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Jon of the Wired

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Everything posted by Jon of the Wired

  1. D&D's six attributes are honestly pretty terrible. Dexterity conflates agility and manual dexterity, Wisdom conflates willpower, perception, and wisdom, and no one can really agree on what Charisma is. I think Might is the only weak point in the PoE system. It's just a bit too abstract. With only six attributes, you're always going to have to make compromises.
  2. And that's a bad thing? That you can upgrade to better weapons instead of continuing to use your 'viable' butter knife against enemies near the end of the game? Please no, none of this making everything viable balancing philosophy. I'm not suggesting a butter knife should be viable, but that I should be able to get some mileage in the late game out of my +5 Dagger of God-slaying. I do think it's a bad thing for the set of viable tactical options to narrow in the late-game. It should, if anything, be the opposite.
  3. I don't think it's necessarily a problem for characters off the front-line to wear clothing instead of armor. Wizards have been wearing robes forever. I do think back-line characters should be under enough threat that it's not crazy to consider putting them in light armor, and I think that can be accomplished through encounter design and better enemy AI. For front-line characters, the current system makes choosing armor weight a choice between specializing in damage output or defense (or achieving balance between the two), and I think that's a totally reasonable way of handling things. The numbers may need tweaking, but I think the concept is sound. One thing I'm concerned about is how DT interacts with fast, low-damage weapons. I think the idea is good in theory, but for light weapons to have a place they need to do significantly more damage against lightly armored enemies than heavier weapons and there needs to be enough lightly armored enemies, even at high levels, so that light weapons are viable throughout the whole game. Otherwise there's just no point in ever using them.
  4. I think the system is working pretty well. The Health / Stamina split is best understood as replacing cleric's healing spells as the primary limit on the adventuring day. That is to say, in AD&D you can treat HP as a tactical resource, like Stamina, as long as you have access to healing. Healing spells are the strategic resource, like Health, and when you run out your day is over (modulus wands of cure light wounds, which are a complete hack). I don't see it as problematic that you could be forced to rest because a single character is low on health. The only difference between PoE and AD&D in that regard is that it's more visible that one character has taken all the beatings, whereas it's relatively easy to forget exactly who the cleric was casting all their cure spells on. If you find that your adventuring day is too short, that's not necessarily a problem with the system, but rather an indication that you should consider putting more of your characters on the front line, to spread the hits around, or focusing more on minimizing the amount of damage you're taking in fights. The tactical / strategic resource split is really about punishing you for barely scraping through fights. It's a feature, not a bug.
  5. I think playing hot potato or the shell game between character screens for inventory was one of the worst things about IE.. However this thread is more about encumbrance and the magical stash of unlimited item holding. Nothing wrong with making a good UI for inventory management.. but I disagree with having this stash so you can pick up every stupid item without consequence.. Making choices about what items you take was a big deal in IE.. because you didn't wanna walk back out into the middle of nowhere for a bunch of stupid long swords. It wasn't a big deal, because there's an optimal algorithm for it. When you encounter a new item, look in your inventory for the least valuable item. If that item is less valuable than the new item, drop it and pick up the new item. Otherwise, leave the new item where it is. There's no choice involved, it's just busywork. The stash removes that busy work, while keeping the actual interesting choices around what equipment and consumables you want to carry with you. I think it's a very successful system.
  6. Yeah, that comparison isn't helping your argument. The PoE spell is way cooler than the BG2 spell.
  7. I like the current inventory system a lot. The UI could probably use some work, but I wouldn't want to go back to a BG2 style inventory. It just creates a lot of boring busywork.
  8. There are a number of really killer game-destroying bugs, but I managed to get through a few hours of the beta without hitting any of them last night (unlike previous attempts) and I had a really good time. The balance feels pretty wonky at the moment and there are the aforementioned bugs, but content-wise I'm really pleased with the beta, and I'm sure the balance and bugs will be fixed over the next few months.
  9. Honestly, it looks way better than I thought it would. I'm very happy.
  10. I'm happy that there's no XP reward for merely killing enemies. When a developer provides a mechanical reward for a behaviour they are explicitly encouraging that behaviour and encouraging purposeless violence has always seemed a bit morally dubious.
  11. The city depicted in that art is Twin Elms. You can read more about it here: http://pillarsofeternity.gamepedia.com/Twin_Elms, but the short version is that it's a Glanfathan city build on ancient Engwithan ruins. The ruins have been left more or less as-is because it's a central tenant of the Glanfathan belief system that they have a duty to preserve and protect Engwithan ruins.
  12. I backed the Kickstarter campaign because I've loved Obsidian's previous games, and I want them to do well and keep making as many games as possible in the future (especially games that are closer in style to the Infinity Engine RPGs). I didn't back the Kickstarter because I expected some sort of VIP treatment as a result. It is important to the future of Obsidian, and especially the future of Pillars of Eternity as a franchise, that the game sell well. By the time PoE comes out, they'll have spent all the Kickstarter money (and then some, probably). For them to make any money, money that will be key to self-funding future games and maintaining Obsidian's status as an independent studio, they need to reach people who might be interested in the game, but didn't back the Kickstarter. The best way to do that is through the gaming press. The press however, is not interested in writing articles based on Kickstarter updates (of the eighty backer updates, how many have resulted in articles in the gaming press?). The press thrives on exclusives, or at least embargoed information so that they're not publishing second, because that's what drives hits. Holding back information and demos for the press is what Obsidian needs to do to get them to write about PoE, and media coverage is what they need for the game to sell. The better the game sells, the more money that have to fund the next game (and stay in business, for that matter). That's what it comes down to. If you care about seeing more Obsidian games in the future, you need to understand that this is part of what they need to do to make that happen.
  13. The "Backstory" field for NPCs has been expanded from 500 to 1250 characters. I hope this proves useful to someone else in addition to me, otherwise I'm going to feel like a bit of a jerk for bugging them about it .
  14. I think this is a very important point, and I'd like to expand on it. I think Josh's stated goal of eliminating dump stats to expand the range of viable builds is very important, but it's not the only metric on which attribute proposals must be measured. This discussion has been almost exclusively focused on combat, and while combat is one of the main gameplay elements of Eternity, it's not the only one. We know that a character's attributes are the primary thing from their character sheet that feeds into conversations and and other scripted events, so any attribute proposal must support this use case well. Abstract or unusual sets of Attributes don't pose much problem for the combat system because combat is very systematic. The effect of an attribute in combat can almost always be summed up in a few bullet points (increases damage, improves defenses, etc.), so it doesn't matter much what you call it or how you describe it. Scripted events, however, are very different. Scripted events are bespoke content created by a designer. In order for attribute usage in a scripted event to be satisfying, the player and the designer must have the same concrete understanding of what characteristics an attribute is supposed to measure. Otherwise, the player will find that the character they made is not able to interact with the world in the way they expected (this is especially crucial to get right, because the choice of how to set your attributes is almost entirely front-loaded). You can have a very abstract attribute like "Power" and write a paragraph of explanatory text telling the player what it means (and hope they read it), but it's easier to leverage what a player already knows and expects. For this reason, I would be very careful about taking an approach to attributes that is either too abstract, or too unusual.
  15. Seeing either of those lists I would assume that Power / Might governs damage, but learning that it covered melee, ranged, magic damage, and healing would throw me a bit. Abilities in D&D are really simulationist first. They describe what a character is like on a handful of (largely arbitrarily chosen) axis, which are understood even without game mechanics (I know something about a character merely by knowing that they have a Strength of 15 (out of 18), even if I have no idea what the related mechanics are). The game then applies mechanics to those ratings that sort of make sense and sort of produce good gameplay. Admittedly, it's unlikely that the traditional approach to ability scores is going to produce the best game mechanics, but it is deeply ingrained in RPG players. An attribute like Might or Power that is defined as "the stat that makes you do more damage" is unlikely to get a great reception. One way to think about the problem is to imagine how the attribute would be used in dialogs and other non-combat activities. It seems like it would inevitably end up feeling pretty incoherent. Does there even need to be a damage stat? I don't know if the lack of an attribute derived damage bonus is the worst thing in the world. I think the original list of attributes would be pretty satisfying if you came up with a new effect for Intellect, and Strength mitigated the speed penalty from armor.
  16. That actually sounds like a great idea. It buffs up Strength a bit (and you can tune the degree to which Strength mitigates encumbrance, so it can be easily balanced), which otherwise seems a bit lacking, and it makes Strength especially relevant to heavy-armour builds, which feels very natural.Who mentioned anything about items having weight, eh? Nobody? By "encumbrance" I was referring (and I believe jamoecw was as well) to the fact that heavier armor is going to reduce your attack speed. Nothing to do with explicit item weights.
  17. That actually sounds like a great idea. It buffs up Strength a bit (and you can tune the degree to which Strength mitigates encumbrance, so it can be easily balanced), which otherwise seems a bit lacking, and it makes Strength especially relevant to heavy-armour builds, which feels very natural. Not necessarily. Muscle fiber is divided into 2 types; the twitch response on both is different, type one is slow but more resistant to fatigue while type two is fast but don't have much endurance. Different body builds are often the result of different professions, a fencer tends to be faster than a bodybuilder as they have built the muscles that allow them to perform better. Whereas bodybuilders who tend to muscle in bulk can support higher weights but have less speed, ultimately it comes down to training but game systems tend to put strength as separate from dexterity when the latter is just the result of muscle memory and reflexes. That's... um... interesting, but I'm not clear on what you're actually disagreeing with.
  18. Well, sawyer says this in the OP's link: I read this to mean that yes, at fresh-baby-Level 1, you won't be able to distinguish between a Monk and a Mage. The Differences will obviously become apparent as you advance and take the class specific talents and skills. Note: before I get slammed. I'm not at all criticising any part of the system, which IMO seems to be going in a really cool direction. I'm just seeking some clarity. Some specifics. I think you're actually misinterpreting that quote. I believe Josh is talking about the process of developing the classes, not how character progression works while playing the game. He's saying (I think, obviously I can't speak for him) that because the game mechanics are highly unified and they don't have a lot of arbitrary limitations on equipment, etc. that when they start developing classes, they feel very similar to each other, but then they "push them apart" by introducing class specific mechanics and abilities, until the classes feel different enough. Examples of these might be the Fighter's higher limit on how many enemies they can engage, and the Barbarian's ability that gives them a better Stamina / Health damage ratio. Both of these, I believe are in effect at level 1, so even at the start the classes should feel very different.
  19. That actually sounds like a great idea. It buffs up Strength a bit (and you can tune the degree to which Strength mitigates encumbrance, so it can be easily balanced), which otherwise seems a bit lacking, and it makes Strength especially relevant to heavy-armour builds, which feels very natural.
  20. Hey Josh, thanks for all the help in this thread so far. I was wondering, are there were any guidelines you could provide as to how to name NPCs appropriately, given their race and background? I know you've done a fair amount of work on the languages in the world, but I've had a tough time tracking down all of the relevant things you've said in public. I was also hoping the text length limit on the "Backstory" box could be expanded. While I understand needing to control the time required to vet all of the submissions, 500 characters seems very restrictive.
  21. I'm finding that I definitely need more space for the backstory. I'm trying not to be long winded, but it's hard to write much of anything in fewer than a hundred words.
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