Risk/Reward Buff Feedback

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by VillainFan42, Jun 7, 2019.

  1. VillainFan42

    VillainFan42 Fan of Villains Veteran

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    I came up with two abilities in my RPG project, both belonging to the tank of the party. They're called True Grit and Bloodbath.

    True Grit makes the user completely invincible, but every turn he loses 25% of his HP and cannot be healed while under its effect.

    Bloodbath has the same 25% HP drain, but the buff instead raises his critical hit rate to 100% while in effect. (For reference, Critical hits deal 150% of the final calculated damage, after the enemy's defense is already taken into account)

    Are these skills overpowered? Underpowered? Should I crank up the HP drain to 33%? I should point out that the HP loss happens after each action, not necessarily each turn, so the turn he first casts True Grit or Bloodbath doesn't count.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2019
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  2. Poryg

    Poryg Pixie of the Emvee kingdom, Ham of a Hamster Veteran

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    We'd have to see the whole game to know whether they are overpowered or underpowered. Nonetheless, it is an interesting concept.
     
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  3. AfroKat

    AfroKat Villager Member

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    4 turns of invincibility vs 4 turns of 1.5x damage. Unless they have a taunt I'd always pick the damage one. But yeah we can't tell if it's overpowered unless we see everything else in the game.
     
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  4. Eschaton

    Eschaton Hack Fraud Veteran

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    Anything that makes a unit invincible is very powerful. As for whether or not it is overpowered, that depends on how it feels when playing.
     
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  5. VillainFan42

    VillainFan42 Fan of Villains Veteran

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    He does, indeed, have a taunt. Later in the game he can learn one that attempts to provoke all enemies (at the cost of being less accurate).
     
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  6. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    These abilities are probably underpowered, especially if they require spending a turn to activate them. (However, like others have alluded to, the pace and flow of combat are big factors in evaluating the balance of skills like this, and we don't have that part of the story.) One other thing you need to clarify is whether the "25% of his HP" means 25% of his current HP (meaning it would be trivial as his HP gets low) or 25% of his max HP. I am going to assume this is 25% of Max HP in my evaluation here.

    Looking at True Grit, you could frame it as a tradeoff between the damage that the character would take if they didn't have True Grit activated, versus the damage (health sacrifice) that the character takes under its effect. In general, I wouldn't expect a Tank to take 25% of their health in damage each turn of a normal battle. Against bosses... maybe so, especially if they are Taunting (meaning that you don't need to reduce the expected incoming damage based on the chance of not being hit each turn). So this skill might find its niche in boss fights, but take note of my "turns" concern below.

    Looking at Bloodbath., it is almost certainly a bad skill to use. This buff makes your Tank (probably not a super-high DPSer in the first place) 50% more effective on offense (actually a little less than 50%, since he probably has a nonzero Crit Chance before the buff, but to be generous let's say 50%), while costing him 25% of his Max HP per turn. The "neutral" point for a buff like this could be found by imagining your party in a combat with a copy of itself: If the +50% offense allowed this one character to take down an extra 25% of a rival character's HP bar, the buff is a break-even (on its own; see my "turns" concern below as well). That means that the Tank should (without the buff) be able to two-shot a character from your party! Probably not. Since your Tank is dealing less damage than that, it means that the offensive buff is not worth the HP loss that it entails.

    Even more important than the balance of the buff itself is the fact that, unless these are toggles/instant cast skills, you are also spending a turn to activate them! So in addition to health, the tank is also sacrificing an action (which he could use to deal damage, use an item, etc.). This cost is hard to evaluate for True Grit since invincibility is pure utility, but if you're looking at the number of turns that the Tank can survive and be effective with vs. without this buff, the "cost" of a turn to apply the buff should reduce the number of turns in the "with the buff" scenario by one. For Bloodbath, however, the cost is much clearer: you've lost an entire turn of offense! The tank will deal as much damage in three turns without the buff as he will do by spending a turn applying the buff, then attacking twice at 100% Crit. He will also have lost half his Max HP already from the buff's effects, if he uses it. In this light, you can see how using Bloodbath appears extremely disadvantageous in most scenarios.

    The final thing to address on these skills might be how to end them. Since the "buffs" have a major malus effect to them, the player might want to cancel out these buffs at some point. Does your game offer a way to do it? Does it cost a turn to do so? Do the buffs naturally wear off over time? Do they end if the tank reaches a certain (low) HP threshold? Or is the design supposed to create a dynamic where the tank is now on a turn timer, and is going to die unless you can finish the enemies off first?

    As far as what I might do to balance out these buffs:
    • Either reduce the HP loss per turn (maybe 15%, although again, it depends heavily on battle flow), or make it a loss of 25% of current HP per turn
    • Give Bloodbath an ATK buff as well as the 100% Crit. The appropriate amount depends on your class balance - ideally, when factoring in the 100% Crit, you'd want him to be hitting slightly harder than an unbuffed DPSer while under its effects
    • Consider making Bloodbath an Instant Cast skill
    • Consider making True Grit something that can only be used once per battle. If you do this, you could probably also eliminate the HP loss per turn and no-heal debuff (assuming that True Grit will end after a certain number of turns)
     
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  7. Aesica

    Aesica undefined Veteran

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    The defensive one has the potential to be gamebreaking, depending on the rest of your game's battle mechanics. If the tank can taunt/draw attacks to himself somehow, then yeah, only suffering 25% max health as damage per turn can be a lot less than say, potential one-shot hits. Use it for a few turns, then switch it off and let the healer top him off, rinse repeat and you've basically trivialized anything that isn't an aoe or unavoidable status ailment.

    The offensnive one is probably underpowered though. Anything throwing out aoe damage doesn't need help in the form of 25% hp every turn, and since you deal 0 damage when dead, I can't see it being worth the risk and would probably never use it.
     
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