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About Moorglade

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  1. A friend's just pointed me to an interesting paper on the subject: Solving the balance problem of massively multiplayer online role-playing games using coevolutionary programming http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1568494614000209 So I'm pretty sure this is/could be an area of intensive research I wonder how those things are done in practice...
  2. Thanks for the tips! They certainly clarify some things. Yeah, well, that was the point, sort of In the beginning, I just wanted to avoid creating a "trash build" for my first playthrough, and generally get some grip on the system. But then some more general questions started popping up in my mind, such as: What are the ideas behind PoE & RPG balancing? How do you find "the best" builds? What approaches do people use? Is the problem computionally tractable? Could you devise an algorithm for finding the best build? Would searching the configuration space work? Or maybe machine learning? Why can't I have a dual-shield-wielding fighter tank? (Can I?) What is the meaning of life? ...and so on. So don't take all this too seriously. I'm just curious about how those things work.
  3. OK, so it seems that right now a narrow specialization in terms of ofense vs. defense is preferred, thanks for the tips Hmm, so optimizing single characters would be pointless then. Optimization would have to consider the whole party. Yeah, I know there may possibly (likely?) be some balancing patches in the future. Nevertheless, I'm pretty interested in establishing some methodology. Once you have a successful method for finding the right builds, you can easily apply the method after every new patch, with updated input parameters (at least, that's the idea). Has Obsidian indicated a desire to do serious balancing? Because the game needs serious balancing. The talent list needs to be condensed, big time. So many trash-tier picks in there it's not even funny. Still, I'd rather not draw up a list of suggestions if there are no plans to fix anything. I don't know, but a community list of suggested adjustments might come in handy one day. Even if Obsidian won't use it, then maybe the modders? @Everyone, thanks for opinions and suggestions
  4. Time and culture may have shaped Eora’s borders, piety may have strengthened them, and conflict may have shattered them, but all things sprout from a shared root in the vast unknown. Pillars of Eternity Guidebook, Volume One A few days ago I bought the game and launched it. In return, the game launched a volley of numbers at me. Numbers I did not understand. But I like numbers. You can depend on numbers. They are always there for you. So I asked myself: how do I make those numbers sing? After some time spent nudging them here and there, I realized that my past experience with Infinity Engine games and their AD&D mojo wouldn't get me far on this particular journey. And, frankly, that's great – it means that PoE will possibly be an exciting and refreshing adventure in terms of gameplay mechanics. But still, what do I do with those unwieldy numbers? So I started reading [1, 2] and it seems the news (OK, it's pretty old news, but new to me) is fantastic: the devs at Obsidian are experimenting with the ancient RPG formulas in an attempt to make something fresh, approachable and enjoyable for newcomers and veterans alike. So far so good. But how do I navigate this brave new world of Might, Constitution, Dexterity, Perception, Intellect and Rhesuses? (Or was that Resolve?) In other words, how do I build a character? How do I build a party? A lot of talk about character/party builds gravitates around the so-called min/maxing. For me, this is really just another flavor of good ol' optimization problems. And actually it's pretty natural. Every time you level up a character or equip some shiny new gear, you're optimizing something. What? On the meta-level, I'd say it's your enjoyment. You build a better character, so that playing with it gives you more pleasure. But what makes one character better than other? This whole “enjoyment” thing seems pretty subjective and ethereal. Most people talking about min/maxing use hard facts, objective truth and gargantuan Excel spreadsheets. In fact, there are many things you would want to optimize, which makes min/maxing a multi-objective optimization problem [3]. For example, two of these objectives could be damage output and survivability. For brevity, let's assume these are the only two – I find two dimensions easier to visualize than seventeen, or one hundred twenty-three, or lady-knows-how-many-there-actually-are. So, you could have multiple builds, each with different scores in damage output and survivability. Cf. Figure 1., where build B has the highest damage output, while build C is the most survivable one. Figure 1.: Character build configuration space Based on these ideas, we may try to divide all possible builds into classes, e.g. offense-oriented and defense-oriented, cf. Figure 2. Figure 2.: Different classes of builds in the configuration space We can also try to establish a notion of how good (powerful) a particular build is. This could be analogous to Pareto frontiers [4]. Builds lying on the same “frontier” would be similarly powerful, however they may achieve their power in different ways, e.g. one build would be more offensive, another more defensive. This is pretty intuitive – usually you have a limited number of attribute points to spend, and so if you want to increase one parameter (e.g. damage output) you have do decrease another (e.g. survivability). See Figure 3. Figure 3.: Frontiers of build power If I understand this correctly, the problem with D&D is that there are many “trash builds”, i.e. legal character configurations which are not powerful enough to be comfortably playable. Similarly, there are possibly some uber-builds, which make the game too easy. We may call such a situation a Variably Balanced System (VBS), cf. Figure 4. Figure 4.: Variably Balanced System (VBS) The opposite of a VBS would be a Uniformly Balanced System (UBS), i.e. a system in which every character build is equally powerful, cf. Figure 5. Figure 5.: Uniformly Balanced System (UBS) I presume that Pillars of Eternity is not strictly a UBS, for the following reasons: It would be practically impossible to ideally balance such a complex system. When creating an RPG system, you probably would want to give advanced players some space to optimize their builds. So, as far as I understand, Obsidian were aiming at a situation depicted in Figure 6, i.e. eliminating the “trash builds”, while still leaving some space for build min/maxing. All builds are equal, but some builds are more equal than others Figure 6.: PoE-type system? As far as I know, many people are trying to analyze PoE character and party builds in various contexts, e.g. Let's talk race balance... http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/74777-lets-talk-race-balance/ Ultimate DPS class? Rogue/Cipher/Barabarian? http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/74642-ultimate-dps-class-roguecipherbarabarian/ The architecture of the Pillars. http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/74451-the-architecture-of-the-pillars/ Let's figure out an ideal ironman PotD party! http://www.reddit.com/r/projecteternity/comments/30xymw/lets_figure_out_an_ideal_ironman_potd_party/ Yet, a number of open questions persist: Is the above reasoning about the game system correct? It seems pretty basic and straightforward, but maybe I'm making some wrong assumptions here. Did anybody analyze the equations the game uses for computing various variables (damage, defense, etc.)? Which parameters are the most important? What should I pay attention to? Did anybody do any number crunching in the context of optimizing PoE builds? Do you have any idea how big the configuration space actually is? What criteria do you use when min/maxing your builds? A fellow researcher suggested that a good criterion could be to maximize DPS while maintaining a certain level of survivability. What are your opinions? I'm thinking about playing a Cipher. References [1] Sawyer, J.: How To Balance An RPG, 2014, URL: http://kotaku.com/how-to-balance-an-rpg-1625516832, accessed on: 2015-04-02 [2] Hall, C.: How Pillars Of Eternity Rewrites The Rules For Role-Playing, 2015, URL: http://www.polygon.com/2015/3/25/8284763/how-pillars-of-eternity-rewrites-the-rules-for-role-playing, accessed on: 2015-04-02 [3] Wikipedia, Multi-objective optimization, URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-objective_optimization, accessed on: 2015-04-02 [4] Wikipedia, Pareto efficiency, URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_efficiency, accessed on: 2015-04-02
  5. I don't know these titles, so I cannot compare them with TSL And I'm not saying that TSL is the best what can be achieved, it's just something new and original in SW and PC gaming for me, and it's generally going in the right direction. Oh, it's from "Tales From Topographic Oceans" by YES , but you probably still don't know what I'm talking about. So if you want, you can visit http://yesworld.com for some further information.
  6. Yeah, maybe K2 was 'gray', but isn't the reality gray also? It was quite boring for me to see the Mighty Jedi fighting the Evil Sith to 'Save the Galaxy' in every SW film/game/whatever. While I can understand that there are people who are willing to sacrifice themselves in order to help others, in SW we've seen legions of them. And what's more, most of them didn't have any particular reason to do it - apart from a blue lightsaber/'good' colour of the uniform. And Obsidian introduced something new (FINALLY!) to what they call 'character motivation'. You know WHY the Exile is travelling across the Galaxy, and understand that everyone, good or evil, would act similarly. And there is a distinction between what's good and what's not - but everything isn't so easy and can have consequences you wouldn't expect. And Kreia - I must say I would hate it if someone like her was my teacher/employer/aunt, but still I consider her the most intriguing member of my party! She has some idea about right and wrong, but it is kind of 'twisted' by the Dark (and Light) Side, and also by her life experience. And other characters are more interesting than those in K1 as well, even the droids are a lot more than just brainless killing/repairing units.
  7. At first, I would like to say that I have always been fascinated with computer games, and I
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