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

Kwon Ekstrom justice at softhome.net
Wed Apr 4 18:09:45 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

----- Original Message -----
From: "Nicolai Hansen" <nic at aub.dk>
> 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.

Actually, it would be smarter if the mob charge the person using the
ranged weapon.  If you're trying to flee out of range, you can be
chased, which is not much different to standing still and taking it.
The only problem with this is stationary or sentinel mobs, you would
have to make it understand how to return to it's starting location.
Players should be smart enough to charge or stand back.

>> 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).

Ranged weapons should be weaker imho than melee weapons, I'm sorry but
I think being cleaved in half as a bit more damage than an arrow
sticking out of me.  If anything a critical hit system could be used
to give some advantages to ranged combat, but still balance them vs
melee combat.

> 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

If you study ranged warfare, the average crossbow isn't any more
accurate or powerful than a bow, but it requires less skill to use.
There are some arrows that are meant to pierce armor.  Crossbows do
take more time to reload than a bow does, but that time isn't much
until you get into the extremely powerful crossbows.  You could
balance the 2 with a time-to-load vs skill/experience.  An experienced
bowman can shoot as well as any crossbowman, but any grunt can use a
crossbow somewhat effectively.

Note: The average crossbow isn't more powerful than the average bow,
but you can make crossbows more powerful than bows (simply because you
don't have to hold the string back manually), Spanish crossbows have
been known to reach 500-1000lb draw

Anyhow, back to the original point, I suggest the way to balance the
system is through smart usage.  First, melee combat should do more
damage than ranged combat.  Second, a smart AI should be used on mobs
to allow them to fight people using ranged weapons.  Third, Ranged
weapons should have a waitstate... most muds allow multiple attacks,
an equiv to 1 attack per round where melee attacks have 3 or 4 sounds
like a decent compromise.  Above all... to make an effective ranged
combat system, you cannot force people to flee to leave a room... You
need mobility to counter ranged attacks.

-- Kwon Ekstrom

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