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Class design and combat performance


Balancing classes and combat performance  

117 members have voted

  1. 1. Should all classes be able to reach similar combat potential if the player chooses to do so?

    • Yes, my choice to play a certain class should not hinder my performance in combat
      33
    • No, not all classes value combat skills the same way. Classes should be balanced considering both it's combat and non-combat value.
      83


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Apologies for the binary choice, but I think the question is pretty straightforward. I'm basically asking if you're okay with classes having varying levels of usefulness in combat. To elaborate a bit..

 

Option 1

Each class contributes to combat in a different way, but if you quantified their combat performance they should all add up be roughly the same. (includes any combat related skills, spells, capabilities the class may have) Non-combat skills should be balanced separately.

 

Option 2

Combat performance and non-combat skills should both be considered simultaneously when balancing the overall value of a class. This means some classes might sacrifice combat performance and focus more on non-combat skills and abilities.

 

Here's the list of classes, for your reference.

  • Fighter
  • Ranger
  • Paladin
  • Rogue
  • Chanter
  • Priest
  • Druid
  • Wizard
  • Monk
  • Barbarian
  • Cipher

Edited by Kaz
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I'd go with all classes should have the *potential* to be equal in combat in a party situation, but some might require more work to get use out of than others.

 

For the melee classes (fighter, paladin, ranger, monk, barbarian) it should at its most basic merely be a matter of pointing them at the right target and letting them go. The spellcasting classes and rogues however tend to rely on micromanagement more. Equally, if you mean equally suited to holding their own without support, not necessarily. As a rule of thumb, if you stick any one character in a room with several sensibly levelled opponents, they *should* be able to win, but it'll be less effort for some classes than others. The ones which do have to try harder to hold their own however should be exponentially more dangerous when someone else is holding the attention of their foes, whether it be through crippling sneak attacks, enhancing the whole party with a strength spell or raining down bolts of lightning.

 

As for non-combat abilities, realisitcally, any class should be able to learn anything, merely some classes would gets bonuses for specialising in things which fall under their remit: tracking, potions and woodsmanship for druids and rangers, traps, locks, poisons and pickpocketing for rogues and so on. This would possibly be a good place to balance out the "soloable" aspect of things, having classes other than the frontliners (particularly fighters and barbarians) be on average better at skills as they've spent time learning things other that just the best place to embed a mace in a skull. You can have a barbarian with great arcane knowledge, but it'll be at slight detriment to his ability to beat people to a paste.

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Combat and out of combat should be two different things imo.

 

One could argue as much as one wants about how it's an RPG, role-playing etc. at the end of the day you will have to do combat to progress, you will have to do difficult encounters to progress, you will want a good group to get past these.

If an class can not pull enough weight then you will be less inclined to bring it along which will decrease the amount of party setups you can do.

 

Now this is not an issue for most players since they don't finish the game and/or replay it. But for those that do replay games, it's nice to do different party-setups without the feeling you gimp the entire group (there are other ways to gimp the group if one would wish to do so).

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So there'd be:

  • Pure combat classes like fighter, who excel at combat and have no other abilities.
  • Multitalent classes like maybe chanter, who are just as good as fighters in combat, and have bunch of additional talents.

 

That's madness filled with crazy!

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So there'd be:

  • Pure combat classes like fighter, who excel at combat and have no other abilities.
  • Multitalent classes like maybe chanter, who are just as good as fighters in combat, and have bunch of additional talents.

 

That's madness filled with crazy!

 

No there would be

 

Fighter who is defender/striker in combat and intimidater in non combat

Chanter who is supporter/controller in combat and persuader in non combat.

 

______________

 

I choose option 1 because combat capabilities should be separated from non combat with different classes contributing roughly the same quality. I mean if you can build chanter and priest as a support, they should be able to be equally useful to a group.

 

 

 

Only boring people get bored

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So there'd be:

  • Pure combat classes like fighter, who excel at combat and have no other abilities.
  • Multitalent classes like maybe chanter, who are just as good as fighters in combat, and have bunch of additional talents.

That's madness filled with crazy!

I said they should be able to pull their weight in combat, a chanter will bring buffs & debuffs and will therefor lack in other areas when it comes to combat.

 

As an example, lets say there is 100 points to distribute for a character

A two-handed Fighter could have 80 offensive & 20 defensive

A S&B Fighter could have 40 offensive & 60 defensive

A Chanter could have 20, offensive, 20 defensive & 60 supportive

 

That way they all have the same amount of points used for combat and will more likely be able to pull their weight.

But if a class needs to use these same points for things outside of combat then their value to bring along lowers (unless you know the game and know whats up ahead) since you will want a powerful party due to not knowing what kind of fights you will encounter.

Edited by freche
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Nah, the Chanter (if he's the bard) would do the intimidating as well, "now do good or my fighter friend over there will go medieval on you".

 

And no, if you build a group with 5 diplomats and a dishwasher, you shouldn't do good at combat, you should die horribly.

If you build a group of 6 barbarians with big axes and hairy pants, you're not going to go very far that way either.

 

I want the game to force building a balanced party, not a pick whatever you like, it's all good.

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As an example, lets say there is 100 points to distribute for a character

A two-handed Fighter could have 80 offensive & 20 defensive

A S&B Fighter could have 40 offensive & 60 defensive

A Chanter could have 20, offensive, 20 defensive & 60 supportive

 

That way they all have the same amount of points used for combat and will more likely be able to pull their weight.

But if a class needs to use these same points for things outside of combat then their value to bring along lowers (unless you know the game and know whats up ahead) since you will want a powerful party due to not knowing what kind of fights you will encounter.

 

That's only if things you do out of combat are not as important.

 

If you bleed money when not having someone good at bargaining, or able to make bombs or potions,

then having the extra supply of material will redeem the lesser combat effectiveness of group members.

If a diplomat gets better rewards for quests, or better quests, better have a diplomat around.

 

I'd rather see something like

 

Fighter: 40 offensive, 50 defensive 10 noncombat

Wizard: 40 offensive, 10 defensive, 40 support, 10 noncombat

Ranger: 40 offensive, 20 defensive, 40 noncombat

 

So the Ranger in wolfskins is just not as effective a fighter as a real fighter,

he might be close but he still splits his effort instead of fighters tight focus.

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Well for me i want every party member to contribute in and out of combat, in a significat way.

In diferent ways, but in no momnet i want to sit in a corner in my room grabing my legs crying because i didnt bring X tipe of character to any conflic.

 

So personaly in combat and out of combat character progrecion need to be separated.

Edited by ReyVagabond
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I'd like to have a party of adventurers with diverse skills, and not a party of mostly combat monsters and one charisma-boosted skillbot that just hides in the corner and throws darts or whatever.

 

I don't think there's any particular difficulty with making a system where everyone has some use in combat, and everyone has some use out of combat. Maybe if you favor strength/damage in combat, that influences what type of non-combat stuff you'd be good at (intimidation, helping people move, etc). But saying 'it's one or the other' is either designer laziness or an appeal to a tradition of the poorly made games of our past.

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I think I've read in some interview, that they 're going to strictly separate the way combat and non-combat skill-points are spent. So you don't have to choose between fireball and herbalism.

 

I think they are going in this direction like you said. I don't really have a bias either way, but I do think allowing every class to contribute to combat in similar levels is a good thing. It you look at the roster every class seams to have a combativeness side to them. This doesn't mean they suffer in non-combat skills, it just means they are handled separately when balancing. Thanks for participating in the polls guys.

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Going with separate skill sets doesnt mean every class gets the same amount of "points" to spend.

Could be a fighter gets a weapon skill every level, and non weapon skill every 3 levels, while rogue gets a weapon skill every two levels and a non weapon skill every level.

Could mean a whole lot of things.

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Going with separate skill sets doesnt mean every class gets the same amount of "points" to spend.

Could be a fighter gets a weapon skill every level, and non weapon skill every 3 levels, while rogue gets a weapon skill every two levels and a non weapon skill every level.

Could mean a whole lot of things.

 

1-The idea of D&D of having bonuses and Skills Every other level, is the most aticlimatic thing ever! i dont know about you guys but in D&D leveling up some levels were the most borring thing ever. in 3.+ rules was like, this level you gain 4 hp, and you can place 3 skill poits, but the next level you gain a feat point, more HP, an atribute point, and you gain some spells, and the 3 skill points! and you way we thats awesome! In the old Advance D&D was even worse As a fighter level up was ok now you gain HP and nothing will change till level 4 when you will resive 1.5 attacks per turn, exiting

Personlly all levels you have the same sence of exitment. and a fair amount of choises.

 

2-as a new ip, i want the same amout of levels and points for each class, but they have diferent skills to spend those points or they have diferent skill caps.

as D&D as example, Some classes had a few favorable skills to put their point and Rogues for example had many.

 

So lets say each class get some incresed points in the core skills at each level up and a few points to customise your charcter.

Lets say There are fighters and Rogues.

At a level up. A Rogue will get +1 to mechanical skill for free that afects open locks disarm traps, craft traps. And 3 points to spend in that ever he wants.

A fighter in the other had will get a +1 to Craftmanship Skill for free that is good to repair weapons and armors, mantainin equipment. and 3 points to spend in what ever he wants.

 

A simple system like this with plenty of skills and diferent skill caps with some ways to brake those caps to give some lore to each character, should be enoght to make me personaly hapy. But thats just me.

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I think I've read in some interview, that they 're going to strictly separate the way combat and non-combat skill-points are spent. So you don't have to choose between fireball and herbalism.

 

I really don't like this idea. If I want to spend all my points on Herbalism and create a character that sucks in combat I should be able to do that. I shouldn't be restricted from that because some people have trouble creating character concepts that work.

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I think I've read in some interview, that they 're going to strictly separate the way combat and non-combat skill-points are spent. So you don't have to choose between fireball and herbalism.

 

I really don't like this idea. If I want to spend all my points on Herbalism and create a character that sucks in combat I should be able to do that. I shouldn't be restricted from that because some people have trouble creating character concepts that work.

But we that like that concept should be restricted ?

With what they suggest if you want to create that flower loving herbalist then you can do so and avoid picking combat skills

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It's mentioned in Update #7 under Non-Combat Abilities:

 

Design Goals

In putting together our non-combat system, we have made a list of goals for the design of these skills and the rules they need to follow.

  • Non-combat skills are gained separately from combat skills. You shouldn't have to choose between Magic Missile and Herbalism. They should be separate types of abilities, and you should spend different points to get each one.

I'm not sure what I think about this and it's hard to really say without more information. If I use a game like fallout 2 as an example, where all combat and non combat skills are using the same 'points', I don't think that splitting the points up and grouping the skills under 'combat' and non-combat' headings would have really improved the game for me. It would have limited my choices and that would have been very detrimental to the replay experience. I guess it comes down to what they mean by 'different points' and how you accumulate them.

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I think all classes SHOULD be able to focus on combat-related skills, but they don't have to be equal in a damage-per-round (DPR) measurement. Different types of damage are useful, but crowd control and debuffing mechanics are also useful and impact the overall fighting prowess of a class.

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I think there are probably 2 main philosophies when designing the classes:

 

Holistic balance

 

The game is designed to be beatable by each class in different ways. The fighter, who perhaps has next to zero social skills, has the ability to beat up everyone between him and victory. The rogue, who perhaps isnt as strong in combat, may be able to steal extra gold to have better equipment, sneak past stronger foes and maybe trick people into fighting her battles. The wizard might have to avoid certain physical challenges but can circumvent them via magic. I think everyone gets the idea. This type of design will lead to certain classes just being better than others in combat because straight up combat is not the only way to progress in the game.

 

Class balance

 

The classes are balanced against each other in order to be relatively equal in combat and social settings. Then it doesnt matter which class you choose because each of them will have their own methods of dealing with combat challenges and social challenges.

 

Each system has it's merits and flaws. I think the first system allows for greater storytelling. For example, in the first method, you could write the story where your primary character never needs to directly shed a drop of blood. Unlikely with a 15 level dungeon, but possible. Whereas with the second system you can ensure that the brawny fighter gets social encounters as well as combat encounters because 25% of his class, and all classes, are focused on social skills.

 

My preference is to have the class balance system. I enjoy fighting, I want my character to be a badazz. And I want a chunk of my character points to be dedicated to non combat skills and abilities.

If I have 100 character points I would likely use all 100 on combat skills.

 

If I have 100 combat points and 100 social points to spend on skills from respective categories I will be happier.

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Personaly I dont get why people want to be gimped in combat just because they like to have The feeling that their character is good a making potions.

 

If you have a warrior or a Thief or a Mage, why do you have the need to sacrifice one aspect of gameplay for the other.

 

I get wanting them to have diferent areas of expertice, Example:

A mage is good with magic and a smart guy all around, so in combat he uses spells and out of combat he has diplomacy, lore, Alchemy and what not.

A warrior beeing good with armor and fighting and all around tough guy, is good in combat using his weapons, blocking striking, defending their companions and what not, out of combat he can use his expertice with weapons to mantain his weapon sharp, intimidate some one, and other stuff that some one with good martial skills should have.

Same with Rogues. every one was their strong points that complement each other in the party.

 

But in gameplay, lets say this game is restrictive and has a low level cap, that means a set number of choices to advance. where you cant max everething.

With that in mind, How do you could beat the Meen dragon balanced to be hard and beaten with a combat oriented battle? if i have 2-3 Characters dedicated to noncombat skills and maybe some of the rest with some non combat skills.

now that player because of his decitions to have non combat skills and spend on them on that encounter will have lets say an imposible task ahead.

Or you start balancing enconters considering that the player base will have non combat efficient parties? if then player with Powergamer combat oriented party will have a easy job with the encounters. And stating the game is to easy. And half of the player base will try to folow that strategy, therea was a reason why a big chunck of the playerbase of NWN 1 and 2 had a Dragondiciple character. I know i had one.

 

So Guys, Non spliting Combat/out of combat so you have the idea of freedom is a headache, you balance Combat and non combat to things for non optimization creatiating easy content even in hard dificulty for some and to easy for other? You still consider that if all characters have to be combat oriented to beat a chalenge?

 

I think is to much trouble and it dosent add nothing real to the game. Split Combat and Non Comabt, Make each character unique in both ways, make each character individual with diferent strongpoints and weakpoints and gampleay.

In the end its all about balance. Always is all about balance.

 

But thats just my opinion.

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Personaly I dont get why people want to be gimped in combat just because they like to have The feeling that their character is good a making potions.

 

Just for the fun of it. For the challenge. For giggles. Didn't you ever try oddball character builds in Fallout or similar games?

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Every choice of playstyle (classes) being equally powerful (and, for the best, mutually exclusive) in combat is better suited for single character combat-centric RPGs. But when a party-based RPG tries to make every class equally powerful in combat, it tends to homogenize classes. Making thieves and fighters equally powerful but in 'different ways' works well in theory, but not in reality because there are so many different ways to apply to a class' design. Especially since J Sawyer also wants multiple builds within a given class.

 

Party-based RPG class balance, I believe, is best at making every class appealing to the good of the party. And that includes (hopefully) out of combat gameplay, hence my vote.

 

Nonetheless, that also depends on how much 'out of combat' gameplay there'll be.

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