Healing in RPGs:

Total posts: [23]
1 PsychoFreaX20th May 2011 05:21:09 AM from Transcended Humanity
Hey has anyone ever noticed how cheap healing is in Role-Playing Games in general? Sure a lot of bosses have attacks that damages most of the characters HP in one go. But the player then just thinks, whatever I'll just heal everyone back to perfect health with a little MP the next turn. Not to mention they stock up with fifty potions. Meaning the boss's only chance is to keep trying the same thing until they're lucky enough to get a little more damage than last time for instant KO.

In my opinion this is a flaw and I'm surprised to see this in so many RP Gs out there. Including some of the actually better ones like Dragon Age and especially Final Fantasy 13 where M Ps don't exist and one full ATB bar of cure can max out anyone's health. So do any of you people know any RPG where healing isn't so cheap?

edited 20th May '11 5:29:48 AM by PsychoFreaX

2 Usht20th May 2011 05:37:28 AM from an arbitrary view point.
Lv. 3 Genasi Wizard
Actually healing is the only thing keeping the party from being totally obliterated due to the balance in many of the games. See, many RP Gs seem to prefer that your team be a group of low HP individuals, meaning you need healing to prolong the battle, resulting in necessary management of the healer's MP, perhaps even splitting the role between several individuals if needed, knowing when to heal and when to preserve said supplies, and constantly keeping you on the edge because all that is keeping you alive is that next cast.

Shin Megami Tensei and Etrian Odyssey, people, they know how to be tense.

edited 20th May '11 5:38:04 AM by Usht

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3 PsychoFreaX20th May 2011 05:43:44 AM from Transcended Humanity
Then as I said, the case of surviving a boss's attack becomes more of a Luck-Based Mission.

Party Character's on 9000 HP each

Boss uses Ao E with 8982 damage

Cleric heals everyone back to 9000

Boss uses same Ao E but now vary to 8995 damage

Cleric heals everyone back to 9000

Boss uses same Ao E but now vary to 8992 damage

Cleric heals everyone back to 9000

Boss uses same Ao E but this time the player just happened to be unlucky and it does 9001 damage and party dies.

See what I mean?

edited 20th May '11 5:46:46 AM by PsychoFreaX

I'm an Irene!
FFXIII actually made the game too easy when it played for you anyway.(plus, how long does it take before you can open up your options?)

But there's lots of games that balance it out anyway. Golden Sun have very powerful enemies, the bosses(except in the third game, where they're the only challenge) are fairly tough, and this is actually needed when you can play as only one character. Like in Lagoon and Quest 64. The former is balanced by the fact that you have to use an item, or sit around and wait. The latter, by the time you get the regular healing... gives you 4 HP out of your max 50.(at first)

So I don't think it's as broken in most games as you think it is.

edited 20th May '11 5:58:46 AM by Hydronix

5 Noelemahc20th May 2011 05:47:13 AM from Moscow, Russia , Relationship Status: Gay for Big Boss
If you go for realism, the way Jagged Alliance did it is probably the best. All injuries must be tended to with appropriate equipment, a skilled medic and a truckload of time to heal. The fact that you can stop the bleeding and bandage the wounds does not automagically mean you are 100% healthy again =)
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6 Kinkajou20th May 2011 05:57:42 AM from you're not your
One Man Army
FFV - where you don't need to heal 90% of the time; the remaining 10% is where a Total Party Kill can happen.
"Wait, it's IV. Of course they are. They'd make IV for Dreamcast." - Enlong, on yet another FFIV remake
7 PsychoFreaX20th May 2011 06:00:03 AM from Transcended Humanity
And of course along with no cheap healing, I'd like no unstoppable killing attacks too. Almost unstoppable killing attacks are cool though.
Ai: 5 is great because it averts a lot of the more annoying conventions of the series. I love how the bosses are Glass Cannons instead of damage sponges. They either go down too fast to bother with healing (as it is an action that could be used to attack), or deal too much damage to heal in one shot.

edited 20th May '11 6:37:34 AM by deuxhero

9 Kinkajou20th May 2011 06:18:00 AM from you're not your
One Man Army
@deux: Considering that player damage output only dramatically increases at the end, it makes bosses more fun.
"Wait, it's IV. Of course they are. They'd make IV for Dreamcast." - Enlong, on yet another FFIV remake
pirate girl
[up] Also, a surprising numbewr of bosses have status weaknesses that can be explotd. And then we get to the game breaker that is Mix...
Getting the damage stupidly high early on is not hard (barehanded, like 2 and Tactics, in the early game overcompensates for the lack of weapons).

edited 20th May '11 10:29:32 AM by deuxhero

12 Alichains20th May 2011 10:25:04 AM from Street of Dreams , Relationship Status: Sinking with my ship
Try Breath of Fire Dragon Quarter. While you can buy healing items,no one in your party has healing spells and conservation is important.
13 dmboogie20th May 2011 11:24:12 AM from Snow Country, USA , Relationship Status: Maxing my social links
While Xcom isn't exactly an RPG...

Healing has limited usefulness. Most of the time, if you get hit, you're dead anyway, it is useful for healing those pesky fatal wounds, so at least the unlucky trooper doesn't die in a couple of turns.

Even then, wounded soldiers have to spend a few days recovering.
"The world ends with you. If you want to enjoy life, expand your world. You gotta push your horizons out as far as they'll go."
Jonah Falcon
KOTOR - you can heal, but it's not going to save you from being whacked if you don't play correctly. Ditto other RP Gs like Dragon Age, etc. Ditto MM Os like World of Warcraft.

Most games that have an issue with RP Gs and healing are JRP Gs.
Jonah Falcon
15 Alichains20th May 2011 11:55:14 AM from Street of Dreams , Relationship Status: Sinking with my ship
I think he's thinking of something more akin to survival horror where healing is rare, not it takes five seconds for one of your 50 potions to work that you see in WRP Gs.

edited 20th May '11 11:56:01 AM by Alichains

16 Ratix20th May 2011 12:58:59 PM from Someplace, Maryland
I think even rarer than limited healing is healing which only can take place outside of combat; think patching someone up with a medkit and injecting them with pain killers versus an instant heal spell.
17 del_diablo20th May 2011 02:45:06 PM from Somewher in mid Norway
Den harde nordmann
I can name 1 WRPG where healing is not cheap.
Fallout 1 & 2. At the least until you get enough cash to start stacking medpacks and have the appropiate skills. In Fallout 3 however, healing is extremely cheap. Half of early game it to avoid getting into death fights before you have some large edge.
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Left Eye
[up][up]I've heard that The Witcher 2 only allows healing out of combat.

edited 20th May '11 2:58:37 PM by JotunofBoredom

19 CaissasDeathAngel20th May 2011 05:04:41 PM from Dumfries, SW Scotland , Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
House Lewis: Sanity is Relative
Seconding Golden Sun as a good example of non-cheap healing, at least early on. The only effective healing in difficult areas is full party - attacks that warrant healing are either instant kill or close to it of a party member, or else hit multiple members. And the multi-healing spells require good organisation of Djinn. More than that - they require 4 set Djinn on a person, meaning for the first third or so of each game you simply do not have them.

One of the things that made the third game ridiculously easy was that you got your party-healing spell right at the start, and it wasn't Djinn-reliant so you could freely spam it all the goddamn time.

Healing can be cheap in Western RP Gs where resting is easily abusable. Divine Divinity allowing you to carry small portable beds with you once you've got your strength up enough meant this was very cheap. Baldur'sGate likewise had a similar Game-Breaker, because you can rest up to full health instantly as long as you're outwith a city and not around monsters. This even meant you could get around That One Boss in the last game (Draconus) if you were skilled enough to successfully hide from all his summoned beasts - get him into Dragon-form, hide and heal, and restart the fight with him at half health and you at full!
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"save you from being whacked if you don't play correctly"


Were you talking about a no armor self imposed challenge?

You're completely serious?

Oh dear...

Seriously, you need turn the difficulty up, deliberately do nothing and stand naked in front of the enemies to stand a reasonable chance of defeat in Kot OR. Most battles on easy and normal can be won via auto piloting the special attack/offensive force power of your choice (not like you can do anything else in battle...) with hard requiring "buff beforehand" and "patience of a jackass" as you wait for the 40th Sith grunt to have his massive HP bar slowly deplete.

edited 20th May '11 6:09:32 PM by deuxhero

Three words: Health/Damage Asymmetry.

That said, it's very easy for healing to be excessively cheap, take Fallout, for example. If you're got stimpacks, and you've got 4 AP (or less, with certain perks) you can pop open your inventory, wolf down as many stimpacks as you want, and instantly go from single to triple-digit health. That's why healing items need to have fixed time constraints, and inventories need to have per-item access penalties.

^ Depends on how completionist you were. I basically plowed through every single quest in the game, so I ended up rather over-levelled by the finale. If you rushed without grinding much, you could end up a lot harder off.


edited 20th May '11 9:24:12 PM by EricDVH

No it doesn't. You flat out don't have any options except "spam leveled form of attack" and "buff'. You could waste a grenade of a health pack, but it isn't worth bothering with.

edited 20th May '11 8:38:09 PM by deuxhero

23 DoKnowButchie21st May 2011 04:49:01 AM from San Juan, Puerto Rico.
You know, while play balance issues like that exist, they haven't been the rule, at least among the games I play—usually bosses have various methods to prevent healing spam like that, such as a limited pool of MP, attacks that disable characters in some manner (paralysis, "mute"), one-kill attacks, faster speed/multiple attacks per turn, etc. Sure, they're not insurmountable, but as a person who favors not grinding or making things more challenging for myself, I've found that most RPG bosses manage to have an appropriate balance, at least on the first playthrough.

That said, one game (possibly series) which definitively requires putting some thought into one's healing is SaGa 2, a.k.a. Final Fantasy Legend II. Not only can you not use healing items in battle unless you equip them in a character's very limited personal inventory, the fact that 99% of items and spells have a limited amount of uses (30 for the "Cure" spellbook, which heals one character, and 15 for the Healing Staff, which heals your entire party, and both of which heal depending on both the healer and healee's magic stat). Espers and certain monsters can recover magic at inns and certain points, put these spells are generally less powerful than spellbooks. Also, for most of the game you can't ressurect characters during battle. All, this, combined with the game's other play quirks, make the game generally punishing, particularly in the end game, and especially the remake, which can have monsters gang up on you in ways that make, for example, for fights were' your party is outnumbered five to one.
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Total posts: 23