What mechanic or element would RPGs be better without?

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by Wavelength, Oct 31, 2017.

  1. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    5,124
    Likes Received:
    4,260
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    @kirbwarrior I learned something similar from that game (It's insanely easy, story is simple, etcetera. It's a beginner's RPG, but it's one of my favorites anyway). I didn't like the "two hit rule" though. I just adapted it to be "four hit rule" on initial encounter with enemies and then "one hit rule if you come back, since you know how it works now". I just personally find this feels better as a player. I like combat to have an initial challenge, but once you know how to do it, it's easy to just kill it in a single hit and move on. I like the feeling of "raw power" that gives me, as a player. Like I'd earned how powerful I was, and enemies that once gave me problems now suddenly fall in a single swipe of my blade.

    Also, the bows were made to be used from the Back Row in FF4. This is something the game doesn't tell you at all. ^_^ If you're in the front row with bows, they suffer serious penalties and suck. But, put them in the back row, and they can land critical hits more frequently, inflict states more easily (provided your arrows have states tied to them), and do a lot more damage. They also hit with the usual 90% accuracy of any other weapon. But, again, the game doesn't tell you this at all. I only figured it out by equipping my Mages with them, as they were the strongest weapon most of the mages in the game could even use.

    As for going thirty seconds without combat. That's actually pretty good in a Random Encounter type game. You know how much ground you can cover in 30 seconds in a Random Encounter game? Meanwhile, games like Skyrim and Fallout 4... 30 seconds isn't a lot of time. That's roughly every two blocks of city. That's a frequent encounter rate for games based on first person views and lots of exploration.

    Encounter Rate likely is one of the reasons why both systems feel "not working" to me. I feel like the "Visual Encounter" ones are just as frequent as the "Random Encounter" ones, except I can see one set coming. In a 15x30 hallway, I might hit two random encounters before making it to the other side. Or, maybe one if I'm insanely lucky. But, if a dev puts two or three encounters in that hallway via Visual Encounter... Well, it's exactly the same. Even if I can avoid all 3... just means it requires me waste movement time doing so.

    @jonthefox Ah, video game compulsion. The battle is there, so I must do it. It gives me stuff to complete it, directly impacts how much power I have, how much money I've got, and helps make future sections of this game easier. I'll fight every single battle in a game, whether it's Random Encounter or Visual Encounter. Because killing the enemy is rewarding. Because all that XP, no matter how small, adds up over time. All that money adds up over time. Visual Encounters just make that more controllable for the dev, and makes it more difficult to grind if a player decides they want to. But, that compulsion remains in most gamers. Sure, you could just hit "Escape" in every encounter. You could just avoid the little sprites on the map, but there's no reward for doing so. Unless you just don't want to fight at that moment. I don't know many players that evade a lot of combat in video games. Mostly because that's part of the gameplay and we have this compulsion as a species to defeat all our enemies. Even in Deus Ex games, where you can stealth by every single enemy in a level... You will feel compelled to knock out or kill several of those enemies... or most of them... or in extreme cases, all of them. The act of defeating opponents is like hard-wired into us.

    @bgillisp Dungeons should feel inhabited by creatures. Hungry creatures. Who think you're a meal. Especially if they attack you. To that extent, all dungeons should have minimum space requirements of 50x50 maps to make them feel lived in :D

    All joking aside, yeah you need to communicate effectively to players what things do. I got the same feedback with my "Great Axe" archetype for weapons. The description was something along the lines of, "This unwieldy axe is the most powerful weapon available in the land." I'd basically been thinking, "okay, a player is going to infer that unwieldy means you lose speed using it, and it's probably not very accurate". Cue complaints about how difficult it was to hit with it, even with only a 30% drop in accuracy. Descriptions then had to change and give the exact amount of accuracy loss for the weapon archetype. Complaints then ceased. It would be a lot nicer if the RPG Maker franchise gave "complete equipment breakdown" on equip screens or shop screens. Save us valuable "description text" space. I guess there are plugins that do that, but they're mostly clunky. Still, it's important to tell players exactly what they're getting into with each piece of equipment. Even joke equipment.

    Not a lot of RPGs do this though. Especially ones with combat in real time. "Oh, this weapon is slow". Well, how slow? Oh, I've got a scale of 1 to 10 here. How much slower is a 5 compared to a 4? Who knows until you equip the weapon! Oh, this armor piece prevents some fire damage. How much fire damage? Can I get a percentage? Etcetera.
     
    #41
  2. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

    Messages:
    11,908
    Likes Received:
    12,036
    Location:
    USA
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMVXA
    @Tai_MT : Yep. I'd love to see more space for items too. As it is, I just thought the description of the item as unwieldy would give it away, and the player would check the player status page (via a script I added) to see how it affected To Hit and such. Nope.
     
    #42
  3. gstv87

    gstv87 Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    1,744
    Likes Received:
    765
    First Language:
    Spanish
    Primarily Uses:
    RMVXA
    they won't.
    given that the japanese are so crazy both creating a million different ways of play, and finding a million different ways to beat those million of ways of play, you end up with a character reaching levels of OPness never imagined by the developers.
    so, they have to make sure that the boss is still a challenge for a lvl 999 character, with all stats maxed to +99, and legendary gear capable of hitting for 5000 damage each hit.
    ..........and, if they present a game *without* those millions of different ways of play (which would solve the problem right out), nobody would play it.
     
    #43
  4. kirbwarrior

    kirbwarrior Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    617
    Likes Received:
    312
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    N/A
    Four Heroes of Light has a very similar weapon. There's an axe you can get early on through silly optional content. All axes have less accuracy (I think -5%?), but that one has some absurd -50%. Sadly, accuracy isn't told to you and most people don't get that you shouldn't use that axe.
    I love joke equipment. In Soul Caliber 2, I actually prefer to use Nightmare's joke sword (the Oar) in most modes. No weapon directly tells you its stats, sadly, so you won't know that the joke weapons do 1/4 damage until a few battles.
    It's hard to tell what equipment does in many games. I can count on my hand the number of nonTRPGs I've played where it was obvious what equipment does and how good it makes you. I always write in blatant mechanical effects in the description alongside narrative. Actually, since Yanfly's journal plugin came out, I like the idea of putting equipment narrative there so I can put as much as I want.
    I think the two-turn rule is a similar thing, where you learn how to most efficiently go about a battle once you've fought these enemies. I do like the idea of it being more extreme, where you can rush through battles in one turn once you know what to do, but it's difficult and hard to figure out. (Aside, I noticed you said "hit" not "turn", what do you mean by that?)
    I think that's a key aspect. You can know when the battle will happen, and you can know you can leave without hitting anymore encounters.
     
    #44
  5. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    5,124
    Likes Received:
    4,260
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    The "Hit" rule is just what it sounds like. Takes four hits to kill the enemy. Preferably, one by each party member. I like all my characters to "contribute" to combat. But, as a general rule, this is per enemy. So, when you encounter a new enemy, I want each to go down in about 4 hits or so. At least... while you don't know how to beat them. Just mashing "Attack" means, it's about 4 hits or so. Exploiting states and weaknesses is pretty much what I'd like players to be doing, making those hits go down.
     
    #45
    M.I.A. likes this.
  6. M.I.A.

    M.I.A. Goofball Extraordinaire Veteran

    Messages:
    779
    Likes Received:
    571
    Location:
    Seattle
    First Language:
    English
    YES!! I hate when games make ACC come across as SO important. Sometimes, a missed hit can cost you en entire battle!! Or worse yet, 3 missed hits in a row!! I still do believe ACC should be a Stat to take into consideration.. especially for states/boosts/debuffs/skils.. but in normal combat, it shouldn't be something that makes the player afraid to use a regular attack for fear of missing.

    In my projects, ACC for Actors/Enemies is no lower than 90%, and that's at the lowest. (They may miss 1 in 10 regular attacks).
    And even "Blind" only drops them down to 75% ACC. Few skills with high risk/reward are 50% ACC, and anything lower than 50% is simply 0% (for example, a Boss that adds a state called "Bet You Can't Catch Me!" and becomes impossible to hit.

    Even with all that, I still add ACC boosts to most Accessory equipment, because even that extra 2% ACC pays off and takes the frustration off the player.

    -MIA
     
    #46
  7. XIIIthHarbinger

    XIIIthHarbinger Part Time Super Villain Veteran

    Messages:
    676
    Likes Received:
    795
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    @Tai_MT
    I understand what you're saying, but I disagree.

    The tendency to stick "trash mobs" in tight corners to force the player to engage so the player achieves "the right level", is arguably very much akin to cranking up the encounter rate to ensure the player engages.

    However, visual encounters are far better suited for things like stealth mechanics & alternate route approaches to the target. Because turning off the random encounters honestly doesn't make it feel like you're sneaking past sentries, it just makes an area feel empty. The same for unlocking the door to a side passage to get around a checkpoint where the player can see the guards posted. Things like COV, patrol routes, stealth skills, & skills based methods of accessing alternate paths all either become irrelevant with random encounters.

    Fundamentally when visual encounters are done right, it's rather like a chess board. A set number of pieces arrayed against the opposition, each with their own capabilities. Random encounters though are by their very nature both infinite & invisible. The tendency towards near on inexhaustible healing spells, in my opinion is a product of some many RPGs using infinite & invisible random encounters.

    I.e. if the supply of enemies is by nature inexhaustible, then the means of restoring health needs to be equally or very nearly equally inexhaustible. Where as if the enemies are a set number of visual encounters, a set number of available resources becomes a mechanic that can be used, to lead the player to be more tactical in their engagements. Taking a page from the book of genres like survival horror & hybrid RPGs.

    Simply put, under a random encounter mechanic, having a lack of "trash mobs" is by nature nearly impossible. Whereas under a visual encounter mechanic, every battle represents not only the short term risk of combat, but the long terms risks of the potential reduction of a finite pool of resources.

    Understand, I am not saying random encounters can't produce interesting combat, or a tactical approach to combat. However, a great many potential options go out the metaphorical window under a random encounter system.

    @kirbwarrior
    Personally I tend to work stealth builds fairly often in Bethesda games, archers, snipers, assassins, that sort of thing; so I certainly don't find that to be the case when I play.
     
    #47
    lianderson likes this.
  8. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    5,124
    Likes Received:
    4,260
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    I find trash mobs to be trash mobs regardless of encounter system used. I don't care which you use, if you have trash mobs, I hate your combat system. Combat systems sucking tends to be the core reason people care about what "encounter type" in the first place. If a player is bored with your combat or otherwise doesn't want to engage with it, there's likely a problem there. There are merits to both encounter systems, but "being able to avoid trash mobs" should never be one of them. Especially when the problem can be solved by, "I don't have trash mobs in my game".

    However, to disagree with your point...

    Most people who use Random Encounters rarely, if ever, "crank up the encounter rate". Mostly because they know that high encounter rates are frustrating to players. They do, however, frequently include ways to DROP the encounter rates, to cater to people who just want to skip encounters for a while. No such treats exist in "Visual Encounter" style games.

    Besides, a dev packing a hallway with unavoidable enemies is a Middle Finger to the player. Pure. And. Simple. It says, "You will do this encounter because I have designed the game in such a way to make it unavoidable. So, bend over, take it, and LIKE IT." Something I, personally, just do not enjoy.

    Depends on how you design them. Though, a visual base is more appealing to the player. You can have "stealth" by simply altering encounter rates based on a stealth statistic... provided you have a plugin for it. You can also alter it with random encounters by having the "zones" or whatever they're called, that set up encounters, instead of setting them via a map feature. Though, I'll agree that if you want any kind of stealth mechanic, you want a visual encounter type system. Even if it isn't strictly necessary and can be done with a random encounter system too... provided the Dev cares enough (after all, we do this sort of thing in D&D all the time with random encounters and players using Stealth Checks :D Don't even need a visual there).

    I've never seen a visual encounter that reminds me of "a chess board" in any fashion... or even ones that remind of anything strategic. The most strategic I've ever seen them is, "take 3x as many steps to avoid a battle, than you would otherwise just crossing this room". And, you don't get a reward at all for avoiding combat, so there's really no reason to, unless you're bored of the combat and want to avoid it for that reason... which is usually a hint that the combat system isn't done well and has too many trash mobs... Which boils back to the original problem of "It doesn't matter what style of encounter you are going with, boring combat is boring regardless".

    Going to disagree with this. Enemies aren't "near inexhaustible" with a Random Encounter system. There are as many enemies as are necessary to cross any given location. The more you "dilly dally" about, the more enemies you'll encounter. It's a Risk Vs. Reward type system. Visual Encounter systems have this same Risk Vs. Reward system, but they do it in a different way. No matter which way you do it, "nearly inexhaustible means of restoring health" is a bad idea that breaks a lot of combat and removes risk entirely. If players aren't properly prepared to be in a dungeon, but persist in going deeper and deeper regardless... then that's their fault, not yours as a dev. Most players will hit their first encounter, realize it takes more levels or resources to tackle it, and leave to obtain those things. The few stupid or persistent players who keep going after that, have only themselves to blame for the added challenge (which they may enjoy).

    That being said, with Dedicated Healers and devs throwing healing items in every single treasure chest they run across, as well as in the form of random drops from enemies, or steal items... Make combat too easy regardless of Encounter System used. This is, again, a complaint about the battle systems themselves and difficulty of enemies... and neither a mark for or against any particular Encounter System at all. Bad combat is just bad combat, regardless of Encounter System.

    I'm going to say "wrong" here. "Having a lack of trash mobs is nearly impossible", no, sorry, full stop, right here. Any combat system created can be devoid of "trash mobs", provided the dev cares enough to create a system without them. Again, doesn't matter if we're talking Visual Encounter or Random Encounter. Trash mobs don't exist because you're using a particular Encounter System. You need to accept that and move on. Trash mobs exist because the combat system is likely super easy, badly designed, or lazily designed. I mean, unless we're talking Active Combat System, in which you don't transition to a Turn Based Combat screen... The argument holds no water. By "Active Combat System", I'm talking about games like Secret of Mana, Secret of Evermore, or other such games.

    Also, I've yet to play a single RPG in the last 15 years with "finite pools of resources". Unless you're talking a game like "Dark Souls", which really isn't an RPG. Or, maybe a game like Bioshock or something. Which, I don't think we're talking about here. Devs throw healing items at parties like they're candy and pretty much 100% of the time give a player a Dedicated Healer with a deep Mana Pool and super cheap healing... Yeah, I don't think "finite pools of resources" exist anymore, 'cause everyone is too afraid of getting criticism about lack of a dedicated healer and having to actually BUY THE RESOURCES THEY WILL USE IN A DUNGEON.

    Which ones? So far, you've listed "Stealth", which I'll agree with. But, everything else? They are either erroneous claims or incorrect in a general sense.

    Which options go out the window in comparison to Visual Encounters? Other than "Stealth Approach"?

    As I said before and I'll keep saying, Encounter Type doesn't really matter. If your combat system is bad, it's going to be bad regardless of how combat is initiated. It's going to be unwanted regardless of how it's done.

    This comes from someone who's favorite "Encounter System" comes from Earthbound, and only because it's basically still the most unique thing I've encountered in 20 years. Namely, enemies run from you, you can defeat them instantly, etcetera. Never seen that again. Probably never will. That was the only competent "Visual Encounter" system I've ever seen in an RPG. That being said... I just prefer the Random Encounter style for grinding purposes... if you want to engage in combat as frequently as possible, it's the best system for that. Visual Encounters are really the best system for avoiding as much of combat as you possibly can. That's basically the difference.
     
    #48
    Maliki79 and mauvebutterfly like this.
  9. lianderson

    lianderson Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    341
    Likes Received:
    236
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    N/A
    @Tai_MT dayum, that's a long post lol. Definitely took a minute to read. Hmmmmmmmmm, you should play darkest dungeon. Based upon what you've said, I think you'll like that game.
     
    #49
  10. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    5,124
    Likes Received:
    4,260
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    "Darkest Dungeon" has its own myriad of problems that annoy me and I think keep it from being a "great game". The biggest of which being that bad things happen frequently and they all result in "the player needs to spend several more hours grinding back up to where they were to recoup any loss". Plus, the combat system has this annoying "RNG can screw you at any time and there's not really any way to prevent it or prepare for it" feature to it. Especially with some of the bosses.

    I'm just not into that kind of masochism. Not my flavor of game.
     
    #50
    lianderson likes this.
  11. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

    Messages:
    20,598
    Likes Received:
    10,511
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMVXA
    Please will everyone stay on topic i.e. saying what one element of gameplay we could usefully drop and not turn this into descriptions of games we either like or dislike. This is not a thread in 'Video Games'.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2017
    #51
  12. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    5,124
    Likes Received:
    4,260
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    Since Darkest Dungeon was brought up, I'd like to nominate "RNG Gameplay" for the list. I don't mean the standard type stuff that makes sense. I mean like... an item has a 1% drop rate from an enemy. Or, enemies have RNG based attacks that could randomly kill any character in a single shot. Or "loot systems" that include terrible versions of decent weapons/armors. Or, even systems where crap loot drops that you cannot use, because it's so underpowered.

    I don't like systems where the game can just decide it hates you and you lose. Or, it hates you, so you get worthless junk. I wish this type of gameplay would go away or else get a lot more reasonable.

    You're even beginning to see this "RNG Gameplay" make its way into new games that have "Loot Boxes" and such in them. Where it goes from "mildly annoying" to "legalized gambling for minors".

    It's even beginning to show up in a lot of RPGs and MMORPGs. I'd like to see it gone. We could remove it and lose nothing from these games.
     
    #52
  13. kirbwarrior

    kirbwarrior Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    617
    Likes Received:
    312
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    N/A
    That does sound interesting. It sounds like a really good expansion of the mechanic I like.
    So do I. I thought that might be why I felt that way.
    I'm not certain what exactly a "trash mob" is. I don't have an issue with weak/easy to beat monsters being in a game. It can be useful for a number of reasons, especially early on to help new players learn the ropes. I don't think that super easy but high hp enemies are worth it (breaks the two-turn rule).
    My problems with Accuracy largely fall under this umbrella. If you lose, it should be your fault, not the game's. In roleplaying, it's the same thing as the GM doing something like "rocks fall on party, make new characters".
    Also I can't stop banging my head against the wall whenever I remember drop rates in MMOs. I love FF9 but I'm glad the story was so engrossing I forgot to try to 100% it.
    I've said my problems with gachas elsewhere, but I'll take this a step further; Don't build your game with the intention of taking advantage of the player outside of the game. It's one thing in something like Bravely Default where you are given the choice to spend money on something you never need (or even want) to spend money on unless you're really bored. It's another to make 1-ups cost money in a Mario game, or having to get a DLC to see the ending of your game.

    I could go on with things that need to be removed from games, but really, all of my problems I think fall under three things;

    RNG Gameplay
    Not caring about the game you are making
    Taking advantage of the player
     
    #53
  14. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    5,124
    Likes Received:
    4,260
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    @kirbwarrior

    A "trash mob" is a mob that basically always takes that one hit to kill. It doesn't do anything interesting. It's killed by mashing "attack" the first time you meet it.

    While I agree that having these as "tutorials" in the beginning is a good idea (it's what I'm doing, after all, to teach players the importance of every stat as well as to give them a "long term" quest in the first section of the game with good rewards for grinding these trash mobs), too many RPGs use "trash mobs" as nearly 95% of all their combat and their combat systems really only get interesting when you get to a boss and have to do break out your spells or skills and stop mashing "attack".

    I think once your player has a handle on the basic rules of combat, your trash mobs should go away and every mob after that should be teaching the players something new, adding to their arsenal as well as torturing them with things they've not yet seen before. The idea is to provide enough of a challenge that you can then make combat more interesting as a dev, as you're going to be throwing things against the player to try to beat them. After all, regular enemies should be the Lessons a player learns on their way to the boss monster, which is the Test on everything they've learned.

    There are honestly just too many devs who get lazy with their monster designs and skills and everything else to do with combat. As a player, I get tired of the "trash mobs" that result from this. Enemies with no incentive to fight, because they're not fun to fight, because they aren't interesting, they don't engage my brain. They don't even offer variety. I would love if trash mobs went away :D We might get a standard for combat in RPGs if they did, and get some devs that actually put some effort into making their combat.
     
    #54
  15. jonthefox

    jonthefox Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    1,291
    Likes Received:
    450
    Location:
    NYC
    I don't define trash mobs as 1-hit kill enemies. In fact, I'd rather go through a dungeon of 1-hit kill enemies than the more typical dungeon of trash mobs, because at least I'd get through it quicker.

    Trash mob is an enemy (or usually a group of enemies) that poses almost zero threat to the player, but which appears in large quantities and the player must slog through in order to progress through a dungeon.

    So, even an enemy that dies in 4 hits can be a trash mob. It might damage you a bit, but you have plenty of healing potions and MP for casting heal to make its attacks inconsequential. If I had to define it very simply, I'd say "enemies which are tedious and largely inconsequential."

    Most jRPGs use trash mobs. The typical model is enter dungeon, fight a bunch of trash mobs, then heal up, then fight the boss. I chose trash mobs as my answer because I think jRPGs would be a lot better if dungeons were interesting and fun THROUGHOUT, not just when you get to the boss. Note that some people like trash mobs - it gives them a chance to test out their skills, learn enemy skills/status effects, or even just enjoy the narrative or visuals of their character beating up monsters.
     
    #55
  16. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

    Messages:
    11,908
    Likes Received:
    12,036
    Location:
    USA
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMVXA
    Personally, I'd like to see monsters where the EXP reward is disproportionate to the time it takes to beat the monster go away. I really hate being forced to slug it out in a 10 minute long battle and get 1 EXP when I need 213,561,900 EXP to level up. Those kind of mobs just need to go away.
     
    #56
  17. jmike

    jmike Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    40
    Location:
    Philippines
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    Imma go back to something mentioned in page one since this one wasn't given much attention. I don't think multi-form bosses are bad. Though the only multi-form bosses I think I've ever encountered are from Final Fantasy. It was at its best for me in Final Fantasy X. It added an extra layer of planning and strategy to your tackling of a boss. Do you waste your aeons, overdrives, and burn your mana on the first form at the cost of having a hard time against the later forms? Or do you save your aeons, high damage characters and overdrives, and mana for the later forms, except if you do that, your characters will lose HP during the first form and you'll probably have to spend the first few turns of the second form on the defense healing up? An extra smaller layer, though not quite as gamechanging, is how you have to plan your attacks based on the boss's HP. At full health, casting big spells and using overdrives is okay, but you can't use them to finish off a first form because so much damage is wasted and could be used on a full health second form instead.

    Next, my two cents on HP sponge bosses. Bosses with millions of HP and take hours to beat are, granted, for the hardcore players. Bosses like FFX's Penance and FFXII's FF's-highest-HP wyvern-whatshisname are there to test the more dedicated players and to give them a reason to grind to max level and find all the best equipment and upgrades. Is a boss with millions of HP overkill? Maybe. Is the solution to have every boss beatable in 10 turns as long as you're reasonably leveled? I don't think so. What I understand by the low HP suggestion is making bosses essentially puzzles to solve (look! the boss only has twice as much HP as a regular enemy but you have to do a special thing to actually hit it! figure out what you need to do to hit it! and when you figure it out, you win!).

    I'll mention FFX again; I love the FFX bosses. The storyline bosses had high HP but not exactly HP sponge levels. What I think Final Fantasy X (and well, plenty of other jrpgs though I noticed this the most in FFX) did well with bosses was how they forced you to keep alternating between offense and defense, which worked well with FFX's character swapping mechanic and the fact that most bosses had many forms. Even if you spend all the first turns attacking and nuking with your best attackers, the boss isn't going down because of its high HP (and even if you do, hello second form). You can't turn it into a race to see which team kills the other first. You'll have to defend and get everyone's HP back to safe levels after a while. After which, you go back into attacking, then defending, and so on. And the challenge is to find a balance between attacking and defending; attacking means more damage but also more party members going down, defending means staying alive but never doing damage, and all the while you're playing around a boss's skills or, as was usual in FFX, a huge nuke that took a few turns to charge. Of course, this can get tedious with HP sponges. I'd say three to four full cycles of attacking->healing->attacking->playing around the boss's ult/OHKO nuke->hyper healing and defending->repeat is good enough. If a player can survive the boss's entire skill cycle four times, they deserve to win already, having proven they've figured out the boss enough to survive them while dealing damage. If the player needs to do it at least a hundred times, then it becomes tedious and becomes more a test of patience and endurance than skill and strategy.

    In summary, bosses with high HP and multiple forms work for me because I consider bosses to be a test of how well a party can attack and defend, and how well a player can plan their turns and strategise around the boss's skills such that they can survive a few rounds of being beat up but still be able to get back up.

    Bonus: If FFX did high HP bosses well, FFXV did it horribly. I mentioned FFX bosses making you survive a couple cycles of the boss's skill pool, in FFXV, you'd have to survive dozens of cycles. Even if you've proven you've figured out the boss and can get back up after taking its biggest lasers to the face, you'd have to do it about twenty more times. And retreating and healing in FFXV was too easy. You could take the nuke, retreat, then come back at full health. In FFX, if you took the nuke, healing to full health was only possible with megalixirs, and while you were healing, the boss was hitting you again. Bossfights in FFXV became needlessly long and just became tests of how many potions you brought to the battle.
     
    #57
  18. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

    Messages:
    11,908
    Likes Received:
    12,036
    Location:
    USA
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMVXA
    @jmike : The problem with both of those though is they are often not done well. For example, I've played many a game where the multiple forms were shoo-horned in (FF9 is a prime example of this), and it honestly felt like they put the extra form just because someone said they had to. In fact, the common negative stated about ff9 when it came out was the last form of the final boss felt tacked on and the game could have done without it. FFXIII-2 is another. That last form of the final boss felt tacked on and served no plot purpose that I could tell.

    As for HP Sponge bosses, the problem with those is most players will get bored long before the battle is won. Again, if it takes me as long to take down your boss as it takes to watch all of Titanic, then you did it wrong. FFXII had a boss that is known for taking on average 2 hours to beat, due to it getting 50 million HP.
     
    #58
  19. jmike

    jmike Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    40
    Location:
    Philippines
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    Fair points, though I fear we've moved into the realm of mechanics that need to be done better instead of mechanics rpgs should erase completely (as what the thread starter asked in the first place), because while I agree that most games probably don't do them well, they shouldn't be erased completely because they can work with the right games (FFX's party swapping was a golden mechanic).

    As for me, the only thing I'd want rpgs to get rid of is the grinding factor. Be it before the ending or after the ending. Forcing the player to grind in between story bosses is bad game design and unnecessary padding. Forcing the player to grind in order to be strong enough to take on the optional secret bosses can get tedious and boring. The post-ending missions of FFXIII is a good example of having post-game content and bosses without the grinding factor. While the structure of the missions was boring and uninteresting, it gave the player new challenges that slowly made their party stronger as they made their way to challenging the superbosses. Meanwhile, FFX was bad at this. And I think some people's hatred of trash mobs is related to the grinding problem. FFX had you going back to old dungeons to defeat a certain number of enemies who posed zero threat to you in the late game in order to unlock Monster Arena bosses (who, by the way, you need to grind for to beat) in order to farm them for equipment upgrade crafting ingredients in order to beat stronger Monster Arena bosses (who need more trash mob farming to unlock). Rinse repeat until you make it to Penance.

    That's it for me. Grinding should go away. Better grinding is still grinding. Creative and complicated grinding is still grinding. If your post-credits road to the superbosses is paved with new challenges instead of more trash mobs and tedious ingredient farming, I wouldn't call that grinding and call your game a job well done.

    (Oh and I like accuracy. I'm honestly surprised people dislike it.)
     
    #59
  20. Philosophus Vagus

    Philosophus Vagus The drunken bird dog of rpg maker Veteran

    Messages:
    261
    Likes Received:
    4,000
    Location:
    Hopefully somewhere secluded
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    Just a random little comment here, but I find it funny all the people bringing up horrible things in games such as ffX and ffXII that while I agree are horrible ideas that I'd have no patience for, I also have not experienced while playing those games from start to finish. I beat XII but can't remember a single boss taking more than half an hour, and I beat X and can't remember being forced to backtrack once. ( though in it's case I do remember the arena, and I remember I found it boring so I never really did it.) I think a lot of times, when it comes to optional content, people should try to remember that it is optional, and likely exists for a very specific, narrow portion of the fanbase who enjoys that type of attrition and not for everyone else, thus why it is optional.

    I think the problem comes in when you include trophies and the silly bragging-rights/scoreboard culture that has turned games into (look at all the steam games whose only purpose is to give a bunch of easy achievements, and the millions of customers who shell out a couple dollars soley to pad their 'accomplishments' on the platform. I bring these thoughts up to segway into what I think should die in a fire, for games in general but for rpgs in particular: trophies/achievements.

    They are just a silly construct to me for an entertainment medium. Especially so for rpgs, since rpgs are role playing games, thus the completionist do everything mentality that these weird little 'achievements' inspire is contrary to the medium of a game where you are supposed to be able to pick and choose how your played character reacts to the environment, forcing you to either be 'super man saving everybody' or else feel like you are playing it wrong somehow. Honestly I think this cheapens the experience, and a lot of games have become more and more linear and provided less and less options I have seen to accommodate this do everything in one run mindset. It works in a way for other genres, even if I find it trivial and silly in general, but for rpgs I believe this particular industry standard actively damages the genre by forcing it to conform to said standard when the genre itself is supposed to be all about player freedom. But to me player freedom means more than skill trees to help you navigate the hamster wheel you are placed on.
     
    #60
    Caitlin likes this.

Share This Page