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Super Slime
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Healing 
 PostSat Nov 03, 2007 6:31 am
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Okay, guys. Healing. You read the Hamsterspeak article. Let's talk.

Someone mentioned it felt too brief. I'm too lazy to look up who it was right now. What do you think could've been added?

Someone also mentioned (maybe this was the same person) that I ought to make a post about general battle balance throughout the course of an RPG. Are there any other topics you'd like to see addressed in a design article?

Let's talk about game design, guys.
Reigning Smash Champion
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 PostSat Nov 03, 2007 7:03 am
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I thought the healing article was fine at touching on pitfalls that have a huge impact on difficulty balance.

Maybe in the sequel article, you could likely go into more detail in some of the examples. I think you should especially study FF1 more, because that game is not only limited in revival freedom, but it also limits healing options to 99x Heal Potions, Tents (Cabins, etc...), and White/Red Mages. FF1 is the ultimate example of needing to abuse non-healer characters (or in the case of an all White Mage party, abuse of the Ruse spell to increase Evasion).

You could also go into example of games that have too much healing freedom, most notably FFX's freaking save points that heal you with no drawbacks whatsoever, making dungeons or high battle areas much easier if there's a save point in the middle of them.

Maybe you can go into detail on drain spells, and what games make good use of draining (I heard FFVI's Drain Sword was actually pretty useful). A possible character based on Draining HP instead of it just being an option?
 
 PostSat Nov 03, 2007 7:11 am
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You already know my opinion, but I would like to clarify I was the one who thought you should do one on RPG battle balance, but I wasn't the one who said the healing article was too brief.
Metal Slime
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 PostSat Nov 03, 2007 4:46 pm
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'Twas I who commented on the brevity. There were some good general points I thought, but I would have been interested perhaps in exploration of some methods, as KittenMaster has already brought up. The draining method of healing to emphasize in-battle healing. The whole cost-efficiency versus damage-efficiency could have been explored more maybe.

Another thing to consider is the existence of items like Final Fantasy's tents. Should these things even exist? Perhaps a limited supply? How often can they be used? This may be more of a side issue.

Finally, I think that a good thing to consider for a sequel article is the idea of healing changing over time, allowing for a rise in difficulty. In the Dragon Warrior games (and in my game) reviving in the beginning is very costly and requires leaving wherever you are and backtracking all the way to a town. It is impossible in battle. But beginning battles are balanced easier and there are less chances of dying. In the mid-game some other revival options become available, but they are usually fairly limited (high MP cost, or rare item). At the same time the battle difficulty starts to increase to the point where even a careful player may have characters ie on occasion. In the late game MP is high enough to make reviving less of an ordeal, but battles are now quite rough so it is required more often, and using up a turn often leads to a lot more pain.

This was just reviving, but the same concept applies around the healing board (actually around the entire gameplay board), such as gaining access to multi-target healing, status effect healing, multi-target draining, and I'm sure the list could go on. I feel like you touched on this idea a little bit, but it could rightfully take up its own few paragraphs.
I am Srime
Super Slime
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 PostSat Nov 03, 2007 5:11 pm
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I'm actually not opposed to autohealing save points, depending on the context. It's really no different from tents, except that tents make you go into your menu. Remember that FFXII did the same thing and it wasn't broken there. (There's a different reason for that, though, which is that FFXII's difficulty revolves around each encounter. You're never concerned about running out of heals.) Whether full-heals belong in the game at all is a separate question. Your game would be much more challenging if you removed all tents, inns, and other sources of full restoration.

Draining is an interesting point and definitely a way of emphasizing in-battle healing. However, it's almost always either useless or broken and very hard to balance. What if you had a zombie character that could only heal by draining HP from the other party members? That'd be a great way to add gameplay flavor to a story concept.

Limiting inventory is a fantastic way of making healing scarce. Secret of Mana did this excellently: you could only carry 4 of any item. Its sequel did something similar: your current inventory was limited to 9 of any item and a total of something like ten different items, but you could also stock as many items as you wanted and transfer from stock to inventory on any screen where you'd cleared all enemies.
Reigning Smash Champion
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 PostSat Nov 03, 2007 8:47 pm
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Quote:
Another thing to consider is the existence of items like Final Fantasy's tents. Should these things even exist? Perhaps a limited supply? How often can they be used? This may be more of a side issue.
Tents were actually nerfed in FF1. They never healed your health completely. You had to use "higher level" and incidentally more expensive versions if you want full healing on the world map. They were mostly useful for saving your game right before dungeons and such, and cannot be used within dungeons themselves.
Metal Slime
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 PostSat Nov 03, 2007 10:19 pm
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My game didn't have anything like tents, although there were inns in every normal town. I personally don't like the concept of an easily stockable item that can fully restore your party, but that's just a taste thing really.

As for draining, I pretty much failed at making it useful at all in my game, and I've yet to play a game in which it is useful. FFIII's Drainer is only really useful if you force restrictions upon yourself. By the time you get it, you are almost always guaranteed to be better off just killing the thing you're fighting and healing cheaply afterwards.

I'm probably going to wait until customizable menus are at least somewhat workable before I release a demo of my upcoming game, as the possibility of a simple menu-based interface to limit item inventories excites me more than anything else about the upcoming OHR. Imagine a menu that the author sets to only fit 16 items, non-groupable. This menu is then named "Bob's Items" and voila, Meatballsub's main balancing complaint (in my eyes) about Tales I disappears into the mist. Even if there's no way to have individualized menus like this, an easy way to regulate the group item menu would be fantastic.
I am Srime
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