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Reddit Q&A Part 2 with Tim Cain

project eternity tim cain reddit combat update 16

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#1
The Guildmaster

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For our weekend update this week (update 16!), we have another Q&A from our reddit readers in the Project Eternity Q&A Subgroup, with all of the questions having to do with the combat system of Project Eternity. Tim answers the top five questions below (as voted up by the community) as well as picking an additional question at random from all of those asked. Also check out the main Project Eternity group if you stop over to reddit.

And now, on to the questions!

Kaaaboom asks...
Hi Tim! I'm curious how the close combat in P:E will turn out. Will the melee of P:E encompass stuff like reach weapons, opportunity attacks, flanking, grappling, charging, prone/standing-modes and so forth?

Yes, we are looking to include many of these features into our close combat system. Specifically, opportunity attacks and flanking are definitely in, as well as charging. We're not sure about reach weapons yet (we need to figure out if that attribute on a weapon will be worthwhile enough in combat and will supportable with the appropriate UI), and while we will support prone positions, you won't be able to attack while prone because the animations involved are too different from attacks while standing that we would have to make every animation twice, once for standing and once for prone. This limitation also means that grappling abilities will not be included. There are too many new animations needed and special case limitations that apply, e.g. how does a human grapple a centaur or a dragon or an ooze?).

DTKT asks...
Are you guys designing some of the abilities/spells to be used in synergy with other spells? AKA, a grease spell and a fireball?

Yes! We love abilities (including spells) that leave side effects on the target that subsequent abilities can take advantage of. So we may give you an attack that has a chance to stun a target, and another attack that does extra damage on stunned targets. Or you have a spell that catches targets on fire, and another that causes explosions on burning targets. These abilities work fine on their own, but when you learn the combinations, you will be much more effective.

Karel_evzen asks...
On KickStarter you mention positioning will be an important aspect of combat. How important will this (and tactics in general) be? Will we see similar combat mechanics as in NWN2 (backstabbing, friendly fire) or something completely different?

We plan to make positioning very important, since we will support flanking attacks and backstabbing. We want you to be thinking about where your characters are standing and facing, not only relative to the monsters but also to each other, because we will have friendly fire in the game. Some abilities will affect their target and other targets around the main one, so you will need to use these abilities carefully. You can always avoid using these abilities at all, as they are never required, or you can choose to use them around your other characters that have a good chance to evade such damage. And if you don't like it, friendly fire will be an option you can turn off in most modes, but not in expert mode. In expert mode, you will always have to be careful when using area of effect abilities or abilities that cause splash damage, because you won't be able to turn off friendly fire.

DoubtfulGuest asks...
A question about combat magic: I really enjoyed the complexity of the system in the Baldurs Gate series where a wizard's repertoire included contingency spells, spell triggers, spell shields of different magnitudes, "prep spells" like Malison, and so forth. It added an interesting amount of strategy to a wizard duel. Will the system in Project Eternity have similar elements?

Yes, we will have spells that are useful to counter other spells, and we will certainly have buffs and shields that you can cast on yourself and other party members. However, we are not going to make encounters that require the use of a particular spell or that involve a creature with extreme immunities (such as a creature only harmed by silver weapons). We don't want to make encounters that only have one solution, and if you cannot use that solution, you are out of luck. Instead, our encounters will have creatures with various strengths and weaknesses, and you can pick several different ways to take them down, and some of those ways will be more efficacious than others. Few choices will be outright unusable, though.

Wormix asks...
In certain CRPGs you will regenerate all your health and mana after every fight, ensuring that you have your full power for every fight. In the IE games you didn't regenerate spells or health after each battle, making spell management a strategic concern.While this allows individual fights to be balanced for difficulty easier and is less punishing in general, it removes an aspect of strategy from the game that a lot of players enjoy. What is Project Eternity's aim in terms of strategic resource management?

In the old IE games, wizards and priests had resources that got drained and did not regenerate before the next battle, unlike fighters and rogues that few or no such resources. We are looking for a middle ground solution, either one where the wizards aren't the only ones to make a hard choice of whether to "use up" a resource, or one where no class has to make such a choice. For example, we are looking into the idea that wizards are only limited in the number of times they can cast their higher-level combat spells in a fight, and other spell are castable as many times as you want. As the wizard levels up, spells that previously had a limit can now be cast an unlimited number of times, and the newly acquired spells are the ones with a limit. And we could make similar abilities for fighters, priests and rogues too. In general, we always want to the player to have a choice of what to do with a particular character, and we want those choices to change as the character becomes more powerful.

Now for a bonus question!

Diablo169 asks...
Could you please provide a bit more detail on how skill/spell cooldowns are going to factor into the games combat system?

Sure, let me give some specifics on how we are planning to incorporate cooldowns into the wizard class. First off, cooldowns are NOT on individual spells. For any particular spell, you cast it, and when you are done, you can cast it again right away. But one limitation is on spells of a particular level. When you cast a certain number of those spells, in any combination, then the whole spell level group goes into a cooldown, and you can't use any of them until that cooldown has passed. That cooldown is long enough that for short battles, you are limited to casting a certain number of spells for each spell level. For long battles, that cooldown might expire and you can start casting those spells again.

The other cooldown has to do with your grimoire. A wizard may know a lot of spells, but he can only cast a few basic spells plus the ones that are in the grimoire that he is holding. Grimoires vary in size, holding various numbers of spells of different spell levels, and the player is free to load up his different grimoires with spell combinations of his choice. But once combat begins, switching grimoires causes a cooldown for all of those spells, leaving the caster only able to cast his basic spells until the grimoire cooldown passes. This means the player will have to think carefully about which spells he adds to a grimoire and under what situations he would want to switch one for another.

And that's everything for this week, folks. Thank you very much for your support of Obsidian and Project Eternity.

Tim.
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#2
Monte Carlo

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I like the spell-casting system. I hope it assuages some of the fears of the people who hated cool-downs.
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#3
Cantousent

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I can't believe you said that. Nothing will assuage the fears of the folks who hate cool downs. Don't you understand? You can't be an internet cowboy if you don't stick to your guns and fight like hell over every small damn thing on which you decided at the instance.
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#4
WorstUsernameEver

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The system sounds interesting (personally I'm neutral on the issue of cooldowns.. as long as they're not MMO-style, since skill-spamming is IMO a boring way to do combat) but I'd have to see how it's executed in-game and how it affects the pacing before I can comment (I agree with Sawyer that rest-spamming is an issue and I'm no fan of Vancian, but sometimes solutions are worse than the problems in game design..)

I'd also (as a non-moderator) humbly suggest people to relax and let those who are against cooldowns as a mechanic explain their stance and their thoughts on this update. I'm sure the discussion will be more readable as a result.

#5
BTA51

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Nice! The magic system sounds even better than D&D:S to me, it seems logical that higher level spells can't be spammed while lower level are easy to cast. Hopefully it changes with level too, so that lvl 3 spells first require preparation but when you're casting lvl 6 spells they are easy (or something like that).

#6
Delicieuxz

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Obsidian, if you paid attention to the Wasteland 2 feedback, you'd recognize that people generally hate the idea of in-game exclusive content. People want the full game, and they want others to also have the full game. They don't want different pieces of the game floating around with different people. That stuff just gets under peoples' skin and is disappointing from the perspective that the work done for those exclusive preorder or backer items isn't enjoyed or recognized in longevity, as it isn't something that the majority of players of the game are ever going to witness and experience for themselves.

Having in-game exclusives is a disappointing tactic that is in line with the stifling large publisher attitude that people are so sick of and which is prompting the relief felt by the kickstarter movement. It's right there with generic mass-appeal gameplay and restrictive DRM in regards to items that the spirit of crowd funding is revolting against.

Edited by Delicieuxz, 06 October 2012 - 12:10 AM.

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#7
Cantousent

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Yeah, I get you WNE. I meant that to be funny and it just came across as mean, which is sad because I usually laugh much more than fight in about any condition, but especially now. It *is* true, however, that the little things that get to you tend to draw out your more combative side. I'm not exempt from that. I really firmly believe that incidental XP is bunk, but that issue is decided and so I try to put it aside. I honestly think people who hate cool-downs should keep advocating for what they believe within reason but, unless it's a deal breaker, they should be willing to cool off on it once it's completely decided by the devs. Luckily for me, no one particular thing is a deal breaker. I guess if they made it a dance game requiring a floor pad or something, I would withdraw my support and pledge, but outside of crazy stuff likke that I'm onboard.

#8
cyberarmy

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Obsidian, if you paid attention to the Wasteland 2 feedback, you'd recognize that people generally hate the idea of in-game exclusive content. People want the full game, and they want others to also have the full game. They don't want different pieces of the game floating around with different people. That stuff just gets under peoples' skin and is disappointing from the perspective that the work done for those exclusive preorder or backer items isn't enjoyed or recognized in longevity, as it isn't something that the majority of players of the game are ever going to witness and experience for themselves.

Having in-game exclusives is a disappointing tactic that is in line with the stifling large publisher attitude that people are so sick of and which is prompting the relief felt by the kickstarter movement. It's right there with generic mass-appeal gameplay and restrictive DRM in regards to items that the spirit of crowd funding is revolting against.



Yeah im really sorry for those who wont be playing with their silent, cosmetic pet in game. yeah... Huge game breaking deal.
BTW this post was mainly about combat, spells and cooldowns? Learn to use forums a bit please.
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#9
Delicieuxz

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Obsidian, if you paid attention to the Wasteland 2 feedback, you'd recognize that people generally hate the idea of in-game exclusive content. People want the full game, and they want others to also have the full game. They don't want different pieces of the game floating around with different people. That stuff just gets under peoples' skin and is disappointing from the perspective that the work done for those exclusive preorder or backer items isn't enjoyed or recognized in longevity, as it isn't something that the majority of players of the game are ever going to witness and experience for themselves.

Having in-game exclusives is a disappointing tactic that is in line with the stifling large publisher attitude that people are so sick of and which is prompting the relief felt by the kickstarter movement. It's right there with generic mass-appeal gameplay and restrictive DRM in regards to items that the spirit of crowd funding is revolting against.



Yeah im really sorry for those who wont be playing with their silent, cosmetic pet in game. yeah... Huge game breaking deal.
BTW this post was mainly about combat, spells and cooldowns? Learn to use forums a bit please.


It is a direct response the email information which provided a link to discuss it, though I clicked the wrong link. And yes, let's ignore the cracks in the foundation because they're oh so small and surely won't grow. Learn to use your brain a bit, please.

Edited by Delicieuxz, 06 October 2012 - 12:30 AM.


#10
SnideCipher

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Grimoires sound cool. I wonder if as well as varying in size they come with other sorts of enhancements. Grimoire that enhances fire spells, grimoire that gives you a +1 to intelligence when you are holding it or a sentient grimour that chants your spells for you as well as combat taunts - I call that grimoire Morte :yes:

#11
DCParry

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I am extremely excited about the spell-casting/skill system. It sounds really interesting. I like the idea of have different "load outs" for a wizard, adding a bit more strategic depth. For example, you stumble upon a bunch of crazy cultists performing a ritual where they are sacrificing various virgins and wood land creatures and you attack them, and start to slaughter the evil doers. Despite your best efforts they complete their ritual, sort of, a giant tentacled face demon (mmMMMmm tentacles) appears, bent on consuming both the cultists and you. Does your wizard stick with his or her standard anti-personal grimoire (hold spells, AoE spells, and so on), or let the front line take the brunt while he pulls out his demon smiting and spell countering book?

#12
thracian

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i dont like the idea of casting unlimited number of spells
it will turn mages into archers who launches flashy arrows, magic will be cheap

#13
vrailor

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Sounds really interesting. Like a combination of sorcerer and wizard. :)
My idea would be to also limit the number of slots for spamable spells per level. So you have to choose which spells to spam and which you cast normally. Of course the number slots for spamable spells per level and the number of cool-down spells per level increases as you level up. Additionally you can add certain perks, feats or items to increase the number of spamable spells or change there behaviour.

This leads to more choices. Is it enough for you to spam fire arrows or do you want to have a bigger range of spamable spells for spell level 4 but maybe less spams for the other levels or do you want an even bigger selection by using grimoires which you can change mid-combat but with the drawback of its cooldown? And also which spells do you want to be able to spam? This may only be changed in certain moments (level-up, rest, out of combat).
As Snide suggested give these grimoire certain bonuses. I can even imagine that your first grimoire - "your personal" grimoire - may also level up. Either by experience, crafting or feeding him the souls of defeated enemy mages. You can even make it dialog related similar to the Unbroken Circle of Zertimon. :D

All this allows you to have more ways to build your personal kind of caster. To build your own mage/caster.

#14
Karranthain

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I'm looking forward to knowing more details about the spell system.

Also, I'm really hoping for reach weapons - even if they'd only allow wielders to attack from a larger distance, with no additional mechanics.

#15
teknoman2

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what i would do about cooldowns, would be to make them big based on the spell level. so to cast magic missile or grease (lv1) you have a 5s cd, but to cast a fireball (lv3) a 60s cd and if you summon an elemental (lv7), you will have to wait 1 hour before you can summon another

#16
Shevek

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Aha! I knew thats where they were going with the spell system. LINK

They could just do levelled action points. So, you prepare X amount of spells at each level, you get a set number of castings per spell level, they regenerate at different rates (much slower the higher you go) during combat. Once combat is done, all spells action points regen instantly. This gives you similar spell variety of a wizard, casting mechanics of a sorceror and the lack of a need to rest.



Regenerating levelled action points. Sorta. I guess the whole level goes on cooldown. That makes sense though.

I also like idea that they are considering that the highest level spells do not get regenerating action points (or levels). However, this now means that rest issues must be addressed. In order to address rest spam, rest must come with risk or must be in some other way limited.

Also, please include reach weapons. Those are very useful when you are in a tight hallway. This allows more combatants (both enemy and pc) to engage and not be blocked by friendlies.

*edit: made some changes to my post after watching the vid again for clarification.

Edited by Shevek, 06 October 2012 - 04:59 AM.


#17
IgnatiusJ.Reilly

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Ah, he dodged DoubtfulGuest's question slightly -- the part concerning spell contingencies and spell triggers. BG2's spells were awesome. I don't think he did it on purpose mind you. I suppose countering enemy resistances or damage reduction just popped into his head at the time, so he addressed that too.

#18
andreisiadi

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Summary for the latest update:

- Combat is going the way of the casual. Bad.
- It will not be as retarded as DAO. Good.
- Sawyer is to blame. Expected.
- Tim Cain is doing all he can to keep Sawyer in check. Expected
- Tim Cain is going to try and fix this **** in expert mod. Good luck.

Fictional quote summary : "Ma' wizzads got noting to do if he ran outta spellzors. Fix pleaze !"

Edited by Gorth, 06 October 2012 - 07:16 AM.
Language


#19
Althernai

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I am trying to understand the magic system and there is one thing not clear to me. Here's what I've got so far:

1) Wizards can learn many spells (like Mages from Baldur's Gate 2).
2) Basic spells can be cast without a grimoire and have no cooldowns.
3) Casting from the grimoire works like the Sorcerer from Baldur's Gate 2: spells are grouped into levels and you can cast some number of spells from any given level before the level is depleted. However, unlike with Sorcerers, levels regenerate even without resting and you can change your selection. Both of these can happen even during combat with the price being cooldowns.

Now, here is the question: it was previously mentioned that there will be resting in Project Eternity (see, for example, this post). Does it serve any purpose as far as magic is concerned? It can't just be getting rid of the cooldowns since the duration of the latter is so short that they may recover even during some of the longer fights. Is there a secondary resource used for spells (i.e. mana equivalent) that is replenished by resting?
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#20
Shadenuat

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I have no idea how can anyone think about positioning, flanking, spell-combos and all that stuff they want to get in in a real-time. Even with pause, bad AI and pathfinding really could **** up everything they say.





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