Monday, June 30, 2008

The White Tower Speaks: Gear vs. Skill Part II

This article is a continuation of Gear vs. Skill Part I, which you can find: Here! So here's our problem. We need to balance gear so that it provides something for players to keep striving for, but at the same time, we need to keep it from over-powering those who attain it.

Now that's a quandary if I've ever seen one, but there are a few possibilities:

1. Don't make gear upgrades the reason people want to keep playing. This one seems pretty obvious. WAR looks like it's making a step in the right direction here. People will probably play just because the campaign is dynamic and fun, incorporating the best elements of RvR, PvE, and Realm Pride/Socialization.

2. Make gear about customization, not power. Have items be similar to your Masteries/Tactics, and allow them to further differentiate and customize your character. If you really hate casters, for example, maybe you can sacrifice some armor for spell resistances, and so you seek out a set with higher spell resistances bonus. Or maybe if you feel too squishy as a caster, maybe you can sacrifice some spell damage for hit points. This allows you to customize your gear to your play style, while allowing you to embrace your class role as well.

3. Have gear reduce your weaknesses, instead of increase your strengths. In a rock, paper, scissors environment, or indeed any environment where balance is desired, it's not always possible to achieve. Let's say you're a Tank, and you're usually pretty good against Melee DPS, but weaker against ranged DPS. Having better gear should mitigate your weaknesses in match-ups that are not usually favorable for you (ranged dps), instead of giving you even more advantages over classes you already do well against (melee dps).

There you have it folks, a few ideas on how to make gear desirable without being overpowering. If you have something to contribute, please do!



Snafzg said...

Cool ideas! Here are my thoughts:

1) Agreed. Gear is definitely a driver for MMO players but it shouldn't be their primary goal imho.

2) Customizable gear would be awesome, and I think we've started seeing evidence of it in WoW (gem slots). Hopefully, we'll see something like this in WAR too. I think removing stat caps would allow for a lot more customization, but there may be drawbacks of people getting way too overpowered - so that would have to be looked at.

3) This is an interesting concept, but if gear is purely focused on raising your defenses in a rock-paper-scissors balance system, it will eventually just become rock-rock-rock. That, or the RPS system will just be flipped around.

E.g., An RDPS beefs up defense vs. MDPS. MDPS beefs up against Tank. Tank beefs up vs. RDPS. At some point it won't matter who you go with, and if you take it too far, Tanks will be better off going after MDPS, MDPS against Tanks, and RDPS against MDPS.

Does that make any sense? :P

Stormcrow said...

Thanks for the input snafzg! I'll have to think about that last part... that's a really good point.