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Posts posted by jethro

  1. That said, there are only a handful of quests in the game where your only options are either "pass a stat check" or "murder everyone." In fact, I can only really think of two that are like that--one is the previously mentioned lighthouse ghost, and the stat check is quite reasonable; the other is a very lategame quest where you either pass a Res 20 check or get in a huge fight (and frankly, for what you're attempting to do, you deserve it). There are multiple conversations in the game where you can achieve a peaceful result simply by choosing non-stat-linked dialog carefully. Two endgame enemies can be dealt with peacefully in this fashion!

    I assume you are not talking just about the main quest line, the "handful" is about ALL quests in the game, right?

  2. That being said, there are also a few cases where Mechanics are needed in conversations... as I mentioned earlier, unless you specifically configure your main for it, you'll probably not have access to some conversation lines in any case. I don't see that as a bad thing as quests can be finished in more than one way.

    Quests can be finished in more than one way, sure, but can they still be finished in more than one way if you don't succeed at that resolve check? Or is a fight the only solution then?


    I would also argue that if you're playing a Rogue main, you DO want to see some battles. Why else play a dps character lol tongue.png 'sides the loot is good. That's how I see the class anyway, as a swashbuckler/assassin type first and a smooth talking spy a rather distant second. Refer to the wiki if you don't think that's a realistic picture for a Rogue.

    With that argument a mage would also want to see battles, he's DPS as well. And remember that someone else in this thread suggested a tank if you want to play a diplomat. Does a tank sound like a peaceful negotiator to you?


    If I remember correctly, Obsidian wanted to separate social skills and battle skills so that you can seek diplomatic solutions irrespective of the class you play. This seems to have failed at least for the rogue.


    On quests needing Resolve well not all quests are like that. A good number actually test Per or Int.

    It would be interesting to know percentages. If a lot more quests need Resolve than Per or Int, it is likely that Obsidian just didn't notice the imbalance. Still, I think a special "diplomacy" skill (and a random element in the skill check) would have been the better solution to the meta-game of making a PC that suits ones play style.

  3. Hah, I discussed all your points with my disillusioned friend today and "we" scored some points against his opinions. What I could not counter was that, as he wanted to play a rogue AND solve quests through dialog, he practically was screwed from the beginning. He is at a point now where he can't open many locks anymore because he didn't put ALL points into mechanics but can't solve the quests through dialog because his knowledge and lore skills are not high enough. And obviously, if you play a rogue, it would make no sense to let someone else do all the defusing and box-opening, that is why you play a rogue and this is still a *role-playing* game, right?


    Is it apparent (in the documentation) that lore and knowledge must be high for that or not? Combined with the need that only few classes are really good at social play (which is a very common play style) and players tend to have prefered classes makes this something Obsidian should definitely tweak.


    When we talked about all the attribute- and resolve-checks, he said that the problem is that the only resolution open to you if you fail these checks is by fighting your way through. I.e. you can't solve most quests socially unless you have high attributes and resolve. Your only option then is to fight. Sure, you don't really fail the quest, but there is no relevant choice anymore.


    Ok, I'm sure he exaggerated a bit, when he said "ALL" quests are that way ;-), but is his impression somewhat correct? Sure, in pen and paper games social resolutons involve skill checks too but there you know from the beginning which skills the social character needs and it's not a fixed limit but (almost?) always a check with a dice role involved. In Pillars there is no chance involved and the description of resolve for example doesn't really give you the meta-knowledge of its importance (ok, you could say it is there, but reading about perception and intellect gives me the impression those two would be much much more important): "Resolve reflects a character's internal drive, determination, fearlessness, and the emotional intensity they can project to others. It can be useful for mental intimidation, leadership, and convincing performances. In combat, it helps characters maintain Concentration and contributes to the Will and Deflection defenses".



    Any comments? Your previous contributions give me the hope of further intelligent replies that I can throw back to my friend ;-).

  4. I'm still playing WL2, but a friend of mine already played a lot of PoE. First he liked it, but today he said he stopped playing for the moment because of some things that frustrated or irritated him. I would like to find out if he is right or did he overlook a few solutions?


    1) One frustrating thing seemed to be the vampires who had no problem charming his most strong-willed characters while the low-willed front line fighters seemed strangely more robust. His party is level 10 by the way. He did not see how he could win against 4 vampires when half his party is charmed (and in 70% of cases the magic user who could counter a charm was charmed although he should have the best charm protection). Is level 10 too low for vampires? Did he miss a tactic or some info about will saves ? Or is he just unlucky and the random number generator his nemesis?


    2) As soon as someone in his party is charmed the others tend to attack him. Ok, he is an enemy at that moment, but obviously it would be more sensible to just try to avoid him until the spell wears off, if possible. But it seems the automatic companion-AI often does too much. The same happens when you place a fireball or other AoE spell and one of your companions thinks this is the right time to wander into the area of effect. In NWN2 at least I could turn of the AI of companions in a few steps from heavy AI-controlled to practically zero AI, i.e. complete player control. Is that missing in PoE?


    3) There are a lot of conversation checks that check for your main PC to have a skill (for example a high lore skill). But it doesn't help at all if the companions have the skill, only the main PC. As your main PC can't have everything, does that mean that you are expected to miss out on (say) 80% of skill related conversation options?


    4) Attribute checks in conversations also seem so high that a character build of the PC that doesn't have one or two attributes maxed out (and the rest conversly at 10 or lower) makes it impossible to get any successful attribute checks in conversations. Is that true?


    Ok, I may misrepresent or misremember points, so don't be too harsh if some critisism is obviously wrong. But please correct any false impressions or tell me where he is right and where he is wrong.


  5. As soon as I started playing the game those two drawbacks were pestering me so much that I had to write this post.


    The first drawback probably isn't even the fault of obsidian but of steam or ubisoft. If the language of the subtitles is identical to the language spoken you can listen to the words and read it at the same time if you have problems following. If the languages are different, even though the subtitles are your mother language, you can either read or listen but not both. And the subtitles are not shown long enough that you can reread stuff you missed hearing.


    Menues are german too! Why? Anyone buying the game should already knows enough english as all the voices in the game are in english.


    Oh the irony: I didn't mind getting the german version even though it was cut (since I heard the language would still be the original english). And still I was hurt by the DRM.


    But the biggest gripe: QUICK TIME. Oh, how I hate games with quick-time events. And it would have been so easy: Why couldn't you put an option into the game to just turn off that stuff? I know, there seem to be a lot of people who like the combat in SoT as it is. But if you read some forums, there are a lot of people who hate quick-time, and with a simple option you could have served both.


    I play SoT on easy. I saviour the humor and the story and try to ignore the combat as much as possible.


  6. Lots of games on steam are, with the help of steam, changed so that they offer social features, automatic updates, anti-cheat, DRM, statistic functions and achievements. Some of that list is possible without changing the code, most is surely not (at least if implemented to full extent). Example DRM, the usual DRM doesn't allow the game to run without steam running, that clearly needs changes in the code if circumvention needs to be hard. Achievements are the best example as it needs clearly modifications and also adds a highly visible "feature" to the games.


    Now granted, valve aka steam is clearly best described as a distributor, but they also take on tasks a publisher would do, especially for their own games, even when they outsource any physical publishing/distribution completely to some other publisher/distributor. (I don't differentiate between valve and steam because 90% of valve is steam. I even had to lookup "valve" again because I forgot the name)


    Especially in an industry that is changing (because of digitial distribution as well as kickstarter/indenpendent games) it isn't easy to stick to rigid definitions. Those definitions are changing too. 5 years ago it might have been possible to define a publisher as the one holding the rights to a game and paying the billls. Now with kickstarter the hope (of companies like obsidian and inxile) is that the game creator is the one holding the money and especially the rights and the publisher is only a hired gun doing marketing and distribution. With indy games this already was mostly the case but only nowadays with digital distribution do indy games also have a chance to get a decent amount of money out of it to fund bigger games.


    The other thing is, they already made deals with two publishers without anyone taking notice at all: steam and gog. Why build up an in-house publisher when publishing is already partly outsourced, and incidentally the easier part?


    Steam and GoG are platforms. That's like saying Nintendo is publishing Arkham City because it is on the Wii U.



    The PC is the platform, Steam and GoG are definitely distributors though probably seldom complete publishers. But since gog patches the old games to let them run on newer operating systems I would say it definitely does more than distribution. "publisher" is a really strechable concept, you'll have a hard time showing that steam and gog don't publish games.


    1) They set aside half the budget for the documentary. That money had no relation to them running out of money. Mismanagement of those remaining funds was the issue there.



    Ah, didn't know that. On the other hand, I'm not sure people would have pledged that amount of money for PoE if half of that went into a documentary (I wouldn't have) .


    DF has some really funny guys, so watching them for a few hours might be something special. I can't imagine the same for PoE, not on that scale.

  9. I don't care about exact percentages, and it certainly makes sense that you can't reveal them because of dealings with other companies. I am curious about whether it's a deal that Obsidian views as better even in the long run (as in you've estimated that the expense and potential lost sales of complete self-publishing outweigh the benefits) or if it's more of a short term vs long term tradeoff?


    Well, lets look at the benefits of self-publishing. They would have built a publishing sub-company (and not a small one as PoE is not a tiny independent game) that they could use ... for the next expansion.


    But until then it and its workers would build up expenses and most of the time not do anything. Because Obsidian still does jobs for publishers and those jobs won't go to the in-house publisher. And even if they did, they don't have enough games pipelines anyway to utilize a publisher fully. So the in-house publisher would have to look for external projects to publish or its efficiency would be devastating.


    The alternative would be to close or shrink the in-house publisher as soon as the work is done. But then all the start-up money invested in this publisher (management hours, computers, training, furniture) would have to be carried by PoE and I'll guarantee you that can't be cheaper than outsourcing it.


    The other thing is, they already made deals with two publishers without anyone taking notice at all: steam and gog. Why build up an in-house publisher when publishing is already partly outsourced, and incidentally the easier part?

    • Like 1
  10. Theoretically* I agree that individuals should level based on their own acts and accomplishments. However, and this is a big however, wouldn't flat leveling (where everybody levels at the same time) be far more preferable in terms of gameplay?


    You are ignoring a third possibility: That individuals are not leved based on their own acts but still don't level at the same time. For example this would be the case if all your toons get equal xp but they start from a different level or they gain a level at different xp values.

  11. Mor++, excellent improvements.


    I asked a friend (with more knowledge about castle architecture than me) how he would rate the stronghold. He said the castle walls are wrong, they look more like town walls or walls to a really big castle (which I assume couldn't vanish completely even if razzed, not with the wall still standing as if nothing had happened). He also said he doesn't mind that it is not accurate, this is a fantasy universe ;-)


    He also said that lower nobility could and did erect castles as well, for example if they had the luck of profiting from a trade route or natural resources. He also did rate Castle Oesterode as a small castle, but as too big to just give to some low level adventurers.

    • Like 1
  12. To elaborate on this, our screenshot isn't the first as part one seems to indicate its elements have been there, together, and only fallen into ruin.

    I'm not contesting that they fell in disuse together. The question is whether they were built together. And I fail to see how you can determine that from the picture. Most castles and country estates are conglomerates of parts built in different centuries. Quote wikipedia about Castle Heidelberg: "The earliest castle structure was built before AD 1214 and later expanded into 2 castles circa 1294; however, in 1537, a lightning-bolt destroyed the upper castle. The present structures had been expanded by 1650, before damage by later wars and fires. In 1764, another lightning-bolt destroyed some rebuilt sections."


    To make it clear, the timeline of our stronghold could be this:


    castle built with walls ----> war,razzing, disuse ---> changed into a country house by a lower noble, walls repaired ------> disuse ---------------> now.



    But, okay, I'll stop here. I feel I'm splitting hairs here over something we actually seem to agree on: the stronghold should make sense ingame, right? And to that end what we've got is far from perfect so far.

    I would be perfectly fine with an ingame history that made sense. But not needing an explanation at all would be even better


    As for keeping it modest, I do agree with you in principle, but the castle I posted and Mor reposted? That is a pretty modest, standard, lower tier noble, medieval castle. For more examples, take ....



    Your example links point to castles, and to my knowledge castles were unbelievably expensive in medieval times. Kings or Dukes could build them, lower nobility surely not. A king could also give a small castle as a lease to someone deserving or to a knight to make some border safe.

    Now we are talking about a stronghold, a stronghold aka Festung could just be some buildings inside a fortification. See Festung Dömitz as an example:




    Burg Oesterode (your modest castle) is small compared to Castle Heidelberg for example. But the black and white seems to understate the size a bit. Look closer and you see that it is surprisingly large, especially compared to anything "not-castly" built in the 12th century. It was built by a king and kings lived in it. I'm no expert and I could be totally wrong, but that doesn't look like something a lower noble could have built.

    • Like 1
  13. Good points, Posbi, but it seems you didn't take time into account. The walls could be from a different time than the houses inside. There could have been a town outside and more buildings inside, but they could have been razzed in a war or burned by a fire. Someone else could have taken over an essentially abandoned place, a nobel with just enough money to build a country house (which by the way is only seen partly and could be a lot bigger) and enlist a few peasants for the growing of food.


    That the placement of the peasant huts and the amphitheatre seems so random is a valid point though. At least a noble would make sure that there is a clear path from the wall entrance to his front porch and not an obstacle littered maze of huts. And the amphitheatre directly behind the wall entrance is especially bad.


    The country house though looks very much like a french country house suitable for a lower class french noble (https://www.google.de/search?q=country+house+french&tbm=isch, though google delivers lots of faux french country houses in the US, it seems)


    You show pictures of a few castles, but what does that prove? Here some other pictures, of a very old irish fort, a rural french chateau and an english country house, to show some of the variety:





    Text beneath the english country house in wikipedia, very fitting to this discussion:

    "The English country house can be vast or comparatively small and of great or little architectural merit."


    If Obsidian produces a good backstory for their stronghold I would have no problem accepting the design. I wouldn't be sorry though if they changed it to something needing less explanation ;-).

    But I really hope they keep the modest design. I don't want to start as a low-level adventurer and be owner of a castle built for a baron or duke when I'm level 7. The picture Mor reposted is apparently of the old castle of Osterode ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alte_Burg_%28Osterode%29 ). It was continually in the possession of a few kings and later a few dukes. Overkill IMHO

  14. Ok, you  end up reloading a lot, but it is doable in Fallout.


    If that is true, then what is the problem? He obviously dies again and again. Reload-until-you-succeed is possible in most games and I say "Have fun" to anyone who does it that way. But it concerns me as much as a guy trying out scenes of the TV show Jackass. If you want to play Fallout as a story and have the impression you succeeded you better make logical choices.


    I'm not afraid of an extra descriptive sentence. Considering that most of the time the tag isn't even necessary (the bandit example). But ok, it is a matter of taste

    A) Because I said I was somehow frightened of an extra sentence. And

    B) Because whether or not something's necessary (by definition of the word) is a matter of taste, and something can't be both unnecessary AND a matter of taste.


    "afraid" is probably the wrong word to express my opinion that the additional sentence necessary to convey the knowledge of the character IS small (and by the way not at all unnecessary if it replaces a lie tag).


    "Matter of taste" was refering to the whole tag vs. sentence dilemma, not to the cases where it is unnecessary. I was actually agreeing with a statement you made.

  16. B) While I understand and respect your desires to have the information presented in a different, dare I say more immersive, style, it's still a highly unnecessary amount of extra text to convey what is essentially "Here is what your character knows to be true, and here is what you can say."

    I'm not afraid of an extra descriptive sentence. Considering that most of the time the tag isn't even necessary (the bandit example). But ok, it is a matter of taste


    Also, just for what it's worth, the other possibility for the usefulness of [lie] tags, on all lies, is the possibility of the system representing the psychological effects of lying on the person doing the lying. ... bluff check.

    Didn't someone say in this thread that there are no conversation skills and therefore no skill checks in PE? PE won't simulate any psychological problems with lying. Just saying, we don't need to repeat old arguments that aren't even relevant for PE.


    The discussion still hasn't brought up a good concept how the player can be told what his options are ...

    Actually, while your two high-int examples both are flawed (the first because the high-int answer shouldn't be automatically the answer you take, the second because a riddle answer should not tell you the solution and a failed riddle should not fail the game, i.e. lead to fights that you can't win), I just remembered a story told by the designer of Dishonored:


    They tried the game with a focus group and there was an entrance hall with steps leading up to the second floor. On the steps was a guard telling the player "you cannot pass". Many of the focus group did take that as a "law of the game" and didn't even try to get up the stairs although there were lots of ways to do it. This would indicate that for main stream appeal maybe a hint like a lie tag may be necessary.


    But on the other hand is it really necessary that even the most brain-challenged guy finds every possible way to solve a quest? So someone didn't get that he could join the bandits as a ruse. He probably refuses instead and has a nice combat instead. This doesn't mean he can't complete the game.

  17. Example:


    Because of Knowledge: Nature, your character can say "There are berries that grow in this area that can treat your condition. They are blue, with triangle-shaped leaves," OR "There are berries that grow in this area that can treat your condition. They are yellow, and grow in squarish clumps." How do you, the character, know which is false? Your character already knows; that's what Knowledge: Nature already represents... his inherent knowledge of such things. It's not some clever puzzle to figure out. Just something he knows. So, why shouldn't the game just say "[lie]" on the option that isn't true? Now, you know what he applicably knows about Nature in this scenario (that there are berries that can treat that person's condition, and that they grow nearby, and what they look like), AND you know that the game's allowing you to lie about it. All from two brackets and three little letters.


    The first example where such a tag really makes sense (IMO). I would opt for a different method of telling the player though: Instead of the charring [Lie] there should be descriptive sentences included, "Knowing well that blue berries could help him, I say 'There are berries that can treat your condition. They are yellow'". Or before any of the answer options there is a line in italics "You suddenly remember that blue berries can treat his condition".


    That is if the designers already add descriptions into the dialogs aka "A blind beggar approaches you and fearfully warns you "The end is nigh". I remember they said they wanted to do this but I could be wrong and this was for  torment or some other project?


    By the way, the example could be changed so that the player knows that the berries are blue. One of the companions could whisper in his ear "The blue berries should heal him" or you can find a book about herbalism somewhere in this place (if you don't find it, well that's chance, like a skill check).

    • Like 2
  18. These situations can be very frustrating. So "Let me join you! [Lie]" as a second option that also alters your quest objectives accordingly is a good compromise.

    Your argument that [lie] is a hint by the game designers that they thought off everything (especially that you could be lying) is tempting. But on the other hand your insecurity comes from bad, sloppy RPGs. In a quality product (and lets assume that Obsidian is able to do that) this oversight would be a major bug. Almost impossible to overlook, this would have been eradicated in beta testing at the latest.


    So the other solution is just to assume that "Let me join you" has the same potential truth as "I will bring back the medallion of uberpower you lost in the dungeon and give it back to you for the awesome reward of 10 gold pieces" and "Tell us about your unholy rites and we will not harm you"

    • Like 1
  19. I read the formula x(n) is applied to the "NEXT_LVL_XP" column (i.e. x(n) = XP_BASE * CUR_LVL)  -- so the fighter progresses exactly as in D&D 3e rules ... whereas the rogue needs an additional 333 XP/ level, and the wizard needs an additional 666 XP/level.

    No, as I said n is the number of the level not some xp value. x(17) should have been 136000 in your system. The formula that does that is x(n) = (n-1)*n*500. Try it, x(1) is 0, x(2) is 1000 and x(17) is 136000.

    If you insert that into my formula, you get:


    x(n,p,c)= (n-1)*n*500 + p * 1/c * (n*(n+1)*500-(n-1)*n*500)


    or after simplification:


    x(n,p,c)= (n-1+2*p/c) * n * 500



    x= exp points you need in total

    n= level

    c= number of classes

    p= your class, from 0..(c-1)


    So a fighter at level 17 with 5 classes would need x(17,0,5)= (17-1+2*0/5)*17*500 = 136000 xp. Seems correct


    A rogue with p=1 would need x(17,1,5)= (17-1+2*1/5)*17*500 = 139400 xp , the mage x(17,2,5)= (17-1+2*2/5)*17*500 = 142800 xp.


    Our fifth and last class would have x(17,4,5)= 149600 xp.


    And the fighter at level 18 would need x(18,0,5)= (18-1+2*0/5)*18*500) = 153000 xp, *after* any other class reached level 17.



    Edit 2 -- actually, can you throw in a table with your proposed level progression  up to L20 (just for a fighter is fine) so that I can actually see what you're proposing rather than just guessing at it?

    The thing is, my function doesn't care what level progression is wanted. You just need to feed in the right formula for level calculation and it works. See above, I used the basic level progression you were interested in (i.e. the progression table in D&D 3e) and you should now see the correct values.

  20. It still falls apart after approximately ten levels (assuming I'm following your math properly)





    • BASE_XP = Base XP for the leveling system (e.g. 1,000)
    • LEVEL = Current Level (e.g. 1)
    • CLS_MOD = Class number (0,1,2,...)
    • TOTAL_CLASSES = Total number of classes


    Sorry, but you simply seem to have miscalculated your tables. I said x(n) is the xp you need to achieve level n. You substituted this with BASE_XP*LEVEL, fine.


    But then your fighter has CLS_MOD of 0, so his leveling scheme is exactly xp(LEVEL)= BASE_XP*LEVEL, which should produce the sequence 1000,2000,3000,4000. But in your table it is 0, 1000, 3000, 6000 ??? Could it be that you used a spreadsheet and forgot to adapt the function used ?



    So you're going back to AD&D (AKA 2nd edition) rules then, where all the classes had different XP requirements to level up. It got pretty drastic in BG -- something like a rogue could be L15 and a druid was L9 because of the different XP requirements; though this was probably more due to the XP differential growing pretty rapidly (500XP at L1 might be 5,000 XP by L5*)

    Once again - one of the major improvements over AD&D is to prevent such differences. Look at the following table build around jethro's idea:


    (Table removed for brevity)


    As You can see, Wizard, who levels the slowest, reached 2nd level way earlier than the fastest leveling Warrior got his 3rd. Assuming it is impossible to obtain more than 10% of current XP at once (no quest/encounter offers so high reward), different classes will never level up at the same time. You can also notice that differences in required XP among classes are negligible compared to the total amount necessary to level up.



    I was wrong in calling it "AD&D rules" -- I suppose "AD&D-esque" is a better comparison.  Your table is nice, but it doesn't go far enough.  The way that the math works is that after only a few more levels, the Wizard will start falling severely behind in the levels -- by FTR level 16 (120,000 XP) the wizard will be down two full levels, and it gets worse from there.


    Note the example used in the table assumed that the next level is always double xp from the previous, different from AD&D (and I see now Kaczor used a factor of 3 once, for whatever reason). Naturally if the level progression is slower, the class differences would grow slower as well to make sure that no class lags behind.


    If you want it in mathematical terms, if  x(n)  is the xp you need to reach level n and you have c classes to distribute, then class 0 would level at x(n), class 1 would level at x(n)+ 1/c * (x(n+1)-x(n)) , class 2 at  x(n)+ 2 * 1/c * (x(n+1)-x(n)) and class p at x(n)+ p * 1/c * (x(n+1)-x(n)). Because I numbered the classes from 0 to c-1 it is guaranteed that all classes level up to this level before the first class levels to the next. This formula works independent of which RPG system you use.

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