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Everything posted by jethro

  1. Let us remember that buffing as a game mechanic isn't all that desireable. In small doses and as a limited option to use before fights you anticipate as difficult it is okay. But in many RPGs it either became a ritual before every fight or was ignored completely because it was so repetitious. Granted there are ways to make the concept slightly interesting by providing buffs that help only against specific enemies and you have to think ahead what monster is likely around the corner. But for example a stamina-buff is never specific and just a bad method to keep the player occupied without giving him something fun to do. In general it is hard to make buffing fun. Do we agree on this? Now we are talking about ideas to make food interesting by (amongst other things) giving us small buffs. In other words, bending a basically uninteresting daily task into something interesting by adding buffs which are tending to make a game less fun on average. That is not the right direction in my opinion. Other tangents to make cooking interesting may be ingredients-gathering or finding/creating recipes. If you are getting a deja-vu, you are right. We usually already have potion-making/herbalism and crafting in games to fill these niches aka to employ these mechanisms. So cooking would be somewhat redundant and only interesting if potion-making or crafting were very limited or had somehow fundamentally different mechanisms. If you see some other way to make cooking interesting, fine. But the buff-road is the road to hell paved with good intentions. (Did that sound dramatic enough? Good ;-)
  2. What has that to do with AD&D? That there is more xp available than necessary is because some people play fewer side quests but still need enough xp to finish the game.
  3. In a kill-xp game this would translate to always have to kill the rats in the cellar to get some xp. Wouldn't it be nice in further playthroughs to just let the street urchin into the cellar because he likes to roast them on a fire and get the xp anyway ;-). Or to just convince whoever gave you the task that you did it. No, the xp system is implemented because this RPG will have multiple solutions to any quest, usually one of them will involve killing anything that moves and others will be done by stealth or diplomacy or trickery. To have all the solutions be equal for the player is virtually impossible if kills give xp but quite easy if you just have objectives and give xp for that.
  4. Probably there is a class that will be good at using a gun Also I don't see that 3/3 rule of yours as some sort of balance or optimum for a game. If this game puts much of its tactical intelligence/difficulty into how you position your party then ranged combat gets in the way because it is relatively position-independent.
  5. Going down to 4 classes and losing alot of additional content and the megadungeon? That just goes to show that people have different opinions. I'm much happier with the extra classes and game content. My bad, ambiguous statement. "but I would have traded this for (almost?) anyone of the stretch goals we got." I didn't look them up to make sure that there wasn't one I would value higher, but I can't think of a single one I wouldn't trade for the better map
  6. If every class has to whup ass in combat equally to every other class, why have different classes at all? Sure, there are different damage types, but to really have *tactical* combat you need a little more difference between the classes. If you can't identify with someone not having the most damage output, your choices are limited anyway. You also hopefully know that a leader, heroic or not, is there to lead and direct his comrades, not to hammer on some enemy/enemies and ignore the rest of his troope (except in chinese heroic movies, where the generals do just this).
  7. All that AGX-17 is saying is that inaccessible locations can be created in FO style maps too (see Arcanum for examples). You can prevent access to places and portions of the map through impassable mountains or rivers, through locations that only can be found after some event, through simply putting impassable walls/stone heaps/doors in your way. Yes, this is more effort, with balancing as well as with providing appropriate NPC reactions before some event happens. But it also opens the world up tremendously. I can accept that Obs thought it was outside the budget (with all the other things planned), but I would have traded this for most of the stretch goals we got.
  8. You have to pay for the stronghold too. And probably pay through the nose. So why would it make sense to give bonuses to inns and campfires? Since you keep a bonus until you rest again your idea would mean that you always have some bonus on. Which wouldn't be a bonus, just the normal state.
  9. I think most RPGs don't drop everything an enemy should logically have on him. So archers might have some arrows but no bow, except for maybe one or two. Fighters usually didn't drop their (mediocre) sword, neither did they release to you all the armour they surely had on them. It may not be ultra-realistic, but it keeps money low and avoids packratitis. @Sabotin: Good point. But with randomness of enemies there are a lot of solutions possible. There is not just 1) all 10 enemies have completely random weapons and 2) all 10 enemies are swordsmen There is for example: 3) All 10 enemies either are swordsmen, archers or pikemen 4) Enemies are *predominantely* either swordsmen, archers or pikemen. This might lead to a party of 7 swordsmen but 2 archers and one pikeman.
  10. I'm guessing you are talking about a future PE2, not the expansion. To see at least some of the same areas (especially towns probably) a few years, decades or even centuries later would be a fantastic idea. This is not just a gimick because it makes the player connect much more to the history of the country. The only problem is if PE has wildly different endings it could make it difficult presenting a unified future for all the diverging histories. Naturally that depends on the impact the player has on the environment. But if for example he can decide if the king dies or is overthrown that should change history books in PE2.
  11. Dangerous. The problem with rapiers is they can be transfered. So someone else crafts that uber-weapon, but the fighter with THACO+9 gets the rapier. This might unbalance the game even if that other party member is slighty weaker for it. Because of this and other reasons I really like the ideas of either making crafting not depend on skill points or having crafting not the same things you can buy or find.
  12. No, not sports. That is muscle memory. That is training your reflexes, automatizing reactions. That was what I was driving at. There are skills like that and there are other skills. I have learned tennis, piano and computer programming and the first two are totally about doing the same things over and over to train your reflexes. The third is knowledge based and totally different. Sure, you train that too to some extent, but mostly it is defined by your talent, memory and lets call it symbolic intelligence. Many people couldn't master it irrespective of how much time they would invest, some understand it without much effort. I'm just saying that in my opinion blacksmithing was very much a skill defined by secret knowledge and not at all comparable to sports or martial arts. For me a PC in an RPG is, when he maxed out his blacksmithing, not able to forge like the best blacksmiths in the world. But you don't need to make the best damascus sword if the rest of the world has to forge mostly with lesser steel or even iron. You still will find better legendary items from masters long gone in caves or in the hands of your arch nemesis, swords that are more deadly as well as products of art. But for your blacksmithing skill you have talked to numerous blacksmiths, some of them masters of their art. And for some reason (you being in the guild for example AND saved their home town) they told you their secrets and trained you. Now your technique may not be the best, but through your travels you found many tricks and new materials and could combine some of that, making your weapons rivals in effectiveness to the works of other blacksmiths. Your weapons don't work as adornment for a nobleman, but in a fight they are the equivalent of masterwork weapons. Absolutely true. The PC should never be able to make better or even comparable weapons to the best found in the world. He also shouldn't be able to make anything. The thing is, if there is a blacksmithing skill and you have to put experience points into it, then yes, your PC must be the one to do the smithing. That's at the core of the system we accepted when playing RPGs. If blacksmithing is instead not a skill but just you buying and collecting knowledge fragments from all over the world which you bring to the blacksmith you hired for a lot of gold? Well, then that is excellent because I can think of better skills than blacksmithing an adventurer would be interested in.
  13. What really made someone master blacksmith? I have as much idea as anyone here but I doubt that it was something that needed thousands of hours of training. I guess that blacksmithing consisted of mostly secret methods that were handed down by father to son or by guilds to their members (guilds did mainly exist just to control the practice of a craft). Now if some boy got apprenticeship with a blacksmith it didn't mean that he now was practicing the skill at the forge for hours and hours. No, he was the cheap labor who had to keep the forge heated, bring water and coals... After a few years he got better and more important tasks, but it doesn't necessarily mean that they were complicated or an art form. He would also naturally learn by watching the master, but again it doesn't mean it was complicated stuff, it was just trade secrets that a blacksmith just wouldn't tell you even if you asked nicely. Is there any indication that that could be true? Well, at a certain time weapons made out of damascus steel had a nearly legendary reputation. Naturally even damascus swords came in different qualities, but obviously it was the manufacturing process that made those weapons legendary, not the individual blacksmith. Another example: The norici were a celtic tribe that delivered their steel to the roman empire and were an important factor to the military successes of the empire. It surely wasn't a tribe of exceptional artists, it was mainly their secret knowledge that kept them in bussiness. Roman blacksmiths surely put in 10k hours as well to be metallurgy master, but still they couldn't compete with that tribe. I don't dispute that there also were some things you would learn by doing, like knowing the correct timing which is difficult to describe in a book. Or that there is an art in creating weapons that also look good. But just assuming you find someone or some book that gives you all the knowledge you need, I would not be surprised if you could master blacksmithing with a lot less effort at honing your motor skills. And if the correct timing is in question you could always make ten swords with different timing and keep the best. It also might not look like the finest sword but its damage will rival one if you just have the right steel. "5 minutes at a forge here and there" completely ignores the fact that there is a lot of time between adventuring that isn't used for adventuring. How else could the thief master thiefing, lock picking and trap disarm? This downtime is never simulated in RPGs but it's there. Speaking with nobles for example needs you to know and train etiquette, making small talk is not a skill you can train with the dwarfen fighter at the camp fire. And to learn healing might be possible in a war with enough "raw material" that dies if you do something wrong, but if you don't want your team members to change every week you better learn the trade while making stop-overs in towns with healers available. Yes, this is the crafting horror story. The Thaumcraft method might be a way out by bringing some decisions into the collecting of raw materials. But I would guess those decisions are still not that interesting when crafting is just used to make the few weapons that you didn't find somewhere else, only if it is used to generate consumables like arrows or potions it could be a noticable improvement (because you have much more to craft resource management becomes important). I still hope for some more mystery and experimentation to occur when crafting stuff.
  14. Getting what you want is not always good. After equiping all the armor and weapons in pile 2 you encounter 10 more piles, all with stuff weaker than pile2. Instead of being happy at finding stuff you just feel bored.
  15. Common sense should tell you that you don't need 10k hours to master cutting leather. And just by dividing blacksmithing into subskills you multiplied the hours needed to master it. If I put blacksmithing and some other skills together and create the artisanry or handicraft skill (which would take 10k to master), obviously blacksmith is only part of it and we are talking about 2k hours to master blacksmith. It's the same fallacy just the other way round But lets get back at cutting leather. Lets say those 10k are really true for everything. If you put in those 10k to be master leather cutter, you probably won't make better leather straps than someone who practiced only 5k hours. You might be a few milliseconds or seconds faster. That still counts for something if all you do is leather cutting all day long. But if you want to create a sword, those seconds you saved while cutting the leather straps will not make this sword any better at cutting people.
  16. WW2? I assume you mean Witcher 2 and there is no happy ending in that game. Just degrees of ****ing up the world, with any happiness being derived from the player's own interpretation. No, I really meant World War 2. Even in reality there exist happy ends. Sure, it also was the beginning of the cold war and not "all is well and they lived happily ever after". Nobody wants cheesy unbelievable fairy tales. But the player has to get the feeling he achieved something. For himself (as in Torment) and/or for some part of the world (many other RPGs). That's life. You can only do so much to make people happy. Hard choices should be the only kind of choices available for large quests that change the world. Inevitably, someone will suffer as a result of your actions. Obsidian captured it quite well with Fallout: New Vegas. You can orchestrate events to create a least horrible scenario, but there is no way to save everyone or make them happy. I'm not speaking about extremes (as in save everyone). If for example a war is on the horizon and you set out to prevent it and achieve only to shorten the war by a few years because you helped one of two equally despicable sides to win fast and eradicate the other side together with the innocent population, THAT is not what I would consider a satisfying ending. If instead all you wanted to do was rescue your small sister it could still be a satisfying end even if meanwhile and after a lot of bad stuff happened. But at least in a game you should have the sense of having achieved something that is not just the choice between two evils. You say "but the end of the war was good". See, that is a happy ending. It says nothing about the beginning or the middle where lots of bad stuff can happen.
  17. "mass gained matches the velocity of the original object"? You can't compare mass with velocity. But granted, even if the velocity drops you might get to apply the advantage of the sling (which produces a higher momentum than a simple throw with your arm because of higher velocity). Permanent magic effects are probably the best source of paradoxes you can find in magic systems. Because you get the magic effect for free. True, this seems to indicate that momentum is not conserved. Or ... Magic ;-). You forgot that shrinking the ballista is part of a load/fire cycle. Now your ballista does some more damage per minute but wastes a lot of mage spells that could be used to deal damage directly. Because magic breaks laws of physics you have hundreds of paradoxes for free. A grounding in reality doesn't help, you left it already. The only solution is constraining what you can do with magic. A game master in PnP sessions does this automatically, he either accepts an idea or he just says no. If you don't constrain, then magic becomes unbalanced as can be seen in Oblivion (or Skyrim?) where combination of spell effects simply leads to overpowered spells. But as long as people have fun with being overpowered it works for bethesda ). But cRPGs are never really completely free form, most paradoxes are simply avoided by the limits of the program.
  18. IWD, in your own words had the best gameplay. Torment stands for the importance of story and alternate solutions. BG2 is somewhere in the middle. If we want to assess the importance of features it makes sense to compare the popularity of those games among the backers. Or ask for the features themselves, see the poll about gameplay versus story: http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/61810-gameplay-or-story/?mode=show If you just disregard any statistics I can come up with without bringing your own, well, end of discussion. Political voter polls are done with a far smaller percentage of the populace, to not even acknowledge a trend is childish. If most people are not of your opinion, they always look like the loudest gang.
  19. A poll can be representative even if you ask only a part of the people. Even the loudest people have only one vote in a poll. Now just some polls to show what people on this forum think (and I give you my word these were the only ones I found, I didn't dump any that showed contrary evidence): First a poll to show that people on this forum have played all the ID games somewhat equally: http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/60755-which-infinity-engine-games-did-you-play/?mode=show Now the polls about preference: http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/61718-favorite-game-and-which-game-do-you-hope-project-eternity-is-most-like/?mode=show http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/61810-gameplay-or-story/?mode=show Now a poll about what brought the backers to PE. It is a bit representative of what money Obsidian would have lost if they didn't court the corresponding people: http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/60125-which-game-hook-brought-you-to-project-eternity-and-interests-you-the-most/ Now polls can mislead, if the question is leading, if only an unrepresentative cross-section of relevant people can vote or is incentiviced to vote or too few are asked. None of these seem to apply, at least not that totally wrong results would come of it. If you still believe that among backers IWD fans are as numerous as Torments (the only relevant demographic in this discussion), I don't know what to say, except bring some evidence, any, even one link please.
  20. Yes, but do you remember it because you got lots of xp or because it was a legendary fight? And I don't contest that finger of death may be great luck. There is still the question what xp to give the player if he had that luck? No. Would you argue that your victory tasted bitter at that time because you thought of all the other players that got the same xp for just using the scroll? Which you normally shouldn't even have known about? Look at the statistics that were posted, IWD (which had the focus on combat) was far behind BG and Torment when the backers were asked about their preferences. And BG also had multiple ways to solve quests. Obsidian tries hard to be please everyone with PE, and everyone will have to accept that it will not be exactly what he wants. If Saywers RPG system works and PE is as good as we hope, you should have epic tactical hard fights but you will have to accept that others could solve some fights differently, probably even with just one dialog option, and get the same xp for it. That's the compromise. Torment-fans will have to accept that the story won't be weird with philosophical undertones in texts of epic lengths in a strange world but a rather conventional fantasy story. Without that compromise PE would have to be built with a lot less money.
  21. Ok, we are in the same dimension ;-). But I think this "difficulty-xp" (lets call it that for the moment) has a few problems: 1) A technical problem: If we assume different ways to solve the problem AND fighting isn't always the most difficult way then we still need objective xp (to award more xp to that solution instead of the kill) but the program has to evaluate exactly how you achieved the goal (this is not always easy) and each solution has to be judged concerning the difficulty level (just lots more work for the devs). 2) What constitutes difficulty is a very subjective thing. An example: One solution might need you to select the correct one out of 4 dialog options. The correct one might be to appeal to his family honor instead of to his own honor, his love for his country, or to his friendship. The only hint is a painting showing his family over the chimney where other people of his wealth would put an expensive art painting. Now how difficult is noticing this compared to killing Firkraag? After all, it still is only one simply dialog choice and you could hit it by chance in 25% of all cases. But it is something I would expect Sherlock Holmes to notice but not the average gamer. Maybe 1 out of 100 might connect the dots. To kill Firkraag, if I believe Eleronds finger of death story, the change is more like 66% on each try. What is if your finger of death succeeds and you kill Firkraag with this one spell, lucky as it may be? Should the game reduce your xp because you had it easy in that fight? If not, why should the other player who needed much more than one spell to convice that dwarf now get less xp than you? Maybe Firkraag wasn't so difficult but you just didn't find the right way to fight him. So you needed 15 minutes real time and all your resources and you kill him with your last fighter at 5 health. Should the program reward you for that? Surely not, you could have cast X and done Y and the fight would have been much easier. So how should the designer judge this fight of yours? 4) Are we judging the player or the player character(s)? Normally I would say the PCs, because they get the xp for what they are doing, not the player. And for example persuading a dwarf is (while the player just selects the persuasion option) in-game a long discussion where the PC doing the talking is carefully flirting around the subject and hinting at possibilities. That lockpick check on the safe the player starts with one keystroke is in-game 5 minutes of hard work for which the character had to train hundreds of hours. Lets not even talk about a stealth solution. So if we judge the character you would be surprised how often killing would be the easy way out for your party of trained killers. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to be more of the opinion that we have to judge the player instead. But most fights are trivial. Attack the healers first, then mages, keep your clothies out of range of the enemy, 90% of fights could be done by 15 year old kids. Finding that picture from the example above and making the correct deduction? Not a chance in a million for a 15 year old. Now, do you like to be judged in your gaming? Maybe the designers thought fighting that dragon is easy and the deduction 10 times as difficult. You feel so proud killing that dragon, but sorry, player, the designers tell you, you took the easy way out. Think about it, should the game designer judge you? Especially if he has different ideas about what constitutes difficulty? Is this an exam or a game? 5) The meta-gaming conundrum: Lets assume you as the player don't want to loose out on a lot of xp. How do you know which solution gets you enough xp? You find the dwarf, he offers to collapse the cave. Did you do enough to satisfy the game designers? "Oh no, it seemed easy. Too easy. Maybe I should sneak in and out of the cave a few times before letting the dwarf do his deed. That enough? Oh, crap, lets play it safe and kill that dragon". Maybe the designers thought the dwarf quest was the difficult one. You'll never find out. 6) Lets assume fighting is really the most difficult way. Everything else is just multiple-choice easy crap. And since we have difficulty-xp only the fighter gets maximum xp, someone going for diplomatic solutions would get a fraction of that (a situation not too different from many existing RPGs). Now how to balance this? If we balance for the fighter path the diplomatic path becomes impossible because soon the diplomat is way behind the fighter in xp. If we balance for the diplomat or something inbetween, the fighter will soon feel underwhelmed because his fights get too easy. This is it. If you want difficulty-xp and you think fighting is the most difficult thing, forget multiple solutions. The game designer can't balance that. So either forget difficulty-xp or forget multiple solutions. Or do level-scaling of monsters AND other solution difficulties. But really, nobody wants level-scaling.
  22. But then no one would see the point in reloading the game an x amount of time in order to figure out how to finish a very hard battle, if they can just click through some dialog and end up with the same result, that is just poor game design. Assume you are playing PE. You want combat so you will set difficulty high and put your xp into combat skills. Now, even if you knew there was a way to kill Firkraag by dwarf you never would be able to persuade him with your abominable social skills and you never could execute the thiefing quest the dwarf expects you to do as pre-payment. So YOU only have one option, kill Firkraag yourself. Your only solution is to try and die until you succeed, as you wished. Note that Firkraag exists in a game that has kill xp. In an objective xp game avoiding Firkraag completely should not give you XP as well. Only if you deal with Firkraag (ANY way you can) would you get xp for the objective "Deal with Firkraag". Dark Souls is a hack&slash, there is nothing except combat, there are no alternative ways of dealing with enemies, it's a simple combat simulator. Many people would say DS isn't even an RPG because there is no role-play at all (since I only read about DS and not play it I hope I don't misjudge it here), the only RPGish thing seems to be the xp system. There is no need to do an objective based xp system in DS because you don't have different methods to reach an objective. Even if there was an objective based system, you wouldn't even notice because the next objective is always to kill the next enemy!
  23. So you think that a cannon ball would keep his speed after leaving the sling of holding and so do much more damage than a simple sling ? Wouldn't it be more likely that as soon as the ball regains it's normal weight, its speed would drop dramatically because of momentum conservation. Because speed = momentum / mass. Higher mass, lower speed. Or better said the same speed as if the sling of holding were a simple sling.
  24. What a plan! Every adventurer, every RPG player would be proud to have executed such a clever plan (I assume it wasn't easy to find out the cave could be collapsed and finding a suitable dwarf. A well made RPG will not make one solution trivial when the other is difficult). Do I really understand you correctly that for you it isn't anything more than the whimpy solution? <...incredulous silence...> If yes, we live in different dimensions
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