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This is a question that's been on my mind for quite some time. I personally never do it. Chances are if you're someplace with enemies that outclass you to the point where you need to end battles early, to me a more rational solution would be to reset the game and build more levels in a safer area. And some RPGs keep track of how many times you run from battle, and they may even penalize the player for excessive escaping. (Final Fantasy V, for example, has a weapon whose offensive power diminishes every time you run.)

And in games like Chrono Trigger and Earthbound, where you can see enemies on the field before engaging them in battle (and, therefore, figure out novel ways to avoid them if you wish), is a Run command really necessary?

Some RPG fans may argue that running is an essential component of the gameplay experience, and it presents something of a logic puzzle for the player. ("If the situation is unfavorable, how can I minimize my losses?") I don't, but I'd be curious to hear what you all think.
This is pretty much directly proportional to how much I enjoy the battle system in a given game. In the standard JRPG I probably run from at least 50% of the fights, and honestly I find being underleveled is the only way to make bosses interesting in most of them.

Throw me into any Shin Megami Tensei game and I will fight every battle to the last. It's notable that even when doing this many SMT games will still require some extra grinding, which doesn't bother me because the battles are so fun to begin with.

By default being able to run is a nice thing, but I really prefer when games choose alternate routes such as the ones you mentioned in CT and Earthbound. Earthbound had a few other extra features thrown in on top of that which are worth mentioning. When you're too strong for an area enemies will actively run from you instead of chase you down, and once you've outclassed them completely you auto win the battle the moment it's triggered.

i guess my official stance is your game should be set up so the player never wants/needs to run (unless they accidentally trigger a super boss or something, being able to escape is a must in that situation). But I'd never suggest removing the option just because there are times when players get careless and find themselves staring at a potential game over. It is a terrible feeling to have that realization and be unable to do anything about it.
Depends on whether the Run command is actually usable. If you have to use run ten times for it to actually be successful, then you might as well win the battle to actually get something for that damage.
Yeah, it always pissed me off how often escape attempts fail -- especially when you ree-hee-heally need to get away from the battle. The Dragon Quest games and the first three Final Fantasy games are notorious offenders.
I run when I don't feel like fighting.
I run from fights either when:
1) I get that sinking feeling and need to bail I get in trouble and waste the last three turns of my life trying to run
2) I am sick of fights.
Comedy Option 3) I am playing FF5 and I need to grind up the Chicken Knife (which also beats the shit out of that useless Brave Blade in every way possible)

#1 is simple enough: I want to run because sticking around is a losing proposition. Fuck games where run never works when you need it to.

#2 is the main source of my retreats. I just took two steps and I got in another encounter? Fuck off. I want to make some progress between these swaths of endless mobs and if I spent a whole three seconds moving before getting in another two minute encounter I am going to tire of battles real quickly. This doesn't just apply to random encounters (although Pokemon and Suikoden 5 are fucking terrible at frequent random encounters I run from). Earthbound is nice because you usually don't end up getting in frequent throwdowns like Romancing Saga (oh hey enemy hanging around off camera which you can't control and he just bumrushed you/narrow corridors ahoy). A bunch of forced encounters right after another really sucks and that's the shit I'm going to run from (Tyrano Fortress I'm looking at you)

If it came down to it, I'd rather have half the encounter rate and running in circles over double the encounter rate and running from half of them.

#3 is simple: The Chicken Knife doesn't power down like the Brave Blade, also uses the Speed stat, and can be magic-sword'ed. Blade Brave gots nothing on the real men's weapon the Chicken Knife.
If a game is too annoying with giving me a lot of fights or I'm almost out of items and can see no shop in sight I'll run like a frightened teen running from Freddy. Otherwise it's stand and fight all the way. Percentage like? Well about 20% if it's a good game and 50%+ if it's not.
Never. In new(er) games, fighting every battle will get you to a high enough level to finish the game and, in older games, running away was less of a good idea because it just means more grinding will eventually have to be done.

...unless I am about to die, and then I attempt to run, fail, and die anyway.
I don't run away unless I have to. But when I'm really pressed to continue with the plot, I will skip a few battles.
I don't run unless:
1) I'm trying to stay healthy for a boss
2) The enemy is way beneath my power-level - the experience is pointless.

Touch encounters go some way towards mitigating both. Rewarding the player something other than experience (i.e. Job points, weapon points, whatever) is very effective on the later. Then, I don't mind as much if I get stuck fighting some weak enemies since I can still get something out of the battle, and I run less as a result.
I usually take an opposite view to the "play it safe" people - building up levels in a safe area is boring, let me go somewhere that there's at least some risk. So in some games it can occasionally be worthwhile to try to run away from battles as you limp back to safety, or to accidentally encounter an enemy far stronger than the norm for the area; in those rare cases I'll often try it.

On the other hand, a game that forces me into too many easy encounters I usually stop playing pretty fast. Entering the encounter and escaping is way too much hassle in most games; being able to avoid most encounters in a Chrono Trigger-like fashion is usually fine, though.
I don't like random encounters, and I try to let the player decide how many battles they want to fight. In my game, the short intro that just warms up the player for the actual game, there's four fights you can't avoid and two more you can ignore if you want.

Of course I want the player to fight them all, so I'll reward them for the extra fights with Dungeon Points and items to make it worthwhile. In one of the fights, it's how you approach it that gives you the extra points or not- taking the extra option to try and trap, solve a puzzle, ect. gives you points rather than just charging at the enemy.

The run command is just when the player has second thoughts. You can even run away from some of my optional bosses too. I heard chaos has a game where you run away from half the game because it will kill you.
I only run in Pokemon when I'm EV training, most other times it's a fight to the death. I don't really play any risks as I like to keep characters over 90% of their max. health.
Returning from RMVX Death
I run when I don't feel like fighting.

I would have to agree with this one. :/
If the encounter rate is good, almost never unless I actually need to. But if I have to fight after about every two or three steps I begin getting pissed off and run from battles.
Maybe when I'm on low health and trying to make a desperate push into town.
Never. In new(er) games, fighting every battle will get you to a high enough level to finish the game and, in older games, running away was less of a good idea because it just means more grinding will eventually have to be done.
...unless I am about to die, and then I attempt to run, fail, and die anyway.


or when I'm in a hurry to save because it's really late at night or something
Yellow Magic
Could I BE any more Chandler Bing from Friends (TM)?
I run when I don't feel like fighting.

For me this is like 80% of the time because I can't seem to pick good games to play
Although I'm also in a rush most of the time, sooo...
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
generally pretty often unless battles are somehow awesome or it's impossible (In the latter case, I generally quit playing unless the former case is true.)

I hate when games punish you later for running away from battles earlier and being underleveled (I'm looking at you, FF8. God I hate that fucking game.)
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