I'm at a stage where I'm trying to design an initial world or set of levels to help me think about and test progression in a dungeon crawler. For some reason this has really stopped me in my tracks. I know that I want my player's heros to get stronger, and I want the game to get more difficult so they can't over power anything. This really is the game loop anyways.
So what I tried to do to distill the progression design down is to literally focus on nothing but HP and Damage increase. How do I make this interesting if the player power and enemy power looks something like this:
- Level 1 Hero has 100HP/10DMG, Level 1 Enemy has 50HP/10DMG
- Level 2 Hero has 200HP/20DMG, Level 2 Enemy has 100HP/20DMG
- Level 3 Hero has 300HP/30DMG, Level 3 Enemy has 150HP/30DMG
As you can see, the balance ratio between the two always stays at 2:1. The fight will take the same amount of time. It will look the same from HP bars losing life. Why would the player keep wanting to play or even care about leveling up if this is how the game goes? This isn't fun. It isn't interesting. But it is a linear balance curve of 2:1. Ok, I've designed that I guess.
So of course the next step is to make the player be stronger than the enemies for a bit after they level up. They want to feel strong, right? Well how long do I do this for? How long do I wait until I make the enemies stronger and challenging again so the player wants to level up to get stronger again? How do I know exactly how strong a hero will be at each level in my world?
That's one problem.
The second thing to consider is that simply giving stat increases is incredibly boring. So instead, I'd like to give the player's spells and abilities which effectively increase their HP or DMG. How often do I give them these? How do I keep it fun between levels? How do I know how strong a hero will be at each level in my world?
I think looking at it this way has taken the magic out of the game and design, but is there any other way? How do I get past this and is there common ways to look at this type of hero vs. enemy/level balance?