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I have always loved the concept of a shapeshifting. The idea of being able to morph into different creatures as the situation dictates is incredibly appealing to me. While it's been attempted in several games I feel it falls short in most of them mainly because it hasn't been thought through.

 

Common pitfalls (to avoid):

 

Forms don't scale

Baldur's gate 2 gives you a bear form at level 7 unless you have TOB you have that same form (same AC/attacks/damage) for the entire game. In general you either need level based bonus (like monks in most games), or forms that improve/get replaced as you go.

 

One useful form

You can be a spider, bear or wolf. They are similar except the bear hits harder and has more attacks per round. Why would I ever turn into anything else? If you're going to have different forms ask yourself why/when would the player use this form.

 

Nerfed forms

You can turn into a mindflayer but you can't stun, you can't drain intelligence and are pretty much a druid who looks like a mindflayer. I understand sometimes unlocking abilities over time, but if I can turn into a form let me use it's powers. Spiders can poison, basilisks can turn things to stone, nymphs can charm ect...

 

 

What's important to me:

 

Distinct Defensive Advantages

I want defensive resistances/abilities that matter. The ability to turn into a serpent and be immune to poison, or a fire elemental and walk on lava, or a creature that's skin is so tough arrows bounce off.

 

Abilities, Abilities, Abilities

I don't expect forms to be as good in melee as a well equipped berserker, but I assume that comes with the tradeoff I can do things a fighter can't. Can a werewolf howl and cause enemies to flee? Can a demon curse opponents? The ability to have unique and meaningful powers is a major part of what makes classes like this fun.

 

Appearance matters

I want forms that look cool and are interesting. Wolves are nice and all, but I want forms that are visually impressive. Creatures like: towering minotaurs, fiery elementals and trents.

 

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The forms are not going to be direct transitions into creatures.  It's going to be spirit animal type thing, getting a cat's head an all that.

In this update it looks like a full creature: https://eternity.obsidian.net/news/update-72-death-godlike-and-expected-ship-date

 

Or are you saying that they will be player specific forms not creatures regularly existing in the game.

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Stasis_Sword's requests seem pretty elementary to me, expect perhaps the "nerfed forms" request if the druid forms don't mimic actual creatures in the world.  "Unlocking abilities over time" seems like an improvement over IE shapeshifting.

 

If it's of interest, the BG1/2 spider form is useful against spellcasters since the several rounds of poison damage disrupt their casting.  It's also better against enemies that are prone to going invisible etc.

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The forms are not going to be direct transitions into creatures.  It's going to be spirit animal type thing, getting a cat's head an all that.

In this update it looks like a full creature: https://eternity.obsidian.net/news/update-72-death-godlike-and-expected-ship-date

 

Or are you saying that they will be player specific forms not creatures regularly existing in the game.

 

 

They will be player specific forms, not creatures in the game.  I'm almost positive that I've read that in the dev comments. 

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Stasis_Sword's requests seem pretty elementary to me, expect perhaps the "nerfed forms" request if the druid forms don't mimic actual creatures in the world.  "Unlocking abilities over time" seems like an improvement over IE shapeshifting.

 

If it's of interest, the BG1/2 spider form is useful against spellcasters since the several rounds of poison damage disrupt their casting.  It's also better against enemies that are prone to going invisible etc.

 

For BG2: Unkitted druids get brown bear, black bear, wolf of which brown bear is the best. You're right that the sword spider is useful for poison damage (as the salamander is for hitting as a +3) which is why I prefer the avenger forms a lot (although even they have scaling issues).

 

You're correct that on a certain level my requests are "basic" as I intended them to be. They're almost a don't mess it up list, which every game I played has failed to meet aspects of.

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As I mentioned earlier in the druid shapeshifting thread: the worst part of shapeshifting is that it is basically forgotten as a story element.

 

You almost never see enemies shapeshift, unless they're monsters.  

The main character has access to the advantages of alternate forms and never uses them outside of combat. 

No one reacts to it, ever.

 

Only when there is a requirement for all characters to gain shapeshifting powers do you ever see any puzzles/events geared toward it: eg. DA:O, Divinity 2, NWN:HOU, etc. 

 

Also the lack of form development, as seen in I.E. games renders almost all forms utterly useless. Rather than making every new form stronger than the last, have them unlock new combat roles/advantages/disadvantages/abilities. 

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...

 

 

They will be player specific forms, not creatures in the game.  I'm almost positive that I've read that in the dev comments.

Druids change in anthropomorphized forms of existing animals/creatures.

See quote below:

Druids transform into anthropomorphic animal forms, more like lycanthropes in appearance. We're still figuring out how many forms they will be able to take, but we want it to be something that expands for druids over the course of the game. Druids primarily transform into their animalistic forms to gain the powers associated with that form. Because we're using more "spirit" forms than the standard form of an animal, the powers the druids gains in those forms can be more unusual and magical.

 

As a side note, druids cannot hold weapons in their special forms, but they can always cast spells.

I like shapeshifting, but sometimes I have a problem with the strength of the forms. e.g. the forms are not strong enough and it's better to remain in caster form or you use the forms only to get a hp bonus and just cast normal spells because the forms attacks are to weak.

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@Greydragon - I would love to see that, but given that there is no guarantee the player can shapeshift I understand not having a lot of shape****ing specific content.

 

@Prometheus - Thanks for that informative quote. The ability to cast spells while forms will help with balancing relative to other characters, but I the issues I raised in the first post still apply. There is an additional issue of distinctness, how is casting flamestrike as a were-tiger different than casting flamestrike as a were-bat?

 

Forms don't scale - Melee damage, ability damage and defense still need to scale with other characters. 3D6 firebreath is lame if wizard is doing 20D6.

 

One useful form - Is there a "tough" form (were-rhino) with a defense bonus that most players will use 90% of the time?

 

Nerfed forms - Can my were-creature do all the things I think it should be able to?

 

The requests for defensive resistances/abilities, offensive abilities and distinct appearances remain and may be even more important as differentiators.

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@Greydragon - I would love to see that, but given that there is no guarantee the player can shapeshift I understand not having a lot of shape****ing specific content.

 

Spirit-shift, shape-shift; a rose by any other name ...

My points are as valid for spirit-shifting as shape-shifting. In fact I just used the OP title term because when all is said and done, aside from appearances and lore they are the same thing. 

Druids are already confirmed to be able to spirit-shift into animal ... 'personas' is the correct term I suppose? They'll just be spectral rather than biological transformations. 

Regardless I dearly want spirit-shifted druid opponents. I hope that the advantages of such transformations will be used for more than merely battle.

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The forms are not going to be direct transitions into creatures.  It's going to be spirit animal type thing, getting a cat's head an all that.

 

Hopefully that means that the form will simply apply various modifiers and special abilities to the caster's base form, thereby making it scalable.

 

I'm curious to know if there will be a spider form... :cat:

"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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@Greydragon - I agree. Any inclusion in the main story: enemies, allies, NPCs would be great. Scenarios where the shifters special abilities could be put to use (like how thieves pick locks/disarm traps) would be great.

 

@Arch-Mage - My concern is that the forms are often implemented as flat modifiers: dex+2, thaco+2, 1D6 claws. Great at level 1, lousy at level 15 when the warrior has 10 better thaco and deals 1D10+10 3 times a round. % based bonus may help with "natural" scaling or building levels into special abilities (firebreath level/3 D6 of damage). Spider form would be cool, I'm really excited to see what else they come up with.

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Spirit-shift, shape-shift; a rose by any other name ...

My points are as valid for spirit-shifting as shape-shifting. In fact I just used the OP title term because when all is said and done, aside from appearances and lore they are the same thing. 

Druids are already confirmed to be able to spirit-shift into animal ... 'personas' is the correct term I suppose? They'll just be spectral rather than biological transformations. 

Regardless I dearly want spirit-shifted druid opponents. I hope that the advantages of such transformations will be used for more than merely battle.

"Spirit-shift" doesn't sound conceptually like it'd be the same thing as "shape-shift." If a spirit is an immaterial, formless entity, the "shape" doesn't matter. The XYZ dimensions of its perceived visual representation need not have anything to do with the nature or identity of the spirit/soul itself.

 

Since you used the term "persona," it brings to mind the game series of the same name, whose titular "persona" powers are based on the Jungian definition of "persona." Shapeshifting in PoE doesn't seem to be following suit.

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I'm sure from a lore standpoint, the usage of "spirit" instead of "shape" holds the most significance. However, from a mechanical standpoint, I think the main difference is that, when spirit-shifting to Cat "form," the druid doesn't actually take on the form of a cat (as in many other games), but instead becomes a very cat-like humanoid Druid.

 

So, functionally, you don't turn into animals, but instead take on aspects of them in your physical form.

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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This is the reason I'm having high hopes for the next update.

Since Josh is gonna expand a bit on Wizards & Druids I'm hopefull we'll get some extra examples for the Druids Spirit-shift and (in)direct answers to some of the OPs concerns.

 

My personal hope is that Obsidian are going to take a little more uncoventional take on shapeshifting and not go for the "usual" Lycanthrope forms.

You know, Werecat-->Werewolf-->Werebear-->Weretiger or some variation of that.

Maybe an insectoid form, a plant or a reptilian one? Or idealy, a Wereshark.

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My personal hope is that Obsidian are going to take a little more uncoventional take on shapeshifting and not go for the "usual" Lycanthrope forms.

You know, Werecat-->Werewolf-->Werebear-->Weretiger or some variation of that.

Maybe an insectoid form, a plant or a reptilian one? Or idealy, a Wereshark.

Behold, the WEREPLATYPUS!

 

You laugh, but watch out for those poisonous claws behind its rear feet!

 

POISON-ROUNDHOUSE TO THE FAAAAACE!

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Since Josh is gonna expand a bit on Wizards & Druids I'm hopefull we'll get some extra examples for the Druids Spirit-shift and (in)direct answers to some of the OPs concerns.

I wouldn't expect to much information on spiritforms. The ranger didn't have any specific information on animal companions.

 

My personal hope is that Obsidian are going to take a little more uncoventional take on shapeshifting and not go for the "usual" Lycanthrope forms.

You know, Werecat-->Werewolf-->Werebear-->Weretiger or some variation of that.

Maybe an insectoid form, a plant or a reptilian one? Or idealy, a Wereshark.

Imo the best option is to have a few "usual"  Lycantrope(but not the variants of them) and additional "unique" forms. So have a werecat and werebear but no weretiger, werelion or polar bear instead have something different e.g. a form inspired by a bird,a form inspired by an insect, a form inspired by a shark or whale etc.

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My personal hope is that Obsidian are going to take a little more uncoventional take on shapeshifting and not go for the "usual" Lycanthrope forms.

You know, Werecat-->Werewolf-->Werebear-->Weretiger or some variation of that.

 

We're definitely going to start with traditional forms but we plan to expand the roster over time.  I like weresharks as much (more?) than anyone, but I wouldn't put a wereshark form ahead of a werewolf or werebear.

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My personal hope is that Obsidian are going to take a little more uncoventional take on shapeshifting and not go for the "usual" Lycanthrope forms.

You know, Werecat-->Werewolf-->Werebear-->Weretiger or some variation of that.

 

We're definitely going to start with traditional forms but we plan to expand the roster over time.  I like weresharks as much (more?) than anyone, but I wouldn't put a wereshark form ahead of a werewolf or werebear.

 

 

Hmm, unfortunate.

Is there a flat power progression between these Spirit-Shapes or is there merrit in keep using an older one over the newest?

I ask since for some reason I think bears are really lame animals and would rather keep using any other Were- form. Well, except those ugly Wereboars, there is no Spirit-Boar Form in PE right?

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Hmm, unfortunate.

Is there a flat power progression between these Spirit-Shapes or is there merrit in keep using an older one over the newest?

I ask since for some reason I think bears are really lame animals and would rather keep using any other Were- form. Well, except those ugly Wereboars, there is no Spirit-Boar Form in PE right?

 

The forms will scale in power as you level.  The reason for choosing one form over another will be for the special ability each one inherently comes with.

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