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


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I'm reminded of Jagged Alliance 2 with where the discussion is headed.

 

Non-combat vs combat skills - JA2 has them perfect.

 

Strength - Used for breaking open doors and lockers which contain supplies.

Marksmanship - Used for operating guns.

Explosives - Used for utilizing explosives and disarming mines.

Medical - Used for first aid and surgery.

Teacher / Leadership - Used for training miliitia (vital) and enhancing the skills/attributes of other characters.

Mechanical - Repairing items and utilizing some special items, like lockpicking (if I remember right).

 

There are also skills you can only pick at character generation that effect the effeciency of various abilities... You can only pick two and you can never get any more than that and each skill has two levels to it, so you can really only have "one" if you want to really specialize.

 

Atheltics (makes you better at moving in combat)

Paramedic

Hunter (shotgun focus)

Marksman (sniper focus)

Auto (SMG/machine gun focus)
Demolition (explosives)

Heavy (more esoteric weaponry)

Gunslinger (dual wield and pistol focus)

Ambidextrous (dual wield pistols)

 

And so on and so on-

 

The point is that because you can only have so few abilities and because it's rather expensive to improve your mercenaries in JA2, that each one is forced into a distinct role they tend to keep all game long. At best, a character simply gets better at what they originally did best. Still, there is a weight and an impact to how each squad member functions in the game. You might have a character with a stealth focus scouting for up a character who can repair and give medical aid, with a sniper supporting two rambos in the front. The kind of gameplay here is really dynamic and the amount of control you have on strategy is pretty big. Yet, it does all this at the cost of progression for characters. Certainly, you CAN grow your characters, but they'll always be "best" at something no matter what.

 

In the context of Jagged Alliance... this is fine, because you can get as many as thirty two mercenaries and you generally NEED to deploy them over a fairly large map, controlling large distant spaces with no easy way to cover ground. You're managing a rebellion and attacks can hit your cities at any time from anywhere. It's not really the kind of game PE wants to be, so maybe none of this applies, but...

 

I really love JA2's rpg mechanics. They're very strong - you have a strong identity and a role as a mercenary. I don't like how it's hard to change, but... it's very distinct. Your mercenaries do play roles, they aren't jack of all trades and the way you balance each squad matters. There is strategy and tactics involved.

 

If we let characters obtain too much "jack of all trades-y-ness"... we get a game like TES. In TES, historically, a character could become anything at any time. Oblivion and Skyrim are the worst offenders. Every single character made in those games is a mage-warrior-thief hybrid. You can't avoid utilizing the skills of each role. As a result, I find TES games to be impossible to roleplay in. It's literally the worst roleplaying system there is. I don't mind if some skills have overlap, but too much overlap, and you're missing some arcane quintessential thing I know all good RPGs have.

 

If I make a utility-mule rogue who can't do jack in combat, that's my choice! And I find fun in having a weak character sometimes.

 

The problem I guess I'm trying to get at here... is that a rogue that has lockpicking has lockpicking because I invested in it. If lockpicking were free, it wouldn't be a choice. It wouldn't have any weight to it. It would just be, "Rogues can lockpick." Badsh. This is how BioWare handles lock picking in DA2.

 

Lockpicking matters if you have to invest to get it. By giving up combat ability, you obtain lockpicking.

 

If lockpicking affords combat utility as well, then you didn't really give up anything. In effect, you've done what BioWare has done.

 

I think that if lockpicking must give a combat bonus it must be extremely situational. Like, the lockpicking skill improves your lock pick... and lets you deal bonus damage to rats, or something. Or, it lets you stun 'demons' on a critical hit. Some kind of niche situational thing you COULD exploit and make a build around, but likely, won't make any significant difference in terms of combat utility. That would be the ideal version of Sawyer's thinking, because anything less compromises the weight of choice.

 

Do they want us to be able to beat PE with an all comabt group? Do they want us to be able to beat PE with an all non-combat group? Would that be crazy, or what? I mean really...

 

No, not really, it's not crazy at all. Why does the game default to combat? Maybe there is SOME amount of unavoidable combat, but what if... by having the right utility skills, you could avoid certain combat challenges. A rogue would be really pwoerful then, if you could simply SKIP that room that contains 10 waves of rats, or something horrendous and tedious like that. You'd say, "Yes, I'm glad I have a rogue." And it wouldn't be a direct combat feature.

 

If dungeons are designed to reward alternative problem solving, then non-combat skills don't need to give combat bonuses.

Edited by anubite

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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Separating combat and noncombat skills maybe logical in a pen and paper or multiplayer game, where a character taking such a skill and paying for it by being less effective in combat may feel disadvantaged over other characters (though I think personally this part of of roleplaying), I don't really think it is desirable in a single player party based game. I like the system in Might and Magic 6 or Avernum:the pit,  the best, where any class can take lock picking, but has less points to invest in combat abilities. One is thus allowed to either created a single "skilled" character, leaving 3 strong combat characters, or divide the skills evenly among all characters. That (as far as I am informed)  Project:Eternity and also the new Might and Magic X will divide noncombat and combat skills in order to ensure balance among the combat abilities of the pcs, may help starting players avoid bad builds, but it also seems to limit flexibility in party building. I would prefer the flexibility to make mistakes, but I understand the logic behind limiting it.

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If lockpicking affords combat utility as well, then you didn't really give up anything. 

 

Of course you did. You gave up on improving another skill instead of lockpicking, that also has a combat utility.

 

Again, "combat vs non-combat" is not the only character building dilemma an RPG can provide.

Edited by Infinitron
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If lockpicking affords combat utility as well, then you didn't really give up anything. 

 

Of course you did. You gave up on improving another skill instead of lockpicking, that also has a combat utility.

 

Again, "combat vs non-combat" is not the only character building dilemma an RPG can provide.

 

Okay, so yes, you can't pick up Ambidextrous, or some other skill, as a reslut of picking up lock picking, but if lock picking provides almost or just as the same amount of effective DPS as Ambidextrous, then, you didn't really give anything up, beucase combat vs non-combat is the only choice to make. What else is there? There are no other conflicts in an RPG that fall outside of combat/non-combat skills.

 

In my previous ambling post, I think what I was trying to say - is that in JA2 - non-combat skills are essential to completing the game. If you don't have medics, a stray bullet can actually make you lose your entire team (wounded teammates take bleed damage out of combat if they have open wounds and can die from a shot to the foot or arm). You need repair to maintain your guns or you'll be stranded in the wilderness somewhere without any weapons. You need marksmans or you won't be able to shoot anything. Et cetera. Each role is essential.

 

If lockpicking isn't essential it needs to be a strong skill. If lock picking is a strong non-combat skill that provides proxy combat effectiveness, then it doesn't need to actually perform some direct combat utility. If lockpicking lets you obtain advantageous positions against enemy monster groups in dungeons/areas (you can put your acher in a locked tower for instance) then it's working fine and your rogue doesn't need to be anything more than a walking distraction.

Edited by anubite
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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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 What else is there? There are no other conflicts in an RPG that fall outside of combat/non-combat skills.

 

 

Of course there are. What if you're so specialized at doing lots of damage that you fail badly against enemies that are good at dodging? What if you're so specialized at hitting accurately that you fail badly against enemies with a high damage threshold? What if you're so specialized in close range combat that you fail badly at enemies that attack you from long range?

 

The problem is that combat in modern RPGs is so damned easy and simplistic that people have forgotten that things can be more complex than just "I'M AN IDIOT WHO'S GOOD AT FIGHTIN" and "I'm a non-combat geek who gimped his combat skills so he could be good at lockpicking and diplomacy".

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In my previous ambling post, I think what I was trying to say - is that in JA2 - non-combat skills are essential to completing the game. If you don't have medics, a stray bullet can actually make you lose your entire team (wounded teammates take bleed damage out of combat if they have open wounds and can die from a shot to the foot or arm). You need repair to maintain your guns or you'll be stranded in the wilderness somewhere without any weapons. You need marksmans or you won't be able to shoot anything. Et cetera. Each role is essential.

 

If lockpicking isn't essential it needs to be a strong skill. If lock picking is a strong non-combat skill that provides proxy combat effectiveness, then it doesn't need to actually perform some direct combat utility. If lockpicking lets you obtain advantageous positions against enemy monster groups in dungeons/areas (you can put your acher in a locked tower for instance) then it's working fine and your rogue doesn't need to be anything more than a walking distraction.

 

 

 

I wouldnt say that every role was ESSENTIAL, but every role was certanly usefull.

 

You didnt really NEED a lockpicking expert to compelte the game. You could brute force your way trough doors. Shooting locks, prying them open with crowbars or just blow a hole in the wall/door. Of course, lock-picking was quiet.

* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

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Jagged Alliance 2 is a game where it's entirely possible to be an expert at everything, so I'm not sure if it's the best example.

 

You don't need a medic focused character.  It just makes the medic/doctor stuff go faster and be less wasteful.  You don't need a guy with high repair, it just means you get more repairs done with a toolkit, in a shorter period of time.

 

I'd argue you don't even need marksmen, because frankly it doesn't take that long to level those skills up given how much shooting you do in the game (especially in early game).  Nevermind that you can actively train those skills as well.

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Hm, I guess I'm overestimating the value of skills? I played the game with the unofficial patch though, and what I'm describing reflects on that. I almost never had any time to train skills up, with the constant onslaught of soldiers. Wasting time slowly repairing things and wasting medkits on minor wounds always resulted in me having to start the game over (or at least the map).

Edited by anubite

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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I really don't see medic as a non-combat skill in JA, it is equivalent to the healing spell in D&D

 

Even repair could be viewed as a combat skill if it isn't possible to win the fights without it. There is no choice involved, you need the skill

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@McManusaur:

 

That reliance upon DPS is easily solved by allowing the seconds to distinguish themselves from one another. :)

 

You can always perform math to come up with an average DPS value. The question is, is that simply going to be a statistic, or is it going to be a predictive tool?

 

Or, to put it another way, the importance of a simple DPS value in most "RPGs" nowadays is one of the things I hate the most. But, I think it comes from your DPS value passively dictating how well you will do in combat, rather than how well you actively do in combat deciding your average DPS value.

 

It's an easy fix, in principle.

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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Obsidian isn't flawless, but I think their design choices often have some logic behind them.  The tweaks they made in Fallout: New Vegas were awesome improvements - like the way they dealt with dialogue and categorizing guns.

 

I'm not even close to a Pen-and-Paper RPG expert, or the old systems, and I'm having trouble imagining what the differences would be in its entirety.  However, while I don't want something streamlined (this often means "simplified to kindergarten for the moronic masses" and "everything stripped out to bare bones for lazy development"), it seems that the intent is the player will have more freedom and builds can have more variety.

 E.g. You don't need to specialize in weapons your attributes would specifically give bonuses to, which was also significantly influenced by one's class and race in the older RPGs.  That can make a pretty straight path on what a player should do.  

 

I want attributes, class, race, etc. to have an impact, but it'd be cool if this prevents the system from narrowing the kind of build a player can pull off or the kind of choices they can make.  

 

 

Tell me if I'm off, here. 

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I don't want race to have an impact, because once that happens, you'll quickly find out that some races pair off the best with some classes, and you get the damn pidgeonholing you see in so many MMORPGS.

 

"Oh you're an ORC? well I guess you're going to be a warrior and not a fighter then, haha"

that cuts away characterization options.

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I don't want race to have an impact, because once that happens, you'll quickly find out that some races pair off the best with some classes, and you get the damn pidgeonholing you see in so many MMORPGS.

 

"Oh you're an ORC? well I guess you're going to be a warrior and not a fighter then, haha"

that cuts away characterization options.

 

As a human dagger rogue in WoW that topped out my damage charts consistently, it's fun smashing people's preconceptions.

 

 

 

 

Every race being able to do everything equally well is terrible design imo. May as well remove all races except one since they would be nothing more than a different color/shape.

 

Depends on whether or not you want the setting to react differently.  And even then, as I get told *A LOT* on the BSN, removing the choice altogether, even if it's just cosmetic, is a major bummer for some people.

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I like being able to choose races. I like the races feeling distinct and I'm okay with them having different natural talents.

 

I also like to intentionally go against the races "natural proclivity" and create sub-optimal characters because I have an interesting idea. As long as the character isn't sub-optimal to the point of being useless, I'm okay with being a worse mage than [other race] so long as I'm not a useless mage without qualification.

 

I dislike arbitrary distinctions with races (Halflings only go to level 10 if they choose fighter! Dwarves can't be Paladins despite a number of Lawful Good dieties in their pantheon!).

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I would expect chosing your race to matter, but it doesn't need to matter THAT much. In Shadowrun Returns, for instance, the race you pick only effects your attribute caps. This does restrict how you can build some races, but an elf gunner vs a human gunner isn't that big of a difference (I don't know how it is in the tabletop, though).

 

If races are only cosmetic choices, it's kind of pointless. But races don't need to offer attribute/skill bonuses. It could just mean, playing an Elf means people naturally think you're loathsome and it makes certain quests harder for you. An impact like that is great. Because you're a dwarf, a lady dwarf during a quest thinks you're cute, so she gives you a bonus quest reward. Stuff like that is probably more fun than a simple attribute bonus.

Edited by anubite
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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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There was a thread about this once. Just give different races different advantages and disadvantages for every class, instead of opting to make one particular race better for one class, try to make it play different. For instance one race could get a bonus to mana regeneration, while the other race gets a boost to maximum mana. That way you might still get stronger and weaker combinations, but not too extreme, and you get more versatilty

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Giving each race/class combination a unique effect means a lot of dev time and potential imbalance. It won't sovle the issue of "best class for each race" issue.

 

The root of the issue is...

 

Games that give racial bonuses tend to give very specific racial bonuses. If they give non-specific bonuses, like +attributes, the issue is that a given attribute favors a given class. If beign a dwarf gives +2 to STR, then that means mage-dwarfs have no appeal. If the racial bonus is an active ability, there tend to be more useful active abilities than others, and there are those that synergize best with a particular class.

 

if PE is using a "unified attribute system" then they sidestep some problems with racial bonuses. If STR gives magic damage, attack damage, and ranged attack damage, then a dwarf is best as an offensive mage where as an elf might be better suited as a utility mage.

 

The point of this thread is that we want hard choices. When the game is in its beta state, and it's clear that Elves make the best rogues, it makes sense to change (nerf) whatever is causing that, or to improve (buff) all racial versions relatively. Elves could make the best offensive damage rogue, but maybe human rogues can utilize rogue support spells better.

Edited by anubite
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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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Giving each race/class combination a unique effect means a lot of dev time and potential imbalance. It won't sovle the issue of "best class for each race" issue.

It doesn't need to be unique advantages, just advantages and disadvantages. And it seems to me that you're proposing the exact same in you post. E.g elf rogue do more damage, human rogues are better with support spells. Versatilty rather than one race being absolutely superior in one class.

Edited by Iucounu
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@anubite:

 

Just in case you were interested, the Shadowrun PnP ruleset actually does include racial attribute bonuses/detriments.

 

And, as for racial traits, etc. Iucounu has a very good point. Give different races different aspects of betterment (and possibly detriment, too), as opposed to different levels of betterment, and you don't have "OMG, this race is the best Warrior, but a terrible Mage! OBVIOUSLY another race makes a better Mage, u_u."

 

In fact, the "universal" attributes help in this. If one race gets +1 to Accuracy, then that helps their accuracy in any class. Or Power. If you make a healer, you get more potent healing. If you make a Mage, you get more potent magic. If you make a Warrior, you get more potent weapon strikes. Still plenty of variance, it's just not as restricted as usual.

 

It might even be interesting to have some kind of subset for racial bonuses, to choose from. I mean, Orlans have Wild Orlans and Hearth Orlans, right? You'd think they'd be a little different. Whether one inherently gets +1 Agility and one gets +1 Potency, or you get a different set of traits to choose from as an Orlan (of any kind) than you do as an Aumaua, some dynamic to the racial bonuses aspect of the mechanics might be interesting.

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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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For me the problem with some races class combinations simply being sub optimal like the infinity engine games was not the real problem. The real problem was nearly all the races were identical gameplay wise with each other. To counter this the developers should throw in generic talent trees that everyone can access or learn based on stats. So if you want to make a elf barbarian its not just well you got lower hp pool. You develop your dex and unlock abilities what you can use to give you more initiative and mobility.

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I'm of the opinion that race actually counts for *too* much in D&D: Unless you're doing something like playing as a succubus or a dragon the differences between races are just too small to bother representing mechanically. I'd be just fine with race in Eternity not affecting stats and only affecting dialogue and story.

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