Do you give the enemies a finite amount of resources(MP/ammo/AP/etc)?

TheoAllen

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Long time ago, the first time I tried to develop my first database build for my RPG, where I was still using classic finite amount of MP for limiting my skill, I came across of designing an encounter.

It's whether to give the enemy an amount of MP or not (treating it like actors). The first thing of giving them MP, and some moves that cost MP, I found that the enemy would only use a certain move in limited times during one battle. Which mean if they run out of MP and you survived, it was like a free to win.

So I scrapped the MP system all together in both actor side and enemy side.

Although, my questions still remains. Do you give the enemy a finite amount of MP? So that skill which drain / damage to MP would actually useful? If so, how do you deal with the fact that the enemy would only able to use some moves only few times in a battle? Or do you consider it as a reward for the player for being able to suck out all enemy's MP?

EDIT:
Bonus question. Do you give a finite amount of MP to your bosses too?

EDIT2:
After went a little talk with Kes, I decided to change topic title for a bit to avoid a confusion regarding the actual topic we're discussing.
 
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Poryg

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I don't give enemies MP except for when you have less than 2 party members. Without mana mana limited enemies are weak. And that is not my style.
 

Andar

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The core of the problem is not the MP itself, it is how you make the attack pattern.
A lot of developers take the easy way and give only basic patterns with all skills randomly mixed, and if you do that and require MP then the enemy will spam the MP skills until they're out.

If you design the attack pattern more carefully, you free the option of using MP skills or not for additional balance like how often should a specific skill be available during combat, or how much MP skills should be available before the lack of MP triggers a wait/regenerate skill.
 

Kes

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It is not just a question of do you give MP but also: if you do, how much do you give, bearing in mind how long, roughly, you expect this particular battle to take? You could give a decent slug of it so that skills can continue to be used even if some has been drained down. Alternatively, you could give a couple of skills which use TP which, presumably, the enemy has been building up by acting and being hit, so that they have something to fall back on if the MP runs out, or which are used between MP skills (depending on how you want to design your AI).

I don't think that there's automatically a right or wrong answer here, but more, how does it fit in with other aspects of design?

EDIT
Partially ninha'd by Andar who has expanded the AI design bit.
 

TheoAllen

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Of course the design lies on the attack patterns and mp. If the enemy attack pattern without requiring mp already deadly enough, then what's the use of MP in enemy? Would that renders the MP damaging skill useless?

I played an indie RM game once where the character could damage enemy's MP, and in the end, they just stop moving and popping up MP heal all time, and it was quite funny.

I'm looking for some design philosophy of giving MP to enemies would actually meaningful and maybe opens up some challenge. The actual practice of example AI would be good enough
 

kovak

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It's better to design enemies using the same patterns as you design your actors so aways consider if actors has skills that costs nothing or TP and/ or add limited use skills to enemies to emulate item usage.

I see no reason to not make enemies vulnerable to debuffs and other stuff.
 

Canini

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I tend to give bosses mp if it is part of a puzzle. For example; a boss uses strong magic attacks so you got to tank through it While using mp-draining spells. Then you have to balance healing and attacking the boss, since his weak physical attacks can still do critical damage if you are unlucky!
 

Tai_MT

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I give my enemies MP, even if they aren't going to use it. However, I design attack patterns so that they aren't just blowing magic spells constantly. I prefer they get used every so many turns or when certain things happen in combat (like being inflicted with states, HP goes down, other stuff).

But, the reason my enemies have MP is strictly for a few things. 1. If combat does last long enough that the enemy blows through it all, I feel my players deserve an "easy win" for surviving that long. Keep in mind, I expect my combat to last no more than 4 hits per enemy. 3 enemies is 3 turns to beat it. If you're going 12 turns or so and run them out of MP, well, congrats, the fight must've been difficult for you, you survived a long time, that probably took skill, you deserve an easy win for that.

The other reasons is I have skills that hurt MP and even do damage based upon MP the enemy has. While these are "late game" skills, they are none-the-less valuable assets to the player. The one "damage MP" skill does damage based upon your stats and is incredibly useful against magic users. It also inflicts a "poison" like state that slowly drains MP on the enemy until it wears off.

The last skill just uses Current MP of the enemy, subtracts their magic defense, and then multiplies the result in order to do HP damage. Enemies with high MP totals will suffer a ton of damage.

I find that giving my enemies MP and having skills that do things with it, tends to make combat itself a bit more strategic. I prefer the players have options in combat. Different things they can do that might help them win.

Besides, if my player can run out of MP, why can't my enemies?

I only wish FPS developers had the same kind of game design, where enemies could run out of bullets and grenades and had to scavenge for more.
 

Failivrin

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I strongly prefer enemies to have the same resources as players, including finite MP. The main obstacle is mechanics of MP generation. It's a given that monsters don't use items, so the player's primary source of MP should be something a monster can utilize--not an Ether potion! Yes, I'm contradicting the whole Final Fantasy franchise.
There are several options for how to work this, but personally I prefer systems that eliminate MP altogether and use TP as a source for spells. (The names are irrelevant. You can still call it MP but players generate it by attacking, for example).
 

Tai_MT

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@Failivrin

Enemies can use items :D Mine do.

I create a skill that is the name of the item. They use it under certain conditions. It costs 0 MP to execute. As the example, I have Bandits who have been buying this special kind of healing potion in my game. When you fight those bandits, they sometimes use those potions to highlight how good they are... and to frustrate the player.
 

Countyoungblood

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Long time ago, the first time I tried to develop my first database build for my RPG, where I was still using classic finite amount of MP for limiting my skill, I came across of designing an encounter.

It's whether to give the enemy an amount of MP or not (treating it like actors). The first thing of giving them MP, and some moves that cost MP, I found that the enemy would only use a certain move in limited times during one battle. Which mean if they run out of MP and you survived, it was like a free to win.

So I scrapped the MP system all together in both actor side and enemy side.

Although, my questions still remains. Do you give the enemy a finite amount of MP? So that skill which drain / damage to MP would actually useful? If so, how do you deal with the fact that the enemy would only able to use some moves only few times in a battle? Or do you consider it as a reward for the player for being able to suck out all enemy's MP?

EDIT:
Bonus question. Do you give a finite amount of MP to your bosses too?
Well, in a game where both you and the enemy have mana but only you can regenerate mp the monster will always be at a major disadvantage.

One potion that say restores 100% of your mp means for all practical purposes you have twice as much mp.

When the monster and the party are too far apart in power the fight isnt any fun.

In theory, a battle of multiple characters versus one big boss you would think the boss is stronger than any single character but weaker than the combined efforts of the party but only if the right combination of actions are chosen in the right order.

You can either boost the bosses mp to acomodate the players capability to carry extra mp in a pocket or restrict the mp of the party.
 

Andar

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@Countyoungblood or you can give the enemies skills to replenish their many, either by simulating a potion like described above or a MP healing skill or something like that.
 

Countyoungblood

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@Countyoungblood or you can give the enemies skills to replenish their many, either by simulating a potion like described above or a MP healing skill or something like that.
If the monster takes a turn to use the potion the players get a free turn every time the monster uses a potion

If the monster does not take a turn there is no difference between a larger mp pool and several smaller mp pools.

If the potion is infinite then mp is infinite and only comes at the cost of a turn.
 

Tai_MT

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Likewise, every time the players spend a turn to use a potion or cast a healing skill/mp recovery skill... monsters get a free turn. So what's the difference for the players having a larger MP pool or several smaller MP pools? If the player's potions are large enough in quantity, they are effectively infinite as well and only come at the cost of a turn.

Are you trying to say that there can be no player or combat strategy that revolves around spending a turn to "use an item"?

I guess I don't understand the complaint. It sounds like contrarianism for the sake of it.
 

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Short answer: Yes. I always feel that it is unfair if the player can run out of MP but the enemies cannot. Feels like an unfair restriction to the player.

And as to how I avoid the running out of MP problem, I have a few solutions:

1: Some enemies get MP drain skills. And in some cases, I set it so they only use it when they are at 25% or less MP.

2: Some enemies get free skills that cost no MP. This depends on the enemy though. For example, a dragon should be able to swipe you with its' tail without spending MP. So if it runs out of MP, it's still pretty dangerous due to the attacks from the wings, claws, tail, bite, etc.

3: Some enemies running them out of MP is just part of the strategy. If you can do that, then you get the free win. Not a common approach though.

4: And finally, some enemies get MP regen as a trait. Give them long enough and they will get all their MP back. Edit: I usually use 1% when I do that, which isn't a lot, but does add up over a 10 - 15 turn battle.

Edit: 5: Forgot one: Some enemies I also make their physical attack deadly, so if they run out of MP, that's just one less attack to worry about, but their physical attack is pretty bad, either due to the sheer damage it does, or the status ailment the enemy can inflict if they hit you.

@Countyoungblood : Yes, but remember the enemy gets a free turn every time you use a potion. So why should you not get a free turn in return when they use a potion? Otherwise that's a case of the enemy gets an unfair advantage that the player doesn't ,and falls under what I call cheap design.
 
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Countyoungblood

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[
Are you trying to say that there can be no player or combat strategy that revolves around spending a turn to "use an item"?

I guess I don't understand the complaint. It sounds like contrarianism for the sake of it.
What a sweeping generalization.

If condition then result. Pretty simple for most of us.

You don't understand the complaint because there wasn't one.
I made a series of logical statements.

Any of the situations explained can be fine the consequences just need to be considered.

Spending a turn to use a potion is fine.
 

Tai_MT

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Okay, perhaps I phrased that wrong.

What you wrote looks like a complaint. Reads like a complaint when taken in context with your previous post that you were responding to. And is phrased in such a way that it'd be hard to take it as, "this is a fact I'm citing" since you didn't bring up the other side of the argument and didn't even consider the same point of view against the player for the same combat action.

I should have said, "Why are you complaining about that? I don't understand.". Heck, even bigillisp phrased his reply to you as if he were addressing a complaint and not a simple observation.

You made a post talking about giving bosses more MP or restricting the MP the player has access to. You proposed doing this because players can carry recovery items. Yes?

The reply you got was, "Or, you could just simulate the enemies using an item as described above or another method of recovery". That was another way of solving the same problem you described. In short, a couple more options other than "give more MP" and "restrict player MP".

Keep in mind, you brought up no "downsides" to your initial two proposals. You only brought them up when someone else pointed out other options. So, it reads like you're disagreeing with those options and outlining why you shouldn't do them.

To which we have simply said, "uh, the downsides work in reverse too. So why is this a problem/complaint?"

There's absolutely no need to get hostile about it. Nobody here is insulting you in the least.
 

TheoAllen

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Besides, if my player can run out of MP, why can't my enemies?
Now, this is an interesting point, given that spending MP itself is already an effort because they are finite. Rewarding player with easy win sounds logical enough.

I only wish FPS developers had the same kind of game design, where enemies could run out of bullets and grenades and had to scavenge for more.
Now that you brought this up. In FPS RPG like fallout, they does seem to have infinite amount of bullets, because the AI were designed to be stupid enough not using the resources efficiently. That being said, to preserve the challenge in a long run, they give them an infinite amount of resources that you have to deal with constant shooting from enemies. Besides you don't get access of knowing how bullets left they have, so might as well as make it infinite.

Now, back on the MP system with my last point. Do you get an access of knowing how much MP left from the enemies? Because some dev like to hide information away from the player. And such thing, they never know if an enemy would run out of MP and start using moves that does not require MP. And based on bgillips, I somehow see that you can make an enemy to be even more deadly after running out of MP, which it's implying that you should not sapping the MP out of a certain encounter. Do you keep the player informed about the MP left?

Well, in a game where both you and the enemy have mana but only you can regenerate mp the monster will always be at a major disadvantage.
Monster will always at major disadvantage at most of times, because player are required to battle a lot of them
 

Countyoungblood

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How much of an advantage the player has will directly impact how hard the game is.

Of course we are assuming the party will fight lots of monsters but how much the party can recover between each of those battles changes how strong each monster can be.

If the party recovers fully after every battle then having monsters be much weaker really wouldnt be any fun. The monsters would have no chance of winning so what are you doing besides watching the inevitable.

Whatever you decide to do mp wise to your monsters you need to consider the other side of the equation.

Would the mob still be hard if it skips several turns to use a potion or would it be better to just give it more mp?
 

TheoAllen

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This was assuming that we are using classic design where the MP is being carried out each battle which might end up surviving many battles would be important. Although I'm not fond of this design

For having end battle recovery, both enemies and allies should have equal utility, Although I'm not sure how equal is equal
 

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