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The Potion of Healing effect

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Does anybody else see that there is something wrong with Potion of Healing and alike? They instantly increase players'' HP/MP/etc by ### points. Aren''t they supposed to regenerate instead of instantly heal? I have had noticed this since I was playing Warcraft III. There are regeneration effects, there are also the instant heal effects. And I find it that the instant heal effects often abused by players. You have been trying so hard to kill your opponent''s hero, watching its HP slowly decreasing as you focus fire on it. Then when the HP turns red and it''s about to die, all of a sudden it goes back to green. The hero just regain 500 HP back in less than a second, either your opponent used potion of healing or somebody else is healing him. We all know that it is a lot easier to destroy things than to make it. It is easy to hurt yourself, but it takes days to recover from the wounds. It is hard to make a program, but it''s every easy to delete it. Just press "delete", and empty the recycle bin, your 1 year of work is gone in a second. However, this is the opposite in video games, and I think this is one of the reasons of many bad designs. Improving skill, Healer-Fighter combination are just a few of them. It is hard to kill but so easy to recover.

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I agree with you to a point, instant heal potions and the like are far from natural, and could easily be abused... but you've got to think, it's most likely a magic potion right? In a world where magic exists, instant heal potions are reasonable, depending on your world. Some games don't use instant heal potions anyway, such as Diablo II's normal healing potions, they recover your hp over a short period of time, so that you could still be killed while it is taking effect. I've never been much of a fan of medikits and other magical wonders in many games, like first person shooters and such, but have been a bit forgiving in RPG's due to the magical nature usually used in them.

It all depends on how you feel your game should work, no potions at all, heal over time potions, or instant heal potions. Just remember this, if someone else abuses the instant heal power of potions, so can you. Although, you may want to place some sort of limit on the use of such instant heal items, consider the Paladin in Warcraft III, he can't use his healing spell on himself, only others... such limitations could well balance instant heal effects. Another idea is to maybe make a potion that temporarily decreases your maximum hp, to represent the fact that you can't get back to perfect condition without some natural rest and the like.



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You know, I might as well go ahead and say I can't fix the problem... because that's when I figure out how.

[edited by - Zealot on March 26, 2004 3:32:00 PM]

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quote:
Original post by alnite
Does anybody else see that there is something wrong with Potion of Healing and alike? They instantly increase players' HP/MP/etc by ### points. Aren't they supposed to regenerate instead of instantly heal?

I have had noticed this since I was playing Warcraft III. There are regeneration effects, there are also the instant heal effects. And I find it that the instant heal effects often abused by players. You have been trying so hard to kill your opponent's hero, watching its HP slowly decreasing as you focus fire on it. Then when the HP turns red and it's about to die, all of a sudden it goes back to green. The hero just regain 500 HP back in less than a second, either your opponent used potion of healing or somebody else is healing him.

We all know that it is a lot easier to destroy things than to make it. It is easy to hurt yourself, but it takes days to recover from the wounds. It is hard to make a program, but it's every easy to delete it. Just press "delete", and empty the recycle bin, your 1 year of work is gone in a second. However, this is the opposite in video games, and I think this is one of the reasons of many bad designs. Improving skill, Healer-Fighter combination are just a few of them. It is hard to kill but so easy to recover.


This problem is as old as RPGs... I remember about 12 years ago this being a significant issue on muds that allowed player killing. Often, players could have upwards of hundreds of healing potions, which made it virtually impossible to kill someone.

There are many ways to keep these things in game without making it unfair. Warcraft isn't particularly bad because you can only hold 6 items... so if he is holding all 6 as healing potions, then he sacrifices the bonuses that other items might provide (not to mention the cost to obtain/purchase the healing potions). Would you rather he have the extra 6 units and 6 other items?

You can also have side effects of using healing. Some games impose (usually temporary) performance degredation on characters everytime they use a healing item. For instance, every time you use one of these healing items, it could lower your maximum HP or strength temporarily.

As for it's purpose in games, I think it adds to the strategy/fun of the games. If you wanted something that was realistic, you wouldn't be playing a role-playing game, most likely.... you'ld be playing a sim-like game.

[edited by - mbrown211 on March 26, 2004 3:41:14 PM]

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I don''t mind the concept of a "magic" potion of healing that immediately heals some character. What I do mind is that a person --mid battle-- can reach into their pack, pop out a potion, and drink it down in between swings.

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quote:
Original post by mbrown211
As for it's purpose in games, I think it adds to the strategy/fun of the games.
It doesn't. The strategy is just to get yourself hit and drink a potion when your HP is low and pisses your enemy off? The strategy is supposed to be careful, not to get yourself hit (what kind of idiot letting himself get hit?), and proceed with extreme caution.

It's fun if you have 100 potions with you because you are virtually invincible "har har har. hit me! I have 100 potions with me." It's not fun for the other party who are desperately trying to kill you. It's about balance here. I am not talking about balance in units, but balance in time spent between players. He spent 10 seconds to reduce your HP by 500, but you only take < 1 second to regain it back. In addition, it's not that you are doing nothing in between, you are dealing damage to him too. If both party have potions, it will become an endless battle. That's fun? I am currently playing a custom map in Warcraft III called Defense of the Ancient, basically a 5v5 heroes with army controlled by computer. If your group doesn't have a healer, you must proceed with caution, and never let yourself get hit even if your HP is still full. It's a good thing. There is a healing potion, but it regenerates instead of instantly heals. Only healers can do the instant heal.

I have been in a situation where both groups have healers, and there was this healing battle going on. The fighter heroes kept fighting and the healers kept healing. Both sides. We kept doing that for like 30 minutes with no conclusion who's winning.

@RuneLancer
Yes, it's a game, but that's why we are here. Instantly heal is wrong. Players become careless with that because there is no risk in it. The video games are only fun when you have risks (whether that pitfalls, enemies, monsters, or puzzles) and you must somehow get through and survive. And with instant heals, those obstacles seem meaningless.

[edited by - alnite on March 26, 2004 7:01:13 PM]

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First off, I agree that healing shouldn''t be instant. The fighter needs to use at least a couple of seconds to grab the flask from the belt and drink it. Then it could become instant or more or less. A few seconds to heal completely perhaps. During the time he''s drinking the potion it would be next to impossible to fight and defend so he''d better be prepared to take a few hits.

quote:
Original post by alnite
I have been in a situation where both groups have healers, and there was this healing battle going on. The fighter heroes kept fighting and the healers kept healing. Both sides. We kept doing that for like 30 minutes with no conclusion who''s winning.



It''s a strategy game right? The effective strategy in this case would be to cut off his support. Ie kill his healers and then focus on the fighters. SOP: Deny the enemy support and reinforcements (In this case the reinforcements is the same fighters, just healed), cut off his retreat and slaughter him.

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I don''t like HP as a system, but if you''re going to use it, I''m in favor of instant-heal effects. I think whipping out a potion or herb mid-battle is fine, as long as it takes a turn, or a certain amount of time, or whatever. Make a potion that can heal you right up cost a fortune, so that players will prefer to have a bunch of slower or weaker effects around instead, and just use them between battles. After all, a good heal potion can be factored into your strategy.

Any kind of cheap trick that makes a player nigh invincible is a weakness in game design. An absurdly powerful weapon, invincible armor, a sequence of skills that have positive benefit and negative cost, or a process like the necromance/retissue trick in Tactics Ogre whereby you can make a character''s stats a hundred times higher than they should be are all symptoms of game design flaws. A system by which you can heal yourself instantaneously, at will, and without cost to your fighting or other capabilities is a flaw, and a bad one, but it isn''t intrinsically linked to the "instant heal" items. It it took time to do it, then drinking a 30-HP potion might take long enough for the bad guy to do 50 damage to you. In that case, it''s just a play for time, maybe so you''ll live long enough to charge up your super attack, or so your ally can come save your ass, but just being able to buy 4000 herbs and set CAPS LOCK to "use herb" is possibly a bad idea.

Don''t make the mistake of associating a gomeplay peeve with a single feature, and then thinking that you can just excise that feature and somlve the problem. Work around it.

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I''ve always thought that one work around for the instant heal would be to have it unavailbe while engaged in hand to hand combat. After all when the opponet is a foot away from you brandising a sword, and your armed with a two handed hammer the size of person, how exactly did you reach into your backpack find the potion and drink it?

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Writer, Programer, Cook, I''m a Jack of all Trades
Current Design project: Ambitions Slave

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The issue here is that healing potions do NOT instantly heal ALL your HP in one shot. If they do, they''re ridiculously rare. Take the final fantasy series, for instance. My personal favorite, ff2, for instance, has the following healing items.

Cure 1: Restores about as much HP as taking a hit early on would damage.
Cure 2: Restores a bit more HP; maybe 1-2 hits'' worth.
Cure 3: Restores some HP, about as much as a 1-2 hits at that point in the game.
Elexir: OMFG MEGA HEALx0rz ALL HP BACK!!!

The point is, the basic healing potions are pretty underpowered and restore very little HP. In fact, the only use I''ve had for them was to give everyone their HP back before a major battle instead of using up my healers'' ressources. In battle, they served no purpose at all for me.

What about the elexir? An item that restores all HP and MP to a character instantly? Yes, that IS overpowered. However, they''re so rare, you''ll probably only use 2-3 through the entire game. Kind of a last-resort special item. Does it unbalance the game? No. It runs out very fast because it is so rare.

Basically, if you game has easily-accessible healing potions that restore important amounts of health instantly , your game has a stupid flaw.

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And what says the other hero can''t respond? Maybe when the somebody pulls out a potion, the person fighting it has a big chance to negate its effect (Kicking the herb out of a hero''s hand, using a sword to break the vial, or even snatch away the elixer and drink it instead.) This would make people slightly more cautious, waiting until the battle is over before healing.

Will it change everything? No, But it may be a step.

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quote:
Original post by frostburn
It''s a strategy game right? The effective strategy in this case would be to cut off his support. Ie kill his healers and then focus on the fighters.
It''s not that easy you know. Both groups tried that. And usually the healers would run away if attacked, then when you think the healers have gone you would attack the fighter. But then the healer would come back and heal the fighters and it just kept going on and on.

But my point is, the fighter didn''t see the potential dangers he was facing if there is a healer around him or anything that can instantly heal a huge amount of HP. He was fighting in the middle of the battle for kitten''s sake. Everybody is focus firing on him but he stays!

Just like you said, Iron Chef, can''t you see how much benefit instant heal gives? And how much is the negative cost?

@RuneLancer:
True. An instant heal potion should cost really expensive and they should be rare (you can''t purchase them, but you must find them like in FF).

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what is wrong with instant heal potions ? If you have a game which wants to simulate "the real thing", then of course instant healing should be non-existant or really rare.

In WC3 there''s nothing wrong with the potions. They add strategy and don''t remove it. Do you buy a healing potion or another unit ? Is your enemy focussed on killing your heroes or does he ignore the heroes till all other units are dead ? In a battle you can see which enemy heroes got potions, so you should know they will get those extra hitpoints, unless you surprise the enemy kill his hero before he even reacts.

Every strategy/choice has, or atleast should have, good and bad sides. And at least in wc3 those bad sides are there. There are other things in the game that are "imbalanced" or "bad", healing potions are now balanced through a cooldown-timer, which only allows to take a potion every 10-15 seconds.

For FPS games I think healing should either be fast or non-existant during missions. I don''t want to sit in a room for 30 minutes and wait for recovering, although I already know I made it through a horde of enemies and that I am supposed to heal now.
In a MP game this is even more important. Imagine Quake with healing items that take 60 seconds (or maybe more?) to bring your health back. Does that sound like the fast paced fps that quake is ?

The degree of realism is of course a designers choice and while person A will love your decision person B will hate it.

The important thing is to make sure that the decision about which means of healing exist go fine with the rest of your design and the intended gameplay.

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