Variance in damage

How much variance do you prefer with the outcome of attacks and skills?

  • 0% - Outcome of attacks and skills should be constant.

    Votes: 2 3.2%
  • 1-10% - Slight variations in damage or healing are fine.

    Votes: 31 50.0%
  • 10-25% - A fair amount of variation to make things less predictable.

    Votes: 23 37.1%
  • 25-50% - Big variance to have a good amount of different outcomes.

    Votes: 4 6.5%
  • 50-100% - Randomness! Randomness everywhere!

    Votes: 2 3.2%

  • Total voters
    62

Milennin

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When making or playing an RPG, how much variance do you like to see with your attacks or skills? Should every attack deal the same amount of damage at and against the same numbers, or do you like to see some (or a lot of) randomness in the outcome of your attacks? Should the amount of variance be decided on a skill by skill basis, and if so, what kind of skills would you say are better to have variance on them?

Discuss.
 
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Rikifive

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For me - 0% - 20% are okay ~

constant damage is easy to handle - you know how much damage you'll deal with certain skills and that's all. Easy to count and compare things.

Slight variations (1-20%) are good, because it puts a little bit of randomness and in general brings some variety.

Personally I dislike total randomness - that way, battles are based more on LUCK, which I hate. Once you'll kill enemy quickly, the second time you'll even die.

My answer - balance -> make attack skills with a little variation and make some skills that has random damage aaand some with constant damage. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
 

Heirukichi

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In my opinion variance is something that adds an unpredictable element to skills and that is why it should be handled with caution.

Basically what I prefer when fighting is having healing skills with low or no variance and damage skills with variance between 10 and 20%. This way you know exactly how to handle your survival skills, but there is still suspense when taking/inflicting damage.

Assuming that the amount healed from a basic healing skill is more or less the same amount of damage you take from basic attacks, if you add a 20% variance to both skills you could heal 20% less when taking 20% more damage. This results in a quite heavy gap between damage taken and damage healed which could eventually ruin your strategy. On the other side, as Rikifive said, no variance means too-easy-to-handle skills.

I also like when few skills have an higher variance so they can be very powerful or very weak based on a bit of luck. Such skills are nice for average fights since they can modify fight duration making them less boring. Using the exactly same tactic every single encounter makes the game boring at some time and players will more likely escape instead of fight. There is nothing bad in having a more luck-based combat against average weak enemies, it brings variety.

That's why I guess the average variance should be around 10%. Less if the skill is a core skill for your survival, more if it is not.
 
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Wavelength

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Consistency is good for strategy (though the same exact number each time can break immersion outside of a pure-tactics game).  I usually put the same variance number (10, 15, or 20) on every skill, except a couple of "take a chance" skills which might have much higher variance.
 

DoubleX

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I generally like moderate randomness(I usually set Variance as 10 for most skills/items) combined with many hits(up to Repeats 9) each dealing nontrivial but small damage. That way, I feel that the damages are still random while they're in fact normally pretty close to their expected numbers(as long as the RNG's excellent). In short, I want perceived randomness and decent predictability working well in unison.
 

bgillisp

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I am currently using 10% for most attacks, with two skill sets having much higher variance (20 - 40%) as these skills are being known for being risky to use.

Though, I also added a state (with scripts) which makes it so that the person inflicted it does the minimum possible damage (worst variance possible) and another for maximum possible damage (best variance possible). Think like the Bless and Curse spells from HOMM if you played those games. So., you can also inflict those with the risky skill set with these states and watch the damage rack up!
 
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Kes

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I generally keep variance at around 10% with some skills outside that sort of range.

Small, early healing spells have no variance because at that stage the player might still be learning the game, and I think that healing at that stage should be 100% predictable.  The player has not had time, probably, to build up many (any?) healing items in the inventory.  As was mentioned above, if there's a high variance on healing and damage, the difference could be too great to recover from.

I will have a couple of high risk skills which, if you are lucky with the variance, will deliver a significant bonus when the variance goes positive.
 

Reavenator

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I like to add variance to damage to make it more spiky. I find it unappealing when I see the same numbers on the screen over and over again.
 

SOC

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I definitely like sight variance except in more hardcore strategy games or competitive games. Not enough to make a huge significant difference outside crits, but enough so that it doesn't always feel too bland.
 

Oddball

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I like to use 10 variance on most skills with 80% secondary effects, i have a few skills with 30 variance and 95 to 100% on secondary effects. Its ok to have crazy variance if something else about the skill is consistant (in my opinion)
 

kaukusaki

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Coming from D&D I don't mind slight variance. Anything higher than 20% is insane (to me anyway).
 

HumanNinjaToo

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I prefer to add the variance in the formula. Simulate rolling a 6-sided die, 1= lower dmg, 2-5 is 20% increase from a 1, and 6 is a 40% increase from a 1. Then sometimes a 5% variance on top of all that.
 

TheoAllen

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I use 20% to all skills
1. I'm too lazy to set up the variance for all other skill slots. It is the default value (I wish we can change the default value in future RM)
2. It is not a bad number. I never ran an issue of "oh noes, the variance is too big/too low". Because I have a dedicated window that tells you the exact minimum to maximum damage so you know what damage number you will be inflicting.
3. My game revolves around randomness in battle and you have to deal with random outcomes. Narrowing it down to minifying the variance is just defeat the purpose.
 

Redeye

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I usually keep it consistent, but I like throwing in a high-variance "shotgun" skill into a DPS kit every now and then, for the players who're feeling lucky.
 

Mondo

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Random events can be very interesting, but random damage values doesn't have enough impact to be truly interesting, unless you push the variation so hard that the player can lose to bad luck. I prefer leaving combat pretty straight and relegating chance to bigger pastures.
 

HumanNinjaToo

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I don’t know. I think a bit of randomness to damage can be exciting and rewarding. Knowing a skill has a chance to hit harder, and add a bit extra on top of the normal damage, feels rewarding when it pops. Recently I altered some of my formulae to reflect a 1/3 chance to hit for 20% extra damage and add a negative state to the target (it was previously 1/6 chance). Rolling that extra oomph feels rewarding when it hits!
 

jonthefox

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Too much variance is a problem since it introduces a lot of luck to the game, but a small amount (5 or 10%) to give some slight nuance and to make the numbers less predictable and boring is fine imo
 

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