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Infiltrator_SF

Characters not in party gaining experience

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I think it's a pretty bad idea that seems to be used often in today's RPGs - characters gaining experience even though they are sitting out in the tavern/hub.

 

PE should bring back the old system where, if you want to play with a character after you've been neglecting him for a time - you have to take along a guy who won't be on the same level as everyone else in the party.

 

It's a matter of choice and consequence, not mix and match based on what you need at that exact moment.

Edited by Infiltrator_SF
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I agree as well. It adds a layer of tactical decision making.

Some may find it more annoying, I'd suggest making it an option to have them all gain.

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If it's possible, why not have an on/off option for this? Would please both sides. I'll be honest, I won't mind if non-active companions gain exp, but it won't piss me off if they don't.

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I disagree. Having to bring every character to level them up either results in aimless, pointless grinding to bring someone up to speed or it effectively creates a situation where you pick a party and you're stuck with them for pretty much the whole game.

 

I much, much prefer the approach of 'I am going on a journey/mission/quest/whatever. This one happens to be a dungeon delve/forest walk/rescue-the-prince. What party members would be good at it? What party members would actually care about it, story-wise?'

 

Who's to say that the characters you leave behind aren't training/going on mini-quests themselves, to keep their skills sharp?

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I disagree. Having to bring every character to level them up either results in aimless, pointless grinding to bring someone up to speed or it effectively creates a situation where you pick a party and you're stuck with them for pretty much the whole game.

 

I much, much prefer the approach of 'I am going on a journey/mission/quest/whatever. This one happens to be a dungeon delve/forest walk/rescue-the-prince. What party members would be good at it? What party members would actually care about it, story-wise?'

 

Who's to say that the characters you leave behind aren't training/going on mini-quests themselves, to keep their skills sharp?

 

There is no aimless or pointless grinding at all. Have you even played BG2?

 

You can look at it as a journey/mission/quest regardless. You can mix them up all you want, but that flexibility will come at a cost of a lower experience value per party member. It's fair. It's how it should be.

 

And I doubt a guy "training" will get enough experience as the party who just got out of the Underdark.

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I did play BG2, and it sucks when Imoen comes into the party significantly weaker than everyone else, if you spent lots of time building up money and power.

 

The AD&D 2nd ed system doesn't really exhibit this problem as much though, because past a certain level, you aren't really getting that much more powerful (except for Mages).

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1-What is your companion doing when not in the party?, Was he traning himself to the bone in his skills to be a better companion once you come back to pick him up? Was he doing nothing in a tabern?

2-In PE, once you have a full party the new companions are part of your party and tag along and the rest are in your hause or some place where heros gather? when you find a companion is of a set level or you find it at the same levels as you?

 

For example, some times i realy hate games where autolevel you companion to your level (NWN2) but on the other hand if they dont match your level then why would you chose it if its to week, in old Baldurs gate and D&D rules where the potential of the companions was all about stats then finding a Edwin on level 1 and leveling him up was a good idea. but who knows how will PE work?

 

personaly i dont like that ill have to grind to keep my not so used companion to be as strong as the rest.

but thats just me.

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Also note that in BG1, characters you meet later in the game tend to be more powerful/equivalent to your level, so that you can swap them in without too much difficulty. Picking up a level 1 fighter when you're all level 6 is punishing and not particularly enjoyable.

 

I guess I consider the party members more as characters than tactical decisions. I'd rather be free to experience the story and interactions I want to, rather than sacrifice it for strictly game-rule purposes.

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While I do to some extend like this idea, it really needs to be done right in order to ensure that you do not end up with effectively useless characters either through late recruiting or (un)intentional neglect.

 

After all how fun is a situation where you have a party member half your strength that you really like, but in order to use them you either have to drag them through low level content or drag them through higher level and risk them dropping from an accidental bolt to the face.

That is assuming you do not have to go through monster grinding or scavenging for quests you would not normally have done for RP reasons. Yes in later playthoughs you might plan a bit ahead, but first few times it is very possible to happen.

 

Having it as an option and perhaps an option to allow them to gain a percentage of what you get (after all what are they doing back in camp? just drinking?) might be the way to go.

 

So if done well, then yes. If it mainly ends up as a nuisance or something where you curse at the design then no.

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Also note that in BG1, characters you meet later in the game tend to be more powerful/equivalent to your level, so that you can swap them in without too much difficulty. Picking up a level 1 fighter when you're all level 6 is punishing and not particularly enjoyable.

 

I guess I consider the party members more as characters than tactical decisions. I'd rather be free to experience the story and interactions I want to, rather than sacrifice it for strictly game-rule purposes.

 

 

 

Uh, I never said anything about that - this was, by the way, also done in BG2 - characters would level based on your XP when you meet them (and that's fine), but from than point on, you were in charge of distributing XP.

 

Also, Imoen was a problem that should have been balanced around so that she gets XP, because you don't really have a choice with her. Otherwise the system was fine.

Edited by Infiltrator_SF

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Auto levelling characters not in the group allows the player the freedom to experiement with different group dynamics.

My experience with this approach is, that it still forces some upkeep with those idle characters. While their level may increase their gear usually does not and thus you are still required to re-equip them. This may or may not be an issue if you have an abundance of coin and access to vendors that sell magical items.

 

However, the best items are not usually obtained simply by walking into "MagicMart" and picking some up off the shelf, nor should they be. That cheapens the specialness of magical items. But I digress, that's another topic.

 

The point being, auto levelling alone won't allow the player to swap group members up without some investment or effort.

 

Personally, I rarely change up my group members. I start new games if I want a different dynamic, but that's my preference.

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I disagree, they should do away with party limit restrictions instead.


I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

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Also note that in BG1, characters you meet later in the game tend to be more powerful/equivalent to your level, so that you can swap them in without too much difficulty. Picking up a level 1 fighter when you're all level 6 is punishing and not particularly enjoyable.

 

I guess I consider the party members more as characters than tactical decisions. I'd rather be free to experience the story and interactions I want to, rather than sacrifice it for strictly game-rule purposes.

 

Not really. The amount of exp needed for each level ramped up pretty steeply so if you got a level 1 wizard or whatever she would quickly gain levels until she all but caught up in a pretty short time.

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Also note that in BG1, characters you meet later in the game tend to be more powerful/equivalent to your level, so that you can swap them in without too much difficulty. Picking up a level 1 fighter when you're all level 6 is punishing and not particularly enjoyable.

 

I guess I consider the party members more as characters than tactical decisions. I'd rather be free to experience the story and interactions I want to, rather than sacrifice it for strictly game-rule purposes.

 

Not really. The amount of exp needed for each level ramped up pretty steeply so if you got a level 1 wizard or whatever she would quickly gain levels until she all but caught up in a pretty short time.

 

So ... why do it then? What did it add? If it's inconsequential, then it's just a mild, tedious, pointless speedbump. If it matters, then you would have had to tote around an easy to kill character that contributes nothing for some number of hours. Which one is the fun part?

 

Look at it this way: say you meet some character that's the same class as you. They're redundant, so you leave them at home most of the time. Then, 75% of the way through the game, a quest pops up that is about reclaiming their lost homestead. Do you drag along someone who is barely competent because it explores more of the story and their character? Do you grind away for a few hours to bring them up to speed? Do you just shrug and say 'oh well'? This is not an interesting decision to make, in my opinion.

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IF P:E is as long as I think it'll be (100+ hours for a single play through) than I'm more than OK with non-party companions leveling up with your party. When I play through a second time I'll use different party members if I wish.

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"You must gather your party before venturing forth."

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I wholeheartedly support this idea. No one should gain XP without having done something to earn it.


God used to be my co-pilot, but then we crashed in the Andes and I had to eat him.

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I think it's a pretty bad idea that seems to be used often in today's RPGs - characters gaining experience even though they are sitting out in the tavern/hub.

 

PE should bring back the old system where, if you want to play with a character after you've been neglecting him for a time - you have to take along a guy who won't be on the same level as everyone else in the party.

 

It's a matter of choice and consequence, not mix and match based on what you need at that exact moment.

 

On the contrary, it's a matter of "are we making a game where the player will pick one set of companions and play with them exclusively" or "are we making a game where we want ALL the companions to (hopefully) go with the player throughout the game, just not all at the same time".

 

Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate 2 were pretty much the former sort of game, where you pick your companions in the first half of the game and play pretty much exclusively with those companions in the second half. Oh, you might cycle one or two but your core party is going to remain. Whereas in Dragon Age I was constantly cycling people in and out depending on what I was doing.

 

Nor are these the only two options. They could just flat-out dictate to you who you get when. I, personally, would actually enjoy playing a game like that, cause I wouldn't be perpetually missing out on neat companion dialog because the appropriate companion was sitting back at the base. They could make it so you only have as many potential companions as you have party slots. (Which was very nearly the case in Torment.)

 

And, if you find the idea of companions who aren't in the party getting experience, why aren't you bitching that companions you get later in the game join your party at a higher level? Shouldn't they have to start at level 1 just like everybody else? No? So why is it so hard to grasp that just because they're not in your party right now, that doesn't mean they're sitting in front of the television eating popcorn. Heck, they probably have MORE time to train and perfect their skills than the poor schmucks stuck following your crazy butt all over the landscape.

 

As with everything, it's a design decision. I don't really care what direction they go as long as they understand the implications of that decision and key the game toward it.

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Grand Rhetorist of the Obsidian Order

If you appeal to "realism" about a video game feature, you are wrong. Go back and try again.

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I wholeheartedly support this idea. No one should gain XP without having done something to earn it.

 

So you stipulate that the only thing going on in the entire world is what the PC is doing. If they're off-camera, how do you know what they've been doing? For all you know they went and killed 4,000 dragons and they rightfully ought to be level 50 by now.

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Grand Rhetorist of the Obsidian Order

If you appeal to "realism" about a video game feature, you are wrong. Go back and try again.

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I wholeheartedly support this idea. No one should gain XP without having done something to earn it.

 

So you stipulate that the only thing going on in the entire world is what the PC is doing. If they're off-camera, how do you know what they've been doing? For all you know they went and killed 4,000 dragons and they rightfully ought to be level 50 by now.

They went and killed 4,000 dragons but managed to be at your beck and call whenever you want, in the same place that they always are? I don't necessarily disagree with you, but the given way it's implemented in games, it's a big stretch of the imagination to think my companions in NWN2 have so many great encounters that I come back and they've got eight level ups for me to distribute. If an NPC levels up -before- I meet them, when I have no idea what they're doing, it makes more sense than if they say "Heya, I'll wait for you here if you need me!" and I come back to a super powerful ally. If you can somehow implement it so that it's plausible to think they've kept up with your main party, then I'm all for it.

 

But, I honestly prefer the way old games handle it, like BG and Shining Force.

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I wholeheartedly support this idea. No one should gain XP without having done something to earn it.

 

So you stipulate that the only thing going on in the entire world is what the PC is doing. If they're off-camera, how do you know what they've been doing? For all you know they went and killed 4,000 dragons and they rightfully ought to be level 50 by now.

 

too funny. very good point.


"You must gather your party before venturing forth."

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I think it's a pretty bad idea that seems to be used often in today's RPGs - characters gaining experience even though they are sitting out in the tavern/hub.

 

PE should bring back the old system where, if you want to play with a character after you've been neglecting him for a time - you have to take along a guy who won't be on the same level as everyone else in the party.

 

It's a matter of choice and consequence, not mix and match based on what you need at that exact moment.

 

On the contrary, it's a matter of "are we making a game where the player will pick one set of companions and play with them exclusively" or "are we making a game where we want ALL the companions to (hopefully) go with the player throughout the game, just not all at the same time".

 

Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate 2 were pretty much the former sort of game, where you pick your companions in the first half of the game and play pretty much exclusively with those companions in the second half. Oh, you might cycle one or two but your core party is going to remain. Whereas in Dragon Age I was constantly cycling people in and out depending on what I was doing.

 

Nor are these the only two options. They could just flat-out dictate to you who you get when. I, personally, would actually enjoy playing a game like that, cause I wouldn't be perpetually missing out on neat companion dialog because the appropriate companion was sitting back at the base. They could make it so you only have as many potential companions as you have party slots. (Which was very nearly the case in Torment.)

 

And, if you find the idea of companions who aren't in the party getting experience, why aren't you bitching that companions you get later in the game join your party at a higher level? Shouldn't they have to start at level 1 just like everybody else? No? So why is it so hard to grasp that just because they're not in your party right now, that doesn't mean they're sitting in front of the television eating popcorn. Heck, they probably have MORE time to train and perfect their skills than the poor schmucks stuck following your crazy butt all over the landscape.

 

As with everything, it's a design decision. I don't really care what direction they go as long as they understand the implications of that decision and key the game toward it.

 

Well. the former idea certainly helps replayability. It also makes you make tough choices, but RPG is all about that, come to think of it. A casual shooter lets you make quick adjustments and adapt on the fly, when you set your idea on a party composition, it should be for good - of course, if you play on easier difficulties, it shouldn't matter nearly as much as it would on harder ones (which should emulate "normal" and above BG difficulties IMO).

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I read the title of this thread and went "dafuq?", then I read the opening post and I agree wholeheartedly :).


"What if a mid-life crisis is just getting halfway through the game and realising you put all your points into the wrong skill tree?"

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Yup, more choices and consequences is always a good thing. If you want RPGs that let you do absolutely everything in one play-through you may want to stick with Bethesda games.

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Like PsychoBlonde touched on, a possible middle ground could be that those characters not in your party at the moment could be doing freelance work in the meantime to keep busy, which nets them some experience, though only a fraction of what the player's active party receives. I've played games where characters not actively in your group can be assigned to pursue different goals (money, experience, etc.) and it worked well enough.

Edited by AGX-17

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