Counterattacks vs Custom React Effects

Frostorm

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Ok, so I've stumbled upon a slight dilemma. My original plan was for CNT (Counter) chance to scale based on DEX (Dexterity). This made sense at the time because I was envisioning Counterattacks to be nothing more than a basic "normal" attack. Thus I thought, "being more dextrous ought to mean a higher chance to riposte in a fight". However, I was recently inspired by various games like Final Fantasy: War of the Visions & Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark that feature a variety of ways to counter other than simply performing a basic weapon swing. This could be stuff like having a % chance of applying a HoT, inflicting a Burn, or phase-shifting when being attacked. I certainly like the variety, but my issue is that I'm not sure whether I should link this plethora of Custom React Effects to the CNT parameter or keep it separate. If the former, then it wouldn't really make sense for CNT chance to be based on DEX. Instead, I would tie it to SPD (Speed) as a way of representing reflexes. For clarification, here are the 2 approaches I'm considering...

  1. Scenario A (CNT only procs a basic weapon swing)
    • CNT chance linked to the Dexterity stat
    • other "React" effects still exist but are simply not linked to CNT (i.e. utility scaling or flat-rate)
  2. Scenario B (CNT can proc various react effects)
    • CNT chance linked to the Speed stat
    • the basic Counterattack (from Scenario A) is relegated as 1 of many possible Counter/Reaction skills
    • only 1 Counter/Reaction skill per unit can be equipped at a time
I hope this wasn't too confusing or anything. Anyway, which approach should I pursue? Scenario A would make it so CNT is really only good for melee units since casters would in a likelihood have a low DEX stat, thus low proc chance, and a low STR stat, thus not hitting very hard when a Counterattack procs. Scenario B makes the CNT parameter much more versatile, but since I'm using skill equip slots, each unit is limited to equipping only 1 Counter/React skill. Thoughts?
 
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LordOfPotatos

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hang on, why exactly can you only equip 1 counter skill in scenario B?
what plugins are you using for this?
 

Frostorm

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hang on, why exactly can you only equip 1 counter skill in scenario B?
what plugins are you using for this?
It's Yanfly's YEP_EquipBattleSkills plugin:
1642972295463.png

Edit: I just wanted to mention that the 1 Counter skill limit is something I arbitrarily imposed. I could totally change it to any other number/amount in the plugin settings if I wanted to. However, all the Tactical RPGs I've played featuring the same (or similar) system/mechanic limit each unit to a single Counter skill. So while it's not set in stone, it does seem like the standard.
 
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LordOfPotatos

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then scenario B is just better, scenario A has nothing you can't do in scenario B and scenario B has more options.
I will however suggest using DEX scaling for counter chance, for consistency's sake since DEX probably relates to battle RNG.

also if there's a limit to how many total abilities you can equip multiple counters are balanced by opportunity cost, "the standard" is more of a suggestion than a rule. same for auras while we're at it.
 

MarxMayhem

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My philosophy is: The more restrictive an ability is, the more powerful it should be. A battler being able to activate an ability outside of their turn is already useful, so consideration for it must be made.

Answering your concern:
  • It kinda doesn't matter what stat CNT would be linked to.
  • Regardless of scenario, you would have to balance the effects based on the need of your game. There are arguments for both, and it will boil down to what you think feels right for your game.
  • I present you a third option: Add special Counter-skills, but only limit their use to 1 (per round, per battle, up to you) for every Counter-skill that's not the basic attack. Just make sure to put those skills high in the priority list so that players who invest in them do not feel cheated when it's not the first Counter move they use. (I'm also assuming that you have ways to increase a unit's Counter counter per round)
 

NamEtag

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Tying counter chances to a stat that increases with level makes it very tricky to balance. There's a reason why FFT scales to Brave stat even if it was easily cheesed, and most other games just give it 100% rate as long as the trigger is valid. A level 1 counter character will be functionally the same as any melee unit.

If you want multiple counter skills, you can take the disgaea route and risk hyper-specializing builds with consecutive counters. You can also create a spread of possible triggers and use it more as a modified interrupt and cover system, making tanks more proactive and removing the need for taunts/aggro.
 

ZombieKidzRule

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I have been pondering this for a while. It is an interesting question and I think it is going to depend on what you want to achieve. More realism in combat? More unique combat system? Options for players? Something to make players happy?

Based on my experience from teaching martial arts, there are reactions (block, parry, redirect, dodge, evade, interrupting strike, jamming, etc.) with counter being just one type of reaction. Action is faster than reaction and reactions can be purposeful and deliberate (meaning I am consciously planning on reacting in a particular way for a particular reason) or natural and instinctive (meaning based on stimulus and fast than conscious thought).

Regardless, your ability to react is based on many things and, if possible, I would try to link the reaction mechanic to as much as makes sense and is doable. For instance, reactions are influenced by your natural dexterity/agility, your speed, your skill, your experience, and even your intelligence. In my experience it is much easier to fight a person who is both physically and mentally slower than someone who is smart, cunning, and quick. And luck can also play a factor.

Because of the skill part, I like games that incorporate skill systems that increase with use. Realistically, a person doesn't get significantly faster (speed) or more agile over the course of your adult life. At least not in a large scale like 0-100. If you have a 50 speed or agility, you aren't really going to raise to 100. Skills on the other hand can increase dramatically over time.

Don't get me wrong, you can get more agile and faster at a skill. I have seen people start off clumsy and slow when they are first learning martial arts and years later they might be graceful and quick. But that change in performance is as much linked to experience/skill as it is improving a natural attribute.

How you limit reactions (1/round, 1/turn, 1/encounter) is a design choice, but I would consider these things.

A true counter is mostly automatic and is based on a collection of things and immediate stimuli. Generally speaking, it isn't a conscious choice, it is a natural reaction.

The list of other reactions can be both deliberate (planned) or instinctive. I can plan to dodge/evade or parry/redirect/block because I want to protect myself, watch for a better opportunity to attack, look for a weakness or vulnerability, to conserve my stamina, etc.

Or, those reactions can be more instinctive based on my skill, experience, intelligence, etc. and therefore more automatic.

If possible, I would try to find a way to incorporate all three possibilities: instinctive counters based on specific set of circumstances/limitations, planned reactions to gain some sort of benefit in combat, and instinctive reactions based on character skill, experience, etc.

Similarly, Feint is an interesting option. In combat, I use Feint to try to get my opponent off guard and lower their ability to counter/react to my next attack.

Now, that might be too deep for your combat system, too difficult to implement, or potentially too boring and frustrating for some players. So maybe these types of things wouldn't be popular ideas.

I think some games try to incorporate all of this reality into a more simple system. Your attack misses (because of any number of these unnoticed things) or you evade an attack (because of any number of these unnoticed things). Unfortunately, I think many players don't appreciate that a more simple combat system may (or may not) have planned for that and they skipped all of this detail to make the combat system for simple and fun.

I should also mention that this is more for turn-based combat. In real-time combat, the player can look for telegraphing/pre-assault cues in the AI and try to react accordingly as they learn the AI and depending on what type of reactions are allowed.

I am a huge fan of the D&D concept of consequences from a NAT 1 or NAT 20 roll. Some players would say that it is impossible for my Level Godlike warrior to drop their sword. But a NAT 1 system provides for the culmination of the worst luck that can happen while the NAT 20 provides the culmination of the best luck possible. It isn't that the warrior just dropped their sword. Something else significant happened. It doesn't need to be explained (although you could try to incorporate some reasons in flavor type combat text), it can just happen.

Anyway, this post is too long, but I hope I offered some food for thought and that this is somewhat helpful.

I will watch this thread because I am very interested in this question. Thanks!
 

LordOfPotatos

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You can certainly do all of that.

I have implemented active counter skills, as in you use the ability and if attacked while the effect lasts you counter with some attack.
One of these lasts for 1 turn and counters only one attack with a very strong hit.

Then there's passive counters that have a chance of triggering every time you get attacked.

As for feints I use a "Stagger" effect, which makes you take a critical if you get attacked for a turn. And you can inflict it with a bunch of moves.
 

Frostorm

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I guess one question I need to ask myself, assuming I go with scenario B, is whether non-physical counters should share the same stat as physical counters. I mean, it makes sense to tie Dexterity to reactions like a Riposte, but much less sense if we're talking about proc rates for something magical in nature like applying a HoT. That's why I was leaning towards tieing CNT to Speed since it felt more neutral in terms of physical/magical-ness while still making sense.
 
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ZombieKidzRule

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...applying a HoT.
I can't for the life of me think of what "HoT" means in this context right now. My old mind is failing me. Can someone help clarify?
 

ThreeSixNine

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I think B is the better choice because it covers both scenarios.

You could always add reaction skills that counter with a physical attack AND do something else as well.

Additionally, it keeps everything in one place. The actor's counter rate becomes their reaction rate and you don't have to manage 2 separate rates for essential the same base function.

As for the stat focus, that's a tough one. I'd say it depends on the type of battle system you're currently using and how your stats are set up. I read that yoy have both dexterity and speed stats.

Are you using dexterity for accuracy and evasion calculations?
 

Frostorm

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Are you using dexterity for accuracy and evasion calculations?
Currently, I have Dexterity governing Crit, Hit, & TP regen. Speed is currently governing Counter, Evasion, & Turn Order. I've juggled these things around in the past, so I'm certainly open to different configurations if they make more sense.

Edit: For reference, I used to have DEX governing Crit, Hit, & Counter chance while SPD was used for just Evasion, TP Regen, & Turn Order. As you can see, I've swapped things around since then.
 
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ThreeSixNine

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Well, I'm currently in the process of overhauling my stats system but I think that you can make an argument for a lot of different setups.

I will say that since Speed is controlling evasion, it might not be good to use it for reaction calculation as well. Because it seems like you'd be having to choose one or the other.
 

Frostorm

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I will say that since Speed is controlling evasion, it might not be good to use it for reaction calculation as well. Because it seems like you'd be having to choose one or the other.
Is that because Counter chance calculations only proceed if an attack connects? Or is that not the case? Guess I need to do some testing on that, unless someone already knows the answer to this?
 

ThreeSixNine

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Is that because Counter chance calculations only proceed if an attack connects? Or is that not the case? Guess I need to do some testing on that, unless someone already knows the answer to this?
I'm not 100% on that tbh, but it sounds like something that may need to be examined.
 

ThreeSixNine

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@Frostorm So I did some testing and it looks like successfully evading an attack can still trigger a counter-attack
 

Frostorm

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@Frostorm So I did some testing and it looks like successfully evading an attack can still trigger a counter-attack
Oh cool, thanks for checking that out! Hmm, now to decide if I want it to work like that...

Edit: I think I'ma just leave it as is, lol.
 
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