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RavenOfRazgriz [Posts: 3030]
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  • [August 06, 2017, 09:04:10 PM]
Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
« Reply #60 on: August 06, 2017, 09:04:10 PM »
I don't see what's wrong with some skillsets being powerful but lacking flexibility (Wizard w/ nothing but elemental offensive magic) while others that have more flexibility come with additional costs (jack-of-all-mages Summoner with extremely expensive spells).  If every job is a mix of abilities that give them all a large degree of role flexibility then there isn't a pressing reason to ever use another job.
...And that's exactly the problem.  You didn't actually understand a word I just said.

Do you know where I said "give them all a large degree of role flexibility"?  I'll give you a hint: Nowhere.

There are ways to make skillsets not have narrow functionality without going down your Monk Skillset Checklist of Damage, Healing, Status, Revival, Anti-Status.  The first sentence of my post - designing with a gameplay objective in mind for each unit - is a guideline in how to do that.  That essentially means being able to look at a class, ask "Why does it have this skill?", and being able to answer it based on the other tools available to that class and without a meta-reason such as "The Oracle is the status class so it gets statuses."

Conflating "don't design too narrowly" with "make every class literally have Punch Art-tier or Summon-tier flexibility so the player never uses other classes" is a really foolish misunderstanding that betrays an under-utilization of many aspects of the game.
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Lionheart537 [Posts: 125]
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  • [August 07, 2017, 02:33:10 AM]
Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
« Reply #61 on: August 07, 2017, 02:33:10 AM »
Yes I'll try to keep skillsets from being too linear and dull, and keeping them in specific, unique niches is just as important. Equipment choices and the effectiveness of those items, formulas, innates (which i don't plan on using for generics besides job-specific skills like dual wield) are important to keep in mind too. Of course I'm not looking at the big picture yet, just the pieces one at a time.

You can balance more powerful debuffs by limiting their range, AoE, success chance, cast CT, JP cost, duration - you name it. If Blind hits the most targets, has a very high success rate, casts quickly, and lasts a long time, there's good reason to use it over Sleep, and if Sleep does all of that better than Toad/Petrify there's a reason to use it over those as well.
Ahh! I was doing this to make similar abilities shared by jobs more diverse. I agree it makes perfect sense to make similar abilities in the same skillset more unique as well. Come to think of it that was my plan for the Wizard job. I'll quickly post my ideas on that.

I want to avoid congested skillsets and overlapping abilities but double status are a bit powerful, maybe rebalancing the pairings would help though. Besides Absorb and Dispel skills I'm not certain what else to give Oracles for diversity. I did consider some of the Bio abilities, but that's hardly more interesting. Because status abilities will be opened to most jobs it makes Oracle, Priest, T Mage, etc. a bit weaker. An extra boost to them is AoE but Priest has heals, T Mage damage, Oracle...absorb and dispel. They might be lacking. Maybe give them better combat ability than other mages? They do get poles in vanilla even, after all. I'll think on it some more.
EDIT: Maybe give Oracles Death? It seems appropriate to them.

Regardless I appreciate all the opinions!
« Last Edit: August 07, 2017, 07:01:00 AM by Lionheart537 »
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    nitwit [Posts: 210]
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    • [August 07, 2017, 11:00:50 AM]
    Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
    « Reply #62 on: August 07, 2017, 11:00:50 AM »
    ...And that's exactly the problem.  You didn't actually understand a word I just said.

    Do you know where I said "give them all a large degree of role flexibility"?  I'll give you a hint: Nowhere.

    There are ways to make skillsets not have narrow functionality without going down your Monk Skillset Checklist of Damage, Healing, Status, Revival, Anti-Status.  The first sentence of my post - designing with a gameplay objective in mind for each unit - is a guideline in how to do that.  That essentially means being able to look at a class, ask "Why does it have this skill?", and being able to answer it based on the other tools available to that class and without a meta-reason such as "The Oracle is the status class so it gets statuses."

    Conflating "don't design too narrowly" with "make every class literally have Punch Art-tier or Summon-tier flexibility so the player never uses other classes" is a really foolish misunderstanding that betrays an under-utilization of many aspects of the game.
    On the same tack, where did I say "The Oracle is the status class so it gets statuses"?

    IIRC my argument is that debuffs are mostly useless for damaging classes because they have better options, but a primarily debuffing class is best served by more options for debuffing.  Giving a debuffing class pure, non-situational offensive options means you have fewer reasons to use debuffs.

    One sign of maturity is the ability to accept other people's criticisms of your ideas without taking it personally.  Someone who has a lot going on rarely has the time to get offended.

    If you need advice, I'm always here.
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    Elric (Overseer) [Posts: 4250]
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    • [August 07, 2017, 12:40:09 PM]
    Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
    « Reply #63 on: August 07, 2017, 12:40:09 PM »
    Troll fail ^

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    nitwit [Posts: 210]
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    • [August 07, 2017, 05:37:39 PM]
    Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
    « Reply #64 on: August 07, 2017, 05:37:39 PM »
    How so?

    In searching ancient posts I noticed that Raven tends towards highly emotional responses to criticism or even just honest questions.  In my experience people that are extremely aggressive on the internet are usually overcompensating for a lack of something in real life.

    I used to be like that when I was a teenager, but now that I have a job, a wife, a kid on the way, and an extended social support network that I must maintain I don't get so worked up about anything.  If he wants advice on how to get these things I'm happy to share it.  We all go through growing pains and phases; being angry on the internet is one of them.
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    Lionheart537 [Posts: 125]
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    • [August 07, 2017, 05:46:47 PM]
    Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
    « Reply #65 on: August 07, 2017, 05:46:47 PM »
    Woah... maybe some Jojokes will lighten the mood?

    I tend to veiw skillsets as halfs of a whole. Even if one is a bit situational or weak it can compliment a more rounded skillset. While this is true it's still best if each job can stand on their own as more than a secondary. I'm trying to keep roles in mind but i do feel some abilities are tacked on just to have that ability, it's reasoning ends there. I'll think more critically on some skillsets.

    As for the double status, I'll forego it and add a few extra abilities. I have the space and if the jp costs stay lower it won't take forever to master Oracle.

    One job I'm having some trouble with is my Assassin (replaces Ninja). Thoughts on this and my Wizard above would be appreciated!
    The idea is that they're debilitory and utility. Rely on their standard attacks or softening with Mark or Shadow Stitch first. Pack some kill moves and stealth to open offense options.

    • Modding version: PSX
  • It's not much yet but check out my spriting thread!
    http://ffhacktics.com/smf/index.php?topic=11772.0
    Here's a look at my vanilla mod thread, progressing one step at a time!
    http://ffhacktics.com/smf/index.php?topic=11785.0
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    Elric (Overseer) [Posts: 4250]
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    • [August 07, 2017, 10:26:47 PM]
    Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
    « Reply #66 on: August 07, 2017, 10:26:47 PM »
    How so?

    In searching ancient posts I noticed that Raven tends towards highly emotional responses to criticism or even just honest questions.  In my experience people that are extremely aggressive on the internet are usually overcompensating for a lack of something in real life.

    I used to be like that when I was a teenager, but now that I have a job, a wife, a kid on the way, and an extended social support network that I must maintain I don't get so worked up about anything.  If he wants advice on how to get these things I'm happy to share it.  We all go through growing pains and phases; being angry on the internet is one of them.

    Well, aren't you just a enlightened little snowflake. No, no one wants your 'advice'. Personally, you annoy the hell out of me, if we had another one like you around here, they wouldn't do well either.

    • Modding version: PSX
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    RavenOfRazgriz [Posts: 3030]
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    • [August 08, 2017, 03:16:52 AM]
    Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
    « Reply #67 on: August 08, 2017, 03:16:52 AM »
    Yes I'll try to keep skillsets from being too linear and dull, and keeping them in specific, unique niches is just as important. Equipment choices and the effectiveness of those items, formulas, innates (which i don't plan on using for generics besides job-specific skills like dual wield) are important to keep in mind too. Of course I'm not looking at the big picture yet, just the pieces one at a time.
    Designing classes with gameplay objectives in mind helps with doing things piecemeal.  You can outline the core of each class' identity without too much focus on the initial balance, then once you've drafted your classes you can go back to fix math, make adjustments based on what mechanics are under- or over- utilized, etc.  Objective-based design will also yield you small initial skillsets, so if a class is too linear, you can puff it up slightly with leftover mechanics you haven't used much, etc.

    An example of designing objective-based:

    "I want to make a Knight with Heavy Armor and Shields.  It's a Knight with Heavy Armor and Shields because I want it to trade blows with opposing units and come out victorious over a series of turn due to higher HP, instead of killing enemy units in 1-2 hits.  Since it focuses on a slower-paced battle, skills focus on helping it out-trade units whose DPS overwhelm its HP.  Its core Skill Cycle is to inflict Blind and Don't Move to force high-DPS melee units into its zone, followed by a Power Break--like skill to de-fang the target over a series of turns."

    That's a simple and intuitive strategy a player will be able to figure out on their own and provides direction for the class.  The abilities themselves are simple and in turn flexible enough to be applied to other situations so the player isn't forced to use the class this way, and from here, you can further flesh out a skillset.  Maybe this class' direction is to focus on breaking down powerful glass and boss units, and it'll receive Magic Break?  Maybe it'll want to focus on tanking, and will receive Regen and/or Poison to gain an edge in fights that last over a period of time?  Maybe it'll want to focus on baiting enemies in range with bad status and receive Berserk?  Maybe it'll also want it able to break down enemy tanks, so it'll get some Equipment Break-type skills?

    Once your class has a basic core, you can diversify out from that core in ways like this that focus on how the abilities interact and what niches that class can fill.  Most likely, you're going to end up with two separate core Skill Cycles that extend from an initial skill, then a small spattering of related skills that let you explore a few variations on those core cycles and have some flexibility in battle.  Some classes will always be more flexible than others but a class without a meaningful toolbox isn't going to be strategically engaging.

    I tend to veiw skillsets as halfs of a whole. Even if one is a bit situational or weak it can compliment a more rounded skillset. While this is true it's still best if each job can stand on their own as more than a secondary. I'm trying to keep roles in mind but i do feel some abilities are tacked on just to have that ability, it's reasoning ends there. I'll think more critically on some skillsets.
    Well there are two things to remember with situational skillsets:
    • They're harder to give confidently to AI units because the more situational or linear a skillset is, the easier it'll be for a player to make them irrelevant in pre-battle by counter-picking certain equipment pieces or bringing certain passive abilities, etc.
    • They're harder for the player to use confidently because the more situational or linear a skillset is, the harder it is to feel like that skillset has value without knowing what's in a fight ahead of time.
    Both of these promote "scouting" fights and basing your party based on countering the opposition instead of figuring out how to make creative use of skillsets and out-play the opposing party on the board itself.  There are some people who enjoy that sort of thing, but a lot don't.  You're always going to have some skillsets that do better than others in different situations, battles, etc., but ensuring each skillset has a certain amount of flexibility gives the player the ability to work around those situations they're disadvantaged in with the classes they enjoy instead of forcing them to counter-pick on a per-fight basis.

    nitwit [Posts: 210]
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    • [August 08, 2017, 12:28:59 PM]
    Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
    « Reply #68 on: August 08, 2017, 12:28:59 PM »
    Raven, what's your opinion on improving synergy between skillsets and equipment?  My elemental mage could do healing on a limited basis if elemental absorbs are less rare.  I want to make status immunities common on equipment, which wouldn't work so well with tight coupling among skills in a skillset as you describe.

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    RavenOfRazgriz [Posts: 3030]
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    • [August 08, 2017, 01:19:37 PM]
    Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
    « Reply #69 on: August 08, 2017, 01:19:37 PM »
    I want to make status immunities common on equipment, which wouldn't work so well with tight coupling among skills in a skillset as you describe.

    The answer to this is really the answer to the rest of your post: Skewed cycles.  How common or not common different protections are matters less than how many protections can be stacked at once.  Absorb (as well as Half and Null) can interfere with the DPS of a unit focused on elemental attacks, but you mitigate this by skewing how they're distributed so you can't Absorb/Null every element in the skillset at once.  That both stops the unit from being made irrelevant without needing to invest extra skills for non-elemental damage and makes players who want to build teams around Absorb mechanics have to make meaningful decisions on which abilities heal them - assuming those abilities actually have unique properties and aren't merely palette-swaps of each other.

    Status works the same way, what I described only really has issues working if you can block the entire skillset at once.  This is why, if we assume an 8-skill skillset, it's best to have two different (but similar) core Skill Cycles that can function independently, alongside one or two supplementary abilities that compliment the core objectives of both.  Even if parts of both core Skill Cycles are blocked, the remaining skills should still be able to be cobbled together in such a way that they result in a cohesive strategy, following such an outline. 

    Like everything, there's exceptions - eg, a Priest-type class may only have one core Skill Cycle and a few extra utility skills, a Monk-like class may forego strict Cycles for generalized offense that try to draw the opponent into a specific situation then choose the correct damage method based on the map layout of units around it, etc.  And, while my example focused on utilizing negative statuses for a specific gameplay objective, there's nothing stopping using the other tools available to produce similar results - destruction or boosting of PA / MA / SP / CT / Br / Fa, destruction of gear, applying ally buffs and removing enemy buffs, etc.  The point is to know where your unit is going and focus the core of their skillsets around that objective as the bedrock of their ability list, and let the complimentary widgets fall from that baseline.

    Raven, what's your opinion on improving synergy between skillsets and equipment?

    And, more specifically about this, there's plenty of simple things you can do with this based on how things are distributed.  Eg, if you have a mod where Ice Element is often paired with a status infliction - ie, Slow - your Ice Absorb also blocking Slow helps build synergy with the player building up Absorb-based teams.  There really isn't a detailed answer to this question without a more specific context, though, as equipment is ultimately beholden to the skills being used by the units that equip them, and how prevalent different aspects of the game are in those skills.  (In this regard, you can count viable mid-late game weapons as also being abilities in terms of Element and Status, as they change the properties of the Attack Command A-Ability.)

    The one general advice I can give though is that, aside from finding what trends you've built into the game and trying to complement them via equipment effects in one way or another, don't be afraid to let the items be simple.  How simple they get away with being, again, depends on the specific context, but it's perfectly fine for an item to do exactly what it needs to do and nothing more.  A complex item can be cool sometimes (as a rare item, for example), but how complex items are in their defensive properties in particular should be proportional to how ubiquitous what they're defending is.  If most skillsets can drop liberal negative statuses, then yes, having status protection on gear be common is good to prevent the game devolving into constantly feeling the need to heal bad status off your units.  But if your statuses are distributed stringently, the defenses to them should be equally so, etc.
    Always fashionably late to the party.
    Lionheart537 [Posts: 125]
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    • [August 08, 2017, 03:00:22 PM]
    Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
    « Reply #70 on: August 08, 2017, 03:00:22 PM »
    Wow some next level perspectives, good stuff! I have a better grasp of how a job's niche and abilities should interact with with gameplay as a whole. Might be best to rework and organize my jobs for now, and plan out equipment better as well. There's a finite amount of item attribute slots, right? I'm sure several of the vanilla attributes can be mixed and simplified, I'll try to be efficient with space. Same goes with status; I swear I saw a template patch by Celdia iirc that condenses all the vanilla status infliction slots, so that will be a big time saver. How status interact with each other also helps balance their influence. For instance have more serious debuffs cancel lesser problems? Try to limit the amount that can actually affect a unit at anytime. I think looking at Jot5 reworking of status is a good basis.

    • Modding version: PSX
  • It's not much yet but check out my spriting thread!
    http://ffhacktics.com/smf/index.php?topic=11772.0
    Here's a look at my vanilla mod thread, progressing one step at a time!
    http://ffhacktics.com/smf/index.php?topic=11785.0
    nitwit [Posts: 210]
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    • [August 08, 2017, 06:17:31 PM]
    Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
    « Reply #71 on: August 08, 2017, 06:17:31 PM »
    If you will only ever have 1 elemental absorb on a head or body slot, then best case scenario you can absorb two elements.  This is reasonable, I think.

    The palette swaps comment is a valid critique.  I'll draw up 4 or 5 templates for each tier and split them among the spells.  Here are some ideas.

    1. Elemental blast - rage extends in 4 cardinal directions, effect hits target and those adjacent to it like a Wizard spell.  If it hits a target before that point it stops and executes there.  Stopped by obstacles, line of sight.

    2. Elemental ray - same as above, but AoE is the same as the range and it affects all targets.  Is not stopped by obstacles, but has a limited vertical tolerance.  Varying AoE width.

    3. Standard 4 tile Wizard spell.

    4. All targets around self, but not self.  AoE equals range, can't select targets, doesn't effect self.

    5. Something else.

    Something like this (very WIP):
    Code: [Select]
    Fireball LoS ball of fire
    Firestorm Fire erupts all around caster

    Call Lightning Standard Wizard Spell
    Bolt LoS  bolt

    Blizzard
    Icicle

    Downburst Standard Wizard spell
    Whirlwind Wide AoE, 4 cardinal directions

    Crush Standard Wizard Spell
    Quake

    Riptide
    Flood

    ??? Something dark elemental.
    ??? Something dark elemental.



    Autistic Debuff Rambling




    While I'm not explicitly trying to make cycles, I am trying to make simple mechanics that produce emergent phenomena.  If you can't get in a good hit, you can force the enemy to waste their resources until they make a mistake.  I don't want any one debuff to be game-ending if you didn't pack a chemist, priest, or calculator, but I do want you to suffer if you aren't prepared.

    « Last Edit: August 09, 2017, 09:25:58 AM by nitwit »
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  • Nyzer [Posts: 1101]
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    • [August 08, 2017, 09:57:49 PM]
    Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
    « Reply #72 on: August 08, 2017, 09:57:49 PM »
    Quote
    If you will only ever have 1 elemental absorb on a head or body slot, then best case scenario you can absorb two elements.  This is reasonable, I think.

    I'd suggest that if you have an absorb on a non-unique piece of equipment, you should also give it at least one flaw. Such as at least a weakness (preferably, not set up in a way so that you have things like Absorb: Fire/Weak: Ice on a helmet and Absorb: Ice/Weak: Fire on a chestplate), reduced stats (heavy armor with less HP than cloth of the same shop level), an initial/innate negative status, etc.

    Of course, there are other ways to handle that balance. But as a quick go-to idea for someone planning to set up common encounters with elemental equipment, that'd be my first suggestion.

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    RavenOfRazgriz [Posts: 3030]
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    • [August 09, 2017, 09:07:22 AM]
    Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
    « Reply #73 on: August 09, 2017, 09:07:22 AM »
    The palette swaps comment is a valid critique.  I'll draw up 4 or 5 templates for each tier and split them among the spells.  Here are some ideas.

    Remember that non-standard AOEs - Tri-Direction, Linear, Self-AOE, etc. - when combined with CTs behave a bit unintuitively since they set themselves down on the panel you target even if you move away from it, unless you lock down units from being able to use Move after Charging an ability.  (There are some existing ASMs you can probably modify to create this effect, if you want it.)  Focusing on making abilities not be palette-swaps via different AOE shapes can easily lead you into going down an AOE-checklist that ends up making your skillsets being too similar.  Costs / Procs / Size of AOE (in contrast to shape) / constant value / evadability / targeting intelligence are all more than adequate to combine in different ways to keep abilities feeling distinct.  (They can also serve secondary roles, such as giving elements unique properties that bleed between skillsets and provide structural direction for teams that use Absorb to make those elements cornerstones of their party synergy, and to generally give them flavor.)
     
    I might be able to double up a few item attributes on items that would never be found together.

    There's nothing wrong with having utility effects that you give to multiple items in different slots, especially if they stack without redundancy, such as stat modifiers.  Some people put a weird stigma on the items being "simple", but some people don't enjoy sitting around tinkering with things like absorption setups, optimal anti-status, etc. in the pre-battle.  Those players are served well by having utility effects they can slap on that will generally be "good" even if they're not the "best" choice in any one fight, so they can focus on the parts of the game they actually enjoy and succeed by getting proficient at those to close the gap.

    rading it in by adding a lesser debuff that cancels it - sleep for confusion, undead for blood suck, maybe don't move for don't act

    The AI views adding debuffs as dealing a certain % HP damage and healing those debuffs as healing a certain % HP damage - with buffs obviously working the same but in reverse - so this method won't work well for the AI and will lead to them making poor decisions that result in them losing more games than they win.  The Poison + Haste Chemist ability from Celdia's' Complete Patch is an example of this - originally intended as an early-game Haste item with a drawback, due to how the AI views status, it will almost exclusively throw these at enemy units unless it can cure Slow by using it on an ally, which leads to hilarity as the player sweeps them.  What you're proposing isn't exactly the same but will ultimately have similar outcomes as they cure statuses by inflicting other statuses that are worse in that specific situation or just choose to never use those abilities despite wasting their JP on them.

    While I'm not explicitly trying to make cycles, I am trying to make simple mechanics that produce emergent phenomena.

    Building explicit cycles is really just a way to both simplify class design and help ensure the emergent phenomena come out in ways that are intuitive for the player.  Ultimately you don't want the player slapping three abilities in a row like they're managing their cooldowns on League of Legends, but having obvious ability combos (which can be emphasized by putting the skills next to each other in the skillset) gives the initial push that will make them look for more and eventually develop their own.  This is important if the player is someone who's found your mod after playing Vanilla and got through it by going LOLandu, since it ensures you have a built-in learning curve of sort that allows them to form better habits and understand the push-and-pull of a more involved battle without feeling punished or put against a difficulty brick wall.

    I'd suggest that if you have an absorb on a non-unique piece of equipment, you should also give it at least one flaw.

    I've never understood why people like to build flaws into their gear.  It just makes a player more likely to read it and go "I never want to use that" unless they've scouted the upcoming battle and know the weakness won't be relevant and the strength will be.  Obviously, this inclination can be overcome if the item is obviously very above-average, but a simple absorption item shouldn't be that if you've been following good design rules.  In fact, I'd argue the exact opposite of what you're saying here - built-in, obvious weaknesses should be reserved for rare items with cool, complex, and/or high-power effects where the weakness serves to further emphasize the item's flavor as well ensure it doesn't become completely brainless.  Eg, an item that gives +2 Speed, Always: Poison, Immune: Regen, Critical is easy to define as a high-power item in most mods, and in this way we've given it two drawbacks - Auto-Poison and an immunity to its mirror, Regen.  Not only does this have gameplay value in directly punishing the higher turn volume, but it has flavor value in that it implies the unit becomes reckless and that is the source of the Speed being gained, even without supplying a name or description for that item - and is even further enforced by that immunity to Critical, which otherwise only exists for the AI's sake.
    nitwit [Posts: 210]
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    • [August 09, 2017, 10:50:21 AM]
    Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
    « Reply #74 on: August 09, 2017, 10:50:21 AM »
    I'd suggest that if you have an absorb on a non-unique piece of equipment, you should also give it at least one flaw. Such as at least a weakness (preferably, not set up in a way so that you have things like Absorb: Fire/Weak: Ice on a helmet and Absorb: Ice/Weak: Fire on a chestplate), reduced stats (heavy armor with less HP than cloth of the same shop level), an initial/innate negative status, etc.

    Of course, there are other ways to handle that balance. But as a quick go-to idea for someone planning to set up common encounters with elemental equipment, that'd be my first suggestion.

    That's a good idea, especially the bolded portion.

    Remember that non-standard AOEs - Tri-Direction, Linear, Self-AOE, etc. - when combined with CTs behave a bit unintuitively since they set themselves down on the panel you target even if you move away from it, unless you lock down units from being able to use Move after Charging an ability.  (There are some existing ASMs you can probably modify to create this effect, if you want it.)

    The enemy likes to move and then act.  I've never seen them hit a decent target and run away.  Enforcing this may give the player less of an advantage.


    Focusing on making abilities not be palette-swaps via different AOE shapes can easily lead you into going down an AOE-checklist that ends up making your skillsets being too similar.  Costs / Procs / Size of AOE (in contrast to shape) / constant value / evadability / targeting intelligence are all more than adequate to combine in different ways to keep abilities feeling distinct.  (They can also serve secondary roles, such as giving elements unique properties that bleed between skillsets and provide structural direction for teams that use Absorb to make those elements cornerstones of their party synergy, and to generally give them flavor.)
    The only real difference between the two spells for the 7 elements a Wizard will get is that one is weak to mid-powered and one is powerful.  I do have a checklist, but the number of items on the checklist doesn't evenly fit with the checklist: there will be some overlap, but they won't all be palette swaps.

    This may result in a calculator (who only gets the weaker tier) having just one way to cast a spell of each element, which is reasonable given that it's a calculator.

    The elemental theming idea is good, and I can see it being useful for the Wizard, Summoner, swordskills, and monster abilities.  Do you have any advice for themes?

    There's nothing wrong with having utility effects that you give to multiple items in different slots, especially if they stack without redundancy, such as stat modifiers.  Some people put a weird stigma on the items being "simple", but some people don't enjoy sitting around tinkering with things like absorption setups, optimal anti-status, etc. in the pre-battle.  Those players are served well by having utility effects they can slap on that will generally be "good" even if they're not the "best" choice in any one fight, so they can focus on the parts of the game they actually enjoy and succeed by getting proficient at those to close the gap.

    A team that's prepared for debuffs, healing, and death could use the simple gear that provides better HP and MP but no other effects.  I'm glad you caught that.

    AI-proofing the equipment newb-proofs it too.

    You could say that my goal is to increase over-all equipment optimality not by adding great new equipment choices but by removing bad equipment choices.  Improvement via negativia is usually the most robust solution.

    The AI views adding debuffs as dealing a certain % HP damage and healing those debuffs as healing a certain % HP damage - with buffs obviously working the same but in reverse - so this method won't work well for the AI and will lead to them making poor decisions that result in them losing more games than they win.  The Poison + Haste Chemist ability from Celdia's' Complete Patch is an example of this - originally intended as an early-game Haste item with a drawback, due to how the AI views status, it will almost exclusively throw these at enemy units unless it can cure Slow by using it on an ally, which leads to hilarity as the player sweeps them.  What you're proposing isn't exactly the same but will ultimately have similar outcomes as they cure statuses by inflicting other statuses that are worse in that specific situation or just choose to never use those abilities despite wasting their JP on them.

    That's a good point, and unfortunate too.  I wanted to limit some debuffs by forcing them into categories, where each debuff in a given category cancels all others in the same.

    It should work if a character doesn't already have a debuff that would be canceled or there are targets within range that lack a debuff, but it can backfire.  If the HP value of each debuff doesn't accurately reflect its utility, then as you say the AI could make things worse.

    I think I'll drop that idea, which was itself an evolution of the poison-cancels-regen idea.

    Building explicit cycles is really just a way to both simplify class design and help ensure the emergent phenomena come out in ways that are intuitive for the player.  Ultimately you don't want the player slapping three abilities in a row like they're managing their cooldowns on League of Legends, but having obvious ability combos (which can be emphasized by putting the skills next to each other in the skillset) gives the initial push that will make them look for more and eventually develop their own.  This is important if the player is someone who's found your mod after playing Vanilla and got through it by going LOLandu, since it ensures you have a built-in learning curve of sort that allows them to form better habits and understand the push-and-pull of a more involved battle without feeling punished or put against a difficulty brick wall.

    I want the overall difficulty to be much higher, but I want a steady progression.  Chapter 1 should be challenging for a newbie, but Chapter 4 sidequests should be impossible if you rely only on sword skills.

    Removing things that detract from the difficulty and fun are usually easy and have an immediate effect.

    • Nerf Orlandu and company.
    • Remove ability for AI to make bad equipment choices.
    • Weaken overpowered abilities: x^2 unarmed damage, Math Skill supremacy.
    • Keep roughly the same damage/healing/stat proportions, but reduce magnitude.  This includes Move and Jump.
    • Limit previously nigh-unlimited stat buffing and debuffing.
    • Make it almost impossible to grind for experience, JP, and especially stats.

    Removing bad things is always good because you'll rarely get side effects if you remove something.  Complications arise from interactions - fewer bad things, fewer interactions.

    If a program is malfunctioning, you don't add new things to it until it stops.  You eliminate things until it starts to work, cutting the problem area in half each iteration until you isolate the cause.

    I'm more cautious when I modify things, and downright paranoid when I add new mechanics.  I'm not just adding that thing, I'm adding all the interactions that thing will have with everything else.

    My list of modifications is much shorter, and many are designs to reduce the scope and size of existing mechanics.  The ones that lean towards additive (Weapon Guard innate, Magic C-Ev) are arguably simplifications, in that they streamline existing mechanics.

    I can't think of a single thing that I'm actually adding to the game that doesn't previously exist in some form.

    I've never understood why people like to build flaws into their gear.  It just makes a player more likely to read it and go "I never want to use that" unless they've scouted the upcoming battle and know the weakness won't be relevant and the strength will be.  Obviously, this inclination can be overcome if the item is obviously very above-average, but a simple absorption item shouldn't be that if you've been following good design rules.  In fact, I'd argue the exact opposite of what you're saying here - built-in, obvious weaknesses should be reserved for rare items with cool, complex, and/or high-power effects where the weakness serves to further emphasize the item's flavor as well ensure it doesn't become completely brainless.  Eg, an item that gives +2 Speed, Always: Poison, Immune: Regen, Critical is easy to define as a high-power item in most mods, and in this way we've given it two drawbacks - Auto-Poison and an immunity to its mirror, Regen.  Not only does this have gameplay value in directly punishing the higher turn volume, but it has flavor value in that it implies the unit becomes reckless and that is the source of the Speed being gained, even without supplying a name or description for that item - and is even further enforced by that immunity to Critical, which otherwise only exists for the AI's sake.

    A nitpick; immunity to Critical nerfs certain very powerful reactions.  With the other drawbacks it's not worth two casts of Yell.

    The point of armor having a weakness in this case is to balance the elemental absorbs, to play off the lack of non-elemental magic, and to add a large degree of randomness to the game.  I want two or three elemental weapons for the larger weapon groups, and one or none for the smaller ones.

    This is a trick.  I'm giving the player just enough rope to hang himself.  Everyone will eventually get into a fight that they can't win due to poor equipment choices AND not bringing a healer to revive someone with a means to deal damage, and maybe one that they can't lose either.

    Yes, it is mean.  But it's less mean than what FFT does, and it only affects one battle.  Compare it to how you can potentially ruin a generic by spending too many levels in the wrong class, or mods where gaining two or three levels too early makes the rest of the game unwinnable.

    Granted the same thing can happen to the AI, but it's a long shot because the AI equipment will mostly be random and there aren't any items that protect against all things of any category.  You'll probably get one battle where every enemy has a water elemental weapon, and you just happened to field a water-absorping team (however you'll have significant debuff openings for part of your team if you do this).  It's astronomically unlikely given that some classes won't have access to an elemental weapon and all classes will have a non-Attack means of dealing damage, but it could happen.

    Obviously I can't allow Equip Change in this mod.

    If I have only two classes of armor - warrior and non-warrior/mage - then I can do more with equipment.  Nine pieces of equipment (one without an item attribute but better protection) per head/body slot and two categories per slot means 32 item attributes.  Reasonable, I think.

    The fluff for non-warrior equipment boosting MP so much could be that metal equipment doesn't hold Mana enchantments as effectively as non-metal.  I need to change the multipliers too.

    Code: [Select]
    hp mp
    warrior 20n 10n
    mage 12n 18n

    n=5
    hp mp
    warrior 100 50
    mage 60 90

    Item attributes also have an value of n, but I haven't put any thought into specifics.  This is how I'll calculate the exact stats of equipment.  What's above are the baselines.

    Edit

    Level 1 to 99 stats are compressed.

    level 1 to 99 modded SP, PA, and MA are equivalent to level 8 to level 40 vanilla.  HP is slightly different.

    I have to do this due to armor restrictions, but I like it too.  Doesn't make much sense that you would get 3 or 4 times as strong or smart as you progress.

    Plus the chapter 2 and 3 fights are some of the best memories I have of FFT.
    « Last Edit: August 09, 2017, 12:09:53 PM by nitwit »
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  • Nyzer [Posts: 1101]
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    • [August 09, 2017, 01:26:09 PM]
    Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
    « Reply #75 on: August 09, 2017, 01:26:09 PM »
    Mostly, Raven, I wanted a flaw because Absorb can be fairly strong, particularly if it's a mod featuring a lot of elemental weaponry. I don't think having an Absorb tied with a Weakness is too imbalanced to make people think an item is weak and not worth using. A Resist and a Weakness would be.

    That's just my own opinion though, and obviously it's contextual depending on the rest of the game. In a mod that doesn't feature a lot of elemental attacks, and the few jobs that have elemental skills can cover multiple elements, then the Absorb is probably going to be a lot less useful.

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  • Emmy [Posts: 231]
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    • [August 09, 2017, 08:26:40 PM]
    Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
    « Reply #76 on: August 09, 2017, 08:26:40 PM »
    I actually like flaws as a way to encourage out of the box thinking.  It's one way that I allowed for more items that retain use throughout the length of the game instead of being immediately upgraded and thrown away by the next shop upgrade.  Just going by your example of an item with a significant bonus, but with Poison innate and immunity to Regen and Critical, that "significant" bonus would have to be very significant to be worth it to most people with vanilla abilities.  However, with a couple of the abilities that exist in MT, that drawback could be turned into an advantage.  Poison Heal and Marvel Scale can turn a unit into a tank, while Guts would turn it into an offensive beast (these abilities are very similar to what they do in Pokemon). 

    Now, how I balance/introduce items like this into the game is by making the earlier items having more obvious utility (say, 25% damage reduction or immune: charm, don't move, don't act) while the later items might have better bonuses but also include drawbacks (say, 35% damage reduction, innate poison; or immune to petrify, frog, slow, haste, stop).  In these cases, while the earlier stuff is still useful, you can make later stuff outclass it with some out of the box thinking with the abilities I have provided the player.
    Nyzer [Posts: 1101]
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    • [August 09, 2017, 09:57:05 PM]
    Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
    « Reply #77 on: August 09, 2017, 09:57:05 PM »
    I think stacking Auto-Poison with Poison Heal kind of misses the point of what he was trying to say. Yeah, it probably wouldn't be all that worth it in vanilla, but in a mod where +Speed items are otherwise nonexistent, especially if Speed is kept low....

    I know the "reduce Haste/Slow to 25%" mod gets a decent amount of use. An 8 speed unit would get the benefit of Haste from an item like that - and could still have Haste stacked on top of that.

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  • nitwit [Posts: 210]
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    • [August 09, 2017, 10:47:27 PM]
    Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
    « Reply #78 on: August 09, 2017, 10:47:27 PM »
    Auto-Poison with Poison Heal is OP unless you're undead and the AI behaves right.

    The +Speed item is a bad example for my mod.  A better one would be something that halves all elements or gives you a permanent buff, but makes you "Always: Death Sentence" and "Immune: Undead, Reraise".  You automatically reduce the effectiveness of a large number of attacks (or you act faster if the buff is haste), but you will die once every 3 turns, you can't use one effective buff, and the Undead tactic is closed to you.

    All Squires have Yell and SP modification has a strict upper limit.  No dice for +2 SP.

    The most "Emmy" of all items would be the Nihopalaoa from FFXII.  Late game accessory that adds an entirely new set of tactics.
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    Elric (Overseer) [Posts: 4250]
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    • [August 10, 2017, 01:24:13 AM]
    Re: Modding and game balance questions/job and ability ideas.
    « Reply #79 on: August 10, 2017, 01:24:13 AM »
    Liking flaws is not a good thing. Outside the box thinking is only good when it 'works' and works 'well'

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