Letting players catch up after changing builds

Everything the player does is the game's fault. You built a game that encouraged that behavior.

While that maybe true, being able to optionally play the game the way you enjoy is always better than being forced to play the game in a way you don't.

I pretty much disagree with everything you said, but that's mainly because you enjoy exactly those things that I hate in games. I can't take any enjoyment from being limited, I think Trine 2 was no fun because it was way too hard (also I don't think it depended on builds that much?), and I certainly don't think that in a good game, the players still need to play smart (I want to play games to relax and not to use my head).

It's true that a well-designed game can reduce the problems, but it is not even only about balance, it's also about how you enjoy a game. In many WRPGs different classes play quite differently and it's impossible to predict what you enjoy the most without trying it. You also don't know which classes join as party members or are accessible early on. And not everybody wants to start the same game 5+ times just to figure out how to play it so you enjoy it.

Then... it's best just not to give the player an option in the first place.

Letting players catch up after changing builds

- Players don't feel forced to use a guide for a build, which increases immersion as you don't have to alt-tab out of the game and read guides on every level up
It's funny you mention immersion here, since I feel that respeccing causes a huge loss of immersion. ("Thieves are useless here, so I'll make him a mage for this dungeon.")

But in this case the immersion loss is the player's fault and not forced by bad game systems.

Also if the player doesn't enjoy playing thief in the dungeon because he's useless, then you shouldn't stop him from switching to mage, imo.

Letting players catch up after changing builds

In my opinion all games should just allow you to respec freely without any penalty.

Players should never be punished for choosing a bad build. There is NO reason to do it, no reason to force them to having to catch up, no reason to take away their gold, forcing them to grind again, no reason to make them feel they were dumb and wasted precious stat/skill points.

This is really something only game developers could think but players never enjoy.

Benefits of free respec:
- Players will not quit because of bad build
- Players won't feel bad due to having to restart the game from scratch
- Players will experiment around with different builds and consequently are much more likely they find a build they actually enjoy playing
- Players don't feel forced to use a guide for a build, which increases immersion as you don't have to alt-tab out of the game and read guides on every level up
- Not using a guide also causes the variety of different builds to be much higher, which is particularly nice when there's online functionality

Ever since I started to use cheat engine / save editors / mods to allow me to respec in games, I enjoy games a ton more. All the genres I hated like WRPGs suddenly became awesome. But it really would be nice if devs simply integrated it into their games, so it's more comfortable to use (also, immersion!).

Rethinking Antagonists

It's funny because all mentioned games here that are said to have a complex villains and still were received well, are games I either never finished because I found them too boring or I finished but can't even remember what the villain was. So I guess I can't really comment on them.

Do most of those games even have a villain?


Rethinking villains in the sense of if you need them at all is actually the more interesting discussion.

First thought: I like villains mainly because of final boss battles. Final boss battles in quite many JRPGs are actually much better than all battles before. Not only do they usually have the best song of the whole game playing (Sephiroth even got a chorus!), but they are also mechanically interested and different from normal battles. Also in several RPGs, it's the first battle that is a real challenge or putting you into the situation of having to grind. It also feels graphically better and much more polished that all battles beforehand.

I actually realized that final battles are the best game parts a long time ago already, like in 1999. I even wrote down a game concept that consisted only of final boss battles at that time. (I mean, not that any of the battles are final, but rather, all the battles have this final battle quality and the game is just a bunch of challenging battles with nothing else.) That would actually already be one concept with rethought villains. So here it is.

Games without villains... the problem with that is that if there's no final battle and the end, you will feel unsatisfied when the game ends.

For example one game that comes to mind: Terranigma
In that game you could easily remove the villain which only really was arbitrarily added to the story anyway. You just restore the continents of the earth and when the earth is complete again, it could say "Thank you for saving the earth - The End". But it wouldn't feel satisfying even with the huge benefit of seeing the earth restored. It just needs that one cool final boss battle at the end to feel complete.

So I'm not fully convinced if removing villains is a good idea, even though I can think of tons of good game concepts that wouldn't require a villain. Except unbeatable games that have as only goal to get a high score. There of course it's satisfying enough to reach a new high score.

Would learning to draw help me in improving my aspiring pixel art skill?

If you want to learn pixel art then do pixel art. Don't waste time drawing on paper, unless you want to do scans and use them for backgrounds and stuff.

The fastest way to get "ok" with pixel art is this tutorial: http://www.petesqbsite.com/sections/tutorials/tuts/tsugumo/

And you need to realize that drawing a single 20x20 pixel tile can take well over an hour. But if you're willing to invest that time, you'll be surprised how good you are at pixel art.

All drawing improves all fields of drawing.
Not quite, it depends on whether you draw realistic or abstract. The thought progress is the exact opposite in both, so you can only be good in one of the two.

So let's make it: "All abstract drawing improves all fields of abstract drawing."

Rethinking Antagonists

author=Feldschlacht IV
I actually agree with Kloe. Also, if we go by critically acclaimed games, they often also have "MWAHAHA" villains.
And a lot of critically acclaimed games don't! Games like the Witcher 3 and Deus Ex are considered some of the best games, and some of the best written games of all time, but not because of their villain (even though both have "mwahaha villains".)

You start off the sentence that critically acclaimed games don't have "mwahaha villains" and then end the sentence saying that they do...

Note that I didn't like Witcher 3, Deus Ex and FFT, so I never played them very far and don't know how their villains are and so can't comment on that.

Rethinking Antagonists

I don't even remember the villains in Shadow Hearts~

Rethinking Antagonists

author=Feldschlacht IV
, but I get the whole "It's psychological and compliated plot" it's just that many players won't care about that,
I think a lot of players (and critically acclaimed games) would disagree with that, especially in respect to RPGs, but you like what you like!

I actually agree with Kloe. Also, if we go by critically acclaimed games, they often also have "MWAHAHA" villains. See Kefka. And I bet Sephiroth is popular because he kills so many people and summons something that going to destroy the whole planet and looks like a god in the final battle (well if we ignore the last last one) and not because of his deep and complex plot.

If you don't make the player hate the antagonist, then the villain simply won't be memorable.

Rethinking Antagonists

I think there are all kinds of villains in RPGs already. If anything, there aren't enough Kekfas and Sephiroths. (And let's not forget Lezard Valeth!)

I'd also like to see more games where you can be a Kefka yourself (the only game I know is Soul Nomad And The World Eaters --- well I guess UnderTale as well).

All those "I had a bad childhood / have good reasons for being a villain" villains really all just feel like "We only gave him a reason because otherwise players complain about it".

Final bosses that are natural disasters can also be nice.

What are you thinking about? (game development edition)

Story-writing is really a two iteration process. It's pretty much exactly for me as for Red_Nova. Of course I think of the full story in my head before I start developing (unless I make a game with 100% gameplay focus, which is basically half of all the games I make, in that case I really create the gameplay first and then thing of a fitting story that can be told in 3-4 sentences and fits to the gameplay).

The complexity really comes when you write the character dialogues. Generally it turns into a better story (or so I found) when you give each character a personality ahead of time and then just let them act out as they realistically would based on the situation. This also often tremendously fleshes out the story, something you otherwise couldn't do easily when you just sat in front of a piece of paper and try to write down the story in detail.

Often this even causes me to have some real good story plot twist ideas. I never really fully change the core story, but I might very well decide that "Hmm, it doesn't make sense for the heroes to follow the villain here, it makes more sense they first go back and meet up with the others".

Yes, it can definitely mean I have to go back to earlier parts and modify them again, but the benefit is really a better result in the end.