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Typed Pillars of Eternity into Google News for the heck of it and found this great preview. These guys liked the beta, and they voice a lot of the same concerns we have. On the lack of combat XP (argue about it here, not in this thread): This debate already has a thread so I'm not going to touch the quote, just wanted to share their view. On pause-and-play vs. turn-based battles: This point deserves some serious debate--arguably more so than the XP thread. Granted, selection circles no longer overlap, but that hardly dilutes the argument. For my part, I agree that turn-based combat would solve the issue. I'd be fine with a well-implemented system, so don't count me among the "purist" backers; fun trumps purity any day. However, realtime-with-pause can work. The missing ingredient is AI scripts. Imagine playing an IE game without any basic scripts whatsoever, and clearing out a mob of baddies. Suddenly the micromanagement involved becomes more akin to the PoE beta. Realtime-witth-pause worked in the IE games because you could delegate no-brainer behavior, such as having your ranged character keep their distance or having a barbarian auto-engage their nearest enemy. Going up against a bunch of goblins requried a lot fewer clicks than tactically taking down a dragon. That's how it should be. Without any sort of scripting, I think I'll be spending more time in pause mode than out of it, and will miss the balanced flow of IE-era battles.
Since the Degenerate Gameplay thread is starting to... degenerate, I thought I'd raise one substantial point that came up in it. For those who missed the fun, background. It's been established that P:E will only have quest XP, rather than combat XP (à la Infinity Engine) or XP for doing things (à la KOTOR1/2). One substantive objection has been raised about this: "Assuming that combat consumes resources and stealth/non-combat doesn't, won't this create a systemic incentive for avoiding combat?" The answer to that objection is "Yes, it does," of course. And that would be bad, not to mention contrary to Josh Sawyer's explicitly stated design goal of crafting a system that does not systematically favor any approach over others. Which is why I think the problem should be addressed. For example, you could have minor loot drops that would roughly compensate for typical resources used to win that combat. Or you could impose resource costs on stealth and other non-combat activities. Here's a sketch for a stealth system with resource costs, as an example of how it could be done. 1 Moving while stealthed uses stamina. It regenerates when standing still. 2 Any character can enter stealth mode. 3 Any stealthed character has a chance of being spotted. 4 Heavy armor makes you easier to spot and increases the stamina cost. 5 Being a rogue or adding points to your sneak skill will make you harder to spot and will reduce the stamina cost of stealth. 6 Consumables exist to temporarily boost your sneak skill. These are used up when consumed. 7 Magic exists to temporarily boost your stealth. These take up your spell-caster's spell-casting capability. 8 Sneak buffs are incompatible with combat buffs. Use one, lose the other. Consequence: a party who decides to sneak through an enemy-infested area will have to do it pretty carefully. They'll trade off combat spells for stealth spells (7), have to acquire and use sneak buffs (6), forego combat buffs , and have to use light rather than heavy armor (4). Since they're avoiding combat, the cost of failure is very high -- if they're spotted (3), they'll very likely be in a tactically poor position, low on stamina (1), lightly armored (4), and un-buffed for combat . If implemented this way, would stealth still sound like the systemically favored way to solve problems? If so, why? Would this kind of system be fun to play? Why or why not? Any other ideas? Discuss.