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Pre-Combat Preparation

Buffs Traps Winning Charlie Sheen

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#21
Printer

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One possible solution could be to allow buffs to last indefinitely until removed (by another spell) and to limit the amount of buffs one single PC can hold.

 

No more pre-buffing before every fight, every new entrance, dungeon, etc, as the game already did it for you, based on your standing orders.

Baddies may still strip your buffs with spells and such, for the duration of a combat encounter.

 

All the benefits and tactical choices, without all the hassle.


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#22
Rabain

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The only reason the IE games felt like a buff party before a fight was the sheer number of spells and the rock, paper, scissors, lizard, spock thing going on.

 

Personally I think eliminating prebuffing is unnecessary or at least we could do with an explanation of how spell defences work.  I mean there is no need for 10 buffs if the offensive spells being used are balanced.  Prebuffing could be useful for spells like a Stoneskin armor buff if you were trying to solo a mage or something.  A spell that isn't really a prebuff but just a generic defence spell you maintain on your character as much as you can.  I mean if Stoneskin can be cast and lasts 8 hours then it is just a management thing rather than a prebuff.

 

I'd rather have the mana pool (or whatever it is) to cast a handful of both offensive and defensive spells in battle than have to spend 2 minutes before a fight buffing everything in sight or have to die first in order to figure out I should use protection from fire instead of protection from cold when the big bad guy casts his doom spell mid fight.


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#23
Nonek

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Mr Magniloquent suggested the same thing in post #17 Printer, I believe you both have the right of it, do not strip away, but innovate so that the problems are reduced while the sensible precautions are retained.

 

Personally I can't see my character ever wanting to go into a "fair" fight, his life is on the line and you can bet that if the party scout has seen a horde of Fire Elementals or the equivalent guarding a door ahead that must be breached, then he is going to want a fire protection spell cast upon him and his allies. He'll probably also want the Wizard to switch to his winter grimoire, his Rogue to find a suitable hiding spot where the Elementals can pass him by thus enabling backstabs when melee begins, an area to fight in that is perhaps flooded, a hardy character like a Monk to lead the Elementals into this area, and wardings and ice traps to be laid along the path to this place so that the Elementals arrive weakened and irritated etcetera.

 

This to me is simply having ones character caring about his own hide, rather than risking it for the sake of I don't know what. One of the reasons why I plan to play at a high difficulty is because I intend to avoid every combat I can, but when pushed into it resolve it as quickly and effectively as possible, cheat if at all possible as valour is fine, but being alive is better. If I manage to get the drop on my opponents then I hope that I can take advantage of that, as they no doubt would not show my character any mercy if the roles were reversed.


Edited by Nonek, 01 February 2014 - 05:56 AM.


#24
Shadowmant

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If there are going to be pre-combat buffs you might as well give a UI where you can tell the system what buffs go on what character and it casts them automatically out of combat.  It just removes the tedium from pre-buffing since your just going to have to do it all the time anyways.  

 

As for removing pre-buffing all together... that seems difficult to do without removing buffing all together.  Though there have been a few neat ideas thrown around in the the thread.


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#25
teknoman2

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one way to do it, would be for casters to have a skill that allows them to autocast (with no casting time needed) one spell centered on them, the moment combat starts. ie a priest auto activates bless and a wizard haste, meaning 2 important buffs are cast instantly. same of course goes for the enemies. a high level enemy wizard, could auto cast mass invisibility to all his allies as soon as you came in sight, giving them an edge

something like a contigency spell with an enemy sighted condition, without the need for the spell


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#26
Mr. Magniloquent

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The only reason the IE games felt like a buff party before a fight was the sheer number of spells and the rock, paper, scissors, lizard, spock thing going on.

 
The volume of spells was certainly staggering. Mind you, the IE games were also probably one of the only games that permitted a player to immunize themselves from whole classes of damage. The closest thing found in any modern game is a several second total immunity to be used as kind of a momentary reprieve and "easy button".
 
The general structure of spell levels contributed a great deal as well. Modern gaming tends to handle this better than D&D in some ways. Spells generally produce an effect, and this effect becomes greater either through investment or passive improvement due to increased level and statistic. This way, spells no longer become out-moded due to level. Instead of casting Chant & Recitation, your Chant spell will simply improve to perform as both.
 

Mr Magniloquent suggested the same thing in post #17 Printer, I believe you both have the right of it, do not strip away, but innovate so that the problems are reduced while the sensible precautions are retained.

 
Very well said. Don't eliminate something grand because it can be unweildy. Use what is proven, and innovate upon that to enhance it.
 

You don't need pre-buffing to duplicate BG2-style mage combat. 
 
When I'd heard they were eliminating prebuffing, I had expected a system of buffs together with a wide assortment of spell triggers and contingencies.  It wouldn't be anymore meta-gamey than merely preparing your mage book, which we know the devs have adopted for PoE mages.  Sustained, strong buffs are essential for creating IE-style mage combat and those wonderful mage duels, and for avoiding Dragon Age-style mage garbage.

 
I first thought that it would be handled with contingency-like effects as well. I think there is a role for these kinds of spells, and they really upped the ante in terms of tactics with Baldur's Gate 2. They are frequently used by AI in Sword Coast Stratagems to recover from a near defeat, or in a single release turn the tide of a battle. Using a mechanism like this could add alot of utility to the buffing game, as the process of buffing is generally the complaint--not the action itself. Destroying or severely diminishing a whole class of spells has incredible ramifications that reverberate through and diminish other parts as well. The absence of protections will precede a lack of need, manifest in spells which lack both threat and character. Again, as ZornWO notes--See: Dragon Age.
 
 

.....but I have mixed feelings about having it apply to any spell with duration rather than just defensive buffs.  If a charm spell costs you not only a spell slot, but a sustained-spell slot, it'd have to be very powerful to be better than unsustained offensive spells - whereas a sustained defensive buff wouldn't have much competition (looking at the IE spells, I'm not really seeing an instantaneous defense spell, unless BG's Dimension Door counts as defensive?).  Plus, there'd be the risk mages start to play like a mana-system mage......

 

That is a very astute concern, and I'm glad your mentioned it. The idea does reach complications when dealing with AoE sustained effects like "Confusion" for example. Would each person within it effected count towards the caster's total? Would status effects of offensive spells be sustained indefinately like a defensive spell? Even those two questions change the nature of the spell for balance issue greatly.

 

If only spell itself counted towards a mage's total, rather than quantity affected--things stay pretty normal. However, if that concentration check were to fail, then it would likely remove the effect on all targets as well. This leads in to further conceptual issues where if an effect can be maintained indefinately, victims would need an opportunity to occasionally break free. This could significantly complicate the creation, operation, and testing of spells. Also, again as ZornWO points out, could place pressure to depart a quasi-Vancian system--which I am very opposed to. Mana based systems do not poduce interesting magic/spells.

 

While there is alot to be mulled over with pre-buffing, I do think that an elegant solution is more near than far. I'll probably devote a few stray thoughts to this tomorrow, and see if I can think of something worth proposing.


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#27
AGX-17

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With Mr Sawyer abolishing pre battle buffing, as it had got a touch out of hand especially at high level, one is forced to wonder whether we'll still have the opportunity to actively prepare for combat. Traps, positioning, item enhancements, use of consumables etcetera. In short will we be able to try and win the battle before it occurs, as Tsun Tzu advises?
 
Personally i'm a great fan of this, and believe in taking advantage of everything one can do to diminish risk. Indeed in AD&D this was one of the strengths of the system, manipulating random dice rolls in ones favour through clever use of the tools at one disposal.
 
What are your opinions?


Sun Tzu wrote this:
























"To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill."

That is, to say, the players of P:E will never reach the acme of skill.

Edited by AGX-17, 01 February 2014 - 11:09 PM.

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#28
teknoman2

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With Mr Sawyer abolishing pre battle buffing, as it had got a touch out of hand especially at high level, one is forced to wonder whether we'll still have the opportunity to actively prepare for combat. Traps, positioning, item enhancements, use of consumables etcetera. In short will we be able to try and win the battle before it occurs, as Tsun Tzu advises?
 
Personally i'm a great fan of this, and believe in taking advantage of everything one can do to diminish risk. Indeed in AD&D this was one of the strengths of the system, manipulating random dice rolls in ones favour through clever use of the tools at one disposal.
 
What are your opinions?


Sun Tzu wrote this:
























"To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill."

That is, to say, the players of P:E will never reach the acme of skill.

 

well as long as the dialog is not made in a way that no matter what you pick it will end in battle it will be fine.



#29
JFSOCC

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Pre-buffing is broken and I am OVERJOYED that it is gone. I'm sure you can still prepare for combat in different ways, unless there are scripted triggers which I so resent, I don't see how you couldn't trap an area you know is filled with enemies, for instance.


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#30
ZornWO

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(...) and wardings and ice traps to be laid along the path to this place so that the Elementals arrive weakened and irritated etcetera.

 

Nonek, you're freaking me out a little ^_^  When the devs say there's no prebuffing, are they including trap laying, or just defensive spells with duration?  You're kind of "buffing" an area with traps, but that's really not how I understood the term.

 

 

Mind you, the IE games were also probably one of the only games that permitted a player to immunize themselves from whole classes of damage. The closest thing found in any modern game is a several second total immunity to be used as kind of a momentary reprieve and "easy button".

This part of IE combat is one of the things that gave it such a strategic dimension as well. 

 

 
I first thought that it would be handled with contingency-like effects as well. I think there is a role for these kinds of spells, and they really upped the ante in terms of tactics with Baldur's Gate 2. They are frequently used by AI in Sword Coast Stratagems to recover from a near defeat, or in a single release turn the tide of a battle. Using a mechanism like this could add alot of utility to the buffing game, as the process of buffing is generally the complaint--not the action itself. Destroying or severely diminishing a whole class of spells has incredible ramifications that reverberate through and diminish other parts as well. The absence of protections will precede a lack of need, manifest in spells which lack both threat and character. Again, as ZornWO notes--See: Dragon Age.

 

Yeah, it might bear clarifying that it's not really speculative to say that a system with triggers and contingencies can retain the feel of IE combat.  The SCS mod had three different options for enemy mages' prebuffing.  I've tried each.  The minimal-prebuffing option had mages (apart from end-stage Irenicus) start with just Stoneskin and maybe one or two other long-lasting buffs.  It doesn't destroy their play or change the feel since they still slam up defenses by having a contingency or two go off and using a sequencer. 

 

Balancing issues are obviously important here.  I'm sure your proposal will be good =)



#31
teknoman2

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(...) and wardings and ice traps to be laid along the path to this place so that the Elementals arrive weakened and irritated etcetera.

 

Nonek, you're freaking me out a little ^_^  When the devs say there's no prebuffing, are they including trap laying, or just defensive spells with duration?  You're kind of "buffing" an area with traps, but that's really not how I understood the term.

 

 

Mind you, the IE games were also probably one of the only games that permitted a player to immunize themselves from whole classes of damage. The closest thing found in any modern game is a several second total immunity to be used as kind of a momentary reprieve and "easy button".

This part of IE combat is one of the things that gave it such a strategic dimension as well. 

 

 
I first thought that it would be handled with contingency-like effects as well. I think there is a role for these kinds of spells, and they really upped the ante in terms of tactics with Baldur's Gate 2. They are frequently used by AI in Sword Coast Stratagems to recover from a near defeat, or in a single release turn the tide of a battle. Using a mechanism like this could add alot of utility to the buffing game, as the process of buffing is generally the complaint--not the action itself. Destroying or severely diminishing a whole class of spells has incredible ramifications that reverberate through and diminish other parts as well. The absence of protections will precede a lack of need, manifest in spells which lack both threat and character. Again, as ZornWO notes--See: Dragon Age.

 

Yeah, it might bear clarifying that it's not really speculative to say that a system with triggers and contingencies can retain the feel of IE combat.  The SCS mod had three different options for enemy mages' prebuffing.  I've tried each.  The minimal-prebuffing option had mages (apart from end-stage Irenicus) start with just Stoneskin and maybe one or two other long-lasting buffs.  It doesn't destroy their play or change the feel since they still slam up defenses by having a contingency or two go off and using a sequencer. 

 

Balancing issues are obviously important here.  I'm sure your proposal will be good =)

 

each person with the ability to lay traps, can have 1 at a time. and it's not buffing the area if you set traps. you think there may be enemies behind the door, you set a trap on it and then open the door. if there are enemies, you get them to step on the trap, if not you get your trap and go to the next door. prebuffing is: you cast one of your few spells before opening the door, without knowing if you will need it (you the player may know, but your characters do not). so you start the fight with an unfair advantage



#32
Endrosz

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I'm glad that several other people phrased their complaints about extensive pre-buffing so well that I don't have to do that. :yes: So, just a short list:

- If it doesn't have a considerable opportunity cost and has a 100% uptime effectively, then turn it into a passive ability. Like the paladin auras and other modal/passive abilites which are already revealed.

- Short duration, high-powered buffs are okay. Longer duration, medium-powered per-rest buffs are okay. The keyword is "choice". Choices make for interesting gameplay.

 

I remember playing through NWN1+HotU with a melee wizard, I enjoyed it a lot. Except for the pre-buffing. That was such a hurdle that I sometimes stopped playing for a while, because I couldn't stand it any longer. I still remember that by the end of HotU, I had two hotbars full of long-term buffs. That included a few items like Gem of Seeing and Scabbard of Keen Edges.


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#33
anameforobsidian

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one way to do it, would be for casters to have a skill that allows them to autocast (with no casting time needed) one spell centered on them, the moment combat starts. ie a priest auto activates bless and a wizard haste, meaning 2 important buffs are cast instantly. same of course goes for the enemies. a high level enemy wizard, could auto cast mass invisibility to all his allies as soon as you came in sight, giving them an edge

something like a contigency spell with an enemy sighted condition, without the need for the spell

 

Why do you need that at all?  What tactical complexity does it add that simply making casters cast the spell normally does not?    It's also worth pointing out that while contingency was incredibly useful, you paid a high price in terms of spell slots for that utility.

 

In a more general sense, some of the fixes in this thread forget the somewhat dramatic change to the casting system that's happening.  Removing pre-buffing also makes more sense in the context of this game, because this game does not have spell slots the way the IE games did, so there is far less of a limited resource thing going on.  Time is a more critical resource than spell storage in this game.  This is especially true when you consider that you can change entire books given enough time.



#34
Adhin

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That's true aname, Wizards are basically a combination of Wizards and Sorcerers from IE/3E games. They can know every spell, like a wizard but what spells they can cast at any given time is limited by 2 main factors. There spell book which determines what spells they have 'on hand' and total casts per tier, per encounter or day (depending on wiz lvl and spell tier). Can swap out spellbooks out of combat I think to get a different selection of spells. It's kinda like playing a Sorcerer, except you got a buncha 'spells known' presets via these spell books, kinda nifty idea.

 

As for all this toggle on/off resource hogging mana-like stuff that was in DAO. I like the mechanic, fundamentally but I think it's a bit pointless for PoE. On one hand there's no mana, so you'd be tying up a number of uses but that's all per-tier so you'd be sucking up 1-2 uses per encounter or rest. And, ultimately, all that would accomplish is making your mage pretend hes a Paladin. Which is already the Paladin's job, is to be a mobile buffer beacon with his fancy aura of leadery presence. Basically, 'that's the one thing Paladins do real good like' and making the mage do that as well is a conflict of chess-piece like interest.

 

Yeah I realize they want it to be flexible and you can make your mage a general 'melee-ist' if you want too, but he wont ever be able to tie up 3 enemies at once like the Fighter, or hit multiple opponents with his melee weapon like a Barb. And allowing him to have what amount to paladin auras would be a dent on the one unique thing the Paladin has going for him as a combat role. Well, sort of. Bard also has it but theirs is a larger radius, malleable thing I believe.

 

Anyway it would be stepping rather heavily on other classes shoes, which I realize mages have always done in DnD but.. c'mon. Let the mage be a mage and the paladin be a paladin for a change.



#35
teknoman2

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one way to do it, would be for casters to have a skill that allows them to autocast (with no casting time needed) one spell centered on them, the moment combat starts. ie a priest auto activates bless and a wizard haste, meaning 2 important buffs are cast instantly. same of course goes for the enemies. a high level enemy wizard, could auto cast mass invisibility to all his allies as soon as you came in sight, giving them an edge

something like a contigency spell with an enemy sighted condition, without the need for the spell

 

Why do you need that at all?  What tactical complexity does it add that simply making casters cast the spell normally does not?    It's also worth pointing out that while contingency was incredibly useful, you paid a high price in terms of spell slots for that utility.

 

In a more general sense, some of the fixes in this thread forget the somewhat dramatic change to the casting system that's happening.  Removing pre-buffing also makes more sense in the context of this game, because this game does not have spell slots the way the IE games did, so there is far less of a limited resource thing going on.  Time is a more critical resource than spell storage in this game.  This is especially true when you consider that you can change entire books given enough time.

 

as i said the spell is centered on the caster. so if he wants to use a single target buff on another character, he has to do it normally. also it counts for 1 spell and the spell must be selected at rest and must be availbale for use at the moment the skill is triggered. if for example you set it to autocast a lv5 spell and you only have one such spell available, it will work the first time, but not on the  next battle. if however you set it for bless that is a per encounter spell, it will activate on every battle. another way is to give a caster class a skill that allows to instantly cast a spell and can be used a limited amount of times like 1 per encounter or 2 per rest

as for the tactical complexity, it mostly has to do with the fact that enemies will be able to do the same. however you will have to fight 4 or 5 battles per rest and you will need to set a spell that can be used at all times. the enemy will only have to fight you, so he can use any spell he wants.

so your lv7 priest can set it to activate the lv3 spell prayer that is a per encounter spell at that level. however the lv15 enemy priest (boss) that does not have to fight anyone else, can have it set to activate the lv8 spell divine intervention that makes his whole team imune to damage. here's the tactical part: you have to work through the enemy buff in order to win the battle



#36
Lephys

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You're forgetting about removal spells.


No, I'm not. I'm considering those, too. But, where does that end?

A set of pre-buffs on a character is preparation for certain combat factors, right? "Oh look, Blarglefoes. They can poison me, and deal lightning damage. Better cast buffs that will protect against poison and lightning damage." So, preparing by casting those buffs is sort of a counter, in a way, to whatever specific abilities you're dealing with in that combat. So then, we've got a counter to that counter; spell removal/dispelling. HAH! Your buffs are gone! Okay, so what do we do about that? WE COUNTER IT! Everybody attack that mage, so he can't dispel all our buffs!" You use some sort of tactics to prevent that guy from casting, or effectively casting. So what does the enemy do? Try to counter your countering of that counter to your counter.

That doesn't make combat very exciting if you ask me. It seems that in PoE there will be a lot of buff-type things that have a very useful effect that isn't really hard-counterable but that only lasts for a short time. I think that's the best way to go. The more permanent you get with multiple effects, the more it becomes a battle of keeping the effect up versus removing it, than an actual battle of... well, battle.

Lephys, I'm sorry to disagree here, but the passage I bolded in particular is very wrong.


Methinks you may have missed my "OR" (understandable, because I had probably too much stuff in parentheses in that post).

I was saying that, in the long run, either those buffs aren't really that helpful/necessary, or they end up being necessary. If you're able to pretty easily go without them, then that would fall under the "all that prebuffing isn't really that helpful/necessary" possibility, in which case, why even worry about whether or not we can stack a bunch of spells before combat or not?

That's what I'm getting at, mainly. It's not as if they're simply removing the nature of buffing/augmentative spell effects. They're just trying to make it more tactically significant, instead of this sort of sideline thing that ends up only amounting to keeping up the effects/dispelling them in the midst of battle.

Someone referenced trap-setting. Well, that's a really good example of preparation, because traps don't just produce enduring effects for the remainder of battle. If someone falls into a camouflaged pit, or steps on a bear trap, that was a one-time effect. Setting that bear trap doesn't boost passive combat factors for the duration of combat.

The thing is, many other things already do that: equipment, in-combat spells, etc. If the game wants you to be passively better in a bunch of ways, you shouldn't have any need to actively produce all those effects in a stack before combat.

#37
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If it's helpful - in combat, wizard casting will be very similar to BG2 sorcerer casting like others have said.  You'll have a certain number of castings for each spell level (unless the level's castable at will), and each cast can be of any spell of the spell level that's in the grimoire.  The wiki says that each grimoire can hold four spells per level, and outside combat you can fill with any spell the wizard knows.  Josh Sawyer calls these grimoire slots.  Grimoire switching is essentially a cooldown mechanic that will swap out the spells in these spell slots but (what's not mentioned yet unless I missed it) it won't restore the number of castings left.

 

Maybe it'll be useful to separate out two issues, prebuffing versus what the buffs themselves are like.  I usually didn't mind prebuffing but I fully understand the antipathy.  Is anyone defending old-style prebuffing?  There's maybe a post or two that reads ambiguously that way.  I continue to think contingencies and sequencers and triggers ("C/S") would be fine as a replacement here; it'd be shocking if they reversed themselves on prebuffing wholesale (not that I'd really mind).  Unless the grimoire-switching cooldown is so long it outlasts all spells' durations (which implies you wouldn't have C/S anyway), it could work just like in the BG games.  You'd cast, say, a sequencer spell, fill it with spells you have available, and you're out the castings whether or not you switch grimoires.  If it balanced better, they could also have the sequencers dispel upon switching grimoires.

 

I'd propose that maybe once you set up a C/S type spell, when you have that grimoire equipped, upon rest (or maybe between battles, if spells are available) it would automatically recast the C/S to have the same spells as before unless you turn the option off.  The Sword Coast Strategems mod for BG/BG2 has a scripting option that lets spellcasters automatically cast some buffs upon rest, so it'd be vaguely similar to that and eliminate nearly all express pre-combat spell prep w/o eliminating the planning aspect that was great about IE casters.

 

If they include C/S type spells at all (which I'd certainly hope!), I'd say it'd be an obvious improvement to have that option (if it's easy enough to implement, anyway).  In one BG2 playthrough, I had Imoen fill a sequencer with Minor Globe of Invulnerability plus two Skull Traps, which she'd cast on herself.  That was one of her primary tricks, and it'd have been nice to have the sequencer automatically refill rather than refilling it manually each time.

 

On buffs, maybe there's just little common ground.  Some posters read as though they just disliked IE combat wholesale - a fair opinion, but I have no common ground there.  Personally, I'd be fine if most classes de-emphasized spell-counterspell systems but at least one class should keep it (assumedly wizards but I'd be fine with druids, ciphers); otherwise they're delivering essentially DA combat minus cooldowns.  There's also some talk about buffs' durations - long-lasting buffs aren't really the equivalent of a passive bonus since you have to decide whether to pay the cost of a spell slot for it.  I've had playthroughs that were extremely buff-heavy and others where my characters decided the best defense is a great offense.  If long-lasting buffs were folded into passive bonuses for the class it'd deny players that flexibility.  I guess here too if there's disagreement then there's little common ground.

 

~~~

@Lephys, we're just going to have to agree to disagree. =)   My point was exactly about your disjunction: the buffs are neither necessary (as the melee-only playthroughs people have actually done demonstrate), nor "pointless"/"unhelpful" (obviously; surely it goes without saying that buffs in IE were helpful?  They're so helpful ppl often think they're necessary).  I'd view disagreement on that claim - that buffs were neither necessary nor unhelpful - as a factual mistake about IE gameplay, but you're free to disagree both about the claim and about whether it's about a factual matter.  It's also clear we have no common ground on what we find exciting, but that's the way things go.  Happy gaming! 


Edited by ZornWO, 04 February 2014 - 12:37 AM.


#38
Lephys

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See, now, for counter-spell-type stuff, I'm thinking maybe some kind of Spellcraft/lore skill is in order, that functionally either identifies the spell currently being cast by an enemy caster, or fails to do so (passive skill check). Then, have active-use counter-spells that are limited, and thus a significant choice on what to counter and when.

You could have horrible spellcraft/spell lore and still utilize counterspells to simply stop that enemy caster from doing whatever it is he's trying to do, or you can invest in higher spell lore to have a higher chance of identifying any given spell that's being cast (you'd more frequently know what it is the enemy is casting, to better decide whether or not to shut it down), OR you could even just forego those counterspells and invest that "spell ammo" (castings per rest/encounter) on other spells.

Another spiffy idea, methinks, would be to simply DISRUPT spells rather than nullify them. What I mean is, if an enemy is casting a fireball, and you can identify it while its being cast (via a skill as above, perhaps), then you can actually sabotage the casting of that spell. You start weaving things INTO the foe's weavings, and cause the spell to simply detonate on the caster and/or behave in a crazy fashion (be aimed in some random other place, or drip fire as it goes, or split into 3 smaller fireballs that fall haphazardly around the battlefield, etc.). Of course, as a caster, you'd be able to easily detect when someone else was screwing with your spell, so, you could stop casting and nothing bad would happen.

Not sure on the cost of doing that, though. Maybe similar to D&D's metamagic stuff, it could cost a spell "charge" of one-level above the target spell to disrupt that spell? And if the enemy stops casting, you still lose it? *Shrug*

Annnnywho... I just think there are much cleverer ways of allowing significant preperatory and counter-preparation choices to occur in combat, without it just being simply the stacking of passive buff effects before combat starts and/or the dispelling of said buffs.

#39
ZornWO

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Lephys, I'm curious, were there any specifics in IE combat that you liked?

In terms of buff stacks, the main thing (hardly the only thing) I like about it is that it creates "stacks" of different, often challenging tradeoffs both in spell selection and w/in combat (both offensively and defensively), far more extensively than any other combat system I've tried.  If you change some of your spell picks, it creates cascades of implications for what else you'd want to pick (even if you just restrict attention to "viable" spells (e.g. no infravision)).  Combat against enemy mages is extremely diverse and unpredictable (particularly with good AI, per SCS), w/o being arbitrary, and can often close off the obvious ways to attack and force you to get creative more than I've seen in other systems, esp. in no-reload.  I could go on about it but no-one's really reading.  Anyway, in the IE games, prebuffing was just a small price to pay - though again, I think there are ways around prebuffing.

I'd be more open to other systems if I had some expectation they could deliver tradeoffs like that.  I've just never seen it.  Your idea about a skill wouldn't address that really.  As well, the game already has an interruption mechanic.



#40
Lephys

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Lephys, I'm curious, were there any specifics in IE combat that you liked?


Of course. I just think a lot of it was a bit primitive, design-wise. I mean, at the time, it was pretty un-primitive. But... *shrug*. I'm not against the way things were done and what was allowed in general. I'm against very specific aspects. For example:

In terms of buff stacks, the main thing (hardly the only thing) I like about it is that it creates "stacks" of different, often challenging tradeoffs both in spell selection and w/in combat (both offensively and defensively), far more extensively than any other combat system I've tried.  If you change some of your spell picks, it creates cascades of implications for what else you'd want to pick (even if you just restrict attention to "viable" spells (e.g. no infravision)).  Combat against enemy mages is extremely diverse and unpredictable (particularly with good AI, per SCS), w/o being arbitrary, and can often close off the obvious ways to attack and force you to get creative more than I've seen in other systems, esp. in no-reload.  I could go on about it but no-one's really reading.  Anyway, in the IE games, prebuffing was just a small price to pay - though again, I think there are ways around prebuffing.


See, I'm not against stacking effects. I'm against specifically stacking a bunch of passive effects before going into combat, just to counter active effects within combat. The devil is in the details. I just think it's silly to have to give everyone +3 AC, +4 Fortitude, Fire immunity, and Poison Resistance as some kind of extra, temporary gear going into a fight. That, versus giving the player active "counters" to such things, is a bit primitive in scope. Especially since there's so much room for more than just passive number values and stacked effects to present tradeoffs in spell utility and/or tactics in combat.

I'm not saying "Do away with buffs!", but, I just don't think we need to rely on a boatload of passive effects to form the gist of our exciting combat factor countering/preparation. There's room for passive effects and their utility, but we'd be remiss to ignore more tactical, active approaches to things in combat. For example, having the ability to strike your ally to awaken them from a Sleep effect is, in my book, a far superior means of handling such a thing than "I'll cast this spell that's the opposite of sleep, and/or is designed to remove effects."

I don't want to see the whole effects aspect of stuff heavily reduced to passive values trumping each other. And I'd like to see something preventing the effect-stacking from getting a bit preposterous. I don't want to win combat because I had more positive effects on my party than the enemy did, and/or countered their dispels before they could counter my buffs, etc.

Buffs have their place, and dispelling has its place, but it needs to be strategic/tactical, rather than just supplemental effects and counters that strive to keep them in check. Buffs can easily augment already tactical aspects, rather than simply boosting a bunch of passive values/allowances for entire combats/hours at a time.

I think much more interesting stuff can be done with buffs and the like, is all, beyond "this boosts your AC and/or immunizes you against things, etc." Stuff like "The next three hits against you will be grazes." Now, you have active control over how the effects of that actually play out and help you, whereas with "you get +3 to AC" you don't, really. And it's more specific of an effect. Less globally "temporary, but you're just-plain better for a while."

I'd be more open to other systems if I had some expectation they could deliver tradeoffs like that.  I've just never seen it.  Your idea about a skill wouldn't address that really.  As well, the game already has an interruption mechanic.


Well, the tradeoffs just don't need to be purely a choice between a direct action and a passive boost. Just because you're not hitting something doesn't mean you have to boost damage or speed or armor or something, or just counter some other specific action. I think the tradeoff should be between producing an actual action, or altering a factor. I say that because that actually still covers passive value-boosting buffs (attack/defense/resistance values, for example, are combat factors), but it allows for further application to more factors.

Also, my idea about the skill (if you mean the spellcraft/lore example to identify spells for disruption) wasn't meant to address that. It was kind of a standalone thing that could be in or could not. Then, another standalone was simply the idea for active disruption of spells, rather than nullification. Interrupts don't do that, nor do saves or counterspells/dispels.

TL;DR version:

I'm not saying buffs are dumb, or even that stacking them is dumb. But, I think they're worth a lot more than we give them credit for. More than just becoming sunblock and bug repellant. "Oh, we're heading into a swamp... better put on your buffs. You don't wanna get bitten." Their approach has been a bit bland in most games. ESPECIALLY MMOs. MMOs are the epitome of the mentality toward buffs that I'm talking about. Not saying the IE games are the same as MMOs. But, MMOs are an extreme case of primitive buff design.





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