• 🏆 Texturing Contest #33 is OPEN! Contestants must re-texture a SD unit model found in-game (Warcraft 3 Classic), recreating the unit into a peaceful NPC version. 🔗Click here to enter!
  • ✅ Time to vote for the top 3 models! The POLL for Hive's 6th HD Modeling Contest: Mechanical is now open! 📅 Poll close on July 16, 2024! 🔗 Cast your vote now!

General Guide to RPG Balancing.

Status
Not open for further replies.
Level 2
Joined
May 6, 2005
Messages
15
In light of the large number of RPG maps there are out there now with either no sense of balance done, or that have been very badly balanced, I have taken the time to think about what the hallmarks of a well-balanced RPG map are, and list them here.

Intelligence = damage?

This is one I don't think many people really think about. The primary attribute of a class is the attribute used to determine the amount of melee damage done by the class, whether it be ranged or melee. Personally, I don't think Intelligence should be used as a primary attribute in RPG maps. In most console RPGs, intelligence determines spell damage, strength determines physical damage.

Since the Intelligence classes in WC3 gain attack damage through their intelligence, it makes it hard to give them a decent amount of mana and/or mana regen without giving them attack damage at least equal to that of strength classes. So how do you limit the attack damage of intelligence classes without gimping their mana pool?

The solution here is to set every class' primary attribute to Strength. This makes more sense, and gives you the ability to increase a magic user's mana and mana regen as much as you want and still keep their attack damage below that of melee classes that are meant to do physical damage.

God? Is that you?

I know, it's tempting to throw in a couple of god-like classes into the map to reward those who work hard for it. But don't do it. No matter how difficult you make it to discover how to unlock these classes, someone is going to figure it out, either by opening your map in the world editor to look at your triggers, or by trial and error. And once one person has figured it out, you can be sure everyone will know how to unlock your god characters.

This, in particular, has ruined a number of good maps. Take Legends Open RPG Divinity for example. The god and goddess characters are so powerful, even at level 1 there is no longer any challenge to the map. Granted it takes hours to reach that level, but simply because they're there, that's all anyone wants to do... just kill creeps until they reach godhood. The map was well done with many possibilities for roleplay... all ruined because of the existance of the god class.

What does this button do?

If you're going to change character abilities (and if you're making any kind of decent RPG map, you're going to) the very LEAST you could do is to update the tooltips to reflect what the ability *actually* does. Having an ability say that it gives a 10% chance for 3 times normal damage, and having it actually give 5% chance for 1.5 times normal damage is annoying. Even worse, however, is tooltips which very vaguely point out what the skill does, without listing the amount of damage or duration. Do your players a favor, and update the detailed tooltips for skills.

This item does what now?

It is also annoying to not know what items are supposed to do. It wastes time and gives other players a chance to snatch an item if you have to repeatedly drop and pick up an item while watching your stats in order to figure out what an item does.

Who needs levels? Where are the tomes sold?

Ah, yes... Tomes. These should NOT be available in RPG games... at ALL. They artificially increase heroes' stats in exchange for gold. It has been my experience that gold in RPGs is not a problem to find, so you end up with ultra powerful characters that walk up to the end boss, smack him around a bit, and defeat him without taking much damage. Kinda takes the fun out of the game, now doesn't it?

Ok, so do what now?

Quests, quests, quests! You need quests for your RPG! And not just as a place to store newbie information for your map. They need to be active quests! If you have a village that is under attack by a huge dragon they want you to kill, you need to create a quest for it! Possibly including directions in case anyone missed/forgets the directions the NPC issuing the quest gave. And if you can manage it, have the quest be marked as completed after the players finish it.

Oh my word, this tune is annoying

Background music should be just that, background. If you feel the need to change the background music from the defaults, please leave it as something soft and pleasant to listen to. If I get annoyed and want to turn the music off, I'd rather not play the map in the first place.

These monsters are so weak/strong...

You really should test your map thoroughly and figure out how strong the heroes are going to be at any given point in the map. The monsters in the new areas heroes are arriving at should not be so powerful that the heroes need to go back into previous areas to train... but they shouldn't be so weak that the heroes take them out in a few swings either. Scale the monster strength up based on how strong the heroes entering the new area should be if they cleared all quests in the previous area first. Test it. Play through your map yourself once or twice, to give yourself an idea what levels the heroes are by the time they reach any given area.

In closing...

RPG maps are supposed to be challenging and fun. The best RPG maps are those that the maker has paid attention to detail in, and gone through the trouble of balancing and testing their map. Slashfest maps in which the heroes become all-powerful and defeat enemies in single blows without breaking a sweat are probably the lowest quality RPG maps out there. Put some thought into your RPG maps, and make something worth taking the time to play.

If anyone has anything else to add, feel free to post it here.
 
Level 4
Joined
Jan 3, 2005
Messages
91
w0rd, I agree with everything written here except for the primary attribute: Adding strengh also means adding health, 25 per point! (if left on standard) I think wizards, range attackers etc. should have that much hp in combination with their range/magic damage!

Why not completely seperate damage from the attributes? In gameplay constants, set damage per primary attribute point to zero and manually increase damage (i.e. by using research levels). Then you could divide "vitality" and "strength"..

Well just my thoughts, anyways great "guide", Shadow_Wanderer!

klovadis
 
Level 2
Joined
May 6, 2005
Messages
15
Good point, Klovadis, about separating damage from the attributes, but I still think linking strength to damage makes sense, and serves it's purpose. Yes, by linking strength to damage and giving magic users low strength and low strength gain per level, they will have both low damage and low HPs. But in my experience in RPG games, you don't want your magic users to be in the melee anyways, you want them nice and safe behind the meat shields that are soaking up the damage.

Which brings up another point. Magic users should be fragile high damage compliments to their sturdy low damage melee counterparts. Neither is supposed to be able to do everything alone. A warrior can stand in the thick of things and deal out death to his enemies, but lacks the ability to pull down large numbers of them alone. A wizard can deal fiery death to many enemies at a time, so long as they are kept at arm's length... preferably someone else's arm. If they get close, the wizard is quickly pulled down. A healer can keep warriors alive longer, allowing them to last longer in battle before falling. In a good RPG, these classes will support each other as none of them have the combination of damage, health, and support abilities to do the job alone.
 
Level 7
Joined
Jul 30, 2004
Messages
451
i'm just curious now, suppose your wizard attacks by shooting fireballs...

how on earth does strength make him stronger at attacking?

does he throw the fireballs harder with his muscular arms?



you know, guidelines are ok, but defining exactly how everything should be laid out deprives some RPGs of uniqueness, i mean arguably some things should really be obvious, but we also don't want a series of cookie cutter maps
 
Level 6
Joined
Mar 25, 2005
Messages
304
My exprience with having quests that have to protect a town or something or kill a boss thats attacking is that many times, you cant defend it. And when you fail to defend it, then you are ruined if the city was of any importance. I played this RPG long time ago where I failed to protect the main city. Everytime i died, i was respawned in the middle of the mass enemy army, and then i was instantly killed again. lame...
-Blue
 
Level 4
Joined
Jan 3, 2005
Messages
91
about the wizard/sorcerer/caster damage thing:

ok, lets give the wizard a melee attack. extremele weak and uneffective, far from doing any serious damage, not to use except on weak enemies. link this to his hitpoints and make it increase slowly.

but give him an autocast magic skill like searing/cold arrows that cost mana and deal range damage (this might be hard to trigger/create) and additional, non-autocast spells for "normal" use. this would make sense to me ;)

klovadis
 
Level 7
Joined
Jul 30, 2004
Messages
451
well personally, all the suggestions seem like common sense suggestions except for the first one, which just seems restricting in nature

i just gave a good reason why intelligence increases damage, which, in my mind, nullifies any reasoning from the argument
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top