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Buffing your party: what's awesome about it? What's not? Go!

 

I'll start. I don't really like having to spend 10 minutes buffing my party. It takes away from the action. There's gotta be other ways ot making buffs "tactical."

Edited by Hormalakh
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Buffs make you buffer. It's p. awesome.

 

Since buffs are only one component of overall balance, I don't see the point in hating on them. You'd either have to make characters stronger, or direct damage spells stronger, or make monsters more susceptible to status effects, or increase weapon damage. If your 1.90m tall character with a longsword can duke it out with a giant w/o buffs, I think you put too much emphasis on the wrong balance components (HP bloat, ludicrous strength scores, etc.)

 

What noone wants is the tedious and mindless task of applying all your buffs at once all the time, then rest to regain your spells after every encounter. The optimal solution IMO is to reduce rest spamming and thereby restrict magic, and thereby make players think about exactly what spell they need and when and who to cast it on. Cast haste now on your archer to take out an enemy mage quickly, or cast a dispel later on your tank should he become mind-controlled.

 

Uhm yes I also suggest restricting resting, didn't I say so? About restricting the number of active buffs... I'd rather not. I'd prefer it if I could dump a dozen buffs on my two tanks now if I chose to, but only with a duration of 2 minutes each and after that my reservoir of magic is empty and won't come back for quite some time; or else only put two buffs on each of them and have more spell slots over for direct damage spells. More options for player choice there and no arbitrary limit (did I mention I also hate summoning limits?).

 

I think the thing with buffs is the question of how powerful magic in general should be. If you have extremely powerful magic at high levels (wizard), they should also cast some v. powerful buffs. It's just more believable that way.

But DnD and its derivatives always had the problem that powerful wizards couldn't even heal a cut anyway. In PE we'll have the same derpy restriction. I would therefore propose the following: Priests are the main buffers, but their buffs aren't very strong. After all, they are more combat ready than DnD clerics anyway. Mages should have a tiny number of buffs too, ranging from weak to v. strong (on the highest levels). That way, for most of the game, buffed characters won't be much stronger than unbuffed, but still enough so to make it a tactical choice if you want to put a buff, or several buffs, on your characters for tough fights.

Edited by Sacred_Path
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I don't really like having to spend 10 minutes buffing my party. It takes away from the action. There's gotta be other ways ot making buffs "tactical."

 

^This.

 

Buffing gets a bit tedious at high levels, at least in D&D. I remember spending a lot of time applying buffs before every major battle in MotB. Of course, it made a big difference gameplay-wise, but waiting several minutes for all the buffs to be cast wasn't much fun.

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Should non-mages be able to "cast" buffs though? You got barbarian's rage/chanters songs/paladin's "suck it up!". Obviously druids, priests, wizards will have it. What about fighters,monks? I'd like to see some buffs against ciphers. Or some cipher-based buffs.

My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

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http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/2014/08/beta-begins-v257.html

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I actually never found the time it took to cast buff spells as a huge problem. A slight annoyance, yes, but at the same time it was satisfying to know that it provided a just punishment for players who engaged in unrestrained rest spamming - which, lets face it, was a far too convenient cheese tactic in the IE games... :-)

 

What I did hate about buff spells though, especially in IWD2, was that some of the long-duration ones ('Stoneskin' and 'Armor', I think) covered characters with a monochrome gray color from head to toe. So if I cast those spells at the beginning of each day and once more when they ran out, the affected characters would look like walking gray statues during most of the game. Not good for immersion or identifying with your characters.

"Some ideas are so stupid that only an intellectual could believe them." -- attributed to George Orwell

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^I can agree with that. Or the obnoxious multicolored rainbow thing. It's nice for the first few seconds, but after that, it get's annoying. Except how do you convey the buffs on a character without them? You can't stuff everything on a portrait.

My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

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http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/2014/08/beta-begins-v257.html

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As I dislike overly powerful magic, I have some issues with buffs:

 

1) Low level buffs.

After a while, low level spells can be cast an unlimited time per day, when I got that correctly. So effectively, those buffs can be permanently on. But then, you could as well make them auras to save the player the tedious recasting. But then, you could as well increase the stats of all classes permanently for the same effect, without the need of having buffingclass Y in the party. So I think some regulations should be there in order to balance this.

2) Several versions of the same effect.

I think spells should somehow be scaling with your power. There is no need for "bull's strength" when you can cast "mass bull's strength". Imho, buffs should rather give certain unique effects instead of just increasing your stats.

3) A party without a buffing class shouldn't be weaker overall, as that makes buffing classes no brainers.

4) Buffs are most of the time just plain upgrades and the only tactical decision is about when to cast them (if this question arises at all).

 

Ways to counter these things I could think of are:

- Make buffs per day limited no matter how strong they are

- Make buffs like combat modes, giving certain disadvantages in addition to their advantages (fire shield reduces fire damage but increases cold damage)

- Make them take away stamina in order to be maintained (I think DAO did this? Your maximal MP went down when buffs were active) or give them some other cost which keeps them in place (also compare to the witcher and potions)

- Make characters only be able to maintain a certain number of buffs at once, so that you have to choose which ones are most useful at the moment (you may want to choose more damage in order to kill a vampire faster or immunity to level drain in order to last longer). Better yet, make this number change by having a certain class or learning special feats so that players can have customizability. In fact, I think this is the fairest way to cater to both players that want a heave use of buffs and players that want to neglect them.

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RuneQuest:

 

Bladesharp was a spell that made your blade, well, sharper. 'Twas a simple weapon buff (there was an equivalent for blunt weapons too, and missiles).

 

Anyhoo, Bladesharp 1 cost a little bit of power and made your blade an itty bit better. Bladesharp 4, OTOH, cost a 4x power and was 4x more awesome.

 

That principle can work for all sorts of powaz and, yes, debuffs. Less buffs, with graded powaz and simpler to understand seems to me to be a non-shabby compromise.

 

And I seldom play spell-casters, high-level D&D turns into mage d1ck-swinging contests and is dull.

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Should non-mages be able to "cast" buffs though? You got barbarian's rage/chanters songs/paladin's "suck it up!". Obviously druids, priests, wizards will have it. What about fighters,monks? I'd like to see some buffs against ciphers. Or some cipher-based buffs.

 

I feel that ciphers must bring something different to the table. It could either be very rare/ impossible to protect yourself from ciphers, but their spells are rather small in effect; or it should be easy to save against them, but their spells are very powerful.

 

In Wizardry 8 Haste was a psionicist spell. I think ciphers could cast buffs that stimulate the brain or nervous system. But most of all I think they should be powerful debuffers who slow, frighten and confuse.

 

1) Low level buffs.

After a while, low level spells can be cast an unlimited time per day, when I got that correctly. So effectively, those buffs can be permanently on. But then, you could as well make them auras to save the player the tedious recasting. But then, you could as well increase the stats of all classes permanently for the same effect, without the need of having buffingclass Y in the party. So I think some regulations should be there in order to balance this.

 

Yes, it would be p. annoying to always have to recast those low-level buffs. The only thing that comes to mind is to not make buffs available on low levels at all, only debuffs... but that's kind of sub-optimal of course.

 

3) A party without a buffing class shouldn't be weaker overall, as that makes buffing classes no brainers.

 

I'm not sure about what you mean by this. A party of 6 barbarians should be weaker than one of 5 barbs and 1 priest IMO, for the exact reason of buffs. Just like that party should in turn be weaker than one of 4 barbs, 1 priest and 1 wizard (for crowd control). I think certain staples should remain, and bad party composition shouldn't be justified with citing "player choice".

 

- Make buffs like combat modes, giving certain disadvantages in addition to their advantages (fire shield reduces fire damage but increases cold damage)

 

Nice idea IMO, but then shouldn't that apply to other kinds of magic as well? There shouldn't be too much of a divergence between buffs and other spells.

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I've only ever seen it done right in one game, which is guild wars (the first) where you can buff your party with shouts. IE instant activation.

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1) Low level buffs.

After a while, low level spells can be cast an unlimited time per day, when I got that correctly. So effectively, those buffs can be permanently on. But then, you could as well make them auras to save the player the tedious recasting. But then, you could as well increase the stats of all classes permanently for the same effect, without the need of having buffingclass Y in the party. So I think some regulations should be there in order to balance this.

 

Yes, it would be p. annoying to always have to recast those low-level buffs. The only thing that comes to mind is to not make buffs available on low levels at all, only debuffs... but that's kind of sub-optimal of course.

 

If you make buffs limited per day regardless of level and make their strength dependent on caster level, you can have weak buffs in the beginning without them becoming a recasting annoyance while at the same time keeping their usefulness all the way through. I'd prefer a strength buffing spell that grows with levels over "minor bull's strength", "bull's strength", "greater bull's strength" any day.

 

3) A party without a buffing class shouldn't be weaker overall, as that makes buffing classes no brainers.

 

I'm not sure about what you mean by this. A party of 6 barbarians should be weaker than one of 5 barbs and 1 priest IMO, for the exact reason of buffs. Just like that party should in turn be weaker than one of 4 barbs, 1 priest and 1 wizard (for crowd control). I think certain staples should remain, and bad party composition shouldn't be justified with citing "player choice".

 

I'd agree on this. However, imho, the goal should be that if you pick any 6 distinct classes out of the pool of available classes, those parties should be playable/trainable in a way that they are equally strong. Of course, this would propably be balance perfection and is thus not attainable -

but if you end up in a situation where every party consisting of 6 distinct classes which is missing the cleric vastly improves by swapping a member for a cleric, the cleric is propably too important overall. You're right that bad party composition shouldn't be justified with citing "player choice", but good party composition shouldn't be dictated by having exactly 3 specific classes in every party either, as it is in most DnD games.

 

- Make buffs like combat modes, giving certain disadvantages in addition to their advantages (fire shield reduces fire damage but increases cold damage)

 

Nice idea IMO, but then shouldn't that apply to other kinds of magic as well? There shouldn't be too much of a divergence between buffs and other spells.

 

The advantage/disatvantage is more about involving tactical decisions in the first place and less about having disadvantages in general. I feel like most spells in DnD are pretty balanced by this:

Area of damage spells are powerful, but you'll hit your own party members as well if you don't care about protecting them / moving them out of the way.

Most offensive spells have saves, so you have to choose your spells according to the enemies saves if you want to succeed.

Buffs are in general not that thought provocing, as they are a simple enhancement and its much easier to decide which ones are useful and which ones are not, given that you can have them simultaneosly.

So by this proposition, instead of casting everything available to you, you have to think about what the enemy is going to do if you want to have an advantage, as your buffs could also very well help your enemy if you're not careful.

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If you make buffs limited per day regardless of level and make their strength dependent on caster level, you can have weak buffs in the beginning without them becoming a recasting annoyance while at the same time keeping their usefulness all the way through. I'd prefer a strength buffing spell that grows with levels over "minor bull's strength", "bull's strength", "greater bull's strength" any day.

 

Uh... limit the amount of buffs that can be on one character at a time? Or limit the number of buffs a character can cast (i.e. you can cast 10 lvl 1 spells but only 3 buffs? Or a given buff can only be cast 3 times?) ô.ô

 

I probably don't get it because making buffs scale with your level means you would have a huge arsenal of very powerful buffs at the end. Unless you really cut down the number of buffs per spell level (1 or 2).

 

 

I'd agree on this. However, imho, the goal should be that if you pick any 6 distinct classes out of the pool of available classes, those parties should be playable/trainable in a way that they are equally strong. Of course, this would propably be balance perfection and is thus not attainable -

but if you end up in a situation where every party consisting of 6 distinct classes which is missing the cleric vastly improves by swapping a member for a cleric, the cleric is propably too important overall. You're right that bad party composition shouldn't be justified with citing "player choice", but good party composition shouldn't be dictated by having exactly 3 specific classes in every party either, as it is in most DnD games.

 

I hear you. I especially want them to do away with the "Thou shalt take one of each kind" 1st commandment.

 

http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/62177-redundant-class-abilities-in-pe/

 

I want all sorts of parties to be viable and powerful. 3 paladins, 2 bards and one cipher should be just as legit as 1 fighter, 1 paladin, 1 ranger, 1 rogue, 1 priest and 1 wizard. (Note in this topic I also called for stackable buffs/ abilities - a contentious issue I know ;) )

 

The advantage/disatvantage is more about involving tactical decisions in the first place and less about having disadvantages in general. I feel like most spells in DnD are pretty balanced by this:

Area of damage spells are powerful, but you'll hit your own party members as well if you don't care about protecting them / moving them out of the way.

Most offensive spells have saves, so you have to choose your spells according to the enemies saves if you want to succeed.

Buffs are in general not that thought provocing, as they are a simple enhancement and its much easier to decide which ones are useful and which ones are not, given that you can have them simultaneosly.

So by this proposition, instead of casting everything available to you, you have to think about what the enemy is going to do if you want to have an advantage, as your buffs could also very well help your enemy if you're not careful.

 

Point taken. I agree.

 

The disadvantages should make sense though. A fire shield making you more susceptible to cold - why? Good example: Haste makes you fatigued after a while.

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I generally have used buffs in past IE games as a get ready for a boss fight otherwise I just took oh sh*t buttons that would save a character from getting dead. Honestly though I don't mind buffs. I think the best way to keep them from getting too tedious is to do it in 2 groups.

 

The first group is long buffs (lasts 24 game hours) with smaller effects. Small increases in damage, defense, hit points, critical hit chance, and so on. These would be the lower level buffs, you get them early and can use them to make up wherever you feel your party is lacking. These shouldn't be stackable, so if you have 2 bards singing the same +5% damage song you shouldn't get 10% damage.

 

The next group is short powerful buffs (10-30 seconds) to be used in combat on the fly. These would grant large bonuses to just about anything imaginable or be the oh sh*t buttons that make you invulnerable for a short time and the like. If spells are on cool downs these should have long cool downs in order to keep them from being too strong in combat, anywhere from 3min to 30min. Any effects from these buffs should be in addition to the effects of the longer lasting buffs.

Edited by Pshaw

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The first group is long buffs (lasts 24 game hours) with smaller effects. Small increases in damage, defense, hit points, critical hit chance, and so on. These would be the lower level buffs, you get them early and can use them to make up wherever you feel your party is lacking. These shouldn't be stackable, so if you have 2 bards singing the same +5% damage song you shouldn't get 10% damage.

 

Why not though? As long as the bard can't do anything - only sing - why not make it stack? To stick with your example, 4 bards singing simultaneously would give 2 fighters a measly damage bonus of 20%. Hardly OP, is it? But it would make it a bit less of a waste to have more than exactly 1 bard.

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Why not though? As long as the bard can't do anything - only sing - why not make it stack? To stick with your example, 4 bards singing simultaneously would give 2 fighters a measly damage bonus of 20%. Hardly OP, is it? But it would make it a bit less of a waste to have more than exactly 1 bard.

 

I love that image. Four bards singing a cappella as the fighter goes a'choppin'.

 

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I totally understand any simulationist objections. :disguise:

 

It was not intended as an objection. I do love that image.

 

Also, think of the role-playing possibilities. Exactly what kind of hero will collect four bards to tag along and sing to him on his adventures?

 

http://youtu.be/BZwuTo7zKM8

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Personally I dont like buffing AT ALL I didnt buffed my party in any of the IE games. The same goes for stupid potions like Thiefing mastery potions and stuff like that. Wouldnt be it harder to play without all this buff thingies ? Its harder and more realistic. And healing like using bandages and stuff should be only available after battles.

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I actually appreciate that games like IWD "forced" the player to use buffs. I've never played but seeing as how Josh thought it would be pretty necessary to use buffs in certain parts, it makes buffs seem that much more useful.

Edited by Hormalakh

My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

My DXdiag:

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/2014/08/beta-begins-v257.html

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I totally understand any simulationist objections. :disguise:

 

It was not intended as an objection. I do love that image.

 

Also, think of the role-playing possibilities. Exactly what kind of hero will collect four bards to tag along and sing to him on his adventures?

 

An extremely vain one?

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If you make buffs limited per day regardless of level and make their strength dependent on caster level, you can have weak buffs in the beginning without them becoming a recasting annoyance while at the same time keeping their usefulness all the way through. I'd prefer a strength buffing spell that grows with levels over "minor bull's strength", "bull's strength", "greater bull's strength" any day.

 

Uh... limit the amount of buffs that can be on one character at a time? Or limit the number of buffs a character can cast (i.e. you can cast 10 lvl 1 spells but only 3 buffs? Or a given buff can only be cast 3 times?) ô.ô

 

I probably don't get it because making buffs scale with your level means you would have a huge arsenal of very powerful buffs at the end. Unless you really cut down the number of buffs per spell level (1 or 2).

 

Initially, every spell level is limited. It is only until later that you can begin to cast those spells unlimited times. I'd just exclude the buffs from this rule, for example:

LVL1 5 LVL1-Spells

LVL2 7 LVL1-Spells

LVL3 9 LVL1-Spells

LVL4 Unlimited LVL1-Spells which aren't Buffs, still only 9 LVL1-Buffs

In exchange, there would be only a few buffs per level, just as you mentioned, so that those lvl1 Buffs are still viable later on. Propably too complicated, though, and it doesn't make much sense from a logical point of view either. Then again, unlimited scaling buffs would be too powerful otherwise.

 

I'd agree on this. However, imho, the goal should be that if you pick any 6 distinct classes out of the pool of available classes, those parties should be playable/trainable in a way that they are equally strong. Of course, this would propably be balance perfection and is thus not attainable -

but if you end up in a situation where every party consisting of 6 distinct classes which is missing the cleric vastly improves by swapping a member for a cleric, the cleric is propably too important overall. You're right that bad party composition shouldn't be justified with citing "player choice", but good party composition shouldn't be dictated by having exactly 3 specific classes in every party either, as it is in most DnD games.

 

I hear you. I especially want them to do away with the "Thou shalt take one of each kind" 1st commandment.

 

http://forums.obsidi...bilities-in-pe/

 

I want all sorts of parties to be viable and powerful. 3 paladins, 2 bards and one cipher should be just as legit as 1 fighter, 1 paladin, 1 ranger, 1 rogue, 1 priest and 1 wizard. (Note in this topic I also called for stackable buffs/ abilities - a contentious issue I know ;) )

 

Although I agree with you on this, isn't that contradicting your point before about the party of all barbarians which is improved by adding a cleric?

 

The advantage/disatvantage is more about involving tactical decisions in the first place and less about having disadvantages in general. I feel like most spells in DnD are pretty balanced by this:

Area of damage spells are powerful, but you'll hit your own party members as well if you don't care about protecting them / moving them out of the way.

Most offensive spells have saves, so you have to choose your spells according to the enemies saves if you want to succeed.

Buffs are in general not that thought provocing, as they are a simple enhancement and its much easier to decide which ones are useful and which ones are not, given that you can have them simultaneosly.

So by this proposition, instead of casting everything available to you, you have to think about what the enemy is going to do if you want to have an advantage, as your buffs could also very well help your enemy if you're not careful.

 

Point taken. I agree.

 

The disadvantages should make sense though. A fire shield making you more susceptible to cold - why? Good example: Haste makes you fatigued after a while.

 

Yeah, disadvantages should make sense. Being fatigued after being hasted is also a way better example than the fireshield. (The fire-shield is made out of ice, so its protecting you against fire and it enforces cold passing through towards you would be the explanation).

 

I generally have used buffs in past IE games as a get ready for a boss fight otherwise I just took oh sh*t buttons that would save a character from getting dead. Honestly though I don't mind buffs. I think the best way to keep them from getting too tedious is to do it in 2 groups.

 

The first group is long buffs (lasts 24 game hours) with smaller effects. Small increases in damage, defense, hit points, critical hit chance, and so on. These would be the lower level buffs, you get them early and can use them to make up wherever you feel your party is lacking. These shouldn't be stackable, so if you have 2 bards singing the same +5% damage song you shouldn't get 10% damage.

 

The next group is short powerful buffs (10-30 seconds) to be used in combat on the fly. These would grant large bonuses to just about anything imaginable or be the oh sh*t buttons that make you invulnerable for a short time and the like. If spells are on cool downs these should have long cool downs in order to keep them from being too strong in combat, anywhere from 3min to 30min. Any effects from these buffs should be in addition to the effects of the longer lasting buffs.

 

The first group is most often the group which is accesible at low levels. However, as the game goes by, most often there is nothing else worthwhile on those spell levels so that you just use those small buffs semi-permanently, as you normally only have to recast them after resting. So you could actually make them auras without losing anything or just increase the base statistic of all characters, because they automatically are active once you get that party member. I think those buffs are actually the worst as they are just recastable auras which don't need any decision making at all.

 

I still agree on making them unstackable. The point of an 6-chanter party would be to let them sing 6 different songs at the same time, so that you gain various benefits for all chanters. As they can act while singing (in contrary to the DnD bard) you could propably have them act as the fighters themselves while singing their 6-part epos (which is kind of cool, at least I understood the description this way).

 

On a related note, how do we feel about buffs stacking with enhancement from equipment?

I prefer them not being stackable (as that normally makes buffs unnecessary after some time and I don't have to bother with them anymore).

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