Program Advances

RERN Program Advanced:
Looking at the differences between RERN and the games, the reason why your standard Program Advance could not work, aside from them being over powered, is the way chips are split up into tiers and even then are difficult to acquire. Even versions that would use 3 of an identical chip tier couldn't work simply because of how long it takes to get 3 of the same chip. Only a few have actually done so. Because of this, actually having program advances as they are in the games is all but impossible to do.

Instead I think we should look at transforming the idea of a program advance from a chip based qualification to a navi based on. If we take it to this sort of prospective it opens up many different possibilities that could all be achieved, and while we wouldn't want to make using program advances a common occurrence, having them as an uncommon event, or even as a rare act would make it an interesting feature. There are several methods that can be done with this mindset, and I'm going to list a few that I've come up with just as a means, not to try and persuade a change, but to inspire others into a thinking that PA's just can't exist in our world of RERN.

Limit Break:
Anyone familiar with Final Fantasy games is familiar with this term, what not many of you may know is that the limit break was actually first introduced in Final Fantasy 6(3 to those in the US). Every character in the game had what was then called a Desperation Attack, whenever they were critically injured, and the player used the attack command, there was a small chance(roughly 5-10%) that instead of the normal attack, they would use a named special attack, these attacks usually did 2-5 times their normal attack would, and usually seeing it was rare, so rare it is almost an unknown feature to the game.

RERN Version:
While giving players a free overpowered move when they are at low health is risky, having something like say, a random occurrence where someone who is critally injured(saved because of undershirt), they could suddenly gain 20-60 strength to use in the following turn only. Strengthen to me is the most generic and probably most simplified version of this, as it means they can only put it towards chip based attacks, it could even be an alternate as a free attack + style, that only effects first action of the following turn, meaning after being reduced to 1HP, they are given a +20 or so to the first action(chip based only) of the following turn.

If we indeed did make it action based instead of a strengthen, allow it to effect anything, such as a passive, or signature. Say the first action they use is a heal, getting a sudden +20 to your heal effect is a really nice, and big boost, or say it's a defensive one like casing or a barrier, a sudden extra 20HP to those is extremely useful and can be lifesaving. Or just the idea of being able to tack on +20 damage to a signature or Battlechip could turn the tide of an otherwise losing battle very quickly.

I call it this, mostly because I cannot remember which game or it's real name I encountered it, but the principle behind it was that over a set amount of time, the player used a specific combination of attacks over a few turns, triggered an added bonus, one beyond the players control completely, something that just was tacked on as a surprise for using it.

RERN Version:
The above idea could be somewhat troublesome mostly because many of us spam chips or attacks based on our element for added bonuses, and those bonuses grow as you gain levels. So in that mindset we already have a program advance in place for those who have an element, however this is very specific to the 4 elements only, as Null does not gain that bonus. So one way to add a little extra to this is to give a reward for overworking the navi. Perhaps over the course of a few turns, if they use X number of attacks/chips/signatures that use their element, they would trigger a sudden reaction, in which case there would come a bonus attack. This attack can be generalized for each of the 5 elemental Types. Null, Fire, Aqua, Wood and Elec. Each one could be given a unique Program Advance that gets triggered under certain conditions met by the navi. These can be anything from using X amount of chips in a row, to dealing X damage(the cap changes based on level just like the bonus damage does).

If we did add that sort of effect to the navis, that would A. make it easy to monitor, add internal cooldowns so it couldn't be used often, and B. have a need to only make 5 PA's total at the start to match each type, making tackling the ideas of a PA system easier to handle, likewise it could then be expanded into subtypes in the future if it works out well.

Balance and Control
Naturally, with great power, comes great nerfing. To help prevent the idea of a PA being overused and thus quick spamming, it'd be best to come up with something, perhaps controlled by the mods on their side of things, while this could make it difficult since many of the players are mods, and many players get different mods over the course of a single battle. The biggest method of control we'd have is to put a cooldown onto it, much like there currently is on the BeastOUT forms and CrossFusions. Adding a cooldown based on number of battles, number of total turns, or even simply by allowing it to happen only once or twice per navi level. There are many methods that could be used or mentioned that could allow the creation of a Program Advance system, without it feeling impossible or simply not worth the effort considering the time it takes to gather enough chips to actually form one from the games.

In conclusion, I think Program Advanced is something that could be added to RERN and be done without too much serious trouble of balancing issues. But first we have to understand that RERN is not the games, chip access is very different, so in turn we should adapt what our thinking and view of a PA is, to match our community.
PAs that go for the full series 1-3 are difficult to get because we aren't generally at the level of getting 3s. That is changing slowly, but is still mostly true.

PAs that use all the same chip are, conversely, usually too easy to achieve. We don't have different chip serials so you can just spam a bunch of the same chip with no problems. Finally, we don't have random draws making it even more abusive.

The current state of PAs is mostly a reflection of the fear of them being too easy or too powerful.
We've tried working with and balancing PAs a fair bit in the past, and ultimately decided that it's just not worth it. So, no PAs. Not like we have any great need for them anyway.

Quote (Morisha)

But first we have to understand that RERN is not the games, chip access is very different, so in turn we should adapt what our thinking and view of a PA is, to match our community.

In a way, we have. Joint Cross Attacks are 1000-point cap signatures. Call that anything but the strength of a PA.
I know it's kind of an off the wall idea, so I will try not to get too specific and just give a generalization.

Cross Fusion: Social-based super form. Navi surpasses their own limits with the power of friendship!

Beast OUT: Conquest-based super form. Navi surpasses their own limits by absorbing data from near-mythological net beasts, which then goes dormant within them. Going beast out is akin to handing your navi over to an awesome barely-controllable berserker rage.

Program Advance: Single-burst, combination-based special attack that briefly lets a navi surpass their limits, and indeed, send their navi's chip system into a kind of overdrive. Since program-advances do not require cybeast data or friend xp, and is really just a flashpan blast of quick, but awesome power, it could more or less be considered a navi making a brief tactical advantage.

In a way it reminds me of how many roleplaying systems describe a wizard's magic: it is a science, in that if a wizard who meets all other prerequisites (level, components, etc) waves their hand in such and such a way while picturing fire, a fireball WILL go off. Said wizard is merely a conduit of the invertible energy they have summoned, and can only point in the direction they want it to go.
(end tangent)

Power from others, power from dormant rage, power from expert utilization of the chip system and the timing and control it requires.. All seem to be able to stand side-by-side.

But should they? Out navis aren't Rockman, who is actually (spoiler) an actual person given digital dna and allowed to live and grow under the navi system. He has incredible storage space because he, more-or-less, has an entire human neuro pathway and soul, if you will, given binary values and stored with enough free space to allow for almost unlimited growth and development over his life. Conveniently, he's only 12 now and so his incredible amount of storage space has allowed him to compress and store chunks of entire cybeasts.

Granted, this is an RP and to each of us, our navi is the "main character", so growth and potential should be the norm, but many games utilize some kind of skill tree, or give you so many points to spend in one style of development or another.. Why not think about allowing something similar to that? They allow you to grow stronger in one area at the expense of others.

What I mean is, using a program advance, style change, beast OUT, cross fusion, these are all of rockman battle network's systems for ultimate power. And they all require completely different things to get going. A pair who fight side-by-side from day-1 will eventually (and somewhat quickly) get cross fusion. Depending on their style of play, how they spend their money and such, they may have cross fusion as low as.. Well, lets say level 5. They will then gain a few more levels and use their boosted cross-fusion power to tackle a cybeast. It sort of rolls downhill.

A couple thoughts: For those who can't (or don't want to) fight with others and gain fxp, nor are capable of taking on a cybeast, program advances (since style changes are gone) are your only real source of power. They still require you to have the right chips and to be of a minimum level (or should), so you have to devote time and effort into acquiring them. Unlike the almighty cross-fusion/beast OUT, they are just a single shot of great power that pushes the chip system to the limits and can thus only be used... Lets say once every 3 battles.

Sound familiar?

Don't just shake your headsa and say no no advances are too strong, and don't discuss them. Why are they too strong? Because we don't have random chips and a navi could just throw out one on turn 1? and 2? etc..

Possibility 1:
Put them, cross-fusion and beast OUT all on the same cooldown of 3 battles. That will allow weaker players who have no fxp or cybeast data to do something neat and spiffy infrequently. Maybe they save it for boss battles (I know I would) or true scenarios where they got in over their head and this is their last-ditch effort before fleeing or EJO. It's not like any navi could do advances right out of the box either, in the anime they reflect this well because through season 1, LAN is clumsy, arrogant and tends to fall out of sync with Rockman over and over. He can be trusted to do the right thing in the end, as he is a good person and a true hero, but he fails to do a program advance over and over. The first time he even does it correctly, it's only partially as strong as it could be with more practice and growth (levels).

So I'm basically thinking: You unlock advances at level 5 (the magic level for everything else, so why not). Because advances require extensive practice and training, with both operator and navi in sync with their actions and the chip system delivering data at the fraction of a second it needs to, you should have to register them.

Yes I said register program advances. For the sake of simplicity, you get one at level 5, perhaps after doing some kind of mission for the chip-system upgrade, perhaps not. You set what it is and how many chips it takes, and that determines it's power. No matter how many chips you put into it, the thing is still only one attack so that should limit any kind of abuse from navis using elemental types to magnify damage. Maybe you can unlock a new PA every 5 levels, perhaps with a mission, perhaps not. Same rules apply.

Personally, I would say level 5 and 10 PAs could only make use of 3 chips at a time, and could create an effect no greater than 1.5x the sum of all their parts. Maybe you can only use the tier 1 series of chips, when applicable. Be it healing, cannons, swords, a flamethrower, etc. For example, combine 3 Cannons (40+Knockback) and maybe you produce a Megacannon (40+40+40)*1.5=180 Dmg. Sound's strong right? What if it's only 1 time every 3 battles, and it puts and cross-fusion/beast OUT on cooldown? Oh right, and it's only one attack so it can only target one enemy and can *gasp* miss. Not terribly dramatic to miss with a PA, I know, but it can and should happen. It's part of the gamble.

Possibility 2: Your character can't actually know cross-fusion, beast OUT and PAs at the same time.

This is what I was getting at with skill trees earlier. Each of these things are very different and require very specialized training, practice and acquisition. Is it fair that your character can have them all at once? IMO, a 3-battle cooldown isn't nearly as limiting if you have all 3 systems and can merely use each system from fight to fight, back to back. Ultimate power isn't very ultimate when it's ordinary. I propose you may set, upon first entry into the net for whatever run you are in, what system you are using and you have to jack-out to alter it.

For some this is a no-brainer: have tons of fxp and nothing else? Duh, go with the cross-fusion. Have a poorly-developed lvl 1 relationship with someone and a badass beast OUT? Go with it! Have both? Well, time to pick and choose.

Summery: Just put PA, cross-fusion and beast OUT on the same 3-battle cooldown and a lot of your balance issues will take care of themselves. Only have to work out the details. If PAs have to be registered, even better, it gives you a new way to customize and develop your character with moves that are interpreted through your character and operator. One person's 3-cannon PA might be a huge nuke. Another navi might sprout guns from their arms and missile launchers from their shoulders and hips and unleash hell in a series of attacks. If some kind of custom system is desired for them, maybe the nuke retains it's knockback and does one hit, while the onslaught looses it's knockback but gains a small area of effect (at the cost of knockback and some damage, since kb alone isn't worth burst1).

Lots of potential, I think.
Considering how it's possible to take down seemingly impossibly difficult enemies with well-timed/well-set combos, I don't really see Program Advances as much of an improvement to the RP. And to be honest, I've seen much more impressive attacks executed through RP than any Program Advance I've ever seen in the games.

In the games, PAs were just ways to 1-shot everything and to breeze through bosses. In the RP, battles take up about 80% of the entire board, so just breezing through battles would essentially make the majority of the RP monotonous and boring imho. Yes, it would be fun RPing some imba PA the first couple times, but then it would just end up becoming a grind, where battles end up being more of a nuisance than anything else.

Thinking in the long term, if we had a majority of members with PAs, of course they would be inclined to use them (since they'd likely be the strongest attack they have in their possession), so mods would likely want to beef up the sturdiness of their foes. Watching your very well made, carefully-planned boss felled by a single hit (especially to one as honestly unimaginative as a PA) is almost insulting. Therefore, you'd likely see bosses with higher defenses and HP to adapt to the heightened damage output of the users. Then once you start having multiple players bust together, trying to determine the capabilities of their foes would be further complicated if one has a PA while the other does not, etc.

In short, I don't think PAs would give enough to the RP to justify the amount of balancing and other work needed to keep them from breaking the RP or making battles boring.
I never quite thought of it like that.. And I suppose from a roleplay viewpoint, just developing your sigs and adding HP mem and such is the rewards for training and boosting your own power without any cybeast/fxp.
You guys need to stop using "Cross-Fusion" to describe SoulCrosses. I was 100% sure you were proposing that stupid thing from the TV show and couldn't believe my eyes.

e: For content, I'll just post what I had to say in the chat:

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Aim: The primary reason is that chips are not randomly drawn from your folder
Aim: So there is no difficulty in assembling them and therefore something would have to fundamentally change about how you use them
Trouble: chip codes too

Bomber: In short, there are a myriad of reasons why we don't have PAs.
Bomber: So stick a knife in that one and call it a day.
PaladinGC: I would rather not do chip codes.
Trouble: I'd go so far as to say that our chip use system is completely incompatible with program advances
Trouble: which suits me fine, because

PaladinGC: yes, it is
Trouble: we already have large gradients of power arising from people who just get good chip COMBOS
Trouble: we'd only exacerbate that if we made PAs a thing

Aim: I think it is too; the limiter we used to use on it was once per so many battles, but that was flawed cause it was like "Yeah, you can only use it once per so many battles, but WHEN YOU USE IT, WOOOOAH BOY"
Trouble: like congrats now you have a super powerful attack you can use every (period of time) and everyone else has to rely on the RNG to catch up