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PrincessRessa

High prestige difficulty and scaling - Sal story mode (Combat)

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So, the TL;DR of this analysis is that I feel like the difficulty curve on Sal's story mode is inverted, and while prestige tiers do make runs more difficult, that difficulty is mostly early game.

With Sal in her current state, I honestly think that the last 3 bosses of her story mode would need SIGNIFICANT buffs to be appropriately difficult.  I seriously think Kashio would need at least 5x her current health and probably 50-100% more damage, and probably also some anti-meta abilities or passives like you see on the end-game slay the spire bosses.  I'm not actually recommending that you guys look into this, rather I see the problem as Sal simply scales FAR too hard in her current state.  Major culprits are:

-Wound:  It's strange to me that Wound, of all mechanics, is a mechanic that ticks down by 1 instead of being reduced by a percentage, when it's far more powerful and exploitable than burn or bleed.  The fact that there's so few mechanical enemies in Sal's story makes wound builds extremely safe and extremely powerful, since Sal can quite easily build up a big stack.

-Sal's Grafts: There's a few culprits here, some grafts are simply in a league of their own and just completely outperform what the game can throw at you (and their fellow grafts, obviously).  IMO, Major culprits are: Arterial Scanner, Buckshot, Wounding Barbs, Serrated Edge (!!!), Recycler, Perpetual Recycler, and Fragmenter (Notice how I'm listing almost all of the wound grafts here.)

-A few heavily over performing cards: Specifically, Kidney Shot, Stone Surge, and Boulder Stance feel like they trivialize runs the most with the least amount of required effort or build-around.

So, uhh, at the risk of talking too much to myself about something that the devs may be aware of anyway, I'll end this post here.  Am I the only one who feels this way about the difficulty? Any other culprits that people feel trivialize Sal's lategame?

 

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ZeroEffort    5

I'm on day 3 of my experience with Griftlands at prestige 4. I have been playing as Sal exclusively and the game has been trivial so far. As far as rouge-likes go, this game is the easiest rogue-like I've experienced. I still haven't died, at all. In fact I've only been close to being defeated once because I forgot I had used the healing springs to increase my max hp and then robbed someone at a random encounter.

I don't know anything about Sal's meta as I'm still unlocking cards and experimenting but unless the prestige modifiers give some serious debuffs, I don't see the alpha being very challenging.

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OmniPotent42    11

I agree that wound only ticking down by one is easily abused. Had one run as Sal where I was able to abuse the wound grafts + a multi-attack to OTK Kashio on turn 1. IMO Wound and Bleed should be switched, with Wound reducing by 50% and bleed being reduced by a more reasonable amount, like 33% (and yes, I'm aware of the graft that reduces it to that).

But I don't think wound scaling is as big of a problem as the Boss Grafts that give energy - it's not uncommon to have access to 5 energy per turn after the second day, and when you go up against Kashio you can nab an extra energy graft as well for 6 energy total. Rook's character is much more interesting IMO because you have to get creative to play more than 3 cards per turn, usually by reducing the cost of certain cards to 0 or using cards that draw and reduce cost. If Sal was limited to 3 energy like Rook, it would be much harder to create big stacks of wound without exposing yourself to attacks.

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pacovf    915

There’s diminishing returns for grafts that give extra actions, since you only draw 5 cards, before you have to spend actions to get more cards, which kinda defeats the purpose. Sal also has many good 0-cost cards, making extra actions past 4 even less useful. I rarely want two extra action battle grafts, I would rather have an extra action for negotiations instead than a 5th action for combat. Especially since graft slots are limited, and there are many specialised grafts that will have a bigger impact on your combat performance. That being said, the first extra action graft is definitely the best graft you can have, outside some very specific combos.

For wound, I could see an argument for having it halve at the end of each turn. A lot of cards/grafts would have to be rebalanced around it though. I disagree with the listed grafts being overpowered. They only feel that way if you’re trying to build a wound deck every time you play (except Arterial Scanner, which is very nice if you’re going for a bleed deck, but isn’t even the best Bleed graft). And that’s only one way to build Sal’s deck.

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18 hours ago, pacovf said:

There’s diminishing returns for grafts that give extra actions, since you only draw 5 cards, before you have to spend actions to get more cards, which kinda defeats the purpose. Sal also has many good 0-cost cards, making extra actions past 4 even less useful. I rarely want two extra action battle grafts, I would rather have an extra action for negotiations instead than a 5th action for combat. Especially since graft slots are limited, and there are many specialised grafts that will have a bigger impact on your combat performance. That being said, the first extra action graft is definitely the best graft you can have, outside some very specific combos.

For wound, I could see an argument for having it halve at the end of each turn. A lot of cards/grafts would have to be rebalanced around it though. I disagree with the listed grafts being overpowered. They only feel that way if you’re trying to build a wound deck every time you play (except Arterial Scanner, which is very nice if you’re going for a bleed deck, but isn’t even the best Bleed graft). And that’s only one way to build Sal’s deck.

Those exact same grafts draw you extra cards when you upgrade them, Sal also has tons of really powerful card draw options.

Disagree if you want but it's kind of pointless if you don't elaborate.  What's your overall point, that Sal DOES scale too well but I have the why of it wrong? That Sal is perfect? That she's too weak?

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pacovf    915

I agree that D3 and D4 bosses are on the easy side. Kashio used to be fine, but I haven’t played since she got nerfed and I haven’t experienced the new prestige levels either, so it’s hard for me to say. The game is very easy at low prestige levels, to me the real issue is that it takes forever to unlock the high prestige levels.

I think making wound decay faster is a reasonable idea. I think the grafts you’ve singled out are good, but not overpowered compared to the other options you get, unless you’re systematically going for a heavy wound deck, which isn’t guaranteed if you play with all card packs on (you can try to force it, but then you would have better luck with a different paradigm). Fragmenter might be the one exception, I don’t have enough experience with it to really say.

I forgot that boss grafts eventually give you one extra card. It happens pretty late in the run, and might not happen at all if you get the graft at the end of D2. It does make a second action graft a better deal than I said in my earlier post.

For your general question: I think Sal scales fine. I think D4 doesn’t really add much to the game in terms of gameplay, because your deck is more often than not ready to go by the end of D3; D4 just gives you time to upgrade grafts and some late card drafts, which isn’t the most exciting thing. Outside a few difficulty spikes, you’re extremely safe otherwise. But this is also a common difficulty curve in roguelikes once their length goes past 1-2 hour mark. I don’t think your proposed changes would actually change the rhythm of the game.

I’ve also been playing the game for a long time now, so maybe I’m just used to the way things are.

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