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47

By giving them actual pros and cons. Damage and attack speed are one way to provide a pro/con relationship -- high damage/slow rate of fire versus low damage/high rate of fire -- for example. But that relationship can be a mathematical no-op if the resulting DPS is the same. If you put weapons out of alignment, such that the DPS is not always the same, ...


30

Yes, it's theoretically possible - that's a good part of the game theory which deals with this subject. However, it's only rarely practical, and even then mostly just for games which don't involve a randomiser (Chess, Reversi, Go and so on). Combinatorial explosion ensures that the theoretical time needed for such proofs for more complex games like Magic ...


29

This is a difficult question to answer objectively, but I will try to construct a solution to your problem without guessing: You describe the problem at hand as an end of competition to one player because that player became too powerful. Note one thing, though: The player became powerful by terms of the balancing incorporated in the game, so either you ...


24

Build yourself an Excel spreadsheet. There you can calculate exactly how much money a player who is placing first each race will have acquired at any point in the game. The same goes for a player at the bottom end of your payout bracket. Once you know the money range for a good/bad player then just ask yourself how many parts do you want them to be able to ...


19

A problem that all game designers face Games need to engage their players. In general, a game can be broken down into two dimensions. Depth, and required knowledge. There is generally a positive relationship between depth and engagement with the players, however depth is usually accompanied by additional required knowledge. There is a mostly negative ...


18

The only similar system I know is OGame. In OGame, players are protected from other players until the have a certain amount of points (I think it is 50.000). It makes more sense to protect players based on their score instead of time, as score gives you a better aproximation on how powerful players are. The theory is that with that many points, players are ...


15

Two big helps in difficulty tuning. Metrics Tracking player data can go a long way to making difficult tuning as objective a process as possible. How long are people staying alive, where are the taking damage or getting killed, how many tries does a section of the level take. Getting good metric data can really help your team see where people are having ...


15

Playtest. No, really, just playtest your balance until you get it right, or rather mostly right (there's no such thing as perfect balance). Write automated tests and run them hundreds of times. Even very simple automated tests, like "level 2 player always hits with shortsword, goblin always hits with club, player should win" can really help, if you run ...


15

In my opinion, the way you fix this is to decouple the victory condition from the production mechanic. For a great example, check Eclipse, the board game. You can score a lot of points just for researching tech and building monoliths. The monoliths don't give you anything except points, and tech doesn't give you anything directly. You also gain points for ...


14

I like RuneScape's method (at least, the old method back when the wilderness was PvP). Most of the game world is only PvE, but up north there is a huge desolate area called the Wilderness; it's PvP. When you first cross the clearly-marked border into the wilderness, you see an icon in the corner of your screen and it reads "Level: 1". So you're in level 1 ...


14

One problem with making enemies strength relative to players is that it can make the player feel like they aren't making progress. "What's the point of getting stronger if all the monsters also get stronger at the same rate?" I tend to prefer that enemies have static strength instead of being relative to the player for the following reasons: Players will ...


13

We had this problem with some online CCGs that I worked on. Best solution I've seen: 1) Players MUST connect to the server, not to each other directly, and you should NEVER pass IP addresses of opponents in the data you stream to the players. This prevents denial-of-service attacks where a player forces their opponent offline for the win. 2) Dropped ...


13

I highly recommend you to check this AltDevBlogADay article on the very same topic. It basically says that the balancing process can be automatized to some point in a mathematical way. http://altdevblogaday.com/2012/02/17/the-craft-of-game-systems-tuning-rpg-content/


12

Popular MMORPG RuneScape uses a 1 minute timer. When you disconnect, your character remains in the world for a full minute, vulnerable to attacks and what not.


12

This is called "experience." Blizzard has made games before and learned from experience. The heuristic to rating and improving that knowledge is "Is it fun?" In Blizzard's case they are known for iterating when trying to find fun and balance, a lot, and that shows that there is no secret math but just a lot of work. A better question might be "once I ...


12

In terms of balance, competitive games can generally be sorted into one of three types: Positive reinforcement: When one player gains a small advantage over the other, that advantage gives that player an even larger advantage, which gives the player an even larger advantage, and so on. The advantage of this approach is that games tend to be very even at ...


11

There are many factors that can differ between weapons. In your case, with guns and and sci-fi elements, here are a few possibilities: Area of effect. A grenade launcher, flamethrower, or machine gun can threaten multiple opponents. This isn't a good thing in enclosed spaces or where friendlies are crowded in with enemies, of course. Strength required. ...


10

It sounds like you are describing an extension of the rock-paper-scissors mechanic whereby every piece/card/token can defeat at least one other piece/card/token. (Your question made me think of Stratego, and specifically of the few pieces like the low-ranked Spy who can defeat the otherwise-top-ranked Marshal and the Miner who can defuse bombs.)


10

Any game requiring strategy requires many iterations to get right. Having worked on multiple games that required balancing, I've learned that you start extremely early during production on the creation of different rules and abilities and immediately start balancing them. There is no "silver bullet" that will guarantee a well-balanced game. Each time a new ...


10

The simplest way to ensure things are balanced is to make them the same. Give both sides the same powers, give them different names and change their visual effects. I agree, that's pretty boring and likely won't give you very interesting game play. However, it's a good starting point. Once you've got a good starting point, with good and evil having very ...


9

Watch someone play but don't talk to them. By not talking to them, you can see things them do things that will make you pull you hair (You: the solution is obvious. What's wrong with you? #$@!). Instead of saying your thoughts aloud, write down what you want to say. Use this as your basis to guide your game difficulty.


9

I'd throw away the first two of your bullet points. It might be a good idea to get some units designed, but isn't going to really help you for balancing. Really what you're going to have to do is just play the game a lot and keep a analytical mind (or set of minds) looking at the problem at all times. Design is a very soft art, there is no iterative way ...


9

I would try to look at hybrids from a different angle. You seem to trying to make a hybrid class fill two different roles. Instead try to make a class fill a single role with the tools of other classes. Lets do an example with amonk. Monks are classic healer-fighters, or a priest-warrior hybrid. If you just give a warrior the ability to heal like a priest ...


8

With a lot of iteration and playtesting. I think this is what makes interesting the job of a Game designer. You can imagine balancing the game is a big part of what a game designer does once the coding has started. I've always found Sirlin's articles very enlightening on the kind of work you have to do. He used to work at Capcom as a game designer. Here ...


8

The most important thing you can do is polish your game, and balance as you polish. I say this because polishing can often encompass balancing. A polished game attracts a lot more attention because it feels and looks better, and shows that the developer paid a great deal of attention to detail. To give an example, Braid could have been called 'finished' ...


8

Reduce progression in your game mechanics. Avoid making players stronger in a game-mechanical sense based on how far they progressed in the game. That way an experienced player has no unfair advantage over an inexperienced player except for their game knowledge, which a new player can also acquire when they do their research. Herd your players. When a ...


7

I can see a bunch of possibilities (most of them should be mentioned by now, I guess). You can use any of them, but they work best in some kind of combination: Make character level / age / equipment have no meaning in respect to the PvP side. This turn your game into a player skill based MMO. An example of this would be Guild Wars - or any online FPS, ...


7

They usually use diminishing returns for stat values so as you add more of the same stat it actually makes less of a difference.


7

Here's a rough strategy I've used to balance similar systems in the past: Decide on a base metric of balance value. A good first pass if you don't have a better idea is "damage done to others". So a power that only does 10 points of damage is worth 10 "balance points". Now, you need to compare armor to damage in usefuless, so see if you can come up with a ...


7

It's not a simple matter, I think you'd better follow the whole Game balance concepts course. Either way, that one or an alternative, since if you just improvise it, almost certainly you will get a bad result at best.



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