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@Primejunta:

 

If you simply can't bring yourself to overlook the irrelevant specifics of my example to see the relevant ones, then I'll use a different example. Camouflage. You can't say that a particular camouflage pattern is "inherently bad" because it depends solely upon where the immediate surroundings. The idiocy of traveling to a pool of molten lava within a volcano JUST to grant function to some lava camouflage has nothing to do with anything, since the point is merely that IF you were near lava, and IF you wanted to be camouflaged, then you'd want to look like lava.

 

IF you had a game in which there was something to be gained by having a bonus to swordsmanship, and something to be lost by a lack of macemanship, then an "I'm better with swords but suck with maces" perk would not be pointless.

 

Now, kindly stop trying to argue with me about how bad you think a swords-vs-maces perk would be only in the specific cRPG designs you're thinking of, because I'm not even disagreeing with you. And, since that's not even the point I'm making, you're not even disagreeing with me. You're just flooding this thread with an arbitrary argument, all because you think I'm arguing in favor of some specific perk that was literally whipped out of my head in mere seconds, solely so that I could have an example where there once was no example.

 

I guess I could've said "say there's a perk that does a thing, in a game, and that game doedoesn't have a lot of stuff that matters from that thing that that perk does... well, then it's a pointless perk. But as long as the game has lots of stuffs that change things because of the things the perk changes, then everything's great! 8D!".

Edited by Lephys
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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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Right-o, Lephys. Next time, please just concede the point right away and save everyone a lot of trouble and some aggravation. Like so:

 

"You're right, PrimeJunta, that swords-vs-maces trait was a poor example. Let me think of another one..."

 

That said, I will point out that you're still pointedly ignoring may main point. Namely, that what you dismiss as "only ... the specific cRPG designs [i'm] thinking of" are, in fact, general cRPG designs. A swords-vs-maces trait is munchkiny because things like a wide variety of enemies, a wide variety of ways with which to defeat them, and a wide variety of equipment to acquire naturally dilute the downside of the perk, while leaving the upside untouched. These are not specific designs, but general ones.

 

I did point out that it would be possible to produce a specific design in which the perk would not be munchkiny, but these would not be typical of cRPG's in general. Capeesh?

Edited by PrimeJunta
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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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Right-o, Lephys. Next time, please just concede the point right away and save everyone a lot of trouble and some aggravation. Like so:

 

"You're right, PrimeJunta, that swords-vs-maces trait was a poor example. Let me think of another one..."

 

That said, I will point out that you're still pointedly ignoring may main point. Namely, that what you dismiss as "only ... the specific cRPG designs [i'm] thinking of" are, in fact, general cRPG designs. A swords-vs-maces trait is munchkiny because things like a wide variety of enemies, a wide variety of ways with which to defeat them, and a wide variety of equipment to acquire naturally dilute the downside of the perk, while leaving the upside untouched. These are not specific designs, but general ones.

 

I did point out that it would be possible to produce a specific design in which the perk would not be munchkiny, but these would not be typical of cRPG's in general. Capeesh?

I think Lephys' point is still valid. In the end, it sounds to me like a matter of flavor. If a game really wants to balance the creatures around making trade-offs more 'genuine' then it would sound very legalistic; a trend that would probably seep into other elements of that system and thus jeopardizing immersion (imo). Usually this mind set is for online gaming companies (and newer pen and paper) that placate to 'qq' so they dont risk losing x amount of noobs.

 

I believe trade-off perks should be more about the amusement than the authenticity. After all, it is a game, and immersion in rpgs is more about amusement than emphasizing "how genuine" the mechanics are. Not saying everything should be on the table for matters of amusement, but keeping it tasteful - which usually will hurt the feelings of 'x' amount of the player base, regardless.

 

If some gaming mechanics are really amusing, there will always be 'them' that have the hard feelings about the balance and authenticity.

Edited by Kveldulf

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"Genuineness" has nothing to do with it. That's the gamism/simulationism discussion which is another matter entirely.

 

The problem with unbalanced traits -- or any unbalanced features -- is that because they're obviously better, they become fake choices or pseudo-choices. There's no reason not to pick them. It's the same thing as with dump or pump stats. There's simply no reason not to pump STR and dump CHA as a D&D fighter, or pump INT and dump STR as a wizard. That makes those apparent choices non-choices. Like going into a race on the Nürnburgring and being give a choice between a Porsche 911 and a Volkswagen Beetle. 

 

I recently got into FO:NV. It's a prime example of this sort of thing (like all the Fallouts; in fact there's clearly some effort there to make the traits a little less unbalanced, but even so). There are lots of traits you can pick on chargen, but you only get to pick two. However, some of those traits are so obviously advantageous compared to the others that there's really little point to those others. Similarly, under S.P.E.C.I.A.L there is no reason not to pump INT, since what you can do is determined by your skill points, and your skill points are determined by your INT. That's bad design. If you have attributes or traits to choose from, there should be good reasons to choose any one of the options being offered.

 

If it was up to me, I would've dropped all of the "mechanics-affecting" traits from FO:NV, and left only the "fun" ones, and I would've made all the "fun" perks available at level-up traits you can only take on chargen. So drop Skilled, Four-Eyes, Trigger Discipline, Small Frame and what have you, but make Ladies' Man, Confirmed Bachelor traits instead of perks, and put in more like Wild Wasteland etc. Or, alternatively, make chargen all about traits and backgrounds, à la Arcanum or Numenera, de-emphasizing direct allocation of stats.

 

TL;DR: Why even have choices that are obviously worse than other choices? It would be stupid to pick them.

Edited by PrimeJunta
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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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My point is simply that, if you have a reason to want both things, the non-trade-off loses its "non."

 

Shall I explain why I made such a point (maybe it's baffling WHY I'd say that, because it seems obvious?)? At least one example in here was someone pointing out something like "In that one game, you could take that perk that gave you a huge boost to Skill X, only, Skill X served almost no purpose throughout the entire game! Therefore, that shouldn't have been a perk!"

 

In that scenario, I dare say Skill X should've been designed less crappily in the first place, thus killing two birds with one stone. Now you actually miss out on something if you don't gain a huge bonus to Skill X (by picking some other perk), AND skill X serves a purpose, instead of basically being useless or inherently inferior.

 

Never did I say "in any given situation, we should just adjust the game to accommodate the perk." If the perk's crappy, the perk's crappy. But, sometimes it isn't the perk's fault. It's the rest of the game's.

 

"It's not always the perk that's the cause of the non-trade-off."

 

Really. Quite. Simple.

 

@PrimeJunta:

 

I'm so very glad you think that some kind of swords-vs-maces effectiveness trade-off would most likely not exist within a design typically seen in a cRPG. That is as lovely as it is irrelevant to my point.

 

Replace "swords-vs-maces" with whatever you want (because the specifics have absolutely nothing to do with anything), and if the two things that you're supposed to be choosing between don't have equal usefulness in the game, then the perk is bad. Even if it's the best conceptual perk in the universe.

Edited by Lephys
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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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@Lephys, this is a bit of a tangent but I think it's an interesting tangent. I get what you're saying, but I still don't think you get what I'm saying. Because even the second example misses the mark.

 

What I'm saying is something like this:

 

(1) One of the attractive, defining characteristics of cRPG's is that they allow multiple approaches to meeting challenges (combat or otherwise).

(2) In cRPG's, a major determining factor of meeting a challenge or failing it is how good your character is at some activity (skill, combat proficiency, spell, etc.)

(3) Therefore, any trait that strengthens one skill/ability/whatever at the expense of another is inherently attractive: because of point (1), you're likely to be able to work around the weakness in the weakened characteristic, and because of (2), you're likely to get a major advantage from strengthening the strong one.

 

Illustration - the Good Natured perk in Fallout: New Vegas.

 

On the face of it, this is balanced: you trade off combat skills in favor of non-combat skills, and the game has scads of opportunities for combat, and scads of opportunities to use non-combat skills. Yet this is an inherently attractive trait. Why? Because you only need one good combat skill, whereas you get a lot of mileage out of even moderate levels in many non-combat skills. So I'm effectively trading off 5 points in one skill I want (the combat skill I want to build up), to get 25 points spread between 5 skills I do want (Barter, Medicine, Science, Repair, Speech). That's a net gain of 20 points. Even if you're building a combat machine with two built-up combat skills, you're gaining 15 points. Which is basically a free level (if you've maxed INT like you should). And it's a free level in the early part of the game, when levels actually count for something.

Edited by PrimeJunta
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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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@PrimeJunta:

 

I'm really not saying this in any kind of hostile manner, or calling you an idiot or anything, but I don't think you realize that I do get what you're saying. And that might be the fault of my not making it clear with my words that I understand it, and if that's the case, I apologize for perpetuating confusion on that. I realize I have a defective brain, and I almost always say things in ways that confuse other people. But, I really try not to, and I need other people's help to find the discrepancy, because it makes fine sense to me, and it's truly me intentionally striving to not just say the first thing that makes sense in my own head.

 

Illustration - the Good Natured perk in Fallout: New Vegas.

 

On the face of it, this is balanced: you trade off combat skills in favor of non-combat skills, and the game has scads of opportunities for combat, and scads of opportunities to use non-combat skills. Yet this is an inherently attractive trait. Why? Because you only need one good combat skill, whereas you get a lot of mileage out of even moderate levels in many non-combat skills. So I'm effectively trading off 5 points in one skill I want (the combat skill I want to build up), to get 25 points spread between 5 skills I do want (Barter, Medicine, Science, Repair, Speech). That's a net gain of 20 points. Even if you're building a combat machine with two built-up combat skills, you're gaining 15 points. Which is basically a free level (if you've maxed INT like you should). And it's a free level in the early part of the game, when levels actually count for something.

Look at how many design specifics contribute to the exact situation of that one kind of falling into the non-trade-off category. The game content that requires/benefits from the various skills, both combat and non, the specific design of INT and its contribution to your skillpoints, the caps and values of all the skills in comparison to the amount of skillpoints you can potentially gain to make up for things, etc.

 

Piggy-backing on that, here's an example of how things could be done in FO:NV, specifically. The skills only go to 100, right? (I can't remember, because in the old Fallouts, they went up to like... 400% or something...?). So, what if, with everything else staying the same, you upped the cap on the skills to, say, 115. Then, have various things throughout the game actually allow for actions/choices that can only be taken with over 100 in a given skill.

 

Now, the game doesn't expect you to get anywhere close to 115 in every skill, so, without taking a trait or perk that boosts a given skill, you're basically going to cripple yourself by just pumping points into the ones you want to get above 100, because there are intentionally not that many points to be had.

 

I'm going to go ahead and say that, yes, while that illustrates my point, it probably wouldn't be a very wise design decision, over-all. However, to put it simply, if the system is set up to allow for mere point-boosts (be it in a skill, or proficiency, or what-have-you) to be significant things, then such things don't become non-trade-offs. Is it feasible? Under the right circumstances, yes. It really depends on a lot of specifics. Which is why I'm not trying to emphasize anything but the mere relationship.

 

There are only so many options:

 

1) Just don't allow trait/perk-type selections at all, so you have no benefits to balance at all.

2) Allow traits/perks and just don't balance them at all.

3) Allow them and balance them in some fashion with detriments (whether paired or individually selectable).

 

I agree that having them be individually selectable is the most tricky method. I've agreed with that from the start. There are lots of probabilities that skyrocket, and the list of feasible possibilities shortens, I get that. But, sometimes, when you see a problematic non-trade-off in a game, it just comes down to the way in which everything was done, and not the sheer idea of having that trade-off in the first place.

 

I think pairing them is definitely the most feasible way to go. And they still have to be intelligently designed, obviously. You can't just pair two things at random, or blatantly imbalance them. "You get 700 extra damage per attack, but move .00000001% more slowly" is clearly a terrible perk. But, still in tune with my point, it's a terrible perk because of the numbers (first and foremost). Not because it's inherently impossible to ever balance damage and movement speed. (again, not that damage versus movement speed is the absolute best pairing in the universe.) The point is the effect of the specifics, and nothing more.

 

If you get what I'm saying, then good. I'm not trying to win or anything. The only reason respond with clarifications and explanations is out of respect. To do otherwise or just ignore you, in my mind, would be to suggest you're incapable of understanding the point or something. Like I said, a misunderstanding doesn't infer your fault. It could be mine, or yours, or any combination. I'm not worried about fault. If you have an interest in my point, then I'll do my best to clarify it. It's as simple as that.

 

And, again, I'm sorry if I'm just not making it easy to take my meaning. But, if you can pinpoint the bits that don't seem to make sense, or don't seem to convey what I'm claiming my meaning to be, then please point them out. That helps us both.

 

I don't disagree with you about your criticisms of specific examples. I'm simply focusing on a point/aspect that it didn't seem to me you were realizing I was focusing on, is all. It wasn't a "you're wrong, because (insert my point here)" thing. Just a simple case of seemingly mistaking my point for something else.


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 what it's worth, I have a thought (wanted to separate it from my wall-o-text up there... I honestly try to be concise, haha... *sigh*):

 

It might be best to at least group benefits and detriments by target, whether they're pre-paired or selected from a list.

 

What I mean is, if you get a benefit that directly pertains to damage output, you should have to get a detriment that also affects the same thing. So you won't end up with "I do 20% more base damage, but get a -8 to all Lockpicking rolls, even though I don't even have the Lockpicking skill! 8D!".

 

If you got extra critical damage, you might have to take decreased armor penetration, or lessened base damage, or attack speed, or -10% weapon skill bonus, etc. Something else dealing with the same equation.

 

I think those are my favorite perks. The ones that sort of distinguish your character in a way that the rest of the system cannot. "Like... you're great at talking to men, but have a hard time talking to women." No amount of adjustment to a Speech skill (for example) or reaction modifier, etc., would produce that result.

 

Also, I just wanted to point out that you can never eliminate non-trade-offs caused by a player's subjective views. If you don't give a crap that you're going to make terrible skill checks or have fewer useful dialogue options whenever you talk to women, the system can't make you care. All it can do is make not-sucking-at-talking-to-women a valuable character aspect. In the Good-Natured example you provided, you can't make the character care much about combat skills, even if they were more needed (in greater numbers) than they actually are in that game. You can only really balance their potentials against one another, not their actual effects.

 

But, yes, if you just let everyone pick whatever, or pair nothing but really goofy things, then you might as well not have detriments at all, and just let everyone pick bonuses, with the detriment being that they DIDN'T pick some other bonus.


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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@Lephys, I do get what you're saying, both before about the general point, and now, when you're objecting to my sidetrack. I agree with you about the former. However, since you're apparently not interested in addressing the latter but instead just keep reiterating what you said about the former, this isn't going anywhere, and I'm going to drop it.


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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i think primejunta stepped into the flaw with the perk/penalty system, that simply self balancing won't help.  in fact it the core issue with them being balanced.  regardless of separate or combined you have to have penalties that are always penalties, and perks simply have to be 'not OP' in order to have the system be balanced.  if you do that, then the amount you pick don't matter, nor if they are separate or combined.

 

example:

good natured - 15 pts. - gain 5 pts to 4 non combat skills.

 

thus you lose 15 pts. you would be spending on some skill you would be normally spending points on (like that one combat skill), in order to get 20 points spread across 4 skills, a net gain, but not a cheap one.  now it would only be a non choice if you wanted to build up all 4 skills, rather than just have a good baseline incase you needed them.  having a good baseline would be nice, but is it worth 15 points?  maybe, if you wanted to keep your non combat options open, especially if you decided to specialize in a non combat skill, and thus it would only be a 10 point penalty to boost 3 skills by 5, the same net gain (5 points).    like lephys said though simply gaining points in all situations don't make the best perks, so it isn't that great of a perk.

 

swordsman - + - gain a 1 point boost to your swordsmanship thaco, you need to pick a penalty.

finesse - - - you have trouble smashing non living opponents, you just aren't wired that way, they gain 10 DR against any attacks you make, be they magical or otherwise.

 

now as long as their are plenty of non living opponents the penalty hurts, and the swordsman skill is not that great, so a minor overall buff, for a significant situational penalty.  the penalty isn't tied to something you can just not use (or avoid, hopefully).

 

overall situational bonuses and penalties should be weighted by how common they are, penalties by the smallest number you can encounter (in the mace vs. sword example maces could be avoided entirely), and bonuses by how much you can encounter at most (in the sword vs. mace example was for all fights against non sword immune enemies).  in this way you can come up with a mathematical method to achieve how effect a bonus or penalty is based on the content of the game, giving the proper amount of points it is due (bonuses and penalties need to be looked at individually so no bonus is gained by combining them).  thus as lephys said, there is a way to balance swords and no maces.

 

1000 total fights

400 avoidable

500 sword immune enemies

0 enemies immune to something other than sword

0 required mace useage

 

thus the sword bonus is applied to 500 fights, or half the enemies, given that it isn't normal for a weapon to be ineffective, the sword bonus (and skill for that matter) is worth half the points it gives.

there is 0 required mace usage across 600 mandatory fights (in other words a non penalty).

so as both sides should balance:

((1000-500)/1000)*(x/((1000-0)/1000)=(x/((600-0)/600)*(0/(600-0))

or

1/2*x=0

thus the value of this trade off is not equal and needs a change, either by making the bonus equal zero (to match the penalty) or make the penalty equal half of x (x being what ever the point value the boost gives).  given that all benefits can be boiled down to some numerical value for balance purposes, one can decouple them from each other and allow the player to mix and match the benefits and penalties to their hearts content without limit (thus one could pick no maces, which has a value zero, and then pick a 'real' penalty in order to afford the bonus to swords), though you would have to be careful that some perks or penalties don't change the numbers in the formula (unless these numbers were calculated during the selection process and thus changed as one picked them).

 

something that simply changed that people called you 'lord poofy pants' or something like that and no other effect, would have a value of zero and wouldn't cost you anything (unless you were limited by the amount of perks you could pick, then it wouldn't be a zero cost exactly).

 

thus the order of simplicity of how to do perks is:

  1. none
  2. 'flavor' perks that have no real effects
  3. unbalanced perks (non choices)
  4. mathematically balanced ones with no extra restrictions (like pairing them up, or limiting how many you can pick) that need extra balancing
  5. balanced perks and penalties paired up that didn't use a formula to balance them, but instead hours and hours of repetitive playtesting
  6. mathematically balanced ones with extra restrictions that needed extra balancing
  7. balanced perks and penalties with no extra restrictions that didn't use a formula to balance them

the question is really where the 'sweet' spot is for the devs and payer base (devs have to do the work, and payers have to like it, otherwise it is wasted work).

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Jamoecw: I love your stringency. I wish I had at least some of it. In addition, you've basically put an end to the entire thread with those great arguments. Well played, sir! :bow:

Edited by IndiraLightfoot

*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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Aaaannddd.... /thread

 

There you go, Jamoecw! :)

 

Josh: Thanks for the clearcut info.


*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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@Lephys, I do get what you're saying, both before about the general point, and now, when you're objecting to my sidetrack. I agree with you about the former. However, since you're apparently not interested in addressing the latter but instead just keep reiterating what you said about the former, this isn't going anywhere, and I'm going to drop it.

I'm sorry it somehow didn't seem like it, but I addressed the latter, ever since you first said it. I didn't say "you're wrong, but (re-iterate initial point)" or "I don't even want to talk about that at all (re-iterate initial point)."

 

Maybe I'm just feeble-minded, but I don't understand why the re-iteration of your point 7 times was totally reasonable, while mine was somehow unreasonable. I mean, clearly I thought you misunderstood my point, and was mistaken, and you thought I misunderstood your point (and still do, maybe?), but were mistaken.

 

I even literally said that I'd gladly discuss "the latter" with you in detail, when it was separate from my point. But you kept trying to pretend like they were inseparably intertwined.

 

The simple fact is, whether you have the worst trait idea in the universe, or the best one, is irrelevant to my initial point, which was a simple conditional statement.

 

"If it rains, you'll want an umbrella." That already covers both a rainy day AND a non-rainy day. There's no need for someone to argue about whether or not it's going to rain, and whether or not you'll need an umbrella, because that's a completely separate issue.

 

Does that make sense? (Not being derisive, just actually wondering if I'm being clear.)

 

If you had simply said "Yeah, I get that, but, of course, on a separate note, let's talk about what kind of stuff might possibly make that work, or just what would be better ideas for more-likely-to-work perks, etc.", I'd've high-fived you and been all "All right! 8D!".

 

You weren't even acknowledging a separation between the two points, and I honestly could only deduce that you didn't understand they were separate, and therefore misunderstood my point (to be something non-separate from yours).

 

I don't like wasting people's time, for what it's worth, and/or arguing just for the sake of argument. But I'm just a human, so, I can't just read your mind. I need help to understand other people's points when their initial words aren't doing it for me, and I need their help to help them understand my point when my words aren't doing it for them.


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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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.

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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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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.


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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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

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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).


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 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.


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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

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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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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The words freedom and liberty, are diminishing the true meaning of the abstract concept they try to explain. The true nature of freedom is such, that the human mind is unable to comprehend it, so we make a cage and name it freedom in order to give a tangible meaning to what we dont understand, just as our ancestors made gods like Thor or Zeus to explain thunder.

 

-Teknoman2-

What? You thought it was a quote from some well known wise guy from the past?

 

Stupidity leads to willful ignorance - willful ignorance leads to hope - hope leads to sex - and that is how a new generation of fools is born!


We are hardcore role players... When we go to bed with a girl, we roll a D20 to see if we hit the target and a D6 to see how much penetration damage we did.

 

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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

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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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.

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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


The words freedom and liberty, are diminishing the true meaning of the abstract concept they try to explain. The true nature of freedom is such, that the human mind is unable to comprehend it, so we make a cage and name it freedom in order to give a tangible meaning to what we dont understand, just as our ancestors made gods like Thor or Zeus to explain thunder.

 

-Teknoman2-

What? You thought it was a quote from some well known wise guy from the past?

 

Stupidity leads to willful ignorance - willful ignorance leads to hope - hope leads to sex - and that is how a new generation of fools is born!


We are hardcore role players... When we go to bed with a girl, we roll a D20 to see if we hit the target and a D6 to see how much penetration damage we did.

 

Modern democracy is: the sheep voting for which dog will be the shepherd's right hand.

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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).

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