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Update #81: The Front Line: Fighters and Barbarians

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That's a gross misunderstanding by people who don't know what tanking really is.

 

Tank's will never be the big damage dealers, no matter how good the barbarian is at aoe he will never out aoe a wizard for example.  Ponder this though.  You are monster, you see two people to attack.  One is a caster and the other is some dude in armor.  You attack the caster right?  Obviously he is more dangerous (a misnomer from the get go but that is for another post) now imagine the guy in armor can physically get in your way and hit you with attacks that are not strong but land and prevent you from getting by?  You have to deal with him first right?  Imagine the same scenario except now the guy can't hit you.  Suddenly you can just walk past him and it doesn't matter.  He can "engage" you all day, but if all you have to do is walk away and he misses then there is no real risk is there?

 

A tank needs to be able to hit and damage the enemy too, if you can't hit the enemy you are no threat, if you are no threat they will ignore you, being ignored is the worst thing that can happen to a tank.  Hence the reason we call one of the core concepts of tanking "Threat Management".  It is about staying just a big enough threat to force the enemy to attack you instead of someone else.  You can't do it if you can't actually do damage on some level.

 

Tanking at it's most basic level is just the oldest form of Crowd Control in existence.  If you can make the enemy hit you instead of someone else you control his position, if you control the enemies position you control his movement, if you control his movement you control the battle, if you control the battle you win.

I disagree. The tanks in PoE are there to be damage soaks and to occupy people. That's why they have the ability to "lock down" 2-3 mooks. The Barb is simply melee AoE DPS.


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First off, I never said they sucked.  I said they could be better and the D&D rules system never works in a PC environment

It worked great. BG1, BG2, IWD1, and IWD2 are all time classics who's party-based tactical combat was so timelessly good that their mere mention, more than a decade later, has spawned several Kickstarters with record-breaking funding totals.

 

 

Also it is impossible to have "totally equal builds" when the design is intended from the ground up to make every class different.

We've already been through this. "Different" and "equal" are not mutually excusive terms. They are not Opposites. One describes what a class *does*, the other describes the results. I'll give you a crude but effective example.

 

 

Different

You have a mage and a fighter. They're different. One uses spells to solve problems, the other uses his armor and weapons to solve problems.

 

But

 

Equal

The mage's spells give him the same defensive values as the Fighter's armor and talents, and his spells do the same damage as the fighter's weapons and talents.

 

^Has to be that way, otherwise people like you will complain that the game is unbalanced, yes?

Edited by Stun
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Yeah, one on one. As in, a fight against a single opponent. But the issue was in the long run - Ie. against all encounters types, all day long, level after level...

 

How's the contrary preferable?

 

I can give you about 10 reasons why the contrary is preferable. But this morning I only have time for one.

 

Here goes. I don't like my single player combat rulesets to be mechanically, soullessly, and rigidly Balanced. That's why. I want to be able, after a few playthroughs, to discover a build that blows away the rest. Conversely, I want to be able, after a few more playthroughs, to discover a truly underpowered build and then challenge myself to beat the game with it. This will let me know that real Human *art* was behind the creation of this game, not some undeviating, soulless, 'Balanced. At. All. Costs.", mathematical formula.

 

BG1, BG2, and Icewind Dale positively oozed of the former. And that's why they're still great to play 14+ years later. While crap games like Dungeon Siege 1, and Dragon Age 2 suffered from droves of the latter and thus aren't worth the box they came in.

 

 

I don't mean to offend, but to me BG1, BG2, IWD1 and IWD2 weren't that great to play even 16-14 years ago (good? Yes. Great? Not by accident) if we are talking about combat. Part of this is because of that unbalanced mess that was AD&D (with the 3rd edition things got better, but not that better), part because every adaptation of a turn based ruleset to a real time environment is average at best. 

 

Sawyer and co. are trying to fix both issues, with my blessing, for what it counts. 

 

 

PS: leaving alone the fact that I can't see how on earth balance = soulless in a game which is mainly about tactical combats.   

Edited by Baudolino05
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Fighters do about 30% more damage on average (if I calculated correctly) against single opponent than what full health barbarian without frenzy does, if they have same accuracy but as fighters generally have better accuracy than barbarian, which mean that average damage difference will be even bigger. But barbarian does more AoE damage than fighters, and their frenzy and blooded abilities will allow them get their damage up, but those aren't constant. Both classes can do crowd control, barbarian by getting in right place in fight by using their wild sprint and then frenzying in middle of enemy horde and dealing damage to all of them and fighter by engaging multiple opponents at time and killing individual opponents faster than barbarian and greatly wounding and weakening opponents with their disengagement attacks that will make those opponents much easier prey for rest of your team.

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Here's another crude example of "different but equal."

 

Suppose fighters are great at killing living enemies but suck at destroying undead, and priests are great at destroying undead but suck at killing living enemies, and a game has roughly equal numbers of both, but with some encounters only living enemies, others only undead, and some mixed.

 

Personally I like it this way, and going by what we've heard, it sounds a lot like how P:E is intended to play. If you have barbs as the front line, you'll breeze through encounters consisting of a large number of average-strength enemies but will have a much harder time facing a few tough ones; if you have fighters in the front line, vice versa. If you have a mix, you'll see a more constant level of difficulty.

 

Having some classes be objectively weaker than others annoys me, because why would I want to play an objectively weaker class? If I want a higher difficulty, then I'll just crank it up in the settings. If that's not enough, I'll go in with a smaller party. If even that's not enough, I'll solo. I have a hunch that P:E is going to be tough enough that very, very few of us will manage to solo it at Trial of Iron and Path of the Damned. 

 

Personally I do not see the attraction of playing with an intentionally gimped build. It sounds like an unnecessarily convoluted way to raise difficulty when there are settings in place to do explicitly that. 

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That's a gross misunderstanding by people who don't know what tanking really is.

 

Tank's will never be the big damage dealers, no matter how good the barbarian is at aoe he will never out aoe a wizard for example.  Ponder this though.  You are monster, you see two people to attack.  One is a caster and the other is some dude in armor.  You attack the caster right?  Obviously he is more dangerous (a misnomer from the get go but that is for another post) now imagine the guy in armor can physically get in your way and hit you with attacks that are not strong but land and prevent you from getting by?  You have to deal with him first right?  Imagine the same scenario except now the guy can't hit you.  Suddenly you can just walk past him and it doesn't matter.  He can "engage" you all day, but if all you have to do is walk away and he misses then there is no real risk is there?

 

A tank needs to be able to hit and damage the enemy too, if you can't hit the enemy you are no threat, if you are no threat they will ignore you, being ignored is the worst thing that can happen to a tank.  Hence the reason we call one of the core concepts of tanking "Threat Management".  It is about staying just a big enough threat to force the enemy to attack you instead of someone else.  You can't do it if you can't actually do damage on some level.

 

Tanking at it's most basic level is just the oldest form of Crowd Control in existence.  If you can make the enemy hit you instead of someone else you control his position, if you control the enemies position you control his movement, if you control his movement you control the battle, if you control the battle you win.

I disagree. The tanks in PoE are there to be damage soaks and to occupy people. That's why they have the ability to "lock down" 2-3 mooks. The Barb is simply melee AoE DPS.

 

Karkarov is speaking in WoW/MMO terms, complete with the assumption of an aggro mechanic.

 

And that's..... Exhibit A. MMO-minded folks measure a game's greatness by how rigidly balanced it is. Understandable, since  nothing ruins an MMO faster than one class being more powerful than another.

 

But don't bother reminding these people that PoE is a single player game and thus doesn't need to adhere to such fundamentals. Your reminders will fall on deaf ears.

Edited by Stun
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Having some classes be objectively weaker than others annoys me, because why would I want to play an objectively weaker class?

Why would you want to? I couldn't say. But why would *I* want to? Well, for one, Because Sometimes I'm a role player and optimal combat effectiveness does not factor into my decision to play a certain class, and second, because sometimes I'm a total competator who wants to stroke his own ego and see if he can beat the game on its highest setting with a class that everyone knows is underpowered.

 

10 years ago, I beat Ascension on Insane with a solo Beast Master. I still brag about that today. (And by the way, that may have been the most satisfying BG2 run I ever did)

 

That's why.

Edited by Stun
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My only hope is that they don't balance the classes to the degree where they are monotonous. Then there truly was no point in having classes at all and a classless system was the way to go.

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Yeah, one on one. As in, a fight against a single opponent. But the issue was in the long run - Ie. against all encounters types, all day long, level after level...

 

How's the contrary preferable?

 

I can give you about 10 reasons why the contrary is preferable. But this morning I only have time for one.

 

Here goes. I don't like my single player combat rulesets to be mechanically, soullessly, and rigidly Balanced. That's why. I want to be able, after a few playthroughs, to discover a build that blows away the rest. Conversely, I want to be able, after a few more playthroughs, to discover a truly underpowered build and then challenge myself to beat the game with it. This will let me know that real Human *art* was behind the creation of this game, not some undeviating, soulless, 'Balanced. At. All. Costs.", mathematical formula.

 

BG1, BG2, and Icewind Dale positively oozed of the former. And that's why they're still great to play 14+ years later. While crap games like Dungeon Siege 1, and Dragon Age 2 suffered from droves of the latter and thus aren't worth the box they came in.

 

 

I don't mean to offend, but to me BG1, BG2, IWD1 and IWD2 weren't that great to play even 16-14 years ago (good? Yes. Great? Not by accident) if we are talking about combat. Part of this is because of that unbalanced mess that was AD&D (with the 3rd edition things got better, but not that better), part because every adaptation of a turn based ruleset to a real time environment is average at best. 

 

Sawyer and co. are trying to fix both issues, with my blessing, for what it counts. 

 

 

PS: leaving alone the fact that I can't see how on earth balance = soulless in a game which is mainly about tactical combats.   

 

 

If they were inferior could you please list the sorts of games they are inferior to?  Also what is the evidence that every adaption of a turn based ruleset to a real time environment is average at best?  You just said BG1, BG2, IWD1, and IWD2 were good...then you turn around and say they were average at best?  Which is it?

 

I guess I see the important point of balance in a MMORPG but I do not see why it is a necessary thing in a single player game so long as each class is useful on a strategic or tactical level.

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The diversity of combat capabilities in PoE are exactly what makes combined arms tactics beneficial. As long as the classes are situationally better under certain conditions, then working together as a team is more effective than just having them perform their individual actions at random. I.e. the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. I'm pretty satisfied with the diversity of combat models because it makes the tactics much more interesting to manage.

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DPS does not equal Tanking.

Their stamina to health ratio combined with Stamina healing = Tanking

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DPS does not equal Tanking.

Their stamina to health ratio combined with Stamina healing = Tanking

 

I understand why you guys are going with, 2x hitpoints = can tank, I simply disagree. Afaik, the Barbarian cannot "hold a line" which to me is a critical function of a tank.

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DPS does not equal Tanking.

Their stamina to health ratio combined with Stamina healing = Tanking

 

I understand why you guys are going with, 2x hitpoints = can tank, I simply disagree. Afaik, the Barbarian cannot "hold a line" which to me is a critical function of a tank.

 

 

Why can't they?  They still get disengagement attacks, they have a ton of heal and health boosts when they kill mobs, they have flanking protection, and they're probably better at harassing more mobile enemies since they can sprint after them.  If the party was fighting an opposing party with three rogues, the difference could be awful for the party with a fighter.

 

Also, I disagree with the notion that each class has to fit such a rigid role or that the optimal tactics always involve such a rigid line.  This is especially true since all lighter classes can wear plate to survive a couple hits.

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Yeah, one on one. As in, a fight against a single opponent. But the issue was in the long run - Ie. against all encounters types, all day long, level after level...

 

How's the contrary preferable?

 

I can give you about 10 reasons why the contrary is preferable. But this morning I only have time for one.

 

Here goes. I don't like my single player combat rulesets to be mechanically, soullessly, and rigidly Balanced. That's why. I want to be able, after a few playthroughs, to discover a build that blows away the rest. Conversely, I want to be able, after a few more playthroughs, to discover a truly underpowered build and then challenge myself to beat the game with it. This will let me know that real Human *art* was behind the creation of this game, not some undeviating, soulless, 'Balanced. At. All. Costs.", mathematical formula.

 

BG1, BG2, and Icewind Dale positively oozed of the former. And that's why they're still great to play 14+ years later. While crap games like Dungeon Siege 1, and Dragon Age 2 suffered from droves of the latter and thus aren't worth the box they came in.

 

 

I don't mean to offend, but to me BG1, BG2, IWD1 and IWD2 weren't that great to play even 16-14 years ago (good? Yes. Great? Not by accident) if we are talking about combat. Part of this is because of that unbalanced mess that was AD&D (with the 3rd edition things got better, but not that better), part because every adaptation of a turn based ruleset to a real time environment is average at best. 

 

Sawyer and co. are trying to fix both issues, with my blessing, for what it counts. 

 

 

PS: leaving alone the fact that I can't see how on earth balance = soulless in a game which is mainly about tactical combats.   

 

 

If they were inferior could you please list the sorts of games they are inferior to?  Also what is the evidence that every adaption of a turn based ruleset to a real time environment is average at best?  You just said BG1, BG2, IWD1, and IWD2 were good...then you turn around and say they were average at best?  Which is it?

 

I guess I see the important point of balance in a MMORPG but I do not see why it is a necessary thing in a single player game so long as each class is useful on a strategic or tactical level.

 

 

Pool of Radiance, ToEE, Knights of Chalice,  Blackguards, even Tactics Ogre and a bunch of other JRPGs have better combat systems than I.E. games, not counting X-Com, Jagged Alliance and Silent Strom, that are superior in any possible way when it comes to combats. As for the "promotion" from average to good, it is due to the interesting encounter design  (especially in IWD2). The systems per sé were average in all these games, and It's not just a personal idea: Sawyer in person thinks the same.. . 

 

 

Having said that, I've never talked of balance in a MMO sense. Actually I find theme park MMOs pretty boring, especially in the way they handle combat. The kind of balance I was talking about, is balance in party prospective. It's safe to say, for instance, that thieves and bards where almost useless in the old I.E. games, and on the other hands casters were CLEARY overpowered.

 

As long as we don't have this kind of extremes in PoE, I'm fine with the class design of this game.  

 

PS: oh, and if you want some other exemples of average adaptations of turn based rulesets to real time environments take Drakensang or Vampire: Redemption. In the first case you can even compare it to a recent turn based counterpart (which not surprisingly is 10 times better combat-wise).  

Edited by Baudolino05

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Why can't they?  They still get disengagement attacks, they have a ton of heal and health boosts when they kill mobs, they have flanking protection, and they're probably better at harassing more mobile enemies since they can sprint after them.

Honest question because I cant remember, do Barbarians have an ability to prevent mooks from getting past them? Iirc, Fighters do have that ability.


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Why can't they?  They still get disengagement attacks, they have a ton of heal and health boosts when they kill mobs, they have flanking protection, and they're probably better at harassing more mobile enemies since they can sprint after them.

Honest question because I cant remember, do Barbarians have an ability to prevent mooks from getting past them? Iirc, Fighters do have that ability.

 

 

Every character can engage one enemy, but only fighters have access to ability that gives them option to engage up to three enemies at the same time.

Edited by Elerond

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Every character can engage one enemy, but only fighters have access to ability that gives them option to engage up to three enemies at the same time.

That's what thought and to me that's an important distinction (also the reason I chose 2 Fighters in the "Whats your party" thread). Any class can "tank" one enemy but to me, that's not a tank. The Barbarian seems like it can do ferocious damage but that's not the class Im going to park in the doorway (bottleneck) because enemies will just stream past and savage my clothies.

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Every character can engage one enemy, but only fighters have access to ability that gives them option to engage up to three enemies at the same time.

That's what thought and to me that's an important distinction (also the reason I chose 2 Fighters in the "Whats your party" thread). Any class can "tank" one enemy but to me, that's not a tank. The Barbarian seems like it can do ferocious damage but that's not the class Im going to park in the doorway (bottleneck) because enemies will just stream past and savage my clothies.

 

 

I think the problem is you're always going to find problems when you try to force this type of RPG into the traditional MMO class dichotomy. Each character will have a unique set of skills which reach beyone Tank, DPS, Control, Heals. Sometimes they are even a mix of the two.

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I think the problem is you're always going to find problems when you try to force this type of RPG into the traditional MMO class dichotomy. Each character will have a unique set of skills which reach beyone Tank, DPS, Control, Heals. Sometimes they are even a mix of the two.

Agreed.

 

However, I was debating this statement from Karkarov:

 

Tanking at it's most basic level is just the oldest form of Crowd Control in existence. If you can make the enemy hit you instead of someone else you control his position, if you control the enemies position you control his movement, if you control his movement you control the battle, if you control the battle you win.

From what I understand of the mechanics so far, only one class can perform this function, the Fighter. The Barbarian can certainly dish out damage but can he tank?


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And in those times when all of the above fails them, there's This:

•Unbroken (Active) - This ability can only be activated when the fighter is at 0 Stamina. When used, the fighter will stand back up with 50% of her Stamina.

^ this looks like the proverbial reset button. I like "second chance" stuff like this. Prevents the degenerate save scummer in me from reloading the game :)

 

Dunno if it's changed or not, but I swear the last time this ability was referenced (prior to this update), it was a temporary thing; your Fighter got back up with 50% Stamina, but would collapse back into unconsciousness after 15 seconds or so. Something like that.

 

 

 

Fighters will almost always outlive barbarians in any one-on-one situation. Barbarians are supposed to be better at dealing damage to groups. The reason they have the better conversion rate for Stamina:Health is because they generally wind up taking a lot more damage than fighters. Fighters also have other abilities I've mentioned before, like Armored Grace, which gives them increased DT from armor. I don't think I've mentioned Into the Fray, but that ability allows them to attack Reflexes to yank someone into melee from a (short but worthwhile) distance away. Keep in mind that Carnage only applies when the barbarian's melee attack actually hits. Because they have lower Accuracy, they're less likely to land that initial hit. Staying in the fight and reliably dealing damage are the two things that fighters are best at. They're much better at both than the barbarian is.

I interpret this to basically mean... perfect balance. In the long run, having lower health + higher defense will end up being exactly equal, survival-wise, to having higher health and lower defense.

 

That's an impractically simplistic way of looking at things. "In the long run" a party made up of any classes is going to have the ability to beat the game, so it doesn't really matter what's different about any specific portions of the game, etc. The only way we can make the game good is to make sure some raw option cannot survive, and some other one can, right? Yup.

 

Oh wait, or... maybe the entire idea behind "tactical" combat here (and pretty much every other aspect, ever, of an RPG) is how your specific choices produce your specific outcome.

 

Basically, if every single encounter always had the exact same balance of threat types, attack speed, damage, armor penetration, etc., then yes, it wouldn't really matter "in the long run." But, the long run is made up of a whoooooole lot of very different short runs, and that's where differences matter. There are going to be times when your Barbarian's going to get smitten to death rather quickly, but your Fighter's going to be a whole lot more effective, and vice versa. If there are 20 little foes swarming you, your Fighter can't really hold his own against that many targets the whole while, while the Barbarian's effectiveness at taking down multiple foes might be much more valuable, since he can dispatch way more of them than anyone else could before they do too much swarm damage to everyone.

 

What... do you want the number of times a Fighter is useful and the number of times a Barbarian is useful, throughout the game, to be drastically different for some reason?

 

Hey, let's go ahead and make 90% of the enemies immune to magic, while we're at it. Because, otherwise, that Wizard might be "equally" as capable at hurting things as that Fighter. That would ruin the whole game, because obviously nothing can ever be different if someone isn't purely incapable of surviving/dealing with a bunch of stuff.

Edited by Lephys
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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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Quick Q on the "gets back up after zero-stamina" ability (Unbroken) - can this be activated if it's the last one standing in your team (or if it's a solo run) - or does 'game over' come too quickly?

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I think the problem is you're always going to find problems when you try to force this type of RPG into the traditional MMO class dichotomy. Each character will have a unique set of skills which reach beyone Tank, DPS, Control, Heals. Sometimes they are even a mix of the two.

Agreed.

 

However, I was debating this statement from Karkarov:

 

Tanking at it's most basic level is just the oldest form of Crowd Control in existence. If you can make the enemy hit you instead of someone else you control his position, if you control the enemies position you control his movement, if you control his movement you control the battle, if you control the battle you win.

From what I understand of the mechanics so far, only one class can perform this function, the Fighter. The Barbarian can certainly dish out damage but can he tank?

 

Well #1 the barbarian has the highest stamina and HP of all characters.  #2 the barbarian takes 1 hp damage every 8 stam damage... everyone else takes 1 hp damage every 4 stam damage.

 

That's pretty telling by itself.

 

However I will also say it isn't me calling Barbarians tanks.  It is Josh Sawyer, the lead developer on the game.  If he thinks they are tanks there is probably a good reason.  I would also remind you they aren't meant to be "stand still and hold the line" tanks.  They are meant to be move in fast, attack with ferocity, and quickly cripple a whole group kind of tank.  The Fighter is the guy who moves in, draws a line in the sand, and then dukes it out without moving.  So while the Barbarian can only "engage" one enemy also remember barbs have move buff abilities that let them literally charge right at whoever they want and have their own moves to tie up enemies.

 

We also haven't seen the complete move list yet.  Who knows what else is in their toolbag?

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If they were inferior could you please list the sorts of games they are inferior to?  Also what is the evidence that every adaption of a turn based ruleset to a real time environment is average at best?  You just said BG1, BG2, IWD1, and IWD2 were good...then you turn around and say they were average at best?  Which is it?

 

I guess I see the important point of balance in a MMORPG but I do not see why it is a necessary thing in a single player game so long as each class is useful on a strategic or tactical level.

 

ToEE, [...}

 

HA! Hypocrisy. ToEE not only uses the D&D rule set, but it 'suffers' from the exact same class balance issues that you cite as flaws in the IE games. Mages, for example, are utterly worthless early on and then become bar none the most powerful class in the game by the time they reach about 7th or 8th level. Rogues in ToEE are exactly the same as they are in BG1, IWD1 and IWD2 in that you have little choice but to use them in battle the same way you use a fighter. Consequently, you notice right off the bat that they're not as good.

 

ToEE Also gives you the option to do away with the inherent weaknesses of any class.... by multiclassing. You have a mage. Mages suck in melee. But no problem. Simply take a few fighter levels and BOOM. Now you can cast mirror image and be unhittable, then rush into battle with your sword to take out the mooks that your fireball didn't already fry.

 

Personally I see all of this as a huge win. But then again, it's what I loved about the IE games too.

 

ToEE IS turn based though. Maybe that's the real reason why you think its combat is better? if so, then fair enough. But we were discussing balance - which doesn't have anything to do with whether a game is TB or RTwP.

Edited by Stun

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Hence why I am so excited for Eternity a game made with the same design principles but with modern design progression in mind and free of the D&D ruleset.

 

If the idea that one class and one build isn't just so OP it is the best possible character is that abhorrent to you.... well maybe you need to go back to playing D&D based games.  Of course even D&D doesn't follow that concept anymore, that's kind of a sign by the way.  Or you can play the games you seem to despise like Diablo 3 that are actually designed for min maxers. 

 

Well PoE does take a lot from 4th ed. So while it might be free of the D&D ruleset, it does lend heavily from it. If someone showed me this game for the first time today, I would think at first it was a 4th ed D&D game or at the very least heavily based on it.

 

I found with 4th ed, that to 'balance' things like the Mage being weak at the beginning and then a God later on was to bump up every other class with abilities (powers and feats) while nerfing the Mage (compared to previous 2nd ed) to a degree during level up. While it did help to make some classes more useful while stopping other classes getting too overpowered, it didn't stop the min-maxing and optimisation. In fact, it did the opposite and help create optimised overpowered builds. For example, you can have various Rogue builds (Aerialist, Brawny, Cutthroat, Shadowy, Trickster) employing different Tactics (Artful Dodger, Brutal Scoundrel, Cunning Sneak, Ruthless Ruffian). Out of all the possible combinations you can have, there is only one I would play and I wouldn't touch all the other possible builds with a 10 foot pole. And then that becomes the default. Only one choice if you want the best out of your character.

 

I think PoE will be a min-maxers wet dream and you'll see threads with these builds and then a lot of people will be playing those builds. I expect it will become the default builds for each class. Why play this build when this other build is better, deals more damage, has more x, y, z.

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I think PoE will be a min-maxers wet dream...

I think it will, too, simply because they'll have so many more viable paths to work with in their min-maxing quest. :)


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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