Expanding Regular Attacks

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by kovak, Mar 15, 2017.

  1. kovak

    kovak Silverguard Veteran

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    I remember many people here mentioned how regular attacks are just too boring, how it was useless compared to other skills a character may have. After seeing how DnD 4E deals with it (though it uses board movement in some of them) i wanted to know if it wouldn't be more interesting to simply remove the Attack command and replace it with a Attack menu during combat.

    Skills on this menu needs to be designed on different ways like a high damage skill with low accuracy that has chance to stun or a skill that hits twice but reduces your DEF for 1 turn. Those trade-offs could make those options worth and immersive. In DnD 4E
    there are no trade-offs though you have some conditions to use some of those skills like having a specific distance between you and your target or to be wielding 2 weapons.
     
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  2. lolshtar

    lolshtar Master of Magic thatknow nospell Veteran

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    Just remove those regular attacks then. That's what l do and it works fine.
     
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  3. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    What you're describing are essentially Skills, except that they are presumably Skills with zero MP/TP cost. And that's perfectly fine! It still makes for a much more interesting experience when you have several "gratis" skills that you can choose from each turn. I'd take this kind of design over the standard "basic attack" in 95% of games (with the only exceptions being games where the gameplay is reliant on very quick, streamlined action, e.g. Eternal Senia).

    I think another good way to make basic attacks more interesting is to involve their use into some of your skills. League of Legends does a really good job with that; a lot of champions have skills that really empower your next few autoattacks (so that even primary casters have a reason to weave basic attacks into their repertoire), such as dealing AoE damage or stuns, a few champs have passives that reward autoattacking (such as dealing damage based on your magic (AP) stat once you've attacked a target thrice), and several items also have a 'spellblade' property that throws on significant extra damage when you basic attack after using a spell.

    One other solution I'm planning to pursue in an upcoming game is to get rid of MP and TP entirely, meaning that all Skills and Magic can be used at no cost. The only gate to how often you can use a skill is that most skills have Cooldowns, and I'll include a weak "basic attack" whose purpose is to give you an option if you ever have all of your skills on cooldown. In practice, since the skills have no cost, they will operate largely in the same way as your "attack menu skills" - the choice is more about which skill to use when, rather than whether to use a skill or not.
     
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  4. Pine Towers

    Pine Towers Knight Hospitaller Veteran

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    You gave one of the best rules to look on ways to make basic attacks more than just basic: D&D 4e.

    First, make a template base attack, then work on it, like making it harder to hit but with better damage, or easier to hit but less damage, or less damage but with a 1-turn status effect. With a bit of thought you can create sinergies where the fighter opens the guard of the enemy so the rogue can sink a poison attack that makes the enemy weaker to the wizard's spell.

    There''s a whole new world to explore this.
     
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  5. Basileus

    Basileus Veteran Veteran

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    I know I reference it a lot, but I really like what Dark Souls did with basic attacks.

    Rather than having dozens of weapons that all had the same attack but incrementally higher stats, Dark Souls has only a few weapons but each one has it's own attack animations - A primary attack swing and a secondary attack swing to be precise. And the difference in these attacks determines what kind of weapon is best for your build as well as which weapons might be better for the area you are in.

    A weapon like a Halberd may have a sweeping horizontal slice and a straight thrust. The sweep would be excellent in open areas and for hitting multiple enemies clustering in front of you, but would be terrible in narrow dungeon corridors since it would bounce uselessly off the wall. The thrust attack would be excellent in tight spaces where it has good range and can't miss but poor in open spaces where enemies can easily dodge it. This would overall make the Halberd a balanced weapon in a way that reflects player knowledge and skill.

    At least in VX Ace, the basic "Attack" is a skill that can be modified. Equipping a "Long Sword" could change the basic attack to have "Slashing" element, making the "Attack" command a no-cost "skill" that is effective against enemies weak to "Slashing" but ineffective against enemies resistant to it. Equipping a "Mace" could change the basic attack to "Blunt" element, a "Rapier" could change to "Pierce" element, etc. You can even add a secondary "Attack 2" command based on the equipped weapon. This lets all weapons of the same type have the same basic attack, but individual weapons of that class can have different secondary attacks to make them truly distinct instead of just being stat-sticks.

    This is similar to Persona 4 which has "Physical" as an element so that even basic attacks can trigger enemy weaknesses and knock them down, or can be affected by things resisting, nullifying, or even absorbing physical damage to punish the player for just mashing "Attack".

    Personally, I have seen games that are bad enough you can just spam "Attack" to get through most fights and they do suck. But I also dislike games that remove the basic attack altogether instead of trying to incorporate it better. It makes no sense to me when my character has a weapon but cannot just swing the weapon without using some fancy skill and for no cost. And if there is a no-cost skill, then why not just leave the "Attack" command for when I run out of MP so I don't have to navigate through the "Skills" menu for it. And in games where skills in general cost nothing I just feel like otherwise cool skills lose a lot of impact. "Holy Indignant Heavenly God Wrath" could be a powerful move, but part of the mystique is making the absolute coolest attacks limited and being able to spam it every single turn or every single fight just makes it a hell of a lot less special.
     
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  6. kovak

    kovak Silverguard Veteran

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    I was thinking about having them to cost TP (so it would be similar to Dark Soul's Stamina), their effectiveness would also raise their cost else it would be OP. A downside is aways needed and that's something that may reflect what kind of game you're making.
     
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  7. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    So what does the user do when they run out of TP, now that you've gotten rid of the basic, cost-free Attack move? Just spam Guard until they fill it up?

    I feel like there must be a better way than that. Cooldowns are always nice, but even barring that, maybe have the skills consume TP but not literally require TP to be used, and if you can't pay the full consume cost of the skill then it's considerably weaker than normal?
     
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  8. gstv87

    gstv87 Veteran Veteran

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    My mechanics in a nutshell.
    I based my system a lot on D&D as well, down to the board tactics and the elements system.
     
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  9. kovak

    kovak Silverguard Veteran

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    @Wavelength you still have a second resource bar, you have to also consider how the TP will work since it needs to be modified, how RM deals with TP as default is something that will not work on a system like this and that's the moment were plugins comes in.

    Consider that your MAX TP dictates "the number of actions per turn", you regen 1 TP at the end of turn up to a cap of 3 or 4. You still has a cap and the skill cost tells you it's worth a number of actions. It doesn't mean your battle system can't have 1 action per turn because of this mechanic but instead is a way to balance your skills. On the other hand your MP will be used for more important skills, ones that can't change the tide of battle.

    Edit: Point is that you will aways need a downside no matter how you implement is as long as it doesn't screw up with the mechanics involved in combat and that's something that scares me a lot.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2017
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