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Grinding's Final Hours and Harnessing the Power of Foes

  • Red_Nova
  • 07/22/2016 06:18 PM
  • 2383 views
Holy crap it's been a year since the gamepage was first made public?! I should have planned something special, like a tearful thank you post or an in-depth progress report on the whole game. Instead I made a promise to talk about a party member in the last blog and now I have to follow through on that. Whoops.

Well, for this totally NOT improvised at all anniversary update, I feel it's most appropriate to talk about a fix to one of the biggest issues the game had since it's initial conception! So how about we do that first?

By far the biggest problem I've faced with this game is to try and balance the feeling of survival with the growth elements of an RPG. The aim was to have every fight be tense, and how player skill and abilities factored into your success rather than levels and high damage numbers. Now, finally, I've figured out a simple solution:

EXP Decay


Amalie's too experienced to learn anything from these chumps!

After a character reaches a certain level, the experience they accumulate will begin to diminish. This means that grinding for levels becomes such a tedious task that players are highly discouraged from doing so.

Not only does this mean that you can't become OP via grinding, but this also comes with the added bonus of giving players a general idea of how much progress they should be making. Due to the linear nature of the story progression, it's possible to accidentally start in a high level area after you've cleared a chapter, and be severely underleveled while being unable to get stronger.

Here's how it works:

Every enemy is given a level, just like your party members. When a battle starts against a group of enemies, the enemy group's level is created by taking the average of the levels of every enemy in said group. After a battle is won, the troop's level is divided by each party member's level to create a modifier decimal, which is then multiplied by the amount of exp they would have normally gotten.

Take a battle in the prologue for example:



Two Savage Wolves. They are both level 6, so that's their troop level. Aeyr is level 4, while Amalie is level 16. After winning the fight, here is the experience awarded:



Aeyr gets the full experience amount normally awarded, while Amalie only gets a fraction of that, as 6/16 = 0.37, and 0.37* 100 = 37.

For those that did the math in their head and realized that Aeyr's experience modifier should be different, that's because, as of right now at least, the experience modifier doesn't go past 100%. You either get the full amount, or you get less. This can be changed in the future, but for now, I feel it encourages you to fight and level up even if you're afraid to because of lacking resources or whatever, which is part of the tension of the survival elements.


So there we go. The biggest potential problem with the gameplay I've had since the game began development has been solved. To get through this game, you have no choice but to learn the mechanics and the characters.

In other words: git gud.


New Party Member: Trill



I've talked about her a few times before, but it was mainly just visual teasers. Now, I'm going into a little more depth about her and why her fighting style is one of my favorites. I would go more into her personality, but seeing as her dialogue isn't implemented into the game yet (it's all written, though), I think I'll leave that for you to see for yourself.

Unlike Amalie, Trill is in full control of her innate powers as a Manna. This means that she can utilize the Miasma around her to use abilities typically reserved for Miasma Monsters. As mentioned before, Trill can use Miasma Charge to, just like monsters, acquire HP/SP regen, Critical Hit chance, boosted Strength and Tech, and alter Drives to be even more potent than before.

Trill's Burst Drives are acquired by drawing Miasma from the environment around her , meaning that her abilities will change via location. They are mostly supportive abilities, but a few attacks are sprinkled in here and there. Again, it varies by location.



One thing that's common among all her Burst Drives, though, is that they become stronger or add new effects if Trill uses them while Miasma Charged. See above for example. You can immediately add two Armor buff stacks in one turn if Trill is charged, which is a pretty big deal if you're facing an enemy with high offense.

"Wow. This sounds OP as heck. If all this is true, then you would certainly want to always keep her charged right? I mean, HP/SP Regen? Higher Strength/Tech? AND Boosts her Drives to be even better than before? Why WOULDN'T you always keep it on?"

Here's the thing: While Charged, Trill essentially becomes a beacon of Miasma, and suddenly becomes the prime target of all enemies. So everyone will want a piece of Trill for their own. And remember: Trill is a Manna. Her physical offense and defense is very low. Charging with poor timing will result in her getting destroyed very easily. Then you'll have to waste a precious revival item to bring her back.

Coding Trill has been a real blast, as her fighting style treads new ground both for new players and Soul Sunder vets. Until Trill joins your party, players should always be wary whenever Miasma Charge pops up on the field. Well, it should STILL be tense when an enemy charges up, but to finally have that kind of power under your control is exciting and should raise many questions about the Manna and what kind of people they are.


That's all for this blog! Thanks so much for reading, and a huge thanks for keeping the interest up for PotF for over a year, and here's hoping to continue that excitement as development progresses!

Posts

Pages: 1
NeverSilent
Got any Dexreth amulets?
6064
This is great stuff! That's about the most in-depth comment I can make. All other things you've already said yourself. (I even wanted to ask that exact question about keeping Trill's Miasma Charge up constantly, but youranswer came too quickly.)


P.S.: Happy birthday, PotF! Have some cookies.
zDS
Besr Richard Slayer
5035
All good stuff! The EXP decay is a great way to do multiple party members.
Hmm... Trill as attack magnet. Helps me more than hinders? I'd load her up with Dodge and Counter. And grind her so she's super high level just for that bit of DEF. But, yeah, I'd stop grinding at some point. Like, if it gives less than... 5% each battle?

... We do get new skills on LV UP, right? I forget if that happens in this game...

What's her equips? Can she use shields to help with dodge/counter??

... And I haven't started a trope page for this awesome game... Gonna fix that... In an hour...

***

Happy anniversary! :)
Red_Nova
The all around prick
7488
author=NeverSilent
This is great stuff! That's about the most in-depth comment I can make. All other things you've already said yourself. (I even wanted to ask that exact question about keeping Trill's Miasma Charge up constantly, but youranswer came too quickly.)


P.S.: Happy birthday, PotF! Have some cookies.


Glad it was thorough enough! I'm always afraid of getting too long-winded in blogs, and was considering leaving some info out for the purpose of talking about it in case people were interested.

author=zDS
All good stuff! The EXP decay is a great way to do multiple party members.


Thanks!

author=Malandy
Hmm... Trill as attack magnet. Helps me more than hinders? I'd load her up with Dodge and Counter. And grind her so she's super high level just for that bit of DEF. But, yeah, I'd stop grinding at some point. Like, if it gives less than... 5% each battle?

... We do get new skills on LV UP, right? I forget if that happens in this game...

What's her equips? Can she use shields to help with dodge/counter??



Trill does not use shields, and the idea behind the EXP decay was to not to achieve any super high level. Not everyone gains new Burst Drives upon leveling up, but some do. Though that didn't happen in the prologue.

... And I haven't started a trope page for this awesome game... Gonna fix that... In an hour...


H-holy crap that would be awesome! Thanks!

author=]Happy anniversary! :)[/quote
Yay! Thanks!
Trill's appearance doesn't change with the Miasma charge, does it? 'Cause in the last pic, she's got Earth powers, and Green hair. Those aren't connected, I think?
Red_Nova
The all around prick
7488
That would be cool, but no. Trill's design remains the same regardless of Miasma Charge.
That does seem like a good way to balance it, especially since it discourages using Miasma Charge just to heal.

Which raises an important question: will Trill be joining Mia's party, or Ayer's? Mia could get free healing (of a sort) as well... I notice you didn't specify like you did with Luke. Intentional mystery? ;)
Red_Nova
The all around prick
7488
author=argh
That does seem like a good way to balance it, especially since it discourages using Miasma Charge just to heal.

Which raises an important question: will Trill be joining Mia's party, or Ayer's? Mia could get free healing (of a sort) as well... I notice you didn't specify like you did with Luke. Intentional mystery? ;)


Because I'm an awful tease, I think I'll wait until I'm ready to show off screenshots of the party to answer that question.
I like the idea of experience decay, but the way you're implementing it likely won't have the desired effect. While at level 16 a level 6 monster grants 37.5% experience, at level 40 a level 30 monster grants 75% experience, despite the same difference in levels. RPGs tend to operate on raw level difference rather than percent level difference because the experience required to level up is increased each level. Also, even at level 16 and 6, you're over doubling the enemy level and still getting more than 1/3rd of the normal experience. That's definitely not enough to deter some people. Just a heads up.

As for Trill, I love the design! The best character designs are the ones where the player innately understands the mechanics and where the impact is easily calculated. Trill's design does both. I like how the rest of the game integrates with it appropriately too. She can't equip stuff that would significantly mitigate the damage, and once the experience decay is adjusted, she won't be able to reach a high enough level to where her downside is inconsequential.
Red_Nova
The all around prick
7488
author=hedge1
I like the idea of experience decay, but the way you're implementing it likely won't have the desired effect. While at level 16 a level 6 monster grants 37.5% experience, at level 40 a level 30 monster grants 75% experience, despite the same difference in levels. RPGs tend to operate on raw level difference rather than percent level difference because the experience required to level up is increased each level. Also, even at level 16 and 6, you're over doubling the enemy level and still getting more than 1/3rd of the normal experience. That's definitely not enough to deter some people. Just a heads up.


Yeah, good point. I'll try to edit the formula a little bit so the decay rate is the same regardless of levels. What sparked the system originally was, during playtesting, someone got stuck on a boss in Mia's story and decided to grind all the way up to level 15 to beat it, which made my heart stop for a moment. The battle was adjusted around being level 9, and since levels made a huge difference, the tester steamrolled the boss with little to no effort.

That's what I'm trying to prevent more than anything. I feel like it's okay to level up the party a little bit if that's what players REALLY want to do to make it easier on themselves (provided they have the supplies to sustain such an outing), but you're right in that it's still possible to do it, especially late game.

I don't think I can stop someone TRULY determined to grind unless experience and levels are ditched entirely. I once saw a video of some crazy guy playing Final Fantasy 7 and leveling up Cloud to 99 before leaving the tutorial stage! Yeah, I highly doubt anyone would give that kind of attention to this game, but the principle is the same.

As for Trill, I love the design! The best character designs are the ones where the player innately understands the mechanics and where the impact is easily calculated. Trill's design does both. I like how the rest of the game integrates with it appropriately too. She can't equip stuff that would significantly mitigate the damage, and once the experience decay is adjusted, she won't be able to reach a high enough level to where her downside is inconsequential.


Thanks! I'm so glad you like her!
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