Weapons as "Incomparables".

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by Sarah79, Jul 2, 2017.

  1. Sarah79

    Sarah79 Irresponsible Captain Veteran

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    So, I have been working on my game for about a month now, and one of the ideas I had in mind since the beginning was to provide better character customization and realism at the same time.
    The way I have decided to do this was through "weapons as incomparables". What I mean by this, is that weapons, rather than getting incrementally stronger with cost and rarity like other games are instead a choice in strategy. because the setting is relatively low magic, affects where oddly vacant from the game, and so weapons provide a series of status effects and abilities based on the ones you choose, and every class has a variety of abilities for a series of weapons as they level up.
    For instance, Swords are an easy to use, one-handed, versatile weapon. So a character using it has a 50% chance to perform another action of any type.
    Meanwhile, a Flail's niche, is that it has a 10% chance of debuffing the opponent as it cracks bones and dents armor.
    I bring this up for a couple of reasons;
    1. I would like help in deciding what these abilities for each weapon will be, ideas and weapon types.
    2. What other games have you seen with abilities like this, so that I can see how they pulled it off.
    3. Literally any other input you can give to help me improve.
     
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  2. fireflyege

    fireflyege Magic is the destination of all wisdom. Veteran

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    My game has that also. Instead of weapons becoming different in their strenght, most of their strenght in raw stats are the same, but they offer more strategical things. Of course, there is a Champion Sword +1 but even those weapons do not have severe advantages over one another. For example, if you are gonna use only fire spells, a normal weapon that specializes in increasing fire magic is more benefical than the ultimate weapon itself.

    The only difference is that my characters have two weapon types they can equip. For example the mage cannot take an axe and the warrior will not be able to equip floating crystals.

    Also I must point that the sword is too overpowered and the flail is too underpowered, but still I must give you that you take steps to the right direction in weapon diversity.
     
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  3. Sarah79

    Sarah79 Irresponsible Captain Veteran

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    @fireflyege
    It is certainly helpful to know wither something is over or under powered.
     
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  4. fireflyege

    fireflyege Magic is the destination of all wisdom. Veteran

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    I can help you with numbers if you want, I am good with it. I private messaged you for learning more about it, I thought I was the only one using such weapon designs.
     
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  5. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    I've played two game systems that used a kind of these mechanics. Neither of these I liked. Final Fantasy X has this mechanic. Final Fantasy 13 has this mechanic.

    Final Fantasy X eventually gives you access to "create your own equipment", which basically just lets you add Death and Petrify to everything, because that's the best stuff in the game. Everything else is like, "Raises Strength by 5%". I can get 25 different design of swords... But it's all 5% strength. The differences are in how many slots an item might have, which makes those more valuable, because you can customize them more. If you customize them. I know I didn't bother. Not after I figured out that all I needed to do was add "petrify" to all my starting weapons and I could win pretty much any encounter. Plus, I found no reason to swap out my starting equipment for... well... anything. The new shiny sword I got from killing Yunalesca wasn't anywhere near as powerful as the sword made of flowing water I got at the beginning of the game.

    Final Fantasy 13 had "weapons that can evolve", which went as far as, "pick your stat distribution". Which, essentially boiled down to, "give the two people who are magically inclined the magic stat versions of their weapons, give everyone else the maxed out attack stat versions of their weapons". I didn't ever swap out my starting weapons in that game either. I ended up selling every single weapon I ran across in the game, because there was just no reason to have different versions of something I was already using.

    Honestly, I'd probably run into the same issue with your game. I'd find a weapon I liked, and just never stop using it. Ever. I'd never buy new weapons (no reason to, what I've got is effective against pretty much everything) or even consider equipping ones I find in the world. Armor might be a different story. I'd swap those out for elemental resistance when I'd need it... But otherwise? I'd leave it the same as when you started me in the game.

    Why? Because if I'm only adding an effect to the way I defend or the way I attack, then all of combat is going to be stat based. Weapons will effectively be pointless to swap out for me, once I find an effect that works for the vast majority of the game. If I find most of your enemies aren't immune to poison, then I'm going to use a poison dealing weapon. That'll be true of any weapon. If you magically make it so that there are exactly as many enemies affected by poison as there are by any other state... Then I'll just pick the state that's the most powerful and run only that. Forever.

    But, that's just me. I look for what's the most effective way to run combat and only ever do that.
     
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  6. Sarah79

    Sarah79 Irresponsible Captain Veteran

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    That is perfectly OK with me. Honestly, in real life, a person does not change weapons after every fight because they found something new and shiny, they pick the weapon that meets they're preference in style and move on with their lives.
    Also, I know of FFX and FFXIII, Death and Petrify should not have even been equip-able.
    It's fatal flaw was simply that those abilities weren't balanced. If I can find a close balance of versatility vs. strength, than I will have accomplished my goal.
     
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  7. fireflyege

    fireflyege Magic is the destination of all wisdom. Veteran

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    @Tai_MT in my game you cannot do that. The weapon advantages are so different that you sometimes need to change. For example with the Witch, you have two options which are Orbs and Scythes. Orbs increase Magic so your attacks hit harder, which is good with some enemies and bosses which cannot deal that much damage but when something begins to stomp your team you need to do debuffs and Scythes affect how strong those debuffs are, so it may be crucial to survival.

    Of course you can pick one type of weapon and go along with that type the entire game, for example the Witch can proceed to debuff everything in sight all game using scythes, but even the same weapons have different aspects like some weapons offer unique things where you need for certain battles. None of those options are so useful that it outshines all the other choices.

    I think implementing a weapon system with all weapons being with similar strenght but different strategic options is great. I always get annoyed when my weapon has the perfect benefits for the area I am supposed to be going but its stats being so low that it is considered garbage.
     
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  8. jonthefox

    jonthefox Veteran Veteran

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    One thing I would say is, as a designer, especially in this kind of system, you should try to REALLY tempt your players into using other kinds of weapons. When they buy or find a new weapon, it should make them go "whoaaa I might want to try this one instead..." and I'd argue that, going even further, the enemies you fight should pose specific challenges such that different weapon types give you advantages/disadvantages. So if I'm having a hard time with a particular boss, I might choose to change my weapon to something that ignores some of their defense or gives me protection against a status effect that the boss uses.

    Btw, I tend to prefer systems like yours than the traditional jrpg system. I know other people don't agree, and just want a simple, straightfoward, "the next sword gives me even more +atk yay!" system. I also tend to like low-magic worlds, so I'm inclined to give your game a try.

    A last word - kind of nitpicky, but since you mention realism so many times, just thought I'd mention to you - a sword would not make sense realistically as an "easy to use" weapon type. Weapons like clubs and spears were utilized precisely because, in addition to being inexpensive, they do not require much training in order to be effective. A sword would typically be more effective than these weapons in most situations, however would require more training in order to realize this advantage.
     
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  9. Sarah79

    Sarah79 Irresponsible Captain Veteran

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    @jonthefox I thank you for your interest and input.
    However on the subject of the sword. In medieval times, and late era especially, the sword was so common place as to take understanding of the weapon for granted. access iron and steel from European soil meant that it was so easy and common to make swords that guilds had to make rules to stop certain groups from competing with them in sword production.
    However, because everyone used them like a oldtimey sidearm, the knife guilds started circumventing these rules making what we call today a Messer, which is specifically a Falchion built like a knife with a bolted hilt.
    The reason clubs and spears where considered the mainline in the bronze age and partially classical was the use of range in tactical formations, and the fact that wood was cheaper and easier to produce. Yet, despite that, swords (and variants such as Copeshes) where still the weapon of choice amongst the elites and nobles for they're versatility and symbolism. In the classical era for instance, while soldiers trained for years to properly use the various formations and combat styles involved in using the cumbersome but ranged spear, the bronze short sword became the standard sidearm of nearly every standing army from the numerous Persians, to the skilled Spartans, to the Legions of Rome.
    If my setting was based in the Bronze age, then what your saying would make since, however, this being much closer to the Renascence style cultures in the way of containing various weaponry, an access of iron and steal from the north and the frequency of mercenaries, Im afraid that much like smartphones today, the complexity of the tool is outweighed by the proliferation of said tool.
     
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  10. fireflyege

    fireflyege Magic is the destination of all wisdom. Veteran

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    @jonthefox It is strange, I always thought the swords were the braindead weapon and spears were more difficult to use properly. It is not that hard to swing a sword and hit your enemy with it unless your enemy is really fast, but using a spear requires some work put on it because how easy it is do disarm a person which misses a spear hit to you.

    Either way, I would like you to try mine too when I am finished. The world includes a lot of magic though so that might be a problem.
     
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  11. jonthefox

    jonthefox Veteran Veteran

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    interesting explanation! it's a video game after all, and that could definitely sell me. :) touching on real life though, i still am left wondering something: even if swords became popularized by the time period you cited...I would still contend that a club and/or spear is easier to use). My argument would be:

    -yes, the formations and tactics of spear-wielding infantry would require training, but now we're talking about military maneuvers, not the weapon itself. if you took two people, both of very little combat experience/expertise, and you give one a sword and the other a spear, who do you think has the advantage? i'd say the person with the spear has a big advantage, simply due to the range. heck, even for experienced fighters, i'd argue the guy with the spear may have an advantage depending on the combat scenario.

    -even if you disregard the spear, let's look at the club. ok, it would seem that in the case of two people with little combat experience, the sword would surely have the advantage right, because of its sharpness/deadliness/etc. right? but nope, I don't think so - using a sword effectively takes training and experience. i think the average person would do better with a club, if the basic strategy is "wack your target" - which to me fits in more with the idea of "easy to use."
     
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  12. fireflyege

    fireflyege Magic is the destination of all wisdom. Veteran

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    @jonthefox I do not like blunt weapons that much, if you are playing for the kill using a blunt weapon requires so much strenght that the difference must be as much as the Mountain and Oberyn Martell, but yeah in terms of simplicity the club is by far the simplest since even the cavemen are being portraited with clubs.

    About spears, yes the range is advantageous and I agree with that, but even if those people are not with battle experience piercing with a spear can become hard while the sword user only needs to swing it in some way.
     
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  13. SamJones

    SamJones Autorun Veteran

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    P&P RPGs, lots and lots of P&P RPGs.
     
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  14. fireflyege

    fireflyege Magic is the destination of all wisdom. Veteran

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    @SamJones it is obvious OP asked for examples. So ''P&P RPGs, lots and lots of P&P RPGs.'' is not an answer unless you give a clear example.
     
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  15. trouble time

    trouble time Bearer of the Word Veteran

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    @fireflyege no, blunt weapons dont require much more strength than a sword to use, and you dont just swing a sword or else your not cutting anything cause you wont hit with the edge unless your trained how, spears are much easier to use overall but suffer at close range, axes are the citting weapon you "just swing" with, and blunt weapons are prefered against armor amd for those with no training. In the new edition of warhammer 40k for example (this is sorta messed up btw) swords axes and blunt weapons are at base similar, all do one damage and all characters that can use one can use the others. The main differeence is that the sword has better armor peircing (ap-3) but adds nothing to your strength so its good for high armor low tougness enemoes, the power maul is the opposite adds 2 to your strenght but is only ap-1, while the power axe is more balanced (s+2 ap-2) but iirc costs more to give to a unit. Theyre all good in their own way and good for different situations, the axe is probably better overall cause it fits better in a takes all comers army, but costing more means that you get fewer options for other units. My own game is somewhat similar in that rather than money you have points to requisition equipment from your benefactors, and better equipment for one slot will decrease the effectiveness of equipment in other slots or other characters. This way all equipment is kinda inherently incomperable cause even if it has better stats your going to have worse equipment elsewhere to compensate. Enemy design is also important, if fire weakness is much more common that ice weakness then fire is better even though both are different.
     
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  16. Sarah79

    Sarah79 Irresponsible Captain Veteran

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    I'm afraid that isn't very helpful, you see, I have played;
    D&DOriginal ~ D&D5th + Pathfinder
    Every White wolf game, old and new.
    Paladium; Classic, Rifts and Robotech.
    All of the "D20" systems
    Spelljammer
    Exalted old and new
    Marvel Roleplaying Game
    FATE, FUDGE
    Mutants & Masterminds 1~3
    Big Eyes, Small Mouths 1~2
    Rouge Trader
    Star Wars RPG All
    Burning Wheel
    Jade/Iron Claw
    Call of Cuthulu
    Shadowrun All
    Arcana Unearthed
    GURPS
    Cyberpunk 2020
    Dragon Ball Z RPG
    Mechwarrior Classic and gen 2
    Firefly
    Game of Thrones
    Merc and Twilight 2000
    Numenera
    Savage Worlds
    The Wheel of Time

    And none of these have, or perhaps I have missed how they use a system like what I'm describing.
    If the first, please show me. if the second, please explain what I'm missing.[/SPOILER]
     
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  17. Nero V

    Nero V novelist Member

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    I really like this idea and I use similar weapon properties in my game. In fact, a lot of great games have weapons with increasing strength, but it's just because it has been like this since the beginning of video games. And of course, that's not very logical or player-friendly. When you get a lightning sword in games like Final Fantasy, you can't enjoy, because eventually it will be too weak when you finally meet the final enemy. But there are a lot of games that don't use weapons at all, such as Pokémon and others, where moves are some sort of attacks (skills) with various elements (magic types).
    In one of my two current game projects, there are ten different types of weapons, like swords and bows and such. The difference between them is how they effect the stats. For example, swords give a standardized attack boost, knives give less attack boost but also a slight speed boost, and clubs give more attack boost but will reduce speed. What about lances giving a defence boost? Or bows reducing defence? Maybe this sort of stat handling will help you for your game.
     
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  18. Revoked

    Revoked Warper Member

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    Arc Rise Fantasia tackled the "next weapon is always a bit stronger than the last" in an interesting way.

    Instead of providing any flat stat bonuses, each weapon had two locked abilities--one that could be unlocked and placed into other weapons, and one that remained locked to the weapon. Completely leveling up the weapon made its entire grid available for socketing, and each weapon also had a secret ability that would be unlocked if each piece of the grid was filled.
    [​IMG]

    I found this to be an effective way to make every weapon relevant in the long run. Because no weapon was explicitly better than another, it opened up many possibilities for strategic customization, and you also retain the sense of "progress" in gaining new weapons due to the ability pieces that you could unlock from each weapon and carry over to another.
     
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  19. Basileus

    Basileus Veteran Veteran

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    I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Dark Souls yet. It's entirely possible to go through the entire game with the starting weapon if it suits your taste since each weapon can be upgraded using Titanite Shards/Chunks/Slabs to become stronger and even be endowed with an elemental enchantment to cap it off if you really like it.

    Instead of the basic Bronze Sword (10 dmg) -> Iron Sword (15 dmg) pattern, each weapon actually functions differently than all other weapons. This is because each weapon has both a light and a heavy attack that use different animation types. The "Winged Spear" and the "Halberd" are both polearm weapons but the Halberd is NOT an upgrade to the Winged Spear even though it is found later. The Winged Spear scales better with Dexterity and both of its attacks are forward thrusting attacks while the Halberd scales better with Strength and has a thrusting light attack and a horizontal sweeping heavy attack. This gives each weapon strategic diversity (the Winged Spear is always better in tight hallways) and a build path affinity (the Halberd is always better if you plan to focus Strength over Dexterity).

    This results in multiple weapon types that each have a similar light attack but different heavy attacks and a mix of stat affinities so the player can play around with which weapon type they like, feel out the different options in that class as they find new ones, and then ultimately upgrade their favorite and never need another weapon again (besides maybe a good secondary weapon for different strategic niches).
     
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  20. acidhedz

    acidhedz Veteran Veteran

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    I've got a project on the back burner with a similar set up.
    Heavily based in old school AD&D.

    I can take you down the line of how I made sure each weapon type has it's own place.

    First off, there are 10 different weapon types. Axes, Swords, Staves, Bows, Fists, Clubs, Daggers, Light Swords, Spears and Polearms. With 19 weapons.

    There are 4 basic types of physical damage. Crushing, Piercing, Slashing, and Cleaving. By using a plug-in all element types can proc, so that isn't an issue.
    By giving each type fitting damage, I start making each type unique. Since different armors, and enemies, respond differently to different types of damage. At this point I've already divided them into 4 distinct groups.

    I further this with stats and abilities, to make each of the basic weapons different.
    For example, a Scimitar does lower damage, but has a chance to counterattack (parry) and cause bleeding wounds. It adds no defense, because it's not that kind of sword.
    A Falchion, on the other hand, does more damage, has a higher chance to cause bleeding wounds, but has no chance to counter attack and slows the user down. It's also a two handed weapon, so it seals shields. But it does add a bit of Def, because it's a big flipping sword and you can turn aside attacks and/or block with it, to a degree.
    Fist weapons let you attack more than once.
    A short sword has a decent chance to counterattack, and a small chance to give another action. It also boosts Def some, because you can block with it.
    Staves boost attack and def, and give a chance to evade. But seal shield.
    By using Yanfly's Rows and Formations plug-in, anyone with a Bow can stay at the back and fire.
    Clubs don't have any special abilities, but they do crushing damage, which makes them a bit more consistent, and some enemies are very vulnerable to them.
    Pole-arms are slow, but add a bit of Def, do more damage to mounted/big enemies and hit REALLY hard. And they seal shield. All two handed weapons do.
    So on and so forth. The weapons you'd expect to do more damage, do, but at the cost of speed, while faster weapons do less of course. And part of the playtesting will be making sure being slow actually is a disadvantage. From there I just added abilities that made sense, like a staff being as much a defensive weapon as offensive.
    The trick is to balance out the benefit to drawback ratio on damage, and make sure any abilities are there for flavor. Which in my book means small numbers.

    By giving shields an attack skill (shield bash), they become another weapon

    Then there's all sorts of enchanted, or better, versions of those basic weapons. All in, I have 278ish weapons in the DB. But every last one is built off the initial, basic set.
    Hand Axe, War Axe, Spear, Club, Dagger, Greatsword, Halberd, War Hammer, Long Bow, Pike, Scimitar, Short Bow, Short Sword, Staff, Falchion, Great Axe and Glaive.
    There are also 19 additional elements, and enemies that go with every single one of them. I'm also using Yanfly's Augments and Upgrade plug-ins so basic weapons can be "enchanted". Ones you find that already are, usually can't be further upgraded.
    The most powerful weapons are unique artifacts with their own history. But even they aren't good against everything. I'm also thinking of adding a corruption mechanic for some of them. Just not sure what the result would end up being.
    Enemies will all have gear they drop, essentially, which I will simulate by giving them the same stats and bonuses as what they drop would have.
    The key thing is that the improvements are small, and are usually offset to some degree.
    Another example. A basic Great Axe adds 24 attack, lowers def, atk spd and agi by 8, and lowers hit by 5. An enchanted version called The Axe Of Ruination, adds 35 atk and gives a 15% crit boost, but lowers def, atk spd, and agi by 15 instead of 8. And lowers hit rate by 8. It'll hit hard, but it'll hit slow. And it will miss more often.
    So, my solution wasn't to avoid having better versions of the weapons. Instead, I'm making sure none of them are a beat all, end all solution.

    Character class limits weapon types as usual, although most have choices.
    For example, the thief character (or rogue if you prefer) can equip Daggers, Bows or Light Swords. She'll have both generic skills (fast attack for example), that don't really need to map to any particular weapon, plus more specific skills (stealth attack for example). The goal being to let the player spec her out the way they want.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2017
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