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Enemies that keep thing's intresting

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I'm opening the topic up on enemies in rpg's that take advantage of a player's abilities. What  are some examples that you guy's have encountered that really made the player think about which skills to use, and also how it took advantage of characters own stats and how that meaningfully effected the game's strategy. 

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One good examples are undeads, they absorb dark elements but are prone to light and healing items. Another good one is an enemy that reverses the party stats, swaps hp and mp, or atk and matk which will surely add flavor to the battle. And another good one is an enemy that could negate certain equipments like metal based one (Final Fantasy 4 and 12 boss monster). Another skill based enemy is that gains power when your party deals damage, so you need to heal it instead xD,.

 

And last but not the least is my favorite type of enemy: A boss monster that completely mimics your characters skills and actions in battle.

Edited by Kotori-chan

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Make enemy behave in a certain pattern. And make sure each enemy has unique pattern and even weakness.

Combine it with random troop member. So enemy troop members could be anything. Not just only Slime * 3.

 

I usually use elemental weakness to give player strategy. A fire element may super effective for a certain enemy. But that doesn't apply for some enemy. An area heal enemy could annoys player. By using random troop member, an area heal enemy could appear with any combination of enemy troop. Even with strongest encounter

Edited by TheoAllen

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A decent example of this can be found in World of Warcraft... just sayin....

 

Go to wowhead.com and look through some of the raid boss fights, they usually have multiple phases that the boss goes through as the party progresses through the encounter. Might give you some more ideas.

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Originating from Kotori-chan's advice, I can say the stat swap is really a good one. Makes the enemy realy annoying. I personally hate life steal skills and moves that makes the enemy invincible for a short period of time and while it "sleeps" it regenerates. It is really damages my nerves :D

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A stat swap would be crippling. like the doom dragon with it's Djinn Blast in golden sun, glarg!!! Whole turns, down the drain. Yeah I really dig fool's that require the player to really know how to manage their buffing skills or sealing skills.

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I'm opening the topic up on enemies in rpg's that take advantage of a player's abilities. What  are some examples that you guy's have encountered that really made the player think about which skills to use, and also how it took advantage of characters own stats and how that meaningfully effected the game's strategy. 

 

If you know me well, I'm a sucker for good AI.

Enemies that not only analyze the players' play styles, but change their battle approach according to who's in your party, make for a very interesting and challenging fight. The only limitation is that this is hard to code.

 

On more generic terms, consider structuring enemies into certain archetypes that are extremely proficient at doing one type of battle strategy. Some enemies are powerful tanks that absorb all the damage from their party members, and have fixed damage reduction to boot to make themselves impervious to damage. Others are nukers that stand behind their tanks.

 

In order words, the most difficult enemies are the ones that are simulated to think and act like regular players do, as if you're up against another human in battle. He wants to take out your healer first, or shut off your nuker with a silence. Make the enemy do the same.

Structure it well, and be sure to combine them in parties to see how potent they really are.

Edited by Kentard

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Good rating on target enemies. Basically enemies that can detect the player's weaknesses in terms of battle. When they do, the enemies should concentrate on that part to defeat you. This would let you change course to whatever skill you're using. The enemy would also adjust based on that.

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I use three kinds of enemies: some can be defeated with brute strenght, others with magic, and others must be neutralized via status effects. I combine this with elemental affinities and buffs/debuffs. On top of that, the enemies follow a pre-determined strategy according to their abilities and respond to some triggers.

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Interesting thought, but I'd prefer not to stuff enemies into archetypes with only one method of defeat.

 

Soul brought up an interesting point; that is to change the course of battle based on the choice of skills used. This makes for a very potent, evolving AI.

 

I was thinking if it'd be possible to use a skill tracker in order to assess and analyze the strategy that players normally take in battle - do they rely more on their tanks, or healers to back up the main party? Who is their main nuker?

Needless to say, the coding for this and the AI that relies on this will be hopelessly complex.

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Not too complex if the characters' roles are fixed. But in games with a level of character customization like the old FF games, yes. Terrifically complex. You'd not only have to track the skills, but access who performed that skill.

It's much easier to set up strategies for each group than to make every individual enemy adapt itself (signed, Captain Obvious)

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To be honest I think turn based combat from JRPGs and the like are pretty uninteresting by nature unless they are overly complicated and take a lot of planning and skill.

 

I can't really say I have EVER liked an RPG maker game FOR it's combat. Cambat is honestly often the least interesting aspect of an RPG, but if I had to give advice on the subject than I would say the mosnter's design would be the most interesting thing.

 

Depends on what combat system you are using really; if you are using the standard turnbased Final Fantasy-esk cambat system than I can't imagine making it any more interesting.

 

Just give monster's stats, attributes, weaknesses, strengths, immunities, etc. based on their pysical characteristics and contextual natures.

 

Good luck on this and any future projects :^)

Edited by tensoup

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Generally speaking the boss fights should be the more interesting battles with eventing dialog and changing attack patterns.

 

I like the idea of theming enemies by location and then adding relevant classes for enemies e.g tank support dps type creatures

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The only thing that comes to mind is Shin Megami Tensei (Spooky talking about SMT? Crazy, right?). Specifically Nocturne, Digital Devil Saga, and SMT4. You have a number of turns equal to the number of party members you have. Passing your turn uses half a turn icon. Exploiting an enemy's weakness or scoring a critical hit consumes half an icon, rather than a whole one. Hitting a Null or missing consumes two icons. Hitting a Drain or Repel consumes all of your icons and ends your phase. The same goes for enemies.

 

The mechanics of combat are going to be hard to make terribly interesting, so I just make the enemies interesting instead. In a lot of cases, I give enemies unique skills that make them stand out from the others. They don't even have to be real "skills". Some of them involve crashing into things and taking damage, attempting (and failing) to woo you with cute looks, or just talking to you. Right now, I have twenty different ways for enemies to skip their turns, for no other reason than "it gives an extra bit of flavor to an otherwise typical battle".

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Spectre you brought up an interesting point. I may request this as script, but I've thought about the idea of a skill aggro correlation. So, the higher priority the skill is, the more aggro the user attracts from enemies and thus, the more they target the user.

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I think it's also good if there is a genuine threat to the player from the more generic enemies, not just bosses or event fights. Have enemies target the healer in the player's party,  making it more difficult for the player to have extra turns to heal other party members or to use buffs. I was never a very big fan of games where it was just a lot of easy farming mobs, and then a boss fight over and over again. A lot of the ways to generate challenges have been presented already, so I won't get into that. But using them in areas other than the bosses keeps the player's attention.

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Just barging in now, but I always think it best to write out your ideas on Notepad (or any other Text program) without considering the current limits on RMVX Ace. For now, I use "unseen" states that tag the Target with a certain condition, such as: "Physically Hit", "Magically Hit", "Debuffed", "Ailment Inflict", etc. However, these act more like reactive trigger rather than proactive. I believe there's a script in this forum that enhances an Enemy's AI through conditioning of Actors rather than just the User (Enemy). I'm totally fine with giving enemies powerful actions, as long as they are penalized, to make it balanced out with regular actions (such as a Charge Action that unlocks powerful actions for use, or a severe Debuff on the User). This is database stuff.

 

For the "Enemies that keep things interesting" idea, I always liked making optional enemies that are much harder (but still fair and beat-able) than the usual enemy, or even boss. I tried to come up with 4 optional bosses (all battles are evented in my main project, none are random).

 

 

The Pretender

The Pretender is encountered mutliple times and retains a consistent HP. It mimics the appearance of one of the four members, it mimics the Attacker's action based on who it is currently mimicking the turn after. Once it does this, it seals that action for that Party Member permanently until it is defeated. The Pretender will mimic the stats of the current member it's mimicking, including its HP and MP, at the end of every turn. The only way to defeat it is to have the mimicked member's HP low enough to be knocked to 0 within 1 turn. The Pretender will react to different attack types with defensive measures like Shell or Screen. The intended strategy is to actions with secondary effects similar to Stun to cancel the Pretender's action. However, as mentioned before, it will cast a Resistance State to the Ailment it was inflicted with, meaning that it's not impossible to do it again - just a bit harder. So make the first hits count.
 
The Thinker
The Thinker is encountered multiple times and retains a consistent HP. The Thinker will always Block an attack, however they can suffer a secondary effect like Stun, Confuse, Silence, etc.  during the attack. Enviroments can be used to Stun the Thinker before the battle, since it's intended to remain stationary, pondering about whatever its pondering about. The Thinker will execute a nasty quick attack that seals the current action of the target after it has recovered from the ailment. The Thinker will go into a Berserk when Confused, with severely increased Strength (it's intended that the Thinker has low Offense, since - you know - it thinks all the time)

 

The Pursuer

The Pursuer is encountered multiple times, but does not retain a consistent HP. It's HP recovers over time and is recovered more via enemies defeated. The Pursuer will chase the Player regardless of distance, and is capable of dashing (at x1.5 speed of Player's Dash) shortly, and will be stopped to recover afterward. The Player can get rid of the Pursuer with the environment, such as ledges, or get an upperhand on the Pursuer using the environment. It's intended that the Pursuer cannot change direction while dashing, so it can dash headforth into a ledge, so that it will leave the Player alone for a while. The Pursuer will increase in power based on defeated enemies in the main area. The Pursuer can pursue the Player in all main areas, but their power will only account for the current main area. (Main area is basically a large section of the game/map, instead of a single map)
 
The Cheater
The Cheater is encountered multiple times and retains a consistent HP. The Cheater only uses actions that deal damage based on the Target's Stats. The Trickster can use fractional damage actions (similar to Demi) and actions like the universally hated "HP-1" Formula. However, actions that can actually kill the Player require a Charge. These actions can be damage equal to the User's missing HP, damage equal to the gap between one stat and another, and damage multiplied by the amount of Buffs the target has.

 

 

Edited by AJNR

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AJNR brought up very good points and ideas. I agree with a lot of what they said.

 

 

I also thought of something else to add - If you're going to have races of enemies (goblins, imps, whatever), give them a personality. Maybe the imps have a lot of magic users, maybe goblins have more organized/tactical units (a goblin berserker, a goblin medic, things of that sort) make it feel like an actual race of enemies you're fighting, if that's what you're designing something to be. This not only allows different strategies if done well, but also helps give each region/dungeon/enemy set feel different and unique. You could make certain classes have very fast attack speed, so maybe the player doesn't get the first move every battle, and the enemy starts setting up defensive spells for a change, rather than the player. If the player has the ability to do something (heal, party-wide damage, crowd control, status effects), then in my opinion, that same ability should be present somewhere else, in enemy form. Not necessarily on the same enemy of course, but present nonetheless. 

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Sumnus, you bring up a very interesting point, however I wouldn't advocate making fixed themes around a single dungeon - e.g. all elemental attacks or status debuffs.

 

One of the hidden elements behind a game's difficulty, apart from skill powers or enemy durability, is predictability. Any player with a game guide and a few "right" pieces of equipment can easily breeze through a single dungeon.

By all means, structure some enemies around a single archetype - the Imp a debuffer, goblins reliant on group synergy and flanking tactics; but don't just have a single type of enemy in a single dungeon (especially if they share the same weaknesses). Instead, opt for a healthy mix of tanks, nukers and debuffers to allow for a degree of adaptability required on the player's part - so that a single piece of equipment doesn't negate the difficulty of the battle altogether.

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I certainly didn't intend for my previous post to come off  sounding like I wanted all of the units to have fixed themes together, but rather a way of avoiding that. For instance, if there is a goblin raid pestering a town (just a random example, where you might have clusters of the same "type" of enemy - goblins, in this example), the goblins within that sort of side quest/dungeon, whatever would have various roles within them. So you would fight a "party" of goblins, similar to how the player forms a party. One such party might have four goblins - two focused on being tank/attacking, maybe one doing some debuffing or offensive casting, and the other focusing on healing the other goblins/buffing them. If you create "parties" like this among the enemy classes, I find that it alleviates the feeling of "oh, I'm just killing trash mobs" a little in the player, which is a feeling I never liked having when I played games. While also preventing strategic choices in areas other than boss fights along the main story line. "Do I kill the healer first, and eat the attacks from the "attack" units, or do I focus on the heavy hitting unit, and trust I can kill it before the healer has a chance to do something about it?" Things of that sort. If it is present throughout the game, rather than just in bosses. For the resistances issue, you can have "armored" units, or, or make sure their support units can do something about it to present a challenge to the player. And in my opinion, if one specific piece of equipment is enough to make one of the dungeons super easy to power through, than there is some work that needs to be done, either make that item available later in the game, or buff the enemies a bit.

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Woah, first of all, paragraphs. Makes it a lot easier to read, no offense.

 

I'm actually of the school of thought in gaming where at any point in the game, regardless of equipment choices, no fight should ever truly be "a breeze".

 

I do agree with your view that at no point should the player fight "trash mobs". There is a case to be made for mobs to have a depth of strategy at all stages of the game, even if it possesses some degree of difficulty when merely clearing them out.

 

It all depends on whether the role of mooks in your game comprises providing a layer of challenge or simply a convoluted way to farm up experience or loot.

If it's the latter, it could be argued that the mooks solely exist to give players a false sense of superiority by swiping away entire battle parties in a single blow - obviously this is not something tactically encouraged, but as someone mentioned before, the feeling of empowerment and superiority with each level still exists.

 

If you're looking for a tactical approach to the empowerment effect, consider then a playstyle where advancement means more tactical opportunities to overpower your enemy (e.g. access to more skills or combinations) rather than raw brute strength.

This still ensures that enemies remain interesting and intelligent, yet providing you with more ways to wipe them out.

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