Should RPGs have MP as a stat?

So I have been checking out Tales of Arise and Xenoblade Chronicles recently and discovered they both don’t have MP as a stat.

XC has cooldown for it’s arts and Tales of Arise uses SC which is kind of like MP but it automatically refills.

I’ve noticed that some game devs have decided to no longer use MP I’m wondering if there’s any disadvantage to this or not, what do you think?

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it all depends on game structure, for most games a mp system is the easiest way to manage spell usage over thing such as cooldowns

i think rpgs can work just fine without a mp system but you need to come to some sort of other way of balancing abilities that works, unlike a game like Live A Live where it doesnt even try to balance the skills really


MP stands for muchi muchi pudding (plump pudding → boobs). (From the DQ four-panel comic strip.)

Hero: “what does MP stand for, warrior?”

The first source in consumer games seems to be MP (Mage Priest) in Wizardry on the NES.
However, it was DragonQuest that used it as a point to use magic (Magic Power).
Since then, most RPG games were modeled after DragonQuest, so MP was recognized as a point to use magic.

The “use MP to make more powerful attacks” system was probably a good match for RPGs.

However, the player has to manage two parameters, HP and MP.
Various attempts were taken to solve this problem.

There are various approaches to HP, not MP.
For example, in the early FPS Doom series, HP could be restored by taking a recovery item.
However, in recent games such as CoD, HP is now automatically recovered.
The act of taking a recovery potion was probably incompatible with games set in modern times.

Various systems have been devised for each game.


Short answer: yes.

It doesn’t have to be called mp (FP, AP, TP all come to mind) But there should be some cooldown or restriction on special abilities. This could be a daily limit (dnd & FF1), a pool of currency which rises and lowers (traditional mp), or some kind of system where you store points then spend them.

The reason for this is simple. As a developer you want to have different abilities. Different abilities are good in different situations, but not all abilities are equal in value. Just like in fire emblem where different units have different uses, but some units tend to be better or stronger than others. Having a point cost restriction gives you more freedom in the kinds and types of abilities you want to create while giving the player a consistent system to engage with abilities. (it’s overwhelming and confusing when some moves use mp but some moves require you to boil a newt’s leg in orange juice for three nights under a half moon in the tropics.)

Pokemon has PP, and Fire Emblem has Durability.


From my understanding MP is seen as a necessary evil, while it serves the purpose of balancing and restricting spell usage, it can create a “too good to use” problem with players because you never know when the next time you can recover your team’s hp&mp will come, upon meeting a new enemy in most games you wont know if a spell is too weak or too strong to use on them, you may waste mp on a weak enemy, or waste a turn as you see the target losing less than 5% of their health.
Due to this many players tend to hoard mp and other such resources. (i.e a lot of FE players avoid using the best weapons until late/end game in case they needed them later.)
That is why you see so many games experiment with work-arounds to MP, From cooldowns, to uses per battle, to MP constantly regening between turns.
A standard MP system, while traditional causes most players to just spam ‘Attack’ rather than use the more powerful tools at their disposal, so it’s always best to think long and hard about how such resource systems are presented to the player, MP in it of itself is not bad, but it causes a lot of players to enjoy the game less due to its restraints.


I agree with this. This is why i hate how FF handles MP but like how chrono trigger and Mario RPG handle it. In those two games you can buy items which restore mp, in FF you might find a few elixers or ethers in chests in dungeons and you can’t buy them. It puts a pressure on the player not to use their resources and makes for really miserable gameplay.

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It really just depends on how it serves each individual game. MP’s original purpose was to keep powerful abilities from being spammable, though it can also be implemented such as to push things too far towards the opposite extreme. Honestly, I’d say the weapon durability in Fire Emblem, even, is a variation of the concept! It’s not even exclusively an RPG thing; ammunition in first-person shooters or even just for projectile weapons in action-based games in general is another variation on the base concept of MP, at least in a gameplay sense.

In general, I personally think attaching resource management mechanics to skill usage can be really fun if done well. Adjusting “MP” costs, caps, recovery methods, etc. can all have major impacts on how a game plays vis a vis its MP system, and there are also delineations like having one “master” MP pool (a la Dragon Quest, most Final Fantasy titles… this is kinda the default for JRPGs), using a sort of “ammo”-like system where each individual thing that “costs MP” has its own pool of uses (Pokémon being the most popular example of this model), or something quirkier like the “spell charges by level” system used in D&D and Final Fantasies I and III.

There’s so much room for permutations of the concept, and I do think the principle behind it adds to the strategic depth of a game, but it’s also possible to make a good RPG that doesn’t use MP. I think Live A Live is a pretty cool example of this, actually. There’s no MP stat, with different abilities instead having different charge times. The game’s use of a much more granular sort of “turn-based” system—it’s not real-time, but every action, including moving around the battlefield, “progresses time” by varying amounts—facilitates doing things this way very well, and it means there are very real drawbacks to committing to a long-charge time move that you have to consider without making them flat-out not worth using at all or making it so that you can run out of them.