I agree with the first statement above by Draugor. I like the idea that in Genesis there are meaningful and vivid differences between the races in more than just the basic implications for roleplay. What I also see as true is that the way stats affect combat is one of five or so main things that drive the way the game feels and plays for every single character. So while I will agree with some that say that this is probably not the most important thing we need to tackle right now to fix the game, I will also say that changing the way stats play into combat would be one of the most significant things we could do to actually change the way the game plays. Therefore, it should be done with extreme caution, strong rationale, and not simply to "do something" to try to fix a perceived imbalance between racial options.
So, to analyze that last part a bit ...
I think we need to decide what the real issue is here, and what the desired result would be. From what I have heard and read, the main gripe is basically this:
To compete for size and power in Genesis, the differences between the races is so profound that there are extreme winners and extreme losers. This leads to, for instance:
- Goblin being the one and only real race choice for the pure and competetive stat-grinder.
- A race like elves, which is otherwise one of the most popular for fantasy roleplay, being dreadfully inadequate by comparison.
- A race like gnomes being so stunted as to be somewhat of a throw-away or niche option suited almost exclusively to roleplay.
Correct me if I am wrong, but this is the actual issue people want to solve. If so, the desired result is probably something along the lines of ... People want there to be meaningful rewards in the game beyond roleplay for every single racial choice one might want to make
. If so, I think that is perfectly reasonable and a good goal.
Now, stepping back again and looking at this in the big picture, where does this stack for me in our list of things "to do" to really get the game in good shape? Well ... if we were to divide the things that need to be done into, say, 10 tiers where tier 1 is the things we need to do first and immediately, I'd put this perhaps on tier 3 or so. In other words, I do consider it important. As I've stated, I also consider it perilous if we were to rush to take steps that alter core gameplay.
The main proposed methods I've heard that would "fix" this problem are:
- Make all the races basically the same other than in how people would want to roleplay them.
- Limit the degree to which people's stats can vary based on race.
- Add special features or abilities to each race independent of normal combat.
- Change the way combat takes stats into account.
The first of these is simply off the table, as far as I am concerned. I hate the idea of taking away the differences entirely, and would need persuasion that I cannot imagine possible to change my opinion of that.
Making the differences less profound seems not likely to really fix the problem. Goblins would still be considered the best, and elves would still be a lesser option, etc etc. Not really much of a solution, here.
Special features becomes complicated and hard to fathom. This brings to bear the idea of "asymmetrical balance" which is the hardest type to achieve. I'm skeptical of our ability to find time to code it or (more importantly) to get it right.
The final suggested method, then, where we would change the way combat takes stats into account, is perhaps what we would need to begin to consider. This, as I said, is the solution that affects core gameplay the most profoundly. However, I also think this is probably where the solution would lie in that it would be far and away the easiest to code. (i.e. we have the means.)
That being the case, I'd like to hear suggestions as to how combat could be changed to take stats into account differently. If you want to contribute to such a line of discussion, please bear in mind the goal of keeping the races very different from one another. I'm sure it is possible to make it so all races could achieve the same thing in different ways. But what would be more fun and interesting (and better design?) would be to have many different types of things worth achieving, and have each race better than the others at one or two of them.
The huge caveat: Don't expect any changes based on this discussion. This is grist for the mill, but the mill is already making flour for other loaves. If this discussion comes up with something amazing, we'll see what can happen.