The 2-Handed Raw Damage Bias is in Need of Attention

Discussion in 'Suggestions & Feedback' started by The G-Meister, Apr 19, 2016.

  1. The G-Meister

    The G-Meister Giga Slime

    I've kept moaning about how the game is biased towards 2H weapons. I finally did a study today, and was surprised to find out how ridiculously huge this bias is.

    So, what I did was take the two starter weapons as a base comparison, seen as they're one of the only sets of weapons unlocked at the same time - therefore assuming they should be balanced. First I studied the time it takes to make a swing at the fastest rate possible. After some near frame-perfect timings, I found the 1H attack to take 20 frames (1/3 second) and the 2H attack to take about 44 frames (11/15 second). If we divide the average damage per swing by the time it takes to swing, we get a rate of damage dealt:

    Wooden Sword: AVG DMG 22.0
    22/0.33 = 66.0 dmg s^-1 (damage seconds to the power -1, or damage per second)​

    Big Branch: AVG DMG 44.5
    44.5/0.73 = 60.7 dmg s^-1

    Well, nothing too bad yet. It's slightly biased against the Branch, doing about 0.92 of the DPS of the Sword. This is the comparative effectiveness of both weapons on large enemies or bosses - any 1 on 1 situation.

    However, with loads of enemies around, it's a different story - we have to take into account the area of damage dealt.

    one.png two.png

    I've filled in some red dots on the 1H to show the rough semicircular shape of the hit. After a bit of conclusive testing, the area in which damage is dealt seems to be roughly the same as the area inside the blue... swish... thing. After a bunch of pixel calculations of swiping in both directions, I found the radius of the 1H swipe to be 25.5 pixels (px from now on) and the radius of the 2H swipe to be around 40 px. The area of a semicircle is:

    0.5 x PI x (r^2)

    where r is the radius. Plugging these numbers in, we get the area of a 1H swipe to be ~1021 px^2 (pixels squared, a measurement of area) and a 2H swipe to be ~2513 px^2.

    The greater the area of effect, the more enemies you can hit, therefore the greater the theoretic damage output. This means that DPS is positively correlated to area of effect. This means we can now multiply our DPS by these numbers to get a comparative reading if we're going through a normal grind, say, in your average Arcade room:

    Wooden Sword:
    66.0 x 1021 = 67,400 dmg px^2 s^-1 (3 significant figures) (and just forget the units at this point)​

    Big Branch:
    60.7 x 2513 = 153,000 dmg px^2 s^-1 (3 significant figures)​

    This is where our difference lies. 153,000/67,400 is 2.26, showing that, in combat with multiple enemies, the Big Branch is over twice as effective as the Wooden Sword. This makes our Big Branch slightly less effective at bosses, but significantly better at room grinding. Seen as the majority of Arcade mode is tearing your way through standard rooms, this pay off is pretty significant. No wonder 1H players find it difficult getting all S ranks in the Flying Fortress.

    Now I've shown you the calculations, I can throw a few more numbers at you and you'll have an idea of what I'm talking about. The second set of weapons that get unlocked at the same time are the Squire's Sword and Squire's Claymore. If we assume the area of effect and attack speed are the same as the other two we come out with these numbers:

    Squire's Sword: 96.0 dmg s^-1
    96.0 x 1021 = 98,100 dmg px^2 s^-1 (3 significant figures)​

    Squire's Claymore: 78.4 dmg s^-1
    78.4 x 2513 = 197,000 dmg px^2 s^-1 (3 significant figures)​

    Our Claymore is still about twice as effective as the Sword against multiple enemies, and about 0.82 of the DPS as a 1 vs 1. I even decided I'd do a calculation for the green Laser Sword as well:

    Laser Sword: 207.0 dmg s^-1
    207.0 x 1021 = 211,000 dmg px^2 s^-1 (3 significant figures)​

    The green Laser Sword, only craftable after you've beaten the first dungeon in the game, is only slightly better at tearing through enemies than a 2H weapon you pick up for free before your second boss fight. It seems a little out of order.

    We've got our aim, our method and our results. Now we need a conclusion. However, before we jump straight there, we need to mop up a few questions and oddities that I'm sure people will pick up on, primarily due to playstyles and situations. I've decided to put it in a spoiler for those who want to get straight to the suggestion. It'll give the other side to this research, showing you why this is of a pretty big significance, but not necessarily as much as the number show.

    , Ardeof, Teddy or anyone else this topic is of great concern to, please read this section - it's a lot of extra relevant stuff. If it's not of huge concern, the suggestion is down below.

    Before I start, please bear in mind we're talking about raw damage and not skills. That's a whole other topic altogether :p

    Not all non-boss situations involve multiple enemies on you. It might be a Pecko, or you've cleared out all other enemies and a stray Wisp has snuck into a corner. Having said that, with only a 10-20% damage drop off, it's a huge trade off in case you're attacking multiple enemies, which happens moderately frequently, and enough to be of significance.

    I think the extra range of attack on a 2H weapon is probably more important than I'm making it out to be. Although there's a short delay before the attack kicks in, the range and knockback do an amazing job of keeping enemies off your chest if you time it right. Many enemies attack from just outside a 1H hit range (Brawler Bots, Rabbys) making it all the more infuriating that you have to keep enemies as close to you as possible in a hit stun. With Jumpkins I have to use Blade Flurry just to make sure none of them slip past my hit range.

    I think there's a couple other points I'm forgetting, but I'll be sure to mention them in a reply if I remember.

    Anyway, I did a further test, taking the Claymore and Laser Sword into the Gauntlet 1 Arena Challenge, at player level 10, and only using normal hits to kill enemies. I started a timer as soon as the door opened and stopped it once the Gigaslime cutscene started. To compensate for a lack of skill with 2H weapons, I minimised my use of the shield, and I came out with two times - 167 seconds for the Claymore, 128 seconds for the laser sword.

    While using just the dmg px^2 s^-1 numbers alone, the laser sword should have come out slightly faster, and it did. However, if we look at the dmg s^-1 figures, 78.4/207.0 = 0.38 - so the laser sword should've taken 0.38 of the time of the Claymore. It turns out that 128/167 = 0.77, showing that the claymore is close to being on par with the laser sword, but slightly less than the figures show.

    Well, what's our conclusion? So far it's that I wasted half a year of my life learning to tank Arcade mode with a 1H build. If we round it off, I'd say that the 2H weaponry has a significant enough advantage over same-level 1H weaponry that a change needs to be introduced.

    What sort of change, you ask? Well, if 2H weapons tear through normal enemies, but not so well against bosses, then nerfing 2H or buffing 1H only levels out the playing field, making 1H more advantageous due to being equally as effective at both in some regards. If necessary, that could be a quick fix. I've had a couple other ideas, but you know how well those go (badly :chicken:):

    Damage to be dealt by percentage cover of enemies.

    Essentially, if we assign a damage value to the whole area of the swing, say, for arguments sake, 250 for a Wooden Sword and 200 for a Big Branch, we can assign a percentage value of that to each enemy based on how much of it is inside the hit area. Say we take a semicircle as our attack area.

    hit arc.png

    If this is our Big Branch swing, you see we catch the whole of enemy 1 and part of enemy 2. Enemy one takes up about 15% of the attack area, therefore receiving about 30 damage. Enemy 2 also takes up about 15% of the area, so would also receive around 30 damage.

    • Levels out playing field a bit
    • Doesn't allow people to skim enemies and still do loads of damage
    • Allows bosses to be fit into a whole swing - high % cover and damage
    • Some bosses have small hitboxes - wouldn't receive an appropriate portion of damage. Could be combated by health reductions
    An alternative way of doing this could involve a certain amount of damage per pixel, but that might get complicated with some very small numbers.

    That would be a complicated but potentially necessary overhaul. It took me half a year of trying to beat Arcade with a 1H build. @xEleaa has been playing for 2 weeks, about 80 hours total play time, and has gotten within 20 places of me on the leaderboard with a 2H build. I've seen her play as well - no cheating involved.

    Hopefull 1H will get some sort of buff so other 1H players don't have to face the struggle @Pharphis and I have :D

    Thanks for sticking around this far.

    ~G <3

    [Edit]: Oh, I have the spreadsheet with the calculations. If anyone wants that, just say so.
    Pharphis likes this.
  2. xEleaa

    xEleaa Rabby

    Very well put out post =). I do totally agree either 1h needs abit of a buffer, or 2h weapons should do a percentile damage if shield or skill canceling. Beserk + Shield Canceling is :eek:.
  3. The G-Meister

    The G-Meister Giga Slime

    Oh, thanks for reminding me about the shield cancelling :p That gives 2H players and extra layer of protection, as well as a faster attack speed - in some cases close to 1H speed (I think it's around 30 frames, as a guess).
  4. Pharphis

    Pharphis Rabby

    I think the area of effect is a bit less important than you suggest, but I do think it is very important. In fact, I think I will be giving 2Her a try for some S ranks.

    That said, I figured it was way slower than it actually is. I'll have to learn the shield cancel technique, I guess.

    How do things play out when you take into account skills against bosses? I honestly don't know anything about ANY 2Her skills but I would be surprised if there wasn't at least something 2Hers could do effectively against a boss.

    I do think it's worth noting that speed differences are a pinch easier to mitigate since there are lots of passive bonuses to attack speed, and when looking at arcade mode, several armors (and a ring) that further reduce the difference (relatively) between 1H and 2H.
  5. The G-Meister

    The G-Meister Giga Slime

    Heroic Slam against a large hitbox with skill cancelling allows for some insane damage. However I reckon a damage system like the one I suggested with a tad extra nerfing/buffing/balancing could fix that. I've seen people only make gigaslime do one spin in Arcade mode with 2H. The best I've got with 1H is two spins.

    I don't think the armour/rings level out the difference, but some talents definitely have a more pronounced effect of 1H players, such as Second Wind and Backhander. I don't think they compensate for the differences however - and they shouldn't have to :p
  6. Pharphis

    Pharphis Rabby

    I believe I've gotten gigaslime to only do 1 spin before as a 1Her but I think that was with a very lucky combination of dmg boosts (dmg ring + attack speed ring, sword you can buy for 1700 and some good timing for dodging strike... probably snow summon, too). edit: probably also the dmg ribbon or maybe the bandana

    Gave 2Her a few trial runs and honestly it feels goofy. Maybe the playstyle is just not for me but it's not as fun, and trying to shield cancel every single attack is annoying (it wouldn't be so bad if using a trigger to shield, maybe).

    Berserk is fun, though.
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2016
  7. The G-Meister

    The G-Meister Giga Slime

    Normally 2H players tend to cancel a strong attack into a skill which does even more damage, rather than making consecutive normal hits. I was just talking about the raw damage in this post though.
  8. Ardeof

    Ardeof Rabby

    Well don't look at Heroic Slam then. The weapon swings are nearly nothing compared to the abilities.

    Also, 2h and 1h do balance out damage-wise. A 2h player is just as vulnerable as a 1H player. Fast attacking mobs can get between attacks, and trying to cancel an auto of a 2H is difficult. Less mobility, more damage.

    Dash requires 4 skill casts to get similar damage. Blade flurry may do more damage than Heroic Slam, or close to the same. It takes a bit longer to cast the ability though. Spirit Strike requires 2 casts to get similar damage, and Shadow Clone requires being close with lots of auto attacks. It does about the same damage. Dodging strike is.. well... I don't know what it's supposed to do.

    So all in all, 1H vs. 2H is quite closer than expected.
  9. xEleaa

    xEleaa Rabby

    @parhphis I love 2h and berserk is my go to skill tagged along with slam. Shield canceling is a must for effective damage vs full swings but it became a second nature to me. Though rather than increasing your defensive capabilities canceling defiantly reduces them. If you slightly miss the timing you get hit easily (From doing a short swing and not clipping enemy's above you or blocking a projectile/double blocking really hurts. But like I said it's basically just like movement to me now very natural feel to it. And attack canceling with slam is your main boss go to , no bosses really give a lot of trouble but bashy was somewhat annoying to learn it optimally.

    Sorry for the paragraph... :c and somewhat off topic >.> but it kind of explains maximizing dps as 2h and the cons of canceling.

  10. The G-Meister

    The G-Meister Giga Slime

    Less mobility, more damage, a greater range of attack. Therefore all you need to do is stand back a bit further from enemies than you would with 1H.

    How about this. I'll go learn how to use a 2H weapon then attempt to blast Arcade mode with it. I could almost bet you it won't take half a year. Even if you compensate for the fact I will have been learning enemies and the mode in that time, I highly doubt it will still get anywhere close to that value.
  11. The G-Meister

    The G-Meister Giga Slime

    Update 1: After about two hours of playing with a 2H sword, I've got to Phaseman, floor 7. Shield cancelling is easy and effective where relevant, combined with perfect guards makes some great damage. Current build involves pumping Ptotect, Haste, Strength (+2% ATK) and Brawler (+5% DEF after a normal hit). No 2H skills have been used.
  12. Ardeof

    Ardeof Rabby

    At this point you've played somewhere around 500~600 hours of Grindea, unless a large portion of that is AFK. At this point you'd be able to defeat any boss with just a weapon.

    The only way to test skills is to have equivalent weapons and try using those in multiple situations. Single target, AoE, surrounded, etc. Since the game is still in development it's not really worth the effort to do.
  13. The G-Meister

    The G-Meister Giga Slime

    And that's the point - I can't do that with a 1H build, or definitely not in the same time. 2H tears through everything very effectively without any skills that do any damage.
  14. Ardeof

    Ardeof Rabby

    1H does ~10% more damage with auto attacks, and probably works better in some boss fights. If anything it's the 2H that should have the advantage, but it just has better AoE. Most people don't auto attack past level 1 anyway, so what does it matter?
  15. The G-Meister

    The G-Meister Giga Slime

    That's out of the question. If something's broken, it doesn't matter if it's hard to achieve, people only use it for a limited time or not at all, the fact is it's broken. That's like saying "Oh out of bounds clips don't provide any advantage to players so why bother fixing them?" It's because it shows bad game design (no offence to anyone, but that's really what bugs are - and everyone makes mistakes, so don't take it personally).

    And it's the AoE that gives it the massive advantage, which makes it drastically better in group situations. I've said that in the post above.

    Critical Thinking AS finally comes in useful :3
  16. The G-Meister

    The G-Meister Giga Slime

    Update 2: Did another couple runs today, totalling about another hour. Makes about 3 to 4 hours total now. Got to the Flying Fortress for a second time, and these were the results:

    Floor 1

    Floor 2

    These sorts of grades are unheard of with a 1H build. Did incredibly well on floor 7, taking one hit in the first room. Got a little over excited on floor 8, taking bit more, as well as some stupid damage in GUN-D4M. Either way, that's better than any of my runs with a 1H - and I feel it won't be long till I get my Pecko hat.

    The range is just so helpful against Brawler Bots and Guardians. Wisps aren't much of an issue either. A few perfect guards on Peckos and that's most of the enemies. A sitting crystal spawner isn't hard to work around.

    Managed to get to floor 10 in total, and damage started to get a little scarce. Oddly, you seem to be able to pick up the best 2H weapon in the mode (Smashlight) on floor 3 from fishing, which just seems wrong.

    I'm not surprised it didn't @xEleaa very long now.

    [Edit]: Forgot to mention, I'm a little angry now. This bias is just evil.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2016
  17. confrontingInSaNiTy

    confrontingInSaNiTy Green Slime

    Well the game is still in beta, so hopefully this bias won't last in the final game.

    But what do you think Pixel Ferrets should do about it? (and don't say nerf 2-H or buff 1-H, cause that's the easy way out, I want ideas :p)

    Anyway, G-Meister I am amazed at all the research you did. Now that was pretty cool.
  18. tkld178

    tkld178 Rabby

    Smashlight is not the best 2h, it's the axe one. You can also get the second best sword at 3 too i think(minus enemy drops).
    Pharphis likes this.
  19. xEleaa

    xEleaa Rabby

    Hey now I do just as good with other builds haha :c. And ya the only best weapon you can get at 3 is the fire rod, 1h and 2h come later on. :p
  20. The G-Meister

    The G-Meister Giga Slime

    Oh yeah - in all the time that's been out of story mode I forgot it existed. Anyway, it comes much later, and you can't really pick up a laser sword that early :(

    I posted an idea in the main post - make damage by percentage cover of enemies. I basically means the bigger the enemy the more of your swing you can fit it into, so the more damage you do.

    I think it's a greater issue than that though. The game itself really seems to revolve around 2H builds. It's nigh impossible to stop Jumpkins with a 1H sword without taking damage, Brawler bots attack you at the sides from outside your hit range, and when you can't lock all enemies in a hit stun it takes ages to kill them (mainly Guardians). Shield cancelling allows for increased 2H attack speed and really the extra range and damage makes that far more viable over a 1H build.

    The annoying thing is, no fix would be easy. To makes them fair would require almost a complete overhaul of the combat system, which might be why the Pixel Ferrets haven't made any comments yet - they're focussing on getting the next temple finished.

    However, it might be necessary to overhaul soon to keep players interested. I have a feeling that more people try to use 1H due to the greater attack flexibility, and it's slightly easier to pick up. This might be the cause of why so many people quit Arcade mode quite early. Last time I checked, the average floor on the leaderboards was floor 5 (I think - there's a post on it somewhere anyway).

    [Edit]: (There is, and it's floor 3 ._.)
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2016

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