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Update #39: Non-Core Classes, Cooldowns, Attack Resolution, Damage vs. Armor and a Tileset!

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@twincast: There's Stamina in P:E. I think it's inspired.

@Malekith: No but I am basing it on that BG:EE has a zoom feature, and I think it is a mechanic that is control based in a different way that you could implement fairly easy (like adding a digital real time clock into the game, toggle-able on/off).

Edited by Osvir

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And of course there could be enemies that deal only one damage type as they only wield one weapon, which would make them be in somewhat disadvantage against characters that wear armor which their weapon is bad against.

 

You know what? Kind of the point of armor is to make it difficult for an enemy to hurt you. So tough luck for them. :)


"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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when I get some free time I plan on mocking up a ui design for the game. I've always been a fan of those old IE games huds. I just want to have a little more context about the game before I put in a ton of time and it's like a bamboo skin when there's nothing like that in game, or what I really wanna do is make it like a customized skin that relates to the story or villain or something and not just modular boxes. I am hoping the PC's get a lil more love. I really like the PE environment screeny, but I thought that was even kinda teeny for scale from the get go. I love the isometric style games, but I want to feel like I have some breathing space to move in.

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@twincast: There's Stamina in P:E. I think it's inspired.

 

@Malekith: No but I am basing it on that BG:EE has a zoom feature, and I think it is a mechanic that is control based in a different way that you could implement fairly easy (like adding a digital real time clock into the game, toggle-able on/off).

BG:EE zoom was a mess, and with 2D IE backrounds zoom is not looking  good. I think BG:EE backrounds were diffirent than classic IE ones, but i'm not sure

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You have to take into consideration that BG, EE or not, is still an old game. BG:EE is just a modernized mechanical update. It's tons of new stuff too and it's great imo.

I think you should compare (by graphical standard today) DA:O's zoom. Where it looks good zoomed out, and it looks good zoomed in.

Or do I not understand what zoom means?
Zoom in on this

EDIT: Tiles! Props  :sweat:  didn't see that before.

Edited by Osvir

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You mentioned the movie Scanners as an inspiration for the ciphers. I'm wondering if any of you have read the book that inspired Scanners: William S. Burrough's novel Naked Lunch. If not, I recommend it. It's not about psychics (except for a chapter about "senders") but it's an interesting read nonetheless!

Naked Lunch? I've seen the movie...

I can think of two things wrong with that title!

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Many of the class concepts are promising, though the ranger and paladin sound a little boring, but it's good for Obsidian to include those concepts since it's clear that a lot of people care about playing them.

 

I'm a bit ambivalent about the proposed armor mechanics right now, because it sounds like it might put a bit too much emphasis on weapon switching, which might get tedious when you have to consider a 6-PCs party, but the current plans sketched for attack/spell resolution sound spot-on.

 

Overall, it was a pretty heartening update, and I actually liked what little one could tell of what *might* be the general scale of dungeons from the prototype screenshot.

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It might be early to talk about specific UI implementations, but since we've touched on intuitiveness of combat mechanics I thought I'd throw out some ideas / options that may help with conveyance.

  • When you select a character and move your cursor over an enemy to attack, the cursor could change to hint the expected performance of the given action. The verbosity is up to the design but a simple example would be "Advantage" or "Disadvantage" popping near the cursor. Problem with this approach is that it assumes you only have one companion selected. Perhaps for a group action the information could pop over the individual's portrait.
     
  • Render a thin line between the selection circles of the assailant and it's target, then color code the line to indicate the effectiveness of their actions. To avoid visual clutter this feature could be hidden until the player presses ALT.
  • Color code the combat log so effective and ineffective actions can be distinguished at a glance. 

Enemy attacks you - it's super effective!

You attack enemy - it sucks.

Enemy attacks you - it sucks.

You attack enemy - it's super effective!

 

Would you guys consider this over-conveyance, which reduces combat to a game of "try all the things until it turns green", or does it cut the headache of spreadsheeting and free the player focus on other fun decisions like character positioning?

 

 

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To give a more concrete example of how the original armor system could theoretically scale well but wind up in "What should I do?" circumstances:

 

armor_scaling.jpg

 

The first table assumes you are equally proficient/damaging with every weapon, i.e. the weapons all do their "base" damage with no modifiers.  Relevant information:

 

DMG* = Damage Multiplier, per hit

Min/Max Dam = What it says, currently set to identical values to make editing easier.  Values are arbitrary, differences between values are not.

Rate = Attack rate, though if it says DWF = 2, that means they can strike at twice the rate.  In practice, two "fast" weapons will attack three times for every two times a pair of non-fast weapons attack, and three times for every one that a 2H weapon attacks.  3:2:1.

DT- = How much DT is negated by the weapon as a base value.  This scales with DMG* to prevent the value from becoming irrelevant.  Piercing weapons only.

MDTDT = Minimum Damage Through Damage Threshold.  Multiply this by the initial damage to determine the minimum amount that will get through armor, no matter how high the DT.  Proportionally increases with weapon size and is doubled for crushing weapons.

DWF = Dual Wield Factor.  2 = Yep, they can be.

 

As the spreadsheet hopefully indicates, things scale pretty much as you would suspect, but it is a graduated process.  At the very top and very bottom ends of the spectrum, the right tools are pretty clear... assuming all of your DMG* are equal.  The second table shows what happens when a small range of DMG* variability is introduced into the equations.  As the DT rises, it still kinda sorta holds up, but there are aberrations: Fast Piercing weapons are much more dominant in the mid range from a 20% increase to damage and an additional 4 points (20% of 20) DT bypass.  In some cases, the differences are minor, but in other cases, it makes a significant difference.

 

And ultimately, those DT values at the top and the names that correlate with them are base values.  When you see someone in mail, you don't know that mail has 30 DT.  It may have 35 DT.  Or it may have 40 and the target is wearing a ring that grants +5 more DT.

 

To be clear, I think this is a neat mathematical system and it's fun to play around with in spreadsheet, but I think it does pose some problems for players who are making tactical choices in a 6 vs. 6 (or more) scenario.  I'm also not saying that the problems can't be solved, but I had tried a number of approaches and wasn't coming up with very satisfying solutions.

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Oh yes, this is indeed ingenious... having every enemy and their mother switch weapons (even if it's completely out of character) to overcome their "bad" damage type that they've been practicing with their entire lives.

:cat:

 

I'd expect a zombie to pull a hammer out of its ass if the axe doesn't do the job, correct?

 

Rock golems should start hitting with karate chops to overcome their inherent proficiency for bludgeoning, no?

 

 

I don't see that single zombie is enemy which I would qualify a nasty enemy. But group of zombies could have several different kinds of weapons with them, so it would be wise to player to use several different armor types in his or her party. Or zombies could carry diseases, which would make normal armor useless against some of their special attacks, as those attacks goes against characters fortitude.

 

If we take assumption that golem's creator has not equip them with slashing or piercing weapons, then we can make rock golems be nasty enemies making their armor such that all weapon types are bad against them or make them do so much damage that even characters in good armor type against it hits can't take many.

 

And of course there could be enemies that deal only one damage type as they only wield one weapon, which would make them be in somewhat disadvantage against characters that wear armor which their weapon is bad against.

 

And if remember correctly, inventory system which they have planned has very limited number places for items that you can uses outside of the safe zones, which could make it bad idea to keep there twelve change armors, for cases where you face opponents that deal only one type of damage. And eighteen good armors probably cost rather heavy price to one keep so many in his or her stack.

If, if, if...

 

It's not about ifs or about the zombie being a serial killer, it's about realistic situations and possibilities.

 

It's about this system being super debilitating for the AI and a mere annoyance (at worst) for the player.

 

 

Do you find a pack of wolves (alpha wolf included) attacking the player a realistic scenario?

What will they do if their damage type (piercing) is completely useless against the party's armor? Will they pause the game, go to the dentist, have their teeth removed and replaced with blades or guns?

All the player needs to do is find the nearest transition, change armor and come back. No, he doesn't even need to reload... And wolves and their teeth will be useless. That's if they happen to be spotted by the pack of wolves, if they're not.. the party doesn't even need to exit the area and can change armor on the spot, before engaging them. Wolves can't.

 

You face a huge aumaua brute with a two-handed warmace.. And all of a sudden, 'coz he doesn't like your armor type, he unsheathes his lil' dagger and starts poking you with it... Or, a powerful assassin, and you've heard stories about him and his prowess with daggers, throws his daggers away at the beginning of the fight and starts hitting you with a flail?

Really? What would this silliness look like? Is it worth it?

 

And what about attacks of opportunity (against a headless AI chicken that chases your guy with light armor) that I mentioned earlier, how would you like to fix that?

 

 

The -50% thing works in strategy games like Warcraft where units can't just switch their damage type. Deciding which units (and damage types) to produce is an important strategic element in such games. Here, they want it to be a tactical element, and it simply doesn't work for the AI.

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Hey Josh, did you see my post on how to fix this without simplifying the system?

 

http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/63207-update-39-non-core-classes-cooldowns-attack-resolution-damage-vs-armor-and-a-tileset/page-4?do=findComment&comment=1302895

 

In the spreadsheet screenshot you posted, you even have it color-coded already, which could correspond to Good, Average, and Poor effectiveness.

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EDIT: Totally missed Josh's post while typing this...

 

 

 

What if you simply had 3 outcomes?

 

 

1) bad/meh/good

2) meh/good/bad

3)good/bad/meh

 

"Bad" could be 50% effectiveness, before you pit the damage against DT, just like they mentioned in the update. Then, "meh" could be 75% effectiveness (or even 70 or something... room for tweaking) before DT, and good would be 100%. OR, you could even do it like... 70%/90%/110%, or 75%/100%/125%. Again, there's room for math tweaking, depending on what works and the specifically desired effect.

 

 

 

 

 

I suppose you could have something like (L/M/H):

  • slash -- good/bad/bad
  • pierce -- good/good/bad
  • crush -- good/good/good
then have the typical weapon damage trend thus: slash > pierce > crush. That way you have two counter-balancing distributions.

 

 

 

Well... I might be unclear on the specific details (or we may just not have them all yet) on the announced changes as opposed to the previous system, but it SEEMS to me like the previous one relied upon only a damage-vs-DT calculation (damage being simply categorized by damage "types"), and the new one literally just uses damage type vs armor type.

 

The problem with crushing being good against all 3 types of armor (we'll just assume 3, for simplicity's sake) is that you'd just equip EVERYONE with crushing weapons and not worry about anything.

 

*shrug*, Why not use a combination of DT AND armor type? I'm with Valorian on the oversimplicity of the 50% penalty for "bad" damage types on a given armor type. Numbers can always be tweaked, but it seems like using two separate factors (damage threshold/reduction AND armor/damage type) is a lot easier to work with and get balanced depth from.

 

Example Tyme!:

 

Let's just assume Slashing beats Light armor, Piercing beats Medium armor, and Crushing beats Heavy armor (even though they could all have different names, or different pairings, or there could be more damage/armor types than that...).

 

Well, if you could have Light armor (maybe leather?) with a DT of 2, and Light armor with a DT of 8 (because DT is a factor independent of armor type), then an enemy wearing DT-2 Light armor wouldn't be such a big deal for your less-effective piercing and crushing weapons. If an axe (slashing), a dagger (piercing), and a mace (crushing) ALL deal 15 damage, and you're fighting the lower-armored Light enemy (DT 2), then your axe would deal 13 damage, and your dagger would suffer a penalty (whatever it is, if you stuck to the current penalty approach). We'll go with 20%, so your dagger vs Light armor drops to 12 damage, vs a DT of 2, so 10 damage.

 

So, your axe does 13, and your dagger and/or mace do 10. Well, if you run into something wearing Crazy Awesome Masterwork Leather (DT 8), and you have the same weapons, then your axe only does 7 damage already (he's just really heavily armored, this guy.) But, your dagger and mace only do 4 damage. The 7 is 175% compared to the 4 damage, whereas the 13 with the axe against the lower-DT armorerd guy is only about 130% of the 10 you did with the "wrong" weapons.

 

Basically, this would mean that having the "wrong" weapon equipped wouldn't always be such a big deal. Fighting an enemy with armor your weapon isn't effective against? Is his armor value high? No? You're probably fine. Wait, his armor value is 12? You might need to switch weapons for that guy. You might even have them in the same battle. "I'm using an axe, and these three guys have heavy armor, but their DT is only 3... I should be fine. But THAT guy's DT is 10. I'm gonna want to whip out the hammer... OF JUSTICE!" 8)

 

Annnnywho, that being said, I think that system works really well, and I think the handling of weapon/armor effectiveness could use tweaking. I think, if you're going to have 3 damage types, and 3 armor types, and with each armor types having only 1 effective and 2 ineffective damage types, you should at least have the ineffective ones do 100% damage (or maybe 90% or somethng minimal), and make the effective one beyond-100% effective (120% damage or something.) The benefits might be heavily psychological, but it makes it feel more like you're doing it wrong when you're doing 50% or 75% damage against things, instead of the "normal" 100%. If your weapon says "15 damage" in its info panel, it's much better to have the OPTION of doing 18 damage with it, against a tough foe when you really need to, as opposed to just 15, than to have the OPTION of doing 15 damage to stuff instead of 8 because you're using the wrong weapon.

 

THAT being said, I still think the best thing to do, with 3 damage types and 3 armor types, is the "good/bad/meh" system.

 

Maybe Crushing is "bad" against Light armor, so it does 80% damage, Piercing is "meh" against Light armor, so it does normal (100%) damage, and Slashing is "good" against Light armor, so it does 120% damage. (Numbers subject to tweaking/shifting, as always.)

 

But, we already see this in magic resistance systems throughout the realm of RPGs. Weakness to fire? Fire does BONUS damage. Resistance to fire? Fire does LESS damage. Neither? Fire does plain old fiery damage. It doesn't seem to cause problems in that implementation, so why not use it for armor types? And the DT value could be thought of as the resistance VALUE in magic resistance. In other words, if an enemy has 10 Lightning resistance, or 10 Fire resistance, 10 is like the DT/DR value (which is the exact same no matter what the type... 10 is 10), and "Lightning" and "Fire" are clearly the types of damage it's blocking. Well, it'd be the same thing with armor, only... think of each armor type as a grouping of 3 resistance values.

 

Light armor would be weakness to Slashing, resistance to Piercing, and neutrality to Crushing.

Medium would be neutrality to Slashing, weakness to Piercing, and resistance to Crushing.

Heavy would be resistance to Slashing, neutrality to Piercing, and weakness to Crushing.

 

Just my thoughts, lengthy though they may be.

 

Also, in regard to the 3 types of magical armor... I think replacing "Armor" with "Synthetic" would be a nice change. Then you'd have "Natural, Synthetic, and Spirit." You could even go with "Ethereal" instead of Spirit, but that's pretty much nitpicking at this point. You've basically got 2 types of physical armor (organic and synthetic), and 1 type of non-physical. *shrug*. We probably need more details about how that works, but, with 3 types, I suppose you could have 3 damage types. That would just have to take the place of individual elemental resistances, I would think. Things might get a bit convoluted with both in there. Perhaps not, though.

 

Also, I'm with Valorian on the "% of DT applied to elemental weapon bonus damage effects" thing. If a sword does swingy-physics damage AND elemental damage, the elemental damage shouldn't really have anything to do with physical armor DT, just because it's coming from a sword. Seems like it makes you have to balance fire damage 2 different ways, and I don't see a benefit that outweighs the convolution of that. Obviously, I'm not inherently smarter or more knowledgeable than Obsidian, so there could just be a reason for it that we don't yet know.

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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*shrug*, Why not use a combination of DT AND armor type? I'm with Valorian on the oversimplicity of the 50% penalty for "bad" damage types on a given armor type. 

 

 

I made only a quick scan of your post, Lephys, you know me. ;)


In fact, they *are* using a combination of both and I had that in mind when I made my observations about why including a massive 50% damage penalty is a horrible decision.

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Hey Josh, did you see my post on how to fix this without simplifying the system?

 

http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/63207-update-39-non-core-classes-cooldowns-attack-resolution-damage-vs-armor-and-a-tileset/page-4?do=findComment&comment=1302895

 

In the spreadsheet screenshot you posted, you even have it color-coded already, which could correspond to Good, Average, and Poor effectiveness.

 

The color-coding is for relative values, which requires some metric for comparison.  There is something similar I'd considered where you would receive an indication of whether your weapon's damage was hitting its minimum damage through damage threshold.  That lets you know that piece of information, which is helpful, but it doesn't help indicate the efficacy of any other action.

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^^ I really don't blame you, Valorian. I'm not about to claim my brain presents ideas to my mouth/fingertips in the most efficient fashion, haha. My conclusions, based on assumed system characteristics, were the only real value in all of my tippity-typityness.

 

I wasn't aware they were using both now. It sounded like it might've been "Now, only weapon damage numbers and armor type will determine how much damage you do." The 50% penalty might not have been so bad if there wasn't an independent DT value. 8P

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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Hey Josh, did you see my post on how to fix this without simplifying the system?

 

http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/63207-update-39-non-core-classes-cooldowns-attack-resolution-damage-vs-armor-and-a-tileset/page-4?do=findComment&comment=1302895

 

In the spreadsheet screenshot you posted, you even have it color-coded already, which could correspond to Good, Average, and Poor effectiveness.

 

The color-coding is for relative values, which requires some metric for comparison.  There is something similar I'd considered where you would receive an indication of whether your weapon's damage was hitting its minimum damage through damage threshold.  That lets you know that piece of information, which is helpful, but it doesn't help indicate the efficacy of any other action.

 

Aren't relative values enough in combat? In the middle of a battle, you don't need to tell a player how a particular weapon compares to all available weapons in the game, you only need to compare it to the other currently available weapons, and rank them from best to worst for each available enemy. Outside of combat, you could have a more detailed screen that lists all the nitty gritty details for those who want that kind of thing. For those who don't want to get into detailed comparisons, it's easy enough to see how various slashing weapons compare to other slashing weapons, piercing weapons to other piercing weapons, etc. and as long as you emphasize that players should keep a variety of weapon types with them everything should be fine.

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I really enjoy combat systems with deep mechanics, so I have had a knee jerk reaction to this. Little disappointed. Please don't feel you have to simplify combat because all players may not want to go to the trouble of looking at numbers when selecting weapons and armour. Some of us like that sort of thing! It may also add depth to combat, as there are more variables to consider.

 

Besides which, won't casual players just use a simpler table with the numbers removed and qualitative ranks put in? They can make a decision on what weapons and armour to use with ranks such as "good", "poor", "excellent". n.n

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50% seems like a really harsh penalty. I would assume crushing weapons aren't getting the -50% applied against light/medium armor, which would mean carrying a slashing weapon would be a huge liability. If one third of the time it does moderately higher damage than piercing/crushing, but two thirds of the time does 50% less damage + potentially misses DT altogether, you're going to end up with a weapon that is basically useless. I can't imagine any reason to use anything but clubs and mauls in this scenario.

 

On the other hand, if crushing and piercing weapons ARE penalized against lighter armor, you have basically a game of rocks-paper-scissors.

 

I don't see what the problem was with the original system. Maybe you wouldn't immediately know what the optimal weapon would be in any given situation, but you could make a pretty good guess, and observing the combat log would basically seal it. I don't think it's intuitive at all for some weapons to just not work against some armor. In the old system, it sounded like you would be able to get by with a suboptimal weapon. In this system you HAVE to match up the damage type and armor type.

 

Josh and Tim obviously know better than me, since they've been playing with the system; this is just how it appears to me.

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Oh yes, this is indeed ingenious... having every enemy and their mother switch weapons (even if it's completely out of character) to overcome their "bad" damage type that they've been practicing with their entire lives.

:cat:

 

I'd expect a zombie to pull a hammer out of its ass if the axe doesn't do the job, correct?

 

Rock golems should start hitting with karate chops to overcome their inherent proficiency for bludgeoning, no?

 

 

I don't see that single zombie is enemy which I would qualify a nasty enemy. But group of zombies could have several different kinds of weapons with them, so it would be wise to player to use several different armor types in his or her party. Or zombies could carry diseases, which would make normal armor useless against some of their special attacks, as those attacks goes against characters fortitude.

 

If we take assumption that golem's creator has not equip them with slashing or piercing weapons, then we can make rock golems be nasty enemies making their armor such that all weapon types are bad against them or make them do so much damage that even characters in good armor type against it hits can't take many.

 

And of course there could be enemies that deal only one damage type as they only wield one weapon, which would make them be in somewhat disadvantage against characters that wear armor which their weapon is bad against.

 

And if remember correctly, inventory system which they have planned has very limited number places for items that you can uses outside of the safe zones, which could make it bad idea to keep there twelve change armors, for cases where you face opponents that deal only one type of damage. And eighteen good armors probably cost rather heavy price to one keep so many in his or her stack.

If, if, if...

 

It's not about ifs or about the zombie being a serial killer, it's about realistic situations and possibilities.

 

It's about this system being super debilitating for the AI and a mere annoyance (at worst) for the player.

 

 

Do you find a pack of wolves (alpha wolf included) attacking the player a realistic scenario?

What will they do if their damage type (piercing) is completely useless against the party's armor? Will they pause the game, go to the dentist, have their teeth removed and replaced with blades or guns?

All the player needs to do is find the nearest transition, change armor and come back. No, he doesn't even need to reload... And wolves and their teeth will be useless. That's if they happen to be spotted by the pack of wolves, if they're not.. the party doesn't even need to exit the area and can change armor on the spot, before engaging them. Wolves can't.

 

You face a huge aumaua brute with a two-handed warmace.. And all of a sudden, 'coz he doesn't like your armor type, he unsheathes his lil' dagger and starts poking you with it... Or, a powerful assassin, and you've heard stories about him and his prowess with daggers, throws his daggers away at the beginning of the fight and starts hitting you with a flail?

Really? What would this silliness look like? Is it worth it?

 

And what about attacks of opportunity (against a headless AI chicken that chases your guy with light armor) that I mentioned earlier, how would you like to fix that?

 

 

The -50% thing works in strategy games like Warcraft where units can't just switch their damage type. Deciding which units (and damage types) to produce is an important strategic element in such games. Here, they want it to be a tactical element, and it simply doesn't work for the AI.

 

I don't see any problem if pack of wolves has problems against heavily armored party. And wolves do also slashing damage with their pawns. But over all in my mind planed system works with wolves somewhat as it should. So wolves fare better with light armored opponents.

 

And for aumaua example. If for example two-handed war-mace does 10-20 damage against medium and heavy armor, but is bad against light armors and there fore does 5-10 and dagger does 1-4 damage against light and medium armors and 0-2 against heavy armors, then there is no reason to switch mace to dagger. And if assassin goes single combat with heavily armored enemy it would be somewhat stupid try win that fight with dagger.

 

To think how make AI work I would need to know all variables, not only couple and trying guess all others, so I can't give any ideas toward imaginary headless chicken chase case.

 

Making AI react intelligently to this system is not more complex than make AI uses their boost/defense/heal/ abilities or spell in intelligent manner.

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Regarding damage threshold and combat stats shared with us — I wish more creatures utilized an exoskeleton which you had to break to open vulnerable spots to destroy them. In D&D I was never a huge player, but I liked the concept that trolls had to be finished off by fire and they could regenerate health. They seemed like a legitimate threat. Similarly there was a creature that ate away at your weapons and armor and it was possible your stuff could be destroyed in battle. If creatures in PE are going to be as exploitable as Valorian is suggesting, I'd ask that Josh and Tim try to incorporate similar tactics as I mentioned to encounters that gave the enemy's a sporting chance, and not just being meat shields as we whack away. Also, keep the enemies mobile and moving around us when appropriate to keep us on our toes.

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Please ignore the character size of Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition, that is using the original BG assets in their original size on a larger resolution because the source art was lost.

 

Character models would be better if they were larger, like when you play the original BG in 640x480 at aspect ratio. I'm at work so I can't blow up this screenshot, but if you blew this up to a large 4x3 res and then just show more of the map to the side ... that would be about right IMO.

 

baldurs-gate-4.png

 

I run BG1 at 640x480 on my 24" CRT monitor and perhaps slightly smaller than that would be good.

Edited by Sensuki

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We're still playing with the relative size of characters on screen.  Adam and I both agree that they are too small at the current scale, so we will be trying out a closer view soon.

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