Elemental Advantage

Aesica

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@Wavelength : Good writeup, and I want to add that, if a developer chooses to use an elemental system, they absolutely need to provide conveniences to get around all the shortcomings:
  • Guessing game: You absolutely need to have some sort of libra/scan ability so that each battle doesn't turn into a guessing game/guide consultation or a game of how many foe weaknesses can i remember at once? This really shouldn't even be negotiable, and without something like it, your elemental system sucks no matter how good you might think it is.
  • I went into battle with the wrong gear/guys and now I'm boned: There are plugins out there for swapping party members and equipment during battle. Players should have some way to swap equipment or allies mid-battle to avoid this from happening, especially if your game uses a tacky "each guy only gets one element" system.
IMO, the main purpose of elemental systems is for added complexity and to encourage more variety in gameplay than just "equip bigger numbers, spam biggest attack."

"Okay, so this guy uses lightning attacks, is strong against fire, and is weak against water. Who are my best choices for this, and which gear should I use? Obviously, the fire-heavy team I used for the last one is going to be ineffective, so time to swap things around!"

As long as you provide your players with sufficient tools, what you're doing is encouraging a layer of thinking that is pretty much absent from an element-less model.

Like, in an element-less game, why am I going to use a single-target Fireball that does ~300 damage once I learn my single-target Lightning Bolt that deals 400 damage? Is the Fireball notably cheaper? Does it have better secondary effects? Am I playing whack-a-cooldown with both? If it's just a linear upgrade then Fireball is just taking up space at this point, and I'm really not a fan of spells/skills that get phased out.
 

Cythera

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@Wavelength Thank you for linking your excellent write-ups! Reading through them, I really had to ask myself questions about WHY I was implementing an elemental system, and HOW it would affect players. Elements play a massive role in my main project, both combat and storyline, so I can justify it there, but reading through your posts made me think that elements are another game feature. And features should always add to a game, never detract from it. Adding elements because 'they're elements; they're everywhere' is not a good reason to put time and effort into a feature that may only serve to complicate gameplay unnecessarily.
@Aesica I agree with, really, everything you said. I like elemental systems to add depth and strategy to combat, rather than getting through solely by stat-stacking. It should be very clear what elements are what, otherwise I may waste precious turns in combat spell-testing for weaknesses - oh, whoops, I just accidently healed the enemy! As you said, provide players with sufficient tools. That is critical to provide a challenge, and not a 'pray I make it through' punishment of a game.
 

RachelTheSeeker

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I'm pondering two elemental systems, one for two genres. The fantasy game idea is that every enemy is aligned with one of four elements: Flame, Nature, Storm, and Aether. The post-apoc game idea is inspired by The Outer Worlds, where different weapons and amoo (which act as skills) have elements: Melee, Ballistic and Plasma are a given; maybe Electric and Psychic?

Fantasy Elements
Each of the four elements corresponds in-lore with a specific deity (and their eldritch horror nemeses), and a particular stat and class. There is a literal Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors with three of these elements (Flame, Nature, and Storm) for x2 damage, while hitting an element with itself deals half damage. The fourth element is neutral towards anything but itself, which deals x2 damage. There are also rare and powerful "true damage" skill that ignore defenses. Even across general species (read: palette swaps), the four elements will vary from enemy to enemy.

Post-Apoc Elements
These will be more uniform for specific enemy types. Different equips can defend against different elements (bullet vests vs Ballistic, ablative armor vs Plasma, etc).
  • Melee isn't useful against heavy armor or robots, but is good to fall back on as one's melee weapons don't have ammo. It also uses a tweaked ATK stat (Strength) for both melee attack and defense.
  • Ballistic is slightly better against tanky foes than Melee, and is commonly found. It is defended against using a repurposed DEF stat (Dexterity) for ranged attack and defense.
  • Plasma is brutal, but thwarted by the rare ablative armor or force field. Early game the MC will have a plasma pistol that mirrors a shotgun's damage, offset by scarce energy cells. Defended against with Dexterity, not unlike Ballistic attacks.
  • Electric is highly potent against robots and potential power armor. Against organics it might have a Stun effect attached? Might have no stat to add or subtract damage like classic Dragon Quest spells, but will likely have an item to cut the element's damage itself?
  • Psychic is vicious against organics (namely the hero), but is rarely found. If useable by any psyker companions, it'll be useless against robots and monsters lacking much sentience (zombies, oozes, etc). Like Electric it can't be defended against, but an equip to cut or nullify Psychic damage might be important to find.
EDIT: Alternatively... not bothering with elements in games is also valid, as is including like one element. I've pondered just having a Fire element that enemies can either be weak to or resist, and everything else not having one. Especially because my only two damage spells at one point were a fireball and a lightning bolt. :p
 

Black Pagan

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You can let the Player have :

- Gear, Skill, Accessories that grants Ele Damage
- Gear, Skill, Accessories that reduce Ele Damage
- Gear, Skill, Accessories that Convert Ele Damage
- Gear, Skill, Accessories that resist Ele Damage
- Gear, Skill, Accessories that absorb Ele Damage

Maybe even Pets that do Ele dmg ? So throw in a couple of different things and hope the Player experiments and gets it wrong on maybe one aspect and not all aspects, They will still have an advantage in other ways of building up their ele damage or ele resitances.


Like what most people have said above, Restrict the Elemental resistance to lower numbers. If it is the right element, It must feel like Bonus damage, If not the player must certainly not feel punished. You could always give the Player indirect hints using an NPC of what elemental enemies they are about to fight, If you are concerned that the Player needs to build up their Elemental advantage.

Ex : Player roams near a Volcano Map and finds a Dead Fire bird near a spring with its wings melting away and the bird crying in pain. This would be enough for Player to understand that Fire is weak to Water and get ready to face Fire birds with Water Ele Bonuses equipped.
 
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Tai_MT

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I do it the same as most every other RPG before, with a few... caveats.

The primary reason to use elemental weaknesses in my game is to make up for shortcomings in combat. If a player decides to use a team of all mages... no matter what enemy they are up against, they will have an advantage to exploit in order to win the combat. Yep, even if all those mages get hit with Silence.

Likewise, my elemental weaknesses have a mechanic I created specifically because of the "all fire monsters are weak to water/ice... so I'll just use that and win". I call it "Revenge".

Specifically, almost all boss creatures and a few of the more rare tough monsters have a mechanic they use called "Revenge". When hit with their "common" weakness, they use a skill you will not see otherwise that "punishes" the player to an extent. This serves a few purposes. The first of which is to make sure players are actually learning all the "archetypes" and weaknesses associated with those archetypes. The second is to provide a moment of "pause" in the fight for the player. An instant that pulls them out of their reverie or their usual way of playing. A moment of surprise that forces the player to think tactically. Now, it is more complicated than this and interwoven into the game system more thoroughly than explained... but this is the gist of how it works.

The most common example I use when explaining what I mean is the "Fire Elemental".

If you use the same basic logic of every other RPG before and use Water to deal damage to the Fire Elemental... it will do a lot of damage. In fact, a normal "weakness" to an element is about 150-200% extra damage. If a "Revenge" mechanic lies behind this weakness, then that is boosted to about 250-300% extra damage. However, there is a trade-off.

Fire Elemental, when hit with any water attack (including water elemental equipment), uses a Full-Party attack called "Superheated Steam". It has a chance to inflict "Burn" on enemies and does slightly more than minimum damage to players. So, if it were to launch a standard attack on a character, you're looking at maybe 5-7 damage for that far in the game. With "Superheated Steam", you're looking at 3-5 damage to each party member with the chance of "Burn".

Every "boss" in the game has this mechanic. Players are "eased" into how "Elemental Weakness" works in my game as well so that "Revenge" doesn't really begin to mess with the player all that much until later on, after you have learned every boss has this mechanic.

However, the Elemental Weakness mechanics in my game are taught fairly linearly to my players. Clever players learn that "Insect" type enemies are weak to Blunt, Fire, and Earth elements if they spend any time experimenting. They learn that "Plant" type enemies are weak to Slash, Fire, and Ice elements if they spend time experimenting. They learn "Beast" type enemies are weak to Piercing, Lightning, and Fire. But, then they learn about "hybrid" type creatures later, which combine some of the weakness, which allow players to make an "educated guess" on them.

Still, the priority is to allow players to still win combat without exploiting an elemental weakness, so I don't often calculate that into any combat projections. It exists as a means to seize victory from the jaws of defeat with any party setup. Or, alternatively, a means to just end combat quickly once you've already learned the "tricks" the basic combat encounters need to teach you before the boss fight.

Anyway, it's a lot more "in depth" than that, and I've tinkered quite a bit with it.

It is so invasive, that the player also needs to mind what equipment they're using as well. "Chainmail" will block "Piercing" damage 100%, but won't block Magic attacks at all and will not block "Blunt" attacks either. The player is also meant to be swapping gear as necessary to the situation rather than just hitting "optimize!" all the time. "Optimize" in my game is sort of designed to get you killed if you don't play smart.

Now, all of that might sound really cool in an RPG. But, here's the thing you must know about it.

It is difficult to signpost it well. It requires I signpost nearly every weakness to every enemy and requires that I have a lot of NPC's talk about what local monsters are weak to. If I signpost it wrong at any point.. or put the signpost in a location the player won't see... it renders my elemental system frustrating instead of fun. Likewise, if every NPC spouts weaknesses to monsters everywhere, players will tune out and begin "meta gaming" rather than enjoying the "story driven" experience I am trying to craft.
 

FirestormNeos

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Keeping the system I have for elements very simple; the bosses (and some mooks) have one of four elements that they use in a handful of their attacks. Unlike regular attacks, these will ignore the player's defenses.

From the start of the game, there are four elemental shields available to purchase that you can equip instead of a regular shield; these elemental shields reduce incoming damage from their respective elements by 100%, but unlike the regular shield they don't improve your ability to guard, which reduces damage from not just all elements but from non-elemental attacks as well, the latter of which all the bosses will have more than plenty of.
 

Redeye

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To follow on this thread, I also have a second project nearing the development stage where the elemental system is a huge aspect of the combat. It also borrows ideas from my other project (Each element has their own element-specific status ailment that makes the victim more susceptible to critical hits, which are dealt via physical attacks and TP skills). The skills of the party members are relatively simplistic, but each of the 10 party members has their own semi-unique utility, capable of using support abilities, and most importantly, their own element.

The elements are very rock-paper-scissors. A Fire user will be incredibly effective against Ice users, but are absolutely destroyed by Water users. The elements of your party members and enemies will be obvious and in-your-face so that you don't have to guess anything. At the start of battle, you simply observe the enemies in your vicinity and change your formation to counter the enemy elements. There are other ways of tackling the system through some clever use of skills and extreme risk taking, but the safe way to play is to never bring in a party member that is weak to one of the enemies.

For those who are curious, this is the "Elemental Wheel" that I made as a reference.

Fire > Frost > Mind > Arcane > Divine > Dark > Earth > Wind > Poison > Water > Fire

Some stretches in logic were involved, such as Frost "numbing" the Mind / Psychic abilities (Brainfreeze), the Mind "dispelling" the mysteries of the Arcane, Darkness defiling and corrupting the Earth, etc. But I think they work well.
 

Ellie Jane

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I think I am swaying away from elemental weakness itself and instead having elemental spells manifest themselves in a way related to that element. So water might literally put a fire user's fire out, or wind might blow the enemy away; perhaps ice spells literally freeze your opponent and fire spells catch them on fire (status effects on crack, basically). So fire is weak to water but only in the sense that water will literally dull your fire arrows etc.

How this is implemented is another matter.
 

Ninten0

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Earthbound implements its elements in a rather interesting way. Each element has its own targeting property: Fire hits a row of enemies but its a bit expensive and has lower base damage, ice hits one enemy for a large amount of damage and has moderate cost, and thunder hits random enemies and is the cheapest, but it can miss sometimes. The neutral attacks hit all enemies but are more expensive and are on the healers, so you might not want to blow their pp on expensive attacks.
So you have to consider not only elemental effectiveness, but also targeting and cost effectiveness as well.
 

cthulhusquid

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I'm pondering two elemental systems, one for two genres. The fantasy game idea is that every enemy is aligned with one of four elements: Flame, Nature, Storm, and Aether. The post-apoc game idea is inspired by The Outer Worlds, where different weapons and amoo (which act as skills) have elements: Melee, Ballistic and Plasma are a given; maybe Electric and Psychic?

Fantasy Elements
Each of the four elements corresponds in-lore with a specific deity (and their eldritch horror nemeses), and a particular stat and class. There is a literal Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors with three of these elements (Flame, Nature, and Storm) for x2 damage, while hitting an element with itself deals half damage. The fourth element is neutral towards anything but itself, which deals x2 damage. There are also rare and powerful "true damage" skill that ignore defenses. Even across general species (read: palette swaps), the four elements will vary from enemy to enemy.

Post-Apoc Elements
These will be more uniform for specific enemy types. Different equips can defend against different elements (bullet vests vs Ballistic, ablative armor vs Plasma, etc).
  • Melee isn't useful against heavy armor or robots, but is good to fall back on as one's melee weapons don't have ammo. It also uses a tweaked ATK stat (Strength) for both melee attack and defense.
  • Ballistic is slightly better against tanky foes than Melee, and is commonly found. It is defended against using a repurposed DEF stat (Dexterity) for ranged attack and defense.
  • Plasma is brutal, but thwarted by the rare ablative armor or force field. Early game the MC will have a plasma pistol that mirrors a shotgun's damage, offset by scarce energy cells. Defended against with Dexterity, not unlike Ballistic attacks.
  • Electric is highly potent against robots and potential power armor. Against organics it might have a Stun effect attached? Might have no stat to add or subtract damage like classic Dragon Quest spells, but will likely have an item to cut the element's damage itself?
  • Psychic is vicious against organics (namely the hero), but is rarely found. If useable by any psyker companions, it'll be useless against robots and monsters lacking much sentience (zombies, oozes, etc). Like Electric it can't be defended against, but an equip to cut or nullify Psychic damage might be important to find.
EDIT: Alternatively... not bothering with elements in games is also valid, as is including like one element. I've pondered just having a Fire element that enemies can either be weak to or resist, and everything else not having one. Especially because my only two damage spells at one point were a fireball and a lightning bolt. :p
In my post apocalyptic game, I tried to encompass as many energy types as I can so I can have the widest range of damage types and resistances. Enemies like humans would be weak to a lot of this stuff, while mutants can widely vary (an irradiated mutant will take much less radiological damage, while a mutant bird will take a lot of thermal and gravitational damage). Here's what I have:
Kinetic
Explosive
Radiological
Chemical
Thermal
Electrical
Psychic
Sonic
Molecular
Biological
Electromagnetic
Gravitational
 

jonthefox

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I like using elements mostly for flavor, with a little bit of functional impact. Like others have said, I don't want elemental weaknesses and resistances to be a guessing game for the player (i don't think that's fun for the player), but I do like providing the opportunity for strategic diversity, and also as a way to challenge and keep cheese-strategies in check. Here's a very simplistic example of what I mean by this: if someone wants to index heavily on fire magic, because they like seeing the enemies explode, I want this to be viable. When they come across a boss or an area full of fire resistant enemies though, it'll be tough for them if they've funneled all their choices into that. Someone with a more balanced approach might not steamroll through the game as much (because instead of only having a fire spell that deals 1000 dmg, they have a few different elemental spells that deal 500 dmg), but they would also not struggle in the fire-resistant boss/area like the first player would. I try to design the game so that both strategies are viable (if i'm giving the choice to index completely in fire magic, it's important i don't make that player end up "stuck" and unable to progress), it's just a difference in play style and preference.
 

velan235

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Elemental advantage gives bonus damage is easy to understand and effective in most game. I would add extra layer to it for having limited skill pool. so ie.

A haunted swamp, where most enemy are Undead and Water type
you could bring holy light that deal 300% damage to undead, but has small base damage, thus you deal low damage to non-undead enemies.you could bring lightning magic to deal 200% damage to water enemies, but then you need to ditch healing spell. I would go as extreme as limitng to 2 or 3 skills per actor, so player can mix and match and balance it through all the party members, IMO Elemental advantage is meaningful if you are limited on how you abuse them. if for example you have access to all Elements, Elemental advantage is more of flavor reward than actual risk & reward.
 

Wavelength

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@Amy Pond I once had a design commission to create a system quite similar to what you're describing (small number of skills in each element, each element should have a clear advantage and disadvantage to one other element without using Damage Rates) - and I have to say, it was difficult!! What I found was that with each new, interesting skill, effect, or mechanic that I portioned to each element, it became harder and harder to make sure that an entire element, rather than just a single skill/tool within that element, would consistently do well or poorly against it (and this was important, because enemies would only have a subset of the skills available within each element). After weeks of work, I was able to craft a library of spell kits that my client and I were both very happy with - but to be honest it was considerably harder than I would have imagined. So my advice to you is to come up with the meat and bones of it early on (fully design and playtest at least 80% of the elemental skills in this subtle rock-paper-scissors system), rather than design the rest of your game thinking that you'll probably use this system and then realizing later that it's untenable.

@cthulhusquid If you're going with such similar and obscure elements as "types of energy", then I strongly recommend you outright tell the players what elements an enemy will have a weakness or resistance to on the HUD (or, at the very, very least, have a Scan skill that gives the player this info at the cost of a turn)! Because it's going to be nigh impossible for the player to naturally infer it from looking at the enemy - maybe 'thermal' makes some degree of sense against a bird, but 'electrical' would make much more sense, and for an element like 'sonic' energy no one would have any idea what kinds of enemies might be weak to that.

@jonthefox I like the philosophy. Have you played with the numbers and gotten to a point where either approach can feel satisfying? For example, if the more advanced Fire spell deals 1000 damage, and a diverse kit's less powerful spells would max out at 500 damage, you'd need to be loading very heavy resists (upward of 75%, maybe even 100% or Absorb-level) to the Fire-resistant foes in order to make Fire specialization feel like a clear disadvantage compared to generalist kits in such areas. Also, I'm curious what mechanics you have that tend to present choices between Specialize vs. Generalize for spell acquisition?

@velan235 Sounds like quite an interesting approach, but I'm having trouble envisioning how each elemental kit might look in practice (for instance, are all Holy spells that deal damage low in their base damage - and if not, what's the point of Holy Light when another Holy spell will be more generally useful?). Could you share an example of one element's complete set of spells, and how it creates a coherent style for that element?
 

jonthefox

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@Wavelength Yeah If I do give resistance to a particular element, I tend to make it pretty high, like 50% to 75%. Otherwise it's pretty low-impact mechanic - an enemy that has only 25% resistance would tend to have that resistance to ALL elements, because that enemy is supposed to be slightly resistant to magical attacks. I think checking the numbers would be something done in play-testing, and sadly I rarely get to that stage of my games. /sadhappy face. It kinda stinks but I enjoy the game-making process enough that even without much product to show off, I still find it a rewarding pastime (except for eventing; eventing is evil).

In terms of choice for generalize vs. specialize for skill acquisition, whenever possible I like to use a system where the players earns points when they level up, which are used for learning new skills. They can choose to upgrade a skill to a stronger version, or learn a new skill. Over time, you can have someone that has a wide variety of spells to use efficiently in different situations, or you can index heavily in a particular element or strategy. For example, say you go very early for all the upgrades in the single-target lightning spell. You also go for a spell that makes an enemy take extra lightning damage, and you upgrade this as well, so now you have the strongest single-target lightning spell combined with the strongest debuff - you become a powerful boss killer. You could do a similar strategy but with the aoe spells, which would not be as efficient (due to MP) vs. bosses and such, but would clear out dungeons very easily, provided you have the MP to sustain this strategy (and this might be where you choose to wear a special robe that gives +200 MP, even though it has 140 less defense than best currently available armor, for example). Or you could be a jack of all trades - because of course there might be a boss at one point in the game who takes 75% reduced lightning damage. You'd still be able to outslug him but it'd be quite a challenge if you went for that cheese strategy - unless of course you planned for this (maybe there's a rare one-time use item that breaks all elemental resistances on enemy for the remainder of battle).
 

Diretooth

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The way I implement an elemental system in my games follows this basic formula:
Fire comsumes Wind, which erodes Earth/Stone, which absorbs Water, which quenches Fire.
Or Fire>Wind>Earth>Water>Fire.
Sometimes, I'll have Light/Holy diametrically opposed to Dark, with both canceling the other out. Non-elemental/Element X/Love will be the 'ultimate' in terms of elemental power, if applied, but actual access to the element would be heavily restricted, given that everything would be weak to it.
Every Actor and Battler has an 'innate' Element, what determines what they are strong or weak against. A Fire Innate, for instance, is heavily resistant to Fire damage (they will still take some damage, but not as much as a same-damage non-elemental attack), but is heavily damaged by Water (Which deals more damage than a same-damage non-elemental attack). Wind, being what it is strong against, would deal either reduced damage or no damage at all, with Stone being a sort of 'neutral' element, dealing the same as a same-damage non-elemental attack.
So, presuming Attack deals 50, Fire would deal 25, Water would deal 100, Wind would deal 0, and Stone would deal 50 (presuming the attacks all shared the same formula.)
If elemental absorption was a thing, either Fire would heal instead, or Wind would (since it 'feeds' fire).

This also allows for some experimentation with characterization. Let's say your party runs the gamut of elements. Fire Innate is friends with Stone Innate, he dislikes Water, who is good friends with Wind, who in turn dislikes Fire. Stone dislikes Wind, as a matter of course.
Holy and Dark, then, would interact with them in different ways. Let's say Holy likes Fire and Wind, since they are light and heaven, respectively. Dark would then like Stone and Water, as beneath their surface is darkness.
This can make for good character dynamic.
Alternatively, you can give the characters temperaments opposite their elements. Fire is a calm, methodical thinker, Water is a hot-headed and brash fighter, Stone is wild and carefree, while Wind is a static, grounded person. Dark could be a priest or otherwise kind-hearted person, while Light is a devious conman who likes screwing with people.
(Granted, this is primarily for a big of gameplay and story integration.)
 

velan235

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@velan235 Sounds like quite an interesting approach, but I'm having trouble envisioning how each elemental kit might look in practice (for instance, are all Holy spells that deal damage low in their base damage - and if not, what's the point of Holy Light when another Holy spell will be more generally useful?). Could you share an example of one element's complete set of spells, and how it creates a coherent style for that element?
in my case, I'm currently expanding the set of spells, and I'm not using fire-fira-firaga sets. most skills are character-bound (I think it's just fair to have character that learn holy-spell if you want to throw undead enemy, rather than using points to "buy" skill but you have to guess what enemy will come up next) but I might add some common skills that accessible for everyone for basic interaction.

For the holy element example, it's more of traits in my game, as Undead initially has high HP, so Holy spells works really well against undead but mitigate it's versatility outside of undead (but still useable) I might go for 400% holy mod depending on play-test balancing result. by limiting skills that available in actor, in some cases you should survive with holy spells when not fighting undead (thus mix and match setup that favors you better). In Undead case, it has high HP but also low defense, so you might want to run high physical attack to beat it, but undead has attack that lower your physical attack (corrosion). so running physical attack build also doable to defeat Undead, but with caveat. on the bright side, your Physical skill won't be as underwhelming as holy spell in another scenario. the Water enemy also susceptible to poison, so maybe you want to use thief poison-set instead of lightning magic set (with pros-cons of each class passive and other abilities). I try my best to get Risk & Reward, like yes you can get two but it should at least cost you one.

In my game, I also have custom MP (think card draw, but instead you draw MP), you only draw MP of element skill you have, and there is a controlled RNG for MP draw(so you don't fked up for drawing one element MP). this open up more interactions. You might have Jester class that could transfer element to next skill used, or a Jester that convert his MP to another element, and run him on full passive build so you won't miss his MP element. there are also limit use skills that don't rely on MP so you can gain more focused MP on certain actor and some spell has upgraded version if you use higher MP cost.

of course my example above only applied to my specific game, but my point is that element-weakness should not exist in a vacuum (I use lightning bolt instead of fire bolt because of elemental mod). It should exist and directly or indirectly affect other aspect/mechanics in the game. I prefer interaction and limitation first, and modifier can come later (interaction & limitation affect playstyle, while mod only affect number and can be balanced later if some interaction is OP). as a dev, I would make a set of interactions and spell, and start throwing and combining them in dungeons. some interaction might come up in more than one dungeon, but mixed with other caveat and so on. (this might be a bit out-of-topic, but I still find interactions is another form of elemental advantage)
 
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Wavelength

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@jonthefox That sounds like a cool system, the choice between learning new skills or upgrading ones you already have with the same "currency". I think those are both attractive options (from an expression/fun perspective, not necessarily from a balance perspective), and if the combat in your game is also enjoyable, I'd have a lot of fun just running around fighting monsters to earn points to spend. If you find that the balance favors people who only take a very small library of spells and upgrade a couple to high levels (I think this will be the case based on how you're describing it, especially if the game in question has 3 or more party members and one who sees a big Resist can become the item user/buffer for that battle), and you want to balance the scales so that buying lots of spells is viable, then you might want to consider mechanics that encourage players to use a variety of spells "for its own sake" during combat. Possible ways to do this include a Cooldown mechanic, or "stale moves" penalties that reduce damage dealt or increase cost if the player uses a spell multiple times in a short time period (or the opposite, which would be rewarding the player with higher damage/lower costs/utility bonuses for using several different spells in a row).
 

Milennin

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I don't work with any kind of elemental weaknesses. Skills do as they say in their descriptions, and work the same against everything. Adding in elemental weaknesses wouldn't change anything, other than make certain skills stronger/weaker against some enemies, a concept I don't find very engaging after playing several generations of Pokémon games. Elemental weaknesses eliminates strategic use of skills, and railroads you into using only specific skills against certain types. It lessens your options during combat, not broadens them.
 

HumanNinjaToo

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I don't work with any kind of elemental weaknesses. Skills do as they say in their descriptions, and work the same against everything. Adding in elemental weaknesses wouldn't change anything, other than make certain skills stronger/weaker against some enemies, a concept I don't find very engaging after playing several generations of Pokémon games. Elemental weaknesses eliminates strategic use of skills, and railroads you into using only specific skills against certain types. It lessens your options during combat, not broadens them.
I disagree to some extent. I think it depends on how the battle system is designed. There's no rule that says an enemy or actor only has to have one weakness for example. Also, there are battle systems that allow for you to target a weakness in order to 'break guard', 'stagger', or something of that nature. IMO, that adds another layer of strategy. I think if the combat is simplistic in design, you would be right to some extent; there would be one favorable path to victory over all other options. However, there are many examples of battle systems designed so that using elemental weaknesses adds depth and/or breadth.
 

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Weekend is finally here... what would you like to see (?):
1) Pokemon into zelda minish-cap style
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