Grinding Alternative: Train with your fellow party members

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by Silent Darkness, Aug 1, 2014.

  1. Silent Darkness

    Silent Darkness Robomage Veteran

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    Okay, so I came up with an idea that can be used in an action RPG. A different take on what becomes inevitable at the end of early-game and onwards. The grind. Now, instead of putting money into stat boosts, or going into dungeon x and grinding 10000 lesser enemies, the thought occured to me: Why not train against your own party members. You only get better with practice.

    So, how it would work is, at location x, you would be able to select one or two party members to play as, and the party members to "train" against, and there'd be a standard bit of battle processing. Winner gets a nice bit of XP. If you win, you get XP. But even if you lose, someone's still getting XP at the end of the day.

    Obviously, in order to keep this from getting stale and pointless, the "enemy" party member would get stronger as level ups happen normally, and he/she would have all the skill sets and stuff that the party member would normally have. If the player loses a training session, of course there wouldn't be a game over, just a return to the map.

    Also, while in training, all equipment gets unequipped, and a modifier is put on the "enemy", reducing their attack by a certain amount.

    Feedback? Suggestions? fire away, all that good stuff.
     
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  2. Diretooth

    Diretooth Lv. 23 Werewolf Veteran

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    Hmm... You could also have it to where the party member gets x amount of xp as well. Such as this:

    EVENT:

    Conditional Branch dependant on Character X's Level

    Remove character X

    Battle

    Add character X

    Change Character X's XP.
     
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  3. Silent Darkness

    Silent Darkness Robomage Veteran

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    There's a nice possibility right there.
     
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  4. whitesphere

    whitesphere Veteran Veteran

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    I think such training would be helpful, but it would only go so far.  In game terms, it might grant an amount of XP which is nice when you're low leveled, but as you get higher leveled, it becomes nearly useless.  After all, while you can learn a lot about combat by friendly sparring (which is basically what that is), there comes a certain point where real life combat is the only way to learn.

    Granted, pretty much all of karate combat is 99% friendly sparring (competitions, etc), but I would imagine those who've used it in a real combat situation have learned more.

    Personally, I think that type of training is much better suited to a skill-growth system rather than a straight class level system.  Then, maybe a PC could train another PC up to no more than 1/2 his/her current level in the skill.  So you need to train with a master swordsman to become reasonably competent.

    Of course, if another PC is not a master swordsman, perhaps the player must seek out legendary swordsmen to learn from.  And they might not be willing to train someone merely for money --- opens a lot of sidequest possibilities.

    In game terms, maybe a PC can only learn to level X of a skill on his/her own, simulating learning the basics.  To pass that skill cap requires training by a competent trainer, which COULD be another PC if the PC is skilled enough.
     
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  5. Silent Darkness

    Silent Darkness Robomage Veteran

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    This isn't meant to be an absolute replacement for the usual combat system. It's meant to be a way to minimize or even eliminate grinding. The act of repeatedly revisiting areas and fighting the same enemies over and over and over again.

    Also, this is PERFECT for safely developing proper battle tactics. Because you don't get a game over if you lose.
     
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  6. Harmill

    Harmill Veteran Veteran

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    How will this eliminate grinding? Aren't you replacing "Go to Area with most XP-granting monsters and fight them over and over" with "Fight your own party members over and over"? And if you grind off monsters, your whole party (or least your battle party) get EXP, while only one or two of your party members are getting EXP from a training session since the losing party members don't get anything (maybe the should?).

    Fighting your own party members is a cool idea, but it's something that's cool the first time you do it. If you have to repeatedly spar, the fights are going to get stale all the same, even if they are getting stronger as they level up. If you have a LOT of party members, at least the player could freshen it up by rotating who they fight, but unless you're going Suikoden route with 50 playable characters, you're still going to run out of new people to fight and will start refighting the same party members again.

    If it's meant to minimize or eliminate grinding, it has to guarantee a level up or something - because if it doesn't give a HUGE amount of EXP, you're just going to repeat these fights over and over...and then you're grinding again. And even if they DID give a lot of EXP, that is also an incentive to fight them over and over because they give better EXP than monsters in dungeons and it would be too easy to overlevel. Maybe you'd need a limit to how often or how many times you can spar.

    Additionally, you'd have to have some really good AI on your party members to prevent them from incorrectly using their skills. While you get to make tactical decisions, your AI party members that you're fighting can possibly do bogus actions like trying to inflict Poison on someone already Poisoned.

    So based on how you've described this training system, I don't understand how it will accomplish what it's intended to do (minimize / eliminate grinding).
     
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  7. Diretooth

    Diretooth Lv. 23 Werewolf Veteran

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    Well, if you imprement the idea I offered well enough, then you can have both or more characters level up. You can even have it to where multiple characters fight against your own.
     
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  8. Milennin

    Milennin "With a bang and a boom!" Veteran

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    I'm just wondering why does there need to be such a big focus on levelling up if your game is an action RPG? Why not reward the player for playing well rather than grinding for EXP?
     
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  9. Galenmereth

    Galenmereth I thought what I'd do was Veteran

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    Ogre Tactics on GBA had this kind of system: you divided your party in two and had them fight each other for not only xp, but also discovering strengths and weaknesses in a non-lethal environment.
     
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  10. Silent Darkness

    Silent Darkness Robomage Veteran

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    Indeed, that would be the case. This isn't the easiest or the simplest route, but it is, in my opinion, a more natural method.

    Not entirely sure. Grinding for XP may perhaps just be a natural thing in the gamer logic to an improperly rough difficulty curve. The need for grind happens to a lot of RPGs.
     
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  11. whitesphere

    whitesphere Veteran Veteran

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    Rune Factory 3 has a similar concept --- a training arena.  In the second generation, you can battle monsters in the Dojo.   If you lose the battle, you wake up the next morning in the hospital, instead of dying outright.

    The question really becomes:  How much grinding is too much?    I agree it can get very tedious to do the same monster battles over and over, but if anything I'd find it more tedious to do the same sparring against party members over and over.  The latter would have no variety to it, while at least the monster battles might have some variety.

    What I do is set the monster experience drops and level curves so characters don't need to do a ton of grinding.  I don't have random encounters grant much XP,but the major boss battles grant a lot more XP.  This gently discourages grinding and minimizes the amount of grinding for grinding's sake required.   As the players move through the plot, the boss battles naturally level them up fairly quickly.    

    Now, Dragon Quest is known to be a grinding machine, with hours of grinding required to take on the next area.  I agree that can be very tedious.
     
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  12. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    I think the practicality of this system really depends on the choices the designer has made for other mechanics.

    Two important things to consider are "what are the point of (random) battles in my game in the first place" and "what is the main challenge and the main reward inherent in (random) battles in my game".

    A game with long dungeons full of enemies that are supposed to wear you down before you can reach the boss, (Dragon Warrior 3, for example) might be ruined by this type of system, whereas a game where the main challenge is in correctly building a team or using some sort of player skill during battle (the Pokemon TCG video game, for example) would really benefit from this type of system if that skill/strategy is something that takes a lot of practice to pull off.
     
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  13. Silent Darkness

    Silent Darkness Robomage Veteran

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    Whether I can answer this with agreeing or disagreeing has to do with how well the A.I for computer-controlled party members is. If it was cleverly crafted to keep up with the player, I don't see it getting dull.

    This is indeed true. It is not a be all and end all.

    Perhaps this wouldn't be the only way to level up. There would still be dungeons and places with lots of enemies. But I feel like something like this would be a good alternative for when someone gets bored of the grind.
     
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  14. jeipi

    jeipi Villager Member

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    I disagree. At least when you run dungeons to get items&exp in RPGs, you get the dungeon to walk through, whereas with your idea, you would be just standing there, starting the training event, finishing it, and starting it again. (not even moving your character)

    As someone stated before, this sounds like grinding to me, but I might add, this an even duller way of grinding.
     
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  15. amerk

    amerk Veteran Member

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    It's a form of grind, but it's also an alternative which could be entertaining. As another one wrote, it could also help identify strengths and weakness amongst your team. Another idea is to add arenas to fight all the monsters you've encountered.

    There's all sorts of ways to help minimize the amount of grind a game requires.

    You could even have stat boosters by performing various functions. For example, cutting down weeds or trees as a side quest could eventually boost your strength. So not only do you get the reward the NPC offered for cutting the trees down, you also gain a stat boost as a result. Afterall, it's natural to assume that cutting wood is a form of strength exercise. Or maybe jumping eventually boosts agility. Using magic to get across areas could boost your spirit.
     
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  16. Silent Darkness

    Silent Darkness Robomage Veteran

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    Perhaps if it was being handled by vanilla-esque A.I. But what if the A.I under this scenario was quite fiendishly clever?

    There are twists that can be added to this to make it less dull.
     
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  17. jeipi

    jeipi Villager Member

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    my point is it doesnt minimize the "grinding" because instead of grinding monsters you will grind the "training fights"

    The cutting down weeds or trees seems like a good idea if they dont respawn (or have a slow respawn timer) - otherwise, people could be infront of a tree and cut it down, wait for it to come up again and cut it down again, etc etc...

    the AI isn't a great factor here, IMHO.

    having the ability to go to an NPC, talk to it, start a "training fight", win, talk to the NPC again, start another "training fight", win, talk to the NPC again, start another "training fight", win... etc etc

    tell me that isnt grinding?

    You dont even need to move your character.

    Bad idea.
     
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  18. Zoltor

    Zoltor Veteran Veteran

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    This makes all the sense in the world in a Tactic/RPG, but It's pointless in every other type of RPG, even Action/RPGs, are usually more about the Action, then the RPG elements.

    You see in a Tactic/RPG it saves you time, because you can easily make a single char kill every unit you bring into training, thus getting all the xp. However in a RPG, and even more so in a Action/RPG, It's a lot better to farm/just mob in the case of Action/RPGs.

    Also fighting real enemies allows you to get Gold, and item drops as well, so yea a training session really doesn't make sense in really any variation of RPG, other then Tactic/RPGs.
     
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  19. FinalHowl

    FinalHowl Frozen Tyrant Member

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    -Unless the experience is scale-able, and you motivate the player in another way, such as skill development, combination attack discovery or another method.

    In my game, monsters don't drop gold anyway, so this may make a better alternative. Maybe if you spend time training/sparring with party members, you get a +whatever bonus for a certain duration while those party members are together.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2014
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  20. estriole

    estriole Veteran Veteran

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    sparring with teammates sure sound more realistic....

    but with vanilla AI... meh... with good AI... you could use this sparring to show the player some character combo that you might not think about before. (OMG... i don't know that when i use Tiger Punch after Drunken Haze and Crouching Tiger Stance... it double the attack power !!!. or... OMG i never knew that this character is so hard to kill when he focus to only use his defensive spell...)

    suikoden IV have sparring with member concept btw. but then it become grindfest (especially with bug with mother earth rune :D .)
     
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