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The Enemy is Adapting!



Hello everyone. LordSquirrel here for my very first blog post!


Today I wanted to talk about something I was planning to post in the Theory and Development, but decided that it may be more appropriate to do as a blog post. I wanted to talk about enemy adaption in rpg's.


To clarify. I'm talking about how enemies adapt to the party's level, members, or health. I've currently been working on a game that I've given the codename of "The Plague", if you're wondering what it's about, don't worry, I'll be posting something either on this blog or the Theory and Development board detailing the outline of the story in a few days. Anyway. In the game you have several party members that can be recruited throughout the game, each character has a specific role in progress, (damage, healing, buffing ect...) and a thought occurred to me as I set up a early game boss battle, "What if I had it adjust it's moves and behavior based on what actors are in the party?"


What I mean is, what if I had Crow (A character that specializes in ending battles quickly with either instant kill attacks, or by breaking through the enemy defense) in the party while the party is fighting a Boss who primarily focuses on turtling and waiting for the party to drain their MP reserves? Well the fight would be pretty easy as Crow can break through the Boss' defense fairly quick and then the battle would just be a few powerful strikes away from completion. And while I do like to reward my players for bringing the right tools to the fight I also like making the fight as difficult as I can.


Started to add in some events that would check which actors are in the party, and would add, or remove skills based on which actors there were. While I was doing this a thought struck me, "Will people like this, or will they say it's just annoying?" after a while of thinking it over and getting nowhere I decided that I should ask you guys which you like more: Boss' that actively adapt to your party no matter what, or do you prefer it to be something that only happens on specified difficulties or special modes?


The main reason why I ask is because I can't actually think of any game that does something like this.


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Yeah, I also can't think any game that does this, but it's a good idea in my opinion. The boss will be like, "HA! So you brought a sorcerer with you? TAKE THIS, PHYSICAL ATTACKS!!" If you're going to do this though, make sure you put in little hints so that the player actually knows that the boss can do that.

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Shin Megami Tensei 4 does this to an extent, mostly with the more hardcore bosses like Fiends and late-game Tyrants. Beelzebub, for instance, will see that your party Nulls Death, and he'll spam Megidolaon constantly because of it.


Depending on how many potential characters you have, it may or may not be terribly difficult to set up. You'll just need to make several copies of the same boss, and tweak their move lists according to the party they'd be pit up against. Sounds tedious, but commit to it! It's a neat idea.

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A counter to your example:


Final Fantasy 6, in the first battle with the squid guy (uthros, I think is his name) if Terra casts fire, there is a battle script programed in to counter with a specific attack (TENTACLES FOR EVERYONE) even if its not the squids turn.

Since the squid is weak to fire, if the player try's to capitalize on this then the boss gets mad.

Although this would have to be programed into any given battle, unless your planning on having every single encounter incorporating idea, then this could be a workable solution.

You could even have an event page for each PC being in the party, and set something up for any given party member.

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@Kamalot_INC I never actually gave an example of anything other than how the idea works. I never really liked that type of move because It essential punishes your players for using a move they have no reason not to use.


@SpookyMothman Again, that more of a "You have someone who has a weakness I can't hit? Well then I'm going to nuke you!" kind of situation, and I feel that's kind of cheap. Btw. There are only 6 party members in the entire game, so this shouldn't be to unbearably tedious.

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This sort of thing is hard to implement in VX Ace because of lack of proper battle event conditions, not to mention the enemy move set up is primative as hell & is hard to make it 'smart' by checking for different things.

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