- May 1, 2013
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(Quote truncated to highlight parts I'm replying to; emphasis mine)
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).
I don't know if you've "scuttled" it, exactly. If you remember, the Tank is... well... A Tank. If the White Mage were to take a hit from a regular attack, you're looking at a 14 damage maximum. Right? The only thing preventing the Boss from hitting the mage at all... Is that the Tank is using Taunt.
Okay, so what's the reason I even gave the Tank Taunt? Well... for one, it's what Tanks usually have. The example is meant to be "standard JRPG's" after all. Why is there so little damage done? Because in a JRPG, characters usually go down in pretty close to 15-20 hits. Weaker ones will go down in 5-8.
Likewise, the White Mage only has 55 HP... so a 10% hit from Poison is 5.5 HP a Tick? Even if you had the AOE poison both at the same time, it just means the White Mage has even fewer "down time" turns to pile on the extra damage against the Boss. So... combat lasts longer.
So, what you're telling me is... To "scuttle" my argument about a lot of turns... You'd have to spend more time Rebalancing, correct? Not only would you have to jack up the cost of Cure in terms of MP and make it heal even less... But, you'd have to remove Taunt, increase damage output to the party from the Boss, but also design battles to take even fewer turns?
I don't know, it looks to me like you're grasping at straws at this point.
So, what happens if we remove Taunt so that both party members can get hit? The minute the Mage goes down, player has lost. If the player has to spend one of their two Cures on the Mage, they've been shunted into an extremely sub-optimal and bad position where they simply lose slower, but have no way to recover their main damage dealer. Game loss either way.
What if we increase damage output on the Boss? Okay, let's just simply double damage done. 12 (technically, it's 10, since max damage that can be inflicted on a hit is only 5) Damage to the Tank every single turn and up to 28 against the Mage. AOEs will do 6 damage to the Tank and 10 to the Mage. Once the fourth attack hits the Tank, you're using a Cure (Round one, tank poisoned, round two, 7 damage from poison, 12 damage from a hit, round three, 6 damage from a hit, round four, 12 damage to the tank. 32 damage... next hit will put them another 19 damage down). Once the fourth AOE hits the Mage, you're using a Cure. Battle has become a lot more difficult for the player to actually win... even without being inflicted with Poison. In fact, at this point, Poison is likely "Running Up The Score". It has become the "least" of their problems. Even if you removed Poison altogether from that combat, your Cures are gone by Round 7. The battle has clearly become unwinnable. The party just does not output enough damage.
Okay, so what if we made the players output more damage? What if they only had to deal 12 turns worth of damage to the Boss? Same rules as before? Well, without a damage output increase to the players, you win the fight at Turn 13... provided you also still had to cure the Poison. But, if we stack the double damage the boss does... Player is out of Cures by round 7. Without Poison. With Poison? Takes more turns to wear out the Cures ('cause the boss has to spend an extra turn just inflicting it). What if we made it part of the AOE and poisoned both characters? Okay, Tank ticks for 19 every third round, mage is out 15 HP every third round. on every fourth round, the mage will tick for another 5 HP. After round 4, the mage will be Poisoned again as well as take another 10 damage. by round 6, the mage needs a Cure. By round 3, the Tank needs a cure. You're out of cures by Round 6 and have to make a decision about which character you want to stay in the game. You'll get 9 rounds alive if you prioritize your beefiest character (The Tank) stick around. 9 rounds... of the 13 you need to beat the Boss.
So, how do you balance that? I would not even attempt to try. Because, there's too many moving parts in there to balance a single DoT against a design decision that is not designed for it.
The only way the Poison would tick "twice" against normal enemies is if they're far faster than you, and it ticks at the beginning of the character's turn instead of at the beginning of the round. I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen. What will end up happening is the dev will set Poison to tick at the "end of turn" for the character instead of end of round. Because this ensures they take a Tick of damage before the round ends. If the enemy goes before the character they poison, they will take 1 Tick of Poison damage. If they do not... A character can be poisoned and win the battle without ever taking A SINGLE TICK OF DAMAGE.
But look at that. Look at all that rebalancing that has to be done. Just to make a DoT work in a system that "cures states immediately after combat".
Just... no. I'm not going to try to figure out how to make that work, and I don't think you will either. I know all the moving pieces and where they all touch in combat... What everything affects by firsthand experience. I won't touch it because I'm not arrogant enough to think I could pull it off... I also lack the patience to try. I don't think you'll attempt it yourself, because you deal in a lot of "theory" and not much "practical application". I think you'd try to implement it the way you're talking... and never realize how easily exploitable the system is, unless someone told you it was and made you confront that it was a problem.
But, that's just my opinion.
Maybe you do know how to make it work. I'd be interested to see how it would. Maybe you could set up a demonstration like I did with turns and parameters? I'd like to see how you do it.
EDIT: BTW, you did prove me wrong earlier. The problem is, it didn't change my mind to your way of thinking... It made me go, "Holy crap, you can only ever make a DoT pointless with this system or massively annoying trying to make it not pointless". Essentially, you convinced me to never have a DoT with such a system, because it will never work. All other states would be fine with such a system as "remove states after combat".