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Grand Heresiarch

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Everything posted by Grand Heresiarch

  1. Why the medicine ball hate? Its like a big wrecking ball...for wrecking faces.
  2. Just to be somewhat odd or contrary, I'm gonna go with the Might and Magic 6 (and on) resting system. It wasn't terribly different from the bg system with the exception of having a little jewel near the portraits that let you know if you were in an area where resting was possible, thus avoiding the spamming the rest button only to hear "you cannot rest at this time." Additionally in might and magic the party had to consume food to rest, which was bought at inns (you could also rest at inns risk free, for a small fee, while resting in the game world carried a varied risk of attack). The combination of a food mechanic, the passing of 8 hours of time in the game world, and overall transparency in where the player could or could not rest made a system that worked well.
  3. First off a question: people seem to be (mis)using variants of "degenerate" to (I think) describe a gaming style that is for some reason unbalanced or undesireable. I just want to make sure I am understanding the usage corrctly. I somewhat fail to see how gamaing design is degenerate but that is a sepaarate issue. On to matters of substance. People seem to keep pointing to D&D and stating that mages were balanced by their inability to don heavy armor. First, I would state that this supposed balance is largely illusory, especially in terms of AD&D. Mages were relatively weak early and became absurdly overpowered at higher levels. 3rd Ed mitigated this somewhat via the feat system and encouraging multiclassing, but still spellcasters had an edge. At higher levels. One user mentioned that making mages deal the same damage as warriors was somehow a negative concept, yet this class balanceing concept is what drives mmo production today. If anything warriors ought to deal more damage to compensate for the fact that they have to close a physical gap and/or circumvent invisibility/mage armor/stoneskin et all. Back to this idea of mages in armor. If we break from the archetype of the cowled fireball tosser and make the mages individuals who employ magic in place if brute power, we are left with some interesting options like self buffing or a broader force multiplier role beyond simply tossing around massive damage. Perhaps something more akin to a bard. There is ample cannonical precedence for this concept, one does not see Gandalf or Saruman slinging magic missiles all the time yet they are undeniably powerful in their own right. Certainly, the heaviest armors should (and likely will) require investment in strength to equip sans penalty. This facet alone should suffice for preventing the all powerful mage-knight of degerneracy (hope I used it correctly). If a player elects to make a balanced build between strength and intellect they should be able to make a reasonably accomplished mage knight. One last point, I understand that for game balancing purposes it makes things much easier to make strength and stamina fixed attributes of a character, and so must often come at the cost of intelligence. In reality this is clearly and emphatically not the case. If anything, most research indicates that high levels of physical fitness facilitates intellect (doesn't create it but helps with mental alertness and clarity). I would like to see a game that includes this idea where strength is not fixed but shaped by player actions (I.e. increased by wearing heavy armor and cruising around meleeing things rather than treating it as immutable) Ok, way too much said.
  4. I have always had issues with the philosophical viewpoint espoused by many D&D druids of the concept of an active agent of balance. This idea implies that the druid has access to some formula that allows him or her to determine exactly what steps will be needed to return a system to some prior "balanced" state. This idea is not in of it self terrible, but in practice it usually comes down to life for a life formulations that are seldom satisfying and ignore the idea that taking lives is seldom a perfect equivalent. If a druid values animal life as equivalent to human life, how do they feel about meat eating? Is avenging cows restoring balance? The concept of balance is often poorly defined and virtually impossible to achieve. So we end up with a hippy park ranger that offers little in ideological depth. I think if we move away from the concept of "balance" there is a much rich canon that can be engaged. Either a sort of shamanistic nature spirit tradition or a more cosmic sense of balance, akin to taoism, would offer greater complexity without getting mired in the constant struggle to find a center point.
  5. Great point, certainly most classes in rpgs are little more than recycled fictive tropes. To some degree, this is useful in that is allows players to have some idea of what they are getting into when they select a specific class at the outset. I think what most of the audience here is hoping for is not so much a complete reinvention of classes as demonstrating some greater flexibility within those concepts. I believe that the monk is being singled out because it represents a recurring type that often has the least level of flexibility. A fighter in this game seems like it could use swords or guns or some mix of the two. They could be agile or clumsy and beefy (or a mix again). But the kung-fu monk is virtually always the same. Mystical punches and lightweight clothing that make designing gear for the class often..problematic (look at how their gear existed in a vacuum in NWN1 and 2). I do not think people are so much against the monk concept, per se, as they are against the recurring lack of flexibility that the monk concept has historically offered.
  6. Sylvius, I certainly understand your point(s), but must respectfully disagree. "I've always considered the dialogue options to be abstractions (like keywords in text parser dialogue systems), rather than an exact representation of what was said." I find this unsatisfying. As the designers have stated (dont remember exactly who posted) dialogue options will reflect the intelligence, charisma and other stats ascribed to the character speaking. In this case, the text does represent what the speaker is saying. If it is an abstraction, this dramatically alters the storytelling power of the game. "I don't perceive the player-created character as the player's avatar. Since the player controls the whole party, I suggest that the party, as a group, serves as the player's avatar. A sort of gestalt avatar." Again, I must disagree. The player created character is the only character which presents a true tabula rasa on which the player (me) can infuse their respective values, thoughts and opinions into the game world. If the other characters are to be believable, they have to have sufficient agency (scripted AI agency) to agree or disagree with my player character's decisions. If the other party members simply serve as further mouthpieces for me, this serves to reduce their own agency, and depth as standalone characters. By this, I mean that the other characters cannot simply take over party conversations and retain their own voice without the player surrendering control of all conversations. Yes, in combat the player controls the whole party, but from a storytelling standpoint it makes the game capable of a great deal more depth if the PC is the party leader for conversations. "...The player makes these decisions for the party, and how the player imagines the party is actually making these decisions within the game world is entirely up to him. There is no requirement that the PC be the one carrying out the player's instructions. Inf act, in combat, we can see how this isn't the case. Since the player retains control of the whole party, even when the PC is incapacitated, demonstrates that the player doesn't control just the one player-created character." I see your logic here, but I think that players controlling combat is more of a gameplay fun decision than a storytelling one. If the companion characters were completely governed by their own AI for combat (with some player intervention), like dragon age, the tactical depth of the game is significantly diminished. But the fact that you will likely only start with your player character, and acquire companions as you progress, indicates that the player character functions as a sort of "window" into the game world. A window whose absence renders the story unintelligible. Consider Baldurs Gate. If Imowen or Khalid dies, you can take them to the temple for a rez (or reform party to keep Jahera). If the player created character dies in any combat, even one your party is winning, the game is over and you are reloading to your last save. I understand that you feel you should be able to create a player character that is unfit for leadership, or at least should not be the "public face" for the group. I completely understand your reasoning, but from a storytelling standpoint I think it significantly alters the depth of the companion characters if the player is able to control their mouths and thoughts. Considered another way, I have a hard time remembering every character in BG1 and 2, but I distinctly remember each in Planescape. This is because in Planescape, each companion character brought a lot of their own personality and baggage to the party, and frequently the Nameless One had to sort it all out. By placing the nameless one as the only possible lead and conversant for the party, the game allowed for a much deeper and more satisfying story than Baldurs Gate. (personal opinion, to be sure, but one that I think is not exceptionally controversial) I really appreciate your input in this forum, you have forced me to examine why I think the way I do about how the player interacts with the game world, and presented me with an alternative view. While I am not persuaded by your view, I find it unique and refreshing. Cheers!
  7. Certainly, there are a wide range of renunciant traditions, but are they all the same? I dont know that I like kung-fu monk or the flagellant. I would like to see monks move away from mystical fist melee or even crazy faith driven melee to more of a support role. A different divine magic user more akin to a Taoist immortal than anything else. I would have them replace the druid class, and get rid of the touchy nature balance drivel and replace it with a more sophisticated philosophical viewpoint akin to wu wei. There would be some similarity with the druid but more of a cosmic balance rather than Greenpeace sort of balance. Plus summoning a giant nameless, uncarved stone to smash things sounds fun.
  8. I am curious if they intend to pursue this concept of the magic vs tech continuum. In arcanum the two were diametrically opposed and even interfered with each other. I would rather that they are seen as complementary. Think tanks powered by enslaved fire elementals... or enchanted pistols. That would be something new. There is the problem then of not abandoning wholesale enchanted swords for guns. One idea: say natural sources of potassium nitrate (saltpeter) are exceedingly rare. Perhaps only a small group has access. This would create an interesting mechanic in that guns would be undeniably powerful, but the rarity of powder would still be assured. Rate of fire issues aside (and they are many) this would work well to level the field without resorting to the tech vs magic tension that has already been done.
  9. I agree that this implementation is not exactly great, but I like the idea of your choice to stray beyond the constrainsts of law having meaningful and lasting consequences (if you get caught). In larger citites, this sort of notoriety should be somewhat dilluted as it is easier to be another face in crowd, but in small villages etc chosing to rob or engage in vigilantism should have a lasting impact in that community, and effectively bar you from that community. Certainly, getting caught robbing a merchant should make that merchant perpetually hostile to your party. Similarly, guards in a neighborhood where you engaged in your lawbreaking should have a longer memory than just a couple days. Otherwise it simply wouldnt make sense. I agree that they shouldnt simply stay congregated there ready to kill, but I also think that there should be some aspect of you having to tread lightly upon returing to the scene of your crimes. I think the most effective implementation would be for the player to have to avoid their former victims and steer clear of walking directly past guards (unless sneaking or invisible). Obviously the most effective path for any thief should be to avoid getting caught in the first place.
  10. I have to ask, why? What about daggers presupposes a rogue? Are they somehow a less effective weapon in the hands of a warrior? Certainly you sacrifice reach but you gain speed, is that somehow an unworthy tradeoff for anyone but a rogue? This isnt D&D, and we have no idea exactly how weapon damage will function, nor exactly how the classes will function. I assume (as I think most of us do) that there will be some level of player driven weapon specialization. So why should class be the sole determining factor? I cannot think of a good reason for this. We are supposed to be role playing, not just fulfilling a set role in a party. If I want to make a rogue that uses short bows, why is that wrong? Why shouldnt I make a dagger warrior? Why should I have to wait to implement my vision for my character? Role playing games differ from other games in that they should be driven by player choice more than just following a predertermined path.
  11. I cannot agree with those advocating for gear strictly along class lines. This idea assumes that once class selection is made, there will be little room for customization of that character (i.e. druids all use staves or priests all use maces) Giving players either a list of options or an item shop makes more sense in that it allows players early on to make decisions about how they envision thier character. Certainly that vision can change as they progress, but given the options of choice versus having set gear forced upon you, I will always side with choice.
  12. I agree that torment's sigil felt the most 'alive' of all the cities, though one aspect of it that is somewhat difficult for me to decide is anonymous randoms (usually labeled something generic like 'hive dweller') and named npcs. In PS:T you would just mouse over everyone till you found someone with a name, and generally the named individals had something quest-related to say. This aspect, while not game breaking, did somewhat detract from immersion. That being said, I cannot think of a fix for this. If the city is full and every npc is named, players would have to spend hours in pointless conversations to determine which npcs are 'worthwhile'. So I suppose I was wondering if anyone had any ideas to fix this? I suspect it is somewhat insoluble but just curious. edit: spelling
  13. OP you mentioned a great deal about weapon variety but consider this: all things being equal, (I.e. you are equally taking the target by surprise) when is there a scenario where a dagger is better? Why should a dagger do more backstab damage? I would think a surprise claymore to the skull far more effective than a knife. That being said, I would like to see stealth penalties on larger weapons as an effective way to mitigate the problem. Daggers ought to be for backstab because they are concealable, not because of some illusiory advantage of lore. I would even be ok with nothing greater in size than a shortsword even capable of backstabbing, or at least for sneaking, to get around this issue.
  14. I would hesitate to say things like "natural progression in a society". That statement implies a singlar path of "progression" which all societies must take, a historical assumption which has been effectively debunked by both cultural anthpologists and historians as both innacurate and ethnocentric. There is nothing natural about any piece of technology, and where and why it is developed are usually associated with the ideological and material conditions of that time. Native american cultures did go for thousands of years with little technological innovation (in north america, the same does not hold for south and central america). Early historians etc referred to them as primitive, but we know look at their complex cultural development and see why they didn't stress trechnological innovation
  15. Torment provides an interesting counterpoint. yes there were a few conversation paths that the nameless one could engage in with Ignus and Vhailor that ended...badly, but overall the companions were able to needle each other without killing each other. The reason I look to it as an example is there were similarly few possible companions (7) so the idea of them killing each other would simply not work.
  16. I think PS:T had it best, each of the characters had a location that made sense, regardless of when you found then in the game. Putting everyone in the first 25% or something to that effect would too easily result in Companion pokemon (gotta catch em all). If we are exploring a huge game world, it is unlikely we will be exploring all of it at once, and it is even more unlikely that you would find everyone interested in following you right away, and then travel to tons of new locations where no one is interested. I expect you will be collecting them for roughly the first 75% of the game if not more.
  17. Gotta echo Sylvius on this, there is something to items not simply migrating to the "this is important" part of your inventory. Inventory management is a pain, sure, but thats for a reason, so players have to ask themselves if it is safe to get rid of something. I think the player keep will be a help in this regard, but I think agonizing over the useless items that may serve a purpose later is a part of the game. If quest items simply migrate to the quest item inventory (not what the OP wrote but what others advocated for) there is no questioning what is important and what is not, you are simply told, and thats a shame, Think about PS:T. When you got the Lady of Pain rag doll. It seemed like it ought to be useful but when you use it at first it does nothing. Only when you worship it in the hive do you get mazed. If it immediately moved to the important stuff section of the inventory you would know it does something. Instead players were left wondering if the doll did anything at all and had to experiment to see if they had wasted their cash. Yes its a pain and cluncky to have to manage your inventory, but also essential to the experience.
  18. Reading over this I cannot help but feel that the question itself is fundamentally flawed. If the game lacked sufficient quantity (i.e overall size/time) it would, in my opinion, fail to deliver on its promise. Similarly if the content was mind-numbingly dull, it would be rightly viewed as a failure. This is, in essence, a false dichotomy as "balanced" is not really a well defined term. I think that lacking either length or quality will make for a poor showing. If the game is to succeed in delivering on the promise of the Infinity Engine predecessors it must necessarily have both.
  19. I have to go with the PS:T model in this case. If companions are to have significant depth as fully fleshed out characters then they should not be able to be controlled in the same manner as the PC, and the PC should be the party lead. I understand that this makes the knuckle-dragging warrior option less attractive to some, but I think it forces players to make more balanced decisions in character creation,rather than min-maxing stats. The olny role we are playing is the PC, and companions have the choice to go with our exemplary lead or gtfo.
  20. This is a tough one. I like the idea on paper of objective based experience, but implementation will be extremely problematic. The problem with objective based gaming is that in practice it usually yields 3-4 "tracks" that the player can select, but is this really freedom? You are still restricted to only those options. I just dont know how you can incorporate the sandbox feel while still working towards specific objectives. I tend to think that objectives undermine the sandbox experience. A second problem with a game based heavily around avoidance of combat becomes evident when you consider how experience works, or what it represents. In most RPGs, leveling up tends to overwhelmingly augment combat abilities. Cooler spells and bigger hits are the rule, better sneaking or fast-talking can occur for some characters, but will likely not include the whole party. So there is something counter-intuitive to the PC fast talking his or her way out of a tough spot and a NPC warrior getting better with his axe as a result. This problem is somewhat unavoidable in a party based game, but if PE is to resemble the older IE games, I have to imagine that combat will remain the rule for most problem solving, and instances where dialouge can be used to resolve the conflict entirely will be minimal. (this is to say nothing about using sneaking or dailogue to alter the terms of the engagement in a meaningful way, such as isolating enemies or convincing some to change sides.)
  21. I am in the same boat as those who are and lack the time to sit and play for hours at a time, and yet I would have to strongly argue against making a 20ish hour game. We, as a culture, have become too focused on completion, or winning. I would much much rather a 100+ hr game that takes me months to beat than a tightly scripted story. One of the contributors mentioned skyrim. I think there is something to be learned from that game. It has a fairly short and simple story if you only play for the story, but the game world is fairly large and allows for a great deal of sandbox play. (the interface is abysmal however and balance similarly problematic) The end result was something that felt like a living world, or at least something close to it. (yes, they ran out of creative juice and a lot of the dungeons are just the same thing over and over) I have seen a lot of people saying that everything ought to have a purpose. If by purpose you mean advancing the central story (and please correct me if this is a misrepresentation of the argument) then I would vehemently disagree. Not everything we do is directed towards an end. I like the idea of whole zones with nothing to do but explore ancient ruins and kill trolls. A story for that zone can emerge through exploration, but one that is unrelated to the central narrative. If you look back at all the *great* rpgs, they all featured large amounts of sanbox play and exploration. I worry that if we try to distill the essence of those great games without the sprawling world, we will end up with an inferior product. I think of all the recent RPGs with short (20ish hr) campaigns and I dont believe any will enter the cannon of great games. I understand that the wife, kids, and jobs are competing concerns, they are for me as well. But I would rather savor a long journey than sacrifice depth.
  22. I think that BG1 and Arcanum both achieved a great balance in this regard. The main story was incredibly strong, but there was also a huge gameworld of other crap to just explore. If the RPG is too tightly focused on the story, it loses the the feel of taking place in a wider world. There should be a huge quantity of stuff to do in order to make the game world feel like a world, not just the backdrop for the story. Yes, in some respects a good RPG should mirror a novel in terms of central story, but I think we should also celebrate the ways in which it does not. Lives do not follow a single narrative thread, but rather people engage in a wealth of activities while moving towards a general goal. Too much focus on narrative and we end up with Return to Krondor, a game that was fun in they way of a Disney ride. Only one track that was fun the first time, but really isnt any different the second or third time.
  23. I think with regards to the magical vs unmagical weapons they can avoid this by moving more into a magical vs technological continuum. That is to say that the magic bow of flaming justice is counterbalanced by a compound bow with cams and pulleys and a badass red-dot sight. I think that if you get down to it, your fears concerning the power of magical items (or we will say advanced items) stems more from the fact that in most of the Infinity Engine games, magic in general came to dominate the scene after about lvl 5, and magic weapons were the only way to keep melee somewhat on par. What is difficult to do well, it seems, is to make a game where magic starts strong and stays strong and so does melee, as opposed to the typical d&d progression of horrible low level mages that turn into shiny death gods. In some respects, there is something to be learned from most MMOs in this regard. While I am not advocating mmo mechanics, they do an excellent job (since it is so essential) of balancing casters and melee in a linear power progression. With regards to an animal based race..Im gonna say meh. Cant use tools, cant build anything, which would make them severely limited from a design standpoint. The only way out would be to make them absurdly magical, which would be difficult to implement effectively.
  24. I think Curry raises some valid points. Race is all good and well but Obsidian is moving away from the monolithic race/nations of traditional fantasy lore to a more complex multiracial series of culture groups. Just doing starter quests for those culture groups would seem similarly unsatisfying because they fail to take into account motivation for class selection, which in many respects seems like a far more formative event in a character's life. You cant choose where you were born but choosing to become a priest usually involves some significant events in your life. All that being said, I think it would be really difficult (or at least time consuming) to write culture/class/socio-econimic status driven quests that provide a complete backstory. I also think that there is some benefit to ambiguity here, as it allows for the player to project their own motivations on their PC, and make meaningful content choices based on their individualized conception of their PC. TL:DR Just use your imagination, chances are what you come up with will be more personally satisfying than any scripted intro.
  25. One of the things I love about the forum community for this game is that it seems to have gotten a higher number of more mature and less entitled individuals. I think that in this case we can trust that obsidian knows its audience and will release a polished game when it is done, not a rushed game to satiate the "give it now you said April 2014" crowd.
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