Status ailments that persist after the battle end

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by jonthefox, Nov 3, 2018.

  1. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    I fail to see what's funny about that. The answer to some of those questions might be "no" and that's good, but if the answer to some of them is "yes" then your system might be creating an incentive for players to do things that are not fun.
     
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  2. KoldBlood

    KoldBlood Innovation from Limitation Veteran

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    Not trying to defend poor game design by no means but if a player decides that they want to do something that they perceive as "not fun" to try and circumvent a developer's intended systems then that Is the player's problem. Arguably, a fair trade as well; the player is trading time/fun for a cheap advantage in the next battle. We as developers should try to keep our systems as tight as possible if the player finds an exploit and is willing to sacrifice their own fun for that exploit there Is not much you can do about that short of a patch but then those types of players will more than likely be more upset about you patching their little "cheat" than about the supposed "fun" you are saving them with the patch. At some point the consumer has to take some responsibility for their own enjoyment of a product but I digress...

    As for the way I'm handling states; I have some that wear of after combat because of logic like Stun; you should be able to recover from an enemy's stun after combat ends since it is a short-term effect. Others such as poison and bleeding make more sense as long lasting effects so I have these persist after combat and into other battles since each are the type of effects that should become a problem if left untreated (my Poison is designed to keep your HP low while Bleed is designed to kill IF your HP gets too low, you can imagine that these two together can be a devastating combo), especially if the player is reckless enough to jump right into another fight while STILL poisoned or bleeding from the previous battle. These kinds of states do have a duration so the player isn't straight up doomed to die if they run out of cures and they can even attempt to try to out heal them with potions but the name of the game is to prepare for travel or a dungeon dive so the player is always much better off doing that.

    That said, I give the player plenty of equipment, items, skills, etc. to deal with these states (and other effects like elemental damage) unless they just decide that they want to try to "brute force" their way through and save money but at that point it isn't my fault if they get destroyed after a few battles. Especially since, if they will just take a second or two to hit up the locals around an area (it is an RPG, TALK TO PEOPLE!) they will usually get a pretty clear picture of what kinds of enemies, elements, and states await them ahead. Which should also be a cue to prepare for that area. In addition, I've included a bestiary that can be filled out via combat, "scanning" enemies, info from monster books, and talking to NPC's to help the player learn about and better prepare against their foes.

    To balance out magic and item curing I currently have magic that cures all ailments and can multi-target allies but is MP expensive which you need for other abilities (MP management ties heavily into my healer's supportive role for the party but this isn't the place to get into that discussion, just know MP is important). Item cures are single target and can only solve a single ailment type but once consumed provide immunity against that ailment type for several turns afterwards and, like the states they cure, this immunity effect persists after combat into follow up battles (seems fair). They can also be used before you even get hit with the state in question or when you're out of combat to prepare for a coming battle. Since I use a visual encounter system for battles I try to make the enemy sprite on the map alert the player of a dangerous enemy that will appear in that particular battle so they can enter battle with an idea of what they are facing.

    In summary, magic is a fast but MP expensive way to clear multiple states from the party but leaves the party open to being hit with follow up states. Items on the other hand only cure one state on one character but protect against that state after curing and can be used preemptively before being inflicted as a strategic move by the player, something the magic cure can't accomplish.

    I think persistent states are fine if balanced correctly and the player has ways of dealing with them. One thing I do not do though is have effects like poison damage the player while they walk around out of combat, I feel that states should be designed to manipulate the flow of a battle and as such should be contained to battles alone. The punishment for the player is coming into a battle already poisoned, they shouldn't also be punished for exploring while poisoned too. Especially since that will likely heavily discourage thorough exploration of your maps.
     
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  3. mauvebutterfly

    mauvebutterfly Veteran Veteran

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    This one can be really annoying. I played a game that I really enjoyed for the most part, but unfortunately ending battles got a bit tedious. Every action you did against a monster gave you experience, so the optimal strategy was to reduce the enemies to a single creature and then spam your weakest attacks against it over and over to maximize experience gains. You could even debuff yourself attacks for extra experience.

    The developers actually patched the game to prevent gaining more than one level in a single battle, which helped a little bit. I've definitely tried to watch out for this kind of thing when implementing my own systems since then.
     
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  4. Seirein

    Seirein Veteran Veteran

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    I might as well drop the idea. There's no need to allow players to take completely counter-inituitive actions that are far less effective than playing the game as intended, then complain about how they choose to play the game.
     
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  5. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    @KoldBlood and @Seirein : Regarding designs where players face an incentive to do something they don't find fun, the answer as the designer is not to place blame on the player, nor to throw your hands in the air and say there's nothing you can do as the designer.

    The answer, of course, is to develop systems where the player sees the incentive to do what also happens to be the most fun (usually quick, exciting battles without a lot of time on the menu, and with no incentive to drag them out longer than it takes to get into a winning position). As far as status effects go, this usually means containing them to a single battle (though I give a few rare exceptions in my first post).

    If the player is ever trading their time/fun for an advantage, you've done it all wrong as the designer. GDK's Mark Brown explains:


    @KoldBlood The way you differentiated status cures between magic that can wipe multiple ailments, versus items that wipe only one ailment but provides several turns of immunity against that ailment, is very cool - not only allows a bit of tactical decision-making when deciding how to cure an ailment, but also removes the "feel-bad" of using a consumable to cure a status and having it immediately re-inflicted. With that said, I don't think it really affects the decisions of persistent vs. non-persistent status effects; in your system it's very likely that removing those statuses after battle would increase fun and decrease frustration.
     
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  6. Seirein

    Seirein Veteran Veteran

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    Okay, then we should avoid anything that might frustrate the player.

    Do terribly in a battle? No problem, have all your HP/MP/items replenished.

    Get wiped in a dungeon? Why make the player have to start over or lose any progress -- just throw them back where they lost!

    And why even frustrate a player by letting them lose against a tough boss? Why not instantly revive everyone with no consequence if you totally mess up?

    ...or we could make RPGs for people whose fun comes from the risk, the forethought, the planning involved in overcoming the challenges the game presents.
     
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  7. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    @Seirein : you just described Dragon Quest with a couple of those, except they have you revive in a church with half your G when your party gets wiped out. In fact, I remember Dragon Quest 8 had some funny dialogues with bosses if you lost to them, then came back to fight them again after you lost once.
     
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  8. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    Aside from the ridiculous reductivism of your post, there's also the inconvenient fact that creating obvious incentives for doing things that are not fun is not even SIMILAR to reducing/eliminating the penalty for being beaten by the game's genuine and intended challenge.

    If you want to discuss how design decisions influence player behavior we can do so, but I'm not gonna get dragged into discussions like "status healed after battle = no risk ever".

    ---

    @Tai_MT Sorry I didn't respond to your last post quickly; you gave me a lot of different thoughts to unpack!

    This paragraph really encapsulates where I think we're not seeing eye to eye. If the player didn't prepare correctly, of course they should encounter obstacles and difficulty - but that should come in the form of challenge (possibility of defeat, or an interesting need to work around the mistake) rather than annoyance (tedious obligations, downtime, lack of clarity, etc.); it's also important that the challenge doesn't feel unfair (e.g. players generally feel it's more fair when they die to an accumulation of twenty separate hits than if they get one shot).

    Visiting the menu screen and clearing status effects after every couple of battles isn't anybody's idea of a good time (especially once you just came out of an encounter which interrupted your exploration), so the gameplay better be a whole lot more enjoyable because of the mechanics that this tedium necessitates in order to justify their inclusion. The single most important thing to do as a designer (in any genre of video game) is to keep the player constantly in a mindset where they feel they are doing interesting things. If it creates tedium, then even if a designer would find it interesting and fair, it's probably best to design it out of your system.

    Features can sometimes help - in this case, for example, having an option available to auto-use consumables to clear persistent statuses after battle wouldn't change the balance (or the need for preparation) one bit but would reduce a lot of the tedium. Still, I think that design solutions, all else being equal, often tends to be a better approach than feature-based solutions. If the status effects can be designed in a way where the threat they prevent within battle is significant, then the designer can keep all of the interesting dynamics of status effects while avoiding the tedium that comes with them. The only reason to make the statuses persistent is if it adds a lot of player interest to gameplay over and above what a threatening, non-persistent status would offer.

    The other side of designing hardship is that it needs to feel fair to the player. Here, you argue that:
    But taking a status effect like persistent poison as an example, I believe there are at least two ways in which this has a lot of potential to feel unfair to the player.

    First, there's the fact that while the player can prepare for the poison balance-wise (by buying Antidotes), they use skill or general preparation to stop the status from being applied (the AI kind of just decides when to throw it at you), so facing the tedium of removing it via menus every time is not the player's fault, it's yours. (It sounds like there is a specific preparation available to avoid this - the anti-Poison accessory - but unless each one of your dungeons tends heavily toward one specific status, this won't do it, and if it is this way, then you're putting a lot of power into the uninteresting, binary decision of "equip the anti-X accessory or don't".)
    • There are ways to get around this, but I don't see them used often. For example, if no enemy will ever use a move that applies a persistent status effect within the first few turns of combat, then you are offering the player a way to avoid being hit with it, by quickly and efficiency killing that enemy.
    Secondly, let's assume the player heeds your teaching, thinks clearly, and knows they need to purchase a bunch of Antidotes for the dungeon you've telegraphed as "poison-heavy". How many should they buy? 10? 15? 25? There's no real way for the player to know, and if they buy 10 antidotes but get poisoned 11 times, now they have a persistent poison and no way to keep their HP up (to finish the dungeon and/or take on the boss). Granted, this can happen if you're not prepared with something like HP/MP recovery items, too, but if you have one too few HP recovery items, you can probably find ways to play around it if you're good at combat, which leads to a fair-feeling and interesting experience. If you end up one short on poison or paralysis recovery items... too bad, head back to town because you're completely crippled.

    You want to offer interesting, exciting, enjoyable dynamics to your player. Often challenge is an element in creating such dynamics, but it needs to be a means to an end rather than an end in itself. When your mechanic offers these interesting dynamics to your players, and minimizes the amount of frustration, tedium, and confusion while still offering those dynamics: that's where I draw the line in identifying good game design.

    Agreed. With that being said, I feel that if status effects are inconsequential enough that you can leave them on your characters for most of an entire combat without even thinking about whether it's worth the cost of a consumable (and a turn) to cure them, then the status effects were badly designed in the first place.

    Amen!! Well said!

    The problem is that this incentivizes players to kill off most of the enemies of a mob, and then sit there against the last (weakened or disabled) enemy and start using their MP consumables until their party's MP is full (or however they want to get it). It's the same issue you find where Healing spells can only be used inside of battle - I do this, I've seen lots of other players do this in LP's, it's a real problem because it's clearly the smart thing to do but it's so boring.

    The one way I can think of to accomplish the "turn/mana tradeoff" without opening up this abuse case is by making the MP you receive usable for that battle only. I'm actually designing this into How Badly. One of my classes (the energy mage) is designed around enabling herself and allies to cast spells, but I found early on that allowing true MP restoration was abusable (see above) in its first build, so instead I designed her skills to grant temporary MP, called "Radiance" to keep it separate from true MP. Whenever a character casts a spell, they use Radiance first if they have any, and then use their true MP to cover any shortage. When battle ends, Radiance disappears. And I even gave the energy mage some unique ways to interact with Radiance, like a spell that becomes more powerful if she has more Radiance than MP, and a spell that converts an ally's Radiance into an HP shield.

    I strongly disagree on this point, though I think it could just be that we're using terminology differently. "Annoyance", as I see it, is where the player is unengaged and just wants something particular to end or go away. I don't think we should ever be inflicting that on players - ever. It might be a necessary evil at times but it's always something we should seek to minimize by any means possible.

    As a good example of how I'm thinking of these things - if a really clever AI player beats me in a card game using the same rules that I'm playing by, and I feel like it outplayed me, I'm likely to be impressed (despite experiencing difficulty), not annoyed nor frustrated. If I'm required to beat this AI player to progress in a larger narrative, and it repeatedly beats me, I might start to feel frustrated. If that AI player uses chains of cards that all allow you to draw/play another card, resulting in turns that are 30 plays long, I'm likely to get annoyed.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but because you have to input commands for your entire team at the start of a turn (and it won't let you input a command that would be impossible, e.g. if an actor is Paralyzed), I feel like you wouldn't be able to replicate this using native MV behavior - curing most states at the end of a turn would be equivalent to curing them immediately (with the main exceptions being states that reduce an actor's stats).

    Using a plugin like Yanfly's Instant Cast, or using a plugin for a "Standard Turn Battle" as Yanfly calls it (where you give commands to each actor immediately before they act, rather than in batch) would definitely allow you to use this approach, though.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2018
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  9. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    I feel like... you're asking the impossible here. That you have optimism where there really isn't any. Let me try to explain. No matter how good a combat system is... how good a story is... It's going to get annoying. To any player. It just is. It is impossible for a dev to maintain perfect quality across the entire game. Every player often has to weigh their personal enjoyment against what minor inconveniences and annoyances exist within the game.

    For example, I've never found "cure states from the menu every few battles" to be annoying as a player. I'd wager that I'm not the only one. But, I'm from a gaming generation when this was the norm. When this was part of the difficulty curve. When curing these states was part of the overall challenge of the game. Or, avoiding those states was part of the overall challenge.

    The newest line of thinking is "the player should have to do as little as possible in order to keep their adrenaline jacked as high as possible the entire time, until they hit burnout". There's a reason people don't really play Call of Duty campaigns anymore. Battlefield campaigns anymore. There's a reason you can find more complaints about the linearity and annoyance of combat in Final Fantasy 13 than you can find reviews that outright destroy the game because of its absolutely atrocious writing. Because these games try to design out these "lulls".

    I'm not an adrenaline junkie. I like my down time in RPG's. Exiting battle to open the menu, tap a few buttons, check my characters out for a moment to reset my brain, and then back to exploring? To me, that's the norm. It's how I even DM in Dungeons and Dragons. Combat in that format can sometimes drop states on the player that they have no way to cure during combat. This teaches them that if they encounter that enemy again, to try to prioritize it. Or, to try to get ways to cure these states for next time. Players tend to appreciate this "down time" between combats. You don't necessarily have to fill the downtime between combat with "explore constantly!".

    This is coming from a player who's primary enjoyment from RPG's comes from exploring. I hate "exploring for the sake of it". Unless you've got something interesting to explore, I'm not going to care about your exploring anyway. I'll just move along to the next area, the next bit of stimulus. I enjoyed Mass Effect because exploration wasn't in terms of "map design", it was in terms of "discovering the universe's Lore". It was interesting exploration.

    If your "exploration" is little more than putting a chest at a dead end of a cave maze... castle maze... town maze... Then you've already disengaged me and players like me. Players who want to look at the world, find something interesting that made the exploring interesting. If you don't have that, then I'd rather you give me that down time between combats to cure my states, because at least I feel like as a player that I'm doing something tangible and useful instead of simply fulfilling a checklist of "expected things the player should do in an RPG".

    Honestly, in a lot of RPG systems that "cure the state outside of combat automatically", I often simply exploit this to become overpowered. I load up Netflix, walk in a circle, grind... and not care about your state, since even if it's deadly, if I'm significantly powerful enough, I win combat in one or two turns, and then it's cured anyway. Curing states after the fact often leads to "turning off your brain" as a player. It allows me to disengage more frequently and become overpowered very quickly through grind and your lack of challenge. If I have to keep my brain engaged to cure states after combat, I can't really load up Netflix and grind as easily. Simply because Netflix would be a distraction when the game is demanding that I pay attention to what is going on.

    To me, the argument quickly becomes "how much streamlining ends up disengaging the player from your game, your mechanics, and your world?"

    I actually found a game that used this dynamic! Pokémon X and Y. With the "Pokémon Amie" feature. Just click "groom" after each battle and use an infinite resource to play on the touch screen for about 10 seconds, and any state you have is instantly cured with no penalty to your wallet, your items, and it destroys difficulty.

    It uh... made those games even easier than they were with the XP Share turned on.

    I'm not saying an "auto restore states" button or option wouldn't be amazing in gameplay terms. Honestly, I'd just implement it as a player option. A "feature". You know, you learn "auto restore" or something it automatically uses your consumables after combat, but only on the characters who have it equipped. Then, it turns the feature into something the player can decide to turn on and off to fit their own desire of gameplay. Just a difference in opinion on implementation as it still serves the same purpose, it's just a quality of life feature.

    I understand your argument here... But... isn't this just the player being stupid and expecting the dev to protect them from their dumb decisions? Hear me out. How many Antidotes do you need? Variable. What if I recommend 20... but the player was well prepared and required only 5 for the whole dungeon because they were smart about their gameplay, exploration, and the signposting? They just wasted a ton of money and are going to wonder if I'm an idiot for requiring they have 20 Antidotes before they can ever tackle the Quest. Mercenaries 2 suffered from this. It would recommend insane amounts of vehicles, bombs, and supplies for every mission. Often, I'd need none of them, because I was a smart player and simply used what I had on hand. My assault rifle, my grenades, whatever airstrikes I had on hand (if I needed them at all, and I most often didn't), and then take anything from the battlefield once I got there. Why was it recommending I have 3 boats before tackling this mission? I didn't even need ONE.

    But, let me step back a moment. If you buy 10 Antidotes... and you use 5... but you aren't at the end of the dungeon... It is your choice to press forward, correct? You don't know where the end of the dungeon is. You don't know what the boss is. Why are you pushing forward with zero information and half of your supplies gone? Wouldn't a smart player recognize this as "retreat and resupply" point? It took them 5 Antidotes to get where they are. It should take them less than that to escape, correct? Because they're not exploring on the way out?

    I'm not from the school of rewarding players from doing monumentally stupid things. If it's obvious you probably don't have enough supplies, the only reason to press forward is a lack of self preservation or a desire for more challenge. But, that's just my opinion. It's something I've always done in RPGs. Half my potions are gone? Let me go back and get some more, build my stats, and play better without all the extra routes I took during "exploration".

    I see it as "easy mode" if a player can enter a dungeon ill prepared and still push through to the end despite being so unprepared. I've played too many RPG's where this is so common that it's left my brain unengaged... even to the point of not caring if I find extra treasures in the dungeon, since it doesn't matter if I even have them or not.

    I would like to point out that Dark Souls does implement this type of gameplay and it resonated with players. Namely, the Estus Flasks. They were a "limit" to how far you could travel from your Bonfire before having to go back. It was only through the player accumulating skill that these Estus Flasks would last longer... and the player could then take them into the Boss rooms. What's fun is that this mechanic used to be implemented in older RPG's. But, it was touted as "an amazing feature" when it came out in Dark Souls. It was part of the challenge the player had to engage in.

    Honestly, I just see some states carrying over after battle to add to the challenge. Players should be prepared to deal with those states. If they're in the menu after every combat or every couple combats to cure states, then they're most likely not prepared enough. If you aren't defeating enemies before they Poison you, you're not strong/skilled enough. If you're being Poisoned often, you don't have enough resistance to Poison in the Poison tutorial (because outside of a tutorial, you really only see enemies with states every so often... one or two per new area most often)… If you're running through Antidotes very quickly, you don't have enough Antidotes to tackle the content.

    Is this challenge likely frustrating to some players? Yeah. Does that mean it's bad design? I don't think it is. You seem to think that any amount of this sort of challenge (requiring the player build up skill, stop playing stupidly, requirement of being prepared) is too much frustration or tedium or confusion. I could be reading that entirely wrong, but that's what it reads like.

    You just have different idea of what is and isn't acceptable to a player. I don't like to step towards the "casualization" of games, as I still like some of the challenge of a game preserved. Something to engage my brain and keep me from loading up Netflix. I just come from the opinion that if I'm doing anything else other than playing your game... while playing your game... your design philosophy has failed somewhere. If players are on "auto pilot" in my game, I've failed.

    Yeah, I really hate games where States exist... but they're minor inconveniences that can be ignored. This is why I like some states to carry over after combat. Because if you can ignore them during combat and simply win combat... How are they not a minor inconvenience at that point? And a pointless waste of time? Or space? Players should be actively trying to avoid these states... not healing them after the fact. If they do get them after all the prevention, they should have to spend a little bit of time curing them. It makes the states worth curing. It makes them less an inconvenience and more of a real threat.

    I see the point, honestly... But, for the same token... Most of those RPG's are so easy that the LPers are doing it just to create content for their channel and making "complaints". Is it enough of an advantage that a player would feel compelled to waste this time every single time? If yes, then your combat probably needs rebalancing. If "no", then you have to wonder why a player is willing to sacrifice fun for a minor advantage that they don't need, never will need, and isn't wanting to move onto the rest of your game. It's the same issue you see with "grinding". I'm often willing to sacrifice "fun" to engage in grind to pad my stats. Why? Because it breaks combat. It breaks the SLOG of 99% of all RPG combat that is designed primarily around stats instead of skill. Which means, I can get to the parts I enjoy better. Are players perhaps using this exploit to avoid combat in the same fashion? I don't know. I'd say in such a situation, you might have other issues with your RPG and not necessarily the ability to exploit the system. If the exploit is not fun and the player is engaging in it willingly... it's because your game is broken somewhere else and the player sees doing this unfun thing as the most efficient way to "find the fun".

    Sounds like a fun mechanic. Do you ever worry that Radiance could be abused in the same way as your MP to use powerful skills in combat to achieve one-shot-kills against bosses? Or to render boss fights "easy"? Honestly, I'd drop my MP to zero and find a way to obtain a ton of Radiance (in fact, having zero MP for most fights would be an advantage!) in combat in a few turns and then cast the spell that does a lot of damage. Just "turtle up" and render the fight easy mode by building Radiance... Or spamming the HP shield on your allies in order to obtain more turns to one shot the boss?

    The problem is that everyone is different. There are things games do that I really don't enjoy and wish would go away... But, other players love it immensely. Things that I find annoying, another player may not. "Annoyance" as I see it is simply a player having to deal with something they otherwise don't want to deal with. Restoring MP, Restoring HP, curing a state, buying consumables... etcetera. The "resource management" portion of RPGs is frequently the most "annoying" aspect of most any RPG to the most amount of players. What I see as "frustration" is a playing being unable to combat a feature they do not enjoy in any way and having to interact with it frequently. Bad controls.... RNG Deaths... Nukes that aren't telegraphed... etcetera. Things that cannot be minimized by proper planning or player skill. This is "unfair" to most players, and is typically "Frustration".

    There's a reason I don't play a lot of Multiplayer games. Namely, they're designed poorly to maximize kills of the least skilled players possible... Which means, I have a lot of random unpreventable deaths no matter how "skilled" I might become at the game. Low Skill Ceilings are a Frustrating feature in any game for me. I like finding my own ways to break the game through my own skill and experimentation. I like always having something new to learn or chain together. I don't like "learning the basics" and not being able to move beyond that... or have a necessity to move beyond that.

    Lately, even Zelda has this issue with me. Every Dungeon Item has just a single use these days. You use it in the Dungeon and a handful of areas and then it gathers dust. Low Skill Ceiling. That's frustrating to me.

    But, other players don't find that frustrating at all. The point is... how would you design a game that is 100% not annoying to all players or 100% not frustrating to all players? You can't, to be honest. You need to make a decision somewhere to cater to a certain crowd of gamers. To accept that your design decisions will be found annoying or frustrating to some players, but will be found to be interesting and engaging to others.

    Honestly, I find it difficult to not feel frustrated at card games that use the AI as an opponent. Why? Because there's no guarantee it isn't cheating. RNG is not perfect RNG. All AI cheats to some degree. In fact, you have to program AI to NOT cheat.

    But, I don't typically play games where I need to defeat the AI at games of chance. Because, frankly, it always feels unfair when I lose. I didn't get the draw to win, and they got the draw to win. RNG screwed me, no skill involved. Nothing I could've done to improve my chances at winning.

    Actually, in MV, you have "Invocation Speed" on every skill. You can actually input a negative number to force the skill itself to go last. You can also input a positive number to make it always go first (I use both of these features on a couple skills in my game). You can't really do it with Items though... they're always based on your turn order. But, you could make the casted spells that restore HP, MP, or cure states... go last. Every round.

    Because the game doesn't let you cure states you don't have... You would have to say use... "Remove Poison" as a spell and wait for the damage to hit, and only cure at the very end of that turn (you can also set states to do inflict damage when the actor gets their turn in combat). So, it would largely depend on if you wanted players to avoid that damage or to save consumables and take that damage. Or rather... use the MP restoring Skills outside of combat where there's no turn order.
     
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  10. Seirein

    Seirein Veteran Veteran

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    1. I've never seen Estus Flasks touted as some amazing, innovative feature, even by the hardcore (read: the only) players of Dark Souls.
    2. Dark Souls is the perfect example of a game where every element of the game's "challenge" revolve around frustrating and inconveniencing the player. The game only "resonated" with a very narrow niche of players -- every single game/series you criticized in that post is more popular and successful than Dark Souls.
     
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  11. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    A little off topic, but my problem with Dark Souls was the $@%^@ controls. I gave up when I died as I got trapped on an invisible pixel and the jump button wasn't in a good location so the boss killed me. Outside of that I didn't find it too frustrating but I only got to the 2nd boss too, so I probably missed some of the more frustrating areas.
     
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  12. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    @Seirein
    There you go. :D It's one of the few reviews I've seen on YouTube that tout the Estus Flasks as that mechanic.

    However, I've seen other players simply tout them as that mechanic. The mechanic itself is simply a throw back to older RPG's where if you weren't prepared, you did need to go back to town and get more resources.

    @bgillisp

    Yep, that's why I never got into Dark Souls. The controls were just... Well, they're terrible. It's the same reason I never got into "The Witcher" series. I'm 100% for challenge, but I do not appreciate "badly designed controls" to be any part of the challenge. When controls are so bad that the tutorials are killing you... That's usually how I know it's time for me to give up and move on.

    I did manage to beat the first boss in Dark Souls by simply swinging wildly while I was 80% unable to see him. After that, I quit playing because I knew the game just wasn't for me.
     
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  13. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    Phew, tons to unpack here again! ^_^

    A good analogy would be comparing it to Olympic snowboarding, figure skating, gymnastics, etc. The perfect 10.0 is theoretically possible to achieve, but no one ever does it (there were exceptions in the past where gymnasts got a perfect 10, but the modern understanding of judging makes it nigh impossible). Instead, what we're really shooting for is the 9.9, where we put together a magnificent routine without any flaws that the audience would notice. We're creating something that retains all of the challenge and engagement while - maybe someone could find annoyance with it, but very few players are likely to and even then those things are kept as painless as possible.

    In the quest for great game design, it's unacceptable to settle for a 9.2 and say "well if the player is annoyed with this, it's his fault because there was at least one way he could have possibly avoided it". To achieve that 9.9, to keep the player in a flow state, you need to design that element in a way that even if the player doesn't avoid it, he will still enjoy it.

    Fair enough. I do find this to be annoying (as well as needing to visit the menu to use a bunch of Potions to restore HP after each fight). I know I'm not the only one on this, too.

    For whatever it's worth, I've been gaming since 1989, and playing RPGs since 1995. I come from the same generation of gamers that you do, and I appreciate (most of) the player conveniences that have developed as a result of improving design practices throughout the years.

    It's worth noting that in our day, it was far more common for RPGs to present chronic challenge across dungeons (where no one encounter was particularly threatening to a fully rested party, but across the course of an entire dungeon they'd whittle you down and you'd eventually run out of resources and die), whereas most RPGs today present acute challenge (where the player is expected to start all battles fully or mostly healed and stocked, but some of the battles - even if it's just the bosses - can reasonably take down your fully-rested party). In our day it was common for dungeons to not climax with a per-se boss battle! It was a different flow.

    There's a place for persistent statuses in games with chronic challenge (and even then there are ways to design around it that allow most of this challenge while streamlining out most of the frustration), but a lot of designers design mostly around acute challenge and then leave over vestiges that only made sense in a chronic-challenge setup, which creates annoyance without challenge or engagement. This is often how persistent status effects are handled in RPG Maker games. I don't think you've made this particular mistake, Tai, but there are other, smaller, pitfalls that I think I see.

    That's not fair - you definitely haven't established that A (attempts to design out lulls) is the reason for B (bad reviews/complaints). I've only played about 3 hours of FF13 myself, but from my experience the complaints about the linearity are likely to be because of... just that. The linearity. The fact that you have no freedom (I've heard it does get better in the second half of the game, but that's a lot of hours to wait!). This is a different issue from streamlining out player inconveniences.

    Downtime in the sense of rest from intense action is great. This is something that make RPGs wonderful while some other genres miss it. In Star Ocean for example I love taking breaks to use the deep, consequential, and semi-random Item Creation system. In Neopets I love taking a break from battles and flash games to go shopping, visit my guild, or read lore. (Taken to an extreme, Civilization 3 and 4 have no intensity whatsoever during peacetime, yet they are constantly asking you to make interesting and meaningful decisions, and therefore they are really fun.)

    But downtime in the sense of time spent without anything interesting to do is bad. In Mario Party for example, it happens when the AI opponents are taking their turns, interacting with spaces on the board, etc.... you just have to sit there and watch, without making any interesting decisions.

    So I throw it back to you - what kind of interesting decisions does the player make when they are curing status ailments after battle? And do these decisions continue to be interesting the 10th, 20th, 50th time you have to do it, or are you repeating the exact same things 50 times? Is this 'downtime' activity fun, or is it an uninteresting chore?

    If you're already overpowered enough (compared to the monsters in an area) that you can Netflix and/or chill while winning dozens of battles in a row, then either the battle design is terribly balanced (let's assume this is not the case), or you have made the conscious decision, as the player, to hang out and grind in an area where you can stomp stuff - where you're not uncovering new content and you're not challenging yourself with monsters that are on par with your party. This is very much a valid aesthetic of play that the MDA framework calls Pastime (I like Extra Credits' term for it, Abnegation, better), and it studies how it can sometimes feel good to "turn off your brain", go with the flow, get wrapped up in something familiar, and let time pass.

    Most players will not do this most of the time (especially before they beat the game). When the player is taking on monsters that are on par with their party, and battles are adequately balanced, "cure the state outside of combat" won't turn the dungeon run into something brainless. It won't allow the player to disengage any more than they would have with persistent states.

    And in the case where players are seeking Abnegation in an RPG, I think it's best to allow them to do it! To stomp some early enemies for miniscule amounts of EXP and Gold without the tension of what-if-I-run-out-of-cures-during-this-grind.

    Streamlining, done well, will not disengage your player - it will keep your player engaged and immersed. Streamlining doesn't mean "dumbing things down". It means finding better ways; it means getting rid of annoyances that don't contribute engagement on their own, and pruning complexity that doesn't add depth.

    I'm not sure whether I was clear or not, but my suggestion of an "Auto Restore States" option is meant solely as an interface convenience. You would still have to spend the consumable items to clear the states (unlike Pokemon X/Y), and therefore it would also be something that you shouldn't have to spend a slot (or any other type of capacity) to "equip" it. In really tight tactical situations, players might turn it Off to determine when to use and when to not use your consumables - but in general, it would be there to streamline away the tedium of visiting the menu, choosing the Antidote, choosing the character, repeating for 2 other characters, and exiting the menu.

    I think you're going to be right in a minority of games/situations. This really comes down to how much the player actually can avoid the need to use Antidotes if they are "smart about their gameplay [and] exploration".

    In most games, the AI (or sometimes even simple RNG) determines when a monster uses a Poison attack, and then the RNG determines whether the character actually becomes Poisoned. There's no interaction here. There's nothing the player can do to avoid becoming Poisoned, except for avoiding getting into battles in the first place (impossible in some games and not particularly fun in most others), or buying and equipping the Poison Resist accessory (which as we discussed earlier, is reductive and binary, and wouldn't make much sense outside of the Poison Dungeon anyway). It's just not fair to call the player stupid and point the finger at him for getting Poisoned.

    Additionally, since you admit that the number of Antidotes the player should bring into the dungeon is "variable", and the player doesn't know what's ahead (and therefore what factors should go into this variable decision), it's unfair to call them stupid - and even somewhat unfair to punish them - for making the wrong decision from this naive state. Requiring the player to be prepared means that they should have good information to prepare with.

    (By the way, this is one of the reasons I like rolling a lot of factors into an output of HP loss - the need to prepare to keep your HP up is pretty constant throughout the game, so after a few dungeons the player can start developing a global understanding - a know-how or a "skill" if you will - of what they will need to do to prepare - and it's one that doesn't need to be newly signposted/telegraphed for each dungeon.)

    On the other hand, if dungeoneering really is a player skillset that can be developed (resulting in fewer battles, less attrition) rather than a guess-and-check type of thing, or if battles are designed in a way that players have a reasonable way to completely avoid the status effects without explicit upfront preparation (for example, by clearing the status-inflicting monsters within 3 turns), or the explicit preparation is interesting enough that it constitutes a fun dynamic in and of itself, then it's probably fair and at least defensible to allow the status effects to be "gamebreakers" that force the player to turn back once they run out of cures.

    Two counterarguments here. First of all, if the player doesn't know where the end of the dungeon is, how can you evaluate whether they've made a "smart" or "stupid" decision whether to turn back? This isn't real life where the penalty for failure looms so large that you should always do the safe thing. This also isn't D&D where the GM can make the backtracking fun with party chatter, additional events, etc. (or just abstract it out). This is a video game where the penalty for failure is usually just loss of progress. Backtracking means you're losing progress anyway, except in your EXP/Gold. So if I'm a player with half my supplies and I don't know where the end of the dungeon is, there's no right or wrong answer as to whether I should press forward. And if the player were to take the approach you're espousing here, and turn back whenever they got down to a half stock of supplies, then they would literally never be able to finish the dungeon unless they took twice as many consumables in as they needed (since they don't know how far they are from the end, they would even turn back at 90% progress when they reached half-stock).

    Secondly, consider the most common Aesthetics of Play in JRPGs: I'd say they are Narrative, Discovery, and Sensation, in that order (with Abnegation and Expression being fairly common as well). When the player turns back within a dungeon, backtracks, returns to town, buys more items, and then retraces their steps in that dungeon, which Aesthetics of Play are being satisfied?
    • Narrative? No. The player doesn't experience any new storytelling during this stretch.
    • Discovery? No. The player only sees and experiences things they've already seen before.
    • Sensation? No, or at least it's considerably less than normal play. Everything will already be familiar, and sensual pleasure is reduced when you're doing something you don't really want to do.
    • Abnegation? Yes, somewhat - but there are better ways to accomplish that, as I mentioned above.
    • Expression? No. Nothing about the backtacking allows the player to express themselves or make interesting choices.
    You're likely thinking something like - "well, if you're never going to force the player to turn back because it's 'not fun', then why not just HAND them everything?". That's a really reasonable question to ask, but let me preempt it by pointing out that the player was forced to turn back in your examples by not having enough of one specific item (rather than a lack of general preparedness), and also by the fact that the player has no idea of where the endpoint of the dungeon is (being too obvious can break immersion, but there are ways around this, such as changes in visuals throughout a dungeon, or triggered dialogue where experienced characters 'feel like' they're getting close).

    If being forced to turn back is related to not playing well enough at a general skill (e.g. they played battles poorly, took too much damage along the way, etc.) rather than something very specific, and if the player can make an informed decision about whether to press on or turn back, that's far better design. It lines up the challenge aspects with the aesthetics of play, and therefore provides the player (still-difficult) fun rather than frustration.

    I haven't played Dark Souls (and as a designer I really should study its gameplay more), but I find myself - surprisingly - concurring with @Seirein on this one. Dark Souls does a lot of things that are designed to punish and frustrate its players, and it does them in intentional ways that fit together well to produce enjoyable dynamics which are hard to come by elsewhere. Dark Souls is proof that you can bend and break some of the rules of good game design, as long as you really know what you are doing and you have a very specific purpose in mind that directly leads to the player's enjoyment.

    I've already discussed this a bunch above so I'll keep it brief here, but having an "inventory check" on whether the player brought 11 Antidotes rather than 10 (for the 11th time they got poisoned) isn't adding to the challenge of the game; it's creating a new type of challenge that isn't interesting nor interactive.

    Again, I cast doubt on whether the player can actually build up their skillset to avoid these states in most RPGs. Binary decisions (equip the resist item or don't equip it) isn't "building up skill" and while it is preparation, it's the least interesting type. Where the player can avoid Poison in interesting, engaging ways, your point holds true.

    I find this very frustrating, because you are consistently asserting that removing frustrating aspects is tantamount to removing the game's challenge, whereas I have said several times (in this topic and others) that the core, engaging challenges can be left intact and even strengthened when you streamline out the arbitrary, non-interactive ones!

    See, this is a direct contrast to your position through most of this topic. You constantly talk about how the player should "prepare ahead of time" and not take unnecessary risks. Well, if combat is sufficiently difficult (particularly in Acute setups, but also in Chronic ones) to present kill threat, then it makes perfect sense for the player to 'sacrifice fun' (sound like a phrase used to describe turning back in a dungeon?) in order to give themselves the best possible chance in the next battle.

    Even if it turns out to not be necessary most of the time, it gives you the best chance. It's smart. But it's not fun. As the game designer, it is your job to design systems that line up smart play with fun play, with a laser-like focus. If it's smart but it's not fun, change the design to avert it. If it's fun but not smart, then make sure there's a way that's equally fun and also smart.

    Grinding and its purpose in "breaking the slot" is probably too much of a tangent to discuss here, but based on past discussions I think we can agree that the ideal solution is to make combat skillful in some way (so that skill > stats), right?

    I'm doing a lot of unique things with my magic system in How Badly, so I'll be playtesting it like crazy. My instinct is that intentionally draining your MP to power up spells which reward higher Radiance than MP will probably not be overpowered because it will require expending turns early on to build up the Radiance, and then using the spells repeatedly will also consume your Radiance as you pay their cost. But it's definitely something I will look out for during the playtests! Thanks for the catch.

    For sure, every player is different, and is going to find different things annoying or frustrating. I'd probably agree with your list; I also find arbitrary puzzles, use of plot flags, and frequent visits to the menu to be annoying. I know most players find mandatory minigames (in the sense that you need to win it in order to progress) to be annoying, whereas I don't (but I totally see where they're coming from!).

    Trying to distill a general definition for what most players will find annoying and frustrating, though, I would offer this: "Gameplay elements that the player must cope with, that offer no interesting decisions nor significant interaction". There are definitely exacerbating factors, like intuitiveness, but I think that's a good start!

    Bringing it back once again to status effects persisting outside of battle, I fail to see where this offers interesting decisions or significant interaction in most games.

    Do you dislike stuff like Poker, too? I feel like at least the well-designed multiplayer games (like Super Smash Bros.) are going to reward significant differences in skill every single game, but individual kills are going to be chaotic sometimes - akin to the way that a goat can win a single poker hand, but is never going to win a big tournament played over thousands of hands.

    It's true that you will always need to make decisions about how to best please your specific audience. Even for hardcore gamers, I feel it's important to streamline as much of the annoyance as you can out of the design, while retaining the engagement (which can come from genuine challenge).

    Three Donkeys' games are really good in this regard, particularly Spectromancer but also Astral Heroes. Their best bots play at around the 90th percentile of players, and while several players have accused the bots of cheating, the best players have proven that the bots don't cheat by pointing out the supermajority of situations where bots don't receive the specific card they need, and have also shown it's possible to "bluff" the bots (proving they don't know what's in your hand) by acting like they are playing toward a specific card (that they don't have) and actually getting the bots to try to preempt the play of that card. Their bots use machine-learning to improve over time.

    (I believe Items also have invocation speed in MV - they certainly do in Ace.) OK, good point in that something like Remove Poison would be more effective when used at high invocation speed. But as far as disabling effects like Paralysis and Silence, or even the restoration of MP, I believe that the invocation speed would essentially mean nothing in RPG Maker's native setup, because you can't choose actions for a character who is disabled (or lacking MP). Even if they are cured before the end of the turn, they've lost their turn, right?

    Whew!! What a wall of text I've written. I enjoy discussing this with you, though.
     
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  14. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    It's an interesting analogy. I'm honestly struck by your use of "The Olympics" as comparison. Simply put... most people aren't qualified to be in The Olympics. Likewise, when everyone is playing at "that skill level", the layman only ever notices the "screw ups". I honestly couldn't tell you how much harder a 360 spin on a snowboard is compared to a long rail grind. I just have no idea. It means nothing to me as the layman. I could only tell you whether or not something "looked cool". As such, even the scores the Judges give are absolutely meaningless to everyone except those who participate in the sport and those who have spent a lifetime studying it. Which is to say... not many people. Which... honestly sounds a little bit like Games Journalism to an extent. So insular that the scores given are meaningless to anyone except themselves.

    Simply put... even if you aim for "Technical" 9.9... Is the player really going to notice that? I'd wager "no". The players notice one thing: "Is this fun to me?". Which means, we might be aiming for a Technically "perfect" game, but it isn't going to matter all that much if the players decide that it's just "not that fun to me". Whether a game is "good" or not is often Subjective Personal Opinion, unfortunately.

    I'll just kind of throw this out there. It's my own subjective personal opinion. While I find much of Game Theory to be valuable, I find "Player Psychology" to be even more valuable. Namely, what the player is thinking and feeling when doing something in a game. To this end, I find Extra Credits to be interesting... but far from conclusive. Especially when it's easy to make lists of games that do the things they tell you to not do... and those games have become successful.

    That is to say... I don't believe in a "Magic Bullet". I don't believe in a "Technical 9.9". A game is a game. It's binary. It's fun or it is not. It is fun despite the flaws it may have... or it isn't because those flaws couldn't be overcome. But, that's my opinion. As such, I just believe in designing a game that I would personally find fun to play. If I put something in that I don't find fun, I either rework it or drop it entirely.

    People praise many games for being "near perfect", that I would rate an "average" at best, or lower due to their technical issues. The Witcher series... The Dark Souls types of games (to be honest, the only thing that keeps me from enjoying them is just the really terrible controls)… Call of Duty games... Fortnite… Other "Battlegrounds" type shooters... Fallout New Vegas (a game I view as so woefully below average that most people don't even think I like the Fallout universe). Are these games masterpieces in some way? I don't know. Maybe. Do some of them do things in amazing ways? Yeah. Does that matter to me? As a video game player? Not really. I simply find them to be "not fun" or "not better than something else I've already played similar to this".

    But, to me, personally, the player figuring out the systems of the game and mastering those systems... That's part of the fun of a game. Not "getting to the end". Not "winning every fight". The push and pull of the player against the game. The thrill of accomplishment. That concept of "I beat the game". I came from a generation when that was so rare (you seem to as well). "I beat X over the weekend!" A real point of pride. "I figured out how to beat X boss in Y game!" An amazing point of accomplishment. I've beaten The Adventure of Link (Zelda II) on the NES. Not an emulator, the actual console. No cheats. Over 1000 continues. But, I beat it. It has so much in it that could be considered "bad game design", yet I found it to be fun. The frustration actually added to part of the fun. Those "eureka moments" you sometimes have when you are at school or work and think up a new tactic. One that gets you excited to play again. That maybe THIS TIME, you can beat the obstacle.

    I actually enjoy games that have that as part of their design, no matter how "contrary" to modern game design it is. No matter how "frustrating" it might be. I find games to be fun that don't give me a hammer and a saw... but a whole box of tools and then says, "figure out how this works". I find that to be deeply engaging.

    So... having states that persist after combat lend to being that toolbox. There are ways to prevent being poisoned. Ways to cure it. Reasons to cure it. Tactics to stop it. And player choice involved in doing all of those things. Lots of ways to deal with the States. Much of it left in the hands of the player to do those things. You could make yourself completely immune to Poison level 1, but then you can still be hit by Poison Level 2... but most monsters will inflict Poison Level 1... so... this may be a good trade off. But, Poison Level 2 is more deadly, so maybe you want to prevent that instead, since your stats are high enough that Poison Level 1 is negligible to you and you don't mind "waiting it out". However, very few enemies will inflict the Level 2 version of Poison on you. Then, you can get equipment that simply lowers your chances of being poisoned by a percentage. It might limit how often you get poisoned altogether. Or, you could buy Antidotes which cure all Levels of Poison, no matter how severe (levels 1 through 4) for when you do find yourself Poisoned. Or, you could come back when you're more confident that you could wipe out most enemies in the dungeon before they even land "Poison" on you.

    Put simply, I'm a firm believer of "you can bring a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink". It is the kind of gameplay I like encouraging.

    I don't mind streamlining as long as simply provides more tools for the toolbox. I am, however, not in favor of removing tools from the toolbox simply because the player has an aversion to using a Tape measure or a Wrench and would rather use exclusively a Hammer.

    I don't find visiting the menu to be annoying... What I find annoying is when I have to go six menus deep into something to get to what I need. Ideally, I'd like to click twice... or MAYBE three times... and I've got what I need. If I have to navigate deeper than that... Then it gets tedious. I'm in favor of simplifying menus to avoid deep dives into them.

    But, that's honestly why I put all the restoratives at the top of my lists in RPG Maker. That way you, you don't really have to scroll to get to them. Open menu, click "items", move to "Antidote", click it, click the character. Done deal. If you had to scroll for a while to find it... Yeah, that would get endlessly tedious.

    I'm actually not sure it can be done in MV, but I did used to like when RPG's had a "Memory" option for your cursor. That is, it would leave the cursor on the last place you left it, so you could quickly get back to the things you were using and minimize menu navigation. I'm sad to see that even in modern games, they've phased that out, yet they've retained super deep menus with a million options.

    Maybe there's a plugin out there for it. Might be worth adding it to my game as a "Quality of Life" feature since I want to have my States persist after battle. Or... well... half of my states persist.

    I've been gaming since... I was four? I don't recall what year that was. Maybe 1989 as well, since I was born in 85? I think I got my hands on my first RPG at six... so... 1991? Maybe sooner than that? I remember playing Final Fantasy 1 and Dragon Quest 1 as a small child, though I don't know if it was right when those games released. I didn't actually appreciate an RPG until Final Fantasy 6... which was... a 1994 game? I can't recall.

    My takeaway with RPG's (which I exclusively played through pretty much all of grade school and high school, until Halo released) was that I simply found most to be "too easy". While, I had the most fun with ones that made me "work for it". I liked the early stages of Chrono Trigger where the game was still throwing new combat mechanics at you. But, once you can fly with the time machine, all challenge in the game is gone. It becomes an endless slog of "I win, where's my reward?" until the end of the game. I found games likes "Secret of Mana" and "Secret of Evermore" to be more my speed, since player skill was rewarded and challenge was kept up through most of the game. This was partially because level ups didn't really mean much, but equipment meant everything... so combat balance in both games was easy to maintain. I liked Earthbound for that reason as well. The game maintained challenge all the way up to the end boss. When I beat these games, I felt a sense of accomplishment.

    I actually enjoy the Chronic Challenge of a game. Where it's the game's job to grind you down if you aren't prepared and force you to get more powerful if you are prepared.

    I think where we differ in this opinion is that you think the player will be visiting the menu constantly, removing states constantly, just generally stopping everything they're doing at any given moment to remove these states. In general, I don't see this as good game design if it's intentionally done from the dev. If I designed a dungeon that poisoned you every battle, forced you to use an antidote every single battle, then I would agree that's bad game design. But, if there are systems in place to mitigate that problem. If that problem is the result of a player playing sub-optimally? I find it to be perfectly acceptable. If options and alternatives are presented to the player so that they don't have to engage in that gameplay... I find it perfectly acceptable that they end up in that sort of loop because they're not playing well.

    I do also get your point that those "items would only ever be useful there". You're speaking to redundancy. But, that's sort of the point. The dungeon itself serves as a tutorial for the state. The point is to make you deal with it, to teach you how to deal with it, and to be prepared in general. If a creature only poisons you every once in a while after that, it's a short stop into the menu, pop the antidote, and then you don't have to worry about it again for a while.

    I think you might misunderstand about what I'm talking about with "states that persist after combat". If you were guaranteed to have one of these states after every couple battles... from the beginning of the game to the end... I could see your problem with it. But, in reality, even in games where states are minor and do next to nothing to you... They're inflicted upon you so rarely that it's not a problem to go into the menu to remove them. You may remove 100 separate states over the course of a 20 hour RPG via consumables... and you've fought 50,000 enemies in that span.

    I don't know that I can prove that it's an attempt to design out "lulls", but the truth is that many games are getting more and more linear. Or, if they go "open world", you can't go more than 20 feet without tripping over a collectable, a side activity, an event, a side quest, a main quest, a random event in the world, etcetera.

    Personally, I believe making Final Fantasy 13 mostly linear is an attempt to do just that. Put you in a hallway, you never get lost, keep moving forward, a battle every 20 feet or so. The game does "open up" later, somewhere around the 20 hour mark, but it's still insanely linear as the power level of the enemies forces you down certain paths in the "open world". Likewise, you trip over enemies here every 30 feet instead of 20. The game simply does not let you go very long without shoving something in your face. A cutscene. Dialogue. A battle. Boss Battle. Item sphere. The game never lets you have "down time".

    The linearity is a problem in the game, but I don't think it's the biggest problem the game actually has. But, it is the one touted the most in game reviews. A feature that was probably intended to design out "lulls" in normal JRPG Gameplay.

    This largely depends on what a person considers "something interesting to do". I've never really found waiting for AI characters to do something as "uninteresting" as I'm planning out my next move or next couple moves based on what the AI might be doing. If it looks like they might reach the Star before me, I might move on to a different route in the hopes the star will spawn in front of me instead. This way, I can maintain my lead.

    But, not every player is like this. Some players don't like these "lulls".

    Well, this operates under the assumption that you would be curing states constantly. Instead, I'd like to focus your attention to the way any standard RPG runs. Roughly 1 in every 7 enemies of a standard RPG can inflict a state on a party member. They'll inflict this roughly one in every 3 attempts. You're looking at something like... removing a single State for every 21 battles you fight. This number might be less than 21 if you're particularly unlucky... or if enemies are designed to inflict states across the whole party instead of single targets...

    However, most games have designed out the use for these "state curing" items in all their gameplay. Even as far back as Final Fantasy 4. Maybe even before then. In fact, items that prevent states from ever happening to your characters are all but useless in pretty much every single RPG. Simply because there's no reason to waste a slot of Equipment on preventing a state you will rarely ever come across. There's not a lot of reason to ever buy Consumables that remove states either, you can get by in pretty much every RPG on just the ones you find in treasure chests... and they are PLENTIFUL.

    So my answer to your question is simply: "The way I want to do it is already more engagement than has been in all of RPG history for the last 20+ years". Making the consumables valuable. Making the equipment valuable. Making those choices the player makes outside of battle... important and valuable. Maybe you never need bother with the equipment that stops you from being poisoned again, since there aren't areas in the game as packed with Poison creatures as the tutorial area. But, you may need those Antidotes. It's a decision the player makes outside of combat. How many do you carry on you? Do you spend your resources to obtain them? Do you plan ahead? Or, do you hope you won't ever need them again?

    Being prepared for combat is an interesting choice in and of itself. How the player chooses to prepare for future combat. For the unknown. For possible challenges. What weapons/armors they equip. What accessories they choose. What consumables they bring along.

    Does this mean I'm arguing that "any interaction the player must have, is inherently a good interaction"? Or... "is having the player do something always better than having them do nothing?". Well, no. Making the player cure up after every single combat isn't preferable to making them do it every so often. Even if it would necessitate a lot more player interaction with the game and a lot more brain engagement.

    The goal is to engage the player, but not overload the player. Overloading breeds frustration and annoyance. But, so long as curing a state outside of combat is simply "a matter of course", the player does it easily and willingly.

    My point about the Netflix is more about the game being designed in such a way as to disengage my brain in the first place. I don't grind if I'm enjoying the combat and the new enemies. But, when the battles 5 hours in are the same as the ones I was fighting 10 minutes in... just with larger stats... Then I'm disengaged. You would have to force me to engage with your game at that point. Making me cure your states would be a simple way to do that. Which also, might, incidentally, also keep me from mashing "Attack" to win.

    Otherwise, I'll grind so that I can one shot your encounters for the next few hours and get to the "good bits" of your game. In essence, your combat is the boring portion of the game and the disengaging part.

    Just my two cents.

    The problem is that this is largely subjective. As you stated before, you find it disengaging and boring to watch the AI take their turns in Mario Party. Whereas, for me, this is something that lets me plan, something that keeps my brain engaged.

    You simply have to ask what the difference is between "streamlining" and "dumbing it down" are. More often than not... when you streamline something, you are "dumbing it down". There's a lot of overlap there. Especially in today's game industry.

    Let me use Mass Effect as an example. Combat from Mass Effect 2 was immensely "streamlined". As a result, the challenge that it used to have... was removed. Instead of having to upgrade armor... weapons... and mod those armor/weapons... Or use your powers during combat and make sure that they weren't on cooldown when you needed them most... You have a combat system where your armor didn't really matter at all, your weapon didn't really matter at all (except firing speed, the only stat on a weapon in Mass Effect 2 that matters!), and only four powers in the entire game were useful (Incinerate, Overload, Fire Ammo, Disrupter Ammo). This streamlining carried over into Mass Effect 3 as well. The games were "dumbed down", so players wouldn't have to do much thinking at all in combat. Aim for the head, use the correct ammo, you win. Powers refresh so quickly that they can be spammed... but if an enemy has a shield or armor, most Powers are useless anyway... so you won't use them... But, if they don't have a shield or armor, you're better off just putting two rounds into their head to kill them rather than use a power on them.

    But, Mass Effect 1... It mattered what you put on your guns. It mattered what you put on your armor. It mattered that you had grenades. It was important to actually recover your squad using Medi-Gel. It mattered what powers you used as the most powerful ones had long cooldowns.

    They "streamlined" combat in the interest of making it more accessible to players. Abandoning anything remotely tactical or strategic about it... in favor of frenetic gameplay that provided instant feedback to players, but made combat shallow and boring. Removed depth and player decisions.

    Unfortunately... in my experience, that's what 98% of all "streamlining" does to a game or a franchise. "Dumbs it down" and removes depth and player decisions. Removes interactivity in favor of making a game "easy mode" so that more people will play it. Which, is a fantastic way to make money but is a terrible way to make a good game.

    At least, in my opinion.

    I think you miss my point here. Players aren't stupid for not knowing how long the dungeon is or how much equipment/consumables to bring along. They're stupid for not knowing when they're ill prepared and pushing forward anyway. Unless, of course, they desire that particular challenge.

    In fact, RPG's very much used to teach players this very thing. They'd let you "return to town" at any time for most of the game to get supplies if you needed them. It was rare for the game to "lock you" into an area and force you to complete it with only what you had on hand. In fact, these were called "Gauntlets". They were to challenge the players who had learned to return to town when it became obvious that they were ill prepared.

    This is a skill we should be fostering in players. Not making sure they never have to worry about it. "If you are not prepared, there is no harm or shame in turning back and getting prepared".

    Essentially, we'd be teaching players about the rate at which their resources are draining. "I've been through 3 rooms of this dungeon and used half of the Antidotes I brought along. Maybe I should turn back and resupply. I'm not prepared". Players are not often morons, unless the game design teaches them to be. Many avid RPG players know that most dungeons are 10-12 screens long. Even if they don't know this, if they're down to 3 Antidotes about 15 rooms in... surely this is a clue that they're likely ill prepared... even if the next room contains the "Boss Monster".

    What I'm saying is... when a player notices that their supplies are dwindling and they've been using them pretty frequently... It's usually a clue that they're not prepared and they need to leave to get more well prepared.

    If they don't notice this. If they don't make the decision to turn back and get more well prepared... They either desire the challenge... or they're not very bright players. I'm more than happy to oblige either player. Ones who want the challenge will get it... the ones not smart enough to notice the signposting of "You're not prepared", will die and go back to the last save point, having learned a valuable lesson.

    I think you're forgetting that having a player turn back is teaching them their own limitations. This is something I think is valuable to teach a player. If you teach them that they will never have to turn back due to difficulty or being unprepared... Then, you've taught them to be complacent. You've taught them that your combat is going to be easy enough that they can muck through it no matter what. You've taught them that anytime you TPK them... it isn't their fault. You've taught them that it's the game dev's fault. Why? How? By teaching them that they never need accept their limitations. By teaching them through your game design that once they enter any location, they can plow through it. Any hindrance to doing just that is now a "game design flaw" to the player. An annoyance. A frustration. You've created an "unreasonable difficulty" spike now anytime you deviate from that formula. Anytime the player has to "turn back" or "level up", they'll see it as you forcing it on them. This means you'll need to maintain a general "ease" of your game to prevent complaints. To prevent assertions of "bad game design".

    Whereas, if you teach them from the very beginning... that they may need to accept their own limitations. That they may need to accept that they simply aren't yet prepared or powerful enough... They will expect it from every dungeon afterwards. It will have become a part of the game. "Can I do this next dungeon without turning back?" It becomes a point of player skill.

    However, realistically, the only way to teach a player their own limitations is to show them actively dwindling their own resources. Blowing 10 potions in the first few encounters is a clue. Blowing half of your Antidotes only 3 rooms in is a clue. The player can realistically make an informed decision, provided you've had the confidence to not teach them that you are their training wheels the whole time.

    Anyway, sorry I snipped out the rest of your post. This was getting kind of long, and it was treading over ground I already covered in this reply.
     
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  15. Seirein

    Seirein Veteran Veteran

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    Have you even played Mass Effect?

    ME1's only difficult in the early-game, and not necessarily in good ways -- your weapons suffer from an extreme amount of recoil, you're limited in available powers and how you can invest your talent points, and the base medi-gel cooldown takes far, far too long. By the halfway point in the first game, you can have an assault rifle or shotgun that you never need to stop firing. You can tear through enemy groups without ever releasing the trigger or overheating. You can have absurd amounts of shields on party members through armor or talents, plus health-regen on your armor to negate any need for medi-gel. You can bombard an enemy with half-a-dozen powers in exactly as many seconds, with roughly a 30-second cooldown for all of them -- not that powers do more DPS than your never-ending pistol.

    Mass Effect 2 introduced different weapons and powers being effective against different resistances. You were much better off switching to your heavy pistol instead of your SMG/shotgun against armor, and taking squadmates with Incinerate against enemies that primarily relied on shields was just plain foolish. You no longer had the means to become ludicrously overpowered and you actually had to strategize the most effective attacks against each enemy. Mass Effect 3 significantly jacked up the artificial intelligence, versatility, and synergy of enemy forces, while giving you new mechanics like power combos and various ways to counter each type of enemy.
     
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  16. Aesica

    Aesica undefined Veteran

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    Sample scenario: You're exploring a cave, and in one room, there's an NPC and no encounters. After leaving the room, you take a few steps, get in a fight, and have a status ailment inflicted upon you. Knowing this status ailment can be "walked off," you turn around and head back into the room, walk around until it's gone, then resume your exploration.

    It's also possible that, if using nonrandom (visible on map) encounters, the player could just wander back and forth after combat until it wears off, then continue onward.

    Overall, Wavelength's question was a good one to consider for those reasons, but of course how you handle it is ultimately up to you.
     
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  17. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    I have actually played Mass Effect 1. 7 times to completion in fact. But... it sounds like you've only played it once... on Easy Difficulty setting.

    You actually cannot get an "endless firing assault rifle or shotgun" until you get Frictionless Materials X... which you don't get until you have a New Game + file, because the loot pool restricts you from getting anything above a 7 on that first runthrough. Likewise, most weapons do decent damage in the game except the Spectre Gear, which you likely won't get on your first playthrough due to the sheer amount of Credits each piece of equipment costs. Even then, it's only the VII versions of that gear... the X versions don't unlock until New Game +. Though, I suppose you might be able to get an "endless firing" gun if you slapped Cryo Ammo on top of a Frictionless Materials gun... But most enemies take so little damage from cold... and the very mod itself jacks down the power of the gun by like 15%, that it would actually take more shots to kill something if you did things this way... I rarely ever used Cryo Ammo, so maybe that's a viable tactic if you just want to hold the trigger down.

    Even with a Stability Rail VII in the first playthrough, your gun goes upwards when you hold down the trigger, which necessitates moving it back down... You also can't fire for more than a minute with the Frictionless Materials VII before having to let off the trigger or having to overheat.

    As for the armors that give you the most shields or protections, they are super rare and extremely random drops without a guaranteed way to get them. I didn't even obtain a full set of them until the end of the 7th playthrough. It took me to my second to even get the Level X version of the Colossus armor, which offers the best protection in the game. At least for a human. Even then... These armors with high protections don't stop you from getting hit with Lift or Singularity, and on higher difficulties, enemies will spam Biotics at you and disable you quite a lot during combat with them.

    Now, even with Frictionless Materials X and the best Stability mod in the game... Firing endless Assault Rifle ammo from the best Assault Rifle in the game... A lot of enemies other than the standard ones take a lot of rounds to put down on higher difficulties. Especially the Krogan… Oh Lord, the Krogan and their ability to drop a 30 second "I'm completely invincible to everything" power. Or, even more fun, even with that best armor and great mods for it... Those same Krogan, if they got close enough to you to deliver a full blast of that shotgun? Yeah, it kills you in one hit. And they took roughly 25 seconds of continuous fire to put down on anything higher than Normal Difficulty.

    As for powers... Yeah a 30 second cooldown is a lot. But, there were powers that were longer than that. Like say... Adrenaline. A power that completely refreshed every other power you had... but was on like a 3 minute cooldown. You could drop all your powers onto a single encounter, but you wouldn't be able to do it to the next unless you actively sat around and waited for everything to recharge. 30 seconds in a real time combat encounter is a very long time. Especially in a system where enemies are actively trying to charge you and get behind you instead of simply staying where they were programmed to stay (like in Mass Effect 2 or 3). They would leave you no safe place to be... whereas in order to avoid letting the player cheese encounters in Mass Effect 2 and 3... they often had to lock doors behind you or have "one way routes" to keep you in the encounter instead of letting you fall back and pick off the inactive AI that only ever sat in their designated "guarding" locations and plinked shots at you.

    As for the "tactics" in Mass Effect 2... I actually already covered that. In the very section you quoted. But, I'll break it down for you:

    Mass Effect 2 tells you, "This gun is effective against shields". Well, okay. How effective? I don't know. What about in comparison to this other gun that also says its effective against shields? Is one better than the other? I don't know. The game doesn't tell you. People had to hack the game files and put it on the wiki for anyone to know. Even then, in the end, it doesn't matter, since anything beyond "Normal" difficulty, the enemies have both Shields AND Armor. So, the only stat that matters in Mass Effect 2 on a gun is "fire rate". Pistols become pretty worthless on anything higher than Normal. Well... unless you've got Ammo Powers. It doesn't help that the base game only has two Pistols either... A regular one that's crap... and the Hand Cannon which is like a Sniper Rifle with one third of the power and only twice the ammo.

    But, there were only four powers you needed to conquer the game, on any difficulty setting. With any class. Incinerate. Overload. Disrupter Ammo. Incendiary Ammo. Any other ammo power is worthless and useless. Any other skill is worthless and useless. Drop headshots into enemies that play "whack a mole" with you behind cover with the ammo you need to take them out. Even on Insanity, on a fresh character, there are only two sections of the game that are even remotely difficult. The Horizon Boss fight (the lack of cover, lack of ammo, insane amount of husks that constantly spawn in and charge you and pin you into corners, and the boss's ability to one shot you or drag you entirely out of cover with its abilities. It probably also doesn't help that at this point, you're so underpowered, that any gun you bring to this fight isn't very useful and will expend all your ammo easily)... and one section just before the fight with the boss of the game where your options for cover are so limited and the platforms are so close together that it is easy to get flanked, be flanked for that entire combat, and then have Harbinger use his abilities to knock you out of cover and kill you fast as a result.

    In fact, the vast majority of Mass Effect 2 and 3 can be beaten by simply slapping "Incendiary Ammo" on whatever gun you're using and landing headshots on everything. You rarely ever even need to swap to Disrupter Ammo at all.

    The only real threat in Mass Effect 2 are the "enemies that charge", which are the dog like things or the Krogan. The Varran and the robot dogs are easily dispatched with a shotgun, or by hitting them with Incendiary Ammo as they cross the field... The Krogan charge so slowly that you can often headshot them to death before they ever get to you. Oh, and they don't tend to use cover, which makes them even EASIER to kill than they were in Mass Effect 1. Actually, the only way to get a real challenge in Mass Effect 2 was to play as a class that couldn't use Assault Rifles or Sniper Rifles. The game had to severely gimp you in order to even become a challenge and require movement tactics to play. Even then, there are areas that were so frustrating to those players, that in Mass Effect 3, they lifted the weapon restriction again (which should've never been implemented to begin with). They also lifted the absolutely stupid "this gun is effective against shields" nonsense from Mass Effect 2 as well and returned the game to comparable stats... and more than 2 or 3 weapons for each category.

    Mass Effect 3 did improve combat from Mass Effect 2... But, it does suffer all the same issues and problems. Even on Insanity, the only way the game can present a challenge to the player is to lock doors behind them, have a lack of cover in the room... a lack of ammo in the room... flooded with insane amounts of enemies... Add the ability for some enemies to 1 shot you if they get to close to you... Otherwise, it's still just "plink it in the head until its dead". It's still just "hit with Incinerate or Overload". The only achievements I even have left to earn in Mass Effect 3 are the Insanity Achievement and the Citadel DLC achievement. But, it's difficult to bring myself to play again... or do this DLC, since most of the game is simply a freakin' Slog. A series of encounters that I'll breeze through or be frustrated by, because of deliberately bad level design. The combat is boring, without skill, without tactics, it's just "hold trigger until dead". I make no interesting decisions about even the equipment I bring to the table. "Oh, this rifle does more damage? Okay, I'll equip it", because Fire Rate just means you're expending too much ammo and ammo is even less plentiful in Mass Effect 3 than it was in ME2. Every upgrade I take in terms of ammo or permanent unlocks is "carry more ammo". Do I need more shields? No. More health? No. More weapon damage? Power damage? No. I need to carry more ammo. The most valuable stat in Mass Effect 2 is "Fire Rate" and in Mass Effect 3, the most valuable stat is "Ammo Capacity".

    In Mass Effect 1, I found myself using the entire battlefield and beyond to take out enemies that I might not have had any reasonable expectation to take on. Enemies would follow me no matter where I went. They didn't ever stop. If I walked backward two rooms, they would follow me there. If I trekked across half the map in the Mako, they would follow me if they could (and if you waited long enough, they often did show up). Mass Effect 1 allowed "strategic retreats". It allowed you to use game geometry to use your weapons better. You could sit up on a high hill and snipe enemies that could not realistically hit you back (but they would try... and on Insanity, their aim at doing this was good enough to require a player take cover from time to time as well!). In Mass Effect 1, you killed every enemy you could because they were all threats. In Mass Effect 2 and 3... you only kill all the enemies, because the game doesn't let you move into the next section of the map until you do (locked doors!).

    Combat between that first game and the next two has been "streamlined" to the point of requiring no player skill to execute, even on the highest difficulty settings with fresh characters. They dumbed combat down to make it more fast paced and fluid. They dumbed it down to appeal to a wider audience that just wants to shoot things and not have to think too hard about it. Hey, that's a good thing for them. They made a lot of money because of it.

    But, personally? I'd prefer if they'd just improved the systems we had in Mass Effect 1 instead of completely removing them in favor of casualization. Mass Effect 1 systems were definitely not perfect. But, it was a deeply engaging and tactical game. Every choice you made outside of combat in terms of your equipment mattered. Every time you used a power, it mattered, because the cooldowns were so long. Every time you engaged enemies in combat, where you stood and which targets you picked first... mattered. Combat advantage could even be taken away quickly by an enemy who decided to run at you, get behind you, and proceed to pelt you from two or three directions instead. Grenades mattered because they were flung like Frisbees and could be detonated anytime. They had no fuse. You could use them to lay traps. You could use them to kill enemies behind cover without letting them react. You could put mods on them to do specific things in combat that were all useful (except the cryo blasts). Grenades don't really exist in Mass Effect 2... and in Mass Effect 3, they exist merely to have enemies dive out of cover.

    Oh, and Medi-gel... Mass Effect 2 and 3... never once used Medi-Gel. Your teammates are useless for anything except drawing fire in both games, so you don't ever really need to pop it. The games are always "1 versus the whole world". If they died in combat, I just went "oh well" and finished combat as if they were still there... because there was no difference. They'd revive when I cleared the room anyway.

    But, Mass Effect 1? Oh man... If your teammates went down... You were now short a gun. You were short very useful powers. Allies did just as much damage as the player did and were just as accurate as the player. It was 3 against the world in Mass Effect 1. Medi-gel was incredibly useful and desirable as a result. Especially on higher difficulties. It was a major disadvantage to have any of them go down in ME1. ME2? Who cares. They're worthless anyway. Unless they're the ones providing your squad with Incinerate/Overload. But, you can honestly get by without those abilities in most combat encounters. They just make combat faster. Not easier.

    [/rant]
     
    #37
  18. Seirein

    Seirein Veteran Veteran

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    Well, you're transparent.

    I won't bother quoting each part I'm replying to, but to summarize:

    - Oh yes, you can get endless-firing weapons without Frictionless Materials X. It depends on the base heat generation of the weapon. And for someone who acts like they know so much about the game, you miss the fact that higher-level weapons get two weapon-mod slots. Two heat-reducing mods make every weapon overheat-proof.
    - Here's how you get high-level protection: You max out Immunity/Electronics/Barrier. 90% damage reduction against everything, a permanent +270 shields (which is better than many NG+ heavy armors!), and a 1000-shields buff. Stick shield-boosting mods on your armor to get even more ridiculous. Also, you cite that doesn't make you immune to biotics -- the most-reviled part of ME1 gameplay, specifically because it's undefendable complete-helplessness that groups of biotic enemies spam at you. I've done an Insanity playthrough of ME1. Biotics were the only thing that would kill me because any battle with biotic enemies is over the second any one of them gets a power off.
    - Insanity Krogan in ME1? Just fling them off of their feet with biotics and then blow them away with your infinite shotgun before they even get up. (It's also funny you claim "ME2/ME3 are only difficult when they deprive you of cover!) because the hardest fight in the entirely of ME1 is the end of Liara's recruitment mission, when they start you off in an exposed area with tons of geth, a Krogan Battlemaster advancing on you, and very little cover. Of course, once you are omnipotent, that entire fight is a cakewalk, but you're almost certain to head there early and get in trouble.
    - Adrenaline Rush's base cooldown is 120 seconds -- two minutes. Max it out and the cooldown is 45 seconds, 34 with the right specialization. And this isn't resetting one cooldown -- it's resetting all of them. You can spam all of your powers, use Adrenaline Rush, and spam them all again. Also, enemies are far more stationary in ME1 than they are in ME3, where enemies have grenades to flush you out of cover and protected/heavy units constantly pressing down on you. There are encounters in ME1 you can cheese by just sniping from far enough away that the enemy AI doesn't react.
    - Any Heavy Pistol in ME2 will do more damage against armor than any SMG will. Using SMGs against armor in Insanity is going to waste all of your ammo. So no, I don't think you've played the later games in Insanity at all.
    - So Warp and Energy Drain don't exist. Crowd-control like Pull and Cryo Blast don't exist to even the numbers once you have enemies' resistances down. Heck, Shockwave does decent damage against barriers, even if it isn't primarily a damge power. Warp Ammo is easily the strongest ammo power, yet you completely neglect it. And shield-boosting powers are very useful given how Immunity and Electronics don't exist in ME2.
    - You do realize that krogan would never use cover in ME1 either, right? And the only time they'd move faster than a crawl was when charging, just like in ME2? (Also, you said that only two types of enemies were threats, then proceeded to claim they weren't even threats. Trying to have your cake and eat it too?)
    - So you haven't even finished a playthrough of ME3 in Insanity. That's obvious by how you think ammo is less plentiful than in ME2, whereas almost all weapons have increased spare ammo capacity and many have mods that give you even more ammo.
    - In ME3, I would often have to flee from cover or melee enemies that tried to flank me. I would often reposition to get better shots at enemies who were entrenched or had vulnerable points. Almost every combat in ME1 consisted of me hiding behind the first cover presented in an area and infinite-shotgunning everything until it died. If you're honestly convinced that enemies in ME1 are more aggressive than those in ME3, even when the latter has enemies explicitly designed to flush you out of cover or attack at close range, you're only fooling yourself. Also, I'd never use grenades in ME1 because they weren't that powerful, you couldn't rely on restocking grenades, and you had to babysit them because you had to detonate them yourself. In ME3, they're a power outside of the standard cooldown mechanic, so you could be conservative with them or spam them against a strong enemy. One of my favorite ME3 playthroughs was a grenadier Sentinel.
    - In ME2 and ME3, your squadmates cover areas your Shepard is weak in. Playing as an Engineer, who has no good options against barriers? Bring a biotic squadmate. Playing as an Adept specced for power combos? Pick allies with good primer powers. You can go through ME1 Insanity without a biotic in most cases, and you only need a tech user for decryption.
    - In ME1, if your squadmates went down, it's because they weren't very smart. Even with weapons as high-level as the player's, they're nowhere near as effective as Shepard. I went through plenty of fights in ME1 Insanity solo without squadmates.

    Frankly, it's hilarious to watch you ascribe every single weakness of ME1 combat to the other games, while pretending ME1 was so deep and technical that you couldn't cheese every battle with an infinite-firing shotgun, Immunity, and the occasional dose of Carnage.
     
    #38
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  19. Countyoungblood

    Countyoungblood Sleeping Dragon Veteran

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    Rofl. Two kinds of players in the world i guess. Those who enjoy dark souls and those who think bringing enough potions constitutes strategy.

    Cant say it enough tedium isnt challenge.

    In my gaem you hav to use the sharpening stone on all your sharp weapons after every battle or you lose sharpness and you have to use rag on your boots if you fight in the mud or you get muddy and lose agility or you have to use umbrella when it rains or you get wet and will be weak to electricity it is realistic and dynamic.

    Play dark souls again but level up a few times before you cry about it being too hard. Put on a shield and block instead of being upset you cant mash buttons.

    Its just like any other rpg if you cant handle the content go back and level up. Fun part though is with developed skill you can grind rediculously smoothly which gets really fun. Killing a dozen of what killed you without getting touched or blocking is pretty enjoyable.

    Post rant i might have to go dig ds out..
     
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  20. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    Okay.

    EDIT: Okay, I looked it up. You could stack weapon mods. However, stacking two Frictionless Materials X mods only gives your Shotgun an extra 4 or so rounds to fire before overheating... Which means you're getting 11 shots instead of "infinite". Plus, Frictionless Materials starts at Level 8... which is only available from Level 50 onwards.

    However, if you did want "infinite firing Shotguns", you would use "Snowblind Rounds". With this, it is possible to make both Pistols and Shotguns fire indefinitely. However, it comes at a severe cost:

    -40% Rate of Fire Reduction. -20 to -28% accuracy reduction.

    The wiki actually recommends you don't do this as the damage bonus you get for doing it is only a negligible 5% more DPS than you'd get with an unmodded Level X Spectre Weapon. Snowblind Rounds also start at Level 8... which don't begin showing up until level 50 or so either. So you wouldn't have an "infinite firing shotgun" until a NG+.

    You're better off with the Frictionless Materials, but you're not getting infinite shots out of them. At most, you're getting like 58% more shots out of the gun before overheat. The most shots you'll get out of a shotgun is like 7.5, but the shotgun that has that is nowhere near as good as the Spectre version which gives a solid 7 shots before overheat. So, with two Frictionless Materials X, you will get 3.92 extra bullets (we'll just round to four shots) on the best Shotguns in the game... and that's it.

    You can only render 3 weapon types "overheat proof", and it's only done with the Snowblind Ammo. Pistols. Shotguns. Assault Rifles. But, you'll be firing half as fast, and with one-third less accuracy.

    And you can only do it once you've hit Level 50.


    Most often, I paired the Frictionless Materials with the Stability mod to ensure pinpoint accuracy... because without it... your accuracy is basically garbage.

    With shotguns, I only ever had like a Combat Scanner, a stability mod, and then explosive ammo so that it would one-shot most everything. Though, it did cause constant overheat. Tactical decision on my part. If I was in Shotgun range of an enemy, my plan had failed somewhere.

    Though, Frictionless Materials doesn't even begin to show up until you're pretty close to Level 50 as it's minimum level is VII... So... There's that too. For much of a first playthrough, you're picking up IV, V, and VI equipment and you lack the money to buy the VII Spectre Gear.

    The levels of everything you pick up is dependent on character level, after all ~_^ Game doesn't really let you loot anything beyond your level except in rare instances where you might get lucky and get a piece of gear that's one level above what you usually get... But since it's random drop... Zero guarantee you get anything useful.

    This only applies if you took characters that had these skills, or you unlocked them and put them on a New Character. Even then, it's twelve points to knock out any one of them. Points give you diminishing returns as you gain levels, so it is up to the player if they want their guns to be garbage, their powers to be garbage, or their passive abilities to be garbage. If I remember correctly, of the... what... 20+ things a player could put points into, regardless of class... you could max out... MAYBE 7? MAYBE? And that's if you didn't drop points into anything else. I tended towards maxing out two weapons, a couple powers I used frequently, my class specific upgrade for more health/shields/damage/etcetera passives... and a smattering of other skills at 6 or 7 points so that they would be useful if I needed them.

    I found the "extra shields" stuff to be particularly worthless on Higher Difficulties when enemies had equipment and abilities that simply bypassed your shields altogether and ate your health anyway. In fact... there are several mods you can put on your own guns to do this very thing to enemies as well.. Which... could make several fights pretty easy if you knew about those mods.

    I mean, some players preferred having that huge buffer of extra shields. I just didn't like anything that could be "bypassed". Because, who cares if I have 1000 extra shields when this mook isn't even hitting them and is hitting my health directly? Not me. I'd rather mitigate that damage to my health. But, that's me. Extra armor could never be bypassed. Extra protection to your health could never be bypassed. But, shields could be bypassed. I simply went with the option that was "this will always work" instead of the option of "this will work about 60% of the time on Insanity".

    To each their own.

    Biotics were actually the least threatening thing to me in an Insanity run. They constituted just knocking me over most of the time and then I'd wait for the animation of getting up to finish, and kill the person who knocked me down. Biotics were only devastating to me when they were paired with other enemies who output high amounts of damage... Like the Krogan Shotgunners. But, they didn't pair those together much in Mass Effect 1... or 2... or 3... In fact, nobody uses any powers against you in Mass Effect 2 or 3... except Harbinger or some of the Collector Forces. Everyone else just kind of impotently shoots at you until you murder them.

    Though, most of the Biotic Powers did have "bleed through" on characters... namely... they all bypassed shields and did direct damage to health... So maybe that's why you had such issues dealing with them? You went full shields and didn't realize those shields could be bypassed easily by some enemies, so those enemies easily killed you because you didn't realize the dynamics? Just a guess.

    I found the Biotics users annoying in most instances and deadly in only a few, even on an Insanity run. I can see why they'd removed enemies using powers on players as being knocked down, unable to dodge it or do anything about it... simply doesn't feel good to a player. But, you could mitigate most of the damage from it and kill Biotics users very quickly as they were the squishiest enemies on the battlefield. So, there was at least a little counter play to be had. But still... being knocked down feels bad, man. It's annoying.

    I guess you forgot about Saren's base? Stocked pretty much exclusively with Krogan. Only about half of them charge you. The rest sit behind the hexagon shields, take shots at you with Assault Rifles, Pistols, and shotguns. The "Battlemasters" were the ones to always charge you as they were the only ones with the Immunity. They'd pop it, charge you, shotgun you to death instantly.

    In Mass Effect 2... All Krogan charge you. They no longer have "Immunity" either, so this is a particularly stupid tactic to design into a game. It just makes them a big dumb and easy to murder target that poses no threat.

    And yep, that was the hardest part of the game. It's too bad that Krogan doesn't turn into a Battlemaster until you go up from Hard Difficulty. Which means, it doesn't actually have "Immunity" until higher difficulties. Most players don't experience that with a "fresh playthrough", since you have to unlock everything after Hard by obtaining certain achievements... Like beating the game on certain difficulties. So, they experience it with a New Game + character.

    Even with my NG+ character, running into that the first time was tricky, I didn't know what was going on. Why was it invincible? How do I beat him? Turns out, after my second death... he was easy. Move from pillar to pillar on the outside edge of the elevator, killing all the Geth and not sitting still too long. When the Geth are dead (and they do go down SO FAST, as they're just basic Geth enemies that fire assault rifles, even on Insanity), you just Kite the Krogan Battlemaster around the edge of the map, pumping him full of bullets and powers when he doesn't have Immunity on. You can actually kill him before he pops it the first time if you don't let him get close enough while killing the Geth. By the time I was making my Insanity Run, I'd figured out how to kill him pretty effectively, without even losing my squadmates. I never did a "fresh character" on Insanity in Mass Effect 1... But, he might be harder if I did. Which might simply consist of having to kite him longer. Or maybe disabling him with a Biotic Power so I could keep him away from me and keep him from popping Immunity. But, at least there are options to approaching him. Tactics to try. Strategies to employ. Which is more than can be said of Mass Effect 2 and 3 combat... Which consists of, "stay in cover, shoot everyone in the face, easy win game".

    Ah, someone can use the Wiki I see. :D Fair enough. To be honest, I never used Adrenaline Burst that much. The accuracy penalty was something I didn't ever want to incur. As such, I never invested enough points in the Assault Training to get beyond the 120 seconds. Which... I guess I mistook for being 3 minutes instead of two. But, you'll have to cut me some slack. I'm working from memory on a game I last played... um.... Well, many years ago. When did Mass Effect 2 come out? I last played Mass Effect 1 and picked up all the achievements in that like 3 months before Mass Effect 2 launched. So... that long. I was wrong. It's not three minutes, it's two. I never bothered to use it that much, except when I had Ashley with me, and I used hers to recharge other abilities. I didn't even know you could reduce that timer as I never really did.

    True... But SMGs generally let you have 5x to 6x as much ammo as the "Heavy Pistol" in ME 2 does. So, in the long run, your SMG is going to dish out far more damage than your pistol will before needing a reload. I ran into this problem quite a lot on my Insanity playthrough. It's what made me relegate my Pistol to "mini sniper" instead of "frontline weapon". As in... it was the last thing I ever used. The only reason I never turned it into an SMG instead... is... because... Frankly, I had an Assault Rifle. I didn't need a less effective version of a gun I was already primarily using.

    Still, if you brought along characters who had Incendiary Ammo, you could skyrocket the damage an SMG did by making sure that power was "Squad use". Yeah, it's only 50% effective, but that's extra damage on top of the SMG rounds... which means you're getting a significant damage output over the pistol, which you'll need to find ammo for after only 3 or 4 reloads (depending on what equipment you're wearing). Though, you could get 5-7 reloads out of most SMGs. The clips were also larger. They tended to have less recoil... and took out charging enemies much faster (which would be valuable on an Insanity Run as those targets are far more numerous, especially in timed areas like Garrus's recruitment mission... Which I imagine would be near impossible with a Pistol, but easily doable with an SMG, but, I had an Assault Rifle and a Sniper Rifle, so I didn't have to rely on third rate weaponry).

    But, if you'd like a count...

    Mass Effect 1
    7 full playthroughs, doing every single Quest and Sidequest available.
    1 character for a Renegade Playthrough.
    1 character for a Paragon Playthrough.
    1 character played on New Game Plus on each difficulty setting, starting on Easy. 5 total playthroughs with this character (we're up to six!).
    1 character played as a Biotic on Hard Difficulty who was also a Fem Shep, just to see if dialogue changed and what the romance options for a FemShep were.

    Mass Effect 2
    2 full playthroughs, doing every single Quest and Sidequest available.
    1 character was an import from Mass Effect 1 (the one who'd tackled Insanity). I played the game on Normal Difficulty and drug my feet on beating the game because I found it dreadfully boring and annoying. Took me close to a year to beat it for the first time.
    1 character was a reimport of my Insanity Character (rather than a New Game +, since you don't really get anything useful from NG+ in Mass Effect 2, other than a reset of all your upgrades and the enemies are just as hard as they were at the end of the previous game... which means you're in for a roflstomping good time due to poor game design) where I played fresh from Level 1 to Level 30 on Insanity. I had trouble in two places.

    Mass Effect 3
    1 full playthrough. Using my Imported Insanity Run character from Mass Effect 2. Incidentally, this character is also my Paragon Soldier Earthborn Shepard. I played it on "Normal". Took me... two years I think to finish the game? I played it alongside my friend for the first few days. He beat the game over the course of the weekend, and I simply lacked the drive to beat it myself after wading through all the terrible combat. I quit playing just before the mission where you cure the Genophage. I picked it up later to finish it.
    1 character is the import of my Mass Effect 2 Insanity run again... But he's as "fresh" as I could get him. I didn't see any good reason to NG+ Mass Effect 3 since... again... The enemies simply scale up and are as difficult at the beginning of the game as they were at the end of the last. It's nowhere near as bad as in Mass Effect 2... But, it's still not that great. Enemies start out as bullet sponges instead of eventually turning into them. I'll complete this run... SOMEDAY. But... for now, I tinker with it now and again. I go in, complete a few missions, do a couple things, save, quit, and wait a while again. Combat is just such a freakin' slog and it's 90% of the game. It's difficult to be engaged when every encounter is "shoot someone in the face twice with my gun to kill them". Or "shoot them in the face four times if they have a Barrier/Shield/Armor".

    Mass Effect Andromeda
    1 full playthrough. Hard difficulty. Combat is even easier in this game than it ever has been. It's been streamlined to the point that in the first 2 hours of gameplay you can craft an Assault Rifle that's very powerful as well as put mods on it that make it even more powerful... and never have a problem in the game. Oh, and you can quickly craft some of the best armor in the game for a first run within the first 10 hours of the game and never bother upgrading it until close to the end game.
    1 secondary playthrough... It's a NG+. This time, there are legitimate advantages to a NG+... namely, I can skip Crafting altogether and most of the side content. My guns are already overpowered... my armor is already too powerful... even at level 80. Enemies die so easily. It's my Insanity run. I'm missing two achievements. Insanity and... Do 20 of the Sudoku puzzles. The game glitched, so it never gave me one of them. There are only 20 in the whole game. Otherwise, I'd just bum rush the main objectives and complete the game in 5 hours.

    You don't have to believe me on any of this, but it's about as honest as you're going to get. I'm going to wager you simply played as a Vanguard and that's why you have a lot of talk about Pistols and SMGs. Let me tell you... You got gimped if that was the case. ME2 is freakin' EASYMODE if you have access to ANY Assault Rifle... or ANY Sniper Rifle. Literally no strategy or tactics involved if you have two of the best classes of guns in that game. Pistols, Shotguns, and SMGs in Mass Effect 2 and 3 are just... they're garbage. Most of the strategy involved in those guns is simply moving around the map in such a way as you don't die since it's going to take you like 3 to 4x as much time to kill someone as it would if you had an Assault Rifle or Sniper Rifle.

    I didn't neglect Warp Ammo. I simply didn't have access to it. In fact, most players don't bother even getting access to it. You only get it by completing Jack's Loyalty and getting the achievement. At which point, you have to obtain it for Shepard through either Advanced Training (meaning you pick it as your Bonus Power) or you have Jack use it for the whole Squad. Either way, you only get it after Horizon on a fresh playthrough (when you can run Jack's Loyalty Mission, as you can't do it before Horizon) or through a new character who already has the achievement and can thus "Advanced Training" it into their own powers. But, in the instances I did have it... I didn't find it any more effective than my Incendiary Ammo on my Revenant. Maybe it was, I don't know. But, it felt pretty worthless against Shields and Armor. It tore through Barriers pretty good though... But, I would just ignore Barriers most of the game as very few enemies have them and they're typically weak Biotic users anyway... so they go down quickly with Disrupter or Incendiary Ammo anyway.

    To be quite honest, I didn't really use Jack all that much, so I didn't have access to Shockwave either. More often than not, I'd simply bring Mordin for access to Incinerate... and Michael Jackson who had access to Overload. I found I didn't really need a Biotic Talent at all, not even on Insanity. Using a Soldier class.

    I also never really used shield boosting powers as they're 100% unnecessary to any class except the Vanguard. I mean, sit behind cover, plink enemies. The ones that charge you die quickly and easily at the beginning of any combat, the rest patiently pop their heads up like you're playing whack-a-mole at the County Fair and you kill them without ever losing shields. The only reason to boost your shields is you're stuck with crap guns like Pistols, SMGs, and Shotguns and you get rushed by the dog things with no efficient way to take them out. You never need them otherwise. And most classes don't. Because most classes have access to either Sniper Rifles or Assault Rifles. Some have access to both.

    Already covered the Krogan thing.

    I'm also sorry you didn't understand what I was saying. So, let me break it down for you:

    The only enemies in Mass Effect 2 that even remotely qualify as threats... are enemies who charge you. Why? They apply pressure to you and nullify the advantage of cover. However, they aren't really that much of a threat because A. Krogan move so slowly and are such large targets that you can kill them long before they ever reach you, and they don't even use cover. And B. The "Dogs" that move fast across the battlefield are easily dispatched with a shotgun blast or an assault rifle with Incendiary Ammo before they reach you. In fact, the very linear nature of every map in the game ensures these enemies need to cross a LOT of ground to even get to you and be a threat. Most players die to them the first time, then prioritize them anytime after that, because they are the only threat on the field... being prioritized negates any threat they ever posed. There is nothing any of the other enemy units on the field can even do about it. They don't take advantage of you prioritizing those charging units. They don't use you changing fire to move closer or to empty shots into you while you're out of cover. They impotently wait their turn to be shot in the face when you're done with the only threat on the field.

    The only threat in Mass Effect 2 is something that only qualifies as a threat... because it's the only enemy that does anything different in the whole game... and it's only a threat until after the game has taught you to prioritize it and that it won't punish you for doing so. The tactic for dealing with the "charging" enemies is "Shoot it in the face" just like any other enemy except you add, "But, you shoot it in the face before you shoot any other enemy in the face".

    I hope that explains things for you better.

    Nope, I haven't. I said as much. I'm not sure why you think this is some form of "gotcha!" moment. But, hey, I'll spell it out for you since you don't get it.

    Ammo in Mass Effect 2 is dropped by pretty much every single enemy you dispatch via gunfire. Kills with powers and abilities are less reliable in dropping Thermal Clips. I'm not sure why, but it just seems to be the way the game is designed. Though, Collectors don't really drop many Thermal Clips at all either, so the missions you primarily fight them are noticeably tougher (Horizon, Collector Base, Collector Ship). Everything else drops ammo pretty frequently... and there are seldom more than two encounters between every major "ammo reload" point in any mission.
    In Mass Effect 3, ammo is rarely dropped by any enemy. You'll get 1 clip on average to every 5-6 enemies you dispatch. Some enemies never drop ammo either. In fact, ammo is so rare, that the game is programmed to "respawn" ammo in a few instances, otherwise you'd never have a reload. This is something that would not need to be done if they'd made the clips naturally more occurring from enemy drops instead. However, even these "respawning clips" are few and far between. They don't even show up that often. Even in the "ammo refill" sections of maps, you could take an entire clip if you were only down 1 shot... and then it's gone forever. Oh, and these ammo refill sections? Outside of DLC, you get one roughly every 3 fights or so in the main game. Sometimes, you go longer than that. But, powers have been buffed, so you're expected to be using those a lot more often instead of bullets, so it's meant to balance out.

    On my current Insanity playthrough... I'm using a Mattock. By the time I hit "ammo reload" points, my Assault Rifle is practically empty from the sheer volume of enemies I'm shooting and the lack of ammo that they drop. I suspect I'll be doing far better when I get my hands on the Saber. While the clip count is lower, the damage difference is significantly higher, so I'll be expending less ammo.

    Enemies that would flank in ME3... Um... The shield guys... The enemies that had 1 shot kills in melee range (the phantoms, banshees, and giant mechs), and um.... Oh, that's it. I could Mail Slot the shield guys, so they're not a threat. Usually with my Sniper Rifle. The 1 shot kill enemies are usually accompanied by an item on the battlefield somewhere that could one shot them as well... So, provided you knew where it was, they weren't a threat either... And if you didn't, then you'd just pump everything into them until they died and hope they didn't get close enough to you. Everything else... I stood at the doorway of every room I entered and shot everyone in the head from there. I never needed move around the battlefield at all. Well, unless a Banshee was chasing me. Man, those things take SO MANY HITS.

    In Mass Effect 1... Any and every enemy could and would charge you if they thought they had an advantage. In fact, most of the Geth AI was programmed to push your position at all costs. Many of the humanoid AI's were programmed to charge you and flank you if they could (and in many locations... THEY COULD and THEY WOULD, to deadly effect).

    I did actually find them a lot more aggressive as when I'd "turtle up", I'd find myself being charged and enemies pressing through my defenses. This was less common on NG+ when I had the best equipment in the game and could kill standard mooks with a few shots, but at the start of the game using any of the equipment given to you before Level 50? Yeah, they charged me quite frequently. I'd find myself trying to rapidly kill enemies that ran passed my cover into the open area behind me and were just laying into me more often than not. It led me into a lot of "backpedaling" in early game to force them into choke points that they couldn't run behind me in. Or, using the doors that went outside as the means of dispatching the enemies with my Mako instead.

    I'm also sorry you never used grenades in Mass Effect 1. I know many people who didn't. Unfortunately... They were pretty powerful if you bothered with them. Buy the upgrades to carry more. Equip them with powerful mods. Throw them behind cover... watch enemies die with ease. I tended to use the HE mod for them just for the sheer damage output, but I did also like the incendiary and poison mods as well. They could bypass shielding. :D Heck, even if you didn't score a "kill" with the grenades, they always had "knock down". Which always gave you free hits on enemies that had to stand back up, or who were knocked down behind cover. They were great for Area Denial and Crowd Control as well. I'm sorry you never saw that portion of the game. Especially since I used them to such great effect and had a lot of fun with them.

    Though, to be honest... In Mass Effect 1, Restocking Grenades was far more reliable than it is in Mass Effect 3. You could get a grenade back through any loot source. So, you kill someone... you could get a grenade back. Open a locker? You could get a grenade back. The only way to get Grenades back in Mass Effect 3 is to find an "ammo restock bin" and get grenades there. But, you'll only get two. Maybe 3. So, if you carry 6 grenades... and you have ton of grenades... it's diminishing returns all around. In fact, my first run of Mass Effect 3, I tried to take every Grenade power I could, because I thought it would be fun to be lobbing them constantly. I found myself completely depleted of them constantly and they did so little to many of the enemies, that I stopped bothering with them altogether. They're just too rare to be worth using, and if they're gone during a firefight, it is literally impossible to get them back unless you finish that firefight and there's a stockpile after it. Whereas, in Mass Effect 1, it was completely possible to have grenades restocked in mid combat due to the looting mechanics.

    I've honestly never experienced that in either game. What I experienced was, "they exist to draw fire, and they do a poor job of it". Or, "they exist to give Shepard extra powers that they wouldn't have otherwise". At which point I just go, "We already had that system in Mass Effect 1... Where I could have like 20 different talents from multiple trees... but I'm limited to like 5 now, because game devs suck... and they've decided that my extra squad mates will fill the role of giving me those extra powers I SHOULD HAVE HAD FROM THE START IF THEY HADN'T MUCKED WITH IT AND STREAMLINED IT".

    As mentioned above... I never used a Biotic in Mass Effect 2. I used one in Mass Effect 3 for a little while... until I realized how useless they were. Mass Effect 2 also didn't have many enemies who used "Barriers". So, it was such a non-issue that you never needed to cover it. I mean, you could waste slots to deal with something that comes up like... three times in the whole game (you really only run into it against Collectors, or the occasional Asari Biotic) and it's easily blasted through with Incinerate or Overload, even if you don't have a specific answer for it. Or... a hail of gunfire. I brought Miranda for Overload and Mordin for Incinerate. I was a Soldier. Never needed anything to deal with Barriers. In fact, it was easier for me to kill those with Barriers than it was to kill those with Shields/Armor. Even on Insanity. But, I wasn't restricted to third rate weapons either. I had the best toys at my disposal. Assault Rifles. :D Sniper Rifles. :D :D :D It's not until Mass Effect 3 that they even bothered bringing the other weapons back in line with those two classes to make them viable again. Pistols and SMG's and Shotguns in Mass Effect 3 are AMAZINGLY USEFUL. In 2 though? Yeah, you're gimped. But, you're expected to spam Powers with the classes limited to those weapons anyway. They don't want you using guns on those classes. Which... makes the game a lot harder for those classes. Unintentionally. Through bad game design. Resulting from "streamlining" the game... or "dumbing it down". Thankfully, it was fixed in Mass Effect 3.

    But, I'll get to Mass Effect 3. Nearly every enemy in ME3 has a Shield, Armor, Barrier, or combination of the three. This means... Biotics are worthless unless they specifically deal with one of those. Most of them don't. Enemies are immune to Biotics unless all they have left is "Health". And, if they've got "Health", why would waste a Biotic power on them? I certainly didn't. I'd just get the single headshot and finish them off rather than waste a power or a squad slot to deal with them.

    However, on my Insanity playthrough of ME3, I'm finding that it doesn't matter which squadmates I bring along. I just bring whomever I think will make for interesting commentary/banter for the mission. Or, whomever the game assigns me (it's a big fan of assigning a squad for me, rather than letting me pick it myself). I did actually take all the Ammo Powers this time out for my Soldier Shepard... And, you know what? It's better than bringing along someone who knows Warp, or Incinerate, or Overload. Those are powers that need to recharge. That have cooldowns. I can take the ammo power I need and have it on the field constantly with no cooldown, just the short 3 second animation to deploy it. I've got Warp Ammo in ME3 and simply never use it. Once again, I'm finding "enemies that have Barrier" to be pretty uh... rare. I could probably use it on enemies that have "Armor", but these enemies are usually stationary, move slowly, or are giant targets that it doesn't really matter that much. Incendiary Ammo is pretty effective all around. Especially with the exploit :D Have someone hit an enemy with Warp... Then plow a ton of Incendiary shots into them. Your incendiary rounds now suddenly do like 2x more damage than they normally would, even outstripping Warp Ammo or Warp on its own. Not sure why, but it is amazing. Doing this, I've turned the Saber into a gun stronger than the freakin' Widow Sniper Rifle with just a cast of Warp and a shot downrange of Incendiary Ammo.

    As for not needing a Biotic in Mass Effect 1. True, you don't. But, they were insanely powerful and there's no good reason not to have one. They're Crowd Control and nullifiers. Basically, they were anti-fleshy characters. You brought someone with tech skills to be "anti-robot" characters. You could complete the game without bringing either, but bringing them made the game a lot easier. In Mass Effect 2... You literally just need someone who can burn things and someone who can EMP things and that's it. Biotics are worthless because of the Shield/Barrier/Armor mechanics. So, there's no reason to bring them along. Mass Effect 3 makes this even worse as nearly every enemy, even on Normal Difficulty has a Shield/Barrier/Armor bar... and the harder things have two of these on top of normal health. Which renders a lot of Biotic abilities just pure pointlessness. Plus, your allies no longer draw that much fire in ME3 or even actually kill enemies in ME3 unless you've ordered they use a power and THAT kills the enemy... So, in ME3, it doesn't matter who you bring along at all. Unless you bring Biotics... which just makes the game harder for you, for no reason. Bring Soldier types or Engineer types. Well, I guess you could use a Biotic to exploit the game using Warp and Incendiary Ammo if you want. Though, I don't think that's how the game was intended to be played.

    I never experienced this either. Though, to be fair, by the time I was tackling Insanity, my Squad had all the best of everything in the game. They were holding their own, scoring kills, and generally not taking all that much damage. I found that it was the Equipment and Mods that made the difference with them. Never lost them at all on the Insanity playthrough... or the difficulty just before it. I lost them on Easy, Normal, and Hard though. Probably because I spent those playthroughs giving Shepard all the best equipment and leaving them with whatever I happened to scavenge during play. Man, I gave Ashley the Spectre Sniper Rifle at Level 10... gave it an accuracy mod and explosive ammo... While she could fire only once every 15 seconds... she DESTROYED enemies every single shot. Even more fun when I popped "Assassination" for her... She could actively destroy Geth Collossus with a single shot. I just loved when my squadmates actually contributed to scoring kills on the battlefield and I could count on them to keep people off of me. When you could get Wrex to charge into a room with his shotgun and just decimate everything before you got the chance to, because you gave him all the right equipment.

    I never had an infinite firing shotgun. I couldn't even get an infinite firing Assault Rifle. I mean, I could get one that would fire continuously for a little over two and a half minutes... but not infinitely. I'll check it next time I play, see if it is possible to get an infinite firing Shotgun. I just don't think it's possible to stack two of the same mod on a gun. I think the game excluded you from doing that. Likewise, to even get anything remotely close to "infinite firing", you had to be like Level 42 or above to even get a shot at VII armor, weapons, or upgrades (which is where Frictionless Materials starts showing up). You couldn't get these levels reliably until you hit level 50. So, you'd really on be that powerful on a NG+ anyway. Which, to be honest, I think is a "False Equivalence".

    I mean, "You could totally break the game and have it be Easy Mode when you were Level 42+" Isn't really an argument I'd want to fall back on.

    Especially since by that point, you're almost done with the first playthrough of the game with not much content left to go. Which means... you wouldn't have that much experience with using that method to win... And on a first playthrough, you wouldn't have thought to do that at all. I'm going to assume this is a "NG+" character you're talking about with the infinite shotguns and on a lower difficulty than Insanity. Simply because getting in Shotgun distance on Insanity is a good way to get killed pretty frequently. Because the closer you are... the more enemy accuracy is 100% instead of less than that. Oh, and there's not really a "cover system" to speak of in Mass Effect 1. You kind of stick to walls, but that's about it. You'd have to be able to tank a significant amount of damage to even be able to run a full Shotgun build on Insanity... and since you didn't know that there are ways to hit your health without ever effecting your shields... I'm just going to find it easier to assume you never ran this build on Insanity... or you died a lot while doing it. Which might explain your complaints against the Biotics in Mass Effect 1 and how easily they destroyed you.

    Anyway, I think we've dragged this topic far enough off topic. What we should do, if you decide to continue this conversation, is shoot me a message in my Inbox. I'd be happy to discuss any game you like, in depth, and compare notes. Your only interest in my posts seems to be in the other games I mention off-hand as examples to what I'm talking about, so maybe a conversation between us would best be served via PM instead.

    Thanks for the reply. It's been fun talking about one of my favorite games with you. :D
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2018
    #40

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