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Everything posted by Concordance

  1. Doesn't this fight include several Crystal Eaters? They have low Will, can cast Ice Shard and hit pretty hard. Just use Confusion spells on the spiders repeatedly and engage the Vithracks while they're distracted.
  2. I am aware that Pillars of Eternity is a spiritual successor to Baldur's Gate (which was Real-Time-With-Pause), and that many people hold strong personal preference for TB or RTWP, with most of Obsidian's and Black Isle's games being the latter. This thread is not about about that. The topic I'd like to discuss is the technical advantages of TB combat for games with fairly complex combat mechanics made on a comparatively low budget (kickstarter). (TLDR at the bottom) Throughout this post, I'll be comparing PioE and Divinity: Original Sin for the following reasons: 1) Both are critically acclaimed Kickstarted party-based RPGs with relatively modest budgets, funded at roughly the same time and released within a year of each other. 2) Both have non-trivial combat mechanics and a heavy focus on combat. 3) I've done completionist playthroughs of both games within the last year so they are still fresh in memory. Based on my experience with the two games, I think PioE would have worked better with turn-based combat, and here is why: 1) It's hard to argue that poor pathfinding is a huge problem with PioE, with enemies often lining up behind each other even in open spaces. It is difficult to implement pathfinding that reliably finds a way around obstacles and environmental hazards. It's even more difficult to make it quick and cheap enough to perform for dozens of characters at the same time. Games with 5-10x PioE's budget routinely struggle with this and/or resort to cheating (disabling clipping, teleporting characters, etc). Having Turn-Based combat makes it easier to implement accurate pathfinding. You only need to run the algorithm for exactly one character at any time, no matter the size of the encounter. As a result of having far more resources and time to work with, the pathfinding algorithm can be written to not just draw a line from A to B, but also to account for other variables on the way (avoid engagement, detected traps, environmental hazards, etc). I have rarely seen enemies fail to find their way around a battlefield in DivOS, even though its environments are much more geometrically complex than PioE. 2) Poor (or non-existent) AI is also a big, if not the biggest problem with PioE's encounters. Enemies beeline for the closest and/or weakest character and engage him for the entirety of the fight. They are easily tricked, tend to ignore environmental hazards and make single-minded decisions - nonsensical behaviour like squishy enemy casters running into your frontline to cast a spell at your backline are a routine occurrence. Turn-based combat makes it easier to script "better" AI for the same reason it allows better pathfinding - the AI scripts need to run for only one enemy at any given time. As a result, each individual enemy can take his time to determine the best course of action - decide to take a disengagement hit to slaughter a nearby squishie, move out of a Wall of Fire, reposition to attack from a side or behind, and so on. As a result of being given ample time to "think", in DivOS enemies often make sound tactical decisions on the fly: high-health enemies deciding to swallow an Attack of Opportunity to pick a better target; enemies repositioning for better firing/spellcasting lines and moving out of your range before the turn ends; swarmer enemies splitting across several targets to inflict Flanked on all of them; the list goes on. Beating AI enemies that show some semblance of intelligence is so much more satisfying than outsmarting dumb targets that only dwarf you in numbers and stats. 3) PioE has to resort to arbitrary and severely contrived solutions for problems that TB games avoid naturally through game mechanics. Here are a few examples: I) PioE arbitrarily forbids some abilities to be used outside of combat and allows others. This is an ugly band-aid, but necessary to avoid excessive pre-buffing. DivOS gets around this by giving buffs that normally last several turns very short durations in real time - every second of the buff outside combat may be several turns inside combat. The game is consistent in its seconds-to-turns conversion across the board, so pre-buffing is balanced by the natural casting and recovery animations taking away from the active buffs' durations. II) PioE's hard engagement system and player movement penalties feel like band-aid solutions to restrict the player's movement. Coupled with unpredictable pathfinding, breakneck combat speed and restrictive nature of most environments, most encounters allow you to maneuver very little, if at all. In a TB game, only one character moves at any time, so you have full control over the pathfinding and engagement. You can carefully maneuver around enemy engagement zones and control exactly where your character ends his turn, allowing for a much greater mobility and wider range of tactical opportunities. Since movement costs action points, you cannot recklessly run for the enemy backline, lest you want to end your turn surrounded by enemies. --- All of the above combined gives designers more freedom in designing abilities and encounters. DivOS can get away with open-field encounters with big enemy counts, with friendly fire on all projectiles, with abilities that create large obstacles and block attacks, with small-scale encounters against intelligent enemies and much more - all because Turn-Based combat allows both the player and AI enough time to evaluate the encounter and plan intelligent moves. While Obsidian is obviously going to stick with RTWP for the expansion and sequels, I think PioE would have worked better with Turn-Based combat, and I hope they consider returning to Turn-Based in future RPGs. What do you think? TLDR: Turn-based combat makes it easier to implement accurate pathfinding and "smart" AI on a small budget. Weak pathfinding and AI severely constricts ability and encounter design. I think PioE would have been a better game if it were turn-based.
  3. I think a lot of people don't know that Barbarians and Monks actually have significantly higher health pools than Fighters and Paladins. If you spread engagements across several melee characters, you may actually end up having to rest less often than you would with a 1x tank 1x offtank 4x DPS party.
  4. I have seen exactly one Godlike in the game who wasn't a backer reward, and that was Pallegina (the Death Godlike's raider party in Magran's Fork is a "Design-an-encounter" reward). No other Godlikes are shown or referenced in the game (unless you consider Waidwen one). If the Godlike race was referenced in any books, I probably missed them. It feels like Godlikes were added very late in development, almost as an afterthought. While they are disappointing from a lore perspective, they do contribute quite a lot in terms of gameplay - there are many builds centered around the Moon/Fire/Nature racials, and it opens up some fun roleplaying options, such as as a Nature Monk whose "blessing" drove him to become a flagellant and pariah.
  5. Shadowrun Returns developers turned to Kickstarter once again for the sequel, despite the first two games in the series selling well at a glance. When you're self-funding a sequel in an unpopular genre, it helps to have an extra million+ dollars that imposes no legal obligations on you, unlike a private investor or bank loan. (It's worth noting that Shadowrun Returns is incredibly well-made, and SR: Dragonfall was easily one of the best games of 2014)
  6. He posted a complete video walkthrough of everything he did, in the very first post. Isn't that more than enough?
  7. The default character used by Obsidian for debugging appears to be a level 7 Orlan Cipher (with custom abilities), as seen in this speedrun. Coincidence?
  8. It's bizarre that we're at 1.05, and this feature is still not in. Characters breaking formation caused me so much grief on Hard, I can't imagine playing PotD until it's added.
  9. Most bugs were fixed in 1.03 and 1.04 - I did a completionist playthrough on 1.04 with no major issues. Obsidian appears to be waiting for 1.05 to start shipping physical media, which suggests 1.05 is where they wanted their game to be on release. (Incorrect, see post below) The beta test for 1.05 is already available on Steam and fully playable, so you can begin your 1.05 playthrough already. I would not wait for further balance patches for two reasons: 1) Balance overhauls require far more work than bugfixes. It will probably be 2+ months until 1.06 (Incorrect, see post below), depending on the amount of balance changes they include. To give you perspective, Divinity: Original Sin developers have been working on rebalancing encounters to solve the late-game difficulty slump for over 9 months, with no ETA. 2) It gives you a reason to replay the game later! You'll get a different gameplay experience even if you use a similar party composition.
  10. While I agree that +Interrupt fits Clubs a lot better thematically, I think they may have chosen to go with +Accuracy for balance reasons. My last playthrough had a high-Dex, high-Per melee Rogue dual wielding Stilettos, and he was this close to perma-locking most enemies with interrupts - any enemy engaged in single combat with the Rogue landed roughly 1 blow for every 10 he was dealt. And this was with Weak interrupt and without Interrupting Blows! If Clubs had an Average interrupt value on a Fast weapon, I'd carry 2x clubs as my second set to disable single enemies (and engagement!) on demand. While empowering interrupt-centric builds would normally be a good thing, I think it this might take it a little too far.
  11. Thaos is basically a level 12 Priest with really high Attributes. He starts the fight by buffing himself, then his statues, then continuously cycles through level 7-8 Priest nukes, stopping only to heal or reapply buffs whenever they wear off. At least one of the nukes is an area DoT that does not show up in the combat log (probably level 8 "Spark the Souls of the Righteous"). If you neither disable him nor force him to heal/rebuff, he has more than enough nukes to wipe a level 12 party on Hard (e.g. by casting Cleansing Flame on all of your party members in turn, repeatedly). It's worth noting that without his buffs, neither Thaos nor his statues are very durable. Arcane Dampener and Cleansing Flame really shine here.
  12. Counterpoint: The only IE game I've played was Planescape: Torment. I have not played any of the Neverwinter games, either. PioE's reach extends well beyond nostalgic IE fans!
  13. He said "honest and harsh", not "sane and reasonable".
  14. This forum deserves a better class of troll. This thread is Steam Discussions tier.
  15. I believe the reason is budget, not sequel bait. More levels means more class skills, talents, more high level content. PioE has a tremendous amount and complexity of content for its budget, and enough problems with balancing it for the 12 levels it has.
  16. I think PioE had too much VO and could have gotten away with less. Odema and Calisca's intermittent VO was helpful to ease the player into the text-only dialogue he'd be dealing with most of the game. Thaos had just the right amount of VO to convey his aura of authority and conviction. Maerwald had just enough VO to convey that he is a good-natured, kindly man fighting violent personalities. I don't think they could have cut on VO for these characters without compromising the experience. Everyone else along the critical path could have had only a few voiced lines, or none at all. The voice acting contributed nothing to the animancy hearing or Lady Webb. Noone in Twin Elms benefitted from VO, not even the Gods (their sequences desperately needed pictures, not VO). I felt that the companions had both too much voice acting, and too little - their lines and party banter seemed to alternate from voiced to not voiced with no consistency or logic to it. Dialogue that carried no consequence was voiced, yet moments where the companions were having emotional struggles sometimes weren't. I think companion VO should have been limited to their first interaction, party banter and key revelations during their quests, where it is difficult to convey their emotional state via quests. I think Planescape still stands as the best example of carefully limited, yet sufficient VO. VO was limited to companions and a couple critical NPCs, and only to their first lines (to establish their character) and key emotional moments (to augment the text). VO is not what makes a character memorable - the character's concept, history and your interactions with it are what makes a character stick. Some of the most memorable characters in the game had no voice whatsoever (Pharod, Lothar, Coaxmetal, Many-as-One, Pillar of Skulls, etc).
  17. What quest progression are you expecting? Kana's quest is limited to opening Gabrannos' study on level 7. You open Gabrannos' study, kill the skeletal wizard, click on the tablet, talk to Kana, done. The Fampyr on Level 8 is NOT Gabrannos and has nothing to do with Kana or his quest. The only quest the fampyr is involved in is the quest he gives you - kill the rest of the fampyrs on level 8 and he lets you use the stairs down without a fight. The forges on level 7 only remove the Greater Blights near the level exit. Each forge "traps" the Greater Blight of its respective element. If you simply killed the Greater Blights in battle, the forges do absolutely nothing.
  18. The game is released and in a stable, 100% playable state. If there's a good time to take a month-long vacation in PioE's development cycle, this is it.
  19. If I worked at Obsidian, here's why I probably wouldn't be engaging with the community at this stage: (I do not work at Obsidian and these are, at best, educated guesses based on my own experience in the software industry) 1) I am now working on other projects during work hours, and my work time no longer includes community interaction (unlike Beta, where forum interaction was factored into the work week). I can only browse these forums in my free time*. I do not owe the customers my free time - I would prefer to spend it on interacting with my family, learning new skills, reading books, playing some PnP RPGs, etc. * Except for team members whose job involves informing the community, providing tech support and/or triaging issues, which is why they're the only ones actively posting. 2) All design decisions that could have been made, have already been made. The budget for post-release support is very limited, so even if I agree that we've done something wrong, we probably don't have the resources to fix it post-release - or the resources would be better spent working on our next project. For example, I could discuss our attribute system and agree that we could have done some things better, but even subtle tweaks to the existing system could cost us hundreds of man-hours. 3) I have already spend thousands of hours working on this game over the past few years, poring over every detail and design decision. I am either already burned out, or close to being so. I really just want to think and talk about something else. 4) By posting from an Obsidian-flaired account, I indirectly represent my company. I could potentially harm our image or sales by makign promises I can't keep, revealing something I should not have, or saying something that may cause an outrage. If I really wanted to participate in discussions, I'd use alt accounts. 5) Customers see only a part of the picture, and may offer ill-informed solutions to things that are not objectively problems. They don't know how we've arrived at and why we've chosen to make the decisions we've made, and their vision does not necessarily match ours. The customer is not always right, but telling him he's wrong makes you look bad - see 4) 6) People reluctantly compliment the things they like, but vocally complain about the things they do not. I would find it depressing to slog through so much negative feedback from a few dozen people, much of it harshly worded and unconstructive, even though these people have sunk 50+ hours into the game and tens/hundreds of thousands enjoy our game as it is. Edit: All things considered, I think 1.05 patchnotes are solid proof that Obsidian does, in fact, carefully read these forums.
  20. Bonus 2nd Level Spell is amazing and lasts until the end of the game, even with the ring, for two reasons: Bewildering Spectacle and Miasma of Dull-Mindedness. Bewildering Spectacle is an AoE confuse that works on most enemies even on PotD. The more casts you have, the more time your enemies spend bashing each other instead of your guys. It's as simple as that. Miasma of Dull-Mindedness is one of the most powerful defense debuffs in the game, second only to Borrowed Instinct (which is single target). It debuffs enemies with -40 deflection, -40 will, -30 concentration and -20 reflex without inflicting a status effect - which means it STACKS with status effects, allowing you to reduce a CROWD's defenses to almost nothing. Grimoire Slam suffers from the same problem Rogue's Escape does - unless you have an offtank ready to engage the enemy you just pushed away, they'll probably resume smacking your Wizard anyway. It's better to cast Bewildering Spectacle and run. Arcane Veil great for battlemages, otherwise I found it to be less than useful. Even with the big buff to Deflection, the Wizard's defenses are too weak for him to just stand and take punishment. If something is smacking your wizard, use CC to get away. Scion of Flame is bugged in 1.04, but should be a great Wizard talent in 1.05 You can turn any wizard into a ranged auto-attack AoE murder machine by taking Blast, Penetrating Blast, WF: Adventurer and Dangerous Implements. A level 3 spell, Kalakoth's Minor Blights, summons a Wand in the caster's hand that is affected by all of these talents AND triggers Blast multiple times, one for each enemy it hits in an AoE. Minor Blights also lasts for 80~ seconds on Aloth, enough for two fights with chain pulling. This allows even Aloth with his low Might to dish out serious crowd damage, especially shining in Endless Paths with their abundance of chokepoints and large crowds of enemies.
  21. Wael's offer requires you to complete the Parable of Wael and bury the scroll when he asks you to. He will appear in Sun-in-shadow to make his offer, which means you must have accepted another God's boon beforehand (or you won't survive the descent). Skaen's dialogue referenced aiding his plot in in the Skaen Temple for me, although my character also had Cruel 3.
  22. Pillars of Eternity is rated M for Mature. It's not intended for kids. It's worth noting that House Doemenel is not the "evil" faction. While they are criminals, they don't exactly incite riots or kill innocent people. It's also implied that they heavily contribute to maintaining order in the city, even if through unsavory means, because rampant crime and unrest is bad for business. All things considered, the faction choice is mostly just roleplay. My character sided with Doemenel because they were cunning, predictable, rational, and what was more important, they paid well. They were just amoral, that's all.
  23. This was quite common in my playthrough - it's why you either keep high Mechanics or send your tank ahead in every dungeon.
  24. You can respec companions into another class or even alter their attributes with IEMod - http://rien-ici.com/iemod/console
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