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Today I'm contemplating my battle system because I'm working on weapons. There are a few questions weighing on my mind:
1. How many upgrades should each player have for weapons? The game isn't going to be long, so I can't imagine that it would make sense coming up with some vast array of incremental upgrades. I know that I want each player to have a "special" weapon made just for them, and their starting weapons. I feel like if I don't have at least one upgraded weapon, people won't be happy.
2. What should I do about damage calculations? In my first game, I screwed this up big time. In the beginning, players were one-shotted. In the end, bosses I expected to be extra hard were total pushovers. I really want this game to represent an improvement in my game development skills.
3. The big one: How do I make the battle FEEL like a wild west shoot out with the current battle system? I have a few little ideas, but it's really not fully fleshed out, yet. Some things I've managed to figure out are that my gunslinger should be focusing on the number of bullets being put into the air. My Sniper should be high powered, precise, but slow. My mage should... well... be a mage? I'm not sure how my Ranger will work though. His shotgun is great for crowd controlling weak enemies, but I want to develop skills that make him special so that players don't feel like he's dead weight in the party. In the storyline, he's supposed to be on par in terms of combat skill with the gunslinger, so he should be at least as useful in a fight. Is being able to crowd control enemies enough to set him apart?
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Essentially, one takes equipment to be improved, the appropriate materials, to the appropriate machina (in TES there are a few), and use it to upgrade the quality of the equipment. Each quality upgrade will thus, increase the base damage/armor rating and also, the base value of the equipment. Of course, in TES, there was a limit to how well and often equipment could be upgraded, based on the Smithing skill, and relevant boosts applied.
That sounds like something for a much longer game than the one I'm making. This isn't supposed to be a long, drawn out game, just a few hours of gameplay with a pretty straight forward storyline. That's one of the difficulties with deciding how I want to do this. Do I even want an upgrade to sell in a shop, or just give the characters a basic gun, and their "special" weapon?