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Nov 02 2007 -
Vocation Balancing II
ast August, we gave you some insight into how we approached the issue of balancing the power in Tibia in the summer update. Today, we are happy to present you with some additional information on how we intend to further improve the overall balance of the vocations.

1. "Last Time"

In the summer update, we explicitly addressed the balance in power. We focused on the damage output of all vocations and adjusted it so that there would be no more extreme differences. Understandably, many complained that our ideal graphs were hypothetical and could never be reached in the game by actual players for many different reasons. Of course, we were aware of that, which is why we have been working on these other factors ever since the last update. These past changes in the power balancing, however, needed to be done in order to build a working basis on which we can now tune those other factors.

In the first featured article on vocation balancing we gave you detailed information on how exactly we changed the damage output and on what it was we wanted to do. Furthermore, we defined what we understand as a good total balance and specified how each vocation is to be seen. These general definitions are the basis for the upcoming balancing features.

2. "This Time"

In the upcoming update, we will address many of the mentioned factors that have direct influence on the ability of the vocations to reach their full potential. This article will list all aspects that we have been working on, discuss why we considered each individual aspect to need improvement and in which way we will reach that improvement. A few of the influencing factors may be obvious, while others have a more indirect impact. Still, none should be disregarded since the final goal of total balance can only be achieved if every part of the puzzle fits the picture. None of the following aspects stands alone. They all influence each other in some way. These effects also have been accounted for in the planning.

2.1 The role of each vocation

Newcomer: Hey, I wanna know more about your vocation. What makes you special, what can you do that others can't?

Knight: I can block melee very well and I can hit with weapons in close combat really well.

Paladin: I can do lots of things, but I am best at shooting with distance weapons.

Sorcerer: I have the most powerful magic attacks and I can do lots of very nice support spells, too.

Druid: Hmm, I can do quite a few of the things the sorcerer can do, too.
Newcomer: Yeah, ok, but what can you do that the sorcerer cannot do?
Druid: I can heal!
Newcomer: The others can do that, too.
Druid: Ahm, but I can heal others!
Newcomer: The others can do that as well.
Druid: Ahm, ok, ... , but but, I can heal them cheaper!
Newcomer: That's it?

a) Current Situation
Of course, the example given here (as all the others, too) is exaggerated. Certainly, the druid vocation has quite a few abilities that do make it special and worthwhile playing. However, we agree with many of you that the druid lacks distinction to the sorcerer vocation.

b) Solution
We have given the definition of the vocations more thought and decided to give the druid special attention this time. Generally speaking, we intend to introduce a host of new features that will provide each vocation with at least one special area in which that vocation is the undisputed master. Consequently, each vocation will have certain groups of monsters which are especially comfortable for that vocation to hunt. The druid will benefit most from these new features, but all other vocations will also find that there is more diversity in their daily hunting routines.

2.2 The cost of hunting
Interview with lottery winners:

Interviewer: "Sir Knight, you won 1.000.000 gold in the lottery yesterday. What will you do with your winnings?"
Knight: "Hmm, well, I haven't really thought about it yet. I guess I'll buy a nice house with really cool furniture, then some collectibles and rare things, you know, just lots of nice things to have ... "

Interviewer: "Sir Sorcerer, you won 1.000.000 gold in the lottery yesterday. What will you do with your winnings?"
Sorcerer: "I already spent it."
Interviewer: "Wow, then you must have had something you really wanted for a long time since you have made that decision so quickly. What did you buy?"
Sorcerer: "Nothing, I just went hunting!"

a) Current situation
Even though the actual ability to hunt with similar effectiveness is given for all vocations now, it is unevenly hard for some vocations to finance their hunts while others have no trouble doing that at all.
  • Currently, a knight only needs a very limited supply of healing runes which will last him for a few days. His damage output does not eat up any resources at all.
  • A paladin can purchase reasonable amounts of ammunition or throwing weapons for a very low price. He will have to return regularly to refill his supplies, but he will not have trouble paying for it after a hunt.
  • The mage vocations need large quantities of mana fluids and, depending on their hunting ground, sometimes impressive amounts of runes as well. Only rarely will the loot of a hunt pay for the mana fluids and it is even less likely that it will pay for used runes.
b) Solution
Generally speaking, the cost of an attack that requires resources must stand in relation to the cost of all other kinds of attacks that also need resources. In order to reach a fair distribution of the prices, it is necessary to first list all properties defining an attack. The next step is to determine a fitting value for each property and how the price should change when the value of a property changes. These considerations will be applied to all old and new runes, spells, ammunition and throwing weapons. We have considered the following factors:

Attack Property Property Value
base damage more base damage means increased cost; double the base damage means more than double the cost
variance more variance means less reliability and therefore reduced cost
probability to hit higher chance to actually hit means increased cost
skill factor per vocation accounts for the fact that for example a druid cannot increase the total damage by training his magic level as much as a paladin can by training his distance skill
supply factor if you can carry it in your backpack, it costs more
weight more weight means you can stack up less in your backpack, which makes it less valuable
average usages more usages mean increased cost; double the usages means more than double the cost
aimability if you can shoot via battlelist it costs more; if it fires automatically the cost is even higher
range greater distance to the target means more safety, which makes it more valuable
damage area larger area covered means more cost; long but narrowly defined areas (e.g. beams) are cheaper than extensive attacks in all directions (bombs etc.)
frequency the faster you can reuse the attack the higher its cost
exhaust on magic if it blocks other magic spells or runes to be used, it is cheaper
vocation factor for example, a sorcerer's attack will be cheaper than a druid's equivalent because the druid has a cost advantage when healing

When considering all these factors, there are numerous ways to reach a good result. Basically, if a certain attack proves to be too good or too bad in some way, it can be corrected by adjusting just one of the above factors. For example, if we saw that spears were too good for their price, we could simply raise the price to correct that. Alternatively, we could also, for example, increase the breakability and thus reduce the average usages of one spear for the same price, or we could change the range within which the spear can reach its target. These considerations are taken for every single form of attack and, of course, we will change the parameters which are the most logical to be changed. For example, if an attack rune is generally well designed and fits into our concept of that rune, though it is clearly too costly, we would prefer to increase the charges on that rune rather than change the price and thereby risk to influence the economy without wanting to do so.

The result of these recalculations will bring the hunting costs of paladins, druids and sorcerers into a reasonable balance, but it will not affect the knights since melee weapons do not need resources. We will, however, also alter the values and effectiveness of resources that are specifically needed by knights and thereby increase their costs for hunting in order to fit them into the picture.

2.3 The duration of one hunting session

a) Current Situation
The time a character can go on a hunt before needing to return is essentially limited by how much that character needs to carry to hunt and how much that character actually can carry. A knight, for example, can carry impressive amounts of runes due to his strength, yet he does not really need to bring many. A mage, on the other hand, is dependent on his runes and mana fluids, yet he usually cannot carry enough to last for more than just a few hours of hunting.

b) Solution
One way to deal with this problem would be to alter the actual capacity of each vocation. Since, however, we consider it natural that mage classes do not have extraordinary physical strength while knights, for example, are muscle packed heroes, we feel that an alteration of the capacity would contradict the definition of the vocations.

Each vocation however has certain supplies that other vocations have little or no use for. Therefore, we prefer to alter the properties of those supplies. We will introduce new such vocation specific resources and alter parameters such as usages, weight and effectiveness of existing ones. This way, we will be able to force knights to take breaks to refill their supplies more often as well as to permit mages to stay in their hunting grounds for longer periods of time.

2.4 The defense

a) Current Situation
One of the old principles concerning the balance between the vocations has always been that if a vocation has stronger attack powers than another, it should have less defense. This is the reason why the mage classes have always had weaker defense than knights and paladins, and of course, this will not change in the future. However, as the gap in attack power has been reduced in the last update, the gap in defense power now seems disproportionate.

b) Solution
It is not our intention to change the defense system in itself. We also do not plan to significantly increase the defense power of mage classes. However, we have designed some new features that will endow mainly the mage classes with the ability to defend themselves a little better against specific types of attacks from certain types of monsters.

2.5 The risk of death

a) Current Situation
Considering the large difference in overall hit points between the vocations as well as the advantage in defense which the vocations with more hit points enjoy, it is generally safe to say that mage classes face a higher risk of death against similar monsters and other players than paladins and knights.
  • Monsters that have more than one magic attack in their repertoire can, in the worst of cases, attack using all those spells at the same time. This results in extremely high peak damages in one round that are very hard to heal, especially if the combined damage is more than the maximum hit points of the victim.
  • Knights and Paladins can refill their hit points at a very effective rate. Mages often do not have enough total hit points to take the risk without manashield and they cannot recover that quickly enough to make a difference. This has an even stronger unbalancing effect when it comes to PVP. Since the damage output of mages was significantly reduced while the healing capacity of knights and paladins remained the same, the PVP situation has become very safe for knights and paladins.
  • Finally, knights and paladins can use their primary attacks and heal at the same time while mage classes have to decide which of the two to use in one round.
b) Solution
This is very closely related to the defensive measures that each vocation has at its disposal. Therefore, it should suffice to say that we are, of course, planning to address all of the above mentioned aspects with both alterations of existing systems and new features. In fact, many of the measures described above will reduce the differences in the risk of death for each vocation as a welcome side effect.

3. "Next Time"

Yes, there will be a next time. Tibia is evolving constantly, not only with every update, but also with every new player that arrives, with every legend that leaves, with every step each and every one of you takes within its realms. This constant change also means that the balance will never be fully complete. There will always be some tuning to be done, now and in the future.

One example concerns yet another different aspect of game balance. This one, however, is less related to vocations, but much more to individual playing styles. Every online game needs to have a very good balance between single play and multi play. Considering the current focus on single play hunting in Tibia, we hope to make hunting in groups more attractive in the future.

To sum up, we are convinced that after this balancing round, further steps will involve only minor alterations, fine tuning and additional features rather than significant changes to the gameplay. The crucial steps have now been taken, but of course, we will still keep walking. You are all very welcome to accompany us on that path by giving your opinion about this article and the future in this thread on the proposal board.

Have fun in Tibia!
Your CipSoft Team


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