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Sylvius the Mad

Why I'm not entirely happy with Update #7.

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The separation of points for combat skills and points for non-combat skills isn't necessarily bad. Honestly, gives me an excuse not to focus entirely on combat efficiency. :3

 

! But no rainbow unicorns? :( Whatever will we do? ._. *pout*

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Second, not penalising people for avoiding combat is good, but Tim specifically referred to getting XP for quests as opposed to getting XP for killing things. How does that work when challenges are overcome without those challenges being tied to a quest? Is that effort wasted? In some cases, perhaps it should be wasted: grinding low-level monsters probably shouldn't grant XP is there's no reason for killing them. But if I ignore the quests available to me and start stealing from people, does that mean I won't earn XP for that stealing?

That's a good question. I have a gut feeling that Tim simply didn't address how xp will be doled out outside of quests, or if it will be at all. Just watched his video again, nothing he said rules out the notion that you can also get xp for disarming traps or making potions.

 

He did say one thing, though, which might end up being a decent consolation in the event that performing skills outside of quests doesn't gain you xp: you get loot instead..

Edited by Stun

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Great update. I like the approach they're taking with XP.

 

Indeed...xp for accomplishing non-combat tasks to that those less bent on rushing through the front door of the enemy fortress and more sneaky/diplomatic in approach can still level up just as fast as the brutes cutting through the hordes.


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I assume he was refering to multiple ways of doing quests. For example, clear an area of bandits. Kill, them,talk theminto living by intimidating them, by scaring them, whatever... They all should generate quest completion XP even if you did not kill them. Right?

 

If Bloodlines is any indication, it would probably work like that, yes.

 

BTW, this would also solve another pet peeve of mine with "XP for killing" systems. One of the things that I dislike is that they often allow you to talk/stealth your way through a quest, grant you an XP award for that, and then let you kill everyone and rack up even more XP. With a goal-based XP system, this would no longer be a problem.

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Hmmm. I'm not happy with quest only XP.

 

Not quests, goals.

 

To clarify, one quest can have several stages of completion. Each time you reach one of the designated goals, you get some XP.

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Yes but it destroys serendipity. You explore and kill some monsters. It's a tough fight, you lose an NPC. You're not on a quest. Er, what was the point?

 

I'm not expecting a sandbox game, and I'm comfortable with scaled / difficulty class systems for the amount of XP given. But the idea that every piece of XP is controlled and predicated on a mission you've been given is certainly not in the spirit of the original IE games.

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That's a really nice update.

 

Avoiding combat does not lead to less experience gain.

And this is what I like the most. I'm one of those who like using non-violent methods, but don't like to lose a half-level worth of xp because of that. Glad that now we'll be properly rewarded regardless of our style.


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Because I've never heard of a tactical, isometric CRPG where you move your characters on the 'battlefield' to chat with an ogre.


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some of the best NWN mods i played had a quest centered XP system...you still got 1 or 2 points for killing fodder but your bulk would come from quest completion. That's not to say that if you encountered a unique high level monster you wouldn't be rewarded XP for killing it, it only meant that the XP you actually get becomes that much more significant.

 

i approve of this direction.

 

also, OP, go play Fallout 1-2...

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Murder-based XP (which is how most CRPGs work) is a terrible system, I'll grant. But I see potential pitfalls in quest-based XP, particularly with regard to the PC's ability to accrue wealth without gaining levels. Depending how equipment, or scaling, or any number of other things work, that could cause balance issues.

 

 

Seriously, though, if you're realism simming, of course training more in gunplay will not leave you as much time to practice basket weaving... but for fun and game balance (at least for those of us who don't enjoy managing spreadsheets or find enjoyment in weighing the pro's and con's of two unlike things drawing on the same resource (do I cast Alarm or do I sharpen my sword for the next day, I can only do one in the given time, gah!)) I think separating combat from non-combat is the right way to go.

I would think game balance would be a reason not to do this. Allowing combat and non-combat skills to advance independently would (in broad strokes) allow the player to decide whether he wants to employ combat or non-combat solutions on a case-by-case basis, regardless of his previous advancement choices. It eliminates what could have been an important strategic element from the game, and, frankly, a valuable roleplaying opportunity.

 

When my character gains a level, what skills does he learn? If he needs to weigh the benefits of getting better with his sword against learning how to disarm traps, or negotiate with merchants, or swim, or whatever else, and furthermore, if he really likes his sword and has always dreamed about becoming the greatest swordsman in the world, that level-up becomes a really interesting roleplaying event.

 

But if he doesn't need to make that choice, and instead can choose to learn his sword AND how to negotiate with merchants, that opportunity is lost.

 

Roleplaying is, at least partly, about making choices. But if we can have our cake and eat it too, where's the choice?


God used to be my co-pilot, but then we crashed in the Andes and I had to eat him.

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Because I've never heard of a tactical, isometric CRPG where you move your characters on the 'battlefield' to chat with an ogre.

I have, sorta. In the Overland map in NWN2 Storm of Zehir, you could bribe hostile humanoid creatures, like orcs, ogres etc. into leaving you alone.

 

As cool as that sounds, it got really *really* old after a while (and for that matter, so did fighting them lol). I don't know. This is one of those wait-and-see things for me. I'm feeling ambivalent right now.

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Update 7 raises two concerns.

 

First, I am not immediately comfortable with the idea that combat and non-combat skills will be purchased separately. I like having to choose between magic missile and herbalism. I like being able to focus on one thing and get REALLY good at that thing, paying for that by lacking versatility, and I like being forced not to be especially good at things if I choose to have versatility. Versatility has value. Therefore, versatility should have a cost.

 

Maybe the game world will be designed such that this will still work, but at first glance don't like the idea that I can make an expert in non-combat solutions who is also an expert in combat solution.

 

 

Honestly, CRPG's are really the only place trying to force you to choose between combat and noncombat. D&D's a great example, pretty much all of it's systems have combat and non-combat skills seperated out.

 

Which in honestly, is much more realistic. There's nothing stopping someone from being good with a sword and understanding botany/chemistry. The whole thing is really just an artificial seperate that CRPG's fostered early on as they joined PnP in navigating how to balance these two skill sets.

 

This implementation is much more refined than early "One-dimensional character" systems. Ideally, in a well developed system, non-combat classes would take the place of these artificial divisions.

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Yes but it destroys serendipity. You explore and kill some monsters. It's a tough fight, you lose an NPC. You're not on a quest. Er, what was the point?

 

I'm not expecting a sandbox game, and I'm comfortable with scaled / difficulty class systems for the amount of XP given. But the idea that every piece of XP is controlled and predicated on a mission you've been given is certainly not in the spirit of the original IE games.

 

NOT quest...goals. Anything can be a goal, even actions not marked in the logbook. There are goals you give yourself as the player such as beating that tough beast up ahead even if it's not marked in the log book. I think you are reading way too much into it. The update never says you only get xp from quests and anything can be a goal....hell beating the two bandits that just ambushed you and not dying is a goal though it may not be marked in your logbook as such.

 

I really think everything will be ok with xp awards.


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Second, not penalising people for avoiding combat is good, but Tim specifically referred to getting XP for quests as opposed to getting XP for killing things. How does that work when challenges are overcome without those challenges being tied to a quest?

Did you play Vampire: Bloodlines?

 

In that game if your goal is "get rid of this guy", you get exp just getting rid of the guy, it doesn't really matter how you accomplish the goal and what you do on the way to reach him.

So, if you kill everyone and then slain him, if you sneak into his house and poison his dinner or if you use a disguise to approach him and then you manage to talk him out of town, you still get the same exact reward. And you get it always just after completing your actual goal.

 

Of course, then you still have to face the different consequences of your actions, regardless of obtaining the same exp reward... But that's another story.

It's a great system.

Edited by Tuco Benedicto
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quest based XP works superbly in low magic, low wealth worlds because everything is more easily manageable...you simply won't get rich grinding for droppable items from fodder because even those items will only fetch you the bare minimum at the market place.

 

for example in BG2 it was possible to collect 20,000 gold without doing a single quest, all you had to do was loot barrels and dead bandits/goblins...something like this can't possibly happen because in a low wealth/magic world people don't throw away gold in random barrels. You will only get rich through quest completion and proper skill development at higher levels.

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Murder-based XP (which is how most CRPGs work) is a terrible system, I'll grant. But I see potential pitfalls in quest-based XP, particularly with regard to the PC's ability to accrue wealth without gaining levels. Depending how equipment, or scaling, or any number of other things work, that could cause balance issues.

 

Largely incorrect. Xp/kill is meant to represent the challenge of defeating the critter, which in PnP works fine because the DM can handle arbitrary inputs and deal with non-combat solutions.

 

The issue arises in that game developers, except for the Obsidian team, are generally unable to understand the need for anything but killing everything in sight, such as Bethesda. Just because the Developers of RPG's since the late 90's generally don't understand RPG's doesn't make the system bad, it makes the developers bad. It's not the system's fault that those developers decided that the only thing to do in an RPG is kill things.

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Largely incorrect. Xp/kill is meant to represent the challenge of defeating the critter, which in PnP works fine because the DM can handle arbitrary inputs and deal with non-combat solutions.

XP/kill creates perverse incentives to kill more things.


God used to be my co-pilot, but then we crashed in the Andes and I had to eat him.

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Roleplaying is, at least partly, about making choices. But if we can have our cake and eat it too, where's the choice?

Choices are between different combat and different non-combat abilities (separately). The aim of this approach is to ensure that non-combat skills are important as combat skills. Have a little faith, Obsidian can pull this off.

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Update 7 raises two concerns.

 

First, I am not immediately comfortable with the idea that combat and non-combat skills will be purchased separately. I like having to choose between magic missile and herbalism. I like being able to focus on one thing and get REALLY good at that thing, paying for that by lacking versatility, and I like being forced not to be especially good at things if I choose to have versatility. Versatility has value. Therefore, versatility should have a cost.

That's really masohistic. I mean, I do not like being a master of all, but what you describe is pretty much a warrior or mage only class choice. Perhaps Rogue too at most.

 

Even in real life, you can be good at more than one thing. Especially if one has to do with fitness(weapon skills ingame) and the other with, say physics or programming(mental skills). I'm sure base attributes will also matter on how much versatility you can have. Not to mention, focusing on one combat and one non-combat thing, will still get you faster or further at that one thing.

Edited by kenup

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Did you play Vampire: Bloodlines?

 

In that game if your goal is "get rid of this guy", you get exp just getting rid of the guy, it doesn't really matter how you accomplish the goal and what you do on the way to reach him.

But that only works for goals that are assigned by the game. If I decide that my character's goals are different from that, do I break the system?


God used to be my co-pilot, but then we crashed in the Andes and I had to eat him.

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My concern is that exploration of wilderness areas / non-quest related content / dungeon crawling is somehow gimped so that the pure role-plaeyers feel good about their 95% score in basket-weaving.

 

Edit: Before I get flamed and told to study game X or game Y, remember that this project was not advertised as the spiritual successor to Fallout or Vampire or whatever. It implicitly mentions games with more traditional models of XP gain. I'm not saying that non-combat skills shouldn't be rewarded, nor should there be no fulfilling non-combat quest resolution, but what I have seen mooted smacks more of Fallout than Baldur's Gate.

 

And that wasn't what the developers presented.

Edited by Monte Carlo
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Choices are between different combat and different non-combat abilities (separately).

Those are easier choices. If I know that I can always resort to combat when I want to, that eliminates some of the risk associated with learning non-combat skills.

The aim of this approach is to ensure that non-combat skills are important as combat skills.

That goal could equally be achieved through world design, without depriving us of level-up trade-offs.

Edited by Sylvius the Mad

God used to be my co-pilot, but then we crashed in the Andes and I had to eat him.

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Regarding XP for stealing, making potions, etc.: Why do you feel the need to receive XP for this? Isn't getting the stolen or crafted item itself enough of an incentive to perform the task?

 

It may seem realistic that the act of thieving would make you a better thief, and potion mixing would make you a better alchemist; but there has to be something to keep people from becoming master thieves by stealing 50,000 potatoes from market, or master alchemist from making 8,000 vials of antidote. (or master swordsmen from slaughtering 17,000 cellar rats)

 

Limiting XP to plot advancement and quest completion gets rid of a lot of grinding, and limits the effectiveness of power leveling. In my opinion, that's a good thing.


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Did you play Vampire: Bloodlines?

 

In that game if your goal is "get rid of this guy", you get exp just getting rid of the guy, it doesn't really matter how you accomplish the goal and what you do on the way to reach him.

But that only works for goals that are assigned by the game. If I decide that my character's goals are different from that, do I break the system?

i think you are misunderstanding the meaning of "goal" in this context.

It's not about what your objectives are as a character or what quests are on your journal. It's about having a set of "achievements" (or "accomplishments" if you prefer a less abused word) that lead to that amount of exp reward.

What you are asking is if there will be an alternative path to "Get rid of that guy", which is entirely possible, but that's entirely up to the developers and how they are going to design the content in their game, it's not something related to the system used.

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