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Should the player char be able to become more powerful than the most powerful NPCs?

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I don't see why not. NPCs got powerful for a reason. The PC could have a reason too. It's not like the game is going to be about Farmer Joe. He's going to be a significant character with an impact on the world around him. At some point in his journey, this game or the next, he'll have had a quite full life of adventuring comparable with other great heroes of the setting. Maybe even more so, as many great NPCs in fantasy worlds become static leader figures as opposed to adventurers constantly seeking challenge.

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"Show me a man who "plays fair" and I'll show you a very talented cheater."

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No, they shouldn't unless there's an explanation of how the PC become exceedingly powerful in-game. In some of these games, the antagonist are gods, or devas that have unlimited lifespans... So, it doesn't really make sense how a puny PC, even after some serious levelling can defeat them. In the context of BG2, it makes sense as over time, you find out that the PC has the essence of a god in themselves.

 

I like how in PST you couldn't ever defeat the wizard (I can't remember, the one that stole Morte), no matter how hard you tried.

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I don't see why not. NPCs got powerful for a reason. The PC could have a reason too. It's not like the game is going to be about Farmer Joe. He's going to be a significant character with an impact on the world around him. At some point in his journey, this game or the next, he'll have had a quite full life of adventuring comparable with other great heroes of the setting. Maybe even more so, as many great NPCs in fantasy worlds become static leader figures as opposed to adventurers constantly seeking challenge.

 

If the reason the NPC got powerful is that they've spent the last couple thousand years fighting majorly powerful enemies of their own, then I don't care what my 25 year old PC has been up to the past three years, I expect to die painfully if it's just setting my power against theirs. If they're at all possible to kill, then it should be a major undertaking, requiring outside allies, planning, preparation, and lots of risk. No "oh look, it's another pit fiend, ho hum."

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I don't see why not. NPCs got powerful for a reason. The PC could have a reason too. It's not like the game is going to be about Farmer Joe. He's going to be a significant character with an impact on the world around him. At some point in his journey, this game or the next, he'll have had a quite full life of adventuring comparable with other great heroes of the setting. Maybe even more so, as many great NPCs in fantasy worlds become static leader figures as opposed to adventurers constantly seeking challenge.

 

If the reason the NPC got powerful is that they've spent the last couple thousand years fighting majorly powerful enemies of their own, then I don't care what my 25 year old PC has been up to the past three years, I expect to die painfully if it's just setting my power against theirs. If they're at all possible to kill, then it should be a major undertaking, requiring outside allies, planning, preparation, and lots of risk. No "oh look, it's another pit fiend, ho hum."

 

Yes, I agree with this. Trying to take down a powerful NPC that's been around for decades should require a meticulous level of:

(a) spying/scouting his stronghold in advance;

(b) trying to discover his strengths and weaknesses;

© research the lore on the NPC and his race in libraries or discussion with knowledgeable NPCs

(d) finding ways to sneakily weaken/poison/sabotage etc...

(e) trying to gather support amongst different factions to provide distractions/fodder so that a co-ordinated strike team can be established to take out the major NPC.

 

It make more sense and makes for a satisfying battle, I feel.

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Yes, I agree with this. Trying to take down a powerful NPC that's been around for decades should require a meticulous level of:

(a) spying/scouting his stronghold in advance;

(b) trying to discover his strengths and weaknesses;

© research the lore on the NPC and his race in libraries or discussion with knowledgeable NPCs

(d) finding ways to sneakily weaken/poison/sabotage etc...

(e) trying to gather support amongst different factions to provide distractions/fodder so that a co-ordinated strike team can be established to take out the major NPC.

 

It make more sense and makes for a satisfying battle, I feel.

 

It's like what the Bodhi battle in BGII could have been. You could gather allies, think you could add holy water to her pool of blood, get special anti-undead weapons, blah blah blah... or you could just ignore all that, charge in, and slaughter her. I'd have liked the first route to be mandatory, where charging in with no real prep work gets you slaughtered by the powerful creature you just insanely and arrogantly took on. Ancient magical creatures should be scary.

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Yeah... Bodhi in BG2. Those were fun-times. You're exactly right! I'd love to get my ass handed to me for charging right into a battle without any preparation or research. If we're rewarded for preparation, better strategy and tactics, the taste of victory would be so much the sweeter :no:

 

I'd quote you on that third point of yours but it seems you copyrighted it.

 

Darn auto-correct.... never did know how to turn it off... :banghead:

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Demon souls!!!! i completed that game, one ofthe onyl games i have bothered to complete over the last 5 years, due to the challange. very unforgiving game

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No matter how good a swordsman you become there should always be someone better, I'm just not entertained by games that are there to pander to the PCs God complex (unless its populous or something) and level scaling the way its done in Games like Oblivion and Skyrim is just very crude imo.

Striking a balance is a hard one to pull off but crucial to the experiece I think.


The call of the deep.

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I think Obsidian is planning to allow us to use the same PC and/or companions for future sequels/expansions. If that's the case, the growth of the PC's powers/abilities needs to be curtailed a bit, so that there's room for future development.

 

In any case, it doesn't really make sense for the PC to become too powerful unless the main quest has some plot device or lore/reason to allow for this.

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I will just quote myself from another thread:

 

 

Like attributes points only having worth if 2 are invested. STR 10 and 11 were equal. That one point had no effect and that was IMHO bad. But at least the attribute point range made sense. Not like Dragon Age, where you start wiht 15 STR and end up with 80????? That huge attribute change never made sense to me. People don't change that much physicly.

 

Or like Armor Class...which made STR fighters in heavy armor and dex fighters in light armors effectively the same. It bothered me to the point I modded BG2 and put in damage reduction to armor. The feel was quite different and I loved it.

 

And lastly, the bane of almost every game out there - HP inflation. You start with 100 HP at lvl 1 and end up with 80000 at vlv 20/50/whatever.

HP is remenant from the old days, when procesing power was a problem and simplicity was key. HP was a representation of your abiltiy to survive - it was health, doge, block, defense, parry - all in one. Yet as games and technology moved on, we now have those distinct attributes as separate. What exactly is the point of inflating HP anymore?

To get the feeling of power or improvement? I hate it. It's a cheap and simple way to represent power, but ultimately rings hollow. Power comes in many shapes and forms, so why do game developers simply stick to linerar (or exponential) increase of numbers?

Here's an idea - SKILLS. FEATS. Become more powerfull in a more realistic and sensible way.

Plenty of games have proven that HP boosts are not necessary. Best of all, this makes balancing easier. If you HP is determined only by constitution (and nothing else) than those bandits early on will never turn to be a fight you can ignore. At high levels you will be be better of course, but your main advantage isn't that you can stand in the middle of a group of 10 of them and let them hit you knowing their they can't really damage you in a meaningfull way. You dont' have a HP shield to hind behind. You have more options and abilities. One-on-one you are a death machine. But even those early bandits will be the end of you if you take them too lightly. Likewise, now those impossible encounters that oyu had to avoid early on become possible to take on (evne if difficult), cause your enemies also don't have a HP shield. And at lvl 1 you won't be a frail flower with only 8 HP that gets trashed by a rat. Your HP would be concsistant, not chanign much (if at all) during the game.

At 10HP per CON point, that's 150HP for a CON15 fighter. No bad.

 

 

Lastly, this applies to items too. No items scaling. No daggers that to 10 damage followed by daggers that do 100, followed by dagger that do 1000. No daggers that out-damage a greatsword.

And no ARTIFICIAL limitions on equipment (and no escalating requirements either). If I can credibly use an item (even if clumsily) then I should be able to equip it. If I have enough STR to wear plate mail, then I should be able to wield ANY plate mail... and also any sword.

 

Freedom and realism. Those are the two things I want the most.

 

I agree with pretty much the entirety of this post. DAO's stat progression was one of the things that turned me off from that game, and I agree totally that improvement should be through the ability to avoid taking damage rather than just being able to take more of it. From tabletop, I guess GURPS would be a good example of it done how I want it: hit points pretty much stay the same while parry, block and dodge increase as your character's skill increases, with even weak enemies still able to take you down if they flank you and use techniques like grappling to lower your defenses or by using ranged attacks if you fail to use cover.

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"That rabbit's dynamite!" - King Arthur, Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail

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If you're trying to solo the game, yes, you should have the capability to at least be EQUAL with your tactics and preparation being what ensures victory, but experience should be split into everyone in the party, so if you aren't soloing, it's your team work that allows you to succeed.

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No matter how good a swordsman you become there should always be someone better, I'm just not entertained by games that are there to pander to the PCs God complex (unless its populous or something) and level scaling the way its done in Games like Oblivion and Skyrim is just very crude imo.

Striking a balance is a hard one to pull off but crucial to the experiece I think.

Back in a days, when I used to read computer games magazines, one had section aimed at tabletop RPG players, called "DM guide" and there said (among other things) something like this:

"Never let players feel like they're most powerful being in the world. Approach like 'So now we'll storm that castle, take care of necromancer and loot his gold' is reprehensible and should be avoided. Players always should know there is something more powerful than the party, so they never know what will happen next and game will remain challenging for them."

I think it fits perfectly what you said and in this topic. Being most powerful being removes the challenge, and with that, all the fun.

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I guess I'm the outlier, in this thread at least. I like PCs that get uber powerful over the course of the game. I'd like to be able to trivialize the occasional pack of bandits that don't realize I've got dragonscale armor enhanced by a legendary blacksmith with a magical ore I found in another dimension and am wielding a sword that was fabled to be able to even cut gods.

 

But I also need challenge. After fighting those brigands and wasting them, the captain comes in and it turns out he's a god avatar and I've just ruined his plan, and the real fight starts and he starts throwing me into walls and crap.

 

I'm just making random stuff up, but the important thing is, I like progression of power, but the game needs to be hard anyways, and it's nice to throw in the occasional scene to remind the player that he is in fact pretty uber.

 

Notably, even in baldur's gate, it has this progression of power. Your hp doesn't even go up that much, your stats never really increase aside from a few books and the like, and gear doesn't get expoential. I mean the difference between a normal sword and a +5 holy wtf sword I'm gonna go take on this lich now is... +5 damage and accuracy. Yet by the end of baldur's gate 2 (not even counting ToB here for a second), you're wasting dragons of all kinds, summoning planetars, and gibbing low level things like it's no thang. Even in bg1 I remember my fighter becoming one hell of a beast by the end.

 

It's just the important thing is to not let the player get so uber that there's no challenge left in the world.

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The more absurdly powerful the PC, the more absurd the game in general tends to become. I especially loved Throne of Bhaal, which featured an entire army of bad guys that apparently had standard issue +3 weaponry and armor...and any PC reaching that point would still curbstomp them by the hundreds.

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It's just the important thing is to not let the player get so uber that there's no challenge left in the world.

 

But BG did that by the end. With Ascension you were challenged enough, sure, but the base game? I should not have been able to put up a few basic buffs, wander into the final battle with Amelyssan, and win first time through. There's just no fun in realising that your major boss battle is never going to be challenging or interesting.

 

Sarevok was better. That certainly wasn't a fight I was finishing without a number of tries. Think the problem with the series was just an underlying one, actually; mages/clerics just got too powerful by the end, and they had to make the fights doable if you had a party heavy on the fighters & rogues. if you're going around with 4 of your people magic users...

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The PC should not ascend to ridiculous level of power unless there's a compelling story reason for it. But I'd prefer it if that wouldn't happen.

 

I suggest the following to keep the PCs power somewhat realistic and in line:

 

- increase attributes on level-up sparingly (DA: O, as good as it was in some aspects, gave you a ridiculous amount of attribute points which was bad)

- increase hitpoints only if the governing attribute (usually constitution) is increased or an appropriate passive skill is taken

- realistic progression in weapon and armor quality - no stuff like a low quality sword doing 5-10 damage and a high level one 60-90

- increase the PC's power by allowing them to learn better combat maneuvers and skills

 

In the end, I want the feeling that an experienced PC is a veteran with an edge, not some inexplicably unkillable tank that mows down entire armies.

Edited by Hagen
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When in deadly danger

When beset by doubt

Run in little circles

Wave your arms and shout.

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The more absurdly powerful the PC, the more absurd the game in general tends to become. I especially loved Throne of Bhaal, which featured an entire army of bad guys that apparently had standard issue +3 weaponry and armor...and any PC reaching that point would still curbstomp them by the hundreds.
As much as I hate the whole "Larger than the entire world" crap, I must say that that was one of the most memorable fights in the BG "Trilogy" for me. I once played a completely broken Elven Archer, dishing out (at least according to the stat sheet) over 10 attacks per round (even though it's supposed to be limited at 10, so I don't know). No-one reached me.

 

As much as I hated the way BG2 just threw so many enormously powerful opponents at you, and showered you with levelups and arbitrarily made some opponents ridiculously deadly for no real reason (like soldiers randomly kitted out in what should be enormously powerful gear, or beasts that just plain shouldn't have certain abilities), by the end of the series - even if I thought that Throne of Bhaal should've been it's own standalone game with it's own epic - I felt that I had somehow earned the right to curbstomp that army, even if they did come equipped with, again, absurdly powerful gear that should've been exceedingly rare.

 

The battle with Amelyssan was a complete meh-fest, though.


t50aJUd.jpg

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There's nothing wrong with having a powerful PC, but not to a point where killing the legendary dragon nets you like 400 xp and 50 gold coins, because you're 5 levels above him (I think there was a fight like that in NWN 1). What's the point of playing the game if you simply stomp everyone on the way?

 

Also, I started a similar thread a while ago concerning the competence of the player and people in the world. The concensus was that it's ok to get very strong, but not to a point where everyone is extremely inferior to you. The world needs to be able to fend for itself without you in most occasions and there should be beings that will give you a serious run for your money if you fight them.

 

A smart move would be to make a system, where each class has a weakness that if exploited properly, may make the character very vulnerable. You may be strong, ok, but there should be special ways to hurt you and enemies with ability to do that.

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Depends on the kind of story it is and the kind of world it's set in.

But basically, assuming D&D kind of setting, yeah you should be able to become something of a demi-god.

 

Especially if the story involves the good ol' sent to hell and fought all the way back here.

Then yea, those brigands you met way back when, before you faced the shadowmaster,

before you crushed the fire giants stronghold and before you met the adamantine golems?

No they shouldn't have any chance whatsoever, you should be able to beat them blindfolded,

both hands and a foot tied behind your back.

 

If it's a more down to earth setting, you still should be able to beat the whole bunch of them

brigands with your sword skills taught by the elven master in a sweet montage. But if they surprised

you with a crossbow bolt between the shoulderblades, you should maybe die.

 

Fallout kind of games the same, you should possibly became just about the best shot in the land,

able to dodge bullets pretty well, but you shouldn't be able to survive a shotgun blast in the face.

(Except if you have power armor, in which case you should survive that and more)

 

The problem is, D&D ruleset didn't really make it possible to deflect and block and dodge hits effectively,

or for armor to absorb damage. It was all simplified so much it's too much.

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It's just the important thing is to not let the player get so uber that there's no challenge left in the world.

 

But BG did that by the end. With Ascension you were challenged enough, sure, but the base game? I should not have been able to put up a few basic buffs, wander into the final battle with Amelyssan, and win first time through. There's just no fun in realising that your major boss battle is never going to be challenging or interesting.

 

Sarevok was better. That certainly wasn't a fight I was finishing without a number of tries. Think the problem with the series was just an underlying one, actually; mages/clerics just got too powerful by the end, and they had to make the fights doable if you had a party heavy on the fighters & rogues. if you're going around with 4 of your people magic users...

 

There were quite a few heavy abuses you could do in BG, and most of them involved magic, which really was another issue in BG altogether. I dunno if you used those, but there were just absolutely sick things you could do. On the legit end there were things like Time Stop Improved Alacrity Horrid Wilting spam. On the extremely unlegit end, there were things like restoring simulacrums to make multiple duplicates of yourself with scrolls and items in your quick slots and using chain contengencies to spam synchronized sunfires and using wish to get all your spells back in the middle of the fight (I may have cheated remembering all that and checked out a cheese guide). I remember seeing an image of a 1000 damage hit thanks to someone transformed as an iron golem backstabbing.

 

And then there was my kensai/thief that could pop assassination and just churn out 100+ damage crits all over the place, and later on I had plans to use mislead scrolls to do it at will (and possibly the simulacrum helmet to do it at will twice as often).

 

Really the problem with BG is that the abilities and spells in that game just aren't really balanced at all, lol, especially when used in combination with other abilities. It's not so much the character himself becoming a god, but there's ways to just abuse the system hard, in ways that probably weren't intended or thought of. And D&D itself I think has some of the blame there, because spells in D&D are just not fair in general, especially as you get to the higher level spells.

Edited by Blackstream

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Should the player char be able to become more powerful than the most powerful NPCs -- Yes having creatures that scale levels as you level has always seemed fake. Unless there is a level cap or skill limit there should be no reason not to exceed the NPCs. If you want to be challenged reply with a new character or select a difficulty setting make the enemy smarter or with improved skills (different types not just better at it).

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No, I think the way most RPGs handle power is very trite and stupid. Maybe a better word would be CRUDE.

Just buffing all stats and inflating HP. It is a very shallow represenation of skill.

 

Frankly, I'd rather the PC doesn't relaly improve that much from the begining. He gets more skills, becomes better and more flexible. But he still remain just a human that is still very vulnerable.

 

In other words, those brigands at the start of hte game - by the end one-on-one you will domiante. But they wil lstill be very dangerous and if they outnumber you they can still MURDER you.

As far as I'm concerned, if when you reach max level you can wade trough a sea of lower-lvl enemies blindfolded, the balance is all wrong.

 

You have said everything I came here to say.

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