Battle System Differences VisuStella MZ

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Some of you may have been wondering about which battle system to use for your RPG Maker MZ game. After all, if you're going to design your game's battle system, you'll want to pick the right foundation for it from the start or else the problems will compound upon one another as the game project develops further. This article will highlight the key aspects to take into consideration when picking the battle system suited for your game.

Yanfly.png This is an article written by Yanfly.

Difference Chart

Since this is probably what many of you are looking for, I'll go ahead and include it towards the top of this article so that there's less need to search around.

Battle System Comparison Chart
Stands For Default Turn Battle Time Progress Battle Active Turn Battle Brave Turn Battle Charge Turn Battle Free Turn Battle Standard Turn Battle

General Data
Turn-based - - - -
Tick-based - - - -
Team-based - - - - - -
Proactive Playstyle - - - -
Reactive Playstyle - - -
DTB Base - - - -
TPB Base - - - -
Plugin - -

Actions & Turn Order Handling
Immediate Action - -
Delayed Action - -
Team-Based Actions - - - - - -
Multi-Action Queue - -
Positive Action Speed - -
Negative Action Speed -
Action Speed Carryover - - - -
Turn Lapping - - - -
Time Gauge - - - - -
Battle-Wide Turn Order - - -
Action Count Display - - - - - -

Mechanics and Gimmicks
Action Count System - - - - - -
Action Fusion System - - - - - -
Brave System - - - - - -
Exploit System - - - - - -
Free Switching - - - - - -
Instant Action - - - - - -
Interruption - - - - - -
Speed Manipulation - - - - -
Turn Order Manipulation - - - - - -

End of Chart
- - - - - - -

NOTE*: The battle systems in the chart above do not show which battle systems are "better" than others by having more ✅check marks. The number of ✅check marks is irrelevant to whether or not a battle system is fit for your game. Instead, you should be looking at where those ✅checkmarks are in order to determine which battle systems best suits your game design style.

Structure: Action Economy and Turn Advantage


In traditional JRPG's, Action Economy refers to the quantity and frequency of how often a battler, an actor or an enemy, can perform during the scope of battle. The flow of battle determines the frequency of a traditional JRPG's action economy. This is extremely important to understand because the more turns a battler has, the more often he or she is able to apply pressure to the opposite team and move his or her own team towards victory.

Turn Advantage refers to describing the advantage a participating battler has based on turn-order. Depending on the battle flow, most of the time, those that act more quicker and more often have a better turn advantage than their opponents. Those with more turn advantage are also more likely to win the battle provided both sides are relatively balanced.

There is overlap between Action Economy and Turn Advantage but they are NOT the same. Action economy refers to the quantity of actions a battler can produce in a given time while Turn Advantage relates to the speed and priority of actions a battler can produce over time. Understanding both of these will help you understand the flow and structure of battle.

There are four types of battle flows that determine the frequency of when battlers get actions: Real-Time, Tick-Based, Turn-Based, Team-Based

Real-Time Battle Structure

Real-time battles are seen in games like Star Ocean, Tales of series, and Kingdom Hearts just to name a few examples. Their battles have all participants performing actions on demand as long as they're not in the middle of an action and have enough resources to commit to that action.

Action Economy: The Action Economy in a real-time battle system is next to unlimited, only limited by the unit's resources, action's frequency of use, and unit's current state of being able to perform an action or not.

Turn Advantage: Turn Advantage in a real-time battle system almost does not exist. All units are able to move and act whenever they player or AI needs them to.

Balancing: Balancing these types of battles can be a real challenge.

VisuStella MZ Plugins: There are no VisuStella MZ plugins for this type of battle flow.

Tick-Based Battle Structure

Tick-based battles are seen in games like many of the Final Fantasy games, Grandia, and the more recent Atelier Ryza. The battle flow is entirely dependent on each battle participant's AGI (or speed). AGI becomes the most important parameter in most tick-based battle systems.

Action Economy: Battle participants typically only have one action each time they have a turn to perform an action. This is balanced for the most part. However, due to the nature of turn advantage in a tick-based battle system, anyone who can perform multiple actions per turn will usually and drastically outperform any other battle participant.

Turn Advantage: Turns are determined by each participant's AGI. The more AGI a battler has, the more often their turn comes up. There is no limit to how many turns a battler can acquire in a set amount of time. Battlers with high enough AGI can overlap battlers with less AGI.

Balancing: Balancing a tick-based battle system is extremely tricky. Most games that utilize them keep AGI levels around a similar range without letting them grow too much over time and without letting them vary by too much either. Status effects like Haste and Slow are far more potent than status effects that raise damage dealt or reduce damage taken. This is to avoid giving any battler too much Turn Advantage.

VisuStella MZ Plugins: ATB, CTB, TPB

Turn-Based Battle Structure

Turn-based battle systems are seen in most Dragon Quest games, most Shin Megami Tensei games, and even the Pokémon games. Battle flow revolves around (usually) giving an equal amount of turns and (usually) actions to perform to each battle participant in a balanced manner.

Action Economy: Battle participants usually have one action they can perform each turn. However, in the scenarios where they can perform multiple actions a turn, the advantages given here are not as skewed as they would be in a tick-based battle system since every battle participant is guaranteed a turn within a set time frame (as long as they're able to act). Some games, like the SMT series, even allow performing multiple actions a turn without disrupting the balance and battle flow too much.

Turn Advantage: Turns are granted to each battle participant evenly. Instead of AGI determining how frequent the battlers acquire turns, AGI instead determines how fast the battlers go in a given turn set. The faster the AGI, the earlier the battler can perform for that round. Battlers cannot overlap each other for turn advantage through AGI. A battler with 999 AGI will not have more turns than a battler with 20 AGI during a single battle round.

Balancing: Balancing a turn-based battle system is far easier than balancing one for a tick-based battle system. AGI values can vary drastically without giving one participant too much turn advantage. Characters with high action economies are also easier to manage for this reason, too.

VisuStella MZ Plugins: BTB, DTB, OTB, STB

Team-Based Battle Structure

Team-based battle systems revolve their turns around their teams than the individual battle participants. You see this in games like many of the Fire Emblem games, Disgaea games, and even some mobile games like Granblue Fantasy. Teams take turn performing for all of their battle participants at a time or as long sa there's enough actions to perform. AGI hass little influence in this battle system as it no longer determines the frequency of turns for each battle member.

Action Economy: Depending on the battle system, units usually have one or two actions to perform at a time, or as many as the team allows before the team's turn is considered over.

Turn Advantage: Instead of turn advantage going to participants with more frequent turns or participants with faster speed, turn advantage, instead, goes to the team that goes first. In most cases, the team that goes first is almost always leading the battle system, though counterbalancing the advantage for the team going second is a common practice to be seen, too.

Balancing: Balancing for this type of battle flow can be tricky. It can be easier or harder than either tick-based or turn-based depending on how the battle is designed. Strategies also shift from having the key participant perform more frequently to making the most optimal team play for each turn as the norm.

VisuStella MZ Plugins: FTB

More to come.

End of Article