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Are classic elemental weaknesses a must?

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Now, I'll admit I'm not the biggest fan of jrpgs but this is what the engine excels at, so it's not like I never thought about making one ever. 


My gripes however always stood with how to make battle encounters interesting on a base level, how to intrigue the player with some neat mechanics. 

For example, I like how in Etrian Odyssey you can 'bind' an enemy's body parts to disable specific skills, giving you even a slight advantage or how shadows in Persona 4 can get overwhelmed by your party if you attack their weakspot. 


I always wondered though, how much is “too much“? 

Would something like changing the classic "weak to fire" or "weak to thunder" be too weird? 


For example, in a test project I made, I shifted the attention to weapons and created a main triangle of sorts:

Slashing Weapons, Crushing Weapons and Piercing Weapons (fire emblem does something similar I believe?) 


The weakness chart being: Slash>Crush>Pierce>Slash.

Some weapons of course being slight hybrids or not being affected, like a mage's staff.

Weapons like lances or bows are good at mid/long range attacks, so they do slightly more damage to backrow enemies, while other weapons like swords and axes have their attack lowered. 


Magic in this case has no specific damage bonus on enemies, who is weak to magic is weak to magic who is weak to physical is weak to physical. The only real difference being some enemies being weak to specific states applied by the elements (some weapons have their own states too, like 'bleeding' for swords/knives). 

Also states affect one another, an enemy that was hit by water has a chance of remaining drenched for a few turns, making electric attacks stronger but fire will instead dry their body or have a chance of cauterizing bleeding wounds, and so on. 


But like I said, is something like this too much? Does it sound tedious or boring? 

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I am not really a huge fan of JRPGs either... at least JRPGs other then (most of) the Final Fantasy series and a few others anyway. Honestly though I think most of the genre's problems comes down to how combat and all the RPG stuff are basically segregated off into their own little minigames. That's not an easy thing to avoid in RPG Maker without lots of scripting/plugin magic. Too bad all the 'ABS' stuff I have seen for RPG Maker seem like huge unfinished buggy messes! Or maybe I just don't like them. Maybe some tactical RPG scripts/plugins work better I donno. I basically ended up coding a whole new turnbased roguelike battle system (aka, the best kind of battle system) for my game project. XD


Anyway, point is, I think you are really offering a bandaid solution more then anything else. Still though, it's not that bad of an idea... What you are talking about reminds me sorta of how some enemies worked in Chrono Trigger. Like how dinosaurs reacted lightning, but rather then it just doing more damage they became 'shocked' when they were hit by lightning attacks which would stun them and usually make lightning attacks stronger. Or how there were these enemies with wooden hammers that you could use fire attacks on to burn their hammers away. Some enemies would also counter attack some kinds of attacks. Of course Chrono Trigger used classical elemental weaknesses most of the time and only did this for some individual enemies.


A game where basically every enemy/attack worked kinda like that would be interesting, though might be a heck of a task to properly design. Anyway, it seems to me that even if you don't want to use classical elemental weakness you are still using elemental weakness, just in a more roundabout way. If drenched enemies take more damage from electric attacks, then they are effectively still 'weak' to that element. And wouldn't it be logical for aquatic enemies to basically always start the battle with the drenched status anyway? How would they react to being dried out though? They would lose their normal lightning weakness but be slowed down?


You know, one thing I would like to see is the battlefield effecting combat. Like if you are in or under water everyone (party and enemies) has the drenched status applied every turn. Maybe there could be moves that effect the battlefield, like the weather changing moves in Pokemon. Like a spell that summons rain could work like being in/under water or maybe it takes a few turns to get the drenched status. Or maybe it just plain ups electric damage with it's own status.

Edited by Kayzee

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Well, yeah, in a way. 


It's just that you get a lot of the same stuff like "Oh, here we have fire, wind, water, earth and sometimes an enemy is weak to one of these" 


Idk maybe what I want in the end is a completely different type of combat, but that's what trying things out is for, ahah. 

Just looking for something that satisfies me but also just isn't tedious. 


Tbh my idea was more cut and dry, an aquatic enemy would be more susceptible to the paralysis status and that's it. 

Statuses works exactly in a similar way to Pokémon:


-Burn lowers attack and deals damage over time. Also drys the target. 


-Paralysis makes you unable to act sometimes (still didn't decide on secondary effect) 


-Drenched makes lightning attacks more effective against you and slow you down. Clear the burn status effect on the target. 

One more thing I wanted to do for it is that if more than one enemy is drenched, then the spell hits all the enemies with the status instead of one (I did sort of make this before in a less elegant way, lol). 


Edit: Also, a drenched enemy can be easily frozen by ice spells and frozen enemies receive more damage from fire as well as having a small chance of getting additionally stunned if a fire spell is used on them (they lose their frozen status, this one I might not keep cause it doesn't give much of an advantage, I feel). 


What I did think about is whether is good to just add weaknesses to weapons from the get go. From testing it did seem a little brutal, cause if you try to run or get jumped, the weak team member might get obliterated, lol. 

It did seem to get better with the option of switching weapons mid fight but idk. 


Was even thinking that maybe a sort of "stance" system would be better. Where weapons have their specific skill that are powerful but leave characters open for that turn. 


I did think of similar things like weather effects and terrain, I've just been very weary of them cause they look like a lot of work to do via eventing, ahah. 

Like, I even thought of actual things like "covers" and "distance" as effecting combat, but then I told myself that was a little too much, lmao xd


Also...rougelike?! Tell me more 👀

Edited by NumbeRED39
more stuff to write lol

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It's worth experimenting with I am sure! Honestly though I think you are gonna have a problem if you rely on susceptibility to status effects. At best it seems a bit hit or miss... Literally. Because in RPG maker status effects either hit or they miss. You either have a status, or you don't. That causes RNG to be a much bigger factor and some players might not even notice different enemies are more susceptible at all. This doesn't happen with damage because the player can see how much damage an attack does which causes things that effect damage have a pretty obvious and dramatic effect on the flow of combat. The two ways I can think of working around these problems are either redoing statuses so they have different levels of severity, or getting the game to actually show you the 'virtual dice roles' that determine if you get a status or not. Both of these ways involve fancy scripting/plugins, and I don't know if any already exist to help.


As for weapons having built in weaknesses, the only games I know of that really do that are the Fire Emblem games. It seems to work okay, but I haven't really played those games all too much so I couldn't really talk about the details. It makes some sense though, different weapons require different styles of combat and can be effective at parrying other weapons. Though I would say in general I prefer not to make weapons have a 'weakness' as much as a 'lack of strength'. Like give different weapons a defensive bonus vs some others rather then a defensive penalty. Ideally I would add parrying as a type of 'reaction ability' of course, but that would involve scripting/plugins as well.


Also, yeah "covers" and "distance" basically would require a combat system where the player could move party members arround.


Also also: Uh oh... You put the u before the g! Be careful! That's a trigger for some roguelike fans. :P Anyway, yes my game project is a Mystery Dungeon style roguelike! Random dungeons and all! I did a looooot of scripting for it. So much scripting!


I have to say though, the same basic combat style works just as well outside of roguelikes. I often like to also call it 'single step tactical RPG combat' actually, since it's basically like tactical RPG combat only turns are much much faster and less tedious. Or maybe you could think of it as 'turnbased tactical action combat' since it's kind of a hybrid of tactical RPG combat and Zelda-like ABS combat.

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I've actually been thinking about this sort of stuff for my bound-like concept. Different sort of statuses and their effects, magics, and weaknesses. I've also been thinking about battle encounters in terms of how Earthbound and games like it put enemy sprites on the map. I sort of want that vs the old way of ghostly maps where these parties of creatures continuously ambush you at random.


I've been thinking about  giving enemies more logic in terms of how they group up, where they are found, but furthermore, the tiles they will risk crossing over to get at you, or prey. Because yes, I plan to make certain enemies avoid certain others, and some attack, even kill or stun others. Over and above terrain and natural distractions, I've been thinking about how you can put a good tool system like Falcao's to work that way.


I was thinking one of the characters could be a Jeff-type, who invents gadgets you can then figure out how to practically use. A web/net shooter, that happens to bind certain enemy types very well, as one obvious example.


I want this bound-like to be the ultimate modern RPG, similar to what Earthbound was in '94.



Edited by That One NPC

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