First off, thanks TechnoGoth for the post. This is a welcome addition to this discussion!
You could a have similar mechanic in a JRPG where by it was possible to suffer long term or permanent injuries to characters that reduced there ability or usefulness. It could even open optional quests to help them. It would work particularly well in a game like chrono tigger where you have cast of characters but can only use 3 at a time. You might have to phase out your favourite characters after a while if they've become too injured to carry on the fight. It also gives you the option to force the player to make hard choices what if as the player you knew in advanced that any characters you sent into the dungeon filled with toxic gas would cause ever increasing permanent afflictions to them. Who do you send? It also eliminates my most hated game story trope of the magic bullet.
I wasn't too fond of the idea at first, but I can see the impact it would have on party management, and I must say I like that a lot. It intertwines on several level with both attrition and party management and I think it can bring a dynamic. The big concern here is when and where can you contract these injuries, and how can you fix them.
A lot of RPGs actually put that in the main story path: Character X contracts Y and you need to do Z. It is a mcguffin to get the story advancing.
Now if you put the contraction main path, but the fix is optional (ala Chrono Trigger: Chrono dies, and you can complete the game without him if you so wish).
Or you could put the contraction and fix on the optional path (opening a longer sidequest series than anticipated). The idea is that the sidequest allows you to get a powerful reward, at the cost of an injury. If you really wish to even things out, you need to spend more time investigating the cure, or live with your curse.
What I'd be worried about is injuries that can occur randomly, aka, can happen more than once. If say, this given monster can injure you in such a way, then you'd end up grinding the sidequest to get yourself fixed. I would recommend that the fix be permanent to this condition.
AKA, you get "cursed", you go to the mountain of wisdom to uncurse yourself through a trial, and you can never be cursed again.
Also: Magic Bullet? Can you elaborate?
It would be interesting to see how that would work JRPG could you have a situation where by you defeat the evil boss but be to injured in process to make it back to town. You tend not to see that no matter what deadly swamps, endless deserts, or demon infested dungeons you had to venture through to defeat the boss getting home is always very easy afterwards. The only exception I can think of is the golden harp quest in one of dragon warrior games there was quest you had to do to get a golden harp from a dungeon but once you had it the treasure it caused monsters to attack you every step until you got it to where it need to go. In that way getting the harp was really only half the challenge.
Obviously, the idea is that the player who has just killed an epic foe doesn't want to die to the wilderness. That wouldn't be a meaningful death and people generally get bored that way. You necessarily don't want to kill a player for making it out of a dungeon alive, only to die to the first random encounter because their resources are depleted. This would be counter-intuitive in the feedbacks you're giving the player: You've overcome the challenge (which was really the boss) but died on the way home.
On a few occasions though, you could feint the challenge or double it. As you've mentionned, you could lure the player into thinking that the challenge was the boss (which they're perfectly entitled to believe) but make it somewhat weaker than intended (the player feels overpowered, and for a moment, he doubts the game, might start to think he's overpowered and let his guard down). Then, you come in with a rule-breaker of that nature: you're going to fight 100 monsters on the way back to town: good luck "hero".
I think it works, if its well done, but don't overuse it, and especially don't foreshadow it (aka, don't create a certain lord of LIES that everyone recognizes ahead of time... erhm, seriously Blizzard?)
I'd be interested in hearing your ideas here, we obviously don't want a repeat of the Harp scenario. Any original dephased challenge?
Normally random encounters are as random as the designer has decided for that dungeon. But what if the dungeon had a fixed number of each enemy? In this way each battle while not only causing attrition on your side also weakens the enemy. In fact you could have system where the boss of each dungeon becomes easier to defeat the more of his minions you destroy. It could be whole aspect of the mid to game plot of the game. Take chrono trigger as example once you reach level 20 you can choose to fight the final boss you don't have to carry on with the story line and even once you get to the end of the main story line there are number of optional end game stories you can following to tie up some loose ends. Now what if the final big boss of the game had a number of generals an minions throughout the world defeating them weakens the boss or strengthens the player. The player can take on the final boss whenever they want but hunting doing and defeating his followers they change the course of the final battle an effect the epilogue. For instance freeing the priestess encased in crystal means the final boss loses his death beam attack. Defeating the master blacksmith means his guards are only half as strong. Slaying the 4 generals prevents him from calling on their forces as reinforcements during the battle. Destroying his shadow means he no longer auto heals each round.
It could make for a really interesting game especially if you add a time based event system, so that while you are trying to weaken the final boss enough to defeat him he is perusing his own goals and gaining strength. While you were off killing the master blacksmith he destroyed the heavens gate preventing your from obtaining the ultimate weapons. You were killing his generals and he found everything he needs transform to a super saiyan 4.
I've entertained that thought, on a smaller scale. In a dungeon, a boss had a bunch of sub-bosses that were optional. Defeating each disabled some of the boss' skills so that he would feel very weak if you had taken the time to explore and clear everything.
I think it could work "both ways" too in that, the more time you spend killing henchmen, the more time the boss has time to grow. Afterall, most henchmen are decoys while the villain is doing something evil. You could have an endboss that levels up as you do sidequests. You still get the reward and xp, you level up, and it still brings you closer to a fair fight, but not nearly as quickly. That way, you give the person that wants to speedrun the game a fighting chance (and quite an achievement at that) but you also challenge the player that has cleansed the world of everything.
You could even do both: have henchmen, which are decoys, and actual assets which are essential to the main villain's plot. This turns the game into a bit more of an investigation where the player has to pause and really think about how they can cripple the main villain's plot without actually wasting time.
To make it still interesting, you could make it so that henchmen guard treasures which still help empowering the player so they don't feel at the loss. Not necessarily giving them more power, but more options.
Very interesting concept. I might just use that!
View Postn00b0dy, on 12 July 2012 - 03:03 AM, said:
These fights are clearly easy, can be won with only 1 button press, but they are fun !!! they show you your power.
I suppose this varies by player. My brother turns on God mode in games and plays through the whole thing without dying and has a blast. I can't do this. I played through the first 2 Fable games and I didn't die. That's not very fun for me. I'm sure certain players enjoy it. I guess I want to cater my game to the more "hardcore" players. The ones that want a game to punish them over and over until they finally win by the skin of their teeth. Once again, this feeling varies greatly between players. I will definitely lose out on the more casual market that some games have been dumbing themselves down for (I'm looking at you D3 and DA:2)
I'm with you there, I'm more on the hardcore end. It is true that jRPGs are very showoff at times, (I mean, firing meteors is on the awesome-end for a reason) but there's nothing as satisfying to me as trying a new strategy after failing and see it succeed. Death forces me to adapt and think of another way to beat this game. It forces me out of my "this works everytime" strategy and gives me food for thought. By the time I've figured out what to do, I get this "ommphhh" moment where my brain ticks and says "that's what I need to do!" or even better "maybe this could work?!". Hardcore emphasizes this.
I agree with you on wanting to see your character's power though. Part of the enjoyment of leveling up is gaining an ability that gives you a new advantage over your enemies. I think you can have some weak characters in a difficult encounter that let you see this. For example, with my new skill I can now kill bandits with one hit. Should I kill all of the bandits in the next encounter first? Should I freeze the "tough" enemy and then kill the bandits?
I believe a player can still feel dominant over certain enemies in a difficult encounter and get that feeling of being a powerful character.
So long as there is choice, you're succeeding. You just need to avoid skills that thrump all strategies. "Kill_all" spells are a no-no. Crowd control should be weaker than single targets (it was actually a failure in Chrono Trigger where Luminaire and Magus' counterpart were the best spells. I would've loved to need lightning 1 later on, to one-shot certain enemies and fail doing so using luminaire).