What do you think about Temporary Party members?

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by Yougotsomechocolate, Jul 18, 2019.

  1. Yougotsomechocolate

    Yougotsomechocolate Random Chest Veteran

    Messages:
    155
    Likes Received:
    66
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    There's a couple types
    Mercenarys hire-able for a certain amount of days/mins/etc
    Escorts (Take a basically useless or comparably weak guy and take him to a location)
    That one powerful dude that slays monsters better than you and has endgame gear but he dies due to a rabbit: Self explanatory.
    What do you think about each of these types, and what could be approved?
     
    #1
  2. ShadowDragon

    ShadowDragon Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    572
    Likes Received:
    148
    Location:
    Netherlands
    First Language:
    Dutch
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    depends on the game, some quest with escorts to avoid danger and helpfull or better in a party to a certain point of safety.
    other types that go from A to B or protection because he cant stands snakes or poison that kill him or from bee stings
    which he can be weak too.

    it can have a point, but games that just add it for fun or useless function make the game less fun to play.
    protection or merchants that can help you get better gear have a purpose, if he dies, you need to wait much longer
    to buy better gear.

    As long it has a purpose and worthfull, why not?
     
    #2
  3. Andar

    Andar Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    28,152
    Likes Received:
    6,375
    Location:
    Germany
    First Language:
    German
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    It depends on how it is done. It can enhance the story, but it can also frustrate the player.

    For example can you control the level progression of temporary members? What happens if that temporary member leaves, especially if the player has no way to know that in advance?
    A player can get frustrated if the powerhouse they expected to keep is suddenly removed from the party
    On the other hand it can improve the story if done in the right way.
     
    #3
  4. MushroomCake28

    MushroomCake28 KAMO Studio Veteran

    Messages:
    1,622
    Likes Received:
    2,916
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    I don't mind them as long as it is clear to the player that they are temporary. I just don't want to invest a lot in a character only to have him/her leave and never return.
     
    #4
    Aesica and TheoAllen like this.
  5. Aesica

    Aesica undefined Veteran

    Messages:
    717
    Likes Received:
    671
    Location:
    SW5GMW 4xVHk
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    Temporary party members are just fine...

    HOWEVER

    Please either give them fixed gear that can't be removed (if very temporary) or auto-unequip them before they leave. One of the most irritating things is having to restart the game after a boss because Dudey McDudeface decided to leave the party and took my Ultima Weapon, Aegis Shield, and Armor of Kings with him.
     
    #5
  6. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

    Messages:
    4,072
    Likes Received:
    3,407
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMVXA
    Speaking specifically to temporary party members in RPGs that are real characters, I think of making them playable as an Effort vs. Reward tradeoff on the Developer's side.
    • The biggest benefit to investing the effort is that the character will be far more relatable (and usually more likable) to the player than if they were an NPC. There is a certain connection that players have to party members they are directly responsible for, which usually cannot be recreated with a pure NPC, even a very likable one.
    • There's also a slight boost to player immersion in their recognition that many people in the world - not just their party members - are capable of fighting and adventuring.
    • Finally, you have the gameplay mechanics benefit of offering the player the chance to play a very different way for a temporary amount of time, if the Temp Character has very unique mechanics (perhaps ones that would either get boring, or become imbalanced, if they were available for the rest of the game).
    On the negative side, creating Temp Members can take a lot of effort (usually the full amount of effort it requires to create a character that's available all game long). Art assets, character-specific GUI, animations, gear (if each party member has access to different gear), new skills (unless they're clones of existing members' skills), hitboxes, bugtesting... it adds up quickly. The game might benefit more from you putting your effort into content elsewhere (or simply creating more fully-playable-all-game-long characters). In basic RPG Maker games, very little needs to be done to create an additional playable character. But as you start adding more plugins, or developing in other engines (especially ones built for Action-style games), it becomes a lot more work to add additional playable characters.

    Don't forget that it's perfectly reasonable to have a character temporarily join your party, leave, and temporarily join again later! This kind of "ally on the outside" can be a really cool dynamic in RPGs, and having one character join twice is only half the work of having two characters join once!

    Mercenaries tend to be a very different thing from what I think of as "temp characters", and they're generally best used for games that specifically exploit them as a game-wide mechanic, like Europa Universalis. In general, I don't think that genres like RPGs should be trying to add mercenaries into their gameplay - it's more likely to completely throw off the balance than it is to improve the experience.

    I sort of like when games do this. Again, comes down to the effort vs. reward tradeoff.

    I feel that if you're going to include a mega-overpowered character (more than twice as powerful as your current characters), do so for a very short stretch of gameplay. Yes, it can helps get the point across that the character is REALLY powerful and badass, but it also robs your other characters of the opportunity to do anything useful. I'd rather have a temp member that's equally powerful to my party members (or slightly stronger), and unique.
     
    #6
  7. DJK1NG_Gaming

    DJK1NG_Gaming Villager Member

    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    26
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    Personally I say the best two ways are filler characters that are added to the party until at certain point in a story or a major character that will eventually die in the story basically the best way to handle it is have the temporary character have some connection to the party or protagonist.


    The other way that I think is the best way is like Laguna, Kiros and Ward from Final Fantasy VIII.
    That is the best way temporary characters can be handled.
     
    #7
  8. Eschaton

    Eschaton Hack Fraud Veteran

    Messages:
    2,026
    Likes Received:
    525
    Location:
    Kansas City, Missouri
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    N/A
    I feel like "mercenary" is more interesting as a gameplay concept than a story concept.

    Maybe a mercenary actor's actions in battle could cost gold. If the player doesn't have enough gold for that mercenary to , they can't do anything with that actor and they just take up a slot.

    As for "guest" party members, that is an accepted gameplay convention. It might come with some problems.
     
    #8

Share This Page