Weapon qualities to balance with?

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by Carduus, Aug 18, 2016.

  1. Carduus

    Carduus Veteran Veteran

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    As we all know, choices within a game that just plain suck aren't really choices. Thusly, in games where there's one 'best' class, race, weapon, etc, you've effectively forced the player to choose between being effective and the playstyle/customization they want, and for those who care about actually being successful in the game (most), you've taken away the subpar choices. Sometimes it's reality itself that's unbalanced, though. So as game developers, sometimes we tweak towards fun and balance rather than realism.


    Towards this end, I'm working on stat balancing weapons, and coming up with a blank in having enough weapon qualities to properly differentiate them. Qualities I've thought of so far: Armor Penetration, Damage, Crit Chance, Stun Chance, Weapon speed, which stat/stats they tie to, and possibly reach. Two-handed and heavier things do more damage, axes and daggers have a greater chance to crit, maces, daggers, and spears have armor penetration, bludgeoning weapons have a stun chance, and piercing or less-weighty weapons tend to move faster. Weapons that require more finesse than brute strength like rapiers, whips, and daggers could either run on agility/dexterity or blend this with strength, and long polearms might allow one to melee attack from the back row.


    What kinds of weapon qualities have you used to make each weapon feel different but viable in the game as a whole?
     
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  2. BigToastie

    BigToastie Veteran Veteran

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    You could incorporate elemental damages (so fire imbued weapons etc) then make certain monsters weak / strong to various elements, allowing people to switch out flat attack damage weapons (which may not be as good on paper) but due to the amped damage from the monsters ele weakness, its actually stronger in that situation.
     
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  3. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    For my game, I've tried a few things. For one, I have one weapon that gives bonus Agility when equipped, at the cost of some ATK. So you use this if you want to attack fast. Another weapon of mine lets you attack 2x, but at the cost of some ATK. And a third fires fast and inflicts the target with a state that makes them take more damage from all attacks that turn.
     
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  4. chungsie

    chungsie Veteran Veteran

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    um... I use skill tree for such a thing, and basically any class can be equal to another with the proper skill points allocation within a given tree of the skill tree.


    another option would be to make different increases with each weapon type depending on skills involved in params for the weapons.
     
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  5. Carduus

    Carduus Veteran Veteran

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    Skill trees are great, and I'll certainly be using that mechanic, but what makes someone want to choose an axe over a sword, or a sword over a mace? Just aesthetics? Are there any playstyle differences that would make someone want to replay your game with a different weapon?
     
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  6. chungsie

    chungsie Veteran Veteran

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    for instance a broadsword skill set could offer slower tank like params. where as dagger could offer dual wield with faster and more agressive params.
     
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  7. Doktor_Q

    Doktor_Q I'm not a real doktor, but I am a real Q Veteran

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    Raw damage is your baseline, but there's also:

    • Variable magic attack power, for a difference between a wizard's staff and a monk's quarterstaff
    • Attack speed, even if it's just turn order
    • Number of hits, changes the odds of per-hit effects like hit, miss, critical, or status and interaction with subtractive defense compared to just multiplying damage
    • Piercing of defense, depending on your damage formula
    • Critical hit rate and critical hit power
    • Accuracy (within reason)
    • One-handed versus two-handed (can I use a shield with this?)
    • Damage type, be it fire/ice or bash/cut/pierce
    • Secondary status effects like poison, bleeding, delaying the enemy attack later in the turn, or health stealing.
    • Secondary parameters like changing defense, evasion, or over-all agility
    • In systems with upgrades, number of upgrade slots
    • In row systems or similar, attack range

    In a really modified system, you might have different weapons use different hit areas, like splash damage or multi-row piercing, or pretty much any passive trait you want one you get into magical items.


    That said, unless your combat effectiveness in different situations vastly changes the way the game as a whole plays out, or you're managing a whole party with skill trees and trying to establish synergy- I don't really see someone replaying the game just to use a different weapon type.


    You can definitely get players to skip certain weapons that are "better" because they want to use the next weapon of their favorite type.
     
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  8. Alexander Amnell

    Alexander Amnell Jaded Optimist Veteran

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       There are different things I use to try and keep all weapon types viable, the first of which is that the character's equipped weapon will actually change your skillset to an extent (Characters have their own class-specific skillsets as well but can learn weapon type-specific skills as well by using that weapon type). All weapon types come with their own basic attack with weapon specific formulas along with adding a starter skill. By using the starter skill and normal attack each type will learn 3-5 more skills just by using that weapon type and there are a couple of others that require some searching to find people who will teach them to you.


       Another consideration could be having some of the more versatile weapon types require finite resources to function (In my game firearms are a big part of the gameplay and the higher/rarer calibers can easily outpace the rewards for defeating random mobs so even if they allow you to mow over enemies safely from range it can be much more cost-effective to pull out the melee weapons or stick to less pricey caliber alternatives and save the powerful stuff for when you need to to equalize enemies who are armed as well as you are) Even in traditional fantasy settings you could use the same principle for bows and such, allowing them the versatility of being kept back safer from enemy retributions at the cost of finite arrows or maybe require wizards to use some sort of catalyst beyond a standard mp pool in order to conjure some of their more devastating spells and things like that. I'm a big proponent of formations in rpgs, they add a level of depth to the gameplay that you can't get when all weapons function from the same effective range, though admittedly the inclusion of such features depends on the game and isn't always viable for everyone.


       I also like to tweak states and resistances by weapon type as well, for instance having blunt melee weapons have a small chance of inflicting a stunned effect that lowers the targets speed, hit and evasion and they'll resist a little bit of an opponents armor while bladed weapons can proc a bleeding effect that lowers all stats by 3% and drains 2% hp per turn and can be stacked up to 5 times. Likewise handguns tend to have a higher crit chance and skills that can proc critical hits easier to mitigate their fairly low damage and firerate (and the fact that ammo for most of them is the cheapest you'll find) while shotguns have an aoe spread as well as a chance to hit enemies as far back as the second row (but with a much lowered hit% compared to targets in melee range and the risk of hitting allies if you try to fire them off from range rather than melee distance) but require an investment in premium ammunition if you want them to deal respectable damage as a trade off. Rifles cost a lot to operate, and leave you with severe penalties to defense and evasion while using them to make up for the fact that all but other riflemen will have to tear through your allies (or knock them back, turning the rifleman's row into the melee row) that make them pretty much guaranteed to be dead if an enemy manages to close distance with them. I could see this altered to apply to magic users in a fantasy game with formation gameplay as well, it always bothers me when the guy who can conjure lightning and make the earth explode is no more effective damage-wise than the guy chasing people down with a sword. Definitely prefer mages that are as devastating as you'd imagine them to be but draw aggro fast and fall apart when surrounded. Same core concept.
     
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  9. Doktor_Q

    Doktor_Q I'm not a real doktor, but I am a real Q Veteran

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    For a decent example of some of the concepts here, check out Final Fantasy Mystic Quest- one of its core combat mechanics was the player swapping weapons as a free action in combat, switching based on power, range, damage type, secondary effects, and ammo.
     
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  10. kecleon2

    kecleon2 Truly?! Member

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    I'd like to cite an example of a game that had a wide variety of weapons, that being Atlus's Shin Megami Tensei IV.


    The weapons are broken down into two types, those being melee and guns, and you can equip one of each. You also have two basic attacks to choose from, those being melee attack and gunshot. Within each category are weapon subtypes: swords and pistols that hit a single target, machine guns that hit all enemies, powerful high-crit clubs with low hit rates, polearms and bazookas that hit several random targets. Different weapons can also inflict different statuses, and guns have an additional equip slot for ammunition which added more statuses and elemental affinities.


    But the biggest draw to the weapons, and what keeps physical and gun relevant in a game where magic generally rules supreme, is the fact that phys and gun are their own elements on the elemental affinity chart. There are enemies that are weak to physical and gun strikes, and sometimes they take no damage from anything else (such is the case with Alciel, a common late game random encounter, who is completely immune to everything except physical and gun). For this reason, a mage who doesn't want to spend MP to finish off an encounter, or who can't due to elemental affinity, can simply strike with their weapon, and potentially inflict statuses or hit weaknesses.



    The weapons themselves also offered no benefit to your stats directly, instead having individual weapon power. This solved the problem that other games like Final Fantasy 6 had, where weapons like the Enhancer were kept until endgame even though they weren't very powerful strength-wise, simply because they boosted Magic on your magic characters.
     
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  11. eadgear

    eadgear Veteran Veteran

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    there's are two types of gamer that one who goes for aesthetics and the other that goes for status. It seems that what you mean is making the player 2(one that goes for status) choose between sword and other weaponry. The most common application is speed, range and damage. But in late game weapons that give bigger damage is what they prefer. Which is a big no for you right? Actually, I already thought about it but it requires lots of scripting. What it is? Making the monsters/enemies/bosses change their gameplay depends on weapon of the character.


    Something like a dragon is battling a swordsman the stat of the dragon is on normal state. Its movement and pattern of attack are normal. But if the dragon battles against a axe-user all of this change. The Movements and pattern of attacks change. Against the swordsman, the dragon is usually in defense mode and against the axe-user the dragon is usually in attack mode something like that, Speed mode, evade mode, and please no "balance mode"
     
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  12. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    I actually posted about this in my blog a couple years ago.  I liked each weapon to fulfill a playstyle, so that's what it does.  Some are unique to specific classes (allowing for builds) and some can be used across some of the classes... but not all of them.


    Essentially, I just set some ground rules.  There are three main kinds of damage in my game (aside from elemental).  Attack, Magic, and Speed.  Each weapon plays with these stats as well as some of the defensive counterparts to these stats (Defense, Magic Defense, and Reflex).  But, simple stat changes weren't enough for me.  After all, you just hit "Optimize" and most players won't think twice about it.  All those low damage but interesting effect weapons you just made suddenly are relegated to worthlessness by your players with the simple hit of a button.


    Dagger - Weakest weapon type in the game, can be equipped by several classes.  So why would you ever equip it?  Status effects.  Every Dagger comes with status effects.  L1 status effects are mildly annoying and weak... but the higher the level... the more likely they are to be outright deadly or game-breaking.  They're useful for classes that can hit multiple times or ones that are already so weak that inflicting the state is much more beneficial than whatever damage you get out of hitting Attack.


    Katar - Second weakest weapon type in the game.  Thief equip only.  It's got moderate stats all around, but it has a decent chance for a critical hit AS WELL AS counter attack.  These have the potential, despite their low attack power, to deal a lot of damage.  Thieves, by the way, dual wield.  Imagine one of these in each hand, each with a 45% chance to counter attack and a 50% chance to critically hit while also having 25 Attack, Speed, and Reflex.


    Okay, shorter rules now.  It's all balanced and I don't want to go into details on everything or we'll be here all day.


    Short Sword - the "Jack of All Trades" weapon.  It can come in elemental varieties.


    Long Sword - High attack power single-handed weapon.  It NEVER comes in elemental varieties.


    Saber - The "Speed" Equivalent of the Short Sword, can only be used by the Pirate Class.  Some skills can only be activated if one of these is equipped.


    Sickle - Multiple strikes, better Sickles hit more times or come with the Death element attached to them.  Only usable by the Necromancer class.


    Axe - Single handed weapon that boasts the highest attack power of any single handed weapon in the game.  Not many can equip it, but it's great for dealing a lot of damage.


    Mace - Blunt weapon.  The reason to equip it is basically that it can come in Lead and Silver variants...  That means they can do upwards of 500% extra damage to "heavily armored" type enemies.


    Hammer - Basically also a Blunt Weapon, except they have a chance to cause Stun each hit and they can come in elemental variants.  The difference between a Hammer and Mace is basically that Maces at higher quality also get Piercing damage to add to their Blunt Damage.  Hammers are unique to the Cleric class.


    Wand - Grants a percentage chance to inflict an "Elemental Weakness" on an enemy hit with it.  Whether that's Fire or Lightning damage...  Or Speed or Piercing damage.  Maybe even multiple elemental weaknesses.  Doesn't really do a whole lot of damage besides that.  It's a good "set up" weapon.  Especially since it's unique to the Witch class as well, and she can cast elemental spells the next turn after inflicting the weakness.


    Arrows - Very low attack power unless paired with a Bow.  Can be used without a bow, but in general, they just work a lot better with a Bow.  Some skills require the use of Arrows to use.  As a rule, an arrow can generally do just about anything in the game, it has no restrictions on it.  The restriction it has is simply that you need a Bow to unlock its full potential (Basically, I just took what the stats would normally be and divided it in two across the Bow and the Arrow, so neither works well without the other).


    Okay, this post is really super verbose.  I'll cut it short there.  If you're interested in the rest of it, you can see if you can find my blog somewhere.  Some of the information in it has changed quite a bit since it was posted (mostly due to balancing and rebalancing), but it might be worth browsing for ideas, I guess.  I think it's one of the "Building a Combat System" posts I made in there.  Hope that helps!
     
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  13. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    Don't underestimate the ability of Skills to differentiate your weapons.  Even if their stats and properties are similar, you could give Swords TP-based skills that parry enemy attacks for a short time, Staves TP-based skills that give a quick boost to your MAG, Hammers TP-based skills that do tons of damage, Bows TP-based skills that deal splash damage to all enemies, and Spears TP-based skills that ignore enemy armor.
     
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  14. Oddball

    Oddball Veteran Veteran

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    dont forget weapons granting skills to the wielder


    one thing i did once was have a small shield grant shield bash. which did a regular attack, then a weaker attack with a chance to stun


    while a large shield did an attack were they did a regular attack then gaurded


    edit: you could have each weapon change the normal attack of a charecter. Made possible by HimeWorks
     
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  15. jonthefox

    jonthefox Veteran Veteran

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    I'm going with something along the lines of:   axes and maces give the most ATK, but carry a slight miss chance.  swords are well-balanced, boosting a variety of stats (ATK, DEF, AGI) by a moderate amount.  Spears are defensive, giving low ATK but high DEF and AGI bonuses.  Daggers give bonus critical strike damage.  
     
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  16. Dr. Delibird

    Dr. Delibird Veteran Veteran

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    As long as all options are viable (discluding neiche setups) then all choices become valid choices.
     
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  17. Feliaria

    Feliaria Good with Ideas, Bad with Execution Veteran

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    My game is doing something like this, too.


    I have five types of weapons available.


    Staves have the most Magic Attack and have a chance to cause attacks to lower the enemies' Magic Defense.


    Scythes have balanced Attack and Magic Attack and cause attacks to drain HP, at the cost of lowering the wielder's HP.


    Fans also have balanced Attack and Magic Attack (though a little more Attack), and can cause attacks to halve the enemies' Agility (Agility in my game controls Action TIme+ values rather than turn order). Fans are also the fastest weapon type (with 40 Agility)


    Swords have a cause to cause Bleed. Bleed deals 1 HP damage per turn (my game uses small values. The most HP a character will have is 34.)


    Battleaxes... I'm still trying to decide on. Battleaxes have the most Attack, but no Magic Attack and the lowest Agility (with 10), but I really have not been able to think about a quality for them. :/
     
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  18. jonthefox

    jonthefox Veteran Veteran

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    @Feliaria your game looks cool. :)


    For Battleaxes, why not give them a chance to stun/stagger enemies, either losing out on a turn or reducing their dexterity for a period of time.  Just an idea. 
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 6, 2016
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  19. Feliaria

    Feliaria Good with Ideas, Bad with Execution Veteran

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    Why thank you. I've been working hard, though admittedly I haven't been able to do as much lately, what with school starting back up and all.


    That could work, though. Giving them a chance to stun. Just make it a lower chance of proccing than the rest of the weapon types. Not reducing Agility since the Fans already do that, but the stun could be a definite possibility. I'll take it into consideration. Thanks, Jon!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 6, 2016
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