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Scrappy Mechanic / Role-Playing Games

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  • Any JRPG where you have the option of attempting to escape from battle, but it has a chance of failure, wasting the action you used to attempt it. The only times you're going to attempt to escape are when you can't be bothered fighting the battle because it's not worth your time (in which case, failure only manages to waste more of your time), or when you're in very serious danger of losing if you don't get out now (in which case, failing only punishes you more because not only are you still stuck in the battle, you just wasted an action accomplishing jack-squat and are now even closer to getting wiped out). In both cases, the possibility of failing to escape is frustrating at best, game-ruining at worst, with no upside. It seems the only reason games do this is other games do this, though some games mitigate this by having consumable items, spells, or special skills that serve as a guaranteed means of escaping battle.
  • Diablo III
    • Many people dislike the fact that only ten auctions per account are allowed on the gold auction house — if you have alts or play AT ALL you will quickly exceed that limit, and combined with limited on character and joint character inventory it can be a pain. As a result, most gear you find is turned into Vendor Trash because it will take up too much space. That gear sells for so little, and giving it to the blacksmith to turn into items for him is pointless as most blacksmith items are terrible.
    • The Real-money auction house also gets a lot of grief, since it lets players substitute real-world money for competence at actually playing the game.
    • Prior to patch 1.0.8, the Guide Dang It! nature of the Auction House: Since only adjustments to base stats were listed, you needed either pencil & paper or a third-party site to figure out whether the item you were considering would actually be an improvement.
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    • Enrage timers were near-universally loathed by the fanbase. Ostensibly put in to discourage farming of elite mobs and bosses in higher difficulties, it makes killing said mobs and bosses impossible for under-geared players playing solo, as once the said timer activates, it's almost a guaranteed death. Fortunately, they were eliminated in a patch.
    • Blizzard's announcement that the game was online-only, even for single player, did not go over well.
  • In the obscure GBC Action RPG Metal Walker, for maximum combat efficiency, you bounce your Walker off walls to make angled shots. In the final dungeon, however, the walls are electrified and damage you if you connect with them.
  • Unlimited Saga based its entire gameplay around the "Reel System," essentially a slot machine you can rig. It's harder to rig than you might think, and sometimes you don't even get a "good" option. What's particularly awful is that luck is applied to Character Customization, and it's possible for bad luck to make your stats go down at level up.
  • Shadow Hearts: From the New World:
    • The Stock system. While this puts artificial limitations on how often you can combo, it's not all that bad, and the Double option (take two moves in one turn) can expediate combat. No, what makes it a Scrappy is that both sides have it. Combat strategies often fly out the window because every time an enemy gets a Stock, it will Double and KO one of your party members. Since you gain Stock by taking damage, if you Combo and don't KO them, you'll eat a Double on the next turn. Instead of strategizing, you're forced to watch their Stock bar like a hawk and aim Hard Hits or Hard-Hit-magic at them whenever it gets close to full. And Hard Hits cost you Stock as well. End result: the only time it's smart to Combo is in the Pit Fights.
    • Hilde's "Calories" system, the same game. In the last game, whether Joachim was himself, Golden Bat (Glass Cannon), Invisible (high Magic Defense) or Grand Papillion (superhero) depended on how many fights you were in. There were ways to manipulate this, so all it took was good timing. In From The New World, whether Hilde is Slim (magic-oriented), Curvy (physical-oriented), or Peach Bat (Glass Cannon) depends on her Calories, gained by absorbing them from enemies. The problem is that turning her from one form to another takes forever, since you need ten Calories of a given type to be in a specific form (Negative for Slim, Positive for Curvy), and the absorption attack works only once on a given enemy. And odds are good Hilde will get killed a lot while she's in the Peach Bat form. Forget her Masked forms - you need 100 Calories of a given type for that, which you can't really reach without expending rare, irreplaceable items or spending hours draining enemies. And all three forms have unique attacks, so you have to keep switching her.
  • Dragon Age: Origins: Cutscenes overriding player's actions. Let's say your cloacked rogue is stalking through the enemy fortress, scouting for the team, and serving as the pointer for your mages who are safely tucked far behind. Then they trigger the cutscene (even something completely inconsequential), and suddenly your entire team is dragged in, stealth is off, a dozen enemies spawn all around you, and you're screwed.
  • Dragon Age II:
    • On the PC version, the default right-mouse button opens doors and orients the camera. This often results in the player's camera view slowly shifting up or down unless the player themselves takes steps to correct it every so often. Considering how many doors have to be opened in the game, it's a given that you'll end up fixing this many times over the course of the story.
    • The crafting resource sidequest from the original release, especially in regards to the "Supplier" achievement. Resource veins are hidden throughout the gameworld and the sidequests. If you miss a single one (due to it being in an area you can't revisit), you're out of luck for the achievement and can screw yourself out of powerful potions and poisons without realizing it. Perhaps as a nod to this, the Black Emporium (from the Signature Edition version of the game) allows you to purchase any resources you might have missed.
    • The stealth section from the Mark of the Assassin DLC. There is no penalty for failure, and getting caught jarringly throws you back to a safe spot a short distance away instead of giving you a Non Standard Game Over. Not only that, but if you get caught by a guard who sees you from a distance, you stay frozen in place for several seconds while the guard walks up to you. You also get a blackjack weapon that isn't used anywhere else in the game and is pitifully weak (knocking out a guard for just a few seconds instead of permanently).
    • The Companion Armor was this for many. Instead of being able to equip your party with various armors, they instead just have one piece of armor that cannot use anything else but that, and also (except for a few occasions in the game) never changes. It improves every time they level up to compensate for the fact that they cannot equip anything else. You can equip them with boots and gloves, but they still never change the outfit cosmetically. On top of that, the companion armor can be upgraded by finding certain items throughout the world, sometimes bought in stores and sometimes found in dungeons. The kicker is that the ones bought in stores can only be bought during certain acts, and some of the dungeons they are found in cannot be revisited. This combined with the fact that the game never tells you about the upgrades, means that it is extremely easy for them to be missed.
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition:
    • The way consumables have been retooled is not particularly well received.
      • The developers have stated that they wanted to do away with Health Potions for most part because they were reactive rather than proactive, thus the inclusion of mechanics like guard and barrier. However, not only does this lead to situations where all mages are required to learn barrier and everyone else needs to have a guard bringing skill, players would still find themselves needing health potions which are in short supply.
      • You might think that looking for resources in II was bad. But, if you found them, you pretty much had an infinite supply of bombs and other stuff (though there are crafting costs, you're pretty much swimming in dosh. In Inquisition, you need to individually harvest everything if you want to craft bombs. This is compounded with the fact that harvesting takes around two seconds every time. If you want to craft, say, the Jar of Bees for each of your companions, you'd need to spend half a minute just harvesting the Blood Lotus you need (not counting the time it takes to actually find them). You could spend hours just looking for crafting materials.
  • Monster Hunter:
    • In the games, every time you use some type of recovery item, such as food rations or potions (and anything except a Power Pill or Armor Pill), your character stops to do a vigorous flex which takes about an extra two seconds, even if you're battling a monster. During this time, you can't move, and you can't dodge. First-time players will have a hellish time picking out the right moment to use items, if such an opportunity even presents itself. Although you can use the Cooking armor skill to make this animation go by hilariously fast (along with the much longer animation for eating cooked meat or fish), there are many situations where you'll need a different armor skill to make things easier.
    • The camera system in the early games can get really annoying, especially if you're a ranged hunter. Even if you aren't, you use the L button to snap the camera to wherever you're facing, and then the directional pad to manually scroll around in 360 degrees. Trying to find a small and fast monster? You risk a potentially strong hit with the D-pad, or have to squint to find it by camera-snapping. Later games alleviate this by using the secondary shoulder buttons to spin the camera around, but if you are plaing the Nintendo 3DS version of 3 Ultimate, you need a Circle Pad Pro attachment so you can use the ZL and ZR buttons or the second Circle Pad to control the camera; otherwise you're stuck with the physical D-pad or the very cumbersome touchscreen D-pad.
    • The games treat training missions like normal quests. This means that every time you get beaten, it's going through 3-4 screens detailing your non-present loss of money, non-present loss of guild points, non-present quest reward, then "Would you like to save"? another loading screen and then back to the main training screen, to finally choose that training mission again, another loading screen and damn, we're finally back to try again! Sure, it's optional, and Monster Hunter is notoriously Nintendo Hard, but would it be so bad to just give the option to try the fight right again, if you're already raging for having been beaten one or two strikes before finally taking that monster down?
    • Training school quests. Side effects may include Pulling out your hair, or a broken PSP. The reason? If you die, you fail the mission. Beating one training of each monsters unlocks the Fatalis missions for 100% Completion. God help if you're playing the Unite version where you face G-rank Monsters for the G-rank Fatalis missions...
    • Tri introduces underwater combat, and it's very annoying. It's not because of the Oxygen Meter—there's frequent sources of air and the meter depletes very slowly. Rather, the water is fairly difficult to see in, and you have the maneuverability of a stone while the monsters you're fighting can swim circles around you. Fighting near the surface proves to be a pain in the ass because if you have to look down, the camera will move above the surface of the water, which will block out your vision. Fortunately, 4 takes underwater fighting back out.
    • The portable games up to 4 lack an online multiplayer component. The idea is that instead of connecting to the Internet, you instead meet up physically with other players to play. In Japan, the series is a blockbuster hit, so finding local players isn't a huge problem. But in many other countries, finding players is very difficult due to the series being less popular, forcing a lot of players to take on the HR-based quests solo. This makes Damage Sponge Bosses a pain at best and nightmarish at worst due to the time limit.
    • Area boundaries. Touching one immediately sends you to the next area, but enemy monsters don't follow this rule and will only change areas when they feel like it. This means you could be trying to reach a monster only to end up in the next area instead. Ranged hunters need to be very careful when finishing off monsters near a boundary; if the monster is slain beyond the boundary, you can't carve it!
  • Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer:
    • The Spirit Eater curse. Of course, playing properly (with proper alignment), it's easy to keep the bar full with only limited need to eat soul, and lowest hunger. If you choose to be a villain with it however, your cravings will rapidly exceed the available supply of spirits. You can remedy this using Satiate, which often involves waiting 15-30 minutes REAL-TIME before you're allowed to use it. Before patches, the Spirit Eater abilities shifted you either towards Lawful Good or Chaotic Evil, bad news for Chaotic Good, Lawful Evil, or True Neutral characters.
  • In many d20 and Dungeons & Dragons adaptations, player characters are often only permitted to open chests by forcing them or picking the lock, both all-or-nothing approaches that can take ages for a hard lock and a malevolent Random Number God. Some D&D games avoid this with the Knock spell, an arcane spellcaster's lockpick.
  • In the Dragon Quest series, you can accidentally use up a turn by mistakenly selecting an item that has no use on the battlefield. This is especially bad in a boss fight. It actually takes a turn for the computer to tell you some smart-alec response.
  • In Wizardry: Tale of the Forsaken Land the magic leveling system certainly qualifies. You make spells via some combination of two or three monster materials, which randomly drop from appropriate enemies (Thief's Blood from various level Thieves, for example). Fair enough. You can also access a special merchant halfway through the game. Sell him at least one of any material, leave the dungeon, and every time you come back you can buy an infinite quantity of that item. Here's the problem. You need to go to town to fuse materials into spell stones. You need to go to the dungeon to find or buy the materials. It is not unusual for spells to have several dozen levels before they're maxed out with each level barely improving anything individually. You can hold, at most, 60 items at a time and more likely about half that number. Run through halls past weak enemies to shop, Transfer Potion to town, repeat with frequent breaks to get more Transfer Potions.
  • Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song has a mechanic where events in game move on based on how many battles you fight (with them moving faster when you defeat stronger enemies). Sounds like an interesting idea in theory, except when you consider the painfully short window of opportunity between events, the fact that its hard to avoid encounters, the game punishes you for running, and many event bosses are far too powerful for you to handle with any sort of ease, easily wiping out your entire party. Also in one character's story this mechanic can make you miss the boat, trapping you on the island you start on, until a good three fourths through the game. At that which point the town on the island becomes infested with monsters, and the only real way to progress this is to beat a bunch of dinosaurs that will often and easily wipe you out. Not fun at all.
  • The farming in Rune Factory Frontier isn't that different from most Harvest Moon games, and the dungeoneering aspect of the game is fun as well. The Scrappy Mechanic of the game is managing Runeys, cute little nature spirits that determine whether your land will be prosperous or in ruins. Balancing their ecology requires hours of monotony, and ignoring them pretty much guarantees that your crops will take twice as long to grow.
  • Baldur's Gate:
    • An old-school one: forcing an immediate Game Over whenever the Player Character is petrified or imprisoned. You can have a dozen stone-to-flesh scrolls and could undo it in a heartbeat, but noooo, it's Game Over just 'cause <CHARNAME>, and only they, got turned into a statue. In game terms, they're not even dead!
    • Almost as frustrating is when Jaheira is petrified/imprisoned and decides that the best course of action is to run all the way back to the Harper stronghold even if you've already done that quest. And this may very well screw up a Jaheira romance.
    • ANY RPG game where the game ends if the main character bites it, but the party has the means to make you un-bite it. This goes for Baldur's Gate, as well as Persona 3 and 4, as mentioned above. In-game story or plot justifications for this mechanic does little to alleviate the frustration it can invoke upon players.
    • You must gather your party before venturing forth. You must gather your party before venturing forth. You must- You must- You must gather your party before venturing forth.
    • In the first installment, you need to heal everyone before going to sleep, because resting recuperate very little HP. This can be frustrating when you have many injured in your party, since you'll have to remanage your healers' memorized spells and pay multiple times for a room at the inn. This was fixed in the sequel where the (enabled by default) options to automatically use healing spells on rest and automatically rest until everyone in the party was fully healed.
  • "Forced Evasion" in Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier. Given the ridiculous possibility of combo lengths reaching into hundreds of hits, thereby giving enemies little chance of attacking the party, the developers had to give enemies some form of help in the form of this mechanic. If an enemy (only of certain types, but primarily bosses and their flunkies, although most endgame Mooks seem to be able to do it as well) hits the ground after being juggled in the middle of a Combo, there's a chance the attack instantly ends (hence Forced Evasion), with any remaining hits automatically "clunking" for zero damage; it's also possible the enemy may gain a chance to counterattack after Forced Evasion. The problem arises for two reasons: there's no probability of how likely Forced Evasion might be triggered for any enemy and all enemies in the game differentiate via weight. The latter becomes annoying because an enemy's weight may make hitting the ground unavoidable in the midst of the start-up animation for certain attacks from party members. This is compounded with late-game Mooks having access to a barrier like bosses possess, where it must be broken first before any significant amount of damage can be dealt to them. Unfortunately, the moment it breaks, the enemy is tossed into the air; depending on their weight, it might screw up players' combo flow for the attacking party member, especially if it's a new enemy type or boss they haven't encountered yet, making it that much more likely for the enemy to hit to ground and trigger Forced Evasion, with a possible counterattack as a follow-up. Rectified in the sequel Endless Frontier EXCEED: enemies now have an "E. Gauge" that increases as enemies take damage. If it reaches maximum, enemies can trigger a Forced Evasion, yet it depends on a noted percentage of chance seen above the E. Gauge; once used, the gauge empties and must be filled again. Furthermore, Forced Evasion can also be used by the players' party by sacrificing 50% of the "Frontier Gauge" used for "Overdrives", but provided the characters are also near death. Unfortunately, if the enemy (usually bosses) trigger an Overdrive of their own, player-induced Forced Evasion is nullified from use.
  • Dark Cloud:
    • The weapons system. Spending weeks tediously building up weapons for six different PCs, only to lose all that progress by having them break... especially sucky if you have just managed to clear several levels of a dungeon. This was thankfully fixed in the sequel, where broken weapons simply wouldn't hit, but could be fixed afterwards.
    • Weapons don't stack, which means you can only take ten or twenty of them on any foray into a dungeon. Have fun going back to town every five new levels.
  • Dark Chronicle fixed Dark Cloud's weapon issues, but new scrappy mechanics were introduced:
    • A weapon's element is now determined by being the element with the highest stat, rather than chosen by the player.
    • Weapons and items are now merged into one inventory, where even like weapons cannot stack and thus take up valuable space
    • Monica's monster transformations, which each have to be leveled up individually (in contrast to Steve the robot, which could be upgraded simply by buying, finding, or building new parts).
  • Ultima VII. The characters needed food to survive. However, instead of automatically eating, like in the previous games, they had to be manually fed whenever they got hungry. Combined with the clever but crude inventory system, feeding the party (not getting food, but putting it in their mouths) took up more game time than combat.
  • Westwood Studios' Dungeons & Dragons games:
    • The Eye of the Beholder games and the first Lands of Lore game contain tiles that spin you around when you stand on them and require compass watching. The former game series has complicated spin tiles that turn you based on the direction you entered the tile and the latter is nice enough to have your characters verbally react to the spin each time ("Woah!").
    • Lands Of Lore has invisible teleport tiles, with a particularly devious placement, that silently activate when approached from a certain direction. They can also spin you around. The one most players find first is the worst one of all, and it's fairly early in the first game. The only clue that you aren't mysteriously trapped in an inescapable area is that when you step on a certain square, the compass flips. The square you step to and the square you end up on provide completely identical views except for the compass direction. And even if you have been making your own map, you probably have long stopped looking at the compass. To escape you must pass through a fake wall that you are given no hints about its existence.
  • Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords has an infamous example in the follow mechanic, which is so badly scripted it takes at least ten minutes to reach the exit, while continuously going back, and occasionally talking to him a few more times, trying to get him to move. That is unless you go into Solo Mode; apparently, your party members block his view of you, and he won't follow them even though they're clearly following you.
  • Baten Kaitos:
    • You'd be hard pressed to find a member of the fandom who doesn't hate Eternal Wings' turn timer. At the start of the game, you have infinite time to make decisions on what magnus you want to use, but as you class up, a little timer starts appearing. If the timer runs out without you selecting a magnus, that character's turn is skipped. It starts at a reasonable thirty seconds, but eventually lowers to giving you seven seconds. Thankfully, the prequel replaced it with a much more sane system.
    • The level up system, which is accessed through blue save points. To level up, you have to teleport to a church through blue flowers and reflect upon your experiences. In practice, this was not only time consuming, but it was possible at one point to trap yourself on the enemy airship, right before That One Boss, with no way of leveling up by overwriting your save file using a red flower (that lets you save, but not level up).
    • Item Crafting in Eternal Wings might be the worst implementation of item crafting in any game ever. To craft magnus, you insert the ingredients into a character's deck, enter battle, and use the ingredients in a certain order; doing so properly will cause the magnus crafted to appear in the loot screen after battle. What's wrong with this? What's right with this? You can only craft one magnus per battle (and considering the best magnus are made of other crafted magnus, that's a problem), it's entirely luck-based whether or not you get the magnus you need, and most, if not all, of the item combinations are never hinted at. At the very least there's a menu option that tells you combinations once you've found them, but that's small comfort after all that. The only way to efficiently do this is to go to an early game area, empty a character's deck, and put nothing but the magnus you need in.
    • After a fight, you can view your results and your loot drops. Except, when enemies drop magnus, you can only pick one of the magnus they drop, and all the rest get scrapped. Better hope they don't drop a bunch of rare items!
    • Ultra Rare shots. Each character has two photographs that can be taken with the camera; a standard picture that sells for pocket lint, and an 'Ultra Rare' shot that Randomly Drops. Both shots are needed for 100% Completion. Getting the Ultra Rare requires endless grinding, praying that you'll get the Ultra Rare shot before the sun burns out. Even worse, there's two pictures that are only available in one boss fight, and one is an Ultra Rare.
  • Vagrant Story has the Risk meter, which causes the player's physical attacks to miss more, critical hit more often (this bit has never been observed), and increase damage and healing received the higher it goes. So chaining together more than 8 attacks is severely punishing, as that's when the Risk meter starts jumping by dozens, and if it maxes out, you basically turn what should be a 2-minute fight with even the most basic enemies into a 30-minute marathon because you can't ever land a hit or do proper damage. There are items and other strategies to help reduce Risk, however on one's first time run through one may very well die on even the first boss because one couldn't figure out how to manage the Risk meter.
  • Neptunia series:
    • Since one of Hyperdimension Neptunia's weak points is its gameplay, it would only be natural for this game to have a few shoddy mechanics:
      • The item system, which fell flat since it was restricted to battles only. What's worse is that even when you have a certain item skill's at maximum activation chance, it still has a chance of not activating, basically leaving your characters in luck's hands.
      • The partnering system is no better. If the character at the front loses all her HP, the character who was backing her up won't switch places with her for some strange reason.
      • Switching characters and activating HDD requires attacks with button combinations that you are likely to forget since there are so many other possible combinations to boot.
      • Try to figure out how the shares work without consulting a guide; it's quite a trial.
    • Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2, the series reboot, fixed some of these issues, but isn't perfect:
      • The Lazy Backup issue is still present, even with fifteen characters to choose from.
      • mk2 suffers from a poorly-explained AP system that makes performing EX Finishers somewhat arcane.
    • Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory finally ironed out the battle system (though the Lazy Backup problem still exists), but introduces a new Scrappy Mechanic: hidden treasures. Every time you enter a zone, a hidden treasure box is placed somewhere on the map, with random contents. This would be bad enough of its own, as some of the treasures are really worth your time, but the real problem is finding them, which is done by emitting a treasure-revealing sonar wave. Three problems with this: the range is pitiful, you have to hit the button constantly to keep looking, and the wave is noisy. An item could be made to display the location of the hidden treasure on the mini-map, but usually couldn't be created until halfway through the game. This was also added into the Re;Birth remakes until ironically, V Generation finally phased it out.
    • The Lazy Backup issue was finally resolved in Neptunia Re;Birth 3, but the hidden treasure was replaced with a set of multiple hidden blocks that are semi-invisible and whose shadows can be seen. Unfortunately, hitting those blocks will usually yield a small amount of credits rather than at least 1 guaranteed treasure as found in the old system.
    • The Viral system has absolutely no right to exist. Basically, a monster can randomly become "Viral", supercharging it to the extent that, if you're not considerably overleveled for the area you're in, it WILL One-Hit Kill any member of your party. It's like the Random Number God just arbitrarily decided "Imma give you a game over now, have fun continuing from your last save point!"'' Particularly painful in the early game, when you won't have enough powerful techniques to blow the monster off the field before it wipes out your entire party single-handedly.
  • Wild ARMs 4: The Hex system. The battle grid consists of six hexes where characters move around and attack. Particularly scrappy is the fact that you have to choose' between whether you can move or attack during your turn. Considering the use of Combination attacks where several party members have to be in the same hex, and "Ley Points", hexes which give you your elemental attacks, you have to choose between giving your enemy a free hit on you or using less effective attacks. Except Raquel, the only character who can move and attack on her turn. This unbalance, fortunately, was remedied in Wild ARMs 5, where everyone can move and attack on their turn.
  • Lunar: Dragon Song was blasted for consisting of at least 80-90% Scrappy Mechanics, including the fact that:
    • The simple act of running is Awesome, but Impractical since it drains health. You are unable to run if any member of your party dips below 1/3rd full health. This is at least somewhat understandable for field and dungeon areas, since it means you can't just avoid every enemy and come out unscathed, but it also applies to towns and other safe areas, where the only benefit to running is that you don't have to endure the painfully slow walking speed.
    • You can't choose who your party attacks in fights. Instead, the game has each character's AI choose their target, taking much of the strategy out of the player's hands.
    • Some enemies have special attacks that can steal or break your equipment.
    • You have to manually choose between fighting for XP and fighting for items, requiring twice as much grinding (and as for the latter, the items are randomized, meaning you won't always get the item you need, and won't even get XP or money to compensate.)
    • The only way to earn decent money is to complete sidequests, usually of the 20 Bear Asses variety, thus requiring you to grind for items even more.
  • Zettai Hero Project. If you die, you lose your equipment. This is problematic for two main reasons. The more minor issue is that, as death is an integral part of gameplay, it makes items essentially useless until very late in the game when you get the ability to retain a decent number of equipped items on death. This is a Scrappy Mechanic in its own right, but this pales in comparison to how this affects the post-game. Like other Nippon Ichi games, this one is a grindfest post-game, largely centered on improving your items. But you're safe because of that aforementioned item protection mechanic, right? No. The game autosaves and you are not given ANY manual save slots, so if at any time your battery dies or game crashes in a dungeon you lose ALL of your equipped items. Best of all is that the game actually lies about when it is safe to save - just because you're in your home base does NOT mean it is always safe to turn your game off. Cue permanent Rage Quit. The severity of a game-breaking bug, somehow made into a deliberate feature and wrecking the game for many players. Nippon Ichi Software has lost some previously devoted fans over this.
  • The third and fourth Epic Battle Fantasy games have a form of After-Combat Recovery, which is often much-needed - but instead of giving you back your health and mana all at once, it recovers gradually. In the third game it's based on steps taken (which leads to a lot of wandering around aimlessly for no real reason), while the fourth game uses real time (because Rewarding Inactivity is always a lot of fun). Even worse, the fourth game has a very annoying glitch; when you load a save, your health and mana are supposed to be refilled to maximum, but this "maximum" doesn't factor in boosts to Max HP and Max MP from your equipment. So if you have a lot of bonus HP and/or MP from your equips (and late game, you almost certainly will), this leads to sitting around and waiting every time you open up the game.
  • Item combination in Arcuz II. To enchant equipment or enhance enchantments, you need two elemental gems, a special stone and your weapon. Each enchant level has a failure chance (10% from level 1 to 2, 25% from 2 to 3, 50% from 3 to 4). If enchanting fails, not only does it consume all the gems used, but is also removes all existing enchantments on the equipment. And a further kick in the face is that the game saves after you combine/enchant any items, regardless of success, so no refreshing your window to cheat!
  • Crimson Shroud: Someone at Level5 decided that the best way for a player to find a required Plot Coupon would be to have it as a very rare item drop. That is only dropped in a single area. By a specific enemy. That will only appear if you kill a different specific enemy first. And then not tell you what the item is when it does drop, so you may just pass it over in favour of grabbing weapons or health/mana potions as loot after the battle. And if you do get the item, the game will not in any way indicate to you that it is important. Or that you need to travel back to an area you've already cleared in order to activate it. And only then will you get the key you need to progress to the next area.
    To make it worse, the 'key-as-an-item-drop' mechanic comes up a lot more in the New Game+. The player will be missing most of the new areas because the right enemies weren't killed in order for the drop to occur. Or, you know, the player just wasn't lucky enough to have the drop occur even when s/he did things right. And even if you do manage to find keys, the game will be damned if it tells you where to go to use them.
  • Etrian Odyssey:
    • The Millenium Girl's Grimoire Stones are an excellent idea, giving you lots of flexibility with giving your party additional cross-class and monster skills to use. What makes them annoying is that the process of gaining stones is completely random — you have to wait for a chance for a stone to be created, and even then, the skills you get in one is random. Creating the ideal stone takes a lot of praying to the random number gods that the desired skills drop quickly. The following remake, The Fafnir Knight, fixes several problems with this by reducing the degree of randomness involved and even giving the player a few options in controlling what they can get.
    • A core mechanic of the series is the ability to draw a map of the dungeon on the system's touch screen, so it makes sense for Beyond the Myth to add the ability to turn in your map to the council and get rewarded (with the ability to start your expeditions on higher floors) if it's accurate enough. Unfortunately, many players reported Ramus rejecting their maps due to their mapping style not being recognized by the game. Note that the game doesn't give any official guidelines on how to "properly" draw maps.
  • In Earthbound and Earthbound Beginnings, if someone in your party gets K.O.'ed during battle, they remain that way even after the fight until you revive them. If everyone goes down, you go back to where you last saved, only Ness/Ninten is revived, and everyone loses all their PP to boot. This wouldn't be such a big deal in and of itself, except that most of the time, your methods of reviving anyone are limited. This is especially annoying when you're exploring enemy territory, as opposed to within a town (where you can just walk to a hospital), and would be better off with more people active than unconscious.
  • Mother 3 has two, both relating to running around, which seem to have been coded in for the express purpose of screwing with the player:
    • The running mechanic. While fans were happy to have such a thing, as the slow walking pace of the previous game was an oft-cited flaw, the way it was implemented was quite annoying. Rather than just hold B to run, you had to stop, hold B for a moment to "charge" up, then release B to make your party begin running automatically until you tapped B again to stop or they hit something.
    • "Lucas/Kumatora began to feel feverish!" This means they're about to learn a new PSI, which is a good thing. However, you lose your ability to run until it wears off, which is a bad thing. This serves no purpose other than to slow the game pace down, as it not only forces you to move at the game's ludicrously slow walking pace but also means you can't run past enemies or through weak ones to avoid fights.
  • Undertale has the Ratings system in the battle with Mettaton. You're not told what it is (It's easy to believe that it's just for show), with the only hints being easy to miss if you don't talk to NPC's, and figuring out the best strategy to earn points is counter-intuitive or really difficult and comes bundled with several other fiddly mechanics that are also not introduced before-hand (The disco party, sexy legs and rewinding). It all combines to make the most frustrating and difficult battle of the Pacifist route.
  • Dark Souls and its sequels have the matchmaking system. Unlike a lot of multiplayer games which use a dedicated server for the players to play on, this one uses a peer-to-peer (or P2P) connection, which can badly hurt players who face frequent internet connection issues. It's also not unheard of to spend a good half hour or even more trying to search for one of your friends who are in the same area and level range, and NOT being able to summon them at all, despite having met all the requirements to summon one another.
  • Dark Souls 2 decided to base multiplayer on a mechanic called Soul Memory (rather than using Soul Level like the previous game), which is a tally of every soul you've ever picked up, whether you've spent it wisely, poorly or lost it due to mistakes. This means that highly proficient players who are experienced with the game, and spent their souls carefully would be on the same level as inexperienced players who were experimenting on how to spend souls and/or may have lost chunks of their soul-value to tactical mistakes. The Scholar of the First Sin edition fixed this to a degree with the Agape Ring, which allows you to stop increasing your Soul Memory.
  • Star Ocean:
    • Star Ocean: Till the End of Time: Item Creation is rife with these. For starters, you can't just choose what you're going to create. You have to repeatedly click through the "Original Invention" option, with the cost changing each time, until you get a cost that could be for the item you want. Or maybe not. It may come up one time in a thousand. And when you get it, one of your inventors may, for no discernible reason, sleep through the process, depriving you of their skill and drastically lowering the chance you'll succeed. Oh, and each attempt costs money, sometimes a lot of money, regardless of whether anything is actually produced.
    • Star Ocean: The Last Hope has the bonus board. This gets some dislike due to the fact that it gets wiped every time you end a particular playthrough and load a savefile. Sure, this is specifically designed to prevent Save Scumming, but surely there could have been at least a little leeway that could have been programmed in? (I.E. allowing you the choice to keep it if it's been an hour or more since your last save, or something like that?)
  • In The Witcher 3:
    • The combat system tries its hardest to be like a more natural console-style action system instead of the messy computer style the last two games had, but misses one crucial element: your two separate dodges (one for quick stepping and the other for full rolls) lack invincibility frames, meaning that even if you roll through an attack you will still get hit and take damage, and considering how irritating enemy tracking is, dodging is basically worthless.
    • To skip a line of dialogue, you need to press the "Skip dialogue" button twice: once to bring up the prompt to skip dialogue and then again to actually skip the dialogue. You can't mash like in a telltale game either, if you're playing the game again, you have to wait for the prompt to fade in before it skips.
  • Child of Light has a cast time for each action, similar to the Grandia series. If a character is attacked during that time, their action is cancelled. The game's strategy thus comes from timing your attacks so you hit enemies while they are casting their attacks. But for some reason, the developers gave some enemies "interrupt counters", which makes them instantly perform a powerful attack if you interrupt them. Why did anyone think it would be a good idea to punish players for making clever tactical decisions?
    • In the PC version, you essentially have to use two controllers; the keyboard/controller for Aurora and the mouse for Igniculus, because we all know how well that worked for Raiders of the Lost Ark for the Atari 2600. The player isn't completely dependent on Igniculus so it's not as bad as it could have been, but unless you have a second player it can still be a bit of a nuisance.
  • Path of Exile has no pause feature, not even if you're not in a party. Need to step away from the game (e.g. due to messages from friends, a phone call, or a bathroom break)? You'll have to portal back to town just to guarantee you won't be killed randomly while AFK.
  • Golden Sun:
    • The first game lets you transfer clear data to the sequel where character levels and stats, items, and Djinn can be transferred over. You can transfer by either two GBAs via link cable or by inputting a password. The password route can get incredibly lengthy if you choose to transfer everything over whereas transfering less data has shorter passwords. Opting to transfer everything is extremely time consuming and woe to you if you messed up somewhere and have to scroll through each page to see where you put in the wrong character!
    • The infuriating battle mechanic where if a party member has targeted an enemy for an attack that dies before his turn, he'll just defend instead of automatically targeting a different enemy. Not only does this force you to anticipate how much health enemies have to avoid wasting turns, but it also makes nuisance battles against weak foes take longer since you'll keep wasting turns guarding if you decide to just mash the A button to keep blindly throwing attacks.
    • The game's core mechanic of actively tying spells and stats to equipped Djinn effectively renders nearly them and the accompanying summons as Awesome, but Impractical barring rare circumstances. Using a Djinn puts it into standby which basically unequips it from a character, and any stat boosts, psynergy, or class changes that came with it get flushed right down the drain for a few turns. Since you tend to be fairly reliant on the stat boosts and psynergy gains, especially if going for one of the more esoteric classes in the game (like Ninja or Samurai), there is very rarely a scenario where you can afford to use them. And then there are the infamous Djinn screws which can gimp your character or your party something fierce, denying you all possible benefits the Djinn could otherwise offer until they're reset, which takes vital turns the enemy will likely use to kill you off.
  • Hunger in Darkest Dungeon. When it happens, you need to give your heroes some food or have them suffer damage and stress. What makes it a Scrappy Mechanic is that it's completely random: you could go an entire long quest without encountering it, or have it happen multiple times in a short quest, and using food to heal a hero's HP does nothing to prevent it: you could feed your entire team until the game tells you they are full, take a few steps, and have the hunger popup appear. And bringing more food with you means less space for actual loot.
  • One of the main reasons why Mystery Chronicles is considered worse than its predecessor One Way Heroics is because it adds invisible traps that can screw you over without warning. It got so bad that an option was added later to make all traps visible.
  • Sword of Vermilion has treasure chests, like just about every RPG ever. You open the action menu while standing in front of one, choose "Open", and the game tells you that you found an item. Works fine, right? Wrong. For unexplained reasons, the menu has both "Open" and "Get" options. After opening a chest, you need to select "Get" from the menu to actually put the chest's contents in your inventory. You could go through an entire dungeon, recover the MacGuffin at the bottom, return to the NPC who gave you the quest, only to be confused as to why you couldn't continue, all because you forgot to get the item after opening the chest.
  • RPG Maker FES has a few restrictions that can be really annoying:
    • Attacks are either magical and cost MP, or deathblows that are Cast From Hit Points. If you want a special attack that costs MP but is based off a character's physical strength, you're out of luck.
    • You can't change the message that appears when a character uses a special attack. If you have a character named Bob and a spell called Fireball", the game will always display "Bob Fireball" when you use the spell in battle, which always looks wrong. There's no reason why they couldn't just insert "used" between the character and spell name to make it look more natural.
  • Lufia & The Fortress of Doom doesn't allow the player to target specific enemies, only allowing them to target groups of similar enemies, after which the party member will attack one of them at random. This not only takes some needed strategy out of the game, but makes certain Wolf Pack Boss fights far harder than they should be due to the fact that you can't just dogpile on one enemy at a time to reduce the number of attacks per turn you're being dealt.
  • Some players feel this way about the platforming segments in BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm. They’re a nice bit of variety, and they don’t appear too often, but the RPG Maker XP engine really wasn’t made for platformers, resulting in awkward controls and some minor issues with collision detection. A few maps also have enemies that follow you around and get in the way of your jumps, adding a stressful element to something that was already hard enough to begin with.
  • Omega Labyrinth Life has in-game shops within its randomly generated dungeons. The wandering merchants are perfectly fine, but the worst is Director Rika's shops; instead of a convenient menu, you have to manually drop or throw items on the floor, which can take several menus worth of clicking for each individual item, and even worse, monsters can still attack you as you're browsing.
  • The Attack Gauge in both Secret of Evermore and Secret of Mana. Whenever you throw an attack it needs to recharge, which takes about four full seconds, and throwing another attack before it recharges not only will do scratch (if any) damage but also drops it down to zero again. It seems to exist to prevent you from being able to run in and Button Mash similar to games like The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, but it largely feels unneeded and only really serves to slow the game's combat down and force you into constantly using Hit-and-Run Tactics.
  • In Threads of Fate, you can leave certain levels (like the Ghost Temple and Mel's Atelier) simply by going back to the entrance, while other levels (like the Underground Ruins and Raging Mountain) you can't leave unless you find one of the little frogs who will teleport you back home. There's absolutely no rhyme or reason behind it other than some form of arbitrary But Thou Mustn't and your only alternative is letting yourself die to get sent back to town (which can take a while if you're on higher levels), which makes saving up money or going to get certain monster transformations much more of a hassle than it needs to be.
  • In Digimon World 2 the level grinding system is a complete time sink because of the games level caps and how you need 2 digimon to combine to raise said level cap. In order to do THAT you need to fire gifts at digimon in order to befriend them. To make matters worse since you start off at level cap 13 you end up with a level 1 rookie digimon which you have to level grind AGAIN to reach the level cap. Don't grind up to the level cap before combining? Your level cap either remains the same or even lowers. You can spend hours grinding levels and then combining only to lose progress


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