Welcome to Project: Gorgon!


Project: Gorgon is a 3D fantasy MMORPG (massively-multiplayer online role-playing game) that features an immersive experience that allows the player to forge their own path through exploration and discovery. We won't be guiding you through a world on rails, and as a result there are many hidden secrets awaiting discovery. Project: Gorgon also features an ambitious skill based leveling system that bucks the current trend of pre-determined classes, thus allowing the player to combine skills in order to create a truly unique playing experience.

The Project: Gorgon development team is led by industry veteran Eric Heimburg. Eric has over a decade of experience working as a Senior and Lead Engineer, Developer, Designer and Producer on successful games such as Asheron’s Call 1 and 2, Star Trek Online and other successful Massively Multiplayer Online Games.



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    Moderator srand's Avatar
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    Level 65-70 Gear Mod Changes

    The "DPS Singularity"

    Serbule Hills took the majority of the time in this update, but I did find some time to work on combat balance.

    The biggest balance problem that we're seeing at high level is that well-equipped level 70 players can deal far too much damage. This makes group play untenable. Once a game goes past the "DPS singularity", it becomes possible to defeat ANY monster just by having a bunch of high-DPS players shoot it. This makes tanking and healing and crowd control and... well, literally ANYTHING else... pointless. (DPS stands for "damage per second", and in this context, a "DPS player" means "a player geared up to deal as much DPS as possible".)

    Right now, players hit this "DPS singularity" only after farming level 70 gear for a while. But I'm predicting that when the game scales to 80+, players would start to reach that singularity point just through regular play. So I need to address this problem before I can add the next tier of levels.

    I fear the main cause is that players can simply get too many gear mods. Long ago, I had imagined players only having a few pieces of gear beyond Exceptional (at any given level bracket), but in practice that isn't how it works. Even by level 50, players start to find really good pieces of gear with 4+ mods, and then they hold onto them for a long time. And over time, they accumulate more and more mods. Even though many of those mods are lower-level, the cumulative effect of all those mods becomes a problem.

    But I'm not sure what the best solution to the "too many mods" problem is just yet. I think choosing your mods is one of the more fun parts of high-level play, and I don't want to destroy the fun! Before I go chopping at things, I want to see if there's a way to be more surgical about it. So for this update, I've postponed worrying about the number of mods on gear.


    Level 65+ Gear Mods Reduced in DPS

    Instead, I've addressed another problem that contributes to the "DPS singularity": the tiers of most gear mods past level 60 are too powerful. I intentionally made those tiers have much bigger power jumps than earlier levels, because I wanted to make sure players were motivated to find new gear. But that idea was based on the notion that players would have mostly Exceptional gear (that is, 3-mod gear), plus some Rare gear and maybe one or two pieces better than Exceptional, around their level, and would replacing almost all of their gear every five levels or so. But that isn't really how it works. And that's fine. I just need to adapt things to fit reality here.

    Plus, when I scale the level 65+ rate of increase all the way to level 125, it's obviously insane. Changing it now, while only two tiers (65 and 70) are affected, means that the impact on players is relatively small.

    So in this update, the tiers of all gear mods past 60 are reduced. How much they were reduced depends on a lot of factors (such as their Power cost, reset time, and which skill they're for). For about half of the mods in the game, the jump from 60 to 65 is still a bigger jump than from 55 to 60 – just not as huge as before. For about a quarter of the mods, the step from 60 to 65 is the same size as from 55 to 60. And for the rest, the tiers above 60 increase more slowly than they did at earlier tiers.


    Skill-Specific Changes

    I didn't have too much time to work on skill-specific balance in this update, but I did have time to make a few important changes. (And lots of bug fixes. I still have more gear-mod bugs to fix, too! The "gut" bug in Knife and Giant Bat's lack of mainhand/offhand gear mods were on my short list, but didn't make it this time.)

    I now have some decent usage data from high-level players, and I've been using that data to double-check my assumptions, but wrangling the raw data into usable reports is extremely time-consuming, so I've only been able to use it in a few specific ways so far. The changes made in this update are just a start.

    When comparing an old mod versus its new stats, I've used the level 60 tier of the mod, not the level 70 tier. That's because all level 70 tiers are changed (see above), so using them to explain changes is just confusing.

    I've also made some gear-mod changes that didn't get documented here. To my knowledge, these are due to formulaic changes that result in small buffs or nerfs to specific mods. But I could easily have missed writing down more substantial changes -- in which case I'll update these notes when it's brought to my attention!


    Animal Handling

    A very important bug fix here. We'll gather more data now that this bug is fixed and see what other changes are needed.

    • Fixed a bug that prevented Animal Handling pets from using their Clever Tricks in many situations.

    A few other changes:

    • Tamed polar bears with Bear Warmth clever trick now also boost self-taunt +X/attack in addition to granting owner cold mitigation.
    • Animal Handling pets' base attack damage is increased a modest amount (by about 30/attack at high level).


    Archery

    I'm still studying archery, trying to keep it fun and powerful (and remembering that it has a constant cost-of-use, due to the arrows), but also keeping in mind that it's not a pure DPS skill. It's a damage+utility skill, with a lot of great utilities. So the fact that it's almost certainly the highest-damaging skill in the game is problematic.

    I've started fixing this by addressing an obvious problem: there are a ton of ability mods for Mangling Shot, and somehow they're ALL damage-boosting mods, allowing you to crank the damage to more than +500%! Since Mangling Shot is already the best Nice Attack in the game (a long-range stun(!) with strong damage), this made Mangling Shot the obvious ability to focus on for any archer.

    Only one of the mangling shot mods (the one that debuffs the target's Piercing resistance) seems extremely out of whack. But the sheer number of mods that boost its direct damage is untenable. Some of the mods have been reworked so that they don't add damage. Others have been completely rewritten to work on other abilities. (Somehow the Blitz Shot ability ended up with only one mod available for it... that's part of Archery's mod-distribution problem.) The changes:

    • "Mangling Shot deals +21% damage and causes target's attacks to deal -16 damage for 20 seconds" => "Mangling Shot deals +16% damage and causes target's attacks to deal -12 damage for 20 seconds" (NOTE: The damage-debuff of this effect did not actually work prior to now.)
    • "Mangling Shot deals +23% damage and causes target to take +16% damage from Piercing for 10 seconds" => "Mangling Shot causes target to take +12% damage from Piercing for 10 seconds"
    • "Snare Arrow and Mangling Shot Damage +34%" => " Basic Shot and Blitz Shot Damage +30%"
    • "Mangling Shot deals +22% damage and 120 Trauma damage over 20 seconds" => " Mangling Shot deals +7.5% damage and 250 Trauma damage over 20 seconds"

    The other problem that jumped out at me when looking at the mods is that the Heavy Multishot mods are calculated with the idea that it hits an average of 1.5 targets, instead of 2 targets like Multishot is:

    • Heavy Multishot Damage +40% => Heavy Multishot Damage +29%
    • Heavy Shot and Heavy Multishot Damage +31% => Heavy Shot and Heavy Multishot Damage +22%

    I expect more work will be needed here, but I want to gather a bit more info before I make more changes. Archery is a very powerful skill, but it has significant maintenance costs, so it should be powerful and versatile to justify those costs! The question is: how much extra power does all that fletching work deserve, exactly? And do we need to reduce the maintenance costs in order to balance it more? I'm not sure yet.


    Bard

    The ability Song of Discord hits all active enemies within 30 meters, so it's naturally a VERY large AoE (area-of-effect) ability, potentially hitting quite a few targets. The treasure mods for the ability assume it's only used on one target, though, making it a bit overpowered in typical use, and very overpowered in specialized situations.

    But because of the nature of the Bard skill, this ability really is used when fighting single targets, too, so it doesn't make sense to balance it as a "pure" AoE ability. So the treasure mods have just been toned down a bit: they're now balanced with the idea that the bard is hitting an average of 1.5 enemies with it.

    • Song of Discord Damage 21% => Song of Discord Damage +15%
    • Song of Discord has a 38% chance to deal +60% damage to each target every 2 seconds => Song of Discord has a 37% chance to deal +25% damage to each target every 2 seconds
    • Whenever you take damage from an enemy, you gain Song of Discord Damage +6% and Song of Resurgence Healing +4 for 20 seconds => "...you gain Song of Discord Damage +4% and Song of Resurgence Healing +4 for 20 seconds"


    Battle Chemistry

    Since Battle Chemistry's golem abilities work in a unique way, I hadn't been able to use the same formulas as the rest of the gear mods, and I'd been basically guessing at appropriate values.

    I've now worked them into the same balance model that other mods use, which at least gives me a starting point for balancing them.

    But ... the golem is a tricky balance problem. On the one hand, the golem's abilities are free during combat, in the sense that they cost you 0 Power. And the battle chemist's other abilities aren't been diminished due to the existence of the golem: the golem really is a "free bonus" for battle chemists (after learning the abilities, of course). So it's very easy to make those abilities overpowered.

    But on the other hand, I need to make the gear mods for the golem's abilities worth using, or they won't get used. And I realize many of these mods are still underwhelming. I probably can't make this work out without changing something else about the skill. But here's where we are right now, after normalizing their formulas:

    • "Your golem minion's Poison Bomb deals +50 damage" => no change
    • "Your golem minion's Taunting Punch deals +38 damage" => 60 damage
    • "Your golem minion's Self Destruct deals +360 damage" => 210 damage
    • "Your golem minion's Rage Acid Toss deals +180 damage" => 147 damage
    • "Your golem minion's Doom Admixture deals +180 damage" => no change
    • "Your golem minion's Healing Mist heals +48 health" => 28 health
    • "Your golem minion's Invigorating Mist heals 18 health" => 34 health
    • "Your golem minion's Rage Mist and Self Sacrifice abilities heal +48 health" => 52 health
    • "Your golem minion's Healing Injection heals +25 health" => 17 health
    • "Your golem minion's Fire Balm heals +37 health" => 36 health

    Also, I fixed a bug due to a bad calculation:

    • "Your Knee Spikes mutation also causes kicks to restore 20 Health to the kicker" => 14 Health


    Crossbow

    Crossbow had a mod that needed recalculation:

    • Crossbow abilities boost your Epic Attack Damage +40% for 15 seconds => +32%


    Deer

    • "Deer Kick implants insect eggs in the target. The second (and subsequent) Deer Kick causes target to take 120 Nature damage over 15 seconds" => "Deer Kick implants insect eggs in the target. Future Deer Kicks by any deer cause target to take 230 Nature damage over 5 seconds"

    This mod was especially dumb. In addition to revising the DoT, I also made it clear that any player deer can activate the DoT. The most potent use case is when multiple deer hunt together.

    Other changes:

    • Deer Bash Damage +60% => 52% (This was a calculation problem.)
    • "King of the Forest has a 95% chance to deal +120 damage" => 90% chance (This is a formula change.)
    • "Pummeling Hooves has a 75% chance to deal +54% damage and taunt +300" => 70% chance
    • The "Bounding Escape Heals You" mod didn't scale past 60 correctly.


    Druid

    One of the two druid mods for Brambleskin that boosted Max Power was different from the other: one added +32 power and one +33 power. They now both add +32 Power.


    Fire Magic

    Fire Magic saw a few changes as a result of some treasure-mod calculation bugs being fixed. The Calefaction treasure mods weren't being calculated correctly - the wrong tier of ability was being used. And some AoE (area-of-effect) mods weren't taking into account that the abilities were AoE.

    • Calefaction Damage +64% => Calefaction Damage +45%
    • Calefaction and Defensive Burst Damage +35% and Reuse Timer -1 second => Calefaction and Defensive Burst Damage +26% and Reuse Timer -1 second
    • Defensive Burst deals +30% damage and raises Basic Attack Damage +20% for 10 seconds => Defensive Burst deals +21% damage and raises Basic Attack Damage +20% for 10 seconds
    • Defensive Chill Damage +50% => Defensive Chill Damage +34%

    Another error: the supposedly "mini-boost" base-damage mod had gotten weirdly out of whack. Fire Magic has 4 mods that boost Fire Magic Base Damage. The offhand and necklace ones are not supposed to be as powerful as the head/mainhand ones, but they were in fact slightly MORE powerful than those at level 70.

    • Fire Magic Base Damage +16% => Fire Magic Base Damage +13% (Note that the Fire Magic Base Damage +20% (+26% at level 70) mod is unchanged.)
    • "Super Fireball deals +58% damage and reuse timer is -1 second, but generates +100% Rage" => +38% damage. (This was still using the old calculation from when it generated +300% rage a while ago.)
    • "Super Fireball causes the target to take +60% damage from indirect Fire (this effect does not stack with itself)" => +46%. (The level 60, 70, and 80 versions of the mod were all the same +60%.)

    Fire Magic is the most popular soloing combat skill for max-level players, edging out Archery. And that makes sense, because it's intended to be a very strong ranged DPS skill with few maintenance requirements. (It has expensive requirements to level, which makes it less appealing to low-level players, but higher-level players have less trouble unlocking everything, and after that using the skill is basically free.)

    I want Fire Magic to continue to be a very popular skill. I mean, it's blowing stuff up and lighting things on fire... it should be popular! I'm sure it still needs lots more tweaking, including improvements to the diversity of builds, but a lot of that can wait until other skills are a bit more in line with where I want them, so I have a better idea of what needs adjusting.


    Hammer

    Right now it seems like Hammer is in a pretty good place. Hammer is a really hard-hitting attack skill, and will only become more versatile over time as new skills are added. Latent Charge needed changes, and there were some bugs to fix.

    • Latent Charge 5 base damage changes from 185 to 309. Power cost changes from 48 to 51.
    • Latent Charge 5 said "Target takes 309 Electricity damage after a 15 second delay". This is now 223 Electricity damage after an 8 second delay.
    • Treasure mod "Latent Charge +75%" => +44%
    • Treasure mod "Latent Charge deals 120 Electricity damage after a 15 second delay" => 120 Electricity damage after an 8 second delay. (Also, the top tiers of this mod were bugged; it never went over 120 damage, although it claimed to go up to 200.)

    Bug fix:

    • Hurl Lightning and Thunderstrike Damage +35% => 27% (Another place where I forgot that an ability is AoE.)

    And a buff to a crappy mod:

    • "Hurl Lightning deals +16% damage and if the target's Rage meter is 66% or higher, applies Moderate Concussion status: target is prone to random self-stuns": no longer has a rage requirement to apply the debuff.


    Ice Magic
    Ice Magic didn't see many changes at this time:

    • "Ice Spear heals you for 24 health after a 15 second delay" => 34 health after a 15 second delay
    • The ice magic ability Shardblast caused monsters to be killed by "Magical Suicide". Now autopsies correctly identify that they were killed by "Stabbed with Ice Shards".

    Also, various debuff mods didn't correctly scale past 60. Those have been fixed.


    Knife

    • Blur Cut's evasion-boost mod, and a few other mods I didn't write down, didn't scale correctly past level 60.
    • "Backstab deals an additional 275 Trauma damage over 10 seconds if the target is not focused on you" => 415 trauma over 10 seconds. (Needed to take the target-not-focused-on-you requirement into account.)
    • "Gut deals +36 damage and if target is not focused on you, also reduces rage by 300" => reduces rage by 600. (Needed to take the target-not-focused-on-you requirement into account.)


    Mentalism

    Mentalism just had a few bug fixes. Several gear mods had the same values at 65 and/or 70 as they had at level 60.


    Necromancy

    Necromancy just had a few bug fixes. Several pet-related gear mods had the same values at 65 and/or 70 as they had at level 60.


    Pig

    • "Pig Rend deals +126 Trauma damage over 15 seconds" => 182 damage over 15 seconds
    • The treasure mod "Mudbath causes the target to take X% less damage from all attacks for 10 seconds" did not correctly scale past 60.


    Psychology

    The Psychology mod that makes Positive Attitude boost your out-of-combat sprint +4 for 60 seconds is overpowered, but I'm leaving it alone until horses are ready. In fact, I consider ALL ability mods that let you have a permanent run-speed buff to be overpowered. But again, I'm going to leave those alone until horses.

    I also think several of the Rage-reduction mods are probably overpowered, but I'm punting those changes until I have more time to spend time on Rage calculations in general.

    I guess my general feeling on Psychology is that it's a little too good at keeping you alive. It's supposed to be the "complement any other skill" skill, but it often out-heals other more dedicated skills, and probably needs toning down. However, it's not exactly obvious how I should tone it down, so I'm mostly leaving things alone until usage data makes things more obvious. And to be clear: the changes should end up being relatively small, because Psychology is MOSTLY in a good place.

    One change today, as I re-evaluate how these "but reuse timer is +X seconds" mods work:

    • "Mock deals +107% damage and taunts +400, but reuse timer is +2 seconds" => " Mock deals +96% damage and taunts +300, but reuse timer is +2 seconds"


    Rabbit

    Still slowly fleshing out the rabbit skill, one ability at a time.

    • Cinnamon in Animal Town can train rabbits in a new ability, Bun-Fu Strike.
    • There are new treasure effects for the new rabbit ability Bun-Fu Strike.
    • Cinnamon now gives 2x Animal Treats when bartering high-level garden vegetables.


    Spider

    • "Spit Acid deals 180 damage over 30 seconds" => "... over 12 seconds". Calculation problem. Also, this ability didn't correctly scale past 60.
    • "Grappling Web deals 168 Poison damage over 20 seconds" => "... over 12 seconds". Also, this ability didn't correctly scale past 60.


    Staff

    • The level 60 version of the mod "Suppress and Heed the Stick have +30 Accuracy" is the same, but lower and higher tiers are changed. The mod had the same +30 value for all tiers 55-80, a copy-paste problem.
    • "After using Headcracker, you take half damage from Psychic attacks for 10 seconds" => 11 seconds. (This ability did the same thing at several tiers of the mod.)


    Sword

    Hacking Blade percentage boosts were being calculated from the wrong ability tier.

    • "Flashing Strike and Hacking Blade Damage +38%" => "Flashing Strike and Hacking Blade Damage +25%"
    • "Hacking Blade Direct Damage +51%" => " Hacking Blade Direct Damage +34%"

    I also revised the mod "Precision Pierce deals +X% damage but its reuse timer is increased +N seconds" so that N is always 4 at every tier. The old mod made the ability slower and slower at each tier, which changes gameplay as you increase tiers (because the ability can't be used as often) and sometimes made it hard to figure out if you wanted to stick with an old tier of the mod or go with a new tier. I want higher tiers to be obviously better than lower tiers!


    Unarmed

    • "Bodyslam deals +390 damage to non-Elite enemies" => +335 damage to non-Elites. (Spreadsheet error.)
    Last edited by srand; 08-28-2017 at 05:14 AM. Reason: Formatting.



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