Are large numbers really useful in late game?

Okey, so as I review some ducdat’s tree, I realize an problem:
I do not care the “point” in late game, but rather focus on some other resucues (which boost point gain by crazy amount).
But they are really laging my computer!
I think this is an problems that happens in some tree, so I create this post to “discuss” this question.


Funnily enough there’s been some nice discussions about this concept in the general channel on the discord server recently. I’m typically fine with ducdat’s tree specifically because there’s real content throughout, and haven’t experienced performance issues personally, but yeah in general I think big numbers are overrated. For me at least, they don’t give me any more satisfaction - the progression does. And bigger numbers make a lot of mechanics a lot less interesting imo. Costs become thresholds, you lose context for the currency amounts entirely, and it’s harder to “feel” what new boosts will actually do.

To expand on that last one, because I think it’s the hardest one to convey, I’ll give an example: Increlution is one of my favorite incremental games, and it uses relatively small numbers. In fact, there are only two (mulitplicative) boosts in the entire game (although every resource has these two boosts): A compounding 1.05x multiplier for each level gained during a run, and a compounding 1.01x multiplier for each “Instinct” level you earn, which persist between runs but level up slower. Together they are incredibly satisfying, for many reasons but I think a big one is that I can understand and calculate what it means that I got, for example, “10 instinct levels in this skill”, during a specific run. Even at end game no skill went above maybe 1 billion or so, but the compounding boosts made each level gained very satisfying, and had a noticeable impact on the run. Counter intuitively, if everything was balanced so that each level squared the multiplier or something, but it still took the same amount of time to progress, I think it would feel much worse. I would be so very very far from the goal that I’d just have to trust I’ll get there soon, and then eventually I just suddenly have enough to progress.

That last bit is the most important one imo: trust. I feel a lot of the balancing preferences I have - smaller numbers and simpler formulas - eventually come down to the fact that I think it’s better and more fun when I can know where I’m at progression wise, and what each decision will do to affect that. Larger numbers and complicated formulas force me to trust I’ll get to the next bit of content in a reasonable amount of time - which is too often not the case, tbh.


I believe they are not required, as the large numbers only represent inflation, very obvious unbalancing, and no effort put into the game. I’m not saying ducdat’s tree is made without effort, it’s just that the inflation means the creator hasn’t been careful with the multipliers and this happens.


I mean, in the mod that I’m making, I try to avoid excessively large numbers, because I feel like their usage is only helpful with longer mods. Otherwise there’s just big numbers for the sake of big numbers.