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While the restrictions on the number of weapon strikes per turn is intended to generally balance the function of weapons vs. spells, we are also including additional balancing measures on individual weapons. In this devblog, we’ll explore that process. Let's take a look...

Getting the most bash for your buck
 
Before we start getting into details, here’s a general ranking of the types of weapons in terms of their damage per AP used. (Note: this section is based on having only one target in the weapon’s area of effect)
  1. At the top of the ranks: Swords. Swords are the weapons that do the most damage per AP cost, because they are the least flexible type of weapon – high AP costs and the smallest possible area of effect.
  2. Second place goes to daggers, which have an advantage over swords due to their low AP cost, but they also have the same small area of effect.
  3. Tied for third, we have axes and shovels: due to their new attack areas, they have more flexibility than swords and daggers – shovels have a new two-cell AOE and axes can attack diagonally, but they are still relatively high damage with quite short range.
  4. Hammers and staves are next, these weapons have a very good ability to hit multiple targets at once.
  5. Wands have more modest damage, even before the change to weapon rules, they were generally used to support spell-users. They do allow for ranged damage, which is not a trait that all classes have.
  6. Bows are in the same category as wands, their lower damage is justified by their superior range.

The new weapon ranges for axes and shovels.

We want to ensure that weapons within the same level range generally inflict the same amount of damage per AP used, modified by the following criteria:
  • Type of weapon: See the list above - a wand won't do as much damage as a sword.
  • The weapon's stat bonuses: weapons that have the best stat bonuses will tend to inflict less damage
  • Mono versus multi-elemental weapons: A weapon with multi-elemental damage may have higher base damage than a weapon with a single element, because it is easier to boost a single element by focusing on a single stat.
  • Weapon prerequisites: weapons with heavy prerequisites generally inflict more damage than weapons with prerequisites that are easier to reach.
  • Additional effects: HP steals, AP steals, additional range and other exotic effects are also taken into account and may reduce a weapon's damage.

What will change:
  • We will only change the direct damage of a few weapons for technical reasons. Instead of damage, we instead will make our balancing changes to the following weapon attributes:
  • The AP cot of the weapon
  • Critical hit rate
  • Critical hit damage
  • Number of possible uses per turn
  • The range and line of sight requirement (for bows and wands)
  • Prerequisites needed to equip the weapon (including level)

Because we changed only these parameters, we did have to make some compromises to reassess the power of certain weapons. Some were too weak, others too strong. And of course, it's important to ensure that each weapon is still interesting when compared to other weapons of its level. Basically, we want to make every weapon sufficiently distinctive from its similarly-leveled brothers while make sure that none of them are overpowered.
And in the end, no less than 690 weapons have been overhauled!

In the "very-high level" category (150 to 200), 19 weapons have been changed.

We felt that some weapons had become "essential" to an extent that they dwarfed all others, to the point where using weapons other than these few are popularly considered to be useless. We decided to balance them out, keeping in mind that the goal is to give each weapon a distinctive appeal so you can make choices on which weapon to used based on features like range, flexibility, area of effect, and additional effects - not just damage. And no weapon should be the optimal choice for all situations.
It was this logic that led us to increase the AP cost of some weapons, some of which were changed to 6 AP (particularly the Peccary Blade and Giger's Nightmare Blade): These weapons were widely used, and always had damage that was too high for their AP cost. Now these weapons are still able to put up big damage numbers, but they suffer the disadvantage of lacking maneuverability.

For other weapons, it was their critical hit damage was that reduced, particularly among daggers. Without this change, daggers would surpass all other weapons in terms of the amount of damage they could have caused in a single round. We've made sure that these weapons retain competitive damage output and they still have low AP costs, which gives them an interesting flexibility.

We've added stricter prerequisites to other weapons. For example, the Stormcloud staff will now require you to have at least 300 strength to equip it, and the Youyettes will require that you have less than 6 PM. It seemed more sensible to add these prerequisites than adjusting these weapons other features, especially as this is not the first time that both of them have had to be reworked. Their power is still formidable, but you will need to make more sacrifices to equip them.
We had to make some special exceptions for the Cursed Scythe and Sword of the Blord Warrior, due to the removal of critical failures and the inclusion of a single Weapon skill that boosts all weapons (including tools like scythes), which would quickly make both of these weapons a superior choice. Therefore, the Scythe has changed to a 6 AP weapon, and its critical hit rate has been lowered to 1/50. Its critical hit damage bonus has also been reduced to +5.
The Sword is now a mighty 7AP to swing, but it retains its +10 critical hit damage bonus. Its critical hit rate has also changed to 1/50.

Almost every lower-level (1 - 150) weapon has been adjusted.

Critical hit chances have been broadly changed to compensate for the removal of the critical failure mechanic. Levels 120 to 150, most weapons' critical hit rates will be between 1/15 and 1/40. Lower than that, the critical hit rate range is between 1/5 and 1/30 (with a few exceptions, including some weapons with a 1/2 CH rate). We hope that this will allow everyone to have a reasonable critical hit rate while making a minimal sacrifice in compensation.

For similar reasons, we've also reduced the AP cost of many weapons in this level range. Our goal was to compensate for the difficulty of having lower AP at these levels and avoid having a weapon attack be the only possible action during a character's turn (since a character's max AP tends to be lower at these levels), while keeping the average damage per AP ratio consistent.
The bonus critical hit damages are generally well adjusted to the new CH rates and AP costs. Some weapons have had their CH bonus damage revised upward or downwards, depending on the weapon.

We have removed certain types of prerequisites - this includes all class prerequisites and certain requirements that we felt were too restrictive (for example, the Intelligence <1 requirement on the Stalk Sword).
The class restrictions were there to prevent certain classes from getting around their intended weaknesses (typically Sacriers using bows). These weapons have been balanced where necessary, so every class can enjoy them.

Healing weapons have retained their ability to be used twice a turn, given their very randomized effects. We did not restrict these weapons because they can allow all classes that can afford to play with a modicum of intelligence the chance to act as secondary (or even primary) healers for their team.

One weapon in particular has been changed, the Kyrst O'ball is now level 72. This is because there were several other staves with similar characteristic in the same range, but the Kryst O'Ball was far above the rest, due to its critical hit bonus damage. The different versions of the Excellent Kings' Staff is now 3AP, giving you an alternative to the Kryst O'Ball before you have the level to equip it.

And finally on weapons below level 40, we did not enforce retroactive changes (only weapons in this category that are dropped or crafted after 2.11 will have the new stats), because weapons in this level range are relatively easy to obtain. Some have had their weapon damage, or their element or stat bonuses modified. These changes are intended to provide players with a wider choice of competitive weapons even at very low levels, without forcing beginners to use the maging system.

To Recap:
  • 19 High Level weapons have been balanced to offer a wider choice of competitive weapons
  • Weapons below 150 have had their critical hit rate drastically increased (over 600 weapons in all)
  • All class restrictions have been removed
  • Non-retroactive changes have been made to some weapons under level 40. Only weapons dropped or crafted after 2.11 will change.
Many thanks to [Briss] for writing this article!