[List] Universally Inferior Items with the same Token Cost [EttSC Updated]

Discussion in 'Feedback and Suggestions' started by progammer, Aug 17, 2013.

  1. progammer

    progammer Ogre

    a.k.a. The Vendor Trash Item List

    Fellow cardhunters, are you wondering if a crappy item you are holding onto will ever be used ? Did you question why are there crappy items you would never use because you have another one that is always better ?
    Rejoice hunters, for now you have in your hand the answer, the explanation, the analysis, the '"list." Read on to find out.

    Aug 2015 Update: List now updated for 2 major balance patches + EttSC items. Click Here for latest changelog.

    The Ruleset:

    (To any of you TL;DR people, feel free to skip this section)

    Before getting into the list, lets's clarify what I mean by "universally inferior". Universally inferior items are items that are worse than another item (having the same token cost) under any circumstances. Because of that, there is absolutely no reason to use that item instead of the superior one when it is available. Any circumstances here implies all situation that is beneficial toward the general goals of defeating your opponent: Dealing more damage, preventing more damage, taking less damage ... If your build's goal is to take as much self damage as possible or deal as few damage as possible, this list does not apply.

    To define it, an item is universally inferior to another item if and only if it contains all cards that are either equivalent or universally inferior to the other item's card. Similarly speaking, a card can only be universally inferior to another card if it is worse than the other card under any circumstances. To ensure a strict rule, they will have to follow these rules. Cards can only be considered and compared for superiority if they satisfy:
    Following these rules, we then produce a list containing pairs of card that is universally superior/inferior to one another. Click Here for the SuperiorCard.csv list.

    Using the SuperiorCard list running a script through the entire game item data, a list of superior items are then produced. The list is presented below. Or Click here for the SuperiorItem.csv List.

    The List:
    (Item1 >> Item2 means Item2 is vendor trash)

    Arcane Item | Token = 0

    Copper Zapping Wand >> Empty Pouch (Default slot)
    Zapping Headband >> Perforating Wand

    Arcane Item | Token = (minortoken)

    Phantom Pain >> Pin Of The Painful Mirage

    Arcane Skill | Token = 0

    Apprentice Sparking >> Novice Sparking

    Arcane Skill | Token = (minortoken)

    Superb Rifthopping >> Advanced Rifthopping
    Trained Electromancy >> Apprentice Electromancy
    Advanced Teleportation >> Trained Teleportation

    Boots | Token = 0

    Patchwork Boots >> Bare Feet (Default slot)
    Patchwork Boots >> Thin-soled Boots
    Marmot Boots >> Off-balance Boots
    Hunting Boots >> Adventuring Boots

    Boots | Token = (minortoken)

    Boots Of The Cheetah >> Striped Boots
    Dashing Boots >> Crafted Boots
    Grey Leather Boots >> Patched Dashing Boots
    Tochtli Boots >> Boots Of Aggression
    Ozerian's Boots >> Chadwick's Clogs

    Divine Armor | Token = 0

    Blessed Ring Shirt >> Adept's Healing Mail
    Healer's Mail >> Adept's Healing Mail

    Divine Item | Token = 0

    Hand Of Melvelous >> Badjeera's Black Relic

    Divine Item | Token = (minortoken)

    Ring Of Bifurcated Healing >> Elphala's Healing Ring >> Healing Talisman

    Divine Skill | Token = 0

    Novice Medic >> Untrained Medic
    Novice Devotion >> Untrained Devotion

    Divine Skill | Token = (minortoken)

    Advanced Medic >> Apprentice Medic
    Advanced Devotion >> Trained Devotion >> Apprentice Devotion
    Advanced Piety >> Trained Piety >> Apprentice Piety
    Advanced Healer >> Apprentice Healer

    Heavy Armor | Token = 0

    Solid Mail >> Old Padded Mail
    Dependable Mail >> Old Padded Mail

    Heavy Armor | Token = (minortoken)

    Mail Of Absorption >> Old Chainmail == Skeleton Suit
    Clovidian's Mail >> True Mail
    Aranak's Chain Web >> Granwick's Ringmail
    Aranak's Chain Web >> Highbolt Jerkin

    Helmet | Token = 0

    Weakling's Helm >> Defensive Helm

    Martial Skill | Token = 0

    Novice Chopping >> Untrained Chopping

    Martial Skill | Token = (minortoken)

    Trained Chopping >> Apprentice Chopping
    Advanced Gouging >> Apprentice Gouging
    Superb Gouging >> Trained Gouging
    Trained Impaling >> Apprentice Impaling
    Superb Impaling >> Advanced Impaling

    Shield | Token = 0

    White Shield >> Cover Shield
    Ricochet Buckler >> Striped Shield
    Hooked Chimalli >> Lightweight Buckler
    Snitrick's Shield >> Big Ash Shield

    Shield | Token = (minortoken)

    Steel-rimmed Buckler >> Oakenheart Shield
    Ichabod's Buckler >> Cherry Shield
    Bloodshield Of Xoc >> Kelvim's Buckler

    Weapon | Token = 0

    Blunt Sword >> Bare Knuckles (Default Slot)
    Cleaver >> Woodsman's Axe

    55 superior-inferior items pairs.
    48 inferior items / vendor thrash (excluding default items).

    Trivia: There are no inferior items costing a major token. 48 out of 1559 items is only 3.07% worthless.

    Exception (not included by the script)
    Focused Pyromancy >> Focused Blazing (Due to the fact that these traits are not available on other item slots.)

    Feel free to comment and suggest add any set of items that are universally inferior/superior. Feel free to challenge and modify the ruleset, cardList, itemList of universally inferior items/cards. As new builds bring new items, cards, and balance changes, I will keep this list updated.


    Generally speaking, universally inferior items, while having the same token costs as other items, have a lower item level, lower rarity, or a combination of both. They provide a clear (strictly) path of progress for item find. Their purpose is to allow players to see a clear-cut progression path as they play through the campaign.

    However, once the superior items are found, they immediately become useless and serves as vendor scraps because under all circumstances in which you can equip the inferior item, you can equip the superior one instead. These inferior items inflated the amount of items available, while providing no more choice/complexity in character building.

    From the huge amount of items that exists in the game, the amount of universally inferior items that I can pull out are minuscule, even though there are a few hundreds item in each level range. This reinforce the design pattern for items: While an items maybe perceived as inferior to another item, weaker items will never be strictly weaker than another item. There will be situational uses, specialized build that may at some point, utilize that item, regardless of its strength. In short, items should not be strictly weak, but rather weak in different way.

    This list of items seems like the exception to the rule. And since there are very few of them, I plan to keep track all of it. What's the fate of these items? Jon has already stated he wont remove them. So the best I can hope is for these items to be changed. Maybe swap some card around, maybe add a trait card, maybe introducing more mechanics that target weak card etc...

    Hopefully this list wont be getting too long, keeping the interesting item diversity and item choice of the game intact.

    For anyone who doesn't expect these item to be changed, this is my vendor item list personally made for you :)

    Have fun hunting !!!

    • 2015/08/20: Cards with cantrip are now different. 3 items removed. Read More
    • 2015/08/18: Release 3.54 After 2 major balance patches + EttSC expansion(no new inferior item). Updated ruleset. Read More
    • 2014/05/16: Remove 1 and add 2 card pairs. Added 3 item pairs. Extend search to compare higher token costs. Read More
    • 2014/05/14: Test Build 2.12: AoTA expansion is released. Added 17 Card pairs. Added 10 Item pairs. Read More
    • 2013/11/10: Test Build 1.40: Added 1 card pair: Demonic Power > Demonic Feedback. No changes to item.
    • 2013/10/21: Test Build 1.37: Halloween items added. Changed rule for block cards. Added 2 inferior items. Read More
    • 2013/10/09: Test Build 1.34: 1 new item pair. No changes
    • 2013/09/01: Beta Build 2.51: Initial list completion.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 20, 2015
  2. Pengw1n

    Pengw1n Moderately Informed Staff Member

    You're not taking item level into account - that matters a bit as well since the tokens are more or a gating thing than an absolute restriction. Comparing lvl 11 and lvl 15 items - you can't expect them to be as powerful due to having the same token requirement. Also, it should be remembered that the system is based around single player progression to begin with...
    Stefan likes this.
  3. Blindsight

    Blindsight Ogre

    I'm a little confused. You've defined what you mean by universally inferior but you've failed to state why you feel the items you've selected are inferior, universally or otherwise. Also we have to assume that by inferior you mean in comparison to the other options you have at the given talent cost. Rarity nor level are not discussed at all.

    After looking through some of the items to respond I believe I found that you mean the Item1 > Item2 is intended to mean that Item2 is universally inferior to item 1?

    It also seems that you've pointed out a lot of low level items where the weaker version is level 1-3 and the better version is 6-9ish. If the level range was greater then I would have more of an argument against your issue with them but as it stands I think the reason you see a lot of this is to pad out the lower level items. Doing so grants players a greater variety (numerically) of items to start out with and allows them to find items superior (however slightly) to the ones they have even through the first few adventures. Having to wait until you get a talent point to improve on something you want (instead of getting yet another option to do something you don't want) can be less encouraging to the players. As you said it gives the "new players a sense of [progression]". I think it's actually important to focus on the first experiences of a new player.

    Aside from the new player experience I (hesitantly) agree with you. Do you see any higher level items with this issue?
  4. progammer

    progammer Ogre

    I'm aware of that, this is only a problem when a player have acquired the majority of items (as mentioned in the OP). Item level only matters where that item can drop. Once it is dropped, there is no difference. Similarly, item rarity only slow down the problem, not solving them.

    If there is a mechanics that take advantage of low level item, I'll remove any such item from the list.
  5. progammer

    progammer Ogre

    Sorry for confusing it. These are items that is strictly inferior, under any circumstance, with the same token costs. Some crazy situation are taken into account for these. Level and rarity is not considered in this discussion.
    Item 1 is universally superior than Item 2.

    While I agree that there need to be progression of item from lvl 1 - 6 (right before the first minor tokens), they don't have to be strictly inferior. They can be numerically inferior or slightly different. If you look at the example of items that is numerically inferior, but not universally inferior, those are the kind of items they should be instead.

    The list isn't long when many (extraordinary) situation are taken into account. It could improve item diversity by changing them or removing them.
  6. Blindsight

    Blindsight Ogre

    Concerning rarity, I'm not sure that's the case here. One might argue that finding a rare version of item you are already using to replace your common one is a large benefit as opposed to gaining a rare item that fits some other situational play, which you aren't playing towards.

    I'm curious as to what you feel the problem with these items actually are. You say they are "bad in general" but then turn around and say they are good for new player's feeling of progression. Your only argument against them seems to be that they become vendor trash. I'd argue that so do 90% of the items I collect. Certainly all treasure is. Are they also somehow "bad in general"?

    [And if you want to be nit picky about the items Stone Of Burning Dreams is better when casting on my Holy Armor equiped cleric than Stone Of Searing Memories ;)]
  7. dmar314

    dmar314 Goblin Champion

    Excellent post! I completely agree that there should be no "universally inferior" items, since that really limits variety and "trash items" are always very disappointing. One minor thing: an item with fire spray and ember spray is not universally worse than an item with two fire spray, since fire spray and ember spray will stack and give two different burn effects, while two fire sprays will only give one burn effect. Multiple burns can be very useful for kicking off other attachments. Thus stone of searing memories is not universally worse than stone of burning dreams.
    progammer likes this.
  8. progammer

    progammer Ogre

    The items aren't bad in general, they are always bad. The fact that these items exists are "bad in general". I'll fix that. I'm just pointing out that the purpose of these item is to give progression. But they don't have to be universally worse, just worse in a different way.

    Good point, I'll remove them
  9. Blindsight

    Blindsight Ogre

    Not disagreeing with you (though it may feel that way), but I'm curious as to what benefit will be gained by changing/fixing/removing the universally inferior [edit: obviously intended to say items here].
  10. progammer

    progammer Ogre

    I'm not sure if my argument has much ground, but it is to make sure every single item is unique and different in its own way. I love the way items and card are designed in this game, love the tokens system. Having these items seem to go against these brilliant design. Or maybe it's just the OCD inside me talking.

    Either way, I want to keep this list for items that I can safely sell without any regret.
    DunDunDun likes this.
  11. karadoc

    karadoc Hydra

    I assume that programmer (nor anyone else) is arguing for the removal of inferior cards - but rather of inferior items. And I tend to agree that such items shouldn't be in the game.

    It isn't a big deal for me. I don't think it's a very important thing. But I do think that having a bunch of complete obsolete items adds meaningless choice and complexity to the game, and having items which will never ever be useful just clutters up the inventory. It doesn't bother me much that such items exist, but if I was in charge of designing items I'd make a conscious effort to not have one item completely overshadow another.

    I previously said a few words about this here, and I mentioned two examples. One of the examples I mentioned is not yet in this thread's list, so here it is: Blessed Ring Shirt is superior to Adept's Healing Mail.
    progammer likes this.
  12. Generica

    Generica Mushroom Warrior

    OP is just calling for more variety, more wheat and less chaff. Judging by the size of the list it looks like the chaff:wheat ratio is so low as to suggest the item designer(s) are already following a general rule of making lower level/rarity items be generally less useful than but not strictly inferior to higher level/rarity items. Within the item design rules they've created and as constrained as they are by other design goals, the current roster of items might be as diverse as they could get them (or as diverse as they could get them on first pass).

    Item level has to matter if you want players to reliably get incrementally better cards as they level up. With eighteen item levels and only three categories of token requirement on non-weapon items, one of which is a category to itself (lvl 18) - something's got to give. Having uniquely useful items that don't become obsolete just because you leveled up is clearly a goal for the team making the game, making a list of candidates to be changed could conceivably help them do better.
    progammer likes this.
  13. progammer

    progammer Ogre

    Thanks, added to the list.
  14. Snacksmoto

    Snacksmoto Mushroom Warrior

    One I noticed a couple days ago are the itemsPerforating Wand vs Zapping Headband, both realistically used only by low level characters or characters specifically looking to use Penetrating Zap.

    Comments are that Zap triggers Weak Block but Big Zap triggers Desperate Block.
  15. progammer

    progammer Ogre

    Precisely because of that difference (interaction with different block level), that item doesn't make the list. For damaging effect, 2 >1; 4 > 3 and 6+ > 5 are the only pair of universally inferior. (Interaction with +dmg effect does not apply since blocking values currently only care about base damage)

  16. If you want to be that pedantic then no cards that can be targeted on an opponent can be universally weaker, because lower damage cards are always better in drawing out Duck.
    Which would make the exercise pretty pointless, so a numerically inferior list might be more useful.
    karadoc likes this.
  17. Blindsight

    Blindsight Ogre

    You just figure this out? Perhaps reading the original post would help...

    Not sure how making a list that situationally inferior would be less pointless than making one that the items are always inferior and thus never have a use.

  18. Thanks for being a smartass. I just wanted to point out that the existence of the duck card removes all items from that list that are not moves or armor.

    Come to think of it armor cards also do not qualify, because sometimes you want to take damage, i. e. if you have Martyr Blessing active.

    That leaves only moves, where it is always better to have more (at least until Pickpocket is in the game).

    That's why I think that universally inferior is too restrictive to be useful.
  19. Blindsight

    Blindsight Ogre

    But the problem with this is that you don't construct your deck to purposefully be inferior in these ways. Armor for instance. Even if your goal is to take damage and draw cards through Martyr Blessing, you would not select Spiked Mail as an alternative to Shoulderspike Mail with this in mind when a Cloth Shirt is available for instance.

  20. Maybe you should read the OP?
    If you want to take damage Spiked Mail is better than Shoulderspike Mail. Therefore it is not "universally inferior".

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