Session: From now until Monday morning. (CEST)
Hello! Before Month of the Mad God we presented new balance changes for you to test, and it was quickly clear that the overall response was rather negative. Many of you raised valid points: What’s the reasoning behind those changes? What does it add to the overall experience of Realm of the Mad God? A part of this was that we didn’t communicate our intentions well, so today I want to take the time and thoroughly explain our reasoning on what those upcoming balance changes are, why we decided on those changes, and what our overall goal is.
First I want to start by saying that we are aware some of the changes highlighted will be controversial, and I will ask everyone to please try the changes for themselves on testing before leaving feedback. We believe that theory crafting can only lead you so far, and at the end of the day what we all care about is how the game feels to play, not how some numbers look on paper.
In/Out of Combat System
This is the central part of all other balancing changes, a brand new system that affects health and mana regeneration. Here’s how it works:
When you take 15 or more damage, you will now be set to “In Combat” (IC) for 7 seconds. While IC, your pet’s Heal and Magic Heal abilities will have their cooldown increased by 3 seconds.
When the duration runs out, the effect will disappear and you will be considered “Out of Combat” (OOC). While OOC, your pet’s abilities are back to normal and your VIT and WIS regeneration are doubled (so in practice, default VIT and WIS regen is twice as high as before, but once hit it becomes what you are currently familiar with).
The base duration of IC is 7 seconds, but for every 5 VIT you have (including equipment bonuses, just like wis mod) it will be reduced by 0.2 seconds. So for example, a Wizard that is at default maxed Vitality will be in combat for 5.4 seconds, whereas a Knight will be in this state for 4 seconds.
To go with those changes, the following stats changes have been made:
- Paladin: 40 VIT -> 60 VIT | Base: 10 VIT -> 12 VIT | 0-1 -> 1-2 per level
- Necromancer: 30 VIT -> 40 VIT
- Ninja: 0-2 -> 1-2 per level
- Samurai: 0-2 -> 1-2 per level
As time went on, combat has evolved into who can tank the most bullets without moving, removing a lot of difficulty from the game and indirectly lowering content lifespan. Healing classes like Priest and Necro have become less and less relevant. As we saw recently with RIFTS, a lot of you are in the search for more challenging gameplay that might have made you fall in love with the game in the first place.
On top of this, the new player experience can be quite slow, often needing to wait in a corner for excessive amounts of time to regen when you have yet to possess a worthwhile pet. It’s not very fun or engaging, it just pads the length of dungeons. Broadly speaking, our goal here is to reestablishing much of the long lost challenge in existing content without losing the overall faster and more enjoyable pace pets have created, while simultaneously adding more strategy to the game in terms of class diversity, ability usage consideration, HP/MP pot consumption, and more.
By bringing those elements back, we can reintroduce death as a more common part of the gameplay loop, and while dying itself is tough, it allows us to do far more delicate things design wise. With more overall deaths, we have a lot less issues in increasing the drop rates of items that you might only find once every few years, as well as the opportunity to make deaths actually rewarding and eventually make it so no death is too big to recover from in an appropriate time frame. In short, this sets the framework for us to make many more long overdue improvements to the game’s health and balance.
Addressing the gap between small and big groups
Your initial reaction may be that this widens the gap between small and big groups, a gap that is already large enough as it is. After all, small groups might have no healing or buffing classes, while large groups can easily bring a balance of both to offset the changes.
Berserk and Damaging are two strong buffs that turn Warrior and Paladin into necessary classes in small groups. While it goes without saying that buffs should have a positive impact on allies, both currently makes too much of an individual difference between a group with or without one.
Following changes to Player Buffs:
- Berserk: 1.5 -> 1.25
- Damaging: 1.5 -> 1.25
- Curse: 1.2 -> 1.25
With those changes, Warrior and Paladin are just as useful as a Mystic in terms of group play. This is to help promote class variety in terms of damage support, ensuring certain classes don’t totally overshadow others in regards to their contributions. To make sure that the changes don’t impact the pace of the game, every enemy who has HP Scaling will receive a nerf to their Base HP. This is a very general first step that will then be refined depending on whether it’s too much or not enough for specific monsters.
Currently -25% Base HP will be applied to all to HP Scaled monsters (excluding Encounters).
The last major point to address on the subject of group size is healing. Currently most groups can just run with their damage support class as Paladin can provide an instant heal due to how boosting max HP is handled. This will no longer be the case to make sure Priests and Necromancers are once again valuable assets to your team for direct healing Paladin will of course still increase max HP and give Healing over time, it just won’t include an instantaneous heal (the same applies to tinctures, effusions, and other consumables as well).
The gap between big and small groups has been a topic we have wanted to address for a while. The goal here is to make sure that small groups do not struggle against fights because of their group composition while also not making all fights freebies for larger groups. By making Warriors and Paladins more in line with Mystics, not only do we make that class more relevant, but we make those two classes less impactful on their own. As I’m sure all of you know, just having two is often enough to provide a surplus of DPS and support to the group, not to mention both of those classes already have high natural DPS. This leads to people mostly bringing those classes en masse in huge mobs, leaving classes like Priest and Necromancer in the dust. By making direct healing more valuable via IC, making Paladin no longer able to directly heal his allies (or through the Sick debuff, for that matter), and by making buff classes less essential, it makes the contributions of their peers more valued.
For those of you concerned about the pace of the game, both on paper and while testing in-game, we barely felt the impact. Fights were going just as fast, if not faster depending on your group size, if you feel that is not the case please let us know. Bringing back the sluggish pace of the past is not our goal here!
Note: The change in HP Scaling I mentioned a little while back has been replaced by the base HP changes after taking into account your feedback. HP Scaling remains the same as it’s always been.
Giving DEF a new purpose
Given the choice, defense is currently considered inferior to HP in most cases. With IC, defense now has a new purpose by preventing IC from even triggering. Lowering incoming damage to below 15 will allow you to completely bypass the system. One issue with this is that Armored makes it incredibly easy to bypass, so it’s for this reason that Armored will now boost defense by 150% instead of 200%. At the same time, we want to allow players to truly go all in on defense if they so desire, which is why we are increasing the defense cap from 85% to 90%.
With those changes, defense has a new found use in not only allowing players to take less damage, but also to maintain their top notch regeneration without consequence against lighter damage.
For a long time now defense, has been considered the quickly obsolete survival stat, whereas HP has no ceiling to its usefulness. By tying DEF to IC, it allows us to not only make that stat shine again, but give even more progression to players, especially with pets. Monsters that might once have dealt 50 damage can now deal almost none with the right loadout.
With that change in mind, we wanted to provide a way for players to invest heavily in DEF builds. By increasing the defense cap, this allows players to maximize their equipment and they are more likely to reach that threshold, providing a huge buff compared to those who are using a regular set. However, it became clear quickly that Armored could be causing issues in making that threshold incredibly easy to hit, which prompted us to lower its effectiveness. The change in cap still allows players to use fully DEF equipment with Armored to ignore a lot more IC than other players, allowing them greater ability uses and much higher regeneration.
Making up for those changes: Status Effects
Currently a lot of monsters are immune to Stun, Paralyze, Slow, and more, as being able to lock an enemy into a status effect permanently can completely break any difficulty in a fight. As it stands, any monster vulnerable to such effects will likely be under those effects permanently, so from a design perspective, it had become a necessary evil to liberally apply such immunities to stop major bosses from becoming literal pinatas. We want to give players a reason to use their abilities instead of never using it because of immunity, this is why we are introducing Status Immunity on monsters the same way Stasis currently works. Once an enemy is inflicted with an effect, it will be Immune to it for 3 seconds after the effect wears off. This applies to the following effects:
- Stasis (Already the case)
At the same time, players themselves will now receive a similar immunity to Paralyze and Petrified, but for a much shorter range (around 0.4 seconds) to avoid being permanently locked by status effects.
Those changes will allow us to remove immunity from a lot of bosses to offer players additional strategy in how they fight them, as well as making sure that each ability they use has to count.
Please note that the current build, like last time, has a removal of immunity from basically everything. We are fully aware that some things break and that’s exactly what we want you report. Please list every single enemy you find that functions improperly based on these changes.
A huge issue in the game currently has been the fact that players can stun lock and paralyze lock enemies to basically become a giant target with no way to move or fight back, and so the natural reaction was to make those monsters immune. But as time went on, more and more monsters have obtained this immunity, causing classes like Knight to lose a lot of utility. The goal here is to give those classes a reason to use their ability in a way that wouldn’t completely break the difficulty of fight. It’s not that effects like stun and paralyze were ever inherently broken or overpowered, just that the ability to keep monsters in those conditions indefinitely would cripple even the strongest vulnerable monsters to the point of being trivial.
Making those changes sounds easy on paper, but a lot of enemies are designed with those factors in mind, thus paralyze or stun can break them. Due to the high amount of enemies, we were not able to selectively fix all of those issues in time and are asking you to please report all that you find so we can either decide on bringing back the immunity on those specific enemies (or just certain phases), or alter their logic to be able to support such changes.
Making up for those changes: Class Balance
Some of the changes made are for the betterment of the health of the game, but it also hits quite a few classes and items more than others. In this section I will be addressing the changes we made to make those classes still fun and meaningful when working under IC/OOC mechanics.
- 50 ATT -> 55 ATT
- 45 DEX -> 55 DEX
- Max HP is now on all tiered seals
- 60 ATT -> 65 ATT
- 55 DEX -> 65 DEX (0-2 -> 1-2 per level)
- Tiered Orbs no longer give Berserk and instead give a flat Dex amount +1 per Tier leading to T6 giving +6 Dex.
- Curse is now on all tiered orbs
- Increased radius on Helms
- Removed cooldown on Helms
- Lowered base duration on Helms
Slightly unrelated but small tweaks were also made for Ninja:
- 0-2 SPD to 1-2 SPD per level
Alongside those stat buffs, WisMod has been reworked for Paladin and Mystic to be in line with Sorcerer and Necromancer, and Warrior will receive it for the first time:
- Triggers at 50 WIS and above
- 1 WIS -> 0.1 range
- 1 WIS -> +2 max HP
- 10 WIS -> +1 sec duration
- Triggers at 50 WIS and above
- 1 WIS -> 0.1 Curse range
- 10 WIS -> +1 sec Curse duration
- Triggers at 30 WIS and above
- 1 WIS -> 0.1 range
- 10 WIS -> +1 sec duration
Here is a better look at the tiered changes:
T6 Gives once again +2 VIT and +2 WIS
On top of those changes for the tiered items, the following changes have been made to other items for Paladin, Mystic, and a few other miscellaneous items affected by some of the changes:
Seal of Blasphemous Prayer:
- Remove the -4 Def on equip
- Increase Invulnerability duration by 0.2 sec every 10 WIS (Triggers above 50 WIS)
- Increase base Invulnerability to 1.6 sec
Helm of the Juggernaut:
- Remove cooldown
- Lower base Berserk and Armored by 2 secs
- Add wisMod to Berserk and Armored
Orb of Conflict:
- +2 DEX +2 ATT -> +5 DEX +5 ATT
- Lower base Speedy and Damaging to 2 secs
- Now supports new wis mod
Orb of Sweet Demise:
- Now supports new wis mod
- Now supports new wis mod
Orb of Aether:
- Paralyze and Slow now lasts 2 seconds longer
- Slow now lasts 2 seconds longer
- +10 ATT on Equip
Quiver of Thunder:
- Removed cooldown
Tome of Holy Protection:
- 4 VIT -> 4 DEF
For this one let’s break it down on a class-by-class basis.
Paladin was the class that received the most negative changes, and while some of those were due to likely unintentional bugs (Instant heal from Max HP), it still deserves some buffs in other areas to make up for it. We decided to bump the offensive stats of Paladin to make it more competitive with Warrior in terms of class choice. At the same time, we decided to revamp the Wis Mod while we were at it to be in line with newer ones. This indirectly allows Paladins with the right gear to be more powerful than ever before. The progression was adjusted to be more linear than it was previously and make sure each seal upgrade provided just as much of an upgrade.
Mystic was hit by the Berserk change indirectly. The goal of Berserk on Mystic was always more for solo play than anything, but not only is it very costly in mana, it is also only available on 2 of the later tiered orbs, making those items give an incredible jump in progression which indirectly makes the early game that much more annoying to play through. On top of that, orbs have had an identity crisis for quite a while now. You press space bar to get a buff… but at the same time you turn the enemy into stone and cannot use that buff anymore. On the other hand, if you use your ability away from you, you do even more damage on enemies. With Berserk on top, this leads to wanting to spam your ability without thinking, but that can sometimes slow you down. While removing Berserk to be replaced by base stats and dexterity on orbs won’t quite fix this double identity issue, it will lead to less accidental stasis trying to just get that Berserk. Once again, since we had the opportunity to tweak the ability we updated the Wis Mod to be similar to the recent ones. This makes it much more clear what any wis point gives you.
Finally there is Warrior, one of the most powerful classes in the game. Insane DPS, insane speed, and insane tanking capabilities (especially if you are using a Juggernaut). With the HP changes, Warrior doesn’t really lose that much all things considered, and the new things it’s getting might even be too generous, but we wanted to try to implement wis mod on Warriors to provide something new for players of the class. What this means is that we needed to remove the cooldown on Helms. A net buff on paper, but at the same time, it’s easy to spam faster than you can use and end up running out of MP (especially IC), which means a bit more timing and consideration is required. On the other hand, lowering the default duration so that wis mod can bring it back to what it is currently is also needed. While this seems to play well from what we could tell, we had a few concerns with this implementation ourselves. The cooldown removal might make warrior more powerful, especially with a Juggernaut, and the reduction of base duration might make the new player experience of the class a lot harder. We want to hear your feedback on this and whether this is the way to go. We’ve also increased the base radius to make the class more cooperative, as we know a few of you have been asking for this for a while.
Finally, the UTs and other items. What we listed are some changes to make those items fit better with the changes, but it doesn’t always completely make it up for it. For example, Prot doesn’t quite get back to where you are now, but since the idea is to have players using Armored try to use DEF sets, to us the changes are sufficient. Memento Mori is quite costly, so the ATT + Damaging doesn’t quite get to where it used to be, but it generally evens out for the time where you aren’t using it. Quiver of Thunder will now work much better with the limited Dazing, seeing as the item was already quite hard to use in the first place and just as equally punishing.
I won’t comment on every single one of them but do note that not everything is quite done yet. Winter reskins are not updated, a few items like Daybreak Chakram or some Paladin, Mystic, Warrior items haven’t been tweaked yet, but there should be enough changes for you to see the bigger picture and what we are trying to accomplish here.
Closing words on the Balance Changes
Overall, I hope this giant wall of text wasn’t too much for you, but often enough we get asked why we make some changes, and just as often we don’t take the time to put it down into words. Today we did just that, and I hope you will find this helpful and try to direct your feedback in the direction we want to take the game.
We are looking forward to your feedback, and in case you don’t want to scroll through the entire thing again here is a small list of things that could be broken and that we require your assistance on:
Immunity on all monsters
Wis mod on Seals, Helms, Orbs
Tooltip for items with new wis mod
Class max stats
Items have the right changes
IC/OOC works as intended
Dwarf Miner Changes
Still in a balancing mood but not entirely related to the changes above, we’ve heard loud and clear that the Dwarf Miner is dreadful to run because of its unfair deaths, sluggish pace, and more.
The changes listed are scheduled to go out with the next release if everything goes smoothly:
Waiting time between waves has been reduced significantly
Waves have been condensed from 7 to 4
Waves are as follows:
3 Melee x2
3 Mage x2
2 Melee + 2 Mage x2
1 Melee + 1 Mage + 1 Leader x2
Mushrooms no longer spawn instantly, but 1 by 1 with a small delay in-between
Crystal Worm Father now has more HP (50000 -> 75000) and some Invulnerability at the start of phases
Crystal Worm Father’s shots are now faster.
Crystal Worm Father now only spawns 1 Worm
Crystal Worm Father now shoot during the first Death Morel phase
Crystal Worm Father now spawn more Death Morel on his last phase
Crystal Worm Father now always grant XP
Death Morel now has less HP (20000 -> 10000)
The goal of those changes is to increase the pace of the mushroom part, make those less dangerous, and make the Crystal Worm Father part last a bit longer and be more difficult than the current version.
And I’m sure you are gonna ask, “What about the items, those are dreadful too!” Rest assured, we are aware that more than a few of those are underwhelming, however for this current PT session I have nothing specific to announce. I can’t guarantee item changes will be done in time for the next release but know that they should follow shortly after!
We have designed a series of new weapons so everyone who participates in future events will be able to work toward collecting them at their own pace. In addition to the regular rewards, every future event will reward players with special tokens that you can exchange for 1 of the 6 new weapons. These tokens will always remain the same, so you shouldn’t feel the need to intensely grind a single event under the pressure of never being able to get them again.
NOTE: The weapon names and descriptions seen in the attached images are placeholders.
Pass through Obstacles
Pass through Obstacles