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RPGWatch Forums » Games » Indie RPG » Tactica: Maiden of Faith » Optimal Size of a RPG party

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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November 1st, 2013, 11:19
Originally Posted by SkeleTony View Post
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.
No, I'm not talking from a simulationist POV. I'm talking about games where you can bait monsters with certain characters although they have the room to navigate to get at your less protected members who possibly deal them more damage. It goes against the logic of the game for the sake of validating formations. Bad choice IMO.

You can skip this problem but then things get like they were in Wiz8. That game is basically a cliff hugging simulator. The single best choice for standing ground is usually tucked away in some niche where only one enemy can get at you at a time.

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November 1st, 2013, 20:00
Originally Posted by Sacred_Path View Post
No, I'm not talking from a simulationist POV. I'm talking about games where you can bait monsters with certain characters although they have the room to navigate to get at your less protected members who possibly deal them more damage. It goes against the logic of the game for the sake of validating formations. Bad choice IMO.

You can skip this problem but then things get like they were in Wiz8. That game is basically a cliff hugging simulator. The single best choice for standing ground is usually tucked away in some niche where only one enemy can get at you at a time.
Well…again, this is not a contention against formations or full sized parties for that matter. This is a contention with CRPG's AI and such. Does not really have anything to do with the discussion we are having. W8's AI was going to be what it was with or without formations (in fact the formations feature probably helped with AI development).

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November 2nd, 2013, 01:20
Originally Posted by SkeleTony View Post
Well…again, this is not a contention against formations or full sized parties for that matter. This is a contention with CRPG's AI and such. Does not really have anything to do with the discussion we are having. W8's AI was going to be what it was with or without formations (in fact the formations feature probably helped with AI development).
Yes the topic is formations. Take the formations out of Wiz8 in favor of a style à la Might & Magic or even old JRPG's, and you wouldn't have lost much. What you would have lost is the silly way of moving about in Wiz8's monster infested areas. Formations are a nice idea but then again not (due to the few characters you control). What I'd at least like to see, if there are formations, is a more dynamic way of using them. Say, changing your formation several times over the course of one combat. In the CRPG's I've played this was never necessary. In the IE games you know what kind of positions the enemy occupies (either through metagame knowledge or scouting) and you can take up an effective formation and stick with it for pretty much the entire combat. In Wiz8 my formation often only changed like once per region if at all (it had more to do with finding a formation that goes well with your party setup).

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November 4th, 2013, 09:13
Originally Posted by Sacred_Path View Post
Yes the topic is formations. Take the formations out of Wiz8 in favor of a style à la Might & Magic or even old JRPG's, and you wouldn't have lost much. What you would have lost is the silly way of moving about in Wiz8's monster infested areas. Formations are a nice idea but then again not (due to the few characters you control). What I'd at least like to see, if there are formations, is a more dynamic way of using them. Say, changing your formation several times over the course of one combat. In the CRPG's I've played this was never necessary. In the IE games you know what kind of positions the enemy occupies (either through metagame knowledge or scouting) and you can take up an effective formation and stick with it for pretty much the entire combat. In Wiz8 my formation often only changed like once per region if at all (it had more to do with finding a formation that goes well with your party setup).
Disagree with pretty much everything you said here but it does not look like we are going to agree on this no matter what. Some of what you wrote I can't make out at all ("due to the the FEW characters you control…", in Wizardry 8?).
How would changing formations several times per battle add anything to the game? How could the game not lose a lot by switching to a JRPG system?!

Anyway I have said my piece and barring any new arguments/evidence I will stick with it.

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November 4th, 2013, 09:43
Well, in the tactica discussion the formation thing is kind of useless since it'll not be FPS, each character can walk and position anywhere… in this case even with 2 characters there can be a lot of strategy.
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November 4th, 2013, 11:18
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
Well, in the tactica discussion the formation thing is kind of useless since it'll not be FPS, each character can walk and position anywhere… in this case even with 2 characters there can be a lot of strategy.
Yeah, sorry about going a bit off topic there.

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