Archmage Callinon wrote:
In one sense, creating a system as diverse as FFXIV's (or FFXI's for that matter) means that people will think they need to cherry pick the best of the best combinations and reject all others as hopelessly inferior.
Usually this is a ridiculous thing to do.
Now there are obviously combinations that are just silly... like, oh say, BLM/WAR... or maybe MNK/SMN. But most sensible combinations are perfectly fine, deviating only 1 or 2 percentage points off the "optimal" build.
As long as what you're picking makes sense, you should be able to compete, and that's the design challenge with a system like this.
Funny that you mention that. This is an artifact from the Dungeons and Dragons era, which still relies on basic statistics like power and intelligence to modify skills. Systems which rely less on these modifiers and design absolute values (or value modified by something other than character statistics) don't have this problem. When those skills are modified by interchangeable attributes, like weapon rating, it's much easier to balance. With assigning absolute values that scale up by level (e.g., the level 20 ice spell does 50 damage, at level 40 does 100 damage), you take away a lot of the mathematics of determining ideal configurations, but make it incredibly easy to balance. If you wanted, you can also use that approach to totally do away with any balance differences whatsoever... e.g., axe skills and fire magic do the exact same DPS at every level.
I'm am fairly certain I am in the minority but I'm a 'customization junkie'. What you are describing sounds boring to me. Not right or wrong, etc... but boring. I loved the original idea of the Armory System for 1.0. They execution of the idea needed work but I loved the concept. You leveled every job and based on the circumstances you could build any type of character you wanted. If you had leveled Thaumaturge all the way you could have a Gladiator equipped with Sacrifice III
beginning at rank 1. Not that you would want to but you could. Edited, Feb 24th 2013 11:56am by kainsilv
In the game I'm working on, you build a custom character from about 2000 abilities, so you could say that I'm a customization junkie as well. However, there are still no base player statistics to work with. They're not mutually inclusive; you can have one without the other.
I think your opinion represents a classic paradox in game design-- balance vs. competitive building. Some players like to build competitively, like in trading card games--half the challenge is in choosing an ideal configuration. However, the more important the build is, the less balance there is between players. Superior configurations emerge, players feel forced to use them, other players who had a different type of build in mind become resentful of the imbalance, etc...
It's a problem which highlights just how important finding the fine balance is in games. You can balance everything perfectly and then you leave nothing for the build-junkies. You can create a great game for build-junkies and ruin the balance for the average player. Then you'll invariably have to nerf things when you attempt to balance them. There is an inbetween that can be achieved, but it has to be achieved in the numbers, not the "features", not the concepts, or mechanics, or ideas, etc... it's all in the numbers.
Many games just attempt to appeal to a single niche audience that can appreciate that genrefication, and that's how they find success. If you're trying to appeal to a wider audience, or that large audience that appreciates both elements in moderation, you try to strike a balance between combat skill and build skill, so that players can choose
how they want to excel.
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.