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Sylvius the Mad

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

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Hey, like I give a toss if you want to use your professional knowledge as a stick to beat me with. You get my drift, and you also know that I haven't got a clue what OnKilled() means.


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I'm not that extatic about separating combat and non-combat skills, especially if it's 1:1 parity. If I want to make a character that specialises one on the other, I should be able to. Not rewarding XP for killing things however, I approve. Rewarding murder just encourages one kind of behavior too much and makes others unappealing by comparison.


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I don't see why it's an issue if the PC can do *two or three* things particularly well. Sure, I don't think he should be able to do everything well, but even in real life, where some folks can do a variety of things phenomenally well, virtually everyone can do at least a couple of things really well. I know a guy who can shoot like a nothing you've ever seen but can also breakdance like a star. Just because you can fence shouldn't mean you can't sing also. Why is it such a problem if the PC can excel at a couple different things. More important is that he can't master everything, which would be much more of an issue.

 

EDIT: sorry, a bit slow right now, but I think my meaning is clear. I'm trying to clear up my message. Obviously, I can drink better than I can type, but I will point out that neither is a combat skill.

Edited by Cantousent
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^ I'll keep saying it, but they referenced games like Icewind Dale, not me. How does this decision fit into that?

 

They said they will add at least one dungeon like IWD, not that the entire game will be a dungeon crawl.

 

And how will XP work in that bit? We need a dev to give us a clue. I don't want every little action to be a scripted objective.

 

Killing mosters for XP is achieving scripted objectives, as those mosters are scripted on map and it's scripts that move it and so on. And it's only lazy game design or limitations from game system if you can't handle those moster in anyother way than killing them.

 

Most important parts of RPG in my opinion is give player multiple ways to handle things and give them rewards from that. For example you can get same amount of experience from killing monster or sneak past of it, but then there is also alternative reward which differs between solutions. For example if you kill monster you can get some exotic loot, if you sneak past it you don't risk you group for damage and losses. And there could be many alternative solutions like leading moster to trap, collapsing wall on it, leading some other monster to fight it and etc.. In every solution there could be different rewards, or same rewards and absolute best possible solution in all metrics always alternates depending on encounter, hence there is not best character or party build (or this is the ultimate goal in design).

 

So if you design random encounter to game and then you can also design other solutions to cope from it than pure and simple fight (which should always be a solution).

 

It is not always so easy to design solutions as there is always those player who try to min-max (also know as broke the game).

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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?

Quests don't need to be written in your journal to act as such. The game can easily incentivise the player toward activities like exploring and thieving. A ranger exploring a forest might get experience for discovering interesting ruins, or hunting down a rare animal. A thief breaking and entering might get experience for coming across some interesting information, or getting her hands on a particularly valuable item--or by blackmailing a necromancer after witnessing a tender moment between him and a zombie. The enemies and traps either character might face are things they must overcome to reach those rewards.

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Hey, like I give a toss if you want to use your professional knowledge as a stick to beat me with. You get my drift, and you also know that I haven't got a clue what OnKilled() means.

 

I made it up. All it is is that there is going to be some sort of event that is fired when you kill a creature in order to award you experience.

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I don't like the non-combat and combat skills seperation - should herbalism be as good as taking magic missle, by all means, force us to make that choice. The proposed solution has me wondering if perhaps they're assuming that the non-combat skills will be less useful, i.e. the player wouldn't pick them over a combat skill, given a choice. I think it's best when the player is presented with a choice of either becoming a specialist (of combat or non-combat variety) or a jack of all trades.

 

But we know too little about the system at the moment, so it could be a good choice; hard to tell right now (it's always all about proper implementation).

 

That said, I especially loved this :

 

Learning New Things. This includes finding out previously unknown information, like the location of town or a hidden door, or uncovering secret knowledge, like a potion recipe or the true name of a demon. Or maybe you just want to know a good place to gather materials like ore or herbs. We will make abilities that let you find things out.

 

And I thought that Bloodlines handled the experience rewards for completing the quests just about perfect (you only receive them for completing the objectives - it's up to you how you actually achieve them).

Edited by Karranthain

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I can see the reasons for Mr Mads discombobulation, but I trust Obsidian to implement it in a sensible fashion, that and i'm honestly ecstatic to hear that it won't be another case of alternating combat and conversation in brown corridors.


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I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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I don't see how this wouldn't have worked in IWD. If anything, IWD is probably the IE game where it would have worked the best, considering how linear it was.

 

In that game you could tie xp rewards to the main bosses of each level, and/or to completing said level. The only difference that would make between murder xp is that you wouldn't have to explore every nook and cranny for that extra monster to kill. You probably still would because there could be mini-quests hidden in some parts of the map, or maybe hidden treasure chests with high quality loot.

 

So exploring would be rewarded, but grinding trash mobs wouldn't (which is especially relevant if mobs respawn). Doing it this way means clever players could possibly make their way to the bosses without fighting and still get rewarded (although getting there this way should pose just as much of a challenge as grinding your way there).

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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.

 

early on they stated that your pc ain't forced to bring companions along. they simply have to balance this one man party because somewhere in the game there will be unavoidable fights, like map encounters. now imagine your gimpy herbalist against a pack of starved wolfes. they won't let you talk your way out and that's a nice game over screen you're looking at. they don't have the time and budget to program a system with all eventualities implemented, so they have to come up with a compromise. else the whiners will flood the forums afterwards complaining about the broken system and that non-combat skills are useless.

 

therefore you can train your herbalist in combat too and everybody is happy. now do what you're always pointing out, roleplay.

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The only problem I see, and would like more explanation on, is what Tim Cain said about what non-combat skills would cost to use. He gave an example with Mana and mining, as in mining not costing any mana. But shouldn't generally there be a penalty for using a skill that should tire a person and then entering combat without some "rest"?

 

We don't yet know the full details of how non-combat, combat, and stats and feats will play out yet of course, so I might worry about nothing, but I would like to learn how that would work.

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1) Splitting combat and non-combat removes some element of choice, but not all choice. You still decide which non-combat skills best complement your character, and which combat skills are most useful. What it also provides is more flexibility in gameplay. It provides some additional options to give your playthrough a little bit more of variety.

 

2) Goal or quest XP provides an incentive to be creative and experiment with all your skills, abilities, and items. The risk/reward calculation to perform certain actions becomes much more interesting. Choosing to fight is no longer a "no-brainer" option. Exploring in such a system is motivated by a desire to see more of the world and uncover lore, to find better loot, and by placing discovery goals around the map. Whether you discover a special location or find a treasure by killing, sneaking, running as fast as you can, whatever, doesn't really matter. The idea that XP for kills is the only motivation for exploration is only true in a world where the only benefit of exploration is killing things for XP. I explored my environments in Deus Ex becuase the world was compelling, plus I sometimes found cool gear.

 

3) This game isn't supposed to be Icewind Dale. It's inspired by IE games, but not a carbon copy

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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?

It really depends on what the non-combat skill choices look like. For example, when I had a character who was obsessed with becoming a great swordsman (this was using 3.X D&D) I put his skill points into Perform(Sword Kata), which I thought was entirely appropriate for a swordsman. Granted, there's a likelihood that such a skill won't exist (since they said that all non-combat skills would have uses) and it is getting better at multiple things, but they're all related to the characters goal.

 

In the system we're likely to have, I'd think said character would probably put his points into blacksmithing (or some specific sword-related avenue of blacksmithing if such a thing exists) to show that he was learning to care for his sword, alter it's balance to suit him appropriately, and otherwise tinker with swords, and then simply not have him do any blacksmithing-related tasks that didn't have to do with swords.

 

The point is, that there will likely be non-combat options that relate to whatever it is your character wants to do, and if the only non-combat skill options are too broad, you can restrict yourself to only using them in a manner which would be appropriate for your character. Granted, your character may be getting better at multiple things, but if your character has a singular focus, it's likely that there are multiple things related to said focus that could be learned.

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The only problem I see, and would like more explanation on, is what Tim Cain said about what non-combat skills would cost to use. He gave an example with Mana and mining, as in mining not costing any mana. But shouldn't generally there be a penalty for using a skill that should tire a person and then entering combat without some "rest"?

 

We don't yet know the full details of how non-combat, combat, and stats and feats will play out yet of course, so I might worry about nothing, but I would like to learn how that would work.

 

There could be for example a fatique system and on low fatique you are hindered (you move slower or you don't hit as well) on combat but not as useless what you would be if your combat skill resources were null.

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1) Splitting combat and non-combat removes some element of choice, but not all choice. You still decide which non-combat skills best complement your character, and which combat skills are most useful. What it also provides is more flexibility in gameplay. It provides some additional options to give your playthrough a little bit more of variety.

 

Good point.

 

Should there be a wealth of useful non-combat skills, we could very well end up with actually having more choices than usual. So it all hinges on proper implemenation.

Edited by Karranthain

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The only problem I see, and would like more explanation on, is what Tim Cain said about what non-combat skills would cost to use. He gave an example with Mana and mining, as in mining not costing any mana. But shouldn't generally there be a penalty for using a skill that should tire a person and then entering combat without some "rest"?

 

We don't yet know the full details of how non-combat, combat, and stats and feats will play out yet of course, so I might worry about nothing, but I would like to learn how that would work.

 

There could be for example a fatique system and on low fatique you are hindered (you move slower or you don't hit as well) on combat but not as useless what you would be if your combat skill resources were null.

That's what I was thinking as well. The reason I brought the subject up, is that we don't know yet if there will be a fatigue, or similar, system.

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I'm really pleased to see the separation of combat and non-combat skills. Non-separation might lead to meaningful choices in a lone-protagonist game. In party-based games it too often means min-maxing the adventuring members of the group and leaving the crafters in camp to be utilized during rest periods. I've even seen fair numbers of posts recommending that players leave that weak rogue in camp and make a second pass through dungeons if they really want to see what was in those chests. Yech!!!!! I much prefer a system in which every character pulls their weight in combat and contributes out-of-combat skills to the group. For one thing, it leaves me free to explore things like the game's crafting system worrying only whether the implementation is fun, not whether it's "worth it" compared to making a character a more competent fighter.

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4th edition of D&D is about everyone pulling their weight in combat. And 4th edition is quite a controversial thing.

Compromise is a thing which leaves both parties equally unsatisfied. When this thief can contribute to straight combat as well as that fighter, party just becomes a group of soldiers with different flavours.

 

I am completely okay with, for example, a herbalist character who can't, or just does't want to, take a weapon in her hands, but treats wounds of the party after combat better than anyone.

Edited by Shadenuat

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Ugh, this sucks. But oh well, they already settled on a class- based system to begin with so I guess it can't get much worse :'(


"Well, overkill is my middle name. And my last name. And all of my other names as well!"

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When this thief can contribute to straight combat as well as that fighter, party just becomes a group of soldiers with different flavours.

 

I don't see the problem, assuming those "flavor" differences are meaningful. Single-target vs. AOE, ranged vs. melee, faster, weaker attacks vs. stronger attacks that require more preparation time, burst vs. sustained, susceptibility to resistance, absorption of damage, summoning, crowd control, healing, etc.--characters can vary in their contribution to combat in lots of different ways.

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In my vision of my partys combat roles, which are based on given information my party would be something like this:

 

Mage in heavy armour to offer magical support in forms of buffs and attack spells

Ranger to give long range support also put in form of arrows.

Heavy Fighter in heavy armour other equipment to be tank and stop enemies to attack support team

Thief/Assasin/Roque with two hand guns and fast close combat weapon to attack enemy support team especially mages.

Healer if there is one to keep party alive with buffs and healing spells/salves/etc..

Fast warrior whose role changes depending of enemy. If there is lots of enemy support then he/she goes to help rouque to deal them, if there is lots of heavy melee fighters s/he helps heavy fighter to deal them or if there is enemy roques/etc. who try to strike on your support then s/he goes to help them.

 

Healer could also be bard or some other who can buff my party.

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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.

Agreed. I would certainly like to be able to create pure combat (a pyromaniacal mage) or a pure non-combat (a charismatic bluffing sorcerer) character. I prefer to choose between all (including both combat and non-combat) skills every time I get skill points. Such choice is fun.

 

I see his argument but personally don't agree with it. Both the NWN games, as well as Temple of Elemental Evil seperated the combat and non combat skills and gave you points to spend in both columns at the same time, and it worked fine.

Combat and non-combat skills are not seperated in NWN. There are combat skills like Concentration and Parry and non-combat skills like Diplomacy and Lore. You want to be good at more skills - you raise an Intelligence ability. Then you will be worse at combat if Intelligence is not your main ability.

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I am very pleased with update 7. I think a distinction should be drawn between having combat ability and choosing to use it and I'm glad that Project Eternity seems to be making that distinction. I may be able to fight and kill, say, the orcs... but do I want to? My choice to refrain says something about the character I am trying to roleplay.

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Tim Cain was one of the lead designers in Vampire: Bloodlines, a game which had these same design goals. Perhaps we'll find something similar in Project Eternity.

 

Personally, I liked how it was done in VtMB, so I'm stoked on this. The biggest problem VtMB had was that they kinda lost all that diversity at the end, which screwed all non-combat based builds. Hopefully this time we'll have a better balance, now that there are no stifling deadlines or conflicts with the Source engine.

 

And no sewers level. Please.

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