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Posts posted by Waywocket

  1. I confess myself completely lost regarding combat. I have only the dimmest idea of what status effects do, mere beetles are kicking my tail, and sometimes characters don't seem to even attack what I click on. And well, I could use some help. Even if it's just Arcanum's "Hey, a big strong half-ogre makes things easy" tip. I wouldn't say no to a proper tutorial like BG/BG2. Or even an easier difficulty mode. I don't want the game dumbed down. But as someone who has played the IE games but not P&P, I'm feeling overwhelmed.

    Do bear in mind that the beetles are probably the toughest encounter in the beta, so doing badly at that doesn't necessarily mean you'll do badly at everything else.

  2. Well, we already know that Obsidian agree that Per and Res are weaker than the other stats, so we can expect some tweaks there.


    It does seem like might is a bit too good, being the stat that almost everyone will want to stack (given that it's a high-combat game), but I don't think that such large changes are necessary. Perhaps, for example, it could work if might only had half of its effect on spell damage, and the other half moved to Res? Probably not I guess, but there must be some way to tweak it without a radical redesign.


    The thing you want to to avoid is 1) having might (or any other stat) useless for some characters, and 2) having the 'optimal' stat distribution being the same for everyone. Currently the system suffers from 2, but the suggestions I've seen for how to fix it suffer from 1.


    It's a tough problem, and I think it will need several iterations of tweaking and testing to get right.



    - health/stamina mechanic is just... Why? Why not just Health and keep and clean and simple?



    I thought the same when I started to play but it is actually quite good. Its basicaly a way to avoid the anoying "camping after each fight" problem BG had.


    As it stands, it seems the result is largely the opposite. In BG you could heal the most injured party member so that everyone ended up needing to rest at around the same time. I typically went until all my characters were complaining about fatigue, and often far longer, between rests. If anything the silly thing was the fact that you could easily go without resting for several days. Here you need to rest as soon as one member is low on health, so resting ends up being more frequent. That isn't per se a bad thing, but it doesn't combo well with the restrictions added to discourage resting.

  4. I notice that your first video also showcases the floating cape bug (http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/67564-bug-floating-cape-in-character-inventory-screen/): when you first look at the wizard's character sheet, he's not wearing a cape. When you remove his breastplate, a cape appears and remains in the same position for as long as you have the window open, even switching characters.

    • Like 1
  5. I don't think that trash mobs should be any easier as they currently are, because they barely offer any challenge in easy and normal difficulties, only most fool hardly run-ins can cause you lose party members and even possibility for that is quite low when you have equipped your party with somewhat better gear. Especially firearms charge annihilates most trash mobs in seconds.

    I think there's something a bit messed up here, because I seem to be finding encounters a lot easier after a while than at the beginning, and it's not because I'm playing more tactically. If anything I'm playing less tactically, and relying mostly on auto-attack; I also have bad weapons because of the item-disappearing bug, and yet enemies are going down so much faster that I'm wondering if some saving/loading bug is making my characters secretly more powerful. I know my main character's def, fort, ref, and will are all listed as over 4700, though that might be just a display bug, and the offensive stats look more sensible.


    XP for kills is classic old-school mechanic of all RPGs. 

    No XP for kill = this game has nothing to do with old-school RPGs and is worse that Dragon Age 2

    Way to hyperbole. 


    They never said they will make old game. They said they will try to recapture magic of old games, not their flaws or mechanics to the boot. It is 2014 after all. 


    Unless you want all of 2000s stuff and 640x480 resolution to go with it as well ?


    Fun fact: an unmodded BG2 can be played at 2048x1536 :p.





     I bought all BG games when they were released and i didnt waste a single second thinking "man those games give kill xp, I so gonna buy them"


    But you most likely wouldn't have bought them when they came out, if some text on its cover said: "No experience points will be rewarded for killing opponents, picking treasure chest locks and disarming traps. Only major quests count." 


    It's good that you mentioned locks and traps, as I felt this was a major improvement of BG2 over BG1, because I feel that characters should be rewarded for doing all the things they can do, rather than just some of them [to forestall the obvious strawman: no, I don't mean things like 'get up', 'have breakfast', but overcoming whatever challenges the game has]. I've always disliked that most CRPGs don't generally have any means to reward you fairly for sneaking around and avoiding things, because that can be hard to do mechanically, but I feel like the no-kill-XP thing is mostly just a way to avoid having to solve that hard problem.


    I'm not absolutely set on the idea that everything you kill should grant some XP reward, but I do feel that being repeatedly forced into encounters that don't have any reward to them is not very enjoyable, so encounters that aren't linked to any quest should offer something.

    • Like 2

    I am proposing following change in attributions. Strength instead of Might (Diablo3 team tried Might for months and eventually get rid of it ) and some changes what is affecting what.


    Strength: +2% melee damage bonus, +1% ranged damage bonus +1 Fortitude defense

    Dexterity: +1% melee damage bonus, +2% ranged damage bonus, +1 Reflex defense

    Constitution: +x % health/stamina bonus, +1 Fortitude defense

    Perception: +1 Accuracy, +4% Area of effect of all abilities

    Intelligence: +2% spell damage/power, , +1 Will defense

    Resolve: +1 concentration, +1 Will defense, +4% healing received, +4% abilities duration


    I like the perception and resolve bits of this.

  9. I also didn't really like those all-or-nothing save-or-die spells, but to be fair, resurrection was readily available in BG2 and the later stages of BG1, so it's not actually a total disaster if you don't have the counter to something and end up having to res one of your characters when you get back to town (or even cast it right there by the time you have access to the spells). Unless it was the PC of course; that did suck.

    • Like 2

    IE games xp system is a tried and tested failure.


    You may think that other systems could be better, and you may be right - it's certainly a valid opinion anyway. But that statement is completely, objectively, laughably, indefensibly ridiculous.


    Great. I cannot wait for you to effortlessly (because it is indefensible) prove me completely and laughably wrong. Objectively.


    It's clear you have no intention but posting inflammatory nonsense just to offend people, I probably shouldn't even bother feeding the troll (it should go without saying, I've added you to my ignore list), but I'd invite you to take a look lists like these:





    Or these, where you will then need to ignore the many games that are not RPGs:




    And count up the number of those games that award XP for killing creatures.

    Now, are you seriously trying to claim that all of those games are failures?

    • Like 1


    If you use stamina regeneration spells like I did in that example you last very long without needing to rest.


    That can't be. You're still bleeding off Health when getting hit. This tactic ought to whittle down your fighter's Health plenty quick. If it's not then something weird must be going on.



    Imo its more about priest spells beeing completly OP.


    No, they don't have any ability to regenerate health, or prevent health loss. The total amount of health damage you've taken, so far as I understand it anyway, is a fixed ratio of how much stamina damage you've taken, regardless of how much stamina has been regenerated.

    • Like 2

    The best I've come up with is still:

    • Make Dex give improved recovery time/action speed
    • Make Per govern Accuracy as Dex does now
    • Make Res give a chance at avoidance (convert enemy glances to misses and hits to glances on the low end, an inverse accuracy/evasion stat if you will)


    These seem reasonable.


    Are we all largely agreed that, right now, it feels like the first three stats are the combat stats, and the last three stats are the conversation stats?

    • Like 2
  13. I do sort-of agree that this is a bit too buggy to be released as a beta, even though that seems like a silly thing to say.


    The reason is that right now most of the threads reporting bugs and discussing (okay, arguing in many cases) mechanics are really all gated around a handful of major bugs that largely make those bug reports and discussions irrelevant, because the experience that people are talking about is too heavily influenced by those few bugs.


    There are large aspects of the game that are meaningfully testable as things stand, but right now most of the reports and discussion around them are getting lost in the flood of people going over the same few things again and again. I feel like this either means that somebody at Obsidian will have to spend days rifling through it all, or it will simply all be ignored until the incoming volume has reduced.


    Maybe it would have been like that regardless; I really don't know. I did get a very different feeling from the WL2 beta though, like it was really ready to fully test and make specific detailed bug reports, and that there was real value in doing so. I guess part of that came from their having a dedicated bug-tracker, whereas having just the normal forum feels like we're not actually beta-testing, but we've just been thrown a preview, like a child 'helping' with the housework.

  14. Even though the "no bad builds" policy of making all attributes equally important for all classes sounded somewhat good on paper, I think its execution has proved a failure.


    'No bad builds' has been a design goal of most RPGs, MMOs, and ARPGs for years, and thus far the only times it has been successful has been when the games are simplified to the point that there are no builds, or at least no meaningful differences between them, like the way classes work in WoW now.


    Diablo 3, in particular, had 'every build should be viable' as one of its principal design goals, and despite a team of hundreds (thousands? the credits went on for about 45 minutes), an unimaginably vast expenditure of money, and several years of playtesting and tweaking, it failed at that goal as completely as it is possible to fail.


    At this point, whenever a game designer says 'no bad builds', what I actually hear is 'I have unrealistic expectations'. It's always a good idea; it's never a good implementation.

    • Like 14



    It's not fun to throw some magic tin suit and a magic pig sticker +3 on my PC Paladin and cut him loose auto-attacking linebacker style while the wizards go to work with all their spells.

    That's your opinion, and if that's what you think I suggest you play with a different class that better suits your preferred play-style. That's a part of why the IE games were so great; they allowed a variety of different play styles.


    If you don't like the PoE style of classes and encounters then I suggest you play a different game that better suits your preferred play-style.


    For God's sake, why do people have to take it down to this level of trolling? For shame.

  16. My only problem with the game so far is the combat, I enjoyed the combat systems in PS:T, BG I & BGII and Icewind Dale 1 & 2. The combat in this game is far to different in my opinion, everything about it feels wrong. The stamina/health system isn't a good change in my opinion and the casting animations are almost non existent(maybe this will change because it is still beta). Although I generally play a less conflict based party, combat will always be a part of the game and I am really not happy with the way it is looking at the moment.

    Honestly I think right now it's too early to say. It feels to me like combat is simply too buggy to be meaningfully testable, because the experience is going to be so different once the bugs are fixed even without any changes to the mechanics themselves.


    We know that some of the more obvious bugs are already on Obsidian's radar - doubtless since before the beta was released - so I'm reasonably optimistic that we'll get a build within a few weeks that has greatly improved combat from which we can draw more useful conclusions about the combat mechanics.


    (I admit my immediate reaction upon my first combat encounter was basically 'Nope, nope, no. F*** this system', but that's a purely emotional response and I really don't think it's a fair one for a system that's at such an early phase of development)


    Sorry to say that, but this is nonsense. Most really difficult fights in the game (BG2) are nearly unbeatable by casters only due to very high Magic Resistance that Big Bad Guys have.

    You got it right there: magic resistance. For them to be difficult, they need to be resistant to magic. If wizards weren't specifically nerfed against them, there would be no difficulty.


    Listen, I'm really surprised to find someone trying to say that fighters are just as powerful as wizards in AD&D. Usually people make the argument about wizards only being able to kill so many people per day, so they keep fighters around so the mooks don't tire them out, but trying to straight up say the system gives them equivalent power levels is new. This has been a settled issue for a long time.


    He didn't say in AD&D in general; he said BG2. In BG2, warriors are the most powerful in terms of raw killing power. I say 'warriors', rather than 'fighters', because the best of the lot are probably rangers since they get to dual wield. In all of my playthroughs when I wasn't myself playing a ranger or some crazy multi-class like fighter/mage/thief, Minsc consistently had the most kills, the most XP earned, and the most powerful creatures slain - with the exception of the occasional short period of time after a boss fight if some caster got an exceptionally lucky finger of death through, or similar.


    If it's just a bunch of meaningless trash mobs, chuck a fireball at them and collect the loot, but if there's some crazy-hard boss monster, lich, or whatever: get somebody to cast haste on Minsc and he'll smash the flail of the ages into it's face for about 3 rounds until it's dead.


    To claim that melee characters were underpowered in BG compared to mages is entirely without merit.

    • Like 3
  18. So I said there are a couple of ways to go.


    First is assuming that Obsidian is strongly in favour of keeping the layout in-game the same as it currently is. In that case, the command buttons and the screen switching options should be swapped around, to create a grouping between the sections that are specific to this screen and those that aren't.

    Apparently there's going to be a solid background behind the portraits. I've made this quick ghetto mock-up with these points in mind:



    The highlighted section covers the screen-independent UI elements in this case. This section should then always be there, regardless of the screen you're viewing at the time. I believe this would then give an overall UI design fairly like IWD2, though I've never got around to playing so I could be wrong.


    In order for this to work, all of the other screens would need to be redesigned somewhat to take this into account. I've not made mock-ups for these as that could represent some fairly substantial design work. The inventory would be particularly problematic, as there would need to be some way to visually link the character portraits to that character's inventory, and there's no obvious way to do that with the portraits positioned as they are since having each inventory arranged vertically would look weird. This problem would go away if the game switched to a shared inventory, of course.


    The other option would be to change the layout of the in-game screen. Personally I'm not sold on having everything at the bottom anyway: it's always seemed odd to me that as the world moved to having wider, shorter screens, game UIs moved from having things at the sides to having things at the bottom, accentuating the letterboxing effect. I've always felt that it would make more sense to make use of that extra width by putting UI elements to the sides. Moving to the more traditional portraits-on-the-side layout would arguably make the game look more derivative, though in this case that's probably not such a bad thing as it might be in other games (and arguably having it all at the bottom is equally as derivative these days, just derivative of different games). The real win though is that it would be a lot easier to fit with the current design of all the other screens: the inventory already has that layout, and the others have room that they could easily use without major changes.


    Either way, I think there need to be more passes focussing on getting a more unified look and feel for the different screens as they stand, making buttons and backgrounds consistent, along with the sizing of various elements, and making the layouts as consistent as practical given the different kinds of content on each screen.


    So, thoughts anybody?


    (BTW I have more to say on some of the smaller sections like the presentation of individual popups and the like, but I've bored you enough for now.)

  19. Okay, for PoE I'm going to be using examples at 1280x720, as this seems to be the lowest resolution the game is intended to support (you can pick lower in the launcher, but important bits of the UI end up getting cropped).


    In-game layout:



    Again, I've highlighted the parts of the interface that are relevant only on this screen. Note that they aren't clustered, but are instead alternating between other elements.


    Now the map view:


    There are no elements in common - this could be a screenshot from a different game for all we know. at most, there are some minor stylistic similarities.


    Functionally, this is missing the ability to a) switch to other screens like the inventory or the options menu, and b) highlight individual characters.

    These features could be added easily enough, but how would that be presented?

    The most obvious answer would be to use the dead space on the left and right hand sides to fit in the extra UI elements, however if this were done, then those elements would have different positioning (and probably appearances, since the sizes would have to be tweaked) compared to the in-game screen. If, on the other hand, those elements appeared in exactly the same way as they do on the in-game screen, then they'd be out of place - partly due to the general layout of this page not being suitable, but partly because they were alternating between page-specific controls and this page doesn't have its own specific controls to fill that space.


    On to the inventory page:


    Fist, there are more obvious stylistic similarities between this and the map page (there are some minor issues like using a different icon for close, but that's not terribly important at this stage), which is obviously good for an overall consistent feel. There are still problems with this page though.


    I'll quickly point out that once again there's no way to get to the other screens from here. I imagine the keyboard shortcuts will be sorted out at some point, but the ability to do so using the visible UI as in IWD would be useful. I won't labour that point though, and I won't mention it again for other screens as the same issue applies: it should be possible to more directly from screen to screen without first closing the screen you're on.


    The much bigger issue on this page is that here the need to select characters is unavoidable - it would be useless without that - so they have been included here. The way part members are presented here is unique to this page: this is the only place where all party members are listed with their portraits vertically like this. This is understandable, as the portrait is linked to that character's section of the inventory so they need to be visually connected. Showing the portraits in the same way as they are currently shown in-game would not allow that connection without a radical redesign of the inventory page, and it would look pretty weird laid out that way.


    I know some people have been arguing in favour of a completely shared inventory. I don't have strong opinions on that idea one way or the other, but if it were the case then at least it would remove the need for the portraits to be visually linked to their section, allowing them to be shown at the bottom in the same way they are in-game - albeit with a fairly major redesign to the layout of this page.


    For IWD I skipped the character record screen since the layout is so consistent that it was unnecessary; here I think this page has problems that need to be addressed:


    (An aside: like the inventory screen, there are a number of minor problems with this like the fact that the background image is subtly different to the inventory, the buttons are not the same size, and the left-hand pane has a different background. All of these will be straightforward fixes I'm sure)


    With this page it's also important to be able to switch characters, though possibly somewhat less so than in the inventory. This page however has an entirely different method of doing so again: arrows that you have to press to cycle between them. It's important to avoid having one-off controls like these that make each screen feel like they were designed by different people without any shared design plan; this page really needs to fit in portraits to select from. Since the majority of the content is freely reflowable text, they could easily be put in on one of the sides, or - with some relatively minor redesign - at the bottom to be consistent with the in-game view.


    I won't bother with a shot of the journal page as there's not much to say - it doesn't need access to portraits, though it has relatively few layout restrictions and enough space that they could be put there to match, if the other screens had them added.


    I'll quickly chuck up the options screen just to note that, aside from stylistic similarities, it looks more-or-less completely different again: a new layout, and a completely different size.



    Overall, I feel that IWD - or more properly BG1 since it essentially lifted its UI wholesale - feels like it was designed by a person or a team with a clear view of how they want options to be presented, and with careful thought to which elements should always be present, which should not, and how to group and place them. The current UI in PoE feels rather more like one person was asked to design a game screen, another was asked to design an inventory, etc - and then the results were just put together. (Sorry if this offends anyone; I know all about time pressures and so on, but this is definitely the impression I get.)


    As for improving the current state, there are a couple of ways it could go, and I have another post lined up for that...

    • Like 6
  20. I'd like to talk about consistency in user interface design, using Icewind Dale as an example.

    Examples I give here are screenshots taken at 640x480, as that's the lowest resolution the game supports - its lowest common denominator, for which it was originally designed.


    First, the basic in-game layout:


    Everything in the red rectangle here is dependent upon being in the in-game view (as opposed to the inventory or map or whatever). The elements in white are controls that are only relevant when in this view.


    If there's anyone here who's not played any IE games, the element in the bottom left is the pause button, and the pair on the right hand side are toggle AI and select all. These two sections are the only part of the interface that are relevant only to this view, but not part of this view.

    (BTW the button beneath those is 'rest', which is usable from all screens)


    Now the map view:


    Here, the AI/select all buttons have been removed. This is fairly subtle as they don't really stand out anyway, so most players probably never noticed a change. The pause button is still there, but it does nothing. In principle, there's no reason it shouldn't work here (and I think in BG2 maybe it did?), but I think it was a design choice that the game pause should only be toggled while you're actually looking at the game. The icon is left there though, because removing it would stand out a lot more when you switch screens - plus it looks cool.


    Note that all the buttons on the left, and the character icons on the right, remain unchanged and unmoved. This is a standard principle that applies in all screens in this game. From here, as with all screens, it's possible to switch to any other screen by clicking its icon, or by pressing its shortcut key. It's also possible to select a character, and they will be highlighted on the map.


    A quick look at the inventory:


    Not a great deal to say here: it's obvious that character selection is relevant for this screen since there are separate inventories, and of course the buttons on the left remain as always.


    The character record and spellbook screens are similar - it's easy to see that the character selection portraits are needed there, and of course both they and the screen selection buttons remain the same.


    The journal is a little different:



    In this case, the choice of character is meaningless, and clicking their portraits does nothing. They are left there, even though they're irrelevant at this stage, because removing them would be visually jarring and there's no compelling reason not to have them there - any change in placement or layout imposes a (small) cognitive load on the user that needs to be justified. Compare this with commands in most applications that aren't always usable, but don't generally disappear, rather being greyed out when unavailable (paste, for example, if the clipboard is empty).


    I have a lot more to say on how this relates to PoE, but that will take some time to type up, plus I'm at the attachment size cap; consider this as background...

    • Like 7



    I'm not sure what to say about being swarmed. Don't you see them before they see you?


    Yes you do, and if you are very careful you can prevent them from overrunning your party. Again though; these are trash mobs. I shouldn't have to try so hard just to survive against them. BG2 certainly wasn't that hard where every battle was freakin' struggle if you weren't careful. 


    Again, Josh specifically stated that poe wouldn't be harder than BG2. So he has work to do to balance the difficulty.


    "Our normal difficulty will not be tuned for casual players at all.  It will not be as hard as IWD2 but should be in the IWD/BG2 range.  Bumping it to Hard should put you into IWD2+ territory."




    This actually really concerns me, because I find it hard to understand how anyone could consider IWD and BG2 in the same range. IWD is one of the most frustratingly brutal games I've ever played; to this day, I still haven't beaten it (it's such a slog I've been taking it in stages - my most recent run got me most of the way through HoW, but that was several months back). BG2 on the other hand has a fairly challenging first chapter or two, and then settles into a fairly comfortable difficulty - I happily played on the 'core rules' setting, which is one step up from the default.


    Somebody who considers these games to be in even roughly the same difficulty bracket has a perception that's so different from mine that I'm not certain we'd be able to have any kind of meaningful discussion when it comes to game balance or encounter design.

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