Balancing and common sense

 
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JRussell
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Joined: 19 Apr 2010
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 7:05 am    Post subject: Balancing and common sense

I'm trying to balance my civs, it doesn't seem impossible, but I've some questions about this.

Let's say I've two civs starting from a default civ,

Civ A has a bonification of 30% HP in every infantry unit.
Civ B has a bonification of 200% HP in livestock pens

(These are just examples),

Assuming that both civs are mathematically the same, how do you manage to know exactly if a bonus is balanced or not?
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Tilanus Commodor
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Joined: 03 Apr 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 2:59 pm    Post subject:

There are surely mathematical formulas for that and it's also been discussed in the Modding Council, but I personally wouldn't always count on that and I use them only for finding unit costs and balancing gather rates as these matter the most. The reason why I usually don't apply mathematics on things like unit balance is that their usage can vary way too often.
Of course, it's not impossible, but I do not consider the difference between a decision based on professional experience with the game and a cold mathematical value coming from a highly complex equally error-prone formula that significant. There are simply too many factors and special situations in the game to consider, that it exceeds all efforts to make meaningful and relevant formulas.

I value gaming experience a lot. Watching replays of pro gamers is certainly one way to improve that. With that knowledge I judge objects on their effectivity and efficiency to see how significant their modifications are. The art of balancing is to find the appropriate counter-variable(s) and 'appropriate' means - at least in my terms - that balancing doesn't just change certain variables in order to make an object more or less even, but that it also appropriately fits to the unit concept in general. A visually heavily armored unit can just not have little HP, even though that would technically be a way to balance a unit. Hence, next to effectivity, balance also needs to be credible.

So, let's look at your example.

Your civ B bonus is efficient (you get more for your resources), but not effective (it's useless).
The Livestock Pen does not play a major role in the game - at least not in AoE3. There are no effective strategies known that include it. Your HP modification does only matter in case of defense and unlike Forts, Barracks, Outposts, etc. it's neither a strategically nor tactically important building. It'll usually be attacked when the other buildings are already destroyed. So that's a pretty useless "bonus" and I wouldn't even care to counterbalance this as it simply doesn't create a real advantage or disadvantage. (And just ask yourself again: How would you implement all these considerations in a single formula?)

On the contrary, the civ A bonus is highly significant as it affects not only more objects (quantity), but these do also play a quite important role in the game. I could explain it in detail, but I think you get the idea. ^^

So, to give you a simple answer on your question. From what I know from most veteran modders, the key to balance is experience.
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caveman909
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Joined: 10 Jun 2010
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 3:51 pm    Post subject:

I can only tell you that a good way to see if there's no reasonable balance is to try the civs (or other well experienced people try them). Quickly you'll find the things that are too overpowered or others that are underpowered.
I'll add that i'm no modder, but still have played age of for quiet years Smile
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JRussell
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 7:35 pm    Post subject:

Thank you for your answers.
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