Entry #18

RPG = Attack, Magic, Defend, Run away... herrr.... DEFEND????

2010-08-23 09:28:57 by Johnnybdesign

Hey Guys, Hey Girl,

(ahahah have you seen what I did there? I said Hey Girl. Singular form. Hilarious eh?)

I am working on a relatively complex RPG game, with side quests, interacting NPCs, kick ass monsters, etc.
and currently in the process of designing the battle mechanics.
Without thinking too much, I was just blatantly copying what's already out there.
Why re-invent the wheel, right?

Many games have this battle menu, which includes:
Run away

Obviously, "Defend" means that the player remains passive for his turn but gets a huge defensive bonus by doing so. But clearly, that doesn't make much sense, right? Because if you fight a weaker opponent, you should just crush it right away. If you are facing a stronger enemy that deals more damage than you do, why would you lose a turn defending anyway? You'll have to damage him at one time or another and standing still does not help. At the very least, give it your best shot and heal as soon as you need...

So am I missing something there?
Is the Defend option really useful?

Can you please provide me with some guidance, all of you wise newgrounders?

Any other advice from all RPG fans? Anything that is not "Defend" related but that you want to share or that you want in my RPG?

(pic of the game included. work in progress)

RPG = Attack, Magic, Defend, Run away... herrr.... DEFEND????


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2010-08-23 09:33:51

I dont know

Johnnybdesign responds:

Me neither :/


2010-08-23 10:02:46

Defend does have strategic value depending on how it is used. Your right in believing that doing nothing but defending is pointless, but when enemies have hard hitting attacks defend can save your life. In most RPGs enemies will announce their super attacks the previous round either by wasting the round "gathering power" or doing some weak attack that ment to foreshadow it.

If you want to incorporate a defend command, by all means do so. It is your game after all. If you want people to use it though the I would suggest that you follow the above tactic. You don't have to make it obvious in your boss fights, just make it so that people who pay attention to the fight will benefit from using defend.

Also with defend you have to make it worth using, but don't make it so that the characters are completely invincible while defending. Its a bit of a balancing act. The increase in physical and magical defense in most games is between 1.5x to double its normal value when using the defend command. This is usually enough to save your hide with super attacks but lets the player know when they are in over their heads when they have to defend constantly to stay alive.

Johnnybdesign responds:

Yes, I totally agree with you.
A visual cue before a super attack is one way to implement the defend option. However, it raises many questions. Is it really worth it? It must be kept for those super important fights (bosses, etc.). But again, if the character's survival depends on it, it must be kinda obvious... Does defending to prevent a super attack becomes a lost of time if it is obvious?

I couldn't have said it better: "you have to make it worth using" and so far, I failed to see a way to make it worth. Regularjoe has suggested two ways that could make it worth in his post (point 4 and 5). Good food for thought.


2010-08-23 10:02:46

Times when defending is useful:

The opponent is charging a huge attack that could potentially one hit kill you. Defending allows you to survive. Example: Epic Battle Fantasy 2

One of your party members suddenly stops being useful, like if your mage runs out of mana. They can still use items, but having them attack does not deal very much damage. Defending gives them more time to recharge. Example: Many RPGs

Defending does not take a full turn. Therefore, when a player uses defend they really just want to change the order that their characters take their turns. For example, if a monster can counter-attack your fighter's moves, you may want to heal the fighter before he attacks. Example: Gladius

Plot related battles involving moral decisions. Suppose your party gets attacked by a runaway child. You can easily beat him into submission to return him home. However, if the player has the foresight to weather the child's blows, they may get an extra reward for bringing the kid back safe and sound. Example: Mother 3

Defending sometimes does more than just increase defense. You can have the defend lead to a counterattack. You can have the defend absorb some of the attack into mana. You can have the defense boost last for a few turns afterwards. You can have one party member's defend boost the defense of all party members. Example: Charles Barkley Shut Up and Jam Gaiden

Johnnybdesign responds:

Thanks for the reply Regularjoe, you raised valid points and it really shows your knowledge of RPG games!

I like point 1 (prevent a huge attack after getting a visual cue) and really overlooked point 4 (moral decision), which is brilliant!!! Point 5 is also really clever and this is probably the way I would go if ever I implement the defend option.

I get from your message that defending must be rewarding, otherwise it indeed loses of its usefulness.


2010-08-23 11:13:14

A good game to look at is Legend of Dragoon, the bosses would show an ultimate attack coming your way by doing just what Lostcauz said they do gather energy, or "target" you something like that, so you would want to defend that round to save your life. Also you heal in that game when you defend, so if you were fighting something weaker you could totally just kill everything off except that one and heal everyone to full health if you had the time and patience.

Johnnybdesign responds:

Indeed, the visual cue before an ultimate attack is a good way to justify the "defend" option. But I am not sure that it really improves gameplay... imo it just delays the inevitable ;)


2010-08-23 11:23:50

I only ever use defend in an RPG when it heals the player by a small amount.

Johnnybdesign responds:

Yeah... but if that healing is smaller than the damage you can inflict or the damage the enemy is dealing you, you are losing in the end... that's one reason why I am questioning the usefulness of Defend :/


2010-08-23 11:41:16

Having the enemies have a super attack that charges up and makes you defend is just a tedious waste of a turn. I rarely ever use defend in RPGs unless I'm forced to like in situations like that, but sometimes I'll use it if I don't want someone to do something that turn for whatever reason, or if I have a weaker healer character who doesn't have anyone to heal that round. Anyway, there's no reason not to put in Defend.

Johnnybdesign responds:

That is my thought as well. Even dodging the super attack can become a waste of time if it is obvious. However, I am really glad that I have asked this publicly because Regularjoe as found a few ways to make it interesting. Still, it remains to be seen if it deserves the time and energy to work on a "defend" option because the examples that he gives would rarely happen over the course of a campaign...

Also, I should have specified that my game is about a 'single-character' not a 'party'. So there is no weak Healer hiding behind a front row of enforcers :)


2010-08-23 12:18:26

I think defense is bad but since its your game instead of defend you should make it DO NOTHING.

No just kidding if you seriously do want to do something like that then go ahead :D

(Updated ) Johnnybdesign responds:

Yeah... I thought of a menu like this:


2010-08-23 13:56:11

I would also use defend if I want to spare my mana for an attack that is on cooldown or costs to much mana for me to use now. Of course, this would only work if I can regenerate mana by using defend.

Johnnybdesign responds:

I see two other conditions for this to be useful: 1) the enemy has to be weak otherwise he will kill you while you recharge & 2) you must recharge quite rapidly.


2010-08-23 14:03:04

I agree with the other peeps here.
If a boss or enemy triggers a super attack (1hit kill for sure if you DO NOT defend)
then defending can be pretty usefull and it gives the game more depth and makes the bosses harder.

Johnnybdesign responds:

If a game designer implements a "One hit kills you super attack", then he must implement the "defend" option to give you a way to sustain the heavy damage... but once you know the trick, doesn't becomes boring? I mean, it becomes a waste of a turn.... because you just say "ah well! Here comes the super attack again..." and you just go in your turtle shell before going back to hack'n slash. So really, could it be seen as a mere delay in the game?


2010-08-23 14:25:39

defend is for quickly skipping a useless character's turn while you let your other stronger characters attack to finish the battles faster

(Updated ) Johnnybdesign responds:

Then, defend is useless in single-character game! :)


2010-08-23 15:09:05

Apart from the many excellent points raised by Regularjoe, defend has value as a tanking trait. As in defend automatically drawing aggro from the enemy, if someone is unfamiliar with the concept of tanking. But yeah, it loses all that value in a singleplayer type of game.

As for the defending a super heavy blow; I would find that, even knowing the trick, that can add tension to a fight as long as its done right. If theres no danger at all that the boss will get his attack off before you defend, i.e if theres a completely rigid turn structuring system like chess, then of course maybe it can be more annoying than fun. Im not saying it always is, but I see your point there. If theres a chance he breaks you if you slack though, theres a whole different psychology. You go "OH SHIT HES DOING LASER TAIL MISSILE I GOTTA DEFEND" and then after youve defended you go phew. See what I mean?

Johnnybdesign responds:

Yup. I agree, it adds tension and the battle feels less like "hit, hit, hit, heal & repeat". It forces the player to get involved.


2010-08-23 16:49:52

"defend" just mitigates physical attacks, I assume? Doesn't sound too helpful against those spell-happy fuckers that a lot of RPGs seem to have.

Johnnybdesign responds:



2010-08-23 18:55:03

i got one idea for the defend
you could use a guy to tank but then again that just leaves us to more questions like How are oyu donna do they'll attack the tank? and sht like that....... im confused

Johnnybdesign responds:

My game is "single-character". No tank.


2010-08-23 21:04:58

Actually defend could be useful in many ways its just you need to reinvent it. Defend would spend a turn preparing for an attack but it would also boost defense for several more turns as well and gradually go down back to normal. This way if your fighting 2 enemies with high attack but weak defense you can get into a defense stance that prepares for their attacks.

Johnnybdesign responds:

True... But it becomes a gamble if you don't know the attack/defense values of your opponents.


2010-08-24 00:06:04

How about something that increases both attack and defense?

Johnnybdesign responds:

Yup. That may be useful it you need that attack bonus to hit.


2010-08-24 00:08:34

unless the game has skills or attacks that take time to recharge, DONT do the defend option
good luck with your game ;)

Johnnybdesign responds:

Thanks Ojiva. I really need you "good luck" wishes because it is an ambitious task!


2010-08-24 01:32:27

if you give that much a damn just make "defend" into a counter-attack, instead of taking half damage, make the character take half damage and then counter-attack, but make it half damage than normal or it will become abuse prone.

Johnnybdesign responds:

In that case, Defend would be useless. Because you would just split one complete round of attacks into two rounds. (because each makes 50% damage). The outcome remains identical.


2010-08-24 03:15:18

I suppose if it's something like FF7, you could make a character completely devoted towards defense, make him constantly defend, and put mastered cover materia on him so he covers the other players. It'd make him a pretty sick tank, but your group's damage would go down a bit (and I'm sure aoes would still rape your party).

Johnnybdesign responds:

My game is single-character... because I am a lazy bastard.


2010-08-24 06:48:10

EBF3 IS OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YEAAAAAAHHH!!!1111one!!

Johnnybdesign responds:

Matt really do love swords.


2010-08-24 07:54:32

The game mechanics could be such that you set your party up like most MMORPG's with a character who focuses on defensive capabilities, like dodge, block stamina. (i.e. the "tank"). Defend could offer the defensive buff but it also would give a chance to take a hit for some other character that has little defense. In this way your tank character would defend most of the time assuming you'll fight monsters that hit hard enough to justify specializing a character in that way.

Also I've seen defend used as a way of gaining "combo points" more quickly for special abilities. If I remember right, this is how the game "Epos" here on NG utilizes blocking.

Johnnybdesign responds:

No tank. My game is single-character.... because I am anti-social :)


2010-08-24 08:28:17

Let's imagine a combat situation :

You're a team of 3, one healer, one ranger and one fighter. Attacking a golden beetle (the first thing that came into my mind)
The fighter has 350 hp, the healer has 225 and the ranger 265. The ranger is the slowest of all (Dunno why, but it's necessary for my example, let's say (s)he has a broken leg), and attacks AFTER the beetle. The beetle, being though, deals around 50~100 damage per attack, thus can kill a character quite quickly if nothing is done. Moreover it attacks fairly quickly, so it can deliver two blows per turn (not necessarily on the same target) once in a while.

The ranger gets hit by a critical strike, and has 40 hp left. The healer also gets attacked and has 165 hp left (I know it's a quite deadly critical strike, but hey, it's a goddamn GOLDEN BEETLE !!1).
Now, if the ranger doesn't defend itself, it can cause either one of the characters to die, either both.
=> Ranger healed, critical again (lulz, unlucky) & another critical on the healer (thus very unlikely, but it CAN happen)
The fighter goes fighting alone, and he get eviscerated. Yey !

The ranger defends : (S)he gets healed, AND doesn't die immediately from an upcoming critical ('cuz dmg /2, /3, or /0 ), allowing the healer to heal him(her)self on the next turn, even if a critical strike on the healer is still likely to appear.

Mhh...I think I should not try to create a RPG, golden beetles, critical strikes who almost cut a character in half, and slow rangers. ~_~

Johnnybdesign responds:

ahahah nice post!

OMG me too, a golden beetle is always the first thing that come into mind.... when I am high on dope :)


2010-08-24 11:11:50

It's useful if an enemy is going to unleash a multi turn attack that would normally kill you (see Epic Battle Fantasy and Zombie Goku's Spirit Bomb).


2010-10-15 18:55:57

To put it simply, whenever I play hardcore RPG's defend is an option to block a heavy attack as if the opponent is charging up for a heavy attack. As it would be "smart" to be on defend rather than hack n slash an opponent that you know that your not gonna be able to knock out before he splashes that huge beam on you. Hope this helps ;)


2010-10-21 11:34:50

This game is gonna be awesome ;]


2010-10-29 22:59:00

But... what happened to your greenskin legions game? O_o


2010-11-09 12:22:53

Whens agent scarecrow 3 coming out, or have you scraped it?


2010-11-16 15:28:29

Guys dont get your hopes up, with this game, he said he was gonna do an agent scarecrow 3... 3 years ago


2011-02-25 17:35:44

i want to play the game on the picture


2011-09-07 09:53:37

ughh...a RPG game?
Doestn really sounds like you,I mean...you usually make interactive mystery/puzzle games,and that`s really a turnout u know...


2011-10-17 10:52:54

"Why re-invent the wheel, right?"

Ah.. because the wheel... ah.. sucks???? :P

No seriously though. It's not a bad idea to follow a design most fan of the genre are familiar with, but make sure its stays fun.

Instead of the Defend option, you can have a Special option. That Special option defers from one character to another (if you are playing with a party of characters). So you can have "Defend" as one character's Special, while "Dodge" for another, and "Counter" for the next, and so on. Check the FF series, they like to use that a lot.

Looking forward to the game man. Good luck :)


2016-08-12 00:19:01

In a game I'm working on defend gives the player a second health bar that regenerates and gives them a buff depending on what shield they have equipped.


2016-09-26 13:42:46

Ever heard of 7th Saga/Elnard? It gives an offensive bonus following a "defend" round.

Otherwise, there's not really much use defending.