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Lockpicking  

155 members have voted

  1. 1. What form of lock-picking do you prefer?

    • Mandatory Mini-game
      18
    • Optional Mini-game
      20
    • No Mini-game
      102
    • I don't care
      15
  2. 2. Should Lockpicking be "Skill" Based or "Experience" Based?

    • Skill Based, Need to invest into a "Skill"
      118
    • Experience Based, the more my character succeeds, the better they become.
      28
    • I don't care
      9


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While lock-picking mini-games are fun for some, I personally dislike then after the first few tries as I find them an (for me) annoying unnecessary waste of time. They can also be a balance breaker (ex. me being able to do Very Hard locks in Amalur requring only 1 pick manually at level 1 regardless of difficulty with enough patience and never losing anything without anything invested in lockpicking, while auto-pick requires I level up the lockpicking skill to not lose picks).

 

Another thing that irks me about games with lockpicking is that my character (or party character) doesn't automatically get better at lockpicking even after who knows how many locks I have picked, unless I specifically invest skill points (or something similar) in lockpicking. You'd think that past experience would make my character be a better rogue...

 

Lastly, on a side note, I really like and dislike lockpicking in Assassin's Creed 3. Like since it (to me) seems to be more creative/original than the Skyrim/Amalur method, dislike since it's not really optimized for the mouse as it is for a controller's stick which is easier to only go up/down or left/right while the slightest twitch on my mouse seems to make it fail. If I had to do something like that for many chests (which thankfully there isn't in the game) in an RPG though, I would be very unhappy and look for a mod to remove the mechanic altogether. TL;DR: If there is a lock-picking minigame, it needs to be non-frustrating on a keyboard+mouse.

 

What is your opinion on lock picking minigames?

 

(I did a search, and nothing on the first page seemed to match this, sorry if this was discussed before)

Edited by limith

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I feel minigames like that fit better in a single-person game: you're the one doing the lockpicking, so you have to actually perform the actions. In a party game, a plain skillcheck is fine by me.

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No mini-games with locks, thank you. And skill points are the way to go as they let me determine what my party has been practicing during their "off hours".

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The IE games together with V:tMB, Arcanum, Fallout 1 & 2, NWN2 and ToEE kept it simple and kept it clean, just a skill check. It's not TES, it's not Beth, it's P.E, it's Obs. Skill check, open the door, get on the floor and get eaten by the dinosaur.

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I don't see why there can't be leveling up your lockpicking skill through both experience and skill points. Take Fallout 3 for example, you got XP through picking locks and hacking computers, which allowed you to improve your picking or hacking skill when you leveled up.

I don't think there should be primarily one or the other, but rather a healthy combination of the two.

 

And as for the mini-games, I personally like them.

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No mini-game, skill based. We're not looking for Obsidian to emulate Oblivion or Skyrim here.

 

I don't see why there can't be leveling up your lockpicking skill through both experience and skill points. Take Fallout 3 for example, you got XP through picking locks and hacking computers, which allowed you to improve your picking or hacking skill when you leveled up.

I don't think there should be primarily one or the other, but rather a healthy combination of the two.

 

And as for the mini-games, I personally like them.

 

What's meant by growth through experience is the Elder Scrolls model whereby engaging in lockpicking causes the lockpicking skill to increase, leading to exploitative/powergaming opportunities for anyone with the drive to grind, not gaining experience points for successfully picking a lock. Yes, fallout 3 had decent minigames, but all they did was make more prominent the fact that lockpicking and science were near-useless as skills. I can't remember a single situation in F3 where those skills gave you access to unique weapons or armor, which is pretty much the entire purpose of locked doors, separating players from those items. They always just led to random loot containers.

 

At least in NV there were rewards for lockpicking and science oriented characters, even if the most prominent one got nerfed (Gobi Campaign rifle,) when the game was updated. And then made worthless by Old World Blues' unique sniper rifle. So yeah. There's that.

 

The mini-games make the character's skill irrelevant and the player's skill the only determiner. Fallout 3's designers' solution was to make tiers of locks and ban players from accessing those locks without meeting a skill threshhold, but that was disingenuous because there's no actual physical barrier to the character making an attempt in the game. It's entirely in the mechanics of the game design, not the actual "reality" of the game world.

Edited by AGX-17

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Another thing that irks me about games with lockpicking is that my character (or party character) doesn't automatically get better at lockpicking even after who knows how many locks I have picked, unless I specifically invest skill points (or something similar) in lockpicking. You'd think that past experience would make my character be a better rogue...

 

It does. You level up and get skill points to spend. That is representative of you gaining that experience. If you choose not to invest points in lockpicking, then it is YOU who decide that your character didn't learn anything from the lockpicking he did leading up to that.

 

This argument doesn't carry any weight against the lockpicking skill point investment at all, unless you're arguing for a system which completely takes away "skill points" in favor of a system that let's you get better at ALL skills by using them. And while I do like the idea of a system that let's you get better at skills you use, these systems are far from perfect, and open to lots of exploitation(Oblivion, sneak walk against a wall while you go see a movie, anyone?).


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Lol, my friend in America told me that game companies aren't allowed to make an actual lockpicking mini-game (He was a locksmith and could pick many locks) because it is easy to pick a lock and/or teach how to pick a lock through a game. Instead they create something psuedo-real for ease of use. I laughed in his conspiratorial face, silently.

 

On to the matter. A mini-game can be fun, but it can also be tedious. We have the Rogue, and dedicating a mini-game to only Rogue seems unfair to the other classes but it would give you a reason to have a Rogue, which is also a drawback in itself (in essence, the question of "What if I don't play a Rogue?"). With that said, no to mini-games, but perhaps there is a different way to do it?

 

In Lands of Lore you get an item, lockpicks, which never breaks (I'm playing on novice by the way). You click your inventory and click the chest a multitude of times til the chest opens. I could see that in P:E, except having the lockpicks break (depending on difficulty). And/Or have it as an On/Off button at character creation. I kind of want to tailor my difficulty to my playstyle (personally).

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I feel minigames like that fit better in a single-person game: you're the one doing the lockpicking, so you have to actually perform the actions. In a party game, a plain skillcheck is fine by me.

and a satisfying click when it works.

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However the skill is implemented and improved, I'm actually more interested in the AI response to the lockpick attempt. It should take some length of time to pick a lock, and during that time nearby observers should have some chance to detect the activity (depending on the conditions). What happens when a detection occurs? There should be an area response to the alarm being raised, which should then have negative consequences for the player. Likewise, when an enemy discovers that a lock has been picked, there should also be a response; albeit less direct.

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I like the minigame method fine in solitary games like Skyrim or Alpha Protocol. In those games it breaks the montony of shooting or slicing things. But the IE games don't fit that schema for me. Party balance requires lockpicking characters to be useful. If I can compensate with player skill (or totally suck at it and ruin my badass rogue's reputation) then it messes with the entire party dynamic.

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I feel minigames like that fit better in a single-person game: you're the one doing the lockpicking, so you have to actually perform the actions. In a party game, a plain skillcheck is fine by me.

 

This makes the most sense to me as well. I'd like to see locks get used as part of tactics, also, such as letting your rogue lock doors so enemies have to come around through one particular passage. Or they could break the door down. I'd like to see lock-smashing implemented as well. The Amazing Invulnerable Balsa-Wood Container thing gets OLD after a while.

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Lock picking mini-game in FO3 and NV was annoying since the radial control was a bit broken, same with the companion menu, some parts did not select when they should, but apart from that it was so quick and easy I hardly noticed it, which also means it was a completely pointless inclusion. Mini-games are generally a bad idea, because people will be playing games for the core gameplay, so if they're in the game make them completely optional, but don't make not doing the mini-game a disadvantage. Hacking in FO3 and NV is terrible because I'm dyslexic, it wouldn't be so bad if the selected words lined up and the letter-spacing was wider. I enjoyed the hacking mini-game in Deux Ex: Human Revolution, but the game rewards you with xp for doing it, so you're inclined to do it as often as possible, and it gets old. Worst mini-games probably the ones in Bioshock, some were easy and long, some were hard and quick, not really enjoyable but by the end I got really good at them, but I had been playing Cogs. Bioshock 2's were like lock picking in FO3, so quick and easy, didn't notice them.

Edited by AwesomeOcelot

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skill check with no minigames.


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I don't really mind either way, if they can introduce a mini-game that somehow doesn't get repetitive then fine but otherwise a skill check would be best.

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When it comes to lockpicking, I prefer skill checks.

If it's a mini-game where the lockpicks will constantly break if one never becomes very good at the "minigame', there better be a lot of lockpicks around to find/buy, not just a rare few.


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In a game as what is PE to be i prefer to skill checks ... BUT i do want to have the possibility to bash open a door/chest/lock so i can get the good's in it, and please balance the issue in that because Baldurs Gate had the problem that even if you had like 25 strenght aka. giant strenght the locks were indestructible and NvN 2 did it even worse, bash open a lock on a chest? some loot is broken trololololo, what the hell was it glass ? to be so fragile to breake?

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I will say that, even though it wasn't the best, Skyrim's lockpicking "minigame" actually hit on a good note: It combined player skill with character skill. That Expert lock had a pickable threshold of about 1mm when your character's skill was at 15, but get it up to 75 or so and there was a much wider arc tolerance on the sweet spot. ALSO, you didn't break your picks as quickly.

 

I absolutely LOVE the attempt to combine player skill with character skill, because most people don't even consider that an option. If you base it purely on player skill, then that aspect of the game is COMPLETELY cut off from character progression. Whereas if you base it purely on character skill, it's pretty boring, really. Does it NEED to be less boring? No. But I'd say, ideally, everything in the game should be fun. "Ideally" being the key word.

 

So, I'm in favor of attempts towards the ideal. We may not get there, but, I think saying "no other game has done it well so far, so I vote on the boring system rather than an attempt at something new" is kind of like giving up.

 

Also, I'm sorry, but every single thing you do multiple times in the game is "repetitive" by definition, so I don't think "minigames are repetitive" is a very solid argument, either. Yes, if it takes 12 minutes to pick a lock, or it's otherwise overly complicated, that would suck EVERY time you have to pick a lock. But, you know what else is repetitive? Having to right-click on every single locked thing in the entire game with your Rogue and selecting "Pick lock," then waiting to see if the mystery number of the lock's difficulty is higher or lower than your character's skill number. OR, better yet, in the randomized system in which you get a skill check roll added on, you get to do that about 15 times in a row because, mathematically, you CAN technically pick that lock with your character's current skill value... he just needs to roll a 20, so to speak. How is that at all engaging? What choice are you given? "Try to pick the lock until you pick it, or don't try to pick the lock until you pick it."

 

Unless you go through a giant labyrinth MADE out of locked doors, a 10-second, engaging minigame that's done well isn't going to hurt anyone. Don't check Facebook one day out of the week. Boom... you just freed up enough time for all the locks you'll ever pick in the entire game. Besides, as someone pointed out, it takes more than 3 milliseconds for someone to pick a lock. So having it take more than 3 milliseconds (and yet still not anywhere near the amount of time it might take in real life) is more immersive.

 

Hey, combat's repetitive. Is it tedious? Should we get rid of the combat minigame and just let you roll a d20 for victory? "You failed. Again?" Oh hey, your combat skill's high enough! All the enemies just turned into loot. But then, picking up all the loot is repetitive, too. You're going to pick it up anyway, right? So it's just automatically in your inventory now. There, the game is no longer tedious. That totally didn't cost the game any quality, did it? Of course it did. That would be a terrible idea. You don't see anyone petitioning for combat to be replaced with insta-fights. Yet, heaven forbid we try to add any depth to a lock-picking system.

 

I know my text here is suggesting more of a hostile tone than I intend. I only intend to use my sarcasm to reinforce my points. I simply wish to know how the non-"minigame" system is less tedious than actually getting to say "Oh, this lock is pickable, but REALLY hard to pick? Well, *rubs hands together*, I'll just have to give it my best, then." The growing trend seems to be wanting to be able to accomplish things and reap rewards for these accomplishments, while simultaneously wanting the accomplishment to require minimal time and effort.

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I think there should just be a check to determine success. I do not want anything to be determined by player skill in PE.


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...a 10-second, engaging minigame that's done well isn't going to hurt anyone...

Neither would an invisible pink unicorn.

 

 

Minigame of couse, it 2012 not 1999.

Minigames existed before the Infinity Engine games. Minigames aren't progress, they're a regress.

Edited by AwesomeOcelot

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When I think minigame i think Fallout 3/Vegas it's realustic that way I don't mind that kind of mini game. The mini game I'm not thnking of is Oblivions crappy lock pick system.

 

I wouldn't mind it being skill based depending on the system.


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...a 10-second, engaging minigame that's done well isn't going to hurt anyone...

Neither would an invisible pink unicorn.

 

Which is exactly what I'd say to someone who insisted that having invisible pink unicorns in the game would be terrible.

 

Minigame of couse, it 2012 not 1999.

Minigames existed before the Infinity Engine games. Minigames aren't progress, they're a regress.

 

I'm open to the possibility of minigames being a regress, even though I don't believe that to be a fact. Perhaps you could provide some reasoning and explanation as to how you've decided this? I find myself unable to fill in the gaps, it would seem.


Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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It seems up to this point, it's been impossible for game developers to make mini-games that are enjoyable and don't over stay their welcome that are involved in the core gameplay. Very rarely have they been enjoyable, the Deux Ex: Human Revolution hacking was, but there was way too much of it. In my view 10 second engaging minigames don't exist, because they're impossible, just like being invisible and pink at the same time. I don't get engaged by 10 seconds snippets of gameplay, they are worthless to me.

 

In most cases the minigames aren't enjoyable, and that's always a risk when you introduce gameplay that's very different to the core gameplay. I was actually playing Cogs before I played Bioshock, a game that has the same pipe gameplay minus the time limit, and that was only added in to balance other gameplay systems, which is also something that tends to happen, making gameplay suck for balance reasons in minigames.

 

Picking up loot, skill-based lockpicking, and combat aren't minigames, they're part of the core gameplay, and if you find them repetitive and tedious then these games aren't for you. I find the core gameplay of some genres tedious, I don't play them. I don't think, if only they had isolated segments of gameplay I like in them. You also said that adding a lock picking minigame was adding depth to the system, which is absurd, it's one of the most shallow things you can do to a game.

Edited by AwesomeOcelot

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