Stacking and balancing

Quite a few MMOs suffer from the problem of balance with extreme values describing the players. It doesn’t matter what type of game it is and what the values are – whether it’s damage, health or armor. The old VA also had this problem and every now and then you had to come up with more and more creative fixes. For this reason, the problem should be solved at the design stage.

One possible solution is to introduce stacking penalties. Stacking, in this case, means having many of the same bonuses active at the same time. With no stacking limitations, you can make an indestructible character, deal ridiculous damage or destroy the balance in any other way.

This effect can be limited by reducing the bonus with each subsequent occurrence of the given effect. At this point, each bonus is multiplied by a special multiplier:

M(i)=e^{-(i/2.67)^2}

where i is the bonus number in sequence (0, 1, 2, …). This is shown in the graph below:

The effect is best seen with the damage bonus. Suppose we have items that add 5, 10, 15 and 20 damage. With no stacking penalties, the final score is 50. With the multiplier we have:

result=5\cdot1+10\cdot0.869+15\cdot0.57+20\cdot0.283=27.9

Almost 2x less! Thanks to this, it is not possible to use the game system to disturb the balance. Of course, everything is in the planning stage for now, and corrections can be made if needed. The order of bonuses is not yet determined.

As usual – comment your thoughts below!

Leave a Reply