I saw that many RPGs have some form of armor attributes. If there's no armor, we can still calculate damage taken with only 2 attributes; attack points of the attacker and health points of the receiver.

For Example:

Damage taken = Attack Points of attacker.

Remaining HP of receiver = current HP - damage taken.

What's the value in adding additional complexity in form of an armor stat?


closed as primarily opinion-based by Vaillancourt, jgallant, congusbongus, Josh Sep 7 '16 at 15:15

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    \$\begingroup\$ If you don't need armor, don't use armor? That's your game, you make the rules. \$\endgroup\$ – Vaillancourt Sep 7 '16 at 12:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ Flagging this as off topic, you make the design decisions you want, other games will make theirs. A good reason to have an armour attribute is if you are going to let equipped items buff/debuff this attribute. \$\endgroup\$ – Trotski94 Sep 7 '16 at 12:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ If your game doesn't need armour, then don't include armour. No RPG police will chase you down for breaking the coveted stat conventions. ;) Maybe the real question is: why do you think RPGs need armour? \$\endgroup\$ – DMGregory Sep 7 '16 at 12:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ RPG police here, just wanted to chime in. You NEED armor in your RPG. If you put armor in now, that'll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you. \$\endgroup\$ – jgallant Sep 7 '16 at 12:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ I believe that this question does have some merit in its core. I rewrote it to be less opinion-based. I hope this saves it from getting closed. \$\endgroup\$ – Philipp Sep 7 '16 at 14:27

Of course you don't need an armor value, but adding one adds an aspect to your game you might (or might not) find useful.

When you just subtract the damage from the hit points, then a level 1 peasant (1 attack) can wear down a level 100 dragon (1000 hp) when they just find a clever way to land enough hits before they get roasted.

But when your damage formula is damage = attack - defense then it becomes impossible for a combatant to cause any harm to something which has more defense than the combatant has attack. So when you give the dragon 100 defense, the peasant needs to level up until they are able to inflict at least 101 damage with a single hit before they even have a theoretical chance to kill the dragon.

This kind of progression mechanic (kill stuff -> level up -> become stronger -> become able to kill stronger stuff) is very typical to RPGs.

Another aspect is damage vs. attack speed. Let's say your hero got two methods of attack: A single strike which does one hit with 10 damage and a combo attack which does 4 hits with 5 damage each. Which one should they use against which enemy? Without defense, it's a no-brainer. The combo attack simply does twice as much total damage, so there is no reason to ever prefer the single-strike attack. But what if they face an enemy with 4 defense? Then the first does 6 damage, but the second only 4 damage (4 * (5 - 4)). Now the decision which attack to use has become less trivial. The player needs to look at (or guess) the defense stat of their enemy and make a decision which attack to use. The defense mechanic adds depth to the game and gives the player more meaningful choices to make.

  • \$\begingroup\$ When you downvoted this answer for a different reason than that you disliked the question, then please feel free to offer critique. \$\endgroup\$ – Philipp Sep 7 '16 at 14:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Philipp Oh well, i found your answer satisfied my-self. Tks bro so much! \$\endgroup\$ – NNH.gd Sep 8 '16 at 3:25

Edit: changed answer to make it suit to question as it is formulated for now.

In most RPG games I had experience with, armor is used for three purposes (sometimes combined):

1) It is effective way to make character gear/equipment to affect character somehow. Same to weapon increasing damage character deals, armor decreases damage character takes.

2) Equipment may grant different stat bonuses/penalties, having different pros and cons. Player may have to choose, what to prioritize - armor for physical protection (by choosing armor with high armor stat), attack speed (by choosing light-weight armor), or stats providing.

3) Some RPGs may have more complex damage/armor system, providing different kinds of damage types, each one having corresponding protection stat. Armor in this system usually represents physical damage resistance. By varying resistance stats of enemies, developer may create different situations for player - some battles will feature monsters with high physical damage resistance/armor, but will be vulnerable to magic; player will have to focus on magic skills instead of plain attacking in such situations. It also can be combined with p.2., allowing player to focus on defense against certain damage type before next battle.

Anyway, this is mostly used ways, but developer is always free to decide, how to use armor stat.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Please note that Stackexchange is not a discussion forum for opinions. \$\endgroup\$ – Philipp Sep 7 '16 at 14:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Philipp I mean, I can update my answer with another statements depending on feedback (if someone things my answer lacks arguments etc). \$\endgroup\$ – lentinant Sep 7 '16 at 14:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Its also incorrect. Its native if I, as the developer, make it native. \$\endgroup\$ – Gnemlock Sep 7 '16 at 14:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Gnemlock again, I'm talking in term of mostly used practices in RPG games. And most games use gear as source for armor stat. Yes, you can do it native, increasing it with levels etc, but, again, what's the point? \$\endgroup\$ – lentinant Sep 7 '16 at 14:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ NPC armor to differentiate between static enemy/ally strengths in conjunction with other mechanics at play and PC armor to represent natural armor such as a "tough skin" perk, for two broad examples. This answer seems to be targeting the original question of "why do we need armor", which in itself seems to opinion based. I would remove the last part that directly references "why do we need armor in RPG games". TL;DR, we don't. \$\endgroup\$ – Gnemlock Sep 7 '16 at 15:07

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