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Default Optimal Size of a RPG party

November 1st, 2013, 05:38
Originally Posted by Sacred_Path View Post
In Wiz8, formations got really interesting when you had 8 characters. Unfortunately, the game was by far more playable with a small group due to the insame amount of skill grinding (on Expert difficulty at least). So, nice idea, shoddy execution. But of course formations are an interesting thing - for SRPG's, when you're controlling a group of 10-20 units. Otherwise, formations tend to be a bit ridiculous and gamey. So your archer is hiding behind 1(!) paladin, but what stops the ogre from walking around him? Nothing except no AI. You can of course rectify this, but then you force players into hugging cliffsides and walking sideways like crabs. Perverse incentive right there. If mages hiding in the back are a common occurence, why doesn't everyone carry a ranged sidearm? Etc.

Bottom line is, formations are a weak argument for more characters in a CRPG.
Disagree heartily. For starters your whole argument is based off of 'What if this were real life and not a game at all? Then monsters could duck under the Paladin's sword and smash the Mage!' which is absurd. I should hope that strategy and tactical games (including RPGs which are squad based tactical simulator games) never become such a mess.

Could RPG artificial intelligence be better? Sure. SOME enemies should be smart enough to carry a sidearm or rifle to deal with guys behind the 'linemen', but that is not at all a strike against formations, especially in a first person party-based RPG. Likewise Wizardry 8's notoriously bad (re)spawning and level scaling are not knocks against formations. I can only imagine how sucky it would have been to deal with this with a 4 man party. Yeah you can make your early to mid-game life Hell by using less to get more experience and make your small party really powerful but to me that sounds really boring.

Edit: Also, I don't play games on 'Expert difficulty'. Turns games into work for me. I can beat games on high difficulty settings but I find them less enjoyable to say the least. The exceptions are games like Natuk that I have beaten so many times that playing on 500% difficulty (or 750% in P.O.W.S.) is nothing.

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