Choosing character roles, the necessities and then how to shake up the character's skills

  • Craze
  • 08/16/2009 05:31 PM
A Look at the Crazemind: Unique Skillsets
This articlette is a small peek at my mind and how it works to create fun skillsets. Also included are some general tips and ideas scattered throughout. Please note that this does not take into account how the skills work out in the original Demon Tower - I know that Fighters were underpowered, but that is a problem with implementation and not the ideas behind it.

1) Work out possible effects as well as dream ideas. Whenever I create a skillset, I list out the options available to me by the VX database, downloaded scripts and my own straight-up coding abilities. This includes the game's elements, creature categories, stats, status conditions, and all that. Then, I make a separate list of dream ideas. These either require common events for me to manage, or are just so ridiculous that I know I'll never justify the work. Examples below.

Possible Effects: Attack+ status, Anti-Avian damage, Blunt weapon skills, Fire damage, damage that increases with lower HP, absorption, MP Regen, healing, Ice shield, random target skills that increase damage done based on the number of enemies...
Dream Ideas: D&D 4e-style hit-then-heal-an-ally skills, replacement summoning, equipment switching, item generation, reaction abilities...

2) Define character roles/categories. It is hella important to decide what a character's purpose in battle is. A broad skillset can work (see: DQ Hero class), but even in the DQ example the Hero class is aligned towards melee damage and tanking instead of just HIGH STATS/ALL SKILLS. Having everything available to you makes a character confusing to use and generally makes specific abilities shine less - and the character's role is messed up, anyway. I suggest sorting characters into the following categories; characters can fill more than one role, but any more than two makes for the mess detailed above.

Roles: Tank (Takes hits and keeps the party alive), Healer (Recovers HP and status effects), Fighter (Deals damage with ease, but is more frail than the Tank), Mage/Nuker (Uses renewable resources to generate large amounts of damage), Buffer (Raises party stats), Debuffer (Lowers enemy stats), Expert (Helps the party out of battle, or with odd numbers like gold drop increases)
Resulting Character Examples: Paladin (Tank w/ Healer aspects), Bard (Buffer/Healer), Monk (Fighter), Gladiator (Fighter/Tank), Warlord (Tank/Buffer), Wizard (Nuker), Warlock (Debuffer/Fighter; note that 'damage with ease' includes cheap magic skills, too)...

3) Apply skills to characters based on roles. This may seem to be the simplest part, but at the same time needs a bit of finesse to work. One important thing to consider here is the cost of the skill - life, SP/TP/MP/etc., turns, a debuff... Here are example skills for each role above, as well as suggested costs.

Skill/Role Fusions:
Tank - Draw attacks (passive or active taunt; no cost except the active version's turn); Revive (either with HP or SP; depends on the game's definition of your secondary renewable resource); self-heal/buff (should cost naught but a turn; maybe healing can cost some SP, but the loss of damage for a turn is still a cost)
Healer - Healing (either with regens or normal healing; costs SP); Small HP heal (costs a turn and doesn't function outside of battle); Removal of negative conditions (costs SP); blood transfusions (HP cost; heal/remove status effect from an ally - useful for Healer hybrids); self-healing/DEF buff/EVA buff (no cost; the healer needs to stay alive, too!)
Fighter - Normal attacks w/ elements (no cost or a very low HP/SP cost; fighters should be able to deal damage easily and consistently); Normal attacks w/ extra damage to certain enemy types (ditto); Rages (Berserk w/ benefits; can be free for a basic rage and cost SP for better ones); HP-based attacks (Fighters are going to lose HP since they don't have a Tank's HP; let them add damage when injured); weapon/element proficiency (passive boosts to damage with certain elements is nice, or maybe an evasion boost when daggers are equipped)
Nuker - Major elemental/anti-creature type attacks (high SP cost; nukers can't consistently pump out damage but should be murderers); situational attacks (average SP cost; this includes stuff like sneak attacking while cloaked or a super-attack when poisoned); SP recovery (free with a chance of failure or an added status effect; let nukers nuke more then they are meant to, but at a cost!)
Buffer - Raise stats (either an SP cost or a self-debuff cost); shield damage (ditto; lower elemental damage taken); status curing (ditto; a healer overlap, but a good way to encourage the use of pure Buffer characters); SP recovery (SP cost; transfer SP to an ally)
Debuffer - Damage enemy stats (SP/HP cost); attack 'n debuff (SP/HP cost; make debuffers more desireable by either passively or actively adding effects to their attacks); Buff removal (SP/HP cost; remove buffs from enemies); Absorption (SP/HP cost; keeps the Debuffer alive and able to continue cursing enemies); simple Debuff (no cost; try giving a debuffer a free and short-lasting/just plain small DEF-down effect so that they can always debuff effectively, and give the party a constant edge)
Expert - This really depends on the game. This is odd, hard-to-describe stuff like creating light, dodging traps, unlocking doors, picking herbs... useful, but not really the point of this post

4) Uniqueify the characters. This occurs when you have assigned roles and is only necessary when you have several cases of role overlap - like when you have four Fighters. A lot of this is based on your limitations, but here are some suggestions to diversify characters. You'll notice that most of these are applied to nukers and fighters. Tanks, Healers, and De/Buffers have fairly concrete ideas behind their skillsets - and they also need to work consistently.

Suggestions: Focus on a specific stat (like a character that uses DEF or AGI for damage), work with critical hit boosting, use random targets, make all skills rages (or at least rage-like), make a nuker that is completely situational (like when afflicted with certain status effects, they can use X, Y and Z but are otherwise a Fighter), make a character a hunter of a specific enemy type (see: FFX), make skills generate items/potions/scrolls/etc. that then unleash nuker effects...

Summary: Figure out your limitations, assign archetypes, then add a twist to that archetype if the twist is within your means.


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