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Sensuki

Combat feels: Activeness, Speed and Pace.

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Most of this morning I dedicated my time to looking for bugs / glitches / performance issues, and I'm starting to play through the game now.

 

Playing on Hard difficulty, since I noticed that PoD enemies have +50% stats (no thanks, with the sub-par BB party).

 

So far here are some basic points about combat:

The combat is more active than the Infinity Engine games due to the amount of ability use required. This was one of Josh Sawyer's aims for combat and I believe that the goal has been achieved.

 

The party doesn't do so good when split up, unlike the IE games where you could take your best couple of characters and aside from a support spell or two, plow through the majority of areas with your main damage dealers. The party composition in PE required teamwork from the party members to overcome the encounters. I think this makes sense.

 

The speed of actions in combat is actually way slower than I am used to, because I played the IE games on 40 FPS. Characters wearing heavier armors have a really long recovery time. Currently I don't think the values are balanced properly, and I think an attribute that reduces recovery time would be very fitting here. My unarmored / unarmed Monk was faring a lot better than my Fighter was, due to being able to hit more often and get rid of his wounds.

 

I think for some people combat feels "too fast" because you are required to micro manage your characters a lot more. The actions the characters take are actually slower than the IE games (barring the spell casters), but pretty much every character has active abilities that you kinda need to use every encounter, so you are doing more, even though the pace is slower.

 

And lastly, the adventuring days are way too short. I survived all of the beetles in the Dyrford Crossing exterior, but by that time, I needed to rest. In the Infinity Engine games, adventuring days were way longer due to strategical healing resources - Priest healing spells, scrolls and healing/regen potions.

 

Currently in PE, you can do one small wilderness area before you need to rest. In my opinion this an incorrect adventuring day pace. Combat encounters have a pretty good feel, they're lethal and you have to pay attention - but you can only do a few of them before you have to end an adventuring day, and you still have a crap load of other resources left. I used up hardly any encounter or daily spells during my encounters, because there was simply not enough time to use them. Due to the long recovery times of characters, piled with the lethality of the trash mob encounters with the beetles, I was left with not much Health left on a few characters, but plenty of daily resources remaining.

I think the problem here is the Stamina to Health ratio. I think in order to make the length of the adventuring day "feel" more IE, the amount of stamina damage converted to health damage needs to be decreased - so that while encounters can be lethal, you can last a lot more of them throughout the adventuring day, and take on a lot more encounters and actually feel like you're getting to use all of your class abilities/dailies so you can actually get the feeling of being low on other strategical resources, as well as Health.

 

I think the direction here would be to reduce the stamina damage to health ratios, and reduce the amount of camping supplies you get. So you can survive a longer adventuring day, but get fewer resting resources. That way the pace isn't broken up so much.

 

On top of that, enemy units (and player units) move very fast in combat, whereas only hasted units moved quickly in the IE games. Due to this "run" feature, positioning is all over the place. Especially considering how small some of the maps are.

Edited by Sensuki
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Hi Sensuki - I've been looking forward to reading your posts. I'm not a beta backer myself but I've been watching all the streams. Were you able to locate the "advanced details" page, or has that suddenly gone missing? It cane be seen here:

 

http://media.obsidian.net/eternity/media/updates/0070/pe-ui-character-sheet.jpg

 

I definitely want to agree that the auto attack animations seem too slow on melee combat. It would look a lot more natural if they attacked a little more often. The recovery time looks to be an artificial barrier that hurts immersion. 

 

Regarding the combat feeling "too fast." One streamer mentioned that it might be becuase you are starting off with a party of 5, instead of a party of 1 or 2, and this gives you a sort of rushed feeling - not having had the opportunity to learn the system with less moving parts before moving on to more.

Edited by Pray

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I've been playing through the IE games recently, and the IE games have faster paced combat, but it's more auto-attacking than actually using active abilities. You can kill a whole room of Orcs in Icewind Dale in a few seconds, but an encounter vs 3 beetles in PE lasts a lot longer than that due to the amount of damage required to kill things.

 

You can wipe out whole rooms with one fireball, or a lucky Horror spell and a few nukes in quick succession.

 

The slowness of recovery time in heavy armor is magnified by how passive the combat idle animations are. This is something I've brought up before though (such as in my recent RPGCodex interview)

Edited by Sensuki
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That post Sensuki, PERFECTLY describes the situation. Well written!


"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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This is a really good post, sensuki. I was about to do a thread about the Wonkiness of the combat speed, but I found I couldn't put it into words properly because I wasn't quite sure what the issue was. On the one hand, it *feels* overall faster in pace than the IE games, but on the other hand, whenever you focus in and concentrate on what's going on, blow by blow, it feels much slower.

 

Anyway about this...

The combat is more active than the Infinity Engine games due to the amount of ability use required. This was one of Josh Sawyer's aims for combat and I believe that the goal has been achieved.

Yes. Definitely. And it was what a lot of us asked for...begged for, in fact. But now that we've gotten it, I'm feeling a little bit of buyer's remorse. Combat in this game has drained me as a gamer. Every single fight is an extreme tactical affair. I'm not 100% sure that this is an ideal design for a 60 hour game, though. But then again, I'm sure a lot of this fatigue has to do with the fact that I haven't gotten comfortable with the system yet. My party has a crap ton of tools that I'm unfamiliar with which they probably should be using more often.

 

 

Side note: after a ton of trial and error, I have decided to employ the tried and true BG1 tactic of 1 tank + 4 archers battle plan because combat in this game can be a real complicated clusterf*ck when you've got 4 party members engaging in melee at the same time.

Edited by Stun
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The issues with melee are hugely magnified by

 

* Auto attack bug (if you're not paying 100% attention, characters will do nothing)

* Pathfinding issues (you really have to control your melee characters every step of the way)

* Engagement system (movement in close range is costly)

* Movement speed (makes it crazy)

 

I think the auto attack bug has a huge effect on the *headache* of combat, and we really need to wait until it is fixed before complaining about complexity, because it literally triples the amount of actions you need to make (or more even).

 

It's not just auto attacks that don't work either, you sometimes have to issue commands twice (such as casting spells etc).

Edited by Sensuki
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I think the IE games did a good job of abstracting movement speed to make it tactical, whereas so far PE doesn't do a very good job at that, it verges more on simulation.

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This is a really good post, sensuki. I was about to do a thread about the Wonkiness of the combat speed, but I found I couldn't put it into words properly because I wasn't quite sure what the issue was. On the one hand, it *feels* overall faster in pace than the IE games, but on the other hand, whenever you focus in and concentrate on what's going on, blow by blow, it feels much slower.

 

Anyway about this...

The combat is more active than the Infinity Engine games due to the amount of ability use required. This was one of Josh Sawyer's aims for combat and I believe that the goal has been achieved.

Yes. Definitely. And it was what a lot of us asked for...begged for, in fact. But now that we've gotten it, I'm feeling a little bit of buyer's remorse. Combat in this game has drained me as a gamer. Every single fight is an extreme tactical affair. I'm not 100% sure that this is an ideal design for a 60 hour game, though. But then again, I'm sure a lot of this fatigue has to do with the fact that I haven't gotten comfortable with the system yet. My party has a crap ton of tools that I'm unfamiliar with which they probably should be using more often.

 

 

Side note: after a ton of trial and error, I have decided to employ the tried and true BG1 tactic of 1 tank + 4 archers battle plan because combat in this game can be a real complicated clusterf*ck when you've got 4 party members engaging in melee at the same time.

 

On the impressions thread I also stated that the petty battles require too much micromanaging. It's mentally draining and can even be downright tedious. I'm seriously considering putting the game on easy when I'm exploring, and putting it back to normal or hard when a plot-battle starts.

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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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I think the micro managing will be just fine once the bugs are fixed and a few more auto attack clauses are added in, at least for Hard difficulty.

Edited by Sensuki

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I think the problem here is the Stamina to Health ratio. I think in order to make the length of the adventuring day "feel" more IE, the amount of stamina damage converted to health damage needs to be decreased - so that while encounters can be lethal, you can last a lot more of them throughout the adventuring day, and take on a lot more encounters and actually feel like you're getting to use all of your class abilities/dailies so you can actually get the feeling of being low on other strategical resources, as well as Health.

 

I think you're dead on here, having individual encounters be dangerous is cool, but only having enough Health to last for 2-3 encounters creates issues. They should either tweak the ratio like you said or add a limited way to restore Health without resting (maybe an ability for each character with 1 use per day that restores 50% health, sort of like 4E healing surges).

 

Or maybe a "short rest" ability that does the same thing (50% health restored, 1 use per day) but for the whole party so that if your Fighter gets low but not everyone else, you have to decide whether you want to use up your "short rest" while everyone else is still healthy or risk it and save it up. Short rests are a "thing" in both 4E and 5E so there's some precedent for ideas on how it might work.

 

I suspect that tweaking the ratio would be easier, but I'm not sure. I think the other two options are more strategically interesting but also maybe not enough so to be worth bothering with.

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decreasing Stamina damage to health seems like a no-brainer to me. It does make it harder for characters to permanently die, but is that a big deal if encounters are hard anyway?

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It'd also help if there was a setting for your preferred combat speed. Walking around, the speed feels about right, but combat is pretty frantic. Since we already have slo-mo, why not make it a preference so the combat speed of your choice always kicks in when combat starts? (Or did I miss it and is there already one?)


I have a project. It's a tabletop RPG. It's free. It's a work in progress. Find it here: www.brikoleur.com

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There's a Slow-mo and Double speed. I'm personally not interested in either of those features, though - as it all scales.

Edited by Sensuki

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There's a Slow-mo and Double speed. I'm personally not interested in either of those features, though - as it all scales.

 

What do you mean it all scales? It's definitely not a solution for people moving too quickly compared to how fast you can take actions and all that, I agree, but that's not what those features are for.

 

I'm pretty sure slow-mo is to make combat more manageable if you don't want to pause all the time and double speed is for running around places you've explored without waiting 5 minutes for people to run from one side of the map to the other. I like that they are both there, I do think that the overall speed of things needs adjustment aside from those features.

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The speed of combat (actions etc) scales with the game speed. Turn the game speed down - recovery times that are currently slow are now suuuuuper slow. Turn the combat speed up - actions that are fast are super fast.

 

Tweaking the game speed to suit your preference is not going to make any difference regarding the disparity between the recovery times of actions.

 

The aim should be to get the default combat speeds right. But I definitely think sliders for speed is something they could add for the people who want to use those features (not me).

Edited by Sensuki
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decreasing Stamina damage to health seems like a no-brainer to me. It does make it harder for characters to permanently die, but is that a big deal if encounters are hard anyway?

i agree, but also still think making grazes not do any health damage, only stamina, would solve a part of that problem just fine - and it would even make sense from a logical perspective

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Call me crazy but this explains my combat experience pretty much on the money.

 

Combat feels quick, I catch my party members often "dropping out" of combat as if they lose there opponent and them try to cast a spell and the cursor doesn't switch to a ranged icon.

 

For me if the icon where to change when casting different effects to suite the action in the midst of battle it would help a lot.

 

The more visual aids the less worn out people will feel I assume, I know it would make the full on and hard core micro management a lot more easier on the eyes.

 

I could also dare ask for larger icons in the ui for spells and abilities?

 

Pretty much your post covers my issues in a much more refined expression, I feel the combat speed whether it's because of micromanagement or indeed the actual combat itself, something here feels askew from what I'm use to.

 

If you get my meaning?

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decreasing Stamina damage to health seems like a no-brainer to me. It does make it harder for characters to permanently die, but is that a big deal if encounters are hard anyway?

i agree, but also still think making grazes not do any health damage, only stamina, would solve a part of that problem just fine - and it would even make sense from a logical perspective

 

That's a pretty good idea.


"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's nothing wrong with the Damage system, If you take a look at the numbers, grazes don't end up doing a whole lot, particularly vs high DT - my characters were doing 0.6-1 damage vs the Stone Beetles on a graze.

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Seems to be a lot of people online again, anyone got anything to add?

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I also agree with everything you said. I played it quite a bit, mostly enjoyed it, but there was something about it I was unable to pinpoint. Now that I read your post I believe you hit the nail on the head.

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I agree very much with your "adventure day" observations. I have nothing against the health/stamina system, but with the old IE health+healing spells system, where we could extend our adventuring day by using up our healing skills before having to rest, made for much better pacing. I think one of the goals of the new system was to make sure we didn't  have to constantly rest to reset our party. Right now, resting after every single minor encounter seems required.

 

I also think there seems to be too many minor combat encounters, and very aggressive respawning of mobs. I'd be happy if an area stayed clear for a good while after cleaning it out.

Edited by mstark
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"What if a mid-life crisis is just getting halfway through the game and realising you put all your points into the wrong skill tree?"

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Sensuki's and Stun's captured all I wanted to say, perhaps except that I like the faster pace, since it reminds me of how I play in NWN2 - but this isn't exactly IE-inspired. If you are used to a RTS-game like COH2, the micromanagement here is a walk in the park, so I've been having it easy on Easy. No reload in five hours, and I've mostly done combat and exploring.


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

 

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I think that the movement might be too fast, but the recovery times can be pretty slow in many instances.

 

I also think there seems to be too many minor combat encounters, and very aggressive respawning of mobs. I'd be happy if an area stayed clear for a good while after cleaning it out.

On hard in the Dyrford Crossing, I think the first two beetle encounters are too close together. The top one should be placed further north so that you actually have some room to maneuver against the first mob, without having to literally hug the south side of the creek.

 

There actually wasn't that many mobs on the map, but the map was small. Nothing compared to the BG1 Wilderness areas. Like less than half as big in "feel". Apparently the Stormwall Gorge is much bigger. I haven't been there yet.

Edited by Sensuki

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One thing to keep in mind is that enemies' movement speed should stand a chance against kiting, unless they want to make it the default "tactic". (There are ways to impede infinite kiting even against slower opponents.)

It's also important to preserve combat symmetry, i.e. same governing rules and physics for everyone. That doesn't mean that some creatures aren't naturally faster, of course; wolves for instance.

 

 

Also, there's no reason to shorten recovery time, and tying it to an attribute is a bad idea. The only drawback of high DT, which is incredibly valuable, is a longer recovery time for everything.

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