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About Ohioastro

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    (4) Theurgist


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  1. The writing in PoE was a postive feature for the large majority of initial game reviewers. It's always a challenge to make repeated game play workable, and it's utterly unsurprising that some people might not like reading the same story over and over. I really liked the Witcher 3 storytelling, for example, and also found the replay value extremely limited (basically, any surprise story elements aren't, well, surprises the second go around.) The writing here, especially for a game, is very well done. The books and backer and tombstones are strictly optional and I didn't bother with them on a replay. I'd rather have fewer trash battles, to be blunt, as opposed to fewer lines of text.
  2. The idea of balance in a single player game can be dangerous if the multiplayer definition is applied: e.g. that one class is more useful than another. In PoE terms, for example, let's say that a party containing six members of one class can trivialize the game. So what? Alternatively, let's say that it's almost impossible to solo the game with one class. Again, so what? The balance problem comes in when the design decisions needed to "solve" one or another of these problems interferes with things that people do in more normal contexts. So a chanter ability that is perfectly reasonable with one becomes "overpowered" with six and gets neutered - impacting people who wouldn't run with a gimmick party. The net effect is that fun options get sacrificed at the altar of the balance gods, leaving a bunch of bland and interchangeable options. This is an active disease in MMOs, leaving the equivalent of various shades of off-white as the only colors.
  3. One of the advantages of the RPG renaissance is that we can see a lot of different idea in play. For example, in the roguelike TOME (which I like a lot, and yes it's difficult!) you have resource pools for melee (stamina) and spells (mana) that regenerate slowly in combat and quickly out of combat. Each of the many classes has a list of abilities, basically intermediate between the handful of melee and many spells of PoE. Repeat usage of abilities is metered by cooldowns, but they're also resource based. In PoE terms, all abilities are (sort of) per encounter, in the sense that you're drawing from a limited pool where recharge matters only in really extended battles and with the proper gear. If there were two spell pools (instant and total) similar to that of health, you could dispense with the limited number of spells and replace them with a limited resource pool, and when the large pool was drained you'd need to rest. You could even set up a parallel system for melee and replace those per encounter (etc.) abilities with ones drawing from a two tier resource. The point is that there are a lot of paths that achieve similar ends that lead to more dynamic and interesting game play.
  4. This was the first game of this type made since DA:O. The reason it's not used in newer games is because we've had one representative in the genre for five years. D:AO used a mana system that was effectively per encounter. The optimal way to play the game was to cast storm of vengeance, mop up the extras, and wait for mana to recharge. That's more tedious, not less. If all the fights in the game except bosses are repetitive just play on easy mode until you get to bosses. That will also trivialize many fights. The purposes of a system isn't to make the game easy, it's to make it challenging but doable. If you don't like the challenge, then lower the challenge level. The lesser fights aren't some aberration of good design, they are the game. The game is about fighting through dungeons. When they erred, it was normally that the fights needed more variation: that's a level design problem, not a system design one. And the game is built on using limited resources. That's why there's health as well as endurance. That's why there are resting bonuses and four different types of consumable item. Daily abilities are only one reflection of this. Some classes have more, some classes have less. But strategic planning is a core feature. Your final argument is incredibly reductive. Most of the status effects noticeably change gameplay beyond stats: blind - makes you bad at attacking and vulnerable. charmed - makes a character switch sides and autoattack slowly. distracted - less engagement makes you lose some control over the field. dominated - switches sides and lets you use enemy abilities, which allows you to blow through their best ones. flanked - opens enemies up for damage if they're surrounded. frightened - characters run away. hobbled - slows your character way down. maimed - means this character is about to die for good. paralyzed - character can't do anything. prone - character was pushed on the ground. stuck - character can't move but can attack nearby people. That's 11 unique afflictions without looking at stats, and stats do make a difference. Confused, petrified, sickened, terrified, and weakened have significantly different effects in practice. The only two I would change are dazed and confused. Dazed could do with a bit more differentiation, and confused should be more like beserk in BG where the enemy attacks whoever's near it. (And that list didn't even include expose wounds and combusting wounds). Having different spells to cure and prevent them become a matter of tactics. If you know an enemy paralyzes and charms your party, which is more important to protect against in the limited time you have before the first attack? Essentially you want to turn the priest from a character with 20 to 30 valid actions into a character with 10, drastically reducing the complexity of the game and therefore the required thinking. I think that the health / endurance mechanism is brilliant, and gives real incentives to periodically rest. That's a great example of good organic design: you stop when you have a reason to, e.g. your party got beaten up. Looking over all of the classes, only 3 have the "use resources until rest" mechanic. So it's entirely possible to have characters in a game like this, balanced just fine thank you, without making them stop every third time that they do something interesting. I'd also note that the game restricts how many spells you have at any given time too - and it works fine - so maybe the dozens of spells at your fingertips aren't really key. I just don't see a reason why wizards and druids can't operate in a manner similar to how chanters and ciphers work. Now if the spells are too powerful if you can chain cast them, that's an argument for a different spell design - slower, less reliable, or weaker. Slight variations on spells aren't exactly the same, of course, but notice that priests get all the spells anyhow, and it's just a matter of a bunch of different icons doing the same thing. You can keep the various status effects while having a cure spell that just gets more powerful, just as you can have a heal spell that gets more powerful without needing cure light, medium, heavy wound spells. That's the sort of thing that you do in (effectively per encounter) resource systems. As someone who started out with 3 little d&d books and who goes back a long ways in computer games, it's not that I can't do some of these things; it's that I've just seen better solutions. And this appears to be a case of having people who've cracked the game and are on their fifth play-through trying to add artificial difficulty for spice. Once you've cracked the game, however, you've cracked it - sorry - and you're not going to make it hard with these sorts of changes, e.g. removing per encounter spells. And if that's the way that the game design goes, maybe we don't need to deal with so many taking-out-the-garbage trash encounters, so that not having per-enc things doesn't matter as much.
  5. Basically, anything even slightly different from Icewind Dale and Baldurs Gate is a bridge too far for some.
  6. Thanks for telling us what we find tedious and how most of us play the game The ability to roleplay a wizard with lots and lots of spells which are useful in all sorts of situations is a design goal of this game, and part of the fantasy that it's trying to evoke. What you're saying is that fantasy can't or shouldn't be achieved in a computer roleplaying game, which is preposterous. There is a reason why this system is basically never used in newer games - and, no, it isn't because they're dumbed down. The cipher class is a counter-example: very much in the fantasy domain, no, and very popular? I suppose there are people who enjoy repetitive trash fights, but I've always viewed them as something that I put up with rather than something that I enjoy. By contrast, the well-designed main battles are the ones that I remember and like. Per encounter spells are irrelevant for the big fights and just speed up the trivial ones; I don't see keeping slow trash clearing as a core design goal. In terms of spells, would it really hurt if priests had one heal spell instead of restore light, medium, heavy endurance? If they could remove more conditions with the same spell as they leveled up, as opposed to getting half a dozen different remove condition spells? Looking through the lists, there are numerous barely different conditions and spells that could effortlessly be merged for the other classes too. That's pretty much the difference between the few and many spell schools that I'm discussing.
  7. My quarrel with it is that it's never been a good system, period. You can trivialize trash encounters with spells, and the only balancer is making it tedious to do so. Furthermore, the reason why most people complain isn't the set-piece battles - which are designed around everyone doing everything. It's the fact that you have to slog through a bunch of filler fights, not using the tools to make them quick, because it's annoying. Having played plenty of other games, there is no particular reason to keep this approach. You can have a smaller tool-set that's still perfectly enjoyable - ciphers and chanters in this game manage to have interesting tactical choices without dozens of things or without having to stop and rest. In reality, most of us pick a subset of the laundry list of spells and just use those as standard tools. Six spells to cure six different conditions isn't more tactical, or better, than a single cure 'em all spell. And you can do this without dumbing the game down.
  8. Vancian spellcasting was a terrible idea from the beginning, and the sooner it goes away the better. It ends up rewarding metagaming; but the worst part is that you end up not using your spells because you're saving them for emergencies. So casters end up being crappy ranged damage dealers that you uncork for large battles. Instead of a limited number of specialized and overpowered spells, better to have balanced abilities that you can use indefinitely.
  9. If you can't be bothered to spend 15 minutes in game trying to figure things out, I suppose. Given that, Bejeweled might be a challenge.
  10. I actually hope that they start with either low or mid-level characters (think Baldurs Gate 2). High level characters, in every one of these games, tend to be massively imbalanced and finicky to run (basically, your wall of powers-o-death against equivalent ones for your foes.) The most interesting part of the game is where you have some powerful abilities but not overwhelming ones. To be truthful, my main hope is that they ditch the Vancian spells completely. Modern games have moved away from lists of hundreds of abilities with hot keys to a mode where you have a modest number of interesting choices, and it works very well for game play. It also makes things like balancing far less painful, as you don't have to anticipate so many broken combinations. The machinery is already there.
  11. Torment made a real impression on me; it was genuinely different from any other game released at the time. It certainly had its problems (the combat system is awful, for example); but so what? There are games that really open up the genre and it's one of a small number of those. As for the OP: obvious troll is trolling. I'm surprised that they didn't add something about all of the people in the forum smelling funny.
  12. I think that chasing the crowd that will never be satisfied, and who will always complain about the game being too easy, is a fools errand. It's a computer game. Once you figure out the system you'll find it trivial, full stop, because unlike a real human opponent it has a fixed algorithm. Rather than giving some people a couple of hours until they crack the new system and proclaim it boring, I'd much rather see them designing new content and on working to expand (not shrink) the audience. I would like to see more encounters that make me think, but too often the "solutions" amount to creating busy work and tedium.
  13. Rather than scoring gotcha points on some old argument, it's more interesting to me to look at the numbers globally. It looks as if 500 K - 1 million in sales is about the range for well-executed games of this genre, which is about 10 times smaller than the Skyrim et al. audience. That's good news for us, because it means that there is an audience for games of this sort. But it also means that there is a real limit - the market doesn't support 100 million dollar game budgets. Ironically, the people complaining that PoE wasn't hardcore enough probably don't realize that the game would have sold more copies if it was less "hardcore", not more. We have plenty of data at this point, and it tells you exactly what you would have predicted: mass appeal games have mass appeal, and popular features are popular.
  14. Do we really still need to remind people that the backer NPCs 1) funded the game and 2) are extremely easy not to interact with?
  15. There has always been a cadre of players who are very determined to stomp out any innovation in RPGs. In this game resting is basically just a time sink, so the only difference between per encounter and per rest is whether you give people incentives to waste their time mechanically running back and forth from A to B. I've never liked the spell per day limits in these games. They are so restrictive that they always end up getting bypassed, and they tend to lead unfortunate places in balancing (e.g. spells are overpowered to compensate for being rare.) We now have a lot of games where we can see what happens when players get to regenerate all of their resources between encounters - and the world doesn't end. You do spend a lot less time sneaking around the rather arbitrary scarcity rules and more time actually playing the game. The true difficulty is always the encounters that you might lose even if you have all of your resources, and if the trash encounters are trivial time wasters the game is better off not having them. I'll take one set-piece that makes me think over 10 rote exercises, and per encounter spells don't impact the main events at all and therefore don't really impact true difficulty in my book.
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