While having all kinds of intricate detail sounds good and works well in a game where you may only have a dozen spells or items, it scales poorly. And in reality, in order to have a prayer of keeping things remotely balanced, I ended up with a ginormous spreadsheet full of formulas that I used to help me keep everything more-or-less balanced. In a sense, it calculated all the stats for me based on certain parameters, and then Iíd fiddle with the final results. That was still a ton of work for a game with spell and item counts well in the triple digits (and monster counts very near to that).
But in the end Ė does it really matter than this spell does 5% more damage for 5% more endurance cost, with a -1 to its attack chance, over another spell? Not really. It was cool that I could do that (and a WHOLE LOT MORE), but those kinds of subtleties arenít very interesting to players. To be honest, thatís not all that interesting to me, either, and Iím a junkie for that kind of detail. In many ways, my efforts to add so much flexibility actually obscured my end-goal: Itís easy to lose the forest for the trees when you are overwhelmed with stats, particularly when you (the designer) are up against deadlines and have to re-balance a bunch of monsters and equipment to fill a ďholeĒ between levels 5 & 6 where there isnít enough going on, etc.