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Game Design and Resource Depletion

Justin Mallone:
    U can get a lot of gaming done on an iPad mini 2 from Walmart
    Very cheap gaming system
Elliot Temple:
    it even runs TOKI TORI
Justin Mallone:
    Is portable
    Dude it runs baldurs gate heh
Elliot Temple:
    it runs toki tori with great UI
Justin Mallone:
Elliot Temple:
    it runs baldur's gate with inferior UI
Justin Mallone:
    I should play BG or BG2 on my new iMac sometime
    I also have new shadow run game
Elliot Temple:
    hard to argue with that
Justin Mallone:
Elliot Temple:
    i checked their new bg 1.5 game the other day
    release date unannounced
    says it's like bigger than sword coast + throne of bhaal expansions i think
    > 25 hrs
    not full game size
Justin Mallone:
Elliot Temple:
    i haven't even touched IWD EE yet
    i played mb half of iwd when it was new tho
    my bg2 game is still like 70% thru
    haven't played lately
    still interested in using a difficulty and AI mod pack on bg1
    or mb bg2
Justin Mallone:
    And then solo bard?
Elliot Temple:
    or kinda curious about rekking bg2 with solo sorcerer (with mass save/load)
    bard? eww
Justin Mallone:
    Challenge bro!!!!
Elliot Temple:
    challenge is more fun with the best mage spells
Justin Mallone:
Elliot Temple:
    half the point is to abuse time stop and simulacrum!!
Justin Mallone:
Elliot Temple:
    another way to make the games way more fun is to limit resting heavily.
    not just like "only rest in town"
    but actually map out areas ur gonna do in one go
    like this whole dungeon
    or clear these 5 wilderness zones
    and try to do that. without save/load
    one result is u will actually care about bringing 500 potions
    and it makes u manage resources more
    one of the main problems with the game is basically most fights aren't threatening to u to DIE
    they only threaten resources. the tension is: do u use up 3 spells or 4? lose 5 hp or 20hp?
    these differences only matter if ur trying to do a large amount of gameplay on fixed resources
    if u restore resources often, then the easy fights are boring
    btw this is a really common game design issue affecting many games
    lots of games have all/nothing fight outcomes
    u die or u win
    lots of games now just give u instant full hp/mana after every fight or something resaonably close to that
    like in WoW u eat/drink after and ur full shortly
Justin Mallone:
Elliot Temple:
    in diablo ur pretty much full after every fight
    dragon age gives u out of combat hp/mana regen that's large
    so the result with free resources coming back after combat
    is all fights that don't threaten to kill u r boring
    u don't care if it uses 25% or 75% of ur resources
    another result is u rarely ever use resources that don't regen like potions. cuz u don't need to, and they aren't free
    this makes for bad gameplay. diablo has to have things that can kill u in like 2 seconds or less, or u can't really be in danger
    in WoW ur healer can get u from 1% hp to full in like 2 seconds
Justin Mallone:
    It'd be interesting if getting below certain HP like maimed u, so permanent stat hit. And healing resources were scarce. So then there's issue of being more aggressive on healing and using up more scarce resources, vs trying to conserve but risking getting maimed more
Elliot Temple:
    not to mention u can drink a potion, have an instant cast shield put on you by a healer (to protect u during heal casting time), have instant heal for a third of ur hp (not sure), etc
    in general i think u need to really limit resource regen in games, so that dying can happen over a period of, say, 30 seconds, slowly
    as ur resources deplete gradually and u make multiple choices over time
    this requires preventing really ez retreat
    most games only do that on boss fights (lock u in arena)
    in TKoK (rpg i worked on. i worked on design, testing, balance, items, bugfixing. and played a ton), healers can full heal u pretty instantly. but their heals go on cooldown. (in WoW most heals don't go on cooldown).
    a fair amount of deaths are full to dead very fast, esp if u do something dumb, but
    a lot of deaths are b/c of chaos and lots of ppl getting hurt and healer being busy
    and ppl getting out of range of healer, spread out, running around everywhere
    and it gets messy and so some ppl stop getting immediate heals
    and also the healer has to keep a good chunk of his heals going to the tank usually
    when he gets stressed, and distracted healing dps, sometimes tanks fall
    so it allows for things to fall apart over 15s sometimes
    cleric can half dps for about half their life instantly, with 2s cd, and has a bigger heal on 5s cd
    so if ppl are getting hit frequently and tank needs a good amount of the heals, the leftover to keep everyone at full gets limited
    tkok has full resource regen btwn fights
    just makes the fights hard
    has a lot of stuff to prevent retreat including on trash enemies
    so that they aren't boring and can threaten u
    there's other stuff to worry about too
    like some boss fights have time limits, so u have to keep dpsing
    or like they can have a specific part where a bunch of enemies spawn
    and u need a lot of aoe dps fast or u'll die
    and u have to manage aggro (which enemies attack who). basically u want tank to aggro everything
    if certain trash enemies attack a non-tank
    they will kill him in a few seconds
    it's really harsh later in the game
    so there's different ways to die or get hit, e.g. standing in enemy aoe spell zones, or not managing aggro properly, or there's some basically unavoidable dmg that can hit non-tank, but is low enough not to kill, but needs prompt healing to be safe
    managing aggro well often requires good positioning. if dps all just stands wherever and shoots, and enemies can walk up from different sides, can be real hard for tank
    if they can kinda get in back in a corner, then it's much easier to keep enemies off them
    tkok2 had default AI aggro instead of a system based on who damaged something (with tanks having a large bonus multiplier, so their hits do the most aggro even tho dmg is low)
    and that was cool too
    u'd use chokepoints to force enemies onto the tank
    there was a boss fight where u'd go squish ur dps behind some rocks and there's openings on both ends, but other than the 2 ppl at openings u can keep them safe (mostly. there's ranged enemies)
    lots of times there were many different spells to worry about dodging at once
    like a boss had a splash dmg melee attack in front of him (short range cone) and rotated (so like melee dps who walk up and hit him have to watch out for rotations), and had a longer range shockwave that would 1shot most ppl and he'd do that in random directions sometimes, and had a starfall (it'd just pick random spots in boss zone and send down a thing that does dmg with a short warning graphic. it would do several of these per second, so there's usually some going off near u)
    and then sometimes he'd do his big spell where it turns the battlefield dark and makes pillars of light
    and u have to get into the pillars. ONE PLAYER PER PILLAR and there's no extras
    and u have a few seconds to do this or u die
    if u share a pillar u both die
    so ppl have to be good at coordinating – don't run to same pillar.
    and have to be spread out b4 it starts
    and meanwhile the range on heals is like 40% of the size of the boss fight area
    so ppl going everywhere are often away from teh healer
    and then meanwhile there's 3 minibosses who the tank aggros and runs around the fight in a circle the entire time
    (there's a bonus goal for better loot of not killing them)
    and they each have spells, and u have to also worry about not hitting them with splash dmg cuz they dont' have that much hp, and dont' ehal
    the tank in theory doesn't have to run circles, but if he stands still he'll take tons of dmg from them and it'll eat up most of the healer's healing
    tanks would actually swap on faster movement speed gear for this fight, at the cost of armor/hp, in order to outrun them better. taking fewer hits that way worked better than being more tanky
    it's common for fights to have several things that are quite hard to dodge but do maybe 1/3 or 1/2 of ur hp, and then some things that are somewhat easier to dodge and less common but will 1shot most ppl.
    and to have phase changes. different parts of the fight. either a progression, or a cycle.
    and being prepared for the changes, not taken by surprise, really helps with dodging
    another thing that adds complexity and skill is defensive cooldowns
    like ways to reduce incoming dmg temporarily, but which u can only use infrequently
    like 25% dmg reduction for 5s, with 90s cooldown
    was a potion
    this is another way to allow things to fall apart over time
    as ppl get a lot of resources like that on cooldown
    WoW has that too. has lots of longer cooldown spells and items that are great. some are defensive.
    another thing we had that WoW doesn't do much (or at all? not sure) is shared cooldowns
    hp and mana potions use the same cooldown
    and mana potions are a big deal
    commonly used
    so if u ever use hp pot for emergency, ur losing out on some mana
    and if u drink mana constantly, ur hp pot isn't even available to use most of the time
    the 25% dmg reduction pot shared cd with a dmg boost pot and a speed boost pot
    and this led to interesting gear choices
    for example some fights have movement speed requirements to deal with certain things
    and u can either wear enough permanent move speed (at cost of dps, hp, mana, etc)
    OR you can be too slow but use ur consumables to cover up that weakness
    for mana vs hp pots, u can wear extra mana regen gear (giving up a bit of dps or hp. or move speed, or some other things)
    so that u'll have hp pots available more
    warriors and healers did this a lot
    whereas dps would rely on mana potions more, and not have heal pot safety much
    another thing was lots of gear had negative stats
    so instead of like having lots of extra in various categories
    as is common in most games
    u could actually manage the amount of each resource u need
    like if ur willing to play with small mana pool, u can have more hp
    rather than just having plenty of mana and no choices about it
    u could give up whatever mana, hp, speed, armor, etc, u thot was extra to get more dps or other resource
    it was common for ppl to play with significant amounts of negative hp regeneration
    so that's another thing that woudl stress healers lol
    b/c ppl wanted to be losing 2.5% of their max hp per second
    in order to do more dps
    ppl would adjust gear for different bosses tho and for trash
    like u can't have that kinda hp degen on some fights
    too suicidal
    but u can on others
    degen + higher max hp is actually safer for some things
    if u can get ur hp high enuf, u can hit breakpoitns
    like turn some 1shots into 2shots
    or turn some 2shots into 3shots
    or 3shots into 4shots
    (u might think etc. but after those 3 cases, who cares. after that it's just more hp is better, not really breakpoints tho)
    the first 2 breakpoitns are the main one
    being able to live thru something at full hp. or being able to get hit by 2 of something from full instead of only 1
    being able to live thru 3 of something btwn heals also matters sometimes. beyond that, ur not counting exact hits in that way
    note that accepting hp degeneration for more dps is not necessarily greedy or risky play
    if u win a boss fight in 4min instead of 5min, u just arguably reduced ur chance of fucking up and dying by 20%
    if u made the fight 5% more difficult due to the degeneration, than maybe ur coming out safer – that is, will succeed in 80 out of 100 attempts with degen, and 75 out of 100 with the longer fight.
    more dps also adds safety in situations like: boss spawns extra minions temporarily. the faster u kill them, the safer.
    and it adds safety on bosses with time limits. (which are usually soft – meaning it slowly, gradually gets harder over time)
    the tradeoffs are fun. ppl decide things like: exactly how much movement speed do i need here? and try to aim for not too much or too little.
    in most games either u can't control that, or u basically just maximize it.
    u never go like "ok well i think i can play with 20% less than default move speed and get away with it. i'll take some more hp instead."
    on my healer i'd intentinoally run extra hp and move speed and mana regen so i could go save ppl who fucked up
    could run thru danger zone fast and heal them while taking hits myself
    and have hp pot ready, cuz not using mana pots
    i think most dps cut too many corners for dmg
    and overall wasn't worth it. ppl too greedy
    the cost of any deaths is super high
    however i'm partly biased b/c i'm good at playing long fights without fucking up
    good at playing very consistently and correctly without having a concentration lapse
    whereas most ppl were worse at that, so benefitted more from being greedy to try to make fights shorter
    also extra defense matters more if u know the game better and play in a more organized way
    the more u control the situations, the more u can know what the threats are and what defensive will actually work to address it
    whereas if ur play is more chaotic, then more defense MIGHT help, but lots of times it won't save u anyway
    the more everything is carefully managed, the more u can keep things in situations where specific extra defenses actually make the difference
    the issue with long fights (e.g. 20min) and ppl messing up after a while isn't just stuff like concentration
    it's also things like: what is their strategy for dealing with X threat or Y spell?
    and ppl will have strategies that have small risks. work like 97% of the time when done right.
    and so in longer fights, the chance of something going wrong when u keep rolling those dice gets reasonable sized
    whereas i'd more often work out strategies to deal with stuff that are more than 99% safe if u don't make a mistake
    so in a longer fight, if i don't make a mistake, the odds of bad luck remain quite low
Justin Mallone:
    >another thing we had that WoW doesn't do much (or at all? not sure) is shared cooldowns
Elliot Temple:
    i think it has some
    medium hp pot and greater hp pot
    would share cd
    stuff like that
    but idk about any serious choices like tkok has
    where it's like speed pot vs dmg reduction pot vs dmg boost pot on shared cd
Justin Mallone:
    Witcher has something like this kinda. Pre-battle potion prep big part of Witcher universe lore. anyways u can use several different pots but they add to ur toxicity level. Start getting various penalties if u use too many
Elliot Temple:
    that's just an overall resource limit
    that's the same as D&D spells
    where memorizing spells b4 a battle is big part of game
    but ur blocked from having too many
    witcher toxicity is soft limit (increasing penalties as u go higher). D&D spell memorization is hard cap. but basically same thing.
Justin Mallone:
    It's not a literal hard number of seconds cool down I guess. More like a soft cool down. ur toxicity goes down over time tho so similar effect u kno
Elliot Temple:
    (i assume @ toxicity. not actually familiar)
    a global limit can be interesting but
    pretty different than having small groups of things to choose btwn
Justin Mallone:
    Oh heh u guessed what i wrote

Elliot Temple on November 28, 2015


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