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Stabbey Offline OP
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I recently finished my first playthrough of D:OS 2. I played using a mixed team:
Beast (Rogue): Scoundrel / Aerothurge / Polymorph (with a splash into two other schools for buffs)
Red Prince (Knight): Warfare / Summoner / Hydrosophist (Hydro for heals and buffs)
Lhose (Enchanter): Aerothurge / Hydrosophist / Necromancer
Sebille (Wizard): Pyrokinetic / Geomancer

I have a good deal of feedback, complete with suggestions for changes. I have tried to justify my opinions with sensible reasons why the current item has an issue, and what I think a reasonable change is. I am open to discussion and changing my mind on many of these, if you have an argument of your own.

These are presented roughly in order of when I thought of them, not based on priority of the change. I may think of more things to add later.


Stabbey's Feedback, Part 1: Skills

Abilities and Attributes

Warfare should not be One Ability to Rule Them All
Why? - Right now, Warfare is THE single skill to go to for all physical damage, including daggers, bows, and necromancy. Additionally, it works multiplicatively, whereas all other abilities are additive. This inevitably leads towards cookie-cutter builds where if you're not pumping Warfare, you're objectively doing it wrong.
Suggested Change: Warfare only boosts Physical damage for Warfare skills (including Bouncing Shield), two-handed weapons, and one-handed weapons (daggers excepted). If this change is made, also add to Necromacer a bonus of +5% damage for Necromancer skills per level to compensate for the loss of the Warfare bonus.


Boost the amount of damage reflected by Retribution
Why? - Enemies by definition have a LOT more HP and Armor than player characters. Retribution just does so little damage that it's a very poor use of Combat Ability points.
Suggested Change: Boost the amount of damage reflected by Retribution from 5% per point to 15-20% damage reflected per point, so that at level 10, Retribution reflects 150-200% of the damage the enemy deals. This seems like a lot, but keep in mind that getting Retribution up to that level will require a hefty investment of ability points which you aren't going to be spending elsewhere. If free points into Retribution from equipment would be too powerful, then remove that from the bonus on equipment.

There might be a problem with that, though. If the same change applies to enemies as well as allies, enemies who have Retribution will now be dealing a lot of extra damage to players. Something would need to be adjusted so that maybe Retribution on enemies is the same amount as it is now and the changes only apply to player characters.



Perseverance is too narrow to be attractive to players
Why? - It only affects Knocked Down, Petrified, Stunned, and Frozen, and it only returns a slight amount of armor. There are so many other, more beneficial places to put the ability points.
Suggested Change: I'm not sure, really. There are obvious ideas - boost the amount of armor returned per point, or change it to restore some amount per point per turn... but then that could lead to "Immortal" builds which pump Perseverance and effectively become nearly impossible to kill.

And there's also a caveat that those night be too powerful if the same values applied to enemies.



Additional Benefit for Pyrokinetic and Aerothurge abilities
Why? - Right now, Pyrokinetic and Aerothurge abilities only gain 5% damage to skills of that specific school. That immediately makes them less attractive than putting points which would go into there into Polymorph instead and using the attribute point for INT which boosts ALL magic damage by the same amount.
Suggested Change: Hmmm... not sure, but the existence of the Torturer Talent suggests that you can track ownership/creators of surfaces, so perhaps boost the damage that fire and electric surfaces and clouds do by 5% per point in the respective skill.


Wits and Initiative not that great
Why? - Larian decided, sometime after May 2017, that they could not balance the game around players being able to stack initiative and act before the enemies. So they changed it to a Round-Robin system. One consequence of that is that it rendered Initiative as nearly worthless, because the game always has an enemy-ally-enemy-ally turn order, or the other way around, regardless of the difference in initiative.

Wits's contributions were to Initiative, spotting things, and critical chance. Spotting things is nice, but it could probably also be done in another way. Critical Chance is boosted by 1% per point of WIT, and is less efficient than putting that point into your primary damage attribute.

You can stack Initiative on one character, but since even if you don't only one enemy will move before the player, it's not that critical. Plus, certain bosses have super-high initiative and they always go first regardless of player initiative (and they usually also do 5-7 actions on their turn).

Some people argue that Wits is the second-best place to put an attribute because it boosts critical chance, and technically they may be right, but it's second place by default, which is unimpressive. I finished the game at level 21, without ever getting to the point where I maxed out one of my attributes at 40 base points and had nowhere better to put the points except Wits. That is because I instead used most of the extra points into Memory. Also, even min-maxing and ignoring Memory, a player will have only 5 levels/10 points to invest into Wits by the time they finish the game at level 21.

Suggested Change: Bluntly, I'm not sure.

I would suggest removing Initiative as an affix which can appear on items, because Initiative is not especially meaningful, and I'd also suggest removing Initiative as a bonus for the Human Talent for the same reason, although I'm not sure what to replace it with.

The fact that Wits is still the second or third most important attribute (after Memory) also suggests the entire attribute system as a whole needs a closer examination. I don't think I know enough to be confident in any suggestion for changing the attributes, because changing them can affect everything in the game. I do actually have ideas for a lot of other attributes, but I'd feel pretty stupid posting those when I don't have good ideas for the one attribute which I consider to be the problem one.



Memory works fine! It's good!
Why? - For once, a completely positive feedback! Memory provides a useful tool for players to choose between boosting their primary attributes, and boosting their damage/power. Memory does not appear on randomly-generated items, and in fact only appears on one item at all that I've seen all game. Skills are powerful, and keeping Memory as only something you get by investment removes the potential imbalance of people getting a lot of Memory for free, while others get little to none.

The addition of an extra slot every two levels helps some players keep up even if they don't want to invest a lot. Without investment at all, players will end up with 13 memory slots by the game's end. With a moderate amount of investment, they can have over 20 slots. Most skills only take up one slot, but more powerful ones take up 2 or 3 slots, which is significant enough so that you aren't going to load up on 3-slot skills and crush everything, but not so expensive that you'll never feel like you're crippling yourself if you take them.
Suggested Change: None, I think this works fine.


Hard to justify investing points into Telekinesis and Sneaking
Why? - You only get a total of six Civil Ability points over the course of the game, and one is the character creation one. All the other civil abilities have much more utility than Telekinesis and Sneaking.

Sneaking isn't terrible, but investing points into Sneakit also doesn't serve a very useful function. Generally it's either possible to sneak around an area with 0 Sneak, or else you could invest 2 into Scoundrel and use Cloak and Dagger to pass areas which you can't. (A variation would be for only the Scoundrel character to use Cloak and Dagger while carrying one Teleporter Pyramid, and other party members to Sneak and then use the other pyramid to get to the Scoundrel.)

Telekinesis is an okay thing to have when you get the bonuses from items. It only is worth investing in for the "TK Crusher" build, smashing enemies with chests full of thousands of kg of stuff.

Suggested Change: No idea what to do for Sneak. Well... okay two ideas:

Larian probably wouldn't like the first idea, if only because it changes a civil ability into a combat ability.
Sneak Idea #1: +5% damage per point only for attacks made while Sneaking. This is not enough to be useful on its own, but it would have synergy with Guerrilla.
Sneak Idea #2: +5% increased health and armor restoration per point on all healing and armor restoration used while sneaking. But Fortify and Frost Armor break Sneak and Invisibility, don't they? Changing that could be more of a problem than it's worth.

...Yeah, I don't really have any GOOD ideas for Sneak.

Telekinesis needs more utility, though. Maybe something like this: A base of one point into TK (as in one assigned point, not counting bonuses from items) should grant players the 0 Memory skill Telekinesis Hand. This can be used to interact with things at [Telekinesis Range], such as levers, doors, and traps (you can trigger them from a distance to blow them up). Telekinesis Hand probably shouldn't be allowed to steal items or pickpocket, though, just to cut off the obvious exploit.

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Good read. I don't have as much issue with Abilities as I do with Talents and Skills. But here are my thoughts - if just for the sake of chiming in.

- Retribution: if my impression is right, if you're playing on Classic, NPCs and enemies actually have HP/armors comparable to your team's. Unless you're saying that Retribution is doing too little even on Classic. I haven't tried a Retribution build so idk.

- Perseverance: another reason why we might skip Perseverance is because, since it's possible to cc pretty much anyone, most of us would opt to go all-in on damage output instead. We don't have to worry about taking damage if we just wipe them all out and cc anyone who's not dead after the first turn. It was more or less like that for me when I played Tactician, and it's not like my team were the strongest in the world or something.

To be fair, all 3 Defence abilities are more or less in the same situation: if you get 2 or 3 points in these abilities from items, they give you a bit of an edge. But otherwise, to me they don't stand out as something you would dedicate a build to. At 10 Leadership you provide +20% dodging and +30 Resistance, which is not terrible I guess, but enemies have so many AoE attacks that more often than not your team are probably better off being far apart from one another. The +20/+30 bonuses are not that significant when they just occasionally apply to one or two guys - AND THAT IS AT +10. Again, you might as well invest on damage instead.

Not to mention, if you build around these 3 abilities to have a tank for your team, the problem is, the enemies generally just focus on the other guys on your team. The fact that everyone and their dog (quite literally actually!) have a teleport-like ability means they can simply ignore the hell out of your tank and jump straight into your mage's face. Where is Taunt when you... oh wait we all just agree that Taunt is near useless.

- Wits: this is pretty much your "crit chance". I mean it might as well say "Crit chance", instead of Wits. It does some other stuff, but for other purposes, you can stack Wits on just one guy. I think it's still alright if the sole purpose of bumping Wits is to get the crit chance. Since even if you're a mage Savage Sortilege is pretty much a must anyway.

Initiative on items helps when you want to make sure this guy goes before that guy in your team, without having to tweak your attributes. Maybe for a particular fight, or just generally. I don't think it hurts.

- Telekinesis: I remember back in D:OS Telekinesis was really handy. So when I first started D:OS2 I didn't hesitate to invest into Telekinesis for one of my team. But later on in the game, I realized it was pretty useless. I wonder if this game is indeed different from D:OS, or I just didn't realize it when I was playing D:OS? Is crushing enemies with chest loaded with stuff an actual strat???

I feel that Sneaking *should* be pretty handy if you sneak around a lot, but to be honest, in my playthrough, I didn't get the feeling that it was particularly useful. And I believe I did sneak often enough, at least on a casual level. I stopped at rank 3. The fact that combat sneaking is nonexistent makes it a lot less useful. Also, as you pointed out, you can just use Cloak and Dagger.

EDIT: As for Pyro and Air, I'm not sure. They boost damage from wands, staffs, and surfaces, right? Does INT also boost these damages by the same amount? I mean, at least one advantage of these two schools over Hydro is they have potential surface damage; Hydro doesn't. So one reason to invest in these schools is to boost the surface damage. unless you're saying INT does boost surface damage by the same amount.

Last edited by Try2Handing; 18/11/17 04:59 AM.

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Originally Posted by Try2Handing
As for Pyro and Air, I'm not sure. They boost damage from wands, staffs, and surfaces, right? Does INT also boost these damages by the same amount? I mean, at least one advantage of these two schools over Hydro is they have potential surface damage; Hydro doesn't. So one reason to invest in these schools is to boost the surface damage. unless you're saying INT does boost surface damage by the same amount.


I don't understand, did you mean the Pyro and Air already boost the surface damage?

Aren't those fixed value based on levels?

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If I'm not mistaken, surface damage only depends on your level, on of the reason, why it is so pointless. I'm mean sure, in the first game the damage of surfaces itselfs was never that big of an issue either, but at least surface could inflict DoT or CC, both is now kind of gone, as long as you have enough magic armor.

1 Attribute point for 1% of critchance more does not sound really valuable compared to 5% more damage, so wits has hardly any value.

Playing tanks sucks in this game, except if you join it with Glass-cannon, which just shows how broken the AI is. Sadly they made the AI to smart now, you could say. Larian has really an issue with overdoing stuff.

Leadership sucks anyway. In the first game it was cool because it could give your team nice boost and fear immunity and because the range was defined by sight and not by meters. But honestly all skills lack depth compared to the first game. It is so disappointing.

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The attribute system is really stripped bare it feels like. Since the scope of each attribute is so incredibly narrow most of them just feel redundant - just there "because RPG must have attributes"

Memory is fine as is (and is probably the only one sadly).

Constitution is ... ok I guess. It's just horribly boring and one-dimensional. Also it's worth is pretty diminished by the whole armor system since having more armor is infinitely more useful. Armor makes you survive fights. HP makes you take a round or two more to bleed out as you lie in a heap on the floor permaCCed... (I have huge issues with how the armor system works in general but that's another topic).

STR/INT/FIN - All these seem totally redundant. Not only do they do the exact same thing (wow... could you make it any more bland?) but since each applies to a spesific set of skills why don't you just do away with them alltogether and just scale this on the skill-levels?

I think the fact that every characters attribute build looks identical is a good indicator that the attributes are poorly designed. The only difference is the label on the stat they end up putting 40 points in...

Spotting secrets should IMO not be mixed in with stats when everything else is combat based. Either bake it into the sneaking or thievery stuff (it's definitely a utility thing like other civic stuff, not anything combat related after all), or just leave it open for any player who is willing to spend time thoroughly searching by having some default special "search" skill that slows you to walking and lets you spot the more difficult secrets and traps you would otherwise miss. I honestly think something like the latter might be better because nobody likes missing out on cool secrets just because you didn't build your character spesifically for that (and potentially gimping your stats for it to boot).

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Stabbey Offline OP
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Good point about Leadership, Kalrakh. I'm just not sure what to do about that at all, though.

Nice feedback, TheStigma.

Anyway, here is the rough idea I had for what attributes should do, but I didn't include it because, well, it's not that great, and since I couldn't think of much to do for WIT, it seemed wrong to try and post the idea when my biggest complaint WAS Wits.

Quote
STR: +5% Damage with STR-based skills and weapons/point, +10 kg carrying capacity/point, +1% Physical Armor per point (when points > 10)
FIN: +5% Damage with FIN-based skills and weapons/point, +0.5% Dodge chance/point (when points > 10)
INT: +5% Damage with INT-based skills and weapons/point, +1% Magical Armor/point (when points > 10)
CON: +5% Health/point, +2% Physical Armor per point, +2% Magical Armor/point (when points > 10)
MEM: No Changes
WIT: +1% Critical Damage/point



The idea for changing spotting secrets is a particularly interesting one. That might be an interesting idea for a future game, although I don't think it's possible to try and fit it into this one at this stage.

Special Skill: Heightened Perception
Duration: Infinite (Toggle) // AP: 1 // SP: 0 // Cooldown: 2 Turns.
Automatically detect traps and hidden items in a 5.0 meter radius, but movement speed is reduced by 60%. The radius is small and the slower movement will be annoying, so that discourages people from keeping it on all the time to too-easily find secrets. The penalty WILL stay on in combat too, forcing players to spend an AP to turn it off.

Last edited by Stabbey; 27/11/17 02:32 PM.
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For me, one problem is that Armor is way too powerful, to the point where you're already fighting uphill if you're even thinking about health restoration. At this point, it would be very hard to fix. It's not that the game overall is imbalanced, but shields are so much more powerful than heals at this time.

Maybe heals could be buffed and maximum health could be buffed, and/or some sort of limitation on maximum shield values could be put in place based on stats, skills, and/or equipment. As it stands now, you can pile a bunch of shields on a glass cannon and get the best of both worlds, as long as you don't get focused too hard.

Maybe Hydro could have "3% of health restoration is added to target as Magical and Physical armor" per point, for example.

Another possibility to consider with the above - change it so that CC effects check for Armor *before* the skill deals its damage. In this scenario, smaller shields would still be highly valuable. DoT effects would receive a natural buff as a consequence, so what I'm proposing would have far-reaching implications for various balance issues.


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I don't know if Warfare is a problem as much as other skills could be better. For example, if Huntsman provided defense against High Ground. I kind of like mixing Warfare with daggers, so that every melee character has two Knockdowns. Granted, maybe it's OP and sort of an obligatory one-pointer at the very least.


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Telekinesis is overpowered in the early game because of barrelmancy. You can also grab the deathfog barrels at the start of the game with it and make the fight on Lady Vengeance much easier.

Im now playing a 4-mage team in tactician and killed mordus with heavy crate. The fight would be much more difficult by normal means since he has high resistance against almost everything.

It fall behind in the late game but you can respec it then.

As for initiative, I think they should keep the system in dosee and balance each encounter so that you can only go first if you invest heavily in wits and sacrifice your damage. The problem with the dos vanilla and dosee is that it takes little investment to go first, 4 levels in leadership is all what you need.

Last edited by sehnsucht; 28/11/17 03:13 AM.
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Originally Posted by Stabbey
Good point about Leadership, Kalrakh. I'm just not sure what to do about that at all, though.

Nice feedback, TheStigma.

Anyway, here is the rough idea I had for what attributes should do, but I didn't include it because, well, it's not that great, and since I couldn't think of much to do for WIT, it seemed wrong to try and post the idea when my biggest complaint WAS Wits.

Quote
STR: +5% Damage with STR-based skills and weapons/point, +10 kg carrying capacity/point, +1% Physical Armor per point (when points > 10)
FIN: +5% Damage with FIN-based skills and weapons/point, +0.5% Dodge chance/point (when points > 10)
INT: +5% Damage with INT-based skills and weapons/point, +1% Magical Armor/point (when points > 10)
CON: +5% Health/point, +2% Physical Armor per point, +2% Magical Armor/point (when points > 10)
MEM: No Changes
WIT: +1% Critical Damage/point





I generally like the idea of changing the stats like this. I would also consider making Wits adjust initiative for the individual character instead of the whole party, and maybe juggle some numbers with Con to allow it to increase your resistance to CC effects as well as add some armor. I definitely think Con should affect your armor more than Str and Int.

Last edited by vometia; 30/11/17 11:57 PM. Reason: formatting
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Good read, as always. But is Larian listening?

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Are shields OP? I find that I'm almost forced to use them or my characters are dying all the time. I mean, the shields almost double both magic and physical armor. And there's very little penalty for using them because of bouncing shield.

An INT build with some points in Necromancy and Warfare for Mosquito Swarm and Bouncing Shield can be extremely powerful; absent those skills, they die and don't really get the job done.

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Shields are a little bit too good cause anyone can use them, there's no real penalty for having them on - even in the case of mages, and the benefits are big. AND you even have a specific skill that deals damage based on the SHIELD's stat, which somewhat offsets the loss in damage output when compared to a dual-wielding build.

That said, I don't find them a must or anything. I played on Tactician and three of my team were dual-wielding hipsters and no one ever had to die.


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In beta, I remember that Str increased Physical Armor Value, while Int buffed Magical Armor Value and Fin, I think buffed Dodge Chance. The result in the beta was the fact that my battle mage wearing a mix of plate and cloth could obtain a large amount of phys and magic armor and made wearing full sets of 1 armor type pointless.

I feel that Wits can be removed completly and have Str,Int and Fin also increase crit damage while wielding a weapon tied with their respective stat....that would mean fin would increase crit damage with spears and daggers, int would increase crit damage of wands and staves, str would increase the crit damage with any weapon that isn't listed above.

Also we have a psychic power in this game - telekinesis. Why don't we have staves charged with psionic powers that deal physical damage? (you are hitting a foe with a stick enveloped in a psychic force field....it should do lots of physical damage)

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In my playthrough, in the late game, I put 4 points into INT on my Warrior specifically to wear some mage armor to buff up the weaker magical armor, and I did the opposite on my mages, so that hasn't changed much.

Telekinesis is largely in this game because it was thought to be a neat thing to have in DOS 1. It's never actually been terribly useful for gameplay, except maybe stealing different things. It could have been better if they'd added a skill to let you use it for more interactions.

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For out of combat moments I use telekinesis on nearby barels to detonate traps, saving me a disarm kit.
There was also 1 trap I found in the joy during Beta that was movable but I couldnt find it anymore at launch.

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Sometimes Telekinesis is handy, because if you want to pick stuff up, your char does not have to walk there. Mostly it more something to exploit AI, by blocking them with stuff or smashing them with indestructible chests. Though because of the scarceness of social point, you will hardly skill it anyway.


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