Abstract on Tradeoffs

What do you think of tradeoffs in games (like trading all your meter for a melee attack in Vanquish, or trading off tankiness for mobility in the souls series, etc.)

If you don’t have tradeoffs, then elements that overlap in niche literally don’t work. This is a rather weird question, it’s kind of fundamental to games that everything needs to have a tradeoff in some way. Tradeoffs are what differentiate design elements. I mean, this is super broad. It’s hard to say anything.

Nier which I reviewed recently is probably a good example of a game that lacks tradeoffs between its elements. You have charge attacks, a ton of magic types, multiple weapons, but you never need to really trade off between them, because it’s always better to not charge attack, to use only dark lance, dark fist, dark blast, and to always use the stronger weapons.

I mean, tradeoffs between things with similar roles (things that make you move fast, deal damage, inflict hitstun, etc), are what allow multiple of these things to exist in the system, they have differing functions because they trade off. Simple.

Adding a cost to things, spending one thing to get another, helps prevent you from doing that one thing all the time, if that is the most efficient thing to do otherwise. Yeah, you might have a powerful rocket launcher, but you can only use it 3 times, so then the skill is in using it at the right times.

If you lack tradeoffs then people will only use the strongest thing. Balance between elements promotes diversity in play style, makes it a lot harder to win using any individual thing. Tradeoffs are what make elements themselves different from other elements, and what reinforce their use.

Not much else I can say.

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