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Unwinnable Encounter(s)?  

275 members have voted

  1. 1. Would you favor having one or more encounters that are unwinnable in game?

    • No, my party is the "ne plus ultra" of this world and we should be able to overcome everything eventually.
    • Yes, but only *one* and only on an optional sidequest.
    • Yes, but only on optional sidequests.
    • Yes, but don't overuse them because I'm here to have fun, not to end up frustrated and ticked off.


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I don't like when something is unwinnable by design. I hate it, in fact. However, when you're supposed to lose and you are fighting against the odds (like fighting against a party of a much higher level), but you can overcome the challenge at least theoretically, than I am fine with that.

 

Whilst it's not related to the story in any way, fighting a black troll early on in Gothic 2 immediately springs to my mind. There was also a nice encounter near the end of Dragon Age, right after you dealt with lord WhatHisNameWas (who betrayed your family) and was trying to leave his mantion a group of guards led by an important NPC stopped you and ordered you to surrender. The fight was supposed to be hard (it wasn't, but it still was one of the hardest fights the game) and so you could surrender and end up in the dungeon or fight and lose (and end up in the dungeon anyway) or win and get a very nice sword and an experience boost as a reward.

 

I agree with this sentiment, lets have encounters that you cannot win unless you are the right level. Like the Black Troll in Gothic. But if there is an enemy that you cannot ever beat it would just be frustrating and pointless for me.

Edited by BruceVC

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Well, there is that BG2 fight that murders you if you screwed the main quest... ;)

^

 

 

I agree that that is such a stupid idiotic pathetic garbage hateful retarded scumbag evil satanic nazi like term ever created. At least top 5.

 

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Encounters that are unwinnable until you come back later with a higher level party and better equipment are an interesting challenge, but an encounter that is unwinnable no matter what? That's very hard to do without ending up as a source for complaints.

 

In my opinion a good unwinnable encounter was the Lady of Pain from Planescape Torment. You are given plenty of warning that she can kill anything she deems a threat (she even killed a god once) and you won't encounter her at all unless you go out of your way to provoke her. And even then she will only kill you if you provoke her twice, with you having no reason to do so other than wanting to see what fighting her is like. I should also point out that she kills you in a cutscene without giving you the time to act, so it's clear that there is no way to defeat her in combat.

 

In contrast to that good unwinnable encounter I've seen many of them implemented badly. The first encounter with Malak from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is one. You can defeat him in fair combat, but the subsequent cutscene will still play out as if you lost to him. Another is Lothar (the skull man) from Planescape Torment. There is some talk that he is very powerful, but you're an immortal and when you encounter him he's holding one of your party members prisoner. It's only when you decide to fight him that you find out that he is powerful enough to kill even you. And how does he do it? I don't know; there is no cutscene or anything. When you attack him you get a message that you tested your immortality against the wrong being, immediately followed by the "game over" screen.

 

I think that if you're given the choice to respond to an encounter with combat then you should have a chance to win. That chance may be low (especially if there are other, more sensible responses) but it must not be nonexistent.

Edited by faeriehunter
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I think having a truly undefeatable foe, a big sack of HP and stats you just can't overcome, in the game would be a bad idea, it doesn't work in an cRPG as well imo and would only lead to frustration.

 

However something like the mentioned Kangaxx in BG2, some opponent or party, that requires tactics and knowledge of the game mechanics tucked away in an optional sidequest would be great, a must have even.

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Encounters specifically designed to be unwinnable is a cop-out, boring, badwrongfun.

 

I'm perfectly alright with punishingly hard or nearly impossible - hell, they may just be theoretically impossible, that's just how it is - in the game. But to design something to be unwinnable from the get-go, as in having resistances or immunities nothing else has, give it infinite health, basically anything like that; no way in hell. Those are the things that will make me tip the table over and crush the DVD.

 

And your poll is bad and you should feel bad. There's not a single option for me to vote for.

Edited by Luckmann

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Generally I am against having enemies in the game that are right out impossible to defeat, there are exceptions of course, but let me elaborate:

 

If I see a cave hidden deep in a forest with bones and broken weapons and armor strewn around in front of the entrance then this is a challenge to me and not a sign that I'm in over my head and I'll try to kill whatever creature lurks inside be it dragon ,demon or some other abomination.

If the killing attempts fail I'd search for clues to some quest item that may weaken the beast or return later at maximum level to try again. To stop players from endlessly trying to master this challenge it would need an unmistakeable indication that the following encounter is impossible.So having that creature actually be "impossible" to beat would be both irritating and useless. After all why have something that serves no purpose other than being some kind of suicide trigger for your party?

 

The exception to this would be NPCs of importance who are more than just "beasts". Important or legendary characters like Elminster from the Forgotten Realms, avatars and messengers of the gods, gods themselves and of course characters that are further required for the setting and story of the world i.e. kings and other rulers.

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yes and no. i accept the presence of enemies i cant defeat because they are too strong and i have to come back later. i accept the presence of beings that cannot die so long as i know beforehand that they are imortal. but making someone imune to my attacks for no apparent reason, other than just because he must be hard to defeat or because i must not kill him is unacceptable. like in BG2, that some enemies were completely imune to certain magics just because they were bosses. they didnt roll a save, they didnt have any resistance etc, they just ignored the magic because if it worked on them the game would be too easy

Edited by teknoman2
  • Like 1

The words freedom and liberty, are diminishing the true meaning of the abstract concept they try to explain. The true nature of freedom is such, that the human mind is unable to comprehend it, so we make a cage and name it freedom in order to give a tangible meaning to what we dont understand, just as our ancestors made gods like Thor or Zeus to explain thunder.

 

-Teknoman2-

What? You thought it was a quote from some well known wise guy from the past?

 

Stupidity leads to willful ignorance - willful ignorance leads to hope - hope leads to sex - and that is how a new generation of fools is born!


We are hardcore role players... When we go to bed with a girl, we roll a D20 to see if we hit the target and a D6 to see how much penetration damage we did.

 

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TPK players..

 

TPK ALL THE PLAYERS!!!! ALL THE TIME!

 

I want to see egoistical players beaten to a bloody pulp. And then ground into fine paste.

* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

Chuck Norris was wrong once - He thought HE made a mistake!

 

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Another thing that interests me on unwinnable encounters would be to have you use your wits instead of your might, to work around a solution.

 

For those that don't want to see this. Just keep in mind that the unwinnable factor should be there according to the combat rules.

That is, it's unwinnable because there is a huge gap difference in power level, which means the party dies really fast. So that makes it clear to the player what's going on.

 

I think there is room for different types of things:

- encounters which you can only win after a certain level (this is certain to be in the game due to the non-linearity)

- encounters which you may win/avoid/survive by using your wits

- encounters which you will always perish. You shouldn't be the most powerful entity in the game.

 

 

On another note,

I would love for another Kangaxx type of thing... you know, recover the preserved body pieces, or make the arrangements for some demon summoning ritual.

But it would be great if it didn't always resulted in inevitable combat.

How about if you decided to run and that demon/undead ends up taking control of that village. So when you return latter it's full of monsters.

Or how about some non-combat interaction. Like make a pact with the demon/undead. Have him give you a quest. Or reveal something to you.

Edited by hideo kuze
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If they do design an "unwinnable" battle, they should still design the game so that it can react accordingly if the player somehow manages to beat the odds.

 

I'm pretty sure we're safe from a cutscene/auto-win for the enemies, at least. I recall that being mentioned in an interview earlier.

Something stirs within...

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As a rule, unwinnable encounters only work if

1) they have a good reason to be unwinnable

2) We get to actually play through the encounter

Good reason, in this context, basically means something way out of your league - like an eldritch abomination or a god in the flesh. Or just utterly overwhelming numerical superiority. One of the best done (almost) unwinnable encounters was the first fight against Ser Cauthrien in DAO, not least because it was theoretically possible to win (although it required massive leveling and good tactics, or essentially cheating), and the enemy you fought was one that had any right being so powerful - the antagonists lieutenant (also his best fighter) and her battalion of elite soldiers, backed up by several mages. You actually fought the encounter and, for the most part, got your backside royally kicked and taken prisoner. You also did get the opportunity to get even later as you fought Cauthrien again, when she had far less troops behind her. An example of most certainly how not to do it is the first fight against Kai Leng in ME3, where you go from easily beating him in something not worthy of the name `boss fight` to him owning you with the almighty power of the cutscene. That was worse even than a similar situation in KotOR (released nine years earlier), where the same thing happened, but at least you were fighting a sith lord, not some ninja wannabe.

 

And I've only ever seen one example of getting beaten solely in a cutscene work: Jade Empire. If you've played it, you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't, cease, repent, and buy the game immediately. You will be enlightened in the ways of the good writing and the foreshadowing.

`This is just the beginning, Citizens! Today we have boiled a pot who's steam shall be seen across the entire galaxy. The Tea Must Flow, and it shall! The banner of the British Space Empire will be unfurled across a thousand worlds, carried forth by the citizens of Urn, and before them the Tea shall flow like a steaming brown river of shi-*cough*- shimmering moral fibre!` - God Emperor of Didcot by Toby Frost.

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As long as it's supported by the story, lore and game mechanics, absolutely; if done correctly, it adds flavour to the world, which increases immersion. You don't have to be the most powerful being in the entire universe for the game to be fun.

 

If, however, it's unwinnable simply because the plot demands it? That's a good indicator that you're doing something wrong; usually you end up with a situation where the game mechanics are telling you that you can win, while the story says that you can't, often ending with the player being defeated in a cutscene, or other scripted event. I can't think of one instance where these have been done well, and is something which should be left to movies, where the "player" isn't in control.

 

That said, I would like to see side quests and other situations where you "can't" win conventionally. That is, you are encouraged to use non-combat skills to resolve the situation. Maybe in the form of stealth, persuasion and/or deception.

Edited by Zeyelth
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One of the best done (almost) unwinnable encounters was the first fight against Ser Cauthrien in DAO, not least because it was theoretically possible to win (although it required massive leveling and good tactics, or essentially cheating), and the enemy you fought was one that had any right being so powerful - the antagonists lieutenant (also his best fighter) and her battalion of elite soldiers, backed up by several mages. You actually fought the encounter and, for the most part, got your backside royally kicked and taken prisoner. You also did get the opportunity to get even later as you fought Cauthrien again, when she had far less troops behind her. An example of most certainly how not to do it is the first fight against Kai Leng in ME3, where you go from easily beating him in something not worthy of the name `boss fight` to him owning you with the almighty power of the cutscene. That was worse even than a similar situation in KotOR (released nine years earlier), where the same thing happened, but at least you were fighting a sith lord, not some ninja wannabe.

 

 

Oh Please... Cauthrien was a HP sponge. Just giving a normal human oppotent a centilion HP does NOT a good battle make.

 

 

Also, level shouldn't have that big of an impact. It if does, that means power creep. And I hate power creep.

* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

Chuck Norris was wrong once - He thought HE made a mistake!

 

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story based unwinnable fights should be like those on jrpg. you start the fight, you may or may not get to attack the enemy and on his first attack he brings down the whole party and the game proceeds (you dont even get the ilusion of having a chance), then you get to fight again in 15-20 levels or several days-weeks (game time) and you can win.

battles where the enemy you face is about the same level as you but you cant defeat him, then 10 minutes later you fight again and he goes down like a rat, NO!

the cheap trick of killing one and another one comes through the door til you die, NO!

winning the battle and getting a cutscene where one of the party says "he is too strong, retreat", ABSOLUTELLY NOT!!!

The words freedom and liberty, are diminishing the true meaning of the abstract concept they try to explain. The true nature of freedom is such, that the human mind is unable to comprehend it, so we make a cage and name it freedom in order to give a tangible meaning to what we dont understand, just as our ancestors made gods like Thor or Zeus to explain thunder.

 

-Teknoman2-

What? You thought it was a quote from some well known wise guy from the past?

 

Stupidity leads to willful ignorance - willful ignorance leads to hope - hope leads to sex - and that is how a new generation of fools is born!


We are hardcore role players... When we go to bed with a girl, we roll a D20 to see if we hit the target and a D6 to see how much penetration damage we did.

 

Modern democracy is: the sheep voting for which dog will be the shepherd's right hand.

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Hmm, 89 yeas of some sort vs. 79 nays thus far. I'm quite pleased as I figured there'd be a lot more fragile egos and short-tempered keyboard smashers / screen punchers unable to deal with a sobriety check to their vicarious, fantastical powertrip.

  • Like 1

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No, I don't want unwinnable battles, but I'm not against unwinnable battles 'for now', that is, an enemy that is clearly out of the league of the party at the time the party is in certain area (story-line wise), but 10 levels later when the party is taking on dragons somewhere else, they can come back to that 'low level' area and whup the creature's ass (sort of like in Everquest, when those roaming giants or griffons stomped you when you were low level, and then when you were big you would go back and kill them just for revenge)

Edited by wolfing
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I'm not interested in combat situations that are outside the capabilities of the party for the entirety of the game. Even if a situation is impossible to manage upon first encounter (or first clues), there should be the chance of managing it at some later point. Otherwise, I'd think it'd become something that players would avoid on later replays and it'd be the equivalent of it not existing at all. After that first encounter/attempt, the player will realize the uselessness of the situation and will be unlikely to revisit it. That doesn't sound like it'd be a particularly useful way to spend resources.

 

None of that precludes the addition of such encounters at points where they feel insurmountable to the player at their party's current level. That will give you the same feeling but grant the player the satisfaction of achieving victory before the story ends.

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The way that I see this type of encounter is when encountering a god. As I am for letting the player do whatever they want, there should be the option to attack the god. This should be an unbeatable fight. Although, I guess I wouldn't be opposed to some drawn-out side-quest to be able to defeat a minor deity.

Edited by HeedlessHorseman
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I would like to see something like this implemented and I voted for the yes but keep it fun option.

 

At any given player/party level there should be someone or something in the game world that is more powerful. I think a good implementation of this could be a recurring creature or party that creates an ongoing rivalry with the PC. Maybe they are unbeatable in this game but it would eventually be possible an expansion. As already stated everything that happens combat wise should absolutely be within the rules of the game world and without question it should be appropriate to the setting and story-line There should also be at least one or two chance for an "out" but for those players that can't read those signs, well... time to reload. I'd be fine with such encounters being either something the player has to actually seek out or an integral part of the story-line if it's done well it won't matter either way.

 

Something that could add to the foreboding and sense of being unable to prevail in a battle is being able to run characters with a story to tell, that are maimed and grizzled veterans of previous encounters with the "un-killable". Such characters might not be easily found or it might take some doing for players to get their story out of them as a reward for players that try to gather intelligence on the un-killable creature/party.

The day Microsoft makes a product that doesn't suck is the day they make a vacuum cleaner.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hogger...

 

He was insane and way above his station for the area he was in - In the MMO world he caused players to group en masse to take him down.

 

I then proceeded to go back and kill him when I was level 60 for revenge.

 

My point - I don't like "impossible". I like "improbable" or "insanely tough" but I don't want something in the game I can't eventually beat. It would be good if perhaps early game you were to be harassed by some form of 'enemy' be it a green Dragon or Werewolf demon etc.. But as the game progressed and you neared a high level you could return to that area and potentially free the people (make them as tough as the toughest people in the game and throw them at you early so you have to avoid em - story/clues included. And that way when you are of a level of grizzled veteran and hero of the world - there are a few challenges still out there.

Edited by Juneau

Juneau & Alphecca Daley currently tearing up Tyria.

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In video games... I don't mind there being cutscenes and exposition to one of our main villains.

 

In DnD as GM though, I would be VERY careful introducing overpowered characters that the party can't fight.

 

It's essentially like introducing a big red button saying: "Don't push." They really can't help themselves but to do it. I'm not saying that's always the case, but certainly don't have too many unbeatable characters appearing continously because then the player will get bored and feel like "It's never the time to attack!" They will get bored and attack just because they haven't had enough opportunites to express themselves.

Edited by -Zin-
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I want unwinnable encounter tbh. Though story-driven somehow, a Deity that slaps me back and forth. Basically it would be battles where technically I am just as invulnerable as the monster/Deity I am facing, in-game roleplaying-ly-ish I would lose.

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I can get behind an encounter that is so hard that it could be called unwinnable, as long as it is teoretically possible to win it. I don't want the system to cheat just to teach me a lesson (or something like that), like with the (spoiler for Mask of the Betrayer)

Fight against Kelemvor in the Mask of the Betrayer

 

 

The only unwinnable "battle" I never had any problem with, was in Torment, if you pissed off the Lady of Pain. Even gods keep away from her realm.

Edited by HansKrSG
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