Greetings, ladies and gentlemen!
We are going to have ourselves a bit of a game design discussion. I’ll be continuing from last Friday’s post and discuss a little bit more about the game I am slowly creating with RPG Maker. While this post won’t be featuring any pretty map images, mostly because I have yet to progress any further in that department, I want to discuss another area of gameplay that I find to be incredibly important, especially for the RPG genre. Today, I will discussing character parameters (otherwise known as character stats), their default function, and how I plan to use them for my current project.
Now, I haven’t had the opportunity to play any games that were created using RPG Maker, so I am not familiar with how other RM creators use character stats, but I would assume that most people new to RPG Maker simply use the default six that exist (do correct me if I am wrong). I will state that I have tried to devise ways to make the default stats work in previous game concepts, but there is always something that prevents me from doing so. While I do have some ideas of what my issues with the default stats might be, I’ll go into them after explaining what the default stats are.
Parameter Stat Overview
The following are brief descriptions of the original six stats that ship with the most recent versions of RPG Maker. The description of their functionality is based on my understanding of how they work.
Attack and Magic Attack
The Attack and Magic Attack stats both increase the damage done by a character. Attack typically affects the damage of the normal Attack command, and physical-based special abilities used by Warrior and Thief characters. Magic Attack affects the damage of magic-based special abilities often used by Wizard and Cleric characters. Magic-based healing abilities can also be affected by a character’s Magic Attack stat.
Defense and Magic Defense
The Defense and Magic Defense stats both reduce the damage a character receives when attacked. Defense protects characters from physical damage, and, if the name didn’t give it away, Magical Defense protects characters from magical damage.
Agility and Luck
The Agility and Luck stats provide minor benefits to characters in combat. Agility improves the likelihood that a character will attack, or perform an action, before other participants of the combat. Luck improves the likelihood of applying states to enemies, including effects like Stun, Poison, and Blind.
Parameter Stat Redesign
The following is the list of stats that I plan to use in my RM project. I will go into greater detail with these, explaining their functionality, and how they might differ from the default stats.
Power increases the strength of all attacks and abilities.
I have combined Attack and Magic Attack from the original set of stats and created a single, universal stat. I didn’t like the idea that there were two stats that served the same function. So, my intention for combining the two Attack stats was to reduce monotony and make room for more interesting stats. All characters benefit from Power equally, and I have essentially eliminated a duplicate stat. All characters have their Power increased by some degree as levels are earned, and Weapons naturally provide additional Power when equipped.
Defense reduces the amount of damage characters receive when attacked.
Defense was created using the very same logic that brought about Power. I combined Defense and Magic Defense from the original set of stats, created a single, universal defense stat, and made room for another interesting stat by eliminating an unnecessary duplicate stat. All characters have their Defense increased by some degree as levels are earned, and equipped Armor provides additional Defense. There are three armor types, each providing more Defense the “heavier” the type: light, medium, and heavy.
Prowess improves the effectiveness of an area of expertise unique to the character or class.
Prowess is a different kind of stat that I wanted to bring into my project for some unique build possibilities. The italicized description above may be a tad vague, but think of Prowess as functioning similarly to Mastery from World of Warcraft, except Prowess isn’t intended to be a mandatory stat. Each character will have an area of expertise they excel at (healing or DoTs, for instance), and Prowess allows players to strengthen a character in that area. The priority on Prowess will depend on what abilities a character has access to, because not all abilities will benefit from Prowess.
Ferocity increases the bonus gained from landing a critical hit.
Ferocity is another one of those more interesting stats that I was wanting to add to my project. While Power has a more immediate effect on a character’s damage output, Ferocity’s effectiveness is dependent on how much access a character has to critical hits. If a character has access to abilities with innately higher critical hit chances (which requires some work to actually achieve in RPG Maker), then putting priority on Ferocity is a good idea.
Speed increases the likelihood a character will act before other combatants, and affects an enemy’s chance to hit (avoidance).
In essence, Speed is a renamed Agility with an added defensive mechanic. For characters with incredibly low Defense stats, I wanted there to be another feature that could be relied upon. Characters with high Speed scores are a little harder to hit while also being able to attack sooner. Additionally, equipped Armor naturally provides Speed, and “heavier” armor types provide less due to the increased Defense.
Focus increases a character’s base chance to land a critical hit, increases the likelihood of applying negative states to enemies, and affects the character’s chance to land attacks (accuracy).
My issue with the default Luck stat is that it didn’t do anything obvious, overly beneficial, or provide a bonus that would make players want to boost their Luck. Focus is the amped up version of Luck. It still retains the bonus to applying negative states, but affects the base critical hit chance, and natural ability to hit with attacks. Now, the accuracy component (chance to hit) of Focus directly counters the avoidance (chance for enemy to miss) of Speed, and this internal mechanic has some interesting effects on critical hit chance when a character has a high Focus. Focus is a good stat for the critical hit happy characters, or those characters that focus (tee hee) on using crowd control effects.
These are the ideas that I currently have set for my project. I have gone through several versions of this, but some stat effects I’ve come up with don’t work well for all characters. The key goal for the stat redesign is to create a collection of stats that all characters/classes can effectively use and make a priority. This also directly relates to itemization because I can create items that can be used by more than one character (until players start reaching the character/class specific items), and stay within the 999 item limit.
While Prowess is flexible enough to give me the option to create unique stat priorities for characters, I feel like it runs the risk of becoming mandatory like WoW’s Mastery stat. I have to be careful with the different bonuses provided by Prowess so that it only becomes necessary with certain ability compositions. For instance, the “Healer” character doesn’t have to be built for healing. However, if the bulk of that character’s ability composition is focused on healing, building Prowess would be pretty important. This is just one example, and I am still deciding on what other effects Prowess could have.
What do you think of my direction with the stats so far? Do you use the default stats? Do you try to customize them to suit your needs? Join the discussion below.
I created a Facebook page, be sure to click the like button in the sidebar, or you can head straight to the page.
If you have any questions for me, or have some ideas for topics you’d like me to cover, you can leave a comment below or head over to my shiny semi-new-ish Contact page.
Thanks for reading to the end. I hope you’ll be back for the next one.
War Fist out.