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Map Density and Encounters/Points of Interest

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Does anyone else think the encounter/point of interest density is too high for the maps? There also seems to be very clear "zones" to maps, which can often make the maps feel artificial and constructed. For example in Dyrford Crossing:

 

MapDensity.png

 

The map is practically divided into 4 quarters, each with it's own group of wildlife. There are also 3 points of interest/dungeons on the map. To top it all off, the map is quite small. It really makes it feel like you're stumbling over encounters at every step,  and that the "ecosystem" is designed and artificial. The terrain is also artificial - there are rivers and cliffs perfectly placed to funnel the player and maximise every square inch of space and seperate "zones". It reminds me of one of those exploration missions in Starcraft where the map funnels the player down a maze to maximise the distance the player needed to travel within the confines of a square map.

 

In Baldur's Gate I loved the feeling of exploring each of the vast maps and of not quite knowing where the encounters would be. IMO the spread of encounters and content in that game was fantastic. Which brings us to another point - I sincerely hope there are much larger maps in the full game. Within those I hope that there's more constraint in placing points of interest and encounters.

 

Hopefully this is just a beta thing and map density has been increased for the purposes of giving players a lot to play. Thoughts?

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I found the current level of "mobs," for lack of a better term, to map size ratio to make it very hard to explore an are without fighting everything. hopefully the full game will incorporate a random encounter system rather that the current: "look five lions just where they where last play through"

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Definitely agree. Waay too much fighting in comparison to just exploration. These games aren't realistic of course but it really helps to have big moments of quiet exploration to sell the fact that a zone isn't literally an arena.

 

This is my biggest disappointment so far with the beta. I also hope they filled the areas up a bit more for the sake of the beta. Feels way too dense at the moment.

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This was actually going to be the topic of one of my videos haha, the encounter placement in this level is quite odd.

I also find it strange that massive beetles roam in the forest, rather than being underground creatures, but YMMV.

 

The Wilderness Area design in this level does not feel like a BG1 Wilderness area.

 

BG1 Wilderness areas had cool design, even if the content density was "thin".

 

I still might do a video on it, I'll write it down for another day.

Edited by Sensuki
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Does anyone else think the encounter/point of interest density is too high for the maps? There also seems to be very clear "zones" to maps, which can often make the maps feel artificial and constructed. For example in Dyrford Crossing:

 

MapDensity.png

 

The map is practically divided into 4 quarters, each with it's own group of wildlife. There are also 3 points of interest/dungeons on the map. To top it all off, the map is quite small. It really makes it feel like you're stumbling over encounters at every step,  and that the "ecosystem" is designed and artificial. The terrain is also artificial - there are rivers and cliffs perfectly placed to funnel the player and maximise every square inch of space and seperate "zones". It reminds me of one of those exploration missions in Starcraft where the map funnels the player down a maze to maximise the distance the player needed to travel within the confines of a square map.

 

In Baldur's Gate I loved the feeling of exploring each of the vast maps and of not quite knowing where the encounters would be. IMO the spread of encounters and content in that game was fantastic. Which brings us to another point - I sincerely hope there are much larger maps in the full game. Within those I hope that there's more constraint in placing points of interest and encounters.

 

Hopefully this is just a beta thing and map density has been increased for the purposes of giving players a lot to play. Thoughts?

Actually, no. I agree that the placement of wildlife is a little much, but i wouldn't want the crap that was BG1 wilderness areas. Worse part of any IE game by far. There is a reason Bioware change it for the sequel, and no other game tried this style apart from the first Geneforge. BG2 content density was perfect. As for artificial level design, IWDs were similar and i liked them just fine. But larger maps wouldn't hurt, although it's too much work to redo them to be worth the trouble.

Edited by Malekith
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Uhh, I have to say I disagree about that statement. I really enjoyed the BG1 Wilderness Areas because they actually felt like a "Wilderness"

 

The problem in those areas was lack of quests. Every Wilderness Area had one quest, and it was usually a very, very, very simple quest and that's it.

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Uhh, I have to say I disagree about that statement. I really enjoyed the BG1 Wilderness Areas because they actually felt like a "Wilderness"

 

The problem in those areas was lack of quests. Every Wilderness Area had one quest, and it was usually a very, very, very simple quest and that's it.

For me they felt empty and boring. Hiking around without reason and fighting random mobs feels like a TES part inside my IE  game. And i dislike TES direction as a whole.

IE games arent continuous worlds. Their maps are an abstraction, and the areas you visit are the points of interest having a reason to be there, bypassing the filler material. It stands to reason that the points of interest should be interesting damn it.

Edited by Malekith
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You left out the forest shamblers on the map, bringing it up to five creature types, which I think is the greater problem than the actual density of the encounters (though I do agree that it feels a bit much). I think that they'd be better off with a few more non-combat wilderness encounters (like a group of hunters, the local ranger or even just more non-aggressive animals like the deer) in place of some of the monsters if they want to prevent the areas feeling too sparse and empty, though that may be the case with other areas in the full game.

 

I also have to say that whomever decided to set up a village in that area was an idiot. Giant poisonous beetles and spiders on one side, lions on the other, with wolves, ogres, and dragons thrown in as well. I mean forget about the ogre stealing pigs, how does someone not die whenever anyone tries to leave or enter the place. Unless there's a smarter way to travel to the village that we can't access.

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You left out the forest shamblers on the map, bringing it up to five creature types, which I think is the greater problem than the actual density of the encounters (though I do agree that it feels a bit much). I think that they'd be better off with a few more non-combat wilderness encounters (like a group of hunters, the local ranger or even just more non-aggressive animals like the deer) in place of some of the monsters if they want to prevent the areas feeling too sparse and empty, though that may be the case with other areas in the full game.

 

I also have to say that whomever decided to set up a village in that area was an idiot. Giant poisonous beetles and spiders on one side, lions on the other, with wolves, ogres, and dragons thrown in as well. I mean forget about the ogre stealing pigs, how does someone not die whenever anyone tries to leave or enter the place. Unless there's a smarter way to travel to the village that we can't access.

well according to the game the beetles and wolves are 4 hours away so it isn't too unsafe ;)

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remember this is a limited beta which is likely trying to cram a bit more extra to give some variety in different enemy types etc. i agree in principle though, as long as there is balance with some maps with just exploring and puzzles or something and not all combat all the time it would be good

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You left out the forest shamblers on the map, bringing it up to five creature types, which I think is the greater problem than the actual density of the encounters (though I do agree that it feels a bit much). I think that they'd be better off with a few more non-combat wilderness encounters (like a group of hunters, the local ranger or even just more non-aggressive animals like the deer) in place of some of the monsters if they want to prevent the areas feeling too sparse and empty, though that may be the case with other areas in the full game.

 

I also have to say that whomever decided to set up a village in that area was an idiot. Giant poisonous beetles and spiders on one side, lions on the other, with wolves, ogres, and dragons thrown in as well. I mean forget about the ogre stealing pigs, how does someone not die whenever anyone tries to leave or enter the place. Unless there's a smarter way to travel to the village that we can't access.

 

Where are the Shamblers? I must have missed those.

 

Anyway I think the reason why every map is so crammed with stuff is due to the resources required to create each map. They want maximum gameplay mileage out of each map, so it's crammed with encounters/dungeons etc. That still doesn't justify making every map so heavily constructed and tight.

 

Maps in almost all the Infinity engine games have been "locations of interest" where they contain something of significance. I just hope they bring in a bit of the Baldur's Gate style of wilderness exploration at least.

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Uhh, I have to say I disagree about that statement. I really enjoyed the BG1 Wilderness Areas because they actually felt like a "Wilderness"

 

The problem in those areas was lack of quests. Every Wilderness Area had one quest, and it was usually a very, very, very simple quest and that's it.

 

Your memory betrays you, Sensuki. Some areas had a lot of stuff, some had almost nothing.


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In Baldur's Gate I loved the feeling of exploring each of the vast maps and of not quite knowing where the encounters would be. IMO the spread of encounters and content in that game was fantastic. Which brings us to another point - I sincerely hope there are much larger maps in the full game. Within those I hope that there's more constraint in placing points of interest and encounters.

 

So you want a lot of empty areas added to maps, is that correct? Areas that will be completely ignored on second and subsequent playthroughs, because, you know, why go there if you know there's nothing there? Maps like this, or this, or this?

 

Suppose you get what you want, then the other guys will start to complain that the maps contain too much empty space, pointless walking, and the game wasted precious 2D art on nothing. And I would rather agree with them than with you, since 2D art time is -- this is well known to those who followed the updates and discussions -- one of the choke points in the dev pipeline. Maps should be used to their fullest, that follows from the budget they have. If they had more 2D art time, I would like to have better/more portraits, not empty areas.

 

I agree that placement is a bit too tight in Eternity based on the current information, and I do wish they had somewhat bigger maps and/or lesser density. But I disagree with using BG1 as a model for map density.

Edited by Endrosz
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So what if it's ignored on subsequent playthroughts? That is true for everything. Also, having more space allows for more approaches. Then there's expansion/DLC material, where they can add in new quests and stuff in previously empty parts of maps.


"You're a fool if you believe I would trust your benevolence. Step aside and you and your lackeys will be unhurt."


 


 


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If the game does not give XP for kills than their is no need to fill the map with random monsters anyway. I personaly prefer few meaningful and challenging encounters over tons of easy ones anyway.

Edited by Mayama
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Where are the Shamblers? I must have missed those.

 

Northeast of the spiders, over the cliff. Must navigate through wurms to reach them.

 

If the game does not give XP for kills than their is no need to fill the map with random monsters anyway. I personaly prefer few meaningful and challenging encounters over tons of easy ones anyway.

Yes, it doesn't make much sense to put encounters just to populate an area if XP rewards are limited by design. Unless you are hiding secrets/treasures in that area. That could make sense. Or special encounters.

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The maps are also freaking small. I hope there are larger ones in the game.


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The maps are also freaking small. I hope there are larger ones in the game.

 

Agreed, the 2 wilderness areas presented feel quite small, hope it's not the average size of maps in full game. I like the size of the cultist dungeon level though, that feels good.

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So you want a lot of empty areas added to maps, is that correct? Areas that will be completely ignored on second and subsequent playthroughs, because, you know, why go there if you know there's nothing there? Maps like this, or this, or this?

Viconia one (aside from bandits) was a little sparse but the other 2 were great.  Spiders, traps, Gullykin+bounty-hunters

 

 Maps should be used to their fullest, that follows from the budget they have.

Sure but 'to their fullest' doesn't mean 'mobs of enemies' - that was IWD's problem for me (but at least there was a point to all the mobs in that).

More points of interest might be nice - but being able to explore a small area without having to fight the wildlife, would make for a lot of atmosphere - and make the enemies you do encounter more dramatic.


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So you want a lot of empty areas added to maps, is that correct? Areas that will be completely ignored on second and subsequent playthroughs, because, you know, why go there if you know there's nothing there? Maps like this, or this, or this?

Those three areas aren't that empty.

 

Gullykin is, it has one quest connected to it (Firewine Bridge) and it has a group of Bounty Hunters and a bunch of random encounter spots.

 

The other two had enough encounters.

 

The Viconia area has heaps of random encounter spots where groups of Black Talon Elites show up. Those guys in a group are pretty devastating, particularly with a mod that increases the amount of enemies you face (I forget which one I used in my last playthrough).

 

The spider level has a gew web trap with spider combos, and it has sword spider, phase spider and huge spider groups over to the west. But once again it only has one quest.

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Random encounter spots, you say? My question: Do those random encounter spots motivate the player to explore the map, instead of just going for the quest and then leaving?

Who the hell cares about what mods can do? The map, as created and published, is rather devoid of content. The comparison would only be fair if you wait for PoE mods to take care of many things, including content density.

The spider web map is separate. Yes, the spider web map is cool, and the overworld map that links to it is still as empty as shown. It's like saying the entrance to Durlag's Tower is cool, because there is a multi-level dungeon inside.

Carry on.
 


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Well.


Because of the size of the PoE maps in relation to the size of characters, and their  current walk speed,- this game is always going to feel "crowded". 


Trash mobs in strange places will happen a lot, i feel. Otherwise there will be too little going on for most people.


This is a fundamental problem, and is probably not going to change. 


 


People are expecting a big game here, but even with Sawyers "150+" maps or whatever, It will be over quicker than you think.


 


I suggest they lower the walk speed, and then leave some wilderness areas for exploration with fewer enemies.


 


Mind you, this is a beta, and hopefully they will space it out a bit better for the final game.


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I suggest they lower the walk speed, and then leave some wilderness areas for exploration with fewer enemies.

 

Lowering the walk speed will not generate more content. I bet that most people will select double speed out of combat. It takes roughly half a minute to go from the upper right corner of dryford village to the center at standard speed. Increasing that might get quite tedious.

Edited by Mayama

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I suggest they lower the walk speed, and then leave some wilderness areas for exploration with fewer enemies.

 

Lowering the walk speed will not generate more content. I bet that most people will select double speed out of combat. It takes roughly half a minute to go from the upper right corner of dryford village to the center at standard speed. Increasing that might get quite tedious.

 

Well, as long as you have that option, then that's all good, surely? 

It just doesn't feel right to me with hordes of enemies or mysterious ruins every five steps I take.

Tough, as I said,- I think the beta is a bit more content "rich" than what we can expect in the final release.

Edited by Gorionsson
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"The harder the world, the fiercer the honour."

Weapon master,- Flail of the dead horse +5.

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