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Jarrakul

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About Jarrakul

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    (3) Conjurer

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    D&D, video games, Terry Pratchett books, and science!

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  1. I'm having what I think is the same problem as the others here. I can load the save (linked below) just fine, but if I try to enter the Vailian Trading Company or the Adra Mill, I get the same "error loading the next map" crash. This occurs even if I revert to an earlier save. I've tried repairing the installation, but it didn't help. https://www.dropbox.com/s/332gfyvtx65sujq/Aelwen%20%28c1b53009-d40f-455e-86e7-fd113c601dc1%29%20quicksave.savegame?dl=0
  2. Yes, how dare the devs cave to the demands of their fans after committing to serve the interests of... their... fans... Waitaminute... At the end of the day, their job is to take backer/fan feedback and do what they think is best to make the best game they can. That's all they did here. I, for one, am glad they made the right decision, because making their backers/fans feel welcomed is important, and I'm sorry to all of you who disagree with it. But this? This isn't what censorship looks like, and calling it censorship is an insult to everyone who actually has to live with censorship.
  3. The point of narration in a game, I would argue, is to sum up or skim over events. Don't want players to have to spend hours marching around town rounding up basic backstory? Give a couple-second overview in narration. Or in mandatory dialog, it doesn't really make a difference, but narration probably feels less forced in most cases. Want to talk about how bad the weather is during a sea voyage, but don't have anything mechanically interesting for the player to do? Just describe it to them. It's simple, and it works. Not always optimally, granted, but it does the job at least passably. Now, as to the OP's thing about who the narrator should be, I do think having the narrator be a person who really exists in the gameworld can help with immersion, and having it be the player character can be a little too much putting words into the player's mouth. So yeah, I do think having the narrator be an NPC (Belhifet, Oswald's niece, Kelemvor, etc.) is generally a good idea. I don't think it's necessary, and it's not hard to imagine that it wouldn't work for some games, but I think in general that it's a good idea.
  4. I find DA to have a fundamentally better combat system ruined by even-worse-than-BG balance. Playing as a rogue, at least, felt like I had a bunch of abilities that could be useful in any given situation, but I had to figure out which ones would be useful when. But then the mage just dropped an Ice Storm and made all that irrelevant (until the endgame, when I suddenly found myself borderline invincible for reasons which are still somewhat beyond me). At least when that happened in BG, I could go "yeah, but he can't remove a trap." As much as I dislike balancing out-of-combat prowess against in-combat prowess, it was still better than just not balancing them at all. DA1 also suffered from a severe lack of precise information, if I recall correctly, which made it difficult to know what would be effective when until you'd used it multiple times, which made strategizing difficult. DA2 fixed that problem, but introduced... others. As for BG2... it is an oversimplification to claim that mage fights are "counter or die". But they're close, especially as you get into the late game. The difference between having the magic true sight + breach combo (or just an inquisitor) and not having it is huge. It's not quite win vs. die, but it's by far the biggest difficulty swing from knowing a specific spell since BG1 basilisks and Protection from Petrification. While I do like a lot about the BG2 magic system in general, I think mage fights would be a lot more fun if they were more consistently somewhere between the two extremes of countered and non-countered. That doesn't mean there can't be counters, but they should be softer, as should un-countered defenses.
  5. That would be much better, yes, because losing one party member in a party-based game really isn't that bad. But it's still highly random by the standards of damage-dealing effects, and I'm still not totally okay with that. What I'd love to see is something like "Hold targets for 0 seconds on miss, 3 seconds on glancing hit, 10 seconds on full hit, 20 seconds on crit" or something like that. So you could count on it doing something almost all the time, but it would never last so long that the target would be out of the battle altogether. In this way, it remains powerful, but becomes a lot less random. It's now a reliable tool with some random effect, rather than a totally random effect that might do nothing or might insta-win depending on how lucky you get.
  6. I should note that while I seriously dislike spells like Hold Person, I have no problem whatsoever with spells like Web, Entangle, or Command. The reason for this has to do with the way the random distribution works as the way it makes me play. I dislike Hold Person because if I get unlucky once, half my party is out of the fight. Probably dead if anything happened to be attacking them at the time. I dislike it offensively too, because when I cast it I'm basically saying "I hope the enemies fail their saves so I can insta-win this fight." It's not tactically interesting. Which is not to say there's nothing of tactical interest about a Hold Person spell, but the core effect (save or be rendered useless and defenseless for the rest of the fight) is not tactically interesting. However, I like spells like Web, Entangle, and Command. Command is simple. I like it because it's effective and short-duration. For much of BG1, it isn't a gamble, because most BG1 enemies don't get a save against it, and by the time enemies that do become common a 1st level spell and a casting time of 1 isn't much of a resource to gamble. My fondness for Web and Entangle is somewhat more complicated. At first glance, they seem a lot like Hold Person, but they have two crucial differences (beyond Entangle being a root instead of a hold). First, they trend much more heavily towards the average result. This is because their effect only lasts one round, but it's checked every round. So instead of failing one save and being out of the fight, you fail a save and are out for a few seconds, and then you roll again. Both Web-style effects and Hold Person-style effects may have the same expected value in rounds spent paralyzed, but the Web sums multiple random events to produce a result that trends much more strongly towards the average. The second reason is that Web and Entangle are effects that sit on an area, rather than on creatures. That opens up all sorts of fun tactics, both in how you use them and in how you deal with enemies using them. Their existence adds tactical depth, and should be lauded. But note how they differ from Hold Person. I'm not arguing that status effects should be weak. I'm arguing that they should be interesting. Also, the "you're all noobs for not liking this mechanic" argument needs to die in a fire. I beat Baldur's Gate with SCS and max health enemies. I've only ever run one hardcore run, but I beat it easily (although without SCS, admittedly). I am not somehow unable to deal with the sorts of things BG throws at you. I just prefer challenges that make me respond in interesting ways, rather than challenges that render me unable to respond unless I know about them beforehand and have prepared their specific counter.
  7. So much yes. I think I once brought up something along these lines in times of yore, or possibly I just brought up something tangentially related. Either way, I have... very lengthy opinions on how this might be handled. I'll spare you all the details unless anyone's actually interested, but suffice to say I heartily approve of the concept.
  8. So, I notice some folks blaming the rogues-as-DPS thing on MMOs, but I don't think that's where it comes from. I'm pretty sure it comes from not wanting to have combat specialists and non-combat specialists. That's a dichotomy that crops up a lot in old RPGs (Fallout is probably the best example) and in PnP RPGs, and while it's entirely realistic, it makes for bad gameplay (although if you happen to be Fallout you can make up for it in other ways). This is something that became blindingly obvious to me when I played a d20 Modern game as a Charismatic Hero. I was a socialite to end all socialites. My Bluff checks were the stuff of legend, let me tell you, and it was glorious. Until a fight started. When I fight started, I was suddenly unable to contribute... anything. I mean, I could shoot at things, but hitting was basically out of the question, as was dealing decent damage if I did somehow manage to hit. The greatest contribution I could add was if one of the enemies made the mistake of wasting time shooting at me instead of someone who was actually a threat. As much fun as the character was when he was in his element, a large portion of the time I was utterly useless. Not "not the best". Useless. Nothing I could do would ever swing the direction of a fight. And as such, overall, it was the least fun character I have ever played in 18 years of PnP RPGs. Playing rogues in 2E and 3E is similar (I never played much 1E, but it's close enough to 2E for me to guess). Not quite as bad, because you get one good hit before you're worthless. Not even that good a hit, really, but it's something. 3E is slightly better than 2E in some ways, because if I can flank things I can actually do good damage right up until the moment anything realizes I'm doing damage and I immediately die. Which means I get one good round, instead of one good hit, and then I'm twiddling my thumbs for the next couple of hours. And, of course, if it's 3E and I'm up against undead, I'm just totally useless. Now, I'll be the first to admit that the applicability of that to party-based games is limited, but it still holds true enough to be a serious concern. In games where a given player only controls one character, it's absolutely essential. PS. I'm also amused by the argument that rogues shouldn't be as good at combat as fighters because it makes everyone the same, but paladins and rangers and barbarians are totally fine. So what if the rogue is another warrior class? Why can't we have another warrior class, representing an archetype that is not otherwise well-supported? What's wrong with that?
  9. I can't comment on the musical design process with anything near the same confidence (/arrogance) that I can comment on the rules design, but the sample piece is pretty awesome. This game is going to be beautiful.
  10. Ffordesoon, absolutely that's helpful. Watcher's Keep did a better job of that than Durlag's Tower, in that it was very easy to leave WK and come back to where you left off, but you're right in that you certainly weren't encouraged or expected to do so. If the dungeon is built to be explored in bits and pieces over the course of the game, the issues of its massive size become much less problematic. I'm still worried, though, that it's that big because we made it that big, rather than because the devs thought it should be that big. I don't want forced size. I want whatever size the devs think will make the best mega-dungeon. That said, I do think that if we are exploring it over the course of the game, and if that distributed exploration is forced in some way (say, with locked doors whose keys are elsewhere), then unlocking new levels of Old Nua could be a really fun reward.
  11. It's worth noting that there are subsections of the Baldur's Gate community that have made good use of the rolling mechanic. Challenges like no-reload playthroughs with your first stat roll can be a lot of fun to some folks. But for the vast majority, the random-sum nature of the stat system meant that you just kept rolling until you got the stats you liked, which really just wasted the player's time. What I'm saying here is that I think Walsingham has the right idea. It's a great option to have for the Ironman folks, but it kind of stinks for everyone else. Although I'd still prefer a system that combined point-buy with random variance, as I mentioned before.
  12. I am not a fan of "dead and hasn't noticed yet" status effects, like long-duration stuns and holds. Hold Person might as well be save-or-die for all the difference it makes, except that it's slightly more merciful to the player. If you're gonna have long-duration hold spells, you might as well scrap them and just replace them with save-or-die effects, because it'll accomplish the same thing. Not that I'm advocating that, mind. I hate save-or-die effects with a passion in RPGs. It's just worth realizing that some status effects have, in the past, been functionally the same thing as save-or-die.
  13. I would love to see weather have small in-game effects. Lephys's wind stuff would be cool, and a simpler thing could be done with weapon range and fog. Rain could slow movement slightly, and maybe thunderstorms have a chance to briefly stun everyone every so often as a particularly large boom sends people reeling for a second. I have no idea how feasible any of that is, but in infinite-funds-land it'd be awesome to see.
  14. I actually find the Skyrim map (my main frame of reference for the 3d style) to be somewhat difficult to use. It's not sufficiently exaggerated to clearly depict much of anything but snow and mountains. If we get a 3d map, I'd prefer something that looked more like the last couple Civilization games, with everything huge and exaggerated and very visually clear. Of course that ends up looking kind of cartoony in 3d, so I think the best result would be achieved by having something 2d that looks like a traditional paper fantasy map. That's not to say I don't understand the desire for a Skyrim-style 3d map, those are definitely cool, but it's not my preference. Also, 2d is probably cheaper, and honestly there are a lot of things in the game I'd rather the time/money be spent on.
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