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Out-of-combat skills

Something I noticed while testing a healing skill using my combat plugin is that the skill only heals a small amount compared to an actor's maximum HP, even though said skill has a magic power of 100% (which correlates to 10 Intelligence Influence in RT2K3's built-in combat system). When you think about it, that makes a certain amount of sense: you generally want an actor to be able to take at least a few strong hits without being KOed, so an equally strong heal wouldn't restore that much health either, right? So that just means I'll need to tweak some numbers later on, make healing skills more powerful than damaging ones, etc.

...But then it occured to me, while I can easily do that with my combat plugin (magic power can be set to 200% or whatever), I'd been planning to rely on RT2K3's built-in system for healing skills outside of combat...and they have an upper limit on Influences. The built-in system relies on Base Damage to allow making certain skills more powerful than others on top of Influences, but I'm aiming to avoid using that. So it's not going to be so easy to have consistent skill behavior both in and out of combat. I've thought of a few different potential solutions:

  • Rather than adjusting healing skills to be more powerful, adjust damaging skills to be less powerful. This could work fine in theory, although I'd also have to adjust the maximum HP so that battles don't take forever (I haven't exactly done much to balance them yet anyway). Still, this would mean I'm working within a hard limit of some sort, which is risky for long-term design. It would also mean the overall numbers of the game would be "coarser-grained", with rounding having more of an effect (probably still not that significant, but something to bear in mind).
  • Simply don't allow usage of healing skills (or any skills probably) outside of combat. If there are no out-of-combat skills, there can be no discrepency between in-combat and out-of-combat, plain and simple. This is sort of a weak "solution", although some would argue it makes for a better game -- having unlimited free moves between combats to spam healing skills could be considered cheating. Of course, the same could be said for using items out-of-combat.
  • Don't make healing skills more powerful than damaging skills at all. This would certainly make healing in combat feel a lot less fun psychologically, and it would make it a far less viable option for achieving victory -- all else held equal, a healer would simply be canceling out the effects of an enemy damager (it probably wouldn't actually work out that way in most cases with actors being generally higher in stats than monsters, but the point stands). The part about working within hard limits applies to this solution as well.
  • Find a way to have my combat plugin calculate and apply the effects of the healing skill out-of-combat, much like it already does in-combat. This is the most attractive option for me, since it solves the issue with no side-effects. It's also the most difficult, however. I'm not sure if I can manage to detect and react to a skill being used out-of-combat, and even if I did, the menu system the player is interacting with might not update between the player using the skill and my own machinations applying the effect of the skill -- in other words, the heal effect would work technically, but the numbers wouldn't appear to change until the player exits the menu. If I do figure out how to make this work, I'll probably update DynBattleChoices so other developers can make use of it.


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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.
In general I think you'll have the opposite problem from what you expect. As player and enemy stats increase, healing skills will increase faster than damaging skills. With the default damage/healing formulas, healing skills increase at a rate directly proportional with the player's int stat, always doing caster_int/4 points of healing. But damaging skills will increase at a slower rate because enemies are also gaining defensive stats - damaging magic spells do caster_int/4 - target_int/8 points of damage.

As long as the enemies are gaining defense and intelligence, player healing is likely to outpace player damage (unless you start adding bonus power to skills). Whether or not player healing outpaces enemy damage is another matter, and depends on how fast enemy stats grow compared to player stats - if they grow much faster than player stats then it'll become a problem like you're envisioning.
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