[Poll] Visible Enemies: Respawns

Which approach to respawns do you use/prefer?

  • Enemies respawn after X amount of real time passes

  • Enemies respawn after X amount of game time passes

  • Enemies respawn when you leave and re-enter the map

  • Enemies only respawn after defeating the boss (of that dungeon)

  • Enemies only respawn after certain events trigger

  • Enemies don't respawn at all (limited XP)

  • Other...

  • (I dislike/don't use visible encounters)


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Frostorm

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For those of you that use visible encounters, what's your policy regarding respawn time? Here are some of the possible methods off the top of my head:
  1. Enemies respawn after X amount of real time passes
  2. Enemies respawn after X amount of game time passes
  3. Enemies respawn when you leave and re-enter the map
  4. Enemies only respawn after defeating the boss (of that dungeon)
  5. Enemies only respawn after certain events trigger
  6. Enemies don't respawn at all (limited XP)
  • any other ideas?
If you use either method 1 or 2, how much time do you aim for?
Do you have visible encounters on the world map? If so, how are respawns handled there?

In my game, I currently plan to use method 4, but I might change it to method 3 instead. I'm hoping a discussion of this topic will lead me to a concrete decision.
 

ScorchedGround

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Unless you only fight enemies in dungeons, you could also combine option 3 and 4.

By default, enemies respawn when you leave and re-enter the map.

In Dungeons, enemies don't respawn until you defeated the boss or you the leave the entire dungeon and re-enter it.
When you defeated the boss, the default method is active in that dungeon.

That is of course, if you cannot fight the boss again after defeating it once, in which case you can just go with the dungeon rule again.

I can't say anything about worldmap encounters since I don't really have an overworld. But I think I would rather use random encounters (in specific areas only) on the worldmap.
 

The Stranger

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Depends on the area. For large outdoor areas, or places where it'd make sense for new enemies to appear in, I have them respawn semi-randomly based on a timer and even triggers. For places where it'd not make much sense for enemies to be legion, they simply don't respawn at all.
 

HumanNinjaToo

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I believe that what dies should stay dead, no respawns.
 

Riazey

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If I have to pick one I am a fan of respawns after coming back into the map, though that completely depends on what kind of game it is!

For example a hack n' slash focused on small rooms would be better to have re-entry spawns in case you need a breather but a hack-n-slash with huge rooms would be better off with timed respawns. I am a total advocate of using "gates" though where enemies keep spawning so long as these "gates" are still alive.
 

Frostorm

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I thinking of going with #4, but with a twist. Whatever you kill in a dungeon stays dead, but after you defeat the boss, enemies will respawn. However, the respawns will NOT be the same enemies you killed earlier. For example, let's say it's a dragon's cave or something. Your 1st time there, you will encounter dragonling whelps (aka her babies) throughout the dungeon, but after you kill the dragon the enemies that respawn will instead be bandits or thieves looking for a score since the big scary dragon that was guarding/hoarding treasure is now gone.
 

Cythera

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I personally respawn enemies after varying amounts of real time - the harder the enemies, the longer the respawn time. By about 30-45 seconds compared to others, still.
I actually just reduced respawn timers since a friend kept complaining he couldn't farm enough (as he's 5-6 levels too high anyway...)
Okay, tangent over. Really, any of these methods can work for respawning; I'm not a fan of games that don't respawn encounters though. I want to farm! Or, what if a player doesn't have the right skills/gear/level for an upcoming boss fight? It's a small chance, but you can actually soft lock players by not giving respawning enemies, especially if they are in a dungeon or cave they can't leave until the boss is dead. Something to consider when going the no-respawn enemy route :) 4 and 5 can also share simular problems to this.
Of course, there are also cons to respawning enemies, mostly pertaining to the timer being too short/long.
 

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I chose "enemies respawn after re-entering the map", but my real answer would be "enemies respawn after re-entering the dungeon".

Essentially, I feel that a fair way to design challenge (as a designer) is on the scope of a single run of a dungeon - the challenge being posed is are you skilled enough and tactical enough (and is your party powerful enough and your inventory prepared enough) to either avoid or take down each encounter waiting for you in this dungeon? The player can leave the dungeon to heal and replenish their resources if they need to, but doing so won't mean they only have to complete "part" of the intended challenge of the dungeon on their next run. This is the main reason I don't like encounters that never respawn at all (and the secondary reason is that if there's a troop I enjoy fighting against, or I just enjoy the combat system in general, it absolutely sucks to have that taken away forever). Respawning only once the boss is taken down, or only after certain events, has the same "part of the run" issue.

Meanwhile, respawning enemies while the player is still in a dungeon also tends to miss the target of a fair challenge. It places far too much emphasis on the player's ability to not get lost and - in the case of respawning based on real time or game time - to move really quickly from one end of the screen to the other (often without getting their bearings), because each time you have to (for example) turn back, it's like another entire encounter is being added to the list of things you have to survive or avoid. This also makes it even harder for the designer to figure out a good balance for how much damage enemies should do - if you have to walk through a certain corridor with an enemy four times as you press switches throughout a dungeon, and the enemy only respawns after leaving the dungeon, then most players will need to fight this enemy once (and some very skilled players will avoid the encounter all 4 times). If you're respawning it every couple minutes, or you're respawning it each time the player leaves the map (aka the single screen or room), then players may have to fight anywhere from 0 to 4 times, which is a huge dose of variability - if that encounter is draining some of the player's important resources, how are you going to compensate for that? (Also, with such a big difference in EXP gains, how the heck will you figure out what Level the player might be at?) It's just a nightmare of design.

In addition to enemies respawning within a dungeon run being a super-tricky design challenge, it's also just really annoying for the player! Imagine getting lost (like I do in every dungeon in every RPG ever because I have no sense of direction) within a dungeon, fighting off an encounter, moving into the next room, fighting off another encounter, then going to the next room or two to find that you've already been there before, and there's nothing more to do. So you turn around, already a little frustrated, and then you wind up in those encounter rooms again and now you have to fight those same troops you just beat a couple minutes ago!! Ugh. I've been there a lot of times before, and I hate it. On the other hand, if you turn around and those enemies aren't there anymore, it can actually feel pretty satisfying, like you "earned" yourself a safe room and a free pass (to not have to try to avoid the encounter) by wiping them out in combat.

It's for all of the reasons above that I am almost always partial to respawning enemies only after the player leaves a dungeon (or other "named area") - it preserves and focuses the challenge of a single dungeon run, while giving the designer a better idea of battle frequency and providing the player a less frustrating, more satisfying experience. It's just good design!! There are certain subgenres of RPG (or other genres of games) where I would consider going with other choices - for example, in a puzzle-like tactics game where battles take a long time and battles can be "solved", I might remove respawning entirely - but those are the exceptions and not the norm.

((Worth mentioning as a quick aside is that I feel that if the player Escapes combat, the encounter should not be removed (e.g. if the player has to come back to this room later, they have to avoid or fight it again), but it needs to be disabled for long enough that the player has an easy time getting away from it without needing to immediately fight it again. Lots of games mess that second part up!))

((Also worth mentioning is that exceptions can be made for the World Map, where if the player is spending a long time on it, they might be trying to fight lots of different things, so it's okay to respawn enemies after reasonable amounts of game time. World Maps almost never engage you with Chronic challenge dynamics which wear your party down, and they should never get the player lost (if the player is getting lost on your World Map you have screwed up), so it's safe to do.))
 

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1. Enemies respawn after X amount of game time passes
2. Enemies respawn when you leave and re-enter the map

I like option 1 and 2 and need to allow players to escape.

For option 6, I like it as players, but as the dev, I need to ensure the balance of the game.

If you use either method 1 or 2, how much time do you aim for?
I think about 25-35 seconds of respawning would be appropriate.

Do you have visible encounters on the world map? If so, how are respawns handled there?
I think I am handling like everyone here, just used the flying fire spirits and walk around the cave or the field.

Option 4:
Enemies only respawn after defeating the boss (of that dungeon)
I think it is not a bad idea. Do not see anyone who did that yet.

Option 5:
Enemies only respawn after certain events trigger.
That would be depending on what events. For example, like the respawning button.
 
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Frostorm

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I chose "enemies respawn after re-entering the map", but my real answer would be "enemies respawn after re-entering the dungeon".
After reading your post, I'm pretty much set on doing it that way. Having enemies respawn upon re-entering the dungeon definitely makes the most sense. I may add that twist I mentioned earlier to it as well though, mostly for immersion and thematic consistency.
 

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After reading your post, I'm pretty much set on doing it that way. Having enemies respawn upon re-entering the dungeon definitely makes the most sense. I may add that twist I mentioned earlier to it as well though, mostly for immersion and thematic consistency.
Sounds good! I thought the idea of changing the composition of troops after something happens (as you mentioned in your last post) was a pretty cool idea. Definitely have the baby dragons respawn if the player leaves the dungeon before beating the boss, and definitely have the opportunistic thieves respawn upon leaving the dungeon as well. Makes it feel more "alive", and makes your actions feel more impactful.

Even better is if you have somewhere else much later in the game (maybe a lava dungeon, or even something like a repeatable arena minigame) where the player can battle some dragons later in the game if she enjoys doing so.
 

HumanNinjaToo

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Even better is if you have somewhere else much later in the game (maybe a lava dungeon, or even something like a repeatable arena minigame) where the player can battle some dragons later in the game if she enjoys doing so.
I like this idea the best, but I like it when combined with a limited number of enemies and therefore a limited amount of battle experience available.

I'm not huge on backtracking, but I can see how having maps void of monsters to kill would be strange if the game is designed to have backtracking for whatever purpose. However, I'm more of a 'one-and-done' type. I'd like to clear the level and not look back. But I do like the concept of a battle arena that allows you to fight older monsters or powered-up versions of old monsters for either experience or rewards or both.
 

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How would you event the overview enemies to respawn when you re-enter the map?
 

duty

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How would you event the overview enemies to respawn when you re-enter the map?
On the victory win condition branch of the event, use the ERASE EVENT command. It removes the event from the screen once defeated. When you leave and reload the map, the event reloads with it.
 

RachelTheSeeker

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As Earthbound did it well enough, and it's less convoluted using Erase Event in RPG Maker? I voted for them to respawn when you leave and re-enter the map. Like EB, four other stipulations come to mind, all of which seem possible with basic RM eventing.
  1. Even when you run from a battle, the enemy disappears until you re-enter the map
  2. When you defeat the boss, enemies don't totally disappear from a map; I'd do it myself where certain enemies will vanish, but there's still baddies left if you wanna grind, or if you need to revisit the dungeon
  3. If your character's level is high enough, enemies will try to run away, which leads to...
  4. If you're strong enough compared to an enemy, you can instakill them on the map for immediate XP, money and/or items; in EB, you usually have to run into the enemy from behind, but I'd do it whatever what you touch them
Lastly, I like the idea of "random" enemies being handled as such. Outside of a shadowy figure of the enemy type with glowy eyes, you can't quite tell what type of baddy it is. The actual enemy group could be randomly generated each event touch before fighting them. If an enemy has red glowy eyes instead of yellow ones on the map, they're a tougher encounter and will likely vanish when you clear the dungeon. Lastly, enemies meant to be roadblocks (bosses, mini- or not) shouldn't be left to a silhouette, unless they're supposed to be mysterious for narrative reasons.
 

bgillisp

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I personally do 3, but with a twist. Not every enemy respawns, only some of the stacks respawn. This allows you to still thin the dungeon hordes out but if you want to grind there's still something there you can grind on by exiting and reentering.
 

Wavelength

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  1. Even when you run from a battle, the enemy disappears until you re-enter the map
  2. When you defeat the boss, enemies don't totally disappear from a map
  3. If your character's level is high enough, enemies will try to run away, which leads to...
  4. If you're strong enough compared to an enemy, you can instakill them on the map for immediate XP, money and/or items; in EB, you usually have to run into the enemy from behind, but I'd do it whatever what you touch them
I'm a big fan of #3 (as well as almost everything else you mentioned, especially the slightly different sprites for powerful encounters), but not of #4. While it's true that a battle against enemies who you are way high level than would generally be a complete waste of your time in most RPGs, the beauty of using a Visual Encounter system that implements #3 is that these enemies will simply move out of your way, meaning that if you've made contact with them, it usually means you want to fight them.

Maybe you were fighting them just for the XP, money, or especially the items that this area's enemies hold. In that case, this could be seen as a convenience - save several seconds of the player's time by skipping the unnecessary battle and granting all the rewards. The drawback, though, is that this essentially becomes a way to "abuse" the game - the player can run around in these areas risk-free and grind everything they could possibly need (to power up for later dungeons), for as long as they want, and after a little while I don't think it would be a particularly fun mode of grinding either.

On the other hand, maybe you were fighting them because you enjoy a lot of the troops in the area, and want to re-live the experience of battles against them (I've often done this in RPGs by unequipping weapons and armor to compensate for my high levels in these earlier areas), or maybe you just want the power fantasy of dealing 3800% of the Mushroom's HP bar with a single spell (something I've also gone back and done in RPGs where I enjoy the battle system). By immediately exploding the Encounter into rewards upon touching it, you're depriving the player of this opportunity.

Exploding it only when hitting the Encounter from behind can be a decent medium ground, as long as it's still relatively easy to wrap around a fleeing VE and run into it from the front. Paper Mario also offered a unique solution by making it so that certain free actions you could take on the Adventure Map (such as kicking a turtle shell into an enemy encounter) would blow it up immediately if you were overleveled compared to the VE (and give you Initiative in combat if you're not overleveled). This way, the player is taking a specific action to say "I want to blow it up without fighting it" and they have to exercise just a bit of skill to do so. Made for a nice balance between free wins versus easy fights in such areas - a little of both.
 

Icenick

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I'm biased since I use enemies respawn after x in game time. That is my favorite you can farm areas and make a route knowing when they can respawn if you wanted to farm.
 

Wavelength

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I'm biased since I use enemies respawn after x in game time. That is my favorite you can farm areas and make a route knowing when they can respawn if you wanted to farm.
I think that works pretty well for MMORPG's, or games styled after MMORPG's (e.g. dot Hack, Sword Art Online).

It doesn't always work as well for straight-up RPG's, where the player's 'route' is usually "how do I get through this damn dungeon", because what they want the most is to see more of the adventure, and it's less common to go to areas just to farm them efficiently.

I could definitely envision a regular RPG designed in a way where grinding areas is a major appeal, but I think that's far more the exception than the rule, and it's important to make sure your approach toward enemy encounters lines up well with what you think the player will want to do most. :)
 

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I'm another who believes it's best when enemies respawn after leaving the dungeon, so I picked "after a certain event".

You can keep the enemies the same this way until after the boss has been defeated, then you can also implement your idea of changing the enemies to reflect what you did when defeating the main boss of said dungeon.
 

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