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#27 Jan 10 2013 at 4:09 PM Rating: Default
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catwho wrote:
FFXI actuallly had seven distinct roles, most of which weren't used in regular party dynamics but which came into play on bigger NMs.

-Puller
-Tank
-Melee
-Nuker
-Healer
-Enfeebler
-Buffer



Actually, in XI and in WoW, these roles were combined or shared among the different role classes. It was still a trinity - think like a triangle... and everything else in between, whether enfeebler, buffer, or puller went in one of the 3 directions.
#28 Jan 10 2013 at 4:26 PM Rating: Good
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Kachi wrote:
That's why as I've said recently, it's best to start with balancing jobs against one another first, then designing the monsters.

Not only is it best, it's common sense. There will always be more enemies than characters being developed constantly. Balancing enemies first would require constant retuning of the jobs in response to unique enemies as they are developed. Kinda hard to grow attached to an iconic job if it's shapeshifting what it does constantly.

What I meant by variety of encounters is not too design one trick ponies or if you do. Look at the entire beastiary at the very least. What is the ratio of flying enemies to ground enemies? What jobs benefit most against ground or flying? If the ratio is skewed too far in one direction, balance the ratio. Magic versus physical weakness, balance it. Weak to Thunder vs weak to fire, balance it. Weak to piercing vs weak to blunt, balance it. Which enemies are player resource hogs versus which barely dent player resources, if players trend to a particular xp mob because it's easy on player resources and gives faster xp, balance it.

Use metrics and extend that into endgame content. In order to retain iconic job identites, some jobs will excel at certain roles. The only way around that is to try and mish mash jobs into shared roles. I say there is no problem with job uniqueness if enemies get balanced last and correctly.

I fear that SE is treading deadly water trying to balance jobs in PvE and PvP together. Either balance PvE and PvP separately or risk ******* off your PvP & PvE fanbase in one motion.
#29 Jan 10 2013 at 4:54 PM Rating: Decent
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Kachi wrote:
That's why as I've said recently, it's best to start with balancing jobs against one another first, then designing the monsters.

Except this is the complete opposite of creating the problem before needing a solution. It covers PvP, but does nothing for PvE Smiley: tongue
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#30 Jan 10 2013 at 5:43 PM Rating: Good
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Archmage Callinon wrote:
Ok but how do you define that?

Encounter mechanics are always going to alter how a particular job performs (it'd be weird if they didn't).


FFXIV 1.xx attempted this by creating alternate objectives to your primary.

For example, primary objective may be to kill Garuda.

But the secondary objective would be to protect the 4 pillars that guard you form her 2hr.

Certain classes, like Magic Classes, were ineffectual against the Plumes which damaged the pillars, so classes like Bard (partially) and Dragoon (primarily) became niche in even though BLM dealt steady safe damage.

This was great in concept, but certain executions fell a touch short of what was needed, and some exploits were still there or had to be patched away.

But they're keeping enemy and encounter balancing in mind when they design these, at least.
#31 Jan 10 2013 at 5:50 PM Rating: Good
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That's really interesting. I like the idea of encounters that give you more to do than "hit that until it stops moving." I'd be a little concerned about class exclusions, but given FFXIV's apparently-huge party size, that's probably not really that big a deal at least for event fights.
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#32 Jan 10 2013 at 6:30 PM Rating: Good
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Callinon wrote:
That's really interesting. I like the idea of encounters that give you more to do than "hit that until it stops moving." I'd be a little concerned about class exclusions, but given FFXIV's apparently-huge party size, that's probably not really that big a deal at least for event fights.


FFXI allowed you to have 18-man teams and the player-base still resorted to either "Throw more BLM at it" or "Throw more SAM at it". You can design mob fights all you want with the idea that the players 'would' want to use various jobs, but it hardly ever plays out that way. The player-base in general will always go the easiest route. If you design it where the players are forced to have or use x-job/ability in the battle, the players will just not do the event/battle if the reward isn't worth it.

SE designed several low-man instanced content with some really decent gear rewards over the years in FFXI. Yet, because the player-base in general felt they were too hard to figure out or setup stopped playing the content soon after it was released.

If you don't create jobs that are unique enough yet with some overlap in abilities/roles, you end up with a bunch of people in solo-mode. Might as well make a single-player console game at that point.
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#33 Jan 10 2013 at 6:45 PM Rating: Good
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Well yeah... FFXI allowed 18 man alliances, but let's get real here.. they were bigger than that Smiley: wink. Dynamis originally allowed what? 64 people? It was something like that, been a long time.

I do agree that specializing down too far isn't the answer, for instance you wouldn't want a fight that includes as a mechanic "Use this specific DRK job ability on this thing at this time or you lose." That'd be a mistake, but I'd be very surprised to see that kind of mistake at this point.

Jobs need to cover their role as well as have a niche all their own so that they aren't all just carbon copies of one another with different-looking armor. However, it isn't completely necessary that all jobs be just as good as all other jobs at a particular role. For instance, it's probably ok if BLM does more damage on the fight that requires melee to run around a lot. It's probably ok if having a SMN to hurl a pet at an add helps keep your tank focused on the boss for a few seconds longer while the pet gets eaten. It's probably ok if WHM is a better tank healer than the other healing classes, maybe they aren't as good at multi-target healing.

Those are random examples, but you get the point. It's important for the delta in performance to not be massive, but it's ok for it to exist.
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#34 Jan 10 2013 at 7:08 PM Rating: Decent
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This turned out to be something of a crash course in game balance principles. I ended up responding to three people but it all sort of ties together.

FilthMcNasty wrote:
Kachi wrote:
That's why as I've said recently, it's best to start with balancing jobs against one another first, then designing the monsters.

Except this is the complete opposite of creating the problem before needing a solution. It covers PvP, but does nothing for PvE Smiley: tongue


No, because the first problem creating by ANY multi-role system is balancing those roles against one another. Otherwise, even in a strictly PVE game, you have players roundly professing which classes are good and which are not. This was true in early XI especially... healers and tanks were statistically superior to melee damage dealers in almost every encounter. You couldn't have a party without them because they were so statistically powerful. Bearing in mind that any battle is ultimately a game of "Get their HP to zero before your party's HP reaches 0," tanks, healers, and especially refreshers were numerical godsends which single-handedly controlled the flow of party HP in favor of the group far more than the weight of a few DD's. In more recent years, of course, that balance flipped so that tanking was often inessential.

balishag wrote:


I dont know how you would build an RPG without defining roles such as the trinity. I've seen games that tried to do away with it like you said, but all it does is create more chaos in the grand scheme of things. Having a trinity, and every support role in between creates purpose. In a role playing sense, everyone involved in the group would like to have a special or unique purpose, hence the term "role playing game"

I tend to think of rpg battles as sort of a puzzle so to speak. If the developers design the game to where a trinity can solve it, then they will design battles accordingly. Of course, this is the most popular method of group dynamics for quite some time now and i think its mainly because of what i said earlier - everyone wants to have a meaningful purpose to their group or a "role" to play.

I think that in an rpg where there are many roles but are less definitive, you run into a situation like in Borderlands or Diablo where it almost becomes every man for himself. I'm not saying that teamwork cant come into play, but dimishes the reliance you would need for teamates. All the teamates represent at this point are more companions to finish the puzzle with. If somehow you can create some kind of reliance by needing other team members, then that would entirely something else.


As I just touched on, it's less of a puzzle than a race. It's a question of your team getting the opponent's HP to 0 before they get yours to 0. That's just the way we conventionally create the mechanics in MMOs... they don't have to be that way, it's just the objective that we usually work from.

As for teamwork, there's a difference between needing OTHER team members and needing CERTAIN KINDS of team members. The former is what we're hoping to achieve; not the latter. And the solution is easy: allow groups of players to be more than the sum of their parts. It really just comes down to a question of party interaction. That's all that teamwork is. It doesn't have to be, "I heal you, and you attack him, and this guy distracts him." It can just be, "I knock him over with a punch to the face, then you keep him down with a stomp to the chest, and then that guy pummels him with a finishing attack... our combo does massive damage." Everyone can have damage, support, crowd control, healing, and tanking roles. What determines the level of teamwork is how those abilities interact. In many games, there is no explicit interaction between skills. They just force you to interact by making you suck at all but one thing, or at least making you so much better at one thing that it's the only thing it makes sense to do. But all you have to do is give players an incentive to work together, even if it's just simple combos that do tons of damage. Of course, the possibilities reach much further than that.

Archmage Callinon wrote:
Ok but how do you define that?

Encounter mechanics are always going to alter how a particular job performs (it'd be weird if they didn't).


As someone else indicated, you will design hundreds of encounters for as long as the game lives. Interclass balance should be adjusted as few times as possible. When you are able to treat monsters as (essentially) other players, balancing encounters against player teams is easy. You just have to ask, "Is this strong enough or too strong for X number of players?" When you build a party dynamic that does not account for interclass balance, any encounter that breaks from that party dynamic chips away at the interclass balance (aside from making it much harder to build a functioning party).

A simple way of looking at it is that if you break down the math, different classes, on average, weigh more or less towards your success based on their balance. A damage dealer might have a weight of 1, while a tank has a weight of 2, and a healer has a weight of 3. Then you have the refresher who has a weight of 5. This is the inevitable result of building a functioning party dynamic against an "average" pre-established encounter. While you need some damage dealers just to keep the fight from taking forever, if you're looking at a battle without regard for the time it takes to kill, a tank, a couple of healers and a few refreshers is almost guaranteed to win the HP race, slow and steady as they are. Damage dealers can speed up the race, but you're increasing the risk that you'll lose because they aren't as powerful contributors in the HP race. Of course, sometimes you don't just want to win, but win quickly (as in experience parties). And that's where you saw melee damage dealers being considered worthless for big fights where the win was most important, and still only sort of desirable if they were actually good in parties where kill speed mattered.

So yeah, you achieve a certain kind of balance with a system like that, but look at how fragile and difficult to balance against it is.





Edited, Jan 10th 2013 5:10pm by Kachi
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#35 Jan 10 2013 at 7:12 PM Rating: Default
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I have to admit, I mostly clicked on this link to say something pessimistic after reading the title. Then I read your idea, and that actually sounds brilliant!

I love the idea of the dungeon queing up your player and throwing you into a group... It actually solves numerous problems that people take issue with, with regards to the grouping system.

~With regards to the complains that everyone will just stay in the main hub... this could be solves by required you to physically be at the location of the dungeon. No different than doing a CoP quest for instance.


@Kachi -- Your posts are a joy to read. They are always intelligent, well spoken, and thought provoking. Someone like you (and several others on this board) should be on the team at a game development company.


SmashingtonWho wrote:
The system where you put in your desired role and que, then keep playing until you get a message saying "Your party has been filled. Would you like to teleport to the dungeon?"

Sure, let me park my character somewhere safe and go do some group content. Then, a fun instanced dungeon run insues. At the end, it plops you back out wherever you were and you continue questing, crafting etc.

You know what's better than Level Sync? Just drop your level to any level you have previously attained and the game automatically levels your gear down and nerfs your abilites by some % (although they are all still available).

Ok, ok, not all MMO's have to be the same. But the best parts, that allow players to play with RL friends at any level, and casuals to access group content with very little time, are just way to good to leave out.

EDIT: See below for Xioe's link to the thread where Yoshi-P discusses the proposed Content Finder for FFXIV.

Edited, Jan 9th 2013 10:53am by SmashingtonWho



Edited, Jan 10th 2013 8:14pm by je355804

Edited, Jan 10th 2013 8:14pm by je355804

Edited, Jan 10th 2013 8:18pm by je355804
#36 Jan 10 2013 at 7:45 PM Rating: Good
I keep seeing everyone go back and forth on this class balance issue and Kachi I like the thought of your idea with combos, but how would you make something like this work on a day to day basis? Are we saying that, in a class v class balanced system, any combination of classes will work for any encounter?

For example: I want to fight Bahamut and it takes an alliance of 18 players. I've found 15 DD, a tank and 2 BLM and no whm seeking to group. Now, in a system like FFXI this would be impossible since there isn't a single true healer and way too much hate coming off the tank. If we're running your proposed system of class balance, how would you try to make this work? Would that setup be impossible and would I then have to find a WHM? If I do, then aren't we back to the trinity in a way?

I really am asking out of curiosity, as I'm not quite able to wrap my head around the alternative.

Edited, Jan 10th 2013 8:46pm by IKickYoDog
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#37 Jan 10 2013 at 7:48 PM Rating: Decent
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@Kachi -- Your posts are a joy to read. They are always intelligent, well spoken, and thought provoking. Someone like you (and several others on this board) should be on the team at a game development company.


Wow, well thank you. But look, you're actually the second person to tell me that in the last 24 hours, and I have to say, I'm going to get a big head at this rate.

I mean, saying something nice to another person? On the INTERNET? "ur doin it wrong," and so forth. What's this world coming to? Smiley: lol
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Hyrist wrote:
Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#38 Jan 10 2013 at 7:50 PM Rating: Good
Kachi wrote:
Quote:
@Kachi -- Your posts are a joy to read. They are always intelligent, well spoken, and thought provoking. Someone like you (and several others on this board) should be on the team at a game development company.


Wow, well thank you. But look, you're actually the second person to tell me that in the last 24 hours, and I have to say, I'm going to get a big head at this rate.

I mean, saying something nice to another person? On the INTERNET? "ur doin it wrong," and so forth. What's this world coming to? Smiley: lol


So sad, yet usually so true Smiley: oyvey
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Our team is like a flock of woodpeckers in a petrified forest. We just need to keep working and keep an eye open for opportunity.

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Toofar - Asura (Formerly of Lakshmi (Garuda)) - WHM BLM SMN
Rafoot - Asura (Formerly of Lakshmi (Garuda)) - THF SAM BRD
#39 Jan 10 2013 at 8:17 PM Rating: Good
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IKickYoDog wrote:
I keep seeing everyone go back and forth on this class balance issue and Kachi I like the thought of your idea with combos, but how would you make something like this work on a day to day basis? Are we saying that, in a class v class balanced system, any combination of classes will work for any encounter?

For example: I want to fight Bahamut and it takes an alliance of 18 players. I've found 15 DD, a tank and 2 BLM and no whm seeking to group. Now, in a system like FFXI this would be impossible since there isn't a single true healer and way too much hate coming off the tank. If we're running your proposed system of class balance, how would you try to make this work? Would that setup be impossible and would I then have to find a WHM? If I do, then aren't we back to the trinity in a way?

I really am asking out of curiosity, as I'm not quite able to wrap my head around the alternative.


I have to get back to work here at some point, but let me try to address your example at least.

It all comes down to the numerical balance in this HP race. Let me put forth a hypothetical scenario. Your tank jumps in and starts doing his thing. You don't have any healers, so he's probably screwed, but he knows that he plays a valuable role in preventing your party from losing as much HP as he possibly can, so he dies valiantly. Several of your damage dealers also have a first aid skill. Every once in a while, they can chip in a bit of healing to revive the tank. Numerically, he'll make the most benefit of that healing. And maybe before he dies, he uses a combo kamikaze attack with a fellow DD... a Berserker who throws him at the enemy. They're using teamwork to turn that little bit of his remaining "party" HP into a significantly bigger loss of "enemy" HP. Your two BLMs have decided to combine their Wind spell and Ice spell to create a powerful Blizzard. Your other DDs are doing similar combos, really not entirely different from Skillchains and Magic Bursts in FFXI, but with a lot more variety. Maybe some of those combos have crowd control effects and other status effects. People are cooperating to execute attacks of all types. Some require positioning, timing, and communication. But no one is simply swinging away solo... everybody is cooperating to activate these benefits, and the party becomes more than the sum of its parts.

And of course, in that, you can have secondary objectives and such as well. But the bottom line is that if the team works together and manages their resources wisely, they win the HP battle... in this particular case, by creating as much damage as they can as quickly and sustainably as they can. If they don't, they lose. Throw a single healer in the mix instead. In a lot of games, that single healer could restore thousands of HP for the tank and keep him alive for a very long time, maybe for the entire battle. But this healer is balanced to contribute roughly the same as any damage dealer does.

****, let's even look at some basic math:
Let's say the average endgamer has 1000 HP. So we want to balance Bahamut against this alliance of 18; let's give him 18000 just for arguments sake. We'll just forget about defense algorithms for now and use a direct damage system where attacks do a set amount of damage.

So let's say we balance the average damage dealer so that, head to head, Bahamut is going to do 1000 damage to him via AOE in the time it takes him to do 800 damage to Bahamut. All other things being equal, Bahamut will win this race because he'll have a few thousand HP left by the time he kills all the DD's.

Some game's answer to this problem is to make the healer recover 5000 HP... PER HEAL. This way, those damage dealers can stay alive and swinging as a healer spreads out that 5000HP among the group, allowing them to win the race... with this special brand of "teamwork". But we're not going to do that. We're going to look at the damage dealers and say, "Hey, if they can only contribute 800 points in the HP race during this amount of time, let's make the healer ALSO contribute 800 points of HP healing to the race."

So that's our starting point for balance. And we know exactly what kind of numbers a full alliance is bringing to the party because we made them the same. And that means we can easily balance the monster for any group of players.

Now in reality, we're going to want to create a skill differential. This is where we turn a race that is numerically pretty even into a situation where players might win and might lose. This will be a sort of statistical procedure where we try to peg down what level of player skill is needed to win. We've figured out Bahamut's baseline, but we're going to make him MUCH stronger to account for players doing an excellent job, racking up damage bonuses and healing bonuses with artful execution of teamwork/combos, crowd control, and personal performance. Now, the HP race is no longer on rails, but it's what the players do more than the numbers that determines if they win.

Er, hope that suffices. Back to work.



Edited, Jan 10th 2013 6:19pm by Kachi
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Hyrist wrote:
Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#40 Jan 10 2013 at 8:35 PM Rating: Good
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Archmage Callinon wrote:
That's really interesting. I like the idea of encounters that give you more to do than "hit that until it stops moving." I'd be a little concerned about class exclusions, but given FFXIV's apparently-huge party size, that's probably not really that big a deal at least for event fights.


Currently, this isn't an issue. With 8 players in the party and 8 classes there is really room for one of each class. Only when they start adding onto this number will this become an issue.

As it stands, however, they can potentially create encounters with one of each class in mind (They in fact designed garuda with one of each class in mind double on bard, and Nael Darnus with one of each class in mind, double on BLM, there was no Arcanist/Summoner in the game at this point.)

There's always going to be some classes that edge out others in fights, that's natural. And Yoshida isn't hiding the fact that he encourages people to level multiple Classes/Jobs up.

But being able to create fights that have multiple objectives that require more than one specific type of approach is something they are attempting, at least, and I'd say the fights I experienced were fairly balanced in terms of demand. I'd say if you approach a group with one "Main" class of one type, and one "Secondary" class of another, you'll have a great chance of a spot.

I know Lin, my main character, is a Dragoon Primarily, but I'm not certain what her secondary Job/Class will be.
#41 Jan 10 2013 at 9:01 PM Rating: Excellent
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balishag wrote:
catwho wrote:
FFXI actuallly had seven distinct roles, most of which weren't used in regular party dynamics but which came into play on bigger NMs.

-Puller
-Tank
-Melee
-Nuker
-Healer
-Enfeebler
-Buffer



Actually, in XI and in WoW, these roles were combined or shared among the different role classes. It was still a trinity - think like a triangle... and everything else in between, whether enfeebler, buffer, or puller went in one of the 3 directions.


Right, in exp parties. But in the big alliance based NM fights the roles splintered quite a bit. As a bard, I was a puller and a buffer for a long time - now I'm usually a buffer, enfeebler, and backup healer, not so much a puller what with all the roaming Abyssea parties. In an alliance HNM fight like Dynamis Lord? All I did for a good two minutes was buff desperately - trying to get all three parties in the alliance done and then the black mages in the other alliance with 2 hour ballads meant that I had no time for any other role. In modern 99 cap alliances, I'm invited almost exclusively for buffs and BRD specific job procs. Not healing, not pulling, nothing but marches and threnodies.
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#42 Jan 11 2013 at 4:54 AM Rating: Decent
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Kachi wrote:
FilthMcNasty wrote:
Kachi wrote:
That's why as I've said recently, it's best to start with balancing jobs against one another first, then designing the monsters.

Except this is the complete opposite of creating the problem before needing a solution. It covers PvP, but does nothing for PvE Smiley: tongue


No, because the first problem creating by ANY multi-role system is balancing those roles against one another. Otherwise, even in a strictly PVE game, you have players roundly professing which classes are good and which are not.


You don't balance the roles Kachi, you balance the content. Players should be challenged to keep up with the content, not with each other.

Kachi wrote:
This was true in early XI especially... healers and tanks were statistically superior to melee damage dealers in almost every encounter. You couldn't have a party without them because they were so statistically powerful.


I don't know what is meant here by 'statistically superior'. You could easily switch it up and say that you couldn't have a party without DD.
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#43 Jan 11 2013 at 5:44 AM Rating: Decent
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I don't know what is meant here by 'statistically superior'. You could easily switch it up and say that you couldn't have a party without DD.


I thought I did a pretty good job of explaining it, but if you really read what I said and still don't see my point, what I mean by "statistically superior" is that they are far more powerful in the HP race. A healer can easily be worth three damage dealers... so why would you take 1 healer and 3 damage dealers if you could have 2 healers and 2 damage dealers? As I explained, if time were not a consideration, you could easily have a party without DD in many circumstances. If there were any risk on the line of losing, you'd actually be more likely to win with 4 healers and no dedicated damage dealers in many games... even though it might take forever, they stand the better chance of winning. In fact, they started giving monsters regen and rage timers in many games just to try to counter that problem. Unfortunately that still didn't help the damage dealers who weren't balanced against the best damage dealing classes from being left out of the parties. People just picked the best ones.

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You don't balance the roles Kachi, you balance the content. Players should be challenged to keep up with the content, not with each other.


You could take that approach if you're married to a strict trinity system, but no MMO is these days and frankly, no one wants it to be. People love all the flavor classes even when their role is sort of redundant or inessential.

But I think you're missing the point of balancing the classes. It doesn't necessarily have anything to do with PvP. It's so that each class brings an inherently equal contribution to EVERY encounter, which makes balancing the content MUCH easier. I also think I did a pretty good job of explaining that in my Bahamut example above; sorry that it was so long.

Encounters are the variable... you'll always be making more and changing them; classes are the control... you want to preserve their balance, because it's delicate. You can never maintain balance in a game where you're constantly trying to adapt the classes to the content, so why would you start there? Get the class balance right from the get-go, and the content you create will be suitable to any group of players, no matter which classes they bring to the encounter.
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Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#44 Jan 11 2013 at 12:52 PM Rating: Decent
Ah! A Queue. Thanks for that.

So I see that the whole Content Finder and subsequent discussion about cross-server vs. same-server was discussed quite a bit back in the 2012 thread. I think Ultknightgrover had the best comment in that discussion with his suggestion to let people pick if they want to be in the Cross-Server or Same-Server queue.

I think I understand Kanenitty's point about accountability for looting and the lack of community development. For myself, I prefer increased accessibility and time savings.

I think this topic fits in the category of things that MMO veterans expect to have available. Surely the potential players who are willing to give FFXIV another shot are not going to be content shouting for parties in town.

I would think that it's time for new innvoations in Party Queue systems that would address the looting and community development issues. Perhaps some kind of honor/rating system that improves your chanches of being re-grouped with people you select as having enjoyed playing with. Improvements to the Queue system would, IMO, be preferrable to ommiting it.

#45 Jan 11 2013 at 2:00 PM Rating: Decent
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I would think that it's time for new innvoations in Party Queue systems that would address the looting and community development issues. Perhaps some kind of honor/rating system that improves your chanches of being re-grouped with people you select as having enjoyed playing with. Improvements to the Queue system would, IMO, be preferrable to ommiting it.


Might be fine for a traditional trinity-heavy MMO where filling party roles is essential, but I say why stop there? If you absolve yourself of the need for a Party Finder to fill those roles, then you can have a system that does you one better: plainly, without fanfare, parties you with friends, and should you like to meet some new people, with friends of friends. THAT'S basic social networking functionality, and it's missing from MMOs because they cling to antiquated party dynamics where social wants (like playing with friends) take a backseat to poor encounter designs that favor a party of classes A, A, B, J, X, and Z.
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Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#46 Jan 11 2013 at 2:43 PM Rating: Decent
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Kachi wrote:
This was true in early XI especially... healers and tanks were statistically superior to melee damage dealers in almost every encounter. You couldn't have a party without them because they were so statistically powerful.


I don't know what is meant here by 'statistically superior'. You could easily switch it up and say that you couldn't have a party without DD.[/quote]


While that may be partially true, I would have to agree that statistically the Healer and Tank were superior to the DD.

To illustrate, over a sample size of let us say 1,000 battles. A party full of tanks and healers would defeat maybe 600 of those enemies. Whereas a party comprised only of DDs would only win say 300 of the battles.... In "early" FFXI that is i.e. the dunes.
#47 Jan 11 2013 at 6:40 PM Rating: Decent
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Kachi wrote:
Quote:
I don't know what is meant here by 'statistically superior'. You could easily switch it up and say that you couldn't have a party without DD.


I thought I did a pretty good job of explaining it, but if you really read what I said and still don't see my point, what I mean by "statistically superior" is that they are far more powerful in the HP race. A healer can easily be worth three damage dealers... so why would you take 1 healer and 3 damage dealers if you could have 2 healers and 2 damage dealers?


I didn't understand it because you used XI as an example.

A decent NIN tank, and by that I mean someone who is capable of counting to 4, could almost completely negate incoming damage depending on the mob being fought. The statistical superiority of a class depends on the group composition AND the encounter. NIN and /NIN made it possible for groups devoid of main healers to function as well and it most cases, better than mitigation tanks.

A safe group isn't always the most efficient. As we saw with most merit groups in XI, many healers AND DD were left out because the utility wasn't necessary. Posed as a question like you did, why would you take a main healing class when all of your group is /NIN and not taking large amounts of damage? My point here is that a job's statistical superiority depends more on the task before a group than it does the composition of the group. When you are heading to a camp or an encounter you usually weigh the mechanics of the encounter before trying to compose a group to deal with that encounter quickly and/or efficiently.

Kachi wrote:
In fact, they started giving monsters regen and rage timers in many games just to try to counter that problem. Unfortunately that still didn't help the damage dealers who weren't balanced against the best damage dealing classes from being left out of the parties. People just picked the best ones.


Right, but this wasn't a function of a class not being balanced against another class, it was a matter of a class not being balanced to the content. People didn't take anything but MNK and WHM to KRT because of the damage type that was given an advantage. My point here is that if the content had been balanced to support situations that multiple jobs could excel in, you wouldn't have had the exclusion that we saw in XI where people only left to merit with groups full of the same job. Manaburns, summonerburns, arrowburns, spampage and whatever else you could come up with for a name for these groups that stacked the same jobs to focus down content wouldn't have been viable unless the content itself allowed for it.

Kachi wrote:
You could take that approach if you're married to a strict trinity system, but no MMO is these days and frankly, no one wants it to be. People love all the flavor classes even when their role is sort of redundant or inessential.


I think if you took a poll you'd find that there are many more people who want class identities to be more clearly defined than you think. I would count myself among them. An ideal MMO to me requires more than just forming a group consisting of x amount of generic tanks, y amount of generic healers or supports and z amount of damage dealers. Ideally you would want to have encounters that didn't require jobs x, y and z and instead presented players with a sort of gambit decision when forming a group where there are many choices that work, but sacrifices that are given up for an advantage elsewhere.

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#48 Jan 12 2013 at 3:41 AM Rating: Decent
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Right, it seems I'm still not getting my point across. I agree with a lot of your observations, just not the conclusions that you're drawing about game design.

What it ultimately comes down to is that the balance of the classes you create will determine how you have to balance the content. If you create the content first, then you have to balance classes against the content... and the content will change. Not only will it change as you add more, thus requiring you to ensure that you have some semblance of overarching class:content balance, but it will simply be different for the classes you create. The reason being, no classes you create can possibly bring an equal level of performance to encounters which are designed before the classes even exist.

Balance deals much more with the numerical quantities that you work with than it does any kind of mechanical qualities that you design. Any mechanic that you design has a quantity associated with it, even if those quantities are simply "0 or 1." Balance does not depend on creating monsters with X skills and then giving players counter-X skills. It depends primarily on the numbers balancing out. The trial-and-error by numbers approach that most developers use is to blame for most balance problems in MMOs today.

An analogy:

I give you a list of 500 numbers, and tell you that you must come up with 10 numbers that, when added together, can equal all of those 500 numbers.
OR
I give you a list of 10 numbers, and tell you to come up with a list of 500 numbers that, when the 10 numbers are added together, can equal those 500 numbers.

Which seems simpler, easier, and more likely to work?

This, in a nutshell, is the difference between the approaches you and I are advocating. It is much easier to mathematically balance hundreds of encounters from a given list of pre-balanced classes. When you balance those classes against one another statistically to start with, it's not even a matter of different numbers. It becomes a question of how many players are there? 6? Ok, then this encounter is for any 6 players. Balanced numerically, not by some ***-backwards trial and error mechanics-based approach.
____________________________
Hyrist wrote:
Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#49 Jan 12 2013 at 12:38 PM Rating: Decent
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Good read Kachi! Now i think balancing classes is a bit harder than all that, or atleast thats what i see from games, i am not sure why if it is as easy as both of you describe, they is so much imbalance in games, maybe PVP has a part ?
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#50 Jan 12 2013 at 1:38 PM Rating: Default
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Kachi wrote:
Right, it seems I'm still not getting my point across. I agree with a lot of your observations, just not the conclusions that you're drawing about game design.

What it ultimately comes down to is that the balance of the classes you create will determine how you have to balance the content. If you create the content first, then you have to balance classes against the content... and the content will change. Not only will it change as you add more, thus requiring you to ensure that you have some semblance of overarching class:content balance, but it will simply be different for the classes you create. The reason being, no classes you create can possibly bring an equal level of performance to encounters which are designed before the classes even exist.

Balance deals much more with the numerical quantities that you work with than it does any kind of mechanical qualities that you design. Any mechanic that you design has a quantity associated with it, even if those quantities are simply "0 or 1." Balance does not depend on creating monsters with X skills and then giving players counter-X skills. It depends primarily on the numbers balancing out. The trial-and-error by numbers approach that most developers use is to blame for most balance problems in MMOs today.

An analogy:

I give you a list of 500 numbers, and tell you that you must come up with 10 numbers that, when added together, can equal all of those 500 numbers.
OR
I give you a list of 10 numbers, and tell you to come up with a list of 500 numbers that, when the 10 numbers are added together, can equal those 500 numbers.

Which seems simpler, easier, and more likely to work?

This, in a nutshell, is the difference between the approaches you and I are advocating. It is much easier to mathematically balance hundreds of encounters from a given list of pre-balanced classes. When you balance those classes against one another statistically to start with, it's not even a matter of different numbers. It becomes a question of how many players are there? 6? Ok, then this encounter is for any 6 players. Balanced numerically, not by some ***-backwards trial and error mechanics-based approach.



I think you're mostly correct in your assertions, however, during actual production, I'm sure some combination of the two approaches occurs.

They most likely develop a list of jobs and have an idea of how they would like the jobs to interact with one another, however as they begin testing realize this job or that job needs a bit of tweaking etc etc.
#51 Jan 12 2013 at 1:48 PM Rating: Default
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Well yeah, it's definitely more complicated than all that. Direct damage mechanics make balancing much easier (e.g., Powerful Attack does 400 damage, rather than some equation that factors in several stats). They have their downsides, too.

As for the process, usually the two things are developed somewhat simultaneously, and that's totally fine and smart. You can create all of the classes and monsters and abilities in the entire game before you even start the process of balancing the content (and sometimes that's basically the way it's done). The question is really, when you're trying to answer the question, "What should the numbers be?" how do you go about it? And most go about it in a back and forth, trial and error way. That's just considered an acceptable practice due to the glorification of the iterative process (where you don't try too hard to get it right the first time) in game design. But when you're working with numbers, there are easier ways. Like using a touch of math.
____________________________
Hyrist wrote:
Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
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