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Introduction:

In the game update of March 29, 2011, we have decided to place several restrictions on the amount of AP, MP, and range that a character can accumulate.

Over time, updates and new equipment has caused the gap between the most powerful and the least powerful players to increase dramatically, even at the same level. While it is normal that the game rewards the investments of players, and it is also normal that some characters are more powerful than others, too much of a difference can significantly affect the game’s function and balance.

Reducing the gap in power between characters has become a necessary step for several reasons. It will provide for more interesting and balanced PvP, but more importantly, allows for content to be better targeted without becoming trivial. As everyone has seen during the stages of the Frigost expansion, it has become increasingly difficult to create content that is truly challenging to the most powerful of players, but still somehow accessible to the less powerful within the same level range. Changing this power gap allows us to offer you more calibrated content that should satisfy a greater range of players.

To reduce the gap in power between characters, we have decided to tackle two different problems which each require appropriate action:
  • Problem One: The disparity in power levels is too great.
  • Problem Two: The ability for players to equip large amounts of AP, MP, and range without sufficient stat constraints prevents the establishment of a stable basis for balancing classes, and has allowed some characters to easily overcome the normal constraints associated with their class (for example, a class that is intentionally limited in mobility or needs to stay within close range of an enemy cannot be properly balanced if that class can easily increase their total MP without making a real sacrifice).

Exotic Smithmaging

We will use a similar restriction that was using for the Goultarminator Tournament: it will not be possible to accumulate more than 1 AP, 1 MP, and 1 Range through “exotic” maging bonuses. Exotic smithmaging bonuses are those that are not originally present on the equipment (for example, maging MP onto a Gelano is an exotic mage – maging AP back onto a Gelano is not an exotic mage). It will be possible to wear objects that provide more than 1 AP, 1 MP, and 1 Range, but only the maximum allowed amount of each bonus will be applied to the character’s stats.

This will reduce the power differences between the most powerful characters and others of their level group. These limitations – which were tested during the Goultarminator – seem reasonable and balanced; they allow players to invest time and effort in their characters in exchange for a significant advantage while remaining balanced and without significantly reducing the difficulty of game challenges.
Our intention is not to eliminate the differences between the most powerful characters and others, only to reduce and control those differences with better finesse. The ability to have perfect stats on equipment or create other exotic bonuses besides AP, MP, and Range leaves many options open for optimization and improvement of equipment.

Maximum limits for AP, MP, and Range

The other restriction we’ve set up applies to the maximum amount of AP, MP, and Range that a character can have.

This restriction does not apply to temporary bonuses given by spells, only to bonuses from equipment and other boosts (for example, Melon Shigekax). We have decided to set a limit of 12 AP, 6 MP, and 9 range maximum per character. Any additional AP, MP, or Range over these limits will not be taken into account, but will not prevent items from being equipped.

This restriction aims to set clear, strong boundaries on the maximums for the three major stats. The development of the game has shows that we need to establish strict maximum values for these bonuses to facilitate the balancing of classes and equipment. With these limits, we can more easily control each class’s movement capabilities and the combinations of spells or weapon attacks possible within a turn.

Diversity of characters and future equipment

Introducing limits for the maximum amount of AP, MP, and Range will doubtlessly trend towards the majority of characters maxing out their possible bonuses. However, we remain confident that the Smithmaging system will make it possible to create builds of very different characters despite these limitations. Players may have more difficulty differentiating their builds through the amounts of AP, MP, and Range of their characters, but it is still possible to customize each piece of equipment with all other available effects (e.g. Lock, Dodge, resistances, damage bonuses, etc…).

Will other bonuses be limited?

At this time, we do not have any plans to apply restrictions to other effects. Technically, the system we have created for this change makes it possible for us to add restrictions for all cumulative effects if necessary.

So far, we have chosen to target AP, MP, and Range as the excessive increase of these bonuses have a negative impact on gameplay and cannot be offset by negative effects:

  • MP makes movement easy and the maximum size of game maps is limited. Having excessive amounts of MP removes some of tactical value of movement in combat.
  • AP controls how many actions one can perform per turn. Too much AP makes overcoming constraints to the number of actions performed in a turn simple.
  • Range makes reaching distant enemies easy, and the maximum size of the game maps is limited. Too much range makes movement less valuable defensively.

Most effects have a balancing effect that is its opposite (damage bonuses can be offset by damage resistance, lock bonuses can be offset by dodge bonuses). This balancing of these coupled effects can evolve symmetrically, acting as a check upon each other even when smithmaging is used to increase these bonuses.

Conclusions

These new restrictions will create a more stable basis for future balancing of classes and equipment. With these safeguards, we can more easily create combinations of equipment with original effects without the risk of exceeding certain critical values for AP, MP, and Range.
We also hope that these restrictions will allow us to add expansions at the next level of difficulty that will be better calibrated to satisfy the expectations of a greater number of players.

Originally posted by lichen
Category: Community - Game design