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Do you prefer Specialists or All-arounders in RPGs?

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Do you prefer to have Specialized party members or characters who are good all around when playing games with changeable party members?

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Because you specifically said changeable party members, thus implying an RPG with multiple playable characters as opposed to just one you level up, I'm gonna say specialized is what I lean towards, but it always depends on the game.

Generally speaking I like having a party where everyone has their own thing they're really good at so that they can employ the most power for those specializations while covering for the weaknesses of others... but at the same time I don't like having any characters that are so weak in certain areas that either they contribute nothing or are a liability.  So while I will try to favor certain skills for certain characters, I do still like to invest in other areas so they don't drag the whole team down.

For example, in Fire Emblem: Fates, there are particular characters I almost never use because I don't like how they play.  Rinkah and Subaki somehow seem to never have the kind of damage output I want - it always seems to be sub-10 damage from them, which means they barely get to level up and remain useless as anything other than early-game tanks.  I've heard from some that Subaki can become a good unit, but that just hasn't been my experience.  Meanwhile you have all manner of feeble units including Azura, Orochi, and Nyx, among others, who are always at high risk of getting one-shotted due to low HP and low defense - with healers this may be acceptable, but for units that are expected to be right up with the combatants it is a liability for sure.

For any RPG where I'm mostly playing as a single character that I progressively level up I generally prefer to go for an all-rounder approach.  Or rather, I try to give them at least one offensive specialization, one defensive specialization, and various non-combat specializations so that they can do a lot of different things.  Same is true for any RPG where there's a definitive "avatar" type of character that can be an all-rounder, such as Robin in Fire Emblem: Awakening.  Though occasionally, mostly due to some stupid gendered BS, I'm somewhat hindered in my goals (still salty that in Heroes of Light and Shadow males get a much more robust class selection, especially when you beat the game and get a New Game+).

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¿Por qué no los dos?

It obviously depends on the game, but I'm usually fine with my damage dealers being specialized in just dealing damage, while I often find that healers in particular stand around uselessly a lot of a time, so I prefer if those have some added utility - for example the Darkest Dungeon Vestal's stun ability, or Clerics in Baldur's Gate being a multiclassed Fighter or Mage (or even Thief, to have one character cover two utility roles).

Edited by ping

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I would normally say a mix, in a standard 4 man team I would do 2 and 2 but overall I would say the Generalist. I'm not really a fan of min-maxing or micromanagement so any character I can field without worry is a positive in my book.

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I guess for me, it would mostly come down to the number of characters you get in your party. Like I'm more comfortable covering all the Strength and Magic bases then going crazy. Also, if there's a rock-paper-scissors style typing system, I always build up some form of each type coverage.

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i don't prefer one kind over the other

i like min-maxing characters so they can reach absurdly high stats and damage just as much as i like tryng to come up with whacky builds to make characters work in ways they weren't meant to

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Depends on the type of game, but I lean towards specialists. 

On most RPGs you get a party of 4, of those I like to have 3 specialists (Physical attacker, Magic nuke, Healer) and the 4th is an all rounder that acts as a secondary healers but also buffs the party and/or debuffs the boss. 

For RPGs that lean heavily on creating a custom character (Xenoblade X kinda becomes this in the post game) then I start as a generalist that can do a bit of everything while I grind for the super OP specialist build that can destroy 95% of the game in seconds. 

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I follow a rule that the more playable characters you have, the less complex each of them can be, so in a game such as Skyrim where you have just the one, an all-around approach is fine, while in a game with multiple party members working together, it pays to have specialists to make them feel distinct.

That said, there is some room for versatility within a party as well, courtesy job systems. One of the best I've seen is in Octopath Traveler, where each party member has one fixed job that they always have access to, but can choose different secondary jobs to expand their weapon selection and skillset, not to mention learn abilities that can be useful in other jobs. As a result, any given job combination can only be accessed by one or two characters, and those two characters still have distinct field abilities and leanings in combat.

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For Fire Emblem, I'd say specialists.  For other RPGs like Pokemon or Final Fantasy, I'll say all-rounders.  Regardless of the game however, a mix of both is always good.

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3 hours ago, Ertrick36 said:

Though occasionally, mostly due to some stupid gendered BS, I'm somewhat hindered in my goals (still salty that in Heroes of Light and Shadow males get a much more robust class selection, especially when you beat the game and get a New Game+).

It's also the only instance in Fire Emblem where the male avatar is viewed as better then the female.

M!Robin loses to F!Robin because he can't get Galeforce (Awakening's best skill), which is locked to a Female Class so he can never get it.

M!Corrin loses to F!Corrin because the only way he can get all possible classes AND all possible units is to make his talent Oni Savage, then have him marry Midori for Apothecary.  F!Corrin has no such restrictions as she can get all the classes by A-Supporting all the women, and the only unit she could marry who would cost you a unit is Rahjat.  M!Corrin needs to marry a 2nd gen unit or a Corrinsexual in order to get everyone. To me, that's more dumb then the M!Kris nonsense because of how specific that is.

M!Byleth loses to F!Byleth because flyers are busted in Three Houses, and F!Byleth gets Pegasus Knight at LV 10, while M!Byleth has to wait until LV 20 for Wyvern Rider because they thought bringing back gender restrictions for classes was a good idea (which no it wasn't).  Plus F!Byleth gets Sylvain out of house for free, whereas M!Byleth gets no one for free.  Those are also both dumb.

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In a 4-party RPG, it's a mix between 2 healers, A mage and a physical attack guy to being a generalist or two, plus the mage/healer and probably a thief.

 

FE usually revolves around divide and conquer, so it's nominally one of each in each team to just settling for a giant wall or something.

 

Come to think of it, why do RPGs revolves around a quartet, anyways?

Edited by Armchair General

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3 minutes ago, Armchair General said:

Come to think of it, why do RPGs revolves around a quartet, anyways?

Because forming a soild team of 3 is too easy by comparison.  All you'd need is an attacker, a tank, and a healer.  Having played both Bravely Default and Bravely Second (not 2), I could never decide on what to do with one of my 4 characters, as all-rounders suck in those games.

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I find, in multi-character party RPGs, specialists are best. In nearly every RPG I've played where a character is presented as an all rounder, it's always a case of 'jack of all trades, master of none'.

This same issue is actually present in recent FE games where the Str/Mag split is present. How often are hybrid physical/magical classes fairly shite, same for units that try to have a balance of str and mag? Often. Having a singular focus and specialty is generally best imo.

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Overall?  Specialists.

But in detail?  My main damage dealer will always be a specialist, main wall/blocker/general-defense-unit will usually be specialized, and support will be typically a generalist mix of healing & buffs/debuffs.

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It depends. One big factor for me is how often I'm expected/allowed to switch out my party composition. If all of my characters level up even when I'm not using them, then I'll probably rotate people in and out a lot to keep things fresh. Or there are games where that doesn't apply but that give you new units regularly, meaning there's going to be a lot of turnover. In either of these situations, I much prefer to have generalists. It's far easier to switch people in and out if I'm not having to match up the incoming and outgoing roles perfectly.

On the other hand, if I'm going to have a single party that stays the same over the course of the entire game, then it becomes much more tempting to train people up as specialists. It's usually going to be better to train one person as a dedicated healer and one as a dedicated damage dealer than to have two people who can do a little bit of both.

5 hours ago, Armchair General said:

Come to think of it, why do RPGs revolves around a quartet, anyways?

Because it's a nice balance between giving the player enough options to be interesting but not enough to be overwhelming or tedious, I'd assume.

5 hours ago, FailWood said:

M!Corrin loses to F!Corrin because the only way he can get all possible classes AND all possible units is to make his talent Oni Savage, then have him marry Midori for Apothecary.  F!Corrin has no such restrictions as she can get all the classes by A-Supporting all the women, and the only unit she could marry who would cost you a unit is Rahjat.  M!Corrin needs to marry a 2nd gen unit or a Corrinsexual in order to get everyone. To me, that's more dumb then the M!Kris nonsense because of how specific that is.

Why would you even want that, though? Is there some sort of weird build that I don't know that relies on having both Apothecary and Oni Savage skills? Or is it just one of those things that you theoretically can't do even though you'd never actually want or need to?

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That depends on the game. In general, I like my party to have everyone able to cover for each other's weaknesses... but there's trouble when the specialist is too specialized or the all-rounder is poor at everything. For example, I find it hard to get much use out of Mia in Path of Radiance, or Setsuna, Kaze and Niles in Fire Emblem Fates, all of whom fall under "extremely fast, but weak". Speed is the most important stat in Fire Emblem, but great speed alone does not a good unit make, as all these units demonstrate. Special mention to the Kaze on my Lunatic Birthright run, which embodies this to a T. He's level 14... with all of 8 strength (to put things into perspective, he has 7 base strength. This means he's only gotten 1 strength in 11 levels...). That's bad enough, but he also uses the weakest weapon type in the game. Normally, a weaker character can use a stronger weapon to help with damage output, but Fates does not make it that simple, because higher rank weapons have effects that discourage excessive use. For example, silvers have a crit evade penalty, and lower the user's offensive stats (Str/Mag depending on the weapon and Skill) by 2 after every combat that they enter where they attack with it. Some people swear by Niles being a great unit, but I have yet to see that, especially since his daughter Nina generally can do anything he can do and do it better (read: without only having two good stats, and everything else undermining those two good stats). There's also the aforementioned Subaki and Rinkah, who only have good defense, and thus are only good for tanking, and even that is dubious because of most of their other stats being poor, notably strength for both, speed for Subaki, and HP for Rinkah. The end result is that both cannot stay relevant past the earlygame, especially Subaki, who is obsoleted after his join chapter. Also, Orochi and Nyx; both are examples of how far mages have fallen from Awakening to Fates. They can both hit hard, to their credit, but the former can't double, like, ever, and the latter is essentially a magical stormtrooper. On the flipside, we have characters like Lorenz in 3 Houses, Odin in Fates (yet another Fates mage who sucks ass. Geez... it's almost like they responded to mages being broke in Awakening by nerfing them into the ground AND making most of the natural mages suck harder than Radiant Dawn mages...) and most notoriously, Roy in Binding Blade, who often struggle to pull their weight, especially relative to other, more specialized characters. Or for class examples, pretty much any class with physical weapons and tomes. Or the Warrior class in the DS games; its caps are those of a mighty glacier, but its base stats and growths lean more toward being a glass cannon. This means it winds up in the shadow of the other bow and axe using classes. Outside of FE, there's the Red Mage in the Final Fantasy franchise, especially in games with a job system (like 5, for example).

6 hours ago, FailWood said:

M!Corrin loses to F!Corrin because the only way he can get all possible classes AND all possible units is to make his talent Oni Savage, then have him marry Midori for Apothecary.  F!Corrin has no such restrictions as she can get all the classes by A-Supporting all the women, and the only unit she could marry who would cost you a unit is Rahjat.  M!Corrin needs to marry a 2nd gen unit or a Corrinsexual in order to get everyone. To me, that's more dumb then the M!Kris nonsense because of how specific that is.

I'ma be honest, I find the class point to be a rather petty one; it's not like he's missing out on much by not having access to Oni Savage.

6 hours ago, FailWood said:

M!Robin loses to F!Robin because he can't get Galeforce (Awakening's best skill), which is locked to a Female Class so he can never get it.

For what it's worth, being able to turn any child bar Lucina into a second Morgan is neat.

6 hours ago, FailWood said:

M!Byleth loses to F!Byleth because flyers are busted in Three Houses, and F!Byleth gets Pegasus Knight at LV 10, while M!Byleth has to wait until LV 20 for Wyvern Rider because they thought bringing back gender restrictions for classes was a good idea (which no it wasn't).  Plus F!Byleth gets Sylvain out of house for free, whereas M!Byleth gets no one for free.  Those are also both dumb.

I don't know about you, but I don't think the flying classes are good enough to warrant the copious amounts of faculty training you need to do to get there...

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1 hour ago, lenticular said:

Because it's a nice balance between giving the player enough options to be interesting but not enough to be overwhelming or tedious, I'd assume.

Tried it with Bravely Default. Turns out that I actually needed a second healer because the enemy will kill you just for breathing and I needed a mage for some reason. Can't really remember why, since both of the mage classes get pushed aside by the Hellblade job when you're after elemental damage.

Never got around with playing around with the Salvemaker because I was sweeping random encounters at the time...And I needed someone to either be attacking or healing.

 

Overall, it's game that could have done better with expanding the party, since there's really two generalists, a mage, and Gloria, who'd be better off healing the team instead of fighting. Idk, I never really cared much for it, anyways.

 

Code Name S.T.E.A.M. kind of worked out by bringing four guys (out of twelve). It just resulted in me camping a lot to thin the herd and giving two people the healing rifles. There are other characters whose main weapon isn't exactly a weapon; but out of all of them, the Samoan works well by scouting with his penguins and destroying cover while the lion is mandatory for collecting new upgrades.

 

XCOM 2 initially does this, but snipers are essentially useless unless you get better weapons and improve their mags.

 

But it would be nice to go beyond using a quartet, every now and then.

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8 hours ago, Armchair General said:

Come to think of it, why do RPGs revolves around a quartet, anyways?

Some RPGs justify it by associating each party member with something thematic. FFI and V for example used the crystals as justification; the four Warriors in I each hold one of the four crystals and Bartz, Lenna, Faris, and Krile in V are each associated with one of the elements specifically. Golden Sun and TLA justified it by making each of the four party members an Adept of a different alignment, which in turn is necessary to enter the four lighthouses also attuned to those elements. Other times, it's purely arbitrary, probably because people have come to assume RPGs will focus on a party of four, so four has become the "default" number of active party members, even if there are more than four total in the party.

But there are plenty of RPGS that break this rule. Three is a common number as well, seen in a good number of Square Enix RPGs including DQII, FF7, FF8, FF10, Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross, SMRPG, and Mega Man X: Command Mission. Five is less frequent, but shows up in Final Fantasy IV. Pokemon has a technical maximum party size of six, though functionally you're only playing one at a time except in double and triple battles.

In a lot of four-character ensembles, the role of Mage is divided into Offense and Support categories, allowing the team to maximize both magical and physical offense without sacrificing healing and other support. Thus, if Fighter/Mage/Thief is the classic trio of RPG archetypes, Fighter/Black Mage/White Mage/Thief (or Fighter/Mage/Cleric/Thief) is the classic quartet.

Edited by Lord_Brand

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13 hours ago, lenticular said:

Why would you even want that, though? Is there some sort of weird build that I don't know that relies on having both Apothecary and Oni Savage skills? Or is it just one of those things that you theoretically can't do even though you'd never actually want or need to?

There's no build that utilizes both of those class lines to my knowledge, though having skills like Lancebreaker and Death Blow be easily missable for M!Corrin hurts (moreso the latter).  And you technically CAN do this, but like I said: it requires picking both a specific talent and specific wife.

12 hours ago, Shadow Mir said:

it's not like he's missing out on much by not having access to Oni Savage.

Lancebreaker and Death Blow, because missing Oni Savage means you also miss Blacksmith and Oni Chieftain, as no other base class gives you either of these.

12 hours ago, Shadow Mir said:

I don't know about you, but I don't think the flying classes are good enough to warrant the copious amounts of faculty training you need to do to get there...

You only need C Lances and D Flying to get Pegasus Knight.  Getting her to D Flying before reaching LV 10 should be easy, though you might cut it close for Lances.  Falcon Knight being available at LV 30 should be more then enough time to get her Lance rank to A and Flying to B+.  C in Swords is a complete non-issue for F!Byleth.

Edited by FailWood

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I'm saying all-arounders but  I don't mean in literal terms.. I really just want everyone to be beefcakes. People might think it's ridiculous but I love boosting HP and defense on even my magic charathers in any game. Con/ViT > over everything else, in every game, every time.

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53 minutes ago, FailWood said:

Lancebreaker and Death Blow, because missing Oni Savage means you also miss Blacksmith and Oni Chieftain, as no other base class gives you either of these.

Which would be worth it if the Oni Savage class tree wasn't lousy, which it is (also, I'm not impressed by 20 extra crit once a turn). And again, this sounds incredibly petty, because why in the name of Anankos would I want access to every single class??? Also, this is ignoring that by the time Lancebreaker is relevant, the game is pretty much over.

1 hour ago, FailWood said:

You only need C Lances and D Flying to get Pegasus Knight.  Getting her to D Flying before reaching LV 10 should be easy, though you might cut it close for Lances.  Falcon Knight being available at LV 30 should be more then enough time to get her Lance rank to A and Flying to B+.  C in Swords is a complete non-issue for F!Byleth.

I'm not going to say too much more on this, but I hate the female Byleth's design with the fury of an angry Asura, and thus this is meaningless to me.

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5 minutes ago, Shadow Mir said:

I'm not going to say too much more on this, but I hate the female Byleth's design with the fury of an angry Asura, and thus this is meaningless to me.

I don't like her base design either, but I wouldn't go so far to say I hate it.  Her Enlightened One design one the other hand, is genuinely terrible.  ...We actually agreed on something, what madness is this?

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20 hours ago, Azz said:

I find, in multi-character party RPGs, specialists are best. In nearly every RPG I've played where a character is presented as an all rounder, it's always a case of 'jack of all trades, master of none'.

This same issue is actually present in recent FE games where the Str/Mag split is present. How often are hybrid physical/magical classes fairly shite, same for units that try to have a balance of str and mag? Often. Having a singular focus and specialty is generally best imo.

What is your opinion about the case where a specialist winds up too specialized to the point that they wind up being pretty much useless, then? 

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45 minutes ago, Shadow Mir said:

What is your opinion about the case where a specialist winds up too specialized to the point that they wind up being pretty much useless, then? 

Any unit who is so over-specialized that they end up only good in that tiny niche are really bad.... despite what my profile pic show, I personally avoid those types of units.

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