Keeping Magic and Skills Relevant

overlordmikey

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So I'm in charge of battles in BroCoG's recent project. If it's related to battle I'm in charge of it.

I've decided on smaller more classic numbers for stats. 999 Max HP, 99 Max for other stats.

So I've been trying to think of how I can keep magic spells and skills relevant without relying solely on gaining magic power and attack power.

Like let's say you have a spell that's Water I and a spell that's Water II - I don't want the player to be "well Water II outclasses Water I in every way so why ever use Water I again?"

Obviously MP plays a part, but I'm looking for that extra edge. Something that keeps Water I competitive despite still being weaker than Water II.

I considered tying some of the power into the players LV in some way, but I don't want the abilities to get over-powered.

Any ideas?
 

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One way could be to balance spells in "Damage <-> Special Effect" relation.
The higher tiers deal way more damage, but have weaker special effects.

For example;

Ice I deals 30 damage and has a 30% chance to apply freeze.
Ice II deals 60 damage and has a 20% chance to apply freeze.
Ice III deals 120 damage and has a 10% chance to apply freeze.

So that each spell has some amount of advantage over the other spells.
Of course "Special Effect" does not need to be limited to status effects.
 

Willibab

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Water I: Does Medium damage to one target.
Water II: Does Low damage to all targets.

So if you fight 1 enemy you always use Water I but Water II when against many.

If you have another path that does Water aoe damage then you can make it so you unlearn the previous spell when you learn the new one. Might need plugins for that or eventing.
 

Elhijei

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Try a combo of some sort maybe? You can only do Water II after using Water a few times? Might not work for every game, just throwing an idea
 

TheoAllen

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Like let's say you have a spell that's Water I and a spell that's Water II - I don't want the player to be "well Water II outclasses Water I in every way so why ever use Water I again?"
You don't. What is stopping you from just morph the skill from Water I --> Water II? (if it's because of a technical issue, we can discuss it in a different forum).

Except if Water I and Water II actually do something different and are labeled differently. Because those label feels like it is an upgrade from a prior skill. Which exactly ...
Water II outclasses Water I in every way
the answer is don't do this.
 

Ouro

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Here's an example of what not to do! In FFXIV, the devs attempted to keep Cure I relevant after you learn Cure II by giving it a passive called "Freecure". It gives Cure I a 15% chance that casting it will make your next Cure II cast cost 0 mana. Cure II costs a lot more mana than Cure I so this seems like a good idea on paper.
But in practice Freecure is useless. In fact, it's worse than useless because it encourages people who don't know any better to keep using Cure I on their healers and Cure I is really just a very bad healing spell once you're at levels where you know Cure II. As a healer, your time is better spent doing literally anything else.
So rather than keep Cure I 'relevant', it's just a fiddlefaddle trap option that makes healers worse if they try to engage with it in any way.

So make sure that whatever bonus you want to put on Water I or whatever is actually worth the opportunity cost of casting suboptimal spells. Otherwise you're just making it a trap option.
 

overlordmikey

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One way could be to balance spells in "Damage <-> Special Effect" relation.
The higher tiers deal way more damage, but have weaker special effects.

For example;

Ice I deals 30 damage and has a 30% chance to apply freeze.
Ice II deals 60 damage and has a 20% chance to apply freeze.
Ice III deals 120 damage and has a 10% chance to apply freeze.

So that each spell has some amount of advantage over the other spells.
Of course "Special Effect" does not need to be limited to status effects.
Hmmmmm, that might work.
You don't. What is stopping you from just morph the skill from Water I --> Water II? (if it's because of a technical issue, we can discuss it in a different forum).

Except if Water I and Water II actually do something different and are labeled differently. Because those label feels like it is an upgrade from a prior skill. Which exactly ...
Water I and Water II were just placeholder names, not the names of the spells for my game, only named as such because Water I is available before Water II. Although either way just replacing them doesn't work for this games particular mechanics (you learn magic through fighting with certain equipment on).
I would however like to learn how that works because it sounds like an interesting idea to go with in future games ( I mean I can think of a couple ways, but I'm curious about knowing many methods to something).
Here's an example of what not to do! ...

So make sure that whatever bonus you want to put on Water I or whatever is actually worth the opportunity cost of casting suboptimal spells. Otherwise you're just making it a trap option.
But trapping the player into losing is my job, as a game creator I am obligated to kill the party. (I'm kidding)
 

TheoAllen

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only named as such because Water I is available before Water II
Then let me ask you this. Are you often find that skill A and skill B (which, you learned that later in any game progression) always feel like it is better than the previous one?

I personally don't find that case very often.
If skill A let me crouch, then skill B would let me jump. The different situation requires a different skill to use.

P.S: I and II label causes confusion because it means a direct upgrade rather than A and B which probably serves a different purpose. Although it doesn't matter now that we cleared this up.
 

overlordmikey

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Then let me ask you this. Are you often find that skill A and skill B (which, you learned that later in any game progression) always feel like it is better than the previous one?

I personally don't find that case very often.
If skill A let me crouch, then skill B would let me jump. The different situation requires a different skill to use.
No, I get what you mean.

In fact I'm asking so I can better avoid turning the "first water attack" into just the "weaker water attack" as is often the case in classic style RPGs.
 

kirbwarrior

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As always, TheoAllen puts my thoughts into words better than I do :L

Like let's say you have a spell that's Water I and a spell that's Water II - I don't want the player to be "well Water II outclasses Water I in every way so why ever use Water I again?"
I just wouldn't have skills that are effectively an earlier skill that are better but more expensive. If you have a skill that's point is doing single target water damage with no side effects, you don't want another skill that does the same thing. If the skills do different things (say, Water 1 poisons and Water 2 freezes), then 2 might look better on paper but 1 might stay relevant against bosses.
 

overlordmikey

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As always, TheoAllen puts my thoughts into words better than I do :L


I just wouldn't have skills that are effectively an earlier skill that are better but more expensive. If you have a skill that's point is doing single target water damage with no side effects, you don't want another skill that does the same thing. If the skills do different things (say, Water 1 poisons and Water 2 freezes), then 2 might look better on paper but 1 might stay relevant against bosses.
Yes, that sounds logical. Although logically one of the Ice Spells would freeze not the water spells. :D

Maybe Water I (once again, placeholder name) could even effect the enemy with a status ailment that makes Ice do more (no electric spells in this game) then it becomes a potential combo with ice moves.
I'd of course have an ice move remove this ailment so you can't just wail away at enemies with ice skills afterwards.
 

kirbwarrior

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Yes, that sounds logical. Although logically one of the Ice Spells would freeze not the water spells. :D
That depends entirely on whether Ice and Water are different elements ;) With how often Water and Life are connected, I've liked the idea of the basic Water spell doing single target damage and healing the party a small but useful amount. Kind of like combining Pray from Final Fantasy onto the damage spell.

Maybe Water I (once again, placeholder name) could even effect the enemy with a status ailment that makes Ice do more (no electric spells in this game) then it becomes a potential combo with ice moves.
I'd of course have an ice move remove this ailment so you can't just wail away at enemies with ice skills afterwards.
That's a cool idea. A similar thought is it makes enemies who can be frozen guaranteed to be frozen (since they are covered in water, it's easier to do). You could also have the spell be single target but it 'splashes' water on the rest of the enemies if you think water spells in general would buff ice attack follow ups.
 

overlordmikey

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That depends entirely on whether Ice and Water are different elements ;) With how often Water and Life are connected, I've liked the idea of the basic Water spell doing single target damage and healing the party a small but useful amount. Kind of like combining Pray from Final Fantasy onto the damage spell.
Water and Ice are different in this game :) . Combining Water + Pray combo - the healing could be based on DMG done to. Of course then there is the balancing act of it not outshining the already existing healing spells, but there are a LOT of ways around that. At the very least I may look into a skill that does that for one of the character's even if it's not water based.
That's a cool idea. A similar thought is it makes enemies who can be frozen guaranteed to be frozen (since they are covered in water, it's easier to do). You could also have the spell be single target but it 'splashes' water on the rest of the enemies if you think water spells in general would buff ice attack follow ups.
Well I AM using this as a chance to try different things as a learning experience. I wonder what code would be used for changing the effectiveness of an ailment well causing the proper damage. I'm still learning the way damage formula works.

Either way I have to keep in mind I am working within' a certain aesthetic. Due to the fact that we are using sprites as side battlers I have decided to use character and tilesets to create the animations for the games attacks. And looks may not be everything, but you want yer spells to look like they have the effect they are having ya know.

'Eh I'm worrying about nothing. I'm creative, and worse comes to worse I can just ask for advice right? :D
 

kirbwarrior

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Water and Ice are different in this game
I was speaking more generally, it seems about 50-50 if they are different elements, and of course FF does it even more complicated by having them be separate and water so rare.

Of course then there is the balancing act of it not outshining the already existing healing spells, but there are a LOT of ways around that.
As long as the healing is more "neat side effect" and not "I'm healing my party and I guess also doing damage" then you're set. Definitely like your idea of it being based on damage dealt, maybe like splitting that much healing among the party (which makes it weak healing with a full party but lets you try to tank hits if everyone else somehow died).

I wonder what code would be used for changing the effectiveness of an ailment well causing the proper damage. I'm still learning the way damage formula works.
I can't remember it perfectly, but I think you can do something like a state that makes someone 1000% weak to a state? That might only be elements.
 

overlordmikey

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As long as the healing is more "neat side effect" and not "I'm healing my party and I guess also doing damage" then you're set. Definitely like your idea of it being based on damage dealt, maybe like splitting that much healing among the party (which makes it weak healing with a full party but lets you try to tank hits if everyone else somehow died).
Wish I could take full credit, but I saw someone discussing something like that and thought of it when I saw that.

I can't remember it perfectly, but I think you can do something like a state that makes someone 1000% weak to a state? That might only be elements.
That can be done with states to, but I'm wondering if it can be done in a way that bypasses traditional immunity. I'm pretty sure stat-resistance overrides that.
Let's say I want an enemy who can normally NOT be frozen unless "Soaked". I believe there is a way to do that with the right formula.

The elements are Fire, Earth, Ice, and Water and now I kind want one of these for each.
I'm thinking Fire will have "Melt" which causes a Physical attack to do more damage to the effected. Obviously Ice has "Frozen".

I may even have them combo into each other so a really crafty player can juggle it to their advantage if luck is on their side.
Something like:
??? -> Soaked -> Frozen -> Melt -> Physical

Gotta think of an earth one that fits.
 

kirbwarrior

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Let's say I want an enemy who can normally NOT be frozen unless "Soaked". I believe there is a way to do that with the right formula.
To be fair, my mind immediately went to "starts with a state that makes immune to frozen that can be removed" XD

For a formula way, the other simple way is to make it so they aren't actually immune but that they are merely 0% likely to get frozen. I know that sounds weird, but they are two different things; State Rate and State Resist. If State Rate is 0%, then you can't normally gain the state, but it can be forced through an event. You could then have the attack that freezes have a check for the "soaked" state and it just gives then "frozen" if they have it, which bypasses State Rate (I hope that all made sense).

A physical move that makes earth stronger could be just sweeping the target's legs or knocking them over, "Tripped". They fall over and have more of their body affected by earthquakes. Earth attack that makes water better... You've got me there. Maybe something with sand and dehydrating?

Another thought for the difference between Water I and II; If the first one is based on another stat, then it could lean into different builds. Water I might want atk AND mat while Water II wants only mat, so Water II might look better when you get it but a focus on an atk build means Water I can be better. Plus, it might use both enemy defenses or even the lower of enemy defenses, so even if it's weaker you can take down high mdf enemies. And maybe Water I is both physical and water to take advantage of more weaknesses.
 

overlordmikey

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To be fair, my mind immediately went to "starts with a state that makes immune to frozen that can be removed" XD

For a formula way, the other simple way is to make it so they aren't actually immune but that they are merely 0% likely to get frozen. I know that sounds weird, but they are two different things; State Rate and State Resist. If State Rate is 0%, then you can't normally gain the state, but it can be forced through an event. You could then have the attack that freezes have a check for the "soaked" state and it just gives then "frozen" if they have it, which bypasses State Rate (I hope that all made sense).
That makes sense. I'll test it out and see how it works later.

A physical move that makes earth stronger could be just sweeping the target's legs or knocking them over, "Tripped". They fall over and have more of their body affected by earthquakes. Earth attack that makes water better... You've got me there. Maybe something with sand and dehydrating?
"Dry"? Maybe. I'll give it more thought.
Another thought for the difference between Water I and II; If the first one is based on another stat, then it could lean into different builds. Water I might want atk AND mat while Water II wants only mat, so Water II might look better when you get it but a focus on an atk build means Water I can be better. Plus, it might use both enemy defenses or even the lower of enemy defenses, so even if it's weaker you can take down high mdf enemies. And maybe Water I is both physical and water to take advantage of more weaknesses.
This could go well with another idea I had considered not using for awhile - which is instead of traditional stat growth the player is able to pick what stats they increase for the characters using the Stat Allocation script from Yanfly letting players experiment with different builds and abilities that work best for them! This will also make it so players don't feel they have to grind EVERY magic spell if they don't want to. They can instead focus on the magics that go with their build for each character.
Edit: They also won't feel like certain spells are just meant for certain characters.
 

kirbwarrior

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This could go well with another idea I had considered not using for awhile - which is instead of traditional stat growth the player is able to pick what stats they increase for the characters using the Stat Allocation script from Yanfly letting players experiment with different builds and abilities that work best for them! This will also make it so players don't feel they have to grind EVERY magic spell if they don't want to. They can instead focus on the magics that go with their build for each character.
If you got that route, you could have branching skills, too. "Water A" could be the half physical half magical skill, "Water B" could be a fully magic spell, "Water C" could be fully physical.

You could also have spells be learned in whatever order the player wants. I played a game recently that did that and I really felt like I wanted every spell available so choosing was basically how I wanted to build my party.
 

RCXDan

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@overlordmikey My answer to this would be to:

Have different skills accomplish different things, as opposed to having a skill that is just the same thing but stronger... made much worse if the older spell is still available to use but it costs less MP to use.

Not only is there more clutter in the skill menu, but less MP and less power isn't really a good reason to keep something around. It may sound economical but even in the best case scenario the spell just feels like a cheaper, spammier alternative. Worst case it's completely forgotten.

The naming scheme of "[skill] 1" and "[skill] 2" can absolutely throw your players off if the spells do have different effects, and is generally better to come up with unique names anyway (like "Ice Claw" and "Ice Breath" being two different instances of an ice move.)

Generally speaking if you plan to introduce "same skill but stronger" you should probably invest in a "skills replace skills" script to remove the outdated skills. I especially do this with my healing spells: Healing Alpha (25% + user's magic attack) is replaced by Healing Beta (50%) and eventually Omega (heals up to full), but Gamma (version 3) stays intact because it's a full party heal for 50%.

Cooldowns can help distinguish between skills, especially if Gamma has a one or two turn limit to prevent spamming.

Like. A good idea off the bat: a monster that can't be harmed by physical attacks, so you have to use magic to defeat it. Good thing you just learned that fancy Ice Breath move to deal with it.

Likewise, the amount of danger your player is in. Ice Breath is good with dispatching groups of weak enemies, but is bad against a single strong opponent. Break out Ice Claw to do way more damage, especially if it's used by a physical attacker.

Applying different status effects is also a good idea too, like what if Ice Claw can also inflict bleeding even if the enemy is immune to freezing, and bleeding can help turn the tides in a fight by lowering the enemy's attack and defense? That kinda thing. :LZScheeze:
 
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overlordmikey

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If you got that route, you could have branching skills, too. "Water A" could be the half physical half magical skill, "Water B" could be a fully magic spell, "Water C" could be fully physical.

You could also have spells be learned in whatever order the player wants. I played a game recently that did that and I really felt like I wanted every spell available so choosing was basically how I wanted to build my party.
@overlordmikey
Like. A good idea off the bat: a monster that can't be harmed by physical attacks, so you have to use magic to defeat it. Good thing you just learned that fancy Ice Breath move to deal with it.

Likewise, the amount of danger your player is in. Ice Breath is good with dispatching groups of weak enemies, but is bad against a single strong opponent. Break out Ice Claw to do way more damage, especially if it's used by a physical attacker.

Applying different status effects is also a good idea too, like what if Ice Claw can also inflict bleeding even if the enemy is immune to freezing, and bleeding can help turn the tides in a fight by lowering the enemy's attack and defense? That kinda thing. :LZScheeze:

Hmmmm, actually I might be able to combine some of these ideas.
Having the "three" versions of the spell. All spells get some kinda "umph" from M.Attack, but then they have a second stat they draw from (the following is hypothetical):
Fire Spells; Atk & M ATK.

Fire Spell 1 is split between the two. Meaning unless a character is built as some kind of Magic Knight or balanced the effectiveness of this spell is overall hindered. It does however have a chance of causing either of the ailments that Fire can cause ("Melt" & for this example an ailment called "Burn"). This type of spell could be great if yer trying to lay down some ailments on an enemy, setting up a combo, or have a character built for both magic and attack.

Fire Spell 2 is mostly attack magic with only a little umph drawn from atk. Theoretically this is the spell that you wanna use if yer a straight up mage. Although it can't cause "Burn" it has a near perfect chance of causing "Melt" setting up for a combo.

Fire Spell 3 is mostly atk with a little umph from m.attack. It has a high chance of causing "Burn" but since it can't cause "Melt" it breaks the combo chain (although it still get's a bonus for hitting a frozen enemy).

A similar set up for the others except:
Earth might be DEF.
Ice is M.DEF.
and Water is AGI.
Which works because there is another element that isn't part of the chain called Void which can be effected by LUK.

Once again this is hypothetical. But that is one way I could go about it. That way no matter how you build a character there is a spell that suits them.

Edit: I am still debating how/if I want a spell that hits all. I was thinking either Void hits all or the Spell 2 hits all.
 

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