It is part of a bigger question. Can we make a good game without cheats and online tweaks? The answer would be a key to undisputed success. The issue is pretty common to all genres, but the well-known cases are about action games. A narrative-based RPG also needs the right arsenal. Still, you can enjoy the story even with awful weapons. But a dynamic first-person shooter must deliver a proper way to kill your enemies.
The balance is vivid for cooperative gameplay, single experience, and multiplayer, equally. Every player wants to have fun from the challenge. And the hardcore bots require a lot of skills. The helpless dummies are just tedious and don’t deliver any feeling of conquering and struggling. Hence, even a single game needs the right arsenal.
We will talk about firepower because cold steel has some different gameplay rules. First of all, a blade always requires a raw player’s skill. With guns, there are two positions: hit or miss. And every successful hit is sometimes a matter of luck. That’s why the shooting game should be challenging and fair for everyone. A rookie must-have free possibilities to learn the highest levels of skill. But how can we achieve this goal?
Good tips for balancing
The first issue is with a formula. Unfortunately, no developing crew ever has found a successful consequence that would fit every action game. It is not the type of games like online slots where you can see the similar base and different themes. A good example are the Aristocrat slots, which are pretty similar and differ only by themes and specific game features. Even the endless Battlefield and Call of Duty titles have to rebalance the firepower occasionally. But, the good news is here. We have some criteria for a good gun in any case:
- It is an impact of the selected weapon. Since we can’t feel the heavy iron on our hip, the game simulates the measurements. The big gun usually is like a solid rock. It is good at the position but has an awful kickback that destroys your field of view;
- Ammo weight. Fallout: New Vegas has two modes: usual and hardcore, which makes you count every round. It is pretty unrealistic because of the formal weights and measurements. Still, this principle is much better than thousands of rockets in the pocket;
- Fair ballistics. A bullet should drop on the distances that are fundamental gravity. Also, the shooting range must be relatively realistic too. A shotgun is useless on distances over 100 meters a sniper rifle can’t shot an eagle in the next continent;
- A realistic scope. Action games often produce poor night vision. It is a trauma from the past: the old graphic possibilities haven’t proper shaders for natural darkness and light sources. Also, the periscopes, binoculars, etc. are limit by the map measurements;
- Diversity of your firepower. There are two ways: one gun with various customization or different weapons for every style of gameplay. Both can be successful.
An inner game economy is another pillar of joyful shouting. Three ways deliver you a weapon:
Crafting is only an additional option. Of course, we are playing in a ton of survival simulators today. But even in these games, you will see traditional guns manufactured on the plant. A looter-shooter is blooming right now. Just look at Borderlands or similar titles. Trading is the core mechanic that is represented widely.
In MMO action games, creators have a crucial dilemma. More donations means better profit. At the same time, the ways to win without a donation are good for fame in the player’s community. Even rich people like to achieve victory with the skills, not bucks. Sometimes donated franchises have doorways that are long, hard, and realistic. In this case, the economic model of the MMO is based on monthly payments.
Typical flaws in arsenal balance
The game design starts from the creation right to the final goal: the developer must see the essence of the game from its origin. Weapons are a part of the scene. You can’t think about “a bloody minigun action, rocking like a hurricane.” Yes, it can be a good concept. But the idea still needs a solid background, interactions with NPCs and enemies.
Let’s see one of the most notorious examples of the wrong weapon pick. Duke Nukem Forever was in the developing hell for almost 13 years. And it came raw. During the creation, various teams tried to make the title “modern.” Relatively new action games have too different fire balances.
So, our favorite blonde muscular action hero has only two gun slots! That was the point when a classic shooter dies. Do you remember classic Duke Nukem 3D, Quake, Doom? Look at the local old-school arsenal, please. It has all the number keys from 1 to 0. Classic shooters never worked with the weight of the gun. A hero must have solid firepower. The Quake deathmatch was funny and dynamic because your enemy can kill you with a knife, shotgun, grenade, rocket, etc. And the “modern” Duke is corny and boring. So, the failure was almost inevitable.
Of course, every game has its ultimate guns, swords, or even spells. But the bad ones never limit them by armor-piercing, a fog of war, cooldown, etc.