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About eschaton

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    (2) Evoker
  1. Not really. Moving away from HP, or at least gaining them upon levels, doesn't mean you couldn't have room for other stats. As I said, as one levels up, you could take ranks in dodge, parry, or combat conditioning, which would make you harder to hit and perform better in combat if you sustain a non-mortal injury. I have to admit, I do not like how stat systems have been utilized in general. Most game models either have stats be essentially static (minus a few in-game boosts) across your entire play experience, or add a few points each level. Neither one is fully accurate, because a person can go to the gym and buff up their strength, but intelligence is essentially immutable (unless you get brain damage or something). I'm not completely sure what the best answer here would be - perhaps simply renaming the stats so they more accurately portrayed the range of base capabilities of your character, and using feats/skills to further modify them as needed. I understand what you mean here. But provided formalized duels against skilled and/or heavily armored opponents were rare (say the option of 2-4 per chapter) I don't think it would get too boring. Movies, after all, have had long swordfight scenes for decades (although this has also been lampooned of course, as in The Princess Bride). To be clear, I am fine with some level of unrealism in cRPGs. For example, I don't think it's wrong if the PC mostly meets enemies which are significantly weaker than they are, and the enemies scale up as the game goes on. I just want the body count of the PC to be more like a fantasy novel. To have real - tension - when going into combat, because combat is a rare and chancy thing.
  2. There are ways around this though - realistic ways - much more so than the concept of hit points anyway. The first is of course armor. There's a reason why full plate, despite the weight and mobility limitations, was so commonly used by fighters who could afford it in the late middle ages and renaissance. It made you basically invulnerable to swords, and was pretty good protection against other weapons as well until the flintlock musket was perfected. If anything, the effects of armor in a lot of RPG settings are underemphasized. Then there is dodging and parrying. Honestly this is what I'd like to see improve with leveling up. After all, as a warrior gets more experience, they do not get harder to kill because it takes more blows to knock them down. They get harder to kill because they've gotten very, very good at making sure they don't get hit. Since KOTOR we've had RPG engines advanced enough to show the PC parry correctly. In a pinch, there's conditioning. A well-trained fighter, under a rush of adrenaline, can ignore even serious wounds for a time. Again, as a PC gets more experienced, they should be able to be better at shrugging off minor wounds - ensuring they can still fight even if they get hit. After battle, they still might be in a world of hurt of course. You could also work magic into defense depending upon the setting of course. I'd be careful with this however. If you're dealing with a setting with semi-realistic battle physics you either want to ensure magic is rare overall, or that every character can use magic. Otherwise you severely gimp non-magical characters. The bottom line though is there are many ways to ensure, as a character gets more experienced in combat, that they won't have a 50/50 shot of dying every combat encounter (provided they use sensible tactics, and don't just charge large mobs).
  3. My bad experience in Fallout: New Vegas was in part an inspiration for writing this. I remember I had a mission to take out a group of enemies. Several of them were asleep in their tents. I figured I'd finish them off with headshots before they could even wake up. I snuck into their tent, crouched down, aimed straight for their heads, and let loose. Even trying a dozen times, I was unable to kill. I could not kill a sleeping target with a sub-machine gun! Obviously the reason was because the combat mechanics in no way reflected how reality actually works. But it pretty much broke immersion in the game for me. I lost the will to play after that.
  4. Yeah, basically I'd like to see "action"-style mechanics, without it being an "action" game. I suppose it would be a bit excessive to expect developers spend a lot of time developing a sensible combat system, only to use combat rather minimally (allowing for most encounters to be solved through diplomacy, stealth, or assassination instead of in the open field of battle, if that wasn't the player's thing. I wonder if some integration of mechanics from stealth games and survival horror would be helpful? I've had limited experience with both genres, but it seems they both have elements of what might be needed (e.g., the ability to remain unseen, ambush, and assassinate if needed in the former, and a frail PC who can't stand up in direct combat in the latter).
  5. For the last few years, I've been thinking about how much I dislike some of the bog-standard rules of cRPG combat - rules which mostly spring from D&D originally. These include: 1. You can get hit dozens of times by something pointy (or even shot by a gun) without any real effect. Your "hit points" may go down whatever that means. In real life, if you stabbed someone they would almost invariably either be dead, dying, or so maimed as to be nearly useless in combat. Perhaps if they were hopped up on adrenaline, and highly trained, they'd maintain focus even with a major wound. But for the most part, you get hit and you're down for the count. 2. PCs can take on "trash mobs" which outnumber them significantly in hand-to-hand combat. Again, this always struck me as just plain wrong, because generally speaking a three guys with no combat training at all will win a fight against one guy who knows what he is doing. It's why peasant mobs were potentially so dangerous to knights in the middle ages. Unless you have some serious method of crowd control (being mounted, using terrain to your advantage, etc) you simply shouldn't be able to beat bigger mobs easily, even if they are low level. 3. Although not all games are like this, the kamikaze mechanic of many RPGs bothers me. I suppose if you're talking about supernatural enemies, or trained soldiers, a frontal charge and a fight to the death is perhaps understandable. But, for example, if you're facing down a pack of wolves, once you kill half of them the other half should attempt to cut their losses and disperse. The same goes double for self-aware (and self-interested) enemies like bandits - they're out for easy gold, not to get slaughtered. Basically, I'd love to see an cRPG someday where traditional combat is inherently risky, tactical, and most importantly, rare. For whatever reason, body counts have always been way too high (sometimes an order of magnitude too high) in cRPGs compared to paper and pen. Unless you're on an active campaign taking place during a war, you shouldn't be fighting to the death with enemies every friggin day. Hunting in the forest with ranged weapons or a spear? Sure. Ambushing, and even outright murdering people frequently? If that's how you roll. Getting into fistfights at the local tavern? Fine. But you shouldn't be running into random groups of mooks just waiting to charge and get bled out. Spending less time on trash encounters would give developers more time to focus on the elements which make an RPG truly shine, such as offering a variety of roleplaying options. Anyway, that's just my two cents. I wonder if anyone agrees with me.
  6. I am certainly a reader, but I think one issue the game has is it drops you right into the world's lore without much introduction, meaning some of the discussions about gods, nations, and factions can seem arcane until you get the hang of them. I honestly liked the DA:O system more, where your codex updated with lore as it was revealed in the game. I tend to read closely things which I know may be plot or tactics relevant, but skip flavor, because I work full time and have two kids, giving me only a few hours per night to play. For example, it doesn't take long to realize you're not going to find much of use in the vast majority of in-game books. I'm glad they were put in there, but the content is clearly skippable.
  7. We all know PoE does not give XP (mostly) for defeating foes in combat. Instead, XP is mostly given for: 1. Completing quests 2. Exploring new areas 3. Opening chests/doors, disarming traps, and "other interactions" Of course, there is a small amount of XP which you gain on the first few encounters with enemies, until you have completely filled out the bestiary entry for an enemy type. You of course miss out on this entirely for human and demihuman enemies. Given the relatively low XP cap in the game, there's also the question of if you need to maximize this area of XP. Of course, human/demihuman enemies drop a lot of goods worth significant cash, while monsters only drop 1-3 things (trash weapons and one crafting component) so it may balance out. Regardless, has anyone tried a party which seeks to avoid combat as much as possible? I would presume you'd need to invest in stealth for all your characters in order to sneak by as many encounters as possible, but also have one with maximized stealth/mechanics who would act as the scout grabbing everything which isn't nailed down to an enemy. It doesn't seem that the game can be as combat light as you could play the Fallout series, or Planescape:Torment. I do think you could get things away from the Icewind Dale side of the equation with work however.
  8. Hey all, To start with, I should say that I am a veteran of old IE games. Cut my teeth on BG and BG2 back in college, love Planescape:Torment, etc. I'm not a noob to cRPGs of this style at all. That said, while I'm loving the game, I'm finding the combat pretty challenging, and I'm playing on easy. I'm pretty sure I'm doing something wrong here. I'm just trying to figure out what it is. It's not like I'm dying all the time, but in the tougher combats one or two characters routinely drop to zero stamina, and I can tell I'm not utilizing my casters properly. Combat feels like an awful, horrible slog to me. So far, I'm into chapter 2, and my party looks like this: Protagonist: Chanter. I sort of envisioned the character as akin to some swashbucker/mage and blade builds I did in BG2. So I decided to make him into a dual-wielding melee character. This seems to have been a big mistake, because he's one of only two melee specialists in the party (due to the luck of recruitment) so he ends up taking a lot of hits even though he doesn't have incredibly high stamina. If combat lasts long enough though he can either summon skeletons or shadows though, which can be a big help since there isn't much on the front line in the party. Aloth: I don't understand how to use mages in this game. Almost all of the offensive spells seem to be AOE, which are damn hard to aim correctly. My biggest use for him is to paralyze (via fetid caress) and let the other characters whack the hell out of the baddies. Eder: Works as advertised quite well. One of the only characters I'm pretty sure I'm using right. Durance: Again, I'm not sure how to use his spellcasting well in combat. Yes, I cast spells to boost endurance in combat. But clerics have few offensive spells, and lots of spells which either inflict minor penalties on the enemies, or boost my party in a minor level. I can never decide which one is appropriate for the situation. Due to his quarterstaff, he ends up in melee more than I'd like. Kana: Seems okay, but aside from using a gun, he's sort of a repetition of my character (even knows most of the same chants). I only have him in because I haven't found more story NPCs yet. Sagani: Just got her a short while ago. I don't mind her so far, but I hear rangers suck. Still, It's sort of upsetting that I keep getting squishy ranged characters and casters. I should say I've accumulated a ton of consumables over the game so far. Ever since the IE games I've been a big fan of never using any consumables unless you absolutely have to, and I've crafted a good deal of scrolls, potions, and some food. But I seldom use any of it, because I don't know what particular consumables will be appropriate for a given situation. Anyway, tips would be appreciated. I am thinking of rerolling and just starting over again.
  9. I think part of the issue is there's a wide gap between sexual/emotional contact between the PC and some of the NPCs and "romance" as it has been come to be known in later Bioware games. To use the example I gave upthread, I think it would be refreshing to have a romance which is destined to fail. Maybe there's a male NPC who seems (if you play a man or a woman who he isn't romancing) to be a fine, upstanding person. But if you get involved, he turns out to be possessive, controlling, and ultimately hits the PC. Or maybe your "love interest" is merely flightly, or a cheater, or something on that end. The bottom line is as in real life, some romances shouldn't have happy endings. Hell, the vast majority shouldn't, particularly for adventurers. The problem is, a lot of players take "romance" to be a minigame in and of itself these days. I don't mean in the sense that they're romancing for stat bonuses. I mean insofar as if the romance isn't completed with a "happy ending" (or at least, a parting on fair terms) they feel cheated by the game. They expect the same wish fulfillment from the romance they get from winning the game. When in fact romance is, at most, just one of many subplots, and can easily end up on the rocks And thereby lies the problem with making romance a core element. If featured too much, people expect to have an "interest" they will personally like. And they expect to get emotional charge out of the encounters, and leave with warm fuzzies. Not get their heart ripped apart at the end. IRL, even the most capable of people were often messes in their personal lives. We shouldn't expect any better of our heroic characters.
  10. This isn't true. There were friendship mini-games in, off the top of my head, KOTOR2, DA:O and DA2, at least insofar as if your companions had high approval of you, you got big bonuses. The same was true to a limited extent in Planescape: Torment with some characters.
  11. As I said, fundamentally, the only difference between a quest which is only undertaken after dialogue, and a quest option put into the log after another event (reading a tome, combat encounter, etc) is the former usually give you a dialogue option to accept the quest. So you can say no, and it doesn't go into your quest log. In contrast, unless the game actually had a pop-up after self-initiated questing events, the event would just spam your log, which would, indeed, encourage completionist play. Keep in mind though that a well-written self-initiated quest is every bit as real. Indeed, the main plots of many classic roleplaying games, including Baldur's Gate 1, Baldur's Gate 2, and Planescape: Torment, and Arcanum were essentially self-initiated. The plot heavily railroaded you, but ultimately no one set you out on your task at the start of the game. Still, this can have issues. Some people criticize Baldur's Gate II, for example, because the game not only presupposes you kept Imoen in your party in Baldur's Gate, but cared about her enough to go on this mad quest to find her. Player choice was taken away at the core of the story. Still, I don't see this as fundamentally different than say being told in Fallout you need to find a crucial piece of equipment to save your vault. The only fundamental difference is someone else told you want to do, but it still presupposes connections to frame the story. All plotted RPGs are going to railroad the PC to some degree. Anyway, to digress, self-initiated quests on a smaller scale make just as much sense because there are motivations besides XP. One could actually argue they allow for better roleplay. Using the example I showed, if one finds an ancient tome, they should be given the option (if a curious or greedy player) of following hints to an object of great power). If one roleplays a vengeful character, they should be given the option of exacting revenge as part of a quest initiated without any dialogue. Makes the game more fun, along with having a more classic narrative. Few adventure stories make the protagonist as...passive...as the PC typically is in RPGs. They don't bumble about asking others what they need to have done. They decide what to do themselves.
  12. I do sort of agree that since quest XP is the only kind of XP, the game should actually be more loose with what a "quest" is than RPG convention has called a quest. Think of a quest at its broadest. Often, an adventurer can be set on his (or her) task without talking to anyone. Maybe they read about an ancient treasure in a book they find. Or they decide to hunt someone down who picked their pocket. Don't these deserve recognition as well? The only problem I see with allowing for self-given quests is it has the illusion of taking agency away from the player. In truth, it will still be up to the player to decide to complete a quest. But if the game gives the option, after some event happens, of undertaking a quest, then it can read as if the game is railroading the player in a way the game does not if a player needs to find an NPC and accept a quest.
  13. Speaking historically, if you're an unarmed peasant (as if there's another sort) being alone outside of town (or hell, alone in town after dark) was very dangerous, between highwaymen and the chance of running into a bear or a wild boar. But there's little in a peacetime environment which should challenge a lawful armed party. After all, any threat big enough to attempt to take on a half-dozen armed, well-trained adventurers would pretty quickly run afoul with the local lord, and have some expedition sent out to wipe it clean. Only in areas which are nearly impassible (swamps, mountains), or in flux (like the Scottish Borders in the real world) was there not a quasi-monopoly on larger-scale violence by the state. So how do you fit this into a fantasy setting? I'd say the following. 1. Isolated, solitary monsters are fine. Presume something like an ogre keeps a low profile and usually makes sure to pick off only a few weak travelers on occasion. 2. On the other hand, something like a large war band of Orcs or Goblins is just silly. Similar bands of humans (who can at least blend in) didn't survive close to settlements except in severe times of political flux. How a group of hostile demihumans would is beyond me. 3. However, an exception can be made for groups of "monsters" who keep to a confined area, and aren't worth rooting out. Say a dungeon full of hostiles. Or a haunted city. Or a high mountain valley with wild tribes within. There are any number of scenarios, but for the most part, these groups have to be passive - if they're actively threatening local cities, they would have been pacified already.
  14. In general, I think role-playing games overplay the wilderness aspect given the period in question. True wilds became rare as the middle ages progressed, and as this is an Early Modern game, there should be even rarer. By the 16th century in Britain, use of coal instead of wood for home heating and cooking became common in large part because virtually all forests had been chopped down. That is not to say there might not be dangers in the fields, particularly in times during or after wars and famines. But virtually all good land should be covered with farms under normal periods. One would thus presume the amount of hostile wildlife would be rather limited. Do I think the devs will be doing this? Not a chance. Extensive wilderness is an established trope in RPGs. It's just it really belongs in something like a Bronze Age setting. The only way it works well with higher technology is if it's an established "frontier" area - such as a new continent more recently discovered.
  15. I think the problem is twofold. On the one hand, a mature, story-driven RPG should have some sexual content. After all, a world full of sexless eunuchs isn't very realistic. And it should generally be more content than the stereotypical prostitutes. On the other hand, a long-term romantic involvement between the player and a party member should not be a given. Compatibility is a finicky thing, and it's highly likely that not one of your companions would find you interesting. Later Bioware games not only failed on this, they got ridiculous, with every single character bi and immediately flirting with the player. Romances are best used when they tie directly into the plot. While I did not play a woman in DA:O the way that the Alistair romance developed, from everything I have read, worked into the plot quite well, adding some melodrama to choosing between the death of Alistair or yourself in the endgame. I thought in BG2 the Jaheira romance also worked well within the overall plot, albeit to a more secondary point, due to the understood history between the two characters. I guess my bottom line is I'd be fine with an option for something, but it has to make sense within the game, and not come across as bad slash fiction. Treat us as adults who can deal with grown-up subjects, not as if we're middle schoolers giggling every time sex is brought up, or basement-dwellers hungry for identification with the main character. It would be awesome if a generally unattractive and unlikable character, for example, propositions the player. Or if a "romance" partner turns out to actually be controlling and abusive later in the game. Or some "romances" are fore-ordained to break up before the end game no matter what you do. I don't need to live vicariously here. I need to be entertained.
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