Which one?
Hold down button, plz
50% (3)
Grindfest!
50% (3)
Total Votes: 6
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Liquid Metal Slime
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Button Mashing vs. Grindfest 
 PostTue Oct 23, 2007 8:57 pm
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It is a simple question: which do you prefer? Many people (including myself) are bored easily from button mashing through games. On the other hand, some people hate grinding sessions. It is not often, especially in OHR games, that you find a game that balances both aspects right. Throw in the fact that item availability, such as restorative items, also plays heavily into it.

As said earlier, I prefer the latter for the most part. I hope that my completed game offers quite a challenge and makes you work for everything without it being too ridiculous. Then again, who doesn't want that?
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 PostTue Oct 23, 2007 9:05 pm
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Excluding the choice of "neither," I'd prefer button mashing/holding to grindfests. At least with the button mashing, you can get through the non-gameplay content, which may actually be interesting, faster than grinding. Even if grinding was prevalent, making a grind without it turning into a button mash is a not-oft seen technique.

Though if one could make it so grinding wasn't as tedious (FFXII) or at least quickly over with (Riviera), I suppose it might have the edge.

EDIT: I should probably clarify my statement to say that I'm assuming that, in this case, both options are equally undesirable.
 
 PostTue Oct 23, 2007 9:24 pm
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Grinding!

A good grind system encourages the player to level up by including rare enemy drops, new spells/skills on level-up that are especially effective against the next boss, and by having areas that aren't a pain to grind in. It's amazing how a well set-up town can reduce the boring part of grind, with an inn/healing spring near the entrance, and shops that offer tantalizing equipment if the player spends just a little time leveling. It can also be capitalized on by building maps that encourage exploring, perhaps even villagers who give out short optional quests the player can do for more items and exp.

This all works best if the area after a grinding zone is meant to be rushed through, say, a daring race through a castle, blasting through guards and mini-bosses as you climb your way up to the final showdown. A player who doesn't grind will feel held back by their low levels(and in certain cases the player may even welcome the extra challenge and strategy needed.), while a player who has taken the time to level will feel the exhilaration of being swept up in the story.

In short, it only works if you take the time to make it work. Grinding for the sake of grinding is just as big a burden as button mashing.
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 PostTue Oct 23, 2007 9:25 pm
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I honestly prefer a grind fest to button mashing.

When I play single player RPGs nowadays, what I usually do is grind while I explore dungeons and such, taking advantage of teleportation spells and such to get to safe places if I need to.

For battles... I like at least some of the encounters to take some work, but other encounters to take a little less (at minimum, needing a spell to win quickly, but pressing the Attack command requiring some sacrifice in HP). I also like some of the more difficult encounters that require strategy to conserve MP to be more difficult to run away from.

My best advice to balancing out random battles is that most things die quickly, even stronger enemies if you use spells on them or gang up with the Attack command, but make enemies capable of doing enough damage to force the player to make the best out of that one or two turns that the battle lasts (a misconception is that longer, drawn out battles = harder, when it's really the way to make battles easier, but also boring. Offensive glass cannons are far more dangerous.)

Note that this doesn't mean make a lot of 2 hit/1 hit kill enemies and such... What I mean is that random battles need to actually accumulate damage over time, not do pitiful 5 HP damage per battle.
Liquid Metal Slime
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 PostTue Oct 23, 2007 10:35 pm
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Button mashing. Grindfests are nothing more than artificial content inserted as "filler" to make a player think his extra ten hours of gameplay actually meant something, when it could have just as easily been avoided.

When you're 13, grinding is fine. When you only have a few hours in a week to play games, it's pointless and ruins games.

Not that holding down/mashing buttons is much fun, either.
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Liquid Metal King Slime
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 PostTue Oct 23, 2007 11:33 pm
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This is a false dichotomy

I have played games that are solidly BOTH button-mashing and grindfest at the same time (mashing is the way you grind)

I have also played games which are easy, but which still require the player to think about their actions.

I feel that Wandering Hamster is a little too button-mashey. I definitely wouldn't try to fix that by adding more level-grinding. The fact that it is easy is not the problem. The problem is that holding down the button to win a battle is not particularly fun.

Some professional RPGs (*coughincludingsomefinalfantasygamescough*) get away with dull battles because they have fantastic artwork and animation... OHR games don't have that luxury.
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 PostTue Oct 23, 2007 11:39 pm
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I agree with James Paige, even if it seems like I'm contradicting myself by doing so (since I voted for grinding as the lesser of two evils).
Metal Slime
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 PostWed Oct 24, 2007 7:30 pm
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The real problem is that most OHR games are both, not one or the other. I would prefer mashing to grinding (though perhaps not so much the hold-down-button type you're talking about here; it's worth considering that the last few games I've made that even use the battle system didn't deal with EXP at all, and even the ones that did never put a big emphasis on grinding), but mashing while grinding is just the worst thing ever. If the battles are generally worth playing, grinding might be acceptable, but it might also ruin the fun for the player. A really good game, like, for instance, I'm playing Super Mario RPG, can get away with neither (though if it leaned toward one it would be mashing, but with the tiing necessary for effective mashing, it becomes a lot less mindless).

But honestly, being I prefer action RPGs anyway, mashing can be completely acceptable if the battles don't last long to begin with. One of my favorite games for battles on OHR is in fact Super Concentration Headache Battle Warrior, where you really have to mash the right attack on the right enemy and quickly. That's pretty much how I want my RPG battles to be.

The only game I've ever played that really encouraged fighting every battle in a way that I liked was Illusion Of Gaia, where clearing a room of enemies got you a stat point (though it's predecessor Soul Blazer required you to be at a certain level to use any particular sword, it was mainly based on killing all the enemies in a certain spot as well, so I always ended up at the level I needed when I got any sword; did do a bit of grinding just before the last boss, but the enemies that give the highest EXP were right before that battle anyway and respawned whenever you re-entered the room). Regular levelgrinding is just the most boring thing ever to me.
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 PostWed Oct 24, 2007 8:01 pm
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Again, I think that when you reach a new area and enemies are too hard for button mashing to handle, that spells should help, but also you earn enough experience so that you don't have to grind for long.

I've been playing Phantasy Star IV, and that's how it seems like to me.
Super Slime
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 PostWed Oct 24, 2007 9:26 pm
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The two aren't mutually exclusive, as has been pointed out, nor even correlated. Final Fantasy XII is the Ur-example of a game that has grinding without mashing, most OHR games are mashing without grinding, and a lot of older games are both mashers and grinders.

There are ways around each. Discouraging mashing is as easy as giving the player meaningful choices in battle. This should be the case regardless, though it's forgivable in a rhythm-based battle engine like Super Mario RPG or Valkyrie Profile.

Discouraging grinding is a more interesting problem, though not necessarily a harder one to solve. One method is to limit the number of enemies available. Illusion of Gaia does this, as Unc mentioned. OHRer's Noel, an old game of mine available on the CP gamelist, also takes this approach with the twist that you can only heal after clearing an area and you can't go back most of the time. In later versions of the OHR (read: anything you've got), the heroes heal on level up, which is unfortunate and unintended.

Another is to do away with gold/experience entirely. This gives the player little incentive to participate in any battles, however.

The other way to deal with this is by controlling the player's experience gains. There are essentially two ways to do this:

1. Experience to next level is probably constant (usually 100). Weaker enemies give you less experience, stronger enemies give you more experience. The Ogre Battle series (Tactics Ogre included) does this excellently. Tactics Ogre dilutes this with its training mode, though.

2. You can't easily do #1 in an OHR game, so the alternative is to make experience gains in each new area much larger than those in the prior area. If (as an extreme example) the enemies next door give you ten times what you get here, you're not going to waste time getting to the next area. Since you can't change experience requirements currently, it might be more balanceable to do this with gold and item costs.
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 PostThu Oct 25, 2007 2:27 pm
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Mogri wrote:
2. You can't easily do #1 in an OHR game, so the alternative is to make experience gains in each new area much larger than those in the prior area. If (as an extreme example) the enemies next door give you ten times what you get here, you're not going to waste time getting to the next area. Since you can't change experience requirements currently, it might be more balanceable to do this with gold and item costs.


This isn't really a solution for an OHR game either, since experience levels are set. If you make a big difference in experience gains between areas, it would mean as soon as a player entered a new area, they would gain a whole lot of levels, which in turn would mean the enemies in a new area would either be way too hard before the big level gain, or way too easy afterwards. Perhaps you could mitigate this somewhat by making only the money gains in each new area greater, but that still wouldn't really stop a player from going back to an earlier area to do a button-mashing grind.

Preventing a player from returning to an earlier area might help, though this would make the game feel awfully linear...

Mogri wrote:
Another is to do away with gold/experience entirely. This gives the player little incentive to participate in any battles, however.


I'm not sure why you seem against this idea, especially since this is basically what you did in Darkmoor Dungeon. If the battles are required, the reward is progress. "Boss" type fights tend to be more fun anyway, and if you know when and where every fight happens, you could set the experience such that you know exactly what level players would be on for each battle, and fine tune the gameplay for whatever abilities they have at the time. I'd love to see something like this in a more traditional rpg setting, ie places to explore, people to talk to, sidequests and minigames, and a developing plotline, but with only predetermined "boss" style battles. I assume this is what your going to do with the sequel to Darkmoor Dungeon?

By the way, as long as I'm talking about Darkmoor Dungeon, I know I'm retarded and all, but how the hell do you get the good ending?
Super Slime
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 PostThu Oct 25, 2007 3:06 pm
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camdog wrote:
I'm not sure why you seem against this idea, especially since this is basically what you did in Darkmoor Dungeon. If the battles are required, the reward is progress. "Boss" type fights tend to be more fun anyway, and if you know when and where every fight happens, you could set the experience such that you know exactly what level players would be on for each battle, and fine tune the gameplay for whatever abilities they have at the time. I'd love to see something like this in a more traditional rpg setting, ie places to explore, people to talk to, sidequests and minigames, and a developing plotline, but with only predetermined "boss" style battles. I assume this is what your going to do with the sequel to Darkmoor Dungeon?

By the way, as long as I'm talking about Darkmoor Dungeon, I know I'm retarded and all, but how the hell do you get the good ending?


Use the Wrath-G on Ekoss. This, by the way, is also my counter-argument: you get something from every battle in the game. You can skip one battle and still afford the Wrath-G; which ones to do and which to skip depends on your party. The Civilian, for example, essentially can't win the Necrolyte fight but can (barely) win anything else in the game.

The other side to the argument is that you're right, progress is a sufficient motivator. But random battles aren't necessary for progress unless you make them inescapable, and if you do that you're on the right track to make a very annoying/frustrating game. (See Never Go West for a fantastic example of a game ruined by its battles.)
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 PostThu Oct 25, 2007 4:39 pm
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The only reason random battles aren't necessary for progress is because OHR has the worst possible running away formula which is always guaranteed to work unless you make stuff inescapable. Otherwise, running away is usually a risk in games. If that is fixed, then we can move on to the debate between on-map encounters and random battles.

I'm thinking of actually making a "Run" command that adds the random chance it's supposed to have (and stunning the party if it fails) while still having decent fights that aren't very long but are significant enough in said short time.
Super Slime
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 PostThu Oct 25, 2007 5:27 pm
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camdog wrote:
"Boss" type fights tend to be more fun anyway, and if you know when and where every fight happens, you could set the experience such that you know exactly what level players would be on for each battle, and fine tune the gameplay for whatever abilities they have at the time. I'd love to see something like this in a more traditional rpg setting, ie places to explore, people to talk to, sidequests and minigames, and a developing plotline, but with only predetermined "boss" style battles. I assume this is what your going to do with the sequel to Darkmoor Dungeon?


In answer to the question I somehow missed earlier, this is more or less correct. Think of a more story-driven Darkmoor, with named heroes in addition to a generic party of your choice, with slightly more RPG elements -- only insofar as they add to the strategy. Because you'll often have more than four members, you'll be able to switch between battles, but because you have more party flexibility, many battles will require you to make the right party choices.

The game won't be 100% boss battles, but will be divided up into chapters of sorts, where once you enter a dungeon you can't leave until you've beaten the boss. Healing is limited both in and out of battle but characters in your reserve party will heal faster. Some battles will be forced, some will be optional, but the total number will be limited as in the original.
 
 PostFri Oct 26, 2007 7:44 am
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Mogri wrote:
But random battles aren't necessary for progress unless you make them inescapable, and if you do that you're on the right track to make a very annoying/frustrating game.


If you want an example of a bad game made worse with inescapable battles, play Super Jarrod RPG (found on the Castle Paradox gamelist as the first game in #.).
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