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Terrifying power creep of shop item cards.


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#21 Whitewing

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Posted 25 March 2014 - 12:45 PM

The reason to not get it might be that you don't feel like spending 175 gold on armor for a mage that, when played carefully and properly, is difficult enough to attack already that there's little point in armoring him, especially when act 2 equipment is expensive and right around the corner.

 

It's up to the heroes, but I can definitely see why you would skip runeplate.



#22 amoshias

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 07:39 AM

The reason to not get it might be that you don't feel like spending 175 gold on armor for a mage that, when played carefully and properly, is difficult enough to attack already that there's little point in armoring him, especially when act 2 equipment is expensive and right around the corner.

 

It's up to the heroes, but I can definitely see why you would skip runeplate.

There are many good reasons not to be worried about Runeplate's extremely high power level. Not using the strongest armor in the game because "Armor on mages isn't that good" isn't one of them.

 

As to all the people saying that runeplate wouldn't be so bad if it were act 2... it's significantly stronger than any other act 2 armor, as well... again, I point to my earlier post, where I said that I'm not WORRIED about power creep here because I think armor is too weak in the original Descent box, and I think we'll be seeing stronger armor in general going forward. But even in act 2, RP is still at the top of the power curve.



#23 Radish

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 07:46 AM

I agree with this topic even outside of armor.  We just finished running through the Trollfens mini-campaign.  At the final the heroes had tier 1 gear and were pretty much one shotting everything even though the monsters were tier 2.  Red giants took about three shots depending.  When we looked at what was causing the most damage it was the gear that was included in various expansions.  The tier 1 bearded ax for example was doing 6-7 damage pierce 3 on average which is outrageous.  The item creep is getting really out of control and it's one of the things that I think was a problem in original Descent I was hoping wouldn't show up here.

 

I think the big problem is that heroes are constantly scaling with items while monsters scale once a campaign and are done.  Every expansion has new combinations of stuff to make heroes better and better but the ettins that come in the base box will be the same forever.  New overlord cards that can be used once and are discarded don't really have the same game impact as an item that is used sometimes twice a turn.  

 

I think what really needs to be errata-ed is that the shop step after the interlude where heroes get to pick through the level 1 shop deck is removed.  With the items just getting so crazy amazing they can really make amazing load outs that is very difficult to deal with.  The randomization of that deck is one of the few limits to hero power.


Edited by Radish, 28 March 2014 - 07:50 AM.

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#24 deano2099

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 08:02 AM

As to all the people saying that runeplate wouldn't be so bad if it were act 2... it's significantly stronger than any other act 2 armor, as well... again, I point to my earlier post, where I said that I'm not WORRIED about power creep here because I think armor is too weak in the original Descent box, and I think we'll be seeing stronger armor in general going forward. But even in act 2, RP is still at the top of the power curve.

 

 

Yeah it would still be one of the strongest items in Act 2. But that's fine, the shop deck doesn't have to be balanced, some stuff can be better that others, because you can't predict what will come out. There's a luck element there. To be frank it would be manageable in Act 1 if it weren't for that final "sort through the shop deck and buy whatever you want" phase. Yeah, it would be bad luck for the Overlord if the first three items the heroes were able to buy were Runeplate, Bearded Axe and Mana Weave but thems the breaks.

 

There's a similar item in Nerekhall - it lets heroes trade in two skill cards and get a refund on the experience. Only costs 75g. In isolation, kinda nice, certainly not overpowered. But it's an Act 1 item. So as long as the heroes save 75g for that shopping step, they can spec a hero in Act 1 with low cost skills, then trade them in at the start of Act 2 for stronger ones, without having to worry about saving up. The knowledge that that card is in the deck and will be made available, with absolute certainty, makes it far more powerful than if the shop deck were random.



#25 Radish

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 08:28 AM

Yeah I agree.  I think that rule was fine when the game first came out but now that there are certain items that are just really, really good or combo incredibly well with each other it has become abusive.


Edited by Radish, 28 March 2014 - 08:29 AM.


#26 amoshias

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 03:58 PM

Well, I just got my Shadows of Nerekhall today, and it looks like I was totally wrong about armor power level being rebalanced, the armor in SoN is just as weak as in D2E.

 

Okay, you guys are 100% right, Rune Plate is nuts and unbalanced. I should know better than to put any faith in FFG :-) That company really needs to hire more developers and fewer designers.



#27 Whitewing

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 08:06 PM

Armor is supposed to be weak overall, else the overlord would be incapable of killing you. Being virtually immune to damage would be a serious problem for game balance.

 

Rune plate is strong, no doubt, but it isn't nearly as powerful as you are giving it credit. Even in act one, I've found I'm still able to drop the mage like a rock with the right monsters. In act 2, it just doesn't matter.



#28 amoshias

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 08:52 PM

Yeah... no.



#29 Whitewing

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 09:10 PM

That's not an argument. I'm just not seeing it.

 

Restrictions on cards weaken the card. Obviously you would agree that runeplate would be better if it wasn't required that you have a knowledge above 4 and a rune weapon to reap all the benefits of it. Those restrictions pretty much limit it to a mage. Having one grey and one black defense die is not that powerful. Yes, it's good. Yes, it's way better than not having it, and it's better for the mage than any other armor. But it's not even remotely close to making the mage unkillable or invincible, and it in no way shape or form improves the mage's resistance to skills that neutralize them (like using throw to put them in a shitty position, or hitting them with conditions to prevent them from doing anything useful), it doesn't help them against most overlord cards, and it in no way shape or form makes the mage better at killing your things in fewer actions. It might make it more willing to take a few risks, but that's okay. And 175 gold in act 1 is a lot of money to spend armoring one of the characters who gets hit the least if played correctly, because it should never really be in melee range.

 

As for act 2 armors, it's not even close to the strongest. First, Aurium Mail (a relic) which is obtainable in act 1 is superior due to fewer restrictions. It doesn't give the +2 health, but it gives an extra brown die on one attack and can go on anyone. Obsidian Scalemail is better than runeplate, especially on a warrior who doesn't really use that kind of action more than once per turn anyway. Immunity to curse and bonus fatigue regen? Yes please. Stone armor is quite restrictive but in terms of raw power to survive, nothing beats it. With proper use of equipping and unequipping on a ranged character, this armor becomes frustrating to the extreme. It also doesn't limit movement through skills at all, like Oath of Honor, or wildlander abilities etc., making the limitations more than possible to deal with without too much difficulty. Runeplate is better than platemail (for a mage), but for a healer like say, Auger Grissom, which cannot make use of runeplate properly but can use platemail with no negative at all, platemail is clearly superior. It beats demonhide leather and scalemail, but again, only a mage can use runeplate where these armors have the advantage of being able to go on whoever needs it. Cloak of deception is just plain hilarious as well. Runeplate beats inscribed robes, but only if you're being attacked frequently. 

 

So no, Runeplate isn't in the high end of act 2 armors: it is for the mage, but the mage can't use anything else for armor really. It's in the middle at best. For a warrior, scout or healer, it might as well not even exist.

 

When looking at a piece of equipment or a skill or other ability, you need to ask yourself: in what way does this card actually help? If there was a card in the deck that read "All of your attacks deal +50 damage" yet required you to have 3 hands to equip it, would that be useful? No, of course not, nobody could use it, despite the ability being outrageously broken. Does a mage having +2 hp and an extra black defense die really seem game breaking? Because I don't see it. Hell, proper use of creatures with piercing will have that mage dead no problem. Or an act 1 ettin who happens to roll 5 damage + a surge, which hits for 8 damage. Throw in a dark might and a critical blow and watch the mage lose half his health in one blow. Volicrux Reavers will tear a mage with runeplate to shreds. Many other monsters can invalidate the mage with skill usage.

 

Rune plate is a good card. It is strong. It is not game breaking or overpowered.


Edited by Whitewing, 28 March 2014 - 09:16 PM.

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#30 BigBadUnshaved

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Posted 29 March 2014 - 03:50 AM

It beats demonhide leather and scalemail, but again, only a mage can use runeplate where these armors have the advantage of being able to go on whoever needs it.

I beg a difference - usually only the mage can make full use of runeplate, but nowhere there is a restriction that only mages can equip it. But you know what? Non-mages can get a no-penalty black defense die from it quite easily. How? Why, by using Mana Weave, it is a rune after all. Nowhere does it state that it has to be a rune weapon, just that you need to have a rune equipped. But even without that, rune plate is much better choice then demonhide leather and scalemail even for less-then-4-knowledge-&-no-rune-equipped fellows. You could argue about scalemail and technically, it can give you better defense in that case, but considering restrictions and cost, I would say Rune Plate is better. But it's a moot point unless you play without full 4 set of heroes and it's not really the scenario we want to talk about (since it's far from balanced anyway).

 

As for the 'look at all these armors that are better then Rune Plate' - I fully agree with the point you made. And that is: every class, hell, every specific hero has one specific armor that would be the best one for him. There is no doubt of that. The thing is, for most mages Rune Plate is this choice, and for others it's usually an act II armor - which is a bit silly if you ask me. I have no problem with Aurium Mail being in act I (it's a relic god damn it, it IS supposed to be powerful).

 

But maybe I should clarify something, looking back I do think I haven't been clear in this thread, especially in the opening poster. The point I'm trying to make is that I am afraid of this trend where we will be getting more and more powerful and unbalanced items with each expansion. That with the expansion after Manor of Ravens half of the optimal, best-in-slot equipment for heroes will come from act I which would be simply plain wrong. I have no problems with some utility items from act I being used throught whole campaign. I do have a problem with non-relic act I weapons/armors having more raw power then act II equivalents. Extremly powerful items are great, but make sure they have proper gold balance for what they do and for what other similar items do. And that's all really.


Edited by BigBadUnshaved, 31 March 2014 - 12:55 AM.


#31 rugal

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Posted 29 March 2014 - 03:37 PM

good point about the mana weave and the rune plate

 

for sure this item IS broken, no doubt about it



#32 Whitewing

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Posted 29 March 2014 - 03:41 PM

The item isn't broken though, you guys are all misusing the word. Broken means that it makes the game unplayable. Runeplate is good, it might even be a little too strong, but it does not break the game.



#33 rugal

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Posted 29 March 2014 - 03:50 PM

as already said, should be an act 2 item; at least



#34 Whitewing

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Posted 29 March 2014 - 03:55 PM

Perhaps it should. If you desire to do so, you can get cases for all of your cards, and then just mix it in with the act 2 shop item deck, as long as your group agrees.

 

However, I personally feel it's okay to keep it in the act 1 deck. I also almost always play overlord, just so you have my perspective.



#35 amoshias

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Posted 29 March 2014 - 11:29 PM

I've never heard anyone use the word broken to mean "makes the game unplayable." The word is commonly used - and definitely used here - to describe something which is out of line with the rest of the game.


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#36 Whitewing

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 09:07 AM

There's a distinction between over and underpowered and broken. The fact that many people get it wrong does not change that. Broken means, well, broken. Unplayable. Not usable in its current state. Game destroying. Something can be overpowered or underpowered yet not break anything.



#37 Light Bright

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 09:41 AM

It should be hard to get not automatically acquired at the end of act 1. Either they need to take the rule go through act 1 items and pick and buy (after interlude)out. Or they need to make items like that act 2 only.

What they mean by game breaker is you can acquire Runeplate after any act 1 campaign which is to powerful at that stage of the game. If heroes relied more on randomness of the deck then it would be ok. Edit: With that rule your just gaining a jump on the OL and it can only get worse with the amount of stuff they keep making for the game.

4 player game not a real big deal there is 3 others OL can deal with.

3 player, (which I've played) it's a problem and a game breaker.

2 player I see a problem there..

Edited by Light Bright, 30 March 2014 - 08:51 PM.


#38 Whitewing

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 10:11 AM

3 player games are already player favored, so I can see why you'd say that.

 

2 player games are heavily overlord favored for the most part, so I don't see it being an issue there. The heroes just don't have enough actions.



#39 Steve-O

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 02:00 PM

There's a distinction between over and underpowered and broken. The fact that many people get it wrong does not change that. Broken means, well, broken. Unplayable. Not usable in its current state. Game destroying. Something can be overpowered or underpowered yet not break anything.


Whitey, you and I seem to agree on a lot of things, and I respect you for that.  However, here I have to stand opposed. The common use of a word, whether technically correct or not, still counts for something.

If 90% of the people understand the word "download" to mean "copying a file from a remote server to my local computer," and "upload" to be the opposite, then the fact that the original definitions of these words were the reverse is of little consequence. This is what people mean, and trying to use the words "correctly" is only going to generate confusion among the masses. Bully for you if you know the truth, but it's not going to change how people talk.

Likewise, easily over 90% of gamers here and abroad the internet use the term "broken" to mean "overpowered" (and perhaps occasionally "underpowered," but usually the former.) In fact, they often use the term to refer to a perceived imbalance when there may in fact not even be an actual imbalance in practice.

 

I'm sure they would use "broken" in a case where the game became literally unplayable, but that is not a prerequisite in common parlance.  The way the majority of people use the word "broken" in the context of gaming is highly subjective, to the point where I don't really think any one definition can be universally applied.  You know what they mean, let's just leave it at that.


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#40 PlainWhiteBread

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 06:39 PM

If you're a hero at our table, you'd see how 'valuable' rolling Grey/Black can be when the black die comes up blank -- an occurrence that has left our mage-playing friend in a fit of frustration -- especially when we only seem to roll a 3 or 4 shield result when rolling for attribute tests.

To all the OLs that whinge and whine that a hero can roll Grey/Black early in act one, remember to think in the long-term. What is powerful now will be brought in line by the time the quest reaches its ultimate conclusion. Grey/Black doesn't stand up well against Frenzied Blue/Red/Red rolls, a well-timed Blood Rage or both. It is far, FAR from the 'game breaking, unstoppable BS' that's been going around this thread.

Let's not forget that your Lieutenants and High-Falutin' Villain characters often roll Gray/Gray/Black and have twice-to-three-times the health of most heroes, and show up when it's most necessary -- in the finale. You can lose every single quest up until the finale and you can still win the overall campaign, so get over the fact that heroes have a decent Act 1 armor. There's still a whole act left to play, and your playing field is level.


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