[Balance] Dirge of Ceresa is pretty crappy now

By on November 6, 2012 12:41:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

ManiiNames

Join Date 03/2006
+24

[Edit] The current suggestion on the table, endorsed by Derek, is to remove the casting time from Dirge of Ceresa.  Having it kick in immediately would go a long way to making it more damaging and more fun.

 

Right now Dirge of Ceresa kinda sucks.  There are two very close analogies to Dirge (Horrific Wail and Contagion), and quite frankly Dirge comes in last of the three.  It does do (one point) more damage than Contagion, but less than Wail. However its mana cost is so high as to be prohibitive in the early / mid game, and in the late game the damage is completely overshadowed by Horrific Wail. 

My first suggestion would be to remove the randomness in Dirge.  Make it do a flat X per round, instead of a variable amount between 1-X.  This would be a big boost in damage, and reflect the uniqueness of the spell and it's extremely high cost when compared to the others.

My second suggestion would be to raise the shard bonus on Dirge back to +2 per shard.  Even this damage boost barely makes Dirge better than Wail in terms of damage, and that assumes you are converting basically every shard you own to death shards.  I think more than +2 per shard might be necessary, especially given the damage is easily resisted and not frontloaded. 

A third suggestion would be to have Dirge do (Caster Level) + (1 per shard).  This is advantageous in that damage ramps up some even if you don't convert every last shard to death.  This has two prongs to it, one is that Death is sort of the theme of the Resoln faction, but also that if the only spells you can cast which are worth a damn are death (because you have no water, fire, etc shards) then it gets boring to play that faction.

My fourth balancing suggestion would be to flop the mana costs of Dirge and Wail.  This makes Dirge more efficient, but lacks the WOW!!! factor of a faction-only sovereign-only spell.  It would help bring them into balance cost wise, but if you had both available to you the only reason you'd ever cast Dirge is because you didn't have enough mana for Wail.

I've been back and forth with this one all through beta.  Too strong, too weak.  Too strong, too weak.  Right now it's way weak, incredibly so compared to its nearest competitors.  Just for amusement I went and found one of my old posts about this topic, here it is for a comparison in the past, with some comments by Derek:  http://forums.elementalgame.com/417476

 

Additional Notes:

  • Dirge and Wail both take two turns to cast.  Contagion only takes one.  +1 for Contagion.
  • Dirge and Contagion both do poison damage, which is very commonly resisted.  Horrific Wail does untyped damage.  +1 for Wail.
  • All three can be resisted, so this one is a tie.
  • Damage dealing method:  Wail wins this one hands down, +1 for Wail.
    • Dirge and Contagion both do damage immediately on cast, and then some random amount between 1 and max damage over time after that, with the damage occurring after the target has acted.
    • Horrific Wail does its full damage immediately upon cast with no follow-up DoT.  This is important because a dead opponent doesn't get to do anything.  I have frequently fought battles where my Hero cast Wail and instantly killed everyone on the other side, often before they were able to do anything due to trying to max out my Hero's initiative.
  • Early game all three spells perform adequately, but Dirge is extremely expensive to cast in comparison to the other two.  Call this one a -1 for Dirge.
  • Later in the game Horrific Wail totally dominates.  It does considerably more damage, all of that damage is frontloaded, and it has the best damage per mana ratio of the three.  +1 for Wail.

 

Locked Post 18 Replies
Search this post
Subscription Options


Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 6, 2012 1:51:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


I have not played with Ceresa for awhile.  Dirge used to be completely over powered since its damage is controlled by shards and you can corrupt the shards you have to be all death shards which will increase its damage quite a bit.

Maybe it was nerfed to much.

 

 

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 6, 2012 2:19:13 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Dirge does more damage than wail over time, you just need the patience and stall tactics to make it happen.

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 6, 2012 2:41:26 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Saying be patient doesn't work, because the numbers never do catch up unless you have an extremely long battle.  In a 5-round battle Wail wins in terms of damage every single time once you're past the extreme early game.  If you go longer than that Dirge can start to catch up, but how many battles do you have that last that long?  Here's some #'s that I cut out of my original post to prevent people going TLDR.  I have a ton of #'s below, but in the last example with a L12 Sovereign and 8 Death Shards you would need to have a ... NINE ROUND BATTLE before Dirge did more damage than Wail.  And your opponents are alive for those entire nine rounds, beating the crap out of you - instead of being instantly dead the way they would be if you just cast Horrific Wail.  For less than half the mana expenditure, even.

 

•Early game damage, L3 Sovereign, one death shard.  The current winner in terms of both damage per combat and efficiency is Contagion.  Changing damage would bring Dirge into first place in that category but still be dead last in efficiency.  Changing mana costs would have Dirge tied with Contagion for damage but still be slightly less efficient.  Calculations below.

◦Currently Dirge does (3 Base) + (1 per Shard) = 4 maximum, targets will take 1-4 points on cast and then 1-4 per round thereafter with an average of 2.5.  Assuming the battle lasts for five rounds total this yields four ticks of damage (initial plus three DoT ticks) averaging 2.5 each for a total average damage of 10 per unit.  Dirge also costs a staggering 64 mana to cast, an extremely steep cost for the early game Sovereign.  Damage per unit of mana is (10/64) = 0.156.

◦Contagion is identical to Dirge except it only has a base of two damage.  So (2) + (1) = 3 max.  However since it casts faster you get one more tick out of it, so five ticks of 2 avg dmg comes out to 10 for the battle.  Contagion is much cheaper to cast than Dirge, coming in at 18 mana.  Damage per unit of mana is (10/18) = 0.555

◦Horrific Wail does (Level x 3) frontloaded flat damage with no ticks, doing an average of 9 damage per unit.  It's mana cost is higher than Contagion, coming in at 24, for a cost of 0.37 mana per point of damage.

◦Adding damage to Dirge would yield an average of 3 dmg x 4 ticks = 12 dmg per unit with a cost of 0.187 mana per.  It is now first in damage but still last in efficiency.

◦Changing the mana costs would change the efficiency of the current Dirge and Wail spells to 0.500 and 0.140 respectively, making Dirge less efficient than Contagion but much more so than Wail.  Wail's dmg is all still frontloaded however, giving it a significant advantage thereby.

•Little later in the game we have a L7 Sovereign with four death shards.  This is only really possible if you are actively converting other types to death.  Currently Horrific Wail is now solidly in first place with both the most damage (completely frontloaded as well) and the best ratio damage per mana expended.  Changing damage values for Dirge would bring it slightly ahead of Wail.  Changing mana costs would put Dirge between Contagion  and Wail in terms of efficiency.  Calculations below.

◦Mana costs and damage values now include bonuses from Path of the Mage.  This is important for the DoT spells, since they still can do a single point of damage.

◦Currently Dirge does 11 maximum (it rounds up) with 6 average damage.  Four ticks is 24 damage with a damage per mana of 0.50.

◦Contagion does 9 max with 5 avg damage.  Four ticks is 20 damage, with a damage per mana of 1.48. ◦Horrific Wail does 32 damage with an average damage per mana of 1.77.

◦Adding damage to Dirge would yield an average of 9 dmg x 4 ticks = 36 dmg per unit with a cost of 0.562 mana per.  It is now first in damage but still less than 1/3 as efficient as the competitors.

◦Changing the mana costs would change the efficiency of the current Dirge and Wail spells to 1.00 and 0.50 respectively, making Dirge less efficient than Contagion but much more so than Wail.

•Extending this idea, lets try a L12 Sovereign with 8 death shards and Evoker II.  Now eight shards is a lot, to have this many you have to have aggressively expanded and taken them from your neighbors, then converted most or all of them to death shards.  Horrific Wail is now doing almost 75% more damage than its competitors, all completely frontloaded, and for a fraction of the mana cost.

◦Currently Dirge does 22 maximum with 11.5 average damage.  Four ticks is 46 damage with a damage per mana of 0.95.

◦Contagion does 20 max with 10.5 avg damage.  Four ticks is 42 damage, with a damage per mana of 3.00.

◦Horrific Wail does 72 damage with an average damage per mana of 4.00

◦Adding damage to Dirge would yield an average of 19.5 dmg x 4 ticks = 78 dmg per unit with a cost of 1.21 mana per.  It is now first in damage but still incredibly inefficient.

◦Changing the mana costs would change the efficiency of the current Dirge and Wail spells to 1.91 and 1.12 respectively, making Dirge still be less than 2/3 as efficient as Contagion, but still better than Wail.

 

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 6, 2012 2:52:03 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

i just want to say, that a cast delay on a DOT spell makes it worthless.  I fight very fast and efficiently, i rarely have a battle lasting more than 4 rounds. I've played a resoln game and i never found any situation where dirge was useful to cast. For what it is (an all-targeting debuff) i think the mana cost is fair, but the casting time is not. It needs to be an instant spell, first and foremost. The damage and manacost should be balanced around that.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 6, 2012 2:59:10 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I've never used wail..but Cont > Dirge every time..2 turn casting time for a DoT spell is bad (plus like twice the mana cost)..by the time I'm done casting it the battle is half over and the squishier enemies are dead. How about make these instant casts with damage that ramps up. Maybe make Dirge unresistable since spending 2 turns and a chunk of mana just to have it fizzle is not worth it the risk when you can just throw a fireball. 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 6, 2012 3:02:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Sythion,
Dirge does more damage than wail over time, you just need the patience and stall tactics to make it happen.

 

 

Not really true. While you're waiting for Dirge's dot to actually have some effect, I am.. casting another Wail! Due to Dirge's ridiculously high mana cost, 2x Wails is still cheaper than one dirge, and by the time the second Wail hits, Dirge's damage hasn't even caught up with the first Wail, so now the Wail-caster has more than doubled the Dirge-caster's damage. All of which is moot since the first Wail usually kills the guys anyway. And doubly moot against the many poison-immune mobs that Wail works on just fine. And if poison dot damage is really your thing, Contagion does the same thing as Dirge but faster..

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 6, 2012 3:02:35 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Horrific Wail is the player version of Despair, it's great.  Dirge, not so much any more.  Long casting time, high cost, and DoT over 10 turns in a tactical battle system made to not last that long?  Pretty worthless to me.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 6, 2012 3:26:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


Yeah... Horrific Wail destroyed dirge on damage. On my last game Ceresa was 33 or 34, had 10 of most of the shards (Including Death), Dirge would dot a target for about 20 points per action, while Horrific Wail would annihilate the entire field for over 250 in the same cast time and for I think 14 mana for me at that time. I still used Dirge sometimes, for the hell of it. But if it was anything I was concerned about fighting.. Wail, lets just say they didn't get a chance to do much.

 

Granted you could buff up Dirge's power to do crazy amounts, but tactical combat just isn't really designed with long fights in mind. I wish it were .. But it isn't. 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 6, 2012 3:39:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Rath3130,

Yeah... Horrific Wail destroyed dirge on damage. On my last game Ceresa was 33 or 34, had 10 of most of the shards (Including Death), Dirge would dot a target for about 20 points per action, while Horrific Wail would annihilate the entire field for over 250 in the same cast time and for I think 14 mana for me at that time. I still used Dirge sometimes, for the hell of it. But if it was anything I was concerned about fighting.. Wail, lets just say they didn't get a chance to do much.

 

Granted you could buff up Dirge's power to do crazy amounts, but tactical combat just isn't really designed with long fights in mind. I wish it were .. But it isn't. 

 

To be fair to Dirge, you could've been using corruption and had say 40 death shards instead of 10. Even then, though, Dirge would still lose - I'd take 250 instant damage over (at most) ~80 per turn. If the 250 actually leaves anything alive you can still finish it with another spell (another Wail, shadowbolt, whatever) faster than Dirge would've caught up.

You've pointed out the key problem with any kind of dot in FE - tactical combat is specifically designed to be over quickly, there just isn't time for a damage-over-time spell to be worthwhile, especially one that takes a couple extra turns to even get it started. Dirge was overpowered back when the first hit could oneshot armies like Wail can, the dot component was never that important.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 6, 2012 3:43:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


Don't forget that Horrific Wail actually does it's listed damage of (Level x 3), whereas Dirge does a random amount between 1 and its maximum.

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 6, 2012 4:23:52 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I agree with OP... I was going to post about this.  Dirge was supposed to be this really cool spell, but now it's way overshadowed by contagion and wail.  It should be a lower mana cost and have no casting time.  That would make it special again.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 6, 2012 4:53:35 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yeah I like the idea of removing casting time form it altogether.  We are locked for 1.01, but if we rebuild I'll slip it in.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 6, 2012 4:57:27 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Derek Paxton,
Yeah I like the idea of removing casting time form it altogether.  We are locked for 1.01, but if we rebuild I'll slip it in.

I won't tell anyone if you do slip it in

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 6, 2012 5:03:06 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Lube it up first.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 7, 2012 10:34:16 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Thanks Derek!

 

To clarify I do not think that the spell does not need buffing, just that its damage is higher than Wail if you have a long battle. I fought off a (potentially) bug-empowered, juggernaut infused Yithril with 5x my power score by running with 8 bound harridans and Ceresa, mostly by using Dirge.

The math given to refute this is just wrong.

A level 12 hero will deal 36 damage with a Wail.

8 shards will cause Dirge to do 11 damage per round, nearly catching up in 4 rounds (accounting for casting times), considering that you don't have to sit on your ass after casting Dirge.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 7, 2012 4:35:35 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Sythion,
The math given to refute this is just wrong.
A level 12 hero will deal 36 damage with a Wail.
8 shards will cause Dirge to do 11 damage per round, nearly catching up in 4 rounds (accounting for casting times), considering that you don't have to sit on your ass after casting Dirge.

My math above included Path of the Mage and Evoker II on the L12 Sov.

Also your 8 shards (plus path and Evoker II bonuses) will only make Dirge do 1-22 dmg per round, since it is randomized between 1 and the maximum.  So your average dmg is only 11.5, making it take a very very long time to equal out with Wail doing 72 damage instantly.

Point is moot though, with the no casting time change Dirge will be worth casting again, if you have a bunch of death shards anyway.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 7, 2012 7:04:53 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Hmm.. no cast time will certainly make it useful in some situations (pretty much anytime you're afraid of getting interrupted, or killed off by ranged units in the first few rounds, or want to make sure some lower health enemies die asap). The mana cost is still far too high though, several times the two comparable spells - as long as that mana cost stays, I'll be sticking to Horrific Wail anytime I can afford to get the cast off without Ceresa dying/interrupted.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
November 7, 2012 7:19:25 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


I just modded my spell to have no cast delay, going to try it out and see what I think.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
Stardock Forums v1.0.0.0    #108432  walnut2   Server Load Time: 00:00:00.0000281   Page Render Time: