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Default Lords of Xulima - Balancing In Non-Linear RPGs

May 21st, 2013, 17:02
Lords of Xulima project staff sends word of a new blog post on the games webpage.The topic of discussion deals with balancing in RPGs
Hello Watch,

The Numantian Games team is hard at work on their debut indie RPG, Lords of Xulima. We expect the game to be ready in late 2013. Here is a link on our latest developer blog post. As we work on refining Lords of Xulima and making it the best RPG we can, we are taking time to look back at past games and describe how their systems and designs have influenced us. Here we talk about the challenges of balancing in open world games, and the horror of auto-scaling.
More information.
Last edited by Couchpotato; May 21st, 2013 at 22:10.
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May 21st, 2013, 17:02
This is pretty spot on - autoscaling of mobs is sinful and lazy design. Couldn't play Oblivion for that reason and Skyrim isn't a whole lot better. With no real progression the gameplay is just dull. I reckon most of the upcoming MMOs have already caught on to the deliquency of auto scaling everything though.
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May 21st, 2013, 18:13
I think autoscaling in a certain way is fine. But it needs to be implemented the right way. A rat with 100 hitpoints should always stay a rat with 100 hitpoints.
But depending on the heroes level there could be 30 rats instead of 20. So you actually feel that you are more powerful now.
Or the attack events when traveling in Fallout 3 for example. In general I have no problem if they scale. What I have a problem with (and this happened in Fallout 3) that in the end you always get attacked by some of the hardest enemies in the game and that. So my rules of thumbs would be:
-Replace or add enemies, don't make the same enemies stronger
-don't scale to the maximum. If you are lvl5 and fight against 2 lvl 5 and then level to 10 and trigger the same even, you should fight againt 2 lvl 8 or so and not against 2 lvl 10.

@Roq
MMOs are a completely different story where I'd strongly advocate scaling, at least in Themepark-MMOs. The main reason is that you make lots of content obsolete with each new addition where you get stronger. In GW2 you can have fun with max level when doing a low zone, because it still is a fight. You are much stronger, but still need to push some buttons. In non-scaling games everything around you would instantly die, just by looking at you. Makes the game look stupid, makes the game more boring, and might also cause economy problems. But that is because themeparks have a strong focus on item-spirals.
In a sandbox game it would be very different. But in these the difference between a lvl 10 and lvl 30 character would not be 10000% as it is in normal themepark games.
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May 21st, 2013, 20:39
@Kordanor - I concur with a lot of what you say. Some kinds of scaling can be OK along the lines you mention as long as it's quite subtle. Also mobs could be more dynamic so that after you open up certain areas higher level mobs might take over lower level areas etc.

WRT to GW2, unfortunately they weren't really able to make low level content replayable. My high level characters can't nuke the whole map, but are still much to strong in low level PVE areas for any kind of interesting game play challenge there. And also the objectives in low level areas just don't match a high level characters progression needs, unless you are trying to grind the whole map for a legendary or something. I'd prefer it if they just let me revert my character to level 1 to play through the other racial areas and then perhaps give you some extra special reward for levelling to 80 twice .
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