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Why did obsidian make the changes to the casting and rest system?


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They made the changes because they make the game more fun to play. Per encounter spellcasting allows them to balance each encounter for you having access to your full repertoire. I never really understood why people preferred the vancian system, because essentially you could just turn every fight into easy mode if you decided to unload your entire repertoire of spells. And there's nothing really preventing you from doing this literally every fight. Because the only tax on this behavior was a few loading screens between you and buying some camping supplies (and sometimes not even that, since you can usually find them laying around).

 

What makes the old system worse though is that late-game you're likely to just coast through every fight with normal attacks, because why spend spells on an encounter you can easily win without them? Those encounters were just a total waste of time. There was nothing engaging about them, you weren't being challenged to think much at all. With the new system, every fight is it's own tactical puzzle. Every fight actually necessitates some thinking on your part.

 

Another thing making all of the abilities per encounter does is free up the companion AI system. Could you imagine how infuriating setting up smart AI for your companions would be with per rest spells? The companion AI can't understand nuance, they'll just spam your spells regardless of whether or not you actually need them to win the fight. That means you could rely less on companion AI to avoid the pause and play micromanagement that Pillars of Eternity 2 has so successfully relieved from the genre without infringing on the depth of the systems, a much more intelligent approach than what other modern RPGs have done to get away from it.

 

All of this is not to say I'm entirely satisfied with Pillars of Eternity II's resting system (it's honestly kind of pointless), but the overall experience is still a vast upgrade from POE1 in most respects.

 

PS: Something important to realize is that Obsidian hasn't removed resource management from the game, they've just moved it from a macro level to a micro level. Spamming all of your spells right at the beginning of the fight isn't a good idea. You need to save them for the most opportune moment so that the effects can make the most impact. If you do throw them out early in the fight, then you won't have them at a later point when they would be most useful. This is especially true as it pertains to spell ranks. Because sure, you could use all your rank 2 priest spells on buffs or damage, but you're going to be regretting it if you don't have suppress affliction up afterwards. To be honest, this is the reason I dislike empowers, because it lets you play around such mistakes. If anything eliminates resource management from Pillars 2, it's the last vestiges of the per rest mechanics.

Edited by Novem
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They made the changes because they make the game more fun to play. Per encounter spellcasting allows them to balance each encounter for you having access to your full repertoire. I never really understood why people preferred the vancian system, because essentially you could just turn every fight into easy mode if you decided to unload your entire repertoire of spells. And there's nothing really preventing you from doing this literally every fight. Because the only tax on this behavior was a few loading screens between you and buying some camping supplies (and sometimes not even that, since you can usually find them laying around).

 

 

You can balance the same way for Vancian too. Leave it up to the player to figure out the solution with the resources they maintained up to that point - whatever they are. Some fights will feel super hard because of that decision - others super easy - but that's on the management of resources and the player's ability to utilize them. And so far as 'you can blow everything on every fight and just rest', we've been through that. You absolutely *can* but that's not a condemnation of a the system so much as A) a choice you're making while playing and B) completely unrealistic and an incredibly gamey solution for an rpg. If you do it and hate the easiness - that's a choice you made and you're entirely in control of your buy in and the fun you're having as a result and can just as simply stop doing it and press ahead. There's no limit on the save unless you're playing Trial by Iron. In which case resting all the time as a source of protection may be a feature more than a problem, but once again that's personal in scope and you get to control it.

 

What makes the old system worse though is that late-game you're likely to just coast through every fight with normal attacks, because why spend spells on an encounter you can easily win without them? Those encounters were just a total waste of time. There was nothing engaging about them, you weren't being challenged to think much at all. With the new system, every fight is it's own tactical puzzle. Every fight actually necessitates some thinking on your part.

 

Does it? Because I found plenty of the late game fights still pretty much followed the idea of 'slam some debuffs' and then hack them down. The martial characters just got something of a benefit in now having more special abilities to hack them down with, as opposed to just auto attack but it doesn't really change the approach. Having all your resources all the time does not make things more tactical. It doesn't always make it less, but it certainly doesn't force many more additional opportunity cost decisions. At least not more than there already were which added up to 'is it better to cast/activate this spell or ability now? Or will there be a more opportune time approaching?'. All that happened is the timeframe for 'next opportune moment' shorted to include only this fight.

 

Another thing making all of the abilities per encounter does is free up the companion AI system. Could you imagine how infuriating setting up smart AI for your companions would be with per rest spells? The companion AI can't understand nuance, they'll just spam your spells regardless of whether or not you actually need them to win the fight. That means you could rely less on companion AI to avoid the pause and play micromanagement that Pillars of Eternity 2 has so successfully relieved from the genre without infringing on the depth of the systems, a much more intelligent approach than what other modern RPGs have done to get away from it.

 

It probably got missed but I did bring this ups as a point of difference in preference in this thread, I believe, but I think this is sortof a huge point and might inspire a lot of the differences of opinion. I, personally, *never* use the ai. I don't care how smart it gets, setting the ai to act a certain way is either going to make things even more boring or be incapable of handling things if tactical precision is required, so going per encounter is no great boon from anyone who has my outlook. So, I guess all I can say is what you saw as a painful cancer on the genre I saw as something that granted me a wide amount of control, with great tactical payoff, that more comparably emulated RPG's origins in wargaming vs just telling the game how to play itself. That you can turn it off *is* nice in that we can both be happy with it but I can say I disagree that the cost inherent in making the scripting easier for people wanting to script was necessarily worth it. I imagine those people may have enjoyed a greater amount of nuance be provided for their scripting but I assume too much there.

 

All of this is not to say I'm entirely satisfied with Pillars of Eternity II's resting system (it's honestly kind of pointless), but the overall experience is still a vast upgrade from POE1 in most respects.

 

All my bitching aside I can respect the overall opinion, even if I disagree with it. (EDIT: I came back to clarify I actually really like Deadfire and plan on replaying it several more times. I think it has far more to offer than say, Fallout 4, but on the point of the combat mechanics - even though I enjoy the multiclass versatility - I do miss the old on rest stuff as a point of personal preference. The new method isn't *bad* its just not as enjoyable as the old one was, so most of my arguing in this thread is just cuz)

I think if they didn't want rest to be as aimless (beyond a debuff remover/food buff container) they should have at least brought back some element of fatigue. Maybe just from your crew at sea even, and then give inn stay options for the entire crew so that you lavishing them might provide benefits to moral and such. Not sure, but there's things they may yet do. DLC and all.

 

PS: Something important to realize is that Obsidian hasn't removed resource management from the game, they've just moved it from a macro level to a micro level. Spamming all of your spells right at the beginning of the fight isn't a good idea. You need to save them for the most opportune moment so that the effects can make the most impact. If you do throw them out early in the fight, then you won't have them at a later point when they would be most useful. This is especially true as it pertains to spell ranks. Because sure, you could use all your rank 2 priest spells on buffs or damage, but you're going to be regretting it if you don't have suppress affliction up afterwards. To be honest, this is the reason I dislike empowers, because it lets you play around such mistakes. If anything eliminates resource management from Pillars 2, it's the last vestiges of the per rest mechanics.

I think you're a bit too forgiving and unfair here. In the first case it was almost never better to spam everything in a fight at the beginning in POE1 unless you slept between every fight, which as I said above is a failure on the player's part, not a system allowing you to control your progress. If you kept pressing ahead it usually lead to watching your lead fighter character's health plummet while your casters were helpless to help mitigate beyond trying to target their ranged damage to splash/strike enemies more helpfully in the hopes of killing the foe before dying. Which usually got you through the fight, tbf, but it made it last a while and get really dicey.

As to Deadfire - Buffing's almost never opportune, atm, because of how long it takes and how little there is need to mitigate long term damage beyond not dropping. (Something like an affliction happens more rarely - I should never say never - if you pump damage in the right place first) In that sort of system you run into the 5e D&D issue where healing is really only useful if you absolutely need to keep someone up (admittedly in 5e its pick someone up instead) and until then you should just slam debuffs on foes and then keep them going while spiking all your damage as quickly as possible. Preferably on enemy healers first but otherwise just damage all up front and constant. Because killing someone so that you don't drop and take a wound is all that really matters, there's no need to worry about anything else. I learned that on my first priest character when I realized dropping Fire rains or summoning Berath did far more too shorten fights than just focusing on buffing/curing my group.  Particularly late game (early game healing at the right time does matter a lot more but that diverges quickly). The only time that I can remember that wasn't the case was with mecha-ghidorah because of the length of that fight. So I ended up getting through that just with scrolls, healing potion, and auto attack against ghidorah proper and spiked down his allies which were actually far more annoying, really. I just let big man chase after potioned-up Aloth (poor Aloth)

Edited by Rheios
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I loathed per-rest spells in Pillars 1. They're impossible to balance in a game where we can just rest whenever we want and there's not much the game can do to stop them. Their balancing effect in D&D, such as it is, depends on the GM's willingness and ability to enforce strict pacing. In a video game, there's no GM to enforce it. So it works even less than in D&D, where it doesn't work very well to begin with. Thus, as you go up in levels in Pillars 1, the foremost tactical consideration becomes "how many spells from my casters am I willing to spend?". Spending enough lets you demolish encounters.

 

That being said, I think Deadfire's system lacks something as well. It is, in fact, too close to Pillars 1's pseudo-D&D setup. It's mostly the same spells, and interactions between them, but operating on a per-encounter basis. I think they should have gone further and changed it more.

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If I sound confrontational in the following post, that's not really my intention. I just prefer to avoid beating around the bush. I mean no offense and there is not a lick of sarcasm in this.

 

You can balance the same way for Vancian too. Leave it up to the player to figure out the solution with the resources they maintained up to that point - whatever they are.

 

No you can't, and conveniently you defeated your own argument in the very next sentence... The fact that there is variance at all is exactly the problem. Having some fights be extremely easy and other ones be extremely difficult (with no middle ground) is inherently bad design, and especially with Pillars particular rest mechanics it encourages player behaviors which actively make the game more boring to play (actively avoiding using their abilities in favor of much more uninteractive actions like clicking on the enemy and just waiting until they die chief among them). Not to mention that it encourages developers to place more encounters rather than being thoughtful with their placement and layout. Because if they don't make it a slog, then the resource conservation dynamic doesn't serve any more purpose than it does in a per-encounter system. If you aren't spamming your player with difficult encounters (IE making the game excessively tedious), then they'll have no cause to rest to begin with because they won't be using their resources.
 

You absolutely *can* but that's not a condemnation of a the system so much as A) a choice you're making while playing and B) completely unrealistic and an incredibly gamey solution for an rpg.

 

Are you seriously arguing that people won't actively make actively gamey choices... in a video game? And regardless, the player will just unload the second they face any difficulty, making any particular encounter laughably easy because they realize it's the only way to win. This is exactly how Pillars 1 works. Lose a fight? Unload every spell you have and you'll win in almost any fight in the game. You misunderstood my argument if think I was saying they would do this for every encounter, because that's not true, nor does it even matter. Regardless of whether they're doing it in just some encounters or all encounters, this behavior is still occurring and particularly makes boss fights into a joke. This is the end of a dungeon? The exit's right there? Ah I'll just unload everything and make this extremely important fight against some supposedly powerful enemy into one of the easiest fights in the game.

 

And this is ABSOLUTELY a condemnation of the system. This unintended difficulty variance makes it so that very few of the encounters are actually challenging the player to think in any significant terms. Either autoattack until you win, and on the off chance that doesn't work then use your spells until it ends. If you have enough left, keep going. Smash into something you can't defeat with your current repertoire? Just rest and it's easy because you can just smash them with all your spells again. Thus, there are very few fights which are actually a challenge, and the ones that are are only because you intentionally opt in to slogging through the combat instead of running back to civilization for supplies so you can smash them.

 

Luckily, Pillars 1 managed to counter this problem a bit by introducing per encounter stuff to most of the classes. That's what kept it fun, because in any given fight at least you're given something to do other than sit back and wait for things to either end or go so far up sh*t creek that you need to interfere. In the end though, it was only a rather basic half-measure. And also, after mid-game even the slogging consideration kind of isn't a thing anymore, because who needs to conserve anything when you have SEVEN FIREBALLS.

 

In which case resting all the time as a source of protection may be a feature more than a problem, but once again that's personal in scope and you get to control it.

 

That's a crappy feature if I ever heard of one. Especially in a game where your resting supplies are limited, forcing you to tediously run back to civilization every single time, fighting through endless waiting. In fact, I think you're kind of misreading the appeal of iron man modes in games if you think this is a feature rather than a problem to begin with. Iron man modes are for making every fight tense, but if you just end up permaresting so you can throw all of your spells at every fight, then the opposite occurs.

 

Because I found plenty of the late game fights still pretty much followed the idea of 'slam some debuffs' and then hack them down.

 

I beat Pillars 1 on veteran, twice, and both times what I described were my experience. Autoattack through most fights (maybe use a healing spell or two, and of course any per encounter stuff I have), run into something difficult, smash them with spell spam, rest, move on.

 

Having all your resources all the time does not make things more tactical.

 

It does actually. Because it adds another layer of tactical consideration to the game. In encounters where you don't want to use spells, then your only considerations are positioning and attacking. When you do have spells to use, then you need to think of avoiding interruptions, buffing casters for maximum effect on their attacks, grouping enemies together for AOEs, placing your allies for widespread buffing, etc. The difference is VERY clear. Especially because the average difficulty of encounters can be bumped up to coincide for the player's greater number of options to approach any given situation.

 

*companion AI stuff*

 

I don't have any specific points in your argument to address, instead I'll just say that the existence of companion AI frees up the player's attention more to allow them to introduce more depth to the individual characters without worrying that this will cause the player to need to pause more (slowing the pacing of combat to a crawl). Plus, if you aren't using the AI for basic actions, I honestly don't understand why. Like, obviously you're going to use your minor heal whenever a companion is about to die. This is an action you'll take literally hundreds of times throughout the game that takes 5-10 seconds to execute, plus however many extra seconds to make sure the AOE hits as many allies as possible. It's not a particularly involved or engaging process, especially because the reasoning is so basic and obvious (ally low health? heal them), the action itself is very straightforward, and it gets extremely repetitive when you do have to manage it. Cutting down on such tedious micromanagement frees you up to focus on all of the more interesting decisions you're making, like lining up the right spells with the right enemies, or using buffs/debuffs at the best times.

 

I didn't like using it at first either, but that's mostly because Pillars 2 does a TERRIBLE job in communicating to you how the AI system works. But setting it up to take care of some basic stuff (like having my fighter use knock down every few seconds, instead of me needing to pause and click just to issue this very basic order every couple of seconds) makes the game much more fun to play.

 

The companion AI doesn't reduce the nuance of the combat, it frees you up to focus on the stuff that is nuanced over the stuff that isn't. There's a difference between fun micromanagement for tactical payoff and routine actions you're going to perform just because they're obvious you need to do them. There are engaging decisions, and then there are chores.

 

I think if they didn't want rest to be as aimless (beyond a debuff remover/food buff container) they should have at least brought back some element of fatigue. Maybe just from your crew at sea even, and then give inn stay options for the entire crew so that you lavishing them might provide benefits to moral and such. Not sure, but there's things they may yet do. DLC and all.

 

As it is, I don't think the rest mechanics in Deadfire add anything to the game. You can rest after every fight rather easily so the injuries system is completely pointless. And as I've stated, empowers cut down on the in-encounter resource management by letting you get out of the punishment for blowing your spells before they were needed. I think if they want to do resting-like systems, they need to design them for the game Deadfire is. These per-rest mechanics they are currently using are built for a game like POE1, but POE2 isn't like POE1. They need to get more inventive or remove them from the game entirely. I mean, I know they don't exactly take anything away from the game either, but it just irks me as someone passionate about game design.
 

In the first case it was almost never better to spam everything in a fight at the beginning in POE1 unless you slept between every fight, which as I said above is a failure on the player's part, not a system allowing you to control your progress.

 

This is discounting the fact that most encounters in Pillars 1 aren't really all that difficult. It's really easy to conserve spells until you get to something that is hard, blow everything, rest, and then repeat the uninteractive way you were progressing before. The few times this isn't true (*cough*White March*cough*) are tedious slogs where you are FORCED to rest because the average encounter difficulty is pushed to ridiculous extremes.

 

As to Deadfire - Buffing's almost never opportune, atm, because of how long it takes and how little there is need to mitigate long term damage beyond not dropping.

 

This is only a problem once you learn to cheese the game, it's not reflective of the experience of the average player. I know for instance that I use buffs a LOT. I play on Veteran and I cannot count how many times I have been saved by Constitution and Perception buffs in particular.

 

*overall stuffs*

 

TLDR: Per encounter systems like in Pillars 2 make for more a more consistently engaging game by eliminating conservation behaviors that discourage the player from interacting with the game's systems and encourage behaviors which actively make the game less engaging.

Edited by Novem
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They made the changes because they make the game more fun to play. Per encounter spellcasting allows them to balance each encounter for you having access to your full repertoire. I never really understood why people preferred the vancian system, because essentially you could just turn every fight into easy mode if you decided to unload your entire repertoire of spells. And there's nothing really preventing you from doing this literally every fight. Because the only tax on this behavior was a few loading screens between you and buying some camping supplies (and sometimes not even that, since you can usually find them laying around).

 

 

As I've said before, there's no evidence this is true. There's no evidence that the game is easier to balance under the current system. There's plenty of evidence that this is exactly opposite.

 

Moreover -- balancing every fight to be the exact same size and same exact difficulty? Man, that sounds like a great way to design an open world 100 hour RPG.

 

The irony of course, is that in an *open-world* RPG, it's actually better to have a vancian system. The original Baldur's Gate achieved this without even trying hard. This is because players can tackle stuff above their level by resting a lot and brute-forcing a section -- if that's how they want to play. As well, even when over-leveled, players still feel the sting of hit point losses and spells spent. This is why the open world of a nearly 20-year-old game didn't require level scaling or any other crutches that Deadfire employs and worked.

Edited by cokane
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As I've said before, there's no evidence this is true. There's no evidence that the game is easier to balance under the current system.

 

It's literally true by default. Unless you are seriously suggesting that a designer will have a harder time balancing something when they have a better grasp on what tools the player has access to.

 

There's plenty of evidence that this is exactly opposite.

 

Where? (This should be good.)

 

Moreover -- balancing every fight to be the exact same size and same exact difficulty? Man, that sounds like a great way to design an open world 100 hour RPG.

 

But not every fight is the same difficulty. In fact, having control of the balancing makes it very easy to design some fights to be more difficult than others. And instead of in the vancian system where the encounters the designers want to be the hardest end up being the easiest, the hardest encounters are actually the hardest because you have no ability to abuse the game mechanics to roll over anything tough. And the easiest encounters are also not a pointless waste of your time that only call you to right click and wait.

 

The original Baldur's Gate achieved this without even trying hard.

 

Actually it didn't. BG isn't an open-world game. Leveled experiences are inherently linear, because if you try to actually explore you are punished for doing so. You are still funneled down the path that the designers intended because if you deviate from the course, you will just get instantly smashed. Just because you can walk into a place doesn't mean it is actually accessible, and moreover because BG isn't transparent about the difficulty of it's locations it ends up just being infuriating and tedious because the only way you can determine where you're supposed to go is by exercising logic in piecing together the developers intended path or throwing yourself against stuff that you aren't ready for. What's worse is that this can totally break your immersion, because if you get a quest that's apparently extremely urgent, but you aren't at the required level to actually complete it, then you just run around doing other things for a month and all of that urgency just turns into kind of a joke.

 

At best, BG is a fake open-world.

 

This is why the open world of a nearly 20-year-old game didn't require level scaling or any other crutches that Deadfire employs and worked.

 

Have you ever actually played Deadfire with level scaling on? You still aren't free to explore wherever you want to go. I'm playing on Veteran right now and I was level 13 before I was able to successfully complete the Yseyr quest. This is actually a problem I have with the game, the level scaling is deceptive. Content is clearly still only possible at the intended level. The difference between this and BG is that Deadfire actually keeps you informed as to where you're supposed to be, so instead of unnecessarily smashing your head into a wall repeatedly you can level up first. I wish there was a true level scaling option though, because I like when open worlds are actually open.

Edited by Novem
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As I've said before, there's no evidence this is true. There's no evidence that the game is easier to balance under the current system.

 

It's literally true by default. Unless you are seriously suggesting that a designer will have a harder time balancing something when they have a better grasp on what tools the player has access to.

 

 

No, it isn't. Deadfire's atrocious difficulty on launch shows that this isn't the case. Especially when contrasted against the difficulty at launch of the BG games as well as the original Pillars. None of those titles required the difficulty overhaul of Deadfire. This is especially damning because Deadfire had the advantage of hindsight over all those previous titles. You can state hypotheses all you want, but you might want to consider questioning them when real-world evidence points in the opposite direction.

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That's a rather silly argument to make when comparing the number and significance of balance changes that Pillars 1 needed before it was finally in a good state. Pillars 2 balance issues are rather tame in comparison. And Pillars 2 difficulty problems were addressed in the space of a single patch, unlike Pillars 1 which needed massive balance changes all the way up to 3.0. Your real world evidence doesn't really support your argument if you actually look at the details. Especially because difficulty is only a part of balancing, and disregarding how balanced the classes are to each other and compared to the enemies is a rather silly thing to do.

 

Especially because undertuning the difficulty was most likely an oversight caused by the designers inexperience with making encounters outside of a per-rest system. When people are used to doing things a certain way, it's hard to break the habit. Hindsight can only really help so much.

 

PS: Tyranny didn't need a difficulty overhaul, and it used cooldowns.

Edited by Novem
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Deadfire has not yet achieved good difficulty. Thinking that the 1.2 patch has nipped that problem in the bud is false. Arguing that Pillars 2 is done patching balance and difficulty is ludicrous and is just going to make you look like a fool months from now. People are still complaining about the lack of difficulty.

 

Difficulty was not as significant a problem in the original game at launch. The problem was useless vs overpowered skills. You're now throwing in a bunch of unrelated points about class and skill balance, which is an obfuscating tactic. Those points have nothing to do with difficulty.

 

Again, I was contending that the game's difficulty was easier to balance because of the spell system. It isn't. Encounters now have to fit into a much narrower window when the player doesn't have a strategic layer to play with. Easier encounters that would have held significance in a system with attrition elements are now just tedious, rote chores for the player. Exactly the player experience of Deadfire at launch when it comes to combat and much of the middle and higher level experience currently.

 

PS: Tyranny had terrible combat.

Edited by cokane
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That, the power of skills, is what difficulty essential is. How much damage can a player inflict per encounter and how much healing is s/he able to do. The math is straightforward. What is not is factoring in all variables -  pots, scrolls, Empower, min-max, items, etc. 

 

Strategic layer is dominated by strategy, obviously, not by the power of skills. If a player is able to repeat her/his actions in order to win in almost every encounter, it only means the strategic layer is shallow.

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Deadfire has not yet achieved good difficulty. Thinking that the 1.2 patch has nipped that problem in the bud is false.

 

Yes it has. No it isn't. Deadfire's current level of difficulty is very satisfying. Most game designers focus on their normal and hard difficulties, because those are by far the most played ones, and Deadfire's veteran difficulty is in a really good place. Whether or not Path of the Damned is in a satisfying place is not something you can use to criticize the game's overall balance.

 

Difficulty was not as significant a problem in the original game at launch. The problem was useless vs overpowered skills. You're now throwing in a bunch of unrelated points about class and skill balance, which is an obfuscating tactic. Those points have nothing to do with difficulty.

 

And you think what I said is ludicrous...

 

We weren't talking about DIFFICULTY, we were talking about BALANCE.

 

THEY AREN'T THE SAME THING.

 

Encounters now have to fit into a much narrower window when the player doesn't have a strategic layer to play with.

 

So according to you, THIS has something to do with balance, but how balanced the classes are against each other doesn't? How disingenuous.

 

Unfortunately for your arguments, balance is a nuanced topic, and there's more to it than difficulty.

 

Moreover, having access to all of your abilities is a strategic later with greater breadth and depth then a rest system which is inherently binary (rest or not rest).

 

Easier encounters that would have held significance in a system with attrition elements are now just tedious, rote chores for the player.

 

But that's just not true in any respect. Not only do easier encounters in Pillars 1 hold no purpose because you can just choose not to use any spells in a vast majority of them, but Deadfire's easiest encounters still give you the freedom to actually engage in playing the game rather than just waiting until they end from regular attacks. This is the point you are missing, if anything is a "chore" it is the endless, pointless encounters where you can just sit back and wait. Just because an encounter is easy to win does not necessarily mean it is a chore, because if the player still has something to do and something to engage with, then it isn't a chore.

 

Game design is about engaging the player to think and make choices. What's a chore is when the player is not challenged to do those things. Per rest systems inherently encourage the player to think less, to make fewer choices that are all binary by nature (is this encounter difficult enough to require spells? yes/no). Per encounter systems encourage the player think more, to consider which tools are important to use in every situation they engage with. Because when you have more tools for the player, there are more ways in which those tools can be used, making for a greater number of choices, and a greater amount of thinking to determine which choices are the right ones. And because Pillars 2 has a certain amount of casts per encounter due to its resource system, it's also which choices you are sacrificing.

Edited by Novem
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What makes the old system worse though is that late-game you're likely to just coast through every fight with normal attacks, because why spend spells on an encounter you can easily win without them? Those encounters were just a total waste of time. There was nothing engaging about them, you weren't being challenged to think much at all. With the new system, every fight is it's own tactical puzzle. Every fight actually necessitates some thinking on your part.

 

 

 

PS: Something important to realize is that Obsidian hasn't removed resource management from the game, they've just moved it from a macro level to a micro level. Spamming all of your spells right at the beginning of the fight isn't a good idea. You need to save them for the most opportune moment so that the effects can make the most impact. If you do throw them out early in the fight, then you won't have them at a later point when they would be most useful. This is especially true as it pertains to spell ranks. Because sure, you could use all your rank 2 priest spells on buffs or damage, but you're going to be regretting it if you don't have suppress affliction up afterwards. To be honest, this is the reason I dislike empowers, because it lets you play around such mistakes. If anything eliminates resource management from Pillars 2, it's the last vestiges of the per rest mechanics.

How many melee players would want to stand around doing nothing for half the fight waiting for the opportune time to hit somebody? So why should casters have to do that?

 

I don't see the fights in Deadfire as a tactical puzzle or engaging at all. They consist of casting the same few spells over and over, because your repertoire is so small.

 

Game design is about engaging the player to think and make choices. What's a chore is when the player is not challenged to do those things. Per rest systems inherently encourage the player to think less, to make fewer choices that are all binary by nature (is this encounter difficult enough to require spells? yes/no). Per encounter systems encourage the player think more, to consider which tools are important to use in every situation they engage with. Because when you have more tools for the player, there are more ways in which those tools can be used, making for a greater number of choices, and a greater amount of thinking to determine which choices are the right ones. And because Pillars 2 has a certain amount of casts per encounter due to its resource system, it's also which choices you are sacrificing.

 

This is exactly what the PoE2 system takes away- choices and tools. In PoE1 I could shape encounters using a large toolkit of spells that had different utility for different enemies. In 2 I'm forced to use the same few spells, and half the fight I know I won't have any spells at all.

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How many melee players would want to stand around doing nothing for half the fight waiting for the opportune time to hit somebody? So why should casters have to do that?

 

Aside from Arcane Assault, that was all casters got to do in Pillars 1 when you didn't want to cast spells, so I have no idea what you're even talking about.

 

They consist of casting the same few spells over and over, because your repertoire is so small.

 

Deadfire has longer cast times and interruptions as a concept. It's not just the casting of spells that's important, it's positioning your spells and being conscious of the threat the caster is under. This is in addition to having to account for what types of afflictions your enemy resists, what types of afflictions you yourself have, and much more.

 

More importantly though, the average fight in Pillars 1 had the much smaller repertoire of 0 because you aren't allowed to cast spells in most fights. And even when you do get to cast spells, there's not much more to it than point and click.

 

Your argument literally makes no sense.

 

This is exactly what the PoE2 system takes away- choices and tools. In PoE1 I could shape encounters using a large toolkit of spells that had different utility for different enemies. In 2 I'm forced to use the same few spells, and half the fight I know I won't have any spells at all.

 

It doesn't though, because not only do you not have access to this toolbox the majority of the time, but because if you didn't abuse Fireball and Ninaguth's Shadowflame to win most of the fights in 1, you were doing it wrong.

 

Please, explain to me, how does literally taking away your ability to make choices and use tools give you more choices and tools?

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How many melee players would want to stand around doing nothing for half the fight waiting for the opportune time to hit somebody? So why should casters have to do that?

 

Aside from Arcane Assault, that was all casters got to do in Pillars 1 when you didn't want to cast spells, so I have no idea what you're even talking about.

 

They consist of casting the same few spells over and over, because your repertoire is so small.

 

Deadfire has longer cast times and interruptions as a concept. It's not just the casting of spells that's important, it's positioning your spells and being conscious of the threat the caster is under. This is in addition to having to account for what types of afflictions your enemy resists, what types of afflictions you yourself have, and much more.

 

More importantly though, the average fight in Pillars 1 had the much smaller repertoire of 0 because you aren't allowed to cast spells in most fights. And even when you do get to cast spells, there's not much more to it than point and click.

 

Your argument literally makes no sense.

 

This is exactly what the PoE2 system takes away- choices and tools. In PoE1 I could shape encounters using a large toolkit of spells that had different utility for different enemies. In 2 I'm forced to use the same few spells, and half the fight I know I won't have any spells at all.

 

It doesn't though, because not only do you not have access to this toolbox the majority of the time, but because if you didn't abuse Fireball and Ninaguth's Shadowflame to win most of the fights in 1, you were doing it wrong.

 

We must have played PoE1 verrrrry differently. I cast all the time, choosing spells that were tactically useful. I used spiritshift when it was advantageous for me to do so, not because I had nothing else I could do. If you mean that you refused to buy or use resting supplies, then that was your choice.

 

I would have been fine with a bit of nerfing of such spells. It's what I expected, for Returning Storm. The whole package in 2, however, has left me unwilling to keep playing a caster, and therefore uninterested in the game.

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Why do people keep pretending like conserving is a choice? It's literally what the system inherently encourages you to do. It's not a choice, it's what the system is built to make you do. It punishes you for not doing it with the tedious task of sitting through multiple 5 minute loading screens to get back to town and get to a shopkeeper. It's why they removed it.

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Let me illustrate what I'm talking about with a thought experiment.

 

Let's say you want to design a stereotypical dungeon. A big bad dragon in a cave guarding a hoard of treasure. Leading up to the dragon are a series of fights against his goblin henchmen. How do we design this so that the dragon feels much more powerful than the goblins, while the goblins are still fun encounters?

 

Under a system like BG or the original this is easy. Any damage the goblins do matters, whether it's the hitpoints or health-endurance systems. They will add up, so that the player can arrive at the dragon at 50% health or 75% health or even 100% depending on their performance. That is to say, there's always a reward of sorts for fighting those goblins efficiently, perhaps even burning some of your spells there, so as to arrive at the final fight in the best shape possible.

 

But in Deadfire? How do we make the dragon a *very* tough fight and *still* make the goblins interesting? Because of the systems, it's a MUCH harder problem. And we've seen what the result of this has been so far. Basically, the goblins become meaningless trash, that you only have to fight well enough to prevent a knockdown against.

 

This is beauty of the vancian spell system and some kind of lasting health system. It allows DISPARATE types of encounters to exist in the same world and for both kinds to still hold weight for the player.

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Who doesn't rest immediately before a boss fight? Even if you haven't played the game before boss fights are signposted in these sorts of games.

 

Don't get me wrong, I prefer per rest for Druids, Priests and Wizards, but that argument is pretty weak even to me, and I avoid rest spamming.

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@cokane: Your thought experiment is inherently flawed, because the supposed "big, bad dragon" will be the easiest encounter in the entire dungeon. The player will rest before fighting the dragon, or head back to town to grab supplies if they aren't in perfect condition for the boss fight, and then blow it up easily without any consequences.

 

In Deadfire though, they can just balance the goblins to all be decently challenging encounters, and then balance the dragon to be harder than them by just making it more powerful. Because when game designers have to account for the fact that the player might not be in peak condition before a fight, then they have to make all of the encounters easier because they know that the player might be weaker or stronger depending on the circumstances. The weaker player still needs to be able to win, and so the prepared players will face a lesser challenge.

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@cokane: Your thought experiment is inherently flawed, because the supposed "big, bad dragon" will be the easiest encounter in the entire dungeon. The player will rest before fighting the dragon, or head back to town to grab supplies if they aren't in perfect condition for the boss fight, and then blow it up easily without any consequences.

 

In Deadfire though, they can just balance the goblins to all be decently challenging encounters, and then balance the dragon to be harder than them by just making it more powerful.

 

Even if I agree with all of your assumptions here, this isn't true. It will be easier than the very first goblin encounter in the dungeon? You're obviously not interested in honest debate, so I'm done.

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Yes, it will be easier than the first encounter in the dungeon, because the player knows that there is no further challenge awaiting them after the boss fight. This means they can use all of their spells without restriction. The player is weaker when the dungeon starts, because the player has to conserve for further encounters. At the end, they don't have to place any restrictions on themselves and can instantly throw out all of their most powerful spells.

 

Be done if you wish, but if you're denying this then you are the one not interested in an honest debate. Because I'm pretty sure any fight where I can throw out like 4 Ninaguth's Shadowflames in the space of like ten seconds (or less, depending on your recovery) is much easier than one where I can only use one for the sake of saving some for a later fight (seriously, that spell is so f**king OP).

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@cokane: Your thought experiment is inherently flawed, because the supposed "big, bad dragon" will be the easiest encounter in the entire dungeon. The player will rest before fighting the dragon, or head back to town to grab supplies if they aren't in perfect condition for the boss fight, and then blow it up easily without any consequences.

 

In Deadfire though, they can just balance the goblins to all be decently challenging encounters, and then balance the dragon to be harder than them by just making it more powerful. Because when game designers have to account for the fact that the player might not be in peak condition before a fight, then they have to make all of the encounters easier because they know that the player might be weaker or stronger depending on the circumstances. The weaker player still needs to be able to win, and so the prepared players will face a lesser challenge.

Are you sure your assumption about what's assumed is correct? I would assume everyone rests before a boss fight. And I see no evidence in PoE1 that boss fights were made easy because of the assumption that players wouldn't have any spells available. I myself found PoE2 pretty easy. The only boss fight I had trouble in was when I left Aloth behind to try to take someone else for rp reasons.

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I would assume everyone rests before a boss fight.

 

Yes, I know, which is why I literally stated that's why the thought experiment was flawed...

 

And I see no evidence in PoE1 that boss fights were made easy because of the assumption that players wouldn't have any spells available.

 

Really? Because I don't remember any that were particularly challenging. In fact, I don't remember wiping once on a single boss fight that wasn't the Kraken at the end of White March Part II, and that's only because a couple of eyeless show up behind you part way through the fight. I think I also wiped on Raedric my first time, but I was under-leveled for that. Oh and also Kaoto for the same reason. On my second playthrough though both were extremely easy. Oh, and I wiped on The Master Below one time, but that fight is intentionally designed to be the hardest boss in the game so only one wipe is whatever (and honestly it's only because of that crowd that comes off from the right side, if you aren't already casting a spell at that spot you'll probably die). That's really it.

 

Thaos is the final boss and even with high level scaling I can clear him without losing even a single companion. And I wouldn't say I'm particularly good at the game.

 

Most of my wipes were definitely on wilderness encounters. There are some pretty nasty ones near Twin Elms in particular.

 

To be fair though, I think Pillars 1 is overall a fairly easy game past level 8 or so. Pillars 2 definitely rocks it in the consistent difficulty department, I'm level 14 now and still running into things that kick my ass. Like the Kraken, goddamn that thing.

Edited by Novem
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I don’t understand the criticism that the PoE2 system makes all fights the same. In PoE1 I selected a few spells per class that I found to be exceptionally effective and spammed them in every encounter. A spells per rest system did nothing to encourage variety in how I approached combat.

 

One final thing about Cokane’s thought experiment: I have played through the BG saga more times than I can count and I have never fought any boss at 75% or 50% health with any of my characters. That is with my self-imposed rule of not sleeping in dungeons. The ubiquitous availability of potions renders your hypothetical scenario not applicable.

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I don’t understand the criticism that the PoE2 system makes all fights the same. In PoE1 I selected a few spells per class that I found to be exceptionally effective and spammed them in every encounter. A spells per rest system did nothing to encourage variety in how I approached combat.

 

One final thing about Cokane’s thought experiment: I have played through the BG saga more times than I can count and I have never fought any boss at 75% or 50% health with any of my characters. That is with my self-imposed rule of not sleeping in dungeons. The ubiquitous availability of potions renders your hypothetical scenario not applicable.

 

That's a failing of POE1's spell balance, where some spells were far too useful and others were not. That's a separate problem that causes issues no matter what system (in POE2, that just means you'd never pick them on level ups to begin with).

 

You'd usually rest/potion up for bosses, but I've fought many battles in IE games and POE1 at lower health, or lacking half of my spell output, and that's often produced many an enjoyable and memorable moment. I mean, I would also argue that potions and consumables should be rarer in most RPGs, but that's yet another story...

 

(Also, I'd love a system where, yes, the hits you took from the goblin hurts because you don't have a good spot to rest before the dragon at the end. That would be great. The whole dungeon would feel like a coherent story and an adventure, instead of some amusement park where you step out for energy drinks whenever you want. People play action games and have no problems arriving at the level boss on low health or low ammo, right? But yes, this would be a departure from IE norms.)

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