Friday, 18 June 2010

Arguments for and against Stamina as a stat

In the comments to my last post, Nolithius remarks (rather sensibly) that:

No need to have complexity for complexity's sake! If 4 stats work well for your system, then 4 stats is the right amount. In fact, for a 3-class system you can get away with 3 stats and have the HP progression be determined by the class.

To be honest, the thought (of just having three stats in Stygia) had already crossed my mind, but I've been resistent to just having the three stats for several reasons:
  • Dungeon Crawl has only the three stats, and using the same stats smacks of ripping Crawl off (the corrolary of this argument is below).

  • To have HP Progression determined by class makes class the most important choice in the game (which is why, I guess, Crawl determines HP by skill levels).
However, on the other hand, there are excellent reasons for not having a stamina stat:
  • A Stamina stat becomes either an irrelevance or worse, it becomes a 'stat tax': witness the continual dependency (and arguments) upon stamina items in certain MMOs

  • It doesn't actively contribute to the game, and doesn't have any natural decision points hanging off it. In short, its additional unwarranted and unjustified complexity.

  • Crawl doesn't have a stamina stat, and Crawl is the best roguelike about at the moment.
The first one is perhaps the biggest argument against stamina, and the argument that I'm likely to persuade me. But if I don't have a Stamina stat, how do we determine Hit Points?

Leaving aside whither or not we should have hit points (a whole other argument altogether), the standard roguelike options tend to be:
  • by Class

  • by Race

  • by Skill
I'm against determining HP by Class alone, and Stygia will not have any races (the PC will be 'human'-ish). For this reason, I'm gravitating towards making Hitpoints dependent upon both Level and the value of the class's primary Skill (e.g. Fighting, Sneaking or Spellcasting).

3 comments:

Brian said...

Sounds good, though just to mention it, ToME 4 is doing some rather keen experimentation with Stamina and other gamestyle altering forces between the various classes ingame so far. Perhaps check out the latest beta just to poke some of it with a stick?

Pikalek said...

Since you already have a strong single stat to class matching (Basher:Str, Sneak:Dex, Adept:Int), can it serve an interesting role as a cross class stat? I.E. determines: min health when poisoned, # of rounds of running, rate of hunger, etc.

That being said, I agree with much of the pro/con wisdom already posted on the related entries. Having felt the burden of overly ambitious projects, 3 stats & playable is more rewarding than 4 or more stats & unfinished.

elig said...

I have a sneaking suspicion that although having lots of stats is worthless, players enjoy it anyway. Maybe it just feels good to have strength, Dex, Int, Wis, Con, personality and luck, even if they're essentially not needed?