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Strengths and flaws?

character creation traits flaws build perks

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#41
Lephys

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Jeez.
 
From where I'm at, your initial statement was more like "If it rains bricks, you need an iron umbrella," and my counterpoint was "True, but it never actually rains bricks, and an iron umbrella is not great to protect from rain because it's heavy and it rusts," To which you kept repeating, "Yes, but if it rains bricks, you need an iron umbrella."
 
I agree that yes, Lephys, indeed, if it ever rains bricks, then an iron umbrella comes in very handy, but I still contend that in reality it hardly ever rains bricks, and therefore carrying an iron umbrella is a bad idea.


I'd find that point to be immensely more potent if we weren't talking about an entire genre of games based on fictional worlds.

Translate your point back to the original example/debate, and instead of "Yes, but it never rains bricks," you get "Yes, but both swords AND maces are never both necessary, ever."

And you know what? As long as it never rains bricks, in reality, then we'll never have any use for iron umbrellas. That doesn't change the fact that, were bricks to ever be raining down upon your head, you would no longer deem an iron umbrella to be pointless. Thus, even if you never have to be in the situation to desire an iron umbrella, because it's never going to rain bricks, you can still comprehend the relationship between the value of an iron umbrella and the existence of brick-based precipitation.

Thus, the one thing you still don't seem to get is that the point of even that silly example has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not it ever rains bricks. If you understood that, there'd be no reason for a "but."

"Jeez," indeed.

#42
PrimeJunta

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Sorry, Lephys. You're still not understanding what I'm saying... and you're still repeating the same thing. Which is not a counter-argument to the argument I'm making. I got a sudden bout of bloody-mindendess so I'll give it yet another go. I'm pretty sure this is the last one; if it's still not sinking in, I'll have to conclude that either (a) I'm not good at explaining it, (b) you're irredeemably dense, or © you're pulling my leg.

First, I think these analogies aren't helping. They're only muddying the waters further.

Second, your problem (with understanding what I'm saying) is that you're still stuck on specifics (e.g. swords vs maces) whereas I'm talking about general defining characteristics (trade-off traits in general, computer RPG's in general). 

 

By "general defining characteristic" I mean that "a game which does not have this characteristic does not, in my opinion, fall in the computer role-playing game genre." Entirely regardless of the imaginary world or system of mechanics in the game.

I'm making the following claims:

Premise 1. "One of the defining characteristics of computer role-playing games in general is that they allow multiple approaches to solving problems, combat and otherwise." (Agree or disagree?)

Premise 2. "One of the defining characteristics of computer role-playing games in general is that success in a task, combat or otherwise, depends on your character's skill level at it." (Agree or disagree?)

I'm stating that these two claims imply the following consequence:

Conclusion 1: "Therefore, any trait that involves a 1:1 trade-off between two equally useful abilities is inherently attractive."

Reasoning: "Because of Claim 1, the player will usually be able to avoid using the weakened ability, and because of Claim 2, he will derive a large benefit from the strengthened ability." (Agree or disagree?)

You will note that these claims are entirely independent of what fictional world we're in, or which two equally attractive abilities we're talking about.

 

I also made a few secondary points derived from Conclusion 1:

 

Corollary 1: Therefore, 1:1 trade-off traits between equally attractive abilities should only be used if the player has to choose between several of them (such as in Arcanum), rather than "choose" whether to take such a trait or not. (Agree or disagree?)

 

Examples: You might argue that this is just academic theorycrafting, but the fact of the matter is that this is done wrong in many if not most cRPG's. Fallout's chargen and D&D specializations both suffer badly from this problem, for example. (Agree or disagree?)


Edited by PrimeJunta, 09 January 2014 - 09:32 PM.


#43
Lephys

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@PrimeJunta:

I'll try to keep this brief.

I actually get all that. What you're not getting is that when I talk about "the specifics" of that trait, I'm talking about the fact that that trait deals with all those "general defining characteristics" you're going on about. All of that, the entire thing, is completely irrelevant to the point of my example. I'm not arguing against what you're saying, which is why I've agreed with it about a hundred times now. Yes, in isolation, that's not the best shining example of a good perk design.

I'm going to try to clarify this one more time, as well. After this, if you don't get me, then one of us is obviously failing to comprehend the other, and agreement on which of us it is is clearly a futile goal now.

Someone referenced a perk or something in some game that wasn't really a bad idea for a perk/trait, but was poorly executed in that game. Thus, I made my point. "If only the game had actually been designed better, that perk would've been fine, because, as long as the game supports it, a perk is not a non-trade-off." THEN, I said:

It's like having a Swords skill and a Maces skill, and having 100 swords in the game, but only 3 different maces. If there's a trait that makes you better with one but worse with the other, it's not the trait's fault that the game's designed to pretty much ignore mace-users.


Do you comprehend that a game with 100 different swords and only 3 maces inherently makes maces a lesser choice than swords? And therefore, even IF a trait that trades them against each other WERE a good design on its own, it would STILL be a terrible idea in the context of that game.

Please just answer me this: Can you comprehend that? And can you see that exact quote above, and think "Ahh, yes, that point is actually there."? Because, if you can, then my example did its job. Its job not being advocating pitting swords versus maces in any way, shape, or fashion, or arguing that that somehow is a perfectly sound basis for a trait in cRPGs. In essence, in NO way contradicting anything in any of your counter-arguments.

So, again, I quite literally have absolutely no idea how or why there's anything we're even disagreeing about. The only thing I can possibly fathom is that you somehow think I'm, to put it very simply, defending the quality of a swords-vs-maces trait. Which I'm not. Hence my "unnecessary" repetition of that. You claim I've just been repeating "my point," which you supposedly already understand, but I'm not. I'm basically repeating "I'm not even arguing against you," to which you're responding "Yeah, I get that, but you obviously don't understand it when I tell you that (insert stuff supposedly contradicting my agreement with you)."

Ideally, we reach a mutual understanding here. But, if not, it's not the end of the world. And I'm sorry for apparently being incapable of making my points more clearly, so as to avoid pages of needless argument where there isn't even a disagreement (except over whether or not there's an argument).

#44
rjshae

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For me a well-implemented strengths/flaws system would have successful information hiding, in which case the determination of a favorable strength/flaw for a particular character type would be independent of the specific game conditions. Unfortunately that can't happen given the existence of walkthrough strategy guides... unless the game itself meta-games the selected strength/flaw to have a net neutral benefit. People probably wouldn't like that. It might be better to focus on what strength/flaws people would find fun to play with, rather than whether one or another gives a greater advantage. After all, one can always change the game difficulty level if a particular selection makes the game too easy.



#45
Lephys

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Yeah, I like the ones that cover really specific situations. Like in Shadowrun (PnP), one of the flaws is akin to shyness, and it only applies whenever you're the center of attention (you get a -1 to Charisma skill checks or something). Which, I get that that's a lot harder to implement in a cRPG than it is in a PnP game (in which it's just "make it up! 8D!", heh). But, yeah, things LIKE that. It's not a... I don't know what the word would be. Global? Constant? It's not a constant effect, like "the value of this skill/stat changes to this number, therefore affecting any and all uses of that skill/stat."

Those rather unique character quirks are my favorite. As for trade-offs; I don't know that it's absolutely necessary, but I think a pretty good rule is to make sure the pros and cons are always related in some way.

Like... if you get +3 damage with all weapons, maybe you attack more slowly. That's pretty basic, but it makes sense. It's basically impossible for that to be a non-trade-off, because no player can say "Ha-HAH! I get free damage, at the cost of attack speed! I'm not even going to USE attack speed! MUAHAHAHAHA!" Or vice versa, :). The only way that COULD be silly is if the game allowed a pacifist run. In which case, you're choosing that pairing, and you're choosing whether or not you want to even attempt a pacifist run. So, you're not going to accidentally screw yourself over, there.

So, yeah, in evaluating basically how to pair such things (whether it's the allowances in selecting them individually, or they're just paired from the get-go in a single trait/perk package), PrimeJunta's point above is a good one. If there's a maces skill (or... proficiency, even), and a swords skill, and you have no reason to ever miss one or the other as long as you have ONE of them (let's say maces and swords are the only two melee weapon types in the game), then you're not really trading anything.

There are a lot of games that sort of inadvertently do that. At which point, you might as well just have "pick a bonus," and have a choice between a bonus to swords skill or a bonus to maces skill, much like the original Fallout's skill system's allowance for 3 marked skills that got boosted progression. Of course, even with that, you still have to make sure there's some kind of tradeoff, or its pointless.

Edited by Lephys, 10 January 2014 - 03:38 PM.


#46
teknoman2

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you have 8 points

you need 2 points to get the smart perk, you can get 2 extra points if you choose the dumb perk

you can use 2 points to get  the eagle eye perk, or you can get 2 points by getting the blind perk

you can spend 4 points to get the military training perk or you can gain 4 points by getting the unfit for combat perk

etc.

in all cases however you cant have both as they are mutually exclusive

so you spend points on beneficial perks, but if you want more, you have to compromize by taking detrimental perks to add points


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#47
JFSOCC

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you have 8 points
you need 2 points to get the smart perk, you can get 2 extra points if you choose the dumb perk
you can use 2 points to get  the eagle eye perk, or you can get 2 points by getting the blind perk
you can spend 4 points to get the military training perk or you can gain 4 points by getting the unfit for combat perk
etc.
in all cases however you cant have both as they are mutually exclusive
so you spend points on beneficial perks, but if you want more, you have to compromize by taking detrimental perks to add points

that's a good system except it encourages min-maxing a lot, so I would make it so picking a detrimental perk unlocks less points than picking the opposite positive perk costs points

Edited by JFSOCC, 11 January 2014 - 08:01 AM.


#48
Mr. Magniloquent

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I enjoy trait/hinderence system, though I do often use them to min/max. In cRPG, their value is limited, as coding for responsiveness to these selections would be immense and prohibitive. That being said, I still loved them in Arcanum.



#49
teknoman2

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you have 8 points
you need 2 points to get the smart perk, you can get 2 extra points if you choose the dumb perk
you can use 2 points to get  the eagle eye perk, or you can get 2 points by getting the blind perk
you can spend 4 points to get the military training perk or you can gain 4 points by getting the unfit for combat perk
etc.
in all cases however you cant have both as they are mutually exclusive
so you spend points on beneficial perks, but if you want more, you have to compromize by taking detrimental perks to add points

that's a good system except it encourages min-maxing a lot, so I would make it so picking a detrimental perk unlocks less points than picking the opposite positive perk costs points

 

not if it is done right

let me use fallout as an example

if you take the smart, you get +1 to your intelligence and 1 point bonus to all int based skills, but you may not have less than 8 int so 2 stat points at character creation go to int even if you dont want to

if you take dumb, your max int is locked at 4 with all the resulting consequences in the game (not even implants can get it higher and the fact that the initial int is 4 and not 5, does not mean you get the lost point to use on something else... it is lost and that applies to all perks that cap a stat)

if you take military training, you get 10 point bonus at all weapon skills, but your str, per and end cant be less  than 6

if you take unfit for combat, str and end are capped at 4 and you start with 20% less hp than normal



#50
jamoecw

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you have 8 points
you need 2 points to get the smart perk, you can get 2 extra points if you choose the dumb perk
you can use 2 points to get  the eagle eye perk, or you can get 2 points by getting the blind perk
you can spend 4 points to get the military training perk or you can gain 4 points by getting the unfit for combat perk
etc.
in all cases however you cant have both as they are mutually exclusive
so you spend points on beneficial perks, but if you want more, you have to compromize by taking detrimental perks to add points

that's a good system except it encourages min-maxing a lot, so I would make it so picking a detrimental perk unlocks less points than picking the opposite positive perk costs points

 

not if it is done right

let me use fallout as an example

if you take the smart, you get +1 to your intelligence and 1 point bonus to all int based skills, but you may not have less than 8 int so 2 stat points at character creation go to int even if you dont want to

if you take dumb, your max int is locked at 4 with all the resulting consequences in the game (not even implants can get it higher and the fact that the initial int is 4 and not 5, does not mean you get the lost point to use on something else... it is lost and that applies to all perks that cap a stat)

if you take military training, you get 10 point bonus at all weapon skills, but your str, per and end cant be less  than 6

if you take unfit for combat, str and end are capped at 4 and you start with 20% less hp than normal

 

given that the penalties are worse than the opposing perks, the point stands.  the efficiency to penalties needs to be worse, as the player will avoid using things that are penalized, and try to use things that are boosted.  as a result any penalty that directly inverts a strength (+1 to str vs. -1 to strength for example) will in fact favor the bonus.  last page i broke it down to a mathematical formula to take into account different variables (such as how often the penalty comes into play when you try to avoid using it vs. how often a strength will come into play if you try to use it at every opportunity).



#51
JFSOCC

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the issue with this system is that someone who doesn't care about intelligence but does care for strength can easily take an int hit for a str bonus. (min-maxing) Anything irrelevant to the character build could be given up for points that boost the build.

 

I like a traits system like this, but anything that gives you more points to spend should give you less points than an equal bonus would cost.



#52
Lephys

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the issue with this system is that someone who doesn't care about intelligence but does care for strength can easily take an int hit for a str bonus. (min-maxing) Anything irrelevant to the character build could be given up for points that boost the build.
 
I like a traits system like this, but anything that gives you more points to spend should give you less points than an equal bonus would cost.


The thing is, you can't ever avoid that fact without completely foregoing player choices at character creation altogether. If someone doesn't care that they get 20 HP instead of 100 when they dump Endurance/Constitution and boost the crap out of INT (with just their stat-point allocation, even), then you can't make them care. All you can do is make having more than 20 HP an objective benefit.

Now, I DO understand that this upsets a strengths/flaws system in which you pick them separately, because you could always just say "well, I've only got 20 HP, so what do I need HP regen for?" and take a regen detriment to get an extra X points to spend on another bonus that actually affects something you care about. Which is why I'm more and more convinced that the best policy there is to organize the strengths and flaws there by affiliation. I do think pairings that basically just mimic stat allocations are not very good, like "You're really good at damaging things, but you suck at being charming." So, basically, this trait gives you a further Strength bonus, but lessens your Charisma. Of course, if you make super-low Charisma actually affect battling (maybe certain equipment merchants won't even sell to you, or you get hardly any money for the loot you sell because people just-plain hate you), then that might work out. Either way, the penalty you choose (or that's inherently paired with your strength/benefit) should actually affect the same aspect of your character as the benefit, methinks.

This is, I think, the core benefit of the whole "no dump stats" policy. Look at Dexterity. Being able to hit things is never not useful in an entire playthrough. PoE isn't designed to allow pacifist runs, so you're going to have a significant amount of foes you need to dispatch. And you can only dispatch them if you can hit them.

In D&D, your Wizard doesn't give a crap about DEX, 'cause he can just use spells (which usually always hit, but, more importantly, are not affected by DEX). But, in PoE, whatever you're attacking with is essentially subject to Accuracy, which is derived from DEX. Therefore, If you willingly make a character with horrid Dexterity, you're willingly accepting that inability to hit anything worth a crap.

So, it really all depends on how the system's set up. If all the stats end up really being that significant to a lot of things, then it may work perfectly fine for traits to further boost a stat at the cost to another. Is a value of 1 Charisma (just an example -- I realize PoE will not have Charisma) going to be insignificant because everyone'll just be fine with talking to your friends all the time while you never say anything, ever? Or will there be important dialogues in the game in which someone goes all "No, I'm not asking you, I want to hear it from HIM!" and points at you? That kind of thing.

Again, if the values are always significant (high OR low), then the tradeoff exists, whether the player cares about it or not.

For what it's worth, JFSOCC, I do agree with that 2nd bit, about detriments being worth fewer points than "equivalent" bonuses cost. I think that's pretty much always a good idea, as long as you're using the "pick-'em-separately" approach.
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