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


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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.

 

Because you're looking at the term "quest" too rigidly.

 

Think of it as "objectives." And in some cases, going out and exploring and killing some really tough guy that doesn't have a "quest" associated with it is still an objective and you'll gain XP. The same way that getting behind a locked door for fat rewards can gain xp.

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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).

But you could be even better at fitness if you never took the time away from physical training to go learn physics.

 

There are some teenaged girls somewhere who are really good at calculus. There are also some teenaged girls who are Olympic gymnasts. I'm fairly confident that those two groups don't overlap; the gymnasts don't have time to excel at calculus.

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

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I kind of like the idea that I can complete the game without having to slaughter everything between the opening cutscene and the end credits. I love being able to out smart the bad guys and just go around them if I choose to that's what role playing games should do If I want to play the role of a merchant, or pacifist mage, or a cripple, I should be able to play through the game with out having to break character to do it.

 

By the way I have a 42 level character in skyrim that hasn't fought anything. She's rich and powerful though. Since you don't gain xp for anything you don't need to kill anything.

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Just throwing this out there: this'll be a party based game, so if you wanted to, I imagine you could decide to not actually use your non-combat skills ever, if you're trying to roleplay a sword-saint or whatever, and just let one of your other teammates do the talking, lockpicking, potion making etc..

 

Or at least I hope you can do such a thing.

Edited by Stun
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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.

 

Well I'm happy for you. Me? I like grinding wilderness areas, power-levelling and fighting tougher groups of monsters in new and interesting ways using different tactics and class combinations.

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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.

not necessarily.

You can have exp rewards even for optional content not related to a quest. OR you can have different kind of rewards (i.e. "PHAT LOOT!11!") for that kind of content.

Also, let's say there is a dangerous troll chief in a forest.

Even if kills aren't strictly correlated to exp rewards, nothing prevent a designer from binding an exp reward to that particular kill, just because it matters.

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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.

If XP is awarded to me for overcoming obstacles, how does the game know that I've done that? That's my concern.

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

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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.

 

Because you're looking at the term "quest" too rigidly.

 

Think of it as "objectives." And in some cases, going out and exploring and killing some really tough guy that doesn't have a "quest" associated with it is still an objective and you'll gain XP. The same way that getting behind a locked door for fat rewards can gain xp.

 

Alan I understand that but nobody has adequately explained to me how that works. I'll say it again - what happens when I meet tough wandering monsters and kill them? It's not part of a quest or objective or whatever you want to call it. What was the point?

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I cannot agree with the OP in the slightest. You're making way too many assumptions about the gameplay. I do believe it can be balanced out quite nicely the way it was presented in the update. Nobody said anything about not awarding XP for fights, Tim Cain just said that players will be awarded for *achievements*, i.e. tackling a problem - in way or another. Nobody said anything about XP for quests only or something on the lines of that.

Edited by True_Spike
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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.

If XP is awarded to me for overcoming obstacles, how does the game know that I've done that? That's my concern.

 

How does the game know you beat a monster? Simple....hp got down to 0 and it's reward bag opened up giving you some xp and some gold or a shiny new item or something that's how. Is that even a serious question? Not all actions are marked in the logbook but the game certainly tracks everything.

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I like the idea of seperating combat and non-combat entirely very much. But as others i see a potential pitfall. I am not proud of it, but i tend to do quests non-comabtly, and if i can make more xp and more loot by killing everyone after the quest, i am tempted to do so (especially if they have good loot on them). Only in recent years i strayed away from such practices in favor for a more immerse experience of playing.

What i want to say, that this should be possible without breaking the game BUT should have severe consequences in the world. For example a reputations system, so that you're known for your habbit of getting rid of your employers, or some dialog-options should could get closed, because the other NPCs don't trust you anymore, or you get more quests from evil NPCs than from good NPCs, forcing you on a route to evil.

Or you are seen as a villain and hunted by headhunters and such. Or youre getting hunted by family members wanting to take revenge. Maybe there could be connected quests throughout the game, that you don't get if you have slain the questgiver.

 

What i wanted to say is, that Obsidian should have an eye on power-gamers and let them play their style, but punish it in the frame of the game itself.

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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.

 

 

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?

 

I can imagine world designs where that would work, but I can imagine many more where it wouldn't.

 

I'm not saying these features will make the game worse. I'm saying they worry me.

 

I was happy to see the update, and I think this one has been my favorite, simply because of the focus on making the non-combat skills fun.

 

However, I understand and share your concern about using separate skill points or perks for combat vs. non-combat skills. That's a big part of the fun of leveling up for me, when there are number of different awesome options to choose from and I have to make a tough decision.

 

If we had a single pool of perk points for both, it would seem to be much more fun, or at least the replay value would be higher, as I'd be able to play very different character builds multiple times, focusing on any of a number of different skills, perhaps my first character might focus on piercing weapons and my second character might focus more on brewing poisons, for example.

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Alan I understand that but nobody has adequately explained to me how that works. I'll say it again - what happens when I meet tough wandering monsters and kill them? It's not part of a quest or objective or whatever you want to call it. What was the point?

 

When you get to whatever they're there for, you are awarded the xp. So if you sneak past them, you still gain the xp. If you kill them, you still gain the xp. If there are tough wandering monsters, they aren't just put there for no particular reason.

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Alan I understand that but nobody has adequately explained to me how that works. I'll say it again - what happens when I meet tough wandering monsters and kill them? It's not part of a quest or objective or whatever you want to call it. What was the point?

That question might be answered by Obsidian's previous answer to how the world will be implemented, in the large-scale.

 

There was a question asked about how exploration would be handled - whether it would work like BG, where the player could choose to wander anywhere at anytime (which is my preference, incidentally), or like BG2, where areas only became visitable as they become plot relevant. Whole areas didn't even exist, in game terms, until a quest explicitly sent the PC there. They said they were aiming for something more like BG2.

 

What this might mean is that there won't really be many opportunities to just head off into the wilderness to look around. As such, those "touch wandering monsters" might always be encountered while engaged on some other quest.

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

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If there are tough wandering monsters, they aren't just put there for no particular reason.

They should be. If it's to be a credible world, some things should simply exist because they do, and not be part of some pre-written narrative.

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

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If XP is awarded to me for overcoming obstacles, how does the game know that I've done that? That's my concern.

 

If you've ever played Bloodlines, or especially the original Deus Ex, you'll still acquire XP at a particularly quick rate. In Deus Ex you'd be acquiring skill points at a very steady rate for exploration bonuses, quest bonuses, taking down difficult badguys, bypassing certain systems, reaching a particular point in a level (regardless of how), and so forth.

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If there are tough wandering monsters, they aren't just put there for no particular reason.

They should be. If it's to be a credible world, some things should simply exist because they do, and not be part of some pre-written narrative.

 

I'm talking specifically from a game design perspective. If they are there, then they provide a challenge for some reason. Even if that challenge is simply killing said creatures. The same reason you'll have chests to unlock and caves to explore.

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Alan you are basically saying that nothing should happen randomly. It's a reverse sandbox, in fact its a straight-jacket. It would suck.

 

No, I'm saying a lot of thought has to go into setting up the game levels. Instead of just selecting the "Tough bad guy and henchmen" encounter palette and clicking it around without giving it any thought, they have to decide if there's a good reason for it being there. And sometimes that good reason is simply to provide a tough "random" encounter.

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If there are tough wandering monsters, they aren't just put there for no particular reason.

They should be. If it's to be a credible world, some things should simply exist because they do, and not be part of some pre-written narrative.

 

I'm talking specifically from a game design perspective. If they are there, then they provide a challenge for some reason. Even if that challenge is simply killing said creatures. The same reason you'll have chests to unlock and caves to explore.

 

And so the circle turns. Why not just give XP in the first place then?

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How does the game know you beat a monster? Simple....hp got down to 0 and it's reward bag opened up giving you some xp and some gold or a shiny new item or something that's how. Is that even a serious question? Not all actions are marked in the logbook but the game certainly tracks everything.

Sure it does. My question has to do with how the events that aren't part of larger quests fit into the XP system. If everything I can do is either part of a larger quest or has its own associated XP value, that would be a solution, yes. Or they might decide that there is little enough in the game that isn't associate with a larger quest that the extra stuff is its own reward - killing a guard you don't need to kill (or stealing from him) gets you loot but not XP, for example.

 

Update #7 is the first one I've seen so far that leaves large enough holes behind wherein I immediately saw potential risks. Everything else that's been announced has ranged from good to incredible.

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

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Alan you are basically saying that nothing should happen randomly. It's a reverse sandbox, in fact its a straight-jacket. It would suck.

 

No, I'm saying a lot of thought has to go into setting up the game levels. Instead of just selecting the "Tough bad guy and henchmen" encounter palette and clicking it around without giving it any thought, they have to decide if there's a good reason for it being there. And sometimes that good reason is simply to provide a tough "random" encounter.

 

Perhaps Obsidian has decided to use XP rewards each time you use a skill. That would also result in equal gains for combat or non combat skills.

Edited by IcyDeadPeople
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If there are tough wandering monsters, they aren't just put there for no particular reason.

They should be. If it's to be a credible world, some things should simply exist because they do, and not be part of some pre-written narrative.

 

I'm talking specifically from a game design perspective. If they are there, then they provide a challenge for some reason. Even if that challenge is simply killing said creatures. The same reason you'll have chests to unlock and caves to explore.

 

And so the circle turns. Why not just give XP in the first place then?

 

Because it biases a combat playthrough. Not ALL creatures are there to just kill someone. It's stupid when the game rewards a player twice for not only sneaking past the guards and achieving the goal, but to then go back and kill everything as well. In that case, Monte Carlo gets more exp than me for an objective that isn't combat related.

 

Now before you say "oh wait, you should just set it up so I don't get the extra XP if I kill everyone" which, ironically, will make the quest design more difficult and more prone to having bugs in it. It also means that ALL situations must be accounted for. If you just reward completing that particular objective, you no longer bias any particular type of playthrough, but rather allow the player to accomplish it in any means necessary. With a minimal amount of work to boot. It's fair.

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Completely agree with Sylvius. I don't want to be completely constrained by a critical path. I want to have the option to explore and Do Stuff. I leave rigid, critical path-type stuff to Bioware.

 

If Obz could elaborate on how XP will be handled I'll be grateful.

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