How to keep proper "customization" for each fighting level of RPG Maker games?

A_Higher_Plane

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I think that there needs to be a clear, good, concise, well-defined plan for each level you do battle in. What I am talking about is about the stats/parameters, states, armors and weapons.

I mean, for example. If you have a level where you go in a "fire cave" to battle mostly fire-based type of monsters/enemies. You can have a shop that allows you to purchase weapons that are effective against fire-based enemies (like ice Attack Element), armors that give small partial, large partial or complete "State Resist" against the enemy element (fire) element. Or is the latter one too much? I guess these items would be very expensive or something. Or you can craft/synthesize them from rare ingredients. Maybe you can even purchase an ability someone can learn to give one a state of partial or complete resistance to fire. And you can give this ability to anyone. But maybe someone who can cast it many times, like someone with a lot of MP or someone who uses a lot less MP to cast it.

What I want is to have a lot of states, weapons and armors to choose from in a game. The Final Fantasy games have only a limited amount of them. I want a lot of them, and that they won't get useless, ever. Or is having a lot of states, weapons and armors not a good game design thing?

Oh and you need to customize parameters/stats. Maybe the fire cave has high agility, or high magic attack. How would you customize the states, armors, weapons, skills and items to counter this cave?

I don't know what to do about this. Please tell me "good practices" here and hints & tricks.
 

RachelTheSeeker

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I have two conflicting cases to make. One in favor of how Final Fantasy does it right, and a brief counterpoint against many items. Food for thought.

In favor? Look at games like Final Fantasy 3, 5, and Tactics. Heck, even old-school Dragon Quest games, before DQ8. Most of the unique and limited items are meant to give flavor to specific classes. Ninja swords for ninjas, claws for monks, axes for berserkers and dedicated warriors, et cetera. But in FF5, various classes can use basic swords, and almost all of them can use knives. These common-use weapons have the biggest number of items within, especially compared to specialist weapon types like ninja swords.

For specific weapons in a category, I will point to Final Fantasy Tactics. My biggest example of weapons with staying power between its own category are, oddly enough, knives. Because knives aren't powerful weapons by themselves, they don't outclass each other in terms of raw damage. This is different from tiered weapons in most JRPGs. After the first battle you can lose, the Mythril Knife is as powerful as a Squire's broadsword, but you can give it to a weaker Chemist too.

Then there's things like the Mage Masher and Blind Knife, which have a Mythril Knife's ATK but add a status effect. Would you rather blind, which usually makes enemies run away? Or go for silencing mages? Pick your poison. Later on the Main Gauche dagger is a great weapon to give a Ninja, who already has a high evasion stat, instead of another ninja sword. It's entirely possible to make the fragile speedster shinobi into a veritable dodge-tank against melee using the Main Gauche. The only trade-off is less damage but still, you can dual-wield by default. You'll already be dealing more damage than usual!

It's not just a stats thing either. It can be logistics. If you're tight on funds and need to replace a broken or stolen weapon, you can go with the cheaper option and not miss out too much. Most equipment is tight in stat boosts compared to others, and the more expensive stuff tends to add extra effects. Most of the shields are lame, only because their evasion % differences aren't so different. But because of this, there's no shame in going with the budget versions if you'd rather get that sick new body armor.

Lastly, for something that doesn't always pertain to equipment? You mentioned elemental resistance equipment, and getting protection against it in the same dungeon. Fire-resistance armor in the lava cave, etc. What FF5 did right was give you an optional Shiva summon to fight, who winds up being useful a dungeon after. Shiva is a great field-wipe for the Fire-Powered Ship... mostly. Not every enemy there is weak to ice damage, but it's brutal against the boss. And of course, the Library of the Ancients forces you to fight Ifrit to get his summon spell... in a dungeon where almost all enemies are flammable.

Counterpoint? My current WIP does away with tiered junk to begin with. Characters only get like two to four weapons each, just to customize how they hit stuff. It's not a matter of "do I buy the monk's latest brass knuckles or not". It's like, "do I give the monk: claws to cause bleed damage; a staff to raise Defense; a cestus to maybe stun a foe for a round; nunchucks to swing multiple times if she gets blinded and get *some* damage".

Body armor might or might not be added, but there's also two accessory slots to add various passives. And honestly, armor would probably be similar. Add more MP instead of any DEF, go full DEF but lose AGI, and so on.

So. Food for thought.
 

ATT_Turan

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Please tell me "good practices" here and hints & tricks.
My first piece of advice is that while there are certainly people all along the spectrum, as a general rule, the more complex you make your game's mechanics past a kind of middling point, the more players you'll lose. The setup you describe of configuring weapons, armors, crafting and consumables to prepare for every dungeon would be beyond what I enjoy.
armors that give small partial, large partial or complete "State Resist" against the enemy element (fire) element.
I think it's a very bad idea to give complete resistance against fire in a fire dungeon. That sounds like you can just grind and spend enough money to take no damage in the whole thing, which makes actually going through the dungeon pointless.

And, again, the more states you have in the game, the more the player has to remember, track and compare.
What I want is to have a lot of states, weapons and armors to choose from in a game.
Okay, but...
I want a lot of them, and that they won't get useless, ever.
I don't see how that's a good idea, either. You're saying you want to have "a lot" of things that are different but equal. It's hard to create a handful of things like that, trying to make a lot is very difficult (and the more you make, approaching impossible).

And, as above, the more things you make to choose from at one time, the more mental burden you're putting on the player.

Look at games that have a lot of items, like Diablo or Disgaea. Yes, there are a lot, but they're all in tiers of stats and levels, so at any given point in the game, you only actually have a few to choose from. That's not because the developers were lazy or unimaginative, it's to keep their work manageable.

Additionally, unless you don't have levels in your game, or all of your equipment is available from the beginning of the game, players will naturally expect to see a growth in the power/effectiveness of their equipment, so making them all equally useful may be disappointing in that regard.
Oh and you need to customize parameters/stats. Maybe the fire cave has high agility, or high magic attack. How would you customize the states, armors, weapons, skills and items to counter this cave?
Wow...so you're even talking about re-configuring each character's stats for every dungeon? This is a level of micromanagement that I've never heard of (and wouldn't care to try :wink: ).

My biggest suggestion for you is to play more games. Yes, you can look up articles about game design and take classes, but you know what game design classes do? They have you play and analyze games.
So you can do that on your own...play things, see what elements or mechanics are the same or different across JRPGs, try to figure out why they're the same or not, examine what effect it has on the game and how it makes you feel.

A lot of what you're saying seems to be coming from a "more is better" perspective, but I think you need to make sure you're checking a "how much is fun" perspective. And it's perfectly fine for your idea of fun and mine to be different, you shouldn't scrap an idea just because I say I wouldn't play that game...but when you consider I like games with a lot of customizing and character planning, and feel many modern games are lacking in those elements, I think you need to wonder how many people would play what you're describing.
 

A_Higher_Plane

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Well I don't mean customize before every dungeon. That's extreme.

I thought that there should be a whole category of an armor that modifies your resistance that every person has.

I do think that complete elemental resistance would be OP.
 

ScorchedGround

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I like the idea of a fire dungeon and being able to prepare beforehand with equipment.

However, you should never make it too extreme.
You must avoid creating an "impossible scenario" at all costs.
"Impossible scenario" in this context means a unprecedented situation which the player could not prepare for and cannot beat, effectively soft-locking themselves, OR was very lucky to have the correct character build for by happenstance.

Some examples of possible "impossible scenarios":

- There there is a dungeon where ALL enemies are IMMUNE to all attacks except ice attacks
-> This is not a problem if the player gains sufficient ice attacks naturally

- There is a dungeon where ALL enemies one-hit-kill your party UNLESS you have armor X equipped

- There is a dungeon where ALL enemies have extreme DEFENSE values, but your party consists of 4 physical attackers

- There is a dungeon where ALL or even just SOME enemies have stealth, but you have no way to "decloak" them

That being said, I like it when the player can prepare for a dungeon, but on a smaller scale.
For example buying an armor that increases Fire Resistance by 20%, making your life a little easier.

Or you could keep the scenarios I just described and just turn them down a little bit.
Like, instead of making enemies Immune to all attacks, just make them slightly resistant.
 
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