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  1. 1. What do you think about cooldown for spells?

    • I love the idea of cooldowns.
      21
    • I hate the idea of cooldowns.
      67
    • I'm undecided.
      31
    • Obsidian will make the best decision without our opinions.
      62


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In general cooldown mechanics has a strong tendency to make combat a lot more "easy-going-adapting-on-the-fly" rather than requiring you to take your time in the beginning of the combat,

 

I'm not sure how you get this impression by what Obsidian wants to do.

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You should remember that their systems changes or maybe better term would be become more precise every day as they are still in planning place where they try to find right mechanics that allow such magic system which fulfil their overall goal to make combat system which need as much strategic planning for resources and tactical usage of those resources as sytem in IE games, but don't have same flaws. And Josh has stated that he don't believe that their sytem will be fully composed even in end of the kickstarter campaing. So you can expect sytem become more precise in following week and mechanics to change. And of course one should also remember that magic system is only one part of the combat system and therefore as other classes also change from that how they worked in D&D, they must also keep them in mind when they balance their magic system.

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If the only problem with BG2 combat was resting too often, then why not just only allow resting every 16 hours and make sure that the compelling story has time limits? Make sure that the world actualy changes with time and that time is another resource that needs to be managed (by not wasting it). If people are trying to make fights easier by returning to camp every time their mage runs out of spells then let there be a narrative penalty for that.

 

Why fix a system that is not otherwise broken? In the forum polls BG2 consistently gets the highest marks for its combat (well except maybe compared to turn based ToeEE) and even overall gameplay. PS:T does nearly as well, but I'd venture a guess that it isn't due to the combat system.

 

I'm trying to imagine showing up at a Dragon Age Reborn kickstarter and voting for it as my favorite cRPG of all time and then saying that I hated pretty much everything about the combat and could I please have Arx Fatalis or ToEE style combat instead. If you didn't like BG2 or IWD or IWD2 or PS:T combat then what are you doing here? Not saying you don't have a right to be here. I just don't understand why you are interested in a kickstarter that wants to create a BG2/IWD/PS:T hybrid if you disliked the combat in every single one of those games and strongly prefer some more modern system. Now maybe some of you just despised the magic system in those games and liked the standard RTwP melee combat. Or maybe some of you are consistent in hating the combat in all of those games and PnP DnD in general and are only here because you are hoping for a PS:T or MotB level story. Nevertheless it all seems a bit cheeky to me. But it seems clear that Obsidian seems intent on at least trying to accomodate you. Somehow I don't think the equivalent would happen if Codexians were to show up at a Bioware or Bethesda kickstarter suggesting ToEE combat mechanics. In fact we'd probably just have our IP address insta-banned and be shouted down as a troll by all the fanboys almost immediately.

 

 

Obsidian Entertainment and our legendary game designers Chris Avellone, Tim Cain, and Josh Sawyer are excited to bring you a new role-playing game for the PC. Project Eternity (working title) pays homage to the great Infinity Engine games of years past: Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, and Planescape: Torment.

Project Eternity aims to recapture the magic, imagination, depth, and nostalgia of classic RPG's that we enjoyed making - and playing. At Obsidian, we have the people responsible for many of those classic games and we want to bring those games back… and that’s why we’re here - we need your help to make it a reality!

 

Project Eternity will take the central hero, memorable companions and the epic exploration of Baldur’s Gate, add in the fun, intense combat and dungeon diving of Icewind Dale, and tie it all together with the emotional writing and mature thematic exploration of Planescape: Torment.

 

I'm wondering which part of that wasn't clear. Admittedly IWD combat was used as a more specfic example and not BG2, but both systems would be equally vulnerable to these criticisms over rest spamming and the unrealism of spell memorization and all the rest. The various views can be divided into two factions. One likes the old combat systems and would kill for a BG3 or a IWD3 or a PS:T-2 that is identical in every way except for the story being a sequel, but may or may not be thinking (as I am) don't try to fix what isn't broken and first do no harm. The other faction may have utterly hated those combat and magic systems and strongly prefers a newer, esoteric, or some completely novel combat mechanic.

 

I am sympathetic with some of these new (to me) systems like fatigue and the only system I really have a major problem with is cooldowns (of any sort), but I don't consider the old systems broken in any way. Not even slightly. I only left the dungeon to rest when my characters were on the edge of death and likely bleeding out. It was a kind of retreat. To me "rest spamming" wasn't any sort of problem I needed to solve. To me there was no conceptual problem with a once per day spell memorization system. I liked the fact that mages were limited in the number of spells they cast per day and that eventually they would be reduced to slings or crossbow bolts. I liked the fact that you weren't omniscient enough to predict what spells you always needed and that that sometimes resulted in a less than ideal battle strategy or even a party death and subsequent reload. I liked the fact that one price of exploring with a mage, of all that power, was that you might use up more game time than you might otherwise have with a melee only party. I was always disappointed when there was no real meaning to the passage of time that penalized you for this, but that wasn't such a big deal either. I think a main story that takes into account the passage of time would be nice and would help balance out the power of spell casters vs melee characters to an extent, but it isn't a deal breaker for me if that isn't in.

 

Of course, I don't think forcing all classes to rest every 16 hours or suffer a gradual decline in abilities is at all unreasonable or undesirable. Perhaps some races could get by with less sleep, but certainly humans should require at least 6 hours of sleep per night to even have the slightest chance of fighting with their maximum ability. And enforcing a 16 hour waking time between sleep would seem to solve this whole non-problem all by itself. Obviously sleeping 8 hours ever hour is not particularly logical or realistic, and I never played that way in the first place. The only justification for it might be soloing as a mage, in which case it might be nice to turn off that requirement or allow some kind of soporific drug/herb to allow you to sleep so much. If not being able to memorize 100 complex spells at short notice is unrealistic then what about continuing to walk around with heavy packs and fight multiple life threatening battles that wound much of the party and then just continue on forever without sleep?

 

I just don't get all this fuss over walking to a safe place to rest? Is it really that tedious to do? So tedious that it is worth risking the fun of a hugely enjoyable and proven combat system? To me the risk is not worth the possible reward, if any.

 

Why not respect the proven systems of the past and try to add options for players who didn't like them instead of simply removing the old system and possiblly destroying the entire experience for the players who loved BG2/IWD/PS:T combat just as it was? How?

 

1. (easy) Introduce an insta-camping function/button/option that has some canned animation of leaving a dungeon and making camp and then returning, possibly with various sub-settings like the option to start you back at the beginning of the level or the beginning of the entire dungeon or which makes you wait for some set amount of time as well. After all, this is Josh's argument in favor of cooldowns. Just automate the process and be done with it. Is this the equivalent of a resting cooldown? Yeah, but it's optional. I don't think a lot of us who loved the old combat mechanics have a huge amount of difficulty restraining ourselves from engaging in game mechanics that we don't like. Just because a resting bypass button or checkbox exists does not mean we have to use it.

 

2. (more involved) Automatically (or manually) record a sort of macro of movement events between the last place of rest or last viable place of rest (presumably outside of the dungeon if you are in one). Then just play it back in reverse, rest, and play it forward again. This mostly just elminates the canned nature of the animation in solution (1) while still mitigating a lot of the tedium complaints about resting, especially if there is the option to speed things forward by 10x or 100x or whatever.

 

3. (considerably more involved but with additional benefits including greater replay value) Take a page from BG2's book and implement more than one sort of arcane caster class in the game. You could have a Vancian mage, a BG2 style sorcerer, a fatigue based caster, a mana+reagent based caster, a ritual+reagent based caster, a prayer based caster, and even a cooldown based caster / magic spammer or any subset of these that includes the old style mechanic as well. Each casting class could be more or less balanced with each other through playtesting. It is a lot more work admittedly, but it would also allow for a great deal of replay value playing all these different sorts of casters. It would also allow the sort of innovation that Josh seems to be interested in. You won't risk ruining an entire game just by having a single class that many people dislike. If you don't like a class you don't have to play it. One disadvantage may be fitting it all in with the game narrative/setting.

 

Now it might be argued that the encounter system as a whole cannot be balanced properly for at least the first two options. That if the encounters are mainly designed for the players who play the old way that things will be too easy for the player who can insta-regain all of their spells at will like BG2 Wish spell cheese or one of the "infinite spells" exploits. I would argue that the difficulty system can mitigate this imbalance. Different players prefer different level of combat difficulty in any case. Having choices to increase or decrease encounter difficulty is an important game mechanic and one of the few that can be very much improved compared to the old IE games with their "every enemy does 50% more damage" crudeness. Actually having this option could in itself be considered part of the difficulty system. Although I do believe in combat fairness and that if you can insta-regain all of your spells enemy mages should be able to do the same. So it could just result in casters killing off non-casters very quickly without otherwise altering the game difficulty significantly.

 

I'm also very disappointed with the recent announcements from Obsidian regarding use of Cooldowns in PE.

As stated above the only flaw with the system in BG2 was the rest spamming and for me that was a minor flaw. Didn't even think of it until people brought it up here.

 

Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure that the real reason that they're going for Cooldowns is implementation time and effort. Mainly cause It's easier to balance. Both individual and series of battles and also classes like Mage/Fighter. Question is though, why does a single player game has to be perfectly and evenly balanced ? I say, let people find out things for themselves.

 

I'm really afraid of getting a game with battles more of the streamlined "lazy" Dragon Age kind as opposed to the diverse, strategic ones we had in BG2.

 

Still going to back this project though I'm no longer feeling as optimistic about it.

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In general cooldown mechanics has a strong tendency to make combat a lot more "easy-going-adapting-on-the-fly" rather than requiring you to take your time in the beginning of the combat, examining the battlefield, carefully weighing pros and cons against each other for different strategies. I just think that this is something that has been lost in modern RPGs i.e. Dragon Age. Rushing through combat in a "half-assed-manner" simply isn't penalized as it used to be.

 

I've exhausted most of what I wanted to say in the matter. At least I shared my opinion. In any advent I think the combat has a great chance of being more interesting than it was in Dragon Age.

 

Then you should be really happy where the current system is going because by allowing low level spells to be given back, they can restrict resting more and increasing the strategic part of the game-play with high level spells. What I think they want is the following:

 

1. Take IE game spell system. Restrict resting to specific location/events

- By doing so, they will cripple Wizard, Cleric (any class which have limited resource).

 

2. To compensate, they will add low level spells the spell slot cool-down mechanic. So wizards are not 100% out of spells or doing really nothing in 90 % of the battles.

- However this will make some of the low tier spells overpowered.

 

3. To compensate, they will separate spells to two groups. Basic spells (Magic missile, Acid arrow) going to wizard spellbook (with cooldown mechanic in low tiers) and more powerfull spells to Spell-tomes, which wizard will additionally equip. (no spell cooldowns here).

- Now they want player to find multiple spell-tomes of different power as a loot. This means if the player has more then one spelltome and there is no restriction on equip we have problem.

 

4. To compensate they will allow re-equip of spelltomes with 30 seconds cool-down.

 

 

Ok, now if you discuss just one change it will sound as a problem. What is really important, is to view all the changes as a one whole group.

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I'm also very disappointed with the recent announcements from Obsidian regarding use of Cooldowns in PE.

As stated above the only flaw with the system in BG2 was the rest spamming and for me that was a minor flaw. Didn't even think of it until people brought it up here.

 

Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure that the real reason that they're going for Cooldowns is implementation time and effort. Mainly cause It's easier to balance. Both individual and series of battles and also classes like Mage/Fighter. Question is though, why does a single player game has to be perfectly and evenly balanced ? I say, let people find out things for themselves.

 

I'm really afraid of getting a game with battles more of the streamlined "lazy" Dragon Age kind as opposed to the diverse, strategic ones we had in BG2.

 

Still going to back this project though I'm no longer feeling as optimistic about it.

 

Magic system in Baldur's Gates had other flaws than rest spamming (which really was more a symptom, than cause). Low level wizards often could not perform their planned role and were often pushed as background ournament slinger. And on medium levels they usually could take care of the encounters by themselves but usually they had enough spells for one to three encounters, where big part of players used rest spamming as answer. And in some encounters wrong spell selection forced player to load and change his or her spell and try again (and this is not strategic or tactical thing as most cases player didn't have any advance warning of what they spells they will need in upcoming encounter). And there is also other flaws in that system, so I am all for to try fix these flaws but still have best parts of that system. If cooldowns is one of the mechanics which they think gives them ability to do so, then I am okey to see what they can come up to and not shoot them down, because one of the many mechanics what they have plan to use is cooldowns.

 

When they have more than only faded outline about their system, I can give my judgement that will it or will it not work better than D&D's system in IE games. Now I can only say that they right with their statement that magic (and combat system overall in IE games was flawed) and they should be careful to not transfer those flaws on their new system. And their design goals, keep good things from IE games, fix flaws and bring something new on the table, strike for me to be just right kind of attitude, but maybe that is just me not understanding perfectness of the old system.

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People should read the explanations of Tim and Josh. The cooldown system does exactly the same thing as exhausting all the spells in you spellbooks for a certain level in the Vaccian system: you can't use them anymore for a while. The difference is that you won't have to rest all the time to regain the mid-levels spells and the low level spells will always be available (sort of like default attacks).

 

The grimoires switching allow to keep different set of spells together for specific circumstances. Let say you have your "combat grimoire", "out of combat grimoire" and "control grimoire". So in the combat one you will have all the fireball, chain lightning, magic missles. etc. In the ooc grimoire will have stuff like unlock, divination, wish. The control one can have stuff like web, charm person, etc. You get a cooldown on switching the grimoires to avoid switching all the time, they are big books after all.

 

Some people will find the grimoires annoying, because mages will have to remember where they dumped a specific spell.


Azarhal, Chanter and Keeper of Truth of the Obsidian Order of Eternity.


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Yes. I was just sent a link to that formspring announcement. I don't know what to think anymore. These guys seem to be constantly changing their minds about what kind of system they want. Or maybe there is some disagreement between Tim and Josh. These contradicory statements are confusing. Josh is the lead designer. So in theory his statements should hold more weight. OTOH, Tim's announcement was part of an official update. Who the hell knows at this point what kind of system they are planning? I do take some comfort in the fact that their ideas seem so incrediblly uncertain and vague. Their commitment to cooldown timers seems absolute, but their committment to high level spell resets during battle or even between battles is apparently not. And now the potential for sleep only spell resets? This site needs better emoticons. I'm at the hair pulling stage.

 

The system described in Josh's Formspring statement seems an awful lot like the 4th edition ruleset, based on what I have heard about it at least. I think it would be illuminating if someone more familiar with 4th Ed. PnP could chime in and compare/contrast the two systems. It basically sounds like a system that uses at will, per encounter, and daily categories. Albeit with a per encounter category that is sometimes more than one set per encounter. I've never played 4th Edition PnP. I'm not sure what to think about it. My main concern with the magic system that has been described so far has been the lack of attrition mechanics in the per encounter or more than one per encounter high level spell reset. Despite their statements it is starting to seem like their plans are simply too chaotic at the moment to really make any firm assumptions about what kind of combat systems they want.

 

This probably has to do with the fact that they don't actually have a magic system yet -- they just have ideas. :) And, furthermore, whatever plans they thought they had have likely changed as a result of feedback, so the "leading candidate" is changing from day-to-day / person-to-person depending on what feedback that particular person has read. To be technical, this is what happens when you are involved in a major programming project during the "Envisioning Phase".

 

About the best you can say at this point is that cooldowns are definitely in, and some spells will be on "fast" cooldowns (reset during combat) and some spells will not. The cooldowns will be applied to an entire spell level rather than individual spells and will vary depending on character level (e.g. each time you gain access to a "new spell level", cooldowns on levels that you already have will be reduced).

 

Whether there will be three categories of spells, such as 4E, only two sets of cooldowns (short / medium), or short / long / extreme cooldowns is unknown at this point (probably to the developers). This may not be settled until they actually have the game engine up and running (months away) and can play test difference scenarios to see what "works right".

 

All of that being said, even a three tier, 4E system (top level spells are "once per rest") doesn't address my concerns. I have two major objections to such a system:

 

1) I don't like the notion of level based (rather than "slot" based or "spell" based) cooldowns at all, mostly because it eliminate the need for the player to decide between "Do I memorize two copies of spell X or one copy of X and Y just in case". Especially with the "spellbooks as physical entities that can be swapped in combat (w/ penalties)" mechanic in the game I really don't see the need to remove this element. The player has the option of memorizing two copies of "X" in his/her primary spellbook, with a backup spellbook that has "X & Y" that can be swapped in if they need "Y" for a particular encounter.

2) I don't like the "old spell level cooldowns get shorter as new spell levels become available" mechanic. Firstly, if most spells scale with level (ala D&D -- anything that reads "Does 1d6 damage / caster level") then it is entirely likely that your "low level spells" will be nearly as powerful / useful as your high level spells. I know that the 3rd level fireball spell was probably one of my top 3 or 4 spells even in BG2:TOB, and I don't think I'm unique in that way, and you've got to believe that this spell would be on a very short cooldown by that point.

 

I wouldn't object to a system that had two "spell tracks" that ran in parallel: One track contained spells with long (> 10 minutes) fixed cooldowns (or recovered on rest only) and contained of powerful, scalable spells (in the 2E D&D tradition), while the other track contained spells with short (< 1 minute) variable (w/ caster level) cooldowns and contained "blah", fixed strength, spells (in the DA:O tradition). I'm not sure this system is better than Vancian magic, but if you have a phobia of Vancian magic, this is something worth a try. :)

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I'm actually being won over by the recent revelations regarding this. It seems like the devs are really trying to focus on tactical gameplay but also innovate how that happens. Particularly the grimoire dynamics. That will be very interesting indeed to play with. I don't want a carbon copy of IWD with a different story overlaid. This is a brand new world with new mechanics and a new type of magic system.

 

Fundamentally, the fact they are implementing a per-rest recharge for certain spells is the most positive announcement. People could always mod every spell to be per-rest if they wanted to in the final product. Quit your belly-aching, you got everything you've asked for.

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People could always mod every spell to be per-rest if they wanted to in the final product.

 

That is actually a very good point. Provided the spells are scripts (or something similar) and can be modified. Of which modability for this exact system will be unknown for some time.

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Yes. I was just sent a link to that formspring announcement. I don't know what to think anymore. These guys seem to be constantly changing their minds about what kind of system they want. Or maybe there is some disagreement between Tim and Josh. These contradicory statements are confusing.

 

my guess is there is some of both of those things happening. It is still very very early in the design process.

Edited by ogrezilla

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People could always mod every spell to be per-rest if they wanted to in the final product.

 

That is actually a very good point. Provided the spells are scripts (or something similar) and can be modified. Of which modability for this exact system will be unknown for some time.

 

I have the same concern as with the difficulty slider issue, but more so: In the case of only supporting this style of gameplay via mod, the game certainly won't be properly balanced for "all spells are once per rest". If what you are looking for is a high level of difficulty, then sure, that's not a problem, but if you are looking for a balanced gameplay experience (which I am), then such a fundamental gameplay mechanic is going to be disastrous unless other massive changes are made at the same time.

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I'm also very disappointed with the recent announcements from Obsidian regarding use of Cooldowns in PE.

As stated above the only flaw with the system in BG2 was the rest spamming and for me that was a minor flaw. Didn't even think of it until people brought it up here.

 

Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure that the real reason that they're going for Cooldowns is implementation time and effort. Mainly cause It's easier to balance. Both individual and series of battles and also classes like Mage/Fighter. Question is though, why does a single player game has to be perfectly and evenly balanced ? I say, let people find out things for themselves.

 

I'm really afraid of getting a game with battles more of the streamlined "lazy" Dragon Age kind as opposed to the diverse, strategic ones we had in BG2.

 

Still going to back this project though I'm no longer feeling as optimistic about it.

 

Magic system in Baldur's Gates had other flaws than rest spamming (which really was more a symptom, than cause). Low level wizards often could not perform their planned role and were often pushed as background ournament slinger. And on medium levels they usually could take care of the encounters by themselves but usually they had enough spells for one to three encounters, where big part of players used rest spamming as answer. And in some encounters wrong spell selection forced player to load and change his or her spell and try again (and this is not strategic or tactical thing as most cases player didn't have any advance warning of what they spells they will need in upcoming encounter). And there is also other flaws in that system, so I am all for to try fix these flaws but still have best parts of that system. If cooldowns is one of the mechanics which they think gives them ability to do so, then I am okey to see what they can come up to and not shoot them down, because one of the many mechanics what they have plan to use is cooldowns.

 

When they have more than only faded outline about their system, I can give my judgement that will it or will it not work better than D&D's system in IE games. Now I can only say that they right with their statement that magic (and combat system overall in IE games was flawed) and they should be careful to not transfer those flaws on their new system. And their design goals, keep good things from IE games, fix flaws and bring something new on the table, strike for me to be just right kind of attitude, but maybe that is just me not understanding perfectness of the old system.

 

It would be absolutely great it they're able to make a splendid spell system like that in BG2 even better. Personally I would have a very cautious approach trying to alter that too much, I don't think it's as easy as people might believe.

 

Also, I think announcing PE as a revival of the old legendary classic RPG games and then decide to use a concept like Cooldowns is a bold thing to do. Cooldowns with its reputation and the association to actions rpgs it has in an audience like this.

 

Obsidian has certainly put themselves under a lot of pressure. I think now, they have to come up with something really great in order to please old BG2 fans like me.

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I concur that the points you listed are, indeed, problems with the Vancian system implemented and that addressing these issues is reasonable, but... My feeling is that the approach should be "We start with Vancian as the base, and tweak around the edges to try to address these points" rather than the current approach of "We'll start with a blank slate, and try to come up with a spell casting system that doesn't have these issues".

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Another suggestion regarding Grimoires:

 

Make it so that spells you add to your (or to a) Grimoire will become available only when you rest after doing so. Just to add a more tactical level to Grimoires and prevent potential "Grimoire reset" abuse between encounters.

 

I love the idea of preparing or finding Grimoires, though.

Edited by villain of the story

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The grimoires could also each have different bonuses (+ 1 Level 4 spell, shorter cooldowns, all ice spells do very little damage but always freeze the target...). When you now limit the number of grimoires you can have "active" (meaning each mage can only have 3 grimoires to change between) you have another tactical decission to be made. And i think we can't have enough of them.

Maybe your first and personal grimoire is upgradeable. A dialog puzzle like the Circle of Zertimon would be great! :)

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