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'Powers' used out of combat / given utility use? And related topics like dungeon/world design!

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Hey all, I was thinking about how the various 'powers' of classes (like powers from Fighter, Barbarian, Paladin, Wizard, etc.) might be able to be used out of combat in something like an Infinity Engine game. That is, for the non skill, non healing or restorative,usually 'clickable' abilities of characters to have some use outside of combat. Video games have a large set of abilities where people use various superpowers from one source or another in ways that are useful outside of combat, but those generally aren't Infinity Engine-like games (they are often sandboxes and such). Still, I have a few ideas, so far:

 

-Various sources of trapfinding, eg, certain types of magic-oriented characters should be able to see magic traps / magic auras.

-Various character types can bash through or blow apart certain types of walls, bypassing areas in some dungeons

-If a character has a charm, beguiling, telepathic, or an emotion sensing, or a lying sensing ability, they might be able to determine when someone is telling a partial lie, if they are doing the speech, or they would have the option of using magic to charm someone in combat

-Various methods of disguise and social coersion, both magical and mundane, should allow someone to try a 'social' way of getting through a dungeon

 

What I am thinking of is things like the Deus Ex games, where there are SEVERAL ways of using your superpowers or even traditional skullduggery to solve a given problem, and many of them aren't violent. If these characters have lots of superpowers, or even are really competent at having normal abilities, this sort of thing should be a viable and interesting option, you know? And there should be a reason to do a nonviolent way to get through a level; even if you don't get to loot everything from the cooling corpses of the dungeon, perhaps the person who gave you the job will give you extra rewards for not being so 'kill them all!' in your methods. Does anyone have any thoughts about ways that this sort of thing might be posssible in an Infinity Engine like game?

 

 

Also, does anyone have any idea about ways that the world itself might be made a bit more 'living' or interactive or 'real', like the old Ultima games? Where you can click and interact with many more parts of the world, and people have their own schedules and do their own thing? Heck, the dungeons having actual *sleeping quarters*, kitchens, etc. for the people living in them, which get used would be fantastic, or if you make a large commotion, the entire dungeon going onto lockdown or the alarm going up and everyone going to defend it would be great...

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I like it. Ideally, I think if something could be a tool, it should be. I mean, you can pry things with swords, even though they weren't created for prying. You can cut ropes with them, even though you aren't fighting the ropes.

 

The most common implementation of this I can think of in most games is via environmental interactivity. Maybe if you're fighting in the forest, your Wizard can use some Slicey Disc spell to fell a huge tree and strategically block enemy reinforcements from getting to the immediate fight, or delay them at least.

 

Of course, you're referring to non-combat usages. Some examples come to mind. Using stealth in order to eavesdrop and gather information that might then lead to a negotiation dialogue choice rather than to directly loot or kill something, Using actual spells to intimidate someone (or at least having a scripted dialogue sequence have the option to do so based upon whether or not you've got a caster with that specific spell or spell type), or maybe you'd need a Wizard to create the proper fire needed for a master smith to properly forge a legendary-level item, etc.

 

I definitely like to see even combat-heavy abilities be useful beyond simply directly slaying targets.


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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What are you talking about? Swords are levers. They are made for leverage; that's a huge part of their purpose for being and a major aspect of why they work in a fight! ;)

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What are you talking about? Swords are levers. They are made for leverage; that's a huge part of their purpose for being and a major aspect of why they work in a fight! ;)

 

That's totally ridiculous! If they were levers, then they'd be activating traps and giant stone doors (the mechanical physics of which are a mystery) left and right while you were killing enemies, and enemies would have to be switches! Everyone knows levers only operate traps, doors, and switches, u_u... Gyah...

 

8)


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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J.E. Sawyer has covered the broader concept on Formspring when people have complained about the inability to open locked doors or containers with explosives or gunfire in NV. His response was, to put it bluntly, that it would make the lockpicking skill worthless. Then the complainers counter that there could be a % chance of damaging/destroying the contents of a container. His response was that most players would just save-scum until they got everything fresh and new and undamaged.

 

Just something to keep in mind when suggesting that charisma/persuasion skills in conversation should somehow translate into a charm/mind control spell in combat.

Edited by AGX-17
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J.E. Sawyer has covered the broader concept on Formspring when people have complained about the inability to open locked doors or containers with explosives or gunfire in NV. His response was, to put it bluntly, that it would make the lockpicking skill worthless. Then the complainers counter that there could be a % chance of damaging/destroying the contents of a container. His response was that most players would just save-scum until they got everything fresh and new and undamaged.

 

Just something to keep in mind when suggesting that charisma/persuasion skills in conversation should somehow translate into a charm/mind control spell in combat.

 

Huh.

 

So basically, unless it is Path of Iron, we can expect percentile chances to be out the window.

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J.E. Sawyer has covered the broader concept on Formspring when people have complained about the inability to open locked doors or containers with explosives or gunfire in NV. His response was, to put it bluntly, that it would make the lockpicking skill worthless. Then the complainers counter that there could be a % chance of damaging/destroying the contents of a container. His response was that most players would just save-scum until they got everything fresh and new and undamaged.

 

Just something to keep in mind when suggesting that charisma/persuasion skills in conversation should somehow translate into a charm/mind control spell in combat.

 

Huh.

 

So basically, unless it is Path of Iron, we can expect percentile chances to be out the window.

 

Percentile chances of what? Nobody at Obsidian has remotely clearly defined any skills that will be present in P:E or how they will function mechanically. The example was Sawyer's explanation/retort as to why players of NV couldn't shoot locks or blow up doors rather than pick the lock or find a key.

Edited by AGX-17
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J.E. Sawyer has covered the broader concept on Formspring when people have complained about the inability to open locked doors or containers with explosives or gunfire in NV. His response was, to put it bluntly, that it would make the lockpicking skill worthless. Then the complainers counter that there could be a % chance of damaging/destroying the contents of a container. His response was that most players would just save-scum until they got everything fresh and new and undamaged.

 

Just something to keep in mind when suggesting that charisma/persuasion skills in conversation should somehow translate into a charm/mind control spell in combat.

 

Huh.

 

So basically, unless it is Path of Iron, we can expect percentile chances to be out the window.

 

Percentile chances of what? Nobody at Obsidian has remotely clearly defined any skills that will be present in P:E or how they will function mechanically. The example was Sawyer's explanation/retort as to why players of NV couldn't shoot locks or blow up doors rather than pick the lock or find a key.

 

Percentile chance attached to a beneficial result -- probably safe to assume he doesn't want that because of save scumming possibilities.

Edited by Somna

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Percentile chance attached to a beneficial result -- probably safe to assume he doesn't want that because of save scumming possibilities.

 

Not true. Josh has expressed full advocacy of critical hits, or they would've been removed. Also, not only are misses still being considered as a possibility, but, either way, glancing blows/misses are still percentage-chance based. u_u...

Edited by Lephys

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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Percentile chance attached to a beneficial result -- probably safe to assume he doesn't want that because of save scumming possibilities.

 

Not true. Josh has expressed full advocacy of critical hits, or they would've been removed. Also, not only are misses still being considered as a possibility, but, either way, glancing blows/misses are still percentage-chance based. u_u...

 

Mmm, that's true. I was thinking more of out of combat situations like the mentioned chest opening example or controlled skill challenges, where it's trivial to just save, try, and reload.

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Mmm, that's true. I was thinking more of out of combat situations like the mentioned chest opening example or controlled skill challenges, where it's trivial to just save, try, and reload.

 

Yeah, I get that. I was just trying to make sure you were aware of his stances on those things. The way information gets kicked up into a tornado around this place, it's easy to miss stuff, :)

 

I think it's good to consider reasonable ways to eliminate scenarios in which save-scumming easily turns things into an extremely inefficient chore. However, I don't think they're waging war on save-scumming or anything. Basically, if you can implement something like lockpicking, for example, in such a way that the provided systems (saving anywhere) don't encourage the grueling circumvention of limitations (using your save to re-roll dice for an hour until you pick the lock), then by all means, do so. But, I think the benefits of being able to save anywhere still greatly outweigh the benefits of fully-eliminating the need and/or possibility to save-scum.

 

Basically, it's better for everyone for the process of lockpicking to never even be able to take an hour than it is for it to possibly do so. And yeah, it's highly tied to chance calculation. But they're not all bad.


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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Mmm, that's true. I was thinking more of out of combat situations like the mentioned chest opening example or controlled skill challenges, where it's trivial to just save, try, and reload.

 

Yeah, I get that. I was just trying to make sure you were aware of his stances on those things. The way information gets kicked up into a tornado around this place, it's easy to miss stuff, :)

 

I think it's good to consider reasonable ways to eliminate scenarios in which save-scumming easily turns things into an extremely inefficient chore. However, I don't think they're waging war on save-scumming or anything. Basically, if you can implement something like lockpicking, for example, in such a way that the provided systems (saving anywhere) don't encourage the grueling circumvention of limitations (using your save to re-roll dice for an hour until you pick the lock), then by all means, do so. But, I think the benefits of being able to save anywhere still greatly outweigh the benefits of fully-eliminating the need and/or possibility to save-scum.

 

Basically, it's better for everyone for the process of lockpicking to never even be able to take an hour than it is for it to possibly do so. And yeah, it's highly tied to chance calculation. But they're not all bad.

 

I could have sworn that the lockpicking example was:

a) If you were close but not close enough, it would just use more lockpicks.

b) If you aren't close at all, it just auto-fails.

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J.E. Sawyer has covered the broader concept on Formspring when people have complained about the inability to open locked doors or containers with explosives or gunfire in NV. His response was, to put it bluntly, that it would make the lockpicking skill worthless. Then the complainers counter that there could be a % chance of damaging/destroying the contents of a container. His response was that most players would just save-scum until they got everything fresh and new and undamaged.

 

Just something to keep in mind when suggesting that charisma/persuasion skills in conversation should somehow translate into a charm/mind control spell in combat.

Huh.

 

So basically, unless it is Path of Iron, we can expect percentile chances to be out the window.

 

Percentile chances of what? Nobody at Obsidian has remotely clearly defined any skills that will be present in P:E or how they will function mechanically. The example was Sawyer's explanation/retort as to why players of NV couldn't shoot locks or blow up doors rather than pick the lock or find a key.

 

Do you have a link to this quote? I'm interested in seeing it.

 

Thanks!


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 could have sworn that the lockpicking example was:

a) If you were close but not close enough, it would just use more lockpicks.

b) If you aren't close at all, it just auto-fails.

 

 

It might be. I wasn't commenting/speculating as to the actual lockpicking mechanics in P:E. I was merely using lockpicking in cRPGs of old as an example.

 

That example you cited is precisely what I'm talking about, though. There's no point in it ever being possible to pick a certain difficulty lock (in relation to your skill) ONLY after an hour of picking through all your lockpicks and reloading. That's not fun for anyone. If that example is the system being used, then now, you either have enough lockpicks and skill to pick a lock, or you don't. There's no "Aww man... I just tried to pick that lock 87 times... maybe an 88th would've worked, but I'm out of lockpicks, so lemme reload and try again." Or, even if you don't reload, there's no need to waste all that time, then run back to town to buy some more lockpicks, then come back and try some more. There's no need for it to be a mystery how long picking a lock will take when it is possible in any capacity.

 

That's the idea behind the whole "degenerate gameplay/behavior" thing that always comes up around here. A more appropriate term is "degenerate design." Instead of just requiring you to have a certain amount of skill and a certain number of lockpicks, the game is also requiring a completely random amount of time for the lock to be picked at your current level. It's basically an imbalance. It's akin to having a big scary dragon that kills your party instantly if you get too close and your party outranges it, but you only do 3 damage to it with your ranged attacks, and it has 17,000 hitpoints. If you drop its health to a more reasonable amount, and/or increase the player's damage dealt to it, and reduce its extreme damage, the combat challenge can still take time and effort without eliminating all viable, enjoyable tactics and leaving only the mundane, waste-of-time option for killing it.

 

It's simply pointlessly inefficient design.

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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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