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Death Machine Miyagi

How can they make P:E interesting at 'Epic' levels?

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On leveling, power, and teh numbahs: Seeing as PE's power level will start at a rough equivalent of D&D 3.x/PF Level 1 and cap at Level 12, having numbers that don't increase with level(those are in by the way) would make it harder than hell to balance the system. Frankly, the unrealistic abstraction of stats is the best possible way of implementing a power curve in a game like PE, and axing it in favor of a numberless system wouldn't work for the game PE is. That numberless system with little growth outside of skills would be much better suited to a game with low-magic or no-magic setting where people remain the equivalent of level 1-2 throughout the whole game. A numberless system would be best suited to an adventure game or simulator.

 

 

Don't make the game combat focused. PE+Exp is alright, but PE2's expansion and PE3 are another matter. Ziet's in a formspring answer about how he would have made BG3 hit it spot on.

 

If your character is so powerfull that is practicaly a demigod, the classic combat focussed- exploring the wilderness won't cut it anymore. By then the PS:T or MotB(but without 80% of it's combat) model is better.Have a narrative focused game, where your character faces chalenges other than bashing random idiots to the head. Your character is beyond that, and he should be able to one-hit almost anything in the game. Make the encounter's few but relevant, with suitable "epic" enemies that make sense.

 

Don't make the enemie's janitor an 20 level fighter. Make him 2 and let your character demolish the whole base until the leader. And then balance the leader encounter for a fully rested party at full power. Don't design an attrition focused game.

ToB could have worked better if it was narrative focused, with you strugling with Bhaal's essence, having to discover the Five's identities and way's to beat them yourself instead of telling you where they are from the start. And then have the only memorable fights to be the Five themselves, Watcher's Keep and the Abyss. No need to have random watchmen wielding +3 armor sets.

I would love to see the "Epic" version of PE be something like this, or take the PC into a setting where beings of high power are very common(like planes and such) and let them do battle with mythical beast, demigods, demon lords, and eventually gods themselves.

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"Take your child murderin' god and shove his him up his own ass."-Volorun

 

"...the vote of a black redhead disabled homosexual transsexual Jew should probably be worth the same as at least a hundred white heterosexual Christians."-Rostere

 

"i can think of many women i would gladly sleep with, but not a single one that i would want as a girlfriend/wife... neither real nor fictional."-teknoman2

 

"I'm all for killing dogs in film." - algroth

 

"Iselmyr is the one who did GOMAD... Aloth is lactose intolerant" -ShadySands

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easy =/= good.

 

Skills. Feats. Influence. Making a character more diverse, giving him more options. That is power.

Not the dry, numerical "Ha! I have 200 HP he has 100!" one. And this is as it should be.

The problem isn't number (because there will always hevto be SOME numbers), it's over-reliance on them.

 

Isn't a character with 20 skills more powerfull than one with 5? Even if his HP or attack and defense didnt' even atutomaticly increase with level? Yes, yes he is.

Is a character with political connection more powerfull that one without? Yes.

 

Power is power. In every shape and form it comes. And CRPG's are focused on just inflating your HP and damage.

 

And no, a control system more reliant on skills of the player isn't necessary at all. It's still a cRPG. It still has attributes and feats and skills. It just changes the progression and methodology.

 

 

Well, that would certainly be interesting to see.

 

Though, since it's a lot more difficult to create, there's a lot more room for disappointment if it's dissatisfying. Programming all the numerous ways one could utilize a political connection and have it be sufficient for the player experience would be tough.

One of the things that's a lot simpler in PnP RPGs where you way an unlimited amount of wiggle room.

 

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On leveling, power, and teh numbahs: Seeing as PE's power level will start at a rough equivalent of D&D 3.x/PF Level 1 and cap at Level 12, having numbers that don't increase with level(those are in by the way) would make it harder than hell to balance the system. Frankly, the unrealistic abstraction of stats is the best possible way of implementing a power curve in a game like PE, and axing it in favor of a numberless system wouldn't work for the game PE is. That numberless system with little growth outside of skills would be much better suited to a game with low-magic or no-magic setting where people remain the equivalent of level 1-2 throughout the whole game. A numberless system would be best suited to an adventure game or simulator.

 

 

 

How is it easier to balance a game where you might be wildly more powerful depending what level you are when you get to an area? that makes no sense to me...the easiest way to do that would be to make the game linear.

Ease of balancing shouldn't even figure in this discussion IMO, that is the developers job not ours, and they are more than capable.

 

Sounds like you want the opposite to me to be honest, I've been playing RPGs for a long time now, and I'm a bit fed up of being epic.

I'd imagine the game will go for a middle ground though to be honest...and as I said earlier, if you are battling demi gods in game one, where does that leave for the sequels to go?

Edited by motorizer

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On leveling, power, and teh numbahs: Seeing as PE's power level will start at a rough equivalent of D&D 3.x/PF Level 1 and cap at Level 12, having numbers that don't increase with level(those are in by the way) would make it harder than hell to balance the system. Frankly, the unrealistic abstraction of stats is the best possible way of implementing a power curve in a game like PE, and axing it in favor of a numberless system wouldn't work for the game PE is. That numberless system with little growth outside of skills would be much better suited to a game with low-magic or no-magic setting where people remain the equivalent of level 1-2 throughout the whole game. A numberless system would be best suited to an adventure game or simulator.

 

 

 

How is it easier to balance a game where you might be wildly more powerful depending what level you are when you get to an area? that makes no sense to me...the easiest way to do that would be to make the game linear.

Ease of balancing shouldn't even figure in this discussion IMO, that is the developers job not ours, and they are more than capable.

 

Sounds like you want the opposite to me to be honest, I've been playing RPGs for a long time now, and I'm a bit fed up of being epic.

I'd imagine the game will go for a middle ground though to be honest...and as I said earlier, if you are battling demi gods in game one, where does that leave for the sequels to go?

 

 

One could argue the point would be to forego a franchise...

Though, from a commercial standpoint, that's unlikely.

 

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How is it easier to balance a game where you might be wildly more powerful depending what level you are when you get to an area? that makes no sense to me...the easiest way to do that would be to make the game linear.

???

 

I don't see how that is exclusive to a system with level determinant metrics. Practically any system, from equipment-based to influence based, can have situations where you are wildly overpowered.

 

A level determinant system is easier to balance for a game with a power curve similar to D&D 3.X/PF, because when characters go from barely being able to hit 10 damage to a single target to slamming down meteors, sticking with the same hp/damage reduction/defenses throughout the entire game would either lead to overly fragile high-level characters or overly tough lough level characters.

 

If you disagree, please explain how you could successfully balance a game with the power curve of D&D level 1 to D&D level 12 without using "stat inflation".

 

I'd imagine the game will go for a middle ground though to be honest...and as I said earlier, if you are battling demi gods in game one, where does that leave for the sequels to go?

New player character, new regions? Frankly, trying to have the same character for more than three games would probably end in failure. Even without a D&D power curve, there is only so much you can do with one PC before things become stale.

Edited by KaineParker

"Take your child murderin' god and shove his him up his own ass."-Volorun

 

"...the vote of a black redhead disabled homosexual transsexual Jew should probably be worth the same as at least a hundred white heterosexual Christians."-Rostere

 

"i can think of many women i would gladly sleep with, but not a single one that i would want as a girlfriend/wife... neither real nor fictional."-teknoman2

 

"I'm all for killing dogs in film." - algroth

 

"Iselmyr is the one who did GOMAD... Aloth is lactose intolerant" -ShadySands

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DP

Edited by KaineParker

"Take your child murderin' god and shove his him up his own ass."-Volorun

 

"...the vote of a black redhead disabled homosexual transsexual Jew should probably be worth the same as at least a hundred white heterosexual Christians."-Rostere

 

"i can think of many women i would gladly sleep with, but not a single one that i would want as a girlfriend/wife... neither real nor fictional."-teknoman2

 

"I'm all for killing dogs in film." - algroth

 

"Iselmyr is the one who did GOMAD... Aloth is lactose intolerant" -ShadySands

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How is it easier to balance a game where you might be wildly more powerful depending what level you are when you get to an area? that makes no sense to me...the easiest way to do that would be to make the game linear.

???

 

I don't see how that is exclusive to a system with level determinant metrics. Practically any system, from equipment-based to influence based, can have situations where you are wildly overpowered.

 

A level determinant system is easier to balance for a game with a power curve similar to D&D 3.X/PF, because when characters go from barely being able to hit 10 damage to a single target to slamming down meteors, sticking with the same hp/damage reduction/defenses throughout the entire game would either lead to overly fragile high-level characters or overly tough lough level characters.

 

If you disagree, please explain how you could successfully balance a game with the power curve of D&D level 1 to D&D level 12 without using "stat inflation".

 

I'd imagine the game will go for a middle ground though to be honest...and as I said earlier, if you are battling demi gods in game one, where does that leave for the sequels to go?

New player character, new regions? Frankly, trying to have the same character for more than three games would probably end in failure. Even without a D&D power curve, there is only so much you can do with one PC before things become stale.

 

I'm not looking for a quote now in about 2 million comments but, I'm certain they said very early on that there would be the ability to carry your character forward for sequels.

 

I'm not getting into D&D rules as I don't play it and I don't study them, but if they don't know whether you are going to have 10HP or 100HP when you enter an area, how the hell can that be easier to balance?

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I'm not getting into D&D rules as I don't play it and I don't study them, but if they don't know whether you are going to have 10HP or 100HP when you enter an area, how the hell can that be easier to balance?

Unless you make the game completely linear, you can't. However, the same problems exist with any system with a power curve. No way to get around it unless you completely remove the power curve, but that would be more suited for a sim or action game.

 

Furthermore, I never claimed that it was easier to balance by area, I claimed that it was easier to balance in a game with a D&D-esque power curve, specifically from the levels of 1 to 12. In non-D&D terms, it is easier to balance in a system where characters go from firing small missiles of magic to throwing around fire balls, as you don't have to worry about the party being easily one-shotted at high levels.


"Take your child murderin' god and shove his him up his own ass."-Volorun

 

"...the vote of a black redhead disabled homosexual transsexual Jew should probably be worth the same as at least a hundred white heterosexual Christians."-Rostere

 

"i can think of many women i would gladly sleep with, but not a single one that i would want as a girlfriend/wife... neither real nor fictional."-teknoman2

 

"I'm all for killing dogs in film." - algroth

 

"Iselmyr is the one who did GOMAD... Aloth is lactose intolerant" -ShadySands

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I almost wrote "I don't like epic levels, I think they're silly" but that's not actually strictly true.

 

It is true, however, that I've never played a game that did that kind of power in a way that I liked. ToB was just dull. I would have enjoyed MotB much better if it had been levels 1-18 rather than 18-30. HotU was an enjoyable-enough dungeon crawl but even that got a bit dull. The only setting that really accommodates epic-level gameplay that I've come across is Planescape; there you're mixing it up with demigods and archdevils due to the nature of it. PS:T however was not epic-level, and I haven't played any other Planescape cRPG's.

 

George Ziets had a pretty wack idea for an epic-level Baldur's Gate sequel, though: you'd start out as a just-ascended minor god, but then the old death gods would gang up and evict you from the Throne of Bhaal, and things would get weird from there. You'd produce avatara which would do stuff in various planes at various power levels, and so on and so forth. That, I think, could work.

 

But if we're talking straight-up prime material plane fantasy, no epic levels, thanks. They're just silly.

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I have a project. It's a tabletop RPG. It's free. It's a work in progress. Find it here: www.brikoleur.com

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Personally, one of the most satisfying parts of an RPG for me is when my party is comprised of Princes of the Universe due to me absorbing every spare bit of XP and picking up enough magical items to open my own store, and then leaving a trail of the broken corpses of the puny grasshoppers who dared to stand against my might. I'm happy for Obsidian to eventually make me fight against dragons, demons and demigods, and for my party to crush them beneath our mighty bootheels.

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Death Machine Miyagi, on 04 Oct 2013 - 6:24 PM, said:

 

BlackyNoir, on 04 Oct 2013 - 5:51 PM, said:

 

Death Machine Miyagi, on 04 Oct 2013 - 4:53 PM, said:
Not really, unless you turn the RPG into not-an-RPG and remove all the cool abilities and equipment that come as you make progress through the game. Sooner or later, whether such progress is officially represented by levels or not, the characters are going to start becoming so powerful that challenging them will become difficult.

Nope. Look at real life. Or pretty much any novel not licensed from a leveled rpg. A soldier, veteran of 20 years, can still meet a lot of challenges.

 

 

That's because real life isn't an RPG. In playing an RPG, above all a fantasy RPG, most people expect their character to be a great deal more powerful at the end than the character was at the start. Whether this is quantified with 'levels' is optional, but the steady increase in power as you gain XP or whatever else will almost certainly be there.

 

Real life is the greatest RPG of all time.

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we're not going to see epic levels for a while yet though


Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
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could make rules like how to grab power in the main city if you have power i mean power like heroes dos well people in political power seets seems to want to contact you

like if superman existed which world leader would not want to have a picture taken with you well and then one point wich make it more interesting its a fantasy sitting gives a lot of things

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You can't design "epic levels". It comes by itself. To quote Update #64:
 

Update by Kazunori Aruga, Concept Artist, and Brandon Adler, you-know-what-I-do

 

Q: Existential question of the day: Who are we and why are we?
We're just here, man. There's no why, everything just IS. You feel me?

^This.

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we're not going to see epic levels for a while yet though

 

Yep, but that's precisely the best time to talk about them. By this point, I'm guessing a very large proportion of the main game is set in stone and nothing we discuss about it could possibly change it. But talking about stuff that we won't be seeing for quite a while allows for the possibility of someone putting forward a really cool idea, and some developer at Obsidian seeing it and saying 'Hey, that's a really cool idea', and then BAM, the P:E sequel/expansion of the distant future is improved.

 

At least its possible in theory. 

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Unless they plan to move this story line through several expansions I'd much rather see future games in the PE world start at level 1 again.  Throne of Bhaal didn't really feel like a continuation of BG1 and 2, it was like superman goes back to Krypton or something.

 

We could have very different stories just changing the settings to different nations and playing different characters.  This could be just what we need to keep the setting fresh.

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Throne of Bhaal didn't really feel like a continuation of BG1 and 2, it was like superman goes back to Krypton or something.

In that case, it would be like an Epic level character going from level 34 to level 1, as Superman would lose his powers under the light of the red sun and higher gravity. I do agree that continuations of one character are best handled through expansions, mostly because I dislike playing as the same PC when the mechanics change.


"Take your child murderin' god and shove his him up his own ass."-Volorun

 

"...the vote of a black redhead disabled homosexual transsexual Jew should probably be worth the same as at least a hundred white heterosexual Christians."-Rostere

 

"i can think of many women i would gladly sleep with, but not a single one that i would want as a girlfriend/wife... neither real nor fictional."-teknoman2

 

"I'm all for killing dogs in film." - algroth

 

"Iselmyr is the one who did GOMAD... Aloth is lactose intolerant" -ShadySands

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Here I go jabberin' again...

 

Maybe no "epic" levels whatsoever? Or at least not so straight-forward? Maybe the character progression could have a more earthbound resemblance, so you will not end up as a demigod, destroyer of worlds. Even though you gain experience, develop your PC, there is this possibility you could get beaten by some minor guards - inferior to you, but still posing a threat.

 

Yeah, who would have fun from that, anyway?

Edited by Messier-31
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It would be of small avail to talk of magic in the air...

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well they could make a exspansion that at some event be it magical apocolyptic or a vampire get lucky and lvl drain you so u have to lvl up cours the vampire tok like 10 lvl away from you

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Throne of Bhaal didn't really feel like a continuation of BG1 and 2, it was like superman goes back to Krypton or something.

In that case, it would be like an Epic level character going from level 34 to level 1, as Superman would lose his powers under the light of the red sun and higher gravity. I do agree that continuations of one character are best handled through expansions, mostly because I dislike playing as the same PC when the mechanics change.

 

 

Hehe I guess not the best analogy though I guess I meant it as more a level 40 going to where a bunch of other level 40s hang out rather than a reversal of power.   They are still way ahead of everyone else back on earth.

 

Anyway I'd prefer to see other parts of the world even as a different character rather than forcing some super high level continuation just because the game was popular.

 

I don't agree that high levels are just more fun.  I think they are only that because most of the time you are continuing the same character and you want that increase in power over the previous game.  If it was a different game in the same world then personally I'd rather start at level 1 again.

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If they don't come up with some "chosen one" type BS and you are just a person, and if the location is different and the locals don't know your past..... then it could be done both ways, Those that want to could import their character for the sequel  and those that don't could just make another.

But that would only really work if you don't get to epic high levels

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A couple random thoughts. I have more, but these'll do for now.

 

1) As has been mentioned, it's possible to have very high levels, and be extremely powerful, while still being vulnerable. My level 50 character in Fallout: New Vegas could make mincemeat of Deathclaws at range, but if I pissed off an entire nest of them, so many that I couldn't shoot fast enough before they closed the distance? All it took was a swipe or two and I was dead. And even very weak enemies were dangerous if they had access to high explosives.

 

A PC should never become so laughably overpowered that combat with lesser enemies involves those enemies trying desperately just to hit you, let alone damage you, while you could leave the room to go have a drink or read War and Peace only to come back and find them still ineffectually swinging at your unmoving PC. I agree with this. Still, I think its fair to say that well before lvl 50 F:NV was a cakewalk, which was disappointing. 

 

2)  While overall I think most people agree lower level stories are easier to make interesting, there is a rare pleasure to be found only in 'epic' levels: namely, the occasional reminder that you're no longer the plucky underdog setting out to change the world with a cheap long sword and a suit of crappy scale mail. You are Cthulhu. You are pain and death incarnate, a living legend that should set any sane villain who isn't similarly godlike to wetting himself the moment you arrive. 

 

ToB had a sequence where you invade the underground layer of a Drow elf Bhaalspawn. Every once in awhile it would cut to a scene showing said Bhaalspawn and her minions absolutely losing their s*** at the realization that they're under assault by Gorion's ward, and desperately trying to think up some way to stop you while their panic grows and grows. After an entire series of having every two-bit villain smugly treat you like they were going to crush you effortlessly, it was deeply satisfying to realize just how scary my charname had become to those who stood in his way by the time of the last expansion pack. 

 

This can be overdone, of course, but the occasional moment of realization of just how powerful you really are and how far you've come since the series started can be really fun. If we ever get to that, I hope there are a few moments of that sort.

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A couple random thoughts. I have more, but these'll do for now.

 

1) As has been mentioned, it's possible to have very high levels, and be extremely powerful, while still being vulnerable. My level 50 character in Fallout: New Vegas could make mincemeat of Deathclaws at range, but if I pissed off an entire nest of them, so many that I couldn't shoot fast enough before they closed the distance? All it took was a swipe or two and I was dead. And even very weak enemies were dangerous if they had access to high explosives.

 

A PC should never become so laughably overpowered that combat with lesser enemies involves those enemies trying desperately just to hit you, let alone damage you, while you could leave the room to go have a drink or read War and Peace only to come back and find them still ineffectually swinging at your unmoving PC. I agree with this. Still, I think its fair to say that well before lvl 50 F:NV was a cakewalk, which was disappointing.

I think that this depends on the setting. It makes sense to have a more vulnerable high-level PC in NV, but I don't think that means it makes sense to have a vulnerable PC in every setting. An archmage could very easily ignore most lesser enemies, because between the vast amount of magic power he commands and his magical artifacts, it would take much more than brigands armed with plain steel to harm him, let alone kill him.

 

In terms of Epic levels, situations where the Epic PC would be challenged by low-level(1-10) enemies should be very few or non-existent. It would be much better to have battles be of epic proportions against very powerful creatures rather than hordes of mooks that could be devastated with minimal effort. MotB would have been a much more satisfying experience if 90% of the mooks were cut and more difficult foes(like the Lich in Myrkul's temple or the Paragon Beast of Malar) were utilized more often.

Edited by KaineParker
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"Take your child murderin' god and shove his him up his own ass."-Volorun

 

"...the vote of a black redhead disabled homosexual transsexual Jew should probably be worth the same as at least a hundred white heterosexual Christians."-Rostere

 

"i can think of many women i would gladly sleep with, but not a single one that i would want as a girlfriend/wife... neither real nor fictional."-teknoman2

 

"I'm all for killing dogs in film." - algroth

 

"Iselmyr is the one who did GOMAD... Aloth is lactose intolerant" -ShadySands

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