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Sensuki's Suggestions #011: Backer Beta Version Review v257 bb


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Here is a video of my overall impressions of this version of the Backer Beta. It's mostly a brief overview of the things I have noted down in my PE.txt notepad file. I cover most elements rather briefly and don't get too deep into system mechanics critiquing, which I think would be better served in future beta versions.

 
Here is an overview of the covered topics
 
Performance and Bugs
Character Creation
Attributes
Portraits
Main UI
Exploration
Character and Environment Issues
Missing Functions
Combat Issues
Combat Animations and Sounds
General UI Issues
Inventory and Items
Music
Classes
Looting
Neutral Creatures
Selection Circles
 
There's some topics I forgot to cover such as Fog of War (already made a video on it though) and Encounters in the Dyrford Crossing being out of place (Beetles and Wolves).
 
This will be my last video for this version of the backer beta as there's really no point giving any more feedback until the glaring issues with combat, inventory and questing are fixed. Once those issues are addressed then we can start giving some proper critiques on the flow of combat and the flow of questing, class abilities, talents and such.
 
Previous Suggestions:
 
Fog of War
Inventory and Item Tooltips
Feedback in Combat
Re-wrote Class Ability Descriptions
Item Descriptions and Contextual UI Rant
Area Map Functions
Main UI Tooltips
Selection Circles and Targeting
Disable Vertical Sync

Edited by Sensuki
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I liked it! But it lacked any form of positive feedback, only general critique and "I dislike X". I'd rather have heard more about what you liked, even compared to the old monsters in the closet (BG etc).

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1669_planescape_torment-prev.png


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That's fair but I'm mostly trying to focus on constructive criticism, I did mention some things I like but usually in relation to an area that needs improvement.

 

I think it's well known that the best stuff about the game atm is the 2D art and the writing. Most other areas need some improvement to feel good.

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Middle bar in UI is so useless imo.

 

Thankfully you can disable it, (but not on this build, as I posted in the bug forum recently it stops hotkeys from working entirely).

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Cool stuff Sensuki

One thing i would definitely like to change in the character creation menu, is putting the portrait selection before the 3d appearance modding.

Because you can create a 3d character with something unique, like purple hair and then realize in the next step that there are no portraits of character with purple hair, so you end up going back to the 3d model to change it to be more like the portrait will have to go with.

 
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Feels like you just need to remember hotkeys for Rest and Scouting and you're set for life, no middle bar needed.

 

I'd prefer either combat log or character ability buttons at the center. That is where my attention is usually in combat (ability buttons for the most time). Maybe there will be an option to drag these three and change places eventually.

 

The character creation is a throwback to IE games btw, that all had step by step generation. I like Fallout-like chargens where everything changes depending on what you choose and system is transparent, but it's good for newbs.

Edited by Shadenuat
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Very good work.

 

I agree with most of it, too. You clearly have sharper eyes than I do though -- for example I never noticed the bit about the doors, or that the inventory pane is rendered at 720p, or the frame rate issues.

 

I like the action bar on top of the portraits, though. It makes for small and precise mouse movements since I usually first select a character, then the ability. I've thought of it as almost a pop-up menu.

 

My experience with the wizard is quite different from yours, thanks to Gluteus Maximus the Muscle Wizard. A lot of the AoE's were highly useful, especially the cone-shaped ones; the self-buffs became relevant, and the "standards" -- Minoletta's contributions, Fireball -- stopped being all that cool.

 

Agree about the loot drops. The two fights in the village proper did have them like you'd expect; perhaps the Skaen cultist stuff was just unfinished.

 

 

Trygil's key isn't on him. He keeps it hidden nearby.

 

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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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Sensuki, in the video you mentioned that the run speed is too fast and that you kind of plow through the map too fast, losing the feeling of exploration.

Can you try using the stealth walk speed to explore a hostile map?

Perhaps if they made monsters have higher range of aggro it would force you to use the stealth mode to explore the map more carefully?

That way you can still have fast run speed when you you're on your second or 3rd run.

Edited by Cubiq
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You hit the nail on the head with everything I think.

 

 

I like the action bar on top of the portraits, though. It makes for small and precise mouse movements since I usually first select a character, then the ability. I've thought of it as almost a pop-up menu.

 

 

That's only a benefit if you click your guys instead of using the number keys. For me it's a large mouse movement from the center of the screen controlling guys to the left to cast. Larger than it would be for you to click a portrait then the abilities in the center.

 

Edit: I would absolutely love to be-able to select multiple *specific* people by holding shift and pressing the number keys. You already can! Yay!

Edited by ch4os1337
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Most excellent! 

 

17:30-18:50: "Portraits"

 


I really like both Polina's and Kaz's portraits. They are very beautiful, but what I think you're getting at Sensuki is that the profile portrait format is not following some sort of uniform?* One portrait looks up, one shows a shoulder. In both Baldur's Gate and Planescape Torment the Portraits follow some sort of form, but they have different color codes.

 

Link/All screenshots madness below, cept King's Quest (I think I'm becoming my own Wikipedia soon with all these links xD):
[iDEAS With a simple portrait system (portrait idea/efficiency)***, it becomes easier to "animate" or "express" (Kings Quest 17:30, every portrait follows these rules, the hero is just zoomed in slightly), with a more advanced art piece (<-PoE->), it becomes much more difficult because they are different from each other (It would be awesome if they all followed uniform). And which one is more stylish for an RPG? I am biased, but what do you think?

The classics pull it off in a major way (uniformed portraits from "olden ages"), and I think they still hold til this day (uniformed portraits from "modern ages"). The uniformed style isn't outdated. /IDEAS]**

I think the portraits are looking really well done and I really like them, so my only gripe is that they aren't uniform, but it doesn't really bother me :)

 

19:20 oh right, I paused...

 

 

Post-19:20 revelation.

 

 

* You said "styling" and "coloring" and I misinterpreted the message. Good stuff! :) I'm leaving what I wrote tho

** for a faster, more efficient, portrait building library. If one would go to the extremes there wouldn't even need to be portraits and all the player need to do is take a Screenshot (Steam screenie, with right dimensions, focus point only head-portrait) and the data is converted to the right dimensions for the portrait panel. Mind, that is the simplest way of doing it, it's not what I'm asking for (but I wouldn't mind it).

I too really love the handdrawn portraits though, and Polina and Kaz have some serious skill :D

Onwards, 19:20.

 

 

 

20:53: "Minimalistic UI"

 


Thank you! I had no idea (I completely missed that). Collapsable UI, that's great for screenshots and for immersing into the world :) but I agree that it is very minimalistic and small... and kind of like when you say "pretty much this" about having no UI in relevancy to minimalism. In fact the UI can look in whatever way shape or form, for me. A collapsable button is a great tool nonetheless.

23:37: "UI positioning, minimalism", See attachment for "uiidea" that could potentially solve some of those problems you mention.

 

 

 

26:53: "Run speed".

 

 

Agreed, when I started to get into Stealthing, I almost felt as if that was the standard speed I wanted it to be at, and that running could be a "mode" that even possibly drains stamina (you don't run into a fight against a massive beetle), idea: Running around for too long affecting something (a fatigue? "I'm super tired" penalty?). I disagree about the world being less fun exploring and adventuring in though, regardless if I'm running or not.

In Baldur's Gate you walked fairly slowly everywhere until you got Boots of Movement Speed (in some variant). Could "Running" be a conditional "Boots of Movement"? Or 27:05-27:11 for simplicity.

 

 

 

30:36: "Door outside"

 

 

All that would be needed would be to make the entire door the "icon" (a flash icon in essence) and when you hover over it, it would open "briefly" and when hoover off it would close? If that's what you mean, that'd be cool! "Transitioning/Abuse", why disable it in combat? Allow enemies to follow after the Player, if possible, in certain areas but not from one map to the other (can't leave "header"/"mother" map if engaged in combat maybe?).

 

 

 

30:59: "Sounds"

 

 

Additionally, it would be nice to hear "chatter" outside, whispering and murmuring. It seems the entire village is in uproar in some way or another, because of the Lady Aelys and Lord Harond business. When the problems have been solved, these sounds could fade out~ but not a priority. I also don't think that it is repeating too often (perhaps it does, but I don't grow tired from it), but I think variation is always nice :)

 

 

 

39:53: "UI Windows, Character Windows et"

 

 

I agree, the Inventory and that whole window is uniformed, but it pops up over the combat/dialogue log and the "UI HQ" area in the middle. The windows should open above and let the player click the buttons to change screens. And totally agree on "Crafting", should be used at rest.

47:49:
- "Fighter Class", I agree somewhat. We start with 5 characters. With console commands like "EnablePartyManager" and "ManageParty" the Fighter becomes a strong solo class and you get a taste of what it will be like to play an early game Fighter (in a sense). But yes, mostly the same thing over and over towards mid to late-game when you have a bigger party.

 

 

 

50:15: "General combat is repetetive"

 

 

I agree somewhat again. The AI for enemies aren't done. If one would optimize their abilities, spells and their arsenals, then Skein cultists are a different encounter than the Beetles (due to different defenses, abilities, poisons or whatnot etc). So fights can "highlight" these differences between various beasts, it just needs some tweaking.

Beetles can poison, hold, stun and knockdown I think, Lions cause bleed effects(?), has a fairly fast attack speed/timer and knockdown. Now, these fights are fairly easy if you are careful and you don't drag 5-6 beetles or lions (i.e too much than you can handle) onto you (even 3-4 can be challenging to deal with). I feel I have a different mindset in every encounter and what I am facing, but I'm probably just repeating the same tactic over and over again like Sensuki says.

I think enemies could show some animalistic AI behavior, Lions perhaps stalking you, and more and more come after a while, indicating that you are being hunted. And engaging one could engage the ones nearby as well~ AI tactics.

Or Spiders being actually really fast, and they could walk facing the Player all the time and "gnaw" at the player fast before backing off, so that the Player can use "hold beast", "confusion", or "slow" spells for a purpose to get an upper edge.

Wood Beetles being weak to fire. If it's night, a Wolf Pack could be circling around you etc. etc.

 

 

 

51:45: "Base classes are boring"

 

 

I think there lies 2 truths in that statement. The BB pre-made Classes are "boring", I wanna make my own (because I find playing as a Priest more fun than controlling this Beta-Purposed one). But I get why we get them for several reasons. Regardless, I actually find the Rogue super fun with the Escape ability combined with Priest Traps. Pull a Lion with a Rogue arrow, then land a trap on top of the Rogue (timing of course) and watch the fun :) you can do lots with Priest, Rogue and Wizard in my opinion (in terms of play style) and you'll be able to make even more when more Talents make it in.

Fighter is probably, at the moment, the least diverse Character. But! You can still use the BB Fighter as a Tank and create a pure melee (or ranged) Fighter. Did you try building a Ranged Fighter with Focus/Speciality with Attribute bonuses with "Ranged" specifically in mind? I know this type of Ranged Fighter in Pillars of Eternity isn't much to "hooray" for (because all abilities are melee based, unless "Knockdown Arrow"?).

If a Ranged Fighter pulls an enemy to him/her, they can also tank a bit, let the ranged Fighter do Knock Down and then the BB Fighter take over tanking whilst the Ranged Fighter backs up. Unbending is also extremely useful for a DPS Fighter.

 

 

 

52:22: "Characters/Enemies should drop everything",

 

 

They should drop more things I agree (but keep in mind that *Missing String* still spawns automatically by Medreth whenever you leave the Church), and it should sell for almost nothing or be able to used for crafting material (Skaen Robe = Cloth, Leather), in my opinion.

You can also not drop items on the ground.

 

 

 

52:55: "Animals creatures should be neutral",

 

 

I re-iterate my point I made above about animals perhaps having some more "behavioral" AI. So a Lion could be hostile if you venture too close to it (within range) or they could start stalking you~ I noticed that Deer was walking much more calmly and around me when I was playing a Druid (might've been just chance, but it felt as if they drew more closer to the Druid specifically).



Great video Sensuki, I enjoyed listening and many great points, admittedly I think some are a bit premature what with v257 (but probably very helpful still, to get an idea of what sort of end-product you wish for). Lots of enlightening stuff too.

Not a request but perhaps it gives you an idea in turn: Making an "In-Depth: Fighter Class" "Wizard Class" etc, video, and show some combat and tactics/strategy and even attempt to build different builds with the material that exists.

EDIT: Attachment:
- The 3 abilities that sits awkwardly on top of the mid-piece (Resting, Inventory, Character) could be squeezed down to follow a "line". The Stealth button could be furthest to the left above "Select All".

post-44542-0-31748200-1409085425_thumb.jpg

Edited by Osvir
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My experience with the wizard is quite different from yours, thanks to Gluteus Maximus the Muscle Wizard. A lot of the AoE's were highly useful, especially the cone-shaped ones; the self-buffs became relevant, and the "standards" -- Minoletta's contributions, Fireball -- stopped being all that cool.

 

Cool. My point was more that the Wizard plays more rigidly than an IE wizard does, due to the pidgeonholed nature of their spell selection. 

 

 

 

Trygil's key isn't on him. He keeps it hidden nearby.

 

 

Cool. Cheers for that.

 

 

Interesting video +1 on everything you said, but no xp system commentary? :p

 

I'm not interested in talking about the XP system, no matter what I say it's not going to change and we've known about it since 2012, so I stopped caring a long time ago

 

Sensuki, in the video you mentioned that the run speed is too fast and that you kind of plow through the map too fast, losing the feeling of exploration.

Can you try using the stealth walk speed to explore a hostile map?

Feels closer to Baldur's Gate 1 at 30fps, perhaps a bit slower. I played the IE games on 40fps.

Edited by Sensuki
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While I agree with most of Sensuki's analysis, the one point that I can't really understand is the criticism of the differences between the fighter class in PoE and the IE games. While I acknowledge that the active abilities that the fighter gets in PoE would naturally lead one to use them in the way he describes, I don't see anything preventing a player from playing his fighter in the different ways in which he was played in the IE games, given the fact that, IIRC, the fighter class in the IE games did not receive any abilities (aside from generally high attack rate and thaco, etc) that made them any more suited to the role of archer or mage-murker than they would be in PoE.

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A ranged fighter would not be using any of his abilities. He'd just be plinking away at Low base accuracy. Any class can do that, and some (cipher, ranger) can do it better. Abilities are the core of the combat gameplay, so...

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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A ranged fighter would not be using any of his abilities. He'd just be plinking away at Low base accuracy. Any class can do that, and some (cipher, ranger) can do it better. Abilities are the core of the combat gameplay, so...

Then let's make suggestions for talents and abilities that will solve this problem (same with the issues noted with the priest, rogue, and wizard classes). I think this is where the talent system can really shine in allowing us to differentiate and fine-tune our characters, if properly implemented (and if we are allowed to pick talents more often, say every two level-ups, and/or in lieu of a class abilities).

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That's why I noted in the video that it probably does seem like a strange analysis considering the Fighter gets some abilities to use. I guess it depends on your party makeup and how the AI reacts to you in the fight.

 

The PE Fighter is designed as a tank class, inspired by how the lead designer plays is Earthstrength Warden character in 4E P&P campaign. In the Backer Beta party, you kinda need to use that Fighter to aggro melee mobs. You can use him as a ranged character against solo bosses like the Ogre though if your party successfully CC's the Ogre. Which is why I said, if there is more than one enemy (what I should have said is melee enemy), then encounters tend to play out the way I described.

 

Given a different party makeup with more melee characters, it might be possible to use the Fighter in the way I described, but other classes such as the Barbarian and the Monk are much more suited to racing through the pack to get at the wizards and Archers at the back. Same with the Rogue, with his escape ability.

I would also add that playing on harder difficulties (I play on Hard) requires you to use your characters more optimally than lower difficulties.

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Middle bar in UI is so useless imo.

 

I think it would be a nice addition to replace the middle menu with a quick bar where you can put skills and spells of all your characters. So you have super quick access to the most used abilites. Clicking the icon on the quickbar > enemy or hero is alot faster than click hero > select menu > select spell > select enemy

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Yup, the fighter having his abilities tied to melee make it worse than just the accuracy issue.  His ranged accuracy is no worse than the Wizards melee accuracy... so if his abilities weren't mostly melee it wouldn't be too much of an issue.  Talents may alleviate this though.  The fighter may end up having a solid ranged/melee mixed build if you can talent into some talents magical or otherwise, and they could become very versatile. 

 

I wish Obsidian would at least give us a list of Talents they do have ready...  it could alleviate my worry for the stagnant feel of a few of the classes.

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