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Is balance "overrated"?

SorcererV1ct0rSorcererV1ct0r Member Posts: 2,166
I was playing BF1 in a custom server with ONLY faction bolt action rifles and NO SCOPES. It makes the game far more akin to ww1. However, the game is not balanced around it. So, having Springfield M1903 or Gw 98 in a long range map like Sinai Desert or Fao Fortress is a HUGE advantage mainly if the enemy team has SMLE MKIII or rifles which are good at closer range. Some "chokepoints" like the final area of the operation on Fao Fortress assumes that the attacker will have support from tankery and close range weapons to make the fortress capturable and I saw, my team who was being dominated by the enemy team easily not letting then even near the final objective. However, the mode is extremely fun and the atmosphere is amazing. Even if the game is badly balanced, if is fun and entertaining, is not good? Who cares if Assault class loses all point on existing in that mode(no vehicles) and medic becomes even better.

Now on RPG's.

All, I repeat. ALL masterpiece RPG's are poorly balanced. BG2? Necromancers can easily solo on legacy of bhaal. Divination is the worst mage specialization and martial classes become extremely weaker on higher levels. VtMB as a Nosferatu is extremely harder than as a Tremere/Brujah/etc. An dwarf magician on Arcanum is far harder to be played than an elf magician. hybrid of magical and technological builds doesn't work well(mainly cuz the game is about the conflict between magic aka negation of laws of nature and technology, the application of the laws).

That video bellow mentions how balance inevitably leads to homogenization and makes the game more boring

Isewein

Comments

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 12,009
  • SorcererV1ct0rSorcererV1ct0r Member Posts: 2,166
    AionZ wrote: »
    (...)On the other hand, some cases are simply terrible design. The vanilla BG berserker is a perfect example of how not to do imbalance in my opinion. Cast Enrage to instantly negate the gimmicks of 80% of in-game enemies. There's no tactics, no gameplay, you simply press a button and part of the game becomes irrelevant. (...)

    You have also the extreme oposite. The most iconic example is NWN2. Warlock chilling tentacles on P&P has a caster level + 8 to hit and a grapple routine. On nwn2, a fix +5 to hit, meaning that any enemy with AC >= 25 can only be hit when you roll a 20.

    Pathfinder Kingmaker deadly earth in other hands is even better than P&P since flying creatures can't avoid it. It bypass spell resistance and deal ludicrous composite damage, Even spawn of rovagug becomes relative easy against an party with a lot of high level kineticist. When I did the endless dungeon with a party of 4, having an sorcerer, an cleric and an barbarian, the kineticist dealt about 50% of my party damage.

    Deadly earth is a win button on kingmaker and contrary to powerful combos like cloudkill + animated dead which are far more situational, is amazing in EVERY SINGLE situation.
    Balrog99 wrote: »
    Balance is overrated unless you're playing against other on-line players. Against an AI it's kind of fun playing gimped PC's sometimes. Against other humans, every bit of unfairness is ruthlessly exploited ad nauseum to the point where it isn't fun. Being owned by powergamers if I choose not to be one is not a pleasant way to spend my evenings...

    I partially agree. I like to for eg, pick only an sidearm and try to play domination on battlefield 1 against people with primary weapons. I like to try to snipe with iron sights rifles and so on. It makes the game more satisfying.

    Balrog99Proont
  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 6,965
    AionZ wrote: »
    It depends. Being someone who's created a bunch of mods that are admittedly overpowered and I have little intention to balance them further, I'd say I am not opposed to imbalance until it reaches the state in which it negates fun.

    If I were to put it in another perspective, I actually think imbalance is fine when it comes from the player theorycrafting optimal strategy/builds/whatever. Even if the gameplay ceases to become a challenge there's always the satisfaction of essentially having 'solved the game'. Mages are extremely fun because their power comes from the player solving the game, even if the game becomes too easy by doing so.

    On the other hand, some cases are simply terrible design. The vanilla BG berserker is a perfect example of how not to do imbalance in my opinion. Cast Enrage to instantly negate the gimmicks of 80% of in-game enemies. There's no tactics, no gameplay, you simply press a button and part of the game becomes irrelevant. It's not even an unintended oversight or something you can ignore, as the ability is literally the crux of the kit and it offers nothing else. When I made a berserker rework for my kitpack my intention wasn't to balance it, but to give it a gimmick that I felt was more satisfying and granted more agency to the player by adding something for the user to play around (managing hitpoints). It's not my favorite kit. I personally think it's a bit too gimmicky. But I find it infinitely more playable than the gamebreaking joke that was the vanilla Enrage.

    I respectfully disagree. Mages have tons of ways of dealing with fighters that don't involve imprisonment (WAY OP!) or other disabling magic. Summons or damage spells can deal with a berserker just as well as incapacitating. To me, the berserker is a way to balance the scales against way op spells...

  • SorcererV1ct0rSorcererV1ct0r Member Posts: 2,166
    Balrog99 wrote: »
    AionZ wrote: »
    It depends. Being someone who's created a bunch of mods that are admittedly overpowered and I have little intention to balance them further, I'd say I am not opposed to imbalance until it reaches the state in which it negates fun.

    If I were to put it in another perspective, I actually think imbalance is fine when it comes from the player theorycrafting optimal strategy/builds/whatever. Even if the gameplay ceases to become a challenge there's always the satisfaction of essentially having 'solved the game'. Mages are extremely fun because their power comes from the player solving the game, even if the game becomes too easy by doing so.

    On the other hand, some cases are simply terrible design. The vanilla BG berserker is a perfect example of how not to do imbalance in my opinion. Cast Enrage to instantly negate the gimmicks of 80% of in-game enemies. There's no tactics, no gameplay, you simply press a button and part of the game becomes irrelevant. It's not even an unintended oversight or something you can ignore, as the ability is literally the crux of the kit and it offers nothing else. When I made a berserker rework for my kitpack my intention wasn't to balance it, but to give it a gimmick that I felt was more satisfying and granted more agency to the player by adding something for the user to play around (managing hitpoints). It's not my favorite kit. I personally think it's a bit too gimmicky. But I find it infinitely more playable than the gamebreaking joke that was the vanilla Enrage.

    I respectfully disagree. Mages have tons of ways of dealing with fighters that don't involve imprisonment (WAY OP!) or other disabling magic. Summons or damage spells can deal with a berserker just as well as incapacitating. To me, the berserker is a way to balance the scales against way op spells...

    Mages has way more cuz they are based on high magical novels like Dying Earth from Jack Vance. While fighters was based on ... Historical fighters. There are no way to "solve" this problem without making fighters supernatural too. The """solution"""" that many games trying to balance it uses is the worst possible. By making casters eqqualy boring. And when I mean casters, I mean, wizards, sorcerers, clerics, paladins, druids, warlocks, kineticists, witches, alquemists(...)

    Or just move to a highly technological setting. An soldier can easily compete with a technomancer. Technomancers can do a lot of powerful things like terraform an planet, create junkbots from trash, disintegrate, control the gravity, but Kill Shot is not awful if compared to disintegrate. Throwable grenades aren't weak if compared to a spell like Explosive Blast. And the weapons that he can use are gravity spears, Cryo rifles, etc.

    The greatest problem of fighters is not "muh unbalanced", is that they are BOOORING, if every class was eqqually boring, the game would be balanced but .... AWFUL and not fun.

    Isewein
  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 6,965
    edited November 2020
    Balrog99 wrote: »
    AionZ wrote: »
    It depends. Being someone who's created a bunch of mods that are admittedly overpowered and I have little intention to balance them further, I'd say I am not opposed to imbalance until it reaches the state in which it negates fun.

    If I were to put it in another perspective, I actually think imbalance is fine when it comes from the player theorycrafting optimal strategy/builds/whatever. Even if the gameplay ceases to become a challenge there's always the satisfaction of essentially having 'solved the game'. Mages are extremely fun because their power comes from the player solving the game, even if the game becomes too easy by doing so.

    On the other hand, some cases are simply terrible design. The vanilla BG berserker is a perfect example of how not to do imbalance in my opinion. Cast Enrage to instantly negate the gimmicks of 80% of in-game enemies. There's no tactics, no gameplay, you simply press a button and part of the game becomes irrelevant. It's not even an unintended oversight or something you can ignore, as the ability is literally the crux of the kit and it offers nothing else. When I made a berserker rework for my kitpack my intention wasn't to balance it, but to give it a gimmick that I felt was more satisfying and granted more agency to the player by adding something for the user to play around (managing hitpoints). It's not my favorite kit. I personally think it's a bit too gimmicky. But I find it infinitely more playable than the gamebreaking joke that was the vanilla Enrage.

    I respectfully disagree. Mages have tons of ways of dealing with fighters that don't involve imprisonment (WAY OP!) or other disabling magic. Summons or damage spells can deal with a berserker just as well as incapacitating. To me, the berserker is a way to balance the scales against way op spells...

    Mages has way more cuz they are based on high magical novels like Dying Earth from Jack Vance. While fighters was based on ... Historical fighters. There are no way to "solve" this problem without making fighters supernatural too. The """solution"""" that many games trying to balance it uses is the worst possible. By making casters eqqualy boring. And when I mean casters, I mean, wizards, sorcerers, clerics, paladins, druids, warlocks, kineticists, witches, alquemists(...)

    Or just move to a highly technological setting. An soldier can easily compete with a technomancer. Technomancers can do a lot of powerful things like terraform an planet, create junkbots from trash, disintegrate, control the gravity, but Kill Shot is not awful if compared to disintegrate. Throwable grenades aren't weak if compared to a spell like Explosive Blast. And the weapons that he can use are gravity spears, Cryo rifles, etc.

    The greatest problem of fighters is not "muh unbalanced", is that they are BOOORING, if every class was eqqually boring, the game would be balanced but .... AWFUL and not fun.

    The other weird thing in regards to fighter kits is that the berserker basically resorts to total rage emotion to overcome spells, while the kensai, who uses his brains in a more logical, disciplined way has no defense against those same spells.

  • SorcererV1ct0rSorcererV1ct0r Member Posts: 2,166
    Balrog99 wrote: »
    Balrog99 wrote: »
    AionZ wrote: »
    It depends. Being someone who's created a bunch of mods that are admittedly overpowered and I have little intention to balance them further, I'd say I am not opposed to imbalance until it reaches the state in which it negates fun.

    If I were to put it in another perspective, I actually think imbalance is fine when it comes from the player theorycrafting optimal strategy/builds/whatever. Even if the gameplay ceases to become a challenge there's always the satisfaction of essentially having 'solved the game'. Mages are extremely fun because their power comes from the player solving the game, even if the game becomes too easy by doing so.

    On the other hand, some cases are simply terrible design. The vanilla BG berserker is a perfect example of how not to do imbalance in my opinion. Cast Enrage to instantly negate the gimmicks of 80% of in-game enemies. There's no tactics, no gameplay, you simply press a button and part of the game becomes irrelevant. It's not even an unintended oversight or something you can ignore, as the ability is literally the crux of the kit and it offers nothing else. When I made a berserker rework for my kitpack my intention wasn't to balance it, but to give it a gimmick that I felt was more satisfying and granted more agency to the player by adding something for the user to play around (managing hitpoints). It's not my favorite kit. I personally think it's a bit too gimmicky. But I find it infinitely more playable than the gamebreaking joke that was the vanilla Enrage.

    I respectfully disagree. Mages have tons of ways of dealing with fighters that don't involve imprisonment (WAY OP!) or other disabling magic. Summons or damage spells can deal with a berserker just as well as incapacitating. To me, the berserker is a way to balance the scales against way op spells...

    Mages has way more cuz they are based on high magical novels like Dying Earth from Jack Vance. While fighters was based on ... Historical fighters. There are no way to "solve" this problem without making fighters supernatural too. The """solution"""" that many games trying to balance it uses is the worst possible. By making casters eqqualy boring. And when I mean casters, I mean, wizards, sorcerers, clerics, paladins, druids, warlocks, kineticists, witches, alquemists(...)

    Or just move to a highly technological setting. An soldier can easily compete with a technomancer. Technomancers can do a lot of powerful things like terraform an planet, create junkbots from trash, disintegrate, control the gravity, but Kill Shot is not awful if compared to disintegrate. Throwable grenades aren't weak if compared to a spell like Explosive Blast. And the weapons that he can use are gravity spears, Cryo rifles, etc.

    The greatest problem of fighters is not "muh unbalanced", is that they are BOOORING, if every class was eqqually boring, the game would be balanced but .... AWFUL and not fun.

    The other weird thing in regards to fighter kits is that the berserker basically resorts to total rage emotion to overcome spells, while the kensai, who uses his brains in a more logical, disciplined way has no defense against those same spells.


    Yep. Berserk is better against magic than Kensai and Wizard slayer

    Balrog99
  • DinoDinDinoDin Member Posts: 1,331
    I agree that balance has become overrated. Playing the original Pillars of Eternity really had this sink in for me. Even though it's a game that I absolutely love and that was crucial for spawning the new RPG renaissance. But the classes and stats in it are too similar, too balanced. The problem worsened in the sequel.

    As others have said, it's only really multiplayer games where balance needs to be crucial. Although even there, games like the Diablo series have also killed their interesting elements in the pursuit of balance. But that game is a sort of tweener, in that it has multiplayer elements but is frequently played in a single player style.

    WarChiefZekeProont
  • BallpointManBallpointMan Member Posts: 1,576
    I like balance even in a single player game, because I find the head canon more immersive when I get the idea that success can be obtained in many ways. It's fun to think that I could take more than a single approach, and find all of them viable (if not perfectly balanced).

    That said, fun gameplay is more important than balance. If the game is fun, then I dont need it to be as well balanced. On the margins though, I do like some good balance.

    DinoDinProontJuliusBorisovRik_Kirtaniya
  • SorcererV1ct0rSorcererV1ct0r Member Posts: 2,166
    DinoDin wrote: »
    I agree that balance has become overrated. Playing the original Pillars of Eternity really had this sink in for me. (...)


    Sawyer was so obsessed with balance the he wasen't even wanting immunity, only resistances. As result you had hilarious situation such as. Oozes that can be blinded. Winged creatures slipping on Grease. Fire creatures being burn, wizards and arquebusiers needing more muscle mass so they can throw heavier projectiles and fireball, etc.

    Not mentioning that wizard in PoE 1 is extremely lackluster.

    On fallout new vegas, Sawyer tried to balance things but not putted balance above everything else in priority. HE din't wanted to make an Katana eqqually good in dealing with armored robots at 200m as a anti materiel rifle with .50 BMG high explosive

    StummvonBordwehrIsewein
  • DragonKingDragonKing Member Posts: 1,884
    Depends if it's a single player or multiplayer game.

    Single player, who caress? I break my game all the time with mods, fun over balanced everytime.

    Multiplayer, balance is what's important, there is no fun when one class has a instawin button.

    StummvonBordwehrProont
  • Rik_KirtaniyaRik_Kirtaniya Member Posts: 1,741
    For me, good game design means there must be balance. And by balance, I don't mean that all classes should have different skins of the same generic abilities with the exact same damage, exact same effects, and exact same implementation. No, it's not that.

    Good balance lies in making the game enjoyable by all the different classes and making each and every playstyle viable. That is possible by giving well distributed advantages and disadvantages to every class and skill. You gain something, you compromise something else. You may not be powerful at all instances of the game, but some things are easier for you to do, and others are harder.

    I don't like when games just make a ton of classes and have a few overpowered ones and the rest are hardly used by players. That just feels like encouraging metagaming, which is NOT fun. By having a few OP classes, the game encourages the player to choose them over the rest, thus forcing the developer's metagaming decisions over the player.

    At different instances of the storyline and progression of the game, this balance could be played with, so as to give the player a sense of climbing up and down the difficulty hill, which makes the game a lot of fun.

    TL;DR - Good balance can be achieved by making classes good at different things and bad at other things. Having a couple of classes that are good at virtually everything is not fun.

    Proontdunbarsemiticgoddesssarevok57
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 12,009
    When it comes to single player, to me, balance is the idea that every playstyle is equally valid. I'm not saying equal in difficulty, but every gameplay style, class, character, etc. can complete the game without being a challenge run. If some are just uber overpowered, I don't really care at that point.

    Multiplayer is a lot trickier, especially competitve team based. I played League of Legends for a few years and have determined that balancing it in a way that makes everyone happy is impossible.

    Proont
  • DinoDinDinoDin Member Posts: 1,331
    FWIW, I think the original topic's point is whether balance is "overrated". Not whether it should exist at all. I think every reasonable gamer wants some degree of balance in their games. No one wants to play an RPG where there's a stark power difference between the classes.

    I do think a problematic design tendency in modern CRPG's is the sameness between classes and/or builds. Multiplayer gaming has contributed to this. As well the modern rulesets of RPG's, imo, seem to have contributed to this as well. One of these tendencies is the homogenization of the classes, with the design principle that any conceivable party composition should be able to beat the game, with only minor consequences for choosing something like an all paladin party. Whereas doing this in an older RPG would have had severe consequences.

    While I can appreciate the logic behind that design philosophy, I think it's what's contributed to an overbalanced and less interesting set of choices for the player.

    Proont
  • AmmarAmmar Member Posts: 1,179
    I think there are many approaches where there is a stark power imbalance between classes that still works.

    There's the old D&D version where mages start with only a single spell per day, but end up very powerful. Here it's also balanced a bit by the fact that many high level enemies have powerful immunities. For fighting golems you still want to have fighters.

    We also have the intrinsic vs extrinsic power model which applies to D&D as well. A fighter with a normal sword will not be able to do much against a powerful mage, but it may be different if he has magical protective equipment and an enchanted sword. I feel this is the only way to plausibly make fighters competitive in a high-magic setting.

    There's also the elite class model like the old Wizardries, where some classes are simply better. But you can have your characters switch classes once they meet the attribute requirements.

    Otherwise I agree with what most people say: single-player or cooperate multiplayer games do not need perfect balance, but each class has to bring *something* to the table. In competitive multiplayer good balance is a hard requirement.

    ThacoBellProont
  • DinoDinDinoDin Member Posts: 1,331
    Ammar wrote: »
    There's the old D&D version where mages start with only a single spell per day, but end up very powerful. Here it's also balanced a bit by the fact that many high level enemies have powerful immunities. For fighting golems you still want to have fighters.

    But, imo, what you're describing here is precisely balance. Not a stark power difference.

  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,829
    Ammar wrote: »
    We also have the intrinsic vs extrinsic power model which applies to D&D as well. A fighter with a normal sword will not be able to do much against a powerful mage, but it may be different if he has magical protective equipment and an enchanted sword. I feel this is the only way to plausibly make fighters competitive in a high-magic setting.
    One of the things I'd like to see in a fantasy game is fighters having some innate magic to supplement their strength. Rather than just being mundane muscle, a fighter would basically be a magic user whose magic flows through their bodies and weapons--like a D&D monk that still uses weapons. That would justify, from a realism perspective, having a fighter scale in strength at higher levels. You could call it a kineticist.

    Rik_KirtaniyaStummvonBordwehr
  • AmmarAmmar Member Posts: 1,179
    DinoDin wrote: »
    Ammar wrote: »
    There's the old D&D version where mages start with only a single spell per day, but end up very powerful. Here it's also balanced a bit by the fact that many high level enemies have powerful immunities. For fighting golems you still want to have fighters.

    But, imo, what you're describing here is precisely balance. Not a stark power difference.

    Not really, since it is a niche encounter - and also keep in mind who builds the golems and the enchanted weapon the fighter needs to hurt it. For party-based RPGs the real balance test would be party vs party combat.

    Even if your game isn't balanced in general, each class usually has a niche, even if it is a minor one. That's one more reason it works better in P&P than in a computer, since the DM should be able to tailor the challenges more to the specific party.

    BallpointManThacoBellProontdunbar
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 12,009
    DinoDin wrote: »
    Ammar wrote: »
    There's the old D&D version where mages start with only a single spell per day, but end up very powerful. Here it's also balanced a bit by the fact that many high level enemies have powerful immunities. For fighting golems you still want to have fighters.

    But, imo, what you're describing here is precisely balance. Not a stark power difference.

    Well not quite. In this scenario, the mage ends up far more powerful than the fighter. The classes are not balanced. The balance comes from outside the classes by intenitonal crafting scenarios where both are useful.

    Proont
  • SorcererV1ct0rSorcererV1ct0r Member Posts: 2,166
    An example of balance being AWFUL is the fact that modern RPG's doesn't have more OHK spells.

    Look to Disintegrate. That spell OHKilled anything on daggerfall and on arcanum. On Starfinder, it doesn't OHK anything despite the lore saying that it can transofrm a 10 feet cube into dust. How any non colossal sized creature/starship can survive it? I know, 14d20 damage is a lot(14~280) but there are some CR >= 17 creatures with more than 280 hp.

  • DragonKingDragonKing Member Posts: 1,884
    Not having ohk spells is not a example of balance being awful,it's an example that you have a bias towards a system you like compared to ones you don't like. Ohk isn't needed for a system to be balances to begin with, awful balanced would be if they system breaks down if you were to remove ohk which would show the system can't function on it's own with the remaining spells making that one type of spell which shouldn't be important at its core, more important.

    ThacoBell
  • shabadooshabadoo Member Posts: 309
    edited December 2020
    Regardless of OHK's, without some balance in the system it all boils down to one avenue to victory... well what's the fun in that? No individual style or creative approach? Everyone ends up with the +20 perfect wishes/all-slaying/ lifegiving godsword of Blahblah Bleh. One shouldn't be slavishly bound to all encompassing balance, but it should be of importance.

    ThacoBell
  • SorcererV1ct0rSorcererV1ct0r Member Posts: 2,166
    shabadoo wrote: »
    Regardless of OHK's, without some balance in the system it all boils down to one avenue to victory... well what's the fun in that? No individual style or creative approach? Everyone ends up with the +20 perfect wishes/all-slaying/ lifegiving godsword of Blahblah Bleh. One shouldn't be slavishly bound to all encompassing balance, but it should be of importance.

    The existence of such weapon makes no sense if the first place.

  • shabadooshabadoo Member Posts: 309
    It represents the idea of a single item/spell/tactic as the key to the entire game. And your right; the existence of such makes no sense.

    ThacoBell
  • SorcererV1ct0rSorcererV1ct0r Member Posts: 2,166
    shabadoo wrote: »
    It represents the idea of a single item/spell/tactic as the key to the entire game. And your right; the existence of such makes no sense.

    And as I've said, when the unbalance makes zero sense it is a problem, not due the unbalance but due the nonsensical thing. But look to shooting on Fallout New Vegas which is great and ... Compare to Hellgate london, they tried really hard to make firearms and melee balanced and you end up with AWFUL shooting, with futuristic sci fi rifles with 15m range and other nonsensical things...

  • shabadooshabadoo Member Posts: 309
    Yes, that is a great example of being "slavishly bound to all encompassing balance". The balance should always, imo, be considered...but not at the expense of the overall game immersion and enjoyment. I guess it's hard finding the right...uhm...balance.

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