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Balancing of any game is more of an art than a science. A game designer's primary objective with balancing is to make the game challenging for more experienced players while not making it impossible for novices to complete. This page contains suggestions for balancing the various aspects of the game.
When we discuss balancing, we are mostly referring to battles in the game. Maps do play a role in balancing as well, as the composition, location, and frequency of enemies roaming on a map factor in to the balancing equation. Hero of Allacrost is designed to be more challenging than the classic console RPGs that it emulates, partially because it is intended for a more mature audience than those games. Also keep in mind that the game is rather forgiving when the player loses a battle. For example, lost battles can be retried immediately a number of times, although the spoils won at the end of the battle decrease depending on the number of tries it took for the player to achieve victory. So it's okay if a battle is so difficult that the player can't figure out how to win the first time around.
Characters are given an initial experience level, set of attributes, and equipment. From this starting point, balancing of characters depends on the growth in each attribute for each experience level gained, and the skills that the character learns. Attribute growth can be set for each individual level, but trying to analyze how powerful a character is at each level can be difficult when there are 100 levels of experience that they may gain. One might choose to instead look at a character every few levels to make sure that they are neither too powerful nor too weak compared to the other characters and the enemies that they encounter around those levels. For example, analyze each character and level 10, 20, 30, and so on. One should be extra cautious that a character does not grow too powerful in the highest experience levels. For example, having a strength rating of over 1,000,000 likely means that the growth for that attribute was too high throughout the character's growth.
Characters are the most essential object in the game to balance, specifically because all other objects are balanced around them. Characters thereful should be viewed as the most immutable object to balance. In other words, once a character's initial balancing work is complete, the designer should strive for no or very little change in the character's balance of attributes. When and what skills a character learns, however, should be safer to continually change and modify as necessary.
- Balance enemy attributes with respect to the characters
- Estimate the approximate average experience level of the character's in the party when the enemy is first encountered in the game, and balance with respect to that level
- Equipment primarily serves as modifiers to the attributes of characters
- Balance equipment with that in mind, making sure that they do not make a character more powerful than they should be
- Skills can be designed to do nearly anything from immobilizing a group of enemies, making the entire party invincible for a period of time, etc
- The SP requirement to use a skill should play a heavy role in the balancing of a skill. Very powerful skills should have very high SP requirements