Most would agree that somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, or "the sweet spot", is where you'd want to be with encounters. Ranging from one to Dragon Quest 8, I'd like to put together a game that is a 1. Why? Because I feel encounters should be more meaningful, strategic, and require preparation/research. A more realistic take. The gist is that the game features a modern setting and a battle between wizards/witches. They have names, personalities, back story, and a specific element/elemental they draw their power from....even the "fodder"/bodyguards/etc. There are other gameplay elements at play which add to the fights themselves, making it harder or easier. With this much into a battle, I can't just reward you with a set xp amount, cash, and maybe an item if you're lucky....can I?
See, I'm thinking that if I reward the player MORE per battle then it'll offset the need for "grinding" which is what a high encounter rate pushes the player to do whether they want to or not.
Ex. Here's Steve. I burnt Steve to a crisp because he was in my way and wouldn't get out of it. Steve was obviously getting paid ALOT because he fought to the death for some aristocrat. Steve isn't going to respawn because he's DEAD.
Idea #1: Instead of rewarding the player with experience only for killing everyone they encounter, I reward them through using magic in any way or through decisions made in the story. This way the players that don't want to kill EVERYONE can still progress. This would turn each battle that you have with other wizards/witches into mini-boss battles, testing your skills, and rewarding accordingly.
Idea #2: Reward the player for killing at 120% XP of what they would get for just letting them go when given the option(because we are mortal and will run when we are sure we will die if we don't....most of the time anyway.) You would think that this would make players want to let their enemies go so they can farm them. To prevent this, the next time they face the enemy they will be "ready" for them and playing to their weaknesses. Also letting people live or not effects the story for better or worse. You might have let Steve go but him and some of the other guys you gave a beating to decide to team up and come after you.
I could just combine both ideas, but it order to do something so detailed....and interesting(imo), one would have to have only a few encounters. Is it worth it? Thoughts on this sort of thing? Have I peaked anyone's interest? Or does it sound too overly complicated?