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NOTE: This blog has recieved widely negative feedback. I'm going to try a new version in the very near future. Stay Tuned.
Hello and welcome back to Tecku Talks!
I love Plants vs. Zombies. It's a great game, filled with many fantastic levels, puzzling game modes, and outstanding humor. However, like any other game, PvZ has its share of flaws. Now, most of PvZ's flaws are debateable. You all know that I don't like the Dark Ages or Big Wave Beach, but some people do. I don't like mushroom being useable during the day without Coffee Bean, but some people do. However, one thing that everyone agrees on is the fallacy of the Laserang Conundrum- a balancing issue where one plant does everything another plant can do, and does it better in almost every situation.
Now, in many games, getting more powerful tools as you progress is a good thing. In the Plants vs. Zombies games, however, Laserang Conundrums are poison to the experience. The seed selection slot contains every plant retreived throughout the game, because each plant is meant to be a tool with its own unique purpose, even in later worlds. Repeaters are not meant to replace Peashooters, becuase each has benefits and weaknesses. The Laserang Conundrum is especially troubling when a plant obtained later in the game is the inferior one (like Chomper to Magnifying Grass).
However, there can also be problems when trying to solve the Laserang Conundrums. If we make plants early on too good, the player will never have an incentive to use any other plants until they hit a level too tough for them- which would be frustrating. Furthermore, plants change roles as the game goes on. For example, in the early levels, Peashooter is your all-around purspose plant. In later levels, however, he becomes a plant you only use in the beginning, until you have enough Sun for heavier plants. If we simply buff Peashooter or nerf Laser Bean, we run the risk of reversing the conundrum, which is just as bad.
So, what can we do? Well, I propose..... that we take a page from China's book, and give the plants upgrades. Wait, hear me out! In the Cinese version, each plant has multiple levels of power. Now, if you went back to Ancient Egypt with your Peashooters at level 4, it would be waaay easier than with Peashooters at level 1. That's not what we want. In my system, we give some weaker plants one or two small benefits later in the game so that players will be encouraged to use them again.
These benefits encourage players to utilize the plants in different ways (like Peashooters role change mentioned earlier), giving them new utility without making the gameplay all about one set style. Furthermore, by putting these upgrades in the the later levels, developers can use them to make up for lesser content. Heck, they could even sell them in the store as gemium upgrades.
Now, let's begin. Here are the non-upgrade changes. NOTE! PLEASE CHECK THE UPGRADES BEFORE GETTING MAD AT ANY CHANGES! Some plants have upgrades that essentially put them back to normal.
- Shovel bonus/perk/boost is now gone. It's not entertaining or thrilling to use, and I think its how the developers try to justify some plants- you're supposed to dig up Chomper after he eats, or Sweet Potato after attracting zombies. It's just really hard to balance with this still on the board. The store one is replaced by the Peashooter upgrade, and the other two are replaced by upgrades of Bloomerang/Bonk Choy.
- Snapdragon's fire on the lanes above and below deal half damage.
- Spikeweed and Spikerock no longer pull zombies forwards when fed plant food. They will still pull zombies in front of them backwards.
- Spring Bean now pushes enemies along the ground. In other words, no more Spring + Blover combo.
- Laser Bean and Magnifying Grass's beams are now blocked by 'shiny' objects. These objects are Ra Zombie's staff, Poncho Zombie's grate, and Excavator Zombie's shovel.
- Sun Shroom only grows once. He grows to Sunflower-level production after between making 3 and 4 rounds.
- Puff Shrooms last forever, but there can only be 5 on the screen at a time, and its seed recharge time has doubled. Placing a new one will make the oldest one disappear. Imitater does not increase the maximum number available.
- Hypno Shroom costs 75 Sun.
- Chomper's burp knocks zombies back.
- Sweet Potato costs 175 Sun.
- Sap-Fling's pinecone deals 1 damage.
- Sunflower/Twin Sunflower: Sunflowers and Twin Sunflowers that have produced 3 rounds of Sun will refund their Sun cost if removed. This counts for both shoveling and being destroyed by zombies.
- Peashooter (and variants): Pea plants that have existed for 45 seconds will speed up 20%.
- Potato Mine: Primes 33% faster.
- Bloomerang: Bloomerang's boomerang creates a twister when furthest out, increasing its damage on the return trip by 50% (total damage is 125% that of before).
- Bloomerang: Bloomerang can target a fourth zombie.
- Bonk Choy: Bonk Choy's finishing uppercut stuns the next zombie for 6 seconds.
- Bonk Choy: Bonk Choy can target two zombies with its punches (uppercut stuns only one zombie).
- Snapdragon: All flames deal full damage, returning the plant to normal levels.
- Spikerock: Spikerock can pop 6 rolling objects instead of 3.
- Chili Bean: If destroyed without being eaten, Chili Bean stuns the zombie that destroyed it.
- Lightning Reed: Arcing shots deal 1/2 pea damage instead of 1/4.
- Laser Bean: Beams can bounce off reflective obstacles to hit non-reflective zombies behind them. The reflective carrying zombie will still not be hurt by the beam, however.
- Citron: If Citron's acid kills an enemy, the leftover acid splashes zombies within 1.5 spaces behind the target to deal 5 damage each.
- Magnifying Grass: Magnifying Grass' attack can hit reflective-carrying zombies, putting it back to normal.
- Puff Shroom: Maximum number of Puff Shrooms increases by 1 (6 total).
- Puff Shroom: Maximum number of Puff Shrooms increases further by 2 (8 total), but only for night levels.
- Sun Shroom: Now grows after producing 2 rounds of Sun.
- Sun Shroom: If a fully grown Sun Shroom is removed, the price drops to 0 Sun until a new one is planted.
- Hypno Shroom: Can hypnotize two zombies.
- Magnet Shroom: After every third item taken, Magnet Shroom can steal a golden object from zombies and turn them into money. Golden objects include Ra Zombie's staff, King Zombie's scepter, and Excavator Zombie's shovel.
- Pea-Nut: The heads switch sides after taking too much damage, so the firing rate doesn't slow down. Pea-Nut also gets the bonus from being a pea plant.
- Tangle Kelp: Can only be planted in water, but will not die if the tide goes out. Dried up Tangle Kelp can restrain a zombie for 6 seconds.
- Chomper: Chomper's tongue reaches out, increasing Chomper's range by 1 space
- Bowling Bulb: The medium bulb will recharge after four rolls of the small bulb.
- Bowling Bulb: The large bulb will recharge after seven rolls of the small bulb.
- Pepper-Pult: Recharge time is reduced to between mediocre and fast.
- Endurian: Attack rate doubles until Endurian's health falls below the first degrade.
- Torchwood: Can ignite boomerangs and Dandelion seeds. Ingnition does not effect Dandelion splash or boomerang whirlwind (ignited boomerangs with whirlwind will deal 225% normal damage).
- Torchwood: Burning peas deal splash damage to one square of zombies. Does not effect boomerangs or Dandelion seeds.
- Star-Fruit: Sun cost is reduced to 125 Sun.
- Sweet Potato: Becomes 50% tougher.
- Sap-Fling: Pinecones create sap on two spaces instead of one.
- Dandelion: Recovers 25% faster from Blover/Hurrikale effect.
So those are my changes. What do you think? Do you believe these ideas would balance the game? Let me know what you think!