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Jon of the Wired

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Everything posted by Jon of the Wired

  1. On the other hand, you could just as easily leave the wizard in one place and run the fighter around so that the enemy never gets an attack in. Kiting is a hard problem for the AI to deal with no matter what you do.
  2. I agree that the current PoE AI is pretty dumb. My expectation for a smart AI is that it would have more responses to engagement than simply stopping and attacking the character that engaged it. I'd expect a smart AI to use abilities like knockdown or escape, as appropriate, or even to run past and take the attack if it has sufficiently high deflection and endurance (in that case my backline is threatened, but at least I got a free attack out of the bargain). Even the IWD:HoW AI you're presenting as a positive example very rarely meets my criteria for being smart, by your own admission.
  3. I think this may actually be the crux of some of the misunderstandings in the debate around engagement. We're all saying we want smart, good AI, and don't want dumb, bad AI, but I think when we say that we mean very different things.To elaborate a bit on the scenario you present above, let's say you have a single enemy, a fighter, and a wizard. If you position your characters such that the fighter is close to the enemy and the wizard is farther away, the enemy then has two choices: 1) Attack the fighter. 2) Run past the fighter and attack the wizard. Based on your above statement, you consider choice 1 to not be dumb and therefore, I assume, smart and good (please correct me if I'm misrepresenting your statement). However, I, and I think other posters in this thread, would consider choice 1 to be very dumb (and therefore bad) and would expect a smart AI to make choice 2. In choice 1, the AI decides to attack the high defense, low offense fighter, when it could just bypass it and attack the low defense, high offense wizard. I would have a hard time describing any AI that makes that choice as "smart", and it's not how I want the AI to behave. I'd like the AI to do its very best to defeat me (knowing that any game AI is only going to be so good). Then, since I want smart AI (i.e. AI trying its hardest to kill me) and I want a front line and a back line, where my front line of characters can protect my back line of characters, it becomes obvious that you need something like the engagement mechanic, to prevent running past the fighter from always being the optimal choice.
  4. To be fair, if you kill someone wearing armor, that armor probably isn't in great shape anymore.
  5. I don't see this as a solution because I want the enemies to be smart, unpredictable, and generally behave more believably like people (or monsters, or what-have-you). The current AI doesn't achieve that goal, but if you design the game around stupid, manipulable AI, then you never have the option to make it better.
  6. Weird, I was just playing the latest beta the other day and thinking about how much I liked the zone transitions.Takes all kinds, I guess.
  7. Yeah, there is regular clothing in the game (and the beta). I've built some characters that started out with them, which I think is based on both a combination of class and culture choices.
  8. Such skills already exist -- the concern is that these skills fall into one of two camps: 1) Useful for other purposes (e.g. Knockdown, Stuns, and the like) and are likely to be used long before the player realizes that disengagement is necessary. 2) So narrow in focus that nobody (should) select them -- giving up talent that will allow you to kill an opponent in exchange for a talent that allows you to withdraw safely is simply not a good choice. Some people argue that skills in the #1 bucket are good, because they force the player to make a hard decision on whether or not to use the skill early or save it in case withdrawal turns out to be necessary at a latter time. The "no engagement" group believes this isn't a valid dilemma because the correct choice is always to use the skill early in the hopes of avoiding the need to disengage at all. YMMV, of course. It seems like bucket (1) and bucket (2) contain every possible skill, by construction, which makes it a fairly vacuous argument.
  9. So I should hold onto those powers like knockdown for times when my fighter's health is low and for disengagement attacks. Because if I used knockdown earlier in an encounter and have no way of escaping later, then my fighter could be screwed. And if I decide to not have a Priest in my party? I'm not asking for an exhaustive list, I only asked since you said there were 'plenty of ways' to do so. Yes, you should absolutely try to use powers at the optimal time, instead of just blowing your load as soon as combat starts. The fact that there are better and worse times to use powers it what makes them interesting. A Priest is not required. Of the seven powers I mentioned, only two are Priest spells. I think seven different powers does count as "plenty of ways", but if you disagree, I can always list a few more. There's Barbaric Shout, Nature's Terror, and two Ryngrim's spells that all terrify, Mind Wave, Silent Scream, Overwhelming Rage, Relentless Storm, and Stunning Blow which all stun, Pillar of Faith, Takedown, Slicken, and Clear Out which all knock enemies prone, there's Dimensional Shift, there's Puppet Master, Ringleader, and Whisper of Treason that all dominate or charm, Eyestrike which blinds. That's another eighteen, for a total of twenty-five powers that can help you avoid disengagement attacks, and I only stopped because I got bored.
  10. Can you list those 'plenty of ways' to do it in the game.. The Rogue's Escape ability, anything that stuns or knocks down an enemy (Knock Down, Repulsing Seal, Mental Binding, plenty of others), the Priest spell Withdraw, the Fighter's Into the Fray power, powers that dramatically increase Deflection like Arcane Veil can help a lot. I'm sure there're lots of others, I'm not even going to try to make an exhaustive list.
  11. I've been spending some time playing the latest beta this evening, and I'm actually finding the combat pretty ok. The balance is still wacky, and it could be a bit slower, but I don't think there's anything about the fundamental mechanics that I'd change. I like engagement, though it might be more mechanically heavy than is really necessary. It gives my front line an effective way to protect my back line, and it makes melee enemies feel more dangerous, both of which I like. Obviously, by making movement more dangerous, there will be less of it in a fight but I have no real problem with that. If you need to get away from an enemy that's engaging you there are plenty of ways to do it, but they'll require abilities and therefore consume resources. This gives you interesting choices to make, and it feels good to me. Then again, I don't think I ever reached nearly the level of competence in playing IE games as some posters on this board, and I was never running characters around all over the place in those games either. I don't think combat would be improved by being more RTS like, just as I don't think Gone Home should have played more like Quake 3. It's a very different kind of game, and I expect the AI in an RPG to behave in a more human fashion, which is to say it should be equal parts clever, unpredictable, and sometimes irrational. The AI in PoE doesn't come close to that yet, but I still have hope (maybe for PoE 2). I don't want to be able to manage the AI by knowing exactly how it will behave in a given circumstance. Rather, I want the mechanics of the game to allow me to force the AI to make hard choices (and I want the AI to do the same to me).
  12. And I corrected you. There IS a reference. And Obsidian chose to cite it when they asked us for funding. 5 games. They referenced them by name. Tolkein. Not sure how your questions can be answered any more directly than this. We are discussing fantasy tradition. But the problem is that the community here is multi-generational and "tradition" to a younger gamer means games with watered down, "pew-pew" magic, like what we see in WoW, Dragon Age, Skyrim, Witcher, etc. Such gamers cannot conceive of anything else. In their minds Magic is nothing more than another attack-form.... equal to a fighter swinging his battle Axe, or an Archer shooting arrows from his bow, only more colorful. But the rest of us remember back when magic was much, much more. This is going to be a bit pedantic, but D&D magic actually doesn't owe anything to Tolkein (the creators of D&D somewhat famously didn't actually care for Tolkein much). The magic system in D&D is based on how magic works in the Dying Earth series by Jack Vance (hence the term Vancian magic). Though, to be fair, the implementation in D&D is a fairly loose translation of that system. I think there's far too many and varied depictions of magic for it to make sense to cite "tradition" as a source for the one true way magic should work. I also think the slide into "pew-pew" magic in modern games is a bit sad, but there's really only so much mystery and ineffability you're going to be able to capture in a system of rules that has to be implemented on a computer. Regardless, I think PoE actually suffers from this problem less than most modern games.
  13. I didn't like the original skill progression system, I found it far too fiddly, but I don't love the new one either. Now every talent is a bundle of two things, one you might want, and the other you might not. It means that I'm rarely totally happy with a talent choice; it almost always feels like a compromise. Choosing a new talent should be like being a kid in a toystore, and you just have to choose the most awesome thing from a room full of awesome things. Now it feels like I'm always just settling for something that's "good, but". I'd prefer a system more like either 4e or 5e. That is, remove all of the random skill bonuses from talents and either have the base value for a skill be (character level) + (class bonus) and for each skill have a proficiency talent that gives you a +5 (or so) and a second specialization talent that gives another +3 (or so), or have the base value for a skill be (class bonus) and have a proficiency talent that gives you (character level) as a bonus, and a specialization talent that gives you +3 on top.
  14. I've always supported the idea of XP only from quests (though given out in chunks as you finish parts of the quest, which I guess is the 'objective' choice in the poll). I want XP only from quests because I want to feel free to complete quests how I choose, and not be told by the game that I'm doing it wrong. Disproportionate rewards for killing things in an RPG has always felt like a bait and switch: "Oh, yeah, we've included a conversation system and a stealth system in the game, but good luck leveling up if you actually use them, heh heh", "yeah, we've got choice and consequence. You can choose not to kill people, and the consequence is you don't get any XP". With that in mind, I'm not a fan of bestiary XP, which is only a shoddy, partial solution to the problems of kill XP, and I'm not a fan of lock / trap XP, which has basically all of the same problems as kill XP. I suppose you can give XP for anything you want without ruining the game if the amounts you get are tiny in proportion to the XP from quests, but at that point why bother? Exploration XP is a bit different. I can certainly understand the desire to be rewarded for activities that are more self-directed than your average quest, but even that I think can be done best under the existing quest XP system. Part of the solution is just making sure that quests don't all follow the typical quest-giver structure. Your character should be given better in game motivations for wanting to do something than just some **** asking you to. You should be able to feel like you're taking on a quest because there's something personal in it for you, and not like it's a job. The other part of the solution is seeding the explorable areas with mini-quests that you can stumble upon, or not. You might find a corpse in the wilderness with a note that vaguely points out the location of a stash of equipment or treasure. You could find a stand of strange plants, and tracking them back to their source, find a cave where a wizard was conducting experiments. These sorts of self-directed mini-quests fit into the current quest and XP system (they would turn up in your journal "I saw some weird **** in this area, maybe I should have a look around" and you would get XP for completing them), and also have authored content attached to them that make them far more interesting than getting some XP because you cleared all the fog of war off the map.
  15. When I said no more than half the length of a "normal" fight, that's what I meant, so if we're assuming a "normal" fight lasts twenty seconds, then the max Resolve duration for the buff would be no more than ten seconds, and the duration with average Resolve would be six seconds. Considering these numbers, there's two factors that make pre-buffing maybe not the best idea. First, pre-buffing by definition has to be done outside of the detection radius of enemies, so if you're pre-buffing a character built for melee or with short range attacks, they're going to be wasting buff time just getting into range of the enemy. If the buff only lasts six to ten seconds, then a lot of the buff could be wasted. Second, even in the best case scenario where you're buffed for the first half of the encounter, that may not be the best time for the buff to be active. For example, if you're fighting a Wizard, they could pop off Arcane Veil right at the beginning of the encounter and if you've pre-buffed with a damage increasing buff, it's mostly going to waste. If you'd held off and cast the buff during the fight, it would have been much more effective. Of course, even if the buff durations are short there will still be times when pre-buffing is the best choice. I'd argue that the goal is not to make pre-buffing always bad but to make sure it's not always good. If there are dominating tactics in combat, such that you can just play through every fight the same way without putting any though or effort into it, that's not fun. In the IE games pre-buffing, especially with some of the extremely long duration buffs, was a dominating tactic. It just became mindless busywork, because you were always going to cast those buffs. There was no meaningful choice. As an aside, PoE does have long duration buffs, but it models them as modal abilities so you don't have to tediously recast them. Also, they either have penalties as well as benefits, or you have to chose one to have active from a set, so there is some meaningful choice involved.
  16. That's at 18. 21 gets you all the way to 55%, which isn't a huge difference. As long as you can't double or triple the duration of a spell, I don't think it changes whether or not pre-buffing is a dominating tactic.
  17. I didn't mention 24hr pre-buffs. PrimeJunta has a problem with long duration buffs. Also, define short and long. PrimeJunta and yourself are okay with short pre-buffs. How short? And when does it become long? What if it's 1 second after you define what is short? Does it then become long? I'm not being sarcastic because battles can be all of 10-15 seconds in some cases. So that extra 1 second could make a difference. That's why I'm finding it funny because you can change a spell's duration in PoE from short to long. I'd like to know what the time frame for a short buff is because I'm sure once you define it and give it a time frame, what's stopping someone pumping up their resolve to increase the duration of the spell? If you pump up resolve, you've now got a longer duration spell before you enter combat. And this is something a lot of people argued against for the last 2 years, the default pre-buffing that some players did in the IE games. And in PoE, players may have one character in their party that has maxed their Resolve just for pre-buffing before fights. I would say to those people (I wasn't one of them) who argued against pre-buffing for 2 years, you need to come up with a better argument to include pre-buffs now. So, when I was talking about preventing pre-buffing with spell durations earlier in the thread I was thinking about durations measured in just seconds of real time. More specifically, it's critical that a buff not last for a whole encounter. If it does, than the beginning of the encounter is always the best time to cast it. If the duration of a buff is significantly less than the duration of the encounter, then choosing the best time to cast a buff actually requires some skill and insight, instead of being completely rote. With that in mind, to prevent pre-buffing, a buff should never have a duration longer than, say, half the duration of a "normal" encounter. Obviously not all encounters are the same length, but short ones are usually short because they're easy, in which case you've probably wasted the buff anyway. As far as Resolve goes, at maximum it can only increase the duration of an effect by 40% over the base value, so I don't see that as a meaningful impediment to this kind of balancing.
  18. I've never liked prebuffing much; it always just seemed like busy work. I do agree, however, that the short duration on buffs does seem to solve the problem, and I'm not sure having spells that can only be cast after combat has been initiated is justified. Actually, that being said, PoE does generally seem to have a problem with alpha striking being a dominating tactic, and removing the in-combat restriction on buffs would make that worse.
  19. Incorrect. For low-res, tiny sprites, it may not take long (but more than you'd think) Large sprites are usually renders of 3D models (meaning you had to make and animate a 3D model anyway) Would you classify Fallout 1's sprites as low-res, tiny sprites? I may be wrong, but I strongly suspect that for any given death animation present in Fallout 1, it would take longer to do an equivalent animation in PoE. Fallout's sprites are renders of 3D models, so they were animated in much the same way PoE's models are.
  20. That's my main beef with it. The fact that I can employ the exact same tactics and have a wildly different result was always a bit annoying, and I'm glad to see it go. Not that there's a problem with RNG in combat, far from it - but it was badly balanced in 2e rules. And this is just what I am talking about. You are proposing changes to PoE while not liking basic stuff of IE games (and D&D), randomness.I don't know if you played WL2, but lots of randomness is what makes that game good. It also made Xcom the hit it was (and old Xcom is still one of the best games I know because of randomness). Sure, guilty as charged. I liked the IE games, but that doesn't mean I think they were perfect and impossible to improve upon. Shifting the balance between luck and skill a bit farther over to the skill side is one of the improvements I think can be made. I'm playing Wasteland 2 now, and I'm about eight hours in. I like the game a lot, but the degree of randomness in its mechanics is not one of the reasons I like it. In combat it's tolerable, because there's a lot of rolls in your average fight, and it tends to balance out. I can tell you I've already been doing a ton of save-scumming to open containers though. The skill use mechanics are completely unsound.
  21. Back on topic, I like grazes. I don't mind some randomness to combat, but if I lose a battle I don't want to be able to reload, employ the exact same tactics, and win just because the RNG was nicer to me this time. I prefer combat to require skill rather than luck, and less variance in the damage helps with that.
  22. This is such a weird thread. Anyway, I hadn't noticed this before, but I also hope it was on purpose.
  23. Are you talking in terms of simulation? Might is actually one of THE best attributes in the game. The damage bonus to everything could potentially easily be explained away by "Soul Powah".Perception and Resolve are the worst attributes by a long long way. There will be a thread coming soon that debunks them completely, and proposes a fix to PE attributes backed by mathematics combined with logic alone.No, the "weakness" I was referring to is the lack of cohesion between how Might is used in dialogue and interactions and the combat bonuses it supplies. Also that such cohesion is probably impossible, because of how abstract Might is.
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