so i don't really know what i'm doing here, but i wanted to talk about some things i think y'all will like.
so everyone knows reborn is hard, right? i hear it's one of the main draws of the game.
well, when reborn started development back in the ancient era, this was a pretty novel concept. i remember back when i first played the game in, like, 2015 the game kicked my ass and i thought it was great.
however, it's 2021 now. things have come a long way since the ancient era, and some of the stuff that defined "difficulty" has kind of turned into "pain in the ass". so we've made some changes that will hopefully help everyone's butts hurt just a bit less. longtime readers will probably recognize some past topics, but since we've gotten a bunch of new kids 'round these parts since the pandemic i'm just gonna put everything new and fancy in one nice post so we're all on the same page.
early game mon availability
the combination of difficulty balancing with world building effectively means that the theme of early game is "hope you like poison types!"
(i don't like poison types.)
now obviously there are some exceptions to that. there's a lot of extra mons available through special events and such to help provide some variety, but there's still a limit to the overall variety of mons available.
so we're going out of our way to add some new mons. it'll definitely help with rounding out your team early on, and it means that some otherwise forgettable mons will have a chance to get some love. (hi deliberd.)
monotypers can also rejoice here. there'll be at least two mons that "qualify" for each type by the first gym. i say "qualify" because some types are pretty busted that early (sorry, fairy and dragon), so we gotta do some stuff like, say, counting swablu as dragon. i'm not a monotyper, and i know y'all are out there with all kinds of crazy rulesets and stuff, but since there seem to be a lot of people running monos these days, we figured we'd pull some strings to make that easier.
mono runs suck a bit less, normal runs get more options. everyone wins!
raise your hand if you like grinding.
grinding sucks a lot in general, and reborn has a pretty bad relationship with grinding in general since easier methods of grinding don't really vibe with the whole "disaster city" aesthetic. there are some things to help make grinding easier than just battling wild mons- that's why there are grand hall trainers and indra. these aren't perfect, though. indra gives you a random team (because he's a clown) and i suspect a lot of people don't realize that the grand hall trainers exist. then if you want to add new mons to your rotation you gotta use the exp share (which an alarming number of people accidentally trade off) or put them as the lead in your party and rotate them out....
point is, it sucks.
once you hit late game, most players start to ev train their teams to help make improve their teams. problem is, there aren't really any dedicated places to EV train, so it starts coming down to going to finding the best place to get EVs and dealing with how well that actually works for the stat you're looking to boost. it's still pretty slow, and the fact that locations aren't consistent for it mean you have to avoid a lot of fights.
point is, it sucks.
the dex quest also ends up being a pain since the process of acquiring every single dex entry means you have to do a bunch of inventory management with your exp share alongside pulling your mons out of the pc and everything. it ends up being really long and tedious since you can only train one mon at a time like this, and you've got a shitload to do...
point is, it sucks.
so we've got some stuff to help.
- repeatable trainers also give EXP candies.
the benefit here should be pretty obvious. if you're bringing someone new into rotation then you'll need to give them a lot of exp so they're around the same level as the rest of your party. this is one of the few gen 8 additions that we're throwing into the game immediately.
exp candies won't push you over the level cap, though.
- EV items are much stronger.
much stronger. power items got an 8x boost and now give 32 evs in whatever stat; the macho brace now boosts your ev gain by 8 instead of 2; and the pokerus boosts your ev gain by 4 instead of 2. the pokerus is also a liiiiittle easier to get.
- the EXP share has been moved up. its original location now has an EXP all.
so this is the big one.
exp candies already make late-game grinding a non-issue. feed your newly hatched mon a candy, they gain 500 levels, game ez. the exp share is now a lot earlier to both make teambuilding easier as well as to still make it useful.
the exp all exists to make giving out enough experience between badges a non-issue. every trainer now effectively provides 3.5x the original experience.
- the EXP all toggles on a hard level cap.
i suspect my mention of an exp all concerned a lot of people. it originally also concerned me. this is my solution.
to explain why this matters, i'm gonna have to talk about the level cap.
for those who don't know the difference: right now, reborn has a soft level cap. that means if you hit the maximum level before the next badge, you will keep gaining exp and can level up over the cap. a hard level cap means that you stop gaining exp entirely when you hit the level cap. you can still level up over the cap, but you'd have to use a rare candy to do so. if you've played rejuv or deso, they both use a hard cap.
there is a really strong debate over which cap is better. i'm very firmly on team hard cap. the obvious problem with the soft cap is that you risk overlevelling your team and thus having problems with disobedience. this used to be worse before e18, since your mons would immediately stop obeying mid-battle. you still risk going over the cap between battles, and if you're in a gauntlet where there are multiple battles back-to-back, the disobedience doesn't carry over.
the advantage of the soft cap is that you can learn moves or evolve if the level for doing that is slightly over the limit. i don't buy this, since you can still do that with a rare candy if you have a hard cap. the exp all would also make the overlevelling problem much worse. the convenience of the exp all comes with the chore of needed to effectively "inventory manage" your level.
we were considering a way to toggle what level cap you have, but i feel like the inclusion of a method to just change that wouldn't really fit well within the context of the game.
i suppose i already gave away the solution i thought up for this earlier. spoilers for five paragraphs ago. the exp all is a really convenient way to include a togglable level cap without shoehorning in some weird mechanic. it's great. it makes everyone happy even if i feel dirty for allowing the soft cap to still exist.
- mons give more exp at higher levels
have you ever noticed how levelling up happens fairly quickly until, say, level 60 or so? then as you go over that level it gets slower.... and slower.........
that's basically a result of how exp gains work!
(we're gonna get into some math stuff, so if numbers scare you, just skip a few paragraphs.)
the short answer for why this happens is that the rate of increase for exp gain is linear while the rate of increase for exp requirements is cubic.
so let's say you're fighting a powerful staraptor.
and let's say that you're an adorable meech.
with both at level 20, meech would have to defeat about 3 powerful staraptors to level up.
with both at level 50, meech would have to defeat 9.
in early game you don't really notice this because the base exp of your opponents increases as you gain levels. the formula for this is:
base exp = (base stat total) * [evolution stage modifier]
the modifier gets bigger as the evolution stage increases. most pokemon follow this formula. we could get into this- however, this is not a post about the formula. the point here is that the base exp increases because the pokemon you fight are stronger. you're not going to fight a powerful staraptor at level 50 because it'll have evolved by then, and its evolved form gives more exp.
the problem is that when pokemon stop evolving, base exp stops increasing.
i mentioned this in a devblog post about increasing the level cap here.
(holy shit that was two years ago help)
back then i said i was gonna adjust the level curve to deal with this. problem is, adjusting the level curve takes a lot of effort. giving you more exp is easy.
so i'm going to try a thing where you get an additional 1% of exp for every level over 50 your opponent is. at level 75, this is a 25% boost. at level 125, this is a 75% boost.
levelling up will still slow down over time... but it'll be nicer about it.
something that i also mentioned ages ago without comment was mining changes.
the mining minigame is a common way to get stones and fossils. problem is, it's missing a few stones, and the fossils are stupid hard to find.
so i fixed that. check it:
along with the addition of these four stones, the odds of getting each item have been adjusted. basically, it's easier to find items that you actively want and harder to find items that you don't. future playthroughs can say goodbye 100 oval stones, everstones, and hard stones.
i feel like i had more things to talk about. i forget what they were, though.
EDIT: i remembered one!!!! hard mode isn't happening. i don't have time. i gotta make 5000 more teams for postgame yet anyway. we can just let the modders do their thing.
i'm sure y'all are gonna have some thoughts™ in the comments. the last time i fielded questions (which wasn't public) i had some pretty severe regrets, but if i see some things getting asked a lot i'll edit them onto this post.
suggestions will probably be met with a no. in particular, this no:
excellent suggestions will have more of a response.
Q: Will deliberd have egg moves?
A: the odds of delibird having egg moves is the same as the odds of my spelling its name wrong every goddamn time.
Q: Will boss fights have their levels adjusted since there's the exp all now?
A: uhhhhhh maybe. this isn't really something that I can answer now since it'll take some playtesting to figure out what that point might be.
we'll see and will do it if we have to.
Q: Will I be able to get the exp all if I already got the exp share?
A: deffo. just drop back by the house where you got it.
Q: I'm sad that the game is going to be easy now...
A: that's not a question. it's also not a thing. we'll have to do some mid-episode rebalancing, but the level cap will still exist and you're still gonna have to strategize to win fights. the point of this is to make team composition easier.
Q: Will relationship points change at all?
A: a little. they aren't as big of deal as everyone seems to think they are, so i don't really think it's worth worrying about.
Q: Would you recommend playing from the beginning again?
A: i would lightly recommend playing from the start. the whole game itself will play a bit differently now.
Q: Will the hard cap be something we can choose from the start of the game?
A: yup, but it's permanent.
Q: Cass, you made [some mod] for e18.4. Will it still work with e19?
A: no, i'll have to remake it, but a lot of these mods are just... stuff i whipped up in 15 minutes. if you remind me about it, i'll repatch them into e19.
Q: Will the TM distribution get changed in e19?
A: yup. it's also, in general, set up to offer more useful options earlier than in e18.4.
Q: Hard mode is dead. Is easy mode also dead?
A: maybe not! i'm not quite ready to cancel it since it'll take much less work on my end to make it happen, but i'd still say it's unlikely. depends on how much people want to make their friends who are less into the battle system play the game.