Stun vs. Paralyze status effects

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by jonthefox, Mar 3, 2019.

  1. jonthefox

    jonthefox Veteran Veteran

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    Do you find that using both of these is redundant? The purpose of both states is to prevent the target from acting, and since this is such a powerful effect, the duration is usually limited to about 2 turns.

    To me, there is an obvious thematic difference in these skills (you'd get stunned by the giant ogre's hammer. you'd get paralyzed by the lich's dark magic spell) but I'm not sure there's a large enough functional difference to justify having both.

    For people who do use both, how do you differentiate the two states while still maintaining good balance and design?
     
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  2. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    Stun I made it so that it only lasts 1 turn, and it is invoked early in the turn. In other words, skills that can inflict stun have a high action speed so the stun chance is relevant.

    Paralyze I did something different. I added a state called Paralyze Poison which if you don't cure it after 3 turns you are Paralyzed. Paralyze cannot be cured in battle (though it wears off if you win the battle) and reduces your defense to practically nothing. However, any damage will remove the paralyze effect.

    Basically Paralyze I handled as a state that you have time to prevent and Stun you don't.
     
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  3. TheoAllen

    TheoAllen Self-proclaimed jack of all trades Veteran

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    No.

    Depends.
    > If it's the player ability, it's broken, even for 2 turns.
    > If it's the player ability, but the bosses are resistant, then it's useless.
    > If it's enemy ability, then it's an annoying state.

    If your lich can do stun and paralyze at the same time, then yes, you don't have something to justify of having both.
    If your lich in the same troop as the giant ogre, then yes, you don't have something to justify of having both.
    If not any of the above, why not?

    Honestly, I still don't understand why having a longer action preventer state is not different enough.

    Stun is generally only last for one turn.
    Paralyze stays longer, 3 turns, 5 turns, or never wears off until you cure it manually.

    Why both cannot exist together?
     
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  4. Doktor_Q

    Doktor_Q I'm not a real doktor, but I am a real Q Veteran

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    From my experience, a lot of paralyze effects either have a chance to prevent action on any given turn, only weaken your actions or prevent some effects (reduced speed, prevents evasion, less accurate/powerful), or wear off automatically when you take a hit (more like Sleep).
     
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  5. Redeye

    Redeye Chronicles Creator Veteran

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    I usually tend to avoid the Paralysis state entirely, or at least try to find a way to transform it into a soft CC rather than a hard CC. Complete impairment is a very powerful effect, though I'd argue that forced action states like Berserk and Confusion are even more powerful. When I DO use effects like these, I usually confine them to a few bosses. When I apply them to characters, I tend to give the effects some sort of malus, such as a "Petrify" state that completely impairs movement, but makes the target take less damage. "Sleep" is also a good alternative to straight-up paralysis due to the removal-on-damage effect.

    If I ever make a player-inflicted CC effect especially powerful, I tend to make an alternative version for Bosses so that you can still inflict something on them, but you can't stomp them into oblivion with it. (Ex. An illusionist specializes in Charming their enemies, forcing them to attack each other. When Charm is used on a boss, though, they are instead debuffed. After all, being able to Charm a hard boss is just broken)

    Stun is a different situation entirely. I tend to keep Stun durations at 1 turn, treating them as an "interruption" state rather than a complete shutdown. Only a select few party members utilize Stun, and even then you need to do a few mechanical jumping jacks in order to efficiently pull it off.
     
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  6. jade_angel

    jade_angel Villager Member

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    I have Stun, Paralyze, Daze and Sleep in my current project. How I'm differentiating them is as follows -

    Stun - Lasts for one turn and drops enemy EVA and CEV to zero, and you can't take any actions. Any effect that restores HP cures it.
    Sleep - Lasts quite a bit longer, but only prevents actions (no EVA removal/debuff). 5 turns by default, usually with the ability to boost duration, but any effect that removes HP removes it.
    Daze - Daze doesn't completely prevent action. Instead, there's a 25% chance of losing your action. It debuffs EVA and CEV, but doesn't drop them to zero.
    Paralyze - Lasts two turns, prevents actions, but doesn't ding EVA/CEV. Damage doesn't remove it.

    In general, players don't really have access to Paralyze, just Sleep and Daze directly. Stun happens as a result of being broken, which uses a system akin to the break shield in Octopath Traveler or the Defiance meter in Guild Wars 2 - hitting elemental weaknesses or using direct break effects depletes it, and when it's gone, the target is stunned for a turn. This can be used to buy some breathing space or to dish out more damage, but you'd probably better dispel any HoT effects on the enemy first (or the stun falls off when they tick).
     
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  7. Milennin

    Milennin "With a bang and a boom!" Veteran

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    I always saw stun as something that last for 1 turn, and paralyse lasting multiple turns. I don't like paralyse because it's too easy to abuse when used against enemies and too frustrating when used against players, so I only use the stun state in my games.
     
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  8. atoms

    atoms Veteran Veteran

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    I don't find paralyse frustrating if enemies use it against a party of 4 to 5 members. To me it just means I have to change strategy that round assuming it's worth doing.

    What I do find annoying however is if 1. The enemy can use paralyse too frequently, or every turn. 2. You don't have the items you need to cure it easily accessible.

    I think there are always ways to prevent other states being frustrating. It depends how you use them.

    Stun is actually very different from paralyse normally, where it only lasts a turn, I see them as separate states that both can be used together in any RPG Maker game, as long as it fits in with your other mechanics.

    Now a player character having access to paralyse or stun is something a bit different, but can still be fun in my opinion.

    With Stun, if a player can for example use it once a battle or at a high TP count or something then it may become fun to be able to stun an enemy with that state.

    If a player character has access to both, perhaps put a cooldown on them, limit the amount of times it can be used in battle, or put a TP cost on them to prevent spamming.

    Both can still work fine, I think. Bosses are also something else to consider, but it can be done. If your states work against them, then you'll need to add a mechanic that limits there abilities to not become overpowered, but with some thought I think you can get it to work there too.

    Another thing you can do with the states, and adding Sleep to the equation too, is make them do debuffs or buffs on some of your stats.

    Like @jade_angel example. That too can help differentiate them more and keep each one still intact, so they're still useful.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2019
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  9. lianderson

    lianderson Veteran Veteran

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    Paralyze and Stun can have the exact same effect, but still be significantly different. This can be achieved by making them have differences sources, removals, and protection.
     
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  10. kirbwarrior

    kirbwarrior Veteran Veteran

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    Let's take the simplest versions of each (denies a number of turns, nothing else) and I'll show how I differentiate them:
    Stun lasts either this turn (wears off at end, useless on fast units) or a single action. You can basically throw stun around nilly-willy for both enemies and players. Bosses can often be stunned and many games base mechanics around doing so. Stun is also on a similar level to non-denial states such as poison, slow, etc.
    Paralyze lasts longer (say, 3 turns). It's a full denial state without (usually) a built in cancel method like Sleep, Freeze, etc. Bosses are usually immune because 3+ turns of doing nothing will make any battle easy to the point of unnecessary. It's comparable to high end states like Sleep, Confusion, Charm, etc. and is basically a step down from Petrify.

    If the above is the case, paralyze is in some manner rare (maybe a side effect of a weapon attack, maybe enemy only) while stunning is quite common, especially for the player to use. However, I usually take it further. In many cases, Stun isn't even treated like a state but merely a part of an action, such as "Delay Attack" or pokemon's "Flinch", while Paralyze might get healed by remedies or be protected from with Ribbon.
     
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  11. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    Usually when I see both "Stun" and "Paralyze" states in a well-made game, the Stun is temporary and the Paralyze is permanent (until cured by a skill or item, sometimes wearing off at the end of battle). Sometimes, the Stun can't be removed by skills or items, being treated sort of like a unique effect rather than like a true Status.

    I think this is a decent way to differentiate the two - they have identical effects, but with two different lengths and cure conditions. I probably wouldn't want to go beyond the two (one temporary and one permanent) - I've seen games with Stun, Paralyze, and Petrify and usually the Paralyze and Petrify become pretty redundant.

    None of my games' battle systems have justified the use of permanent disables, and therefore my games to date have only used Stun as the single Loss-of-Turn state - never Paralyze nor Petrify.

    ===

    EDIT: In one game I'm designing, I'm strongly considering a state called "Stupor" which is applied to battlers when they are Revived from KO (in an attempt to make KOs punishing without limiting Revives). A stupefied character cannot act, but enemies will not target them unless there are no other (non-stupefied) characters remaining. Stupor can't be cured by items nor spells - only by wearing off over time.

    I think this state fits in alongside the normal "Stun" state (which you inflict on enemies, and can be cured with items/spells like most states can).
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2019
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  12. TheoAllen

    TheoAllen Self-proclaimed jack of all trades Veteran

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    Generally what I've seen the difference between the longer duration of stun like paralyze, sleep, petrify, entangle.
    > Paralyze = A general longer "stun". May or may not wear off on its own. (Some dev decided to keep evasion, some aren't. It's versatile state)
    > Petrify = A longer "stun" with damage taken boosted if attacked by a physical attack.
    > Sleep = A longer "stun" with damage taken boosted a lot but the state is removed if getting hit. And continue to sleep if receive no damage.
    > Entangle = A longer "stun", but without much drawback, and may be removed when attacked (You can actually add DoT damage on it though, so it is a paralyze but with damage over turn/time).

    And if it isn't enough of the redundancy, here I add one
    > Stagger = Stun, but with the damage taken boosted for a single turn

    ... :D
     
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  13. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    I have both in my game. "Paralyze" is so uniquely powerful that I consider it the "upgraded" form of "Stun". Here's the difference:

    Stun - Actor cannot act until struck with damage (any damage). 100% Cured once actor/enemy takes damage. Cannot be cured with Consumables or Skills, but it is cured at the end of combat.
    Paralyze - Actor cannot act until a Consumable or Skill is used on them. State lasts forever, until cured. It is removed at the end of combat.

    The purpose of these two is very different. "Stun" is meant to be used as a strategic option. Take enemies out of the fight even though you can't kill them immediately to do so (you can stun an enemy and then never attack them for the rest of combat to keep them from taking any actions). It's use is to prioritize targets. "Paralyze" is meant to drastically alter the flow of any battle. If you manage to Paralyze a boss and he has no way to remove it... you've essentially won. If the enemies manage to Paralyze your whole party and you have no way to remove it, the enemies have essentially won. Paralyze has a low hit rate, however (the most a player can manage is somewhere around 30% chance of inflicting it, and enemies that have it will inflict it at roughly the same rate, with a few exceptions for higher rates of inflicting it), and there aren't many skills in my game that can/will inflict it.

    So, "Stun" is meant to be used strategically, inflicted when you're fighting enemies that need to be taken out in certain orders to make combat easier.

    "Paralyze" is meant to force the player to use Consumables and spend actions doing so. It is meant to make some battles much easier if you can manage to inflict it (and some of my enemies/bosses are immune to paralyze).

    I think that's the key to having "separate, but different" states. It always amuses me that we have games with like 10 different DoT effects, but they're all basically the same. They need to be unique enough to change the flow of battle in some way. To change strategy or tactics. Otherwise, you're just engaging in "Bloat".

    Something else that should also be done when you have "separate, but different" states like "Stun" and "Paralyze" is to create a tutorial for them. Something interactive. I've got a dungeon where I teach "Stun" to players and use it as the key to defeat many of the combat encounters. Enemies even inflict it on the player (and then attack you afterwards so it wears off). The dev needs to effectively communicate the differences in these states as well as their advantages/disadvantages and "intended purposes".
     
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  14. Aesica

    Aesica undefined Veteran

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    I don't find the two redundant at all. In fact, one could argue that I have several "redundant" status ailments in my game, but the purpose is that some should be seen as more dangerous than others, some are removed in different ways than others, etc.
    • Confusion vs Charm: Confusion is a relatively light status ailment in that the target will attack allies or enemies and it gets broken on any damage. Charm, on the other hand, does not break on damage and forces the target to attack allies specifically. Thus, Charm is far more dangerous.
    • Sleep vs Frozen: Both of these disable the target and kill evasions until the target takes damage, however targets affected by Frozen take double damage from the next hit
    • Daze vs Paralyze vs Stop: Daze only lasts 1 turn and is meant as more of an annoyance. Paralyze lasts several turns but can be removed with cheap, commonly-available consumables or Esuna-like abilities. Stop is functionally similar to Paralyze, but is far more dangerous due to no removal options existing and only a few accessories available to prevent it. All 3 also disable evasions of any kind
    • Many faces of Poison: I actually have several dozen different damage-over-time effects, all of which scale with the attacker's stats rather than being percent-of-HP. Poisons (I have about 5) in general are easy to remove but some are pretty potent and dangerous if left untreated. Other similar effects, like burning and bleed, aren't really removable as they're meant to be extensions of attacks that apply them more than anything else. The player just has to heal through them.
    I guess my point is that it's okay to have multiple states that do the same basic thing (see my paralyze/stop especially) as long as you are able to make them feel different enough in how the player deals with them, or with other drawbacks/durations/etc to set them apart from one another..
     
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  15. Snake2557

    Snake2557 Villager Member

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    I try to use Paralysis as a "boss only" mechanic, in that it acts as a kind of pressure building mechanic. For instance a boss I made recently is the Basilisk; it has an ability called glare which paralyses one party member permanently (you need to use an item or ability to cure it) the boss uses the ability every four turns. However if there is a player character whom is still paralysed when the fourth turn comes, he instead uses the gorge ability which instant kills the party member and heals the boss by a large amount. Long winded point, but you can use paralysis as a way to put a timer on the player, like I did, or to include an interesting dynamic into the bosses pattern. Whilst stun can be reserved for more basic enemy types as it is a less dreadful experience. I've always imagined (much like the original poster) that stun is more like getting the wind knocked out of you.
     
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  16. xdan

    xdan Veteran Veteran

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    How I do it:

    -Paralysis: stops you from using physical attacks, but not magic attacks.
    -Stun: prohibits any and all actions.

    They have different ways to apply them, different enemy resistances, different costs, etc

    You can find a million distinctions if you really try.
     
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  17. KoldBlood

    KoldBlood Innovation from Limitation Veteran

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    States are always a fun topic. While I can agree with others here that the difference in duration, cure conditions, etc. are typically enough to differentiate between Stun and Paralyze in most games I admit that I did find them to be redundant for my own game (and indeed other games I've played) so I decided to make an effort to make each state as different as possible from a "combat-flow" perspective. Example:

    Stun:

    Stun works similar to what you'd expect with a twist; the character is unable to act for a turn but will take critical damage from the next attack that hits them. The catch is Stun is immediately removed if the character is hit by any attack. If not hit they are cured anyway at the start of the next turn. This adds some interesting decisions for the player when they stun an enemy; do you get in some extra damage or use the free turn to do something else? There is no cure for being stunned so if the player is hit with it they can also decide to either tank through it or have the party focus on defending them for that turn.

    Paralysis:
    This was inspired by Tales of Vesperia's version of Paralysis which limited the player's ability to perform attacks/skills in their Real-Time combat system by randomly interrupting your combos or skills.

    In my game Paralysis acts more like a physical version of Silence preventing the character from using physical skills. You can still use the basic attack as well as magic spells however. Silence is of course the counter-part to this state but for magic as usual.


    I also did similar things with the DoT effects that were too similar as well, like:

    Poison:
    The character loses 20% of their Current HP every turn making poison aggressive at high HP but weaker at low HP.

    Bleed:
    The character loses 10% of their Current Lost HP every turn making bleed do very low damage at high HP getting more aggressive as HP gets lower.

    Burn:
    Burn used to be a DoT state but I decided to change it so that characters are unable to recover HP or MP while burned. This way burn can setup strategic decisions over the turns it is active as damage cannot just be healed away. Plus, its very useful for HP regenerating enemies as burn stops regeneration.

    Frostbite:
    This state used to be an MP DoT but now it doubles the costs of all of skills and spells. Frostbite can half the amount of MP available to the player this way or the player can get around it by just using basic attack or defending for a few turns.


    I don't want to go on-and-on about every state in my game so I'll stop there but I think you can get the point. I'd say experiment with settings or even the "concept" of some states like Paralysis, it usually blocks all player interaction but here I've implemented it in a way that still retains it's "difficult to move" theme while making it more interesting for the player.

    Yeah, arguably, the duration/cure difference achieves enough difference already but I just wanted a bigger impact on the players combat choices which I feel I've achieved with these approaches. It also reduces the amount of states that do basically the same thing so the player tends to always know the purpose, uses, and dangers of a state (if you trained them well/have good reference material).

    Of course how your game actually plays will also play a big part in how your states need to function and, indeed, what states you even include since like most things in game design there's not really a "one size fits all" approach.
     
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  18. DJK1NG_Gaming

    DJK1NG_Gaming Villager Member

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    I took stun out and replaced with Pokemon style paralyze.
    Feels like the best way Paralyze or Stun should work.

    Edit:
    Also Stun to me seems nothing more than Flinching.

    Edit 2:
    By Pokemon style.
    Basically the state halves the speed in Pokemon as well as chances of not being able do any actions that turn.

    For my game I just have "Not being able to do anything that turn if the state activates."
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2019
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  19. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    @DJK1NG_Gaming Could you be a bit more explicit than just saying "Pokemon style paralyze". Although a popular game series with huge name recognition, there are still millions of people who will not have played it and so will not know what you are referring to.
    Thanks.
     
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  20. Chaos Avian

    Chaos Avian Abyssal Wing Restaff

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    I use paralysis differently from the norm. It's a variant of Silence and combination of two types from different games Pokemon and Tales of Berseria.

    It has 3 effects:

    - Reduces AGI and EVA by 50%.

    - You have a 25% chance to not act that turn.

    - You can't use physical based attacks.

    This way, it's more universally dangerous, but more-so for physical attacker. Whereas a simple Silence will shut down a Mage/Priest entirely, a physical attacker will still have their normal attack to rely on until cured. With the added chance of not being able to act, the incentive to cure the physical attacker is higher. I find this to be especially crippling to fast attackers that heavily rely on their skill for damage such as a rogue or thief.

    As for Stun, it's used as described above as everyone else. A disrupting/ delay tactics, I tend to give these sort of skills high cooldowns lest you create the infamous "Stun-lock" (Thinks back to Cheria cheesing bosses in Graces F...)
     
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