As I understand they've said they just want combat to be for the fun of it. Taking away experience rewards from enemies just seems like it will leave the combat a bit unrewarding. I feel like I will skip even trying to get in fights because there's not much benefit and mostly detriment. You risk your characters getting hurt/knocked out/killed for what, beating enemies juts for the fun of it? There's always a balance of risk vs. reward in these kinds of games and it seems that balance has been upset.
Sure some enemies may drop items, but that'll be the only reward of combat? I think it's a mistake for them not to give any exp. Perhaps cutting the exp gains from enemies down so that you don't gain a ton, but none? That means the only point of the game is to just grind through quests as fast as you can with no reason to kill enemies and skip all unnecessary stuff.
It pigeon holes players into playing one specific way. What if players don't want to do many quests? The only way to play if you want to get anywhere is by questing now. There's no just going out and adventuring around killing things as a form of progression.
Let's face it, players want to be rewarded and they want to get that reward via the fastest means possible. That means is going to be skipping unnecessary combat and leaves combat in general feeling like a chore that you must do along the path to grinding out these quests.
I haven't played the beta myself so this is just as I understand it from what I've heard and read. Just wanted to get my thoughts out about this.
To a point it sounds like playing a MMORPG, where instead of doing the quests, you just grind your way up. Which considering how many quests are done in MMORPGs, I cannot blame players for it (I do like grinding too sometimes).
If the game is well designed, you should get enough exp to complete the game just by doing the main line of quests. And I guess that those are mandatory to trigger different areas/stuff/final_dudeboss.
It disincentivizes exploration and combat for me. I know I'm better off waiting until I have a quest for tackling an area before actually going out and tackling it.
I also know that with the exception of named NPC's there isn't any reason not to bypass random encounters with beatles/animals/etc because I'm not going to be rewarded even slightly for it.
With no exp rewarded for encounters it's less rewarding to stray from the critical/quest path and do your own thing.
I doesn't have to be a lot either. Even minimal exp can make a big difference.
Is "your own thing" just level-ups? Because if you don't go to an area just to explore it or to do a quest in it, why else go there? It's true that you may want to explore an area searching for "treasure", "epic shoopeker" or who knows what. Then, dealing with "wildlife" is the previous step to enjoying such reward. If the area has no quests in it (rare), in any case it should contain "valuables" worth the effort of going there and dealing with whatever is there (exp or not). Our main reason to explore should be tangible stuff and not exp.
I think that it's ok that "random" encounters not offer nothing but loot. That should be their only reason of existence. Optionals, more of the same. Unless you are collecting wolf pelts or roleplay a wolf hater, willingly jumping into a random wolf encounter doesn't make much sense. Unless you just do it for the fun of playing a combat!!! Or maybe failed to sneak...
Don't get me wrong. I like leveling up. It sucks when an RPG system puts the nice goodies up in the high levels and one cannot wait to reach them to finally have a functional character as one wants it to be. And leveling up also gives a sense of progression (which games like Oblivion send to hell by scaling up stuff).
If you hit max level in a game and there are still areas to explore, do you stop exploring because you gain no exp from the monsters? Or stop doing quests?
Even D&D says how exp can be given in different ways and killing stuff is just one... which can be optional. Beating an encounter is the basic way. A trap? You can get exp by disarming it... or by finding a way to bypass it. Sleeping ogre at the door? Exp for killing it or just by sneaking without waking him up. Even it's mentioned as an alternative to only give exp for quest completed (taking into account all the encounters in it, of course).
Makes sense? Yes, it does. Allocating exps in the monsters, only incentivates unnecesary violence. As much as special treasure tables for them. So if you just want loot, it'll be always be there is some form. And focusing the exp in the quests, makes you focus on which should be really important. Killing stuff is important in games like Torchlight or Diablo (and the LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT!!11!1!!!1) and while games like this or BG are combat centric, they are not ARPGs and don't need to emulate them. No one forbids you to have fun killing non quest monsters, it only encourages you to do it just for fun.
My first character talks with dude outside village. Talks with woman inside village. Kills woman to save time. Talks with man outside village. Kills man because of stuff said. Gets loot from both but no exp.
My next character talks with dude outside the village. Talks with woman inside the village. Cooperates with her. Talks with man outside village. Kills man. Gets loot only from the dude and also get almost enough exp to go from level 5 to 6.
Fair? I see no problem there.