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Why are you punished so harshly for rotating companions in this game?


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38 replies to this topic

#1
Jayd

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I was having a tough time in a fight and decided to try a new party composition. My usual party is at level 16, I brought in Fassina, and found out she could only reach level 13 when I leveled her up! I already knew she would have a bit less experience, but that is ridiculous. You primarily get xp from quests and there are a limited number of quests, so trying to use her or any of my benched companions at this point would be a massive disadvantage.

 

What makes this truly baffling is that you can hire adventurers (which you can min/max to your pleasure) only one level below your max. So I'm not being so heavily penalized for trying new companions, but only for trying the voiced companions that Obsidian created. I cannot get my head around that decision.

 

I don't understand why there are experience penalties at all in this game. How does it enhance the experience? Why should the developers dissuade you from experimenting with your party even slightly? I feel like I must be missing something.


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#2
Saito Hikari

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Yeah, I think something weird happened, because usually companions should only be one level behind the rest of your party.



#3
Jayd

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Yeah, I think something weird happened, because usually companions should only be one level behind the rest of your party.

I just double checked. My level 1 companions (I checked both Fassina and Pallegina) have 87,842 xp, while my main has 12,4532. That is almost exactly 70%. It stands to reason that the game is programmed to give benched companions 70% of the experience the party gets.

 

This got me thinking: I recently got Vatnir and he had 100% of the experience he should (even with auto-leveling turned off) when I took him into my party. Both Fassina and Pallegina went right into the roster instead of touching my party. Perhaps that stopped them from coming up to my level before starting to receive the 70%, meaning they just got a flat 70% with no bumps. Either way, I got Pallegina at least when I was very low level so she would be very low regardless.

 

I just don't see the point in giving benched companions reduced xp to begin with. Why punish people for swapping?


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#4
dukeisaac

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I've experienced this too in my current playthrough.

 

Maia left and Konstanten died (ok I gave his body for my survival), so I needed to pick up another companion. I guess I saw it has a challenge and it's turned out ok.

 

Not a fan of leveling up from the start, I added the mod to slow it.



#5
xzar_monty

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It's a fair point, no question, but given that you're going to get far more experience points than you can ever possibly use (i.e. you're going to reach level cap quite early), I think there's also a positive side to this.



#6
Wormerine

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I just don't see the point in giving benched companions reduced xp to begin with. Why punish people for swapping?


If I were to guess, the intent is not to discourage but to encourage.

Edited by Wormerine, 08 February 2019 - 02:29 AM.


#7
Jayd

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I just don't see the point in giving benched companions reduced xp to begin with. Why punish people for swapping?


If I were to guess, the intent is not to discourage but to encourage.

 

I don't follow. The only result of this mechanic is that swapping characters will make your party have less xp than keeping a set squad. How could that possibly encourage swapping? Or do you mean the point is to encourage people to use a single squad for the sake of replayability? 



#8
xzar_monty

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Well, personally I found it refreshing to have some companions with more XP still to be gained. So in that sense swapping works quite well. The bottom line is that you will reach maximum xp quite early, with an awful lot still to do (especially if you've got the DLCs), so although you do have a point, the problem you describe doesn't really exist. In absolute terms, that is. In comparative terms, yes, it is there.



#9
house2fly

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You hit the level cap way before the end of the game, so it's good to swap characters so you still get that trickle of xp. Took me all 3 DLC to fully level everyone. You could also swap party members frequently, so nobody is benched long enough to fall far behind

#10
Wormerine

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If I were to guess, the intent is not to discourage but to encourage.

I don't follow. The only result of this mechanic is that swapping characters will make your party have less xp than keeping a set squad. How could that possibly encourage swapping? Or do you mean the point is to encourage people to use a single squad for the sake of replayability? 

It's a two-bladed sword (hmmm... I don't think this allegory exist in english but let's roll with it). Keeping everyone on the same level doesn't encourage swapping either. What benefit is there to taking other companions, if the end result is the same? But if you keep switching companions on regular basis you will keep them all "up to date". At least it works for me - I tend to swap my team for bounties and individual quest to not have them lag behind. 

I am not for or against the mechanic. I haven't seen it to be ever an issue - the works case I encountered was Yidwin which I didn't use for entirety of the game until BoW DLC. She was 18 compared to rest of the companions being at level 20. I didn't really feel handicapped at all, and she did reach level 20 really quickly.

As others mentions the game has overabundance of XP so there is no reason to worry that someone won't make it to 20. I also don't see the game as difficult enough to punish falling behind in levels. I am playing with mod which reduces XP gain so we will see how it will work this time around. I can see how it can be annoying to some, though. I am a person who would welcome a fatigue system to force swapping of the companions. But that's me. 



#11
xzar_monty

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If I were to guess, the intent is not to discourage but to encourage.

I don't follow. The only result of this mechanic is that swapping characters will make your party have less xp than keeping a set squad. How could that possibly encourage swapping? Or do you mean the point is to encourage people to use a single squad for the sake of replayability? 

It's a two-bladed sword (hmmm... I don't think this allegory exist in english but let's roll with it).

 

In English the phrase is "double-edged sword". Just for your information -- I happen to enjoy this kind of stuff. Which language were you sort of translating from?


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#12
Jayd

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Well, personally I found it refreshing to have some companions with more XP still to be gained. So in that sense swapping works quite well. The bottom line is that you will reach maximum xp quite early, with an awful lot still to do (especially if you've got the DLCs), so although you do have a point, the problem you describe doesn't really exist. In absolute terms, that is. In comparative terms, yes, it is there.

Not sure what you mean by absolute and comparative terms, but I think it certainly is a major problem that some of my companions are severely underleveled (3 levels is severe on POTD at least) until I have played well beyond the level cap. I understand what you say about enjoying having more people to level up, but from a broader game design perspective I can't see how that satisfaction for players like you is worth the frustrations of players like me for whom several companions are basically unusable in the middle of the game. Your enjoyment is legitimate but I don't think it's a balanced tradeoff.



#13
xzar_monty

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In comparative terms = switching companions around will lead to what you describe, i.e. some characters will be more experienced than others. This is a legitimate concern, if you feel that way. I don't question that at all.

In absolute terms = no matter how you play and how much you switch around, all of your characters will reach the xp cap with plenty of adventure to spare, especially if you have all three DLCs installed.

 

For me, the second concern is more troublesome: the xp cap comes around way way way too soon, and it's not possible to avoid this without modding. Well, actually, it is, by deliberately not doing a whole lot of quests, but that's not fun.



#14
Jayd

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Well, I also actually like having significant game time with max level characters. It annoys me when I can only reach my character's full potential near the very end of a game, which basically makes it pointless to factor high level abilities into a build cuz you'll probably only have them for a few hours.

 

However, I do understand that some people get bored when there are no more levels to be gained. We can't all be totally happy. 

 

In any case, I still believe the current bench xp system is egregiously punishing around the middle of the game. Ideally, for me, it would be totally removed and everyone would level at the same pace. If not, it should at least be adjusted so that companions stay not lower than ~1 level below your main.



#15
xzar_monty

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Yes, I see your point. However, in this game, you're probably going to have plenty of max level time almost no matter what. But I'm not arguing with you -- from where you're coming from, the game design does appear rather punishing.



#16
Woopee

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I can't see any consistency in how companion levels work. Pallegina only got to level up to 14 when I subbed her into my max level party, but Fassina went all the way to 20. Sometimes when I bring in different people after having them out for a while, they come to my level -1, other times my level -2, other times not even close like Pallegina. 



#17
xzar_monty

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I have also noticed this, yes. The mechanism does appear arbitrary or not working properly.



#18
PantherX14

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From what I remember, companions and sidekicks are recruited at the same level your Watcher is at, and then they start receiving partial experience. So if I was level 12 when I recruited Fassina or Tekehu, they would be level 12, and then if I kept them out of the active party for a while, they would have only gotten part of the experience my active party members had earned after their recruitment.



#19
Crucis

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Personally, I wish that they'd have done it more simply and just have all of your companions and side kicks have the exact same XP as the main character, regardless of whether they're in the primary party or on the bench.

 

Regardless, I haven't paid too close attention to the actual XP totals of my bench players, though they do fall behind in levels if you don't occasionally rotate them into the main party, if only at an inn so that you can level them up, before putting them back on the bench.



#20
Wormerine

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In English the phrase is "double-edged sword". Just for your information -- I happen to enjoy this kind of stuff. Which language were you sort of translating from?


That's the one! I must have had a major brain fart as I don't think this expression exists in polish:D I was thinking about English expression but couldn't quite nail it, so I assumed I am translating it from Polish. There was something like that in Witcher novels though... (The sword of destiny has two edges. One of them is yuu). Eh. Et tu, Brain?




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