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

Ananda Dawnsinger ananda at winterreach.com
Wed Apr 4 01:24:40 New Zealand Standard Time 2001


> From: Brian Hook <bwh at wksoftware.com>
>> At 04:11 PM 4/3/01 -0400, AR Schleicher (Jerrith) wrote:
>>> At 11:55 AM 4/3/2001 -0700, Brian Hook wrote:

>>> Allow monsters to retaliate with ranged attacks of their own?

>> That doesn't fully address the issue, and isn't a solution for all
>> cases.  You rule out the possibility of monsters that, for whatever
>> reason, don't have ranged attacks.  (Say a forest animal, such as a
>> deer.)

> Deer vs. bow.  Deer loses.

More importantly:

Deer vs. sword.  Deer flees as soon as swordsman enters room, causing
the ranger in the brush to shift his aim from deer to swordsman.

In other words, deer and other "shy game" are a bad bet for
traditional melee combat, but are ideally suited to ranger-style
stalk-and-shoot.  And I think "rangers" will feel more welcome in the
world if there are creatures that are geared to their style of combat.

Shy game should flee from any creature that they see or smell.  If
attacked, they should usually flee (for flavor, I'd add a chance of a
one-shot charge before fleeing).  Only if cornered should they engage
in melee-style combat.  If they flee and are not crippled, there
should be a chance that they disappear into the brush and become
untrackable.  Thus, the forester's game becomes an attempt to kill or
cripple the creature before it disappears, leaving the forester with
wasted time and resources (arrows).

The difficulty is making sure that all the styles of combat are
reasonably well-balanced.  Part of that is making sure that all styles
of combat have the potential to be "heroic" -- for example, that the
ranger have the potential to shoot out the eye of the invading
general.

>> You also don't address players who don't have ranged weapons facing
>> those who do.

> Does the phrase "Don't bring a knife to a gun fight" ring a bell? =)
> Seriously, if I were doing a game I would hesitate to try to give an
> even playing field when it is obvious that it is not an even playing
> field in such situations.

Though the swordsman should have a fighting chance of rushing the
archer.  (I guess it would depend on the armor of the swordsman and
the skill of the archer, actually.)

>> If the creature only has melee attacks, and can't close to melee
>> range, it either needs to be able to escape, or insignificant
>> enough that killing it doesn't give a reward the player would find
>> worthwhile.

> Okay, then we're talking about balancing the encounter instead of
> actually letting things play out in a "realistic" way.  The common
> techniques I've seen are:

> - allow monster to warp to player
> - allow monster to summon player
> - give monster insanely high magical resistance
> - give monster insanely high dodge vs. missiles
> - give monster lots of friends
> - give monster ranged counter attacks
> - give monster very good ability to run away

> I'm not particularly fond of most of the above.

I think any of those would be quite appropriate when applied to the
right NPC.  It's when you start applying them willy-nilly to all melee
creatures that you start having a problem.  I'm sure there's a game
somewhere in which deer have ranged counterattacks, and I'm not
talking about Deer Avenger MUD.

> To model things realistically you could make use of the ranged
> weapon have a negative effect:

<good suggestions snipped for space>

Here's the basic idea I'm thinking of proposing.  Since combat
mechanics aren't my strongest suit, feel free to point out glaring
fallacies or potential for abuse.

  Traditional bows and arrows:

    Arrows do a reasonably low base damage (perhaps equivalent to
    dagger?)

    Arrows are reasonably fast to shoot and nock, though not as fast
    as swords are to swing.  Speed increases with skill.

    Arrows do not pierce metal armor except on a critical strike.

    Arrows have a reasonably high potential for critical strikes
    (again, perhaps equivalent to dagger).

    Aiming significantly increases the chance for critical strikes,
    but imposes a long RT (30 sec?) during which the archer is
    vulnerable.

    Critical strikes have the potential for massive damage, including
    one-shot cripples and kills on game-sized creatures.  (I don't
    particularly believe in one-shot kills on player characters.)

  Crossbows and bolts:

    Bolts do a reasonably high base damage (equivalent to longsword?)

    Bolts are fast to shoot, but very slow to load.  Increased skill
    does not speed up the loading process.

    Bolts have the potential to pierce metal armor, including heavy
    plate, even on an ordinary strike.

    Crossbows are not as accurate as traditional bows -- they have a
    lower potential for critical strikes, and aiming has less effect.

    Critical strikes are appropriately brutal.

    You cannot keep loaded crossbows in your backpack.

There are other things that affect archery -- some of which are
already part of the combat system as it stands -- but that's the
general way I'd like to see archery work.

(I guess this is what happens when you play a forester as your primary
character for three years...)

   -- Sharon

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