Kill it with Fire! I'm looking for feedback on spells.

Tanarex

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3 of my characters can gain 10 skills. The 4th gains spells instead. All of them can acquire abilities (the first 3 Skills or in the case of the 4th character spells) that have a single target, two targets, three targets, or hit all enemies. The problem is that the spell user acquires elemental magic. The first basic spell he has is Fire Breath. It can hit a single enemy. Later on, he gets Cyclone that hits two. Then Meteors that hits 3. And finally, Ice Storm hits all. The four basic elements. The problem is when he has to fight monsters that are immune to certain elemental magic. A water creature will be immune to Ice Magic. While all the other characters can use their ultimate abilities to hit them all the wizard's ultimate ability will do nothing. So if there are 4 or 5 water creatures he is pretty screwed. He can use Firebreath but it will only hit one. I'm trying to keep all the character's skills even. So what is the answer? I could have his spells level up as he progresses. Fire breath 1. M.P 5. Firebreath 2. M.P 8. By the time he has all spells he will have about 15 extra spells. I was also gonna give each spell a different name instead of the unimaginative Fire Breath 2, 3, etc. Fire breath 2 would be called Blaze. Fire Breath 3 would be called Inferno, etc. Of course, that would make him sound even more stupidly powerful than the others. He will have about 4 ultimate elemental abilities. Any thoughts on this?
 

ATT_Turan

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I'm not sure what piece of game design is served by rigidly saying you need all of the characters to have exactly the same number of abilities, when they function differently. If he needs more spells to be able to perform equivalently, give them to him.

If it matters to some piece of aesthetic or something for you, there are a number of ways you can manipulate this with plugins. Yanfly's Target Core and Selection Control allow you to toggle a skill's targeting from single target to group, so your wizard wouldn't need to have more spells in his list. SRD's Skill Extender allows you to nest skills in a category, so your wizard would just choose fire/wind/water/ice, then have a second window pop up where he can choose the specific skill in that category to be single target, area, whatever.
 

Zerothedarklord

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I think the number of targets hit being determined by the element of the spell is what is really screwing you. Simply remove that restriction, and you fix the entire problem.
 

Kenen

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The problem is when he has to fight monsters that are immune to certain elemental magic.

I'm trying to keep all the character's skills even. So what is the answer?

Drop the elemental idea. If you want each character to have a fixed number of skills/spells (10), and 3 out of 4 of your characters have skills that deal damage irrespective of element, it doesn't make a lot of sense from a design standpoint for your 4th character's skill/spell damage to be based on elements.

Another way of phrasing it might be to say that it's unusual to build an entire elemental resistance system that is only going to be utilized by one party member.

You could always simplify things to a physical and magical element system if you really wanted your 4th character to deal a different "type" of damage than the other 3.

If you still want the flavor of elements, you could consider elemental spells adding status effects such as chilled, shocked, and burning.
 

Milennin

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Easy. Just don't have elemental rock/paper/scissors.
 

ATT_Turan

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Easy. Just don't have elemental rock/paper/scissors.

Drop the elemental idea. If you want each character to have a fixed number of skills/spells (10), and 3 out of 4 of your characters have skills that deal damage irrespective of element, it doesn't make a lot of sense from a design standpoint for your 4th character's skill/spell damage to be based on elements.
Not bad feedback. But also not necessarily the case...we don't know anything about how the other characters function. If each character is supposed to have tactical choices about which skill they use and which enemy they attack, it can make sense. For example, one character is a melee combatant who can't hit aerial enemies at all, another has a double attack that does good damage by hitting adjacent enemies but below average effectiveness if he attacks an enemy that's on its own.

In that case, it would make sense to say just one character has attacks based on elements that do above average damage but only if they're targeted correctly. We also don't know whether the other characters can use equipment that adds elemental damage to their attacks.

Of course, I don't know that the OP's game is in this style with this kind of depth...but it is a bit of a blanket statement to offer a response of just "don't have elements."
 

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My first thought reading this, is that you're not doing your game any favors by making your characters so similar in their function - interchangeable characters tend to be boring characters.

There are certainly games that work well with interchangeable characters, but they are more the exception than the rule and tend to be games where some underlying mechanic (such as positioning on a grid) is supposed to mean more than using a character's kit of skills well. From what you've described so far, your system does not strike me as that.

So, what are some options available to you?
  • Diversify your characters' kits more. Make them more interesting. Give them different strengths and weaknesses. Maybe one character tends to have most of the AoE skills, whereas another character hits with mostly single-target skills but can inflict a lot of status effects, and yet another character hits exclusively single-target but has great ways to draw aggro and keep himself alive.
  • Drop the elemental system. I'm inclined to agree with this suggestion made by several others above, because it seems to be designing you into a bit of a corner without adding a whole lot.
  • Accept that the wizard will be especially useful in some combats, and less useful in others. Maybe the wizard will be the main DPS against large groups of fire enemies (who are weak to water), but against large groups of ice enemies he might get relegated to Item duty. That's not a particularly bad thing in itself, and it may be one of the things that makes each combat feel unique.
  • Play around more with your troop compositions. You may find you get more interesting results when you have, say, two ice enemies, a fire enemy, and a plant enemy in the same troop. Now it really matters who you're targeting on any given turn, and there may be some reward in splitting your characters' focuses rather than having everyone always pile on the same enemy.
  • Make the single-target skills appropriately powerful so that using the Fire spell against a single target feels just as good, sometimes, as using the Water spell against four targets.
  • Give the player some way to choose which spells they want to upgrade to additional targets, through an upgrade system, rather than always making it 1 = Fire, 2 = Wind, etc.
 

Tanarex

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@ATT_Turan It's just a pet peeve of mine. Trying to make everything equal but unique. I think it will also unintentionally point out how terrible one of the characters is. The Warrior character has strong defense and offense but weak vs magic and is slow. The Ranger is the middle of the road. The wizard has a strong magic attack but a weak physical attack. He is also the only one with healing powers. So if he runs out of magic he is screwed. But the thief has terrible physical defense and attack. But he has unique abilities like steal, cower and flee. He also gets the short end of the stick on non-combat abilities. It just turned out that way.
As for plugins I'm still using VX Ace. So that is a no-go. I don't know if there is an equivalent script that can serve the same function. The 2 and 3 target abilities hit random enemies. So that could be a problem if he is fighting 2 fire creatures and 2 ice creatures. He might randomly hit 2 fire creatures with a fire spell. So I don't know if there is a script where you can choose your targets. The game is almost finished so I don't want to switch to a new program. I also want the stronger spells to be more powerful than the previous one.
@Zerothedarklord The problem with that would be when fighting multiple enemies the wizard would be able to blast them all while everyone else can only hit one at a time.
@Kenen Well, he is an Elementalist. So Elemental magic is his thing. The type of weapon also determined the effectiveness on certain enemies. A tree monster will be resistant (take less damage) from arrows and daggers but weak vs axes. I still don't want a fire elemental to be damaged by fire. I want an element of strategy in the game. So people have to think and not just be on autopilot during battles. Choose the strongest attack against all enemies for all characters and end turn. One character does piercing damage. One does stabbing damage. One does slashing damage. And one does magic damage. The elementals also have a chance to cause side effects as you mentioned. All of the ultimate abilities have different additional effects.
@Milennin Where is the fun in that?
@ATT_Turan Yes, each character has a different role to play. Different strengths and weaknesses. Each character is also weak to a creature type. The warrior is weak to critters (small creatures). Because they can crawl under chinks of his armor to claw and bite. The Elven Elementalist takes extra damage from humanoids because he has a condescending attitude towards non-high elves so it makes them want to hit him all the harder. Note: There are no other high elves in this game. The ranger with the crossbow deals extra damage to fliers. While fliers have resistance to all other weapons. Because they are harder to hit. Excluding magic attacks. Which deals normal damage. Unless they are vulnerable (deals more damage) or resistant (deals less damage) to that element. Note: Anything covered in fur is weak to fire.
I do have an enchanting skill that the Elementalist gets halfway through the game that can give high-end weapons a single elemental property. Which will help nullify resistance or add to vulnerability. The trade-off is that if you try to add a different element to an elemental weapon it replaces the previous one. So a character won't have all-powerful weapons. But I think I'll leave out the bonus effects so people just don't choose fire because it causes burning.
 

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@Milennin Where is the fun in that?
Do you think it is fun that some (half, give or take) of your skill just doesn't work?

Not bad feedback. But also not necessarily the case...we don't know anything about how the other characters function. If each character is supposed to have tactical choices about which skill they use and which enemy they attack, it can make sense.
The key point here is about "tactical choice".
When the enemy is immune to a certain element, that is not a tactical choice, but rather a right or wrong choice.

In my opinion, if the character is designed to just spam elemental skills, that would be a pretty boring character. it is about choosing the right skill all time.

But before proceeding further, what defines a "tactical choice".
In my book, it means when you have several options to choose from and they have their own pros and cons. Your choice depends on few considerations. It is not the same as when it is obvious that if you do this, you are wrong. In this case, the elemental immunity.

As absurd as it sounds like, I prefer that if I can burn fire with fire, They damage each other rather than a complete immunity or even absorption. It's the starter. So, even if you use the skill that has less effect on the enemy, you still make a progress. We can add more tactical choices by adding complexity in the mechanic.
- Skill cooldown
- Skill effect

First, skill cooldown.
I love the skill cooldown mechanic because it gives a tactical choice whether to use the skill at this turn or later. Or wait for the skill to be usable or to use whatever skill that is available right now. Without elemental immunity, you have an option to damage the enemy and defeat it because you need a few bumps of damage because it will be dangerous in the next turn. Or maybe, you choose to put a defense for the next turn.

Second, skill effect.
For example, using fire breath also increases all-party attacks. Even though the enemy is not effective if attacked by fire, you still damage the enemy a little while also buffing the entire party. Or you can just use an ice attack to damage the enemy that deals higher damage than your fire breath.

Granted, we don't know the context of the game, but of course, that is why we are here, in the general channel. We can assume everything. If the OP wanted a feedback specifically for their game, they need to provide more info and this topic better get moved to prototype channel.

---------
Elemental damage is good. But if you shape your game ONLY around making element rps, you might as well as just create an entirely different game. Such as tactic or TCG. That works better.
 

ATT_Turan

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As for plugins I'm still using VX Ace. So that is a no-go. I don't know if there is an equivalent script that can serve the same function.
My apologies, I totally spaced and didn't look at your game engine. I don't know either, but it's worth looking.
The key point here is about "tactical choice".
When the enemy is immune to a certain element, that is not a tactical choice, but rather a right or wrong choice.
True! Again, it depends a bit on implementation - if the skills have secondary effects regardless of their damage, then choosing which of those to implement can matter. And if you're encountering new enemies and you don't know their elemental affinities, deciding how to find out could involve choice.

But, generally I agree with you as to that specific wording. I will add, however, that even if it's not necessarily a tactical choice, I still think choosing to use the correct elemental spell against a given enemy requires more input from the player and is thus more interesting than simply hitting "attack" each turn...so there's that. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 

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Easy. Just don't have elemental rock/paper/scissors.
@Milennin Where is the fun in that?
So, I know that taking away a consideration like elements, intuitively, would make things less fun or interesting... but in practice it can actually free up a lot of room to allow fun and interesting decisions. Take for instance a battle against a boss, where you have three different skills available (for simplicity - I know in your case you have 10), and Elemental weaknesses/resistances don't exist:
  • One skill deals moderate damage and heals the user for 30% of damage dealt.
  • One skill deals moderate damage and temporarily slows the enemy, meaning they will act last in the order for a couple turns.
  • One skill deals moderate damage and makes the user much less likely to be targeted this turn.
Each of these skills provides a main function of damage, but comes with a different type of utility that offers an interesting decision to make. You might opt for the skill with the self-heal if the battle is turning into a war of attrition, or if the user's HP is getting low. You might opt for the skill with the enemy slow effect if the boss is spiking down other allies quickly and your healer hasn't been able to heal allies before they are KO'ed, or if the boss can cleanse his own status effects and you plan to use other, more important statuses next turn. You might opt for the skill with the untargetable buff if other allies have far more HP than the user does (and the boss doesn't have a lot of AoE's), or if the user has a significant DEF debuff right now.

Now, consider what it looks like when we add Elemental RPS into the mix. Assume the boss is resistant to Fire and weak to Water, and the three skills available are:
  • One skill deals moderate Water damage, which will be doubled to intense Water damage due to elemental weakness, and heals the user for 30% of damage dealt.
  • One skill deals moderate Lightning damage and temporarily slows the enemy.
  • One skill deals moderate Fire damage, which will be halved to slight Fire damage due to elemental resistance, and makes the user much less likely to be targeted this turn.
All of a sudden, it becomes a completely waste to do anything except use the first skill (Water damage + self-heal), even if the user is already at full health, because you're putting as much damage out in one turn as you could with two Lightning skills or four Fire skills. The choice is already made for you - there's no interesting decision left to make based on the context of the battle. Every turn against this boss, you will want to use that first Water skill.

It's for this reason that removing mechanics can sometimes offer the other, more interesting mechanics a lot more room to breathe.
 

Tanarex

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@Wavelength Each of the four characters are completely different. Each has at least one Bane skill. Which allows them to do additional damage to a specific creature type. The Bounty Hunter(Ranger type) has Debuff Stats skills and long-range. The thief has abnormal stats skills and unique abilities. The Elementalist has elemental skills and healing powers. The Monster Slayer (Warrior type) has buff skills and defense abilities. But I don't have a positioning grid. If an Elementalist can't handle ice enemies then he is a pretty crappy Elementalist. But I get what you are saying. Some enemies will have higher magic defense. I do have different enemies together. Each with its own strengths and weaknesses. In the first mini-dungeon, I have encounters consisting of rats, bats, alligators, and oozes. The thief for the rats. The bounty hunter for the bats. The Elementalist for the oozes. And the Monster Slayer for the Alligator. I'm not gonna add an upgrade system for skills/spells. That will cause its own problem. If you find out a boss has a weakness to one spell but you spent time investing in another then you might have to go back and change it. Besides, there really aren't enough spells to choose from. I figured at certain levels the skills/spells will all be upgraded to hit additional targets. With a message popping up that says something like "In addition to your basic Elemental spells all of them can now hit 2 targets. But will cost more mana."
@TheoAllen It won't be half. It might be one. Trying to use fire on a fire elemental is like trying to drown a fish with water. I'm not gonna have the characters battle enemies that are immune to all their attacks. The Elementalist will have water spells before he encounters Fire Elementals. So he won't be defenseless. The spells will do the same damage and cost the same. But have a chance to cause a bonus effect. So you may end up casting a spell on something that has no resistance or immunity in hopes of a bonus effect. I intend to have cool-down effects for more powerful spells/skills. So people just down spam them every turn. I don't want debuff/buff abilities to stack. I just have to figure out what script that calls for. Of course, you still need the TP/MP to use the ability. I have a character that gives Buffs, etc. What does OP stand for? It's not RPS. That would require having to guess the enemy's weakness. Elemental damage is just a part of the game. There are also Bane skills, weapon types, buff/debuffs, abnormal stats effects, and unique mechanics.
@ATT_Turan I usually give the player a heads up on their enemy's weakness beforehand. There is also a bestiary book that has detailed pages with pictures of enemies and weaknesses and strengths. You can choose which chapter to look at. But the book is hidden so you have to find it. I should really add a scan mechanic.
@Wavelength All elemental spells equivalent will deal the same damage. But have different bonus effects. The enemy's weakness will only deal about 10% increased damage. I'm not gonna have a vampiric spell. Too powerful. Well, for the Elementalist anyway. He is also the party's only healer. He can heal, cure and rez. But all that cost mana. The others will have to use potions. Finally, there is a limited amount of mana potions that can be bought or made. There is a money management theme to the game. So people don't show up with 100 Elixirs.
Ok, I'll remove immunity and just have resistance for spells. Even though Final Fantasy itself has creatures that are either completely immune to some attacks or it absorbs them instead.
 

ATT_Turan

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Ok, I'll remove immunity and just have resistance for spells. Even though Final Fantasy itself has creatures that are either completely immune to some attacks or it absorbs them instead.
Final Fantasy also has zero characters who are limited to only elemental damage types.
 

Milennin

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@ATT_Turan@Milennin Where is the fun in that?
Where's the fun in seeing a water enemy and having your only effective option be the lightning spell? Or seeing a fire enemy, and your only effective option is a water spell?
Fun comes from making meaningful decisions in combat. When the decision is made for you by elemental tags put on an enemy, where exactly is the fun in that?

But I mean, if you can expand on the elemental rock/paper/scissors and provide meaningful choice that goes beyond simply picking whichever element the enemy is weak to, then that could very well work. But if your character has 1 elemental spell of each type, and you're only going to pick the one the enemy is weak to, then I don't see how that's fun to play? Maybe you could explain that to me?
 

Tanarex

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Final Fantasy also has zero characters who are limited to only elemental damage types.
Are you sure about that? elemental magic.PNG
Where's the fun in seeing a water enemy and having your only effective option be the lightning spell? Or seeing a fire enemy, and your only effective option is a water spell?
Fun comes from making meaningful decisions in combat. When the decision is made for you by elemental tags put on an enemy, where exactly is the fun in that?

But I mean, if you can expand on the elemental rock/paper/scissors and provide meaningful choice that goes beyond simply picking whichever element the enemy is weak to, then that could very well work. But if your character has 1 elemental spell of each type, and you're only going to pick the one the enemy is weak to, then I don't see how that's fun to play? Maybe you could explain that to me?
Actually, there is the non-elemental Spell called Banish that can also hit elementals. He gets it before the second battle. It costs more but it does more damage. Also, there is no lightning spell. There should be but then I'd feel compelled to create another ability for everyone else. And I have too many spells and skills as is. I'm about halfway through the game and they each only have 3 skills or spells.
 

ATT_Turan

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Are you sure about that?
You're either being silly or intentionally contentious. A character that's only present for less than 10 minutes during the initial exposition obviously has no impact on the game's overall design and balance. Either way it has no effect on your planning for your game nor your conversation in this thread.

I would wager that if you asked a dozen people to list the playable characters in Final Fantasy 6, they would only say the lasting party members - never Biggs and Wedge.
 

Milennin

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Actually, there is the non-elemental Spell called Banish that can also hit elementals. He gets it before the second battle. It costs more but it does more damage. Also, there is no lightning spell. There should be but then I'd feel compelled to create another ability for everyone else. And I have too many spells and skills as is. I'm about halfway through the game and they each only have 3 skills or spells.
That didn't answer my question.
 

Tanarex

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You're either being silly or intentionally contentious. A character that's only present for less than 10 minutes during the initial exposition obviously has no impact on the game's overall design and balance. Either way it has no effect on your planning for your game nor your conversation in this thread.

I would wager that if you asked a dozen people to list the playable characters in Final Fantasy 6, they would only say the lasting party members - never Biggs and Wedge.
I thought that was Terra's spells but I was wrong. About 4 hours into the game, however, Terra only has 4 elemental spells and a drain health spell. So basically the same.

That didn't answer my question.
You mean why is it fun to play a game that is based on the Final Fantasy Elemental system that has been around since 1987? Where some enemies have resistance, some are vulnerable and some are immune to certain spells? That has sold millions of games worldwide? IDK. Why would anyone play a game like that? You got me stumped there.
 

ATT_Turan

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I thought that was Terra's spells but I was wrong. About 4 hours into the game, however, Terra only has 4 elemental spells and a drain health spell. So basically the same.
...she also has a perfectly normal attack that hits with swords. So not at all the same.

You started this thread asking for people to give you opinions on how to help your system, but every reply you write seems to be fighting against what they say and trying to reinforce this opinion you've formed for yourself as to why the way you've already done it is right (ignoring the fact that it's gotten you into a predicament).

There's not really any point in replying any further if you're not interested in rational conversation. I wish you the best with your project.
 

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You mean why is it fun to play a game that is based on the Final Fantasy Elemental system that has been around since 1987? Where some enemies have resistance, some are vulnerable and some are immune to certain spells? That has sold millions of games worldwide? IDK. Why would anyone play a game like that?
Are you sure FF sold a million copies has a direct correlation to their element system?
 

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