Game balance and history

Have you ever played an RTS that frustrated you? Is it possible that the frustration came from getting slaughtered by seemingly invulnerableĀ  enemy units? Or was it because your own units seemed underpowered? Are you craving something better? Are you ready for realism?

 

If a game frustrates you, it is probably caused by design decisions that have to do with balance. RTS/ RTT Game designers want their games to be successful and so they will make sure there is a sense of balance between factions. There are are several ways of influencing the balance. In RTS games that depict war, this is usually done by upgrading or downgrading units. Let's have a look at these.

 

By simply using the "three degrees of cheat" you can influence a game in a big way. These three degrees are called Gimp, Nerf and Buff.
In many games, at least one of these is used to create balance. In some games, you will even find 2 or 3 degrees in a single situation. For example, if you come up against a tank that has a crazily effective gun while at the same time it cannot be destroyed, you can bet your bottom dollar that the enemy's gun and armor are buffed and your gun is nerfed.

For Gates of Hell we have something else in mind to balance the factions. The magic word is "history". As we want our game to be historically correct, we obviously should stay away from buffing, nerfing and gimping units. So how to achieve balance then?

 

The answer is not very simple. We will achieve balance by means of taking a big step back to look at the mission and the map as a whole.
For our single player and multiplayer missions, we choose situations that will bring balance based on the tactical situation and the environment. For example; you have the better tanks but the environment forces you uphill or through streets. Or maybe your tanks are very weak, but you have twice as many as the enemy. In other situations, you may have the weaker forces but there is time to dig trenches and foxholes.
Our missions will use every possible bit of historical and/ or geographical context to achieve balance. During the (closed) beta test we will be able to get confirmation on that.

We always ask "are you ready for realism" because we think in the community, the majority of players would say "yes I am ready for less frustration and more immersion!". Gates of Hell takes that next step toward immersion and historical correctness - otherwise known as realism.