Making specialised parties viable in their own special way

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ShadowScythe
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Making specialised parties viable in their own special way

Post by ShadowScythe »

One thing I've noticed in RPGs where the player creates the full party is that there's typically a 'best' way to do it and it usually involves assigning specific roles to each party member. E.g one guy is the fighter, one guy is the diplomat/party spokesman, one guy is the sneaky thief, the scientist/toaster repairman etc. Or what's also likely is that each character is tagged with one combat skill but they all each have some supplementary skill so that all skills are covered by the party as a whole.

I don't mind it, but it often means that parties who are a bit more specialised tend to get screwed over, or the developer might design the game knowing that most people will have certain skills covered by a party member and won't worry if the player didn't cover that skill. I've personally found that it can mess a little bit with replayability because, while I might change a few minor things, I end up just going with the usual general archetypes in the character creator.

One idea i've been thinking about is giving bonuses and extra perks towards more specialised builds. For example, maybe some NPCs/enemies/allies can only be talked down when the full party is working together to persuade them and create a kind of greek chorus/peer pressure effect. Maybe some stealthy approaches are even better and provide better outcomes if there is more than one party member sneaking around with maybe one creating distractions while the other breaks into the room and steals the loot/intel. Or alternatively you can only sneak into one area in that quest so having multiple sneaky characters lets you send them into different areas concurrently and steal as much stuff as possible.

Should the idea of parties that are skewed towards certain builds be rewarded with extra bonuses when taking that approach compared to a more "jack of all trades" party be implemented?
Last edited by ShadowScythe on April 23rd, 2012, 3:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Woelrat
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Re: Making specialised parties just as viable

Post by Woelrat »

The title was a bit misleading to me and would get a big NO from me.
however after reading everything, this is my opinion:
A party most of the time is made up out of different classes or specialisations because they compliment each other so that they are ready for any situation.
A party specialised in one thing is ment to do just that, one thing.

I would love to see a few places only uptainble with deep specialisation it would make you go fetch a specific party in your outpost of some missions instead of just returning to it to replace one of your dead guys.
Should the idea of parties that are skewed towards certain builds be rewarded with extra bonuses when taking that approach compared to a more "jack of all trades" party be implemented?
NO, they should not get extra bonuses, they should get other bonuses
Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery
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ShadowScythe
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Re: Making specialised parties just as viable

Post by ShadowScythe »

A party most of the time is made up out of different classes or specialisations because they compliment each other so that they are ready for any situation.
A party specialised in one thing is ment to do just that, one thing.
Agreed, what I mean is, maybe a party specialised in this one thing does this one thing really well- certainly much better than a party that was more mixed.

Which leads me into:
NO, they should not get extra bonuses, they should get other bonuses
Yeah that's sorta what I meant, just poorly worded on my part. Naturally a gang of charismatic diplomats won't stand a chance in combat but maybe in a quest that requires lots of political manipulation and double talk they might have a different sort of edge compared to a gang with just one spokesperson.

So ok, this gang of diplomats aren't going to stand a chance in fighting off the rogue scorpitron plagueing the local settlement but I was thinking that maybe they could be just as viable in reaching the end of the 'main quest' since they have a different approach that a mixed build wouldn't be able to use.

In the same way that a Vault Dweller in Fallout specced specifically towards Science/Speech etc has a better chance of talking down the Master but would have no chance fighting him in combat compared to a character with moderate amount of each stat I just think maybe party builds could be more fun to mess around with and add to replayability if they had that kind of appeal in specialising them compared to having a more general and well complimented build.
laszlolaszlo
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Re: Making specialised parties just as viable

Post by laszlolaszlo »

The reason for having each ranger fulfill a specific role is to make sure the player can tackle most situations.
Although a group of four sharpshooters can defeat most foes, they simply can't succed in disarming a bomb, picking a lock or persuade an enemy.

What you're really talking about is synergy bonuses from teammates?
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ShadowScythe
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Re: Making specialised parties just as viable

Post by ShadowScythe »

I get the point of a team that's well suited for each type of skill.

What I'm saying is allow for a more specialised team to have a better chance at other things.

I'm talking about making a specialised party just as viable in finishing the main quest and many other quests because their overspecialisation provides them extra bonuses and allows them to solve quests in a certain way better than a 'mix of everything' party.

So maybe there's a main quest that requires you to disarm a bomb or you can talk down the guy who setup the bomb in the first place, and other stuff like that (kill him and take the code, sneak around and find the code etc etc). Your mix of everything party will disarm the bomb, but maybe talking down the guy requires at least two diplomats because he's not so easily swayed by just one charismatic guy talking big but when there's more than one he starts to feel more easily pressured.

So yeah a synergy bonus is one way of implementing this, and probably the easiest way to implement this, but just things like making certain quest paths require more than one party member have that particular set of skills would also do a lot for what I'm talking about.

I just think it'd add to the replayability and improve the amount of possible customisation when the player isn't limited to sticking to the same basic archetypes when created a party of characters.
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b0rsuk
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Re: Making specialised parties just as viable

Post by b0rsuk »

I don't think specialized parties should be just as viable. That would imply that tactical skills are interchangeable. I would frame it differently:

- don't require skill X to pass the game.

If you choose narrow-minded team, it should be harder but possible. No sniper rifle ? Must buy some smoke grenades, or attack the fortification at night. No First Aid ? You have to buy more medical supplies or your characters will take longer to recover. No Intelligence/Charisma ? You may have to kill some helpful NPCs because of a misunderstanding.
There should be multiple paths to victory, but not all of them need to be optimal. Don't try very hard to make every path just as viable. If player chooses a hard road, make it hard, but possible.
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ShadowScythe
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Re: Making specialised parties viable in their own special w

Post by ShadowScythe »

I changed the title since it seems to be a bit misleading.
I would frame it differently:

- don't require skill X to pass the game.
That's a good way of looking at it.

Looking at the rest of your post I agree with all of that. The thing is most people will setup a party that can cover all the skills anyway so it's not like they'll really have any difficulties anyway.

I guess another way of handling it would be to simply set it up so that it's impossible for a party to actually be specced out in all the major skills, either because they can't tag enough skills or there are too many important skills for them to tag.

That way there's still some level of customisation beyond basic archetypes that cover everything and there's enough skills there to make party creation more interesting to mess around with since there will be actual combinations to make.
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