Game Balance

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What Does Game Balance Mean?

Game balance is a video game design concept where the strengths of a character or a particular strategy are offset by a proportional drawback in another area to prevent domination of one character or gaming approach.

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There is no such thing as a perfectly balanced game. Despite the best efforts of designers, some characters or strategies end up being stronger than others, both in specific areas and across the board.

Techopedia Explains Game Balance

Balancing is exceptionally difficult for game designers. In fighting games, there may only be a few variables weighted with a relatively simple formula. For example, the more powerful a character’s strike, the slower he or she will move. Even this is far from perfect, as the middle characters (average speed, average striking power) hold an overall advantage on characters at either extreme (fast/weak or slow/strong).

The issue of balancing becomes more pronounced in complex games like role-playing games, where a character has multiple traits that must advance as levels are reached. This introduces even more variable considerations for game designers.

Because of these difficulties, game designers often use cheats, like giving the weakest character the strongest special attack or the strongest, slowest character a faster special attack. Rather than solving the problem, these compensation mechanisms often lead to degenerate game play, where a one-attack, degenerate strategy becomes an effective winning method. That said, as more game versions are released, game designers become more adept at balancing characters.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.