• OK, it's on.
  • Please note that many, many Email Addresses used for spam, are not accepted at registration. Select a respectable Free email.
  • Done now. Domine miserere nobis.

Why scaling enemy health to character level is a terrible idea

Cognisant

Prolific Member
Local time
Yesterday 4:02 PM
Joined
Dec 12, 2009
Messages
9,093
-->
The numbers get bigger but you don't actually feel like you're progressing, in fantasy RPGs the solution to this is to have many enemy types and as you fight through the game these enemies change or simply get bigger, I can accept that a dire sewer rat the size of a horse is going to have more hit-points than one the size of my foot. However in a FPS your meat and potatoes from beginning to end are humanoid opponents and I'll happily accept that a cyborg or someone in full armour is going to be harder to kill, heck I'll even forgive named characters having some degree of plot armour. But when someone in a singlet and jeans shrugs off a shot to the head that disintegrated a cyborg's head a few levels ago...

Furthermore when enemy health scales with level and the player's perks and skill points are spent on upgrading their damage output with a particular weapon type rather than giving the player more options as the game progresses the game is actually taking options away as anything the player hasn't been investing in falls behind the meta. Or worse the player invests heavily in non-combat skills/perks/whatever and then they find their build is broken because the enemies have scaled up in combat power but the player character hasn't.

By contrast consider Deus Ex (aka the best game of all time) in this game enemies don't just get stronger, rather they always stay the same and as you progress through the game you encounter more difficult enemies whose durability fits the lore of the world. Furthermore although you need to invest skill points to achieve even basic competency with a weapon type that doesn't mean you can't use that type of weapon, you're just not proficient with it. An assault rifle or shotgun still does the same amount of damage (per projectile) so if you sneak up on someone and shoot them in the back of the head with a shotgun it will always have the same result (as you would expect) however at anything but point-blank an increase in accuracy equates to an increase in DPS due to the player now being able to get more rounds on target faster (i.e. you can aim for the head rather than center-mass).

At first having your ability to aim crippled is a real shock but once you understand what that does for you (giving you meaningful choices and an actual sense of progression) the Deus Ex way of doing an FPS RPG feels so much better and realistic and just more fun than this Borderlands meets Elder Scrolls nonsense. Better yet as you progress through the game once you've maxed out your skills/stats/perks/whatever for a given weapon type you can invest in other weapon types or even spread that investment around to achieve basic competency (character competency) in as many things as quickly as possible. It's all a matter of choice and there's no wrong answer because even if you totally fuck up your build you'll naturally fix it as the game progresses, there's no meta to try and catch up with.
 

Hadoblado

think again losers
Local time
Today 12:32 PM
Joined
Mar 17, 2011
Messages
5,703
-->
Easy agree.

HP scaling is the worst kind of difficulty increase because it turns everything into a grind and heavily limits your character options. In higher difficulty Skyrim, taking destruction magic feels super bad because it takes days to kill anything, often running you out of magicka before they run out of health. This also makes sword and board a boring build, because again, you just want to be able to move through the game at a reasonable pace. As a result, I almost always gravitated towards two-handed weapons, just so that I could finish an average combat within five minutes.

Then compare to Oblivion, where they took this to a whole other level and combat could be measured in hours at the highest difficulty. It was to your benefit to stay low level (increasing in skill but not stats), so that the enemies you fought didn't out-scale you.

I thought the halo series found a nice balance, where the AI improved, and enemies were more likely to make their saves. Just like in D&D, you throw a grenade at an elite, and if it's not stuck, it rolls reflex and if successful executes a roll out of the way. This limits your options some, but it's never a complete dudding.

I enjoy any game where you keep qualitatively adjusting your gear in order to calibrate your approach to disposing of enemies. While I don't like hassling around too much with gear, I also don't like 'completing' my gear, or only upgrading numbers.
 

Cognisant

Prolific Member
Local time
Yesterday 4:02 PM
Joined
Dec 12, 2009
Messages
9,093
-->
I thought the halo series found a nice balance, where the AI improved, and enemies were more likely to make their saves. Just like in D&D, you throw a grenade at an elite, and if it's not stuck, it rolls reflex and if successful executes a roll out of the way. This limits your options some, but it's never a complete dudding.
This makes sense, and I can accept that higher ranking elites who are essentially just a palette swap, would have stronger shields and maybe move a bit faster or have access to weapons (i.e. the plasma sword) that regular elites don't use.

But once that shield goes down a headshot is a headshot.
 

crippli

disturbed
Local time
Today 4:02 AM
Joined
Jan 15, 2008
Messages
1,748
-->
I'd like to help. But not familar with people games. How does this translate to a game like https://2048game.com/ that I am familiar with?
 

BurnedOut

Active Member
Local time
Today 8:32 AM
Joined
Apr 19, 2016
Messages
481
-->
Furthermore when enemy health scales with level and the player's perks and skill points are spent on upgrading their damage output with a particular weapon type rather than giving the player more options as the game progresses the game is actually taking options away as anything the player hasn't been investing in falls behind the meta. Or worse the player invests heavily in non-combat skills/perks/whatever and then they find their build is broken because the enemies have scaled up in combat power but the player character hasn't
Talk about Left 4 Dead.

No, the zombies won't become nimble or a little more sentient to attack you in an unexpected manner, they would just become powerful. And ludicrously powerful as in the case of The Witch and The Tank. Then you'd take much more damage from a groaning limp (20 fucking points in Expert mode) and then the AI would throw more crescendos at you (unpredictable hordes). What have you got? A bit more skill to tackle the stronger zombies.

But is this logical?

I would like think that it is bullshit.

Honestly, I was so much happier playing l4d and l4d2 on easy and normal because I really liked the game. Well, then the fervour of playing it on Expert climbed and it gradually took all the fun away from the game and turned it into a mindless exercise. I wanted to 'speed run' the fucking game. The game became sullen because the zombies became too demanding out and their demand seemed like the dark side of communism - equality where it in unrequired.

I don't understand why difficulties are directly equated with the player's skill. It is like this equation -
x.a = y.a where x = y
then x.a = x.a
then a = a

The game is unchanged per se. Nothing has changed, no, there is no triumph at playing at a more difficult level. Go watch that sod playing it on Easy. He'll be gleeful, happy even at lopping heads with various weapons. He'd walk out unscathed by the game because he wanted to enjoy the game. Then compare that bastard with the 'Expert'.
 
Top Bottom