OneManIndie

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PARTY BUILDING

Every RPG deals with this mechanic. It's one of the most important features in designing a role-playing game. I've also seen this feature called RECRUITMENT; due to the fact that, in many cases, you have to acquire them for your party. In fact, there have been games devoted solely to who and how you build your party.


pokemon-starters-b.jpg

Unless you've been living rock a rock for say the past twenty years, you seen games that have done this. Pokemon is the most notable example. Some much so, that it created a new term: monster taming/collection. Other games of note in this vein are Digimon. Dragon Warrior/Quest Monsters, and the lesser known grandfather of this phenomenon, Shin Megami Tensei. These games recruit through force, meaning the player has to either weaken and capture the foe or earn their respect in battle.

Other RPGs handle recruitment in a similar way, but they also can go about it, either through storyline, questing, etc. The Final Fantasy franchise, has used mostly the plot to help gather party members, with some questing thrown in. Suikoden II will have you gaining party members just as a result of completing certain missions.

There have even been RPG Maker games that have used recruitment in interesting ways. Middens, an RPG Maker XP game (and a personal favorite of mine), gives you the ability to summon party members with spells you get throughout playing. In Gladatora, another great RPG Maker game made on the MV version engine, some characters will join you based on the reputation you gain as you play. Monstructs: Makers and Mayhem, my longest running project, has you actually MAKING additions to your party. Also, Slime Kingdom, will let you recruit members in many different ways.

As fellow Game devs, how would you go about, or what was your favorite game, using this mechanic?
 

MushroomCake28

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Well it honestly depends on the type of game and the story. For something like Pokemon, the recruitment system works perfectly well with the setting and the story of the world. However, something like Final Fantasy, which is focused a lot more on the story and character development, having a system like Pokemon isn't ideal. They can and sometimes incorporate monster taming, but it will never be as important and prominent as Pokemon where the game is based around that principle.

Personally I prefer the traditional rpg approach: the story progresses, you meet a character, and they join. Simple, and works for traditional rpgs.
 

OneManIndie

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The traditional approach definitely makes sense as the new recruits help add more to the story as a whole. I like how Dragon Quest/Warrior handled taming, because it was more cool add-on that you really didn't need to enjoy the game. Best example I can think of that did this was V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride.
 

Eschaton

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Party-building mechanics should only be as complex as the role actors need to play in the game. Often, a simple mechanic (i.e., actors join at story events) is the best way to go. However, as the complexity of the game and the purposes of actors increases, so should the mechanics.

Capturing units during battle works for monster fighting games bit it also works in games in which the player is building an army. For example, in *Final Fantasy Tactics* you can hire units in towns or you can convince them to defect to your side during battle. In *Final Fantasy X*, you can contract people into your sports team by interacting with them in the world. In *Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker* and *The Phantom Pain* you can extract enemy soldiers from the battlefield and get them to join your army.

While these mechanics of acquiring large numbers of actors for the player to work with are cool, they're not very useful if the player only gets to use a small number of them at a time. There need to be additional features to get a lot of use out of a lot of actors outside of battle.

For example, in *FFT * units can be dispatched into "passive" missions. In *Peace Walker* and *Phantom Pain* units can also be dispatched, but they can also be sorted into teams based on their abilities and unlock crafting options. More directly, these teams make the player currency.
 

OneManIndie

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For example, in *FFT * units can be dispatched into "passive" missions.
I actually use that in Monstructs: Makers and Mayhem and you're right. It totally makes sense to add something like that you're you're recruiting a lot of members. I think that was a great additional use of recruits in the game.
 

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