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Sylvius the Mad

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Posts posted by Sylvius the Mad

  1. You need to remember that you aren't just fighting humanoids in the game.

    When an ogre slams that mace on your head you would rather use a large shield to absorb the damage than a buckler, not to mention something bigger like a dragon.

    But a buckler isn't supposed to absorb the damage. A buckler deflects the blow, and because it's so small and light it's possible for the user to move it very precisely to achieve that end. Against the Ogre with the mace, that should still work (though I could also imagine a strength requirements to deflect blows beyond a certain level of force). And for things like dragon attacks, I'd suggest making those sorts of attacks un-deflectable, so a buckler would be worthless. But if your dex-based character is getting stepped on by a dragon, you have bigger problems than equipment selection.

  2. This is vital. In any party-based game, the party should be able to have as its spokesperson the party-member best suited to the role. Forcing the PC to do all the talking is a terrible idea.


    I recall during DAO's long development I asked BioWare if they were going to allow us to use any party member as party spokesperson, and they actually denied that any of their games had ever done that. Of course, they were wrong - the option is actually documented in the Baldur's Gate manual, and exists unchanged in BG2. But David Gaider, who wrote much of BG2, had never known about it.


    Furthermore, forcing the PC to act as party spokesperson often results in the game treating him like he's the de facto party leader, which also shouldn't be mandatory. And that can result in the game's mechanics treating the PC differently (skill points, death, etc). And if the game assumes he's the leader, often he's not allowed to be in any party position but the front, which limits what sorts of tactical formations are available.


    I very much hope that any party member can act as party spokesperson. I very much hope that any party member can be the one speakig the player-selected dialogue.


    Yeah, the confusion from backers over what "Wasteland" meant... too many heard "grandfather of Fallout" and through Fallout 3.


    Boy, the headaches those conversations caused....

    I wasn't sure I was going to support Wasteland 2, concerned that it would be too modernised, but then I visited the Kickstarter page and saw they'd put up the original Wasteland box cover art. The nostalgia hit me like a tsunami and I immediately gave them all my money.

  4. I really don't like it when a game's rules in combat and out of combat operate fundamentally differently. This manifests in movement rates, health and mana regeneration rates, the ability to use certain kinds of abilities - all because the game has decided that combat is or isn't taking place.


    Aside from straining credulity, this can lead to some strange situations in party-based games where one party member is nowhere near an enemy, and yet because some party member is near an enemy the entire party is restricted in what they can do or even how the rules governing their reality function.


    Please don't do that. I'd like to see very little mechanical difference between combat and non-combat situations.

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  5. In Baldur's Gate 1 it was rare to pick up a level 1 companion.


    Imoen, Khalid and Jaheira.


    The rest were either level 2 or somewhat scaled depending on when you recruited them.

    That's a good point, and a point in favour of not granting companions free XP just to match the PC.


    The companions don't all start at level 1. Even if they're not scaled, simply having higher level companions encounter the PC as he moves farther from the starting location neatly solves the level 1 companion problem, but without straining credulity.


    That said, I really don't like it when companions have abilities pre-assigned. I like to do that myself in all cases.

  6. BG2 had a tutorial? I play that game at least once a year, and I don't remember that. Not saying you're wrong though. Is it right at the start of Chateau Irenicus? I should really do a BG2ToBSCS playthrough in honor of this project. Just don't have the time right now.

    Its a separate option when you start a new game. and it treats you like you know absolutely nothing.

    Yes. Xan shows you around.

  7. Basically, will agree with the notion that the choice of rule system for your game can make it easier on BOTH the players to identify with the story elements you're trying to convey with those rules, and the designers who have to try and put it all together. Nothing screams "poorly thought-out mechanics" like artificial limits and arbitrary barriers being thrown up all the time that, at best, do nothing to positively reinforce the story elements that are being portrayed, or, at worst, actively tear down the story your writers have created. This is what frustrates me so much about Bioware these days. The game, while still fun enough, simply ooze with such contradictions, to the detriment of the very story they're trying to tell.


    I hate pointless/sensless artificial limitations. But level cap really isn't one of them.

    reaching the level cap is typically a sign of a poorly paced game though.

    But if the companions don't gain XP unless they're travelling with you, then a higher cap would mean that some characters could never reach it.


    And, as I've been telling BioWare for years, pacing isn't the designers' job. Pacing is the player's job.

  8. It doesn't eliminate the need at all. The problem with adding a level 1 companion when you're level 8 is that they die as soon as a level 8 enemy sneezes in their general direction. If they don't die instantly, they certainly don't contribute meaningfully, which means that you're effectively down a party member before the combat even starts. If the combat is balanced to be challenging, then you can only level up under-leveled companions by doing trivial content (aka grinding).

    Not all of the combat encounters can be challenging without making the game world feel contrived. If all of the encounters are challenging, then either the game is extremely linear, or all of the content is scaled to your level. Neither of those is okay.


    As such, there will usually be content that is beneath you, and there will usually be content that is beyond you. All you need do when you first switch to that new level 1 companion is avoid the more challenging content.


    Moreover, if you switch regularly, this problem never occurs, as characters that are only slightly behind you quickly catch up.

    Grinding trivial content is not fun, and a complete waste of my limited gaming time.

    I would agree. No one is advocating grinding. grinding consists of fighting trivial encounters for their own sake. Why would anyone do that? But in an unscaled game, there often exist trivial encounters that are worth facing for other (quest-related) reasons.

    I understand that some find auto-leveled companions to be un-realistic. I'm not sure why, as surely it is more realistic to assume that they have an existance seperate from your own - and thus continue training, practicing, and generally getting experience in their class while you're gone - as opposed to assuming that they have no life without you and thus spend your time apart just twiddling their thumbs.

    If they were subject to the same risks associated with gaining XP as the PC is, that would be fine. But they're not. They gain XP entirely risk-free. They never find loot. They never complete quests. What are they doing? And why isn't that risk-free XP available to the PC?

    But in any case, given the choice between adding a feature that occasionally slightly breaks immersion for some people, and requiring all those that chose to switch companions - or chose to explore the game's freedom and thus only come across a companion late in the game - to be saddled with wasting their time by leveling up companions against trivial content, or negatively affecting all players by balancing the combat around having a lvl 1 companion in the group, the optimum choice is obvious. It may be a Hobson's Choice, but occasional minor immersion breaking of some is better than wasting the time of many or negatively affecting all.

    Way to downplay the other side's issues. Occasional. Slightly. Why do you think that's true?

  9. 2. A separate-button tutorial. While this option makes perfect sense, I don't like it aesthetically. It just screams HEY WE'RE PLAYING A GAME HERE and breaks my immersion.

    I don't think many players are immersed yet when they're still at the main menu.


    I agree this would be odd if it were accessible from an in-game menu. I don't think that is what's being suggested, though. I'm thinking more of a stand-alone tutorial like in the Total War games.

  10. To be fair, my sense of the difficulty of the IE games might be tainted by having re-played them quite a few times and thus not really remembering how hard they were the first.

    In BG1, especially, how difficult those "wandering monsters" were depended very much on when you met them. If you travelled east out of Beregost early in the game, the Vampiric Wolves there would almost certainly kill you. Similarly, heading south from Candlekeep rather than staying on the road led you to Droth the Ogre Mage. Other enemies that could be reached early in the game that would be very difficult for a low-level party to defeat included Ankhegs and Sirens.

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