Monday, 9 June 2014

Let's Rework: Final Fantasy VIII - Part Two

Part One

Okay, so we started off with the biggie. Now for something perhaps a little less controversial?

 Today we're going to talk about game play. More specifically, one aspect of game play that has managed to become something of a bugbear.


 I have been having no end of trouble with this. If you've been keeping up with the let's play log, you know that I've repeatedly failed to reassign junctions after a forced party change.

 So it won't be much of a surprise to you that the second change I'm going to suggest is...

Rework the junction system

 And I do mean rework it. I don't actually hate the core concept of it, really this is a problem of execution.

 One of the main complaints I've heard about this game is the way that a character's stats are heavily dependent on their magic. So there's a strong disincentive right there for actually using magic.

 Which is a real problem.

  Now, I don't mind the linking of stats to magic. I actually quite like the base concept.

 However, there is one issue I do have that I believe I've come up with a relatively simple and elegant solution for.

 In many ways, sorting out which characters have what magic and in what amounts is a complete pain in the neck. Especially when you consider that as you move on in the game you tend to have higher level spells attached to stats, as well as a greater need to use them in battle.

 It becomes something of a necessity to have spares of these spells just floating around, but in the actual game the only way to have them do so is to attach them to a charater that you're not currently using.

 What I propose, therefore, is to have a seperate pool of magic. Maybe a hundred or two hundred of each spell can be stored in the max., but even this small amount would be something of a boon, as it allows the player to be properly prepared without having to juggle magic around.

 Now to move onto a bigger personal bugbear: GFs.

 I really do keep forgetting to rejunction everything, but I do somehow get the impression that this isn't what Square was actually planning for the player to do.

 I genuinely get the impression that you're intended to spread the GFs relatively evenly throughout the party. However, I don't really see any indication that this should be the case in game, and there's definitely no incentive to.

 Here's an incentive: each character can only have a certain number of GFs.

 At the moment, you could very well have all the GFs junctioned to a single character. This is not conducive to building a well balanced squad.

 The fact that you're not going to have things well balanced is problematic in situations where you're expected to swap between characters quickly. It's also a really big problem in one of the later boss battles.

 Having a maximum number of GF slots for each character forces the player to have an evenly balanced party and have to think their strategies through a bit better.

 It also comes hand in hand with a greater incentive to seek out new GFs, as the number of slots would logically go up with the number of available GFs.

 Also, since there would be characters who leave the party permanently if I got my way, it would be a good idea to have some kind of reminder that their junctions are now free. Especially since the reworked system has a magic pool that their magic could be put into, instead of waiting for a new character to conveniently pop up with their stuff.

 So, in summary, it's not a terrible idea for a system, but the magic needs to be made more accessible and less confusing to use, and the GFs need to be more heavily restricted to promote strategic thinking and also to prevent the dance of the rejunctions.

 Next time we'll be looking at more character related things, so there's that to look forward to. Remember to sharpen your pitchforks!

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