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Author Topic: The "Defense" Command  (Read 3981 times)
Bernhardt
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« on: October 10, 2006, 07:23:29 PM »

Many RPGs have them: a "defense" command; usually, for the cost of one turn, you can cut a certain percentage of damage against your character, that is, if they get hit. But how useful is the "defense" command, really? In which RPGs have you found a "defense" command to be a completely unnecessary waste of a turn? In which RPGs have you found the "defense" command to be the difference between life and death? In which RPGs is a "defense" command not even available?

I just started - and finished - Atelier Iris ~ Eternal Mana only recently (20 hours over the course of three weeks). This is probably one of the very few RPGs in which I actually found the "defense" command to actually be useful, usually in the case of preventing uber damage to my characters from two turn attacks, especially in the case of boss characters such as Prism (the white, jeweled horse inside the Flawless Marvel/Marvelous Wonder/Wonderless Flaw), and Amalgam; these two bosses in particular had some very powerful two-turn attacks, but I found that using the defense command cut a very fair portion of damage out of their attacks. Sure, I could've been attacking instead, but I found that I was totally wasted by their moves when I left myself unguarded.

Now, in less strategic RPGs, oh say, Final Fantasy, I always found my turns best used on the offensive. In the Final Fantasy series, and many others, for that matter, I have never found strategic uses for the "defense" command.

How about you?
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TurnBasedDude
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« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2006, 07:44:16 PM »

To me, a good defense is a good offense so normally I just finish off my foes before fights drag on too long. In rare cases like in Legend Of Dragoon where you also heal some HP when you defend so that is neat.

To me, I use defense a lot more on Strategy-RPG's rather than regular turn based. It can be quite helpful in this case where an enemy is attacking you from far away and you can't hit back or a legion of enemies picking up on one unit (happened to me a lot in Super Robot Wars) so in strategy game, it is helpful though I still go kamikaze.
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« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2006, 07:49:41 PM »

I generally have little to no use for the defend option. However, I prefer it, or something similar, to be there: I hate being forced to act in an RPG each turn whether I want to or not, and wind up screwing things up for whatever reason because of this requirement. Very few RPGs have decided that defend is pointless enough to remove, yet not bother to replace it though. In fact, the worst case I think of for that is Riviera: Limited use items + No defense option = dumb. You got so many though that it generally wasn't a huge deal though.
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Dice
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« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2006, 08:25:57 PM »

I use it maybe 2% through the entire course of a game.  Its useful when used, but there are commonly better actions.  Games lately, however, seem to exhibit a use for them.  Active Time moded games make you wait less for your next turn, or you'll gain MP, or whatever...  Mostly the old-school games had defend as a last-choice option.
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« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2006, 08:29:44 PM »

Shin Megami Tensei series.  

If you don't get friendly with the defense command at opportune times in battles, it can be life or death.  

That series is one of the few series of RPGs I've played where a good defense is MORE important than an all-out offense.
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« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2006, 08:56:04 PM »

Rarely... Only in this kind of situation: Your group of 4 is wiped out, and there is only one standing. Usually he would resurrect a healer. But in the case both have low HP, and the boss is fairly powerful with some devastating attacks, I could keep using the defense option with one of them, while the other keeps healing them to the maximum. Then after both are completely healed - or almost - I resurrect another character, till I get the 4 of them back with high HP once again.
Back from a lost battle to a fully healed group. This did happen a few times, I am not making up a hypothetical situation. Now, considering most games are fairly easy nowadays, that ain't very useful - it wasn't in the past either.
There are the cases mentioned above as well, like games which heal a bit of your HP, MP etc.
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Rico
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« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2006, 10:19:43 PM »

Good in the Dragon Quest series, especially VIII before you get your monster team or your Timbrel to make better use of the turn.  Also, there's the cheating games like 7th Saga, where you get an attack boost the turn after you defend.
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« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2006, 10:30:50 PM »

The only times I've really taken advantage of defense is when monsters have a particularly nasty counterattack (no reason to hit for 3 damage with a mage when the monster is going to attack for 300, eh?) or a game gives you some sort of reason to defend (health restored or stronger attack the next turn, for example).
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Merkava
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« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2006, 10:42:12 PM »

Dragon Quest and Shin Megami Tensei are the only series where I used the defense option signifigantly. In fact, they were incredibly useful in those series.
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Sketch
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« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2006, 12:52:04 AM »

I usually only find myself using the defense command if the screen flashes something along the lines of 'The enemy is preparing for a special attack'. And if it's from brutal games like DDS and DQ, as mentioned, it's especially important.
But if a game doesn't present a proper challenge, and it's easier to defeat something rather than be defeated, the defense command doesn't really do much for me. At least it's there though, because it's definately an important option for any RPG, depending on what kind of predicament you find yourself in.
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« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2006, 01:44:36 AM »

I have played at least five console RPGs (off the top of my head) where the defense command was useful enough to be worth having in the game. In some games, such as strategy RPGs, the "defense" option may also allow you to recover some HP, MP, and move/ability points.

But generally, in a turn-based RPG, the defense command is useless. The only time "defend" is useful is if 1) you know the enemy will be attacking that character (if it's one-on-one it may help, or if you've used an ability that draws the target to you...) and 2) you know that defending is the difference between the survival and destruction of that character. It takes an extreme amount of know-how and strategy to properly execute a "defend" command...but it can certainly come in handy.

Recently, playing Xenosaga III, I found that KOS-MOS had a special ether ability that was basically a three-turn "super-defense" that she puts on herself. EXTREMELY useful at the end of the game. It basically cut all damage done to her to like 10%. It was definitely awesomeness in a can.

Ramza
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« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2006, 07:14:42 AM »

Personally, I think the way defense command is implemented in both games is what makes it virtually useless.  Why bother defending when you're still going to get hit for a good bit of damage?  Why not just attack, take slightly more damage and heal right up with huge heal spells.

If choosing 'defend' let a character upped a base % chance to parry or block an attack completely, at the cost of a turn, it could be more useful.

Or perhaps limit healing spells/items more so that strategically using defense would actually work into a battle strategy.

Hm... choose defend and take 2k dmg... or choose attack, get hit for 4k damage?  Ah well, I'll just attack... Boobs McGianttits my cleric, heals for 9,000 a pop and I only have 7,000 hp... I win!
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« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2006, 10:27:55 AM »

Xenosaga 3.

If you aren't blocking when an enemy ES hits Anima Awakening, you WILL lose someone.
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« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2006, 10:30:51 AM »

Quote from: "Gearhead"
Xenosaga 3.

If you aren't blocking when an enemy ES hits Anima Awakening, you WILL lose someone.


Only game I've really ever defended in in recent memory.
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Lovely
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« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2006, 03:41:42 PM »

Hmmm... If I recall correctly, I believe the "defend" command was pretty useful at times in Wild ARMS 4.

Besides lowering damage, defending is also the way many rpg's give you the option to skip a turn. So that's basically the reason pretty much all rpg's give the defend option. For various reasons, sometimes you just don't WANT to make a certain character attack.
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