Release 1.0 Balancing

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Roots
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Release 1.0 Balancing

Postby Roots » Thu Aug 20, 2015 4:33 pm

I haven't had a chance yet to play goro's latest balancing changes other than fighting a few battles in the test interface, so I can't give detailed feedback on the changes yet (which I know are a "first draft"). But I did want to get a thread started for discussing the balancing for our next release. It doesn't have to be perfect, but it should be substantially better than the last release. To balance the game, we need to make changes to the following.
  • Attributes of characters
  • Attributes of enemies
  • Character and enemy skills
  • Experience growth of characters
  • Number of and types of encounters on maps
  • Item and equipment availability
  • Damage/evasion/other battle formulas

This list is roughly on the order of most important/impactful to the least. We have two maps with enemies that the player needs to proceed through. The cave map we all know, and the capital attack map which is still under construction. Let's just focus on the cave map for now, and keep in mind the capital attack map follows soon after it.


Here are some general thoughts I have:
  • Claudius starts at level 1. I'd like a normal playthrough (ie not running from every battle) to get him to level 2 before the boss encounter at the end.
  • Likewise, the capital map should give him at least one more level gain before the boss there.
  • Because Mark and Lukar are temporary characters (which won't be in the party after these two maps), I'm not as concerned with making them individual and unique. Having said that, if we decide to make them slightly different (ie give them some different skills), I wouldn't be opposed.
  • I feel that roughly speaking, Mark and Lukar can really share the same relative properties and growths as Claudius. These two characters can really be thought of as "Claudius if he were at a higher level". This should reduce the balancing work quite a bit.
  • The current balancing has Claudius at 100 HP. He's level 1, and I feel this is a bit too high. I think it would be better to start him around maybe 60HP.
  • I think it might be helpful to think of Mark and Lukar as being a certain factor stronger than Claudius (in terms of damage, HP, etc). Maybe Mark is 1.7x Claudius, and Lukar is 2.2x Claudius? :shrug:
  • Let's throw out any character skills right now that target attack points. Keep them targeting single actors. That way, we can introduce the attack point mechanic later in the game once the player has had a chance to settle in.
  • Obviously since this is the beginning of the game, battles should be pretty easy. But I don't want it to be so easy that the player never has to heal or do anything other than attack.
  • Maybe adding a simple "First Aid" skill for battle would be useful for restoring a little bit of healing? (Healing potions should restore much more at this point though)
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Djinn_in_Tonic
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Re: Release 0.1.0 Balancing

Postby Djinn_in_Tonic » Thu Aug 20, 2015 5:54 pm

Roots wrote:This list is roughly on the order of most important/impactful to the least. We have two maps with enemies that the player needs to proceed through. The cave map we all know, and the capital attack map which is still under construction. Let's just focus on the cave map for now, and keep in mind the capital attack map follows soon after it.

I think you forgot the potentially biggest impact "balance" change we need to talk about: Battle Mechanics.

Those will change the way the game plays more than anything else, and the implications of whatever mechanics we institute will help determine actual balance points.

If we implement the Stamina Bar counting method we talked about and the wounded value, we have immediate hooks for two different mechanics: Stuns / Delays and Wounded / Unwounded.

I'd also suggest putting in a Poison status effect, since our first map is full of Spiders and Snakes. It doesn't have to be common (and doesn't have to always poison), but I think it would be a nice introduction to our intended status mechanic.
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Re: Release 0.1.0 Balancing

Postby Roots » Thu Aug 20, 2015 5:59 pm

That's true. I considered battle mechanics more as something that we're going to more or less set in stone and it's not a bunch of numbers we're going to tweak and configure. It definitely factors in to the balance equation, but it is going to eventually be more-or-less a constant. I agree with you on adding a poison status effect. It might already be implemented in the code. If not, I'll get to working on it within the next week or so.
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Re: Release 0.1.0 Balancing

Postby Djinn_in_Tonic » Thu Aug 20, 2015 6:05 pm

Roots wrote:That's true. I considered battle mechanics more as something that we're going to more or less set in stone and it's not a bunch of numbers we're going to tweak and configure. It definitely factors in to the balance equation, but it is going to eventually be more-or-less a constant. I agree with you on adding a poison status effect. It might already be implemented in the code. If not, I'll get to working on it within the next week or so.

Fair enough. Might make a new thread for that then: that's something definitely up my alley, and I think it merits discussion sooner rather than later.
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Re: Release 0.1.0 Balancing

Postby Djinn_in_Tonic » Fri Sep 11, 2015 4:23 pm

Alright: Quick question to jump-start some September release tweaking, as well as some ability design.

How long do we want the average battle to last?

Currently our battles last for a good number of turns: one solid hit from each character can typically down a foe, meaning our battles are APPROXIMATELY [enemies * 3] turns long. Is this a good length? If so, are we prepared to have some fights last LONGER than this as SP fatigue sets in?
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Re: Release 0.1.0 Balancing

Postby Roots » Fri Sep 11, 2015 6:02 pm

I'm going to take a stab and say 2-3 minutes? :shrug: Battles in the beginning of the game (what we're working on now) I would expect to be a bit shorter than that. I'm generally okay with our current pace (solid hit from each character will kill most enemies). My major concern right now is that Lukar's most powerful attack can take an enemy out in one blow. I'd really like to avoid "one hit kills" in general throughout the game (both for characters and for enemies), because you can't really make anything interesting happen in a battle if you can kill something in one hit.

SP fatigue is a little concerning, but I think as long as the resillience stat is high enough, it should be alright. (Remember: SP fatigue accumulated = SP consumed - resilience). And I'm open to tweaking the SP fatigue formula if we find that it accumulates too quickly or players don't use their powerful skills enough because of SP fatigue. But for now I like having this simple formula that should be both easy to balance and easy for players to understand.
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Re: Release 0.1.0 Balancing

Postby Djinn_in_Tonic » Fri Sep 11, 2015 6:28 pm

Roots wrote:I'm going to take a stab and say 2-3 minutes? :shrug: Battles in the beginning of the game (what we're working on now) I would expect to be a bit shorter than that. I'm generally okay with our current pace (solid hit from each character will kill most enemies). My major concern right now is that Lukar's most powerful attack can take an enemy out in one blow. I'd really like to avoid "one hit kills" in general throughout the game (both for characters and for enemies), because you can't really make anything interesting happen in a battle if you can kill something in one hit.


This is largely when I'm in favor of things like execute moves: it puts a good finisher on something that may save you a turn or two, but doesn't just one-shot enemies.

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