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Update #63: Stronghold!

Stronghold Project Eternity Tim Cain Systems Design Programming Update

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#181
Stun

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Omg, Omg, Omg Too much awesome to take in at once, but this part is way too interesting to ignore:

By Tim Cain, Senior Code Wizard and Systems Designer

If you have cleared the dungeon and built a prison under your stronghold, then when you are fighting some of the named NPC’s in the game, you will be given an option to take them prisoner instead of killing them. Prisoners are kept in a cell in your prison, where you can visit them and talk to them, and occasionally use them as leverage later in the game. But you will need to keep your security level high, or you might suffer from a prison break!


!!!

I've played dozens of RPGs, and several that had strongholds, but Never has any of them had this feature. Being able to take prisoners? This is evoking a total nerdgasm from me. I'm squeeing like a teenage Justin Beiber fan at this. Sounds too good to be true.

Edited by Stun, 05 September 2013 - 02:41 AM.


#182
Messier-31

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+1. Please don't make it as obtrusive as the BG2 thief stronghold (where you had to return on time every 5 days for the rest of the game), or anything like that.

 

I want a cRPG, not a Sims clone...

 

True; I'm excited and all that jazz, but I just hope the stronghold will not be a gimmick, like a cRPG dollhouse and a time-to-resources automatic farm.

 

Time will tell. Fingers crossed.


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#183
GrinningReaper659

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I'm not really sure what the reason is for this, but it seems that a strong majority of modern RPG players are consumed with two elements of modern RPGs which I find at best tedious and at worst loathsome: time-consuming crafting and strongholds. I understand that PE is hoping not to mirror the games which inspired it, but rather to draw inspiration from the good bits and improve on the rest, but it seems like most of the games that this project claims to be taking inspiration from got on fine without tedious crafting and stronghold minigames. BG2 thief stronghold was annoying enough, and all that it really required was returning every x days. Also, the games which have included these components are often cited by players on this forum as being worse than the old ie-games, though many seem to know not why. This in itself doesn't prove that either of these mechanics is the cause of the games which include them being worse, but it is something to consider. I think that there are different types of enjoyment, and the tedium (followed by a sense of accomplishment) of collecting crafting components until you have all you need to make something or of upgrading a certain branch of stronghold construction to completion are a different sort of enjoyment than, say, experiencing a well-crafted story. Of course, this former type of enjoyment is used in most games in leveling systems, etc., but I think that it's easy to overuse it.

 

All that being said, I understand that crafting and strongholds are in and that this isn't going to change. I was annoyed with their inclusion from the moment I say them appear on the Stretch Goals, but this is what the majority of players want, so I don't mind it being in the game. I do take issue when it becomes practically necessary. @Nonek said the following:

 

"i'm happy that the Stronghold is optional and you will lose out on content if it's not taken advantage of. Too many games i'v eplayed lately have no real consequences because they're afraid of denying players content, or making choices count"

 

I suppose that this can be thought of as making choices meaningful, but to me it simply takes choice away by making one "right" choice which rewards the player and one clearly "wrong" choice which punishes the player. The reality of why content is lost out on by not using the stronghold is that the designers put time into it and therefore believe that having a stronghold is the correct way to play the game, which is why the player will be punished for not doing so. I understand that the sort of "choice" suggested by @Nonek is similar to the choice of completing or not completing side-quests, you will miss out on content, items, etc. if you choose to not complete the side quests. I don't have a problem with optional side quests, because you would be hard pressed to find someone playing PE that has a problem with quests, but it probably will not be so rare to find someone that has a problem with running a stronghold: the core mechanic of one, quests, is the core mechanic of the game at large; while the core mechanic of running a stronghold is a sort of minigame that some people simply do not enjoy.

 

Can nobody see the possibility of a "pure" adventurer (that doesn't have to run home every other day to manage his finances or rearrange his furniture) being exposed to unique content which an adventurer that also has to run a stronghold and land may miss out on? Why can't the pc take an enemy prisoner by turning him into the local militia (and then being convinced to charm or sneak his way in and break the prisoner out of said prison in the face of a lucrative enough offer)? Can the pc not run into one of these special merchants in a random encounter outside of their stronghold (for example, in the stronghold of a noble that the pc is visiting)?

 

Perhaps having these types of meaningful choices isn't within the scope of PE's budget, which is fine, but the stronghold giving stat bonuses and plenty of exclusive quest-resolution options (which could seemingly be accomplished without a stronghold) and lots of rare magical items all of which will be missed out on if you don't handle the constant tedium (which is what it would likely feel like to me and some others), feels unnecessarily like a not-much-of-a-choice type of choice. I'd just like a few parallel options for those that don't want a stronghold (or possibly a "stronghold manager" type of npc as suggested by some others). I think it's easier to turn a stronghold mechanic into an annoyance than it is to make it constantly enjoyable throughout the entire game, especially when continual interaction with it is essentially mandatory.

 

Finally, I'd just like to say that I do like several of the ideas presented here concerning the stronghold. I especially do like the prisoner idea, because it isn't something I've seen done before; there have also been a lot of great ideas from posters in this thread.


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#184
decado

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The idea of putting dudes in jail is kinda neat.  I hope it pans out as a system that feels integrated, instead of something that is just tacked on.



#185
Valorian

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The system is obviously sophisticated and complex. Good job!

 

 

But first,

 

 

I have to say that I believe the tax thing (and possibly people adventuring themselves and bringing you gold and stuff) is problematic. Could promote degeneration and I'm not being sarcastic.

 

You get tax money as time progresses, no? I explore the world and get money as I travel around (unless traveling around the world or resting doesn't fastforward time). Do you see the possibility for money aplenty and degeneration?

 

I don't think breaking the economy is a concern of theirs. Case in point, the bottomless inventory. When they created that they didn't feel that collecting everything to sell was degenerative, instead the walking back and forth to collect everything (due to bag capacity limitations) was degenerative. Go figure.

 

 

 

:biggrin: I hopeth it is a concern of theirs!

We'll see when Josh returns from his long and relaxing and, of course, deserved vacation. Hi Josh.  :w00t:

 

 

Alzo, yes, strange things are happening these days. Laidlaw just can't stop repeating how there's no level scaling in Dragon Age:I (!) and of course there won't be any level scaling in Wasteland 2 either. But.. over here, we do have this and other degenerations in our still most beloved P.E.

Maybe they switched the design documents with Laidlaw. Could it be? :geek:

 

 

PS. I see how the bottomless inventory can annoy people, but being a compulsive collector of items myself I don't have a problem with it. I find being able to access your magical bottomless bag only in specific areas an acceptable compromise.



#186
mexrage

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Well, i guess this fix the option of nonlethal way of dealing with named characters... This is probably one of the things i am looking forward the most now... I wonder if Obsidian will give us a "Hannibal Lecter" that we can keep on the dungeon to talk to, that give us "nods and insight" of other villians and our actions.   Something that make really hard to flesh out villains in games, is that you are often going to kill them onsight, so ou rarelly interact with them outside of hostile actions.

 

Now we can have our own Arkham Asylum



#187
Gfted1

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PS. I see how the bottomless inventory can annoy people, but being a compulsive collector of items myself I don't have a problem with it. I find being able to access your magical bottomless bag only in specific areas an acceptable compromise.


The bottomless bag doesn't really bother me either. D3 has made me accustomed to picking up everything yellow and above (hey, I need the gold yo), so to me PE will become a similar reflex of looting everything for resale and upkeep of my pimp stronghold. I do think its a bit humorous that in stomping out the scourge of people walking back and forth they will either break the economy or be forced to install another "fix" of devaluing everything you try to sell. Also, I hope we can pick up gold just by running over/near it.

#188
Failion

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I'm not really sure what the reason is for this, but it seems that a strong majority of modern RPG players are consumed with two elements of modern RPGs which I find at best tedious and at worst loathsome: time-consuming crafting and strongholds. I understand that PE is hoping not to mirror the games which inspired it, but rather to draw inspiration from the good bits and improve on the rest, but it seems like most of the games that this project claims to be taking inspiration from got on fine without tedious crafting and stronghold minigames. BG2 thief stronghold was annoying enough, and all that it really required was returning every x days. Also, the games which have included these components are often cited by players on this forum as being worse than the old ie-games, though many seem to know not why. This in itself doesn't prove that either of these mechanics is the cause of the games which include them being worse, but it is something to consider. I think that there are different types of enjoyment, and the tedium (followed by a sense of accomplishment) of collecting crafting components until you have all you need to make something or of upgrading a certain branch of stronghold construction to completion are a different sort of enjoyment than, say, experiencing a well-crafted story. Of course, this former type of enjoyment is used in most games in leveling systems, etc., but I think that it's easy to overuse it.

 

All that being said, I understand that crafting and strongholds are in and that this isn't going to change. I was annoyed with their inclusion from the moment I say them appear on the Stretch Goals, but this is what the majority of players want, so I don't mind it being in the game. I do take issue when it becomes practically necessary. @Nonek said the following:

 

"i'm happy that the Stronghold is optional and you will lose out on content if it's not taken advantage of. Too many games i'v eplayed lately have no real consequences because they're afraid of denying players content, or making choices count"

 

I suppose that this can be thought of as making choices meaningful, but to me it simply takes choice away by making one "right" choice which rewards the player and one clearly "wrong" choice which punishes the player. The reality of why content is lost out on by not using the stronghold is that the designers put time into it and therefore believe that having a stronghold is the correct way to play the game, which is why the player will be punished for not doing so. I understand that the sort of "choice" suggested by @Nonek is similar to the choice of completing or not completing side-quests, you will miss out on content, items, etc. if you choose to not complete the side quests. I don't have a problem with optional side quests, because you would be hard pressed to find someone playing PE that has a problem with quests, but it probably will not be so rare to find someone that has a problem with running a stronghold: the core mechanic of one, quests, is the core mechanic of the game at large; while the core mechanic of running a stronghold is a sort of minigame that some people simply do not enjoy.

 

Can nobody see the possibility of a "pure" adventurer (that doesn't have to run home every other day to manage his finances or rearrange his furniture) being exposed to unique content which an adventurer that also has to run a stronghold and land may miss out on? Why can't the pc take an enemy prisoner by turning him into the local militia (and then being convinced to charm or sneak his way in and break the prisoner out of said prison in the face of a lucrative enough offer)? Can the pc not run into one of these special merchants in a random encounter outside of their stronghold (for example, in the stronghold of a noble that the pc is visiting)?

 

Perhaps having these types of meaningful choices isn't within the scope of PE's budget, which is fine, but the stronghold giving stat bonuses and plenty of exclusive quest-resolution options (which could seemingly be accomplished without a stronghold) and lots of rare magical items all of which will be missed out on if you don't handle the constant tedium (which is what it would likely feel like to me and some others), feels unnecessarily like a not-much-of-a-choice type of choice. I'd just like a few parallel options for those that don't want a stronghold (or possibly a "stronghold manager" type of npc as suggested by some others). I think it's easier to turn a stronghold mechanic into an annoyance than it is to make it constantly enjoyable throughout the entire game, especially when continual interaction with it is essentially mandatory.

 

Finally, I'd just like to say that I do like several of the ideas presented here concerning the stronghold. I especially do like the prisoner idea, because it isn't something I've seen done before; there have also been a lot of great ideas from posters in this thread.

Well as a veteran rpg gamer I don't care about stat bonuses or min maxing which I think are for babys. Pure adventure is fun and all but gets old really fast. Games with more gameplay variety are more fun. Variety in gameplay what makes games like suikoden 3 make the dragon quest games look like old school boring repetitive crap. 



#189
Valorian

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The bottomless bag doesn't really bother me either. D3 has made me accustomed to picking up everything yellow and above (hey, I need the gold yo), so to me PE will become a similar reflex of looting everything for resale and upkeep of my pimp stronghold. I do think its a bit humorous that in stomping out the scourge of people walking back and forth they will either break the economy or be forced to install another "fix" of devaluing everything you try to sell. Also, I hope we can pick up gold just by running over/near it.

 

 

I understand your point. It could break the economy big time if income from loot isn't properly balanced. Yes. My concern is more limitless loot than a limitless inventory. Like, if they have: a) enemies who drop loot or b) anything that can be sold such as useful herbs, in respawn mode.

Or a stronghold that is a money machine.



#190
Solviulnir the Soulbinder

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right this moment, somewhere in the forest northwest of Bael River...
hqdefault.jpg

This is shaping up really nice. 



#191
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The bottomless bag doesn't really bother me either. D3 has made me accustomed to picking up everything yellow and above (hey, I need the gold yo), so to me PE will become a similar reflex of looting everything for resale and upkeep of my pimp stronghold. I do think its a bit humorous that in stomping out the scourge of people walking back and forth they will either break the economy or be forced to install another "fix" of devaluing everything you try to sell. Also, I hope we can pick up gold just by running over/near it.

 

It's pretty straightforward: sale prices are pegged with the assumption that you will sell everything you find.  Sale prices are almost universally much, much lower than buy prices in RPGs and those rates are arbitrated around balancing the economy (at least up to the endgame).



#192
J.E. Sawyer

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Or a stronghold that is a money machine.

 

Stronghold tax income is more for balancing maintenance costs (i.e., paying hirelings and repairing damaged upgrades) than a major source of income.  Your major source of income will almost certainly be finding money and loot in the world.


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#193
Malekith

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Can the companions be permanently killed in those side missions? (yes please)



#194
rjshae

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I always thought that $2.0 million meant a player house but if they reached $3.0 million, that would be upgraded to a stronghold. I could be wrong.

 

I suspected that was the case, but I don't think it's ever been clarified one way or another. Still, owning a separate house might be useful plot-wise somewhere along the line. It could serve as a safe house for somebody you rescue, or perhaps you could sell it off to help finance your stronghold upgrades? Alternatively, if you lose the stronghold to enemy forces, your house could then serve as a backup base. Worse case, your house gets incinerated by a dragon some time after you gain the stronghold. :)


Edited by rjshae, 05 September 2013 - 12:21 PM.


#195
J.E. Sawyer

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Your player house is located within the boundaries of the stronghold, but it is its own building with its own upgrades/benefits.


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#196
Malekith

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Your player house is located within the boundaries of the stronghold, but it is its own building with its own upgrades/benefits.

Wouldn't made more sense to be completely separate building in one of the cities?



#197
J.E. Sawyer

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I think physically splitting the house and the stronghold increases the likelihood that the player will choose to not visit one or the other (most likely, the house) over the course of the game.


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#198
Jarmo

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Neat to see we get both!

 

But if one is quicker to access in real time, that's the one not neglected.

That's why Novac motel remained the base even after getting access to the suite.



#199
Fluffle

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I'm not really sure what the reason is for this, but it seems that a strong majority of modern RPG players are consumed with two elements of modern RPGs which I find at best tedious and at worst loathsome: time-consuming crafting and strongholds.

 

I was sure you were going to say "romances and strongholds".

 

But back to topic:

 

How can the stronghold be called "optional" if you have serious disadvantages when you decide not to use it.

From all that I have read, there are major advantages using the stronghold.

 

What do players get in return who decide to not use it?

 

Please do not get me wrong I LOVE strongholds, but I worry for people who don't.

They should not have a major less enjoyable experience of Project Eternity in my opinion.

 

I understand that you cannot design an equally sophisticated game element for those who refuse the stronghold.

But maybe you should not give them *nothing*.

 

If someone refuses the stronghold this should impact the game too and I'd ask that this

would not be only restiricted to a negative impact.


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#200
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Maybe you can acquire the house within the strongholdish keep/settlement, and someone else (another faction, or just another NPC) can actually own/run the stronghold while you just take advantange of it as a safehouse? So you could get access to some of the stuff there (merchants and stuff), but you don't really have to run things. And yet, it can still have its place in the narrative, run by you or not.

I suppose it's possible the house could be completely optional, as well, but I don't really see the lack of a simple lodging ever being really beneficial in any way. I guess maybe like the Druid example someone pointed out, with one of those "Even in times of trouble, I'd rather spend my time out amongst nature than bundled together behind the safety of any walls with some other people" types? I'm just not sure how far that can go before your Druid is basically disconnected from the entire narrative. "Oh, there's a threat, and it involves my interaction with PEOPLE and SETTLEMENTS?! Feh I say... u_u" being the extreme, heh.


In regard to the questioning (from multiple posts) of the optional nature of the stronghold management:

Just because a benefit's exclusivity hinges upon a given choice does not mean that one choice is automatically the right one, and another is automatically the wrong one. If you choose to play a party of Fighters, you don't get the benefits of any other class. But, had you chosen various other classes, you wouldn't get the specific benefits of a party full of Fighters. If you join one faction that another faction doesn't get along with, then maybe you miss out on the specific benefits of that other faction.

If you don't use the stronghold, the immediate benefit is that you get to spend all that money/those resources on other things, rather than pumping it into stronghold upgrades and having to wait around, etc.

If you think the benefits of the stronghold are worth it, then go for it, connect four! If you don't, then don't worry about it. The game doesn't inherently state that the correct way to play it is to 100% it. If you can get the items to build some potent equipment from the stronghold, and you can also get the items to build some OTHER potent equipment from not-the-stronghold, then you still get potent equipment.

It's just like the class example. Both a Fighter AND a Wizard can take down encounters and get through the game, but each is going to miss out on something the other can do. If you deem that specific means important (just like a specific bit of potent equipment, for example), then you do what you need to to acquire it. IF that's too tedious and troublesome, then so be it. But, no one's making you go through it. Hence the optional-ness.

I think an awful lot is being assumed about the tedious nature of the stronghold, too, since we hardly know how the messages and management is going to be handled over time. So, I urge people to maybe not jump to conclusions that arbitrarily set them against the system before we even know about it.

Edited by Lephys, 05 September 2013 - 12:57 PM.

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