Your opinion on "coinflip" or "gamble" type skills

jonthefox

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This gimmick takes on many forms. It could be "Reckless Attack: double damage, but 50% chance to miss" or "Lucky Shot: 25% to miss, but guaranteed to critically strike if it hits."

Do you feel that this type of skill offering is a rewarding mechanic for the player? Do you use it as a dev, and do you enjoy using it when you're playing a jrpg? Or are there more fun and engaging ways of offering a risk/reward type of skill to the player?
 

Andar

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it depends on how the rest of your battlesystem is balanced.

The default maker skills tend toward "always hit" and "slowly reduce HP" - getting a few 50% skills mixed in will not fit.
However if most of your skills are 50% skills and the battlesystem takes more randomized effects into account, then it can be an interesting alternative.
 

ATT_Turan

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I don't like spending resources on a skill that could do nothing. I prefer there to be distinct tradeoffs - the skill has a cooldown, or does 2.5 x damage but you're stunned next round.

Or even it costs a resource, still does normal attack damage, then has a whatever percent chance for the extra effect.
 

Frostorm

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As a player, I tend to dislike RNG-type skills. So as a dev, I tend to exclude such skills. This all stems from me having crappy luck in life. The RNG gods simply don't favor me...:kaosigh:
 

Tiamat-86

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that lucky shot way OP compared to the reckless attack, lol.

i prefer trading a turn for a boost next turn, vs raw damage RNG.
(Skill turn A = *2.X damage the next turn (ie. FF4's Yang)

RNG better for added effects
(X% chance to follow normal attack with a free Firebolt is about equal to normal attack+X% chance to poison)

Steal is about the only thing i can think of that use pure RNG = success/fail.
depending on the game having cheaper 50% revive is an option (ie.DQseries, 3fails is still annoying).
RNG = damage, only skill might ever (rarely) use is goblin punch (guarantied hit, X damage, ignore def)

(only time ever use FF7's deathblow is with vincent using a +255% hit rate weapon, RNG failures just not worth it even with a no cost skill compared to a normal attack)

FF6's Slots wasn't so bad, but even a failure still did something.
 
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Sword_of_Dusk

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I don't really like those types of skills at all unless a failure still produces some type of effect, since I might as well just use a different skill that I know will work.

However, if your game has a reason to have a skill that you have to gamble on, I can enjoy it as a mechanic. Our example today will be the Dragon Quest series. As fans will know, the series has a family of enemies (the Metal Slime family) that give a hefty amount of experience points per kill, but have such high defense that your attacks rarely land (only doing 1 damage if they do land), and are immune to all spell effects, but only have low HP in return. A critical hit is the only way to ensure a kill, as it will ignore defense, but those are a highly random occurrence.

Enter the Hatchet Man and Thunder Thrust skills. These skills only have a 50% chance of landing (except in DQ8, where it's the upgraded versions that have the 50% success rate), but will always produce a critical hit should they land. On any normal foe you're better off fighting normally. Against any of the metallic monsters though? They are a godsend for actually getting those kills.

So if you can find a good reason for a gamble type skill, great. If not, do something different. That's my opinion on the matter.
 

TheoAllen

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Can you manipulate the chance?
If not, hard pass.
 

Finnuval

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I don't mind them if it's one character that has them, it fits their character and you can influence the outcome some way by increasing the chance.

Other then that - no thank you
 

ericv00

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Clearly, there are gamblers in the world who like to press their luck for the chance to receive that dopamine hit. Shoot, there are people who destroy their lives over it. It ceratinly appeals to a subset of people, but most people, I think, don't like it unless it fits the character, and the character is cool enough to make up for the mechanic that most people don't like.
 

uglywolf

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Personally.
It's either "A must" or "Never" to have it in games, I second to what @Andar says about how your battle system are, or the game system itself.

This type of skills tend to bring hate from the players which may put your game to negative reviews, but then again, if it has purpose, which... Probably gives more to lost, then I see none of a big deal, much else than that, are probably just the players...
who spits toxic...

I mean really, Richard from Granbl*e almost never been used by anyone these days...
But I still saw certain number of people using Barawa.

(Like really, if your meta is like 1000hp of boss battle that you'll only deal like the best at 50~80 per turn, and boss have like some kind of speacial attack at each 4 turns that might kill you instantly; additionally, a prerequisite to unlock secret if managed to kill before specific turns passed. Then a skill with random 10~750dmg is worth betting off.)
 
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Skymin

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Personally, unless your game has metal slime-like creatures like Sword already mentioned, then I'd opt for no gamble skills that reflect damage in my opinion as that can make players feel like they just wasted a turn if the downside is literally nothing happens.

Instead, if one wants to use gamble effects, then stick to miscellaneous effects from the start, so anyone choosing such an ability is clearly not expecting to cause any damage from the get-go. Stealing is a prime example of this, nobody expects to steal and item and cause damage unless you call it "mug" or something (actually, I just might give my thief that as a custom passive state so thanks for the topic.)

Likewise, I'm okay if a trickster class had a coinflip or hand of cards that could either boost one party member for 75% or the entire party with 25% chance like Spider in MM Command Mission did I think. That way even the "downside" effect still helps the player but gives them the "dopamine" of the "what if" effect. A classic cleric could also do the whole party boost with 100% chance at the cost of needing a lot more MP to further gamble the odds at which would be better depending on the situation.

Anyways, just my two cents. For some reason, I often have good rng when it comes to evasion in games such as Fire Emblem at least so maybe that's why I don't mind as much as the next guy as long as only one party member relies on it as a gimmick. I have horrible rng when it comes to gatcha games on mobile however so I quickly just say "nope" and move on though.
 

Sword_of_Dusk

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There is one more case in which an RNG skill can be interesting besides what I outlined earlier.

Again, Dragon Quest gives us the example here, which is the spell Hocus Pocus. When used, it produces a completely random effect in battle. You might rock the foes with a powerful attack, heal the party, heal the enemies, or get no effect. In this case, getting no effect still sucks, but you don't have to have that outcome in your own game. If you want to add some risk, you can even add a chance to possibly murk the party (Dragon Quest IV has the Silver Tarot Cards, which can produce this outcome when used in battle), but that's pretty mean if the chance is too high.

The point here is that the randomness works when something will happen, even if that something can be detrimental to the player.
 

Tiamat-86

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sounds like witch brew roulette. 5/6 potions will heal you, the other will turn you into a toad.
probably better for a minigame then a battle mechanic.
next will be RNG brothel, win the harem roll, lose the gender roll. (literally got 'shafted' by RNG lol)

plenty of fun ways to use RNG outside of battle where failure can = more entertainment
 

Frostorm

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That reminds me...if a skill is RNG-based, but in a way that is reliably positive, then that is acceptable. For example, we could have a skill that has a 25% to proc 1 of 4 possible effects for 2 turns:
  1. Buff user ATK
  2. Buff user DEF
  3. Debuff target ATK
  4. Debuff target DEF
In essence, no matter what mood the RNG gods are in, the player will always get something beneficial out of using such a skill.
 

Milennin

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That's how you convince people that RNG in games is bad.
 

Frostorm

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Here's an actual example (from WotLK) of a "risk-free" RNG effect:
1636360863709.png
The transformations the trinket provides are random, last 30 seconds each, and vary between classes.
Death Knight: +600 Strength, +600 Haste, or +600 Crit Rating
Druid: +600 Agility, +600 Haste, or +600 Strength
Hunter: +600 Agility, +600 Crit Rating, or +1200 Attack Power
Paladin: +600 Strength, +600 Haste, or +600 Crit Rating
Rogue: +600 Agility, +600 Haste, or +1200 Attack Power
Shaman: +600 Agility, +1200 Attack Power, or +600 Haste
Warrior: +600 Strength, +600 Haste, or +600 Crit Rating
 
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Andar

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A lot of posters here are too limited in their view of how to do battle, so I think it might help if I explain what I meant with "the battlesystem has to fit with random results" above in more detail.

RPG's are older than computers. The first (modern) RPGs were pen-and-paper based RPGs and as such can be found even today in many variants and many different rule systems.
But in almost every PnP-RPG the game mechanic is literally "roll the dice" - everything is random, up to the point that players can start with a hit-chance of less than 20% for their regular attack at level 1.

And this still works, because the entire system is based around that with low HP-numbers and other mechanics like leveling by scaling the hit-chance while keeping HP low.

On the other hand, in japanese-inspired computer-RPGs the HP's get increased to ridiculous numbers to represent stronger enemies. This makes the battle into a number grind based mechanic instead of a hit-chance mechanic - which is why skills suddenly have extremely high hit% of 95 as default.
With such a mechanic, special effects become less valuable compared to a higher number reduction, and chances to loose an action that reduces the enemy HP are seen as bad - which they are in that context.



Most of the posts I've read here so far tell that random is bad, because they assume that the JRPG-typical number grind is the only way to handle a battle.
But there are other battle mechanics available, and some of them even require a high random chance to really work.
 

Milennin

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A lot of posters here are too limited in their view of how to do battle, so I think it might help if I explain what I meant with "the battlesystem has to fit with random results" above in more detail.
If you believe a deal double damage with 50% chance to miss is OK, I don't even know what to tell you.

But in almost every PnP-RPG the game mechanic is literally "roll the dice" - everything is random, up to the point that players can start with a hit-chance of less than 20% for their regular attack at level 1.

And this still works, because the entire system is based around that with low HP-numbers and other mechanics like leveling by scaling the hit-chance while keeping HP low.
Those are also games where you can be creative and think outside of the box because the dungeon master can make up whatever and be merciful to players if RNG doesn't go their way. Those are games you play with a group of friends, so the RNG adds to the fun. Rolling a hit or miss dice in a single-player RPG Maker game doesn't have any of the aspects that make it acceptable in a PnP-RPG.

Most of the posts I've read here so far tell that random is bad, because they assume that the JRPG-typical number grind is the only way to handle a battle.
But there are other battle mechanics available, and some of them even require a high random chance to really work.
5% chance to insta-kill the boss. Do I pass?
 

Aoi Ninami

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RPGs are older than computers. The first (modern) RPGs were pen-and-paper based RPGs and as such can be found even today in many variants and many different rule systems.
But in almost every PnP-RPG the game mechanic is literally "roll the dice" - everything is random, up to the point that players can start with a hit-chance of less than 20% for their regular attack at level 1.

And this still works, because the entire system is based around that with low HP-numbers and other mechanics like leveling by scaling the hit-chance while keeping HP low.

On the other hand, in japanese-inspired computer-RPGs the HP's get increased to ridiculous numbers to represent stronger enemies. This makes the battle into a number grind based mechanic instead of a hit-chance mechanic - which is why skills suddenly have extremely high hit% of 95 as default.

But low/medium/high numbers have nothing to do with how much randomness there is in the system, and high numbers are not inherently more "grindy". You can have starter enemies with 20 HP and the player dealing 5 damage, or 200 HP and 50 damage, or 2000 HP and 500 damage, and all that's actually changed is that, assuming there is some variance so that "500" damage is actually a range, there are more possible intermediate values.

I haven't studied the history very closely, but I believe the progression was more along the lines of: the earliest computer RPGs imitated tabletop RPGs more closely, and then as developers gained more experience in terms of what worked and what didn't, high miss chances became a thing of the past.
 

ericv00

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A lot of posters here are too limited in their view of how to do battle
I think that is a little unfair to assume.

Most of the posts I've read here so far tell that random is bad, because they assume that the JRPG-typical number grind is the only way to handle a battle.
That's not my read.

It's worth noting that a lot of the abilities in tabletop RPGs also have an "On miss" effect. So it is less a gamble. In fact, one could say it is a guarantee. And usually that is how the balance is struck. When you NEED an effect or you need to start off strong, you can make it happen.

I think most people except some amount of randomness. I doubt most people remove variance from their damage equations. It looks unnatural to NOT have some amount of random. That is essentially the roll of dice for damage or healing or whatnot. Without randomness, there would be little dynamic about a battle. It wouldn't even be 'chess', it would be 'checkers'.

Some of the abilities in my game can stun the enemies (or party members if enemies use it) It would break the game is the hit chance was too high or if it could be done too often. The attack hit chance is high, the status effect hit chance is low, and the cost is high. The goal is to essentially spend MP to have a small chance to stun without wasting a round or making battles a joke. That MP is valuable, doing this rather than a sure hit can change the tone of the battle. It is a gamble to use, but it's not an all-or-nothing approach.

My assumption from the OP was that it's a question about quite gambly skills and their place alongside less gambly standard skills. And all that really does is increase the chaos in battles. There is a fine line between chaos and dynamic.
 

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