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On Gear, Part 1, Weapons.

I know it's been over a year, but it's good to be back again. Apparently having a full-time jobs cuts into your Blog and Game making time, who knew ?


 

Today I want to talk about the gear in my game, more specifically weapons and armor, and why I chose to trim it all the way back.


 

Now that I've been away from my game and had some time to think, I wondered, why does my game need heaps and heaps of weapons and armour?

It is not the focus of my game, it will lead to endless menu micro-managment because of all the splitting up and regrouping of parties, endless shopping trips and grinding, because every character (up to 20) needs to be kept up to date on gear, it affects balance if they are under or over equipped, …

The list goes on and on and on. So I made a seemingly radical choice. I dumped weapon and armor upgrades. Now don't get me wrong, there is still gear to be found, but no piece of equipment is “strictly better” then any other.

To illuminate : strictly better is a term that I first heard about in Magic the gathering. It means “Identical in every way except the numbers are better”.

Applied to RPGs, this would mean tossing your dagger for a mythril dagger because it is identical to the dagger, but has a higher attack stat. There is no reason to use the dagger over the mythril dagger.

In some games, this is part of the fun, and it certainly has it's place in games, but not in mine, not with the character focus I wanted to have.

 

So I did away with the endless mill of +1 swords and chose a different path : Incomparables. Meaning I wanted no weapon to be mathematically better then any other, but unique and different.

 

As people who may have read my Elements ands skills blog post might remember, all of my elements are intrinsically different. For example, fire raises the users magic attack, lightning is luck based , … Now what if I did the same for my weapons and armour.

 

This necessitated my split of physical damage into 3 categories to allow for variety : Piercing , Slashing an Crushing. Each of these types has its own damage formula. Piercing ignores part of the targets defense, Crushing deals more if the targets hp is low, and Slashing deals more if the users hp are high. A weapon can have more than one damage type, for example, a morningstar is both piercing and crushing. Some skills require the use of the correct type of weapon.

 

Next, I divided my weapons into 9 weapon types, with each type getting about 3 weapons :

Sword, Dagger, Axe, Hammer, Spear, Peasant, Bow, Gun and Artillery. Each of these categories has an additional effect:
 

  1. Swords are Skillfull, which means that they generate more TP when used.

  2. Daggers are Fast, which means they raise the users agility. ( I use a ctb battle system, so agility is very important)

  3. Axes are Punishing which means more damage on debuffed opponents.

  4. Spears have Reach, which gives the users a big bonus on counterattacks

  5. Hammers are Pulverizing, dealing more damage on a crit.

  6. Peasant Weapons have Underdog, which means that when the users has a stat buf, the effect is greatly increased

  7. Guns have Penetrate which means they ignore physical defence, and just deal damage equal to a.atk stat instead of a.atk²/b.def.

  8. Bows are Silent, generating way less noise, therefore not raising the alert level as much.

  9. Artillery has Unavoidable, meaning they negate block, and deal unresistable (Almighty) damage.

 

On top of that is the small, medium, large system.

  • Small weapons can be dualwielded.

  • Medium weapons are the standard, and allow a shield or small weapon in the off-hand.

  • Large weapons deal splash damage.

 

Each weapon also adds a skill unique to that weapon.

 

So to bring it all together, some examples :

 

The longsword is a Medium Slashing and Piercing Sword, so it can be wielded with a shield or small weapon in the off hand, it deals more damage if the user is at high hp, generates more TP, ignores part of the targets defence and allows the users to use Slashing and Piercing Skills. It has the ability to let the user enter a parry mode as a special ability.

 

The Quarterstaff ( different from a mage's staff) is a Large Bludgeoning Peasant weapon. So it deals Bludgeoning damage, deals more damage if the target's hp is low, raises the users attack when buffed with something, deals damage to multiple enemies when attacking and allows the use of Bludgeoning skills. As a special ability, it raises the users block, and counts as a shield.

 

Most of this is realised by using Yanfly's Weapon Unleash system, to give every weapon an different attack skill, instead of filling up the formula bar with 200 if-statements.

 



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strictly better is a term that I first heard about in Magic the gathering. It means “Identical in every way except the numbers are better

Destiny 2 has a bit of an issue w/ this right now. Could you be a buddy, and hop over to Bungie and fix that? 

 

Pierce, Slash, and Crush. You've played Runescape, haven't, you? :P I like lots of options, and you certainly have that with all those wep types. Add elements an unique skills to all that....Oooo.... Balancing it all will probably be a nightmare, but if you pull it off it'll be a very fresh, unique system.

 

That Weapon Unleash  script sounds pretty killer. I wish I knew about when I started my game. Where were you?!?! :angry:

I do have certain weapons that allow use of a unique TP based skill. I really wanted to mimic Golden Sun's unleash attacks, but I was a total newb and didn't think it was possible. Oh well, I like the way I set up my system. I'll have to keep that Unleash Script in mind for next time. This project should be done by the end of the century :blink:

 

I'd love to see a demo of your battle system in action. 

 

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Sorry to dissapoint but I got Pierce, bludgeoning and Slashingfrom both Dungeons & Dragons and Persona 3. Never played Runescape. :)

 

Funnilly enough,the weapon unleash plugin even mentions Golden sun as an inspiration. Just to be clear, I didn't write the plugin, I'm just (ab)using it.;)

 

And the beauty of my system is that it is slightly easier to balance, because of the incomparables.

Is more damage when buffed worth more then critical damage ? Who knows ?

Another advantage is that it avoids stacking. It's when  the + atk weapon and the + atk armor and the + atk ring and amulet and so forth get stacked that balance becomes difficult. Because who do you balance for then ? The min-maxer who stacked everything perfectly, or the regular player who didn't ? Either the game becomes about min-maxing, or breaking it is too easy.

 

Warning, a bit of a rant ahead ...

 

Sure, some weapons used might be more useful in certain situations, such as the hammer being better in long battles, and the sword being better in short ones, but that is a feature and not a bug, I believe. It encourages a healthy mix of weapons in the party, while offering the min-maxers a chance to get their game on, because the puzzle isn't just regular algebra and running damage numbers, it requires experimentation.

"Do I go for a party with a strong debuffer and an axe wielder, or is it swords and skill spamming ? Is this boss one where I can take time to buff properly, or should I just go for the spears and counterattacks ?". Those are the types of questions I want, not :" This sword has + 5 attack, and if stacked with the ring of speed and the boots of gobbeldygook, that is the optimal configuration by 0.5 damager per turn more then if we used the belt of blablabla."

 

Long story short, by making the numbers too hard to actually run, the player is allowed to go by what seems fun or optimal to him, instead of what is deemed optimal by that one guy on gamefaqs. Balance by obfuscation.

 

That said, I do have a mathematically accurate level by level excell sheet of player and monster stats by level, class and monster role, so the raw numbers are taken care of, and the weapon abilities allow for that little swing in your advantage if you really try.

 

A final anti abuse feature is that I don't do unlimited weapon shops in my game, so even if one weapon is way better then all the others, ther's only so many to go around.

Edited by freakytapir

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Sorry to dissapoint but I got Pierce, bludgeoning and Slashingfrom both Dungeons & Dragons and Persona 3. Never played Runescape

That's okay, I've never played D&D. Seems Runescape just ripped that shit right from it. Lolz!

 

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Long story short, by making the numbers too hard to actually run, the player is allowed to go by what seems fun or optimal to him, instead of what is deemed optimal by that one guy on gamefaqs. Balance by obfuscation.

That is what I was thinking going through all the options. I'm sure there will be people hard at work trying to find the ultimate combinations and/or exploit any inbalance in the system. I ain't got time for that, I'm just going to find combos I like that let me not die. :D

 

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That's pretty much how I would want to do it as well. Though I think making all equipment perfectly balanced would probobly be a bit boring in the long run, I think it's best to avoid the tedious 'upgrade cycle' most JRPGs have, where every town has gear that is just statistically better then the last. If any super powerful legendary equipment exist, they shouldn't be universally more powerful in every area and probobly have some drawback. I have been experimenting with giving weapons different attack formulas or skills too, so some use different stats to calculate damage or maybe have other more exotic properties. I also have been playing with a script that lets you enchant weapons with removable 'runes' that can add features, and perhaps other similar upgrade systems could be used. That way you can still invest in more powerful gear without totally invalidating other options.

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The term I like to use is "perfect imbalance". Each weapon is better in a certain moment, against a certain enemy, but no weapon is always better, so you can minmax, but not in a set-it-and-forget-it way.

 

There will still be upgrades, but they will be more like "Side"-grades. Yes, the poison dagger has a 100 % chance of poisoning an enemy, but is quite fragile, so I can't use it to block and counterattack. The dragonarmour gives fire resistance and a breath attack, but ice and piercing vulnerability, is it worth it ?

 

More raw stat customisability comes in the subclass system I'm going to use, which is the main stat altering system.

 

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I was so happy when I found someone had made a script for custom stat points. I wanted players to be able to customize the characters as much as possible. 

 

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The dragonarmour gives fire resistance and a breath attack, but ice and piercing vulnerability, is it worth it ?

Dragon anything is always worth it! :D If you have a volcano level, it'd be a good equip then. Worked for Link. Red Tunic, ftw!

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Don't worry, there is a volcano level, right after the maya temple level, and right before the brazillan favella level. Yes, I know in real life these are thousands of miles apart, but this kind of stereotype mischmach is kind of the point of the game.

 

The only downside of thedragon armour is that there is only one to go around, so who gets it ? 

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I do recommend maybe considering thrust as a possible grouping/bonus, but I like the list overall!

Something I did for my balancing (While basically making all weapons useful in many situations) is that each weapon has a bonus applied to those who use it. Now, don't get me wrong, a weapon like the Chain Sword really makes you temped to just attack forever. Here's a few examples:

 

Hurundi: A gun that deals lightning damage. This gun also increases a non-gunner stat for a but of defense loss.

Chain Sword: Basic attacks hit an additional six times. (They still have their respect accuracy per hit.)

Shifty Prism: A dagger that grants a 5% chance to reflect spells at the caster. Great if you want to set up some interesting or try and use opposing magic to your advantage.

 

Armor also plays a balancing roll in making any party combination have strengths and weaknesses, in addition to Insignias. (Insignias are like badges from the Mario & Luigi series)

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