So anyway, all the time I run into this issue, Especially in multiplayer games, where the designers are so concerned with balancing the power of the objects in their game, that they forget the many Other vectors we have to balance on. Today, We’re going to talk about how to balance your game for player skill. Because, it’s important, not only for designers But also for how we, as players, understand our games. The central idea is this: While raw power is one way to balance a game, you also need to balance for the equation: Player Skill in to Power out. Now this is going to seem strange at first, because this should very much not be a linear progression.
If something takes x skill to execute and has y power, then something that takes x +2 skill to execute, Should NOT have y plus 2 power. What makes this so counterintuitive to many designers is the fact that, especially in a multiplayer Environment, the Ratio of power to skill should be higher the lower the amount of skill required to do something. Which is very different than saying, that the power of something that requires low skills should be hi- You know what? that really got complex In a hurry. Let’s just go to some examples. Now, many of you have probably played Street Fighter at some point.
One of the first Useful moves you learned was probably, Honda’s Hundred Hand Slap or Chun-Li’s Kick. They felt awesome to do, they give you a big advantage over your friends who didn’t know them, and you could blaze through the first Few computer opponents by simply doing these moves over and over again. This is incredibly important. These are moves that provide a large amount of power for a very small amount of skill. But they are far from being the most powerful skills in the game. In fact, most pro players use these moves only rarely. So, why are they there? What do they do? Well, They give some way for the new player to compete. To not feel completely out of their depth. To not just get totally stomped all the time. They give a Comfortable place where the player can come to understand why, they might enjoy the game. Before the game asks them to put in a lot Of hours honing their skills. Which in turn, drives us to keep playing and learn more. You want an even better example? Take the Noobtube in Call of Duty. Now, Because Call of Duty has random matchmaking, very experienced players will often be thrown in with players Just putting in the disk for the first time. The only way to make the game engaging for either the skilled players, or for the New players, is to give the new players something that grants them a lot of power, for the low amount of skill required to use it. hence, the Noobtube.