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Ideas for a FE-inspired game #2) Meter-based crits and dodges.

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Ideas for a FE-inspired game #2) Meter-based crits and dodges.

 

NOTE: To be clear, when I say “dodge” I'm referring to avoiding attacks entirely. I think some FE games use “dodge” to represent your ability to avoid receiving a critical hit.

 

Last time, we discussed changing the double-attack system so that players only double on their own phase. Let's discuss a more drastic change to stat functionality this time.


What if, by default, all attacks hit their mark? Instead of skill and luck providing you with small percentage chance bonuses, they now fill two separate meters. When the critical meter is full, your next attack will automatically crit. When the dodge meter is full, you'll automatically avoid the next attack.

 

The formula for filling these meters would look something like this:

 

Crit meter gain = your skill – their luck.

Dodge meter gain = your luck – their skill.

 

Perhaps divide the end result by 2 or something, if this feels too “swingy”.

 

So just like in FE games, the frequency of crits you'll perform is based on your skill vs. the enemy's luck. Same goes for dodging attacks. You just have more control over when it all happens now. Some further stipulations I'm currently imagining, but which are open to change:

 

- The meters max out at around 20-30 points.

- The meters only charge when you attack.

- Your meter only charges once per round of combat, regardless of how many attacks occur on either side.

- Both you and the opponent always gain at least 1 point for both meters, even if the above math says you'd get nothing, or even lose meter instead (IE, their luck > your skill).

 

Here are my arguments for such a system:

 

  1. Skill and luck are often seen as “dump stats”. When people judge the quality of a level-up, it usually comes down to gains in your relevant attack/defense stats, and your speed. Very rarely is anyone truly happy to receive a level up of only skill and/or luck. Under this system, with proper balancing of the amount of points needed to fill the meters, skill and luck become incredibly useful stats. Every gain in one of those stats is a tangible and immediate boon to the frequency with which you gain the ability to crit or dodge, instead of a minute % chance. Maybe it's more a matter of psychology than fact, but I think those stats would just 'feel' better under this system.

  2. They're not useless stats by any means, but the vast majority of characters have “enough” to get by. Characters with seriously crippling accuracy, or those that are prone to being crit on all the time, are generally rare, and for a simple reason – they're not fun to play with. One or two can usually get by OK thanks to stat boosters to patch them up, but under this new system, a player-controlled unit with low skill or luck isn't a complete gamble to use, which allows for more diversity in viable stat spreads.

  3. No more complaints about 1% crits or 99% misses.

  4. These systems aren't entirely novel. Fates had a meter-based dual guard mechanic that was generally seen as a vast improvement to the random nature of the equivalent system from Awakening. And Heroes uses cooldown-based specials in place of crits. I'm basically just proposing that we tie skill and luck into these systems, to give them a more consistently-useful function.

  5. Speed now has nothing to do with dodging attacks.

 

As an aside, enemies would likely be given smaller meters to fill, since any single enemy isn't expected to live long. An enemy with a “killer” weapon, might even start out with a full or nearly-full crit bar. Another solution would be to assign enemies to small squads that share critical and dodge meters. The enemies won't gain their shared crit bar if they don't get a chance to attack, so this change, like the one I proposed last time, would encourage player phase activity.

 

Another implication of this system is that it would be impossible to dodge or crit consecutively. At most, you could only do so every other battle, if you're able to fill your meters up in a single round of combat.

 

Oh, and crit damage may need to be adjusted too.

 

The upside and downside of this system is that it removes almost all RNG from the game. Now the main source of RNG comes from level-up gains, and to some extent, enemy movements. If this becomes an issue, two possible solutions could be implemented:

 

  1. Add random variance to meter gains. The above formulas still apply, but you may gain a bit more or less than that. It could keep you on your toes around enemies with nearly-full crit bars.

  2. Add a bit of random variance to regular attack damage. No more than +- 3 points, but enough to keep you guessing.

 

IMO, these solutions are a lot less frustrating than the random chance of missing entirely, or taking a massive 3X damage. It may screw up your damage thresholds on occasion, but that's better than a chance of doing no damage at all.

 

Does this all make sense? If you think I've described anything poorly, please let me know. It's vital that players understand it, so if this sounds too complex I may have to reword some things or even re-think the entire system. What other benefits or flaws do you anticipate this theoretical change would entail?

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The whole point of the Swordmaster class is that they are designed to be dodge-tanks and have high critical chances to offset their often mediocre strength. Under this garbage system they are now essentially worthless.

Also, if this is for your fangame, why is it in General FE and not the Concepts part of the Fan Projects section where it belongs?

Edited by NinjaMonkey

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Red units are not going to last litle, they are often gojng to last just one fight, with your system they either can't crit/dodge or are guaranted to do so. Axes units would have a field day i guess.

Edited by Flere210

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47 minutes ago, NinjaMonkey said:

The whole point of the Swordmaster class is that they are designed to be dodge-tanks and have high critical chances to offset their often mediocre strength. Under this garbage system they are now essentially worthless.

Also, if this is for your fangame, why is it in General FE and not the Concepts part of the Fan Projects section?

It might be better to put this there, but I figured at this point, discussion of concepts/mechanics was vague enough that it could be applicable to general FE, as well. 

I'm not sure how this would really make Swordmasters weaker, exactly. The biggest downside is that they cannot dodge literally every attack, but would be able to dodge every other attack, at best. Critical hits, I think, would be far more frequent. The skill/2 - luck formula makes for very rare crits even on most high-skill units.

 

Let's say the enemy has 0 luck, FE1 style. You have 20 skill. Under the traditional formula, your base chance of critting is 10%. Here, you'd fill up your meter in one attack, and crit the next attack, for an effective 50% crit chance. And you have some control over when the crit occurs, instead of having a good chance of wasting it when you didn't need it anyway. 

So we're trading off defense (dodge-tanking) for a lot more offense (much higher chance of a relevant crit).

That said, here are two more alternatives:

 

1) The crit/dodge activates as soon as the meter fills. So if either meter is at 15, it fills at 20, and you gain 5 in combat, you'll reach 20 and activate the crit/dodge immediately. So now it's possible to dodge or crit every single round of combat, if you have massive skill or luck.

2) These meter systems exist on top of the existing RNG systems. Luck will have a larger effect on your avoid chance, in place of speed. 

12 minutes ago, Flere210 said:

Red units are not going to last litle, they are often gojng to last just one fight, with your system they either can't crit/dodge or are guaranted to do so. Axes units would have a field day i guess.

Which is why I recommended the idea of enemy squads that share crit/dodge meters. 

EDIT: It may be annoying to deal with the fact that there are 2 enemies in a squad remaining, and they've both got their crits up, though. Maybe a full meter isn't a guaranteed crit, and can still be lowered if they attack a player unit with higher luck than their skill? Then there'd be further counterplay other than just tanking the damage or killing them both without retaliation. 

Edited by Dsharp

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Guaranteed crits in general are an open door to Turtle emblem, expecially if non crit attack will often connect too.

Most units are just not built in such a way to eat a crit, so you have to constantly arrange units in such a way that the few tanky guys are the only one that can be crit(or to dodge the crit if the 2 gauges matches). Even reducing the crit to 2x may not be enought. 

The point of the dreaded 1% crit is to be the Fujiwara Chika of fire emblem: no matter how well you plan, there is always this chaotic element that can bring your demise, so every enemy phase there is electricity and tension, while on a more consistent systems you know that you will not die. When crits are actually consistent, as in you are guaranteed to getting crit once per enemy squad their function change completely. They are now a "crit zone, put an armor here" sign. Their function change drastically and you have to thing well on how enemies should be designed in this different paradigm. This is not a criticism, even if i play roguelike and like the interaction beetwen controllable and uncontrollable variables, just food for taught.

 

And i am not sure how to balanxe weapon and character that are supposed to be held back by shaky hit rates.

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15 minutes ago, Flere210 said:

Guaranteed crits in general are an open door to Turtle emblem, expecially if non crit attack will often connect too.

Most units are just not built in such a way to eat a crit, so you have to constantly arrange units in such a way that the few tanky guys are the only one that can be crit(or to dodge the crit if the 2 gauges matches). Even reducing the crit to 2x may not be enought. 

The point of the dreaded 1% crit is to be the Fujiwara Chika of fire emblem: no matter how well you plan, there is always this chaotic element that can bring your demise, so every enemy phase there is electricity and tension, while on a more consistent systems you know that you will not die. When crits are actually consistent, as in you are guaranteed to getting crit once per enemy squad their function change completely. They are now a "crit zone, put an armor here" sign. Their function change drastically and you have to thing well on how enemies should be designed in this different paradigm. This is not a criticism, even if i play roguelike and like the interaction beetwen controllable and uncontrollable variables, just food for taught.

 

And i am not sure how to balanxe weapon and character that are supposed to be held back by shaky hit rates.

These are all totally fair points, and I feel like I should mention that I'm not particularly attached to this system, or most of these ideas. In fact, if the idea's unpopular, that just saves me a hell of a headache trying to implement this system, lol. I absolutely want people to criticize and discuss these ideas. It's why I'm posting them on FE forums instead of just asking my friends who know nothing about FE.

I'm pretty resolute in my opinion that skill and luck need some sort of buff, something that they can consistently utilize, that isn't based on RNG. And I do have other, less nuclear options.

I definitely understand the concern about enemies getting guaranteed crits, I admit I'm not sure how that would work best. 

I feel like  this change would actually promote less turtling, because turtling and letting all the enemies in a squad hit you is exactly how you let them build up crit meter. If they get that meter filled, you're definitely in an unfun position, but aggressive play could prevent that from ever happening, too. And when I say 'squad' I'm thinking like how in FE6 especially, enemies would aggro you in groups of 4 or 5. 

I like a bit of randomness because it forces you to think on your feet a bit. But 3X damage random crits don't do that. There's often little counterplay to them. It's not a piece of randomness that you have time to plan around, it's something that happens, and then you reset. And I'm not sure what the best way around that is.

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Sorry about NinjaMonkey. No one takes him seriously anyway, so just ignore him.

I didn't post in your first topic because I didn't even notice it until now, but I do like that idea.

However, this one I'm not sold on. It feels like it would result in a whole lot more stuff to micromanage. Some may like the removal of RNG, but I don't and I think most players wouldn't even if they don't realize it, because the chance of unexpected things happening makes things interesting and ensures that every run of the game is different.

And if I'm to be honest, I think the reasoning behind making this change is flawed in itself. You want the stats to be balanced in value, which itself isn't a bad thing, but it feels you like you tried to balance them for the sake of it rather than because it made sense to do so. If you think the stats are flawed in implementation, fix those flaws. If you think they are not inherently flawed but still too weak, give them more to do. Maybe if your game is significantly different from the average FE game your system could work, but I can't imagine it being fun as you describe in FE as it is.

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