Scaling

If you hit for 5 damage each time and your opponent has 100 hit points, you are weak and low level, and combat is slow. If you hit for 500 damage each time and your opponent has 10,000 hit points, you are powerful and high level, and combat is epic. I hypothesize that most people have trouble conceptualizing division.

StarCraft II has an armory where you can upgrade your units. Everything is in the thousands. There is never a point at which the “,000″ matters. There are no single thousands either, so you could divide everything by 5,000 and nothing would change or even need a decimal place. But it might not seem terribly epic if the Moebius Foundation offered you 2 credits per research point.

: Zubon

16 thoughts on “Scaling

  1. Dragon

    Are the 100HP opponents and 10000HP opponents one and the same or are we talking the difference between candle-carrying kobolds and elite zombie ninja cultists?

    Scaling needs context.

      1. Dragon

        Whether or not the level disparity between them makes sense in world terms – why aren’t orcs all the same level with the same hp – it at least makes sense.

        The first thing that came to mind reading Zubon’s post was Oblivion and it’s level scaling. As you levelled, you got more numbers added to your skills but the mobs also levelled which meant they were on the same difficulty par as they were before. Which means that levelling was, essentially, pointless and the numbers meaningless. Why train to be a “more skilled” warrior if the 10 rats you need to kill at level 1 are just as hard at level 10.

        1. Syncaine

          Far worse, in Oblivion if you did not level “the right way”, the game got silly hard (or if you leveled exactly the right way, silly easy). Fallout at least was much better in this area, even though it used basically the same system.

  2. Ravious

    Also scaling does lend itself to better… shall we say “balancing.” Adding 2% damage to an autoattack looks better and useful if a player sees 510 instead of 5.1. 10 seems noticeable whereas decimals seem silly and the system will likely chop it off when it illustrates the damage.

    Sure, the effect is the same against an opponent with 20 times the base damage in HP, but one has a noticeable effect easily explained. It’s far harder to try and explain an imaginer 0.1 damage that the system incorporates but does not appear anywhere in the UI.

  3. Machination

    Isn’t that the point of getting better gear to kill higher level mobs to get better gear to…

    Technically, over those 80 some odd levels, you don’t actually progress. You just get higher ranks of skills you already have, in order to kill a slightly red-tinted boar with double the HP as the normal boar.

    The cake is a lie! o.0

    1. Syncaine

      You should though.

      The progression SHOULD come from the fact that since you now have more tools (skills, gear, options, etc), you need to use all of those tools in the ‘right’ way to succeed, and since you have more options, more complex thinking should be required.

      Unfortunately in WoW, a level 1 mob is just as difficult to kill as a lvl 80 elite. 1-2-1-3 ftl.

  4. Jonathan

    Pinball inflation. Look at the scores available on pinball machines from the 1950s or so. Compare to current. More zeroes on the end = bigger = better, evidently. It’s a solid enough trend that there must be something in the human brain that responds to it. I tend to suspect that most people just don’t divide, they just look at the numbers themselves, and a “long” number looks “bigger” than a “short” number.

    This is actually one of the places where Guild Wars has really impressed me, by keeping the numbers small enough that we evaluate them as numbers, not as “big things that many people just shut down on and don’t evaluate.”

    1. Tesh

      Even Skeeball has seen such score inflation. I always thought it silly.

      Oh, and I’ve seen it noted before that players are at their most powerful *relative to equal level critters* when they are at level 1. Everything beyond that tends to be an exercise in teasing players with power.

  5. Jason

    In my day, the characters in our role playing games had stats that ranged from 3 to 18, or up to 25 with magic and other bonuses, and we liked it! I always feel silly in most MMOs when I see my character has a 287 (or some even ridiculously higher) strength. With a strength that high he should be able to punch tunnels in mountains!

  6. Jezebeau

    Ignore epic, it would break immersion if a dozen credits bought your tanks new better cannons. How much does a meal cost on that currency scale? If anything I think they sold themselves short.

  7. Katherine

    Sure, when you’re dealing with money it breaks immersion to have the values minimal or improperly proportioned. I just bought a shop in Record Shop Tycoon with $100, $500, $1,500 and $5,000, which is bad enough, but then CD racks cost $200 each.

    With stats it should be possible to make them work without being overly inflated. And no, fel orcs don’t feel more epic at level 61 than they did at level 20, despite the higher numbers.

  8. John H.

    Pinball inflation really only happened with the advent of dot-matrix scoreboards, since on classic digital displays more digits required more hardware, so it really started happening in the 90s.

    Score inflation dates back to the early days of arcade gaming, where designers noticed that receiving 100 points for some action felt more satisfying than receiving 1 point. Similarly, “10 points” became the official token award, often granted for accomplishing some impossibly minor act (eating a dot, living for a second). Some more modern arcade games even grant a one-point award for continuing, so the ones digit becomes a record of the number of credits spent on a game.

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