Two of the most influential components to decreasing LOE in balancing game mechanics is automating the most essential parts of testing those mechanics, and providing meaningful and easy to understand graphs. Some meaningful questions to better lay the foundation of balancing and creating these components:
- What are the actual 'core stat(s)' that identify survival? (Usually health)
- What are the 'ancillary stat(s)' that help facilitate the increase or decrease that core? (damage, strength, dexterity, etc.) I'm assuming all actors here are equal and we aren't comparing apples and oranges.
- What are the 'supplemental stat(s)' that may contribute to the increase or decrease of the ancillary stats? (class, rank, level)
- What are the 'extraneous stat(s)' that don't affect the other stats already identified.
I found that creating a tree by drawing lines connecting these identified stats provided incredible insight and direction.
Based on these levels of importance instantiated, we can form meaningful relationships between stats and understand more simply how much each one will affect the others, as well as which can be pruned or ignored during the balancing to better focus on what's important.