weapon design: the sharpest sword?

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by Countyoungblood, May 15, 2018.

  1. Countyoungblood

    Countyoungblood Sleeping Dragon Veteran

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    So you start your quest armed with a stick with 5 attack power.. its a decent stick being swung like a sword. Down the road you upgrade for an actual sword with 10 attack power.. what you could do with two stick wacks now only takes one sword wack. Already this seems odd. Is this a very crumby sword or was it a fantastic stick? Moving on you upgrade again for a new sword with 20 attack power... was your old sword dull and this new sword sharper? Skip to endgame and upgrade to megasword with 200 attack power. How/why is this weapon so much more damaging? Elvish metals? Dark forces? Magic? What are the alternatives to nonsense unsustainable upgrading?
     
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  2. Maliki79

    Maliki79 Veteran Veteran

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    If you don't want to go with a physical weapon approach, you can easily say the upgrades are magic gems/tattoos/etc that provide tangable enhancements on an otherwise non-changeable weapon.

    You can even make thise enhancements lose thier potency over time requiring repurchase (money sinks for the micro-transaction crowd!)
     
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  3. Aesica

    Aesica undefined Veteran

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    One alternative is to use multiplicative bonuses instead of additive bonuses. Maybe the player starts with a Steel Longsword that gives a x5 modifier. It's a solid starting weapon with no real strengths or weaknesses, and because of its multiplicative bonus, it could even be wielded effectively by someone at level 99. A few dungeons later, the player finds the Flame Sword. It's a x4.7 modifier, actually worse than your starting sword, but it has a fire elemental attack and, since this current dungeon is full of fire-vulnerable undead, it becomes the weapon of choice for now. As you progress, it's presumed you'll eventually retire the Flame Sword to your bags for awhile--that is, until you get to the Ice Cave, in which case, that old weapon finds new purpose.

    Add a reforging/tempering system (Flame Sword Lv1 (x4.7) gets upgraded to Flame Sword Lv2 (x6.5) and a way to switch weapons in battle (giving it a strategic element) and you've got a pretty solid system, all without having your +15 Copper Shortsword sitting beside the absurd +500 Crystalforged Adamantium Godcleaver.
     
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  4. Countyoungblood

    Countyoungblood Sleeping Dragon Veteran

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    Good point, i like the potential here.
     
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  5. BloodletterQ

    BloodletterQ Chaotic Neutral Assassin Veteran

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    Guess it depends on the material? Ideally, they should have different effects if just a change in strength bothers you. Or just have the material be different tiers (IE: Copper < Iron < Steel < Mythril and so on.) You could also have them provide different slots for customization depending on your plugin like FFX.
     
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  6. Silenity

    Silenity Veteran Veteran

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    I don't really like linear weapon choices.
    A sword is always beaten once you get B sword and C sword will reign supreme over A and B no matter what.
    It's boring and offers 0 choices because you would literally never want to use the shittier A/B swords compared to the almighty C sword.

    I like where your weapons may have different effects, skills, advantages, disadvantages, etc.
    So like you may want to use a spear because it can hit multiple enemies at a time. Or a lightning sword because you're against water based enemies. Or there's a weapon that is weaker in terms of damage but it has a higher critical hit chance. Etc. etc.
     
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  7. jonthefox

    jonthefox Veteran Veteran

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    generally, rpg's take the approach that as you progress in the game, you find weapons made out of stronger materials, which affects how powerful its attack is. maybe the bronze sword is a lot duller than the diamond sword, hence why the damage is higher on the latter. or maybe the mythril sword has insane durability, which means it is always at peak strength and doesn't wear and tear over time - which would lead to stronger attackers on average. stuff like that.

    in general, i do prefer the less linear approach as others have mentioned - i think it's nice to once in a while throw in a special loot of "oh nice, this new weapon is just straight better!" but mostly i prefer choices that depend on your playstyle and the enemies you're facing.
     
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  8. kovak

    kovak Silverguard Veteran

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    Making skills exclusive for some weapons is a kind of deep upgrade for me, mainly if they are a way to attack besides Default Attack Command. They may have some diferences in stats but they do not share the same skills and this makes them more unique.
    • Long Swords may have Change Stance skills to increase your damage at cost of reduced defense and hit multiple enemies with skills which makes them more flexible than Arming Swords or Greatswords.
    • Sabers may increase your speed and give access to some wind magic buffs that increases magic defense or makes enemies silenced wile bleeding. Every consecutive weapon skill stacks bonus critical rate as long as they land.
    Possibilities are infinite deppending on your concept. Invest in your lore and weapons and armors can play a bigger role in your project like in Souls games (check Dark Souls board game as well)

    Quick edit - Always consider how your game must be played else it'll be too complex. It's hard for a player to get involved in a game where every decision he takes in a system is as complex as in any other system in the game.

    Most of the games you enjoy has a single complex system backed with other with a certain depth
    • Equipments - like the one i've metioned
    • Classes - with class change and/ or subclassing (looking at you FFXII)
    • Skill learning - with multiple builds
    • Item usage - crafting or comsumables
    • ETC
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2018
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  9. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    I've always looked at the linear progression of weapons as an "ease of use" bonus.

    Not all swords will "perform the same", even if they can all be made equally sharp. The attack bonus you would get from a sword is simply its "ease of use" to any character using it. It is +200 easier to use than the +5 stick. The stick is +5 easier to use than a punch.

    That's how I've always seen linear stats, anyway. Though, I don't think a lot of people look at it like that. They go, "Oh, it's made of Mythril, it must be sharper!". And I always think, "Oh, the Mythril Material makes this sword much easier to use than the Iron Material I had earlier. It can be swung faster, blows might carry more weight, maybe my character can parry or make multiple strikes with it that add up to that bonus. Maybe Mythril is lighter". Etcetera.

    But, the reason I've always thought that way is because, if we're honest here, you can kill someone with a paper cut if you get them in the right place. Sharpness has nothing to do with the attack power of something. The stat is simply a representation of the damage you can possibly do with the equipment. Sure, I could whack you dead with a stick over the head. But, if I had a hammer made of lead, suddenly that job is a lot easier and takes less blows.

    For me, that's sort of the concept at play.
     
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  10. Countyoungblood

    Countyoungblood Sleeping Dragon Veteran

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    Good explanation but the specific portion of the concept is how absurdly different the power of different weapon materials seem to be and finding alternatives to the standard highest number game.
     
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  11. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    Well, your problem is that the "standard highest number game" is how all RPG's work. Even those that rely on "percentage increase" instead of "flat bonus".

    See, if you don't have a +200 Sword, you'll have a +25% Attack Sword. All that does is shift your numbers from your equipment to your base stats. Which means, your weapons are worthless without base stats that are high enough.

    Basically, anytime you're using numbers to determine anything, you're going to have a "standard highest numbers game". Even if you use formulas to try to "even out" the stats and damage as the game progresses.

    Skyrim does this to an extent, sort of. The most damage resist you can have in that game is 80% against all damage. Which means, numbers above a certain point in "Armor" or "resist X element" are fairly worthless. At that point, it's simply better to have more HP once you've achieved the maximum threshold for mitigating damage. It turns into a "highest number game" once more. The system dictates that if a Dragon does 800 damage with its fire to you, you can mitigate 80% of that damage. You'll still take 140 damage from that attack. If you have only 200 HP (you can only gain 10 HP a level), that still takes 2 attacks to kill you. So, your only method to survive it, is to make your HP so large on top of your defense, that it renders it fairly pointless to use against you. Now, there's nothing in the game that does 800 damage, but many of the endgame creatures can kill you quickly with only 200 HP and the 80% damage mitigation.

    What you're essentially asking about is how you change a "standard progression system". I don't know of a way. Because if you remove the progression from equipment (weapons, armor, etcetera), then it still exists on your character and is gained from leveling up.

    Okay, maybe I do know one way to do it. Metroidvanias do it. Progression is in finding "upgrades" to existing equipment. Each upgrade has a specific use. Games like "Hollow Knight" do this fairly well. You upgrade your existing weapon so that it's more effective against enemies, but everything else is a movement upgrade, a health upgrade, and other upgrades. The game has you rely more upon your skill than upon the linear progression path. The upgrades allow you to access more of the map, or get around the map faster, or give you more options in combat. But, they don't necessarily allow you to win combat.

    However, a Metroidvania is not a Turn-Based RPG like we have here. At the very least, you'd need an Action Based RPG (think Secret of Mana) to do anything like that, so that you're not on a stat-based numbers game.
     
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  12. Countyoungblood

    Countyoungblood Sleeping Dragon Veteran

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    I think we are getting closer still but a part is still missing. The topic is about the numbers but not about moving entirely away. The point is about how far apart the numbers are. The disparity of power between a copper sword and a steel sword being massive and the effect of said disparity.

    Youre putting a lot of effort into your replies and its appreciated but i think you could benefit from taking more time to carefully read the problem.
     
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  13. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    That's all math, and can be easily solved with a good damage formula. That is what you need to be investigating then if you don't want as much disparity in the power of the different weapons. Otherwise you can talk ATK until you are blue in the face, but in the end it will all come down to your damage formula and how it handles the changes in ATK rates in weapons.
     
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  14. Countyoungblood

    Countyoungblood Sleeping Dragon Veteran

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    If it is simple could you provide an example of a formula? Im interested to see what youre thinking specifically.
     
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  15. DarkHyudrA

    DarkHyudrA Actually I'm Enzonaki Veteran

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    This comes from a problem caused by most fantasy RPGs.
    So, if I slash a strong enemy with this really well forged, sharp sword, I need to strike this lvl3 bandit only once, but the the lvl30 bandit takes 5 strikes to defeat.
    This gets even dumber when it comes to fighting mystical creatures like a dragon lets say, you would never be able to kill it with a weak sword if you kept bashing your sword against the dragon scales no matter what.
    So when it comes to those scenarios where this is possible,the usual excuse for stronger weapons is from what they are made. Cheap iron? Bronze? Gold?(although gold isnt a good metal for weaponry, we all know that its treated as a high tier metal in RPGs) Forged Steel? Platinum? Diamond? Any magic embued steel?
     
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  16. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    Look, I'm not quite sure what you're asking for here. You ask for the reason there's a damage difference between two weapons. Why one metal would be better than another. I gave the reason I think that exists. An explanation you could even use "in game" if you really wanted to.

    Then you told me that the topic wasn't about the reason there's a difference in attack powers, but rather that you wanted to find alternatives to the Linear Upgrade Path of weaponry.

    I offered why the Linear Upgrade Path exists and what it means if you remove it from your weaponry. It means your Level Ups and their stat increases will matter more than what weapons you're using.

    I have no idea, what specifically, you are asking for here. You seem to have an idea of what "the right answer is", but seem to not want to tell us.

    I replied to your original post, the best I understood it. Either you wrote it incorrectly for the answers you're wanting (or the topic you're actually wanting to discuss), or you don't really understand my replies and their context in relation to what you'd written.

    What I understand from your original post is that you're wondering about "arbitrary" numbers and what they mean in an RPG. Well, we may as well ask the difference between 5 Attack and 6 Attack. What is the physical difference? Do you have more muscles? Are you more skilled in combat? More stamina? Can get more hits in? What is the measurable difference between your Level 1 stats of 10 attack and your level 99 stats of 500 Attack. What does that actually mean?

    To me, that's the question you're asking. So, that's the question I answered. You're asking for a "real life analogue" to numerical values. You didn't like my answer to that, so you requested some kind of specific answer to the "highest numbers game", which is all any Progression System is in a game... except if you do a game like a Metroidvania… or a Platformer... or something without stats of any kind.

    The only other way I can see to approach your question in which I haven't answered it is just, "Why is Iron +5 better than Copper?". At which point I throw my hands in the air and say, "Because you made it +5 better". It's your setting, you get to decide how "good" any given material is compared to another. Moreover, it's a game in which you take something tangible like how hard you can swing a sword and apply a number to it in order to determine how dead you make something. If you don't want a huge disparity between your Stick with +5 Attack and the Endgame Sword with +200 Attack, then don't make it have one.

    At this point, I just have no idea what you're asking for, what you're hoping to actually discuss... or even what answer you have in mind that you want us to arrive at to be "right".
     
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  17. Countyoungblood

    Countyoungblood Sleeping Dragon Veteran

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    See above for the topic ive put it in bold for you. There is nothing complicated about it and you are the only person who is misunderstanding. Look at the other replies if you want more information on the topic because they are about the topic.

    I can understand how reality wouldnt make for a good game and that a fantasy setting would imply fantastical situations but i think in some places its gone too far. Yes we have to make it possible for the hero to fight/kill the dragon yet it has to take enough time to feel grand and not to mention we need a buffer to explain why dragonfire doesnt melt off the heros face in the first moment.. yet when the level 99 hero has the same defensive properties while naked as some level one in full armor problems arise that really are just the fault of bad design. Im not insisting that fantasy should conform closer to reality but i think consistancy flaws cause future additions to suffer because of initial oversights. I think too many appepted fantasy standards are founded on a flawed foundation.

    A lot of interesting suggestions have already come up through this thead and id like to see them develop.
     
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  18. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    I actually did cover what you were asking about in the second reply.

    "Basically, anytime you're using numbers to determine anything, you're going to have a "standard highest numbers game". Even if you use formulas to try to "even out" the stats and damage as the game progresses."

    I even used Skyrim as the example. If you're using stats. Of any kind. Regardless of your Damage Formulas. Regardless of where those stats come from (in equipment or in your base stats), it's a "Standard Highest Numbers Game". The only way to break away from that is to use zero stats.

    I also even covered the "What are alternatives to nonsense unsustainable upgrading". Other people said it as well. You use Percentages on your weapons instead of raw stats. Surprised you didn't read that in my post. However, I posted the caveat that now instead of using the stats of the equipment, you're relying heavily on the stats of the character and their level ups instead. You're simply shifting the focus of the game from equipment to level ups as a means of progression.

    The only real alternative way to approach anything regarding "consistent damage across the entire game", that is, no matter what you've got equipped or what stats you have, is to use a formula that negates the point of all your stats. If you just want a game where you do 25 damage with this weapon until enemies get stronger and force you to pick up a new weapon so you can go back to doing 25 damage... It isn't hard to accomplish. Though, it makes the game incredibly linear and makes players not feel like they're making any progress in the game.

    As I said before, I don't know what specific answer you seem to be fishing for here. But, you do seem to be wanting something very specific.

    I covered what you asked for and you were dismissive. Which leads me to wonder what it is, exactly, you want to know about, because your replies don't seem to indicate that at all. In fact, the replies I read are all sort of "scattered" on what people seem to think you're asking for. There isn't any kind of consistent answer in here and lots of people are replying to different kinds of problems. I'm not sure if that was your goal or not.

    I just have no idea what you're specifically asking about.
     
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  19. Countyoungblood

    Countyoungblood Sleeping Dragon Veteran

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    Ah, youre right. But id like to see what other people think.
     
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  20. lianderson

    lianderson Veteran Veteran

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    Uh oh, I'm sensing some tension. Time to add my two cents...

    Yeah, percentages work best. But honestly, and this is just me, I feel weapons are best looked at as classes in and of themselves. If you create your game with that mindset, you'll avoid this problem completely.
     
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