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kingy

Roleplay combat question - twice as good = loses one in three?

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I have a quick roleplay question as I'm building a combat system for my game. If combatant A is twice as powerful as combatant B, should he lose a third of the time? Example: A's overall combat prowess is 2. B's overall combat prowess is 1. 2+1 = 3 A would win 2 out of three times and lose the remaining one. Is such a system good for an RPG? Or should twice as powerful mean much lower odds of losing?

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"Twice as good" is a vague concept, because performance (and difficulty) are difficult to quantify. So, you could indeed decide that those little numbers you have there represent the odds of winning. The actual fun in the game will merely depend on how those little numbers are set. If gaining a "+1" has the same difficulty for the entire game, then high-powered fighters will have a lot of difficulty improving while low-powered fighters will have an easy time improving. If gaining a "+1" gets exponentially easier, then improving will remain just as easy.

In the end, it's up to you to decide how two characters should interact, based on how much time the player spent playing, and then build a mathematical rule out of that. You don't seem to have made that decision yet.

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No this is true, and those numbers could equally be 10 and 20, or 100 and 200. In a system with 100 and 200, increasing combat effectiveness would occur more frequently. I take your point about not having an underlying system worked out yet.

I'm basically brainstorming around the numbers. For example, if levelling up doubled this combat effectiveness, a level 5 fighter would have on average a one in three chance of losing to a level 4 fighter and a one in five chance of losing to a level 3 fighter. Do these chances sound about right? Or too high or low?

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Quote:
Original post by kingy
I'm basically brainstorming around the numbers. For example, if levelling up doubled this combat effectiveness, a level 5 fighter would have on average a one in three chance of losing to a level 4 fighter and a one in five chance of losing to a level 3 fighter. Do these chances sound about right? Or too high or low?


Again, a level is just a number. If moving from one level to the next is a matter of minutes, then these numbers are not good. If moving from one level to the next is a matter of hours, then the numbers are starting to look good. If it's a matter of days, then it's again not very good.

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Leaving aside the danger of using pen-and-paper games as an inspiration for computer game rules (since the main source of level gain in pen-and-paper games is the game master, who awards levels based on what is fun, not what is mathematically sound)...

D&D goes for an exponential stepladder, meaning that a second-level character can whack the hell out of its own first-level self with reasonably good probability (due to better equipment, followers, additional feats and spells, and improved health points). A third-level character is usually almost certain to blast away his first-level self. A fourth-level character will blast away his first-level self, save for the insanely lucky shot.

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Quote:
Original post by RivieraKid
if your twice as good should you be able to defeat 2 enemies at 1/2 your ability?


That math seems a bit iffy to me.


To echo what some of the others have said. It depends on what you want to do. What sort of a feel are you looking to have?

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Consider this:

A (10) + B (20) = 30

By your logic:

A = 33%
B = 66%

Does it seem logical that a level 20 creature (e.g. an ancient red dragon) would lose a third of its battles to something half its level (e.g. a hatchling red dragon)?

(Note that endless hours of D&D has taken its toll on my brain, and the above statements are only ballpark estimates as far as hit dice are concerned.)

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The term "Twice as good" is a bit vague. If you are talking about how many opponents it can take on (ie a level 2 could take on two level 1s with an equal chance of success for either), or you could be talking about stats (and in this case the level 2 might be able to take on more than two level 1s to get that equal chance of success).

For instance:
If I have a level 1 character that has 20 Hit Points and does 4 damage each hit, then I might have a level 2 that has 40 hit points, but still does 4 damage. This level 2 could take twice as much damage as the level 1. Is this level 2 "twice as good" as the level 1s.

What if the level 2 not only had the 40 hit points, but what if it also did 8 damage a hit. Is it now twice as good? or is it more than twice as good?

So the term "Twice as good" is a bit too vague to use as a measure.

Quote:
If combatant A is twice as powerful as combatant B

This actually means that characters will have to be gaining power exponentially.

A Level 2 is 2 times the strength of a level 1, and a level 3 is 2 times the strength of the level 2. But this makes it 4 times the strength of a level 1. This means that a level 10 is 512 time the strength of a level 1.

A level 20 is 524,288 time the strength of a level 1 character!

This creates a problem of power.

If you are going to have multiple characters adventuring together (either as a multiplayer game or as a single player game with multiple party members), then the differences between their respective levels will create problems.

As an example,using a typical level spread in a game like WoW, this difference is usually capped 5 levels. This means that using your doubling system, there will be a power difference between the highest and lowest levels in the group of 32 times. Adjusting the difficulty levels of the game to match this difference will be virtually impossible.

If you made it challenging for the highest level characters in the group, then lowest level characters will be slaughtered. If you make it challenging (but not impossible) for the lowest level characters, then the highest level characters would dominate and the lowest levels will not actually have anything to do.

This kind of power curve is too steep for anything but a single player, single character game.

Even in a single player multi character game, if at any time experience will be denied to a character (eg: they are killed and later resurrected), then this loss of experience (and therefore levels) will make them next to useless.

But, with a single player single character game, the power levels of the player character are only relative to the enemies they face. So increasing their power like this only means that you have to increase the power of the enemies the same, negative the need for such a massive increase in power level in the first place.

So, about the only reason you would include an increase in power level of this magnitude in a game, would be for aesthetic reasons. That is to make the player feel that they are becoming God like (and if that is what your story needs, then go for it). However, if the character is not supposed to be god like, then this would create a disjunction between what the story is telling them and what they are experiencing in the game. IT would, in effect, ruin any feeling of immersion and break the player from any feeling of Role Playing.

Quote:
Is such a system good for an RPG?

Only if it is a single player single character game about the character turning into a God. In any other situation, it would be bad.

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Interesting points and food for thought. In real life, I think that people can be perhaps five times stronger than the average person (this is very loose, I once saw a documentary about a real vigilante strong man who made this claim about himself) and so really I would put that as a limit on the relative power of a character at "top level" to help lessen these kinds of issues. On a side note, maybe characters increasing in damage soaking hitpoints and damage causing strength is actually the part of the cause of these problems you mentioned.

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Quote:
Original post by kingy
I think that people can be perhaps five times stronger than the average person (this is very loose, I once saw a documentary about a real vigilante strong man who made this claim about himself)
While that's true for particular things like power lifting, it doesn't translate easily.

Starting at the age of 14, I did 5 years of Jujutsu followed by 6 years of Wing Tsun (5 times per week). I was good, but I was certainly not the "toughest guy" in the world.

Now, I've stopped exercise over a decade ago, and while I don't consider myself a weakling, there is absolutely no doubt that out of 10,000 fights, I wouldn't win a single one if I had to compete against my younger self. Heck, I wouldn't stand for 5 seconds.

As for game levels, it matters a lot what system you want, of course (as others have already said). Personally I think that one level difference shouldn't make such a difference. Even though 2 is clearly twice as much as 1, it's still only just one level difference. The fact that it's twice as much is due to resolution.
On the other hand, if you have a level 52 character fighting a level 70 character, and the level 52 character still had, say, a 50% chance of winning, then you will probably see all your level 70 players puke. Even though 52 is 3/4 of 70, it's a whole 18 levels of difference. Players want to see a reward for working off their ass gaining those 18 levels.

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That really depends on the system. Level 52 vs 70 doesn't mean anyone will puke if the maximum level is 1000 and levelling occurs after practically every battle; its all relative.

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Right, make it 520 and 700 then :-)

Unless levels practically "fall from the sky" every 5 minutes or so, people will be quite unhappy if they are 180 levels higher than someone else and still lose their fights half of the time.
Losing, except maybe once in 1.000 fights, just doesn't translate to the 6 weeks (or 10 weeks) they spent getting these extra 180 levels.

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You'll have to move away from the conventional CRPG notion of levelling, particularly in the modern WoW model, where a level 68 can wtfpwn two level 60s and not even need to be healed afterward

I'd like to see a game where you don't actually become more bulletproof as you "level", but I'm sure that's an unpopular concept.

One of my favorite ideas is Clonk Planet's, where units level based on their work done and time alive. It's more of a rank system than anything, but once you've got some Commanders, you really feel the benefit. They're more mobile, can carry more, swim faster, have more HP, etc. But in a fight, an elite warrior can only really handle two or three weaker guys (equipment notwithstanding, I once stormed my buddy's castle by firing one guy out of a cannon over his wall, armed with my entire budget worth of armor, javelins and healing items) before he's got to take a break and get healed up, and if the other team has three good archers on a tower, he's going to just keep his distance.

So I think the idea you've got here would work if the uberness of units was measured on more of an RTS scale, rather than an MMO scale.

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