Differentiating Weapon Types in Turn-based Battle Systems

D.L. Yomegami

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Basically: how do you make individual weapon types different from one another in turn-based battle systems (not things like action battle systems or grid-based tactical battle systems, where you can at least make them different based on range if nothing else)?

It's something I'm having problems with myself. For some weapons it's easy enough to give them a stat-based niche (e.g. axes are extremely offensive weapons and thus give a higher attack stat), but it's just too easy to make one type outright superior to another if that's all you rely on.

As of right now, I have two ideas.

The first one is giving each weapon a different "element" attached to it ala Octopath Traveler and having enemies be weak to and resist certain types. It's good if you want the player to be constantly swapping weapons around based on need, but isn't really ideal if you want each weapon type to confirm to a playstyle, on top of running into the same pitfalls as magic-based elemental systems do that have been gone over a lot already.

The second one is having skills that can only be used when a certain type of weapon is equipped (so you could give armor piercing attacks to daggers while having swords do another thing, for example). This is good for giving each weapon a different playstyle, but as with simple stat-based differences it can be pretty tricky to make sure each weapon's skills feel unique and equally useful rather than having one weapon be an outright superior version of another or just having two types feel redundant.

I guess there's the third option of "each actor only has one weapon type they can equip," which circumvents all of this, but that feels like the cheap way out.

I can't say I'm entirely satisfied with any one of these ideas, so I'd like to hear others' thoughts on the subject.
 
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Milennin

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The second one is having skills that can only be used when a certain type of weapon is equipped (so you could give armor piercing attacks to daggers while having swords do another thing, for example). This is good for giving each weapon a different playstyle, but again runs into the issue of making each weapon's skills feel different from each other rather than making one weapon a superior version of another.
What's the issue there? I'm not seeing it.
I've always locked my characters to a single weapon type, because that's what they're used to be wielding; there's no point in them equipping anything they're not trained in fighting with.
But if I would allow different types, I'd consider 2 possible options:
Each weapon type specialises in a unique stat spread (daggers have low STR, but high AGL, vice-versa for Hammers), which would be the easy way out. Or, secondly, unlocking different skills, depending on which weapon is wielded. It would just be difficult to get players to experiment with different weapons, when most people would just look at the stats of whatever they got and equip the highest ATK thing they got on them.
 

Kupotepo

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@D.L. Yomegami, the first option is difficult to balance however, you use the software to make a spreadsheet.

The second one is having skills that can only be used when a certain type of weapon is equipped (so you could give armor piercing attacks to daggers while having swords do another thing, for example).

The second one sounds easier to balance as @Milennin said. I see the member here using the mechanic and it is ok.
 

CHKNRAVE

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How I usually differentiate weapon types is a mix of skill costs, weapon stats, and extra effects.

The sword will deal good damage and have good stats, but lack additional effects.
The axe will deal the best damage and apply physical effects, but its stats will be purely offensive and using it will have a higher cost.
The dagger will deal less damage, but have a lighter cost which makes it compete with other weapons in terms of damage in a damage/cost ratio.

Weapon Unleash is really good to deepen the differences between weapons.
 

D.L. Yomegami

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@Milennin Basically, it's an issue of "If I have two single-target physical skills, one for a sword and another for a spear, how would the spear skill be any different from the sword skill, and how do I make it so the spear skill's worth sacrificing the sword for and vice-versa?"

In this particular instance the answer would be just to have the skill be usable by both weapons, but I run into that problem a lot, especially once more weapon types come into play (or sometimes even among the same weapon or generic skills; if axes specialize in single-target physical damage then why use one ax skill over the other?).

I tend to have problems coming up with skills, items, etc. in general, though, so it might just be a me problem.
 

Basileus

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Dragon Quest has some weapons change how the basic attack works by giving it special properties or by changing how it targets enemies. DQ games use a group system where enemies in a combat encounter are divided into groups of the same monster type. For example, you can have a group of 2 slimes and a group of 1 bat, or you could have a group of 2 slimes and a group of 3 slimes with a group of 1 bat in between them. Some weapons, mostly whips, change the basic attack to target an entire group instead of selecting an individual enemy (but do a bit less damage per target). Boomerangs will hit every enemy on the field but the damage decreases with each enemy hit. Mage weapons, mostly staves and wands, have low attack but restore MP when they hit an enemy.

Most DQ games have some type of class system or choice of weapon with skills being locked to the currently equipped weapon. This lets the player decide how to build the character, and you can also carry multiple weapons and change weapons as a free action to change what skill are available almost like a mid-battle class change.

I'd recommend taking a look at how enemies are handled in your game to see if you can make some niches to fill. A position or row system can open up lots of tactical options.
 

cthulhusquid

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I'm using the "weapons give specific skills" in my post-apocalyptic project, and am adding that functionality to Battle Castle, one of my fantasy projects.

In my post-apocalyptic project, guns have various amounts of rounds you can shoot depending on what it is. For instance, pistols can shoot single or double shots. Machine pistols can shoot single shots and three round bursts, while submachine guns, assault rifles, and machine guns can all shoot longer bursts. Guns can also shoot special ammuniton, like armor piercing incendiary rounds, hollow point rounds, depleted uranium rounds, high explosive rounds, etc.

The second one is having skills that can only be used when a certain type of weapon is equipped (so you could give armor piercing attacks to daggers while having swords do another thing, for example). This is good for giving each weapon a different playstyle, but again runs into the issue of making each weapon's skills feel different from each other rather than making one weapon a superior version of another.
I don't see an issue, isn't the whole point to make the weapons functionally different from each other?
 

bmg

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As of right now, I have two ideas.

The first one is giving each weapon a different "element" attached to it ala Octopath Traveler and having enemies be weak to and resist certain types. It's good if you want the player to be constantly swapping weapons around based on need, but isn't really ideal if you want each weapon type to confirm to a playstyle, on top of running into the same pitfalls as magic-based elemental systems do that have been gone over a lot already.

The second one is having skills that can only be used when a certain type of weapon is equipped (so you could give armor piercing attacks to daggers while having swords do another thing, for example). This is good for giving each weapon a different playstyle, but again runs into the issue of making each weapon's skills feel different from each other rather than making one weapon a superior version of another.
In my game Journey On, I picked option 2 then I made every skill attached to the weapon different from each other. Here are some of the examples of how they are different:

A 1 handed weapon like a sword does not use offhand slot, so the player can equip a shield with a sword. Therefore a sword is a great choice for defensive playstyle.

An axe has the highest attack and it can break enemy defense. Therefore an axe is really good at doing damage against single enemy with high defense in a very short time.

A bow is good for DoT damage, it's not as strong as axe initially, but in the long run it does better damage. DoT damage is generally better on boss because boss fights last longer than normal encounters.

A spear is good for AoE damage, so it's good for killing adds quickly.

Then I create enemy mechanics based on strength and weakness of each weapon.
Sometimes you want to play defensively or else you will die.
Sometimes you want to deal great damage in a very short time and end the fight quickly(and vice versa) etc.

Then the player can choose weapons based on enemy mechanic and their needs.

@Milennin
if axes specialize in single-target physical damage then why use one ax skill over the other?
To make skills different from each other, give each skill a different property or different costs.

In order to make every weapon/skill feels different, your battle mechanic has to highlight the difference. If all fights are nothing but attack and attack against 1 single enemy, players will just equip weapons/use skills with the highest attack.
 
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bgillisp

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Here's what I am doing in my next project, maybe you can get some ideas from this:

All weapons of a type have a base number first.
Bow: Base ATK and MAT
Swords: +5% ATK from base, -5% MAT from base
Axe: +10% ATK from base, -10% MAT from base
Fists: +20% ATK from base, -20% MAT from base
Mace: -5% ATK, +5% MAT from base
Staffs: -10% ATK, +10% MAT from base
Books: -20% ATK, +20% MAT from base
Daggers: -25% ATK, -25% MAT from base, 2x attack.

That's not all weapons but the easiest to explain at least.
 

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