History Main / DiminishingReturnsForBalance

16th May '18 12:31:28 PM Luigifan
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Linear scaling stats has its problems. If a player spreads their points out between each of their statistics evenly or accrues small bonuses in one stat or the other, the effect is perfect... but min/maxers who find the best stats and [[{{Whoring}} jam all of their points into them]] can snap the balance in half.

One way to mitigate this effect is to make every point of a stat after a certain threshold have less effect on that stat than the last one. You can alter the coefficients as necessary for each attribute, and if you do a smooth enough job nobody will notice. The game works as it should and everyone's happy.

Of course, diminishing returns has its troubles. First, it's a lot more work, and takes a lot longer time to playtest and get just right. Second, if it's done poorly it just makes the game mechanics confusing; explaining to the player that, above a certain point, each point of Dexterity only provides 36.74% of the benefit of each previous point makes your game sound arcane and confusing. And if you don't explain it to them, astute players will feel cheated when they realize that they pushed all of their points into Strength and are getting no appreciable benefit from half of those stat points.

The second problem is it doesn't always solve the problem of min-maxing. There are usually at a handful of stats that are the most useful in any game, it's just that one of them tends to be more useful than the others. Diminishing returns encourages players to dump points into the "best" stat or stats until the penalty is hit, then dump more into the second best. If the system is not well balanced regarding stats in the first place, the net effect is that instead of focusing excessively on one, players will focus excessively on a small handful.

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Linear scaling stats has its problems. If a player spreads their points out between each of their statistics evenly or accrues small bonuses in one stat or the other, the effect is perfect... but min/maxers [[MinMaxing min/maxers]] who find the [[OneStatToRuleThemAll best stats stats]] and [[{{Whoring}} jam all of their points into them]] can snap the balance in half.

One way to mitigate this effect is to make every point of a stat after a certain threshold have less effect on that stat than the last one. You can alter the coefficients as necessary for each attribute, and if you do a smooth enough job job, nobody will notice. The game works as it should and everyone's happy.

Of course, diminishing returns has its troubles. First, it's a lot more work, and takes a lot longer time to playtest and get just right. Second, if it's done poorly poorly, it just makes the game mechanics confusing; explaining to the player that, above a certain point, each point of Dexterity only provides 36.74% of the benefit of each previous point makes your game sound arcane and confusing. And if you don't explain it to them, astute players will feel cheated when they realize that they pushed all of their points into Strength and are getting no appreciable benefit from half of those stat points.

The second problem is it doesn't always solve the problem of min-maxing. There are usually at a handful of stats that are the most useful in any game, it's just that one of them tends to be more useful than the others. Diminishing returns encourages players to dump points into the "best" stat or stats until the penalty is hit, then dump more into the second best.second-best. If the system is not well balanced regarding stats in the first place, the net effect is that instead of focusing excessively on one, players will focus excessively on a small handful.



* A lot of fighting games use this to keep combos under control, causing the damage of the attacks to decrease by increasing percentage the further the combo goes; it's called "damage scaling". For example, a LimitBreak move used standalone will do more damage than if it's used at the end of a combo.
** Some games will cause the first hit after an arbitrary number to automatically whiff/miss even if the enemy is still well within its hit box, giving the opponent enough time to recover and counter. Some other games will make the attack cause less hitstun (i.e time where the opponent is helpless after getting attacked and open for another attack) the further in a combo it gets used, called "hitstun scaling".
* In the VideoGame/SuperSmashBros series, each game has a mechanic known as [[http://www.ssbwiki.com/Stale_move_negation "stale-move negation"]], that causes an attack to become weaker the more frequently it is successfully used (as in, it hits an opposing hitbox). In Melee, it wasn't much of a factor, as while it caused attacks to deal reduced damage, it didn't affect the knockback they dealt (thus your finishers will still KO at nearly the same percent they would fresh regardless of how often you used them). In Brawl, it's much more severe, with knockback now being affected; the knockback power of a move will decrease rapidly with each successive use (for example, a move that could KO around 100% fresh will not even KO at 300% if fully decayed). With the freshness bonus also being introduced (a mechanic that boosts the power of a fresh move by 5%), there's a large disparity between the knockback power of a fresh move and a move that has been frequently used, making the strategy of not using your primary KO move(s) until your opponent is at KO percent actually viable (rather than just being an ideal tactic). It's a double-edged sword though; while this rewards players who plan appropriate use of their KO moves and punishes those who used them haphazardly, it causes a few moves to be overly powerful at comboing into themselves, which then causes the characters with such moves to be very hard counters to those that are especially vulnerable to them (Pikachu's down throw is the most infamous example, being a chain throw that causes massive damage, if not directly leading to an outright [[http://www.ssbwiki.com/Zero-to-death_combo zero-death]], on several characters because of this).

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* A lot of fighting games use this to keep combos under control, causing the damage of the attacks to decrease by an increasing percentage the further the combo goes; it's called "damage scaling". For example, a LimitBreak move used standalone will do more damage than if it's used at the end of a combo.
** Some games will cause the first hit after an arbitrary number to automatically whiff/miss even if the enemy is still well within its hit box, hitbox[[note]]and not in a defensive posture that would negate an attack, such as blocking or dodging — which, due to hitstun, is almost always the case when a player is caught in a combo[[/note]], giving the opponent enough time to recover and counter. Some other games will make the attack cause less hitstun (i.e time where the opponent is helpless after getting attacked and open for another attack) the further in a combo it gets used, called "hitstun scaling".
* In the VideoGame/SuperSmashBros ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros'' series, each game has a mechanic known as [[http://www.ssbwiki.com/Stale_move_negation "stale-move negation"]], that which causes an attack to become weaker the more frequently it is successfully used (as in, it hits an opposing hitbox). In Melee, ''Melee'', it wasn't much of a factor, as while it caused attacks to deal reduced damage, it didn't affect the knockback they dealt (thus your finishers will still KO at nearly the same percent they would fresh fresh, regardless of how often you used them). them[[note]]we say "nearly" because damage dealt is a component of the knockback an attack deals, so even though stale-move negation doesn't affect a move’s knockback scaling or base knockback, the damage reduction still causes a slight knockback reduction[[/note]]). In Brawl, ''Brawl'', it's much more severe, with knockback now being affected; the knockback power of a move will decrease rapidly with each successive use (for example, a move that could KO around 100% fresh will not even KO at 300% if fully decayed). With the freshness bonus also being introduced (a mechanic that boosts the power of a fresh move by 5%), there's a large disparity between the knockback power of a fresh move and a move that has been frequently used, making the strategy of not using your primary KO move(s) until your opponent is at KO percent actually viable (rather than just being an ideal tactic). It's a double-edged sword sword, though; while this rewards players who plan appropriate use of their KO moves and punishes those who used them haphazardly, it causes a few moves to be overly powerful at comboing into themselves, which then causes the characters with such moves to be very hard counters to those that are especially vulnerable to them (Pikachu's down throw is the most infamous example, being a chain throw that causes massive damage, if not directly leading to an outright [[http://www.ssbwiki.com/Zero-to-death_combo zero-death]], on several characters because of this).



* ''Videogame/EYEDivineCybermancy'''s stats become increasingly expensive (level-up points wise) once they're past level ~30. At level 100, it can take a dozen points to level up one stat. Cybernetics cost more brouzouf with each upgrade - and require the expensive [[{{Whatevermancy}} Necrocybermancy]] research past tier 6 - to compensate for the massive bonuses given by upgrading.

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* ''Videogame/EYEDivineCybermancy'''s stats become increasingly expensive (level-up points wise) points-wise) once they're past level ~30. At level 100, it can take a dozen points to level up one stat. Cybernetics cost more brouzouf with each upgrade - and require the expensive [[{{Whatevermancy}} Necrocybermancy]] research past tier 6 - to compensate for the massive bonuses given by upgrading.



* In contrast to ''[=TF2=]'', ''VideoGame/{{Overwatch}}'' actually accounts for this at the hero selection screen - it will warn a player when their team is has too many of a class or role (especially snipers) and point out roles that may be lacking (such as a healing character). Since it's also a push-based game, this can be valuable information for a player who wants to help turn the tide of battle for their team. Eventually, the game was patched to flat-out prevented you from taking a hero someone else on your team is playing already, even in casual matches.

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* In contrast to ''[=TF2=]'', ''VideoGame/{{Overwatch}}'' actually accounts for this at the hero selection screen - it will warn a player when their team is has too many of a class or role (especially snipers) and point out roles that may be lacking (such as a healing character). Since it's also a push-based game, this can be valuable information for a player who wants to help turn the tide of battle for their team. Eventually, the game was patched to flat-out prevented prevent you from taking playing as a hero someone else on your team is playing as already, even in casual matches.



* To encourage certain allied units to be flat out tanking (namely {{Super Robot}}s) rather than have them dodge-tanking, newer ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars'' installments introduced "Evasion Decay": if any unit, allied or enemy, successfully dodges an attack, the next attack gains a cumulative bonus to its accuracy rate. This resets once the unit takes a hit.

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* To encourage certain allied units to be flat out flat-out tanking (namely {{Super Robot}}s) rather than have them dodge-tanking, newer ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars'' installments introduced "Evasion Decay": if any unit, allied or enemy, successfully dodges an attack, the next attack on that unit gains a cumulative bonus to its accuracy rate. This resets once the unit takes a hit.



* ''VideoGame/DragonSaga'''s archer classes have a skill that lets them juggle enemies in the air by holding down the 'Z' key. Predictably it quickly became one of the most hated exploits even after more broken ones were found. One attempt to fix it saw its damage gradually decrease to 30% over consecutive hits... with no other change, meaning that the only 'improvement' was that the victim survived longer in a helpless state.
* ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes'' originally let you add as many of a type of 'Enhancements' to a power as you liked, leading to builds that were far and away so much better than anything else that there was no reason to use any different kind of enhancement build. This led, eventually, to The Great Diversification, when this was instituted, making every enhancement of the same kind give less return. The returns diminished so harshly that anything over three of a kind was useless. The net effect was to make the game overall more difficult and to weaken linear, straightforward powers that only benefit from one type of enhancement. Certain powers and builds became useless overnight.
** It was very necessary as the Inventions System that came out a few years later gave many newer ways to enhance powers would have been absolutely gamebreaking if there were no diminishing returns. Inventions also had the side-effect of making many previously unfeasible builds very effective ones that can rival the most powerful of the pre-diversification builds. If anything, MinMaxing was made even better.
* Multiple damage or defense upgrades in ''VideoGame/EveOnline'' employ Diminishing Returns. The first such module has full effect, the second approximately 80%, and after the third a fourth becomes near-pointless.
** Something similar happens with skills. Each skill typically gives a 5% increase per level to it's relevant modules, but the training times increase exponentially for each level, so you may need only an hour to train the skill to level 1 and unlock the first 5% boost, but it will take a month to train it to level 5 and unlock the final 5% increase.
* ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' uses this for the duration of stuns and similar effects on other players to prevent "stunlocks". Defensive stats also use them to encourage tanks to invest in all forms (if available to them) rather than just one. Hard caps are also in effect in some cases, but Blizzard is trying to get rid of those or change things around so they cant be reached.
** For instance, there is a hard cap for armor. At some point druid tanks, helped by a generous armor multiplier to compensate leather equipment and lack of shields, could easily push past it. Many healers also had a talent to increase a players armor for a short time after healing them with a critical effect. This was then addressed by several means such as changing the armor multiplier to only work on specific types of items and the healer talent changing to a plain damage reduction effect.
** Trade skill leveling works in a similar fashion. Early on, it's ridiculously easy to cook spiced bread with inexpensive flour and spice you can get anywhere or make cheap potions with flowers common as dirt but as you increase your skill it becomes harder to increase it further. Ingredients needed to craft become rare and expensive and it often takes multiple attempts to actually gain a skill point, each attempt consuming the reagents regardless of a possible lack of skill gain.
* ''VideoGame/ChampionsOnline'' implemented this feature fairly early on to balance out the downright insane returns people were getting on Dex/Ego builds (things like critting on almost half your attacks for almost double damage). They instituted a "softcap" partially determined by the character's level that seems to be working well as a compromise; low level players see better returns early on (Dex became a feasible defensive stat BEFORE the late teen levels). but the higher level min/maxers can still push their stats high enough to get noticeably better performance from their characters.
* ''VideoGame/ERepublik'' skill training works like this, in the case of strength when you start out you gain .5 every time you train, by the time you hit 4 strength this is down to .04 every time you train.

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* ''VideoGame/DragonSaga'''s ''VideoGame/DragonSaga''[='=]s archer classes have a skill that lets them juggle enemies in the air by holding down the 'Z' key. Predictably Predictably, it quickly became one of the most hated exploits even after more broken ones were found. One attempt to fix it saw its damage gradually decrease to 30% over consecutive hits... with no other change, meaning change; the likely intention was to improve the odds that the juggler would screw up and drop their target or the target being able to maneuver out of harm’s way before they were actually finished off, but since players who were good enough to ''start'' juggling were also generally good enough to ''continue'' juggling indefinitely, the only actual 'improvement' was that the victim [[CycleOfHurting survived longer in a helpless state.
state]].
* ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes'' originally let you add as many of a type of 'Enhancements' to a power as you liked, leading to builds that were far and away so much better than anything else that there was no reason to use any different kind of enhancement build. This led, eventually, to The Great Diversification, Diversification; when this was instituted, making every enhancement of the same kind give less return. The returns diminished so harshly that anything over three of a kind was useless. The net effect was to make the game overall more difficult and to weaken linear, straightforward powers that only benefit from one type of enhancement. Certain powers and builds became useless overnight.
** It was very necessary necessary, as the Inventions System that came out a few years later gave many newer ways to enhance powers powers, which would have been absolutely gamebreaking game-breaking if there were no diminishing returns. Inventions also had the side-effect of making many previously unfeasible builds into very effective ones that can rival the most powerful of the pre-diversification builds. If anything, MinMaxing was made even better.
* Multiple damage or defense upgrades in ''VideoGame/EveOnline'' employ Diminishing Returns. The first such module has full effect, the second approximately 80%, and after the third third, a fourth becomes near-pointless.
** Something similar happens with skills. Each skill typically gives a 5% increase per level to it's its relevant modules, but the training times increase exponentially for each level, so you may need only an hour to train the skill to level 1 and unlock the first 5% boost, but it will take a month to train it to level 5 and unlock the final 5% increase.
* ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' uses this for the duration of stuns and similar effects on other players to prevent "stunlocks"."[[CycleOfHurting stunlocks]]". Defensive stats also use them to encourage tanks to invest in all forms (if available to them) rather than just one. Hard caps are also in effect in some cases, but Blizzard is trying to get rid of those or change things around so they cant can't be reached.
** For instance, there is a hard cap for armor. At some point point, druid tanks, helped by a generous armor multiplier to compensate for leather equipment and lack of shields, could easily push past it. Many healers also had a talent to increase a players player’s armor for a short time after healing them with a critical effect. This was then addressed by several means means, such as changing the armor multiplier to only work on specific types of items and the healer talent changing to a plain damage reduction effect.
** Trade skill leveling works in a similar fashion. Early on, it's ridiculously easy to cook spiced bread with inexpensive flour and spice you can get anywhere or make cheap potions with flowers that are as common as dirt dirt, but as you increase your skill skill, it becomes harder to increase it further. Ingredients needed to craft become rare and expensive and it often takes multiple attempts to actually gain a skill point, each attempt consuming the reagents regardless of a possible lack of skill gain.
* ''VideoGame/ChampionsOnline'' implemented this feature fairly early on to balance out the downright insane returns people were getting on Dex/Ego builds (things like critting on almost half your attacks for almost double damage). They instituted a "softcap" partially determined by the character's level that seems to be working well as a compromise; low level low-level players see better returns early on (Dex became a feasible defensive stat BEFORE the late teen levels). but the higher level min/maxers can still push their stats high enough to get noticeably better performance from their characters.
* ''VideoGame/ERepublik'' skill training works like this, this. For example, in the case of strength strength, when you start out out, you gain .5 every time you train, but by the time you hit 4 strength strength, this is down to .04 every time you train.



* ''VideoGame/RagnarokOnline'' inverts this before its renewal patch for its offensive stats; while the cost to increase a stat went up as it got higher, you'd get bonus damage when you reach certain points (for example, every 10 str points gave a melee attack bonus). This bonus grows as you reached higher and higher stats, to the point that oftentimes that it was worth paying more for the higher stat (so you'd have less total stats), if it meant reaching a damage bonus. The renewal patch changes this behavior.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIV'' has status ailments occur in shorter intervals if you keep applying the same type to the same target over and over again. For example, Sleep will last for 30 seconds, and then 15 seconds if inflicted on the same target again, and it keeps growing shorter from there. Luckily, the diminishing mechanic also applies to enemies so they can't cheaply put you in a stun lock. However, players and enemies can have multiple status ailments of the same kind inflicted on them at once if they were hit by different attackers, so it's possible to have 20 players all inflict the basic Poison status with full strength on a boss character since each Poison effect is coming from different people instead of the same player multiple times.
* This is a common point in ''VideoGame/KingdomOfLoathing'', where almost everything - damage resistance, elemental resistance, combat frequency, you name it - eventually hits a point where diminishing returns kick in hard. Unlike many massively-multiplayer games, ''Kingdom of Loathing'' didn't ''start'' with many of these: they were added later on, in order to create a balanced situation.

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* ''VideoGame/RagnarokOnline'' inverts this before its renewal patch for its offensive stats; while the cost to increase a stat went up as it got higher, you'd get bonus damage when you reach certain points (for example, every 10 str points gave a melee attack bonus). This bonus grows as you reached higher and higher stats, to the point that oftentimes that it was worth paying more for the higher stat (so you'd have less total stats), if it meant reaching a damage bonus. The renewal patch changes this behavior.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIV'' has status ailments occur in shorter intervals if you keep applying the same type to the same target over and over again. For example, Sleep will last for 30 seconds, and then 15 seconds if inflicted on the same target again, and it keeps growing shorter from there. Luckily, the diminishing mechanic also applies to enemies enemies, so they can't cheaply put you in a [[CycleOfHurting stun lock.lock]]. However, players and enemies can have multiple status ailments of the same kind inflicted on them at once if they were hit by different attackers, so it's possible to have 20 players all inflict the basic Poison status with full strength on a boss character since each Poison effect is coming from different people instead of the same player multiple times.
* This is a common point in ''VideoGame/KingdomOfLoathing'', where almost everything - damage resistance, elemental resistance, combat frequency, you name it - eventually hits a point where diminishing returns kick in hard. Unlike many massively-multiplayer games, ''Kingdom of Loathing'' didn't ''start'' with many of these: they were added later on, in order to create a balanced situation.



* ''VideoGame/LeagueOfLegends'' uses hard and soft caps for some stats. Attack Speed and Cooldown Reduction hardcap at 2.5 attacks per second and 40% reduction, respectively, with no diminishing returns. Movement Speed has no hard cap, but two "soft caps" make it hard to increase past a certain point-raising your movement speed past one soft cap causes increases to have their effectiveness cut, and going past the second causes a steeper cut.
** ''VideoGame/DotA2'' also has similar hard and soft caps, but a certain character manages to disable the speed cap (which is 522). If an enemy hero has less than 50% of his health, Bloodseeker will get not only a speed boost but will also disable the speed cap, making it possible to have it's speed to go from around 370 to a whooping ''1500''.

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* ''VideoGame/LeagueOfLegends'' uses hard and soft caps for some stats. Attack Speed and Cooldown Reduction hardcap at 2.5 attacks per second and 40% reduction, respectively, with no diminishing returns. Movement Speed has no hard cap, but two "soft caps" make it hard to increase past a certain point-raising point — raising your movement speed past one soft cap causes increases to have their effectiveness cut, and going past the second causes a steeper cut.
** ''VideoGame/DotA2'' also has similar hard and soft caps, but a certain character manages to disable the speed cap (which is 522). If an enemy hero has less than 50% of his health, Bloodseeker will get not only get a speed boost boost, but will also disable the speed cap, making it possible to have it's its speed to go from around 370 to a whooping whopping ''1500''.



* The ''[[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigi Mario & Luigi]]'' {{RPG}}s award points into every stat automatically on each level up, and then let the player apply a bonus to one stat by timing a roulette spin. If one stat is getting too high, or you've used the roulette on the same stat too many times, the numbers on the roulette get smaller. There's always a 3 on the wheel, however, so with good timing you can minmax any of your stats.

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* The ''[[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigi Mario & Luigi]]'' {{RPG}}s award points into every stat automatically on each level up, and then let the player apply a bonus to one stat by timing a roulette spin. If one stat is getting too high, or you've used the roulette on the same stat too many times, the numbers on the roulette get smaller. There's always a 3 on the wheel, however, so with good timing timing, you can minmax any of your stats.



* The first ''VideoGame/{{Geneforge}}'' used the ''VideoGame/MightAndMagic'' version of this trope--going from 10 to 11 in a skill, for instance, does nothing, whereas going from 10 to 12 provides a bonus equivalent to going from 9 to 10. From 10 to 20, the bonuses came from even numbers only, and above 20 bonuses were only gained at 23, 26, and 29. This incidentally meant that getting one point of a skill from a quest could just mean that you'd be capable of getting a bonus if you were willing to buy another level of the skill. Later games replaced this with the ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' system of having higher levels cost more points--in that case, the only problem is that it encourages [[MinMaxing minmaxers]] to get their free quest-related bonuses as late in the game as possible, so as to maximize the number of skill points saved.

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* The first ''VideoGame/{{Geneforge}}'' used the ''VideoGame/MightAndMagic'' version of this trope--going trope — going from 10 to 11 in a skill, for instance, does nothing, whereas going from 10 to 12 provides a bonus equivalent to going from 9 to 10. From 10 to 20, the bonuses came from even numbers only, and above 20 bonuses were only gained at 23, 26, and 29. This incidentally meant that getting one point of a skill from a quest could just mean that you'd be capable of getting a bonus if you were willing to buy another level of the skill. Later games replaced this with the ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' system of having higher levels cost more points--in points — in that case, the only problem is that it encourages [[MinMaxing minmaxers]] to get their free quest-related bonuses as late in the game as possible, so as to maximize the number of skill points saved.



** Its spiritual successor ''VideoGame/DarkSouls'' have a soft cap of 40, but diminishing returns really hits hard at 50, in which the only reason you want 50 in that stat is for spell requirements (such as 50 Intelligence for White Dragon Breath and 50 Faith for Sunlight Spear). The exception is Carrying Capacity, which is tied with Endurance stat; while Endurance stops giving any stamina boost after 40, increasing it beyond 40 gives you one point of carry capacity per level, that is, a flat rate increase.
** ''VideoGame/DarkSoulsII'' both plays this straight an inverts it: ''all'' stats have diminishing returns and the soft cap is still at 40, but the points from 30-40 are worth considerably ''more'' (about 50% greater return per point) than the first thirty. Some advantages of a stat won't even show up ''at all'' below a certain value, for instance spells won't start getting extra casts until you get attunement above 20.

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** Its spiritual successor ''VideoGame/DarkSouls'' have has a soft cap of 40, but diminishing returns really hits hard at 50, in which the only reason you want 50 in that stat is for spell requirements (such as 50 Intelligence for White Dragon Breath and 50 Faith for Sunlight Spear). The exception is Carrying Capacity, which is tied with Endurance stat; while Endurance stops giving any stamina boost after 40, increasing it beyond 40 gives you one point of carry capacity per level, that is, a flat rate increase.
** ''VideoGame/DarkSoulsII'' both plays this straight an and inverts it: ''all'' stats have diminishing returns and the soft cap is still at 40, but the points from 30-40 are worth considerably ''more'' (about 50% greater return per point) than the first thirty. Some advantages of a stat won't even show up ''at all'' below a certain value, value; for instance instance, spells won't start getting extra casts until you get attunement above 20.



** Your damage taken in ''VideoGame/Fallout4'' is divided by approximately the ''cubic root'' of your Damage Resistance. This makes the early points very valuable (after clearing the threshold to do anything, about ~1/7 of attacks' damage; generally very easy to achieve), but subsequent points much less so--taking half as much damage requires getting about '''seven times''' as much DR. Consequently, while early game DR tends to be in the tens, PoweredArmor has to raise your DR to over a ''thousand'' to produce a noticeable effect.

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** Your damage taken in ''VideoGame/Fallout4'' is divided by approximately the ''cubic root'' of your Damage Resistance. This makes the early points very valuable (after clearing the threshold to do anything, about ~1/7 of attacks' damage; generally very easy to achieve), but subsequent points much less so--taking so — taking half as much damage requires getting about '''seven times''' as much DR. Consequently, while early game DR tends to be in the tens, PoweredArmor has to raise your DR to over a ''thousand'' to produce a noticeable effect.



* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' (both 3e and 4e) uses a variant of this in their point-buy system for stats - The modifier value derived from your stats remains constant for easy math, but the ''cost'' of each stat grows faster the higher you get.
** This only applies for new characters - points gained from leveling (and from items or spells) have no diminishing returns, although the cost of most magic items grows quadratically with the benefit.
** Older editions also increased the Wish cost for raising stats: if your stat was anything between 1 and 15, then a Wish spell would improve it by +1, but if your stat was already 16 then each Wish would only raise it by 1/10 of a point; if it was 20 or more, each Wish would increase the stat by 1/20 of a point! This was back in the day when the Wish spell aged the caster by five years, and required a System Shock roll (basically a Fortitude save) to avoid instant death (with success merely leaving you bedridden for a week).
* Similarly, the ''TabletopGame/NewWorldOfDarkness'' tends to encourage evening out one's portfolio past a certain level -- each new dot in a category typically costs its new rating multiplied by a flat rate, so buying the fourth dot in an Attribute from the third costs twice as much as buying the second dot in an Attribute up from the first. Similarly, the character-creation rules make the fifth dot in a Trait (out of a normal maximum of five dots) cost twice as many of starting points to buy.

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* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' (both 3e and 4e) uses a variant of this in their point-buy system for stats - The — the modifier value derived from your stats remains constant for easy math, but the ''cost'' of each stat grows faster the higher you get.
** This only applies for new characters - points gained from leveling (and from items or spells) have no diminishing returns, although the cost of most magic items grows quadratically with the benefit.
** Older editions also increased the Wish cost for raising stats: if your stat was anything between 1 and 15, then a Wish spell would improve it by +1, but if your stat was already 16 16, then each Wish would only raise it by 1/10 of a point; if it was 20 or more, each Wish would increase the stat by 1/20 of a point! This was back in the day when the Wish spell aged the caster by five years, and required a System Shock roll (basically a Fortitude save) to avoid instant death (with success merely leaving you bedridden for a week).
* Similarly, the ''TabletopGame/NewWorldOfDarkness'' tends to encourage evening out one's portfolio past a certain level -- each new dot in a category typically costs its new rating multiplied by a flat rate, so buying the fourth dot in an Attribute from the third costs twice as much as buying the second dot in an Attribute up from the first. Similarly, the character-creation rules make the fifth dot in a Trait (out of a normal maximum of five dots) cost twice as many of the starting points to buy.



* ''TabletopGame/SeventhSea'' has an unusual version of this. Each game session a player starts with a number of hero points equal to their ''lowest'' stat. If unused, these hero points become experience points at the end of a session. Depending on your sessions this can increase your net gain somewhere between 50 and 100%. So the character who put two in all his stats will gain experience points faster than the person who has a wit of 1 and a finesse of 3. (and this lets him earn his third points faster, causing the divide to grow even faster)

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* ''TabletopGame/SeventhSea'' has an unusual version of this. Each game session session, a player starts with a number of hero points equal to their ''lowest'' stat. If unused, these hero points become experience points at the end of a session. Depending on your sessions sessions, this can increase your net gain somewhere between 50 and 100%. So the character who put two in all his stats will gain experience points faster than the person who has a wit of 1 and a finesse of 3. 3 (and this lets him earn his third points faster, causing the divide to grow even faster)faster).



** Having multiple copies of the same ability on year isn't very helpful, because every duplicate ability will provide less of a boost. For example, having one "Ink Saver" ability gives you a decent boost, adding as second one gives you a much smaller boost, and adding a third is mostly pointless because the boost is so small as to be negligible.

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** Having multiple copies of the same ability on year you isn't very helpful, because every duplicate ability will provide less of a boost. For example, having one "Ink Saver" ability gives you a decent boost, adding as a second one gives you a much smaller boost, and adding a third is mostly pointless because the boost is so small as to be negligible.
27th Apr '18 8:26:40 AM BeerBaron
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*** Alchemy, meanwhile, is [[GameBreaker broken beyond all belief]] and is the perfect example of what can happen when this trope is not enforced. Not only can mass herb mixing give you lots of Alchemy skill (snowball effect), it will also give your base stats lots of free level-up points AND eventually absurdly powerful and expensive potions as your skill increases. Lots of money, lots of experience, powerful stackable buffs, all while doing very little. Additionally, this leads to the legendary [[TheSingularity Fortify Intelligence Stacking trick]] and can ultimately result in a situation where the game crashes from mathematical overflow. Later games ''heavily'' {{Nerf}} the Alchemy skill in order to prevent this, though they include workaround using other skills.
*** Due to a bug, the Mercantile skill is broken at 50. Up to 50, the price decrease of all merchants' goods makes sense, as a high skill level indicates that you are better at buying and selling. After 50, things start getting ''more'' expensive once again. Thankfully, many {{Game Mod}}s exist as unofficial patches to correct this issue.

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*** One major exception is Alchemy, meanwhile, which is [[GameBreaker broken beyond all belief]] severely unbalanced and is the perfect example of what can happen when this trope is not enforced. Not only can mass herb mixing give you lots [[PotionBrewingMechanic potion brewing]] lead to numerous increases of the Alchemy skill (snowball effect), it will also give your base stats Attributes lots of free level-up points AND eventually absurdly multipliers, and, eventually, exponentially more powerful and expensive potions as your skill increases. Lots of money, lots of experience, powerful stackable buffs, buffs...all while doing very little. Additionally, this leads to the legendary [[TheSingularity Fortify Intelligence Stacking trick]] Stacking]] exploit and can ultimately result in a situation where the game crashes from mathematical overflow. Later games ''heavily'' would heavily {{Nerf}} the Alchemy skill in order Alchemy, as well as work to prevent this, though they include workaround using other skills.
situations where you can stack skill increases in this fashion.
*** Due to a bug, the Mercantile skill is broken at 50. Up to 50, the price decrease of all merchants' goods makes sense, as a high skill level indicates that you are better at buying and selling. After 50, things start getting ''more'' expensive ''more expensive'' once again. Thankfully, many {{Game Mod}}s exist as unofficial patches to correct this issue.
27th Jan '18 5:56:53 PM LucaEarlgrey
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** The player level cap is 16, but the {{level locked|Loot}} Weapons and Resonators can only go up to Level 8. Instead, the benefits of Level 9 and beyond other than increased recharge range and efficiency and increased XM capacity manifest in the form of one-time Field Kits that provide various items as rewards.

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** The player level cap is 16, but the {{level locked|Loot}} Weapons and Resonators can only go up to Level 8. Instead, the benefits of Level 9 and beyond other than increased recharge range and efficiency and increased XM capacity (both of which already come with every level-up) manifest in the form of one-time Field Kits that provide various items as rewards.
12th Jan '18 7:48:07 AM thatother1dude
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** In ''VideoGame/Fallout1'', ''VideoGame/Fallout2'', and ''VideoGame/{{Fallout Tactics|BrotherhoodOfSteel}}'' to 100 is done on a 1-for-1 skill point basis. Raising it to 101 costs 2 skills points per rank. This quickly accelerates so that, by the time the skill is close to its cap at 300, it costs as many as 6 points per rank. Raising skills so high has its benefits, especially in ''Fallout 2'', where certain very high skills (such as Science and Speech) unlock special gear, quest solutions, and even party members, if you're willing to specialize. Being able to blow someone's head off with a sniper rifle from across the map doesn't hurt, either, and you'll need a Small Guns above 200 to do it.
** Your damage taken in ''VideoGame/Fallout4'' is divided by approximately the ''cubic root'' of your Damage Resistance. This makes the early points very valuable (after clearing the threshold to do anything, about ~1/7 of attacks' damage, which generally very easy to achieve), but subsequent points much less so--taking half as much damage requires getting about '''seven times''' as much DR. Consequently, while early game DR tends to be in the tens, PoweredArmor has to raise your DR to over a ''thousand'' to produce a noticeable effect.

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** In ''VideoGame/Fallout1'', ''VideoGame/Fallout2'', and ''VideoGame/{{Fallout Tactics|BrotherhoodOfSteel}}'' Tactics|BrotherhoodOfSteel}}'', leveling skills to 100 is done on a 1-for-1 skill point basis. Raising it to 101 costs 2 skills points per rank. This quickly accelerates so that, by the time the skill is close to its cap at 300, it costs as many as 6 points per rank. Raising skills so high has its benefits, especially in ''Fallout 2'', where certain very high skills (such as Science and Speech) unlock special gear, quest solutions, and even party members, if you're willing to specialize. Being able to blow someone's head off with a sniper rifle from across the map doesn't hurt, either, and you'll need a Small Guns above 200 to do it.
** Your damage taken in ''VideoGame/Fallout4'' is divided by approximately the ''cubic root'' of your Damage Resistance. This makes the early points very valuable (after clearing the threshold to do anything, about ~1/7 of attacks' damage, which damage; generally very easy to achieve), but subsequent points much less so--taking half as much damage requires getting about '''seven times''' as much DR. Consequently, while early game DR tends to be in the tens, PoweredArmor has to raise your DR to over a ''thousand'' to produce a noticeable effect.
29th Dec '17 5:16:26 PM MegaMarioMan
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* ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes'' originally let you add as many of a type of 'Enhancements' to a power as you liked, leading to builds that were far and away so much better than anything else that there was no reason to use any different kind of enhancement build. This led, eventually, to The Great Diversification, when DiminishingReturnsForBalance was instituted, making every enhancement of the same kind give less return. The returns diminished so harshly that anything over three of a kind was useless. The net effect was to make the game overall more difficult and to weaken linear, straightforward powers that only benefit from one type of enhancement. Certain powers and builds became useless overnight.

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* ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes'' originally let you add as many of a type of 'Enhancements' to a power as you liked, leading to builds that were far and away so much better than anything else that there was no reason to use any different kind of enhancement build. This led, eventually, to The Great Diversification, when DiminishingReturnsForBalance this was instituted, making every enhancement of the same kind give less return. The returns diminished so harshly that anything over three of a kind was useless. The net effect was to make the game overall more difficult and to weaken linear, straightforward powers that only benefit from one type of enhancement. Certain powers and builds became useless overnight.


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* In ''VideoGame/TeamKirbyClashDeluxe'', Beam Mages can stop time if they can hit the enemy with enough Time Beams. However, the more times your team stops time during a battle, the more Time Beams it'll take for the next time stop to trigger.
25th Dec '17 4:03:49 PM LucaEarlgrey
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[[/folder]]
25th Dec '17 4:03:37 PM LucaEarlgrey
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[[folder:Turn-Based Strategy]]
* Upgrading a skill's power in ''VideoGame/{{Disgaea}}'' obviously makes it more effective, but the SP cost will increase several-fold. It's possible to have a character build up up a ton of Mana, spend it all on one skill to give it a significant boost, only to find that it will cost more SP than they can hold! Fortunately, these upgrades can be reversed, but you won't get the used Mana back.
20th Dec '17 10:09:12 AM BeerBaron
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* ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind'' is a treasure trove of this trope:
** The most direct example is the patentable method ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' has used for leveling for a long time - you are awarded experience for misses and critical failures as opposed to successes. Your level is proportionately related to your ability to use a skill successfully, hence you will be able to learn something you have no skill in quickly, but master something you have a lot of skill in only through devoted use (since you will stop failing as often). There are only a few exceptions, such as some implementations of magic.
** Alchemy, meanwhile, is [[GameBreaker broken beyond all belief]] and is the perfect example of what can happen when this trope is not enforced. Not only can mass herb mixing give you lots of Alchemy skill (snowball effect), it will also give your base stats lots of free level-up points AND eventually absurdly powerful and expensive potions as your skill increases. Lots of money, lots of experience, powerful stackable buffs, all while doing very little. Additionally, this leads to the legendary [[TheSingularity Fortify Intelligence Stacking trick]] and can ultimately result in a situation where the game crashes from mathematical overflow.
** When you buy from trainers, it costs increasing value for each level. (The actual increase in price, however, is typically considered trivial compared to one's ability to make money.)
** In what could be a direct call-out to the introduction to this trope, the Merchant skill is broken at 50. Up to 50, the price decrease of all merchants' goods makes sense as a better level should indicate you are better at buying and selling. After 50, things start getting more expensive again. Many mods have attempted to correct this issue.

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* ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind'' is a treasure trove of this trope:
''Franchise/TheElderScrolls''
** The most direct example is the patentable method ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' series in general has used for leveling for a long employed this trope. You increase your skills through successful use of said skills. Each time - you are awarded experience for misses and critical failures as opposed to successes. Your level is proportionately related to your ability to use a skill is used successfully, hence you the skill's progression will be able to learn something raise a percentage. (For example, if you have no strike enemies with a long sword, your Blade/Long Blade/One-Handed skill in quickly, but master something you have a lot of will increase.) Once that progression reaches 100%, the skill in only through devoted use (since you will stop failing increase one point. Once you gain ten skill increases, you go up one CharacterLevel. However, the higher said skills get, the long it takes to progress them. Essentially, it is very quick and easy to go from a total novice to adept in a particular skill, but is much harder and takes much longer to go from that point to maxing out the skill. Additionally, skill trainers charge exponentially more gold to train you at the very highest levels. (Though will all of the series' MoneyForNothing, this can be considered trivial.) This is why it is advisable to save [[RareCandy skill books]], which raise a certain related skill by one when read, until the skill is at a very high skill level. (Open your inventory and place them directly to save them for later, as often). There are only a few exceptions, such as some implementations of magic.
picking them up directly will automatically open them for you to read.)
** ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind Morrowind]]'':
***
Alchemy, meanwhile, is [[GameBreaker broken beyond all belief]] and is the perfect example of what can happen when this trope is not enforced. Not only can mass herb mixing give you lots of Alchemy skill (snowball effect), it will also give your base stats lots of free level-up points AND eventually absurdly powerful and expensive potions as your skill increases. Lots of money, lots of experience, powerful stackable buffs, all while doing very little. Additionally, this leads to the legendary [[TheSingularity Fortify Intelligence Stacking trick]] and can ultimately result in a situation where the game crashes from mathematical overflow.
** When you buy from trainers, it costs increasing value for each level. (The actual increase in price, however, is typically considered trivial compared to one's ability to make money.)
** In what could be a direct call-out to
overflow. Later games ''heavily'' {{Nerf}} the introduction Alchemy skill in order to this trope, prevent this, though they include workaround using other skills.
*** Due to a bug,
the Merchant Mercantile skill is broken at 50. Up to 50, the price decrease of all merchants' goods makes sense sense, as a better high skill level should indicate indicates that you are better at buying and selling. After 50, things start getting more ''more'' expensive once again. Many mods have attempted Thankfully, many {{Game Mod}}s exist as unofficial patches to correct this issue.



* ''[[TabletopGame/ProseDescriptiveQualities Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies]]'' employs similar ability improvement to the aforementioned ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' video game series: you only gain points to improve your abilities when you ''fail''. Characters who max out an ability and then focus exclusively on it are going to advance very slowly, if at all, while those who dabble in many things or throw themselves into scenarios where they've got no real skill are going to develop faster.

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* ''[[TabletopGame/ProseDescriptiveQualities Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies]]'' employs similar ability improvement to the aforementioned ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' video game series: Skies]]'': you only gain points to improve your abilities when you ''fail''. Characters who max out an ability and then focus exclusively on it are going to advance very slowly, if at all, while those who dabble in many things or throw themselves into scenarios where they've got no real skill are going to develop faster.
31st Oct '17 1:43:39 PM morenohijazo
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* ''[[VideoGame/{{Diablo}} Diablo II]]'' uses this for many skill bonuses, such as Dodge giving you an 18% chance to dodge with the first point, but quickly tapering down to less than 1% bonus per point by level 20. This type of balance wound up turning many skills into "one point wonders." Just put a single point in the skill, and the "x all skills" bonuses on your equipment end up giving you just as much of a bonus as actually maxing the skill would have in the first place.

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* ''[[VideoGame/{{Diablo}} Diablo II]]'' ''VideoGame/DiabloII'' uses this for many skill bonuses, such as Dodge giving you an 18% chance to dodge with the first point, but quickly tapering down to less than 1% bonus per point by level 20. This type of balance wound up turning many skills into "one point wonders." Just put a single point in the skill, and the "x "+x all skills" bonuses on your equipment end up giving you just as much of a bonus as actually maxing the skill would have in the first place.
20th Oct '17 2:19:13 AM FRizer
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* A lot of fighting games use this to keep combos under control, causing each hit of the same type to cause less damage than the last until a certain amount of time has passed.
** Some games will cause the first hit after an arbitrary number to automatically whiff even if the enemy is still well within its hit box, giving the opponent enough time to recover and counter.

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* A lot of fighting games use this to keep combos under control, causing each hit the damage of the same type attacks to cause less decrease by increasing percentage the further the combo goes; it's called "damage scaling". For example, a LimitBreak move used standalone will do more damage than if it's used at the last until a certain amount end of time has passed.
a combo.
** Some games will cause the first hit after an arbitrary number to automatically whiff whiff/miss even if the enemy is still well within its hit box, giving the opponent enough time to recover and counter.counter. Some other games will make the attack cause less hitstun (i.e time where the opponent is helpless after getting attacked and open for another attack) the further in a combo it gets used, called "hitstun scaling".
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