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Klyxmaster

Magic vs Melee Mayhem

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The following referes to SOLO game play designs

 

I hope I have this in the correct thread, could be any I guess.

I was working on a board/digital game, and hammering out the details, and came across a stumper. The more I thought about it, the more of an enigma it became with ALL game (fantasy )

 

Magic Vs Melee

 

If I create a caster that base spell is a fireball and it does say 20pts of damage

and a warrior that with basic weapon that does 20pts of damage, what is the point of the 2 classes (this applies to all other classes as well that do damage - rogue back stab 20pts of damage etc..)?

 

Then I thought, OK, balance it out - maybe some mobs are not as suseptable to magic (or melee). But then that makes the game unbalanced.

 

One solution is to make a hybrid class that can do both. but the answer still remains about each class

 

So question remains,

 

Why would a player make a caster vs melee, if they are both doing the same damage?

 

thanks for any feedback

 

 

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Is range a factor inside this game? If so you need to might want to nerf the damage of the caster to maybe 15 to balance out things. If not then you might want to give each class different bonuses or effects to differentiate them. An example being the caster having 25% to do 5 points of fire damage or the melee being able to attack twice every third turn because higher rate of attack or something along those lines.

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The answer for a given game will likely depend on the specifics of that game--what works in a fast-paced first-person shooter might not apply to a turn-based, tile-based game with no concept of ranged attacks.

 

Speaking in general, however, I see three potential answers, some combination of which might be present in a given game, I believe:

 

First, it's not uncommon for casters to do less damage than melee characters, balancing their ability to attack at range.

 

Second, casters and melee classes might be differentiated by health, with the casters having less health than melee classes; as with the above point, this balances their ability to attack at range: see the classic "squishy wizard" trope.

 

Finally, casters and melee classes may be differentiated by utility:

- Casters might be limited in the number of spells that they can cast, whether per unit time/turn (the melee class might attack more quickly, for example) or per "day", dungeon or whatever (as in "Vancian" systems, such as D&D).

 - Casters might have fewer offensive abilities and more defensive or utility abilities.

 

The general result is that casters and melee classes end up playing differently.

Edited by Thaumaturge

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It is difficult to answer this without game specific information. For example, take a simple text based game. In this game, a player chooses a class and fights a series of random monsters. Each class has a single attack and the name of the attack is different by class, but they all do equal damage. The random enemies only contain hp a name and an attack. In this case, there is no difference and the only reason to choose one over the other is for flavor. Now assume we have a very complex fantasy/simulation presented as a top down tilemap view. They choose a class which is provided a set of skills/abilities/equipment. The player is able to choose between the mage(can cast fireball for 20dmg, has 10hp). The warrior (can hit things with axes for 20dmg, has 50hp) and the theif (can backstab things for 20dmg, has 20hp). Using the warrior you would find a choke point and fight enemies in a single file line as they pass through the choke point. The mage however would easily be killed standing toe-to-toe, so instead they would look for wide open areas where they could shoot the fireball, retreat, repeat. The thief would try to lure individual opponets into places where they can be isolated and back stabbed... all three classes deal the same amount of damage, but other factors aggregate to form a different approach to fighting. If you have three classes, each of which have the same statistics then you don't really have three classes... you have one name for three different classes and players choose because they like the way one sounds/looks better than the others. Differentiating classes during combat: Ranged Vs. Melee: Does the game allow for Ranged units to position themselfs such that they can attack melee units while mitigating retaliation? If not, then the choice between ranged/Melee is pointless. Aoe Vs. Single Target: Does the game allow for some classes to handle packs of smaller enemies more easily than the classes that can deal with a single target? I.E, if the wizard fireball did 20Dmg by dealing 5 dmg to 4 targets in a radius, and the warrior did 20 dmg be dealing 20dmg to a single target then the wizard would destroy a pack of 10 5hp creatures in 3 attacks, while the warrior would have to make 10 attacks, but when fighting a creature with 50hp the warrior would make 3 attacks while the wizard required 10. Armor/Resistence: A knight in full armor would feel the effect of being hit with a club less than a footman wearing farming cloths... but a fireball might heat the armor causing more damage to the knight then the footman. If the game mechanics don't support a difference in play style between two classes than they are essentially the same class with different names.

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You've only covered offensive abilities so far.  In order for there to be a balance, defense needs to be factored in as well.

 

Wizards are generally thought of as glass cannons, able to dish out serious damage at range, but you don't need much more than a stiff breeze to take him out (bit of an exaggeration there).

 

Fighter types are generally much tougher.  More health, better armor.  They don't do as much damage, and are generally melee focused, but they can take a lot more damage.

 

Then you should consider various status effects outside just causing damage.  Stuns, knockdowns, roots, fears, charms, etc.  This will obviously significantly increase the complexity of the combat system, but it is has the potential of significantly increasing the fun factor.

 

Have you played any tabletop RPGs like D&D?  These can be a good source of understanding how combat systems work, more so than playing CRPGs that hide most of the combat mechanics from the player.

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Long description aside, I think Authentic Owl hit it on the head. "FLAVOR"

As I am referring to a simple melee, magic scenario, range would not make much difference (I could have said why would one chose a "ranger" vs a "mage" for ranged damage if the arrow,bolt etc.. does the same damage as the spell in quesiton (fireball)

 

Again, this may be in the wrong thread, but I am trying to understand the game designe concept when it comes to fantasy games. Why make a game with a multitude of "classes" if the varied damage is negligable. If they all do - lets say 1d6 damage at level 1 spell, dagger or (bad)sword, what is the point of making multiple classes.

 

Your comment about the complexity of the game is intersting as well. and unarmed man vs a competant swordsman, could - skll providing - over take the swordsman. Even though they both do essentially the same amount of damage (monk? martial artist?).

 

So I wonder, what do you guys think about deviating away from the age-old "experience" method for the more attribute leveling (much like skyrim, or Final Fantasy II). Where you are only as good as what you work with? What to be able to take more damage - get hit more, cast bettter spells, work on your casting etc..

 

how does these stats sound for a "raw" character - no class selection:

constitution : higher = more hp (this in effect IS the hp)

cast skill

melee skill

ranged skill

etc...

 

I think this negates the need for "flavor" of choosing a class, since most classes will DPS about equal (at max level).

anyone see anything wrong with this - mind you, I am tinkering with the idea of a simple VERY SIMPLE board game combat mechanics, not a full fledge RPG.

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You've only covered offensive abilities so far.  In order for there to be a balance, defense needs to be factored in as well.

 

Wizards are generally thought of as glass cannons, able to dish out serious damage at range, but you don't need much more than a stiff breeze to take him out (bit of an exaggeration there).

 

Fighter types are generally much tougher.  More health, better armor.  They don't do as much damage, and are generally melee focused, but they can take a lot more damage.

 

Then you should consider various status effects outside just causing damage.  Stuns, knockdowns, roots, fears, charms, etc.  This will obviously significantly increase the complexity of the combat system, but it is has the potential of significantly increasing the fun factor.

 

Have you played any tabletop RPGs like D&D?  These can be a good source of understanding how combat systems work, more so than playing CRPGs that hide most of the combat mechanics from the player.

OOOOOO, very good points. I did forget about that

Yes D&D was my first game (the red paper back -not the AD&D, didnt care for those - I like the simple fantasy, not the complex IRL stuff). However, it is game design that changes the caster vs melee fighter. squishy yes, but lack of power - not likely, I think both the caster and warrior can dish out similar damage depending on game design, however, you are right, I think to balance the game out, you would have to do the old fashion "lots-of-damage-squishy, vs little-damage-not-so-squishy"

But even in fantasy, it is a given that warriors are flat out damage dealers (conan?), they could in theory, loin cloth only, and maybe a buff, avoid some of the serious damage of a caster - but now I'm splitting hairs.

lol

 

Good catch on the AC aspect.

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Why make a game with a multitude of "classes" if the varied damage is negligable. If they all do - lets say 1d6 damage at level 1 spell, dagger or (bad)sword, what is the point of making multiple classes.

The short answer is, don't do that.  Most games don't do that.  Designers usually vary things.  Fighter does straight up physical damage at close range, Archer does great physical damage at range, Thief has to maneuver to backstab, or uses poison for DoT, Wizard does AoE damage, but has to worry about hitting friendlies/himself.  Etc, it doesn't take much imagination to give them all different properties that have them play differently.

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Yo Klyxmaster,

 

Look at ALL kinds of games—especially all kinds of board games, gambling, and so on—to understand the underlying systems and principles of styles (or “classes”). In Backgammon, there are 5+ standard playing strategies: blocking game, back game, hitting game, running game, and so on. The difference between these styles is similar to the difference between martial arts in Fighting games, weapons in Hack 'n Slash, classes in RPGs, etc. etc. That's what I learned from Tomonobu Itagaki, anyway. cool.png

 

I hope that helps clear things up. I gotta go on a super secrete Ninja mission now. See ya! ph34r.png

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It's pretty much covered here, but side-effects and additional requirements are what make it more than a simple numbers game. There are some good suggestions above, here are a few more for wizards:

  • Environmental factors, e.g. fire spells stronger near fire, electricity spells spreading further in water.
  • Recharge type, e.g. power regenerates with time, proximity to artefacts, rest, etc.
  • Geometry aspects, e.g. AOE, chain lightning, homing, etc.
  • Spell success, e.g. failure/side-effects/extra strength based upon performance factors.
  • Preparation requirements, e.g. making scrolls, potions, etc.
  • Limitations, e.g. some classes may only be able to kill (or have weakness against) good/evil opponents.

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