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  RPG stats  (Read 3716 times)
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Offline Varkas
« Posted 2013-12-02 13:28:52 »

I want to start a discussion about RPG stats, in particaulkr how many stats a game should have, and how fine detailed the stats should be.


1) No Stats

There is just the player character, and if there is some progression in the game it is handled by different means

2) One stat

Ability (aka level)

The player character will grow better while playing, and this single value determines the success in all game actions.

3) Split body and mind

Vitality
Mind

Now actions which require thinking or knowledge can be handled differently from actions which requiore bodily skills.

4) Split further

Strength
Agility (aka Dexterity)

Intelligence
Knowledge (aka Wisdom)

Furhtermore some games have stats like Charisma which handles interaction with NPCs in the game, and some have Luck which modifies the success rate at (certain) game actions. Also Constitution to have one more bodily modifier, kind of toughness in addition to strength and agility. And most likely there are more which I don't know or have forgotten.

How many stats or how detailed stats would you suggest for a generic sort of RPG? When to go for a more coarse model, and when to strive for a more fine detailed model?

A simple system is easier to learn and handle for the player. Also it shoudl be more evident to the player which stat affects which sort of actions. Furthermore, the perceived impact of "level up" is usually bigger if there are fewer stats, since the effect is bigger for each stat. This depends on the game, though.

Any thoughts?

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Offline ShuKen

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« Reply #1 - Posted 2013-12-02 15:39:21 »

I suppose depends of the game. Neverwinter's games, for example, are pretty complex in all sense and have a lot of differents stats. But if you want to make a simple game, with a simple gameplay mechanic, with simple graphics, simple history, etc...then you should do simple stats too.

Dunno...thats what i think  persecutioncomplex
Offline Varkas
« Reply #2 - Posted 2013-12-02 15:44:29 »

It surely depends on the game. But sometimes I felt that things have been made more complicated than needed (maybe even more complcated than would have been good).

I wonder a bit if there are good reasons to have more than 2 or 3 stat values - body/mind or body/mind/social ?

But then, there are some skills like "searching/perception" (discovering hidden doors, traps, mimics, lurking monsters ...) which don't want to fit into the body/mind/social categories.

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Online Roquen
« Reply #3 - Posted 2013-12-02 16:11:34 »

You can always not have stats at all and just skills.
Offline bilznatch

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« Reply #4 - Posted 2013-12-02 17:56:44 »

I'm personally a Damage/Health/Level type of person.
When you level, you get damage and, you guessed it, health.

Items do other things and you can have abilities with cooldowns or limited uses.

Mana is sort of a gimmicky mechanic, because it usually regenerates and is an artificial limiter, that generally makes spells too strong in games, so I'd rather just use a cooldown or a limited use system, so that I can either make it moderately weak, but a long range in addition to your general short range type attack or what have you, or I can make it a 1 shot with only a few uses so that it makes you really decide when to use it.

That's my opinion on RPG stats. Then again, this is coming from someone who has recently played way too much risk of rain.
Offline StumpyStrust
« Reply #5 - Posted 2013-12-02 18:34:26 »

Basically in most rpgs you have melee, ranged and magic play styles. Sure there are hybrids but what it comes down to is 3 core stats. Some stat/stats for fighters, casters, and archers.

Strength
Dexterity
Intelligence

or some other new aged names.

Other stats are basically supplementary or add diversity.

Neverwinter games are based on D&D which as 6 stats: strength, constitution, dexterity, wisdom, charisma, and intelligence.

For simple games 3 works very well. For games with a larger scope, more.

Elder scrolls has 3 basically. Stamina, health, and mana.

Offline CodeHead

JGO Knight


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« Reply #6 - Posted 2013-12-02 19:48:00 »

I always liked games that had the option to tweak each statistic individually, or apply a "template" to the character that would handle delegating experience points automatically. For instance a "fighter" template would dump more points into the combat related skills such as strength and constitution whereas a "mage" template would shuffle the points into magic elated skills such as mana and wisdom. You can even get fancy with it and have tings like "paladin" which distributes the points across multiple specialties.

That being said, I tend to shy away from games that have a billion and one stat choices. There's always something in the back of my head that makes me wonder if certain build out choices won't make the game (nearly) impossible to progress in after a certain point. I remember quitting the original "Vampire: The Masquerade" due to encountering a boss at a certain point that required a certain level of skills in specific stats to defeat. Unfortunately the weren't the skills I had geared my character towards so my large investment in play time became futile. My exact recollections of the issue may be a bit fuzzy after so many years, but it's a lesson that I try to keep in mind when thinking about overall game balancing.

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Online Roquen
« Reply #7 - Posted 2013-12-02 20:30:36 »

Since the feel and play-styles of the game depend on the choice of mechanics...it's kinda backward to think about mechanics without a chosen "feel".
Offline Varkas
« Reply #8 - Posted 2013-12-02 22:55:23 »

Basically in most rpgs you have melee, ranged and magic play styles. Sure there are hybrids but what it comes down to is 3 core stats. Some stat/stats for fighters, casters, and archers.

Strength
Dexterity
Intelligence

This reminds me of something that was puzzling me a long time. Why do bow skills usually depend on dexterity? I understand that skills like throwing depend on dexterity more than strength, but in case of bows it surprised me that games make them depend on dexterity, even add damage to the shots with higher dexterity.

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Offline ShuKen

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« Reply #9 - Posted 2013-12-03 01:58:10 »


This reminds me of something that was puzzling me a long time. Why do bow skills usually depend on dexterity? I understand that skills like throwing depend on dexterity more than strength, but in case of bows it surprised me that games make them depend on dexterity, even add damage to the shots with higher dexterity.


lol its pretty hard to use a bow, actually. It really have sense if you think on it. If you are good using it, you can perform better shoots and do more damage.
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Offline Varkas
« Reply #10 - Posted 2013-12-03 11:12:59 »

Maybe I'm translating dexterity the wrong way. I see it much synonymous to agility.

My own experience with bows is to hold very still, focus much, and then let the arrow go. For me it was more a test of strength to "draw out" the string and hold it, than a test of agility.

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Offline Rayexar
« Reply #11 - Posted 2013-12-04 10:58:17 »

Just my opinion, but for combat, i like having a few different skills which affect the weapons which can be used and how effective they are. For example, strength, dexterity, magic, stamina etc.

I'm not sure what type of game you're making, but a wide variety of non-combat skills which all have an impact on the player would also be nice.

Oh, and on the archery stuff, in my experiences, it seems to be more dexterity based rather than strength, but strength also helps. Maybe you can make weapons depend on more than one skill.
Offline Varkas
« Reply #12 - Posted 2013-12-04 11:13:07 »

I'm not sure what type of game you're making, but a wide variety of non-combat skills which all have an impact on the player would also be nice.

This thread was more for analysis of existing systems, and to acquire a better understanding un which cases it is good to have a lot of stats, and when it's better to have fewer. I didn't have a particular game in mind.

I have a blurry idea that skills and stats are two different things, but often I don't know where to draw the line. In other cases it is fairly clear.

I think stats are more basic, linked to the PC body and mind, and skills are more specific. Maybe a better distinction is that each PC has the same set of stats in a game (e.g. every PC has some strength, be it low or high), while skills are learned by a PC and usually different (one fighter might have sword mastery, the other has axe mastery, and a wizard will have none of those).



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Offline niroshido

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« Reply #13 - Posted 2013-12-04 11:21:11 »

This is all determined by the games design, while you design a game you need to consider the scope of the game. Too many stats will bog the player down. Some stats may be counter productive as well, but you should consider. How would a given stat effect the player and how will it effect the game play. If you have a stat "agility" for example you will need to code agility into the game, however you then would need a counter stat such as attack speed for the enemy, this then begins to grow and grow another example is stealth, stealth as in how silently can you move around, if your enemy (ai) doesn't have a way to counter stealthy players then the player could remain in stealth permanently and the game all of a sudden becomes to easy.

Some standard stats for RPG's would be
Health, Attack Speed, Attack Damage, Agility, Armor, Magic Damage, Magic Resistance, Lock Picking.

It all comes down to how detailed you want the game, how the AI is set up and what type of learning curve you want to create for the player. Besides that i think you should start off with a small standard set and develop from there. But take into account game balance
Offline StrideColossus
« Reply #14 - Posted 2013-12-04 11:42:19 »

Another way to look at this question is to breakdown your 'stats' into the following categories:

1. Attributes

These are relatively stable values that represent the base 'powers' of characters in your game, so your examples of strength, agility, etc. would fit here.

They don't change much:
- maybe you get additional attribute points as you 'level up' (if you're taking that approach)
- perhaps rare items in your game can increment them
- if you have different races then perhaps they would start with various bonuses/penalties, etc.

2. Stats

These are more dynamic values such as power or mana, health (hit points), attack speed, hunger, thirst, tiredness, etc.

They are usually affected by:
- attributes, e.g. maybe a higher endurance attribute gives you higher health
- equipment, e.g. a magic sword that improves your attack speed
- short-term buffs or de-buffs, e.g. magic potions, spells, skills, monster auras, etc (can also apply to your base attributes)
- time, e.g. your mana recovers over time

Sometimes these are 'hidden' values, e.g. some games have stealth (ability to move around essentially invisible) but your character might not actually know their stealth 'level' compared to the enemies chance of spotting them, only that certain gear or abilities increases their chance of remaining unseen.

3. Skills / traits / abilities

These are skills or points or something along those lines that a character can choose to enhance their character, either by adding new skills they can perform or buffing attributes or stats, usually because they've earned some experience or completed some sort of quest or mission.  e.g.

- increase your strength
- improve your attack speed
- gain ability to use a type of weapon, or increase proficiency in that weapon
- increased mana recovery rate
- gain a spell or special ability
- etc

With that in mind it's a question of how complex you want your 'stats' to be.

If you want to keep things simple then maybe you only have a couple of attributes and relatively simple game logic (the old Dungeon Siege took this approach but was still a compelling game, didn't have many stats and the gear was relatively simple boosts to those stats).

At the other extreme is lots of attributes, stats, skills, traits, etc. with lots if complex interactions which would be more appropriate for a D&D style game (e.g. Neverwinter) or a space-based MMO perhaps (e.g. SWTOR).

Just some random musings off top of my head, hope it helps.

- stride
Offline Varkas
« Reply #15 - Posted 2013-12-04 14:37:10 »

Another way to look at this question is to breakdown your 'stats' into the following categories:

1. Attributes
2. Stats
3. Skills / traits / abilities

Thanks that was quite helpful, and cleared up some questions Smiley

Personally I'm biased towards small sets, particularly for the attributes category, pondering if 2 or 3 are already enough for most games. Stats are more game specific, and give a place for the formerly mentioned unclear "perception" ability of characters. The stealth that you mentioned is also a good example. I still think if a game has too many of such stats, it becomes confusing, and makes character building difficult, given that the player can actually influence the development of these stats.

Skills, I assume players want many, and the biggest design issue will be to have skills with interesting results to the game play. And, while haveing many skills, still have little overlap and make each one fairly unique.


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Offline goblinJoel

Junior Devvie


Medals: 2



« Reply #16 - Posted 2013-12-05 15:22:23 »

My preference is for more stats. But that's because I like customizing things, which is what more stats typically enable. I think each stat should provide some meaningful option to the player. That could mean that different stats favor different playstyles, or it could mean that specific ones are useful in specific tactical situations. Generally speaking, more stats encourages more strategic, planned play, and fewer stats encourages more action-oriented play, at least in my experience.
Offline Varkas
« Reply #17 - Posted 2013-12-05 15:30:31 »

I've had troubles to come up with list of more than about 5 or 6 stats, so that each stat isn't overlapping with another one. Since you like games with many stats, maybe you can give me a few suggestions of sets with more than 6 stats, which all are meaningful and not overlapping or influencing each other?

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Offline Rorkien
« Reply #18 - Posted 2013-12-05 15:47:19 »

I like to split stats between character-specific stats and item-specific stats

For character stats, i like them simple and intuitive (like strength, agility and wisdom).

As for item stats, i usually make them have counterparts, like armor and armor penetration, magic-absorption and magic penetration, critical hit chance and sturdiness. These stats make up so you can have different strategies throughout the game, like having a boss with a ton of armor, or a ton of penetration, forcing you into a different mindset, where the best equipment is not the best choice.

And then we have progression: How we acquire these stats? We gain a point or two when we level up? Are we able to decide where we are spending these points? On games like Runescape, you progress by "using" those skills, like increasing your critical hit chance after you hit X critical strikes.

I also like some creative stats  Roll Eyes
Offline StumpyStrust
« Reply #19 - Posted 2013-12-05 16:51:12 »

I love the stats in Arcanum, It is quite a few but they all uses and make sense. A few could be dropped but most all make sense. Their fatigue system also makes more sens then mana. Fatigue is what it sounds like. Magic cost fatigue. Getting hit damages fatigue. You can get knocked out. Its awesome.

Offline Varkas
« Reply #20 - Posted 2013-12-10 09:45:11 »

I've played Arcanum, but it seems I have forgotten the details. But I remember it as an interesting game, just the combat was very tedious. It's been one of the few games which I know where diplomatic skills actually were of use.

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Offline goblinJoel

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« Reply #21 - Posted 2013-12-25 11:54:24 »

I've had troubles to come up with list of more than about 5 or 6 stats, so that each stat isn't overlapping with another one. Since you like games with many stats, maybe you can give me a few suggestions of sets with more than 6 stats, which all are meaningful and not overlapping or influencing each other?

This is a pretty late reply, but it looks like you're a regular member, so you'll see it eventually!

I actually think 5 or 6 is a pretty good number for basic, core attributes for a character. D&D is the classic example, with Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. In my own tabletop RPG, I use Strength, Endurance, Dexterity, Agility, Magical Aptitude, and Aura.

The trick is combining these in different ways to get other numbers. For example, you can throw in skill ratings with various weapons and combine those with a dex stat to get different accuracy stats for your different armament options. You can then combine those same weapon skill ratings with agility to get dodge stats. (And I do this in my game, of course.) Really, you need a couple small groups of intuitive stats that interact in various ways to influence what you can do in the game. In these examples, you just have a handful of physical stats to measure what the character is and a handful of skill stats to measure what they're good at, and they work together to create the final result, which is the number you would actually look at for a given task.

If you do ever use lots of different groups of stats, I'd suggest keeping the numbers in their own separate scales. So maybe one group of stats would typically be values from 10-20, while another group would be in the hundreds. On one hand, this could make things more confusing, but on the other, it communicates to the player that they're not comparable -- they're not looking at an overwhelming list of equally important things, but at a few different categories that do different things, where the numbers only need to be weighed against other numbers in the same group.

Of course, the more numbers you have, the easier it is to confuse people. So, your mileage may vary.
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