Making old enemies in RPG Maker games still have a chance of defeating the player?

A_Higher_Plane

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So in good battles made by RM, how do you make old enemies you have defeated more challenging? Should you even do this?

I thought that you could still lose to old enemies if you did a lot of grinding and are very powerful.
I thought that maybe it should be difficult to find the weaknesses of all enemies.
I thought that maybe some enemies can change their weaknesses (like state and elemental rates) via states during the battle but then I thought that this should only be for some bosses.
I thought that there should be a very low chance an enemy can do a very powerful skill or something, so that it can be sometimes difficult to defeat even some very old enemies, if this happens. Maybe the skill should be like a powerful boost to the enemy battlers (like all of them) instead of just an attack?
 
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Iron_Brew

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I'm not sure what you're asking here - there are a ton of answers here, I feel like your post doesn't have enough context to reasonably answer this. If you have an action battle system, even if your numbers go up so long as you never take zero damage from an enemy you could always theoretically die from it.

In bosses, if you have mechanics that kill the player, or do high damage, that can help? But it feels like you're asking about like... Lv1 slime maybe having an instant-kill RNG move? Which sounds like it'd suck at any level :LZSlol:
 

A_Higher_Plane

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Oh, I think I get what my problem is! In my game, you always start the battle with all your HP. That is what. But for most games, that isn't the case so you can die if you fight a lot of enemies and just don't heal. But I still need help here I think.
What I want is some variation in the battles so that they are more dynamic and less static. I don't want you to have "repeating patterns" in how you defeat each enemy you have defeated before. Like, this enemy is weak against lightning so lightning against them, this enemy does a lot of damage so boost your party's defenses. I want it to be less predictable.
 

RCXDan

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@Iron_Brew You really like responding to this dude's queries, huh? :LZSlol:

I mean you can make enemies dangerous or annoying for different reasons than just "stats too high". There's a reason enemy healers, buffers and status effect guys are reviled, since they can debilitate you in ways that often remove your control over the battlefield or shift your priorities.

Like a dude that casts Reflect on his allies or stuns you.

Bosses that are downgraded to normal enemy status can be repurposed in this kind of way, assuming you just won't make stronger palette swaps of the same enemy.
 

GmOcean

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There are a few ways I can imagine making old enemies relevant to your now stronger players.
1. After X battles in a row against the same enemies, summon a mini-boss variant that scales to the current parties level. Then you make it so this mini-boss has somewhat decent rewards for defeating it, to make it worthwhile to the player. (You want to give them a challenge, not punish them).

2. Enemies themselves will become X% stronger after killing Y(count) of them. This makes it so that players could theoretically farm level 1 slimes as level 99, and eventually end up fighting level 99 slimes as well. (For this you'd probably want to hide an achievement or some special drop behind stronger variants to make the players WANT to do this. Remember, you want to give them a challenge, not punish them).

3. Perhaps a state of battle fatigue for fighting enemies that lower your characters combat stats by X% after fighting Y(count) battles without resting at a campfire or INN. If your players do enough battles in a row their combat stats could theoretically lower down to a level 1s from a level 99s. (This gives the player a challenge and makes them consider when and what battles to take. It's not a punishment per-say because this one is more of a mechanic. It affects the player at all levels, and can fit within a games theme if designed well.)
 

Bex

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Maybe if the Enemy became to Weak, the Player got to strong?
That means maybe, dont let the Player Group grow to strong.
or
In some Games Enemys got Level which increase when Player Party increases in Level.
Thatway they more or less Scale with the Player. FF8 had that.
or
Maybe low Level Enemys are supposed to be easy later on in the Game, else why the Grind?
 
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Tiamat-86

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2 choices. either make enemy levels(can be hard to balance) or new version of the enemies with higher stats and just stop using old enemies.
thats literally what EVERY game does.
the only 3rd/4th option is making your characters just have a VERY low stat growth or non at all.
 

Frostorm

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Please...for the love of god...if you're gonna make enemies scale with the player's level, then don't bother with levels in the 1st place. Cuz, what's the point of character growth if the player never feels any more powerful in relation to the enemies?...
 

Tiamat-86

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Please...for the love of god...if you're gonna make enemies scale with the player's level, then don't bother with levels in the 1st place. Cuz, what's the point of character growth if the player never feels any more powerful in relation to the enemies?...
scale with map/region based level caps (like what many MMOs do). just a method so dont need higher level variant unless the AI actually changes. in gameplay this should work out to the same thing as no scaling's 'map1 has goblins, map3 has goblin captains but it only a reskin with higher stats'
with scaling you just use the 1 goblin but its lv1-3 on map1 and lv6-9 on map3. go back to map 1 its still just capped at lv3. save the reskin for when it learns new tricks/different class not higher stats.

global scaling @Frostorm (like FF8) that system is so exploitable and easy to cheat as a player.
and negates the parties leveling, the only progress is getting better equipment. (or in 8s case, junctions).
this system you just cant balance:
A- either you need better equipment or you die because enemy has faster growth then your class
B- better equipment makes all enemies to easy because they have the same stat growth as your class
C- you have no reason to get equipment because enemies just always get weaker.

A = you get punished for grinding. could accidently overlevel and screw yourself.
B = whats the point in even having class levels
C = whats the point in enemy levels. they're still getting weaker just at a slower rate.

the map/region scaling works like version A. but with level caps you only need to either have BiS gear and be equal level, or over leveled with sub-par gear.
works out to exactly the same as any non-level scaling rpg that just copy/paste reskin for a new enemy ID
 
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IvanForever

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I think of simply ditching the levelling system (e.g., strategic no-level combat) if I want enemies from the beginning of a game to be able to defeat the player. If I must do level scaling for some reason, perhaps I can make it that certain areas have certain scaling but the player will earn X% more stats and perks at say Lv. 50 than Lv. 30. I guess you can still do scaling and balance it out, somehow...
 

Arctica

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I'm planning to have things set up by "region" like at the start of the game, enemies in the "starter areas" are threatening but wont take long to kill. You'll still level up and eventually over power them, and then you move to the next area with stronger enemies and the process repeats itself. So maybe you could try that.
 

pawsplay

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If enemies from the start of the game are still threats later, and you can never be certain of the capabilities of any given enemy, why not replace the entire combat system with a digital coin flip?
 
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Dark Souls is a good example of a game where early enemies remain a threat even later in the game. This is because the players stats grow slowly over time, with damage & hp scaling linearly at first and then hitting diminishing returns.

I think that's the most elegant way to do it. Either make your damage formula or your stat growth show heavy diminishing returns (for example, scaling damage off of the square root of ATK).
 

FirestormNeos

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NOTE: For the sake of this post, I'm going to treat Enemy/Level Scaling and "Player Level does not actually affect the Player's stats the way a standard JRPG would" as one in the same, since they both accomplish the same things in regards to the post's subject matter.

Based on the interaction it has with "The Actual Content of The Game" (aka the reason the player bought a game. This can be Story, Music, Environments, Specific Boss Fights the Player Heard about Through Word-of-Mouth. Gameplay mechanics are still the most important part of the game, but they are the most important part because it is the lens with which the player uses to interact with The Actual Content. You need both to have a good game; it's just that games with no content or bad content tend to be more tolerable then games with bad mechanics), I find that grinding can be separated into two categories:

First you have Livegrinding, where grinding is used by the game as a weapon to block The Actual Content behind an arbitrary, significant, and deliberately draining time commitment. World of Warcraft-- namely it's post-level-cap-progression systems in Battle For Azeroth and Shadowlands --is Public Enemy #1 in this regard, but it's present in nearly every Live Service on the market.

And then you have Retrogrinding, where grinding is a tool-- albeit an extremely crude and at times vestigial one --that allows for players to eventually reach The Actual Content by just brute-forcing the combat. Now, players tend to have two motives for wanting to brute-force combat: 1) Either a segment of the game-- or is some cases, the entire game --is too hard for that individual player without grinding, and 2) the player the grinding to be more fun than dealing with the segment-- or the entire game --the intended way.

When Level Scaling/Enemy Scaling is used to eliminate Retrogrinding, it is "successful" in that goal, but in doing so, it often treats the symptom without actually dealing with the disease. Now players who aren't skilled enough to play your game the intended way can't access The Actual Content, and players who do not find your gameplay engaging are forced to engage with it if they want The Actual Content. Now, that's the bad news. The good news is that there is an easy way to circumvent this problem while still retaining Scaling mechanics: enemies only scaling up to a certain point before hitting a cap; once the player exceeds that cap, they are overleveled and can now brute-force their way to The Actual Content.

Scaling can't actually be used to eliminate Livegrinding, only to further facilitate it. By making old enemies still able to defeat the player no matter how much the player has previously grinding, the Live Service can artificially extend the lifespan of its filler content for significantly longer periods of time, meaning even less content being made, meaning more money going into whatever-the-hell-the-AAA-games-industry-keeps-doing-with-all-the-money-they-make-to-justify-paying-the-workers-utter-tablescraps.

Now, you could just put in difficulty settings, and let that take care of your Retrogrinding Problem (assuming you consider it to be a problem), but there are two issues: 1) when it comes to difficulty settings in games with levels, I've seen it go both ways, with the Kingdom Hearts series being an example of it working out wonderfully, but then you have Pokemon BW2 in contrast, which... oh... 2) Enemy/Level Scaling serves an additional purpose for game designers beyond keeping everyone locked at the same "difficulty," and it's one that works with player psychology instead of against it: pacing.

In games with scaling, the players that can handle the combat without needing to brute-force it but aren't good enough at the game to handle the combat while underleveled will never need to fear becoming underleveled.
 

freakytapir

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Putting the cart before the horse again.
My player is fighting the same enemies from the start of the game?
Better stop that, or make them more powerful.

No. Wrong impulse.

1643722940358.png

Step back and reconsider. Why not make the path he'll take anyway the right one?

Why is he fighting these enemies?

Why is he in Lvl 1 land grinding Rats when he should be at the castle of the dark lord felling dragons?

  • He likes doing it. Nothing you can do will stop him.
  • He's trying to have some time with the game that day without having to do anything High risk yet feel he is still making progress, because he's having a rough day IRL? Why not let him.
  • He likes Steamrolling things? Once again, Some players like every combat to be difficult, others just like to Plan/Research/Build that perfect Endgame build early on and grind to blow through everything.
  • He thinks he needs to because a boss face-stomped him.
  • He's grinding Crafting Materials that only drop there?
  • He forgot how to play after a hiatus and wants some time to get to know the game again?
  • He want to test out some skill combination/ Party build in a stress free environment? Sometimes you need a practice dummy.
  • He's lost the main plot and is just lost.
  • You've put the lvl 1 debuffer/Buffer/Healer enemies along side contemporary enemies? Go you, good encounter design.
  • He lost to a boss and wants to blow off some steam?
  • He just reached the final boss, and wants to go feel like a god for ten minutes?
  • He likes the area and wants to be in there just a bit longer
  • He literally needs 10 xp for the next level and was in the area anyway.
  • Completionism. Completing that Bestiary, leveling all the characters/Classes.
Now, you are the creator, and as such you should decide what kind of game you want to make.
Just as the player will decide if it's worth it.

But in the large list above, some are player choice ( I just need to unwind by killing some ****ing rats, man) and some are design flaws (I don't know what else to do), and some are design choices. (Multiple classes/party members to grind)

I think we can at least agree grinding caused by design flaws should be eliminated.

The player thinks he needs to grind to defeat the boss?
Have you tried just telling him what level he's supposed to be? Because I believe a player needs to know the difference between 'Hard because Hard' (lvl 50 dragon in a lvl 50 area), Hard because I'm not supposed to go here (Lvl 80 enemy in lvl 30 area) and yes, I am supposed to grind just a bit (Lvl 50 dragon when the player is 45).

Does this mean all equally levelled enemies are equally difficult? No. The a lvl 50 dragon is harder than the lvl 50 bat, but I'm supposed to fight both at lvl 50.

A bit Handhold-y? Maybe. But it is at least a solution to some of the reasons why players grind, like not knowing if they're even supposed to go there, or not knowing of the fight is supposed to be hard or they're under leveled.

It also means players can intentionally gage how much they want to grind. Some players want to do the lvl 50 fight on the minimum level they can.
Others want the fight as intended, and do the fight at 50.
And some just want to plow over it, but at least now these last players at least get it rubbed in their face that they chose the easy option out.

Because grinding isn't a problem in itself, enemies becoming irrelevant isn't a problem on it's own.
Trying to eliminate grinding by making grinding harder isn't the solution.

TLDR: Why is my Player grinding and am I all right with some off these reasons? What can I change to make sure he doesn't want to grind anymore in ways I would rather he not? Think of why your player grinds.
 

FirestormNeos

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Putting the cart before the horse again.
My player is fighting the same enemies from the start of the game?
Better stop that, or make them more powerful.

No. Wrong impulse.

View attachment 214777

Step back and reconsider. Why not make the path he'll take anyway the right one?

Why is he fighting these enemies?
For anyone wondering what the phenomenon in the picture is called, google "desire path." Or better yet, here's the wikipedia entry.
 

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