Magnitude of Elemental Weakness/Resistances

Frostorm

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So I'm sure most of yall have "elements" in your games. It can be traditional fantasy RPG elements like Fire, Frost, Shock, etc...or perhaps it's a sci-fi game with elements like Acid, Plasma, Kinetic, etc... In any case, I was wondering how much emphasis these elemental modifiers should have.

Let's take Pokemon for instance...they use a simple system where attacks against a "type" (aka "It's super effective!") weakness deal double damage. Likewise, attacks against a resistant type (aka "It's not very effective...") deal only half damage. Thus, they use a simple 2x or 0.5x for most of their elemental rates. That makes sense since their element system is a huge focus in Pokemon.

Now, I recently added an extra layer of complexity to the weapons in my project. All weapons now deal a combination of Blunt, Slash, & Pierce damage, in varying proportions. However, in order for the player to fully take advantage of such a system, the enemies need to be varied in their resistances & weaknesses. But how varied and to what degree?

I kinda feel like a large modifier, such as in Pokemon, is too extreme in most cases. How much emphasis do you guys place on your element rates? For example, maybe 1.3x instead of 2x? Or perhaps you use a wide range, giving each enemy something different instead of a fixed multiplier for "super effective" & "not very effective" attacks.
 

ATT_Turan

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All weapons now deal a combination of Blunt, Slash, & Pierce damage, in varying proportions. However, in order for the player to fully take advantage of such a system, the enemies need to be varied in their resistances & weaknesses. But how varied and to what degree?
The question is whether you can do that in such a way that the players 1) notice the difference and 2) can do something about it.

Like, do you have, say, swords that are equivalent in all other stats but one has more piercing damage and another has more slashing? And if the overall damage is equivalent, the difference in the enemy's resistance would actually have to be pretty drastic in order to make it noticeable, never mind worth the player's time to switch to the more effective weapon.

If I'm hitting for 100 damage and my rapier is...I dunno what you have, 20% blunt, 30% slashing and 50% piercing damage, but my longsword is 20% piercing, 30% blunt and 50% slashing...

Let's say this enemy has Pokémon double damage from slashing and half from piercing. The rapier would do 20+60+25=105 damage. The longsword would do 10+30+100=140 damage. If you're switching weapons in combat and it takes a turn, you clearly do more damage spending 3 turns attacking with the less efficient rapier than hitting with it once, seeing the enemy is resistant; spending your second turn switching, then hitting once with the longsword.

If you used any smaller degrees of resistance and vulnerability it would be even less worthwhile to switch weapons.
 

Sword_of_Dusk

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As with many things in game design, it depends. Honestly, most of your questions can be answered with that. You have to decide what numbers are best for the type of difficulty you're going for. Looking at how other games that you've played does it would help though, as you would already have an idea of whether you think the effects are too strong or too weak.

That said, I think a baseline 1.5x modifier for weaknesses and a 0.5x modifier for resistances is a good place to start. Then you can decide if you want specific enemies to take more or less from various elemental hits.
 

TheoAllen

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I use range -25% ~ +25%. I personally find this value is enough to add a flavor of "you are not doing it effectively" but does not feel like you're wasting your time by hitting with the wrong element. There is an exception where I use 30% or even 50% to make a certain gimmick to the enemy, but I never use a complete resistance. i.e, you can use fire vs fire.

For multiple elements, I use separate damage calculations. For example, I have a fire sword enchantment that has slash and heat damage. I use 100% slash damage (full damage) and 20% heat damage (proportionally).

So if I'm hitting with 100 damage, the total base damage is 120. 100 for slash, and an additional 20 for heat damage. If the target is resisting slash damage and weak to heat damage at the rate of 20:20, the damage would be 80 + 24 = 104. Neglectable? probably yes, probably not, depending on the situation.
 

Frostorm

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@ATT_Turan You hit the nail on the head with your example. I do indeed have different swords with similar stats/damage but vastly different Blunt/Slash/Pierce ratios. While I don't currently have in-combat weapon switching in my game, it is a feature I intend to implement once I figure out how to get it working. I do have an idea how to address the "not worth the player's time to swap weapons" issue though. Basically, each actor always gets a Bonus Action + Main Action, kinda like in Baldur's Gate 3. So I would make it so that swapping weapons only consumes a Bonus Action instead of a Main Action. That way, it becomes worthwhile to use an effective weapon. Bonus Actions are usually a non-damage, utility skill so weapon switching fits right at home there.

Of course, your example uses Pokemon-like multipliers, which is definitely on the more extreme end of the spectrum. I'd like to see how mild I can make the multipliers while still making it worth the player's time to use an effective weapon. So let's try the math w/ some more numbers...

Let's take these 2 weapons, a Claymore and a Rapier:
(these simplified numbers are what I have in-game, so "1" = 10%)
  • 1635278972221.pngClaymore
    • Blunt: 2
    • Slash: 6
    • Pierce: 2
  • 1635279434232.pngRapier
    • Blunt: 1
    • Slash: 2
    • Pierce: 7
Again, we'll use a baseline of 100 damage. But for the multiplier, I will try @Sword_of_Dusk's suggestion of 1.5x and 0.5x for "super effective" & "not very effective", respectively. We can use the same enemy who is weak to Slash but resistant to Pierce.

Claymore: 20+(60*1.5)+(20*0.5)=120 damage
Rapier: 10+(20*1.5)+(70*0.5)=75 damage

Ok so far so good! Looks like the dmg difference is noticeable enough to warrant using different weapons. Now, let's see if I can use an EVEN LOWER multiplier...(±20%)

Claymore: 20+(60*1.2)+(20*0.8)=108 damage
Rapier: 10+(20*1.2)+(70*0.8)=90 damage

That's pretty much as low as I can go before damage variation becomes more of a factor than the elemental modifiers. The biggest issue before was whether weapon swapping deprives the player of an attack that turn or not. So long as it doesn't, by only consuming a Bonus Action, it seems like I don't need to rely on the drastic multipliers Pokemon uses.
 
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LordOfPotatos

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I use many small multipliers instead of one big weakness and yanfly's damage control to add an increasing number of shining ! marks to damage numbers with elemental multipliers so you can tell how huge the attack was.

for example, an enemy that's weak to fire takes 1.5x damage.
if you use a spell that debuffs fire resistance that's another 1.3x.
then a combo skill so if the next attack is a finisher that's another 1.5x.
and if you stagger the enemy beforehand you get a guaranteed critical for 1.5x damage.
then with a fire boost buff spell and mind charge that's another 1.5x and 2.5x.

for a total of 1.5x1.3x1.5x1.5x1.5x2.5 = 16.4x damage for the finishing blow.
and the resulting damage popup is "3450 !!!!!!!!" with a screen flash and blast echo because that was a lot of damage.
 

Frostorm

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I just realized the comparison between Claymore and Rapier was a highly optimistic scenario. As in, those 2 swords are almost like polar opposites. Here's a closer comparison: (Edit: added Longbow)
  • 1635310092597.pngClaymore
    • Blunt: 2
    • Slash: 6
    • Pierce: 2
  • 1635310008851.pngGreataxe
    • Blunt: 5
    • Slash: 4
    • Pierce: 1
  • 1635310213871.pngHalberd
    • Blunt: 3
    • Slash: 5
    • Pierce: 2
  • 1635310757350.pngLongbow
    • Blunt: 1
    • Slash: 1
    • Pierce: 8
Maths w/ ±50%...
Claymore: 20+(60*1.5)+(20*0.5)=120 damage
Greataxe: 50+(40*1.5)+(10*0.5)=115 damage
Halberd: 30+(50*1.5)+(20*0.5)=115 damage
Longbow: 10+(10*1.5)+(80*0.5)=65 damage

Maths w/ ±20%...
Claymore: 20+(60*1.2)+(20*0.8)=108 damage
Greataxe: 50+(40*1.2)+(10*0.8)=106 damage
Halberd: 30+(50*1.2)+(20*0.8)=106 damage
Longbow: 10+(10*1.2)+(80*0.8)=86 damage

Lol, poor Longbow...gimped due to the target being resistant to Pierce. But anyway, as expected...the difference is much less pronounced when the weapon ratings are closer together. Fortunately, those ratings aren't the only thing that distinguishes them from each other. I typically give Swords +CNT% and Axes +CRIT%. The Halberd is a bit interesting since I design those for hybrids, as in they confer both STR & INT instead of STR & DEX or just STR. It also has extra reach and a different attack pattern (diamond shape instead of square).

In the end, I think I'll go for something around ±30% for the weakness/resistance. Or I can do it more "chaotically" by not sticking to some arbitrary figure. For example, a Skeleton ought to be something like 80% Dark, 140% Holy, 120% Blunt, 110% Slash, & 50% Pierce. Then we could have interesting choices like: Should the player use their Holy Longbow or Cursed Greataxe?

I use many small multipliers instead of one big weakness and yanfly's damage control to add an increasing number of shining ! marks to damage numbers with elemental multipliers so you can tell how huge the attack was.
Nice, I really like that approach!
 

ATT_Turan

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Basically, each actor always gets a Bonus Action + Main Action, kinda like in Baldur's Gate 3. So I would make it so that swapping weapons only consumes a Bonus Action instead of a Main Action.
That's better than wasting a turn for sure.

I don't want to come across like I'm trying to dissuade you from your vision, you should do what you think is cool, but I'll put forth this opinion for your consideration. The beginning...say, quarter or so of Final Fantasy X has enemies who can only be effectively attacked by specific party members (there are elementals that only take significant damage from magic, flying enemies can only be reasonably hit by the dude chucking his volleyball at them, etc.).

Until my character growth started surpassing the curve and that was no longer a consideration, I found that portion of the game to be the most annoying thing. I greatly disliked loading into each battle, looking over the enemies, and thinking "Ok, I have to go into this menu two times and swap out these people to target these things if I don't want the battle to be twice as long as it needs to be."

I know you're not talking about being as extreme as a given weapon won't be able to hit a certain kind of enemy, but I'm mentally imagining the same process in my head every time I load into one of your battles.
A couple of things that could make it a bit more streamlined (which are really the same thing, mechanically, just different in the UI):
1) Make the weapon selection a part of the attack/skill process. You select your attack, who you're using it on, then a list pops up of which weapon you'd like to use. Think Fire Emblem.

2) Replace the different weapons with different attack styles. Instead of having the various swords do damage in different ways, consider attack skills for how you're using your weapon (you can lunge, slash, or bash with your sword, to select which damage type you're emphasizing). This would also make the weapon design much simpler on your end.
 

Frostorm

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@ATT_Turan Those are some excellent suggestions, thanks! I too would be annoyed by having to go through the process you described. I wasn't even going to implement in-combat weapon swapping until it was mentioned in this thread. I'm more of a "set it and forget it" kind of guy. I tend to prefer putting in the mental effort before combat and letting the build do the work for me.

If I omit weapon swapping in battle, the player should still have at least 1 other element independent of their weapon since each actor will be speccing into more than 1 skill tree. It would be rare to encounter an enemy that's coincidentally resistant to everything within an actor's arsenal. With that in mind, do you guys think weapon swapping is worth implementing?

Actually, the "2)" idea is really cool. Not sure how I'd implement such a mechanic, especially with consideration of the melee skill trees, but it's totally worth exploring.
 

rpgLord69

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I agree with what one of the previous poster said, that elemental weakness/strength mechanic shouldn't be a chore of having to just swap in/out the correct characters, or start switching your weapons for every battle. I'd go with something along the lines of what was mentioned here x1.25 and x0.75 / 0.5 or something. Or then try to come up with something like you have limited ability/items to gain elemental strength and have to be wary of where/how you use it.
 

ATT_Turan

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Actually, the "2)" idea is really cool. Not sure how I'd implement such a mechanic, especially with consideration of the melee skill trees, but it's totally worth exploring.
It depends on how you'd want it to work with your attack skills that you presumably have with weapons.

If you want your attack skills to always deal the same kind of damage, and just have multiple default attack options that can do different physical elements (slash/thrust/bash instead of Attack), you could take a look at Yanfly's Weapon Unleash, or I think...blah, Galv or Frogboy or someone has a plugin to just add additional commands.

Another way to do it would be using SRD's skill containers, where you'd first pick your skill of Slash/Thrust/Bash, then it calls up a secondary window with all your weapon skills of that type.

Or you could make the damage type a passive state, Slashing/Thrusting/Swinging stance, then you only choose it as a skill when you want to change it; it replaces which passive is active, and has +1 Action as an effect so it doesn't take up your turn.

Tons of ways to go about it, depending on the rest of your system.
 

ericv00

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I'll never envy the task of balancing battle mechanics...

As far as the "magnitude" of resistances and weaknesses. I don't think there is a clear-cut answer. And by this, I mean it's probably not a bad idea to have enemies with extreme weaknesses/resistances AND enemies with mild weaknesses/resistances. Cannon fodder enemies that merely complicate the battle situation can be on the extreme side and longer-lived enemies should probably be more subtle (but enough to notice the difference).

I find it to be less frustrating if there is also a visual cue as to what weakness an enemy is likely to have, so that I might not have to waste turns investigating. Enemy is wearing plate armor? Most likely weak to blunt. Enemy wearing leather? Weak to piercing. Enemy looks agile? Weak to slashing. Enemy is an otherworldly amorphous blob of flesh and bone? ...Eh, going to have to try a few things and see...

I think it is probably a good idea to have at least one good weakness OR strength... or both. I wouldn't mind an enemy that is strong against all other forms of attack if there is at least one noticeably better avenue of attack. Maybe not even a weakness, just something the boss doesn't have resistance to. Or an enemy that is average to all attack types but super strong against one. As long as the learning is timely and rewarding, these challenges appeal to me.

Honestly, you're just going to have to try things and test them out. Even better to get others test them out. Try not to overthink the tactics. Just mess around with the numbers a bit and play it through to see if it feels okay. I tested a battle today and it took about an hour. Mind you, it's supposed to be an endgame boss, but that is still extreme. And the tactics needed felt engaging enough, I suppose. But I want the battle to be both harder and shorter, so I'll have to tweak the numbers a bit. I'm sure there are more efficient ways to do this, but I don't think there is any better way to know how things work than playing through and noting what works/doesn't.
 

LordOfPotatos

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I mean it's probably not a bad idea to have enemies with extreme weaknesses/resistances AND enemies with mild weaknesses/resistances.
I will say extreme resistances can be REALLY annoying.
Like an enemy being immune to slash can become total BS as soon as your MP is low or someone drops.
And having a party member become a potion bot for the fight is lame.
I made it a personal rule to never make anything fully immune to anything.
 

Sword_of_Dusk

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Until my character growth started surpassing the curve and that was no longer a consideration, I found that portion of the game to be the most annoying thing. I greatly disliked loading into each battle, looking over the enemies, and thinking "Ok, I have to go into this menu two times and swap out these people to target these things if I don't want the battle to be twice as long as it needs to be."
A lot of times I just had Lulu nuke things with magic if I wasn't already using the right character in the active party. Or I considered the overkill tactic by having Yuna summon something.
 

Finnuval

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I find it to be less frustrating if there is also a visual cue as to what weakness an enemy is likely to have, so that I might not have to waste turns investigating.
Mostly this.
Make it logical detuctable what weaknesses are most likely by visual clue.

Also in a quick and concise tutorial make sure the player understands the basic of this and what your train of thought as a Dev is in regard to what is weak to pierce,blunt and slash so they can easily grasp it and then by visual clue make the correct chooses.
 

ATT_Turan

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A lot of times I just had Lulu nuke things with magic if I wasn't already using the right character in the active party. Or I considered the overkill tactic by having Yuna summon something.
Well, by the time you can do those things, that's pretty much past the part of the game I was describing. Once you started getting people's stats up on the sphere grid, they all become much more capable of attacking anything (except the highly physical/magically resistant stuff, which is why I put the break skills on most everyone).

It was just the opening portion of the game leading up to that first summon, really.
 

Sword_of_Dusk

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Well, by the time you can do those things, that's pretty much past the part of the game I was describing. Once you started getting people's stats up on the sphere grid, they all become much more capable of attacking anything (except the highly physical/magically resistant stuff, which is why I put the break skills on most everyone).

It was just the opening portion of the game leading up to that first summon, really.
Nah, you get Lulu pretty damn early iirc. Unless something resists magic, she can just wear them down.
 

ATT_Turan

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Nah, you get Lulu pretty damn early iirc. Unless something resists magic, she can just wear them down.
Yes, she's the one I mentioned where there are the swirly elemental things that no one can really damage except for her one-shotting them. I don't think we're talking about different things :guffaw:

I just don't see one character wearing enemies down over multiple turns as being more fun than having to juggle characters back and forth. The game hit its stride for me when people got strong enough to mostly leave my party be.
 

Sword_of_Dusk

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Yes, she's the one I mentioned where there are the swirly elemental things that no one can really damage except for her one-shotting them. I don't think we're talking about different things :guffaw:

I just don't see one character wearing enemies down over multiple turns as being more fun than having to juggle characters back and forth. The game hit its stride for me when people got strong enough to mostly leave my party be.
I don't remember things taking multiple turns. Maybe two. Magic isn't exactly weak. I never experienced the same issues you did because I would just take enemies out with Lulu if I didn't feel like switching. Few foes resisted magic to a high degree. There was only two frustrating parts of FFX for me: trying to beat the Luca Goers in Blitzball during the mandatory game against them (optional to actually win, thankfully), and the fight against Seymour atop Mt. Gagazet.
 

ATT_Turan

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I never experienced the same issues you did because I would just take enemies out with Lulu if I didn't feel like switching.
I mean, fair enough, but I don't think any of the early fights had fewer than two enemies, more often three. So if you're talking about keeping inefficient characters in play and blasting everything with Lulu, even if she can one-shot everything, that's making the fight last three rounds. At that point it would take less time to just do what the game wants and switch the characters around, because hitting an enemy with the character you're "supposed" to use is usually a one-shot.

Again, this wasn't something that was, like, frustratingly difficult, just an enforced annoyance for the first portion of the game.
There was only two frustrating parts of FFX for me: trying to beat the Luca Goers in Blitzball during the mandatory game against them
Oh I had to do that a number of times. The other frustrating part for me was trying to learn/get the timing right to learn the Jecht Shot during the cutscene. Especially since, as I recall, it was some time after a save point, so when I fouled it up it took a few minutes to get back to it.
 

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