Ok, this one is a tough topic.  Balancing.

Can mean many things to many people.  One aspect is: if the game has replay value where you can select different classes, races etc., then it should retain a certain debility/difficulty.  I don’t believe in that concept, rather it actually gives a different (=interesting) game feel if you had experienced an easy game and then you have to think a bit harder playing with more complex characters.  Or you had a tough run and can then enjoy blasting monsters away and exploring everything more easily.  So I am not concerned if someone says it is hard to complete the game with monks and barbarians only.  It may still be interesting to try it.  My main rule is: SAME IS LAME.  And another rule I follow is: I don’t want to claim that I know what exactly it is about my game that is fun.  May be different for everyone.  You can play it in many different ways, for example setting a high or a low difficulty.  OR grinding and exploiting loopholes/spawners etc.

And that leaves me to the second type of Balancing: to make sure a monster is worth twice the XP of another one because it is twice as hard.  This is a type of balancing that I would like to achieve, but find really hard to do.  First of all a monster is hard depending on how you approach it.  You will find the PESTILENT SLIMES in Chapter2 really tough the first time you come across them, but later you know how to deal with them.  STONE GOLEMS are a problem if you have a melee-focussed party, but with a few spell casters or archers that can stay out of reach, you will be fine (eventually).  But if you notice something REALLY out of whack in that regard, please let me know.  I think everyone is mature enough not to exploit something and than complain later that he could, but some balance in how players are rewarded is my goal.

Another type of Balancing is relevant for multiplayer games: there the developer needs to make sure the player does not feel disadvantaged vs. other players due to the choices they made.  IMHO: that is bullshit.  That makes a lot of games LAME.  They try to make up for it by other means but I think that approach is futile.  Choices are only meaningful if they alter the outcome.  If all big choices lead to the same outcome (class choice), and all small choices lead to disastrous outcomes if not made perfectly (min/max-ing), then that is not a game for me.

So please enjoy my game in whatever form you like.  If you just love trawling through the very last corner of every randomly generated orc lair, be my guest, it is there for the taking.  If you love to spend ALL your money on that slightly off-balanced powerful item with the unusually low price, go for it.  I think there are certain elements of the game where your exploits or too-perfect choices can make the fights quite easy, but I think that is fine with me.  You should decide for yourself whether you counter that with a high difficulty setting.

Feedback welcome, let me know how you experience DoC in that regard: any dull stretches of gameplay? or is it particularly pleasing in that you found a way you love to play it?  Leave a comment below, keen to hear your views.

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