Rewarding the Player for Targeting Enemy Weaknesses

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by Demi_Fiend, Feb 13, 2017.

  1. Demi_Fiend

    Demi_Fiend Chaos Hero Veteran

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    Hey everyone!

    I'm trying to make enemy weaknesses the backbone of my game's battles. That way, the game rewards you in some way for hitting their weaknesses. This applies to enemies as well as Actors. Extra damage simply won't cut it. Instead of "attacking" the enemy into oblivion, battles must be played out carefully. The "rewards" can be anything; from extra turns to stat buffs. Whatever they are, they can completely turn the tide of the battle.

    I've played around with different ideas, but I'd like some feedback. How would you reward players for targeting enemy weakpoints? Feel free to think outside the box.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2017
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  2. AbyssalDarkness

    AbyssalDarkness Veteran Veteran

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    Maybe some "Rare" Item drops, or a little bonus experiences for defeating monsters the "right" way.

    "Token item" you could turn to an NPC for sweet rewards.

    Could also be something more permanent like, the more he kills enemy with their weakness the better he becomes at exploiting them.
     
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  3. Talespinner2016

    Talespinner2016 Villager Member

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    Depending on how much depth you feel like going into, you can do all kinds of things. I am currently working on a system for the combat in my game where, when a weak point is hit, one of three random benefits happens: either double damage (the traditional method of rewarding players for targeting weaknesses), a big TP boost, or an added state which I call "Elated" (working title), which provides small buffs to most combat stats. It's a bit of a pain, but I feel like it adds a little variety to the game.
     
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  4. SquallStorm

    SquallStorm Resident Persona 5 Hyper Veteran

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    Shin Megami Tensei/Persona revolves entirely around this. If you strike a weakness you get more actions. If you crit the same applies.

    SMTIV took it a step further by having a chance to apply "smirk." Increased power, crit chance, and if all 4 members smirked at the same time, it restored 50% of the active party's MP.

    Try working off that.
     
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  5. Punamaagi

    Punamaagi Hero on their own terms Veteran

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    One idea could be applying debuffs to the enemies when their weakness is struck. For instance, casting a lightning spell on an enemy which is weak against lightning could stun the enemy, and fire might melt the opponent's armour and thus lower their defense. You could even have different types of enemies react differently when their weakness is struck: using lightning as an example, water-based enemies might get stunned whereas mechanical creatures could lose some of their skills or even self-destruct.
     
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  6. Chaos Avian

    Chaos Avian Abyssal Wing Restaff

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    What I've done, which was inspired off the backbone of Persona 3/4 was stunning the enemy when hitting their weakness. In RM I found it broken stun locking bosses soI made it percentage based (35%). But yeah, states, buffing the user or debuffing the enemy is a great way to make weakness targeting more enticing.
     
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  7. ShadowHawkDragon

    ShadowHawkDragon Veteran Veteran

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    This was originally an intended feature for my own game but after several iterations found itself being removed. The ideas ranged from buffing the caster, debuffing the target, applying stacks of 'weakness' which became a stun after reaching 3 or 5.

    Now while I've removed the concept of rewards for passively hitting a weakness, I plan to have (commonly available) elemental barrier skills which easily absorb 3* the damage of an equivalent level heal. These barriers would not just negate all damage of their element for free (punishment), but are fully broken/removed when hit by their weakness (reward).

    In addition I currently have 1 skill/state (intend to have more) which causes a 'reaction effect' to specified element(s). In this case its a self-stacking debuff which detonates for massive damage if struck by a dark-damage skill.

    The biggest problem I've found with elemental rewards is finding a way that doesn't enforce 'element spam', where the only way to play/win is to spam the foe's weakness making over half the elements useless each battle. Its not so bad if all elemental skills are near identical and its just about having the right mix of elements (Shin Megami Tensei). But add in unique play-styles per element and you are automatically forcing a player's play-style for each battle. Overall thus is why I'm going for more reactive one-off type effects to constant repeatable effects.
     
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  8. Talespinner2016

    Talespinner2016 Villager Member

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    That's a really good point, ShadowHawkDragon. I find that spamming just 1-2 skills is just about sufficient to get through any given section of any given RPG. It would be nice to find ways to reduce that factor.
     
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  9. Neo Soul Gamer

    Neo Soul Gamer Veteran Veteran

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    Exactly.

    Here's what I did. Striking an elemental weakness the first time, the target becomes "Rocked". If in the same turn, the target is struck again with an elemental weakness, it "Stumbles". The "Stumble" state pretty much guarantees a Critical Hit when targeted with a physical skill. There's also additional TP gain when an elemental weakness is struck.

    I found this method worked pretty well, because reaping the benefits of this "reward system" requires the majorty of the party to make an all-out attack on one target. It helps that I'll be using a battle system where each battler acts immediately after their command is chosen. So that creates a risk/reward system where you may have to sacrifice healing/buffing in order to get the most damage out of the elemental attacks.
     
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  10. Basileus

    Basileus Veteran Veteran

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    I find that the biggest issues with Elemental Weakness systems are the ease with which weaknesses can be discovered and how fun the mechanics of said weaknesses are to use. I've recently been playing two games for the first time ever that highly emphasize elemental type matching - Final Fantasy X and Persona 4 (I know, I'm super late to the bandwagon on these two). The games are fun, but there are a few things that bother me about how they implement this.

    Final Fantasy X: The elemental system in this game is very simple and presented very nicely. Fire and Ice counter each other. Water and Lightning counter each other. Armored enemies need Piercing attacks, and Flying enemies need Anti-Air attacks. That's about it. The game has also been very straightforward with providing information on which type different enemies are. The problem is...this makes combat very easy and rather boring. Here's a basic flow chart:

    1. Did enemy attack with an elemental spell? Have Lulu hit them with the counter-element and one-shot them.
    2. Is the enemy big and tanky-looking? Swap in Auron and one-shot them.
    3. Is the enemy flying? Swap in Wakka and one-shot them.
    4. Does the enemy emit elemental particle effects? Have Lulu hit them with the counter-element and one-shot them.
    5. Is the enemy vaguely the same color as one of the elements? Have Lulu hit them with the counter-element just in case.
    6. Victory.

    Tidus is great is boss fights thanks to his high speed and Haste spells, but doesn't really have many uses in mob battles. Riku is crazy fun to use but even then she's best used Stealing items from monsters and then Throwing them to hit elemental weaknesses and one-shot things. Yuna's Aeons are stupidly slow and inefficient in mob battles and her healing is of limited use since Riku seems to have borderline infinite Al-bhed Potions to heal the entire party even better (but Yuna's spells have boss fight uses at least). Kimahri just seems useless. The problem is; when exploiting a type/elemental weakness kills things in 1 hit...why use anything else?

    Mob encounters go by fast, yes, but it's also really boring because each troop composition feels like a "puzzle" that I already solved since I use the exact same sequence of actions every time I encounter it.

    Persona 4: The elemental system in this game is a bit more nuanced; physical is considered an elemental, there is no specific relation between the Fire, Wind, Ice and Lightning elements, and the Light and Dark elements cause instant death if they hit. There is also more gameplay involving the use of exploiting weaknesses - instead of killing the enemy, hitting a weakness knocks them down and that character gets an extra turn. From there you can choose to keep on hitting that same enemy to kill it before it gets up...or you can try to knock down all of the other enemies and if you succeed you get a free "All-Out Attack" that hits all enemies for a lot of damage. Enemies also play by the same rules and can knock down party members by hitting them with elements their Persona is weak to.

    The problem is that there is little rhyme or reason to how elemental weaknesses were handed out. There is virtually no way to tell what a new enemy's elemental weakness will be, so the only thing you can really do is hit them with everything to find out. But those spells cost SP and your SP is limited, so every spell you test that isn't the one they are weak to feels like a waste. Trial-and-error gameplay with no real hints or logic to follow can be frustrating, especially if you also restrict the resources used for said testing.

    I get that this somewhat plays into the "You have to go into the TV World multiple times" thing it seems to press. You plan out your days, spend a few days exploring the dungeon and experimenting with weaknesses, and then make a boss run after a fresh start on another day. But this still feels very annoying because while the mechanics of exploiting weaknesses actually creates fun gameplay, the process of discovering said weaknesses is a total slog.
     
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  11. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    Personally, I just added in... a LOT of elements. Players can't have the answer to every enemy at any given time either. It's simply impossible. Elements themselves have no real relation to each other (unless a monster is say a water elemental, electricity won't necessarily hurt them twice as much just 'cause they're fish-like). But, a lot of my elements run the gamut. Strength, Magic, and Speed are your base elements. Each enemy is weak to one of these and strong to the other two, or maybe just one. Strength and Speed then break down into Slash, Bash, and Pierce. Most enemies are weak to one of those, but there's no guarantee. Magic can break down into specific elements, but it doesn't necessarily do so: Fire, Water, Ice, Lightning, Earth, Wind, Life, Nature, and Death. Many enemies are weak to at least one of these types of "standard magical elements", but there's no guarantee of that either. The final two elements are "Silver" and "Lead", which typically enhance blunt weaponry only, but do sometimes have other effects (like say you're fighting a vampire or a werewolf).

    I didn't so much make my game revolve around exploiting weaknesses as I did in having players try to prepare for every possible encounter as much as possible. How could you cover every single one of those weaknesses? A character must be able to hit each one and they have equipment restrictions, skill restrictions, and even type restrictions.

    A general rule I adopted is that every enemy has 3 weaknesses, everything else must be neutral or resistant. On top of that, I adopted that every enemy is weak to one state at a bare minimum. So, even if you have a party that can't hit all the elemental weaknesses, you can exploit some states. Likewise, if you can't do any of that, there's always the "neutral" elements to exploit to just do standard damage.

    I simply approached the problem of "reward for exploiting a weakness" in a backwards manner. When you can tailor a single team to exploit every weakness in the game, where is the challenge of combat? I used Pokémon as an example. No matter what your party composition is in that game, there are going to be Pokémon you cannot cover for, or types you cannot combat easily. Why shouldn't combat in standard RPGs be any different? Why shouldn't the challenge in combat come partially from your party composition and choices in equipment/skills you've made for that party? Instead of being rewarded for hitting the fish with Lightning, you're rewarded with a shorter battle because you brought all the right characters and all the right equipment to combat instead.
     
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  12. Lord Semaj

    Lord Semaj Veteran Veteran

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    Final Fantasy 10 did something with their boss fights and elements. If you shot the giant robot with electricity, you broke part of it. Since each enemy has different weaknesses you can assign different effects for each enemy. Shoot a tree with fire and it burns. Shoot a robot with electricity and its CPU overloads, forcing it into reboot mode. Shoot a water elemental with Ice and it becomes tougher but slower and much less likely to evade.

    Various mob-specific ailments can exist where using the right element on them causes a bonus effect.
     
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