WOO II An Exploration in Design - July 2012 - By Stoneghost: Dalaran

 

WOO II - intelligence, stamina, agility, Strength and spirit (ISASS)

These character attributes arose in the early days as a simple way of generating variations in characters' abilities. New MMOGs might want to continue using them ... or not. WOO II does not mention them, but they could easily be included if desired.

In part, the original uses of these attributes was to distinguish classes. Mages had high intelligence, warriors had high strength, and so on, and these characteristics defined the powers of the classes. In good part because the classes have evolved over time, WOO II replaces them with Life Paths, and this provides a chance to evaluate the ISASS approach.

How It Happens Now

In the current game abilities are calculated from attributes - for example (this is not real, just an example of a formula):

 

Damage = (Strength + (Agility x 0.25))/ 2.5

 

While this works, it makes the derivation of abilities somewhat mysterious. And there is no particular need to do it that way.

The WOO II Method

WOO II opts for assigning abilities directly and letting players decide how to balance damage against mitigation against regeneration and so on. Instead of a formula, a Player sets an amount of Damage by choosing Talents and Skills.

Similarly, the Player sets an amount of mitigation by choosing those kinds of Talents and Skills.

So, the Player ends up with something like this:

 

DAMAGE (300): 200 Physical, 50 Frost. 50 Shadow

MITIGATION (500): 300 Physical, 100 All magic, 50 Poison, 50 Disease

 

Enhancements, including gear, gems, enchantments and the like, then modify these basic values by some percentage.

Arguably, this is easier to understand than the current computational method. It is also more transparent with regard to releveling. Assuming that the leveling amounts are linear, a Player will be able to make a quick rough estimate of what his or character's attributes will be with a percentage drop to a lower level.

Gear and Enhancements

In the current game gear and enhancements boost a player's attributes. In conjunction with the formulas used to compute them, this makes the attributes even more obscure. WOO II handles this by expressing gear and enhancement changes as percentage multipliers. So, if your physical damage attribute is 200 and your gear boosts physical damage by 3%, it is fairly easy to figure out the +6 increased amount.

The biggest gain from this approach, though, comes from the reduction in the number of items that the game needs to store. If all swords increase the same attributes by the same percentage, and if swords can accomodate the same number of enhancements, then a character only needs one sword.

As the character's damage and mitigation attributes change, the gear will apply the same percentage adjustments. Enhancements can be changed as desired, and this can alter the "look" as well as the power of the gear.

Transparency

The main reason for this change is that it is simpler to work this way. But "transparency" to the Player runs a close second.

Not because it wants to, but as a side effect of the way classes function, the current game has become increasingly opaque in this regard. A Shaman, for example, may use intelligence ... or agility to generate damage. And "hit" may be modified by spirit (or not ... it depends on the specification and Talents). And since matching gear to specification requires knowledge of how these abilities work ... well, it has gotten to be somewhat complicated.

What WOO II wants to do is provide a system in which a Player knows how much damage a character can do, and how much damage it can absorb ... preferably with having to do a lot of computations.