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Design - Balance & Spells

  • Azzie
  • 09/07/2019 09:49 PM
Hello there!

Following the release of Wonder Robot D I’ve decided to write a few blogs about the concepts I used to design the game. I'd like to share how I’ve applied these concepts when creating the game.

This time I’ll talk a bit about the spells for battle and how I balanced the game to make sure each spell has a chance to shine.

Balanced Combat with Distinct Spells
Having played a fair few RPGs. One thing that I think goes underdeveloped is the distinction between different skills and spells. In some games you’ll find you have Fire, Thunder, Ice, Water attack spells. But the only difference between each one is the element...

One of the aspects I wanted to focus on in Wonder Robot D was making spells distinct. I wanted to make it so the player feels each spell meaningfully expands your options and to create battles were each spell can shine.

Amongst the first spells you receive is Bubble Spray. A water spell 2 Power which attacks 4 random enemies. It only costs 5 energy which is one of the cheapest costs for a move that can do 8 damage:

WRD's basic damage formula is

Damage = Power - Defense

If there’s a foe’s defence is 0 or reduced to 0 Bubble Spray is at its best!

However an enemy only needs 1 defence to half the damage, 2 defence to nullify it. Plus if there more than 1 enemy in an encounter you can’t control how the damage is spread.

By thinking about the base mechanics and maths of each move. You can create situational skills where even before factors like elemental weaknesses are taken into account the player will consider their potential offensive/defensive options.

I found a simple way to balance this was to think about what kind of battles and enemies could be most effectively beaten by specific spell. To make a spell like Bubble Spray effective I knew tha as the game progressed there would still need to be enemies and bosses who have 0 DEF. Like-wise to make other spells such as ones which ignore defense useful I'd have enemies with higher defense and low HP.

Some other Spells
  • Gust: 4 Power, 1 Energy

  • Ignite: 2 Power, 3 Energy, 70% to inflict burn

  • Twice As Bright: 4 Power, 4 Energy, 8 power if HP < 50%

  • Bolt: 5 Power, 4 Energy, ignores 50% of foes defense

  • Snow Flurry: 3 Power, 4 Energy, attacks all foes

The power of the standard attack command is 3 regardless of level. This was used as a basis of what the spells were balanced around. A spell which costs energy will either be stronger than the standard attack of 3 or will have an additional effect.

Give Wonder Robot D a shot if you want to play a game with a balanced spell system.

Thanks for Reading!