HP RECOVERY... AFTER EVERY BATTLE? MADNESS! (RESOURCE MANAGEMENT)

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I tend to think of games that heal you between fights as not wasting your time. In a Final Fantasy, you just fight fight fight until you are low enough that you have to stop fighting, open the menu, click on the healing spells or potions, spam them 'till the party is healed, then close the menu and keep going--FFXIII eliminated this boring step.

My only issue with full healing after a fight is that you don't have any drive to perform well. You could just blindly fight until 2 out of 3 characters are dead and the one survivor is half dead. But there is no penalty of course, so you just move on. FFXIII helped this by scoring you depending on how well you performed, which determined the quality of items you found.

As far as realism goes, I tend to not think of HP as how much blood you can lose. Each time a character is "hit," I don't think they're actually getting cut or crushed, but they're avoiding these things, expending stamina. I describe Hit Points as how many attacks a character can survive (by avoiding, parrying, small nicks, etc) until they screw up and get it and fall unconscious. Using this description, you could argue that healing after a fight makes sense because you are "taking a breather" and then moving on. If you really wanted, you could add some sort of injury system or something to support this and make it more realistic.

The way to make a dungeon challenging while healing between battles is to simply make each battle a test of skill. Design a battle system that highly rewards players who utilize tactics and though, and one highly punishing to players who blindly click the Attack button. Again, FFXIII did this almost flawlessly. The Paradigm Shift system was highly tactical and a ton of fun. Not only in that game did you fully heal between fights, but there wasn't even any MP to worry about. I also think MP is kinda useless the way it's implemented in a standard FF-style game.
I have full healing after battles, but then I don't have items either, so I guess it's kind of required. Monsters are a little more dangerous as a result, but even still, you have to fight wisely because you get graded after battle much like FFXIII.



Your battle grade determines the amount of EXP you get from battles. So if you're constantly leaving battle with two characters dead and one with low HP/MP, while having taken a ton of turns to win, then you're not going to get much EXP. In this way, I try to make players still fight for their EXP at the very least. I need to balance it to be a bit more strict now though.
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.
5508
Now I'm curious... how do you make the dungeon threatening while healing between battles? It's probably very difficult. Remove the save points? You could, but most resource-dependent dungeons do this anyway, and assuming you were strong enough to make it to where you are, you should easily be able to make it back.
I think filling the dungeon with life-threatening battles is threatening enough. If your worry is about the player trying to leave, then consider that in a game like SaGa Frontier, fighting your way back out is, while less dangerous than fighting your way in, still nonetheless pretty dangerous - the enemies' actions are random enough that they are still capable of killing you if you don't pay attention. In a game like Final Fantasy 13, there's simply no reason to backtrack and leave the dungeon, so who cares what monsters are back there? My game will be more like FF13 in that way - dungeons won't be pits of danger that you have to slowly crawl to the bottom of, they'll be a series of individual fast-paced battles. The player should be experiencing plenty of terror just from dreading when a battle will pop up and what new tactic it will use to painfully kill them.

I also love the FF13 battle grading, it works amazingly well with this system. I will almost certainly use something like that in my game.
Skie, you can put your battle results...after the actual battle now. No need to do it on the field map. =P
I tend to think of games that heal you between fights as not wasting your time. In a Final Fantasy, you just fight fight fight until you are low enough that you have to stop fighting, open the menu, click on the healing spells or potions, spam them 'till the party is healed, then close the menu and keep going


This is a problem with the way the system is handled, not the system itself. You can't do this in games like Dragon Quest unless you want to run out of items and MP in the middle of a dungeon. It's all about resource management.
post=155098
Skie, you can put your battle results...after the actual battle now. No need to do it on the field map. =P


D-Do I have to? D:
post=155102
I tend to think of games that heal you between fights as not wasting your time. In a Final Fantasy, you just fight fight fight until you are low enough that you have to stop fighting, open the menu, click on the healing spells or potions, spam them 'till the party is healed, then close the menu and keep going
This is a problem with the way the system is handled, not the system itself. You can't do this in games like Dragon Quest unless you want to run out of items and MP in the middle of a dungeon. It's all about resource management.




So what do you do in Dragon Quest? It's the same thing, just not as often maybe. Or you farm enough gold to buy as many items as you need to get through. I didn't say you'd just waste potions or healing magic. It's all about gold management because you can just buy as many potions as you need. There is bag space limitations of course, but nothing that would stop you from being able to complete a dungeon of your level.

I would say resource management would be more where you had to actually make careful choices about what spells you cast, when you cast them, what and pre-battle preparation you did. Also, rarely casting magic during a dungeon and then reaching a boss where you spam your most powerful abilities ad nauseam is also not fun.

The entire system is broken in my opinion. Look at Diablo II as an example. You could literally just fill your bags with potions and spam them until you won the fight. It was completely ridiculous but the game was balanced around it. In something like WoW, you can only use a single potion in a fight and then must wait 2 minutes after the fight to drink another.

This is how items should be. They should be saved for emergencies when you make too many mistakes. If you are playing correctly, you shouldn't have to dip into your items. If items work ala Final Fantasy, then if you just so happen to have 99, then the dungeon suddenly is a joke. Items shouldn't trivialize difficulty.

Imagine in a Final Fantasy if you could only use 1 item per battle. You'd suddenly worry a lot more about proper tactics (keeping up Protect, Shell, Haste, Deprotect, Deshell, etc.), keeping squishies in the back row, and making sure your equipment is up to date. This is a much more intriguing system to me.

Don't get me wrong. I love Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, but I think there are much more intriguing ways to make games. Even Dragon Quest IX just feels a little stale because of it's cling to the old-school systems. This is why FFXIII was such an amazing game (despite the story being so-so.)
I guess it's just a difference in preference, then.
I would like to point out the difficulty in getting resource management right.

First off, as I already mentioned you will need to put a lid on how many healing items the players can pack. A dungeon that can run them out of 99 X-Potions and Hi-Potions will be boring in one or another way.

Second, you have to make skills effective at saving resources. Let's say that the most economic healing spell costs 10 MP and heals 100 HP. That means 10 HP per MP. Any other spell has to in one or another way beat that. Let's also say you have a fire spell that costs 8 MP. Presumable, by casting that spell instead of just hitting attack, you kill an enemy faster. Well, by killing that enemy faster you have to prevent more than 80 HP worth of damage from being inflicted on your characters for that skill to be more effective at resource management than simple taking the hit and then healing afterwards. The same goes for any skill that isn't healing, by using it you have to be able to prevent more than it's cost in MP x 10 points of damage.

You can "solve" that problem by making one white mage who has the healing spells and one black mage with offensive spells. However, black magic is still ineffectual compared to white magic, it's just that you now have a character who hasn't any other chose that sticking to that ineffectual magic.

Now, let's assume that you do manage balance spells so that when properly used, non healing spells can be more MP efficient than healing spells. The second task becomes to balance the strength of your enemies so that if you stick to attack and heal you will run out of MP before you make it trough the dungeon, but if you use skills properly your MP will be sufficient. Unless you squeeze the enemies between those two points you will not create a game that requires (or worse, doesn't even allow) intelligent skill use to manage your resources.

This is made somewhat harder by the fact that how good your characters stats are changes how MP efficient healing is compared to other spells. If you have higher stats than expected, that sleep spell you have will become less efficient. It will still put the enemies to sleep (unless you're one of those who are paranoid about status effects actually working on enemies), but those enemies would have died quickly anyway thanks to your higher offense and during their turns they would have inflicted less damage due to your higher defense. So, the amount of damage the sleep spell prevents decreases if your characters becomes stronger. Meanwhile, you healing spell will either heal just as much HP as before or even more depending on how that spell in constructed.

Players having different stats becomes an issue in games where equipment management is a factor. There's a good chance that if you want a game with resource management, you also want equipment to be part of the resource management.

It can get really tricky to get it right and most quick solutions to that problem either doesn't work at all or creates other problems. I hope I see someone pull it off though.
Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
13829
DQIX has so many options that make battles more interesting that I'm just going to ignore ashriot's final comment.

Anyway, you guys are getting FFXIII wrong.

-Your score is based only on time spent; even if only Vanille is left alive with 15 HP, if you did it under X seconds, you get 5/5 stars
-By doing well, you earn back a chunk of a Technique Point
-TP is used to make battles easier or increase ally's AI (Libra)
-By the end-game, TP is something that you really want

FFXIII is also fun and furious. It does heal-after-battle well by being fun and furious.

So, how do you manage resources while also not being as difficult as FFXIII, and while still refilling HP? Why, by linking battles. The World Ends With You and The Last Remnant do this quite well. Each individual non-boss battle is fairly trivial after you obtain a few upgrades (note: NOT levels. In TWEWY you can actually lower your level to adjust difficulty and rewards on the fly (on top of an actual difficulty setting), and they only add +50 HP/level. In TLR, characters randomly get upgrades/skill levels post-battle based on their actions).

Thing is, in both games you can chain together a string of battles and then fight them immediately after the other (TWEWY) or combined in one giant battle (TLR). The rewards are significantly better if you do this, but survival becomes much more difficulty.

TWEWY MINUTIA:
-Certain Pins (equipped skills) can only be used X times/encounter chain, including all of the healing Pins. There are passive Pins that can raise this number or increase healing effectiveness, but it's something to keep in mind
-There are absolutely no resources in battle that are permanently used up

TLR MINUTIA:
-Due to the way tanking and flanking work in TLR, more enemies can be horrifiying
-The only resource that persists out-of-battle is your supply of various herbs, used in Restoration/Potion Arts (but you get quite a few during most trash battles - and extras during chained battles)
-The longer you fight without allowing the use of your most expensive Arts (you don't control characters directly, but that's for another topic), the more AP you build up, allowing you to use certain story characters' big blaster BOOMs


SO: How can you do this in your own, not-as-action-packed game? I should just make a topic about this, but...

-Allow certain points in dungeons to trigger a chain of battles where you can't open the menu until the end
-Eschew certain types of items (or items altogether) and use a system like Exit Fate or The Last Remnant where your MP/AP/whatever builds up as you fight and doesn't transfer between battles. This cuts out MP restoration and the associated items
-Pull a Shadow Hearts and have MP restoration easy to achieve. Have less abilities overall, but make each more powerful
-Pull a Rogue Galaxy and have there be absolutely no healing via characters; it's all done with items

You will notice that almost all of the comments in the above post involve MP or some variation of it.

MP - or whatever is used to regulate the use of your skills - is ultimately what decides an adventurer's longevity in a dungeon/battle, in most games. This is simply changed to a different mechanic in most "refill HP + harder difficulty" or "battle chaining" games.

FFXIII: ATB, limited TP
TWEWY: Pin uses
TLR/Exit Fate: AP/MP that gradually builds
Shadow Hearts: MP is simply very easy to refill
Rogue Galaxy: You still have AP, but it's used to enhance your tactics instead of survive

...I have a lot to say on this subject.
I was wrong about FFXIII. I just remember playing and when a character would die and the fight would end, it seemed like I lost a star because of it and I thought "That's a good idea!" But yeah, you're right, it doesn't work that way.

Think whatever you want about DQIX, I'm just personally having trouble getting through it because at this point (like 20 hrs in) I'm just not being drawn into it very much. It's a nice time-waster, but I don't feel compelled to go play it.

Also, I love the idea of variations of MP, I just don't really like MP the way it's presented in classic Final Fantasy's. Having MP build up as you fight, and spent as you use abilities is a decent route to take. It's just very easy to someone to think, "OK, I want to make an RPG! Now, I have HP and MP and...." Sometimes, people don't even try to imagine something different, it's just the accepted norm.
slash
APATHY IS FOR COWARDS
4011
Good god, Craze. Those systems do seem fun. If you keep the battles fast-paced and threatening, I'm sure you could make combat fun even if you always started out full.

My game is currently using an "Energy-like" MP system, where you start each battle with full MP (everyone has 100) and it regenerates fairly quickly over time, but most moves use at least half (if not over half) of it, so you: Use a skill, use a couple attacks or items, cast a heal, attack, defend, poison a monster, attack, poison another monster, and prioritize your team's energy usage.

It keeps the battle fun by encouraging you to use skills often but wisely, use a skill too early and maybe you don't have energy for a First Aid skill, but use a skill too late and you're wasting potential damage moves. This also came from my hatred of saving MP and only using magic spells on bosses or things that would definitely kill me.
Use a skill, use a couple attacks or items, cast a heal, attack, defend, poison a monster, attack, poison another monster.


Sure sounds like a lot of attacking and passing turns to me.
I think resource management is critical for a game like mine, but only because a point of the game is that you're exploring. You regenerate your energy back up to some % of max if it drops below some other point (catching your breath) after some time in battle unless you keep doing things that consume more energy. Other than that, there's really no items that can restore your health during battle (you have to patch yourself up after each fight).

The closest thing you can do is things to temporarily increase your HP during battle so you can take some more hits before going down (known as stamina). It all goes away after battle and you still have to treat your mortal wounds.

I'm actually thinking that instead of a whole clutter of healing items, you would just purchase general kinds of rations (ala Oregon Trail only simpler). You can auto-apply these rations to restore as much of your status as possible in one keystroke. You could only buy immediate battle items that actually go in your inventory. These you would save for battles where you just can't wait for it to end.
I hadn't heard that about FF13. That's a useful partial solution to a common RPG problem that particularly plagues heal-after-battle systems: once the player knows he's going to win, the rest of the fight is pretty well wasted time. (Even worse if the player is being encouraged to waste time - Steal, FF8 Draw, or somewhat more rarely recovering MP to heal at the end of a battle in something like Chrono Cross or Exit Fate.)



One of the nice things resource management does in a game is provide a range of outcomes for a battle.
If you have to use an Ether and a Phoenix Down to make up for the resources you spent, you've done a lot worse than if you just have to use a Potion (at least according to the usual relative worth of such). If you get healed at the end and get the same rewards no matter how well you did, who cares how well you did?
In the latter case, once the player beats an enemy party once it is an entirely solved, i.e. boring, problem in most RPGs. In the former case, the player might still get something out of correcting their own mistakes the second or third time around, or figuring out a better way later on if they come back with more tools. (Supposing the resource management is done well, at least, which is outside our scope - it's more than possible to not have this be true.)

So the useful thing that TWEWY does? It lets players arbitrarily increase difficulty to increase rewards. In multiple ways, as Craze points out. That way they're much more likely to end up fighting at a difficulty that's interesting for them. In this case, auto-healing even works out well for the game (the player doesn't have to make the calculation of what resources they're willing to spend in a riskier fight), in addition to its other conveniences.

Of course, it helps that there's an action component in TWEWY to keep things interesting in short fights - if your trash fights are "select attack turn 1, select nuke turn 2, win, auto-heal" this is not going to save you without more work. But actually giving the player an incentive to do better in a fight can do so much to broaden the range of powers and players over which a fight is interesting, I'm sometimes amazed it isn't taken more to heart.

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.
5508
post=156529
In the latter case, once the player beats an enemy party once it is an entirely solved, i.e. boring, problem in most RPGs. In the former case, the player might still get something out of correcting their own mistakes the second or third time around, or figuring out a better way later on if they come back with more tools.


It's definitely true that this sort of range of outcomes can make the same battle be a little more interesting multiple times. And thank God for that, because the feeling of pointless repetition is something I despise. But the randomness of enemy actions can do the same thing, if done well. And even with both factors at play, the same group of enemies will still be less interesting each time you fight them. After a few battles, they will be reduced to button mashing no matter what.

In my game, my solution is more direct. I'm just never going to present the player with the same battle twice.
slash
APATHY IS FOR COWARDS
4011
post=156678
In my game, my solution is more direct. I'm just never going to present the player with the same battle twice.


That's a pretty good plan. You can make fights that are different but still about the same level of difficulty pretty easily.
You could also work in what DFalcon said about challenging fights into a JRPG by guarding powerful (obvious) but optional treasure chests with fights that are harder.
post=156678
It's definitely true that this sort of range of outcomes can make the same battle be a little more interesting multiple times. And thank God for that, because the feeling of pointless repetition is something I despise. But the randomness of enemy actions can do the same thing, if done well. And even with both factors at play, the same group of enemies will still be less interesting each time you fight them. After a few battles, they will be reduced to button mashing no matter what.

That is one thing I really would like to see implemented in an RPG, battles with the same monsters plays out significantly different depending on what actions the RNG picks. I'd consider that a better use of the RNG than having it determine whether or not a battle will be hard.

I also agree that the same group of enemies will become boring pretty soon even if you successfully get the player to use different strategies. There's no point in creating three enemy groups for one dungeon and then set the encounter rate so that the player is expected to fight 20 battles before making it to the end.
If you recover HP after every regular battle, how will regular troops contain strategy without coming across as a boss fight?

Too little strategy and the game becomes extremely dull yes, but too much strategy and it becomes exhausting. A good balance is needed.


I prefer this setup regarding HP recovery.

Step 1. Give single regular troops a low threat. By that a single troop can't really give the player a game over screen, unless the player mashing attack the entire battle. There threat does deal some damage. They also drop items. Like "Potion", which heal a small portion of HP.

Step 2. Give multiply regular troops a high threat. By that, a chain of regular troops will become a threat to the player that can lead them to the game over screen if they aren't using their skills properly in a fight. They can screw up a lot though. This creates a need for strategy without making it exhausting. After every couple of multiply regular troops, there can be an even which restore HP. Because the threat is high, player's will have to use items either in battle or out of battle. So items become useful.

Step 3. Place an event that restores HP before and after each boss. Then have the boss have a high threat where player's have full-out strategy.



It's simple, what everyone uses and it works. Setup presumes you have different enemies that connect with pros and cons to the party skillsets, so the player uses different skills per enemy in that troop.
Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
13829
Well, I think the best way would be to make each monster in a dungeon unique. For example, a typical dragon's lair could have:

-an armored Lizardman Troop with high physical defense and a decent attack
-a somewhat defenseless Lizardman Shaman that has a weak party-wide heal and can raise an ally's physical damage
-a Goblin Zealot that uses average lightning magic against a single foe and resists all but ice magic; it has above-average evasion but low HP
-a small Dragon Whelp that has a breath attack that deals fire damage to all foes, but only average health/damage
-an elite Dragon Adolescent that has a stronger breath attack and also has a two-hit claw attack

The Dragon Adolescent would pop up less often than the other units, and it would have less allies usually. A good way to balance this is to keep enemy parties within 1 unit of the current party size. So, if the party has four people, you get to put 3-5 monsters in each group. (In a game where you don't heal after battle, you might to go from 2-5, with a focus on 3-4; too many too often can be incredibly draining. For more information on this and a good talk about EXP related to group size, read this article by Brickroad.) So, the Dragon Adolescent would take up 2 units because it's stronger than the rest of the monsters. The Goblin Zealot would take up 2/3 of a unit because it's easy to kill and only deals average damage.

What makes this a good enemy set is that in most groups the player has to establish who to kill first. Do you want to take out the buffers, or the damage-dealers? If there's a Dragon Welp mixed in, do you want to stop your mage from taking area of effect damage? (This is assuming that the game has a focus on tanking - enemies are drawn to your tank characters, which (heh) are much more durable than your mages. Helllllo, VX (and maybe XP, I honestly don't know if it has an "odds" stat.)

Basically, make enemies that compliment each other, and focus primarily on enemies that enhance damage done instead of damage mitigation. It's fine to have a few enemies that raise defense or heal, but making them appear too often makes fights drag on instead of becoming more exciting.

For the record, this is pretty much the exact method ("units") I use/d to balance Demon Tower/Diablocide/X. It's based on D&D4e.
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