Sv: [MUD-Dev] Balancing Melee vs Ranged Combat in Games Which Model Space

Nicolai Hansen nic at
Tue Apr 3 19:38:16 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

Daniel Haman wrote:

> How do you balance characters being able to cause damage to a
> monster/player when it isn't able to retaliate.

I would call this one easy. For a monster, you simply make it flee out
of range if its unable to counter-attack.

> The traditional approach seems to be to make ranged/magic combat
> more effective than melee, but to balance it by making the users
> frail and constrained by ammo/mana/etc. I'm not sure this is a good
> approach as the outcome tends to be too deterministic. Either the
> battle is too easy for the ranged/magic combatant, or its too hard
> (mobs designed to challenge melee range classes tend to tear through
> ranged combatants).

This can be balanced with reload time. A crossbow is a very effective
ranged weapon. Its bolts pierce through most aromur, it is fairly
precise, but takes up to several minutes to reload (often by the use
of special equipment that are suspect to breaking/damaging etc). A bow
is not as precise, do a lot less damage, and its arrows are not as
penetrating - in fact they got a large risc of "bouncing off" the
target doing no damage at all, but the bow is very easy to reload. It
just requires dexterity, and to be more or less un-armoured (you cant
fire a longbow in platermail).  A sword, compared to those, can be
wielded nomatter what armour you are wearing, you can wield it from a
mount, and it has got no reload time.

1 vs 1, we got three scenarios, all starting at "long range": bow vs
sword. The sword wielder would be able to get in close at the bowman
and strike him down. The bowman would be defensless on close range,
due to being unarmed, and the arrows would probable bounce off the
swordmans armour 9/10 shots.  crossbow vs sword. Definately the most
interesting scenario. Its an all-or-nothing scene for the
crossbowman. If his first shot would hit, it would probably instantly
kill, or heavily injure, the swordsman. If it misses, he wont have a
chance to reload.  crossbow vs bow. No one would move here. If the
crossbowman manage to hit on of his first shot, he would kill the
bowman, otherwise he won't be able to reload his crossbow due to the
rain of arrows the bowman would make. (this is the typical england vs
france 100 years war).

Then how do you implement this on a MUD? The problem is here that most
muds are using a system where the characters / mobiles got a truckload
of hitpoints. No bolt or sword blow would be able to kill anyone,
making ranged combat useless. Unless, of course, the opponents cannot
counterattack.  If you want a ranged combat system that works, you
should either reduce the hitpoints of people to an amount where one
blow can kill them, or, make certain weapons able to "critical hit"
with instant unconsiousness or death following.

>   - Make ranged combat do the same dmg as melee combat. Make ranged
>   combateers sufficiently robust to take some hits and try to make
>   is so that ranged combat involves taking some dmg (how?).

This is - of course - a balancing tool, and in the way of "ease" the
best to use for a MUD environment. But it will reduce ranged combat to
excactly the same as melee combat, which should be something we really
wanted to avoid...

>   - Mobs that summon players or warp to melee range. This is pretty
>   hideous in my opinion and overly emphasises the frailty of a
>   ranged combatant. It also doesn't sit well if one wants a
>   generally consistent set of game dynamics - well unless you give
>   players the ability too.

ack, dont do such things ;) it's so .. un-something'ish ;)

> Anyone have any takes on this issue or some tools that haven't
> occured to me yet? I don't think there is any simple solution,
> although the group casting thing seems more essential the more and
> more I think about it. Or at least some way of ensuring that the
> throttles you place in the game balance equally well in groups/solo.

Another way to do it would be to introduce movement lag to a great
extend, and to introduce fear of those raining arrows, causing people
to try to hide . This would slower their movement forward and make the
ranged attacker able to shoot more arrows and/or run away.

I think a great tool for balancing would be (the same tool as for
balancing magic..) to prevent the ranged attackers from using much

I personally favour the option with reload time, but its not really
possible within "round"ed combat, you will have to make another system
for that (I'm gonna post such one on a later occasion, but I would
like to have finished the code first, and at the moment I have got
some other issues to take care of).

I hope some of those ideas and suggestions was of use to you.


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