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Challenging lockpicking process

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231 members have voted

  1. 1. What do you think of this system ?

    • Very good, I want that !
      6
    • Not bad.
      16
    • Better than nothing.
      10
    • Nothing would be better than that !
      3
    • Don't care.
      8
    • Project Eternity becomes "Lockpicking: The Lockpickening" ? Just no.
      188
  2. 2. Suggestions ?

    • More complexity !
      9
    • Less complexity !
      117
    • More character skill influence !
      77
    • More player intelligence influence !
      38
    • More freedom of action !
      25
    • More guided process !
      7
    • The cake is a lie !
      89


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Whatever the complexity of the lock, it still boils down to a single probability factor. It's the other factors around the attempt that matter: does the lock jam? does the noise draw the attention of nearby NPCs? do you have the right tools for the job? is a trap triggered? does it take so long to jiggle the lock that a guard wanders into view? can you make another attempt?


"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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Having the computer doing complex calculations to determine a target number for the lockpicking skill could be done, but is unneccesary, and more work for the level designers.

Having more skills for lockpicking? No thanks, but having small bonuses (let's call them synergy bonuses and you'll know what I mean) to your lockpicking skill from other relevant skills could work.

Lockpicking minigames is still one of the weakest parts of the Elder Scrolls series (and 3d Fallouts) other than level scaling and crap writing*, and I'd rather do without.

 

If you want to expand lockpicking and skills in general, how about single use items to boost your skills on that one very difficult task. Like a skeleton key, security tunneler, or Ancient Poetry for Dummies book :)

 

(* New Vegas avoided those mostly but still had the lockpicking and hacking minigames unfortunately.)

Edited by Brother Pain

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I think the basic idea presented by the OP is a good one, even if the exact implementation suggested is waaay too complex for a game like this. Given the fact that P:E has promised to deliver more inspiring non-combat mechanics than have been the norm previously, settling for a success-failure roll for picking locks would be a disappointment for me. Non-combat skills should be a combination of player skill and character skill, just like combat is. However, it doesn't make sense for a party-based game to have a first-person minigame in the style of the bethesda games or thief, plus there are MANY people who despise minigames (as evidenced in this thread, among many others).

This leads me to the conclusion that if Obsidian implements some sort of lockpicking process, it could include a toggle switch for dice-roll enthusiasts (if it's possible for tons of other "difficulty" settings, and implementing a dice-roll mechanic doesn't seem like a lot of extra work to me, though I may be wrong). Also, no matter what the system is, it should not include subskills - a game like this is very hard to balance as is and we don't have subskills for shield bashing or backhand slashes, either.

That said, I would very much enjoy a system that combines various aspects of your character (stats, skills, equipment, player input) to determine the success-failure-critical failure outcome, as the OP suggested. For example (and I'm not being original here - just building upon/twisting the OP's idea) the system could be based on the following premises:

- different types of locks (no more than 10-20 or so generic ones throughout the game, so player experience can come into play, plus, upon a few occasions, unique/epic locks that have no equal and take some work to crack - we have epic foes and complex dialogue quests, too) - simple lock, secure lock, antique lock, dwarven lock, other culture-specific type locks, etc.

- several stages of lockpicking, but only requiring few clicks each time (to address the fun-after-100-locks problem)

- Identification - done passively when you enter the area or click locked item, dependent on lockpicking skill and perception-like stat/attribute of best scoring character (we don't know the names of the basic stats in P:E yet, do we?); every party learns the basic characteristic (i.e., name) of the lock, different levels of success (not too many) reveal difficulty and hints on recommended tools. Reading books, talking to characters and perhaps perks can (passively) bypass this step, so that you immediately know that (e.g.) dwarven locks are extremely complex and that only masters can open them without dwarven lockpicks (because you read that in a book) or that Joe's chest has a moderately complex lock and will probably yield to lockpick type A, B and C (because someone already tried, but doesn't have the skill, so asked you to do it for them and described the lock to you - and perhaps you asked an expert locksmith about this type of lock).

- Equipment - obtaining lockpicks: although perhaps not necessary for basic lockpicking, any character focused on this discipline should obtain or make a set of lockpicks early on into the game (since it's a leather pouch with a few bent wires, it could be added to inventory once a single point is invested in the skill - or perhaps the crafting system will provide an elegant way to do this). It doesn't make sense to pick locks with your fingernails or random garbage lying around, and I don't see an ingame disadvantage to such an item in one's inventory (you need a weapon to use some skills, afterall). The item could act as a container for storing lockpicks, or the lockpicks could simply be added to it like keys to a keyring (i.e., they wouldn't act as separate items once picked up). It would be better IMO if it was shared for the entire party, just like keys and possibly quest items.

- Equipment - lockpick attributes: there are several ways the usefulness of a lockpick could be handled, and I can think of two. You could either have a fixed number of lockpick types, and each lock would have a table expressing the viability of each lockpick, or, and I think this would work better, each lockpick could have say 3 stats (maybe completely hidden, or indicated by the lockpick inventory image or other hints) that would be matched up to the locks. We could call these stats length, width and quality (or width, curvature and quality, or without the "quality" attribute altogether), and they could scale from 1 to 5 (to keep it simple). Examining a lock could hint that it's narrow and deep (or just slender, depth unknown), so if you would look for a long, thin lockpick (and higher quality would always be a bonus). The names are examples, and if the stats were shown, they would have to be replaced with something that makes more sense. The advantage of this system is that similar lockpicks would be good for similar locks, and vice versa. Also, a 1-5 scale would favor lockpicks with "3", so perhaps a round scale would be better (e.g. the lockpick would have one or two stats expressed in hours on a clock, so 12 and 4 would be equally good for a lock with 2, while 8 would be the worst choice).

- Equipment - actual use of lockpicks: this is the most important point - unless the use of lockpicks is "streamlined" to one or two clicks, the mechanic will become a chore. Selecting the best lockpick automatically would make collecting lockpicks no different from gaining skill levels. Perhaps it could be done as simply as (i) select lockpick skill and click item or click known locked item, (ii) menu drops down listing your lockpicks, select lockpick from list (iii) determine outcome.

- Skill checks: and on that note, I like the OP's idea that different situations could favor different approaches, but I don't think it's worth extra skills. Perhaps the outcome of the lockpick attempt could be more dependent on perception in some cases, or more dependent on dexterity or intelligence in others. Old or rusty locks should require more dexterity (break easily, rust makes weird noises), new and complex locks would benefit more from perception and intelligence. Or, perception (in conjunction with lockpick skill) is required to identify the lock correctly, intelligence (+lockpick) is required to make the connection between lock type and best lockpick choice, and dexterity(+LP) helps compensate for bad lockpick choice and prevents lock jamming.

 

Result: Party comes near locked chest, finds that the chest has a "rusty lock", and hovering over it reveals that it's a "rusty lock - very narrow" (in reality, the stats are 1-3 and perhaps a difficulty penalty of 3). Party doesn't have a thief, but the priest has high perception and dexterity and some points in the skill. She has a thick long (4-4), medium (3-3) and thin, very long (2-5) lockpick, so she uses the thin one. Her lockpick is 1-2 off, plus there's the difficulty of 3 (total penalty of 6). She fails the dice roll that takes into account these numbers, plus her skill, but her dex is good, so the lock doesn't break or jam (in the same roll or a second one). Her perception is high, so she also finds out that the lock's second stat is medium. Her medium lockpick is better suited for this (just 2-0 off), so she has better chances the next time around, and succeeds following a dice roll.

 

Perhaps something along these lines might work in a game like this and yet be more fulfilling than a simple skill check?

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There's no reason why the only minigame in the game should be combat.

 

However, the rewards for skills that use minigames should be higher than for those that only take a few clicks.

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I don't think mini-games are appropriate for this type of game. I've seen mini-games done for RPGs but in every case I can think of it's been a first person RPG. Or possibly single-party zoomed in third-person RPGs, there might be some of them. 

 

We are going to have lots of party members with a variety of skills right? I think trying to organize your party so you have the most skills available to you is a good enough mini-game. 

Edited by moridin84

. Well I was involved anyway. The dude who can't dance. 

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I like minigames as long as they're fun and not superfluous

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Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
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I think dialogue should also just take one click. They should just tell you all the things they can possibly say, because you're just going to ask all the questions and get all those responses anyway. Same with a lock. Why must we complicate things with mini-games? All they do is delay things. Just give us the outcomes!

 

Combat? I think the only roll we should have is a collective, party "to-win" roll. And if that beats the enemy group's to-win roll, we win and they all die, and we get all the loot, and it's instantly sold for us, and all the stuff we were gonna buy with it is instantly purchased, and then we win the game.

 

Pssh... slowing stuff down with complexity and whatnot. It's just a waste of time, and it makes no sense, u_u


Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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I think dialogue should also just take one click. They should just tell you all the things they can possibly say, because you're just going to ask all the questions and get all those responses anyway. Same with a lock. Why must we complicate things with mini-games? All they do is delay things. Just give us the outcomes!

 

Combat? I think the only roll we should have is a collective, party "to-win" roll. And if that beats the enemy group's to-win roll, we win and they all die, and we get all the loot, and it's instantly sold for us, and all the stuff we were gonna buy with it is instantly purchased, and then we win the game.

 

Pssh... slowing stuff down with complexity and whatnot. It's just a waste of time, and it makes no sense, u_u

 

Most people like dialogue and combat, they is quite integral to any RPG.

 

Lock picking? Half the people playing RPGs probably wouldn't want to bother with it even if it was fun. 


. Well I was involved anyway. The dude who can't dance. 

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Most people like dialogue and combat, they is quite integral to any RPG.

 

Lock picking? Half the people playing RPGs probably wouldn't want to bother with it even if it was fun.

 

Precisely the point. Why not just make sure the integral lockpicking is ultra easy (or uses keys), and the optional lockpicking is the only bit that's actually more complex and tricky?

 

If you want potatoes instead of broccoli, why would you demand that broccoli be on your plate, but that it taste as much like potatoes as possible?

 

Also, if someone inherently is more interested in combat than they are in picking locks, then "Because it just so happens to not be interesting to me" is not a reason why it shouldn't have any depth in a game that's going to be enjoyed by oodles of people.

 

One's opinion or preference is not wrong. Pretending opinion and preference are valid reasons for the way things must or must not be? So pointlessly, pointlessly wrong.

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Most people like dialogue and combat, they is quite integral to any RPG.

 

Lock picking? Half the people playing RPGs probably wouldn't want to bother with it even if it was fun.

 

Precisely the point. Why not just make sure the integral lockpicking is ultra easy (or uses keys), and the optional lockpicking is the only bit that's actually more complex and tricky?

 

If you want potatoes instead of broccoli, why would you demand that broccoli be on your plate, but that it taste as much like potatoes as possible?

 

Also, if someone inherently is more interested in combat than they are in picking locks, then "Because it just so happens to not be interesting to me" is not a reason why it shouldn't have any depth in a game that's going to be enjoyed by oodles of people.

 

One's opinion or preference is not wrong. Pretending opinion and preference are valid reasons for the way things must or must not be? So pointlessly, pointlessly wrong.

 

I'm not sure what you are on about.

 

In my opinion lockpicking, or at least a lockpicking minigame, is not integral to an RPG and I think most people, even the original poster would agree.

Edited by moridin84

. Well I was involved anyway. The dude who can't dance. 

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I'm not sure what you are on about.

 

In my opinion lockpicking, or at least a lockpicking minigame, is not integral to an RPG and I think most people, even the original poster would agree.

I'm on about the flawed logic of "Some people hate this, so it obviously has no reason to ever exist."

 

What happens to be your opinion is also true, as an RPG can be made without lockpicking and it remains an RPG. Hell, you could make a game set in a world without the invention of locks. Do you know what's equally non-integral to an RPG? A lack of complexity in lock-picking.

 

Half the people playing RPGs probably don't want to bother with a specific class, no matter how fun you make it. It obviously doesn't follow that we should only implement classes if more than 70% of the player populous wants to play them. Every class isn't integral to an RPG, and yet various ones get implemented in various games, and no one decides that their very existence has ruined the whole game while they play through without ever having to play a given class that they dislike.

Edited by Lephys

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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I'm not sure what you are on about.

 

In my opinion lockpicking, or at least a lockpicking minigame, is not integral to an RPG and I think most people, even the original poster would agree.

I'm on about the flawed logic of "Some people hate this, so it obviously has no reason to ever exist."

 

What happens to be your opinion is also true, as an RPG can be made without lockpicking and it remains an RPG. Hell, you could make a game set in a world without the invention of locks. Do you know what's equally non-integral to an RPG? A lack of complexity in lock-picking.

 

Half the people playing RPGs probably don't want to bother with a specific class, no matter how fun you make it. It obviously doesn't follow that we should only implement classes if more than 70% of the player populous wants to play them. Every class isn't integral to an RPG, and yet various ones get implemented in various games, and no one decides that their very existence has ruined the whole game while they play through without ever having to play a given class that they dislike.

 

I remember the science unlock minigame in Fallout 3. It was alright, it wasn't super fun or anything but it wasn't that annoying. 

 

I hated the one in Fallout: New Vegas, so much so that I basically never played a "science character" since I wasn't going to be doing the minigame. That kind of sucks you know?

Edited by moridin84

. Well I was involved anyway. The dude who can't dance. 

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Lephys, you're such a sophist it hurts. In isometric party based game, a locked door or a trap is just a small part of strategical challenge of the dungeon or encounter; they are often present and numerous. Imagine you'll have to go through a minigame to disarm every trap in Irenicus dungeon or open every door in Maevar's guild. You'll hate the game, the developers who made it and your keyboard and mouse when you'll be finishing the first three or four of those.

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Lephys, you're such a sophist it hurts. In isometric party based game, a locked door or a trap is just a small part of strategical challenge of the dungeon or encounter; they are often present and numerous. Imagine you'll have to go through a minigame to disarm every trap in Irenicus dungeon or open every door in Maevar's guild. You'll hate the game, the developers who made it and your keyboard and mouse when you'll be finishing the first three or four of those.

that's a question of pacing though. If minigames exist, they should be spaced out accordingly.

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Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
---
Pet threads, everyone has them. I love imagining Gods, Monsters, Factions and Weapons.

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While I think that there is certainly room to expand the locking skill into something more nuanced, I think it would make more sense to have situations where it works in tandem with more broad skills to produced a more nuanced result.  Enemies in the next locked room and you want to prepare for your assault by opening the door without alarming them?  Combine lockpick with the move silently skill.  Suspended over a deathtrap locked in a padlocked straightjacket? Make it check an escape artist skill.  A lock is of a particular ancient design no longer used?  Check Knowledge: Ancient History too for a bonus.  No need to make the lockpick skill itself too convoluted.

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Lephys, you're such a sophist it hurts. In isometric party based game, a locked door or a trap is just a small part of strategical challenge of the dungeon or encounter; they are often present and numerous. Imagine you'll have to go through a minigame to disarm every trap in Irenicus dungeon or open every door in Maevar's guild. You'll hate the game, the developers who made it and your keyboard and mouse when you'll be finishing the first three or four of those.

that's a question of pacing though. If minigames exist, they should be spaced out accordingly.

 

I'm pretty sure there's going to be a lot of lock picking.

 

A single dungeon would probably have at least 1 door and 3 chests to be unlocked. 


. Well I was involved anyway. The dude who can't dance. 

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Lephys, you're such a sophist it hurts. In isometric party based game, a locked door or a trap is just a small part of strategical challenge of the dungeon or encounter; they are often present and numerous.

And how exactly is it detrimental to minigames when they are only part of a challenge?

Imagine you'll have to go through a minigame to disarm every trap in Irenicus dungeon or open every door in Maevar's guild.

Strawman; in a game where lockpicking/ disarming needs some effort, you won't find 10 of them in one room.

 

Basically, with minigames, you're getting quality instead of quantity. They are used more rarely and with more significance when you can't just strew 5 of them onto a floor. That, and there's one more element of the game to master (which is what attracts me, sorry storyfags).

 

The CRPG genre would profit from concentrating on doing things that you can emulate well on a computer; tactical combat, lots of statistics/ calculations, and minigames. Otherwise they will remain bland imitations of PnP.

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Strawman; in a game where lockpicking/ disarming needs some effort, you won't find 10 of them in one room.

Oh, strawman, my dear strawman. People are so determined to find you everywhere, you are probably long dead by hiccups.

We're talking about IE successor with megadungeon in it, right?

(Not that minigames worked well in any other genre exept adventure games; just remembering ME, F3, TES and so on makes me want to take that man who designed lockpicking **** for an open world game with hundreds of doors and chest AND STRANGLE HIM WITH HIS OWN INCESTIESASAFSDAFSF!---)

 

The CRPG genre would profit from concentrating on doing things that you

can emulate well on a computer; tactical combat, lots of statistics/

calculations

Sure! That's certantly a way t--..

 

minigames <...> bland imitations of PnP.

..-- ... ..... ....... O_o

Edited by Shadenuat

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We're talking about IE successor with megadungeon in it, right?

Because an IE successor means you have to have a dozen traps in one room? Because a megadungeon means every room will be trapped? People have such curious associations with IE.

(Not that minigames worked well in any other genre exept adventure games; just remembering ME, F3, TES and so on makes me want to take that man who designed lockpicking **** for an open world game with hundreds of doors and chest AND STRANGLE HIM WITH HIS OWN INCESTIESASAFSDAFSF!---)

I don't care how often it's been done wrong; I want to see it done right. But this is an argument that has been made often on this board.

 

It was pointless and boring in Wizardry 8, better but still not very good in Wiz 6. It was interesting in Return to Krondor. But then, the same could be said about stealth. So many games with lackluster stealth (hello IE games!). Still, I trust OE they'll do a better job about stealth this time. Simply clicking a button isn't the answer/ not a design fit for ETERNITY (see what I did there?).

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Because an IE successor means you have to have a dozen traps in one

room? Because a megadungeon means every room will be trapped?

...yeah.

 

Simply clicking a button isn't the answer/ not a design fit for ETERNITY (see what I did there?).

Execution of the strategy is always just clicking buttons. When and where is what really matters, not picking little tumblers with mouse.

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Execution of the strategy is always just clicking buttons. When and where is what really matters, not picking little tumblers with mouse.

I take it, you're not a fan of twitch elements in your games/ anything that requires reactions etc. Fine, why not design lockpicking with puzzle elements. Hello riddle chests in Betrayal at Krondor (very simplistic, but this is only an example). The goal is to make the game more interesting, more interactive. I'm tired of the usual "nothing requires thought/skill except combat" in CRPGs.

 

Also not to destroy your little argument (*cough* strawman), but surely you don't want to liken IE stealth to actually well done stealth simply because in both cases, buttons are pressed.

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I take it, you're not a fan of twitch elements in your games

I am not a fan of elements which do not relate to the game world. Minigames are like ships in bottles - they exist in extra dimensional space of my mouse, they generally pause the game (enemy patrols galantly waiting for you to place a lockpick in required position, fun?) and require, usually, nothing, *nothing* but same set of repetitive actions which add nothing to the game. Once you figured them out, it is just a timesink. Essentially, minigame is a puzzle which repeats itself multiple times.

And that not to mention that in party based RPG, I may not even be a thief who's all immersed in challenging lockpicking process; my companion is.

 

puzzle elements

A good puzzle is one which does't get repeated. Unique locks with puzzle elements can exist. But I'm not interested in playing a puzzle every time I'm opening peasant's barn door to steal his pitchfork.

 

*cough* strawman

**** your strawman and all the other pre-generated arguments from Google.

Edited by Shadenuat

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