you about this issue" feedback, both to prioritize which issues deserve a closer look and to point me in the right direction for deeper analysis. I admittedly don't always explain that deeper analysis, in part due to my tendency to focus on describing the changes accurately rather than risk confusing my explanation with too much talk about the reasons behind the changes, but sounds like I should reconsider that tactic. For future posts, I'll see if I can put more of that in without getting too long-winded and confusing. And, of course, always feel free to ask for more explanation if I don't provide enough upfront, or to challenge my reasoning if it doesn't feel right for some reason.
Bob
Bringslite-Dominion Soldier
Here is a problem: There are only a few voices speaking up. It is dangerous to make changes in that circumstance. The only thing that I really am concerned about is Wizards leaving the game the way that many Archer characters did when range was "adjusted".
If it is an attack that is spammed, ammo cost just might put it somewhat in check.

Balance changes do often arise out of complaints, but we've always avoided making them unless we look into them and find there really are underlying issues that need to be rebalanced. In this case, Devourer's Caress definitely has some issues that the balancing equations don't take into account at this time. In particular, it's very easy for the same character to apply, maintain and repeatedly exploit the conditional that makes its cure so powerful. Cooldowns are the bluntest tool for dealing with the "repeatedly" part of that problem. Ammo will also help a bit with that, since repeated use will get expensive, but many of a wizard's other options also use ammo, so it will have a limited effect.

A 4-second cooldown should be just long enough to get wizards to throw 1-2 other attacks into the mix between uses of Devourer's Caress, but not so long as to prevent wizards from using the combo to give themselves significantly better durability at melee range. That's all I'm really looking for, just taking this out of the "two-attack combo with no point in varying it up at all" category. Once we try it out on our internal servers and on Zog, it'll be easy to dial things back if the cooldown kills the combo completely.