laaghisce

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Hello!

This topic is about damage multipliers and reductions, specifically from the enemy's attributions.

The question is : Should the damage bonus or reduction from the enemy's weakness/resistance always be the same with every enemy or should it vary?

Before I use my example, I will be excluding element absorption, and element reflection.
My two examples is:

  • Universally, every enemy that has a weakness will take 200% damage, while with resistance to an element will take 50% damage. Of course, enemies that are completely immune to elements will take 0% damage. 
  • On the other hand, every enemy has different percentages to their weakness or resistance. Both Enemy A and Enemy B are weak to fire and resists earth, however their percentages are different : Enemy A takes 150% damage from fire and takes 78% damage from earthEnemy B takes 325% damage from fire and takes 23% damage from earth.
As for myself, I prefer a universal percentage with every enemy. It seems more organized and helps me calculate what my character's damage will do whenever they perform a skill that has an element the enemy is weak to or resists.
 

hadecynn

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It depends.

If having different resistances/weaknesses for each enemy is a core part of the game that the player is involved with the majority of the time they spend in your game, then with proper balancing, sure, could be fun. But if most of the game revolves around other things, you probably don't want to bother with this because it becomes very taxing on the player's end to have to keep track of all the information. Like you said, its much easier to manage "weaknesses = 200%, resistance = 50%, immunity = 0%" in the back of your head compared to your option B. Especially since players don't have the level of understanding of your system compared to you, so without proper explanations and tutorials they might even think your design is broken if elemental weaknesses are not consistent.

Having said that, an option you might want to consider if you want to try to get the best of both worlds is to use States to add a new layer of depth. For example:

Flammable = Afflicted with this state causes Fire-elemental damage to double.

Cold = Afflicted with the state causes Ice-elemental damage to double.

Wet = Afflicted with the state causes Thunder-elemental damage to double.

etc.

So that essentially you are looking at (Weakness + State) = 400%, (Weakness) = 200%, (Resistance + State) = 100%, (Resistance) = 50%, (Immune) = 0%, normal = 100%.

With Permanent State Plugins you could have certain enemies come with States when they come into battle to add that level of variety. (ie. Slime and Tree-type enemies are both inherently weak to fire, but Tree-types come with "Flammable" so they take 4x damage)

Hope this helps! =)
 

Kes

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I've never noticed players having any difficulty at all with the idea of different enemies having greater or lesser weaknesses or resistances. And that would be appropriate for some enemies.  Not every enemy is going to be equally strong or weak against an element.  If they are, it's likely to get a bit boring and removes a little from the strategy e.g. - this enemy has a moderate weakness to fire, so do I use a fire skill or do I use a non-elemental skill which might deal more damage, but maybe uses more MP?

I would hesitate to have anything that deals 400% damage.  Even if you ensured that the base damage could not deal a critical hit which would bump the damage up to ridiculous levels, you would likely be ensuring that this was a one-shot hit, which would be another thing that gets boring very quickly, even if the player is winning.  
 

laaghisce

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@hadecynn I do like the sound of states altering the target's resistances, but as ksjp17 says it could potentially be chaotic. However I can see this working very well if the game revolved around purely exploiting the enemy's weaknesses. I would not enjoy that sort of mechanic in a game, but wouldn't mind it if the plot was interesting to me.
A chaotic scenario would be glass-cannon actors that can use elemental attacks with a chance to critically hit, I can see those type of characters being 'essential' to the player's party and much more reward than risk of the character getting knocked out. Then again, this is just one specific scenario, perhaps there can be a character dedicated to just inflicting status effects like these.
 

Although I could see enemies using this on actors instead to add more to unique boss fights. I can imagine a boss that deals a weak amount of damage, but is capable of inflicting these types of states to boost their power greatly. As for normally-stronger bosses, I wouldn't think that is a good choice, it sounds like they could knock out a character in a hit or two.

@ksjp17 Good point, I never thought about something like the example you presented. I can see different percentages working with certain enemies, it gives me ideas for minimizing the amount of MP. I do not think I would go far with percentages so that it makes a character a 'must-have' or useless to use particular battles.

I agree with that, 400% is much larger than the base critical multiplier for RM, it would be like the character is landing attacks that are much more powerful than a critical but all the time, that is until the state runs out.
 

hadecynn

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@ksjp17 and @laaghisce

The 400% was more for illustrative purposes than as a prescriptive number. The actual increase/decrease would logically follow the scale that the core damage model operates in. The point I was trying to get across, which I probably should have emphasized more, is that instead of just having one elemental as a variable on which you change values for each enemy (values that are invisible to the players), you could break it up into multiple elements/states that the players can get a grasp of and (if they choose to) do the math themselves to maximize their damage output. It doesn't need to get out of hand if you don't want it to be, either. (Again, as an illustrative example,) having both elemental weakness and vulnerability states at 125% each would already limit the max output back to 156% when both are stacked. As far as critical hits are concerned, one way that some games have done is to make it so that certain States (such as the vulnerability states in my example) would automatically disable critical hits, such that you can only get critical hits when you don't already have that vulnerability.
 

laaghisce

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@hadecynn Ah, that makes more sense. I can see status effects affecting resistances on a much smaller scale than 400%, it sounds pretty balanced to me with small bonuses.

With states that alter resistances on a small scale, it's easy to imagine it being used by both the player and enemy.
 

whitesphere

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I like the idea of having both damage bonuses and resistances.  It depends on the elemental type and the exact opponent.  For example, an edged weapon might have Cutting damage that is nigh useless against an enemy made of rock but extra deadly against plant-based opponents.

And I agree such bonuses and penalties need to apply to the players as well.  Having them also in States lets you create Skills to, say, mitigate Fire damage at the expense of greater Ice damage.

The only thing I'd avoid is non-obvious elemental absorption, where an attack actually heals the opponent.  There are a few cases where it makes perfect sense, and is obvious to the player.  These are fine with me.  One example is a Fire Elemental absorbing Fire attacks.  

In most cases, I would lean towards complete immunity, or nearly complete immunity before using absorption.  It can be very frustrating to the player to use a powerful attack and have the enemy be healed by it.  
 

LoganForrests

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I don't think there's any problem with having different levels of weakness and resistances.

Some enemies can be normally weak to an element (takes 150% damage). Others could be doubly weak (takes 200% damage). Similar for resists (50% taken, 0% taken). This keeps it simple from the development point of view as you can just set this value as is. I would try to keep any boosted damage no higher than 200% (double damage), especially if you can stack effects, unless there is a particular mechanic/reason that requires or results in a higher percentage taken. 

I do like hadecynn's idea of using both natural weakness/resist along with a state as a way of introducing multiplicative effects. I'm not sure keen on the idea of having certain states disable critical hits simply to curb the damage spike, though. If you make sure that any damage increases are on the smaller side, this shouldn't be a huge problem. As an example, +10/20% being the natural/double weakness and states being 5/10% bonus on top of that would result in more manageable numbers. You could also change the critical multiplier from 3x to something smaller, if that kind of thing was still an issue (I have no idea why this can't be a setting in the editor for easier changing, I don't know).
 
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There's a few games I can think of with 400% elemental weaknesses: Pokemon (for a double-weakness), Final Fantasy II (where elemental magic tends to have lower base damage than physical attacks but isn't affected by Defense or Evasion), and the Final Fantasy XIII games (where enemies can take 2x damage from Physical/Magical and 2x from a specific element for 4x). FFXIII is also an example of a game where you can affect enemies' elemental weaknesses—staggering enemies can make them more vulnerable to some elements, and the Imperil debuff reduces elemental resistances.

On the basis of the latter two alone I can attest that hitting for 4x damage never gets old. Of course, it all depends on the game being built with 4x multipliers in mind.

As for the original question, I don't really mind either way. I probably wouldn't use numbers like 78% or 325% myself, but not everything weak against fire needs to take 2x damage from fire. It can be the difference between "fire damage is a little more effective, but other attacks will do alright" and "fire damage takes this thing down much faster than other attacks".
 

Wavelength

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I keep elemental weaknesses/resistances uncommon enough that the player will probably take note when they see one hit.  Therefore I don't have a problem with using different numbers (130%, 150%, 200%...) for different enemies.  Having some enemies simply be "weak" to fire, and others be absolutely devastated by it, can be cool.

For a game like Pokemon, which has many different elements, many different enemies, and lots of weak/resist interactions between different elements, I can see the wisdom in keeping the damage alterations consistent (x2 per single weakness, x0.5 per single resist, x0 per immunity).
 

Chrispy

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Its easy if weaknesses and resistance amounts are universal across all enemies, but it also makes the system easier if the same types of enemies have the same level of weakness and resistance to different elements. You can also expand this a little beyond just percentages and make certain enemies completely ignore damage unless hit with the right attack first.You can also add a mechanic to some enemies where they are strong to an element, but attacking them with that element, while dealing more damage, will actually make things worse unless you can kill them faster.

Here are various examples.....

- Humans take normal damage against everything. 0% damage modifiers.

- Wolves are always resistant to ice (50% less) but vulnerable to fire (50% more). It doesn't matter if its a red wolf or a legendary dire wolf of random fantasy land, weakness and resistances would be the same.

- Ice elementals absorb ice (absorb 100% of the damage), but are weak against fire (100% more). Its stronger against ice than wolves are, but its also weaker against fire than wolves are.

- Steam elementals ignore everything. must be attacked with ice to materialize, but then is extremely weak against fire (200% more)

- Attacking a machine type creature with fire will deal 400% more damage, but will also cause it to overheat and deal more damage to the party until it is cooled down with an Ice attack that deals no damage (wasting a turn), or you kill it.

- If the Angry Fish absorbs water, it wouldn't be a good idea to use a water attack against it, unless that would actually turn the Angry Fish into a Happy Fish, and make it flee the battlefield.
 

gstv87

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you should probably tie your enemy classes and types to a library of effects.

say, every undead monster out there takes 200% damage from sacred attacks, but are inmune to poison.

wether it is a rotting corpse, a skeleton or a resurrected servitor, they would all have the same weakness.... they will be stronger or weaker in the end, depending on their HP, attack strength, use or no use of skills, etc.

fix a variable or set of variables, and play around with another set of variables.

it will be easier to balance everything out if you have a frame of reference.... think, "rock, paper, scissors" but on a larger scale.
 

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