How to balance Skills ?

kirbwarrior

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If you choose to make all your skills very powerful, then they must all be very powerful.

That is, which skills are too useful or not useful enough?

"Balance" in the context of a singleplayer game is basically, "make sure there isn't a way for the player to destroy the difficulty of my game" or, sometimes, "make sure the player wants to use all the skills in the game". But, these are the same thing as "Difficulty".
I feel like you're proving my point and not seeing that. "Making sure the player wants to use all the skill in the game" has nothing to do with "how easy or hard the game is to beat". The former is balance, the latter is difficulty. In fact, balancing skills makes achieving what difficulty you want much easier because the baseline just moves as one piece. Once I've balanced out my skills, I can then realize that the player survives too easily. I could just cut HP in half (for example) without changing any skills and now the player has a much harder time surviving.

"Balance" doesn't really exist in a singleplayer game.
It absolutely does, it's just weirdly common (especially for rpgs) to be notably unbalanced (it's even something that comes up in tons of conversations about making skills on this site, such as talking about the progression of 'useless skills'). It just matters more in multiplayer games. But traps in skill choice exist in both and are the most extreme example of unbalanced skills. And the ways you achieve balance in single-player games is largely the same as multiplayer games.

Where it differs is that the more imbalance there is, the vastly more that people will dislike it in a multiplayer-focused game.

"Perfect Balance" is nearly impossible to achieve.
More than being impossible, a perfect balance is boring. I've seen games where things seem to have achieved perfect balance... and no one plays them. People enjoy finding stronger or better plans. There's gratification both in single player and multiplayer in finding not just what is stronger, but knowing you can succeed with what is weaker.
 

Tai_MT

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@kirbwarrior

No, the problem is that you're trying to argue semantics. It's weird to see you do it when you're also using difficulty and balance interchangeably.

Here's the breakdown:

"Balance" means things are equal.
"Difficulty" means whether or not something is accomplished with a particular amount of effort.

So, let me argue semantics for a second here too.

"Balance" is whatever the dev determines it is. That is, it can be intended for some skills to be wildly broken while others are useless. For whatever reason the dev wants them to be. This easily and quickly translates into "difficulty" as using some skills makes the game easier while using others can make it more difficult.

This is my point. To achieve "Balance", you need to decide what that balance even IS. Do weak skills need to be brought in line with strong ones? Vice versa? Does a change even need to be made at all?

Hence all my comments about using the FEEL of your game to determine what the balance should be. The overall goal and feel of your game is going to determine how you "Balance" your skills at all.

Difficulty is just an easy example and usually the one most understood by everyone in the community, because it's used interchangeably with "balance". Mostly because devs are sort of lazy and just use stats to try to do things in creating RPG's.

"Balance" is achieved by how you want the game to feel. If you don't have your skills creating the correct feel, they're not balanced.
 

kirbwarrior

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Here's the breakdown:

"Balance" means things are equal.
"Difficulty" means whether or not something is accomplished with a particular amount of effort.
You're literally saying my point and turning around to say I'm wrong, I don't get it. You can have a game that's well balanced and easy, well balanced and difficult, badly balanced and difficult, badly balanced and easy. So I don't know how they are 'the same thing'.

This easily and quickly translates into "difficulty" as using some skills makes the game easier while using others can make it more difficult.
That just goes back to my point about FFT where the game is not difficult, but skill choice can make your life harder, all because the game was ridiculously unbalanced. That's balance affecting difficulty, not them being the same thing.

Difficulty is just an easy example and usually the one most understood by everyone in the community, because it's used interchangeably with "balance".
I have seriously never heard this before and conflating the two only undermines conversations about either. It makes things pointlessly vague.

It's weird to see you do it when you're also using difficulty and balance interchangeably.
Please explain where I do that so I can know how I'm doing this wrong.
 

Tai_MT

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@kirbwarrior

"Once I've balanced out my skills, I can then realize that the player survives too easily. I could just cut HP in half (for example) without changing any skills and now the player has a much harder time surviving."

You are basically using it "interchangeably" here. All the skills need to be the exact same for difficulty reasons. That's not what balance is. Balance is not difficulty.

Yes, I agree that Balance can affect difficulty, but that's not really what Balance is. Nor does it have to be.

My point is that they don't need to be. Balance is whatever the dev decides it should be.

No conflation going on here at all. Well, except maybe on your end. Probably more provable on your end than on mine.

If a dev decides that a skill should be heavily underpowered in order to fit a particular niche in which it can shine every now and again, then that is the "Balance" they've struck. The reason "Balance" doesn't exist in a singleplayer RPG is because it doesn't need to. The game plays however the dev wants it to play. Not all skills need to be equal. Not all results need to be equal. In a multiplayer game, you need "Balance" in order to please your players. A singleplayer game can have a skill that one-shot kills everything and it might be "Balanced" by just being something you get at the end of the game through doing a quest. Is this skill "Balanced" against other skills in the traditional sense of the word "Balance"? No.

That's why singleplayer games don't have such a thing as "Balance" and multiplayer ones do.
 

ATT_Turan

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I'm not going to get too much in the middle of this, but in case having another voice weigh in matters to you at all...

That's why singleplayer games don't have such a thing as "Balance" and multiplayer ones do.

"Balance" doesn't really exist in a singleplayer game. You really only have "Difficulty". "Balance" really only exists in a multiplayer context for video games and it's used to make large amounts of options viable for many different players and play styles.
This is an absolutely bizarre sentiment, and I have never seen anything like it across any other game design books, classes, or forums. You absolutely, 100% have balance (or lack thereof) in single-player games. That's why you can look at some games and see that a certain class, or skill, or set of equipment is always recommended, or never used - it's not balanced with the rest of the game. I seriously don't understand how you could claim otherwise.

In fact, I have met some number of professional game designers who would probably be pretty offended by your sentiment, as they've given panels about the methods and effort they expended in making their single-player game balanced.
"Balance" in the context of a singleplayer game is basically, "make sure there isn't a way for the player to destroy the difficulty of my game" or, sometimes, "make sure the player wants to use all the skills in the game". But, these are the same thing as "Difficulty".
It is not. Difficulty is how much effort it takes to succeed at a game's tasks. That effort can be measured in sheer amount of time it takes (some boss fights are more difficult simply because they last longer and so increase your chances of running out of resources); mental effort required (to learn patterns or plan your character build); physical skills (harder levels of Tetris or Dance Dance Revolution require more ingrained motor memory), whatever.

But if I'm playing Final Fantasy V, and I'm worried about running out of MP during a boss fight, I'm still not going to cast Fire I if I have access to Fire III, because the damage-to-MP-cost ratio isn't good. That's lack of balance. Similarly, I wouldn't use it during random encounters because it doesn't do as much damage as the physical weapons my mage can use at that point in the game. That's not anything to do with the game being easier or harder, it's one choice supplanting another.

Difficulty is just an easy example and usually the one most understood by everyone in the community, because it's used interchangeably with "balance".
How on earth do you account for difficulty settings, then? For the grand part, they usually change nothing about the player's skills or stats, they modify the enemy AI or frequency or stats. So, if you accept that evident fact, how can you claim the difficulty of the game is predicated on (or somehow the same thing as) the balance of the player's skills?
"Balance" is achieved by how you want the game to feel. If you don't have your skills creating the correct feel, they're not balanced.
That is kind of right, kind of not. When you say the "correct feel," to me that's a basic first step like "How much damage should my basic attack do as a percentage of enemy HP?" This determines how long fights should last, how many resources they consume, etc. That's a very important step, but it's not balance - balance is how all of your skills/stats/weapons/etc. relate to each other.

I recognize that you obviously strongly believe the arguments you're making, so my weighing in is unlikely to change your mind, but...you are pretty alone in the entire field of game design.
I feel like you're proving my point and not seeing that. "Making sure the player wants to use all the skill in the game" has nothing to do with "how easy or hard the game is to beat".
...
it's just weirdly common (especially for rpgs) to be notably unbalanced
These statements are true.
People enjoy finding stronger or better plans. There's gratification both in single player and multiplayer in finding not just what is stronger, but knowing you can succeed with what is weaker.
A huge thing in communities dedicated to games (especially the older JRPGs) is creating "challenge runs," wherein you play the game under predetermined limitations (complete in X amount of time, don't use these skills/characters/classes, use only starter equipment).

This modifies both balance and difficulty - balance because you are intentionally ignoring some aspects of the player progression in the game, and difficulty because the limitations are going to require more effort via mental strategy or familiarity with the game in order to still succeed.
 

kirbwarrior

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"Balance" in the context of this thread is basically "difficulty".

Balance is not difficulty.
The latter is literally the point I was trying to make. The former is what I had an issue with. I don't know how you can say both.

You are basically using it "interchangeably" here.
How? How is that even close to interchangeably when I'm using it as a point to say that balance affects difficulty but isn't difficulty?

Not all skills need to be equal. Not all results need to be equal
That doesn't mean that balance doesn't exist, it means that it isn't the primary goal or even something wanted. And I agree with that.

Actually, ATT_Turan just explained things better than I could.

A huge thing in communities dedicated to games (especially the older JRPGs) is creating "challenge runs," wherein you play the game under predetermined limitations (complete in X amount of time, don't use these skills/characters/classes, use only starter equipment).

This modifies both balance and difficulty - balance because you are intentionally ignoring some aspects of the player progression in the game, and difficulty because the limitations are going to require more effort via mental strategy or familiarity with the game in order to still succeed.
Absolutely and it's something I enjoy a lot. I actually prefer this over how many, many games add 'difficulty modes' to their games.
 

Tai_MT

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This is an absolutely bizarre sentiment, and I have never seen anything like it across any other game design books, classes, or forums. You absolutely, 100% have balance (or lack thereof) in single-player games. That's why you can look at some games and see that a certain class, or skill, or set of equipment is always recommended, or never used - it's not balanced with the rest of the game. I seriously don't understand how you could claim otherwise.

This statement right here is what conflating "difficulty" and "balance" actually is.

You are, right here, using "balance" interchanged as "difficulty". They aren't the same thing.

Singleplayer games do not have "balance". Enemies at the beginning of the game are weaker than those at the end. Weapons and Armor at the beginning are weaker than those at the end. Skills at the beginning of the game are often weaker than those at the end.

Singleplayer games do not have "Balance". They have "Difficulty".

In fact, I have met some number of professional game designers who would probably be pretty offended by your sentiment, as they've given panels about the methods and effort they expended in making their single-player game balanced.

Given the state of professional AAA games these days... I'll not worry much about that. Most of them don't even know the very basics of game design, judging by the amount of games that are created by AAA game developers that don't even use basic QA Testing. Or even know basic tenants of "Player Psychology"... or don't even playtest for "Fun".

Depending on the panels as well... Well... Actually, okay, if we're talking anything GDC... we're basically talking "EA Talking Points". So... probably not people you want to emulate.

Any other source? I'd probably have to consider each one carefully in terms of what they're talking about and how they approach it. But, that's just me.

It is not. Difficulty is how much effort it takes to succeed at a game's tasks.

Correct. So, I'm not sure why you're using "Balance" interchangeably with Difficulty.

That effort can be measured in sheer amount of time it takes (some boss fights are more difficult simply because they last longer and so increase your chances of running out of resources);

It can... depending on a myriad of other factors and variables. It could also just be "a slog" and "a hit point sponge" for the sake of it. Final Fantasy is a good example of a series that loves this.

mental effort required (to learn patterns or plan your character build);

Not sure the examples you're using here count as "difficulty". Though, mental effort required can be an example of difficulty.

physical skills (harder levels of Tetris or Dance Dance Revolution require more ingrained motor memory), whatever.

I don't really count "muscle memory" as difficulty. It's rote repetition that anyone with enough time and dedication can actually do. So... it's just a time sink, essentially. Doesn't measure difficulty, just measures how much free time someone has on hand.

At some point, you just hit "the upper limits of what a human can physically do" and it's not even difficulty anymore. With Tetris, especially. It just gets faster and faster until you lose. Not really so much about skill as reflexes. Though, I suppose an argument could be made that reaching beyond your physical limits could be a sort of difficulty. The line just gets blurry when it's more about the genetics you were born with and less about how much actual effort you need to put in.

But if I'm playing Final Fantasy V, and I'm worried about running out of MP during a boss fight, I'm still not going to cast Fire I if I have access to Fire III, because the damage-to-MP-cost ratio isn't good.

Where are you running out of MP in a Final Fantasy game? Especially Final Fantasy V? I'm legitimately curious. As someone who typically spams their best attacks all the time... I've never once worried about MP in a single Final Fantasy game. I've found this true for me across a great many RPG's, in fact. MP is fairly plentiful even if you're casting Ultima on the Level 1 Goblins in Beginner Town.

I don't even think I've seen any players go back to using Fire 1 when Fire 2 or Fire 3 are available, because they never need to, unless they're playing in a suboptimal way (not using MP recovery items which are massively plentiful, not using exceptionally cheap inns... not using excessively high amounts of Tents, Cottages, and Save Point heals... or Full Restore Springs...)

I sort of wonder how you play RPG's now. I'm kind of curious to watch you play through some games and analyze your playstyle.

That's lack of balance. Similarly, I wouldn't use it during random encounters because it doesn't do as much damage as the physical weapons my mage can use at that point in the game. That's not anything to do with the game being easier or harder, it's one choice supplanting another.

Okay, back to your point.

I'm not really sure which point you're making. You're not really talking about "balance". All you're talking about here is managing resources. You don't want to spend MP on enemies you don't have to, because you want to save your MP. That's not balance, that's managing resources. The MP-To-Damage ratio doesn't even apply. Specifically because no matter what enemy you're hitting (unless it's resistant to the attack) will still have the same amount of damage output on it in exchange for MP. In fact, if you judge balance by that standard, it's MORE MP-To-Damage efficient to use big spells on weak enemies! it will do more damage for the same amount of MP!

Sorry, it's just a silly argument and I had to point that out.

What you PROBABLY meant was "cast-to-kill" ratio. That is, if you can kill an enemy with Fire 1, there's not a need to cast Fire 3 on it, because you're wasting too much MP to do it. If you can kill an enemy without using any MP, then it's more efficient to do it that way. But, then you get into fun territory... If you can kill an enemy with a single multi-target high end spell and it takes less ACTIONS than hitting with your sword... Thus, battle ends faster... Isn't the MP Cost worth the result?

But, you then also come back to my previous point... How can something be balanced when it kills some enemies in one hit, but not others? Especially those enemies at the start of the game, compared to those at the end? The answer is "Difficulty". You aren't trying to "Balance" the game. You're trying to "maintain difficulty". Nothing more, nothing less.

As I've been saying... they're not really the same thing, and I've not been conflating them. But, this community has a love for doing that. Using "Balance" and "Difficulty" interchangeably like that.

"Balance" does not exist in singleplayer games, because there is "Progression".

How on earth do you account for difficulty settings, then? For the grand part, they usually change nothing about the player's skills or stats, they modify the enemy AI or frequency or stats. So, if you accept that evident fact, how can you claim the difficulty of the game is predicated on (or somehow the same thing as) the balance of the player's skills?

I don't. I said it was merely easier to use it as an example to illustrate my point since the community (yourself included) use "difficulty" and "balance" interchangeably.

That point was: "You decide how you want the player to feel in your game, and then structure your "Balance" around creating that feeling. If you want players to feel powerful, then you balance all your skills around creating that feeling of power".

If you want to argue semantics between "Balance" and "Difficulty", you should be arguing with everyone who uses them interchangeably. Not me. You should also work on not using them interchangeably yourself.

I know that they're so different that "Balance" doesn't exist in singleplayer RPG's. Meanwhile, everyone using them interchangeably, believes "Balance" exists in singleplayer RPG's and then tries to use arguments about "Game Difficulty" to try to prove it.

It's wild and bizarre.

All I did was break down my viewpoint into something the community would easily understand. Basically, I was "speaking the local parlance". No need to argue with me over something I don't even believe and was merely saying everyone else thinks that way.

That is kind of right, kind of not. When you say the "correct feel," to me that's a basic first step like "How much damage should my basic attack do as a percentage of enemy HP?" This determines how long fights should last, how many resources they consume, etc. That's a very important step, but it's not balance - balance is how all of your skills/stats/weapons/etc. relate to each other.

This is difficulty again. This isn't Balance. You're using the two words interchangeably again. "Balance" is achieved mostly through multiplayer games. Play, counterplay, tweaks to make the game "feel more fair". Doesn't really matter if the game actually is more fair... it just has to FEEL fair.

It works the same way in singleplayer games. "Balance" is essentially the "feel" of your game. Maintaining that feel is "Establishing Balance". What is the feel? Whatever you want it to be. Should ever choice matter to the same extent? Should some skills be better than others for... reasons? Should some enemies be more powerful than others for different reasons? Etcetera.

"Balance" is nothing more establishing a specific "feel" for your game and then designing everything around maintaining that feel.

After all, what if I intentionally design a boss that requires players grind to level 100 and get all the best gear in order to even stand a chance against it? Is that "Balanced" when the rest of the game doesn't even require you get to Level 40 before beating it? I'd argue "Yes", if the purpose of that boss is to provide something for the players who spent all the game time to get that far. Gives them a little extra content to run.

But, again, we're talking about "Balance" if it existed in Singleplayer games. I suppose it could... but you'd have to eliminate a lot of "Progression" to achieve it.

What most people are merely doing is "Maintaining Difficulty".

I recognize that you obviously strongly believe the arguments you're making, so my weighing in is unlikely to change your mind, but...you are pretty alone in the entire field of game design.

I guess I'm not sure what your point is here. Who cares if someone is alone in game design? Someone has to innovate at some point. You don't do it by doing what everyone else has done. Will I innovate? I don't know. I want to try. I'm tired of the copy/paste games that exist. They're boring. Bland. Superficial. Lazy. Every once in a great while... someone comes along, bucks all conventional wisdom, and creates something new and wonderful.

I like to forge my own path. Why? Because if I do what everyone else says not to do, and I fail, I at least know WHY it fails and HOW it fails, and can plan AROUND that failure. Meanwhile, everyone else just nods and goes, "yep, don't do it" and learns nothing from it.

I don't want to be that kind of game dev. I want to be the one who discovers 1000 ways in which something doesn't work and can then explain to everyone much better the hows and whys of the failure and what steps could be taken to make it work by eliminating the failure points.

"It's not enough to play the blues, you need to know WHY they need to be played!" Sorry... paraphrasing George Carlin there.

Anyway... back on topic here.

Balance isn't interchangeable with Difficulty. I find it amusing the people telling me I'm using it interchangeably while making arguments that interchange them. Based on nothing more than a simple example I cited so that people would understand the point (and gleefully taking the example out of context of the original point to boot!).

If you want "Balance" in a singleplayer game, you need to remove "Progression" from it as well. Otherwise, all you're doing is "maintaining difficulty".

If you're looking to "Maintain Difficulty", then you need to decide what that difficulty actually is before you do anything else. Then, you "Balance" (loosely used here, interchangeably with difficulty, to make the point) your game in order to keep the pressure of the intended difficulty up. But, this isn't actually Balance. If it were, your beginning equipment wouldn't be any stronger or weaker than your final equipment. If it were, your final boss wouldn't be any stronger or weaker than your first enemy.

"Balance" only exists in multiplayer games, because in order for the game to "feel fair", all choices need to "be equal".
 

kirbwarrior

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"Balance" only exists in multiplayer games, because in order for the game to "feel fair", all choices need to "be equal".
How does the first part imply the second part? Balance needs to exist in multiplayer, yes, it doesn't mean it only exists in multiplayer. Just because a sandwich doesn't need meat doesn't mean I'm going to pretend meat doesn't exist.

"Balance" does not exist in singleplayer games, because there is "Progression".
...what? These don't cancel each other out. Skills can be balanced with each in a game that has progression.

I don't even think I've seen any players go back to using Fire 1 when Fire 2 or Fire 3 are available
Which is a great example of a lack of balance and this has nothing to do with difficulty.

"Balance" is essentially the "feel" of your game.
Again, what? I don't even know how to react to this.

After all, what if I intentionally design a boss that requires players grind to level 100 and get all the best gear in order to even stand a chance against it? Is that "Balanced" when the rest of the game doesn't even require you get to Level 40 before beating it? I'd argue "Yes", if the purpose of that boss is to provide something for the players who spent all the game time to get that far. Gives them a little extra content to run.
What does that have to do with 'balance', especially 'skill balance'?

If you want to argue semantics between "Balance" and "Difficulty", you should be arguing with everyone who uses them interchangeably. Not me. You should also work on not using them interchangeably yourself.
Who is? I've seen nobody do that. Please link, like, anything.
 

ATT_Turan

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This statement right here is what conflating "difficulty" and "balance" actually is.

You are, right here, using "balance" interchanged as "difficulty". They aren't the same thing.
No, I'm not. And, bluntly, your inability to tell the difference between two words with different definitions doesn't give you the right to tell me I'm conflating them :stickytongue:
Singleplayer games do not have "balance". Enemies at the beginning of the game are weaker than those at the end. Weapons and Armor at the beginning are weaker than those at the end. Skills at the beginning of the game are often weaker than those at the end.

Singleplayer games do not have "Balance". They have "Difficulty".
That is a ridiculous argument. To claim that having a progression negates the existence of balance flies in the face of designing every kind of game, ever - from video games, to board games, role-playing games, even sports.

Having balance in a game does not mean that everything is completely the same at all times, and I have no idea where you got the idea that it does. That is simply not what the word is understood to mean in the industry.
Any other source? I'd probably have to consider each one carefully in terms of what they're talking about and how they approach it. But, that's just me.
and so forth. So, yes, it literally is just you. Since we're asking for supporting evidence now, where is yours that says single-player games have no balancing beyond difficulty?
Or do you not need supporting evidence, since you don't care what others say and you can innovate, but you demand it from others who are already supporting their statements logically?
I'm not really sure which point you're making. You're not really talking about "balance". All you're talking about here is managing resources.
That is a part of balance. In order for different choices to be fair, tradeoffs must be maintained. If something costs more resources, and it is also better in its effect, it is no longer a fair choice compared to other options.
The MP-To-Damage ratio doesn't even apply. Specifically because no matter what enemy you're hitting (unless it's resistant to the attack) will still have the same amount of damage output on it in exchange for MP. In fact, if you judge balance by that standard, it's MORE MP-To-Damage efficient to use big spells on weak enemies! it will do more damage for the same amount of MP!

Sorry, it's just a silly argument and I had to point that out.
That is only true if the damage formulae are scaled the same, which they're not. So nothing silly about it, except your presumption (or misunderstanding, or whatever).
But, you then also come back to my previous point... How can something be balanced when it kills some enemies in one hit, but not others? Especially those enemies at the start of the game, compared to those at the end? The answer is "Difficulty". You aren't trying to "Balance" the game. You're trying to "maintain difficulty". Nothing more, nothing less.
I have no idea what you're talking about here. You are, again, mixing up progression (or pacing) into the mix, and thus misusing a third term. And you're also putting words into my mouth, because I didn't design nor endorse the spells being used in my example - in fact, I said it was an example of poor balance.
the community (yourself included) use "difficulty" and "balance" interchangeably.
So you don't see anything illogical about writing this huge rebuttal and continuously claiming I use two words interchangeably, when the entire point of my post was to demonstrate how they're different? That's boggling.
No need to argue with me over something I don't even believe
You clearly believe it, because you said four times (distinctly, alluded several more) just in this single post that balance doesn't exist in single-player games, only difficulty.
After all, what if I intentionally design a boss that requires players grind to level 100 and get all the best gear in order to even stand a chance against it? Is that "Balanced" when the rest of the game doesn't even require you get to Level 40 before beating it? I'd argue "Yes", if the purpose of that boss is to provide something for the players who spent all the game time to get that far. Gives them a little extra content to run.
That's not really germane to the thread since it's about balancing skills. Aside from that, if it's an optional boss, that's fine and it doesn't really play into the balance of your game. If it suddenly had strikingly different stats and abilities than everything else at that point in the story, was required to progress, and couldn't be defeated at all by that point in the natural progression of the game, I'd say that was poorly designed.
I guess I'm not sure what your point is here. Who cares if someone is alone in game design? Someone has to innovate at some point.
Well, you should. Innovation is all fine and good, but you don't achieve it without properly understanding what exists, and you definitely don't achieve it by spontaneously and single-handedly deciding to redefine terminology standard to the industry.
I don't want to be that kind of game dev. I want to be the one who discovers 1000 ways in which something doesn't work and can then explain to everyone much better the hows and whys of the failure and what steps could be taken to make it work by eliminating the failure points.
And that's an admirable goal, but you won't achieve it with whatever mentality you're using to misread other people and tell them their English doesn't mean what it means, and yours means only what you say it means.

Anyhow, reply if you feel the need, but I'm out - when I encounter someone who ignores the definitions of words and literally everything someone says in order to interpret it the way they want, there's no possibility of discussion to be had.
 

freakytapir

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Just ... What is this thread?

A man asks a simple question, and suddenly we're all discussing the difference between 'Balance' and 'Difficulty'.

There is a simple answer: Math. Loads and load of math.
Everybody says 'playtest', but that's after you have the math down.
It's a simple matter of ... Yeah, there's no shortcuts here.
Combat balance is hard. Even big studios **** it up.

Things to keep in mind:
  • How long do you want combat to take? Player damage vs Enemy HP
  • Do you want the game to be about single attacks, or combinations?
  • How much does player skill affect the outcome?
  • Do I want every battle to be a skill tester, or only some.
  • Just how much MP (Or any other expendable resource) is a turn worth? How much MP does it cost to use a skill that's another turn's worth of damage? This is actually a big one. Because there is a heavy turn economy. A skill that just grants a character an extra turn, what does that cost? Once you know that, you know what a skill that deals double damage costs. That's where a baseline is important. This combat is supposed to take three turns, how much MP is it worth to finish it in two? How about one?
  • Healing vs enemy damage. This is something I always feel pretty heavy. Make sure enemies hit hard. Always make your player feel like spending MP to kill enemies quicker is worth it. Make it so the 'I spam Attack' option is the worst one. "Oh, saved 3 MP by not casting fire, but then that enemy attacked me for so much I needed to cast cure for 10MP"
  • For your 'Basic combat' look at what the worst and best case scenario is, and design around both. "Is this combat survivable if they get ambushed and one character misses in his first turn?"
  • For multiple target "Stun" Skills, think about what happens when everyone gets hit. It will happen. Is the party ****ed or no? Also, a pack of enemies with single target stuns ... ask yourself ... Is this fun?
 

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Feeling like my new profile picture is nice. Thinking of making it semi-permanent, does any one has an opinion? Does it look too evil or does it work as a public profile picture? :)
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Today, put in a new load. When I pull it out, the missing clothing is back! And a sock was sacrificed in the process :yswt2:
thought I'd upgrade to mz from mv cause of the nice quality of life features but ****ing hell why couldn't they allow old plugins to work in it and secondly how come in over a year since it's release has there been no mz version of something so crucial as a non grid based movement plugin. I guess I'll stick with mv. (why wasnt mz just an update to mv anyway literally nothing substantial changed..)

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