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Guest Ontarah

Probably Unpopular Opinion: The Last 20% of Deadfire is an Unfun Grind that Prioritizes Pedantry and Obsessive Micromanagement

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Potd is not that difficult especially with a party, I think normal is actually where the trap lies in both pillars, because it's ridicolously close to hard difficultywise, and people who pick normal most likely expect it to be way easier.

(baldur's Gate normal is so easy one could beat it without ever having played a crpg before)

Potd is easy compared to games with notoriously high difficulties like Baldur's Gate on LoB with SCS mod is almost on the Ultimate level difficulty wise especially if you try to set at least somewhat similar challenges (no reload and solo), while PotD with a party can just be solved with brute force and good equip, you don't even necessarily understand class combos and builds.

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On the note of subjectivity, I'd like to chime in that I actually can't play SSS on anything but higher difficulties. It's such a fun expansion that let me test all sorts of strategies. Probably the most enjoyable gauntlet of combat puzzles I've ever experienced in an RPG. I can think of many builds that I've used to succeed. If I didn't use a certain ability, it was supplemented with rest bonuses and consumables.

But on that note, I also don't appreciate HP bloat in any other circumstances. Having HP bloat in frequent encounters like some JRPGs like to do is a huge drain on motivation. Ideally if you've solved combat, you should be able to diffuse high HP in a common encounter. Deadfire has so many ways of piling on damage it's hard to justify sticking with one core damage strategy. You always have a bunch of cards at your disposal to counter armor, spells, and positioning.

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On 11/25/2019 at 6:06 PM, thelee said:

difficulty is extremely subjective. my sense is that veteran is supposed to target BG2-level difficulty, which means being punished for your mistakes or for not being aware of certain mechanics (much like how i would get screwed by not understanding how mind flayers or vampiric level drain worked). i think it maps pretty well onto that, actually.

normal is where you get more allowance for mistakes or unfamiliarity with the mechanics.

(PotD I put on the level of IWD or IWD2 with heart of fury mode on--basically you have to know everything in and out and be ready to min-max)

I disagree about potd and min maxing. I never min max and have completed potd several times - but i only play with full parties, maybe you mean solo?

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On 12/23/2019 at 5:00 AM, ArnoldRimmer said:

I disagree about potd and min maxing. I never min max and have completed potd several times - but i only play with full parties, maybe you mean solo?

i really get annoyed at these difficulty threads and these arguments. let me requote the important bits of my original post:

 

Quote

difficulty is extremely subjective. my sense

 

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 let me requote the important bits of my original post:

 

Quote

I disagree about potd and min maxing

Has nothing to do with whether difficult is subjective

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Guest Ontarah
Posted (edited)

Gonna necro my own thread just to add some clarification to my original rant.  I completely restarted the game with some realities of late game fights in mind and I really didn't have any major trouble with my second playthrough.  I avoided the megabosses because I get those are there *for* people who want pedantic, micromanging fights and I'm just not interested and no other fight really gave me much trouble.

My earlier problems so far as I can tell come down to a few things.

1) I did an insufficient job of investing in abilities and things that interrupt.  This is irrelevant 95% of the time but is utterly critical about 5% of the time. 

2) I did not have enough people who could do bludgeoning damage well.  One of the high level problems is that many, many, many enemies are borderline immune to anything but bludgeoning damage.   Everybody now is proficient with a secondary bludgeoning weapon which they have at all times. 

3) I made the rookie error of apparently investing in passives that are 90% useless.  Pallegina went from a squishy useless dishrag to a brute who singlehandedly keeps my party alive over and over just because I rearranged her passives.      

4) I overly focused on abilities that protect against Intellect afflictions because POE had lots of **** enemies that spam those.  In *this* game, I have next to no problems with Intellect afflictions but seem to be constantly beset by Dexterity afflictions.  I respeced everybody to focus on protecting from those and prioritized equipment that suppressed that and have had way less issue.  

5) I was overly committed to always trying to have a healer with me.  This is too passive/defensive in some fights and sometimes having the extra firepower of an extra offensive character makes all the difference and you end up not needing the healer in the first place. 

Anyway, as the original rant was self-aware, I'm not really trying to make excuses for it or take it back but I would say that a good part of my problem was issues that can be mitigated and also just a string of bad luck. 

I think an element of my original criticism stands though, which is that it's entirely possible to play the first 80% of the game not understanding that you have a crappy build and party layout because the game doesn't punish you for it.  Then it all of a sudden expects you to be proficient with this in the last 20% of the game and the effect is rather like getting a bucket of cold water thrown in your face.   So, instead of the last 20% being easier, I'd say a better solution is that the beginning needs to be *harder* so that it becomes clearer, earlier what you need to fix and work on. 

I also think the decision to cap leveling at 20 is dumb because it means your build is rigid for the last 20% of the game and you have no option to go off and come back stronger if you are having problems because *everything* in the DLC assumes you will be about level 20.

Edited by Ontarah
typos

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5 minutes ago, Ontarah said:

I think an element of my original criticism stands though, which is that it's entirely possible to play the first 80% of the game not understanding that you have a crappy build and party layout because the game doesn't punish you for it.  Then it all of a sudden expects you to be proficient with this in the last 20% of the game and the effect is rather like getting a bucket of cold water thrown in your face.   So, instead of the last 20% being easier, I'd say a better solution is that the beginning needs to be *harder* so that it becomes clearer, earlier what you need to fix and work on. 

since the old original post i watched some interesting youtube series about what it's like for a non-gamer playing a game. i'm not saying you're not a gamer, i'm just saying the video series made me appreciate the importance of proper scaffolding of game difficulty and game concepts. However much I like Deadfire, I have to concede that it doesn't do a great job of scaffolding information. As an example that I referenced on page 1 of this ancient post, is concentration/interrupts. The game very vaguely teaches you about concentration/interrupts, and then doesn't reinforce it with any major experiences of how important they can be. So for a lot of players, concentration/interrupts are just a murky side combat element that occasionaly frustrates your own spellcasting, up until they hit Neriscyrlas where the difference between one successful interrupt and a missed interrupt is a modestly hard fight vs an extremely annoying and difficult grind.

So I think it's a reasonable criticism--especially given how difficulty between base game and DLC is balanced--that the game might be overly forgiving or lax about certain combat concepts before suddenly pulling the rug out from under you. I think it's a bit less of a problem with vanilla game because vanilla game can be beat even on PotD by like level 14-16 (even earlier if pacifist). But even if BoW and SSS can/should be done in the middle of the vanilla game, they clearly were developed after the base game, because they suddenly assume that the player is much more well-versed with a bunch of combat skills.

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Guest Ontarah

Yeah, another carry over criticism I have about the POE series in general is that it will take a concept like "Concentration" that is common in lots of games and you just sort of assume you understand how that works.  But POE has an idiosyncratic understanding of how it works and you really do just need to read about it or you won't get it.  I'm not adverse to reading stuff about game mechanics, but I'm not somebody whose first reaction to a new game is to sit down and get cozy with the manual.  I much prefer being able to intuit things that should be obvious supplemented by trial and error and some small amount of reading when those fail.

Another example of this issue is what "Might" does.  You come in assuming you know what that does because it seems so self apparent what it does.  And it does do that, but it also does stuff like impact how much damage your wizard's spells do which is never something I would have suspected. 

I don't really know how to go about fixing this particular issue. 

Once you know the game mechanics they can be quite fun, but I have to say that POE has demanded a much, much higher investment in "learn these mechanics or go away" than the old Infinity Engine games ever did for me.  I think this is probably quite off-putting for the casually interested or even some of the seriously interested.  My SO is a massive player of RPGs but he noped right out of POE for this reason while loving DOSII. 

This is one reason I used the "12 year old me could not do this" metric in my earlier post.   

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Ontarah said:

I also think the decision to cap leveling at 20 is dumb because it means your build is rigid for the last 20% of the game and you have no option to go off and come back stronger if you are having problems because *everything* in the DLC assumes you will be about level 20.

You always have the option of retraining in any tavern - and you don't need to be at lvl 20 for any of the DLCs. You need (player-) experience though and I can see that if you kind of rushed through the game or didn't pay too much attention to certain mechanics (e.g. interrupts) then it's going to be very frustrating on higher difficulty levels.
 

57 minutes ago, thelee said:

However much I like Deadfire, I have to concede that it doesn't do a great job of scaffolding information.

It not only doesn't do a great job with that, but really an utter crappy one. :)

Edited by Boeroer
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Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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I always play Pillars 1/2 on POTD and I don't think I have ever really thought about interrupts.

I assume the megabosses and DLC require you to actually care about these? My current run will be the first with all of these.

I don't want to minimize the OP's issues with the game, but I am genuinely puzzled as to how anything in the game could be considered genuinely difficult on Normal unless you gimped your party pretty hard or flipped on all the god challenges.

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Posted (edited)
On 4/21/2020 at 8:12 PM, Boeroer said:

You always have the option of retraining in any tavern - and you don't need to be at lvl 20 for any of the DLCs. You need (player-) experience though and I can see that if you kind of rushed through the game or didn't pay too much attention to certain mechanics (e.g. interrupts) then it's going to be very frustrating on higher difficulty levels.
 

Retraining is still bugged, sadly. If you have any ability upgrade, you'll probably loose ability points. Some other things might be lost also.

Nowadays I simply use the Unity Console to alter abilities to my liking. Just need to manually keep track of ability balance to keep it fair - that you give up same number/same or higher level as you add.

Edited by Haplok

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Huh? Never had a problem with retraining. Granted I didn't use it on a regular basis.


Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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I like the megabosses, but the DLC does feel like a grind at times. SSS is so many battles. I am trying to finish my current play through, but I am already thinking about my next character! 

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On 11/10/2019 at 5:40 AM, Blunderboss said:

Meanwhile i dont agree about difficulty of the game, i totally understand the frustration about Armor and underpenetration, introducing this system and leaving it the way it is was epic failure by the developers and they never acknowledge how broken DR and PEN system is, basically there are no ways to penetrate enemy armor reliably late game, i mean even my SC assassin build has issues penetrating out of invisibility and assassins have constant +4 penetration...also it doesnt help that there are very few unique weapons to chose from especially when dual-wielding considering you will need to equip more than one character.

My mod adds several new items with increased base penetration vs basic item levels. Typically the increase is a value of 1.  I am working on more types of weapons for the next release. 

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Posted (edited)
On 4/22/2020 at 3:21 PM, lorddarkflare said:

I always play Pillars 1/2 on POTD and I don't think I have ever really thought about interrupts.

I assume the megabosses and DLC require you to actually care about these? My current run will be the first with all of these.

I don't want to minimize the OP's issues with the game, but I am genuinely puzzled as to how anything in the game could be considered genuinely difficult on Normal unless you gimped your party pretty hard or flipped on all the god challenges.

IME, interrupts aren't THAT important in base game. The dragons, guardian, giant cave grub, and engwithan titans can all be made much easier by interrupting some majorly telegraphed attacks (especially ones that summon extra enemies) but you can largely brute force your way through them, especially since the base game basically maxes out in difficulty at around level 16 or so and you can still easily get to 20. I still think it makes the game much easier to interrupt enemies while concentrating your party, but it's not crucial.

With DLC, the difficulty curves amps up quite a bit, so there's not really as much room for overleveling and just brute forcing your way through fights. Because of that, combat tactics (like interrupts) start mattering more than just hoping to roflstomp enemies.

 

Edit: also, interrupts are basically mandatory for one of the megaboss fights (Haune O Whe)

Edited by thelee
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25 minutes ago, thelee said:

Edit: also, interrupts are basically mandatory for one of the megaboss fights (Haune O Whe)

Body block also works. I would even say more reliably.

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2 hours ago, Elric Galad said:

Body block also works. I would even say more reliably.

that's funny, because my only attempt where i tried that it failed miserably, so i consider interrupts much more reliable. might just be what kind of micromanagement you can handle (with 4/5 party members equipped with crossbows/arbalests, interrupting HoW is pretty easy; i'm sure you'd say something similar about body blocking)

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Honestly It sounds like you're playing RTwP, and what you want is TB. In TB, in my opinion, you get a far fairer chance to interrupt big spells before they happen, and they don't come back 'round nearly as often. 

 

Just my 2c. I hate this game on RTwP, but love it to bits in TB.

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I love the base game, but honestly I am having trouble finishing the grind of the DLC... the vision of deadfire was roaming from island to island and questing, but the DLCs are quite a time sink.  Do any of you feel the same?

That being said, I love the challenge of the megabosses, but feel I have burnt out based on the DLCs. I am considering uninstalling the DLCs to focusing on the main game. Could I kill the megabosses without key items from the DLC? 

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Posted (edited)
On 11/19/2019 at 12:19 AM, Ontarah said:

I will add that at the moment that I wrote this, I had just had an unusual strain of bad luck.  The events proceeding it went something like:

1. Try a couple of times to fight the jumped up god imp (can't remember his name) and deciding to come back later with better gear as I was already maxed out levelwise.

2. Find a megaboss and try to fight it.  Realize what it was and go "**** this" and go off to find something else to do.

3. Start the Beast of Winter encounter with the dracolich.  Get it down to bloodied status twice only to run out of things that Interrupt and it getting off Llengrath's Safeguard.  Deciding to also **** off and come back with better equipment and a different party line up.

4. Go off to Forgotten Sanctum and proceed in such a way that pretty much the first thing I fight is that bull**** suit of animated armor that keeps summoning 4 animated swords that always materialize in the middle of your party.

It was at that point where I wrote this post.  Having swapped some people around so I could get the Arcana check to insta-win against the stupid armor and proceeded deeper into the Sanctum without constant agony, it does appear I got an unusual string of bull****ty fights right in a row.    

It seems you got annoyed that game actually surpriced you. Most of those encounters you listed can be solved with a lot of things tho. It seems you got pissed off because at max level you realized you don't know jack about the game actually which I imagine is annoying - you expect to be rewarded for getting max level and not punished with ever increasing complexity and thus difficulty of the fights. All in all I think PoE does a poor job "tutoring" its mechanics and hides a lot of combat options from players - I mean you could have things like rogue NPCs bantering in The Gullet about "this poison that every mage fears... I heard they're running short in the row" kinda things to sneak in some game info to lean on when you hit the wall.

I myself spent twice as much time reading forums, researching builds than actually playing the game - because frankly I didn't find learning stuff on my own very enjoyable in PoE 2. I don't know why but despite its projected complexity PoE 2 boils down to very simple game plan - stack on your main strength and abuse it because stepping down from a beaten path will punish you 99% of the time. Also PoE designs make difficulty curve very unfun to experience - you try one encounter with given setup at level 8 and you get wrecked, you spend 3 hours trying to min/max the **** out of your setup and you cut it close but decide to come back when you're one level higher to save some consumables or just don't want to feel like you uber lucked on it - so you come back 1 level later and you suddenly faceroll it because getting at 3 more deflection with levelup and access to new deflection spell now made enemies unable to hit you and your riposte tank destroy half of them before your backline gets even buffed.

Things like these are the most annoying for me in PoE design. Especially when to get that level up you just had to walk down from Periki to Berth doing fetch quest. I guess I needed that sense of achievement with easy victory after such glorious adventure. But honestly I don't know what to expect from this genre anymore - I don't want isometric rpgs to turn into tactical crossover between XCOM and some storytelling hiccup but at the same time I don't think I'd enjoy simple system that fails to bring constant sense of achievement -  I used PoE 2 as a char building simulator replaying different builds up to like half game with no desire to finish the game or throwing  enjoyable setups at demanding endgame because I know they will fail and require meta game tuning making them innevitably much less fun. 

Edited by Phyriel

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"Char building simulator" is exactly what PoE and Deadfire are for me, hehe. That term never crossed my mind but it fits. 

I do playthroughs to see if the stuff I tested with console is also good (which mostly meansfun to play) in the "real" game - but it often happens that I abandon the run as soon as I hit a certain spot where I can see "yep, it works well" or "uh it doesn't play as good as I thought". 

Megabosses are not impossible but unfun for me because they need stuff I usually avoid: consumables, resting bonuses and so on. And because they are such huge bags of HP which makes it a tedious grind even if you have a good setup. Also heavily favours classes with unlimited resources which I find to be a bit lame. I would miss nothing without the Megabosses.

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Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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