As some of you may already know, the DOFUS update 2.9 will be an opportunity to welcome a series of new items dedicated to high-level players.

We’re talking about no less than 7 sets composed of 3 items, in addition to 3 new single items, which bring the total of new items that are level 190 and more to 24.
These items are special, because their role is to encourage players to get familiar with the concept of balancing penalties with bonuses when they equip their characters. From now on, you’ll find strange red lines added to the usually all-green list of item effects.

The most wary of you might already know that, unlike the new sets that appeared with the 2.6 update, not all these sets give AP bonuses, and there are three single items that are one-of-a-kind.
Let’s explore why this is so together.

Why the stat penalties? It’s because you hate us, right?

Now that the 190-200 level range is starting to have quite an extensive list of equippable items (with the items added in the 2.6 update, the list exceeds 70, which is more than most of the other level ranges), it’s becoming less and less justified to create items dedicated to the smallest number of players.

With the update 2.6, we had already started this balancing process with mono-element sets: we wanted to encourage players to specialize; to make sacrifices on one side to maximize their efforts on the other, instead of systematically choosing what would have given them the most bonuses in as many characteristics as possible.

This should not be interpreted as an intent to hinder those who want to build multi-elemental characters, on the contrary. Out of these 24 items new items, only one is mono-element. We simply think that allowing players to be versatile in multiple elements without any downside isn’t interesting because it becomes the default choice for all characters. It’s more relevant to ask for a sacrifice in exchange for that versatility.
Our goal with the 2.6 items was to enforce this idea of sacrifice by bringing back something that had been lost. With the 2.6 items, we wanted to make it possible for players choosing to focus on mono-element builds to gain in strength what they lost in flexibility.

With 2.9 items, we’re going a little further: in order to specialize in a particular game mode (e.g., critical hits, damage, range, or resistance) while benefiting from higher bonuses than those available with any other set the players now has to agree to sacrifice one or several secondary characteristics.

We think that these items can only have a positive influence on the game, by considerably increasing the diversity of builds, highlighting strengths and weaknesses of each character, and multiplying the number of possible item combinations. It’s becoming possible for two characters from the same class to focus on the same element, but still play in radically different ways, which is something new to the game.

Why no AP? Isn’t it bad enough that we have to give up so much to equip these sets?

You might already know that 3 of the 7 new sets don’t offer AP bonus, unlike the 2.6 sets that all give some AP. Before asking why these new sets don’t have AP bonuses, let’s talk about why the AP bonuses were added to the 2.6 sets in the first place.

By looking carefully at how high-level players equip their characters, we can easily see that having high AP for characters over level 190 is essential for many players (obviously, but we’re laying the foundation, go with it).

12 AP, the maximum, is considered the ideal number and is very hard to reach without heavy sacrifices if you don’t own an ochre Dofus or exotic smithmagic. 11 is an honorable maximum for players who want to maximize their characteristics on a budget or who like a close battle. 10 is already pitifully low for some players, and 9 is right out (according to some), at least in PvP.

To reach this amount of AP, starting from a basic score of 7AP, there are only a few options possible:
  • An AP amulet
  • An Ochre Dofus
  • An “unusual” AP item (Gelano, Professor Xa’s Cloak, Powerful Dazzling Belt, Awmigawd Band)
  • An exotic smithmagic
  • And an AP bonus set
As most high-level amulets generally give AP, it is way easier to choose to equip an AP bonus set than to find an Ochre Dofus or an exotic smithmagic, and it generally requires fewer sacrifices than a usual AP item.

Therefore, in the run to increase AP, an AP set bonus has become almost mandatory, even before Frigost, when the Sucker set was the undisputed king among sets.

Before the 2.6, except for the Sucker Set, not one set gave AP bonuses for less than 4 items. Knowing that owning an AP set was compulsory for many, we had to deal with it when we decided to put forward build personalization again instead of thinking in terms of a whole set.
2.6 AP sets allowed this.
By giving AP bonuses for 3 items, we give even more freedom to players to equip their characters as they wish, without being compelled to use an entire set of 5 items.

However, at the moment, it’s not a question of making it easier to reach 12 AP, and the constraints on reaching this max that were present previously are fine with us. We thus have to be careful not to allow players to equip 2 AP sets without asking for some sacrifices in exchange.
It wasn’t a problem with sets of 4 items and more because there are enough combinations possible to create a conflict between the two equipped set; but the points of possible overlap are much fewer with sets of 3 items. Thus, the more we add AP bonuses to sets that only contain a few items, the harder it becomes to create them while staying balanced, and eventually, the concessions required to add these bonuses wind up seeming irrelevant in the end.

We think that there are now enough AP sets to allow players to get to their preferred level of AP without feeling limited in the way they equip or by the specialization they choose.

That’s why we believed it would be ok to create some sets with version 2.9 that didn’t offer an AP bonus. These sets have their bonuses elsewhere: they have some bonuses that can be equal to an AP bonus; it’s not a major concern when combined with other sets that give AP; and these sets could make it possible to have viable builds that are intentionally capped at less than 12 AP.
To support this last point, three new unusual AP items make their entrance with the 2.9 update.

So why add the AP items then? Just to tease us?

The 3 single items added with this update (the Cushtycloak, the Slothful Slippers, and the Shabby Shoes) that all give an AP bonus, usually reserved for amulets.  

However, with the objective of not facilitating too much the access to 12AP, these items have an AP condition <12, which means that they become unequippable if the players who use them try to reach 12 AP while wearing them. It makes them powerful items (less powerful than other equivalent items without AP though) while making sure it’s not possible to reach the maximum AP without a sacrifice.

Several items like these have recently been added: the Awmigawd Band (AP<11) and Professor Xa’s Cloak (MP<6) to name but a few famous examples. We wanted to renew the experience that was welcomed so happily by many players in version 2.6.

These items have the advantage of reaching a good AP score very easily with a single item, leaving the other slots available and thus allowing more character personalization.

They also are a very good way to slightly reduce the gap between wealthy players and casual players or players who don’t want to focus on maging their equipment: these very affordable items are a very good way to equip characters in an effective and cheap way compared to an Ochre Dofus or an exotic AP smithmage.

And above all, they combine very well with the AP-less sets of 2.9, making the loss of AP sets even more acceptable.

Why bi-element? You did this out of revenge because an omni character called your mom fat, right?

Always with the questions, this one! Ok, ok, it’s not a bad question, let’s explore the issue.
The bi-element mode is a very attractive game mode in DOFUS. It’s a perfect tradeoff between the mono-element build (which we made more interesting and easier to access in 2.6) and the multi-element build with 3 elements or more which usually means choosing not to focus on a character’s strength and requires a large amount of spell points. 

This is a mode naturally sought by epic-level players and we thought that increasing the number of equipment possibilities for these players was an interesting perspective that also allows us to reach many more people, despite the specificity of these items’ bonuses.

Regarding the set that specializes in resistances, it was highly requested by players who like to tank. We therefore took the opportunity of version 2.9 to bring it into the game.

I think that’s all for this devblog. If you still don’t understand our position on these items and what we’d like to do with them all this, I don’t have much else to say!

In any case, we hope these items will bring some novelty to our epic-level players’ equipment and that we’ll see new game tactics appear as a result of them being added, especially tactics that were too rare or simply impossible to play before so far.

Category: Game design