Balancing the Game – Part 4

Posted on March 27, 2017 By

Image courtesy of TaxRebate.org.uk

Welcome to the final post in this series, in which we will discuss the TRUE MEANING OF GAME BALANCE.

Previously, we talked about defining your game’s resources and common currency, iterating for balance, and listening to playtester feedback. Today we’re going to get a little philosophical and talk about balancing for fun.

Remember when I wrote that game balance is both an art and a science? This is where it gets to be an art again.

As a general rule, if you need to choose between making part of your game balanced or fun, choose fun. Exciting, interesting gameplay trumps making sure everything adds up perfectly. After all, players are here to enjoy themselves, not to reverse-engineer your formulas and spreadsheets. (Okay, some players are here to play auditor, but they’re probably not your target audience.)

Am I crazy? Is this is crazy talk?

No, this is art talk. Because in the end, “balanced” means that the numbers are set to deliver the gameplay experience that you, the designer, want the players to have. If that means that some elements are a bit better or worse than they “should” be according to some arbitrary formula, then so be it. You’re creating an experience, not sending a monkey to the moon.

Finding those numbers, adjusting them, making sure they do what you want them to do… that’s artistry. And you won’t always find art in a spreadsheet.

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