- Jul 22, 2014
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Winning, losing, the difference between having to use restorative options (unfair if such options are rare and costly, time-wasting if they are common and cheap) is all up to the RNG.
The amount of RNG you should have in your game also heavily depends on the kind of game you're making. Basically, the easier your game is, the more you can get away with random stuff happening in it. While the more difficult your game is, the less you'd probably want of it to avoid the player getting RNG screwed.
I've played plenty of RPGs where my choices in battle don't matter very much because the game is easy, and here missing doesn't "keep me on my toes" so much as to prompt me to click the same button again or wait longer for autoattack to do its job. Yeah, there some variance but it's like having variance in the task of stuffing envelopes.
Just quoting a few of my favorite lines from the last page of this thread. Awesome stuff.I'm reminding of playing Dragon Quest III, where you could be going through an area where even a Wizard is taking puny damage from monsters...only to have a monster suddenly crit for more damage than your toughest member's max HP. That's...fun.
My own thoughts on the matter: variance is fun when it leads to reaction and improvisation. Like Ryu said this kind of variance can be found in a pen-and-paper RPG, and I think it can also be great when the setup has variance like in Civilization or Culdcept. But variance in the result, after an action is taken, in a video game at least... that's much harder to get right, because there is less room for reaction or improvisation. It becomes frustrating rather than interesting or strategic or fun - and frustration is the #1 symptom of bad game design.
With that being said, I've never seen a standard RPG combat setup where RNG-based chances of hits/misses/criticals enhanced the experience for me. I don't think it's an impossible task, but I've never seen it done right. Persona 4 is probably the closest I've ever seen a JRPG get, because battle strategy can be so dynamic from turn to turn in that game, but even then the variance adds approximately equal parts frustration and fun.
Tactics Arena Online (an online competitive game with SRPG-like battles) is one place where I think missing ("blocking") works well. Only some units have a chance to block and a unit being attacked from the back (hard to pull off against a good formation) can never block. Additionally, when a unit with a chance to block succeeds or fails in doing so, its chance to block for the next few turns is lowered or raised by a known amount to compensate for a player's "bad beat". What's brilliant about this is that not only does it greatly reduce the role of dumb luck in the game, but it also gives both players the chance to try to play around the temporary change to Block chance. It allows you to improvise and to react. It's fantastic.
I also wonder whether a video game RPG could provide the kind of dynamic roleplaying experience that a pen-and-paper RPG provides when you roll during combat. Sryth (a text-based, single-player browser RPG) gives you some nice roleplaying opportunities with the final result of many combat encounters, with lots of branching paths or at least convincing dialogue for defeat in many battles, but it doesn't really provide any RP opportunities within combat. That would be a pretty hard thing to accomplish, I think, but would also be incredibly cool.
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