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#52 Jan 12 2013 at 2:35 PM Rating: Good
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Kachi wrote:
Well yeah, it's definitely more complicated than all that. Direct damage mechanics make balancing much easier (e.g., Powerful Attack does 400 damage, rather than some equation that factors in several stats). They have their downsides, too.

As for the process, usually the two things are developed somewhat simultaneously, and that's totally fine and smart. You can create all of the classes and monsters and abilities in the entire game before you even start the process of balancing the content (and sometimes that's basically the way it's done). The question is really, when you're trying to answer the question, "What should the numbers be?" how do you go about it? And most go about it in a back and forth, trial and error way. That's just considered an acceptable practice due to the glorification of the iterative process (where you don't try too hard to get it right the first time) in game design. But when you're working with numbers, there are easier ways. Like using a touch of math.



To use your analogy of a the battle event being a "race," it appears as though the team has opted for a 60m dish rather than a 400m etc. I would personally have to say, I hope that is an artifact of the alpha version, and that when the finished product is constructed we begin to see battles which are more substantial in duration.

The bottom line is, if the battles are short lasting <30 seconds, this means there is little to no strategy involved and it's simply a run and gun style battle system.
#53 Jan 12 2013 at 7:27 PM Rating: Excellent
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Yeah, well, I agree. Unfortunately many game companies are learning that if they can just keep you busy, you might not realize how bored you are.
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Hyrist wrote:
Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#54 Jan 12 2013 at 9:54 PM Rating: Good
Kachi wrote:
IKickYoDog wrote:
I keep seeing everyone go back and forth on this class balance issue and Kachi I like the thought of your idea with combos, but how would you make something like this work on a day to day basis? Are we saying that, in a class v class balanced system, any combination of classes will work for any encounter?

For example: I want to fight Bahamut and it takes an alliance of 18 players. I've found 15 DD, a tank and 2 BLM and no whm seeking to group. Now, in a system like FFXI this would be impossible since there isn't a single true healer and way too much hate coming off the tank. If we're running your proposed system of class balance, how would you try to make this work? Would that setup be impossible and would I then have to find a WHM? If I do, then aren't we back to the trinity in a way?

I really am asking out of curiosity, as I'm not quite able to wrap my head around the alternative.


I have to get back to work here at some point, but let me try to address your example at least.

It all comes down to the numerical balance in this HP race. Let me put forth a hypothetical scenario. Your tank jumps in and starts doing his thing. You don't have any healers, so he's probably screwed, but he knows that he plays a valuable role in preventing your party from losing as much HP as he possibly can, so he dies valiantly. Several of your damage dealers also have a first aid skill. Every once in a while, they can chip in a bit of healing to revive the tank. Numerically, he'll make the most benefit of that healing. And maybe before he dies, he uses a combo kamikaze attack with a fellow DD... a Berserker who throws him at the enemy. They're using teamwork to turn that little bit of his remaining "party" HP into a significantly bigger loss of "enemy" HP. Your two BLMs have decided to combine their Wind spell and Ice spell to create a powerful Blizzard. Your other DDs are doing similar combos, really not entirely different from Skillchains and Magic Bursts in FFXI, but with a lot more variety. Maybe some of those combos have crowd control effects and other status effects. People are cooperating to execute attacks of all types. Some require positioning, timing, and communication. But no one is simply swinging away solo... everybody is cooperating to activate these benefits, and the party becomes more than the sum of its parts.


I want this Smiley: nod

Kachi wrote:
And of course, in that, you can have secondary objectives and such as well. But the bottom line is that if the team works together and manages their resources wisely, they win the HP battle... in this particular case, by creating as much damage as they can as quickly and sustainably as they can. If they don't, they lose. Throw a single healer in the mix instead. In a lot of games, that single healer could restore thousands of HP for the tank and keep him alive for a very long time, maybe for the entire battle. But this healer is balanced to contribute roughly the same as any damage dealer does.

Hell, let's even look at some basic math:
Let's say the average endgamer has 1000 HP. So we want to balance Bahamut against this alliance of 18; let's give him 18000 just for arguments sake. We'll just forget about defense algorithms for now and use a direct damage system where attacks do a set amount of damage.

So let's say we balance the average damage dealer so that, head to head, Bahamut is going to do 1000 damage to him via AOE in the time it takes him to do 800 damage to Bahamut. All other things being equal, Bahamut will win this race because he'll have a few thousand HP left by the time he kills all the DD's.

Some game's answer to this problem is to make the healer recover 5000 HP... PER HEAL. This way, those damage dealers can stay alive and swinging as a healer spreads out that 5000HP among the group, allowing them to win the race... with this special brand of "teamwork". But we're not going to do that. We're going to look at the damage dealers and say, "Hey, if they can only contribute 800 points in the HP race during this amount of time, let's make the healer ALSO contribute 800 points of HP healing to the race."

So that's our starting point for balance. And we know exactly what kind of numbers a full alliance is bringing to the party because we made them the same. And that means we can easily balance the monster for any group of players.

Now in reality, we're going to want to create a skill differential. This is where we turn a race that is numerically pretty even into a situation where players might win and might lose. This will be a sort of statistical procedure where we try to peg down what level of player skill is needed to win. We've figured out Bahamut's baseline, but we're going to make him MUCH stronger to account for players doing an excellent job, racking up damage bonuses and healing bonuses with artful execution of teamwork/combos, crowd control, and personal performance. Now, the HP race is no longer on rails, but it's what the players do more than the numbers that determines if they win.

Er, hope that suffices. Back to work.


Thanks for clarifying all of that for me. While I don't know how I feel about it, I do like having something else to think about. I don't know if I like the idea of my SAM or other heavy DD having some semi-powerful healing capability outside of tossing pots, but I've also never tried it. Would definitely contribute to the ease of soloing aspect.
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Toofar - Asura (Formerly of Lakshmi (Garuda)) - WHM BLM SMN
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#55 Jan 12 2013 at 10:28 PM Rating: Decent
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Could be, or could easily be made a rather weak skill that can only be used on other players. That's where the initial mechanics become unimportant to game balance. They can always be changed later.
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Hyrist wrote:
Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#56 Jan 15 2013 at 5:21 PM Rating: Good
I I undestand correctly, you are discussing game balance because you would prefer not to have defined party roles?

And further, defined party roles are necessary for a functional Dungeon Queue system? I am trying to follow this logic as to how it effects the availability of a Dungeon Queue system. I would like to better understand your viewpoint.

I would say that defined party roles are preferrable to a character development system that can be diversified to the point of all character classes being essentially identical. I do like the concept where any single class can perform multiple roles, but perform differently for each class. When you go to a group party situation, you pick the abilites and gear you bring to accomplishe that chosen role. It seems reasonable to chose the potential roles you would fill before entering the Queue.

With other MMO's offering fully functional Dungeon Queue systems, and the ability to set your level to any level previously attained to play with low-level friends (better than Level Sync, IMO) I am still skeptical that a new MMO without these features can be succesful. When these features are executed properly, the accessibility they provide for casual players, and therefore the success of the game across a wide market of potential subscribers, should not be underestimated.
#57 Jan 15 2013 at 7:01 PM Rating: Decent
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SmashingtonWho wrote:
I I undestand correctly, you are discussing game balance because you would prefer not to have defined party roles?

And further, defined party roles are necessary for a functional Dungeon Queue system? I am trying to follow this logic as to how it effects the availability of a Dungeon Queue system. I would like to better understand your viewpoint.

I would say that defined party roles are preferrable to a character development system that can be diversified to the point of all character classes being essentially identical. I do like the concept where any single class can perform multiple roles, but perform differently for each class. When you go to a group party situation, you pick the abilites and gear you bring to accomplishe that chosen role. It seems reasonable to chose the potential roles you would fill before entering the Queue.

With other MMO's offering fully functional Dungeon Queue systems, and the ability to set your level to any level previously attained to play with low-level friends (better than Level Sync, IMO) I am still skeptical that a new MMO without these features can be succesful. When these features are executed properly, the accessibility they provide for casual players, and therefore the success of the game across a wide market of potential subscribers, should not be underestimated.


No, not quite. Game balance is actually even more of an issue in "character development" systems than in party role systems. If players are emerging with identical skills and roles, then that is indicative of significant balance problems. The point of character development systems is not that players can just "be whatever they want to be," but to do it viably. It's when that fails and clearly superior configurations emerge, while other configurations are clearly crap, that players make characters which are essentially identical. So yes, I would agree that defined party roles are better than an unbalanced character development system, but when either are balanced, I think they are both absolutely fine... I happen to prefer a balanced character customization game to a balanced pre-established character game. But, that's sort of a separate issue.

To get to your point, the issue is with the balance in defined party role systems. At the bottom line, the game is an HP race, and every player contributes to the HP race in their own way, through their role. And that's cool-- great idea! Love it! But it's often designed so that the party roles are unbalanced in their contribution to this race. You have damage dealers who reduce the enemy's HP, tanks who protect the group's HP, and healer's who restore the group's HP (in the standard conception of the trinity, though you can easily see how there are actually plenty of other possible roles). Now, the dirty little secret of this approach is that teamwork isn't all its cracked up to be... as you know, it has more to do with the configuration of roles that you bring. That's because numerically, a healer usually contributes much bigger numbers to the HP race. The amount of HP they restore is vastly greater than the amount that a damage dealer does with respect to this race. I'm speaking in general of course, but you want to bring a group of very high-value units. If healers contribute 5x the amount of a damage dealer, then you want to bring as many healers as you can if victory is your concern. At some point, too many healers makes victory too easy, and you just want it to go faster. That's when you'd trade out some healers for some damage dealers, marginally increasing your risk of defeat, but significantly increasing the speed of your encounters. This is the way most party-role centered gaming systems work.

It's not the removal of these roles that I'm suggesting; it's the balancing of them. Because when you balance them, it no longer matters how many healers or tanks you have. All that matters is how many people you have and what they bring to the encounter as individuals. The game will still have healers and tank, but the people playing them will be the people who want to be healers and tanks. And they'll bring just as much to the battle as any damage dealer... just not necessarily "more."

And in that system, a way to sort players by role is simply inessential. You can just queue up any six players and send them on their way. They won't be at a tremendous disadvantage for lack of a healer or tank.
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Hyrist wrote:
Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#58 Jan 15 2013 at 7:05 PM Rating: Decent
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As I reread that, I see the potential to get hung up on details, like that a group of all healers won't necessarily do well. That gets into some more advanced maths that don't really enhance the discussion, so just overlook that for now.
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Hyrist wrote:
Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#59 Jan 17 2013 at 3:17 PM Rating: Excellent
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Kachi wrote:
As I reread that, I see the potential to get hung up on details, like that a group of all healers won't necessarily do well. That gets into some more advanced maths that don't really enhance the discussion, so just overlook that for now.


The potential to get hung up on details is precisely the pitfall of this kind of discussion. An instanced dungeon queue system really shouldn't be overthought. It's not meant to be end game content, it's just a stepping stone to get experience in groups and a gearing tool. It's your first foray into the wild world of "Group Content". That's how it's used in other games, and likely what Yoshi-P has directed his team to draw ideas and inspiration from. The level of fine-tuning (or lack of any tuning) it sounds like you all are talking about is the kind of thing that happens at the raid level, when players expect a high level of challenge.

5 man dungeons in games like WoW and Rift are just generic enough that it doesn't matter if you prefer to play as a warrior tank or a paladin tank, but specific enough that you can't just walk in with any makeup, hit your "i win" button and collect loot. Go too far in either direction, and you have a problem - either the job elitism ala FFXI, or too much class overlap that there's no point to having "different" jobs.

#60 Jan 17 2013 at 5:40 PM Rating: Decent
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Actually I was talking about it primarily with respect to XP and instanced raids. Consider for example how such a system would have worked for building XP parties in XI. Would it really have helped at all? Maybe a little, but probably not nearly enough.
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Hyrist wrote:
Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#61 Jan 18 2013 at 1:21 PM Rating: Excellent
One of he most important aspects is the teleportation to the the dungeon, and the teleport back to where you were. This is what allows you to continue having fun while waiting for a group.

I really appreciate what Torrence said about the tool being more for exp leveling groups than for end game content. I think that is absolutely true.
#62 Jan 18 2013 at 2:27 PM Rating: Decent
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SmashingtonWho wrote:
The system where you put in your desired role and que, then keep playing until you get a message saying "Your party has been filled. Would you like to teleport to the dungeon?"

Sure, let me park my character somewhere safe and go do some group content. Then, a fun instanced dungeon run insues. At the end, it plops you back out wherever you were and you continue questing, crafting etc.

You know what's better than Level Sync? Just drop your level to any level you have previously attained and the game automatically levels your gear down and nerfs your abilites by some % (although they are all still available).

Ok, ok, not all MMO's have to be the same. But the best parts, that allow players to play with RL friends at any level, and casuals to access group content with very little time, are just way to good to leave out.

EDIT: See below for Xioe's link to the thread where Yoshi-P discusses the proposed Content Finder for FFXIV.

Edited, Jan 9th 2013 10:53am by SmashingtonWho

Queing for instanced dungeons in the matter you described is great. As long as that dungeon doesn't require battling to reach.

We should be allowed a seek feature that works even when you are in a pt already. Otherwise we are forced to solo or afk between contents.

I feel structured events like dungeons or levequests should just be capped. It won't kick you up to the level of that event, only kick you down. As for xp grinding(if it still exist at all), or open world events, Level sync is better than just choosing a level. Yes it makes it easier to do stuff with close friends. But it makes it too easy to bypass zones, ignoring certain progressive advancement. It affects others besides your tight knit group. Capping quests or limit breaks would have yays or nays depending on the individual.
#63 Jan 18 2013 at 3:21 PM Rating: Decent
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SmashingtonWho wrote:
One of he most important aspects is the teleportation to the the dungeon, and the teleport back to where you were. This is what allows you to continue having fun while waiting for a group.

I really appreciate what Torrence said about the tool being more for exp leveling groups than for end game content. I think that is absolutely true.


I don't have a problem with a physical waiting space for a dungeon as long as there are meaningful things to do there. Personally I don't like automatic teleporting as it's typically implemented. I don't enjoy long runs to dungeons, either, but those aren't the only options.
____________________________
Hyrist wrote:
Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
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