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Can we really play the whole game with just one character?


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On a related topic, I keep seeing people say there isn't healing and there aren't healing potions in PoE.  This isn't true.  There are no abilities or items that heal Health.  However, there are plenty of abilities and several items that heal Stamina.

I'm guessing the reason for the confusion is maybe because "healing your stamina" almost sounds like bad English.

 

When I go out running and I find myself, slowing down, huffing and puffing for air, I think to myself: "well, I'm tired. I'm out of stamina", I don't think: "Man, I must be wounded. Quick, give me something to heal my stamina." LOL

 

Still, I don't have any problem with the system as it is being described. Like Sarex says, it's probably something that's going to take some getting used to.

 

 

 

Personally I hope it turns out to be next to impossible to solo the game. I never got why people even tried. The game isn't more fun that way,

Gosh, I couldn't possibly disagree more. It can be immensely fun, and quite satisfying. Have you tried it?

 

The fact that you can solo the game and that the devs didn't design mechanics that require a party is probably the BEST thing I've heard about this game so far. Speaking as a giant IE game fanatic, I can say, with great emotion, that some of my most memorable playthroughs of Icewind Dale, BG2 and BG1 have been Solo Runs. I rank the freedom to pick the size of my party pretty darn high on the list of "Things I really want from this game". And Kudos to Obsidian for understanding this!

 

And it's not just soloing. Taking just your main character, and one other companion that you really like, can be equally fun. It's just a different dynamic to the game. And its value goes up in any discussion about a game's replayability..

Edited by Stun
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Personally I hope it turns out to be next to impossible to solo the game. I never got why people even tried. The game isn't more fun that way,

Gosh, I couldn't possibly disagree more. It can be immensely fun, and quite satisfying. Have you tried it?

 

The fact that you can solo the game and that the devs didn't design mechanics that require a party is probably the BEST thing I've heard about this game so far. Speaking as a giant IE game fanatic, I can say, with great emotion, that some of my most memorable playthroughs of Icewind Dale, BG2 and BG1 have been Solo Runs. I rank the freedom to pick the size of my party pretty darn high on the list of "Things I really want from this game". And Kudos to Obsidian for understanding this!

 

And it's not just soloing. Taking just your main character, and one other companion that you really like, can be equally fun. It's just a different dynamic to the game. And its value goes up in any discussion about a game's replayability..

 

Karkarov: I agree that it should be pretty darn hard to solo any party-based CRPG. However, when you have played a game you really love a few times, a solo playthrough can be really fun and challenging (if the game designers somehow have made just enough leeway to make it possible in the first place, that is).

Stun: On this, I agree with you 100%. I have soloed BG1, BG2, the entire NWN1 series and the first two NWN2s. I began doing it after a few passes with wonderfully varied parties, and it became almost a sport on its own. My favourite so far is one run I had through the NWN2 OC and MotB with an air genasi build that essentially was a fighter-heavy stormlord priest thriving among electricity. It was truly awesome, since the excitement of passing some encounters were intense. And sure, it took plenty of reloads at a few bottleneck encounters, but I didn't mind that one bit. Is it less RPGy? Hardly. Did I need some metagaming knowledge. Plenty! Still, if you love the setting, the system and the general gameplay, replays and reloads are just sweet parts of one fun way of playing it. It will never be the same as your virginal playthrough of a CRPG with a party and a few companions, but it is something else.

Karkarov again: Give it a whirl someday. Perhaps it is an acquired taste, hehe! :)

*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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I rank the freedom to pick the size of my party from 1-6 pretty darn high on the list of "Things I really want from this game". And Kudos to Obsidian for understanding this!

 

And it's not just soloing. Taking just your main character, and one other companion that you really like, can be equally fun. It's just a different dynamic to the game. And its value goes up in any discussion about a game's replay value.

 

I agree. I don't understand why you need to take a set minimum amount of party members throughout the game. It should be up to the player if they want to travel alone or take companions. Just because you can have party members doesn't mean you should have to take them. The lone wolf adventurer overcoming insurmountable odds to achieve victory and becoming the stuff of legend. That's a challenge I'm willing to try.

 

Also I find it odd that two people in your party is okay because you now have a 'party', but solo isn't? Seriously?  :wacko:

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Not necessarily, there's certainly a lot of player skill and relentless experimentation involved in such feats, but most of the time it comes down to abusing some part of the game.

 

Abusing broken game design DOESN'T make you a better player. That's just the power fantasy that you tell yourself.

 

Did the person who worked out the pattern for Pac-man exploit the game by getting a perfect score? Are you exploiting the game by finding patterns in them? I remember playing the Atari 2600 games Dodge 'Em and working out the pattern with hand drawn maps (which I still have to this day) at non-stop full speed and getting a perfect score. (the clip only shows one enemy car but later you face against two enemy cars). Did I exploit or abuse some part of the game? Or are people at Twin Galaxies abusing and exploiting some part of the game design by getting incredibly high or perfect scores?

Edited by Hiro Protagonist II
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Not necessarily, there's certainly a lot of player skill and relentless experimentation involved in such feats, but most of the time it comes down to abusing some part of the game.

 

Abusing broken game design DOESN'T make you a better player. That's just the power fantasy that you tell yourself.

 

Did the person who worked out the pattern for Pac-man exploit the game by getting a perfect score? Are you exploiting the game by finding patterns in them? I remember playing the Atari 2600 games Dodge 'Em and working out the pattern with hand drawn maps (which I still have to this day) at non-stop full speed and getting a perfect score. (the clip only shows one enemy car but later you face against two enemy cars). Did I exploit or abuse some part of the game? Or are people at Twin Galaxies abusing and exploiting some part of the game design by getting incredibly high or perfect scores?

 

Those are not RPGs and do not have a focus on tactics. The fear that PoE will be soloable has its roots in the fear that the game will have cheap exploits. After all, your tactical options are very limited with one person; if a player only needs one guy to beat the final boss, then the boss must be a breeze for my party of six.

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"Good thing I don't heal my characters or they'd be really hurt." Is not something I should ever be thinking.

 

I use blue text when I'm being sarcastic.

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There is a glitch that you can abuse with a bard, the songs for some reason stack. So the level 1 song with the ballad of the three heroes you gain +1 attack bonus, +1 damage, +1 saving throws per stack. if you get to level 11 with the bard you gain the war chant of sith, this makes you auto win any encounter, you gain +2 armor, damage resistance 2/- and regenerate 3 hit points per round, all of this also stacks. So you can essentially pause the game and regen you character to full health or spam the song every round.

Just to throw this out there but I love this post Sarex because you just unintentionally proved my point.  You soloed the game this way due to an unintended exploit resulting from a design flaw in how the game works.  Not because it was designed to be soloable, but because the dev's didn't catch this bug and or didn't bother fixing it.

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Those are not RPGs and do not have a focus on tactics. The fear that PoE will be soloable has its roots in the fear that the game will have cheap exploits. After all, your tactical options are very limited with one person; if a player only needs one guy to beat the final boss, then the boss must be a breeze for my party of six.

 

 

It is pretty clear to me that what Sawyer is saying here is "We won't include any segments of the game where you must have someone of a certain class (or even a specific companion) in your party to proceed with a critical path quest".  For example, it is literally impossible to complete DA:O solo -- you must have certain companions in your party at certain times, because the game literally locks them into your party (I believe, for example, that Alister must be in the party at various points in the game).  The most common reason for imposing such requirements is "We can't (or don't want to) write the dialogs / cutscenes to make since if character X isn't present".  Less frequently, this is done by implication:  certain abilities are needed to overcome a story obstacle that the player faces.  An example of the later would be a game that included a "move massive boulder" spell and the critical path involved passing through a pass that as blocked by massive boulders.  Note that this doesn't mean that side quests can necessarily be completed solo -- all that has been promised at this point is that the critical path quests can be completed solo.

 

Now, it doesn't follow from the previous paragraphs that it won't be practically impossible to complete the game without companions.  Indeed, it almost certainly won't be -- and, to the degree that it is possible at all, it will be because the players discover one or more exploits that the developers either didn't anticipate, and the developers may choose to patch the game to remove it.

 

TL;DR:  All Sawyer has said to date is that the critical path quests will be completable (in some form or another) by a single PC of any class / race combination -- it won't be literally impossible to solo the game, as is the case in some other RPGs.  There is no reason to believe, however, that a solo character will be able to beat the game without using exploits of one description or another (such as the ones discussed earlier in the thread in regards to IWD2).

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Just to throw this out there but I love this post Sarex because you just unintentionally proved my point.  You soloed the game this way due to an unintended exploit resulting from a design flaw in how the game works.  Not because it was designed to be soloable, but because the dev's didn't catch this bug and or didn't bother fixing it.

 

I never soloed any of the IE games in my life much less IWD2 in HoF mode, I have better things to do with my life. I just put it there as a possibility. In fact I never heard that someone made a play through with a bard.

 

Just so we are clear, we are talking about HoF mode in IWD2, that is pretty much impossible for most people to beat with a party of 6 that is level 1. The game is pretty soloable on any other difficulty, that you need to get creative on HoF to be able to do it doesn't prove your point at all, you need to be creative with a party of 6 also.

 

Also if you are continuing to be anal about it, you can just get an IWD2 fix pack and remedy the bug, thus your version of the game will be impossible to solo with that exploit and you will be able to sleep at night.

Edited by Sarex
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Not necessarily, there's certainly a lot of player skill and relentless experimentation involved in such feats, but most of the time it comes down to abusing some part of the game.

 

Abusing broken game design DOESN'T make you a better player. That's just the power fantasy that you tell yourself.

 

Did the person who worked out the pattern for Pac-man exploit the game by getting a perfect score? Are you exploiting the game by finding patterns in them? I remember playing the Atari 2600 games Dodge 'Em and working out the pattern with hand drawn maps (which I still have to this day) at non-stop full speed and getting a perfect score. (the clip only shows one enemy car but later you face against two enemy cars). Did I exploit or abuse some part of the game? Or are people at Twin Galaxies abusing and exploiting some part of the game design by getting incredibly high or perfect scores?

 

 

Those are not RPGs and do not have a focus on tactics. The fear that PoE will be soloable has its roots in the fear that the game will have cheap exploits. After all, your tactical options are very limited with one person; if a player only needs one guy to beat the final boss, then the boss must be a breeze for my party of six.

 

 

So as long it's not a rpg, and a person works out a pattern within a game, then the player is not exploiting or abusing the game in any way? So (arcade) games don't have a focus on tactics? I'll have to tell arcade players next time when they're playing (especially tactical arcade games) that they're not using tactics, according to some on this forum, are exploiting and abusing the game and are not skilful players.

 

Also, it's not an either/or. There have been players on this forum who have admitted they can't finish ToB and beat Mellissan. Some find the fight hard but doable with a party of six. Others have beaten her solo. If one guy beats Mellissan solo, then according to you, the fight is a breeze with a party of six. No.

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Not necessarily, there's certainly a lot of player skill and relentless experimentation involved in such feats, but most of the time it comes down to abusing some part of the game.

 

Abusing broken game design DOESN'T make you a better player. That's just the power fantasy that you tell yourself.

 

Did the person who worked out the pattern for Pac-man exploit the game by getting a perfect score? Are you exploiting the game by finding patterns in them? I remember playing the Atari 2600 games Dodge 'Em and working out the pattern with hand drawn maps (which I still have to this day) at non-stop full speed and getting a perfect score. (the clip only shows one enemy car but later you face against two enemy cars). Did I exploit or abuse some part of the game? Or are people at Twin Galaxies abusing and exploiting some part of the game design by getting incredibly high or perfect scores?

 

 

Those are not RPGs and do not have a focus on tactics. The fear that PoE will be soloable has its roots in the fear that the game will have cheap exploits. After all, your tactical options are very limited with one person; if a player only needs one guy to beat the final boss, then the boss must be a breeze for my party of six.

 

 

So as long it's not a rpg, and a person works out a pattern within a game, then the player is not exploiting or abusing the game in any way? So (arcade) games don't have a focus on tactics? I'll have to tell arcade players next time when they're playing (especially tactical arcade games) that they're not using tactics, according to some on this forum, are exploiting and abusing the game and are not skilful players.

 

Also, it's not an either/or. There have been players on this forum who have admitted they can't finish ToB and beat Mellissan. Some find the fight hard but doable with a party of six. Others have beaten her solo. If one guy beats Mellissan solo, then according to you, the fight is a breeze with a party of six. No.

 

I can't say when people are exploiting a game when I haven't seen them play to know what they are doing. I can say that incredible feats are possible when a game focuses on reaction time rather than tactical party play. In regards to BG2, three things are important to keep in mind.

 

1- BG2 was very exploitable.

2- Making a bad main character/team was very possible for a noob. This is why noobs would struggle with her. PoE will not have this issue.

3- BG2 had a very high level cap. PoE will not.

Edited by Namutree

"Good thing I don't heal my characters or they'd be really hurt." Is not something I should ever be thinking.

 

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No.

Yes.

 

I don't think you quite get what I'm saying.

 

Think of it this way:

 

A squad of 6 soldiers each has an assault rifle, and 1 extra magazine. What would be a challenge for them? I dunno... 50 enemy soldiers? That'd be pretty tough. Okay, so, now just remove 5 of the party soldiers. There's only one, by himself, fighting the same 50 soldiers. He still only has 1 extra magazine. Unless he can somehow fire his weapon 6 times more accurately than the group of 6 soldiers, while still being fired upon by 50 enemy soldiers at the same time and somehow failing to die, no amount of tactics is going to generate the physical ability to take on all 50 of those soldiers at the same time.

 

Does that make sense?

 

If he's using excellent tactics and managing to take out the encounter, then imagine what would happen if you had 6 of him, all using equally good tactics. You'd be able to take out 6-times more encounter than just the one guy did. Meaning, that encounter was only 1/6th of the challenge it really should have been.

 

Some encounters will be easier for a full party, of any level, and some will be more challenging. They're not all just going to be "normal" for a party of 6. And, again, even if they were, the single dude is nothing but MORE limited than the multiple people.

 

He's using thrown grenade-potions? 6 people could carry/throw 6 times the number of potions. He's using cool combinations of skills/abilities? 6 people could use 6 times the number of combinations of skills and abilities.

 

I'm not saying it absolutely cannot be done, but you can't just magically avoid that relationship. Anything you can do, 6 people can do better. Even if you faced a single foe that could swing hard enough to kill you in one hit, it would STILL have to attack 6 times just to kill a party of 6, instead of a party of 1. And not-miss every time. It's the nature of the mechanics.

 

The point is only that those concerns are valid, because that relationship is a very real thing. I'm personally excited about the fact that you can actually play through the game alone, but am admittedly curious to know exactly how that will play out and how they're handling this from a design standpoint. I suspect it will be very, very, very difficult. At the very least, there will be some optional encounters and such that will be pretty much impossible.

 

It would be very, very different if you could just level to your heart's content. There'd still be a set amount of XP in the game, so, while a party of 6 could reach level 12, a single person could maybe reach level 15 or something. That would be different. But, since you can only hit level 12, you can never gain a quantitative (in the end) advantage over a full party, as a single person. You can level up faster than they do, but you're still facing the detriment of only having 1 person worth of combat resources to take on challenges designed to be formidable for 6 people worth of combat resources.

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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I can't say when people are exploiting a game when I haven't seen them play to know what they are doing. I can say that incredible feats are possible when a game focuses on reaction time rather than tactical party play. In regards to BG2, three things are important to keep in mind.

 

 

You still haven't answered the questions on what makes a skilled player. Are you suggesting Arcade players are not skilled players because they're not playing rpgs? Because they're not focusing on tactics? They are or are they not exploiting or abusing some part of the game? Therefore they are not skilled players?

 

Or have arcade players found a pattern in the game, exploiting the game with their pattern which makes them unskilled players? No skill at all? They're exploiters and abusing the game mechanics? You also say arcade games does not focus on tactics but rpgs do? Really? News to me.

 

Endrosz said, "Abusing broken game design DOESN'T make you a better player. That's just the power fantasy that you tell yourself."

 

What makes broken game design? Is an arcade game broken when you work out the enemy AI as is the case with arcade games like Pac-Man? And why are the players on Twin Galaxies lauded for working out the patterns, getting high or perfect scores? According to some people on this forum, they're exploiters and abusing the game mechanics and not skilled players at all.

 

 

I can't say when people are exploiting a game when I haven't seen them play to know what they are doing. I can say that incredible feats are possible when a game focuses on reaction time rather than tactical party play. In regards to BG2, three things are important to keep in mind.

 

1- BG2 was very exploitable.

2- Making a bad main character/team was very possible for a noob. This is why noobs would struggle with her. PoE will not have this issue.

3- BG2 had a very high level cap. PoE will not.

 

 

1. No argument from me. But this usually comes with meta knowledge.

2. Ah ok. So players who found Mellissan hard to beat are noobs and likely to have had a bad main character/team. Despite possibly importing their uber character from BG1.

3. No idea what this point is for.

 

And my post said the following, considering you seem to have disregarded it:

 

D) the stuff is normal for the level 12 party of 6, or

E) the stuff takes longer to overcome for a single level 12 person, or

F) Your solo character is using multiple ways and skills (which would normally be done with multiple characters) in that lengthy battle to overcome it, or

G) You're using tactics, skills or things in the game that work and which follow the rules to overcome the enemy that other people may not have thought of, or

H) You're great at playing games with these sort of challenges which gives you the edge over others who can't do this.

 

Underlined emphasis. Special Note: Follow the rules of the game. So if you follow the rules of the game and still manage to solo and beat the game, are you an unskilled player because of prior meta knowledge? Are all those players on Twin Galaxies unskilled because of prior meta knowledge? What makes a solo player skilled in playing and beating the game?

Edited by Hiro Protagonist II
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A squad of 6 soldiers each has an assault rifle, and 1 extra magazine. What would be a challenge for them? I dunno... 50 enemy soldiers? That'd be pretty tough. Okay, so, now just remove 5 of the party soldiers. There's only one, by himself, fighting the same 50 soldiers. He still only has 1 extra magazine. Unless he can somehow fire his weapon 6 times more accurately than the group of 6 soldiers, while still being fired upon by 50 enemy soldiers at the same time and somehow failing to die, no amount of tactics is going to generate the physical ability to take on all 50 of those soldiers at the same time.

 

This is not a squad of 6 soldiers with limited ammo. This is a rpg where a fighter can fight indefinitely with unlimited swings with their sword. Where a mage can throw unlimited at-will spells forever.

 

Also, why do you need 6 party members in PoE? If it's a party based game that should be finished with a party which some posters claim, then a 2 person party should be able to finish the game and you would be okay with this? The same with 5 party members being able to finish the game, the same with 4 party members being able to finish the game. You don't have a problem with 6 people in your party but you do have a problem with 2 in your party?

 

It comes down to the player with how many party members they will have and their reasons to do so. Some people will play with 6, some will go with 4. Is the person who plays with 4 doing it wrong? And it's the players choice, it may be for story or roleplaying reasons, or the challenge of playing with less or only 1 member (solo) in their party. It's a fallacy that because the game can be finished with less party members, then it's easier with more party members. As I already explained with one reason, lesser party members will specialise in skills they normally wouldn't, while those skills will be shared with more members in your party.

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This is not a squad of 6 soldiers with limited ammo. This is a rpg where a fighter can fight indefinitely with unlimited swings with their sword. Where a mage can throw unlimited at-will spells forever.

Or, you know... until the enemy makes 17 attacks for your every 1, and you die before you kill them no matter how well you're doing. And yeah... never fear! When you're solo, level 8 Wizard is in trouble, his at-will Level 1 spells will save him! Just like how a Wizard in Pathfinder can just kill a whole group of level 8 stuff, on his own, with nought but Ray of Frost.

 

Also, this isn't an action game. No matter how skilled you are as a player, you cannot WILL your Fighter to land all his hits, or your Wizard to land his spells, etc. I already pointed this out. In Mario, you can actively move Mario around. Thus, one player might be able to get through the most ridiculous of levels, while another player will not. In an RPG with set mechanics and rules, and the representation of your characters' skills and capabilities, you are limited to those capabilities. You can't take out a dragon by yourself just because you're really, really skilled at controlling your mere 1 person.

 

Also, why do you need 6 party members in PoE? If it's a party based game that should be finished with a party which some posters claim, then a 2 person party should be able to finish the game and you would be okay with this? The same with 5 party members being able to finish the game, the same with 4 party members being able to finish the game. You don't have a problem with 6 people in your party but you do have a problem with 2 in your party?

You don't need 6 party members. But, heaven only knows you need some minimum amount of party member capability. And yes, it logically follows that the more apt a greater number of people would be at handling some specific challenge, the less apt a [/i]lesser[/i] number of people would be. The closer you get to just 1 person taking on what 6 people are supposed to have a bit of trouble with (3 people... 2 people, etc.), the more unlikely it becomes. Unless you compromise by reducing the challenge of a given encounter to the 6 people, or take it closer and closer to impossible for the 1 or 2 people.

 

It comes down to the player with how many party members they will have and their reasons to do so. Some people will play with 6, some will go with 4. Is the person who plays with 4 doing it wrong? And it's the players choice, the challenge of playing with less or only 1 member (solo) in their party. It's a fallacy that because the game can be finished with less party members, then it's easier with more party members. As I already explained with one reason, lesser party members will specialise in skills they normally wouldn't, while those skills will be shared with more members in your party.

This isn't about doing it wrong. We're simply observing an existing mathematical relationship inherent to challenge design. And no, again, you're ignoring the quantitative aspects of RPG combat here. You only have so much health, and so many spells to use, and the game is designed for you to have to make good use of your limited resources in order to succeed in general. Yes, you can use standard attacks a lot, too, but if the challenge didn't ever demand the use of your limited-use spells and abilities, then suddenly using them would make the game easy. If you can beat everything with one arm tied behind your back, then imagine what you can do if you cut that arm loose.

 

Again, unless the encounters dynamically scale to your party size and capability, the more challenging something is for a party of 6, the closer to impossible it becomes for a party of 1.

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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Or, you know... until the enemy makes 17 attacks for your every 1, and you die before you kill them no matter how well you're doing. And yeah... never fear! When you're solo, level 8 Wizard is in trouble, his at-will Level 1 spells will save him! Just like how a Wizard in Pathfinder can just kill a whole group of level 8 stuff, on his own, with nought but Ray of Frost.

 

Also, this isn't an action game. No matter how skilled you are as a player, you cannot WILL your Fighter to land all his hits, or your Wizard to land his spells, etc. I already pointed this out. In Mario, you can actively move Mario around. Thus, one player might be able to get through the most ridiculous of levels, while another player will not. In an RPG with set mechanics and rules, and the representation of your characters' skills and capabilities, you are limited to those capabilities. You can't take out a dragon by yourself just because you're really, really skilled at controlling your mere 1 person.

 

 

An enemy wouldn't make 17 attacks to your one. Also, it's the same with the enemy. The enemy cannot WILL their Fighter to land all his hits, or their Wizard to land his spells.

 

"In an RPG with set mechanics and rules, and the representation of your characters' skills and capabilities, you are limited to those capabilities." - Lephys

 

So an action game has no set mechanics or rules? Only in RPGs? No representation of your characters skills or capabilities in action games? Only in RPGs? Not limited to those capabitlies in action games? Only in RPGs?  Okaaayy. We're truly in Lephysland now.

 

That quote of yours can have RPG swapped out for ACTION Game and it would still apply. In fact, I would say MOST if not ALL games can be swapped out for RPG. Even a game of chess. No idea why it's the domain of RPGs. Truly baffling.

 

 

You don't need 6 party members. But, heaven only knows you need some minimum amount of party member capability. And yes, it logically follows that the more apt a greater number of people would be at handling some specific challenge, the less apt a [/i]lesser[/i] number of people would be. The closer you get to just 1 person taking on what 6 people are supposed to have a bit of trouble with (3 people... 2 people, etc.), the more unlikely it becomes. Unless you compromise by reducing the challenge of a given encounter to the 6 people, or take it closer and closer to impossible for the 1 or 2 people.

 

 

Why do you need "some minimum amount of party member capability"? Why do you say you need to have this minimum amount?

 

When you change that one player to do things they normally wouldn't do, then you're changing the circumstances that player can overcome those obstacles. When you have a Mage with no fighter or thief abilities, a Thief with no mage abilities, and a Fighter with no thief or mage abilities in a party compared to a solo Mage with Fighter/Thief capabilities. You're still using Mage, Fighter and Thief abilities in both circumstances. All you're doing with the solo character is taking longer in some circumstances to overcome that obstacle.

 

A party with Mage, Fighter, Thief will be able to disarm a trap, open a lock.

A solo mage/fighter/thief will also do the same.

 

Which party had it harder in the above example? Which party had it easier? Neither was harder or easier for both. It was the same. Because the party dynamic has changed and there is a different character in the second example. Some fights will take longer with the solo character, but it doesn't necessarily make it impossible. And it doesn't mean that just because the solo character took 10-15 minutes to beat a fight, that it will be easy for a 6 party team. The fight for the 6 party team may be hard as well, just won't take 10-15 minutes to do so. It just took longer for the solo player to beat it.

 

 

 

This isn't about doing it wrong. We're simply observing an existing mathematical relationship inherent to challenge design. And no, again, you're ignoring the quantitative aspects of RPG combat here. You only have so much health, and so many spells to use, and the game is designed for you to have to make good use of your limited resources in order to succeed in general. Yes, you can use standard attacks a lot, too, but if the challenge didn't ever demand the use of your limited-use spells and abilities, then suddenly using them would make the game easy. If you can beat everything with one arm tied behind your back, then imagine what you can do if you cut that arm loose.

 

This part in particular, the game is "designed for you to have to make good use of your limited resources in order to succeed in general" - Lephys

 

That also applies to solo players as well. The solo player is also "having to make good use of your limited resources in order to succeed in general'. The solo player is most likely playing the game differently compared to if they had more party members in their team. It doesn't negate the fact that the way they are playing with less party members or with a solo character is not legitimate when they are following the rules.

 

Again, unless the encounters dynamically scale to your party size and capability, the more challenging something is for a party of 6, the closer to impossible it becomes for a party of 1.

 

No one knows if the encounters scale to party size. And they should not. Unless of course it's a feature of some difficulty level like HoF mode such as IWD 1. And it shouldn't be impossible as it becomes closer to a party for 1 if the player is able to work out how to overcome those obstacles. There may well be different ways to approach a fight and when you have less party members, new opportunities may present itself that you may never have thought of.

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An enemy wouldn't make 17 attacks to your one.

 

no - but 17 enemies would.  (I think by "the enemy" he was referring to them as a group)

I think that's kind of his point - If 6 maxed-out party members using great tactics would find a battle very difficult, then a single maxed-out (same level 12) character woud find it nearly impossible.  (Though, as you say, it's also possible that the solo player in question could find some exploit / cunning ploy to overcome the odds).

I don't think the game should be *designed* to be beaten by a single character, but equally I don't think it should be *designed* to be impossible for that single character.

The game should be designed to be a challenge for a party - solo players can then try to beat the game on solo (and some probably will succeed)

 

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Again, unless the encounters dynamically scale to your party size and capability, the more challenging something is for a party of 6, the closer to impossible it becomes for a party of 1.

You would think this is true, and it sounds obvious. But for some reason, it simply doesn't turn out that way (at least with the IE games).

 

This is just *my* experience. But for BG1 and BG2, and to a lesser extent the IWD games, Having a full party of 6 actually makes encounters more difficult than when you do it with a smaller party. It may have something to do with the fact that smaller parties gain levels at a faster rate, and thus things get easier for them. But even a game like BG1, where you can compare a party of 6 level capped characters to a party of 3 or 4 level capped characters, it's STILL easier with a smaller party.

 

And I have no idea why. Maybe it's easier to manage a small party. Maybe setting up strategies is easier to do with less people. Maybe you've got less people to heal. Maybe it's easier to load your party members up with powerful gear when there's less people to share the best loot with. Maybe pathfinding is better for a smaller party. Or maybe it's something else, but the results can't be denied. Those games are simply easier with smaller parties.

 

Soloing though, is a different matter entirely, as it really depends on the build you're soloing. BG2 with Throne of bhaal has an 8m xp level cap. This is a huge benefit to soloers, as you can become Game-breakingly powerful very early, and depending on the class, the game can become A LOT easier for a soloer than for a party of 6. When your Solo Sorcerer is spamming Dragon's Breaths and Time Stops in chapter 3, Nothing is 'close to impossible'. or Hard.

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no - but 17 enemies would.  (I think by "the enemy" he was referring to them as a group)

I think that's kind of his point - If 6 maxed-out party members using great tactics would find a battle very difficult, then a single maxed-out (same level 12) character woud find it nearly impossible.  (Though, as you say, it's also possible that the solo player in question could find some exploit / cunning ploy to overcome the odds).

I don't think the game should be *designed* to be beaten by a single character, but equally I don't think it should be *designed* to be impossible for that single character.

The game should be designed to be a challenge for a party - solo players can then try to beat the game on solo (and some probably will succeed)

 

And not all 17 enemies would necessarily hit. Also, you say the solo player could find a cunning ploy to overcome the odds. Would this not make the player skilful or a better player if it was due to tactics?

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Again, unless the encounters dynamically scale to your party size and capability, the more challenging something is for a party of 6, the closer to impossible it becomes for a party of 1.

 

You would think this is true, and it sounds obvious. But for some reason, it simply doesn't turn out that way (at least with the IE games).

 

But even a game like BG1, where you can compare a party of 6 level capped characters to a party of 3 or 4 level capped characters, it's STILL easier with a smaller party.

 

And I have no idea why. Maybe it's easier to manage a small party. Maybe setting up strategies is easier to do with less people. Maybe you've got less people to heal. Maybe it's easier to load your party members up with powerful gear when there's less people to share the best loot with. Maybe pathfinding is better for a smaller party. Or maybe it's something else, but the results can't be denied. Those games are simply easier with smaller parties.

 

 

It's something I found too. I've encountered having 6 members in my party is harder than having a mid range number of party members. It seems to be similar to a bell curve where it's easier in the middle (3 or 4 party members) and harder at both ends of the scale with 1 or 6 party members. Obviously 1 being harder than 6 but not impossible.

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And not all 17 enemies would necessarily hit. Also, you say the solo player could find a cunning ploy to overcome the odds. Would this not make the player skilful or a better player if it was due to tactics?

 

Fine: 23 enemies, 17 of them hit :p

And yes - the soloer overcoming the odds would be more skillful at this game IMO - we agree there.  (unless the soloer in question just copied the simple exploit that another person came up with and posted on the internet).

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I dunno, I don't see the appeal of soloing a party based game. It shouldn't be expressly forbidden, but it shouldn't be designed specficaly to allow soloing.

 

As for exploits, I avoid those. If I'm going to cheat, I'll be up front about it and use the console. That said, I'm not particularly miffed if someone uses exploits out the ass, because it doesn't affect my game.

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 it's STILL easier with a smaller party.

 

And I have no idea why. Maybe it's easier to manage a small party. Maybe setting up strategies is easier to do with less people. Maybe you've got less people to heal. Maybe it's easier to load your party members up with powerful gear when there's less people to share the best loot with. Maybe pathfinding is better for a smaller party. Or maybe it's something else, but the results can't be denied. Those games are simply easier with smaller parties.

 

 

^This is very true and a rare piece of knowledge gleaned from absurd amounts of replays of D&D CRPGs. Having six characters is usually tougher than when you settle for four, even in CRPGs that don't have pooled xp, as it were. It often comes down to the best gear getting shared among fewer characters, and also, it's easier to perform consistent solid tactics with fewer pawns. Four is actually something of a sweet spot. Character 5 and 6, I usually tend to lose interest in or don't care for that much. Playing with a party of four in M&M certainly feels balanced enough. The classic D&D party of a fighter, magic-user, cleric and thief says it all. They are four, not six! :)

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That... is an interesting insight, @IndiraLightfoot and @Stun.

 

I've mentioned my favorite SoZ game which involved a skill machine who basically sat out the fights and let the wrecking balls take care of them. I certainly did not find that game harder than with the full party. Could be you're on to something here.

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I thought about this, and I think the core question is about being impenetrable. A game is made (mostly) trivial if there are ways to make all the harm the enemy can do go away. And if X party members (where X is less than 6) is enough to make you impenetrable to all forms of possible harm, then you don't need 6...

 

What can harm you in an IE game?

 

-- Physical attacks. You can get extra high AC (here's an IWD2 HoF FAQ which tells you, among other things, how to get AC up to 72, that's the impenetrable level since the highest attack bonus for enemies is 52), or you can use meat shields in the form of summons, there's Stoneskin and Protection from Missiles, there are AoE control spells -- there are actually a number of ways to make pshyical damage to your party diminished to negligible levels.

 

-- Spells and spell-like abilities. Use a scroll or potion of magic whatever, and poof, you're suddenly protected. There are also specific spells and magic items which give you blanket, long-lasting protection against nasty effects: death effects,  mind-affecting, elemental damage, etc.  And then we didn't even use mage spells like Spell Turning (ADnD) or Spell Mantle (3rd ed). My favorite example of this is the Master level of the  Energy Resistance power in KoToR 2 (it's not an IE game, but it's related, uses D20 mechanics). It gives you a huge damage reduction to energy damage (20 points), which happens to include all lightsabers. It lasts for an eternity from a combat standpoint, 120 seconds. Poof, those hard fights against multiple and/or strong Jedis and Siths are now completely trivial if you invested in this power. Only critical hits will get through... then you equip the implant which negates critical hits, and just stand there as some Sith Lord whacks you futilely. Comical. (In my mind's eye, it makes me imagine an alternative version of the movies: Darth Vader lunges at Luke, aiming to cut off his hand in that epic duel... but Luke just lets him connect, and stands there smiling. "Master Yoda taught me Energy Resistance, you bitch! Now bow down and lick my boots.")

 

-- Traps. Most traps can be disarmed out of combat, or you can simply heal back the trap damage if you don't have a thief/rogue. I played NWN OC that way, for example, I was a wizard, chose Linu the cleric as a companion and sucked up trap damage, no problem. The few traps that are placed in combat zones, most of those you can avoid while the fighting is going on. Bottom line, traps became nuisances in the '90s RPGs, stopped being real threats. In the old tile-based RPGs, like the Bard's Tale series, traps were deadly, because there was no rest scumming or save scumming to shake off the effects, and traps could instantly kill or turn insane or turn to stone or age (turn old, decreased attributes) characters.

 

---

 

In a well-designed party/squad tactical game, you can't become impenetrable. And that's why you need others, that's why an additional party member is always welcome. Here's how Incubation does it.

 

-- Armor:

 

1. Armor has different protection values for different attack direction. Front is good, back is weak, side is in between. The net result is that you need the other squad members  to watch your back. If you're surrounded, or allow the enemy to shoot from the back, YOU WILL TAKE DAMAGE. If this happens 3-4 times during the enemy's turn, you're DEAD, even with max HP.

2. There is no single best armor in the game. You either choose Assault Armor, which gives strong front armor and negligible side and back armor, or you choose Battle Armor, which has lesser front armor, but better side and back armor.

3. A few really strong enemies. Some enemy damage cannot be fully stopped even by front armor, only mitigated. Which means you can't just tank those enemies for as long as you like.

 

-- Morale

 

Even if an attack fails to penetrate. it will substract 1 morale point from that unit. When morale drops to 0, the unit panics, and you can't do anything with him/her on your turn. Morale will raise automatically, IF he/she is not mobbed again.  So if you're mobbed by weak enemies that you can't destroy fast enough, you can still lose a unit eventually even if that unit's armor is impenetrable to them initially. This is why even the weakest enemies are dangerous in large numbers, even late-game, and another reason for proper teamwork.

 

All told, your marines are not impenatrable in Incubation, and there's absolutely NO WAY to make them so. Even if you disregard the ammo issue (there are weapons equipped with bayonets, so you have a melee option, and theoretically you can kill unlimited enemies with it), you need others to win. You know, actual squad tactics like bait-and switch, support fire/overwatch, using height advantage, and so on.

 

(Incubation has levels and skill points, so it's an RPG lite, by the way.)

 

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Again, unless the encounters dynamically scale to your party size and capability, the more challenging something is for a party of 6, the closer to impossible it becomes for a party of 1.

You would think this is true, and it sounds obvious. But for some reason, it simply doesn't turn out that way (at least with the IE games).

 

Fair enough, but I dare say that has to do with the specifics of the IE games. Obviously the significance of level disparity is pretty huge in that ruleset (as is evident by your example of the solo Sorcerer tossing insane spells, etc.)

 

That being said, I'm not sure how, mathematically, having 3 or 4 maxed-out people instead of 6 maxed-out people at your disposal is somehow relatively not more difficult. Sure, maybe the challenges were designed so that 3-4 maxed out people can handle them without too much difficulty, and having those extra two people doesn't really help you much. But, that's kind of what we're getting at here.

 

If that's the case, then it means there aren't really any challenges designed so that a full party's worth of combat resources is significantly useful towards the encounter not leaning toward impossible.

 

There are, of course, a plethora of factors at play in the generalized "challenge" of combat. It's not just one setting. But, that's just the basic observation. The more necessary it is to have 6 people worth of resources in a quantitatively-limited combat system for a given encounter, the less likely fewer people are going to get the job done.

 

And not all 17 enemies would necessarily hit. Also, you say the solo player could find a cunning ploy to overcome the odds. Would this not make the player skilful or a better player if it was due to tactics?

You are not grasping this at all. It's not about the fact that they're more likely to hit than you are. It's about the fact that they get seventeen chances to your 1 chance. They get 17 sets of dice, and you only get one. Even if you have a 90% chance to hit, and they all have 60% chances to hit, you're still ridiculously outnumbered.

 

No matter how cunning you can be with that one character, you could be equally as cunning with that character, AND his party member friend, AND his other party member friend, and so on. In which case, you'd have to refrain from using cunning just to maintain any challenge at all in the exact same fight but with 6 people instead of 1.

 

You're not getting the relativistic nature of this, I don't think. You keep thinking of a single character somehow using a lot of intelligent combat tactics, but a group not doing the same thing, as if they'd somehow be incapable of doing so, or limited by their numbers and oodles of extra abilities and spells and standard attack rolls, etc.

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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