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Update #74: The Mob Rulers: Wizards and Druids and our Partnership with Paradox


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Well, said inspirations (the IE games) HAD some death spells that could be used at 12th level

 

You had:

 

1) Disintegrate

2) Slay Living

3) Flesh to Stone

4) Death Spell

5) Chromatic Orb

 

 

But I suspect that the very mindset Josh and Co are using to argue against death spells is going to manifest itself in much more far reaching ways. For example, it makes no sense to say: death spells aren't in because they're all or nothing mechanics that do nothing but promote save scumming/reloading" but then turn around and offer us stuff like Save or Sleep. Save or be Stunned, Save or be Charmed, Save or be Dominated.... as all of those wonderful effects are ALSO all or nothing and ALSO promote save scumming/reloading by sh*tty players.

Edited by Stun
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But those spells don't kill characters outright. What's more likely is that they'll nerf them a bit so they can only be cast on one character at a time, which is fine by me. Also, they'll be probably be counterable with lower-level spells.

 

This is, of course, speculation, but my point is that those spells aren't literally all or nothing, and death spells are. It's hard to get more all or nothing than life and death.

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The only counters to a Charm or Hold spell would be Hard counters (ie. free action, or Immunity to charm/mind effecting spells, or dispel magic), which is a bad word in Josh-land. Also whether these spells are all or nothing is a matter of opinion. I don't know about you, but for me, in the IE games at least, if I've got an opponent stunned, It's over. Stunned opponents are automatically hit, and in BG2 if you can automatically hit someone, they're as good as dead.

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Domination/charm could be far more lethal than outright dead... and actually did the same if on the PC character (in BG1 atleast... I recall a siren insta-ending my game right there).

^

 

 

I agree that that is such a stupid idiotic pathetic garbage hateful retarded scumbag evil satanic nazi like term ever created. At least top 5.

 

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The only counters to a Charm or Hold spell would be Hard counters (ie. free action, or Immunity to charm/mind effecting spells, or dispel magic), which is a bad word in Josh-land. Also whether these spells are all or nothing is a matter of opinion. I don't know about you, but for me, in the IE games at least, if I've got an opponent stunned, It's over. Stunned opponents are automatically hit, and in BG2 if you can automatically hit someone, they're as good as dead.

 

They will probably be roll-to-hit vs. Will save (or whatever they call it), allowing for crits, hits, grazes and misses as usual, giving a bit more granularity to work with. Dunno exactly how, but I guess a charm-type spell could do nothing on a miss, inflict some kind of a light penalty on a graze (like a drop in attack?), outright deny the use of agressive abilities on a hit, and turn the afflicted party member against you only on a crit? This way, freak accidents can happen, but you're not necessarily forced to reload. Also, it might be possible that each class has something that allows them to resist such trickery, therefore you're not necessarily out of luck if you didn't bring a member of a specific class with you?

"Lulz is not the highest aspiration of art and mankind, no matter what the Encyclopedia Dramatica says."

 

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@Stun:

 

Yes, but there are ways to design around the hard counter that make it more of a soft counter. Here's a few off off the top of my head: another character can shove a stunned or held character out of the way, or maybe carry them to safety in exchange for getting rained with blows, or have a fighter guard a certain ally and take hits for them. And maybe stunning would have a set duration in seconds rather than being subject to a saving throw.

 

This is a game with full party control. Teamwork is important. Why not codify that in the mechanics?*

 

* - Yes, I know, the IE games had a guard skill, but it was poorly defined and all but useless.

Edited by Ffordesoon
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The "sollutions" in the last 2 posts seem to me a bit, soft? Like making the game very very easy, cause you can easily overcome anything with anyone?

 

I wouldn't want that.

On the opposite, I  wouldn't want my "charm opponent" spell only be actually that what the spell is supposed to do on a critical hit (what defines critical in PoE anway? Still 20 in a 1-20 roll?)

 

All in all, it seems the sollutions offered are worse than the 'problem'... "medicine worse than the disease"

^

 

 

I agree that that is such a stupid idiotic pathetic garbage hateful retarded scumbag evil satanic nazi like term ever created. At least top 5.

 

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If giving the player more options to deal with a spell that's game-breakingly powerful without nerfing its overall power level sounds like it would make the game easier, that's because it just might. It would also give the player more tactical options and make the game more fun without diminishing the impact of the spell. More granularity in dealing with foes only leads to more satisfying encounters, IMHO.

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The "sollutions" in the last 2 posts seem to me a bit, soft?

 

Alternatives:

 

- The wizard has to continuously concentrate on maintaining the spell (may mean any of the following: can't do anything / unable to cast spells at all, movement rate reduced, but weapon use is permitted / can cast per-encounter and at-will spells / can cast whatever, but enemy interrupt chance increases dramatically). With specific talents this might get easier.

 

- The wizard gets half/full damage to Stamina, but not Health whenever the dominated person is hit, with a chance to trigger interruption as usual.

"Lulz is not the highest aspiration of art and mankind, no matter what the Encyclopedia Dramatica says."

 

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My question would be: can we overcome it after the fact?
A domination/charm spell can be dispelled / the person 're-dominated' to your side.

Death spells can (in IE games) be overcome with resurrection spells.

If the equivalent 'solution' remains in PoE, then I don't mind either kind of spell, because I can choose to use a few actions trying to bring a party member back from [problem] and healing them while guarding them, to get them back in the fight.

I do have a problem with 'entire-party death' spells.  Since there's no where to go from there but a forced reload.

 

I do like the 'staggered' approach of miss-graze-hit-crit, producing a variety of outcomes.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

*Casts Nature's Terror* :aiee: , *Casts Firebug* :fdevil: , *Casts Rot-Skulls* :skull: , *Casts Garden of Life* :luck: *Spirit-shifts to cat form* :cat:

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^

belated want-to-edit:  Then again, the above doesn't account for eliminating tough enemies in one hit (unless their henchmen can resurrect them).

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

*Casts Nature's Terror* :aiee: , *Casts Firebug* :fdevil: , *Casts Rot-Skulls* :skull: , *Casts Garden of Life* :luck: *Spirit-shifts to cat form* :cat:

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I was wondering if there will be an ironman mode, where you can't save at all. If there will be something like that, then a 'reverse time' spell would perhaps make some sense.

 

How about implementing an autosave feature, but not allowing the player to rely on that (in ironman mode).

 

Instead of loading, the player makes a mage from the party cast a 'reverse time' spell and voila, autosave loaded. Cheap trick, but with a little tinkering (and some cool-looking casting animations) you could go to lots of places with this starting idea.

 

For example, there could be a 'simple reverse time' spell, which sends you back in time circa 5 mins. It is enough to send the party back in time just before a battle has started.

Wouldn't it be totally frustrating if some enemies were to use this spell? Heheheh. :D Once you are familiar with this trick, you will be thinking that you absolutely cannot allow an enemy mage to cast it.

 

And there could be a 'reverse day' spell, which sends you back in time, say, a day. It could load an autosave from the last time the party rested / something occured.

Enemies using this spell.... well.... could be more prepared the next time you meet them. Too much of this type of fun would break the game experience though.

 

And of course, maybe, there could be an 'enhanced reverse time' variant of the spell, which sends you back in time, but the wizard casting the spell retains the exp to boot.

(and perhaps other things (it's not that cheaty if you can limit the number of uses of this type of spells))

 

And there could be some 'bookmark'-type spells too. You cast the spell, game saved. This saved game can only be loaded once, then it gets automatically deleted.

Each time the party gets wiped out, the bookmark spell (and some mighty casting animation) gets triggered and the last saved game gets loaded.

All you need is some necessary component to force an upper bound on the number of uses of the 'bookmark' spell and you're done.

Ironman mode 2, where you have to micromanage your saves too, not just the characters.

 

I was thinking that this lot might enhance immersion. (of course this would make the beginning of the game much more deadly)

Opinions?

Edited by Naesh
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the player makes a mage from the party cast a 'reverse time' spell 

 

Funniest thing, in the tabletop game Mage: the Awakening, even a starting character has access to a spell that works essentially the same (only for rounds, not minutes).

"Lulz is not the highest aspiration of art and mankind, no matter what the Encyclopedia Dramatica says."

 

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I don't like it if combat is decided by a single roll, it eliminates all tactic from combat.

 

charm and other debuffs will get reduced duration if they only graze and higher duration if they crit. for more information see here

 

Josh Sawyer explains in the following quote why he doesn't like death spells and random skill checks in computer games:

* The success or failure of fights often hinged on a single die roll for powerful abilities.  Besides metagaming hard and soft counters after a reload (which I'll get to, below), these were elements where the player's choices did not have a ton of impact; their success or failure mostly depended on the outcome of a die roll.  In some cases, there's really a tiny set of hard counters (e.g. Protection from Petrification for use against basilisks).  Most other tactics just shifted odds and asked the player to hope for the best and reload if/when the worst came true.  Reloading is a part of these games, but I don't think anyone wants it to be a core mechanic for success.

...


* Stand-alone random rolls are pointless outside of an Ironman-style mode.  Random resting encounters, rolls to learn a spell, rolls to pick a lock, etc.  The player is better served by having those things be thresholds (or non-existent) and giving them tools to increase their ability to meet those thresholds.  Failure to make a stand-alone random roll is not a failure on the part of the player; they just got a bad roll.  You can get bad rolls in combat, too, but those are part of a big shifting soup of randomized results hat happen over time.

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Melee/Ranged is decided by a D20. How does that "elminate tactic"?

 

Please tell me, since I really don't know.

^

 

 

I agree that that is such a stupid idiotic pathetic garbage hateful retarded scumbag evil satanic nazi like term ever created. At least top 5.

 

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Melee/Ranged is decided by a D20. How does that "elminate tactic"?

I said a single roll, if a spell is so powerful that if you hit you will win every fight, there is no tactic in the game you can just reload until the spell hits.

Imo the random elements of a fight shouldn't change the outcome of a batlle from utterly defated to easy win. Imo What spells I use, who I attack etc. should always more imprtant as my luck.

Edited by Prometheus
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Great update. The druid sounds awesome -- I will probably play one, I am in that mood nowadays. :)

 

However, I am sorry to say that the wizard is just ... meh. It sounds as you have taken the worst aspects of the AD&D wizard, kept that and thrown out all the rest. Just to name a few:

  1. The grimoire is very illogical. If it is not the wizard who shapes the magical energy, but the grimoire: a man- (or something else-) -made item, then how did they came into existance in the first place? It would be much better if, say, the wizards had scientific knowledge of different material, shapes, etc. and could use those as foci (like components in AD&D, just not so random). Don't get me wrong: I like grimoires, but having them as the only form of focus just doesn't cut it for me. The two ideas can actually be connected very easily, e.g. if ruby has an affinity towards fire, you have to write the Fireball spell into your grimoire with an ink made from ruby powder.
  2. Why do you have to pay copper pieces when you learn a new spell from an enemy's grimoire? To whom do you pay it?! I think it would make much more sense to have some other cost, e.g. while learning the spell, it could take up two slots instead of one and/or even being uncastable until you learn it. Also, the idea of materials as foci could actually explain why you lose money (have to buy that ruby ink...)
  3. The spells. While the latters ones are OK, it's a bit disheartening to just see Burning Hands, Magic Missile, Shocking Grasp, etc. rehashed. Also, with a fixed list of spells, where does the "experimenting" part come into play?

Sorry for being a bit too harsh, and I understand that you probably wanted something traditional in the wizard, but I can't help but feel it a bit lazy.

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I said a single roll, if a spell is so powerful that if you hit you will win every fight, there is no tactic in the game you can just reload until the spell hits.

Imo the random elements of a fight shouldn't change the outcome of a batlle from utterly defated to easy win. Imo What spells I use, who I attack etc. should always more imprtant as my luck.

Because, as mentioned before, nothing more plays a roll in that dice-roll (like with 'regular combat')? Because killing one NPC ends combat? How often do enemies come solo? Rarely? If so, insta-killing one does insta-win how?

 

I can reload till I get all natural 20's and the enemies all 1's. Is that fun. Should we modify the game just to annoy these players. If they think it's fun, why disallow them?

Why suck the fun out of a game to "fix" a non-issue?

 

There will be critical hits. Should we eliminate them too since 'people will reload till they get them all the time and win the battle'?

^

 

 

I agree that that is such a stupid idiotic pathetic garbage hateful retarded scumbag evil satanic nazi like term ever created. At least top 5.

 

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Because, as mentioned before, nothing more plays a roll in that dice-roll (like with 'regular combat')? Because killing one NPC ends combat? How often do enemies come solo? Rarely? If so, insta-killing one does insta-win how?

 

I can reload till I get all natural 20's and the enemies all 1's. Is that fun. Should we modify the game just to annoy these players. If they think it's fun, why disallow them?

Why suck the fun out of a game to "fix" a non-issue?

 

There will be critical hits. Should we eliminate them too since 'people will reload till they get them all the time and win the battle'?

Luck is a factor in ALL attacks, as you've pointed out. So, how does luck somehow justify an ability that deals death instead of damage? What's better than the death effect? Nothing. There is no "maybe I don't want to death this guy to death" in terms of the effect. Whereas, with any other attack, you can say "Hmm... even if I have a 100% chance to hit, this may not be the best choice here."

 

That's the difference. Like it or hate it, that's the objective difference. It honestly just seems a bit silly to put in some "crappy odds, but WIN BIG!" gambling and call it tactical. This, on top of a system that already has a perfectly feasible amount of chance in it. If "Well, it's not very likely to work" is justification for an effect of that potency, then you could just put in ANY effect with a small enough chance to succeed. "I just killed all the creatures in this entire forest with one dice roll! Don't worry, guys! It took a lot of buffs and strategic planning, and a REALLLLLY lucky dice roll to get it to work! (I had to roll 1,000 out on a D1000!) 8D!"

 

Not to mention, all regular attacks would be devoid of chance, since they wouldn't need it. "Oh, you just want to do like 7 damage to the enemy with 80 health? Go ahead. You can't even fail. Oh, you want to do infinite damage? You have a 1% chance to hit."

 

How is that not just a slot machine?

 

No, killing an enemy isn't victory, but it's like sub-victory; you just completed an entire task toward victory that you couldn't complete with anything BUT a death effect. That enemy had 300 health? Any other combination of abilities would've required multiple abilites, and probably some tactical factors, to be at-play. The Death just required that some number on the dice actually be success for you, and that you landed on that number when you clicked the "kill that thing instantly" ability icon.

 

As others have said, either the encounter was designed to factor in the difficulty of slaying that particular creature non-instantly, or that creature would've been easily slain without the use of death magic, in which case, why even use it? The more useful it would be, the worse chance it has of working, and the more useless it is, the better chance it has of working. Yeah, real strategic. Maybe we should apply that to all spells that have better effects. AoE fire spell? If there's only 1 enemy, it has a 100% chance to hit him. For every additional enemy within its range, the chance falls by 10%. Man, that would be tactical and awesome! Don't worry, it's not too powerful because it balances itself out! See, if there are like 50 enemies, you pretty much can't even feasibly hit them with it! And if there are like 3, you can! It's a GREATLY designed ability! 8D!

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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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Eh.  People can reload at New Vegas, but they put the reload timer in there for good reason.  There's nothing wrong with save scumming, but you have to make people work for it or the mere existence of a save and reload breaks the game.  Reloading until finger of death works can break a dragon fight, giving characters access to gear that changes the entire game.

 

Also, copper conducts magic really well (animats are made out of it), so it makes perfect sense that it'd be used in the process of capturing spells.  And grimoires are not the only form of magic (there are druids, chanters, and psions after all), it's just the form wizards use to interpret magic.  I'm pretty sure he said they have various implements to control the release of magic.

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@ Lephys: I don't know... I generally don't use disintegrate in BG even if it offers insta-death... cause I want equipment.

Also, killing traditionally is probably cheaper resource-wise (a slot in BG), less likely to put the mage at risk (if finger of death kind of deal), and... can do absolutely nothing.

Enough of a "I have to think using this"...?

 

I don't generally think slot machines allow you to pull odds in your favor. Think of it more like... Pazaak to regular blackjack. All the different options to turn the tide in your favour.

But that doesn't automatically mean you win.

Maybe Pazaak is a bad example though since I always reload if I loose XD

Though time-wise, that's compared to reloading a full-done battle anyway.

 

Again, the 'insta-kill' probably required a sacrifice, like debuffing. Time you *could* have used chipping those 300 hitpoints away. But instead, you chose a different tactic. One more risky. More the power to that person. The one who wants a more balanced and unindependant from rolls chooses tactic A, the one more trying to rely on debuffs and the luck of the roll chooses B. Who are you to force everyone to use tactic A? Isn't that actually reducing tactical gameplay, if your options are THAT limited there's only one route to go. Then it's not tactical at all, then it's just working away the right order. Freakin' MMO "rotation" style. Would you want that. Cause I certainly do not...

^

 

 

I agree that that is such a stupid idiotic pathetic garbage hateful retarded scumbag evil satanic nazi like term ever created. At least top 5.

 

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  • Why do you have to pay copper pieces when you learn a new spell from an enemy's grimoire? To whom do you pay it?! I think it would make much more sense to have some other cost, e.g. while learning the spell, it could take up two slots instead of one and/or even being uncastable until you learn it. Also, the idea of materials as foci could actually explain why you lose money (have to buy that ruby ink...)
^this one I completely approve of, as in the older editions of D&D there was indeed a monetary/material/time cost attached to learning new spells and scribing scrolls into your spellbook. It was one of the prices you paid for power. Back in the day, magic used to be a Big Deal. Spells were a significant game changer on the battlefield.

 

But hey, just be thankful Obsidian is only implementing a "copy cost". They could easily have done much much more. In the old editions of D&D every time you cast a spell there's a monetary cost, as most spells have material components, most of those components are rare and many of them are quite expensive, and all of them are consumed when the spell is being cast.

Edited by Stun
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Again, the 'insta-kill' probably required a sacrifice, like debuffing. Time you *could* have used chipping those 300 hitpoints away. But instead, you chose a different tactic. One more risky. More the power to that person.

The insta-kill ability didn't require a sacrifice that wasn't already present with all other abilities (the sacrifice of not using a different ability). The only difference is, debuffing something doesn't defeat it. You can debuff to change a factor for when you DO attack that creature, OR you can attack that creature (amongst other options). If you got to pick between two debuffs, one that made your target take 20% more damage on hit, and one that made him take 1,000,000% more damage on hit, would that be fine? Because, that's the same concept as "this ability kills instead of dealing some finite amount of damage."

 

Obviously there are abilities that do more, and abilities that do less. An AoE attack does more damage IF you hit multiple targets with it, but a single-target attack probably does more if there's only one target. However, as I illustrated in example, they don't offset AoE's by chance. They don't have to. IF the enemies are grouped in a radius, you can strike them more effectively with an AoE. If they aren't, then you cannot. Etc.

 

The ONLY balancing factor an insta-death spell has is "it's not likely to work." There is no support from oodles of combat factors, because it's just an absolute effect comparison to a lesser effect -- death versus just some finite damage.

 

The very nature of that is to simply promote gambling instead of just tactics with some chance thrown in. I don't know how else to describe it. The relationship is what it is, whether you like insta-death spells or not. I'm not pointing out why you shouldn't like them. I'm simply pointing out the inherent design dynamic.

 

The entirety of combat victory is designed around taking your foes from whatever HP values they start at, to zero, before they do the same to you. If an ability's inherent effect is "takes an enemy's HP value to zero," then you're just ignoring the whole "Here are your limitations, and here are the factors you've got to deal with to accomplish victory" notion. No, killing one enemy doesn't mean you win, but, as I said, either that enemy was DESIGNED to be killed instantly (in which case, why isn't "death" magic just another magical type that's highly effective against that creature?), or it isn't. If it isn't, then pure chance is allowing you the opportunity to slay that enemy with little to no effort. Then, you have only to face the remaining foes, with only a single character's one, lonely action used.

 

Chances aside, you're being given the choice between chipping those 300 hitpoints away, or skipping that entire process. Even without an insta-death spell, it can take one hit (potentially, not necessarily in any particular game system/encounter), or it can take 100 hits to get those 300 hitpoints down to 0. That's literally the nature of combat. By the very fact that you don't have the ability to just kill that thing, you can only damage it in a limited capacity, and you use factors to your advantage to eventually cause its death. Saying "here's a spell that just does that for you" is giving you the option to gamble (no matter how you alter your odds) in order to skip the previous process.

 

In your example, "Tactic A" encompasses a plethora of individual tactics and factor values, so I don't feel too bad "forcing" everyone to use Tactic A. But, that's up to the devs.

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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