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Godlike mechanics and starting attributes


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One of the criticisms is that the godlikes, mechanically, are not as varied as they could be and most of their differences are cosmetic. As an example, each of the races so far are distinguished by each other by

1: attribute modifiers (humans +2str/resolve, all godlikes +2dex/+2res)

2: racial abilities (humans fighting spirit, godlikes vary, but death has death's usher)

3: dialogue and reputation changes in game (unknown at this point, but promised by devs).

4: subraces (hearth vs wild orlans, the varying godlike "subraces")

 

The issue here is that all the godlikes have the same attribute modifiers, but it is unclear as to why they should have the same modifiers. I would assume that the attribute modifiers would match with the lore for each race. However, each godlike is not touched by the same god and thus does not have similar lore behind it. It doesn't make sense that the attribute modifier is the same for all godlikes.

 

A proposed solution to this first requires the developers to clarify whether godlikes are a supergroup of races or a subgroup and to design them accordingly. What I mean by this is that are characters first his/her specific race then a godlike of that race or a godlike and then a race? The solution resolves from this answer to this question.

 

1- If they are a supertype (first godlike, then a race), then each godlike should have a variable attribute modifier. There are at least 15 different combinations (if we assume every modifier is a +2/+2, this could be increased with +1/+3) and if the 5 base races take 1 each, that leaves 10 more modifiers for the gods. I really don't think there'll be 10 godlike options, but if so, there's 10 attribute modifiers for them.

 

2- If they are a subtype of the races they descend from (aumaua/elf/dwarf/human/orlan), then they should just keep the racial attribute factors of their base race OR further modify the attributes (+1/-1, +2/-2 for balance).

 

3- they are considered a separate race altogether. While this doesn't match the lore really (unless it's meant to be a way to show that the lore is "incorrect" in its thinking and that similar godlikes of varying races can mate), this would be the only time where having a single attribute modifier would make sense.

 

Furthermore, godlikes have locked out head slots (most likely due to clipping issues with the 3D models) and thus their racial abilities are (hopefully) more substantial than other races (for the sake of balance). However, based on the kickstarter information,

 

Godlike manifest their divine heritage in a variety of ways: wings, horns, strange birthmarks, talons, odd eyes

 

so why is it that every option given to us, thus far is only the head slot option. It would be better/more interesting/cooler if the player was allowed to pick which item slot was locked out. One way to do this is thus:

 

each slot (head, neck, hand, body, waist, rings, feet) should have items that are appropriately balanced within their category from early game to late game items. All the devs would do is to take that item slot and give a mid-level bonus respective to that item slot and lock it out. It plays like a "you benefit now, but lose out on improving later" mechanic - a tactical and strategic choice. And it's not like there aren't other characters who couldn't use those impressive items instead. Obviously they don't need to do all the different slots but even 3 types (head, hand, feet) would be a lot better than more interesting (graphically as well as mechanically) than one.

Edited by Hormalakh
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Rather than being granted a bunch of benefits at the start, I'd like to see godlikes gain access to unique talents as they level up. For example, the Death god-like could manipulate its death spirit to gain dmage bonuses when fighting undead, while the Bird/Wind god-like could gather winds around her form and get a deflection bonus against (non-gunpowder) missile weapons.

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Rather than being granted a bunch of benefits at the start, I'd like to see godlikes gain access to unique talents as they level up. For example, the Death god-like could manipulate its death spirit to gain dmage bonuses when fighting undead, while the Bird/Wind god-like could gather winds around her form and get a deflection bonus against (non-gunpowder) missile weapons.

 

if it's balanced around other races, then yes. otherwise no: godlikes would become the go-to race.

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My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

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Good topic. I was mildly disappointed to see that godlikes' parent race wouldn't be reflected in their starting stats. The reasoning behind it is probably to make things easier to balance while still allowing players to mostly choose their own starting attributes, but I wish there was a way to achieve that while still providing some more variety and lore integration.

 

As for why heads will be the main/only thing that is significantly changed on godlike models, that's pretty easy and reasonable to explain. From a zoomed-out isometric perspective, the head will be the most visible part of the body, making it the easiest part to differentiate. It's much easier to tell small models apart from their heads than from squinting at their hands or feet. Much like there won't be separate bodies for younger, older, or fatter NPCs, we have to accept that some visual aspects of the godlike will be simplified and abstracted.

 

 

Rather than being granted a bunch of benefits at the start, I'd like to see godlikes gain access to unique talents as they level up. For example, the Death god-like could manipulate its death spirit to gain dmage bonuses when fighting undead, while the Bird/Wind god-like could gather winds around her form and get a deflection bonus against (non-gunpowder) missile weapons.

 

Maybe they can develop some optional, godlike-specific Talents that players can take. There would be a level of balance automatically built in, since presumably you can only take so many Talents even if your character qualifies for more, so you would have to weigh the godlike-specific Talents against others.

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Rather than being granted a bunch of benefits at the start, I'd like to see godlikes gain access to unique talents as they level up. For example, the Death god-like could manipulate its death spirit to gain dmage bonuses when fighting undead, while the Bird/Wind god-like could gather winds around her form and get a deflection bonus against (non-gunpowder) missile weapons.

 

if it's balanced around other races, then yes. otherwise no: godlikes would become the go-to race.

 

Yeah... you'd almost have to give other races all something to be gained as they progress, too. Otherwise, you end up with any non-godlike character just getting class stuff as they level, then: "Godlike! Now with 100% more progression gains!"

 

I know it wouldn't actually be double gains, by the way. It would just be free, extra stuff. I mean, even the "Death's Usher" type abilities are just given at the start, so they can be balanced out by other factors at character creation (just like stat variance between races). But... If they kept gaining things, when no one else did?

 

Maybe they can develop some optional, godlike-specific Talents that players can take. There would be a level of balance automatically built in, since presumably you can only take so many Talents even if your character qualifies for more, so you would have to weigh the godlike-specific Talents against others.

It'd be nice to see Racial talents of all kinds in. Not necessarily as extra talents, quantity-wise (as in "You leveled up: Choose a talent, AND THEN a racial talent!"), but just, "you actually have these two talents to choose from when you DO pick a talent, because you're a (insert race here)." At the very least. I mean... everyone COULD get to pick extra talents of a different category, be it racial or class or neutral, etc.

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Rather than being granted a bunch of benefits at the start, I'd like to see godlikes gain access to unique talents as they level up. For example, the Death god-like could manipulate its death spirit to gain dmage bonuses when fighting undead, while the Bird/Wind god-like could gather winds around her form and get a deflection bonus against (non-gunpowder) missile weapons.

 

Frankly I'd prefer the single initial ability to just scale with the character levels, so that it wouldn't become extremely underwhelming in the "endgame" or be unbalanced at the beginning (especially compared to the boni other races wil be able to get in their head slot).

Also I think they should be treated as a "sub-race" of the other races and have the same attribute bonus as the base race.

I don't think godlikes really need any other particular mechanic to them beside their "divine" ability and the lack of head slot/different appearance.

 

So basically:

 

+ scaling divine ability

+ base race attribute boni

- no head slot (or maybe another slot depending on the god?)

- + Good/bad reaction from people depending on their faith or affiliation with the god/s

 

By the way I don't know if this is the best place to discuss it but am I the only one who would prefer something more "subtle" for the death godlikes? I mean the poor things can't even see with those giant horns covering their eyes, they really stick out compared to the earth and air ones whose appearance is already quite flashy.

Edited by Oneiromancer
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I would give the core races attribute bonuses and a race specific ability. Then I would have the Godlike give no attribute bonuses and have their specific ability override the one given by the core race.

 

Using 3.5 D&D as an example of an Elf. You get a dex bonus, bow and long sword proficiencies, and some saving throws. If the Elf were Godlike he would still get the Dex bonus but the other bonuses would come from being Godlike and not from the elven heritage. So you would lose the weapon proficiencies and saving throw bonus but gain whatever Godlike ability you have.

 

That way you don't see double dipping and as much munchkining. This is just my first impression though. I hadn't given it much thought.

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Heresy time: If I had it my way, I'd make it so your race was 100% cosmetic outside of dialogue. It'd only affect how people react to you in the dialogue trees. Perhaps this could also apply to those scripted setpiece sections where the character can interact with the environment using their racial abilities.

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Perhaps Godlike should be handled as a racial sub-type rather than a different race. They could calculate attribute bonuses by taking half of the base race and adding two points somewhere, and keeping the base racial abilities of the base race. It would be balanced by blocking use of an equipment slot(such as helmet for Death godlikes) in exchange for a useful ability or set of useful abilities.

 

Heresy time: If I had it my way, I'd make it so your race was 100% cosmetic outside of dialogue. It'd only affect how people react to you in the dialogue trees. Perhaps this could also apply to those scripted setpiece sections where the character can interact with the environment using their racial abilities.

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Good topic. I was mildly disappointed to see that godlikes' parent race wouldn't be reflected in their starting stats. The reasoning behind it is probably to make things easier to balance while still allowing players to mostly choose their own starting attributes, but I wish there was a way to achieve that while still providing some more variety and lore integration.

Call me crazy, but I think the genetic/spiritual influence of a godly bloodline is likely going to dominate the relevant influence of a mortal parent.

 

If gods were equal to "mortals" there would be no differentiation, would there?

Edited by AGX-17
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Rather than being granted a bunch of benefits at the start, I'd like to see godlikes gain access to unique talents as they level up. For example, the Death god-like could manipulate its death spirit to gain dmage bonuses when fighting undead, while the Bird/Wind god-like could gather winds around her form and get a deflection bonus against (non-gunpowder) missile weapons.

 

if it's balanced around other races, then yes. otherwise no: godlikes would become the go-to race.

 

Yeah... you'd almost have to give other races all something to be gained as they progress, too. Otherwise, you end up with any non-godlike character just getting class stuff as they level, then: "Godlike! Now with 100% more progression gains!"

 

 

I think the current idea is that talents are universal, but if you meet certain requirements (class, race, perhaps attribute?), you can pick them up at an earlier level than those who don't.

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Heresy time: If I had it my way, I'd make it so your race was 100% cosmetic outside of dialogue. It'd only affect how people react to you in the dialogue trees. Perhaps this could also apply to those scripted setpiece sections where the character can interact with the environment using their racial abilities.

 

Well they're not really different races so much as different species. "Races" is just the continued use of an archaic term, I guess to evoke ye oldene tymes. Why shouldn't the big semi-aquatic species have different strengths than the small furry species?

 

 

 

Good topic. I was mildly disappointed to see that godlikes' parent race wouldn't be reflected in their starting stats. The reasoning behind it is probably to make things easier to balance while still allowing players to mostly choose their own starting attributes, but I wish there was a way to achieve that while still providing some more variety and lore integration.

Call me crazy, but I think the genetic/spiritual influence of a godly bloodline is likely going to dominate the relevant influence of a mortal parent.

 

If gods were equal to "mortals" there would be no differentiation, would there?

 

 

Yeah, I have no problem with the godly influence being dominant. It just feels weird for an aumaua godlike to be exactly the same as an orlan godlike.

 

 

I think the current idea is that talents are universal, but if you meet certain requirements (class, race, perhaps attribute?), you can pick them up at an earlier level than those who don't.

 

Some Talents may be like that, but Josh has also mentioned class-specific Talents that allow you to customize a class in a particular direction. So there could be race-specific Talents as well.

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I don't like racial modifiers, they end up being the go to for min-maxers. does a species get a +x attribute to might? all builds utilizing might will be forced to take that species. It's how you destroy choice and get your character stereotypes again

 

something everyone wants to avoid.

it's like in certain RPG's where you would be crazy to play, let's say, an Orc Wizard. taking that intelligence penalty and strength bonus effectively locks out orcs as a viable wizard race in DnD. I don't want these same things happening in Pillars of Eternity.

 

If species are different, I want it to be through abilities, not attributes.

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The attribute system keeps that from happening in PoE though. Intellect isn't necessarily the "go to" attribute for Wizards. It is the "go to" attribute for an AoE and long duration build of any class in the current iteration of the system. In other systems it is often set up that wizards require intellect, or said games equivalent stat, and thus races with a bonus to that stat get pigeonholed. You may want a high single target mage and thus select a race based on that, or you might want a tank melee mage and select the appropriate race for that.

 

The Attribute system is the cause of that issue. Racial modifiers are not. This will allow for more build diversity based on the underlying attribute system than many other video games or PnP games.

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I don't like racial modifiers, they end up being the go to for min-maxers. does a species get a +x attribute to might? all builds utilizing might will be forced to take that species. It's how you destroy choice and get your character stereotypes again

 

something everyone wants to avoid.

it's like in certain RPG's where you would be crazy to play, let's say, an Orc Wizard. taking that intelligence penalty and strength bonus effectively locks out orcs as a viable wizard race in DnD. I don't want these same things happening in Pillars of Eternity.

 

If species are different, I want it to be through abilities, not attributes.

Even with abilities, it may be hard to make ones universally good for each class. At least with the Pillars of Eternity attribute system, no attribute is utterly worthless for any class, as opposed to Dungeons and Dragons. In almost all pen and paper and CRPGs I've played, specific races have tended to fit in better mechanically with some classes or skill sets. The few exceptions I can think have been noteworthy in that race was mostly a cosmetic choice. For example One CRPG gave each race a certain resistance bonus against a damage type. While that is perfectly balanced and makes each race universally useful, it seems to, in a mechanical sense, make the choice of race extremely trivial.

I like the idea of racial abilities as being talents which are added to the pool of what can be chosen when leveling up. That would give more options for character customization and give the player the choice of just how much the racial mechanics come into play. It also prevents JFSOCC's Orc Wizard example, because I could avoid Orc racial traits and just take Wizard ones, if the Orc one don't make the Wizard better.

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I don't like racial modifiers, they end up being the go to for min-maxers. does a species get a +x attribute to might? all builds utilizing might will be forced to take that species. It's how you destroy choice and get your character stereotypes again

 

something everyone wants to avoid.

it's like in certain RPG's where you would be crazy to play, let's say, an Orc Wizard. taking that intelligence penalty and strength bonus effectively locks out orcs as a viable wizard race in DnD. I don't want these same things happening in Pillars of Eternity.

 

If species are different, I want it to be through abilities, not attributes.

That's part of the roleplaying. Your definition of "different" doesn't allow for "worse at". An orc should suck at being a wizard, if it's consistent with the setting.

 

 

If gods were equal to "mortals" there would be no differentiation, would there?

 

Yeah, I have no problem with the godly influence being dominant. It just feels weird for an aumaua godlike to be exactly the same as an orlan godlike.

That's assuming the Godlike are supposed to be anything more than a race with the purely cosmetic choice of the parent's race, rather that 15 diverse subraces.

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I'd be interested to hear the reasoning for the Godlike (of whatever parent species) to all have the same attribute bonuses, and why they have those bonuses, assuming there's a reason. I quite like the idea of the Godlike being of different body shapes, so that some equipment is not useable by them, personally i'm hoping for a Satyr race that has no shoes slots because of the cloven hoofs. All told i'm liking the fact that they're not simply Genasi, and add a little touch of the other into Poe's cauldron of species.

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Good topic. I was mildly disappointed to see that godlikes' parent race wouldn't be reflected in their starting stats. The reasoning behind it is probably to make things easier to balance while still allowing players to mostly choose their own starting attributes, but I wish there was a way to achieve that while still providing some more variety and lore integration.

Call me crazy, but I think the genetic/spiritual influence of a godly bloodline is likely going to dominate the relevant influence of a mortal parent.

 

If gods were equal to "mortals" there would be no differentiation, would there?

 

 

I thought that we weren't sure if the "gods" were really divine beings versus beings with incredible control and power over their souls. Am I misunderstanding this bit of lore?

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In my mind, in a game like PoE, I really don't care if one "racial" choice is numerically superior to all others. Let munchkins choose them and be happy. For me at least, racial choice should be based on role playing and character design, not combat efficacy (ugh, paladin/bard/dragondisciple). 

 

Now that is not say the devs shouldn't endeavour generally to make each particular racial choice appealing, but there are ways to do that beyond boring everyone gets a homogenized +1/-1 sort of set up.

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From a game design perspective, the +/- abilities modifiers only really make sense for min-maxing in a system where the ability assignment is non-linear; whether by gaussian-distributed dice rolls or through an escalating point cost. Once it becomes a flat growth curve, the modifiers have little or no benefit.

 

I prefer a system where the racial types are distinguished by career paths that are not readily available to other races, such as through prerequisites on selectable talents or spells. Plus limited-use special abilities, of course, such as low-light vision. The +/- modifiers could be applied to preferred/disfavored skill caps, I suppose.

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Rather than being granted a bunch of benefits at the start, I'd like to see godlikes gain access to unique talents as they level up. For example, the Death god-like could manipulate its death spirit to gain dmage bonuses when fighting undead, while the Bird/Wind god-like could gather winds around her form and get a deflection bonus against (non-gunpowder) missile weapons.

if it's balanced around other races, then yes. otherwise no: godlikes would become the go-to race.

This is hopefully a clasdic rpg ... your mmo thinking is in the wrong place here... since I have no competition with others it does not mattef if something is stronger or weaker the go to race/profession is what i wanna explore and llay. If you allow skill strenght to influence your choice of char in a singleplayer game without ladders or permadeath... thats more an isdue with you... I dont care how they are balanced I care if they are integrated well in the story lore and world...

 

oh but chosing your... mutation... is a great idea for char generation.

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The attributes have been balanced to be useful for all classes, so how can racial bonuses contribute to min - maxing? I really hope the race we choose affects far more than a paperdoll image, both in terms of combat and how the world reacts to you.

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I'd be interested to hear the reasoning for the Godlike (of whatever parent species) to all have the same attribute bonuses, and why they have those bonuses, assuming there's a reason.

 

One racial group cannot practically double both the assets and gameplay abilities/modifiers of all other races in the game, combined.  Godlike are already easily the most expensive racial group for us to model and implement.  Even if there were only human-based versions of them, they would still be the most expensive because all of their variants require significant differences in head mesh modeling.  In addition to that, each godlike type has its own starting passive ability.  They could probably have their own attribute bonuses, but exploding this out into 4 godlike types * 5 base races  = 20 different types of attribute bonuses and different racial abilities that progress and unlock as the characters level is untenable.  There's no way we could implement and adequately test all of that.

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One racial group cannot practically double both the assets and gameplay abilities/modifiers of all other races in the game, combined. Godlike are already easily the most expensive racial group for us to model and implement. Even if there were only human-based versions of them, they would still be the most expensive because all of their variants require significant differences in head mesh modeling. In addition to that, each godlike type has its own starting passive ability. They could probably have their own attribute bonuses, but exploding this out into 4 godlike types * 5 base races = 20 different types of attribute bonuses and different racial abilities that progress and unlock as the characters level is untenable. There's no way we could implement and adequately test all of that.

Thank you for your response Josh. The main issue I guess I'm having is that there seem to be three competing camps here: budget/time, lore, and mechanics and you can only pick two. I totally understand limitations of budget and time, and don't expect you guys to go over-board especially with a singular race, but I do expect that the mechanics you guys come up with to match the lore that you've told us or at least have an in-game explanation for all this stuff. I know you're an advocate for abstraction, but I know that you're aware that an abstraction of mechanics that contradicts or really flies in the face of your lore, doesn't really do too well either.

 

Either the lore or the mechanics should change. There should be a reason why all the god-likes aren't expressed in this game, or why they all have the same attribute, or why only the heads of these race are the only thing affected. I would rather have a limited god-like subset with a more expansive and robust mechanical infrastructure set in place for future games than 50 godlikes with superficial mechanics. You can explain the god-like limitation away with something that fits the game world. Then you can expand with future content in expansion sets, PoE2, etc. Even D&D's tieflings, and other planar beings were developed over a long series of games. Nobody expects the world to be so expansive as 4-5 editions of D&D. But just make sure that the set-up is in place :)

 

I really do wish you guys the best, and I hope you know that I am offering these pithy recommendations as a gamer and not as a developer, so take from it what you will. All the best to you and the rest of the guys/gals.

Edited by Hormalakh

My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

My DXdiag:

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/2014/08/beta-begins-v257.html

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