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Crit-Path Encounter Scaling - Do you want it?


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Not a single one of the IE games had scaled Final Boss fights.

 

Lets think about that for a moment. Here on this thread we've got people voicing their concerns that having too much optional content will "ruin" the End Boss encounter and make it a "cakewalk". Well? Did it do any such thing for the IE games? Nope.

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I seem to recall The Transcendent One from PS:T had a couple of different stat sets depending on the player's level :p ? But that may have been there cause of that mustard sphere.

 

Anyway are there actually people who play through games as these where they purposefully skip most of the side quests?

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I agree with S_o. Several battles in BG2 were a cakewalk - the second time I played the game (and the first time I finished) I did nearly all of the sidequests, and the only tough fight I remember (in the second half of the game) was Bhodi. Firkraag? Easy. Irenicus? Too easy. That monk in ToB? An absolute cakewalk. The final boss in ToB was a bit tougher, but still not really challenging.

That actually bothered me quite a bit for quite a while. I felt (and still feel) that I was denied the full experience of the game, ironically for trying to play the entire game. On the other hand, because of the way AD&D works (I was playing a sorceror), the difference between a high-level party with good gear and a very-high-level party with great gear party's power is extreme, and BG2 had perhaps a uniquely high ratio of optional to non-optional content, I doubt the power level discrepancy between a decently-built party that did all the sidequests and one that did, say, half of them in PoE will be nearly as bad.

In conclusion, I expect few players will deliberately avoid doing any "optional" content, but conversely I imagine obsessive competitionists are a larger minority. I'd like to see the big encounters in the game to challenge the average players that do the sidequests that strike their fancy, while remaining tough for those that leave no stone unturned in their epic hunt for XP. Realistically, that probably means that sidequests give a pretty small about of loot or XP, or there is some form of level-scaling.

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I agree with S_o. Several battles in BG2 were a cakewalk - the second time I played the game (and the first time I finished) I did nearly all of the sidequests, and the only tough fight I remember (in the second half of the game) was Bhodi. Firkraag? Easy. Irenicus? Too easy. That monk in ToB? An absolute cakewalk. The final boss in ToB was a bit tougher, but still not really challenging.

 

That actually bothered me quite a bit for quite a while. I felt (and still feel) that I was denied the full experience of the game, ironically for trying to play the entire game. On the other hand, because of the way AD&D works (I was playing a sorceror), the difference between a high-level party with good gear and a very-high-level party with great gear party's power is extreme, and BG2 had perhaps a uniquely high ratio of optional to non-optional content, I doubt the power level discrepancy between a decently-built party that did all the sidequests and one that did, say, half of them in PoE will be nearly as bad.

 

In conclusion, I expect few players will deliberately avoid doing any "optional" content, but conversely I imagine obsessive competitionists are a larger minority. I'd like to see the big encounters in the game to challenge the average players that do the sidequests that strike their fancy, while remaining tough for those that leave no stone unturned in their epic hunt for XP. Realistically, that probably means that sidequests give a pretty small about of loot or XP, or there is some form of level-scaling.

Did you play the game on hard mode your first time? Keep in mind we are talking about PoE on hard when we discuss the endgame battle. I would be VERY upset if the final battle were easy for a high-level/well-equipped party on HARD mode. Which is why I said that the boss should be made to challenge even a level 12 party by default, and be even harder for a lower level team.

"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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Not a single one of the IE games had scaled Final Boss fights.

 

Lets think about that for a moment. Here on this thread we've got people voicing their concerns that having too much optional content will "ruin" the End Boss encounter and make it a "cakewalk". Well? Did it do any such thing for the IE games? Nope.

I killed the end boss in bg2 with 1 summon.

 

BG2's end boss is a pure mage. There is a formula to beating mages in Bg2. Scaling would have changed nothing. But I do find it humorous that you tried to cite an example of being "Overpowered", yet you still needed a summon to help you against Irenicus. LOL

 

 

I agree with S_o. Several battles in BG2 were a cakewalk -

I think we're trying to place blame here where it doesn't belong. None of the IE games are "Hard" at any level. They're....standard by default. And it's not because the bosses don't scale. Again, BG1's end boss (who's a 16th level fighter with 90% magic resistance and an AC of -12) can be beaten with a level 1 character.

 

And BG2's Bodhi can be insta-killed with a single 7th level cleric spell.

 

Scaling those two to the party's level wouldn't have changed anything....except maybe the lore.

 

Yes there are people who play only the main storyline because they are interested only in the story or they do not have time.

Those people should be asking the devs for non-combat solutions to boss fights then, instead of begging the devs to Nerf those bosses to their level simply because they "didn't have the time" or desire to play the whole game.

Edited by TrueNeutral
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Boy, someone has missed the point -And- doesn't understand AD&D

I killed the end boss in bg2 with 1 summon. Because I played with ToB expansion the main bg2 story was a cakewalk. Why? Because I did most of sidequests and became to powerful by chapter 3 for anything to pose a threat till the end of the game. Why? Because the game wasn't scaling. Your move :-)

Irenicus (BG2's final boss) is a 29th level mage. Mages in the AD&D rule set do not get any more spells or hit points when they get above 29, which they can't anyway, since 29 is the maximum level allowed for mages in AD&D

 

So I'll ask again, Sharp_one, what effect would level scaling BG2's final boss have had, besides NONE AT ALL?

 

 

This game is extremely easy on any level, that's why mods such as Ascension and Tactics exist.

So you ADMIT that level scaling would have had no effect. (other than making fights even easier for lower level parties)

 

PS: Tactics and Ascension simply change Enemy AI, they do not scale the enemies.

Edited by Stun
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I agree with S_o. Several battles in BG2 were a cakewalk - the second time I played the game (and the first time I finished) I did nearly all of the sidequests, and the only tough fight I remember (in the second half of the game) was Bhodi. Firkraag? Easy. Irenicus? Too easy. That monk in ToB? An absolute cakewalk. The final boss in ToB was a bit tougher, but still not really challenging.

 

That actually bothered me quite a bit for quite a while. I felt (and still feel) that I was denied the full experience of the game, ironically for trying to play the entire game. On the other hand, because of the way AD&D works (I was playing a sorceror), the difference between a high-level party with good gear and a very-high-level party with great gear party's power is extreme, and BG2 had perhaps a uniquely high ratio of optional to non-optional content, I doubt the power level discrepancy between a decently-built party that did all the sidequests and one that did, say, half of them in PoE will be nearly as bad.

 

In conclusion, I expect few players will deliberately avoid doing any "optional" content, but conversely I imagine obsessive competitionists are a larger minority. I'd like to see the big encounters in the game to challenge the average players that do the sidequests that strike their fancy, while remaining tough for those that leave no stone unturned in their epic hunt for XP. Realistically, that probably means that sidequests give a pretty small about of loot or XP, or there is some form of level-scaling.

 

Perhaps it's probably better to focus on a low level game like BG1 than BG2? Considering you could get up to level 10 in BG1 with some characters and PoE has a level cap of 12. And talking about ToB? You're talking about Epic level 20-30 characters. Of course Epic level is going to be powerful.

 

I suspect you'll probably find with PoE that a lot of the side quests will have great gear. We're talking about a low level game with no kill xp and quest based xp. So if there's a lot of side quests, the xp will have to be spread out over the game so you don't hit the level cap early. That'll probably mean that quest based xp for these FedEx / side quests will be low. So there must be an incentive to do these optional side quests if the xp is really low? If there's crap gear, then having low quest based xp and crap gear is a turn off for players. Therefore, there must be great gear to offset the low quest based xp. Otherwise, why do it? Roleplaying? So you're going to roleplay for the next few hours to get low xp and crap loot on these optional side quests? I don't think so and can't see many players doing that. A Scavenger hunt for crafting materials? *Groan* Even if the loot is similar on these side quests compared to the crit-path, why bother? I'll just keep the loot on the crit-path. Therefore, there must be some good loot. Much better loot than the loot on the crit-path.

 

I really don't see what the big rewards for these optional side quests would be other than great loot or a scavenger hunt for crafting materials because it won't be xp. That comes across as Diablo-esque. Loot and/or crafting materials. woot! It's all about the loot! *groan* And even then I don't think the loot will be that 'great', when you consider this being a low level game.

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You guys do realize that in a "D&D Esque" system (which they seem to be trying to emulate) levels can have very little to do with your actual power right?  Your equipment can have a far greater impact than the +5 hp you got and 1 more magic missile cast.  There may be a level cap but they people who do all the optional content will still in general have far superior items and be noticeably stronger than those who are at level cap but were not completionists.

 

Anyway are there actually people who play through games as these where they purposefully skip most of the side quests?

 

Yes, there are.  In fact there are lots of them especially in RPG's.  Go figure but some people play RPG's for the story not the BS power fantasy Mony Haul nonsense.  If they don't find the optional content to be worth the time investment and it feels like a slog they very much will only do the main story.  Also there are people who are simply "checkboxers" whose only goal is to simply beat the game.  They are probably just going to run through it as fast as possible and purposefully avoid side content.

 

Lastly no, they are people and gamers too and deserve to be considered in design decisions and shouldn't be left with an unwinnable game just because they don't want to pound away on "supposedly" optional content.  Also while we are at it, people.... look up the meaning of the word optional.  If you don't want the game to be completable by people who don't do optional content than that content clearly was not optional at all.  No giving the choice between doing sidequests in area A or B does not mean they are optional, you still had to do one or the other no matter what.

 

Also learn more definitions.  Encounter Scaling and Level Scaling are not the same thing.  This thread is about Encounter Scaling, not the thing you guys keep bitching about.

Edited by Karkarov
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This:

Also learn more definitions.  Encounter Scaling and Level Scaling are not the same thing.  This thread is about Encounter Scaling, not the thing you guys keep bitching about.

 

I didn't stated the reason for BG to be so easy is lack of LEVEL scaling, but lack of scaling. And Level scaling is only one of the posibilities.

 

What's the difference?
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You guys do realize that in a "D&D Esque" system (which they seem to be trying to emulate) levels can have very little to do with your actual power right?  Your equipment can have a far greater impact than the +5 hp you got and 1 more magic missile cast.  There may be a level cap but they people who do all the optional content will still in general have far superior items and be noticeably stronger than those who are at level cap but were not completionists.

 

Anyway are there actually people who play through games as these where they purposefully skip most of the side quests?

 

Yes, there are.  In fact there are lots of them especially in RPG's.  Go figure but some people play RPG's for the story not the BS power fantasy Mony Haul nonsense.  If they don't find the optional content to be worth the time investment and it feels like a slog they very much will only do the main story.  Also there are people who are simply "checkboxers" whose only goal is to simply beat the game.  They are probably just going to run through it as fast as possible and purposefully avoid side content.

 

Lastly no, they are people and gamers too and deserve to be considered in design decisions and shouldn't be left with an unwinnable game just because they don't want to pound away on "supposedly" optional content.  Also while we are at it, people.... look up the meaning of the word optional.  If you don't want the game to be completable by people who don't do optional content than that content clearly was not optional at all.  No giving the choice between doing sidequests in area A or B does not mean they are optional, you still had to do one or the other no matter what.

 

Also learn more definitions.  Encounter Scaling and Level Scaling are not the same thing.  This thread is about Encounter Scaling, not the thing you guys keep bitching about.

I agree that the final battle should be able to be beaten doing only the crit-path. I just think it should be harder by a reasonable margin. If I had to guess... I'd say 30% harder. Also, while its true that encounter scaling and level scaling aren't the same; they have a similar effect. I get higher level, but make no progress. As for gamers who only play for story; play an interactive story game like Heavy Rain instead. This is not a visual novel game; it's an rpg. Rpgs are about doing quests and leveling up to become stronger. If you choose to ignore this feature you should be punished. Not all games are for everyone. I haven't gotten a proper rpg in a long time, and I don't want the mechanics to be downplayed so some one who doesn't like the gameplay can ignore most of it without consequence.

"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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First of all, scaling is scaling. Its purpose is the same, overall: to adjust things that can be encountered in a variety of different circumstances. Sometimes it makes sense to adjust the level of a creature. Sometimes it makes sense to adjust the composition of an encounter. Sometimes both. Sometimes neither.

 

They are different things, sure, but it's a bit arbitrary to split them up, like "No, we're ONLY talking about not-using-level-adjustments here!" Levels are simply abstract mathematical representations of a virtual entity's capabilities. Therefore, if you adjust that entity's capabilities and/or various factors pertaining to that entity, it's level would likely be affected, for example.

 

Also, while its true that encounter scaling and level scaling aren't the same; they have a similar effect. I get higher level, but make no progress.

I've said this before, but the mere existence of scaling doesn't beget a complete nullification of progress. For example, the goal in a given argument regarding this is to make sure a specific encounter doesn't become easy, not eas-ier.

 

Lastly, even the intelligent/applicable use of scaling is completely circumstance dependent. I couldn't tell you what in PoE should be scaled, and what shouldn't. So, unless someone can tell me, with certainty, all the circumstances throughout the entire crit-path of PoE, I don't see much merit in arguing about whether or not PoE's content, specifically, should be scaled.

 

This is never going to end if we do that. Someone points out an example situation which supports the application of scaling, and someone else counters with a variant example that supports the lack of scaling, and vice versa. So a bunch of possibilities get identified, and none of us is any closer to actually applying any of that to any specific situations within the game, since we're not the ones sitting at our desk all day every day, crafting this game and its encounters and leveling/gear system.

 

There are plenty of reasons not to scale stuff, and there are plenty of reasons to scale stuff. The existence of one does not disprove the existence of the other, and making this a Thunderdome argument isn't productive at all.

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:

Also learn more definitions.  Encounter Scaling and Level Scaling are not the same thing.  This thread is about Encounter Scaling, not the thing you guys keep bitching about.

 

I didn't stated the reason for BG to be so easy is lack of LEVEL scaling, but lack of scaling. And Level scaling is only one of the posibilities.

 

What's the difference?

 

Basically this.

 

Level Scaling means the enemy scales directly based on level.  Such as an encounter is designed for a level 5 party but you get there at level 8.  Since you outlevel the original design all the enemies are simply leveled 2-3 times to meet your level range.  Sometimes (though rarely) this means enemies might also become a new "varient".  Like what was originally just a Fire Imp for example is now a full on Fire Elemental.

 

Encounter scaling is where the encounter is changed to meet the challenge of the party in dynamic ways.  For example... it might be an encounter originally designed for level 5 where you arrive at level 8 with your party.  The enemies don't level, they are still level 5.  But now there might be 2-3 more of them, or instead of normal arrows they might have fire arrows, or maybe there is now a trap that wouldn't have been there before that your party might fall into.  The level or "challenge" of the enemies on a pure numbers basis didn't change but the encounter changed in a way that made it more challenging.

 

or TLDR version

 

Level Scaling = The enemy was changed to become stronger or weaker based on the strength of the party.  An encounter against three enemies will always be an encounter against three enemies.

 

Encounter Scaling = Aspects of the encounter are added or removed based on the strength of the party.  An encounter against three enemies might not always be an encounter against just three enemies.

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Encounter Scaling is Level Scaling.

 

At its core, Level Scaling provides a continuous, consistent challenge to the player. As the player's character rises in level, aspects of the world will change to accommodate that character's growth. As the player character grows in power, they should be able to tackle increasingly powerful enemies; the game will make adjustments based on the character's current level.

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At its core, Level Scaling provides a continuous, consistent challenge to the player.

That's not exactly true. Level scaling simply makes an adjustment for the purposes of challenge moderation.

 

You could adjust a single rat in the entire game of 1,000+ foes, and you would still be employing level scaling.

 

Also, as I've mentioned before, you could make any scaled foe go up 1 level for every 2 levels you go up, etc. Thus, its mere existence (level scaling's, that is) does not in any way provide a continuous, consistent challenge to the player.

 

Not to mention the fact that, even IF everything scaled 1:1, throughout the whole game, a Level 5 Human Bandit and a Level 5 Ice Troll aren't going to provide the exact same challenge.

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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Level scaling simply makes an adjustment for the purposes of challenge moderation.

 

You could adjust a single rat in the entire game of 1,000+ foes, and you would still be employing level scaling.

 

Also, as I've mentioned before, you could make any scaled foe go up 1 level for every 2 levels you go up, etc. Thus, its mere existence (level scaling's, that is) does not in any way provide a continuous, consistent challenge to the player.

 

Not to mention the fact that, even IF everything scaled 1:1, throughout the whole game, a Level 5 Human Bandit and a Level 5 Ice Troll aren't going to provide the exact same challenge.

 

 

I said, at its core. And it's always been implemented poorly. And I never said anything about providing the exact same challenge.

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I said, at its core. And it's always been implemented poorly. And I never said anything about providing the exact same challenge.

I realize you said "at its core." And I said different words. We're talking about the same thing. What is present when something "merely exists" in a given game, if not its core?

 

Also, consistency is synonymous with sameness. If you weren't talking about the challenge being the same by being consistent, then I apologize. But, your word usage suggested otherwise.

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 realize you said "at its core." And I said different words. We're talking about the same thing. What is present when something "merely exists" in a given game, if not its core?

 

Also, consistency is synonymous with sameness. If you weren't talking about the challenge being the same by being consistent, then I apologize. But, your word usage suggested otherwise.

 

 

No. You're changing the context. I was giving an abstract and how it is as a concept. And it's usually poorly handled in games when it's implemented. 

 

You also said 'exact' not sameness or any other words that you want to use now. Exact and Sameness are not the same and aren't synonymous when I look them up in a Thesaurus, but I can understand how someone would come to the conclusion that both words are similar when they're not.

 

Also your example had nothing in regards to sameness. eg.  "a Level 5 Human Bandit and a Level 5 Ice Troll aren't going to provide the exact same challenge."   Firstly you're talking about two different opponents that are not the same. Therefore it's not consistent. A troll and bandit may have different ways to kill them. eg. Fire needed to kill the troll whereas the bandit doesn't need fire. The only thing that is the same is their level, everything else is different. And it's obvious they are not the 'exact' same thing and will not be the same challenge.

Edited by Hiro Protagonist II
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What's the difference?

Basically this.

 

Level Scaling means the enemy scales directly based on level.  Such as an encounter is designed for a level 5 party but you get there at level 8.  Since you outlevel the original design all the enemies are simply leveled 2-3 times to meet your level range.  Sometimes (though rarely) this means enemies might also become a new "varient".  Like what was originally just a Fire Imp for example is now a full on Fire Elemental.

 

Encounter scaling is where the encounter is changed to meet the challenge of the party in dynamic ways.  For example... it might be an encounter originally designed for level 5 where you arrive at level 8 with your party.  The enemies don't level, they are still level 5.  But now there might be 2-3 more of them, or instead of normal arrows they might have fire arrows, or maybe there is now a trap that wouldn't have been there before that your party might fall into.  The level or "challenge" of the enemies on a pure numbers basis didn't change but the encounter changed in a way that made it more challenging.

 

or TLDR version

 

Level Scaling = The enemy was changed to become stronger or weaker based on the strength of the party.  An encounter against three enemies will always be an encounter against three enemies.

 

Encounter Scaling = Aspects of the encounter are added or removed based on the strength of the party.  An encounter against three enemies might not always be an encounter against just three enemies.

 

In other words, there's no real difference. In both instances the party's LEVEL determines what they see on the battlefield.

 

Yeah, that's called level scaling. And that was precisely what we were discussing before you decided to come in and try to correct our use of very plain and obvious gaming terms.

Edited by Stun
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I have to admit, most RPGs have a backwards tension curve. Difficult at the start due to low level, easy at the end because of all the power you have amassed. I get that it's a power fantasy, but I've quit more than one cRPG because I simply became too powerful. When half of the gameplay becomes boring timesinks with no challenge, I have no drive to continue.

 

In other words, there's no real difference. In both instances the party's LEVEL determines what they see on the battlefield.

 

Not neccesarily. It wouldn't be too hard to scale based on damage output or hit points. Not saying I prefer this because for now I can't see a way to implement this without homogenizing class experience (a chanter's enemy could be weaker just because a mage deals more damage?) but it would be more like scaling to player skill than level. Of course, it would still be influenced by level, but not entirely.

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The power curve in this game should be relatively flat in comparison as abilities and spells do not scale with level. Accuracy, Defenses and Vitality (Health/Stamina) does, but less so than in D&D probably. You technically get +3 to all defenses and +3 to accuracy per level. +5 per level in PE is the equivalent of +1 in D&D, so it's a granular increase.

 

HP increase probs won't be as crazy as D&D either but you never know.

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In other words, there's no real difference. In both instances the party's LEVEL determines what they see on the battlefield.

 

Yeah, that's called level scaling. And that was precisely what we were discussing before you decided to come in and try to correct our use of very plain and obvious gaming terms.

 

No I am just making a fast and easy explanation to explain the difference stun.

 

Also it is a world of difference even if the scaling were based exclusively on level alone.  For example in D&D what would be the harder fight?  5 trolls who are level 10 versus your level 10 party, or five trolls who are level 6 but woops they spend round 1 drinking potions of fire and acid resistance?  Level scaling simply levels the mob.  Encounter Scaling actually changes the basic design of the encounter into one that in principle is the same but could be wildly different in actual play.

 

Meanwhile thanks TrueNeutral.  It can easily be done off something other than level.  You could assign hidden "power scores" to stats, levels, items, racial modifiers, just about anything, then base the fight on the "power score" of the party.  Meaning that the game could easily take into account that a level 5 fighter using an artifact sword is more of a threat than a level 5 fighter using a +2 longsword.  It just comes down to the developers, their priorities, and how far they are willing to go down the rabbit hole to make scaling effective and work well.

 

Which by the way, again, "Scaling" in general is not Level Scaling.  Level Scaling is again where the games enemies level to match your level.  It is pretty prevalent because it is the easiest version of "Scaling" to implement, but as many have noticed it doesn't really work well.

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Why in Witcher 2 when the player was vulnerable at the beginning but could slice through opponents later on was a flaw?

It wasn't?

 

I personally did not find Witcher 2's prologue battles as difficult as other people did. But I suspect that the reason why it gets that stigma is maybe because of the harsh learning curve of the game itself. Witcher 2 has an unintuitive UI. Even a simple act, like Drinking a potion, takes several steps. In my first playthrough, I remember being up against a L'avallete grunt, and getting killed because it took me too long to figure out how to bring up the Quen sign. And of course there's the QTE's which are insta-kills if you don't have the reflexes (but those can be toggled)

 

Once you do learn the controls, the beginning of the game isn't difficult at all.

 

Apparently getting stronger during the story as Geralt got more levels apparently was an issue and needed to be fixed to provide more challenge later on?

Again...No? As powerful as you get in TW2, you still come up against stuff like the Draug, or the Wraiths at the haunted asylem that will swarm you and pose a serious challenge regardless of your level-up skills.

 

And then there's Dark Mode.

 

But I'm not sure TW2 is a valid example of anything in this discussion, as the game is story heavy; it doesn't really have an "end boss".

 

Also it is a world of difference even if the scaling were based exclusively on level alone.  For example in D&D what would be the harder fight?  5 trolls who are level 10 versus your level 10 party, or five trolls who are level 6 but woops they spend round 1 drinking potions of fire and acid resistance?  Level scaling simply levels the mob.  Encounter Scaling actually changes the basic design of the encounter into one that in principle is the same but could be wildly different in actual play.

You're not discussing level scaling OR encounter scaling here. You're just discussing the effects of intelligent AI.

Edited by TrueNeutral
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Not really. The scaling is in that if you meet the requirements, the enemies will be given more resources to make them a challenge. For example, if the game would detect that your party does an overwhelming amount of magic damage, it could give magic resistance potions to bandits as a way to compensate.

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Not really. The scaling is in that if you meet the requirements, the enemies will be given more resources to make them a challenge. For example, if the game would detect that your party does an overwhelming amount of magic damage, it could give magic resistance potions to bandits as a way to compensate.

And then the player notices that the game is tracking his combat behavior, so he switches his tactics. Decides not to use spells so often.

 

What then? Will the game suddenly 'un-scale' future encounters?

 

PS: If you're going to randomly merge my posts, please be so kind as to do it completely, instead of deleting half of what I wrote.

 

 

 

Really? So the developers didn't change the difficulty curve because of hundreds of gamers feedback about it?

They added a tutorial and a new difficulty setting in the main menu. The encounters themselves were not changed at all. No. Edited by Stun
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