Thoughts on Requesting Assistance with Enemy/Progression Balance

Discussion in 'Game Ideas and Prototypes' started by BreakerZero, Oct 21, 2019.

  1. BreakerZero

    BreakerZero Veteran Veteran

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    While I was developing under my prior concept I reached a point where I noticed that I was leveling up to rank 40 way too fast for my skill setup. By that measure I was wondering if it would be worth asking around to see if anyone would be interested in checking the progression balance in terms of things like XP and skill availability, and what anyone would think about it.

    Additionally, if this is better served elsewhere then feel free to move it to wherever it works best.
     
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  2. TheoAllen

    TheoAllen Self-proclaimed jack of all trades Veteran

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    Personally? no.

    If I tune someone's game balance, it stopped being their game because I might as well as turn a lot of mechanics to my liking since I will disagree with most of their design. Not necessarily bad, I just don't know or don't believe if it could be balanced.

    A lot of things just sucks.
    Why this game has an attack command with no actual skill?
    Why this game has a lot of useless skill?
    I may start revamping a lot of it. Not just a simple stat up or exp curve, but might as well as change the whole thing.

    Unless if we're actually in a team, at some point, I may start to erase something that the original dev wants. So, it's more appropriate to give comprehensive feedback so that they could decide the change themselves.
     
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  3. BreakerZero

    BreakerZero Veteran Veteran

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    Should probably also mention that I was primarily referring to the XP count which I think could be scaled back quite a bit from the current design. So it's not as much a question of design as it is of being overpowered too soon.

    EDIT: Should probably also be providing an example. I'm going by theoretical numbers here, but let's consider for a minute that I have a 2XP basic slime, and the next slime type in the sequence is is worth 14XP. I can provide further examples from what I have when I get back to my computer system but this should at least provide an idea of what I'm talking about.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019
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  4. sura_tc

    sura_tc Loner Veteran

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    Don't let anyone meddle in your game. It's your idea, your concept; stick with it being yours.

    That's my advice.
     
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  5. Aoi Ninami

    Aoi Ninami Veteran Veteran

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    I would say go ahead. No-one makes a perfect game first try; we get things wrong and learn from our mistakes. The feedback of others is an essential part of the process. I'm still in the early stages of my own game but I've already improved the balance a lot thanks to feedback.

    The one thing I would say is that everything is interconnected. It's impossible to glance over a list of skills and say things like "getting Fire3 at Level 40 is overpowered, so move it to Level 60", because whether that's right or not depends on when other skills are available; how the fire mage character compares to others; how Fire3 compares to other skills; enemy stats at certain points of the game; and so on. So in essence you're asking for someone to play through the entire game and give balancing feedback. There's nothing wrong with that -- I'm just pointing this out so that you don't fall into the misapprehension that what you're looking for could be done in a few minutes.
     
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  6. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    Use a spreadsheet to figure it out. Decide how many enemies you think a player should fight per level, take the EXP needed per level and divide by that number, and use that as a base for EXP rewarded if players are fighting monsters when they should.

    Getting the rest right is really a matter of trial and error. Make the entire game first, then get the EXP balance sorted out. No sense wasting time over it now as odds are high you'll cut or add something while working on the main game and that will mess up any balance you had at that point.
     
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  7. BreakerZero

    BreakerZero Veteran Veteran

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    All good points that I will consider. However, what I am referring to seems as more of a design flaw than anything as I really haven't had anything to affect the flow other than where certain bosses show up. And there is serious room for improvement as well. To name an example, my level 3 mission introduces the werewolf class which is worth 660XP each, however level 2 is heavily populized by spider class 3 (or lagodesha) which is worth 66XP, the class 3 snake (viper) is worth 84XP. Then you have wyvern class 1 (125XP), cyber trooper class 1 (132XP), sprite wisps (60-82XP depending on the specific elemental core) and class 2 orc (125XP). Another potential issue I think is with the parasprix (325XP) and rinket (250XP) from my level 4 mission.

    To be fair, I believe that I was probably intending for the werewolf class to be a field boss at one point, and I'm also not counting any mainstream bosses (the ones who advance the plot) or the classic molten metal spawns (the kind that "plays chicken" on you).

    There may be others later on that I have yet to implement or account for, however I believe these may be some of the biggest offenders that I have at this time.
     
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  8. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    The main issues you're going to have are the following:
    1. Ultimately, it is you who decides what is balanced and what is not. At what point is reaching level 40 acceptable?
    2. How much power do Level Ups actually grant to the player? Reaching Level 99 at the halfway point of the game might not mean much if the vast majority of your stats come from equipment.
    3. Balancing XP gain depends largely upon knowing about how many fights to the next level, about how many fights per dungeon a player is likely to have, about how many fights a player is likely to have on the way to the next town... etcetera.

    You'll need to make a decision on these things or do some test playing for yourself.

    The last RPG Maker game I played used what amounted to the FFX "Sphere Grid", where you would gain an item to use on level up tiles, and gain power that way. It quickly became obvious that this had never been playtested since I was routinely "maxed out" before the next section opened up (it gradually opened up as the story progressed). I was basically steamrolling the entire game. I had spent very little time actually "grinding levels" except at the beginning of the game, and it had snowballed after that point.

    So, I would spend 2 or more hours unable to progress in the Level Up Tiles, and then once it opened up, I'd had a ton of those items stockpiled, that I'd max out the next set of Level Up Tiles the moment they'd opened up.

    With that in mind, you should largely be deciding your XP values on enemies a bit more in advance. I'm not sure what your values are representative of. They seem completely arbitrary to me. Why is one worth 125 XP while another is worth 660 XP? Why is your XP scaled this way? Any particular reason?

    I'd suggest going into game with some goals.

    For example: Each dungeon grants each player 2 or 3 levels by the time they end it, if they have not spent time grinding.

    You don't have to use that example, but you should be setting up goals like that as you design a game. Then, running playtests to ensure that goal is met. Check enemy appearance probability. Check amount of fights in each area.

    Largely, this is what I've done. The player will get, on average, 5-7 XP per fight in this first dungeon. To get to Level 2, it takes 45 XP (the most the engine would let me have). This is 7-9 battles to get to Level 2. On average, the player will hit about 25-35 fights in my first dungeon, not including the boss monster. This means, they'll likely leave it somewhere around Level 3 or 4.

    This is some information you should have about your own game. How much XP will they gain, on average, in an area if they complete it? How long does it take to complete it? How many levels do they gain as a result?

    I think these are questions you could only solve yourself.

    Though, you could just get people to playtest for you if you want a more accurate read on how much XP they're getting per location and how many levels they're gaining on average.

    I don't think it'll be useful to have other people try to fix your XP curve for you.
     
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  9. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    Here is in more detail how I did it for my next game Shipwrecked:

    1: First I set an average level for enemies in a zone. This is based on what level the player will be when they get there. This is easy when you first start the game, as they will be the same level you set in the database, then after that you have to base it on how many levels the player will get each zone.

    2: For each zone I decided how many levels the player will get. Usually I start by assuming 2 - 3 levels per zone, then see how it plays out in reality in testing.

    3: Most zones end with a boss, which I usually set to give a full level worth of EXP if you are the recommended level. So if you should be level 27 when you face a boss, the boss will give the EXP needed to go from level 27 to 28 (findable in the editor). Note I don't always do this, as some bosses early on I made easier so I didn't think a full level up was warranted.

    Now if your game is open world, this gets much harder, as you will then have to decide what level each zone is initially, but you'll be stuck guessing some on how much EXP people can get in the side zones. The best way to handle this (in my opinion) is make only the main plot first. This has the advantage that you can make sure your game can be completed by doing the bare minimum, and then you can better decide what you want to hand out in the side areas.
     
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  10. BreakerZero

    BreakerZero Veteran Veteran

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    Which is what I intend to avoid in the first place, hence why I'm reevaluating the XP awards and looking for places to improve the balance with respect for that. And even if not outright providing better award values from the observations, I think I may be at the point where I may actually need that secondary play testing level.

    EDIT: I have also identified a discrepancy with the availability of certain skills which I plan to address as well. Unfortunately this also means that I will have to replay a good chunk of what I already have, which is okay because it's level two in the progression (and level three is where I had the first major balance issue to resolve, so this gives me a chance at reevaluating skill availability for that particular stage in progression).
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019
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  11. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    General Discussion is for looking at broad themes which affect the making of games. It is not for feedback on individual projects.

    I've moved this thread to Game Ideas and Prototypes. Please be sure to post your threads in the correct forum next time. Thank you.

     
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