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Scrappy Mechanic / Turn-Based Strategy

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  • Code Name: S.T.E.A.M., being made by Intelligent Systems, of course brings in the "Asshole Reinforcements" who spawn at the start of the stage.
  • The promotion exams of Disgaea were terrible and exposed many of the game's balance problems. It requires the use of the student system to stand a chance in if you use healers. Moreover, if you wanted to utilize transmigration to any significant degree, you would be taking these exams very often. This system was wisely taken out in the second and third games, where any character with enough mana could transmigrate to a new class if they had enough mana to do so.
    • Speaking of Disgaea, the method of reaching the Land of Carnage in Disgaea 2 wasn't much better. It sounds fair enough in theory— Go to the Item World, get ambushed by one out of 16 possible pirate crews, beat their leader to get a map, (or alternately just steal it) rinse and repeat until you have all 16 at which point the Land of Carnage is unlocked. Problem being... Every single pirate is a random encounter, and some of them (Jolly Pirates, I'm looking at you) are so impossibly rare one will probably end up clearing multiple Item Worlds without even encountering a single one. Spending hours upon hours of going through random Item Worlds searching for that one last map, only to run into the Ambling Pirates over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over gets really annoying after a while.
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    • Walking geosymbols. Any map with them becomes a chaotic mess of constantly changing geopanel effects, which can utterly screw you in the Item World. And there is no way to tell a normal symbol from a walking one until after your first turn.
  • Fire Emblem
    • Tactics gives you a chance to revive downed characters. Not so in Fire Emblem, until at least the Akaneia remakes, where the characters are gone forever the moment they hit 0HP. This one mechanic has probably caused more rage-resets than any other in gaming history. The idea is that players should take their units seriously and not simply toss unit after unit at the enemy like they're disposable ammo, but some fans point out that Final Death in practice turns into "restart the chapter if somebody dies" and that the only way to have a "true" experience with the trope is to only ever use saves to suspend gameplay. For those who don't like this, Fire Emblem Awakening introduces Casual mode, in which defeated units are only gone until the end of the chapter.
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    • Multi-game example: Any game where enemy reinforcements spawn at the end of the Player Phase instead of the end of the Enemy Phase. This can very easily result in a unit getting killed because the game decided to spawn a group of enemies right on top of them without giving you a chance to react. While sometimes the reinforcements are marked by certain tiles such as castles or staircases, other times they come out of nowhere with no way of planning for them except playing the chapter over and over until you learn all the spawn points and/or getting lucky. This had mostly been phased out of the series by the time it reached western audiences, but for some reason, it's back in Awakening.
      • Awakening mercifully only does this on Hard and above, meaning Normal Mode does reinforcements at the end of the enemy phase like most western fans would be used to. However, players who start on Normal and go up to Hard on another playthrough might expect it to stay that way, only to be in for a nasty surprise. Also, all of the other games that do this do it on every difficulty, so there's no break there.
      • Additionally, later on in some long maps, reinforcements appear right at the start of the map. Hope you didn't leave any weaker units behind at the start - they're sitting ducks for them. Also, worst of all is in Blazing Sword, wherein there's a stationary unit for most of the game that stands at the start of the map. Thus the players always have to leave behind a character or two (who could miss valuable experience points and possibly cripple the advancing force) behind to guard them from the reinforcements. Fans call this "Asshole Reinforcements".
      • Fire Emblem Fates is the most aggravating example because now some of the respawning enemies don't even give experience, meaning they really are there to get in your way and be a distraction. This is especially a problem on Conquest where experience in general is hard to come by.
      • Echoes: Shadows of Valentia gives us reinforcements on the world map. While enemies showing up on the world map is something that happened in Awakening, here they move and need to be engaged when encountered. If there happen to be other enemies on the spot the reinforcements appear, you engage them too and if the enemies move to your position they attack first. Even worse, Celica's side of Act 3 has two separate spawn points for the map reinforcements.
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    • The Attack Speed mechanic (which determines if a character does 1 or 2 attacks per battle) as a whole is this, partially for being inconsistent throughout the series. The basic formula is "Character's Actual Speed Stat - (Weapon's Weight + Whatever Stat the Devs Felt Like Using in That Game) = AS." Magic-users always somehow end up getting the worst of it.
      • The GBA games use a character's Constitution to calculate AS. This is the most frustrating for mages or smaller characters (Nino happening to be both) that can't use anything heavier than a basic Fire tome or Iron Lance without being slowed down by their own weapon.
      • Fire Emblem Tellius uses Strength under the justification "a warrior is strong enough to not be slowed by his weapon." Soren got the worst of it in Path of Radiance. Let's just say it's pure luck if he even attains three as a Strength stat. Though, he makes up for it with a high Speed stat, and his specialty Wind magic being very light. Sanaki is the prime example of Glass Cannon because her Strength is also abysmal, and doesn't have a Speed growth high enough to mitigate it. She basically can't wield anything without an enemy doubling her.
      • Fire Emblem Fates Has one of the more popular implementations, mostly on account of it now being completely transparent. AS (called "Effective speed" in tooltips) is the unit's modified speed stat (and the final result of these modifiers is the one visible), give or take the spelled-out attributes of their weapon.
      • In Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, units only need 1 more speed than their opponent in order to double. Most weapons that lower speed also display the exact amount of speed the unit is losing on their stat page, and some physical weapons (such as Iron Swords/Lances) do not lower speed at all. Again, Mages somewhat get the short end of the stick, though; all spells lower speed by some amount, and the lightest spell (Excalibur) usually takes a while for most Mages to learn. This means that a lot of Mages can take a little while to really get rolling, especially a Mage Kliff (who learns the most spells but starts out with low speed).
    • Fire Emblem: Thracia 776, apart from being one of the hardest games in the series, suffers from a fair share of Scrappy Mechanics. To name a few:
      • The Dismounting feature is the most prominent. Intended as a Nerf for mounted units as it made them fight on foot using swords during indoor levels. However, it only ended up hurting Lance Knights and Axe Knights, who were forced to illogically use swords when they dismounted rather then the weapons they trained their entire lives with. Worst of all, the player army was left with no indoor Lance users apart from their Generals: Xavier and a promoted Dalsin, though both have a starting E rank in lances, which means they're better off using other weapons anyway. Keep in mind the final chapter took place indoors, and Lances were pretty much Vendor Trash.
      • Many players liked the Capturing System, claiming it added a new layer of depth to the series. It has one incredibly aggravating problem, though. Units who can't fight are automatically captured. Normally this makes sense; after all, it saves you viewing an Overly Long Fighting Animation when you know how the fight's going to turn out, but it also means your healers will be captured if an enemy so much as touches them. Sure, you can get them back by killing the captor, but they still will have swiped the healer's entire inventory. Long story short, an enemy so much as touches your healer, you lose all their staves.
      • Status effects. In this game, they last for the entire chapter unless cured (and status healing staves are in VERY short supply). Especially annoying since Dark Mages are very common enemies, and the standard dark spell inflicts poison. Worse still, when you later recruit a Dark Mage of your own, his magic DOESN'T inflict poison!! Oh, and sleeping characters can be one-touch captured as above.
      • And finally, healing staves can miss. In a game where you're going to need all the healing you can get!
      • On that note, any attack can miss. Or hit. Unlike in every other game in the series, Hit chance has a floor of 1% and a ceiling of 99%, which means that no matter how outclassed your enemies are, you always have a chance to miss them and they always have a chance to hit you.
      • The fatigue system. It forces the player to cycle through Loads and Loads of Characters in a game with a finite amount of experience.
      • A more subtle one that often gets lost in the sea of more overt BS is Thracia having every stat, for all units, capped at 20 before and after promotion. This means that by endgame, the rank-and-file enemies will be on even footing with the player, which makes the levels brutally difficult by virtue of being completely outnumbered. Genealogy did the same, but got away with it by virtue of Holy Weapons giving huge, cap-ignoring buffs, but here those are painfully rare - to the point that the single character who has one is a god.
    • The reclass system in Shadow Dragon created something of a Broken Base. Some think it adds an element of customization to your army, while others think it misses the point of every character being unique. Fire Emblem Awakening fixed this by limiting every character to only 3 class paths, but made reclassing so much of a Game-Breaker that the Broken Base still remains. Fates tried for the middle ground by offering reclass options, but maintaining the unit's level (unless the player wants to purchase another very expensive seal), preventing the rampant abuse possible in Awakening.
    • The Biorhythm exclusive to the Tellius games wasn't well-received for fluctuating how well your units fight each turn. As it gets lower, accuracy and evasion rates are lowered (and vice versa for high Biorhythm).
    • Radiant Dawn's Support system earned a lot of ire. Despite allowing any character to support another, this came at the cost of reducing the normally rich and Character Development filled support conversations to a few generic lines per character. And then things went From Bad to Worse when Shadow Dragon removed the system entirely. (One of the few cases where the lack of a mechanic became a Scrappy Mechanic) Fortunately it was brought back in Heroes of Light and Shadow and Awakening.
    • In Fire Emblem Fates, after finishing a chapter, it is possible for the game to immediately throw you into another chapter. This would be annoying enough on its own, but the game doesn't give you a chance to save before the second chapter. If the second chapter goes badly, this means you have to replay the entire previous chapter all over again. The good news is this only happens four times across the three storylines. The bad news is that the final bosses of each route make up three of those times.
    • For some odd reason, Shadows of Valentia gives really low Resistance growths to units (there is a 0 - 8% chance of getting a boost in Resistance depending on the unit). Therefore, classes that are strong against magic are likely to be the only ones with a Resistance stat in double figures and magic is just as dangerous as it normally is. Granted, the original Fire Emblem Gaiden gave everybody 0% in the Resistance column, but it's still very frustrating for newer fans to come in and have even their Mages and Pegasus Knights (classes known for their Resistance in other titles) have very low Res stats.
  • Evasion in Front Mission 4. In Front Mission 3, the Evasion stat worked in a sensible manner, reducing the chance to be hit by any direct-fire attack aimed at a Wanzer, in direct opposition to the opponent's Accuracy. While this heavily penalized rifles, which had a chance of doing no damage at all, it meant that a multi-hitting weapon like a machine gun or shotgun would almost always score at least at least a few hits, useful for finishing off parts which had taken serious damage from single-target attacks like missiles. In Front Mission 4, Evasion was changed to be a flat chance of any direct-fire attack missing completely, completely disregarding the attacker's Accuracy (which only governed whether or the shot would miss on its own merits)- a Wanzer would fire a shotgun blast at an enemy or a spray of machine gun rounds, only for the target to smartly step out of the way of the entire shot. While this was a stealth-buff to rifles (as shotguns and machine guns lost the near-guaranteed reliability that made them the preferred weapons in the previous game), it was a frustrating change which meant you could unload a Wanzer's entire bodyweight in bullets at it and do no damage at all if its Evasion was high enough and your luck was bad enough. No matter how good your pilots are, the enemy could make their fifty-ton mech dance between your bullets like a ballerina. While admittedly your characters fought under the same rules, this severely increased the impact of the Random Number God on battles.
  • Various Shining Series games, especially those of the Force variety, allow you to promote your units to a Prestige Class once you reach a certain level. In later chapters of the game, some characters you recruit come promoted. Except, the problem becomes that the game promoted them at the earliest point they could, while the player has probably been doing the smart thing and continuing to level up the earlier character(s) until they reached the cap, giving them some extra stat points for when they undergo Class Change Level Reset. Needless to say, the pre-promoted characters are typically put on benchwarming duty for the entire game.
  • Super Robot Wars: Depends on game.
    • L: The lack of an item system (The improved PU system makes up for it some but doesn't cover healing)
    • K: The PU system; a solo unit had many more advantages compared to partnered ones.
    • OGs/OGG: Parts of the twin system due to dealing with pre-paired enemies while requiring 110 morale/will for your units to do so.
    • Shin: Shin SRW adds cut-ins, close up face portraits, and long cutscenes to its attack animations. This turns out to be a double edged sword because like all older SRWs up until SRW Alpha, animations are still unskippable. When running at default speed the load times and animations are atrociously long and unbearable. Much of the poor reputation of Shin stems from its slow load times and absurdly long, unskippable animations.
    • F/F Final: Any units that finish the first half of two-part episodes start the next half with reduced Will. There's a way around this, but it's quite monotonous to perform.
    • V and X: the final attacks of the Nu Gundam, Zeta Gundam, and ZZ Gundam are locked towards Amuro, Kamille, and Judau respectively, not letting the players use the machine for someone else to their full potential.
  • Sword of the Stars II: Lords of Winter has feasibility studies for wasting turns without actually getting real research done and prototyping for making you spend a lot more time and money trying to get the first of a ship class out.
  • Valkyria Chronicles:
    • The original featured Final Death; with the exception of main characters, any member of your squad who runs out of HP, and isn't saved within three turns or before an enemy gets to them, is killed in action and no longer playable. With the amount of Save Scumming that followed, the sequel and later games would remove this mechanic.
    • Additionally, the mission rating system in the original game was... somewhat lacking. Your rating at the end of each mission was not concerned with how many enemies you defeated, how many casualties you took, or any other objectives. No, there was only one factor that determined your rating: how quickly you completed the mission. That's it. As a result, regardless of your preferred playstyle, if you want those S-rankings then there's literally only one strategy for every battle: blitz it. Gradual Grinder-style players who prefer to take their time and be methodical need not apply.
    • In Valkyria Chronicles II The class change system was based off certain items that could be gained through certain task completed in a mission. The problem was that items in question were given at random, thus a lot of time spent in the game was farming this promotion items and weapon creation items.
  • In the remake XCOM: Enemy Unknown you can mind-control aliens for several turns and during that time they are treated like your troops. Exactly like your troops. You cannot target them directly or cancel the mind control and it ends naturally on their turn, meaning they will immediately get a chance at revenge.
    • It used to be even worse. Before it was patched, mind-controlled enemies were treated as allies for purposes of morale when they died. Meaning that when you deliberately get the mind-controlled enemy killed, your troops would lose morale and possibly even panic over their "teammate" dying.
    • The game ditched the grid inventory of its predecessors in favor of equipment slots. So you get a slot for your armor, your main weapon, and your side weapon. So far so good, even if it means each soldier is restricted to a single gun. But then you get an auxiliary equipment slot, and there is where it gets stupid. This slot is used for first aid kits, stunners and grenades, meaning no soldier can have both or have more than one of each. Worse than that, it is also used for the sniper scope. That's right, snipers carry their scopes in their pockets and they're incompatible with grenades or medpacks (granted, it's an optional scope that only enhances their accuracy, but still how backwards is that)! Worse than that, it is also used for armor plates. That's right, soldiers carry armor in the pockets of their armor.
    • On a different note, UFOs could only be taken out by an Interceptor launched from an airbase on that continent, which isn't so bad at first, just keep one or two on every base and you'll be fine. Then the game starts throwing massive battleships at you that the Interceptors cannot possibly win against because of how much damage the battleship can do, so you need to start sending UFO-based craft to fight against them, but you cannot just order them for the other bases the same way you could order the Interceptors, oh no, you needed to build them at your main base AND THEN, transfer them over to those other bases, which takes a considerable amount of time, during which you're screwed if one of those large ships shows up.
  • XCOM2 gave us Timed Missions, they themselves weren't bad, but it was the sheer amount of them that annoyed people.
    • You cannot go on missions in a given region unless you have made contact with it, and you cannot make contact with a region unless you have already made contact with an adjacent region. Few things are more frustrating than getting notifications of several different facilities that advance the Avatar Project that are all in places you won't be able to make contact with for a while.
    • Aliens Rulers, of the Alien Rulers DLC, get a out-of-turn reaction for every action your soldiers take. While this does make them the sort of threat you'd expect of such boss characters it also means that any action that isn't attacking them is suicide, drastically curtailing your viable tactics.


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