Disliked Elements, Mechanics, and Tropes

One thing to remember is that while no skill should fit every individual challenge, every MC should have a way to get through the story.

Like you can’t seduce a lock, but you can seduce the guy with the key. And maybe you can knit a fake virgin to distract the skeletons. And this guy’s dying? Well, just wait for Death to show up and then punch him instead. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: (Or more seriously, maybe if you’re better at fighting you can save him before he’s wounded.)


I think the takeaway here is that you need a cool story that happens when you fail to get the lock open, or if the guy dies, or if you fail to teach the skeltons to knit, and so forth. That’s the important bit there–that way, the pressure to make every skill useful fades away.

It’s loads more writing, of course, but a vastly improved story, and much more interesting in terms of character building, because it makes low stats valuable (because then you get story you wouldn’t otherwise instead of just being told you can’t do something).


I think it’s fine for the mc not to succeed at everything, provided that losing a specific challenge isn’t going to result in instant death. It should always be possible for the mc to at least make it to the end, even if it’s not to the best ending of a route(Assuming the game in question has branching endings, Ideally I want my project too anyway.)

It’s okay for the mc to lose at some things provided that

A. If it’s unavoidable the have to try doing it, then there isn’t a too serious penalty for failure. Nobody wants to go through a story that just kills you halfway in the middle because you didn’t raise your magic the right way. Maybe they miss out on a item that would’ve helped later, but the mc shouldn’t be killed or suffer a stat penalty to make it even harder to succeed later.

B. Failure and penalties are fine as long as it’s a choice and nobody forced the mc to do it, but again…I honestly am aiming to avoid stat downs because that’s just annoying. If the mc had to go out of their way to pick it when it was something the player definitely knows shouldn’t have worked…that’s different. But still, I dislike instant death as a penalty in games as a whole, IF and others alike.

There should always be at least more than one option to succeed a certain check, I feel, but it doesn’t always need to be too apparent what the other options are. Maybe picking up a certain follower they actually do something for once instead of just being background noise. Or maybe an item you compulsively stole turns out to be helpful if you thought to pick it up. Maybe NOT having the item actually means they can’t find it when searching you, so therefore they can’t prove you actually did anything. There’s a number of non stat ways to approach challenges.

I feel probably you can get away with the first four-to five being one way solutions being like that when it sets up what the character is good at and all, but most games you can’t actually fail those since it’s just showcasing what the mc’s actual skills are.

My personal feelings is what I’m aiming to do with my next project that’s probably too ambitious for my own good is, I want to make it in such a way that replayability is focused on actual branches and decisions rather than what stats you had to progress through the game. Stats being relevant to succeed at things, but the idea that actual decisions are what presents any replayability.


@Gower, @Hex: Yeah, I do agree that you shouldn’t always need to succeed if failing can be just as enjoyable.

I would say not to do this. If success makes the game easier then you’re punishing players for being worse at it, by making it more likely that they’ll fail at a later (and probably more critical) time. And if this happens a lot then you’ll have some players essentially stuck on the “failure path” with no way to get back to winning. And even if failure is interesting, the player should be able to stop failing at some point.


Might have said it before, but:

Games that punish the player for not playing the author’s favoured path. Like, MC and their friends are sneaking through a spooky castle and the author REALLY wants them to get into a certain room. But there’s options to NOT to go into that room. But instead of these options providing a good continuation of the plot, nope, player is being punished (be it belittling by the narrative text, loss of stats, both, etc) and forced into the room.

Like, heck, at least either give a damn good reason to go into the room after all, or don’t make it a choice.


Sounds great! Very rarely do I replay a game for any reason other than checking out new story branches and the consequences of different decisions. Stats are barely more than cosmetic to me.


Most of the things I don’t like are probbably mentioned but there is something recent in the game I’m currently playing: Have intercourse with your chosen waifu to unlock the best of your abilities for plot reasons.

Generally speaking, I’m not fond of sexual encounters in games (especially romance games)but this one…is extra.

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I think my life changed for the better when I realized that Indiana Jones failed all of his skill checks. Failure after failure, but he looked great, had great heart, and advanced the plot while doing so. It was one of the traits that appealed to me in Jolly Good, and other massive, ambitious games like Fool! and Tower Behind the Moon (though I am a bit biased in those regards).


Wow, I genuinely thought for a while that I was the only person who got annoyed by ROs whose personality is “asshole for no reason,” because it seemed like that type of RO was the one everybody wanted to go after. It’s pretty refreshing to see somebody else say this, gotta say.


I hate it when the MC is so horny it tries to undress everyone with lustful choices, be it on own’s parent, siblings, or someone working at the tavern.

lol kidding, but seriously, I happened to read many WIPs that force MC to like/love/choose someone as romance target without completely telling me what’s going on.

nah, I’m not against romance, but I need to understand who, what, where, and why the MC is a MC.


The main thing I dislike is when there are those 50% personality stats and they have an impact on the choices you can make, just because I’m being polite to the random people doesn’t mean I want to be unable to act harsh to the characters that deserve it


I still find this is a current trend even in newer games that annoys me to no end. Too many games seem to present the idea that it’s impossible not to find the main interest attractive or likeable. Even if it presents an option that you get with someone else, a lot of games seem to imply that they are just too sexy and cool regardless of no matter how little interest you actually showed them in the past, but they are still treated as just the sexiest thing ever to the main character, and by extension, to the reader.

In that line, I’m probably guilty of this too, but I have yet to read a story that involves a character that’s called charming and likable…then see them actually say or do anything to reflect that, and when they are being “charming” it’s usually with all the charisma and likeability of a sleazy 70’s used car salesman.


no save options


I mean, it’s annoying but there are reasons for that. Largely a save function is included in finish games before they go to the market, but it’s not exactly a standard feature to code(That might have changed. I dunno.) that can just be done through regular scripting and requires an addon plugin that, as much as I tried to use it, doesn’t really work. It does for some people, and doesn’t for others, so it does create a problem where as much as the author might want to be able to have people bookmark and save things properly, it’s not really within the parameters of what the barebones engine allows.

I’m sure that some creative people probably have a workaround, but it’s not generally just a standard thing that can be implanted without special plugins that again, don’t always work, is my point.

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Probably when you would load a save file and it takes you to the stats screen.

That, I’m pretty sure, is a problem with the dashingdon site itself, not the games. If you get too much in the habit of checking your stats, your safe file corrupts and you get stuck on the stat screen and have to completely restart. It’s a bit of a bummer.

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Don’t save on a stat screen. You’ll sometimes get caught in a loop because the game doesn’t know where to send you out of there again when you recover a save. Only save in the main game text.


Not sure if it’s mentioned on this thread, but I hate games where they keep track of personality stats then lock you out of choices and even endings.

Like if I want to pick a choice or ending that’s not assigned to my personality then obviously the assignment is wrong


Maybe “hate” is a strong word, but I’ve become much less tolerant of linearity. Yes I get that real, meaningful choices mean more writing, but plenty of authors have proven it can be done. I’ve even seen free games on other sites with authors up to the challenge.

I wish more games would indicate the level of replayability, that’s at least as important as anything else in the bullet points.


It’s probably too hard to come up with a good replayability scale, especially since the word seems to mean different things to different people. Occasionally I’ll see games advertise the number of possible endings they have - not a perfect metric, but it’s some indication, at least. I’ve also seen big “Choices matter!” statements. Which I’ve come to distrust.