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Friday, March 18, 2016

Battle Gem Ponies Movesets (Light, Heavy, Status, and Special)

Exclusive move slots will make combo planning and class coverage more engaging.
No move will be definitively better than another in the same moveset section.
     Moves make up the core of the gameplay in Battle Gem Ponies. Having Light, Heavy, Status, and Special Attacks will promote strategic play. People will customize their movesets with the limitations of one strong move (with little GP), one weaker move (Enough GP to last whole match), a status move (affecting gameplay beyond just lowering enemy HP), and a special attack (wildcard moves that can't be learned naturally).

     I like the idea of having a moveset that makes players think more strategically than "hit with the strongest attacks rapidly". I'm sure a lot of people played Pokemon like I did as a kid, never bothering to use status moves and preferring a moveset of 4 hard-hitting attacks. This would lead to a lot more Goldeneye 64 style shootouts where both combatants are just standing around firing super-effective attacks at each other without thinking until the slower one dies. I want players thinking beyond "do a lot of damage right now" from the start.

     Using Pokemon as an example, with BGP's rules a typical Gyarados would have the following:

  • Light: Crunch
  • Heavy: Hydro Pump
  • Status: Rain Dance
  • Special: Flamethrower
     Crunch is the quick and simple attack that can be repeated multiple times as a default lash out towards the enemy which could be replaced with moves like Dragon Rage or Twister. Hydro Pump is the hard-hitting heavy attack with low accuracy and the smallest number of uses possible. In BGP's case another heavy move could be Hyper Beam. Spamming moves that powerful could really make a monster overpowered and able to sweep entire teams.

    Rain Dance acts as the status move that changes up strategies by buffing water attacks and setting up moves like Thunder for bonus effects. Flamethrower acts as the special move because it is an unexpected attack that it doesn't learn on its own and counters a weakness found when facing Grass types. Thunder and Earthquake would also be special moves, but would need very limited uses to compensate for their power.

     All of these parameters help set expectations going into battle. It deepens the guessing game founded by the rock, paper, scissors relationship at the battle system's core. When you're facing a new opposing team you're thinking about what item the trainer equipped, which 3 of the 6 ponies available will be used, how the pony classes will compliment each other, what each pony form will have as a status or special move, and what combo setups the overall team moveset will allow.

     This also works well with scaling because an early game Simber could know Quick Strike, Flamethrower, Taunt, and Ki Blast while a post-final boss Simber could know Flame Wing, Fire Blast, Evade, and Megaton Kick. It'll have you looking forward to leveling up so you can get a new Heavy attack or finally be allowed to teach your pony a Special move.

     Overall I think it's a nice touch to help flesh out the combat and differentiate it from Pokemon a bit more. This will also help me balance the moves more since I won't have to worry about Double Kick standing up against Superpower. I only have to worry about comparing moves within the same bracket. It fits well given that the focus of this game is making competitive turn-based RPG combat accessible. This is a helpful mechanic for getting players to think more strategically.

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