For the 2.11 update, we’ve planned to include the long awaited global weapon balancing with the following objectives:
  • Make weapons less essential in relation to spells.
  • Diversify moves performed during a turn.
  • Provide the players with more choices.
  • Increase the tactical aspect of PVM and PVP combats.

To reach those objective, we are working on a set of modifications :
  • A weapon use restriction, per turn.
  • Changes to the HP of monsters.
  • Changes to how the AoE of weapons is managed.
  • Changes to weapon skills.
  • The removal of critical failures.
  • A revision of class weapon bonuses.
  • A balancing of certain weapons on a case-by-case basis.

Why is this happening?

Weapons have often been a source of unbalance in DOFUS. Rarely used at low levels and essential at high levels, weapons have increasingly impacted PVM and PVP over time, becoming the main source of damage for most characters.

Weapons are so efficient now that they’ve become the game's best from of protection: by allowing characters to quickly kill an enemy, it becomes possible for a character to avoid being damaged, sometimes before the enemy even had a chance to attack.
These possibilities are logically becoming increasingly present in PVM and in PVP and allow for an extremely easy simultaneous combination of excellent defensive and offensive potentials.
The superiority of weapons in relation to the majority of spells resulted in the impoverishment of in-game options, which in in turn resulted in spells becoming more and more obsolete.
The PVM and PVP fights have lost a portion of their tactical potential due to the superiority of weapons over spells, and it is a point that we absolutely want to correct and improve upon.

More restriction = More choice.

Behind this somewhat provocative title lies a sad truth : weapons are so powerful that they are generally the most optimal solution to every turn, because their power is not balanced with restrictions.

As long as weapons remain the best option (for the majority of times), spell diversity won't increase the number of tactical options.

This is why we’ve decided to include restrictions per turn for the use of weapons, just like we did for spells. We’ve chosen the following model:
2 AP weapons: 3 casts per turn maximum (2 for weapons that are below level 60).
3 AP weapons: 2 casts per turn maximum (1 for weapons that are below level 60).
4+ AP weapons: 1 use per turn maximum.

These limitations may seem very restrictive at first, but smaller restrictions (3 and 2 use per turn for example) would have virtually no effect on the game.

The 2 and 3 AP weapons have the advantage of greater flexibility and 3 AP weapons allows the player to invest up to 6 AP in weapon attacks. We plan to reduce the critical hit damage bonus on most of the daggers; we do not want these weapons to offer both great flexibility and the best offensive (weapon-based) potential.

Healing weapons will be treated differently and will be able to be used twice per turn. We want the possibility of characters becoming secondary healers to remain viable, if they deprive themselves of the offensive potential of a traditional damage-dealing weapon.

These new restrictions will increase the number of optimal choices players can make on a given turn, as the option to use all of one's AP to deal weapon damage will no longer surpass all other options offered by spells or spells + weapon combos.

We have chosen to use these cast-per-turn restriction because they have already proven themselves on spells: they are an excellent balancing lever that allows us to make weapons or spells very powerful in relation to the AP cost, while remaining balanced because the weapon or spell may not be continually used. The cast-per-turn limitation are, after all, an extension of the cooldown system, an universal concept of balancing in many games.

The cast per turn limitation is a simple-to-understand concept, already mastered by players and already used on spells, that will allow for easier balancing of weapons compared to spells.

A monstrous update. For the monsters.

Our friendly neighbourhood monsters might feel concerned by this update, and we are expecting numerous Bworks and Trools to fuss in the comment of this devblog. Will you be able to locate them?

The health points of nearly all the monsters in the game will be modified in the 2.11 update. Overall, they will be increased below level 100, and decreased for monsters above level 100.
We believe that at low level, monster are too often too weak and are exterminated too quickly, they're really not much of a threat. At high level, the modifications to weapons could have slowed down fights too much, so we have decided to reduce the health of high level monsters. Currently, we’re working on a reduction of about 15% at high level, but this value is not definitive and could easily change in the future.

The impact of this modification on monster’s HP may be summarize in the following way:
Character who mainly used their spell in a fight will be more efficient after the 2.11 update, as monster will have less health at high level.
Characters that used a balanced combo of spells and close combat hits should be about as efficient now in a fight: the reduction of weapons' potential damage is compensated by the reduction of monster’s HP.
Character that nearly exclusively used weapon’s attack will be less efficient in combat, despite the monster’s health reduction, since the mix of spells and weapons’ strikes will deal less damage than the repeated attacks done with a weapon beforehand. These characters will thus be slightly penalized, but it is one of our objectives: Give monsters an opportunity to play a little and do some damage, too!

Balancing weapons with an area of effect:

Weapons with an area of effect have always been difficult to balance, they could easily become too weak or balanced on a single target, but become devastating against multiple targets by allowing to multiply damage dealt by 2, 3 or even potentially 4. These weapons also have the enormous tactical advantage of not imposing melee range to deal damage.

Rather than simply reducing the base damage of weapons that have an area of effect, we have decided to add an additional tactical dimension by modifying the damage dealt by those weapons in reation to where the foe is located compared to the area-of-effect's center.

In the 2.11 version, weapons with area of effect will deal 100% of their damage on the targeted square, but only 75% (value that may be modified) on other cells. What value does this modification add in term of tactical choice?
You will now have to pick between targeting your primary target to deal 100% (risking the melee range) or only deal 75% damage by not directly targeting your foe.
When multiple targets may potentially be hit, you will also have to pick which will receive 100% of the damage, whereas the others will only be dealt 75% of the damage.

This new behaviour allows us to guarantee sufficient damages on the targeted cell without dramatically increasing the damage dealt by the weapon when multiple foes are hit. It is also a way to enrich the tactical potential of the game by requiring you to exercise more choice in a fight.

We have also examined the issues of shovels and axe that sometime have issues standing out when compared to other weapons that only target a single cell. We thus have decided to modify the behaviour of those two weapon types. Shovel will now have an area of effect of two cells (they will deal 100% damage on the targeted cell and 75% on the cell behind). Axes will be able to target cells in a 1-range diagonal : They thus won’t have an area of effect, but may be used in a more flexible manner by reaching cells that other weapons without an area of effect may not reach.

These modification should allow to better balance different types of weapon as well as offering a much wider and interesting array of usable weapons.

Without mastery, power means nothing:

The weapon mastery spells are currently crippled by several problems:
They give too dramatic an increase to the power of weapons at high level.
They do not promote weapons diversity because they require the investment of several spell points to be used at their full potential.
Their acquisition method is too random.

In the 2.11 update, the bonus brought by these mastery spells will be modified, it will now be a bonus to Power directly applied to weapons and no longer a percentage bonus to the weapon’s damage. This modification will allow to make them more interesting at low level while having a reasonable effect at high level.

We will also be using a single Mastery spell for all weapons, allowing to more easily swap weapon type between each combat. When the 2.11 version will be deployed, the old masteries learned by your character will all be forgotten, the invested spell point will be returned, and you will need to acquire the new unique Mastery (Which may be obtained at the end of the Smith Dungeon). The old unlearned weapons Masteries (that are still in scroll form) will be removed from the game.
The redistributed spell points can of course be traded for Kolosokens in the Kolossium building.

The evolution process of the Mastery spell will also be modified; the spell can be learned at level 1, but different levels of the spell all have a minimum level required (1, 60, 90, 120, 150, 180 at the moment) guaranteeing that the spell remains viable at very high level without becoming overpowered at low level.

The new mastery spell will have a cost of 2 AP at all levels of the spell, a duration of 2 turns, and a cooldown of 4 turns. We want the choice of casting this spell on a specific turn to be important and possibly decisive, we want the bonus damage that it gives to remain significant, but to have a shorter duration, in order to create a true difference between the turns with or without an active Mastery effect.

And since a good news never comes alone, the new Mastery will also increase the damage of Scythes, Fishing Rods, Kneader, Soul Stones and other non-weapon tools!

No more critical failures after the update:

Did you ever have the impression that after each update, you had more critical failure ? Did you ever have the impression that you did far more critical failure than what the theorical probability indicate? Well, we have the immense pleasure to announce that this nightmare is finally over, you can finally put away your little recycled paper notepad (because you are responsible, methodical people) that you used to note your critical failure ratio out of a 10-attempt sample.

We are simply and entirely deleting critical failure on weapons and spell in the 2.11 update.
This relic of the past was so frustrating that we had over the years sought to reduce the occurrence of critical failures until we’ve reached 1/100 for spells. The critical failure had become at the same time too rare to be a veritable mechanism in the game, but still sufficiently frequent to be frustrating. We have decided that they no longer had a place in game and that their removal could only make the game more tactical and thus more interesting.
Critical failures on weapons served as a balancing mechanism when opposed to spells, by making weapons less “reliable” to use, more dangerous. But this balancing lever doesn’t seems necessary to us in 2.11 thanks to the limitation of uses per turn, which is why we have decided to remove critical failure on weapons as well.

Bow Sacrier versus Shovel Eniripsa versus Wand Sram:

We’ve also examined how certains classes have reduced damage with certain weapons (and by extension, these classes also have favored weapons).
These damage reductions were originally added to avoid maligning the behaviour of some classes by giving them, for example, great capacity to attack at range with a weapon while their spells were tailored to prevent it).
We believe these damage reductions no longer have any reasons to exist thanks to the weapon’s use-per-turn limitation. We are thus removing every type of damage reduction or bonus for individual classes in 2.11.
Classes will be as efficient with any type of weapons and balancing weapons by classes will now be much more natural, since attacks with weapons will now be followed up by spells.

As such, a class with a poor ranged potential with his spells can use a ranged weapon to fill this gap, but may never become very efficient at range due to the cast per turn limit on his ranged weapon.

This removal of the concept of favored weapon for classes should, with the new unique Weapon Mastery, give you more diversity when equipping a character.

Balancing weapons on a case by case basis:

The 2.11 update will also include a global balancing of a very large number of weapons, we have reviewed and modified many critical hit bonuses, AP costs, critical hit probabilities, and even some conditions needed to equip a weapon. We have made some modification that reduce the power of certain overpowered weapons, but we have mostly focused on raising the power of some weapons that are nearly never used in order to increase the amount of viable choices for equipping your characters.

My class is dead without its close combat weapon:

Currently, all classes have roughly the same efficiency with their melee close combat, only certains classes with large bonuses to their damage manage to barely stand out in melee. At range or mid-range, the problem is less visible and classes that have a very good offensive spell panel at mid and long range are easily differentiated from classes that do not have that possibility.

This near-identical damage output of classes in melee is a true balancing issue at the moment, because it became difficult to allow classes meant to deal a lot of damage at short range to stand out in a meaningful way.
And it became even more difficult to reinforce the role of classes meant to be weak in melee, because they could be very dangerous at short range by equipping powerful weapons.

With the 2.11 update, this problem is partially fixed, the cast-per-turn limitation on weapons should prevent classes meant to be weak in melee from being nearly as efficient as classes meant to specialize in that domain.

Classes that specialize in healing or protection, for example, will be less efficient in dealing damage at very short range, but on the other hand, they will suffer less damage at that range due to the limitation. As such, healing and protections may potentially be indirectly reinforced in this update.

Certain classes might likely be less efficient at dealing important damage on monsters and we will not hesitate to raise their offensive potential on their spells if we believe that those modification are penalizing them too heavily. At the time of writing this article, we do not believe it will be necessary to significatively raise the offensive potential of these specific classes, but we will use the BETA version to get your feedback on this question and analyze the impact of those modifications on a bigger scale.

Final Question and Answer:

  Why didn’t you simply reduce the power of weapons instead of limiting their number of uses?
Reducing the power of weapons would not have been a viable solution, as weapons would potentially have become too weak for classes that have good offensive spells while they would have remaining too strong for classes that did not have a very powerful offensive spells. The cast-per-turn limitation allows us to maintain the strength and weakness of a class by making each weapons into an attack that is complementary to its spells.

Furthermore, the most powerful weapons generally have the constraint of only being usable at very close range, which generally implies having to take risk by exposing oneself to damage; it seems normal to us that they globally be stronger than spells that possess a longer range. We like the idea of having weapon that deals important damage, we simply want for those weapons to not completely outshine the tactical potential of spells.

If weapons deal too little damage, players will only use their spells. By keeping the weapons stronger than the majority of spells, but capped via the cast-per-turn limit, we are offering the two following choice to the player:
> Expose yourself to use a mix of weapon and spell strikes to deal as much damage as possible.
> Stay in the back to only use a mix of spells, but do less damage.

  Will the Weapon Mastery spells still be useful after this update?
We want to keep the keep the global behaviour of Weapon masteries, which consist of investing AP at the right time to deal more damage during a few turn while exposing oneself and taking risks.
Our objective is not to make them less efficient, to the contrary, we just want to balance them and ensure that they will be interesting to use at all levels.

  Why not have used a limitation per target rather than a limitation per turn?
We’ve studied this possibility, because it seemed that it offered more choice in a fight. But this type of restriction couldn’t be applied to area-of-effect weapons (as with spells) and we didn’t want to use those restriction on certains types of weapons and not on other to avoid needless complications.
Furthermore, if the restriction was only per target, guaranteeing that a target may not be dealt a large quantity of damage at once does not guarantee that weapons do not deal a lot of damage in melee to several distinct targets, which may cause balancing issues.

It is possible that in the long term we could revisit this decision, but for now, it seems more relevant and reasonable to not include a limit per target.

  Are you going to do specific exceptions for the number of uses per turn for certain weapons?
It’s technically possible, but aside from healing weapon, we do not plan to make those exception for the moment.

  Will PVM fight become harder?
It depends on your gameplay style.
For those that often used offensive spells, fights will surely be faster and easier due to the reduction of monster’s HP. For those that mainly used weapons to deal damage, fights are likely to be longer and harder, but although we feel your pain, we believe that those characters won their fight too quickly and too easily.

  Why do this update now?
We haven’t done it earlier because it required a lot of complex changes. We have studied an enormous amount of different possibilities for this weapon balancing and we wanted to take the time to think it through well and to conscientiously read the majority of messages relevant to the subject that have long bloomed and flourished on the forums.

We have also chosen to do this during the 2.11 update because it seems important this evolution to the game not come after Frigost 3. The efficiency of weapons in fight has already severely harmed the content of Frigost 1 and 2. For Frigost 3, we want fights to be more tactical, not limited to contests of brute strength with a maximum amount of AP stacking and swinging your close combat weapon every turn.

  Yet another PVP update to destroy PVM?
The problem of weapons is present both in PVP as well as in PVM and we believe that the benefits of these modification will have a very positive impact in both PVP and PVM.

  Isn’t this contradicting your desire to make Frigost dungeons and content more accessible?
No, these modification will only make the PVM content harder for the characters that already went through it far too easily. It is likely that for many players, the reduced health of monsters at high level make the PVM content in Frigost 1 and 2 more accessible than before.

  Why do you want to make the game harder for those that used mostly weapons to deal damage?
The efficiency of weapons has become so important, that it allowed players to kill monsters before they even had time to be any threat. This is not what we’re hoping for the game, we want the PVM content to represent a minimum of challenge, that the monsters that we create can be dangerous, that you can play with them, fight them, and not only slaughter them like poor defenseless Piwis.

  Won’t some achievement of the “Duo” type become too difficult?
We are hoping to adjust the maximum number of turns for some of the “Duo” achievements to ensure that they remain feasible after these modifications. Some achievement will remain harder than others for some classes, but we will ensure that they remain possible, no matter which class is used. These achievements also allows for many differents mix of different classes and the game allows a player to easily increase the offensive potential of a class at the cost of diminishing other stats by changing their equipment. With some tinkering, thinking, cooperation and motivation, the “Duo” achievement should remain accessible to all classes.

  How is using a mix of weapon and spells attack is more tactical than only using a weapon?
When weapons generally exceed spells in damage and their number of uses-per-turn isn’t limited, the best choice is mostly to only use your weapon. When you can use the same attack multiple times, you really only have to make one choice and account for one restriction - in the case of weapons, for example, how to get into melee range with your target quickly and safely. A mix of weapon and spell strike implies having to manage different constraints and offers a much larger number of possible combos. By encouraging the use of spells, we are reinforcing the feasibility and importance of long and middle-ranged gameplay and controlling the field. By increases the number of possible and viable attack combinations, we increase the capacity of each players to surprise his opponent and to craft tactics that are not obvious and that may change from one fight to another.

  My tactic was mostly based on using weapons, how can I adapt to these changes?
You should start by thinking of spells that you will use in complement to your weapons and calculate the different possible combo in term of AP available. You can then adjust your ideal AP (up or down) depending on which combo you’ve picked. You also need to pick your weapon to serve those combos. A weaker weapon, but with a lesser AP cost may allow you to create more interesting combos. A stronger weapon, but with an higher AP cost may allow you to better use the number of available AP on your character.

  When is this coming out?
At the same time as the 2.11 version, and on the test server in a few weeks.
Category: Game design