Melee Weapon Rebalancing

v2.6 is very nearly done and this is likely the last blogpost before the release. If you are interested in trying it out to give some early feedback on v2.6 before the official release (which will probably be in the second half of January) you can find it at the downloads page.

The properties of common melee weapons have always been a bit inconsistent because they have stayed more or less the same since release #1, while the game has evolved a lot since then. My goal have always been that weapons should feel distinctly different from each other (something that is usually not the case in roguelikes and RPGs). However, I feel the current diversity of weapons is unfocused and arbitrary, some weapons are strictly inferior to other weapons. Another problem is that you would rarely pick up a weapon if you didn’t have something else to put in your offhand. I have for long time wanted to tighten up the design of basic weapons.

What I have done is to make all common weapons more similar to each other (I know… a bit weird considering the goal below, but here me out) and of roughly equal power and accuracy, but instead try to accentuate their pros and cons. I have tried to make each weapon class pertain to a specific build type and give its properties to fit that. When you compare two weapons in v2.6, there are fewer stat differences, but differences that matters. I do feel that this makes the choice of weapon more interesting and they are much easier to compare to each other.

Common melee weapons

The common melee weapons in v2.6: shortswords, longswords, maces, hand axes, shortspears and longspears. Each of these weapons have the following traits in common:

  • They do 2 base damage and have no melee bonus.
  • Their base price is 200 and they are all “common”.
  • They all have a -2 mp penalty since they are made of iron, but they do not have a noise penalty anymore.

This makes the weapons equal in power, but they have specific pros and cons that makes them more or less usable depending on your type of build:

Longswords. Longswords no longer have open melee, but their block bonus is now +15% (instead of +10%). They are good for defensive melee builds.

Shortwords. Shortswords are now identical to longswords except they are now thievery weapons (but they have a smaller melee penalty than daggers). This means that a shortsword is preferable to a longsword for stealthy characters. They are for hybrid melee/rogue builds.

Maces. Maces cannot be coated but also don’t reduce reputation, they still reduce the melee attribute of the monsters they hit. Note that they now also deal 2 damage. They are for defensive priest/melee builds that wants to keep their reputation for meditations.

Handaxe. The handaxe is the only common weapon with “open melee” which means it has an increased accuracy in open spaces. They are a good fit for aggresive melee builds.

Shortspear. Shortspears are similar to handaxes but has “closed melee” instead. Since closed melee is “safer” and stronger than open melee, they have a slight accuracy penalty. They are good for semi-defensive melee builds. Longspears are similar, but they have reach and are two-handed.

Quarterstaff. Quarterstaffs are martial, two-handed and they don’t penalize mp since they are made of wood. Similar to maces, they cannot be coated and they do not reduce reputation. Note that they now also deal 2 damage and they have a nice block bonus. They are for monk type builds that wants to increase their hitrate with martial combo.

Uncommon melee weapons

The uncommon melee weapons are daggers, rapiers and wooden clubs. These weapons are a bit more “exotic” and are even more specialized.

Daggers. Daggers haven’t changed: they are still highly damaging thievery weapons, but they have a large melee penalty that has to be overcome by raising that stat or your thievery.

Rapiers. Rapiers do only 1 damage (as opposed to most other weapons now), but they compensate by having the counter attack and a high bonus to the melee attribute. This means that they have the potential to be more damaging than other weapons, especially when coated or enchanted.

Wooden clubs. Wooden clubs also only do 1 non-lethal damage, but they compensate by having knockback which can be seen as either a defensive ability (knocking opponent away one step), or can give more damage (knocking into a wall). They cannot be coated and don’t reduce rep. They also give a bonus to your melee.

Whips. Whips also only do 1 damage but have a range of 5 and deal surprise damage (they are also unchanged).

Weapon variants

There are variants of most types of weapons that alters them further. A common alteration are wooden versions. Wooden weapons now always deal non-lethal damage, have higher accuracy and has no mp-penalty.

Wooden variants. Wooden variants no longer give a penalty to fire resistance; instead, they are non-lethal, have a small bonus to melee and have no mp-penalty.

Silver variants. Silver variants give additional silver damage but have a small melee penalty.

Shadow variants. These are completely reworked. They are variants that do cold damage instead of normal damage, they don’t have any noise, mp, or reputation penalties and give some cold resistance. Their drawback is that they reduce your max hp slightly when wielded.

Other Weapons

Of course there are a lot of other uncommon, rare, very rare, and special upgrades. Many of these are untouched, but they are still based on the new variants of weapons. For example: the death sword is now a variant of the current version of the shortsword, so many weapons have indirectly changed through these changes. I have also done some smaller fixes and balancing so they fit better balance wise.