Greatbow balance

Sooo, just tested the 18-str-needed greatbow.

That thing is pretty ridiculous: it one-shots things, no questions asked. Even with wooden arrows you easily outperform composite crossbow with steel bolts PER SHOT.

And it’s not even that difficult to min/max into 18 str build on multi-pool char.

I mean, 35 points of damage is just waaaay over the top.
Damage in the range of normal good bows (10-12-ish) and composite crossbow (20 points), maybe. But 35 is just ridiculous for an auto-craft bow you can craft on, like, day 3 from scratch.

Maybe. But 18ST is also enough to drag cars in game. It’s hard to say how powerful a bow such a being could fire is since there’s no human to measure it against in reality.

As far as the game is concerned, strength up to 20 is something you can start with without any mutations or CBM’s involved. (Also, strong humans CAN drag cars IRL.)
Anyway, this is a balance issue more than anything else.
Melee weapons do NOT scale that way: you can’t make a super-sledge-hammer with some 60+ damage simply because you have high strength. Why can you suddenly make a bow?

That’s a good point about melee. I’d accept it if the scaling was consistent across the board.

It’s designed as a niche weapon for mutant/cyborg strength builds. If you can start with 18 strength then you must have dumped a lot of other stats, skills, and traits in exchange.

Melee scales well, but it’s not just strength. With high melee skill, high cutting skill, and reasonable strength/dex, you can easily do 80+ damage a turn with something like a nodachi, which you can find just lying around in museums and mansions. Even more with Niten Ichi-Ryu, which you can find in libraries from day 1. The greatbows are still bows, so you need archery skills and perception to use them effectively. Well, you should. Not sure how much they actually impact things.

All that said, it hasn’t had the new damage equation applied so there’s a good chance it might get it’s stats shifted. It would probably just be a loss of damage in exchange for AP though.


Thanks Darktoes. I need to actually try this bad boy out.

That’s not how the game actually works.
You can start with
Str 18
Dex 4
Int 8
Per 4
on any character even with multi-pool system, no mutation or cybernetics involved, no skills or traits exchanged.
Dex 4 and Per 4 are largely irrelevant if you know what you are doing: they don’t limit your ability to use the bow, just make it somewhat longer to aim.
You don’t need to hit things at full range for that 18-str monstrosity to become overpowered. No, you hit things 1 tile away (where your Dex 4 and Per 4 don’t really matter) and one-shot them with a head-shot.
To be more specific, you start aiming beforehand, and then actually release the arrow once the target gets close enough to get a guaranteed hit/head-shot.

The difference is, melee enemies have 0 chance to retaliate even if you miss or fail to hit them with the bow as long as you left an extra tile for them to move before they can actually engage. Not the case with nodachi or whatever — if you miss, you will be attacked.
That, and you can pre-aim a bow shot for effectively guaranteed hit/head-shot. Something you can’t do with melee.

Archery is easy to train, perception does not matter if you are attacking from 1 tile away.

What makes you think normal arrows and normal bow materials are even capable to withstand this kind of forces for more than one shot?
I’d say this kind of contraption should use heavy sticks for arrow shaft (one stick per “arrow”), and still have a pretty high chance for the said arrow to break. Because, you know, if it’s dealing 35+ point of damage, 35+ points of damage are dealt to the arrow. Bow string should be something much more durable than simple strings you use to hang curtains (i.e. metal/kevlar/etc, or AT LEAST a couple of ropes).
And even with all that 35 base damage is ridiculous. That’s almost twice the composite crossbow! I mean, if character can craft that kind of “bow”, why not an equally oversized crossbow with, like, 50+ base damage?
And I don’t mean the heavy one with 6000 reload speed that you can only craft via a book, I mean just oversized DIY monstrosity that you can reload pretty quickly with you bare hands using just your 18+ str.

P.S. Bottom line: 35 base damage is still pretty ridiculous for hand-made bow when composite crossbow has 20 base damage. Things just don’t scale up this way in a game. 35 damage make it an equivalent of full-blown heavy assault rifle. That kind of power should damage the bow and arrows with every shot unless all components are high-quality steel or better.

One other thing to consider:
Longbow has 10 base damage at 5 min str
Greatbow has 35 base damage at 18 min str

Both are auto-learn recipes from the same skill level.

Why exactly isn’t there a bow with 31 base damage and 16 min str? A bow with 27 base damage and 14 min str? Etc, etc?

And why exactly greatbow gets about +2 extra damage per point of extra strength over longbow when normal melee damage scales at +0.5 damage per point of strength?

4 dexterity and 4 perception. You still paid heavily for the 18 strength, when you could have had balanced stats or spent more points on skills. You could have just as easily put points into unarmed and a martial art and been nigh-unkillable, people do that all the time. I see no issue here whatsoever.

You’re legitimately building a character around using that bow. I don’t know what you expected.

Spears do the same thing.

A setup action to guarantee a critical hit in melee would be really cool. You should put that in the needful things thread.
Again, I don’t see an issue here beyond a comparison to melee. Melee is still faster and has no ammunition requirements, plus you don’t need a specific strength build to use the top melee weapons.

I suppose? Seems you’re just exploiting close-range shots. You could do the same with a shotgun or any number of other guns, and those don’t have the range of the greatbow. Have you tried this build against anything other than basic zombies? A hulk maybe, or a military grade turret?

It uses normal arrows because they’re an abstraction. Arrows are surprisingly complex and have a number of factors in their make and manufacture, so ingame you use the same arrows for a 30lb youth bow as a 120lb warbow, despite that being unrealistic. They’re also surprisingly strong, all things considered, and would probably have little issue with a 300, maybe 400lb draw weight. That said, I could modify them to use heavier arrows, and I might, but it’s not a large concern for now.

As for materials, you can make any poundage bow out of any materials (within reason). You just need more of the materials. Thicker limbs, thicker strings. There are all kinds of youtube videos of people making insane poundage bows, it’s just a matter of using the materials correctly.

The composite crossbow isn’t a fair comparison, it’s a handheld crossbow of lower poundage with no strength restriction whatsoever. A stronger crossbow will be coming soon, it’s just a matter of my getting around to it someday.

Assault rifles have no strength requirement.

Nah, wood can take incredible stresses if you use it properly. Ships, ballistas, houses even.

They’re the same bow, but one is bigger. Higher poundage. That’s pretty much the only difference.

Because I would have to code them all and that’s a pain. Then it’s a pain for all the players who have to try to work out the difference between “50lb Recurve bow” and “55lb Composite bow”. I’ve had this discussion before, the answer is that there’s not enough payoff for that kind of complexity.

Because it shoots harder? Melee scales a bit oddly, I don’t know what else to say.

Ok, let’s maybe skip the whole “is 4 dex and 4 per a real drawback” discussion. I guess I can technically prove (via actual game-play footage) they are pretty irrelevant, but that’s beside the point.

Same for pre-aiming melee vs ranged: it’s a huge benefit of ranged attacks, but we can, indeed, argue this is just a fluke of current game-design.

Let’s just focus on the one thing it actually boils down to: the damage.
Again, a normal wooded spear is pretty similar to an arrow in how it works (stab with the pointy end using muscular strength).
Why exactly a wooden spear gets +7 damage from str 18 over str 5, and bow gets +25 damage from the same difference in strength?
Is bow somehow +250% more effective in converting raw strength into damage? Why would that be the case?

Well first of all, thrusting a spear uses a fairly narrow range of motion. Due to the size and shape you have a relatively small window wherein you can actually use your muscles, whereas a bow basically allows you to use your full upper body strength from the end of one arm to your chin/jaw. In those terms, using a bow actually probably is more efficient in terms of energy input. Consider that trying to stab something with an arrow by hand usually results in little, if any, actual penetration of the target, while firing one out of a bow is a completely different story.

Is it realistic? Sounds like melee might have a scaling issue, maybe. Not my field of expertise.

In terms of game balance, the issue is that you’re comparing a bottom end spear to a mid-ish range bow, one that requires a specific build to even use. You can’t argue that the general balance is off because the average player literally can’t even use the weapon without substantial mutations or bionics. In which case they probably have the resources to make/use something far batter.

That said, I’m currently having a go at determining the KE of what I think the greatbow should be, and I’ll get back to you with an expected damage value.

EDIT: I got something fairly reasonable. Assuming an IBO of 183 for a longbow and a draw weight of 210lbs, the greatbow should manage around 33 damage with broadhead bolts, plus 4 AP.

You can use your whole upper body to trust a spear as well. Not to mention the spear will have your whole weight behind the hit and you can keep applying the force after the initial impact.
All-in-all I don’t see any good reason why bow will scale the damage with raw user strength more that a melee weapon would.

But that’s literally the whole issue.
You are introducing a bow that effectively scales the damage with strength at 350% the rate melee weapons do.
What exactly is your baseline for greatbow having +25 damage over longbow? Why not +7, as a spear would? Why not +60?

Again, ANY build can start with 18 str no matter the mutations or bionics. That’s a simple fact of how the game actually works.
And we are talking about damage scaling here, and damage scales with strength the same for all spears and all melee weapons (high end or low end or whatever).

Actually, can you please specify what exactly is your position here:

  • greatbow is a “unique” weapon that should not be balanced with how the rest of the weapons in the game scale?
  • greatbow is still a normal bow and, thus, 31 base damage with 16 min str and 27 base damage with 14 min str bows can also be introduced?

Ok, so what would be the base damage of the greatbow, then?
If it’s something like 17 (10 longbow + 7 from str scaling) I would be perfectly fine with it.
(Maybe up to 20 base just to have a nice round number.)

The greatbow was balanced around the idea of a longbow with 3 times the poundage and 3 times the power. It works fine, the numbers for it are fine, the only issue is that the longbow, and probably a lot of other bows, are functionally far lower poundage than they should be. I’ll be fixing those in future.

I’m not responsible for melee scaling, I just deal with bows, and I’m using the equation I was given to find reasonable damage values for them.

Arrows currently have a lot more damage attached to them than they probably should, and I may even have to find a way to implement proportional damage on weapons or ammunition to make this work out realistically.

As it stands, the greatbow is fine, most of the other bows are under-powered or misrepresentative. If ranged weapons do more damage than one of the weakest melee weapons in the game, that’s not a high priority of mine.

Where exactly did you get equations that describe the damage a pointy stick should deal to an undead monstrosity with completely alien physiology?
I was always under the impression damage in any game is balanced relative to the damage other weapons do and the hitpoints enemies have. :confused:

We have this now:
It’s nice and I like it.

The conclusions I’ve drawn from what you’ve said is:

  1. Current bow recipes are a bit simplistic. I already had plans to fix that.
  2. Melee weapons don’t scale well with strength, which is odd, but not something on my todo list by any means.
  3. Some bows could stand to be better spread across the strength values. I already had tentative plans to fix that, but I suspect it should help even out your complaint.

I maintain that starting with 18 strength and bullrushing the greatbow is not representative of standard play, nor is the greatbow particularly out of line with other bows, but I can see where you got the idea from.

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1 ) Making bow crafting more complicated is something I’m 100% on board with.

2-3) If you introduce bows that will scale with strength the way you currently suggest you will have to either re-balance all enemy HP and armor values, or high-end bows with moderate skill will one-shot just about everything (instantly sending the game meta-balance down the drain).

As for “starting with 18 strength and bullrushing the greatbow” — it’s a completely normal play under current meta available to any profession and starting scenario.
More so if you plan to introduce more bows with lower strength requirements and similar damage scaling.

Maybe, but probably not. The greatbow will remain the top-end for bow damage and is pretty reasonable by most accounts.

Nope, normal play is starting with 8 in all stats. Starting with 18 strength is quite rare, and you’re specifically doing that to get to the greatbow, so it’s not normal play.

The damage scaling is constant and already exists, just there will be more in the middle range.

Do you want me to provide video evidence of a character one-shotting stuff with that thing or what?
I mean, It’s just a fact-of-life that thing one-shots Z’s. It’s not just my opinion, it’s simply how things work.

Something “rare” can still be “normal” if it’s available to all profession and starting scenarios.
I mean, being a mechanical engineer IRL is pretty rare. Does that means it’s not a normal thing for a person to be?

The damage scaling that exists is 0.5 points of damage per point of str.

Yes, that’s how it works, and that’s fine. It’s a near top-end strength build niche ranged weapon. Is it also an issue that the Nodachi and Barrett .50 cal can one-shot enemies? Obviously not, so it must be okay.

Nothing wrong with being a mechanical engineer, but you can’t grab an engineer, hand him an engineering problem to solve and say “It’s an easy problem, he solved it in two minutes! You need a harder problem!”
The greatbow is designed for builds with high strength. You’re intentionally adjusting the circumstances to start with a normally difficult prerequisite and complaining that it’s too overpowered.
Start with 8 strength and get a greatbow in a week and we can talk earlygame balance.

For a wooden spear.
You’re taking something unrelated and applying it to something with a solid rationale and saying it’s not okay because the two don’t match up. The only issue here is that melee weapons don’t scale proportionally with strength, and that’s not an issue with bows.