@slag: I was actually thinking of writing about my need to hoard consumables in games, and how breaking myself of that habit has improved my gameplaying experience. I decided to go with what I wrote instead. I treat mana as a resource as well, so I tend to hoard it for bosses, but the damage potential per attack is usually so high that I feel like I can wipe a boss before its game ending attack can come out. I also tend to do research and reading about a game before I really start playing, so I enter the game with an understanding of what is available and what is possible. I used to be a big strategy guide user. I used to hate playing fighters because they don't have many options as far as attacks go and I really prize synergy. Straight forward characters don't tend to synergize in interesting ways since they kinda just do their thing.
I bet it has, I don't think games were meant to be played that way (hoarding) yet I think a lot us do it. I think the way we have done it ruins the intended difficulty balance. I recently played through the Witcher on the hardest difficulty and made frequent use of alchemy. It was pretty freeing. I doubt I would have enjoyed the game as much if I didn't use the alchemy system. Old habits are hard to break though, especially since I know the old way is effective.
Strategy guides and pre-play research, boy I don't envy that habit of yours. I don't think I'd enjoy doing it the way you do, that would take the fun out of solving the combat puzzle etc the out of the equation which is arguably my favorite part of games. I was lucky in that when I started gaming guides were expensive, so it made it easy to resist that temptation. Today's it the toughest it's ever been, given that it's an ALT+TAB button press away.
What I'll usually do is play a session, then the next day if I'm worried about missables glance through a guide for the section I just played to see if I missed anything. If I did then decide whether or not to replay it. Other than that the only thing I let myself look for beforehand is whether or not the game has missables or not. If it doesn't I don't consult the guide again until the game is over or I'm really really stuck. I don't like to do second playthroughs immediately after the first very often.
But I really try to limit my use of them.
As for team synergy, I never construct my teams that way or view it that way. I usually made them more hero centric. 1-3 primary damage dealers (dependent on party size), everyone else is there to basically keep the heavy hitters alive whether it be via aggro, buffs or healing. The way you do it sounds interesting, I'll have to try your way sometime. I guess if our parties constructions were bands, yours would be more like U2 (equal billing) and mine like Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (headliner + a band).
fwiw thinking about this a bit more, I think I know which game made me play the way I do. I think it was Dragon Warrior (Dragon Quest). I played that when I was pretty young and I remember getting slaughtered by the Dragon Lord repeatedly (not to mention the issue of infamous difficulty spikes once you ever crossed any bridge on the overworld) until I just grinded for what seemed like forever and managed to finally best him.
Is there any gaming experience you can think of that made you play the way you do?