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The healing potions factor.

Does adding healing potions add to the game? My thoughts about this issue.

Ofer Rubinstein, Blogger

November 8, 2009

3 Min Read

[ From Pompi Pompi Gamers and Developers Blog ] 

I want to ask, why so many games have healing potions? Healing potions add another factor or variable to a game. Your character might be strong or the player might be skillful but don't have enough healing potions, and he would lose a battle because of lack of potions. On the other hand, a weaker character or less skillful player might have a lot of healing potions and he might win the same battle just because he had plenty of potions.
Healing potions make it more difficult both to the developer and the player to decide whether the character\player is strong enough for the challenge ahead. Maybe healing potions add to the gameplay? You need to decide which character to give the healing potion, when to do so, and if to do so or save it for later. On the other hand, most games don't intend healing to be such a primary part of the game, yet it becomes one of the most crucial aspects of the game.
What if one would design a game without healing potions? What can he do? He can make the character regenerate health with time or at checkpoints and design the game difficulty according to the fact there are no healing potions. Theoretically you can remove healing potions from a game by increasing the max health of the character and make checkpoints for the character to heal. The point is, you could design the game difficulty to be easy enough to complete without potions. I don't see what is the direct added value from healing potions in most games. 

I admit I didn't design enough games with or without healing potions to tell why they are needed or not needed. In a matter of fact, Labyrinthica has healing potions as well. Since the amount of healing potions lima can poses is limited to nine, the healing potions problem is less acute in Labyrinthica. When the game is easy enough you won't be able to stash more than nine potions, on the other hand, when you get into a difficult battle you would probably use a lot of healing potions in a short time. In boss battles, you can't use healing potions. It's kind of creating a controlled environment which makes it easier to tweak the difficulty level in the boss battles. I also think that healing potions and treasure in general give the player a reason to try and kill enemies. Otherwise he\she might just skip most of the game.
I will be honest, I didn't even consider to try make Labyrinthica with no healing potions at all and this issue is something I still need to figure out. I think I will try to design future games with no healing potions at all, and see if I can make it work out.
What do you think?

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