Hit Chance Poll

What hit rate do you prefer?


  • Total voters
    41

Aesica

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ONE. HUNDRED. PERCENT.
This in most cases, but with a few caveats:
  • It's okay for enemies to miss players. I know this is one-sided, but being able to build for evasion is pretty satisfying from a player's perspective--provided you as a developer balanced around this with plenty of unavoidable magic attacks.
  • It's okay for certain "high risk" skills to miss or deal heavy damage...I guess. Personally I prefer to just use a high damage variance so the player can still get something from an unlucky hit.
  • It's okay for skills with a high number of hits (5 at the very least, but I'd say closer to 10 or more) to occasionally miss, since statistically speaking, you're going to get a certain amount out of using the skill anyway. Except in very rare circumstances.
  • It's okay for some enemies to be evasive, as it encourages different strategies against different foes. (use magic, use certain attacks that don't miss, etc)
On average though, I find it most enjoyable when enemies have 0% evasion and players have a 100% hit rate. Adding in miss rates may seem more realistic or whatever, but it's okay to sacrifice realism for gameplay value. Since I like battles based on strategy, unnecessary RNG from missing attacks is more of a detriment than a benefit.
 

Wavelength

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It's interesting to see the poll keep remaining evenly split between 80-99% and 100%, from the time it was 3 votes to 3!

@Tai_MT It sounds like you're starting off with the assumption that a given RPG is going to lack any type of significant skill expression or (non-cheese-able) challenge, when deciding that such a game should at least include a non-100% hit rate to add a bit of difficulty into the equation.

Ideally, skill expression and challenge can be provided in RPG combat by any number of things, first and foremost a diverse array of skills that you have to make tough decisions between. From there, cooldowns, CTB turn manipulation, interesting (de)buffs, smart elemental systems, and many other mechanics can each elevate combat beyond a boring, zero-challenge grind. I'm aware this is the ideal and not necessarily the norm, but I do think that a very sizable minority of RPGs do manage to offer this.

I think that if a developer is relying on a pure-RNG mechanic to make your actions randomly fail, then they are doing it wrong every step of the way!
 

Tai_MT

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@Wavelength

It's not really an assumption so much as, "the prevailing trend of the last 25 years of RPGs". RPG's with any sort of "skill expression" are rather... rare. Unless we're talking the Persona series, which is the only ones that come to mind that require a measure of player skill. Though, admittedly, I haven't played Bravely Default or Octopath Traveler, so I can't attest to whether they have any sort of player skill expression what-so-ever. Even Final Fantasy 7 Remake suffers from this "lack of skill" issue until you jump into "Hard Mode" which deliberately removes your abilities to do... well... anything as a means to provide any sort of challenge what-so-ever (can't use items, magic is super limited, can't really restore magic at all, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera). Even the downsides to that can be mitigated just by having your characters with the correct loadouts and being overleveled beyond measure.

Still, if we're talking "player skill expression" in the RPG Maker community, your number of those games plummets even more drastically than in the AAA world. I mean, the sheer amount of posts you can see on these forums of people not realizing just what kind of interesting versatility the engine even has in terms of what you can actually do... and the sheer amount of devs trying to "balance combat" around pure stat expression rather than what skills do...

The "Ideal" and what is reality aren't really the same thing. Much as I would love to say "Yes, have everything hit all the time to avoid RNG frustration!"... I can't endorse it when RPG's tend to be boring snooze-fests in terms of combat regardless of whether I land a hit or not. They're quite often "mash attack button" affairs, which means the only reason to have a "100% hit rate" is just to get the slog over with much quicker.

Personally, I think that if your character misses in a game and it completely wrecks you... you're probably playing very badly to begin with. Underleveled. Undergeared. Mismanagement of items or skills. Mismanagement of HP or MP. Mismanagement of current equipment. Mismanagement of Currency to buying useful stuff. Mismanagement of party actions.

In general, a "miss" does little more than slow the player down in combat. It rarely, if ever, even results in the player taking very much damage at all. Most RPG's are designed in such a way that you're looking at 30+ hits from enemies before a character even goes down. Couple that with most characters landing a single blow on most enemies and killing them with that blow... and the player gets to go first... You're looking at... what? MAYBE a single miss (or even a dozen misses!) only adding up after roughly 80 battles or more to hinder the player at all? Each miss only costing you a few seconds of combat? Maybe?

In a world where nearly every RPG in existence is something that can be AFK'd due to ease... I just can't endorse making them even easier by having "players cannot miss an attack, unless it's a super special uber skill and that's the downside to using it".

Granted, my perspective is from the viewpoint of "I wish RPG's were at least a little challenging again." so it's probably not the mainstream. But... I dunno... nearly 30 years of playing every single RPG the same as I played Final Fantasy 1 and having them get easier and easier and easier over the years? Well... it's boring for me.

For me, any RPG produced by devs on these forums or even in the AAA industry... this is not "my first RPG". I don't need the hand-holding. I don't need coddling. I don't need devs to worry about momentarily frustrating me, so long as each frustration is only momentary.

The reality is that despite all of us saying and thinking we're doing something interesting and wholly unique and tactical with our battle systems... We're really not. Almost all of them are probably going to suffer all the same flaws as all the "stock standard" battle systems do. That is... in order to make it easy for the dev to program and quickly get it out the door... it's going to be super easy for any player to exploit and bash through without even trying to do so.

Few devs even bother balancing their economy.
Most devs leave their MP Healing as 6x more efficient and effective than consumable healing.
Few devs bother balancing beyond stats for their enemies and rarely add gimmicks.
Most devs have a ton of overlap between skills and roles of their characters.
Most devs don't even bother making States useful at all.

If a battle system is something truly innovative and tactical and is balanced around a 100% hit rate... I'm on board.

However... I'm not going to hold my breath to see something like that.

I, personally, do not need games to be any easier for me to play and beat. I don't need a 100% hit rate to keep myself from wasting 5 seconds for a miss. It's just 5 seconds. I don't care if it's 5 seconds from a miss. I'll just mash attack again and hit the remaining enemy standing this time around. I've lost nothing.

Honestly, it's probably more telling that I have far more fun with games like "Wasteland 2" and its "Accuracy" ratings than I do with most Turn-Based RPG's that have your hit rate hover around the 95-100% rate. At least in such RPG's, the accuracy rating matters tactically and forces me, the player, to take an interest in what I'm doing in combat. It makes me look at where my units are, who is aiming at whom, whether units need backup, if a move is risky to take because of possible chance to miss... I get to spend time being tactical due to the possibility of missing. I can "play it safe" and not over-extend... or I can take a huge chance and charge everyone forward and hope I get lucky and kill several enemies all at once, because I NEED that cover where the enemies are if I'm going to minimize damage in the long run.

I dunno, I come from tabletops and such where "misses" can be insanely common and are often quite exciting. Tabletops, where RNG is practically the only mechanism in the game.

So, for me, honestly... I feel like if a player is destroyed in a game from 1-3 misses in a single combat... Well, they're probably playing far below sub-optimally to begin with. And, if a game is going to cater to players like that... I'm just not going to have much fun with it. I'm not interested in playing a "Quest 64" game (a game, at the time, known as "baby's first RPG" in many gamer circles due to how insanely easy it was as well as how simple it was to even play). It's just not my kind of game. I've grown bored of such RPG's. I like a little "meat on the bones". I like to feel a little "failure" every now and again.

EDIT: I should also mention one thing... In Earthbound, there was a weapon the main character could get that had a whopping 90% miss rate. That is, it would only ever hit 10% of the time, and when it did, it would critical hit and often kill most enemies instantly. I had this thing equipped all the time. It uh... it didn't stop me from steamrolling Earthbound on my first run anyway. It didn't stop me from being insanely overleveled anyway. This was even when one of my party members was using the useless "early game" weapons because I didn't know where his particular sword thing was or how to get it. I literally steamrolled Earthbound on my first run... using MY DEDICATED HEALER and MY TOKEN SUPPORT CHARACTER WHO DIDN'T HAVE MAGIC.

So, when I'm saying that I've been finding games to be "too easy"... and "missing isn't a big deal"... Now you know where I'm coming from.
 
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cthulhusquid

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I think people's opinion varies depending on what RPG games they typically play. For me personally, I play roguelikes, DnD system games, heavily modified Bethesda games, Diablo-esque games, and occasionally squad based shooters. All of these are heavily dependent on RNG and range from difficult to very difficult, so it's no coincidence my current games I'm making all lean towards the difficult side. That being said, certain games make use of RNG better than others.

In my fantasy game, Battle Castle, I bumped up the hit rate to 90% because anything less is unrealistic when you are swinging swords in close quarters. In The Wastes, my post apocalyptic one, I'm still undecided on what to do. If you've ever shot guns in real life, you know hitting your target is quite difficult, even under the best of circumstances while standing still. Replicating that would infuriate players, but the opposite is also an issue. If I make guns too accurate, your characters will die in a single burst of full-auto fire from an assault rifle or submachine gun since your base health is so low. I personally think the best option would be a tactical turn-based system like Silent Storm or Fallout 1/2, where the farther away you are the less chance you have to hit (rifles would be more accurate than pistols), and have cover that would reduce or negate damage in case you are in a tight spot. I'm looking for a battle system like this for VX Ace, and would appreciate any pointers.
 
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Kuro DCupu

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IMO, I don't like relying much on RNG in turn based combat where every turn is valuable. Turn base are supposed to be strategic. I know then there will be no use for evasion / hit / critical / resist. Rather than making them have no use by killing RNG, I was thinking on how to make them still works without relying much on chances.

- For evasion, make a state that will dodge ALL single target attack aimed on user for X times. X is based on user evasion stat. The state wear off in your next turn, or user get hit by any means, or X was spent. For example, you cast on yourself "Dodge x 3". You will absolutely dodge next 3 attack on you. You will still invulnerable toward AoE attack, absolute hit attack, critical attack, and opponent who can do multiple attack at a time. So it will be just fair.

- For hit rate, the same as evasion. Make a state that will make next X attack to ignore target dodge stat. X is based on accuracy stat. To make it have more value, make it also boost your critical meter. Alternatively, you can make some skill to carry "absolute hit" trait. This skill will ignore dodge state.

- For crit rate, it will be build up meter. This value can be invisible. There would be an exclamation mark on character / opponent when their critical build up. This not just makes you prepared for enemy critical attack, but also allow you to plan your next move when you know your next attack would be critical. This one was inspired from Evenicle.

- For resist, it will be build up meter too. You won't get poisoned immediately when attacked with toxic attack. But it would be different if you get attacked multiple times. This one was inspired from Dark Soul.

The point of all of this is, player will know when character / opponent will dodge, hit, critical, resist and act accordingly.
 

CraneSoft

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The only games I can think of where missing can have truly a huge impact are the MegaTen series that use the Press Turn Battle system (where you lose 2 turns for each miss) coupled with enemies that are absolutely merciless to the point letting them have an extra turn could be real danger regardless of player skill, and thus maximizing your hit chances with buffs/debuffs and whatnot are a huge part of the game. It is still an extremely frustrating and challenging experience that any non-hardcore RPG players will be putoff by the sheer difficulty. Even so, not having 100% hit rate is not the only reason those games are hard.

Most of the other RPGs however, absolutely do not need this because missing attacks doesn't really do anything other than delaying a fight - and generally a game's difficulty should be anything BUT dependant on your hit rate RNG. If a dev's only idea of making a challenge is letting you miss just because, I am going to notice this within the first hour and throw a bad review at best, or refund the game at worst, or both. Do not make me miss an attack against a lv1 slime in the first battle ever before I can even manipulate my hit rate chances.

Tactical turn-based strategy like Super Robot Wars are excusable because it's technically not a standard RPG and the combat is largely based on calculating the risks of missing attacks, and then just overwhelming the enemy with sheer numbers and attacking them until they fall. But seeing this is RPGMaker, I won't be taking those into consideration.
 

Wavelength

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@Tai_MT I get where you're coming from. I've just had experiences to the contrary sometimes, and based on that, as well as my own design expertise, I know it can be done a lot better than the slog that we see in RPGs sometimes (and you apparently see in RPGs almost all the time).

@Wavelength

It's not really an assumption so much as, "the prevailing trend of the last 25 years of RPGs". RPG's with any sort of "skill expression" are rather... rare. Unless we're talking the Persona series, which is the only ones that come to mind that require a measure of player skill. Though, admittedly, I haven't played Bravely Default or Octopath Traveler, so I can't attest to whether they have any sort of player skill expression what-so-ever. Even Final Fantasy 7 Remake suffers from this "lack of skill" issue until you jump into "Hard Mode" which deliberately removes your abilities to do... well... anything as a means to provide any sort of challenge what-so-ever (can't use items, magic is super limited, can't really restore magic at all, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera). Even the downsides to that can be mitigated just by having your characters with the correct loadouts and being overleveled beyond measure.
Persona is a fine example, though I find that combat in that series tends to be more about not making careless mistakes than it is about coming up with interesting strategies or picking good moves on the margin. Occasionally, it does hit that high point of making tough, important decisions, and that's where I find myself happiest with its combat/dungeon crawling. (Most of what I play Persona for, though, is the rich slice-of-life segments around town, and the amazing characters.)

A couple of turn-based RPGs (in the JRPG style) that immediately come to mind that have a lot of opportunity for skill expression within combat (not to mention ample interesting ways to customize your loadout before combat) are Skyborn and Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky.
  • Skyborn, in addition to offering interesting skills with highly varied utility, also forces the player to tread an Aggro system where the more damage a character deals, or the more healing they do, the more Aggro they build. Enemies will always target the actor with the highest Aggro (and then after being hit a small percentage of your Aggro disappears). Since the highest DPS characters, as well as the party healer, tend to be extremely squishy, this forces the player to carefully consider whether they're really in a position to use their most powerful skills. It also allows the player to make informed, interesting moves regarding actions like Defend, Cover, and Provoke.
  • Trails in the Sky offers a CTB system with heavy opportunities to manipulate the order of turns. Casting spells requires a short wait time (after which the character will get a second action to use that spell), certain skills can delay an enemy's next action or cancel a spell that's currently casting, and Limit Breaks can be used at any time (bringing the actor back to the top of the CTB ) as long as you have a full Limit gauge. In addition, the system rewards you for tactical turn manipulation by having certain turns (e.g. "Turn 9") award bonuses (such as auto-Critical or HP Regen) to whichever battler - actor or enemy - has that turn. So if the player sees a bonus he likes, he will want to manipulate the turns so that one of his characters gets takes Turn 9 and gets that bonus. Trails in the Sky also has a grid-based movement system, and AoE attacks and AoE support skills that make positioning important, but even ignoring that, the CTB system alone adds significant skill expression to combat.
Then there are JRPGs that use an Action Battle System which takes place on a separate map. These combat systems tend to allow combat to test player skill much more than simple stat checks, and in some of these combat systems, when things go bad, they go really bad, really fast!! Best of all, when done well, the player can respect taking a loss, knowing that he has no one to blame but himself, and also knowing that if he simply plays the combat better next time, he will win it! A couple really good examples of series that do this well are Star Ocean and the Tales Of series. Star Ocean: Til the End of Time and Tales of Graces might be the best examples in their respective series - challenging but not unfair; complex and full of depth but not needlessly complicated.

So those are some games that I think really bring skill expression and dynamic gameplay to the forefront of RPG combat systems, and they're the reasons why I have to disagree with your starting point that RPGs offer nothing in the way of challenge or interest. Now, if I were to agree with your starting point, I think I would also agree with your conclusion that RNG miss rates at least add a little bit of variability and danger to things! After all, your logic is sound. I would probably be in favor of less-than-100% hit rates, too. It's just that I see these more interesting combat systems fairly often, and when you have some element that offers that challenge and depth, I think it does far more harm than good to randomly stutter it with RNG misses.

Personally, I think that if your character misses in a game and it completely wrecks you... you're probably playing very badly to begin with. Underleveled. Undergeared. Mismanagement of items or skills. Mismanagement of HP or MP. Mismanagement of current equipment. Mismanagement of Currency to buying useful stuff. Mismanagement of party actions.
My own game in development (timeblazer) is a rare counterexample to that (and I think that if devs stopped making healing so overpowered and reliable, the counterexample wouldn't be so rare!). Battles are designed so that even boss enemies won't one-shot or two-shot party members, but their damage will chip away at characters over time (just like you are chipping away at the boss' HP), and since healing is very limited (and you can't revive during battle), your HP will be consistently getting lower over the course of the fight. It's balanced so that in the second half of the game, if you're getting into combat with a "pretty good" set of equipment and bonuses, and you make pretty good decisions throughout the fight, you'll beat the boss with maybe two or three turns remaining before it's able to finish you off. It tends to get exciting because the finishes are usually close.

In a combat system like this one, even three or four RNG misses (for the boss or for the characters) throughout the fight would be very likely to be a gamebreaker! It would wildly throw off any intended balance, scuttle the chances of a close finish, and because the RNG rolls would loom so large in the outcome of combat, it would also make the battle completely unfair - an arbitrary RNG-determined outcome rather than an exciting test of tactics and skill.

Instead, the challenge and the skill expression in combat come from making decisions about which skills to use and when (as well as figuring out strategies to play around the bosses' unique battle mechanics). Characters have an array of skills that all offer different utility, those skills all have Cooldowns, and MP-type resources regenerate automatically during the course of combat (so that you can use skills on a majority of turns). So for example, it's the Warrior's turn, he has a lot of MP, but fairly low HP, and has seven skills that are currently off of Cooldown:
  • Sundered Strike: deals heavier damage the lower the Warrior's HP is.
    • It could deal pretty good damage now - but with a long cooldown, you're giving up the opportunity to use it as his HP gets even lower and he may be KO'ed before he can use it again.
  • Blade Dance: deals heavy damage, but has a high MP cost.
    • It's an efficient use of your turn - but spending that MP now means you may unable to use a skill you really need a turn or two from now.
  • Starlight Slash: deals very little damage, but increases the amount of damage the enemy will take from the Mage's spells for 3 turns.
    • This requires you to judge who you think will be able to deal more damage over the next few turns. Since the Warrior's HP is low, maybe it would be wise to have him use this, then start playing more defensively and let the Mage take over damage-dealing duties.
  • Gladiator Strike: deals moderate damage and heals the user 8% of his missing HP. On a Critical Hit, this heal is tripled to 24%.
    • The heal is nice, especially if you have a Crit-heavy loadout on the Warrior or have used a state that raises your Crit chance. But with a long cooldown, do you use this now and try to survive long enough to use it again, or do you wait until he's at lower HP for a more powerful heal?
  • Riposte: puts the user into the Guard state this turn (-60% damage taken), and gives him +50% damage next turn.
    • This kind of pattern is worth considering if the Warrior wants to reduce incoming damage due to his low HP, but still will need to deliver some damage (perhaps because the Mage is healing him, or she is also low on HP).
  • Wild Swing: deals very heavy damage, but doubles the damage the user takes from the enemy next turn.
    • Because the Warrior is currently at low HP, this is probably not a good option, and it's an example of why poor skill selection will put you behind. However, if you've already figured out you're likely to use Riposte next turn, it becomes a decent move because the doubled damage will be heavily reduced.
  • Second Intention: deals very little damage, but has twice the normal chance to Crit, and on a Critical Hit, it will clear the user's Cooldowns.
    • If you have another skill that you really want to use next turn, and it's on cooldown, it may be worth sacrificing damage for the possibility that you'll be able to use that skill next turn.
None of these are necessarily "the best" move you can make right now, but if you choose a skill with a strategy in mind, and the next few moves you make that would synergize with this skill will be feasible moves (based on the changing state of combat and the way you manage your MP and cooldowns), then you'll come out ahead.

This kind of interesting and varied array of skills, combined with the combat design of a slow, steady chip away at both actors' and enemies' HP, mean that efficiency is really important - and therefore that making several weak moves will often turn a potential win into a loss. For example, using Starlight Slash, and then realizing two turns from now that you need to spend the Mage's turn on something defensive, means that you're missing out on the damage amp and now you're a fraction of a turn behind where you could have been. You can also probably see how if the RNG was able to just decide that your Starlight Slash "Missed" entirely, that the impact that would have on the player would be tremendous.
 

bgillisp

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@Wavelength : I think you and I played different versions of some of those games, as those are not good examples in my opinion.

Persona 5 to me was why do you keep $@%^ missing? The enemy did not have an evade skill on, my to hit was as high as I could get with equip, but I missed all day. It was so bad I actually kept a tally of my hits and misses and it was 60% were hits. Yep, just 60%. I hit 3 out of 5 attacks on average. Kinda killed about any strategy I could do honestly.

Skyborn wasn't tactical at all. It was max aggro on the tank, he gets KO'd I revive him repeat all game. That was the tactic and I beat the entire game on it. And the tank had the best armor in the game, but they always did enough to KO him anyways, especially bosses.

So both of those didn't feel very tactical to me honestly as a result. P5 felt more like pray to the RNG goddess (or finally give up and put it on Easy which is what I did in the end), and Skyborn was just boring due to that being the tactic I used for an entire game.
 

Wavelength

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@Wavelength : I think you and I played different versions of some of those games, as those are not good examples in my opinion.
I think sometimes that can happen! People build their party different ways, or come up with different tactics, or just have different skills as a player, and the entire game feels different as a result. Which I think might have been the case for us in Skyborn...

Persona 5 to me was why do you keep $@%^ missing? The enemy did not have an evade skill on, my to hit was as high as I could get with equip, but I missed all day. It was so bad I actually kept a tally of my hits and misses and it was 60% were hits. Yep, just 60%. I hit 3 out of 5 attacks on average. Kinda killed about any strategy I could do honestly.
To be crystal-clear, I was agreeing with @Tai_MT that the Persona series as a good example of a challenging game which required some thought - not that Persona is better for its RNG Misses! P5 actually shows you each weapon's Accuracy (some high-power weapons have lower accuracy), though I'm not sure if enemies also have an innate Evade chance on top of that. I'm only halfway through P5, but I think that I've been averaging about 85-90% hits, which feels roughly in line with the weapons' Accuracies.

I can see the justification for RNG Misses in Persona, because it adds an element of risk to protecting yourself by trying to Knock Down the enemy with a Weakness element. Regardless, I think it would probably be a better combat system if the normal hit rate for characters were 100%.

Skyborn wasn't tactical at all. It was max aggro on the tank, he gets KO'd I revive him repeat all game. That was the tactic and I beat the entire game on it. And the tank had the best armor in the game, but they always did enough to KO him anyways, especially bosses.
Maybe you just played a lot better than I did! But that would speak to the fact that there was significant skill expression involved.

I have an easy time with most RPGs, but I usually found Skyborn's combat to be challenging and dangerous. I tended to build Claret as a glass cannon, and Corwin as a very powerful (but squishy) healer, so their skills would invariably raise their Aggro - a lot. Yes, I was also trying to raise Sullivan's aggro (as he's the main tank in the party), but often I couldn't keep his up with Corwin's or Claret's, especially as that Aggro got reduced from soaking enemy attacks, so I'd have to make some tough decisions about whether to hold back damage, delay healing for a turn or two, or just let a squishy take an assault from the enemies.

I have some ideas for how an Aggro system could be even better (and get around the potential "Tank takes everything" cheese), but I'd probably be going too far beyond the scope of this topic.
 

Tai_MT

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@Wavelength I don't disagree on your points. I really only disagree on whether or not missing is necessary from a practical standpoint.

Or, maybe realistic? I'm not sure the word usage I mean here.

Put simply: If you have one of those rare few games you mentioned, or even the one you're designing where a miss is that detrimental... then sure, it's a tactical game where missing is a bad thing.

However, from my perspective, such games are "few and far between". I can't honestly say very many devs are as thoughtful about very nuanced and easily forgettable events in an RPG as you or I are (or at least, we appear to be when we have these discussions). I think just on these forums, I could probably think of 4 other than myself (and I'd be counting myself for the sake of my own ego at this point, since I haven't yet proven I know anything about anything with a completed game) who consider gameplay that could be built around whether or not a player misses their attack.

I tend to operate most of my arguments and criticisms from what I see "prevailing trends" are in a game genre. So, from that perspective, while I find more challenging RPG's to be what I'm into, I just don't see them all that often.

Maybe I'm just not good at finding all the RPG's that don't let me watch Netflix and sleep through the game. That's a possibility. But, from my own experiences and perspective, the vast majority of RPG's that I've played are easy and getting easier. I simply find a much larger quantity of "easy" RPG's than I do "challenging" ones.

Even worse is that within that sea of easy games, a miss really doesn't amount to much beyond "wasted time". It doesn't usually hinder you tactically at all, or even drain your resources in any measurable way. So, for me, devs saying and thinking a 100% hit rate is a great idea... I just have to say, "generally, no it isn't." and that's just because I know that if we're dispensing the 100% hit rate as "general advice" rather than "specific advice for a specific set of rules and combat systems", then all we're going to end up doing is taking the sea of easy games... and rendering them easier. New devs are very eager to do what is "accepted" by other devs and not question it at all. Inexperienced devs are the same way.

This phenomena is often why I end up railing against "most commonly accepted practices" on these forums and in other "how to make games" content locations. It's one of the reasons I've often railed against Extra Credits and GDC for not knowing all that much about game design themselves, but are still just saying, "use most commonly accepted practices anyway!" and using flimsy reasoning for why they use those practices.

Let me put that in perspective a little: There was a GDC talk where someone stood up and talked about "why people play MMO's solo". The guy was so far off the mark that the comments section was riddled with GAMERS telling GDC why they play solo and why the speaker who WAS A MEMBER OF THE INDUSTRY THAT CREATES GAMES was wrong.

There was another speaker for some other thing (I don't think it was GDC, but it might've been) where he was trying to tell game devs how to "pitch" their ideas. Want to know what his advice was? Essentially to do the job of his marketing team for him, for free, before he'd pick up your game. As in, he needed you to tell him in pure marketing terms why he should publish your game. Not in terms of potential customer base. Not in terms of how you had improved upon existing systems. Not in terms of what your story was about. Oh no, he wanted you to give him all the marketing points of your game and nothing else. Guess what the comments section was filled with? If you can guess, "people who buy and play video games telling him he's an idiot who doesn't know how to attract an audience interested in ENTERTAINMENT", then you'd be correct.

Few people "in the business" actually questioning anything they're doing. You see it all over these forums. Devs just adding in features and stuff to their games because "rule of cool". Or, "it's what's popular". Everyone adds in a "Visual Encounter" system because the majority of players say they prefer it, but they do nothing to innovate it, remove its issues, or make it exciting. Same with "Crafting Systems" and "puzzles" and "minigames". Same with most devs balancing their combat around stat distribution and equipment rather than what the combat system is or could be and what monsters could do.

From my perspective, I don't want everyone making the same game I played in 1990 as a child, except much easier. I want everyone innovating. I want everyone questioning all the advice they receive. I want everyone to notice the "current trends" like I do and want to do better. I don't want devs implementing something in their game because, "the players like it this way".

As game devs, we are crafting an experience for the player. Everything we put into our game should highlight and emphasize that specific experience we want to give the player.

Okay, since that veered pretty far off the beaten path, let me get back on it. To the end of not wanting people to see advice like, "Do this, because most players like it!" and then doing it without thinking about it... I'm here to buck "common design beliefs".
So... with the way current RPG's are most often designed... I'd much prefer if I at least missed every once in a while. At the very least, the game will stand out a little more among the crowd of games where missing is so rare, you don't even notice it.

If devs do what has always been done... The games we get will be the games we've always had.

Alright, I'm done waxing philosophical.

Anyway, like you, Wavelength, I've got combat where misses can be catastrophic. However, I've taken that aspect and went in a different direction than you did. Rather than remove the "miss" from combat, I made it a part of the tactical combat. You can affect your own hit rate with equipment and buffs and curing states. Enemies will basically always hit the player unless the player goes out of their way to affect their hit rate (inflicting Blind on them, usually). I don't use "Evasion" at all. Players have a 95% default hit rate, but some things bring that up or down. So, because missing an enemy in my game can result in loss of a character, the player is required to mitigate it as much as possible and as quickly as possible. They might not care if they lose 25% of their accuracy, but if they get the second level of Blind, they will care quite a lot as a 50% hit rate could result in character deaths. This forces players to expend an action to cure Blindness. They have to decide who does it and when it's done. Or, it forces players to use equipment that reduces chances of being Blinded (I have very few full immunities to states). Or, it forces players to use equipment, skills, or buffs to increase their Hit Rate passively.

My system that allows players to miss is built around players "yo-yo-ing" in combat. What I mean is that they are sometimes doing well and can maximize "up time" and do a bunch of damage... and sometimes they're hit with something where they are on the "back foot" and need to turn the situation around. The experience I'm attempting to craft with my combat is more akin to a roller coaster or tug of war. I use "misses" as part of that experience. More often than not, they're used to "create openings" for either the players or the enemies.

To that end, a "miss" in my game is very seldom something that can be ignored. It isn't like in most other RPG's where it "doesn't matter that much" and you just keep mashing attack. A miss can put the player "on the back foot" and force them to close the opening or "race to the bottom" if they have no means to close the opening.

tl;dr
I don't mind if a battle system has a 100% hit rate, if that battle system is designed in a tactical way to take advantage of that design decision. However, most RPG's (see: over 95% of them in existence currently) don't even have a "tactical" combat system, much less a dev in charge who had enough forethought to consider whether or not missing could even be an interesting game mechanic to play around with. So, because of that, I don't agree with a "blanket" 100% hit rate across RPG's. I agree with it in certain and specific instances only while I disagree with it's "general" usage.
 

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@Wavelength : I really wonder about that. I counted my to hit over the course of the game and had the best weapons per the accuracy stat and I still was averaging 60% hits on enemies that did not have an evade skill. Hitting those with an evade skill, fugetit. I might as well try to win the lottery. Also I never once landed a status ailment all game. Ever. Even on enemies the online strategies listed said that was the intended strategy as they had no elemental weaknesses. Kinda hard to use that strategy when I am batting 0% though.

Also my 60% to hit rate also included spells. Yep, spells. I use an area effect spell, enemy has no evade skill to that enemy, I'd hit on average 3 of 5. Single target spells, same issue. Even to elements they were weak to.

To me P5 is actually a classic example of how a really low to hit rate can mess up the strategy. Other SMT games felt better though. Maybe the RNG seed is messed up on the ps3 version or something though? Or it was coded badly on the ps3 version? Who knows. But that held consistent for me the entire 90 hours I played Persona 5.
 

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After some thought, I am going to say I favor a 100% hit rate mechanic. Sure, yes, during a battle various stuff can happen that lowers this hit rate (blindness or whatever), but if nothing out of the ordinary happens, I should pretty much get to land guaranteed hit.
 

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@Wavelength I don't disagree on your points. I really only disagree on whether or not missing is necessary from a practical standpoint.

Or, maybe realistic? I'm not sure the word usage I mean here.

Put simply: If you have one of those rare few games you mentioned, or even the one you're designing where a miss is that detrimental... then sure, it's a tactical game where missing is a bad thing.

However, from my perspective, such games are "few and far between"...
...So, for me, devs saying and thinking a 100% hit rate is a great idea... I just have to say, "generally, no it isn't." and that's just because I know that if we're dispensing the 100% hit rate as "general advice" rather than "specific advice for a specific set of rules and combat systems", then all we're going to end up doing is taking the sea of easy games... and rendering them easier.
Alright, now we're talking the same language for sure! I think that we were coming at the question not only with different frames of reference, but also with different "games" in our mind's eye that we were trying to answer the question about.

You were thinking of an imaginary "average" game with combat that allows, or even encourages, players to just mash Attack as fast as possible so they can move on. Without a doubt a common sight in JRPG gaming, and therefore the game you had in mind when approaching this topic is "average" in quality.

I was thinking of an imaginary "average" game that uses most of the genre standbys of JRPGs (turn-based combat, MP pools, game overs, progression-based gameplay, etc.), but assuming good design throughout (with good design advice here to match). It's possible (and not even that hard) to take a familiar concept and make it play really well. In that sense the game I had in mind is "average" in its nature. (This is how I personally approach most topics around the GMD board, assuming pretty good game design all around and a commitment to designing good gameplay, unless the question itself makes me assume otherwise.)

Both concepts have value in examining. But I think that if I view it through your lens of "average quality" when answering whether games "in general" should have 100% hit rates, I'd have to agree with you that they should not! At the same time, in my own lens of "high-quality familiar gameplay", I feel strongly that in general these games are better off with 100% hit rates, with rare exceptions for well-thought-out, system-driving accuracy mechanics (and much more common exceptions for states, specific enemies, etc.).

I just think it's really cool how we can come up with different conclusions and yet both be perfectly right (or at least reasonable) depending on how we define the "normal" for game design.

Even worse is that within that sea of easy games, a miss really doesn't amount to much beyond "wasted time". It doesn't usually hinder you tactically at all, or even drain your resources in any measurable way.
Wasted time, and a big fat finger in your face that says "nope". It's the RNG equivalent of control that's so unresponsive it ignores your command 5% (or 10% or 25%) of the time, and in my eyes it's every bit as frustrating.

The most common piece of advice I've ever given people when I playtest their RPGM games is "decrease all the enemies' HP, and significantly increase the damage they deal". This alone is often enough to elevate a game's combat from the "Netflix and Mash" level of boredom, creating enough difficulty and impact to engage the player. The player sees their party's HP dropping to critical levels frequently, and knows that if they completely tune out, they may see a Game Over screen.
  • There's a lot more that goes into designing a well-tuned combat system - such as looking through individual skills that don't crowd each other out, and designing some sort of resource regen into acute-difficulty games to encourage frequent skill use - but it's amazing how much engagement can be created from simply getting enemy damage right.
It's with that in mind that it becomes hard for me to recommend RNG Misses as a way to add a bit of hardship or surprise to a really boring, easy, and plain combat system, even though it does add a little hardship and a little surprise. I'd much rather turn up incoming damage to the point where it's dangerous to just mash Attack - because doing so creates an incentive for the player to think through his actions. Then you're making real decisions. Then you're engaging your mind!

Maybe I'm just not good at finding all the RPG's that don't let me watch Netflix and sleep through the game. That's a possibility. But, from my own experiences and perspective, the vast majority of RPG's that I've played are easy and getting easier. I simply find a much larger quantity of "easy" RPG's than I do "challenging" ones.
It might be in how you're looking for them! I think you've mentioned before that you play RPGs mainly for their story, but when I look at RPGs in Steam, I'm usually looking for signs of fun gameplay (moreso than anything about the story).
  • For menu-driven combat, I'm usually looking for a multitude of resources shown onscreen, a helpful-looking HUD, skill names that aren't "Ice 2" or "Fireball", evidence of creative targeting schemes, and/or skill descriptions that involve conditional effects.
  • For ABS's and other free-flowing combat, I'm usually looking for sharp, quick attack animations, differing enemy behaviors, and video clips that show the actor doing multiple different things.
Professional reviews are a little easier to analyze - usually I'm looking for the reviewer complimenting the game's skill system, enemy (gameplay) design, character kits, or interesting mechanics - words like "exciting", "thoughtful", "coherent", "experiment", or "diverse" are really big flags that I'm going to have a good time with the gameplay.

Few people "in the business" actually questioning anything they're doing. You see it all over these forums. Devs just adding in features and stuff to their games because "rule of cool". Or, "it's what's popular". Everyone adds in a "Visual Encounter" system because the majority of players say they prefer it, but they do nothing to innovate it, remove its issues, or make it exciting. Same with "Crafting Systems" and "puzzles" and "minigames". Same with most devs balancing their combat around stat distribution and equipment rather than what the combat system is or could be and what monsters could do.
I guess my opinion of the industry is somewhat more rosy than yours - there's definitely not enough professionals that know how to break down the systems they've seen and rebuild them better than before, but I feel there are a lot of great minds in the industry that know how to do this and do it quite well. Why aren't there more, though? I think that's precisely because we don't have a lot of the micro-level "best practices" established yet. Game design is a new field, after all. Most people (even most gamers) didn't take it seriously until around 2000.

There was another speaker for some other thing (I don't think it was GDC, but it might've been) where he was trying to tell game devs how to "pitch" their ideas. Want to know what his advice was? Essentially to do the job of his marketing team for him, for free, before he'd pick up your game. As in, he needed you to tell him in pure marketing terms why he should publish your game. Not in terms of potential customer base. Not in terms of how you had improved upon existing systems. Not in terms of what your story was about. Oh no, he wanted you to give him all the marketing points of your game and nothing else. Guess what the comments section was filled with? If you can guess, "people who buy and play video games telling him he's an idiot who doesn't know how to attract an audience interested in ENTERTAINMENT", then you'd be correct.
That "idiot" insider may have had a really good point!

I recently listened to a Season Pass podcast with Disney Imagineering legend Eddie Sotto. He relayed how Michael Eisner (CEO of Disney in the 70s-90s, with a background as an executive at filmmaker Paramount) would usually listen to Imagineers' ideas, try to get them to finish in just a few seconds, and rarely get emotive or excited about any of it (especially if it would cost a lot of money).

Eddie really wanted to put something unique and interesting in the Disneyland Paris castle, since the earlier castles at Disneyland (Anaheim) and Magic Kingdom looked impressive from the outside but didn't have anything interesting inside (just a salon and a restaurant). Eddie wanted to create a huge animatronic dragon in the castle's basement that crowds could gaze upon from above while the dragon went through all kinds of realistic, expansive motions. And he knew it would cost a lot of money to get it done, which could make it a non-starter since nothing was allowed to happen without Eisner's approval.

So what was Eddie's plan to get the approval to create this amazing, expensive dragon animatronic (and construct an entire basement area to hold it)? He put on the marketing team's hat! He took a significant amount of his team's "blue sky" (pre-engineering phase) budget, which would normally be spent on research, concept artwork, and scale models, and used it to film a mock movie trailer. "Until now, no one ever knew what was beneath Disneyland's castle..." Cut to a couple of mischievous kids sneaking into the castle after Disneyland closed. Cue monstrous breathing sounds and ominous music. Hard cut close-up of the splendor and terror of the dragon. Screams. A janitor rushing out from the castle, knocking over his tools in desperation to escape. And then at the end: "Coming to your Disneyland next year." With all of the effort the team spent putting together this production, they had very little in the way of design documents, concept sketches, or market research.

And when Eddie showed Eisner the trailer? The callous, collected executive was engrossed, he was completely in the moment. "Make that happen, Eddie." The team was given approval and large budget to build the attraction.

Why did it work so well? Because he found a way to speak the languages that Eisner understands so well - marketability and film. The 'film' angle is probably a little specific to Eisner as a former Paramount exec, but 'marketability' is a language that most decision-makers in our industry speak, I think. Not only the heads of game studios, but also people like investors. Eddie Sotto knew that the correct angle wasn't to talk about how innovative this particular castle would be compared to others, or what the story was (and there was one) behind the dragon and the castle - it was to blow the decision-maker off his feet with excitement.

There are some parallels to the way you describe that GDC speaker, and I wonder whether as an insider, he may understand something that actually works, something which uninformed people on the Comment Board might be completely in the dark about.

My system that allows players to miss is built around players "yo-yo-ing" in combat. What I mean is that they are sometimes doing well and can maximize "up time" and do a bunch of damage... and sometimes they're hit with something where they are on the "back foot" and need to turn the situation around. The experience I'm attempting to craft with my combat is more akin to a roller coaster or tug of war. I use "misses" as part of that experience. More often than not, they're used to "create openings" for either the players or the enemies.

To that end, a "miss" in my game is very seldom something that can be ignored. It isn't like in most other RPG's where it "doesn't matter that much" and you just keep mashing attack. A miss can put the player "on the back foot" and force them to close the opening or "race to the bottom" if they have no means to close the opening.
And that sounds interesting, without a doubt. The "yo-yo" design is something I see fairly often in games with engaging combat - or, at least I see it quite often in those games' boss fights. For whatever reason it's much less common in normal encounters.

The concern I have is with the implicit randomness (and lack of agency) involved with when (and whether at all) these opportunities come. If the player is on the back foot for too long, constantly in a cycle of repairing the damage the boss is laying on them, they'll eventually run out of resources and succumb. If we need the boss to Miss to get that opportunity... well, what do we tell the player who was hit by the boss 14 times in a row without a Miss?

Maybe in your game (because I know you're signposting boss' tactics and weaknesses in advance, which is cool), your player can equip resistances to, for example, negate the Poison that would put him on his back foot. But once he's actually in battle, is there anything that he can do to get enough breathing room to recover from off the back foot if the boss never Misses?

Holy crap, where did my last two hours go?! :o

@Wavelength : I really wonder about that. I counted my to hit over the course of the game and had the best weapons per the accuracy stat and I still was averaging 60% hits on enemies that did not have an evade skill. Hitting those with an evade skill, fugetit. I might as well try to win the lottery. Also I never once landed a status ailment all game. Ever. Even on enemies the online strategies listed said that was the intended strategy as they had no elemental weaknesses. Kinda hard to use that strategy when I am batting 0% though.

Also my 60% to hit rate also included spells. Yep, spells. I use an area effect spell, enemy has no evade skill to that enemy, I'd hit on average 3 of 5. Single target spells, same issue. Even to elements they were weak to.

To me P5 is actually a classic example of how a really low to hit rate can mess up the strategy. Other SMT games felt better though. Maybe the RNG seed is messed up on the ps3 version or something though? Or it was coded badly on the ps3 version? Who knows. But that held consistent for me the entire 90 hours I played Persona 5.
Wow! Just 60% hit-rate over the whole game, and zero successful status inflicts?! It really sounds like your PS3 was pulling faulty random numbers or something!

I've got the PS3 version as well and I know I've successfully inflicted Charm and Fear on enemies with status-inflict skills occasionally (and I don't even use these skills much due to their unreliability), and I've inflicted stuff like Freeze and Burn on foes dozens of times with the normal Bufu/Agi lines of spells! (This is really rewarding because you can pull off a Technical Hit afterwards.)

Now against bosses I haven't had any success inflicting any disabling status ailments, but I assume that's because they have 100% resist to such elements. After all, if you could paralyze a boss for several turns, it would make that segment of the fight trivially easy.
 

bgillisp

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@Wavelength : Yep. 0%. I gave up trying status ailments after the pyramid dungeon as it didn't seem like they were ever going to work for me. And yes I do think the RNG was being faulty somewhere. My ps3 no longer hooks up to the internet (its really old and the internet hookup died) so I had to play the version on the disc, no patches possible either. So maybe it was an old issue that is patched? Dunno. No way to find out unless I get a new ps3 and I'm not going to do that unless I have to.

Still, this does bring up an interesting point. If you use RNG in your game, make sure the player feels like the skills do work. If they go 10 or so in a row on something and it never works for them, they are going to move onto another strategy.

Also...don't count on your game being able to be patched. I know AAA devs do, but you'd be shocked how many out there have too limited internet to be able to patch even an RPGMaker game once they get it installed. I've heard from some who say even a 300 MB download requires them to go to a café and get it, so it takes an outside commitment to do, so what you release is what they will play.
 

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@Wavelength : Yep. 0%. I gave up trying status ailments after the pyramid dungeon as it didn't seem like they were ever going to work for me. And yes I do think the RNG was being faulty somewhere. My ps3 no longer hooks up to the internet (its really old and the internet hookup died) so I had to play the version on the disc, no patches possible either. So maybe it was an old issue that is patched? Dunno. No way to find out unless I get a new ps3 and I'm not going to do that unless I have to.
My PS3 is always connected (though I never connect to the Thieves' Guild), and most of my play of P5 has been in the last year, so it's possible it was a bug that was patched out... however, if the chances truly were 0% at any point in time, I'd have to imagine you could Google that and find tons of old complaints on message boards!! (I haven't tried Googling it, maybe it's out there!)

Still, this does bring up an interesting point. If you use RNG in your game, make sure the player feels like the skills do work. If they go 10 or so in a row on something and it never works for them, they are going to move onto another strategy.
Yes!! Something that I think is EXTREMELY important if you are going to make enemies or bosses completely immune to any statuses (I've never had to do this) is to make sure that the feedback for a boss resisting a status is different from simply failing to apply the status due to RNG. Just like you'd want the feedback for a missed attack to be different from the feedback for dealing 0 damage with an attack.

The most common way to do this is just with the resulting popup. For a skill that only inflicts a status, you might say "MISS" for a simple failure, versus "IMMUNE" for an enemy that can't be affected by that status. For a skill that deals damage and has a chance to apply a status, you might simply show the damage dealt for a failure to apply the status, versus showing the damage dealt and placing small text that says "STATUS IMMUNE" above it if the boss can't be affected by that status.

Seeing "IMMUNE" once will remove the frustration of trying a status effect over and over and never knowing whether it's simply bad luck or whether it will literally never work on that enemy.
 

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@Wavelength : Perhaps. It could also be bad RNG, as even if the status ailments hit 50% of the time if you try it 10 times there is a 1/1024 chance you miss all 10 chances. I know I stopped trying somewhere around my 10th try so it could be I was the 0.1% case? Who knows.

And that is a good suggestion too on differences between immune vs it failed. I personally used either 100% chance or 50% chance for ailments landing, combined with cooldowns or limited use per battle to prevent spamming, but may adopt that next game.
 

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Alright, now we're talking the same language for sure! I think that we were coming at the question not only with different frames of reference, but also with different "games" in our mind's eye that we were trying to answer the question about.

You were thinking of an imaginary "average" game with combat that allows, or even encourages, players to just mash Attack as fast as possible so they can move on. Without a doubt a common sight in JRPG gaming, and therefore the game you had in mind when approaching this topic is "average" in quality.

I was thinking of an imaginary "average" game that uses most of the genre standbys of JRPGs (turn-based combat, MP pools, game overs, progression-based gameplay, etc.), but assuming good design throughout (with good design advice here to match). It's possible (and not even that hard) to take a familiar concept and make it play really well. In that sense the game I had in mind is "average" in its nature. (This is how I personally approach most topics around the GMD board, assuming pretty good game design all around and a commitment to designing good gameplay, unless the question itself makes me assume otherwise.)

Both concepts have value in examining. But I think that if I view it through your lens of "average quality" when answering whether games "in general" should have 100% hit rates, I'd have to agree with you that they should not! At the same time, in my own lens of "high-quality familiar gameplay", I feel strongly that in general these games are better off with 100% hit rates, with rare exceptions for well-thought-out, system-driving accuracy mechanics (and much more common exceptions for states, specific enemies, etc.).

I just think it's really cool how we can come up with different conclusions and yet both be perfectly right (or at least reasonable) depending on how we define the "normal" for game design.
From my frame of reference, the "imaginary average game" isn't all that imaginary. It's... fairly ubiquitous. However, that's probably largely because creating games has become so commonplace these days. The market even in the AAA industry is just so saturated with "average" quality games.

My personal viewpoint is that even most of us on these forums are creating "average quality" games. It's an amazing feat that we even get games completed considering how much work they are and how easy it is to "burn out" on creating one. But, the ones that get created aren't often of any greater quality than "average".

So, my thought process often comes from that point of view. Even towards my own game. I talk a big talk and try to walk the grand walk, but even I realize that my first game here isn't likely to be anything more than average at best with some really good and yet poorly executed ideas. With that in mind, I just generally avoid trying to give advice that is, "these are the best practices".

With the current trend of gaming that I've seen, I just can't recommend "100% hit rate" across the board because without a tactical combat system, it's only purpose is to avoid losing 5 seconds in combat and to make the dev's job easier so they don't have to put as much effort into the combat design otherwise.

It is possible to take any topic I vehemently disagree with and create a good system with it that works amazingly. Even I can envision great mini-games and decent puzzles. But, in my opinion, it's better to discourage such ideas when they're not going to be great.

I guess, for me, it's a sense that most devs aren't going to give 100% to any particular idea or concept or piece of advice. They're just going to search for validation of their own idea, implement it, and call it a day. After all, I should know, I'm guilty of this as much as any other dev on these forums or across the AAA industry.

I honestly just hope that my complaints about the most common practices at least reaches someone and makes them reconsider what they're doing, even if they end up doing it anyway and ignoring my advice to not do something.

Still, I do sometimes wish I saw game design as you do, where you've had no problem being burnt out on RPG's that all work the same, play the same, require the same strategies to complete... It'd be nice to be impressed with a game a lot more often than I am.

Wasted time, and a big fat finger in your face that says "nope". It's the RNG equivalent of control that's so unresponsive it ignores your command 5% (or 10% or 25%) of the time, and in my eyes it's every bit as frustrating.
I think this is dependent on player. For example, if winning in combat is a foregone conclusion to me, then it's wasted time that annoys me. A "miss" is less frustrating than the transition to and back from combat as well as the mashing attack as it's 5 seconds in a sea of 30 seconds of mashing a button.

At least a miss, for me, breaks up the monotony and cacophony of constant sound effects. There's also at least a chance the enemy gets a hit in and 3 hours later, I need to recover that damage when it's finally reached 25% of my total HP.

This miss itself just doesn't often feel that "consequential" in the scheme of things when it isn't that impactful in combat to begin with. Wasted time is just wasted time. I mean, the RPG is designed to be a 20-100 hour epic or something anyway. I'm in it for the long grind as it is.

The most common piece of advice I've ever given people when I playtest their RPGM games is "decrease all the enemies' HP, and significantly increase the damage they deal".
This alone is often enough to elevate a game's combat from the "Netflix and Mash" level of boredom, creating enough difficulty and impact to engage the player. The player sees their party's HP dropping to critical levels frequently, and knows that if they completely tune out, they may see a Game Over screen.
This is the general gameplay standard I follow. A player has to pay far more attention when their characters can die in 6 hits rather than the 30+ it often takes to whittle them down across entire dungeons. However, there's often a difference in "what should be" and "what is".

I, personally, think it's more engaging to test players' "short term resource management" than it is to test them for "long term resource management". That is to say, they have to monitor their HP, MP, and Consumables every few battles rather than once or twice a dungeon. There's a "happy middle" between "managing it constantly" and "almost never needing to manage it", which prompts excitement and engagement. If the player is healing up every few battles, or working on combat methods to reduce even taking a single hit, it's more engaging than healing up at the midpoint or just before the boss room.

It's also one of the reasons I generally like "low stats". But, even with low stats I realize that a single miss can spell absolute doom. It's why my standard Hit Rate is so high. I don't want to remove the slight chance a standard encounter may get the upper hand or even an attack off because the player "missed", but I don't want the player managing their Hit Rate constantly either. In general, my players will hit nearly every single time with nearly every single attack. There's a small chance they might miss and then combat has a chance to "yo-yo" against unprepared players. But, that's all it is. A small chance for a possibility of something exciting to happen. Any other method of altering Hit Rate in my game comes from States/Skills/Equipment. All things the player can control.

I think giving the player Agency to mess with Hit Rate is the best option available as "general advice". Giving the player Agency over RNG tends to feel good rather than bad. Then, it is less about "praying to RNGesus" and more about "maximizing your own chances" and players can often feel good about doing just that.

There's a lot more that goes into designing a well-tuned combat system - such as looking through individual skills that don't crowd each other out, and designing some sort of resource regen into acute-difficulty games to encourage frequent skill use - but it's amazing how much engagement can be created from simply getting enemy damage right.

It's with that in mind that it becomes hard for me to recommend RNG Misses as a way to add a bit of hardship or surprise to a really boring, easy, and plain combat system, even though it does add a little hardship and a little surprise. I'd much rather turn up incoming damage to the point where it's dangerous to just mash Attack - because doing so creates an incentive for the player to think through his actions. Then you're making real decisions. Then you're engaging your mind!
While this is true, you just don't find a lot of devs doing this in their combat system. Most just implement a "stock standard" combat system with low difficulty. They "balance" combat around how many hits it takes to kill a boss creature and that's about it. They don't think about how many hits the players should be taking. They don't think about how many mistakes they allow the player to undo with their MP Healing systems. They rarely even think of having particularly nasty States hit their players and so states are often easily ignored by players until after combat ("oh, you poisoned me? Who cares, it does barely any damage and you're dead in like 1 round anyway", "Oh, that party member is paralyzed? Who cares? It cures after combat ends anyway, and all the monsters are dead in two rounds"). It's easy to see why they do this as well. It's a lot of work to create a combat system like you describe as well as to balance it. I mean, I should know, it's what I'm attempting and I find myself in the "test battle screen" so frequently that it may as well be the whole game for me at this point. When enemies can hit you hard, balancing those enemies becomes a tightrope walk. Having a 100% Hit Rate is just one way of making that tightrope walk a little easier to manage.

However, from my perspective. There are lots of ways to manage that tightrope walk. Lots of ways to make it easier. A 100% hit rate across the board doesn't need to be a necessary thing to do. It's an option. A good option depending on how the combat system is ultimately designed, but an option none-the-less. You know, sort of like buying a chroma keyboard. It's not strictly necessary, but on the right model, it does look quite pretty and adds to the overall effect. Optional options.

It might be in how you're looking for them! I think you've mentioned before that you play RPGs mainly for their story, but when I look at RPGs in Steam, I'm usually looking for signs of fun gameplay (moreso than anything about the story).
  • For menu-driven combat, I'm usually looking for a multitude of resources shown onscreen, a helpful-looking HUD, skill names that aren't "Ice 2" or "Fireball", evidence of creative targeting schemes, and/or skill descriptions that involve conditional effects.
  • For ABS's and other free-flowing combat, I'm usually looking for sharp, quick attack animations, differing enemy behaviors, and video clips that show the actor doing multiple different things.
Professional reviews are a little easier to analyze - usually I'm looking for the reviewer complimenting the game's skill system, enemy (gameplay) design, character kits, or interesting mechanics - words like "exciting", "thoughtful", "coherent", "experiment", or "diverse" are really big flags that I'm going to have a good time with the gameplay.
I tend to play most video games for their story, not just RPG's. Though, occasionally, a game will surprise me and the good story and characters are complimented by a genuinely high quality gameplay experience as well.

Anyway, the reason I tend to look for storyline/characters is because if the gameplay itself disappoints me (and so often, it does devolve into a slog), at least the story will keep me invested in the game.

What I tend to look for in game descriptions, trailers, and screenshots, is some sort of descriptor of what I'm doing in combat. It's not really enough for me to see a HUD or execution of a skill and conclude anything "meaty" exists there. For example:

"Tactical combat!" tells me nothing, but a lot of games boast that. How is the combat itself tactical? Grid-based movement games often give you the examples on how that works ("Use cover! Alter the battlefield through destruction! Will you charge in with melee classes or pick everyone off with snipers?"). But, menu based combat rarely tells you anything about it's "tactical combat". It's hard for me to pull the trigger on a $30 game when the storyline sounds boring and they just advertise "tactical combat!". Or... worse... "Dark Souls-like difficulty".

I tend to just look for descriptions of how the gameplay is tactical or fun. Flashy animations don't tell me anything. Watching a 10 second clip of the entire party smacking an enemy doesn't tell me anything. Seeing a screenshot of a skill description doesn't tell me much either. A skill can inflict a state, but unless that state is useful across at least 50% of your game... it's not very tactical at all.

To put that in perspective, if I were to ever advertise my own combat system it would be to highlight what it does and what options are available. As an example:

Multi-Weakness System - This isn't your standard RPG weakness lists! Enemies are weak to specific elements, states, weapons, and stats. You read that right, stats. Having a high Defense won't protect you from enemies who use high speed skills against you. Having a high Attack stat won't allow you to steamroll every enemy you encounter! You can beat the game with any party, but you still need to use the right tools for the job! A team of wizards can beat the game as long as you give them the right weapon variety to tackle most jobs! Use magic on metal armored enemies, use hammers on shelled enemies, inflict powerful states that completely destroy problem enemies! Oh, and I guess you can just hit plant monsters with Fire attacks too, if you want.
Revenge System - All bosses and some powerful and rare foes have a "Revenge" system in place. Players must learn and pay attention to common monster weaknesses to avoid triggering Revenge! Enemies seek Revenge when you hit them with their most common weaknesses! They launch devastating counter-attacks to these weaknesses that can hit the whole party! But, they also take the most damage from these attacks. You can finish battles off much quicker, but you might take a lot more damage in return. Or, you can remember to not use the most common weaknesses against enemies to avoid being the victim of Revenge. Don't hit the Fire Elemental with Water attacks. You've been warned.
Unprecedented Powerful Status Ailments - Most Status Ailments come in four "Tiers". Each Tier is more powerful than the last. Each Tier can be stacked with each other. Each status ailment inflicted on the enemy will turn the tide of battle. This is a game where being poisoned is the same amount of damage as the enemy landing an extra hit on you each turn, or you landing an extra hit on the enemy each turn. Or, as you go up in Tiers, several extra hits. This is a game where Status Ailments, left untreated, are deadly and dangerous. You must manage your consumables, equipment, and sometimes skills to make the most of these powerful tools and mitigate their impact to your party. These ailments will not be ignored! Be wary, however, not every enemy is weak to every state. There are also very few methods available to make your own party immune to any state.
---
Etcetera, Etcetera. I could go on and on, but this isn't about my game. Stuff like this is generally what I'm looking for in an RPG. Or, at least, the types of descriptions and advertising I'm looking for. Is a persons' combat system tactical? If so, how? What does it offer in terms of tactical combat?

I'm not necessarily looking for "innovation". I'm just looking for dev's who spend time advertising that they've got a tactical combat system and how it might be tactical. A dev intentionally creating something tactical will advertise it and what about it makes it tactical.

I tend to avoid the "buzzwords" you listed, however. Anything can be "exciting" to someone. Even a fidget spinner. That doesn't tell me anything other than the writer is probably paid for the advert since they're not using specifics and are instead using "charged words".

That's probably why I get the most out of "negative" reviews. The people who are really irritated with a game will tell you exactly how a system in it works and why it's a source of frustration. Meanwhile, someone who enjoys a game won't really give you any details on how something works and why it's a source of fun.

Anyway, I usually just look for descriptions of the systems in place and how they work (or, at least, how the dev wants them to work) when I buy an RPG for it's "combat system". I mean, even "Trails in the Sky" has this to describe it's "tactical" gamplay: "The original version of the first chapter in this historical series, featuring strategic turn-based combat with unmatched customization. "

A bullet point so generic, you may as well be describing every RPG that ever existed.

It uh... got worse after I bought the game and discovered that it was a system easily broken and rendered "non-tactical" by a couple hours of grinding. It's a game where I got about 5 hours into the game was utterly bored by not just the story, but even the combat that I'd broken so quickly and easily. The "tactical" combat in the game was little more than loading spheres into a thingie to give you options in battle and render you absolutely overpowered... which you can max out very quickly in the first area of the game with a few hours of grinding and doing so renders most of the combat in the game an absolute breeze.

When most RPG's use this "generic" language, I tend to avoid them in terms of "gameplay" since I know it isn't likely to be any good. Which, is one of the reasons I play RPG's for the story and the characters. At least a great writer can elevate an otherwise subpar experience to something "that must be experienced".

I guess my opinion of the industry is somewhat more rosy than yours - there's definitely not enough professionals that know how to break down the systems they've seen and rebuild them better than before, but I feel there are a lot of great minds in the industry that know how to do this and do it quite well. Why aren't there more, though? I think that's precisely because we don't have a lot of the micro-level "best practices" established yet. Game design is a new field, after all. Most people (even most gamers) didn't take it seriously until around 2000.
What I find interesting about game design and which ultimately lead me to dabble in the field isn't about the systems themselves. The vast majority of learning to be done has to do with Player Psychology. That is: Human Behavior. The act of creating a game is knowing your audience and being able to manipulate them on a personal psychological level to "have fun" with your product and do it in a way they don't notice you're doing it because if they notice they cease to have fun.

It's more akin to a magic trick than anything else.

I've learned more about game design through perusing psychology and sociology articles than I have by listening to actual developers talk about their design decisions. Especially when those developers tell you "don't do X!" and you can easily cite 5 or more examples of games doing exactly X and they became wildly and amazingly successful for doing it.

Video games are bought because players perceive they will "have fun" playing the game. Therefore, you need to know player psychology almost more than anything else. That is to say, you need to not just convince a player to purchase your game, but you also need to convince that player that they're having so much fun that they don't go online and bash your game and keep more people from buying it. After that, you need to design your game and its systems around the psychology of a player in order to keep them in the "fun zone" as long as possible. Some developers just get lucky and find "lightning in a bottle". A rarer few actually understand this link between player psychology and designing game systems to play upon that psychology.

It is not enough to just chase the trends. You can't just see, "X is popular, I will make a game around X". You have to see, "X is popular because of experience Y" and then think, "I'll make experience Y even better and even more fun and then design game Z around that."

The major issues I see with the industry is a lot of what is done in it is dictated by people who don't understand, "the more people enjoy your game, the more money it makes". It's run, instead, by people who think, "the more people I can convince to buy my game, regardless of the quality, the more money I make". In short... snakeoil salesman. Marketing School dropouts. Almost no focus in game design is put on "is the player having fun?".

Back in the day, there was a line I heard. It was from Bungie on their first major smash hit, "Halo". They'd made a lot more games before then. They had a small following of fans who enjoyed those games. But, Halo launched them into "the mainstream". It was because of their attitude towards "fun". The line they used was, "30 seconds of fun". That's the approach they took to their combat system. "If we can provide 30 seconds of fun in combat, we can stretch that over the length of an entire game, and the entire game will be fun."

That stuck with me, because it was true. Combat in Halo (I know, we're talking about a shooter here, not an RPG, but I think the sentiment continues to apply) revolved around providing you just 30 seconds of fun. Shooting, grenades, punching, power weapons, 2-weapon holding capacity, each enemy requiring a different tactic to put down, each troop composition and terrain layout requiring the player to do something different to overcome it.

Everything in that first game was designed towards providing those 30 seconds of fun for each combat encounter. Each gameplay segment was designed that way as well. Each cutscene was designed that way. Engage the player, make sure they're having fun. Provide "downtime" between these things to give players a breather.

This is, unfortunately, something that few game devs do. They start from the assumption, "what I created is fun and it has few bugs, so I'll move on".

Going back to Halo for a moment:

Halo practically invented the "sticky grenade". No, they weren't eh first to use it, but they were the first to make it fun. The way they used "sticky grenades" changed how grenades were used in Shooters ever since. Sure, you could throw a Frag Grenade, but they were BORING. Hitting an enemy in the face with a big blue glowing grenade, making that feel skillful, and making the enemies REACT to it (in various ways. Grim resignation, anger, trying to charge you to take you with them, trying to get out of the middle of enemy ranks to avoid collateral damage, executing voice clips about it, etcetera) made using them the most fun option in the game. It is still intensely satisfying to land these sticky grenades on enemies in most of the series as well as on PLAYERS in the multiplayer. They turned an otherwise boring system in every shooter before and since into a SPECTACLE.

They managed that just because at every stage of game design they kept asking, "Is this fun?". That's it. That's all. Is it fun? "If this isn't fun, how can we make it fun?"

Devs tend to get caught up not in "Is this fun?" but in "does this work as intended?". That's modern game design in a nutshell. "Does it work as intended? Yes? Okay, we're done here."

My low view of the gaming industry comes from this practice. A practice of not asking "Is this fun? How can we make it fun?". A practice of not testing a game for fun.

Game systems and design should be broken down into "Is this fun? How can we make it fun?". It shouldn't be broken down into, "Does this make the player do what I want them to do? If it doesn't, how can I get them to do it?"

That "idiot" insider may have had a really good point!

I recently listened to a Season Pass podcast with Disney Imagineering legend Eddie Sotto. He relayed how Michael Eisner (CEO of Disney in the 70s-90s, with a background as an executive at filmmaker Paramount) would usually listen to Imagineers' ideas, try to get them to finish in just a few seconds, and rarely get emotive or excited about any of it (especially if it would cost a lot of money).

Eddie really wanted to put something unique and interesting in the Disneyland Paris castle, since the earlier castles at Disneyland (Anaheim) and Magic Kingdom looked impressive from the outside but didn't have anything interesting inside (just a salon and a restaurant). Eddie wanted to create a huge animatronic dragon in the castle's basement that crowds could gaze upon from above while the dragon went through all kinds of realistic, expansive motions. And he knew it would cost a lot of money to get it done, which could make it a non-starter since nothing was allowed to happen without Eisner's approval.

So what was Eddie's plan to get the approval to create this amazing, expensive dragon animatronic (and construct an entire basement area to hold it)? He put on the marketing team's hat! He took a significant amount of his team's "blue sky" (pre-engineering phase) budget, which would normally be spent on research, concept artwork, and scale models, and used it to film a mock movie trailer. "Until now, no one ever knew what was beneath Disneyland's castle..." Cut to a couple of mischievous kids sneaking into the castle after Disneyland closed. Cue monstrous breathing sounds and ominous music. Hard cut close-up of the splendor and terror of the dragon. Screams. A janitor rushing out from the castle, knocking over his tools in desperation to escape. And then at the end: "Coming to your Disneyland next year." With all of the effort the team spent putting together this production, they had very little in the way of design documents, concept sketches, or market research.

And when Eddie showed Eisner the trailer? The callous, collected executive was engrossed, he was completely in the moment. "Make that happen, Eddie." The team was given approval and large budget to build the attraction.

Why did it work so well? Because he found a way to speak the languages that Eisner understands so well - marketability and film. The 'film' angle is probably a little specific to Eisner as a former Paramount exec, but 'marketability' is a language that most decision-makers in our industry speak, I think. Not only the heads of game studios, but also people like investors. Eddie Sotto knew that the correct angle wasn't to talk about how innovative this particular castle would be compared to others, or what the story was (and there was one) behind the dragon and the castle - it was to blow the decision-maker off his feet with excitement.

There are some parallels to the way you describe that GDC speaker, and I wonder whether as an insider, he may understand something that actually works, something which uninformed people on the Comment Board might be completely in the dark about.
The problem is... Getting people excited for the product is the job of the Marketing Team. It's where the industry spends the vast majority of its money anyway. Team is given $10,000,000 to make a game and then the company spends $50,000,000 on Marketing it.

It sort of speaks to the incompetence of the person in charge that they can't see how to market something ON THEIR OWN and need the person who made it to figure that out for them.

After all, a great salesman can convince anyone to buy anything. If you can't do that, you shouldn't be in the business.

From my perspective, if I'm telling a publisher all the aspects of my product that are good and a vast improvement on what is already on the market, and they're telling me they don't care and to instead market it for them to convince them to sell it... Well... I hate to say it, but I'd be dealing with someone incompetent at their job. Not only that, but probably also the major reason there's so much waste of cash in their company.

It is their job to know whether or not they could get a product to market and get people to buy it. It isn't my job to know that as the designer of the product. That is to say, it is their job to ask questions about the product and possible market for the product and make a decision based on that. It is not their job to make their design team or people looking for publishing market the product to them.

If I come up to an investor and say, "Hey, I figured out a way to make lightbulbs last 300% longer and output more light for less electricity cost, but the manufacturing process is about 12x more expensive than standard lightbulbs, and I need funding to get the first few batches off the ground and for marketing", it is their job to decide whether or not they can create and market such a product. If you're in marketing, this pitch is probably a "no brainer". With it, you could theoretically kill all competition for lightbulbs and also eventually get the process of manufacturing to be a lot cheaper as you find ways to "standardize" the process. However, someone short-sighted might say, "yeah, but the bulbs last too long, so we're not gonna make much money on replacements and spending X amount of dollars is too much for something with so few immediate returns on investment". Someone competent at their job, however, will go, "So... we'll essentially hold a monopoly due to having the only quality product on the market and everyone is going to buy from us regardless, so we won't have to create another new product for quite a long time unless we want to... and everyone needs light, could we use this technology in other fields that use lightbulbs?"

It's a difference in knowing who is good at their job and who isn't.

After all, if a publisher can't see a list of overall improvements for their customers and think of a way to market that... Well... They're really not good at their jobs in the slightest. If a publisher has to have the one giving the pitch tell them how to market it... Then the one giving the pitch REALLY doesn't need the publisher, does they? No, they just need a loan all on their own to get it off the ground and make money instead.

One thing you never do at your job is eliminate the need for your job. That's what this guy was doing by telling people giving him pitches to only give him the marketing material for the game, rather than pitching the positive aspects of the game that a person good at their job could take and market the crap out of.

And that sounds interesting, without a doubt. The "yo-yo" design is something I see fairly often in games with engaging combat - or, at least I see it quite often in those games' boss fights. For whatever reason it's much less common in normal encounters.

The concern I have is with the implicit randomness (and lack of agency) involved with when (and whether at all) these opportunities come. If the player is on the back foot for too long, constantly in a cycle of repairing the damage the boss is laying on them, they'll eventually run out of resources and succumb. If we need the boss to Miss to get that opportunity... well, what do we tell the player who was hit by the boss 14 times in a row without a Miss?
This is probably more a matter of whether or not you can get off the back foot at all. That's likely going to stem from whether or not your consumables restore more health than the player takes damage. If you know a Potion will restore the damage from 3 hits, you can take those 3 hits and then heal. If you know it will only restore the damage from a single hit, then you're on the back foot that entire fight, mitigating damage constantly.

A "yo yo" effect in combat wouldn't be the result of that. A "miss" in my own system isn't meant to put you "on the back foot" forever. It is merely an opening. A point the pendulum can swing the other way. If the player misses, the enemy has an opportunity to lay on some damage or a state that the player may need to spend some time erasing. That monster gets to live another round and get another action. Maybe. If the player inflicts a state on the enemies to make them miss, it gives the player a "lull" in managing their resources at all in order to go on the attack.

With that being said, there are other ways to "yo yo" in my game beyond just hitting or missing. Enemies have standard skills as well as "MP Skills" and their MP isn't infinite. It can run out. It even probably will if combat lasts long enough or the player takes actions that reduce enemy MP. An enemy running out of MP to use some of their skills can also create opportunity for the pendulum to swing the other way, especially if things are going bad.

Ultimately, a "miss" is probably going to be the least influential thing the player needs to deal with. Character skills and states are meant to be used effectively so that the pendulum will rarely swing against a "good" player. Because of that, the "miss" is meant to slightly mar the "perfect gameplay" and give an opportunity for the pendulum to swing the other way. A great player won't be "put on the back foot" by this miss, because they'll have some sort of strategy or tactic to deal with it.

Essentially, it's meant to "break up robotic play". Sort of the same way my "Revenge" system does. Except it does it in a far less extreme way.

I won't lie and say a miss in my game at the wrong time won't wipe your party. It certainly can and just might. But, the value I place on that miss to "break up monotony" of combat for players who have perfected their combat strategies and techniques is pretty high.

Yes, it's a simple "miss". But, missing, just once, can momentarily stumble an expert player and get their brain moving again.

Or... they can just equip stuff that maximizes their Hit Rate so they never miss and play that way too.

Maybe in your game (because I know you're signposting boss' tactics and weaknesses in advance, which is cool), your player can equip resistances to, for example, negate the Poison that would put him on his back foot. But once he's actually in battle, is there anything that he can do to get enough breathing room to recover from off the back foot if the boss never Misses?
That sort of depends on where you are in my game. Early game, there are natural "lulls" in the action to allow the player to "yo yo". What I'm looking at with the "Poison Dungeon" is for players to be Poisoned about once every 3 battles or so. That might end up being "every single battle" if they're unlucky or don't end combat all that quickly. This would mean that if you were poisoned and then spent an action to cure that poison, you aren't likely to be poisoned again before you win combat. With the boss monster, you're likely to be poisoned every 4 rounds or so with projected defeat of the boss being at around the 11-12th round. Well, barring the player doesn't land a hit that triggers "Revenge" which results in a "full party poisoning" immediately after triggering.

Late game, there are a lot more options available for getting off the back foot. One character can actually use the ever shrinking health bar to deal more and more damage with a specific skill, which can end the fight faster. This same character can also make themselves "immune to death" for several actions to provide an opportunity to get off that back foot. Then, there's another character that can actually use a skill that removes all states from a party member. Players can also inflict "Blind" to remove the amount of enemy actions that will land on characters which gives them an opportunity to get the pendulum swinging back the other direction. Likewise, healing items come in several tiers so that lower tiers of "Poison" can actually be ignored for a while as you go forward. Poison is also cured at the end of combat, so any option that ends combat quicker can "get you off the back foot" (meaning hitting enemies harder in a "race to the bottom" sort of way will pull the yoyo back up off the floor). Then, there are options against some enemies that forces them into using specific skills. As an example, if you Poison some enemies, they will spend turns curing it. If you Burn wolves, they will Escape from combat. That's not even counting the states a player can inflict. If enemies are Paralyzed, they are out of the fight entirely unless another enemy cures them of Paralysis. If you stun the enemy, it can't act again until you land damage on it. If you put the enemy to sleep, there's a chance it wakes up on each hit, but is unable to act while asleep (with higher tiers lowering this chance even further), but it does wear off after a set amount of turns.

The "yo yo" effect really only works so long as the player has options for pulling it back up off the floor. The best options are just to prevent it from ever hitting the floor, but even if it does, there are some ways to get it off the floor beyond "the enemy misses an attack".

Though, that's more reliant on the way I'm trying to design the combat itself. Namely, providing "lulls" to the player so they can exploit them and get back to dishing out damage, or providing "hard caps" with MP so that even the enemy's best skills run out and a player doing really terribly just has to 'wait it out' long enough to get the momentum back on their side. Or, the player can be proactive and just start trying to inflict every single state they can to see what the enemies can be hit with in order to create their own openings (as a rule, standard enemies are weak to 3 states while bosses are weak to 2. They're resistant to most others which means they can land, but it's lower odds of doing so. And, they're absolutely immune to 2 states. Yes, bosses and enemies are absolutely immune to two states each).

Holy crap, where did my last two hours go?! :o
Probably the same place mine went.
 

Wavelength

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@bgillisp I played a few more hours of P5 last night (pyramid dungeon), specifically looking for hit rates and status inflict rates on damage + status skills. It looked pretty ordinary to me - Weapons that had 90%+ hit rates were hitting around 90% of the time, AoE spells definitely had higher miss rates but it felt like it was maybe 75-80%, and AoE spells with a "low chance to cause X" were giving me a reasonable chance (about 20%). I didn't use any single-target status-only spells like Pulinpa or Ominous Words. I should have, just to do some testing.

In my more-examined experience last night, the Misses didn't affect playability too much (though it would still be better with 100% hit rate!), though it did almost get me killed one time when I thought I was going to get a 1 More (with the MC around 50% HP) and then my spell missed both enemies that were weak to Mabufu. Thankfully they didn't target the MC (also RNG!).

Possible that something was fixed in a patch, but I would hazard the guess that in your case it was probably just a case of perception at first, and then very unlucky RNG as you started counting hits and misses.

(P.S. I also @ you much further down in this post)

@Tai_MT My worthy rival, you out-wall-of-texted even me! :guffaw:
From my frame of reference, the "imaginary average game" isn't all that imaginary. It's... fairly ubiquitous.
Then it's quite literally Imaginary!! Unless you have a single game in mind that you're directing advice to when you see a question like ideal hit rate, what you're using is an Imaginary amalgamation of games that you think fit a useful "average". (I don't disagree about it being somewhat ubiquitous, though!)

Nothing wrong with that at all (I think it ends up working better when giving general advice), but you can see how both of us came up with different constructions of "general" or "average" in our mind's eye, and were each giving useful advice for the imaginary game we were thinking of.

With the current trend of gaming that I've seen, I just can't recommend "100% hit rate" across the board because without a tactical combat system, it's only purpose is to avoid losing 5 seconds in combat and to make the dev's job easier so they don't have to put as much effort into the combat design otherwise.
For example, if winning in combat is a foregone conclusion to me, then it's wasted time that annoys me. A "miss" is less frustrating than the transition to and back from combat as well as the mashing attack as it's 5 seconds in a sea of 30 seconds of mashing a button.
I've explained some of the other benefits of a 100% default Hit Rate already - it allows the player to employ a strategy in a deterministic environment (I used my own game as an example for this one), removes the chance of getting a game over purely due to bad hit/miss RNG, and maintains the sense of agency (which is important for immersion).

But I want to point out that even saving 5 seconds per combat (multiply one miss by 500 battles and that's nearly an hour of the player's time that would have been wasted!), and making the dev's design easier to nail, are absolutely worthwhile benefits!! (After all, you still have to do the transitions to/from battle even in the scenario with Misses! You just have to endure several seconds of utterly wasted time mid-combat, too.)

I guess, for me, it's a sense that most devs aren't going to give 100% to any particular idea or concept or piece of advice. They're just going to search for validation of their own idea, implement it, and call it a day. After all, I should know, I'm guilty of this as much as any other dev on these forums or across the AAA industry.
I know I'm more stubborn about my designs than most, too, but even I get a lot of benefit from feedback. Often I've come up with a cool system, but I have a blind spot and I don't see that it's too clumsy for the player, or too confusing despite written explanations, or doesn't properly show off why it's rewarding so it's ignored. Seeing that actually happen to players, and getting their feedback, then it creates a great puzzle for me of how I do I deliver on its promise while also avoiding these pitfalls? I love working that stuff out, and sometimes it's a long road to get there.

Most people around here though, I think they take good advice more readily than I do. Sometimes I give advice like "this mechanic is working, but this sub-mechanic isn't because you're actually encouraging the player to do that, and that isn't enjoyable at all" - and the designer refines the entire system to accommodate it! Seeing a system become so much better based on just a bit of feedback is really cool. (Seeing games sometimes go into development hell because of me is less cool.)

Still, I do sometimes wish I saw game design as you do, where you've had no problem being burnt out on RPG's that all work the same, play the same, require the same strategies to complete... It'd be nice to be impressed with a game a lot more often than I am.
I'm not sure whether I should feel adored, insulted, or both! ;)

I totally get what you mean, though. I can enjoy even familiar RPGs, because I don't think that the system behind it is badly broken. I think it just needs good craftsmanship, and/or a couple of unique wrinkles, and it adds tons of playability.

Completely unique mechanics are awesome, but I don't think they're strictly necessary (and they open a designer up to tons of blind spots, precisely because there are no "best practices" for the mechanic yet - there's no body of work to show off what works, when it works, and why).

I think this is dependent on player. For example, if winning in combat is a foregone conclusion to me, then it's wasted time that annoys me. A "miss" is less frustrating than the transition to and back from combat as well as the mashing attack as it's 5 seconds in a sea of 30 seconds of mashing a button.

At least a miss, for me, breaks up the monotony and cacophony of constant sound effects. There's also at least a chance the enemy gets a hit in and 3 hours later, I need to recover that damage when it's finally reached 25% of my total HP.

This miss itself just doesn't often feel that "consequential" in the scheme of things when it isn't that impactful in combat to begin with. Wasted time is just wasted time. I mean, the RPG is designed to be a 20-100 hour epic or something anyway. I'm in it for the long grind as it is.
You're not wrong, assuming a boring, simple, non-challenging battle system with weak encounters that kind of waste your time anyway. I get that there are a lot of games that fit that description! I prefer to design around the large minority of games that don't, because I feel that game designers want to create something better.

Interesting question I've got - Do you think that anyone actually aims for a boring, simple, non-challenging battle system (maybe because they think that's what an RPG "should" have, or because they see it as enjoyable via some form of abnegation), Tai?

This is the general gameplay standard I follow. A player has to pay far more attention when their characters can die in 6 hits rather than the 30+ it often takes to whittle them down across entire dungeons. However, there's often a difference in "what should be" and "what is".
Right on!! And not only does the 6-hit design create more player engagement than the 30-hit design, it also opens the door to micro-level tactics (such as building speed and using disables) that might genuinely reward you by saving one hit!

On the flip side, though...
I, personally, think it's more engaging to test players' "short term resource management" than it is to test them for "long term resource management". That is to say, they have to monitor their HP, MP, and Consumables every few battles rather than once or twice a dungeon. There's a "happy middle" between "managing it constantly" and "almost never needing to manage it", which prompts excitement and engagement. If the player is healing up every few battles, or working on combat methods to reduce even taking a single hit, it's more engaging than healing up at the midpoint or just before the boss room.
I usually find short-term (I always call it "Acute") challenge to be more enjoyable than long-term ("Chronic") challenge, too. It presents more immediate, and more visceral, obstacles and consequences.

But fully-Acute setups tend to work best when you get, say, a full heal after each encounter (this allows the designer the room to create actual kill threat in each encounter), or have a really easy way to heal up after combat.

The issue, then, is in whether it's worth it to think hard in order to save one hit (see above), or whether it's better to just mash attack or spam your most powerful skill to win in the quickest amount of real-world time and then just heal afterwards. If you're not actually subjecting yourself to a possible game over by mashing/spamming, you might as well do that in a fully-Acute system.

This was the most important design goal behind my "Exhaustion" system for How Badly. You heal fully after each battle, but your Max HP is reduced by a small portion of the damage you took, until you return to an "Inn". Ending battle quickly (by turns taken, not real-world time) also reduces how much Exhaustion sets in, in order to encourage the player not to play too defensively. Play carelessly and you'll make the boss fight harder by starting it with seriously compromised Max HP. (Mash Attack and you'll probably be defeated by the normal encounter!)

In general, my players will hit nearly every single time with nearly every single attack. There's a small chance they might miss and then combat has a chance to "yo-yo" against unprepared players. But, that's all it is. A small chance for a possibility of something exciting to happen. Any other method of altering Hit Rate in my game comes from States/Skills/Equipment. All things the player can control.

I think giving the player Agency to mess with Hit Rate is the best option available as "general advice". Giving the player Agency over RNG tends to feel good rather than bad. Then, it is less about "praying to RNGesus" and more about "maximizing your own chances" and players can often feel good about doing just that.
That doesn't sound too bad, but my concern is - what is the player supposed to do besides shrug, cry, or curse when RNGesus hands them a really bad beat - say, four misses in ten attempts on a 95% hit chance? Is there enough skill expression inherent in your system that the player can still win against that boss, yet enough challenge that the battle still feels exciting when the player only has one miss the whole combat? And if so, what are you using to nail these almost-contradictory dynamics?

You and @bgillisp have mentioned that the most important thing is giving the player Agency over the characters' Hit Rates. I don't necessarily disagree; letting the player opt into a more deterministic playstyle or a riskier boom-or-bust playstyle can be really neat. What do you do for the players that want that 100% default Hit Rate? Do you offer equips/bonuses that let the player get there pretty quickly? How do you offer this reliability without forcing them to sacrifice so much power that it's unreasonable to go for the "hundo" (100% rate)?

To put that in perspective, if I were to ever advertise my own combat system it would be to highlight what it does and what options are available. As an example:

Multi-Weakness System - This isn't your standard RPG weakness lists! Enemies are weak to specific elements, states, weapons, and stats. You read that right, stats. Having a high Defense won't protect you from enemies who use high speed skills against you. Having a high Attack stat won't allow you to steamroll every enemy you encounter! You can beat the game with any party, but you still need to use the right tools for the job! A team of wizards can beat the game as long as you give them the right weapon variety to tackle most jobs! Use magic on metal armored enemies, use hammers on shelled enemies, inflict powerful states that completely destroy problem enemies! Oh, and I guess you can just hit plant monsters with Fire attacks too, if you want.
Revenge System - All bosses and some powerful and rare foes have a "Revenge" system in place. Players must learn and pay attention to common monster weaknesses to avoid triggering Revenge! Enemies seek Revenge when you hit them with their most common weaknesses! They launch devastating counter-attacks to these weaknesses that can hit the whole party! But, they also take the most damage from these attacks. You can finish battles off much quicker, but you might take a lot more damage in return. Or, you can remember to not use the most common weaknesses against enemies to avoid being the victim of Revenge. Don't hit the Fire Elemental with Water attacks. You've been warned.
Unprecedented Powerful Status Ailments - Most Status Ailments come in four "Tiers". Each Tier is more powerful than the last. Each Tier can be stacked with each other. Each status ailment inflicted on the enemy will turn the tide of battle. This is a game where being poisoned is the same amount of damage as the enemy landing an extra hit on you each turn, or you landing an extra hit on the enemy each turn. Or, as you go up in Tiers, several extra hits. This is a game where Status Ailments, left untreated, are deadly and dangerous. You must manage your consumables, equipment, and sometimes skills to make the most of these powerful tools and mitigate their impact to your party. These ailments will not be ignored! Be wary, however, not every enemy is weak to every state. There are also very few methods available to make your own party immune to any state.
I know this is just a shotgun example and not actual marketing copy you plan to use (and it certainly sounds more appealing than "tatcial combat!!1!"), but I really hope you find a more brief way to advertise your game's features! :p I might focus on what the player can do, not necessarily what they can't do (or what is likely to happen to them).

I tend to avoid the "buzzwords" you listed, however. Anything can be "exciting" to someone. Even a fidget spinner. That doesn't tell me anything other than the writer is probably paid for the advert since they're not using specifics and are instead using "charged words".

That's probably why I get the most out of "negative" reviews. The people who are really irritated with a game will tell you exactly how a system in it works and why it's a source of frustration. Meanwhile, someone who enjoys a game won't really give you any details on how something works and why it's a source of fun.
I find that it's usually the slightly negative reviews that are the most helpful. The ones that likely see some potential or joy in the game, but the problems putting them off are big enough and discrete enough (the whole game's not a mess) to be worth explaining.

Then, sometimes there are no negative reviews, even slightly negative ones! This is usually a really good sign. It's hard to judge sometimes, though. It's usually a true gem like Tony Hawk's Pro Skater or Persona 4... or it could be a game so bad (Civilization 6) that you wonder how the PR department hoodwinked every professional reviewer into playing it for two hours and assuming it's good. (Then there are the weird cases like Odin Sphere, where everyone in the world except me seems to recognize it's great, and I feel like I'm just missing something.)

Anyway, I usually just look for descriptions of the systems in place and how they work (or, at least, how the dev wants them to work) when I buy an RPG for it's "combat system". I mean, even "Trails in the Sky" has this to describe it's "tactical" gamplay: "The original version of the first chapter in this historical series, featuring strategic turn-based combat with unmatched customization. "

A bullet point so generic, you may as well be describing every RPG that ever existed.

It uh... got worse after I bought the game and discovered that it was a system easily broken and rendered "non-tactical" by a couple hours of grinding. It's a game where I got about 5 hours into the game was utterly bored by not just the story, but even the combat that I'd broken so quickly and easily. The "tactical" combat in the game was little more than loading spheres into a thingie to give you options in battle and render you absolutely overpowered... which you can max out very quickly in the first area of the game with a few hours of grinding and doing so renders most of the combat in the game an absolute breeze.
Trails in the Sky is really weird in that regard. I think in a lot of ways it didn't recognize its own brilliance, because the marketing for it was pretty meh, and even more telling, it has no idea how to start. The first couple hours of the game are genuinely poor - the plot feels aimless, the world feels cold, and they try to introduce you to all of the complexities of the battle system and the Orbment ("spheres into a thingy") system without easing you into the tools or the understanding of how you can use it creatively to build your characters' kits (or even why it makes grinding pretty fun).

It gets better over the next several hours, and sometime in Chapter 2 every part of the game lifts off with a sense of purpose - the extremely detailed optional sidequests, the likable characters and the world that starts to like them back, the ridiculously empowering and cool plot, the battle system which (while still too easy) allows a ton of strategic manipulation of the CTB, and the Orbment system which, eventually, I think most players who stick with learn to appreciate a lot.

BTW, I'm not sure what you mean about grinding rendering combat in the game a breeze. Combat is balanced on the easy side to start with, but the EXP system is designed so that once you're above par for an encounter, your EXP gains are halved with each level above par, dropping your EXP gains to near-zero very quickly if you're grinding a lot (the main reason to grind is more variety in Orbments you can buy). I meant to show you this in another topic which I never got the chance to respond to, but I took a screenshot to illustrate the point:
Experience Curve.png
As you can see the EXP gained by characters for their penguin slaughter hard-earned victory is halved for each level they have, basically rubberbanding the characters' level. (I actually think this is a pretty good idea for games that are worried about having their balance ruined by players that grind too much or fight too little.)

What I find interesting about game design and which ultimately lead me to dabble in the field isn't about the systems themselves. The vast majority of learning to be done has to do with Player Psychology. That is: Human Behavior. The act of creating a game is knowing your audience and being able to manipulate them on a personal psychological level to "have fun" with your product and do it in a way they don't notice you're doing it because if they notice they cease to have fun.

It's more akin to a magic trick than anything else.

I've learned more about game design through perusing psychology and sociology articles than I have by listening to actual developers talk about their design decisions. Especially when those developers tell you "don't do X!" and you can easily cite 5 or more examples of games doing exactly X and they became wildly and amazingly successful for doing it.

Video games are bought because players perceive they will "have fun" playing the game. Therefore, you need to know player psychology almost more than anything else. That is to say, you need to not just convince a player to purchase your game, but you also need to convince that player that they're having so much fun that they don't go online and bash your game and keep more people from buying it. After that, you need to design your game and its systems around the psychology of a player in order to keep them in the "fun zone" as long as possible. Some developers just get lucky and find "lightning in a bottle". A rarer few actually understand this link between player psychology and designing game systems to play upon that psychology.

It is not enough to just chase the trends. You can't just see, "X is popular, I will make a game around X". You have to see, "X is popular because of experience Y" and then think, "I'll make experience Y even better and even more fun and then design game Z around that."
I don't have a ton to respond to this, but just wanted to say that I find your opinion extremely interesting!

As a marketing major I definitely understand at least a little of the importance of psychology in driving behavior and happiness. And just like in marketing, I think in game design there are ample principles from psychology that can be applied (for example, both Confirmation Bias and "Rare Events loom large" in the case of Hits/Misses) which can be used to craft good general practices. Ideally the designer understands all of why something works or doesn't work, but in the absence of that, having a good general heuristic will usually lead to good systems as well.

The problem is... Getting people excited for the product is the job of the Marketing Team. It's where the industry spends the vast majority of its money anyway. Team is given $10,000,000 to make a game and then the company spends $50,000,000 on Marketing it.

It sort of speaks to the incompetence of the person in charge that they can't see how to market something ON THEIR OWN and need the person who made it to figure that out for them.

After all, a great salesman can convince anyone to buy anything. If you can't do that, you shouldn't be in the business.

From my perspective, if I'm telling a publisher all the aspects of my product that are good and a vast improvement on what is already on the market, and they're telling me they don't care and to instead market it for them to convince them to sell it... Well... I hate to say it, but I'd be dealing with someone incompetent at their job. Not only that, but probably also the major reason there's so much waste of cash in their company.

It is their job to know whether or not they could get a product to market and get people to buy it. It isn't my job to know that as the designer of the product. That is to say, it is their job to ask questions about the product and possible market for the product and make a decision based on that. It is not their job to make their design team or people looking for publishing market the product to them.

If I come up to an investor and say, "Hey, I figured out a way to make lightbulbs last 300% longer and output more light for less electricity cost, but the manufacturing process is about 12x more expensive than standard lightbulbs, and I need funding to get the first few batches off the ground and for marketing", it is their job to decide whether or not they can create and market such a product. If you're in marketing, this pitch is probably a "no brainer". With it, you could theoretically kill all competition for lightbulbs and also eventually get the process of manufacturing to be a lot cheaper as you find ways to "standardize" the process. However, someone short-sighted might say, "yeah, but the bulbs last too long, so we're not gonna make much money on replacements and spending X amount of dollars is too much for something with so few immediate returns on investment". Someone competent at their job, however, will go, "So... we'll essentially hold a monopoly due to having the only quality product on the market and everyone is going to buy from us regardless, so we won't have to create another new product for quite a long time unless we want to... and everyone needs light, could we use this technology in other fields that use lightbulbs?"

It's a difference in knowing who is good at their job and who isn't.

After all, if a publisher can't see a list of overall improvements for their customers and think of a way to market that... Well... They're really not good at their jobs in the slightest. If a publisher has to have the one giving the pitch tell them how to market it... Then the one giving the pitch REALLY doesn't need the publisher, does they? No, they just need a loan all on their own to get it off the ground and make money instead.

One thing you never do at your job is eliminate the need for your job. That's what this guy was doing by telling people giving him pitches to only give him the marketing material for the game, rather than pitching the positive aspects of the game that a person good at their job could take and market the crap out of.
We're getting really off-topic with this so I'll just state briefly why I think your argument doesn't hold water here:
  • You're asking company executives, investors, and managers to be the marketing team. They are not the marketing team. They don't have any responsibility to be the marketing team any more than the programmers do.
  • In fact, they actually have less responsibility for that than the game designer himself! Game designers have to be champions for their own ideas and they have to figure out how to make those ideas sound appealing. Ask any professional game designer and they will tell you that.
  • Sure, a great salesperson can sell ice to Eskimos, but that kind of salesmanship takes a lot of time and personal attention. That doesn't work in selling mass media (because selling a copy of a $60 game to someone who wouldn't have bought it isn't worth the salesperson's time). It helps to write great marketing copy, and to present the game in a visually-appealing way, but ultimately the game needs to sell itself.
It's possible I'm missing something because I didn't see the presentation in question and there weren't enough specifics where I could look it up myself, but the way you state the argument, I think he was probably right and the Comment Board was wrong.

This is probably more a matter of whether or not you can get off the back foot at all. That's likely going to stem from whether or not your consumables restore more health than the player takes damage. If you know a Potion will restore the damage from 3 hits, you can take those 3 hits and then heal. If you know it will only restore the damage from a single hit, then you're on the back foot that entire fight, mitigating damage constantly.

A "yo yo" effect in combat wouldn't be the result of that. A "miss" in my own system isn't meant to put you "on the back foot" forever. It is merely an opening. A point the pendulum can swing the other way. If the player misses, the enemy has an opportunity to lay on some damage or a state that the player may need to spend some time erasing. That monster gets to live another round and get another action. Maybe. If the player inflicts a state on the enemies to make them miss, it gives the player a "lull" in managing their resources at all in order to go on the attack.

With that being said, there are other ways to "yo yo" in my game beyond just hitting or missing. Enemies have standard skills as well as "MP Skills" and their MP isn't infinite. It can run out. It even probably will if combat lasts long enough or the player takes actions that reduce enemy MP. An enemy running out of MP to use some of their skills can also create opportunity for the pendulum to swing the other way, especially if things are going bad.

Ultimately, a "miss" is probably going to be the least influential thing the player needs to deal with. Character skills and states are meant to be used effectively so that the pendulum will rarely swing against a "good" player. Because of that, the "miss" is meant to slightly mar the "perfect gameplay" and give an opportunity for the pendulum to swing the other way. A great player won't be "put on the back foot" by this miss, because they'll have some sort of strategy or tactic to deal with it.

Essentially, it's meant to "break up robotic play". Sort of the same way my "Revenge" system does. Except it does it in a far less extreme way.

I won't lie and say a miss in my game at the wrong time won't wipe your party. It certainly can and just might. But, the value I place on that miss to "break up monotony" of combat for players who have perfected their combat strategies and techniques is pretty high.
Okay, so I think I understand what you're getting at - the Miss is just meant to arbitrarily swing combat slightly in one way or another (possibly compounding an advantage that already exists), and isn't meant to directly set up significant changes in combat flow from hardship to advantage or vice-versa.

Yes, it's a simple "miss". But, missing, just once, can momentarily stumble an expert player and get their brain moving again.
I guess this hearkens back to something we've argued about a bit in the past - the idea that combat becomes so predictable that it turns into a "reverie", and that players need a bit of shock (something entirely unexpected and sudden) to awaken them from that sleepwalk. I don't know. Some combat systems do fall into that sleepwalk territory, but it just seems so damn easy to not make that. I've played my own game(s) hundreds of times by this point and I still don't zone out when making decisions each turn.
I imagine you get the same engaging experience out of your own game? You already have mechanics like Revenge and Game-changing Ailments to keep players on their toes, and decent outplay potential (as you describe below) that sets up reward for thoughtful, attentive play anyhow. Does your system really need to turn to RNG Misses (and the frustration they bring) to keep players from sleepwalking?

That sort of depends on where you are in my game. Early game, there are natural "lulls" in the action to allow the player to "yo yo". What I'm looking at with the "Poison Dungeon" is for players to be Poisoned about once every 3 battles or so. That might end up being "every single battle" if they're unlucky or don't end combat all that quickly. This would mean that if you were poisoned and then spent an action to cure that poison, you aren't likely to be poisoned again before you win combat. With the boss monster, you're likely to be poisoned every 4 rounds or so with projected defeat of the boss being at around the 11-12th round. Well, barring the player doesn't land a hit that triggers "Revenge" which results in a "full party poisoning" immediately after triggering.

Late game, there are a lot more options available for getting off the back foot. One character can actually use the ever shrinking health bar to deal more and more damage with a specific skill, which can end the fight faster. This same character can also make themselves "immune to death" for several actions to provide an opportunity to get off that back foot. Then, there's another character that can actually use a skill that removes all states from a party member. Players can also inflict "Blind" to remove the amount of enemy actions that will land on characters which gives them an opportunity to get the pendulum swinging back the other direction. Likewise, healing items come in several tiers so that lower tiers of "Poison" can actually be ignored for a while as you go forward. Poison is also cured at the end of combat, so any option that ends combat quicker can "get you off the back foot" (meaning hitting enemies harder in a "race to the bottom" sort of way will pull the yoyo back up off the floor). Then, there are options against some enemies that forces them into using specific skills. As an example, if you Poison some enemies, they will spend turns curing it. If you Burn wolves, they will Escape from combat. That's not even counting the states a player can inflict. If enemies are Paralyzed, they are out of the fight entirely unless another enemy cures them of Paralysis. If you stun the enemy, it can't act again until you land damage on it. If you put the enemy to sleep, there's a chance it wakes up on each hit, but is unable to act while asleep (with higher tiers lowering this chance even further), but it does wear off after a set amount of turns.

The "yo yo" effect really only works so long as the player has options for pulling it back up off the floor. The best options are just to prevent it from ever hitting the floor, but even if it does, there are some ways to get it off the floor beyond "the enemy misses an attack".

Though, that's more reliant on the way I'm trying to design the combat itself. Namely, providing "lulls" to the player so they can exploit them and get back to dishing out damage, or providing "hard caps" with MP so that even the enemy's best skills run out and a player doing really terribly just has to 'wait it out' long enough to get the momentum back on their side. Or, the player can be proactive and just start trying to inflict every single state they can to see what the enemies can be hit with in order to create their own openings (as a rule, standard enemies are weak to 3 states while bosses are weak to 2. They're resistant to most others which means they can land, but it's lower odds of doing so. And, they're absolutely immune to 2 states. Yes, bosses and enemies are absolutely immune to two states each).
Sounds like (especially in the late game) you have a lot of nifty ways to strategically turn the tide of combat, as well as some trump cards the player can use to rebound if they need to break the emergency glass. I'm looking forward to seeing how it plays.
 

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@Wavelength : My approach was the MC has a strategy they can invoke which is +5% To Hit, -5% EVA as a free action which costs no MP. So you can invoke it, but you also give up your EVA bonus too. In other words, you can get 100% to hit as long as you let the monsters have it as well.

Later you can use skills to increase your To Hit at the cost of MP, that only affect the target (or the party for the really advanced skills) and you still keep your EVA then.

That has seemed to have worked so far for the default front view system at least. At least based on feedback from the about 200 or so that have bought the game so far.
 

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@Wavelength : My approach was the MC has a strategy they can invoke which is +5% To Hit, -5% EVA as a free action which costs no MP. So you can invoke it, but you also give up your EVA bonus too. In other words, you can get 100% to hit as long as you let the monsters have it as well.

Later you can use skills to increase your To Hit at the cost of MP, that only affect the target (or the party for the really advanced skills) and you still keep your EVA then.

That has seemed to have worked so far for the default front view system at least. At least based on feedback from the about 200 or so that have bought the game so far.
Sounds good. I can't imagine a single scenario where spending an action to increase Hit from 95 to 100 would be worth it (unless the buff lasts the entire battle and it's against a boss), but as a free action where you spend a bit of MP or sacrifice evade, that would be worthwhile for people who want to avoid bad beats.
 

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