Frostorm

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For those of you that have Dual Wielding as a feature in your projects, how do you go about balancing it against 1H & 2H configurations? Especially when it comes to skills, not just "normal attack". I have no problems getting DW to be balanced against a 2H setup, but when it comes to skills, I'm having a hard time balancing DW against a 1H setup. I'm going back and forth between having melee skills swing twice or not, besides just the damage output. How do you guys go about it? Do you design skills specifically to be used w/ DW or design them to be used w/ any weapon configuration?
 

Milennin

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I don't have dual wielding, but if I did, I'd just make it so they serve different purposes, or to make them fit a different playstyle that some players may prefer. Dual wielding could be overall weaker, but hits striking twice could trigger all sorts of effects twice to balance out the damage gap.
 

Celestrium

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I was just thinking about this myself. I am playing Fell Seal, which is a tactical RPG for those that don't know, and I started feeling that the dual wield ability was overpowered. The game doesn't allow some skills to utilize it though. Some skills say "Regular attack" which means most the time it utilizes both. A skill like Imbue Weapon uses it though, which is a regular attack followed by a single target spell, which seems overpowered to me. The game just makes the skill really only single target and makes you use single handed melee weapons only for the skill.

Certain tabletop games had the second weapon suffer a damage and accuracy penalty to balance.

I think you should make each skill evaluate whether DW would be allowed, and make it apparent in it's description and/or have specific dual wield moves.

Counter reactions could be triggered by each attack as well...

Just some thoughts, and @Frostorm if you haven't played Fell Seal, you should. If nothing else to gather ideas for your own game, as it is like the spirtual successor of FInal Fantasy Tactics. I just discovered the game and love it!
 

TheoAllen

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I don't, it just a redundant mechanic. But if I do, I will define the mechanic first.

You have two hands
You have an option to equip tools on your two hands
One-handed weapon + shield/torch/whatever
Two-handed weapon
Two one-handed weapons / Dual Wield.

Now, if you're making an action game, it is as easy as playing with reaction speed.
For turn-based mechanics, it can be tricky.

For starter, I will not make so that if you equip two weapons your stat bonus is the sum of the two weapons stats. Instead, I might want to make so your total attack will be like = 100% from the highest weapon stat and probably around 20% ~ 40% of your second weapon, the number may vary depends on how the game demands the balance. The way how I think of this is that even if you wield two weapons at the same time, it does not automatically make you stronger as twice as much. You just have an option to use your second weapon, which effectively boosting your performance a little, but not twice.

The two-handed weapon on the other hand just gives a straight power-up, and the raw stat is stronger than a one-handed weapon or dual wield at a cost that you can only equip one weapon. So 2H will always have a stats advantage over another. It may have another drawback such as a slower movement in general.

So, what does the DW have? because essentially you're equipping equipment, you have an advantage of both weapons. For example, if you have both a fire sword and poison coated sword, you can deal with fire damage while applying poison. Or maybe, by equipping a second weapon, you unlocked a skill. It really just behaves like another tool like a shield (maybe, shield gives you guard skill or something), but since it is a weapon, it also boosts your attack a little.

This way, if you choose not to dual wield, you are not losing much attack power. If you dual wield with the same weapon, it gives you maybe 30% more attack bonus, but maybe the stage requires you to bring a shield. You lose that 30% attack power for more survivability. It's not a bad deal.
 
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Tiamat-86

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1H : can equip shields giving higher defense and evasion (good for tank and support roles)
2H : higher attack stat gives skills more damage (good for fast DPS to end small fights quickly)
Dual : normal attack hits twice meaning twice the TP so can use higher tier skills more often.
(good for SpikeDPS with higher cost skills or giving support roles more skill options)

dualwield tends to have more impact on battle systems that use TP but dont have preserve TP traits.
since dual type weapons have lower stats the damage output from skills isnt as high as a 2Hander. but where a 2H could only use a low tier skill by turn 3 a dualwielder could use a low tier skill by turn 2 or a mid tier skill by turn 3. this makes dual wielders shine more in boss battles then in regular fights.

but when you do have preserve TP traits dual wield becomes alot less useful because you could just save your TP and then use 2H weapon and spam high tier skills to steamroll a fight.
 

RachelTheSeeker

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Nothing I've integrated, but thoughts come to mind.

First, only certain weapons can be dual-wielded. Daggers, punching weapons, et cetera. None of this "dual longswords" stuff. If your character could also use shields, nothing too big; a buckler-sized shield at best. I feel the bonus shouldn't be too big a swing either way. If an off-hand weapon attack is stronger than a buckler's defense (or vise-versa), there's little incentive to use the inferior type of weapon.

Second, these off-hand weapons shouldn't do as much damage as their main-hand weapon. They should offer a bit more damage for someone who can't swing a big ol' two-hander, but shouldn't be game-breaking in comparison. Playing Final Fantasy 2, newbies have little reason to use shields at a cursory glance, let alone a single weapon. However shields add and boost evasion (let alone elemental resistances), and a single weapon has more damage than sword-and-board or one of the dual-wielded weapons.

Final Fantasy Tactics is something to look into, perhaps? Single weapon for anyone who can use a shield is obsolete, as shields the chance to utterly negate weapon damage. Few classes can use shields by default, however. But a Ninja is absolutely broken when you apply their Two Swords / Dual Wield ability to other warrior classes. Ninja blades and daggers are vicious for Ninjas due to Speed modifying the damage, and Ninjas are speedy. Ninjas, however, are also glass cannons up-close. Give a tanky Knight the ability to dual-wield knight swords however, and you're an absolute murder machine.
 

velan235

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Just set DW rewards comparable to what it lost for not using DW. ie. you could use sword + shield to get 10 attack and 5 defense. on DW technically you will get 15 attack. It's kinda raw but IMO better than DW = straight up double power, it makes DW too rewarding to be missed / makes other combination seems inferior compared to DW. (and some games that implement DW have this problem)
 

Basileus

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I don't have dual wielding, but if I did, I'd just make it so they serve different purposes, or to make them fit a different playstyle that some players may prefer. Dual wielding could be overall weaker, but hits striking twice could trigger all sorts of effects twice to balance out the damage gap.

This is basically what Dragon Quest XI did, and it worked out pretty well. The main weapon hit like normal while the off-hand weapon made a free extra attack at a damage penalty. However, the free extra hit had a lot of uses besides raw damage due to the secondary effects of different weapon types. Knives have low attack but most have a chance to apply status effects, so having two equipped meant double the chance to land the effects. Boomerangs hit all monsters on the field at the cost of losing damage with each monster hit, so having two generally overcomes the damage loss (while hitting the first monster twice as hard). Wands restore MP on-hit, so a magic caster dual-wielding wands can recover a lot of MP by using their basic attack on a turn when they don't need to cast. Swords are the go-to option to raw dual-weapon DPS since they have higher attack and some still have on-hit effects too.

I'm not sure on the damage formulas, but I think most skills/abilities either calculate attack while applying the penalty to the sub-weapon's attack stat, or they only use the main weapon and the sub-weapon only affects the extra hit. I don't recall attacks suddenly doubling in power at any rate.

There shouldn't be a problem reducing the influence the the second weapon in the damage formula. Maybe communicate to the player that a penalty applies so they aren't confused by their damage hasn't increased a lot by adding a second weapon if you do though.
 

Seacliff

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I really wish the out-of-box Duel Wielding mechanic was a bit more fleshed out. It's been around since VX and has been pretty much the same thing ever since.

I agree with Basilues. Dragon Quest XI's duel weilding works pretty well. It requires the player to manually unlock the ability on a skill tree for each character who can do it, and the off-hand attack is comparatively weaker to the main attack. It's still the go-to option if you want to front load DPS characters, but it doesn't overshadow Sword+Shield or Two-Handed Weapon builds for most of those characters.

I'm not sure on the damage formulas, but I think most skills/abilities either calculate attack while applying the penalty to the sub-weapon's attack stat, or they only use the main weapon and the sub-weapon only affects the extra hit. I don't recall attacks suddenly doubling in power at any rate.
The off-hand attack in DQXI is half-damage of what the damage would have been if the weapon was in the main hand. So while most of time that's a +50% damage increase, there isn't two of every end-game weapon, so it's realistically a +30%-40% damage boost during the game's latter half.

On the subject of damage formulas, Dragon Quest XI's damage formula is actually pretty similar to RPG Maker's default damage formula. (Attack/2 - Defense/4 as opposed to Attack*4 - Defense*2). So incorporating that mechanic into Vanilla RPG Maker would work out pretty well, imo.
 

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I don't really have any dual wielding in my current project(s), but if I did, I'd go about balancing it like this:
  • Dual-wielded skills strike twice. This is something that just feels good to players, and these kinds of things are important. Bonus points if you calculate the first hit with only the first weapon's attack power/element/states/etc, and the second hit with only the second weapon's.
  • 2-handed weapons are notably stronger
  • Certain characters get a passive bonus to single-wielding weapons with a weapon in one hand while the other hand is empty. This bonus would essentially be the balancing knob against the dual wieldiers.
The ultimate goal would be of course to have them both deal similar damage with a given attack: Dual wielder attacks twice for 100 damage per hit, 2-hander deals 200 damage with their one big hit. And soforth.

Warning: additive/subtractive damage formulas will heavily favor the single wielder with the above approach, but you can balance it a bit by having the dual-wielder's multi-hit attacks be better against low defense targets, while the single wielder's attacks of course would do better against high defense targets.
 

lianderson

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I just make the two handed weapons and one handed shields even better or not even better! Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.... someone should do two handed shields! Oh wait, maybe I should do that.... hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm..... let me consult with my advisors.

*stabs brain*

I'm gonna do that right now!
 

freakytapir

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Here's an unpopular opinion: Dualwielding shouldn't give you more attacks. In all accounts, it doesn't really work. It's about as effective as trying to punch with both fist at once.
But gamers expect it, so we have to include it don't we?
But what if we made it just as effective as one handed fighting, but just gave the player the choice of which weapon to use with each attack? So wielding an axe and a sword lets you use both Axe or sword attacks?
 
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In effect, you could consider many classes of characters as dual wielding when they use a shield. You get defence in return for giving up an extra weapon and gaining whatever offensive capabilities that extra weapon provides, so, naturally, if you swap out that shield for something else then you lose that defence. In a fantasy setting, it isn't asking for too great a suspension of disbelief from the player when you put forth that the difference between using a shield to block or that extra arm supporting a block with a two-handed weapon makes all the difference when a troll slams its club down as opposed to using two one-handed weapons. The mind is willing, but the wrist is limp?

I concur with freakytapir in that it should present access to multiple skills, but only attack once. If you have enemies that are resistant to weapon types, then the dual-wielding character becomes more versatile and useful as a result instead of being relegated to a simple dps machine; however, in a protracted battle, such as a boss fight, that inability to defend really adds up and becomes a hindrance due to the resources required to keep that character alive. This is especially true if both weapons being wielded are equally effective against the boss. It is worth mentioning, though, that perhaps this second weapon is useful in this boss fight as it applies a status effect to this particular boss, but does nothing more after that. I am thinking of the music box in Bloodborne: powerful, but I can get mauled whilst fishing it out of my pocket.
It may then be that, in most cases, the dual wielder is most useful when first entering an area, allowing you to more rapidly gain scope of the enemies' weaknesses before switching to a more focused loadout after discovering that the hatchet is useless in this area. Conversely, this carries a risk because what if you come across an absolute unit of a monster. In these instances, the dual wielder becomes a scout: quick, tricky, and versatile, but quite frail, which is often what we associate with when thinking of such characters. Of course, that is personal perception and may not actually be true.

Just as a little aside, you should absolutely be able to dual wield shields.
 

ATT_Turan

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Here's an unpopular opinion: Dualwielding shouldn't give you more attacks. In all accounts, it doesn't really work. It's about as effective as trying to punch with both fist at once.
If that's how you want to approach it, I'd posit the best way to represent that is for dual wielding to give you a bonus to your accuracy (or penalize enemy's defense, however you calculate it). That way it's not about getting in more swings that do damage, it's about making it harder for your foe to avoid all of your attacks.
 

M.I.A.

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I just make the two handed weapons and one handed shields even better or not even better! Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.... someone should do two handed shields!
I made a class in a previous project that could dual wield dual shields! He was a Sentinel class.
All his skills were based off his DEF stat. I even gave him the option of 2H Shield..
It was a fun class to make and a challenge to think a little outside the box. :) I say go for it!
-MIA
 

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Its even easier to balance if youre using ramza 's dual wield plugin and damage formulas. I also made my atk parameter into strength and made 1h weapons use full strength plus weapon damage and 2 handed weapons use Double strength plus weapon damage making them both somewhat competetive.

With ramza dual wield plugin you can set certain skills as dual wield or mainhand and even offhand only as well. I made pretty much all the skills dual wield but has a condition that checks if user is dual wielding or not ( within yanfly action sequences) so it can change how the skill works if youre dual wielding or not.
 
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Wavelength

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I always stick with one Weapon slot in my games - it removes unnecessary complexity and stops me from having to address unsatisfying or imbalanced edge cases. I can still have a weapon called "Twin Shortswords" that gives +1 basic attack, for instance, but it's still one piece of equipment that fits in one slot.

If I were to have the option to use a 2H weapon or dual-wield 1H weapons, I would focus on making sure that each style is useful in a different situation. In a game with additive damage formulas (such as 100 + a.atk * 2 - b.def * 2), making 1H weapon skills strike twice (not just basic attacks!) and giving the 2H weapons' skills (or attacks) a considerably higher damage than a single strike of a 1H weapon skill (or attack), would accomplish this fairly nicely - for example, 200 + a.atk * 2 - b.def * 2, or 100 + a.atk * 4 - b.def * 2, would mean that the 2H weapons are doing much better damage against high-DEF enemies, whereas the double strike of the 1H weapons will take down squishy enemies a lot faster than the 2H.

Where that wouldn't be feasible, I might focus on differentiating 1H vs. 2H on a different mechanic. Perhaps 2H weapons increase your STR a lot more than two 1H weapons do, but each weapon has a 15% chance to inflict some negative status so two 1H weapons combine for a much better 30% chance. Now the choice is between power (higher STR = higher damage), or finesse (higher chance to disable your enemies). Or, in a game with an ATB system, maybe the 1H weapons together deal higher damage against enemies than the 2H weapon does, but the 2H weapons will stagger your enemies, causing them to lose ATB points when hit. Or, maybe the 2H weapons deal more damage but the 1H weapons allow you to attack more often (higher AGI = quicker filling of the ATB ). You don't need to keep things realistic, you just need to keep them consistent. :)
 

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