Transcendence Broadcast: Domina & Oracus

General discussion about anything related to Transcendence.
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george moromisato
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Wed Sep 05, 2018 7:43 pm

Tomorrow on Twitch I will continue my permadeath run with the EI500 freighter. The topic for tomorrow is Domina & Oracus. Here are a few questions to kick things off:

* Are the Domina powers in Stars of the Pilgrim balanced? Overpowered? Underpowered?
* Is it too easy or too hard to get Domina powers?
* What kind of interesting new mechanics could we introduce?
* Should Penitents have (additional) Oracus powers? If so, what would they be like?
* Could there be an alternate way to gain Domina powers (not via the Sisters)? If so, what kind of mechanic would be interesting?

As always, though, feel free to bring your own questions on any topic.

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0xABCDEF
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Thu Sep 06, 2018 8:47 am

I once worked on a Penitent adventure called Oracus & Domina I: March of the Heretic which I indefinitely delayed due to creativity reasons and submitted in unfinished form to the Multiverse as "Penitent Space Library." Although it's yet to be completed, it had some new ideas that might be useful for the core game.

Firstly, I introduced a new Power system for Penitent adventurers.
  • Powers are invoked only by using Charms, and NPCs had AI logic to use charms when needed.
  • Charms spawn with limited charges which get consumed when invoked and do not recharge. Depleted charms cannot invoke powers.
  • The cost of invoking varies with the time since last invoke, starting high at the beginning (1 second between = 5 invokes before depletion) and decreasing over time (i.e. 15+ seconds between = 15 invokes before depletion) and also with relationship level (i.e. 4x more invokes at max level)
  • The user levels up based on total damage done with the Penitent Cannon and Oracus powers.
  • Charms get recharged on level up.
  • This effectively gives the player a wizard-like style (i.e. poor armor, powerful but limited magical attacks, a somewhat weak backup weapon).
I also introduced a few new powers
  • BATTER: Penitent cannon shots spawn randomly along a 100 ls ring around the user and fire at all opponents within the ring.
  • RUIN: A red high-radius ring spawns from the player and hits opponents with a high chance of disrupting devices.
  • EXECUTE: Nearby enemies are time-stopped and a huge thermo shockwave spawns from the player
  • AVENGE: Right before the user gets destroyed, the charm teleports the user 100 ls away and leaves a huge thermo explosion.
Finally, I added in some "magical" charge-powered devices for the player to use
  • Rapture Plate: A supercharged version of Advanced Reactive Armor that starts with 150d2 charges and uses them to both regenerate extremely quickly and launch dark acid shots at attackers when hit
  • Awakening Shield: A supercharged Class III deflector that starts with 150d2 charges that halves all damage and reflects most shots. Damage is subtracted from charges and when near hp-depletion, the charges prevent the shield from collapsing
I think the Penitent Infiltration mission could become an entry point to a Penitent adventurer arc in which the player destroys the Sisters of Domina station (effectively betraying them) with the Penitent ship and converts at the designated mission station.

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Thu Sep 06, 2018 3:14 pm

There are only two viable ways to gain powers: Donating slave coffins or donating halo gems, neither of which appear much if at all before Ungoverned Territories. Donating Dall's unique sphere can help a little since his reward is nothing special anymore. Anything else like comtemplation and burning valuable attitude points for very little or nothing, or donating an odd item here and there that you do not find enough of before the Sung appear is a joke. Before St. K's, you can probably count on having access to Sustain and nothing else. If you are lucky, you might be able to get an early slave camp before Charon, grab some slaves, run back to Eridani, donate them, and get powers, but that is a long shot.

Domina Power Balance
  • Sustain is fine. Good panic button.
  • Aside from faulty logic that may try to boost shields when inappropriate, Recover seems okay by itself. Excellent on high hp and low regen shields like Mammoths and Kaidun.
  • Strengthen is a powerful buff when you do not need Recover.
  • Defend is a better Sustain. You can fight while invulnerable. Probably not too bad on its own.
  • Nebular Sight is a reliable map ROM in systems shrouded in heavy nebula. Lets you avoid some ambush. Great for finding how many Iocrym stations there are in Heretic. Very powerful tool.
  • Ingenuity is full of exploit. Spam it anytime you have mostly unenhanced equipment. You can make money off of this, or keep the items. If you have a source of free fuel, like CSCs, you can wait and spam it as much as you like (and alt-tab out of Transcendence and do real-life work on your computer, write another mod for Transcendence, or not while you wait for power to recharge). Overpowered or at least easy to exploit when time is not an issue.
  • Circle of Wrath is very slow. Not very reliable, and not worth giving up Ingenuity for it. Also hazardous to wingmen.
  • Desperate Escape is a renewable Amulet of Life Saving. You cannot die by combat if you have other escapes handy and do not take more foolish risks until the power recharges. It effectively wins the game for you. Extremely overpowered (if permadeath is honored or enforced).
  • Shatter is impractical if you have autons or wingmen (they die too). If alone, it can be handy in neutralizing an overwhelming fight like the wall of Earth Slavers (not sure if they are light enough to be vulnerable, but you get the idea) in Huaramarca. However, this is usually not worth giving up immortality from Desperate Escape.
Chaining powers one after one can be very strong, and might make otherwise reasonable powers overpowering. In any case, Ingenuity and Desperate Escape are the real problem powers.
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Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:35 am

One suggestion to tone down Ingenuity is to make the enhancement temporary (but much longer lasting than Strengthen) like the various reflects granted by some field crystals. It should stop the worst behavior of exploiting Ingenuity (sit for while and enhance everything, while taking breaks during recharge).
Download and Play in 1.9 alpha...
Drake Technologies (Alpha): More hardware for combat in parts 1 and 2!

Other playable mods from 1.8 and 1.7, waiting to be updated...
Godmode v3 (WIP): Dev/cheat tool compatible with D&O parts 1 or 2.
Star Castle Arcade: Relive classic arcade gaming in a new Transcendence adventure!
Playership Drones (WIP): Acquire more wingmen from Ship Broker. Unfinished, but updated to 1.8 beta.
Drake Technologies (Alpha) for 1.8: If you do not have 1.9 alpha 1...

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Song
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Fri Sep 07, 2018 2:04 am

Shatter...might be best if it only hit a single enemy (as a targeted power) but I'm not a fan of the shatter system in general.

Circle of Wrath is best used in emergencies as a missile block: shockwaves are a perfect barrier to low-HP projectiles. Offensively? It's garbage. I would suggest that you alter the power to do damage based on the system level the power is fired in (and maybe other stuff...would be nice for it to do more damage if the player is at low health)

Ingenuity....is both kind of boring and extremely overpowered

Desperate escape is similar.
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Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:01 am

george moromisato wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 7:43 pm


* Are the Domina powers in Stars of the Pilgrim balanced? Overpowered? Underpowered?
* Is it too easy or too hard to get Domina powers?
* What kind of interesting new mechanics could we introduce?
* Should Penitents have (additional) Oracus powers? If so, what would they be like?
* Could there be an alternate way to gain Domina powers (not via the Sisters)? If so, what kind of mechanic would be interesting?
* Well, the auto initiate of the domina skill to allow you to run is a major improvement. I like it now. In the past i had the skill unlocked but was never fast enuf to use it, nice improvement.
Ingenuity is the onley skill i use.
* No, altho a bit late i suppose, nor are new unlocked skill(s) propeley prompted. (not that i use them anyway)
* Tinkerers, all tinkerers do the same... they clone thier tinkerer and put those in stations across universe?? maybe a unique (short but very random)list of items that can be build by that particular tinkerer. giving a real choice to backtrack for that thinkerer that could do a omni lvl 7 positron gun in, lets say, the charon system.....
* Perhaps, but what they really need is badass ships and stations (maybe max lvl 9 weapons that can drop? since dark damage types are not resisted)

Oh edit, tracktor-beam to thier station.... to properley greed you... obiousley xD


* Hmm, maybe remove contemplation from station and put it as 1st skill in Invoke, along whit a list of things that can happen, like 1 improve relation whit domina 2domina reveals a station 3 you jump to random spot in system 4 ... don't know fill in ;-)

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Sun Jan 13, 2019 6:26 pm

george moromisato wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 7:43 pm
* Are the Domina powers in Stars of the Pilgrim balanced? Overpowered? Underpowered?
Powers I think are interesting and fun to use:
* Strengthen
* Defend
* Nebular Sight
* Shatter (especially when combined with Strengthen, lets you win a lot of otherwise very difficult fights, like the Gunsan defense, Huaramarca defense, Chimaera fights, etc.)

Issues with the others:
* Sustain lasts way too long, such that it interferes with getting back into fights. It'd be better if there were some way to cancel it. Alternately, IMO it'd be just fine to replace Sustain with Defend, so that starting pilgrims have a limited-invulnerability spell.
* Restore conflicts with Strengthen; in my experience it's better to kill things faster than it is to heal the damage they've done. A lot of fights become trivialized (or just plain made feasible) by Strengthen but the same cannot be said for Restore.
* Circle of Wrath is just kinda weak, as noted by Song
* Ingenuity is uncontrollable, takes a long time to recharge, and doesn't do anything particularly interesting. Plus it incentivizes waiting around doing nothing.
* Desperate Escape removes a lot of tension from the game, and also strongly disincentivizes using Shatter
* Is it too easy or too hard to get Domina powers?
It's too uneven. You can't realistically get anything until the UT, but then once you're in the UT you might get basically all of the powers within a system or two depending on your luck with slave camps. Or you might find practically nothing until the end of the zone. You also might find yourself in the position of not having any Domina stations until Sanctuary, which means a lot of tediously jettisoning your slave coffins every time you want to dock at a Commonwealth station.

It might be worth experimenting with greatly reducing the Domina value of slave coffins, and greatly increasing the value of the other miscellaneous items you can find that can be donated (like gems of contemplation and death cubes).
* What kind of interesting new mechanics could we introduce?
I'm not really a huge fan of having to find Sisters of Domina stations to unlock new powers. It'd be nice if you could get, like, a portable Domina shrine that would let you sacrifice items right on your ship. If you want a tradeoff for using it, just make it heavy, like 5-10 tons.
* Should Penitents have (additional) Oracus powers? If so, what would they be like?
The main problem Penitents have right now is that their offense is mediocre. The second problem they have is that taking down their stations is unbelievably tedious because the darkfire rings block shots so effectively. So I'd like to see the darkfire ring replaced by some kind of offensive Oracus power. Maybe they can summon wraiths that chase the player and shoot at them periodically, sort of like an intangible auton. It'd last for a long time but be destroyed when the ship that launched it is destroyed. Stations could get several of these.
* Could there be an alternate way to gain Domina powers (not via the Sisters)? If so, what kind of mechanic would be interesting?
The porta-shrine mentioned earlier could be one method. You could also get some Domina progress by progressing Benedict's storyline. Gloss it as gaining a further understanding of Domina or something.

relanat
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Fri Jan 18, 2019 12:31 am

I've never used them. When I started playing donating was a big pit that sucked up credits and items for no apparent reward.
Things have improved a bit since with the "this item is valuable to Domina" screen description but they are still a mystery to me. I've learnt more from looking at the code and reading forum topics than using the feature.

Possibly Benedict could say something about them?
Stupid code. Do what I want, not what I typed in!

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Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:54 pm

1st

Exelent Game George, well done and keep going !

2nd

Nice play-true, i wonder what all those folks mean in the typing live feed xD
Saw u stop for it more than once.

3rd

I have never in any of my play-true's seen a Lithium booster drop from anything... o.O (wonder what i order now? ;-))
Gues i keep learning stuff, even from u ;-)

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