Introducing the PSO Rebalance Project: PSOBB REBORN

Fire AKA Drazn

Loves Games
full

(Now also on reddit!)
Hey all.


Been working on a PSO project as the title suggests, that involves rooting around in the giant mess that is enemy, weapon and player stats, and reworking it all from the ground up hoping to establish some order and coherence


The goal is to stick to the original feel of the game as much as possible, but to also not avoid changing glaring balance problems. As such the game should (hopefully) feel both fresh and nostalgic.


A general list of changes that will be implemented in the final version can be found here. At the moment it is not complete and subject to further changes.


Expect this to change quite a lot.
GENERAL GOALS
Complete rework of Weapons and Tech Damage with the goal of raising techs up to the level of physical attacks, as well as better balancing weapons against each other promoting a wider variety of weapon use.

These changes also allow for bosses to be far more durable at endgame, and as a result much more challenging paired with the other changes.

1: The damage dealt by every attack type, and their accuracy (Light, Heavy, Special & Sacrificial) has been changed significantly, this is the main way in which player damage has been reduced allowing many enemies especially bosses to be far more durable.

2: Special Attacks now deal very slightly more damage than a Heavy attack, resulting in failed triggers being far less punishing.

3: Every weapon in the game has been reworked around the new rarity system. Weapons of a higher rarity are now always strictly better than lower rarity ones in terms of raw stats.

4: Weapons now have a damage range from their listed ATP to zero, making damage far more random overall. This has the side-effect of also making Shifta affect your entire ATP (though S/D/J/Z have also been nerfed significantly, see techniques section)

5: Weapon restrictions per class have been changed, notably Hunters and Forces can no longer use Mechguns, while Rangers and Hunters have a greater access to formerly Force exclusive weaponry (Such as Canes and Rods.)

See the Weapon Availabilty section of the Reborn spreadsheet for more information.

6: All Force weapons as well as a great deal of rare items in general now provide Tech Boosts thematic to the item (for example weapons with an ice, fire or lightning theme will boost the damage of those types of tech.)

These tech boosts will be present from the beginning of the game until the very end, ensuring a much better Tech Damage progression for anyone capable of using them.

7: The total amount of Attribute %s a weapon can have added is now limited to 20%, and the costs greatly increased. Items can drop with up to 30%.

These changes reflect the general reduction of player damage at endgame, but also reduce Attributes to a powerful Min/Maxing option rather than an absolute requirement for using certain weapons on specific classes

8: S-Rank weapons have been rebalanced and are now equivalent to a somewhat weaker 12* weapon with requirements to match. Their base ATA has been improved to compensate for their lack of HIT%, making them usable at endgame outside of the leverage of their specials.

9: Weapons that cannot combo have been given a massive ATA buff. Their attacks should now always be as accurate as the final attack of a normal combo.

10: The Charge weapon special has been removed from the game due to the numerous balance problems it causes. Vjaya remains the only weapon with this special.

11: The Fire damage and Lightning damage weapon special series has been removed from the game due to a lack of tools to improve their damage, along with the enemy resistances changes, rendering these specials obsolete serving only to confuse players.

See the Weapon Stats section of the Reborn spreadsheet for more information

Complete rework of Defence Equipment, opening up almost all defensive items to every class and better defining their differences allowing for greater defensive
customisation

1: Forces can equip Armour and Shield type equipment.

2: Frames and Barriers generally have better EVP, and have more options for increasing resistances

3: Armour and Shields generally have much better DFP.

4: Defence equipment has a better progression right up to level 200, with Rare armours following a logical progression after the normal armours based on their rarity

Complete rework of base and max Class Stats with the goal being to better define important differences between classes, while reducing other extreme variances that are an obstacle to better monster design.

1: Class stats have been strictly tiered to ensure a near equivalence in total stats, with certain allowances for the sake of class diversity.

2: The variance between classes of certain key stats (ATP and ATA) has been narrowed significantly both to better fit into the new monster designs and to allow more competition between certain min/max classes (RAcast & HUcast) and other less focused classes (HUnewearl & RAmarl.)

3: Weapon focused Forces (FOmar & FOmarl) have been moved into a central position in the ATP vs ATA dynamic, having less ATP and Hunters and less ATA than Rangers. Their less focused weapon options also prevent them from outclassing their Hunter and Ranger counterparts, while having less MST than the tech focused Forces. This position should allow these classes to be useful in ways that were simply impossible in original PSO while still performing their incredibly important support role.

See the Class Comparison Graphs sections of the Reborn spreadsheet for more information

Complete rework of enemy resistances and Tech availability allowing techs to be a useful part of anyone's arsenal (for those that can use them) and providing more options for group support.

1: In general Techs and Physical attacks have had their damage per second (DPS) roughly equalised when assuming identical ATP/MST, allowing Tech users to finally pull their own weight rather than having to resort to a sword or gun.

2: All classes that learn Attack techs now learn the max level of that attack tech. HUnewearl now learns max level Jellen/Zalure, and RAmarl learns max level Shifta/Deband, providing more ways for groups to obtain the all important support buffs/debuffs.

A list of techs obtainable by each class can be found in the Tech Availability section of the Reborn spreadsheet.

3: However, the power of the support techniques has been reduced significantly compared to Vanilla (from 10%-50%~ to 5-20%), reducing them to important and powerful Offensive and Defensive bonuses from "you-do-no-damage-without-S&D"

4: Enemy resistances are now a set value depending on their Tier and do not increase as you progress due to how percentages naturally scale anyway. Certain extremely tech resistant enemies will exist, but there will always be a way to circumnavigate their defences while still using Techs.

5: Enemy Light resistance in particular has been reduced a huge amount rendering Grants a useful tech. Dark type enemies are particularly susceptible to Light damage, rather than being the most resistant.

6: Enemy Dark resistance has been changed to bring Megid in line with instant kill weapon specials. Generally Megid works more often due to being slower to cast, averaging out to around the same amount of time-to-trigger. Dark type enemies are now Immune to instant kill in general to compensate for their new Light weakness.

Complete rework of Monster/Player dynamics, including the introduction of a new monster "tier" system that will provide both fairer and more varied monster encounters, as well as a total overhaul of weapon specials (including Megid) and their interactions with these new monsters

1: Monster stats have been reworked significantly to avoid the massive spikes in difficulty found in original PSO when changing difficulty (especially from Very Hard to Ultimate.)

2: Monsters now fall into tiers relative to their intended difficulty and have stats to match. The tiers are:
Standard (e.g Booma class)
Veteran (e.g Gibooma class)
Elite (e.g Gigobooma class)
Leader (e.g Barbarous Wolf class)
Champion (e.g Hildebear class)
Miniboss (e.g Chaos Bringer class)
Boss (e.g Dark Falz class)

3: Weapon specials that involve some sort of crowd control (e.g Freeze) have been made harder to trigger the higher the tier of monster, with Minibosses being near impossible.

4: Weapons that involve Instant Kill or HP Reduction have been totally reworked, with Instant kill being most effective against lower tier enemies while HP reduction being most useful vs higher tier ones. In general Instant Kill is also somewhat harder to trigger bringing it in-line with Megid. Dark type enemies are now immune to Instant Kill.

5: Weapon specials on higher difficulties (Very Hard and above) assume the use of a V50X unit, requiring players that want to focus on weapon specials to obtain these units and providing a open slot for those that don't.

See the Monster Rebalance section of the Reborn spreadsheet for more information

Complete rework of Mags and Mag feeding aiming first to remove the artificial difficulty of not knowing what items will raise which stat and by what amounts, and second to speed up the process of raising a Mag by a reasonable amount.

1: Mags now gain the same stats from the same items no matter the mag type. Items also generally only raise a single stat and lower the rest giving you far greater control over how your Mag levels.

2: Items, and what stat they raise/lower is as follows:
Mates = ++POW, -Everything Else, ++Sync
Fluids = ++MIND, -Everything Else, ++IQ
Antiparalysis = +DEX & MIND, -Everything Else, +Sync & IQ
Antidote = +DEX & POW, -Everything Else, +IQ & Sync
Sol Atomiser = ++DEX, -Everything Else, +IQ & Sync
Moon Atomiser = --Everything
Star Atomiser = +++DEF, --Everything Else, +++IQ & Sync

3: Recommended Mag levels per class have also been provided in the Class Stats & Leveling Curve section of the Reborn spreadsheet

Complete rework of "Stat Maxing" including:
1)The removal of the consideration of Units and Materials for capping stats.

2)The reduction of stats granted by Units as a result, while keeping them relevant while leveling.

3)Materials have been made incredibly rare, and all characters now can use 250 of stat boosting materials and 100 TP/HP materials. Since no consideration is made for these stats, materials provide a way to level incredibly powerful characters at the cost of extreme investment or just as a cool minor boost otherwise.


Complete rework of EXP gain that aims to provide a faster leveling experience earlier on compensated by an even longer leveling experience late game, allowing you to hit your character's stride faster without losing PSO's famous grind to 200.


Complete rework of area progression making PSO more akin to other ARPGs such as Diablo, where the Episodes are your "Acts" you should complete before ascending to the next difficulty. Progression will be Episode 1 > Your choice of Episode 2 or 4 > Episode 1 on the next difficulty > Repeat

1: Ep1 and Ep2 are the most complete experiences. Ep4 is a more optional (and somewhat harder) alternative to EP2 after having completed the VR sections.

2:After reaching Ultimate mode the game's progression opens out and all Episodes become fair game. All final areas and bosses in Ultimate mode are roughly the same level/difficulty.

3:See the Recommended Areas Per Level document for more information

Complete rework of Solo and Online modes where Online Mode is balanced around a group of 4 People (but still do-able with less) and Solo mode has access to all formerly Online exclusive quests.


Complete rework of Item Rarity and drop-rates allowing for a better progression of vital items earlier on, while providing extremely powerful "chase" items to hunt for later on.

1: Item rarity is now also a good descriptor of the item's quality. Higher rarity items are also generally only usable by higher level characters.

2: Item drop rates follow a "soft curve" dictated by their in-game rarity value. 9 Star items are fairly common, while finding a 12 Star item will undoubtedly be the result of a long grind. Finding an item of the new 13 Star rarity is rather like winning the national lottery, and such items are not required to progress. But they do make you cool as heck, at least in my eyes ;)

3: In general drops rates for vital items are much fairer than original, with certain important items dropping much sooner, while providing plenty of opportunity for hunting extremely rare and valuable items.

Complete rework of player Invincibility Frames and Knockdown threshold that will be fairer to characters who specialise in defensive stats, while also speeding combat up by completely removing Knockdowns, which in turn also makes combat MUCH more dangerous.

Introduction of non-free for all drops using the instanced drop system provided by the latest version of Tethella that will not be penalised in an attempt to remove barriers to group play.


My current progress Is continually updated in this Edit Log. Check it out if you want to see the current state of the project

Here is the list of Google docs and other materials I've found or made and I am currently using/editing/reviewing while making these changes.



Once complete, all of the files required to install these changes into a Tethella PSOBB server will be provided. Depending on what happens in the future I may setup my own server with these changes, however I have no plans to do so as of right now.


Until then any and all constructive feedback is welcome. Any help, advice or encouragement doubly so.
 
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Senraise

Member
A complete rework of Invincibility Frames, with the aim to standardize the amount of time between receiving a normal hit and one that knocks you down to avoid penalizing players for having too much defence/HP with multiple hits.

Total amount of HP lost to trigger a knockdown has also been raised significantly with the goal of speeding up combat as well as making enemies more dangerous in general.

This. That's actually an easy fix I've never thought of before that would change a lot, balance wise.
 

Fire AKA Drazn

Loves Games
Looks like you have been working hard. I would totally try this out :3

Thanks! Its been a few months in the making, and I still have a long way to go. Hoping to eventually have this as part of a game design portfolio, and also as my preferred version of PSO to play with friends ;3
 

Fire AKA Drazn

Loves Games
This. That's actually an easy fix I've never thought of before that would change a lot, balance wise.
Indeed, unfortunately making that change is anything but easy as it would require a lot of trial and error and digging around in the client. Once I've completed the monster stat rework ill get round to looking more into this, but being a complete novice at coding I will probably need help : /

Regardless I aim to do the best with the tools I have and the variables I can change, so hopefully even if I can't make those changes it should be a marked improvement anyway.
 

Soly

Member
Probably shouldn't be posting this stuff here and rather make a new topic in the tools section or somewhere over there, anyway

I don't know if I told you, but I have a way to add individual max materials to each class, I'll probably be implementing that some time soon, and adding the respective login configuration, if everything goes according to the plan.

Also, this just came to my mind, I could implement something like Sodaboy's client patcher that you could add random code changes, except that these changes will be applied at runtime applied when you log in, pretty much like I already did the PMT limits, max materials and stack stuff...

This way I can let people add their own changes without requiring me to go and implement "person specific" patches while I haven't released the source.

It might not be the prettiest thing, won't allow for more advanced patches that detour the client into DLL functions and will require you to really work out the asm patches but it's something... for example not having to add config for the "invincibility frames" if someone ever gives you (me?) the addresses.
 

Fire AKA Drazn

Loves Games
I wasn't sure where to put this thread, so sorry about that i guess, ill shift it over at some point if its a problem.

The idea of a patcher sounds good to me, but my lack of coding experience will probably lead to me bugging you a whole bunch anyway ;3
 

Soly

Member
I wasn't sure where to put this thread, so sorry about that i guess, ill shift it over at some point if its a problem.

The idea of a patcher sounds good to me, but my lack of coding experience will probably lead to me bugging you a whole bunch anyway ;3
Your topic is fine, I meant my reply lol...

And that's perfectly fine... I could make the patches up if required but probably someone else would have to find where to patch them :p
So let's say I could include a list of patches that later on you can enable, disable or modify based on how you want your server to be.
 
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Fire AKA Drazn

Loves Games
Unfortunantly I am also not equipped to deal with Damage Cancelling either however hopefully this wont be too much of an issue as most modern servers provide good enough Ping to mostly negate this issue.

I know for example of several videos of people testing DMC on ephinea with traps showing the actual effect of DMC on ephinea atleast is pretty neglible.

Tech boosts for single target techs are also much higher than the ones for multitarget techs so hopefully forces are encouraged to attack enemies one by one in groups especially if they are aware of DMC.
 

Soly

Member
I want to play this!! With forces being better, have you worked on fixing DMC at all? I heard Soda worked on it for a bit, but gave up due to issues with it.
I guess that would be on me since that's server side and I'm the one developing the server Fire is using atm...
I do have plans to try some anti-DMC stuff but who knows how it's gonna come up... I'm focusing on other things right now.
 

Zues

English Teacher
I don't mean to be a downer, but I hate the change of Solo mode awarding 2x exp for Multi mode being near impossible to solo. I feel like the benefit for Multi mode being harder to solo should be that Multimode's exp rates are increased to 2x as a reward for dreading multiplayer mode by yourself or with a group. Giving solo 2x exp would mostly just result in people going into Solo mode for most of their levels, grinding out that with 2x exp, and then only hitting multiplayer mode when they are at an appropriately high level, like, say, 170, 180, 190, or even not bothering until 200.

The reward for dealing with the near impossible odds of multiplayer should stem from multiplayer, not solo mode, but you should also give some sort of implemented buff for solo mode to give it some meaning, like, say, for example, Solo mode now has increased drop chances for rares in Ultimate mode only, but only slightly. The trade off is in multiplayer mode is hard but awards you the 2x exp, but Solo mode allows for a harder grind but gives slightly better chances at rares dropping.

Just a thought.
 

Fire AKA Drazn

Loves Games
I don't mean to be a downer, but I hate the change of Solo mode awarding 2x exp for Multi mode being near impossible to solo. I feel like the benefit for Multi mode being harder to solo should be that Multimode's exp rates are increased to 2x as a reward for dreading multiplayer mode by yourself or with a group. Giving solo 2x exp would mostly just result in people going into Solo mode for most of their levels, grinding out that with 2x exp, and then only hitting multiplayer mode when they are at an appropriately high level, like, say, 170, 180, 190, or even not bothering until 200.

The reward for dealing with the near impossible odds of multiplayer should stem from multiplayer, not solo mode, but you should also give some sort of implemented buff for solo mode to give it some meaning, like, say, for example, Solo mode now has increased drop chances for rares in Ultimate mode only, but only slightly. The trade off is in multiplayer mode is hard but awards you the 2x exp, but Solo mode allows for a harder grind but gives slightly better chances at rares dropping.

Just a thought.

This is good feedback, don't worry ^^

2x is a placeholder for now, the idea is that the average EXP gained from 4 player multi and Solo works out at around the same, so you aren't really encouraged to do either one and you do what you feel like instead. It will take some more research to get an exact multiplier, but that is the goal.

Multiplayer is not designed with it being near impossible in mind, at-least not before you reach Ultimate EP2/4. It might however work out that way if you tried to solo content you could before, or at the very least it will end up being very slow as some enemies have nearly 3 or 4 times as much HP as they would on solo mode.

Also, between the PSO2 style drops with no restrictions (i.e not reduced by having more people in the party) and the greater number of enemies of all types multiplayer should be a very good way to obtain items, especially if you work as a team and share loot.

Hopefully there will be reasons to do both Solo and Multi modes. This change in general is aimed at combating a problem I've seen in several PSOBB communities, where there are very good reasons (section ID mechanics, free for all loot etc) to never do Multi mode with other people and multi box accounts instead. I doubt this will stop that, but people should at-least feel like they aren't wasting their time or risking their drops when they want to play with randoms online.
 

Fire AKA Drazn

Loves Games
I guess that would be on me since that's server side and I'm the one developing the server Fire is using atm...
I do have plans to try some anti-DMC stuff but who knows how it's gonna come up... I'm focusing on other things right now.

If you could banish the DMC bugbear that has haunted PSO for 16 years you could be officially declared the hero this community needs, but probably doesn't deserve ^^

This is exciting stuff indeed.
 

ScoobyDew

Casual As Fuck
Holy hell. 16 years later and people are still coming up with new ideas. I haven't read all of it cause I gotta study for an exam this week but how long have you been working on this? If you haven't answered it already.
 

Bliz

Member
This is all very neat, good job, I'm excited to give it a go!

I notice you list the new class stat maxes and make some mentions in the summary about other class changes - I'd be very interested to hear your balance philosophy for each class! I don't know if you are leaving trap amounts untouched, but an idea I was kicking around on the topic was nerfing HU/RAcast traps and buffing HU/RAcaseal traps, to give both of them individual niches in power and crowd control while still letting them do both.

Yellowboze being able to get all items is an interesting choice, the Section ID system is pretty harsh on solo players so I actually kinda like the idea of it being the ideal solo ID while the other IDs all get an advantage in party play or focus hunting due to their higher drop rates.
 
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