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A quick questions to JS:

1. What if everybody plays a chanter? Don't tell me you are going to Buff 10 classes. Same question applies to races.

 

I think that in case that one class or race is superior to others, then that class or race will get nerf update.

 

Who nerfs singleplayer games? That's about the most retarded thing I've ever heard of.

Firaxis, Bioware, Bethesda, and Obsidian all come instantly to mind.

 

Some developers try to balance their single-player games. Madness, I know.

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The simple equation here is that you need to hit a range, where players can fail, perhaps greatly on the hardest difficulties if they do the "wrong" things, and succeed greatly if they do the right things. This includes how you build out your party. If there's no "wrong" party balance, then alternately there's also no "right" party balance. There's nothing to win, and it becomes an aesthetic choice rather than an interesting, strategic one.

 

And an aesthetic choice should be fine for lower difficulties. Players there might just want to have the npc's they think are the most fun to have around, and choose the powers they think are the coolest, all without regard to how the party works together.

 

But for higher level difficulties I suspect players are going to desire, even expect that optimizing each characters build with respect to the party as a whole to be incredibly important. This is an area where DIablo 3, among many other modern RPG games, went wrong. They see simply that there's a section of players that don't enjoy the challenge of building out there characters in an extremely optimized way; and so they get rid of that. This completely ignores a large section of players that DO enjoy optimizing numbers and character builds.

 

A game can have it both ways if the work and effort is put in, but many game developers don't even recognize that otpimization players are even there (loud and vociferous as some may be). Personally I hope Project Eternity is a game that can accomplish both goals.

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And an aesthetic choice should be fine for lower difficulties. Players there might just want to have the npc's they think are the most fun to have around, and choose the powers they think are the coolest, all without regard to how the party works together.

 

But for higher level difficulties I suspect players are going to desire, even expect that optimizing each characters build with respect to the party as a whole to be incredibly important. This is an area where DIablo 3, among many other modern RPG games, went wrong. They see simply that there's a section of players that don't enjoy the challenge of building out there characters in an extremely optimized way; and so they get rid of that. This completely ignores a large section of players that DO enjoy optimizing numbers and character builds.

 

A game can have it both ways if the work and effort is put in, but many game developers don't even recognize that otpimization players are even there (loud and vociferous as some may be). Personally I hope Project Eternity is a game that can accomplish both goals.

 

This is a great point, Frenetic Pony. I actually fall into both of the catergories you mentioned depending on the day. Sometimes I do want combat to easy almost to the point of triviality because I'm only there for the story. Other times I want to metagame and min-max my way through soul crushing challenges. For people like me, and I doubt the way I play is terribly rare, a game that has a vast range of difficultly (in combat especially) between the easiest and hardest settings is ideal. It would be so ideal that I feel it does surpass the 'if it's in the budget' barrier that so many optional options should and do run into. I really do hope they are able to develop an AI that can scale difficultly through strategic means and not power/health adjustments as I think it would help to create that range and keep each difficulty fun.

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Firaxis, Bioware, Bethesda, and Obsidian all come instantly to mind.

 

Some developers try to balance their single-player games. Madness, I know.

 

Balancing is one thing, but nerfing after its been released?

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The optimal party balance means that every class will feel distinctive but they will all be completely viable regardless of party composition.

 

Iirc, Bards sucked in Baldur's Gate. What I would like to see is a system where having a party of 6 bards is as viable as having a party with 5 mages or a party with one of each archetype. All without sacrificing what makes classes special. Hard maybe, but I refuse to believe impossible.


My thoughts on how character powers and urgency could be implemented:

http://forums.obsidi...nse-of-urgency/

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Firaxis, Bioware, Bethesda, and Obsidian all come instantly to mind.

 

Some developers try to balance their single-player games. Madness, I know.

 

Balancing is one thing, but nerfing after its been released?

All the companies I mentioned above have done that with games released in the last few years.

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The simple equation here is that you need to hit a range, where players can fail, perhaps greatly on the hardest difficulties if they do the "wrong" things, and succeed greatly if they do the right things. This includes how you build out your party. If there's no "wrong" party balance, then alternately there's also no "right" party balance. There's nothing to win, and it becomes an aesthetic choice rather than an interesting, strategic one.

 

I don't think anyone wants there to not be a wrong party build. When they say "There shouldn't be a 'right' party build," it means, more-so, that there shouldn't literally be A correct party build, as far as why that particular phrase gets used. Obviously, there's going to be more than 2 party builds, one being right and one being wrong. But, the very fact that you have a system in which you can build 700 different party variants should mean that 600 of them shouldn't be completely out-of-the-question. Some of them are always going to be at the bottom of the usefulness range, but the goal is to design the game such that the viable-to-not-viable ratio is as high as possible. That's all.

 

Your skill points and character development are like currency. If you have $100 to spend, you don't want the options of:

 

A) This nuclear death ray, OR

B) This toothpick.

 

While the options you get aren't going to be perfectly even (unless your game has literally no variance whatsoever to allow for situational advantages/disadvantages), you don't just say "Oh well, they're gonna be uneven... who cares HOW uneven...".

 

I think that's all that's being emphasized here.

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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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My thoughts? This is terrible design. It generates numerous unresolvable problems.

 

-First, it invalidates the decisions you make during character creation. Picking a well balanced party is pointless, because even if you don't take a thief you don't miss anything. So the "decisions" you make during party creation are meaningless, because it ceases to matter what party you make, you'll be just fine with anything.

 

-Second, it promotes degenerate gameplay. Since it doesn't matter what party you have, the only party to have is the one with the highest damage outpout. Right there, the healer class, thief class, bard, ranger, druid, etc, they're all useless. The only characters to make are the Fighter and the Mage. Because all of those special purpose classes no longer have a purpose, since "We don't want any class to be necessary", those special purpose classes are no longer necessary. In a system where you don't need to have a thief to open locks and find traps, there's never a reason to pick one over a fighter. In a system where you don't need a healer to heal you, there's never a reason to pick a Cleric over a Mage. Especially since that also means your class won't open/close any quest doors.

 

--Third, it starts closing doors on story. Can't have a storyline involving your Cleric desperately trying to heal someone, they can't. Can't have a storyline about your thief trying to steal something, your thief isn't special anymore, anyone can do it since we don't want to have to require a thief.

 

Honestly, PE is really starting to reek of 4th edition Dungeons and Dragons. At-will magic powers with cooldowns, no healer required just get your "Second wind", etc. Considering that 4th edition D&D didn't do well at all, I'd really caution against using the systems from it as a design model. Generally speaking, if product A sold badly because of it's qualities. putting them into product B will have the same result.

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Generally speaking, if product A sold badly because of it's qualities. putting them into product B will have the same result.

 

Things can be more than the sum of their parts, though I do agree with your fears to a certain extent. I don't think it's impossible to make the mechanics you listed work. But, I think they would be better off reconsidering some of these systems and trying some more traditional base systems, with some more creative in-house details to such systems (perhaps multiple classes can perform the role of a healer, not simply a priest/spellcaster), or what-not.

 

The one thing I have to say in regards to Sawyer's video is that... when designing a game, one should strive to make all options potentially valid, but you don't want perfect balance. You want there to be a "good" and a "bad" choice in any given situation. If every choice is "equally valid" then there is scarcely a game to be had, because any choice you make wins the game equally.


I made a 2 hour rant video about dragon age 2. It's not the greatest... but if you want to watch it, here ya go:

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My thoughts? This is terrible design. It generates numerous unresolvable problems.

 

-First, it invalidates the decisions you make during character creation. Picking a well balanced party is pointless, because even if you don't take a thief you don't miss anything. So the "decisions" you make during party creation are meaningless, because it ceases to matter what party you make, you'll be just fine with anything.

 

Are you serious? No really? Are you serious? Did you not pay attention to what Sawyer and the rest of the people were saying? I mean, its like you heard "We're gonna balance things so nobody can just dismiss any class or skill", and somehow got "We're gonna make every character identical". Not to mention, being fine with anything does not mean you'll get to experience everything. Sure, you can beat the game with 6 warriors, but it will be a completely goddamn different experience than playing with a regular balanced party. Nowhere in anything did he even imply that somehow imply that you no longer want a balanced party. Nowhere.

 

-Second, it promotes degenerate gameplay. Since it doesn't matter what party you have, the only party to have is the one with the highest damage outpout. Right there, the healer class, thief class, bard, ranger, druid, etc, they're all useless. The only characters to make are the Fighter and the Mage. Because all of those special purpose classes no longer have a purpose, since "We don't want any class to be necessary", those special purpose classes are no longer necessary. In a system where you don't need to have a thief to open locks and find traps, there's never a reason to pick one over a fighter. In a system where you don't need a healer to heal you, there's never a reason to pick a Cleric over a Mage. Especially since that also means your class won't open/close any quest doors.

 

There it is again. Look, being able to solve every encounter with any party layout, does not mean that every party needs to be able to finish it identically. Hell, outside the main quest, it doesn't even mean that specific party layouts can solve it. Not to mention, are you seriously claiming to understand the classes and systems Obsidian is putting in place for clerics and other spell casters? How the hell do you suddenly know what these clerics are gonna be like now that healing is no longer just straight give more people hp. Next, you once again are somehow thinking that not being necssary is now equal to being useless. It's just the idea that yes, I can have my warrior run through those traps, and be severly weakend for the next fight, or I could have my theif go and disable em. Or hell, maybe I'll have my mage summon monsters to "disarm" em, or better yet, I'll mind control my enemies with my Chanter, and make the enemies run straight into their own traps. See, I was able to come up with situations that would be completely different and viable, without relying on any single class.

 

--Third, it starts closing doors on story. Can't have a storyline involving your Cleric desperately trying to heal someone, they can't. Can't have a storyline about your thief trying to steal something, your thief isn't special anymore, anyone can do it since we don't want to have to require a thief.

 

I have never, EVER, heard of a game like this that gave you class specific quests. Ever. It has not been done. Period. And hell, you're the roleplayer right? If your reason for ass kicking i to heal every person you see, or lighten the pockets of every merchant you come across, you can still do that. Once again, I really don't get where the hell you're making these assumptions from. Its like you're assuming the developers are all idiots, who can't tell the difference between balanced, and everything being identical. Also, how exactly does allowing for a more diverse style of play close doors? Sure, now they won't suddenly know exactly what the player is capable of in each encounter, but that just means that they will have to allow for even more freedom in how to solve these encounters, not less (Unless they're terrible developers).

 

Honestly, PE is really starting to reek of 4th edition Dungeons and Dragons. At-will magic powers with cooldowns, no healer required just get your "Second wind", etc. Considering that 4th edition D&D didn't do well at all, I'd really caution against using the systems from it as a design model. Generally speaking, if product A sold badly because of it's qualities. putting them into product B will have the same result.

 

4E sold well, and has a sizeable fanbase. Its about as popular as Pathfinder, and it is fun, if for different reasons. I don't want PE to be 4E, and I don't want it to be pathfinder, I want it to be PE. And right now, we don't know much about how mechanically these classes will function, and how they will vary. But we do know that Obsidian is pretty damn good at these kinds of games, so at the very least we can give them the benifit of the doubt until they start telling us exactly how the game actually plays, instead of just assuming that what ever design their going for already sucks.

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At the core of it all, this isn't an MMO. It is possible to have a character that does less damage and still be a viable and productive member of the party, buffing other character's damage and proving their worth in that way. It's not like the player is stuck playing that character, and that character alone, for the entirety of their non-MMO career.

 

Sure, you could play a party of 6 warriors, and supposedly be able to finish the game(with difficulty, I assume). This is just as valid a playstyle as a mixed group of classes designed to complement each others' strengths and weaknesses. There's nothing inherently wrong with either choice. It's up to the player to decide what they want to do.

 

I see so many people who obviously come from MMO backgrounds bringing these arguments that are rehashed from wherever they came from(my particular class is underpowered in WoW, so nerf mages!) They don't really apply in a single player, squad based tactical RPG. In essence, all 6 characters in the squad are your character, and should be treated as a unit, and not as a group of disparate individuals who look at each other jealously, wondering if they're number one on the DPS list.

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My experience is mixed MMORPG and normal western RPG's. JRPG's I don't care for so much.

I don't care about combat much in games. for me role playing games is about the role playing. That said. I do understand that you want to make every class have something to contribute. I don't think doing that for combat is a bad idea.

 

I do think it's a bad idea if you have to wring yourself through some weird shaped spaces in order to achieve that. I'm ok with some characters being less effective in combat.

But that doesn't mean they shouldn't be able to do anything interesting or useful. If my rogue can do something interesting in combat, I think that will only add to my enjoyment of the character.

Edited by JFSOCC
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Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
---
Pet threads, everyone has them. I love imagining Gods, Monsters, Factions and Weapons.

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Nice video and Q&A. It's good to see the lead designer talking about the importance of balance, i.e. making sure the strategic part of the game is interesting and challenging.

 

Q: Oh, I don't doubt that. But of course that leads to the question of whether this great freedom and flexibility in character development will inevitably lead to poorly balanced combat encounters and other content. The most important type of balance.

Inevitably? Come on.

 

I don't want to see too many "options" (the ones you pick from a character sheet) in a CRPG like P:E, if it means that:

1) the most significant strategic choices a player makes are independent from the "action" in the story and setting,

and

2) the number of options make it too difficult to ensure a good challenge for the player.

 

On point 2, obviously every "option" you give the player can damage the balance of the game. I'd hate to see the devs throw together a bunch of "options" and "challenges" without being very clear on how all these things will affect with each other (especially in combat). Since combat will be the central part of the game's strategic challenges, character customization options should be closely linked to the specific ways difficulty will scale in the game's combat encounters.

Edited by Game_Exile

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Said it one to many times before, I'll say it again, gods only know if it'll be the last but... Third Edition DnD already did this. It works great, people love it, its freakin' fantastic. If they do it right it'll be great in PE as well.


Def Con: kills owls dead

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