Status ailments that persist after the battle end

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

  1. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    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". :D
     
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  2. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    @Tai_MT First of all it sounds like I've struck a bit of a nerve, so I apologize for that. My intention wasn't to make this a "me vs. you" kind of thing; when I said I "scuttled" the 24-turns argument, it was shorthand for saying that all of the new problems you cast with non-persistent DoTs were reliant on your assertion that non-persistent DoTs take too long to present a credible threat. And, per the paragraphs above that line, I feel I presented a very strong and cogent counterargument to the idea that they take too long.

    I don't believe so. All you'd really need to do is increase the boss' standard (non-poison) damage to a point where it's also a credible threat, and decrease its HP so it doesn't take 25 turns to kill.

    Important to this argument is the fact that the Poison is still the single most effective thing that the boss is doing. Even when cured immediately, it's consuming half of the player's turn (as well as a consumable) and dealing 7 damage. When not cured immediately, it has immense lifetime value for the boss, with the investment of just 1 action. When inflicting this state eclipses everything else that the boss does, it seems ridiculous to say "it's not a credible threat" - because if the most effective tool that a boss has isn't ever a credible threat, it's straight-up bad design!

    That's not fair of you, and I know that anyone reading the whole of our discussion would agree that I haven't had to grasp at any straws.

    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.

    Aside from lowering the boss' HP, this is where tactics and strategy beyond "attack, attack, heal" comes in. The white mage can spend turns/MP using offensive magic if the tank is covering for him, or perhaps buffing the tank. The tank can use skills that reduce or reflect damage. Maybe they manage to land a few stuns here and there.

    Also - don't forget the player will have consumables to heal their HP or MP if they are "properly prepared". Maybe that's what gets them through the tough boss battle. Preparation can involve more than buying antidotes for a poison dungeon.

    In a 3-turn battle, if the Poison is inflicted on Turn 1, then the Poison should activate at the beginning of turns 2 and 3, or the end of turns 1 and 2. In each case, 2 ticks. If the timing is On Action End, then if the enemy goes first, the Poison will tick on turns 1 and 2 and possibly turn 3 if that actor needs to act during turn 3; if the actor goes first, it will tick on turn 2 and probably turn 3 (since the actor is one of the battle's faster players). This means anywhere between 1 and 3 ticks, but most often 2 ticks.

    Rude! :p I've completed four games, two of which won community contests and one of which earned the highest IGMC score of anyone who posted it publicly on our forums that year. I love theory, but I'm dayum good at getting my hands dirty in RPG Maker too.

    I've actually implemented non-persistent states in a couple of games - successfully. It's not exploitable and it presents a credible threat. Really! It hasn't been a problem. The DoTs don't feature heavily, but they do exist and they're neither exploitable nor overly punitive.

    Better than accomplishing nothing, I guess B) Honestly, the most important states to clear after combat are the disables. If DoTs are the only thing sticking around, it's not the end of the world. It will annoy most players if DoTs are applied more than 'rarely', and it will occasionally present a very un-fun reason to have to turn back during a dungeon run, but it's a lot less harmful to the play experience than other persistent states might be.
     
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  3. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    You didn't really strike a nerve, it's just a little frustrating to have you miss my points entirely or ignore them in favor of more assertions. The original example provided is based on what is "typical" of a usual JRPG. Which means... what you'd normally find across the genre. The stats are typical for a game of that nature, the skills as well, the HP, MP, turns to kill, etcetera.

    Basically, what you might also find in a typical RPG Maker game by most devs. There will be variation, absolutely. But, it's meant to simulate any RPG you might happen to pick up at random on a whim.

    The point after that becomes, "look at how much you have to rebalance (see, change, alter, improve design) your game just to make a single state effective in this system". A point you actually showed me. Just to get a single DoT to work in the game. A game with a hundred moving pieces, and we'd be focused on getting just one piece to work.

    My point is that I find that to be impractical. In my own game, when I reach such a point... Where I'm rebalancing system after system, combat after combat, character after character, skill after skill... just to get one thing to work as intended... I scrap it. I remove it entirely. Because, it's simply not working. It's forcing me to do far too much work. It's preventing me from getting my game out the door. To me, all that extra work seems not worth the effort. Not for what little I'm getting out of it.

    Maybe someone could get it to work properly. Rebalance everything so that it works. Figure out the exact right amount of damage the players need to be doing... the boss needs to be doing, the exact right amount players need to be healing. But, I'm not arrogant enough to think that's me. I don't even want to attempt that because of all the moving parts involved.

    I just don't believe you've proven it's a credible threat at lower amounts of turns. Consider a Boss fight that takes 6 turns to win. The player could ignore the Poison, use both Cures on the Tank, and have Poison Cured by the end of the combat and then step outside not really any worse for wear. Even in my Scenario of 25 turns, it only works because I assume the player knows how long it will take to defeat the boss, and so they don't let Poison go beyond the turn its inflicted. In reality, the player isn't going to know how long it takes to kill the Boss. In reality, we haven't taught the player that Poison is a credible threat yet. This is the first place in the whole game it becomes a credible threat to the player... because of the length of the battle. Because of the mechanics in play. The first place where any deviation from absolutely optimal play... results in them losing.

    I think in the last few posts of this discussion you have been. You've been trying to just make the DoT work in an effort to simply prove me wrong. You've been ignoring evidence in front of you and just proposing more and more tweaks... that actually contradict previous posts you've made against my position of wanting states that Persist after combat. You said if the player has to visit the menu after every single battle to cure Poison, they would get annoyed. Would they be more, less, or equally annoyed for opening the item menu 15 times during battle? Or every single battle? Just with the changes you've been proposing, that's what you've been saying needs to be done in order to make it a credible threat... make the state so obnoxious that the player will cure it every single time it's inflicted. Now, you're wanting to give Poison to a good chunk of enemies and make sure that they take enough time to kill that you get two ticks of Poison. You tell me that we should have Magical Restoration be severely nerfed... To make Poison a credible threat... And now you're telling me that the player will probably have Consumables on hand that will help them win the battle... which, in actuality, serves 100% the same purpose that Magic Healing does... it raises the effective HP the player has at their disposal. So, the player simply changes from spending those turns casting Cure to spending those turns popping "Potion" instead. I suppose this is a very effective Gold Sink, but you're back to playing the game according to the first example where we didn't nerf your Cure. The gameplay goes back to that scenario.

    You and I both know that the more options the player has access to, the harder it becomes to balance something. My example was "Level 1" for a reason. To provide the least complexity to illustrate the point. That, even on the most basic of Boss Combats... It's tricky to balance properly. You want to go and add a lot more moving pieces in there on top of that, to illustrate the point that the DoT could work. I don't know, maybe it could if we add in a ton more moving pieces and have to balance around those too. Do you honestly want to try to? I'm serious. Do you honestly want to try to balance your Poison with more variables and "what ifs"? I really don't. I lack the skill and the patience for it.

    To be honest, I think if you gave the Tank stuns or reflects or reduce damage... Poison becomes even less valuable. Ultimately, as the player can end combats faster, Poison is less effective (DoT. Damage. Over. Time. It's only effective if there's plenty of time to do that damage. The less time there is, the less effective it is.)

    I didn't. :D I mentioned a couple times that if the player were able to use a Consumable to restore their HP as effectively as they could use their MP, then it would render not really all that powerful or useful... or worth curing anywhere except one of these boss fights. So, unless you're balancing those Consumables around the nerfed MP Healing... They're simply going to be far more effective ways to get rid of damage (and possibly restore even more health than Cure does). Put simply, even Consumables that restore HP jack up the player's effective HP for battle... which will bring us back into the combat problem (which you tried to solve by nerfing MP Healing!) of "The Tank has an effective 530 extra HP this combat. Poison is worthless".

    If it's a 3 turn battle. Standard mooks in an RPG? Well... pretty much every RPG? 1 whole round and they're all dead. Maybe two if there are a lot of them and you don't have a multi-target skill that can be spammed due to MP pool. If the player goes first and Poison ticks when the player ends... you'll likely be ending combat before ever being inflicted with Poison. Or, if you do get inflicted with it, the battle has to last until that actors next action in order to take a tick. They'll take 1 tick in this instance before players kill everything on the field. If the enemy Poisons a party member that doesn't get to act in combat, then they suffer 0 Ticks of poison. There is potential here for players to be inflicted with Poison, and due to being powerful enough, they simply take no damage from it before it's cured. If the player isn't one-shotting standard mooks, they'll grind for a little bit (or just through normal exploration) level up enough that they soon are. I think it's unreliable to count on the player spending 3 turns in a combat. Even in my game, where I count on the player finding new enemies and taking 4 actions (1 whole turn) to defeat them... I'm not counting on that. It's the goal, but even I know it's unrealistic. Player will get lucky sometimes, guess the easy way to kill the new enemy. Player will have done other content before coming to this location, so their stats are too high and it makes combat much easier for them. Player has min/maxed their equipment so that they're one-shotting certain enemies. Etcetera. And, it's a system in which I tightly (see: like a dictator) control the player's stats.

    I think the most you'll get out of a standard mook is 1 tick of Poison damage in such a system. Then, it's cured. More often than not, however, you're going to get 0 ticks of poison damage. Even then, 0-1 Ticks of poison damage on the Tank, even at 7 HP... simply teaches the player to end combat against these foes faster. It doesn't teach them to bring Antidotes at all. The game mechanics are teaching them that healing up will probably be more necessary than standard RPG's, but that there's very little need to cure states unless they're deadly in combat. Unless you've got a piece of combat that makes Poison Deadly... The player won't learn it. So, they won't learn to cure Poison until the boss monster... where they can't one shot it... can't run away... don't know how many turns it might take to defeat it... etcetera.

    To be fair, I think most games have "non persistent states" in one form or another. The issue only really comes along when you're implementing DoT States. How much testing did you do with the DoTs? I'm curious. Did you watch a lot of player gameplay surrounding them? How the players acted/reacted to being hit with them? How often did they cure them? How often were they a minor inconvenience? How often were they the thing that changed player strategy? Just curious.

    Congrats on all your accomplishments, BTW. You should be proud of those!

    However... And please don't take this the wrong way or as me being rude. I'm not trying to be here. There are lots of things in this world that win awards, make a ton of money, get a lot of accolades... And aren't that good. I'm not saying your games are terrible. What I'm saying is that, for me, popularity hardly proves anything. It's why I run tests of my own on my own game mechanics. It's why I watch people play video games. It's why I watch them play my games and see what they're doing. Make notes of how they play. Make notes of whether something I implemented is getting the desired action/reaction/feedback from the player. With my own persistent Poison, I simply put the goal as, "The player should be taking the action to prevent this or cure it.". Anytime the player does this, I mark it down. If I get a 75% or higher rate of players doing what I intend for them to do, then I consider it designed the way I wanted it. But, I don't just make arbitrary goals either. "What do I want this to accomplish?". I don't want the player to use Antidotes just for the sake of a Gold Sink or the sake of making them waste turns in combat to make it "more difficult". I want them to cure Poison as a "last resort". It's what the player must do if they haven't played well enough to avoid it. My Poison works the way it does to accomplish the complicated and messy goal of "players make tactical decisions in order to avoid being Poisoned". So, I also watch for players who are actively avoiding the punishment of being poisoned. Do they reduce the rate at which they might get poisoned? Make themselves immune to one form of it or another? Prioritize enemies that inflict it more frequently? Use their gear and stats to end combat faster to avoid being Poisoned as often?

    The way I do things and the way you do things are two different ends of the spectrum. You lean a lot more heavily on the Theory side of things (and why not? Theory is a great thing to study and can teach you a LOT) and implement a lot of things in "tried and true" methods from what I've read of your posts. A lot of your posts revolve around simply reducing player frustration and annoyance as much as possible. I see nothing wrong with that. I just don't agree.

    I lean more heavily on the "Practical Application" side of things. I see the theory and usually want to immediately test it. How valid is the theory? What purpose does it serve? What other aspects of RPG design does it influence or affect? Does it have any downsides? Does it stifle creativity or taking risks? The way I do things leads to a lot more "trial and error". A lot more failures than successes (I fail about 80% of the time :D ). For me, the strength in what I'm doing is those failures. Those times when I did absolutely moronic things that any Theory person could've said, "no duh" to me over. Those failures let me analyze my way of thinking, the way players think, and the way games are designed. It provides me insight. Even if all that insight is... is learning something anyone who spent 5 minutes to google it could know. For me, there's something of value to be learned by starting with the assumption that "The Theory is wrong or improperly tested, I think I can do better". Maybe it's something that's unique to me, I don't know. I feel like I get more out of the lesson Theory can teach if I can put it into practical application and see all the parts.

    It's just that in this instance... I feel like my "practical application" side of things is currently more correct than your "theory" side of things at the moment. That's mostly because you seem to be ignoring all the pieces of the rest of the RPG that any given change you want to make, affects. I've made you narrow your focus too much, I think. I feel like you've lost the usual masterful insight you bring to the table here towards the end of this discussion. I've got you defending something instead of looking at it and explaining it. That's not my intent at all.

    I agree, the disables are the most important states to clear after combat. Mine are so obnoxious and powerful that I opted to clear them after combat as part of the game design. Having those carry over, especially when they can possibly wipe a whole team who may be out of the consumables to cure them? Yeah, I feel like I'm stomping on the groin of my players if I were to not automatically cure those. I have no problem letting my DoT's carry over or my "Blind" states though. Especially since I disabled Slip Damage (no damage taken on the maps from walking with the states!).

    I also don't think it's useful to apply a state to the player every single time its cast or have nearly every enemy have a state to inflict. I've found through playtesting that usually a ratio of 2 out of every 7 monsters inflicting a state (not including bosses) and having that state inflict roughly 50% of the time... Is about right. I have a limited testing pool, however, so others may end up with more accurate numbers. My current enemies have their states applied like my players do. They have an attack, it has a 60% chance to inflict the state when it connects, and that's it. If the state doesn't take hold, they still take damage. The percentage chance is also low enough that Accessories and other equips can really make a difference in how often a State is even inflicted on the player to begin with.

    But, hey, you changed my mind from "The only way a system like 'cure all states after combat' would work, is if they're all insanely powerful to make a difference!" to "All states work in a system that cures all states after combat except DoT's... They require too much work to implement well and effectively, and unless someone can figure out an easy way to do that... you're better off not doing it."

    My honest opinion the subject, however? I think it's best to have a mix of states. Some that cure after combat, some that do not. I think it adds more dynamics and tactics and strategy to gameplay. People are free to disagree with it, but that's the way I feel about RPG games I play and RPG games I am trying to design.

    Anyway, Wavelength. I think at this point, it's probably either a "you win" since you changed my opinion (even if I still don't agree with you :p heehee) or a "we can agree to disagree". Maybe our opinions and experiences are just too different to make either of us really agree with each other. But, it was a very fun discussion. Sorry if you thought I was attacking you or being rude. I know I sometimes come off as that way, but it's not usually my intent.

    I enjoy our verbal sparring. I like seeing your side of the issues since your perspective is so wildly different than my own. I hope you have a great day. If you want to continue the discussion, I'm more than game. But, I thought it might be a good place to end it since it's the weekend and I'm likely to be playing a lot of Fallout 76, ha ha. I hope you get to enjoy your weekend too!
     
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  4. zacheatscrackers

    zacheatscrackers Machinehead Veteran

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    The vast majority of status ailments should be removed after battle in my opinion. Having a few HP-decreasing ailments persist on-map is okay, if you want to keep the player on their toes and encourage conservative item usage early game or whatever, but for the most part, I think stuff like *stat* Down and special death states should not exist past the battle screen.

    I feel part of it depends on how you want your game to be played.
     
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  5. Countyoungblood

    Countyoungblood Sleeping Dragon Veteran

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    Much like brushing your teeth is a strategy to avoid cavaties yet there isnt a world championship game of teeth brushing is there? In absolute terms i concede its strategic. In relative terms assuming what youd consider to be called strategic to be more than simple A to B brainless tedium stopping at a bonfire to restore flasks is not strategy.

    Did I? Or did i explain a simple flowchart for any player to adjust to playing dark souls with its built in mercy mechanics? You can play ds looking for challenge or you can grind. It isnt a hard game. People think its hard because they prefer easier "challenges" that make them feel good such as games which "challenge" you to decide to use fire on water or buy 20 antidotes to go through poisonvile. I dont literally judge people based on their preferences the problem lies in the depth of understanding but thats exactly the problem here as well.

    Buying antidotes because you find poison isnt strategic its tedium i dont need to write a book to explain that.

    @Wavelength always a pleasure to read your logical deductions reguardless of who youre debating
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2018
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