First a short progress report:
- The "King of the Orcs" story arc is 98% finished - some small details still are missing. There is a lot more detail I could add but I'll refrain from that (for now) in order to "release early, release often". My next major priority is implementing the missing subsystems as outlined in the original roadmap (which means: missile combat, arcane spell casting and clerical spell casting as major subsystems as well as making all skills useful and adding lots of monsters regarding various minor subsystems influenced by that). Over time the KotO story arc will get a lot more cool details though ;-)
- Corruptions are back in the game (all from ADOM and it's trivial to add more over time - the idea here being that in future games you won't be guaranteed a fixed set of corruptions in random order but rather a fixed subset - to introduce even more chaos in that ;-) ). Corruption is (no yet) an automatic feature but can occur due to special monsters and might become a latent feature due to the the actions of the PC in existing story arcs.
- All the army stuff now works... including being able to fight armies or experience "sieges". (Although the term right now is a bit grand... it's just armies storming settlements to slaughter everything).
Concerning the (in my opinion) most critical bug in ADOM II 0.2.3: The game hanging should be over. (see this issue and this one for the original). The various very helpful stack traces trivialized fixing it... it was a very stupid oversight on my part. BTW: Initially I assumed that the hanging game was caused by memory consumption... I have introduced a memory display in ADOM II 0.2.4 and it's surprising: Sometimes a single move causes 5-10 MB of memory to be shuffled around. This does not seem to have tangible performance effects (although there probably are some) and I'll investigate that at a later point. You will see for yourself once ADOM II 0.2.4 is released.
The biggest issue that concerns me right now are various balancing issues addressed in the forums in post like this one (dual-wielding staves for incredible DV bonuses), this (again double-wielding and unhittable DVs), this (critical hits from large monsters, stat drain and unreachable dungeons), this (resting taking too long, too many wilderness encounters and others), this (stat draining and attribute training), this (hunger and satiation as del as frequency of wilderness encounters) and most prominently this post (size issues related to damage and PV issues).
For a short moment I panicked a little bit as there are quite a lot of viable balance issues raised. But then I remembered that ADOM 0.6.x and ADOM 0.7.x (as well as earlier versions) had these problems, too, and they were fixed quite well (IMHO). So back to work and fixing that in ADOM II - the playable game still is young, the engine is new in many respects and balance issues were to be expected ;-) Here's my current line of thoughts:
- I really need to do something about the immense amount of damage dealt by large, huge (and even larger) beings. This is a typically case of realism destroying game fun: Larger beings wield larger weapons which cause more base dice of damage (larger armor also grants more PV BTW). Now larger beings usually also are a lot stronger than smaller beings. If you take e.g. a fire giant you have a monster with a strength around 46 at least (+18 fixed damage bonus minimum) wielding e.g. a great sword (which should do around 12d15+3 points of base damage) - for a base total of 12d15+21 or so. The simple fixes are obvious: I need to tone down the increase in base damage for weapons - somewhat more is ok but these increases probably are way too much. Then we have the question of fixed damage bonuses - maybe they shouldn't be fixed anymore? (so that e.g. 12d15+21 actually becomes 12d15+d21)? I'm not too sure about that though. As for damage... critical multipliers probably really only should kick in after PV has been deducted to reduce the deadliness of hits from huge beings. I probably also will reduce critical hit probabilities for monsters in order to protect the PC a bit more. While this fudges the generic game rules in favor of the PC it should be good for game fun.
- ADOM II 0.2.4 will finally introduce a reasonable system for fighting with more than one weapon (at least I hope the system will be reasonable). It should take away many of the overpowered effects.
- As for stat draining: I'm considering an approach where drained stats have a certain chance for recovery after a longer amount of time (e.g. something like a (20 + level + willpower + toughness + concentration skill score)% chance to recover a drained stat point after 500+d500 turns or so). Only if that doesn't work the stat will be lost forever. Additionally I over time might introduce some items (and other means) to recover lost stat points (e.g. in temples).
- Some other issues are much easier to fix (e.g. tuning down the likelihood of wilderness encounters).
- One other major thing I reimplemented for ADOM II 0.2.4 is the whole hunger and satiation system... I was pretty unhappy with how it worked and now have desolved actual time passed from hunger effects. Hunger effects now are more related to the number of turns past than actual game time which again is not as realistic but seems to be a much better approach for game fun.
So there you go: I take these balance issues very seriously but I'm as seriously sure that we'll get them fixed pretty quickly. We are still in the early ADOM II release cycle so some experimentation with new approaches is to be expected ;-)
Another final thing that has bugged me: How many people do think that dungeons are too big? I thought that the new balance was much better than the old one but not everyone shares that opinion ;-) At some point I definitely am going to introduce a configurable setup for the game (size of the world, frequency of dungeons, size of dungeons, etc.) but that's still something quite a bit in the future.
Comments, ideas and discussions welcome. Currently I fiddle around with exactly these details. ADOM II 0.2.4 definitely will be released within the next 7 to 10 days to finally get more into "release early, release often".