Party members in RPG's: Do you try to use all of them, or just focus on a few?

scorptatious

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One thing I noticed about myself when playing RPG's which give you the ability to switch around your party members is that I tend to switch them around a lot so I can get everyone around an even level. I've also read about some people who would just stick to a particular party and not use other members. (a famous example being Cait Sith from FFVII)

I can kinda see why people would do the latter. It can save time that could have been spent grinding and your party can come out kinda beefy through using them so much. Personally though, I kinda like to mix my party up every now and again for the sake of variety. Plus in some games certain characters have abilities or equipment that could really help in a particular area. Such as the wind absorbing staff you can get for Vivi right before you enter Mt. Gulug in FFIX.

So I want to see what you guys think: do you tend to give every one of your party members a chance in the spotlight? Or do you just have one particular group you focus on?
 

Qvar

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Aug 25, 2013
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I tend to do with whoever is at the max level when I'm forced to decide. If levels are equal, I go with the prettiest characters or whatever. But I don't think I've ever swapped party chars to keep n+x of them at the same level, except at FF Tactics 2, because sometimes the special rules made one or two of the current party members useless ("magic forbidden because fuck you") and I would need to swap them for others.
 

MerlinCross

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I tend to swap as lately in RPGs, the characters are a bit more defined/specialized in what they can do. Besides just stats.

Example; Outside of limit breaks, the characters in FF7 felt the same, heck even FF10. Persona 3/4, the characters felt a lot different based on their attack attribute and their spell list.
 

scorptatious

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MerlinCross said:
I tend to swap as lately in RPGs, the characters are a bit more defined/specialized in what they can do. Besides just stats.

Example; Outside of limit breaks, the characters in FF7 felt the same, heck even FF10. Persona 3/4, the characters felt a lot different based on their attack attribute and their spell list.
Yeah, Persona 4, from what I've played so far seems to have some sort of middle ground when it comes to variety in teammates. They all have unique abilities, but at the same time you can make several different kinds of persona for yourself to fill particular roles in the group. At the same time, you're constantly using your weaker persona to make stronger ones. So it feels like the role I play in a group shifts a lot.
 

Raikas

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It depends on the game - if the combat is designed that certain areas will be better fought with certain characters then I use the characters accordingly. If the game is story-driven and there's more or less character content along with certain plot points then I switch them to maximize that content.

But if the combat is just a matter of having enough high level characters without any real benefit to specialization and if the story isn't character-driven then I'm usually lazy and stick to a core group that I just get used to.
 

StriderShinryu

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I tend to stick with my favourites though I often feel it's prudent to spread the love around at least a little bit. My favourites almost always stay that way, and those I don't care for don't usually jump up in likeability, but you know pretty much every RPG is going to have that "X was captured!" or "Y switched sides" or "This job needs two teams of able characters!" moment in it where you'll have to use the characters you don't like regardless.
 

Eamar

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I play more Western RPGs, and I'm thinking particular of Bioware games, so I don't know how they compare to FF or anything, but:

There'll usually be one (normally a healer) who I come to rely on and pretty much always include in my party by default (best example of this was Wynne in DA:O).

If another character has pretty much the same build and skills as my player character, they tend to get sidelined. In my case, this would usually be heavy hitting tank-type characters.

Other than that, it depends on the character. There have been some who I've just disliked, so they don't tend to get much playtime (Morrigan, again from DA:O was like this). Aside from that, I do try and make sure I give everyone a fair crack at the whip, but inevitably I do tend to favour the characters I like most.
 

Maximum Bert

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Depends on the game and the character skills basically if the game dosent dictate what characters I have to use (and not struggle to much) then I just use the characters I like best. On rare occasions I will switch to the most powerful party to take down a particularly powerful enemy but its rare I feel I have to do this. I think I did it in Xenoblade Chronicles to take down Avalance Abassy as my regular team were having a hell of a time but once I switched to the power team (who I never used anywhere else as I didnt like them as much as my regular team members) I killed the thing no sweat.

I tend to get attached to characters in RPGs and so end up wanting to play with a certain character(s) regardless of whether its wise or not same with fighters actually (such a shame I dont like Kazuya or Law in Tekken Revolution those guys are so easy to win with especially with lag).

Sometimes I will switch my party out for variety though unless I really really like my current one.
 

SmallHatLogan

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Assuming party members have to be in your party to get experience I always rotate them. This is probably because one of the first RPGs I played was Final Fantasy VI where throughout the game your party is constantly being switched around or split up (against your will) so I got into the habit of making sure everyone could handle themselves. A game where party members level up regardless of whether they're with you (like Mass Effect) I just go with who I feel like, usually based on what skills they have and whether I like them as a character.
 

MysticSlayer

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I generally experiment early on, but after I'm a few hours in from finding the last party member, I generally just stick with the same few characters that fit my playstyle best. This is particularly true when the game has a broken party that can tear through anything that's thrown at it. Playing an Engineer in the Mass Effect series, having EDI and Liara in your squad in ME3 did this.

However, there are times when I play with every squad combination. Generally, though, this is to gather achievements that can only be gotten by switching the squad around. This happened in Xenoblade Chronicles. Dragon Age: Origins is probably the only game I kept switching around simply because there was no team that was ideal for me, so I found myself experimenting all the way to the end of the game. Part of me wonders if the game was just that well designed or I was just horrible at it, but it still managed to pull off the impossible with me.
 

Liquidprid3

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It really depends on the difficulty of the game. I always switch out in games like Pokemon, and it's fun to experiment. In Shining Force, though, there are some characters that can be kind if useless when you get them, so I never really use them.
 

Ratty

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In jRPGs I tend to pick a favorite from every class (if the game has a class system) and just level the crap out of them, so I don't accidentally miss any story parts with the characters I like, and potentially avoid story parts with characters I'm not interested in. Getting through any parts where I have to use other party members on luck or by going back and leveling them if I have to.

Western cRPGs often lean less towards character and story and more towards exploration and deeper combat mechanics. If this is the case it's also usually true that the PCs are little more than stats and a portrait and you need to do some min-maxing from the word go if you want to succeed.
 

Therumancer

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scorptatious said:
One thing I noticed about myself when playing RPG's which give you the ability to switch around your party members is that I tend to switch them around a lot so I can get everyone around an even level. I've also read about some people who would just stick to a particular party and not use other members. (a famous example being Cait Sith from FFVII)

I can kinda see why people would do the latter. It can save time that could have been spent grinding and your party can come out kinda beefy through using them so much. Personally though, I kinda like to mix my party up every now and again for the sake of variety. Plus in some games certain characters have abilities or equipment that could really help in a particular area. Such as the wind absorbing staff you can get for Vivi right before you enter Mt. Gulug in FFIX.

So I want to see what you guys think: do you tend to give every one of your party members a chance in the spotlight? Or do you just have one particular group you focus on?
To be honest I tend to most prefer RPGs that let me make my own party from a lot of options to begin with, and then stick with that set of characters for my adventure. The whole JRPG/Bioware trope of recruiting people as you play and then switching people in and out tends to actually wind up annoying me, particularly because of this problem, and the simple fact that the game usually has you miss things (subquests, etc...) if you don't wind up putting time into all of the different characters. Not to mention I feel like a heel if I always leave certain people abandoned at camp, and experience a huge disconnect if some character I rarely use periodically acts like we're heading out having all of these wild adventures together, when really I haven't gotten around to using that character, and if I do, it will probably be begrudgingly so I won't miss out on any lewt, experience, or story options.

Sadly not many games let you create your own party anymore, "Might And Magic X" is the first one I've seen in ages, and it lacks options when you get down to it. Not to mention that "Wizardry 8" had like a bajillion personality types you could use for characters to add some personality as they went walking around. As much as people love JRPG/Bioware characters I tend to find the occasional comment works well to add character, about the 30th time you've heard Alistair and Leliana discuss how horrible Feralden cuisine is it becomes painful.

I saw a lot of potential for some compromise on game styles with "Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen" (for consoles). In general you could create your character and a pawn (their primary minion) and then recruit up to two other characters other people created to round out your party. If they refined things so you could say create an entire 4 to 6 man party and actually choose different personalities for them (as opposed to listening to them go "careful wolves hunt in packs! Goblins hate fire! Hey we can climb these rocks!" 40 bloody gazillion times to the point where I want to throttle them more than even Bioware characters stuck in a dialogue loop) it would be almost perfect.
 

FFP2

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I stick to a particular party...

Which really sucks when I play Pokemon.
 

Johnny Novgorod

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I tend to stick to the same 3 or 4 party members (or 10 party members, i.e. Disgaea). Past a certain point I've got a good dynamic going on and I don't care that the game throws new party members at me. Sometimes I'll try and level them up a bit to keep up with the others but in truth I just stick to the usual suspects.
 

FPLOON

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Always switching... yet I keep playing the same character EVERY SINGLE TIME... I mean, the last thing I want to have is that one party member who's either over-leveled and/or under-leveled and has to sit the battle out until the part is re-balanced in the level department...

So far, out of the RPGs I've played, only Tales of Xillia has rewarded me for having me manually experimenting with each character's movie sets before all of the in-game battle challenges are complete and then I would sometimes tell myself "I'll just let the computer take over, because they do a better job controlling this character than I will EVER do..."

Other than that, keep the party all the same level and play "favorites" the more the game allows me to control my party manually...
 

Veylon

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FFP2 said:
I stick to a particular party...

Which really sucks when I play Pokemon.
I got all the way to the Elite Four before I was forced to use things other than my starter. Which meant that everything else I'd randomly captured on a whim suddenly had to gain forty levels via grinding. I don't know too many other RPGs where this happens.
 

NeutralDrow

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I like swapping frequently and using everyone. I might favor a few and stick with them more often out of usefulness (Raine in Tales of Symphonia) or because I just enjoy them more (Lyude in Baten Kaitos), but even with that, I still find the time to use everyone. I just like being able to use every tool at my disposal (part of the same impulse that leads to me creating tons of characters in MMOs, just to have someone capable of anything), and in games where I like the characters themselves, I like giving them all a chance to shine. That's part of what drove me crazy about Final Fantasy Tactics (a max of five characters at a time, when even the named characters exceed that, and no repeatable maps)...and what I absolutely loved about Disgaea (I played the game for about twenty-odd hours before I remembered there was more to the game than the Item World).

The sole exception is Pokemon, where I find a team and stick with it for as much of the whole game as possible.