Exceptional Turn based rpg's are few and far between and yet they are the most numerous form. Why do we have to get bombarded by crap games that never take advantage of killer mechanics that got introduced or used in other RPG's from the same genre?? Because developers are stupid #1 and #2 they dont spend time playing video games in their downtime to even learn what other developers have done. So this blog is to help out all the crappy developers in the world *cough* japan *cough*.
Its probably way to late to even bother doing this, my tolerance for turn based rpg's hrows less and less each time I play a crappy one. If I had started this when i was a kid I could have wrote a freaking internet full of favorite mechanics and stuff but now I barely remember the names of all the games I played little lone the mechanics lol. So anyways I'm going to try to make a very specific list of the mechanics I LOVE in turn based rpg's and think should be included in all. You guys can help add to the list but keep in mind I have to agree as it is my list. You can make your own lists and rip off all my suggestions and include your crappy ones =)
Oh and by no means is this a final version, it will never be final.
Action Points: Action points are awesome and usually let you vary your attacks just to make combat a little bit better than doing the same thing over and over. Legend of Legaia(ps1), and Xenosaga 1(ps2) are some good examples.
Timed Attacks: Instead of just mindless clicking the attack button games with timed attacks actually make you pay attention and reward you with extra damage and or effects for timing a button press with the attack animation.Super Mario RPG(snes), Vagrant Story(ps1), Gladius(ps2), and Shadow Hearts(ps2, so i hear??)are all good examples of this.
Switch out: Games that let you switch out characters in the midst of battle are sweet(unless it becomes mandatory). FF10(ps2, mandatoy boo) and Xenosaga 1(ps2, optional yay) are examples of this. Usually games that do this have a large cast of playable characters which is also great.
Equal share XP AND Split XP: Games that let all party members get the same amount of xp after a battle are good. (dont have examples lol). On the OTHER hand games that divide XP earned amongst the characters who survive the battle is also good because then you can kill off your loser ally's and hog all the XP!!! FF12(ps2), and Xenosaga(ps2) are examples of Split XP
SOLO/ally killers: Games that let you control who and how many people are in your party rule. If they force you to take people with you then they better allow you to attack your own people. FF12(ps2) is an example of getting to choose your party, FF10(ps2) is an example of a game that lets you attack ally's and forced party members. I have to say though that however fun it is to go solo and be a bad ass it usually ends up just bogging down the game and making it less fun for people who want to level everyone up. So im kinda mixed on this.
Initiative: Having each unit in battle run on its own time and not having the order of battle pre-determined rules. You have to pay attention and try to take advantage of what happens. This only rules if you are allowed to see the next several units to get a turn next. It just makes each battle unique and random. Xenosaga 1(ps2), and uhhh several FF's are examples of this
Random Rewards: This hasnt really been done to the extent im thinking about. Xenosaga 1(ps2) is the inspiration for this. Each unit in xenosaga has its own turn, each turn the game moves this event wheel thing that has bonus effects for that persons turn. Some of the effects are increased critical hits, bigger increase to your boost guage(that lets you take extra turns) or a point multiplier for after battle reward points that you use to buy magic, or improve your stats and skills. If you kill an enemy when the point multiplier event is active you randomly get 2-10x the points for that enemy. It would be so killer to see a waay deeper mechanic of this. It could be like a slots mini-game or something. Everytime you kill a single monster or maybe only after an entire battle you would randomly(or through the use of a mini-game) get random multipliers to your gold, xp, items, whatever. In Xeno1 you are force to wait for that event to come around before you kill people which also added a strategic element to battles. I dont know if all these random multipliers should be part of the battle like that or just be automatic every time. I do know getting random awards is awesome and way better than most other rpg's.
Tom-Tom: Thats the name of a GPS device/service for vehicles in the USA that tells you how to get around the streets of any city. It would be sweet to have that as an OPTIONAL thing in RPG's. What it would do is somehow highlight which paths lead to dead ends and which paths lead further ahead while your walking through dungeons and crap. I dont know about you guys but I am sick of the whole rat in a maze thing and trying to figure out my way through them. It bogs down the game. For me personally I would use it so that I could explore every nook and cranny ina maze, I would go down every dead end path FIRST before i advanced. I count tell you how much time I have wasted trying to decide on which path to take. Most of the time its like "Is this going to lead to a cutscene which will mean i cant go back or that I have to come back to the dungeon and come back through all this crap to explore the dead end path or is this a dead end and I should go see whats down it before moving on?". Im sure some people would rather just blaze through the dungeon and forget about all the extra crap thats down dead ends. And im sure there are those who would never turn it on and enjoy being a rat in a maze and figuring it out on their own. But atleast give us this freaking option!!!
Ok thats all I got for right now, maybe I will think of more later. If you got some suggestions lets hear em!!! I want to make an ultimate mechanic list for turn based rpg's that make them go from lame and boring to killer and addictive.It would be hella sweet to see these all get used in one game.