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Understanding combat mechanics or How I stopped analyzing weapons and started to love the game


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Yeah I remember a few battles that required you to swap, or even have a minimum (+) on your weapon, but that wasn't the norm. In most cases you could defeat an encounter without the need to swap to a specific weapon type. It sounds like PoE has this dialed up to 11 and Im just hoping I wont be required to constantly play rock/paper/scissors through every fight.

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A smart AI could take care of switching to the optimal weapon under most circumstances, if you have the required weaponry in your inventory slots.

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

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This type of management sounds awful to me. Hopefully I will be able to equip my party as I see it fit the character concept and it will be "good enough". If I have to hot swap weapons every fight or even within the same fight, theres gonne be some kitten punching.

 

 

There are a few things that make swapping less required:

 

1) Combat/fighting style talents. If you specialize in dual-wielding you likely won't swap between DW and a two-handed weapon.

Unfortunately, combat style talents are not implemented (yet).

 

2) Nontrivial penalty for changing weapons in combat.

 

3) Weapon specializations to an extent.

 

 

I don't think that AI should take care of our tactical decisions, rjshae.

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All of the IE games except PS:T pretty much required hot-swapping weapons. Good luck fighting golems or some of the tougher IWD skeletons with swords or spears, for example.

 

True, and it was actually nice to fight such things because skeletons gave your clerics a chance to shine for a change, and the Golems could be a thorn in the side of what was normally a very well-equipped party.

 

The thing with the IE games, compared to FFX, is that weapon-swapping was something that occurred in a few select instances, rather than in 50% of your battles. Also, in the skeleton example as I recall it, Crushing was best, slashing was sub-optimal, and piercing was pretty useless. That meant that your thieves/archers were pretty useless, your Cleric was shining, but your fighters had to decide whether to run with their hit-optimised swords, or damage-optimised flail/mace. In my first runs of some of the IE games, I might not have even brought a spare crushing weapon, much less have put points into proficiency with it. All of which added up to tactical and strategic decision-making.

 

My concern is not the existance of damage types and weaknesses, but that PoE runs the risk of being like FFX, where it is an obvious case of "Fast attacks for this creature, then switch to heavy attacks for this creature" most of the time. I contend that if every fight is going to be "Maces on the fighters, Daggers on the wizard" then it is less tactical and strategic rather than more, and that you're undermining the gameplay purpose of both damage types and of specialisation.

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 I don't think that AI should take care of [my] tactical decisions, rjshae.

 

Corrected for you. I want to have that capability; you don't have to use it.

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

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i want to play higher difficulties without having to lose out on the story by sitting through it twice. if its supposed to be tactical, i want the information that will allow me to play tactically.

 

I dunno, they're promising us a fair bit of branching and nonlinearity, so you probably wouldn't get the same story twice (based on the extent of said branching and nonlinearity, you might even get two fairly different stories - they did this pretty well in Alpha Protocol, I have no reason to think they can't do it again).

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

 

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Basically I think he wants to be able to meta game his first party on trail of iron and path of damned his first run threw. With all the best and brightest builds and face roll the whole game.

 

Maybe you should wait a couple of months before you load it up to read some walk throughs.

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 I don't think that AI should take care of [my] tactical decisions, rjshae.

 

Corrected for you. I want to have that capability; you don't have to use it.

 

 

If you're unable to do it yourself, that's a good thing to have, I agree. More power to ya and the AI!

Perhaps you should also ask for a feature that enables AI to neatly prioritize targets instead of you, after calculating the threat order.

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You don't understand, Sensuki.

It is v-e-r-y simple. There's no need to dump all damage into one attribute and all accuracy in another to make a balanced system without dump attributes.

Pointless Argument #4069 here we come. Your original statement was that the main reason for this simplified system is to not be confusing for people who don't read the rules. I disagree that it is the primary goal of the system, but I do not deny that it is a factor in the design.

 

My apologies though, no dump stats is not _the_ main goal of the system, but it is one of them. The most important one I think is that every attribute is useful for every class. I created an Attribute theory thread summarizing Sawyer's goals for the system.

 

Your statement about there not being a need to have a unified damage stat is fair, but so is the inverse, and you could say the same about many of the other systems where simplification/unification has occurred (the attack resolution system for instance). The PE attribute system falls in line with Josh Sawyer's design philosophy and the other systems of the game.

 

On top of Josh's penchant for this particular type of streamlining, you also have the fact that he has multiple roles on the Project and many other systems and parts of the game to work on, which works into the statement I made in my above post where I said limiting the number of inputs into attributes makes it easier to balance (and thus requiring less design time).

 

To top that off, when the very first details about the attribute system were announced (in the RPGCodex Interview in 2013) I was one of the first people to complain about the use of streamlined damage and accuracy (on here and on the Codex). Over time though, I've come to accept it.

 

"Because it's IE/D&D-like" is clearly not the guiding light of PoE's combat mechanics and that's all right.

Actually I think it is. The attribute system is one system that feeds into the combat mechanics and it is definitely the one that differs the most (along with the inclusion of DT). But even still, there are six attributes and they're similarly named to the D&D attributes. The rest of the combat systems - Attack Resolution, Action speed & recovery time and whatnot are VERY IE-like. The attack resolution system now includes all spells like 4th edition and is more forgiving than all of them (with the inclusion of grazes) but it is IE-like. The action speed system is also pretty much exactly the same as the Infinity Engine system, it just uses different time divisons rather than x actions/6s.

 

On the contrary, I think that concentration is more useful for classes that are supposed to be in the front, basically classes that are most exposed to hits. You'll keep your casters in the back, right?

You can interrupt with spells.

Yeah but caster classes probably have a lot more spells that take a longer amount of time to cast. There's three time divisions for abilities and spells - instant, short and long. I think the short one is somewhere around 2-3 seconds and the long one is more like 4-6. If one of those spells is interrupted you have to start it again, whereas it's probably not as big of a deal to frontline characters.

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This type of management sounds awful to me. Hopefully I will be able to equip my party as I see it fit the character concept and it will be "good enough". If I have to hot swap weapons every fight or even within the same fight, theres gonne be some kitten punching.

 

I'm hoping it's not going to be a swap-weapon click fest for every battle either. And having four different types of weapons sets (ala IWD2) all loaded up just to get through the game. That would be terrible design.

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First of all, I second that, while Josh has only given very technical descriptions of the mechanics thus far, I seriously doubt their plans are to just leave it at that. I'm sure "in-character" descriptions in the game will refer to the general strengths and weaknesses of various weapon types. Then, as for the "swap-fest," I don't see that being an issue, unless you outfit every single person in your party with the same weapon all the time. Then it might be. If you have a decent variety, the most prevalent thing that will most likely happen is that you'll run into a combat encounter in which character X happens to be highly effective against 1 or 2 foes, moderately effective against another handful, and significantly ineffective against 1 or two foes. So, it will most often probably come down to simply target allocation.

 

"That guy's clearly wearing heavy metal armor... Steve's wielding a dagger... Steve should probably not attack that guy, and should go attack that robe-wearing mage or something."

 

As far as it being intuitive, I'm sure it'll take a quick bit of reading and thinking (and a pinch of memorization) to figure out, but it'll become very intuitive after a little first-hand experience with battles and seeing the numbers and effects of your efforts, methinks.

 

I mean, basically, your weapons do damage. How much of a foe's health that damage is kinda depends on the foe, which is something that's not foreign to us (some things will have 30 HP, and some things will have 70; when you hit them with your somewhere-in-the-teens-damage weapon, and they're half-dead, you'll know "that was effective." You won't really need to break out the calculator and/or memorize the exact probable damage output or anything). Okay, now, you just start looking at things that could affect that damage.

Your weapon does 14-20 damage. You hit something 3 times, and each time you have yet to surpass 5 damage. Clearly, your weapon is being less-than-effective. Does he have lots of armor? What's his DT rating? *mouseover*. Oh, it's 10. So, at best, I can do like 6 damage. OR, if you notice he doesn't have a relatively high DT rating, then it has to be attack resolution related. What's his Deflection? Is it lots higher than my Accuracy? Oh, it's 60, and my Accuracy is 45. Yup, maybe I should try to hit something with less defense, and hit this guy with a more accurate person. Etc.

 

After that, there's unique resistances and such, which should also show up in the mouse-over tooltips once that foe isn't brand new to your party.

 

So, over time, you'll remember these things. And yeah, when you get to a combat encounter, you might find it prudent to pause, look over the enemies a bit, and kinda come up with a general approach. But, it won't really need to come down to crazy calculations and stuff. It should be pretty intuitive. It's kinda like a little checklist you'll form after several combats with your specific party makeup/equipment/build.

 

Think of it like spell selection, only each spell is a different party member. "Hmmm, that guy's got high fire resistance, so don't send Fireball to attack him. That guy's got really high armor, so don't use LvL-1 PewPewBolt to attack him, or he's gonna block the majority of it." etc.

 

Then, if you so choose, each person COULD swap their weapon to something else, at any given point in time. But, that's kind of up to you. Do you NEED that particular person to handle that particular enemy for some reason? (can't get across the battlefield, etc.)? If so maybe swap from your dagger to your mace or something, or what-have-you. (You'll figure out what weapon pairings you want on your peeps -- what options to have available to swap-to, basically -- beforehand, then won't have to worry much with it after that, except to decide "Hmm, would that weapon be beneficial in this case, or wouldn't it?" Again, kinda like readying spells in any other game. "Do I just want to load up on single-target fire spells, or do I want some AoE's there, just in case I want to hit a group?")

 

Long-story-short, I realize that it seems a bit convoluted when all we have are scattered fragments in the form of answers to various questions all across the forums, but, once it's all together in the game, and you've got readily available tooltips and weapon descriptions, and you can unpause, watch a couple "rounds" of attacks play out, then pause again for a brief review, I think it'll all be quite intuitive. I don't think you're ever going to be trial-and-erroring things or calculating things for a good 10 minutes just to figure out how to effectively win an average combat encounter. Sure, the tougher ones'll probably take an extra bit of thinking, but it's not going to be something you're going to need to play the game a second time just to finally comprehend.

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 dunno, having a general comparison chart of weapons in the manual that gives a player all the information they need to make informed choices regarding weapon selection seems to be a good idea.

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"I am the expert, asshat." - Hurlshot

"I'm fine with humanity being wiped out" - majestic

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Here's my analysis: apply weapon to bad guy, if bad guy bleeds then repeat until dead.

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"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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Here's my analysis: apply weapon to bad guy, if bad guy bleeds then repeat until dead.

That's a mildly ambiguous instruction. Do I repeat until I'm dead, or until the bad guy is dead? 8)

 

"It was terrible! The troll was clearly deceased, but Faldric just kept swinging and swinging. Two days later, we went back to check on him, and told him he should probably rest and eat, but he said he was 'just following instructions,' whatever that means. o_o!"

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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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Josh said there will be 2 weapon sets available for each char, more if you take some talents for it. That implies that you will only have a binary choice anyway, so it wont be hard to learn which weapon should be used in which circumstance. Unless you want to reload to relocate weapons, but the game is not designed with this in mind, so I dont see a problem there.

 

And I actually don't see the problem with the complexity of the weapon system. There is a simple scale:

 

Weapons:

Extreme 1: Big Weapon <=> great damage, slow, low accuracy <=> useful for heavy armor

Extreme 2: Small Weapon <=> low damage, fast, higher accuracy <=> useful for light armor

 

Everything independent from this scale are minor modifications which you should choose as you prefer them personally. Just choose 2 of the 3 sets 'big, small, ranged' and you should be fine. I also think the intention is to rather focus on targeting than switching weapons.

 

Want to be more tanky in general? Take the weapon with the deflection bonus into one of your sets. Don't want to differentiate between attack types? Choose the weapon that has best of two attack types. Etc.

 

Regarding the attack types (slashing, crush, etc), they already said that there will be no combat puzzles in the sense that an enemy is highly resistant against everything but 1 or 2 types. Just give your party a spectrum of different stuff and you should be totally fine by clever targeting. After a couple of fights you will know which armor should be targeted by which weapon as you will have a lot of visceral feedback anyway.

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Here's my analysis: apply weapon to bad guy, if bad guy bleeds then repeat until dead.

That's a mildly ambiguous instruction. Do I repeat until I'm dead, or until the bad guy is dead? 8)

 

"It was terrible! The troll was clearly deceased, but Faldric just kept swinging and swinging. Two days later, we went back to check on him, and told him he should probably rest and eat, but he said he was 'just following instructions,' whatever that means. o_o!"

 

 

Tell this Faldric he's got the job.

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"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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