Author Topic: Game balance and leveling.  (Read 19802 times)

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Re: Game balance and leveling.
« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2013, 09:10:43 AM »
Leveling tends to destroy game balance.

Endorya

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Re: Game balance and leveling.
« Reply #16 on: August 12, 2013, 09:26:34 AM »
Leveling tends to destroy game balance.

Can I ask you why do you say that?
« Last Edit: August 12, 2013, 09:28:24 AM by Endorya »
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Re: Game balance and leveling.
« Reply #17 on: August 12, 2013, 10:17:25 AM »
I think the problem here is that after seeing lots of games where levelups require or tempt grinding to accomplish, where levelups have low value, and/or where levelups cause all enemies to level up, some of us have come to the conclusion that there must be an inherent problem with level systems per se, rather than that the people designing those games had messed-up priorities.
The lesson we should take from those games isn't "levelups are terrible and you shouldn't put them in your game", it's "levelups can be done wrongly; try not to make the mistakes these designers did".

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Re: Game balance and leveling.
« Reply #18 on: August 12, 2013, 10:34:22 AM »
I think the problem here is that after seeing lots of games where levelups require or tempt grinding to accomplish, where levelups have low value, and/or where levelups cause all enemies to level up, some of us have come to the conclusion that there must be an inherent problem with level systems per se, rather than that the people designing those games had messed-up priorities.
The lesson we should take from those games isn't "levelups are terrible and you shouldn't put them in your game", it's "levelups can be done wrongly; try not to make the mistakes these designers did".
Totally agreed. It is not about the type of leveling system but how it is implemented. More over, I think that balance and the leveling system are two different stories. But I still believe that certain game play mechanics require a certain type of leveling system in order to properly function.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2013, 10:36:52 AM by Endorya »
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NON

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Re: Game balance and leveling.
« Reply #19 on: August 12, 2013, 01:25:08 PM »
I generally like levels and experience system a lot. But for some games you may not want to reward the player for combat so much.

My game Infra Arcana is supposed to be Lovecraftian Roguelike, and it would benefit from not making the player feel like a janitor who has to clean every level from monsters.

Avoiding encounters should sometimes be a smart thing to do. Therefore I'm currently trying out the following changes:
* Removed experience and levels. You pick all your traits and skills when creating the character (this also provides more opportunity for the player to experiment with different character types)
* Some monsters will be much tougher - more incentive to avoid combat.
* Generally fewer monsters spawned. More free space = more opportunity to find alternative routes and avoid encounters.
* Sneaking is affected by range - a monster at the edge of your field of view will often fail to spot you, even if you don't pick the sneaking skill. More opportunity to avoid encounters.
* Introducing "Wounds" which require a resource to heal - causing combat to have a long-term cost. More incentive to avoid it.

Well, this got slightly off-topic, but I wanted to bring up an argument against experience for defeating monsters, and some ideas for enhancing the gameplay and atmosphere if you remove this feature.
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Re: Game balance and leveling.
« Reply #20 on: August 12, 2013, 01:43:31 PM »
Well, this got slightly off-topic, but I wanted to bring up an argument against experience for defeating monsters, and some ideas for enhancing the gameplay and atmosphere if you remove this feature.
I think I didn't got it right. If you remove the experience reward from killing foes, is there any reason left to slay creatures at all, apart from loot?
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Re: Game balance and leveling.
« Reply #21 on: August 12, 2013, 02:00:57 PM »
I think I didn't got it right. If you remove the experience reward from killing foes, is there any reason left to slay creatures at all, apart from loot?

If there isn't any other reason for killing your enemies, then your game is either not about combat or it is very poorly designed.

Why do you kill your enemies in Mario or Contra or Counterstrike?

NON

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Re: Game balance and leveling.
« Reply #22 on: August 12, 2013, 02:07:23 PM »
Well, this got slightly off-topic, but I wanted to bring up an argument against experience for defeating monsters, and some ideas for enhancing the gameplay and atmosphere if you remove this feature.
I think I didn't got it right. If you remove the experience reward from killing foes, is there any reason left to slay creatures at all, apart from loot?
Not much at all, except that they are trying to kill you. That's the point. The player's goal is to descend the dungeon, and I want to make avoiding encounters a valid strategy to accomplish this.

To put it another way - when the player finds a big horrible monster, I don't want them to think "Ah sweet! I will get a lot of XP from this!". The monsters shouldn't be a part of the treasures of the dungeon.

But that's because you do not play such a heroic role in this game. Of course in heroic fantasy settings it's different, where the brave warrior defeats the evil monsters.

Though what I've written about in this thread is so far only experimentation. I may find that this didn't help the game at all and go back to a levels/XP-system. But it's worth a try.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2013, 02:10:56 PM by NON »
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Re: Game balance and leveling.
« Reply #23 on: August 12, 2013, 02:20:17 PM »
I would just like to add some comments on the features you descrive.
 
Avoiding encounters should sometimes be a smart thing to do. Therefore I'm currently trying out the following changes:
I think that avoiding combats is something that comes naturally with difficulty. Players do tend to avoid combats which they think that are too dangerous.

* Removed experience and levels. You pick all your traits and skills when creating the character (this also provides more opportunity for the player to experiment with different character types)
Although this feature presents itself quite flexible, it is prone to bring problems later on during gaming, when you realize that the skills and traits you've chosen were not the best combination or that those some skills and traits were not what you were expecting them to be. It happened to me when I used to Play Fallout 2 in which In some occasions I was forced start it all over with a new character. I still prefer creating a fresh character and letting the player train it at will throughout the whole gaming without restrictions whatsoever, while making sure that the character won't ascent in every field.

* Some monsters will be much tougher - more incentive to avoid combat.
Yeah. That makes sense.

* Generally fewer monsters spawned. More free space = more opportunity to find alternative routes and avoid encounters.
This heavily depends on your game play mechanics and general world setting mechanics. If your game is all about hack&slash that won't work. If your game has a deadly combat system it can work, if you make sure that the game won't have extended moments of game play without any action, otherwise you risk yourself providing the player with some really tedious moments. Then you have to specify how easily it is to avoid confrontations because if it is too easy to avoid battles than it becomes to easy not to die.

* Sneaking is affected by range - a monster at the edge of your field of view will often fail to spot you, even if you don't pick the sneaking skill. More opportunity to avoid encounters.
That's a must have :D

* Introducing "Wounds" which require a resource to heal - causing combat to have a long-term cost. More incentive to avoid it.
If you have a deadly and realistic combat system implemented, I'm pretty sure damage will be applied over body parts and compromise those parts, which in the end will be the same as the "wounds" you refer. What can really make you think twice about engaging combats is how difficulty healing can be. This can be done trough having few healing resources yes or needing long periods of time to fully recover.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2013, 02:35:04 PM by Endorya »
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Re: Game balance and leveling.
« Reply #24 on: August 12, 2013, 02:22:36 PM »
I think I didn't got it right. If you remove the experience reward from killing foes, is there any reason left to slay creatures at all, apart from loot?

If there isn't any other reason for killing your enemies, then your game is either not about combat or it is very poorly designed.

Why do you kill your enemies in Mario or Contra or Counterstrike?
I would say survival. But if you can avoid them, then there is no point having them in first place because the post to which I was responding to also mentioned that players should and could avoid combat. This reassures me that any feature can be a total disaster if not properly implemented.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2013, 02:56:59 PM by Endorya »
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Re: Game balance and leveling.
« Reply #25 on: August 12, 2013, 02:25:19 PM »
Well, this got slightly off-topic, but I wanted to bring up an argument against experience for defeating monsters, and some ideas for enhancing the gameplay and atmosphere if you remove this feature.
I think I didn't got it right. If you remove the experience reward from killing foes, is there any reason left to slay creatures at all, apart from loot?
Not much at all, except that they are trying to kill you. That's the point. The player's goal is to descend the dungeon, and I want to make avoiding encounters a valid strategy to accomplish this.

To put it another way - when the player finds a big horrible monster, I don't want them to think "Ah sweet! I will get a lot of XP from this!". The monsters shouldn't be a part of the treasures of the dungeon.

But that's because you do not play such a heroic role in this game. Of course in heroic fantasy settings it's different, where the brave warrior defeats the evil monsters.

Though what I've written about in this thread is so far only experimentation. I may find that this didn't help the game at all and go back to a levels/XP-system. But it's worth a try.
I asked that because you also mentioned features about avoiding combat. So if you can avoid combat and if combat does not give anything back, I thought it would not make any sense having combats at all.
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NON

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Re: Game balance and leveling.
« Reply #26 on: August 12, 2013, 02:32:23 PM »
I asked that because you also mentioned features about avoiding combat. So if you can avoid combat and if combat does not give anything back, I thought it would not make any sense having combats at all.
You obviously can't avoid combat completely. Sometimes you'll have to make noise for example, and then they will come for you. If you bash down a stuck door or fire a gun, you will draw attention. There's also hidden monsters who will likely spot you first. Monsters can call for help, there's alarm traps, monster summoning traps, wandering monsters can find you by accident while you're busy with first aid, suddenly a wall can crumble and reveal zombies behind it, etc etc...
« Last Edit: August 12, 2013, 02:34:26 PM by NON »
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Re: Game balance and leveling.
« Reply #27 on: August 12, 2013, 02:34:21 PM »
I asked that because you also mentioned features about avoiding combat. So if you can avoid combat and if combat does not give anything back, I thought it would not make any sense having combats at all.
You obviously can't avoid combat completely. Sometimes you'll have to make noise for example, and then they will come for you. If you bash down a stuck door or fire a gun, you will draw attention. There's also hidden monsters who will likely spot you first. Monsters can call for help, there's alarm traps, wandering monsters can find you by accident while you're busy with first aid, etc etc...
That makes sense and I fully support your point of view.
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NON

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Re: Game balance and leveling.
« Reply #28 on: August 12, 2013, 02:35:11 PM »
That makes sense and I fully support your point of view.
Alright, cool :)
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NON

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Re: Game balance and leveling.
« Reply #29 on: August 12, 2013, 03:09:32 PM »
Quote from: Endorya
Avoiding encounters should sometimes be a smart thing to do. Therefore I'm currently trying out the following changes:
I think that avoiding combats is something that comes naturally with difficulty. Players do tend to avoid combats which they think that are too dangerous.
Yep, and I want to emphasize this further, since it's one of the most funny moments of my game. It's a good thing to understand your game's strength, and exploit it as much as possible.

Quote from: Endorya
* Removed experience and levels. You pick all your traits and skills when creating the character (this also provides more opportunity for the player to experiment with different character types)
Although this feature presents itself quite flexible, it is prone to bring problems later on during gaming, when you realize that the skills and traits you've chosen were not the best combination or that those some skills and traits were not what you were expecting them to be. It happened to me when I used to Play Fallout 2 in which In some occasions I was forced start it all over with a new character. I still prefer creating a fresh character and letting the player train it at will throughout the whole gaming without restrictions whatsoever, while making sure that the character won't ascent in every field.
Choices should have consequences ;) But seriously, you can't compare it to a huge story-driven static RPG. We are talking about a small game with procedural content generation. You'll generally die quickly, then you can restart and try something different. Besides, the abilities you pick will be like choosing a class, just with some opportunity to mix a little.

Quote from: Endorya
* Introducing "Wounds" which require a resource to heal - causing combat to have a long-term cost. More incentive to avoid it.
If you have a deadly and realistic combat system implemented, I'm pretty sure damage will be applied over body parts and compromise those parts, which in the end will be the same as the "wounds" you refer. What can really make you think twice about engaging combats is how difficulty healing can be. This can be done trough having few healing resources yes or needing long periods of time to fully recover.
I don't intend to have explicit body part wounds. Just an abstracted count of how many wounds you have. This gives combat a little more gritty and realistic feeling, without complicating things too much. Healing wounds will require both a lot of time and a limited resource.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2013, 03:11:33 PM by NON »
Happy is the tomb where no wizard hath lain and happy the town at night whose wizards are all ashes.