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Author Topic: Should Random Battles Be Done Away With?  (Read 8488 times)
Sise-Neg
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« on: May 01, 2011, 09:51:35 PM »

Note: (I was going to put this in 'The Helper Monkey' originally but that seemed to be for more tech related issues. If this is in the wrong section, I apologize)

Anyway,

Nowadays more RPGs are experimenting with ways of encountering enemies other than triggering a random battle. Do you think random battles should be done away with entirely in RPGs or is the random battle system the best method?

To me, sure random battles can be frustrating, especially when you want to move forward to the next area and don't feel like fighting anything, but then what would you think is a better alternative? I'm not a fan of playing games that feel like an offline MMORPG (like FF12's battle system) and prefer systems like in FF7, FFX, LoL, Xenogears, etc. But how would a developer be able to implement a more traditional menu-based battle system without having the random battles?

One thing I would like to see is to have enemies that appear in front of you as any NPC would that move around on the map, and if you feel like battling you can run up to them and press 'X' to start the battle mode which would utilize the same menu-driven combat like in most RPGs, and then after the battle is over some new enemies would respawn on the map that you can run up to and activate the battle mode with.
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Lazlowe1984
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« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2011, 09:53:10 PM »

No.
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Ashton
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« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2011, 09:56:59 PM »

Yes.
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Der Jermeister
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« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2011, 09:58:13 PM »

I hold EarthBound to be the gold standard of non-random battles, where enemies charge you if your levels are low and run away if your levels are high, and you can score instant victories against them if you're powerful enough without having to fight them.

So yes, I believe random encounters can be pretty much phased out.
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Commander Jubby Shepard
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« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2011, 09:58:42 PM »

Depends on the game. I love that in Persona 3, Radiant Historia, and Xenogears you can see your enemies before engaging and decide to fight them or not, but in games like Strange Journey or Persona, I find that random battles are so much better. It really depends on the game. It can be frustrating either way.

I do kind of prefer seeing enemies in anything but first-person dungeon crawlers though....
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« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2011, 10:06:31 PM »

Possibly; after all, in order to beat the Bosses, you need to be at high enough levels to beat them, and thus, you have to fight anyway. On the other hand, this also means you could just run by all enemies, thinking you don't have to fight, and then get creamed by the boss, whereas random battles force you to fight, thus potentially re-insuring that you're at a good level to beat the bosses.

Although, this does bring up another question; Should Levels be Done Away With, as well? Is it possible that, one day, we could do away with both Random Battles and Levels -- both random, possibly un-concise elements -- in favor of more ordered, streamlined systems? Or am I just randomly musing?
« Last Edit: May 01, 2011, 10:09:14 PM by badsanta » Logged
Eusis
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« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2011, 10:08:40 PM »

Note: (I was going to put this in 'The Helper Monkey' originally but that seemed to be for more tech related issues. If this is in the wrong section, I apologize)

You put it in the right place, Helper Monkey's for people trying to find solutions or advice, not for discussing the value of gameplay design decisions. Except maybe if you're a developer, but even then I think it'd be better here given how different in nature it is from, say, a busted computer.

Short answer: No. Long answer: I think damn near every design choice has its place, if used well. There's extremes like unskippable cutscenes that rarely have a valid reason, but otherwise I can usually think of at least a few games where some design choice or feature is relevant or even essential. Etrian Odyssey for example I can't really see working as well without random encounters, you'd either have to fundamentally redesign the game and thus make it something that ISN'T an homage to older RPGs like Wizardry, or you'd have unavoidable enemies in hallways which can be less merciful/controllable than normal random encounters. At the same time that also illustrates how you can address the issues people have with random encounters, as you get abilities to lower them (or even remove very weak ones entirely if I recall correctly), and there's an indicator showing how much closer you are to an encounter happening and thus reminding you to prepare or give you an idea of, say, how safe you are before you grab the nearby treasure and teleport out to recover. That, and it has the FOEs, visible enemies that are very tough and are a puzzle to get around, it wouldn't work out as well if that was the case for every enemy you could fight.
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kyuusei
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« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2011, 10:28:08 PM »

I don't really understand all the opposition to random battles as of late. Maybe it's because to me they've always been there since the first second RPG I ever picked up. Sure, it's nice to see your enemies onscreen but when you have no idea when you'll be attacked next, or by what, you always have to be prepared, stay healed, stocked up on items, etc.

Then again, I like permanent deaths and breakable items, so I'm probably just masochistic.

Depending on the game, they may not be the 'best' battle system but they just don't bother me.
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Sise-Neg
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« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2011, 10:39:22 PM »

Note: (I was going to put this in 'The Helper Monkey' originally but that seemed to be for more tech related issues. If this is in the wrong section, I apologize)

You put it in the right place, Helper Monkey's for people trying to find solutions or advice, not for discussing the value of gameplay design decisions. Except maybe if you're a developer, but even then I think it'd be better here given how different in nature it is from, say, a busted computer.

Short answer: No. Long answer: I think damn near every design choice has its place, if used well. There's extremes like unskippable cutscenes that rarely have a valid reason, but otherwise I can usually think of at least a few games where some design choice or feature is relevant or even essential. Etrian Odyssey for example I can't really see working as well without random encounters, you'd either have to fundamentally redesign the game and thus make it something that ISN'T an homage to older RPGs like Wizardry, or you'd have unavoidable enemies in hallways which can be less merciful/controllable than normal random encounters. At the same time that also illustrates how you can address the issues people have with random encounters, as you get abilities to lower them (or even remove very weak ones entirely if I recall correctly), and there's an indicator showing how much closer you are to an encounter happening and thus reminding you to prepare or give you an idea of, say, how safe you are before you grab the nearby treasure and teleport out to recover. That, and it has the FOEs, visible enemies that are very tough and are a puzzle to get around, it wouldn't work out as well if that was the case for every enemy you could fight.

Thanks for letting me know.

What do you feel about the chance factor in escaping from random battles? Do you think that has a point or would it be better if the escape rate for choosing to run away was 100% instead of sometimes getting a message that says ( ____'s team cannot escape) ?
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« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2011, 10:47:20 PM »

Dependent on the game and what it wants to do. It'd be awful for a game like EO to guarantee escape because then there'd be less suspense in dungeon crawling, but it's good for something like FFXIII that's trying for a more approachable design and/or wants to focus more on figuring out how to get past each battle rather than whether or not you should survive it.
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« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2011, 11:21:59 PM »

I like it in games like FFXII (one of the 2 things in the game I liked actually) and Infinite Undiscovery where you can have your weapons drawn and prowl for monsters, or put them away for quicker traveling speed. Nothing wrong with a random fight mind you, just I really thought the method used in both of those AWFUL games was pretty cool.
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« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2011, 11:51:49 PM »

I'm of two minds about this, while I actually don't mind random battles as long as they're not constant and overwhelming to the point that they interfere with exploring the various areas and disturb the ebb and flow of the game I do like the fact that with non-random battles I can decide when to fight and when to spend more time exploring and questing.
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« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2011, 11:53:53 PM »

It's worth remembering that visible encounters can be screwed up too. Make them too hard to avoid, thus pointless to implement, or they do something like Mystic Quest and never move around.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2011, 01:48:53 AM by Eusis » Logged
FlamingR1ft
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« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2011, 12:30:23 AM »

Yes.
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McMarbles
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« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2011, 01:39:27 AM »

I can't say I'd be sad to see them go.
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