CRITICAL HIT! (NOW PLAYING THE LOST)

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halibabica
RMN's Official Reviewmonger
12743
That frog in the winter forest is still the worst thing ever. It's instant death to everyone who isn't immune to ice, and everyone else just dies to its physical attack. And it's a RANDOM ENCOUNTER. I don't care if it has a chance to run away. It has a greater chance to kill everybody before you can do anything about it.

The encounters aren't so bad individually I guess, but you can get worn out by them very quickly, especially if you don't hand-pick your team to counter them. A lot of attacks hit very hard or have devastating side effects. It's like I've said before: you either wreck them or they wreck you, and there's no in between. When you're trying to explore a new area, that just sucks, especially in a battle system that doesn't wait for you to make decisions.
Oh...riiiiiight, the Frozen Toad. I never did adjust THAT one either, I was more focused on Half-Phantom because even I got angry at that dude. Ironically, I never ran into the toad on my playthrough...huh.

Alternatively, you CAN go with Wait mode for ATB if you need time to think by going into a menu to pause all ATBs. Would be nice if it paused all actions when you have the option to pick ANYTHING though...
unity
You're magical to me.
11390
author=Xenomic
EDIT - As for playtesting and balancing, I've already done that multiple times as is. There's only a few regular enemy encounters that I'd even say are bad (Half-Phantom was one that I didn't realize was as bad as he was, but I fixed him. I haven't really had to fix any other regular enemies in the game since him though), and even the hard ones that I fought didn't feel that bad to me. Maybe it's just me??? *Ponders*


Don't remember if I've said any of this before, so please excuse me if I'm repeating something I said earlier, but...

As a dev, a lot of players are gonna find stuff in your game harder than you do, because they don't have the info you have.

To be fair, there are some games that aim to emulate a killer-DM style of play, where every encounter is a tense do-or-die affair, but generally most JRPGs have leeway for player error, where you aren't killed quickly just because you don't have the optimal setup or strategy.
halibabica
RMN's Official Reviewmonger
12743
from Xenomic
Alternatively, you CAN go with Wait mode for ATB if you need time to think by going into a menu to pause all ATBs.

OH MY GOD YOU CAN

How the f is this not the default setting? If there's one thing I hated most about this battle system, it was that the enemy ATB just kept going no matter what, and actions I tried to take would be canceled by the character getting stunned or dying because the enemy did something to them first. Well, this just got a lot more playable. We'll see if it's any help going forward (it will be).

But anyway, as far as testing random encounters, I suggest you try going into any given area and see how many you can win in a row without having to leave or heal up. Try different party combinations at whatever level you feel is appropriate. Keep an eye on enemy speed, how much damage they deal, how often they attack, and whether their status problems can shut you down or not. A lot of things may seem balanced on their own, but weighted against their frequency, some are much bigger problems than others. Remember, it only takes one party-wiping notorious monster to send the player back to their last save.
I think that's how 2K3 in general is is it defaults to Active. I don't think there's a way to default to Wait at all?? I commonly refer to Wait as Normal Mode and Active as Hard Mode because of what you just described.

@Unity: I'm aware of that, and trust me, even I found some fights pretty hard, and this was using characters I normally never use at all or don't level up (which WOULD'VE helped with some fights and/or areas...).
Yes, unfortunately there's no way (in vanilla RT2K3 at least) for a dev to make Wait mode the default or better yet only option. Which tends to create headaches for highly custom battle systems because it makes it hard to be sure your event pages will be called when you expect they will. In my own project, I figured out a way with DynRPG to strictly control the progress of ATB bars, based on PepsiOtaku's Battle: ATB Overhaul. If I recall correctly, it involved setting the built-in ATB system's speed to 0 and manually updating ATB values with my own plugin.
halibabica
RMN's Official Reviewmonger
12743
Continuing my conquest of Touhou Fantasy, I got through the Poltergeist Mansion even though they locked the door behind me. Luckily, I was high enough level to handle everything that was thrown at me. I think I could've grinded in the basement if I had to, but it didn't come to that. Then Reimu lost an internal struggle and had to leave the party, and I think she took her anti-encounter accessory with her since it's missing and I can't dequip it from her. Welp!

Still, we're back on track and going strong. I revised my approach a little to avoid excessive grinding; from now on, I'll fight a boss as long as the party's average level matches theirs. The game's so much more doable in Wait mode, it's hard to believe.
...Huh. I thought I fixed that so she would be unequipped when she left. Well then...>_<
halibabica
RMN's Official Reviewmonger
12743
I also managed to find a text box from her in the destroyed human village by checking the door of the former school (after she was gone from the party).

I've noticed other visual odds 'n ends that you may want to do something about. Some characters are missing frames of animation for certain status problems. They just vanish when they're afflicted. I haven't mentioned a lot of the nitpicky stuff I encounter, but the game could really use a sweeping up if you ever get the chance, and I don't just mean proofreading.
Ah yeah, I did fix all of those animation problems, those are going to be in the next update that i do (if I haven't already updated it). That took a little bit of time, but a lot of them are fixed for sure.
halibabica
RMN's Official Reviewmonger
12743
Okay, I figured out where my Demon Charm went! It unequipped off Reimu like it's supposed to. The real problem is that only Reimu can equip it, even though it says Sanae also can.

So I whupped Kraken again and returned to Scarlet Devil Mansion. I was surprised to see a familiar boss there (not that I'm unfamiliar with the four fiends or anything), and since he doesn't seem to have many specific weaknesses or resistances, I decided to take the opportunity to catch up an under-leveled party, even though I just said I'm trying to cut back grinding.

I'll beat this game eventually, I swear.
Oh. Well that's a problem that needs fixed then. I'll jot that down and make sure to fix that, then upload a new version for you, if you want.
halibabica
RMN's Official Reviewmonger
12743
It's not a game breaker by any stretch. If I really need to, I can buy some Repels or fall back on Sakuya like I was before.
halibabica
RMN's Official Reviewmonger
12743
All right, I had another good grinding session in Touhou. I've learned that Keine is a little bit broken. I'm at the point in the game where P's, B's, and 1-Up's aren't really cutting it for healing, so I was able to power up her skill that uses those as their base. She can now deal almost 1900 irresistible damage to everything on the field. I don't even have one of the item types that factor into it, so it could go even higher. If that were single-target, it'd be more balanced, but she's quite the powerhouse now.

Also, as I was fending off Patchouli's collection of vehicles, I noticed that I seem to get random level ups after bosses now. I don't know if that was always a thing, but it could be a nice compromise on the "bosses give no experience" issue. However, it may actually be more valuable than whatever sum of EXP the bosses would give, since entire level ups amount to a hell of a lot.

Anyway, not complaining. Keeping up with this huge team of characters was already a major concern.
Ah yes, Keine. The unit I never used at all. And who I never hear from, so it's nice to see SOMEONE using her. And yeah, that move IS strong, but when you actually start using items that it needs for healing well...don't think you want the formula for that move, do ya? lol. Also, yeah...ST with those types of abilities are next to impossible to do, so that's why it's not. 80% accuracy too, so it's not ALWAYS going to hit. ^^;

As for random level ups, is that for characters NOT in your party?
halibabica
RMN's Official Reviewmonger
12743
Yes, it was always non-party members. At first I thought it was a special property of Patchy's Car, but then it happened after Culex, too.

If single-target is impossible for Keine's move type, then you may want to nerf that attack in some way. Even if you divided it by 2, it'd still be very strong. Like I said, there are better healing options I should be using now anyway, so there's almost no scenario where its power will drop from me using resources. F is the only item I'd consider, but it's also the only one I'm missing because Remi's friend doesn't sell them.
Is it because Keine's in your party? Because if you're using her, she actually has a passive that gives a % of EXP to non-active party members. Which are these:

*EXP Distribute: All party members not in the party gain 1% of the EXP Keine gains from a battle. Doesn't work for party members that the player does not have access to at all.

BATTLE PASSIVE UPGRADES:
*EXP Distribute Level 2: Increases gain to 5%.
*EXP Distribute Level 3: Increases gain to 10%.

Well, there's Faiths too for status healing, but yeah, maybe it needs nerfed. It's somewhat based on the Mush Badge from Paper Mario, but figuring out a formula to not make it so dumb is...gonna be hard lol...the formula is this:

Damage = ( (P x 5) + (Large P x 100) + (B x 50) + (1-Up x 50) + (Faith x 300) + (F x 500) ) / 32

So if you have 99 of all the items, that's (495) + (990) + (4950) + (29700) + (49,500) / 32 = 2676 at max power. So I guess it's still STRONG, but you can't really make it stronger unless you have the armor that gives +50% power to those skills. Hm....

I never used her since I updated her, so I guess I never realized how strong she could be lol. ^^;;
halibabica
RMN's Official Reviewmonger
12743
Well, if you divided by 64 instead of 32, that would halve its power. I guess maybe it's only busted for now, and eventually enemy health will be high enough that it's not a problem. You know better than I about that.

I suppose it's possible the others have been leveling up because of Keine's passive boost, but here's the thing...it only ever happened after boss fights, where she gained no experience at all. Something's very fishy here.
Yeah, by end game it might still be one of the stronger attacks, but it's not as busted as some other things *MIGHT* be, ahahaha...I still haven't looked into some characters because still never used them. ^^;;

...Only after boss fights??? That's...not supposed to happen at all. And if that's happening only while she's in the party...maybe something's not right with that coding. Hm...
halibabica
RMN's Official Reviewmonger
12743
Counting Patchy's Car as a boss fight since it yields no experience, but yeah. Rather strange phenomenon.

The fact you never use some characters does not encourage me on the testing front!