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One of the challenges that we are going to be dealing with a lot in the initial balancing phase of CURE is how bad units should be when they start. Most RPG’s have a ton of room for character improvement. The problem is that not all aspects of a character are usually upgradable at the same rate. For example in Path of Exile your character will start the game with around 60 HP and deal around 5 damage per second at a speed of 1.2 attacks per second.

POELVL1Character

Compare this to an end game character, who has around 5,000 HP and deals 25,000 damage per second, but only with an attack speed of 1.96 attacks per second.

POELVL187Character

When you look at the numbers you can see HP goes up by almost 90 times and damage goes up by 5,000 times, however attacks per second does not even double. This is due to the nature of these stats being very different. HP and Damage are just numbers, if you hit an enemy for 3 damage that has 5000 HP or 5 HP the amount of math and network bandwith a server must use to calculate the result would be virtually the same. However Attacks persecond represent animation speeds as well the speed in which the server needs to be able to accept data and calculate the result. For example if your character attacked 1000 times a second then a server would need to be able to receive and send 1000 commands a second per player, that starts to bog down a server very quickly, Not to mention your character would animate faster than our eyes could perceive.

 

Examples of Stat Limitations:

  • Jumping so high, that it would take years to come down.
  • Moving so fast, that you can’t articulate your character.
  • Attacking so fast, that it is a blur

 

So developers have to put restrictions on increasing certain stats on a character. CURE is no different. Therefore we will have to limit the top end capabilities of certain stat’s within the game. However in Path of Exile we do notice that attacks per second do not change much at all. They could have chosen to make you attack at 0.5 times per second in the beginning so that by the time a player could attack twice per second it would feel amazing. I can’t speak for the developers of Path of Exile, but if I was in their shoes, I would have chosen to do it the very same way because  you wouldn’t  want a new player to get frustrated playing a character that attacked  too slow, which would make the game just “feel” bad. The word feel is very important, because the way we often judge aspects of games is through vague feelings and perceptions.
 

Getting the balance in CURE to “feel” right will be a long and difficult process. We know there will need to be a top end for how fast a unit can move, but how slow should the bottom end be? We conceptually know we want players to be able to really feel like they are improving their units, so setting the initial bar low makes sense. However if we make a unit too weak and it will not be all that fun to play or it might be too challenging, but if it is made not weak enough the amount of progress and growth a player feels and can see will be too unrewarding. So we have to balance how much we want players to feel the accomplishment of leveling up their creations, and players getting discouraged from how ineffective their units are. Granted when the final multiplayer version of the game is released new players will start at the same level, so it will be balanced in that sense, we still can’t control how they will “feel” about the units. This makes our job difficult trying to figure out the best way to get the player invested in their character quickly and inspire them to improve their creations. Then making the process of upgrading their characters feel worth it in the end.

 


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