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As topic, Power level affects basic damage roll of weapon class abilities, how much % you get from PL is determined by your current PL - ability level. This is the reason why low level abilities like cripple attack and FoD is always better than high level ones.


I didn't snapshot but a level 20 Rogue can roll a maximum of 29 basic damage roll instead of 19 on sabre/Cripple attack. Plus the additive damage bonus he gets like backstab, sneak attack and etc. While his high level abilities will roll less on the basic damage roll due to the formula I mentioned earlier.


Imo this is an issue and should be raised and fixed.

Edited by dunehunter
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I agree. Let higher tier abilites start at PL 0 or 1 internally as well.


What's the point of having a high tier ability that gets +25% additive damage when the low tier ability gets a +20% multiplicative one at the same PL?  

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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I don’t want to completely disagree, but I do want to provide an alternate viewpoint. In terms of relative balance between weapon attack skills, how often does power level scaling influence your decision of which skills to pick? I think the answer is “not very often”. Most of the trees are designed so that low level attack skills are work-horse damage dealing attacks why higher level skills are focused on burst damage, aoe or utility. Let’s look at the 7 classes with weapon attacks:


Barbarian: They get barbaric blow and heart of fury, and heart of fury will clearly be better than barbaric blow against a large group of enemies. PL scaling on barbaric blow would hardly dissuade someone from choosing HoF and will almost never influence which ability they choose to use.


Fighter: They get knock down, penetrating strike, clear out and power strike. If you’re dual wielding, you’ll still prefer penetrating strike over mule kick, and clear out will always outdamage mule kick (it hits the primary target twice) and will be much more efficient against two or more enemies. Power strike looks really bad, but a number of fighter powers have inflated resource costs. If it were cheaper, it would also be competitive with mule kick since it does something very different.


Monk: This is a complicated one. They get force of anguish, stunning blow, torment’s reach, skyward kick and whispers of the wind. The only problematic ability here is skyward kick. If you have whispers of the wind, you’ll always prefer it against more than one enemy. If you’ve built around stunning surge, you’ll also almost always prefer that. Torment’s reach is AoE damage and disable, so it will always have a use. It’s possible stunning blow, force of anguish and torment’s reach could outdamage, or compete with skyward kick, but they all also have issues. Stunning blow isn’t renewable and requires a specific build to be efficient. Force of anguish knocks your target away, so also requires four skill points invested (two for efficient anguish, two in the long pain line) to compete with skyward kick, which only requires one. Torment’s reach doesn’t disable the primary target and skyward kick does. So even though it’s relatively weak, it still has a nich in spite of less benefit from PL scaling.


Paladin: They only get flames of devotion and it’s clearly intended to be one of the most powerful weapon attacks in the game.


Ranger: They get wounding shot, concussive shot, twinned shots and whirling strikes. Concusive shot will always have a niche. Whirling strikes will always be better against a large group than wounding shot. Twinned shots will always be better than wounding shot if you’re not dual wielding. Regardless of the high PL scaling on wounding shot, each of the powers has a strong role.


Rogue: They get crippling strike, blinding strike, ring the bell, finishing blow, withering strike, sap, gambit and vanishing strike. That’s a lot! And I have to admit, I haven’t played enough with a rogue to write with much authority. But past crippling strike, all the other skills offer powerful utility (confounding blind, perishing strike, eliminating blow), dots (gouging strike, toxic strike, ring the bell), or burst damage (finishing blow, gambit, vanishing strike). Only sap looks bad, and while it’s certainly influenced by PL scaling, mostly that’s because sap is just bad.


Soul Blade: Soul annihilation is the core gimmick of the class and you’re clearly meant to build around it. If it didn’t scale very well, it would be a problem. Single class soul blade already becomes pointless once you get death of 1000 cuts, since that, with antipathetic field and mind blades will far outstrip any amount of damage you could possibly manage with soul annihilation.


I can only think of a few cases at most where power level scaling would strongly influence ability choice, and mostly that’s because some of the high level weapon skills are too weak anyway, and don’t fill a clearly defined role.

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Well the good news is that powerlevel have an effect for martial classes!


First tier of abilities where never meant to become outdated. The culprit I thing it's more the cost of hight level abilities. The actual balance mean you will mostly use your 1 cost ability most of the time (spam feeling) because it's the most cost effective, and 2-3-4 cost abilities are situationals. The problem is martial classes have only 1 1 cost ability, so you don't really have choice (there is exceptions, like rogue escape, or monk wound abilities that use a different resource).


First time I saw the beta and that upgraded abilities lead to new abilities I wasn't fan of it, but now I begin to think it was perhaps a more interesting solution? if you can get both upgrade of your 1 cost attack and that unlock 2 new abilities. That offer more choice to the player and the dev can put a different cost on a no upgraded ability (that, in my opinion, often feel too much).

or you could allow to unlock all upgrades and get a new ability each time (the two upgrades of crippling strike give you 2 abilities at the same cost). That open more low cost choices for the player.


Another problem it's how most weapons & items still have per rest abilities. What the point to switch to per encounter economy? They should offer some alternative to your low cost abilities to break the spam feeling.


Overall, casters have most of their options at low level casting and different level don't compete, when martial only have 1-2 low cost abilities and all their abilities compete each other for the resources. It's more a problem of lack of options for low cost abilities.

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I agree this is a complicated question. Devs want the low level ability to remain useful and to make high level ones viable, and it's hard to balance it. I actually like how Paladins in dnd 5e handles this issue. Let's say 5e paladin has Divine smite which u can do extra damage like FoD. You can burn a spell slot to deal extra damage to enemy. How many damage dices u get from the smite is based on the spell level u burnt. You can burn a higher lvl spell to do more burst damage or choose lower level ones. And smite and spells share same resource so it's kinda similar to how DF handle resource.

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Well pretty much every ability have the following, which is what I guess you are seeing (from abilities.gamedatabundle):


"PowerLevelScaling": {
            "ScalingType": "Default",
            "BaseLevel": 0,
            "LevelIncrement": 1,
            "MaxLevel": 0,
            "DamageAdjustment": 1,
            "DurationAdjustment": 1,
            "BounceCountAdjustment": 0,
            "ProjectileCountAdjustment": 0,
            "AccuracyAdjustment": 0,
            "PenetrationAdjustment": 0



Which from what I can only guess at this stage, (from trying to get an overview of how the system works, while sketching a re-work of the Ranger-class. )

means that it get:


PL gives +1 Dmg, and +1 sec Duration to all the abilities with this modifier.



This bonus is applied every strike. And since the damage doesn't scale with resources spent, I guess instead of.

Y = ((X + PL)*1.25 ),  [3 Crippling Strikes (Guile cost: 1) ]


Y = (X + PL)*1.25,  [ 1 Withering Strike (Guile cost: 3) ]

Which could have been

Y =  (X + PL)*1.25 * GuileCost,  [ 1 Withering Strike (Guile cost: 3)  ]

   =  (X + 3*PL)*1.75


Where Y is resulting ability damage before other modifiers such as might/sneakattack/mitigation etc, and X would base damage.



But I personally think there are several other issues at play here causing higher level abilities to be less effective.

Only anecdotal experience from playing on PotD though so take it with a large pinch of salt.


In the lower-mid (lvl 1-14) levels

Your party are unable to reliably hit your enemies: 40% hit rate was high in my experience. Which in turn means a majority of your hits will be a 'Graze' or (-50% dmg)

That together with enemies high AR, being in 10-12 for the squishy 'Rogue Type' enemies, and steel-constructs with their 19 AR is just.... Which means your attacks get another stacking -25% to -75% damage per hit.


In the mid-high levels (+14)

Your party will have around 60-80% hit rate, so you can count almost strike the -50% dmg modifier.

But AR is ever increasing.

And if we look at the Rogue as an example.

Its first tier ability

Crippling Strike: +25% ,+2 penetration

All other strikes, instead of +2 penetration get +10 Accuracy.

Accuracy which in the end-game is a thing you already have in abundance compared to penetration.



And what adds even more is the new Affliction tier system.



Which doesn't match the progression of the Abilities received by the Classes.

The lower image shows that this currently rather counter-intuitively scrambled seemingly at random.



A lower level Rogue aught to be able to not more than distract/hobble their foes.

And a higher level Rogue should be more capable, which could be better reflected by being able to cause Blind/Paralyze


Wizards and their Chill Fog is probably the most notable example from the other classes. Where at Power level 1(!), you have a spell that provides a Tier 3 affliction, AoE, and pulsating.




TLDR: I think that the issue is a combination of high level abilities, both not scaling adequately, no pentration bonus, and NOT providing higher Tier afflictions.


At the same time this gives you more incentive to try out one of the game's numerous Multi Classes, so perhaps Higher level abilites do not need to be urgently fixed?

(Edit: fixed resolve in the affliction-tree image)

Edited by FluxWing
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Upvoted! I have a similar thought as I said earlier, burning more resource should means more PL bonus u get, and this:


This bonus is applied every strike. And since the damage doesn't scale with resources spent, I guess instead of.

Y = ((X + PL)*1.25 ),  [3 Crippling Strikes (Guile cost: 1) ]


Y = (X + PL)*1.25,  [ 1 Withering Strike (Guile cost: 3) ]

Which could have been

Y =  (X + PL)*1.25 * GuileCost,  [ 1 Withering Strike (Guile cost: 3)  ]

   =  (X + 3*PL)*1.75


Where Y is resulting ability damage before other modifiers such as might/sneakattack/mitigation etc, and X would base damage.


Soulds good enough to me.

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TLDR: I think that the issue is a combination of high level abilities, both not scaling adequately, no pentration bonus, and NOT providing higher Tier afflictions.


I agree some higher level abilities are too weak compared to lower level ones, and I agree that accuracy and penetration feel like they have an awkward progression through the game, but I’m not sure I agree higher level powers should all do more damage and apply stronger afflictions than lower level ones. A problem with the affliction and inspiration system, in my opinion, is that it can feel “mushy” compared to buffs and debuffs in PoE. It’s hard to gauge exactly how much damage I’m preventing when I daze or disorient my opponent. Hard CC or CC that provides powerful losses in accuracy or defense is much clearer. If low level characters can only hobble their enemies, then high level characters can paralyze them, that creates two problems: first, low level powers feel too low impact, so people will think they’re not valuable; two, high level powers will have much more obvious (and powerful) effects, so people will always use them. Then the effective number of choices you have in combat would be much smaller.


At present, just about every rogue attack except maybe sap has a clear use in combat, even if some are stronger and some are weaker. Gouging strike, for example, may have accuracy instead of penetration, but it applies a raw DoT that will eventually kill anything regardless of its armor. So crippling strike might be the ability that you use the most, but spending two guile on gouging strike against a very tough enemy will be worth more than two crippling strikes a decent enough amount of the time to pick the ability. Top tier damage abilities like gambit, clean sweep, heart of fury, etc. blow the low level powers out of the water in both damage and efficiency, though usually through AoE, so low level powers still have a niche against single targets when you get them.


At the end of the day, I’m still not sure which low level powers precisely are obviating which high level powers, and in cases where they are, I think it’s because the high level powers just plain suck or are seriously over priced.


But at the same time, just because you can still find a use for, say, withering strike as well as crippling strike, doesn’t mean crippling strike isn’t still significantly better. It’s far easier to justify skipping withering strike than crippling strike, and depending on how big the disparity is, that might still be a problem.

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Fluxwing you miss some important points : not all high level abilities are about dmg (or weapon dmg). Some do AOE, or apply some specific effects. Exemple toxic strike apply a dot (and I don't know if dot are still bugged but this one do more dmg longer it stay). But I find the base skill overpriced for what it do.


Same with afflictions, some high level abilities apply weaker afflictions but do it in AOE (like smoke cloud). Or the other skill than shadowing beyond, it allow you to paralyse with your next attack, the last upgrade still have the same effect but add a t1 dex affliction to enemies around you when you teleport.


More accuracy mean more chance to critic and get PEN bonus (overpenetration).


I don't say everything is ok. Chill fog should not blind (wizard have a specific spell that do it). Rogue positionning & sap feel weird, not PL 6-7 abilities and as 1 guile abilities I find escape & crippling strike far better. I find that some base skills without upgrade are overpriced ( a problem when you MC and the upgrades are PL 8-9).


Design wise I think highter level abilities are meant to be situationnals. You can see people using aoe 3-4 cost abilities 3-4 times in a row and kill lot of enemies at once, but you need to setup it. The problem for some class is more the lack of option at low cost. Most class have 1-2 skills at 1 cost so it can feel spamming. Rogue are not the worst with escape and crippling strike, and trickster are even better with more 1 guile options (positionning & sap feel too situationnal and you unlock them too late I think).

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