I'm currently working on a game that can be loosely described as an SRPG, similar to Disgaea or Final Fantasy Tactics (more similar, truth be told, to Shining Force on the sega genesis, for those who know of it). One of the things I am putting a lot of thought into is how I'd really like to create more use for utility spells and abilities. Or, to put it another way, I don't want to create a game where doing as much damage as quickly as possible is the be all end all to strategy.
One of the problems, I think, is that in a traditional SRPG game, enemies just don't last long enough for things like DoT spells or Debuffs to be at all worthwhile. Why spend a turn, for example, debuffing a 10 hp enemy's defense so that your hits do 6 damage instead of 4, when just plain hitting him 3 times will give the same result?
Here are a few thoughts I've had about how to make non-damage spells a little more worthwhile:
1) Considering I'm to some extent modelling this game on Shining Force (where your army is 12 characters, there are 2-3 times that in enemies, and maps are comparatively larger than FFT or Disgaea), I think there is already room for various mobility enhancing spells to find a place. At higher character levels its probably even legitimate to throw in some instant transportation spells of various sorts.
2) Make debuffs have a much longer range than direct damage spells have. With two enemy armies approaching one another, having your casters able to fire off a debuff or two before anyone is in a position to do damage would definitely make them useful. Of course, the enemy could do so as well.
3) Considering that I intend to have the player play defensive battles as well as offensive battles (where the goal is to hold a position rather than advance on an enemy position), I think trap setting could be implemented fairly well also.
So thoughts on those ideas in particular? Anyone have more ideas on how to accomplish more useful utility spells?
Edited by Plethora, 21 February 2013 - 07:35 PM.