making a skill feel cool without being game breaking

jonthefox

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i've got a mage-type character whose unique power is an ability to sort of have an instantaneous premonition for any potentially harmful magic that would come his way (only his way; not that of his allies or anything).   This forms the basis for his signature / bread and butter skill, which is obviously defensive in nature:  the skill will always act first for that turn, and for that turn he will have 100% resistance to magic damage.    Cool, right?  Except, I'm not sure if it should be 100% resistance.  It would be more distinct and thematic, I think, to have the 100% immunity--but I worry that this might be too overpowered.  I was thinking of making it only 75% resistance, which is still obviously a very significant damage reduction, but allows him to still take SOME damage if he opts to use this skill.  On the other hand, the skill ought to be powerful, since he's foregoing the use of any damage move or anything else on this turn.  I will either give this skill some sort of cooldown or a reasonable mana cost so that he can't just spam this eveyr turn to be effectively immune to magic, but it's the kind of bread and butter skill that should be available whenever the player feels like a strong magic attack might be coming or would be particularly problematic given the current state of the battle.   


Thoughts?
 

Kes

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Insofar as physical defense is never 100%, it seems odd to have magical defense that high.  I don't think that the argument that he ought to have a lot because he is forgoing doing damage works, because that is also true whenever a character defends against a physical attack.  This skill seems to be equivalent to an ultra high MDF buff, but buffs, if I remember correctly, only stack to 50%.  So giving him, say, 60% is already a bonus.  Any more than that and I think you run the risk of having something that is over powered.
 

bgillisp

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I have one skill in my game that blocks all magical damage that turn, and it has a high casting speed so it is going to go first. However, to balance it, I gave it a high cooldown, which means that most likely you will only be using it once per battle (as few of my battles are meant to go past turn 5 except boss battles). Makes it a good skill to use if you get the timing right, but since you are still vulnerable to physical attacks, there is a counter.
 

beenbaba

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Couple of thoughts spring to mind.


1) As @bgillisp said have a high cooldown or make it a limited use per battle, maybe even just once, which in turn would make it more precious and strategic as to when the player uses it


2) Have a shorter cooldown, say 3 turns, but whilst the character is in cooldown give them a debuff, say more vulnerable to physical attacks, they're slower, or magic costs more mana as they are in a weakened state etc. This could reinforce the player to use it only strategically against say an upcoming big magic attack and deter them from spamming it.


3) No cooldown just give them a debuff (could be specific, could be random) after each use, effectively making the character weaker after each time it is used in succession
 

shardray

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Well, there are a few ways I can think of to make the skill not overpowered

Firstly there's adding debuffs and cooldowns to the skill, which has been suggested by others, so I'll just skip over that

Another way I can think of is to add side effects to the skill that may or may not benefit the player (depending on the situation). For example, what if when the skill is used, it lowers the aggro on the character that used it, this would mean if the skill was spammed, then the aggro would fall really low, so the character wouldn't be targeted by any powerful spells anymore (meaning all the other party members would be targeted instead), thereby reducing the effectiveness of the skill (so, the more it's used, the less effective it becomes)

You can also make it sort of punishing as well, so, if the character who uses the skill has the highest magic defense (regardless of the skill), then if they used it too much, the other party members (who have less magic defense, so on average would take more damage) would be targeted more

It might also give the skill usefulness in other situations, for example, against physical opponents it might be helpful for the mage character to decrease their aggro on purpose

And the last way I can think of is to design enemy encounters that counteract the characters skill. Now obviously you have physical attacks that would counteract the skill, but you can also be more creative and say, make an enemy that will use status effects and other tactics to circumvent the skill. For example, maybe there could be an enemy that would first use a status effect spell (e.g. paralyze, or sleep, or some status effect that locks the skill) before using a powerful magic attack against the mage or your party, or maybe the attack itself would also cause a status ailment



So, as long as you realize that the skill could be overpowered, and design around that so it's still useful but also has weaknesses, then I don't think it would be overpowered.

On a side note, I do like the idea of the premonition part of the skill, and I think it would could be used really interestingly (for example, consider how the player would react if they knew a spell like bad breath was coming (bad breath is a spell from final fantasy that inflicts damage as well as a large amount of status effects), maybe you could have other party members that have abilities that could counteract the status effect portion of that spell, which I think would make pretty cool synergy play between the party members)
 

AMGLime

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If you're worried about it being too powerful, I'd just give it a cooldown. Say he gets a premonition this turn that three turns from now, he's gonna get hit by a massive fireball. So in two turns if the Player chooses, they can use the skill to block it but then it has say a 10 turn cooldown or something.
 

Oddball

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if there is one, you could invest in a script that allows states to be removed by physical or magic damage. Then set the state to be removed by a magic attack and have it reduce the mages magic attack and/or reduce hp each turn its active
 

LightningLord2

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A cooldown for a skill that avoids all magical damage for one turn is a great way to keep it balanced. So is giving the skill a hefty MP cost. As well as having magic-heavy troops able to use physical attacks to bypass the protection. But yeah, it's massively satisfying to call a huge burst attack and take no damage from it, so do not worry about it being too OP.


Note that FF6 has a (character-exclusive) skill that nullifies any kind of magic while also giving the user MP, with the only drawback being that it negates the spells of your allies as well, as it doesn't cost MP or have a cooldown.
 

Lord Semaj

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Anti-Magic zones are a common thing in RPGs.  Considering spells exist that can absorb other spells, and immunities to physical or fire are just as common, having something that swings the power pendulum back towards the non-magical heroes is fine.  It can be easily forgotten that RPGs are not about Wizards.
 

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