Do you have a preference on how many party members you like in turn based battles?

You can vote more than one. How many party members do you prefer? Or what's your favourite?


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Heirukichi

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In my opinion it is best to have from 4 to 6 party members depending on how you want to implement your battle system. Turn based can be something like the standard RM battle system but can also be something completely different like turn-based strategy games. If we are talking about the default RM system then I prefer having 4 or 5 members (I like slightly more having 4 party members but 5 might be good as well), if we are talking about turn based strategy games then either is fine. More than 6 might be harder to control but I can think of more than a few games I like where you have to control more than 6 characters.

Having less than 4 party members might force you to play in a certain way. Especially if you are facing a hard boss and you cannot defeat it quickly you might be force to use
  • 1 Tank to absorb damage. By "absorbing" I do not mean "taunting". A tank can absorb damage by taunting, absorbing a portion of damage dealt to allies, protecting allies by intercepting attacks, etc.
  • 1 Healer to prevent your tank from blowing up after tanking a few hits. If the healer is not needed then your boss is probably not strong enough to take down the tank...thus that is not the situation I am talking about.
  • 1 Damage dealer. Of course you need one. If your tank is casting skills to absorb damage and your healer is constantly healing the tank you have nobody dealing damage.
While this might work (and it actually worked in many different games) I think it lacks strategy. Situation where you have to fight that way and are forced to do it exist.

To allow players to fight in a way that fits their own play style having a fourth party member is a good idea. The last party member can then fill the role of buffer, debuffer or be any combination of those with another already existing role. This means you can fight with no tank, 2 damage dealers, 1 buffer and 1 healer to deal more damage while at the same time buffing your character and making healing easier, you could fight with 2 tanks and 2 damage dealers to not waste a spot on your healer and use the tank who is not absorbing damage to deal extra damage (thus having 3 damage dealers the whole time). Possible combinations are many and depending on the situation players can come up with different party builds if a fourth party member is involved.

There are two good reasons to allow players to come up with different party formations:
  1. if you force players to use a certain party formation they might be unwilling to play the game once more after beating it;
  2. being forced to use the same strategy each time you encounter a tough fight might be boring in the long run.
A party of 5 follows the same rules as a party of 4. It allows players to use even more different strategies. The reason why I like having 4 party members more than having 5 party members is that if you balance your game so that player can beat it with an average party (with just one healer) usually that means the game can be beaten with a full-DpS party (or something very similar). As a player I do not dislike it to much but I do not find it too fun either.
In strategy turn based games positioning plays a very important role and you rarely fight one versus many (boss vs party). Boss-like encounters are usually a tougher enemy (boss) together with few weaker units. As long as those weaker units are not just for show you should plan things a bit more carefully and thus having 4, 5 or 6 members in your party is not going to affect the game too much (provided that numbers and strength of those weaker units are balanced according to the number of party members).

In such a game having more party members only gives you the impression of fighting a bigger battle. It does increase the average time per turn but it also increases the potential focus on a single target. In the end if you do not mind playing a game with long turns (someone does but that is not my case) it is fine to have many members in your party.
 

Onism

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It depends on the way you use battling within your game. If you're using the default system and there's nothing 'special' about battling, then I don't want to have loads of time dedicated to it- having to choose 8 individual choices each round, plus a large number of enemies taking their turns, results in lengthy battles.

Longer battles are fine if its a focus of the game, and you have a different battling system etc that makes battling more fun as opposed to a grind.

I also am not a fan of people only appearing in battles, so I always limit the party maximum at 4 due to how MV only shows 4 party members while on maps (though I should look into if there are any plugins that can change this).

Have you seen Octopath Traveller? The game have 8 characters to play as, and you can swap them in and out of your party (that can only have up to 4 people at any time) whenever you want. I enjoy this method a lot if you really want a lot of characters, especially if each of them has advantages and disadvantages that they bring to the battle.
 

Milennin

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Just remembered Guild Wars 1, that had the majority of its areas let you bring a party of 8 characters at once. While you could fully control only your own character, the ability to micro-manage your supporting units was pretty extensive. It played more like a real-time strategy game than a traditional RPG; couldn't see it being translated over into something you'd see in an RPG Maker game.
 

Tai_MT

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I'm probably weird or just conditioned through playing too many RPG's. If I have 3 party members, I still feel weird. Even my favorite RPG of all time only has 3 party members, and I still think it's weird. If I have more than 4 party members, I feel weird about the combat.

For me, just give me 4. It's like my security blanket. I dunno why I prefer this many. I just tend to prefer that many in combat. I feel weird until I get that fourth member.

Maybe I'm Pavlov's Dog?
 

Torisu

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A good balance would be 4, any more than that and it's too crowded, I think three would be the minimum because with two you wouldn't have enough for options, but thats just me.
 

Shikamon

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it depends on what your character able to do, solo character is good when he/she have a lot of skills ( heal, magic, support etc ). two characters also okay when you just fixed one and able to change the partner ( kinda FF mystic quest). Three is the most optimal choice because you're able to cover everything (Tanker,DPS,Support) and four members are best for more strategy-battle.
 

jonthefox

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In a typical jrpg, I prefer 3.
4 members make it a bit too annoying for me to keep track of everything. However, if a game is exceptionally well-paced, and you slowly introduce and ease me into new characters one by one, and each kit is simple to learn, then working up to an enjoyable party of 4 is great.

ALSO as a caveat, in the build-your-own-party type games, I prefer 4.
 

LycanDiva

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I like a 5-person party, myself, especially accompanied by strategic field movement for the party and enemies and magic/special attacks with different shaped damage zones. It's not hard to make each character unique and strategically viable, either. You can have your slow-but-powerful melee fighter, a mage for dealing powerful elemental AOE damage, your healer, a rogue or martial artist who hits fast and either deals moderate damage or inflicts status effects on the enemy but has relatively low defense, and a gunner/archer who can pull off powerful armor-piercing ranged attacks to take care of those enemies that are both tanky AND magic-resistant. Of course, also having proper enemy variety and balancing (for both mooks and bosses alike) is especially important when you have a battle system like this, but when done right it can really make for an engaging gameplay experience.
 

Diretooth

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3-5, depending on the theme of the game. And I do mean main party members.
3 party members cover the three main archetypes for a class: Mage, Warrior, Thief. The Mage handles the magical damage and healing, but is neither hard-hitting nor particularly quick. They are an excellent middle-man, provided they can maintain their magic. I often give them MP-restoring abilities that cost TP or a turn, depending on how much they regain. The Warrior is the hard-hitting, but they are often slower and might act as the tank or DPS, depending on their gear and skills. The Thief is the quickest, but often does not do as much damage. They often act first, using items or skills to heal or damage, buff or debuff, or their spells/abilities if they have them. This, to me, is the most basic you can have without making a character a jack of all trades or giving two characters many options.
4 party members cover the main three archetypes, but can divide the Mage archetype into White and Black magic, giving you a dedicated healer and damage dealer on those fronts, as well as buffer and debuffer, respectively. Alternatively, you can have the fourth be the protagonist, jack of all trades, master of none; or even a gimmick fighter/mechanically unusual class who participates in battles in a way that doesn't match the three main archetypes.
With 5 party members, you can have fighter, thief, black mage, white mage, and something else. Perhaps the fifth party member can do everything, or maybe they can switch between abilities. Maybe they're a summoner and attack with summoned monsters, or maybe they can change their class.

Regarding theme, in one game, I have five party members, not including guest star party members. They are all active at the same time. You have the Fighter, the Paladin (fighter + white mage), Mage, Thief, and Dark Artist (black mage + thief). They are equally important to the story, and while the Fighter, Mage, and Thief are rather inflexible in their roles, the Paladin and Dark Artist supplement combat with unique abilities, as well as some of what other party members can do.
In another, I have a Fighter, a Mage, and a Thief, however, the Thief is mechanically unusual in that they do have the option to equip various spells and abilities to supplement the other two, primarily being their support, rather than the person who steals things and moves fast.
And in another, I have four characters, with the fourth being the primary protagonist who is a jack of all trades, but a master of none.
 

Cuprite

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I've always preferred somewhere between 3-5 party members.
Radiant Historia did good with 3 members, since it worked well with it's more tactical turn-based battle system, though I feel it can work well with a more traditional battle system (I'm fairly certain FF7 did this, but don't quote me on that).
4 is traditional and works well most of the time.
Alliance Alive worked well with 5 members since you could set up different row formations with defensive, offensive, and support roles, which allowed for more strategic setups. It also did AOE skills pretty well, such as ones which cover a straight line from a member which were affected by their position on the field (I don't mean rows when I say that).
Overall, I think the best option would be to have anywhere between 3-5 party members, though one or two can work if you make it interesting (I mean, look at Pokémon and most of the Mario RPGs).
 
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kaukusaki

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I'm used to D&D so between 4-6 is what i generally roll with. I had single player campaigns, 2 & 3 player. But more than 6 is too bothersome. I had a game with 8 party members but it was representative of army units. that headache was only for that one game however...
 

L.W. Flouisa

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Seems I'm not the only one who prefers 3 to 4 characters.

The problem with to many characters, is the battle gets way to easy if you don't incorporate some kind of "monster level up with the characters" thing. Less than three, and the battles will quickly stack the deck against you.
 

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