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No Defense scores or Skill check targets in Expert Mode please

poll expert mode defense skills

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Poll: Target Values/Defenses in Expert Mode (111 member(s) have cast votes)

Do you want to see target values in the UI and combat log in Expert Mode

  1. Yes (37 votes [33.33%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 33.33%

  2. No (34 votes [30.63%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 30.63%

  3. Don't care (33 votes [29.73%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 29.73%

  4. I do not plan to play Expert Mode (7 votes [6.31%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 6.31%

Would you be in favor of making it a separate option in the game settings?

  1. Yes - I think I should be able to choose (78 votes [70.27%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 70.27%

  2. No - They should always be shown for everyone (5 votes [4.50%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 4.50%

  3. No - They should never be shown (5 votes [4.50%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 4.50%

  4. Don't care (20 votes [18.02%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 18.02%

  5. I do not plan to play Expert Mode (3 votes [2.70%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 2.70%

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#1
Sensuki

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The recent discussions about Combat Challenge =/= Obfuscation and the inclusion of a stat popup and Bestiary logs raises an important question to me regarding a particular feature of the Infinity Engine games (and Dungeons and Dragons) that I rather enjoyed.

 

In all of the D&D campaigns that I played, the target values of skill checks and Armor class were never revealed by any Dungeon Master, you had to do the math yourself. You might be able to figure out what the AC of a monster was if you knew the value from the book and the DM was using it or you could approximate it by the armor they were wearing, or you rolled a miss on a 17 and then someone else hit the same monster on an 18 in a later round.

 

In Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale and Planescape Torment - Armor classes were never shown in the combat log, only the attack roll was displayed:

 

For example

 

Sensuki attacks Josh Sawyer: 15 + 6 = 21: Miss

 

However in later titles (the trend started with Neverwinter Nights 1 or 2 I believe) the target DCs for skill checks and AC values for enemies were shown upon rolls in a manner similar to this (using a D&D example here).

 

Sensuki attacks Josh Sawyer: 15 + 6 = 21 (vs AC 24): Miss

 

Eternity will be supporting transparency by default as Josh wants players to engage in the mechanics, and it makes it easier for people unfamiliar to RPGs of this kind. That's fine with me because we will also be able to disable the popups that fill in the enemy defense scores.

 

However I am a bit worried that the combat log will still show target values. I have asked multiple times but have not got an answer yet - perhaps the question wasn't noticed or they haven't decided yet, so I thought I'd post a poll.

 

Please keep in mind this is for EXPERT MODE only.

 

Personally I do not want to see target values in the combat log, I would rather work them out myself, yes it means I have to do some 'unnecessary' arithmetic which some people may find bothersome, but these people are hopefully not Expert mode players.

I am not too phased about whether values are shown in the Bestiary as I probably won't use it, but I wouldn't be against having stats disabled in the Bestiary as well on Expert Mode. I don't want to know anything, let me figure it out please.

 

Personally I felt Baldur's Gate 1 gave the best feel, it didn't give you any feedback about the states of enemy health either. I'm not too phased about that I'm more concerned with not being able to see their defense scores and skill check targets than anything else. Hopefully there's some more Expert Mode players out there that feel the same.


Edited by Sensuki, 07 November 2013 - 07:25 PM.


#2
Sacred_Path

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I don't see the connection with Expert mode. Being an expert on the game doesn't necessarily include having an encyclopedic recollection of every defense value and DC in the game. If you can't remember or never saw such values before, making uninformed choices doesn't make you an expert either.
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#3
Sensuki

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The point is obfuscation. Expert mode turns off all helper information and presents are more classic, hardcore experience more inline with the original Infinity Engine games. You could call Expert Mode classic mode perhaps. It does not necessarily mean 'expert'.

 

I will probably not be doing mathcraft to win encounters in Eternity, I will just be winging it. This works, or that works. Rather than "okay I have the accuracy I need to hit this unit's deflection at a hit rate of 70%, so this should make this encounter easier."

 

That's how I do it in Aarklash Legacy, I don't use the stat popups in that game or read the spell descriptions or use auto-pause. To beat most encounters I figure out my own formula .. right, position mage chick here, use knockdown skill to disrupt bolt-thingies. Micro healer left and right to get the wave off on my tank and dps classes - kill the Skeleton Mages first as that seems to work the best.

 

Battle Realms is one of my favourite RTS games, and it goes for a full obfuscation mode. You never see attack, damage or hit point values - you get a general description of units, skills and upgrades. You had to work out the counters for yourself. Some people would probably pull their hair out at that but I think it was great, one of the best RTS games I've played.

 

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Edited by Sensuki, 07 November 2013 - 08:14 PM.


#4
Sacred_Path

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The gist I got was that Expert mode is about no hand holding. But people who need hand holding probably don't care about exact defense values in the first place, so they might as well not see them either.

Should Expert mode really just be a nostalgic IE mode, I retract my statement.

Edited by Sacred_Path, 07 November 2013 - 08:08 PM.


#5
Gorgon

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Don't think having less information in expert mode makes sense either. I mean that would be the one mode where knowing your target's defenses down to decimals might actually make a difference. Have most combat info off by default and have the option to turn it all on. That would be my preference. 


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#6
Sensuki

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Expert Mode is independent from the Difficulty slider. It is a style. It doesn't make the game harder (apart from having permadeath on) as far as I can tell, so far it has mostly just been about turning off all the helper information and presenting the game more like the original IE games.

 

Examples given so far:

 

Permanent Death

No skill checks, stat checks or reputation modifiers shown in dialogue

Stat popups on enemies disabled

No journal quest names

Probably no floating damage numbers


Edited by Sensuki, 07 November 2013 - 09:06 PM.


#7
Silent Winter

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Even outside of expert mode, I'd like it as an option.

In BG, I turned off the 'combat rolls' info as well - all I saw in the log was 'Minsc attacks Illithid - hit (25 damage)'

I prefered to see if my character was missing a lot through the animation and then realise "wow, he's hard to hit, better change tactics or use that potion etc"

So I didn't "know" if I was just being unlucky with rolls or if the enemy just had good stats.

 

It didn't bother me too much in NWN2 but then I often ignored the combat log and judged by whether and how much the hp-bars were going down.  When opening locks or disarming traps, I used it to see how close I was to success - but then it ALSO told you if success was just not possible and that you should give up so the DC wasn't necessary for that either.



#8
Sensuki

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Even outside of expert mode, I'd like it as an option.

In BG, I turned off the 'combat rolls' info as well - all I saw in the log was 'Minsc attacks Illithid - hit (25 damage)'

 

I am talking about Target values only, I read the combat log and will be turning off floating damage numbers.



#9
Silent Winter

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I am talking about Target values only, I read the combat log and will be turning off floating damage numbers.

 

I know - but as long as we're having options - why not allow the obfuscation of dice-rolls too?


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#10
Sensuki

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I am talking about Target values only, I read the combat log and will be turning off floating damage numbers.

 

I know - but as long as we're having options - why not allow the obfuscation of dice-rolls too?

 

Yeah that's fair as that was actually the default IE setting.



#11
teknoman2

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personaly i dont care if they are shown or not. if yes it's fine, if not i can figure it out myself. however an option to show / hide them  is a good idea



#12
Hassat Hunter

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The reason why it was shown vs. not shown had more to do with 2nd edition D&D vs. 3rd edition D&D than wheter they wanted to make it easier on players. Personally, I don't really care that much, especially since PE wont use D&D and who knows how enemies are defensively calculated. The armor type should tell some, but is it all?

#13
Sabotin

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How I imagine expert mode is that it does away with the conveniences of being a game and tries to be more "realistic". The information is technically still there, but requires the player to gather it instead of it being presented in a convenient format.

It may not feasible in this kind of game, but I was thinking visual and aural cues could be helpful. Maybe even have the player/companions/enemies provide some subtle hints (I don't mean "This weapon has no effect! This weapon has no effect! This weapon has no effect!...")



#14
Hassat Hunter

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I don't know... making stuff 'inconvenient' for the sake of it, or hiding data (like DA:O did) hardly seems like a good idea for Regular or Expert mode.
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#15
KaineParker

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I don't think target rolls should be shown in any mode. In PnP, you can't look at the foes' AC anytime you want.

Off-Topic, but as far as dialogue goes, I don't want a [insert attribute or skill] tag to let the player know that knowledge from that skill or attribute is letting them use that dialogue option, but I would want the tag if the character was actively using that skill.

For example:

"[Repair]Looks like severe structural damage, those walls will not hold against an assault." Would not be good.

"[Repair]Let me see if I can fix those shoddy walls." Would be good.
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#16
Karkarov

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I am pretty sure they have already said the default is going to be very light on "mechancis" feedback to begin with.  If anything in "expert mode" I would think you would want to see your exact die rolls and modifiers since the challenge is theoretically so much higher it matters there.  In regular play I shouldn't need to worry about if I rolled 12+5-2=13 miss versus armor 14.  As long as I play with a decent strategy, have a balanced team, and they are properly prepared for the area I should ultimately be fine at normal game settings.



#17
Lephys

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I am talking about Target values only, I read the combat log and will be turning off floating damage numbers.

 

I know - but as long as we're having options - why not allow the obfuscation of dice-rolls too?

 

 

This was my thought exactly. If you can't see the targets, there's not much point in seeing the attempts quantified. "I missed. I have no idea if by an inch or a mile, but I missed. I keep missing... am I just getting crappy rolls? Maybe his defense is way too high. I'll try this fight about 5 more times, then assume something." :)

 

I'm not bashing the idea of obfuscating it all, but, I'm just saying that there's no point in obfuscating only part of it, if you're going to do so. Go big for go home, :)

 

That would be a pretty cool game mode, actually. The player's knowledge would be much closer to the characters' knowledge. Come upon some bandits, with certain equipment, etc. and it's going to be a bit of guesswork. "That guy looks like he's moving about in quite an agile fashion, so I probably shouldn't try hitting him with AOE spells." You try some stuff, and figure out relative difficulties in doing certain things to certain targets. Then, you come upon some of those same bandits later (same order or whatever... faction... so you can assume they're similarly trained), and you know "Ahh, that guy is one of those knife-thrower guys. He's going to be fast, but doesn't have very good deflection defense. THAT guy, on the other hand, should probably be taken down with spells." You're more seasoned now because of actual experience, so you fare far better. "Yep, I'm hitting this guy consistently now, and even critting a good bit."

 

Like I said, I'd never force that upon people as a default, and I rather enjoy seeing all the numbers. BUT, also, that could be a really fun way to play.


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#18
SunBroSolaire

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I don't know... making stuff 'inconvenient' for the sake of it, or hiding data (like DA:O did) hardly seems like a good idea for Regular or Expert mode.

I don't see it that way. Learning about a system by interacting with it is just fun on a really basic level. There are games that are entirely built around this idea, like Demon's Souls/Dark Souls. Obfuscation is bad in games like Skyrim, where stats don't really matter that much so you just never really bother to think about them, but in the Souls games, or in the IE games, you're given enough data to eventually, through many hours of playing, come to an understanding of how the game works. That's a big part of what makes playing games fun, for me at least.


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#19
Lephys

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^ To be clear, I don't think you should ever obfuscate how the game works (mechanically); only specific information within that system of mechanics. In other words, you should always know the relationship between Deflection and Attack/Accuracy, but you may not know what a given foe's Deflection value is until you find out.

I don't think you were meaning "obfuscate the actual mechanics" when you said you have to figure out how the game works.

And, well, it's a bit different in Demon's Souls/Dark Souls. More like a puzzle. Which is fine. I don't mean that that's wrong, inherently, as a method of design. But, I don't think that would work in a game like P:E. Especially since the game isn't intending to be built around such a thing.

#20
Sensuki

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I'd like to re-iterate that I said this is for expert mode only. Normal mode can have all the transparency it likes, as long as it stays the hell out of expert mode.

 

It is not mechanics obfuscation either, it is only obfuscating the target values of enemies - which I think is fair and for the reasons stated in the OP.

 

You didn't get ACs and DCs in D&D or the IE games, and I don't believe you should get them in the most IE-inspired mode.


Edited by Sensuki, 08 November 2013 - 06:57 PM.






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