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suliman

Points allocation in fantasy rpg/dungeon crawler

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Hi!

Im doing a dungeon crawler, sort of a hybrid of darkest dungeon, battle brothers and such games: you control a party of up to 6 heroes, travel, manage your heroes and fight monsters in tactical turn-based fights. Heroes can permanently die and new ones can be recruited.

When a hero levels up, you get 5 points to allocate similar to diablo (all 3 starts at 20 points):

  • Might - scales up all dmg, buffs and heals (5% extra per point)
  • Health - 5 % extra per point
  • Energy - 5 % extra per point (used for abilites/spells and events such as removing obstacles. Basic attacks dont cost energy)

So e.g. you can put them all in health and go from 20 to 25 hp, or put them in other things.

What is a good way to balance this? For example energy quickly looses its use as abilities have cooldowns and I dont plan to increase the energy cost for them (but maybe I should? You dont level the abilites but ability cost could scale up with your character level...).

Does that amount of power-up per level seem reasonable? (if split evenly you get less that 10 % extra in each field) You level pretty evenly thoughout the game, with a campaign spanning 5-10h and you end up level 30 maybe.

Also, when you already have 60 hp, 5 extra doesnt really matter, but when you start at 20 hp, 5 extra is ALOT. (you can also get stats from items to complicate things further!) Should power and hp maybe scale non-linearly from your scores? But that is less transparant for the player, and harder to convey. Maybe you get more points to allocate per level-up at higher levels?

Any ideas?
Thanks
Erik

Edited by suliman

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I think your main problem is that on level 12, characters will already have doubled their initial stats, try giving them 2 points per level instead.

Secondly, only three stats is nice 'nd simple, but it doesn't give many options, maybe give them more points per level and allow upgrading of skills with them.

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Is power growth too fast you think? I was thinking the opposite. Also any comment on the problem of linear-growth that gives more and more diminishing returns?

Well you have so many heroes I dont want to make it too complicated. In diablo you have only one guy, here you have 6, and they can die and you need to level new ones. But yeah 3 is not alot. Any other stat that makes sense? Armour is based on items already. Maybe crit chance?

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13 hours ago, suliman said:

Heroes can permanently die and new ones can be recruited.

This is a great idea.  Already I'm thinking about the potential of this mechanic.  What if there was a gradual attrition as the game progresses making it harder and harder to progress?  So for instance, what if at the onset you start with 6 hero's.  Early on new heroes are frequently available, along with upgrading ability ( maybe levelling up isn't tied exclusively to experience ).  As the game progresses the number of replacement hero's and opportunities for levelling up diminish?  

But either way, love the idea.

Edited by Awoken

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Posted (edited)
On 2/27/2019 at 12:59 PM, suliman said:

For example energy quickly looses its use as abilities have cooldowns and I dont plan to increase the energy cost for them

Then you should price energy increases depending on relative value compared to combat upgrades etc. but cap available energy so that it doesn't exceed the useful amount. Players don't like useless upgrades.

On 2/27/2019 at 12:59 PM, suliman said:

Also, when you already have 60 hp, 5 extra doesnt really matter, but when you start at 20 hp, 5 extra is ALOT.

This might be an illusion. HP should scale according to expected damage for enemy attacks, not relative to existing HP.
In a standard combat the player character can be hit N times before dying (and I can win before the enemy hits me N times), with N remaining constant as character level increases. If enemies become progressively more vicious, hit points need to scale accordingly, but until monsters change increasing it points simply allows for cheaper and slower tactics.

Example: a goblin has 10 hit points and its spear attacks deal 3 damage. My sword attacks deal 4 damage; my magic missile spell does 5 damage; we both act once per turn. If I have 9 hit points and the goblin goes first, I'm dead meat unless I spend two magic missiles to kill the goblin in 2 turns; if I have 13 or more hit points I can withstand three attacks and survive the fight by using only the sword (using magic missiles anyway to be attacked one less time might be a good idea).

I suggest a linear cost per HP, to allow buying precisely calculated small amounts in arbitrary increments in order to adjust to changing monsters, not an exponential increase that improperly ties together historical character hit points and monster power level.

Edited by LorenzoGatti

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Choosing between those three options sounds boring - especially if they are well balanced, since this could result in a situation where all options are equally good with no real reason to choose one over another.  If you don't want to radically expand the number of options the player has, consider going the other direction and removing all choice.

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Posted (edited)

@a light breeze

Good point. It was actually not a choice in an earlier version but that seemed too barebone to me. What makes these 3 boring you think? Since you need all of them? They are too general? How would you make them less boring, save for just removing the choice?

I mean you can risk to make a mage very fragile by just investing in might and nothing in hp, or balance them. So that at least seem like a meaningful choice to me :). Or not have much energy and rely on basic attacks instead of abilites I guess.

@LorenzoGatti

What do you mean linear cost per hp? I also realized they should have different hp payoff depending on class. A tank class should get more hp per point to keep it's advantage in thoughness (otherwise the difference in starting hp is soon evened out as you level up and assign points). This is similar to how classes work in diablo 2. A dps class already keeps it's advantage since "might" gives a % to damage, so its DPS will remain better than a tanks, given they both invest equally.

Edited by suliman

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Posted (edited)

Since every hit point is equally useful, every hit point should have the same cost.
And since hit point usefulness depends on thresholds that represent the player's risk propensity (how much do I want to risk death in a given fight?) and, generally, plans that are subject to be revised (how many hit points are needed for the intended tactics?) it should be possible to buy arbitrarily small numbers of hit points, whenever the player wants, without penalties.

Different costs for different character classes are a good idea if you want to encourage very specialized tank and dps characters, but why do you want them? On paper, more balanced characters appear more challenging and interesting to build (due to responsible decisions about their degree of specialization) and to use (because they'd need to be rotated between roles according to suffered damage, status, energy, cooldowns, etc.)

Even without discounts, it would be possible to build tanks by simply spending most of their upgrade points on HP and passive defenses and most of the upgrade points of other characters on offensive powers.
Thinking of it, experience and upgrade points could be collective and usable on any party member; you only need to limit with appropriate constraints the possible degenerate strategy of building a very powerful character at the expense of the others. For example, the strongest character could be limited to 30% more character points than the weakest one. 

Edited by LorenzoGatti

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5 hours ago, suliman said:

@a light breeze

Good point. It was actually not a choice in an earlier version but that seemed too barebone to me. What makes these 3 boring you think? Since you need all of them? They are too general? How would you make them less boring, save for just removing the choice?

I mean you can risk to make a mage very fragile by just investing in might and nothing in hp, or balance them. So that at least seem like a meaningful choice to me :). Or not have much energy and rely on basic attacks instead of abilites I guess.

I think the biggest problem is that you're asking the player to make what is essentially the same choice over and over again.  Let's say I do want a fragile mage by investing in just might and not at all in hp.  Now every time I level up, I have two options:

  • I can keep the build I have already chosen by investing in might.  The game is therefore just repeatedly asking me to confirm a decision I have already made, which is a waste of my time.
  • I can choose to abandon the build I have chosen by investing in hp.  This basically negates my earlier choice (since the end result of first investing in might and later investing in hp is the same as doing it in the other order), and leads to generic jack-of-all-trades characters that are all the same.

From a UI perspective, one possible improvement would be to keep the same point allocation from level to level by default, with an option to change how the points are allocated.

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On 2/27/2019 at 4:01 PM, suliman said:

Is power growth too fast you think? I was thinking the opposite

Maybe a little bit, 10% more might OR 10% more hp will make a unit 10% more usefull, both will make a unit ~21% more usefull.

Diminishing returns are a good way to help balance the game, if heroes can die it meant the player may have a level25 hero next to a level 1 hero.

Critical would max out at some point (can't have more then 100% crit chance) but should be okay with a max level of 30
Maybe add resistance as well to avoid or lower status-ailments .

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