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Old July 13, 2011, 13:44   #1
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Göteborg, Sweden
Posts: 348
jens is on a distinguished road
Combat redesign - taking a step back

Combat redesign is overdue. I'd like to get some significant changes done in time for 3.4. Since combat changes need much discussion, and much play-testing, we need to start with it now. There are probably lots of threads about combat changes lying about, but I want to start by taking a step back. Since combat redesign is such a large topic, and probably filled with differing views, it would be helpful if we could first get to the same page. I'd like this discussion to be about what we want from a combat system, rather than how to change our current system. Once we have a consensus on what we want, it will be much more straightforward to actually design it.

My basic assumption in this post is that we already have a nice set of 'ingredients' for our combat system, we just need to change the recipe a bit. What I mean with 'ingredients' are things like “we have AC, and a higher AC makes the bearer take less damage”, or “additional blows can be achieved as a character develops”. These are things that most players would never consider removing, since they are so ingrained in what Angband is. This is not to say that nothing new can be added, but please wait with those suggestions for the moment.

I'll make a set of statements, questions and answers concerning what I feel is relevant to get combat design right. Please help me flesh this out, challenge any and all points were I've missed some issue, or got something totally wrong. I know it's hard to predict the life of forum threads, but please avoid concrete suggestions for changes. Combat is too large a topic to contain in one thread, so any such suggestions will bring chaos ;-)

Enough preamble :-)

We currently have 4 combat modes: melee, spells, ranged, and throwing. Should we have parity between them?
- No: melee > spells, ranged >> thrown
- All classes/races should be able to melee successfully.
- Some classes/races should be able to use spells as the main combat mode.
- Some classes/races should be able to use ranged as the main combat mode.
- In close combat (i.e. when standing next to a monster) melee should be the most effective combat mode for all classes.
- Throwing is mostly for flavour.

Increasing combat abilities is achieved through character level, stats, and equipment. To keep things clear I include stats gained through equipment in the category stats, and not in equipment. Should we have parity between them?
- Yes. I don't feel strongly either way, but the more parity we have, the easier it will be to balance the growth of combat abilities.

The growth curve of player combat abilities should match the growth curve of dungeon difficulty. That is, if you keep a steady pace in your dungeon exploration, you should, on average, have the same level of challenge throughout the dungeon.
- Yes. (This statement includes a parameter that does not really belong to a combat system, but it is useful as a reminder: any system we design needs to include plans to achieve parity with dungeon development.)

The growth curve of player combat abilities should be stable. That is, no matter what happens in your game, you should quite steadily increase in combat abilities.
- No: though in a long series of games the average power level should follow a smooth curve, in any given game big variations from this curve can, and should happen.

Should all combat modes have the same characteristics when it comes to development?
- Yes.

And remember, try to keep responses to general combat issues I have missed, and discussions to lead to a consensus on what we want.
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