Gear Description - Different Varieties

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by Black Pagan, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. Black Pagan

    Black Pagan Veteran Veteran

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    Lets pretend you don't care about the Genre of the Game. It could be your Typical Grind fest Role-playing Game or Rogue-Like or Adventure Game with Generic Combat - The Level of Encounters expected out of a Typical RPG Maker Game you have seen and played. What kind of Description do you prefer on the Gear ?

    Below are Four Archetypes of Gear Descriptions :

    1> Description of Gear - Stat Bonuses in Words

    [Icon] Phalanx Helmet
    A Red Helmet crafted from Bronze with Copper fittings, Decorated with an exotic feathered Crest.
    Grants Defense and Max Health

    2> Description of Gear - Stat Bonuses in Numbers

    [Icon] Scale Gauntlets
    A Gauntlet made of mild steel with Chain Buckles.
    Grants +10% to Bonus Attack and +10% to Accuracy Rating

    3> No Description of Gear - Stat Bonuses with Numbers (Maximal)

    [Icon] Leather Vest
    Grants 25% Chance to Dodge
    Additional Trait : Regenerate 2% of Max Health, Every Turn

    4> No Description of Gear - Stat Bonuses with Numbers (Minimal)

    [Icon] Basilisk Skean
    (5 Atk)
    (5 Crit Strike)
     
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  2. TheoAllen

    TheoAllen Self-proclaimed jack of all trades Veteran

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    Here is my thought
    > The first one is less convincing. How much is the number? does it actually work? I don't know.
    > The second one is fair, personally, I like flavor text, but also an actual number of how much it modify your stat. It may not necessary if the changes are shown in other windows tho.
    > The third one is acceptable. If I only care about the gameplay, not the world/lore within it.
    > The fourth one is for if you have limited space for your item description tbh.
     
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  3. MushroomCake28

    MushroomCake28 Great Sorcerer Ainz Ooal Gown-sama Veteran

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    I personally prefer just seeing an item file with all the numbers only (like you see in a column atk: +10, def: +5, etc). That's what I do in my game, and I just add a small description that doesn't say much (silver sword: This sword is particularly power since it is built from a really rare material); the important aspect is all in the item data sheet.

    But people tend to read items description, so I would say number 2 or number 3. (well, at least most people who tried my game).
     
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  4. Jules98

    Jules98 Veteran Veteran

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    The space in the default description box is pretty limited, so I usually end up gravitating to options 3 and 4. I'd definitely prefer option 2 though, since I like my items and skills to have a little personality.
     
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  5. Milennin

    Milennin "With a bang and a boom!" Veteran

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    1. Need the numbers on stats.
    2. Probably my favourite way of doing it.
    3 & 4. Barebones, but functional.

    I would prefer 2, but if gear has a lot of stats and effects on it, I would like for it to drop the description and fit in all the information instead. Information always should get priority, but I do like descriptions if there's room to fit them in.
     
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  6. Eschaton

    Eschaton Hack Fraud Veteran

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    It really depends on the system. If gear are just adjustments to actors' parameters, then a description is just flavor text. Flavor text could help expand your game world.

    If gear has other effects that aren't readily apparent -- such as factoring current HP directly into the damage formula or doubling defense when at critical HP -- it might merit an explanation in the description text box.
     
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  7. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    Let's see... here's what I prefer...

    Install a Plugin/Script that expands what is viewed in terms of stats/effects. Why? Because all the Makers have so much unused Real Estate in the Equipment/Shop menus that there's no excuse to not have this information BY DEFAULT anyway. I then also install a Plugin/Script to expand the "Stats" menu to include more than 6 stats... and actually include every stat that the engine has.

    Why do this?

    So I can do my preferred way of doing things:

    The description is 100% Flavor Text to expand my world... Unless I need to state something important like, "10% chance to inflict Poison". All the other stat increases and nuances? The menus handle it for me.

    See, here's the thing... "Attack +5" doesn't mean much to me in a description. Is it just five? What I have equipped is Attack +10. The menu itself often shows exactly how much "Attack" or "Defense" you'll get anyway (which is its job). "10% dodge chance". So... is that on top of whatever my hidden stat for "Dodge" is? Is it multiplied by that? Added to it? Does it mean I'll dodge 1 in every 10 attacks aimed at me? More? Less?

    See, the stats menus and shop menus should be handling this "show you what stats you get are" duty. Your descriptions shouldn't be handling it if you can help it. Descriptions should be handling effects that don't deal with stats. Does this inflict poison? Does this make items more effective when you use them? Does it make you counter-attack? Does it give you multiple strikes? Does it resist an element? What element is this weapon? Do you gain twice as much XP while equipped? Twice as much Gold? That's the sort of duty your Description should be handling.

    If I have to list that something gives you +25 Agility in the Description Box... well... you know there's a problem somewhere. Stat menus and shops should be handling this for the player and the dev. It shouldn't be a guessing game.

    Besides, if you can list all the stats, then players can see "sidegrades" as well as "upgrades" and can make more tactical decisions about their equipment. The default systems in all the RPG Makers are designed for equipment with Linear Progression in mind. If you try to communicate anything to the player beyond simply, "this is statistically stronger than what you have", you run into a lot of headaches and issues as the programs aren't designed like that by default. It very much becomes, "force players to read text on what this does, and hope they understand with two sentences" or "don't do anything too crazy with your equipment as your player won't know what any of it does if you try".

    That being said... I prefer descriptions tell me about the world a little bit. Is this weapon special? How so? Do I have just a really well made Steel Sword, or am I using the Legendary God-Killer? Is the name of the weapon enough to tell me anything about it? I found Excalibur in the mid game, but now I've got Orichalcum Swords at the end game that are far better. Why? Etcetera.

    I like knowing a little bit about the weapons. Even if it's just a brief physical description.

    I think:

    [Battle Bikini]
    "Someone made a tight-fitting bikini out of Mithril. Why? Who? You can't even swim in this!"

    is better than:

    [Battle Bikini]
    "+52 Attack, +87 Defense, +5 Agility, -50 Magic Defense".

    But, that's just my personal preference and bias. I love to read/write. Let the stats screens handle the raw numbers for you. It's much easier and allows you to do more with your Descriptions. Even if you don't use them for Flavor Text.
     
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  8. mobiusclimber

    mobiusclimber Veteran Veteran

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    Flavor text + brief description of what it does, with words usually not numbers. So "Increases Attack & Defense," but not by how much because usually my system has a bit of variance built in to where I wouldn't have a good way of displaying the actual number (and it's right there in the equipment screen when you try to equip it anyway).
     
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  9. gstv87

    gstv87 Veteran Veteran

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    as a programmer of a formula-intensive system, I can tell you that explicitly displaying the bonus only helps if the formula behind it is clear to the player, understandable to the player, and manageable by the player.

    mine, is not.
    so, you know what I'm talking about.
     
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  10. Aesica

    Aesica undefined Veteran

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    I try to mix them both in: description + numeric descriptions because I feel like this information is important. Consider these two items:

    Wooden Helmet: A sturdy helmet made out of wood. Grants a bonus to defense.
    Well, is it better than the leather helmet I'm wearing? I don't know because I can't see the stats until I try to equip it. Frustrating!

    vs

    Wooden Helmet: A sturdy helmet made out of wood. Defense: +5
    This is better than my leather helmet. Fantastic!

    The same can be said vs spells:

    Fireball: Deals fire damage to the target.
    Fireblast: Deals fire damage to the target.
    Come on, seriously! Which one is better? This is annoying!

    vs

    Fireball: Deals fire damage (4x) to the target.
    Fireblast: Deals fire damage (6x) to the target.
    That's more like it!

    RPGs are number games in most cases. The more transparent you are, the more your players can strategize, and to me, this is a good thing.

    You can get a bit more space by dropping the font size by a couple points (but not too many) and by changing the game width to something more widescreen-friendly (which honestly, in this day and age literally everybody should be doing).

    Here's a look at how much extra room I was able to add thanks to those tweaks:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2019
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  11. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    @Aesica I'm going to be a little nitpicky here...

    But... what player remembers exactly the stat bonus of any piece of equipment? I think most don't. Do you remember that you have chest piece equipped that has +45 Defense, some leggings equipped that have +38 Defense, a helmet equipped that has +12 Defense, and an Accessory equipped that also gives you +25 Defense? Across 4+ party members?

    I don't. So, really, listing the exact amount of a stat in the description is well... not that helpful in my opinion. The player will read it and go, "I don't know if this is better that what I have equipped. What were the stats on my helmet? Is +50 better than what I'm using?" and go to the equip menu to see if it's better anyway... but hovering over it and seeing if their numbers go up.

    Likewise, players automatically infer newer Skills are more powerful/better than ones they had previously as they tend to get them from gaining levels. Listing 4x or 6x damage just tells them what they already know. "Newer and more powerful sounding skill is indeed more powerful.". 4x damage of what though? 6x of what? You're falling into the Mass Effect 2 equipment trap. "Great against shields". Okay, by how much? Who knows. How much damage does my gun do to begin with? Likewise, that information of a multiplier is going to be fairly useless to a player unless they've got access to your formulas. Except, with an RPG, the player gets an immediate feedback response to their question the moment they cast it. "Okay, I was doing 400 damage with Fire on this enemy earlier, with the new skill, I'm doing 600 damage."

    I think that description space should be used to tell the player things they would need to know. Your percentages are important in your example for that reason. Especially since they're going to primarily deal with "moving numbers" and that skill will do something statistically different throughout the whole game.

    Descriptions, ideally, should be used to communicate things to the player that they wouldn't know otherwise. Things that they might find interesting or useful. Telling the player a multiplier when they don't have access to your damage formula doesn't really communicate much to them other than "it does more damage". Something they could infer by virtue of getting one spell later than the one they started with... Or, telling the player the stats of a piece of equipment, when pretty much all players check their equipment screen upon picking up a new piece of it, because just like the spell... the newer stuff is more often than not, simply better statistically, regardless of what its stats actually are.

    After all, there's a reason most RPG's have an up or down arrow next to stats on the equipment screen... or color code the numbers... so the player can easily tell if something is better or worse and doesn't need to memorize the exact statistical numbers of their equipment.
     
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  12. woootbm

    woootbm Super Sand Legend Veteran

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    I'm gonna say the second one is best. I tried to convey things with cheeky descriptions and let the default UI explain the stat bonuses, but that didn't seem to be enough. Once I included all the numbers, people were happier. Of course, that all depends on how cryptic you want to be. Some developers like being cryptic for some reason.

    To comment on the amount of space in the description field, you get waaaay more space if you choose to increase the resolution of your game. Using 1600x900 I can tell you that I pretty much had enough room to write descriptions every time (although sometimes I had to edit a little to make it more succinct, which is a good idea anyway).
     
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  13. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    As an alternative to larger resolution (not an option for Ace) try having 3 lines for your description. That's what I do for items, gear and skills. Gives me all the space I need.
     
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  14. Aesica

    Aesica undefined Veteran

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    Right, but let's say you have several shields and are about to head into The Great Volcano. Which set of descriptions will more reliably enable you to equip the best shield?
    • Asbestos Shield: Increases defense and fire resistance
    • Dragon Shield: Increases defense and fire/ice/lightning resistance
    • Force Shield: Increases magic resistance and fire/ice/lightning/wind/earth/water/light/dark resistance
    vs
    • Asbestos Shield: Increases defense (+47) and fire resistance (+35%)
    • Dragon Shield: Increases defense (+53) and fire/ice/lightning resistance (+75%)
    • Force Shield: Increases magic defense (+35) and fire/ice/lightning/wind/earth/water/light/dark resistance (+20%)
    1: Without the numbers, you have no way of knowing which shield really is the best choice for your tank short of remembering how much fire damage each one cuts.
    2: If you, as the developer, haven't done anything with your shop to make it more informative than the default of "this weapon gives +X additional attack" or "this shield gives +Y additional defense," how will players know if the Defender sword's generically-stated bonus defense is worth the tradeoff of its slightly lower attack value, short of saving, buying it to see how much defense it actually gives, and resetting if they don't like it?

    I suppose that depends on the level of complexity in your equipment design. If it's just straight incrementing levels of defense, then yeah, it's probably unnecessary, but the moment you start mixing in other stats, having that information easily available is always a good idea. I mean, it may not be useful to some, but it's also not useless.

    Not necessarily. Let's try these skills:
    • [Lv: 2, MP: 12] Thunderbolt: Calls down a thunderbolt from the heavens
    • [Lv 15, MP 24] Eldritch Blast: Assaults the target with raw magical energy which may prevent spellcasting
    • Lv: 34, MP: 45] Lightning Storm: Unleashes a devastating lightning storm upon your foes
    vs
    • [Lv: 2, MP: 12] Thunderbolt: Deals lightning damage (x5) to one target
    • [Lv 15, MP 20] Eldritch Blast: Deals non-elemental damage (x4) and inflicts silence (30%) to one target
    • Lv: 34, MP: 45] Lightning Storm: Deals lightning damage (x4.5) to all targets
    With only generic descriptions, it's easy to assume that "obviously the newest damage spell I learned is better" especially since each one costs progressively more MP. However, once you reveal the modifiers, the player is able to see that good old reliable Thunderbolt is still their best single target spell against targets that aren't thunder resistant, Eldritch Blast is worth using against magic users and thunder-resistant foes even if its silence aspect isn't too reliable, and Lightning Storm should be saved for AoE only.

    Also as an added note, not every game uses the "learn new skills as you level up" system. The system in my current project grants the player X JP every level (increasing slightly per level) that they can spend on a skill or skills of their choice. In this case, they'll definitely want to know whether Lightning Storm is worth saving up for, or if they should nab the lower-JP-cost Thunderbolt right off the bat.

    I disagree about modifiers being useless information. As long as you're consistent with your formulas, a player can reliably look at the abilities I listed above and immediately determine which is the best choice. How much will vary with enemy defenses and element resistances.

    I'll agree that "good against shields" is pretty useless and I'd rather specify something like, "Ignores 50% of enemy shields." (Note that I don't know what shields do in mass effect, so there's that.)

    I think that description space should be used to tell the player things they would need to know. Your percentages are important in your example for that reason. Especially since they're going to primarily deal with "moving numbers" and that skill will do something statistically different throughout the whole game.

    Edit: Also, regarding your example of 400 vs 600 damage, if your descriptions (and the spell name) don't make the damage type clear, testing Old Spell vs New Spell could be harder if the target is weak to New Spell's damage type, but resistant to Old Spell or vise versa. This situation can be made worse by games where the damage types are (intentionally or unintentionally) overly opaque to the player.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2019
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  15. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    @Aesica

    Yes, your descriptions should contain information that your player couldn't know. How many targets it hits, how much of a percentage resistance it has (I was never arguing against this point). I'm saying that it's rather pointless and a waste of space to include things like, "Attack +45" on a piece of equipment when the player is going to have to go into their Equipment Menu anyway to see if what this new item does is more effective than what they currently have equipped. Their alternative to visiting the Equipment Menu is to memorize the stats of every piece of equipment on every party member in order to make use of that information.

    It's much easier to simply visit the status/equipment screen to see changes to stats.

    BTW, Final Fantasy Tactics had flavor text for most of its descriptions on everything and used the same "JP" system you mentioned here. The player often didn't know what any particular thing did on a skill until they simply tried it in combat. While this is a bad system, it didn't really hinder the gameplay all that much since anything you bought with JP was either already better than what you were using... or it did something you couldn't do by baseline. In the game, the player simply "tried" out all their new skills and abilities as they got them, to see what they would do. Which, most players will inevitably do. Is this good design? Not really. But, in general, any skill you bought was better than the "baseline" of what your character could do anyway.

    To that end... your "Lightning Storm" is probably the best all-use skill in that list, despite the MP cost. It does negligibly less amount of damage than the single target, except it hits all the targets... which means it will end combat much faster. It will also do far more damage overall. Players naturally gravitate to "hit all" skills unless the damage one of those skills does is far less than the single target variants. Since it's basically "on par" with the single target skill, it's going to be the best option in almost every situation. Especially in a standard RPG system where currency is so abundant and MP Restoratives are so cheap. The MP cost is probably not going to be a limiting factor in its use at all.

    As for the multipliers... As I said before, "of what?". Is this x6 of base damage you do? Base damage of the Fire spell (whatever that is)? Without a number to pin down the damage, all you're telling the player is, "this spell is more powerful than this other spell", which you can do without a multiplier inclusion. How? label the first spell "Fire" label the second "Fire 2". Or, "Fire, Fira, Firaga, Firaja" or whatever naming convention to indicate it is more powerful. There's not really a need to indicate that one skill is more powerful than another. Personally, I remove the "old skills" to prevent clutter in the menu as most players will simply use the most powerful skills they have at any given time anyway, conserving MP isn't typically a concern in an RPG for the currency reason I listed above.

    Now, I will admit that I do have skills that use "Multipliers" in their description... But, that is to indicate an "upgrade path" to players. Each skill "Upgrades" into one of two options. These multipliers are important for the player to know for two reasons. The first is that it's indicated that these multipliers are "base damage" and they're also used to allow the player to balance the multiplier against the other effects. A larger multiplier will do a lot more damage... But a lower multiplier will hit more targets, cause more status effects, or other such things.

    Otherwise, my descriptions simply contain the text "does minor/moderate/major/serious/deadly damage". The player doesn't know how much extra damage these do, but the indication is there for the "skills that level up" mechanic. Fire will go from "minor" damage to "moderate" damage if the "Power" path is taken, but it will remain "minor" if the "skill effects" path is taken. The power still goes up regardless, but the indication to the player is that one path produces immediate and substantial results in comparison to what they have now.

    I think descriptions shouldn't be pulling the double duty of "including the stats", when it's easier and far more convenient for the status/equip screen to do that... since that's why it exists. Descriptions should tell players things they wouldn't necessarily know otherwise. Things that probably can't be measured in static statistics. Percentages, features, resists, elemental alignment of weapons/skills, etcetera. And, hey, maybe some flavor text on top of that as well. I think it's wasting your space in your description to include "Agility +25" when you can have a status screen show that as well. Status screen makes this inclusion a little redundant.
     
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  16. Fernyfer775

    Fernyfer775 Veteran Veteran

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    Better to have the information and not need it, than to need it and not have it.
    I'm the kind of player that WANTS to know how much I'm getting out of a piece of equipment or spell.
    If I have a piece of gear that says "Regenerates MP when damage is taken" - I ask "...well, how much???"
    So, personally I'd go with #2 or #3. Flavor text is cute and all, but I care more for WHAT it does for me, so that piece can be excluded.
     
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  17. Aesica

    Aesica undefined Veteran

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    Okay so you're in the sell menu of a shop, getting rid of crap you don't need. Having the attack power + other stats readily visible on each item. "I know my best weapon is like 150-something attack power, so let's see what I can get rid of. Oh, this Frost dagger only has 5 attack power? That's not even useful against enemies weak to ice. SELL!"

    The guy directly below you summed it up perfectly, so I'll just quote him:

    Except they weren't better in some cases. Imagine my surprise when I found out Protect 2 was actually worse than Protect. Or when I realized Holy was a better attack spell than Flare or any of the black magic due to its undisclosed 100% hit rate. While a player could generally guess that an ability was better the higher its JP and MP costs were, it remained just that without modifiers: a guess.

    Only against groups. Against any single target situation, you're going to want to use one of the other two, depending on resistance. Thunderbolt is literally more damage to a single target for less MP, which means less "down turns" spent chugging potions, meditating, or whatever to get MP.

    It doesn't matter. What does matter is that the player sees that Thunderbolt has a bigger modifier than Lightning Storm and thinks, "I'll probably want to use Thunderbolt in single target situations, even if it only does a little bit more."

    To me, minor/moderate/major/mega/ultra/whatever is pretty useless. "These two fire spells both say major, so are they exactly the same?" I could compare it to what you said about modifiers. Major damage? Okay great, but what's that mean? At least a modifier, even if I don't have access to the formula, gives me a quantifiable value rather than, "it hits harder than the moderate damage version"
    • Fire 1: Deals moderate fire damage to one enemy
    • Fire 2: Deals major fire damage to one enemy
    vs
    • Fire 1: Deals fire damage (2x) to one enemy
    • Fire 2: Deals fire damage (4x) to one enemy
    The first set just tells me that "one is better than the other." The second set tells me that same information, but 1) shows me the magnitude of improvement and 2) actually takes less space in the description.

    I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree. While it's nice to have room to put a bunch of flavor text, ultimately, "This sword was lovingly crafted by forest elves and blessed under the light of a full moon" is far less useful than something that lets me see stats when viewing it outside of the equip screen.
     
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  18. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    This is why I prefer to just have the scripts/plugins to show this stuff in the shops as well. They exist, and I prefer an RPG have them. Though, to be honest, most players either "sell everything that isn't equipped" or "hoard everything". Unless we're talking something akin to an MMO where a player will keep a few sets of equipment for a character in order to better tackle specific situations.

    Most RPG's are a linear experience in which you need only tackle a situation once... or if you must tackle it again... well, the devs gave you upgraded equipment to handle it, so you could've safely sold the old junk when it was no longer equipped.

    Just my observation on RPG Players.

    Yeah, there was really no way to know what "for sure" was better because you didn't have access to the formulas or all the tidbits. But, the general convention of the entire game was, "if you unlocked it, it was better". Holy or Flare weren't always "better" to use either as they had long cast times which could put your own party in danger or miss targets entirely. Shorter cast times were generally better for enemies that weren't a "big boss" in Final Fantasy Tactics.

    But, as stated before... it's not the best way (or even a great way) to use the descriptions in game... But, it worked for what the game was. The general RPG conventions held true for most of the skills and equipment in the game and a detailed breakdown of the stats wasn't really that necessary. This was my point. There are situations in which it is entirely unnecessary to include stats in your description. Especially when all you're communicating is "this is better than that". If it does something more than "this is better than that", then I'd say you need some description to indicate that.

    But, if it's just "an upgrade" to an already existing skill, while the lower quality version of that skill exists... There's not a whole lot of reason to say "The new skill is better by X amount". Players will infer that naturally. I'd say, reserve the "damage details" for RPG systems in which all skills are pretty equal in power, but do different things to make them equally powerful.

    Are there a lot of "single target" situations in your RPG? Most RPG's typically have "multiple target" situations as the norm. It's rare to run into combat with 3 or less enemies. Even more rare in the "single target" situation which is typically reserved for boss fights... which typically comprise roughly 2% of all combat across the entire RPG.

    But, most RPG's give you a fairly large MP Pool to work with and MP Restoratives are fairly common as chest/monster drops... plus cheap to buy to boot... and most players will have a massive abundance of cash anyway.

    Most players will spam the "AOE" stuff, so long as it's powerful enough and results in instant wins and just drop the MP Consumable after combat has ended. Rarely does combat outside of a boss battle last more than two or three turns... not enough time to "chug a potion" in mid combat to result in "down turns". It might be an issue with Boss fights, but they're only going to be like 2% of all combat anyway.

    Just my two cents on it.

    They might. If you have equal amount of combat with single targets and multiple targets. Most RPG's don't. So, you'll run into a lot of the "multi-target spam". Simply because it's more efficient in terms of "time spent in combat" to a player.

    I suppose if you were viewing them as "stand alone" spells, you would see it that way. Which was my point to the skills a while back... You're just showing "one is better than the other".

    Consider if something just says, "Does 200% more damage" or says "Does 400%" more damage. More damage of what? What's the base damage? Do I just infer it's more than the damage I'm doing now? If so, I could've made that inference without the description. If all you're communicating is, "this does more damage", there's no need to put it in the description box in my opinion. RPG's typically follow a fairly "linear" path of power gain. You have a few weapons/skills of similar strength, then you move up to the next set, and so on, so forth. Fire 2 is going to be better than Fire 1. Literally takes 1 space to make that obvious in comparison to "Deals fire damage 4x to one enemy". I'd simply type it as "Fire Damage. Single Target." and let the player make the inference that it's stronger than Fire 1... because it's Fire 2. Though, my own system doesn't say, "Fire Damage". Instead it simply displays the element icon in front of the skill so players know what element it is. Saves even more room.

    However, I use the "this does more damage" vague descriptions because the player is choosing how their skill levels up. The second version of the skill will always do more damage than the first version. Doesn't matter which choice made. But, one version tells the player that they're gaining a "significant boost".

    Tier 1 "Fire" has this description:
    "Summons flames from the fingertips. Causes minor damage and inflicts L1 Burn at 50%."

    It can then level up along one of two paths. "Power" or "Effect".

    If you go "Power":
    "Summons flames from the fingertips. Causes moderate damage and inflicts L1 Burn at 60%."

    If you go "Effect":
    "Summons flames from the fingertips. Causes minor damage and inflicts L2 Burn at 60%."

    When you pick a path, the previous version of the skill is completely wiped out. It is replaced with the new version of your choosing. So, when the player is given the option of "this is still minor damage" in comparison to "this is moderate damage", they can instantly and easily tell that it's a significant boost (and it is). Same with going the "Effect" Route. "Burn" gains a whole level. What does Level 2 burn do? Who knows? But, it's better than Level 1 Burn.

    My skills that do use the "multiplier" in the description do so for the same reason I use "minor/moderate/major/serious/deadly" as damage descriptors. Basically, to allow the player to make an informed decision about the choice they're making when it comes time to "Level Up" the skill.

    In the case of "Fire", the player is simply given a +10 bonus at Tier 1 of the skill. If they pick "Power", that bonus increases to +30. A significant amount of extra damage at that stage of the game. Meanwhile, if they pick "Effect", the bonus is only +20. It's still a good boost, but nowhere near as significant as 20 extra points of damage. Those bonuses go up and up as you go along the tree.

    Now, if I did it your way, I'd have to write, "(+10 damage) next to the skills. It simply doesn't make sense to do so. It makes more sense to have the player assume their skill is more powerful (because it is, regardless of the choice made) and to infer that one option does significantly more damage than another option.

    I simply see no reason to advertise the exact amount of power in the Skill Description if you aren't giving the player the formula to work with.

    After all, is your x4 bonus before damage is calculated or after? Do you calculate the damage and then multiply? Do you multiply as the damage formula? Either way can cause massive differences in numbers. As a player, I might not know what I'm seeing. What if this enemy isn't weak to Fire, but I'm using the x6 damage? Do I assume my stats are too low? Do I assume it's not weak to Fire? Do I try to figure out if the formula itself is to blame for the low damage, due to how it's calculated?

    When you start throwing numbers at a player, it becomes easy to confuse them. Especially if those numbers have little meaning to them beyond, "It's better". If all you want to communicate is, "It's better", you can simply do that without a description box.


    This is why I recommend having the same types of plugins/scripts to show these stats within shops as well. It lets you use your Description Boxes for the truly important stuff.

    You know, "45% resistance to Ice", "Doubles money from battle", "halves encounter rate", "counter attacks 25% of the time". I just see no reason to advertise portions of the formula simply to communicate, "It's better". Static stats should be advertised in the Equipment Screen and Shop Screens. Especially with all that space that can be used for it, and it isn't, on the screen.

    My equipment works pretty much like that. If it does nothing but raise or lower those static stats by set amounts, I let the menu interfaces where the player will interact with this equipment tell them. If it does something beyond those static stats... it's in the description.

    My "Assassin's Dagger" reads: "A highly poisonous dagger that has slain kings. 50% chance to inflict L1 Poison."

    Compared to the "Training Sword: "This almost looks like a toy a child would use to pretend to be a knight. It's made of wood."

    The dagger does more than raise or lower stats. What else it does is detailed. The sword just raises/lowers stats. It needs no extra details.

    I just think there's no need to communicate things like, "+15 Agility" on a piece of equipment unless the player has no way to know that. I see no reason to have "6x Damage" on a skill when you earned it halfway through the game... because at that point, yes, it's probably going to be better. Unless you're using a system where the player learns no new skills via Level Up or as the story progresses. Then, it makes more sense to include the modifiers as the player has access to everything and needs to know what it's good for (and the combat system will have been designed for the player to have access to all these options at once, so using all the options will be necessary).

    Just my two cents.
     
    #18
  19. Aesica

    Aesica undefined Veteran

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    @Tai_MT we're just going around in circles at this point, so I'll keep it brief:
    1. You're using a lot of broad, sweeping statements like, "most players _____" and "most rpgs ____" when that's not the case. I've played both games where you want to discard previous gear in favor of the newer stuff as well as games where you want to hold on to gear acquired at various points in the game for different situations. Likewise, I've known players who chug consumables like an alcoholic, and players who will hoard every single elixir until the very end of the game. Some games are generous with MP (mine is) while others will exhaust you after only a few casts, with MP being a pain to recover.
    2. You may not see any reason to advertise the stats on a weapon, or a modifier in a skill, but I see no reason not to. Do you really need the few extra characters it requires in order to the player the Training Sword is basically a child's toy for pretend knights instead of showing the stats? Most people are going to assume a training sword is pretty weak just based on the name alone, especially if it's an early/starting weapon with poor stats.
    3. In FFT, the only things Holy misses are enemies that are outright immune to it. such as the archaic demons. It's 100% vs everything else, compared to Flare, which is subject to evasion, bad affinity miss rates, etc. That's pretty off-topic, but I wanted to set that straight.
    Bottom line: You don't have to put stats in your gear/skill descriptions just like I don't have to leave them out. You do it your way, I'll do it my way.
     
    #19
  20. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    @Aesica

    1. This is what I've noticed as a player and as a dev. If your experiences are different, then that's interesting. But, the vast majority of RPG's I've played work that way (with few exceptions), and the vast majority of people I've watched play RPG's (through Let's Plays, or just watching friends and family play) do those things. "Broad sweeping statements" is all anyone has. Including you. We have only our own experiences to draw on as it's completely impossible to observe the entire human race do any activity or to play every RPG on the planet. Besides that, "exceptions" do not prove a rule wrong. They are simply exceptions. Likewise, what a person personally does in a game is not an indicator of what every player does in a game.

    2. I might need the few extra characters. It depends on what the description is. How long or short it is tends to revolve around how much room I've got to work with. This is fairly true of any dev. Even if you're listing stats, if you don't have much room to work with, you will shorten stats to "ATK" instead of "Attack" or "MDF" instead of "Magic Defense" just to get everything you want to communicate into the box. And, I don't need the description box for the stats, since anywhere you can highlight the item in a menu, it tells you the stats in a neat little box. It tells you that you gain Agility, Attack, and a little bit of Defense anywhere it can be highlighted. If you go into the item menu, it tells you. If you go into the shop menu to buy or sell it, it tells you. If you go into the equipment screen, it tells you. So, I don't have to waste Description Boxes by listing basic stats... well... anywhere.

    3. In Final Fantasy Tactics, the way spells/summons work is you can target "the enemy" or you can target "the location". If you target "the enemy", you can put your allies in danger if that enemy gets close enough to your allies for the AOE of the spell (and they all have an AOE, Holy is pretty large, like Flare) to hit your allies as well as your enemy. If you target the location, then enemies can move out of the AOE zone and you will miss entirely due to the long casting time. Holy can miss, but not in the way you're thinking. I mean, I know it's been like... 20 years or so since I've played the game, but I remember that feature as it caused me no end to problems of the "long cast times" on the better spells. Which made spells like Fire 1 and Fire 2 far preferable as their AOE was smaller and cast times were far shorter.

    Bottom Line: You're welcome to do it your way, I just don't understand why you would when it's completely unnecessary and there are ways to avoid having to do so. Especially ways which free up extra space for you to use, if you need it or want it. It simply doesn't make sense to me that someone would want to clutter up something and require player memorization of equipment stats when there are options to avoid doing both.
     
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