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Characters not in party gaining experience


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I'd like this to be optional. For my own games, I'd probably want to have NPCs gain some experience while waiting, but not 100%. Luckily, all Obsidian has to do, is to implement this in a way that lets modders can offer a way to set the percentage exactly where you feel it should be.

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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.

To simulate that, if you remove a character from your party then after a random amount of time has passed they should disappear from your game world... then show up at some later time. There shouldn't be a guarantee that you can swap characters at a whim. It should be a game-effecting decision that impacts the player to some degree. (That might also improve replay value.)

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If there is an infinite amount of experience points available in the game setting, then leveling up each character separately is possible. Otherwise, you're actually precluded from leveling up everyone.

 

Separately leveling for characters not in the party would require respawn monster or unlimited repeatable quests to grind through and gain XP separately for the alternate characters you want to be viable for your party.

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I used to be in favor of all companions gaining equal experience, but I've gotten increasingly tired of the holding tank mentality. There was something to be said for the BG/BGII experience where I might be able to have someone tag along for a quest, but had to have pretty firm ideas about who was in my regular party. I think it made me a little more invested in those characters, and it certainly made it easier to be cruel to or kill characters who my character didn't like much. (And I don't even think of refraining from doing so as powergaming. If it's possible to take people along, let them cool their heels for the whole game, and then whip them out in one battle at the end where they seem like they'll be useful, a cautious or tactically minded character would want to take along everyone who wasn't going to be a burden or a troublemaker.)

 

That being said, if a game doesn't give out of party companions experience, it needs to make them all available relatively close to the beginning of the game.

Edited by eselle28
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Well there are only eight companions in this game, 5 with the PC and only 3 on the bench. It would be nice if you could switch them in and out without the benched characters falling behind, get to know them all, and use different ones for different situations.

 

Of course we don't yet know if they will have a bench system like in NWN2 and Dragon Age, or if switching requires officially kicking someone out like in the Baldur's Gate series. Also not sure how the adventurer hall will work into this.

 

I suppose the adventurer hall could charge you money to make a character above level one, higher levels costing more.

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I agree with the OP, if for no other reason than it could actually add replay value. If you've got one companion who has sat around not gaining XP and is really low level, chances are you'll just save him for your next play through rather than XP grind to help him catch up to the rest of your party.

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"Console exclusive is two words Darque." - Nartwak (in response to Darque's observation)

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I'd like to suggest something about this, I personally think it is a good idea to have your characters gain experience. However it would be controlled:

 

A, If you ditch someone in the middle of his/her quest, they would/could continue doing that quest by themselves (and get a "companion alone" specific outcome), in this way the companion continues his/her questing and earns experience accordingly for finishing his/her quest by her/himself. You wouldn't be able to send a companion to the tavern unless they have finished their quests*

B, Send your companions out in missions, you are curious about a dungeon so you send your Rogue companion out there to scout the dungeon, you go and do a couple of other quests meanwhile, then you go back to the tavern or what rendevouz point you have decided and you get a rundown of the first level of the dungeon.

C, More companion "out-of-party" macro management.

 

B & C, why? Because I like to have as many companions as possible, and I like it when they level up and become stronger. In Dragon Age: Origins I was switching party members a lot (specially on Nightmare) because I needed/wanted different tactics for different areas and situations. So if I find a cool Chanter I want to try out later, but my party is full, I don't want the Chanter to rot in a tavern whilst my entire party goes up to level 20 and the Chanter is still sitting on a level 6. I wouldn't switch my party out at this point.

 

With that^ said I generally feel that if you have a Chanter in the Tavern/Personal House/Stronghold, he shouldn't get any experience at all (of course) unless I send him out on missions, and it is important (for *replayability!!) that you will *miss out on story elements, loot, experience and gear for your party if you send a companion of to do stuff. Equally important is that you'll get other story elements that you wouldn't get (both for the members you have in your party, as well as for what you can do with those not in your party would differ). You'll also miss their story if you don't have them in your party because they will finish their quests and get some renown themselves. Maybe you meet a Wizard companion early game who is a fool, weak and clumsy, instead of recruiting you tell him to sod off and kick him running, later game you meet a powerful man, who zaps you to death and is now a strong renowned villain and enemy, because of your choice (or you talk yourself out of it and you get a powerful wizard companion). Of course, likewise you could cheer him on and later you meet a kind loving Wizard that gladly joins your party.

 

* In a Tavern your companion would find new members to travel with and do quests with whilst they aren't in your party (Perhaps they go out on generic fetch quests or whatnot). Meaning that if you leave them at a Tavern, they might not be there when you go back. Randomized effect type of deal, they stay within an area (3 taverns in a circle perhaps?) and you might even meet them out in the open killing some randomized mob for this randomized event. However, it shouldn't be impossible to catch up your companion, if they are out traveling and gaining experience, if you fast travel to those 3 locations close by to where you left them, chances should be pretty much 100% that you find them <- complex coding that requires lots of thought, I believe

 

* In your personal house and/or stronghold your companions could work as defenders, cleaners, training in the training room etc. etc. start a shop and earn your group some money (If the companion not in your party is hanging around your stronghold, then whether they are in your party or not, they would definitely be a companion). I think P:E could benefit from "out of party" companions that you can do stuff with.

Edited by Osvir
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Personally, I would prefer if non-adventuring companions didn't just wait around my stronghold for my return. One easy way to fix this would be to give each companion an actual occupation. from what we've heard, it doesn't sound like any of the companions were just random adventurers before they meet the PC; so why not let them go back to doing whatever it was they were doing before they met you (isn't this how BG2 worked?)? You could just have a meeting place set for each of them at wherever they tell you they will go.

When you go to meet them again, maybe they have gained some experience, but not at the same rate the active party members have (1/4 - 1/2?) done. A way to make this interesting would be for them to come back with new quests based on whatever they were doing; the Orlan detective might have a new puzzling murder or Cadegund may have been asked to embark on a mission by her superiors, etc.

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I'd like to suggest something about this, I personally think it is a good idea to have your characters gain experience. However it would be controlled:

 

A, If you ditch someone in the middle of his/her quest, they would/could continue doing that quest by themselves (and get a "companion alone" specific outcome), in this way the companion continues his/her questing and earns experience accordingly for finishing his/her quest by her/himself. You wouldn't be able to send a companion to the tavern unless they have finished their quests*

B, Send your companions out in missions, you are curious about a dungeon so you send your Rogue companion out there to scout the dungeon, you go and do a couple of other quests meanwhile, then you go back to the tavern or what rendevouz point you have decided and you get a rundown of the first level of the dungeon.

C, More companion "out-of-party" macro management.

 

B & C, why? Because I like to have as many companions as possible, and I like it when they level up and become stronger. In Dragon Age: Origins I was switching party members a lot (specially on Nightmare) because I needed/wanted different tactics for different areas and situations. So if I find a cool Chanter I want to try out later, but my party is full, I don't want the Chanter to rot in a tavern whilst my entire party goes up to level 20 and the Chanter is still sitting on a level 6. I wouldn't switch my party out at this point.

 

 

ha! beat me to the punch, cheers.

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since you get a base of operations in he form of a house or stronghold, you could asign the inactive companions to do stuff for you, rendering them unavailable for some time and getting them the xp they dont get by not being with you.

another method would be to have the option to pass a character's share of xp to another. so when my party completes a quest, and the members are lv10, 9, 9, 10, 8, 5, you can give the share that would go to the 2 lv10 members (your character maybe one of them) to the lv5 so he can get 3x xp and get to lv6 or even 7 faster

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since you get a base of operations in he form of a house or stronghold, you could asign the inactive companions to do stuff for you, rendering them unavailable for some time and getting them the xp they dont get by not being with you.

another method would be to have the option to pass a character's share of xp to another. so when my party completes a quest, and the members are lv10, 9, 9, 10, 8, 5, you can give the share that would go to the 2 lv10 members (your character maybe one of them) to the lv5 so he can get 3x xp and get to lv6 or even 7 faster

 

I like the idea, if it can be seen as "My main level 10 character is teaching the level 5". Passing on knowledge, and that's why you don't gain any experience. Could work, it also makes me think about some statistical outcomes, kind of like "The one who does most damage gets most experience", this way you will have to make every character in your group contribute to all battles, quests and so on and so forth... that is a bit "hardcorey" though (Difficulty option? :D)

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since you get a base of operations in he form of a house or stronghold, you could asign the inactive companions to do stuff for you, rendering them unavailable for some time and getting them the xp they dont get by not being with you.

another method would be to have the option to pass a character's share of xp to another. so when my party completes a quest, and the members are lv10, 9, 9, 10, 8, 5, you can give the share that would go to the 2 lv10 members (your character maybe one of them) to the lv5 so he can get 3x xp and get to lv6 or even 7 faster

 

I like the first idea. I was actually thinking that if you set them about missions while your were gone; even routine ones, it would really great if when you came back you could get a report from them and it could play out like a mini-quest where you run that character. For example, say you have Sagani patrol the grounds while you are off in the world; upon return she would relay her story which would be told as a playable quest where you run Sagani (and possibly a few of your henchmen). Maybe, during a routine patrol, she finds a path that leads to a cave and a mini dungeon or lost crypt. Might be a bit much to take on for the devs, but it could be a lot of fun (depending on play style I guess).

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since you get a base of operations in he form of a house or stronghold, you could asign the inactive companions to do stuff for you, rendering them unavailable for some time and getting them the xp they dont get by not being with you.

another method would be to have the option to pass a character's share of xp to another. so when my party completes a quest, and the members are lv10, 9, 9, 10, 8, 5, you can give the share that would go to the 2 lv10 members (your character maybe one of them) to the lv5 so he can get 3x xp and get to lv6 or even 7 faster

 

I like the first idea. I was actually thinking that if you set them about missions while your were gone; even routine ones, it would really great if when you came back you could get a report from them and it could play out like a mini-quest where you run that character. For example, say you have Sagani patrol the grounds while you are off in the world; upon return she would relay her story which would be told as a playable quest where you run Sagani (and possibly a few of your henchmen). Maybe, during a routine patrol, she finds a path that leads to a cave and a mini dungeon or lost crypt. Might be a bit much to take on for the devs, but it could be a lot of fun (depending on play style I guess).

 

That sound so badass... :o flashback side-quests where you control someone else~ good example is Drizzt in "Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance" (which is one of my most favorite side-dungeons). Final Fantasy VI does it too a lot... WarCraft III has a mission in a dungeon like it too (which is also pretty fun).

 

Yes. P:E could definitely benefit from this. When Forton tells you his stories of his past, you'll also (sometimes) be able to play some of his stories, as Forton. That'd be so badass.

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I definitely dislike the concept of people who aren't around during your adventures not getting any experience. (Unless it would be explained in an incredibly interesting and detailed way and had some sort of risk/benefit system where you could essentially tell your companion, "Alright, you can go off and do your own Adventuring thing, just be careful/do what you want/be reckless"

 

Then again I also dislike the concept that you could potentially use alternative methods for large chunks of the game and use all that experience you gained from doing that to pump up your combat skill and then all of a sudden be a God at combat despite never fighting once. It all depends on how they do this, but it worries me nonetheless.

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... :o flashback side-quests where you control someone else~ good example is Drizzt in "Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance" (which is one of my most favorite side-dungeons). Yes. P:E could definitely benefit from this. When Forton tells you his stories of his past, you'll also (sometimes) be able to play some of his stories, as Forton. That'd be so badass.

It is much more fun to run through a flashback as a mini-game adventure, say as Forton. Instead of just sitting back and watching it on video. The one difference is that flashback adventurers are more railroad-y because the outcome is predetermined in many ways. Now if you could change the past with a flashback mini-game that would be beyond cool when the Official companion turns out to be different because of decisions you made in the flashback adventure.

 

As I recall, Suikoden also makes use of a short section where the main character is not in the party and his friends are adventuring to rescue him.

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... :o flashback side-quests where you control someone else~ good example is Drizzt in "Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance" (which is one of my most favorite side-dungeons). Yes. P:E could definitely benefit from this. When Forton tells you his stories of his past, you'll also (sometimes) be able to play some of his stories, as Forton. That'd be so badass.

It is much more fun to run through a flashback as a mini-game adventure, say as Forton. Instead of just sitting back and watching it on video. The one difference is that flashback adventurers are more railroad-y because the outcome is predetermined in many ways. Now if you could change the past with a flashback mini-game that would be beyond cool when the Official companion turns out to be different because of decisions you made in the flashback adventure.

 

As I recall, Suikoden also makes use of a short section where the main character is not in the party and his friends are adventuring to rescue him.

 

One way to account for railroad-y-ness of these quests could be to put them in a general pool as opposed to making them character specific, so that there are maybe 10 of these scattered throughout the game and connected to either the house or stronghold. This way, even though the quest result could be somewhat similar (e.g. defeat the lich in the crypt) the way each companion gets to the quest, and then solves it could be quite different based on their class and skills. This would also enhance replayability. Also, a way to keep them interesting and relevant would be for solutions to unlock locations or quests in the expansion.

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I prefer that the characters not in my party level along with me. I think it adds to the freedom of choice to be able to switch NPCs as I like without having to hinder my progression to grind them up in levels. Sometimes I get an NPC in my party and I may not like their attitude or their skill set. I shouldn't be punished for switching up my party every once in a while. If you do decide to ponder this aspect of the game mechanics, might I suggest an option that a person can toggle on and off based on preference?

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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.

 

If my party companions are off doing fighter-for-hire stuff while not in my party, then I'm going to be really upset if when I re-recruit them they still have no more gold in their pocket than when I left them. ;)

"Console exclusive is such a harsh word." - Darque

"Console exclusive is two words Darque." - Nartwak (in response to Darque's observation)

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I usually don't go for the companions I leave behind in similar games, just because they are on a lower level than the ones I'm using. I think if they did "auto-level" I'd switch between them much more. But I agree that if they get "free experience" it's not gonna feel rewarding to level them up. Obsidian said that they were thinking of players only being able to get experience through quests? That might make it hard to have every follower up to date in level.

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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.

 

If my party companions are off doing fighter-for-hire stuff while not in my party, then I'm going to be really upset if when I re-recruit them they still have no more gold in their pocket than when I left them. ;)

 

Obviously if they had none when joining you, then their worthless at getting money (and are more akin to free loaders jumping from party to party to pretend to help when its you who do all the hard work pfft, Forton does eat all the food all the time no?).

 

Jokes aside, interesting point. One solution to this could be having them earn some gold, but not an extreme amount of it doing these things. Perhaps all of your hoarded gear (the good and the bad, generally stuff you don't use) can be sold with a Companion doing some sort of "Traveling Peddler" deal. Now you could just go to a store and sell all items yourself, but the Companion would actually start somewhat of a "Trade" a la "Sell salt, buy seeds" thing so you would actually earn more money than you would by just going to the store and selling it.

 

To elaborate how far you could go but perhaps shouldn't is to be able to decide what items your companion should buy and which items he/she should sell and setting out patrol routes. Although interesting, I can't (personally) see that macro/micro management in a game like P:E. I prefer simplicity and I'd like to steer as far away as possible from "map based statistical display" a la GTA: San Andreas. If it's merely a dialogue choice or a button I'll be fine with it.

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If they do gain experience then they should not always be available but out doing their own thing. Give me the option to send them out for a week and improve their skills. If you're level 5 and your mage is level 2 they might go research at a nearby academy for a while then come back level 4, or a fighter might go guard a few caravans. I don't like the idea of them just gaining experience by sitting around your stronghold.

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That sound so badass... :o flashback side-quests where you control someone else~ good example is Drizzt in "Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance" (which is one of my most favorite side-dungeons). Final Fantasy VI does it too a lot... WarCraft III has a mission in a dungeon like it too (which is also pretty fun).

 

Yes. P:E could definitely benefit from this. When Forton tells you his stories of his past, you'll also (sometimes) be able to play some of his stories, as Forton. That'd be so badass.

 

The Drizzt part was probably my favorite part of the game.

 

The flashback idea could be interesting. Although I am not sure that it would fit the mood of the game.

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