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Five man party ? idk... let's discuss


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#1
dam

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Hello guys,

 

 

 

I stumbled across this article in which I read Obsidian wants POE2 to break from the tradition, and shrink the party to 5 instead of 6 characters total.

 

 

Now, I'm not saying it is bad, I'm not judging, because the simple fact is that one can not judge before trying it out first.

 

 

 

I would however, like for us to discuss this planned reduction in party size.

 

How do we feel about it ?

How is it going to impact our play style ?

Do we think it will be detrimental, particularly at higher difficulty settings ?

What's positive about this change ?

How are other RPGs doing it ?

 

 

For the purposes of this discussion and with regards to my point of view on this matter, I'll be talking about Hard difficulty.

 

 

 

 

 

I for one, am worried with regards to available skills and abilities.

On Hard difficulty (and excluding cheesy stuff like TCS / FCS runs), my party typically consists of :

 

1/ 1x main tank, usually a warrior or monk

This character's role is to control the flow of battle with opponents, engage them, block doorways, pin down melee characters.

He's not here to deal damage, he exists to soak it, so that my backline remains safe.

 

2/ 1x offtank, usually a chanter, paladin, monk or barbarian

This character's role is to intercept and control any enemy that may have slipped past the main tank.

He also handles additional monsters which have escape or teleport abilities and directly threaten the backline.

 

The advantage of using a chanter or a paladin is that it also doubles up as :

 

3/ 1x buffer, usually a chanter, paladin, priest

This character is here to provide the party with combat bonii, as well as some utility.

Obviously a priest is a much stronger buffer than a chanter or paladin, but he gets limited use per rest.

 

4/ a melee DPS, usually a monk, barbarian, rogue or cipher

This character is here to dispatch enemies in melee once they've been properly engaged by MT and OT.

The reason I take a melee DPS over a ranged DPS is that, in my experience, they dish out more damage.

Obviously the risk is higher for going in melee (AOE spells on the MT/OT can hit you, enemies can turn around and rush you), so it follows that the reward should be greater as well.

If at all possible, I like this character to have some crowd control or debuff ability as well, so he can stand his own 1v1.

 

5/ a crowd control / debuff specialist, usually a wizard or cipher

This character exists to debilitate enemies, lower their defenses and generally make the fight easier for my party.

Blind, knockdown or paralyze effects, charms and dominations all work very well.

In addition to lowering the enemy threat, this character also sets up any present rogue for sneak attacks.

 

The question of wizard vs cipher actually depends on your play style.

A wizard is a burst caster which can empty all his repertoire in the one fight, but find himself bereft of abilities for the next fight.

A cipher is a more paced caster which actually builds up as the fight goes on.

 

6/ an AOE damage specialist, usually a wizard or druid, or even a barbarian or cipher

This last character's role is to weaken the enemy as a group.

The rationale behind this character is that the quicker I can dispatch enemies, the less time they have to deal damage.

Less damage taken translates into a lower burden on my (limited !!) healing capabilities.

 

It also allows me to kill 2 (or more) birds with one stone.

When faced with 3 Nearly Dead enemies, a quick Fan of Flames can finish the lot off, instead of my picking them one by one with single target damage dealers.

 

This character either uses direct damage abilities (fireball, fan of flames...) or powerful damage over time effects (hello druid ?).

 

 

 

 

 

How do I feel about this party reduction ?

 

Obviously I'm gonna have to let a character go.

The question is, which one ?

Whatever choice I make, I'll be unhappy about.

 

Leave my rogue out ? But I did like these 120+ damage crits.

Leave my offtank out ? This is going to make frontlining a super chore for my main tank.

Leave my MT out ? Well, that means my OT because my MT, and again I'm short an offtank.

Leave my buffer out ? He kinda was there for a reason in the first place, like, you know, buffing maybe... ?

Leave my cc/debilitator out ? Again he's here for a reason, he's making enemies more susceptible to my ah... sermons.

Leave my damage specialist out ? As for my melee specialist, I did like these big numbers...

 

This is going to change my playstyle, I do not like it.

 

 

 

 

 

How is it going to impact my playstyle ?

 

I can only speculate here, because obviously the game is going to be tuned towards a 5 man party.

Obviously however, I'm gonna have to eschew some utility or damage, and make use of less specialized characters.

I may have to transform my wizard or cipher into a hybrid cc/damage dealer, or I may have to let go of my melee DPS entirely.

 

Either way encounters will be changed.

As is the default human behaviour with regards to changing an established and working item, I do not like the idea.

 

 

 

 

 

Is it going to be detrimental ?

 

I would think so, yes.

Using less specialized characters means them having less power, less impact in their particular field of expertise.

If I spec a wizard as a crowd controller, you can be assured he's gonna be sitting at low Might, but high Perception and Intelligence.

If I have to drop my damage dealing caster and merge that with my debilitator, obviously I won't be able to dump Might too low.

 

While this is hardly an issue on the lower difficulties, the impact starts showing in Hard, and POTD.

 

 

Such a change will also mean more items are merely cash money.

Remember all these items that you found, and you were like "fck me, if only I had a cipher" (or a barbarian, or a rogue, or whatever) ?

With one less party member, expect to see even more of those.

 

There is, in my opinion, not very many things more frustrating than selling an absolutely awesome item just because you can't use it.

 

I therefore, do not like it.

 

 

 

 

 

What positive effects can be expected ?

 

In my opinion, this change would ease party management.

You'd have fewer members to keep alive, which means more opportunity to focus on giving correct orders to your other party members.

 

You'd also be able to min-max equipment more.

Less people to equip means you can keep them all decked with best in slot items as you find them.

 

 

 

 

 

Comparison with other games ?

 

Know one of the common points between Shadowrun, DA:O, D:oS and Tyranny ?

Yup you've got it, limited party roster of 4 members.

 

 

However, and this is very very very key here.

All of these games also have another trait in common : cooldown-based spells.

Shadowrun and D:oS use turn-based cooldowns.

DA:O and Tyranny use timer-based cooldowns.

 

End of the day ?

Your characters can use their abilities over and over again, provided they are still alive to do so.

Cooldown-based systems encourage the player to be mindful of their decision to use this or that ability, without being exceedingly punishing.

Usage-based systems however, actually discourage one from using abilities : I won't have it for the next fight !

 

I mean, even immersion-wise, how does this one sound ?

NO MAN WAIT NO WAY, I CAN'T THROW SAND IN PEOPLE'S EYES ANYMORE.

SAY WHAT, WHAT DO YOU MEAN WE'RE ON A BEACH ? YEAH BUT I'VE ALREADY DONE IT TODAY, NO CAN DO MAN !

 

 

A higher party member count makes the game more forgiving to the player, because you get more abilities to use per rest cycle.

A lower party threshold however, seems to me to accentuate your blunders even more.

Not only do you not have this or that ability available anymore, but do you remember ? You're also expected to fill this or that role now.

 

 

 

Ultimately this comes down to each of us' appreciation of the change.

I for one am curious about it.

 

On the one hand I trust Obsidian to deliver a balanced and fun game.

On the other hand, we're talking about changing the way I play here.

I play that way because I enjoy it.

I dislike the idea that one would change something I actually like in the first place.

 

 

 

How about you ?

Are you excited, or fearful of that party downsizing ?

How is it going to affect your game ?

 

 

Share your feelings on the proposed change, and let us see what benefits it would bring.

 

 

I'd like to thank you for reading thus far.

I know it's a long post, but there was a lot to cover.

 



#2
Boeroer

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Maybe you want to have a look at this thread:

 

http://forums.obsidi...educed-to-five/

Lots of stuff to read. ;)



#3
MaxQuest

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I would however, like for us to discuss this planned reduction in party size.
 
1. How do we feel about it ?
2. How is it going to impact our play style ?
3. Do we think it will be detrimental, particularly at higher difficulty settings ?
4. What's positive about this change ?
5. How are other RPGs doing it ?

1. Conflicted
2. Depends. I expect a slight shift in balance vs single-target vs aoe spells and abilities
3. Detrimental? Can't say for sure, need to try first 
4. Less fuss with controlling full party. Although I wouldn't say it was a big problem in PoE1. Also there will be Player AI Scripting which would address this anyway.
5. In NWN2 I always wanted a 5 man party, because besides of Elanee and Zhjaeve, I wanted to have Khelgar and Sand / Neeshka for the banter. In Dragon Age series there are also not enough active companions. And since my MC is always focused on dps, I usually ended up with the same 3 companions over and over again. (and usually it's a tank + 2 heal/cc specialists)
 

Obviously I'm gonna have to let a character go.
The question is, which one ?
Whatever choice I make, I'll be unhappy about.
 
Leave my rogue out ? But I did like these 120+ damage crits.
Leave my offtank out ? This is going to make frontlining a super chore for my main tank.
Leave my MT out ? Well, that means my OT because my MT, and again I'm short an offtank.
Leave my buffer out ? He kinda was there for a reason in the first place, like, you know, buffing maybe... ?
Leave my cc/debilitator out ? Again he's here for a reason, he's making enemies more susceptible to my ah... sermons.
Leave my damage specialist out ? As for my melee specialist, I did like these big numbers...
 
This is going to change my playstyle, I do not like it.

I understand you.

Was even, occasionally thinking that I want a 7th party member in order to round the lineup. Although in a way that would be one step closer to AoE galore; so in the end 6-man party was really ok.

When optimizing party for PotD we often had one character starting to fill two or even three roles at once. Barbarian can tank and either interrupt/cc or deal damage. Cipher can offtank, cc, and again offtank using a charmed enemy. Priest can heal, buff and deal aoe damage.

In Deadfire we'll probably have this role-coverage evolve even further. MT could blend with buffer. and debilitator with offtank. Multi-classing will help us with that.

Also chances are, that if UI permits and Deadfire is enough modding-friendly, someone would make a mod that changes party size back to 6; provided that encounters can be made harder.

Edited by MaxQuest, 07 July 2017 - 06:34 AM.


#4
dam

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Maybe you want to have a look at this thread:

 

http://forums.obsidi...educed-to-five/

Lots of stuff to read. ;)

I thank you for the link.

 

 

I'm afraid however this one thread concerns itself only with the disadvantages of such a system.

Basically and without being judgemental, what I read is people griping about something prior to having seen it in effect.

They're venting frustration without actually weighing the pros and cons of a new system.

 

 

 

What I'd like to do, is for us to weigh the pros and cons, both individually (as I have done in the OP) and as a group (at which point someone is going to point out an obvious advantage nobody thought of).

 

What I'd like to do, is for us to give Obsidian some credit.

The guys are, IIRC, mostly veterans from Black Isle.

 

We're talking about the people behind BG and BG2 here, we just cannot assume they're doing this on a whim.

In fact, I'm fairly certain they've taken a lot of time to think about it.

 

When proposing a change to something people are used to, you're always going to get roasted, just always.

We can only assume Obsidian are very aware of that, so they'll have things to back their change against the massive backlash.

 

 

I remain concerned about the change, but I can only hope OBS are planning accordingly for it.

Different encounters and combat system, stuff like that, should offset the loss of a companion.



#5
JFutral

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I hate the 6 character limit. If I want a party of 12, I feel like I should be allowed to. I get kind of tired of the whole "balance" argument. Besdies, balance only matters to true neutrals. Any discussion of balance always seems to revolve around arbitrary and plastic rules.

 

If the story is that the world I am inhabiting seeks a balance, but I am trying to upset that balance, that's part of the story. If I am trying to restore balance by defeating some super powered evil/good, that's a different story. If I am trying to defeat evil to make the world good, that's another story. If I am trying to become powerful enough to defeat a powerful enemy who illed my family/freinds, etc., yet another sotry. But all that is arbitray based on the precepts of the story, which was never really clear in PoE I. Of all the issues with the BG series, the goal was never unclear.

 

But I seek more advanced and powerful magical items to get an advantge, not to have that advantage negated by ever stronger enemies. Otherwise it's the same game all the way through.

 

Now, if the problem is pragmatic regarding gaming engine or even programming limitations, okay, that's a different discussion.

 

But as PoE I shows, if I really want a challenging game of strategy, limiting party size and make-up is the only way. At least after the first couple of run-throughs. In reality the characters advance faster than the person playing the game.

 

So, whatever on party size. To me the question is why, what is the goal.

 

Joe


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#6
rjshae

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My main concern is whether this change will make combat more like a random skirmish with everybody fighting in their own little island. That was my second biggest dislike of the DA:O game: you just couldn't hold a front, so tactics more or less went out the window. Even when blocking a door opening, enemies just slid around it. Bleh.



#7
dam

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My main concern is whether this change will make combat more like a random skirmish with everybody fighting in their own little island. That was my second biggest dislike of the DA:O game: you just couldn't hold a front, so tactics more or less went out the window. Even when blocking a door opening, enemies just slid around it. Bleh.

 

You've never used Seal of Repulsion + Seal of Paralysis now did you ? ;)

 

'Cause that certainly stopped enemies in their tracks, and tactics never flew out the window...

 

 

At the risk of derailing my own topic :  what do players do during a fight ?

 

I can't say for you, here's what I do :

1/ I pause the game

2/ I identify high value targets and order them by threat level :

  - spellcasters (mages, priests, druids, ciphers...)

  - burst DPS (rogues, frenzy barbs)

  - pesky annoyances (crowd controllers, rangers, pets)

  - actual frontline trying to distract me

3/ I arrange for my team to walk around the frontline, to take down the HVTs early ; wizards topping this priority list

 

I find it only normal that the AI should try to do the same.

Drop the wizard early, get home happy, goes a saying I just made up.



#8
dragubaba

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To be honest you need a tank, buffer/healer and AOE dps. That's it. Six party members have always been an overkill for me atleast and I've never used that many. Five is a struggle unless that includes two characters of same class, let's say two barbarians who both do the exact same thing at the start of the fight. By the way two dual-wielding barbarians firing off that Heart of Fury at the same time is bloody murder. But yeah, four is my optimal for comfortable playing.


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#9
smjjames

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Be glad it isn't four, as that's how many there are in Tyranny. Though to be fair, there are also fewer companions in Tyranny.

 

I guess the main sticking point for people here for Deadfire is that there is going to be three returning companions, and so, people will want to play with those three, at least initially.



#10
DigitalCrack

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The benefit I see with five is encounters feeling less claustrophobic. In PoE1 there were many areas and encounters that a six person party just took up too much space. I also often found myself with at least 1 character every fight thinking "what do I even need this person to do that I havent already covered? well auto attack away I guess.." Really for me if the maps and encounters are going to be about the same scale 5 will fit/feel better than 6.
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#11
MaxQuest

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To be honest you need a tank, buffer/healer and AOE dps. That's it.

It depends...
If a dragon can one shot your tank, then you need a disabler instead.
If enemies can hardly scratch you, then you don't need a (defensive) buffer/healer.
If there is a single tough enemy, then instead of AoE you would want singe-target specialist.

After the first run, we usually get a good understanding of how to cover all encounters (that we have faced) in the most optimal and comfortable way.
 

Be glad it isn't four, as that's how many there are in Tyranny. Though to be fair, there are also fewer companions in Tyranny.

Oh god, four is indeed too low.
On the other hand... in Tyranny solo'ing might result in even faster progression (in realworld time) than with full party.

Edited by MaxQuest, 07 July 2017 - 09:07 AM.

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#12
JFutral

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To be honest you need a tank, buffer/healer and AOE dps. That's it.

It depends...
If a dragon can one shot your tank, then you need a disabler instead.
If enemies can hardly scratch you, then you don't need a (defensive) buffer/healer.
If there is a single tough enemy, then instead of AoE you would want singe-target specialist.

After the first run, we usually get a good understanding of how to cover all encounters (that we have faced) in the most optimal and comfortable way.
 

Be glad it isn't four, as that's how many there are in Tyranny. Though to be fair, there are also fewer companions in Tyranny.

Oh god, four is indeed too low.
On the other hand... in Tyranny solo'ing might result in even faster progression (in realworld time) than with full party.

 

My cut off for still feeling things are fairly easy, even on PotD was three—a melee fighter (any fighter class or rogue), ranged attack (chanter, rogue, ranger, cipher), spell caster (priest or wizard). I thought three would be more challenging, but the right three is about as easy as 4-6.

 

Right now my duo party is a ranger, and a rogue. I guess the animal companion sort of counts as a third! I'm not sure I could figure out how to go solo.

 

So, it really depends on the enemies.

 

Joe



#13
dragubaba

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If there is a single tough enemy, then instead of AoE you would want singe-target specialist.

 

I've noticed several consecutive Malignant Clouds on top of each other with Combusting Wounds thrown in there tends to wreck even the toughest enemies pretty badly. Cloudkill spam from BG essentially. So it depends indeed.



#14
Sedrefilos

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Let's say it again: we can't tell if we don't get our hands on the game first. The game is designed and tuned around five-member party so at the end we might not even notice.

Everything alse in pointless speculation at the moment.


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#15
Kinowek

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How do we feel about it ?

How is it going to impact our play style ?

Do we think it will be detrimental, particularly at higher difficulty settings ?

What's positive about this change ?

How are other RPGs doing it ?

 

 

Speaking only for myself, I think this is a mistake by Obsidian to go with just 5.  I prefer no party size cap at all, honestly, but that's another design path beyond the scope of this game.

 

Less party members means less flexibility objectively, and in my opinion, will lead to less enjoyable, less tactical combat overall. 

 

But, this topic has been discussed to death already though, so at this point I'm just hoping the game is moddable enough to allow for more party members for those that want them.

 

At least Obsidian realized the mistake it was to go with 4 in Tyranny, hopefully they will eventually come to realize 5 is mistake as well, but it's going to be well after the release of Deadfire.

 

*Offtopic: I'm still halfway convinced Obsidian is doing 5 just to drive Baldur's Gate/Icewind Dale fans up the wall. :o



#16
Wormerine

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Like many others I am attatched to the party of 6. I didnt enjoy the combat of Tyranny and Dragon Ages and those had a lower character count.

That said, after a bit of thought, the change doesn't bother me at all. The character limit wasn't what hurt those other games to me. I played Baldur's Gate2 with many combinations and a 4 or 5 party squad was always sufficient. In Pillars of Eternity I tend to have at least one guy who is just there. Sure, he is helping but I don't use him to him/her fullest even in toughest fights. I really don't see how this reduction could hurt the experience. All roles will be covered, and multiclassing will bring more flexibility (though I will probably wait until 2nd playthrough before I dip into that.) 



#17
dam

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To be honest you need a tank, buffer/healer and AOE dps. That's it.

It depends...
If a dragon can one shot your tank, then you need a disabler instead.
If enemies can hardly scratch you, then you don't need a (defensive) buffer/healer.
If there is a single tough enemy, then instead of AoE you would want singe-target specialist.

After the first run, we usually get a good understanding of how to cover all encounters (that we have faced) in the most optimal and comfortable way.
 

Be glad it isn't four, as that's how many there are in Tyranny. Though to be fair, there are also fewer companions in Tyranny.

Oh god, four is indeed too low.
On the other hand... in Tyranny solo'ing might result in even faster progression (in realworld time) than with full party.

 

 

Right now my duo party is a ranger, and a rogue. I guess the animal companion sort of counts as a third! I'm not sure I could figure out how to go solo.

 

Like this ;)


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#18
Katarack21

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I'm *really* unhappy about the five man party. It just annoys me to limit my options and tell me it's for my own good 'cuz combat was to hard.

It's not even combat that annoys me about this, though. It's having to replay through a whole game again in order to get the storyline of one additional character I'm interested in.


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#19
Wormerine

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How do we feel about it ?

How is it going to impact our play style ?

Do we think it will be detrimental, particularly at higher difficulty settings ?

What's positive about this change ?

How are other RPGs doing it ?

 

 

Speaking only for myself, I think this is a mistake by Obsidian to go with just 5.  I prefer no party size cap at all, honestly, but that's another design path beyond the scope of this game.

 

Less party members means less flexibility objectively, and in my opinion, will lead to less enjoyable, less tactical combat overall. 

 

But, this topic has been discussed to death already though, so at this point I'm just hoping the game is moddable enough to allow for more party members for those that want them.

 

At least Obsidian realized the mistake it was to go with 4 in Tyranny, hopefully they will eventually come to realize 5 is mistake as well, but it's going to be well after the release of Deadfire.

 

*Offtopic: I'm still halfway convinced Obsidian is doing 5 just to drive Baldur's Gate/Icewind Dale fans up the wall. :o

 

Less stuff accessible at any given time, yes - but less tactical...? I suppose it depends from your definition, but I disagree. I always found tacticts to be about using well what you have at your disposal. Creating effective combinations, good combos - those are tactics. Choosing from more stuff - not so much. I really disliked Tyranny's or DA combat, but it wasn't the amount of characters I could take with me - having two more would just add busywork. It was that the combat in those game was choiceless. You would just fire your abilities whenever they were available and wait for the combat to end. Darkest Dungeon uses 4 character for each run and its always very engaging - both in creating a party and in combat itself. On the other hand, I do prefer a bigger paries in Long War over original XCOM. It all depends on game and character design, not amount of stuff you have. I am more curious about the ability/class/power points changes over party size as those will have more impact on the game.



#20
injurai

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I'm not sure how I feel yet. On one hand I like that they are making things more visually distinguishable and readable. On the other hand, I've had party builds where I felt too many of my companions where doing passive things. I almost always had combat speed on fast or normal, even though it seems like most people here go to slow. I'm more of a chronic pauser.

 

So less companions, means less to manage. Plus they naturally made combat slower and cast times longer... so I'm guessing I'll be playing the whole game on fast again.






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