Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by DrizztMoonstorm, Jul 24, 2012.
I can make an Rpg. if I want.
See: Baldur's Gate.
I think that concept applies to any game with parties involved.
Even in a single-player game.
Almost every TBS I've played features dozens of characters, each with their own skills and weaknesses. Except fire emblem: my healer girl (who happens to use light magic as well) was solo'ing entire maps on her own, so I guess that's a little off.
All VERY good points, but what I initially meant was more along the lines of how a multiplayer game works. For instance, when a DPS Character fights by himself, he can pretty much only make it through a few monsters before he either needs to run or heal. Add a Healer to that party now. Now, when the DPS gets hurt, the healer gets him back in the game. But if the Healer gets attacked as well, pretty much both of them are doomed as both Healers and DPS have rather low health. Now, let us add in a Tank. The Tank gets in there and pisses the monsters right the hell off. This makes them attack him, and only him; which, in turn, allows the DPS to deal damage and the Healer to heal up the Tank and DPS. If you want, you can switch out the Tank for a Crowd Control, which cant take as many hits, but stops the monsters from attacking for a while.
What I see in most games (but there are MANY exceptions, I know) is that each of these classes are there, they are just toned down, or averaged out. The Healer is there, the DPS is there, and the Tank is there; but to what extent? The Healer can heal himself, and then turn around and cause major damage all by himself. Or the DPS can dish out tons of damage while also taking tons of hits. And setting up combos with an average team (most of the time) isnt even fun. For instance, online, you can set up complicated combos with your team by planning things out first.
Healer boosts the defense of the Tank and the attack of the DPS. The Tank holds off the waves while the DPS sets up all of his attack boosts. The Tank backs off a bit and lets the Crowd Controller set traps and finish boosting the DPS. Everyone steps back and lets the traps bind the monsters, stopping their movement temporarily. Finally, the DPS goes into Berserk mode and charges the bound monsters. He slaughters them all without even blinking; no problem at all. The Healer heals everyone's wounds and the group moves on to the next fight, unscratched.
This seems like alot, but everything happens quickly. This was actually a tactic of mine on Champions Online, and helped me out quite a bit. But after trying it on a few single-player games, I kind of gave up. I find that the main tactic for single-player games is "gather the best equipment, get to the highest level, bring 1 healer and 3 DPS, and bring a bunch of potions". The main combo with this team is "Mash the A button until one of the characters gets low on health or mana, then let the healer fix it and keep going". I mean, dont get me wrong, that works. So many games were built exactly like that, and alot of them were successful and FUN. And I realize not every game is like that and that a bunch of them are very different. I am just talking about a select few in general.
But, everything more or less brings me to my question:
What do you think about adding MMO gameplay elements into a single player environment?
Do you think they will work or will break the game?
personally, I don't care too much for the idea of a character being limited to only his/her specialty. in MMOs and all, yeah, that's cool. the interactions between each party member and their individual performance skill/execution is a welcomed experience. in a single-player game though, I'd like my healer to be able to do more than chill, buff once or twice, and then methodically recover the health of my party. it's not bad if that's his job (and I'm not expecting loads more from him if it is), but it shouldn't be 110% methodical. maybe just a skill or two that's actually worth spending the MP on and can take him off his butt once in awhile when I'm running through random fights or something, lol
you mentioned above how a healer can heal himself and then pop off copious amounts of damage right afterwards. that's true, but what would his options be if the damage potential he had was stripped away entirely? he'd be left with a very specific job which minimizes his versatility (let's say his choices are buff/heal/guard. unless the game is constantly demanding, I'm sure there will be battles where this character is just waiting for the opportunity to be useful). overspecialization in one area without tools to perform in another means that he hardly has a reason to do anything other than his pronounced strength. in most scenarios, this leads to the development of a single core-strategy that is recycled throughout the entire count of the game's primary obstacles--usually in single-player games, these are character-specific strategies that mesh into one or two variants of a strong, synergistic plan. assuming the game's challenges aren't all that linear, you'll still be forced to amend this strategy here and there, but for the most part, it'll likely be pretty concrete.
I'm not saying this is a bad thing, however; it's actually pretty interesting when you're given multiple character/class choices that hold their own unique differences and advantages that create different, complex plans. when designed right, you can entice perfectionists and experimental players to search for the optimal team/strategy, which would be awesome. it's just that you don't see this kind of thing executed well in a lot of single-player games, as the bulk just end up becoming rehashes of the same setup.
basically, to answer your question: I think that the game should have some challenges that will force players to deviate from what they're used to working with, and make them come up with some creative tactics that may/may not be apparent at first glance. by no means do these obstacles need to be frequent as hell either; I know that would be a major turn-off for some people. as long as it doesn't end up becoming extremely repetitious (aka one strong strategy carries you through the entire game for the most part), I think it'd be fun and interesting. it really depends on the game and its balance.
You mention the 'mash attack until you win' issue, and honestly that's not a problem that is independent of this system. After I release my first demo, I'm thinking of writing a blog or tutorial on the subject, but the point is that adding character roles will not prevent this. It will just make battles slower because only 1-2 characters are doing any real damage. On paper, it adds a layer of tactical gameplay to boss fights, where presumably you would HAVE to utilize all of your party's different roles. But is it really that deep of a system? Your tank would presumably spam taunt/cover and tank, your healer would heal when HP gets low and your DPS would do damage. It's not really as dynamic as it seems at first glance, especially if players are pigeonholed into this formula.
The reason why this works and feels dynamic in an MMO is because you only control one character. You have to coordinate with other players to take down challenging fights. You're a cog in a larger machine. However, in a single player game, you control the entire machine. And I'm not saying you can't make a deep system with those archetypes, but rather having a tank/healer/dps role setup does not automatically make your fights engaging or interesting. Like I mentioned before, I have more to say on the subject, but probably not until I've contributed some actual content to the community.
Honestly it depends on if the game is designed with those mechanics in mind.
For example: Are you the main character? Will you be fighting alone for much of the game?
Will you always be in a group of four (or three) characters? and will you have options as to who to take in your party?
One of those may work very well with some MMO like features. The other one, not so much...
See, this is what I was wanting. Genuine opinions and discussion. Thank you guys for obliging me. And all very good points as well. Let me divide my response into two for you guys, so I can be specific.
@Mouser, you are dead on with what you said. I agree that in a single-player game, it is hard to implement this kind of system. I personally would love to see it happen, but I do understand that it is mainly a multi-player feature for a reason.
You mention the healer quite a bit, so it makes me believe that you are particularly fond of healers. Have you ever played Champions Online? If you havent, I would suggest it to you. They have a set of powers on there that are really cool healing powers. They are called Celestial powers. The way they work are almost 100% different than how healing powers are generally used in most games, but I think that is what makes them so dayum cool. Each power in that powerset heals a good amount. Yeah, they are not the best heal powers in the game, but they can stand up to some of the better ones easily. But, they are different in the way that they can either heal allies, or damage enemies. If you use a power while an ally is targeted, you heal them. If you use a power while an enemy is selected, it damages them. Then, each different power in the set does something different, so as to make the player use different ones. Some of them are held powers (where as long as you hold the button down and have energy left, the attack keeps going, dealing high amounts of damage). Some of them are instant casts. Some even give buffs/debuffs when used. But I just find this concept so unique and cool that I would love to implement it into a single-player game as well.
I think that with that concept, you could allow different classes to cross-over, but at the cost of not being quite as effective as a specific-based class.
For instance, you could have all of your normal archetypes, like I mentioned before. Then, you could have a very select few who cross-over between classes, but are not as effective. This would allow for more strategy in my opinion. It raises the question, "Would I like to use all specifics, or should I bring in a few cross-overs?". It also gives the player more freedom over their party lineup.
And to answer your second post, I would imagine that a single-player game like this would certainly have a decent amount of characters to choose from, each with specialties and each one being different within their own class. For instance, you could have three options within the DPS class (just an example). One, you have a DPS that specializes in area of effect attacks, but his attacks are a bit weaker. Two, you have a DPS that specializes in single-target attacks, but his attacks are much more powerful than normal. Three, you have a DPS that covers both types of attacks, but only a slight amount of both and has mildly powerful attacks.
@Ocedic, I understand that adding in roles will not prevent the button mashing problem. And I also realize that it seems like it will only slow down fights or even leave players doing the same thing over and over. But something that can be done to help with these problems is to also give classes to enemies. I have thought about this numerous times, but I have never tried it yet, so correct me if I am wrong.
My idea is to allow enemies to use the same kinds of archtypes as the characters, but in a bit lesser degree. For instance, some enemies can be DPS, some can be healers, some can be tanks, and so on. However, how it would work would be slightly different than how the player sees the classes. For instance, an enemy Tank really can't aggro a player-controlled character. So, instead, the enemy can use spells like "Cover" to take damage for the DPS enemies. The healers can patch up the Tanks when they need it and so on. This would give the player a chance to play around with strategies to figure out how to combat the enemies when they are in groups like that. The player's Crowd Control character can hold back the tank from Covering the Dps, while the player's Dps take him on head-to-head. The player's Healer can use debuffs and MP reducers to try and take out the enemy healer and crowd control.
Like I said, that is more of an idea than a set concept, but you get the point. I guess what I am trying to say is that it is all a matter of how much strategy the developer wants to plan out ahead of time. I truly think this kind of system could make for an interesting single-player game, but it would take a lot of planning and time to get it right. It is not a system that could just be thrown together over night and pushed out the door.
I never wanted to make it seem like I was just throwing out the idea of just plugging these classes/roles into a game and not planning out the whole system to work around it.
I'm gonna' make a perfectly-balanced MMORPG. I'm on a development-team.
A perfectly balanced MMO. Isnt that an oxymoron or something? I dont think that is even possible in that genre of game.
You sound excited: Here's links to the game: www.faroucestudio.blogspot.com
No, it hasn't been possible for anyone. I found a way.
No. Quake was/is perfectly balanced, at least last time I checked
I wouldn't assume that "Quake" is an MMORPG then(?). Anyway, just use those two links I gave you to keep-track-of updates in the future.
Ok, well, sorry to interrupt: I did see you say specifically-to-him "MMO", so, I just must have read it a little wrong, but; hey: I heard that if it's a First Person Shooter, just CALL it a FPS, otherwise; it's stupid-a**-and-retarded.
Well, I'm truely only familiar with "Quake" in the memory from little details a
long time ago when I was growin' up.
There are such things as massively multiplayer FPS games, and the design of them is substantially different from the design decisions made in more standard FPS fare. I don't believe that Quake would qualify as "massively multiplayer", though -- just because it has the capability to provide a lot of multiplayer gameplay doesn't make the game an MMO.
I'm sure it's not difficult to develop a balanced MMO compared to a single-player game.
Except sometimes publishers decide to favor one class over another and then give that class more special treatment and there's your imbalance.
Publishers don't have that sort of power with a single-player game.
Good Points Tsukihime
If this was at me I must have left the <irony> or <sarcasm> tags off my post.
Quake is balanced because everyone is exactly the same. As soon as you change that, you lose balance. I know MUD's that have been under active development for decades that still haven't gotten completely balanced yet. The main culprit? The players. You can plan your game all you want, but then you launch it and the players decide they're going to use classes and things in ways you never thought of (emergent behavior). My favorite example is the ninja class in FFXI. It was designed to be a DPS class, but turned out to be one of the most effective tanks in the game. Or you could look at 'kiting' in Everquest or any number of other examples.
If you have different classes, with different abilities, the game will never be truly balanced. The best you can hope for is either team vs team balance (either PvP or team vs mobs in PvE) or some form of rock-paper-scissors.
I'm just gonna' re-word it: I think you(Mouser) were talkin' ta' him(Since, you didn't answer).
If I left it at that, it would sound negative, too... well... what? Ya' think you bad?
But no: I couldn't think of what "Quake" was again. After my brother explaining it to me, I got on with my life. I only wanted to play Rpgs. The memories of other things may get old.
Oh, to Solistra: Thanks for the 'explainor.
Drizzt are you sure your native language is English? Reading your posts is like trying to dig a hole with a spoon.
Anyway, to contribute to the discussion, I would say look at Might and Magic VI: The Mandate of Heaven for an example of MMO elements in a single player RPG game. It doesn't nab all of the elements precisely, but it does a dayum good job of getting there. There are three main classes and then three classes that are crossovers of the three main ones. You have Knight, Cleric, and Sorceror for your main classes. The Knight can't use magic but is easily the toughest class in the game. With the Body Building skill (in this game skills are like specializations and traits you can learn; body building directly adds HP to your total each level up) a Knight can surpass every other class in hit points and as such last the longest in fights. This makes the Knight your "tank" class. Magic in this game is extremely useful, however, so taking a Knight may not be viable until late-game, but we'll get to that later.
The second class is Cleric, and as you can probably already guess, this is your "healer" class. In Might and Magic, there are two schools of magic; Clerical and Elemental. Clerical magic is then divided into the three "elements" of Spirit, Mind, and Body. Spirit focuses on buffs and cures, Mind focuses on dealing damage and confusing enemies, and Body focuses on healing and recovery. However, each element has at least one spell that goes out of their focus. For example Body has a spell that deals Physical damage to an enemy, and Spirit has a minor heal. These spells aren't as powerful as their focused counterparts, but gives that sort of multi-purpose feel to it. I'll talk about Elemental magic when I get to the Sorceror. As could be expected, the Cleric can use Clerical magic and as such does more healing, buffing, and support than attacking, but since Clerics in this game can wear chainmail armor at later levels as well as use shields, they make effective "off tanks" as well, if for some reason your tank dies. But as it were you'll want to build your Cleric as a healer; learning the Meditation skill (the mana equivalent of body building), giving him points in Personality (charisma for you D&Ders), equipping gear that increases healing effects, etc. Clerics have the greatest healing potential, but can also deal a fair amount of damage with the advanced disciplines of Light and Dark magic.
Third, is the Sorceror. He's your basic "glass cannon" mage type, with low HP and defense but massive damage potential through his spells (and if you steadily increase his skill in daggers then you can eventually inflict triple damage on attack). He uses the Elemental magic, which is split into the four classical elements of Fire, Air, Water, and Earth. Fire is, as expected, about dealing heavy damage to single and multiple targets. Air is about flight, movement, and speed. Water is about changing properties, travel, and a lesser form of damage. Water has a spell that lets you enchant armor, weapons, and certain items with a random magical property, and also spells that let you walk on water, teleport to major cities you've been to before, and even set your own warp points to recall back to at a later time. Most of Water magic's damage comes in the form of ice, but damage isn't it's main focus. Earth is about defense, protection, and toughness. All elemental schools also have aspects of other schools as well. Fire has a Haste spell, Air has a lightning storm spell, Water has water walking, Earth has Turn to Stone (and its curative form Stone to Flesh). Sorcerors have the most versatility in regards to magic, and can even learn some healing spells with the advanced disciplines of Light and Dark magic. However, they are puny and deal little physical damage while at the same time being as fragile as a stick. But with their incredible capacity for mana growth, they'll make sure to take down a few enemies before going down themselves.
Now, I mentioned that there were three more classes that are like crossovers of the three main classes. These are Paladin, Archer, and Druid. The Paladin is a mix of Knight and Cleric, and as such can be as effective (if not more effective due to healing spells) a tank as a Knight. However, with the combination, the two classes' "powers" are diluted and won't be as strong as the individual classes themselves. A Paladin doesn't have the potential for massive amounts of hp like the Knight has, and will also miss out on Light and Dark magic (that only Clerics and Sorcerors can learn). They can still learn every school of Clerical magic, but unless you focus on building up those schools (and thus taking away from his potential as a tank) then he won't be as powerful as a Cleric. Something to note is that Paladins start the game already knowing Spirit magic, while Clerics innately know Body magic.
The Archer is a mix of Knight and Sorceror, and is the only class who starts the game with the Bow skill (everyone else has to learn it, but the Knight can select it as one of his two "bonus" skills at the start of the game). Like the Sorceror, the Archer can use Elemental magic, and is relatively powerful early game (bows are OP). The Archer inherits the Knight's damage capability (to a lesser extent), but also inherits the Sorceror's frailty. It's not as pronounced as a Sorceror because of the Knight part of the mix, but an Archer is definitely less sturdy than a Knight or Paladin (or in some cases even a Cleric). Archers will start the game knowing Air magic, while Sorcerors begin with Fire.
Finally, there's the Druid. I don't have much personal experience with Druids because I mainly stick to one of the "default" party makeups of Paladin/Archer/Cleric/Sorceror or Knight/Paladin/Cleric/Sorceror, but I'll try my best. Druids are a mix of Cleric and Sorceror and as such are physically weak (only the sorceror deals less physical damage than a druid). The trade-off for this is that Druids can access all schools of magic except Light and Dark. So in effect, Druids are like Red Mages from Final Fantasy. Druids are the most versatile in regards to magic, but as stated they are horrible fighters. Their strength lies in their versatility, and if you're having trouble deciding between one of the other hybrid classes then this one is usually a good choice because it takes the important parts of the other hybrids (the magic) and puts them together. It's up to you to decide whether having another weakling in your party is worth the extra magic potential.
At character creation, you have to make a party of four characters. Having at least two healers is nearly a must in this game, as a lot of times your non-tank characters will either get knocked out or disabled in some way, or have status effects put on them that forces them to expend their mana curing these statuses instead of healing. It creates a good amount of tension, actually, because you have to think on your feet as to how to keep your party alive as well as healthy (free of statuses). Sometimes you just have to make a sacrifice and not cure statuses for the sake of healing. As long and ranting as this post is, I think it sums up the game fairly well, and displays the "MMO" elements it uses to a good degree. This game is also similar to MMOs in that your party is just a group of adventurers with no real "plot significance" (other than being the main party), and as such the developers were able to allow flexibility in party creation. It's by no means exactly what you're looking for, but this is certainly a huge step in the right direction (and it came out in the 90s, fancy that).
SO, that said, here's a link to a Might and Magic inspired RPG Maker game: http://www.legendoferthia.com/
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