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I think tinkering with already released games should be stopped, because it ruins everything. To my knowledge Obsidian is the only company that does it - you can not see such things in Skyrim, Witcher... or many other games, cause developers understand - keeping  integrity of the game is much more important, than "rebalansing" issues.

 

Man, "integrity" in this context is such a loaded word. Integrity as per what standards, ideals or vision? What defines a game's "integrity" exactly? I would venture a guess at saying that the creative team behind a game have an experience and idea in mind that they want to deliver to their audience, and it's that vision that defines "integrity", i.e. acting in accordance to that vision and not making compromises driven by other contrary influences and whatnot (sales, audience reactions, whatever)... But if so, when balance is fixed because Josh Sawyer, the creative director himself, sees that the game is too easy in the state it is being released as early as three days prior to its release and wishes the experience to be a challenging one at higher levels of difficulty, how are these changes not in keeping with the director's vision and thus the "integrity of the game"?

 

It is worth considering that in the time of release and even pre-release, there was an initial observation in cohhcarnage's stream that Deadfire seemed too easy and a quick admission by Sawyer that upon release they focused on other elements they felt were more immediately concerning for the game's release and left balancing to be worked out through later patches, and that the game at the state of release was indeed too easy; all of this was then corroborated by players who voiced these same concerns, and it was alongside the length of the main quest pretty much the biggest criticism the game was facing at that moment (again, let me reiterate, this was a point brought up by Josh even before most people got to play it, so it's not like the devs weren't already anticipating and recognizing a problem there). This is worth keeping in mind because these issues absolutely inform the decisions the devs did in future patches, and what they also would do as well as want out of their game. They're obviously interested in making the game challening, especially at higher difficulties, and to that extent having certain low-to-mid level abilities be so overpowered they'd single-handedly determine the course of any fight is an issue, and one that acts against the devs' intentions.

 

To this end, I'll address this which I find a very problematic argument:

 

 

If you want to balance the game without upsetting players, do a positive rebalance by buffing weak and underused abilities instead of nerfing everything strong so it's as weak as everything else.

 

So I'll give an example for the spell that most immediately comes to mind from my first playthrough as something of a "win button" almost, and that is Devotions for the Faithful. In its release state, if I'm not mistaken, the spell would grant a whopping +8 might and +20 accuracy to all allies within the cast area for 30 seconds, and decrease the enemy might and accuracy by the same amount. This is a massive power swing in favour of one party. The spell was obviously nerfed and cut to half of all the buffs and debuffs we see above (+/- 4 MIG, +/- 10 ACC), and it's still a pretty damn powerful spell in its current iteration, or so I find at least. All this for a lvl 4 priest ability, by the way, so it's not like we'd only get to experience it late-game either.

 

So, I spammed this non-stop in my first playthrough. It was OP, without a doubt, and it basically turned a veteran playthrough into a cakewalk (I hear PotD wasn't particularly harder either in this state). To me, this was an issue because the game was ultimately rewarding me for abusing a single mechanic over and over, and effectively removed strategic depth from my experience playing it and whatnot. So personally, I'm all for this having been nerfed. But let's say it wasn't nerfed, and instead the power of other abilities were buffed so as to match up in power to this ability, or offer more equally viable choices for slamming my enemies. That's fine, now instead of a single "win button" I have several, it's a matter of choosing one and watch my party steamroll through the opponents. ...In veteran mode, which I deliberately picked for the game to challenge me (otherwise why would I pick "hard mode" in a game?).

 

Obviously the issue would be that the encounters aren't strong enough, and as said before, the idea as early as Day -3 was to rebalance the game's difficulty and turn it into a much more challenging experience than it currently was, because enemies were undertuned and so on. Now with the above solution, instead of some abilities being overtuned, all of them are, which is some form of "balance" I guess... But enemies are even easier than they were before. So in order to make the game challenging, we have to buff the enemies so that they can actually stand against the barrage of OP spells and debuffs we may throw their way. Let's go back to Devotions for the Faithful. We don't want to nerf Devotions for the Faithful because that makes the game "less fun" for players ("fun" is entirely subjective by the way - I personally find it more fun to be challenged in these games, so for me all balance adjustments to make the game more even and challenging actually make the game more fun, not less so), so instead what we do is we buff the enemies to compensate for the power that is removed by the spell. Now all enemies across the board start off with +10 accuracy, +10 deflection, +4 might and maybe some extra health and stats to offset your might buff too (Pathfinder: Kingmaker balance strats btw - also why the game's combat is so ****e). Now Devotions of the Faithful is "balanced", but all enemies are *way* stronger against parties or combat situations *not* using Devotions for the Faithful, as they too are subject to enemies whose stats are compensating what OP abilities you *may* have at your disposal. Suddenly Devotions of the Fathful is not only less effective and rewarding per powergamer standards, but also made into a necessity for everyone else. Now you *have* to carry a priest, and you *have* to use the spell lest you severely handicap yourself in these newly balanced fights.

 

And this doesn't even take into consideration that an enemy priest might use that OP Devotions for the Faithful on *you* instead, suddenly making that gap even greater.

 

The point here is that at the moment you decide to buff everything around the OP abilities to make them into the new "balace", not only do you run into trouble like the above example but you're still nevertheless NERFING that OP ability through recontextualizing it in a system were its stats mean less than they used to. Power is relative to the power of everything around it, and if that context changes, so does the power the untouched element previously had. And if that's the case, why not just nerf the ability?

 

This is, of course, an example and a rather far-reaching one - but similar things can be applied across the board all the same. Fireball too powerful? Better to nerf its damage/penetration than stack more armour against fire on all enemies across the board. Soul Annihilation one-shotting things too easily? Nerf raw damage instead of stacking more deflection on all encounters. Totally-not-Haste too OP? Better add contrasting penalty to it than increasing the enemy action speed. And so on, so forth.

 

 

 

Main problem is not nerf, not difficulty or any other bull**** - main problem is inconsistency of game rules. [...] This is not the same game. It has same name, but plays absolutely differently and you have to use different abilities /skills you were using in version 1 to make strong character. Thats what this topic is about "DONT CHANGE GAME RULES!".

 

On any given patch, the rules are thoroughly consistent, lest there be a bug interfering with the same. As MaxQuest, I believe it was, said earlier, you can opt into not downloading new patches at any time, and play through the whole game in one single version regardless of new versions being released in the time it takes you to complete it. If the change in certain values and the odd mechanic or interaction here and there are enough for you to feel the whole game "plays absolutely differently" from patch to patch, you can always opt out of it if you wish. Otherwise, the core rules and mechanics of the game have pretty much remained the same across its several releases. The rules as such have remained consistent even when patches have eliminated exploits and altered values to bring the game closer to how it was intended to be played in the first place. As others have mentioned, this isn't unique to Deadfire, or Obsidian games, or, heck, even video games for that matter. This is just the natural evolution of games, to become more like the ideal of what they aim to be.

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My Twitch channel: https://www.twitch.tv/alephg

Currently playing: Fallout 2

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To this end, I'll address this which I find a very problematic argument:

 

If you want to balance the game without upsetting players, do a positive rebalance by buffing weak and underused abilities instead of nerfing everything strong so it's as weak as everything else.

 

So I'll give an example for the spell that most immediately comes to mind from my first playthrough as something of a "win button" almost, and that is Devotions for the Faithful. In its release state, if I'm not mistaken, the spell would grant a whopping +8 might and +20 accuracy to all allies within the cast area for 30 seconds, and decrease the enemy might and accuracy by the same amount. This is a massive power swing in favour of one party. The spell was obviously nerfed and cut to half of all the buffs and debuffs we see above (+/- 4 MIG, +/- 10 ACC), and it's still a pretty damn powerful spell in its current iteration, or so I find at least. All this for a lvl 4 priest ability, by the way, so it's not like we'd only get to experience it late-game either.

 

I'd just like to chime in an add a *real* case study instead of just the hypothetic algorth is using.

 

Diablo 3.

 

Diablo 3 designers basically made a conscious decision to do exactly what Makumba666 suggested - never nerf, always buff.

 

This creates a perpetual power creep with every single patch. It basically means the story campaign is incredibly trivial to play now because the only way enemies have kept up in power is essentially through uncapped greater rifts (which exponentially increase enemy power into perpetuity), and it also means that if you aren't using a build that is "blessed" by being complemented with specific set gear, there's just basically no way your power level can keep up with all the incremental creep on items, abilities, etc. that over time combined with diablo 3 having lots of multiplicative modifiers resulted in hugely blown out numbers for certain setups.

 

Yeah, people don't get as pissed off every time diablo 3 releases a balancing patch that amps up all damage multipliers--except for the ones being taken down a notch--by 25%... though some people still get annoyed when their favored ability *isn't* the one getting buffed, but it creates a creaking house of cards of a game design and only really still ends up working because so much of the game play is geared towards the uncapped nephalim/greater rift grinding, which deadfire doesn't have (in fact many people here seem to be at best ambivalent to deadfire's closest equivalent: megabosses). Even then, personal accomplishments in earlier "seasons" get trivialized because with each patch people find themselves pushing ever higher greater rifts with the same gear and build. It's not progress, it's a lie.

 

And yes, Diablo 3 counts because since loot 2.0, Diablo 3 is basically a single player game now, that just happens to have a chat room and require an internet connection.

Edited by thelee
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He didn't, but it's common sense not to compare a MMO (which always needs constant balance patches) and a single-player game. Also, none of the other games you mentioned are RPG. They're strategy games, I don't particularly care about that genre so I can't discuss.

Yeap. It would have more common sense to compare Deadfire with a game from RPG genre, if I wanted to make a comparison.

 

Instead, I wanted to point the exageration contained in the following statements:

 

 

 

I think tinkering with already released games should be stopped, because it ruins everything. To my knowledge Obsidian is the only company that does it

Finally all those changes turn game into something new. Compare 1.0 and 4.1 - they are totally different games now.

 

Thats what I oppose. Why? If you wanna change everything create new game, not rape already released one! And only company that does it is Obsidian

And please name a single game by other company that changed as much as POE did?

 

And for that purpose, a single example was enough)

 

----------

 

Heh, it's like you are in a Circus, and the showman shouts:

- and now I present to you: Mister Rafton! The strongest man in the world!

- (someone from the crowd): But mr.X from Australia is stronger!

- ok, ok, Mister Rafton - the strongest man in America!

- (someone from the crowd): But mr.Y from Boston is stronger!

- ok, ok, Mister Rafton - the strongest man in Philadelphia!

- ...

- ...

- ok, the strongest in this building...

 

 

P.S. Ofc, saying "no other game/company does that" is more clickbaity. But common, don't exagerate the scope.

 

Generally, I've finished Baldur's Gate 2 27 times and never cared that it's not balanced.

Well, I haven't finished Skyrim for example, and imbalance was partially the reason.

You enchant stuff with bonus to alchemy. You brew stuff with bonus to enchanting.

Repeat.

Repeat.

Repeat.

You brew and enchant stuff with bonuses to armorsmithing, and craft armor and weapons.

Congrats, you are the master of guild X, Y, Z and Dark Brotherhood. You one shot dragons on Master difficulty with difficulty mods on top. And...(yawns) get bored. The Win (exit) button awaits.

Sure, I came back later, created a new character and didn't touch alchemy/enchanting/smithing. But the feeling that any "build" I am coming with now, is so subpar in comparison to the previous one, and that I have to avoid certain features of the game, is very annoying.

 

---

 

I also remember being annoyed by Isaac's Greater Missile Storm in NWN2. Specifically by the fact that there was no save against it coupled with how easy spell resistance could be bypassed in Battle of the Builds.

 

---

 

Or how about Marksmanship branch in Witcher 3? Or crit damage being taken additivelly, which was rendering Cat School Techniques/Armor so subpar when you was getting access to Euphoria. Or how about alt-Igni and alt-Yrden which were trivializing the game on release.

Later, though, these alt-signs were over-nerfed, But still, the change was kinda welcome as I happened to experience more play-styles.

 

---

 

That said I salute games, where you can strive for the strongest builds and strategies without feeling that it's broken or cheesy. And moreover if there is not just one direction or build archetype, but more of them; different, but each being near-optimal once refined.

Edited by MaxQuest
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Generally, I've finished Baldur's Gate 2 27 times and never cared that it's not balanced.

you should probably either expand your perspective and/or count your lucky stars that you never played a trap build.

 

JE Sawyer had the personal example (either him or someone else) getting absolutely wrecked in IWD because they made a party of rogues. BG2 had some idiot-proofing in place because you only designed your PC and the rest of your party was designed by Bioware, but there were still plenty of "bad ideas" that only manage to work either because Throne of Bhaal came around and trivialized *everything* or because there were some items that were just so fundementally OP they could make any party work (rods of resurrection acting as an insta-heal on perfectly-alive characters, robe of vecna, staff of the magi, that reflecting cloak, dragon mail armor, the special bardic elven mail, etc.)

 

I chimed in on another thread about BG2's oddities in adapting and expanding the AD&D rules, but single-class druids were almost certainly a trap build in vanilla BG2 because how weird the level cap was implemented/non-implemented in BG2. Being stuck at level 14 while everyone else is getting more spells, lower THAC0, etc. just fundamentally screwed over the druid, and basically required you to dual-class or multiclass (jaheira was a multiclass). It wasn't until ToB arrived and let you hit level 15 that suddenly single-class druids became amazing (getting tons of level 7 divine spells, way more than clerics).

Edited by thelee
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Hasnt Sawyer stated that they purposely over-nerf and then work their way back up?

i think more accurately, that they err on the side of nerfing too much, because they can tune it up without much complaint, which is more pleasant to players than repeated patches of tuning the same thing down.

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Not only none of this are RPGs, the fact that you personally only cared about Diablo 3's campaign doesn't change the fact that this is not a single-player game. This game literally rewards you for partying up with other people.

The last time I played a tabletop game in some Vampire universe, we agreed to have unlimited power so we could throw ships at each other. In single-player games, I tend to not have to agree on anything, and instead I play how I want to - as long as the developers actually allow me to do so, instead of trying to restrict me all the time.

You didn't specify RPGs, you ask us to name a single game from a company that made major overhauls.Which isn't uncommon. It has only BEEN uncommon in isometric RPGs because of a lot of the notable ones being AD&D and D&D. (AWhich was and I can't state this enough, a horribly unbalanced mess that even the games didn't attempt to implement to the letter, that can best be charitably described mechanically as "a product of its time." While 3.x presents its worst face in CRPGs.)

 

(Jury is out on PF in Kingmaker, since I haven't started that yet.)

 

 

 

Generally, I've finished Baldur's Gate 2 27 times and never cared that it's not balanced.

 

 

Right, so is your complaint is more "these games aren't AD&D?"

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@thelee

For Diablo 3, constant powercreep is mandatory, otherwise people will lose interest very, very quickly. This is not a story-driven experience. Story in this game is very short and very basic. Doing random dungeons is 99% of gameplay. To mix it up and keep it interesting, Blizzard is constantly making players stronger, and does the same for the monsters. This is what the players want and expect from this game.

 

I absolutely agree that BG2 had a ****ton of "trap builds". Some classes were pretty damn useless, while others could solo the game with extreme ease. But that's not really the developer's fault, it's how AD&D was at that point. Wouldn't call Druid a trap, though (other than maybe Shapeshifter?). If this was Deadfire, I wouldn't want the developers to nerf the strong builds - I'd want them to buff the weaker ones so that they're competitive. Also making "a party of Rogues" sounds dumb for anyone who has ever played an RPG game, so using that as an argument is silly (and I'd like to mention that a Thief with ToB talents was an unstoppable monster).

Also one thing that is very important to mention here is that players not satisfied with game balance were free to install mods. There were a lot of fantastic mods for BG2, and if you used them, you didn't mess up the fun for other people's single-player campaign. If someone enjoys running around with a Sorcerer and bending realities with OP spells, why do you care? Let the guy play how he wants to, it doesn't affect you. And if you want to play Sorc yourself and you hate how strong he is, you install mods to keep him in line. And suddenly, both you and that guy are happy.

 

@MaxQuest

Yeah I can understand your point. Note that everything you mention from these other games can simply be avoided if you dislike how it works. It doesn't gimp you because other options are perfectly viable, it just doesn't make you OP.

 

@Aotrs

So first of all, I wasn't the one who asked to name anything, you might want to check who you're quoting. I don't need the game to be AD&D - DOS2 isn't, and it's a fantastic game (and it also had balance changes that were very smart, well made, AND tied to major content updates). I actually consider old D&D systems (and that includes Pathfinder) to be extremely outdated and I'm hoping that Deadfire-style gameplay is the future, because I consider Deadfire to have the best and most enjoyable mechanics I've ever seen in a cRPG game.

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You know what might be a pretty smart approach: if your current playthrough (your savegames basically) wouldn't get affected by patches unless you choose so.

 

This is kind of hard to do... but I guess it is doable if you keep that in mind during the developing process. You would need some internal patch- or buff/nerf manager.

 

Then your current playthrough wouldn't be affected by patches and you could finish the game without disturbances from nerfs that potentially destroy your character idea.

 

In the next playthrough you then will use the newest mechanics version.

 

Because that's what annoys most players I think: that the character they currently use changes while they carry him/her through the game.

Edited by Boeroer
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Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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I think tinkering with already released games should be stopped, because it ruins everything. To my knowledge Obsidian is the only company that does it - you can not see such things in Skyrim, Witcher... or many other games, cause developers understand - keeping  integrity of the game is much more important, than "rebalansing" issues.

And as for experiencing magic afresh, I have no desire to do it, because it is absolutely different game. Spells now have different damage, game mechanic uses different formulas etc. etc.  Learn everything anew? And remember what was after each patch? "I need this spell... it is good... ooh no, they nerfed it in 2.0... and then changed in 3.0 and again they changed it in 4.0... damn them". I better play some game that has constant rules. When I say game is unplayable I mean I don't know which abilities\spells to choose, because they changed everything billion times. Thats why the entire game is a big mess and it is terrible when you need to read patch notes just to play game. By playing I mean playing efficiently and creating strong character - not some garbage, which still can win game.

What am I even reading here? So you're saying that Obsidian should keep a poorly balanced ability as is just because you hate change? You should be thankful that they pump out free, high-quality updates instead of crying about it. 

 

It's nothing but a good thing that broken abilities and other balance issues get patched so that the game becomes the best it can be. You still know what abilities to pick; it's not like the tooltip lies about the ability. They changed some numbers? So what? The ability still does what it says in the description. 

Edited by Multihog
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