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Deliberately Unbalanced Party Designs

balance party characters background

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18 replies to this topic

#1
rjshae

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There's been some discussion of how some players prefer a game where it is possible to make bad character design decisions. Given that the game is being designed to avoid bad builds, would it make sense to add optional background picks that deliberately create an unbalanced character?

 

For example, a background pick that starts with the PC receiving an initially negative reception from some key factions, but the pick is partly rewarded by gaining a specific bonus talent.


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#2
rjshae

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That's perhaps not the best example of where I was going. How about a 'Bad Eyesight' background that significantly hinders searches and ranged attacks, but you get a bonus to hearing checks? Or a 'Weak Health' or 'Body Odor' disadvantage?


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#3
IndiraLightfoot

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It would be very neat, but I doubt that OE dare to do it.

 

Also, if the attributes had some more weight to them, then we could gimp our character ourselves.

 

After having played a CRPG like this several times, I usually do some gimped characters just for the joyride.



#4
Macrae

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Reminds me of fallout traits, which were very unbalanced and therefore very fun and immersive..

 

I always thought a system could be designed so that you could basically choose the difficulty according to starting advantages/disadvantages of your char and that that thing could give you a bonus to xp...

 

For example you could create a char without restrictions who is tall, intelligent, strong, handsome, fast etc, but would basically get no (or very low) xp/abilities/skills from battles and leveling up would be harder but if you create a character with big disadvantages like "blind", that would seriously make it more difficult but you would get xp faster or more skills per level up or something like that..


Edited by Macrae, 07 October 2014 - 07:44 AM.

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#5
forgottenlor

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Rjshae, it seems like your talking about unbalanced characters and not unbalanced parties. For me a party of 2 Barbarians, 2 Fighters, and 2 Monks is an unbalanced party, since their are no healers, buffers, and very little in the way of crowd control. This is something you should be able to do in POE. I think unbalanced characters would be a cool optional feature (especially at higher difficulty), but its the sort of thing that for me (personally) that is a very low priority. If they manage to get everything working well, and add lots of cool talents so that I can customize characters and build them in lots of different ways, then I'd be happy with such additions. I do think if they make a ton of talents, you will be able to make inefficient characters, and that would be preferable to me than having a trait like "one eye," "limps," or "sociopath."


Edited by forgottenlor, 07 October 2014 - 07:55 AM.


#6
gkathellar

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@forgottenlor Wait, there are adventurers that aren't sociopaths?
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#7
rjshae

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Rjshae, it seems like your talking about unbalanced characters and not unbalanced parties. For me a party of 2 Barbarians, 2 Fighters, and 2 Monks is an unbalanced party, since their are no healers, buffers, and very little in the way of crowd control. This is something you should be able to do in POE. I think unbalanced characters would be a cool optional feature (especially at higher difficulty), but its the sort of thing that for me (personally) that is a very low priority. If they manage to get everything working well, and add lots of cool talents so that I can customize characters and build them in lots of different ways, then I'd be happy with such additions. I do think if they make a ton of talents, you will be able to make inefficient characters, and that would be preferable to me than having a trait like "one eye," "limps," or "sociopath."

 

Yes, my choice of thread title is not optimal. Most of the complaints were regarding character design and being able to make mistakes while building your PC, as you can fairly readily in other games.



#8
Captain Shrek

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Right now attributes don't affect things so much. Items/Classes/talents are the more important features. 



#9
Lephys

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That's perhaps not the best example of where I was going. How about a 'Bad Eyesight' background that significantly hinders searches and ranged attacks, but you get a bonus to hearing checks? Or a 'Weak Health' or 'Body Odor' disadvantage?


As long as the disadvantage is a definite disadvantage, and not "+ a bunch to something you're going to use on this character, but - 50 to Lockpickery." Then, you just go "LOLZ! That character wasn't ever going to pick locks, anyway. I JUST GOT A FREE BONUS!"

I think that kind of goes along with their goal for stats. That way, you could actually have things like that. If your eyesight legitimately affected a definite frequently-checked factor, then bad eyesight would be a great balance to some chosen bonus.

Another example would be "You do less damage, in general, but you inherently ignore 5DT worth of armor." Now, you can build that character to be a better armor-piercing character. BUT, you have to have a large enough portion of enemies in the game actually have 5 DT or more, and you can't have that character do so little damage that they can't hurt anything and are ONLY viable if all they ever fight are armored foes, etc.

It's kinda hard to pick those tradeoffs, but a lot of that just relies on general game balance. Which is why it's best to kind of balance your core factors, if you can (enemies with high HP, damage values, typical armor values, bonus values, etc. -- get 'em all centered around some kind of nucleus), instead of just trying to balance this one thing against that other thing, succeeding, then trying to balance THOSE things against some other thing...

Still, it's a bit of a puzzle.

#10
forgottenlor

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That's perhaps not the best example of where I was going. How about a 'Bad Eyesight' background that significantly hinders searches and ranged attacks, but you get a bonus to hearing checks? Or a 'Weak Health' or 'Body Odor' disadvantage?


As long as the disadvantage is a definite disadvantage, and not "+ a bunch to something you're going to use on this character, but - 50 to Lockpickery." Then, you just go "LOLZ! That character wasn't ever going to pick locks, anyway. I JUST GOT A FREE BONUS!"

I think that kind of goes along with their goal for stats. That way, you could actually have things like that. If your eyesight legitimately affected a definite frequently-checked factor, then bad eyesight would be a great balance to some chosen bonus.

Another example would be "You do less damage, in general, but you inherently ignore 5DT worth of armor." Now, you can build that character to be a better armor-piercing character. BUT, you have to have a large enough portion of enemies in the game actually have 5 DT or more, and you can't have that character do so little damage that they can't hurt anything and are ONLY viable if all they ever fight are armored foes, etc.

It's kinda hard to pick those tradeoffs, but a lot of that just relies on general game balance. Which is why it's best to kind of balance your core factors, if you can (enemies with high HP, damage values, typical armor values, bonus values, etc. -- get 'em all centered around some kind of nucleus), instead of just trying to balance this one thing against that other thing, succeeding, then trying to balance THOSE things against some other thing...

Still, it's a bit of a puzzle.

 

I think Rjshae means disadvantages that tend to hamper characters. The ones in Arcanum come to find. Normally you got a bonus in one substantial area, but a penalty in two substantial areas.


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#11
Rostere

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Arcanum optional traits = awesomeness. That's how it should be done.


Edited by Rostere, 07 October 2014 - 01:02 PM.

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#12
Matt516

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You're not describing an unbalanced character though - the traits you mentioned all have tradeoffs. They're balanced because they aren't all good or all bad. Are you asking for these kinds of traits, or truly unbalanced traits like (for example) "your character is terrified of cats. Automatic -20 Accuracy against felines."
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#13
rjshae

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You're not describing an unbalanced character though - the traits you mentioned all have tradeoffs. They're balanced because they aren't all good or all bad. Are you asking for these kinds of traits, or truly unbalanced traits like (for example) "your character is terrified of cats. Automatic -20 Accuracy against felines."

 

If negative traits > positive traits, then there is a net imbalance. The positive trait would be there to make it an interesting character. It would be easy to unbalance a character just by having it walk around naked, but not very interesting.


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#14
Matt516

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Gotcha.

#15
illathid

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You're not describing an unbalanced character though - the traits you mentioned all have tradeoffs. They're balanced because they aren't all good or all bad. Are you asking for these kinds of traits, or truly unbalanced traits like (for example) "your character is terrified of cats. Automatic -20 Accuracy against felines."

 

If negative traits > positive traits, then there is a net imbalance. The positive trait would be there to make it an interesting character. It would be easy to unbalance a character just by having it walk around naked, but not very interesting.

 

 

The only issue I have with this is due to how people will minimize a negative trait so meaninglessness . In F:NV for instance, the Four Eyes and Small Frame traits ended up being just being a buff if you played any kind of ranged character.



#16
Lephys

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I think Rjshae means disadvantages that tend to hamper characters. The ones in Arcanum come to find. Normally you got a bonus in one substantial area, but a penalty in two substantial areas.


I thought that's what rjshae meant, too. It wasn't strictly specified, so I was simply commenting on the fact that the designer has to make sure, if you go down that road, that you make them actual trade-offs. I didn't think rjshae was asking specifically for things that didn't come with significant disadvantages.
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#17
forgottenlor

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I think Rjshae means disadvantages that tend to hamper characters. The ones in Arcanum come to find. Normally you got a bonus in one substantial area, but a penalty in two substantial areas.


I thought that's what rjshae meant, too. It wasn't strictly specified, so I was simply commenting on the fact that the designer has to make sure, if you go down that road, that you make them actual trade-offs. I didn't think rjshae was asking specifically for things that didn't come with significant disadvantages.

 

I agree, and that's why I thought those from Arcanum were good. The first time I played I chose no background because I couldn't find one that was really mechanically advantageous.


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#18
Lephys

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I did enjoy the Arcanum ones.

#19
rjshae

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A number of them look good, although a few are decidedly more advantageous than others. I like the Beat with an Ugly Stick, Mad Doctor, and  Raised in the Pits. :)


Edited by rjshae, 08 October 2014 - 01:54 PM.






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