My take on resistance in APRG

Here are some of my thoughts on resistances in Grim Dawn or most other ARPGs, including some suggestions to improve certain aspects about the topic. Many of my ideas may be hard to implement in running games, so just see them as food for thought, rather than specific demands.

For game design, (or any design for that matter) the first question should be: What purpose should a resistance system serve?
For me a resistance system should accomplish the following goal:
Give the player an opportunity to adapt to damage types he feels most endangered by.

Here are some issues I have with the traditional resistance systems in ARPGs:

1. Issue: resistance scaling is exponential
Here is a small illustration:
having 00% resistance with 100 base hp means having 100 effective hp
having 25% resistance with 100 base hp means having 133 effective hp, an increase of 33
having 50% resistance with 100 base hp means having 200 effective hp, an increase of 67
having 75% resistance with 100 base hp means having 400 effective hp, an increase of 200

Each step has the same equipment cost, like one more item giving you 25% resistance, but each step gives a much greater increase in effective hp than the last.
This leads to the problem that maxing resistance is mandatory if you want to reach high values of effective hp, leaving many other defensive stats much less desirable, until you maxed out resistances.

To solve the problem, stacking higher resistances should diminish the effect instead of increasing it.

Then you would still want to have some resistance against any type, but you would have to decide which resistances you want to concentrate on, because the equipment cost increases for higher damage reduction.

2. Issue: not knowing what hit you
There is no good way to figure out what hit you for how much damage and of which type.

The simplest thing I can think of, would be a death recap, showing you the enemies and the used damage types that did the most damage to you, in the last moments before you die.
Most important for decision making is always having informations to process.
This allows you to focus on the dangerous enemies first, next time encountering them, or adapting your equipment to better resist their damage types.

There could be much more elaborate tools to gather informations about the damage you receive, but I suppose you get the point.

The traditional system is very simple, numbers and programming wise, but I think it comes with too many drawbacks for a modern game. It shouldnt be too hard to come up with a system which better serves the purpose.

Your Opinion:
Which purpose do you think a resistance system should serve?
Do you have examples of other, more preferable resistance systems out there?

Diminishing returns would have likely been the best for not only resistances, but also OA, DA, etc. etc.

However, Pandora’s box has been opened on this and Not much can be done. GD2, maybe.

Ultimatively im pretty convinced this would not change much though. Making a “good” arpg character build is almost allways focussed around well balanced defenses for constant results and flexibility when it comes to picking your foe/area. With a diminishing return curve on those resist gains people would just aim for a different number in resists with a good relation between effort and gain and the enemies damage numbers would then have to be balanced around those reductions to adjust the game to a certain difficulty. At least thats how i see things but maybe i just not creative enough to envision the revolution.

E: Ultimatively the result will either be an average of 25% of the enemies damage actually getting through to your character (somehow that seems to be the most common number for resist caps in the genre) or a different percentage. If you want different damage types to have more impact on your actual gameplay (as in force you to kite etc) you could just increase certain monsters base damage numbers without changing the curve of mitigation gains per additional resist point.

I think what you are describing is a rating system, effectively what Diablo 3 has, where the more of a resistance rating you stack, the less % damage reduction you get from additional rating.

Fundamentally, it doesn’t change much because there is still a point where it’s no longer worth stacking the resist over other bonuses, and where that value falls is very similar to a hard-cap.

I don’t necessarily see meeting Resistance requirements for end-game content to be an issue either, although any sequel we may work on could benefit from less damage types to worry about.

I don’t think it’s a problem that you should get your resistances maxed at end-game when the game’s difficulty and character build have a “finishing point”. The unlimited scaling in D3 is the reason I turned away from Diablo and turned to GD. The traditional system seems simple, but is actually more complex when you are building a character because you gotta balance your gears between getting max resistance and other attributes. The D3 resistance system where you have diminished returns as your resistance gets higher seems like it’s more complex, but it’s actually not doing more. People will eventually find out the same optimal resistance you need to have for all the end-game build.

Death Recap would be nice, but I think might be too late for GD now.

As for resistances, I wouldn’t like to see the process of capping them made more tedious by forcing players to balance particular resistances with other stats.

As for death recap, when I die in crucible I sometimes watch the vid in slow mo. I got used to the fact that GD is best played with external tools long ago.

How would you avoid the orher pitfall, namely the idea that a theoretical sequel would be a dumbed/watered down game compared to the original with less damage types?

And how would, in theory, reducing the number of damage types compensated with complexity in other areas of the number-crunch game benefit the game, when you are, in this theoretical example, ending up with the same complexity? Where could there be a benefit of a potential shift of complexity from resistances to some other area?

Sacred 2 used %mitigation versus different attacks: fire, cold, physical, etc

But %mitigation was hard to come by (rare)* and there were other mechanics like armor including fire, cold, physical, poison armor etc.

There were also other defense mechanics like evasion or spell resistance which worked against non-spell combat arts and spell combat arts respectively.

So from this system their idea was to have % mitigation which has increasing returns rather than diminishing but make that stat hard to find and extremely hard to get very high. And then have other forms of defenses that have diminishing returns.

Not that it is the best system but it’s just an option. 1 make increasing return stat hard to stack/find 2 have other defenses but make them diminishing

Sacred 2 also had a good system for seeing damages hit you. You could look at your last 10 opponents by hitting a menu button (like for inventory or character sheet) and scroll through the last 10 opponents who hit you including bosses and see some stats on them like their armor, health, what damage types they did.

*only a few classes could stack close to 90% mitigation and only if they got lucky shopping at vendors for items.

The way you put it, why put a resistance system in a game anyway? Just because it was in the predecessors of the genre? (No rhetorical, but sincere question)

But I have to agree, just changing the resistance system wouldnt do much for GD. A good resistance system depends on the different types of damage that enemies deal to you.

Again, same question as above: why include a resistance system, if it doesnt serve a different purpose than raw defensive power?

Whether or not resistance stacking is worth it, should depend on the danger coming from different damage types and if your character is vulnerable to them mechanical wise. Here is an example.

Lets assume the following:
fire damage comes in the form of proloned heavy damage on an area (zoning)
lightning damage comes in the form of ranged instant low damage
poison damage comes in the form of medium damage over time sticking to your character

Which resistance you should aim for now heavily depends on the character and playstyle you play and prefer.

Characters with low mobility, high hp pool and high self sustain should focus on fire resistance
Characters with high mobility, low hp pool and high self sustain should focus on lightning resistance
Characters with high mobility, high hp pool and low self sustain should focus on poison resistance

The first type of character has a hard time avoiding those fire areas.
The second type has a low hp pool and could easily be one shotted by lightning.
The third type has no simple way of countering poison by healing himself.

This is a very simple breakdown, but now assume you had the traditional system with exponential scaling. Even a character with medium mobility, would still try to max fire resistance just because the scaling makes it inefficient to invest only a few points. With a linear system or a system featuring diminished returns, or even a system with a small linear growth, you would have to balance how much of the resistance you need to not be endangered by it.

By having exponential scaling, you remove the incentive to only moderately invest in a resistance.

I dont think that Diablo 3 is an example of a good resistance system, even if it doesnt feature exponential scaling. This is because the main stat is “all resistance” which is just a differently named “armor”. So it doesnt really serve a purpose on its own.

Having percentage reduction as a rare stat is an interesting concept indeed. I only played Sacred 1 and actually cant remember the resistance system it featured.

I prefer the GD/D2 style of resistances, I think it makes build-crafting more interesting. Since you effectively have to cap them, it forces you to make trade-offs when choosing gear, devotions, etc. Its also nice that they behave differently from other defenses like HP and Armor where, generally, more is better with no cap. I think having a couple fewer would be nice, I think it’d be nice to see a couple fewer resistances in general.

I have mixed feelings about the armor augment system. I like the flexibility it adds. I don’t like the “resistance cliff” that happens at lvl 70 where you suddenly get ~100 extra points spread around. I don’t like that you can’t see what augments are where the way you can with components, it makes the process more tedious.

Secondary resistances are another story altogether. I do not like them at all. There are far too many, their effects are far too redundant with each other (stun = petrify = freeze = trap), and sources of secondary resistances are far too sparse. Also, in my experience, the only enemies that slow/stun/etc debugs are reliable against is on trash mobs where you don’t need them, and against most hero/boss enemies where you would really want them you can’t rely on them at all.

To implement your idea, they’d have to change the damage system. Most of your ideas in the forum make GD into a new game, a game that is not GD I know. So no, not gonna agree with you on changes. They don’t appeal to me. The character customization is already enough work, especially who have many alts like me.

Zantai already said it’d not change anything.

The reason for a resistance system is to add a certain amount of complexity to one of the layers (defensive side) of building a character to put it plain and simple. Basically the genre arpg usually has a certain depth/complexity that people enjoying those kind of games expect.

PoE is a good example for a rather highish complexity for an arpg whereas a lot of the hate for d3 stems from it beeing very simple when it comes to mechanics and options provided to the players “to make their very own character build”.

That doesnt mean having exactly this system is mandatory or anything but if you removed it you would either make the game more simple or you would have to come up with a new system/layer of complexity instead.

For me, a system where its mandatory to max resistance, or it being the blatantly better choice, adds no complexity to the game at all. For me, complexity is indepth decision making. An obvious decision may be a decision too, but that isnt the complexity I like in these games.
If you look through the builds section in the forum, I wonder if you can find any late game build without max resistance. I even assume most people wont mention it, because they start from the premise that you max your resistances anyway.

I remeber a similar discussion about the attribute system in Diablo 2. People saying it makes the game more complex, whereas actually 99% of builds used the same simple formular:
Strength/Dexterity for requirements, Dexterity for max block if used, no Energy, remaining points into Vitality, or no Vitality and remaining points into Energy when using Energy Shield.
If you can have such a simple formular, for all classes, builds and situations in the game, I dont feel it being important to the games complexity.

I think the complexity of Diablo 2 and Grim Dawn comes from the item choices and combinations and that there are no, or only a few obvious choices.
Diablo 3 misses complexity in character building because of blatantly better or mandatory choices, like the class sets or uniques which increase a certain skills damage by a ridiculous high amount.

Following my argumentation, what you said would mean: for one game, a system with blatantly better or mandatory choices (Diablo 3 items, class sets) reduces complexity and for another game it increases the complexity (Grim Dawn resistance system, maxing resistance).

Path of Exiles complexity also stems from the amount of usable skill gems in combination with support gems and its itemization. The resistance system doesnt add complexity in decision making, its just max and forget because of the same exponential scaling.

To put it simple, if you removed all resistance stats, removed the resistance system and cut all resistance affected damage by late game enemies by a factor of four, the complexity of character building wouldnt change at all im my opinion.

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It is a factor of five for grim dawn, and a factor of 0.3 to 0.4 for physical damage. Then we’d have to remove armor and absorbption too, since it’s a pretty broken concept with a very narrow range where it’s fair and working, above which it becomes a facetanking snorefest, and below it an invitation for unavoidable cheap oneshots and shotguns.

Now mind me, if resistances were only given by shields and skills, this would be a lot more interesting. But alas, it isn’t the case. Max and overcap and call it a day.

Also, since enemy crits are exclusively happening only at certain bosses/nemeses, and happen to be the top oneshot dangers (aside from zantarim’s shotgun maybe) when combined with some -phys res on you and enemy innate +%crit damage, and since good builds stack DA to the point where critters can’t crit them (in top-end gear), this could be removed too.

I mean, it’s not like there’s a tradeoff involved, so no real choice here. Get your DA high or die. There is no “low DA” tradeoff apparently, or if there is, it’s minuscule compared to the risks and lost opportunities. Same thing as resistances.

FG MIGHT change the relative importance of resists and DA with the way teleportation and movement runes work, but since CC is hot garbage in the game, and many enemies already run faster than the player movement speed cap, I doubt it.

Rant-ta-ta-tan-TAN-TAN! :rolleyes:

Seriously, you still have to figure out how far over the cap you wanna go, can you live with 20% stun res or are you desperate for that 50% (this was meta while ago, show up with less than 50 and you’d be laughed off), how much slow res you need, how scared you are of Moosie and his freezing bobs, are you willing to play undercapped with some res like bleed or acid, how important trap res is for you, etc, etc. Complexity is there. D3 and PoE can’t hold a candle.

Secondary resists are far more scarce and they have a vastly different effect, blocking an effect by a certain chance or reducing the effects duration instead of simply increasing your ehp. If you read the first posts, you see that I am not talking about secondary resistances.
I must admit, I played through ultimate and ignored the secondary resistances for the most part, so I have no opinion on how relevant they are for specific endgame content.

Acid and Bleed damage is then probably just underrepresented in the game and there are fewer very dangerous enemies dealing these types. The decision is still, max those too anyways, or ignore them because not relevant. Just putting 25% in there doesnt cut it, when this only increases your ehp by 33%, as opposed to the 300% ehp from 75%.

I dislike how resists work in nearly every game I’ve played as well. I’ve been tossing around different ideas for when I eventually make a game and while this is very much still a work in progress this, here’s how I’m currently leaning:

All items have affixes, a single affix pool, not prefixes and suffixes. Resists lower damage taken by a flat amount. The same affix on more than one piece of gear provides a multiplicative “affix set” bonus. Therefore, you can opt to stack resists on all your gear for very high damage reduction from those sources, but you will very likely be gimping your character elsewhere by using up valuable affix slots. You’ll have to find a balance that works best for your character. Passives, racials, and playstyle will all be factors.

Greatly appreciate feedback on my thoughts!

I am always torn between percentage reduction and flat reduction, but found that even though percentage reduction seems irrelevant on lower stages, I think its still the better approach than flat reduction.

Flat reduction brings the following problems:

  1. Hard capping them is difficult. Only thing that comes to my mind, would be a maximum percentage reduction through flat amounts, like a maximum of 75% of damage can be reduced via flat reduction.
  2. Big difference between reduction on multihit and singlehit attacks. Flat reductions make multihit attacks much harder to implement. Percentage reduction does not share this problem, as it only cares about the total damage and not the amount of damage instances.

Maybe the best approach would be giving percentage reductions, but not directly, but through indirect numbers like “+50% ehp against fire damage”. This would equal to gaining 33% fire resistance. Now if you receive another “+50% ehp against fire damage”, youll get 17% fire resistance and so on. You could also implement a variant where you have diminishing returns, like the additional stats being multiplicative (50%+50%=75%).

  1. I had this exact thought with a question mark next to it in my notes.

  2. I can see where this could be an issue, but I’ve never been a fan of shotgunning anyway so might likely wouldn’t be a major concern in my world.

Along the lines of your last point; another other option I thought about was to have the character have a baseline of say 20% resists. Then mods would increase the baseline number by a % which by nature would have diminishing returns.