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Solving The Rest Problem: Limited resting, or respawning enemies?


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The Infinity Engine games had a big problem - the player's ability to rest at will, with almost no limitations or consequences, trivialized the game's strategic layer.
 
We know Project Eternity will be addressing this somewhat, by restricting resting to designated rest areas. However, even that may be too forgiving. Back in April, I asked Josh Sawyer this: http://www.formspring.me/JESawyer/q/449363929492124469
 

 

Have you considered adding a "rest resource" to PE, like Tents in traditional JRPGs? If you have rest areas within dungeons, that could help prevent people from constantly backtracking to them in order to refill their health, trivializing the dungeon.

We've talked about it, but for now we're going to see how the rest areas work on their own. Some people on the team believe that if we limit the use of the rest locations it will be excessively punitive.

Knights of the Chalice generally allows players to re-use rest sites, but there's at least one area I remember that doesn't and I saw a lot of negative response to it.

Personally, I do worry about the potential for player dissatisfaction either if resting removes all challenge or if restricted resting makes things too frustrating. In any case, it's something we're going to be looking at and thinking about more as we continue development.

 
So, it looks like things are still up in the air.
 
Assuming the game does end up supporting unlimited resting in rest areas, an alternative solution would be to respawn monsters in the dungeon every time the player rests. That would mean the player would have to think twice before clicking that Rest button, because clearing the dungeon again could turn out to be a big headache - not to mention he might need to rest again after doing it!
 
Remember, we want resting to have consequences, but the solution has to be relatively cheap to implement, because in the end, this game is a story-driven RPG, not "Dungeon Simulator 2014". So that means complex scripted things like "the goblins fortify the dungeon and beef up their patrols while you rest" aren't a viable all-purpose solution.
 
Thoughts?

Edited by Infinitron
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Yes, I support this. It's a simple solution that has worked in games such as Dark Souls. Since Project Eternity will not have combat XP, there would be no incentive to farm enemies or grind. It would also allow more precise balancing, since the designers would have a pretty good idea where players are at in terms of health. I hope they implement this.

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I'm against this, because this is a story driven rpg. The problem is, that not in all situation it's plausible that there are more enemies. If you attack a thieves hideout, why would there more enemies afer one day of resting. Sometimes there could be more enemies, but not in every dungeon.

Edited by Prometheus
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I'm against this, because this is a story driven rpg. The problem is, that not in all situation it's plausible that there are more enemies. If you attack a thieves hideout, why would there more enemies afer one day of resting. Sometimes there could be more enemies, but not in every dungeon.

I disagree that it's a "story driven rpg". Basically everything we've heard so far has been about the combat, we already know that there's no pacifist playthroughs, and dungeon crawling was a major part of the original pitch. I think they should prioritize fun and balanced combat over 'immersion'.

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There was some rather good discussion in a thread by Hormalakh in the other forum, ah yes here it is: http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/63687-limiting-rest-areas/

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Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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I'm against this, because this is a story driven rpg. The problem is, that not in all situation it's plausible that there are more enemies. If you attack a thieves hideout, why would there more enemies afer one day of resting. Sometimes there could be more enemies, but not in every dungeon.

 

Well, there's dungeons and then there are fights that take place in towns and other civilized areas. In the latter case, a rest area is never far away, so I would propose that fights in towns always be highly difficult "set piece" battles that require your party's full resources to win.

 

 

There was some rather good discussion in a thread by Hormalakh in the other forum, ah yes here it is: http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/63687-limiting-rest-areas/

 
Yeah, I figured Horm would have created a thread for that, but now I'm bringing up the respawning solution as well. ;)
Edited by Infinitron
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I'm against this, because this is a story driven rpg. The problem is, that not in all situation it's plausible that there are more enemies. If you attack a thieves hideout, why would there more enemies afer one day of resting. Sometimes there could be more enemies, but not in every dungeon.

Resting isn't always quite realistic either, but apparently Obsidian wants to allow it in order to make dungeon crawling less frustrating. If you allow the abstraction of sleeping for a day and pressing on, why not have the thieves respawn as well? They probably would use that time to regroup and set up new defenses. There are some scenarios in which respawning enemies don't make sense at all, and the mechanic wouldn't have to be used in those cases, but it could still work as a general solution.

Edited by centurionofprix
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I don't understand how you say rest didn't have consequences in the IE games.  You could often be attacked during sleep, and unless you metagamed and reloaded to not deal with the sleep encounter, you'd have to deal with the consequences. 

 

I mean, in the real world, there's no reason why a party couldn't set up camp nearly anywhere.  Certainly there would be less risk in defensible areas.  What is the problem?

 

Awesome icon, BTW.  Loved Star Control 2.  

 

EDIT:  You also couldn't sleep in towns/cities in any of them without going to an inn, so there already were some restrictions.  

Edited by eschaton
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Im for a resting mechanic exactly like the IE games. You can rest most places, some places you could not, and there was always a threat of random encounters unless you were in an inn.

 

I don't get why some of you just want a game where every mechanic has some form of punishment, all in the name of your ideas of "realism". Why wouldn't the thieves respawn? Because they are dead. The whole camp isn't going to be reinforced while you rest for 8 hours. The dungeon should respawn full every time you rest? What? Even if it did, whats the point? Lets say you get half way through a dungeon level and have to rest because your friggin Health has zero mechanics to replenish besides sleeping ( :lol:). So your party pops a squat and rests. Now the enemies behind you that you already cleared have respawned and you still have the enemies ahead of you that you didn't go through yet. Who cares about the respawn behind you? Nobody going to go back through that area anyway because you already cleared it. Unless you are proposing that the player should have to evacuate the entire floor and go back to town to rest, which sounds like a pile of suck.

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One somewhat realistic consequence would be if you rest in a non-inn location you need to set up a watch system.  So unlike inn rest, where everyone will get a fair amount of sleep, you'll end up with at least half of your characters not having a full recovery, who will also show earlier signs of exhaustion.

 

I agree with a lot of what's said in the other thread.  When I played the Baldur's Gate series, I usually didn't rest until the whole party was exhausted.  I have to say I didn't like Icewind Dale as much, so I played it less (too much combat, too little everything else), but even there I tended to rest only when I absolutely needed to (all healing spells exhausted, all healing potions gone).  

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I'm not sure I like either of your proposed solutions. I think it would be enough to have the limited rest areas already in place, plus a chance of being ambushed while resting if resting in a dangerous area. Since there's only a limited number of rest areas, they can design each ambush to be interesting and to make sense for that dungeon. I'm not sure if we need anything more punishing than that.

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I don't understand how you say rest didn't have consequences in the IE games.  You could often be attacked during sleep, and unless you metagamed and reloaded to not deal with the sleep encounter, you'd have to deal with the consequences. 

 

 

Exactly.

 

I'm not sure I like either of your proposed solutions. I think it would be enough to have the limited rest areas already in place, plus a chance of being ambushed while resting if resting in a dangerous area. Since there's only a limited number of rest areas, they can design each ambush to be interesting and to make sense for that dungeon. I'm not sure if we need anything more punishing than that.

 
I've explained what the problem with that is the in the original post.
Edited by Infinitron
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I'm against this, because this is a story driven rpg. The problem is, that not in all situation it's plausible that there are more enemies. If you attack a thieves hideout, why would there more enemies afer one day of resting. Sometimes there could be more enemies, but not in every dungeon.

I disagree that it's a "story driven rpg". Basically everything we've heard so far has been about the combat, we already know that there's no pacifist playthroughs, and dungeon crawling was a major part of the original pitch. I think they should prioritize fun and balanced combat over 'immersion'.

 

Story driven was also part of the pitch, and Sawyer has said that they won't reveal any story updates. But i agree with the respawning enemies when it makes sense, as long as it's not like the BG1 travesty.

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I'm not sure I like either of your proposed solutions. I think it would be enough to have the limited rest areas already in place, plus a chance of being ambushed while resting if resting in a dangerous area. Since there's only a limited number of rest areas, they can design each ambush to be interesting and to make sense for that dungeon. I'm not sure if we need anything more punishing than that.

Are you suggesting that the predefined rest locations (except for inn's) should always spawn a random encounter? Wouldn't that mean that even the spots you are forced to go to just to rest are worthless because you will never get a uninterrupted rest and thus not recover Health or abilities?

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So your party pops a squat and rests. Now the enemies behind you that you already cleared have respawned and you still have the enemies ahead of you that you didn't go through yet. Who cares about the respawn behind you? Nobody going to go back through that area anyway because you already cleared it. 

 

You're assuming that the dungeon is a linear tunnel, rather than the rest areas being somewhere off to the side in a large, non-linear area.

 

Besides, the point is that if you end up retreating to a previously visited rest spot, you'll have to fight enemies again when you go back to where you were. So I'm not sure what point you're trying to make.

Edited by Infinitron
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I don't understand how you say rest didn't have consequences in the IE games.  You could often be attacked during sleep, and unless you metagamed and reloaded to not deal with the sleep encounter, you'd have to deal with the consequences. 

 

 

Exactly.

 

Why should you stop the gamer from metagaming?  I mean, if you want an "Iron Man" version to stop saving that's one thing.  But people enjoy different things about the game, and you shouldn't force them into a narrow, tactical vision.  

 

I absolutely suck at action games.  To even get through the first Mass Effect (or the Witcher) I needed to turn the difficulty all the way down.  And I still needed to save and reload all the time.  I didn't ever have fun with combat in either one, but I worked by way through because I wanted to see how the story developed.  Hell, when I played Star Control 2, I almost always had the combat on automatic.  I would have walked away from all of these games and never used them if I didn't have ways to get around the action elements.  

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Wow.

 

Regerating health and respawning enemies. That's the combo I want too. Seems like a good solution to avoid frustration due to difficult combat encounters.

"The essence of balance is detachment. To embrace a cause, to grow fond or spiteful, is to lose one's balance, after which, no action can be trusted. Our burden is not for the dependent of spirit."

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Why should you stop the gamer from metagaming?  I mean, if you want an "Iron Man" version to stop saving that's one thing.  But people enjoy different things about the game, and you shouldn't force them into a narrow, tactical vision.  

 

I absolutely suck at action games.  To even get through the first Mass Effect (or the Witcher) I needed to turn the difficulty all the way down.  And I still needed to save and reload all the time.  I didn't ever have fun with combat in either one, but I worked by way through because I wanted to see how the story developed.  Hell, when I played Star Control 2, I almost always had the combat on automatic.  I would have walked away from all of these games and never used them if I didn't have ways to get around the action elements.

 

There have been enough discussions with J.E. Sawyer on this forum about why a designer has an obligation to remove exploitative metagaming tactics from a game. I'm not really interested in revisiting that topic.

 

If a game is too hard for you, that's what difficulty modes are for.

Edited by Infinitron
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I am really at a loss. Is resource and story limited resting such a hard thing to comprehend or use? You still have save reload people.

"The essence of balance is detachment. To embrace a cause, to grow fond or spiteful, is to lose one's balance, after which, no action can be trusted. Our burden is not for the dependent of spirit."

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I don't understand how you say rest didn't have consequences in the IE games.  You could often be attacked during sleep, and unless you metagamed and reloaded to not deal with the sleep encounter, you'd have to deal with the consequences. 

 

 

Exactly.

 

I'm not sure I like either of your proposed solutions. I think it would be enough to have the limited rest areas already in place, plus a chance of being ambushed while resting if resting in a dangerous area. Since there's only a limited number of rest areas, they can design each ambush to be interesting and to make sense for that dungeon. I'm not sure if we need anything more punishing than that.

 
I've explained what the problem with that is the in the original post.

 

 

Where? If you mean the "Dungeon Simulator 2014" thing, I'm not talking about simulating increased patrols or any kind of real change to the dungeon. They'll already be designing n combat encounters per dungeon. I'm suggesting they design n+1 encounters instead, where the +1 is an encounter designed around the rest area.

 

 

I'm not sure I like either of your proposed solutions. I think it would be enough to have the limited rest areas already in place, plus a chance of being ambushed while resting if resting in a dangerous area. Since there's only a limited number of rest areas, they can design each ambush to be interesting and to make sense for that dungeon. I'm not sure if we need anything more punishing than that.

Are you suggesting that the predefined rest locations (except for inn's) should always spawn a random encounter? Wouldn't that mean that even the spots you are forced to go to just to rest are worthless because you will never get a uninterrupted rest and thus not recover Health or abilities?

 

 

No, not always. A random percentage of the time, and you would always regain health and abilities regardless of whether or not you were ambushed. To prevent metagaming, the RNG result for the ambush could be stored independently so that the same result triggers even if you reload (but with some sort of way to opt out for those who find that type of thing frustrating?).

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Where? If you mean the "Dungeon Simulator 2014" thing, I'm not talking about simulating increased patrols or any kind of real change to the dungeon. They'll already be designing n combat encounters per dungeon. I'm suggesting they design n+1 encounters instead, where the +1 is an encounter designed around the rest area.

 

No:

 

Have you considered adding a "rest resource" to PE, like Tents in traditional JRPGs? If you have rest areas within dungeons, that could help prevent people from constantly backtracking to them in order to refill their health, trivializing the dungeon.

 

What's the difference between being able to rest anywhere or being able to rest unlimited times in a nearby designated rest spot? It just takes a bit more time. There needs to be a harder limit.

Edited by Infinitron
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There have been enough discussions with J.E. Sawyer on this forum about why a designer has an obligation to remove exploitative metagaming tactics from a game. I'm not really interested in revisiting that topic.

 

If a game is too hard for you, that's what difficulty modes are for.

 

If you were talking about something like the flaw in BG1 which allowed you to exit a house with hostiles without them following you out, that would be one thing.  But saving/reloading is such a standard part of all games (including the classic RPG audience this game is going for) there would be open revolt if it was not made the standard option, and avoiding metagaming which wouldn't happen in P&P games is impossible.  

 

Regardless, I'm new to the forum, so you should point me to quotes if there are some, not make vague allusions.  

 

If we were going for true realism, then yes, we should only be able to regenerate hit points in a more safe, hygienic location.  But then, presuming hit points mean actual injuries/blood loss, it should take weeks, if not months, to heal from them without magic, meaning combat should be scaled back to probably around 1/10th its presumed level in the game.  I'd be all for this (I really would like to see an RPG which deals with combat similar to the real world), but I think many players actually enjoy the grind and would miss it.  

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