Chaining Encounters

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by kairi_key, Feb 14, 2019.

  1. kairi_key

    kairi_key Veteran Veteran

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    So, I've been wondering on how to make interesting and less annoying normal encounter and one of the idea I get is to have encounters chainable.

    The idea is, in a game with somewhat big maps, you have a choice to chain random encounters together to fight troops in waves. The player can have choices of either explore the map normally and fight troops randomly, fight them in batches, or just chain all things together just to get it over with. And I guess this also calls for things like encounter bar that show how many troops left in the map.

    The point of this is that sometimes normal encounter can end too fast to make any skill or mechanic actually shine. And some other times you're just so tired of getting tedious encounters again and again. Some game allow you to use item or skill or in config menu to set encounter rate to 0, but it might be better to be able to tailor your experience in battle. At first, I thought of things like, fast battle where after a certain condition like clearing the map, you can use items to skip battles and let the game do some calculation as if you actually did some battles and give you exp and loots, but that kinda feel like making battles lose its purpose a bit.

    Visual encounter is one way to solve this too, but the idea of chaining encounter together seems interesting to me now, lol.

    I think that this kind of system might need some limitation like, you might have limited amount of how many troops you can chained into waves so players can get the feel of how much they can handle and after awhile unlocking ability to chain the whole area for a big challenging batch of waves could be fun.

    What's your opinion on this? Does this idea has any merit? I still don't know if I'm really gonna use it, but it seems like something worth discussing so let's discuss.
     
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  2. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    I like the idea of Chaining Encounters in general, but not as a user option - rather, as a consistent and purposeful gameplay mechanic.

    Chaining together battles without the chance to reset and replenish your resources in-between is a large shift in the type and amount of challenge that your battles provide. If you are using this as an optional "convenience", you are going to lose all control over the balance of your battles, and you are going to set up an uncomfortable situation where the "correct" (easy, reliable) way to play (which is not Chaining together battles) is also the most boring way to play.

    If your battles are too fast to allow most of their skills or mechanics useful, that's an issue in either your skill/mechanic design or your troop design (or both). I'm saying this not to condemn your design - it's a VERY common issue in RPGs - but rather to illustrate that it would be best to work on those issues rather than to try and add a feature like Chain Waves over it like a Band-Aid. For example, if you have a lot of buffs that increase a stat by 25% for 5 turns, but your battles are only lasting 2-3 turns, then you might want to rework those buffs to increase the stat by, for example, 50% for 3 turns, or even 100% for 1 turn. If your normal encounters are getting wiped out in 2 turns, and your boss battles last 30 turns, you could rework your normal encounters to be much tougher (5-10 turns) but much, much less frequent... or you could change your bosses to hit harder and go down faster (or to add waves of minions into the boss battles to give the skills that are good in regular encounters a solid use in boss battles as well).

    So where have I seen Chaining Waves of troops together work well?
    • Star Ocean 3 - this game used Visible Encounters (VE's), but if you ran into an Encounter while you were close to others (or sometimes in certain plot-mandated battles), the battles would Chain together with no chance to rest in-between, creating a slightly tougher challenge. One cool feature was that each wave you chained together would give you a % Bonus to the amount of Gold and EXP you received (on top of the combined base values for each enemy defeated) afterwards.
    • Tales of Vesperia - this game also used VE's, but if you ran into an Encounter while you were close to others, ALL of those troops would be combined into a single encounter! This is not quite "chaining", rather "combining", but it's a similar idea, and it was very cool. This punished players for trying to outrun VE's but failing to do so, by making them take on a lot of enemies at once - it was a consistent gameplay mechanic that the player could understand but couldn't directly control in their favor, and it added a risk/reward element to trying to avoid battles. Additionally, players that wanted to clear lots of troops at once (because they're overleveled) or who simply want a stiff challenge could orchestrate situations where they'd run into a bunch of troops at once.
    • Mobile Games - a few examples off the top of my head being Match Land and Grand Chase Mobile - spawn waves of enemies one after the other. Sometimes, this sort of represents one big battle where you need to conserve your resources as much as possible in the early waves so you don't run out during the later waves - this need to hold back during the earlier, easier waves of monsters can instill that needed element of challenge. One nice thing this structure can provide, as opposed to longer, singular battles, is that it provides a lot of peaks of tension (usually when a wave first spawns) and relaxation (as you're dealing the final few blows to the last one or two enemies in a wave), rather than a long period of tension followed by a long period of relaxation (which turns into boredom as it becomes clear the battle has been decided).
     
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