遊戲設計師該如何確保遊戲設計的平衡

作者:Beth Williams

平衡是策略遊戲中的一個常見術語。對於遊戲世界來說平衡意味着什麼?對於我來說,爲了讓遊戲達到平衡,它便需要包含多個可行的勝利策略。沒有人想要玩一款擁有10種策略,但卻只有1種策略能夠幫助自己獲得成功的遊戲,這是很無聊的。

不管你是在玩體育,象棋還是電子遊戲,平衡都是一個非常重要的概念。例如象棋便是一種擁有數百年平衡歷史的遊戲—-在第一步時白棋擁有比黑棋略強的優勢,但對弈雙方所控制的棋子是一樣的,重要的是白色能夠基於防守動機做出迴應以保證自己的有利位置。美式足球也是平衡的另一個有效例子—-在該項運動的早期階段,任意球得分其實比達陣得分更有價值。而多年以來,各種規則的改變都在支持達陣得分是一種更復雜的得分方式。

American football(from sina)

American football(from sina)

不平衡的遊戲是怎樣的呢?讓我們以Wizards of the Coast的《萬智牌》爲例;因爲遊戲紙牌是面向實體世界所發行,所以一經印刷和發行便不能修改,所以在發行紙牌前需要對此進行全面的測試。儘管經過了全面的測試,我們還是能夠發現一些聰明的玩家找到各自方式去結合不同紙牌創造出一些讓人意想不到且能夠主導遊戲局面的效果。即使那樣,有些紙牌本身還是比其它紙牌更出色。而Wizards of the Coast對此的迴應是什麼呢?他們在官方的競賽中禁止了所有的這些不平衡的紙牌—-這也是他們在發行紙牌時所做出的唯一回應。從這點看來《萬智牌》的確是一款具有平衡性的遊戲。

當然了,電子遊戲開發者也擁有各自不同的工具集—-他們可以使用補丁從根本層面上改變遊戲規則。而這往往會導致遊戲以一種不平衡的狀態發行,因爲開發者覺得他們可以在之後通過修補遊戲而解決這些問題。此外,開發者還可以爲了創造出對於元遊戲或主要遊戲策略的預期影響而輕微調整遊戲玩法。例如像《爐石傳說》等紙牌策略遊戲,《星際爭霸2》等RTS遊戲以及像《英雄聯盟》和《魔獸爭霸2》等多人聯機在線競技遊戲都是非常典型的例子。

這也將把我們帶向一個全新的古怪情境:我們可以使用一個補丁而創造出一款失衡的遊戲。現在我們可以看到有人對Riot Games改變了《英雄聯盟》的行爲提出反對—-很多人批評Riot改變了一個名爲“Jungling”的策略,從而導致只有少數可遊戲角色能夠出現在這個領域中。像這樣的改變都是伴隨着補丁程序的,但同時也伴隨着來自那些習慣於元遊戲並認爲改變降低了策略可行性的社區用戶的失望。實際上,我們公司花了很多時間和精力去幫助玩家適應對於元遊戲改變的影響以及對於遊戲玩法的修改和更新都是伴隨着具有推進作用和指導作用的服這種情況務。

所以對於開發者來說他們能夠從中獲得怎樣的經驗教訓?

平衡是關於提高各種能夠幫助玩家獲得勝利的策略,特別是在競爭遊戲中—-保證這點便是遊戲設計的終極目標!

開發者應該在發行補丁程序前全面測試所有遊戲規則的改變—-即使你認爲它們所創造的影響很小。

在重新調整元遊戲策略平衡之前仔細考慮遊戲的樂趣是什麼。是否存在某種方式讓你既能保留失衡策略的吸引力,同時也能確保其它策略足夠有趣?

本文爲遊戲邦/gamerboom.com編譯,拒絕任何不保留版權的轉發,如需轉載請聯繫:遊戲邦

What can game designers learn about balance from other games?

by Beth Williams

Balance is a buzzword among strategy gamers. What does balance mean to the gaming world? To me, for a game to be balanced, it should include multiple viable strategies for victory. No one wants to play a game where there are 10 strategies, but only one is able to produce a victory; that’s boring.

Whether you’re playing sports, chess, or a video game, balance is a critical concept. Chess, for example, is a game that has been quite balanced for hundreds of years – white has a slight edge over black in the first move, but each side has the same pieces at their disposal, and black, importantly, can respond with defensive maneuvering to secure a favorable position. American football is another good example of balance in practice – early in the sport’s history, a field goal was actually worth more than a touchdown. Over the years, the rules were changed to favor the touchdown as a more difficult goal that is worth more points.

What does an unbalanced game look like? Take Magic the Gathering by Wizards of the Coast as an example; because a set is released into meatspace and can’t be altered once it is printed and distributed, cards are exhaustively playtested before being released as part of a block. In spite of this thorough testing, as they see play in the real world, cards are eventually exploited by clever players who find ways to combine different cards to produce unexpected, game-dominating effects. And even then, some cards just turn out to be much better by themselves than anyone anticipated. What is Wizards of the Coast’s response when this occurs? Unbalanced cards can be banned from official competitive play altogether – this is really the only response available once a set is released. MtG is quite a well-balanced game, considering this.

Of course, video game developers have a different set of tools at their disposal – patches can be pushed that change the rules of the game on a fundamental level. This often leads to games being released in an unbalanced state, with developers hoping they can patch the game to resolve issues down the line (SimCity anyone?). Additionally, developers can tweak elements of gameplay slightly (or heavily) in order to produce a desired impact on the “metagame,” or the dominant strategies of the game. This is often the case with card-based strategy games like Hearthstone, RTS games like Starcraft 2, and MOBA games like League of Legends and DOTA 2.

Which brings us to a weird new situation: it’s possible to un-balance a game with a patch. We can see the backlash now against Riot Games for its changes to League of Legends – many have criticized Riot for changing the rules for a strategy called “Jungling” so that only a select few playable characters are actually viable in this space. Changes like this come with every patch, and often with disappointment from the community who was used to a certain metagame and finds the change reduces the viability of favored strategies (of course, your playerbase isn’t always right. But they do pay the bills). In fact, our organization spends significant time and effort helping players adjust to the effects of changes to the metagame as a result of patches and updates to gameplay with elo boosting (improving a player’s ranking – learn more here) and coaching services.

So what lesson is there for developers out of this? I can think of a few.

Balance comes from providing a variety of strategies that can achieve victory, especially in competitive play – make sure that this an endgoal of game design!

Make sure to test all changes to the rules of your game thoroughly before pushing a patch – even if you think the impact will be minor.

Consider what makes your game fun before rebalancing the metagame strategy. Is there a way to preserve the appeal of an unbalanced strategy while also making other strategies fun?(source:Gamasutra