BUTTON MASH - FORCING THE PLAYER TO USE DIFFERENT SKILLS

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This may or may not be a good example of what LockeZ is talking about, but in Vantage Master, based on my experience, relying heavily on particular type of Natial or constantly summoning Natials usually lead me to my death.
author=ubermax
I agree with a lot of what Einander said (excellently written, btw), but I don't like the idea of getting rid of your lower level spells. Yes, it does clutter up your spell list when you have to scroll through "Fire 1, Fire 2, Fire 3", etc, but I think the failing isn't that you have them, it's that there aren't enough opportunities to use your lower level spells once you get the next level up. This, I think, is a mistake on the part of the game creator. I like my options to be open in a fight, and until someone figures out a sliding power indicator that lets me choose how powerful an attack I want my fire spell to be, I'd rather have multiple levels of the same spell that I can use differently in different situations.


Diablo II, when you leveled up later skills you'd get points added to weaker spells, essentially beefing them up as they beef up your later spells. It kinda works out but Diablo II has the worst balancing in a game (for single player) IMO.
Thiamor
I assure you I'm no where NEAR as STUPID as one might think.
63
author=ubermax
I agree with a lot of what Einander said (excellently written, btw), but I don't like the idea of getting rid of your lower level spells. Yes, it does clutter up your spell list when you have to scroll through "Fire 1, Fire 2, Fire 3", etc, but I think the failing isn't that you have them, it's that there aren't enough opportunities to use your lower level spells once you get the next level up. This, I think, is a mistake on the part of the game creator. I like my options to be open in a fight, and until someone figures out a sliding power indicator that lets me choose how powerful an attack I want my fire spell to be, I'd rather have multiple levels of the same spell that I can use differently in different situations.

An example off the top of my head: Let's say you're fighting an ice monster. Obviously you go for your most powerful fire spell to melt the bastard's face. Ah, but what's this? He's right next to a monster that explodes when struck with fire, dealing your party massive damage, and your high level fire spell always has splash damage! What do you do? WHAT DO YOU DO?

You use your lowest level fire spell, of course, thus melting frozen face and keeping you and your buddies alive. Man, aren't you glad you held on to that weak little spell?

And so on.

I'm not saying you shouldn't have a system that replaces each level spell with the next, but I enjoy a system that makes clever use of the spells I've already learned, giving me more control over a battle and pushing me to use a bit of strategy. Not for every fight, no; this seems to be something a lot of people agree on, you don't want to bog the player down with fight after fight of mental challenge. But every once in a while, it's fun to see something clever and new, something that makes me think. It keeps the game from getting "grindy", and makes the entire experience more fun.

TL;DR - Options are good, but don't overdo it.


With that in mind, I always wanted each spell being able to level up so that even if you get the next version (level) of that spell, you can level up your lower level spells and have it be just as strong, and yet it still uses less MP to use them, so it gives the player a chance to hit hard yet minimize the amount of MP you have to use.
That's an excellent idea, Thiamor. Sure, have your Fire 1, Fire 2, Fire 3, but give the option to make them individually stronger, so that they're still powerful enough to be useful, and set up circumstances where Fire 1 would be preferable over Fire 3.
I think lower level spells/skills should go thusly:

At low level: Medium cost, medium damage; average DPS.
At high level: low cost, lowish damage; but a high DPS.

Picture a low level send one measly low-level fireball every once in a while, but a higher level sending out more of that same fireball, but faster in the same amount of time.

High level spells:
At low level: N/A
At high level: high cost highish damage; medium DPS.

As you can see, low level spells could mean high DPS when at a high level (attributed by higher mana and or a faster cast rate). But high level spells could deal area damage but not have quite the DPS, these may have more of a BDS (breadth damage per second), if there is such a term...
In Necropolis I am using a combo system to encourage variety in ability rotations. Basically, abilities come in three stances: basic, finesse, and power. Performing an ability generates a combo point from its respective stance, and each ability automatically places you into a different stance. So, the Slash ability, which is usable from the Basic stance will combo into any ability accessible via the Power stance.

You can change stances at will, but doing so breaks the combo. Executing a three-hit combo is to the player's advantage because it results in a finisher, which is like a powerful limit break move or however you want to describe it. The finisher changes based on what sequence of combo points you have, so it's in your best interest to plan your ability usage accordingly to execute the most effective finisher technique.

I'm happy with the mechanics on the whole--the difficult part is making boss encounters that keep it interesting.
really helpfull info J cheers!!!! :)
I am also fleshing out a combo-system, which really has it's base in the traditional fare of j-rpg battles. It involves different attacks, invoking different states that are affected by whatever type/attack or state that is to follow.

As a simple example; I cast a water-spell on my enemy, causing damage and him to get the "drenched" status. I then proceed to cast an ice spell, causing further damage but also almost automatically freezes him. I then have my sturdy fighter to simply hit him with his big hammer, shattering the adversary. Other combos might involve water (drench) into thunder (stun) into a reckless attack with low to hit % (but massive damage), since he can't avoid when being stunned. And so on - if properly implemented, it encourages experimenting in combat and could prevent 1-skill spamming (only combo-spamming, which is 3-skill spamming)
author=Mr.Nemo
As a simple example; I cast a water-spell on my enemy, causing damage and him to get the "drenched" status. I then proceed to cast an ice spell, causing further damage but also almost automatically freezes him. I then have my sturdy fighter to simply hit him with his big hammer, shattering the adversary. Other combos might involve water (drench) into thunder (stun) into a reckless attack with low to hit % (but massive damage), since he can't avoid when being stunned. And so on - if properly implemented, it encourages experimenting in combat and could prevent 1-skill spamming (only combo-spamming, which is 3-skill spamming)


That's a lot like how Dragon Age combat works if you string together the right combos. The only con is the extra attention you'd need to balance it, or otherwise it'd be easily exploitable. Picture doing that to a boss monster, okay suppose they are exempt, then what about a champion-level monster? Then you've got to figure in resistances.

It's a great system when done right though.
I'm trying to implement a rather simple idea to get people to use defensive skills. It works like this; if they only use offense and healing and don't use any damage mitigation skills, they get a game over. Enemies will kill them, either by overwhelming them or by eating trough all healing.

Another method I have is to give the enemies different defenses. Currently, most enemies have either high defense or high evasion. Attacks and weapons that are suitable for one type defense usually fares worse against the other type of defense. I need a few more defensive methods though.
One idea I came up with is to have a monster that leeches power off of another, more powerful monster in the battle group. This means that the more powerful monster is made weaker, but the less powerful leech is made stronger. If you kill the leech first, the strong monster regains all his strength, and then you have to fight a much stronger foe. You have to kill the stronger one first, dropping the weak one's strength and HP back down so you can easily finish it off.
Thiamor
I assure you I'm no where NEAR as STUPID as one might think.
63
LOVE that idea.
They had something kind of like that in Final Fantasy 10.
author=Crystalgate
I'm trying to implement a rather simple idea to get people to use defensive skills. It works like this; if they only use offense and healing and don't use any damage mitigation skills, they get a game over. Enemies will kill them, either by overwhelming them or by eating trough all healing.


The way you're phrasing this sets off blaring alarms, because it sounds like it started at "man, I want my game to be tactical" and ended at "'tactical' means the player uses the right approach to solve a problem." That is distinctly the wrong approach to take as a designer.

Tactics is about making meaningful choices. If you're always going to be one-shot unless you use Buff X, then there's no choice. You use it or you die. It rapidly becomes a tedious chore. "Press X to not die" in turn-based RPG form.

Why should simply healing it away not be an option, for example? Sure, it might mandate that you pick tougher party members, or that you wear heavier armor. Sure, it might be harder. That's fine. You can offer secondary choices that are worse for the player. But why should you work to eliminate it entirely as an option? Does it offend you that players might not play the game "the right way"? Because if that's the case, then you need to think very, very carefully about what you're trying to do here. It's a game, not a movie.
author=Einander
The way you're phrasing this sets off blaring alarms, because it sounds like it started at "man, I want my game to be tactical" and ended at "'tactical' means the player uses the right approach to solve a problem." That is distinctly the wrong approach to take as a designer.

There's a ton of ways to mitigate damage. You can use status effects or stat downs to weaken enemies. You can use defensive buffs. You can have one character set up as a tank and draw the fire. You can also combine the methods.

Tactics is about making meaningful choices. If you're always going to be one-shot unless you use Buff X, then there's no choice. You use it or you die. It rapidly becomes a tedious chore. "Press X to not die" in turn-based RPG form.

I'm excluding one choice, offensive, offensive, offensive, heal, repeat. That should still leave every other choice intact. Also, very little one-shots you.

Why should simply healing it away not be an option, for example? Sure, it might mandate that you pick tougher party members, or that you wear heavier armor. Sure, it might be harder. That's fine. You can offer secondary choices that are worse for the player. But why should you work to eliminate it entirely as an option? Does it offend you that players might not play the game "the right way"? Because if that's the case, then you need to think very, very carefully about what you're trying to do here. It's a game, not a movie.

Well, you can't choose your party in my game, but you can give all of the members a defensive setup if you wish. However, if you do so, it means your damage output suffers. You take less damage per attack, but enemies get more attacks since they now live longer. In the end you take about as much damage as you would with an offensive setup and will run dry on healing.

Also, how would you go about making it so that just healing is possible, but harder than using another tactic? If you just heal it out, it means you only need to keep track on when you have to heal. If you use any other tactic, you have to keep that other tactic in mind, but you probably also end up having to heal anyway at some point, so you also need to do that. Any other tactic seems more complex than just healing it out.
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.
6138
If your healing spells are extremely simple, then healing as a strategy is extremely simple. There's no logical reason for healing spells to get the short end of the stick, strategy-wise. You can make healing spells that inflict buffs or debuffs on the user or the target, that take longer or shorter to cast, that heal over time, that combo with other healing spells, that combo with damage or defensive spells, that have cooldowns, that can only be used once per battle, or that have any other special effect or gimmick you would normally only think to use for damage dealing abilities. The premise behind this 'button mash' topic applies to healing also, not just damage! It also applies to tanking and buffing and debuffing, for that matter.
LockeZ comment above has got me thinking...

Button mashing games = FUN

Otherwise = Boooooring.
author=S. F. LaValle
I don't think the complexity of that is a problem. A player will get used to what they can accomplish with that character in the most efficient way.


^-- This is a powerful force. I would say not using the same skill over and over is a not a bad starting point, but insufficient; it's more important to have to think about what you should use at some point during the fight, not just be able to go "Oh, I can left-right-suplex this guy" from the start.
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.
6138
It's true - anything becomes mindless button-mashing once you're comfortable enough with it that you no longer need to think about it. Familiarity with a challenge causes your response to that challenge to be automatic, whereas things you haven't done before are engaging. I think this applies to both mechanical and mental challenges.

Radnen, you've lost your speaking privileges.
I think that's why it's better to make the player's skill choices based on their enemies rather than their parties; so that they never really gets that familiar with the game.
Even better, make it based on what actions the enemies takes as well. If you encounter that same group of enemies, but the RNG chooses different actions for them, the fight becomes different.