# rpg system - balancing

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Hey all!

I am planning on developing a pvp game without classes. This menas every player can choose some spells to make there character individual.
I think a good idea will be to give the spells some base stats and spells also influence hp. Every char has 100 energy for default.

Attributes for spells:
-damage
-range
-speed(how long does it take to hit the enemy?, only for range)
-energy cost
-cooldown
-influencing hp

is there a common system to balance about 20 of spells, without testing hours and hours? the system should do it as exactly as possible(i know that won´t be really exact, and i know i have to test. but i want to know it inaccurate)

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Hey all!

I am planning on developing a pvp game without classes. This menas every player can choose some spells to make there character individual.
I think a good idea will be to give the spells some base stats and spells also influence hp. Every char has 100 energy for default.

Attributes for spells:
-damage
-range
-speed(how long does it take to hit the enemy?, only for range)
-energy cost
-cooldown
-influencing hp

is there a common system to balance about 20 of spells, without testing hours and hours? the system should do it as exactly as possible(i know that won´t be really exact, and i know i have to test. but i want to know it inaccurate)

There's not really any concept other than testing,testing and testing. PvP and 20 spells could be really messy. The best I could think off is to start small and simple, do some testing and then start to expand one by one. I.e. start with 3-5 spells with really different behaviour and let some test players have some fun. I never saw a multiplayer game which started in a balanced game state and which has not been disrupted by the communty within the first 2 days.

The major issue is, that any PvP combat depends heavily on player skills, you just can't simulate this in a satisfying way,nor can you pretict it.

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[quote name='Florian22222' timestamp='1321607462' post='4885255']
Hey all!

I am planning on developing a pvp game without classes. This menas every player can choose some spells to make there character individual.
I think a good idea will be to give the spells some base stats and spells also influence hp. Every char has 100 energy for default.

Attributes for spells:
-damage
-range
-speed(how long does it take to hit the enemy?, only for range)
-energy cost
-cooldown
-influencing hp

is there a common system to balance about 20 of spells, without testing hours and hours? the system should do it as exactly as possible(i know that won´t be really exact, and i know i have to test. but i want to know it inaccurate)

There's not really any concept other than testing,testing and testing. PvP and 20 spells could be really messy. The best I could think off is to start small and simple, do some testing and then start to expand one by one. I.e. start with 3-5 spells with really different behaviour and let some test players have some fun. I never saw a multiplayer game which started in a balanced game state and which has not been disrupted by the communty within the first 2 days.

The major issue is, that any PvP combat depends heavily on player skills, you just can't simulate this in a satisfying way,nor can you pretict it.
[/quote]

but i hoped that there is a mathematical system or program that can solve such problems approximately.

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There is, but it requires the game to have little tactical options. It's easy to do if all you need is balancing DPS and Efficiency. You put your skills on a scale and make sure a skill with higher DPS has worse Efficiency. As soon as you throw in more complexity, it becomes impossible to do. In a well designed system, players will have multiple options that vary in effectiveness based on the current situation. You cannot mathematically balance these. You have to go by feel and compare with what's available. If your combat system is deep enough, players can usually find ways to counter imbalances. It's when there is no counter that balance changes are required. That you cannot predict with math alone.

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Hello Florian,

I would agree with Ashaman73. As all engineers say, computed models are good but nothing is better than real testing. No wonder other designers make beta testing sessions and have plenty of players play their game for a long time before declaring it finished.

To do so, I would advise you to give each spell a number based on its importance. And calculate the "expected value" of your system. One way or the other you have to find a way to represent your system mathematically so you can safely balance it.

For example I would quote Jesse Schell in his book "The art of game design" when he talks about the difficult and tricky work of balancing a game.

"Consider a game where a player rolls two dice. If they get a seven, or an eleven, they win $5, but if they get anything else, they lose$1. How do we figure out the expected value of this game?
The chance of rolling a 7 is 6/36.
The chance of rolling an 11 is 2/36.
The chance of rolling anything else is 1  8/36, or 28/36. So, to calculate the expected value, we multiply the probabilities by the values for
each, and add them all up, like this:

Outcome - Chance x Outcome - Value
7 - 6/36 x $5 -$0.83
11 - 2/36 x $5 -$0.28
Everything else - 28/36 x (-$1) -$0.78
Expected value - \$0.33

So, we see that this is a good game to play, because in the long run, you will, on
average, win thirty-three cents each time you play."

So the difficult part here is to find the mathematical representation for your system and than start testing and testing and testing... and get rid of unwanted expected values like :

Spell of the dragon :

damage : 100 points (other spells would be like 10 points damage)

range : 50m

energy cost : 1 out of 100

cooldown : 0

This spell despite the awesomeness look of it would be terribly wrong for the balance as it can deal far more damage points compare to other spells, has no cooldown and almost no penalty of energy cost. In general players will likely choose the spell with the highest expected value based on what is the more important - Is damage more important than range or energy cost? - And one last thing which takes account is the Human Element as Tiblanc rightly said. Your mathematical model will have its limits and humans are smarter than your model so... testing testing ;)

I don't know if I am clear enough or not because game-balancing is a wide area and entire books are written about it, I tried to give you a quick look at it. If I can recommend you a book, it would be "the art of game design" by Jesse Schell as it is a really good and easy way to dive into this with this master of the art

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There are ways that you can make testing more efficient to get some balance pre-release, but as has been said above players will probably shatter that pretty quickly anyhow.

What I might do for pre-alpha testing would be to group the stats as much as is reasonable (for example, speed and range could be combined into a ratio and then you'd have an index value for comparing the effect of distance from caster to target across spells; cooldown time and cost combined can be compared with damage to do the same for damage/time; etc.).

After that it wouldn't be too challenging to put together a test environment that pits randomized spells (and combinations of spells) against each other with different parameters for a lot of trials, and automate them. You can spit the results into tables and graphs that will make it easier to see what spells/combinations over- or underperform in different situations, and tweak numbers accordingly.

You still won't be able to account for player behavior in advance, but you'll have a reasoable starting point for play testing them.

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that "scaling" is a really good idea. when i am building my system ill do some estimate to figure out. My experience in other mmos will help me a lil bit too.

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Well, you can bring up a quick Excel spreadsheet and figure out all of the values and factor in each spell/abilities scaling.

Then, you can steal some of your calculation code with some of the creature/monster/NPC code and test out how each of the spells works in each situation separate from the actual game.

But, don't get too hung up on balance. Some popular commercial games are completely unbalanced.

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