Here's the most important aspects of ranged weapons.
- Attack Speed
- Special Properties
is the simplest, but not always the best way to balance things. Generally you want to have less damage on ranged weapons due to how easy it is to spam enemies.Attack Speed
, or more accurately Windup Time
are the 2nd biggest factor. A fast Windup Time mean means the ranged weapon will be better at cancelling things like enemy bullets, while a faster recovery allow for better getaways after things like sniping opponents and drawing their ire.
Note that SP needing to recharge can be a great way to allow players to fire a burst of ranged attacks and then force them to recover, giving classes like mages the options of firing off attacks all at once or continiously.Range
interestingly enough, not the most important factor because games that have both melee and ranged combat possible rarely require a maximum distance to enemies. The imporatnce of range directly ties to enemy AI anyway: If you can shoot enemies out of their vision/hearing/smelling radius things get truly gamebreaking, but on the flipside, having enemies that try to keep their distance will make ranges matter a lot more. Oh and as a general rule, projectiles unless very special never should have unlimited range or even easily shoot things the player can't yet even see on screen.Knockback
is a great way to balance things. I'll lump thsi together with poise drain
as they are kind of related. A lot of games have shown how you can make ranged attacks do ok damage at the cost of stopping power to prevent you hardcore kiting enemies. Size
is only important if the bullet in question is either very big or very small. Too many inbetweens jut tend to confuse people as it's hard guessing what can pass through hitbox gaps and what not.Special Properties
is a bit of a wildcard here as that can be many unique things. Piercing bullets, richocheting bullets or multi-projectile attacks would be good fits.
Now to what most classes "should" be according to my oppion and from what I got from my time playing.SorcererThe Sniper.
Your attacks drain a decent amount of SP (think 1-3 shots at quick succession at most before oyu need any kind of recovery), takes a slightly above average time to fire but in return to projectile is strong, has a good range and is also slighly homing. Medium knockback makes single shots useless and allows you to stop single targets by shootin at them mutiple timesElementalistThe Demolitionist.
Close to almost medicore range, the elementalist can fire 3-6 shots without SP recovery. Ideally the attacks would be stronge the closer up they hit (works with soemthing liek fanned out projectiles for example, but your various spell effects cover that one nicely already). Also the lobbing projectiles that can't hit directly close to you. The elemalists knockback should be pretty strong as he's got to juggle trying to behalf melee half ranged why having the defining traits of both.Musketeer
Bouncing bullets, multi shot weapons and firing weapons without SP recovery at all. While the musketeer can have more ranged options than other classes, the main downsides would be lower damage for normal guns and a distinct lack of good stopping power via knockback. Since the weapons drain no SP that should lend itself to some nice run & gun style or kiting. Giving range weapons some kind of melee attack?
I say no.
Classes can already carry multiple weapons around and that's exactly what is should be used for. If a player fails to see the value in a balanced weaponry they'll have to get used to that. You're supposed to learn the strengths of weapons instead of carrying around a swiss army knife weapon forever.
Same with broken/empty weapons. If they are used up, they are used up. Each class got primary weapons that don't run out of ammo ever anyway. One can ascribe basic intelligence to the player. You don't assume that players in RPGs would fail to pick up and equipt wepaons on a regular basis either, wouldn't you?