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What mold should be broken?

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#21
Tale

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Whatever stat system they do use, I'd really like it if the stats were actually representative of something. It's common in JRPGs and even many WRPGs for your warrior to have 200 strength and 20 intelligence while your mage has 200 intelligence and 20 strength. Does that mean that the warrior is ten times stronger than the mage? Is the mage ten times smarter than the warrior? No, of course not, because those numbers don't actually reflect the characters' strength and intelligence. They're just there to slightly increase their damage multipliers and give the player a sense of progress. And I hate that.

Oh gosh, yes. I thought this went without saying, but it doesn't hurt to say.
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#22
Delterius

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Whatever stat system they do use, I'd really like it if the stats were actually representative of something. It's common in JRPGs and even many WRPGs for your warrior to have 200 strength and 20 intelligence while your mage has 200 intelligence and 20 strength. Does that mean that the warrior is ten times stronger than the mage? Is the mage ten times smarter than the warrior? No, of course not, because those numbers don't actually reflect the characters' strength and intelligence. They're just there to slightly increase their damage multipliers and give the player a sense of progress. And I hate that.

Oh gosh, yes. I thought this went without saying, but it doesn't hurt to say.


A lot of things should go without saying, but then the last half decade happened.
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#23
Tigranes

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One thing I really want to see in Eternity is innovation within boundaries - so definitely, features that don't break the IE formula but make a significant difference in the rhythms and patterns of play. People have of course commented on resting, and that's been the bugbear throughout the NWN series as well.
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I really think Sawyer building the combat / character system from ground up gives opportunities to make changes at the level of combat as an abstraction. Generally,
  • magic is a totally independent effect, self-contained upon the world; the fireball is created by magical rules through magical power, effects the world at an abstracted magical sense (hit points), then dissipates with no other impact.
  • the elements of the combat scene that are made 'dynamic' are limited; systems remain independent.
So in a RTwP IE game, yes, terrain and positioning matters, yes magic matters, yes individual character stats matters, but mostly independently. That's why when you try to add things like destructible terrain or terrain bonuses or aimed shots, they are hard to do well, aside from building yet another separate system.

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This is rather unsystematic, but the kinds of things I'd like to see is precisely this greater interaction.
  • E.g. the AOE of an area spell should be restricted by terrain and obstacles, elemental spells should have spillage on ground terrain that changes its properties - take what was in BG1 with lightning bolt or DA:O with spell synergy and take it further.
  • E.g. instead of evocation spells that dissipate after casting and conjuration spells that just create monsters, have summons that are more like static 'sentry' units with an area of persistent effect, i.e. a zone of silence, then have synergies; e.g. a sentry of silence maintains a silence effect in that area but the sentry itself can be taken down; you could overlap it with a immunity to arrows sentry to protect the first sentry from being felled by arrows.

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Obviously we can't suddenly destroy the concept of magic as consisting of singular spells cast by a single user, etc., fundamental things like that, but I'd like to see greater variation from standard dynamics like single-target single-effect no-time spells. There should be more magic that has a spatial, temporal and synergistic consequence, which is organised into general principles so users can understand quickly.
  • E.g. if all fire spells were consistently more effective against leather armour or even forested terrain, and repeated damage had a distinct effect, this introduces a new level of decision-making (fire 5 fireballs or mix it up with another AOE damage spell).
Again, some of this was done by DA:O's synergy, which I felt was one of the best things it did, but it could do a lot more - especially if you introduce again already-known things like crippled limbs and terrain bonuses.
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#24
Tamerlane

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Ah, you just reminded me of something that briefly came up in the healing thread, and I think it kind of fits in here. Also, you just reminded me of X-Com's terrain destruction/spreading fires/smoke effects. Damn I love that.

What is a hit point, anyway? What does it mean to lose a hit point? Does that mean that you have been hit? Or are hit points some vague combination of your character's natural strength, their focus, their luck, armour, and agility? Of course if all those things are unified, you can't have separate block and dodge and damage reduction via armour and all that nice stuff because they're already covered as hit points. And that's what I prefer, but it's not something you really see. Like, ever. Instead, hit points represent some noexistent "vitality" thing that lets one character survive one axe to the face and another survive ten axes to the face because HIT POINTS RARGH.

I'd love to see some manner of unified hit point system. One great, big bar. A small number of hit points for everyone, but to do damage to those, you have to get through their armour hit points. And to get through that, you have to get through their block/parry hit points, and maybe there's a constitution bonus there or something. And their dodge hit points. And if it's a spell maybe it bypasses armour but there's a separate "magic resistance" hit point or... something. And you know what, Obsidian is probably miles past thinking about this stage so I'm just talking to hear myself talk.

I like hearing myself talk.
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#25
Delterius

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Instead, hit points represent some noexistent "vitality" thing that lets one character survive one axe to the face and another survive ten axes to the face because HIT POINTS RARGH.


'Vitality' is represented by your 'Constitution' stat, which merely affects hitpoints. Losing one hitpoint out of 75 means you were barely hit, not that you can take 75 more stabs through the chest. An axe to the face would mean 50 out of 75 or 1 out of 3, etcetera.

Simply put, this interpretation means that 'Armor Class' (and such) isn't the only statistic that represents your martial prowess, hence why martial classes gain more hitpoints even though they may have as much 'Constitution' points, and may go through the same physical exercises as a non-martial class.

Edited by Delterius, 15 September 2012 - 02:37 PM.


#26
Piekokas

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I'll just post some ideas about Fallout 2, since it's the game I played (and enjoyed) the most.

One thing I think it's kinda "vital" is something like the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system and the way that affected your char.
1 in Intelligence? Your char would mostly grunt at people,
Make it 10 and you would have a rich sentences and more options to choose from.

Another thing is the combat system, but since Project Eternity is fantasy-based I'm not sure if Fallout's combat system would work.
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#27
DAWUSS

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Distinguished usage of foreign languages. Everywhere you go the people either A: speak English (or the localized language that the player understands) or B: understand every language at a proficient level.

#28
Longknife

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I'll just post some ideas about Fallout 2, since it's the game I played (and enjoyed) the most.

One thing I think it's kinda "vital" is something like the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system and the way that affected your char.
1 in Intelligence? Your char would mostly grunt at people,
Make it 10 and you would have a rich sentences and more options to choose from.

Another thing is the combat system, but since Project Eternity is fantasy-based I'm not sure if Fallout's combat system would work.


Perhaps slightly off-topic, but I think the return of such an intelligence system would be welcomed. Idiot playthroughs in FO1 and FO2 were hilarious.
As an alternative, if there's a charisma or personality stat at all, perhaps raising it would unlock better dialog options? Wittier, funnier and/or more insightful/thoughtful/sympathetic ones that tend to be able to get you further in dialog, whereas low personality characters get very blunt and bland dialog options that leave them limited with social interactions? Personality/Charisma is typically a very underpowered stat, it'd be nice to see such a thing fleshed out more. New Vegas did an amazing job of making the Speech skill God-Tier quality, but the Charisma attribute still left something to be desired.
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#29
Volourn

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"What is a hit point, anyway? What does it mean to lose a hit point? Does that mean that you have been hit? Or are hit points some vague combination of your character's natural strength, their focus, their luck, armour, and agility? Of course if all those things are unified, you can't have separate block and dodge and damage reduction via armour and all that nice stuff because they're already covered as hit points. And that's what I prefer, but it's not something you really see. Like, ever. Instead, hit points represent some noexistent "vitality" thing that lets one character survive one axe to the face and another survive ten axes to the face because HIT POINTS RARGH."

That's not how DnD hp work. How it works is clearly explained in the various PHBs down the years.

Anyways, on topic:

Yeah, resting should be limited to only be allowed 1 8ish hour shift per day, and if you rest in widlerness/hostile places, there should be a high risk of being disrupted which not only makes you udnerattack, it also hurts your chance to 'memorize' spells/regain magic points, and receieve minuses for being too tired.

There should be a mix of 'traditional' races like dwarves 9THERE HAS TO BE DWARVES!), and unncommonr ace. Obsidian should also try to throw in at least 1 or two of their own created races.

Magic needs to be used for than just combat. If classes are being used, they should at least have limited access to other classes skills at 'increased cost' ie a warrior may dabble in a handful of rogue abltiies or become expert at pickpocketing but it should come at the price of not being able to 'max' out warrior abilities.

Obvious I expect the traditional spells to exist but there should be some surprising uses for magic too.

Variied equipment like weapons and armour are a must. Time sensitive quests should exist when needed but not too overdone.

Traditional monsters are cool but surprise us with some too.

Also, multiple starting points based on race/class/background would be awesome.

Edited by Volourn, 15 September 2012 - 03:09 PM.


#30
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I'd like to see languages come into play. Intelligent/educated characters could speak more languages and when entering certain areas you either need to hire an interpreter or have a character who speaks the language.
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#31
Raithe

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When you have "evil" options, make them Intelligent evil options. Not just moronic/slaughter evil.
Depending on how open it is , and whether your characters can take the way of being a complete and utter magnificent bastard. Not just a good guy or a idiotic slaughterhouse.

Or at least, some way of recognising when you might choose a "good" option purely because it suits your purpose for later down the line because you are just that sort of evil git who believes that's the way to get ahead in that particular situation...

It's a very hard line to walk in rpg's in general, let alone figure out a way to do with a computer game. But that fine line of being boy scout good, ruthlessly pragmatic while looking at the overarcing goals for what you're seeking to do, or just being an utterly ruthless mastermind for your own benefit...

Along with that, the way the reputation of your character builds in the gameworld depending on your actions and how you portray yourself. Which leads to how various factions might react to you as the game progresses. Some groups being more suspicious, hostile, or downright friendly...
You might be purely out for your own benefit, but depending on how you act with people, they might think you are some wonderful hero. I kind of doubt it could be implemented in any simple manner, but it would be an interesting thing to see...
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#32
sparklecat

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In regards to factions, I would like to see a roughly equivalent positive and negative portrayal of them all. One area I felt New Vegas failed was in how Caesar's Legion was presented to the player. Yes, there was the odd NPC that provided a fresh perspective and a conversation with Caesar about his long term goals, but beyond those scant moments I was never presented with a compelling reason to support his side. Not unless I was role-playing a sadistic monster or an unempathetic pragmatist, anyway.


Agreed. It was especially impossible for me ever to make a female character that'd side with the Legion; not that I couldn't think of reasons why one would, just that they weren't the sort that resonanted with any female characters I'd ever create, because they generally would make her out to be a victim going along with the stronger, male-dominated society. I want my major options to feel attractive to me both in themselves and because my character thinks they'll make them better (whatever that means for them) both immediately and after the game's ended. Something where you start off, say, as a discriminated-against character helping the racist faction because it's your only option and can later jump ship to something better, or stay because you see hope to change how you're viewed and gain greater rights for yourself/your kind is fine. Knowing that 6 months after the curtain drops on the game your character's going to meet with an unfortunate accident because their success is inconvenient to their faction's philosophy isn't.

#33
Metabot

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Choices

Some painful, some impossible, and some to be proud of

Example: "You paid dearly for doing the right thing. As a child slave, you decide to help a friend avoid punishment. You get caught and your hand is chopped off in retribution. Later on, you can't use bows and 2h-weapons. Furthermore, the wound is a stigma of a caught and convicted petty thief."
In the later game, those friends' actions have special significance to the player, and create immersion. If later on a magic liquid metal hand that restores lost abilities, can shapeshift and execute killmoves happens to be found, it'll be enjoyed all the more.
On the other hand, any injury can be avoided by not helping the friend in the first place.

Not paying attention makes it easy to inadvertently go down the wrong path. You want to be a good guy? Be prepared to swallow rage and forsake the satisfaction of vengeance. Vigilante killings are recognized as such by society. It's not easy to be just, and almost impossible to entirely avoid being manipulated. Prudent choices such as "bringing someone in" instead of killing them outright are available. It's impossible to succeed every time, and players are confronted with moments of intense frustration.

  • No guiding hand
An immersion breaker in modern games is the relentless pace. Not in Project Eternity. Here it is important to pay attention to the dialogue. Little is gained by following quest markers or checking objectives. Facts are recorded, but the player jots down his/her own conclusions in the journal next to them, and chooses his/her plan of action. The minimap is not a substitute for looking at where you are going, players need to familiarize themselves with the game world. Help is readily available by talking to people, but the right questions need to be asked. Superior solutions to quests apparent only with understanding and immersion are available next to regular endings.
  • Mystery
The player is placed in a wondrous place, and is not all that powerful nor important. He/She isn't able to battle everything, and might need to run from a conflict without ever having a chance of besting an opponent. In PST the lady of pain set a great mood. Beating everything into submission does not solve anything, nor does it even seem a worthy endeavor.


I like these ideas a lot. The main one for me is make the player make interesting and tough choices. The other main thing is don't design the damn game around the quest marker. If you have to leave the compass marker as an optional thing when you get stuck or better yet implement some kind of a hint system that helps you out but doesn't tell you exactly what to do. Along those lines, I'd love to see quests involve multiple uses of non combat skills and combat skills alike. In other words, these quests should be somewhat of a puzzle where your characters' skills have to be used effectively in order to succeed.
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#34
Metabot

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In regards to factions, I would like to see a roughly equivalent positive and negative portrayal of them all. One area I felt New Vegas failed was in how Caesar's Legion was presented to the player. Yes, there was the odd NPC that provided a fresh perspective and a conversation with Caesar about his long term goals, but beyond those scant moments I was never presented with a compelling reason to support his side. Not unless I was role-playing a sadistic monster or an unempathetic pragmatist, anyway.

That is not to say I'm against the idea of an "evil" faction. Only that I'd like every faction to offer believable incentives to join or support. I don't ever want to feel as if one choice is clearly superior to another. Perhaps it might be easier if none of the main factions were the primary antagonists. Unless having an option for Evil McEvil characters to join the Big Bads is intentional; in which case ignore this whole post. :p


It made sense somewhat for Caesar's Legion to be less represented, though. The NCR and even House were much more of a presence in the setting of the game whereas Caesar was trying to make headway in that area. I don't really see why every faction would be equally compelling, equally good, and equally bad. They should have different motivations, different things they'd be willing to do to accomplish their goals, etc.

#35
catmorbid

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I wouldn't mind if every bit of (DnD and other classical RPG) tradition was thrown in the garbage bin and made anew. Let's start with a couple ideas.

Mana:
What is this mystical force that fuels the miracles you perform? Make it somehow critical and essential in every being; make the lack of it be as deadly as lack of blood in your veins, or fresh air to breathe. Maybe casting spells is literally sacrificing some of your own life force. Ok, maybe not that drastic, but something more meaningful than simply exhausting a pool of infinitely regenerating points or sleeping a few hours. Maybe have finite, but immensely large pool of mana that never regenerates (unless through drastic measures?) and physically and mentally affects the character.

Hit Points:
Why not measure individual wounds instead: This can allow for behaviour where a single wound can be very lethal, but a high number of minor wounds with total worth similar to that of the lethal wound aren't nearly as lethal. This drastically changes the importance and balance of damage ratings to more interesting direction. E.g. character dies of a single wound worth 10 points, but can take 100 wounds worth 1 point and still live - although badly beaten up.
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#36
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In regards to factions, I would like to see a roughly equivalent positive and negative portrayal of them all. One area I felt New Vegas failed was in how Caesar's Legion was presented to the player. Yes, there was the odd NPC that provided a fresh perspective and a conversation with Caesar about his long term goals, but beyond those scant moments I was never presented with a compelling reason to support his side. Not unless I was role-playing a sadistic monster or an unempathetic pragmatist, anyway.


Agreed. It was especially impossible for me ever to make a female character that'd side with the Legion; not that I couldn't think of reasons why one would, just that they weren't the sort that resonanted with any female characters I'd ever create, because they generally would make her out to be a victim going along with the stronger, male-dominated society. I want my major options to feel attractive to me both in themselves and because my character thinks they'll make them better (whatever that means for them) both immediately and after the game's ended. Something where you start off, say, as a discriminated-against character helping the racist faction because it's your only option and can later jump ship to something better, or stay because you see hope to change how you're viewed and gain greater rights for yourself/your kind is fine. Knowing that 6 months after the curtain drops on the game your character's going to meet with an unfortunate accident because their success is inconvenient to their faction's philosophy isn't.



Re: Factions, I thought Obsidz did a pretty good job in FONV. Yes, the Legion was more or less abominable for female characters (or for any character / player with a principled opposition to slavery) but the faction's philosophy was internally coherent. There were reasons they did the things they did - it wasn't necessary that those reasons actually justified their actions, just that their actions made sense (and the Legion's did, ultimately). That's the difference between, say, the Master's Army and some random D&D orc tribe - the Master sought domination for reasons, the orc tribe seek domination because that's just the way orcs are. They're just violent. That's not compelling.

Likewise, the NCR was meant to elicit a reflexive, sympathetic response from most players in the same way the Legion is meant to be repulsive and frightening - their ostensibly republican values are common first principles among players, especially in America. But like the Legion, as you go through the game you learn that they aren't just "the way they are". They're intemperate, greedy, wasteful, and immensely dysfunctional (like some western democracies you'd care to name). Your preference for them might not change, but you don't have to do a 180 on a faction in order for that faction to be well-realized.
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#37
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Regarding things like discrimination (Legion antagonizing female PCs, etc.) I think it is important to retain those elements in games because I just happen to ascribe to a sort of post-structuralist orientation w/r/t power. I have an intense dislike for the power fantasy aspect of most recent RPGs, in which your character might be of some sort of minority group but you as an individual are able to bypass all the structural barriers that members of your group face daily (Dragon Age, etc.) Games like Fallout 2, though they aren't perfect by any means, serve an important functions. You enter the testosterone-drenched crime family strongholds in New Reno and you will be continually disrespected, maybe even turned away outright. That's something that happens to be people all the time, but it makes gamers uncomfortable. I played it as an 11-year old and that was the first time I realized that it might severely suck to be a woman a lot of the time.

I know Josh is up to the task with this stuff though. He's gonna blow some minds.
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#38
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I would like EVERYTHING about all the things we take for granted to be explained in in-game lore.

Why are there elves, dwarves and humans? Are they related, or were they created in different forms by gods? How does magic work? Are there different forms of magic? How does the cosmology look like? Why do the cultures look the way they do? How are the different countries ruled and how does this impact their inhabitants?

Arcanum was great in this regard and I expect nothing less from this game.

:)
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#39
Badmojo

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What about joining a cult that worships god, demons, or some entity? They are usually the "evil" faction that you fight, but I cannot think of any RPG that allowed you really to join up with them. It would be nice to join a cult (and/or secret society). Something different for a change.

#40
Grayman

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One of the flaws I have found in the typical CRPG model is that there are only two states of the world: peaceful and deadly hostile. In the real world if I were to steal a toaster the person may only verbalize they are upset(this can be scripted in all rpgs today) or try to physically stop me, but they will not murder me. Even in most communities in the fallout world the jump from peace to fighting to the death is instant and inappropriate for social life. A fisticuffs, restraint, and other medium violence combat option would open up the role playing options a lot. This may be more suited to single avatar games and the reactivity is making time costs soar but this is what has always bothered me about open world RPGs. This also makes the party capture scripted event less unbelievable.

A more general thing would be tracking as much as possible in the game and throwing comments on some of it. Killing all the monsters between Dyrford and Twin Elms should get a comment about how sociopathic that is. Pay attention to timing too, if someone is trying to farm xp in a zombie ghost hellhound attack and goes to resupply those zombie ghost hellhounds should win.

For combat I find that most games have the quantity to quality ratio backwards and use a high number of encounters that play mostly the same. Fewer, longer, explicitly designed encounters would be a lot more enjoyable than waves of combat.





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