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Josh Sawyer reveals some information about Project Eternity's attribute scores


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In the recent RPG Codex Q&A, I asked Josh Sawyer to reveal some information about Project Eternity's attribute scores, which remain the area of the game's systems that we know the least about. Here's what he had to say:

 

The specific list may change, but the biggest difference players will notice in Attributes (compared to A/D&D ability scores) is that all of their bonuses are uniformly applied instead of being keyed to specific types of weapons or attacks. E.g. one Attribute affects bonus damage (and healing) and one affects bonus accuracy -- regardless of the weapons or spells being used.
 
We would like your character concepts to be viable regardless of how you distribute your Attributes. Part of our solution for this is decoupling things like Attribute-based accuracy and damage bonuses from specific types of gear or class abilities. The focus of your character may change based on how you shift the points around, but we want to avoid setting up "must-have" and "must-dump" stats.

 

So, for instance, the attribute that makes you hit harder with a sword will also make you hit harder with arrows and spells. Seems to me that this type of system goes in the direction of removing the attributes from the "core" of the system, making them more of an array of linear bonuses on top of a character's talents and class abilities. The attribute scores don't define your character - instead they're more about giving him an edge.

 

We don't have the full picture yet though, so I'm not entirely sure.

Edited by Infinitron
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I do know I'm change resistant, but... I don't like the sound of that, at all.

My ability to do damage with a big rock or a spell are governed by the same attribute??

 

I can see it's streamlined and certainly goes a long way towards removing dump stats,

but right now it seems to be doing that with a cost of being an entirely stupid system.

 

There's certainly stuff I dont know / cant see yet, so it may all make sense when explained.

Edited by Jarmo
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The sentence is ambiguous and unclear. I honestly have no idea what to expect from this. All I can glean is that there is a focus on avoiding dump-stats. It would be very, very nice to have a real update on the attribute system, explaining it to us. I mean, it's done. Why not show it to us?

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I can buy the idea of (for example) rather than making a strength based character you make a damage based character, but there is some disconnect in my head as to how that would actually work. I can't think of a physical attribute that should affect both swords and fireballs but I can see it working if there's a more substantial paradigm shift and all the attributes are more Soul or Mind based. Focus for damage, Compassion for healing etc.

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Does this unit have a soul?

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Damage + heal bonus from same attribute sounds like they plan to use wisdom or similar attribute in that. So attribute rises you characters knowledge to where to hit so that it does maximum damage. And because you know how to hurt people you have also gained knowledge where you should fix things and etc.

 

And accuracy attribute also sound logical, as if your character has natural good aim s/he don't lose it if s/he decides to hit things instead of shooting or vise versa. Because attributes tell your characters natural ability to do things and not his or her skill to do things.

 

This attribute style is in my opinion better than d&d system where you hit better and do more damage with large weapons if you have high strength and dextertity does same thing for finesse and missle weapons. Because it makes all attributes important to every character, which makes min-maxing harder thing to accomplish and therefore has potential ability give more room for roleplaying.

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Yeah, someone needs to hit him up on Formspring for further clarification, I'm a bit dense and can't quite figure out what he's trying to say here. Unified stat systems like that kind of scare me since they went for something like that in D3, and it really mucked things up, I think.

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I do know I'm change resistant, but... I don't like the sound of that, at all.

My ability to do damage with a big rock or a spell are governed by the same attribute??

 

I can buy the idea of (for example) rather than making a strength based character you make a damage based character, but there is some disconnect in my head as to how that would actually work. I can't think of a physical attribute that should affect both swords and fireballs but I can see it working if there's a more substantial paradigm shift and all the attributes are more Soul or Mind based. Focus for damage, Compassion for healing etc.

 

I don't have a good enough picture of the mechanics side of this yet, but the story/setting/fluff justification is easy enough if you zoom out and go a bit more abstract. It could be that the damage stat doesn't represent any specific, tangible training method or ability, but instead represents a character's motivation to develop an aggressive fighting style. That aggressive style could then manifest itself in spells that do more damage or the ability to better find weaknesses in armor with a sword.

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It makes zero sense that a character can wield a two-handed longsword effectively in battle or be able to accurately aim a longbow, without any training at all using those weapons, purely based on their physical attributes.

 

Why should I be able to make a Barbarian with high STR who is able to pick up a sword and wield it like a swashbuckling master just because he's got some big muscles?

 

Also from the POV of pure mechanics having specialization points in weapons gained by level is more interactive than static benefits.

Edited by Chrononaut
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It makes zero sense that a character can wield a two-handed longsword effectively in battle or be able to accurately aim a longbow, without any training at all using those weapons, purely based on their physical attributes.

 

Why should I be able to make a Barbarian with high STR who is able to pick up a sword and wield it like a swashbuckling master just because he's got some big muscles?

 

Also from the POV of pure mechanics having specialization points in weapons gained by level is more interactive than static benefits.

 

Because, you know, the Strength stat might not exist at all. So the reason why the Barbarian deals a lot of damage is that he has a high Soul Power stat or something. 

 

All classes are trained with all weapons, you can then take talents that increase damage and accuracy with a certain themed group of weapons, just like in New Vegas (the Cowboy/Grunt perks). This is confirmed. 

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Not a fan of one attribute governing bonus damage to physical AND magical attacks. Unless there's a soul reason for it, that just sounds way too gamey for my liking.

Edited by Sensuki
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It makes zero sense that a character can wield a two-handed longsword effectively in battle or be able to accurately aim a longbow, without any training at all using those weapons, purely based on their physical attributes.

 

Why should I be able to make a Barbarian with high STR who is able to pick up a sword and wield it like a swashbuckling master just because he's got some big muscles?

 

Also from the POV of pure mechanics having specialization points in weapons gained by level is more interactive than static benefits.

 

Because, you know, the Strength stat might not exist at all. So the reason why the Barbarian deals a lot of damage is that he has a high Soul Power stat or something. 

Sounds ridiculous. I'd expect that in a weekly action anime.

 

 

just like in New Vegas (the Cowboy/Grunt perks)

Well FNV is a First-person shooter, so the reason for that probably had more to do with the removing graphics/animations dissonance, if you aim a gun at point blank at an enemy you expect to hit, as oppose to something like Morrowind combat. FNV had little way to visually represent a character being unskilled with a gun (ie like being unskilled with certain weapons in Fallout 1/2). This isn't a problem in isometric/abstracted RPGs.

 

All classes are trained with all weapons

Well, that is a bad idea and a cop-out for not allowing the player to decide and customize, or rather to make a trade-off in points to which weapon a character is skilled with (and thus what he is not skilled/trained with).

 

I don't like much like any of the proposed systems because they are less about advantages and disadvantages and more about advantages and SUPER advantages.

Edited by Chrononaut
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To be honest, considering how long it took Josh to design the attribute system, I was expecting something a bit more imaginative than Torchlight 2's system. I mean, it's not a dealbreaker for me, but I'm not persuaded it's a good fit for this type of game.

 

I really don't think we have enough information to make such a judgement call. Wait until we get an update or something showing us the attribute system in full. I think it might surprise us. 

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To be honest, considering how long it took Josh to design the attribute system, I was expecting something a bit more imaginative than Torchlight 2's system. I mean, it's not a dealbreaker for me, but I'm not persuaded it's a good fit for this type of game.

 

I really don't think we have enough information to make such a judgement call. Wait until we get an update or something showing us the attribute system in full. I think it might surprise us.

 

I'm going to wait until the game is out before I give definitive judgments, and that's implicit to everything I say even when I don't state that specifically. Still, I am disappointed with what I'm understanding (and I could be wrong, and should have noted it) is the proposed system, and I don't think it will hurt to provide this little piece of feedback.

 

If it's noticed by the team but they ultimately don't agree or just feel I'm speaking prematurely it will be ignored (Josh has never been shy about the fact that the development team is the one that ultimately makes the call and that he won't let the forums/internet feedback get to him too much, especially early feedback based on incomplete info), if it's not noticed then, eh, wasted space on an internet forum. And if the dev team agrees and changes something based on user feedback coming from some people including me here, then good for us, as, to paraphrase Sawyer, I believe it will produce better gameplay.

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I can buy the idea of (for example) rather than making a strength based character you make a damage based character, but there is some disconnect in my head as to how that would actually work. I can't think of a physical attribute that should affect both swords and fireballs but I can see it working if there's a more substantial paradigm shift and all the attributes are more Soul or Mind based. Focus for damage, Compassion for healing etc.

That's what I suspect they'll be doing.

 

Though I said it in the other thread, might as well say it here, I still like the idea of different stats doing different things for different people. It just helps distinguish the classes a little more with flavor. I'll just have to sigh whimsically over the fact that I won't get any charisma based casters who channel magic by charming the pants off creation.

 

To be fair, that's not something I really expected anyway. Cipher and Wizard sound like they were always to use the same stat. Though I would have hoped they'd have a different secondary focus.

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I'm not sure how I feel about this, and I think I'll have to see specifics before I can judge. I don't instinctively hate it or anything.

 

I wonder if it will work somewhat like Dragon Age 2's attributes. Each attribute had a benefit for every class, but they were super important to specific classes. For instance, Strength was the primary attribute of Warriors (so it affected damage and effectiveness of their attacks and abilities), but it also influences Fortitude for all classes (ability to resist being knocked back/down). Similarly, Dexterity was important to Rogues, but it affected everybody's critical chance (I think). I don't really mind that sort of system.

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I'm not sure how I feel about this, and I think I'll have to see specifics before I can judge. I don't instinctively hate it or anything.

 

I wonder if it will work somewhat like Dragon Age 2's attributes. Each attribute had a benefit for every class, but they were super important to specific classes. For instance, Strength was the primary attribute of Warriors (so it affected damage and effectiveness of their attacks and abilities), but it also influences Fortitude for all classes (ability to resist being knocked back/down). Similarly, Dexterity was important to Rogues, but it affected everybody's critical chance (I think). I don't really mind that sort of system.

 

PE's system will be different since presumably the same attribute will govern damage for all classes. Dragon Age 2's system of a separate damage stat for each class was kind of a silly half measure. It's hard to judge that system in isolation though since the game's combat was so bad.

Edited by Infinitron
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Strength - fortitude save, physical damage and hit points; Dexterity - dodge, chance to hit, chance to critical for physical attacks, chance to hit with touch and ray based magic, reflex saves; Intelligence - skill points (everyone wants that), chance to critical with any attack, Wisdom/Will - will save, power of spells and soul based magic-like abilities.

Something like that I can live with, but no step further into "press power for more power".

Edited by Shadenuat
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Rather dubious, would like clarification.

 

Edit: That said it's still early days and I wouldn't wish to rush the gentlemen into an early reveal.

Edited by Nonek
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I think the key word there is "bonuses". How many spells will get a damage bonus from an attribute? Presumably then the bonus comes from physically hurling the magic at the target, like a rock that you summon into being and project toward a foe. A Fireball may not get any damage bonus, or even an accuracy bonus.

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Not a fan of one attribute governing bonus damage to physical AND magical attacks. Unless there's a soul reason for it, that just sounds way too gamey for my liking.

I have to agree. But then, I think the desire to avoid dump stats is too gamey a motivation.

 

It's possible this all makes perfect sense, but that sense is not yet apparent.

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The fact that the attributes will be consistent in what they do should allow them to design a better system by make it easier for them to measure the impact of the attribute system.  Resulting in more difficult and thus more interesting choices when assigning attributes .

 

I would think anything would be an improvement on the D&D attribute system, which was rather an unbalanced system.

Edited by butterfly
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Rather dubious, would like clarification.

 

Edit: That said it's still early days and I wouldn't wish to rush the gentlemen into an early reveal.

Well said. At first blush it appears that Obsidian is attempting to accommodate the outermost tips of the character generation Bell Curve by decoupling character statistics from reality. I fully support the idea of making all the character statistics important in some manner, but this appears to be tossing verisimilitude right out the window as stronger fighters should do more damage in melee than an asthmatic wizard whose most physically demanding activity of a typical day is affixing his wax seal to a letter.

 

One ring to rule them all worked for Tolkien, but one variable to govern the efficacy of flails and fireballs? Hmmm... :unsure:

Edited by Tsuga C
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