Wednesday, February 10, 2010

One aspect of game balance in Domain Of Heroes

Domain of Heroes is a strange little indie game that gets a lot of things right (in my opinion).

Its a fairly standard RPG style game. You kill monsters to get items to get more powerful to kill harder monsters. "The Grind" is central to this game. What I'm going to talk about is how its stat system works and what this means for minmaxer style players.

Items come in different rarities. Each item rarity has a different number of attribute slots. When an item is found these slots are filled with random attributes. Here's an example:

Burning Plate Glass of Snagging [unique]
(Chest) Base Defense: 40
[1] Multiplies Fire damage by 6.9%,
[2] 4.6% chance of entangling opponent,
[3] Increases MND by 5.6%,
[4] Adds 24.0 to END

In the glorious tradition of RPGs the prefix and suffix of the item are determined by the first two attributes and the colour of the item is the rarity, in this case unique. All unique items will have 4 slots

Here's the number of slots per item by rarity

The enchantments come in 3 tiers.
1 12.5 1.9%
2 25.0 3.8%
3 37.5 5.6%

Next players can replace attributes with attributes of their choosing, with a couple of key limitations.
The one we're interested in here is that players cant create the % increase attributes, only the + increase attributes.

This means that valuable items are the items with higher rarity with t3% or multiple t3% enchants. The non-% slots are then typically filled with t3+ enchants.

For example A player might convert the item above into something like this:

Genius Plate Glass of the Professor [unique]
(Chest) Base Defense: 40,
[1] Adds 37.5 to MND,
[2] Adds 37.5 to MND,
[3] Increases MND by 5.6%,
[4] Adds 37.5 to MND

This would be refered to as a t3% MND unique. A common question is whether a t3% MND unique is better than a no-% MND mythical item
For example
Genius Plate Glass of the Professor [unique]
(Chest) Base Defense: 40,
[1] Adds 37.5 to MND,
[2] Adds 37.5 to MND,
[3] Adds 37.5 to MND,
[4] Adds 37.5 to MND,
[5] Adds 37.5 to MND,
[6] Adds 37.5 to MND

What's interesting about this question is that "it depends"
If you already have a high base MND value you will gain more from 5.6% than the extra 75. If you have a low MND base value you will get more from the myth. We can actually work out the cross over, the maths is quite easy. However I might leave that for another post.

The interesting thing in my opinion is how the multiplicative nature of the two bonuses means that stacking too much of either one gives you a sub optimal result. i.e. +490% MND if you've only got 10 MND gives you only 59 MND, +10%MND if you have 490 MND gives you 539 MND which is better, but +250%MND with 250MND gives over 875 MND which is vastly superior. This also means that different people will value items differently resulting in a potentially "richer" system.

Wow that feels like a lot of cruft to read through to get to a relatively simple (but deep) point. I'll delve more into the maths behind this balance in another post.

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