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The implications of all classes being combat proficient on enemy encounters

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So, we know that in Pillars of Eternity, all classes will be combat proficient. There are no non-combat or mostly non-combat characters who hide in the back while the combat characters do their work.

 

In the Infinity Engine games, while no class was truly utterly useless in a fight, it was often the wisest choice to allow your mages and sometimes even thieves to hold back while your beefier fighters did the dirty work. What that meant, is that your effective party size during many of these games' battles could be as low as 3 party members!

 

Furthermore, it makes sense to assume that the battles in those games were balanced for such effective party sizes, in terms of the numbers and the power levels of the foes that you faced.

 

What I'm trying to say is, if the typical case in Pillars of Eternity is that all six party members are going to be in the fray, kicking butt at all times, then the typical enemy group size and strength from the Infinity Engine games might very well be woefully inadequate.

 

So, are we going to be seeing noticeably stronger or more numerous enemies in every encounter in Pillars of Eternity to compensate for this?

 

Actually, I remember reading that the plan is for you to start you out with a smaller party and gradually expand it over the course of the game, so maybe that won't be quite so necessary.

Edited by Infinitron

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So, we know that in Pillars of Eternity, all classes will be combat proficient. There are no non-combat or mostly non-combat characters who hide in the back while the combat characters do their work.

 

In the Infinity Engine games, while no class was truly utterly useless in a fight, it was often the wisest choice to allow your mages and sometimes even thieves to hold back while your beefier fighters did the dirty work. What that meant, is that your effective party size during many of these games' battles could be as low as 3 party members!

 

Furthermore, it makes sense to assume that the battles in those games were balanced for such effective party sizes, in terms of the numbers and the power levels of the foes that you faced.

 

What I'm trying to say is, if the typical case in Pillars of Eternity is that all six party members are going to be in the fray, kicking butt at all times, then the typical enemy group size and strength from the Infinity Engine games might very well be woefully inadequate.

 

So, are we going to be seeing noticeably stronger or more numerous enemies in every encounter in Pillars of Eternity to compensate for this?

 

Actually, I remember reading that the plan is for you to start you out with a smaller party and gradually expand it over the course of the game, so maybe that won't be quite so necessary.

I'm pretty sure you are going to get all your companioms early, so no on that last one.

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How early? Remember when they talked about how the Adventurer's Hall would not be able to bump your party up to six characters in the beginning?

 

Heck, the game might even give you all your companions but not let you use five of them at once at first, as illogical as that might sound.

Edited by Infinitron

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I really hope not. If I want to use 6 party members or 1 in the first hour or two I should be able to. 

 

The IE games were easier with smaller parties but that had more to do with XP benefit and enabled obsessive munchinism. 

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Well I hope personally that physically deficient characters are still feasible as I plan to play one in my first or second playthrough, the increased emphasis on character malleability mandates this surely?


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I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

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yes you did not have to nor should you send the mage to the front, but unless you wanted to save on spells, there was no reason to keep him out of the fight. and still you could give him a sling or some other ranged weapon to use when not casting spells. he may not have the attack bonus of a fighter or ranger, but could still put a few hits on target. personaly in IE games, i kept some characters completelly out of combat only when i was dealing with cannon fodder that the melee characters could wipe out without wasting spells or ammo.

same practically goes for this game too. if my fighter and rogue can go in and lay waste to a group of enemies i dont have any reason to send in the wizard, because the nice aoe spell that could clear the entire room instanly may be a once per rest spell


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I am going to go out on a limb and say the difference between PE and the IE games is that whether a character is front line capable or not isn't derived almost solely from class like in D&D. In PE Attributes and gear will make that determination. If your mage has higher Might, Con, and Dex while wearing heavier armor (which I expect will be only wearable if you meet the Con and/or might requirements, and maybe a talent/feat or two) then he would be front line capable. He would suffer at range because of missing feats and stats to make him better suited at range. Where as if you were more invested in Intellect and Resolve with little to no armor or health then you would be relegated to the back.

 

I could be dead wrong here, but that is what I have taken from what we have seen and been told. So your mage won't necessarily be a tank without being specced into the appropriate attributes. You can still have a squishy mage.

 

All classes in the IE games have their combat niche. Some perform that niche better than others. Some have more passive combat niches like the Bard with his utility abilities being pretty much his forte. In PE a Fighter will likely be better at the front than a mage, but you can make a melee mage if you want, and it won't be as squishy as a D&D one. A fighter won't be as good at range as a Ranger, but you can still make a ranged Fighter.

 

On enemy composition... It is possible, but I don't think the difference between combat viability is going to be a drastic as you. I believe the difference is solely how you define your character's focus: Class vs Attributes. On a similar note, I know they said they are wanting difficulty to change enemy types, numbers, ect instead of inflating HP, armor, or damage. So, there is that as well.

 

IIRC, they said that you would have access to all the companions by the halfway point in the game. I am unsure about the Adventurers Hall.

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I am going to go out on a limb and say the difference between PE and the IE games is that whether a character is front line capable or not isn't derived almost solely from class like in D&D. In PE Attributes and gear will make that determination.

 

I think Ganrich is probably close to the correct answer. While it will still like be easier for a Wizard to solo than a Fighter, any character's ability to perform in combat well enough to forgo companions will necessarily be making trade-offs to do so. I also wager that encounters--particularly plot and quest encounters, will be default balanced to a party size of six. I imagine that soloing or reduced parties will be possible, but with a level cap, this method will likely reach punative and diminishing returns.

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Judging from NWN2, you'll probably gather party members slowly.  I think it has more interesting implications for the use of skills.  The skill layout of the party could drastically affect how you move through dungeons now that it's separated from class.

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How early? Remember when they talked about how the Adventurer's Hall would not be able to bump your party up to six characters in the beginning?

 

Heck, the game might even give you all your companions but not let you use five of them at once at first, as illogical as that might sound.

Before mid-point of the story

 

 

 

We want to allow you to encounter all companions before the mid-point of the story.

 

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There's a difference between front-line capable, useful in a fight and just poor in any fight.

 

Mages(wizards, sorcs, etc.), not fighters, are the most powerful combat classes in the infinity engine games and NWN2, with the sole exception of very low level play, so a mage was the prime choice for a solo playthrough of BG2.

 

Fighters and pallies and such were always decent meatshields and even relatively good damage dealers at low levels. Clerics ruled in 3E and healing spells and buffs were always useful enough to bring even non-combat clerics along.

 

Poor in a fight have always been the non-dualclassed, pure thieves/rogues. I've always thought of this as poor game design, but not a deal-breaker.

 

When rogues nolonger suck in combat, the old excuse for rogues getting all the skillpoints and utility outside of combat nolonger holds up. The consequence of all combat proficient classes will have to be a redistribution of the available character skills.

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skillpoints could still be attribute linked though. I do think someone who has an higher intellect will be able to more quickly learn skills.


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skillpoints could still be attribute linked though. I do think someone who has an higher intellect will be able to more quickly learn skills.

 

Unlikely.

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In the Infinity Engine games, while no class was truly utterly useless in a fight, it was often the wisest choice to allow your mages and sometimes even thieves to hold back while your beefier fighters did the dirty work. What that meant, is that your effective party size during many of these games' battles could be as low as 3 party members!

 

I don't think this is how it worked out.  Yes, it was often very smart to leave your wizards/spellcasters back from the fray.  A large part of that is because they had no need to get close to the action.  They could rain down death at range.  Putting them close to the front line was unnecessary for them to be effective and made protecting them more difficult/a distraction.

 

In PoE, the fights are designed for all characters to participate.  As always, you should be prudent about how you involve them.  In the early game, you will have a smaller party (whether through companions or player-made adventurers) and fights will be balanced around having a smaller party.  Even so, whatever the characters' classes are, the fights are balanced for their collective participation.

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In the Infinity Engine games, while no class was truly utterly useless in a fight, it was often the wisest choice to allow your mages and sometimes even thieves to hold back while your beefier fighters did the dirty work. What that meant, is that your effective party size during many of these games' battles could be as low as 3 party members!

 

I don't think this is how it worked out.  Yes, it was often very smart to leave your wizards/spellcasters back from the fray.  A large part of that is because they had no need to get close to the action.  They could rain down death at range.  Putting them close to the front line was unnecessary for them to be effective and made protecting them more difficult/a distraction.

 

In PoE, the fights are designed for all characters to participate.  As always, you should be prudent about how you involve them.  In the early game, you will have a smaller party (whether through companions or player-made adventurers) and fights will be balanced around having a smaller party.  Even so, whatever the characters' classes are, the fights are balanced for their collective participation.

 

 

Thanks for replying to my posts, Josh.

 

As to how it worked out, I wouldn't say that wizards always "rained down death at range" because in the fights I'm talking about, using their spells would have been a waste. And sling stones are hardly raining death.

 

Now I'm just one guy, but I did often find in the IE games that only a few characters in my party were responsible for most of the party's kills - and it wasn't because the other characters were weakening the enemies first. That happened because for most of the games' fights, I didn't really need those other party members.

Edited by Infinitron

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I think wands (and per-encounter spells) should make wizards more useful in all circumstances, rather than making the player choose between pulling out the big guns (i.e., using the wizard in any practical manner) or having them stand around like dopes.  The commonality of modal and per-encounter abilities (and even useful passives) across the board is meant to encourage players to use all party members in every fight instead of treating some of them like glass cannons.  Even if you just firehose your wizard's spells, you should still have contributions to make that rank above "do nothing" and "helplessly flail sling stone".

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Thank you, i'm aiming to create a physically deficient Wizard and this has laid my fears on the subject to rest, much appreciated.


Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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