Combat Modifiers


Take note: there is nothing to this post beyond a weird thing I’ve been thinking about it terms of video games. It’s low-level thinking and not in-depth. I’m just getting it out of my head while Time Machine backs up my hard drive so I can install my new SSD. Carry on.

Dungeons & Dragons

Video games have progressed to a point where we don’t think much about the combat involved. Unless you’re like me and obsess over things like combat modifiers. My first taste of combat modifiers goes back to playing Dungeons & Dragons with my older brother and a couple of others as he desperately tried to keep me on track. While I was a failure playing when I was 11 years old. At that time, the thing I enjoyed most in the process was character creation.

There was something satisfying and potentially cringe-worthy while making a character. Their attributes had a base value plus a dice roll. Those attributes were based on what race you chose. So many options! I loved it. I still do, really. When you think of KoTOR, Mass Effect, Dragon’s Age, Fable, Skyrim, etc, etc.

D&D character sheet
The original character sheet
Skyrim Character Build

But that’s only the first element of interest. To me, as combat progressed and more modifiers are applied, on both sides of the combat, this is where I get really engaged.

Turn-based Combat

An example. Let’s say your character or “toon” hits for a base attack of 20 because of their strength and their class and race. But, they are equipped with a sword with an attack range of 15-30. In D&D, there’d be a dice roll for every swing. Because you’d want to know how hard you swung that hunk of metal at your target. Let’s say you did a pretty roll and you get 22 extra attack points for a total of 42. Nice. However, your target has Dexterity and they get to do a check for dodging said hunk of metal. Whatever their check is, it removes 30 from your attack. So you hit them for 12 damage. These are, in general, low numbers but you get my meaning.

This is in terms of turn-based play and is common in games where the added of complexity of real-time isn’t used. If you play any MMORPG’s like World of WarCraft, you’d know this is only one aspect of combat. Another aspect is speed.

MMORPG goodness

Another example but from a World of WarCraft POV. You have a completely badass blade of something something that hits for 500 points of damage. But you can only swing that bad mamajama every 3 seconds. And you’re engaged in combat with a rogue that is dual-wielding blades with poison and some other manner of damage over time effect. Like … more poison. Every swing, you have the potential for 500 points of damage. IF you hit the rogue. IF they’re in front of you. IF they’re not cloaked. In the meantime, they hit primary hand is every second for 50 points and secondary hand is every 2 seconds for 50 points with poison damage of 25 points per 3 seconds while circling you like a vulture. So somewhere in the vicinity of Even if you have 4,000 hit points, totally normal, that rogue will carve you down like a christmas turkey or whatever else gets carved down to nothing. Eventually, you’d see your health drop while you’re still swinging and possibly taking huge amounts off the rogue.

Your max damage 1,000 every 6 seconds. Theirs is a possible 450 every 6 seconds plus a guaranteed 50 points from poison. Also, your success rate might be lower due to their dexterity and dodge modifiers while your modifiers were based more on hitting as high as possible with critical chance.

Look at all that silliness so you can swing a weapon at something.

This doesn’t even take into account healing potions or spells or even random mobs showing up and taking some swings. Just straight player vs. player (PVP)

I am playing a game on my phone where I am watching these modifiers in play and there are multiple characters in action and your success is based on the mix of characters you choose much like in D&D where your party mix was as important as who was sitting at your table.

Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes

If you’re playing a game and it involves improving your character(s), think a little about the math going on behind the scenes while you choose your next attack.

Anyone want to make a game with me? I’m all jazzed up on this.

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