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EE3: Requesting Feedback on Balancing Suggestion


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I've been pondering Equivalent Exchange for a long time, but I didn't want to jump on the "waah, broken" bandwagon until I had something constructive to contribute. Apologies for length; I wanted to be thorough for you fine folk, as I would greatly appreciate your insight before I consider whether to present this to pahimar more directly (on the EE forums, I assume?). Those of you unaccustomed to reading are free to depart at your leisure.

When I heard that pahimar would be rebalancing Equivalent Exchange 3, my biggest hope was, quite simply, that we would no longer have the ability to transmute common items into rare mob drops.

I'll start with the reasons why I consider this a problem, then suggest my solution. (If you already agree that this is a problem, you can skip ahead!)


I'll use everyone's favourite mob drop as an example: the Ender Pearl. This item is rare, because it's so difficult to acquire. (Aside: The same is not true of Diamonds, I would argue. Diamonds are easy to acquire, it's merely tedious and time consuming. Mob drops, particularly rare/difficult ones, are not.)

There are three reasons why I think Ender Pearls (and other mob drops) shouldn't be so easy to acquire with EE3:

1) It goes against the spirit of Tekkit. Tekkit is about building bigger and better, about always having a project to work on. I don't know how many people realize the sheer number of awe-inspiring projects that are rendered unnecessary and/or redundant by Equivalent Exchange. So many projects in Tekkit could involve acquiring reliable supplies of the various hard-to-get Minecraft items... but why bother, when you can just make them by the stack with EE? ("Because it's fun!" is an answer that misses my point.) Continuing with Ender Pearls: Without EE, you'd need to be bold and/or clever to amass them, and there are so many fun, totally-Tekkit-themed ways to go about it (e.g. End-bases; Flat, Eternal-Rain MystCraft Ages with a shelter+Tesla Coil trap; other Enderman Mob-Grinders; braving the night with a Jetpack, Night Vision Goggles and an enchanted one-hit-one-kill weapon...). Of course you can still do all of these things, but it's impossible to escape the knowledge that Equivalent Exchange renders them redundant and unnecessary: EE obliterates so many opportunities for real motivation to build bigger and better, by reducing so many of these huge projects to a recipe on a crafting grid.

2) It goes against the spirit of Equivalent Exchange. The mod is called Equivalent Exchange... but in no way is an Ender Pearl the "equivalent" of a mere four Iron Ingots---not in theme, not in use, not in rarity, not in ease-of-acquisition, not in value-to-player. EE's transmutation recipes must account for these factors in some way, or the exchanges it offers are not "equivalent". (This isn't limited to mob drops; it also applies to something like Obsidian's equivalence to Wood, though to a much lesser extent.)

3) It removes rare items as balancing tools for other mods/the Vanilla game. Other designers presume, with good reason, that Ender Pearls are scarce. When a designer creates a recipe that includes an Ender Pearl, it's because he or she wants that recipe to be difficult: more difficult than 4 Iron Ingots, certainly. But, by making the Ender Pearl cheaper than a Compass, EE3 undermines the fair assumptions and reasonable intentions of these other mod designers. EE floods the market with rare items, creating a rippling effect through other mods that neither pahimar nor those designers would have considered. (Yes, I know EE isn't the only mod that allows easier creation of rare items, but its scope---almost everything---and its simplicity---no infrastructure needs or start-up costs---makes it the worst offender by a significant margin.)


(While I know EE3 doesn't explicitly use EMC yet, I'll speak in those terms as I'm sure EE3 will contain something similar, at least "behind-the-scenes". Also, any terms I've used and decided to use again are bolded and underlined when they're first defined.)

The base EMC value of an Ender Pearl is 1024 EMC (= 4x Iron Ingot (256 EMC) = 1024). But, by considering only the base EMC value of the Ender Pearl, the transmutation recipe doesn't account for the difficulty/rarity of the Ender Pearl itself: It is not an "equivalent" exchange. Compare the typical Tekkit player's inventory of Diamonds vs. Ender Pearls, and you'll see this disparity rather clearly.

However, we can't just raise the base EMC value of an Ender Pearl. This would cause one of two problems: either (A) unbalance exchanges where the Ender Pearl is an ingredient ("I found an Ender Pearl!" --> transmute to stacks of Iron) OR (B) ignore the "equivalence" theme of the mod, by requiring a different base EMC value when you're creating an Ender Pearl, vs. when you're using it as an ingredient.

My suggested solution takes a page from (B), but instead of changing base EMC values, it works a bit like a tax: an added cost to account for the difficulty of transmuting common, mundane things into the rare and wonderful. It is in the spirit of "equivalent" exchange, because the base EMC values on either side of the crafting grid remain equal. However, like pouring water uphill, it can sometimes cost more to move in one direction than the other.

It begins with tagging certain items with one or more keywords. A keyword represents some aspect of the item that makes it more costly to create than the item's base EMC value alone. Perhaps the item is from another dimension, or maybe it's mechanically complex, or it's magical, or it requires energy to make (e.g. smelting, for Glass), or it's simply rare (and thus less familiar to the alchemist).

Ender Pearls could have three keywords: "TheEnd" (items associated with The End dimension; items from the Nether would have a "Nether" keyword); "Eldrich" (items with a mystical component); and "HostileMobDrop" (items that only drop from hostile mobs, including mobs that become hostile when you attack them).

Each keyword has an associated EMC cost, and an item's keyword cost is the total cost of its keywords:

For the three keywords on our Ender Pearl example (these are arbitrarily-chosen values; don't go apoplectic on the numbers):

  1. TheEnd = 10,000 EMC
  2. Eldrich = 7,500 EMC
  3. HostileMobDrop = 2,500 EMC

Keyword Cost (Ender Pearl): 10,000 + 7,500 + 2,500 = 20,000 EMC

The keyword cost and base EMC value are added together to determine how much EMC you need to create the item. Importantly, the keyword cost is one-way (it is a "cost", after all): It only applies when you are creating the item. (When the item is used as an ingredient to create something else, it only contributes its base EMC value.)

Ender Pearl's Cost to Create: Keyword Cost (20k) + Base EMC Value (1,024) = 21,024 EMC

Ender Pearl's Value as Ingredient: Base EMC Value (1,024) = 1,024 EMC

So: an Ender Pearl would cost nearly four Diamonds worth of EMC to create, but would provide only 1,024 EMC when it is transmuted into something else... with one fun exception.


Though the keyword cost of ingredients is ignored, the keywords need not be: If ingredients have keywords in common with the item being created (e.g. you're transmuting End Stone into Ender Pearls), they can dramatically reduce or even eliminate the keyword cost. This creates a nifty (and fun!) thematic incentive to, say, create "Nether" items from other "Nether" items.


Perhaps some of you did go apoplectic at the idea of an Ender Pearl costing over 20k EMC to create. Fortunately, this system lends itself to easy configuration: A simple list of all keywords and their values could show up in the config file, for easy editing by players/server admins. Something like the XML files associated with InventoryTweaks would allow even more fine-tuning: changing which items have which keywords; adding entirely new keywords; assigning specific keyword costs to items regardless of their keywords; etc.

So... yeah. I've always been terrible at writing conclusions, so I'll just stop here. Thanks for reading this far; I would sincerely appreciate your feedback, whatever your opinion may be!

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I think that's a fair suggestion. I see that Pahimar is going with the old tried-and-true method of crafting recipes for EE3, kind of like what the old EE had before the transmutation table was created. While I agree that EE2 did make almost all projects obsolete, simply making things more expensive and then offering a chance at a discount may not be the solution.

If for example, I wanted ender pearls to research in Thaumcraft, (or use for some other purpose) I would need quite a few of them. I most likely have not been to the End in order to obtain end stone. Therefore I would have to get 21,024 EMC worth of some item that is easier to find, but still costs enough to reach that goal quickly. I'm certainly not digging up 21,024 cobblestone, and to make one from iron would cost about 82 iron. That's about a stack and a half of iron for a single end pearl. And to produce them in moderate amounts would be ridiculously tedious and time consuming. I may as well go out and kill some Endermen.

Overall, having a bottlenecked discount to a ridiculously expensive item is probably going to be annoying if you don't want to track down a stronghold (which I haven't accomplished yet). Instead, crafting recipes should be used to only allow a few items to be used to create rare items instead, so finding exploits would be much tougher, but at least it wouldn't be so expensive to produce, and isn't cheap enough to mass produce in a magical box that creates matter out of energy.

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This is a great concept! It does need some refining like Toxic said but I think it is on the right track. I think this would be a great way to make EE much more balanced.

@ToxicGummi: I think the point of this would be to make you go hunting for endermen instead of just hunting for resources from a quarry. As for the "only allow a few items to be used to create rare items" I think would be another great balancing feature.

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The only problem with using ender pearls as an example would be that it is actually really easy to set up an ender man experience farm. Along with this free experience comes free ender pearls. This farm can be made in standard minecraft, but redpower simplifies it further, requiring only normal pistons instead of sticky pistons. Unfortunately, other mob drops are nowhere near as rare. It is a good idea, but would probably need a whole swarm of keywords. Then, players would need to go through the complex path of transmuting things to remove as much keyword cost as they can. On top of this, keywords would need to be very well balanced and thought out, so as to retain standard EMC (or its new equivalent) ratios, like 256 cobble = 1 iron, 8 iron = 1 gold, 4 gold = 1 diamond, 1 diamond = 8192 cobble.

Above is pure ideas, and may not make sense, use as you will.

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So, you're throwin out ideas on how to balance EE, eh? ok, I've got one for ya, it's easy, three words...


-All the creater needs to do is take away collectors, relays and condensors and there, no more virtually effortless free item creation.

-Concerning blaze rod and bone meal emc generation, shouldn't that issue be taken up with IC2 / Thermal Expansion, considering if you tweak the emc values of the previously mentioned item's powders then it will no longer be an...Equivalent Exchange?

-Finally, how many servers are out there that looked at EE and gave it a giant nerf bat concerning Condensor / Trans. Tablet usage and emc value changes via plug-ins, or straight up ban the mod? A clue; quiiiiiiite alot of them.

And here...we...go...

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"@ToxicGummi: I think the point of this would be to make you go hunting for endermen instead of just hunting for resources from a quarry."

True, but why would you do that when you can hunt endermen in vanilla? The mod's purpose would be to find ways the find alternatives to creating things.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Raising the value of items, fine. 4 Irons for 1 Pearl is low

Making the value different dependend on direction, hell no. The name of the mod is "Equivalent Exchange" for a reason, not only is 4 iron => 1 Pearl, but 4 iron <=> 1 Pearl, the exchange is equivalent.

I aggre that creating infinit EMC from macerating bone meal isnt fair, but thats not realy a proplem with EE, its a problem with IC2 and TE

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I really like it, although it should be done a bit different... There should be kind of "tags", like your keywords, for every item, and for Ender Pearls it would be something like "Magic", and for Iron it would be "Ores".

And basically Magic/Ores items can become other Magic/Ores items with a 1:1 ratio. But if you'd use an Ores item to make a Magic one, the ratio would be something like 1 Magic : 4 Ores...

Basically the same idea, but a bit different. Great job :)

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My take on this is that lossless convertion seems too unnatural.

A 10%(or more) loss in every transformation would take care of most problems. You would still have the convenience of transmuting, but you would have to think a bit more as going back and forth between two materials a few times, would make you end up with almost no materials.

BTW: single items to blocks and back would still be lossless in crafting table, as that is more of a solution for storing many items.

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