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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

July 19th, 2010, 15:43
I really cannot decide how many characters to allow max in the party and which is optimal for the gameplay.

4 is too few ( because there are several story characters so too few for your own ones + it is too few to really use all the tactical possibilities in the game )

Acctually I want to allow 8 characters but I am a bit worried that's too many.

that could leave me at the magic number of 6… but I still really want 8.

What do you guys think is the ultimate party size? and is 8 characters too big for an RPG, I only know of a few RPG's which allow such a big party……..

help out with lots of advice please!

Of course I am aware it also depends on the game, but people here probably read up quite a bit on the game already……
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July 19th, 2010, 15:50
Why don't you allow 2-8, and let the player decide? I prefer a smaller party or solo actually, while many prefer a large party. This way IMO you will cater to a larger group of players. Again only my opinion.
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July 19th, 2010, 15:57
I will allow fewer if the player wants to use fewer, but it is going to be darned hard in that case…….. but I still have to decide on a max… should it be 4, 6 , 8 or 10.. or unlimited

the reason to have a max is mostly technical + you have to consider the amount of characters when you create certain encounters etc.

Since it is a tactical RPG, having one Uber-char is not really going to make it that tactical…… on the other hand just like in wizardry 8 if you want to try… it should be possible. That said at certain points in the game, for example when you escort a character etc, you'll have to have them in your party.
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July 19th, 2010, 16:08
Are there actually games with 8 characters/party members out there ?

I just don't remember any …

Wich means you have 2 choices :

- stick to the traditional numbers of party members

- try something new (if there really isn't any game wth 8 out there, I really don't know)

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July 19th, 2010, 16:14
There are several which allow 8 or more, but I don't know of any western style RPG's which does. Disagaea ( japanese T-RPG for consoles ) for example…..

This game is a bit of a merge between japanese style T-RPG ( ussually strong on story ) with western style ( usually strong on freedom at least in the past… )
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July 19th, 2010, 16:44
Wizards and Warriors is the only western RPG I can think of with 8 characters in the party. Perhaps that explains why it was such a bugfest.

Traditionally, parties run between 4 and 6, as you know. Aside from control and balance issues, I think you have to look at skill coverage to lead you to an answer for your question. Think about Wiz8. It was impossible, without a practically useless party, to cover all the skills in the game, but a party of 6 could cover most of them. That meant that you could, with just a little attention, build a party that could be successful, but it would take a replay to "see it all in action". That's the balance you have to hit: enough characters so the player can cover all the important skills (healing, spells, locks-n-traps, melee, ranged, search-n-spot, conversational, etc) with a taste of some "flavor" skills, but not enough characters to cover every skill and "flavor" in the game.

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July 19th, 2010, 17:06
As long as there are 6 or more party-members I'm ok - with a smaller Party the tactical elements in the Games suffer IMO. Unlimited Party-Size sounds interesting, and splitted XP could balance it out somewhat; Equiqment and Provisions could help also. As long as it is possible to use fewer characters every one should be happy

Western RPGs with 8 Party-Members are i.e. Might and Magic III and the Gold Box Games form SSI (6 characters to create and two joinable characters). Bard's Tale and Realms of Arcania had 7 (BT 1 and ROA had 6 to create and one joinable).

Edit: Is there a way to get 8 Charas in Wizards & Warriors ? I only remember 6.

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July 19th, 2010, 18:09
Originally Posted by Fenris View Post
Edit: Is there a way to get 8 Charas in Wizards & Warriors ? I only remember 6.
I brought up a few screenies and it looks like my memory is crap. Coulda swore the game ran 8 chars, but it appears I was wrong. Sorry for the confusion.

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July 19th, 2010, 18:25
Ultima IV-VII.2 was 8 so I always thought it was 8. I was annoyed with Baldur's Gate only having six when I first played. However, when I played U5:Laz, I found that eight was a bit combersome in modern games. Now playing the IE games again, I really do think 6 is the ideal number. In U6P, I have six right now and may stay there.

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July 19th, 2010, 19:20
Originally Posted by dteowner View Post
That's the balance you have to hit: enough characters so the player can cover all the important skills (healing, spells, locks-n-traps, melee, ranged, search-n-spot, conversational, etc) with a taste of some "flavor" skills, but not enough characters to cover every skill and "flavor" in the game.
That brings me to a quiestion : How does it compare with modern playing styles ?

There is currently a playing style imho far too common that consists of

- tanks
- healers/supporters

In the official forums of Drakensang, I even found a few people playing even Drakensang 2 that way (Drakensang put much more role-play into it than Drakensang 1, which was more combat-oriented).

and that although everyone (at least in German) knows or should know that TDE is a rather role-playing orinted environment; not so much combat-oriented as I see (A)D&D.

And now, with this layout of party members, how would a party consisting of 8 be ? 4 tanks, 4 healers/supporters ?

Not that I'd like to play it this way, but this is simply a playing style that has been developed within the recent years.

Therefore, a thing like variety would be nice. There could be a variety of skills like there could be a variety of classes (like the traditional setup of rogues, magies, warriors, thieves etc.), perhaps even with things that for example only a thief would be able to solve, no mage, no warrior could do that.
On the other hand this could lead into frustration, too. Because not everyone would perhaps have a thief in the own party. Except when one is automatically joined by the system.

Therefore I'm pro to dte's suggestion. There could be "favour skills", but I think it would be nice if they did have an effect within the game, too. Like cooking, for example. Would be cheaper than having to buy everything.

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July 19th, 2010, 19:32
It is going to have a bigger variety than a normal western RPG, since as I said it is a bit of a mix with J-rpgs…. that's one of the things I love about final fantasy tactics and ogre tactics too. It takes some things to new levels, it has a lot of awesome classes which requires specilisation. Esepcially stuff like the geomancer and negotiator ( you can get people to join you in the middle of a fight ). I am acctually kind of bored of thief, warrior, monk , soccecerer, healer, all the classic stuffs, which so many RPG's have.. where is the innovation ?

It is going to lean more towards that, of course that will make it a bit boring for players who want to play only a few characters… but being a turn-based T-RPG it is not going to be optimized for that playing style.
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July 19th, 2010, 20:24
If the focus is on the tactical gameplay, then 8 is not too much, I think. Especially if there is really room for tactical variability. One thing to worry about then is to keep the amount of micromanagement to a reasonable degree. Inventory management for 8 characters could be a true horror - so either you limit the options there, or come up with some automation or a REALLY slick inventory management interface.
I hope the tactical focus also means that the game focuses more on thoroughly designed battles that really require tactics to "solve" them instead of a lot of random encounters where the odds are 90% in favor of the party? If there is a lot of filler combat I'd prefer a smaller party, to keep the encounters short enough to maintain interest. If we are talking larger, scripted tactical battles, I'd prefer a large party with lots of interesting options, which also gives some leeway for loosing characters - i.e. winning a battle with 6 out of 8 characters may be more feasible then with 2 out of 4.
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July 19th, 2010, 20:37
I think the biggest challange is with the outside of combat abilities…. how do you find many enough so that the 8 characters togheter cannot master all of them? Basically what I think I am going to do is for example hunting…. you have one character with hunting… ok so when the party rest you get some meat.. you have two.. well that's more meat…. you have a herbalist and an alchimist ok that's one potion… you have 2 herbalist and 2 alchimist… that's 2 potions.

You have an expert herbalist and an expert alchimist… well that's one powerful potion…..

I hate random encounters especially with 90% favor of the party… not going to happen.

About inventory acctually there are going to be:

The party group with characters….. and the backup group with the packmule, basically characters will not be able to carry so much, but they can pass things to the backup party with the packmule. This way if a character die in the main party you can also replace him with a character from the backup group. Of course there is nothing to guarantee that the evil enemies will not attemp to attack your backup group and steal your supplies
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July 19th, 2010, 20:48
One thing to consider is that the environment must support the largest party size. For example, even with Drakensang's small party, my characters were getting hung up in the environment because of the smallish places they would get stuck in when a game was loaded, not to mention the awkwardness of combat in close quarters.
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July 19th, 2010, 21:05
The use of Factions could create replayability; i.e. if you ally yourself with the Dark Elves to get Necromancers you won't get Forest Elf Druids or something like that.

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July 19th, 2010, 21:38
One thing to consider is that the environment must support the largest party size. For example, even with Drakensang's small party, my characters were getting hung up in the environment because of the smallish places they would get stuck in when a game was loaded, not to mention the awkwardness of combat in close quarters.
Yeah, I've been giving this a lot of thought…. but imagine you walk in a small corridor… you're going to have to think differently and your archer is not going to be much use….. I don't see it as much of a problem, at least not in a turn-based game….. where characters won't go nuts and run into and hit each other like crazy

One thing to consider is that the environment must support the largest party size. For example, even with Drakensang's small party, my characters were getting hung up in the environment because of the smallish places they would get stuck in when a game was loaded, not to mention the awkwardness of combat in close quarters.
The use of Factions could create replayability; i.e. if you ally yourself with the Dark Elves to get Necromancers you won't get Forest Elf Druids or something like that.
Yes, exactly…… acctually you'll not be able to create characters of all races in the beginning…. there are some races which are more powerful than others.. but you have to ally with them to get access to that kind of characters.
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July 19th, 2010, 21:53
Actually, I kind of hate factions, if they limit the character's choices too much, but … well, I'm not the developer.

Factions … that is to me like "you must play this role, after you've made your choice, and we kind of artificially limit your exploring and choice possibilities by this."

I hate it when I'm not allow to talk & trade with others once I'm forced to stick with one faction. And that I'm forced to play out the same hatred the faction traditionally has against another faction - against my own will.

It isn't easy to explain what I mean, and I must say that this is also mostly an emotional thing to me.

And also - it is a different thing if I play "myself", so to say, as the role, which means I'm more or less following my own beliefs and ethics, or if I play a role, which might not comply to what I *personally* believe in.

I don't know if anyone understands my gibberish …

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July 19th, 2010, 22:01
I think that the idea of replayability has many, very different meanings. For some people, it's going to be the thrill of the tactics (can I do better fighting a particular battle), for others, it's the opportunity to see new content in a familiar game (good path vs evil path as an example), or for some, it's just wanting to experience the same thing again.

I've played through the BG games 5 or 6 times in total. Each time, I set out to play a little different (even tried evil one time but it didn't work out), yet I end up making the same choices because I've emotionally invested myself in those choices the first time. In the end, I find that I don't want to experience something different, I want to experience the same thing again.

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July 19th, 2010, 22:01
I hate it when I'm not allow to talk & trade with others once I'm forced to stick with one faction.
Acctually I kind of agree… I didn't say you couldn't or that it was final…. but you are certainly not going to be able to please everyone…… I don't really like final choices. Like do you pledge to forever join this faction and immidielty take all their rules to your heart never to part again….. however if you burn down the wood elves forest in the name of another faction… I don't think you're going to get any wood elves in your party anytime soon

I know this game will be hell to program But I am not afraid of challanges! we already got quite some ways with some things!

I think that the idea of replayability has many, very different meanings. For some people, it's going to be the thrill of the tactics (can I do better fighting a particular battle), for others, it's the opportunity to see new content in a familiar game (good path vs evil path as an example), or for some, it's just wanting to experience the same thing again.
Haha, I am the same myself….. I keep saying to myself I will choose something new… but when I get the chance.. I choose the same again. Of course that might be the problem with the choices you get being too easy especially in BG it is ussually easy to tell which path is "evil" for example.
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July 19th, 2010, 22:01
Yep, makes perfect sense to me. Also, faction based railroading forces a replay if you want to experience all content. Bad for the busy completist…
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