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Reserve Parties--EXP rate?  

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When playing through RPGs that give you more characters that can fit in a party, they're usually cast off to the side and receive less EXP from battle until you can stick them back in. However, at this point, they're often a couple levels behind and you have to grind them back up to speed with the rest of the party. 

 

Or a little more exaggerated scenario would be when you don't train a character that you don't like, and they end up being around level 7 while everyone else is level 35. So then a story event takes place and bam, you're forced to use that level 7 character, who really is weak and useless now. 

 

In Final Fantasy XIII, everyone got the same amount of EXP after battles, even if they weren't participating in it. Everyone remained at an even development level. In contrast, Final Fantasy IX had characters not in the active party receive zero experience, so the second scenario could occur.

 

Personally I think it's kind of lame to have to get someone to catch up, yet it also seems kind of "too easy" if you aren't penalized at all for making poor choices in party formation... but then again, you shouldn't be penalized for doing what you like (in your right mind) and experimenting a bit...

 

Well, I threw in a poll to see what people think. What do you guys do with reserve party members? ._.

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hadn't really thought of this before, will definitely have to think about this for my next game haha.
but yea, I personally like how it was done in Final Fantasy VII where the characters who were not in the active party would gain 50% of the experience, (I forgot whether or not FFVII did this but) I also think it would be a good idea if the characters would also almost catch up to the higher leveled characters at key points in the story?

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Final Fantasy IX might have been due to their system where you gained a small hidden stat increase depending on the stat bonuses of your gear. Players might want to keep some members at a low level until end game, where gear has better stat bonuses and they can gain better growth from levelling. They might find a 100% standby exp gain makes that more difficult. The 0% exp might have been to give players more freedom to make use of the system to their benefit

 

FF8 also, had abilities like spirit bonus, str bonus and such later in the game, where you would gain +1 in a specific stat at each level up. Again in this example, the harcore player might want to keep certain team members at a very low level until late game, and 100% exp would disrupt this. 

Also notice bosses in FF8 and 9, unlike FF7, give no exp at all. This is to allow the option of keeping your party level low, since bosses can't be escaped. You could clear most of ff9 as a lv1. Same in FF10. The game was designed to allow this, for those who like interesting challenges. 

 

If your game has no such leveling systems and hidden mechanics or "lv1 clear" runs aren't possible, then I'd say 50-100% exp gain is fine. No point in penalizing the player without any real reason. Experimenting with party formations can be fun. 

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o yea that's true! and I think if I recall, in FF8, the enemies also increase in levels (not like FF7) so the higher you go, the higher the enemies go as well, although, FF7 did make the battle arena harder the higher level you were also...
Maybe if you were to add a difficulty system, then you could have it so on easy your side characters get 100% exp, medium 50%, hard 25% and then insane or something has 0% (or maybe even -10% as they might get rusty so they lose experience lol).

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Would vote for 0%

 

In my current project, I have a "teaching" system which reduce the pain of training abandoned characters to keep up with another characters.

Logical say: When you train with high experimented people, you will get more experiment than training with a newbie.

 

However, my teaching system has a limit: 10 levels.

The different between Student's level and Teacher's level determine the Exp Rate, highest is 300% at 10 levels lower, reduce to 100% at 0 level lower and reduce to 0% at 20 levels lower.

Logical say: "The teacher is too high, the student can't understand a thing."

 

However (again), there is booking system: Character above lv30 can write a book. Other character with 30 levels lower can read that written book for exp.

Also, I think mage should write book with higher exp-rate than solider (but I didn't do it, because I don't use class system)

 

 

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Same here, vote for 0%.

 

Well, it doesn't make sense if a fighter who just sit on the bench behind the others who fight the monster get experiences. If he ever get experiences, it should be less than those who fight...  :lol:

 

However, in Super Mario RPG, even if you have Bowser but you don't use his powers to defeat some goombas, Bowser could get 100% EXP flat. This makes sense since you'll depend on only 5 characters with their own specialities (Peach and the little-cloud-fella-that-I-forgot-his-name can be a supportive healers, Bowser can dish out damages without even being flinched, Geno has LAZORS and monster-busters, Mario is your daily damage-dealer tho) and you'll need their abilities that can only be obtained by level them up to certain levels.

 

When you develop this Reserved Party system, consider what the drawbacks of giving EXP penalties to reserved actors. I've worked on this one back in my previous project, Wandering Brawler, that the reserved party wil get 50% of EXP obtained in each encounters. Fair enough, but this will halt the development and potentials of reserved actor...

 

This system would be spicy in a game that involves few actors with limitations of active fighters, but the choice (either the usage of system or experience rate applied AND the player's choice of reserving which actors in party) is in your hand...

 

My 50 cents.

Cheers~

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I generally side with 0% as well, but as a developer, I keep it in mind if I do it that way, and try to compensate by introducing in new (and potentially necessary) characters at levels close to the player. During each playtest of my game, if I am reaching a city that adds a character at level 10-12, then I'll make the new character come into the party near the same level, so that there isn't a huge grind for the player to suddenly have to deal with. Also, at least this way, once they have a fifth party option, but they're full at four, the fifth would have come in at the highest level (and ideally right at the party level at the time), so even if the player didn't use them for a while immediately after gaining access, but wants to go back to them later, rather than being 20 levels behind, because you acquired them in the 2nd city, they still should be at least somewhat close to the party, even if they went forward without them for a while.

 

 

Edit: I mean this for people who are not in the party at all (which I believe is what was being asked). If you have a party of four, but the first two actions cleared the entire enemy group in a battle, all four people should still get 100% of the exp i my opinion. But if you have 6 characters, the two that aren't in the party would get 0%, it just seems to make sense.

Edited by Sumnus

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In terms of reserve characters being required for an event/portion of the plot etc., there are various ways to overcome this: You could run a check to see if they are at a certain level, and if not have them obtain a special weapon/skill/stat boost/whatever for the duration of the plot (oh, you look somewhat weak. I was going to use this sword but I'll give it to you/Alice's anger about her hometown being attacked increases her parameters/Bob suddenly learns how to use this powerful spell which is strong even at the standard level if you've used him all along, but stronger the lower his level is {but you don't tell us that}, and in the final battle of the mini-plot an ally is hurt and he swears never to use it etc.). There are various ways you can make sudden increases in parameters tie in with the plot.

 

As for the poll I think there's no right or wrong answer--it depends entirely on the game and you either have to change the game to fit the mechanics or the mechanics to fit the game.

 

For example:

 

-    With FFVII I'm pretty sure that reserve members gain AS MUCH or ALMOST AS MUCH experience as main party members,

 

And considering that one party member disappears forever halfway through and three leave for a period of time (Cloud and Tifa, plus Yuffie during her sideplot) there is really no other way to do it without angering a bunch of players who happen to pick the "wrong" characters.

It is also explained within the game why this happens--reserve characters are supposed to have formed their own party and are doing their own thing.while your selected party do theirs. 

 

-    FFVI on the other hand has Espers halfway through the game with the ability to teach magic+parameters with each level-up, so having all party members gain experience at the same rate would hinder the playing around and customisation which makes the Esper system so much fun. It also works well for the one-character one-style form of battle, like it's saying "well if you want to use this kind of fighting style you're going to have to practice, learn, and master it individually just as the character has to."

Edited by Shi-an

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