Posted by Dixavd (1305 posts) 11 months, 3 days ago

Poll: Do you like random "critical hits" in videogames? As long as... (71 votes)

Yes, usually. 76%
No, usually. 8%
...it can only help me. 18%
...it can only help enemies. 6%
...it equally helps me and enemies. 23%
...its affects are scaled to help weaker characters. 8%
...its affects are scaled to improve as characters get stronger. 20%
...it keeps competitive multiplayer interesting and on edge. 11%
...its kept out of competitive multiplayer. 20%
...the player can affect its effectiveness directly by "specing" for it. (e.g. luck stat) 35%
...the player doesn't have to waste points "specing" for it. 10%
...a successful "critical hit" causes a minor change. 8%
...a successful "critical hit" causes a drastic change. 31%
...its easy to reload if a critical hit goes badly for the player. 10%
...its affects are permanent and the player cannot reload easily. 15%
...landing a critical hit requires skill. 24%
...landing a critical hit is independant of skill. 14%
...it can occur at any time. 15%
...it can only occur at specific times (e.g. a backstab or not when health is low etc...). 21%
...only in specific genres or game mechanics [explain below]. 23%
..an other condition is met [explain below]. 10%

I've been thinking about difficulty settings and mechanical design a lot recently (mostly in terms of RPG's) and one thing that always seemed a little odd to me was "critical hits" in games. I found it especially interesting when this random mechanic was implemented but with the ability to increase its power or chance of occurring. I especially found it interesting that sometimes its likelihood can be changed by the player, but the information for doing so is hidden (such as increasing party members chance of critical hits depending on a hidden "friendship stat" between the characters). So I was wondering what people thought of critical hits in games. Do you find it takes away from the feeling of control or skill of the player; or do you think it adds to the game by giving an extra hope for success in an otherwise unfairly balanced match-up (such making you continue to play when you have very little health left and the enemy has a lot since if you get a critical hit, you could still win)?

Also, if a term is in " " 's then its a term that certainly isn't official but I can't think of a better term (and hopefully if you don't know it, a quick google search will give some examples).

#1 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

I love when crits have a really satisfying accompanying visual and audio queues.

Exhibit A: The crocket

#2 Posted by Dixavd (1305 posts) -

@ravenlight: Do you like it in games when they do flashy animations that take away from your control when you land a critical hit (although they're more associated with the final blow)? What about if the affect on damage was so low that you weren't completely sure it increased damage inflicted but it still had a cool motif, sound or visual affect?

#3 Edited by probablytuna (3533 posts) -

I like crits only when they benefit me.

#4 Edited by MikkaQ (10268 posts) -

For me a good crit system is one that affects the player and enemies equally on a base level, and then can be changed by stats or leveling up. I also like having crits affect lower level characters, for example if you dominate the enemies in level, you have a higher chance at crit. Keeps grinding from getting too slow.

Also backstabs or headshots causing crits is really cool too, I'd like more of that.

#5 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

@dixavd:

I guess that depends on what kind of game it is. In slower-paced games I don't mind losing control for a brief time if there's something cool for me to look at. An edge-case to this situation is I'm okay with it in faster-paced games where my character is invincible throughout the animation since this adds a layer of strategy.

I'd be really disappointed if my critical hits were rewarded with flashy visuals/sounds but the perceived damage was underwhelming. Again, on a related note, if there is a more modest indication of a critical hit (say, yellow/red damage numbers instead of the default color) then I'm probably going to be okay of my enemies don't suddenly evaporate. The visuals should align with the damage being dealt.

#6 Posted by stonepawfox (236 posts) -

i'll swear at crockets but i still like when i get them. unless it's on arena. turn that shit off

in conclusion i can take it or leave it, whatever

#7 Edited by Video_Game_King (35985 posts) -

Only if Lon'Qu happens to get it during a Lethality.

#8 Posted by Dixavd (1305 posts) -

I like crits only when they benefit me.

That was one the things that got me thinking about it. I love critical hits in theory, especially knowing that a match-up that looks one-sided can still be overcome with a lucky critical hit. At the same time, I absolutely hate it when enemies kill me just because they got a critical hit (I once stopped playing Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon because the final enemy on the map got a critical hit on Marth and I lost).

@mikkaq said:

For me a good crit system is one that affects the player and enemies equally on a base level, and then can be changed by stats or leveling up. I also like having crits affect lower level characters, for example if you dominate the enemies in level, you have a higher chance at crit. Keeps grinding from getting too slow.

Also backstabs or headshots causing crits is really cool too, I'd like more of that.

So you think crits should be a reward for levelling up: in a sense the game saying "you deserve those lucky shots, these guys should die quicker to you now"; and not as a lifeline for a lucky break when you're losing?

I also like it when critical hits are shown for specific kinds of attacks and games playing with the idea to then have a conflict between going for a critical hit which may open you up to more attacks should you miss or staying safe. Dark Souls 2 seems to be playing with it in pretty cool ways by having enemies have attacks they do when you try and go for a critical hit.

#9 Edited by Fredchuckdave (5329 posts) -

Critical hits are good if they're a modifiable percentage that is completely apparent to the player (whether they affect the player or the opponent); and terrible if they're just completely random/can one shot your party/character at will. Of course something like Resilience is much much worse than Critical Hits as it makes the game more boring and predictable as opposed to randomly exciting.

#10 Edited by BabyChooChoo (4282 posts) -

I didn't

...then I played Phantom Assassin in DotA2.

#11 Edited by Brodehouse (9581 posts) -

Critical hits are fine if they're a gameplay choice (as in, speccing for crit percentage or crit bonuses). If they're simply a static stat that happens then they're nonsense.

Choosing between big crits or some other bonus is a gameplay mechanic, even if it plays out purely in stats. You're giving input and receiving feedback. If it's just a number and that's what it is, then it's not gameplay.

#12 Posted by Dixavd (1305 posts) -

Critical hits are good if they're a modifiable percentage that is completely apparent to the player (whether they affect the player or the opponent); and terrible if they're just completely random/can one shot your party/character at will. Of course something like Resilience is much much worse than Critical Hits as it makes the game more boring and predictable as opposed to randomly exciting.

Yeah I hate the one-shot thing a lot. I think a good medium might be that a critical hit can't kill a character that wouldn't otherwise have been killed. So if the critical hit was meaningless (i.e. a non-critical hit would have killed the player) then the character dies whatever happens; but if it makes a difference then the worst it can do is reduce the character to the minimum health. That's so that if the player was planning on the idea that "at least I can survive another hit" they won't get screwed over (like in turn-based games where you use an attack that takes a turn to charge and you die because of a critical hit in the intermediate turn) but they are still put at a very weak position (an attack from anything will definitely kill them). What would you think about that?

#13 Posted by Dixavd (1305 posts) -

Critical hits are fine if they're a gameplay choice (as in, speccing for crit percentage or crit bonuses). If they're simply a static stat that happens then they're nonsense.

Choosing between big crits or some other bonus is a gameplay mechanic, even if it plays out purely in stats. You're giving input and receiving feedback. If it's just a number and that's what it is, then it's not gameplay.

So you don't think a constant critical hit value adds to the game even if it is the only reason to continue in a given fight that you're losing? You don't think its use a safety net for the player (a last fighting chance) has any merit unless it's variable in some way (at least from the player's perspective)?

#14 Edited by GERALTITUDE (2911 posts) -

Critical hits aren't necessarily *totally random* though, are they? I guess it depends on the gameplay system. Usually a critical is just a perfect roll in a game that already has random rolls. Most of the time your chances go Standard Hit > Miss > Critical Hit.

Though it can be frustrating to have an enemy land a critical hit on your character (hello, XCOM) it keeps the tension very high in the game. I've never enjoyed 100% transparent systems - I shouldn't always know how much damage will happen to me/what I can survive, I should have 80-90% of that knowledge. I'll use XCOM as an example. If I have a squaddie with 6 health, and there is a little green man down the street who always does 4 damage, I'm not going to care too much about the risk. I know, no matter what happens, that my squaddie will live (lets' pretend there are no other aliens hiding down the street). If, however, I know the alien *usually* does 4 but there is a slight, slight chance they will hit with 5 or 6, the risk is suddenly much different. Now, if the alien misses, or hits me and doesn't critical, I'll actually feel lucky, or that I just barely got by, which is all in all a much more satisfying feeling than simple math domination.

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#15 Edited by Brodehouse (9581 posts) -

@dixavd said:

@brodehouse said:

Critical hits are fine if they're a gameplay choice (as in, speccing for crit percentage or crit bonuses). If they're simply a static stat that happens then they're nonsense.

Choosing between big crits or some other bonus is a gameplay mechanic, even if it plays out purely in stats. You're giving input and receiving feedback. If it's just a number and that's what it is, then it's not gameplay.

So you don't think a constant critical hit value adds to the game even if it is the only reason to continue in a given fight that you're losing? You don't think its use a safety net for the player (a last fighting chance) has any merit unless it's variable in some way (at least from the player's perspective)?

A game where you merely roll dice and hope for a good result is a chance game, not a role playing game. Role playing games are based on making choices with numbers, and having that affect the results. If you have no way to change the numbers, if they merely exist and that's it, you're just rolling dice, there's no strategy whatsoever. That's the difference between D&D and Yahtzee.

That's not to say there's not an element of chance in D&D, but if you have no way whatsoever of controlling the results of the rolls through choices you've made with your character, then you're just rolling dice.

#16 Posted by Iodine (542 posts) -

I didn't

...then I played Phantom Assassin in DotA2.

The trail of blood is soooo cool

#17 Posted by Dixavd (1305 posts) -

@brodehouse: I guess that makes sense. But I wasn't limiting this to just RPG's, just the idea in general (and the only term that fit happens to be mainly used in RPG's). I guess your saying that it is limited to genre then (one of my options I gave; though it may not be perfectly clear I'm not sure). How much of a degree does the player have to be able to change though? What if it was a dial in a game like an enemy-encounter rate: few critical hits, normal amount of critical hits, many critical hits? Does it have to be more of a game play choice than that: such as each weapon fits into a category of high, medium or low critical hit ratios? There the rate is a flat static number, every hit is basically a dice roll but the bias of the dice can be changed beforehand.

Critical hits aren't necessarily *totally random* though, are they? I guess it depends on the gameplay system. Usually a critical is just a perfect roll in a game that already has random rolls. Most of the time your chances go Standard Hit > Miss > Critical Hit.

Though it can be frustrating to have an enemy land a critical hit on your character (hello, XCOM) it keeps the tension very high in the game. I've never enjoyed 100% transparent systems - I shouldn't always know how much damage will happen to me/what I can survive, I should have 80-90% of that knowledge. I'll use XCOM as an example. If I have a squaddie with 6 health, and there is a little green man down the street who always does 4 damage, I'm not going to care too much about the risk. I know, no matter what happens, that my squaddie will live (lets' pretend there are no other aliens hiding down the street). If, however, I know the alien *usually* does 4 but there is a slight, slight chance they will hit with 5 or 6, the risk is suddenly much different. Now, if the alien misses, or hits me and doesn't critical, I'll actually feel lucky, or that I just barely got by, which is all in all a much more satisfying feeling than simple math domination.

Certainly it doesn't have to be totally random. Heck it doesn't need to be random at all (a little known fact is that it is very difficult to program true randomness due to how computers work - but that is off-topic); it could have a very specific set of parameters which mean a critical hit will or won't occur (I remember hearing that Xcom was going to/has a system whereby reloading to a previous save doesn't mean you can now re-take a turn and get a critical hit - I'm not certain though). What if the game has a very predictable way of doing critical hits but simply doesn't tell the player? Does the fact that you could google it and found out about it mean that you wouldn't enjoy it any more (even if the effort to calculate it is arduous so you couldn't realistically check every turn)? What about if it is in a real-time action game where attacks of animated? Do the misses have to animated in or is it OK to animate all hits the same but simply say "miss" or "critical hit"? I know it's not really a real-time game, but I found FFXII kind of odd for the first few hours as I could clearly see my characters swords going through the enemy but the game would still say "miss".

#18 Edited by Brodehouse (9581 posts) -

@dixavd: Alright I see where you're going. Getting away from role playing games, the base level of gameplay is input leading to feedback. And when it comes to the numbers, the only way to make them gameplay themselves is to allow input and give feedback. So yes, choosing a weapon and receiving different bonuses based on it is input and feedback. The choice was the input, the results are the feedback. This is how you build a gameplay loop where different choices (input) you've made in one form alters (feedback) the nature of further choices you make (input). As in, I gave myself X bonus, leading to Y feedback, so when I play, I do Z with my controller, which leads to me receiving B feedback, and on and on.

A character class may have static stats and bonuses, but the ability to choose makes it in some way gameplay... the ability to make these choices to greater degrees of specificity, and receive greater degrees of gradation, increases the depth of that gameplay. Kratos will always have the chain swords and the bow, but your input regarding XP changes the strategic benefit of either, changing your active combat behavior. Meanwhile, having a much larger range and specificity of input regarding stats in Fallout new Vegas allows for much larger range and specificity of feedback.

#19 Posted by thomasnash (539 posts) -

I've never been a fan of the "2% to crit" style of stat bonus in games. To me it just feels like you're saying "2% of your hits will be crits" so it feels like you're functionally just getting a DPS increase.

Yes I know that's stupid, and that you could give me the percentage probability of rolling a 20 and I'd probably suddenly find that less fun. Somehow it just makes it easier for me to think of it as a happening on a roll-by-roll basis when you tell me that a sword crits on 19-20 rolls.

#20 Posted by Fredchuckdave (5329 posts) -

@dixavd: Survive with 1 hp is a semi-rare mechanic that's mildly interesting. In modern games it's usually a super high tier ability that doesn't wind up being very useful, but in straight up DnD there's various savings throws that function along the same line; if it was more commonly implemented it would be quite solid. XCOM: Enemy Unknown would be much better with an improved 1 hp survival type mechanic for instance (as opposed to 25% chance to only be critically wounded or whatever it is).

#21 Posted by GERALTITUDE (2911 posts) -

@dixavd said:

What if the game has a very predictable way of doing critical hits but simply doesn't tell the player? Does the fact that you could google it and found out about it mean that you wouldn't enjoy it any more (even if the effort to calculate it is arduous so you couldn't realistically check every turn)?

I kind of know what you mean but I feel I need an example to really respond, but, in general I don't mind not knowing how critical hits work. If people figure it out on the internet and spec characters for it (like D2 builds) then that's cool, but I've never been a numbers or min/max kinda guy anyways. All I need to know about crits is whether they can happen or not, and some very loose context for when & how (unless crits were a tremendous advantage or if the game was so poorly put together you had to spec for crits).

What about if it is in a real-time action game where attacks of animated? Do the misses have to animated in or is it OK to animate all hits the same but simply say "miss" or "critical hit"? I know it's not really a real-time game, but I found FFXII kind of odd for the first few hours as I could clearly see my characters swords going through the enemy but the game would still say "miss".

Yeah FFXII is in many ways like cRPGs like Baldur's Gate or Dragon Age, the animations don't necessarily equal what is actually going on. As you said, these aren't really Real Time games, so I don't mind the animations not syncing up. Obviously it would be cool but imagine how hard that is to design (ex: rolls are determined mid-animation), especially when in FFXII you also have total control of the character movement. In a *true* real time game, like Demon's Souls, crits do need to be animated, but more importantly, they have to make physical sense. I should need to hit a weak point on an enemy, or strike them with a particular weapon, or during one of their attacks/spells, etc. I expect very different things from Real Time games and Math Based Games (for lack of a better word) though obviously math is at play in real time games too. In TBS or RPG games, the numbers need to help create randomness, in Real Time games, the randomness is inherent, and so the numbers can be more pure.

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#22 Posted by TobbRobb (4579 posts) -

It depends on what game and how it is implemented. My favorite comparison is League of Legends and DotA.

In DotA there are a lot of random elements, they add spice to the game and are a fun implementation that kind of works since there is so much other similarily unreliable stuff. And all random things are often exaggerated in some kind of ridiculous festival way. Like Phantom Assassin crazy bloodsplatter or Ogres ridiculous sound of slot wheels and explosions.

In League however they strived to create a reliable systems where you can always mathematically figure things out and pretty much be right. They got rid of evasion and other random things in favor of reliable solutions. Which makes crits in the game feel like a leftover from their earlier days and kind of spits in the face of the otherwise solid core thats been built up. On top of that crits don't even have any real satisying effect outside of seeing a healthbar disappear faster and some red text. It's just out of place.

And I could probably go on like this about crits in any other game, it's a very case by case specific thing. More often than not though, I enjoy a good crit.

#23 Posted by Dixavd (1305 posts) -

@geraltitude:

Part 1) Are you the kind of person who'd like to see a story/narrative explanation and a hint at its effects but not necessarily the full details; but you'd like a sophisticated system behind it you could look more up on to fully understand (it may require specific challenging areas of the game to incentivise them to try and figure out the key ways to use the mechanic properly). They could have a mechanic similar to critical hits but keep it as an implied but not outright explained ability. *Semi-linked to my response to @tobbrobb .*

Part 2) I'd personally like to see a game in real time try and design mechanics around the desperation of players in certain situation. Such as the character aiming for an enemies eyes or try to trip them up (or simply going for more gruesome attacks) the more damage they have. This would be a "critical hit"-like mechanic but with increasing chance the more desperate the character got. I think it could be possible by using the already well-thought-out stance-system where the character moves from one stance to another with certain abilities only in some stances (such as a defensive stance or a running stance or an attacking stance); instead it moves through stances of self confidence to desperation with the characters reliance on critical hits changing depending on their desperation.

@tobbrobb:

I don't really play any MOBA games so this might sound crazy to someone who played them, but I thought it would be interesting to have an evasion mechanic built into some moves. With my cursory view of those games it seems like some big attacks (and some normal attacks if you get a critical hit - I've only really seen League of Legends in practice for a long period of time) can almost wipe a person out who ends up without other options (especially if there is a large disparity between their level and the person attacking them). I think if there was a block/evade mechanic to limit the extra damage of a crit (at the cost of mana and/or perfect timing). That way critical hits wouldn't seem like they took away from the skill of the game (but then again I can't think of a good way of implimenting that which didn't feel like it took too long and without being a bland quick-time-event.

@thomasnash:

I'm in two minds about that. On one side, I want the game to be specific - don't waste my time with a mechanic I may never actively use by being ambiguous about it. It annoys me more in games when they name a concept, offer it as a choice but my understanding as to how effective it is at that ability is none-the-wiser. On the other hand, I'm totally with you that spelling it out plainly and purely mathematically can seriously ruin the effect it has on me to make me interested in the concept. It's probably a very hard thing for developers to draw the line between spelling it out too much and not giving enough information so that no one picks the option. It's probably even more difficult when the concept has a place in the story, mythology or narrative of the game. For instance, in Final Fantasy X, the special weapons unlocked through a string of side-quests, the celestial weapons, are specified as something special in the game (although not directly mentioned during the non-optional story) but go no further. They each have four abilities which technically you could customize onto a blank set of weapons if you wanted to (and arguably, more useful ones). Yet this was enough for me. What I didn't know until I checked was they actually are differentiated from a straight created gear by not only their title but also they ignore defense. I know some were annoyed by this (both the fact it isn't spelled out, but also because it is an ability they can't use if they make their own). That implied story significance was enough for me, but I'm unsure how you'd do that for a mechanic without it sounding annoyingly evasive.

@dixavd: Alright I see where you're going. Getting away from role playing games, the base level of gameplay is input leading to feedback. And when it comes to the numbers, the only way to make them gameplay themselves is to allow input and give feedback. So yes, choosing a weapon and receiving different bonuses based on it is input and feedback. The choice was the input, the results are the feedback. This is how you build a gameplay loop where different choices (input) you've made in one form alters (feedback) the nature of further choices you make (input). As in, I gave myself X bonus, leading to Y feedback, so when I play, I do Z with my controller, which leads to me receiving B feedback, and on and on.

A character class may have static stats and bonuses, but the ability to choose makes it in some way gameplay... the ability to make these choices to greater degrees of specificity, and receive greater degrees of gradation, increases the depth of that gameplay. Kratos will always have the chain swords and the bow, but your input regarding XP changes the strategic benefit of either, changing your active combat behavior. Meanwhile, having a much larger range and specificity of input regarding stats in Fallout new Vegas allows for much larger range and specificity of feedback.

I like that explanation. Though it does bring to mind the line between a rule and a game mechanic. Probably an interesting discussion in-and-of itself. I guess my last question for you is would you consider it a game mechanic if the critical-hit-ratio was tied to the land the player fought on. Take a Fire Emblem game of fighters on set squares of a map with differing terrain. If, for instance open plain had a high critical-hit-ratio (due to the good visibility) while a sandstorm might have a low chance of a critical hit (due to a lack of good visibility); would you think the choice for the player to be on a given space a big enough choice to make it a mechanic? From your pure definition I would say it would be but if enemy units are on specific set squares then the player not have an option to pick the spaces with the best critical-hit-ratio (or worst if they were on the defensive). Then again that brings up if a mechanic has to one all the time in a game... Challenge modes often limit a mechanic or player choice but some would still say the mechanic is at play but simply not used. Interesting.

@dixavd: Survive with 1 hp is a semi-rare mechanic that's mildly interesting. In modern games it's usually a super high tier ability that doesn't wind up being very useful, but in straight up DnD there's various savings throws that function along the same line; if it was more commonly implemented it would be quite solid. XCOM: Enemy Unknown would be much better with an improved 1 hp survival type mechanic for instance (as opposed to 25% chance to only be critically wounded or whatever it is).

When it comes to XCOM, I found it a little odd that if they had a med-kit thing, they wouldn't use it on themselves. There should have been an option to guarantee the critical status over death if they had a remaining health pack. Although that's probably more to do with me being very bad at strategy games and I was bad at figuring out how to deal with their item slots when I only had one or two med-kits to give them.

Thanks for the answers everyone, they've been great to think about so far. And also those who have done the poll; some pretty interesting responses.

#24 Edited by TobbRobb (4579 posts) -

@dixavd: I think crits definitely have a place in mobas, and they are pulled off very successfully in DotA, which for the record also has a chance based evasion mechanic on some characters or items. (Basically role the dice and see if the attack lands)

League however used to have evasion on some characters and on some runes, but decided it was too powerful and random without a decent counter, so it got outright removed from the game. Which just makes the leftover randomness in crits look so much more out of place, apparently randomly doing 2.5 times the damage on an attack is more reliable? I wouldn't mind seeing evasion return to the game in some form instead of changing crits, but at this point that is never gonna happen.

EDIT: Actually now that you mention it, there are very few characters that have passives or active spells in league that lets them either dodge or block an attack. It's far from the norm though and they are all cooldown or timing based, so no "luck" involved.

#25 Posted by believer258 (11629 posts) -

It's best if there's a way for a player to influence it. Completely random critical hits are pretty boring. However, in something like Shin Megami Tensei, you can raise your agility by casting Sukukaja four times and then hit somebody with a skill that usually causes a critical. Without Sukukaja, its chances of hitting are far slimmer. I think Lunge is one such skill in Nocturne. It doesn't always work, but you can raise the chances of it working.

In a real-time game it needs to be extremely reliable. If I shoot someone in the head in, say Borderlands, it should always be a critical. And it is.

#26 Posted by GERALTITUDE (2911 posts) -

@dixavd said:

@geraltitude:

Part 1) Are you the kind of person who'd like to see a story/narrative explanation and a hint at its effects but not necessarily the full details; but you'd like a sophisticated system behind it you could look more up on to fully understand (it may require specific challenging areas of the game to incentivise them to try and figure out the key ways to use the mechanic properly). They could have a mechanic similar to critical hits but keep it as an implied but not outright explained ability. *Semi-linked to my response to @tobbrobb .*

Part 2) I'd personally like to see a game in real time try and design mechanics around the desperation of players in certain situation. Such as the character aiming for an enemies eyes or try to trip them up (or simply going for more gruesome attacks) the more damage they have. This would be a "critical hit"-like mechanic but with increasing chance the more desperate the character got. I think it could be possible by using the already well-thought-out stance-system where the character moves from one stance to another with certain abilities only in some stances (such as a defensive stance or a running stance or an attacking stance); instead it moves through stances of self confidence to desperation with the characters reliance on critical hits changing depending on their desperation.

For Part 1 it definitely depends on how gamey the game itself is. For example! In a JRPG like FFVIII, I can just accept that sometimes the dice roll on my attack lands on the rarest number, and I do more damage, it doesn't need to be explained there (after all me and my team mates *are* just standing in a line taking turns fighting enemies :P). But in a Real Time game like Demon's Souls or Skyrim I do prefer a "World Explanation". This could be anything from "hitting the enemies weak point" to using a poisoned item and so on. In The Witcher 2, the more you defeat certain enemies, and the more books you read, and the more the organs you collect, the more damage you do to enemies. This is a pretty good middle ground of the JRPG - Real Time split I talked about. Ideally, like the Witcher 2, critical hits also make some "logical" world sense (ex: always attack the hard-shelled monster-thing from behind, or, make sure this enemy is exhausted before you attack it at all).

Part 2: Yes! Sounds awesome. I'm a fan of stance combat in general (again, see The Witcher). I had an idea for a game where stances were mechanically very different. For example, there is a Break stance and a Doom stance (lol, I know shut up about the names!) - in the Break stance, your attacks never kill an enemy, but you can wound them (making them run away) or disarm them, or damage their armour. This is a very defensive stance and so gives the player lots of protection. You can visualize the Break stance as a shield-bearer stance, someone always hiding behind a shield but also bashing with it. The Doom stance is a sort of monk's open-hand stance. The player has no weapon or armour with which to defend themselves, but if they counter (so *all* attacks are actually reactions, not actions) they can kill the enemy in a combo move with a few button presses. In Doom stance the player is extremely vulnerable, but extremely deadly. Because they must always attack after the enemy, they are always putting themselves in danger. This is more traditional that what you said about Confidence/Desperation but in a similar vein. If someone could combine Arkham Asylum group combat with Eternal Darkness enemy-body-part selection we'd have a system that could really equate body parts with critical hits/damage and that could be pretty cool/logical too.

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#27 Edited by Brodehouse (9581 posts) -

@dixavd said:

@brodehouse said:

@dixavd: Alright I see where you're going. Getting away from role playing games, the base level of gameplay is input leading to feedback. And when it comes to the numbers, the only way to make them gameplay themselves is to allow input and give feedback. So yes, choosing a weapon and receiving different bonuses based on it is input and feedback. The choice was the input, the results are the feedback. This is how you build a gameplay loop where different choices (input) you've made in one form alters (feedback) the nature of further choices you make (input). As in, I gave myself X bonus, leading to Y feedback, so when I play, I do Z with my controller, which leads to me receiving B feedback, and on and on.

A character class may have static stats and bonuses, but the ability to choose makes it in some way gameplay... the ability to make these choices to greater degrees of specificity, and receive greater degrees of gradation, increases the depth of that gameplay. Kratos will always have the chain swords and the bow, but your input regarding XP changes the strategic benefit of either, changing your active combat behavior. Meanwhile, having a much larger range and specificity of input regarding stats in Fallout new Vegas allows for much larger range and specificity of feedback.

I like that explanation. Though it does bring to mind the line between a rule and a game mechanic. Probably an interesting discussion in-and-of itself. I guess my last question for you is would you consider it a game mechanic if the critical-hit-ratio was tied to the land the player fought on. Take a Fire Emblem game of fighters on set squares of a map with differing terrain. If, for instance open plain had a high critical-hit-ratio (due to the good visibility) while a sandstorm might have a low chance of a critical hit (due to a lack of good visibility); would you think the choice for the player to be on a given space a big enough choice to make it a mechanic? From your pure definition I would say it would be but if enemy units are on specific set squares then the player not have an option to pick the spaces with the best critical-hit-ratio (or worst if they were on the defensive). Then again that brings up if a mechanic has to one all the time in a game... Challenge modes often limit a mechanic or player choice but some would still say the mechanic is at play but simply not used. Interesting.

Absolutely that would be a gameplay mechanic, one that exists in a lot of places; area control. There are things such as that in D&D and other grid-based RPGs, you can look at terrain bonuses in Civ and how they completely affect how a player might arrange his military units, even where they build their cities. You can break it down even more and look at how multiplayer shooters that feature spawning weapons, how map design in those eventually becomes about area control; you want to control the areas and the avenues where the best weapons spawn in. There was also Shootmania, which took the idea of area control all the way to the end and literally had your weapon change in functionality based on where you were standing.

Even then, if you want to see a deeper layer of complexity, think of it this way; if you built a character in a traditional D&D sense, and you focused on trying to increase your critical chance and your bonus damage from it... how would that affect how you approach situations? Would you try to handle encounters in a one-on-one nature or would you act as a support agent to others? What situations would having a high critical boost be especially advantageous, what situations would it be neutralized or less effective? What, if anything, does your character give up in order to be better at criticals? Are there other benefits that this works in synergy with?

#28 Posted by buft (3301 posts) -

i like it when characters have a base crit that they can improve by speccing into for increased chance and extra effectiveness but when it comes at the cost of other elements such as being less robust, reduced move speed or even lower base damage, so that a character capable of really big crits or additional crits has some balance in a game be it the difficulty in getting in range or that while damage is consistent across characters a crit character can get lucky rolls and take down an enemy faster but if you are unlucky you leave yourself vulnerable to the more consistent base attacks of the enemy.

#29 Posted by schreiberty (204 posts) -

As long as the game spells out their probability im fine with critical hits. Or if they do it borderlands style with a weak point and just call it crits, because basically any game that has headshots has crits.

#30 Posted by EarlessShrimp (1631 posts) -

I love when crits have a really satisfying accompanying visual and audio queues.

Exhibit A: The crocket

I will say, TF2 is the ONLY game where I dislike random crits. Otherwise, I like random-ish crits. for example, when you play an RPG and you spec your character to get crits more often. That kinda shit I dig. But man, TF2 random Crits are whack. Using a Kritzkreig is legit, or a crit-a-cola... or whatever other weapon they jazzed up that game with.

#31 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

@earlessshrimp:

I can understand the argument against random crits but I enjoy them in that game. Adds an unpredictable element where even a newbie can be dangerous.

#32 Posted by TobbRobb (4579 posts) -

@ravenlight: Which is exactly why I don't like the random crits in TF2. Or well, used to not like them, in the days of old before hats... That game is so fucked with the balance and variation now that another random element doesn't affect it in the least.

But yes, the effect when critting is FUCKING AWESOME! AND SO ARE ALL THE INSANE HATS!

Man TF2 is a real different beast now when compared to release. XD

#33 Posted by FancySoapsMan (5806 posts) -

Yeah, as long as it doesn't completely throw off the balance of the game.

Somewhat off-topic, but what I really hate is when games with random battles occasionally put you at a disadvantage. Like when the enemy somehow attacks you from behind and gets to go before you.

What kind of sense does that make?

#34 Posted by OhmanIloveOman (6 posts) -

I remember in pokemon a critical hit was always welcome, except when I was trying to catch a pokemon and a critical hit would suddenly kill it when a normal hit would have just got its health really low

#35 Posted by EarlessShrimp (1631 posts) -

@ravenlight: I never actually thought of it that way. When you think of it like that, it does add a lot of balance to the game. Also, I don't know if it's still the case, but I think the frequency of random crits went up the better you were doing in game as well. That's not a bad way of rewarding good play. I seem to remember getting a few frequent spurts of crits for a rocket launcher. Man... why did I stop playing that game?

#36 Posted by TobbRobb (4579 posts) -

@fancysoapsman: It's just to mix things up a bit, random encounters are bad enough on their own, so they at least need to be different as often as possible to make up for it. I can't remember any games where a situation like that was a real problem, so it hasn't really bothered me. I could see it being frustrating when having a hard time with a game though.

#37 Posted by Veektarius (4585 posts) -

To me, a critical hit is a way to do one of two things:

1) It is a different way of portraying genre conventions for additional damage: e.g. hitting the right spot in Borderlands or targeting an elemental enemy with its opposite element in a JRPG.

2) It is a way of using randomness to accelerate the rate at which you complete a section of enemies who take multiple hits to kill: e.g. the average enemy takes three hits to kill but a lucky swing takes one down in one swing, making you feel extra powerful particularly if the likelihood goes up as you proceed through the game.

Ways to use crits I don't like:

1) Old school RPGs where you can die in an unreasonably low number of hits but the game isn't designed for it. e.g. technically you can get through Baldur's Gate while letting characters die, but almost no one does. They just constantly reload. However, in X-com, it's a fact of life you can live with (potentially). This is particularly a problem when the chance to hit is itself random, so not only can you be fucked by the enemy getting a hit it shouldn't have, but it can get a deadly hit when it only had a 10% chance.

2) As an alternative to straight DPS: e.g. any game that asks you to make a choice between a critical hit and hitting harder for your average attacks. This is an unnecessary complication that makes games too math-y.

#38 Edited by Gamer_152 (14051 posts) -

The hidden crit stats thing is it's own weird area, but the reason why games have critical hits is basically the same reason they have random rewards full stop. If you give a player a reward randomly instead of as part of a predictable pattern, it seems more special, and I do think it makes crits feel much cooler because they happen randomly rather than just because you have the right item or the right stats. Of course, like all mechanics, you can implement crits poorly, but at their core I'm fully behind them.

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