212 Distribute Experience In JRPGs

In post #127, I talked about how characters in JRPGs typically go forgotten eventually, if you favor using certain specific characters only.

It’s never fun to have to catch up your unused characters to your primary ones, on the off chance that later in the game you’ll want to use them again. This problem pervades RPGs; you see it in Pokemon as your favored pokemon quickly outlevel your Goldeens, or in Persona as your unused party members quickly fall behind, or in almost any Final Fantasy title that has a large cast of characters.

There are likely many solutions to this. The recent 3DS hit Bravely Default solved it simply; the main cast of playable characters never exceeds the maximum number (4) that can be used in battle. That’s a fairly limiting solution, however. Another solution (as mentioned in the past post above) is to design a system that allows for all your characters to be used in battle at once, in some way or another.

Maybe a system could be designed to allow higher level characters to grant, or even share/forfeit, some of their experience or abilities to lower leveled characters. Something (kind of) like this exists in World of Warcraft, allowing two people can link their accounts together, and occasionally one character is allowed to bestow an extra level onto the other. They also allow newer (or lazier?) players to start a character immediately at level 80, if they choose to only play the more recent expansions.

The system might be similar to a “Buy 5, Get 1 Free!” card at your local fro-yo shop. Maybe every third level, a character is allowed to grant a bonus level to any other character that is below them in level. Or maybe an item or ability exists in the game that allows a character to sacrifice a level up, and impart that knowledge and those bonuses to a different character.

Obviously the system would need to be carefully designed. You don’t want players getting lazy, or giving them free levels like Halloween candy. However, the point of the system is to create a more fun and balanced experience that avoids level grinding.

[ Today I Was Playing: Card Hunter and Persona 4: Golden and The Order: 1886 ]

July 31, 2015

#game-mechanic-system, #game-opinion