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Everything posted by Novem

  1. But the Penetration system doesn't fix that problem. Daggers just as easily have their penetration buffed over the initial break point as any other weapon, and they have very similar values of the stat as compared to other weapons anyways. In fact, when you really think about it, POE1's system actually did a better job of addressing this hypothetical because a full suit of armor was actually generally worth something in most situations. Flat DR means lower damage weapons, like daggers, have a more problematic time against higher armor targets. Penetration means that any weapon can work in any scenario as long as you have the pen to reach the break point, meaning it actually CREATES the scenario you describe. Of course, the thing is, Penetration wasn't built to do what you say it does anyways. It was part of Pillars of Eternity's wider effort to "demurk" mechanics to make them more clear. Penetration's function is certainly more clear, but that's only because it's incredibly simplified. Since there are only two break points for damage, it means damage on hit is generally very predictable, which was the intention. You've only really got three kinds of damage you can get on hit: next to no damage, normal damage, or tons of damage. This makes combat very readable and predictable, as in, it makes it easier to understand what's going on at any given moment and ascertain where the flow of combat is headed. Moreover, it makes decisions on who attacks what easier to parse. But although that's a benefit, it came at the cost of meaningful equipment choice. Armor and weapon upgrades are inherently less meaningful in a system that doesn't consistently reward statistical increases. The simplified damage profile is nice, but meaningful choices are at the core of great RPG design, and are far more important to ensure as a result. The Penetration system is fundamentally flawed because it compromises on this concept, and even the overhaul I mentioned doesn't really address the problem because it just moves to a compromise between DR and Penetration (which is still a massive improvement from both systems, but still doesn't achieve the goal the Penetration system was designed to meet, and even the base Penetration system compromises on its own ideas a bit with scaling underpenetration). What really needs to happen is that there needs to be something that can create a simplified damage profile without robbing individual point investments of meaning. I'm not sure what such a system would look like or be based upon, but I'm definitely going to brainstorm on it a bit and get back to you. I believe that there is some type of solution here. EDIT: Okay, I came up with a theoretical solution, here's my idea. Not saying it's necessarily a good one, though I think it's a nifty suggestion, and open to a lot of nuanced tweaks needed to address any potential issues that occur during testing. Also, it addresses your hypothetical scenario a heck of a lot better. - Penetration is removed as a stat. - Instead, each individual attack either with a weapon or a spell will have a value called "Attack Strength", which will be an average of the lowest and higher possible damage number of a given attack. - When that attack is used, the Attack Strength is compared against the target's Armor Rating. If the value is positive, the damage will be normal. If the value is negative, the damage will be severely reduced. - Either way, that final value will be added to the damage calculation. This value will only be added to the final damage total, after a critical hit is processed (if one occurs).
  2. You can't translate this number into sold units, because that return would also include the investor's cut for units that were sold on sale.
  3. Penetration is a problem because it separates break points way too far from each other. It means that extra points of penetration or armor are not always useful, which decreases the value of things which increase them. This is why the Penetration Overhaul in a mod like Deadfire Combat Tweaks is so great, and displays a change that a normal patch probably wouldn't be okay with introducing into a video game post-release, since it entirely changes a very nuanced facet of how the game plays.
  4. This is laughable. In the end, I'd rather have more options that increase a game's accessibility to more players (not to mention greatly enhance the game's replay value) than a few less bugs. Not to mention that this "diversion of resources" was not "unnecessary", as the addition of turn-based mode will be of great benefit to the console port of the game. Real-Time is almost impossible to do well on a controller, as it necessitates extremely long pauses due to the incredible need for micromanagement in this type of game. No matter how good your control scheme is, this would make the game feel like a complete slog. Turn-based on the other hand never interrupts the flow of the game, and thus fits much better into the slower pace of gameplay that a controller creates. This drastic increase in the appeal of the console port also has a secondary benefit in that many people who play RPGs prefer turn-based combat, which makes sense since the roots of these games are in a turn-based format and also since the gameplay in RPGs (but particularly in Pillars of Eternity) tends to have many layers of complexity. I'm very glad that more of the wider RPG community will care to experience the game, that turn-based mode will and has exposed Deadfire to a larger audience, as I'd greatly prefer forward-thinking, nuanced games like Deadfire to be leading the genre as opposed to games with shallow worldbuilding and storytelling (like Divinity Original Sin) or games overly obsessed with replicating tabletop mechanics in a format they weren't designed for (like Pathfinder Kingmaker). Regardless, there's very little Obsidian can do to improve the gameplay of real-time combat in Deadfire without a complete overhaul. The few flaws that Deadfire's combat system has (like the Penetration System, for example) are fundamental, the kind of tweaking you can do post-launch can't account for fundamentally broken mechanics that literally every encounter in the game is built around. Even if the development of turn-based has turned away resources from adjusting the real-time gameplay, the fact that it operates differently also gives the developers working on that mode a lot more freedom, allowing them to get a lot more done with it then a focus on real-time ever would've carried. And besides, in the long-term, modders can probably more smartly handle such nuanced mechanical adjustments than the developers anyways. Like, there's already a penetration overhaul up on the Nexus last time I checked, and its really great. So if anything happens to fall through, the modding support this game allows for means that it can be addressed by the community anyways, so it is far more in the game and Obsidian's interest to expand on it's number of features and flexibility as a game. Will turn-based ever be perfectly balanced? Probably not, but who cares? No game is ever perfectly balanced, as all things should be, but it doesn't mean it can't be very enjoyable regardless. I'd rather this community be larger and more influential than for Obsidian to be a few inches closer to a perfectly balanced game. By the way, I think it's very strange to suggest that CRPGs as a genre are in fundamental conflict with a turn-based format, when they were initially built on top of a turn-based game: Dungeons & Dragons. Even POE, which greatly adjusted the format to function a lot better in real-time (which I would agree has caused some of the fundamental issues that TB mode currently has, like action speed), is still greatly influenced by that original material. So, if anything, the format is actually a great fit for these types of games as they get closer to replicating the core tabletop experience.
  5. I am very certain. Avoiding spoilers is a very big part of editing a review and a big part of making my videos. It's a big point of concern when I produce content, to be sure, Here's the link btw: https://www.nexusmods.com/pillarsofeternity2/mods/32 If you have trouble finding it in the future for updates, it's the top file on POE2's nexus, :D
  6. I don't understand why, there is literally no reason not to use it. And it's not really something the player can just figure out. The game doesn't tutorialize how the system works and it's impossible to figure it out on your own unless you have the mod installed. More importantly, I don't see what could possibly be enjoyable about memorizing the relation of dozens of status effects to each other when such a simple solution exists. Not to mention that even once you can recall them, it very likely won't be in an instant and you might make a mistake and recall the incorrect counter. And this isn't your mistake, because rote memorization isn't a real skill. This is the game's failure for failing to communicate important details to the player. Besides, like I said, the mod has other features, such as telling you which enchantments are mutually exclusive before you apply them. Which is also pretty important to know. The beginning of the video literally says "Minor Spoilers Ahead" in big, bold letters for several seconds... and what spoilers are in the video (of which exactly 0 are related to the main quest, btw) are completely out of context. The video is an hour and a half long, it would be impossible to do a video to begin with while leaving out everything one might consider a "spoiler".
  7. Oh sorry, I didn't mean to imply that it did, I just meant to say that it's difficult to know which ones are better at a glance. I don't see any reason not to use it myself though. It doesn't really interfere with the experience at all, in fact, as I said, it's straight up my opinion that it should be packaged with the game or Obsidian should integrate their own solution. I think there are a lot of people playing this game who don't even know this stuff exists, let alone are memorizing all of the stuff necessary to play around it.
  8. Because it is. I'm not sure if you understand how the Inspirations and Affliction system works, but basically you need to know which inspirations and afflictions fit each attribute in order to successfully counter them. Instead of a straight up curative for each status effect, you need to match it with the corresponding inspiration in order to cancel it. This also works the other way, where an affliction can cancel an inspiration. This is an entire dimension to combat you are missing out on unless you have the mod and are aware of the system. I mean, unless you have some incredible, encyclopedic memory and can recall not just the attribute of each affliction and inspiration simply by seeing the word, but the rank. The Enhanced UI Mod also has many other useful features, I'd encourage you to check it out.
  9. Hey there guys. I'm doing the rounds trying to promote this video right now, doing my best not to annoy anyone while doing it. I didn't try here when I uploaded my video preview on the game's Backer Beta a few months ago so I thought I might as well give it a spin here. Do note that I am not a Pillars youtuber solely, but I do make long, analytical content about (mostly) RPGs. I ask only that you give my content a chance, and if you have any thoughts to share (positive or otherwise) you are free to share them and I will do my best to respond. Anyways, here's the video.
  10. I don't think it "ruins" anything, it's just completely pointless (as is the injury system). It doesn't even take time to do so it just ends up feeling like some time-wasting routine I have to carry out every couple of minutes without even thinking about it. If they aren't going to completely overhaul the system (personally I'd like them to make eating quality food essential to winning fights), I'd honestly prefer them to ditch it entirely. It's just a minute distraction that doesn't add anything to the game. Empowers on the other hand... those things need to go as far as I'm concerned. They're the only mechanic which actively harms the gameplay (because it systematically removes the punishment for wasting your resources when the fight starts), and on higher difficulties it encourages some really tedious playstyles (use all of your empowers every fight then rest with Hardtack once you run out). I know I can just ignore it, but it's a rather big part of the UI so it's a constant temptation. Maybe one of the God Challenges can disable them...
  11. In no particular order, and more than three because that's too few... Trails in the Sky FC&SC The Witcher 3 Pillars of Eternity Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic 2 Dragon Age: Origins Nier Automata Mass Effect 2 Skyrim with Mods
  12. How is that not bad? Just because something is realistic doesn't mean it's fun. If we designed games to be realistic in all cases regardless of how they affected the experience, we'd have a lot of tragically boring video games on our hands.
  13. I think it's more that it's not an effective creative choice for games. First of all, you'll never be able to perfectly imitate an actual human being and will be creating an intrinsically inferior experience. Second of all, tabletop games have social elements that video games do not, and are paced completely differently to video games. There's no point in imitating an experience that you'll never be able to perfectly replicate. You should focus on the different, but equally valuable experiences granted by the finer degree of control you have over the environment the player is in. Give the player freedom only to the degree the game's systems permit without infringing on the quality of the experience. And to be honest (this is a bit of a tangent, admittedly), I don't really mind being railroaded in any medium if what I'm being railroaded to is worth the loss of freedom. If I am being railroaded for an actual purpose that adds to the overall work. Funnily enough, Pillars 1 is actually both a great and terrible example of this. Pillars 1 lightly railroads you throughout the game so that the plot never loses focus, and yet at the end of the game it railroads you hardcore into working with characters you might not like or agree with in a way that adds nothing to the overall story. It's super funny though, because there's a character in Act 2 that railroads you similarly to the game's ending and in a way you might not like, but that's actually railroading that adds to the overall story of Pillars 1. Deadfire avoids railroading you at every possible experience and it feels remarkably empty as a result. So the concept of linearity or limiting the player's freedom is not necessarily a bad thing, it just needs to be used properly.
  14. Neither do I, but those were the only implementations I can think of, and while there is an "in-between" (or at least I think there is), what's in-between them all suffer from the same problems. An interesting idea and one I considered for my own game, especially because in Dark Souls it respawns the enemies so it's not just backtracking for the sake of backtracking. However I don't think imitating a DM in a video game is a very good idea myself. Video games need to stop imitating the tabletop format and start coming up with their own ideas. Tabletop is a completely different experience, you need to design around the format you're actually working with. I think it's probably because they want to make money, and while I think you're larger point is valid, trap choices are never a good thing. Trapping the player into making the wrong choice isn't a failure on the players part, it's a failure on the designer's part. You're frustrating the player through something they aren't responsible for. Punishing the player for something they didn't do. If the designer presents a bad choice as equivalent to others when it's not, then they are just lying to the player. That's not good game design. It's directly contradictory to your larger and more valid argument that the player needs to fail in order to make success satisfying, because as I said, it's not the player's mistakes that led to that outcome. If anything robs parts of an experience, trap choices certainly do. Anyways, like I said, your larger argument is totally on point. The player needs to fail in order for the outcome to be satisfying. But we need to be thinking about how we illustrate to the player that they failed without actively sabotaging their experience. Failure should be a lesson, not a punishment. @PizzaSHARK Personally I prefer RPGs driven by their story and characters, but your suggestion is very interesting. It'd certainly be different. Probably not a game I'd personally enjoy, but it'd be a creative game for certain.
  15. I assure you, making things personal was never my intent. I merely responded to the way in which I was addressed. I'm certainly not going to get emotional about the issue, that doesn't accomplish anything. I'm just here to talk about video games. I have no problem with my opinion being challenged, I would just like it to be challenged respectfully and tactfully. That was not the case here. The tone was made very confrontational and emotional from the outset for no real purpose whatsoever, which I find distasteful. I try to stick to attacking the argument, but I'm not going to take clear and obvious provocation lying down. Anyways, @TheMetaphysician... Thank you, that is always my intention. I'd just like to note that I'm not saying a vancian system is intrinsically bad, but rather that it's probably not the best fit for video games as a medium. Or at least tightly linear, story-driven games like CRPGs tend to be (that's certainly what I enjoy about them). I can see why you'd like that whole resource management aspect, but I think that at least the way that games have done them thus far too closely mimics what tabletop is doing. If they want to do resource management, they need to find a format for it that fits video games. And it's not necessarily going to be in the way tabletop games do it, because they're just different types of games. Though I will say I personally enjoy games which maintain a relatively consistent level of difficulty, so I don't really like the instability at least the current vancian systems have introduced to fights, which may or may not bias me towards being against them. Some fights should be harder than others of course, but I don't like it when some fights are just entirely on rails. Where I'm not doing anything or really engaging with any mechanics and yet still winning the fight. I just find that to be wasting my time. I don't think I do actually. I just don't think tedious backtracking will ever be an appropriate or fun punishment for failure. We've been punishing players with loading screens for decades, but in the end do those add anything to the experience? Not really. I'm pretty sure most people prefer their loading screens short, so they can get back into the action. I don't think wearing down the player's patience as a punishment is particularly good game design. Games should be fun (and not that fun does not necessarily mean happy go lucky, it may just mean you're still engaged), and there are ways to make failure fun (or at least I believe that to be so). Tedious backtracking is certainly not one of them. Mostly because it's tedious. Though I think some backtracking can be fun. I like the balance of it in Pillars of Eternity at least. It makes dungeons feel a bit grander, and it forces you to get more familiar with the environment. At the same time I don't really believe this is the most elegant possible solution. Surely we can do better than this. To break down this argument a bit more basically, I'll say this. I think that designers should avoid game mechanics which frustrate the player in a way that's not satisfying to overcome. Running back to town and running back to your starting point is not really satisfying, it's just a waste of your time. It doesn't challenge you to engage with why you failed or give you any feeling that you've overcome your failure, it's just made the game longer for the sake of punishing the player. So maybe what I want to say is that punishing the player isn't really what I believe to be a very good goal. Instead, you should provide the feeling that they are overcoming their failure, rather than mindlessly frustrating the player without any particular goal in mind other than making them feel bad. Failure in video games should maybe be a bit more constructive and rewarding than that. Haha sorry this argument is very stream of consciousness, I'm kind of piecing it together as I type. By the way, this is the kind of thing I'm talking about. Why not instead of purely thinking of failure as a punishment, we make failure a part of the game experience? What if failure in a game is just a path to new opportunities for engagement? Punishment needn't be frustrating or tedious if failure is, in it's own way, a bit of a reward. Because you can make that failure an interesting part of the experience, and really make it feel like playing more effectively next time is a satisfying experience. The camping mechanics of Pathfinder look really cool and like a step in that direction. Because instead of wasting your time, it wants you to think about what you did wrong, and how what you're doing now that you've failed can prevent it from happening next time. And these ideas are the opposite. Instead of engaging the player more, you're either wasting the player's time for no reason or basically telling the player "you suck, tough luck, there's no better next time, it's over". That just makes a game unsatisfying to play, and in the long term, unsatisfying to finish. Because even when I've finished the game, I reflect on those lost opportunities and feel like I've not really completed anything. I never really reach that final point that makes me feel like I've had a satisfying experience. Failure should be an opportunity for building the player up, not slapping them down just for the sake of doing so. Instead of higher difficulties, it should be a mode. Including those as modes satisfies fans without excluding everyone who isn't a masochist. Like Expert Mode in Pillars of Eternity. Responding, yes. No resolution in sight though, and that's what makes it fun.
  16. I think with a much more limited budget and a much more classically driven design philosophy, it will meet none of these three bars. Of course, that depends on how you measure success. As an artist myself, I would say it depends on how much it pleases the core fans of the genre, so maybe it will be more successful than Divinity Original Sin 2 in that respect. However there is no way it'll outsell Deadfire. Not only does the game have less than a quarter of Deadfire's budget, but the marketing for the game is nonexistent. I believe it would be better to compare it to Tyranny as far as sales are concerned, but I could be wrong. The Bard's Tale, being on it's fourth entry and carrying a familiar name (I don't know much about it myself), will almost definitely outsell it as well. There's never a reason to not be optimistic though! As long as you're not being unrealistic.
  17. That is not necessarily true. Critique done with the suppression of bias is more than just "feels". A completely objective review is not possible, but you can get close if you are knowledgeable about the genre and the art form. If you are aware of the standards that guide designers and you are aware of the goals they were trying to accomplish. It's still an opinion in the end, but an opinion more valuable than most. Because rather than judging a piece based on it's intrinsic quality (which is impossible and subjective), you are judging a piece based on how effectively it achieved what it was trying to do (which is not). You just need to be able to separate how you feel about something from how you analyze it. To suggest that critique is always invalid because it is always and only based on feelings is not really true IMO. Like, are you going to say we cannot objectively say that asset flips are bad? Technically, they are games, which are an art form, does that automatically preclude us from making a quality assessment that they are easily, definitively worse than other games which had effort put into them? Because I wouldn't agree with that, I think there IS a great deal of value in critique, and I think it is essential to the growth and development of video games as an art form.
  18. Honestly I have to say my biggest problem is the UI. All that damn clicking and dragging with an overpopulated skillbook. The nightmare that is inventory management. Trying to find the right spells on an overloaded ability bar (especially if you try mixing consumables in...). But yea the writing is definitely in second place. Especially the last two acts, where so many things from throughout your experience just go hilariously unresolved, the game pulls out stuff that it's never even hinted at before, and characters show up only to just stand there instead of serving any narrative purpose. And while those balance issues (or at least the one's you mentioned) never really stood out to me, I think this is just because a game I recently played called Trails of Cold Steel really lowered my standards. I've never played a game so thoughtlessly poorly balanced and designed in my entire life, taking an excellent combat system arcing it perfectly into the garbage can. But... ehehehe, I guess I should stay on topic.
  19. Act 2 was actually my favorite area of the game, but yes I agree that it's a mess. It has great combat, but the UI is pretty terrible (especially on reflection after having spent the past month playing Pillars), the game doesn't really have a care in the world for worldbuilding, and it's actual roleplaying systems are pretty awful (one-dimensional attributes system, little character variance or identity, HAVING TO BUY SKILLBOOKS).
  20. Oh don't get me wrong, I absolutely agree. I actually gave it the rating of "Worth Full Price" on my YouTube channel because the game has a great deal of content and value for an excellent price. I believe the exact quote was "$45 dollars is a steal for this one". I got more out of it than I have most AAA games I've bought. I still don't think that game is as good as everyone else does, but saying it isn't worth the price would be absolutely incorrect as far as I'm concerned.
  21. Well, purely objectively, Original Sin 2 is clearly not a AAA game. AAA is the category of game that represents the highest tier of marketing and funding in the industry. You need a budget in the tens of millions at the very least to qualify. Original Sin 2 is a middle market title. Alongside games like Hellblade, Deadfire, and other games with budgets in the single-digit millions. Pathfinder is a step below that, with a budget of a million dollars at most (it could be more, depending on how much was privately invested in the game's development) and what is clearly a rather low marketing budget.
  22. If I remember correctly from the previews I was reading about a year ago (I think it was somewhere in their Kickstarter updates), there will be two "modes". One that mimics the original ruleset, and one that (and I'm paraphrasing here because I don't remember the actual words) "modern RPG fans will be familiar with". I'm sorry my memories on this are rather vague but I thought you might want to know.
  23. I could probably get rich by mining and selling all this salt.. Dibs. Oh, so what games have you recently played that had an engaging story, excellent worldbuilding and good writing, because Deadfire has none of those? I'm looking for suggestions. EDIT: Other than Divinity: Original Sin 2, already played that Not that I agree with the intent of the comment you're replying to, but... Deadfire actually has incredible worldbuilding. The problem is that it puts that worldbuilding over telling a cohesive, deep, and compelling core narrative. It's writing is pretty great too. Certainly better than the first game, even if I don't really think it chooses the right places to be more evocative. I can't say I'm entirely satisfied with what we got, but I understood the intent (and it's understandable they chose this direction after the criticism the first game received). I hope Pillars 3 will be able to strike a better balance between the two extremes. The compelling, intriguing, philosophical depth of the first Pillars of Eternity balanced with the snappier, cleaner delivery style of Deadfire.
  24. You say "bigger", I just hear "more buggy". But yea I'm rather excited for the game nonetheless. PS: I actually think Deadfire is impressively balanced as it is. People think balance is just nothing being OP, but I think the more important element is everything being viable. POE is really good at avoiding trap builds and that's one of the reasons I find it so fun to play. Some things are better than others for sure, but nothing is so bad that it's actually unusable.
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