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Sylvius the Mad

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Posts posted by Sylvius the Mad

  1. It's a non-chioce Sylvius. A yes/no is technically a choice, do it or don't do it, experience content or don't, play the game or don't... its a choice but its a horribly ****ty boring choice thats as goddamn basic as it gets. repairing equipment ISN'T some crazy resource management that adds heavy choices into the game. It's eating every day. Sure you can decide 'not' to eat every day if you want, but your going to have to at some point if you plan to keep doing... stuff. It's not really much of a choice.

    It's not whether you eat, but what you eat - or in times of scarcity, who gets to eat - that makes the choice interesting.


    If the objective of the system was to consume resources to prevent excessive late-game wealth, then presumably at some point a choice would have to be made whether to maintain an item or whether to spend the money in other ways. Moreover, a character who is especially fastidious would always maintain his items, and thus deprive himself of resources, perhaps unnecessarily.


    Is this an optimistic forecast? Yes, it is. But item degredation is a mechanic with good roleplaying potential (just like inventory management), and I hate to see those simply discarded because someone decides they're not "fun" enough.

    • Like 1

    The only narrative that matters is the one that we create.  The story told in given playthrough is written collaboratively by player and the game's designers working together.


    The suggestion that flexibility detracts from the narrative is nonsensical.

    Could you please clarify what "flexibility" you're referring to? Because both those for and against explicitly defined backgrounds can make an argument that their option is the self-evidently more flexible one. "An undefined background is more flexible, because it allows the player to fill in the gaps with their imagination instead of relying on the designer's predefined options", or "a defined background is more flexible, because it allows far more organic interactions with the world's NPCs instead of merely leaving all PCs generic adventurers of no known background."


    I'm referring to the player's freedom to play the character he prefers. Whether it be through defining the character himself (a blank slate opr mysterious stranger PC works for this), or from choosing from among a range of available backgrounds, giving the player more freedom does not ever restrict the narrative.


    In the poll, we were choosing only whether the player chould have control over things, not whether we prefer that over some alternative. Yes, a selection of pre-defined backgrounds is more restrictive than a completely open background the player can define himself, but that wasn't the dichotomy presented. No dichotomy was presented.


    My first choice is to have the PC's background left entirely to the player to define as he sees fit. My second choice is to have a broad selection of pre-written backgrounds from which the PC can choose. My last choice is a single pre-written background for all PCs.

    • Like 2
  3. * Removing durability as a mechanic on items.



    Frankly, those peope who perceive maintenance as uninteresting or unenjoyable gameplay are crazy people.  It's another opportunity to make decisions about how to deploy your available resources.  In-character decision-making is basically what roleplaying is.  It's like those people who don't enjoy inventory management.  What is up with those people?


    I, for one, will absolutely be troubled by an excess of wealth in the late game.

    • Like 2
  4. The only problem with the glut of quests at the beginning of BG2 was that they were so obviously unrelated.


    BG2's overall linearity has a significant cost.  Because the player (and PC) know what the main objective is so early in the game, all of the side-quests suddenly look like side-quests.  You need to do them to raise money, but they don't actually have anything to do with the main villain.


    Contrast that with BG, where there are a bunch of quests scattered about the countryside, from Beregost to Nashkel and beyond, and there's no real way to tell whether they're related until after the fact.  Bassilus or Brage might have something to do with the iron shortage.  You don't know that until you actually start completeing plot-relevant quests.  And since it's not clear in advance which quests are plot-relevant, they are all more interesting as a result.


    BG2's approach reminds me of how school children are often taught mathematics.  They're told math is important and useful and that they'll need it later.  That's a great way to make learning math a chore rather than an adventure, and BG2's quest distribution does much the same thing.


    Instead, though, if quests are merely presented as being something that is fun and possible, and just imagine what you can do with it, that makes the process more engaging.  That the quests actually lead to something is good, but it's not the only reason you're doing them.  You're doing them all, eager to discover where they lead.


    BG2's concentration of quests in Athkatla is only a problem because of the overall design of the rest of BG2.

    • Like 5
  5. I have no problem with wizards using swords or maces, but I do have a problem if this is in service of an attempt to make a munchkin approved superclass.  They should have to buy the martial training out of their skill or feat allotment and thus compromise their ultimate arcane ability.

    I completely agree with this.


    I love to give my mage a mace to bash in the head of anyone who gets too close, but he should have to pay for that ability.  But that also shouldn't cripple him.  While some mages might prefer abjuration magic to deal with melee attackers, my mage could eschew abjuration and learn the mace instead.

    • Like 1
  6. As long as you can afford everything you want by the end then I don't really care what they do. DA/ME (after the first one) were annoying as **** in that regard.

    I don't think we should necessarily be able to buy "everything" we want by the end of the game. If money is more scarce, or prices are higher, then we'll have to choose among several similarly attractive options, but be unable to buy them all.


    That's what I'd like.


    I'd also like some game not to use an anachronistic decimal currency. Why not have 20 coppers per silver, and 15 silvers per gold, or something other than the horribly contrived 10/10/10 we see everywhere now?

    • Like 3
  7. I think we've said this before, but the only things we're likely to scale with player level are crit-path special encounters and even then, only within a range of levels. E.g. take a boss like Sherincal in IWD2. Maybe you'll encounter her at 5th level, but it's possible you could encounter her at 8th level. If 5th-8th is the most common range, we'd scale around that, but if you encounter her sub-5th level, you'll have to deal with the difference. If you encounter her at 9th or 10th by some x-treme XP mining, it will be a little easier for you.


    The reason to scale the crit path special encounters is to allow for the fact that not everyone wants to do a lot of side content. Some people want to (largely) stick to the crit path with minimal side quests.


    When it comes to the optional/side content, there won't be any scaling at all. Rats in the cellar will still be rats and may explode from your mere presence and the dragon Chrysophylax will probably burn you to ashes if you mosey up to his lair at 3rd level.

    I'll be content with this design if it's not obvious which content is crit-path and which content is optional.

  8. Would you like an AI that can be turned completely off, has adjustable variables(like who the character attacks, if they will use spells or abilities on their won, when they will use potions, for example), and is always superseded by player commands?

    Yes. In fact, if the AI was always superceded by player commands, I don't think I would ever need to disable the AI. I would very much like the AI to make decisions whenever I'm not doing it. Perhaps let me re-enable the AI as a queued item, so I'll give a character a series of instructions, the last of which is "make your own decisions". If I don't add that instruction, puppet mode would continue and the character would just stand still and wait.

  9. The party members should do exactly what I tell them. The only time their AI should do anything at all is when I've given them no instruction. So, if I tell my Fighter to hit something, he should keep hitting it until it is dead, and then, if I don't give him another instruction, he should select a new target on his own.


    NWN2's detailed AI settings were good, but they had the unfortunate habit of taking over even when I'd given that character a specific instruction. And while I could have disabled the AI by enabling puppet mode, that would prevent the character from then doing the next thing when that first task was complete.


    I'd like to see the AI make decisions, but only when making a decision doesn't undo a decision I have already made. This would also mean that I would need to have some means to tell a character to stand still and do nothing (DAO allowed this simply by keeping the character selected and not teling him to do anything).

    • Like 3
  10. If we design a system that rewards resting every 5', the gamer isn't at fault for using it.

    But he also has no right to complain about it. If he doesn't like it, he could not use it.


    Yes, it's not his fault the feature is available, but the availability of a feature doesn't make its use mandatory.

    If we design a system that rewards savescumming, we (the designers) are the ones to blame.

    There's no need to assign blame for that. Personally, I like having that option available.

    • Like 2
  11. Some other questions based on this logic:

    Whilst you practice and grow stronger, level scaling would imply that the "mobs" are training too. That they learn new things and that they are out in the world getting stronger by numbers, gear, or whatever.

    This explanation never makes any sense. The population of bandits in the world is of roughly constant level. Yes, any individual bandit might get stronger, but some of them die or retire, and new bandits start their careers. In the aggregate, bandits shouldn't grow stronger over time.

  12. 4E, a system people didn't like.

    Do you think that miss effects on dailies were one of the things that people didn't like? I don't think that's accurate.

    I didn't claim it was. But you appealed to 4E adopting it as evidence that players preferred it, but given the generally negative reaction to much of 4E, we know that 4E's use of a feature is not evidence that players like that feature.

    As Homalakh and I have already stated, what players "should" understand and what they actually understand are not the same thing. If people actually understood probability, casinos would shut their doors tomorrow.

    This assumes that people gamble to win, rather than simply for fun. The lyrics to Motörhead's Ace of Spades offer a quite succinct defense of gambling as recreation, even when the gambler has full knowledge of the odds.

  13. All-or-nothing results tend to produce large spikes in conflict resolution. On the extreme end, you have traditional AD&D spells like Disintegrate that either annihilate the target completely or... do nothing. More typically you have the standard to-hit roll that either results in normal damage or absolutely nothing. Because the gulf between success and failure results is so large, random chance has a very large impact how the conflict works out. This system normalizes the results. Our goal is to make your choice of tactic ultimately more important than the results of the die roll (though the die rolls still matter). If we're only implementing mechanics that are proven to be fun in RPGs, I'm not sure why we're talking about D&D's THAC0/BAB system. Players generally dislike the all-or-nothing results of those mechanics, which is why you saw a move away from it in 4E.

    4E, a system people didn't like.


    First, the tactics were always important as they impacted the probabilities. The outcomes weren't always predictable, but that's a positive feature of the RNG, not a drawback. As long as the mechanics are understood by the players, they should know the range of possible outcomes and not be surprised at all when the outcome falls within that range.


    But the randomness makes for better story-telling. One of my favourite gaming moments arose from encountering the Demonknight at the end of Durlag's Tower when I stumbled into the room without having rested and was low on spells. With a 4 mage party, I needed spells, so I didn't have many tactical options. In desperation, I had Viconia cast Hold Monster at the Demonknight, knowing the spell would almost certainly be resisted.


    It wasn't. I Held the Demonknight, and promptly pincushioned it to death with arrow and dart attacks. That was amazing, and it was amazing because it was extremely unlikely to work.


    Having wide ranges of possible outcomes (randomness) allows for high-risk high-reward tactics to succeed, albeit rarely. Normalising the outcomes, thought, eliminates high-risk tactics by causing them always to fail. If my enemy cannot miss, then he cannot miss three times in a row when I only have 1 hp left, but if he can miss then that outcome remains possible, and encounters remain exciting right up until the moment when I succeed or fail.


    Normalising the outcomes makes combat less exciting.

    I think you're overestimating the fun of dodging and missing. I don't think most players find it particularly enjoyable, and it's exacerbated/amplified in games like the new XCOM where players are constantly in stunned disbelief at the RNG.

    Players can only be confused by the system if they don't understand it. Document the mechanics, and this problem goes away.

    • Like 10
  14. ^^^^

    Mmm, not exactly. I had more in mind something complementary to the PC's class and persona. So if you take a Rogue, the city refugee becomes a duelist fighter rather than a thuggish burglar. But Osvir's suggestion also makes sense; the type of character you meet can vary depending on when you meet him or her. I just think it would add replay value to not always meet exactly the same cast of characters.

    If there's flexibility in the character's class, the player should be able to choose the class explicitly.


    But I also like the idea of companions not collected continuing on to do their quests themselves.

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