An MC That Sucks And Consistently Sucks

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by Chaos Avian, Dec 3, 2015.

  1. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    Depends on the FF. I remember in ff3 (the original ff3) that the spells the red mage had did so little damage that it was not worth it to have them cast. Bravely default had the same problem too late game, though I will admit I loved my red mages early on in Chapters 3 and 4 of that game. But come Chapter 5 or so, the spells they had barely tickled the enemies so I felt them useless.

    And back to the OP: In my opinion, don't do it. If the MC is totally worthless, the player is probably going to rage quit the game long before they are done. Now on the other hand if you did a game where everyone was horrible and the point of the game was to avoid fights, then you might be onto something.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 4, 2015
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  2. AMGLime

    AMGLime Veteran Veteran

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    My jack of all trade characters, has a kit that can heal, deal magic damage or be a physical fighter and his stats supplement all of them, but to get him to pass the other people who are just a healer, or just a caster he has to get proper equipment for it. So, with just equipment all over the place, yeah, he's not as strong as the others and relies on the fact that he can do a bit of everything depending on the group, but with proper gear increasing his magic, MP pool or attack he can hold his own in a specialized role, and can even surpass others.
     
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  3. stupid enough to like FF13

    stupid enough to like FF13 Veteran Veteran

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    Red Mages' utility depends on the game. In Final Fantasy I, Red Mages are a very powerful class. They can equip high-tier weapons, so even if they don't do as much per hit or get as many hits as a pure fighter, they still have a respectable damage output without spending MP. They're not going to be able to heal as much in a single turn as a White Mage, but their healing spells can still serve well between battles. Their attack spells don't hit as hard and they don't get Flare, but the right elemental spell can still take out multiple enemies if not an entire group and leave the survivors softened up to be finished off. On top of that, they're the best class in terms of support spells—they get the Nul-element and defensive buffs of the White Mage and the attack-boosting buffs of the Black Mage.

    A jack-of-all-trades main character can certainly work well. For example, Maxim in Lufia II. He's a solid fighter, but Guy and Dekar can hit harder and be hit harder. He can use most spells in the game, but the magic-focused party members will beat him in magic damage and MP. But he's an excellent party member because he doesn't have the weaknesses those character have. He's tougher than the magicians, doesn't rely mainly on MP for damage, and he can use IP attacks more regularly and effectively than them. He's faster than the pure fighters and being able to use magic allows him to support other party members and more easily exploit elemental weaknesses.
     
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  4. Chrispy

    Chrispy Veteran Veteran

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    Red Mages are useful early on in any game they are in. And while you can make them have a use late in the game, you aren't fully maximizing the use of your other character/class options (unless we're talking about taking class abilities and equipping them on a different class, in which case, I would consider that multi-classing, not just taking a red mage which would otherwise not be the most powerful option). And while you can beat any of those games with a red mage on the team, or even a team of red mages, its not the best or most powerful option by that point (in any game they are in). their usefulness drops off at different points in different games, and sometimes, they still have at least one use, but my point is that there is a better option (which to me makes the lesser option useless by comparison.)

    OP's character that does everything will be the same way. At the beginning of the game, a character that can do everything will be a godsend, even if it is a bit weaker than other characters. need  extra healing? cool! Able to use that katana you found while no one else can? Sweet! the biggest problem if there's a Jack of All trades type of character will be in the game balance. It is a balance issue more than anything. If you can just default to that character without having to switch to a better healer, tank, magic user, support, damage dealer, etc., then what's the point of making other classes at all? If you make the character any weaker to where anything is a better option, then that character slot is useless dead weight. It makes the combat all around less interesting than it could be, especially if that character is required to stay in the party for the whole game. 

    You don't want to make the character always useful but at the same time you don't want to make the character always useless. Make them good at something.
     
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  5. TheGamedawg

    TheGamedawg Veteran Veteran

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    I'd prefer a character with average stats and average skills.  In my games, I'm planning to make all of my main characters above average in almost ever respect.  Remember, the player is going to be using them for the entire game, so it shouldn't feel like a chore to carry them around.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 4, 2015
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  6. arcthemonkey

    arcthemonkey Veteran Veteran

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    You know what series I wish they would make more of?

    Jade Cocoon. I mean, I know it's a game about summoning stuff, but the main character is actually in the battle, sucking hard. I liked those games.
     
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  7. Lowell

    Lowell The Walking Atelier Veteran

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    Making a character versatile at the cost of being average/underpowered isn't necessarily a bad thing but rather something that's often done badly in my opinion. In the Persona games, it's Versatility that allows the MC to remain in the party from start to finish, starting off fairly weak, and ending up outclassing everyone by the end of the game.

    Being weak from start to finish was something that was at the core of Emiya Shirou's design. While he literally has access to possibly every weakness an opponent he faces has, he lacks the aptitude to use it to his advantage against them, save one due to how they fight each other. (On a side note, he not only has access to these weapons, but the experience of it's wielder's as well.)

    All in all depending on how your games designed, it can fly or it can flop. If stats have a higher focus than say, strategy in battles then it may very well work against you.
     
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  8. cybrim

    cybrim Tinker of the Nether Veteran

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    The ONLY time this works is when you are playing for SURVIVAL. If your character is worthless and has many well trained allies, they are carrying him, no one looks up to him even though he can do things they can't.

    1. Isolation: Your thief character has to save other characters with various abilities that the others don't have access to, they are grateful and allow him/her to live as an escort, this maze is dangerous and no one knows how to get out.

    2. You are following a powerful entity in an unfair world, other people are more skilled but you are vengeful and dedicated to killing the entity that slaughtered everyone you loved.

    3. The short lived spoof game, look joke games already exist and they would have to contain more funny stuff than you can shake a polar bear at mach 3 at... don't do it they get angry.
     
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  9. trevers18

    trevers18 #hippomaster Veteran

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    Weak MC's can be written correctly and interestingly as long as they aren't whiny and aren't those godforsaken cases where they start out weak and get strong and use that as a substitute for actual, substantial character development. I'm not a fan of "they start weak but through hARd WoRLK and EFFoART they can prosper!!!!!!," but having them develop to somehow not be weak is the most important part. Personally, in terms of combat, I tend to favor weaker characters because they have more utility than just "slam sword on face repeat" and can make gameplay really interesting when their abilities make combat more challenging.

    For what you described, a Jack-of-All-Trades MC sounds more like something you'd find in a game where you can pick your own abilities and specialize in one/two fields. 
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 9, 2016
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  10. ShadowHawkDragon

    ShadowHawkDragon Veteran Veteran

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    In most traditional rpgs every character is mechanically treated the same when it comes to avoiding defeat, especially with random targeting. A dead chara is a useless chara, and so a 'weak' one is often no more than a burden unless he has some other worth.

    But this is only with traditional mechanics. Rather than think how a 'weak' chara can work in the standard setup, its always worth considering to tailor the game with said character in mind. What if he's a crown prince (or princess) and the rest of the party are his knights, as a prince his mere presence and 'words' would inspire his knights to take action, and its their sworn oath to protect him from harm. Think back line buffer who cant be hit unless the knights are incapacitated first.

    Totori from Atelier Totori is an example of such a 'weak' main character.

    Totori is a young girl with no combat training and she plays as such, especially in terms of stats. So how does such a frail link to your party of three remain alive and even be useful?

    First, she is the only character who can use (alchemy) items, which in this game are your only source of healing and AOE elemental damage.

    Second, your allies build up a support meter and can expend it to protect her, taking hits in her place.

    In Ar Tonelico Qoga you (and AI controlled allies) play the role of 'defender', protecting the young maiden as she 'sings' from the back line.

    The girl will remain still in battle and should she die its game over, to keep her alive you have to intercept enemies before they get too close. Keep her from dying and she'll soon have built up enough 'song' to blast the enemies to kingdom come. While this example is real time action based it has some interesting concepts to consider.
     
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  11. cybrim

    cybrim Tinker of the Nether Veteran

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    I didn't care for the Ar Tonelico series. They forced the players to kill in specific manners, wolves ONLY taking damage from fire sources early on did it in for me, this being said I hate games that claim complete invulnerability (except with elementals or sensibility as with Pokemon) where you could blow up the planet and theoretically you did no "Fire" damage so that would deal a big fat ZERO damage... If I peel its flesh off repeatedly down to the bone and it is STILL at max health I get irritated because I am ONE-hitting everything else in that area. Irrationality is NOT acceptable for people to enjoy, I'm all like, "Trash by any other name is just as foul and unwanted." Do not defend this type of "balancing mechanism" it isn't good and is just ******* irritating!


    Other irritating factors about a LOT of games:


    LOOOOOOOONG Cutscenes... really? Oh unskippable... great...


    & I died because the boss isn't relevant to the area (when the game doesn't prepare you for the next challenge).
     
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  12. Misaki

    Misaki Pikalyze Veteran

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    A Main Character that sucks..


    Though it is a pretty meh Card anime - Cardfight vanguard's first season - the main character of it pretty much lost in almost everything, including matches where you'd expect him to win. Early on it's pretty much narrowing down him not knowing any basic mechanics of the card game which is why he loses, as well as focusing on the same strategy every time that people end up learning about quickly.


    Later on he becomes ridiculously main-character godlike plot armor so that kinda made it meh. But that's after the first season of the anime ends.


    Even then he still ends up losing repeatedly in the next season.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 21, 2016
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  13. cybrim

    cybrim Tinker of the Nether Veteran

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    Yeah, thanks for the review, I'll be sure to skip it... who wants to watch the same guy play the same way and lose every time?
     
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  14. KeeganKLM

    KeeganKLM Noobish Adventurer Member

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    Hm... There are a few things that I would suggest if you're doing this.


    I'd give a few advantages to the MC that others wouldn't have.


    For example, a Warrior can hit hard, and a Mage can use magic. What's the relevance in that, you may ask? Well, nothing... unless you can do both. Perhaps a multiclass character could imbue magic into their weapon as they attack with it, whereas no one else in the group could do that, since (s)he knows abilities from all classes.


    Or maybe if this multiclasser knows Heal and Drain, they could do a combination of both- draining hp from one enemy and healing another ally with it, rather than him/herself.


    If you wanted to create a character like this, I'd recommend not having them simply being able to do everything that everyone else can, and giving them a few perks that no one else has, like I said above. Even if they have a bit below average on all stats, if you give them the right abilities, they could potentially be more versatile and possibly even better than the other party members, MVP-wise.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 27, 2016
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  15. Dr. Delibird

    Dr. Delibird Veteran Veteran

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    I will just say one thing (though I could say a lot), if the character in question is written to be that loveable/relateable character that a lot of people can relate to (a very small number I of people know how to wield a sword profiecently enough to not die in combat like a fly to bug spray) then it will be great. If the idea for the MC being a jack of all trades but suck at it all ISN'T story related and the two ARN'T entwined then it will be bad. Basically if you are doing it because it sounded like a good take on the jack of all trades archtype but don't take it anywhere in the story then it just won't feel satisfying to the player at all ever.
     
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  16. Oddball

    Oddball Veteran Veteran

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    how about just being able to choose any class in the beginning and bwing good at that one class?
     
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  17. Canini

    Canini Veteran Veteran

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    Speaking of OP:s idea to let the main character use all the available weapons (but having lower stats) in the game, I tried something similiar for a game I worked on in the past. The main con I found is that all those powerful swords you find early game meant for a later class is immediately usuable instead of being sold for cash (which is what always happens to me, lol). In my experience such a character works very well in the beginning of the game but tends to fall behind as the other characters get more specialized.
     
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  18. kaukusaki

    kaukusaki Awesome Programmer Extraordinaire Veteran

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    I like the average in all trades characters and tend to include one in all my games to counter the overly offensive style subtypes versus the overly defensive ones. While Avg has access to all the weapons, armors, and spells, they might have a few skills that no one else in the party has. (maybe a special buff or some other effect). Since the other characters are specialists, they'll sure to have their share of weaknesses. (warrior - strong yet slow, mage - can't hit as hard but can sling spells etc)


    when creating character class types, they usually fall under offensive, defensive, and balanced and whether they're warrior subtype or mage subtype. all the various classes has variants of that...
     
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