Thursday, August 13, 2009

Design Screed: RPG stats

Someone tell me what it means to have '18' strength. Does it mean that I can bench 250.532 pounds?

Now tell me what it means to have '18' strength in relation to having '17' strength. Is it that '17' means I can only squat 231.8 pounds, and that is 52.80733 pounds less than at 18 strength?

Or, more likely, does it just mean that '18' is one arbitrary point higher than 17? It does. But why!? When you use big numbers for stats you render progression in those stats meaningless. You don't feel like your character gained anything at all if he goes from 33 to 34 in intelligence.

My perfect solution is to start at '1', which we'll assume is average, then for every added point the character gets higher above average. That way if we know what '1' strength can do then we have some context for what '2' strength is, namely doubling the strength of the average person. Now for each time he levels instead of throwing ten near-meaningless stat points at the player we can just give him one stat point that he will actually have to think hard about using.

Big political post tomorrow.
Last day for Call of Duty: World at War on Steam for $25.

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