An unbalanced system represents wasted development resources at the very least, and at worst can undermine the game’s entire ruleset by making important roles or tasks impossible to perform. An important trait of any game is the illusion of winnability. If a game is to basics of game design pdf a continuing challenge to players, it must also provide a continuing motivation to play.
The game must appear to be winnable to all players, beginners and experts, but it must never truly be winnable or it will lose its appeal. Her one word answer was “Cheat. Asked what to do if gamers complained, she said, “Lie! The illusion, he said, “is very difficult to maintain. Balancing does not necessarily mean making a game fair. This potential for unfairness creates uncertainty, leading to the tension and excitement that action games seek to deliver.
In these cases balancing is instead the management of unfair scenarios, with the ultimate goal of ensuring that all of the strategies which the game intends to support are viable. The extent to which those strategies are equal to one another defines the character of the game in question. Simulation games can be balanced unfairly in order to be true to life. A wargame may cast the player into the role of a general who was defeated by an overwhelming force, and it is common for the abilities of teams in sports games to mirror those of the real-world teams they represent regardless of the implications for players who pick them. Player perception can also affect the appearance of fairness. Video games often allow players to influence their balance by offering a choice of “difficulty levels”.
These affect how challenging the game is to play. In addition to altering the game’s rules, difficulty levels can be used to alter what content is presented to the player. An alternative approach to difficulty levels is catering to players of all abilities at the same time, a technique that has been called “subjective difficulty”. Pacing is also a consideration in competitive games, but the autonomy of players makes it harder to control. The simplest game balancing technique is giving each player identical resources. An alternative is to offer symmetry with restrictions.
The brute force approach to balancing is the mathematical analysis of game session results. With enough data, it is possible to identify unbalanced areas of a game and make corrections. The downside of randomization is that it takes control away from the player, potentially leading to frustration. Many games become more challenging if the player is successful. Such systems are often referred to as having dynamic difficulty.
Both games use an AI Director which not only generates random events but tries to create tension and fear by spawning-in creatures to specific rule sets based on how players are progressing, specifically penalizing players through more difficult challenges for not working together. However, this is not always the case, as some characters are purposely “gimped” by the game’s developers in order to provide an incentive for raising their level, or, conversely, to give the player an early head-start. A “nerf” is a change to a game that reduces the desirability or effectiveness of a particular game element. Among game developers, MMORPG designers are especially likely to nerf aspects of a game in order to maintain game balance. This is sometimes due to an unforeseen method of using or acquiring the object that was not considered by the developers.
The frequency and scale of nerfing vary widely from game to game, but almost all massively multiplayer games have engaged in nerfing at some point. As players respond, the nerf may cause prices to fluctuate before settling down in a different equilibrium. This impact on the economy, along with the original impact of the nerf, can cause large player resentment for even a small change. In particular, in the case of items or abilities which have been nerfed, players can become upset over the perceived wasted efforts in obtaining the now nerfed features.