Status ailments that persist after the battle end

Countyoungblood

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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
Lol as if your posts werent a huge part of what pulled the thread off topic. But whatever you said youre done.

Back on topic?

I think most of us agree there is very little utility in maintaining any status ailments after battles outside of trivial tedium which most challenging games omit.
 

Tai_MT

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Lol as if your posts werent a huge part of what pulled the thread off topic. But whatever you said youre done.

Back on topic?

I think most of us agree there is very little utility in maintaining any status ailments after battles outside of trivial tedium which most challenging games omit.
I honestly don't know what to reply to you. Other than just "okay?".

I mean... is this a blatant attack on me? Is this your idea of trying to convince someone they're wrong without an argument?

I'm just not sure what to do with "post that is obvious trollbait to inspire flame war", I guess?
 

KoldBlood

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Wow, I'm super late getting back this. Looks like everyone had fun without me! Lol

First things first:

@Countyoungblood

Rofl. Two kinds of players in the world i guess. Those who enjoy dark souls and those who think bringing enough potions constitutes strategy.
Last time I played Dark Souls making sure you had enough potions aka Estus Flasks was a good chunk of the strategy of the game. Along with its Save Point style save system AND persistent states after battle. Not to mention the insta-death curse state. All while being a great and challenging game, imagine that.

Also, the choices made before a battle and after a battle ARE strategy and, arguably, are sometimes the most important choices. That holds true in turn based combat, real time combat, and even real life combat.

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.
You literally just confirmed @Tai_MT's entire argument about teaching the player to turn back in the face of danger and prepare before diving right back in there. Like strategy, preparation can take many forms from items, to equipment, to grinding, etc and is just as important. You wouldn't attempt to win car race without a car or gasoline would you?

The main take away from this is; Just because someone doesn't like the same games as you, or even me for that matter, that doesn't make their arguments invalid.



Anyway,
@Wavelength Sorry for the extremely late reply. I love Mark Brown's material, he made some great points in that video on how to better handle keeping players playing your intended way but I don't feel it pertains very much to the idea of persistent states except for maybe when it comes to things like drawing out battles and walking in circles to remove them, I suppose then it applies. Also, thank you for the complement and critical feedback on my consumable cures, I thought long and hard about how to make them useful in their own right and I'm glad to hear some actual feedback from an outside party.

I have to fight back a bit on removing my persistent states though because while, yes, it would remove the need for the player to go into the menu for cures post battle and, by extension, supposedly increase the fun factor it also removes an entire facet of the combat system and function of those states like poison. Since my game is very much based on the "chronic" style you mentioned resource management is a key component of how long the party can stay in a dungeon and with several ways for the player to acquire, maintain, and control the expenditure of those resources through the use of items, gear, skills, and just generally good combat choices the player shouldn't be facing unreasonable circumstances unless they have made some major mishaps. States like poison are meant to affect the current and future battles meaning the player must make choices on how to deal with it in the future. Even if you don't have cures you can use HP potions through it to out live it but that is somewhat sub-optimal, especially when a cure will get rid of it and protect you for a while as well but it might depend on your current HP. That's the point, to give something for the player to account for, suddenly that scorpion monster is still a threat outside of the battle making it dangerous and a priority target or not if you equip for it or drink an antidote before the battle. There's more than one way to deal with the issue, I'd hope the player explores at least one of them.

I won't harp on it too much because well @Tai_MT has already said most everything I was going to say and in much greater detail in his previous posts.

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.
And I'll add that most players at this point, bar maybe the most casual of casual players, are going to pick themselves up and try again because they've been met with a challenge and it is engaging and fun to try to overcome that challenge and win. This is literally the foundation of the Dark Souls series which is from a much older foundation of older games that presented the player with actual challenge that had to be overcome using the game's available systems. No they weren't perfect back then, some were even cheap, but we've come a long way since then and I think we can improve on those older systems instead of removing them completely because they are considered "archaic". Dark Souls is just one modern example of this.

This is my game design philosophy in a nutshell and the basis of my argument that players are, and should be, at least marginally responsible for some their own fun. Yes, we as game devs should do our best and better! Yes, we should try create super tight game play systems that encourage proper play! However, there is only so much you can realistically do (especially if you're a one man army dev team like me) and there are some players who will still dislike your game regardless of that effort for some arbitrary reason. If you try to make a game that appeals to everyone, it'll end up appealing to no one.

Wow, this topic has been all over the place but I think that's because the concept of states and their effect on the game play of RPG's encompass quite a wide variety of game design philosophies and concepts and, like much of game design, what type you use typically depends on what game you are making and the type of experience you wish to craft. It has been very interesting hear everyone's opinions and approaches (even the ones I don't agree with) to this concept.
 
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Tai_MT

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Honestly, I think something important to note is that even proponents of "states shouldn't persist after combat" have said that states need to be more powerful.

If you cure states after each combat, you need to make those states significantly powerful enough to actually change the flow of combat and cause the players to reprioritize their combat gameplay. Whereas, if you do not cure those states after combat and rely on the player to do so, you can make those states a significantly less threat, since their overall threat can be transferred from combat to combat and continue to hinder your gameplay.

I'm not sure what the ratio would actually be, but I imagine you'd probably have to double what I'm doing just to get the same effect of "deadliness" from enemies applying states to you, if they were cured automatically after each combat. Though, that hypothesis will probably remain untested indefinitely, as I don't think anyone would be willing to test it and try to balance it.

For example, a standard RPG character starts with pretty close to 70 HP in most instances. Poison in those games usually inflicts like 3% HP damage every "tick", which is usually once a turn. This amounts to like... 1-2 damage every turn? Nonlethal. Easy ignored. So, to make a player not ignore it and to get them to prioritize it in a standard RPG, you might have to increase the damage output of it to probably close to 10% HP damage every tick. In extended battles, this gives the player roughly 10 turns to cure it (provided they don't get hit by monsters) and makes curing it a priority as it's now draining 7 HP per turn. In fact, the only place even this form of Poison becomes a sort of threat is in an extended battle that could possibly TAKE at least 6 or so full turns. So... A boss fight. If winning the combat automatically cures the Poison, then it is in the player's best interest to grind like they're Tony Hawk with Infinite Balance Cheats on in order to make combat with boss encounters take as few turns as possible. In order to nullify the power of these States in the first place.

In short, it's a system that strictly and heavily enforces grind if you ever want to make it something the player has to worry about. Because, that Poison, even at 10% damage every turn... is worthless in a fight of normal mobs that you slaughter in the first one or two turns. You'll take one tick of damage and the battle is over, state is cured.

To even make Poison something you have standard mooks give your characters... You'd probably have to jack it up to 15 or 20% damage a turn. Otherwise, what's the use of inflicting it at all? It drains 7 HP and then the player walks free?

So, then you would end up trying to balance your combat around just making these states A THREAT TO THE PLAYERS. You'd have to actively design combat to last longer. The longer it lasts, the more you can reduce the damage output. But, then combat takes a while and ultimately bores your players as they can't "one shot" weak mooks that are no longer threats to them. Combat has turned into a slog. With combat also lasting more turns, there's even greater opportunity for the player to nullify the effects of this Poison by simply bringing along Antidotes. So, let's say you've tripled the length of battles just to be able to cut Poison back down to 10% HP every turn. Player takes a single tick of it, knows the battle is going to take a while, pops the Antidote... Your state is no longer deadly anymore and has turned into simply adding tedium to the game as the player will be visiting the menu during combat... EVERY SINGLE TIME they're inflicted with a state. It's no longer an OPTION. The player can no longer PREPARE to deal with states or plan around ending combat sooner... Because, to even make your states have an effect, you had to artificially lengthen the amount of turns it takes to win a standard combat... or inflate the effects of your States to make them have any meaning what-so-ever.

I imagine this would become an absolute nightmare to try to balance that ultimately renders the entire "States" portion of any battle system... "Pointless". You'll end up with states so weak they're easily ignored in order to "preserve the fun" and keep the player out of the menus... Or, you'll end up with states so powerful that they make your combat tedious in all facets in order to justify putting States in your game to begin with.

The very Core of what a state does in an RPG is serve as a "preparedness check". That's the design purpose of it. It is, naturally, a test of the player's ability to plan ahead and adapt strategy on the fly. Only if you are not prepared should a state be deadly to your party. It should alter the flow of combat just enough to stall the player for a turn or two. Or, force them to adopt a new tactic since usual tactics won't work.

The very idea and nature of a state in any RPG is to make the player open the menu and expend a piece of finite resource to get rid of the effect. This action alone changes combat strategy. It changes player tactics. If a player does not seek to cure your states, they have failed and should not exist. If a player does not seek to avoid your states, then those states have failed and should not exist.

Older RPG's often actually include state resisting gear for this reason. I think the most famous of which is from Final Fantasy. "Ribbon". Renders the wearer completely immune to absolutely every single state. An equip so powerful that guides exist for every game in which it exists for how to obtain the Ribbon or how to obtain the most amount of Ribbons... There are even guides on how to get "the second best thing to the Ribbon" in a lot of these games. Because, that's how important your States should be.

Important enough that a player wants to equip something that nullifies them. To avoid the menu. To avoid spending money on consumables. To avoid using MP to cure it. Important enough that a player wants to prioritize targets who drop the worst effects on the party. Important enough that a player should be curing them as quickly as possible.

But... if the dev cures them after every single combat... I can really see only two ways of that game working. Player engages in excessive grind to pad stats and make combat much faster to avoid the deadly states... Or the player spends most of combat navigating menus to clear the states because even 2 rounds of combat could kill the party or reduce resources by an insane amount.

But, if your states really don't hurt me at all as a player... Well, it honestly doesn't matter whether you cure them for me after combat or not. Because, frankly, they're just an icon on my character's head, and I get to continue bashing enemies to death regardless of it. I'll pop a potion afterwards if I've lost more than 30 of my 70 HP. If I didn't... oh well. Not worth expending that Antidote that costs 4x as much as the basic Potion healing item. Or, maybe I could just go back to town and stay at the Inn for the price of a single Potion and restore my HP, MP, and cure all my states too. Yeah, that's probably far cheaper and more convenient... Or, maybe just wait for my party member to die. They've got like 5 states on them already. If they go into KO, they lose all those states and I can just expend a single item to cure all of that and give them a good chunk of their HP back as well. Saves me money on the restoratives and curatives.

I don't know if my method solves those problems, but I think it does. 2% Poison Damage on characters with 20 HP is 1 HP tick a turn. Which is fairly deadly in the early game. It persists after combat. Can carry into the next one. It can cure in 5 to 8 turns if you want to wait it out. You can obtain Antidotes by buying them. You can obtain Poison immunity and resist gear before you encounter it. You can stock up on 5 GP potions if you want (they only cure 20 HP, but they're cheaper than Antidotes if you want to just wait it out). Later enemies inflict 5% poison on you... kills you in 20 turns... 10% poison on you... kills you in 10 turns... 20% on you... kills you in 5 turns. All so that being Poisoned remains effective, even against characters who have 1000 HP now. The more powerful versions are harder to wait out. They require the more expensive HP Consumables to keep up with the damage if you try to ignore them. But, you can still buy your (by now, exceptionally cheap!) Antidotes... kill enemies fast enough they don't inflict L4 Poison on you... or wear gear that resists these states so you simply do not have to deal with them. The player need not grind in my system (because grinding may give you levels, but not power). They need only decide on a course of action on how to deal with things of this nature. Wait it out? Bring along the items that restore it? Make yourself immune/resistant to it? Prioritize targets that inflict it? Lots of options that simply involve letting the player make a decision. Every single one allows players to continue moving forward if they so wish, so long as they have decided on an effective strategy that works for them. Oh, and yes, there is a strategy that involves "equipping an item that eliminates all random encounters" as well.

But, honestly, maybe the only real option to the "game cures all states after combat" is the simplest one that's been done as far back as... well... Final Fantasy. An equip for a character that cures the states at the end of combat. Or, one that players can obtain that makes you Immune to them all. Maybe we can call it... "The Ribbon"? :D Just a thought.

I mean, if you cure states after combat for your players, are there any other options for your type of game? It's going to either be "players will tediously grind" or "your game is so easy that your states are ignored anyway, so you wasted a ton of time designing them". I don't see a third option in there without essentially wasting a ton of man-hours trying to figure out a way to balance your combat around such a mechanic.
 

Seirein

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The common argument here against ailments that persist after battles is that it is an inconvenience for the player. However, merely because an ailment wears off at the end of battle doesn't mean it isn't an inconvenience.

I'll take Dragon Quest as an example. You have spells in that game that can reduce an enemy group's accuracy or seal an enemy group's spells. Some enemies also have access to these spells. These effects wear off at the end of battle. However, there aren't items or abilities that can remove these effects. And in some of the games, these effects don't wear off mid-battle. You can end up with your attackers crippled or your healer incapable of healing, with RNG being the deciding factor as to whether you suffer a party-breaking ailment.

Dragon Quest III has an early-game enemy that will hit your entire party with the illusion spell. It's an enemy with little HP and does little damage with its attacks. But because they can reduce your whole party's accuracy, they just become a nuisance to deal with. Rather than waste your Mage's MP, because you'll need it for the stronger enemies in the dungeon, you'll probably just spam attacks until you eventually win.
 

jonthefox

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@Tai_MT well, wait a second here. I don't think balancing a poison state--which does not persist after the battle ends--is as difficult as you're making it sound.

Example 1: poison does 10% hp per turn (I always thought 5% was too low, but still - 10% isn't outrageously high). In your example, with a player who has 70 hp at level 1...that's 7 extra damage per turn. IF the battle only lasts 1 turn, that 7 damage is not nothing - and I would argue that if battles don't at least sometimes go 2 turns, the game's battles aren't challenging enough. Let's assume battles last 1 to 2 turns, so let's take the average of 7 and 14 which is 10.5. So poison is doing 10.5 extra damage per battle, when your max hp is 70....that's hardly negligible! In a game where healing is abundant and there's very little risk of long-term resource attrition, THEN I would certainly agree with you. But many jrpgs have their gameplay about resource management, and you've now given an enemy that is perhaps weak with its physical attacks, a new kind of threat. Let's say this enemy would've done 1 or 2 damage to your tanks with a normal attack, and 5 or 6 damage to your squishies with a normal attack. Again, I'm choosing these values because you said max hp of 70 at level 1. In both cases, if the player gets poisoned during the battle, and does not use an antidote or whatever, he will incur a huge penalty of extra damage!

Example 2: this would be an approach which I think you'd approve of - since you said that if poison is removed after battles, it needs to be made much more powerful so that it affects the SINGLE battle it occurs in. I completely agree. So in this case, instead of an hp tick drain each turn (which you rightly pointed out, would be very problematic in single battles unless it was a boss battle), I would instead choose to have the poison state reduce all stats by 50%. Now you have a big incentive to use an antidote after you've been poisoned, unless you think it's better and are able to end the battle while that character's offense and defense has been crippled. You probably don't need him to end the battle, but now the battle might take an extra turn to end - which means your whole party takes extra damage! OR, if he gets attacked, since his defense is cut in half, he's going to take a lot of extra damage! So again, being poisoned carries with it a big risk, forcing the player to make a strategic decision.

Overall I very much agree with your idea that if poison is not going to persist after battle, then the in-battle effect needs to be much enhanced to make it meaningful. But I think there are a variety of relatively easy and cool approaches to do this - provided the main gameplay concern is long-term resource management. By its very nature, any state that slowly wears away at you isn't going to be meaningful if the gameplay is mostly just about the danger in present battles.
 

Tai_MT

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@jonthefox

Fair points. As Wavelength says, lots to unpack here. :D Let me get started.

I don't necessarily think it has to be just "You're poisoned". It's usually just the shorthand I use for "DoT"s. So, we'll start there. I'm going to ignore your "make them weaker in the stats department" idea just for this part here. I'll come back to it, I promise.

Okay, so, you've got 70 HP on a character. 10% drain would probably be reasonable in a system where it's automatically cured after each combat. I, personally, think it would need to be higher than that to be any sort of proper "threat" to the players, but we'll just kind of roll with the 10%.

We're going to have to make some "real world assumptions" here. Or rather... set the variables and parameters. Okay, so most JRPG's... by the time you've hit the first boss you have 2 or 3 characters in your party. Just for the sake of difficulty... let's just say you've got two. For the sake of argument, we'll also say that one of them is a Tank. From an average enemy, he's going to take 4-5 damage a hit. We'll say. Just so the state is more deadly than the attacks. We'll make our second character a mage. For the sake of argument, I want to make them into a White Mage who specializes in healing. Let's give that character a Mana Pool roughly on par with our Tank's health. 70 MP. We'll give them roughly 55 Health as the mages tend to be a bit squishier... and they'll take 10-14 damage a physical hit. Because... well... squishy. We'll give the white mage "Antidote" at a cost of 4 MP (I'm not sure how in line this would actually be with such a low Magic Pool... most mages in JRPG's start with pools somewhere at the 170 mark and basic spells costing 6 to 8 MP... so I'm assuming mana consumption is pretty high) and a "Cure" spell at the cost of 6 MP, but it recovers 44-50 HP a use. Let's also make "Cure" a spell that can be "multi-target" for a -35% penalty (in reality, in JRPG's, the penalty is less than this, but we'll jack it up just for difficulty sake).

Okay, so without items, we can theoretically heal 50 HP to a single target or 32.5 HP to both targets. White Mage is most likely going to be spending every single round casting Antidote or Cure. But, for the sake of argument, every third turn, they'll hit the boss with a regular attack. Just to conserve that MP of theirs.

So, assuming our Tank has something like Taunt in order to take all the hits... They're dead in roughly... 14-18 hits? If they've got a full heal before the boss fight. And, let's face it... it's a JRPG... so they've got a full heal, a full restock of MP as well, and a save point just outside the boss room.

The effective "Cure" ability of our White Mage pushes this up to an extra... 514-580 HP? Even doing the maximum of 5 HP a hit, that's an extra ONE HUNDRED HITS it takes to kill the Tank. ONE HUNDRED. This is before we even get to inflicting the state.

Okay, we inflict the state on the Tank. 7 damage every turn on top of the 5. 12 damage a turn. Okay. If the player chooses to not remove the DoT in this battle at all... It's still FIFTY HITS... or... FIFTY TURNS to kill JUST THE TANK. Yes... JUST THE TANK. Well, it's a little less than 12. I rounded it to simply "double the damage means you get half as many turns". The DoT is not deadly enough to even warrant worrying about. It'll be cured at the end of combat. It won't take even 30 separate rounds of combat to dispatch this boss. Most JRPG bosses are dispatched in 12-15 rounds if they're particularly difficult. Really difficult ones will go to 25... which is still only about half the damage necessary to inflict a single casualty on the party.

Okay, so in actual RPG combat, we've got a lot of moving pieces here. Lots of stuff to try to balance around. We're not even getting into the fact that most enemies in a JRPG don't even inflict states on your party at all... or fail more than 50% of the time to do so (on average, they inflict a state once every three attempts, unless it's scripted or hits multiple targets). So, you might not even have to deal with Poison until the third round of combat. And that's only if they attempt to inflict you with the DoT every single round. Which... they won't. Because JRP's tend to design around movesets of 3 or 4 different attacks and only one of them usually inflicts a state. So a 1 in 4 chance of using an attack that inflicts a state... and a 1 in 3 chance of that state actually being inflicted.

I know, this is a lot of numbers to follow.

Okay, so you have a boss that will take... let's just air on the side of difficulty and say 25 rounds to beat. It's a long slog of a battle. So, just with simple math, you'll probably get hit with poison... 3 times in the whole battle? We're just going to assume that every four turns it tries to inflict a DoT on a member of the party... and then it only works once every 3 turns. This is "best case scenario for the player". Absolute edge of the spectrum. So, we're 12 turns into combat before either party member gets hit with Poison. Well, that's halfway through the fight. If you cure it right now for the low low cost of 4 MP... you easily zero out your MP bar if you do nothing but Cure for the rest of that MP bar. You'll have the DoT back on you at Round 24... but you win on Round 25 anyway, so it's instantly removed! The enemy might get two ticks of Poison in the whole battle against you. So, instead of losing a party member in 50 turns... It's pretty much back up there to 100 again. This is the "best case scenario" for the player. Worst case is the above example where the player is poisoned the first turn, never cures it, and simply spams "Cure" the rest of combat. 50 turns to lose anyone. The Poison DoT at 10% HP damage a turn... Effectively does nothing, poses no threat, isn't worth curing.

But, okay, maybe there are some extra monsters on the field with the Boss. Let's give the boss 4 monsters. They can be dispatched in two hits a piece and will spread their damage evenly among the party. They'll do like 6 Damage to the Squishy Mage and 3 to the Tank. Mage pops the "multi Cure" (JRPG's are so fond of letting you multi-target your skills, especially healing ones) for the first few turns of combat while the Tank dispatches them... Battle now lasts to 33 turns? Even with the extra damage piled on, you're looking at... 44 turns or so to even put anyone out of commission? Still no threat.

To make a DoT in combat even worth inflicting the player, you would have to jack up the damage far beyond 10% or remove/cripple most staple RPG Systems in order to make it more effective. You'd have to either remove healing skills or severely limit magic pools to prevent all that effective extra HP on your characters... or maybe jack up the cost of those skills... which is the same as limiting the magic pool. You'd have to remove "full heals" from anywhere in a dungeon. You'd have to make sure to even put the player at risk, they get close to that 50-100 Round Limit across THE ENTIRE DUNGEON(I don't recommend that, that's a lot of very excessive combat, and even if every enemy in the dungeon can drop a DoT on you, if you kill them in one or two rounds, but it only 'takes hold' every 3 or so... you're going to go much of that dungeon without ever even being inflicted with the state to begin with)…. You'd have to have every enemy drop states with enough chance for them to hit that they become deadly and the player must cure them every single time... so they'll spend a lot of time in the menus during combat... You'd have to limit the ability of the player to bring in Consumables into the dungeon and use them even outside of combat... Any extra potion they can bring is more HP, which simply makes your DoT less dangerous.

All of that is why I said you have to severely annoy and frustrate any player in the game to make it not "easy mode". Just to balance around "the state is removed at the end of combat". You would have to make gameplay excessively frustrating, grindy, and annoying... all in an effort to make the player care about curing your states.

Okay, on to your idea about simply not inflicting DoT's on enemies and just making the States more powerful in that single battle to make them worth curing. :D What you've suggested is what I've done in my own game.

Paralyze cannot be cured by anything except consumable... and combat end. Stun can only be cured by being attacked... using a consumable... or combat end. Sleep can only be cured by percentage chance upon taking a physical blow... a consumable... or combat end. Frozen can only be cured by consumable, lots of turns have passed, or combat end. Zombie can only be cured by Consumable. Silence is only cured via Consumable or Combat End. Confuse and Charm can only be cured by Consumable or Combat End. Poison 1-4, Burn 1-4, Blind 1-4... They persist after combat.

You have to make your states that powerful to make the player care about curing them, if you're going to cure them after combat anyway. Because, otherwise... look how many turns it takes to even put them "in danger" to begin with. DoT's are a resource threat... which means to make them any sort of threat at all... they actually have to bleed your resources VERY quickly. Any other state can be turned into an "immediate threat" by just making the player take more turns to kill the enemy... or having their party members disabled in some fashion. To make any DoT a threat in an RPG System that cures your states at the end of combat... it would have to do like 20% HP damage every single tick. Or, maybe more, if it's not inflicted that often, and HP Recovery makes your effective HP like x8 than your stats even show you.

I don't know anyone who would want to try to balance all those variables just to make a DoT an effective threat to any player. Or try to balance how often one of the powerful states hit that disables your team, just to make it effective. More than just, "oh, combat will take me an extra one or two turns now, but I still have a buffer of like 80 more turns before I'm in any sort of really serious threat of a Game Over". I wouldn't want to attempt to balance that at all. Not in any sort of standard RPG setting with all the usual tropes and mechanics intact.

With all that being said...

Yeah, I think you could balance a game around states that are removed after every single combat. I just think that you'd have to remove a lot of the standard RPG systems in place to even make it balanced... To make it anything more than "easy mode" and anything less than "spend all your time in the menus removing states... or grinding constantly to make fights much easier in the future due to the potency of States".

Put simply... I see it as completely impractical. It could be done... but I don't think I've ever seen anyone do it yet. Or attempt it. They typically do it alongside the standard JRPG Mechanics of dedicated healers, abundant Consumables, States inflicted rarely, States don't hinder the player enough... It's just one more "Easy Mode" feature to the already pretty massive list of "Easy Mode" features.

There's nothing wrong with a game like that, mind you. I just see combat in a system like being rather... tedious. One way or the other.

Theoretical stuff is pretty fun to think about. But, I think every so often, instead of having these theoretical debates on one system or another... We need to actually throw out all the "common parameters" that persist across the games, because all these systems interact. Your States don't exist in a bubble. You can't just change a single variable and go, "Yep, it works now!". That's not how game design ever works. It's a series of interconnected systems and mechanics that work with each other or against each other.

I could get my own States system to work no other way except the way in which I designed it. Is it fun? I don't know. But, it allows me to balance fights pretty easily and effectively. It allows me to control how much pressure I'm putting on the player at any given time. It's not the "be all, end all" way of doing things. It's just the way I figured out how to do it based on testing, testing, retesting, testing some more, testing again, removing features, fixing systems, changing mechanics, removing mechanics that no longer served a purpose or worked against what I was trying to achieve. Before I ever finish, I'm likely to do all of that again and again. Refining it as I go along and collect actual real world data feedback instead of just using my assumptions. Half my states persist after combat. The other half are very powerful and are removed after combat. I had to put lots of ways to avoid contracting those states... and inflict them on my players often if they weren't employing one of those methods in order to maintain the level of threat they are meant to have. The level of persistent drain on resources they are supposed to be. I've had to change shop prices more than once just to balance these. I've had to change how long the states last in combat to make them "more fair" or "more effective". I had to remove "state removing skills" from the entire RPG. I'd already removed my dedicated healer to create the necessary gold sink I wanted, but I had to remove "state removing skills" from much of my game... instead, I slapped them behind a character who is 100% immune to all states except Silence and can cure states (and states only! Can't even cure them all at once either! She's got to rank up her skills to do that!). I've reworked monsters... removed some of their gimmicks... added all new gimmicks... etcetera. Lots of moving parts just to get "States that actually pose a threat to the player" to even work. A simple concept with a hundred moving parts that all need to be messed with.

It's not as simple as, "well, just do it this way, because if you don't, you'll annoy your player". You annoy players mostly just by making a game actually unfair... or boring. Too many games "play it safe" and just make boring games. Games without any sort of challenge, so combat is dull. Then, they load the game with a ton of combat... and then later get upset and make excuses for their players going out of their way to grind. Well, you introduced mechanics that made combat boring, unchallenging, unskilled, and easy to tune out. It's natural a player will grind for extra stats so they can one shot all your crap and move along quickly at that point.

I think too many people get too caught up in "will this annoy or frustrate the player?" that they actively sabotage their own games and do that with all the features they implement designed to "not annoy or frustrate" any given player.

But, that's just my opinion.

:D
 

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I still owe you a response to our offshoot of the conversation, Tai, but I want to weigh in on your response to Jon's post about making non-persistent states that are still actual threats.

On the Tank/White Mage Example

I really like the way that you logically laid out theoretical numbers and included stuff like healing in your example. There are at least two major issues that I see in your analysis. The first is that, in focusing on MP efficiency, you've failed to include the very important value of a Turn in combat - specifically, the turn investment to inflict Poison vs the turn investment to cure Poison vs. the turn investment to heal HP that Poison has eroded. This is significant, but I feel the second issue looms larger.

While some battle systems do indeed use the kind of numbers you laid out, based on our past conversations about healing and class design I know that we can agree that the example setup you gave is awful battle design to start with! If individual characters are actually surviving 50-100 hits without falling, making them nigh-invincible (and the only thing that might actually cause hardship is to make states persistent and threaten the player with running out of cure items for them), then the battle system has far larger design issues than its state design!

It might be worth recalculating your example using some or all of these changes:
  • The single-target healing skill now costs 25 MP and heals ~35 HP (which is still on the powerful side, but balances it just a little bit better against the white mage's offensive skills). This alone should make the DoT a lot more interesting as a threat.
  • As in your example, allow multi-target healing at a 35% penalty.
  • The tank cannot consistently taunt, but now can only taunt on 50% of turns (as it is very dicey design to allow consistent taunts in a turn-based combat system that does not include movement around a map); additionally, assume a third of enemy attacks are AoE which ignore taunts.
  • States are inflicted at 100% reliability (this is simply good design, per not relying heavily on the RNG), though such skills may be used infrequently (your call, Tai).
  • Properly steep EXP curves have been designed to significantly reduce the effects of grinding weak enemies.
  • OPTIONAL - just for fun, if you want, also make the assumption that the white mage doesn't have any status-curing spells. If a character gets hit with a status effect, they have to use a consumable or ride it out.
I haven't run the new numbers myself, but I bet you that the 10% Poison will look a lot more threatening with these more well-designed mechanics running!

On Forcing the Player to Cure States

You assert that:
You have to make your states that powerful to make the player care about curing them, if you're going to cure them after combat anyway.
I disagree with this, both in games where states clear automatically after combat, and in games where they don't. I think you have to make the player consider curing them, but leave open the very live option to play through the state instead.

The best states - the ones that players are going to find the most interesting in the long run - are ones that you can go over, under, or around (all forms of "playing through it"). As a basic example, imagine a state that doubles the damage a character will take from a specific enemy, and also increases the likelihood they'll be targeted by that enemy.
  • You can go over this state by trying to heal through the extra damage that character takes. This will consume a lot of resources but it causes minimal disruption to your battle strategy.
  • You can go under this state by having that character Guard until the state wears off. This will significantly reduce the damage being amped, and even reduce the total incoming damage, but effectively shuts down the character for the duration of the state.
  • You can go around this state by focusing your spells on that specific enemy to disable it for a few turns, or kill it outright. This reduces the duration for which you will need to deal with the state, making it effective, but causes heavy disruption to your original battle strategy.
  • If the design offers consumables to cure states, you can simply cure this state with a consumable. This is the least interesting form of dealing with a state, and therefore the consumables should ideally be uncommon or expensive enough so that they are not the player's go-to except in really tough situations.
If a state doesn't automatically clear after battle, then the "over" option becomes less appealing, the "under" option becomes impossible, the "around" option usually becomes infeasible (depending on the nature of the status effect), and the uninteresting "cure" option becomes the thing you have to do, because you won't be able to go over/under/around a state that's going to persist for ten or twenty consecutive battles.

There can still be a few interesting choices with persistent states, like whether to cure them now or wait until later (to avoid having it re-applied one battle later), but in general, it tends to take away from the potential for your player to make interesting choices.

And as always, interesting choices directly lead to fun.

On Other Status Ailments

You've focused a lot on Poison, which admittedly is the most common status effect to make persistent in RPGs (it's even more common for Poison to be persistent than Death, which is.... interesting). In the wider scheme of whether to make status effects persistent or to automatically clear them at the end of combat, though, I'm going to assert that Poison is a total strawman!

Consider, for instance, Paralysis/Petrify, which completely prevent the battler from acting (making them examples of badly-designed states, but they're common nonetheless). Maybe in a weakly-designed combat system, Poison actually isn't a threat if it can't be cleared after combat. But Petrify sure is!! Losing a party member for the entire duration of a battle would likely be crippling, so unless it happens right near the end of combat, the player is going to be encouraged to cure that status immediately, rather than play the battle out one or two men down in hopes that they can pull off a Pyrrhic victory and clear the Petrify afterward.

If the player has cure items, Petrify will be just as dangerous whether it's cleared after combat or not. If the player doesn't have cure items, Petrify will continue to be dangerous in the auto-clear world, but in the world without auto-clear after combat, it will act as an automatic "loss" for the player (whether they have to backtrack through the dungeon, or whether they're just screwed). We seem to disagree on whether this is satisfying and fair design (I emphatically feel it isn't!), but the point here is that there was already an interesting dynamic in the effect of Petrify within the battle it's inflicted during.

On Annoying Your Player

I'd like to put a few twists on your conclusion. You said that:
You annoy players mostly just by making a game actually unfair... or boring. Too many games "play it safe" and just make boring games.
Rather, I think you annoy players by making a game that feels unfair - whether it actually is unfair or not from a balance standpoint is only one contributing factor.

Other contributing factors include dissimilarity between the cause of hardship and the game's core method of challenge, weight of random factors that are beyond the player's control in causing hardship, inability to react to the hardship after it occurs, and bad communication about how to prevent the hardship.

Finally, while too many games play it safe and become boring as a result, it's worth remembering that the most boring games are the ones that encourage their player to play it safe!
 

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I still owe you a response to our offshoot of the conversation, Tai, but I want to weigh in on your response to Jon's post about making non-persistent states that are still actual threats.

On the Tank/White Mage Example

I really like the way that you logically laid out theoretical numbers and included stuff like healing in your example. There are at least two major issues that I see in your analysis. The first is that, in focusing on MP efficiency, you've failed to include the very important value of a Turn in combat - specifically, the turn investment to inflict Poison vs the turn investment to cure Poison vs. the turn investment to heal HP that Poison has eroded. This is significant, but I feel the second issue looms larger.

While some battle systems do indeed use the kind of numbers you laid out, based on our past conversations about healing and class design I know that we can agree that the example setup you gave is awful battle design to start with! If individual characters are actually surviving 50-100 hits without falling, making them nigh-invincible (and the only thing that might actually cause hardship is to make states persistent and threaten the player with running out of cure items for them), then the battle system has far larger design issues than its state design!

It might be worth recalculating your example using some or all of these changes:
  • The single-target healing skill now costs 25 MP and heals ~35 HP (which is still on the powerful side, but balances it just a little bit better against the white mage's offensive skills). This alone should make the DoT a lot more interesting as a threat.
  • As in your example, allow multi-target healing at a 35% penalty.
  • The tank cannot consistently taunt, but now can only taunt on 50% of turns (as it is very dicey design to allow consistent taunts in a turn-based combat system that does not include movement around a map); additionally, assume a third of enemy attacks are AoE which ignore taunts.
  • States are inflicted at 100% reliability (this is simply good design, per not relying heavily on the RNG), though such skills may be used infrequently (your call, Tai).
  • Properly steep EXP curves have been designed to significantly reduce the effects of grinding weak enemies.
  • OPTIONAL - just for fun, if you want, also make the assumption that the white mage doesn't have any status-curing spells. If a character gets hit with a status effect, they have to use a consumable or ride it out.
I haven't run the new numbers myself, but I bet you that the 10% Poison will look a lot more threatening with these more well-designed mechanics running!
This sounds fun, let's plug in the new numbers. :D

The 25 turns to defeat the boss assumes the player lands an attack each round. Just for the sake of simplicity. That way, we don't have to calculate turns where both members land a blow, how much HP that drains, how much damage output one member has in comparison to the other, etcetera. Just a flat "if the player lands a blow against the boss this round, with either party member, it will take 25 rounds to beat this boss". It's simplistic and isn't representative of actual combat, but we're already dealing with a lot of numbers. I feel abstracting this part out is beneficial in terms of the discussion.

Okay, you are going to get an effective 2 Cures off each combat, as you're now 5 MP short of a third cast. We'll just go with the "best numbers" given, which will give the characters an extra effective 70 HP.

This means your Tank could survive 28 hits or so? Without Poison? The White Mage able to survive... 9 hits without Poison? However, this is using the values of the most damage that could be taken and assumes all the healing goes into either the Tank or the Mage and not both.

So, a best case scenario for a player here is... All those hits go into the Tank through just... sheer absolute luck. Without the Poison DOT... the most turns you're going to get out of your party here is 32 turns? Assuming the boss does maximum damage each turn without his AOE. Keep in mind... best case scenario. So, you've got a buffer of 7 turns you can waste in that entire battle. Because the boss takes 25 turns to put down. With both party members active.

Worst case Scenario is... Mage takes the first three hits, loses 42 HP. Necessitates the use of one of the Cures on himself. Puts himself back up to 48 Total Health (so we're not wasting any potential cured HP, this is the optimal time to use the skill). We're still really unlucky here and the Mage takes another 2 hits from the boss in a row. Down to 20 HP. Uses the last remaining Cure cast to get right back up to 55 HP. Now, you've got an effective 14 turns left before your Tank goes down, and 4 more before your White Mage goes down. 21 Turns left to go before you win the fight. You lose, even without a DoT. The battle is already massively unfair against the player without the DoT. A distinct possibility of being unable to win... most of the time... even without an AOE... even without a DoT being dropped on the player.

So, lets add in the other factors now.

Boss Monster (without any minions, because if they exist, this combat is impossible for the players to win):
Turn 1, inflicts Poison DoT.
Turn 2, inflicts single target hit.
Turn 3, drops AOE attack that will do roughly half of its attack power to both party members (2 HP to Tank, 5 HP to Mage, being generous).
Turn 4, inflicts single target hit.
Repeat this same attack pattern until one side loses.

Tank:
Can taunt the Boss, but Taunt only works for 3 turns and then must be reapplied. Ensures Tank is target 100% of the time, if applicable.
Has a regular attack he can use when not Taunting.

White Mage:
Can cast "Cure" on whole party or on single target... for a minimum effective HP gain of 45.5 (multi-target) or a maximum of 70 HP gain (single target). At a cost of 25 MP drain of the 70 maximum pool.
Can use item "Antidote" when not Curing and will preferably use this to attacking as they are least effective at combat.
Has a regular attack he can use to land a blow on the turn when the Tank Taunts.

For the sake of argument, both player characters are faster than the boss, so they go first. Also, turns where both allies attack will only generate an extra 0.5 "rounds left to kill the boss". Just to make things a little easier. Turn order will be Tank, Mage, Boss.

Turn 1: Taunt, Attack, Monster inflicts Poison on Tank.
Turn 2: Poison Ticks, Attack, Uses Antidote on Tank, Monster hits Tank for 5 HP damage. (58/70 Tank, 55/55 Mage, 23/25 Turns to kill Boss)
Turn 3: Attack, Attack, Monster hits Tank for 2 HP and White Mage for 5 HP. (56/70 Tank, 50/55 Mage, 21.5/25 Turns to kill Boss)
Turn 4: Taunt, Attack, Monster hits Tank for 5 HP damage. (51/70 Tank, 50/55 Mage, 20.5/25 Turns to kill Boss)
Turn 5: Attack, Attack, Monster inflicts Poison on Tank. (51/70 Tank, 50/55 Mage, 19/25 Turns to kill Boss.)
Turn 6: Poison Ticks, Attack, Uses Antidote on Tank, Monster hits Tank for 5 HP damage. (39/70 Tank, 50/55 Mage, 18/25 turns to kill boss)
Turn 7: Taunt, Attack, Monster hits Tank for 2 HP and White Mage for 5 HP. (37/70 Tank, 45/55 Mage, 17/25 turns to kill boss)
Turn 8: Attack, Attack, Monster hits Tank for 5 HP damage. (32/70 Tank, 45/55 Mage, 15.5/25 turns to kill boss)
Turn 9: Attack, Casts Cure on Tank to Heal 35 HP, Monster inflicts Poison on Tank. (67/70 Tank, 45/55 Mage, 16/25 turns to kill boss)
Turn 10: Poison Ticks, Taunt, Uses Antidote on Tank, Monster hits Tank for 5 HP. (55/70 Tank, 45/55 Mage, 16/25 turns to kill boss)
Turn 11: Attack, Attack, Monster hits Tank for 2 HP and White Mage for 5 HP. (53/70 Tank, 40/55 Mage, 14.5/25 turns to kill boss)
Turn 12: Attack, Attack, Monster hits Tank for 5 HP. (48/70 Tank, 40/55 Mage, 13/25 turns to kill boss)
Turn 13: Taunt, Attack, Monster inflicts Poison on Tank. (48/70 Tank, 40/55 Mage, 12/25 turns to kill boss)
Turn 14: Poison Ticks, Attack, Uses Antidote on Tank, Monster hits Tank for 5 HP. (36/70 Tank, 40/55 Mage, 11/25 turns to kill boss)
Turn 15: Attack, Attack, Monster hits Tank for 2 HP and White Mage for 5 HP. (34/70 Tank, 35/55 Mage, 9.5/25 turns to kill boss)
Turn 16: Taunt, Casts Cure on Tank to Heal 35 HP, Monster hits Tank for 5 HP. (64/70 Tank, 35/55 Mage, 9.5/25 turns to kill boss)
Turn 17: Attack, Attack, Monster inflicts Poison on Tank. (64/70 Tank, 35/55 Mage, 8/25 turns to kill boss)
Turn 18: Poison Ticks, Attack, Uses Antidote on Tank, Monster hits Tank for 5 HP. (52/70 Tank, 35/55 Mage, 7/25 turns to kill boss)
Turn 19: Taunt, Attack, Monster hits Tank for 2 HP and White Mage for 5 HP. (50/70 Tank, 30/55 Mage, 6/25 turns to kill boss)
Turn 20: Attack, Attack, Monster hits Tank for 5 HP. (45/70 Tank, 30/55 Mage, 4.5/25 turns to kill boss)
Turn 21: Attack, Attack, Monster inflicts Poison on Tank. (45/70 Tank, 30/55 Mage, 3/25 turns to kill boss)
Turn 22: Poison Ticks, Taunt, Uses Antidote on Tank, Monster hits Tank for 5 HP. (33/70 Tank, 30/55 Mage, 3/25 turns to kill boss)
Turn 23: Attack, Attack, Monster hits Tank for 2 HP and White Mage for 5 HP. (31/70 Tank, 25/55 Mage, 1.5/25 turns to kill boss)
Turn 24: Attack, Attack, YOU WIN! 400 XP GAINED! 6000 GP EARNED! Serpent's Blade found!

This assumes you have a lot of Antidotes on hand and that Taunt costs nothing to cast (to make it more fair to the monster, I was counting the turn Taunt was cast as one of the 3 turns).

Okay, so what do we know based on this? For one... 24 turns to make Poison "deadly". You had to be locked into combat with a boss for 24 turns to make it effective, even at those high MP Costs. But, let's say you only had to inflict half as much damage on the boss monster. Battle is over at Turn 12. Before you even need a second cast of Cure. In fact, the player could ignore Poison for the last few turns, save an antidote, have it cured automatically at the end of combat right there. Look at how long that battle had to be drawn out just to make Poison effective enough to even run Cure dry. This is even a scenario where the player is super afraid of letting Poison linger and thus cures it immediately each time it's inflicted. It's a scenario in which your White Mage only ever takes AOE damage because the player is playing optimally (or at least as optimally as I know how). Look at how much we had to tweak to even get THAT MUCH out of Poison in a single battle.

In fact, our boss monster is "breaking even" every single round. It spends a turn to get an extra 7 damage against the player in the next turn, but then it has to drop the AOE, which only does 2 damage to the Tank, so it suffers an actual penalty in combat from having the AOE.

This is my point about "not wanting to try to balance around it". Look at all the stuff you have to change just for the sake of, "make poison deadly in this one combat encounter, so that the player will want to cure it". Nevermind that the player is going to ignore being poisoned in every single combat encounter that isn't a boss fight... because those last no more than 1 or 2 rounds anyway, and it's not a threat there.

Even if we severely hurt the player in terms of ability to cure themselves... They come out on top and were never in any real danger during that whole fight. It was a foregone conclusion they'd win.

Well, okay... There is one way they wouldn't win that fight. They play sub-optimally. They don't cure Poison right away. They use Cure when they've got too much HP left and miss out on some of that Effective Extra HP. They don't Taunt every few turns to ensure their Mage doesn't take a hit from the boss. They use Cure as multi-target and gimp their Effective Extra HP. They spend turns using "Guard".

But, with a system like this, we have to assume there's no equipment the player would have to make themselves Immune to Poison. Why? Because a player would never need it outside of a combat this prolonged... one that would take 12-24 rounds to complete. You'd be creating items for use in a single battle instead of a single dungeon. Likewise, your Antidotes would be worthless in anything except a combat that lasts more than a few rounds. The player simply wouldn't purchase them because Poison isn't all that deadly and it can be cured for free by simply winning combat... until a boss monster comes along and roflstomps them due to you training your players via gameplay that they don't need to ever have Antidotes with them.

Oh, and you want to curb their ability to simply "roflstomp" enemies to make Poison more effective... by making grind an absolute chore.

Look at all these punishments you've added to the game simply to satisfy the gameplay mechanic of "All states are cured when combat ends". You punish the player for grinding, you teach them that Antidotes don't need to be bought, have a boss fight punish them for not having Antidotes by wiping the floor with them which will feel insanely unfair to a player, make a boss combat last 24 grueling turns of "lather, rinse, repeat", force the player to visit the menu for an Antidote every few game turns (which is what... once every minute and a half?). Made healing via magic less effective and more expensive so that they're better off buying consumables (and if those are more effective, they may simply outheal your Poison anyway), removed the possibility of equipment that nullifies or lowers the chances of being inflicted with poison, just so poison can be deadly... You've done a lot of really mean an "unfun" things to a player all for the sake of, "states are cured when combat ends".

That's not even a game I think you'd design. But, it's the game you'd end up designing just to try to solve the problem of, "make states powerful enough that combat is challenging, but also cure them at the end of each combat".

A lot of that is why I prefer "practical application" to "theory" when it comes to games.

Anyway, I have to head out to work, so I'll hit the rest of your post later. But, I wanted to touch on that part at least. :D

EDIT: Okay, I spent a few hours at work and thought about this some more. I honestly don't see a way to easily or effectively balance a DoT skill in an RPG that recovers your States after every combat. I might be wrong, but with all the variables and pieces that interact here... I just can't see a DoT ever working that well in such a system.

Might be worth it to assume the system is much better for having the DoT's removed in the first place?

I'll add in another further update to finish off my reply later. I have a 4 hour Meeting to get to and still haven't eaten lunch.

You might not really need to implement all those punishments and penalties to players if you simply removed the "DoT" States from the game and didn't have to balance around them and their particular brand of gameplay. Sticking with disables or stat reductions would probably enhance a system that removes States after each combat.

Just a thought.

Second and Final Edit:

You assert that:
"You have to make your states that powerful to make the player care about curing them, if you're going to cure them after combat anyway."
I disagree with this, both in games where states clear automatically after combat, and in games where they don't. I think you have to make the player consider curing them, but leave open the very live option to play through the state instead.

The best states - the ones that players are going to find the most interesting in the long run - are ones that you can go over, under, or around (all forms of "playing through it"). As a basic example, imagine a state that doubles the damage a character will take from a specific enemy, and also increases the likelihood they'll be targeted by that enemy.
  • You can go over this state by trying to heal through the extra damage that character takes. This will consume a lot of resources but it causes minimal disruption to your battle strategy.
  • You can go under this state by having that character Guard until the state wears off. This will significantly reduce the damage being amped, and even reduce the total incoming damage, but effectively shuts down the character for the duration of the state.
  • You can go around this state by focusing your spells on that specific enemy to disable it for a few turns, or kill it outright. This reduces the duration for which you will need to deal with the state, making it effective, but causes heavy disruption to your original battle strategy.
  • If the design offers consumables to cure states, you can simply cure this state with a consumable. This is the least interesting form of dealing with a state, and therefore the consumables should ideally be uncommon or expensive enough so that they are not the player's go-to except in really tough situations.
If a state doesn't automatically clear after battle, then the "over" option becomes less appealing, the "under" option becomes impossible, the "around" option usually becomes infeasible (depending on the nature of the status effect), and the uninteresting "cure" option becomes the thing you have to do, because you won't be able to go over/under/around a state that's going to persist for ten or twenty consecutive battles.

There can still be a few interesting choices with persistent states, like whether to cure them now or wait until later (to avoid having it re-applied one battle later), but in general, it tends to take away from the potential for your player to make interesting choices.

And as always, interesting choices directly lead to fun.
I agree with almost all of this.

The first problem I have is where you make your initial disagreement. My point is simply that for a player to WANT to remove a state... it has to be powerful enough to hinder them in a major way. Because, players will ignore things if they can. If they can ignore a State and suffer very little penalty for doing so... They do it. Because it's not threatening. We've both said this, so I know we both agree on it: If a state is not powerful enough, it doesn't need to exist as it offers nothing to combat. Well, you word it differently... I'm paraphrasing. But, even you understand that on some fundamental level that if a State isn't powerful enough... A player simply ignores it because it does nothing to combat. Ignoring it and letting it go away on its own is cheaper. It doesn't waste a turn... waste MP... waste money... So, you'd have to design a state in which the player feels the desire to cure it. It's a binary state. "Is the State hindering in a major way?" If yes, players will feel compelled to cure it absolutely every single time. They won't wait it out. They won't attempt to play around it, unless there is no other option. If no, players will often just ignore it or go around it, because it's easier and cheaper to do so.

Players automatically find the most efficient ways of doing everything in a game. On their own. Without coaching. By pure drive and instinct. If "Curing it" is the most efficient way to get rid of it, they will do this every single time. If curing it isn't the most efficient way to get rid of it, they will ignore it, every single time.

This is, of course, barring the situations in which the player has no choice but to wait a State out, because they simply don't have the supplies to fix it.

We could argue all day about the options a player may have, but eventually we simply have to fall back on what players do. What we know them to do. In predictable fashion. If your state isn't powerful enough, players will wait it out if you can wait it out. If you can't wait it out, they may cure it themselves outside of combat. If your state is powerful, players will cure it every time it's inflicted, as quickly as they can, so long as they have the resources to do so.

If you have powerful states, players will seek out equipment to nullify those states first. So long as that equipment is pretty good stat wise for the area they need it in, they won't think twice about equipping something a little underpowered for the privilege of evading a State that hinders them. If there is no equipment to nullify those states, they then seek to cure it via Magic. If curing it via magic is too expensive or impossible, players will move on to Consumables. They will buy those consumables in bulk and remove the states as quickly as they can, once they're inflicted, so that turns are not wasted, parties are not wiped, and combat doesn't take longer than necessary.

If you have states that are too weak, players will simply seek to wait those states out. No matter what form that takes. They'll wait for the timer on the state itself to run out... or try to complete combat as quickly as possible so the state runs out. They won't buy consumables to cure it, won't use equipment to prevent it, won't even spend turns on skills that prevent the states or cure them. Because the states can be waited out. Because they're inconsequential enough to not bother with.

I've never seen a "middle ground" on that subject. I've never seen a player go, "You know... that state really isn't hurting me... but I'll cure it anyway". I've never seen a player go, "you know... that state hurts me a lot... I'll just wait for it to wear off and spam potions". At least... not when they had the choice. I've also never seen a game where the player would even consider all three of your choices (over, under, or around). There's an optimal choice to be made, and the player makes it. Under normal gameplay circumstances, players do not make Sub-Optimal choices. They just don't.

I think it's unrealistic to assume that just because the player can do those things... That they will see them all as options. Because, they won't. They'll only see the optimal option, of which there is only ever one, and they'll use it every single time... so your other options may as well not even exist, because they aren't going to add any kind of strategy, challenge, or tactics to the game at all. They'll be options nobody uses, because all the players understand that if you use them, you're playing like an idiot and are more likely to get yourself killed or lose the game.

It's why I settled on the States the way I did. States that do both options. So that the player has all three of those options and doesn't approach every single state the same. L1 and L2 poison are deadly at early game before you have a lot of HP and every single Hit Point you have matters in combat. But, once that HP value goes up, those states can be ignored. They can be "waited out". The combat dynamic has changed. L3 Poison and L4 poison are most likely to be cured the moment they're inflicted, but that's their point. Even then, with high enough stats, L3 Poison could likely be ignored as well (provided enemies do very little damage and you can dispatch them quickly). It could be waited out. Players may even opt to do that if they've got access to plenty of HP Consumables. I doubt they will, but with enough stats, it's an option. But L4 poison that kills a character in 5 turns and eats away a massive amount of HP? Always deadly. Persists after combat. No matter where you are in the game, this is a state the player is guaranteed to spend a turn to Cure at the first opportunity. They may even spend another turn to cure the damage if it did any.

To even get the "over", "under", "around" options into my game, I had to simply design states that the player would use those as the optimal decision. I simply provided the illusion that it's all "basically the same state". They're different states that do different things, but the player won't think of them that way. "I can ignore weak poison", "I can't ignore strong poison". It's all associated as just "poison".

The second disagreement I have is... That unless you have states cure after combat, there is no "around" option. Except... there is. If you kill the enemy before they ever inflict the state... it's going "around" the state. Same as getting it cured early... except it's proactive in this case instead of reactive. But... you actually could accomplish the exact same thing with State Immunity equipment. Or State Resist equipment.

With a system that cures all states at the end of combat... the only "around" option that will exist in your game and that your players use... will be the "reactive" form of your "going around the state". An option to simply prevent it won't exist... and if it does, players won't use it. Because it's more optimal to simply become stronger characters and kill enemies quicker... than it is to wait the states out. it's more optimal to kill enemies before they inflict the state than it is to wear a piece of equipment that would only ever prevent a single state that would only last 2 turns anyway. It's a system where the only preventative measure a player can take to states is... Grind to higher stats so you can kill enemies faster and they can't inflict their states on you. It's a system that only promotes two options for the player and no more than that. Grind to high levels and high stats in order to kill enemies faster so they don't ever inflict the Powerful States... Or... ignore the states altogether because they're not powerful enough to warrant removing by player action.

But, if you have states persist after combat... the option to wait it out is there... and might even be optimal. Especially if you don't have Slip Damage. Especially if you have equipment that can remove encounters or lower encounter rates. You took on a state that nullifies a character in combat... so, you end combat quickly since it's more optimal to kill them in 3 turns instead of having to spend 4 in order to cure the state in combat and chance having it put on you a second time. You can then cure it outside of combat. Thereby... going around, using the same method you want to use to "go around" the state. It can just be applied to a more wide array of states instead of only "the states that are negligible to the player".

I've simply never seen the combat system you propose actually exist. I mean, it exists pretty good as theory... But, in practice? Yeah, not so much. It actually falls pretty flat on its face in practice.

But, if you ever do find a way to get it to work... I'd love to see it.

On Other Status Ailments

You've focused a lot on Poison, which admittedly is the most common status effect to make persistent in RPGs (it's even more common for Poison to be persistent than Death, which is.... interesting). In the wider scheme of whether to make status effects persistent or to automatically clear them at the end of combat, though, I'm going to assert that Poison is a total strawman!

Consider, for instance, Paralysis/Petrify, which completely prevent the battler from acting (making them examples of badly-designed states, but they're common nonetheless). Maybe in a weakly-designed combat system, Poison actually isn't a threat if it can't be cleared after combat. But Petrify sure is!! Losing a party member for the entire duration of a battle would likely be crippling, so unless it happens right near the end of combat, the player is going to be encouraged to cure that status immediately, rather than play the battle out one or two men down in hopes that they can pull off a Pyrrhic victory and clear the Petrify afterward.

If the player has cure items, Petrify will be just as dangerous whether it's cleared after combat or not. If the player doesn't have cure items, Petrify will continue to be dangerous in the auto-clear world, but in the world without auto-clear after combat, it will act as an automatic "loss" for the player (whether they have to backtrack through the dungeon, or whether they're just screwed). We seem to disagree on whether this is satisfying and fair design (I emphatically feel it isn't!), but the point here is that there was already an interesting dynamic in the effect of Petrify within the battle it's inflicted during.

On Annoying Your Player

I'd like to put a few twists on your conclusion. You said that:
You annoy players mostly just by making a game actually unfair... or boring. Too many games "play it safe" and just make boring games.
Rather, I think you annoy players by making a game that feels unfair - whether it actually is unfair or not from a balance standpoint is only one contributing factor.

Other contributing factors include dissimilarity between the cause of hardship and the game's core method of challenge, weight of random factors that are beyond the player's control in causing hardship, inability to react to the hardship after it occurs, and bad communication about how to prevent the hardship.

Finally, while too many games play it safe and become boring as a result, it's worth remembering that the most boring games are the ones that encourage their player to play it safe!
I just focus on Poison because it's a universally known DoT, and DoT's are very basic and "beginner" states in pretty much every RPG. Honestly, it doesn't matter what it's name is. DoT's can also have a very wide range of power that could make them deadly even into the late game. In essence... They're the most versatile States in RPGs.

As for Petrify... Yeah, I admitted as much earlier. It's why my own design clears it after combat. Because to have it persist after combat is... well... frankly unfair. It's a "mercy option" in my opinion. My "Paralyze" State can only be cured with Consumable (it simply keeps characters from acting at all... forever. It's like KO, except it clears after combat and doesn't drop your HP). So, if you don't have the Consumable, you now have to end combat QUICKLY to get rid of it. It's the Mercy Option. You aren't completely destroyed by it... only possibly destroyed if you don't find a way to end the combat quickly... or figure out ways to prepare for the state ahead of time after you've encountered it the first time.

But, honestly, it plays back into my first point. To even make the "Cure states after combat" maintain its challenge... you have to use states roughly on par with Petrify. Otherwise, the player will ignore them and let them be cured by the game... If they're so deadly that the player is effectively at a disadvantage when they're on them... They will cure them the first moment they get... unless they can't. But, this means you can't have any variance in your States. They all have to be that powerful. You can't have weak ones, medium ones, and strong ones. Because, anything less than "strong ones", the player will wait out. They'll end combat quickly to cure them. So, you limit yourself to like 1 DoT... one paralyze... one accuracy one... one magic accuracy one... and that's about it. You can do nothing truly interesting with states. It's "powerful or bust".

Finally... Players pretty much always play things safe. It's part of the natural inclination of all gamers to "optimize their play". Minimize their deaths, their losses, resource loss, etcetera. No matter how you design your game, how you try to force a player to NOT play safe... It's against every video game players' natural inclination. If we find an exploit, we often use it. Especially if the exploit helps us beat a section of game that would be difficult. If the player discovers that by grinding for 3 hours, they can spend the rest of the game in pretty much Easy Mode... they'll do it. In fact, if grinding for 3 hours gives them 3 consecutive hours of Easy Mode, they'll repeatedly grind to gain that advantage. Players seek to make games as easy and safe as possible for themselves as can be reasonably done.

Why do you think they hate RNG so much? Why do you think you rail against RNG and Accuracy so much? Because, it isn't about whether or not those percentages are fair or not. It's about being able to make the game as safe as possible for yourself as you can. It's about players wanting to be able to destroy entire games without "too many" game overs. Most players prefer "no game overs". All the players care about in a game is how safe they can make themselves in any given game.

I think what makes a boring game... Is the dev giving these players so many options to remain safe that it removes any substance the game might have had. The only way a dev can encourage a gamer to play as safe as possible is by adding features that make their game as safe as possible. Automatically all states after combat... is such a thing. An encouragement to play as safe as possible.

What makes a game fun or interesting is the dev hiding all the "safe ways to play" behind player skill instead of Intentional Mechanics that minimize player inconvenience (not frustration or annoyance... INCONVENIENCE). Making a player cure all their own States with Consumables after combat does nothing except mildly inconvenience a player. Let the player find ways to avoid those States if they don't want to cure them after combat. That's what makes a game fun. Not making it easy for a player to "find safe ways to play".

But, that's just my two cents.
 
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Aoi Ninami

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jonthefox was the first to give a specific figure, and he said 10% per turn (which is in fact the same as the Poison status in my game; I also have a Burn status which is 20% damage per turn). You've run the numbers for 10% every fourth turn, or the equivalent of 2.5% per turn. No surprise that it turns out much weaker!

Another point to consider: In some games, Poison may deliberately be a weak, low-impact state, because it's the first state to be introduced, and so introduces the player to the whole mechanic of sometimes being in a state and having different decisions to make based on that. Starting off with a low-impact state gives the player more of a safety cushion so they won't lose battles if they make the wrong decisions, but they'll see that some decisions leave them coming out of battles worse off than others, and that helps them work out what to do when more dangerous states come along later.

I'm going to take issue with another point in your post, too. Reducing the effectiveness of level-grinding doesn't "punish the player for grinding". It changes the decision-making process, before they make the decision whether to grind or not (on the reasonable assumption that the player can see their current EXP, required EXP to next level, and the EXP gained from monsters in the current area). If I'm stuck at a boss and I either need to come up with a better strategy or grind for an hour, and I know this, I'm much more likely to choose "think harder about strategy", and reap the benefit of satisfaction when I find a way to beat the silly thing.
 

Seirein

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I've got to say, the problem with these models is that they're using extremely weak enemy attacks. If the average enemy doesn't hit harder than a poison tick, that reeks of terrible design to me.

To me, Poison shouldn't be what kills your character. Poison should make it easier for them to get killed, because it's effectively an addition on top of the damage they'd normally take. An enemy does 30% of a party member's HP per attack? They'll survive four hits. But if they're poisoned for 5% max HP per turn, then they can only survive three of those attacks. Maybe not all of those attacks will land, but it's still a continuing drain on HP. Do you take the time to remove it to save yourself the pain? Or just bear it until the battle's done?

In my game, Poison lasts for 5-8 ticks, does 1/16th max HP per turn, and persists after battle if not cured until its duration ends. So, if ignored, Poison will take away between 30%-50% of a character's HP. That's not necessarily a crippling loss of HP. And there's a simple encouragement to curing Poison rather than letting it run its course: Poison cures cost less than healing the damage. If Poison just wore off at the end of battle, there'd be almost no point to curing Poison when ending the battle is more efficient.

Also...

The single-target healing skill now costs 25 MP and heals ~35 HP (which is still on the powerful side, but balances it just a little bit better against the white mage's offensive skills). This alone should make the DoT a lot more interesting as a threat.
There's this SNES RPG I played, Arcana. One of the things that really made the game bland and uninteresting was that almost every spell had a high cost compared to your party members' max MP, and most spells didn't even do much damage or heal that much to justify their limited use. The end result was a game where you just spam standard attacks 99% of the time and only rarely used any sort of special ability, and even when you did use magic it wasn't exciting at all.

(The other thing was "dungeon crawler with zero graphics variation within each dungeon.")
 

Tai_MT

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@Aoi Ninami

Absolutely fair points!

So, for the sake of the example given... it's "standard JRPG". Meaning... any game you're likely to buy at the local Gamestop, Walmart, whatever. Something you might even purchase off of Steam in the Indie Market. Most monsters in those games have a movepool of 4 different attacks, especially if they're "boss level". However, I don't really know of a way to get across the point of how weak the Poison would be in such a situation, even at 10% HP, without creating it in RPG Maker and running video on 100 of the same fight while the Random Variance of combat is still in effect. Instead, I simply opted for what I could think of as "the most DPS the boss could deal out while still having Poison as a 10% damage". If the Boss Monster cast Poison on an already poisoned enemy, it loses DPS. If it doesn't get to attack alongside the poison effect, it loses DPS. If it spends two turns casting Poison too soon, it loses DPS as its sacrificing valuable attack turns to do so. Loss of DPS simply makes combat against this Boss Monster even easier.

I see absolutely nothing wrong with Poison being a "weak, introductory" State to players, provided you have stronger DoT's in your game. But, if it remains the only DoT in the whole game with its same very low power... It quickly loses potency and becomes something pointless to the game itself. Part of the reason I settled on "Levels" for about half of my States. Because some are "introductory" and are meant to be phased out while preparing the players for the stronger ones.

As for your disagreement with making grinding more difficult for players. Oh, it absolutely is a punishment. 1. You don't need to ever do this as a game dev if your combat relies on PLAYER SKILL instead of CHARACTER STATS. If the Enemies/Boss will kick my butt no matter what my stats are, you've rendered grinding pointless in its entirety. To the point that you don't need to punish the player for doing it... as the player themselves recognize that grinding is going to be a complete waste of time. 2. Your boss is going to have stats of some sort. Unless you've designed a game that can be beaten from start to finish with Level 1 stats... Leveling up is going to remain the most efficient strategy available to any player. That, or optimized equipment. 3. Why make grinding more difficult for a player? To prevent them from breaking your challenge? Why do you care if they break it? Because you've designed it so poorly that it can be broken? Or... because you'll feel like they beat YOU as a HUMAN BEING if they steamroll your game? More often than not, I've seen this justification thrown around the most by people who want to gimp players grinding. "It breaks combat challenge in my game". Okay, so what? Why are you so in favor of removing the player's option to make your combat easier? You should probably focus on WHY they want to make it easier for themselves in the first place. Because, if the player is going out of their way to grind for extra stats... It's because there's something wrong in your game design... and it's not that you aren't punishing them enough for grinding. Because, frankly... Players hate to grind at all, even voluntarily. They are choosing a terrible option because any option other than that is viewed as worse to them. Your combat may be boring. It may be too tough. You may not design enemies or boss fights in such a way that a player can figure them out in the first three game overs and know what they should be doing to win them. Your combat may be a slog. Or repetitive. The problem lies somewhere in there. So, your player is grinding because they're already being punished by not having fun in your game. The solution is not to "make them have even less fun so that they go back to the other unfun stuff". The solution is to fix the unfun stuff to begin with, so the player doesn't feel the urge to do unfun things in order to alleviate the rest of the unfun stuff in the future. Or... if you sufficiently punish the player enough... The game is unfun... tedious... monotonous... annoying... frustrating... and the only way it was remotely tolerable was to grind in order to breeze through that stuff.... But the player finds you're making that a very difficult and time consuming task... They're more likely to just quit playing your game instead of dealing with how unfun your game is. Rage Quit.

I've quit more than my share of games that started docking and trampling my XP gain to "prevent grinding". Massive XP curves do this same thing to me. Because, now you're demanding I do even more excessive combat against enemies that are more difficult. You're demanding I grind only in the way you approve of and forcing me to do it by enforcing a very bad XP Curve.

I've also quit a lot of games that tightly restricted how many levels I could gain in an area... or controlled my level ups via events in the game.

Players naturally move forward in the game when they decide the XP gain they're getting from monsters is no longer effective enough to "grind levels" on. Nobody is going to grind to Level 100 on the Level 1 Boars that die in one hit and give 3 XP. Because it's freakin' boring and stupid. They might grind 3 or 4 levels... depending on the XP curve... then find the next most effective monster to grind on. So on, and so forth. They move ahead when the XP gain is too minimal to be worth it... and rush forward until they find the next monster they can take out who gives them the most XP. But, again, XP grind is most effectively curbed by simply... making sure stats in combat have very little effectiveness when it comes to winning.

But, those are my experiences with XP gain and grinding. What I've seen players do. How players have justified this behavior. The reasons I grind, even. So, take it with a grain of salt. :D
 

Aoi Ninami

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As for your disagreement with making grinding more difficult for players. Oh, it absolutely is a punishment. 1. You don't need to ever do this as a game dev if your combat relies on PLAYER SKILL instead of CHARACTER STATS. If the Enemies/Boss will kick my butt no matter what my stats are, you've rendered grinding pointless in its entirety. To the point that you don't need to punish the player for doing it... as the player themselves recognize that grinding is going to be a complete waste of time. 2. Your boss is going to have stats of some sort. Unless you've designed a game that can be beaten from start to finish with Level 1 stats... Leveling up is going to remain the most efficient strategy available to any player. That, or optimized equipment. 3. Why make grinding more difficult for a player? To prevent them from breaking your challenge? Why do you care if they break it? Because you've designed it so poorly that it can be broken? Or... because you'll feel like they beat YOU as a HUMAN BEING if they steamroll your game? More often than not, I've seen this justification thrown around the most by people who want to gimp players grinding. "It breaks combat challenge in my game". Okay, so what? Why are you so in favor of removing the player's option to make your combat easier?
A lot of food for thought there, thank you. Some off-the-cuff responses:

1. That's an unrealisable ideal, at least for a medium-to-long game. A big source of satisfaction in RPGs is seeing your stats go up and feeling this in terms of being able to one-shot monsters that were a big problem earlier on. That only works if the stats are meaningful. Certainly, for bosses you want skill to play a larger role, and that might mean giving them some tricks that will make them difficult to deal with even for high-level parties; but you can't give them too many instant-death moves or they become unfair. There are occasional bosses that are beatable at Level 1 and still difficult at Level 99 -- such as Ozma from FF9, but that's done by making the battle extremely luck-dependent. Still satisfying to defeat, but I'd prefer not to have more than one boss of that type in a game, and certainly wouldn't make every boss be like that.

2. Not sure what you mean by "most efficient" here. Certainly not the most efficient in terms of time taken.

3. It's more that I want boss battles to work as designed, regardless of what the player has done up to that point. Deliberate grinding is one thing, but even among players who don't grind, EXP gained previously will vary depending on the player's actions (for example, one player might go out of their way to explore every nook and cranny of the dungeon, while another just looks around until they find the steps necessary to unlock the boss), and I don't want that to spoil the enjoyment of the boss for either of them.

Also, you might notice from my avatar that I'm a Touhou fan, so I'm very sympathetic to the idea of players being able to choose a difficulty level that's right for them. But if a developer wants to include that (and it won't work for all games) then it should just be a setting, not something that you can only activate with hours of mindless grinding.
 

Tai_MT

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A lot of food for thought there, thank you. Some off-the-cuff responses:

1. That's an unrealisable ideal, at least for a medium-to-long game. A big source of satisfaction in RPGs is seeing your stats go up and feeling this in terms of being able to one-shot monsters that were a big problem earlier on. That only works if the stats are meaningful. Certainly, for bosses you want skill to play a larger role, and that might mean giving them some tricks that will make them difficult to deal with even for high-level parties; but you can't give them too many instant-death moves or they become unfair. There are occasional bosses that are beatable at Level 1 and still difficult at Level 99 -- such as Ozma from FF9, but that's done by making the battle extremely luck-dependent. Still satisfying to defeat, but I'd prefer not to have more than one boss of that type in a game, and certainly wouldn't make every boss be like that.
I don't think it's unrealizable. I agree that it's incredibly difficult to maintain at medium to long game. That's pretty much undeniable. So... why not make your stats meaningful in the game? It's what I did. Each point of a stat is useful and worthwhile. But, okay, let's say you don't want to do that. What are some other options? Make equipment give far more stat boons than a Level Up. Equipping a new Sword gives more stats than say... 5 level ups. This doesn't stop the player from grinding, but it minimizes the grinding effort without punishing the player at all. Okay, maybe you don't want to do that either. You could also have skills that bosses employ that don't care about what your stats are. I have regular enemies that can punish a player for having high stats. "Hitting Yourself" is a skill one of my Bandit enemies can use on the player... that takes the player's Attack Power, lands it against the player's Defense Power, and deals damage that way. You can do some pretty cool and fun things just by playing around with damage formulas. Including making an attack do a percentage amount of damage... Or inflicting States on the player that do interesting/unique things. I run a "Zombie" tutorial area in my late game (not many enemies inflict this state because it's so powerful, but if the player fails to learn about how to counter it and to be vigilant in getting rid of it or countering it... things go sideways very fast). "Zombie" berserks a character... gives them 300% Attack... makes them 200% more weak to Fire, attack anyone randomly (not just allies)… and every attack inflicts "Zombie" on someone else. If the player isn't prepared, it spreads across the battlefield quickly and dangerously and renders it into a combat where the player can't do anything except watch the battle and hope their side wins. So, maybe you want a gimmick boss. I remember one from a Final Fantasy game... can't remember which... The boss would do a set amount of damage to a player... it was a little over what a regular enemy hit would do... except they had a skill that simply drained 50% of total HP at the time. If you had 9999 HP, you were then down to 4999 after the first cast. Not deadly, but it hurts. It uses it again and you're down to 2999. Uses it a third time to put you down to 1999. Then, it just does a regular attack against you. Kills a party member. The battle then became a matter of healing up enough to stay above the threshold where it could kill you with a normal attack and not wasting turns and supplies healing up your missing HP since half of it could go missing at any point. Challenging battle when I first encountered it. The boss could also inflict temporary states on party members that make their accuracy 0 or their magic accuracy 0. As stats go up, you just start ignoring them. Creating things that might ignore stats, nullify stats, force the player to waste turns, etcetera. There are lots of ways to maintain challenge in an RPG while not focusing on stats. For most enemies, the only important stat to maintain challenge is simply HP. The longer they stay alive, the more challenging you can make the fight, the more gimmicks the player can see. Or has to deal with.

2. Not sure what you mean by "most efficient" here. Certainly not the most efficient in terms of time taken.
This will largely depend on your playerbase. Players who don't have a lot of time on hand... Will have zero patience for your game regardless. They won't grind much at all... But, if they find themselves at a point where the options are "try to figure out the strategy you wanted them to employ to win" and "maybe I should grind to win"... They're more likely to just "quit playing" at that point. Any other player who doesn't have the concern of how much time on hand they have to play... It's more efficient to waste time to grind, as the extra stats makes Resource Management most efficient (basically, you aren't spending any resources... consumables, MP, HP, money). Spend a little bit of time to make yourself immune to the rest of the rigors of standard RPG gameplay.

3. It's more that I want boss battles to work as designed, regardless of what the player has done up to that point. Deliberate grinding is one thing, but even among players who don't grind, EXP gained previously will vary depending on the player's actions (for example, one player might go out of their way to explore every nook and cranny of the dungeon, while another just looks around until they find the steps necessary to unlock the boss), and I don't want that to spoil the enjoyment of the boss for either of them.

Also, you might notice from my avatar that I'm a Touhou fan, so I'm very sympathetic to the idea of players being able to choose a difficulty level that's right for them. But if a developer wants to include that (and it won't work for all games) then it should just be a setting, not something that you can only activate with hours of mindless grinding.
I'm sorry, I dunno what Touhou is. ^_^ Never played it. Players will have variable XP depending on where they end up. But, you can de-emphasize stats in lots of ways. I outlined a few of them above. Just got to get creative in doing so. States can actually be a pretty powerful way to do it. You can even create unique incurable states for the duration of a combat that wear off after a set amount of turns. "Magnetize", maybe. A state that emulates the effect in Final Fantasy 1's Magnet Caves... where you do pretty much zero damage to everything in there, if your equipment was made of metal. You'd also take a lot more damage from having metal stuff equipped.

Plenty of interesting ways to maintain combat challenge without resorting to punishing the player for grinding or being overleveled. Just ignore the player is overleveled.
 

KoldBlood

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Judging from all of the responses I've seen it seems that DOT states are really the only ones that see substantial effects from not persisting after combat. Other types of states seem to be easier to tweak to be sufficiently powerful in "the moment" to justify their cure after combat but due to the "wait and see" nature of DOT if things like Poison aren't doing absurd amounts of damage or offering some kind of hindrance then players can relatively ignore it in favor of finishing combat.

Take an RPG that is one of my all time favorites; Super Mario RPG: The Legend of the Seven Stars (maybe you've heard of it?). I absolutely LOVE that game and loved the combat system but I literally ignored ALL of the states in that game except for death. The game gave you plenty of "Able Juice", its state curative, but to this day I have never used even a single one to cure a state since all of them, including death, was cured after combat and they never really caused me any real grief during combat bar one boss that could inflict the "Mushroom" state on your entire party which was essentially paralyze. That's the only instance where I ever bothered equipping an item to protect against a state and only for that one battle. To be fair it was a super easy RPG (it was a Mario game after all) but the states always stuck out to me as a very under utilized feature. Whether or not the persistence of some states could of fixed some of that I can't really say for sure.

Ironically (or maybe not so ironically), my poison state is actually based on Super Mario RPG's poison state which causes a character to lose 10% of their Current HP (not their Max HP) the only thing that I changed was I made it persistent and made it more aggressive at 20% Current HP a tick. Poison won't outright be your demise in my game but its gonna keep you at low HP and very well may be a contributing factor in your demise if you let it do its thing. The theme I had for poison was to basically just make you easier to kill for the enemy, not really kill you itself and the way I've used the percentage means its not only useful against the player at all levels it can also be used by the player against enemies and even bosses to the same great effect without being completely overpowered.

Fun Fact: To make my bleed state something more than just a renamed or more powerful version of poison I actually flipped the calculation of the damage tick so that you lose 20% of your Missing HP which has the complete opposite effect of poison where at high HP the player can easily ignore bleeding but as they get closer and closer to death the bleed damage actually starts to ramp up and can very much kill you outright if left untreated.

Since they persist just winning the battle is not enough. You either need to cure, prevent, out heal, or pull some fancy combat strats to survive but they definitely make their presence known.
 
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Wavelength

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Turn 1: Taunt, Attack, Monster inflicts Poison on Tank.
Turn 2: Poison Ticks, Attack, Uses Antidote on Tank, Monster hits Tank for 5 HP damage. (58/70 Tank, 55/55 Mage, 23/25 Turns to kill Boss)
Turn 3: Attack, Attack, Monster hits Tank for 2 HP and White Mage for 5 HP. (56/70 Tank, 50/55 Mage, 21.5/25 Turns to kill Boss)
Turn 4: Taunt, Attack, Monster hits Tank for 5 HP damage. (51/70 Tank, 50/55 Mage, 20.5/25 Turns to kill Boss)
Turn 5: Attack, Attack, Monster inflicts Poison on Tank. (51/70 Tank, 50/55 Mage, 19/25 Turns to kill Boss.)
Turn 6: Poison Ticks, Attack, Uses Antidote on Tank, Monster hits Tank for 5 HP damage. (39/70 Tank, 50/55 Mage, 18/25 turns to kill boss)
Turn 7: Taunt, Attack, Monster hits Tank for 2 HP and White Mage for 5 HP. (37/70 Tank, 45/55 Mage, 17/25 turns to kill boss)
Turn 8: Attack, Attack, Monster hits Tank for 5 HP damage. (32/70 Tank, 45/55 Mage, 15.5/25 turns to kill boss)
Turn 9: Attack, Casts Cure on Tank to Heal 35 HP, Monster inflicts Poison on Tank. (67/70 Tank, 45/55 Mage, 16/25 turns to kill boss)
Turn 10: Poison Ticks, Taunt, Uses Antidote on Tank, Monster hits Tank for 5 HP. (55/70 Tank, 45/55 Mage, 16/25 turns to kill boss)
Turn 11: Attack, Attack, Monster hits Tank for 2 HP and White Mage for 5 HP. (53/70 Tank, 40/55 Mage, 14.5/25 turns to kill boss)
Turn 12: Attack, Attack, Monster hits Tank for 5 HP. (48/70 Tank, 40/55 Mage, 13/25 turns to kill boss)
Turn 13: Taunt, Attack, Monster inflicts Poison on Tank. (48/70 Tank, 40/55 Mage, 12/25 turns to kill boss)
Turn 14: Poison Ticks, Attack, Uses Antidote on Tank, Monster hits Tank for 5 HP. (36/70 Tank, 40/55 Mage, 11/25 turns to kill boss)
Turn 15: Attack, Attack, Monster hits Tank for 2 HP and White Mage for 5 HP. (34/70 Tank, 35/55 Mage, 9.5/25 turns to kill boss)
Turn 16: Taunt, Casts Cure on Tank to Heal 35 HP, Monster hits Tank for 5 HP. (64/70 Tank, 35/55 Mage, 9.5/25 turns to kill boss)
Turn 17: Attack, Attack, Monster inflicts Poison on Tank. (64/70 Tank, 35/55 Mage, 8/25 turns to kill boss)
Turn 18: Poison Ticks, Attack, Uses Antidote on Tank, Monster hits Tank for 5 HP. (52/70 Tank, 35/55 Mage, 7/25 turns to kill boss)
Turn 19: Taunt, Attack, Monster hits Tank for 2 HP and White Mage for 5 HP. (50/70 Tank, 30/55 Mage, 6/25 turns to kill boss)
Turn 20: Attack, Attack, Monster hits Tank for 5 HP. (45/70 Tank, 30/55 Mage, 4.5/25 turns to kill boss)
Turn 21: Attack, Attack, Monster inflicts Poison on Tank. (45/70 Tank, 30/55 Mage, 3/25 turns to kill boss)
Turn 22: Poison Ticks, Taunt, Uses Antidote on Tank, Monster hits Tank for 5 HP. (33/70 Tank, 30/55 Mage, 3/25 turns to kill boss)
Turn 23: Attack, Attack, Monster hits Tank for 2 HP and White Mage for 5 HP. (31/70 Tank, 25/55 Mage, 1.5/25 turns to kill boss)
Turn 24: Attack, Attack, YOU WIN! 400 XP GAINED! 6000 GP EARNED! Serpent's Blade found!

This assumes you have a lot of Antidotes on hand and that Taunt costs nothing to cast (to make it more fair to the monster, I was counting the turn Taunt was cast as one of the 3 turns).

Okay, so what do we know based on this? For one... 24 turns to make Poison "deadly". You had to be locked into combat with a boss for 24 turns to make it effective, even at those high MP Costs. But, let's say you only had to inflict half as much damage on the boss monster. Battle is over at Turn 12. Before you even need a second cast of Cure. In fact, the player could ignore Poison for the last few turns, save an antidote, have it cured automatically at the end of combat right there. Look at how long that battle had to be drawn out just to make Poison effective enough to even run Cure dry. This is even a scenario where the player is super afraid of letting Poison linger and thus cures it immediately each time it's inflicted. It's a scenario in which your White Mage only ever takes AOE damage because the player is playing optimally (or at least as optimally as I know how). Look at how much we had to tweak to even get THAT MUCH out of Poison in a single battle.
I don't have time atm to reply to the rest of the cool stuff we were discussing, but real quickly I wanted to say about your hypothetical battle sequence: You proved my point for me!!

Remember how all this time you were saying that the problem with non-persistent DoTs was that they don't force the player to think about curing them? At a measly -10% HP per turn, your Tank and White Mage decided they had to cure the Poison immediately every time it was inflicted!

What happens in this example if they don't cure it immediately and try to ride it out until battle's end to save their consumables, or if they are "not prepared" and don't have enough consumables left? They would take another ~93 damage (-12 from ending the battle 3 turns earlier via WM's attacks, but +105 from 15 extra Poison ticks), which would turn this battle into a loss unless the team uses better tactics (such as reducing damage, using offensive spells at the right times, etc.).

If not quickly cured during combat, the Poison is a game-changer. (And if quickly cured every time it's applied, the "non-persistent Poison presents the same exact threat it does in its persistent form.)

Therefore, we must conclude (under these assumptions, where heals are useful but not broken) that DoTs present an actual, valid threat to the party that requires them to cure the state - and since you illustrated that they want to cure it immediately, this threat is just as strong as if the DoT were a persistent state. It just comes in a package that is far less inconvenient for the player in standard battles, and presents its danger within battles rather than harming the player between battles.

Back where the Cure only cost 6 MP the numbers stood more in favor of your argument, but this just goes to show what both of us have agreed on in the past - that reliable, powerful, inexpensive Heals utterly sap any available strategy from combat by easily erasing any other mistakes the player makes. :)
 
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Sixth

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I will be honest, I didn't read most of these giant posts (from what little I saw, many of them are discussing something that's off-topic anyway).
But I will share my views on these states that stay after the battles.

I don't like them. At all.
It's a chore to cure them, and I don't really see any point of these states staying outside battles, other than annoying the player.
Regardless of my dislike of these states, if a game is otherwise enjoyable, I can tolerate them (the Star Ocean series is a good example, sadly, all states stay there, but I still love those games).

If the game has real-time combat without any transition to a separate battle screen, it stands to reason that these states stay for their entire duration, or for a shortened duration if no enemies are left in the vicinity. I see no problem with this. It's still a chore, but at least it's understandable and has a point in these games.

But if the game uses a separate battle screen, making states stay after the battle is not something I would do with my game, that's for sure. There is no risk of dying between battles in these games, so curing these states is really just an annoyance and can't be called as a "feature" in any way, in my opinion, at least.

About that resource management discussion...
I am kinda surprised when I see people playing games in videos wasting their hard earned in-game currency on potions and cures instead of saving up for that next gear upgrade. I feel like a weirdo for never buying any consumables in any games I play, no exceptions. I keep the ones I find from battles, and use them if necessary, of course, but I never buy them in shops.
I also rarely use them, because I would rather return to the next town when I'm low on HP/MP/other restorable (huhh, is this really not an existing word? o_O) resource, and sleep at the inn, than to use these items outside battles. Even if I deduct the inn fee, I still get more than enough gold from the grinding I did between two sleeping. And I do these return rounds until I upgrade all gears available from new shops. I just like one-shotting enemies, so I grind until I can do just that. :D
So, in a way, this "resource management" is a non-existent thing to me, I guess.
 

Tai_MT

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I don't have time atm to reply to the rest of the cool stuff we were discussing, but real quickly I wanted to say about your hypothetical battle sequence: You proved my point for me!!

Remember how all this time you were saying that the problem with non-persistent DoTs was that they don't force the player to think about curing them? At a measly -10% HP per turn, your Tank and White Mage decided they had to cure the Poison immediately every time it was inflicted!

What happens in this example if they don't cure it immediately and try to ride it out until battle's end to save their consumables, or if they are "not prepared" and don't have enough consumables left? They would take another ~93 damage (-12 from ending the battle 3 turns earlier via WM's attacks, but +105 from 15 extra Poison ticks), which would turn this battle into a loss unless the team uses better tactics (such as reducing damage, using offensive spells at the right times, etc.).

If not quickly cured during combat, the Poison is a game-changer. (And if quickly cured every time it's applied, the "non-persistent Poison presents the same exact threat it does in its persistent form.)

Therefore, we must conclude (under these assumptions, where heals are useful but not broken) that DoTs present an actual, valid threat to the party that requires them to cure the state - and since you illustrated that they want to cure it immediately, this threat is just as strong as if the DoT were a persistent state. It just comes in a package that is far less inconvenient for the player in standard battles, and presents its danger within battles rather than harming the player between battles.

Back where the Cure only cost 6 MP the numbers stood more in favor of your argument, but this just goes to show what both of us have agreed on in the past - that reliable, powerful, inexpensive Heals utterly sap any available strategy from combat by easily erasing any other mistakes the player makes. :)
Oh yes, I did prove your point. :D But, ended up realizing that your point had several disadvantages as well just to make it work. I was like, "Yeah, this does the job... But, now we're firmly into territory that Wavelength was railing against".

It's a pyrrhic victory. But, it's still quite a very interesting victory none-the-less. It actually provides a lot of solid information that can be useful to devs.

So, the problems I ended up noticing were:

-The Poison State would only be deadly in fairly lengthy battles. I don't just mean like... a normal boss battle where you spend like 10-12 turns to kill the boss. But, a battle that would have to last twice that length to even put the player in danger at all. Otherwise, having even just two Cures at their disposal would render the fight fairly easy and make some of those turns where Poison was inflicted... a waste of time.
-You would be popping as many Antidotes in this one instance as you might across a 1 hour dungeon crawl through a standard "poison tutorial dungeon". Or... maybe even more.
-If the characters are given access at all to anything even remotely more damaging than what they have... the ability to end combat even quicker... Poison ceases to be a threat or worth curing. A player need only out-level the content to render the state a moot point. In most JRPG's... or even Western RPGs... Players out-leveling the content is... well... it's the norm.
-To make a DoT even remotely useful in a system that removes states after combat, you have to severely hinder the ability to heal at all. You could restrict heals via MP, but if the player uses consumables in place of those heals... you're left with the absolute same issue you had when MP Heals were cheap. You would have to plan to make Consumable Heals as expensive and restrictive as the MP based ones. If an MP Heal recovers only 35 HP, but the baseline Potion costs 100 Gold and heals 50 HP, the player will carry it, and then you're back to the same problem... Unless you're restricting Gold as badly as you're restricting MP. Most RPG's actually give players a massive excess of Currency, so all you've done is trade one type of Cure for Another.
-Equipment that would protect from Poison would be useless across the entire game... Except against a Boss that lasts these 24 turns. If the player had access to such a piece of equipment and used it for this boss fight... The threat of the Boss is gone and the battle can be won a lot quicker. It would render the entire Gimmick of the Boss "moot".
-To even make Poison a threat at 10% in a system where it is automatically removed after each combat... You effectively have to rebalance an entire game. You have to remove several RPG staples that players use pretty frequently. You essentially have to throw away the manual on RPG design and create an entirely new way of doing things, just to get it to work in the way in which we've agreed it should work (posing enough of a threat inside of combat that the player feels the need to cure it).

I mean... there's a lot of exploitative areas of the RPG here to exploit for the player. The dev would have to close those up. Or, heavily restrict the player's freedom and abilities. For the sake of a single DoT. Rework an entire game... For one DoT. Rebalance an entire game... For one DoT.

Yep, your point is an exceptionally valid one. You're right, it does make Poison more deadly in such a system. Very deadly, in fact. But, look at all the consequences of that across the rest of the RPG. Even just in terms of extra work a dev would have to do to make sure it was balanced... Just... Wow. It's not something I would want to balance.

I wouldn't want to rely on encounters that take 24 turns, because the player is going to feel like that's a slog.
I wouldn't want to rely on severely limiting the level/stats of the player just to make sure a DoT was always deadly and warranted use of curing it inside of combat.
I wouldn't want to severely nerf means of healing up HP just to make sure that a DoT was deadly and warranted use of curing it inside of combat.
I wouldn't want to give Poison only to enemies who would be able to use it effectively... which is pretty much nobody (except those long slog bosses!).
I wouldn't want to have to figure out how you tell the player they need Antidotes in a system where it's only a problem in 1 of every 200 combats. I have no idea how you'd signpost that or communicate it to the player without simply saying, "Look, this boss will kill you if you don't have at least 15 Antidotes. You are guaranteed to lose without 15 antidotes. Come back when you have them.", since they will not have been trained at all that Poison will Romp them in this instance when the rest of combat has taught them that it's a non-issue.
I wouldn't want to be forced, as a dev, to slap a "Full Recovery Event" and a mandatory save before each Boss room that has a DoT, just to give the player a chance at winning the fight.
I wouldn't want to try to determine the impact of the player popping 15 Antidotes in 10 minutes of combat on the player, when I could make them pop 15 Antidotes over the course of a 25-35 minute dungeon.
I wouldn't want to have to restrict what kinds of equipment I create, because I know the player would find certain kinds to be useless or worthless due to the "cure after battle" mechanic... or the "this would only be useful in a single battle" mechanic we've created here.
I wouldn't want to have to restrict how many free Treasures I give a player, because if I'm giving them Potions and Antidotes in chests frequently enough, then they've nullified the point of restricting that MP usage.

I just wouldn't want to have to design an entire game around a single State that will likely only ever present a challenge to the player in a single instance.

Personally? Using the "Recover from all states when combat ends"? I'd rather just remove all DoT's altogether, so I don't have to redesign my entire game just to make one of them work.

But, that's up to Personal Preference.

Plus, I like DoT's. Because they're fairly versatile in my opinion. I don't want to design an RPG without them. So, I'd just never cure all my States after combat. Personal Preference.
 

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(Quote truncated to highlight parts I'm replying to; emphasis mine)
Oh yes, I did prove your point. :D But, ended up realizing that your point had several disadvantages as well just to make it work. I was like, "Yeah, this does the job... But, now we're firmly into territory that Wavelength was railing against".

-The Poison State would only be deadly in fairly lengthy battles. I don't just mean like... a normal boss battle where you spend like 10-12 turns to kill the boss. But, a battle that would have to last twice that length to even put the player in danger at all. Otherwise, having even just two Cures at their disposal would render the fight fairly easy and make some of those turns where Poison was inflicted... a waste of time.

I mean... there's a lot of exploitative areas of the RPG here to exploit for the player. The dev would have to close those up. Or, heavily restrict the player's freedom and abilities. For the sake of a single DoT. Rework an entire game... For one DoT. Rebalance an entire game... For one DoT.

I wouldn't want to rely on encounters that take 24 turns, because the player is going to feel like that's a slog.
Interesting defense.

I think it's an unfair platform to argue that the Poison wasn't effective here because it 'took 24 turns to become a deadly threat'. In your example, the boss was dealing an average of less than 6HP of damage to the party per non-poison skill (or about 5% of the party's total HP). Without poison, it would have taken the boss almost 300% as long to defeat the party as it would with poison and no antidotes - raised to 500%(!) if the boss ever manages to poison both party members at once, which is very reasonable.

In other words, Poison took a long time to present a total kill threat in this example because your boss was dealing so little damage elsewhere. Poison needed to pick up like 75% of the load (which is kind of silly for a single state when compared to all other boss actions), so of course it took a long time. If the boss were dealing closer to 20 damage per turn, Poison will help the boss get the job done much faster if it's not cured. (Then, as the designer, you'd probably want to design the battle around fewer turns.)

Worth noting is your point that in regular battles, the Poison won't last long, and won't be worth curing since it goes away after battle. True to an extent, but not completely. If the boss is only managing 6HP of damage per turn, it's fair to assume that regular encounters will do less than 3HP per turn (even at full strength). Assume the mob does 3, 2, then 1 damage and the battle is over in 3 turns. Also assume they apply one instance of Poison on Turn 1. That Poison will tick at least twice over the course of the battle, for 14 HP - raising total damage dealt by the mob from 6 to 20. Depending on the economics of items, this might still be worth curing immediately. If the game is balanced around 6 HP per mob becoming a chronic threat eventually, then surely the wise player will want to avoid taking 20 damage per mob!

The rest of your construction is solid, but with the "24 turns" objection scuttled, I believe that most of your conclusions, including the ones that assert the game would need to be greatly rebalanced around the DoT state, fall as well. And the few that stand, such as the points on healing and treasures, would also rear their heads in any design where the DoT is persistent after battle (let me know if you disagree on one of them).
 

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