RisenAngel

Sanely Insane
Veteran
Joined
Jan 22, 2017
Messages
196
Reaction score
257
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMZ
What the title says, really: those attacks that automatically bring a character's hit points to zero should they connect. They're something I've been considering including in my games and I've been thinking about them lately, so I decided that maybe they could be an interesting topic of discussion.

To start things off, here are my own thoughts on them:

I don't particularly mind them so long as there's a good way to block them. For example, providing the player with equipment that nullifies them before throwing them into an area where there's a bunch of enemies that make use of them. In the event the player isn't provided with such equipment, then there should probably be a way to recognize when an OHKO is incoming and give the player the tools to avoid it.

In a turn-based game, OHKOs are probably better when the OHKO only happens under specific circumstances. For example, perhaps there's an enemy that inflicts a bunch of status effects, then uses a move that's instant death to anyone inflicted with a status effect. In that case, the player has a chance to cure the status effects and avoid the OHKO.

I also quite like Doom (target is inflicted with a countdown and dies when that countdown hits 0) as a means of inflicting instant death. In that case, the player has the option of either finishing the battle quickly enough before the countdown hits 0, or just finding some way to stop the countdown entirely.

Generally speaking, I'm not a fan of randomly-inflicted OHKOs, unless it's possible to become immune to them. To name one particularly bad example of a random OHKO: Shin Megami Tensei Strange Journey. MA. 25% chance of GAME OVER every single time it's used, with absolutely no way of nullifying it. It basically turns that particular boss fight into a luck-based mission. That's not exactly my idea of a good time.

If a game has multiple party members that can be knocked out without getting a GAME OVER, then randomly-inflicted OHKOs are a little more forgivable. Games with only one party member, or where it's a GAME OVER if one particular member is knocked out, should not have randomly inflicted instant death attacks (in fact I say they probably shouldn't have instant death attacks period, but something like Doom would be more forgivable). In the aforementioned Shin Megami Tensei example, the player gets a GAME OVER when the main character is knocked out. Hence why MA is complete bull-arg-.

What about the player's ability to use instant death attacks? I don't feel the Final Fantasy route of having an instant death spell that 99% of enemies are immune to and wastes the player's turn entirely when it fails is a good idea. That's basically an extension of the "status effects are useless" problem that's been talked about a fair bit when it comes to RPGs.

The way I'd go about doing things from the player's end is turning the instant death attack into a normal attack should the target be immune to instant death or in the event the RNG just fails. My take on Doom would inflict Darkness-elemental damage on the target at the end of the countdown should the target be immune to instant death, for example.

I also think most regular enemies should be vulnerable to instant death in some fashion, though maybe not in such a way that casting the Death spell over and over again makes enemy mobs a complete joke (that's about as fulfilling as mashing "Attack" over and over again, just with a different skill). Perhaps that "instant death to anyone inflicted with a status effect" skill could be given to the player for this purpose.

As someone who plays games primarily to fight bosses, I don't think bosses and certain stronger enemies should be vulnerable to instant death attacks. At the very least, the player should have to work for getting their OHKO move to work on a boss; perhaps it could be a puzzle-based alternative to just fighting the boss through other means.

That was a lot longer than I intended it to be. Anyway, what are your thoughts? Are instant death attacks a useful mechanic worth considering, or an example of fake difficulty that should be avoided? (Or somewhere in-between?)
 

Philosophus Vagus

The drunken bird dog of rpg maker
Veteran
Joined
May 22, 2017
Messages
320
Reaction score
4,976
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Eh, to me they are usually far to telegraphed to really matter (doom) to finicky to likely ever work effectively (fft's roulette and lv. Death) or just plain trollish (the boss in ff10 who instakills your entire party without warning right before she dies if you aren't inflicted with a negative status when she casts it). Not a fan of arbitrary ohko at all when it comes to enemies, guess it's okay for clearing mobs, but most games allowing players access to ohko abilities make them too expensive to use on mobs, and make bosses immune to them so they don't really ever get used anyway.

Overall I'm happy that final fantasy and a couple other jrpg are literally the only ones using that mechanic, and think that they should probably cease using it as well assuming any of them still even are to this day.
 

Poryg

Dark Lord of the Castle of Javascreeps
Veteran
Joined
Mar 23, 2017
Messages
4,188
Reaction score
10,859
First Language
Czech
Primarily Uses
RMMV
I'm not a fan of ohko attacks at all. Because they're either a gimmick or a complete waste of time. I don't mind Doom effect, because that forces the player to act quickly. But I don't like these ohkos that can be prevented by casting a specific skill or equipping a specific thing, because that's a waste of skill or equip. I mean, except for the fact that you have to dedicate one equip slot or one turn plus some mana, there's not really much of a strategic benefit to include such ohko attacks.
 
Joined
Sep 1, 2017
Messages
105
Reaction score
52
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
One thing you could do is elemental based.

Like your going up against a thunder god and one of his attacks "Thunder Strike" deals 9999 points of damage unless you null it with gear? Or maybe a spell that protects against thunder elements.
 

Failivrin

Final Frontiersman
Veteran
Joined
Jan 31, 2017
Messages
257
Reaction score
249
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
It's better if there is a secondary effect that kicks in when OHKO doesn't work, as you mentioned for the Doom status. Some of the Odin spells in Final Fantasy would either OHKO or damage the opponent, so either way it is not a waste of MP.
You could also use OHKO as a "jackpot" for spells with randomized effects. Example: A Chaos spell inflicts one of the following statuses: Stun (40%), Poison (30%), Sleep (20%), or Death (10%).
 

bgillisp

Global Moderators
Global Mod
Joined
Jul 2, 2014
Messages
14,289
Reaction score
15,406
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
What I've done is made all instant KO attacks hit one target only, and they are side effects of damage spells (with one exception). This way you still do damage, and if the instant KO kicks in, you take it as a bonus.

My exceptions to this are few and far between. For example, I have one boss that has a 100% KO still that hits one target...and you can still resist it as it is 100% before resistances kick in. And I have one mass skill which has a low chance of KO thrown in with the rest of the effects. But, to counter those, I've put in a skill which makes you immune to instant KO if used, so as long as you put that buff up you countered it. And I also put in an Auto Life skill which you can put up early which will just kick in if you get KO'd. So there are counters in those cases.
 
Joined
Sep 1, 2017
Messages
105
Reaction score
52
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Another way to prevent is a combination of 2 things,

like remove effect 1 because if you get effect 2 on the same character your dead.
 

Chaos Avian

Abyssal Wing
Restaff
Joined
Jul 16, 2012
Messages
3,231
Reaction score
794
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
When I do instant death skills, first and foremost I make them single target and then I would have a secondary effect be in place. For example I used a spider enemy that tries to inflict poison, to then follow up with Victimise. If the target is poisoned, then it's instant death. If not, then it's essentially a normal attack. But casually throwing out instant death attacks because WHY NOT? (I'm looking at you Strange Journey...) is not okay, especially if MC death means game over.

So I prefer instant death skills to have conditions, or ways to nullify them (preferably not with an equip). I'll leave the 50/50 hit or miss skills to critical hits..
 

Rinobi

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Mar 24, 2014
Messages
592
Reaction score
225
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMZ
I don't see the appeal honestly. I'd rather have mechanics that support OHKO with proper strategy, enough power, specific equipment. High enough numbers are more intuitive to me. Eliminates the need for special items, telegraphed attacks, or specific strategies and allows the player the solve the problem however they want. Level up, adjust equipment, change party composition, strategy... all of this without need for additional mechanics.
 

Joker101

Pixel Experimenter
Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2017
Messages
13
Reaction score
27
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
I feel Insta-kill moves can be somewhat fair if they are more forgiving. I remember a section of Persona Q where there were multiple enemies with petrify (essentially insta-kill) in a single fight and I felt it made that part of the game frustrating. I like the idea of making insta-kill skills few and far in between; such as having one and only one enemy have such a skill during an encounter, potentially causing a surprise for the player (while not completely decimating them) and making them know who to prioritize the next time they see it. As for player access to insta-kill, giving it as a secondary bonus as mentioned before is probably the best way to implement it without it being next to useless.
 

MagicMagor

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Apr 7, 2012
Messages
201
Reaction score
38
First Language
German
I feel instant-death effects are too punishing for the player.
Everything in a battle is about depleting the enemy HPs while making sure your HP stays positive. An instant-death effect bypasses everything and just kills. Death of a character is the ultimate punishement (apart from a game over) you can give during a battle. Also it makes everything the player did to ensure his HP safety useless. All that healing, def-buffs and other stuff he did was meaningless, because the enemy kills directly.

That you give the player a way to prevent that, does not improve it. Because you removed player choice and strategy from the fight. The instant-ko-avoiding spell or equipment becomes a requirement, not a choice. And you give the ultimate punishement if the player fails that requirement.

I fail to see how that can be seen as fun by the player.
 

KoldBlood

Innovation from Limitation
Veteran
Joined
Feb 5, 2014
Messages
87
Reaction score
70
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
Personally, I dislike mechanics that just completely shut the player's choices down out of the blue or when put into the player's hands can't be as effective because it would be overpowered, i.e. Instant-Death. So far, I've kept all instant-death states out of my game including things like petrify. I even re-purposed paralysis since it was too similar to instant-death and made it instead act as a Mute state for physical skills instead of magic. Much more interesting, in my opinion, than just not having access to the party member.

The problem is instant-death is sort of a big middle finger to the player. Sure some games let you prepare for it with "anti-death" spells and equipment but is it really preparing if there's no alternative to not preparing for it? You're just dead. Period. At least with something like poison you can still fight on through it or heal over the effects. You're still getting punished for not preparing but it's not certain doom just because you didn't equip X. Instant-death just says "well you're dead now. Too bad." and worse still is that most instant-death I've seen is based on an RNG chance to hit so all skill has been thrown to the wind and your just rolling the dice at that point.

I think instant-death could be useful and interesting but I think it is handled horribly by most RPGs. In my opinion Instant-death should only be used if it is telegraphed to the player and gives them a small chance to do something about it. Dark Souls does this somewhat decently by giving a meter for curse that slowly fills up and if you don't peace-out of whatever is causing it before that meter hits max you're done for. Turn based RPG's could create a similar effect with a "marked for death" state or something that once applied the boss/enemy will instant-kill the character on the next turn. If done correctly, it gives the player something to think about and can throw a wrench into the attack-heal-attack-heal pattern.

As for the player using instant-death, I think Paper Mario handled this very well believe it or not. When used the chance of it working was fairly decent and when it worked the enemy would be instantly killed but you received no experience for enemies killed using it. This made it very useful ending a battle quickly but you wouldn't get experience points in trade. Unfortunately, I can't think of a single way to make player instant-death viable against bosses, no matter how elaborate the setup, without it being completely overpowered.
 

HumanNinjaToo

The Cheerful Pessimist
Veteran
Joined
Apr 18, 2013
Messages
1,227
Reaction score
615
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
I am not a fan a fan of instant KO against player. I don't mind it so much when there is a timer like function attached to it, because then it is really just a pressure mechanic that adds to the experience. But if you have no time to counteract the instant KO, I think that's poo. Also, I don't really like being able to use instant death against enemies either. To me it cheapens the fight. However, I could get over this if it is implemented as a mechanic to pressure the enemy into using a turn to cure the status before they KO.
 

Wavelength

MSD Strong
Global Mod
Joined
Jul 22, 2014
Messages
6,114
Reaction score
5,879
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
My opinion is actually almost exactly in line with your own in the first post, Yomegami, so rather than retread all of that ground, I'm just going to Like it and state that I agree! :D In particular, I think that OHKO's are best used when they are based on having fulfilled some sort of condition, rather than being a random-chance mechanic.

With that said, I almost never include OHKOs in my games. Creating skills which deal enormous amounts of damage under certain conditions usually feels more explosive than a simple addition of the KO state, and it also allows a much more streamlined approach to boss' immunity to OHKO's - their large pool of HP is their immunity to being one-shot by such a skill!
 

OM3GA-Z3RO

Wounded Seraphim
Veteran
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Messages
828
Reaction score
184
Primarily Uses
I hate OHKO's if I wanted to add something like that I would like my characters to have skills to protect themselves with it, a skill that converts a OHKO skill to only do damage instead of death is a nice compensation or maybe give death a very low chance and have an alternative effect like giving it a poison effect or it deals damage if it doesn't proc death. Plain OHKO is so frustrating.
 

Fernyfer775

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Oct 6, 2013
Messages
1,319
Reaction score
828
First Language
English
I've got a few instances of potential "OHKO" abilities in my Eternal Twilight game, but there are ALWAYS ways to work around them. Some are as easy as using Guard when the boss "charges" up, but there are more sinister ones that require the player to REALLY pay attention to what the boss is doing, requiring the player to dispel/debuff the boss to cancel the ability, or to use all the defensive spells in their arsenal to mitigate the damage as much as possible.

For example, the 2nd major boss in the game uses an ability called "Armageddon" every X amount of turns. The first one will likely bring the party down to about 30-40% HP when it's cast. The "gimmick" with this boss is that she increasingly does more damage every turn, so the longer the battle lasts, the harder she starts to hit. By the time she gets to casting Armageddon the 2nd time, if you don't have any defensive buffs up (guarding works too), chances are some of the squishier characters will be KO'd. If she gets to the point where she is casting the 3rd Armageddon, it's most likely going to be a game-over unless the player has a TON of their defensive abilities active.

Maybe I'm biased because I use them in my game, but I don't mind OHKO abilities as long as there are ways to counter them.
 

Black Pagan

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Feb 21, 2017
Messages
351
Reaction score
275
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
I would suggest you to play this game -> Epic Battle Fantasy 3. This game makes the best use of what you described - An Instant 1 Hit Killing move by enemies. However, there are certain conditions how the game uses this move :
- 1 Hit K.O move used by Ghost type enemies at the Highest Area, Before the Final Boss
- This move has a Random % Chance to hit, So Players still have a chance to evade
- This move is more of a Trolling move, meant to kill away a Party member to make the Player spend time reviving them back again in the middle of a Battle

Such a move can easily go out of hand and make it frustrating for the player if its not balanced so I wouldn't use it in the first place.

If i would, I would make sure enemies use this only like in 1 in 5 battles and consider giving it something like say 80% Hit-rate, Also making sure that my game is based on a Party and not just a single person based game. Also, I would make sure enemies use such a move on mostly the Support or Damage Character, Not the Tank. If you take out the Tank Character in your Party, That would be Game over in most cases so I would probably make the enemy attack the Player with lowest aggro or something like that.
 

MrZalgo

I am not Edgy, I am Fabulous
Veteran
Joined
Dec 7, 2017
Messages
57
Reaction score
29
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
Other
For me, a timer mechanic works best with how a one hit KO should perform.

Take this as an example. A boss fight where if you don't defeat the two powerful ashen beings in time, they will merge into one, creating a Big Bang destroying everyone in the game.

Where does this example take place in? Well, with a timer that is forgivable in accordance to the health and attacks of the boss. (12 turns if boss has like 400,000 and you can do a max of 60,000 damage with your highest damage attacker.) And if they do fail in time, at least make the animation worth it to watch. Xenoblade 2 had the final boss throw the freaking SUN at you, and it was cool to watch.
 

Latest Threads

Latest Posts

Latest Profile Posts

Voice.gif
The Voice... They usually show up to talk to you about leaving your mark on the world, which is one of the major themes of my game... How will you be remembered by society.
The only time my brother shows me any kind of support is by liking or LOL my Facebook Comments.
I finally finished the Coliseum for my game. Love how it looks. Credits for the assets goes to Kokoro Reflections, @Starbird_Resources, and @megumi014.
Colossuem.png
Mimics! Mimics everywhere!

Forum statistics

Threads
124,512
Messages
1,164,165
Members
163,348
Latest member
bongdaso
Top