Faster is not better unless faster adds an element [...] I'm just wondering what the real time element will add.
First of all: Thanks for your considerations. It's really helpful for me to get input like that because it helps me find weakpoints (and strong points) in my design.
I don't think "faster" equals "better". And I don't want to make things harder than they should be. The game should be accessible and fun leaving enough head space for players getting really good at it. The thing with real time is that (if used correctly, and that is hard) it adds excitement. Final Fantasy 4 and the sequels that followed proved that. And those games were enjoyed by really novice gamers (like me and my friends when we were like... 8 years old for example.) and experienced players just as much because the speed was moderate and could be turned up or down.
I would definitely include a way to change game speeds from "beginner" to "tournament".
But aside from being accessible, I would like the game to have potential for competitive play (which also means that it should be fun to watch) aswell. And one thing I noticed about accessible and broadly popular games being played competitively alot is that "very fast" is the default, actually:
StarCraft 2 starts newcomers out with "Normal" or "Fast" speed. But all ladder-matches are played in "Very Fast", which is tournament-standard and considerably faster than "Normal". With a bit of experience, "very fast" feels just right and anything slower is really boring.
Street Fighter 2 was actually re-released to feature a Turbo-Mode which made the game even faster and this speed is pretty much how fast Street Fighter 4 is today.
It's similar with FPSes. Speed-wise, Call of Duty 4 is CounterStrike on steroids - and people love it.
I think, speed adds spice to the game. And players like that. Of course, too much only turns out in a chaotic mess, but most players like their games rather a tiny bit too chaotic than a tiny bit too slow and boring.
So the game should definitely start players out with a slow speed and eventually raise it to a level which is fast enough but not chaotic.
Considering FF X: I loved that game's fighting system. The problem in a multiplayer-situation is that players don't like to wait for each other's turns. Waiting is boring (for most people). That's why way more people play StarCraft or WarCraft online compared to the people who like to play Civilization competitively even though both games offer wonderful single-player experiences. (I think, I'd actually even prefer Civilization, single-player-wise....)
Some problems that can arise:
Yeah, good concerns. I also had the one with "pin-point"-damage dealing (or "insta-gibbing" :-D ) in my mind before. I guess, good balancing would have to fix that. Which indeed is a very, very hard thing to get right.
The damage dealt by 1 damage-dealer (a Ninja, for example) with one non-charged attack should be considerable but not devastating for armored characters (Knights). I though that the most important ability (the defining ability which would make some kind of tank-character neccessary for any party-composition) of a knight should be to enable a "mode" in which it automatically sponges most (or all?) physical (or magical) damage. So simply having a couple of damage dealers without any other tricks up the player's sleeves wouldn't be enough to beat a party with 1 tank, 1 healer and 2 other characters. Also: Attacks and Spells are performed one after another in a queue... so having 4 damage dealers pin-point-attack consecutively would be a pretty hard thing do.
I guess it didn't come out in my short design, sketch, but actually, the game is very close to FF X (which also features a queue) except you don't really have to wait for you opponents input. And since the control scheme is so simple and so fast, players should be able to cope with the real-time-structure.