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Kakugo

Dragon Excursion XI

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It seems my fears that making the enemies roam around without a care in the world will make this less of an adventure and more of an excursion, and I have to vent this feeling somewhere.

Getting in an underground cave or haunted castle used to give a sense of threat beyond the decorators' ability, because enemies where lurking in the dark and could grab you by the neck at ANY minute so your team had to be in tip top shape and make sure you have the healing items and your healer has the MP required for this demand. And because how many times enemies would harass you was an unknown factor you had to make sure that you're maximizing the effectiveness of your healing, so using 3 MP to heal 15 HP wasn't as efficient as healing 30 HP unless of course the max HP of that character was in the range of 20-25 which in that case you had no options unless you wanted to take a risk. 

Meanwhile, here comes the "modern" Dragon Quest game kneeling down to the demands of the consumer who hates being interrupted and threatened as he walks through a naturally threatening area for the first time, such as the examples of the cave and the castle. So we have enemies roaming around, which is cool if the enemies somehow retain that feelings of threat. Games that have roaming enemies that make you go "oh no he's coming for me get off me bro get off me aaaaahhh" are the SaGa games (at least SaGa frontier and Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song, and the Last Remnant - which I consider a SaGa game mechanically). There are also games such as The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel where you can hit that sprint button and run faster than any enemy can run, no matter where you are, which results in lessening the impact of the roaming enemies to you.

So this rant isn't about lamenting the design choice of leaving random encounters behind in favor of roaming enemies, but it's about leaving the feeling that death can lurk in the next corner while going through unknown territories. You can have roaming enemies behaving in ways that enriches the menacing feeling of the enemy territory, and roaming ones that you can just stick your tongue out and laugh as you outrun them. And I'm sad that the latter part is the default. It makes it feel like I went for a trip down the mall and not for an adventure in the great unknown where threat lurks at every corner.

 

Edit: As many already mentioned, there are many factors that influence that feeling of tense atmosphere. The strength of the enemy monsters is one of them. No point to have monsters that can catch up to you if they eventually do 1 point of damage for each of their attack, right? There's also the factor of save point. Being able to save anywhere is a safety net that adds security and calms your nerves knowing that wiping on the next battle will just result in absurdly minimal loss compared to how it was with fixed save points. By the way, the edit is about JRPG's in general and not DQ XI specific, I don't even know if XI has autosave or save anywhere or how strong the enemies are.

Edited by Shogil
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It also makes boss battles much much harder for those who avoid battles on purpose.

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2 hours ago, Shogil said:

So this rant isn't about lamenting the design choice of leaving random encounters behind in favor of roaming enemies, but it's about leaving the feeling that death can lurk in the next corner while going through unknown territories. You can have roaming enemies behaving in ways that enriches the menacing feeling of the enemy territory, and roaming ones that you can just stick your tongue out and laugh as you outrun them. And I'm sad that the latter part is the default. It makes it feel like I went for a trip down the mall and not for an adventure in the great unknown where threat lurks at every corner.

Yeeees. I feel like you are spot on in your entire post. It's an issue for most turn based games without random encounters.

I can get the need to have enemies visible in the field, as it feels less archaic and intrusive to people, and makes the game less of a hard sell. But the downside is definitely a lack of the threat of exploring unknown areas which has always been a huge part of Dragon Quest to me (though mostly on the NES games, and again in some parts of DQ8).
I still don't have DQ11, and I never played the 3DS version of DQ8. But in DQ9 and the 3DS version of DQ7 it's definitely a huge issue to me. You don't have to fight any battles unless you really want to, and it feels like all combat only exists because you, the player, feels like "let's go fight this one". It's much less of a video game, and definitely less of an adventure, as you excellently stated it.

 

I feel like you could easily mix it up quite well. Even if you don't have random enouncters, give the enemies more varied behaviors on the dungeon/overworld areas, and make the player actively try to escape if they don't want to fight, with some enemies being nearly impossible to avoid. Make it like a random encounter, except with a visible warning. Even something like what Zelda 2 did would be much easier to sell than purely random encounters. There are definitely good examples out there of roaming enemies that pose more of a threat. It's been a while since I played it, but I don't remember having an issue with them in the Lunar games.

Edited by Sumez
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4 hours ago, Shogil said:

It seems my fears that making the enemies roam around without a care in the world will make this less of an adventure and more of an excursion, and I have to vent this feeling somewhere.

Getting in an underground cave or haunted castle used to give a sense of threat beyond the decorators' ability, because enemies where lurking in the dark and could grab you by the neck at ANY minute so your team had to be in tip top shape and make sure you have the healing items and your healer has the MP required for this demand. And because how many times enemies would harass you was an unknown factor you had to make sure that you're maximizing the effectiveness of your healing, so using 3 MP to heal 15 HP wasn't as efficient as healing 30 HP unless of course the max HP of that character was in the range of 20-25 which in that case you had no options unless you wanted to take a risk. 

Meanwhile, here comes the "modern" Dragon Quest game kneeling down to the demands of the consumer who hates being interrupted and threatened as he walks through a naturally threatening area for the first time, such as the examples of the cave and the castle. So we have enemies roaming around, which is cool if the enemies somehow retain that feelings of threat. Games that have roaming enemies that make you go "oh no he's coming for me get off me bro get off me aaaaahhh" are the SaGa games (at least SaGa frontier and Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song, and the Last Remnant - which I consider a SaGa game mechanically). There are also games such as The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel where you can hit that sprint button and run faster than any enemy can run, no matter where you are, which results in lessening the impact of the roaming enemies to you.

So this rant isn't about lamenting the design choice of leaving random encounters behind in favor of roaming enemies, but it's about leaving the feeling that death can lurk in the next corner while going through unknown territories. You can have roaming enemies behaving in ways that enriches the menacing feeling of the enemy territory, and roaming ones that you can just stick your tongue out and laugh as you outrun them. And I'm sad that the latter part is the default. It makes it feel like I went for a trip down the mall and not for an adventure in the great unknown where threat lurks at every corner.

Best description I’ve read that explains how I feel. That unknown of random encounters is a feeling I absolutely love and love to hate about my favorite games. Couldn’t they have easily implemented an option to toggle on and off the visible enemies? That would have made this game appeal to the new AND the old DQ gamers. I would toggle those enemies off ASAP so I can enjoy the landscapes and be on the edge of my seat more. 

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That would be a cool option to have in future games, the ability to enable random encounters. Or have a hybrid (maybe a sliding scale 0% to 100% random), have some visible wandering monsters, but then also have some randoms, and the randoms would get first strike? 

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6 hours ago, ignasia said:

It also makes boss battles much much harder for those who avoid battles on purpose.

I don't remember which review said that the game is hard and they had to wipe on bosses multiple times (probably the IGN one), but my first reaction was "are you by any chance allergic to combat?" 😂

Edited by Shogil

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2 hours ago, curtneedsaride said:

Couldn’t they have easily implemented an option to toggle on and off the visible enemies? That would have made this game appeal to the new AND the old DQ gamers. I would toggle those enemies off ASAP so I can enjoy the landscapes and be on the edge of my seat more. 

I'm a big opponent of trying to solve game design dilemmas with user options.

I bought your game, I want to play the game you made. I don't want some unfinished mess where you couldn't figure out how to solve an issue, so you made me decide instead.
I know you can argue that just having options never hurts anyone, since you can always go either way - but personally I'm a big fan of game design, and I want to play the game that the designers envisioned. Giving options like this is the easy way out, and lets the designers avoid actually fixing the issue at hand. As both @Shogil and I pointed out, you can absolutely do roaming monsters in a way that still makes them a threat, and adds to the danger of exploring an area.

I feel the same way about the stat enhancing items from pre-ordering the game. Yes, I know, I can just opt not to use them, and that's what I plan on. But how can you make me believe that you even put any work into balancing the leveling and enemy strengths throughout the game if you also allow me to just completely break that balance right from the beginning of the game?

I'm a fan of random encounters, but I can totally see why other people aren't, and I don't think DQXI strictly needs it.

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1 hour ago, Woodus said:

That would be a cool option to have in future games, the ability to enable random encounters. Or have a hybrid (maybe a sliding scale 0% to 100% random), have some visible wandering monsters, but then also have some randoms, and the randoms would get first strike? 

A random encounter rate scale worked in the Bravely games on 3DS (Default and Second). Second had a few areas where it was disabled, but those were optional areas that were purposely meant to challenge the player.

Why more RPGs haven’t had this is beyond me. Much like why more RPGs don’t adopt the idea Earthbound had where, if you enter a battle with much weaker enemies than yourself, you automatically win the fight.

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8 minutes ago, YangustheLegendaryBandit said:

Much like why more RPGs don’t adopt the idea Earthbound had where, if you enter a battle with much weaker enemies than yourself, you automatically win the fight.

Yesss! There's at least a few other games out there who did that. I recall one where I didn't understand why I just won the battles until I finally figured out what was going on. Maybe someone else can remember what it might have been?

If you are set on doing random encounters but still want to soften the blow, I think Etrian Odyssey is a good model. It can have pretty tough encounter rates at times, but the colored warning signal makes it clear when you should expect a possible encounter on your next step, and when you are in the clear. It functionally works the same at almost every other game with random encounters, but to the player it feels much less intrusive.
I don't like the idea of setting the encounter rate manually (see my post above!), but I like the idea of being able to affect it via in-game methods, such as the spells and items you get in the Dragon Quest games. They have the added effect of often being less effective in areas where you are underleveled and the game still feels it should punish you :P 

Edited by Sumez

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An encounter rate meter like Atlus implements in certain Shin Megami Tensei games and the Etrian games could be an option. That way you know how close an encounter is coming so you can prepare for it by healing or getting out of a dungeon of your health and the like is low.

Mario & Luigi games do encounters alright as well. Will visible, if you can get the first attack in (via jumping on them or smacking them with your hammer) you deal damage at the start. Depending on the game it either effects all enemies or just one, but whatever the case it can outright kill weak enemies or at least do a good amount of damage as you enter a fight. DQ11 does have this, but more visible encounters games could benefit from the first strike idea.

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19 minutes ago, Sumez said:

I'm a big opponent of trying to solve game design dilemmas with user options.

I bought your game, I want to play the game you made. I don't want some unfinished mess where you couldn't figure out how to solve an issue, so you made me decide instead.
I know you can argue that just having options never hurts anyone, since you can always go either way - but personally I'm a big fan of game design, and I want to play the game that the designers envisioned. Giving options like this is the easy way out, and lets the designers avoid actually fixing the issue at hand. As both @Shogil and I pointed out, you can absolutely do roaming monsters in a way that still makes them a threat, and adds to the danger of exploring an area.

I feel the same way about the stat enhancing items from pre-ordering the game. Yes, I know, I can just opt not to use them, and that's what I plan on. But how can you make me believe that you even put any work into balancing the leveling and enemy strengths throughout the game if you also allow me to just completely break that balance right from the beginning of the game?

I'm a fan of random encounters, but I can totally see why other people aren't, and I don't think DQXI strictly needs it.

I agree with basically everything you just said, it’s all on point, with the caveat that I do think an example of options added into the game that might betray the developers vision for the sake of accessibility that I think is fine is difficulty settings. Lots of people are against Easy Modes, particularly for games that are designed to be hard, but I don’t see any issue in having them so that more people can experience them.

Also, I hate when games come out and they’re piles of crap, and after months of patches and updates and changes, they suddenly become “good.” You only get one first impression, sorry, but I don’t have time to go back and play For Honor or No Man’s Sky any of these other games that’ve been patched to be better. I can respect that they did it (For Honor even gave it away for free recently right?), but that doesn’t mean I should congratulate them, or in the cases of online discourse, they shouldn’t alter reviews to account for the changes.

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40 minutes ago, eal said:

I do think an example of options added into the game that might betray the developers vision for the sake of accessibility that I think is fine is difficulty settings. Lots of people are against Easy Modes, particularly for games that are designed to be hard, but I don’t see any issue in having them so that more people can experience them.

I'm kind of torn on difficulty options.

I like them for the same reason you say, but I really want them to be obvious about what they are, and don't give too many options. Like, if the designers made a game to be hard, then call that the normal mode, and make sure the player knows it is hard, and they have the option of an easy mode to get a simpler experience. And if you want a harder mode available, make that into some kind of challenge mode (such as the ones you can enable for DQ11) where you don't just increase damage outputs or whatever, but make it obvious how the game is made more challenging.

I think a series like the Etrian Odyssey is approaching dangerous territory where I really don't know if I'm supposed to select "normal" or "hard" when I play the new games, because what I love about the games is the challenge they pose, but I don't know if they added more options so that "normal" wouldn't be as off-putting to newcomers, or if picking "hard" will just give me a too hard time that I'm unable to enjoy.

Radiant Historia is absolutely horrible about this, giving you a bunch of different options for how the game will play before you even start it, and there is no way a new player picking up the game will have any idea what the "correct" option to pick is.

It's rare, and I wouldn't expect it from any developers, but ideally, I love "difficulty settings" that is organically integrated into the game design. A great example is the recent Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon game, where the difficulty depends on who you join along the way. Bring all three companions for a super easy time where you'll rarely lose a life. Or kill all of them to play completely solo, with a single life bar and the lack of their individual skills. Or just ignore them altogether for the "true game" with no upgrades to the main character either.
This also works because it's a game that's short enough that you are expected to play it through multiple times and challenge yourself further. It's harder for an RPG to do of course.

Edited by Sumez

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2 minutes ago, Sumez said:

I'm kind of torn on difficulty options.

I like them for the same reason you say, but I really want them to be obvious about what they are, and don't give too many options. Like, if the designers made a game to be hard, then call that the normal mode, and make sure the player knows it is hard, and they have the option of an easy mode to get a simpler experience. And if you want a harder mode available, make that into some kind of challenge mode (such as the ones you can enable for DQ11) where you don't just increase damage outputs or whatever, but make it obvious how the game is made more challenging.

I think a series like the Etrian Odyssey is approaching dangerous territory where I really don't know if I'm supposed to select "normal" or "hard" when I play the new games, because what I love about the games is the challenge they pose, but I don't know if they added more options so that "normal" wouldn't be as off-putting to newcomers, or if picking "hard" will just give me a too hard time that I'm unable to enjoy.

Radiant Historia is absolutely horrible about this, giving you a bunch of different options for how the game will play before you even start it, and there is no way a new player picking up the game will have any idea what the "correct" option to pick is.

It's rare, and I wouldn't expect it from any developers, but ideally, I love "difficulty settings" that is organically integrated into the game design. A great example is the recent Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon game, where the difficulty depends on who you join along the way. Bring all three companions for a super easy time where you'll rarely lose a life. Or kill all of them to play completely solo, with a single life bar and the lack of their individual skills. Or just ignore them altogether for the "true game" with no upgrades to the main character either.
This also works because it's a game that's short enough that you are expected to play it through multiple times and challenge yourself further. It's harder for an RPG to do of course.

Sonic Heroes sucked ass but one interesting thing about it’s difficulty settings is that they didn’t outright tell you what they were, you’d go to the character select screen and you’d know the difficulty based on the team up picked. Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles we’re naturally the Normal mode, but the easiest was full of lame nobodies like Big the Cat, Amy, and Cream and the hardest difficulty features the “cool” edgelords Shadow, Rouge, and that big robot. So difficulty was sort of like “lamest to coolest.” It was an incentive to get better at the game.

The new Fire Emblem games have interesting difficulty options too. If I recall, you can pick the difficulty, followed by whether or not you wanted perma-death implemented.

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I am seeing a ton of text but my apologies for calling all of you out...where's the beef?

No remotely well proportioned or reasoned out thoughts beyond: random encounter button.

Lumping each on screen system as identical while disregarding distinct elements within 11, 9, 7 3ds, and even 8 3ds, is rather insulting simply because you dislike the general system in the aggregate.  For instance in 7 it creates its own tension because you cannot skirt around a lot of monsters, they often spot from far away, have a 180 degree view field, most run within 80 -100% your running speed and always begin at a full charge.  For someone trying to avoid battles I find this far more stressful than the original step counter in a more manageable way.  In 8 a lot more monsters spawn.  They are only faster than the party when turning but otherwise all run 90% of the party running speed at full charge and there is a grace period and the ability to reduce spawns.  However due to clutter and running about 120% the party speed on a curve if I am actively avoiding it does feel tense.  A different form of tension than with random encounters but it is there if you choose to engage with it...it took me some time playing dq9 to realize this myself as I shared the same sentiment, but it is tension in the opposing field of thought to the type of tension random creates.  Plus the added tension of wondering whether I avoided too many (lesser issue in dq7 than 8 or 9), and if I can handle the boss.  I have run into rougher than normal boss battle s as a result.  Level 18-20 verses the swordsman labyrinth boss versus my usual 25-30 from...not grinding but just killing while exploring the maps, killing all notorious monsters, and doing a bit of alchemy the ps2 way (shave off 1 level for alchemy for an accurate picture).  It actually makes DQs harder in the aggregate by offering more ways to consider playing.

Plus the added tension of some plopped right in front of the party to try to force a battle if too many were avoided earlier.

Also...earthbound's auto kill sounds nice but that game lacks stealing...would have to force some random element where 1/ number of skills = steal roll chance to be fair...still would take away from the fun of both pounding easy monsters into the dust with a fully charged attack or the fun of actively stealing and raping them of items directly.  I actually dislike the EB system the more I give it a full shake and consideration.  Though in EB itself it is more necessary as all battles are truly slothful.  Dq takes half the time FF battles take on average without spending time pumping up characters or dumping down foes or stealing...whatever.

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4 hours ago, Sumez said:

I feel the same way about the stat enhancing items from pre-ordering the game. Yes, I know, I can just opt not to use them, and that's what I plan on. But how can you make me believe that you even put any work into balancing the leveling and enemy strengths throughout the game if you also allow me to just completely break that balance right from the beginning of the game?

+1 it's like "here's our sophisticated designed game, and here are some seeds to feel empowered about being the protagonist".

Ignasia made a well thought out post. Tension doesn't stem from just how often you encounter enemies, it also relies on the quality of the enemies in relation to your party. For example, you can have a deep dungeon holding just a torch that lights up a small area around you, but with the enemies dealing 1 damage to your 50 HP pool and you needing 1-2 hits to kill them... ehhh.

Which makes me question the aggressive push of JRPG's to the feeling of being an overpowered talented protagonist over a warrior who has to earn his strength through combat experience. Not even Dragon Quest 3 did that.

Edited by Shogil
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30 minutes ago, ignasia said:

...where's the beef?

 

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3 hours ago, Shogil said:

+1 it's like "here's our sophisticated designed game, and here are some seeds to feel empowered about being the protagonist".

Ignasia made a well thought out post. Tension doesn't stem from just how often you encounter enemies, it also relies on the quality of the enemies in relation to your party. For example, you can have a deep dungeon holding just a torch that lights up a small area around you, but with the enemies dealing 1 damage to your 50 HP pool and you needing 1-2 hits to kill them... ehhh.

Which makes me question the aggressive push of JRPG's to the feeling of being an overpowered talented protagonist over a warrior who has to earn his strength through combat experience. Not even Dragon Quest 3 did that.

Not actually what I was thinking, but damn dude, that's a really good tangent to extrapolate from my post.  I wish I had thought of it.  That is another whole avenue of thought that actually works well for both systems, just in different dimensions.

It is odd though, that they've lacked for the option, given it wouldn't be hard to implement, even given DQ11 has fixed enemy locations (unlike 7/8 3DS and 9's random spawns).  I wonder if it has to do with the complex spawn system of DQ in general...or they just never thought about it.  Like in Tales, FF, Persona, etc. there are absolute fixed enemy groups of different types, and they trigger each based on the usual "RNG" list and an algorithm that scrolls through it line by line.  Whereas in DQ, and a bare handful of other games, it's a base monster and a chance for other monsters to join based on said base monster.  For anyone that looked into Sk8rpunq and Paulygon's code hacking work, especially sk8r's, just for DQ3, and knowing it's the same for all of them...it's fairly complex and is designed for certain enemies to spawn in like fixed FF parties (like 4 Beak enemies in 3 for example, as it's a near 100% rate for Blue Beak 1 to spawn in Blue Beak 2, and a near 100% rate for Blue Beak 2 to spawn in Blue Beak 3, and likewise for 4, but a 0% for a 5th, and like  a 10% for a 5th of another enemy type).

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1 hour ago, ignasia said:

Not actually what I was thinking, but damn dude, that's a really good tangent to extrapolate from my post.  I wish I had thought of it.  That is another whole avenue of thought that actually works well for both systems, just in different dimensions.

It is odd though, that they've lacked for the option, given it wouldn't be hard to implement, even given DQ11 has fixed enemy locations (unlike 7/8 3DS and 9's random spawns).  I wonder if it has to do with the complex spawn system of DQ in general...or they just never thought about it.  Like in Tales, FF, Persona, etc. there are absolute fixed enemy groups of different types, and they trigger each based on the usual "RNG" list and an algorithm that scrolls through it line by line.  Whereas in DQ, and a bare handful of other games, it's a base monster and a chance for other monsters to join based on said base monster.  For anyone that looked into Sk8rpunq and Paulygon's code hacking work, especially sk8r's, just for DQ3, and knowing it's the same for all of them...it's fairly complex and is designed for certain enemies to spawn in like fixed FF parties (like 4 Beak enemies in 3 for example, as it's a near 100% rate for Blue Beak 1 to spawn in Blue Beak 2, and a near 100% rate for Blue Beak 2 to spawn in Blue Beak 3, and likewise for 4, but a 0% for a 5th, and like  a 10% for a 5th of another enemy type).

Cheers for the name drops, I wasn't aware of Sk8rpunq and Paulygon. Where can I find their work on DQ3?

Fixed spawns is also what The Legend of Heroes games have and there's a healthy diversity of monsters per group. For example, you could attack the same monster 5 times by saving the game next to it and reload and you'll get slightly different groups. The only monster you'd be sure to find as a majority was the one that was representing the monster group.

Edited by Shogil

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Gamefaqs dw3 gbc forums.  Sk8r put the bulk of his work into his faqs there.

I would link but on a phone with no option to paste.

Edited by ignasia

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I assumed some monsters would chase after you, or there would be obstacles making it impossible to "run" from some of them because of tight spaces - especially in a cave/castle/etc. Is this not true?

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3 hours ago, Gagarin said:

I assumed some monsters would chase after you, or there would be obstacles making it impossible to "run" from some of them because of tight spaces - especially in a cave/castle/etc. Is this not true?

Correct.  Also obstacles that you can run into or run your pursuers into.

At a certain level (and in 7 immediately after clearing an island) they run away.

9s monsters have more range in running speed and patterns.  Some rush in a straight line at really fast speeds (9 if I recall is about 150% party run speed, 7 seems about 130%).  Most navigate terrain following behind (9 is 90%~50% walking speed, 7 is 100% 80% 50% 30% or 1%). 9 has a third unique pattern but I forget what it is. 7 has monsters that just stay in place forever once they spot the party.  These can be an issue if other mobs pop up around it making it hard to avoid confrontation.

8 is simple.  Everything chases at one speed.  Maybe there are degrees but I haven't noticed anything.  When your level is too high they may run, stay in place, or chase.  Get a bit higher and they run more often but even at 99 slimes in farebury still give chase.  Dq8 also goes for sheer spawn numbers.  Probably because world and dungeon environs are so large and it takes player effort to get stuck.

9 and 7 have much narrower halls . Thankfully a lot of mid and late game 7 maps have wider to very wide halls and rooms...you can tell based on this roughly when the spawn system was changed to onscreen enemies and which dungeons were made after the fact to accommodate as they are larger compared to there original versions while others are direct rips dimensionally.  Like the volcano is nearly dimensionally identical to the psx, but the lighthouse is nearly 2/3rds larger spacially and is easy to avoid any encounter as a result.

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On 8/31/2018 at 7:23 PM, ignasia said:

No remotely well proportioned or reasoned out thoughts beyond: random encounter button.

Actually the thread is full of reasoned thoughts explaining exactly the issue at hand, and specifically underlining that random encounters isn't the only other option. :)
 

On 8/31/2018 at 7:23 PM, ignasia said:

For instance in 7 it creates its own tension because you cannot skirt around a lot of monsters, they often spot from far away, have a 180 degree view field, most run within 80 -100% your running speed and always begin at a full charge.

No, in 7 you only have to fight monsters if they show up in a tight passage. You can move anywhere you want most places without ever fighting a battle. Especially the world map is completely 100% free of threats. I've only played the 3DS version, and exactly this aspect made me regret that.
 

On 8/31/2018 at 7:34 PM, Shogil said:

an overpowered talented protagonist over a warrior who has to earn his strength through combat experience.

I really like this perspective. It's my favourite aspect of my favourite Dragon Quest games. And the ones I don't like as much... don't really have that.

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I'd like to see DQ go for visibile encounters on the world map, but randoms inside dungeons/towers. I think that's a nice compromise.

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https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1504123106 (early game spoilers, I'm level 10)

So much for the "excursion". I find myself evading enemies to survive because they hit like trucks and they don't give exp.

Edited by Shogil

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The more I dive into the game the more I miss random encounters. I was into a cave that had a giant troll but my MP was low so I chose not to fight it. The power of choice lessens the sense of threat that can potentially lurk in the next corner and I'm sad everyone pretends that it doesn't water down the dungeon crawling experience.

Even a cave filled with spider webs felt more like a restaurant I walk in to see what's on the menu and not like a dark alley where criminals can lurk. It's like, you walk into dark alleys and choose not to engage the knife-wielding thugs. That's unrealistic and disgusting, just avoid the alley. But hooray, the power of collective whining making thugs optional. And people will even cherry-pick games with absurdly and agreed upon high encounter rate to prove how the entirety of the system is bad, in the form of "I hated having to fight every two steps I'm taking so roaming enemies are great". No, the encounter rate was too damn high in that game, that's not good enough to absolve the whole system altogether. Bravely Default even let you choose your encounter rate which is also a bad deal because the designer will always assume a certain amount of battles to balance the boss area around anyways. 

One of the arguments against random encounters is "well, if I don't engage the thugs I'll end up being of lower level" and the solution is to make mandatory fights harder. No, that's not how it works and here's why: The game designer of a random encounter system had to make an educated assumption based on the area's encounter rate. But to assume what? Your amount of finite resources, like consumables and magic points. Making the mandatory fights harder as a solution would have to necessarily assume that you are in tip top shape, which in turn would make the run between the resting place and the boss room mandatory. The tedium then transfers from random encounters to running from point A (where you healed up) to point B (where the boss is) without bumping in enemies. Now the solution to this will be setting up a camps close to the boss rooms so that you don't have to cover up the distance. But an infinite supply of resources in the dungeon with the presence of a healing point takes out a lot of the resource management system away, and nothing stops you from hammering even aoe attacks for single target enemies just because they happen to do more damage. So now we have to make an assumption on how many resources the player can burn when engaging with roaming enemies, since enemies are considerably less of a threat compared with random encounter games due to you being able to afford the most absurdly costly skill thanks to the safety of the healing point smack dab in the "threatening dungeon". More problems! And if you played JRPG's for more than 3 years you know the fear of running out of MP or HP as you dungeon crawl in *any* random encounter system. SaGa games that are considered to be some of the hardest games utilize roaming enemies and they still circumvent the idea of finite resources partly by giving the player full health in every fight. You still have skill points instead of MP and they still go down.

The most ludicrous argument against random encounters seems to be "there were hardware limitations back then and enemies couldn't be rendered on the map, which is why they resorted to random encounters". I honestly don't even see this as an argument, because it doesn't matter if it's true or false. Things get invented every time in various ways, but the method under which they ended up being invented isn't proving or disproving their contemporary value. It's more like a "hmmm, interesting" factoid than an argument against random encounters. It doesn't even attempt to attack the main concept, and that is the contribution of a mechanic in the gameplay. 

The only valid argument I can see is "random encounters make me feel frustration/incompetence of resource management and experience failure at the luck of the draw" but nobody will dare uttering that argument in a public forum because a) it actually attacks the real core issue with random encounters and b) it will put them in "justify mode". And you can't imagine the things people will do to justify their aversion to pain, they'll even proclaim that their lifestyle choices like getting married and having kids is somehow a problem game designers need to solve by doing stuff like optional encounters because "I don't have time to grind". Yes, you do. 3 hours of Dragon Quest are 3 hours of Dragon Quest regardless of what you were doing in game. 

Back to our topic. See how the dungeons still feel like an "optionally dangerous" area akin to a gym where you're walking inside to choose who you want to spar boxing with today, and not like an ominous maze where unspeakable evil lurks and can jump at your throat in the next corner, and you're the hero that can purge it. And we already pointed out solutions to this that involve walk speed, but you can clearly tell that doing so will blow up the underlying, hidden reason why people complain about random encounters - they hate feeling threatened because they have to figure out how to deal with the threat. Random encounters, to go back to the gym metaphor, was the big bully having a chance to choose you instead of you choosing him. To get to the dungeon boss with full life would mean running away from every encounter, and that's why running away had a chance to fail so that the strong monsters have a chance to chip at your life. It's also the reason why I feel "no escape restriction" is nonsensical. I can choose who to fight, why would I want to escape from my conscious decision?

But good luck reasoning with... Steam forums? Reddit? They resort to downvote and name-calling instead of offering a constructive argument about it.

 

Edit: Chimera wings in a game where zoom costs 0 MP are dumb. Holy Water and Holy Protection are useless when you can sprint to evade enemies, since their job was to evade random encounters when going through areas with weaker enemies.

I'm not saying that the game is bad, in fact this is my first (technically second if we count DQ1) Dragon Quest game and I'm in love with it so much I want to do a second playthrough once I'm done with my first. It's a blast playing it.

Edited by Shogil

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