What's the point of Save Points; a discussion -

Sixth

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Personally I prefer to just be able to save anywhere. I've played too many games that just go too long between save points and I have to leave for work NOW so I have to just shut down and lose progress. And don't get me started on the one game that had me go 1.5 hours without being able to save, then I got a Game Over due to a poorly explained fail condition. Deinstalled that game and never returned.
That reminded me of the worst dungeon ever created in the Star Ocean series (and possibly in any game I played so far). It usually takes up to 3-4 hours to complete without ANY save points available, and with a very high chance to drop dead even from some normal enemies, let alone the bosses there.
Granted, it's an optional, post-game content, but still...
Obviously, I never finished that dungeon. :D

  • With save-anywhere, it is very possible for the player to lock themselves into an unwinnable situation (e.g. deep in a dungeon with low HP, no MP, and no items), and there's little the designer can do to prevent that (short of sweeping system-wide changes to dungeoneering). With intelligently-placed save points, the designer can prevent the player from locking themselves into unwinnable states.

I can't help but feel the need to say this here...
If that situation ever happens, it's the player's fault. Everyone with logical thinking should know that if the resources are low (HP/MP/etc), there is a chance to get into that situation you described. I won't lie, I have been there too on occasions, but I dealt with it, it was my fault, and not the developer's fault in any way.

With that said, there is a very related, but still a bit different topic that should be taken into consideration when talking about the "save anywhere" method.
That would be the number of available save slots, and the usage of these save slots.
A game can allow saving anywhere in different ways.
  1. Infinite slots, no restrictions, the "sure to please" way, in my opinion.
  2. One slot for one playthrough/character, the save always replaces the last one.
With the 2nd way, there can be an irreversible damage by that situation you described, and yes, in this case, this can be the developer's fault too, partially.
This only matters if the game we are talking about throws a real "Game Over" screen when we got dropped. If it has a re-spawn system, it's still a fine save system to have, no permanent damage that way.

All in all, I like to save anywhere nowadays, mainly because I'm not playing games for the challenge anymore, I just want to see the story told.
It still feels good to accomplish something in a harder game, but that's not the main point for me anymore.
Besides, the save point mechanic won't make the game really harder, or add anything to the game itself, it just makes the game feel longer when you want to see that next save point but it just doesn't want to show up for who knows how long, and you feel like you haven't seen one in hours, when in fact, the last one was 15 minutes ago. Yeah, that feel, I don't like it. :D

Also, I don't consider the added features to these points relevant to the saving mechanics. Yeah, they can be nice, but the most important thing is the ability to save the game, and just because someone drops a waypoint system or a restoration option there, it doesn't make it less tedious to return to that point whenever we want to save the game, record our progress. They just doesn't matter when we talk about the save mechanic itself in a game.

But again, like with all game features, it doesn't matter which way the game lets me record my progress, as long as that game is enjoyable otherwise.
I can tolerate big areas with very few save points (within reason, of course - yeah, Star Ocean, you got a minus point for this! -.-), if I like the game's characters, story and features. I still don't see the reason for using save points in this age and era, but that won't prevent me from playing these games.
 

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That reminded me of the worst dungeon ever created in the Star Ocean series (and possibly in any game I played so far). It usually takes up to 3-4 hours to complete without ANY save points available, and with a very high chance to drop dead even from some normal enemies, let alone the bosses there.
Granted, it's an optional, post-game content, but still...
Obviously, I never finished that dungeon. :D

That was the bonus dungeon in Second Story? I personally enjoyed it (and never completed it) - it was meant to be an optional "hard-mode" kind of challenge. Granted, the length was ridiculous, and it felt horrible to lose in there. Perhaps if they warped you out of the dungeon (levels and such intact), and made you start over the from the beginning - or gave you like two checkpoints along the way you could skip to - it would have been better.

Last Hope's final (mandatory plotline) dungeon was by far my least favorite of all - it forced you to replay almost every boss battle in the game, including one that took me over two hours to beat (without dying) the first time because most of my hits were dealing 1 damage, and took me over two hours again during the final run. And that dungeon came right after a huge expanse of running around a huge expanse of nothingness looking for the entrance to said dungeon. I liked the game on the whole, but that whole endgame segment... yuck!

I can't help but feel the need to say this here...
If [saving in an unwinnable] situation ever happens, it's the player's fault. Everyone with logical thinking should know that if the resources are low (HP/MP/etc), there is a chance to get into that situation you described. I won't lie, I have been there too on occasions, but I dealt with it, it was my fault, and not the developer's fault in any way.

Can't agree here. It's usually the player's fault more than the developer, but the dev needs to treat it like their own fault. It's natural human instinct to save if you're in a lot of trouble because - you know - you're likely about to die and you don't want to "lose" your progress. If the player isn't careful, they'll save over their most recent slot (something you usually want to do, but definitely don't want to do here).

The player has definitely made a mistake if they save themselves into an unwinnable situation, but the developer has a lot of tools they can give the player to make sure this doesn't happen. For example, you could create an additional, inaccessible save file when the player saves in a Town, and allow the player to return to that save file if they die. You could add heals to Save Points so that it's never unwinnable. Those kinds of things.

Because this kind of situation is so incredibly onerous to the player, it's the dev's responsibility to do what they can to make sure it doesn't happen. For small indie studios the technological hurdle may be too big (if it can't be designed away by, e.g., heals on save points), but for AAA studios there is absolutely no excuse to ever let this happen to your player.

A game can allow saving anywhere in different ways.
  1. Infinite slots, no restrictions, the "sure to please" way, in my opinion.
  2. One slot for one playthrough/character, the save always replaces the last one.
Really good point! We haven't discussed this yet in this topic, but there's a huge difference in allowing players to maintain multiple save files for a single adventure (essentially creating 'backups' of the adventure that the player can return to) versus only allowing a single save file per adventure.

For most RPGs I like being able to maintain multiple save files. It lets me return to my favorite moments to replay them (a big thing for me!), lets me try different things that I'm unsure about without committing, and also protects against the technological risk of a single save file being corrupted by either a bug in the game or an event like a power outage while saving.

For RPGs where player decisions have a huge impact on the course of the game - especially if that impact is on the narrative - I can see the wisdom in going the single save file route. Having your decisions locked in permanently, even if you don't like them, can add a ton of weight and emotional impact to those decisions. I like that.
 

PHAZE7

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In my personal opinion save points increase the tension of a game, and with it also the potential for frustration.

They're great if used for genres other than turn-based RPGs. Hack-n-Slash, Horror and more action based RPGs can work well with them, I consider Dark Souls a great example, and the experience wouldn't be nearly as fun if I could save anywhere.

Although it can be very frustrating to have to redo a section because you died close to the next save point, it's also rewarding to reach the next one. It can reinforce the feeling that you're making progress, and provide a breather too, as is typical in RPGs, save points usually restore HP/MP, remove statues, etc.

You can however combine the two, by giving the player the ability to save anywhere, but still have save points serve other functions, such as restoring HP/MP, changing party members, accessing a bank system, fast travel, etc.
 

Sixth

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That was the bonus dungeon in Second Story? I personally enjoyed it (and never completed it) - it was meant to be an optional "hard-mode" kind of challenge. Granted, the length was ridiculous, and it felt horrible to lose in there. Perhaps if they warped you out of the dungeon (levels and such intact), and made you start over the from the beginning - or gave you like two checkpoints along the way you could skip to - it would have been better.

Last Hope's final (mandatory plotline) dungeon was by far my least favorite of all - it forced you to replay almost every boss battle in the game, including one that took me over two hours to beat (without dying) the first time because most of my hits were dealing 1 damage, and took me over two hours again during the final run. And that dungeon came right after a huge expanse of running around a huge expanse of nothingness looking for the entrance to said dungeon. I liked the game on the whole, but that whole endgame segment... yuck!
Actually, the one I talked about is the 2nd post game dungeon of Last Hope. Compared to that, Second Story's was a walk in the park, especially because the latter had static maps, while the other got randomized, gradually bigger levels and way, way more floors. It didn't help that min-maxing stats in Last Hope took considerably more time than in Second Story, where you could just level fast in that dungeon and tackle the bosses when you were strong enough.
So, if you thought that Second Story's extra dungeon was long and hard, you will get a heart attack from Last Hope's 2nd extra dungeon. :D

Btw, I loved that boss in Last Hope (the one you made 1 HP damage to - I assume it was the thing that spawned tons of little things)! :p

For most RPGs I like being able to maintain multiple save files. It lets me return to my favorite moments to replay them (a big thing for me!), lets me try different things that I'm unsure about without committing, and also protects against the technological risk of a single save file being corrupted by either a bug in the game or an event like a power outage while saving.
All of what you wrote here is basically why I love to make tons of save files too, especially the favorite bosses/scenes part. :D
 

Wavelength

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Actually, the one I talked about is the 2nd post game dungeon of Last Hope. Compared to that, Second Story's was a walk in the park, especially because the latter had static maps, while the other got randomized, gradually bigger levels and way, way more floors. It didn't help that min-maxing stats in Last Hope took considerably more time than in Second Story, where you could just level fast in that dungeon and tackle the bosses when you were strong enough.

Oh god. *falls to the floor and tries to call 911*

So, if you thought that Second Story's extra dungeon was long and hard, you will get a heart attack from Last Hope's 2nd extra dungeon. :D

Good call!! Thankfully, I never stepped foot into it, because I had enough of Last Hope after its final few main-storyline dungeons. Indeed, it sounds horrible!

The one saving grace is that (at least in general - no idea about the postgame) Star Ocean tends to allow for a ton of skill expression in its battle system, so that if you get wiped, you can usually call it your own fault. That still doesn't excuse the lack of any way out of a 5-hour dungeon!

Btw, I loved that boss in Last Hope (the one you made 1 HP damage to - I assume it was the thing that spawned tons of little things)! :p

Yeah, it was that one. At three minutes in it seemed like a cool mechanic that I'd need to figure out. At sixty minutes in - having still failed to figure out why most of my attacks were always dealing 1 damage, a few were dealing significant damage, and those same few would then deal 1 damage most of the time - it was a LOT less cool.

At least Reimi got to put an arrow through that f:eek:er afterwards.
 

zacheatscrackers

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imo, Saving anywhere is the way to go, to minimize frustration. Save points are fine if they're frequent enough and not spread too thin, but if not implemented correctly, it can make a game a serious test of patience. And unless your game is designed to be deliberately hard, I don't think it's a good thing.
 

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I personally use save points in my game over saving in the menu for several reasons.
  1. It's a way for me to manage the pacing of the game. Sometimes I've noticed that players can often choose to save and quit at some of the worst times in the story. Having save points at cleverly placed spots has helped with this as it says "hey this is a good place to stop". You could do something similar by having rest spots in a game where you can save anywhere, but it doesn't quite have the same effect.
  2. lt lets me do a different mechanic I had in mind. Every time you die in battle instead of getting a game over, you get sent back to the nearest save point and lose some of your gold. However, the different mechanic is there is also a chance for a dream to occur, a short little sequence that could potentially give a little reward. I feel this kind of system flows much better overall than where if you save anywhere and just get an insta-game over. This also means you preserve EXP gained from the area even if you died so you dont have to grind all over again, as well as everything you've already done, such as puzzles, bosses, etc. already being cleared still, minimizing the amount of stuff the player has to re-do if they forget to save. Which brings me to my third point...
  3. It reminds you to save. I know I can be very bad with this and save waaay less than I should, so having a character/crystal/whatever in the game that's entire purpose is to save your game, it's kind of hard to forget, rather than having to actively remind yourself and open up the menu.
  4. It increases tension and risk. Saving from the menu takes away a LOT of tension from the game, your decisions arent quite as meaningful when you can save scum every two seconds and re-do something that doesnt go the way you like it. Having save points discourages this as it means you'd have to redo more than that one fight you failed horribly.
  5. It lets you incorporate it into the story/lore. Many games use save points as a little bit of lore or story addition. The most popular example I can think of is Undertale. I'm personally using it to expand on the story/lore myself.
I think as long as you aren't too sparing/unforgiving with your save points, they really aren't that bad as the only option. I do, however, think in general it is best to let you player save anywhere/most places, but there's a case to be made for certain games, especially horror, that really benefit from this system. As with most things in game design, it's very hard to find a "right" answer, which is what makes it so interesting to talk about for me!
 

Diretooth

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I personally am a fan of save points. All too often, I'll play a game with save anywhere capabilities and play for an hour or two before saving. Even games where it's a quicksave can have instances where something absolutely devastating happens and I find myself needing to reload an old save, only to find that I have to do so much all over again. This often leads me to over save which can then lead me to saving at a very inopportune moment and getting absolutely wrecked.
A save point is recognizable, it reminds me that I need to save and save often, but it also allows me a safety net of time between it and a huge mistake. I can tolerate making a bad mistake and only losing, say, fifteen minutes of effort. I can retrace my steps and do it all over again. But losing an hour to two hours worth of effort? I usually just stop playing the game for a week or two before picking it up again. And even then, sometimes the loss will be so massive that I stop playing for years because it was that huge of a loss.
What I see working best, personally, is a two save slot system. One which is a hard save from a save point, this allows you to control the points where a hard save can be put, the player will always have a fall back that they cannot overwrite, and it also means that with proper placement, they will never go too long without a hard save. The other is a quicksave, this will allow the player to save at any time, with the tradeoff being they overwrite their previous save. While this still carries the potential for save scumming, you can control areas or even entire tracts of dungeon where this quicksave is disabled.
Let's say you use crystals as the save point. They're big, they glow, and they restore your HP/MP. They are explicitly a place to rest and relax, a safe haven from danger. The player finds a smaller crystal that allows them to quicksave, it doesn't carry the same power, but boy is it useful. Let's say the player saves at a crystal, and the plot has them lose their smaller crystal, or it's power is sealed inside a specific dungeon, the stakes are immediately raised since they have to go and retrieve it, preferably in the same dungeon they have to go into. Thus, they are tense because they can't rely on save scumming to progress.
By using this, and this is simply a reiteration of the previous for clarity, you control the main part of where they save, but you give the player a little leeway for progression's sake. A hard save, and a one-way path that they can retreat from due to the hard save.
 

Aesica

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So I almost went the route of "save anywhere" but have since decided against it after playing a few games that allow it vs a few that don't. Here's the two main reasons why I arrived at this decision:
  1. If you can save anywhere, there's no real sense of danger. Fighting your way through the tough final dungeon? Save after every battle. Exploring someplace you shouldn't be in hopes of finding that disc-one-nuke sword? Save every few steps. Find a remote area with really tough monsters that you can "almost" kill that yield a ton of exp? Save and fight until you finally do manage to kill them, then enjoy the barrage of back-to-back level ups for every party member.
  2. It reduces the "save yourself into an unwinnable scenario" situation since I as the developer have more control over where the player can save. If I give you a save point right before a battle you're unable to win and there's no way out of the dungeon, no way to level, no way to heal, then that's entirely on me because I could've prevented it through better design. However, if you can save anywhere and you save yourself into such a scenario, well that's harder for a developer to prevent.
But what if I want/have to go soon and am stuck in a dungeon with no save point in sight?
Legitimate concern, and for it I have two solutions. One is already implemented, the other I'm a bit on the fence about:
  1. The main character has a "Return" and "Outside" type spell. For anyone who's ever played the Dragon Quest games, Return takes you to any previously-visited town and Outside takes you out of whatever dungeon you're in. My version would be a consolidation of the two (with no MP cost) that takes the player either outside or to any save point they've visited within whatever dungeon they're in, or to any town they've visited if used outside. So when mom shouts, "IT'S BED TIME, TURN OFF THE COMPUTER!" the player can quickly warp to the last save point (or outside the dungeon), save, and quit.
  2. Quick Save/Suspend Save: This is a temporary save that records your progress like any other save, then exits to the main menu. Once loaded later on, this particular save gets deleted. Seems like it'd be more work
But dying in a dungeon and having to go back to the last save point sucks and wastes my time!
I agree, but at the same time, you can really only hold the player's hand so much. Yes, it's definitely up to me to make sure save points are distributed in convenient locations, so you don't have to endure 10 minutes of dungeon slog followed by 3 minutes of cutscene on your way to face a given boss, each time you try to beat him. At the same time, the player should have some responsibility. I mean, I put that save point outside the big double doors with the skull emblem on them for a reason...
 

Finnuval

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I'm oldskool (or just old haha) so I prefer the save points from old. However with the advance of time and stuff I also see the benefits of having a save-anywhere system or perhaps better put I can see why people don't like the save point system anymore.
Personally though i will always go for the save-point version with the added difference that I add a save&exit function so people aren't forced to keep playing when they really need to quit the game.
 

Eschaton

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I don't know if it's already been said, but I'm sure Save Points are in games,

a) because other games do them and,

b) to help control the pace of the game.

The classic example of B being that a save point is a good way to tell the player they're about to face a boss. Further, they help break the level into manageable chunks both for the developer and the player. A save point can communicate many other things to the player. A save point is one of many different elements that go into level design.
 

kirbwarrior

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I'll first note my experience as a player. There are two major things I know/learned about saves;

1) The more often you can save, the more often you have to save
2) Absolutely keep multiple files, you don't know when you would rather go back in time four hours or restart the game

Dragon Quest doesn't allow saving often, so I absolutely will march over to the chu- House of Healing and save every time I hit town unless I'm townhopping for quests/equipment. It doesn't natively let you save on separate files (you have to leave and copy the game to another file) but so far the games have little or no missable content. Big plus, death doesn't require time travel, you can just lose 50%+ of your money (resurrection costs!). In 4, it doesn't even lose you half your money (um, assuming you get the technically optional item), so death warping is a feature of the game.
Pokemon can save all the time and I save before every single trainer. I don't know what they have and it can cost a lot of resources having a suboptimal start, especially on gym leaders. It makes me so sad there are not multiple saves, I just want to have a 100% file and be able to play again :(
Final Fantasy is much nicer about how often you can save (the world is your oyst- inn!) and except a few games death is full on game over. Multiple files is absolutely a must, I like to keep saves up to at least the last dungeon in case I find out I can't go back later (and I swear the game finds a way to hint that you missed something often).
While not jrpgs, Fire Emblem and FF Tactics (all three) have pretty long battles so I absolutely save between each and use battle saves (bookmarks) when necessary. I've definitely been in situations in both series where I was glad I could go back in time two battles to do something different (oh, that boss's sword doesn't show up in the next shop? Steal it).

There's plenty of other jrpgs that aren't series that follow somewhat similar suit. However, FF Mystic Quest versus Soulsbourne is probably the best examples of why you should have save anywhere vs save points;

FFMQ let's you save anywhere. There are no random encounters, dying in battle gives you the option to retry, and monsters stay dead until you leave the dungeon/area. Sure, you can make an argument the game is easy (is number of game overs a note of difficulty? You can die surprisingly easily), but the game is built around the fact that you basically have free reign to do whatever you want between any two fights.
Soulsbourne was intentionally difficult, and part of the skill was making it to and finding save points. They are havens. And death has consequences, not game over. Dying sets you back like many games but not so much in time as resources.

Now, as a creator, I generally lean towards save-anywhere, and it's largely since I kind of prefer individual battles to be challenges, not whole dungeons. I also dislike having the player losing a ton of progress that can come with difficult battles with game overs. Now, when rpg maker allows easy ways to avoid game overs and replace them with something else, that's cool and I generally explore that option instead.
 

Canini

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From a developer stand-point, save points prevents the player from saving in a place where the game then becomes unwinnable due to bugs or other unforseen circumstances. Of course, under the best of cirsumstances the game is throughly playtested and all bugs ironed out but with a smaller developer and for demos this may not always be feasible. Save points can also bring immersion to the world if they are used correctly. If I may use an example from my own game save points are actually crystals of communications and contacting your kids (the player characters are parents) and telling them of your adventures saves the game and gives you energy (in the form of HP/MP refill).

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Lornsteyn

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I prefer savepoints, they just belong to an RPG.
Often they are at places where you can relax and overthink your plans.
Also they mark endbosses, It happend often in games where you can save freely that I marched right into them and lost, 1 hour progress gone...yeah saving freely is so damn great...not.
Im really used to savepoints, because I miss to save often if there arent any.

In my opinion saving everywhere is some kind of lazy feature, also it will make the game easier if people just savescumming.
Thats a problem with many games nowadays, they are too easy = boring.
In an RPG like Final Fantasy or RPG Maker games, I prefer savepoints.
Openworld games like Skyrim etc well these games should keep free saving, since they crash often.
Maybe its because I grow up with savepoints, but in my opinion people nowadays are just lazy as hell and prefer running through games with zero effort.
 

EthanFox

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From a developer stand-point, save points prevents the player from saving in a place where the game then becomes unwinnable due to bugs or other unforseen circumstances.

Yep; I opened the thread to say this too - though it isn't just about whether your game is well-made.

Generally, good testing starts with good design, and good design tries, where possible, to cut down extraneous cases unless they add to gameplay.

A good example of this is in Halo, with the recharging health. Back in the early PC FPS days, in games like Jedi Knight, you could QuickSave anywhere - but this could lead to problems, where you might QuickSave just before walking into a room filled with powerful enemies, and you have 2% health left. You can end up trapped. Halo's recharging health (even if you hate it, you can certainly agree with this) "resets" the game each time the player goes from fight to fight, so the designer can assume the player approaches every situation with 100% health. Note also that Halo has checkpoints.

RPGs are big, complex games. Save points traditionally have allowed companies to reduce the strain on testing, because they can limit the place/amount of saving the user performs, and they can put the save points in places that will be conducive to this.

In effect, you're making it easier to build your game - but you're also "protecting the player from themselves". Less situations exist where the player can sabotage their own experience.

A fair few games still do this, to a fashion, even if they have save-anywhere functions. For instance (correct me if I'm wrong; I may have the wrong game) you can save anywhere in Xenoblade 2, but not in battles or while jumping through the air (to help reduce potential problems).

This isn't to say I like save-points. I have mixed feelings about them. Certainly on handheld consoles I require the ability to save anywhere; I've in the past not bought RPGs that didn't have this.
 

kirbwarrior

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A fair few games still do this, to a fashion, even if they have save-anywhere functions. For instance (correct me if I'm wrong; I may have the wrong game) you can save anywhere in Xenoblade 2, but not in battles or while jumping through the air (to help reduce potential problems).
Not sure which Zeldas do and don't do this, but Ocarina of Time lets you save at any time you can open the menu, but puts you somewhere specific when you load. This actually solves the issue nicely; on one hand you can always save and stop playing, on the other the game still has "checkpoints" you have to hit for the saves to be meaningful.

Certainly on handheld consoles I require the ability to save anywhere; I've in the past not bought RPGs that didn't have this.
This is why I love "bookmarks". Fire Emblem has long fights and you can only save between chapters, so they implemented a system that lets you save any time you can enter the menu (namely, your turn and when you aren't giving someone a command). There's even a secondary automatic bookmark in the GBA ones that's there in case the system dies or something. But, you can't reload from a bookmark. Instead, the game saves, you get sent to the game start, and when you reload it, it erases the bookmark. If I knew how to incorporate bookmarks easily in rpg maker, I'd likely put them in every game other than ones that allow saving anywhere.
 

lianderson

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Save points remind the player to save. And for that, they're worth considering.
 

BreakerZero

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Same here. In my case I decided to go with the save, wipe, pay and recovery model - save at a checkpoint (or certain NPC class) and if you get hit with a crew wipe it's back to base at a half-cash penalty but with full restoration. And the only instances where it acts as a rewind are by necessity (which is usually for plot-based reasons). In at least two instances I have it to where the house is literally coming down on you; save before it does and you'll go back to that moment. Likewise, if you open a chest that has a key in it that you're gonna need for progression but (whoops!) you got played by a mimic in the process you drop that key in the transition back to the last checkpoint and have to go into a complete do-over. Regardless of that, you still continue to rank up as if nothing else happened.
 
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Kes

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I personally hate, loathe and detest games where it is compulsory to lose half your money if you get a game over. I recall one game in particular which had a reasonably high degree of difficulty. The right (expensive) gear was essential to avoid being hammered. Twice I'd got to the stage where I almost had enough, but got a game over and lost all that hard-earned cash. After the second time I quit and never went back to it. Other games I was deeply inconvenienced and sometimes (in terms of time etc.) it was actually better to go back to an earlier save and lose the exp gained.

If you feel that your game cannot do without this particular mechanic, then you need to examine your economy very carefully. Either you are giving too much gold, so that the loss, whilst not trivial, is not a huge penalty or you risk putting your player into either a long grind with lower level enemies or an unwinnable spiral.
 

BreakerZero

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@Kes, that's yet another valid point. I actually ran into this myself having bugged some of my equipment definitions with overpowered stats and didn't notice until I got to where they become feasibly-useful for the first time in the most recent playtest where this is of note. Because only the guardsman class is capable of using this type of weapon, this isn't actually an issue until you have to actually infiltrate his kingdom to get the land back to reasonable control following an extended leave complicated by equal parts mutiny and governance corruption. That - and some unexpected re-balancing of the plot arc that leads to his assistance - quickly became a major issue as I not only had to re-balance spawns en route but also fix the stats of the weapons themselves for when they become usable. Granted, armours were also somewhat affected by this, but in general it was the spear-class weapons that hurt the most (and both proverbially and literally in this case).
 

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