Need some help with weapon attack sizes/gameplay balance

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  • [WARNING: I tend to get long-winded sometimes. I don't think this post is really all that long though, considering I wasn't trying to make it long]

    This definitely doesn't fall under "Tech Support" but more "Help". Or rather... "Advice"? "Suggestions"?

    In any case, I can't decide what to do about weapons in my game. First, let me introduce you to what I'm doing here. I have four characters, their species name being "Squishies". (Haven't been able to figure out a name for them yet.) Here they are:

    <img src="">

    A green one, red one, yellow and blue. Each one of these four has an elemental affinity, the green Squishy being wind/lightning, the red Squishy being fire, the yellow Squishy being earth, and the blue Squishy being ice/water.

    As you can see, the player is supposed to be able to change which Squishy they're playing as at any time. You might notice a "Weapon" option below them. Here's the weapons:

    <img src="">

    There are what's going to be known in the game as the "Elemental Weapons". There's four of them as well: sword, hammer, long-range, and pole-arm. As you can see, the player is going to be able to change the weapon they're using at any time as well. The Elemental Weapon changes its element, its shape, and weapon type depending on what Squishy the player is playing as.

    For example, if the wind/lightning Squishy is using the sword, it becomes a rapier. If the fire Squishy is being played with that same weapon, it becomes a broadsword. Likewise, if the wind/lightning Squishy is being played, and the long-range weapon is equipped, it turns into a bow-and-arrow. If the fire Squishy is using that same weapon, it becomes a semi-automatic pistol with explosive rounds, for the fire element, of course (and I couldn't pass up a change to throw in one instance of a normal handgun somewhere in here).

    Here's where this long introduction finally gets to the obvious matter of gameplay balance. If you've been paying attention, this comes out to 16 different weapons. 4 Squishies times 4 Elemental Weapons = 16 different weapons to think about and animate.

    Let's get down to what I was worrying about. I was just starting so far, and trying to make the green Squishy's sword a rapier, you know, quick jabs, weak attack. The red Squishy would've had a broadsword, and I decided that since the red Squishy should have the highest attack, it should be the slowest, but shorter than the rapier for some balance. But then I thought, "A broadsword, shorter than a rapier? That might be a little silly." And then I was given the suggestion to give the earth Squishy a claymore for its sword-type. "But a claymore is about as long as a broadsword..." I thought to myself.

    Would it better to nitpick over all the details of balance, or go ahead and keep the weapons a bit more accurate in size? I suppose I COULD make the rapier shorter than the other weapons... Seems like that could work.

    Should I just go ahead and design the weapons and let them be whatever sizes they come out to be? This is the collision box we're talking about of course, how much of an area the player has with attacks. I considered making the broadsword one of the shorter weapons since it would have the highest attack out of all the swords, but maybe it could be one of the biggest ones if it has such slow speed to compensate. I'm not sure...

    What do you guys think? I didn't even want to ask for suggestions on weapon attacks and sizes, figuring, "Well, I should be able to figure EVERYTHING out." but, you know, Miyamoto, Kojima, Sakaguchi, Sakurai, Naka and others didn't really work alone either.

    ...But then again, no one else has come to these forums asking for advice. -_-;

    But the point remains. Any suggestions on weapon types? Sizes? Should that not be a worry?

    And yes, I asked about weapon types, because I wasn't sure what to make the earth-elemental sword, and my first suggestion was an axe. Then I received a claymore as a suggestion afterwards. Anything you guys think about the weapon sizes, speeds, types?

    As a side-note, I figured that wind/lightning Squishy = fast, speedy attacks, but weakest of the four. Fire Squishy = strongest attack, weakest defense. Water/ice Squishy = strongest defense, weakest attack. "Wait, didn't you just say the wind Squishy had the weakest attack?" Well, yes, but its speed should be fast enough to where it can deal more damage in the same amount of time the ice/water Squishy can. Ice/water Squishy would still have weakest attack as a result of not being speedy enough. And earth Squishy = ...I'm not sure. Well, I imagine we'd have to have ONE normal, regular, balanced, average joe fighter in there.

    Ugh, and after this, I gotta figure out the combo attacks I wanna implement. I have the imagination, but nowhere near the programming skills for that.

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  • I'd say don't worry about weapon sizes and realism. Make it fun. After all, you don't even have to give those weapons names, or at least common names people can recognise. This way no one would expect one weapon to be shorter than another or whatever.

  • Fun comes first.

    Part of the fun can be exploring strategy. I'm never a big fan of the "BFG" mentality, but rather trade offs between different playstyles.

    A smaller sword might hit for less and have a lower range, but it might swing the fastest, meaning in the situation where someone wanted to capitalize on that strength, their playstyle would differ from other people using a longer, slower swinging sword... but one that hits much harder per swing.

    In the end, you should probably put your balance numbers in an excel (or open office) sheet and create a balancing system (a number value for each strength) and try to get the weapons to equal about the same total value... but with different distribution.

    But by no means should technicalities circumvent fun. People play games to have fun

  • If anyone complains about the weapons themselves being unrealistic, they're overthinking it. Besides, it really comes down to who's holding the thing, after all.

    I mean, let's take the broadsword/claymore example: both of similar lengths and weights. But if my grandmother has a broadsword, and King Arthur has a claymore, I'm pretty sure about the odds on who's going to slay the dragon with it and rescue the fair maiden, all other things being equal.

    What I'm really saying here is, don't let it bother you, just make sure they're all balanced the way you'd like, and attribute any strangeness to the Squishies themselves.

    There's probably something to be said for making sure certain classes of weapons have certain things in common, even if damage isn't one of those things. Range is a really good example, and it doesn't seem like there's a real bonus to making a rapier shorter than any other sword; it might as well be a big dagger or something, at that point, which is likely to read better intuitively (meaning there'll be no surprise for the player when it also attacks more rapidly).

    Props to you for asking for advice here Few people seem to do it, and I suspect it's largely a matter of ego. Everyone wants their game to fit their own personal vision, after all, and soliciting advice somehow "dilutes" that vision for them. But that's a bit silly, as you well know; the best games aren't conceived in a vacuum, but with a lot of serious collaborative effort.

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