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I was playing BG2 again recently (ahhh nostalgia) when my party encountered a shady individual in the streets of Athkatla. At this point, my party consisted of about six individuals, three of whom were decked out in magical or full plate and carrying large weapons of various sorts. Two of the others were obviously mages with stoneskin up and a menacing air to them, along with the ever faithful Yoshimo with his katana.

 

Anyway, the shady individual was wearing leather armor and wielding a short sword and was all alone. He demanded all of my money. Naturally, thinking he was a mentally disturbed individual who could not count or use his eyes to judge appropriate mugging victims, I politely refused. At which point he said something to the effect of 'We'll see about that!' before turning hostile, swinging ineffectually once or twice at one of my stoneskinned mages, and then dying horribly as my entire party hacked him into bloody giblets.

 

What does this have to do with P:E? Well, I've noticed that BG2 and a wide assortment of other CRPGs have a lot of people like this, who dash headfirst into near instantaneous death even when it is very obvious they are grotesquely over-matched and should be shuffling away and leaving well enough alone, hoping for a more appropriate victim.

 

I'm wondering what people think: is it worth making any kind of effort about this sort of thing, preparing appropriate NPC reactions when your character is carrying enough firepower to level an army single-handed and the like? Or is it part of the charm of this sort of game that poorly equipped enemies will cheerfully throw themselves into a fight with nigh-godlike opponents before dying seconds later?

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I'd appreciate at least the occasional attempt to hang a lampshade over these ridiculously over-confident people. I think they actually do this at one point in BG2, even, when the one scimitar-throwing dude assaults you from nowhere.

 

Even the thought of single street thugs threatening anyone who is VISIBLY ARMED is pretty ridiculous. They could do a much cooler version of this, though, where a dozen dudes with bows ambush you from atop buildings and so forth. Dudes with bows were so lethal in Baldur's Gate that it'd be a credible threat.

 

It'd also be nice if you could "solve" the stupider of these encounters by beaning the guy over the head and leaving him in the hands of the local law enforcement.

Edited by PsychoBlonde
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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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It'd also be nice if you could "solve" the stupider of these encounters by beaning the guy over the head and leaving him in the hands of the local law enforcement.

 

This! So much. I'm replaying Baldur's Gate as well. I'm not halfway through and I'm already sick of my Lawful Good paladin turning random bandits into chunks when they should be in jail. I would really like multiple ways to solve even little problems like street crime.

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once a party of thugs demanded all my magic items

 

i laffed at them

 

they turned out to be Eclipse :skull:

Edited by kabaliero

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I wouldn't mind seeing some level of level scaling when it comes to these sort of encounters, or at least a progression, though it would make less sense for street thugs wanting your money to be progressing in power and equipment and more so for something like bounty hunters. Really did like encountering tougher and tougher bounty hunters in these sorts of games (think BG1 had it and maybe another).

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Its lame story-wise when they do this because no real criminal would try it unless they were drugged out of their minds. And game-wise its similarly pointless. Unless the mugger has a humorous line or something, then its just a boring bit of dialog and split second combat to disrupt whatever you were actually trying to do. I say put a few bits like this in the early game and then just nix those encounters after a certain level threshold. At some point everyone on the street steps out of your way unless they are themselves a powerful badass. And a true powerful badass sent to assasinate you is a fine upgrade to the "random street mugger" encounter so long as there is good in-game justification for the assasin.

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I agree to an extent. In the end stuff is sort of hard to code though and if they don't have level scaling (and why would they) odds are the "suicidal" dude may have actually been a legit threat when you first had the option to meet them. But maybe you put that quest off, maybe you just overlooked the area, who knows. I would simply ask that the devs include options to resolve things through skills checks prior to combat, that way a higher level party should have more than enough say "intimidate" skill to talk them down by then whereas a party that got there at level wouldn't.

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It'd be amusing to actually have this be a literal suicide by adventurer. Show a mugger who is obviously depressed or deranged, and have them mug you in some attempt at suicide. I mean, it would also be nice if you didn't have to kill the dude either, but if it was also an option to aid this person in his mugging-suicide.

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I suppose it would be possible to have equipment have a stat for intimidation, so better gear = higher level of intimidation. Then maths happens, and if your parties intimidation > enemies then they won't attack. I'm sure you could make it affected by other stats like wis/int too. Probably won't happen but just an idea.

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No traditional wizard worth his pointy hat could possibly work by the light of pure, smooth, dare one say virgin undribbled candles. It would just not look right. The ambience would be totally shattered. And when it did happen, the luckless wizard would mess about, as people do, with matchsticks and bent paperclips, to try to get nice little dribbles and channels of wax, as nature intended. However, this sort of thing never really works and invariably ends with wax all over the carpet and the wizard setting himself on fire. Candle dribbling, it has been decreed, is a job for a dribbler. – Terry Pratchett, Unseen Academicals.

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I suppose it would be possible to have equipment have a stat for intimidation, so better gear = higher level of intimidation. Then maths happens, and if your parties intimidation > enemies then they won't attack. I'm sure you could make it affected by other stats like wis/int too. Probably won't happen but just an idea.

So I can carve a club out a tree and just scare everyone, cool.


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. ;)

village_idiot.gif

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Not equipment only, if equipment at all. I'd say it would be good if your party have some "firepower" stat. Mostly based on lvl and main stats per class. Naked wizard is almost as dangerous as equipped one. Could involve some appraisal checks from enemy - is he dumb enough to not to notice all those sparkling effects on your party. And some bluff multiplier from your party - add some sparks, polish your armor add some red paint stains to your weapon...

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One guy attacking a party? Silly.

 

A group of thugs attacking your party? If they think tehy can take you on, why not?

 

Magic items may not be so visible/glowy that one can pick them apart visually.

 

Also, power progression doesn't have to be exponential or huge, so lower level bandits may still be a credible threat even if you are higher level.

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* 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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100% of all players complain about level scaling because they want to show their awsumness against low-level foes

 

100% of all players want their awsumness recognized by the game by having low level foes stay away

Edited by Sacred_Path
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This all depends on the character/enemy/mob that you are facing and I say "Why not scale his encounter?" depending on your gear/level/stats? Not saying that all NPC's that attack you should be in that way but some of them could.

 

If someone attacks my super strong party out of the blue, an NPC I missed or someone that spawned without my knowledge when I was out exploring, I usually just laugh and say "Bring it on fool". Not much of an issue really, and can't pin-point one such encounter that I took notice of (I probably encountered several of such encounters on my Baldur's Gate playthrough but I just didn't care much).

 

In another thread we discussed the ability for [speech] skill being affected by having a "Protection from Evil" spell cast on you, or having a Fire Shield/Aura around you (which should be rather intimidating).

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Lampshades have been hung and it didn't really improve the situation. I think they should just take a more reasonable approach. Maybe a couple of characters are genuinely insane. And maybe the player could recognize that and try to defuse the situation without setting them off. But for the most part, they should flee or simply not even be an encounter with that kind of disparity.

 

I like the idea of beaning them and turning them over, as well.


"Show me a man who "plays fair" and I'll show you a very talented cheater."

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100% of all players complain about level scaling because they want to show their awsumness against low-level foes

:blink: Anyone who complains about lack of level scaling should go back to the Elder Scrolls.

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It's also a situation where level scaling makes sense: if a group of thugs doesn't think you're easy prey, they just won't attack you; in a city it'd be so easy to say they just blend in (the thugs are assumed to still be there, just not making themselves noticed). The denizens of a dungeon can't help it if they're being attacked by a level one scrub or a level ten butt-kicker, and there's not the same level of assumed abstraction in a dungeon.


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There was a mod I think in BG2 where the bandits would see you and then run away saying something like "Omg it's the Bhaalchild! Run away!" At that point, I'd cut down the ones I could catch. I was an evil assassin the last time I played, so it made sense :)


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I wouldn't mind seeing some level of level scaling when it comes to these sort of encounters, or at least a progression, though it would make less sense for street thugs wanting your money to be progressing in power and equipment and more so for something like bounty hunters. Really did like encountering tougher and tougher bounty hunters in these sorts of games (think BG1 had it and maybe another).

 

The BG1 parties of assassins worked well, because the level disparity was not that big and a PARTY of adventurers can give even people higher in level a run for their money--that, and if you used your tactics well, you could give THEM a run for THEIR money if THEY were higher level. Plus, many of them were specifically after YOU, the Bhaalspawn, they weren't just random bandits. It was very well done.

 

I don't like the kind of level scaling they had in Oblivion, where late in the game common bandits are wearing glass plate and swinging Daedric weapons. If you can afford Daedric stuff, why in the world would you be robbing people in the middle of nowhere? Sell your quiver full of arrows, buy a house in Bruma, and RETIRE. Skyrim did better--even high-level random encounters would only have basic steel armor and weapons, it was just that they had more HP and higher stats so they were still a semi-credible threat.

 

I don't believe, however, that you need random encounters of this kind to keep the game interesting. Oh, sure, early in the game they are nice because they provide a readily-avalible source of extra loot, challenge, and XP. As the game continues, though, the encounters seem less organic because you've had enough of them that the numerical system that drives them begins to be apparent. It's like the randomly-generated quests--the first few are cool. When you get sent back, twice, to a dungeon you've already completed, they begin to pall. And good grief, how many times do I have to kill the same dragon on the same mountain?!

 

If you're going to have a random-ish system of this nature, It's best to let it taper off before it becomes annoying. Make it so that when you hit certain reputation or gear levels, the bandits that pop become non-hostile. It's not the same as having no encounters, it just means that encounters with would-be bandits are the same as encounters with, say, deer. You can chase them down and kill them if you REALLY want to. And, this can actually ADD another layer of fun to the game. How cool would it be in, say, Skyrim, if once you hit level 45 or so, the random-encounter DRAGONS see you, yell, "Dovahkiin!" and then fly off as rapidly as their little wings can take them? It's not like you NEED more dragon bits at that level anyway, and you can always revisit their static locations if you're trying to accumulate dragon souls.

 

I also like the idea behind (although the implementation was ****e) what they tried to do in DA2 with the random night city encounters--you'd kill so many, uncover their stronghold, and after you whacked their boss you'd get a small prize and there'd be no more "random" encounters in that area at night. During that act, anyway. I actually suggested they do something like this during DA2 development, because I missed one of the great things about the original Gold Box Pool of Radiance: being able to CLEAR CITY AREAS. You'd do the static encounters in the area of the city and X number of random encounters, and then it'd be cleared, the city would reward you, and you could wander it at will without being ambushed by 47 kobolds. It was great, because the plot of the game actually revolved around this simple idea. It was a terrific example of integrated story and gameplay mechanics; fantastic game design in an incredibly primitive game.

 

These are the things I'd like to see devs considering. How do we make this random system non-annoying? How do we ride that fine, fine line between allowing for random variability and the inevitable uncreative repetitiveness of a computer-operated random system? How does this mechanic interact with the story? How does the story reflect the mechanic? Have we properly attached it to the story as opposed to just tacking on a story justification? That last one is incredibly critical because it makes the difference between something being viewed as filler or padding to the game and something being viewed as a part of the game.

 

I think that last one contains a good 60-70% of what's been the worst problems with the Dragon Age games. They get these cool ideas, and, yes, there's almost always A story justification tied to them, but they forget that they aren't telling three or three dozen dissociated stories, so none of the stuff is tied in any way to the overarching story. It gets so bad that even major side quests that are thematically tied in with the main plot and only need one or two little references to finish the job just don't have that last necessary bit of consideration.

 

Everybody always wants more content. KotOR2 and Neverwinter Nights 2 (the official campaign) felt weirdly bare because they lacked the expansiveness that filler can give. But that doesn't mean it's *better* to make Bioware's mistake and have tons of filler that is OBVIOUSLY filler. Both are bad. I'd almost say that the LATTER is the worse of the two. People can forgive a game that lacked the time and funding to deliver on all of its potential. They don't forgive thoughtless delivery.

 

TL;DR: the bones of your design quality shows the most in these little side areas, so make it count.

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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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Those random encounters always annoyed me, too. To the point I installed one of Kensai Ryu's mods, which meant you'd be attacked at night by other parties, wielding magical equipment and using powerful spells.

 

They levelled up with you as well, making them competent adversaries regardless of level. There wasn't too much backstory as to why they were attacking you, except if you were good a party of Cyric worshippers would come after you (makes sense, you are the Bhaalspawn) and if you were evil, high level Athkatla guards (full plate armour, +3 spears, healing potions) or the Order of the Radiant Heart would send people to kill you. And everyone got bounty hunters, just because.

 

They weren't too hard once you got used to them, but the learning curve was brutal - the first time my party nearly got totalled by the enemy mage and assassin alone. Goddamn potions of invisibility/speed/backstab wrecked me. And the mages would use contingencies and spell sequencers to be combat ready in the first round, while the cleric and druid would buff the party and disable your own characters.

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I kind of like the idea of being able to recruit an npc into my party who is only in it for "suicide by adventure". He would just get depressed or complain every time you won a battle or very excited when a large group or boss nears. He could fight with this personality too, always charging in with no care.

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I agree with PsychoBlonde that its better to just phase out most of the random city encounters at higher level rather than scale them. Scaling them such that there is an endless supply of super parties just ready to die by your sword seems incongruous and becomes just grinding. I'm not personally a fan of grinding.

 

I also did like the concept of clearing an area. Its worth fighting these random encounters becuase if I do enough of it then I can stop them for good and this petty annoyance will go away. I will have cleaned up the city and people will comment on it and I can feel like I had an impact. Much better than mindless random encounter.

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I agree with PsychoBlonde that its better to just phase out most of the random city encounters at higher level rather than scale them.

 

Having them stand back isn't a solution to this problem. Imagine a world where bandits, skeletons, slimes and rats just stand there in awe while your glorious band shuffles by.

 

No, my point from my previous post stands.

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100% of all players complain about level scaling because they want to show their awsumness against low-level foes

 

100% of all players want their awsumness recognized by the game by having low level foes stay away

 

I don't.

 

I hate the exponential pwoe groth RPG have these days.

It's a very, VERY cheap understanding of "strength" and "power". It is stupid. and it's little more than an means ot boost frai legos.

Some people enjoy wading tough hordes of lvl1, 5HP monsters with their LVL99 1000000HP character. I find it boring, stupid nad unchallenging.

 

If I ever were to make a game it wouldn't had such power progression.

The difference between a lvl1 and lvl20 character would be in skills and a few attribute points tops. (heck, I might even do away with the whole concept of leveling alltogether)

 

There wouldn't be a massive HP difference.

Those lvl1, 5HP monsters could stull butcher you if you're not carefull.

 

The game would feel more like Splinter Cell (in terms of power progression and health) than a average PRG. Sure, your'e badass and 1-on-1 you can take on almost anyone. But you are still VERY killable yourself.


* 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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