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

Philip PAPriest at home.com
Wed Apr 4 10:41:40 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

I apologize if this message doesn't get put properly into the thread,
I am very new to this list.

<EdNote: Attribution fixed.  Please see the list guidelines at
https://www.kanga.nu/lists/listinfo/mud-dev/ -- claw (happily I
recognised the original author this time)>

On Tue, 3 Apr 2001 16:02:26 +0100 
Daniel Harman <Daniel.Harman at barclayscapital.com> wrote:

> Possible balancing tools (that have occured to me <G>):
>   - 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 somewhat of a pickle, because ranged combat usually comes down
to either magic or "equipment" range combat (one being an ability of
the character, the other, through the use of equipment that grants the
ability).  However.. I can think of two ways, that would be used in
conjunction with each other.

Fighters who choose to use equipment based ranged combat (which is
usually faster than magic in my experience), draws a small amount of
their own life-force/hit points to create their "arrow/bolt", this
arrow could be further augmented by the use of skills/abilities that
increase damage/decrease hit point cost.

Magic ranged combat, costs mana/magic points, but on a successful hit,
the user takes minor damage to themselves (some of the players'
lifeforce/hit points are drained), in essence the magic takes a few
hit points from the caster and amplifies their value with magic to
cause damage upon another.  This ability could be further modified
with skills/abilities that decrease hit point damage and increase
amplified damage.

Or swap them around for equipment ranged and magic ranged, depending
on other game dynamics.

Both of these abilities could also have an extra control put on them
by the use of "ammunition". The ammunition could come in a number of
types: standard (no change), increase damage per shot, decrease hit
point loss per shot, or one that does combinations: increase damage
and increase hit point cost, decrease damage and decrease hit point
cost, etc.

>   - Allow combat to be easy at range, but throttle with mana or
>   other similar chokes. The problem then is how to balance it so
>   that they scale as well as melee combatants. If a melee group is
>   fighting a monster, in all likelihood, only one character is
>   taking damage from the monster, whilst the rest can hack away
>   merrily.

The only counter to this I could think of is that combat is based on
"attack zones", attacking isn't sword A attacks opponent B, but rather
sword A (or machine-gun burst A) causes damage in area B (area B being
hopefully occupied by an opponent at the time of an attack).  If sword
A has an attack zone of 3 units, and the opponent fills all three of
zone B's units, then on a successful hit full damage is taken.  If the
opponent only fills 1 of the 3 units, then only 1/3 damage is taken.
If the opponent and friendly unit D occupy area B, then subtract the
number of units friendly unit D has from the damage to the
opponent. Also, if a weapon had 5 attack units and five of the units
were occupied by 3 different opponents, each would take damage
depending on how many units it fills.

Using a system like this sounds more intensive computing wise (being
that I have a very small programming background), but it eliminates
many factors.  Friendly units can overlap their attack zones, but they
start getting in each other's way, decreases the damage they cause,
and at the same time, bunching up allows a single opponent to damage
more than just one person.

This also makes in my opinion for more diverse weapons, smaller attack
zones, greater attack zones, perhaps even attack zones dependent on
both horizontal and vertical units.

> 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.

Group casting sounds like a function of a particular game design (I
played only a little EQ, but I do recall you travel in big groups),
and as such, your entire combat system would have to be geared around
groups, which is a different dynamic (in my opinion).

Philip Priest
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