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scythesong

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About scythesong

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  1. As impressive as your "it's there, just deal with it" approach to the argument, which sadly also happens to be the general reply. Also as with your playing devil's advocate by arguing that a pseudo-turn based game is actually a real-time pause game (which is ridiculous, PoE gets more forced pauses than Divinity: Original Sin) or that undermining a mechanic that serves no purpose (it's VERY conspicuous how no one seems to be offering a clear advantage to the engagement system other than "because the game comes with it") counts as "using it to my advantage". I don't know if that's meant to be funny. No one seems to be acknowledging the massive cons of the mechanic either. That's disappointing. Also PoE is being heavily marketed as a spiritual successor of the IE games, specifically Baldur's Gate and the Icewind Dale games, which are actual real-time games with pause (and the real time aspect is one of bigger strengths of these games, as underlined by the EE versions). So yeah, the whole "this is a different type of game, deal with it" approach is just one big fat straw-man argument anyway, I just didn't think I needed to point out the obvious.
  2. Keyword "theoretically", though. We all know that at higher difficulties it doesn't matter (mobs ignore engagement and go after your squishies anyway) and that because PoE/Tyranny likes to put you in situations where your team auto-positions before combat (we should be very familiar with these universally hated cutscenes by now) then your squishies are often left wide open. What's funny is that pretty often when you send in your fighters to intercept enemy mobs guys engagement will actually backfire and pin down your fighters while mobs circle around them and just keep going after your squishies. Now if the game was actually turn-based then you can avoid this because the AI doesn't have to think too much (to the point of making really, really stupid decisions) to get things done, and we can simulate that by just adding a lot of pause conditions to our games - we can then react to what the enemy does (like if it decides to ignore engagement) on a per-turn basis. However at the game's default setting we're basically stuck with a turn-based/real-time hybrid model that pretty often just fails. And we've not even started on enemy types that like to use teleport/"leap" attacks to re-position themselves in front of your caster (aka, hell even the AI itself is undermining engagement). BG tackles this by giving you the opportunity to choose your battles and where to fight them (for the most part). You can basically avoid risky combat altogether (it even gives you tools like Detect Evil and plenty of rogue NPCs with questionably high stealth to do it) and work your way towards higher levels with fetch quests. At higher levels you then gain access to spells like Invisibility and Mirror Image, and that's where the real fun starts because at that point it's all about strategy/tactics and countering what the enemy does. Obviously there's room for improvement here, like giving warrior-types a bigger character hitbox/"area of control" that prevents enemies from just rushing past them (Dragon Age 2, for all its faults, had an ingenious solution for this - making fighter auto-attacks AoE so if enemies just bunch up on your mages then the fighter will destroy them) or giving them combat bonuses for mobs that ignore them (these ARE warriors aka specialists at dealing/receiving close combat damage, you'd think they'd know exactly which critical points to attack). Like if someone ignores a shield-user then he gains a bonus to stun enemies with his shield. These options are much more conducive to real-time combat since they eliminate that engagement-mechanic middleman, allowing you to focus on re-evaluating what feats/skills your character should use for each particular situation... and that should be the point, shouldn't it? So my question remains - why is there a non-progression based limiting mechanic in these games that is causing us unnecessary headaches?
  3. The strength of the IE games was because it also had a well-established real-time combat system. Warriors can easily switch between ranged and melee, for example, or switch to a magical weapon that allowed them to deal massive damage or even control the battlefield because of positioning (eg. The Daystar, Celestial Fury, Arrows of Biting, etc). They were also a real dangerous force in combat because they natively had better combat abilities (more proficiency points, better proficiency progression, better THAC0 and most importantly higher attacks per round). As far as warriors were concerned, instead of the engagement system IE instead used a system that simply made them much, much more dangerous so that it would be stupid to ignore them, especially once magic entered the picture (with SCS you also get hasted fighters with various spell protections).
  4. BUT that's only true if the game had a flowing/smooth combat system that promotes real-time combat to begin with. Are you actually arguing that that's how things are in PoE, what with all the "auto-pause after using an ability", "auto-pause after seeing an enemy", etc. ON TOP of engagement that we have to deal with? You realize you're agreeing with me, right? What's even the point of engagement when in the end we're all just really trying to undermine it? It just slows down combat unnecessarily. So why is it in the game? Because it balances melee vs ranged? Because it makes early game more challenging? Because it makes aggro management easier (even though mobs target and often teleport towards specific party members anyway)? Because it introduces a risk/reward system that has a way of getting your allies killed due to bad AI calculation/pathing? Doesn't it fail spectacularly at whatever it is it's supposed to be doing or am I missing something?
  5. Wow, you badly need a lesson in basics. Because "real time" combat is pointless if your characters constantly turn around and ignore your commands because the engagement system forces them to attack/engage nearby enemies and forget whatever it was you wanted them to do? Because instead of smooth combat your characters suddenly slow down (or make a funny spinning dance if you keep forcing them to move away) whenever something approaches them in melee? Because the engagement system is based on PnP, which is turn-based? Because it's stupid that you need to pause like a maniac when combat COULD simply be changed into actual turn-based combat instead of forcing the player to resort to using pseudo-turn based mechanics themselves? Seriously, ever head of games like the old Fallout series? Temple of Elemental Evil? Divinity: Original Sin? And you know what the funniest thing is? People go out of their way to undermine the engagement system whenever they can anyway. It was that way even with Neverwinter Nights 1 (one of the main reasons why people loved Hide in Plain Sight /concealment). Hell, being able skip all that slowdown/hassle caused by the engagement system is arguably one of the reasons why some people prefer to solo. "We'd rather play a more difficult game setting using self-imposed restrictions than deal with your gameplay mechanic." The devs behind IE games like Baldur's Gate were smart enough to recognize how pointless the mechanic was for the game they wanted to produce and just got rid of it, instead favoring direct defensive spells for casters/wizards among other things.
  6. Not only PoE, but Tyranny too. I'm not sure why tactics is an issue, the Infinity Engine games gave you a massive amount of tactical options even without the engagement system. Same for Neverwinter Nights 2 and even the more hack-and-slash ARPGs like Dungeon Siege 2 - pausing, positioning and careful planning was also critical to these games even without the extremely-slowed down combat system. Because it's not turn-based? When you make a non-turn based game it's heavily implied that combat is supposed to flow smoothly. Seriously, do a google search about Pillars of Eternity combat and add "fast" or "slow". The pages upon pages of results speak for themselves. One of the heaviest criticisms about PoE is that players can't figure out the combat speed, it's either too slow or too fast for them - and that's EXACTLY because the game is somehow a non-turn based game that heavily uses the engagement system, which is a turn-based mechanic. Hell, the game even introduces a fast-walk mode to try and speed things up - that's not an indicator to you that gameplay is supposed to be smoother/faster? Ultimately PoE is like a contemplative RPG game that for some reason forces you to do a really loud/obnoxious dance-dance-revolution battle every 10 mins, in terms of conflicting mechanics. It's nice if that's exactly the kind of game they wanted to produce, but again I'm not sure this is what the devs are aiming for.
  7. I really, reaaaaaally want to know why the devs thought it was a good idea to implement PnP's engagement system to what is supposed to be a fast-paced RPG (and other gamers' thoughts about these mechanics and their implementation in cRPGs in general). There's a reason NWN1 has a deeply troubled combat mechanics history despite being a heavily modded/enjoyed game, and why sooooo many people heaved a collected sigh of relief when NWN2 moved away from that. Seriously, have the devs watched how people play the game on youtube? PnP engagament mechanics simply does not lend itself to non-turn based games, which is why so many people have to resort to auto-pause (esp. "pause after ability use") in order to turn the game into a pseudo-turn based game and so they have an easier time managing combat. And please don't give me that "because that would make ranged weapons overpowered" excuse. That's stupid, especially given that PoE/Tyranny has shown us how its not and ESPECIALLY considering how games like the Infinity Engine games were able to definitively prove that there were ways to get around this. I was originally under the impression that this was going to be a temporary thing, but with current trends I'm really not looking forward to a future of PnP engagement mechanics-type games. I mean sure, if PoE is to become the next NWN1 (as in heavily moddable/customizable) then why not, pseudo-turn based mechanics fit well into that microcosm, but I don't think that's what developers are aiming for.
  8. Does this person even realize that a significant chunk of the PoE playerbase are veteran IE (and older) game players? Obviously a lot of people simply stopped playing because the challenge/appeal is gone. And thank you for pointing out that our last options are to play the game AGAIN tin casual/hard/PotD or Ironman Mode. Now if only someone could suggest an alternative game mode for players interested in having more options for replayability without the stress of losing progress due to whatever... oh wait.
  9. This is the modern era. Just about every game has aspects from other genres, hell good luck trying to pin down what kind of game Divinity: Original Sin actually is. Is it an RPG? Is it a turn-based RPG? Is it a hack-and-slash/action RPG? Is it a sandbox RPG? Why is it an RPG, again? Did you miss the part where I pointed out that I've played PotD too many times? At this point I can solo PotD pre-act 3 on mostly muscle memory, and that's probably because I come from the BG1/Fallout era when characters had this habit of dying all the time just from a stray crit. We simply had to up our game if we wanted to play at higher difficulty levels. Even when BG2 came out (and after several years of playing) the challenge just wasn't enough anymore, which is why we considered it a godsend when someone decided to introduce a mod that allowed you to fight a planetar right from Irenicus' Dungeon. The Icewind Dale 2 devs actually heard our plea and introduced a unique setting called Heart of Fury mode, which is basically a variation of the "Trial of Copper", except just over a year later, Black Isle was gone. Interestingly some of the Infinity Engine EE devs are now re-introducing a kind-of Heart of Fury mode for their games. Anyway, nice on you for being so passionate about attacking other people's passions. You know, that is kind of an interesting question when you think about. I sort of like how games a couple decades ago were far harder to pidgeon hole. Like the original Deus Ex, where you can complete the entire game with maybe five combat encounters. The original Fallout was flexible enough to also accommodate a relatively pacifist playthrough. There is also The Longest Journey which, while not really an RPG, always felt to me like it should have been and sort of missed its calling. Only a rare few truly extraordinary titles allow sufficient freedom for a player to elect their own experience and still be satisfying without relying upon combat as filler content. It's the same today actually, except everything is skewed towards action games. The thing about action games is that it's all about stimuli - you receive data (through a combat mechanics box or your basic senses) and you respond appropriately. The game then rewards/penalizes you based on your reaction time/the appropriateness of your reaction. It's very similar in this respect to strategy games, except strategy games give you much, much more time to figure out what your next move should be. The thing is that a lot of game devs these days seem to be interested in making their games "more engaging" by (for some reason) introducing mechanics-related visual/auditory stimuli (ie, flexing their game engines and making their games more action game-y) instead of creating a more complicated/branching story mechanic (in that respect some JRPGs are actually ahead of their western counterparts). Maybe current trends are because a lot of people want to "experience" more from their home instead of trying to imagine how a certain scenario would play out based on context? Who can say.
  10. You people act like Path of the Damned is anything special to hardcore ARPG players. Seriously, what's next after you've figured out all the ins and outs of what makes builds work in PotD? I don't claim to have played *every* build that works, but I sure know that it's stupid that I'm now doing the same general thing over and over again and the only challenge left is the "if you die once, it's game over" mode. And no, self-imposed handicaps are NOT the answer especially since PoE2 is in a unique position to help change how the presence Ironman Mode is becoming a trend in today's games, which is stupid because the mode caters to a specific playerbase. And Pillars IS an ARPG, you spend more half than your time fighting stuff. Skyrim is an ARPG even though you spend more than half your time crafting stuff/leveling miscellaneous skills or exploring. It's about as much as an ARPG as the Icewind Dale games were, and IWD2/Heart of Fury mode was definitely a hardcore ARPG, except with a beautiful story, music and dialogue. Trial of Iron comes with its own meta, so it would make sense that a hypothetical Trial of Copper would come with its own meta too. Balancing is irrelevant (except in the most basic sense - obviously we don't want a situation where battle starts and boom, everyone dies because of enemy damaging aura scaling gone wrong) since these modes are not about balance (there's a ton of skills/talents that are *very* low priority for Trial of Iron players). It's more about creating a mode for veteran players that's an alternative to the very ordered "I'm going to micromanage every millisecond of this battle so my PC doesn't die". It's going to be chaotic, it's going to be frustrating, people are going to die a lot and it's going to be glorious. Edit: BTW, the game already has a variation of the %chance on hit mechanic. Not sure how introducing a mode that does that to every attack made (with the effect that it increases outdoing damage by 25%-??) is going to be equivalent to creating expansion content, like some posters seem to be implying. After all Ironman mode just makes it so that if you die, game over. There's going to be some work/fine tuning needed, yeah, but is the amount of effort required really that unreasonable especially once all the hectic aspects of game development are done? After all, this mode doesn't need to come out at release (we DO need time to adjust to/enjoy the new PoE2 meta before we start tackling challenging game modes).
  11. Ok I get it, hardcore/Trial of Iron mode makes playing games more "challenging" by introducing a mode that kills characters permanently. But really, deciding that this should a benchmark for ARPG games is stupid. So if I was a gamer who lived a hectic life (anything from pets to babies to vengeful in-laws and a stressful workplace) then that automatically makes me, my games and my builds "inferior" to those of people whose main advantage is that they can enjoy playing the game in relative peace? There is a very real "what the f***" aspect in that logic because really, that's what the difference comes down to. While some people can (rightfully) argue that hardcore mode simply creates a very different meta that focuses on defensive builds, that also means that people who like playing these kinds of characters or who can play the game for hours in relative peace actually get more out of the game since there exists a different meta that caters to their gaming situation. So what does that mean for rest of us? We too have time to burn, we just can't afford to give the game 100% of our focus. As such, I propose the introduction of a different mode that caters to players who love a challenge but who can't afford to play a mode that causes them to lose all their progress just because one of the many family pets decided to take an impromptu s*** on tomorrow's homework. Since hardcore mode is loosely patterned after how mortality works in real life (along with associated risks) and making things even for the player/their enemies (since enemy NPCs don't have a reload button), this new mode does something similar with another aspect of real life - that of Murphy's Law, ie, whatever can go wrong will go wrong - and the sheer all-encompassing chaotic nature of modern life. Because seriously, there's a reason why we celebrate like crazy when plans go without a hitch. For this mode (call it Trial of Copper, ie the flexible metal) ALL attacks (even the party's) have a chance of doing up to 50% (debatable, for PoE I was thinking 80% max) more damage. The idea here is that battles are now skewed heavily towards being aggressive/dealing damage, being proactive, and killing enemies before they kill you. Yes, your characters will be going down all the time. Yes, you may yet find a use for that hotkey for the reload function. Yes, you may yet develop intimate, perhaps nostalgic, potentially genocidal feelings for that game over screen. And yes it makes sense. It's stupid to argue the logic of permadeath in a game world where NPCs can casually shrug off the effect of a lightning bolt or a 20 foot fireball. But anyway the challenge will be very real, and so will the accompanying sense of accomplishment for having beaten this game mode. I have high hopes for PoE2 (do your best guys!) and I hope it will also be one of those games that also sets up new standards for how ARPGs should be played. Permadeath is a stupid concept to be made a benchmark for games in general - it definitely works for some games, but games in general should not be held to a standard that favors only a fraction of gamers who are looking for a challenge.
  12. It doesn't work that way. The thing about the hollowborn is that they don't have souls in them, while a wicht does have a soul in it (an animal's). I imagine that if a child's soul tries to return to its body (and discovers that its body has been transformed into a wicht) then it will instead go to wherever souls go while waiting for some random couple to birth them a new body.
  13. Resolve is my go-to bonus because but I'm sure some of my parties could have benefited more from Might (aka kill them before they kill us) or survival. I prefer to err on the side of caution when it comes to static stats though. There are also situations where I'll pick specific bonuses for skill interactions, like mechanics. All of my characters have some points in Survival and Athletics/Lore (+0-2 other skills) so sometimes I end up just 1-2 points short of the required skill for interactions (particularly WM content). I also generally don't reroll for random items, so while things like Gloves of Manipulation are nice I welcome variety in each of my runs.
  14. That will happen if you ignore your deflection. If you really want to play a glass cannon DPS chanter then you should at least have a secondary panic button setup, like hatchet + shield and possibly the Weapon and Shield Style talent. My own chanter builds always start with dual-wielded hatchets + Cautious Attack talent or hatchet + shield setups on weapon switch to discourage attackers. While not particularly tanky by an stretch before you reach Caed Nua, their high defenses means that mobs mostly ignore them . This is important because, as I mentioned, you should be attacking (specifically flanking, to increase crit rate) whenever possible. Note that "But Reny Daret's Ghost..." is excellent for setting up flanking since you can choose where to summon it. Ranged weapons are also helpful if you're one of those adventurous types who likes fighting wilder-type enemies early on. Caed Nua opens up Resolve resting bonuses and adventures that reward you with various defensive goodies. The Superior Deflection talent should also be available a little after this point and you'll have access to more consumables (like scrolls of defense). Once you reach this stage then as long as your chanter doesn't get themselves surrounded by hostiles or are taking on very powerful enemies too early then you're good to go for the rest of PotD. /end thread hijack Tanky Chanter items are pretty intuitive. You'll be taking a lot of defensive talents to raise your defenses/effective endurance so the idea is that you just use gear which increases your defenses/damage reduction. As long as you do every quest/bounty you will not miss good tanky items (most of these gatelocked behind tough fights and bounties anyway, so you don't exactly "aim" for them as just work towards getting them) and things like the Blunting Belt tend to drop often. Yiou're not soloing, so there's also no pressure to stack as much survivability as you can since you can rely on buffs from other classes too. The rest is just paying attention to item stats. I think the only item I go out of my way to get on some of my chanters is the Voice of the Mountaintop amulet from Dyrford Village.
  15. The thing about animal companions is that they have scaling enemy damage reduction ignore, so by late game they can do massive damage against heavily armored opponents. This is offset by their relative squishiness, but there are ways to help with that.
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