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Pre-Combat Preparation

Buffs Traps Winning Charlie Sheen

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#81
moridin84

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Wait, they aren't removing buffing altogether right?

 

They are just removing pre-buffing. That thing when you had to spend 2 minutes buffing every time you rest and another 1 buffing before each fight. I personally never saw that as a "past glory". 

 

 

That still has a major impact though. If, as a spell caster, you need to spend your first several actions in combat raising your defenses--that puts you at a major disadvantage. Those buffs better be extraordinarily powerful, because all of those classes that don't need to buff will be gunning for you. Party members may be able to screen some enemies, but not all of them--particularly ranged attacks. The second most major concern, is that having to buff every battle will seriously deplete a caster's spells per day. I doubt the protections which really make a true difference are going to be at-will abilities for that matter.

 

It's the big picture and all of the ripples that occur within it that has me concerned about "no pre-buffing". It seems like a minor change, but I highly doubt it. I hope I am proven utterly wrong.

 

 

The point to skipping pre-buffing is to avoid this monotonous, automatically buffing. Pushing it into combat doesn't make any sense. 

 

Let's take a few examples of how I think they will change things.

 

Stoneskin

In the old systems, this is something you would have on constantly.

 

In PE, this spell might be a temporary buff (10s, 30s?) which you would cast when a warrior is about to attack you or potentially another member of your party. 

 

Mage Armor

In the old system, this is something you would have on constantly.

 

In PE, this is probably a passive ability. 

 

Blades of Fire

Works exactly the same in PE. 

 

Elemental Shield

In the old system (once you got high enough level anyway) you'd probably cast it on the tank and expect it to last the entire encounter. 

 

In PE, this would probably last for 10-20 seconds. Maybe you'd cast it onto a tank just before he taunts, or maybe you'd save it later on in the fight, to protect someone from a fireball for example. 


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#82
Lephys

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Beyond convention/tradition, if Wizards had the same durability (HP) and could wear effective armaments while casting spells, it would lead to serious questions about the "adequacy" of non-spellcasting classes. To compensate, magic would need to seriously be dialed down. This has generally been what has transpired for cRPG spellcasting for more than a decade. Spellcasters are less fragile (more HP) and can cast more frequently. In turn, there is little to distinguish their spells from any other class ability beyond the animation.
 
It's an elusive dilemma. Personally, I prefer the older methods. A spellcaster lives and dies by their spells. The spells are potent and costly, but the caster is next to nothing without them.


I very much agree with most of that. Or, I should say, I agree with all of it, to a degree. I think the "older methods" are mildly close to the opposite extreme (with stuff like "you just literally can't wear heavy armor or wield a sword at all," for example). And I don't believe the frequency of casting is as big of an issue. More limited than a Fighter's sword swings, sure. It seems excessive to me, however, to say "you can blow up like 8 things at once with a fireball -- things it would take a Fighter about 30 hits and that much time to take down -- but you can only cast that like twice per day." Or, to put it simply, a Wizard/caster should be able to perform less-potent actions more frequently, and more-potent actions less frequently. That kind of thing.

It definitely sucks when a game just makes them nondistinct, and your caster just becomes a fighter who technically uses magic. But, it's about extents. I don't think altering the frequency or restrictions of the old ways a bit jumps the design straight to the extreme.
 

While that would be alleviating, I still find myself being concerned. Even though I did not and do not find myself constantly leaning on spells like Protection from Magical Weapons or Absolute Immunity, this dynamic changes when you have to recasting your protections every battle. Rather than bathing the screen in fire, ice, mind-effects, etc. at the beginning of combat, I would have to be more reserved. There is a MASSIVE strategic difference between casting an offensive spell like Confusion in the first round, rather than the third. This is especially true when friendly fire exists, which we know is in.


It's true that the dynamic is changed, but, I can't help but look at how the rest of the design can support this. I mean, in a game with pre-combat buffing, that whole "doing this in the first turn versus doing this in the third turn" tradeoff gets completely circumvented by buffs. The only remaining tradeoff is between what you DO buff up with, and what you don't, and/or what you memorized/prepared and what you didn't. It doesn't matter when you buff, or what you cast first, or how the enemy is moving, or who they're targeting. The only significance to the effects is their rock-paper-scissors effect against the potential effects in your enemies' arsenal. That's not bad that those effects exist, but it's mildly bad when they're the only function of those effects. Even if you're just really close to that being the only function (you still get the occasional shorter-term effects in D&D buffs that you can't just use as a pre-combat blanket o' bonus), it's still not really taking advantage of the tactical aspect of combat (which I realize wasn't as huge of a focus in D&D combat, but apparently will be in PoE combat, and I don't think this is a bad thing.)

With buffs only in-combat, prioritization and pertinence are significant factors in your buffing. You actually can still scout out the enemy, remaining undetected, see what you're up against, then prepare a buffing plan to start combat with. I would imagine that, since you can't cast buffs "before combat," that casting a buff constitutes the beginning of combat. And, while I'd like to know more specifics on that from Team Eternity, it would seem that, at the very least, you get to write-off the cast-time on that first buff (with potentially multiple party members each casting something/using an ability, side-by-side in that same amount of time) before the enemy even gets to react. So, it's really kind of functioning as a "you only get one effect 'before combat'." If it works like that. I think it could work like that, and hope it does, in the interest of not having to have enemies charging you just to cast a buff.

But, if you scout the enemy, and they're using magic weapons, and or are using ranged weapons, etc, and the first thing you do to start combat is cast "Protection from Magic Weapons" and/or "Protection from Missiles," then you've just given yourself a very strategic advantage. After that, depending on how things start to play out, you can either go for another buff, or take some other action (offensive spell, repositioning, save your spells and just use your wand Blast, etc.). That's the beauty of tactics. Yes, it's not as pleasant as just being able to prepare as many beneficial effects as you'd like beforehand, but I think it makes the buffs more meaningful. That's the main thing I like about this whole "no pre-combat buffing." I can look and see that my Fighter did, indeed, occupy the attention of three foes in melee combat, and that they're all trying to knock him down or something, and decide to cast (with my safe-for-the-time-being Wizard) some kind of immunity to knockdown spell or something, on my Fighter.

Personally, I find that more pleasing and rewarding than simply making sure my Fighter has immunity to knockdown (or resistance, at least... the point isn't that it's full immunity... it was just an example) on him for 8 hours of every day, just in case we come across things that would want to knock him down in any combat encounter.

Sure, you have to re-cast stuff every combat, but, I think if the same set of buffs is equally beneficial in 7 combats in a row, the encounter design's a bit lacking in variety, already, to be honest.

So, yeah, in conclusion, I totally get the desire to be able to stack buffs in preparation for combat, and have more ongoing beneficial effects in place for longer than just one fight. But, at the same time, I don't really think that's doing much other than detracting from the active tactics of combat.

Why is the Wizard/caster more fragile in the first place, if the game's just going to let you cast "Compensate for Fragility" on him and let it persist plenty long enough to simply all-but-negate the distinction of his being more fragile than the other classes, 90% of the time?

Having combat-only buffing doesn't automatically make everything perfect, but I think it definitely can bring a lot to the table, in place of what little it's taking away. I don't see it as removing preparation; rather, I see it as making preparation more active and significant than passive (stack the benefits you want, then roll with combat).

#83
Mr. Magniloquent

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What it ultimately comes down to, is individual spell design. As long as spells can level the field or immunize against classes of damage, most of the puzzle pieces should fall into place. One must beget the other. Powerful spells require power protections, which in turn require counters. The presence of counters requires powerful buffs (to warrant their existence/design), which beget powerful offensive spells. Etc, etc. If you have one, the others will follow.

 

However, with no Raise Dead or Resurrection magic in P:E, I'm a bit skeptical that spells are actually going to be truly fearsome. More to that point, two non-spell casting classes have been repeated named as the "most damaging" classes. Beyond the simple heresy of that notion, one might reasonably inference a great deal about the caliber of offensive spells. While I have great faith in Obsidian to produce a fantastic game, I'm more than pessimistic that they're going to get spell casting "wrong". Let's hope my outlook is proven unequivocally unwarranted.



#84
Failion

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Pre buffing combat was one of the worst things about infinity engine and dnd like games. encounters were literally decided on buffing is very tedious and lame gameplay. 2nd edition it didn't matter that much besides haste and negative plane protection or beholder protection if you fighting them. But 3rd edition? oh god that was just epic fail. All those cleric buffs, druid buffs, It was stupid period. 



#85
anameforobsidian

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They have higher single target damage, but I don't see the problem with that.  Casters have higher AoE damage.  That's more a translation of 4e, and in my opinion 4e did casting really well.



#86
Tamerlane

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What it ultimately comes down to, is individual spell design. As long as spells can level the field or immunize against classes of damage, most of the puzzle pieces should fall into place. One must beget the other. Powerful spells require power protections, which in turn require counters. The presence of counters requires powerful buffs (to warrant their existence/design), which beget powerful offensive spells. Etc, etc. If you have one, the others will follow.

 

However, with no Raise Dead or Resurrection magic in P:E, I'm a bit skeptical that spells are actually going to be truly fearsome. More to that point, two non-spell casting classes have been repeated named as the "most damaging" classes. Beyond the simple heresy of that notion, one might reasonably inference a great deal about the caliber of offensive spells. While I have great faith in Obsidian to produce a fantastic game, I'm more than pessimistic that they're going to get spell casting "wrong". Let's hope my outlook is proven unequivocally unwarranted.

Nerds drool, jocks rule.

 

EDIT: This is me IRL:

 

xzd2r3U.gif


Edited by Tamerlane, 17 February 2014 - 08:32 AM.


#87
Sherr

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^ left or right?



#88
Tamerlane

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Do you have to ask?

 

Muscle supremacy 4lyfe.



#89
Lephys

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Nerds drool, jocks rule.
 
EDIT: This is me IRL:
 
-image-


I'll CUT you... o_o...

...
...
...
... a slice of delicious cake! 8D (mumbles something about stupid muscled warriors).

Seriously though, I can't really choose a side there. The two character archetypes I always go for are:

1) The Wizard/mage/what-have-you, or
2) What I call "Melee Man." Typically Unarmed if it's cool enough in the game's mechanics. If not, then I start with the least-statistically-used melee weapon specialization there is and work my way up from there. "What... there's only ONE scythe in the whole game? Okay, okay... kusarigama it is!"

Seriously though... I'm basically both people in that image. :)





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