Equipping skills?

Lorenze

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Hey guys. I was recently thinking about skill implementation, and was wondering if it was right to have the player

be limited to 10 equipped skills at a time.

Pros:

+Player doesn't have to scroll through huge skill list

+Player has to strategize their arsenal better

Cons:

-Player doesn't have as many choices to make in battle

-No way to change skills in battle (mainly because it defeats the purpose) and i have no idea how to do it ._.

-Might seem unnecessary in the long run 

What do you guys think on having limited/equipped skills?
 

Andar

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It depends on how you implement that.


The idea itself isn't new and there are already scripts out there which will do this, and usually a player will use only a limited number of skills in a battle anyway, especially later in game when early skills became useless.


However, if you allow so many skill slots that there is no limit, then the mechanic becomes tedious - if you give so few skill slots that the player can't have a general mix against an unknown enemy, then the game becomes tedious reloads (if all of a few skills allowed are resisted by the previously unknown enemy and the player has to reload and try again to find the correct skills).


If done correctly this will force the player to think and plan for the battles without becoming a random guesswork - some player would like that, others prefer the attack bashing and won't use the system anyway...
 

hiromu656

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I'm planning on using an equipping skills system in my own game, however I'm only going to give the player the ability to bring 3 into each battle (3 per party member that is). The way I see skill equipping is that it's just the same as choosing a different Pokemon or changing Demons in a Shin Megami Tensei game (however in those games you CAN swap during battle). It all comes down to how it's implemented and if the freedom the player is given, is actually worth the effort of managing. If there was just one pokemon in the series that would allow you to beat everything the game throws at you (I don't play Pokemon, so i don't really know) then I don't think the Pokemon managing system is very effective. If there's no need to take advantage of a game mechanic, there isn't much reason for it to be in the game.

But of course, like Andar said, there will be those that will decide to focus on attack bashing either way, so why not help them out too by adding skills that amplify physical damage or act as a more powerful "attack" themselves.
 

Engr. Adiktuzmiko

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on one of my current projects, I'm letting them to equip 3 only at early days, then it will max out at 8...
 

Tai_MT

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Here's the thing about any feature you ever want to implement into a game.

It isn't so much what it is or how it works that is important.  What's important is how it's implemented, used, and supported by your gameplay.  If this is going to be the feature it sounds like it will be, then it needs to be the main focus of combat (or one of the main focuses).  What does this mean in the short term?  Well, in the short term, it means you are going to need to be focusing heavily on varying types, varying effects (beyond mere damage values), and monster variety.  Without any of those things, it can quickly and easily nullify anything you want to do with that kind of system.  Let's take a look at Pokémon for a moment.  We have about 18 or 19 types now?  Somewhere along those lines?  Some of the mons can be two types of element.  All mons can carry up to 4 different elemental attacks.  Not all of these attacks are learnable by every mon either.  Not all of them are as effective on each mon.  A Solarbeam is more powerful coming from a grass type than a fire type.  These mons also have abilities which can sometimes nullify other types or bolster some types.  The sheer variety in all of these attacks makes for an interesting metagame among players.

I'm not saying you need to do exactly what Pokémon does, but taking a look at the games and seeing how they solved balance issues and other things would be a good step forward with your system.

Now, what does it all mean in the long term?  It means a TON of rebalancing in store for you.  You will be constantly testing your attacks against enemies at varying levels and stats to make sure nothing is too powerful or too weak for what you need.  Whenever you have a "limited" amount of skills that can be equipped, the longest part of your project will almost always end up being the tweaking and refining of game balance.

So, we get to my actual opinion on the subject:

I don't honestly believe a skill should exist in a game, unless it needs to exist.  I don't believe in having Fire 1, Fire 2, and Fire 3.  My opinion is that Fire 1 should be replaced with Fire 2, and likewise up to Fire 3.  My own game has a system similar to this.  Most every character learns six skills.  These skills are what make the characters unique and intriguing to carry along with you for combat.  Currently (with my limited monster amounts at the moment), the balance among character classes and skills is fairly perfect.  I have some classes that overlap others in some ways and I've got other classes that can tackle the same problems as other classes in much different ways.  As an example, I may have a high defense enemy that can only be destroyed by someone with a high Speed Stat.  But, uh oh, you didn't bring either of the characters that use Speed to attack their target.  So what do you do?  Well, it just so happens that using a Blunt weapon on an armored enemy can do decent amounts of damage, and there are a few characters who can equip those.  But, oh no, nobody has any of those weapons equipped!  Well, the same enemy could also be destroyed by using magic abilities or a specific element type if you had a wizard with you.

If you create a battle system in which the skills you equip are important, you also need to remember that at some point, players will have skills that are completely unsuited for the combat ahead.  You either need to subtly alert them to that somewhere in the game, or do what I did with my characters and allow multiple ways attack the same problems with enemies so that there is never a "no solution" scenario.
 

Eschaton

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Here's an idea:

Try condensing your skills.  Integrate the typical skill effects so that individual skills have expanded utility and you simplify your menus.

Some examples:

Maybe your fire spell also causes blindness from the smoke.  Or does extended damage over time.  Stops health regen.  Or burns off the leaves of animated plant enemies.
Maybe your ice spell slows the target down or outright entombs them in solid ice.
Maybe your electric spell also paralyzes the target, or burns the target's mana.

This saves the player from wasting turns on state-inflicting spells that usually never work in typical JRPGs anyway.  It saves the developer from making more spells.  It saves the player from navigating bloated menus.

Anyway, those are my twopence.  Food for thought, and other English idioms.
 

Berylstone

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What do you guys think on having limited/equipped skills?
I would consider Eschaton's advice and try condensing your skills first.  Then I would eliminate any redundant or unnecessary effects you have to see if the system is still needed.  

Generally, I think that limiting the player's options should only be done when it is absolutely necessary.  But the method you are considering has proven to be a successful way to reduce skill load while maintaining an element of strategy.  
 

Chaos Avian

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Here's an idea:

Try condensing your skills.  Integrate the typical skill effects so that individual skills have expanded utility and you simplify your menus.
Or even perhaps items that give your skills varying passives like Eschaton mentioned but giving it more customization, i.e. an item gives a fire spell a passive poison effect, or if you know ahead of time the enemies resister fire, slap said poison passive on an ice skill instead.
 

Rayhaku808

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Here's an idea:

Try condensing your skills.  Integrate the typical skill effects so that individual skills have expanded utility and you simplify your menus.

Some examples:

Maybe your fire spell also causes blindness from the smoke.  Or does extended damage over time.  Stops health regen.  Or burns off the leaves of animated plant enemies.

Maybe your ice spell slows the target down or outright entombs them in solid ice.

Maybe your electric spell also paralyzes the target, or burns the target's mana.

This saves the player from wasting turns on state-inflicting spells that usually never work in typical JRPGs anyway.  It saves the developer from making more spells.  It saves the player from navigating bloated menus.
^this = Guild Wars 2
 

Eschaton

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^Mass Effect 2 + 3 were the my personal inspiration, here.

fixed
 
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Omnimental

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I know I'd personally prefer a variant where magic is slotted as equipped skills, but physical skills shouldn't be removable.  It always bothered me in Pokemon that a creature with massive blades attached to their body couldn't cut down a little tree because they didn't know the 'Cut' move.  They may know 'Slash' but that's different.  Somehow.
 

Eschaton

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I know I'd personally prefer a variant where magic is slotted as equipped skills, but physical skills shouldn't be removable.  It always bothered me in Pokemon that a creature with massive blades attached to their body couldn't cut down a little tree because they didn't know the 'Cut' move.  They may know 'Slash' but that's different.  Somehow.
Because Japan.
 

Tai_MT

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Which has kind of been an argument I've been making for a long time.  Why are these skills the Pokémon have not just "Innates"?  Pokémon with Wings should innately be able to Fly without some human created disc teaching them how to do it.  Pokémon with blades or claws should innately know how to use Cut.  Pokémon that can produce fire or electricity should innately have Flash.  Water Pokémon should innately have the ability to swim.  Strong or large Pokémon should innately know how to push heavy things out of the way.  Etcetera.

It's somewhat frustrating that they haven't fixed that nonsense yet in the games.
 

Omnimental

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I understand the purpose behind HMs in Pokemon (they're just content gates to ensure the player doesn't sequence break), but I think there's much better ways to handle it.  Off the top of my head, have the HMs teach the trainer how to use his Pokemon to interact with the environment.  Once the trainer knows the Surf skill, any Pokemon that can support ferrying him in the water can be used.  And so on and so forth.
 

Eschaton

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I think the issue is that they need the disk to teach them how to fly and swim safely with a 10-year-old child on their back.  The disk probably meets some kind of certification standards.

With cut, they probably need to be taught how to effectively fell a tree.  Otherwise they would be hacking away at it until they wear themselves out.

But, those are the stretches you need to make with JRPGs...
 
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