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What makes a game "balanced"?


#1

Right now, I would say Last Epoch is fairly balanced for this stage in its development. You can play the 8 available classes and have fun. All classes are not equal, but in most games they never are. The developers also are responsive when things seem to get out of whack. Perfect Balance is impossible to achieve but a good balance can make a game that holds players interest for a long time.

Here is what I think of when I think of a balanced game.

KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) - A game should not require an encyclopedic knowledge to start, but as players gain more experience and knowledge about the mechanics, they will make better builds and better choices in gameplay.

KISS 2 - A game does not need 15 currencies and 20 different ways to craft items. That just leads to exploitation by those who know how to do things efficiently and those who get lost in the intricacies.

Not easy to overpower - A game should not allow builds that can easily overpower the mobs and bosses, or that has little chance of ever dying.

Strategy and tactics required throughout the game - A game should require some thought at all stages through the game and should not turn into a mindless button-masher.

Different objectives achievable - A game should allow players to choose different paths, whether it be speedrunning to high levels, item farming, or just a casual party adventure with a few friends. A game should allow the player to decide how they would enjoy playing the game.

What makes a game “balanced” for you?


#2

Being able to play end game fairly easily with all builds, based on the same lvl and gear lvl.

No being able to speed run/or face tank with any build is not balanced.


#3

For me balance means:

  1. Every build is able to play the game and complete it with out any major problems.
  2. Power difference between classes should be reasonable, for the build type. That is damage + survivability should give a number close to X no matter the build and class.
  3. If it look like I can build a mage as a tank then that mage build should be able to tank.
  4. Should be able to build characters that can different play styles speed runners, near immortal tanks and glass cannons.

#4

“Balance” is a hard thing to define, IMO. To me a game is balanced when players of the same level and gear worn for their class, allows for the same survivability and damage output. But even this is subjective for most people. Then you have to factor in how two similar players fair against the same enemy, etc. It really boils down to the way the game is programmed mathematically to create a fair gaming experience for similar classes. It’s a really good question to ask though…


#5

If you really mean this the way you phrased it, I think that´s a horrible standpoint. If you pick skills + passives + gear that don´t synergise with each other (e.g. just because you like how certain skills look and feel), you should run into problems with your build or in other words not be able to complete the game. Additionally you should define what you mean by completing the game. Do you mean the story mode or do you mean all kinds of possible endgame systems including super hard Uber bosses aka content aimed at the most dedicated players?
I agree that power differences should come with level but especially gear. That being said, I think there is room for skills that scale well without the need of good gear but fall off endgame, while other skills are more gear dependant but have a higher scaling ceiling.
Furthermore, I would like to add that balancing is and should be an ongoing process. Finding very powerful maybe even op synergies between skills/passives/gear aka builds is part of the fun of an ARPG for me. Then they´ll balance/nerf that build with the next update and some other creative player comes up with another powerful build using newly introduced unique items and/or a formerly less used but now buffed skill.
One can write books about this stuff :smiley:


#6

I mean complete the story mode without hitting a wall or some other progress stop.
Of cause if you running around naked, doing fire damage but using physical buffs/debuffs you should have problems.

As for post story end game content that should be harder and I am not bothered about a wall there.


#7

Balance is tough to define, as others have mentioned, which is what causes some divides between parts of a game’s playerbase and between the dev team and parts of the playerbase. That said, in a modern ARPG I feel that the following guidelines make sense:

  1. A wide number of builds and playstyles should be able to complete the story/leveling experience.

  2. A wide number of builds and playstyles should be able to complete any given endgame activity within a reasonable margin of efficiency.

In an ARPG, when you offer enough choice (which players tend to like), every build cannot be expected to complete every activity in the game with the same efficiency. Some builds will be better for speed running a character through the story. Some will be better at certain types of encounters/activities. Balancing the game should be about creating enough varied content that different builds can shine in different circumstances, but that a relatively well thought out and synergistic build can complete any content with enough patience.

Getting in the weeds a bit, this requires that the rewards for things in the game make it worth doing. If there are 5 different activities in a game, but one of them is significantly more rewarding than the others (coughs Greater Rifts in D3 coughs), then only builds that are good at that content will be seen as viable, which affects how players feel about game balance.


#8

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