- Jul 22, 2014
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Final Fantasy Brave Exvius. It may be a mobile game, but it's actually a pretty good one, and even though resurrection skills are dirt cheap to cast (and auto-life is also pretty cheap and plentiful) death is still something you really want to avoid because of how important buffs are. Since a raised character comes back without any, it's very easy to get stuck in the KO/Raise/KO/Raise loop because of how important everybody's turn is. Tanks will have to reuse provoke and/or cover next turn and during that time, enemies can easily wipe out a few other characters.
Yep - as I mentioned a little while back, the emphasis on Buffs is a good way to create balance even in the face of cheap, reliable revives, and it was wrong for me to say it's nearly impossible to balance to easy revives - what's actually nearly impossible to balance is when KO's are pretty inconsequential.
That being said - while a KO/Raise/KO/Raise loop for unbuffed allies might be "fair" in the sense of balance and battle tactics, I'd submit that it's one of the least fun dynamics you'll ever find in RPG battles. I personally try to avoid it at (nearly) all costs.
Final Fantasy 4 also had Raise costing a mere 8 MP and the game (the proper version) still manages to be somewhat difficult in spite of that. And while dated, the battle system is still better than most of the RM games I've played.
I didn't play 4, but from my memory of early FF games such as 3, the KO/Raise loop is pretty much a given whenever battles present any difficulty, right? You kind of just Raised whoever fell, hoped that it didn't happen to multiple people at once, and hoped you wouldn't run out of Phoenix Downs for when your White Mage got targeted, as you slowly chipped away at the boss' HP with characters who weren't downed and weren't on heal duty. It wasn't particularly fun and it doesn't hold up by modern design standards.
On the other hand, what I see more often in RPGs (and actually kind of dislike) is the slow defeat you suffer when a party member dies and the way to get them back up is either difficult or nonexistent. So somebody dies and you're stuck enduring the rest of the fight (or maybe even dungeon) from that point on with 1 fewer member, then possibly another, then possibly another.
I personally tend to like this kind of design, at least in concept - but there is the issue of "Dead Game Walking" where once you've lost one or two members, it's very obvious you're not going to win, and you still have to play it out, and you feel like a spider trying in vain not to get flushed down the drain.
Something I recently added to my game, to reduce the Dead Game Walking syndrome, is what I call a "Fury" mechanic. My battle system has two characters, and no Revives. When one character is KO'ed, the other enters a Fury state, where for the rest of the battle, they deal a lot more damage, take a lot more damage, and restore MP/TP a lot quicker than normal. It's a slight net positive overall (though not nearly enough to offset the loss of a character). The point is that the player will fail faster (and in less of a helpless way) if they're not going to win the battle, while if they were already very close to victory, an unexpected character KO doesn't mean an immediate loss. (And if you manage to win, your characters both get a full heal afterwards.)
I don't know what I'll do for other games where Fury isn't appropriate, though. I might add Revives that incapacitate (but also protect) the revived ally for several turns, to avoid the KO/Revive cycle while enforcing a severe drawback to letting your characters get KO'ed (which is that the revived ally essentially loses several turns rather than just one).
That said, I'm not against bumping the cost or even adding a cooldown if the need presents itself. I noticed that while FF4 had Raise only cost 8 MP, it went up to about 30ish MP in the next 3 games before dropping down to 8 again in FF9, then up to 18 in FF10. I'll just have to see how it works out.
Bumping the cost can be effective when MP is a very precious resource (e.g. MP restoration items are very rare/expensive, or can't be used within battle). It's much less effective when it just means that every 10 Revives, you will need to have one character commit a single turn to giving the Reviver an Ether.
Playing with Cooldowns can be really interesting, as it essentially sets a limit for how many KO's the player can sustain over a medium length of time, but it does lead to weird situations where, for example, it's better to let a member get KO'ed (so you can use the Revive and start burning its cooldown) than to try to keep them standing for longer. That could be seen as counterintuitive and unfun, or it could be seen as an interesting tactical add to combat - I think it's very much Your Mileage Will Vary.