The weakest parts of RPG battle design?

Berylstone

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ksjp17 is right, that's what I ment.

Like I said, its just auto attack in disguise, so to speak.

There will always be something, that is more effective than other things, there is no way to prevent that.

Just that very thing shouldn't be the same in every situtation, so auto attack shouldn't be the way to go for everything.

Stuff like different elemental attacks beeing the best thing to use, depending on the situation for example.

There will always be a strongest/most efficient skill/spell to use, but it shouldn't always be the same.

I guess most people that try to prevent the auto attack spam issue just end up doing the same, by introducing some sort of really good skill, that will still be used most of the time.

So back to square one, auto attack in disguise.

Like I said before, there are a lot of things to take into consideration when designing a battle system, and coming up with something perfect is impossible (in my opinion atleast).

Doesn't need to be perfect tho, just the disguise needs to be a good one, so to speak :)
I think I understand what you are saying now.

Basically that since there is a more effective option to choose for each situation it becomes a sort of auto attack in disguise since the player is automatically going to want to choose that option?

 

I've tried multiple times to get into Legend of Legaia, and failed. It always came across as having tried to copy Xenogears action-oriented turn-based mechanics, but failed to do so effectively. Even Xenogears became tedious, when round after round you have to insert a multitude of attacks just to land a proper blow.

 
Same here.  I tried several times (my sister bought me the game so I felt obliged) but I just couldn't stomach it.  It literally began to feel like a form of torture.
 
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Necromus

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I think I understand what you are saying now.

Basically that since there is a more effective option to choose for each situation it becomes a sort of auto attack in disguise since the player is automatically going to want to choose that option?

 

 

Same here.  I tried several times (my sister bought me the game so I felt obliged) but I just couldn't stomach it.  It literally began to feel like a form of torture.
Exactly.

People tend to think that they can easily solve that issue, but most of the time its not that easy, and you just end up with something else you spam constantly instead.

As for Legend of Legaia, I think I actually completed the first one, don't really remember, was years ago.

But the 2nd one I recall was really good, maybe should revisit that on a PS2 emulator :D
 

Eschaton

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Why do RPGs even have a wait command?? The only game this made sense in wad SMT Digital Devil Saga1-2 and that passed your turn to the ally in the line up.

You know how the Japanese like to do things differently even if it makes no sense xD like Engrish...
Then, they need to stop taking their weird sh*t over here.  It's not like they accept our weird American sh*t over there with open arms, or anything.
 

kerbonklin

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Then, they need to stop taking their weird sh*t over here.  It's not like they accept our weird American sh*t over there with open arms, or anything.
.......You REALLY should re-think over what you just said....  If this was the case then you wouldn't even have RPG Maker, or 95% of any video games you play.

And yes they do accept most of our things, and we accept most of their things. Before and even after we atomic-bombed them during WW2.

*Eats sushi*
 
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Eschaton

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*Eats bacon and drinks whiskey*

We'd be speakin' German if we din't bomb Japan.

Disclaimer:  Being satirical.

And by weird Sh*t, I mean Katamari and Nintendogs and Beyblade and...God, all sorts of strange things.

Besides, I'm sure I could walk up to a random Japanese guy, ask him where the Final Fantasy series peaked, and he'd light a cigarette, take a huge manly drag, and tell me the series ended at VI.  Then, we'd go get sh*thoused together on Orion beer and Suntory whiskey.
 
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Omnimental

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Nintendogs is just another pet simulator and Katamari is freaking awesome.  Japan is great for proving that video games don't need to always be serious and/or realistic.

Plus, half of the fun of living in such an interconnected world is being about to dip into so many different cultures that can be so different from our own.  Exposing ourselves to new and 'strange' things are part of what helps us grow.  Cultural segregation helps no-one.

And "They don't do it, so why should we?" is ****ty reasoning regardless.   :p
 

Eschaton

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I don't mind all of the countries being united.  So long as we can drink scotch and eat bacon.  Hell, I'll learn Arabic if it will mean world peace.  With scotch and bacon.
 

Aceri

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I don't mind the turn-based battle style all that much. I mean the whole point of it is to give the player a chance to plan out the next course of action. I mean think of FFVII's fight against Sephiroth. You COULD do anything you wanted in that fight, but you had to do things right to be successful. One wrong-timed heal screwed your entire fight.
 

Necromus

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I don't mind the turn-based battle style all that much. I mean the whole point of it is to give the player a chance to plan out the next course of action. I mean think of FFVII's fight against Sephiroth. You COULD do anything you wanted in that fight, but you had to do things right to be successful. One wrong-timed heal screwed your entire fight.
Don't think Spehiroth is a prime example of a hard FF fight really, he's really, really easy.

I think a better example of turn based strategy would be Penace in FFX, a wrong move might actually really screw you over here.
 

Aceri

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Well I kind of stopped playing after FFVII so that's why I used Sephiroth. He was also made harder for me because I never took part in the random battle so I was always under leveled lol.

Guess a better example would be any boss in Dark Souls.
 

Sviel

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I don't think the issue is with turn-based, like many others have pointed out.  Rather, the problem is a general stagnation of the rpg genre.  You have generic weapons, elements, some form of magic...there's no two ways to win a fight.  You attack an enemy with something it's weak to until it dies.  The healing and buffing, if any, is mere distraction.  You could, in theory, facetank anything in the game if you had enough hp.  Winning the game is simply about finding something to whack with that makes your enemies die before you do.  Worse, bosses generally have some mechanic that breaks all of the balance rules.  Rather than really being interesting, it becomes a 'did you know about this in advance via guides/prior deaths' situation.  Even when done 'well,' it can still be a long time invested into a fight with only a handful of impactful decision points.

There's a such thing as good turn-based, but the par for rpgs is way too low right now.
 

Berylstone

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I don't think the issue is with turn-based, like many others have pointed out.  Rather, the problem is a general stagnation of the rpg genre.  You have generic weapons, elements, some form of magic...there's no two ways to win a fight.  You attack an enemy with something it's weak to until it dies.  The healing and buffing, if any, is mere distraction.  You could, in theory, facetank anything in the game if you had enough hp.  Winning the game is simply about finding something to whack with that makes your enemies die before you do.  Worse, bosses generally have some mechanic that breaks all of the balance rules.  Rather than really being interesting, it becomes a 'did you know about this in advance via guides/prior deaths' situation.  Even when done 'well,' it can still be a long time invested into a fight with only a handful of impactful decision points.

There's a such thing as good turn-based, but the par for rpgs is way too low right now.
I will definitely agree with you about the stagnation of RPG games these days.  The mechanics are often tedious and uninteresting, and I am not sure why this genre seems to be going backward instead of forward.

My guess is it has to do with the advent of online games.  I think this has attracted a lot of players primarily interested in social media and other types of games rather the traditional RPG elements.  The result is you have a lot of games advertising  as RPG games, but do not attempt to build on the foundations that made these games appealing to the original audience.
 
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Sviel

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I hadn't considered social media, but I think you hit the nail on the head there.

In addition, I think there's been an over-focus on storytelling.  I love a good story, yes, but if instead of turning pages I have to slog through tedious battles, it seems less worthwhile.  For some reason, games tend to focus on EITHER interesting mechanics or interesting story, leading to a dearth of games that do both decently well.  I'm sure we could all name a few, though, so it's not quite apocalyptic yet.
 

Eschaton

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JRPG designers seem to be in a rut.  They seem to obey the same core rules:

1.  The standard action is a physical attack.

2.  Everyone has the ability to defend against attacks, regardless of their equipment.

3.  Spells have a singular purpose limited utility.  There are spells that heal/damage, and there are spells that cause buffs/debuffs.

4.  Bosses are immune to debuffs and instant death.

5.  With every generation of JRPGs, the numbers have to get bigger.  Always.

They seem to be immutable.  They cannot seem to be bent or broken.  Everything else is fair game, hence the silly 'systems,' such as timed attacks, that silly wheel from Shadow Hearts, or whatever they tend to think is novel but not fun.
 
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Necromus

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JRPG designers seem to be in a rut.  They seem to obey the same core rules:

1.  The standard action is a physical attack.

2.  Everyone has the ability to defend against attacks, regardless of their equipment.

3.  Spells have a singular purpose limited utility.  There are spells that heal/damage, and there are spells that cause buffs/debuffs.

4.  Bosses are immune to debuffs and instant death.

5.  With every generation of JRPGs, the numbers have to get bigger.  Always.

They seem to be immutable.  They cannot seem to be bent or broken.  Everything else is fair game, hence the silly 'systems,' such as timed attacks, that silly wheel from Shadow Hearts, or whatever they tend to think is novel but not fun.
Well, time to come up with something that brakes the cycle then, if you think they cycle is a bad thing.

What ideas do you have, how would you approache things differently?

Also the systems you mentioned beeing "not fun" is highly subjective of course, I for one really like the wheel in Shadow Hearts.
 

Kurisu

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Perhaps this has been mentioned before, but a common element I don't like, yet I see in various RPG games is those numerous stat-inflicting abilities I am not going to use even once. In most cases plain physical attacks and offensive spells get the job done and there's simply no point to try anything more sophisticated. Also, maybe I'm just impatient but I've grown tired of turn-based combat in general. It takes too long and often feels like it's a chore.
I prefer action based combat, and if this is out of question, then at least I'd prefer FF Tactics style battles.

Players should feel excitement when entering combat - fights are supposed to be awesome, interesting, challenging. It really tires me when I repeatedly encounter Rattata on that last patch of grass, if you know what I mean.
 
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Engr. Adiktuzmiko

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that's simply because attacks are normally too powerful that you only need to mash attack and the fight is over... XD
 

Dandydan

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In addition, I think there's been an over-focus on storytelling.  I love a good story, yes, but if instead of turning pages I have to slog through tedious battles, it seems less worthwhile.  For some reason, games tend to focus on EITHER interesting mechanics or interesting story, leading to a dearth of games that do both decently well.  I'm sure we could all name a few, though, so it's not quite apocalyptic yet.
There is a reason why story-telling is over-focused--it is cheap. What I mean is that if a person has a weak story the easiest way to jazz that story up is with some graphics and the easiest way to do that is with a game. The problem with interesting mechanics is that they are expensive. New animations are time consuming and good design takes careful thought. I remember reading years ago that each time Blizzard added a dance move for one of their characters into the World of Warcraft it cost them 100K. OTOH hand stories can be banged out in days. Storytelling is cheap, that's why there is so much of it.

Anyway, on to the topic. The biggest problem for me in RPG battle design is pointless battles. My view is that every battle should move the plot in some direction. This was the big failing of Dragon Age 2, utterly pointless combat (among other things). It is so obvious to me anymore when a designer is adding battles into the game just to make the game longer or as filler because the plot is so empty. The game designer should be able to state why the battle or sequence of battles changes the game world beyond the simple fact that the player get XP to go up a level. The best games are always the one's where I'm surpised that my PC's level increased because I was  so absorbed by other parts of the game that I didn't even notice I was gaining XP.  I will tolerate a lot of A-B-C-A-B-C button mashing if the combact seems to have a larger purpose.
 

Berylstone

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Perhaps this has been mentioned before, but a common element I don't like, yet I see in various RPG games is those numerous stat-inflicting abilities I am not going to use even once. In most cases plain physical attacks and offensive spells get the job done and there's simply no point to try anything more sophisticated. Also, maybe I'm just impatient but I've grown tired of turn-based combat in general. It takes too long and often feels like it's a chore.

I prefer action based combat, and if this is out of question, then at least I'd prefer FF Tactics style battles.

Players should feel excitement when entering combat - fights are supposed to be awesome, interesting, challenging. It really tires me when I repeatedly encounter Rattata on that last patch of grass, if you know what I mean.
This is the way i see it:

Combat in an RPG game should be a way to test your character's build.  It's basically like a report card.  It's purpose is to give your character a reason to want to improve so you can rise to greater challenges.  So if you are beating defeated a lot chances are you may want to re-think your character's build.  If you are excelling in combat, then the opposite.  So as long as that basic principle is maintained, I think the larger purpose you mention stays intact and advancing a plot isn't necessary.

To me that is what makes an RPG game addictive.  it isn't just the plot or storytelling.  It's building your character in unique and powerful ways so you can win against enemies that once handed you your backside.  To me that is what makes an RPG game fun and unique.
 
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ArchaicSpoon

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Personally, the main gripe that I have with jRPGs is how bland the spell selection tends to be. This even happens within the RPG Maker community as well. Most spells just tend to be attack, fire spell, heal, ice spell, debuff, thunder spell, stronger attack, stronger fire spell, and rinse and repeat. I mean, how about adding a spell that does more damage the more defense the enemy has? Or how about a spell that will do massive damage while giving debuffs to the user? There's pretty much no creativity in making several skills and thus we end up with over nine thousand games that suffer from Vivi's Spellbook Principle.
 

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