RPGs with separate magic attack and defense stats vs. only one

This is just something kind of silly I was thinking about - Most RPGs have seperate stats for strength and physical defense - but for magic sometimes you just get a single magic or intelligence stat that determines strength of spells casted but also defense against oncoming spells. The very first pokemon game actually worked like this, which makes it’s competitive meta very different from the games after. This difference is definitely not a make-or-break thing, but it seems you can do different things with each. Having fine-tuned control of each is obviously an easier to balance approach. But if defense and attack are in the same stat, maybe your rpg has a tank class with a high stat, that can’t actually make use of the attack portion - until you find certain items that enable a spell or two - so you get a nice hidden combo for players to mess with. Which do you think is more interesting to design around?

  • only MAG

0 voters

I love “lopsided” builds too much to tie defense and attack values together like that. It’s too much fun for me to imagine someone able to deal 1000 damage with magic while still being defenseless to it, or someone being able to tank 1000s of damage of magic while being useless at casting it.

However I do also like “loopholes” that allow those lopsided builds to close the gap, e.g. someone with a high magic atk stat being able to cast a strong magic defense buff, or someone with a high magic def stat getting more leverage out of some kind of “magic counterattack” move.

yeah i definitely agree with this. characters with lopsided stats or specializations are more interesting. i WILL say that i do appriciate rpgs where the party leader is sort of an all-around, like earthbound ir some of the dq games. it kinda reflects their role as leader and/or the way that the party leader is often less strongly characterized than the other party members

I think generally these days it’s better to have different stats, too. Though the more control you give yourself as a designer the less room there is for random quirks to be found by players, which IMO are a lot of fun in rpgs. I love seeing people use weird rules and engine quirks to beat the game at low levels and such.

The protagonists in mother games I think are particularly good too because they are also the best healers in addition to being generally useful. it conveys the tone and message of the game so much more than having your main character just be a fighter (maybe excluding cecil in ff4)