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My personal opinion on character customization is that the fun comes in when you can actually understand the rules:

If I hadn't played AD&D at the time when BG & Co came out, the character development wouldn't have had half the appeal to me, personally.

 

Now to the question / problem I am seeing: With an IP game like PE, where the rules are developed by Obsidian themselves, the problem could be that those rules are too hidden from the player. There are two sides, of course: On the one hand you want to have it as complicated as possible, to allow many options and leave as much room for customization. On the other hand: How do you present to the player in a concise way, how it works? And also too much information could frighten some players.

 

What I would like to see is a complicated system with the option to be swamped with information. E.g. like in the old IE games where you could print out every dice throw in the dialogue box. (Gimme some crunch along with the flav...) On the other hand it should be easy for players that aren't so interested in the rules to understand the basics, i.e. give a breakdown what strength is good for in the character creation. (Also here it would be great to customize the amount of information - "Strength gives boni to attack and damage. It is the main attribute for fighters." or "Every two points in strength give you a +1 bonus on damage, as well as attack. The attack bonus is calculated as follows: 10 [base] + Str bonus + weapon boni. etc. pp."

 

What would you like to see? More info and more complexity or simplicity?

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At the very least I would like quantitive information, e.g. how much does increasing the strength stat benefit, or just how much better is sword x compared to sword y. I don't particularly care about showing the calculations themselves, Fallout did it right I think. Stats were shown and their effects were explained in the manual, damage done and status effects were also shown, but attack rolls weren't shown a la BG.

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Detailed rulebook is a must, be it in-game or a separate document. “Increasing stat X gives you benefits in Y” does not cut it for me. N points in X, is it big or not really? Is progression linear or there are diminishing returns? Lots of such questions, and answers are just easier to deduce from the logical and coherent rules rather than explained in an ad-hoc manner.

I'd love to see an option for detailed combat log, too.

The universe is probably littered with the one-planet graves of cultures which made the sensible economic decision that there's no good reason to go into space--each discovered, studied, and remembered by the ones who made the irrational decision. [xkcd]

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I don't like roll-playing or meta-gaming, so the more abstracted the rules and rolls are for me, the better.

 

I do realize that I am in the minority with this opinion though. For some reason D&D fans seem to love reading about rules and dice rolls outside the game.

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I don't know why would you need to be so invested in rules for the IE games when they were just adaptions for a PC game and because of that were different. The real-time component made sure most spells used just differently, kiting was powerful as well.

 

For me personally, I would just like to see simple information and dig out the detailed stuff my self.

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I hope they will design and present the rules in a comprehensible way.

 

- % ratings for chances to hit / miss / resist / succeed instead of thac0 calculations or saving throw charts

- damage and damage reduction potential with single numbers that correlate with eachother instead of combinations of dice rolls (random elements can be kept under the hood)

- UI that is clear on stats but does not reveal combat math with engineer level precision

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Clear, available rules, that let you do the math to predict how your character will perform. E.g. when you're distributing attribute points, you should see a tooltip "every two points in strength increases your to-hit and damage with melee weapons by 1 point". Abilities that have differing results depending on your abilities should provide you with the formulas involved.

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At the very least I want to be able to see what effect increasing a stat is having on my character. A detailed character sheet on level up would be preferable at minimum. My preference would be things spelled out in detail in the manual. If I don't know how effective one thing or another is going to be it bugs the crap out of me. I don't like being forced to go to joe blow's site to read up on what his "opinion" is on what stats are good. I want facts.

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