Kingdom Hearts 3 Scaling: Damage Floor and Hidden Potential
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- Kingdom Hearts 3 Scaling: Damage Floor and Hidden Potential
- The purpose of this pastebin is to spread knowledge about how KH3 damage calculation works and what could be done to improve the existing systems in order to make LV1 playthroughs in particular more interesting. I am specifically referring to LV1 Proud and Critical Mode. If you already are familiar with the damage calculation and LV1 issues, you can skip to the suggested changes, including a handy spreadsheet, towards the bottom of this pastebin.
- There seems to be a lot of misconception about KH3 not having any scaling, or that Hidden Potential is the only form of it. If you look at this video https://youtu.be/5qwlp-L1YuI you'll notice he has base stats, no food, the same 15 strength you have at the start of the game, but without a form he's doing more damage than say this guy https://youtu.be/6D7x2mKu7Hc with 16 strength against King of Toys. So why is this?
- Based on information from Ultimania, damage calculation in KH3 goes as follows:
- - Your strength or magic (depending on attack) - enemy defense.
- - Damage ceiling is applied depending on enemy. Most enemies don't have this, while most bosses have 16 or 24. The amount that the formerly calculated base damage goes over this value gets reduced by 50% rounded down. So to have 17 base damage against someone with damage ceiling of 16, you need 18 more strength/magic than the enemy's defense.
- - Damage floor is applied depending on battle level. Your base damage is a minimum of 1 + battle level / 10 rounded up. At battle level 10 (TT) that's 2. Battle level 12 means 3. Battle level 50 (Scala, like that Xehanort fight above) you get to 6.
- - Damage multiplier of the attack you are using is applied, then rounded up.
- - Enemy's damage intake multiplier based on attack attribute is applied. In other words, resistances/weaknesses. These attributes include physical, fire, ice, thunder, water, aero, dark, neutral. Rounded up again.
- - Burst fire resistance is applied. Most bosses take 0.5 damage from rapid fire type attacks like most shotlocks for example. Burst fire is always additional, not replacing of those listed above. Rounded up.
- - Difficulty multiplier. Beginner has 1.25x, others 1.0. Rounded up.
- - Ability multipliers. For example fire boost applies 1.2 multiplier to all fire attribute attacks.
- Now that we know all this, let's go back to that example comparison. In Toy Box, your minimum base damage is 3. Enemies there all have 13 defense. He has 16 strength, he's base damage is 3. In Scala, that guy has way less strength than the enemy defense, so he gets scaled to 6 base damage. Both enemies have 1.0 damage intake multiplier to physical attacks. They're using different attacks, but that and base damage are the only differences here. You should be able to see that the overall damage is clearly higher against Xehanort, which is understandable as the base damage is 2 times higher than against the King of Toys. So yes, scaling is going on here.
- When he activates Second Form S, you'll see more damage going out. Hidden Potential increases your strength to 41 at battle level 50, while enemies have 32 defense. Base damage is increasing from 6 to 9 there, a 50% increase. If he wanted to use magic, links, shotlocks or other special attacks, it'd be more efficient to use them in form. This all feels strategic and rewarding to me.
- However, this very optimal LV1 play resulted in this one phase taking close to 5 minutes, all phases combined about 14 minutes. The fights just drag on for too long if you're at damage floor, no matter how well you play. How I see it, LV1 should be balanced in a way that learning a fight well makes it fast enough for it to remain engaging. As it is, seeing the huge health bars that bosses have and how little damage you deal to them does not feel encouraging, nor does it entice you to replay the fights at damage floor.
- Fortunately, keyblade upgrading, accessories, food and stat boosts allow you to go above what the damage floor or even Hidden Potential stats are. The problem is, outside of early game, it's significantly more effective to maximize one stat and ignore the other. Magic takes the cake here, I won't go into details as to why. The Critical Counter ability definitely adds longevity to a strength setup, but it doesn't solve this scenario. You could say this makes you consider your setups before fights, and I don't mind that. However, if you max out magic, your physical attacks are garbage in comparison. And especially so for Critical with the reduced MP, going full strength makes your magic very weak. Spells, links, attractions, shotlocks, Unison and some other attack modifiers, some team attacks all scale from magic, and you would have to practically give up on them.
- What I want to suggest is that they increase the damage floor and Hidden Potential both in a way that at damage floor, attacks would deal worthwhile damage and with Hidden Potential, damage is increased by a good amount, leaving room for strategy in terms of when to use your MP and Situation Commands. The higher values in Hidden Potential would also make it mean something in non-LV1 play, which would be a welcome change in my book.
- Currently, enemy defense equals |7 + battle level / 2|. Effective strength/magic damage floor is |enemy defense + 1 + battle level / 10|. Hidden Potential seems to follow |8.5 + 0.65 * battle level| rounded up. Food bonus is applied on top. I suggest effective strength/magic damage floor to be |enemy defense + 4 + battle level / 5| and Hidden Potential |13 + 0.75 * battle level| instead. I would consider these exact numbers subject to change, but to my knowledge, you should still be able to break the damage floor and even Hidden Potential stats LV1 most of the game if you optimize your setups and even more so in regular play. Here's a handy spreadsheet to compare the current and the suggested numbers at different battle levels in different worlds https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1npbujAdLh8EbdqD4wkjUSpMDdG5VAJaoAA0CQ5fn_vg/edit?usp=sharing
- This change would be very easy to implement and would increase variety in combat and greatly improve the LV1 challenge, especially when stat boosts are restricted as is popular to do. I would also like to see fire, thunder, Ralph, Simba, Ariel, Stitch damage cut down, and burst fire attribute added to Ever After, Happy Gear and Nano Gear so they wouldn't destroy bosses as easily.
- If you have any questions or want to discuss about this, you might find me as denho KH speedrunning Discord, or Denhonator on Twitch, Youtube, etc. I would like to hear your thoughts and if you disagree, what you would do differently.
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