A good "reward factor" in RPG Maker games?

A_Higher_Plane

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I personally strongly believe that a game can be made fun and very highly rated if it has a good "reward factor", or so I call it. I believe that it must be good, fair and balanced. It must be something very limiting to achieve like very rare or very difficult, but once you have it, it should be a very good, "happy", reward that feels so good. Like eating chocolate and feeling all that dopamine in your brain.

I thought that some examples are of that rare "glowing ball" in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate that you must break in order to get yourself a single, "ultimate attack".
I thought that games like Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda have great reward factors, which is why so many people enjoy them so much.

What could be great reward factors in RPG Maker games? Please give me some ideas and some examples. I thought that a critical hit in battles is one example of such. Finding a difficult chest is another. But I want something far more "special" and that feels so good.
 

ericv00

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Completing an important optional story arc.

One of the best feelings I've ever had in gaming was saving Lara's legs in Chrono Trigger. Specifically, heading back to the present and seeing her get up from the chair and walk around.
 

Frostorm

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That feeling you get when you finally get a character's build *just right*, including obtaining all the BiS equips for your build. Only when I reach that point, do I consider that I've beaten the game. And hopefully, there's post-endgame content so I can play around with the build.
 

AfroKat

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One of my skills is called Galaxy which is available lv1. It hits all foes for several elemental types of damage, and for simplicities sake let's say it costs 50TP and TP is saved between battles. So my feel good moment is using Galaxy hitting all foes and killing most/all of them and ending the battle quickly.

I think Animations also add alot of feel good.
 

KawaiiKid

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I find this feeling in many things, whether it be finding the perfect party balance, getting great loot, or getting over a cliffhanger in the story.
 

C64_Mat

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I'm a fan of traditional risk/reward gameplay. There's nothing more deflating to complete a tough dungeon with a singular save point only to get a load of gold.
 

Tai_MT

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Most "rewards" are basically tempered by expectations. That is to say... the player expects X because they had to do Y.

If I complete a long string of annoying tasks and had to die a bunch to repeat the content... and you give me 50,000 Currency. Yeah, I'm going to be mad. I did ALL OF THAT for 50,000 Currency? NOT WORTH IT.

That's what most game devs tend to forget about game design.

You walked down the long hallway into a dead end that you designed and now to make it worth it to player, you put a chest there... and in that chest is... 1,000 Currency? A few Healing Items? A marginally better weapon? Did you really need a long hallway with a dead-end and a chest to deliver that to me? Couldn't you have just dumped that on the main path? I expected this long path to GO SOMEWHERE. I'm exploring it! I should see something! Find something! Be rewarded for exploring!

The list of examples of these things goes on and on. The reward needs to be worth the effort involved in attaining the reward. FFX has the "Ultimate Weapons", which I never bothered to obtain because they were so annoying and tedious and underwhelming that they weren't worth the investment. Especially when all you needed to become all powerful was to play long enough and unlock enough nodes. I could play for 100 hours more to get these weapons... Or, I could grind the strongest monsters for 100 hours and get infinitely more stats and skills and break the game more.

So, that's what you're thinking about. Or, should be.

Is the reward worth the task you're asking the player to engage in?

At current, I am playing Final Fantasy XIV. Online MMO. I am doing content for "Relics". Relics are "the best weapon you can attain" for the given expansion it is introduced in. Or, at least... arguably so. They are an INSANE and MASSIVE grind. Very time consuming. Very annoying. I'm obtaining the ones from the BASE GAME. Which means, they're weak as crap. But, here's the thing: They are VERY DISTINCT in the way they look. They glow. They have animated effects on them. They look cool. And, anyone who sees one... knows what you had to do TO GET IT. They're for glamour and bragging rights. You did the grindy thing few people wanted to do. The more of these Relics you have, presumably the more respected you are... or the more people think of you as crazy and insane and maybe stare in awe at the amount of time you wasted. Either way... you get some attention. So... the grinds. Are they worth it for that? I, personally, think they are. Especially after I've taken the time to "streamline" much of that process for myself after the first one I finished. I can now obtain a new Relic in about a month, provided I have the Currency for a few steps and some of the more "random" elements go my way. Most of the time spent is basically just waiting on queues for content or leveling up characters to the point they can START the quests.

So, you have to remember that. Reward needs to be equal to the task.

To do that, you need to not design things backwards. That is, you don't design the reward, and then try to think of a way to get it into the hands of the player. THIS IS WRONG. You design the task you want the player to do... and THEN try to decide what reward is worth the effort you asked of the player.
 

ericv00

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I could play for 100 hours more to get these weapons... Or, I could grind the strongest monsters for 100 hours and get infinitely more stats and skills and break the game more.

That's why I suggest important story elements. In the project I am working on, the long divergent paths lead to information on characters the player probably thinks are irrelevant, but are actually deeply important and (hopefully) intriguing. What you get for effort is lore.

The characters connect more deeply to the story, making it all the more intricate and rich. At least, that is my goal.

One of the things that seems to make a great game in my experience is having main characters going through the main story... and the understanding that there were/are other important characters that have their own story. The player will experience the story of the main characters. Your classic primary quests/ story quests. But these other important characters? The player will only know their story by searching, investigating, uncovering through secondary paths. It's all the more a bonus if uncovering these secrets have real changes to the game world.
 

IvanForever

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If I complete a long string of annoying tasks and had to die a bunch to repeat the content... and you give me 50,000 Currency. Yeah, I'm going to be mad. I did ALL OF THAT for 50,000 Currency? NOT WORTH IT.

That's what most game devs tend to forget about game design.

You walked down the long hallway into a dead end that you designed and now to make it worth it to player, you put a chest there... and in that chest is... 1,000 Currency? A few Healing Items? A marginally better weapon? Did you really need a long hallway with a dead-end and a chest to deliver that to me? Couldn't you have just dumped that on the main path? I expected this long path to GO SOMEWHERE. I'm exploring it! I should see something! Find something! Be rewarded for exploring!
Totally relate to this and thanks for sharing. Most of the time I went out my way to complete them for the sake of being a "completionist." This, and/or the Steam Achievements, if it is a Steam game.
One of the things that seems to make a great game in my experience is having main characters going through the main story... and the understanding that there were/are other important characters that have their own story. The player will experience the story of the main characters. Your classic primary quests/ story quests. But these other important characters? The player will only know their story by searching, investigating, uncovering through secondary paths. It's all the more a bonus if uncovering these secrets have real changes to the game world.
That's why I suggest important story elements. In the project I am working on, the long divergent paths lead to information on characters the player probably thinks are irrelevant, but are actually deeply important and (hopefully) intriguing. What you get for effort is lore.
I fully agree with this. Well said. This is something I constantly think about when I do game design and mechanics work. Glad you are on the same page.
 

Vivisecta

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Speaking of collectibles, what makes them really rewarding for me is if there was a way to view/showcase them (eg. The Museum in Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley). It really makes the completionist side in me happy! If there are lore attached to them or if those collectibles makes the player stronger somehow, that's even better ^^
 

C64_Mat

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Speaking of collectibles, what makes them really rewarding for me is if there was a way to view/showcase them (eg. The Museum in Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley). It really makes the completionist side in me happy! If there are lore attached to them or if those collectibles makes the player stronger somehow, that's even better ^^
Fear not! In my game all the collectibles serve a purpose, and have a logic to them - not just "here's a red dot to pick up purely to unlock a red dot achievement".

As well as being rewarding in and of themselves, they can be a cool way to get people to go to interesting places they might not have visited otherwise, such as the Lost Letters in Far Cry 4.
 

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