HOW DO PEOPLE FEEL ABOUT RPGS WITH NO CONSUMABLE ITEMS?

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Hello! I play Touhou fangames and one thing that I've notice is that it seems
like almost all of them have no consumable items. No potions, no ethers, and no
revive items. I've grown fairly use to this by now. I've notice that when I'm practicing with RPG maker VX Ace is that I also neglect to include them. Most Touhou fangames are hard, so its no surprise that they don't have them, but how would you feel if more games didn't have these items?
A lot of the RPG Maker games I've tried have has somewhat questionable balance, so its not really a trend I'd like to see catch on, especially if combined with a lack of healing/revive spells.

Thing is, items/white magic are like the bombs and lives of an STG: a safety net you can use to save your ass when you haven't played optimally. Of course, these things arguable flow like water in most games, but I have a hard time imagining an RPG really working without them unless it has a very clever battle system that lets you avoid damage a lot.

I'd be interested in hearing how the Touhou fangames you've been playing work with this.
Craze
why would i heal when i could equip a morningstar
15170
Depends on the setting and how you want your game to be played. There really isn't an answer to this question other than "if they're useless, they're useless."

The simplest way I can think of in an unoriginal-as-hell rpg would be to have somewhat limited mana. Healing in-battle requires mana, but you can use items to heal easily outside of battle. THERE THEY HAVE A USE, WOW.

There are so many different ways to make an rpg that "consumable items y/n" isn't really a good question. Games with no skills and only items (riviera, the burning grail) exist. Really, the question should be: "are any of my potential actions useless? if so, should i get rid of them or remove them?"

If items are your only method of hp recovery, then yeah, they're probably a useful potential action. If you have extremely limited and/or charge-based skill currency, items that replicate skill effects can be pretty useful. If items are just shitty versions of your skills, then you've probably fucked up somewhere along the way.

hell you could just have "consumable items" not be consumable at all. a character who equips SWEET HERBS can now use a self-heal once per battle. it's still limited, but it's potentially useful! of course this depends on every other potential action you have.

i'll say it again: consumable items are only able to be judged in relation to other potential actions. basically, this question cannot be answered without context.

most importantly: if any of your items are swords, don't fuck with them.
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
5958
The number of items you are carrying is just an alternate form of mana that's only used for one skill. That's all it is.

In your typical RPG, you will be knee-deep in some dungeon, and have 78/99 potion points remaining, and casting Potion costs 1 point. You can refill these points to full at any town, for what is typically a rather stupidly exorbitant amount of money at the beginning of the game, and a completely trivial amount at the end of the game.

I can't really fathom why you would ever want a player to be able to use a single skill 99 times per dungeon but not want them to be able to use it infinitely. 99 is a lot. Why not just make the skill free at that point, and save yourself the work of balancing gold drops around potion costs? A more reasonable maximum number of carryable items for most games is usually, like, 3. Or maybe 5. 1 or 2 works sometimes.
slash
APATHY IS FOR COWARDS
4158
To jump off what LockeZ and Craze said, consumable items are part of the attrition-style design of most RPGs. The typical RPG has a formula where you back and forth between towns and dungeons, healing stocking up on items in a safe area and then using them to survive your dangerous trek. Items, along with HP and MP, form your resource pool, and your goal is to make that last as long as possible (like LockeZ mentions, a lot of games give you the ability to carry x99 of any item, which usually defeats the point).

For games that are based around self-contained battles - ex. anything where you can fully heal and rest between each battle, at no cost - consumables feel very strange. You could absolutely design a game that didn't have consumables that feels good and makes sense - you'd just have to design your battles and related mechanics from the ground up to match. Craze's Wine & Roses is a pretty good example of a game that doesn't have consumables and doesn't suffer for it.
I've never been a fan of consumables, because more often than not they make the game too easy since you're able to bring dozens of healing items and revives, usually trivialising any potential challenge. Also, I like the idea of my characters being able to take care of themselves using their own abilities/skills, rather than by drinking potions they've bought at a shop.
unity
You're magical to me.
12540
author=slashphoenix
To jump off what LockeZ and Craze said, consumable items are part of the attrition-style design of most RPGs. The typical RPG has a formula where you back and forth between towns and dungeons, healing stocking up on items in a safe area and then using them to survive your dangerous trek. Items, along with HP and MP, form your resource pool, and your goal is to make that last as long as possible (like LockeZ mentions, a lot of games give you the ability to carry x99 of any item, which usually defeats the point).

For games that are based around self-contained battles - ex. anything where you can fully heal and rest between each battle, at no cost - consumables feel very strange. You could absolutely design a game that didn't have consumables that feels good and makes sense - you'd just have to design your battles and related mechanics from the ground up to match. Craze's Wine & Roses is a pretty good example of a game that doesn't have consumables and doesn't suffer for it.


Totally! I thought The Heart Pumps Clay did this spectacularly. You can make and steal items during battle, and items are really overpowered (as in, I think the basic healing item restores 100% health?). But you lose all items after battle. So it all becomes a self-contained resource management task that resets after each battle. I found that to be a really neat way to do it ^_^
author=Milennin
I've never been a fan of consumables, because more often than not they make the game too easy since you're able to bring dozens of healing items and revives, usually trivialising any potential challenge. Also, I like the idea of my characters being able to take care of themselves using their own abilities/skills, rather than by drinking potions they've bought at a shop.


That's an entirely different problem; if you're able to bring dozens of game changing consumables, make them rarer.
slash
APATHY IS FOR COWARDS
4158
author=unity
author=slashphoenix
To jump off what LockeZ and Craze said, consumable items are part of the attrition-style design of most RPGs. The typical RPG has a formula where you back and forth between towns and dungeons, healing stocking up on items in a safe area and then using them to survive your dangerous trek. Items, along with HP and MP, form your resource pool, and your goal is to make that last as long as possible (like LockeZ mentions, a lot of games give you the ability to carry x99 of any item, which usually defeats the point).

For games that are based around self-contained battles - ex. anything where you can fully heal and rest between each battle, at no cost - consumables feel very strange. You could absolutely design a game that didn't have consumables that feels good and makes sense - you'd just have to design your battles and related mechanics from the ground up to match. Craze's Wine & Roses is a pretty good example of a game that doesn't have consumables and doesn't suffer for it.
Totally! I thought The Heart Pumps Clay did this spectacularly. You can make and steal items during battle, and items are really overpowered (as in, I think the basic healing item restores 100% health?). But you lose all items after battle. So it all becomes a self-contained resource management task that resets after each battle. I found that to be a really neat way to do it ^_^

Ahh, wow, I like that idea a ton! I've put a lot of thought into consumables / attrition / battles and I've never thought of something like expiring items... Guess I'll have to add that game to my list, ha.
Trihan
"It's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly...timey wimey...stuff."
3359
One potentially interesting thing to bring to the table: look at a series like Mario & Luigi, where you still have plentiful supplies of healing items available in and out of battle and the battle system also specifically allows you to avoid EVERY POINT of incoming damage if you get the patterns and avoidance mechanics down, in a lot of cases even turning the tables on your opponents and damaging them when they attack you.
Corfaisus
"It's frustrating because - as much as Corf is otherwise an irredeemable person - his 2k/3 mapping is on point." ~ psy_wombats
7874
The best option I've found in the way of getting around needing consumable items all the time but avoiding the bullshit way Dragon Warrior/Quest handled things with their "go back to church to revive" thing is to make all status ailments (all of them, including death) go away after battle. That way, if there's anyone in your party that still has MP (even the guy who got killed in battle), you can just use that to get your health back instead of trying to muscle your way out of a dungeon just to revive them when you'd otherwise be okay. The only "punishment" to letting a character die in battle without having a revive item handy is that they won't get the experience from that battle. Of course, if you're otherwise okay, you won't have to worry about them missing out on anything more than that.

Also, to prevent the player from stockpiling 99 of every item, you get just enough money to get by while being able to save up for the occasional weapon/armor (or you could blow all your gold to deck your characters out with the "best" (equipment weight may not always be viable) equipment and have to survive until you can afford potions again). Gold also has a minimalistic standard (anywhere from single digit for healing items to double digit for the best equipment in the game) worth so that potions aren't 20gil while weapons are a few hundred, resulting in the further ability to stockpile 99 of everything.
Marrend
Guardian of the Description Thread
21781
I think I've made two games with no consumables in them? The most noteworthy one is Uchioniko, certainly. The interaction with that game was that players can restore HP with MP, MP can be restored with TP, and TP was charged with various attacks. Also, TP that was not used in battle was used to recharge both HP and MP.
Craze
why would i heal when i could equip a morningstar
15170
Corfaisus
The best option I've found in the way of getting around needing consumable items all the time but avoiding the bullshit way Dragon Warrior/Quest handled things with their "go back to church to revive" thing is to make all status ailments (all of them, including death) go away after battle. That way, if there's anyone in your party that still has MP (even the guy who got killed in battle), you can just use that to get your health back instead of trying to muscle your way out of a dungeon just to revive them when you'd otherwise be okay. The only "punishment" to letting a character die in battle without having a revive item handy is that they won't get the experience from that battle. Of course, if you're otherwise okay, you won't have to worry about them missing out on anything more than that.


play a suikoden

Corfaisus
Also, to prevent the player from stockpiling 99 of every item, you get just enough money to get by while being able to save up for the occasional weapon/armor (or you could blow all your gold to deck your characters out with the "best" (equipment weight may not always be viable) equipment and have to survive until you can afford potions again). Gold also has a minimalistic standard (anywhere from single digit for healing items to double digit for the best equipment in the game) worth so that potions aren't 20gil while weapons are a few hundred, resulting in the further ability to stockpile 99 of everything.


i'd actually do this with higher costs -- say, a potion is 20g but the best weapon is 800g (or 200/8000 even). this gives you more fine-tuning over how much an enemy drops so that earlygame rat isn't dropping as much gold as a midgame basilisk. smaller numbers are easier to work with in your head, but slapping an extra zero on the end just makes the actual balancing easier as it gives more room for leeway and variation.

Corfaisus
"It's frustrating because - as much as Corf is otherwise an irredeemable person - his 2k/3 mapping is on point." ~ psy_wombats
7874
author=Craze
play a suikoden


Mind explaining that?
author=Corfaisus
author=Craze
play a suikoden
Mind explaining that?

After battle you're revived to 1HP if you died. You also have all status ailments removed. In addition to that, while there are items that heal, in-battle your main healing strategy is going to be runes (magic) unless you run out.

That said, healing items are basically either food (which you can have cooked up or buy depending on location - different foods giving boosts and healing for ailments), Herbs or scrolls (which emulate Runes, and can be made by spending runes thought why you'd ever IDEK). It's more useful to use them outside of battle.

Also, the character who dies in battle doesn't get experience. Fortunately, experience is weighted in Suikoden, so if you take a level 12 character with your group of level 45 veterans into a dangerous area, as long as that character survives a few battles, they'll slingshot up in levels pretty fast. I'm talking going from Level 12 to about Level 36 in a matter of 2-4 battles.

Since you have such a large cast of characters to choose from, it allows you to play as your favourites even if they fall behind a bit. Granted, it does make the game difficulty a bit on the easy side but it's a Suikoden game - you're there for the story and characters.

But yeah.
Which completely breaks Suikoden II thanks to a certain bug that lets your characters get up to level 40 very quickly when their supposed to be around 10 or so.
Craze
why would i heal when i could equip a morningstar
15170
i'm pretty sure suikoden 2 breaks suikoden 2

also you don't NEED to use any exploit. if you use it and then regret it, welp
author=Trihan
One potentially interesting thing to bring to the table: look at a series like Mario & Luigi, where you still have plentiful supplies of healing items available in and out of battle and the battle system also specifically allows you to avoid EVERY POINT of incoming damage if you get the patterns and avoidance mechanics down, in a lot of cases even turning the tables on your opponents and damaging them when they attack you.


Consumables in this case allow less skilled players to rely on inventory management to survive instead of having to get better at skill-based gameplay. It balances out difficulty depending on what kind of player you are, making the game more accessible to everyone.

We could say that that's thoughtful.
It may help target a wider audience and therefore increase sales.

Collecting consumables may also break the monotony of walk-fight cycles, and add a sense of exploration/adventure by having the option to search for loot/chests.

I prefer when every feature and mechanic has been given a strong purpose, deep thought. How well they work with one another is important.
author=Alichains
Which completely breaks Suikoden II thanks to a certain bug that lets your characters get up to level 40 very quickly when their supposed to be around 10 or so.

It's not exactly a bug you can trigger accidentally and even when you do find it, there's ample chance to ignore it and head on back to where you're supposed to be. Hell, sometimes you're lucky to survive long enough to get a use out of it (it's very easy for your low-level asses to be kicked before you get to the town and start the main part of the breakage). You have to search and find it or deliberately know about it beforehand and trigger it. (I actually stumbled across it by accident the first time, but it is super helpful for getting a certain side-quest completed and even without it the game is well-easy. Hell, I'd say the infinite money bug or Friendship Rune bug are more game-breaking. Levels eventually even out. The other two? You can do over and over again.

Of course, that's not mentioning the Level 99 bug - take an under level 12 character to the end area, get a battle of six of those knight monsters, kill off all but one, then damage it until it's almost dead. Kill off all other characters in your group and let the level 12 beat that enemy. Instant Level 99. Aw yeah~ For those who've not played Suikoden II - it's very easy to beat the last boss on level 30 if you know what you're doing. Level 40 if you don't. Level 99? Nuke-a-tude.)
I like them a lot, they add flavor to the battles... it would be boring if everything was just "I used my super ability."

They often are executed poorly though, like I remember in Final Fantasy I loved learning the Full Cure spell but practically speaking, it felt useless because X-Potions were plentiful and easier to use. Also some games even make charging abilities have a cast time but using items is a lot quicker, and the most 'challenging enemy in the game' requires good speed to kill so he doesn't quickly KO your entire party. This makes items feel cheap and overpowered.

Maybe you could make a Heal Potion not do as much raw healing power as the Priest's heal but can cure a certain status effect that his "Esuna" is unable to cure or something idk.
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