Melee-oriented Characters

Sorry for not posting something in quite some while. I have been busy with a few other projects as well as had some time off the game during the summer, but now I’m approaching development again. I had quite a lot more planned for this release but I am starting to feel that I want to get it out ASAP, so I will try to just fix the most pressing issues and leave some of the features for the next release. This post is about something I implemented already before the summer as a way of balancing melee oriented characters.

Melee-Oriented Characters

Melee-oriented characters have a tendency to work very well in the beginning and then be very hard towards the end. While I like that general flow, melee characters will typically find it too hard towards the end and will have to find other strategies to survive. While this is also a dynamic I quite like, I also want it to be at least possible to win with a totally melee oriented character and finally deal with some flaws that TGGW has suffered from from the start.

Elemental Attacks and Ranged Attacks

The reason that melee-oriented characters find it difficult towards the end is that more and more monsters start to deal elemental damage. In TGGW, armour has absolutely no effect against elemental attacks, making armour less useful towards the end. Melee-oriented characters also have a problem with ranged monster attacks, especially elemental ranged attacks. This is also because ranged monsters have been behaving “optimally”: they have stayed at an optimal distance from the player, and if the monster is at least as fast as the player, then it will succeed making it completely out of range for the poor character that cannot do anything else than taking damage…

Logic Solves It

It has been funny how often making things more logical usually also fixes game balance. Some examples that I previously wrote about is that inanimate monsters don’t sleep, that light and noise determines whether a trap triggers, that two handed fighting is dual-wielding and non-lethal (logical in the way that the power of one ability balances the drawback of the other).

I realised that it doesn’t make sense for armour to only block physical damage. Wearing a full plate armour with helmet and boots would certainly protect against fire, cold and acid as well! Making a melee-oriented character better protected against elemental attacks also makes a lot of sense balance wise. In fact, it should be the melee based characters that have the best protection against most attacks. Especially since armour gives quite a lot penalties to other attributes in TGGW. In other words: heavy armour should resist elemental damage as well as physical!

A Formulaic Approach

To consistently add resistances to all armour in the game would be a daunting and error prone task (there are quite many pieces of armour in the game…). I have therefore decided to take a formulaic approach which easily makes the change consistently and would be very easy to change in case I need to rebalance. When all game items have been loaded, there is a pass that checks that items are consistent, in this pass it’s also possible to add properties automatically to items. Here, all armour is now added with appropriate resistances.

A piece of equipment gets heaviness*coverage*5% resistance to fire, cold and acid (-5% if rusty). Where coverage and heaviness is defined as follows:

slot coverage
body 2
gloves 1
helmet 1
boots 1
all others 0


armour type heaviness
light (cloth, leather, etc.) 0
medium (ring, harder materials etc.) 1
heavy (plate, iron, etc.) 2


This would give, for instance the plate mail (body, heavy): 2*2*5% = 20% resistance to fire, acid and cold. A pair of iron gauntlets (hands, medium) would give: 1*1*5% = 5% resistance, etc.

Mind that even with all four slots fully covered in heavy-classed armour you would get “only” 50% resistance to all elements, but together with permanent resistances, rings and amulets and magic you could get pretty much full coverage.

Ranged Attacks

The aforementioned ranged attacks of monsters have also been changed. The logical justification here might be that it is difficult to stay at optimal range in the heat of battle. For a melee character to not be completely helpless against a fast ranged monster, the following changes have been made:

  • Ranged attackers only occasionally (instead of all the time) move away from the player.
  • Ranged attackers can now attack at melee range (i.e., when they are adjacent to the player). Otherwise they would be helpless when the player close on them.



  1. VERY welcome changes. I enjoyed playing with melee builds early on because they were fun, but stopped once I discovered they were pretty much doomed in the final third of the game with all that ranged elemental damage flying around!

    I doubt this will make it too easy, as a melee character still has many issues to contend with, but at least it could become a viable approach.

    Now I want that old run back where I was covered head-to-toe with full plate armor and tower shield, combined with a dagger for counterattacking 😀

    1. Yes, as you suspect, even with these changes a pure melee build is one of the hardest to win with… This just makes it a bit more fair 🙂

      The interesting thing is that the changes only really matters when you have a character like that: covered head-to-toe. So your previous character just might have won if it lived in the universe of release #7…

  2. Hello some comments according to presented changes from my part.
    According to ranged attacks, different approach can be set limit of ammo in monster quiver. When the monster is out of arrows, it runs away from the player.
    The changes according to armour sounds great to me, but the tests will show if the balance will be correct. I doubt of making warrior with full resistance to all elements…
    Can’t stand waiting for the next release. I wish You all the best. Kind regards.

    1. Yes, I have been thinking about limited quiver sizes for monsters, but this was my quick solution for now. The thing is that not all ranged attacks make sense to limit – breath attacks for instance are one of them. There might be more overhauls to ranged combat in the future…

      I have been testing quite a lot already and the change is quite modest. Collecting full resistance to all elements is still very unlikely (if not impossible).

      Thanks for waiting and thanks for the wishes 🙂

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