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Brother Pain

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Posts posted by Brother Pain

  1. I like some classic puzzles when done well. For example the Towers Of Hanoi puzzle that Bioware are fond of (and is taught to everyone taking their first algorithm class as an example of a NP problem) worked well in Mass Effect where it was a proper puzzle. It did not work as well in KOTOR where it was done via dialogue and it was hard to keep track of where each "piece" was.


    A game that has a ton of good puzzles is The Secret World. Some of the puzzles are fairly easy, some are extremely obscure and require the player to look up dutch artists, to realize that a password hint is the title of a book that used encryption (which you'll have to use as well), and some are in between. The fact that the reward for doing these puzzles were usually good, that the puzzles were varied, and all completely optional (except you had to do some of them to get access to the next ones) helped a lot too.


    I detest jumping puzzles in almost every game, since they usually have exactly one solution, often require very good reflexes and timing, and often have an instant fail or a long backtrack if you miss one jump.


    The best kind of puzzles as someone already mentioned though, are the completely optional ones. Sometimes I like to think my way through challenges, sometimes I like to sneak around or talk my way through a difficult sitation, but I like to be able to fall back to brute force (of the greatsword to their face kind), especially when I fail at one of the other ways of doing things.

  2. Arcanum had a fixed party size: you couldn't have more followers then cha/4, minus one for Educator, plus one for training in persuasion. Except for the followers that don't count towards your limit (dog), or creations/summons/mind controlled slaves.


    Also, you don't HAVE to take certain party members because of their class. It's not a sin to lower the difficulty and playing a game is more about having fun then about being the best at it.


    Also, Arcanum should have been mentioned as having less interesting characters, mostly because they hardly had any worthwhile dialogue. And of course, like Fallout, it wasn't a party-based game, so going solo was just fine unless you wanted to cart around a ton of gear to sell :)


    And in some games, that's true, as I said, I ran with a completely non-optimal party (Isabela, Merrill, Verric, and a rogue Hawke) in DA2 and I dumped the difficulty in that game since the combat was a bit too actiony anyway, but I actually raised the difficulty in DA:O since the combat in that game was actually fun. And you could certainly play without Wynne, it just meant much harder battles and carrying around a ton of injury kits (unless you played as a mage yourself of course).

  3. Hidden classes, specs, abilities, and the like, as in the specializiations in DA:O or the fighting styles in Jade Empire could work, depending on how leveling characters work in general of course. Or perhaps, more along the lines of hidden perks in the Fallout series.


    It should be for all classes of course, not just the monk (unless the entire monk shtick becomes searching for hidden techniques, which I hope it doesn't personally) though.

  4. I've never found it fun to have to identify every mundane piece of gear you pick up before you can use it, whether in PnP or CRPGs. It just means that the item languishes in your backpack until you can haul it somewhere and get it identified, or you have the one class that can identify it. As someone said, it's busywork, nothing else, and doesn't add any enjoyment for me. Looting the bodies has almost always been something that happens when you have time (unless it's just grabbing someone's weapon and running), and using unidentified items and becoming cursed lost it's allure long before I left my teens.


    On the other hand, Identifiying a few unique powerful items can be interesting, especially if you have to go through an interesting quest to unlock the item's true potential. Though in practice, that's not so different from receiving the item as a reward for said quest.

  5. I actually like the idea of varying character classes. It could even be just a combination of flexible classes and allowing the player to level the NPC when they're picked up.


    A lot of games with NPCs with personalities and backgrounds, expecially Bioware games, you often have to decide which characters to bring based either on their personality or what classes you're missing to have a viable party. This goes all the way back to Baldur's Gate 2 (since BG1 really had so little interaction with your companions that it hardly mattered), and is especially obvious in the Dragon Age series and even SWTOR:


    In DA:O, not bringing Wynne (the only healer) was a really bad idea, and you really wanted all the classes present, so a lot of characters never got used. In DA2 I actually ran with an almost all rogue group even if it was incredibly ineffective, simply because I preferred certain characters and their banter. SWTOR leaves each class with every role represented (ranged dps, ranged tank, melee dps, melee tank, and ranged healer) but for a lot of classes one of those is way more optimal than the others, so you end up using Doc (the healer) as a jedi knight for example, at the detriment of much more interesting characters.


    I'm trying to think of non-Bioware games with a similar problem, but the only games I can think of are sequels to Bioware games (NWN2 and KOTOR2) and they had the problem to a lesser extent, in NWN2 because a lot of the later characters you picked up weren't likable or interesting at all (eg. Quara and the paladin), and in KOTOR2 you could turn almost your entire team into jedi anyway. Other games simply don't have NPCs well written enough for it to matter, or have flexible enough party structure that you can play like you want and still be optimal enough. Perhaps with a non-fixed party size (eg. Fallout, Arcanum).


    TL;DR version: Having flexible NPC classes allow me to play with a party I like without having to use party members I dislike because I need a certain class represented, such as the stoic and boring tank or the noble and boring healer.

  6. (should they make an option to toggle away spiders for all the arachnophobes that play the game?)


    I think more people are interested in a "no spiders" option than limiting saving outside ironman mode, considering how often various CRPGs (like Skyrim, DA:O and others) get mods that remove the spiders. Depending on how realistic the spiders are animated, I'd might want an option like that myself :)


    As for limiting saving, outside of an option that's off by default, please no. Not being able to save in combat if it's not feasable because the game is real-time, I can understand, but making saving slower, putting a cooldown on saves, or using checkpoint saves only will really sap my enjoyment from the game.

    • Like 1
  7. Options are good. Period.


    Whether those options are what difficulty the game runs at, what content is shown, what language is used, whether to use ironman mode, key bindings, graphical options, gender and statistics of the main character, or a slew of other things, all these allow for the user to play in a way where they can enjoy the game.

    • Like 8
  8. IMHO all the people using their own versions of vampires are what finally lead to the Twilight vampires, because no one is happy with using the well-known vampire mythos as is anymore and everyone wants to put their own spin on it. At this point, it'd be more original and interesting if a game didn't go Our vampires Are Different (Warning: that's a link to TV Tropes).


    I'd be absolutely fine with going back to more ancient vampire myths on the other hand. Dracula isn't the end all be all of vampire myths after all. But inventing a new spin to put on vampires at this point just seems superflous.

  9. Assuming that the nay-sayers don't get their will and change the class from what it should be*, my first character will likely be a monk. It depends of course. If it's implemented at all like the BG2 monk**, I'll probably pick another class, fighter or rogue most likely.


    *Unarmed and unarmored highly mobile melee class.

    **Very late bloomer that's basically useless until endgame.

  10. Gore isn't as big a priority in games for me as it was 10-15 years ago, and I'd even argue that it doesn't fit in some games.


    The gore in Fallout 1+2 felt just right for those games, but the same amount of gore wouldn't have felt right in something like Planescape: Torment. Extreme gore in modern games often comes off as silly, especially in large quantities, as opposed to using it sparingly. Over the top gore is good for an inherently silly game like Borderlands, but not for games that attempt to be slightly serious. And effects like shooting someone's head off with a head shot (did I fire circular sawblades from my rifle?) are simply hard to take seriously.


    In other words, what the level of gore should be IMHO is completely dependent on the tone that's planned for the game.

    • Like 1
  11. Btw, other games did this as well. The ones I can list off the top of my head are Arcanum, all the good Fallouts (1, 2, NV, Tactics, not 3 or BoS), Lionheart, Vampire Bloodlines, and Neverwinter Nights 2.



    Being a malkavian in Bloodlines was the coolest disadventage ever! :D (for those wo did not play Bloodlines: malkavians go mad after their transformation, and all your answares are like a loonatic's words, but they have insight in their madness and foretell things that did not happen yet, altough the malkavian does not always realize this, because this insight is the clan's blood's curse, the insight of their ancestor. Perfect for replaying the game and real fun :D note: i do not recomend creating a malkavian as your first character)

    In addition to the clan bonuses/weaknesses, there were also "histories", which were apparently fully functional but removed from the game anyway. There are mods out there that put them back in. What histories you had available to you depended on your clan and sometimes gender. A Nosferatu could take a glass eye for +2 intimidation and -1 perception, or a Malkavian could take ninja for +1 brawl and melee and crippled firearms, or a Tremere could take eldritch prodigy for way stronger thaumaturgy but worse EXP gains...


    Exactly, I was talking about the histories that you could activate with a command when launching the game. They were pretty buggy, which is probably why they were disabled, and if I looked through more than a few of them, I remember that it crashed my game. Still, they added a lot to the game IMHO.


    Some games treat gender as a combined advantage/disadvantage as well, as it changes your stats. Both Arcanum (which is up front about it) and Oblivion does this for instance. That's not to mention games that treat gender as a huge disadvantage, such as Mount And Blade (though again, they're up front about it).

  12. wow...you haven't finished BG2?... My jaw is unable to close right now. I'd understand if you said you hadn't played a more obscure title like Divine Divinity...but BG2? C'mon man, you better get on that asap.


    and backtrack? unless you are in Suldanesselar there is no need for backtracking, you will eventually return to Amn and all the quests from chapter 2-3 will still be there just with higher level monsters.



    also, do yourself a favor and go to Gibberlings3 and Spellhold studios and download a few of their mods to polish out the rough edges of the game.



    edit: No seriously what are you even doing here? The BG series as a whole, especially BG2, has so much re-playability in it that it can ride you almost straight through to 2014.


    I honestly haven't completed either of the Baldur's Gate games. I got to the final dungeon in the first game and just couldn't be bothered to finish it. In BG2 I lost interest when I got to the Underdark. In other words, once exploring is no longer an option and the rest of the game is more or less a completely linear slog, I tend to lose interest. In some games that final part can be interesting as well, perhaps if there are options, if the story is interesting, or the like, but not in the BG's.

  13. Btw, other games did this as well. The ones I can list off the top of my head are Arcanum, all the good Fallouts (1, 2, NV, Tactics, not 3 or BoS), Lionheart, Vampire Bloodlines, and Neverwinter Nights 2.


    I really like advantages being matched with disadvantages btw, so you don't for example get a big advantage to hitting harder and just take a penalty to ranged combat. And I like it limited so you don't end up with a guy that's dangerous because of the points he got from being mute and illiterate being put into combat skills. Or a character with a crippling phobia of water and fish in a world where neither are likely to ever come up. (Saw the last one in a SLA Industries campaign more than a decade ago)

  14. Disadvantages as handled in Fallout 1+2+NV Traits and Arcanum Backgrounds would be a good idea, where you get an advantage and a disadvantage to balance it out. Like hitting harder but slower or getting a perception bonus with glasses and penalty without. Combining a disadvantage with an advantage is much easier to balance and make interesting than using a point based system like GURPS, MWWG or the like.


    Or do you mean optional disadvantages with no benefit to them at all?

  15. The advantage to using creatures with the same number of arms and legs as humans is that you don't need to make a completely new set of animations for it.


    As for the idea of having one or a few people of a weird race from far away, I'm all for it. Odd culture (whether inspired by Asia the west or something wholly original) is cool too. Elephant-man there doubly so.

  16. Oh, I completely forgot about planting items. I definetely would like that. I remember it was a tactic in Fallout if there was someone you wanted to kill. You could plant a live bomb on them (I'm sure there'll be something similar in P:E, though perhaps it'll be magical instead of something with a lit fuse) or if you wanted to be completely sneaky, you could put a live bomb in a container and drop it by the target and get the hell out of there.

    A sneaky enough type should be able to do so directly without being noticed though. Until the bomb(-like thing) explodes of course :)

  17. I'd pick the Fallout way of handling stealing. You can steal anything that's not actively equipped (though this was different from person to person and from Fallout to Fallout 2 - perhaps whether you can steal equipped items should be based on your skill) but the larger and heavier the item, the harder the check is. Sneaking up from behind an enemy should make the stealing easier than if you run up in front of them.


    If you get caught, what happens could depend on who you stole from:


    - Beggar or other easily intimidated person: they'll run away, perhaps getting other of the same type nearby to run as well.

    - Ally or friend: disposition toward you will get worse and you'll get told to knock it off.

    - Someone capable of fighting you (like a mercenary): Attack you.

    - Someone that's part of a group: Call their friends, while their own level of bravery/cowardice should define how they react themselves.


    In most cases, starting off with a dialogue that tells you to hand over your stolen goods or face the consequences would probably be good, and of course, some people wouldn't talk before running or taking action. Perhaps some value for your intimidation factor (from level, force of personality, size, race, weapon size, reputation, as well as any intimidation skill) should affect how cowardly the person will act. After all, a 7 foot guy with inhuman features, wielding a giant sword will likely be slightly more intimidating than a cuddly halfling with a slingshot.

  18. I think we already covered this in the "Urgency, please have it" thread and I still feel the same way. Time limit on main quest and other big ones is a big fat NO. Time limit on a few, optional, clearly marked quests could be ok. Completely right now urgent urgent can work by using the combat system (the dying dwarf or the burning barn are losing hp and when they run out you're out of time).


    Though as a general rule, if a quest doesn't have a damn good reason for being timed AND is optional, I'd rather just leave the time limit out, realistic or not. Arroyo dying, Imhoen being tortured, attacking army is coming, etc.? They can wait until I'm good and ready.


    Though, if it is really unpleasant to some that a quest implies that you have to hurry and you really don't, a way to handle it is in a completely obvious way where you get to opt out. Think taking the ship to Spellhold or the tanker to the oil rig obvious, and let people put it off as long as they want to. As in "When we start this ritual, we've only got an hour/a day/a week/a year to take out the Big Evil Thing before he lays waste to something or other, are you sure we're ready for this?"

  19. I like having "filler" quests personally. They allow for some minor non-story related goals when you're in the mood for that sort of thing, as well as allowing you to get some more xp if you're underlevelled (or want to be overlevelled) for some reason, especially if no xp for killing enemies is still in.


    As for varying them so that they're not just "collect 10 bear asses" or "find winterwolf pelt" or whatnot, sure, why not. But please have them in some form in the game. The bounty board from DA:O worked well for this, the quests were obviously filler and optional for example.

  20. I really liked the setting, plot, characters, and even language (always loved the Sigil cant) of Planescape: Torment and still consider them all some of the best in computer games ever.

    It's one of the few games that has successfully awed me with it's vistas outside of using pretty graphics engines (exiting the Morgue is still memorable), and the twists were actually surprising.

    That said, I honestly always felt it would have been better as a slightly non-linear adventure game. The fights in the game actually get in the way of the good stuff (everything but the combat) and I've never made it past the Curst Prison due to the long and annoying forced combat section at the start.

    It doesn't help that AD&D 2nd Ed. is one of my least favorite PnP systems* of course.


    In other words, despite the excellent writing, gameplay-wise Fallout and Arcanum are very much superior, though I'll certainly agree that PS:T is the best of all the IE games.


    (* I've never tried AD&D 1st Ed. outside of the Gold Box games, I've never played Cinnabar or FATAL, and AD&D is probably better than anything from Palladium, but that's not exactly high praise.)

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