The Challenges in Creating Movesets

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Well, this is unfortunate. I’m a bit late on this, but a recent version of Google Chrome has effectively disabled the Unity Web Player. Firefox won’t be far behind. There are ways around it, but it requires having the end user fiddle with a hidden setting I’m not sure people care to mess with for my sake. As a result, all links to Love♥Rank prototypes are down effective immediately. There’s no sense in me wasting space to keep them up if they won’t work.

But that makes for a very short post, so why don’t I discuss another subject since I’m here? Specifically, the subject of character movesets and how I came up with them. I haven’t covered that topic yet.

I’m not sure if I’ve touched on this before, but every character has a total of 8 moves (5 main, 1 ultimate, 2 support). I wanted to make that 13 per character, but that got out of control really fast and had the potential for a lot of useless moves (with 16 player characters, that would have been 208…). 8 gives enough to provide a variety for each character without being too stifling. Which is fine, but that presented another problem – I only had 8 moveslots per character.

The perfect analogy here would be to competitive Pokémon. There are some Pokémon that do just fine with 4 moves, being able to do everything necessary and sometimes even having to throw in filler for the remaining slot(s). There are some for whom you have to pick your fourth move carefully because it really affects teambuilding due to the resulting shift in what it can counter. And, finally, there are some that really, really hate not having a fifth moveslot.

Conception 2 Battle System

In this case, I had characters fall into every category. Also problematic was that I ended up with moves strictly superior to each other anyway and had entire stats and the like be worthless. I had to tackle things from a new direction and decided to implement some self-imposed rules onto things. I eventually decided on the following:

  • Every character has to use both offensive stats. Even if it’s not for damage calculation, use it for something else.

If I don’t do this, the stat not used would become pointless on the character. I couldn’t simply merge the two since some characters mix and match at will between physical and magical offense and because it wouldn’t make sense to use the same defensive stat for both.

Because of this rule, I have one magic-user make use of their physical offense stat to determine their attack range (it makes sense in context, I assure you). Since everyone uses their preferred offensive stat for their basic attack (one of a few things I did to avoid making the basic attack worthless), I couldn’t use that as a cop-out.

Hexyz Force Weapons

  • Between each party of 8, there should be at least one skill involving each element.

The way things are set up, while equipment can grant elements to a character’s attack, this only affects their basic attack, which isn’t nearly as strong as most skills. As such, I used this to make sure there was a moderately-powerful option for each element.

I also did this so that characters could potentially have one element in their skills and one on their weapon for more attack options, though the vast majority of offensive skills are neutral in terms of element.

  • At least one attack skill for everyone, thank you very much.

Healers have nothing to do if everyone’s topped off in health, for example. Another example: If a character’s job is to buff everyone, what do they do when every one of their buffs is in play, or when the entire rest of the team is down? Everyone needs to be able to do something in these situations, so I made it so.

That said, these couldn’t be randomly thrown in. All of them fit thematically with the characters and also further their strategies in some way, unless the character already has high offensive stats to use.

Pokemon Confusion

  • Each party needs a way to inflict every ailment via skills. Skills involving items don’t count.

It would be problematic for the design to create enemies weak to certain strategies and then not give the players full access to said strategies. Remember, I overhauled RPG ailments to make sure they were useful.

It would also be somewhat aggravating for a player to only ever see ailments used against them rather than for them. While you can make it so your basic attack inflicts ailments based on your weapon, making sure every party has some access to each and every ailment assures it’s available when the player wants them.

  • Every party member should be kept to their niche, but they should also heavily abuse said niche.

Practically every playable character has their own special mechanic, so their movesets make full use of this in order to make sure the mechanics are used to their fullest. For most of the characters, this effectively wrote their movesets for me, when coupled with their default stats.

This gave me good and varied moves for every character. Of course, this also caused a bit of a disparity in ultimate moves. For some, it was effectively a sixth main skill with more power and easy requirements. For some, it’s effectively a desperation mechanic. For others, it’s just some damage.

I made it so that each one would mesh well with each character’s movesets and mechanics, but it wasn’t always possible. For example, one character uses attacks that repeat on their own down the road. This isn’t something that would be practical on an ultimate move, so the character doesn’t do that there.

Atelier Meruru Screenshot 1

I hope this was at least a little insightful. Now to end off on another random fact about the playable cast. This one’s about one specific character.

The main user of magical offensive moves in the villainous playable party happens to be a mix between the three alchemists of Arland from the Atelier series. While I didn’t exactly hide the Atelier inspirations in the combat system, this was actually completely unintentional, especially since at least half of it is as a result of the writer, who’s never played an Atelier game. While I can’t explain the parallels to some of them without getting into spoiler territory, this has resulted in her visual design plans to be set to basing her off of those three, except with more obvious evilness due to the actual personality of the character (and no staff).

No, the character does not share their obsession with barrels. At least, not to my knowledge.