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Pre-Combat Preparation

Buffs Traps Winning Charlie Sheen

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#41
Mr. Magniloquent

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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'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."

 

So, you're against characters wearing armor before they are engaged in combat? They shouldn't put on the chainmail when entering the dungeon, but rather when they encounter the monster? Likewise, that they shouldn't use a shield if they are equipped with a helmet--because they already have an armor rating provided by it? How about that shield only being usable against three attacks, then wearing off?

 

I think you have a conceptual issue. Magical defenses are just another type of armor. That is it. Don't glorify it. It's armor. Being that it's magical, the effects it can protect against are more varied than mundane armor. That's really the only difference. Think about what would happen to the balance of offensive (martial weapons) if players couldn't wear armor until combat began? Think about the ramifications that would impose on not just the weapons themselves, but any and all abilities associated with their use.

 

In a world of magic, magic is every bit a threat a a blade, claw, or tooth. Venturing forth into dangerous environments where combat is expected without such protection is innane, whether that protection be a magical veil or an iron plate formed around your torso. I think you are missing this perspective entirely.


Edited by Mr. Magniloquent, 06 February 2014 - 08:46 PM.


#42
tajerio

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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'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."

 

So, you're against characters wearing armor before they are engaged in combat? They shouldn't put on the chainmail when entering the dungeon, but rather when they encounter the monster? Likewise, that they shouldn't use a shield if they are equipped with a helmet--because they already have an armor rating provided by it? How about that shield only being usable against three attacks, then wearing off?

 

I think you have a conceptual issue. Magical defenses are just another type of armor. That is it. Don't glorify it. It's armor. Being that it's magical, the effects it can protect against are more varied than mundane armor. That's really the only difference. Think about what would happen to the balance of offensive (martial weapons) if players couldn't wear armor until combat began? Think about the ramifications that would impose on not just the weapons themselves, but any and all abilities associated with their use.

 

In a world of magic, magic is every bit a threat a a blade, claw, or tooth. Venturing forth into dangerous environments where combat is expected without such protection is innane, whether that protection be a magical veil or an iron plate formed around your torso. I think you are missing this perspective entirely.

 

 

Taking this angle on it is slipping down the gamism vs. simulationism rabbit hole a bit.  Yeah, sure, the characters in the party would want to be maximally prepared and would probably cast buffs beforehand.  But, to take your armor point, they also wouldn't hike around wearing their armor the whole time.  And they'd probably have pack animals to carry a lot of their gear.  But do you really want to micromanage pack animal loading and the fatigue penalties your characters would incur from wearing armor while moving in order to be "at the ready"?  Some games I wouldn't mind that, but not in this game, please.

 

The intent of the design here, I think, is just to provide more meaningful choice--since meaningful choice is central to enjoying a good cRPG.  It really can't be denied that there are buffs in the IE games that aren't meaningful to choose, because they're useful in nearly situations, can last a goodly amount of time, and as a result fights are balanced with the idea that the party has them on.  There's a few different responses to that--eliminate universally useful buffs but retain prebuffing, allow short-term buffs only in combat, remove buffing entirely, etc.  All of these have their own pitfalls.  Josh has clearly taken the second option, and if you want to dispute that on gamist terms I think that's fine.  But disputing it on simulationist terms is moving the grounds of the argument to a place that's irrelevant to the way the decision was and will be made.


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#43
Nonek

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Personally I don't really care for the simulationist versus gamist argument as i'd like elements of both, all I want is for the actions available to my character to make sense, so that in this instance I can take advantage of getting the drop on my foes in some sensible manner.

 

Edit: I do believe our armour will have encumberance penalties in Poe, and i'd love a Mule like in the first Dungeon Siege. I also think that Mr Sawyer will provide some option of taking advantage of reconaissance, the gentleman knows his stuff and will no doubt reward tactical wisdom in some manner, i'm just curious about the specifics.


Edited by Nonek, 07 February 2014 - 10:05 AM.

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#44
Mr. Magniloquent

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 But disputing it on simulationist terms is moving the grounds of the argument to a place that's irrelevant to the way the decision was and will be made.

 

I can't believe you misconstrued what a wrote. My arguments were made to show how negative and baleful the concepts Lephys was proposing for magical buffing were by putting them in context to armor/melee defenses. I think you may need to reread what I wrote.



#45
Lephys

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So, you're against characters wearing armor before they are engaged in combat? They shouldn't put on the chainmail when entering the dungeon, but rather when they encounter the monster? Likewise, that they shouldn't use a shield if they are equipped with a helmet--because they already have an armor rating provided by it? How about that shield only being usable against three attacks, then wearing off?


No. I'm against people putting armor on top of their armor, with an underlayer of armor. The point was the redundancy. Not "you can't use magic to do anything that something else already does." But rather, "buffs shouldn't simply be nothing more than a bunch of redundant, simplistic effects."

You already have armor for armor. And you have weapons for damage. And you have stats for various factors (speed, resistances, defenses, etc.). There's no reason the system YEARNS for some magical extra bit of every single one of these. "You've got 18 INT? Now you've got 20! And that plate armor you have is NOW +3, because magic! Also, your Constitution already makes you highly resistant to poison? Now you're even MORE resistant to poison! You move pretty fast? Now you move even faster! You do 15 damage? Now you do 17 damage!"

Why stop at 2? Why not items that do all that, too? "I put some oil on my sword, so it does +2 damage. Also, it magically does +2 more damage. Also, since my STR is magically boosted right now, it does +2 MORE indirect magical damage. Also, my sword now gets an ethereal clone sword, so that everything I hit, I hit twice! Also, I have 4 arms, so I can wield 4 swords! Just temporarily, though, u_u... I mean, we wouldn't want to get ridiculous here or anything."

Ridiculous, yes. Where does it get ridiculous? That's what I'm getting at. That's worthy of consideration. I'm simply trying to point that out. The reason for magical buffs isn't "redundancy is good!" But they're also not JUST redundant. But, there needs to be more consideration put into their design than just "let's have a bunch of magical effects that further boost things that other factors already boost! Just because boosting things is nice! 8D!"

So, yes, I think stacking 10 effects on people before entering combat is as ridiculous as putting on 9 extra sets of armor before entering combat. However, pulling a shield out instead of that second weapon, to prepare for upcoming combat, isn't ridiculous. Pulling out 3 shields, dual-wielding two and strapping one to your face, to maximize defense? Back to ridiculous again. See? If you could just dual wield weapons AND still get the benefit of dual-wielding two shields, AND wear heavy plate armor AND get the benefits of wearing light, padded armor, then what's the point in the distinctions in the first place? When does it get ridiculous, and what causes it to become ridiculous? That's the important question.

It works the same way with magic. There's no reason you should be able to buff character A to have as good of defenses and attack values and resistances and such as character B, just because. There's no need for that level of magical augmentability. I'm not against it altogether, and I'm not against entire types of effects being anywhere close to redundant.

Well, on that note (specifically, the one, simple example of armor, with magic armor on top), look at the spell Mage Armor, in D&D. It wasn't just extra armor for all. If you already had a certain AC, then it had no effect. And if you already were close to that AC, it only took you TO that AC, rather than giving you the -4 bonus. It wasn't sheerly redundant. Had it been, it would've been a bit silly. "Okay, everyone wearing full plate +5? Good. Now let's just sprinkle on an extra -4 to everyone's AC. Annnnd done! ^_^ Yessss, you're all IMPOSSIBLE to be hit now, because magical redundancy! 8D!"

That's the best example I can give, really. And I still would've preferred something like Mage Armor to be more than just "you're harder to hit for a duration," instead being breakable or something, like the Wizard's Arcane Veil seems to be in PoE. Now it's strategic. I don't want it to just literally function exactly like armor, but be temporary. That's boring. It can provide the same effective protection as armor (to the, say, unarmored Wizard), but with its own quirks because it's magic. Unlike armor, it's powered. It's energy. It's not just metal that's sitting there, lifeless, being beaten on and having physics dictate that you're not hitting it hard enough to break it. Etc.

That's just one example, though (for how Mage Armor could work in a more interesting fashion than just "you get a number boost for a duration"). "You're passively better, but it's only temporary" is just a very bland place to draw the line around buff creativity, and designing the system to just allow a bunch of redundant, passive augmentations to beef everyone up before combat is bland, as well. That's just a roundabout way of giving everyone 8 more stat points at character creation, with durational upkeep.

#46
Gfted1

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Arcane Veil on top of plate says hi.



#47
Lephys

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Arcane Veil on top of plate says hi.


The fact that we don't know it purely stacks or how it even works, specifically, says "Why hello there!"

Besides... although I'm not certain, I didn't think Arcane Veil was a buff.

Edited by Lephys, 07 February 2014 - 03:34 PM.


#48
Gfted1

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What?

 

(Unless it has changed) We know that the Arcane Veil was used as default mage armor until guns proved capable of shattering it, hence prompting mages to also wear plate armor. I feel comfortable in concluding that it stacks with whatever additional armor the mage wears. Now, can it be cast on other party members would be interesting. Is it the PE version of Stoneskin maybe?



#49
Lephys

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I feel comfortable in concluding that it stacks with whatever additional armor the mage wears.


Well, I'm mighty glad you feel comfortable concluding that with no information as to its verity, but that doesn't really nullify or counter my points. Besides, just because Obsidian's doing something doesn't mean it isn't still bad design. Maybe the Arcane Veil makes you INVINCIBLE unless it's shattered, and it can ONLY be shattered by a successful hit with a firearm? I would still objectively rate that a bad design, regardless of whether or not it was the planned design for the game we're all waiting for.

Disclaimer: It isn't my belief that Arcane Veil makes you invincible and can only be shattered by a firearm. That was purely a hypothetical. (This, just so no one will go off on a tangent evaluating the accuracy of that hypothetical versus what we know in official quotes regarding Arcane Veil, :) )

#50
Sarex

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Well, I'm mighty glad you feel comfortable concluding that with no information as to its verity, but that doesn't really nullify or counter my points. Besides, just because Obsidian's doing something doesn't mean it isn't still bad design.

 

You have no idea how hard I am laughing right now. This coming from you is rich.



#51
Gfted1

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Well, I'm mighty glad you feel comfortable concluding that with no information as to its verity, but that doesn't really nullify or counter my points. Besides, just because Obsidian's doing something doesn't mean it isn't still bad design. Maybe the Arcane Veil makes you INVINCIBLE unless it's shattered, and it can ONLY be shattered by a successful hit with a firearm? I would still objectively rate that a bad design, regardless of whether or not it was the planned design for the game we're all waiting for.

Disclaimer: It isn't my belief that Arcane Veil makes you invincible and can only be shattered by a firearm. That was purely a hypothetical. (This, just so no one will go off on a tangent evaluating the accuracy of that hypothetical versus what we know in official quotes regarding Arcane Veil, :) )


Oy vey. I am in no way interested in nullifying or countering your points, I was simply pointing out that it was an already known example of "armor on armor" in PE. Please spare me your forthcoming 7 paragraph post on how you were misunderstood. :)
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#52
Lephys

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You have no idea how hard I am laughing right now. This coming from you is rich.


You could've posted an "LoL," or an emoticon or something. Then I could've had some idea. *shrug*

#53
Lephys

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Oy vey. I am in no way interested in nullifying or countering your points, I was simply pointing out that it was an already known example of "armor on armor" in PE. Please spare me your forthcoming 7 paragraph post on how you were misunderstood. :)


My bad. I thought it was intended to be relevant. I misunderstood. Carry on. u_u

#54
Sarex

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You could've posted an "LoL," or an emoticon or something. Then I could've had some idea. *shrug*

 

You've concluded that on your own did you. XD



#55
Lephys

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You've concluded that on your own did you. XD


No, I had help, actually. But I'll get there one day. :)

#56
Pipyui

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Prebuffing in tradtional IE games was anything but fun, so I'm gonna vote against having (a) a rediculous variety of buff spells, and (b) several simultaneous active buffs.  Personally, I'd prefer spell buffs to be per-encounter affairs, and have potions for extended effect buffs.  I really enjoyed the Witcher 2's pre-combat potion system - where you had to balance the beneficial and harmful effects of potions to match your combat approach and anticipated enemies.  Increase attack at the cost of vitality, increase "mana" at the cost of attack, so on. You could only imbibe so many potions at any one time, and the more powerful ones were more intoxicating than the milder (limiting how many you could take).

 

I liked it because you couldn't just OD a variety of potions to buff your character into oblivion, and buff decisions weren't purely binary.  You didn't just pop fire resistance to walk into fire elementals without a thought - it would damper another stat, or at best simply limit what other potions you could also bring into combat, making it more tactical than a free stat boost.  The latter element could be applied to buffs and spell slots (having to balance defense and offense), but the way it was handled in IE games wasn't fun-tactical (to me), it was misery-tactical-sadness.

 

I'm not arguing that PoE should follow this example precisely, just that it should address pre-combat buffs in a similar manner, or at least a different one from my traditional IE experience.


Edited by Pipyui, 07 February 2014 - 05:10 PM.

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#57
ZornWO

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Of course. (...)

 

Yes, but I was curious about what the specifics were.  I'm asking b/c our sense of how IE combat plays is extremely different, especially when you say things like "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."

Sorry we still disagree, but my overwhelming impression from many, many of your posts is that you dislike managing risks ex ante; you only ever seem to want determinism or pure ex post reaction.  But that eliminates wholesale a source of complications and contingency-planning; it just flattens the dimensions of the tradeoffs the player faces.  That's far more, as you put it, "primitive" than including those added complications.   

So for instance: "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.'"  Look at what you're proposing: the player can only react, rather than having the option of judging in advance the risk of a sleep effect to be high enough that it's worth devoting resources to addressing.   That's obviously an elimination of a potential source of tradeoffs and difficulty - you're homogenizing gameplay.

Some of the rest of your post is a bit hard to untangle, partly b/c it intermingles three different things: buffing before combat, buff stacking itself, and hard counters.

On buffing before combat, you know my suggestions.  It's not hard to understand why ppl dislike rote pre-combat buffing.  On buff stacking - again, I said why I like them and why they add strategic challenge; the response seems to be primarily, oh, it's "silly", "primitive," "ridiculous."  When you say, "Well, the tradeoffs just don't need to be purely a choice between a direct action and a passive boost," it's fairly clear you simply didn't read what I wrote, which you know, is fine, but then why respond?

On hard counters, I haven't really discussed them.  I like hard counters simply b/c of my experience w/ them vs. other combat systems, which don't deliver the same complexity.  (Yeah, that's ironic, given how they work vs. other buffs, which on paper seem more intricate.)  Let's take a simplified example: Let's say your spellcaster-only party loads up on fire spells.  That's a very simple tactical plan, and (past maybe a first handful of low-lvl encounters or such) you should lose for it.  If the enemy has hard-counter PfFire, you will - so if a hard counter's in a game, you'll have to weigh the risks of facing it, and assess the opportunity costs of taking other damage types versus debuffs, etc.  Sometimes this risk management will pay off big, sometimes it'll go terribly, and it lets combat be dicey in ways I haven't seen other combat systems deliver.  All of that delivers combat diversity and strategic depth.  Otoh, If the enemy has a soft counter to fire, well, either you're in the same boat b/c PfFire's effectively close enough to a hard counter (in which case, the change had no point), or there's no particular reason to change your tactical plan and you can still win with mindless tactics.  

The response here might just be Pipyui's point that if you know you're facing e.g. Fire Elementals, you can memorize PfFire and have a win on simple tactics.  But that's a problem of enemy design given the spells and abilities, not the other way around - e.g., aTweaks' pnp Salamander Nobles had an ability that lowered enemies' fire resistance.  And along those lines, have you played mage duels in BG2?  Particularly with the SCS mod?  They really bring out the potential of these systems.  It's not at all a function of simply having more buffing, or countering them before they counter you, as you suggested above.  You can win w/ fewer or no buffs, and you can win w/ no or minimal debuffing - or lots of both.  You can also lose any of those ways, and I've done that too.  It's partly a function of smart spell selection ex ante - you have to think abt the system and the spectrum of contingencies possible, especially in no-reload - but also how well you can implement that understanding on the fly.  It's more an intellectual challenge.

So I strongly disagree when you say it'd be better to have "something like Mage Armor to be more than just 'you're harder to hit for a duration,' instead being breakable or something, like the Wizard's Arcane Veil seems to be in PoE. Now it's strategic."  That's not strategic; on the contrary, being breakable (what you seem to have in mind here, per the discussion w/ Gfted1) rewards the mindless tactic of just bashing away to break the spell.*  Again, your preferences here tend towards simplifying and homogenizing gameplay.

*(The particular mechanism Arcane Veil seems(?) to have where a single weapon type can pierce it is fine by me - it's analogous to the Mantle line of spells.  It's a hard counter to most wpn types.)

 

edit: rather than posting another dull book, I'll just mention here abt the Summoning thread discussion: regarding chance in combat, the reason it's strategically challenging is b/c the risk of an adverse event induces the need to create contingency plans, particularly in no-reload.  If you take a risk-based spell, other parts of your spell/ability selections will change to keep it from being a disaster if e.g. the summon rebels.  So the chance spells have an implicit resource cost that you're overlooking.  As well, sorry to say, I disagree w/ the rest of your views there, but it's probably not worth pursuing.


Edited by ZornWO, 08 February 2014 - 02:59 AM.


#58
Hiro Protagonist II

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I wonder where the spells Sequencer and Minor Sequencer fall into. It's a pre-buff spell for your mage and you always had it ready before going into combat. But it seems nobody has a problem with it? Or do people suggest that these spells should only be allowed in combat? Same with contingency spells?



#59
moridin84

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My opinion is pretty much the same as it was almost a year ago. I am so sure of it that thought Obsidian had already decided to do it that way, apparently that isn't the case. Too bad. 

 

The topic isn't exactly the same, but I think all points transfer easily to this one. 

 

To quote

 

 

In NWN2 or rather in any DnD based game the buff durations were all over the place. You had ones at 24 hours, 1 hour / level, 10 minute / level, 1 minute / level, 1 minute and 9 seconds. Despite that, once I got past level 10 I treated all buffs from 24 hours up to 1 minute / level as "long term" and everything else as I couldn't be bothered, I'll just cast FIREBALL instead short term.  

 

So I think buffs should be split into short term buffs and long term buffs.

 

Long Term Buffs

 

The long term ones can be either be AoE (affecting all party members) or self-cast and should last until you rest (or whatever)

 

I remember in NWN2 where you had stat boosting spells like bull strength and owl's wisdom. These spells were level 2. By the time you got past the halfway point the level 2 damage spells were pretty crappy. So the best thing to do was fill your level 2 slots with buff spells. This meant that every time you rested you ended you having to cast a ton of single target buff spells onto the relevant party members. Annoying. 

 

By making long term spells either AoE or self-cast you are limiting the amount of times you can need to cast them after you rest to precisely one. 

 

Short Term Buffs

 

The short term ones won't have the self-cast restriction but should only last up to the duration of the fight. I'm not sure how long fights are going to last in this game but imagine on average fights last for 2 mins. In this case, the maximum duration of a short term buff should be roughly 1.5 minutes, though it can be as short as 5 seconds. 



#60
Lephys

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When you say, "Well, the tradeoffs just don't need to be purely a choice between a direct action and a passive boost," it's fairly clear you simply didn't read what I wrote, which you know, is fine, but then why respond?


This is a perfect example of something I'm noticing quite frequently on forums and the like, and it's really very detrimental to productive discussion, and I don't comprehend it in the least (and, quite frankly, grow a bit weary of it).

Could you kindly explain to me why my only two valid options for response are:

A) The direct opposite of every single facet/detail of whatever you've said, or
B) Nothing at all, because we just either share the exact same complex perspective on "pre-combat preparation" or we don't.

?





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