Monday, April 21, 2008

SRW:OG2 Damage Scaling

In my current playthrough of Super Robot Wars: Original Generation 2, one of the characters I have used the most is Arado Balanga, who pilots the mech called Wildwurger. Arado is a decent pilot with a very high defense stat, and because I have used him so much (he is one of my top four aces), I have been able to build his stats to be well above average. His mech, Wildwurger, is a high speed aerial machine that also features high defense, and because I improved the mech's capabilities to the maximum it has one of the highest defense values that is possible to achieve. Through most of the game, Arado has been almost untouchable by any opponent, since he is able to dodge almost any attack and anything that does hit him tends to do very little damage. One of his most important roles in the game is using his "Defensive Support" ability to take hits instead of allies. He is designed to be one of the best tanks in the game.

Despite all of this, I recently watched Arado get taken down in a single hit from a foe which was supposed to be little more than a glorified miniboss. What is more, the hit rate of the enemy's attack was an uncomfortably high 44%, despite the fact that Arado was standing next to allies who raise his evasion rates. As such, one of my strongest units had a 44% chance of being destroyed outright whenever he tried attacking a foe, even though I needed as many units attacking as possible to even have a chance of defeating that opponent.

I think this is a textbook case of letting offense scale unreasonably high compared to defense in a game. While I appreciate that, on the highest levels of difficulty, SRW:OG2 demands that you use Spirit Commands in order to succeed, I think scaling things so far that a top-notch defensive unit can't survive a direct hit and that my most mobile units can't evade without spirit commands goes a bit too far. Characters should be able to reliably serve in their role at every stage of the game. Characters built around evasion should be able to evade reliably. Characters built around defense and survival should be able to survive reliably. Characters built around attack should be able to attack reliably. Even though it is assumed in SRW that characters need Spirit Commands to emerge victorious, they should not need Spirit Commands to even be useful against a mere miniboss. I should be able to rely on the fact that a character who has been able to survive every single attack made against him in the whole game will survive another hit, but in this case I was mistaken in doing so.

If the amount of damage being inflicted upon Arado was just a bit lower, or if he just had a few more hitpoints, I could accept the 44% risk of being hit, but as it stands the damage values have scaled just high enough that Arado can no longer be used in the same way I have been able to use him for the whole game.

I really need to finish up those last few stages of the game... I may never beat the game if I keep at this rate.

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