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Characters not in party gaining experience


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I very much dislike the Dragon Age concept. It led to random circle mages suddenly being level 35 just because you are. I'd be fine with non-party companions gaining some xp or only gaining xp for a limited amount of time. Something along the lines of:

1/2 XP for the first 2 levels during absence

1/4 XP for the next 2 levels during absence

0 XP after that

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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.

If they're killing dragons, why do they never die?

 

Whatever they're doing, it's risk-free. Why isn't the PC doing it, too?

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

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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.

As it happens, I did the opposite in DAO - I picked one party and stuck with it.

 

But you're not describing BG accurately at all. There was so much XP available in BG that you could level 10 different characters to the cap without running out of game content. Swapping out party members there had basically no cost.

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 don't think that party members should gain any sort of experience if they do not perform actions that would normally be rewarded with experience.

 

Maybe there could be some kind of "side missions" for them to go on like chasing a bounty or something of that nature? It should involve some risk and could keep certain characters more viable companions after they had spent some time away from the main party.

 

As it happens, I did the opposite in DAO - I picked one party and stuck with it.

 

I usually did as well, but that was mostly because I didn't use a mod that gave access to a "respec" item and thought that the "auto-builds" for characters were terrible. Also my PCs usually felt more comfortable around people they were already familiar with.

Edited by KaineParker

"I am the expert, asshat." - Hurlshot

"I'm fine with humanity being wiped out" - majestic

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I really don't think this is a good idea, as I don't see that it adds much to the game except grinding. There's a reason that very few recent RPGs - including some of the best ones, like KotOR have all your party members level with you. Given that a `level` is an abstract and rather arbitrary designation of power anyway, I don't see how not giving unused party members more of these unrealistic `levels` actually makes things more realistic. Having the party stay at the same power level is certainly better for one critical cause - that is, Willing Suspension of Disbelief - than have some members of the party slowly become useless.

Edited by TheTeaMustFlow

`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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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?

 

I don't think so:

Giving every player the freedom to swap their NPCs whenever they want to foils the concept of NPCs interacting with the character of the PC. For instance, if you choose to be an evil guy and to be reckless to your companions, there should be a disadvantage out of a logical point of view, since you also choose to be a "lonely wolf" (not every evil character has to be a "lonely wolf", its just an example of interaction).

People relying on teamplay and keeping their party together should be rewarded - compared to all-time-swaping - because it is a difficult quest, to keep your NPCs at hand throughout heavy decisions, in which they might disagree.

 

And a last point to be precise: This game is not like an MMORPG, where completing every single quest in an eternal journey is a must-have. Most people here seem to want to see the difference and the narrowness of their decisions, and so the difference is also made, by keeping NPCs at the level you left them.

(There might be some exceptions, if it is well implemented in the game, but I'd prefer them to be exceptions by word.)

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A simple, gamey but workable compromise form Storm of Zehir: The inactive companions do fall behind in exp, but you can spend gold to have then trained back to your level.

 

I like the concept of them doing their own thing and then having player play them in flashbacks, though.

SODOFF Steam group.

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A simple, gamey but workable compromise form Storm of Zehir: The inactive companions do fall behind in exp, but you can spend gold to have then trained back to your level.

 

I like the concept of them doing their own thing and then having player play them in flashbacks, though.

 

The idea is good, and fits with the concept of us getting a stronghold. But it needs to be balanced. It should be really expensive.

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Characters not gaining experience while not in the group does not add anything to the game, in fact it only takes away choices. Why would anyone want to even think about changing their group composition if the companions do not gain exp while they're not in the group. The scenario "let me drop this level 20 fighter in order to pick up this level 5 rogue that I didn't take when I first met him" just doesn't happen. And if you would like to keep your companions on par, by switching them around between missions, then it becomes sort of metagame and you're doing it because the mechanics force you to, not because you actually want to switch them around between every mission.

 

So no thanks, bad bad idea.

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Characters not gaining experience while not in the group does not add anything to the game, in fact it only takes away choices. Why would anyone want to even think about changing their group composition if the companions do not gain exp while they're not in the group. The scenario "let me drop this level 20 fighter in order to pick up this level 5 rogue that I didn't take when I first met him" just doesn't happen. And if you would like to keep your companions on par, by switching them around between missions, then it becomes sort of metagame and you're doing it because the mechanics force you to, not because you actually want to switch them around between every mission.

 

So no thanks, bad bad idea.

 

You have a LOT of reasons listed in this very thread why people want inactive party members to be left out of the experience, just read it out. There is no "metagame" forcing you to switch characters out. It didn't exist in previous IE games and it won't exist here. You pick out a party and stick with it, simple as that. There won't be unsurpassable obstructions you just got to have that level 5 druid for.

 

Just deal with it, think your party through and go with it, this game probably won't have multi-classing/dual-classing that makes your head hurt, but I am pretty confident it won't be the casual fest 15 year olds have no trouble getting into.

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You have a LOT of reasons listed in this very thread why people want inactive party members to be left out of the experience, just read it out.
Reasons, sure, people have opinions that's not new. But that doesn't change the fact that it does not ADD anything to the game, only takes away the choice of what companions to have at any point.

 

There is no "metagame" forcing you to switch characters out.
If you want to keep all companions viable, ie. at equal levels at all times, then you must switch them between missions, and that is a metagame forced upon you by bad game mechanic.

 

It didn't exist in previous IE games and it won't exist here.
If you didn't find the need to switch party members it does not mean other people didn't either. So yes, it did exist, and it will if applied to PE.

 

You pick out a party and stick with it, simple as that.
That's like the worst argument ever made, congrats, you won the internet.

 

Just deal with it...
Let me scratch what I just said, you just went full retard. Edited by trulez
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It depends on how EXP is earned. As mentioned in previous postings if EXP is unlimited then I don't mind having to go back and level the characters who are left behind. If EXP is limited then this would really force you into sticking with the first party members recruit.

 

Also since there will be a stronghold I could see having non party members receive EXP for a job like systems. Protecting the townspeople, guarding trade caravans ect. I think the job system worked well in Final Fantasy Tactics. Where you assigned a job, and then a small amount of EXP/JP were received. This way they would receive some EXP the longer you left them to their task.

 

This could also become a tactical decision by giving certain classes bonuses for job assignments ect.

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Reasons, sure, people have opinions that's not new. But that doesn't change the fact that it does not ADD anything to the game, only takes away the choice of what companions to have at any point.

 

This reasoning is exactly what is ruining modern rpgs. Having "more choice" sometimes means having no choice. Making things more comfortable often makes them worse.

 

Why not make every LI bisexual, restricting the player's choice here does not ADD anything to the game, it only takes away the choice of your LI, yes?

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Why not make every LI bisexual, restricting the player's choice here does not ADD anything to the game, it only takes away the choice of your LI, yes?

 

That is a plot and character aspect. We're talking here about gameplay aspects. Given that `levels` or `exp` presumably don't actually exist within the storyline (though to go off topic, a semi-serious game set in an RPG Mechanics Verse a la order of the stick might be interesting), I can't see any storyline related reason why a character who has not been travelling with the PC should have any less of these arbitrary, non-existent-within-narrative levels than someone who has.

 

This reasoning is exactly what is ruining modern rpgs. Having "more choice" sometimes means having no choice. Making things more comfortable often makes them worse.

 

I'm confused. Would you kindly explain to me how being able to pick a wider variety of companions and retain combat effectiveness, hence, as you have said, giving me more choice, somehow gives me less choice? And would you kindly explain to me how it makes the game worse - after all, if you want to stick to the same characters all the way through, this doesn't stop you.

Edited by TheTeaMustFlow

`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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You have a LOT of reasons listed in this very thread why people want inactive party members to be left out of the experience, just read it out.
Reasons, sure, people have opinions that's not new. But that doesn't change the fact that it does not ADD anything to the game, only takes away the choice of what companions to have at any point.

 

It adds the feeling that any companion choice is meaningful, even in a long-term approach.

Having to choose from a pool of companions for every quest (like in KotOR 2) gives me the feeling that the NPCs are nothing more than mercenaries.

 

Companions off-party gaining XP would make your companions choice tactical only.

I choose my companions because I like them, their background, their reactions, their dialogues, not because they have +2 to hit with a longsword!

 

Switching companions anytime would break all this old-school RPG stuff.

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That is a plot and character aspect. We're talking here about gameplay aspects. Given that `levels` or `exp` presumably don't actually exist within the storyline (though to go off topic, a semi-serious game set in an RPG Mechanics Verse a la order of the stick might be interesting), I can't see any storyline related reason why a character who has not been travelling with the PC should have any less of these arbitrary, non-existent-within-narrative levels than someone who has.

 

Levels are non-existent within the narrative? Seriousy? ... Levels are the difference between the killable-by-a-wolf peasant you generally start out as and the dragon-slaying half-god you end up as. Characters gaining power is clearly part of the story of any RPG.

 

I'm confused. Would you kindly explain to me how being able to pick a wider variety of companions and retain combat effectiveness, hence, as you have said, giving me more choice, somehow gives me less choice? And would you kindly explain to me how it makes the game worse - after all, if you want to stick to the same characters all the way through, this doesn't stop you.

 

If you don't want to romance someone, you don't have to.

Choices that do not have any effect mean nothing. All other characters gaining experience makes my choice of companions meaningless, as I can correct it at any time. Leaving certain characters on the sideline means nothing. In the end, the weakling who did nothing becomes a warrior of legendary skill simply by being labeled 'companion'. The end of NWN2, when all those characters I left behind somewhere between level five and ten showed up again being just as strong as my MC, was one of the most immersion breaking moments I've ever had in a RPG.

Edited by Gulliver
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The end of NWN2, when all those characters I left behind somewhere between level five and ten showed up again being just as strong as my MC, was one of the most immersion breaking moments I've ever had in a RPG.

How could you have been immersed if you were so focused on the "level" of npcs. Level doesn't really exist, it is just a game mechanic to define power increase over time. If you find it immersion breaking to see characters at level 10 that were level 5 the last time you saw them in game then you really have a very poor imagination and pretty much everything would break your immersion.

 

Anyway this is one of those things that seems to be 50/50 for and against it being in the game so it is probably a good candidate to be in the Options - Gameplay menu.

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How about option where you can put idle companions to do Progress Quest style missions and later you can look their quest logs to see how they got their xp doing quests like fetch me sock or fetch me another sock :).

 

But seriously I am torn to pieces, when I try to think what is my opinion on this subject regarding to PE. Because no xp for idle charactes have merit, so have xp for idle charactes and also limited xp for idle characters also has its own merits. I can live with all of this systems, but in my opinion any of them is not perfect and so if Obsidian invents some other aproach (like Progress Quest :)), that would be nice.

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

 

Oh, sure. Preferring one over the other is totally valid. Insisting that one is the "correct" way because of some "realism" argument is NOT.

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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Levels are non-existent within the narrative? Seriousy? ... Levels are the difference between the killable-by-a-wolf peasant you generally start out as and the dragon-slaying half-god you end up as. Characters gaining power is clearly part of the story of any RPG.

 

That the in-narrative power of the character may increase over the course of the story is irrelevant. What I mean is that experience points as a way of gaining and measuring power, while it works, is totally arbitrary. The story is the same whether your character finishes at level 12 or power-levels and hits level 20 by grinding. Within the storyline, people do not have levels, or experience points, and actually, the story almost always starts the character off as someone supposedly competent, whatever his in-game stats suggest. And not all RPGs are about a gain in power. One often finds oneself fighting the same kind of enemies at the end as at the start, and yet, because their arbitrary levels have increased for no apparent reason, they're just as much of a threat. Also, seriously has an L in it, and you have a spellchecker.

 

If you don't want to romance someone, you don't have to.

Choices that do not have any effect mean nothing. All other characters gaining experience makes my choice of companions meaningless, as I can correct it at any time. Leaving certain characters on the sideline means nothing. In the end, the weakling who did nothing becomes a warrior of legendary skill simply by being labeled 'companion'. The end of NWN2, when all those characters I left behind somewhere between level five and ten showed up again being just as strong as my MC, was one of the most immersion breaking moments I've ever had in a RPG.

Immersion dies another death every time one looks at ones exp total. And the companions are, as a rule, supposed to be about as good as each other, not randomly become comparatively incompetent because they haven't gutted quite as many goblins. The choice between them when they are the same level is not meaningless, because even then, as they have different classes, they have different strengths. Also, in RPGs one normally pays some small attention to personality. You may have heard of it.

Edited by TheTeaMustFlow

`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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This is a good question. Personally, I am for my party companion npc's gaining full XP when they are left back at camp as I take other npc party members with me on quests (though I still want full control over what skill and special abilities they gain as they gain each level of however many levels they do gain when I do add them back into my active party list, in other words, the way it works in the first Dragon Age game). The reason I am for this is a role-playing one, and being that these are role-playing games we're talking about, that's an important issue.

 

So here's why. I tend to get attached to my npc party members as I learn more about them and their characters and mine interact and get to know one another. If I have left a certain npc party member behind while I went and did some quests, I may want to take them on the next quest because I'll be going to an area in the game world where I know there's a good chance the character maybe can meet people he knows, or get to carry out some task that's important to his character's back story and things like that. And I really enjoy getting to see the characters fulfill some wishes they had, or develop their story lines further. And also I may just want to take them with me because I haven't spent much time questing with them lately, and I want to slowly learn more about them as our characters get to know each better, and they trust me enough to tell me more about their pasts and their reasons for their attitudes about things in the world and so on.

 

This is a lot of fun and big part of the role-playing experience in an rpg game. And I don't want to be effectively prevented from taking them with me on some quest that I really want them on, just because they have fallen way behind on XP points (and thus levels) and so will not be able to handle the dangerous area I'm about to lead them into. I need them to be on a level comparable with me so they aren't a hindrance to being able to survive and do well where we are headed to, even if it's a high level quest area that's quite dangerous and I will need all party members to have advanced abilities to help with the quest.

 

The first Dragon Age (haven't played the other) handles this very well and I like that system a lot. And even though the npc party characters gain levels when you add them back to your active party list after you have left them back at camp for a time, you still need to spend time talking with them if you want to get to know them better and further your relationship with them.

 

I know it's not as realistic in a logical sense, but role-playing concerns and being able to play with any of the npc companion party members that I've met (without causing big combat disadvantage problems on hard quests) is far more important than that small issue. And you can come up with some sort of rationale for it, like the party members were training a lot in your absence or something like that, if you want. :)

Edited by Dunedain
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