Random encounters considered harmful

Travatar

Summoned by candle, by book, and by bell.
Veteran
Joined
Sep 2, 2012
Messages
435
Reaction score
38
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
So imo it's absolutely part of a random encounter system to have something that let's you dodge or avoid encounters.
I'll allow for the theoretical existence of a game that does this--probably one indie game or abandoned RPG Maker project or two? Anything's possible, I suppose. This hypothetical game may very well be out there, but I have yet to play, see, or even hear about it.So given that a very small number of games do this, (and I have to conclude that none of them are mainstream) how are dodging or avoiding encounters "absolutely part of a random encounter system?"

This thread is about opinion vs opinion, often without proper thought behind it.

The longevity just comes from constant arguing about how one is definitely! superior to the other, no matter which forum you read btw.
I'm all for hearing the good points of both. But try to understand: for those of us who don't like random encounters, their "cons" speak (rather loudly) for themselves and the "pros" seem to be cleverly hidden behind the argument that "it could be worse, ya know."
Most arguments how rnd encounters are bad are without thinking about any improvements that could be done
Why is that a problem? If someone wants to suggest improvements to random encounters, then by all means do so. But why are you surprised that people who prefer visible encounters aren't jumping out of their way to pre-empt them?
or how an actual bad battlesystem might also be at fault for getting players burned out or bored.
No matter how good a battle system, or anything else in this world is, too much repetition will always suck the fun out of it. Even sex becomes tedious if it crosses the line from diversion to obligation.Historically (based on games that have actually been made) random encounters are more prone to this than touch encounters because of a) encounter rate and B) the potentially infinite number of encounters (i.e. even if you don't want to fight, you're not done until you get to a safe place.)

If you want to discuss different encounter types you need a bit than just meh rnd sucks! -That's not aimed at you btw, just something in general-
But people have been discussing "a bit (more) than just meh rnd sucks!" I understand if you haven't taken the time to read the rather salient points made in this thread. That's okay. There's more to life than forums, after all. But I get the impression that you feel this thread has failed to live up to some standard of forum-integrity when it's actually done its job rather admirably so far.
Tbh, I don't think there is much of a discussion at all, without thinking about the bigger sheme of things because both (or rather all, if someone comes up with something different) types of encounters suffer from specific problems.
It totally is a discussion. But it keeps getting de-railed by people trying to include every facet of game design as some bizarre form of apologetics. Yes, that's important for weighing the overall game experience, but that's not the point of this thread, nor should it be.So, let's try this: How could a good game with a good touch-encounter system be improved with random encounters? How is it better for the player to not be able to see a monster before being attacked? In the year 2013, when we don't have to struggle with the hardware limitations of older PC's and consoles, how does it benefit the player to not see a battle coming?
 

Andar

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Mar 5, 2013
Messages
30,263
Reaction score
7,139
First Language
German
Primarily Uses
RMMV
So, let's try this: How could a good game with a good touch-encounter system be improved with random encounters? How is it better for the player to not be able to see a monster before being attacked? In the year 2013, when we don't have to struggle with the hardware limitations of older PC's and consoles, how does it benefit the player to not see a battle coming?
As I said in a post earlier here, that depends on the kind of game and the scenario. In your basic explorer-type fantasy-RPG invisible encounters (no matter wether they're random or not) would be distracting and it would be better to use evented encounters (possible respawning or with a random placement/generation if that is neccessary for the balance).

However if I were to make a horror/thriller-RPG, then I would never use visible encounters, but invisible events and/or completely randomized encounters. Because in that type of game, the shock value of sudden combat (of course not so many that the player can expect them) is part of the atmosphere the game creates.
 

Necromus

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Mar 14, 2012
Messages
490
Reaction score
61
First Language
German
Primarily Uses
I'll allow for the theoretical existence of a game that does this--probably one indie game or abandoned RPG Maker project or two? Anything's possible, I suppose. This hypothetical game may very well be out there, but I have yet to play, see, or even hear about it.

So given that a very small number of games do this, (and I have to conclude that none of them are mainstream) how are dodging or avoiding encounters "absolutely part of a random encounter system?"

I'm all for hearing the good points of both. But try to understand: for those of us who don't like random encounters, their "cons" speak (rather loudly) for themselves and the "pros" seem to be cleverly hidden behind the argument that "it could be worse, ya know."

Why is that a problem? If someone wants to suggest improvements to random encounters, then by all means do so. But why are you surprised that people who prefer visible encounters aren't jumping out of their way to pre-empt them?

No matter how good a battle system, or anything else in this world is, too much repetition will always suck the fun out of it. Even sex becomes tedious if it crosses the line from diversion to obligation.

Historically (based on games that have actually been made) random encounters are more prone to this than touch encounters because of a) encounter rate and B) the potentially infinite number of encounters (i.e. even if you don't want to fight, you're not done until you get to a safe place.)

But people have been discussing "a bit (more) than just meh rnd sucks!" I understand if you haven't taken the time to read the rather salient points made in this thread. That's okay. There's more to life than forums, after all. But I get the impression that you feel this thread has failed to live up to some standard of forum-integrity when it's actually done its job rather admirably so far.

It totally is a discussion. But it keeps getting de-railed by people trying to include every facet of game design as some bizarre form of apologetics. Yes, that's important for weighing the overall game experience, but that's not the point of this thread, nor should it be.

So, let's try this: How could a good game with a good touch-encounter system be improved with random encounters? How is it better for the player to not be able to see a monster before being attacked? In the year 2013, when we don't have to struggle with the hardware limitations of older PC's and consoles, how does it benefit the player to not see a battle coming?
############Wall of Text############

Completely avoiding rnd encounters is part of a lot of games with such an encounter type, there is pretty much always some kind of less/no encounter kind of ability or item but i guess you rather mean dodging.

I absolutely agree that that is not common, I'm pretty sure I played games with some kind of minigame (if you want to put it like that) that allowed dodging a fight but I couldn't really name it (or them) now either.

Doesn't really change the fact there are quite some options to decrease the ammount of actual fights.

And what I meant with such a system beeing absolutely part of a rnd encounter system (releated to the post i quoted), is simply that a rnd is till rnd, because all it takes are non predictable (to a point) encounterrates, or just no visible encounters.

Sailerius said that with such a system a rnd encounter would not be rnd anymore, which, in my opinion, is simply not the case.

However that doesn't mean it has to be included, you're right, it doesn't.

I did read the thread, heck I even posted in it when it was first opened, but like I said, i browse a lot of RPG maker forums, everyone has threads like this one so I got confused.

The consensus is still mostly something that hasn't much to du with a disscussion, rather bah i hate rnd!

Sure there are a lot of decent arguments in all of those threads, but really, they drag out because of bickering, like I said.

I'm all for disscussing that kind of thing though, just from an overall perspective.

The last part is actually pretty interesting and I actually don't think that there are much, if any, advantages of rnd compared to visible encounters.

But to really give you an idea what my perspective is:

- this is a RPG maker forum, not a general game forum and not a, for the bigger part, forum for serious (don't get me wrong, I know a lot of people are serious, commercial and all) game makers/developers, more for unexperienced people

- that means that there is more (considering the fact that might actually try to go commercial for example) to design decisions than what the player might want, or what the "best" (that's highly subjective after all) for the player is

So having that said, for me personally, rnd encounters are way easier to realize than on touch encounters (which actually have more than some kind of default sprite, something with actual animations), because you simply skip quite a big part of effort like that.

Like I said before, I think on touch enounters add tremendously to the over detail of a map, making it more alive.

However, if you can make your map busy enough without those monsters, than imo its no problem to use a decent rnd encounter system.

But maybe we are just vastly different types of players, I like numbercrunching, I like to level, to power up/improve.

That simply means I like to fight (if that is fun, and rnd encounters do not remove the fun for me), so how I trigger the fight is not that important for me.

Its not like on touch encounters can't be annoying either, most on touch encounters can actually be triggered in multiple ways.

The player attacking first, starting a normal fight or one with an advantage for the player (depending on the direction the enemy was facing), or starting a fight with a disadvantage for the player.

When you try to dodge an encounter because you do not want to fight, but actually fail to do so and get some kind of disadvantage while fighting, things get annoying, for me atleast.

Ni No Kuni would be the most recent example for that, I absolutely adore that game, yet getting suprised by the enemy can be hugely annoying there.

Ofc you can always say that you could change the behaviour of the monster, but that either makes it too easy, almost like it would just be standing still, or - and thats important - the same thing is true for rnd encounters, both can/could be improved.

Also you mentioned we live in 2013, we don't have to struggle with hardware limitations, so there is actually no reason to not have visible encounters.

Well neither was that the issue, or the reason for rnd encounters back in the day.

There were both games with rnd ecnounters and visible ones, even in the snes era.

Ofc I do not know the exact reason for why rnd encounters were actually invented, or implemented in games, however here is what i think.

I think the goal behind rnd encounters was simply to generate some kind of threat, some kind of tension that danger is lurking all around, that you can be ambushed (which actually is the case most of the time) at any given time.

After all, when a battle starts, you suddenly face badass monsters and there is some pumping battle music going on, while the actual music playing while exploring is pretty relaxed, most of the time (ofc there are also dungeons with creepy music and such).

Rnd encounters definitely create some kind of tension, whereas on visible encounters encourage a more ...brave i guess...way of approaching enemies, it's simply more upfront.

Both types actually try to generate two vastly different things.

But yea, that's just my opinion of what the reasons behind different encounter types is and I'm 100% sure that I'm neither alone with that, nor in any way "absolutely" right about it.

Oh and something about the whole thmeatic in general.

Sailerius said in the very first post that most people dislike rnd encounters and that an, albeit very vocal, minority likes them.

Is there any data about that, any kind of surveys or something?

Because, and that is a fact and was said in pretty much all the mmo forums (also not just about games), people are way more vocal about things they do not like, than about things they do like.

Take note that I use mmo's as an example because they actually invole a massive ammount of people, even if people that are vocal are pretty much always the minority, for bot good and bad stuff, compared to the overall playerbase of any given game.

For example, I don't know how many here played Diablo 3, but there was, pretty much at any given time, a massive ****storm going on about all kind of things in the game.

Like, it wasn't just some parts of the forum, it was liteally everywhere.

Still, the game had tremendous success, and the developers said that the overall feedback was a lot more positive than negative, albeit when looking at the offical forum and fansites, the game would be like 5% good, 94% bad and 1% of pure evil and insane threats lol

And D3 was an extreme example, tremendous outrages, nothing compared to some people not liking rnd encounters.

Looking at all the different rpg maker forums, the vocal part is against - atleast thats the image I get from them, maybe someone thinks the opposite - rnd encounters.

That however doesn't have to mean that the majority of players is against rnd encounters at all.

Looking at how things actually are for other games, it would actually be the exact opposite, the ammount of players that either like them, or simply do not care (or well, i guess aren't bothered might be a better way to put it) is actually way bigger than the ammount of players that dislike them, because the vocal part is always the minority of the overall playerbase.

Just really curious about that, maybe there are some huge surveys about that and I just don't know of them.

Well yea...sry for the long text but in the end, although you definitely have a different opinion about this, and about what the thread should be about, I still think the whole disscussion needs to be about more than simply rnd vs visible, because there just IS more to it than that.
 

Animus

"My Shangri-La beneath the summer moon."
Veteran
Joined
Apr 6, 2013
Messages
235
Reaction score
7
First Language
Creole
Primarily Uses
@Travatar

Exit Fate is a very real RPG Maker game that uses a system very similar to the Wild Arms series, which allows you to skip a random battle if you push a button as an exclamation appears over the player's head. You get a few seconds to do this action, and there are other games that do different things.

Another example would be any RPG Maker game in the near future that uses an encounter system like The 7th Saga uses thanks to a Moghunter script that combines both random and touch-based without the annoying events clogging up where you move around. Instead it uses a mini map where enemies appear from the sides at random and move slowly around said minimap, and if your dot on the minimap touches one of them, a random battle begins.

So with that said, it's very possible to add avoidable random encounters to your RPG Maker game, and games outside RPG Maker definitely exist that let you avoid what is supposedly unavoidable. And besides, whether or not it's mainstream, as long as it's possible it very well is part of the random encounter system. It has been in the past, present, and most likely the future of random battles.
 

Necromus

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Mar 14, 2012
Messages
490
Reaction score
61
First Language
German
Primarily Uses
Yeah thats it, Wild Arms!

I had that in mind but I just played one (Wild Arms 3 I think) for a very short time, but i knew i've seen it somewhere XD
 

amerk

Veteran
Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2012
Messages
1,439
Reaction score
511
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
Wild Arms 3 and Wild Arms: Alter Code F use the skip system. Spellbinder (for RM) uses a random encounter gauge to let you know when the next encounter will take place. These things make random encounters less cumbersome.

I don't think it's so much the randomness in an encounter as it is when the encounter will take place that has people up in arms. For example, you can still add tension in visible encounters by using a random variable to determine what type of troop you will face with.

Basically, if you use TE, you can use random troops within each event to ensure the player isn't farming one particular troop and keeping the player on their toes, while still allowing them to decide when to fight. If you use RE, you can add a gauge that allows the player to know when the next encounter will occur. Both systems are ideal to preparing the player, but without removing the randomness entirely. With TE, you can also have hidden event encounters jump out at the player from time to time for surprise attacks.

Basically, surprising the player with a sudden attack is most effective when it's least expected. That surprise loses its appeal when it happens over and over again every few steps.

I've played both in my life, and quite frankly RE doesn't bother me enough to quit a game, although I do prefer TE over RE. What does make me quit (regardless if it's TE or RE) is when I'm expected to stand around in a room and grind for several levels in the course of an hour just to ensure I'll be powerful enough to have a decent chance against the upcoming boss, when it should have only taken me 10 minutes to play through the same dungeon. The only time I want to grind is when it involves loot, gold, items, or AP for skills, and even then it needs to be kept at a minimum.
 

Travatar

Summoned by candle, by book, and by bell.
Veteran
Joined
Sep 2, 2012
Messages
435
Reaction score
38
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
For the purposes of this discussion, using the stereotypical grind-heavy walk-fight-walk-fight-walk-fight RPG is completely justified. By all means, find exceptions to the rule. Discuss how these things can be better. But know that the stereotype remains.

So having that said, for me personally, rnd encounters are way easier to realize than on touch encounters (which actually have more than some kind of default sprite, something with actual animations), because you simply skip quite a big part of effort like that.
Like I said before, I think on touch enounters add tremendously to the over detail of a map, making it more alive.
However, if you can make your map busy enough without those monsters, than imo its no problem to use a decent rnd encounter system.
I agree they're easier to realize, but they shouldn't be easier as in "less time spent". A good designer will use all that time they're saving to play-test and balance to make sure that the encounter rate isn't too high. While they're not hand-placing events or animating sprites, they should be finding ways to make the dungeons more fun, instead of padding them out with pointless, unnecessary battles. All in all, it should equal to about the same amount of effort.

Otherwise, it's just lazy design.

But maybe we are just vastly different types of players, I like numbercrunching, I like to level, to power up/improve.
That simply means I like to fight (if that is fun, and rnd encounters do not remove the fun for me), so how I trigger the fight is not that important for me.
I like leveling up, too. But even a good battle system (which very few RPG's have to begin with) can get annoying and repetitive.

What does that have to do with the encounter type? With a few rare exceptions on both sides, Random Encounter games tend to be the worst offenders when it comes to battle-spamming. Probably due to the fact that it only requires setting a number and walking away, which both professional developers and hobbyists seem to do with gleeful abandon. On the other hand, someone hand-placing their encounters has to put at least some thought into it.
That doesn't mean there aren't exceptions to the rule, but Random Encounter games have a well-justified reputation for this.

Its not like on touch encounters can't be annoying either, most on touch encounters can actually be triggered in multiple ways.
The player attacking first, starting a normal fight or one with an advantage for the player (depending on the direction the enemy was facing), or starting a fight with a disadvantage for the player.
When you try to dodge an encounter because you do not want to fight, but actually fail to do so and get some kind of disadvantage while fighting, things get annoying, for me atleast.
Fair enough, but for most on-touch encounters that might mean 1, maybe 5 unwanted fights in a dungeon. For most random encounter games, that could mean potentially dozens and dozens of unwanted fights, depending on how much backtracking is needed.

Ofc I do not know the exact reason for why rnd encounters were actually invented, or implemented in games, however here is what i think.
I think the goal behind rnd encounters was simply to generate some kind of threat, some kind of tension that danger is lurking all around, that you can be ambushed (which actually is the case most of the time) at any given time.
After all, when a battle starts, you suddenly face badass monsters and there is some pumping battle music going on, while the actual music playing while exploring is pretty relaxed, most of the time (ofc there are also dungeons with creepy music and such).
Rnd encounters definitely create some kind of tension, whereas on visible encounters encourage a more ...brave i guess...way of approaching enemies, it's simply more upfront.
Both types actually try to generate two vastly different things.
 
But yea, that's just my opinion of what the reasons behind different encounter types is and I'm 100% sure that I'm neither alone with that, nor in any way "absolutely" right about it.
I'm probably showing my age here, but I'm thinking beyond the SNES era, since that's not really very old in terms of the RPG genre.

Random encounters were first used in Pen&Paper RPG's. The Game/Dungeon Master would spring them on players every so often (or use a dice and chart, if s/he was a rules-purist). The difference here is that the Game Master assumes some level of responsibility for it, and can sense feedback from the players. S/he can feel from the players whether these fights are too frequent or too far apart and adjust accordingly, because s/he is accountable.

Early computer RPG's such as Wizardry, The Bard's Tale and many more imitated this as well by using random or pseudo-random number algorithms (since a computer doesn't really have the same intuition a human does.) These were old, first-person dungeon crawls. Since they had a more limited field of view, and it conserved system resources, it was a natural fit.

When RPG's came to the NES and the Master System, they changed a lot of things. 3rd person perspective, simplified controls, etc. Even though players could now see almost all of the screen, designers still used a random encounter system like in those old dungeon crawls. Why? It saved resources. Yes, there were a few exceptions, but these were trade-offs in terms of how many sprites could be displayed, how many calculations could be performed, etc.

Whenever technology improved (as in the not-quite-ancient SNES era,) there would be more games with visible encounters. This is not a coincidence.

Looking at how things actually are for other games, it would actually be the exact opposite, the ammount of players that either like them, or simply do not care (or well, i guess aren't bothered might be a better way to put it) is actually way bigger than the ammount of players that dislike them, because the vocal part is always the minority of the overall playerbase.
 
Just really curious about that, maybe there are some huge surveys about that and I just don't know of them.
If there are surveys, I'm unaware of them. And I don't mind being the vocal part of the userbase. The majority seems apathetic about random encounters and just uses them "because." Does that mean I shut up and just go with the flow? Not a chance. It just means having to work harder to get the point across. I'm totally okay with that too.

My problem is with the false perception that Random Encounters are an essential part of an RPG. Unless you're sitting across a table from me with a set of dice and a Dungeon Master screen, they're not essential at all.

Well yea...sry for the long text but in the end, although you definitely have a different opinion about this, and about what the thread should be about, I still think the whole disscussion needs to be about more than simply rnd vs visible, because there just IS more to it than that.
But again--why should a thread that's explicitly about random-vs-visible be about more than random and visible? Your original accusation was that it reverted to opinions and bickering, which is not the case at all. People are making real arguments here. Just because they don't agree with you doesn't change that.

I can see your point that perhaps there's a more salient topic to be had by broadening the discussion. If that's the case, then by all means MAKE THAT TOPIC.

I think Random and Visible encounters both have their drawbacks. The ideal system would have randomly-generated, visible encounters (tension, and without violating suspension of disbelief,) with battles taking place on the same map. But again, that's not what this discussion is about.

@Travatar
Exit Fate is a very real RPG Maker game that uses a system very similar to the Wild Arms series, which allows you to skip a random battle if you push a button as an exclamation appears over the player's head. You get a few seconds to do this action, and there are other games that do different things.
 
Another example would be any RPG Maker game in the near future that uses an encounter system like The 7th Saga uses thanks to a Moghunter script that combines both random and touch-based without the annoying events clogging up where you move around. Instead it uses a mini map where enemies appear from the sides at random and move slowly around said minimap, and if your dot on the minimap touches one of them, a random battle begins.
 
So with that said, it's very possible to add avoidable random encounters to your RPG Maker game, and games outside RPG Maker definitely exist that let you avoid what is supposedly unavoidable. And besides, whether or not it's mainstream, as long as it's possible it very well is part of the random encounter system. It has been in the past, present, and most likely the future of random battles.
I stand corrected, then. But still when we say "random encounter" a definite image pops into the heads of most people who've played more than a few RPG's. I'm glad people are working to change that, though. If enough people try to find ways to reduce the annoying things about standard random encounters, maybe it won't be such a stereotype.

I've played both in my life, and quite frankly RE doesn't bother me enough to quit a game, although I do prefer TE over RE. What does make me quit (regardless if it's TE or RE) is when I'm expected to stand around in a room and grind for several levels in the course of an hour just to ensure I'll be powerful enough to have a decent chance against the upcoming boss, when it should have only taken me 10 minutes to play through the same dungeon. The only time I want to grind is when it involves loot, gold, items, or AP for skills, and even then it needs to be kept at a minimum.
I agree 100% with this. Again, let's not ignore that Random Encounter games usually just happen to be repeat offenders for over-grinding though.

Usually when someone tries to make an argument for high encounter rates, it's usually some nonsense about making sure the player is leveled up enough. But guess what, gang? As game-makers, we can reduce the encounter rate by 1/2(or 1/4) and double(or quadruple) the experience, gold and item drop rates. WHAT??? Yeah, I just blew some minds with mathe-magic.
 

Tai_MT

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
May 1, 2013
Messages
5,423
Reaction score
4,737
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Let's see...  I've only ever played ONE "touch encounter" game I ever liked.  Earthbound.  Why?  It takes all the annoyances of a standard "touch enemy" system and removes almost all the flaws while also making it fun.  How does it do this, you ask, with bated breath?

Encounters in Earthbound (on the SNES) either have the enemies moving TOWARDS you or AWAY from you.  They rarely remain "stationary" unless they "haven't seen you yet".  Approach an enemy from the rear and you get a surprise attack.  Enemy hits you in the rear, they get a surprise attack.  Everything else results in standard combat with whomever being fastest going first.  And then we get to the entire reason people hate BOTH encounter systems, which Earthbound managed to fix:

The ability to avoid fighting nonsense when you don't need to.  If you're far too strong for an enemy and you touch them (or would kill them in the opening shot anyway, such as a surprise round and then the second round afterwards), they are immediately defeated without going to a battle screen.  It makes the "death" sound and pops up a box telling you what your prizes are.  Battles you wouldn't want to fight are now reduced to mere seconds of a dialogue box.  And, even then, it only matters if YOU initiate the combat with these foes.  If you are sufficiently strong enough for the area, enemies actively avoid you.  Then run to the farthest corner of the room or the nearest hole away from you, effectively clearing a path through the dungeon or area that you're exploring.  Sure, you can touch them if you want to invoke instant death on them, but you don't have to.

I have never seen this system replicated since.  Maybe it has been replicated, I don't know, I just know that I haven't seen it.

Any form of "touch encounter" system I've seen since playing that game pales in comparison and merely turns "chance encounters" into "forced encounters".  How so, you ask?

Well, having these battles be initiated by touch actually doesn't address the problem of "I want to fight / I don't want to fight".  There is no way to know if a player wants to fight or doesn't want to fight an enemy with a touch system.  There just isn't.  How do you make a dungeon challenging without including monsters in it?  Monsters that would attack you and try to impede your progress by making you use MP and restorative items as well as reward you with XP and Loot for completion.  If you include monsters in every room of the dungeon, chances are that someone, somewhere, will not want to fight them.  But, because of the nature of the room, will be unable to avoid all of the enemies.  Enemies that don't run away, that block your path, that actively hunt you even if you're so high level that they wouldn't bother trying to take you because it would be suicide to do so.    Random encounters have this too...  They suffer from the same issue, but they can be mitigated.

As others have said before me, it's easy to mitigate encounters in a "random encounter" system.  There are items and skills which allow you to do so.  Many of the standard RPGs even give these things to you fairly early on in the game.  Random encounters are also somewhat designed to get you to a specific level range in order to make the boss fight coming up viable without having to go out of your way to grind levels in order to attempt it.  These "random encounters" also have items that are designed to increase the amount of battles you run into in case you're grinding for something specific (gold, xp, rare loot, what-have-you).  These things allow the player to determine what they want to do fairly easily.  Instead of a developer trying to GUESS what any player might want at a particular point in the game, they simply give you the tools to CHOOSE what you want.

Granted, the only real problem with the "random encounters" bit is the frequency.  Taking a single step and hitting a battle is fairly unacceptible.  Sufficient time to get a "breather" from battle needs to take place.  This resides somwhere in the 35-50 step range most often.  Depending on movement speed that number will fluctuate slightly.  However, at the speed of 1.5 tiles every second, the 35 step range is enough time to look about the map a little bit and feel like enough time has passed that another battle breaking up the exploring won't do any harm.

Generally, if you find yourself in a hurry in an RPG it's because your combat system is crappy and uninteresting.  If you're trying to avoid enemies to get to a save point or something else...  Well, that's a player issue and not necessarily a design issue.  Battle should be just as fun and exciting as discovering new worlds.  If players are preferring to jump to the next section of story or skip battles so you can get to the next area...  Well, it's a symptom of boring combat.  The only battles players should want to avoid are those of weak creatures and those of too strong creatures.  Regular fights will be interesting and dynamic with lots of options to take within the fight.  Exploring how you can navigate combat can be just as much fun as navigating that new cave system with the weird glowing green flowers and techno music.
 

Hesufo

Homu!
Veteran
Joined
Mar 14, 2012
Messages
446
Reaction score
36
First Language
Spanish
Primarily Uses
I don't think you should focus your battle design on expecting the player to want to fight normal encounters 100% of the time. "Skipping to the next area" isn't the only possible scenario for players not wanting to engage in battles.
 

Tai_MT

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
May 1, 2013
Messages
5,423
Reaction score
4,737
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
The other possible scenarios being "I want to get all the treasure without combat" or "I'm exploring this area because it looks nice"?  That's all well and good, but there are OTHER games for that.  Games that include stealth mechanics and games like "point and click" adventures in which the goal is exploration.  It is assumed (correctly) that a player popping in an RPG is there for the full experience of said title.  They are there to experience a glorious storyline and fantastic battles.  They are there to fall in love with characters and plot twists as well as feeling absolutely amazing in combat.

If combat gets repetative and long (as it often does because most programmers don't realize battle systems need to feel amazing and dynamic itself) then the player will find themselves avoiding combat for long stints of time and engaging in other activities within the game.  Random exploration, for example.  I am not saying there is anything against exploring a map and wanting to do just that.  I am also not saying that there is anything against just wanting to get through the dungeon and onto the next plot twist.  But, again, if you're more hooked on exploration and story than the combat, it's likely because the combat system utilized is boring to the nth degree.

The assumption is that all players have ADD or ADHD and ANY combat for ANY length of time absolutely wrecks their train of thought to the point that they need to scratch their head and figure out just what they were doing.  Most combat doesn't last beyond 5 turns.  So, about 20 to 30 seconds or so (depending on animations and what-have-you).  I make the opposite assumption.  I assume the player still remembers what they were doing when battle finishes and continue doing that.  I also assume that while doing something the player doesn't want to be bombarded with battle after battle.  That's why I mentioned the "encounter rate" issue.  If you're experiencing encounters roughly every 5 seconds or so, it's done wrong.  There is no room for a breather.  Without that breather, the player feels like they aren't going anywhere and are just spinning their wheels.

It's also one of the reasons I enjoyed the Earthbound system so much.  I understood the point of battle in RPGs by the time I played the game.  The developers did as well.  If I entered a new area and was overlevelled, the ENEMIES let me know it by running away from me.  They'd clear a path and let me go through unmolested.  There was little chance of me being underlevelled by the time I reached the boss of whatever dungeon I was in.  Each monster fight also tended to be memorable when I did engage in battle.  Like, trees that explode after death in order to take you with them.

Player Choice is why I often revert to "random encounter" battle types instead.  I like to give my players options depending on how they feel at the time.  They don't want to fight, okay fine.  They pop on the accessory that turns the encounter rate to zero and now they've only got to fight monsters that are "events".  They want to farm more of something through battle, they pop on the accessory that makes battles twice or three times as frequent.  Games with "Visible Encounters" don't offer you these options most of the time.  The exception, of course, being games like "Earthbound".  But, in that game, you found yourself only avoiding the weaker monsters because every battle was fun and interesting.
 

Andar

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Mar 5, 2013
Messages
30,263
Reaction score
7,139
First Language
German
Primarily Uses
RMMV
My problem is with the false perception that Random Encounters are an essential part of an RPG. Unless you're sitting across a table from me with a set of dice and a Dungeon Master screen, they're not essential at all.
And that is also a false perception - in the case of a computer game, I can see some reason for random encounters.

In the case of an PnP-RPG with a table of players, there is absolutely NO reason for random encounters. When I gamemaster an RPG-Game, then every one of the (few) encounters is pre-planned as I like to fokus on the story, not some random dice rolls...

For the same reason, our RPG-group has an average of about one fight every three or four gaming sessions (sometimes even less) - roleplaying is not the same as dicerolling for us...

And that is the real point everyone should keep in their mind:

Each player finds other things interesting or game-breaking, and you should match your game to an audience. If someone who would never play a specific type of game explains why it is booring, he/she should keep in mind that while the game might be booring to him/her, other players might be looking for these types of games as their hobby...
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Sailerius

Engineer
Veteran
Joined
Mar 17, 2012
Messages
606
Reaction score
142
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
It is assumed (correctly) that a player popping in an RPG is there for the full experience of said title.  They are there to experience a glorious storyline and fantastic battles.  They are there to fall in love with characters and plot twists as well as feeling absolutely amazing in combat.
That's a pretty big given, and I'm reasonably confident you're going to find that in general, it doesn't hold true. I hate most RPG battles but I love playing RPGs. Often, when I'm playing an RM game, I'll unencrypt it and disable battles so that they're not there to get in the way while I'm exploring or going through the story. Granted, I don't have to break the game if the battles are easily avoidable, but most RM kids subscribe to the cargo cult philosophy of forcing them down your throat because you're not playing my game right!!!

Never make an assumption about what the player wants or try to force them to play the game a certain way. Otherwise, you become the railroading GM that everyone hates.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Hesufo

Homu!
Veteran
Joined
Mar 14, 2012
Messages
446
Reaction score
36
First Language
Spanish
Primarily Uses
The other possible scenarios being "I want to get all the treasure without combat" or "I'm exploring this area because it looks nice"?  That's all well and good, but there are OTHER games for that. [...] if you're more hooked on exploration and story than the combat, it's likely because the combat system utilized is boring to the nth degree.
I like to give my players options depending on how they feel at the time.  They don't want to fight, okay fine.  They pop on the accessory that turns the encounter rate to zero and now they've only got to fight monsters that are "events".
Wait, but then that means your combat system is boring to the nth degree!
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Tai_MT

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
May 1, 2013
Messages
5,423
Reaction score
4,737
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Wait, but then that means your combat system is boring to the nth degree!
And where did I say it wasn't?  Ha ha.  Combat is a means to an end for me.  It's there because players tend to enjoy feeling strong and powerful by the end of the game.  Most of my battle systems tend to involve "bash until dead and move on".  Most RPGs I've ever played seem to subscribe to this method as well.  Doesn't make it right, just makes it prevailent in the genre.  Just like saving the Princess.

As for the "disabling battles so I can just enjoy the scenery and story", Sailerius...  That seems silly and awkward to me.  If you disable battles for the entire thing (or specific areas) it tends to make well... 100% of all loot pretty much useless and pointless.  It also renders stats, skills, abilities, buffs, debuffs, blah blah blah, all pretty much pointless and useless.  I can't see enjoying a game where it's just "explore the landscape and progress the story while skipping everything".  Though, there ARE games like that.  The Walking Dead is one of those games.  Though, technically, I don't call that a "game".  It's an "interactive story".  They have those out there as well...  mostly in the Japanese markets, and most of them are dating simulators.

By disabling battles just to look around or enjoy the story, you're basically telling me you'd rather be reading a book than playing a video game.  If that's the case, why not just read the book?  Or watch the movie?

If you're playing D&D, this is a different story.  But, as I'm sure most people know...  D&D is absolutely nothing like a standard RPG Video Game.  It just isn't.  There is no comparison.  Apples and Oranges here.  When you program a specific game with specific events, it is meant to played in the way it is programmed.  There's no way to do it differently.  No way to know what your players would want to do (other than common sense telling you that if they didn't want to play a game with battles, they'd play games that don't have battles instead).  There are only so many "eventualities" that can be programmed as "roleplaying options" when battles aren't present.  This will also tend to boil down to "blank slate" or "actually developed character" types.  The Blank Slates will need to be programmed to be able to tackle any given situation with any given solution a player might have in order to even have the "Role Playing" element within it.  An "already developed character" will have a limited/finite amount of options the player can choose from, and most of them wont' even be realized or change a single thing within the context of the narrative.  Look at Mass Effect as an example.  99% of all the choices you make in game do not affect ANYTHING except some kind of "final score" at the end of the trilogy which can be buffed purely by spending enough time in the multiplayer.  Because of the multitude of choices involved in that kind of "roleplaying", you're being railroaded without KNOWING you're being railroaded.

They do have games out there that cater to every kind of player.  It's just that what you're telling me is basically "I want to play a First Person Shooter, but without any enemies in it, except during cutscenes".  At that point, the game is essentially a "run to the end of the level for the cutscene reward".  The levels need not even exist unless they're filled with puzzles and ONLY puzzles.  This is, of course fine as well.  Portal and Portal 2 run on that premise.  It's just that a premise like that doesn't work in a game like Halo or Call of Duty.  What you're essentially saying is "I want to play a game like Portal and all First Person Shooter games should be like Portal", instead of the more sensible "I like Portal, so I'll play games in the Portal genre instead of playing a different genre and complaining that it's not set up like Portal".

I'm not trying to be mean or petty here, I'm really not.  It just sounds really silly and disjointed what you'd said to me.  Can an RPG be made that involves zero combat and only a storyline?  Yes, it can be done.  The problem?  These games rarely sell well because these games rarely have any "gameplay" in them.  It's essentially a game that plays itself and only needs a player to tap the "confirm" button just to the thing keeps moving foward.  It is a game consisting entirely of cutscenes.  Some people do enjoy this... Vast majority do not.  I certainly don't want to spend $60 on a game that is essentially a 3 hour movie.  LotR Trilogy is cheaper than that and much longer!  It's the reason I refuse to get "The Walking Dead" and all its episodes.  Doesn't feel like a game to me, doesn't feel like anything I do actually matters 'cause there are so many finite endings and much of what you do doesn't matter.  Save someone in episode 1, they die in a different episode anyway.  I don't want to spend my money or time playing a game that essentially plays itself.

Though, I will start including a new thing in my RPGs because of your point.  A ReadMe that is basically a synopsis of the entire storyline so that people who don't actually want to play it and just  know the story can get it without playing.  Maybe even some spliced video of all the "cutscenes" in a link in the ReadMe.  Don't want to leave anyone out, after all.  If someone wants to enjoy my story without all the bothersome battling and etcetera, I should include that as an option somewhere.  Wonder if I could simply implement that in the game somewhere?  Perhaps an equippable item that makes encounter rate 0 and while worn it allows you to skip boss fights while assuming you won?  Might be more efficient than a ReadMe...  I bet I could even disable NPCs with that item if I wanted to, you know get rid of all the pesky armor and weapon and item vendors that now serve no point.  Would save points even serve a point if the game isn't that long?  Maybe I could disable those too...
 

Sailerius

Engineer
Veteran
Joined
Mar 17, 2012
Messages
606
Reaction score
142
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
As for the "disabling battles so I can just enjoy the scenery and story", Sailerius...  That seems silly and awkward to me.  If you disable battles for the entire thing (or specific areas) it tends to make well... 100% of all loot pretty much useless and pointless.  It also renders stats, skills, abilities, buffs, debuffs, blah blah blah, all pretty much pointless and useless.  I can't see enjoying a game where it's just "explore the landscape and progress the story while skipping everything". 
That's your personal taste, and this is mine. Most RPG battle systems are terrible and the game becomes 500x better by eliminating all the battles, items, EXP, etc. You need to remember in designing a game that not everyone shares the same values that you do.

By disabling battles just to look around or enjoy the story, you're basically telling me you'd rather be reading a book than playing a video game.  If that's the case, why not just read the book?  Or watch the movie?
Because you can't explore environments or talk to people in a book or movie.

If you're playing D&D, this is a different story.  But, as I'm sure most people know...  D&D is absolutely nothing like a standard RPG Video Game.  It just isn't.  There is no comparison.  Apples and Oranges here. 
I'm not even going to read the rest of your post because this is just completely wrong. Sorry. The presentation format may be different but they're fundamentally the same kind of game.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Ronove

♫꒰・‿・๑꒱
Veteran
Joined
Mar 12, 2012
Messages
1,031
Reaction score
346
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
That's your personal taste, and this is mine. Most RPG battle systems are terrible and the game becomes 500x better by eliminating all the battles, items, EXP, etc. You need to remember in designing a game that not everyone shares the same values that you do.
What do you define as RPG Gameplay exactly? Battles usually make up a huge part of an RPG (pen and paper and video game alike). If you take out the battles, take out what you gain from battles (which would help your stats), all you have left is exploring and that's more of an adventure game than an RPG, is it not? I can understand enjoying the story so much you don't want to deal with battles, but at the same time, battles seem like one of the defining parts of an RPG it seems really silly to take them out and still want an RPG. If you want no battles, make an adventure game. There you still have your adventuring and your exploring and your speaking to NPCs as your heart contents.
 

Seacliff

RPG Maker Mastermind
Veteran
Joined
Nov 8, 2012
Messages
2,959
Reaction score
1,081
First Language
Yes
Primarily Uses
RM2k
@ Ronove: agreed

@ everyone:

In my opinion, I like Moghunter's encounter system, it somewhat combines the touch and random encounters, where you can still dodge the encounters but still get caught be surprised.

Touch encounters I prefer a little bit more than random, but it's more likely that I grew up with those games.

Random encounters I like best with an encounter meter, so you can at least know when to expect the battle, unfortunately, very few scripts for any RPG makers are out there with a classical encounter script... :p
 

Tai_MT

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
May 1, 2013
Messages
5,423
Reaction score
4,737
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
That's your personal taste, and this is mine. Most RPG battle systems are terrible and the game becomes 500x better by eliminating all the battles, items, EXP, etc. You need to remember in designing a game that not everyone shares the same values that you do.

Because you can't explore environments or talk to people in a book or movie.

I'm not even going to read the rest of your post because this is just completely wrong. Sorry. The presentation format may be different but they're fundamentally the same kind of game.
I don't know, my "personal taste" doesn't really have anything to do with it.  Battles are the staple of pretty much any RPG, even Tabletops.  Even if you don't smack Goblins with sticks in D&D, there are "battles".  The battles just take a different form in D&D because you can literally do ANYTHING you imagine with it.  This is why D&D and RPG Video Games are apples and oranges.  It's possible to make a D&D experience that is 100% political, economical, social, etcetera without any battles or wars what-so-ever.  The problem with doing this in a Video Game RPG?  The only interaction you are going to get is the equivalent of having a DM Railroading you the whole way.  It's all pre-planned, pre-scripted, the answers are already chosen, the storyline already set up, and your input means jack squat to anything happening within the game.  There is no way to solve the problems of Kingdom X by being creative or interesting.  You have the set methods to solve the problem you better pick one.  The other MAJOR difference is that in D&D you create YOUR OWN character.  You create your own background, your own stats, your own looks, etcetera ad infinitum nauseum.  In a standard Video Game RPG, you use whatever the creator (or creators) give you.  You don't play yourself, you play who the designers wanted you to play.  Sure the "blank slate" character hides this well, but not well enough to let you do WHATEVER you want.  Skyrim is a great example.  Claim the throne for yourself?   Good luck trying.  Side with Alduin and become a Dragon Priest?  Yeah, good luck with that too.  Lead city guards to the Thieves Guild and have them all arrested or executed?  Good luck with that.  Oh sure, you can kill most any random NPC if you like, or steal.  You can turn into werewolves or vampires or eat the flesh of the dead...  But do you really get to do anything that ISN'T scripted?  No, you don't.  It's all scripted.  The stories and Quests will always end the ways they were intended to end and there really isn't anything you can do about it aside from not do those quests or kill the people involved in them (if the game lets you).

Battles in an RPG provide a source of distraction, a minor source of conflict, the illusion of a living world with dangerous enemies in it, and a way to feel like you've grown as a character beyond what the writer of the story has told you the character has grown.  Battles also make up a core gameplay mechanic because walking down a road with nothing to impede your progress is rather freakin' dull.  But, if there's suddenly some bandits in the middle of the road demanding your Gil or your Life...  Suddenly your walk is more interesting and suddenly you and your character have a story to tell to others (if they survive).

But again, the real point is...  There are games out there exactly like you're describing.  They aren't called "RPGs" though.  They mostly go by other names.  Simulators, Adventure Games, Point and Click Gaming, Creative Building Games, Interactive Stories (the Japanese seem to have that market cornered, but most of their Interactive Stories tend to be turned into actual Anime as well, so it's big business over there... not so much over here)...  The list goes on and on and on.

Also, the way I've always run D&D is true to the real world.  Characters who are actively pacifists and stay in their homes or in the king's court and what-have-you with no real experience in combat sure do die easy to assassins blades or sure do get captured by brigands a lot.  How does the saying go?  "Those who opt for pacism will always be wiped out by those who do not."?

But, back on topic...  I'm not really against the "Touch Encounters" gamestyle.  I'm against it being used poorly, and it most often is (yes, just like the random encounter gamestyle).  To be honest, if we're going to have enemies on screen, I'd rather just skip the foreplay of going into some battle where I use skills against a static sprite on a colored backdrop.  I'd rather we just go to the "Secret of Mana" battle styles.  If you're going to show me what enemies are there and when they touch me I get attacked, why bother programming a whole separate screen to do the battles on?  Just let me fight the already visible enemies on the already visible screen.  No need to cut away.  At least that way, I can use the terrain to my advantage in a fight.  I can also use my own movement to dodge attacks or prepare powerful ones.
 

Sailerius

Engineer
Veteran
Joined
Mar 17, 2012
Messages
606
Reaction score
142
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
What do you define as RPG Gameplay exactly? Battles usually make up a huge part of an RPG (pen and paper and video game alike). If you take out the battles, take out what you gain from battles (which would help your stats), all you have left is exploring and that's more of an adventure game than an RPG, is it not? I can understand enjoying the story so much you don't want to deal with battles, but at the same time, battles seem like one of the defining parts of an RPG it seems really silly to take them out and still want an RPG. If you want no battles, make an adventure game. There you still have your adventuring and your exploring and your speaking to NPCs as your heart contents.
I only take out the battles when they're boring and/or annoying, which tends to be the case more often than not (especially in RM games). But there are plenty of big-name RPGs where the battles are terrible, such as FFVI and IX, which would both benefit from being able to skip them. I enjoy battles when they're well-done.
A non-RPG example is the Silent Hill series, where most players agree that the combat is atrociously bad, but to suggest you should skip out on some of the best-written and most atmospheric games of all time because you don't like the combat is silly.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Roboblue

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Feb 10, 2013
Messages
145
Reaction score
2
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
FFVI and IX had terrible battle systems? The only negative I can think of for IX is that they dragged on a little too long sometimes. VI's battle system was probably the most intuitive of all the Final Fantasies, especially for its time. Each character had different ways to attack and different strategies, and random encounters usually ended pretty quickly, probably the fastest battles of the entire series. This isn't a nostalgia post either, I didn't play FFVI until last year.
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Latest Threads

Latest Profile Posts

*when the One Map Challenge is the only time you can finish a game*
Drifty wanted to make sure the default MV spark animation lived on, so he made it in Effekseer for the contest :guffaw::guffaw::guffaw:
Thanks to a post in a forum thread we can better create MV/MZ plugins in Haxe.
Latest video of my adventures in Kingdom Hearts 3~
Imagine every unfunny joke gets a laugh track, and it doesn't top until you genuinely laugh at that unfunny joke.

Forum statistics

Threads
99,565
Messages
966,775
Members
131,199
Latest member
TheFaz
Top