Let's talk about escaping from battle

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by TheoAllen, Mar 21, 2019.

  1. TheoAllen

    TheoAllen Self-proclaimed jack of all trades Veteran

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    "Don't you just hate it when u hit run/escape button, you failed and basically the enemies get a free turn?" - Me @ random status update.

    Let's admit it, the default escaping feature is bad. It's AGI based which if the troop AGI is higher than you, you basically locked in the battle, and an attempt to escape will get an enemy a free turn to bully your entire party. Granted, the success rate for escaping increased for every failed attempt to escape by default. But the enemy still gets a free turn and you can't do something about it.

    Let's put aside anything that goes like "If you escaped a lot, it means your battle is unengaging" or anything that leads into the design of the battle. So here are some questions
    > How do you deal with escaping from battle?
    > Do you put a 100% success rate? Or maybe some QTE that if you hit the mark, you escaped successfully?
    > Or even not allowed to escape from battle?
    > If you're using visible encounter, what happened to the map encounter event after you escaped the battle?

    I personally thought of using 100% escape success rate. However, after 2 escapes, you will be locked in 1 turn cooldown before you can escape in the next battle. And if you keep escaping, for every 2 escapes, it adds 1 more turn cooldown. Means after 4 escapes, the next battle will have 2 turns cooldown before you can escape. Currently, I couldn't really test this as I barely escape from my own game battle, so it is untested yet from my players.
     
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  2. Finnuval

    Finnuval World (his)story builder and barrel of ideas Veteran

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    Personally i don't hate being able to escape nor it having consequences when you fail at escaping but the standard you fail so the enemy gets a free turn isn't the best solution imo.

    Not every battle should be escapable to begin with (not just talking boss-fights either) but rather it also be determined by the number of enemies for instance. I also find any escape-mechanic more forgivable when the player is informed of what his chances are so that let's say there is a 80% chance of failure you know the risk you take...

    Beside that I feel a debuff for the player in stats for several turns (1 or 2) for instance to be more into place then a free turn for the enemy. The free turn mechanic in my opinion works for an ambush battle but even then I am not always a fan of it. Having it be a penalty for trying to escape is even worse.

    This might work and it might not, really hard to judge without playing it. Personally i think it's better then the standard but if it's good... I dunno

    Anyway that's my two cents :D
     
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  3. Padramyr

    Padramyr Veteran Veteran

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    I have on map encounters in my game and left the escape possibility as it is by default. It's risky to try to run because you're not entirely focused on the enemy nor on the environment at that time. If you run successfully, you escape with no harm because you outsmart the enemy. But if you fail, you run against a tree root or something and then the enemy can hit you (that's my ingame explanation).
    But there's a character who can use a spell to disperse the enemy without giving you any kind of reward for that. That enemy will vanish on the map and respawns like every other enemy when you reenter the map or after some time passes. That spell doesn't work on bosses as you can't run from bosses ^.^
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2019
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  4. Kupotepo

    Kupotepo Fantasy realist Veteran

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    @Padramyr, sound like a great idea: a banishing spell.

    I come up with an idea of bribe human enemies to escape a battle with 100 percents success rate, except for run away from a boss of course. I need to test to see what will happen.

    Meat uses for escapting wolves, dogs, or meat eater monsters. I think this system would help maintain a game economic too.

    The problem with escape the road block enemies and placement of chests without conditional branches can be problematic if not careful when design a map.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2019
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  5. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    For my game I used 100% escape chance, and since all battles are on the map, what I do is I also have the enemy you ran from stop in place for a few seconds, done via a Set Move Route -> wait(300) command. I also have the player take one step backwards if possible. This way there is a one space gap between you and the enemy you ran from, and they don't immediately chase you.

    Now I did play a game that did a different take on this. What they did was when you hit escape you were guaranteed to run, but you didn't run right away. Instead the run took some time, and the enemy still got their turns in the meantime. Usually what it resulted in was you ran away after the enemy all took their current turn, so you had to be able to still survive that much, but it was still a guaranteed run.
     
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  6. MushroomCake28

    MushroomCake28 KAMO Studio Veteran

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    I also do 100% escape rate. Simpler and less frustrating. I see it that way: if you keep escaping, you'll be underleveled and will be punished indirectly for it.
     
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  7. Oddball

    Oddball Veteran Veteran

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    What if after your failed escape, a state is put on the party were if they take damage, they counter attack the enemy? Or heck, if we want to be creative, maybe the enemy asks you a riddle in order to escape, and if you get it correct, they leave the battle? Or maybe you have 100% escape sucess, but when you escape, you take a status or more enemies appear that chase you or maybe you have to bribe the enemies in order to escape. With Gold, or potions or stuff
     
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  8. Redeye

    Redeye Chronicles Creator Veteran

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    I like to keep escape chance guaranteed, but give the player some sort of penalty. You could lose some gold, or maybe you could tie a resource to escaping, like making it cost MP or a special item.

    Or you could keep the escape chance as it is, and have the chance increase or decrease based on if you got a preemptive or an ambush. Preemptive strikes would have a 100% success rate, while enemy ambushes would prevent you from escaping altogether.
     
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  9. The Mighty Palm

    The Mighty Palm Resident Palm Tree Restaff

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    Good question, because really you shouldn't be running from battles. It's always bad for you in the long run.
    But still I can think of a few viable reasons why you would want to escape:

    1. Your party is weak, and you're trying to get through/out of the area and heal.
    2. You're revisiting an older area and just want to go through it ASAP.
    3. You've encountered an enemy troop that's too strong for you right now.

    There's probably more, but with those in mind, I think a success rate that grows each turn would be best. Say have it start at a 75%, then turn 2 90%, turn 3 100%. While also keeping it so that if the enemy is weaker than you (for revisiting areas) that it's automatically 100%.
    This leaves room for items or skills that give 100% escape rate (like a smoke bomb or teleport spell), and also maintains a certain level of danger when fighting enemies too strong for you.

    Because the biggest issue for me with 100% rate: is that if your game is open-ended, like mine, then you'd be able to go to areas you're not supposed to and get high-level gear just by running away from all the strong enemies that are meant to deter you.

    A penalty like losing gold or etc is a good thought, but it still doesn't solve the issue of "why do any battles at all if I can just run from them?"
    I'm worried that if the player has to actively choose to grind for exp by doing "optional" battles, it'll feel like a chore than a trial.
     
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  10. richter_h

    richter_h Eh? Sweetroll? Veteran

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    1. It's a mandatory feature, it's always present in most encounters but not for certain scenarios that I'll explain it in next points. Nothing fancy here, by the way.
    2. No, the success rate should be directly proportional to party's average speed (no, not AGI, but speed) and enemies's average speed as well. Why? Well, let's say, how could you escape from something that runs fast like Zephyr demon or Sonic if your party could be overrun by them anyway?
    3. Some encounters, however, don't allow party to escape battle. For example, if your party is facing some sort of boss that must be defeated to make progress in the story OR if your party is already surrounded by a horde of enemies, then how could you think about escaping?
    4. Theo my friend, you've already known how I pulled the visible encounter and what interaction it makes if party escaped the battle, so I think I don't have to explain this. For those who don't know about it, however, I'll give you a gist of it; the encounter even will remain static and "phasing" for a certain duration (around 10 seconds).
    Depending on the game design, the escape mechanism could be pulled in many ways and there's no silver bullet for this matter. So, all I can say here is "just make it reasonable and fair enough for players."
     
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  11. Windows i7

    Windows i7 Veteran Veteran

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    I personally like how Persona 5 handled this. If you run from a battle, you are definitely penalized in that the palace security increases (and if that hits 100% you're forced out of the palace and have to return another in-game day). Likewise, the game also rewards fighting (pretty much what got me addicted to it lol).
     
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  12. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    I've never really considered the "escape" command. Probably because in an RPG, I never use it. I fight every single battle I'm in, no matter how pitiful the rewards or how tough the opponent. Not sure why I do this. Perhaps I'm stubborn.

    I left my at whatever MV defaults at. It is what it is.

    However, I did program in an "Escape!" skill for my enemies (no, not all of them). When the player fulfills certain conditions (for example, inflicting "Burn" on a wolf) the enemies will flee with a 100% chance of doing so. I put this into the game so that players who suddenly found themselves "hitting a hurdle", would have the option of making the enemy run away from them instead. In this fashion, any enemies they'd killed, they'd still get rewards for, but any that ran away... well.. they ran, no reward for them.

    Though, one must keep in mind that the vast majority of my enemies do not "run" from combat. I put it on the enemies that are meant to be a significant jump in difficulty from what the players were previously fighting so that players can "back off", or have a way to reliably end combat, even if "Escape" for them doesn't work.
     
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  13. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    @The Mighty Palm : One solution to that is to put enemies that do not move at all that block the high level items. Then you can't run away from them and get the gear.

    In my next game, since it is going to be more open ended, I'm thinking of making it that if you run away you run all the way to the nearest safe zone. Though I'll have to test it to see how it works in practice, especially for cases where the player is back in an area where the enemies are weak and they just want to avoid fights (though I have another solution I use for that, I have it that if your level is above level x in a zone, the enemies run away from you on the map. Then the only way you will get a fight is you chased them down and forced them into one).
     
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  14. Kuro DCupu

    Kuro DCupu Trust me, I'm a veteran RMer Veteran

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    I see no problem with the classic escape "lose a turn when fail to attempt an escape".
    IMO the real problem is the same as how classic guard "halven damage received this turn" is so underrated.
    The risk and the humiliation just ain't worth taking. I bet most player don't hit that button for that reason.

    There's no escape on my battle anyway. BUT, if escape is really mandatory...
    1. Put the success percentage rate next to the escape button to make it looks more useful >>> Escape (50%)
    2. Have variant skills / states that could rise your escape rate >>> Smoke Bomb : Reduce enemies hit rate 3 turns. Escape +100% for a turn.
    3. Also skills / states that counter it >>> Taunt : Escape -50%
    4. (optional) Dynamic escape which factor all necessary variable every turn. Example : If AGI is the only factor for escape, then raising / lowering party / enemies AGI will also contribute your escape rate.
    5. (optional) Raise the game difficulty.
    This won't change the game mechanic that much, but sure would help escape to be more recognized as a part of the battle mechanic.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2019
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  15. Mimironi

    Mimironi But what do I know? Veteran

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    i make my escapes 100%! I mean, it's optional. The player doesn't have to escape if they don't want to. They can challenge themselves against whatever odds the current battle has.

    I do this because whenever I personally decide to escape from a battle, its because im currently not in the mood for battles (either low on resources, want to advance the story, trying to find a save point, etc), so whenever I fail to escape, it annoys me quite a bit...

    I've had too many situations where i try to escape, fail, and just keep on trying because I literally just said I don't want to fight! Lemme out of this battle!

    If I let the 100% escape rate get to my head and become under-leveled due to escaping too much, then I'll just go ahead and grind somewhere :D!
     
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  16. Milennin

    Milennin "With a bang and a boom!" Veteran

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    My last game had no Escape option. For my new game, I'll have an item that grants Escape at a 100% success rate. In my opinion, Escape should 100% of the times work, or not be there at all. I hate RNG-based Escape.
     
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  17. Aesica

    Aesica undefined Veteran

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    I'm probably being overly generous, but random encounters (only on the overworld now, and I may replace those with something else) are 100% escapable AND there's plenty of ways to disable them entirely such as a vehicle, consumable item, etc. Dungeon encounters can't be escaped, but they're also either static fixtures blocking paths or roaming around (without chasing) so the player is the one who chooses when to engage to the point where the action button is used to initiate rather than player/event touch. This is because, as a player, I find I'm actually eager to fight when I get to choose the terms and when I know winning will progress me further along the path. In contrast, getting thrown into random battles every few steps when I just want to explore just gets on my nerves.

    If I did allow players to escape visible encounters with a typical chase-the-player event touch setup, I'd probably have the initiating event "stun" itself for a second or two after the player flees so they could move away without immediately being thrown back into combat with the same foe again.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2019
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  18. Doktor_Q

    Doktor_Q I'm not a real doktor, but I am a real Q Veteran

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    There was another thread on this topic last year, which still has some good discussions.

    I would say the danger of having a 100% escape rate for free is that it makes your encounters into popup windows- "Do I want to fight this? No? Gotta dismiss it."

    If the player should be able to avoid the battle altogether, I would prefer a system that lets you actually about them all on the map, or just go all the way and let them disable encounters directly.

    The other use case for escape is when a given battle is going poorly, and they want to give up without a game over. At this point it makes more sense to implement some kind of cost or restriction, so they can't just push the button and be on their merry way as if the battle didn't just happen.

    One of my personal favorite handlings is in cases where battles can be evaded in the map, and are intended as part of the difficulty of the dungeon- you can run away at will, but you are moved back to the previous room. Rather than "I don't want to fight," it acts as more of a way of resetting the puzzle.
     
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  19. lianderson

    lianderson Veteran Veteran

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    I personally just messed around with the formula so it's a bit easier to escape.
     
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  20. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    I personally believe that you should not allow players to consistently escape from your battles with no penalties/drawbacks and 100% reliability. It removes all of the threat (and therefore most of the excitement) from your combat system, and sets battles up as a "tool" rather than as part of an "adventure".

    In my two recent projects, you simply can't escape from battle. One of these games, bosses make up a majority of the battles; the other, losing a battle doesn't cause a Game Over, and so I'd rather give the player the experience of fighting out a really tough "random" encounter than make it appealing to abort the battle halfway through (additionally, it has other mechanics that would work poorly with a mid-battle abort).

    I think if I were to design an Escape system in an epic turn-based RPG today, I'd probably allow Escapes from normal encounters with 100% reliability, but allow the enemy party one final turn that they can get potshots in on the party for free. And similarly, I might even designate the AI for a small number of enemy types to attempt Escapes from hopeless battles, giving the player one last turn to try and take down as many enemies as she can before they run away.

    In Action Battle Systems (with a separate battle screen), I like when you actually need to run out of the "battle area" while being pursued by enemies in order to escape combat.

    Here are a few other good systems for managing Escape mechanics:
    • Escape attempts only cost a single actor's turn, and while they aren't 100%, every time the Escape fails the chance of subsequent attempts (in the same battle) becomes higher, until eventually you do hit 100%.
    • Escapes require some kind of consumable item (such as a Smoke Bomb or Clefairy Doll) to do, but are 100% reliable. This is cool because it encourages the player to be prepared, and essentially gives the player a number of escapes in each dungeon (based on how many Smoke Bombs they brought).
    • Escapes cost you a certain amount of money (whether it's a "bribe" or whether you drop the money as you flee). I feel the best implementation of this would be that the amount of money you lose depends on the total strength of enemies (for example 10 Gold per "level" per enemy).
    • Escapes can only be done using certain skills that have an MP cost (best used in games where MP isn't super-plentiful).
    • The player can use the Escape command (100% reliable) only a certain number of times per dungeon. Once they've used it up, they must exit the dungeon in order to use the Escape command again. This is somewhat similar to @TheoAllen's implementation, which I also think is fine.
    All of the above can be "waived" if the player is clearly overleveled in comparison to the enemy troop, allowing Escapes at 100% reliability for free in such scenarios. This allows players who are escaping because combat is unengaging (and trivial) to do it without regret, while preserving the feeling of challenge and danger for players who are escaping because they misplayed (or are outmatched by powerful enemies).
     
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