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JallaAllah

Should inactive NPCs get XP or not?

  

129 members have voted

  1. 1. Would you like inactive NPCs to get XP?

    • Hell yeah!
      60
    • Never ever!
      38
    • Other ... (below)
      10
    • Undecided ...
      2
    • Mixed approach.
      19
  2. 2. Inactive NPCs ...

    • Should gain the full amount of XP as the active NPCs.
      50
    • Should get no XP.
      31
    • Are able to gain XP for gold payed by the player. (Very expensive)
      9
    • Are able to gain XP for gold payed by the player. (Kind of cheap)
      4
    • Should have a level cap below the active NPCs, when gaining XP passively.
      14
    • Get less XP than active NPCs, but don't fall behind completely.
      41
    • Should gain slightly more XP when taken into the party again.
      17
    • Other ... (below)
      2
  3. 3. I like/dislike the idea of XP for inactive NPCs for the following reasons:

    • Freedom of choice. I should be able to pick whomever I want, with no disadvantages.
      66
    • General interaction concept is influenced negatively by free choice. I want to have disadvantages when playing less as a teamplayer and I also want to be rewarded for holding my party together.
      38
    • It makes the interaction more meaningful, in an emotional way.
      25
    • Too much freedom bears the risk of decreasing the depth of the game, because the budget is limited.
      10
    • Tactical decisions. I want to be able to adjust my party for tactical needs, without disadvantages.
      46
    • Other ... (below)
      11


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Following the heavy discussion of the following thread (http://forums.obsidi...60#entry1261314), I would like to start a poll, to find the best way through this important decision.

 

It would be nice, if we could mostly gather pros and cons for the different points of view, or suggestions for other approaches. Don't just repeat and ignore former comments, please, and try to be reasonable! :yes:

 

Since I'm more on the no-XP-side, I might have forgotten important points or suggestions, just tell me, or add them!

 

Important: I considered the XP to be limited when making this poll up. Like it was in the BG-series or IWD.

Edited by JallaAllah

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I like the tactical aspect having inactive members not gain xp presents.

 

Your forced to use companions you may not use otherwise to keep them on par with the rest.

I also like the idea of certain party members being stronger and protecting the weaker ones while the weaker ones are out adventuring trying to gain experience.

 

They should make the system where the party members can catch up, as in getting more XP for killing these harder monsters that are on par with the rest of the party.

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They should make the system where the party members can catch up, as in getting more XP for killing these harder monsters that are on par with the rest of the party.

 

I've kind of implemented that in the 2nd question. Next to the last choice! ;-)

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I've run into this on SW:TOR, where you are limited to one companion at a time but may have 3-4 in your pool of reserve. You tend to use your favorite of the lot for just about everything and fail to update the armor/weapons on the other 4. Then comes the time when SURPRISE - You MUST have companion So and So in this fight. While their XP is based on your own character's overall XP, their gear is limited to what you're remembered to equip. And with the gear comparison/viewer system being so difficult on the game, it makes it a problem.

 

TL;DR version - don't pull the 'Surprise, companion you've failed to level up is essential to this part of the game' crap on us.

  • Like 3

Don't be like that Constance girl, she's weird - Manager @ Disneyland

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TL;DR version - don't pull the 'Surprise, companion you've failed to level up is essential to this part of the game' crap on us.

Well considering they give you the option to outright make your own custom party of hand crafted characters I am pretty sure this isn't going to happen.

 

That said I think it should be a simple, they are not in your party so they.... aren't in the party scenario. In other words not only do they get nothing based on what you do, but if you try to hire them back later they may not even be willing to go with you. The cliche "I will just hang out at the stronghold and put my entire life on hold" bit is very old hat and it would be nice to avoid it.

Edited by Karkarov
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TL;DR version - don't pull the 'Surprise, companion you've failed to level up is essential to this part of the game' crap on us.

That said I think it should be a simple, they are not in your party so they.... aren't in the party scenario. In other words not only do they get nothing based on what you do, but if you try to hire them back later they may not even be willing to go with you. The cliche "I will just hang out at the stronghold and put my entire life on hold" bit is very old hat and it would be nice to avoid it.

I'm Keyrock and I approve of this message. :yes:

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Yes. I don't see why, in a party-based game, not leveling-up certain companions is a good idea.

Edited by DRevan

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I prefer non-active NPCs getting experience. I think the only downside to not bringing a party member along with you should be the lack of their reactions to the story as it unfolds. Also I'm strongly in favor of sections of the game where you need to have a certain party member along or one that refuses to go with you for a certain task as it adds a bit of flavor to things. If a party member is forced or out of a segment of the game and you're stuck with an under leveled character that makes those sections of the game incredibly frustrating rather than interesting. I also feel that you should be able to equip gear to inactive party members without having to add them to your party for that sole purpose. Not always, but at certain points like at a camp or stronghold or what have you.

 

I mean I'm sure some (or many) people would disagree with me about having companions forced in and out of your party but if I'm breaking somebody out of prison and I have a lawful good paladin in my party I think it's a good bit of flavor for them to say, "I am with you for the greater cause but I cannot help you in this endeavor." Then bowing out of the mission and having to have his slot filled by somebody with less scruples. In that same vein if you're going on a party member centric side quest I think they should want to be specifically included (or perhaps excluded) in that mission. Personally I like these sorts of moments from a story perspective but I've grown to dislike them from a game play standpoint because I get underpowered party members making the whole thing harder for me. When a game allows me to keep my whole party on the same level I'm never upset by it.

Edited by Pshaw

K is for Kid, a guy or gal just like you. Don't be in such a hurry to grow up, since there's nothin' a kid can't do.

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Totally for XP for inactive NPC. For a story heavy game like this I'll want to swap out characters at will, without having to worry about sticking around to level unused characters. It'll detract from the experience with no real reason.

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The cliche "I will just hang out at the stronghold and put my entire life on hold" bit is very old hat and it would be nice to avoid it.

 

There are several ways of approaching the idea of "hanging out" in strongholds (or taverns even) but please bear with a brief description?

 

At low levels, adventuring is an extremely unlikely and unrealistic prospect. There is no real universal law insuring that low level adventurers will be met with low level opposition, especially if they're unsure of the rigors involved in exploration. I imagine that combat capable low-level characters are usually not adventurers except in very rare cases. In most situations, these characters are at varying rank in guards, militia, gangs, noble-led military, and the like. I would think lower middle level characters might band together to explore the wilds or investigate rumors of treasures and monsters, but the protagonal characters are probably unique for the story demands these characters be unique.

 

Now, in a world full of unexpected dangers, not the least of which might be (teleporting mind-controlling invisible) cipher serial killers, capable characters will be in demand and fairly active. In a stronghold, especially a newly established stronghold, capable characters will have "lives" which are not so much on hold. In a tavern, the tavern becomes their temporary relaxation spot, but that doesn't mean they're inactive. People will hold them in esteem, people will measure their greatness by their apparent safety, people will run screaming to them with their woes as regards teleporting mind-controlling carnivorous wildebeests and vampire pumpkins. If there are monsters, there will be danger, and if there are capable characters then some of these characters are willful and lawless, mean-spirited even.

 

So it's likely that characters who stay on in the stronghold aren't going to be dutiless, and those who stay in taverns aren't just getting drunken. If characters don't have random tales to tell of their deeds that are affixed and bound by situation, the writers aren't doing their jobs or aren't being permitted to do their jobs. Remember slots and variables, as if you're playing mad-lib with dice and also with situational rules and modifiers.


"This is what most people do not understand about Colbert and Silverman. They only mock fictional celebrities, celebrities who destroy their selfhood to unify with the wants of the people, celebrities who are transfixed by the evil hungers of the public. Feed us a Gomorrah built up of luminous dreams, we beg. Here it is, they say, and it looks like your steaming brains."

 

" If you've read Hart's Hope, Neveryona, Infinity Concerto, Tales of the Flat Earth, you've pretty much played Dragon Age."

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As games are now, no, I don't support XP for inactive characters.

 

If a game will someday manage to simulate inactive companion going to do their own business when left to a inn/stronghold whatever, and I have to go look for them, then I might accept the idea of them having gained experience.

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They should get like half the xp of main char.

>And<

When u finally wanna take 'em in the partAY ->

-> u take 'em to the ->

-> Endless Paths Dungeon!

to tank 'em for XP c:

 

So that you do not get all their abilities instantly like

"whoa, what does that do, what should i memorize, waht is this aura" etc

 

And, well, yeah. The NPCs that are 2 and more lvls behind main character should get an xp bonus.

Maybe provided by some crafted potion or HELMET OF meme-genius.gif

Edited by kabaliero

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If inactive party-members get XP, it needs to be explained how they're doing it. And that explanation needs to make sense within the setting.

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

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If inactive party-members get XP, it needs to be explained how they're doing it. And that explanation needs to make sense within the setting.

Exactly!

Like, "Well whatever. I'll sign up as a gladiator in <someplace> arena. If you need me come looking for me there."

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I've never understood the notion that NPCs aren't doing anything when you're not around. They didn't become adventurers in the first place by sitting on their ass- presumably they're training and studying and doing other stuff to keep their skills sharp. Plus, if you have a stronghold, I imagine they're filling various military/administrative roles there, as well- training troops, taking on apprentices if they're a caster, etc.

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Please no :no:

 

I don't want games messing with stats behind the scenes in any way. I don't want monsters to auto-level, I don't want big fights to be secretly tuned down in difficulty, and I don't want my party's stats changing by a single solitary XP point for any reason other than my manually leveling them up. If this were an option in easy mode I have no problem with that, but I think it should be kept out of medium and higher difficulties.

Edited by SunBroSolaire

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I say that the companions continue to do their quest tree's, if you ditch them somewhere and you haven't helped them finish their quest tree, they continue on that and either you can catch up and intercept and join in with them in the middle of their questing, or you can leave it be and perhaps meet them at a tavern somewhere. Seeing as they finished part of the quest themselves, they would have gotten more experience accordingly.

 

Likewise, if you ditch your companions you might find them soloing their own quest and maybe even die because you weren't there.

 

If you have finished their quest tree however, perhaps pay them a fee to stick around if you leave them out of your party. Make them somewhat of an encumbrance, an easy to manage "maintenance". Another drawback, sending out your out of party Companions on quests would lock your in-party out of some quests because your out of party companion would do them and get "reputation"/"fame" that you are missing out on*. We talked about Flashbacks in another thread as well, where you control only the companion (with perhaps his/her own party, being both a leader and a follower depending on the companion), can anything more be done with this? Out of party Companion~Mini-Game?

 

* A good enough reason to kick them out of your "out of party" group

 

The point I'm just trying to make is that I'd like my out of party companions to get experience, because I like to envision it that they do stuff and earn they keep, they continue with their lives. They don't settle down, get a wife AND children (all acquired at the tavern) and wait for you until they grow old. Well some might *shrug* dropped Imoen at the Friendly Arms Inn, she'd probably become a Waiter xD unintended pun

 

Out of party companions shouldn't get as near as close experience as the in-party companions and they should cap reasonably in their levels reflectively to how far they are into their Quest tree:

If you let them finish their quest trees themselves, they'll stop gaining experience and cap at a level depending on where in the game their quests end (geographically). In a point of the game, let's say a forest patch, where most people would be about level 8 or 8+, the companion finishing his quest tree would be level 5 or 6 maybe?

 

Personally, I want exp growth on the NPC's, but I want it to be reasonable, logical and hard and not really that rewarding. In Baldur's Gate Trilogy (with some extra mods) I'm hoarding companions "Gotta collect 'em all!" because I want to play with them. I switch around as I go along, but ultimately all that does is give me a level 20 something with a bunch of level 10's. It would really help my time schedule if they were maybe level 14-16ish.

 

It's not really that much of a beef really. I just feel that this is too little of (non-existent really) in Baldur's Gate, and way too existent in modern day RPG's. Maybe there's a middle ground which is a subtle solution?

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I think that in a game with unlimited random encounters, it can be OK to have characters earned their own XP. It's simply a matter of "taking them out for a spin" to close some of that gap.

 

However, in games where most of your battles are set piece encounters, and you have a more or less finite number of XP you are able to gain during a course of play, it makes - imo - more sense to have some sort of peripheral xp gain for unpartied characters. Full or partial can be argued in many directions, but it helps keep unpartied characters from quickly becoming permanently crippled.

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When companions have interesting personalities and quests I like to be able to choose between them when necessary, especially in the games where the inactive companions wait in some type of HQ (the IE games don't have these, but KOTOR 2 and NWN 2 yes), then I prefer they also gain XP


huntress.jpg

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I think they should all gain XP, regardless of whether or not they are currently in the party. That's because I just don't enjoy micromanaging this particular side of party based RPGs. I do a lot other micromanaging with items and so on, which is something I actually like to do, because you can always sell/buy/swap items, whereas experience points are a once-only type of deal.


Exile in Torment

 

QblGc0a.png

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So, as far as we are now, the side which wants XP for the inactive NPCs is kind of outnumbering (48.75 <--> 31,25) the other extreme. But still this is one of the closer polls I have seen yet.

 

When companions have interesting personalities and quests I like to be able to choose between them when necessary, especially in the games where the inactive companions wait in some type of HQ (the IE games don't have these, but KOTOR 2 and NWN 2 yes), then I prefer they also gain XP

Totally for XP for inactive NPC. For a story heavy game like this I'll want to swap out characters at will, without having to worry about sticking around to level unused characters. It'll detract from the experience with no real reason.

 

The problem I see with this, is that you destroy the emotional flow of the story itself, which also consists of a certain, realistic timeline. I don't know whether this is just a cosmetic, an important or no point for you. Do you want this, just to have all quests and sidelines done, or because it doesn't even bother you running around for ages, leaving the main story behind?

 

I think they should all gain XP, regardless of whether or not they are currently in the party. That's because I just don't enjoy micromanaging this particular side of party based RPGs. I do a lot other micromanaging with items and so on, which is something I actually like to do, because you can always sell/buy/swap items, whereas experience points are a once-only type of deal.

Yes. I don't see why, in a party-based game, not leveling-up certain companions is a good idea.

 

A point I just thought about is the following problem: Obsidian said something, that they want to allow people, exploring the world in different numbers of people (1-6). Regarding this, it would be a problem to give full XP to inactive NPCs, because there would be no benefit for smaller parties or lonesome wanderers.

What would your approach be to solve this discrepancy?

 

 

Several people came up with questions about the logic of inactive NPCs not leveling up, or with approaches to fix this, by giving more XP, when active again, or doing their own sidequests.

Personally I think, it would be awesome to implement NPCs questing by themselves, but for balancing - regarding they can be affected heavily or even die - I wonder, whether it is possible? To make it happen, there should be a high number of NPCs to choose (to have free ones questing for themselves), or a good way of wandering in lower numbers (to leave some behind on purpose). But both of this approaches and also the general idea needs a lot of effort!

Do you think this should be added, and what do you think about the costs/effort? Is it (probably) worth with the budget we pledged?

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I voted yes for two reasons.

 

First, in a story centric game I would like the switch out companions and listen or use them in certain missions without penality. For instance, I may not want to use the orlan cipher for general quests, but for plots involving murders or investigation I may want to include him. I do not think bringing characters for specific tasks should be penalized.

 

Second, one may want to experiment with the characters and different tactics. I believe elminating XP for inactives encourages players just to stick with what they know.

 

edit: I do not think allowing inactives to gain only part of XP solves much. It still runs into the problem of players just sticking to what they have or know in my opinion. Having characters quest/adventure on their own with a possibility of death sounds interesting, but potentially arbitrary.

Edited by Nixl

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If the companions are off adventuring by themselves to earn XP, there should be a chance they can get killed doing it.

 

If not, then they're earning risk-free XP. And if there's risk-free XP available somewhere, I want my PC to be able to earn 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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I like the idea of unused NPCs having their levels capped just below used ones. I think the slight restriction on companion choice adds more real decision to the game. I'm sure I'm not the only one with the habbit of powering through my game to experience every single bit of content, and this habbit is both unrealistic, and removes much of my games' replay value.

 

I'd like it if my PC only made bonds with companions he traveled regularly with, and that I couldn't completely experience all 8 companions in one playthrough. This doesn't necessarily have to result in left companions getting less EXP, but should otherwise restrict the amount of content I can experience regarding them, such as them being less "open" with my PC, or missing dialog elements during quests.

 

This is of course a touchy suggestion, as many feel that it is their right to experience everything a game has to offer at once. Yet I feel that player decisions and actions should be reflected in the world for consistancy (I shouldn't have to explain how awkward it was to be the arch mage, thief, assassin, and fighter in Skyrim all at the same time), and that this should also extend to companion choice, thus making party generation more dynamic.

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