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Durability vs stamina as a combat endurance system


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When combat will be improved there will definitely be some sort of blocking/parrying implemented. This however poses a problem:

How to prevent the player from hiding behind his shield forever?

The answer would be something I abstractly call a combat endurance system.

The most straight forward solution may just be to have blocks not block all the damage, but to only reduce it.
This however either makes blocking useless when the health cost is to high or makes it overpowered when it is too low, letting the player still hide behind the shield forever. This balancing problem is especially mostly impossible to solve when armor gets involved. So I will rule out health as a good solution for the problem.

The next possible solution would be a stamina system.
Blocking costs stamina, when the player is out of stamina he can't block. Simple and effective, as well as allowing to limit evasive actions (i.e. running away, dodging). This new player character stat could also be integrated into other gameplay systems, like the nutrient system (certain nutrient groups increasing stamina instead of health) and the armor system (stamina penalty instead of somewhat annoying lowering of movement speed for heavier armors). The stamina system would generally be useful in preventing/discouraging spam of certain actions, like possibly attack cancellation in combat, allowing to balance the gameplay systems more carefully. So what are problems of stamina? Stamina would obviously regenerate over time, which could lead to players abusing the system in combat against mobs, being able to quickly hide behind some blocks to regenerate stamina and be able to block again. Waiting for stamina to regenerate is also not the most exciting thing, but may be something that commonly occurs when stamina is a thing.

And as most people have gathered there is a third possible solution: Durability.
I think this is the solution the devs will most likely adapt, based on their current implementation of armor durability. Blocking costs shield (or weapon if blocking with a weapon) durability, if the shield/weapon is broken it can't block. This very effectively limits the length of fights and puts a big focus on gear progression, which some may like, others may dislike. The obvious problem with this system is that it would really need a repair system, as otherwise combat will just be a way to burn through work and resources and be not just pointless, but strongly discouraged, making evasion the only proper way to play. Swapping armor or shield in the middle of combat also needs to be disallowed in some form, or players could just swap the shield to instantly regain all lost "combat endurance", but that isn't exactly a hard thing to implement either. The real problem with this system is that it can't be as universally applied as the stamina system, evasion (running, dodging) and attacking (specifically canceling attacks, missing attacks) can't be balanced by it in the same was as defense, as they are not tied to gear in a logical way.

I personally still think the stamina system is the better way to go, as it is more flexible and the durability system putting too big a focus on gear progression rather than player skill for my personal taste.

So, what is your opinion on the matter? I'm be very interested to hear about other views and solutions/problems I didn't think of.

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