Report article RSS Feed A note on Balance:

Bringing to light the "balance" system that will be in place for Stalker Taint.

Posted by MeanderingBeing on Dec 29th, 2009

Alrighty then, I am back from christmas vacation and I am getting back to work. I am here, yet again, keeping you guys updated so you know that this mod isn't dead.

Progress is slow, as usual, but hey, I'm just one man with a dream...
Of gratuitus violence >:D Of Chaos, Orks, and noble Space Marines fighting for their right... to party! :P

Anyways, I came here to talk about some issues of balance that have been on my mind lately. For a long time now, I have come to see the term "balance" very negatively. Especially when it comes to "whack-a-mole" balancing like that found in games like World of Warcraft, Dawn of War II, and the Battlefield series. Often, the intelligent player who comes up with awesome ideas ends up being screwed because a dumb (alright, I'll be nice: a not-so-skilled) player complains until someone upstairs "balances" something. This has come to be called "nerfing" as I have been told. And, like many of you, I am sure, I have many occasions where a perfectly legitimate strategy that I, or a friend, came up with ends up being "nerfed."

Quite frankly, I have gotten so sick of nerfing, that I just say "SCREW BALANCE!" Now please hear me out here, I am sure you folks will be interested...

In STALKER Taint, I would like to make a game that is both ridiculously hard, and fun... but it is hard to reach this euphoria. Often, when such attempts are made, the focus ends up on balancing weapons, stats, items, etc. and they completely forget how ridiculously frustrating they are actually making the game. You'll find obvious examples of this when playing a game *cough cough call of duty cough cough* and you shoot someone in the head... but they somehow miraculousy run at you from 50 meters away and put a knife in your face. So, after thinking long about this, I have decided that weapons and such will NOT be balanced. Let's face it, in real life, SMGs don't do less damage because they have a higher rate of fire! In real life, things can get really hairy. And in real life, you can't whip out a Golden Desert Eagle and unload all 5 of those .50 AE rounds in 0.0813 seconds and still manage to get center mass with every shot.

So, what I am trying to say here is this:
The game will be ridiculously hard at times, and it will be ridiculously easy at times. For example, I will be making the Heavy Bolters a very powerful weapon. Considering the fact that they shoot .98 cal SPHEAP (Self Propelled High Explosive Armor Penetrating) rounds, being on the recieving end will not be pretty. That is why the game will be both hard and easy. If YOU have the Heavy Bolter, mowing down anything but Warbosses and Terminators will be a breeze... But if THEY have the Heavy Bolter, I highly suggest you find cover and think of a plan B before you're a wet, greasy smear on the grass.

That being said, when Taint is released, I encourage each and every player to quicksave often and use their noodles! If you see an entire squad of Devastator Marines with Heavy Bolters, DO NOT go rambo on them... or they will smoke you and say "Rambo... is a pussy." I do not want to hear people complaining that Heavy Bolters are unbalanced because they can't figure out that they can run to that outcropping over there and launch a couple grenades at em...

Oh, and this is all examples still... I'm just rambling a bit.

Now, I will be 100% honest. ALL weapons will be similarly un-nerfed. Just because you might start out with a Bolt Pistol, does not mean that it is a crappy weapon. With some determination, intelligence, and good aim, you could possibly play the entire game with just a Bolt Pistol if you wanted to. I want to make it so that EVERY weapon stands on its own two feet in this manner. There will be no "Oh, but that'll be too powerful and it might frustrate SOME players." But there will be alot of "Wow, this Blastmaster Sonic Cannon is delicious! I can't wait to try it out on those Ork Nobs that have been pissing me off so much!" No longer will you see grenades land within 10 feet of someone and watch them come out unscathed. The deathtoll in this game will be ridiculous, both for players and NPCs. So as I said before, quicksave often.

Now granted, this doesn't mean that as soon as you get that Heavy Bolter, Rocket Launcher, or Plasma Pistol will make you invincible. I would like to point out that there are plenty of foes that can shrug off hits from even the likes of such heavy weaponry. Obliterators, Terminators, many of the bigger Orks, just about any Daemon you encounter, and even some xenos species are some such examples. Also, each weapon, I think, will kinda fall into its own. While the Heavy Bolters may be able to shoot as far as those Scout Sniper Rifles, it doesn't have the accuracy you may need. And though that shotgun will work in a pinch at close to medium ranges (medium range, by the way, qualifies as 100 meters in my book, NOT 20 meters like in the CoD games), that ever so simple Bolter will speak for itself at any range.

You will also see some weapons fit different strategies. For example, Nurgle's worshippers are known for their Tenacity, so they will eat alot of firepower as if it were nothing, and knowing this, accuracy is not exactly chief among thier concerns. Meanwhile, Slaaneshi worshippers are known for their speed and brutallity, so you will see alot of weapons that kill fast among their ranks. And Orks are Orks. They'll pick up anything and shoot it in your general direction, making them VERY unpredictable at times. At one moment, a bunch of shoota boyz and flash gitz will be unloading at you, and the next a swarm of boyz led by nobz and rokkit boyz will be charging down your throat, ready to show you the meaning of "WAGH!"

Well, my time is up here, and I must get back to work on me mod, so I bid you folks goodnight! I hope you enjoyed this little read, and please feel free to comment, leave suggestions, criticize (just as long as its not stupid hate mail loaded with insults and holier than thou attitudes. We're all human, so lets all just get along and play violent video games!), post requests and ideas, or just do your thing in that little comment spot below!

CHEERS!

Post comment Comments
Kharcov
Kharcov Dec 29 2009, 11:10pm says:

I very much agree with you, It's nice to see someone that has put in the consideration of realism. One of my favorite aspects of the original Stalker game was there higher weapon damage, making the player use there head to get past some situations. I will be very interested to see how this all plays out, but good luck to you.

+1 vote     reply to comment
MeanderingBeing
MeanderingBeing Dec 30 2009, 5:31am replied:

Thanks man! One reason I am prefer realism over balance is that I love to shoot in real life, and I kinda take it personally when I am presented with an insult to my intelligence. *cough CoD cough* Although to be honest, I am interested to see how this turns out myself. In truth, there is no real way for me to KNOW how exactly .98 cal rocket propelled bullet would behave. But based on experience, I think I have a pretty good idea... and such things would not be pretty in real life.

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Misterpinky
Misterpinky Dec 31 2009, 2:47pm says:

Excellent ideas. This is especially nice to see because many people forget that singleplayer games shouldn't be as "balanced" the same as multiplayer, for reasons that are too numerous to count.

One thing I would say, is please don't put easy loot drops near the starting location. In vanilla Stalker it's fairly easy to knock of the military outpost (on Normal, anyway), pick up their guns, make more money then Hollywood ever had, and buy so much stuff that you won't have any trouble playing the game until you start seeing masses of bloodsuckers. If there is a big loot zone near the start area, may I recommend it be ridiculously hard to take down until several hours into the game at the minimum?

+1 vote     reply to comment
MeanderingBeing
MeanderingBeing Jan 1 2010, 12:14am replied:

The looting (Stashes and enemy weapons) will probably be a bit random, so you may or may not get good and bad stuff. But to counter this, there will be lots of enemies EVERY where you go. But I CAN garantee a few things: Being a Space Marine, chaos or not, means you can only get certain armours at certain ranks. This means that you start with the most basic form. Then, if you join either the ranks of SLaanesh or Nurgle, other armours will be open to you're use that wouldn't otherwise. Then, as you become a sargeant, later a champion, and later still lord, and later (after you worked your *** off) a chosen, new armours will be unlocked. Sargeants will be able to get armors a little better than upgraded simple armors and possibly raptor armour (if I can find a scripter who can help me out with this, anyways), champions will be able to get basic terminator armours and possibly the obliterator curse, lords will get upgraded termi and obliterator armours, and chosen... well thats best left unsaid.

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