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Making Guard Skill useful/disarable?

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Hey guys! I'm working on a game and everything is going pretty smooth so far. But one thing my testers and I keep running into is the guard. At the moment if feels prettty useless or not necessary. I've been trying to think up ways to make it seem more fun to use but it's definitely a tough concept. Especially with a turn based game.

 

Some things I've seen have been:

 

Having block heal a small fraction of HP/MP/ETC

 

Having enemies or bosses that charge up attacks, kind of like an action game simulation where you watch for the enemies moves and block when necessary.

 

Being allowed to use an item while you block.

 

And those seem pretty interesting, but I'm wondering if there's anyway to push it more?

 

Thank in advance for any ideas and thoughts!

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If your block doesn't have a purpose then why not consider removing it entirely?

 

Other than that, maybe a countering system where the counter deals, let's say, 1.5x base damage would work. This would create a gambling element to your block where if the enemy strikes the right member then the party's damage output has been higher for that round, but would likewise be lower if no-one did anything but  block to try and exploit it (this example has single enemy boss fights in mind (the most likely time someone would actually use a block) and it may need more thought for general fights).

 

Good luck with the game.

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Make the guard skill block 90%-100% of the damage. Make enemies that deal devastating damage on particular turns making the guard command useful.

 

Persona 3 and 4 utilized the guard command pretty well ^~^ since it negates elemental weaknesses of the guarding character preventing them from falling down and giving the enemy a free turn.

Edited by Kotori-chan

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I was wondering the same thing about my game, Then I came across this script - "Set Guard / Attack Skills v1.3" By V.M of D.T. 

What this Script does is let you assign your Skills as a replacement for Guard.  

 

I have 4 Classes in game  - Warrior, Fighter, Fire Mage & Archer

 

How are these Special Guard Skills different from other skills ?

 

All these skills are free of cost and can be used only once in a battle, so they are useful only for a Particular situation. Some of these skills also have a warm-up so you can't use them till Turn 4 or Turn 6, My main intention behind these Skills was to provide them as Emergency Skills to assist with Boss Battles which last quite a while in my game

 

Warrior : Guard replaced with "Rage" -> Recover 20% of HP Instantly and Gain Increased Attack & Aggro for 3 Turns 

Purpose : Serves as an Aggro Skill. If other Allies are attacked more often, You can become the Tank !

 

Fighter : Guard replaces with "Rally" -> Buff Skill that grants a Random Buff to your Team for 4 Turns. The Buffs can grant more Attack, Critical or Evasion, So it's always a surprise.

Purpose : A significant Buff since Fighter doesn't really have many Buffs

 

Fire Mage : Guard replaced with "Cleanse"  -> Remove all Negative Debuffs and Heal 135 HP, Instantly.

Purpose : Serves as emergency Skill since Fire Mage is pretty squishy sometimes

 

Archer : Guard replaced with "Dodge" -> Guranteed Evade Vs All Attacks & Critical Strikes, Next 2 Turns

Purpose : Same as Above

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I was wondering the same thing about my game, Then I came across this script - "Set Guard / Attack Skills v1.3" By V.M of D.T. 

What this Script does is let you assign your Skills as a replacement for Guard.  

 

I have 4 Classes in game  - Warrior, Fighter, Fire Mage & Archer

 

How are these Special Guard Skills different from other skills ?

 

All these skills are free of cost and can be used only once in a battle, so they are useful only for a Particular situation. Some of these skills also have a warm-up so you can't use them till Turn 4 or Turn 6, My main intention behind these Skills was to provide them as Emergency Skills to assist with Boss Battles which last quite a while in my game

 

Warrior : Guard replaced with "Rage" -> Recover 20% of HP Instantly and Gain Increased Attack & Aggro for 3 Turns 

Purpose : Serves as an Aggro Skill. If other Allies are attacked more often, You can become the Tank !

 

Fighter : Guard replaces with "Rally" -> Buff Skill that grants a Random Buff to your Team for 4 Turns. The Buffs can grant more Attack, Critical or Evasion, So it's always a surprise.

Purpose : A significant Buff since Fighter doesn't really have many Buffs

 

Fire Mage : Guard replaced with "Cleanse"  -> Remove all Negative Debuffs and Heal 135 HP, Instantly.

Purpose : Serves as emergency Skill since Fire Mage is pretty squishy sometimes

 

Archer : Guard replaced with "Dodge" -> Guranteed Evade Vs All Attacks & Critical Strikes, Next 2 Turns

Purpose : Same as Above

 

Pretty cool idea xD

Edited by Kotori-chan

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Maybe have it raise your MP or meter towards an overdrive attack whenever you guard? That would make it useful. Really useful.

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I have several Guard skills in my game.  TP is very important in my game and the default guard skill grants the most free TP in the game.

Besides that, it's basically the "skip turn" skill (I use an ATB system, so timing plays a role in strategy in some battles.)

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Can go the bravely default style and make the guard command store a turn so later the Actor can take 2 actions in one turn.

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One thing I was experimenting with with my silly skill upgrade system was the ability to experiment with different ways you could upgrade attack and guard, though most of them end up letting tack on some self-applied buffs or statuses to guard in exchange for making it cost some tp. Keep in mind you could make a new skill using guard as a base so this didn't necessarily replace the free guard move though, it was just a convenient cheep base skill to use. Same with attack.

 

Anyway I did have one or two special unique upgrades to the guard move I made which could stand on their own:

 

Hyper Guard - Adds an additional status that raises the guard rate to 1000, or something high like that, making guard totally nullify most damage... but also this status get removed by damage, so if even one damage gets through the guard the hyperguard breaks and it goes back to normal.

 

Cover Guard - Simply adds a status with the substitute flag to the guard for the round, making the guard move also cover allies.

 

Could also have counter guard, maybe in theory elemental guards, status guard, all sorts of stuff, not to mention buffs and stuff. Heck, for my skill system I might want to replace guard with wait, and have the guard effect it's self be an upgrade. Though I realize most games are not going to want to have such a system. Maybe the idea of special guard skills are a better one. Really if you think about it, the only difference between guard and a normal skill is that it's not found in the skill menu.

 

Also, besides all that, the need to have a guard skill at all probably depends a lot on how your enemies and encounters are designed. There are lots of games that use bosses that fight in a repeating pattern of moves with one really strong one every few rounds or charge up and extra powerful move. Also plenty of ones that have some counterattack you have to deal with. These enemy fighting styles are intended to force the player to guard every once and a while. Is this really fun enemy design? I will leave that for you to discover, but the guard move is mostly intended for situations like that. Plus it's always nice to give players a way to skip turns.

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Thanks for all the really sweet input guys! I've been reading all of these and just messing around with ideas for the guard and getting some realllly interesting results that could make guard useful!

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In my game (at least for now) guard reduces both physical and magical damage by 25%, makes you immune to all bad states (for that turn) and restores a little bit of HM/MP/TP.

I'm wondering about putting a small buff, that increases your stats by 5% or something like that...

Or you could add a buff that increases dmg by 50% or even doubles dmg for one turn, so you could guard to restore some stats and block dmg/bad states and then deal increased dmg. Something like charge or something...

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This guy had a system to where you would need a full "Energy bar" to use a special attack. The guard would have you take 0.5 damage (Estimated by me) and all of that damage would be added to your Energy bar. (Energy bar is at 0/100, you block 5 damage, Energy Bar 5/100)

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Another way I have seen the guard skill done is haveing only 5~10 Mp. 

The skills cost up to 5~6 Mp. This means that useing skills can make you run out of mp quickly.

The defence skill would recover Mp by 1~2 makeing it a better use of the skill then useing items. There are some items that fully cause the Mp to heal. 

 

One final way I have seen the Defence skill done is when you defend the defence or magic defence stat is increaced. 

 

And one final way is in a magic/elemental system where characters are week to certain elements and hitting the right element would cause the player to take extra damage or be knocked over. if the player defends then they will not get knocked over or receve the bonus damage they would take becuse of the defence. 

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You could make gaurd give stats like def, and evasion, for a few turns, probally wpuld be useful for weak mages. Or maybe, if you are doing like a summon in final fantasy, where the summon will dmg your allies as well, unless they gaurd. Could be any skills also, not just summoning. Also you can change gaurd to something different also. Im using gaurd as a tp gain also for one of my charater, where he doesnt gain any tp what so ever,and the only way to gain tp is to gaurd, amd his regular att takes tp, where he only has about 20 tp, and all of his skill uses tp too.

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Hm, this topic is old, then seems to be on a monthly update.  Here's my monthly updates:

 

I have two mechanics that I play around with in terms of Guarding.  First, I create several skills that are very devastating unless a single person blocks it.  For example, Skill EVIL hits everybody, but whoever blocks that turn will only hurt the person who blocks.

 

My second mechanic...is to punish guarding.  Yes, it's the opposite of this topic, but if I use my first mechanic exclusively, one person in the party would be used to absorb these attacks.  These punishments could range from Guard Breakers to status effects that stack on the person and my favorite, a status effect that disable guarding.  Ideally, this should make the party rotate who guards in these kinds of situations.

 

Also, remember Eadric the Pure in World of Warcraft?  He had a skill called HAMMER OF THE RIGHTEOUS where players had to turn away or they would be blinded.  You could also make it so that you guard this skill or suffer.

Edited by Harosata

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I coulda sworn I replied to this a long time ago... Oh well... Everyone already pretty much said what I was going to say so maybe that's why. 

Anyway, I use TP pretty often for player skills in my game so damage reduction + TP boost works fine. I've never been big on using the Guard skill in RPG's.  I rarely even use it in my game. 

 

There really only so much you can do to make Guarding more appealing. You can

 

  • Increase amount of damage reduction
  • Gives various stat boosts (many examples in above posts)
  • Restore HP/Stamina/TP/MP
  • higher resistance or immunity to statuses or debuffs
  • Chance to Counterattack. 
  • Chance to Cover an ally

What it really boils down to is what works best for your combat system. 

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In my game I had it heal a small percentage of HP, but if you could make it work, you may consider letting it provide a DEF buff or something too, which is something I haven't got to looking at yet. ^^

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If guarding isn't a core mechanic in your game, I don't think you should worry too much about balancing it. Take Dragon Quest, for example. The 'Defend' command is just as useless as you have described: it just reduces damage without healing, dealing damage or generating any momentum for your party whatsoever. Same goes for Etrian Odyssey, another great JRPG series. 'Guard' is often treated as a sub-optimal option for a character about to die, and players don't really mind. 

There would be a balancing issue if guarding were the core mechanic of a specific class, and players find it hard to justify keeping an unproductive "guard" class in their party.

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One game that actually pulled off a Guard class well is FF13-2. The Sentinel class had some nice party buffs to defense as well as itself. In my game, those classes can have skills to Cover weakened allies and Counterattack enemies on top of having DEF buffs. My guard skill also fills the TP gauge a little so it's a bit more useful. To your point about players not liking Guard classes, I feel the ones I made are made well, and I still don't really like using them. I'd rather hit stuff until it's dead =p 

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For my game, guard does a wide array of things.

 

Half damage taken.

+25% Physical Defense.

+10% Counter.

+150% Target.

+10 Stamina.

Removes Knocked Down.

Removes Disarm.

Immunity to some side effects.

 

Also, it´s indirectly buffed by the game having a natural 10% regeneration rate for HP/MP/ST, as well as cooldowns for most spells and the fact most potions have a severe 4 turn healing debuff.

 

Another variation to guarding are walls that I don't see many games use. (and definitely not go in depth on) Essentially, they're 1-2 turn status effects, usually with a cool down, that provide damage reduction for the whole team. Sometimes magical, physical or even both. Having two on a team will provide an amazing team protection since they can both stack and/or alternate their different walls. This is an alternative option to the classic RPG tank, which still works wonders in it´s own right, but it´s good to have variety and... now I´m just rambling. (and on an old topic no less)

Edited by lianderson

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Dragon Age had some Wall skills like that. There is no Guard option in those games (also an Action RPG for those unaware), but there are Guard abilities. One cool wrinkle added in the third one was a Guard meter. Certain skills can build it up, and the character doesn't take any HP damage until the meter is gone. It's a similar concept to summoning a shield that has HP.  Also another possible option for a Guard skill. 

 

The ultimate Guard skill in RPG Maker would be the Ironbody state. I've seen it in a few other Rpg's too. Essentially reduce incoming damage to zero or otherwise greatly reducing it for x turns/seconds. That'd be a fun one to play with as a default Guard option. Obviously, it would need a cooldown so you cant spam it. That or penalties that stack up if you do. 

Edited by lonequeso

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In my game, all damage is halved and you get +10% health regeneration and Mana/Stamina regeneration. Instead of HP regen, I think imma have cooldowns go down by x% when you use guard. That should make it desirable.

 

Think about what matters in your game during battle and go from there.

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