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Homogenization(Balance) is NOT more important than immersion, variety and satisfying development

Cryomancer

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By the love of Adanos. All masterpieces among the RPG genre are extremely unbalanced. Baldur's Gate 2? Can be soloed with certain builds and is extremely hard in another. Diablo 1 and 2? Some builds can beat the game naked where others rely a lot of gear. Might & Magic VI? Your party composition will determine the game difficulty. Demon/Dark Souls? Beating DS2 as a Rapier of Chaos(or spearman) Hexer or a Black knight Halberd Paladin is far easier than with a unarmored swordsman without a shield.

On VtMB, there are no way to make the Nosferatu curse(being deformed and not being able to even be seen by kine without breaking the masquarede) and not make a highly social game exponentially harder than a Ventrue gameplay.

Gothic is considered a masterpiece among the genre exactly because of immersion, variety and amazing sense of progression. All Gothic games(except arcania) have you going from nothing to one of the most powerful entities on the world. On G1, you can start as a nobody that a wolf can tear apart in a fraction of second and end the game as someone capable to defeating a archdemon who isw worshiped as a God. Gothic 2 follows the same formula and put the player in valley of mines on chapter 2, where he needs to think outside the box to evade facing much tougher enemies and later in the game, in the same region, now he can defeat the enemies that he was fleeing, giving a amazing sense of progression . Gothic 3 too. As a Water mage, on the beginning, i din't even had magic, i had to find someone able and willing to teach me, spend some levels only on ancient knowledge and once i learned my first water magic spell, i could only cast 6 or 3 Ice Lances per rest(3 if charged). In end game? A image worth more than just words

bKpIGAM.png


In multi player games SURE, having fully realism and historical accuracy can be bad. For example, Me 262 Aircraft was vastly superior to most allies planes BUT germany was terrible outnumbered on late WW2 stages. War Thunder at least on arcade mode put Me 262 VS cold war era planes. They had to do that or nerf significantly the plane performance. But in a SP mission, you can have the player having to deal with a outnumbered battle OR against much faster planes and it being interesting, fun and engaging.

Most awful things that we see in modern games, the ludicrous level of ludonarrative dissonance, the immersion breaking mechanics like cooldowns, the repetitiveness, etc are all due the "balance cult". Having a easier or a hard time in a SP RPG due your choices is not a problem.

The same applies to TTRPG's. What is the most balanced D&D edition? 4e. And 4e is exactly the most BORING to play. Everyone feels the same, there are a lot of immersion breaking mechanics and the game feel more like a TT-WoW-Clone, not a proper D&D game. To be fair, D&D 3.5e also took some inspirations on other video game RPG's, but they took inspiration on 90s CRPG's, not from wow. 5e is extremely streamlined but since is not homogenized like 4e, is fun to play.
 
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Cryomancer

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Cryomancer

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deuxhero look to how AC/THAC0 and saves was on the first editions of D&D. WotC simplified and used the same system that a lot of 90s RPG's use for chance to hit and saves vs spells. AS for 4e, is pretty obvious that is a wow ripoff
 

Machocruz

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When someone lacks an actual critical eye and grammar for game design, they will instead glibly use nebulous terms like "balance" or flow". They have no real conception of what these mean or why they should receive any consideration at all, they just believe these things to be desirable in a game. Someone in a position of authority (like a reviewer for a major game rag) says it, it gets disseminated through the peanut gallery without question. Same as it ever was
 
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Unbalanced shit is fine if it's not immediately obvious that it is unbalanced. If you can figure out strongest build/class (at all stages of the game) immediately (like 2 hours in), game will probably become a snoozefest.
 

octavius

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Unbalanced shit is fine if it's not immediately obvious that it is unbalanced. If you can figure out strongest build/class (at all stages of the game) immediately (like 2 hours in), game will probably become a snoozefest.

Nah, you choose the weakest class and make it a challenge that will keep you awake.
 

Cryomancer

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Unbalanced shit is fine if it's not immediately obvious that it is unbalanced. If you can figure out strongest build/class (at all stages of the game) immediately (like 2 hours in), game will probably become a snoozefest.

The ideal is to NOT have a "strong build". Is to have the strong for situation A, strong for situation B, with the drawback C(...) For example, a Paladin should obvious be better VS undead than a magician that only know frost spells by obvious reason. In the ideal situation, the paladin will be better vs undeads and the frost mage vs fire elementals. Same for VtMB. Nosferatu are harder clan to play in 90% of the game, but stealth missions are far easier.

A lot of people had problem with Shrine of Amana on DS2, but since i was a Hexer, the area was a cakewalk for me. When i played again as a "pyromancer halberdier", the area was a pain in the ass since pyromancies have much shorter range compared to sorceries and hexes And enemies half submerged take too little damage from fire. I din't used even a pyromancy in the area since it had poor range and damage. PvP in other hands, this build was much better for PvP.
 
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Unbalanced shit is fine if it's not immediately obvious that it is unbalanced. If you can figure out strongest build/class (at all stages of the game) immediately (like 2 hours in), game will probably become a snoozefest.

Nah, you choose the weakest class and make it a challenge that will keep you awake.
I pick the ones with coolest animations/looks/lore and fun mechanics, them being busted or underwhelming doesn't affect my choice.

Disagree with the clear weakness/advantage based balancing, it sucks in every game without party or mechanics to compensate those weaknesses.
 

Tigranes

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The very word 'balance' has become some kind of toxic thing.

The focus should be on creating the widest possible array of meaningful abilities that make a tangible impact on the battlefield - and then doing some reasonable adjusting to provide meaningful costs and tradeoffs, not to make everything 'equally powerful', but so that every choice has an interesting decision around it. The litmus test isn't whether the total cost/DPS of one build is exactly equal to another, but that you make qualitative decisions like embracing spectacular spells for extreme vulnerability, even if the mage still ends up being "more powerful if optimised" or something.

Trying to design/fix a game by comparing different builds and equalising their differences is just a misrecognition of the task.
 

Cryomancer

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Disagree with the clear weakness/advantage based balancing, it sucks in every game without party or mechanics to compensate those weaknesses.

Did you played Dark Souls?

The first and foremost requirement of a game is entertainment. Balance is latter rejuggling that only should enhance that fun factor. Never should it be used in lieu.

I agree. A FPS game with just one weapon will be the most balanced game ever. But will be fun?
 
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Disagree with the clear weakness/advantage based balancing, it sucks in every game without party or mechanics to compensate those weaknesses.

Did you played Dark Souls?

The first and foremost requirement of a game is entertainment. Balance is latter rejuggling that only should enhance that fun factor. Never should it be used in lieu.

I agree. A FPS game with just one weapon will be the most balanced game ever. But will be fun?

Dark Souls has tons of compensation mechanics (buffs from active items, weapon infusions/enhancements, summons) and you can beat it as naked hobo without leveling once, so it's completely unrelated to my point.

I am talking about games where you build a character that uses debuffs/elemental damage/physical damage and get enemies who are immune to debuffs/negate elemental damage/negate physical damage etc. Jrpgs love this shit design philosophy.
 

Zboj Lamignat

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Balance sounds nice in theory, but it really seems that many people have a strange obsession about it and then what you get is an adult man going on a couple years long autism spree, nerfing everything to the ground in a classic, single-player crpg and posting "trying to look cool, but the dead eyes give it away" pics on social media.

Sure, if your game has stuff like a level 1 ability that trivializes 99% of the game (and it's not like it's a hyperbole, there are games that do that) then this needs adjusting. But it's not "balancing", just fixing your shit.

To me, building op death squads is as big pull of crpgs as taking all the "weak" classes and trying to make them work.
 

Cryomancer

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I am talking about games where you build a character that uses debuffs/elemental damage/physical damage and get enemies who are immune to debuffs/negate elemental damage/negate physical damage etc. Jrpgs love this shit design philosophy.

Any example? I don't know much about jrpg's BUT immunities exist in tons of game fine.

Sure, if your game has stuff like a level 1 ability that trivializes 99% of the game (and it's not like it's a hyperbole, there are games that do that) then this needs adjusting. But it's not "balancing", just fixing your shit.

On Gothic 3, Fog + Rain of Fire can trivialize most of game content but is because they din't made the spell progression right. Fire Rain was circle 5 on G1 and circle 6 on G2. You can get relative early on this spell on G3...

PS : HAving a same rotation that solves everything on a mmo is equally awful.
 

Saduj

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The only reason I can think of to want "balance" in a single player game is that if the developer makes it so that someone can pick all the sub-optimal stuff and still finish the game on their first attempt, the game is going to be piss-easy for someone who chose the good stuff.
 

mondblut

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if the developer makes it so that someone can pick all the sub-optimal stuff and still finish the game on their first attempt

That's usually on their agenda, yes. Inclooosive!
 
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As it should, I have no idea what the optimal stuff is. Put in some optional hard content or a hard mode for the guy that correctly guessed which weapon type the dev had a fetish for or looked up the strongest combo on youtube.
 

Machocruz

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Notice how we keep having to scare quote the word? Seems like in most cases where it is used, there are better, more precise terms available. Like "fixing your shit".

Anyway, I can't think of a single player game worth a damn that has "balance." There is asymmetry of features and choices in all of them, and it makes a lot of them interesting. If Pac-Man were "balanced", it would have never have gotten bigger than Pong. Here's how you balance Pac-Man: you get 3 CPU controlled Pac-men that roll with you, all four of you get unlimited lives, and you don't need to eat power pellets to attack the ghosts. There, now it's almost completely balanced (completely killing the identity of the game as it is known and loved, btw). Sounds great, huh?

When you get to a certain point of complexity in a game, I don't see how you could ever really "balance" things. If you are dealing with games with different builds, then what? Too many factors to account for. If you balance along one, like DPS, you still have unbalance along several others. So the fighter and mage can both do 300 dps per attack, but then there is factor of range, which means one build has to put themselves closer to risk to deliver that dps than the other. This is not what I'd call balance, it's all upside for the mage. Then what do you do to balance this? Cap spell usage for mage? Creates another unbalance some place else, and possibly dissatisfaction. Or if you raise fighter DPS to make up for risk, than mage player is unhappy they have to plink away while fighter can be wrecking shit. Unbalanced. Maybe mage doesn't balance on damage, maybe he is a controller build, or support build. But you still didn't balance, you just changed the scales, and it's completely subjective how satisfying the dps fighter feels compared to the controller mage.
 

Cryomancer

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At least the good parts of Elder Scrolls series are perfectly balanced.

Mainly daggerfall. Most balanced game ever /JustKidding

Now seriously. Daggerfall character creation is amazing exactly because is unbalanced.
 

Cryomancer

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One more thing about immunities. If a Water mage can produce a ice spear dealing piercing + cold damage, throw giant ice balls dealing blunt damage, control the clouds to cause lightning, etc; immunities would't be a problem.

Gothic 3 Hailstorm is more like a lightning storm visual and mechanic wise dealing energy damage and being able to damage ice golems
ecSKqW3.png
 

Cryomancer

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I thought this was the whole point of RPGs. From a nub to an all-destroying god

Some people believe that the point is not feel like another guy in another fictional world. Is to have boring bussywork with mechanics that makes no sense.
 

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