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Why the Winona update is bad


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To begin, I don't often post here so I may be mostly unknown. I'm a small time content creator with over 3000 hours in single player and over 800 hours in solo DST. Hopefully there are a couple of people here who can attest to my experience and skill in DS so that this doesn't come across as a rant from someone who doesn't know the game well.

 

I am someone who has always loved Don't Starve as a series and usually I trust Klei and the choices they make. In recent times though, it's become more and more clear that the designers do not understand how to balance characters. Whether it be the new characters in Hamlet or these new refreshes in DST. So first, let's look at the mistakes made with Winona's balance along with the horrible precedence that they set and then we'll dive deeper into the general idea of how to balance a character in Don't Starve in hopes that the future reworks do not miss the mark as hard as Winona's did.

 

 

 

First, Winona's identity is that she is a better builder. Tying her perk of building things faster to hunger doesn't even make sense, but worse than that, at a certain point she crafts even slower than other characters at similar hunger levels. So while Wolfgang is not a builder, when he's starving and in wimpy form he somehow builds twice as fast as an equally hungry Winona..? This just conflicts with her entire character. Due to the huge cost of building at all with 5 hunger per craft, she has essentially become the worst builder in the entire cast. Consider how a single drying rack costs Winona 20 hunger to craft. If I were balancing her, the hunger cost to craft would be entirely removed again. If a downside must be tied to her crafting speed, then I would want it to be an interesting downside. Something like, she sweats and builds up her water meter, or she becomes more vulnerable to outside temperature, causing her to freeze faster in winter and heat up faster in summer. One thing is for sure though, I absolutely would not play her in a megabase anymore. This downside is cripplingly annoying. The time spent farming and feeding her to keep her perk active will far outweigh the insignificant time she saves while crafting. 

 

So, we've established that Winona is not useful to play anymore for long periods of time due to the time and resources wasted by her downside. So what about her new upsides? She can now build two unique things; a catapult and a light. The light is fine if only a bit uninspired, and honestly, an invention like this made from random resources found in nature seems more like it'd be up Wilson's alley as a scientist than Winona's as a builder. But, the real meat of this update is how insanely strong the catapults are. A 10 minute solo kill of misery toadstool? Indescribably insane. If this level of power was worth using then Winona would definitely be good right? Sadly, anyone can use her catapult. Because of this, why would anyone play around the downsides of Winona for long periods when they could instead change into Winona, build as many catapults as they want in the late game, then change into a "better" character? This really shows how Klei does not understand the balance in their game anymore. You may as well replace Winona's picture with a catapult, because that's the only reason anyone would pick her, and even then, it will only be for short periods to hoard her "unique" item, and then just utilize it on stronger characters. This really leads into a good discussion of balance though. Why can a character be useless while also having such a powerful "unique" item? Because it's not truly unique if she can just craft it and give it away. So let's look at the general state of balance with just a few key characters so that this post doesn't turn into so huge a post that no one actually reads it. 

 

 

Wickerbottom: Wickerbottom is in a tier of her own. While in single player she is generally considered to be part of the power 3, in DST, she stands alone as the unquestionable queen of multiplayer. Her stats are nothing amazing, but she has several powerful (actually) unique items that only herself and Maxwell can use. Using her books, she also becomes the best partner for pretty much any other character in the game, especially the next 3 strongest (WX, Wolfgang, and Maxwell.) because she can either augment their unique strengths or entirely remove their weaknesses helping them also transcend to the level of gods. 

 

Wolfgang: Wolfgang is in the power three that exists below Wickerbottom. His perk of dealing double damage is extremely helpful and makes fighting bosses much safer and faster. When comboing with Wickerbottom, his hunger and sanity downsides can both be fixed trivially easy via Applied Horticulture. So, what he uniquely brings to the team is that he essentially always deals double damage and moves 10% faster and has the second highest stats. He's a safe and powerful character and he's a big pile of stats. 

 

WX-78: WX is also in the power three. WX is purely stats on a stick by himself; boasting the highest stats in the game with an insane 400 hp. He also helps a team early on by being able to eat the mostly spoiled food at full value while saving fresh food for his teammates. His combo with Wickerbottom comes from her book the End if Nigh. Via reading this book Wickerbottom can intentionally overcharge WX to become an unholy broken machine. While overcharged, WX moves faster, emits his own light field so he is immune to darkness, and is immune to freezing in Winter. This version of WX is self evidently broken and cleanly earns him a spot in the power three as the safest to play character who is also the most efficient explorer thanks to controlled overcharge. 

 

Maxwell: Maxwell is the final member of the power three. His stats are well below average, having half the hp of most of the cast. He makes up for this with his shadow partners. Maxwell can use his shadows to cheaply and quickly farm an obscene amount of basic resources, whether its rocks or woods he can farm it faster than any other character by a landslide. By collecting resources this quickly and sharing them with his team he essentially frees them up to pursue other goals and accelerates all building plans by in game years. His combo with Wickerbottom is that he is the only other character who can read her books and with his built in sanity regen he can negate the sanity cost of doing so meaning that he can save her sanity and put his sanity regen perk to work so that it isn't wasted.

 

Now, from those quick summaries, we can see that the one thing that makes all 4 of them powerful is the fact that they are truly unique in a way that can not be replicated or used by another character. Other people can't have Wolfgang's strength, other people can't get overcharged, others can't use shadow partners, others can't make and use books. These characters are actually special. Characters need to be special in some way that makes it worth picking them.

 

 

While I don't want to start up an old fight, let's take a quick look at Wigfrid vs Wolfgang in DST for the best example of how a lack of uniqueness can make a character not worth picking. Wigfrid is not as tanky (despite her built in damage negation), she does far less damage than Wolfgang (when she attacks 8 times it's the same as Wolfang attacking 5), she does not get a speed boost like Wolfgang does (which frequently let's a kiting Wolfgang get in a full extra attack before dodging the enemy's attack), and she does not have her downside fully negated via Wickerbottom or any other character (while Wickerbottom can grow food instantly, she can't grow meat). So from a combat and teamplay perspective Wigfrid is a worse Wolfgang in all regards. So to make Wigfrid a viable pick and a valuable teammate we have to look to what actually makes her unique. She has unique craftables. A spear and a helmet. The spear is slightly better than a basic spear but is made worthless with any decent mid or late game weapons but the helmet is a great upgrade on the football helmet, being both cheaper to craft and stronger. Sadly, a player can just change into Wigfrid in the late game, craft as many of these cheap but excellent helmets as they want, then change back into a better character and not have to deal with her downsides. Wigfrid, aside from "I like the character so I pick her anyways" reason, has no reason to be picked by someone who is trying hard, as her only unique aspect can be made in bulk and used by others. And this is exactly what is going to happen with Winona. 

 

Craftables should never be taken into account when balancing a character unless only the crafting character can use it. If any character can use it and you nerf a character to an appropriately weak state to justify the power of their craftable, then players will always just use that weak character to craft stuff then change into an actually good character. This doesn't make characters more interesting or powerful, it simply furthers the divide from the top 4 characters and everyone else. This is less of a refresh and more of a slap in the face to people who have dedicated time and love to Winona and I genuinely fear for any future refresh announcements as it is unlikely Klei will learn from this mistake and we will simply see average characters get brought down to worse levels, while providing new toys for the 4 best characters to use and abuse. So while you may not love Winona, what if it were the character that you loved who got nerfed in such a way that (s)he becomes annoying to play and only adds power to the top 4 characters. 

 

 

First they came for Warly, and I did not speak out -

     because I was not a Warly main. 

Then they came for Winona, and I did not speak out - 

     because I was not a Winona main.  

Then they came for my main character - and there was no one left to speak for me. 

 

 

TL;DR

 

 

So, this refresh honestly killed a character who was at least fun to play by giving her a crippling and annoying downside in an attempt to balance the strength of her unique craftable. Characters should not be balanced around their craftables. If they are, then players will always simply build said items then change into stronger characters with better stats. I posit that you could entirely remove this new nerf and Winona still would not be a "power 3" level character. She'd be just fine, a character that you pick for aesthetic reasons and who happens to have a cool and useful catapult and no real downsides or upsides. Characters must be able to stand on their own two feet and be worth picking for their stats, perks, and uniqueness. A unique craftable item is a fun extra upside, but it can't define the character when other characters can use it equally well. There are many other things I would like to say about balance cause the core focus so far was only about craftables. If this post actually reaches anyone then I would love to discuss more the flaws in designing a character that simply counters their own weaknesses in boring ways (visa-vi Warly in single player).

 

 

I conclude this post with a few images of my megabase on Winona. 120 hours of my life dedicated to a fun character with a unique niche and interesting personality. Now to just sit there, unplayed and unfinished, because of this "refresh." Rest in peace.  

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Klei could do 2 simple things to mitigate in some capacity the above and make Winona a character to stick-by in-out sessions:

1. make the hunger drain 1-2-3 points when speed/en-mass crafting, but no drain occurs if a 2-3-4s delay aka cool-down between craftings is met;

2. lower the dmg output per shot of catapult and/or extend its cool-down.

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I was going to make a similar post, but you finished slightly before I did so I will just put what I had written here:

The changes to Winona in the last patch have made Winona the absolutely worst character in the game. As someone who actually played and enjoyed Winona before the update, putting her as my second favourite character to play, at this point there is never any reason to actually play as her. She has become nothing but a large weakness that only has use crafting catapults and you should immediately swap to another character when done doing so. I don't particularly enjoy constantly swapping characters to do different tasks so I play 1 character per world and never swap. I started a mega base world with Winona that I am hundreds of days in and I was looking forward to continuing on. This update dropped and now the whole world is basically dead to me because Winona just doesn't fit her character archetype anymore.

Winona was released as a hardworking builder character. She had few benefits over other characters, but she did fit her niche with her increased crafting speed. It felt empowering to be able to craft things faster. Winona had perks that fit her personality, had meaningful but not overpowered benefits and felt good to use as a player. The reworked Winona falls short on all 3 of those points. She is now a whiny and needy builder without any benefit to crafting, her crafting speed is actively frustrating to deal with as a player and her only upside to counter that is brokenly overpowered without actually requiring the player to actually play her.

Let's take an in depth look at reworked Winona's unique traits one at a time so we can see what Winona's actual play goal should be:

Unique craftables

Trusty tape
Outside of its use as a crafting ingredient in her other unique craftables, this functions as 1/5th of a sewing kit. If we compare the crafting cost of 5 tapes to one sewing kit, they are fairly comparable. It's hard to definitively quantify {3 silk, 2 hounds teeth and 1 log} to be worth more or less than 15 grass. I am not going to argue either way on this one, using trusty tape to repair clothing items is more or less equivalent to using sewing kits and does not provide any actual perk to the character. I will give this the benefit of fitting her industrious archetype well though. Mechanically meaningless, but characteristically sound. If this item is then looked at in conjunction with her hungry crafting, trusty tape also has an additional cost of 2 seconds of crafting and 20 hunger or 8 seconds of crafting over just using a sewing kit instead.

Winona's Generator and G.E.M.erator
It's hard to comment on these items. There is no comparable structure of any kind and they don't do anything on their own. Outside of commenting on whether you should or should not be able to turn them on or off (which I won't get into here as it isn't particularly relevant), there isn't anything to discuss.

Winona's Spotlight
This structure provides a small light circle around a single player whenever fueled by a generator. Ignoring the targeting issues that these spotlights have, they are strictly worse than just illuminating your base with a fire. They require you to build 2 structures worth of space to craft, making the worse space wise than a fire pit. The light that they give only illuminates the character, not a large area including the character which limits their usability from seeing things to just preventing charlie attacks. I fueled an endothermic pit with 2 nitre (for comparison to fully fueling a generator) and then compared it's light radius to the active radius of a spotlight. The endothermic pit remained lit for 2/3rds to 3/4s of a day. unknown.png The firepit has more light radius than the spotlight has range, making it better both for overall visibility and light range. I can't consider this structure to be a perk to the character in any way.

Winona's Catapult
This structure is absurdly strong. It is directly comparable to the Houndius Shootius. It does approximately 78% of the DPS that a Houndius does, but it does area of effect damage which is very rare and very strong in this game. Winona's Catapult is also not nearly as difficult to craft in large number which is where turrets truly shine. The Houndius requires the player to kill 4 bosses for each one they craft. Deerclops (or Klaus) and The Ancient Guardian for crafting materials in addition to Shadow Clockworks and The Ancient Fuelweaver to respawn The Ancient Guardian. The only downside to Winona's Catapult when compared to a Houndius Shootius is that it requires fuel. Clearly the ability to craft this is a huge perk for Winona.

Free hit from Charlie

This trait is minorly useful at best in Don't Starve Together. Without the ability to work in the darkness that was present in the single player version of the game, there is just no reason to ever be walking around in darkness. This trait may protect you if you are unprepared for nighttime when it comes by buying you the time to craft a fire or a torch but outside that it is completely useless. This provides about as much benefit to the player as the ability to use trusty tape to repair things. A non zero benefit to be sure, but so small it is nigh meaningless.

Hungry crafter

This trait in no way can be called a perk. This is absolutely nothing but a downside to playing Winona. A massive downside with 0 redeeming qualities. Winona can craft things 0.5 seconds faster than other characters can at the cost of 5 hunger or she can craft things 1 second slower than other characters for free. Clearly the slow crafting is a downside without any question. Lets take a look at the fast crafting to see if it is worth doing. Winona costs 5 hunger to save 0.5 seconds, or 10 hunger/second saved. The question then becomes how easily a character can a character produce at a rate faster than 10 hunger per second. Lets take a look into some popular foods to see if that is reasonable. It is tough to quantify some actions into exact times, so I will tend to lean towards actions with long consistent animations like harvesting wherever possible.

  • Berries - The picking animation for a berry takes 1 second. berries restore 9.375 hunger each. Without even considering the animation to eat the berry or the time walking around collecting them, this is a large net loss of time/hunger at the cost of food.
  • Meatballs - Considering meatballs made with 3 berries and a monster meat restoring 62.5 hunger (6,25 seconds of crafting). Picking 3 berries, removing the meatballs from the crockpot and eating the meatballs is 5 seconds of animations. Without considering the time walking around getting the berries, getting the monster meat or cooking the meatballs, this is only a time save of 1.25 seconds per meatballs. Since the tasks not accounted for are nigh impossible to do in that amount of time, this is again a net loss of time/hunger at the cost of food.
  • Bacon and Eggs - considering bacon and eggs made with 3 monster meat and another meat restoring 75 hunger (7.5 seconds of crafting). Cooking 2 monster meat, removing the bacon and eggs from the crockpot and eating the bacon and eggs is 4 seconds of animations. The 2 cooked monster meat also need to be fed to a bird, the 2 eggs need to be picked up. The 4 meat being used have to be gathered and the food has to be cooked in the crockpot. In order to break even on time using bacon and eggs all of that needs to be completed in under 3.5 seconds. Once again, a large net loss on time/hunger at the cost of food.
  • Dragonpie - Considering a dragonpie cooked with 1 dragonfruit and 3 twigs restoring 75 hunger (7.5 seconds of crafting). On average, it takes 3 farm crop harvests to be able to produce 3 seeds and one crop for actual use. Between harvesting 3 twigs, 3 dragonfruit and the dragonpie from the crockpot that is 7 seconds of animations. This comes to a 0.5 seconds of time saved at the cost of food before considering the time spent walking between harvests, cooking with the crockpot, feeding a bird the 2 dragonfruit to get the seeds to reseed your farms, picking up those seeds or walking back and replanting those seeds. Once again, a massive net loss of time/hunger at the cost of food.

Clearly the fast crafting option is indirectly much slower than just normally crafting with a regular character. This leaves Winona with a Sophie's choice when it comes to crafting. Either she wastes time crafting slower than a normal character or she wastes lots of time and resources making food to facilitate crafting a little faster than a normal character. This is not a good place for a character that is supposed to be a builder to be.


This leaves Winona with a single extremely strong structure to craft, a massive downside to crafting and a few relatively meaningless other perks. The strong structure that Winona can craft is usable by any character other than Winona. This indicates that Winona's play goal should be setting up catapults where needed. After crafting a bunch of catapults, there is no real reason to continue playing Winona, even if you like the archetype of a builder since Winona is the worst character at building things. Winona will also just perform worse than any other character at gathering the resources to make said catapults. This makes me feel like Winona's only reasonable use at this point is as a crafting station for catapults, not as a character.

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While I agree with some of your points, there's a few things I disagree with:

   1 hour ago,  Misuto said: 

an invention like this made from random resources found in nature seems more like it'd be up Wilson's alley as a scientist than Winona's as a builder.

Since Day 1, Winona was set up as a mechanic/engineer character. It's one of the issues I've had with her character, that her character's interest in machinery had no influence in her gameplay. They've fixed that.

   1 hour ago,  Misuto said: 

But, the real meat of this update is how insanely strong the catapults are. A 10 minute solo kill of misery toadstool? Indescribably insane

I'm not against this personally. DST has a lot of bosses that are near impossible to kill solo, unless you find a way to cheat (like using fences for Bee Queen). I find it refreshing that there is now a legitimate way that I can fight these bosses with without having to cheese. 

   1 hour ago,  Misuto said: 

Sadly, anyone can use her catapult. Because of this, why would anyone play around the downsides of Winona for long periods when they could instead change into Winona, build as many catapults as they want in the late game, then change into a "better" character? This really shows how Klei does not understand the balance in their game anymore. 

I don't really understand this point. You could say the same thing about Wickerbottom (i.e you log in as Wickerbottom, use her books to set up tentacles and then change to a "better" character).

I also think it's a good thing that her devices can be used by other players. This is DST, not DS. It's a good thing that her character offers something to the team as a whole, not just herself.

And also, any character being able to benefit from her catapults and her lights, isn't the same as actually being able to craft them and decide where to tactically place them. That's a big part of the fun of character.

1 hour ago, Misuto said:

I conclude this post with a few images of my megabase on Winona. 120 hours of my life dedicated to a fun character with a unique niche and interesting personality. Now to just sit there, unplayed and unfinished, because of this "refresh." Rest in peace.  

If I may just add my two scents, I'm really happy with these changes. They're not perfect (not being able to turn off generators is a just bit dumb), but it's definitely a step in the right direction. When Winona was introduced, I hated her...She offered nothing to the table and her character seemed pointless and out of place. These changes have actually brought me back, not just to Winona, but to DST in general.

I understand your complaints about her hunger, but I like that personally. A good character is one that makes you change the way you play normally. You just need to adapt to it.

I do think however, if her downsides continue to be too difficult for people, then Klei should add more items for her to make her worth the struggle, which I think leaves an exciting potential for new machines!

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47 minutes ago, TheKingofSquirrels said:

I find it refreshing that there is now a legitimate way that I can fight these bosses with without having to cheese.

What legitimate way without cheese?

About your Wicker example, it doesn't work because her tentacles needs maintenance so it's not the same thing. It's basically a one use because some tentacles die in the fight and might not have enough for the next fight. You can easily protect the catapults since it's a ranged weapon. Also the extra consideration is Wicker has other things to offer other than the tentacle cheese. As it stands Winona ONLY provides cheese and furthermore the hunger tied to crafting becomes annoying and un-fun to keep playing.

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3 hours ago, Misuto said:

To begin, I don't often post here so I may be mostly unknown. I'm a small time content creator with over 3000 hours in single player and over 800 hours in solo DST. Hopefully there are a couple of people here who can attest to my experience and skill in DS so that this doesn't come across as a rant from someone who doesn't know the game well.

 

I am someone who has always loved Don't Starve as a series and usually I trust Klei and the choices they make. In recent times though, it's become more and more clear that the designers do not understand how to balance characters. Whether it be the new characters in Hamlet or these new refreshes in DST. So first, let's look at the mistakes made with Winona's balance along with the horrible precedence that they set and then we'll dive deeper into the general idea of how to balance a character in Don't Starve in hopes that the future reworks do not miss the mark as hard as Winona's did.

 

 

 

First, Winona's identity is that she is a better builder. Tying her perk of building things faster to hunger doesn't even make sense, but worse than that, at a certain point she crafts even slower than other characters at similar hunger levels. So while Wolfgang is not a builder, when he's starving and in wimpy form he somehow builds twice as fast as an equally hungry Winona..? This just conflicts with her entire character. Due to the huge cost of building at all with 5 hunger per craft, she has essentially become the worst builder in the entire cast. Consider how a single drying rack costs Winona 20 hunger to craft. If I were balancing her, the hunger cost to craft would be entirely removed again. If a downside must be tied to her crafting speed, then I would want it to be an interesting downside. Something like, she sweats and builds up her water meter, or she becomes more vulnerable to outside temperature, causing her to freeze faster in winter and heat up faster in summer. One thing is for sure though, I absolutely would not play her in a megabase anymore. This downside is cripplingly annoying. The time spent farming and feeding her to keep her perk active will far outweigh the insignificant time she saves while crafting. 

 

So, we've established that Winona is not useful to play anymore for long periods of time due to the time and resources wasted by her downside. So what about her new upsides? She can now build two unique things; a catapult and a light. The light is fine if only a bit uninspired, and honestly, an invention like this made from random resources found in nature seems more like it'd be up Wilson's alley as a scientist than Winona's as a builder. But, the real meat of this update is how insanely strong the catapults are. A 10 minute solo kill of misery toadstool? Indescribably insane. If this level of power was worth using then Winona would definitely be good right? Sadly, anyone can use her catapult. Because of this, why would anyone play around the downsides of Winona for long periods when they could instead change into Winona, build as many catapults as they want in the late game, then change into a "better" character? This really shows how Klei does not understand the balance in their game anymore. You may as well replace Winona's picture with a catapult, because that's the only reason anyone would pick her, and even then, it will only be for short periods to hoard her "unique" item, and then just utilize it on stronger characters. This really leads into a good discussion of balance though. Why can a character be useless while also having such a powerful "unique" item? Because it's not truly unique if she can just craft it and give it away. So let's look at the general state of balance with just a few key characters so that this post doesn't turn into so huge a post that no one actually reads it. 

 

 

Wickerbottom: Wickerbottom is in a tier of her own. While in single player she is generally considered to be part of the power 3, in DST, she stands alone as the unquestionable queen of multiplayer. Her stats are nothing amazing, but she has several powerful (actually) unique items that only herself and Maxwell can use. Using her books, she also becomes the best partner for pretty much any other character in the game, especially the next 3 strongest (WX, Wolfgang, and Maxwell.) because she can either augment their unique strengths or entirely remove their weaknesses helping them also transcend to the level of gods. 

 

Wolfgang: Wolfgang is in the power three that exists below Wickerbottom. His perk of dealing double damage is extremely helpful and makes fighting bosses much safer and faster. When comboing with Wickerbottom, his hunger and sanity downsides can both be fixed trivially easy via Applied Horticulture. So, what he uniquely brings to the team is that he essentially always deals double damage and moves 10% faster and has the second highest stats. He's a safe and powerful character and he's a big pile of stats. 

 

WX-78: WX is also in the power three. WX is purely stats on a stick by himself; boasting the highest stats in the game with an insane 400 hp. He also helps a team early on by being able to eat the mostly spoiled food at full value while saving fresh food for his teammates. His combo with Wickerbottom comes from her book the End if Nigh. Via reading this book Wickerbottom can intentionally overcharge WX to become an unholy broken machine. While overcharged, WX moves faster, emits his own light field so he is immune to darkness, and is immune to freezing in Winter. This version of WX is self evidently broken and cleanly earns him a spot in the power three as the safest to play character who is also the most efficient explorer thanks to controlled overcharge. 

 

Maxwell: Maxwell is the final member of the power three. His stats are well below average, having half the hp of most of the cast. He makes up for this with his shadow partners. Maxwell can use his shadows to cheaply and quickly farm an obscene amount of basic resources, whether its rocks or woods he can farm it faster than any other character by a landslide. By collecting resources this quickly and sharing them with his team he essentially frees them up to pursue other goals and accelerates all building plans by in game years. His combo with Wickerbottom is that he is the only other character who can read her books and with his built in sanity regen he can negate the sanity cost of doing so meaning that he can save her sanity and put his sanity regen perk to work so that it isn't wasted.

 

Now, from those quick summaries, we can see that the one thing that makes all 4 of them powerful is the fact that they are truly unique in a way that can not be replicated or used by another character. Other people can't have Wolfgang's strength, other people can't get overcharged, others can't use shadow partners, others can't make and use books. These characters are actually special. Characters need to be special in some way that makes it worth picking them.

 

 

While I don't want to start up an old fight, let's take a quick look at Wigfrid vs Wolfgang in DST for the best example of how a lack of uniqueness can make a character not worth picking. Wigfrid is not as tanky (despite her built in damage negation), she does far less damage than Wolfgang (when she attacks 8 times it's the same as Wolfang attacking 5), she does not get a speed boost like Wolfgang does (which frequently let's a kiting Wolfgang get in a full extra attack before dodging the enemy's attack), and she does not have her downside fully negated via Wickerbottom or any other character (while Wickerbottom can grow food instantly, she can't grow meat). So from a combat and teamplay perspective Wigfrid is a worse Wolfgang in all regards. So to make Wigfrid a viable pick and a valuable teammate we have to look to what actually makes her unique. She has unique craftables. A spear and a helmet. The spear is slightly better than a basic spear but is made worthless with any decent mid or late game weapons but the helmet is a great upgrade on the football helmet, being both cheaper to craft and stronger. Sadly, a player can just change into Wigfrid in the late game, craft as many of these cheap but excellent helmets as they want, then change back into a better character and not have to deal with her downsides. Wigfrid, aside from "I like the character so I pick her anyways" reason, has no reason to be picked by someone who is trying hard, as her only unique aspect can be made in bulk and used by others. And this is exactly what is going to happen with Winona. 

 

Craftables should never be taken into account when balancing a character unless only the crafting character can use it. If any character can use it and you nerf a character to an appropriately weak state to justify the power of their craftable, then players will always just use that weak character to craft stuff then change into an actually good character. This doesn't make characters more interesting or powerful, it simply furthers the divide from the top 4 characters and everyone else. This is less of a refresh and more of a slap in the face to people who have dedicated time and love to Winona and I genuinely fear for any future refresh announcements as it is unlikely Klei will learn from this mistake and we will simply see average characters get brought down to worse levels, while providing new toys for the 4 best characters to use and abuse. So while you may not love Winona, what if it were the character that you loved who got nerfed in such a way that (s)he becomes annoying to play and only adds power to the top 4 characters. 

 

 

First they came for Warly, and I did not speak out -

     because I was not a Warly main. 

Then they came for Winona, and I did not speak out - 

     because I was not a Winona main.  

Then they came for my main character - and there was no one left to speak for me. 

 

 

TL;DR

 

 

So, this refresh honestly killed a character who was at least fun to play by giving her a crippling and annoying downside in an attempt to balance the strength of her unique craftable. Characters should not be balanced around their craftables. If they are, then players will always simply build said items then change into stronger characters with better stats. I posit that you could entirely remove this new nerf and Winona still would not be a "power 3" level character. She'd be just fine, a character that you pick for aesthetic reasons and who happens to have a cool and useful catapult and no real downsides or upsides. Characters must be able to stand on their own two feet and be worth picking for their stats, perks, and uniqueness. A unique craftable item is a fun extra upside, but it can't define the character when other characters can use it equally well. There are many other things I would like to say about balance cause the core focus so far was only about craftables. If this post actually reaches anyone then I would love to discuss more the flaws in designing a character that simply counters their own weaknesses in boring ways (visa-vi Warly in single player).

 

 

I conclude this post with a few images of my megabase on Winona. 120 hours of my life dedicated to a fun character with a unique niche and interesting personality. Now to just sit there, unplayed and unfinished, because of this "refresh." Rest in peace.  

DayCount.png

gobblers.png

GrassRoom.png

Kitchen.png

Starbase.png

storage.png

Umm there are other characters that are chosen just for items not only winona for example if you play as maxwell you'll change in to wickerbottom just to get books if you're any other character you can change in to wigfrid to get her helmets so what's wrong with that some people will main her because they don't want to wait to change in to "better" character if people really wanted to use only strong characters there wouldn't be willow mains wes mains wendy mains I literally know people that main them because of their character or appearance

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While I understand the reasoning behind your criticism of the update, I just can't help but think using a poem about the Holocaust to discuss a character rebalance that wen't poorly is, well, a bit much?

That aside, there have been numerous suggestions how to rebalance the hunger cost to make fast crafting less painful and keeping a full-time Winona on the team for fast crafting more useful.

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27 minutes ago, TemporaryMan said:

While I understand the reasoning behind your criticism of the update, I just can't help but think using a poem about the Holocaust to discuss a character rebalance that wen't poorly is, well, a bit much?

It's not like I am conflating the scale of the 2 choices, just the quality of your options. A Sophie's choice is one where you have two bad options and picking neither is bad as well. If Winona wants to craft, Winona gets to choose to craft slowly or craft quickly at extremely high cost. She has 2 bad options when she has to craft and not crafting is also a bad option.

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I think that there indeed is room for some improvements. Here's my idea: maybe just change the 5 hunger point drain-per-craft to 2-3 points? That would be much less opressive and would be easier to adapt to. I wouldn't ask for anything else.

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5 hours ago, Misuto said:

First they came for Warly, and I did not speak out -

     because I was not a Warly main. 

Then they came for Winona, and I did not speak out - 

     because I was not a Winona main.  

Then they came for my main character - and there was no one left to speak for me. 

I have very strong thoughts about you adapting a poem about the Holocaust to be about a video game. Why would you even think that is close to okay? Don't Starve Together is a leisure activity, not the systematic murder of 11 million people.

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I didn't notice Winona had a longer crafting time while hungry until I kept moving and interrupting the craft. I so used to the normal crafting time I'd assume it was done and move. After doing it for a while and seeing her quotes every time I crafted something I realized her crafting time was slowed. At least shes actually a viable character in my opinion now.

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8 minutes ago, S19TealPenguin said:

I have very strong thoughts about you adapting a poem about the Holocaust to be about a video game. Why would you even think that is close to okay? Don't Starve Together is a leisure activity, not the systematic murder of 11 million people.

Spoiler

 

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
     Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
     Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
     Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

 

The Poem's meaning is critizing people following nazis.

But why did the OP post it is really weird to say the least.

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5 hours ago, 1bubbainpa said:

I think people just need time to adapt to Winona’s strengths and weaknesses. She was kinda just released, and I think her play style revolves around ditching mechanics that we as a community have seen as either normal or mandatory.

Did you read the OP? Who would play as her on the regular for perk reasons? She's an expendable character, because catapults are overpowered, but then playing as her constantly is a huge chore, nothing else. That was one of the main points made here.

2 hours ago, _Ellat_ said:

Umm there are other characters that are chosen just for items not only winona for example if you play as maxwell you'll change in to wickerbottom just to get books if you're any other character you can change in to wigfrid to get her helmets so what's wrong with that some people will main her because they don't want to wait to change in to "better" character if people really wanted to use only strong characters there wouldn't be willow mains wes mains wendy mains I literally know people that main them because of their character or appearance

Because Wickerbottom and Wigfrid aren't unbearable to play as. If you play as Winona, her hunger rate due to crafting-hunger drain, by calculation is 32.5 that of Wolfgang. Nobody wants to deal with that. How could they? Wigfrid has perks to allow her to be a character you can at least play well with regardless, having the battle helmet crafting on the go for you or your team mates, especially since there are multiple places and times you would want those helmets. Wickerbottom I agree for being rather expendable, but ONLY if you have the reed trap. Without the reed trap, book crafting becomes scarce and you need someone to constantly do it when available, and might as well read the books while you're at it. Plus, she's a good early game character, being able to get some more things done earlier without the need of a science machine or an alchemy engine respectively, though it is just a slight boost. Many people will not play her regardless, but most times she will be necessary for oh so many things. And as I said, she is bearable, unlike Winona. Crafting ANYTHING as Winona becomes a chore of either consuming a season's worth of food in a day or two or having to deal with her perk being a nerf by crafting slower than average with low hunger. If her hunger didn't drain instantly as she crafted, may be this would have been quite a different story.

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2 hours ago, _rewolf said:

What legitimate way without cheese?

About your Wicker example, it doesn't work because her tentacles needs maintenance so it's not the same thing. It's basically a one use because some tentacles die in the fight and might not have enough for the next fight. You can easily protect the catapults since it's a ranged weapon. Also the extra consideration is Wicker has other things to offer other than the tentacle cheese. As it stands Winona ONLY provides cheese and furthermore the hunger tied to crafting becomes annoying and un-fun to keep playing.

I guess it depends what you consider cheese. For me, you cross cheese territory when you start using walls. Beefalo, Tentacles and Catapults are legitimate in my opinion. 

Which leads to the issue that catapults are ranged and that people can use skeletons, tables or other indestructible objects to make the catapults OP. However, I think the issue there is with the indestructible objects, not the catapults. I think Klei needs to address the fact that mobs can't destroy certain objects and that this is the key to a lot of key cheese methods.

Wickerbottom doesn't have anything to offer apart from items that can also be used by Maxwell. 

Love it or hate it, I think Winona's light has its particular usefulness as well. The hunger issue is not issue in my opinion. The abundance of food you get late game, solves this easy and allows you to keep her speedy crafting for as long you like.

12 minutes ago, EuedeAdodooedoe said:

Crafting ANYTHING as Winona becomes a chore of either consuming a season's worth of food in a day or two or having to deal with her perk being a nerf by crafting slower than average with low hunger. If her hunger didn't drain instantly as she crafted, may be this would have been quite a different story.

I can see how this would be annoying for building mega bases...

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So a few people have been kind of stuck on my choice of poem to adapt for this post, but I stand by the choice.

 

As an English teacher, I chose this poem because it is one about how good people allow bad things to happen to others. While this poor quality refresh may not affect you personally if you do not love or play Winona, the next refresh or the one after that may, and if we allow the precedence to be set that refreshes may be of this quality now and sit back and do nothing then we can surely only expect the same from all the updates to come from Klei. 

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Balancing a character around their craftables is fine, but they have to have some reason to exist otherwise.

Wigfrid has good craftables, but she can ALSO get away with using less armor or less healing resources, and can regain health and sanity by killing mobs.

Wilson is a infinite source of beard hair, but he can also have an easier time exploring through winter.

Wickerbottom has great craftables, but also never has to learn basic crafting recipes. It's a small upside in the grand scheme of things, but it's convenient for the whole game.

Winona has great craftables, but has a really bad downside.

 

Winona's items aren't very perishable either, while the resurrection statues Wilson helps build, Wickers books, and Wigfrids items all break easily, which means that once you build only a dozen or so catapults and generators, you're done using Winona's perk.

I really like the idea of each character bringing a unique set of items to the game, but there needs to be a reason to play the character PAST that fact.

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38 minutes ago, Misuto said:

While this poor quality refresh may not affect you personally if you do not love or play Winona, the next refresh or the one after that may, and if we allow the precedence to be set that refreshes may be of this quality now and sit back and do nothing then we can surely only expect the same from all the updates to come from Klei. 

As an English teacher maybe you could see that making extrapolations based on the smallest possible sample size (n=1) is generally frowned upon.

As an English teacher maybe you could see how context very much matters and that taking a famous, powerful poem about how we allow humans to inflict horrific pain on others and adapting it for a complaint about how you dislike an update is likely considered to be a bad move.

As an English teacher maybe you could easily find another poem with the same message but a vastly better context.

As an English teacher maybe you could see that your post does nothing to counter my argument that the poem was inappropriate, you just said that the poem fits.

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4 minutes ago, S19TealPenguin said:

..you could see how context very much matters and that taking a famous, powerful poem about how we allow humans to inflict horrific pain on others and adapting it for a complaint about how you dislike an update is likely considered to be a bad move.

As an English teacher maybe you could easily find another poem with the same message but a vastly better context.

Stop being triggered by people not having the same feelings as you have about an event over 70 years in past. Millions killed other millions all through human history, that's the nature of Earth creatures and humans in particular. C'est la vie and this is a game forum - leave politics at the door. It's called escapism for a reason.

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16 minutes ago, x0VERSUS1y said:

an event over 70 years in past

  1. Just because it's old doesn't mean that we shouldn't talk about it. There is no statute of limitations for murder.
  2. 70 years is a short time. There are people alive today who saw the Holocaust firsthand. There are people still affected by the Holocaust today. It is intellectually dishonest to claim that the Holocaust has no relevance today.
4 minutes ago, x0VERSUS1y said:

Millions killed other millions all through human history, that's the nature of Earth creatures and humans in particular.

Oh, guessed I missed the day the U.N. all shook hands and agreed that murder of millions of people, destroying of countless communities, and irreparable harm to countless artifacts was no big deal. It wasn't Hitler's fault because someone else would have done it, and all the SS officers who personally caused the suffering of millions should get off scot free because it was Human Nature and they couldn't help themselves.

 

12 minutes ago, x0VERSUS1y said:

this is a game forum - leave politics at the door. Leave the f***ing Holocaust out of this.

FTFY

 

13 minutes ago, x0VERSUS1y said:

It's called escapism for a reason

Escapism is for leaving worldly troubles behind. Comparing a harmless video game to the most well documented atrocity in history is not escapism.

 

I would highly recommend for anyone who disagrees with me to visit The Museum of Tolerance (or similar), listen to someone with firsthand experience of the horror, read The Diary of Anne Frank, and have some ******* empathy.  

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5 minutes ago, S19TealPenguin said:

*I got really triggered*

Lad, really, most of us don't care that OP did a pi$$-poor analogy or not. Gloss over it or send a PM to OP. I for one am here to read news about a game I play, not being lectured about empathy or Museum of Tolerance. Let-s get back to topic now.

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