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Instanced Dungeon Que System

#1 Jan 10 2013 at 7:08 PM Rating: Decent
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This turned out to be something of a crash course in game balance principles. I ended up responding to three people but it all sort of ties together.

FilthMcNasty wrote:
Kachi wrote:
That's why as I've said recently, it's best to start with balancing jobs against one another first, then designing the monsters.

Except this is the complete opposite of creating the problem before needing a solution. It covers PvP, but does nothing for PvE Smiley: tongue


No, because the first problem creating by ANY multi-role system is balancing those roles against one another. Otherwise, even in a strictly PVE game, you have players roundly professing which classes are good and which are not. This was true in early XI especially... healers and tanks were statistically superior to melee damage dealers in almost every encounter. You couldn't have a party without them because they were so statistically powerful. Bearing in mind that any battle is ultimately a game of "Get their HP to zero before your party's HP reaches 0," tanks, healers, and especially refreshers were numerical godsends which single-handedly controlled the flow of party HP in favor of the group far more than the weight of a few DD's. In more recent years, of course, that balance flipped so that tanking was often inessential.

balishag wrote:


I dont know how you would build an RPG without defining roles such as the trinity. I've seen games that tried to do away with it like you said, but all it does is create more chaos in the grand scheme of things. Having a trinity, and every support role in between creates purpose. In a role playing sense, everyone involved in the group would like to have a special or unique purpose, hence the term "role playing game"

I tend to think of rpg battles as sort of a puzzle so to speak. If the developers design the game to where a trinity can solve it, then they will design battles accordingly. Of course, this is the most popular method of group dynamics for quite some time now and i think its mainly because of what i said earlier - everyone wants to have a meaningful purpose to their group or a "role" to play.

I think that in an rpg where there are many roles but are less definitive, you run into a situation like in Borderlands or Diablo where it almost becomes every man for himself. I'm not saying that teamwork cant come into play, but dimishes the reliance you would need for teamates. All the teamates represent at this point are more companions to finish the puzzle with. If somehow you can create some kind of reliance by needing other team members, then that would entirely something else.


As I just touched on, it's less of a puzzle than a race. It's a question of your team getting the opponent's HP to 0 before they get yours to 0. That's just the way we conventionally create the mechanics in MMOs... they don't have to be that way, it's just the objective that we usually work from.

As for teamwork, there's a difference between needing OTHER team members and needing CERTAIN KINDS of team members. The former is what we're hoping to achieve; not the latter. And the solution is easy: allow groups of players to be more than the sum of their parts. It really just comes down to a question of party interaction. That's all that teamwork is. It doesn't have to be, "I heal you, and you attack him, and this guy distracts him." It can just be, "I knock him over with a punch to the face, then you keep him down with a stomp to the chest, and then that guy pummels him with a finishing attack... our combo does massive damage." Everyone can have damage, support, crowd control, healing, and tanking roles. What determines the level of teamwork is how those abilities interact. In many games, there is no explicit interaction between skills. They just force you to interact by making you suck at all but one thing, or at least making you so much better at one thing that it's the only thing it makes sense to do. But all you have to do is give players an incentive to work together, even if it's just simple combos that do tons of damage. Of course, the possibilities reach much further than that.

Archmage Callinon wrote:
Ok but how do you define that?

Encounter mechanics are always going to alter how a particular job performs (it'd be weird if they didn't).


As someone else indicated, you will design hundreds of encounters for as long as the game lives. Interclass balance should be adjusted as few times as possible. When you are able to treat monsters as (essentially) other players, balancing encounters against player teams is easy. You just have to ask, "Is this strong enough or too strong for X number of players?" When you build a party dynamic that does not account for interclass balance, any encounter that breaks from that party dynamic chips away at the interclass balance (aside from making it much harder to build a functioning party).

A simple way of looking at it is that if you break down the math, different classes, on average, weigh more or less towards your success based on their balance. A damage dealer might have a weight of 1, while a tank has a weight of 2, and a healer has a weight of 3. Then you have the refresher who has a weight of 5. This is the inevitable result of building a functioning party dynamic against an "average" pre-established encounter. While you need some damage dealers just to keep the fight from taking forever, if you're looking at a battle without regard for the time it takes to kill, a tank, a couple of healers and a few refreshers is almost guaranteed to win the HP race, slow and steady as they are. Damage dealers can speed up the race, but you're increasing the risk that you'll lose because they aren't as powerful contributors in the HP race. Of course, sometimes you don't just want to win, but win quickly (as in experience parties). And that's where you saw melee damage dealers being considered worthless for big fights where the win was most important, and still only sort of desirable if they were actually good in parties where kill speed mattered.

So yeah, you achieve a certain kind of balance with a system like that, but look at how fragile and difficult to balance against it is.





Edited, Jan 10th 2013 5:10pm by Kachi
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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.
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