NUMBERS, AND SYSTEM TRANSPARENCY

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On my way home from work today, I began thinking about the numbers that games show us next to character stats. No, I don't know why. Specifically, how pointless and confusing they are.

Anyway, I got to thinking about how meaningless they tend to be, especially early in the game. Alice has a "5" in their primary Magic stat and Bob has a "6." We know 6 is higher than 5, but without any unit of measurement or point of comparison, it's a pretty useless fact to be given. 5 and 6 out of what? A one point difference in magical ability doesn't really mean anything in a game like Disgaea, where getting any given stat to five figures is no big deal, but in a game like Fire Emblem where you're not going to bust 20, it could mean the world.

For that matter, what about equipment? Is a ring that gives me a +5 in Magic more useful than a piece of armor that gives me an extra 20 HP? That can be even harder to know, especially because HP never seems to follow the same rules as the rest of the character's stats.


What I'm getting at here is that I think there should be some effort made towards transparency in character capabilities. I'm not sure what the best way to do this might be. Percentage based scores are one thought. "+20% chance to dodge enemy attacks" tells the player a lot more than "Dodge: +20."

I've been thinking for a long time that it'd be a cool idea to try and do away with all the meaningless numbers altogether--just give the player more descriptive but less specific information. Like rating their stats as "Good," "Excellent," "Bad," "Awful," or the like. Or maybe just using letter grades. I dunno, though. Any thoughts on the Numbers Racket?
Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
13715
I think about this stuff, too. I think that percentages would be the best way to go--establish a maximum for your game, and then present the percentages.

The word rating is interesting, too.
I despise this idea because I love numbers in my games, and some games that's the main reason I enjoy them.
I actually have a problem with this a lot of times in RPGs. I loved how in FFTA, increasing your strength by one increased your damage output by one.

If you can manage to pull of a 1-to-1 ratio, or any sort of ratio, and convey it to the player, you open up all sorts of possibilities.
Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
13715
author=Feldschlacht IV link=topic=3169.msg62203#msg62203 date=1234837383
I despise this idea because I love numbers in my games, and some games that's the main reason I enjoy them.


....



........................................................................


Can you not read

% != string(x)
No, not percentages. Just flat out, regular ass old numbers. Seriously, the stat system in most RPGs is one thing that I don't see that needs any real overhaul.
Stats are a deep part of RPGs. Golden Sun uses numbers to describe all kinds of items and I'd find it much more helpful than getting a grading system instead.
author=Feldschlacht IV link=topic=3169.msg62208#msg62208 date=1234837679
No, not percentages. Just flat out, regular ass old numbers. Seriously, the stat system in most RPGs is one thing that I don't see that needs any real overhaul.

All right, well let me ask you this: would you rather have a piece of equipment that increases your HP by 20 or your Speed by 1?
That all depends on the game. If it's Breath of Fire III, give me the 20 HP, if it's Xenogears, give me the 1 Speed.
author=Feldschlacht IV link=topic=3169.msg62213#msg62213 date=1234838739
That all depends on the game. If it's Breath of Fire III, give me the 20 HP, if it's Xenogears, give me the 1 Speed.
Let's assume it's not a game where there's an FAQ available that has worked out the mechanics for you, just the basic stuff that the in-game tutorial explains. So "HP determines how much damage you can take before you fall, and speed determines how often your character moves."
author=Shadowtext link=topic=3169.msg62212#msg62212 date=1234838632
All right, well let me ask you this: would you rather have a piece of equipment that increases your HP by 20 or your Speed by 1?

Why are you even asking this? It's up to which character's going to equip it. If s/he lacks HP I'll give the +20 HP to that person, likewise if they need more speed then I'll give the speed item. Even if there's no way to compare stats, experimentation never hurt anyone.
I believe numbers serve the purpose of providing players with a value to gauge their progress. I think the game developer needs to decide the proper weight of a given value. Comparing one character's value to another may not be necessarily fruitful, but using those values combined with a potential increase of the stat by equipment or level gains helps the player devise their own ideas about what is valuable or not. Playing the numbers game has always been an enjoyable part of the games I play, so I personally would be disappointed if they were excluded or over-simplified.

Percentages work for some things (like dodge and hit chances), but not for general statistics like HP, Strength, etc. I like believing there is no theoretical limit to how much you can buff a certain stat. This is also why I dislike ratings as well. If I'm stacking up on a particular stat, and it's rated as "good," it would drive me nuts wondering how I could make it better. If it's "best," then I'd be disappointed I couldn't increase it any more.
author=Shadowtext link=topic=3169.msg62215#msg62215 date=1234838877
author=Feldschlacht IV link=topic=3169.msg62213#msg62213 date=1234838739
That all depends on the game. If it's Breath of Fire III, give me the 20 HP, if it's Xenogears, give me the 1 Speed.
Let's assume it's not a game where there's an FAQ available that has worked out the mechanics for you, just the basic stuff that the in-game tutorial explains. So "HP determines how much damage you can take before you fall, and speed determines how often your character moves."


The same response still applies.
author=Feldschlacht IV link=topic=3169.msg62218#msg62218 date=1234838955
author=Shadowtext link=topic=3169.msg62215#msg62215 date=1234838877
author=Feldschlacht IV link=topic=3169.msg62213#msg62213 date=1234838739
That all depends on the game. If it's Breath of Fire III, give me the 20 HP, if it's Xenogears, give me the 1 Speed.
Let's assume it's not a game where there's an FAQ available that has worked out the mechanics for you, just the basic stuff that the in-game tutorial explains. So "HP determines how much damage you can take before you fall, and speed determines how often your character moves."


The same response still applies.
So then "Ask me again after I've played the game for about twenty hours?"
author=Shadowtext link=topic=3169.msg62219#msg62219 date=1234839052
author=Feldschlacht IV link=topic=3169.msg62218#msg62218 date=1234838955
author=Shadowtext link=topic=3169.msg62215#msg62215 date=1234838877
author=Feldschlacht IV link=topic=3169.msg62213#msg62213 date=1234838739
That all depends on the game. If it's Breath of Fire III, give me the 20 HP, if it's Xenogears, give me the 1 Speed.
Let's assume it's not a game where there's an FAQ available that has worked out the mechanics for you, just the basic stuff that the in-game tutorial explains. So "HP determines how much damage you can take before you fall, and speed determines how often your character moves."


The same response still applies.
So then "Ask me again after I've played the game for about twenty hours?"

No, the same response still applies. More like, five minutes.
Why not this?

HP: Damage required to kill a combatant.
STR: Increases damage dealt physically by 1 for each point.
DEF: Reduces physical damage by 2 for each point.
SPD: Reduces time between turns by 1 sec for every 100 points above the lowest speed score in battle.

Spell out what each statistic does, and make your formulas transparent. Shouldn't that work fine?
author=Feldschlacht IV link=topic=3169.msg62221#msg62221 date=1234839117
author=Shadowtext link=topic=3169.msg62219#msg62219 date=1234839052
author=Feldschlacht IV link=topic=3169.msg62218#msg62218 date=1234838955
author=Shadowtext link=topic=3169.msg62215#msg62215 date=1234838877
author=Feldschlacht IV link=topic=3169.msg62213#msg62213 date=1234838739
That all depends on the game. If it's Breath of Fire III, give me the 20 HP, if it's Xenogears, give me the 1 Speed.
Let's assume it's not a game where there's an FAQ available that has worked out the mechanics for you, just the basic stuff that the in-game tutorial explains. So "HP determines how much damage you can take before you fall, and speed determines how often your character moves."


The same response still applies.
So then "Ask me again after I've played the game for about twenty hours?"

No, the same response still applies. More like, five minutes.
I'm amazed that after five minutes of playing Breath of Fire III and Xenogears you had figured out the DPS well enough to know how many HP you would be saving by having one more point in speed.

author=ChaosProductions link=topic=3169.msg62222#msg62222 date=1234839186
Why not this?

HP: Damage required to kill a combatant.
STR: Increases damage dealt physically by 1 for each point.
DEF: Reduces physical damage by 2 for each point.
SPD: Reduces time between turns by 1 sec for every 100 points above the lowest speed score in battle.

Spell out what each statistic does, and make your formulas transparent. Shouldn't that work fine?
That works fine, I suppose. It seems a little expo-dump-y, to me, but people in this community seem pretty okay with Info Dumps in general, so whatever.
I'm amazed that after five minutes of playing Breath of Fire III and Xenogears you had figured out the DPS well enough to know how many HP you would be saving by having one more point in speed.

It took me about one level up in Xenogears to notice the importance of Agility and one glance at BOF's status screen to notice that importance of HP, respectively.
I agree with the consensus, Shadowtext. The player determines the value of any stat based on their experience with the game.

That's not to say a system without, or with limited, numbers won't work. It just waters down my own experience.
author=S. F. LaValle link=topic=3169.msg62225#msg62225 date=1234839462
I agree with the consensus, Shadowtext. The player determines the value of any stat based on their experience with the game.

That's not to say a system without, or with limited, numbers won't work. It just waters down my own experience.
I'm not trying to get rid of numbers. I'm trying to get rid of meaningless numbers.

Let's put it this way: if we were using colors instead of numbers, would you rely on the player's experience to determine which color was good and which color was bad? Or would you want to give them some indication that "Yes, this is a good thing!"
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