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The Underdog and The Overdog

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The underdog begins at a signficant disadvantage when compared to the overdog who has more or less everything, so how can the two compete? If the player begins with next to nothing and their foe has virtually everything, for example an entire empire at their command then it would be a simple matter for the foe to crush the player like a bug. So how can the player compete and eventually triumph? My first insticint say that they can win only one of two way either by remaining an invisible threat until they are powerful enough to face their foe, or by using gurriella tactics to weaken their enemy and strength their faction. Are their other ways that a player can deal with a supior opponent and eventually eliminate the gap between them? Either way the underdog must rely on stealth and surprise in order to keep the overdog off balance. Since the overdog can win easily in an open conflict. The underdo also have to remain insignifcant enough as to not draw the full attention of the overdog until they can with stand its wrath. Also, Is it possible to balance the two in a multiplayer aspect? For instance a strategy game where a player can choose to play as an underdog, normaldog, or overdog. Where at the same time all three have to have enough balance to them so that they can all win. The simple answer that comes to mind is though balancing a combinations of resouces and dependacies. The underdog has few of both, while the overdog has a lot of both. ----------------------------------------------------- "Fate and Destiny only give you the opportunity the rest you have to do on your own." Current Design project: Ambitions Slave

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If you want there can be a social component to this as well: The overdog can''t crush the underdog until a certain point because there is no honor in it, and the overdog will lose face.

Since you set the game world, story and rules, you can make something like this a matter of ritualized conflict, rather than competitive conflict. If ritual created a dual, for instance, then honor might require the overdog and underdog to have the exact same weapons while in the arena.

But by and large you''re right, The Art of War counsels that you should attack your enemy where they are strong and shield yourself where you are weak. For the small guy, this means no head to head engagements.

OTOH, you could also throw in a technology difference to make the two even. The underdog might be small in number but possess dynamite and gatling guns versus the massive empire who''s best weapon is the spear.

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The overdog could have less direct control over individual units. For example, a huge army needs generals, captians, sargents, ect, just to keep everyone together. The under dog could control each unit individually. You could also force the overdog to please the people, thus preventing him from razing towns where resistance is stong.

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The Underdog needs to have one singular goal that when accomplished, debilitates the Overdog. This allows them to focus their otherwise small potential into something much more potent.

Examples:


  • Star Wars: The Rebellion''s only chance of victory is to exploit the Death Star''s weakness, and blow it up. Which significantly weakens the Empire.

  • The Lord of the Rings: "Good''s" only chance of defeating Sauron is by destroying the Ring. Any other attempt to fight him will eventually lead to failure.



The Overdog, on the other hand, needs to have a more general goal. "Kill all enemies", "Conquer all bases". They may have extreme strength, but this forces them to spread it out a bit more.

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I think the big thing that makes the underdog such a worthy character archetype is that they contain just enough determination to survive anything, while at the same time desperately seeking out some exploitation of the behemoth adversary. What this means is that the behemoth adversary needs to have significant weaknesses.

In the context of an MMORPG, this means that some disability has to arise that, in the grand scope of things is really nothing, but for any one newbie who recognizes it, can spell defeat for the oldbie. For example, if a various status effects can kill anyone in the game fairly quickly if left uncured, then the equipment that protects from those status effects cannot overlap the entire range of status effects. For example, that shield that guards against Blind and Mute can''t also guard against Poison. In fact, nothing should be able to guard against poison, IF and ONLY IF the oldbie is guarded against everything else. Take that into consideration when you design elemental equipment. +10 to Earth, Air, and Fire, -30 to Water.

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If it was strategy the underdog would have to be like the gothic nation in AOK:TC. The goths have quik and extremely cheap units so they can just flood their enemies with men. It is balanced out because the goths have a weak economy and no walls. Another aspect you could add is the empire earths French nations skill. When the unit unit sits still it goes invisible until its attacks or moves for a few seconds. In either game you have to rely on surprise and gurilla tactics to win. Maybe allows there units to go through trees or be able to build in the water.

-CM

BTW: I am still waiting for some1 to beat my goths on AOK:TC.

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